If you look at this picture carefully, you can click on the picture to make it larger, you will see that Ruby is wearing, around her neck, a necklace. It was purchased at ComiCon here in Toronto, the event during which this picture was taken. The necklace is a pendant. The pendant is a silver skull and crossbones and their are 'rubies' encrusting the skull. It's cool. It's cute. It looked great with Ruby's shirt.
Some while later, Joe had gone to find a place to sit, his 61 year old feet were a bit tired. I stayed with Mike, Marissa and the girls. Ruby grew thirsty and asked for something to drink. Because we were in a crowded area, Joe took the bag from the back of my wheelchair so I'd have more space to turn around. In that bag was a bottle of water. I suggested that Ruby and I go, find Joe, so she could have a drink. That was settled.
We took about five minutes to find him, Ruby downed a huge drink and then wandered a little bit in the area right in front of us. Soon she was back and said, "Can someone take off my necklace?" Joe busied about taking the necklace off.
I asked her why she wanted to take her necklace off. She held the pendant up and said, "This will hit me in the face when I do cartwheels."
To hell with pretty.
To hell with sparkly.
To hell with rubies.
I said to Joe as she began doing cartwheels, in the empty space around us, 'This is my International Women's Day moment.' Even though Spiderman and Wonder Woman and The Hulk and R2D2 came through the area, some people stopped, to watch a little girl, just joyously doing cartwheels. No costume. No disguise. No sparkly necklace getting in the way. Just a little girl joyously doing cartwheels while a pretty necklace was stored in Joe's pocket awaiting a time it could be worn without getting in the way.
(Translation: "We're almost out of chocolate marshmallow squares." I do the baking/sweets-making around here, generally, but scruloose has let me arrange things so that the default is him making marshmallow squares (those rocky-road sorts of things, not crispy rice squares) and scones, because if I learn to make them we'll drown in the things. Somewhere along the line, I started claiming that the squares are proof of love.)
Oh, time change. :/ We have Pumpkin coming over in the morning, and I should've been in bed over half an hour ago, given that we're losing an hour tonight. Here's hoping I can approximate consciousness!
The point of the post: I've been thinking for a while that I'd like a pair of all-weather boots other than my combats, and when Ginny was here at Christmas I was admiring the fact that she has Fluevog boots that she wears outside in imperfect weather. (I can never shake the feeling that my 'vogs are not to be risked in less than ideal conditions. >.>)
And now the Pattis are hugely on sale, and I already have the Jonis from that family, so if the soles are consistent across the family (I know they're not always; apparently with the Minis you should always try on each style no matter how many other Minis you've worn), I can reasonably assume I'd find these boots comfortable. (The day I bought my Jonis, I walked around Toronto in them for about eight hours, straight out of the box, and my feet were fine--especially impressive since they have an admittedly-low heel, and I don't generally wear heels at all. The Jonis are by far my favorite of my Fluevogs, and they're the ones I almost didn't buy.)
Thing is, there's nowhere around here to try Fluevogs on, so I'd have to gamble on mail ordering them, and sale items can only be returned for store credit. And the key worry: I have the Jonis in a 6, and the Pattis aren't available in a 6, so I'd have to get a 6.5. And I know very little about shoe sizing, so I have no real sense of whether the fact that the Jonis are sandals and therefore worn on bare feet and the Pattis are boots and would be worn with socks would make up the difference.
Do any of you have input? I've looked at a couple of shoe sizing charts online, but they're not helping me get a mental idea of the difference. (I've also dropped Fluevog a note on Twitter to ask if the soles in that family are consistently sized.)
(There's also a decent spring discount deal if you buy both "From the Lowlands" and "From the Solo Lands".)
(I don't do specific music associations with Newsflesh the way I did with Fruits Basket, but this song ["Second Law"] is high on my mental list of things that could theoretically make me learn to vid if we ever get good movies.)
Via marina, this Kickstarter for "period panties" (which ends in about twelve hours, which, uh, tells you how long I've had tabs open). The international shipping has kept me from seriously considering it, but the idea pleases me immensely. *g*
A site called Organization Anti-Social Geniuses has a post on advice from manga letterers, from a variety of people working in the field, including lyschan and kaitou_ace (Annaliese Christman).
Over at Jezebel, there's "Taste Test From Hell: We Cooked a Bunch of Gross Recipes From the '50s", which is exactly what it sounds like.
A couple weeks ago, skygiants posted about figuring out how a French Revolution Sleepy Hollow AU would work, and it sounds fantastic and I would like to read it now, please.
Via newredshoes, this Salon piece: "The trouble with virginity: What America's sexual language leaves out".
Via ironed_orchid, a post by Mallory Ortberg boils generic YA dystopian fiction down to its key traits: "It's A Bunch of Years After The War And Everything Is Different".
Via lnhammer, "Twitter I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down: Learning to live on the net". [Warning: busily animated post header.]
Via notalwaysweak, "somebody alert the authorities there's too much red meat in this romance" is an Ann/Ron Parks and Recreation fic and it is DELIGHTFUL.
Via BoingBoing, danah boyd has made a .pdf of her new book It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens available for download. (The first of those links goes to her post explaining her reasons.)
A few days ago, sara posted about how fanfic gets less respect than similar endeavors in other artistic mediums. (There's good discussion in the comments, too.) "and I thought, you know, writing is about the only creative discipline where people give you shit for doing covers. [...] And it's entirely acceptable to play the piano on weekends, or only in front of friends, and nobody's ever going to say to you, 'You know, you should book some shows down at the club. Just because everyone will be drunk is no reason to imagine it won't be a great experience.' I know musicians who go years without performing for the general public, and that's a completely normal part of the cultural experience of being a musician."
And a few links to stuff relating to Seanan McGuire's writing:
For the daily posting meme, I asked kass to talk about Seanan's work in some way, and she wrote about the recurring reasons why she loves it. ^_^
A little over a week ago now, Seanan posted the cover for Symbiont, the sequel to Parasite.
From the department of "yes, she does research the hell out of everything", someone was listening to the audiobook of Feed and got to the part early on where a zombie grabs Shaun and rips his sweater, and asked Seanan if she'd researched the tearing strength of a wool sweater. Answer: "We hung a friend of mine over a rail while wearing a wool sweater. Because we are either a) metal or b) jerks, depending on your perspective."
And finally, someone left her a note about Indexing, which I'm quoting from here simply because it's true and lovely: "the whole book just felt like waves of love about how we're not our narratives, how it's not our fault, the way we were raised, and about how we have the right to fight the emotional abusive narrative we were forced to take in our whole lives."
(I went on a bureacuratic treasure hunt through the university and managed to sign up for an "introduction to lit theory" class, ("But why?" Lit department. "It sounds really interesting," I say. "You understand it's theory, yes? Just...theory.") and it's honest to god making me giddy. I'm sitting there in class while the prof explains the breaking of genre in Thelma and Louise and literally bouncing up and down a little. Structuralism! OMG, structuralism. Where has this been all my life?)
Community was pretty good, though on-the-nose social satire might not be their strongest suit. ( Read more... )
Interestingly meta episode from TBBT, which usually isn't meta in the slightest. Not as bleak as last week, but it had it's moments.
I got into an interesting argument elsewhere about which show is more politically progressive, and I really do have to go with TBBT, even though that maybe makes me insane. Community simply embraces a kind of post-modern fantasy of progressivism, you know? Both shows think the world is fucked and are critical of it, but Community creates an escape, while TBBT admits its power.
Characters on Community do escape, but into this fantasy world. (Community is at it's most interesting, I think, when it suddenly looks in the mirror and admits that Greendale isn't real life. But then it shies away from that again.) One that is properly racially diverse and celebrates education, growth and the ability of good friends and can-do spirit to get you through anything. TBBT has a bunch of people trying to do that, and failing. Dismally, pathetically and gracelessly, to an intrusive laughtrack and embarrassing jokes. (I find that hearbreaking and clear- eyed, but I see why it's not everyone's idea of a good time.)
It's just my usual argument about finding any kind of story that merely gets representation right more than a little politically tepid. Just because your show/book/whatever is wonderfully sensitive and inclusive of race/gender/orientation/etc, doesn't make it actively progressive, merely tolerable. (For example, Meljean Brooks books or even Brooklyn 99, at it's worst.) It can even obscure, rather than expose, the underlying structures of oppression.
I get that "exposing structures of oppression" might not be everyone's idea of a useful thing for a sitcom or a romance novel to do, but we're actually quite happy being super-critical of representation in precisely the most popular, omni-present sort of media. I really don't know which is more politically effective - the cynical exposure of misery or the presentation of a hopeful alternative.
It's very possible that the work the latter does, with the normalization of gay characters or women in the workplace or whatever else these things have contributed to has been more socially worthwhile. But as art, I prefer something like Scandal or The Big Bang Theory, or even Remington Steele, that subvert the post-modern progressive ideal by having it crash up against good old human folly and weakness. Showing the characters trapped in their socially curated needs to fit in, to be loved, to feel cool, strikes me as more interesting and more powerful than showing the people who've magically escaped.
I am a huge fan of The Mindy Project, which surprises me, because I am generally not that into comedies, but this is one that works for me, despite the fact that it’s very, very New York, and thus very abstract from the world in which I live and work. It makes no pretense when it comes to trying to be universal or appealing to everyone, but there’s something in it that keeps me following the characters and their lives, not just because they’re funny, but because they’re so human, and so flawed in so many ways.
I love that it’s a woman-helmed show with a woman in the lead. I love that a male character has unrequited feelings for a female character, instead of the other way around, as usually seen in television; that this time, it’s Danny who’s pining for Mindy and Mindy being clueless about it, flipping the traditional narratives about attraction and romance. I love that Mindy is a figure of authority and power in the story, and that her body doesn’t fit inside the narrow range of what’s supposed to be ‘pretty.’ And I love that a woman of colour leads a show that is quite popular, and that her race is acknowledged and played into, rather than just being tiptoed around as though it doesn’t exist (which often seems to be the white way of handling racial issues, as though pretending race isn’t a Thing is the progressive thing to do).
The Mindy Project is also a very self-aware show, something I think it accomplishes with mixed success. It definitely breaks the fourth wall on occasion to engage directly with the audience in a way that may discomfit some people, and push others to question their assumptions. After years of being told that this is precisely the sort of thing we shouldn’t do on television, it’s kind of jarring to have Mindy Kaling just blatantly ignore it.
Most notably, the show did this on ‘Mindy Lahiri is a Racist,’ the episode that in some senses responded to criticisms about the depiction of race on the show, and engaged directly with some of the racial issues on The Mindy Project; the episode included the memorable line ‘I’m Indian! I can’t be racist!’ but while it poked fun at the show itself, it also contained some serious discussion of how race is handled and treated on television.
It included the obligatory mockery of sensitive white people thinking that they need to advocate for people of colour and nonwhite people, but it also included the sharp point that you can be a person of colour and still be racist, that discrimination against people on the basis of race is, sadly, not limited to the white population. And yes, there definitely have been racist moments on The Mindy Project, and not played in a self-aware way intended to critique the racism itself, which is usually easy to identify thanks to good framing and thoughtful presentation.
I’ve definitely observed that all of Mindy’s love interests are white, and that many of the nonwhite secondary characters aren’t developed as much as the white ones (despite the fact that characters like Tamra are AMAZING and need more screen time). These are issues reflective of a large number of things, including unconscious racism, undoubted pressure from the studio and how the writing team works; while Mindy Kaling obviously isn’t a card-carrying member of the KKK, it doesn’t mean she’s not subject to the same racist social pressures the rest of us are.
Sharply, though, the show pointed out in ‘Mindy Lahiri is a Racist’ that Mindy (the character, not the person) can in fact behave in not just racist but classist ways—but it’s important to recognise that this doesn’t necessarily mean Mindy Kaling endorses in or believes these things. I very much read them as part of her character and persona on the show, as a reflection of the character’s background and upbringing, and I also read them as things that can and will shift. While clearly a whole lot of Mindy Kaling is present in Mindy Lahiri, it’s important to avoid sandwiching the two women together, because one is a fictional character on a television show, and the other is a real live comedian and whole person.
Breaking the third wall to explore some of these things created an opportunity not just to respond to critics, but also to integrate their responses to the show into the larger creative direction and turn of the show. The Mindy Project, like other comedies, is constantly experimenting and playing with new ideas to keep itself fresh and innovative, and the writers are smart enough to keep an eye on how people are responding and think about that when they’re writing episodes in the future and working on character development.
Will Mindy Lahiri become less of a racist over time, and will the show in general specifically address some of its shortcomings? One would hope so, because this episode clearly illustrated that the producers, writers, and other creative team members are aware that people are identifying these issues and wanting to talk about them—and it showed that the show is willing to actually engage with this criticism. Unlike other talk back to critics episodes that have aired, this one wasn’t presented in a way that tried to smack down, mock, or belittle critics: instead, it took thoughtful criticism and wove it into the show, showing that the creators understand what people are talking about and why certain aspects of The Mindy Show represent a serious problem.