Links of Great Interest: Try thinking, feeling, speaking, and LiSTENiNG with empathy.

TallyCola reviews How to Train Your Dragon.

An elderly gay couple who’d been together for like 20 yrs were forcibly separated by the state in Sonoma County. Their things — the things they collected over a LIFETIME OF LOVE — were auctioned off, as was their house. How deeply tragic.

Tayari Jones suggest authors try writing with empathy.

Neil Gaiman fail: what do you MEAN “a few dead Indians?” Oh, I get it. You said something racist but it shouldn’t be called that. My B!

Remember how angry I was at Sherry Jones’ books on A’isha? I was PISSED she cited Fatema Mernessi as a source, too, since the final products reflected very little engagement with Muslim feminisms. Here’s a little sample of how awesome Fatema Mernessi is.

RecumbantGoat analyzes the reviews of Death at a Funeral.

Hey, did you know? Giving birth to your rapist’s baby is a sign you’ve won!! Victory lap with placenta FTW!

Dorothy Heights, a civil rights pioneer, died on Tuesday. Dude, her, Wilma Mankiller… who’s on third?

Dressing professionally means hiding your naughty tattoed girly bits, you WHORE.


  1. says

    We had to read Fatima Mernissi in my class on Orientalism, and she’s really awesome. Perhaps it’s the translation, but it’s so very accessible. Scheherazade Goes West (which I believe this chapter is quoted from but I’ve packed my books away) is an amazing piece showing how differently stories are handled by men and women, East and West.

  2. Ray says

    The “So You Want to Look Like a Professional” checklist contains all sorts of fail, but my personal favorite:

    “Do not wear your engagement ring if it is large because it may anger your women interviewers and cause jealousy (and perhaps rage).”

    That’s right! Other women will see that you have dared to have a career AND landed a man, and they will be BLINDED BY RAGE!

  3. says

    I can’t imagine that if an elderly man was abusing his wife, the county would auction off all her belongings and his. That… maybe there’s truth to the abuse allegations, but it doesn’t add up to the county’s behavior. In fact, “California counties are dangerously broke” plus “hey, look, opportunity to seize and auction stuff!” is the only way I can get this to add up.

    OMG, thanks for the Tayari Jones link! That so explains why I get the feeling some writers just don’t get human beings, and that’s what’s missing in their writing.

    You know, what Neil Gaiman initially said induced a cringe, but we’ve all got some privilege issues, and I can certainly imagine saying something regrettable when flustered by a reporter. A sincere mea culpa would’ve fixed it and probably won him some more fans. Instead, he went on the defensive.

    LOL, I’ve got an article scheduled to run next week on the link.

  4. Charles RB says

    In fairness, while Gaiman hasn’t apologised for priviledge issues and getting defensive about that, he has apologised for having a go and de facto aiming fans at people.

  5. JMS says

    I have been an advocate for victims of domestic violence, and I have never heard of “sell both parties’ possessions” as an intervention before now. Yes, if there are allegations of violence or abuse, finding separate placements for the two seniors is good practice; selling their shit is not.

  6. Charles RB says

    That part wasn’t the intervention – that part, they’re saying they sold the men’s possessions to pay for the care homes. AFAIK that is a regular practice, which doesn’t make it any dodgier when neither man was in a position to collect anything before it was sold.

  7. says

    The asset and forfeiture laws in the US can be really fucked up. So I think that’s certainly an issue in the case, but whether or not it’s because of teh gay… I’m not sure.

    Why How to Train your Dragon is Awesome – and why it isn’t: It’s awesome because with the vikings, women go to war with the men and nobody talks about it. It’s normal. Just like it’s normal that the guy who lost both his hand and his foot in battle is the chief’s right-hand man and gets to fight, as well (after he exchanged his beer stein prosthesis for an axe). And, of course, Toothless the Dragon is a disabled dragon that gets to fly with a prosthesis made by our hero. (SPOILER)Also, in the end, said hero loses a foot and still gets the girl(SPOILER END)

    So aside from being funny and exciting, aside from having great animation (and awesome, awesome dragon design), and aside from having not a single fart joke nor current pop song – the film matter-of-factly integrates women and the disabled into society. You might argue for a racial angle with the dragons, as well, but since the dragons turn out to be more like cats than people, I wouldn’t stretch it too far.

    Still, what’s a Hollywood film where everything’s perfect? Yeah, wishful thinking. The hero, hiccup, lost his mother (she’s only spoken of in a single scene) and has a traditional father-son-relationship problem. I wish they’d made a woman into the chief and if they had, they might even have passed the Bechdel test. As it stands, there are two prominent female characters, but I don’t think they ever talk to each other.

    And, of course, the love interest looks too thin to be such a fearsome warrior, and aside from being a great warrior she’s only there to fall for the hero and cheer him on. Hiccup, meanwhile, gets to ride the “best” dragon of all, a Night Fury (though I enjoyed the more colorful other dragons much more).

    In the end, teamwork, engineering and empathy manage to save the day and change the viking society for the better, and that’s awesome. And the film is great fun. If only Astrid would have been more in line with the rest. Still a great film, though.

  8. says

    I also thought the gigantic weak point in the movie was Astrid, unfortunately. She was the least well-rounded character of the bunch– she doesn’t even get a moment to explain why she is so competitive/needs to be the best in Dragon Training. If Astrid’d had similar issues with her father/parents/society re:usefulness at dragon-slaying, there would have at least been something to talk about. Or if she disliked Hiccup because she thought he was a coward, and realized he’s actually very brave, but doesn’t express it in the traditional dragon-stabby way; or if she was just very into battle/honor/glory/etc.; there were so many opportunities to make Astrid have a bigger role. As it is, I didn’t care about her by the end of the movie. But everything else was so wonderful!! Even at the very end, when SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER Hiccup loses his foot /SPOILER I thought that that was the point that pushed the movie from Very Good to Great, honestly (and I initially thought the article was going to be about the lack of ableism, which is always nice). How to Train Your Dragon and Kung-Fu Panda I think are the best things Dreamworks has done.

    Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman are both incredibly annoying, privileged people who I don’t think I would get along with in real life. Tacking a sarcastic quasipology to people from Iceland and Norway at the end of his “I’m-sorry-if-you-find-that-offensive” statement is a DOUCHEBAG MOVE, right out of the DOUCHEBAG PLAYBOOK. I still like some of his books, though, even if I prefer Pratchett.

    The school article sounds like it’s right out of a Chick tract. And, oddly, in line with the attitudes of the Chicago Bar’s idea of “What Not to Wear.” Huh. Repression ahoy!

    In that vein, I really enjoyed the Fatema Mernessi link. It gave me the impression that making/designing your own clothes becomes a revolutionary act in the west via the reclamation of social space and status as determined by fashion. Refusing to disappear all the way to the tailor, baby! I know that wasn’t the whole point of the article, but I’ve been trolling craftster lately… I also really like the Tayari Jones blog entry.

  9. Jen says

    For the next links…?
    here’s an article from the independent newspaper called : Will powerful women please stop saying, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’

    (not that I really care if Tory politicians say they are feminist or not, cos they are all arsehole conservatives anyway, really these women shouldn’t even be supporting Tory policies, almost as confusing as when black or gay people support the Tories…)

    anyway, she makes some great points in the article, but I would like to see them examine when strong female pop-stars let us down in this way.

  10. Robin says

    The Death at a Funeral review was really interesting. I hadn’t planned to see it because I liked the original so much, but I may have to rethink that position. My biggest reservations against the American version are James Marsden in the role originated by the incomparable Alan Tudyk (no one does wacky like Alan), and Tracy Morgan who I just find off-putting in ways that I have yet to successfully articulate. The rest of the cast looks good, though, so I’ll put it on my list of things to keep an eye out for at the local second-run theater. (These days I only pay first-run price for a select few actiony things once every couple of months. Perils of a non-profit salary.)

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