- Sex in Europe: Gender and Sexuality in European Popular Culture – Someone, maybe RRRJessica, tweeted a link to this academic journal that looks interesting.
What is European popular culture? And how does it represent gender and sexuality? These are some of the questions explored by a recent special issue of the Journal of European Popular Culture (5.2) which I’ve had the pleasure of editing with my colleague Claire Jenkins.
Borne out of a strand at the 2013 European Popular Culture conference in Turku, Finland, the articles collected in the special issue collectively explore aspects of distinctly European popular culture, moving away from a focus on culture produced by or consumed in North America. A snapshot of current research on sex and gender taking place in Europe, it discusses aspects of popular culture as diverse as the British musician Morrissey, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series (that inspired the TV show Game of Thrones), popular romance literature, the reality TV show Geordie Shore, Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, representations of transgenderism in European cinema, and the British comedian Beryl Reid.
Check out the journal here. And here’s a full list of the articles and their abstracts:
- Meet Magic: The Gathering‘s First Trans Character – This is a tiny mention buried in the lore of the collectible card game, so no one should start baking cookies for Wizards of the Coast just yet, but it’s an excellent first step.
Over the years, there have been thousands of Magic: The Gathering cards, many with their own characters and mini-stories. Only one, however, is trans, and this one is pretty darn cool.
Though most players don’t dig into the collectible card game god emperor’s mythos, they’re expansive—untapped lands open for exploration. Sometimes it’s generic fantasy, sometimes it’s more interesting than that. One thing’s for sure, though: there is definitely a fuckton of it.
Wizards of the Coast recently added yet another entry to its years-spanning story tome with Alesha, Who Smiles at Death. Her card is part of the recently released Fate Reforged set, and her story weaves together the culture of her battle-baptized clan (which she leads) and her own identity. It’s pretty well done, despite the fact that it very much reads like Another Fantasy Story.
- Black History Matters, So Why Is Wikipedia Missing So Much Of It? – I love the idea of organized edit-a-thons to fill gaps in Wikipedia’s knowledge. Reminds me of a history professor I had in grad school ten years ago who made editing Wikipedia part of our grade.
Wikipedia is an incredible free resource and the quintessential example of the power of crowdsourcing. And yet, it can’t help but suffer from the same biases as society at large. Because of the digital divide, black people (and people of color more broadly) lack the same reliable access to the Internet as white people. Meanwhile, black employees make up a tiny fraction of the tech sector’s workforce. The result is a lack of black Wikipedia editors and a lack of articles relating to important aspects of black history.
“There is a gap that exists when it comes to people of color on Wikipedia, both as subjects of articles and as contributors,” says Maira Liriano, the associate chief librarian at the Schomburg Center, the New York Public Library’s center for research in black culture.
- My Son Is Black. With Autism. And I’m Scared Of What The Police Will Do To Him. – A heart-breaking post from a parent on the intersection of race and disability.
Just this week, one of our therapists sent a behavioral plan for Langston, saying that if he didn’t follow spoken instructions then we should physically guide him to do what we want from him. But his therapists are White. And as incredible and helpful as they’ve been, they don’t live with the reality that we do. Our son needs to know how to follow verbal instructions because if he doesn’t, a cop will find that as justification for ending my boy’s life. While we have to modify our language and communication to better convey our needs to our son and build his social skills, him knowing how follow explicit police instructions is non-negotiable. It’s life and death. I need him to know these things.
I keep thinking about what would happen if a cop is wearing gloves and puts his hands on my son. And my son pulls away because the texture of the gloves bother him. Or if my son just doesn’t like being touched by strangers. Or doesn’t react well when people point or raise their voices at him. Right now, the best way to get Langston to follow instructions is to get at eye level with him and explain very calmly what we need from him. What if that’ll always be the best way to communicate with him and a cop sees my son’s inability to process orders as an act of disobedience. What if my son pulling back from a cop is seen as an act of aggression? What if a simple repetitive motion is mistaken for an attempt at physical confrontation? If a cop is yelling at my son and he doesn’t respond because he doesn’t understand, what’s stopping the cop from murdering my boy in cold blood?
- Ben & Jerry’s Founders Support #BlackLivesMatter in a Bold Display of Solidarity – When it seems like company after company shows its ass online, how nice is this from Ben & Jerry’s? I’m going to eat all the ice cream now.
Speaking at their annual franchisee meeting earlier this month in New Orleans, Cohen and Greenfield—who sold Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever Corp. in 2000 but who reportedly remain heavily involved in operations—have publicly declared themselves allies of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Specifically raising awareness about the movement’s “Hands up, don’t shoot” iteration, Cohen urged franchise owners to sell T-shirts benefiting the work of Hands Up United, a grassroots organization founded by St. Louis hip-hop artist and activist Tef Poe and activist Taureen “Tory” Russell.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh, we can’t do that,’” Cohen said to franchise owners. “‘We can’t sell those T-shirts in our shops; it’s controversial.’ But isn’t that exactly the point? If it weren’t controversial, we wouldn’t need to do it. At some point we have to ask ourselves: ‘What do we stand for? Whose side are you on?’”
- All The Feelings It Is Possible To Feel, Indexed – This is a post on The Toast, but it just as easily could be from McSweeney’s.
Horror at suddenly remembering something stupid you said a decade ago
Hungry because you’ve been eating nonstop all day and you’ve finally gone from painfully full to just regular full and that’s what feels like hunger now
Seasonal fear of death (autumn)
A picture of a happy dog