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: Giving Thanks

Hosted by the night sky

octavio

'I begin with two words that all men have uttered since the dawn of humanity: thank you'

thank you
for the poems that elevate us beyond ourselves
thank you
for the new world that we have gone into
thank you 
for destroying the walls and borders of this world
thank you
for making us marvel beyond the ordinariness of our lives
thank you
for letting us see the stars above us
thank you
for making us understand that there are still things that we do not understand
and yet so transcending
beyond politics
beyond history
beyond time
that despite the oscillations the link has not been broken
man and God, man and man, man and his world. 
 - RIC S. BASTASA


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

Book Covers of the Day: New Cambridge Gorgeous

Apropos of nothing, I found these New Cambridge Shakespeare editions today and am still drooling over the covers. Pretty.

Open Thread: Happy Thanksukkah!

Hosted by a cornucopia...   

...and these dreidels :)
(Personally I think latkes would make an AMAZING addition to Thanksgiving dinner.  Just sayin'.)

Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Hanukkah!  If you celebrate both of these holidays, Happy Double Holiday!  If you don't celebrate either holiday, Happy Thursday!  According to a thing I read in a place (and am too lazy to look up and confirm), Hanukkah and Thanksgiving won't happen at the same time again for several thousand years, so enjoy it, guys!

I am currently at my parents' house, making challah bread (not because it's Hanukkah or even because we're Jewish - we're not - but just because my mother discovered I knew how to make it a few years back and has been demanding it for every holiday  meal ever since), watching the parade, and anticipating my dad's traditional burning of the turkey.  Other traditions include sobbing with my mother when Santa comes at the end of the parade, and drinking wine out by the firebowl after dinner.

What are your traditions?  For either holiday or both?  And if you don't celebrate either, what are your plans for the day?  (I hear there are some nice movies out...)
 ~ Kristycat

Feminism: GoldieBlox and the Three Feminism Follow-up Points

[Content Note: Misogyny]
[This is a re-post of a post previously posted at Shakesville.]

This morning I wrote a post about how female representation in STEM fields (which is extremely low and a popular topic for feminists and anti-feminists alike) isn't just a matter of entrance rates, but is also a matter of retention rates, and how I would like to see that highlighted more often in conversations on the topic. I tied in a reference to a commercial that had been sent to me that featured a line of toys I'd not previously heard of (in itself not a remarkable thing; I don't keep up on toy companies) called GoldieBlox. The commercial contained these lyrics (transcribed the best I can catch):

Book Description of the Day: I Failed Social History 101

[Content Note: Invisibling of same-sex couples who want to marry.]

Well, actually the book is called Has Marriage for Love Failed? but it has this utterly epic book description:

Today we like to think that marriage is a free choice based on love: that we freely choose whom to marry and that we do so, not so much for survival or social advantage, but for love. The invention of marriage for love inverted the old relationship between love and marriage. In the past, marriage was sacred, and love, if it existed at all, was a consequence of marriage; today, love is sacred and marriage is secondary. But now marriage appears to be becoming increasingly superfluous. For the past forty years or so, the number of weddings has been declining, the number of divorces exploding and the number of unmarried individuals and couples growing, while single-parent families are becoming more numerous. Love has triumphed over marriage but now it is destroying it from inside. So has the ideal of marriage for love failed, and has love finally been liberated from the shackles of marriage?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha!

So, I mean, first of all, I just totally love that apparently this author has basically never done ANY HISTORY AT ALL except in-depth studies of a fantastical conservative paradise -- possibly taking place in an alternate universe 1950's? Because I see you your conservative wet dream about how marriages totes worked and raise you the entire history of marriage. Or if that's too much research for you, just go read A Distant Mirror and the chapters on chivalric love and how the "ideal" love was between a knight and a married lady who wasn't his wife.

But beyond the haha-hilarity level of this, I find it frankly offensively hetero-normative to idly wonder if love has destroyed marriage in a time when there are numerous places on this planet where many LBGT people are still not allowed to marry the people they love, and where legal battles are being fought on a near-constant basis to allow them to marry their loved ones.

Love and marriage and whether these things are right for us, individually, is not an equal question to be mused on by all people. What is a thought-experiment for the privileged is the painful oppression of the marginalized. And I would suggest that before writing a book about marriage, it might be a good idea to step outside one's own privilege-bubble and understand what marriage meant in the past and what it means in the present for people less privileged than you.

Just a thought.

Hashtag of the Day: #PennyArcadeJobPostings

Hashtag here: #PennyArcadeJobPostings

This article by Christopher Buecheler pretty much sums up all my feels about it, and is musical to boot, so I recommends it. *nods*

Narnia: Ebenezer Scrooge Will Free You From Slavery If He Really Must (But You'd Better Say Thank You)

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery.]
Content Note: Slavery, Racism]

Narnia Recap: In which the crew land on an island inhabited by apparently disembodied voices. 

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 9: The Island of the Voices

When we last left our heroes [sic], Lucy had warned everyone that invisible people were planning to ambush them by the boats. The nature of the ambush is unclear; the voices have indicated that they will have weapons with them, but they haven't said what their goal is -- whether they want to kill or capture or just make sure Caspian doesn't run off with the silverware is still an open question.

Feminism: Absconding With One's Fetus

[Content Note: Misogyny, Reproductive Rights, Child Custody]

A U.S. court actually ruled that a woman who left California, while pregnant, to attend an Ivy League college, after having been exhorted by her ex-boyfriend to abort the pregnancy, absconded with her own fetus:

Mr. Miller accused her of fleeing to find a sympathetic court, and a New York judge agreed, castigating Ms. McKenna for virtually absconding with her fetus. This allowed a California court to subsequently grant custody of the baby, a boy, to Mr. Miller and also set off alarm bells among advocates for women’s rights. [...]

While Ms. McKenna “did not ‘abduct’ the child,” the court said, “her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.”

The Family Court in San Diego proceeded to grant primary custody to Mr. Miller. On Sept. 4, as Ms. McKenna described it, choking up, Mr. Miller and his wife came to her apartment, “took the baby out of my arms, dropped it in a car seat and drove away.”

Ms. McKenna has seen him for a total of 10 days since the handover, said her lawyer, Naved Amed, and is scheduled to have him over Thanksgiving weekend.

I don't really know what to say to this, except that this doesn't occur in a vacuum divorced from the context of, to name two examples, pressure to keep birth control from women (including hormonal birth control on insurance plans and Plan B emergency birth control in hospitals and granting pharmacists the 'right' to not dispense birth control unless they really want to) and movement to restrict the abortion rights of women.

If you can deny women the ability to prevent and/or end pregnancies, and if you can rule that pregnant women aren't allowed to move because it's abduction of, ooops, appropriation of a man's fetus, then you can reduce fertile women (which are not all women, but are still a shitload of people) to a socially immobile worker class -- unable to move out of abusive relationships, unable to move to a better support network, unable to move to a better education or a different job. Corporate dystopia and religious dystopia meet, as always, over the control of women's bodies.

Hat-tip to @DrJaneChi and @lakarune.

Open Thread: Card Games

Hosted by card players in Ecuador
"I spent a year just practicing how to shuffle."

She tossed the line off so casually.  We were at a church youth group lock-in, she was about a year or so older than me, and she was cool - my definition of cool at least, which included "as much of a misfit among these other youth group kids as I am, but aloof and unruffled rather than awkward and shy."  We played card games all night, me and her and one of her guy friends, while the other girls gossiped and did each other's hair, and I wanted to be her.

So I too spent several years, not just learning how to do a perfect waterfall shuffle, but learning how to play and (more importantly) how to teach other people how to play a wide variety of card games.  For a good portion of high school and college, I always had a pack of cards on me somewhere.  Something about having a pack of cards to pull out pretty much guaranteed that you wouldn't be bored, and that you could find at least one person to hang out with.

Today, most of the games I play are much more dorky and complicated (and usually involve multi-sided dice), but there's still something purely enjoyable about a good card game.

Open thread!  Did you ever go through a stage where you wanted to play card games every day?  Are you still in that stage?  Do you like "serious" gambling-type games like poker and blackjack, more social games like Spades, or goofy stuff like Spoons?  Do you know any good games you can tell us about in the comments?
 ~ Kristycat

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!  

Feminism: Crowd-Sourcing Feminism Works!!

Ya'll, the first draft of the SB5 transcript (aka Filibuster Night) is done. You can read it in all its glory here.

It's going to the Professional Editor (may all the gods have mercy on her soul for having to listen to my grody Republican Senate members) so it's got a full round of corrections before it's ready for prime time, but in the meantime I'ma just going to print off a copy and roll around in it because I am that happy. Thank you, all of you, for helping make this happen.

(I'll put up more updates as we finish the other transcripts and then as we start putting this in formats other than Google Docs.)

Open Thread: Holiday Foodies

Vera Kratochvil's Colorful Spices

This is a special Sunday Open Thread that might be offering a space for people to talk about any upcoming holiday plans they may have revolving around food and cooking and the enjoyment of eating, or it might be Ana sneakily trying to find good recipe ideas to snatch so that her visiting family will be impressed on Thanksgiving.

You'll never know.

Hunger Games: The Catching Fire Open Thread

Spoilers herein!

Not A Spoiler: Husband and I saw this last night and loved it.

Open Thread: Welcome

Hosted by a path through the woods

Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come. 

- Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi


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

Hunger Games: Open Thread

Here is an open thread for talking about goats, dandelions, schooling methods, and anything else that strikes your fancy, since we've been trying to keep the main posts sorta on-topic with heavy stuff like feminism and mental illness and whatnot. Enjoy!

Feminism: Pink Things and STEM Retention Rates

[Content Note: Misogyny]

So two things were brought to my attention this week and I want to talk about the intersection between them.

First was this line of Katniss-inspired (quite a lot of the marketing reporting explicitly called out The Hunger Games, though I realize that Bow Chicks have been a thing for a long time) Nerf toys from Hasbro which are inexplicably doused in pink. The bows, the marketing material, the tie-in video game, the girls USING the bow in the marketing material: all pink. VERY pink. (Hat-tip to Elliott Mason, thank you.)

Deals: Claymore on Kindle

Woot! After much begging and pleading with Amazon and Viz Media, the Claymore manga are finally on Kindle! Much, much thanks to all of you who wrote in with me. :)

Film Corner: I Am Getting Tired Of This

Hint: The "this" that I am tired of is not "superhero movies" or "sequels".



Answer: It's the whole 'white women clinging to white men like that's the be-all end-all of creative movie postering and not the same old shit we've seen in nearly every other movie poster since time began' thing that I am tired of.

Especially angry-making because I recently re-watched The Avengers after re-reading Chris' excellent post on (and this is my words here, not necessarily his) Joss Whedon cutting 'secondary characters' out of the movie as though that act is somehow gender-neutral (it's not) and as though 'primary characters' in superhero movies aren't overwhelmingly cis male (they are) and as though 'secondary characters' in superhero movies aren't overwhelmingly the only major* female presence in the movie (they are) and as though it's not sexism that causes this (it is) but rather somehow bad luck, like we assign superhero gender expression by rolling D&D die (we don't).

* I don't want to quibble over what constitutes "major", but the handful of other women in Thor and Iron Man don't count for me. Take that for what you will, or don't. 

Hunger Games: What In The Holy Hell Is This

[Content Note: Food Insecurity, Poverty, Fat Hatred]

This image of two special [sic] Subway sandwiches debuted to tie in to the upcoming Hunger Games movie, with a picture of Katniss and Peeta standing stoically in the background is giving me all the rageies.


Because it is really not appropriate to take a fictional property that is basically about the 1% of America forcing the rest of us even deeper into poverty and starvation than many of us already are, and using that message to sell expensive sandwiches.

And it is especially shitty for Subway to do that, given their incredibly hostile and eliminationist "diet" campaign against everyone who doesn't look like, well, like a starving tribute from District 12. And there is no way that anyone can convince me that the juxtaposition of these images and the context of that campaign isn't deliberate and that a subtext of this campaign isn't that if you eat at Subway, you'll finally be just as thin and pretty as Katniss and Peeta.

Who are explicitly thin because of a lifetime of food insecurity. Fuuuuuuuuck.

(Hat-tip Orrin from Shakesville.)

Open Thread: Chihuahua

Hosted by a chihuahua puppy

Man, I don't even know about the chihuahua.

On the one hand, it's a tiny yappy dog that somehow believes it's a big dangerous dog.  It makes a really annoying noise.  It's been so inbred that it's not safe for it to give birth unassisted.  It's goofy-looking.

...On the other hand, chihuahua puppies are ridiculously adorable (see: above), the ones that are sweet are REALLY sweet, and there's something in me that can't help grudgingly respecting anything that tiny that has that much chutzpah.

Open thread!  Chihuahuas: love 'em or hate 'em?  Funny chihuahua stories?  Cool chihuahua facts?  (I know at least a couple!)  Stories of other small dogs that somehow believe they're much bigger than they are?  Share!
~ 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!  

Feminism: SCOTUS Continues To Suck

[Content Note: Reproductive Rights]

SCOTUS has declined to block the ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals -- i.e., the ruling which allowed the abortion restrictions to stay in effect while the case is being considered. This doesn't (afaik) affect whether or not HB2 will be ruled unconstitutional, but it DOES mean that the law will go into effect while the judiciary continues to sort this shit out.


Which means that even if the law is declared unconstitutional (which, you know, it SHOULD BE), women and people with uteri can still be hurt in the meantime because fuck them amiright. So thanks for not doing your job, SCOTUS. *that face*

Awesome of the Day: Twilight and Harry Potter Cross-Over Perfection

[Content Note: Brief mention of mental illness and drug addiction.] 

Please, please, please check this out if you have the chance: Edward Cullen at Hogwarts. I laughed forever and ever and ever.

Hat-tip to our always-wonderful Ian

Hunger Games: Flashes of Insight

[Hunger Games Content Note: Food Insecurity, Classism, Murder, Poverty.
Extra Content Note: Parental Abuse of a Child, Drunkeness, Depression.]

Hunger Games Recap: In Chapter 4, Katniss rides on a train and continues to flashback Peeta (and the aftermath of his charity and her growth as a hunter) to us. 

The Hunger Games, Chapter 4

Let's keep this Hunger Games ball rolling while I am still excited about the movie, no? I've been re-re-re-listening to the audio books this week in preparation for the upcoming movie and every other line makes me all OH, MUST GO WRITE A POST ABOUT THIS. (Clearly I need to get the Twilight audio books because apparently I have more thoughts about the text when it's being streamed into my ears during the morning commute. That surprises me, as I'm usually a very visual person rather than an auditory person. Maybe it's just that I love Carolyn McCormick so much, and I picture all her lines being delivered to Jack McCoy as she patiently explains that being handsome* doesn't make him any less stupid.)

* Yes he is. Don't judge me. 

Quote of the Day: Symbols and Communication

Sometimes when I'm looking for post images, I find strange things. Here is one: an article complaining about emoticons. Which is not so much a strange position, as this is a strange way to argue that position:

And while it's easy for the emoticon-inclined to disregard the article as mere rant, her main point is sound: smileys distill communication into symbols, quick and dirty, which may make communication easier, but also more stupid.

Um.

Metapost: I Have A Thinky Idea

It's gonna be December soon and I always have a small injection of free time in that month. I could be really responsible and build-up a backlog of Twilight, Narnia, and Hunger Game posts (and truth be told, I probably will do this anyway because workaholic) against inevitable illness and other unproductive times, but I'd kinda like to do something extra and fun this year.

I was thinking I'd like to do a Let's Play and I was specifically thinking of Long Live The Queen, which is Nintendo Hard and can be played in fun short loops of hilarious death sequences. Prolly what I'd do is record a gaming session with some commentary and toss it up on YouTube and cross-link here for enjoyment and comments. If folks got really into the spirit of things, we could also give and take suggestions about what to try next.

The thing is, I don't know if that'd tickle anyone's fancy here. Which isn't a reason not to play the game, but might be a reason not to deal with the Let's Play overhead of filming and uploading and whatnot. So I figured I'd float the suggestion here and see what people think. So here is a voting poll to gauge interest and remember it's okay to vote no for whatever reason; I myself don't watch a lot of videos, as I prefer to read rather than listen. (I might play around with a transcript program I have and see if it can't be made to work with me on this.)

Would you watch this Let's Play?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Open Thread: Before The Frost

Hosted by a dahlia
"Frost To-Night"

Apple-green west and an orange bar, 
And the crystal eye of a lone, one star . . . 
And, "Child, take the shears and cut what you will, 
Frost to-night -- so clear and dead-still." 

Then, I sally forth, half sad, half proud, 
And I come to the velvet, imperial crowd, 
The wine-red, the gold, the crimson, the pied, -- 
The dahlias that reign by the garden-side. 

The dahlias I might not touch till to-night! 
A gleam of the shears in the fading light, 
And I gathered them all, -- the splendid throng, 
And in one great sheaf I bore them along. 

. . . . . 

In my garden of Life with its all-late flowers 
I heed a Voice in the shrinking hours: 
"Frost to-night -- so clear and dead-still" . . . 
Half sad, half proud, my arms I fill. 
- Edith Matilda Thomas

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! 

Hunger Games: The Catching Fire Anticipation Thread

A thread for talking about the upcoming movie, so that we can keep the current thread relatively spoiler-free. 

SPOILERS LURK HEREIN!

Metapost: Thank You

I was reading a progressive post on a progressive blog the other day, and thinking about linking to it (because good stuff), and then when I read the comments I realized that I might need to warn folks about the problematic comments if/when I ever link to that piece.

And then I realized that, at least so far as my own personal standards go, I would never, ever need to warn people not to read the comments here. In fact, I usually encourage it, because the comments are usually just-as-good, if not outright better, than anything I have to say. Indeed, one of the reasons I've enjoyed blogging as much as I have is because of all the wonderful, thought-provoking comments that come in.

So thank you for that, and for being so wonderfully awesome.

www.freestockphotos.biz

Hunger Games: The Arithmatic of Oppression

[Content Note: Hunger Games standard fare: Food Insecurity, Classism, Murder, Poverty]

Hunger Games Recap: In Chapter 3, Katniss is whisked off to the Capitol after volunteering to take her sister's place in the games. 

The Hunger Games, Chapter 3

I haven't been feeling well for a couple of months now, which accounts for the sparsity of my deconstruction posts. (And once again, I owe a world of gratitude to Kristy for her wonderful open threads that are a delight to read and participate in!) I keep thinking that I'll shake whatever-this-is, but it keeps clinging on. So I thought today: "What would be more fun than another Hunger Games post?" Hopefully we'll get, like, a billion comments (heh) and have a super-good conversation.

Book Description of the Day: Loki's Daughters

[Content Note: Patriarchy, Erotica/Romance tropes]

So, I get that dub-con (dubious-consent) erotica and patriarchal romance stuff exists. I realize that. I've also written in defense of these things, and talked about how things which seem problematic at first glance are sometimes less so. I'm also a stance defender of "if you like it, go with it" when it comes to literary tastes.

But I had to laugh when this book description ended up in my email as part of a Kindle Deal compilation subscription: 

For as long as Arienh can remember, her Celtic people have feared the deadly Viking raids. She knows their brutality first hand, having lost the men from her own family and village to their swords. When she encounters and wounds a Viking warrior one stormy night, she has every right to want him dead. Instead, she allows him shelter in her cottage. Although she fears him, his confidence and teasing manner give her pause. He acts as if she belongs to him. As if he knows her.

Ronan didn’t expect Arienh to recognize him. Why should she? They were both just children when his uncle forced him into a raid against her village. But Ronan risked his life to protect the young Arienh from his marauding kinsmen. Now that the time has come for Ronan and the other warriors to choose wives, he has returned to claim the beautiful girl who captured his heart so long ago.

But for men accustomed simply to taking what they want, wooing the courageous, headstrong Celtic women is easier said than done. And for Arienh, who always sacrificed her own happiness for the sake of her people, trusting—and loving—a Northman may be impossible. By turns poignant and humorous, Loki’s Daughters is a stirring tale of unlikely lovers, forged in dangerously opposite worlds yet bound together by sacrifice, strength, and undeniable passion.

Um.

While it is true that I have never been a Celtic Maiden in the Time Of Vikings, I am pretty sure that lots and lots of men have acted like they own random women since before recorded history. And while anyone is free to find that intriguing and sexy, I would just like to point out that Man Who Acts Like He Owns Me wouldn't stand out as unique as part of my daily routine. I'd be more like this:

www.nuklearpower.com

Narnia: First Mate Rhince & The QUILTBAG Sailors

[Content Note: Slavery, Racism]

Narnia Recap: In which the crew land on an island inhabited by apparently disembodied voices. 

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 9: The Island of the Voices

Alright. Dufflepuds chapter. I think some loin-girding is called for here. Let me go get my girders. Speaking of loin-girding, what would lion-girding look like? Is that a thing we need to do to protect us from Aslan? Can you lion-gird your loins? I don't know.

All I know is that this chapter is so terrible and sad and tragic. Territragic.

   AND NOW THE WINDS WHICH HAD SO long been from the northwest began to blow from the west itself and every morning when the sun rose out of the sea the curved prow of the Dawn Treader stood up right across the middle of the sun. Some thought that the sun looked larger than it looked from Narnia, but others disagreed.

Narnia: Song of the Hertasi Water Killers

So I'm sitting on the couch resting after a painful day at work and listening to Mercedes Lackey filk while playing Atelier Meruru (LIKE YOU DO) and Song of the Hertasi Water Killers comes up and all of the sudden I'm welling up with tears BECAUSE DUFFLEPUDS, dammit.

And I know there are a lot of things that can be said about Mercedes Lackey's fiction and filk. But dammit if I can't much more easily stomach problems from someone who seems to be trying over problems from someone who thinks the things I think are worth trying for are super grody because having slaves is cool and all the popular kids do it, ya'll. (Seriously, fuck you, Lewis.)

(Lyrics courtesy of Heraldic Collegium.) 



We’re just the little lizard-folk
Who cook and clean and sew
Who fetch the wood and water
So that you don’t have to go

Who set the table, serve the meal
And slice the roast so nice
But never think that is all
That we slice

Never think a servant cannot
Stand up for their right
Never think that those who serve
Can’t also stand and fight

We may lack strength to swing a sword
Or use a mace or bow
But we can use a knife
As well as anyone you know

We cannot fight on battlefields
With humans and their Spinks
But meet us in the water
And we’ll see who sinks

Never think a servant cannot
Have his own free will
Never think that those who serve
Do not know how to kill

We serve our brother humans
We seek no wealth or fame
But our forebears ruled the world
Before the monkeys came

We strive to serve our humans,
Their comfort guarantee
But never that we are never
Fierce and free

Never think a servant cannot
Fight alongside you
Never think that those serve
Cannot be heroes, too

Never think a servant cannot
Stand up for their right
Never think that those who serve
Can’t also stand and fight

Hisssssssssss!

Open Thread: Coloring

Hosted by a pile of crayons
Coloring!  I love coloring.  Colored pencils, pastels, a HUUUGE collection of crayons... love it.

I also love coloring books, as long as they have at least a minimal level of sophistication.  I have coloring books of fairies, coloring books of goddesses, coloring books of unicorn tapestries, a coloring book of Book of Kells pages... I was actually pleasantly surprised at how many "grown-up" coloring books are out there!

Sometimes in working from home I find myself sitting at the computer for long stretches of time waiting for calls, etc. You can knock out some pretty detailed coloring book pages during that time, if you have the inclination :)

Open thread!  Do you like to color?  What's your favorite medium?  Do you prefer coloring books, or freestyle?  Have you ever done a coloring project you're particularly proud of?  (If you have small children in your house, do you sometimes get very possessive of your coloring supplies? :P)
 ~ Kristycat

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!  

Metapost: Index Update

The indexes are updated!!

Open Thread: Retired Magician

Hosted by a magician

My Father Is A Retired Magician

my father is a retired magician
which accounts for my irregular behavior
everythin comes outta magic hats
or bottles wit no bottoms & parakeets
are as easy to get as a couple a rabbits
or 3 fifty cent pieces/ 1958

my daddy retired from magic & took
up another trade cuz this friend of mine
from the 3rd grade asked to be made white 
on the spot

what cd any self-respectin colored american magician
do wit such a outlandish request/ cept
put all them razzamatazz hocus pocus zippity-do-dah
thingamajigs away cuz
colored chirren believin in magic
waz becomin politically dangerous for the race
& waznt nobody gonna be made white
on the spot just
from a clap of my daddy's hands

& the reason i'm so peculiar's 
cuz i been studyin up on my daddy's technique
& everythin i do is magic these days
& it's very colored
very now you see it/ now you
dont mess wit me
i come from a family of retired
sorcerers/ active houngans & pennyante fortune tellers
wit 41 million spirits critturs & celestial bodies 
on our side
i'll listen to yr problems
help wit yr career yr lover yr wanderin spouse
make yr grandma's stay in heaven more gratifyin
ease yr mother thru menopause & show yr son
how to clean his room

YES YES YES 3 wishes is all you get
scarlet ribbons for yr hair
benwa balls via hong kong
a miniature of machu picchu

all things are possible
but aint no colored magician in her right mind
gonna make you white
i mean
this is blk magic
you lookin at
& i'm fixin you up good/ fixin you up good n colored
& you gonna be colored all yr life
& you gonna love it/ bein colored/ all yr life/ colored & love it
love it/ bein colored/
Spell #7 from Upnorth-Outwest Geechee Jibara Quik Magic Trance Manual for Technologically Stressed Third World People 

Metapost: Typos

Lovelies, I've mentioned this a few times in comments, but I realize not everyone has time to exhaustively read every comment I post on the board. So here is a metapost. :)

This is a safe space maintained by and for people with disabilities. That includes people with visual disabilities and people with information-processing disabilities and people with physical disabilities. And that necessarily includes people who can't see well because of poor eyesight, who can't read well because of dyslexia or other information-processing disabilities, and people who can't type well because of arthritis or cerebral palsy or eleventy-other typing related disabilities.

As such: Typos will happen here. 

I want to ask that commenters in this space be aware of the disabilities of the contributors and the members of the community by not bringing up typos unless there's genuine confusion about what was meant or if the typo has genuinely sparked a train of analytical thought* which is on-topic for the thread. I trust everyone to use discretion and to recognize the difference between "I don't fully understand that; did you mean thus" and "lololol ur typo". And I trust everyone to not bring up typos unless there's genuinely a good reason to -- not all typos need to be remarked upon.

I ask this because, while funny typos can be funny, I don't want to create an environment where people with visual, information-processing, and typing disabilities feel unsafe contributing to the conversation out of fear of mockery, however good-natured it may be intended.



* My measuring stick for this being essentially along the lines of: "OK, I know that was just a typo in the OP, but that makes me think... [analysis about invisibility of same-sax relationships in Twilight]". In other words, a thoughtful acknowledgement that Typos Are Not Bad and actual content to a comment which ties into the on-topic problems in the work of fiction being deconstructed.

Feminism: The Same Glossy Brush

[Content Note: Racism, References to WWII, Commodification of women's bodies]

This is not a post about Merida from Brave. I already have a post up about that here. I also strongly recommend this post by Melissa on why it's problematic to trade on Scottish stereotypes even when it's for a 'good cause' like a genuinely strong female character, and additionally this post from Froborr about why denigrating men into silly-sillies is also not helpful. There is room for a lot of conflicted feels on Brave, is what I am saying, and this post isn't about that. (But there's an Open Thread here!)

What I initially wanted this post to be about was the Disney re-design of Merida, which I have been frothingly-angrish about since it occurred, but haven't been able to compose a post beyond putting up the before-and-after and saying LOOK! LOOK AT THIS! HOLY FUCK WHAT NO. over and over again. For example:

@ www.womenyoushouldknow.net

LOOK! LOOK AT THIS! HOLY FUCK WHAT NO.

Open Thread: Water

Hosted by water falling over rocks
But what is water? It's a difficult question, because water is impossible to describe. One might ask the same about birds. What are birds? We just don't know.
- Look Around You

So... we have no water in our house.

I mean, ok, we have water.  We have a Brita filter in the fridge full of water.  We have two gallon-jugs in each bathroom that my husband picked up for the washing of hands, etc.  I've got a bottle of Dasani in the diaper bag, left over from PrideFest.  But, uh... the sort of water that comes out when you turn on a faucet, or that refills the toilet after you flush it - nope.

On the other hand, I'm told the grass on the side of the house where we have an exposed water pipe got a surplus today.  So there's that.

If the universe is the kind and loving place that I hope it is, then by the time this posts tomorrow this situation will have been resolved.  But in the meantime:

Open thread!  Water is actually my favorite of the four elements; what's yours?  Here in Florida, I've had to deal with both severe floods and severe droughts - have you experienced these, and do you have any cool stories about it?  Water is my daughter's favorite toy - do you like to play in water?  I've been trying to kick my Diet Coke habit and drink more water instead - do you like to drink plain water, or do you prefer juices, sodas, flavored waters, tea, etc.?  That picture up there reminds me of Rock Springs, one of my favorite parks.  Do you have any parks near you with cool springs or rivers or things for people to swim or float in?
 ~ 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!  

Narnia: Ode to the Dufflepuds

[Content Note: Slavery, Racism]

Narnia Recap: In which the crew land on an island inhabited by apparently disembodied voices. 

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 9: The Island of the Voices

Before we get to today's chapter, I need for us to scope out a bit and look at the layout of this book. To that end, here are some chapter headers:

1. The Picture in the Bedroom.
2. On Board the Dawn Treader
3. The Lone Islands
4. What Caspian Did There
5. The Storm and What Came Of It
6. The Adventures of Eustace
7. How the Adventure Ended
8. Two Narrow Escapes
9. The Island of the Voices
10. The Magician's Book
11. The Dufflepuds Made Happy
12. The Dark Island
13. The Three Sleepers
14. The Beginning of the End of the World
15. The Wonders of the Last Sea
16. The Very End of the World

All the chapters flow into one another, of course, but Chapters 3-4 are narratively connected as the story of Caspian and the Slavers, Chapter 5-7 cover Eustace's transformation and recovery, and Chapters 13-14 and Chapters 15-16 cover the final island (and Caspian's whirlwind romance) and the subsequent end of the world (and completion of Reepicheep's and the Pevensies' journeys). Chapters 9-11, which we're about to look at today, cover a startlingly long episode on the isle of the Dufflepuds.

I've done a word count analysis on the book (and this is one of the many reasons why I love ebooks), and the entire novel is roughly 52,820 words long. The Dufflepud interlude is 9,805 words long, or almost 20% of the novel. In contrast, the episode with Eustace (which is the one thing everyone remembers about the book) is 9,403* words long -- or 402 words shorter than the Dufflepud epsiode.

* Chapters 5-7 are 10,386 words total, but the first half of Chapter 7 is about Lucy having new clothes and playing chess, and thus I did not start counting until Eustace starts writing in his diary about the storm.

I point out these numbers because I think it's important to understand that we're looking at 20% of the novel and that clearly this episode was important to C.S. Lewis for reasons of his own. There's really no doubt in my mind that Eustace's transformation and allegorical conversion were important to him, and I am not prepared to assume that an episode which is longer than that episode wasn't also very important to him. Other people are free to interpret differently, of course, but this is my ground assumption going in, based (in part) on the numbers above.

And, to that end, I want to take a week to establish the scene a little first.

Open Thread: Motorcycle

Hosted by a motorcycle
The other night, I got to ride my friend's motorcycle.  Not ride on, not ride behind him or something - actually ride it, just me, by myself.

Now, the reasons for this were perhaps not the happiest, and the circumstances could have been better.  That  being said, it's still a ridiculously sweet bike, and getting to take it for a spin was pretty awesome.  (Sadly, Biketoberfest - yes, this is a real thing in Florida - was over...)

Open thread!  Anyone here ride?  (I usually ride a scooter, not a regular motorcycle, which... it's pretty much the difference between driving a manual or an automatic.  But despite scooters lacking some cool points, for the purposes of this open thread, they totally count!)  If not, do you want to/would you?  Have you/would you ride on the back of someone else's bike?  If not, why not?  (Please trigger-warn if you're going to give gory examples.)  If you do ride, what's the coolest motorcycle/scooter-related experience you've had?

 ~ Kristycat

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!  

Film Corner: Ender's Game

[Content Note: Transphobia and Gender Binaries, Castration, Racism, Sexism, Spoilers for the Ender's Game movie.]


I wasn't planning to see Ender's Game in theaters because Orson Scott Card tastes like hate and Harrison Ford tastes like Unconcerned Straight Privilege, but a complicated series of events conspired to land my butt in the theater last night, hence the above tweet.

Now, I'm not going to do a full deconstruction of Ender's Game, because it would consist of me saying "Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy" approximately 800 times in a row, like Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy. Etc. Because, seriously, you should go read Will Wildman at Something Short and Snappy because his Ender's Game posts are pure awesome.

But I will, very briefly, touch on all the ways this movie gave me Angry Feels.

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. Each sesame seed matters.

Sesame Seeds by Paul Lloyd
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.]