I barely know where to start with this; I only started taking notes halfway through and I may come bCondescending, hypocritical, and bizarrely naive.
I barely know where to start with this; I only started taking notes halfway through and I may come back later with more thorough annotations, but for now, let's begin where Crispin ends -- with her own final summation of her basic thesis.
If you're not up for this, if you just want your life to be comfortable, if you just want to make your money and watch your shows and do as well as you can in this lifetime, then admit it to yourself. You are not a feminist. Just stand in your truth and get it over with.
By "this," of course, she means Feminism the Jessa Crispin Way -- a movement which apparently holds no room for people with mental or physical health issues, poor people (despite all the author's mentions of support!), or anyone who isn't strong enough to instantly dump all aspects of our patriarchal (and capitalist -- gosh you guys, I'm not providing any alternatives but isn't capitalism the worst?*) society out of our lives. Like, right now. Oh sorry, you still like "your shows"? I guess that means you can't sit at Jessa Crispin's non-feminist feminism table.
Crispin's main targets here seem to be #basicbitches and the internet. There's a definite "get off my lawn" quality to this book, and in Crispin's lavish defense of Second-Wave Feminism, to the point that she (twice!) bends over backward to defend the transphobic and racist comments of Second Wavers who just don't understand "relatively new" terms like intersectionality...before paragraphs later, decrying white feminists who don't understand intersectionality. (I also really enjoyed the chapter that began, "I just want to be clear that I don't give a fuck about your [men's] response to this book. Do not email me, do not get in touch," and ended, "Men can and must participate in this project [feminism].")
Look: on some level, we are all hypocrites. There is conflict and imperfection within all of us. Some of us, for example, might try to fight for feminism however we can: with how we relate to others, with how we relate to ourselves, with our money (hiss! yes, even evil money!), with our vote... And then, when we get tired, because this fight -- hell, just existing in this broken society -- is fucking exhausting, those selfsame some of us might want to watch Netflix for a little while. So sue us.
Crispin, while being a human person and thus subject to human weakness, seems to have no sympathy or room in her movement for weakness in others. Personally, I would rather have billions of imperfect feminists who are trying -- to unpack their own shit, to fight in any way they can -- than an elite crew of irreproachable feminists who never succumb to leg shaving** or online shopping or other tools of the patriarchy. But then, that's just me: a woman who could never be considered a feminist by Crispin's unimpeachable standards.
*This is snotty, but Crispin's attack on people who want to "make their money" smacks to me of the rhetoric of someone who has never been poor.
I always thought I would hate Florida until I went there. To my shock, I loved it. It's a place steeped in contradictions and weirdness -- so, exactlyI always thought I would hate Florida until I went there. To my shock, I loved it. It's a place steeped in contradictions and weirdness -- so, exactly my kind of place. I don't know that I could live there, but it sure is fun to visit.
Craig Pittman is an excellent armchair tour guide in Oh, Florida!, which covers how the state's oddities have influenced the rest of the nation and offers up loads of fun stories. Pittman, a newspaper reporter, has never met a pun he didn't like, which gives this book a sort of old-school humor that I really enjoyed. He doesn't shy away from pointing out his home state's major faults -- seriously, could there be a collection of worse politicians? -- but the book still made me long to go back.
I am both the best and worst audience for this book.
Best, because the issues that concern Hurley -- the intersection of feminist and geek culture, womI am both the best and worst audience for this book.
Best, because the issues that concern Hurley -- the intersection of feminist and geek culture, women's place in the SFF community and in the world, the importance of representation -- are all major concerns for me.
And worst, for the exact same reason: I know all of this already. This is what I already think and believe. I have heard all these arguments made before, both more and less effectively. There is nothing new for me here.
I think for someone else, younger or newer to these ideas, this collection could be eye-opening and wonderful. But to me it seemed like stuff I might find posted on Tumblr every day of my life.
Again, I'm glad Hurley's voice is out there -- more strong voices are always good! -- but for me, at least, this wasn't as stirring as it could have been....more
This covers a lot of the same ground as Spinster, but I didn't enjoy it as much. Spinster is more personal and more literary; this book relies much moThis covers a lot of the same ground as Spinster, but I didn't enjoy it as much. Spinster is more personal and more literary; this book relies much more on statistics and studies, and I found it, in comparison, more dry and repetitive. I recognize this is largely a matter of personal taste. Both books are interesting extensions of A Room of One's Own-style thought, and it's affirming to recognize the multitude of options that exist, and are continuing to increase, for women....more
Julissa Arce's Mexican parents brought her legally to the U.S. when she was 11; when she was 14 her visa expired and she began living with the constanJulissa Arce's Mexican parents brought her legally to the U.S. when she was 11; when she was 14 her visa expired and she began living with the constant pressure of being an undocumented immigrant in a country she'd mostly grown up in and felt was her home. Arce powerfully makes the case for why undocumented immigrants deserve a path to citizenship -- as with the oft-stalled DREAM act. Arce herself only eventually gained legal status because she was able to marry someone who had money and had money herself. She's very upfront about how this path is open to very few -- and not nearly enough -- people.
The story of how Arce made her money is where the book loses me a bit. In my mind:
Undocumented immigrants = lots of sympathy, deserve better treatment Wall Street culture and Goldman Sachs = yuck, get away from me
It totally makes sense that Arce, who ran a funnel cake stand to pay her way through college, would want to grow up and make bank. But the lesson she takes from a story about a young "chubby" analyst being hazed by being made to run all over a huge trading floor looking for something that doesn't exist is "know everything so people can't put anything past you." My takeaway is: these people are gross.
The last quarter of the book also turns heavily Christian in a way that's just...very alienating to me. I know that this will not be the case for a lot of people. In fact, I hope people who think Wall Street is awesome and/or are strong Christian believers, but are less convinced about the need to reform our immigration policies to help more people in need and let them live the fabled American Dream -- I hope they read this memoir. I hope it can influence them in a positive way. That's the ideal audience for this book.
However, if you already agree with Arce about the types of positive changes that need to be made to immigration law, you don't especially need to read her story; similar tales are told better elsewhere....more
A book-long pointless intellectual exercise, but a really fun and interesting one. This is my favorite Klosterman in a while: it's both more serious aA book-long pointless intellectual exercise, but a really fun and interesting one. This is my favorite Klosterman in a while: it's both more serious and thoughtful, and funnier, than his last few efforts. If you'd like the experience of a truly excellent semi-sober dinner conversation with a smart, surprising companion but in book form, well -- here it is!...more
Harper Lee has just died; fifty-six years ago she published To Kill a Mockingbird, the story of heroic lawyer Atticus Finch and his attempt to defendHarper Lee has just died; fifty-six years ago she published To Kill a Mockingbird, the story of heroic lawyer Atticus Finch and his attempt to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, from a false charge of rape made by a white woman. What a lot of people neglect to focus on, as Bryan Stevenson points out in this painful, moving, necessary memoir, is that Atticus' defense fails. Tom Robinson is convicted, then killed. The irony is not lost on Stevenson as he goes to Monroe County, Alabama, the setting of Lee's novel and a community that has made an industry out of celebrating her work, to defend another falsely convicted black man -- the conviction the result of an obvious set-up by local law enforcement that has nevertheless landed his innocent client on death row. This case serves as the centerpiece of Just Mercy, but Stevenson details many more from his thirty-year career, all of them heartbreaking and infuriating in different ways. The book is a compelling page-turner, not in spite of but because of the outrageous civil rights abuses Stevenson exposes: racism, jury tampering, cruel and unusual treatment of the mentally ill, children, the poor. You keep reading hoping for a happy ending, the miraculous appearance of justice, but Lee couldn't conceive of a happy ending to her novel fifty-six years ago, and unfortunately, in Stevenson's depiction of reality more than half a century later, not much -- and certainly nowhere near enough -- has changed.
Just Mercy is an essential book, because it's a reminder that this type of injustice is not a thing of the past, a problem we've "solved." It's current, it's ongoing, and people like Stevenson are still actively fighting it every day. Toward the end of the book, Stevenson describes a meeting with legends of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks and Johnnie Carr. "Ooooh, honey," said Parks, after hearing about his work, "that's going to make you tired, tired, tired." Then Carr leaned forward and said, "That's why you've got to be brave, brave, brave."
If only we could all be even a fraction as courageous. Let's start by not forgetting. Read this book and stay aware, stay aware, stay aware....more
There are many reasons I could give for why you should read a book about the death penalty: cold, hard, fact-based reasons, like the chilling statistiThere are many reasons I could give for why you should read a book about the death penalty: cold, hard, fact-based reasons, like the chilling statistic that to date 17 people who have been executed in this country have since been exonerated by DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project (and that even one is too many). But really, my own opinions on the issue are irrelevant, and Dow's searing memoir can be approached equally well as a death penalty proponent, opponent, or as someone who has no real feelings on the issue at all. Dow, who defends death row inmates in Texas, occupied the first position before coming firmly around to the second, and his reasoning is much more ethically than morally based. Dow doesn't like most of his clients; he thinks even fewer of them are innocent. But the system he sees is a broken one, corrupted and corrosive -- death by a drunk executioner swinging a rusty blade. The stories that make up Autobiography of an Execution are exercises in frustration, Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare, and heartbreak. And yet: Dow tempers all this with prose that is more Hemingwayesque in its simple, stark power. And yet: the overall effect is as pulse-poundingly intense as the best John Grisham thriller -- and a thousand times more emotionally resonant, as it's all true, each life and death that of a real person. Forget politics: this is a book about people, and it should be read....more