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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.




Clare


➝ One of these days I’m going to suck up my intense dislike of traveling so I can go to the University of Iowa Library's Special Collections Reading Room and commune with our fannish past. The Library houses thousands of fanzines, including the extensive library of the late Ming Wathne. (This is all in partnership with the ever-wonderful Organization for Transformative Works, by the way.) It’s accessible to the public, provided you fill in a form, so if you are nearby, please go!

➝ Until such a day, however, I live vicariously through these two fans sharing their experiences visiting the archives: a Kirk/Spock shipper and a Blake’s 7 fan.


Jodie


➝ Reminder that [twitter.com profile] echthroi (Renay's husband) could use some help because his heart is being a jerk.

Why Britain Suddenly Has A New Prime Minister Explained For Americans. And for everyone who doesn't have a degree in British politics…

➝ Roxane Gay is going to write, The World of Wakanda, a Black Panther spin-off series for Marvel. This is such great news.

➝ Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men is being adapted for the big screen (Rhianna Pratchett will write the script). Prepare for every Pratchett fan to lose their shit about this.

➝ Laurie Penny wrote I'm With the Banned about her experience of attending a rally with Milo, the troll recently banned from Twitter for his campaign of harassment against Leslie Jones. I had to take a lot of deep breaths to get through this piece so be warned that it may be a difficult read.

➝ Sticking with Laurie Penny, her Baffler piece Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless is a smart read. It starts by addressing the downsides of being constantly told the key to a happy life lies in maintaining a positive outlook and commercialised self-improvement (it's a trap, basically). Then she goes on to call for a move away from a deliberate, reactionary movement towards cynicism, and for criticism of "well-being" rhetoric to avoid framing the work/self-care of under-represented groups as 'indulgent'. A great read for these times.

➝ On the self-care note, I've discovered the [twitter.com profile] manwhohasitall Twitter account and it is giving me life.

➝ If you are also struggling right now, here is a child cosplaying Ms. Marvel.

➝ Very cute, colourful illustrations of ladies and dinosaurs playing sports! The artist's whole Tumblr is very pretty too.

Andy Murray won the men's Wimbeldon championship for the second time! I'm so happy for him. In other important Wimbeldon news, Luke Pasqualino went to Wimbeldon looking like this. And SERENA WILLIAMS won her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, equaling Steffi Graf's record, and then went on to win the doubles with Venus (that makes their 14th doubles Grand Slam if anyone's counting). I don't have a good link for the stories about the Williams sisters but I just really wanted to share this amazing sports news!


KJ


Third graders assess the diversity of their classroom library as part of a group project. They looked at the books, counted up protagonists, and had great conversations about race in the progress. Then they found more books with non-white protagonists to add to the library and wrote letters to Scholastic asking for more diverse books. I love this idea! What a great way to get kids thinking about and advocating for diversity.

On My Dad Harold Ramis and Passing the ‘Ghostbusters’ Torch to a New Generation of Fans — Violet Ramis Stiel talks about what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a Ghostbuster and shares her feelings about the francise as a whole, including the various cartoons and this year's reboot. It's a loving tribute to the series, the fandom, and her dad, and it left me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Yes, the New Ghostbusters Is Political — In The Mary Sue, Maddy Meyers writes about the politics of the reboot, especially in comparison to the original. She declines to get into an argument about whether it's "a feminist movie" (I agree with her that this is not a particularly useful question), but she points out that it has a lot of interesting things to say about sexism and gender. A good, thoughtful analysis, which also discusses where the movie tries and fails on race issues. Minor spoilers.

➝ Andrew Wheeler looks into the epidemic of anti-hero heroes in superhero comics. I particularly liked his comparison with the more straight-up heroic tropes we see in most of the films, although that's less true in the wake of DC Nolanverse/Snyderverse.

Renay


➝ My whole life has been politics lately, starting with a clarification on the story about how Obama only eats seven almonds as a snack, which literally was just Michelle Obama giving him a hard time that was reported as a serious thing!!! Friends, I am gonna miss these two so much.

I loved this article on Hillary Clinton by Ezra Klein. I admit that this round of Clinton's attempt to be elected president I'm more aware of the fact that she's very disliked. This was something I saw when I was a kid; Bill Clinton's presidency was the first I was aware of as I claimed more tools to understand politics. I grew up with anti-Clinton rhetoric, because I was in rural Arkansas and so was surrounded by Republicans that the Democrats had lost a few decades before. But the tenor and viciousness of commentary about Hillary Clinton always shocked me, often into silence. When you've spent a large chunk of your political life being told that a person is a monster (I grew up in Arkansas so nothing the press/GOP says about Clinton can dissuade me; I'll look her her record myself, thanks) it can really influence your views about them. I also liked this bit:

We ran a lot of elections in the United States before we let women vote in them. You do not need to assert any grand patriarchal conspiracy to suggest that a process developed by men, dominated by men, and, until relatively late in American life, limited to men might subtly favor traits that are particularly prevalent in men.

Talking over listening, perhaps.


The question I hope everyone who booed Hillary Clinton at the DNC asks themselves.

Hillary Clinton has also shown that she can be made to do it. She's a transactional politician; her biggest selling point is that she can deliver things to her constituents. If her constituents demonstrate that she'd better show an awareness of mass incarceration to earn their trust, she'll call for criminal justice reform and become the first nominee to use the phrase "structural racism" when speaking to a primetime convention audience.

Although the phrase she used was "systemic racism". And I am still shocked and amazed she chose to use it, and name the problem, going into a general election. I know white voters who had planned to vote for her who she lost because of that phrase. They can't stand having the problem named, facing their own bigotry, their own part in the system. Shocked and amazed. I thought it would be another few cycles before we saw that make it into the rhetoric during an election.

➝ The despicable voting rights laws have been toppling all over the country, and many GOP proponents of those bills now get to live forever as racist jerkbutts. I'm still on the bandwagon of people getting automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, federal holidays for any November elections, expanded early voting, expanded mail in voting, and having delicious snacks at polling places. General and midterm elections treated like we treat the Superbowl! I mean, I would eat some red, white, and blue chips with some delicious spinach artichoke dip while ignoring a talking head on TV, okay? I'm sure I'm not alone.

➝ It wasn't just Chelsea Clinton who dropped some cool info about A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (for context check this thread). Oprah Winfrey was cast in the adaptation by Ava DuVernay! Y'ALL I'M BARELY CONTAINING MYSELF OVER THIS!!!!

This rec list of nonfiction for the second half of 2016 is the perfect place to go to make your TBR even larger. You're welcome.

Some remarks by Lin-Manuel Miranda that he made to teachers. I particularly liked this:

One of the great lessons I took away from film and theatre is to watch everything critically. If you’re in a show and you hate the show, don’t turn your brain off. ‘Why isn’t this show working?’ I find myself often imagining my own scenes on the ashes of a failed show that is happening in front of me in real time. ‘What about this isn’t working? Is it the performance, is the set distracting you from the performance, is the set too much for the plot?’

Continue to think critically when you’re watching any piece of art, because even if you say, “I wish I had those two hours of my life back,” you’ll know a little bit more about your taste, about who you are as an artist, about what you respond to. So it’s never really a waste of time. I think that’s a good perspective to have both when it’s creating things that don’t work or seeing things that don’t work.


Susan


The writer who made me love comics taught me to hate them too — Oh hell, this sounds like my comics history, and it's a pretty decent summary/take-down of Frank Miller's work. Reading through comics that scare and confuse and annoy you because there are tiny bits and female characters you like: yep. Completely on-point and correct critique of Sin City and 300: yep. Fridging and objectification: hell yep. This person knows what's up and this is good.

➝ Kate Elliot talking about how to write without motivation was really helpful to me and all sounded like really solid advice to me? Especially steps 6 and 9-11.

Malinda Lo talks about whether Ash is lesbian or bisexual and it's a really well-thought-through answer? Especially the point she specifically makes about her opinion not mattering in the grand scheme of things, regardless of her status as author:

This may sound weird because I’m the author of my books, but I truly believe that the author’s opinion about their book is largely irrelevant to readers once the book is published. My intentions are on the pages of the book. If I didn’t put it in the book, I don’t believe it’s important to your understanding of the story. [...] I’ve learned that when I say things about my books, people tend to believe that’s The Truth. But it’s not.

Date: 2016-08-03 11:11 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Love that Lin Manuel quote - this is how I feel about everything and why I end up wanting to write posts about things over people feel should just be written off without thinking on them. It makes everything take so much longer but I still feel like I'm slowly learning more about how stories work/why they sometimes don't work (for me or for a wider audience).

Date: 2016-08-04 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.com
Clare. Clare. Clare. Clare. Clare you should go traveling with me, we should go traveling together. What a great idea. I am not natively fond of traveling but I have gotten good at it by doing more of it. I could make all the plans and you could supply input and charm and together we could see the world. (For real, I do want to do more friend trips now that I am old and wise.)

Love that remark by LMM about trying to pay attention to what works and what doesn't as you're consuming media. I got similar advice as a wee girl after writing a letter to Patricia C. Wrede (she wrote back to me incredibly nicely), and I've always remembered it.

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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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Renay writes for Lady Business and B&N. She's the co-host of Fangirl Happy Hour, a pop culture media show that includes a lot yelling about the love lives of fictional characters. Enjoys puns. more? » twitter icon pinboard icon tumblr icon

Susan is a library assistant who uses her insider access to keep her shelves and to-read list permanently over-flowing. more? » twitter icon pinboard icon AO3 icon

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