- I’m still thinking (and worrying — there’s been a lot of worrying lately) about the results of the recent Local and European Elections and the rise of racist and xenophobic parties across Europe. I did find this post, which deconstructs the way some of these results were covered by the mainstream media, very useful; but being aware of dubious media narratives doesn’t do away with my worries.
- I came across Michael Rosen’s poem “Miliband, UKIP and the ‘I’m not racist but...’ people” via Twitter and wow, I love it. I’ve been browsing through his blog ever since and realising it’s full of treasures.
- This has been everywhere, but I’m still thinking about it, so it belongs here. Anne Ursu on ‘The John Green Effect,’ Contemporary Realism, and Form as a Political Act.
- This Vlogbrothers video on the idea of deserving success moved me. It’s the kind of thing I appreciate seeing someone with a gigantic megaphone say.
- Whenever I come across Sara Zarr’s words online I’m reminded that I really should be making time to binge-read all of her books. She’s so thoughtful and smart and nuanced. I like what she says here about “purity” becoming a major value and also about “outrage-fatigue”, which I’ve been experiencing a lot lately. I worry this will sound like an expression of discomfort with, or a blanket condemnation of, other people’s anger, but that’s really not how I mean it. There’s plenty in the world to be angry about, and goodness knows that finding spaces where you can express it without qualifiers is useful and valuable. But my own anger is almost always more exhausting than productive, and when I reach a point where it becomes my primary reaction to the world I often feel like I need to take a step back and disengage. Unfortunately that’s not always an option.
- I really liked Laurie Penny’s “Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism”, but seeing these responses on Twitter made me want to hide under my bed for a week (apparently I’m turning to my cat for inspiration on how to cope). Roxane Gay’s “In Relief of Silence and Burden” is also very much worth reading.
- And now for something I’m thinking about pretty much constantly — Gender and Reading and Gendered Reading:
It’s really up to the adults in the room to set the tone and fight against the pink and blue tide. Create a reading culture, make sure you are not perpetuating the stereotype by handing boys sports books and girls friendship books. Highlight books that get outside of the gender box. Remember, there are no such thing as boy books and girl books, no matter what some marketing departments might say.Yes.
- Related: The History of Gendered Children’s Books and Their Segregating Present:
The hypergendering of both children’s books and toys looks more like part of an ongoing backlash against feminism in which limiting stereotypes (both old and new inventions like the sparkly, tulle fairy princess) for both boys and girls serve to restore a neat, predictable gendered order. As families negotiate the difficulties of raising children with two parents at work and situations in which women might out-earn their male partners, a return to clear-cut gender divides is something that seems culturally reassuring and comfortable.
- Remember that Tori Amos and Neil Gaiman talk at the British Library I was unable to tell you about coherently? Turns out you can watch it online.
- Andi on Relevance in Blogging. I kind of needed to read something like this.
- Lastly, one of my song obsessions of the year.
That’s all for today. I do have plenty of posts I keep meaning to write, but lately it’s been hard to find both the time and the headspace (today’s post is courtesy a bout of anxiety induced insomnia). Hopefully I’ll be back soon with more words of uncertain quality.