Books that use food as a gateway to emotion can be pretty unbearable (hi again, Eat, Pray, Love). Thankfully, Aimee Bender's new novel is more like one of the fairy tale rewrites I wrote about a few weeks ago than one of those self-indulgent food memoirs.
The story follows Rose Edelstein, who discovers on her ninth birthday that she can taste feelings. When Rose takes a bite of food, it tastes like all the emotions of whoever made it. And not just "happy" and "sad": as she ages and her palate develops, she can sense desires, regrets, hesitations, and many other subtleties hidden inside everything she eats. She knows where every ingredient came from: she can taste the metallic coldness of factories and the specific locations of farms.
Speaking as one of the few women at the Pan-African Congress conference in London, 1900, founding the Colored Women's YWCA in 1905, and pushing W.E.B Du Bois to write Black Reconstruction are only three of Anna Julia Cooper's achievements. Sure, when you live to be 105, you can set your sights high, but in an era of progressive depravity when it came to race and gender, Cooper's position as one of America's formidable scholars and educators is no small feat.
I've been following the discussion about the representativeness of The Social Network, about whether it accurately depicts women and "toxic masculinity" in technology particularly—a conversation which, as I said last week, I've been sort of surprised we're even having. Such a jaded feminist have I become, I guess, since I'm now actively surprised when people actually care about how women are depicted in this culture, but I digress. Personally, I thought the movie was sufficiently infused with internal comment on the misogyny of its characters that I wasn't as upset as I might have been by it's flat depiction of femininity.
I'm hardly the first to observe this sort of thing, of course, but I am, lately, obsessed with this question of how you reconcile your politics to your art. Rather than wade into the discussion on The Social Network particularly, though, since I'm only supposed to be blogging about television here, let's just situate some of these issues in that context.
I double-checked a map of the United States this evening just to make sure that Nevada is not on a border with Mexico, because an ad from Sharron Angle's campaign against Harry Reid implies that undocumented workers sneak into Nevada on a regular basis. Only the ad doesn't call them "undocumented workers," it just refers to "illegals," and I hate when people use adjectives as nouns. The commercial goes on to make a load of misleading or false assertions about Reid's voting record when
it comes to immigration, as comprehensively described by Fact Check.org's website. When it comes to making claims about someone's votes in the House or Senate, there are easy ways to respond and defend one's campaign. Unfortunately, the "Friends of Harry Reid" did not take this approach.
It's something I can never quite put my finger on but I use certain songs to play my own emotions like a musical instrument, to change the way I feel (as long as I can handle feeling something intensely).
It's been an abnormally bad year for new shows—there are few I'm sticking with past one episode. But so far, I'm still watching No Ordinary Family, a little one-hour drama from ABC that will air its third episode tonight. The premise is fairly simple: distracted, over-committed modern nuclear family goes on family vacation. They get into a plane crash in the jungle, mingle with jet fuel, and voilà: superpowers. In other words, it's a sort of live-action version of The Incredibles. The show is pretty well cast—you'll recognize faces from Dexter, The Shield, and Weeds. (And, umm, Seventh Heaven, but I guess someone's trying to break away from typecasting so let's not rib him too much for that.) The dialogue is pedestrian, but not painfully so. In other words, it's not yet some kind of heir to Heroes or Lost—the pilot simply isn't as strong as either of those shows' was—but the rest could be.
Did someone say 120 perfect-bound pages of comics by queer artists? Gay Genius, an anthology of comics and graphic art is edited by small-press superstar Annie Murphy (featured on our blog here) and will be published by Sparkplug Comics--but it needs your help before it gets there.
The U.S. presidential election in 2008 generated a turnout of voters
not seen since the late 1960s. More than 63 percent of the eligible
electorate cast votes for President, amounting to more than 128 million
votes. If these 2010 midterm elections follow historical precedent,
there will be 10-15 percent fewer voters at the polls than in the
presidental election two years ago. That would still bring out more
than 100 million people. That there is interest in this election—in
which Republicans are looking to take back the Senate and at least make
a dent in the Democrats' hold on the House—is an understatement. There are also gubernatorial elections in 37 states up for grabs next month.
At the Federal and State levels, the electoral map could look very
different on November 3. But let's back up for a moment and ask a
simple-sounding question: Does any of this matter?
Our antennae are up, and the hive is buzzing; here's what's been On Our Radar this week!
ABC has cancelled its new show Huge after less than one season. Our own Michelle Dean wrote about it here. Sign a petition to keep it on the air here! Interesting how the ABC website for the show has no mention of its cancellation...
Google searches have banned the word "latina" from their search engine. Latino? Still entirely searchable. Latina (the website) has more.
Rick Sanchez (formerly at CNN) had some fightin' words for Jon Stewart and news media bias in general, which Racialicious covered extensively. Sanchez was fired from CNN for his remarks.
Today is the day the remake of the 1978 rape-revenge movie "I Spit on Your Grave" arrives in theaters. Find a review here. Info on the original here. Not for the faint, or sort-of-faint, or average-strength, or anything-less-than-industrial strength of heart.
Following up on a story from last week, a leader of one of the militant groups responsible for hundreds of rapes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this July has been arrested as part of the UN mission to address the situation there.