Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.
➝ Gender Bias at NPR: Clearly, female novelists have neither the cultural capital nor the financial capital that male novelists do. When will people face up to that? And when will it change?
➝ This article about William Mayne, children's author and sexual abuser, gave me a lot to think about. I first heard about Mayne in Alison Lurie's very interesting Don't Tell the Grown-Ups and immediately got excited about his writing. But when I looked him up online and found out about the sexual abuse, my instant thought was, "I don't want to read read him anymore". I don't know that I never will, but I think either decision is valid. I completely respect people's right to decide not to support or engage with certain artists for whatever reason, but I also think it's dangerous and simplistic to think that someone who reads Mayne is automatically aligning themselves with his criminal behaviour and with what it represents ethically.
➝ Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendship: Articles with titles like this tend to worry me a little bit, because it's so easy for them to fall into an Abyss of Essentialist Doom and become about how women are inherently more prone to forming strong friendships (and as I've said before, the subtext is that those of us who don't do this easily at all, much like those of us who, say, don't want children, must be unnatural). To sum it up: women are not a monolithic entity, but hooray for countering the widespread women-are-backstabbing meme.
My favourite bit:
It also made me realize how much people diminish and poo-poo the real power and strength of female friendship, especially between women, which is either supposed to descend into some kind of male lesbian love scene porn fantasy or be dismissed as meaningless or be re-written as a story of competition. Here’s the truth: friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories, but they are often discussed as if they are ancillary, “bonus” relationships to the truly important ones.
Here at Lady Business we often have conversations about how we wished there were more stories out there that acknowledged the importance and reality of non-romantic relationships, and what I liked about this article was that it addressed that.
➝ Muslim Media Watch asks: How are Muslim Women Doing in Political Cartoons?
➝ Look, it's Hipster Avatar :D
➝ The Amelia Bloomer Project, which distinguishes "the best feminist books for young readers", has announced its list for 2012. Sigh, so many books that I want. (Via misskubelik)
➝ I hope nobody will mind it if I wrap up my section by plugging a project I helped orchestrate: The Year of Feminist Classics has announced its reading list for 2012/3. Come read books with us?
I have no substantial news to offer this week, I'm afraid. My section is all pictures of cute animals and stuff. I know, I bet you are all really sad about that.
➝ World's smallest deer is small.
➝ David Attenborough recites 'What a Wonderful World' like it is a poem, over beautiful wildlife shots. Every time this comes on TV I really stop and pay attention.
➝ When I did my zoo keeper experience they let me cuddle the tapirs for a very long time. It was totally worth the money just for that. The baby tapir in this video had yet to be born and I imagine they do not let randomers cuddle the precious, tiny tapirs, but it is soooo cute and I thought you might like to see a video.
The Biodiversity Project is a photographic attempt to encourage people to care about the extinction of species by showing just what cuties are out there right now. So many pictures! My favourite so far is of the poison frog. via CatherineHaines
➝ io9 has details of some planetary chocolates which are pretty.
➝ Claire LeGrand has a feature called The Weekly Unicorn where each week she showcases one awesome thing featuring our future benevolent overlords.
Edit - mistakenly left in comment:
It's Youtube time in my neck of the woods!
➝ Even though SOPA and PIPA were dealt a blow, it didn't stop the shutdown of Megaupload. I personally used Megaupload to host lecture recordings, and now all those recordings are just gone! Poof! Jonathan Coulton wrote an excellent post about it and piracy in general. It's great.
I believe in copyright. I benefit from it. I don’t want it to go away. I love that we have laws and people to enforce them. But if I had to give up one thing, if I had to choose between copyright and the wild west, semi-lawless, innovation-fest that is the Internet? I’ll take the Internet every time.
➝ In the same vein, have Gaiman on Copyright Piracy and the Web. He's very smart and very well-spoken! I particularly like this bit:
People were discovering me by being pirated. And they were going out and buying the real books. And when a new book would come out in Russia, it would sell more and more copies. [....] I tried a few experiments. And some of them were quite hard, you know, persuading my publisher, for example, to take one of my books and put it out for free. And we took American Gods, a book that was still selling, and selling very well, and for a month they put it up completely free on their website and you could read it and download it and what happened was that sales of my books through independent bookstores, because that's all we were measuring it through, went up the following month 300%.
➝ Those Pesky Dames are, as defined on their channel, Five women who can't jet around in the Mystery Machine solving ghost stories, so shout about patriarchy instead. I am bad with short video and haven't been through all their videos yet, but it looks really promising!
➝ Sherlock BBC recast as a romantic comedy. I love you, fair use! But mostly I love the fans of transformative works that risk overzealous copyright holders trying to add to their silo of millions to make cool and interesting material that makes me laugh after a terrible day.
➝ I found this music video for the song Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen the other day and was completely charmed by the romance novels (!!! hilarity) and the ending.
➝ A lovely person on my reading list is started a project and has opened a Kickstarter account to fund Plunge Magazine, which will, as stated at the link, "publish quality short stories, poems, and articles about queer women in a variety of genres from space operas to mysteries, wild west to fairy tales, superheroes to the end of the world." My first reaction is QUEER LADIES IN SPACE!!! Susan, alert!
➝ In closing, have a snoring dormouse, who I am going to spend some time imitating as I get back into a normal working schedule. Damn you, $dayjob!