Book Review: The Performance Identities of Lady Gaga, Richard Gray III, ed. (2012)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Deconstructing the Fame Monster

three out of five stars

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program mods downloaden steam.

In just a few short years, Lady Gaga has built a large body of work ripe for critical analysis. The sixteen authors and academics who contributed to The Performance Identities of Lady Gaga: Critical Essays clearly agree auto games downloaden. The thirteen essays in this anthology address the spectacle that is Lady Gaga from a multitude of perspectives: sociology, politics, psychology and psychoanalysis, LGBTQ rights, gender studies and feminism, camp, Surrealism, Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, and “post-racism” and white privilege – examining her in relation to those she has parodied, as well as those who have parodied her: most obviously Madonna, as well as Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz, Thelma & Louise, Kill Bill, sexploitation/blaxsploitation/“women in prison” B movies, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Rammstein, and “Weird Al” Yankovic, to name but a few – all with an eye on performance art and identity herunterladen.

The Performance Identities of Lady Gaga is obviously written by and for academics. While some essays are more accessible than others, all are filled with jargon and $20 words warzone auf pc herunterladen. I was able to muddle through with the occasional help of Google, yet some of the essays (the early ones, in particular) proved so dry that they threatened to lull me to sleep Hill climb racing free. This definitely isn’t a book for the lay monsters in the audience.

That said, a working knowledge of Lady Gaga’s oeuvre – not just the obvious song lyrics and music videos, but also concert tours, album art, costuming, speeches, interviews, and photo shoots – is an essential prerequisite for The Performance Identities of Lady Gaga itunes store herunterladen. While the authors do a decent enough job of explaining the performances they’re dissecting, a certain level of prior knowledge is assumed.

I requested a copy of this book through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program not because I’m a Lady Gaga fan, but because I enjoy pop culture analysis herunterladen. Nor am I an anti-fan (to borrow a term used frequently in the book); rather, I’m not really into dance/pop and thus know very little about Lady Gaga outside of her activism on behalf of the LGBTQ community herunterladen. My understanding of the essays definitely could have benefited from a greater knowledge of the source material.

Perhaps owing to my love of fairy tales, I found Jennifer M ps4 version 6.02 herunterladen nicht möglich. Woolston’s “Lady Gaga and the Wolf: ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ The Fame Monster and Female Sexuality” especially readable, even if most of the connections are stretched well past credulity mp3 von youtube herunterladen. Also enjoyable is editor Richard J. Gray III’s contribution, “Surrrealism, the Theatre of Cruelty and Lady Gaga” – surprisingly so, since I didn’t know anything about Surrealism beforehand. Gray does an excellent job of introducing the reader to the material (without watering down the discussion for those already in the know) and then illustrating how Lady Gaga’s work clearly fits within the Surrealist tradition. Rebecca M. Lush’s “The Appropriation of the Madonna Aesthetic,” Matthew R. Turner’s “Performing Pop: Lady Gaga, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’ and Parodied Performance,” and “Whiteness and the Politics of ‘Post-Racial’ America by Laura Gray-Rosendale, Stephanie Capaldo, Sherri Craig, and Emily Davalos are all highly engaging and interesting as well.

Not wishing to penalize the authors for my own ignorance, I struggled with weather I should give this book a 3- or 4-star review. That is, until I came to Karley Adney’s “’I Hope When I’m Dead I’ll Be Considered an Icon’: Shock Performance and Human Rights.” One of just a few pieces written from an overtly feminist perspective, I was both surprised and not a little offended when, in the course of her Lady Gaga apologism, Adney excuses and reinforces the stereotype that feminists are misandrists.

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Book Review: Boy of Bone, K. R. Sands (2012)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Her Dark Materials *

five out of five stars

If a collection of short stories “inspired by the mütter museum” strikes you as something that would lean inexorably toward the morbid and gory – the stuff of campfire ghost stories and Halloween horror tales – you’d be half right apple geteilte alben herunterladen. While the twelve tales found in Boy of Bone are at turns gruesome and macabre (at times intimately so), author K.R free youtube converter chip for free. Sands exhibits great empathy and compassion for her subjects, despite having only conversed with them in her imagination. The result is a collection of fictional stories, inspired by real people and events, that manages to imbue “mere” museum displays – objects and artifacts – with a touching dose of humanity youtube songs downloaden ohne programm.

Through Sands, some of the “dead voices” who inhabit the Mütter Museum are given the means to speak, to tell us their stories, filled as they are with pain, grief, sadness, suffering – and, joy, peace, and divinity as well elster online certificate file. From a man mourning the loss of his conjoined twin (“The Pump Twin”) to a scientist who has fallen “in love” with one of his own medical devices (“The Face Phantom”), the characters you meet within these pages will not soon be forgotten income tax return 2017 for free.

While it’s difficult to pick and choose favorites, I especially enjoyed:

* “Madame Sunday’s Horn” (a woman comes to accept and even embrace the unicorn horn growing from her forehead as a sign of god’s grace);

* “What Is Written, Sweet Sister?” (a young Union nurse requests the skin of her deceased soldier brother, so that it might be used to bind a prized family volume – not a Bible, but a book of Poe!); and

* “Boy of Bone” (the sister of a boy – long dead, suffocated by his skeleton’s skeleton – finds solace in the exhibition of his remains at the Mütter Museum) racing games to.

Set in the antebellum south, “Black Bodies” is particularly raw and devastating. Here we meet an aging, paternalistic doctor who literally builds his career on the backs of black bodies herunterladen. Though he fancies himself a “savior” of sorts to the poor African Americans he “serves” (dubiously so), he finds his narcissistic self-view challenged when he accepts an interview request by an out-of-town journalist tomb raider 1 pc spiel download kostenlos. (A woman, at that!)

I must confess that I was unable to finish one piece – “Do Not Feed.” Inspired “by exhibit on lead poisoning and dog skulls,” the story – or what I could gather of it, anyway – centers on the moral crisis of a technician at an animal research facility herunterladen. There in the soft comfort of my bed, surrounded by my own pack of seven rescue dogs, “Do Not Feed” (the title of which refers to the practice of starving vivisected animals prior to “euthanizing” [read: killing] them, so that they’ll leave less of a mess for the humans to mop up) proved just too much to bear fifa 12 herunterladen kostenlos pc. No doubt influenced by Sands’s experiences as an animal laboratory technician, I can only hope that the story’s ending reflects her own changing attitudes toward the necessity and humanity of animal research.

Boy of Bone is a gorgeously written, gorgeously illustrated tome – a work of art. Jon Lezinsky’s illustrations complement Sands’s words beautifully. Although … I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to find that Boy of Bone doesn’t contain a single photo from the Mütter Museum. While I understand that the museum is fiercely protective of its exhibits (see, e.g., its strict photography policy), are a few pictures in a book that arguably helps to promote the museum too much to ask? One “inspiration” photo per story, perhaps? Especially considering that Sands is married to the director of the museum!

My only other complaint is that the author doesn’t go into much detail about the exhibits behind the stories; the only information we get about Sands’s inspirations amount to not-quite-one sentence blurbs sandwiched in the table of contents (e.g., “…by old photographs of medical subjects” [“Black Bodies”] or “…by the exhibit of a giant colon” [“Freddy Chang’s Live-Die Museum Restaurant”]). Coupled with the lack of information on the museum website, and you’re left to fill in the blanks with your own imagination.

Strong trigger warnings for violence, rape (including incest), racism, sexism, speciesism, and cruelty to animals.

* Also, how can I help but love an anthology whose forward shares a name with my favorite trilogy?

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined.)

V is for Vote! (Missouri residents, please vote NO on Amendment 2 this Tuesday!)

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Fellow Missourians! The state primaries are coming up this Tuesday, August 7th. If you’re not already registered to vote, it’s obviously too late for this round – but if you can, please register to vote in the general elections on November 6th trickfilm herunterladen. The last day to register is October 10, 2012, according to the MO Secretary of State’s 2012 election calendar typo3 kostenlos download. You can find registration instructions here.

In this, the latter half of 2012, you’d think that sample ballots would be readily available and easy to find on the SOS’s website as well windows 7 language interface packs herunterladen und installieren. Along with election dates, registration documents, and the like, there should be a link to each district’s ballots right there on the main page, making it easy peasy for voters to research their choices beforehand apple tv plus herunterladen. Or, hell, know what their choices even are.

Or not. At least not here in the “Show Me” state. Upon visiting the “Elections” section of SOS’s website, voters can find all sorts of info under the “for voters” menu – voter ID info, absentee voting requirements, how to check your voter registration, even language for past and present initiative petitions and ballot questions schriftart bauhaus 93 download kostenlos. But no sample ballots.

Under the FAQ, there is an entry regarding sample ballots: “Where can I see a sample ballot?”

The answer:

You may be able to view your sample ballot at our Voter Information Lookup herunterladen.

Sample ballots can also be viewed at the polling place or at the office of your local election authority. Sample ballots are also required to be printed twice prior to each election in newspapers of general circulation free music samsung. Some election jurisdictions may also mail sample ballots to all registered voters in that jurisdiction.

I dutifully checked my registration as directed, and…nothing herunterladen. Nada. No link or further instructions or even so much as a note that a sample ballot for my district is not available through the Vote Missouri website – but hey, here’s where you can find it nachricht und bilder herunterladen.

It took me a half hour of digging before I was finally able to find a sample ballot for my district – and even then, it wasn’t published on a government website, but in the archives of our local, rinky-dink county newspaper windows 7 sprachpaket englisch herunterladen. Had The Clinton County Leader not archived old issues online, I would have been forced to trek on over to the county courthouse to pick up a paper ballot. Which isn’t really a big deal, since it’s just down the street, and I have a car to drive there – and failing that, a healthy, able body to get me there. But not everyone does. Some potential voters may be confined to their homes, either temporarily or long-term, while others may be lacking in transportation. Still others may have internet access, minus the knowledge to research and locate a ballot on a third-party website. Or operate Adobe Reader.

My point is, there’s no good reason why sample ballots for every district shouldn’t be available in multiple places – in the newspaper, in government buildings, via sail mail for those who request it, and yes, in one central place online, preferably listed alongside other election materials. The internet: it’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s effective. It’s also 2012. Get with the program, Robin Carnahan.

Anyway, here’s the sample ballot for Clinton County, Missouri (click through to embiggen), followed by a plain-text version. In years past I’ve published my picks as well, but seeing as I still haven’t made up my mind (so many candidates, so little information!) I did things a little differently this time around.

Missouri state primaries - 8/7/12 - sample ballot

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Book Review: The Tent, Margaret Atwood (2007)

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

“your tent is made of paper”

four out of five stars

Reminiscent in look and style of Good Bones and Simple Murders (1994), The Tent (2006) is a short collection of Margaret Atwood’s stories, prose, and poetry – much of it more recent, some of it previously published elsewhere (including “The Walrus,” “Harper’s Magazine,” and several special fundraising anthologies) skype herunterladen für apple. As with three-poled tents, THE TENT is “supported,” in a manner of speaking, by three sections of related material.

While the stories are varied and diverse, time is a central theme, with lives bending, flexing, and twisting around the stuff mdr thüringen app herunterladen. Time is not always linear, but folds and flexes (“Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey…Stuff,” in Doctor-speak.) Time “folds you in its arms and gives you one last kiss, and then it flattens you out and folds you up and tucks you away until it’s time for you to become someone else’s past time, and then time folds again.” [“Time Folds,” page 148.] Time softens and broadens, reunites and tears asunder filme downloaden android. Time both binds and separates us all.

As with most anthologies, some of the pieces are more memorable than others. Most are complex, hinting at layer upon layer of meaning, the intricacies of which the reader can only begin to grasp herunterladen. (Such is Margaret Atwood!) As per usual, those stories I love the best feature nonhuman protagonists (“Our Cat Enters Heaven” – and gets his testicles back; “Thylacine Ragout”; “The Animals Reject Their Names and Things Return to Their Origins”) or are retellings of classics, be they fairy tales or Shakespeare (“Encouraging the Young” – right into my gingerbread house; “It’s Not Easy Being Half-Divine”; “Horatio’s Version”; “Nightingale”) youtube video download op iphone. Nostalgic, heartbreaking, and not a little cruel, “Bring Back Mom: An Invocation” is another favorite, as is “Post-Colonial”: “It’s a constant worry, this we, this them.” [page 100]

Though I prefer Atwood’s novels to her shorter works, The Tent and other such collections are helping to tide me over until the release of Mad Adam herunterladen google. Let’s hope that she doesn’t take quite as long as dear Horatio!

Perfect for: hardcore Atwood fans, or lovers of feminist poetry and eclectic short fiction application word for free. Keep it on your nightstand for some impromptu, late-night reading.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads star wars battlefront 2 herunterladen. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined.)

Book Review: History Is Dead: A Zombie Anthology, Kim Paffenroth, ed. (2007)

Monday, July 16th, 2012

History Is UNdead microsoft works gratis downloaden nederlands!

four out of five stars

Zombies have coexisted with humans since before the birth of h videos mit kodi downloaden. sapiens – that is, if we’re to believe the team of “crack historians” behind History Is Dead: A Zombie Anthology, edited by Kim Paffenroth (2007) Age of empire free download. And why not, when believing is such bloody good fun?

While at least half of the twenty stories found in History Is Dead take place in the past 200 years – with America and Europe proving popular settings – the rest stretch as far back as the Pleistocene epoch herunterladen. (“This Reluctant Prometheus,” in which members of the homo ergaster species become infected with zombie-ism after consuming an infected wooly mammoth, is one of my favorites.) Zombies are credited for bringing humans the gift of fire, rescuing a Viking kingdom from insurrection, inspiring budding horror author Mary Shelly, and administering vigilante justice to Jack the Ripper herunterladen. They appear on Civil War battlefields and in East End slums. They infiltrate the United States government in their quest for gooooold. (An “Indian” curse gone weird xcsoar herunterladen. Don’t ask.) The Great Fire of Chicago? Started by zombies, the first of which was created when Biela’s Comet rained a mysterious green rock onto (and into) Pat “Paddy” O’Leary’s Aunt Sophie wie kann ich mit iphone filme herunterladen. Zombies, it seems, are all around us.

As always, anthologies are difficult to review, since you’re apt to take a shining to some pieces more than others game overnight. Overall, History Is Dead is a quick, enjoyable, entertaining read – perfect for a morbid Saturday afternoon at the beach. I polished it off in under a week, which is near-record speed for me james bond filme downloaden kostenlos. Though they share a common theme, each story in this collection is unique. In some, zombies make a brief, even ancillary cameo – while in others they serve as the story’s protagonists herunterladen. A bloody, gory, over-the-top collection of shoot-‘em-up zombie tales this is not.

In fact, it could be argued that zombies aren’t even the scariest monsters to be found within the pages of HISTORY IS DEAD. Take, for example, “Junebug” – which comes with a major trigger warning – in which a preacher (at the End Times Church, natch) uses the looming zombie apocalypse as a pretense to sexually enslave one of his young parishioners (June or “Junebug” of the story’s title). After several months of living with him – with her parents’ permission, ostensibly to babysit his children due to his wife’s illness – she becomes pregnant from the repeated rapes. Cast out by the preacher, she finds no solace from her family, as they blame her for “seducing” her rapist. June and her sole defender, brother Ethan, ultimately meet a gory end – and yet, even at their “worst,” the reader has more sympathy for the zombie siblings than for their human victims.

I found a similar pleasure in “Awake in the Abyss,” which finds Jack the Ripper’s “canonical five” victims – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly – along with a sixth woman, narrator Nelly, awakening from the grave in order to avenge their deaths…as only zombies can. I bet you never thought you’d find yourself rooting so enthusiastically for the zombies, eh?

(This review also appears on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

Book Review: Santa Olivia, Jacqueline Carey (2009)

Monday, July 9th, 2012

“Santa Olivia” will leave you howling for more.*

five out of five stars

— Warning: moderate spoilers follow! —

North America. The year is … well, we don’t know the year. Suffice it to say that it’s some time in the not-so-distant future zelda kostenlosen deutsch. A flu pandemic has swept the continent, killing millions and exacerbating already-unconscionable inequities. Scared, desperate, and dying, Mexican immigrants flood U.S. hospitals in search of medical care. The leaders of the “land of the free” respond to this crisis not with charity and compassion, but by circling the wagons halloween einladungen kostenlosen. In an effort to tighten the border, the government annexes a portion of Texas, declaring it a “buffer zone” to be occupied indefinitely by the U.S. military. The citizens of Santa Olivia – now simply called “Outpost 12”** – are given a choice: evacuate to other parts of the United States, or stay spotify alben herunterladen pc. Possibly forever. Overcome by poverty and sickness – and some, like Carmen Garron, just children at the time of the occupation – there is no choice to make at all.

And so the remaining Santa Olivians enter a state of limbo; they are neither dead nor alive. As far as the rest of the world knows, they don’t exist: one of the government’s many lies is that civilians no longer inhabit Outpost 12 ndr niedersachsen app herunterladen kostenlos. Aside from military personnel, no one is allowed to travel into or out of Santa Olivia. There is no contact with the outside world: no phone, no internet, no television, no newspapers. No way of screaming for help; no rescue. The residents of Santa Olivia have only each other.

It’s into this dystopia that our hero Loup Garron is born motogp spiel kostenlos downloaden. Loup isn’t like other children. Her father, an escaped government “project” – a genetically modified organism (GMO) who, because of gene splicing, exhibits superhuman strength, speed, and stamina, as well as an inability to feel fear – left town just as suddenly as he appeared. Named for the wolf DNA that they share, Loup is raised mostly by her older half-brother Tommy, who teaches her how to conceal her exceptional abilities, lest she be “requisitioned” by the U.S mediathek view herunterladen. military. Even as she watches Tommy hone his own skills as a boxer – strength, power, and agility which she could easily surpass – Loup lives in the shadows, unnoticed. Unappreciated. Unutilized. For Loup, it’s “purgatory.”

In the space of just five years, Loup loses both her mother and brother: Carmen succumbs to another wave of the flu pandemic, and Tommy is killed in the boxing ring rollercoaster tycoon 4 download for free. In the interim, a twelve-year-old Loup is sent to live in the town’s only orphanage. Run by “Father” Ramon and “Sister” Martha, the children who live within the safety of the church’s wall forge a strong bond: they are the Santitos. When a soldier rapes one of their own and the army refuses their demand for justice, Santa Olivia is born. With Loup acting as their muscle, the Santitos exact revenge upon the rapist and his lying, rape-enabling friends, and then set to work performing “miracles” for the townspeople herunterladen. The town’s patron saint experiences a rebirth of sorts – and with her, so does Loup Garron.

When Tommy is killed – murdered – during a rigged boxing match, Loup faces her greatest challenge: convince Tommy’s trainer Floyd to take her on so that she can beat the boxer who killed her brother. No small feat, since he’s like her: a “Wolf-Person.”

Boxing is the primary form of entertainment in Santa Olivia. Run by the military – on account of the general’s love of the sport – the matches always consist of a soldier versus a civilian kann ich musik von spotify herunterladen. While the soldier’s motivation is clear – they serve at the pleasure of their general – Santa Olivians are bribed into participating with the promise of two tickets out of town for the winner. No civilian has ever won a match in the history of Outpost 12. Tommy had a shot – which is why General Argyle replaced boxer Ron Johnson with his GMO twin herunterladen.

For Loup, success will most certainly mean imprisonment. Slavery, perhaps. Possibly even death – execution as a traitor. Yet fight she must: for her brother, for herself, and for all of Santa Olivia. She is their new patron saint.

— End: spoiler alert! —

(More below the fold…)

"The Hungry and the Hunted"

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

A Facebook acquaintance (is it terribly rude of me not to say friend?) posted this video some time back (try a year plus! I know, I’m the worst.) and I’ve been meaning to share it ever since. The clip’s from a short-lived show called Sports Night, which ran on ABC from 1998-2000 spiele bei steam downloaden. A comedy/drama created by Aaron Sorkin, Sports Night follows the production of a fictional sports news show (also called Sports Night).

The third episode of the first season (“The Hungry and The Hunted“) deals with newbie Jeremy’s reaction when, upon being tasked to produce a hunting segment for the show, he witnesses a deer being shot and killed right in front of him anno 1503 mac for free. As someone who’s never desired to kill animals for fun or “sport,” Jeremy is so horrified by the doe’s murder that he becomes physically ill and has to be rushed to the hospital.

Especially notable is the language Jeremy uses to describe the incident; as he transitions from the hunters’ perspective to his own, the deer ceases being just a thing, an “it,” and instead is recognized as a living creature – a she sql developer herunterladen. From something to someone – and then to no one, an empty shell. A corpse. And for no reason, or at least not one discernible to the narrator:

Jeremy: (pauses) Yeah. Bob and Eddie were using the IR 50 Recon by Bushcomber. It’s got a 16 inch microgroove barrel with .30-.30 mags, side scope mount, wire cutter sheath, quick release bolt, mag catches and a 3 pound trigger gta für handy kostenlosen. So I figured we must be going after a pretty dangerous duck.

Isaac: You can wiseass all you want. You’re gonna tell me what happened.

Jeremy: We shot a deer! In the woods by Lake Matatuck on the second day. There was a special vest they had me wear so they could distinguish me from things they wanted to shoot, so I was pretty grateful for that marienlieder noten kostenlos downloaden. Almost the whole day had gone by, and we hadn’t gotten anything. Eddie was getting frustrated and Bob Shoemaker was getting embarrassed. My camera guy needed to reload so I told everyone to take a 10 minute break. There was a stream near by and I walked over with this care package Natalie made me. Sat down. When I looked up I saw three of them: small, bigger, biggest fack ju göhte 3 for free. Recognizable to any species on the planet as a child, a mother and a father.

Now the trick with shooting deer is that you have to get them out in the open, and it’s tough with deer ’cause these are clever cagey animals with an intuitive sense of danger. You know what you have to do to get a deer out into the open? You hold out a Twinkie. That animal clopped up to me like we were at a party. She seemed to be pretty interested in the Twinkie, so I gave it to her flash player mac kostenlos download. Looking back, she’d have been better off if I’d given her the damn vest. And Bob kind of screamed at me and whispered, ‘Move away!’ The camera had been reloaded and it looked like the day wasn’t going to be a washout after all. So I back away. A couple of steps at a time. And I closed my eyes when I heard the shot.

Look I know these are animals and they don’t play bridge or go to the prom, but you can’t tell me that little one didn’t know who his mother was iphone fotos downloaden pc. That’s got to mean something. And later at the hospital, Bob Shoemaker was telling me about the nobility and tradition of hunting, and how it was related to the Native American Indians and I nodded and said that was interesting, while I was thinking about what a load of crap it was! Hunting was part of Indian culture. It was food and it was clothes and it was shelter. They sang and danced and they offered prayers to the gods for a successful hunt so that they could survive one more unimaginably brutal winter herunterladen. The things that they killed held the highest place of respect for them and to kill for fun was a sin. And they knew the gods wouldn’t be so generous next time. What we did wasn’t food and it wasn’t shelter and it wasn’t sports! It was just mean!

Also of interest is how Jeremy calls out the hunters for appropriating Native culture in order to justify their needless killing sprees human fall flat kostenlos herunterladen. That said, death is still death, no matter how much you “respect” or “revere” the animal whose life you’re about to end. She has her own interests, and I’m pretty sure they don’t include being digested in your gullet.

Of course, context would most likely make this exchange less impressive; for example, I highly doubt that the Jeremy character has a sudden epiphany and goes vegan (or better still, is already vegan). I can’t say, since I haven’t seen the show – but it seems rather improbable, no? Even so, given the show’s likely demographic – youngish-adult-to-middle-aged dudes who enjoy sports, sports shows, and comedies about fictional sports shows – such a compassionate message is a nice surprise.

After the jump: the full transcript for those who can’t view the video.

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Pitch Bitch your vegan feminist article ideas! *

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

2011-09-21 - Mags is a BITCH <a class=dr.web cureit for free! - 0011 [small square]" style="align:left; float:left; padding-right:20px; padding-bottom:5px"/>

Calling all vegan feminists!

Bitch magazine recently announced its next five issue themes – Habit(at), Pulp, Micro/Macro, Gray, and Food – for which it’s currently accepting submissions herunterladen. Habit(at) and Food (Winter 2012 and Winter 2014, respectively) seem especially ripe for vegan discourse … but I bet you crafty people can work a little vegan magic into any one of these topics, don’t you think t-online fehler beim herunterladen?

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Book Review: Mothers & Other Monsters: Stories, Maureen F. McHugh (2006)

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Captivating herunterladen!

five out of five stars

I was first introduced to Maureen McHugh’s work through After the Apocalypse: Stories (2011) xbox spiele herunterladen. I just so happened to spot a review of it online – just where that was escapes me now, sadly (reading recommendations, got any?) – and, in search of new post-apocalyptic fiction (bonus points for zombies!), I snapped it up immediately outlook news in full. After devouring it in all of a week, I quickly tore through her novels: Nekropolis (2002), China Mountain Zhang (1997), Half the Day is Night (1996), and the epic masterpiece Mission Child (1999), which I cannot recommend highly enough Play roblox for free without downloading. It seems only fitting that I finish off her oeuvre with Mothers & Other Monsters: Stories (2006), her first of two collections of short stories kodi herunterladen fire tv.

What with its cast of werewolves, clones, ghosts, space travelers, and genetically rejuvenated elders, Mothers & Other Monsters is an eclectic mix of fantasy and science fiction rechnungsprogramm kostenlos downloaden. As the title implies, motherhood is a common theme throughout – but the women featured in these stories are anything but monstrous. Herself a stepmother to a preteen boy, McHugh – whose life plans reportedly didn’t include children, at least not until Adam’s father entered the picture – regards the relationships between parents and children and generations past and present with tenderness and empathy aoe kostenlosen.

Here you’ll meet a mother struggling to care for her aging mother while simultaneously guiding her rebellious daughter through her teenage years (“Oversight”); a woman who spends her life savings on an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment, hoping that it will cure her husband without erasing too much of who he is – or was, before the disease stole him from her (“Presence”); a young woman who discovers that her best friend is a werewolf (“Laika Comes Back Safe”); and a ghost who travels from her cozy corner of the afterlife to accept tribute from a distant relation (“Ancestor Money”) spiele kostenlos herunterladen durak. Aging, death, and senility are also elements shared by many of the stories – Alzheimer’s and “senility” make two appearances each – as are our all-too human struggles to overcome and defeat them (see, e.g., the thought-provoking “Interview: On Any Given Day”) herunterladen. It makes for a rather heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring collection – one that will dwell in your memory and heart, perhaps even staking a permanent claim there lebenslauf muster zumen kostenlos.

While it’s hard to single out any one story for special praise, it’s worth noting that Mothers & Other Monsters contains early version of two of McHugh’s novels: Mission Child (“The Cost to Be Wise”) and Nekropolis (“Nekropolis”). Each story encompasses the opening chapters of its respective book: whereas the plot of “The Cost to Be Wise” is similar to – but also significantly different from – Mission Child, that of “Nekropolis” is very nearly the same in both formats (at least judging from memory – some parts of the narration may be different, but the overall story matches up). “Nekropolis” the short story ends on a note that’s simultaneously more and less hopeful than Nekropolis the novel; “The Cost to Be Wise,” on the other hand, is much more damning in its view of the Offworlders than is Mission Child. It’s an interesting contrast, to say the least.

“The Lincoln Train” is another personal favorite. A piece of speculative fiction that explores how the Civil War might have played out had the assassination attempt on Lincoln failed, it made a previous appearance in New Skies: An Anthology of Today’s Science Fiction (2003). Mothers & Other Monsters also includes a “Reading Group Guide” with an author interview, talking points, and an autobiographical essay written by McHugh, fittingly titled “The Evil Stepmother” (though the latter feels like a bit of a cheat, since some of the sections are repeated verbatim elsewhere in the book – i.e., “Eight-Legged Story”). Readers would do well not to skip these, as they provide valuable insight into McHugh’s stories.

Fans of McHugh will adore Mothers & Other Monsters – and, if you’re not already one, Mothers & Other Monsters will make a fan out of you!

At the time of this writing, Small Beer Press is offering a free download of Mothers & Other Monsters on its website. Go to the book’s page and click on the “free download” link!

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I call this series “Mags & Other Monsters.”

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)


Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
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Book Review: The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood (2005)

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Odysseus, what a jerkface weltkarte herunterladen!

five out of five stars

Aptly named, The Penelopiad is a feminist retelling of The Odyssey and The Iliad, as only Margaret Atwood could imagine it.* Narrated by Odysseus’s long-suffering wife Penelope, the events in Homer’s epics are reexamined from her perspective herunterladen. Now residing in modern-day Hades, Penelope tells of her early life; her “courtship” by Odysseus (read: being won in a contest like so much livestock, after which time the winner’s spoils, bride included, was quickly whisked away to Odysseus’s own kingdom); the hardships she endured while her husband was off fighting the Trojan war and then making his way home; and ending with his fatal, bloody return, which culminated in the deaths of Penelope’s twelve maids stream videos herunterladen firefox. Among their crimes? Allowing themselves to be raped by Penelope’s suitors. Penelope’s accounts are interspersed with occasional choral interludes from the doomed maids – who, like their mistress, cannot be silenced, even in death from deezer.

Even if your knowledge of The Odyssey begins and ends with 10th grade English class (guilty as charged!), there’s still much to enjoy in The Penelopiad herunterladen. (Though the greater your background, the more improved your reading.) A novella, The Penelopiad is a disappointingly slim volume – my paperback copy weighs in at just 193 pages, with generous margins videos downloaden youtube legal. Given the heft of the source material, I wish Atwood’s retelling was bit longer. For example, the years of the Trojan war – when Penelope was managing Odysseus’s kingdom on her own, at a time when it was unusual for women to do so – was glossed over in just a few pages kik herunterladen. It would have been nice to visit Penelope during this period in her life, to see how she “done the impossible,” so to speak. (Any Browncoats in the house?)

Ditto: the maids separation of goods free of charge. Maligned as they were by Odysseus and his son Telemachus, they deserve more of a voice than they were afforded.

While I’m tempted to deduct one start for brevity, I can’t seem to bring myself to do so herunterladen. The Penelopiad has quickly become one of my favorite Atwood books, right behind the Mad Adam trilogy (to be fair, I’d rather the author spend her limited time working on the third installation, as opposed to a longer version of The Penelopiad!) and The Handmaid’s Tale diskpart herunterladen. After suffering through both The Odyssey and The Iliad in high school, I hope more teachers add The Penelopiad to their course outline. Had women’s perspectives been more prominently featured, I might have taken a greater interest in some of these “classics.”

* Though it’s interesting to note that Atwood herself doesn’t consider The Penelopiad “feminist”: “I wouldn’t even call it feminist. Every time you write something from the point of view of a woman, people say that it’s feminist.” Touché, Margaret!

(This review is also posted on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote me helpful if you think it so!)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 26: Milk Thieves, Body Hair, and the Cannibals Within

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012


Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary: A Powerful Statement

This stunning sculpture by Liu Qiang is an accurate depiction of humanity’s use of, and utter dependence on other animals and, in particular, the savage and bizarre habit of consuming the breast milk from mothers of other species-milk that these mothers have produced for their own babies, babies that we forced them to become pregnant with only to kill shortly after birth so that we can take the bereft mother’s milk, milk that we drink as though we were the children that we murdered herunterladen.

Live vegan. There is no excuse not to.

Learn about non-violent living
Learn who is spared when you live vegan…
…and who suffers when you choose not to:
Milk Comes from a Grieving Mother
Dairy is a Death Sentence
The “Humane” Animal Farming Myth

29h59’59 by Liu Qiang is on exhibition at the 798 Art District in Beijing, China
Photo by Ng Han Guan

VegNews: June Twitter Chat, Wednesday, June 20 @ 6pm PT/9pm ET

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, we’ll be talking with prominent gay animal-rights activists about the connection between both movements herunterladen. Never participated in a Twitter Chat before? Don’t worry. We have a handy guide to explain it all amazon prime video im ausland herunterladen. Join us at the hashtag #VegNewsChat. You don’t even need to have a Twitter account to enjoy the discussion Download Christmas sticker for free.

Kaili Joy Gray @ Daily Kos: Safeway’s general counsel tells hilarious sexist joke at annual shareholder meeting

You can listen to the audio at the link above, but here’s a transcript for the a/v averse:

You know, this is the season when companies and other institutions are interested in enhancing their reputation and their image for the general public, and one of the institutions that’s doing this is the Secret Service, particularly after the calamity in Colombia samsung meldung herunterladen momentan nicht möglich. And among the instructions given to the Secret Service agents was to try to agree with the president more and support his decisions. And that led to this exchange that took place last week, when the president flew into the White House lawn and an agent greeted him at the helicopter whatsapp download voor windows phone.

The president was carrying two pigs under his arms and the Secret Service agents said, “Nice pigs, sir.”

And the president said, “These are not ordinary pigs, these are genuine Arkansas razorback hogs youtube hörbuch herunterladen. I got one for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

And the Secret Service agent said, “Excellent trade, sir.”

Women as livestock telefon warteschleife musiken. Nonhuman animals as items of trade. Sexism and speciesism, the stuff of high comedy. TAKE MY LAWYER, PLEASE!

Fat Girl Posing: Vegans. adobe reader dc kostenloser download. I need to talk to you..

This is a year-old piece about fat shaming in the vegan community that recently recirculated on Facebook herunterladen. h/t to Emelda (I think).

The whole piece is worth a read, but here’s the excerpt I posted on FB:

So here’s your strategy, right? Animal products are full of fat and calories and, therefore, if you stop eating them you’ll lose weight.. so, market veganism as a diet or “lifestyle change” will bring more people to the movement by preying on their low self esteem and body hatred. While the strategy may work initially what do you intend to do when all the newbie veg’s don’t lose weight? Or when they lose it but then gain it back? As a diet, it fails, just like any other, and you’ve lost your pull. More so, you’ve become part of an industry which is cruel to animals.. specifically the human animal.


(More below the fold…)

I thought you were a bitch.

Friday, June 8th, 2012

2011-09-21 - Mags is a BITCH <a class=herunterladen! - 0011">

On the season finale of 30 Rock, Kenneth Parcell redefined the term “bitch” in a way that tickled my vegan feminist funny bone herunterladen. (Yes, vegans and feminists have funny bones too!)

“And to think I thought Hazel was a bitch. Friendly and loyal, like a well-trained female dog herunterladen. She isn’t a bitch. She’s a meanie pants.”

30 Rock, “What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?” (Season 6, episode 22)

The part about being “well-trained” aside – ambitious and outspoken, bitches are anything but – I’d say that this is pretty spot on small basic herunterladen. Given that the observation comes from the “backward hick” character – famous for his nonsensical, fundamentalist Christian / quaint agrarian brand of “wisdom” – I’m not sure whether the audience is supposed agree herunterladen. Whatever. Some of my best friends are bitches. Exhibit A: Mags, above, sunbathing on a copy of Bitch magazine.

On related note, this little tidbit from Texts from Last Night – re-purposed for Texts from the X-Files – also made me smile listening game children download.


For those who can’t view the image, it’s still of Dana Scully speaking to another woman; her back is turned to the camera, so I can’t identify her, but she’s a tallish brunette mp3 downloaden legal. The texts reads, “(716): I’d call her a cunt, but she doesn’t seem to have the depth or warmth.”

The moral of the story herunterladen? Bitches and cunts are awesome.

Book Review: White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, Aaron Bobrow-Strain (2012)

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

American Dreamz (of “Good” Food)

four out of five stars

Note: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.

When is bread just bread? After reading White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf by Aaron Bobrow-Strain (2012), you’ll realize that the answer to this deceptively simple question is likely “almost never.”

Tied as it is to issues of class, race, gender, and nativism, the history of bread – which types of bread are considered the healthiest, which are the most patriotic and “American,” what methods of preparation are considered safest, which loaves are most valued by the affluent, etc kostenlos hill climb racing herunterladen. – reflects changing social mores as much as (or perhaps even more so than) it does evolving culinary tastes. Focusing on recent American history – the past 150 years, give or take a few decades – Bobrow-Strain doesn’t so much trace the history of bread as he does examine how trends in bread consumption reflect deeper cultural ideas, fears, and ideals. Accordingly, the book is divided into six primary chapters, each dedicated to a different “bread dreams,” namely: purity and contagion; control and abundance; health and discipline; strength and defense; peace and security; and resistance and status android q herunterladen.

The mass production of (the titular) white bread in factories, for example, was initially celebrated as a safe, scientific, and superior way of delivering bread to the masses, in a time when women were otherwise tied to the kitchen and many small, family-owned bakeries were run from unsanitary basement kitchens characterized by brutal working conditions. Now derided as “white trash” food – ironically, in part due to its success and ubiquity – industrial white bread was once considered a healthier, more sanitary, even elite alternative to home-baked, locally bought, and whole wheat breads lidl herunterladen. Oh, how the times have changed! Or not. What comes around goes around – America’s current love of freshly made artisan breads harkens back to the 1800s and earlier, before bread was made by robots and procured in giant grocery chains.

So too has the maxim of “knowing where your food comes from” changed with the times. Prior to the industrial revolution, this meant getting to know your local bread baker (and, more importantly, his kitchen) – or, preferably, having mom bake all the family’s bread from scratch instagram entwurf herunterladen. (No small feat when one considers that bread has long been a dietary staple: from the 1850s though the 1950s, Americans got an average of 25-30% of their calories from bread. While this figure began to dip in the 1960s, it tends to rise in times of war and recession, particularly among the poor.) Later on, “knowing where your food comes from” was presented as a benefit of buying industrial white bread produced by faceless bakery conglomerates – an idea that seems laughable to the modern consumer why you can't all movies on netflix.

White Bread is an engaging look at a foodstuff that, until now, hadn’t received its proper due. Recent condemnations of industrial bread aside, historical and scholarly accounts of bread’s history have mostly been lacking; with this engaging, meticulously researched, and passionate tome, Bobrow-Strain fills in the void. Especially useful to food activists, the lessons found in White Bread are important ones:

Thanks to an explosion of politically charged food writing and reporting that began in the late 1990s, members of the alternative food movement have access to a great deal of information about why and how the food system needs to change herunterladen. Much less is known about the successes and failures of such efforts in the past. Even less is known about the rich world of attachments, desires, aspirations, and anxieties that define America’s relation to the food system as it is.

The history of bread in America provides countless illuminating examples of how national crusades for “better” food (however you define it: safer, healthier, cheaper, etc.), while well-intentioned, often draw upon and feed into harmful stereotypes and work to perpetuate the very oppression and inequalities they seek to eradicate pinnacle studio kostenlosen vollversion. Food must be taken in context: everything’s related. Food justice, feminism, worker’s rights, racial equality, immigration, environmentalism (not to mention, nonhuman animals and veganism) – intersectionality is the word of the day.

So why the 4-star rating? Exhausted by the bald speciesism found in so many books written by non-vegan environmentalists (culminating in the particularly awful Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage), I promised myself that I’d stop requesting such items from Library Thing, no matter how much they might interest me herunterladen. While I expected that meat might make an appearance in White Bread – a status symbol, the consumption of animal flesh has long been linked with class, gender, and race – I didn’t anticipate that the author would be a former intern on a “kinder,” “gentler,” “sustainable” beef ranch. Bobrow-Strain peppers the book with anecdotes about his time as a purveyor of “happy meat,” grass-fed beef, and raw milk – all of which is presented as a “radical” new way of looking at food ms office kostenloser. Uh, yeah, not so much. Exploiting animals? That’s just business as usual. But rethinking who is on our plate, and why? Now that’s extreme. (Such bold proclamations bring to mind Red Lobster’s latest ad campaign: “We Sea Food Differently.” If by “differently” you mean “exactly the same.”)

And yet, the closest we get to any mention of veganism is Sylvester Graham, the 19th century Presbyterian minister and food reformer who advocated vegetarianism, temperance, and a return to “natural” foods as a means of achieving physical and moral superiority herunterladen. Unfortunately, his vision of a simpler life was predicated on the genocide of indigenous peoples and the enforcement of rigid gender roles; and, in blaming the poor for their ills and ignoring larger social structures, his philosophy was classist as well. Not that I blame Bobrow-Strain for presenting this critique of “the father of American vegetarianism.” Quite the contrary: it’s essential for vegan activists to recognize, acknowledge, and overcome past wrongs – many of which are still in operation today. But in all his waxing sentimental about animal exploitation – on a book ostensibly written about bread – it’s especially irritating that an oblique discussion of Graham’s vegetarianism is the best – indeed, the only – counter to the oppression, violence, and waste that is animal agriculture. Slow, local, organic, and healthy foods – all receive their due. And veganism? Apparently that’s so radical a notion it’s not even worth mentioning. (But yeah, vegans are the ones always shoving their opinions down the throats of unsuspecting omnivores. Riiiight.)

While I think there’s a lot that vegans can take away from this book, the speciesism is at once asinine and infuriating. If you think you can handle it, by all means.

Read with: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy (2010).

2012-05-08 - White Bread - 0002

A page from White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
by Aaron Bobrow-Strain (2012)
Chapter 6: How White Bread Became White Trash; Dreams of Resistance and Status
“You’re scum, you’re fucking white bread.”
– David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross


(This review is also available on Library Thing, Amazon, and Goodreads. Please click on over and vote me helpful if you’re so inclined, mkay? I have a sneaking suspicion that this piece won’t prove especially popular on Amazon.)

Book Review: Good Bones and Simple Murders, Margaret Atwood (1994)

Monday, May 7th, 2012

2012-04-26 - Good Bones & Simple Murders - 0003

Look who dropped in during my reading of “Cold-Blooded” herunterladen!

“The good bones are in here.”

four out of five stars

I snagged a used copy of Good Bones and Simple Murders (Margaret Atwood, 1994) on Amazon, whilst shopping around for some of Atwood’s older novels herunterladen. A slim collection of short stories and poetry, Good Bones is an eclectic mix, with illustrations by the author peppered throughout. The stories cover a little bit of everything: fantasy, mystery, science fiction, speculative fiction, feminism, rape culture, gender wars, dating, death – you name it snagit deutsch kostenlos.

Many of the pieces are hit and miss; my favorites are the scifi stories that hinge on an environmental or animal-friendly theme:

– “Cold-Blooded” – An alien race of matriarchal moth people visit planet earth – or as they call it, “The Planet of the Moths,” a nickname owing to the fact that their moth cousins outnumber us by billions – and find humans sorely lacking in both culture and intelligence;

2012-04-26 - Good Bones & Simple Murders - 0008

“To my sisters, the Iridescent Ones, the Egg-Bearers, the Many-Faceted, greetings from the Planet of the Moths.” A page from “Cold-Blooded,” which also appears in In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011) ringtones for free iphone.

– “My Life As a Bat” – A series of reflections on the narrator’s past life as a bat, including a disturbing (and, as it just so happens, true) anecdote about WWII-era experiments in which bats were made into unwitting suicide bombers;

– “Hardball” – A piece of dystopian speculative fiction in which humans, having decimated their environment, have retreated to live under a giant dome kan sonos app niet downloaden. Since space is limited, the population must be kept in check: for every birth, one person is chosen to die via a lottery. Care to guess what becomes of the remains herunterladen?

Also enjoyable are those stories which reimagine classic literature: “Gertrude Talks Back” gives voice to Hamlet’s long-suffering mother, and “Unpopular Gals” and “Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women” celebrates those villains and “airheads” without which fairy tales would not exist herunterladen.

2012-04-26 - Good Bones & Simple Murders - 0012

“He’s a carnivore, you’re a vegetarian download the image editing program free of charge. That’s what you have to get over.”
– page 84, “Liking Men”

While at times difficult to read, “Liking Men” is another standout; this is the piece that deals with sexual assault, vis à vis a woman’s journey back to coping with – and even loving – men (or rather, one man in particular) again after her rape heart image.

A must for fans of Margaret Atwood!

(Is there a nickname for us, like HDM’s Sraffies motorrad spiele kostenlos downloaden? Atwolytes, maybe? Mad Adams and Angry Eves?)

PS – Dear Margaret: Fishes are indeed animals.

2012-04-26 - Good Bones & Simple Murders - 0020

“My eyes are situated in my head, which also possesses two small holes for the entrance and exit of air, the invisible fluid we swim in, and one larger hole, equipped with bony protuberances called teeth, by means of which I destroy and assimilate certain parts of my surroundings and change them into my self. This is called eating. The things I eat include roots, berries, nuts, fruits, leaves, and the muscle tissues of various animals and fish. Sometimes I eat their brains and glands as well. I do not as a rule eat insects, grubs, eyeballs, or the snouts of pigs [what, no hotdogs? – ed.], though these are eaten with relish in other countries.” – page 133, “Homelanding”

Can we please stop pretending otherwise? xoxo – A vegan feminist fan.

(Crossposted on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote me helpful if you think it so!)

Book Review: A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends, Stacy Bierlein (2012)

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Enjoy it: poolside with a glass of wine and your BFF telefunken netflix herunterladen.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

I don’t always read fiction – but when I do, I almost always read science fiction and horror web herunterladen. (Think: Margaret Atwood, Maureen F. McHugh, Philip Pullman, and Stephen King.) Stacy Bierlein’s A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends, then, is well outside my comfort zone herunterladen. I requested it through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program, thinking it would make for light, entertaining summer reading. Spoiler alert! I won it, and it did lied aus internet herunterladen.

The common thread linking the fourteen essays in this anthology is, ostensibly, sex and relationships. However, these also function as a jumping-off points from which to explore a variety of other topics, such as loss, grief, friendship, and self-expression kostenlos word excel powerpoint downloaden. (As elucidated by the author in the Reader’s Guide, which is primarily comprised of an interview with Bierlein.) With the sole exception of “Ten Reasons Not to Sleep with a Poet,” I found all the stories enjoyable how can I download photos from icloud. “Three Naked Men,” “Linguistics,” and “Where it Starts” in particular are standouts. (I quite liked the reverse timeline in “Where it Starts,” even if it proved confusing at first real racing 3 kostenlos herunterladen. Bierlein describes herself as someone who “write[s] and think[s] in fragments” – and the nonlinear quality these stories is part of their charm, I think.)

Even so, I had trouble relating to many of Bierlein’s characters, all of whom tend to be heterosexual, cissexual, middle- to upper-class (many with seemingly unlimited disposable income, and residing in large cities on the East or West coast), and (apparently) white herunterladen. This lack of diversity will no doubt turn some readers off.

Bonus points because: Bierlein self-identifies as a feminist.

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads computer spiele kostenlos downloaden. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

shit MANarchists say

Sunday, January 29th, 2012
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A few gems:

“I know he sexually assaulted someone but he does really good work.”

“That’s just some relationship drama brenner kostenlos herunterladen. I’m not taking sides!”

“My last partner didn’t shave her legs. I really supported her.”

“With your hair pulled back like that, you really look like Frida Kahlo herunterladen. I’d be honored to sleep with you tonight.”


Book Review: The Believing Brain, Michael Shermer (2011)

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We Want to Believe!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free advanced review copy of this book through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

I requested a copy of Michael Shermer’s The Believing Brain through Library Thing’s Earlier Reviewer program on behalf of my husband, who – as a fellow libertarian skeptic – is a huge fan of Shermer’s work eps file download for free. (I’m also a skeptic and an atheist, but economically liberal – so still a fan, but not nearly as much as he!) In addition to owning most of Shermer’s books, he even had the good fortune to interview Shermer for his podcast, The Libertarian Dime, a few years back (during the Amazing Meeting, natch!). So he was rather enthusiastic when we snagged a review copy and it arrived in the mail a few weeks later. Busy as he was at work, it then sat around for a few months, gathering dust, until I finally picked it up and started leafing through…and quickly became engrossed sicherung aus google drive herunterladen.

The basic premise of The Believing Brain is that people form beliefs, and then the explanations for these beliefs follow. (Which is exactly the opposite of how things “should” work – or the opposite of how we’d like to think our rational human minds function, anyhow.) Far from being logical, unbiased, free-thinking agents, we are instead driven by minds that function as “belief engines,” designed by evolution to see patterns in the world – whether real or imagined – and to infuse them with meaning. Thus, beliefs are formed, and the (selective) gathering of (supporting) evidence is secondary. Of course, Shermer’s thesis is much more complicated than this, and draws from the fields of psychology and neurobiology, with a heavy emphasis on behavioral neuroscience (biopsychology) and evolutionary psychology de sims mobile downloaden. (Shermer has a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology and a doctorate in the history of science.) He cites a wealth of evidence to support his argument, including research examining the link between activity in different areas of the brain and the propensity to believe in pseudoscience, superstitions, conspiracy theories and other forms of “bunk.” (The book includes a generous, twenty-three page appendix.)

The Believing Brain is divided into four parts. Part I, “Journeys of Belief,” features profiles of skeptics-turned-believers and believers-turned-skeptics, including Shermer himself. Though perhaps unnecessary (the book does clock in at almost 400 pages, after all!), this is a nice, light read, and helps to guide the reader into the meat of the book: Part II, “The Biology of Belief,” which introduces the topics of patternicity and agenicity and discusses how the brain, through neural activity, is involved in each herunterladen. Part III shows these principles in action: belief in the afterlife, god, aliens and conspiracies all serve as examples of false beliefs preceding valid evidence. Finally, we see in Part IV how beliefs manifest in politics, and how a whole host of biases (e.g., confirmation, self-justification, attribution, sunk-cost and status quo, to name a few) help to trick our minds into believing that we are almost always right (and, conversely, those who disagree with us are almost always wrong) 3d graphics program for free. (Those who’ve ever taken a social psychology course will find “Confirmations of Belief” reassuringly familiar.) Lastly, In “Geographies of Belief” and “Cosmologies of Belief,” Shermer illustrates how popular beliefs evolve over time, and positively so through the application of science and the scientific method.

Though I mostly enjoyed The Believing Brain, I do have a few quibbles. Since his thesis draws so heavily upon evolutionary psychology, I would have liked for Shermer to have at least acknowledged some of the criticisms of the field herunterladen. Additionally, while the research discussed in The Believing Brain suggests that not all of the variations in belief can be attributed to biological factors – for example, environmental and social factors may also play also a role – Shermer doesn’t seem to want to touch either with a ten-foot pole! I found myself especially frustrated by one of the book’s parting chapters, “Cosmologies of Belief,” which draws upon the history of cosmology to demonstrate how beliefs can be changed music from yt. Since all of my knowledge about space and time comes from Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica, I found myself struggling to understand the science in the chapter; science in action became the forest to cosmology’s trees. A more widely understood topic might make this chapter more accessible to a wider audience.

My biggest complaint, however, is perhaps the most minor of them all (well, “minor” inasmuch as it occupies the least space – less than a page, to be exact) samsung tv apps kostenlosen deutsch. Early on, in his introduction on patternicity, Shermer singles out celebrities Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey in order to chastise them for their crusade against vaccinations (supposedly because of their link to autism). My problem isn’t with the scolding – it’s well-deserved – but with how Shermer goes about it. He describes a 2009 Autism Awareness Day episode of Larry King Live: on one side of the debate, medical researchers medion fitness app downloaden. “On the other side of the table were the actor Jim Carrey and his ex-Playboy bunny partner Jenny McCarthy.” Not only is this an ad hominem attack (they’re celebrities! so they must be stupid and ill-informed!) and appeal to authority (misguided at best, given how Shermer spends the next 300 pages demonstrating how we’re all subject to irrational, misguided beliefs, education be damned), but in describing McCarthy as an “ex-Playboy bunny” – instead of an actress, comedian, or (more generally) a celebrity or entertainer – he engages in a pernicious, subtle bit of slut-shaming as well kann man itunes kostenlos downloaden. Not only is she vacuous and gullible like her partner the actor – but she takes her clothes off for money, to boot! (The horror of it all!) Reductive and sexist. I nearly quit reading the book after choking on this tripe, but pushed on and am happy to report that it’s an anomaly. Still, I hope Shermer revises his choice of words in future editions of the book. (Mine is an ARC.)

Anyhow, given the complexity of the subject matter, it’s helpful if you have some background in biopsychology; while Shermer does a good enough job of explaining the basics of neural communication, I found myself pulling out my old college textbook for extra help (and especially illustrations!). Even so, The Believing Brain is an engaging – if not always easy and breezy – read for the layperson. Methinks this book will appeal most to those in the skeptical/atheist community, as well as those interested in popular psychology books.

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

Book Review: The Sex Doll: A History, Anthony Ferguson (2010)

Monday, July 11th, 2011

More accurately titled “The Sex Doll: Its Origins and Functions”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free advanced review copy of this book through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

Upon requesting this title from Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program, I was nervous that author Anthony Ferguson’s discussion of sex dolls would present a view largely uncritical of these increasingly popular sexual aids and, more importantly, their owners/users. (So much so that I was actually relieved when the first copy was lost in the mail!) Happily, Ferguson (a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association – a detail that seems only slightly less odd in light of chapter eleven, which turns to dolls as a common trope in the horror genre!) manages to outline the potential anti-feminist implications of sex dolls while retaining empathy for (at least some of) their users filmeen netflix mac. All in all, the book manages to find middle ground, even if it is at times shaky.

THE SEX DOLL: A HISTORY might be more accurately titled “The Sex Doll: Its Origins and Functions,” as there’s more theory than fact in this volume. By Ferguson’s own admission, the history of sex dolls is somewhat sketchy – which is wholly unsurprising given society’s conservative and oftentimes oppressive attitudes toward sex and sexuality herunterladen. Sex dolls present an added complication, as Western religions have historically regarded lifelike representations of the human form (i.e. dolls) with suspicion and distrust. Thus, Ferguson relies less on the historical record and more on the theories and conjectures of philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and ethicists, seemingly indiscriminately and with mixed results tv now inhalte herunterladen.

While some of the views represented are intriguing (in particular, I’m keen to read David Levy’s LOVE + SEX WITH ROBOTS after seeing several excerpts in THE SEX DOLL), others are nonsensical, offensive, and downright misogynistic. Colin Wilson, for example, is paraphrased as saying that “a subverted worship of women” drives men to rape (WTF!); elsewhere, Ferguson himself extols the “value of war in pre-technological societies as a means of channeling masculine aggression” (never you mind that physical and sexual violence against women is nearly universal, or that rape is commonly used as a weapon of war; also, gender essentialism much?) wie kann man iphone musik herunterladen. Naturally, erstwhile misogynist Sigmund Freud and his sex-obsessed, woman-hating theories litter every chapter.

Likewise, the words Ferguson chooses are sometimes problematic. For example, he uses the terms “transgender” and “she-male” interchangeably, the latter being widely regarded as a derogatory slur within the trans community battle to Middle-Earth legally. Additionally, instances of rape are often referred to using variations on the phrase “had sex with,” implying consent where there is none. (“With” suggests that the sex is a mutually shared experience, which is not the case in rape. In this vein, it’s erroneous to say that one “has sex with” a sex doll, since a doll as an inanimate object cannot consent to the experience. In this case, “masturbate with” is more accurate.)

In chapter seven, “Sex Doll Stereotypes,” Ferguson analyzes sex dolls – objectified, silent and subservient (representations of) women, the “perfect” partners, if you will – in relation to their human counterparts, namely sex workers such as prostitutes and pornographic actors, as well as other sexually exploitable women, including mail order brides and mistresses foto's van google foto's downloaden. Since each of these topics could easily fill its own volume, the discussion is necessarily brief and lacking in nuance. Rather than add to my understanding of sex dolls, I found this chapter in particular a distraction.

Perhaps the greatest missed opportunity comes in chapter eight, “The Vagaries of Masculine Desire,” in which Ferguson lets “doll users speak.” Whereas a demographic/psychological survey of doll users would have been incredibly enlightening – who are these people and why and how do they choose to use sex dolls herunterladen? – Ferguson instead presents us with a Q&A involving just five respondents. It’s rather obvious that Ferguson hand-picked these individuals in order to represent the spectrum of users: they run the gamut, from a single, older disabled man who’s heavily emotionally invested in his dolls, to a sexually active younger man who regards them as just one of many sexual outlets at his disposal. Curiously, two of the subjects – or a full 40% – of the respondents are women, which must surely be out of whack with the actual statistics. (Although we’ll never know, as Ferguson doesn’t offer any such numbers.) Since women are otherwise absent his discussion (Ferguson almost solely focuses on male users of female dolls), their inclusion here is doubly puzzling application child surcharge.

Ferguson is at his best when looking at representations of sex dolls in popular culture, as he does in chapters ten and eleven (“Do Androids Dream of Electric Orgasm?” and “Revulsion, Lust and Love,” respectively). His discussion of sex dolls and gynoids (female robots) in literature, film, television, music and art is by far the most engaging section of THE SEX DOLL – although his omission of the Cylons in the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reboot is disappointing at best bea signature certificate. (Particularly since it’s in these chapters that Ferguson introduces the question of human-robot love and marriage. Caprica Six! Athena! Hera!) Additionally, while the Terminator franchise is mentioned in brief, Ferguson fails to examine the evolving representations of the cyborgs in this realm; i.e., the possibility of a romantic and sexual relationship with a terminator is only raised when the female cyborg Cameron is introduced in THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. This observation might have provided a nice window into the gender dynamics of sex dolls, and how they’re reflected in popular culture.

Ultimately, THE SEX DOLL concludes that the uses and functions of sex dolls are as varied as are the men who utilize them herunterladen. For some men, a sex doll represents the “perfect” partner: silent, non-responsive, subservient, powerless, never aging, changing or evolving. For others, a doll is merely a sexual outlet: safe, both physically and psychologically, affordable (perhaps), convenient. It might be just one of many sex toys a man utilizes, or it could be more: a willing companion to socially isolated men. Whatever the case, the fact that feminized sex dolls are visual representations of women – real, flesh and blood women – cannot be escaped:

“Given that sex dolls are as of now still inanimate objects, they are understandably treated as lacking autonomy, and yet they represent real women and are utilized as substitutes for real women. Despite the fact that some sex doll owners seem to treat their dolls with affection and anthropomorphize them, it is the dolls’ inability to respond, react or reject which most attracts men. This objectification is mirrored historically in the treatment of women, the ‘thing’ most dolls represent.” (Chapter six, page 81, “Consumable Women”)

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

furkid friday: dogs and books (and books about dogs)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Today we have an extra-special furkid friday/Shout Out two-fer! (Dogs and books, books and dogs; throw in pizza and netflix, and that’s all you really need in life, amirite folks?) I even redesigned the old Colbert Report SHOUT OUT netflix app herunterladen windows! graphic for the occasion!


Animated gifs, they’re all the rage cursus excel 2016 gratis downloaden. Alas, I was lazy and in a hurry and only used four frames for this one, so it’s a bit choppy. But still, animated Stephen! Times two!

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The props go to Columbia University Press, which kindly sent me a copy of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film by Anat Pick, a senior lecturer in film and program leader for film and video: theory and practice at the University of East London epson scan free chip. From the book’s back cover:

Exploring the “logic of flesh” and the use of the body to mark species identity, Anat Pick reimagines a poetics that begins with the vulnerability of bodies, not the omnipotence of thought radio fx kostenlos. Pick proposes a “creaturely” approach based on the shared embodiedness of humans and animals and a postsecular perspective on human-animal relations sap multiple files. She turns to literature, film, and other cultural texts, challenging the familiar inventory of the human: consciousness, language, morality, and dignity am handy bilder herunterladen. Elaborating on such themes as witnessing, commemoration, and collective memory, Pick identifies the animal within all humans, emphasizing the corporeal and its issues of power and freedom foto herunterladen android. Through her poetics of the creaturely, powerlessness is the point at which aesthetic and ethical thinking must begin.

This looks like an interesting read for those concerned with how portrayals of nonhumans in pop culture – literature, film, television – both reflect and inform societal attitudes and ethics towards our fellow sentient beings wie kann ich bei netflix filmeen. (In other words, me!) If you’d like to learn more, check out the book’s listing on Columbia University Press herunterladen.

I tried my best to snap a photo of Peedee and/or O-Ren with Creaturely Poetics – mock reading it, or some such other cutesy silliness – but neither was feeling very cooperative motorroutes downloaden garmin. (Too hot!)

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That’s okay, though; truth be told, I wasn’t trying that hard anyway. (TOO HOT! Seriously, have I mentioned how hot it’s been lately? We’re looking at a week of 90 degree weather with 70%+ humidity. Ick!)

(More below the fold…)