1 August 2016

july linkblog.

Never say I don't provide you with relatable content, kids. I love Wikipedia a lot, and I’m fully prepared to issue a prize to the first person who guesses what article I got that screengrab from.


At Crooked Timber: Summer Reading for a Rainy Day.

“The English major barista is a myth in the sense of being untrue. It is also a myth in the deeper sense of that word: a story that a culture tells itself to explain wishes or fears. In this case, fears.”

So I didn’t actually tear up reading this NPR essay about the Great British Bake Off, but it was a very near thing. Gotta say though, it’s taking me a while to get used to hearing Americans call it the Great British Baking Show. I think it’s a copyright thing? It’s weird.

And another Bake Off essay, over on Mockingbird. The phrase “revolutionary compassion” is used, to my great delight. (Also, okay, you guys. I still haven’t watched all of that season but I know who won. I thought everybody knew who won. Do the Americans somehow not know who won? That’s adorable. Americans! Qu’est-ce que vous faites!)

Glory be, it’s a nuanced discussion of trigger warnings. I’m not certain I agree with all the conclusions, but it’s a very good read. I definitely agree with the point about the misunderstanding of what triggers are—this is why I only ever use the term “content warning.”

You Are The Cannibal Lobster-Man Of New England. Can You Become The Governor Of Maine? Okay, I know this is on ClickHole, but as it happens I unironically love ClickHole, and this is some genuinely terrific IF. Can you become the Governor of Maine? And should you?

Also at ClickHole: If Black Lives Matter Isn't A Racist Hate Group, Then Can Someone Please Explain To Me Why I Keep Insisting They Are?

IF-adjacent: a Twine-powered interactive self-care guide. I love Twine and I love seeing Twine be used for good. An "interactive self-care guide" is a thing that has the potential to be really saccharin and silly, but in fact it's relentlessly practical and concrete. A good thing.

IF-adjacent-adjacent: this month in literary games! And another new book I want to read.

BILL BILL BILL BILL” — all of Dr. Who fandom, at increasing volume

“moss-based embroidery” = new favorite phrase?

...though it's rivaled by "tilt-shift van Gogh."

Fantasy maven Jo Walton on her surprising cure for writer’s block. I hate the word maven, and I don’t think the surprising cure for writer’s block is all that surprising. (She does something boring to make writing look like the interesting option—I thought we all did some version of that?) Otherwise this is a really solid Q&A. She also gave Uncanny an interview in rhymed iambic pentameter.

The new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, is a black woman! And an actual professional librarian rather than another scholar!

No links about the garbage fire that is US electoral politics, because I’m exhausted. Here’s Andrew Rilstone’s latest thing on Jeremy Corbyn instead. I dunno anymore. (This is not to say that UK politics is not a garbage fire. But it’s not my garbage fire, and I’m not responsible for it, which means that reading about it can still function as a weird kind of escapism. I'm not endorsing this behavior, just engaging in it.)

This is a good post about Cursed Child; I think the strongest point it makes is that there are only two good parental figures in the series—Molly Weasley and Narcissa Malfoy. I might expand this to include Arthur Weasley, but then Rowling is much less interested in him than she is in Molly. (The second strongest point is that Dumbledore is a bad teacher and a terrible father. I have been saying as much for years.)

Octavia Butler’s notes on writing Kindred!

“I suppose what's happening here is I'm coming to the shocking conclusion that Wittgenstein was a cleverer man than I am.”

“A Think Piece Response to the Open Letter to My Unborn Child About the Things Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew to Pray For: a Manifesto.” This is peak Evangelical satire, we can all go home now.

Old but good: The West Wing as SF; The West Wing as fantasy.

Why we write, but never underestimate an author’s ability to write an entire novel out of spite.

Why Calvin and Hobbes Is Great Literature.

At Tor, a new series on African SFF.

Continuing the AI-poetry theme from last month: Literary Magazine CuratedAI Publishes Only Poetry by Artificial Intelligences.

Guy Leaves Fake Animal Facts All Over Los Angeles Zoo.

I haven’t yet read this, but if I save it till next month I’ll forget about it: Mary Beard on the public voice of women. “I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to ‘shut up’; telling her that her voice was not to be heard in public.”

The Very Quiet Foreign Girls poetry group. A long and beautiful essay about a poetry group for refugee children.

Little House and the Art of Hiding Your Feelings.

The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close.

Okay, we all know the Dark Ages are a myth, yeah? Okay, so enjoy this superb essay on why the Dark Ages continue to be a myth.

A fabulous blog post on my homegirl Penthesilea. "At the moment of her death, Achilles sees her face and either a) falls madly deeply in love with her (ugh) or b) feels really really guilty at what he has done. Either way, he weeps over her corpse, and the warrior Thersites makes fun of him for having feelings. Obviously Thersites has not been paying attention, because Achilles is basically a big squishy stress ball of feelings, that is the point of Achilles." It is the point of Achilles!

This month in webcomics: this is the best xkcd in literal years. I cannot remember the last xkcd that made me laugh this hard.

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