Bad sex and brilliant titles: A links round-up

What time is it? It’s time for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Awards! Huzzah! The only sad thing is that apparently Patrick Ness (in an uncharacteristically curmudgeonly turn) opposes the Bad Sex Awards. He thinks they’ll have a chilling effect on people writing sex scenes. Maybe they will have a chilling effect on people writing bad sex scenes.

If you enjoyed the Sims Friends from my last links round-up, you’ll love this article about a woman determined to seduce the Sims Grim Reaper, a goal she pursued by repeatedly murdering her Sims in order to get the Grim Reaper to come over and be flirted with.

An interesting letter at Dear Author about criticisms of problematic behavior and the elision of specifics that results from slapping a label of racist/sexist/ableist on it really fast.

Tasha Robinson sparkles on the subject of The Incredibles (my favorite of the Pixar films) and the many good things about its portrayal of marriage and family.

Five writers talk about the process of coming up with titles, at The Millions. This seems as good a time as any to remind all of you that Tennessee Williams is the king of titles and everybody should be acknowledging that more.

In slightly weird news I don’t know what to do with, Netflix is creating a show version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’d love this to be awesome, but my heart doesn’t truly believe that it will be. Also, they should write a new ending for it. The real ending was dumb.

Perhaps we have discovered at last a mechanical reason why humans need sleep? Though take this with a grain of salt, as journalists are notoriously awful at interpreting scientific studies and explaining what they mean.

Gender imbalance in the New York Times crossword puzzle: Will Shortz does not care about it.

This review of Texts from Jane Eyre was exactly what I needed this week. My perpetual frustration with being a lady in a shitty misogynist system has been closer than usual to boiling point.

Slate has produced a useful chart of the cost-benefit ratio of various types of purebred dogs, compared to how popular they are. Short answer is that you’re right to spend money on poodles, but insane to get bulldogs. It also recommends that people buy more Bedlington terriers, a dog that looks like a sweet little lamb.

See? Awwwwww.

The below picture, taken at a 1992 Klan Rally, didn’t happen in the past two weeks. This week is just when I saw it. It causes me to feel more feelings than I’m capable of processing verbally, so I’ll just leave it here for you to look at.

  • OK, I am yet to read all the articles you mention, but that dog. OMG! I want one. And I am not sure what to think of that last picture. Is that mini Ku-Kluxian trying to shake that cop’s hand? What’s going on there?

    • Gin Jenny

      I think he’s looking at his reflection in the cop’s riot shield, and reaching out to touch it.

  • Ugh, that picture makes me sad/angry/emotions/etc…

    • Gin Jenny

      Saaaaame. Ugh.

  • That picture. . . yes. Tell me the ending of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I stopped reading after the fourth book. I love The Incredibles so now I need to read that article. Nice links.

    • Gin Jenny

      Oh, so, none of the big mysteries gets solved! You never find out what happened to the parents, and all these other things don’t get resolved, and the kids grow up. I can see what the author was trying to do, but it was frustrating, after 13 books.

  • aliceburton

    THE ENDING OF SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS WAS THE WORST AND I AM STILL MAD ABOUT IT

    • Gin Jenny

      SAME HERE but also I don’t remember it that well. Maybe Netflix will change it!

  • Loved that Ortberg review! I too needed that as a coworker and I have been commiserating over our sexist boss who also happens to be a woman but prefers to give all the interesting technology related work to the men on staff even though the two of us are just as capable and have proven ourselves so. It’s driving us nuts! So thanks for that link, I at least got to laugh 🙂

    • Gin Jenny

      Yuck, I’m sorry. That sounds tremendously frustrating. I’ve been in similar professional situations myself, and it just sucks.

  • aartichapati

    So, I just read an article recently about the Klan “rebranding.” Apparently, there is just SO much to hate in America today that the KKK is losing people to other organizations that are less polarizing. This is particularly fascinating as I’m reading this GREAT book, Who We Be by Jeff Chang, and it talks about how since racism is now not ok, we pretend we’re not talking about race but economics, and then make ourselves feel better that way. Here’s the article (also, the Code Switch blog is great):
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/11/12/363511888/why-the-kkk-is-reaching-out-beyond-white-folks

    He seriously refers to the KKK as a “legitimate organization.” Oh, how far we have to go…

    • Gin Jenny

      I saw that article — the Code Switch blog IS great. It’s one of the first things I read in the morning with my coffee. I hadn’t heard of Who We Be, but it sounds excellent.

  • I gave up Lemony Snicket after the 6th book (I think) – but I adored the film – it had style. The TV series is bound to be a disappointment in comparison.

    • Gin Jenny

      I really liked the film! Nobody else seemed to, but I thought it was delightful.

  • That Dear Author letter interests me because I am about to decide I don’t like a book because the main character, who is portrayed as not-very-likable, is enormously casually sexist and the author doesn’t ‘do’ anything with it. That is, the main character writes stuff about how unfortunate it is that women are completely incapable of understanding men, isn’t it a sad unchangeable fact of life, boohoo, and nowhere in the book does anyone react or offer any commentary. A clear case of men = people, ladiez = not people, all through the book.

    This makes me confused, because a) is this obviously a part of this guy’s Very Pronounced Unpleasantness (he is also a stalker and basically a major creep), and should I read it as such, that is, as a Bad Thing that illustrates the character’s Badness, or b) is this, you know, just casual, like Main Character’s fondness of peanut butter sandwiches, which I am also very fond of and thus unable to look at as a symbol of reprehensibility? Because, as you know, in our culture it wouldn’t be at all strange or uncommon for it to be just casual. Which fills me with polite amounts of rage.

    Apart from that, it’s… a great book. So what’s a lady reader, who is also a person, to do? Have you encountered stuff like this? (I would send it over for your perusal, but you would have to learn Dutch. Though it might be translated soonish, other books by this author are).

  • Seriously, that’s a dog not a lamb? I’m pretty sure I would have considered it a lamb if I saw it for real, only to freak out when it barks.

    • Gin Jenny

      Ahaha, that would be the most adorable freak out ever.

  • I LOVED that review of Texts from Jane Eyre. It makes me want to read that book immediately.

    • Gin Jenny

      Me toooo but I will probably wait for Christmas.

  • I want to read that Texts from Jane Eyre book now. Apparently the author is the one who makes those brilliant captions for the Toast’s Western artwork posts.

    The Dear Author link sent me to a small rabbit-hole as I hadn’t heard about the latest Goodreads commenter/author kerfuffle.

    • Gin Jenny

      Yes! She does a lot of really excellent features at the Toast.

  • Eva

    One of the books I read as a child featured a Bedlington terrier! Aren’t they adorable?!

    As far as the bad sex awards go…I listened to The Lowlands on audio & that had a really awkward scene & I was in agony, because I couldn’t just skip over it. Generally the scenes in that book were pretty obnoxious, but luckily there were only a couple. I know I keep mentioning Lois McMaster Bujold, but she has a short piece available online about writing sex (and I thought she did an excellent job of it in The Sharing Knife series): http://www.dendarii.com/sex.html. And since we’re talking about her, one of her sci fi books, Ethan of Athos, features a planet which is only populated by men, because women are the root of all evil, and what happens when one man has to venture off into space to obtain more ‘genetic material’ (aka ovarian tissue) for their geneticists & encounters the rest of the universe.

    I am with you re: perpetual frustration on the gender front. So this summer we were having a family get together, and in front of my dad I explained the word ‘mansplain’ to my sister. I swear to God, less than ten minutes later, I asked said sister (who is a physician’s assistant-a medical degree-and thus has lots of med education & real life experience) to elaborate on what a compound pharmacist does, and my dad (who is retired Air Force/current government consultant w no background at all in med) interrupted her and started explaining his version over her. :O I called him on it & he got a bit flustered but stuck to his guns. Sigh.

    • Gin Jenny

      They are SO adorable. What was the book?

      Oh, man, I’ve been there. I’ve definitely gotten into it with my uncles about whether women still experience professional discrimination. I can tell them that I, a woman in 2014 working in a female-dominated industry, have experienced gendered discrimination, with numerous examples, and they still don’t think it’s a pervasive problem. It’s really frustrating.

  • Eh, texts from Jane Eyre is not that satiric. Mesle reminds me of a creative writing workshop member who attributes all sorts of brilliance to a piece that was written to be funny.