Full disclosure: I am a 90210 junkie. I've seen every episode of the original Beverly Hills 90210 at least twice and sometimes feel I remember their high school experiences more clearly than my own. So of course I watched the newly revived 90210 when it premiered last year. Putting aside the reworked theme song (BAD! WRONG! INVIOLABLE!), it was pretty ok and worth watching, if only to marvel at the outfits and the hairstyles.
And then they made Silver, one of the primary characters, bipolar, and I had to stop watching. The story arc around her "mental breakdown" and subsequent hospitalization was so offensive and unrealistic that I deleted the next few episodes from my Tivo without watching them, intentionally skipping Donna Martin's return to West Beverly. My interest in and love for the Donna Martin character is such that this is roughly equivalent to ignoring Obama's inauguration after working on his campaign for two years, which should show you how wildly upset the bipolar storyline made me.
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire wrote, "Critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried on with the oppressed at whatever the state of their struggle for liberation...Only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking. Without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education." Because I believe dialogue is a critical component in working toward radical social change, I have quite a bit of love for conducting interviews--and thus, do so with some frequency.
Last week, my interview with Lorraine M. López, the editor of the newly published collection An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots, was published in WireTap Magazine. Since my conversation with López was more lengthy than the allotted space would allow, I was given permission to post a complimentary piece here. The two posts are intended to be read in tandem in order to experience the full scope of our conversation.
Holiday gift shopping is tough. I mean, if commercials have taught us anything, it's that women reeeally care about getting presents (especially pricey ones) and if you get a woman a gift she doesn't like she'll probably never speak to you again. What can I say? I guess we're ridiculously materialistic and shallow. So materialistic and shallow, in fact, that we can't be bothered to make our own doctor's appointments. (I guess we just care about shopping more?) That's why, this holiday season, what the women in your life really want is for you to make them an appointment to get a pap smear or a mammogram:
Come, sit, let me tell you a story. It's 100% original and has never ever been used before and doesn't have any societal baggage attached to it. Also, I'm lying. But let me tell it to you anyway.
Once, not all that long ago, there was a dramatic story to be told! And that dramatic story needed a villain. And not just any villain, but a truly evil, twisted villain, somehow marked as the villain.
There's only one good reason to add blatant ableism to not one but two Jane Austen monster mashups: Because you know that the audience will appreciate and enjoy it. I certainly wouldn't accuse either Grahame-Smith or Winters of vast cultural sensitivity, not least because of the horrific racism which runs rampant across the pages of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, so I think it's fairly clear that the ableism was not introduced in an attempt to be wry. It was added because, quite simply, the authors thought it was funny.
It's been an exciting week in the world of advertising - so exciting, in fact, that we have two contenders for this week's Douchebag Decree! Judges are standing by to determine which of these heavyweights will win the ultimate title of Douchebag of the Week.
I have this personal theory that I'd like people to consider: Spending 30 minutes trying to eat in a pitch-black room doesn't really tell you much about being blind. It just tells you how difficult it is to eat a meal in the dark.
This seems to be a pretty controversial thing to say, since "disability simulations" like the one the Washington Post wrote about are seen as a "good" way for the able-bodied to learn about the "challenges" that people with disabilities face every day. The theory seems to be that able-bodied folks (like me!) can learn what it's like to be blind by being blindfolded and led around for a couple of hours, what it's like to be deaf by having earplugs for the afternoon, and what it's like to be a full-time wheelchair user by using a wheelchair for three hours a day for a week.
Strangely enough, spending a couple of hours in an unfamiliar situation is pretty darn difficult!
Balancing Act is a newly published work of fiction by architect and author Meera Godbole Krishnamurthy that demonstrates the challenge many stay-at-home-mothers – particularly ones with feminist sensibilities – face when reconciling their identities with the conflicting demands and desires of motherhood and working outside of the home. Although the topic being explored is not a new one, Meera uses her professional training to craft a work that offers a distinct vantage point through which to view this particular struggle. Building the self isn't so different than building a literal, physical structure, and everything constructed needs a solid foundation from which to grow.
This cold and flu season, don't take vitamins or stay home from work if you're sick – Get Mommed instead! The new campaign from Kleenex offers the nurturing comfort that only a virtual mother can provide. (And the stereotypes are included!)
I often wonder if fans of Michelle Tea are familiar with the work of Sarah Schulman. The lesbian novelist, playwright, journalist and professor has written several works since the 1980s, including Rat Bohemia, Empathy and Girls, Visions and Everything. The stories revolve around young, queer women, their lives in the city in an era when AIDS was prevalent and fringe art and theater was a common link in the LGBTQI community.
Schulman just released two new books: The novel The Mere Future and Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences. Publisher's Weekly talked with the author today, inquiring about the ideas in the book, and why homophobia that hits close to home is bigger than a personal problem: