books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

Happy Halloween, Gentle Readers! Here are the things I’ve been reading this week.

Ten Short Rants about #GamerGate (Pope Hat)

I’m sick to death of the entire GamerGate debacle and the weeks-old vomit vitriol being spewed by misogynists all over the internet, but just because I’m sick of seeing this vile bullshit doesn’t mean that the issue has gone away.  I stumbled across this great piece over at Pope Hat, and it does several things very well: it sums up what’s happening with the entire GamerGate debacle, it dispels myths and blatant lies about what the crusaders for “ethics in gaming journalism” continue to scream about, and it also offers some great advice:

People Are Going To Say Things You Disagree With, And You Need To Get A Fucking Grip About It.

Also, this gem:

Stop Trying To Be A Special Snowflake.

You are not the first to discover journalistic corruption. You are not the first discover media bias. You are not the first to discover media double standards. You are not the first to have the media generalize fecklessly about you. You are not the first to discover activism. You are not the first to discover free speech. Stop pretending otherwise.

It’s harsh but examines the issue critically and calls out the assholes on both sides.  It’s definitely worth a read.

Have You Ever Had Relationship End Because of a Book? (NYT)

This short, diversionary piece in the NYT in which Zoe Heller and Anna Holmes talk about books as they have related to disasters in their romantic relationships is interesting and definitely worth your time if you’re a reader, but it also sparked a pretty excellent (and lengthy) email conversation between a long-distance friend and I about relationships and other life stuff.  So this is here not only because it’s a genuinely interesting piece, but because it has sentimental value to me.

This part will stay with me for a long, long time:

I suspect I am not the only woman to become involved with men who profess to value her for her ability to be emotionally present, curious and passionate only to reveal, down the road, an expectation that this sort of generosity of time and energy be restricted solely to interests and activities that include them. I hate the idea that there is a type of person whose impulse when witnessing a partner’s clearly rewarding, other-directed engagement is to react with contempt, not celebration; to expect the prioritizing of one’s own needs far above hers. In my experience, daring to honor my interior life — not to mention my professional commitments — has proved, in the context of coupling, to be a controversial, radical act.

The Many Imagined Deaths of Christopher Hayden (The Toast)

A joint collaboration between two of my favorite women on the internet, Nicole and Mallory at the Toast come up with some of the best ways that Christopher Hayden, definitely my least favorite character in the history of Gilmore Girls (and that is saying something, because both Jason Stiles and Max Medina and hell even Logan Huntzberger are THE WORST), could have died.  The result is AMAZING:

VII. Staph Infection Brought About By General Grossness
VIII. Uuuuugh He Just Dies Okay Don’t Ask Too Many Questions
IX. Torn Apart By Screaming Mob During The Handmaid’s Tale-Style Salvaging Ritual That Stars Hollow Performs Every Eighteen Years

That website is my favorite thing.

A Modern History of Thirst (The Awl)

Was it last week or the week before that I linked to an article that talked about the word “basic” and how it’s been appropriated?  This week, I’m focusing on the concept of someone being “thirsty,” and it’s super weird that I stumbled across this article this week, as I jokingly tweeted the other day about finally understanding the colloquial use of the word after experiencing some (insane) real-life examples.  This is a rather academic look at the history of the word and the concepts behind it, but it’s still incredibly accessible and interesting and worth taking your time with to unpack it all.  There’s no official consensus on what it means to be “thirsty,” but there’s no official consensus on being [a] “basic” [bitch], either, is there?  I’m going to be thinking about this for a while:

But slang, almost by definition, is where language is at its most fluid and dynamic—on the periphery, outside of codified, official meaning. Indeed this is its cachet, and it plays a large part in why so many kids spend so much time studiously adopting—appropriating—mannerisms and phrasing that originate from well outside their immediate surroundings. And it is why the re-appropriation of certain words, in turn, is such a radical rhetorical strategy.

Do You Know About Jian? (Nothing in Winnipeg)

I thought about not including anything about this whole debacle in this week’s link roundup because I find the entire thing so upsetting, and also because I have tried to talk about it more than once this week, unsuccessfully, but this piece was so well done that I couldn’t not.

It’s a haunting piece, and it’s about what’s happening w/r/t Jian Ghomeshi as well as the larger ramifications of living in a rape culture:

God, we ask so much of victims. On one side, we tell them that the price of our belief is to spend a lifetime chained publicly to an incident they usually want desperately to escape; we tell them that the price of our belief is that they make their name public, or take it to police. If they pay that price, we don’t believe them anyway.

There’s so much to unpack here, about staying silent, not speaking up, knowing things but not knowing them, and more.  The updated link to the Toronto Star’s coverage of the entire issue is here.

What got you reading and thinking this week?


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