Last Tuesday, I watched two hyped ABC sitcom premieres, Selfie and Manhattan Love Story. Both, as far as sitcoms go, are treading some fairly well-worn territory: Selfie is a My Fair Lady update for the digital age, so faithful that its two leads (Doctor Who's beloved Karen Gillan and Harold and Kumar's equally beloved John Cho) go by the names "Eliza Dooley" and "Henry Higgs."
Pessl's salability had been remarked upon over a year before the book itself was published: a conventionally attractive thin young white woman, a Barnard grad, a debut novelist, an "actor, writer, and dancer." It's no wonder, many observed, that Viking paid well into the six-figures for the book.
Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace—better known as Ada Lovelace—described herself as an analyst and metaphysician in her only published article. Seeing as how that article included what is cited as the first computer program and the first incidence of computers being assigned abilities beyond mathematical functions, her description rings true. Born in 1815 to Lord Byron, moody English poet, and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, "princess of parallelograms," Ada was primed to develop what she once called "poetical science."
Eleven years ago, an article in Wired magazine helped establish the reputation of Asperger's as "the geek syndrome." As the condition has become more prominent in the popular imagination, it has acquired a close association with computer technology. One could write a whole book on the relationship between Asperger's and cultural fascination with and anxiety about technology, but here I just want to begin to question and deconstruct that relationship.
Sarah Sparks loves technology. A freelance tech geek, she fixes everything from new computers to old radios and calls her home pregnancy test a "nifty gadget." When its digital face displays the word "pregnant," she comments to boyfriend, Leon, "It's actually a pretty good quality font for a disposable," before recognizing that her life is about to be altered by a much less predictable technology. In first time feature directors Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson's Small, Beautifully Moving Parts, Sarah (Anna Margaret Hollyman) is ambivalent about her pregnancy.
OK, so we can all agree that there is a lack of women in positions of power in the tech industry, right? Right. Well, according to Douche du Jour Michael Arrington, it's our own damn fault. In his piece for TechCrunch (charmingly titled "Too Few Women in Tech? Stop Blaming the Men.") earlier this week, he had this to say:
I'm going to tell it like it is. And what it is is this: statistically speaking women have a huge advantage as entrepeneurs, because the press is dying to write about them, and venture capitalists are dying to fund them. Just so no one will point the accusing finger of discrimination at them.