Saturday morning literature hangover. This is what happens when you unwind after a stressful work-week by almost finishing two novels in one night. I’m such a frantic Bookworm sometimes!
I’ve been dreading this day. The time when the kids are old enough to choose and give me gifts. The time when I must lovingly deceive them with smiles and superfluous gratitude for random items very likely constructed in sweat shops by underpaid workers with unsustainable (and possibly toxic) raw materials!
The Wednesday night before Mother’s Day, while I was studying for a test, my family came home from church, there was some type of Mother’s Day bazaar where the kids could pick out gifts for their mothers. It was a sweet charitable event that our church was holding and my husband was helping to lead. He brought the kids to give me some much needed quiet time. (All of this I found out later.)
My son and daughter burst into my bedroom radiating excitement and screamed, “HAPPY MUFTHERS DAY”, in a full and undeniably cute toddler lisp. They couldn’t wait and had to give me their gifts right away. (more…)
Interesting historical tidbits from yesterday’s episode of Radio Times on NPR featuring Akil Reed Amar discussing how geography and federalism shapes our laws:
-The NRA was founded by Union officers who (in a way) lobbied for personal gun rights partly because they believed you could not count on your (often remote) local constables to protect you, especially if you were a recently freed black slave in the clan South.
-Wyoming, one of the first states to be pro-women (first to give the vote, equal pay, etc), their iniatives for women were born from the fact that: the work was so hard that you needed every able bodied adult and there was 6 men to every woman in the 1800’s. The men were desperate to attract women to the state. It made sense to give women what they wanted of that meant it would attract them.
-The regional sub-component of partisan politics! The incredible political differences between some of the views of a California Republican vs. a Alabama Republican especially if that republican is from Northern California!
-The idea of a “Lincoln Republican” and that a large population of modern Republicans could be categorized as “Confederate Republicans”.
-The writers and early amenders of the constitution had a better grasp of grammar, commas mattered and added significant meaning to the interpretation.
-It has been many decades since a presidential candidate did not graduate from Yale or Harvard. The last president (I think it was Nixon) that was not a Harvard or Yale graduate was accepted to Harvard but did not go for financial reasons.
-The politics of Justices: how a Justice’s regional origins can affect their views!
Post Scriptum: Maybe I’m a historical dork but I was riveted by the conversation!
Listen to the full segment here:
I could write this long analysis of the use of the N-Word and Thug. I could dig deep into Barack’s use of the latter when addressing the nation about the Baltimore Uprising in response to the death of Freddie Gray. But Felonious Monk said it best:
“if n-word is heroin, then thug is like Oxycontin. You can get the same exhilaration, but you can use it in public” and that to those who use the word thug, like President Obama “he who dons the tiny black mustache be not a Nazi, though his visage may conjure the terrible right and so it is, with thug.”
Let that simmer folks, let that simmer.
Post Scriptum: Forgive me my religious re-tumbling of those Thug Life cat memes. I am only human and I can not resist the doubtless humor provided by cats on the internet. These memes are the only time I condone the use of the word thug.
Another month, another book read. The Selection (book 1 of 5) by Kiera Cass is a fairly traditional young adult dystopian/romance novel with a young female protagonist, America Singer, and is a surprisingly good read. America is, via lottery, selected for a competition, which could easily be described as dystopian death match meets The Bachelor (yep, that happened). Much to America’s surprise and dismay, she is chosen as one of 35 girls to compete for Prince Maxon’s heart and, as a result, a princess (and eventually queen) of a future version of the United States. Illéa, a monarchical nation with a stringent caste system where 8 (mentally/physically disabled people, addicts, runaways, illegitimates, and the homeless) is the lowest and 1 (royalty and religious figures) is the highest.
White Washing The Girl with all the Gifts: Why I’m Pissed Helen Justineau Is Being Played by a White Actress
I just finished, The Girl with all the Gifts by Mike Carey and I am floored by how wonderful the book was. The suspense, the character complexity, the pace, the fracking content were all AWESOME!
I thankfully saved my in-depth Googling for after, and was pleasantly surprised to find the powers that be were adapting the film into a movie, “She Who Brings Gifts.” It took hearing the news of a pending film for me to realize that, on a subconscious level, I had been dreaming of setting eyes on THEE Helen Justineau.
There are so few females of color in scifi, and though Carey’s characters are (thankfully) so much more than their gender or racial designations (especially since the zombie apocalypse leaves you with way more important things to think about), I am left deflated by the fact that (though lovely) Gemma Arterton is playing MY Helen Justineau!
Read for yourselves how the narrator describes her:
“Miss Justineau’s face stands out anyway because it’s such a wonderful, wonderful colour. It’s dark brown, like the wood of the trees in Melanie’s rainforest picture whose seeds only grow out of the ashes of a bushfire, or like the coffee that Miss Justineau pours out of her flask into her cup at break time. Except it’s darker and richer than either of those things, with lots of other colours mixed in, so there isn’t anything you can really compare it to. All you can say is that it’s as dark as Melanie’s skin is light.
I released a large squeak when I read this, a warmth spread throughout my brain! My imagination created a darker skinned Helen of Troy! I felt chills when the novel described her long coiled and curly hair. My sense of loss for hair diversity alone is so deep! WHY GOD!
I know that there is an ongoing complaint-fest on social media about white washing (look it up) in the entertainment industry and I know those leaked Sony emails have confirmed the rumor that industry executives believe non-white leads won’t sell. I simply don’t care. I don’t fracking care. This was a great opportunity for me, as a black female and lifelong scifier, to not have to resign myself to being underrepresented even in fracking fantasy worlds! This was a deliciously selfish dream of mine.
Now mourn with me, for all the lovely female actors of Sri Lankan, Indian, and African decent that could have had (near) top billing for a scifi film.
When I told my friend, who I convinced to read the book, that they were making a movie, her first question was: “Are they leaving all the diverse characters intact?” Her response to my no:
F*#K-it I’m not finishing it.
(Picks up book while groaning in defeat)
We brown girls are tired of groaning in defeat while we give you our fracking patronage! This is just part of the frustrating struggles of a black nerd.
(Whimpers, she could have been any ethnicity in the world, but they choose under-representation even when the character is written otherwise! DAMB IT! I thirst for diversity in scifi and the casting agents keep saying NO, you don’t matter!)
Religion without love is effing scary as hell!
Last week, I read 1984 and this week I am almost done with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. For those who have not read these books, read it my people, read it and improve your life!
I’m a Christian, I roll with Jesus, he is MY DUDE, but I’ve just lived the eradication of hope and individuality through what could be defined as the militarization and politicization of religion! Now I am destroyed by the clear notion that words that have been so freeing and inspiring to me can be twisted and systemically leverage to commit acts that are not of God!
If you ever go to a southern or Baptist church, you have heard the saying that “Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.” He will NOT force himself upon you. In other words, you have a choice and no means no! Then, why do men try to systematize what is meant to be personalized? Did we miss all of the teachings about the Pharisees, I don’t read my bible often enough (work in progress) and I got the message loud and clear when I was just a skeptical college pseudo-Christian.
Whilst reading Atwood’s book I laughed out loud, I cried, I threw shit (please forgive my language, I’m emotional)! At times it read like poetry, at others, a private diary; a truth narrative of a woman from a distant past or another country, or even a possible future. That’s what made The Handmaid’s Tale brilliant and frightening, that a group of people’s quest for power or skewed ideology could take away the beautiful things.
THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS! The ability to choose whom you could love. The ability to communicate and even have an identity all your own! To be a woman and beautiful, to be a woman and creative, to be a woman and industrious, to be a woman and boisterous, to be a woman and sexual, the “big brother” of Atwood’s world brought the hell dimension to earth and viewed it as a mother effing improvement. I am not okay, this book has summarily effed up my brain.
This isn’t exactly a book review but an excited knee jerk communication and request that you read this book, because election season is upon us, and stupid crap exhibited in this piece of literature should not even remotely be allowed to fester in our political system! A kajillion generations of women, activists, missionaries, freedom fighters, and prayer warriors did not live/die/endure/suffer for us to be lackadaisical with our individual and collective freedoms to be informed and involved!
Now I am going to read my bible to calm my mind and give me hope!
Side note: Don’t let the reader fool you, I love the smell and touch of real books, and I still partake in them.