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.
➝ What if male superhero costumes were designed like female superhero costumes?
➝ The 8 Stupidest Defenses Against Accusations of Sexism.
➝ Keffy R. M. Kehrli at Fantasy Matters on reading A Wrinkle in Time as a child:
When I was a girl, some part of me was very Meg-like. I got her. Sure, the Little House books were full of girls (as were the piles of horse books that people bought me despite my lack of interest in horses), but Meg was the character who embodied my nerdy smart-but-strangely-immature awkwardness. I was a weirdo, and Meg was a weirdo with me.➝ Mark Charan Newton writes about his continued efforts to avoid racefail.
My trans-related dysphoria at the early onset of puberty (nine) was subsumed into the acceptably female dysphoria of feeling too ugly and too fat. I don’t remember if Meg ever thought of herself as being fat, but her general body dissatisfaction from page one resonated with me. And it meant something that despite all that, despite her fears that her brother was smarter than she, despite feeling off-kilter and immature for her age, and despite being a weirdo, Meg got to go on an adventure and defeat the creepy brain monster.
➝ And I'll leave you with 30 Cats in Snow.
➝ BBC News has an article about royal feasts through the ages because it's the Queen's Silver Jubilee this year. My particular favourite fact:
'At state banquets no table decorations were needed as elaborate dishes did the job. They included a 2ft-high, silver salt cellar, made in the shape of a castle and encrusted with jewels. Often there were also silver fountains on the table flowing with wine or water.'I went to the Tower of London and saw some of the incredibly gold tableware from Charles II's reign. If I remember rightly the label on that case said that he got such extravagant items as presents because people felt the need to appease him after the beheading of Charles I and prove their loyalty. Maybe I'm a nerd, but I find that fascinating and kind of sad. I'd probably better state my bias for Cromwell here.
➝ Other people making such good use of their tumblrs that they almost tempt me to get one. Malinda Lo continues to feed my KStew obsession with this cool Ellen gif which she posted on her tumblr.
➝ And the Booksmugglers posted a surreal picture based on Wolverine from the X-Men and the style of Salvador Dali. I think Dali's work is like...how do you even explain how cool he is, without scaring people away? His work was that kind of intense, weird genius that ripped and melted everything everything into an exciting distortion.
➝ Speaking of surreal art, Ben Heine has so many fantastic surreal and mixed media art projects showing on his website! I could look at them all day. — via stevefeasey
➝ And more art — some cute as illustrations which put Daleks into fictional worlds from books. Someone linked me too, but I'm afraid I can't remember who (shout up if it was you).
➝ A couple of weeks ago I watched two programs called Super Smart Animals, which are all about scientific developments in the understanding of animal intelligence. Unfortunately it's another BBC program, which means no one outside of the UK could watch it on iplayer and it'll disappear from there quickly anyway. It was so informative and in many cases surprising, I'm sad that I can't show you scientist and presenter Liz Bonnin (yep, she's a scientist, but apparently John Preston at 'The Telegraph' prefers to make gross insinuations that her qualifications may be non-existent instead of y'know presenting the facts) being scientifically converted to the idea that whales can experience emotions, in an encounter with wild whales that nearly mad me cry. Luckily, I can share something related as Barbara J King wrote a piece a few years ago about 'Alex and Me' by Irene M Pepperberg. Pepperberg's studies on language in parrots are kind of amazing and although Alex, a parrot who displayed amazing skills is now dead, his successor was featured on the program.
➝ TV writer, Paul Cornell who has worked on Dr Who, recently made the decision to step off any convention panel that doesn't contain gender parity and find a woman to take his place. I recommend reading the comments where many common sense objections are made to his initial plan. Cornell has tried to address those problems, by listening and amending his plan to try and avoid making those he intends to help, feel uncomfortable.
Even though I'm always glad to see feminism pick up male allies, I have to say that I often feel the same way a commenter named Jude does upon seeing yet another feminist project having to be headed by a man:
'I am (as I know Farah has said on her blog and doubtless others have observed as well) utterly exhausted with these kinds of things only being able to be established by men. Not a criticism of you by any means; more a reaction to a moment's thought about the reactions to women arguing for gender parity on panels.'Full comment text here.
cassiphone also talks about Paul Cornell's decision and makes interesting points, like:
'His plan is not going to fix everything. It’s not going to heal the world. It may not even make much of a difference to a whole bunch of conventions. But that is not a reason for him not to do it. Because Paul can get away with it. He’s a lovely guy, good-humoured and presents well in public. If he does end up having to do this piece of comedic pantomime, physically stepping down in front of an audience and finding women to take his place, then people will remember it, and they will likely forgive him for it. He’ll make it entertaining, and the point will be made, with far less fallout than would occur (sadly) if a woman was the one trying to make the same point.'➝ Karen Healey did some research on the hate directed towards male and female writers. The comments are to be approached with caution.
➝ Jodie and I are relaunching Nerds Hearts YA, a project I started in 2009. Jodie wrote an entry at the old site. However, we'll soon be moving to a new location, designed and hosted by the wonderful Catherine who is being super generous with her time and skills to help us out. :) If you love YA literature, making lists, and nerdy data, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you're interested in taking part in the initial launch. :)
➝ Isn't it funny how perspective colors the way we look at events? Although Jodie linked to Paul Cornell's decision, my introduction was through How to Be an Asshole in One Easy Step and Assholes Redux: Sexism in Action. After reading, this, my reaction was, "Well, I'm not very excited like everyone else is." and finally "Oh, gross.. I had a thought along of lines of what Jodie quoted about, about how things like this get more attention and merit when they're done by a man. Jodie, I would definitely be interested in your perspective here, because mine is that a dude had an idea, didn't really think it through or get feedback from actual ladies, spouted off about it, and then got a little irritated (along with a bunch of other dudes) when it was pointed out this wasn't like, the second coming of male-allied feminism.
➝ Since Jim Hines did his Striking a Pose project, I've seen tons of pose projects crop up all over. The most recent is at Maxi and April Have a Tumblr. There are three right now: the project introduction, Paying Our Bills and Everytime April buys shoes.
➝ Catherine linked me to She Has No Head! — No, It’s Not Equal. This was a fascinating post. I've seen many posts like this in the past, but this is the most thorough I've seen yet. Don't Read the Comments™
➝ Someone (I can't remember who? WHO WERE YOU, MYSTERY PERSON?) shared Humbled and Amazed, a review of Kristen Cashore's Graceling. I found the article really interesting, but the emphasis the reviewer kept placing on how the novel wasn't for him started to make me uncomfortable, because it skirted the line between "this book is not engaging in the male-gaze for its female characters to benefit male readers" and "this book isn't for dudes". The comments here are worth it!
➝ Jodie, remember how excited I was for This Means War? I am not so excited anymore. :( Warning for spoilers for the movie. Sorry, Reese and Tom! I will wait for your next film.
➝ The recent talk about the statistics of Academy voters has generated a lot of great discussion. For Your Consideration: Women Directors Missing From the Oscars is one video reacting to the news.
➝ Two glorious minutes of Brave..
➝ This trailer of John Carter? 10,000 better than the official ones. I would watch this movie (and actually might, wow).
The Further Adventures of Lady Business!
On our respective projects, we created some words you might like to read in the last few weeks!
Ana has been writing up a storm and putting everyone else to shame. She reviewed Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, The Mismeasure of Woman by Carol Tavris, Wandering Son vols. 1 and 2 by Takako Shimura, and The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. She also wrote two fascinating essays for The Sunday Salon, On Objectivity, Again and On Being Wrong.
Jodie reviewed Great House by Nicola Krauss and discussed parts of BBC’s Dickens season that aired in honor of Charles Dickens's centenary.
As per usual and because Lady Business is her book blog, Renay was the slacker and did nothing but brag about graduating. Again.