Links of Great Interest 2/19/10

HAHAHAHAHA. There. I lol’d.

In other news: Barbie programs computers, designs pink laptop.

What are your favorite author-blogs? I really get a kick out of peeking into the writing process, particularly since you can get a sense of how the authors are approaching their female characters and how that’s embedded in their everyday life. LJ Smith, for example, sympathizes with the kinds of relationships her female high school characters have with each other, and talks about them gently. Plus, she acknowledges that high school can be a hard time, but it’s not totally filled with Mean Girls out to get you. There are the female friends you go to for defense as well. LKH, on the other hard, pretty consistently dismisses other women, something that comes up in her fiction a lot. If you’ve read Anita Blake or Merry Gentry books, that “GRR other women are shallow — btw blonde women suck!!” comes up fairly often. I mean, I notice it, and I’m pretty anti-blonde-as-beauty myself.

Oh wells. Bobbity boo. Marriage, love, and cultural tropes… they need each other, folks!

Anna highlights the banned Donald Duck cartoon, “The Spirit of ’43,” on the American worker, taxes, and the war effort.

More good viewing: Sita Sings the Blues combines the story of Sita and Rama with the story of a young woman and her modern-day feckless lover with jazz. It’s pretty awesome, but I suspect I’d’ve liked it better if its publishing history wasn’t so off.

Oh my gosh. The Adopt-A-Haitian missionaries just got sketchier.

Also: it’s somehow black women’s duty to not abort? They should not have access to abortion? I’m totally confused by this.

Jen pointed out earlier this week that pregnant women don’t need your casual advice. I want to add that all the pressure put on having a perfectly normal baby and a perfectly normal pregnancy can lead to PTSD.

More great oral history from LiftingVoices.


  1. says

    The comments on that love and marriage one are great. And the PTSD article is going on my No-Baby list. Nooooooo me gusta!!

    On the other end of that, at the black abortions thing? “They aren’t even aware”? “America’s Darfur”?? WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN. I– There are just no words, for real. SERIOUSLY.

    I think re:Sita I enjoyed the visuals and music a lot more than either story being told in the film… But I also feel like Sita was portrayed more passively than I like female leads to be, not so much in her actions as in her attitude. I mean, it’s appropriate, given the source material, and a clever choice with the ’30s music and all that, but I’d have preferred more subversion, or more comedy, or… something. (I was also irritated that the author didn’t go back for her cat. WTH?)

    Disney had a lot of weird stuff come out for WWII. I saw one that was basically the equivalent of the comedic bits of WB’s Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny “Oh Brunhilde” short, with a frolicking, skipping Hitler running to his dream girl: a (funny ha-ha!) fat woman dressed as a Valkyrie riding a horse trembling under her weight. Yyyyyeah, stick with Donald, Goofy, and Mickey as the original Ghostbusters, okay?

    And the whole “DAMN those blonde/skinny/preppy/normative BITCHES!” thing strikes me as very immature. It’s tough being out of the mainstream standards of whatever, and it sucks that and should be changed that they are so universally ENFORCED as an aspirational standard where deviations, even in desire to achieve them, are considered flawed if not outright taboo. I mean, point made, buddy. But between a) buying into the cultural paradigm of “woman against all other women” thing at the same time is hypocritical and flawed reasoning, especially considering the whole situation is generalized misguided resentment rooted in a valid emotional experience, and b) that rejecting a set of standards doesn’t mean that people who adhere to them by choice or by biology/psychology are inferior to you– I mean, I’d like to SAY those are lessons you learn in middle school or high school, but college is proving me wrong here. It’s just petty and trifling.

  2. says

    My favourite author blog right now is Sarah Rhys Brennan’s Livejournal. New author, smart and silly, and damnit the woman is singlehandedly mutating my “to-read” pile into a 50 storey tall book-themed kaijuu monster that is menacing the populace. STOP RECOMMENDING AWESOME-SOUNDING THINGS TO ME, SARAH.

    Or, wait, DON’T, but please slow down! …Maybe. A little.

    Here is an essay she wrote that is not on her LJ but a good example of awesome: Ladies, Please! Looking at and Looking for Girls in Fiction

  3. says

    You know, the PTSD article REALLY interested me because I’ve been reading about PTSD. Some psychiatrists feel they have patients who are experiencing symptoms that most closely match those of PTSD, but not closely enough to make that actual diagnoses. And there isn’t another diagnosis that works better, but it usually gets shelved as “depression” or “anxiety.” Whatever these patients have, it’s more specific than that. But without a more specific diagnosis, it’s not so likely to get researched and better understood and better treated.

    That a difficult delivery combined with hallucinogenic drugs could cause PTSD or something very like it, I don’t find implausible at all.

  4. Maria says

    Me neither. I always heard that women and veterans were the two groups most likely to suffer from PTSD — I wonder if difficult births are part of why.

    Re: Sita — TBH I thought the narrative was based too much on the assumed virtue/victim status of the modern day girl and Sita. I mean… neither of them would have been fun to get a drink with, and seemed to have any life beyond their abandonment by their men. Visually and musically it was interesting. Narratively? Not so much.

    Plus, I’d’ve gotten my damn cat back from SF. :huggles Angel Bangles and glares:

  5. Maria says

    Maybe — but I wonder if maybe it’s not both? I mean, I’ve been assaulted, and I know my assault and my intense issues with bodily sovereignty, the whole idea of getting pregnant freaks me the hell out.

    ETA: I thought about this some more and wanted to build on my comment. Basically, what I’m saying is that part of PTSD is the constant awareness of your lack of safety. It’s a healthy mind trying to reconcile unhealthy circumstances and sort of shorting out. You don’t ever forget you’re unsafe, even when you actually are. To me, my experiences with assault and my anxieties about bodily sovereignty and my OMG NO response to the thought of pregnancy all echo this idea that no matter where I go, because of my race/gender/body I’m unsafe and not in control of my boundaries. So, what I’m suggesting is that my exp. as an assault survivor are part of my mental issues… but that didn’t happen in a void. It happened in a world where sexual vulnerability, pregnancy, and mental/emotional violation are seen as the inevitable result of femininity.

  6. amymccabe says

    That sounds like the kind of birth I’m trying to avoid. No, realistically there is little I can do to avoid a difficult childbirth. However, it sounds like a good part of the trauma this woman endured could be linked to the fact that things were done to her that were never explained, that she wasn’t informed about and were against her will. Maybe there really wasn’t time, but I’ve heard of this kind of treatment of women in labor happening way to often. When my mother gave birth to her youngest, all was going well but my mother was induced to speed things up because it was Memorial Day and the doctor didn’t want to miss his BBQ (he even told her this). I’ve have the luxury of good health insurance and a number of nearby hospitals to choose a good doctor and a good hospital. Sadly many women do not.

  7. The Other Patrick says

    As far as I know, isn’t PTSD more like a “We don’t know what’s going on, we don’t even know if something’s going on” diagnosis, i.e. it’s debatable whether it’s even a real disorder (though at least some people diagnosed with it do have real problems)?

    I’m not sure why Tim Minchin is up there. I love that song, but I love Tim Minchin. If it’s for demystifying love, yeah, but if you think that’s sexist, we’ll have to fight *g*

  8. The Other Patrick says

    Oh, and my favorite author’s blog is probably Laura Antoninou’s, but then I’m not interested in Laurell K. Hamilton’s work at f-ing all, so why would I be interested in what she herself has to say?

    Well, to be honest, I only slavishly read the infrequent posts on Barry Eisler’s blog, but he’s writing about politics there, not writing.

    • Maria says

      I’m not a huge fan of LKH but I think it’s too casual to dismiss her thoughts on writing when she’s such a popular author. So, I keep up with her.

      Haha, no, I don’t think Tim Minchin’s sexist.

  9. The Other Patrick says

    Maria: well, the worst things get usually copied elsewhere: “Laurell J. Framingham said something stupid” :)

  10. says

    However, it sounds like a good part of the trauma this woman endured could be linked to the fact that things were done to her that were never explained, that she wasn’t informed about and were against her will.

    Yes, and while she might have had PTSD even without this treatment, it’s the one part of the trauma that could have been prevented but wasn’t.

    As far as I know, isn’t PTSD more like a “We don’t know what’s going on, we don’t even know if something’s going on” diagnosis, i.e. it’s debatable whether it’s even a real disorder (though at least some people diagnosed with it do have real problems)?

    It’s clearly recognized in the DSMV, with a straightforward diagnostic criteria and all that. Your description sounds like Gulf War Syndrome.

  11. Anemone says

    I liked that commercial, too.

    The article on PTSD from childbirth gave me the heebie jeebies. When I was a kid, my mother told me that they cut her and shaved her and she didn’t have any choice, and I vowed that when it was my turn I was going to disappear into the bush and not come out until I’d given birth on my own (though I could be charged if I did that, apparently). Then they changed that policy, but now they induce if you’re two weeks late, so it’s just as bad. I really really wish that medical experts would stop interfering with what is a natural process, and only intervene when someone is already in danger and action is obviously needed. If I ever give birth I’m going to clobber anyone who tries to perform any procedure on me without my express consent. I think I do have that right.

    That Donald Duck cartoon made me wonder when payroll deductions started.

  12. Anemone says

    I heard of Sita Sings the Blues a long time ago but hadn’t seen it yet. Clever, and definitely a very condensed version of the story. There’s a lot of funny stuff in the book (it’s very over the top), including a female ascetic, Anasuya, who develops the usual ascetic superpowers by doing yoga/meditation for years. She has energy to burn so she creates a garment that will never soil or wear out and gives it to Sita to wear in her 14-year exile. In another version it’s face cream that keeps Sita’s skin always beautiful.

    One thing that struck me about the Ramayana is that Sita herself meditates as an ascetic for a year while a prisoner, so could have picked up a few superpowers herself, in addition to the ones she was born with. (Other than Rama, she’s the only person who can lift the bow of Shiva, according to oral tradition.)

  13. Jen says

    hey I was wondering why Tim Minchin was in there..? I don’t really like him and my fiiirst impression of him was that he was casually sexist because of this ‘joke’ he made:
    Near the beginning about Kylie Minogue.

    Also for next Links or maybe even a whole open discussion thread thing or whatever you call it, Friday’s BBC The Review Show was themed around Feminism. Interesting though only really scratches the surface of the featured debates, featuring Germaine Greer (who is great obv.) and also Toby Young, author of how to lose friends and alienate people (who is disappointing) among other people who I can’t remember the names of.. :S.

  14. The Other Patrick says

    Jennifer: D’oh! Yeah, I meant Gulf War Syndrome, sorry for the confusion. And thanks for clearing it up.

  15. says

    Jen – urgh, sadly the video comes up with this message:

    “Currently BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only, but all BBC iPlayer Radio programmes are available to you.”

    With a link that explains they know we’d like to see it and they’d like to let us, but international rights make it a problem. Bummer.

    Other Patrick, no worries – IIRC, part of the GWS debate was the question of why these veterans couldn’t simply be diagnosed with and treated for PTSD.

  16. Maria says

    Re: Tim Minchin — dang, that sucks. I hadn’t heard of him before this. :-/

    Re: Gulf War Syndrome — I think one of the things w. Gulf War Syndrom was that at the time, calling it PTSD or whatever, would have been bad press for a war that was supposed to be easy and glamourous.

    Re: PTSD and pregnancy — This is exactly why reproductive rights are HUMAN RIGHTS. Think of the precedent it sets to say that some people have sovereignty over their bodies and some don’t. Oh, wait, that’s an ongoing raced/classed/gendered issue. My B!

  17. Jen says

    Jennifer: I think there is a haxxx way of changing your computer settings to make it look like you live in the UK, I tried to change mine so I could watch stuff on American sites don’t remember whether it is too much hassle to bother with though.

  18. Jen says

    maria: Yeah I’ve watched him since and found his songs quite funny sometimes, he’s a good musician.
    Do you like Russell Brand? He’s my second fav stand-up behind Bill Hicks. Wish there were female equivalents. sigh.

  19. Nialla says

    Ah, LKH. The Paris Hilton of literature, who don’t need no editer. 😉

    I don’t read her blog, but I once read her books before they turned into porn. Nothing wrong with porn, but I prefer good porn.

    I do read some funny commentaries about her blog scribblings, as well as a hysterical blog that’s reviewing the comics based on her early books. After reading the comic reviews, I’ve decided the publisher is dragging the story out so people will give up on them before they get to the porny stuff.

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