“Science-Fiction Fandom in United Berlin” by Sonja Fritzsche | World Literature Today – On November 9, 1989, the night the wall fell, several Andymon members crossed over the border into West Berlin to celebrate. Lost on a side of Berlin they had never seen, they decided to contact one of the West Berlin fans from their earlier visit. Luckily, they found her, and this second meeting, now on the other side of the border, helped to cement a future collaboration between both Berlin fan clubs.
Rachel Dolezal and the Trouble with White Womanhood – racismreview.com – “The commodification of Otherness has been so successful because it is offered as a new delight, more intense, more satisfying than normal ways of doing and feeling. Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture.”
Pacific Rim and Lessons in Positive Masculinity – Paging Dr. NerdLove – But when you look even a little deeper, it’s almost gleefully subversive of action movie tropes. It’s the woman of color who gets the full Campbellian journey rather than Johnny Action Hero and the hot-shot maverick pilot who doesn’t play by the rules… doesn’t exist, actually. In fact, Pacific Rim is one of the best examples of what non-toxic masculinity looks like.
The Westminster child abuse ‘coverup’: how much did MPs know? | Politics | The Guardian – Another day, another set of shocking headlines about allegations of historical child abuse and high-level coverups, this time a dossier being handed over by the Metropolitan police themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to examine 14 allegations of Scotland Yard’s own complicity in the alleged coverup of a high-level paedophile ring.
On the “dispute” between radical feminism and trans people – In a world where left-wing politics has often derided LGBT identities as “bourgeois” and then accused us of splitting the movement, it infuriates me that I’ve had to take a break from writing a piece on the Tories’ “liberation” of the NHS to write 8,500 words to debunk a sexological concept that was shown to be untenable before the start of the First World War.
Minister-President over discriminatie: oplossing ligt bij slachtoffers – "Eén van de dingen die ik [van leerlingen] leer, is hoe ingrijpend discriminatie is. Dat het in Nederland nog veel voorkomt en het echt uitmaakt of je Mohammed of Jan heet als je solliciteert. Ik heb daar over nagedacht en ben tot de conclusie gekomen dat ik dit niet kan oplossen. De paradox is dat de oplossing bij Mohammed ligt. Ik kan tegen Nederland zeggen: ‘discrimineer aub niet, beoordeel iemand op karakter en kennis.’ Maar als het wel gebeurt, heeft Mohammed de keus: afhaken wegens belediging of doorgaan. Nieuwkomers hebben zich altijd moeten aanpassen, en altijd te maken gehad met vooroordelen en discriminatie. Je moet je invechten."
Who wants to be a millionaire? Peter Oborne on Tony Blair – But Tony Blair has made a fortune. A J P Taylor, in his masterpiece English History 1914-45, noted that Lloyd George was the first prime minister since Walpole to leave office considerably richer than when he entered it. Blair falls into the tradition of Walpole and Lloyd George (though his exploitation of the office of prime minister came after he left Downing Street).
Malaysian SFF writers and projects: a directory | Zen Cho – I’ve been conscious for a while that I’m no longer able to keep up the list of Malaysian SFF writers in English that I put up awhile ago — because I’m busy, but also because there are more of us than ever! I think it is helpful to have a directory for interested readers and people who want to connect with other local writers, but it needs to be updated regularly if it’s to be of use.
Miwa Hirono: my Home Office hell | Opinion | Times Higher Education – Because of this policy, I am now forced to quit my permanent position at the University of Nottingham after six and a half years of dedication and contribution to the university and to the wider policy and scholarly communities. My family and I will be removed from this country as of next Sunday.
Like the Ancient Romans « LRB blog – The trend may be as old as professional football, but it has recently increased ad absurdum, so that very few successful clubs can claim their success has anything to do with the character or qualities of the localities whose names they take. It’s all down to the international capitalists who own them, or dominate them with lucrative TV contracts. (The rot really set it, as with so many rots, with Rupert Murdoch.) Most Premier League players now are highly talented and obscenely paid foreigners.
Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon: Asimov’s Science Fiction – February 2015 – Reading this piece, I was struck by the sense – which I think has also been articulated by Gardner Dozois – that we're starting to see the emergence of what you might call the "New Default Future". Bear's world is one of vanishing privacy, information for all, continued social inequality, climate change as a given, radical lifestyle changes effected by new biotechnology. You can tweak the parameters a bit, but it does seem as if writers are once again beginning to converge on a shared sense of the future. No, it doesn't necessarily involve space colonies or rolling roads or flying cars, but it's no less valid, no less fascinating.
Frankie Boyle – Offence and Free Speech – So now a lot of challenging stuff just doesn't get made. Good stuff that does get made is weaker because it has to contain the seeds of its own defence. Because when the baleful burning eye of journalism turns upon you, you want to be able to say that it was all completely defensible. Nobody wants to be stood on the doorstep in their dressing gown saying "Well, actually it was supposed to be thorny and ambiguous and disturbing. I know it didn't please people, but actually I was trying not to please them." to a bored reporter from the Daily Mail who in their head is already translating your play about right to die legislation into a call for disabled death camps.
Why I have resigned from the Telegraph | openDemocracy – This brings me to a second and even more important point that bears not just on the fate of one newspaper but on public life as a whole. A free press is essential to a healthy democracy. There is a purpose to journalism, and it is not just to entertain. It is not to pander to political power, big corporations and rich men. Newspapers have what amounts in the end to a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth.
Feminist Frequency • One Week of Harassment on Twitter – Ever since I began my Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, two and a half years ago, I’ve been harassed on a daily basis by irate gamers angry at my critiques of sexism in video games. It can sometimes be difficult to effectively communicate just how bad this sustained intimidation campaign really is. So I’ve taken the liberty of collecting a week’s worth of hateful messages sent to me on Twitter. The following tweets were directed at my @femfreq account between 1/20/15 and 1/26/15.
We Need Diverse Books Authors Take on Publishing, Reader Prejudice – Flavorwire – A few weeks later We Need Diverse Books, the social media movement that has grown into a well-regarded nonprofit in a matter of months, was born. The founders had already started planning their campaign when, not for the last time, an incident of industry racism gave them momentum. In April, BookCon — a subsidiary of New York-based publishing mega-conference BookExpo — announced a panel of superstar children’s authors that consisted of all white men, while the overall conference lineup was all white people, aside from Grumpy Cat.
Conventional Wisdom by Arthur Drooker – Cool Hunting – This time, people are the focus of his lens for "Conventional Wisdom." Drooker plans on attending conventions across the United States to capture the inner-workings of dedicated, passionate and sometimes surprising, communities, all in service to his next proposed book. We're excited to share exclusive sneak peeks from his explorations, as the "Conventional Wisdom" trek unfolds.
Borderlands Books : Used&New Science Fiction, Fantasy&Horror – In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it's possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.
Locus Online – posts from Locus Magazine » 2014 Locus Recommended Reading List – This Recommended Reading List, published in Locus Magazine’s February 2015 issue, is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers — Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren Miller, Russell Letson, Graham Sleight, Adrienne Martini, Carolyn Cushman, Tim Pratt, Karen Burnham, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Paul Kincaid, and others — with inputs from outside reviewers, other professional critics, other lists, etc. Short fiction selections are based on material from Jonathan Strahan, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Lois Tilton, Ellen Datlow, Alisa Krasnostein, and Paula Guran with some assistance from Karen Burnham, Nisi Shawl, and Mark Kelly.
Seanan’s Tumblr | Do you get royalties on used books, or are they… – Let’s return to the used book ecosystem for a moment. When you buy a used book from my local Half-Price Books, no, I don’t get royalties. But the store pays its rent. People are employed. The lights stay on. People who need money can sell their books to the store to be sold to other people looking for a little joy. A used book is joy magnified. It is something paid forward into the world. A pirated book is a dead end.
Losing Weight and Building 6-Pack Abs – Scooby’s Home Workouts – It’s not that hard and its not that complicated. The changes you need to make to lose weight and reduce your bodyfat are much smaller than you fear and they are easier to live with than you could possibly imagine! A common sense approach involving exercise and nutrition is all that is required to get ripped, washboard abs. When most people think about losing weight, what comes to mind is words like “hunger”, “deprivation”, “diet”, and “agony”. No! Losing weight properly will not result in any of these, the key is in the above two words “common sense”.
Morning Star :: Fantastically profound – Joyce was intensely proud of his roots and once said: “I’ve taken a conscious decision to explore the lives of people who are still ignored by a majority of writers.” He enjoyed his success but expressed sadness at feeling “educated out” of the environment and culture into which he was born.
Qlipoth: Easier to imagine the end of the world… – One immediately notices how the revision accomplished by Jameson performs the same depoliticisation and idealisation of critical product that more deliberate misreadings and misrepresentations in the 80s and onward undertook in a more systematic way as a central part of the successful effort to eradicate Marxist practise and replace Marxism as a method of interpretation with the new post-structuralist flavours of liberalism/neo-liberalism.
Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers | VICE | United States – Police are violent in general, and violent specifically to women they think are sex workers. According to a 2012 study by the Young Women's Empowerment Project for young people who have sold sex, a third of all reported abuse came at the hands of the police. Sources told me officers had called women "sluts," groped them during arrests, even made jerking-off motions with their batons in court. In the Brooklyn HTIC, RedUP saw a black woman who claimed to have been beaten so savagely by police that she landed in the hospital.
Superhero showdown: Which comic book rumble was the real Battle of the Century? | Ars Technica – What should constitute the Battle of the Century? To these comics, it's two main things. First, the two combatants must both be at the top of their game. That's more in terms of popularity and relevance than pure ability (Lil' Abner versus Superman wouldn't be fair otherwise). The second requirement is as easy—the battle itself has to somehow be epic. While doing research, we didn't limit candidates to books using the word "battle"; we also included things like "fight," "bout," and "showdown." The extravagant claim simply had to appear on the cover.
On Rolling Stone, lessons from fact-checking, and the limits of journalism – It was as both a feminist and former fact-checker that I watched with rage on Friday as Rolling Stone distanced themselves from the account of a gang rape at UVA they published last month, covering for their own journalistic missteps by throwing Jackie, the rape survivor at the center of the piece, under the bus. And the rage is only growing as many of the journalists now rushing to condemn Rolling Stone are starting to spin a tale of how a “Believe the Victims” mentality got in the way of good journalism in this case. Feminism’s to blame, as always.
Emic, Etic, and the depiction of Otherness in SFF | Safe – SFF writers depict aliens and fairies in loving detail, giving them whole histories and complex societies and yet casually dismiss the Others in their midst with stereotypes, tired tropes that do not stand up to even casual scrutiny. This recursive, ouroboros-type, self-perpetuating mythology makes it obvious that the writer has been watching TV as research.
Top Ten Tips for Being a Vigilante On a Budget – My friends and I got into a discussion on vigilantes this past weekend, or, more specifically, what it would be like to be Batman on a budget. It was fun throwing ridiculous ideas into the air but I started to really think about it.