Interesting Links for 19-10-2017

Oct. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Tell them stories, twenty years on

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:34 am
dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
I wrote this two days ago on my Wordpress reviewing blog, but I thought it was worth reposting here on Dreamwidth as well.

Twenty years ago (or nineteen years, nine months, and about twenty days ago, if you want to get really technical), I was a restless thirteen-year-old, stuck inside during a rainy week on holiday down the south coast of New South Wales. It was the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve, which meant that I was carting around a massive haul of books, given to me for both my birthday and Christmas. I had read all my new books -- all except one, whose cover put me off. My younger sister, fed up with me moping around the house complaining of 'nothing to read,' made the very sensible point that I hadn't read that book. 'I don't like books about animals,' I objected. She insisted. I am forever grateful that she did. Feeling resentful, I sat down to read Northern Lights (or, as my edition was called, The Golden Compass), the first in Philip Pullman's sweeping, expansive children's trilogy, His Dark Materials. I was hooked from the first page, inhaled the book in one sitting, and, once I'd finished it, opened it up at the beginning and reread it without pause. I reread the book four times over the course of that one-week holiday.

It's hard to describe what it felt like, to read that story as a thirteen-year-old. I was already a voracious reader, and I had already encountered many beloved stories, books I would reread incessantly, or borrow repeatedly from the local library. There were already books I felt fannish about, and whose characters I identified with and drew courage from. But this was different. It was like being seen for the first time. It was as if ideas, beliefs and fears I had long felt but was not yet able to articulate had been given voice and shape on the page. As a teenager, my many rereads of Northern Lights (and, after impatient waits of one year and three years, respectively, for its follow-ups The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) helped guide both my reading tastes, and my burgeoning sense of political awareness. My love of the series got me a paid newspaper reviewing gig at the age of sixteen, and I continued to freelance as a reviewer for various Australian broadsheets for ten years after that.

Ten years ago (or, if you want to get technical, ten years, nine months, and a couple of days ago), I was in a bad place. I had returned to my hometown after graduating university, and although I had a good job and a lot of family support, I was desperately unhappy, and felt isolated and directionless. All my friends seemed to have adjusted to adult life in a way that I was incapable of, and I felt left behind. In a fit of desperation I — who mistrusted the internet and who barely went online except to check email — typed 'His Dark Materials fansite' into Google. I found something that saved me. 2007 was not a good year, but it was made infinitely more bearable by the incredible collection of people — most of whom lived on the other side of the world — who hung out in the forums of that site. Most of them had been there for years, and were all talked out about His Dark Materials, so instead they analysed other books, shared music tips, or just vented about their daily lives. Although by their standards I was a latecomer, they welcomed me with open arms. For a long time, the only thing that got me through the day was the prospect of hanging out in the IRC chat room they'd set up — the international composition of this group of fans (plus the fact that most of them were students or otherwise kept odd hours) meant that someone was always around at all hours. This was my first foray into online fandom, and I made friends for life. Meeting the sraffies — as we called ourselves — was like coming home. Being with them was, like reading the books that had brought us all together, like being seen for the first time. I was able to relax and be myself and feel safe in a way that I hadn't really anywhere since becoming an adult. Ten years have passed since then, and the group of us have gone through so many things together. We've graduated from university, changed jobs and careers, had books and academic articles published, moved cities, emigrated, fallen in and out of love (in some cases, with each other), mourned deaths, and supported each other through whatever life threw at us. We travel specifically to meet up with each other, and if work, study, or holidays bring us by chance to each others' cities, we make a point to hang out. One of the friends I met through His Dark Materials was even a bridesmaid at my wedding.

I recently did a reread of the trilogy, wanting to refresh my memory before reading Pullman's much anticipated foray back into the world of His Dark Materials. I was anxious that it wouldn't affect me as it had when I was younger, that I would pick up on flaws, that its emotional notes would leave me unmoved. I shouldn't have worried. Reading Pullman's words again, returning to that world, was like falling into water. Like the best and most meaningful of stories, it gave me something different, as it had done with each reread, and reading it as a thirty-two-year-old woman was different to reading it as a thirteen-year-old girl, or when I was in my twenties. But, like Lyra relearning to read the alethiometer as an adult after losing the unconscious ease with which she read it as a child, it was a deeper, richer experience — not better, not worse, just different. In the years since I first opened Northern Lights and read those resonant first words, Lyra and her dæmon, I've finished high school. I've graduated three times from two different universities, with an Honours degree, MPhil, and doctorate. I've changed careers three times. I've emigrated, lived in two new countries, acquired a new citizenship, learnt two new languages (as well as many dead languages), presented at conferences, been published academically in two very different fields, fallen in love, had my heart broken, and fallen in love again. In those years, I found my home, and I found myself again. In other words, I've done exactly what His Dark Materials urges: live, as much as I can, feel, as much as I can bear, and learn, as much as I am able. On Thursday, I will collect my preordered copy of La Belle Sauvage, the first of Pullman's prequel trilogy that will return readers to the world of His Dark Materials. I will sit down and read it in a desperate, yearning rush. I wonder what the twenty years that follow will bring. I know that having read this new book — and those that follow — will help me cope with whatever those next years throw at me.

Interesting Links for 17-10-2017

Oct. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Happy Deepavali/Diwali!

Oct. 17th, 2017 04:49 pm
jolantru: (Default)
[personal profile] jolantru
Happy Deepavali/Diwali!

GUESS WHO HAS INTERNET?

Oct. 16th, 2017 11:15 pm
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)
[personal profile] krait
THIS FANGIRL!!

I am so pleased. My relationship with my laptop has been saved. Not to mention my relationship with DW, AO3, DragCave, online banking, and anything else requiring a login!

Rejoice with me by telling me what you've been up to lately. :D

(no subject)

Oct. 16th, 2017 06:25 pm
arethinn: black rose and green flames (dark (black rose))
[personal profile] arethinn
[personal profile] rachelmanija:
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.

Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.

Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.

But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.

More at https://rachelmanija.dreamwidth.org/2163007.html

Linkspam for mid-October 2017

Oct. 16th, 2017 02:53 pm
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
I'm not doing regular linkspam posts anymore, but I had a pile of links to file and I thought I'd put them in one place.

Some advice for survivors and those writing about them, Leigh Honeywell (2017-10-12). Some great advice on talking to journalists that applies to situations where you're exposing any kind of wrong-doing.

Donald Trump to become first president to speak at anti-LGBT hate group gathering, Benjamin Butterworth for PinkNews (2017-10-11). Remember when people were saying "at least Tr*mp is pro-LGBT"?

[CW: rape] On predators who won't accept that they are predators, E Price (2017-10-12). "It’s important for men to question whether there are rapists in their midsts. But good men, really feminist men, need to go even further: they need to question whether they have ever been rapists themselves."

Sister Outsider Headbanger: On Being a Black Feminist Metalhead, Keidra Chaney for Bitch (2000-11-30). Good stuff about being in intersecting outsider identities.

We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made, Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton (2017-10-12). "Rick was a very talented developer. Rick could solve complex business logic problems and create sophisticated architectures to support his lofty designs. Rick could not solve the problem of how to work effectively on a team." (Other people have rightly pointed out that the author doesn't place enough responsibility on the environment "Rick" was in for allowing him to escalate his toxic behaviors, but the fact remains that some people deal with pressure by seeking help and support from others, while others deal with it by harming others in an attempt to preserve themselves.)

We Warned You About Milo And You’re Still Not Listening, Katherine Cross for The Establishment (2017-10-09). 'The hypersensitivity that reels from “trigger warnings” but thrills to Yiannopoulos’ joyful transphobia, that likens workplace diversity trainings to “gulags,” is what fuels the outrage culture about “outrage culture,” an insatiable rage that can never be sated by giving it what it says it wants. It will merely demand we make ourselves smaller and smaller until nothing of us remains. Reactionary outrage about “PC” is not a philosophy as much as it is a burning sun that demands our compliance as its nuclear fuel, consuming it endlessly until it can feed no more and goes nova.'

America Loves Plausible Deniability, Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-14). "When faced with a choice between an incriminating truth or a flattering lie, America’s ruling class has been choosing the lie for 400 years."

A guide to modern Nazi dogwhistles from [twitter.com profile] secretgamergrrl:
"Modern nazi dog whistles- Accusing people of "calling everyone a nazi." Specifically, doing this in contexts where it makes no sense. i.e. shouting "you call everyone a nazi!" when someone is talking about nazi book burnings in the 40s, or "everyone you don't like is a nazi!" in response to a statement like "this is a profoundly homophobic statement from this organization." The hope is that someone listening who has, in a more appropriate context, been at some point likened to a nazi will give some subtle gesture of approval, outing themselves as someone ripe for recruitment. A common variation is shouting "why do you hate Trump!?" when people discuss bigotry in contexts with no tie to Trump."

Cyrus Vance and the Myth of the Progressive Prosecutor, Josie Duffy Rice for the New York Times: "The progressive bombast is meaningless if prosecutors continue to promote the same harsh practices behind the scenes. Instead, voters must look closely at their policies and hold them to high and specific standards. We should ask: Are prosecutors opposing new mandatory minimum sentences during legislative debates? Have they declined to request cash bail in a vast majority of cases? Are they keeping children out of adult court and refusing to seek life-without-parole sentences for them?"

"Fun sexual assault fact: you only hear the stories we can bear to tell." -- [twitter.com profile] sarahhartshorne

Guess the author!

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Atwood lifted much of HANDMAID from Heinlein. Yet the world thinks she’s an original."

Interesting Links for 16-10-2017

Oct. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm

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