Open Thread: Lies

Hosted by a face in hands


Determined to Tell Lies

Determined to tell lies
People are able only to tell the truth -
Said Rahman

I said - 
Leave aside truth and lies
People only speak

And what about people who don't speak - 
Asked Rahman - 
What do they say?

I said -
You know religion, Rahman,
I don't say a thing 
- Dilip Chitre

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately? Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore! 
     
And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else! 

 ~ Kristycat

Twilight: They Just Don't Care

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 17, we play baseball. 

Twilight, Chapter 17: The Game

OK! We're past all the billion sudden plot points (and mess of terrible) that got dumped on us when we arrived at Chapter 17, and now it's time for vampire baseball. Except I probably shouldn't have been hyping it up all this time, because literally nothing I could say about it would be amusing at this point. But let's dive in!

   He smiled wistfully and released all of me but one hand. He led me a few feet through the tall, wet ferns and draping moss, around a massive hemlock tree, and we were there, on the edge of an enormous open field in the lap of the Olympic peaks. It was twice the size of any baseball stadium.
   I could see the others all there; Esme, Emmett, and Rosalie, sitting on a bare outcropping of rock, were the closest to us, maybe a hundred yards away. Much farther out I could see Jasper and Alice, at least a quarter of a mile apart, appearing to throw something back and forth, but I never saw any ball. It looked like Carlisle was marking bases, but could they really be that far apart?

This chapter continues more of the same Bigger and Better themes of the book: vampire baseball isn't really about a tighter focus on nuance or skill, but is rather really more about super-sizing the existing game. The bases are farther apart. Every not-hit is a strike. Every hit is a home run. Every home run has the outfielders running to Canada and back (or wherever).

Metapost: Late

There is an excuse for why there is no Twilight post this morning, but it's a poor one: I haven't felt well all week because my back pain has flared up which causes me to take pain meds which screws up my sleep schedule which causes my back pain to flare up. Et cetera.

But I am sorry and I will try to have VAMPIRE BASEBALL up soon this afternoon or, barring that, tomorrow. (Spoiler: It's totally boring, and I've just been looking forward to it out of sheer determined bloody-mindedness to get past it. LOL.)

Narnia: Only One Right Answer

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: Suicide, Contempt of Consent, Disproportionate Punishment]

Narnia Recap: Our heroes meet a retired Star.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 14: The Beginning of the End of the World

We're gonna try to whip through Chapter 14 in one week, for a couple of reasons. One, the first half of the chapter is mostly world-building around Ramandu and Coriakin as stars, none of which is particularly noteworthy this far after the fact and in light of the fact that, you know, Coriakin keeps slaves. And Ramandu doesn't give very many shits apparently about his own ensorcelled prisoners. So wev.

Two, the main thrust of this chapter--Caspian's brow-beating of the Reluctant Sailors--has already been touched on in a previous post, so we can return to that and mop up some of the theologies that we didn't get to yet. So let's get started!

Open Thread: Midnight

Hosted by a midnight sky


A Clear Midnight

THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
lovest best.
Night, sleep, death and the stars. 

- Walt Whitman

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore! 
    

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else! 

Open Thread: Saxophone

Hosted by a saxophone player


Close your eyes for just a moment, and imagine the sound of a saxophone.  Something hot and jazzy, maybe, or slow and soulful.  Hear the notes floating in the air, tugging at your soul, quickening your blood.  Think of how a saxophone's sound seems to sidle up to your ear, like it's furtively inviting you to come and listen.  Take a moment, and just imagine listening to a saxophone play.

There.  Doesn't that feel better?

Open thread!  Talk about saxophones, or saxophone players, or saxophone music.  Do you play sax or know anyone who does?  Do you have a link to really good saxophone music to share?  Is there a night of music that stands out in your mind?  What's your favorite song to hear on the saxophone?
 ~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!  

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!  

Twilight: No Excuses Needed

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.
Extra Content Note: Discussions of rape, abuse, and kink.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 17, we play baseball. 

Twilight, Chapter 17: The Game

Chapter 17 remains the longest chapter ever written, and I despair of getting to the actual baseball. But we are going to eventually, I promise! But first we have to wade through a lot of abstinence porn (which is great if that's your thing but is probably not great if that's not your thing) and a lot of Edward being genuinely awful at Bella. So let's put on our Wellingtons and slog through.

First we have to get Bella into an "off-roading harness" because the jeep is going to drive partway to wherever they play baseball which, apparently, is not reachable by your human roads (and only partly reachable by your human off-roading vehicles).

   “What’s all this?” I asked when he opened the door.
   “It’s an off-roading harness.”
   “Uh-oh.”
   I tried to find the right places for all the buckles to fit, but it wasn’t going too quickly. He sighed again and reached over to help me. I was glad that the rain was too heavy to see Charlie clearly on the porch. That meant he couldn’t see how Edward’s hands lingered at my neck, brushed along my collarbones. I gave up trying to help him and focused on not hyperventilating.

Narnia: Knowledge and Belief

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: Hell, Death Penalty]

Narnia Recap: The ship travels to an island where they find enchanted sleepers.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 13: The Three Sleepers

So when we last left our heroes, they had established that:

1. Honor could best be had, not by taking the sleeping Lost Lords back to the ship and (hopefully) away from whatever is ensorcelling them, but rather instead by The Caspian Five sitting stubbornly at the table all night long to see what happens.

2. It is extra-special super-duper honorable for The Caspian Five to do this by their lonesome selvesies, because having extra soldiers around to guard the one guy who is keeping Narnia from slipping back into chaotic civil war is for wimps and losers.

3. The narrator is still (and always will be) a dirty no-good liar because he promised us, way back on the Slavery Island of Financial Privilege (aka Bern's Badass Base Camp) that end-book Caspian would stop pulling these stupid solo stunts because they're stupid and stuntastic.

   They took some time choosing their seats at the perilous table.

...okay.

Open Thread: "Wine, Women, and Song"

Hosted by wine...

...and women...

...and song.


“There are three things, and three things only, that can lift the pain of mortality and ease the ravages of life. These are wine, women and song.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

I had opportunity yesterday to think back on joyful nights of dancing and laughter, of flirting and fellowship and friends and of strong red wine.  And so that is the theme of this open thread: talk about nights of wine, women, and song.  Or wine, men, and song, or even just wine and song.  (I'll even accept just wine or just song, if you don't sing or drink!)  Spontaneous get-togethers or beloved traditions.  Nights where you're with friends and loved ones, magical nights where it feels for just this moment that everything is perfect, and for just a moment you believe it always will be.

Monday Reminder!  While I have fun coming up with pretty pictures and/or interesting “prompt” questions for open threads, you aren’t limited to those!  These threads are open - go wild, talk about whatever moves you!  (Just remember that this is still a safe space, please!)  

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else! 

Tropes: The Real Me

[Content Note: Entitled Behavior]

There isn't really a proper deconstruction today, and I'm sorry for that. I've been kind of swamped with the filibuster work (because I'm so close and really just want to finish) and also my cough is still lingering which means medicated cough syrup which means sleepy-head. But! I did have a thing I wanted to talk about, that maybe you all will want to talk about too! (Discuss! Or not, lol.)

Husband has got us watching House, M.D. which... yeah. Ya'll can probably imagine how much I yell at the screen because it's about a privileged asshole who feels like medical consent is for ninnies, but it's also one of those properties where there are enough laughs and I like the actors involved well enough that I keep watching. So that's nice, your mileage may vary, etc.

But! We watched an episode last night (Insensitive) where Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Dean of Medicine, Dr. House's boss, and generally awesome) goes on a first date with a nice guy she meets on a dating site. Dr. House, being that he's an asshole, keeps interrupting her date and she sees through his bullshit and tells him to leave her alone because she's enjoying herself and he can live with it, so there. And it's really a great scene, and I'm fist-pumping along because yeeeaaah! You tell him, lady. Etc.

But then her date gets all pissy with her about being passionate about her job before revealing that his real issue is that she's passionate about telling off House. He's upset that she's more reserved around him, a guy she doesn't know from Adam, than she is around House, a man she's worked with for years and has a complex friendship with:

I don't know whether it's House, your job, or you just thrive on conflict, but you should hear yourself when you're talking to him. Nothing else in the world's going on. You're focused, confident, compelling. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd like to go out with that woman.

And now I'm groaning at the TV because I have heard this speech eleventy billion times before from men about wanting--no, demanding--to see "The Real [Me]", as though I'm being fundamentally dishonest or hiding my true feelings if I don't disclose every detail of my life on our first meeting.

It takes a truly, truly, astonishing level of privilege to assume that everyone walking around today could safely disclose everything about themselves to a stranger for the sake of instant honesty and intimacy. Every thought I think, every feeling I feel, every painful past memory, every aspect of who I am laid bare for others to poke and prod and consume for their own pleasure.

And it takes even more privilege to insist that people not only should walk around with their open selves on their sleeve at all times (any failure to do so is dishonest! a moral failing! a sign of immaturity! or of hidden feelings they can't deal with yet but totally should! please let me diagnose you as an amateur psychologist!), but that they should also be expected to disclose-on-demand anything else that might be demanded of them by a random privileged stranger.

The "real me"--like the real a-lot-of-us--is more complex than one mood in one interaction with one person. For most of us, it takes years of interaction, under a variety of settings and situations in order to intimately understand what makes us tick. The demand that all of us, particularly those of us whose viewpoints aren't constantly privileged in mainstream media (and, indeed, whose viewpoints are constantly flattened and minimized and two-dimensionalized in the same mainstream media), provide a window into the soul on demand is dehumanizing garbage.

Expecting a woman to have the same relationship with you on the first meeting as she does with a man she's been friends with for the better part of a decade--and then holding it against her when she doesn't--is unreasonable, entitled, patriarchal nastiness.

Friends: An Annotated Index of Ross Geller (119-124)

[Content Note: Misogyny, Patriarchal Relationships, Disability]

So did you enjoy the very slight Ross-reprieve on the last disc (which didn't even last the entire disc)? I hope so because now it's back to really-horrible-Ross-ville, population: YOU. And also probably lots of eyerolls and maybe some judicious rage, lol.

(Also, I'm sorry this one is coming after such a long delay--I've been sick this week, ugh.)

Metapost: Transcript Update

Not too many more of these left to go! We are rolling-rolling-rolling (keep those doggies rolling...)!


Record
Splice
Transcribe
Proof (Vol.)
Proof (Prof.)
ePubify
ePublish
SB5 Video
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
HB2 Video
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
working
not started
SB1 Video
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
not started
Citizen (1)
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
not started
Citizen (2)
complete
Complete
complete
complete
working
not started
not started

Couple of things to add:

1. If you are already a Volunteer, please-please-please check your email for an important update I just sent out and please let me know if you did not get it. I want everyone to be able to weigh in on some stuff-and-things.

2. If you are not already a Volunteer, but would like to help me by checking that the links in an epub/mobi/pdf file (they're identical, so you can pick whichever to examine) actually go to where they are supposed to go, that would be super-helpful because links take time to check and I'm trying to get this finished. Drop me an email if you wanna help with this, and all my thanks in advance.

Fundraising: Monthly Donation Reminder and Thank You

For those of you who have requested it, here is the monthly reminder to donate to Ramblings and/or make sure to renew donation subscriptions that have lapsed. This is also my monthly heart-felt thank you to all of you who do donate now or in the past; I cannot strongly enough express my appreciation for those who have the ability to contribute and make the choice to donate to support this space.

The donation options on the blog donation page include one-time donations and monthly subscription options. (Subscriptions can be canceled through Paypal at any time.) I want to reiterate that I don't want anyone to donate if that donation would create financial hardship for them! But if you can afford to donate, every little bit helps. Every grain of yeast matters.

Sliced Bread by Can Atacan

This space is a strictly-moderated safe space for feminist activism, which takes a tremendous amount of time and resources, and is additionally incompatible with a number of online funding options, including content-generated advertising. Rather than seek corporate sponsorship or mandatory subscription models, both of which I feel are incompatible with my intersectional activism, I have chosen to embrace a donation/patronage crowd-funding model in order to cover blog operation costs. (And if this sounds a lot like the fundraising posts you see at Shakesville, that's partly osmosis and partly because I am deliberately trying to follow Melissa McEwan's model of valuing feminist work, and I've borrowed heavily with Liss' permission.)

I cannot afford to run this site full-time for free, but even if I could, I believe that fundraising for my work is a feminist act. I ask to be paid for my work because feminist advocacy has value and should not be undervalued or unpaid as "women's work" or a "pink collar" profession. If I do not ask to be paid for my work, then I fear I am feeding into a cultural narrative which says that society is entitled to a woman's work for free. I don't want to support that framing.

I also want to use this space to say thank you to everyone who contributes to this space: to those who donate, whether one-off or as part of a subscription, and to everyone else who contributes here with monetary and/or non-monetary support. I read and treasure every affirmation on this blog, especially those comments which note when a post has meaningfully affected them or afforded them particular pleasure. I appreciate every time a commenter checks hir privilege at the door, and encourages others to do the same. And I hold the deepest love and appreciation for our moderating team and contributing writers, all of whom I consider dear friends and colleagues in activism.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributes to this board, and I do not take a single comment nor the smallest donation for granted. I could not continue my work without your collective support, and this community is literally built on your active participation in this space. Thank you.

[Please note: I am not seeking suggestions on how to raise revenue in this space. And I want to repeat that I do not want anyone to feel obligated to donate if money is tight. There are numerous other non-monetary ways to contribute to this blog, should you feel moved to support this space. Thank you.]

Narnia: Justice, Mercy, and Humility

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: Magical Torture, Enchanted Sleep]

Narnia Recap: The ship travels to an island where they find enchanted sleepers.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 13: The Three Sleepers

I'm still sick, but I don't like going this long without a deconstruction up, so let's soldier on. When we last left our heroes, they were sailing into the empty sea of the empty world that is the empty Narnia 'verse, only now they were doing it under completely different constellations so obviously that's new. The new constellations have (maybe?) also made the crew introspective:

Most of them slept on deck and talked far into the night or hung over the ship’s side watching the luminous dance of the foam thrown up by their bows. On an evening of startling beauty, when the sunset behind them was so crimson and purple and widely spread that the very sky itself seemed to have grown larger, they came in sight of land on their starboard bow. 

I've been re-reading Fred Clark's older Left Behind and Tribulation Force blog posts lately, and it strikes me again how much I wish the sailors on this voyage had some kind of representative member (or three or four) among the main named cast. All we really have is Drinian (who is explicitly a Lord) and Rhince who might be a commoner, but who speaks very rarely and usually only so that Drinian will have someone other than himself to talk to. Rhince is therefore not so much a character as he is a parrot or a mirror for Drinian to interact with.

We don't even know if the majority of the sailors on this voyage are commoners--since the ship-building and sailing industries were invented literally from scratch in the past few years (an almost impossible feat in itself), it's entirely possible that noble families were jockeying to send their heirs off with the new King in the hopes that they'd come back bosom-buddies. Or maybe second sons were sent into sailing, like they used to be sent to the Church. Since the industry is brand-new, there's no reason to assume that Narnia holds classist attitudes about the job.

On the other hand, the job is dangerous and frequently unpleasant, so maybe these are the commoners of Telmarine society. And we already know that Reepicheep has a low opinion of sailors as opposed to the other, better kinds of humans out there (i.e., more Chivalric ones). And we know that in the upcoming island, the sailors will pull a (fake, discredited) Christopher Columbus and (briefly) refuse to go on, which the book seems to expect us to see as cowardly and low-born and something something classism.

And so we come to the burning question, never addressed in this book: Why are these sailors here? 

Open Thread: Writer Workshop

A couple of you have requested a special monthly open thread dedicated to talking about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). So here it is!

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Open thread writing workshop below!

Open Thread: Equinox

There wasn't a Friday open thread, but I wanted one for selfish reasons, so have a Saturday one.

Everyone has had a week and two days to ponder the Spring Equinox that just went by, plenty of time to come up with something to say about it, right?

What is an equinox?  Something to do with axial tilt.  I drew you a picture.


It is clear to me what words should accompany the bringing in of spring, but since it's a satirical song called, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," it stands a good chance of triggering people via melodious descriptions of harming animals.  Thus I'm only going to quote the happily ever before.  So here's the introduction and first verse:
Spoken:
I'd like to take you now on wings of song as it were,
and try and help you forget, perhaps, for a while,
your drab wretched lives.
Here is a song all about springtime in general,
and in particular about one of the many delightful pastimes
that the coming of spring affords us all. 

Sung:
Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
I do, don't you?  'Course you do.
But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me,
And makes every Sunday a treat for me.
-Tom Lehrer

For those who would like to hear the song in full, it can be found here, albeit with a different intro.

Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore! 
   

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else! 

Metapost: I'm Sick (Also Something Something Health Insurance)

[Content Note: Illness, Doctors]

I'm sick. I've been sick since Monday, only I didn't realize it until Wednesday when it got particularly bad. I'm disappointed because I always, always get sick once every Winter/Spring with something that takes ~10 days to clear up, and I'd really hoped that I'd missed it this year. Nope!

Today is Friday, and I feel like shit. That's expected when you're sick. But the last thing I wanted was to have a weekend emergency and spend another several thousand dollars at the Emergency Room, so I weighed my options and got in to see my doctor today.

She did not--and for this I am grateful--diagnose me with Fat. Apparently my coughing, drainage, and lung condition were enough to point to something more substantial in terms of a diagnosis. She looked at a lot of body parts, listened to a few more, and declared it "not bronchitis and not pneumonia" but probably instead an "upper respiratory virus" that should be treated symptomatically, i.e., she gave me a cough syrup (that is in reality a sleep-through-coughing syrup because it make you drowsy but doesn't stop the coughing) and told me to rest and take Mucinex. Fine.

They didn't take blood while I was there, or scrape my throat, or do a strep culture or anything else medicinal like that. It's very possible that there was no need to, based on my symptoms--that giving me a strep or flu test would have been as useful as giving me a kidney biopsy. That's fine, too. But what is interesting to me is how relieved I was that they didn't test for anything, because tests cost money.

My family has what is called down here "good insurance", even though it has steadily gotten terrible and I'm not sure how often we're allowed to re-evaluate whether it meets the parameters of "good" anymore. What it means in practice is that it costs me $100 just to talk to my doctor; anything on top of that causes the visit to go up in price. Sometimes astronomically.

I don't really know how many times you and I and everyone has to say how fucked up and broken this is before it gets fixed, but it is fucked up and broken. And it's hard not to keep that in mind when you're coughing up your lungs for ~10 days, and then spend the next ~10 days after that weak and disoriented and tired and frantic because you're trying to catch up on all the things you were 'supposed' to be doing while ill. And all the while you're wondering if maybe this was something that could have been treated if only you'd been able to afford the kind of care that lets the doctors investigate properly.

Our country's health care system makes people sicker and more miserable than they need to be.

Open Thread: Poppy

Hosted by a red poppy
"Poppies!  Poppies will make them sleep! Sleeeeep..."  *cackle of laughter*

Poppies!  Symbol of Veterans/Remembrance Day, source of opium, reminder of that weird creepy scene from The Wizard of Oz, or just a pretty, brightly-colored spring flower.  As Spring has officially Sprung, I thought it would be appropriate to have a pretty flower as an open thread!

Open Thread!  Talk about poppies and what associations they have for you, or talk about other flowers, or just talk!

 ~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!  

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!  

Metapost: Week Off + Twilight Piano

Folks, I have family coming down to stay with us--I still don't even know how many or when they are leaving, because of reasons but I think it will be a full week--so there won't be a Twilight or Narnia this week because I won't be here to moderate them and also because they aren't written yet. I'll try to resume regular posting next week, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

However! I will leave you with this EPIC VIDEO which I really suggest you watch (I'm not a big YouTuber, so you know I have to really like something to share it). TheOtherMelinda found it, and it's a piano song worthy of Edward's supernatural talents:


And you really wanna also read this after. RELEASE THE PENGUINS. I am crying with laughter, ya'll.

Friends: An Annotated Index of Ross Geller (113-118)

[Content Note: Misogyny, Patriarchal Relationships, Disability]

So the thing I love best about analyzing older pieces of Very Popular Media is that the sense of distance given by a series that has finished out and closed up often makes it a lot easier to analyze and discuss without distractions over where the series is or might go from here.

For example: When I criticize Ross for falling into, say, rape culture or stalker culture or bullying culture tropes, we don't have to worry about whether the writers are "getting better" or if they're "going somewhere" with all this in a clever double-secret-deconstruction-of-the-genre sense because we all already know where all this is going and that it just gets worse and worse. Which means we can talk about the problems inherent in the work without the distractions provided by a still-ongoing series.

I bring this up to note that for this particular DVD in the series, Ross is actually much better than the previous two DVDs (as well as many of the upcoming ones), mostly because his presence in the episodes has been dialed back quite a bit, rather than because the writers figured out he was being a creepy asshole all the time (as evidenced by the fact that he will go back to being a creepy asshole soon enough). I have an unconfirmed suspicion that this might be because we've hit the point where the writers decided to make the show about all the Friends and not just Ross and Rachel. But for whatever the reason, we've been granted a small reprieve!

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