Category Archives: Bookishness

Bookishness Roundup

I wrote about whether or not Jewish people feel more anxious than others (they don’t, but don’t they?) (This mommyblog post does not refer to my dissertation, which argued that anxiety = contemporary culture and gimme a cookie. For my feelings.)

I recently enjoyed The Tiger’s Wife. Obreht’s magical realist novel uses the horror of ethnic violence to rip apart all the boundaries: between nations, ethnicities, and religions, between animal and human, between life and death. As editors are legit assigning stories about potential nuclear war not even a fucking year into this administration, it’s worth thinking about the senseless dehumanization of violent tribalism. Also, while I’m no expert in Balkan culture, the novel seemed to conspicuously, uncritically, surprisingly (given its investments) marginalize its Muslim characters.

I coulda written this about how the afterword in The Handmaid’s Tale (a bunch of historibros debating whether or not the account is valid) is the most important part of the book, by reinforcing the sexism that persisted before and after the Gilead period. Gendered knowledge practices delegitimate women’s experiences and silence their voices. But also: Gilead ended. Political eras end.

This story of Kathy Acker’s last year breaks my heart.

“Surrounded by friends, she began to stop breathing, intermittently. She asked Viegener to look for the list. What list?

The list to call the animals. Kathy, we didn’t make a list. It’s the list to call the animals back home.”

 

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Pigoons!!

Science! is building a way for us to install pig parts into ourselves. To be healthier.

Margaret Atwood already wrote this, obv.

On the other hand, maybe if human DNA is slowly and deliberately integrated with porcinity, we’d get a little bit f-ing smarter.

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Updates on the End

While I was on vacation, my Mazel Together post on wedding registries (!?!?! I know!!!) went live. Then, lest I feel too cozy in such lighthearted reflections on bourgious comforts, I read a terrifying and plausible reported tweet chain about how literal my “Trumpocalypse” language is w.r.t climate change and the high likelihood that my grandchildren will live on a planet that is too hot for organized human society. So I’m postponing reading this on same and instead reading this on post-apocalyptic religious terror. And dwelling on the possibility that my grandchildren will be living in isolated, iron-age multifamily settlements far, far north. Or underground. Cuz, realistically, Earth hollows are more likely than Mars.

So, you know, happy summer.

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Streetfight: Trumpocalypse Vs Gilead

I read The Handmaid’s Tale this week and anxiously calculated the chances of Atwood’s theocratic/woman-hating coup manifesting in the Donald Duck era.

Atwood’s dystopia sorts women into four classes: Wives (duh), Marthas (domestic servants), Handmaids (pregnancy surrogates for infertile Wives), and Unwomen (“gender traitors” and dissidents). But as Foucault taught us, exceptions to the (gender) rules better enforce the (gender) rules. Though she fears for her life under the brutal regime and is coerced into breaking more and more of its codes, Offred (“Of Fred”) finds herself wresting what pleasure she can out of a system that denies her autonomy, sociality, love. The book is about how much we will give up to stay human.

Thus follows a catalog of qualities our current government may or may not share with Atwood’s Gilead. Which totalitarian, repressive regime wins?

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Some Days

Some days it really does feel like Voldemort has taken over the Ministry of Magic.

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TfH Reads Harry Potter!

Because I prefer my pop culture moldy, I finally read Harry Potter this month. In 2017. And after months of reading jokes about how Trump is like Voldemort, I’m here to tell you that:

HOLY F**K YOU GUYS TRUMP IS LIKE VOLDEMORT.

Except he’s stupider. And has a nose (I think). And probably can’t talk to snakes (but if he could would the MSM be brave enough to report on it do we need frickin’ crowdfunding to maintain the basic functions of a democratic society’s media infrastructure that could accurately report on the presence of parselmouths in our government?!?!?!?!!?!?!??)

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