Links: Wednesday, February 18th

February 18, 2015 Links 7

Beckett Quotes on Photos of Boston's Snow

Beckett Quotes on Photos of Boston’s Snow

Today’s Links:

  • On concern trolling & the policing of reading or why I’m not talking about that book with you – When it comes to problematic books, I’m all about pointing out the problems. But, a lot of the Fifty Shades commentary treats female readers as though they can’t tell reality from fantasy, and that gets tiresome.

    As a librarian, I wish people were more willing to trust readers. Readers can be discerning and appreciative of a book’s flaws and still enjoy the experience the book gave them. Readers are able to distinguish between reality and fantasy. In my long experience reading genre fiction (Sci-Fi, Mystery, Fantasy and Romance), readers are by and large able to recognize risky, dangerous and bad behavior for what it is, even when that behavior is performed by the protagonists. As long as there have been stories, we’ve had problematic ones. Personally I think it is preferable for people to explore dark topics & dangerous fantasies through fiction.

    I personally read and enjoy reading critical articles and posts that call out problematic aspects of books I’ve read. Reading critiques of story structure, writing style or content help me become a better reader but I am just not going to get on board for another round of “Bash this Book” by those who haven’t read it because too often it turns into “Bash its Readers.” So if you want to talk books with me right now, tell me about books you are reading and loving. Tell me why you love them, I would love to know. But trust me to make my own reading choices.

  • Don’t Do This Ever: “Giant piece of human garbage” edition – That said, E.L. James doesn’t do anyone any favors with how she responds to rape culture critiques of her book. Lord.

    E.L. James is the pinnacle of the Badly Behaving Author. Was the original tweet scolding in tone? Yes. Was her response warranted? Hell. No. When someone comes at you about your book, you know what you do? NOTHING BECAUSE THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. This shouldn’t be news to a “professional.”

    I don’t care if you like it. I don’t care if Anne Rice likes it. You just ignore and move on. I’m sorry that your piece of rape and abuse apologist, plagiarized trash isn’t as universally loved as you believe it should be. I really am. It must suck for an author who’s been spoiled by her faithful legion of fawning idiot sycophants to hear an outside opinion that doesn’t directly kiss your ass. I bet that’s really hard for you. But you’re the person who tried to write a love story and turned it into a horror story. You’re the “author” who can’t write well enough to make your “LOVE story” (as she has aggressively asserted in her bio) come across as romantic to millions of abuse and rape survivors. That’s your fault. Nobody is interrogating this text from the wrong perspective.

  • The War for the Soul of Geek Culture – A longform article about the tensions within geek culture that goes beyond GamerGate.

    The irony is that while externally, geeks are being accepted as a whole, internally, the story is much different. There’s an ugly core of nastiness coming from a very vocal minority, and as geek culture continues to expand, they only grow louder. And while the nastier moments of that ugly minority are starting to be recognized and picked up by mainstream media, it’s still largely our problem.

    Simply put, there is a war being waged right now for the soul of geek culture.

    And it’s a hell of a lot uglier than you realize.

  • Can Violence Be Virtuous? – This was an interesting interview with the author of a book about the motivating factors behind violence.

    What do police-involved shootings have in common with gang violence, rape, warfare, and even football? According to the anthropologist Alan Page Fiske of UCLA — best known for studying how people relate, socially — they are all examples of “virtuous violence,” violence that seems, to its perpetrators, to be morally defensible and even righteous.

    Fiske’s previous work has been popular within the business community and has been used to understand what motivates individuals at work and during negotiations. Now, in a new book, Fiske and his coauthor, Tage Shakti Rai, an anthropologist at Northwestern, try to understand what drives people to hurt others. The vast majority of those who commit violence around the world, they write, are using brutality to “make relationships right” — when soldiers kill to protect their comrades-in-arms, the authors contend, their motivations are similar to a drug kingpin who murders a rival in order to shield the dealers who work for him, a gang initiate who must commit a crime in order to be accepted into the group, or even a linebacker who blindsides a quarterback so his team can win a football game. All believe they are doing the “virtuous” thing within their own social world.

  • Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History – The US is governed by the silliest bunch of oppressive assholes you could find. It’s like a Mel Brooks movie.

    An Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History class, persuaded by the argument that it only teaches students “what is bad about America.” Other lawmakers are seeking a court ruling that would effectively prohibit the teaching of all AP courses in public schools.

    Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher (R) has introduced “emergency” legislation “prohibiting the expenditure of funds on the Advanced Placement United States History course.” Fisher is part of a group called the “Black Robe Regiment” which argues “the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularists.” The group attacks the “false wall of separation of church and state.” The Black Robe Regiment claims that a “growing tide of special interest groups indoctrinating our youth at the exclusion of the Christian perspective.”

    Fisher said the Advanced Placement history class fails to teach “American exceptionalism.” The bill passed the Oklahoma House Education committee on Monday on a vote of 11-4.

  • Erotica Written By An Alien Pretending Not To Be Horrified By The Human Body – These are great, but I’ve seen weirder.

    “Certain damp crevices were of great interest to them; other damp crevices were carefully avoided. There appeared to be little logic behind the distinction, but there it was all the same.”

    “Hands that had very recently been used to pet a cat were now inserted inside another human being’s vulnerabilities.”

    “Although both parties were close enough to one another to be heard using only a very quiet voice, they both insisted on speaking to one another quite loudly, preferring vague and meaningless vocalizations over specific words. Had they used words familiar to the both of them, things might not have become so confusing.”

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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7 Responses to “Links: Wednesday, February 18th”

  1. Meoskop

    I mean, I’ve said it elsewhere but a huge reason we don’t have reviews the last few weeks is I can’t read. My history with DV and SA is hardly secret – having 50 come at me from all sides is … It would be different if I felt like the community had any interest in catching us. The community wants this in the Romance umbrella and there it rests. I don’t even know who we are some days. T’hell with us.

    50 will pass and I will dip my feet back in the genre waters. I think. Maybe. Let it be soon, because the insistent conflation of erotic fantasy with romantic relationship is breaking me.

  2. cleo

    The Beckett quotes on the photos of Boston are really good. Some of the pictures, especially of the deep snow, are stunning – but it must be hard on everyone living through it.

  3. Meoskop

    @Ridley: I’ve been shocked this story isn’t bigger. The economic impact must be substantial and (for some) devastating.

  4. Ridley

    @Meoskop: Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve been sort of amazed that we’re expected to go on like normal with super narrow roads, massive traffic and a barely-running MBTA.

  5. Bona

    I just can’t believe that twitter story about E. L. James. Has she lost any connection with reality? If her book triggers hateful memories to victims of rape, the first thing she should show is empathy. Always.
    Even if it were fake empathy, the victims deserve that little bit of respect.
    Is she one of those people who cannot connect with other people’s feelings? If she can’t then it’s logical she has created what from the outside (I haven’t read the book) sounds like a fantasy of rape & abuse.
    What amazes me is that so many people enjoy it.
    I just hope this silly book & movie is forgotten soon. ASAP. I don’t remember such a worldwide buzz since Da Vinci’s Code, and in the end everybody forgot about that book.