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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.

text that says Ana's Section

Stewart Lee on "political correctness". I found this quote on tumblr and loved it despite having no wider context for it. Jodie then pointed me towards a full article by Lee on the same subject, Guilt-Free pleasures.

Somebody has an issue with gender. This is all sooo familiar, and not just in comics.

How Not to Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide. Can everybody please follow it?

NPR has a long feature about "We Are Fine", a track from Sharon Van Etten's new album, Tramp, which features vocals by Zach Condon from Beirut. I already loved the song even before knowing what it was about, exactly, but I love it even more now. You can stream it if you follow the link.

➝ Cory Doctorow's essay With A Little Help: Digital Lysenkoism DRM, "social DRM," and the madness of publishers is a great follow-up to the conversation Renay started last week.

➝ Theodora Goss picks her Top 10 Fantasy Love Stories. I do love me a good romance storyline. I agree with many of her choices, and some of the ones I haven't got to yet seem really promising.

➝ Fatemeh Fakhraie asks: Who says I can’t be a Muslim feminist?

➝ Jenny Geras writes about why she thinks the term "chick lit" is problematic. Why are Jane Eyre, Kate Reddy and Becky Bloomwood even being discussed together in the same paragraph? They have nothing at all in common apart from being female characters created by female authors. Thoughts?

The 2011 Cybils Awards winners have been announced! I enjoyed Anya's Ghost and Blood Red Road and look forward to some day picking up the winners in some of the other categories.

The Atlantic has a long article about "How a Male Feminist Alienated His Supporters". I don't know nearly enough about Hugo Schwyzer to have a solid opinion on this matter, and experience has taught me not to fully trust mainstream media coverage of debates that largely take place in the blogosphere. But I'm throwing this link in here because it ties in with questions about the role men can play in feminism that were already on my mind, thanks to bell hooks' Feminist is for Everybody. I bet some of you out there have thoughts on this, and if so I would love to hear them.

text that says Jodie's Section

➝ Zetta Elliott's essay 'Canada's Black Writers: Achieving Excellence and Avoiding Annihilation' explores a lot of points she's brought up at her blog and in other essays: the lack of published black Canadian writers, discussion about the Coretta Scott King award, her own move to America and her struggle to decolonize her imagination. In this particular essay she unifies these subjects by examining the difference between the way American publishing approaches African American writing and the way Canadian publishing approaches African Canadian writing.

➝ Elliott's essay links to Arundhati Roy's opening address to the 1997 World Social Forum. I know that's old, old news, but I found Roy's speech really relevant to the current UK political situation. She talks about the way current events are often cherry picked and used to justify war, mentions that valid protest is often officially defined as terrorism and explores the problems of relying on governments to bring about change for people.

➝ Garland Grey provides a thoroughly sourced exploration of the problems of our current capitalism systems, at Tiger Beatdown, called 'Personal Decisions, Global Catastrophes: Capitalism is not inherently friendly to human life.'. [twitter.com profile] therejectionist said, it would melt faces off, which, yeah, seems accurate. Even if you just read the article, or only click one of the links he uses to make a point, you're going to be appalled, enraged and informed.

➝ I haven't followed the Leveson Enquiry closely, but Cheryl Morgan's description of Trans Media Watch's evidence caught my eye. She lays out the problems with how stories about trans people are reported, that Helen Belcher, of Trans Media Watch outlined at the enquiry.

➝ io9 wants to know if readers think there should be more science heroes, instead of so many science villians. I would like more heroes and heroines who like science, partly because then I would learn more about how things work (pure humanities student after the age of 16).

dovegreyreader talks about Jennifer Worth's autobiography, which relates her experiences of being a midwife in the East End. The book has been turned into a short series, 'Call the Midwife', which I want everyone to watch, but is sadly on the BBC so hard to find in other countries. The book's available everywhere though.

➝ Iris' recent post, 'Confessions of an Insecure Reader', was really smart. She just really got the insecurities that can accompany being defined as a reader by others.

➝ I said that I was annoyed when no women were voted into the Orange Rising Talent BAFTA short list and I still am. Despite that, I am well glad that out of all the men on the short list, which the public did create, Adam Deacon was the person who won. His win is a cool acknowledgement that talented people be seen as rising, or break through artists, even if they're not involved in American films (do not get me wrong, I love American films, but I don't think rising talent necessarily has to be evaluated by how well someone has done in American cinema). He's also strongly against British film funding being prioritised based on how much mainstream appeal a film might have. And I loved his speech, where he said this award felt like being accepted.

➝ HeheheheHehe, foxxcub put up an Avenger's gif, which is adorable.

➝ To finish, let me show you some pretty posters that move popular films to different eras. My favourite is the 'Drive' re-imagining, featuring James Dean, but the posters for 'Inception', 'Pulp Fiction' and 'The Hang Over' (that film would be so wicked with a different script and Dean Martin) are cool as well.

text that says Renay's Section

➝ I complained a few months ago about John Carter. Classic science fiction about a special dude when there are tons of awesome science fiction stories about special ladies waiting to be told (sigh). Of course, then I read The Title of John Carter, Gender and Money in Hollywood via this article about women rejecting the movie for some sweet action re: how Hollywood thinks ladies and dudes are as dumb as a brick wall cemented together with gender essentialism glue:

Stanton spoke in London last month at a small preview of the new Walt Disney distributed film, John Carter. Take a deep breath before you read this. "Here’s the real truth of it," he said of the film’s title, "I’d already changed it from A Princess Of Mars to John Carter Of Mars. I don’t like to get fixated on it, but I changed Princess Of Mars…because not a single boy would go." [....] Stanton added, "And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars. So I said, 'I don’t won’t to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth.'"


Shit Book Reviews Say. This has been making the rounds, but it's great. Guilty as charged.

➝ On a recent Booking Through Thursday, they asked people about fanfiction. It's like asking an electrician to comment on cultural anthropology. I may have written a little fanfiction and consider my work 76% okay most of the time, so finding people unfamiliar with it is both fascinating and frustrating. Have some hilarious/horrifying highlights:

"I knew people online who would spend days working on a fic." (source)

[personal profile] justira has been promising the sequel to These Unending Alchemies of Honour since 2009. I feel like I should win a prize for knowing the person who's been thinking/working on a story this long. I still love the hell out of that story.

"And I’d like to point out that fanfiction is a much broader category than you might think. I refer you to Aja Romano’s brilliant post, "I'm done explaining why fanfiction is okay", which points out how works based on other works have been around since the dawn of time (Paradise Lost counts!) and are perfectly capable of being fantastic enough to win the Pulitzer." (source)

♥ ♥ ♥

"When I was a teenager (oh god, I’m old! When the hell did I get old!), fanfiction was pretty much all I read. I lost entire summers to the internet and fanfiction. I really get into a fandom and exhausted all resources until something else catches my eye." (source)

This person is clearly me in disguise.

Of course, then you have the inevitable:

"I think it is too unoriginal and disrespectful toward the original creators especially if the stories came out rather silly and lousy." (source)

"I’d like to write something, but i think it would have to be done very carefully because i wouldn’t want to disrespect the original book in any way." (source)

What does that even mean? I see it over and over and over and am never sure what to make of the claim of "disrespectful". I can think of quite a few things that are disrespectful to do to a piece of art. Setting it on fire, maybe? Remixing and transforming is not on the list.

"I understand why fans enjoy fan-fictions of their favourite series, especially after a series has finished or while they are waiting for the latest release, but for me those characters sprouted from inside the author's head and so the author is the only one who really knows them." (source)

This is really sad. :(

"Some of it is obscene and to be avoided at all costs." (source)

Ahahahaha. EVERYONE, PLEASE AVOID MY FANFIC. Dudes have sex in it. With each other. I might even use the word "cock".

"Fanfiction, as writte by amateurs jotting it down in Microsoft Word and then uploading it to a fanfiction site - never. It's very rarely any good." (source)

If I've written, say, 30 stories...does this means 29 of them are bad? Serious question. What's "very rarely" in this case?

"I was heartbroken when Cassandra Claire got a real publishing deal, dropped the “I” from her pseudonym, and took the Draco Trilogy offline." (source)

I will end this tour with that. Because it's perfect.

the girls are posts a review of Lana Del Rey's new album, Born to Die. I have acquired this album and listened to it and declare it a winner. The most famous track, Video Games, is not my favorite, and the reviewer and I disagree on some of the songs. This is another case where I know very little about the artist, and the critiques are not just of the music, but the persona of the artist that's being formed. That's really not how I engage with music, and thus, am finding music criticism inaccessible.

➝ Would you like to read an excellent post? Our own Ana wrote On Objectivity, Again. She engages with a post made by Maggie Stiefvater and a definition of review that caused me to close the window in disgust. It was a definite, "Are you kidding me, lady?" moment for me (and so we come to why I hesitate to read author blogs these days). The War to Define Reviews has continued from 2006 when I first encountered it and it gets more and more tiring every year. It's a particularly vile form of community policing: "this is my definition and things that fall here count, but what YOU do doesn't!" is my biggest pet peeve about any sort of interaction with art. It's another version of "you're interrogating the text from the wrong perspective!" where people with opinions that don't toe the line of some subjective definition portrayed as objective are marginalized and erased because the person claiming these things speaks from a certain position of authority. In this case, it's an author who is horrified someone had opinions and expressed them in a way she didn't like, so they have to be discredited immediately. Ana neatly takes this apart.

Date: 2012-02-20 08:37 am (UTC)
lionpyh: A glass liquor bottle with a panther shape molded into the glass. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lionpyh
That was not what I thought I was implying, but clearly I should have thought about it further! The original analogy did not work for me for several reasons, and my reversal of it was only meant as a sidenoted raised eyebrow, which I admit is a fairly twerpy thing to do. But no, the idea that it doesn't count unless you do it for money is not AT ALL what I intended.

That aside, I should have thought about how to put everything in that comment a lot better than I did, and I apologize for it, in general and to you; I've tried to clarify in my response to Renay above.


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Queer lady geek Clare was raised by French wolves in the American South. more? » twitter icon webpage icon

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