Monday, June 30, 2008

I had to do an online sexual harassment training today for work (bc I'm now a supervisor) and it was just as aggravating as you'd expect it to be.

I desperately wanted to smash my computer screen when the training told me that a pat on the back was not considered inappropriate, even though the person being patted has one of those fake smiles and the lesson directly before had featured a guy telling a joke and coworkers with mixed reactions, including one coworker faking a laugh.

Of course, their point in the previous lesson was that you can't tell by how someone reacts what they are really thinking about the joke. But since I correctly guessed what everyone was thinking, I think the more important lesson was "learn to properly read facial expressions, you idiots."

and that was just the beginning.......

I am so effing sick of people using the word "offensive" when it comes to harassment and discrimination.

1) Learn to use a thesaurus people. Legal term or not, there's got to be a few others that you can use without confusing the lawyers.

2) That really isn't the fucking point. The frickin' point is that it's disrespectful. I am not offended by porn. I think that's it's disrespectful and inappropriate to look at it in the workplace. I am not offended that you notice my DD's. I think it's insanely self-absorbed when people can't keep such observations to themselves or need to be told that they ought to do so.

Also, that "pat on the back" thing is still bugging me. Keep your hands far away from my neck people, or I will go apeshit.

On a related Free Credit Report Dot Com just went from illogical (and yet.....still illogical) "If I had gone to some stupid website I would have found out that my girlfriend had horrible credit and I could have left her before we got married!" (did you just not bother to ask your future wife what her credit was, or was she lying and yet you still decided to stay with her?)

Number One Theme of This Year's ALA

Reading (storytelling/information gathering) is at it's heart a social activity.

If you want to get more people (kids/teens) reading, give them opportunities to share books with other people. Let them join (listen) to books group discussions/activities/etc. even if they haven't read the book. Chances are at least a few of them will find it interesting enough to read

Keep reading to your kids. Harry Potter was popular not just because the kids made it so (by word of mouth - ie socializing) but also because parents and kids read them together/simultaneously. At the very least, show an interest in the stories they are reading, not just the amount and level they are reading.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Librarians Invade Disneyland!

Despite the fact that ALA wasn't any more useful professionally than CLA (possibly less), it was vastly more entertaining.

Largely because

1) Holly Black is completely awesome and I am so very cool bc I (and several dozen other librarians) own signed ARCs of her new book - which isn't out until October.

2) Cory Doctorow is even more awesome in person than in cyberspace. I did not think such a thing was possible.

3) Publishers love to give away free books (and posters) to librarians. (or sell them so cheaply they may as well be) We love publishers back. (our feet and back both disagree, however)

4) Authors like to sign the free books. We already adored the authors. We're not sure we can possibly adore them more than we already do.

5) Disneyland!

and best of all:

6) Book Cart Drill Team Championship. This so needs to be an Olympic Sport. I'd travel to another country to see that event.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Things I Would Not Recommend Doing:

* sneaking into mgg's house and dyeing all of his socks the same color

* setting your comments to "moderate before publishing" and then completely forgetting that you have done so, and wondering why no one is commenting anymore

* getting a hold of the first season of Supernatural and deciding that the best time to start watching it is at midnight, in the dark, alone

* saying bloody mary three times in front of a mirror

now guess which of these I've done lately

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Bad, More Bad, The Good, and The Messy Aftermath

So, this crap annoys me. Obviously.


Also, regarding the idiocy found in this article (linked to in the comments of the post above) about how they just don't make kids like they used to -

Who cares if kids nowadays don't yet know what an old-fashioned trolley is. Do you think I knew what one was when I was 5? Do you want to know how I learned what one was? By going to Disneyland every year. So, really, I think Disneyland of all places might just survive having some old-fangled machine that kids don't recognize right away.



.....this? Is just so cute its completely distracting me from all my justified annoyance.

Help! I don't know what to do or how to feel!

(and I'm a little worried that I'm a bad person for thinking it's cute. the cultural appropriation smells a bit too fishy to me to completely pass the sniff test.

but..but...but...they remind me of those key rings they sell at my local comic shop! how cool is that? plus...her ears are crab claws. OMG!!!! I think my brain just exploded from the sheer awesomeness of ears that are crab claws!!!!!!!!)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Selective Memories

Now, I'm not going to argue that the plethora of remakes and sequels is a good thing.

But I do have to point out the idiocy of complaining about people destroying your childhood memories by remaking/doing a sequel to an R rated movie that came out when you were nine, and then using a quote from the director about how 12 year-olds today are a fresh audience for the remake/sequel/reboot to claim that the director is going to water down the movie in question.

If you didn't see it as a child, then it's not your childhood that they are messing with.

If you did see it as a child (as did, by the way, a great number of us) then one ought to allow for the possibility that the director is being refreshingly honest rather than planning on remaking it as a G movie. Especially seeing as how the director also talks about seeing the R rated original as a kid as well. At the very least, doing so would be less self-contradictory on your part.

The Problem With Feminism Lite

I'm not yet done watching all of the Christy episodes, but it's already pretty clear where the shows version of feminism fails.

The best example is in A Man's Reach, the episode where Christy helps Rob Allen prepare for a test that could win him a scholarship to Fordham University. The subplot of the episode revolves around Zadey Spencer, the daughter of Fairlight Spencer and a fellow student in Christy's class.

Zadey is a foil for Rob Allen. While Rob has a tremendous talent for the written word, Zadey is gifted in math and science. Rob faces prejudice from a culture that sees high literature as unmanly and unproductive. Zadey must deal with a society that not only sees her talents as unfeminine but that also often fails to believe that she even has them.* Rob is on the cusp of adulthood; in the end he decides to stay in Cutter Gap because of the responsibilities he has to the family that depends on him. Zadey is just entering adolescence, which means she is suddenly misbehaving and acting selfishly in ways that she never even did as a young child. Rob story ends with him deciding who he is and the kind of person he wants to be. Zadey's story is all about how adolescence is a time of uncertainty of identity, and the confusion and possibilities that brings.

Zadey's subplot also revolves around Christy learning a lesson as well (of course). In this case, it's that becoming too focused on any one student makes it hard to see when others need her too. Zadey's is hurt at being left out of the older girls giggles and confidences. Which is made worse by Christy ignoring her need for validation and purpose in her schoolwork. This is resolved at the end with Christy apologizing to Zadey, admitting that she still has a lot to learn as well, and promising to help her study when it's her turn "to go to college."

The first part of Christy's apology to Zadey, where she does the actual apology and admits that she is still learning herself, is very sweet in the sappy way that makes me love the show. It's very nicely done in that "gosh I wish I always knew the perfect thing to say" way.

It's the last bit that turned the light bulb on for me as far as exactly why the show gets feminism wrong.

Because, of course, knowing what it's like to female and talented at math and science at the turn of this century, my first thought was "And who's going to offer her a scholarship to study math - in 1912?!?!"

It's not entirely impossible, but it's a lot less likely than Rob Allen's offer, and that was rather unrealistic itself. (Rob Allen entered a writing contest. He didn't win, but one of the judges was a professor at Fordham University and wrote offering him a scholarship - if he passed the test.) It's not like newspapers hold math contests, and science projects usually take a lot more capital than writing stories.

But there is no mention of that, or reassurances from Christy - who has just spent the past episode pressuring Rob Allen to go to college - that she will take the time to try to find a scholarship for Zadey Spencer, who, unlike Rob, is expressing interest in college long before an out of the blue offer to go.

Most of all though, lets not mention that the University that was so generous to Rob won't even admit women until Christy's great-granddaughters are ready to matriculate.

This is the false feminism that makes people think that feminism is no longer needed. The feminism lite that pretends that Christy promising Zadey Spencer an equal amount of time in tutoring her for college scholarships equals an equality of opportunity for Rob Allen and Zadey Spencer, even back in 1912.

*No one tells Zadey that she can't do math, but there are lots of comments about how girls aren't good at math. In Zadey's presence.

The way Zadey reacts to this felt very real to me, but I was frustrated with how the adults handle it. Fairlight has a great handle of how adolescence is affecting her daughter, but her response to Zadey's confusion about her gender identity and her frustration at sexism is to say (to Christy) that John (Zadey's oldest brother) being a boy isn't ever going to change. And while Fairlight and Christy can see that the age difference is part of why the older girls are leaving Zadey out of their talk of boys and the like, they fail to see or address how the girls use Zadey's lack of gender conformity (minor as it is, Zadey's never shown as a tomboy) to imply that her problem is not the age gap, but instead that she isn't "girl" enough.

Also, they left out the scene where the other kids ignore Zadey's right answer. And instead put in a scene where Zadey strives to get Christy's attention every time she knows the answer, which is always. Which, again, not very realistic. If Zadey actually did that regularly, she never would have been friends with the older girls in the first place; she would have been shunned long ago.

Zadey is much too old to want to always be the one that's called on in class. She's already at the age where her issue is that her peers don't respect her talents, not that she feels shunned by the teacher. Which Christy does make mention of at the end, but she suggests that the solution is that she calls on Zadey more in class in order to let her show off, which isn't really the problem that needs addressing or the solution that Zadey needs.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Comment Policy - Or Lack Thereof

I've never felt it necessary to have any kind of comment policy. Mostly because hardly anyone reads this and even fewer people bother to comment.

But this is the second time in as many months that a newbie (in the case of #2, a drive-by, most likely) has left a comment that discusses a woman's looks in a way that is absolutely irrelevant to the point of either my post, their comment, or both.

So, oh wise and benevolent ones that are gracious enough to grant me the honor of your fine words, to you I say:

It's not just that you insult how a woman looks, or that your manner of doing so make you look like a petty high school bully, it's that you say it as if it has any bearing on the worth of her actions or words.

It's not just that you are crude in your appreciation of a woman's looks, nor just that you try to preempt criticism of such behavior (on a feminist blog, no less) by being "cute." It's not even that you think I give a shit, it's that you have the audacity to come to my blog and make it clear that you don't give a shit about anything that I have said at the same time.

I'm hardly above caring how people look. I have the tag "pretty boys" for a reason.

But there are plenty of places where you can discuss to your hearts content whether or not a woman turns you on. Most of the places I have to spend my time in are places where you can discuss to your hearts content who turns you on.

Just in case the "feminism" in the subtitle didn't make it clear - this blog isn't one of those places.

If you want to comment here on how a woman looks, it had better be relevant to the actual post in question*. Otherwise, expect deletion without prior warning.

*gushing about grand dames like Tyne Daly - even if it's include looks - are considered on topic. Comments that subsist of nothing more than "All I know is that Kellie Martin is hot. Hubba-hubba." do not. Especially when the only sentence in the post about Kellie Martin herself is on her acting abilities.