naraht: John Lennon in "Help" (Beatles-Astray)
[personal profile] naraht
I've been reading David Halperin's How to be Gay and enjoying it a surprising amount, considering that I find his more historical writing opaquely theory-laden. It has interesting things to say about the relationship between gay culture and gay identity, and the limits of identity politics, including a passage about identification that reminded me strongly of slash as a queer female practice:
...my students [in a course on gay literature]... enjoyed appropriating and queering works of mainstream, heterosexual culture. In fact they preferred doing that to reading gay novels.... At least, they discovered more queer possibilities in adapting and remaking non-gay material, and thus more uses for it, then they found in good gay writing.

...what gay men have always sought out is not only direct or literal representations of themselves, but also figural or metaphorical or encoded or encrypted representations of gay desire. There seems to be something about figurality itself that they like.

Another way of putting this is to say that gay identity affirms itself not only through identity... but also through identification.
Which makes me idly wonder whether slash is in fact the queer woman's equivalent of the gay male cult of the opera diva, the glamourous and/or tragic movie star, the female icon. But actually I didn't set out to offer you a review of this book, because I have more specific passages to discuss.

One section is an analysis of the films "Mildred Pierce" and "Mommie Dearest" (neither of which, full disclosure, I have seen) and their position as gay cult classics. Halperin feels that they gain a lot of their emotional power from an identificatory "fear that the adored mother might express... her unconquerable aversion to her offspring, her disgust at having begotten and raised a deviant child."

Via a discussion of Gypsy and the fraughtness of performance, in gender role terms, for men, he gets to the conclusion (I'm summarising wildly here) that:
The mother's final turn against her offspring reanimates the dread that her love had always excited, the dread 'of being exiled from her presence.'

...gay male culture can... restage in an exaggerated, ludic and reparative mode the horror of the mother's savage withdrawal of the warrant she once gave her queer child to perform, the warrant that licensed his very existence as a subject.
If you've been following my Dreamwidth over the past year you will guess that by this point I was vibrating wildly with thoughts of Elaine and Julian Fleming from Mary Renault's Return to Night (or, as [personal profile] legionseagle prefers to call them, Mama and Baby Fruitbat). Might the problem with chapter 18 of Return to Night be that it is actually not over-the-top enough? Might it not have come across better as a cathartic crescendo of camp, un-sabotaged by Mary Renault's inevitable turn towards rigorous emotional repression?

I'm now envisioning that never-made film adaptation of Return to Night with Joan Crawford (who would have been about the right age) in a scenery-chewing star turn as Elaine Fleming, and stealing the whole film, which would then inevitably have become a camp classic. Canon!Elaine says that "if I were a man, Julian, grown-up as you are, I should thrash you for that." (MR did have her turns of melodrama; shame that the rest of the scene takes refuge in exposition of backstory.) Film!Elaine would surely slap him across the face, and there are many readers of Return to Night who would say that's no more than he deserves!

TL;DR - I will come up with any excuse to write about Mary Renault novels. But Joan Crawford as Elaine Fleming is an intriguing thought.

OTW Fannews: Fandom Business

Sep. 20th, 2014 11:29
otw_staff: Janita OTW Communications Staffer (Janita OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Robyn of the post title with $ signs as S's laid over a photo of world currency

Public Knowledge holds a contest for remixers, Australia backs down & data on TV fans: http://bit.ly/1ykl2Nu

Yuletide meta of yore

Sep. 20th, 2014 09:38
naraht: (other-Yuletide squee)
[personal profile] naraht
Yuletide nominations open on Monday, but what is a Yuletider to do between now and then? Personally, there's very little I enjoy more than reading old meta, so I've collected some of the greatest hits of the past. The information in these may be a little out-of-date, so don't take anything as gospel, but there are some useful tips here on letter-writing (if you enjoy that sort of thing), as well as some juicy stats to ponder.

If anyone has any links that I've missed, please share! And if you fancy doing any number-crunching for post-2011 Yuletides, I - and probably a lot of other people - will love you forever.

[livejournal.com profile] yuletide: Signup tips and tricks
[livejournal.com profile] yuletide: Tips on prompting/Dear Author letters/Doing Yuletide
[personal profile] thefourthvine: Random Blithering and a Poll on Prompts
[personal profile] thefourthvine: The Yuletide Prompt Poll Results
[personal profile] thefourthvine: Yuletide: My Sordid Signup History
[personal profile] liviapenn: Thoughts on Yuletide prompts and requests
[livejournal.com profile] shusu: Postcards from Yuletide
[personal profile] thingswithwings: Untitled [A poll on prompting]
[personal profile] ranalore: How not to ruin your own Yuletide
[personal profile] eruthros: I like everything but the non-traditional, non-normative, gross and icky stuff!
[personal profile] naraht: Yuletide letters and -isms in fiction
[community profile] fail_fandomanon: The Art of Writing Fic Exchange Dear Writer Letters (Not Yuletide-specific but v useful)
[personal profile] penknife: Eight ways to break your ficathon writer's brain (Ditto)

[livejournal.com profile] rivkat: Yuletide! [First five years in review]

[livejournal.com profile] hradzka: yuletide 2009: hit counts, comments, and predictions for 2010
[personal profile] not_unwise: Yuletide 2009 Statistical Analysis of Fics' Lengths
[personal profile] not_unwise: Yuletide 2010 Statistical Analysis of Fics' Lengths
[personal profile] not_unwise: Yuletide 2011 Statistical Analysis of Fics' Lengths
Even more stats posts from the Yuletide comm

And of course it wouldn't be Yuletide without a little self-promotion for HOW TO HAVE FUN AT YULETIDE (consequent bans are your own responsibility).
otw_staff: Janita OTW Communications Staffer (Janita OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Spotlight on Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Update: recent committee work & their role in preparing information for the upcoming #OTW Board retreat: http://bit.ly/1AVbFjg

Scottish referendum open thread

Sep. 18th, 2014 17:20
naraht: Red flag. Text: "we'll keep the red flag flying here." (polt-Red Flag)
[personal profile] naraht
*settles down with cup of tea to follow the Scottish referendum*

What coverage are you watching? What are you reading? Have you found any good liveblogs and open threads?

Right now I'm fuming that C-SPAN has put its BBC stream on C-SPAN 3, which my cable company doesn't carry. I'm listening to BBC Radio 4 and holding other potential solutions in reserve (although I imagine that iPlayer may be a bit overwhelmed tonight anyway).

What are you up to? Feel free to use this post as an open thread if you feel like chatting. I'll be around.

Liveblog commences )

OTW Fannews: Personal Connections

Sep. 18th, 2014 12:23
otw_staff: Jennifer OTW Communications Staffer (Jennifer OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Room with lots of Elvis paraphernalia. Text reads Personal Connections
Following your passion is what fandom is all about,
but it can take you places you didn’t expect. Read more.

New baby (cat) and book log!

Sep. 18th, 2014 12:23
alg: (Default)
[personal profile] alg
Last week, I rather unexpectedly adopted a cat. Back in January, my beloved Shiksa died of a heart attack. I thought to myself, Two cats is enough. But Vincent and Theodore have been rather lost without a third -- without an alpha female bossing them around. And one of my close friends found a post about a DC-area alpha female who needed a home.

Just a few days later, I'd adopted her.

I named her Queen Esther, but have ended up calling her Hadassah all the time. (I have had to explain to a lot of people why Queen Esther and Hadassah are interchangeable names to my mind. Even Jewish people. ngl, that is very surprising.)

Here are some pictures:


She is tiny -- she weighs about 7 lbs. To give you a sense of scale, Vincent weighs 19. Shiksa weighed 26.


...Now. Book log.

I am still struggling with Ancillary Justice. It is just really not for me.

Last night I read the new Tana French - The Secret Place. I thought she did an amazing job with the voices of the teenage girls, but I did not understand at all what the hell the paranormal elements were doing in there.

The mystery was okaaaaay but I am tired of books narrated by dudes that are books about women. The book would have been plenty interesting if it had been narrated by the woman who was the lead detective investigating the case. I didn't have any empathy or interest in the male narrator observing all the women who he continually reminded us he could never understand because he's a man. Tedious.

Reading Wednesday on a Thursday

Sep. 18th, 2014 09:44
laceblade: A curved dirt road in the middle of a forest (Up North)
[personal profile] laceblade
Otherbound - read for [community profile] beer_marmalade (whose DW is terribly neglected, lol self). This got a three from me because it really stuck the landing.

This is a fantasy book where the idea is more interesting than the execution. Nolan is a high school teenager who has a problem - every time he closes his eyes, even to blink, he lives the life a girl named Amara, a servant to a princess who lives in a different world - one with magic. In his own world, Nolan's inability to control when and where he slips into the other world causes his family and doctors to try and treat him for epilepsy, to no avail.

Coming to this while in the middle of Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, it makes me think a lot about the characters and their responsibility to another story's narrative. They're participating in worlds they're not sure are real, and it's difficult to discern how much duty they owe to people who live in a different world, especially when their activities in their fantasy world are costing them in their "real" life. It's an interesting concept, and I think it's now a trope that I enjoy.

So, yes - interesting concept & ideas, but overall I really didn't care for the writing until the last few chapters. I believe Corinne Duyvis is a relatively new author (younger than me!). I'd be willing to try other books by her, given the concepts in this one, to see if the writing improves.

Content warning for violence/abuse and self-harm.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North - [not the one by Basho] Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. So, this book is about an Australian doctor who becomes a POW during World War II. He's forced by his Japanese captors to do slave labor with his comrades, working on their railroad.

The story of his experiences in World War II is interspersed with his celebrity in the present as a war hero.

The author lifted this story from his own father's, but I pretty much hated the protagonist, who likes driving drunk & having affairs.

I'm sure there are some interesting truths in the rest of the novel - toward the beginning, for example, Major Nakamura is arguing with the protagonist about "freedom" & colonization, essentially, after the protag asks for a day's rest for the other POWs to work more effectively. Nakamura says they're redeeming their honour by dying for the emperor. "Your British Empire...You think it did not need non-freedom, Colonel? It was built sleeper by sleeper of non-freedom, bridge by bridge of non-freedom."

Anyway, I'm sure there's more to uncover, but based on this prose & what I've read so far, I'm not sticking around to find out.


Once Was Lost - I'm not sure I can say anything about Zarr that I haven't already said, but I loved this one too. I'll read any book she publishes.


History of the Rain - Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. This was both heartfelt and amusing - a love letter to people who love both books & poetry (well, very white books & poetry, I should add).

The protagonist is bedbound, & she views the people in her village in Ireland through the lenses of books - characters, locations, how people say things, etc.
There's a lot of tragedy, too, as I guess happens with any book about the Irish.
I read this during the one-year anniversary of a friend's death, and found it helped me with my grief.
I'm not doing it justice, but this one touched me down deep. Here's a much better review from someone on Goodreads that gets what I liked.

OTW Fannews: Founded on Fanworks

Sep. 17th, 2014 10:08
otw_staff: Kiri, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Kiri)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
image by Robyn of James Madison, fourth president of the US
Why can fanfic work better than OCs? James Madison knew & might approve of more content being DRM-free.
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine.

TWC's new issue 17 has Orlando Jones, social media play, Sherlock, Iron Man & Harry Potter fanfic, and more!

OTW Fannews: Knowing the Audience

Sep. 15th, 2014 10:48
otw_staff: Janita OTW Communications Staffer (Janita OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
OTW Fannews Knowing the Audience

Fans come in every race & gender and go by many names & labels: http://bit.ly/1s3BAq6

Interesting meta discussions

Sep. 15th, 2014 11:15
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
[personal profile] sasha_feather: Attempting to debunk "man / product of his time" argument
This one petered out rather but I still think it's a fascinating question and one that seems to come up periodically, particularly when it comes to the writing of historical fiction.

[personal profile] staranise: Untitled
A discussion of Dorothy Sayers' Strong Poison, including threads on Harriet Vane's legal defence, her precise class status, Harriet as Mary Sue, and more.

(Relatedly, [personal profile] flamebyrd is apparently planning to nominate both Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie for Yuletide, under the heading Golden Age Mystery Novelists RPF or Queens of Crime RPF or some such. This seems like a fantastic idea to me - I don't know much about Christie beyond her childhood but Dorothy Sayers had a fascinating life and there could well be some fiction to wring out of it. Of course you could argue that Dorothy Sayers did that already...)

OTW Fannews: Wearing the Mask

Sep. 14th, 2014 11:44
otw_staff: Jennifer OTW Communications Staffer (Jennifer OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Vintage photograph of people, primarily children, in costume
Cosplay as representation, couture, or escape:
Fans have many reasons to get dressed up! http://bit.ly/X2cw4m

Welcome to OTW Elections Season!

Sep. 13th, 2014 09:34
otw_staff: otw logo, red symbol on white field (Kiri OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Diane of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW', 'Elections News' and a checkmark next to 'Make your voice heard'
Election season has started at the OTW! Find out who can run for Board and how you can participate.

Help Me Choose a Game to Play!

Sep. 11th, 2014 12:37
laceblade: Kate Beaton comic of frustration from playing Super Mario (VIDEO GAMES)
[personal profile] laceblade
I've started some of these games before, but the thing that binds them all together is that I've never beat any of them.

As always, I may not take your advice ;)

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


Help me choose a video game!

View Answers

Final Fantasy III (DS)
1 (7.7%)

Final Fantasy IV (GBA, played on DS)
2 (15.4%)

Chrono Trigger (DS)
9 (69.2%)

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle (PSP)
3 (23.1%)

Okami (PS2)
6 (46.2%)

Epic Mickey (Wii)
1 (7.7%)

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
1 (7.7%)

Xenosaga (PS2)
2 (15.4%)

Final Fantasy X
3 (23.1%)

Final Fantasy XII
2 (15.4%)

Dirge of Cerberus (PS2)
1 (7.7%)

Persona 3 (PS2)
4 (30.8%)

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2)
1 (7.7%)

otw_staff: Janita OTW Communications Staffer (Janita OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
OTW Fannews Fanfiction for the Win

Fanfic is everywhere, even TV, and fans have lots of different reasons for writing & reading it all: http://bit.ly/X1inHp

OTW Supports Net Neutrality

Sep. 9th, 2014 11:28
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
This is the battle for the net. Team Cable is spending millions to destroy the open internet. Stop them.

The OTW will be in tomorrow's Battle for the Net and encourages all fans to take part. US fans, contact your representatives!

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(no subject)

Sep. 8th, 2014 21:16
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
[personal profile] oyceter
I feel kind of stupid posting this right now, but I haven't been checking stuff online even though I was posting the daily happiness posts, and I just found out about [personal profile] delux_vivens.

I met her online when I was first figuring stuff out about race and racism, and she and Dead Bro Walking opened up so much to me and introduced me to so many people. She took me to my first powwow and shared a fry bread taco with me and laughed when I insisted on getting another fry bread for dessert (she was right, that was a bit too much fry bread for my stomach...). She shared details about her regalia and her beading projects and braved the dread lack of transportation to have craft circle in South Bay and meet CB. I was really nervous around her at first because I wanted so badly to not look stupid, and I felt she kind of took me under her wing and watched out for me. I hadn't seen her for a while, even though CB would sometimes ask, because he only met her once but thought she was awesome, and now I wish I had reached out more.
otw_staff: otw logo, red symbol on white field (Kiri OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'
OTW is recruiting for AO3 documentation volunteers. Interested? Find out more. Or pass this on!

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ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

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