Book Review: Everything Belongs to the Future, Laurie Penny (2016)

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Entertaining and thought-provoking, this novella left me wanting more. (Sooooo much more!)

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ebook for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape.)

“All I wanted was to make something small and bright and good, something that lasted a little while, a little while longer than I did. All I wanted was to push back against the darkness just a little bit. To live in the cracks in capitalism with the people I care about, just for a little while. But it turns out I can’t even have that. And now I just want to burn shit down.”

It’s the turn of the century – the 21st, to be exact – and humanity has finally discovered the fountain of youth. It comes in the form of a little blue pill that will cost you $200 a pop on the black market; a little less, if you’re one of the lucky few who has insurance. Most don’t, as this “weaponization of time” has only exacerbated class inequality.

Only the wealthiest citizens can afford life-extension drugs; regular folks deemed “important to society” – scientists, artists, musicians, the occasional writer – may receive a sponsorship to continue their work, but ultimately they live and age and die at the whim of those more powerful than they. Show a modicum of concern for the working class, and you just might find your sponsorship revoked.

Alex, Nina, Margo, Fidget, and Jasper are a group of artist/activists living in a dilapidated, mouse- and mold-infested flat in the underside of Oxford city. They work day jobs where they can find them, but their real passion is playing at Robin Hood. A few times a week, they load up their food truck with cheese sammies or mystery stews made of reclaimed food, and distribute free meals to Oxford’s neediest citizens. At the bottom of each foodstuff is a happy meal surprise: a little blue pill, most likely stolen. One per person, no second helpings.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: Pointing With Lips, Dana Lone Hill (2014)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

“Ain’t gotta lie to kick it.”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free pdf copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program. Also, trigger warning for discussions of rape, violence, and drug and alcohol use.)

Born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Dana Lone Hill offers us a glimpse inside “a week in the life of a rez chick” with her debut novel Pointing With Lips. We meet 32-year-old Sincere Strongheart – “Sis” for short – the titular “rez chick,” just as she’s trying to sell some of her jewelry to the tourists who have flocked to town for the annual Oglala Nation Fair and Rodeo. (“People from all over America and the world are fascinated with us, maybe because we are still here after all the bullshit America put us through.”)

During the course of the week, we follow Sis as she spends time partying with her best friends Boogie and Zona; evading brother George, a cop who’s constantly throwing his siblings in the drunk tank; quits/is fired from her dead-end job at the Great Sioux Shopping Center, the one and only grocery store on the rez; rescues her sister Frieda’s kids from one of her drug-fueled sex parties; and flirts with friend Ricky and border town white guy Mason. There’s also the town parade (Planned Parenthood was banned for life when it handed out condoms instead of the more standard, diabetes-inducing candy) and brother Misun’s going-away BBQ, complete with plenty of family drama.

Against this backdrop, we see Sis slowly slide from social drinking into the bottomless pit of alcoholism, which has claimed the hopes, dreams, and lives of so many of her friends and family.

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Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty – Eat Green, Save Green

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

The following is the 2008 Blog Action Day post I wrote for Smite Me! [.net], my non-AR blog. At first, I’d intended to write a post about how to live frugally while also being eco-friendly, but it quickly morphed into a post about veg*n food. Blame it on VeganMoFo!

If I have enough time tonight, I’d also like to blog about the impact of the economic crisis (especially foreclosures) on our animal companions, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime, check out this piece at Invisible Voices, in which Deb links Nestle’s exploitation of women and children to that of animals.

Who says animal liberation isn’t a feminist issue?

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In the wake of the current credit and banking crises, many pundits have been predicting that the presidential candidates will have to curb their proposed spending plans drastically when the winner takes office in January. With home foreclosures skyrocketing, pumping money towards renewable energy may seem like a luxury. Yet, an investment in these technologies could create jobs and set us on the path to energy independence. Though the initial investment might be high, the cost of feeding our oil addiction may prove much higher.

Aside from voting and petitioning our state and federal representatives, there’s little we can do as individuals to impact federal spending on eco-friendly options. However, on a micro level, we have a chance to save both money and the earth through the many little (and the few big) choices we make on a daily basis. Just as with the federal government’s expenditures, being “green” may cost a little more up front, but could save us money in the long run.

In a recent piece at Grist, Miles Grant observes notes an obvious parallel between tips to help you save money – and tips to help you save the environment:

Who are you to deny me my two-car garage filled with junk, an elegant dining room I’ll never use, and massive heating/cooling bills?

That’s the basic response from critics when greens question McMansions in particular and our consumer culture in general. I mean, isn’t newer, bigger, better the American way? Didn’t President Bush urge us to go shopping more?

But one financial advisor says trying to look rich by buying so much stuff is keeping some Americans from being rich. And while he never once mentions the environment, his prescriptions for building your savings have a lot in common with tips for cutting your environmental impact.

Being green and being frugal aren’t mutually exclusive, you see. Oftentimes, the two go hand in hand.

This year’s Blog Action theme is poverty; because I’m all about intersecting oppressions (such as classism, environmental destruction and the role of the megatheocorporatocracy in each), I thought I might offer some food-related tips for positively impacting your cash flow and your ecological imprint. Since we’re in the midst of the Vegan Month of Foods – for which I’ve been baking, cooking, drying and otherwise experimenting like mad – I’d like to focus on food, specifically, how one can eat green to save green.

(More below the fold…)

"What’s wrong with the Heifer Project?"

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

UPDATE, 12/27/06: More links over at the Veg Blog, including a very thoughtful post from Eric at An Animal-Friendly Life.

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This time of the year, my inbox is inundated with requests for donations, sponsorships, and the like. One of the more objectionable solicitations I’ve received (probably due to my membership on many enviro mailing lists) is from the Heifer Project. The Heifer Project “work[s] with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth” – through the “gift” of animal agriculture. “What’s wrong with the Heifer Project” may seem glaringly obvious to you and I – or anyone who cares about the fate of animals – but, unfortunately, many well-meaning people are suckered into donating to a cruel and misguided cause.

So, a link dump: If a friend or family member is considering donating to the Heifer Project or a similar organization, pass these articles along to them, along with recommendations for more humane recipients. (My current favorites are Best Friends Animal Society, Farm Sanctuary, and the Equal Justice Alliance.)

* What’s Wrong with the Heifer Project, by Rev. Gary Kowalski

* The Heifer Project: A Bad Approach to Solving World Hunger Problems, by Evelyn Giefer, DVM

* Heifer Project International Information, by Evelyn Giefer, DVM

* Heifer Project International: A Critique, by Ellen Bring

* Vegetarian Advocate: Heifer Project International Breeds Animal Slavery , by Jack Rosenberger

Hat tip to Episcoveg, where I found many of the above links.

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