Every. Damn. Month.
Every. Damn. Month.
My new favorite thing on the internet.
1. “Ever since Hello Kitty came out and said she wasn’t a cat, I’ve been up all night questioning my OWN catdom.”
If you want a copy of the Disorientation Guide (my review), you can now download it!
I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn
I have a sister I love and hate and miss so I was interested to see what was up with this sister pair. The older lover/hater/misser sister has it harder than me, that’s for sure. I didn’t particularly relate to Sohane’s difficulties with Djelila to my love, hatred and longing for my sister Susan, even if the emotions are the same.
The sisters Algerian-French Muslim project dwellers. If you’ll recall, France passed a law banning headscarves, as religious symbols. There’s a subtheme about Sohane’s desire to express herself, feminism and France’s law, but the story is meant to be mostly about the consequences of Djelila’s desire to do and wear what she likes. Yep, both sisters get punished for trying to be themselves.
Disorientation Guide: Columbia 2014 by a coalition of student groups
I’ll add this to the Barnard Zine Library ASAP, since it makes an excellent reference for life and politics at Barnumbia, as the authors refer to Barnard and Columbia. These highlights from the table of contents say it all:
Columbia: a Brief (Colonialist) History
Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker! The Columbia Student Strike of 1968
Smiles and Lies: Tips for Dealing with Your Administration
Columbia, Capitalism and You
Business as Usual: the Prison Industrial Complex and Columbia
Manhattanville Rises: Gentrification and Columbia
Red Tape Won’t Cover up Rape: Sexual Assault and Columbia
Womanhood and Women’s Colleges: the Trans* Reality at Barnard
On “Leaning In” and Corporate Feminism
Advice for First Years: Words of Wisdom from Proud Colors
This dis guide is the product of a collaboration between political groups focusing on socialism, environmentalism, race, gender, labor, justice in Palestine, etc. The authors are aware of their Ivy privilege and address it in the introduction:
Being a dissenting student is a compromising position. While you are here protesting for humane treatment of workers on campus, you are still benefitting from Columbia’s abusive employment of that labor. … For many of us, however, this dissonance is a place from which to exercise our privilege to undo the systems that we object to, including the ones responsible for our privilege. It is better that we struggle for what is good, at the risk of being called hypocrites, than by supporting the far deeper hypocrisies that institutions like Columbia engage in everyday.
You can get a copy at any of the group’s events, listed on their Facebook page. They shared a digital master with me, so I can also get you a copy.
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
This epistolary novel would have been a great Tumblr, but book, even though it’s funny, the meanness and general jerkitude of its main character is wearing.
The novel is comprised of letters of recommendation from creative writing professor Jason Fitger, a superior but witty crank, who apparently isn’t the best judge of his students’ writing, or how to get along with his (ex-)partners.
The academic stuff is dead on, and infuriating, like a sociologist being put in charge of the English department and the English department basically being shat upon in favor of more lucrative departments. There’s also a thing about the Slavic Languages department getting dismantled that hit close to home.
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
It took over a year for NYPL to fill my hold on this sucker, so it’s a bummer that I felt “meh” about it and that because it’s now Labor Day weekend I can’t return it so NYPL can speed it on to the next of 22 fools in line for it. (I saw fools because there are only five holds on four copies of the paperback. What?)
Part of my problem with the book is its unappealing heroine, Lee Fiora. It’s weird how good Sittenfeld is with emotionally true characters, but that you don’t really give a fuck about happens to them. (See my review of Sisterland.) If Prep were fifty pages shorter I might not have gotten to the point where I stopped liking the book.
One thing I’ll give Sittenfeld, it’s a great portrait of why unpopular kids are unpopular.
shag: Cross (but no BJ)
congrats to my faves
So Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are officially married. Good for them, I guess. Or whatever. There have been downsides to this story since before time began (translation: since before I was born), and it is still legitimate to be Team Aniston and not care about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s ring bearer outfit. So let’s just do that, America.
Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr
Michelle, called Mike or Mikey by her grandfather is a mixed race kid recently transplanted from Japan to Deerhorn, Wisconsin. It’s the 1970s and “that business in Boston” (busing) is regarded with hostile indignation. Michelle’s grandparents are no different, routinely in conversations with vets who refer fondly to killing gooks in country. It’s like they don’t even see that Michelle is of color, too. The rest of the town does, though. 9-year-old Michelle is routinely beaten up and her school locker vandalized.
The heat is taken off Michelle when a Black couple moves to town. Mrs. Garrett is a nurse at the clinic and Mr. Garrett a fifth grade teacher. The horror. Seriously. People stop sending their kids to school and are appalled that poor people are forced to get treated by a [n word].
Terrible things happen in this book, so be advised. I predicted one of the terrible things almost from the beginning, and though it was overshadowed by a worse thing, it’s the thing that made me the saddest. (When you read it, you’ll know what I mean, and maybe think I’m a heartless jerk.)
I read this shortly after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, so this sentence had even more weight than it might have otherwise: :…he showed me something that I should have known already—that in America, in 1974 and even today, blood does not run thicker than color.”
Michelle’s grandfather, Charlie LeBeau is a complex character, as loving and kind as he is thoughtlessly racist and loyal to his monster of a BFF. The reader may not let him off the hook, but Michelle continues to love him, and I appreciate that about her.
Finished August 19
Yeahno. We’re pro radical kill-all-mouse-toys tumblr catriarchy dog tears cat poop feminism.