Sunday, March 30, 2008

The whole "boys don't read bc its' something girls do, and girls have cooties!" is making the rounds again.

And once again, everyone's solution is to give them reading material (often comics) that screams "Boy! Boy! Boy! Boys only! No girls allowed!"

Which means that once again, everyone is failing to note that:

1) Comic stores may still be mainly for boys. Comics themselves? Not so much. Graphic novels? Not at all. Yes, there are certainly more "boy" comics than "girl" comics. But walking a reluctant reader over to the J GN section of their local library isn't all that likely to stop them from thinking that reading is for girls.

2) Giving boys "boy books" hardly addresses the root problem. Which is not just that reading is seen as something that girls and women do, but that boys can't (shouldn't?) do anything that is for girls.

3) Inasmuch as the lack male role models in early educational environments seems to be why boys see reading as "feminized" - rather than the actual material itself (which still feature more boys than girls, btw) - wouldn't recruiting more men to be kindergarten and (gasp!) preschool teachers be a better solution? (Oh, but then we may have to pay the latter decent salaries. And stop pretending that men can't be nurturing/that any man who likes small children is a predator.)

4) As my brother points out, guys don't read as much because they have more "choices." In other words, they are more likely to go to the movies or play video games. Both of which, especially the latter, tend to be made for and advertised at them more than women/girls. (Solution: Make more video games for girls! And stop pretending that teen girls don't go to movies!)

5) It's mostly only non-white and working class boys that fall behind their female peers in reading. Upper class white boys still beat everyone. Which means that there is more happening than just reading being considered feminine.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for efforts like Guys Read - as band-aids.

But....can we all get started on some long term solutions sometime this century?


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just In Case Anyone Needed Any More Proof.... to how and why Holly Black kicks ass, that is.

Holly's rules for other writers, etc. on how to not piss her off:

Don't leave me hanging.

If you set something up, it has to pay out.

Don't set up a girl as a bad-ass and then spend the rest of the book/show/film punishing her for her badassery.


Holly also has a new book coming out.

(dunno when, though)

It's a mystery and a graphic novel. (and, of course, fantasy)

The artwork is done by Ted Naifeh, who also wrote and illustrated Polly and the Pirates.

With that dynamic duo in charge, I think it's safe to say that we can expect a bad-ass girl or two in The Good Neighbors.

(makes mental note to make sure my branch is getting a copy)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just in Case Anyone is Confused....

...everyone gets that Karen Healey and Terry D. Johnson got their numbers from stats published by Marvel, and not by trying to guesstimate according to any artwork, yes?

So we can stop with the waving around of words such as "style" and "artistic" in defense of these numbers, yes?


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Prediction: This Christmas, Hollywood Will Discover Teen Girls

It's not unusual for the big holiday blockbusters to become blockbusters because they appeal to the 14-21 crowd. Or, rather, one half of the 14-21 crowd. Everyone knows, after all, that Hollywood is often desperate to capture the attention of teen boys because everyone knows that they are the ones who go to the movies all the time, and will go again and again to the over-hyped movies.

So, watch out for lots of freaked out critics this coming Christmas, when the two biggest blockbusters are going to be made that way by the other half of the 14-21 crowd. Because not only will Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will be coming out late November, but Twilight is set to come a mere three weeks later.

What isTwilight you ask? Twilight, for those of you that have been living under a rock, is a YA series about vampires and full of teen angst. It's also going to be the blockbuster that no one expected.

When it was announced a while ago that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was going to be broken up into two movies, who didn't cynically think "Oh, so you'll break up DH, but you still kept OotP all in one movie. wtf?" Yeah, I'm sure we're all believing that this is all about staying true to the source material and not at all about WB getting worried that their HP cas cow is almost over.

And WB should be especially worried about HP, because while they may have other blockbusters in the works, they don't really have any that are made to appeal to the demographic that made the HP movies such huge successes. The HP books may have been initially made famous by adorable 9 year old boys sporting fake glasses and lightening scars, but it's the teen girls that have been most consistent about showing up in their Hogwarts gear for the midnight screenings of the HP movies as well as the latest Midnight Magic Parties.

Both the books and the movies appeal to a wide variety of people, and neither would have done as well as they had if they hadn't. But that doesn't change the fact that the core audience for the HP movies is the very one that Hollywood has consistently pretended doesn't exist. The one that they make half-hearted attempts to lure into the the theatre every so often, and then pronounce not worth bothering for when their often lame attempts flop.

Which brings us to Twilight. The movie that MTV ignored until their rights expired, despite the fact that it's also based on the books one that the teen girls (and a good number of adult women) I know cannot stop talking about. Yes, my cousin and her friends are all still looking forward to HBP, but it's the casting announcements for Twilight and the speculation about Breaking Dawn - the upcoming fourth book - that dominates the conversation whenever the subject of books and movies come up.

Anyone who had bothered to check's top ten last summer wouldn't have been surprised to find various versions of the Harry Potter books dominating the list. What went largely unnoticed, however, was that all three of the books from Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series were consistently on the top ten throughout the summer as well. (Unnoticed enough that my store ran out of our 200+ copies on the first day.) If you need any further proof of the insane popularity of the books and the huge anticipation for this movie, just go to the MTV movies blog post that's prefaced by the announcement that the number of comments on their first post for Twilight left all other comment threads in the dust.

For years (decades?) Hollywood has said that teen girls don't go to movies - or if they do, they go to whatever their boyfriends want to see. HP has already shown that not to be true, but it's not widely acknowledged for fear of scaring off the HP fans who aren't teen girls. (cuz girls have cooties, yannow)

Juno has helped, but adults like to pretend that their teen girls are completely unaware of sex, so it's popularity among that group has been largely ignored. As has the fact that pre-teen crushes on Harry and Ron have grown more adult in past few years.

Plus, god forbid they mention "teen girls" and "Oscar worthy" in the same sentence.

But all this pretending that the adults are doing isn't going to last when Twilight hits the screen.

(shirtless vampires, oh my!)

ps - also expect a more than decent box office performance by YA novel inspired and October release Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, thus solidifying the trend.

pps - expect Kirsten Stewart to blow everybody's socks off as Twilight's Bella as well.

ppps - Will someone please make sure that she, Ellen Page, and Emma Watson all continue to have roles worthy of their talents? thxbai

Saturday, March 22, 2008


That's how many linear feet of (adult) non-fiction (non-reference) books are on the shelves at the (soon to be) old branch.

And no, you don't want to know why I know that.


7 days until we close.

8 days until the movers come.

27 days until we open.


...and I'm already stressed and exhausted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why I Hate Local News

and all kinds of other news shows as well

some LA station is reporting on the "Spitzer sex scandal"

'cuz the most important thing is that it's all about sex. It's not about a public official who was entrusted with enforcing laws now being charged with doing something that's illegal, the hypocrisy of him going after johns while being one, or that he endangered the lives of others - including his wife - by trying to coerce a prostitute into letting him not wear a condom. No, it's really just the sex that matters.

and they keep calling the woman who blew the whistle on Spitzer a "call-girl"

'cuz it's not like there aren't better words they could use, or that she is an adult who deserves the respect of being addressed as one, or that it matters if we imply statutory rape and then ignore the implication, therefore suggesting that charges of rape amount to nothing more than a "sex scandal."

and yet, when they quote some idiot on her myspace page, they replace "whore" with "prostitute"

or, at least, that's what one assumes they were replacing, since "prostitute" was written as "[prostitute]" on the visual aid screen

'cuz it's all fine and good to treat sex itself as both worse and more newsworthy than illegal activity, conflate rape and sex, infantilize a grown woman, quote people who call her names, or use silly euphemisms ourselves, but god forbid we use something as disrespectful as "whore" on local television.

at 11pm.

even if it means inaccurately reporting the name-callers as being more polite than the local news.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Introducing Super K!

Work? What's that?

And no, that's not me. That's my big sis.

PS Since I do actually have work to do, I won't be changing the typos anytime soon, so y'all will have to live with them for a while.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Because We Are A Society That Lives on Soundbites

Male physiques, of course, all conform to the statistical norms of the United States.

That's a comment made in response to this post: Marvel Women Unhealthily Underweight

I suspect sarcasm.

Which seems a little, um, clueless? to me, since, well....

For those of us that like numbers, here's the pretty graph that sums up the post's title:

Note how the spikes for the men's BMI occur at roughly the same place, but the Marvel BMI has a higher spike than the real life BMI. So on the one hand, the Marvel average - or ideal - still corresponds pretty well with the real life average, but on the other, Marvel men are more "average" than real men. They are, in fact, about doubly likely to be "average" than real men.

Now, let's look at the curves for the women's BMI. Not only is the Marvel spike five times higher than the spike for real women, the "averages" aren't anywhere near each other. There is no point at which the Marvel curve and the midpoint of the real life curve even overlap. So we've gone from being almost twice as likely to fitting the real life "average" to no one being like the real life "average."

While real women are more likely to be outliers than real men, Marvel men are more likely to be outliers than Marvel women. Marvel women, in fact, show a range that is only half what Marvel men, a third of real men, and a quarter of real women have. So not only is the average Marvel woman nothing like the average real woman, Marvel women who don't fit that average are pretty much non-existant., about that sarcasm.....


You should all go read the actual paper, of course. It is by Karen Healey and Terry D. Johnson.