A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘popular literature

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes how Ryerson University has launched an incubator for the local music scene.
  • Crooked Timber notes the high minimum wage in Australia.
  • Dangerous Minds shares a video of Keith Haring getting arrested from 1982.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a study of hot Neptunes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that a search of WISE data did not produce Planet Nine.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Beyoncé has produced merchandise calling for her own boycott, to the anger of her detractors.
  • Languages of the World wonders how anyone could argue that Yiddish comes from Turkey, never mind argue so badly.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen is pessimistic about Greece.
  • Neuroskeptic notes a new brain study tracing human thought.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at how Republicans are coming to accept Trump.
  • Towleroad notes that Timothy Conigrave’s Holding the Man is set to be adapted for the movies.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Chernobyl’s impact on the Soviet Union, considers which Russian federal subjects might be next for merger, and notes Russia’s acceptance of a Chinese railroad built with international gauge on its territory.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • blogTO notes the continued delays with Bombardier’s streetcar deliveries to the TTC, looks at the expansion of WiFi to Toronto stations, and has hope for independent bookstores.
  • The Crux notes a proposal to make the Moon a solar energy power centre for the Earth.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes Venus analog Gliese 832d and observes the mass of material in orbit of WD 1145+017.
  • The Dragon’s Tales studies the atmosphere of Pluto.
  • At The Fifteenth, Steve Roby reviews one book on Blondie’s Parallel Lines and another on an in-universe Alien book.
  • The LRB Blog mourns Prince and reflects on the Swedish take on Brexit.
  • The Map Room Blog maps immigrants in France.
  • Towleroad shares the new Roísin Murphy single “Mastermind.”
  • Window on Eurasia notes the transition of Russian to a polycentric language.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO shared photos of the 420 celebrations at Yonge-Dundas Square.
  • Crooked Timber wonders if financial institutions don’t prepare for their ends because they don’t believe they will end.
  • Maximos’ Blog shares a video sampler for the blogger’s new book.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers talk of reforming investment tribunals.
  • Torontoist reports on a lovely public art project downtown centered on stamps.
  • Towleroad reports on the stringent nature of sharia law in Indonesia’s province of Aceh.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes Gove’s ludicrous suggestion that the United Kingdom might enjoy the position of Albania vis-a-vis the European Union.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • blogTO notes that a strip of stores just north of Yonge and Eglinton will be demolished for, naturally, condos.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares her thoughts about the theatre.
  • Joe. My. God. shares new music from Tegan and Sara.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on an open letter sent out by economists to Iran talking about how the country can prosper.
  • The NYR Daily hosts an essay by George Soros proposing how the European Union can handle refugees.
  • Savage Minds considers the awkward position of anthropology, as an ignored subaltern of a discipline.
  • Window on Eurasia notes controversy over a Joseph Conrad statue in the Russian city of Vologda and notes Russian-Iranian discussion about a canal connecting the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf.

[WRITING] “For You”: ‘Nathan Burgoine on the erasure of bisexuality

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I’ve been meaning for some time to link to ‘Nathan Burgoine’s essay talking about how some fiction is astoundingly bad at explicitly acknowledging bisexuality. Labels have meaning, and utility; choosing not to use them has consequences.

I’ve said before I find gay-for-you plots somewhat problematic. Coming at it from a few different angles, here, there are multiple factors that make me flinch. But the first one that I’ve seen a few times is the very dismissive “Gay-for-you is just a trope, like millionaires or big misunderstandings.”

Being queer is not on par with a career or a social misunderstanding. I get what is intended by what’s being said: that this is romance, and themes and plotlines recur in romance, and that this theme: the straight guy who falls for another guy, is a plotline, but saying that it’s a trope is insulting to those of us who’ve lived a queer life (and, often, suffered for doing so) when you’re equating it with the life of a fictional millionaire, or a guy and a gal who just need to stop for five minutes and talk to solve their problems. Unlike that fictional millionaire or a conversation, queerdom is an identity and a minority with a history of being stomped down on. How you portray a member of a living, breathing culture of people is important. And if you do it wrong—in ignorance or on purpose—it can’t surprise you to hear about it.

Like I said, I do understand what was intended by the sentiment: the goal of the gay-for-you story is to provide entertainment and deliver a romantic story for the enjoyment of the reader. And there’s an odd sense that a gay-for-you story can’t do that and still be harmful or painful to queer readers. It totally can. People have enjoyed and loved on things that are reductive or erasing or stigmatizing before, and they’ll do it again. Look at Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

So, no. We queerfolk? Not just a trope.

There’s much, much more at the author’s blog.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO lists popular locations for Instagram photography in Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales updates readers on the war in Syria.
  • Language Hat notes the creation of a nursery school functioning in the Elfdalian dialect, in Sweden.
  • Language Log notes representations of stigmatized varieties of Scottish Gaelic in the recent fiction of Ken MacLeod.
  • The Map Room Blog links to an exquisite map of Mars.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes odd plans by the Republican Party.
  • Transit Toronto notes the TTC’s installation of Presto gates.
  • Window on Eurasia writes</a about a Ukrainian who wants the Ukrainian language to shift to Latin script, notes a Russian survey suggesting Russians are far more hostile to Islam in general than to the Muslims they know, and reports on the Russian Orthodox Church’s opposition to human rights.

[WRITING] Peter Watts on the problems with Young Adult fiction

Peter Watts, in his post “Dumb Adult”, takes issue with the category of Young Adult fiction as something that keeps teenagers from reading more complex books.

We didn’t have “Young Adult” when I was your age, much less this newfangled “New Adult” thing they coddle you with. We had to jump right from Peter the Sea Trout and Freddy and the Ignormus straight into Stand on Zanzibar and Solaris, no water wings or training wheels or anything.

Amazingly, I managed to read anyway. I discovered Asimov and Bradbury and Bester at eleven, read Zanzibar at twelve, Solaris at thirteen. I may have been smarter than most of my age class (I hope I was— if not, I sure got picked on a lot for no good reason), but I was by no means unique; I only discovered The Sheep Look Up when a classmate recommended it to me in the tenth grade. And judging by the wear and tear on the paperbacks in the school library, everyone was into Asimov and Bradbury back then. Delany too, judging by the way the covers kept falling off The Einstein Intersection. Back in those days we didn’t need no steenking Young Adult.

Now get off my lawn.

I’ll admit my attitude could be a bit more nuanced. After all, my wife has recently been marketed as a YA author, and her writing is gorgeous (although I would argue it’s also not YA). Friends and peers swim in young-adult waters. Well-intentioned advisers, ever mindful of the nichiness of my own market share, have suggested that I try writing YA because that’s where the money is, because that’s the one part of the fiction market that didn’t implode with the rest of the economy a few years back.

But I can’t help myself. It’s not that I don’t think we should encourage young adults to read (in fact, if we can’t get them to read more than the last generation, we’re pretty much fucked). It’s that I’m starting to think YA doesn’t do that.

I’m starting to think it may do the opposite.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm


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