Category Archives: Bookishness

TfH’s 1-line reviews

Solo: I’d rather have watched a whole movie about Chewie freeing his enslaved wookie comrades, gently touching foreheads with them, joking freed wookie jokes with them, dancing freed wookie dances at freed wookie parties eating freed wookie electric blue antennaed hor’s oeuvres.

Tully: Our country’s so crap about families that when a whipfirecrackingbadasssssss lady has a surprise third baby, she is in such desperate need of care that her personality cleaves, like a car floor string cheese divided and knotted over onto itself in something like a salty, half-melty, lint-riddled hug.

The Americans series finale: Marriage is hard, but nationalist violence is harder.

The Mars Room: WHY ARE THERE SO MANY STORIES OUT ABOUT PARENTS LOSING THEIR KIDS ABOLISH ICE AND WAREHOUSE THEM ALL WITHOUT RIGHTS OR DIGNITY IN A MAX SEC PRISON IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT PLEASE THANKS

Ursula Le Guin’s Hainish novels and stories (which include The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed): The strand of US ideology encapsulated loosely now as “Trumpism” is terrible, which we’ve known since always but especially since the Vietnam War, and which advancing technology may only reinforce if we don’t put the anthropologists and artists in charge.

 

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Come-uppensating

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH William Saletan over a decade later admits that, oh yeah, “race” science is not science. I read his original Bell Curve post back then and was so alarmed that I stuck it in my dissertation as a footnote on the perils of oversciencing society. And have since refused to read a single fucking word by that man.

His mea culpa is decent, but it still trucks in the dubious tendency of science discourse to delegitimize other ways of learning and knowing. Continue reading

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The Joy of Cooking Facts

This lovely paean to Joy of Cooking  crushes both the bogus science critiquing the cookbook and the broader cultural problem of trying to get reliable science about food and health. Continue reading

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Sometimes People Get Sick

Eliot Kukla wrote a beautiful meditation on the ways that our vulnerabilities and weaknesses define us.

Approximately 0.6 percent of American adults identify as transgender, just under 0.2 percent of the world population is Jewish, and 100 percent of us will get sick, yet it is being chronically sick that makes me feel like an outsider. That’s how much our society fears and rejects the core human experience of being ill, of having a body that gets sick, that ages, that is not controllable.

The United States’ mandate to be forever strong and self-sufficient belies the reality of human experience: we are neither.  Continue reading

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I Have Thoughts on “Cat Person”

Some New Yorker fiction about a bad date went viral, in part because many content-absorbers thought it was non-fiction.

Much of the online fretting about the story focuses on the morality of the characters, the nature of the “consensual but unwanted” sex, the relative relatability of the characters (women relate to the woman, many men hate her, and also hate the man, inversely relating to them both, enraged as if she were a real woman person who dissed their dicks, as if they were Weinstein destroying Mira Sorvino’s career), the backlash about how relatability isn’t the point of fiction, and then defensiveness about how, actually, relatability is quite difficult to accomplish. Continue reading

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Roxane Gay Believes in Love

Readers may already be familiar with Roxane Gay’s primal story: A bookish, awkward 12 year-old girl, obedient daughter of Haitian immigrants, biked with her sexy, controlling, popular boyfriend to a deserted cabin in the woods where he and his friends raped her. She hid this trauma from her family for years and protected herself by doggedly making herself huge, maintaining her size through fat camps, parental distress, and professional peregrination.

She has told and retold this story through her increasingly prominent books, both fiction and nonfiction: An Untamed State, about a Haitian-American woman kidnapped by Haitian dissidents; Bad Feminist, a collection of cultural and political criticism; short story collection Difficult Women; and, most recently Hunger, a memoir that only ostensibly addresses her trauma and its lifelong effects more directly than her other work. Continue reading

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