I FEEL GLUM: A links round-up

Jerry Seinfeld is weirdly on a tear about the PC police being the death of comedy. Here are Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker and Linda Holmes of NPR making me happy on Twitter with their rebuttals.

Stacia Brown on the racial prism, saying some super true truths about New Haven, CT, where I lived for a few months.

On teaching diverse literature.

A round-up of reactions to the utter madness of Rachel Dolezal, of which my favorite is the Guardian article by Meredith Talusan. Plus one more from Jamilah Lemieux.

For real, though, authors: Don’t respond to negative reviews of your book. It’s entertaining for me but very very embarrassing for you. Think of Anne Rice.

There was this whole thing where the Mary Sue posted an idiotic article about romance novels, and all the romance authors got cross and it was magical. Subsequently.

Billy Crudup is starring in a forthcoming movie about the Stanford Prison Experiment. I am fascinated by that experiment, but not sure I can tolerate watching it unfold on screen, despite my well-documented love for Billy Crudup(‘s work). Anyway, The New Yorker talks about what the Stanford experiment really means.

In response to those folks who think Tim Hunt has been feminist witchhunted.

Interesting: An analysis of what sales numbers mean for indie comics (which includes all of Image’s titles) (wonderful Image!).

“The Year I Couldn’t Even Steal a Goddamn Snowglobe”: the Harry Potter books from Voldemort’s perspective.

I don’t have a link for this, but just wanted to add at the end here that I am so saddened and angry about the murders in Charleston this week. I’d like to think that this tragedy would lead to real conversations across partisan lines about the social patterns of racism in America that this event fits into. But I know that won’t happen. I just wish that it could. I wish that in moments of tragedy, it were possible to set aside the urge to dog-whistle the shittiest constituencies, and instead talk seriously about the complex issues in play here and how we can make them better.

And since I don’t want to end on a really sad note, even though this has been a really sad week, here is a puppy in a boot. It will not fix America’s problems around racism and sexism and violence, but hopefully it will make you smile.

  • Lisa

    An excellent round-up! I am reading everything I can on the Rachel Dolezal situation with such fascination and discomfort. I so rarely read about white people passing as black, apart from appropriating black culture. And her inability to just admit it!

    I just have no words for Charleston. That these people were murdered in prayer, in a church, and at that particular church. And that damn Confederate flag was still flying over the city.

    • The shooter said today that he almost didn’t go through with it, because everyone was so nice to him. That kills me. And it is so true — every black church I’ve ever been at, for any reason, the people there have been nothing but tremendously welcoming, like going out of their way to welcome me. It makes me sick that he killed these good people.

  • Nishita

    Such lovely reading. I particularly adored the romance novel one.

    Very sad news about the Charleston incident. Really, really awful. So far I just know the bare details. I didn’t know about the Confederate flag flying over the city. Ugh! Just don’t have the words….

    • Glad you enjoyed the links!

      Yeah, the stuff in Charleston is just heartbreaking. South Carolina continues to use the Confederate flag for state events, which to me is just spitting in the faces of every black resident of that state, even before this happened. To continue flying that flag right now just makes me furious. Ta-Nehisi Coates had a good piece about it in the Atlantic.

  • Care

    I SO appreciate your thoughtful insightful links postings. I am glum, too. Does glum even cover it? (yes, yes it does: “broodingly morose”)

  • LibraryHungry

    On the comedy issue, here’s Ben Schwartz’s relevant argument about “offensive” humor, which I liked a lot:
    http://www.thebaffler.com/blog/shutting/

  • Good links as always, thank you!

    Yes, glum. Also glum over some newspapers lacking coverage of the whole S.C. thing except in the back pages.

    Re should authors comment: My opinion is that authors do well to ignore reviews that are either overly critical (esp. in an ad hominem way) or overly effusive (esp. in a non critical way, so to speak), but if the author wants to engage in a substantive non-emotional but just informative dialogue about meaning, I think that could work.

    • I agree with that in theory, but I think so many authors are bad at it. But you’re right! I’ve seen authors come onto blogs and provide further background info about their books in answer to questions the blog posts have asked, and that’s been fine — fun actually! I’ve had that happen a few times to positive effect.

  • No one can resist a puppy in a boot!

  • Jeanne

    I keep thinking about that woman I met in LA who contorted her face and said “I’m so Tired of talking about Race!” We keep seeing the effects of not talking about it.

  • Is there much better than a puppy in a boot? Fun story, I once worked with a guy who spent most of his time playing online golf and searching for pictures of cute animals in buckets, because his wife was his love bucket and apparently this is a thing. Maybe fun was the wrong word.

    Totally agree on not responding to negative reviews, I think this stands to most areas of life – not everyone is going to like you/what you do. And some people like a fight.

    • Oo, he should have done a photoshoot where he put many puppies into many buckets and photographed them all. Then he’d have a solid supply of the pictures and he could dedicate his work time to work things.

  • Ugh, Seinfeld. What a bizarre route to take, instead of considering the idea that maybe comedy has evolved since the nineties? There are ways to age gracefully as a comic. This is not one of them.

  • james b chester

    That is one cute puppy! I’ll be visiting some of the links you posted. They are an interesting bunch, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon..

  • Vasilly

    What a nice set of links! I’ve read and loved the one on teaching diverse literature.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take for this country to sit up and pay attention. It’s going to take more than people who are already talking about race to change the U.S. It’s going to take all of us for it to happen. We would rather have tragedy after tragedy and play the blame game instead. It might sell newspapers and create great soundbites, but it does nothing for progress.

    • Yep, I agree with you. Even when we do seem to make one tiny bit of progress (like if they decide no more Confederate flags flown by state governments), it’s nowhere near enough. Nothing like proportional compared to what happened. It makes me really sad and angry.

  • Bookgazing

    The Tim Hunt thing made the front page of a major newspaper here because a bunch of science dicks are backing him claiming that people are creating a dangerous culture where free speech will be stifled and science will fail to develop. When the serious news orgs start click baiting their paper publications as well as their online spaces you know we’re all doomed.

    • Ugh, I saw those. And Tim Hunt was talking about how his institution threw him under the bus. Shut up dude. You threw yourself under the stupid bus.

  • JeanPing

    Chris Rock’s been saying it longer than Seinfeld. Now there’s going to be a documentary! https://ricochet.com/big-new-feature-documentary-asks-can-take-joke/

    • Hah, yeah, I’ve seen that too, and I don’t have a ton of sympathy for it from Chris Rock either. They just seem so unwilling to consider that maybe the problem is they’re making crappy unfunny jokes.

  • That article about teaching diverse literature was a good one! I would have imagined that states like California where there is so much diversity would have a diverse curriculum, so it’s a bummer that it’s not true. There is a strong need for the whole country to revamp everything it does or does not do regarding race. It is so important to introduce race education right from childhood. But of course, then there are parents who aren’t going to like it one bit and schools that easily cave in to such ridiculous demands.

    • Hahaha, I would never assume that anywhere bothers about having a diverse curriculum. It’s just a million times easier to do the easy thing and stick with the same books that have always been taught. And no shade to teachers on that individually — they work really hard, and building new lesson plans is hard, and school systems aren’t always willing to listen, etc. But add it all up and it’s a real, serious problem.