What a shame, I often think, that she foresaw only the end times, never hot dogs.
"Vampires in the Lemon Grove", Karen Russell
All listen raptly to Chapter Five, where Ingrid compares herself to a young, white woman at the firm:
'I was jealous of her confidence and her utter unself-consciousness. What would it be like, I marveled, to go through life so utterly unwary? So wholly certain of your belonging to a place that it was never necessary to consider how your next move would be perceived? Making partner at Parsons Valentine felt like a big final exam to which a select few held the answer key. While the rest of us schmucks had to study.'
From Helen Wan’s first novel The Partner Track (via “Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling”)
Definitely putting The Partner Track on my list.
(What would that be like?)
Gravity is an old-fashioned woman-in-jeopardy film dressed up in stunning technology to distract us from the weak story. It strains to give thematic depth: Woman who is untethered from humanity and God because her daughter died eventually embraces life after a chat with a subconscious angelic messenger and is rewarded by her return to an Eden-like state of grace. Redemption story template #23. Nevertheless, Sandra Bullock deserves her nomination and the movie definitely should win in a few of the ten categories it’s been nominated for. Much less pretentious woman-in-jeopardy films include Aliens and Run Lola Run.
Kareem: The Oscars’ Addiction to Lame Historical Dramas, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for Esquire
"Redemption story template #23" Hee.
It’s less that I agree with him (I don’t as I haven’t seen Gravity yet) and more that unlike so many people who write about movies, he teases apart the acting from the story which can be and frequently are of differing quality. The excellence of one does not guarantee the other.
(I really enjoy how often Kareem’s writing is showing up lately; so good.)
Wanting to claim someone as part of your ethnic or racial group may seem like a strange exercise, more than a little self-involved and even downright narcissistic. But it is a compulsion born of a desire to see oneself reflected in media and popular culture. Like it or not, that’s what sets many of our expectations about what’s beautiful, what’s desirable, what’s “normal.” And not seeing yourself conveys a message that you are none of these things.
Let Me Introduce You To My Cousins, Lupita Nyong’o and Louis C.K. by Carolina Gonzalez for NPR’s Code Switch
How can I put this politely… fucking word.
People think they’re devil’s advocate-ing a conversation when they smirk “why’s it always gotta be about race with you?” Well, this is a big reason why. You think race isn’t a big deal because you aren’t marked. You don’t have 400m of hurdles to clear just to get to the starting line. Almost everyone in media looks like you, so it doesn’t occur to you that might be weird for some of us.
So, yes, I love the Cheerios commercial because holy geez that little girl is impossibly adorable, but also because eee! they look like my people and they’re not a punchline, they’re just an American family. That that is (still) remarkable is why it’s always gotta be about race.
Challenge update: so far, so good! No lapses.
January: 15 movies (!) and 3 books (all from the library; dork). My favorite book in January is Sanderson’s Steelheart: it’s a cool story and not nearly as bleak as its dystopian features might lead you to expect.
So far in February, I have borrowed and returned Stephenson’s Reamde because in a fit of lunacy, I added everything on the Tournament of Books’ list this year to my library queue and as you can see a few are already in: there’s no way I’m getting to Reamde anytime soon.
(Something about The Dinner's narrator, Paul, makes me twitch, but I'll keep going. For now.)
2014 Q1: challenges (resolutions?)
- I’m not to buy any physical books or movies.
- No repeat viewings of tv or movies. !
First: I’m not going digital-only, but after my end-of-year clean & purge, I’m deciding my physical purchases (especially books) need to be more deliberate. So.
Second: it’s such a habit for me to re-watch an episode, show, or movie during lunch or on weekends after a big run. And that’s fine, but there’s also a ton I haven’t watched that I want to watch and this seemed like a good way to force the issue without making a chore (the death knell of any challenge I set myself).
If you’d like to keep up: what I’ve been watching and reading (goodreads).
When you complain about casual predation to guys, they usually laugh. They tell you not to let it get to you, and suggest ignoring the comments if you can’t handle a compliment.
Casual Predation. To know a predator, you must know what it is to be prey. by Arikia Millikan
This is the response that gets under my skin the most. Your lack of experience with it doesn’t invalidate my actual experience.
Just on the heels of reading “Casual Predation”, I caught “The Power of Empathy, Animated" (part of a talk by Dr Brené Brown). I think these two documents go hand-in-hand.
(Both via swissmiss.)
An hour later… must be something in the water today.
How do we push ourselves not only to become more successful, but also more considerate? How do we acknowledge those who want to, but face challenges beyond our own understanding? How do we address hardship without fetishizing it? How do we make room within our loftiest ambitions for wrenchingly specific empathy?
Most People Will by Matt LeMay
We should pray that we learn his great gift of introspection, so that we never let the bitterness grow inside us, even when it seems nothing is changing.
Madiba, I let you go, by South African journalist Marelise van der Merwe, regarding Nelson Mandela. (via journo-geekery)
The whole piece is lovely, an unintentional treatise on grief and how to cope with it when there’s distance between you and the dying.
The Circle, Dave Eggers (F, 20s, no dust jacket, standing, red courds, striped backpack, Red Line)
Are you gonna judge this book by its cover, its author, or its publishers? Anyone know the cover designer’s name?
Yus! This is Jessica Hische’s work. (: Such a cool cover.
Learning to code is not like learning calculus, with some big fixed corpus of knowledge you need to absorb. It’s more like learning to be handy around the house. You start off knowing nothing, and then as needs come up you learn bits and pieces without a grand plan, weekend by weekend, with plenty of hammered thumbs and structurally unsound carpentry. Slowly but surely, those bits and pieces coalesce into something approaching expertise. You build up the confidence to be bold and take on problems you don’t yet have any idea how to solve.
JournoGeekery: Noah Veltman: On journalism and learning to code (again)
Sometimes, in spite of making my living as part of an engineering team, I forget this. No small wonder, then, that learning new things seems daunting and overwhelming and impossible. Baby steps; gotta remember that.
“In the past nine years, Indie and I have talked about him only twice. He moves silently through the rooms of our minds, banging against the furniture, knocking on the door, calling in the middle of the night like a phone ringing in a distant room.”
Jill Talbot on single motherhood and abandonment.
Woosh. Read it.
When did Penny Arcade go wrong? The answer depends on your choice of time frame. Change the scale, and the nature of the story changes, too. Hone in on the short term, and it’s a cautionary tale about homebrew public relations. Zoom out to the 40-year scale, though, and it starts to resemble the story of an entire generation of men.
Opinion: Outgrowing the Penny Arcade generation | Polygon (via journo-geekery)
Oooh, this is a good read.
Here’s my favorite line:
They could probably manage the empathetic leap needed in order to see outside their own context, but to do so would compromise their claim on the venue.
This tension reads as deeply adolescent behavior to me. It doesn’t surprise me when teenagers are caught here; what surprises me are people who have not, cannot, or, too often, will not grow out of it.
There is a point at which the inability to empathize should involve medical attention or signals the fact that you’re a chump. And y’know, if you’re a chump, fucking own it, but don’t get all pearl-graspy offended when I call you on your shit.
…he threw that smile like salt over the shoulder.
p. 139, Esch, Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward