This "historically engaging and pressingly relevant" biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature and revives the life and work of a neglected master. Still known to millions primarily as the author of "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) has been curiously absent from the mainstream American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense and psychological horror, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of post-war American more deeply than anyone. [more inside]
"Slate’s voice never loses its capacity for strangeness, for finding it in the littlest, weirdest corners of its own psyche. It’s this mix of sweet and sadness, real stakes and dreamy prose, that gives this book its soft, sharp, and altogether overwhelming power. Like René Magritte crossed with Lana Del Rey, with strong notes of Patricia Lockwood. Like a carnival ride caught in a tornado, candy-colored shards of metal sparkling in the sky." - Teen Vogue
A collection of essays on Trump, misogyny, segregated public schools, Joan Rivers, South Park, and how to moderate an audio-gear-swap Facebook page, among many other topics.
Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society (Lantern Books 2010) explores food politics, identity, sexuality, health, womanism, feminism, decolonization, anti-racism, eco-sustainability, and animal rights through the lens of the black female vegan experience in the USA. It is the first volume of its kind to address the racial and gender vegan experience in the USA. [more inside]
From Annalee Newitz, founding editor of io9, comes a story of time travel, murder, and the lengths we'll go to protect the ones we love. [more inside]
Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the American scammer as millennial hero; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting more efficient and beautiful until we die. [Goodreads] [more inside]
Lodge 49: Circles Season 2, Ep 6
Liz attends Champ's housewarming party, and discovers that there's more happening at Orbis, while Dud finds Blaise, as Blaise found Jackie's story. "We're stuck in a circle, but the magic is just there, just beyond. Merrill knew."
In this captivating blend of culinary history and popular culture, the award-winning author of Perfection Salad shows us what happened when the food industry elbowed its way into the kitchen after World War II, brandishing canned hamburgers, frozen baked beans, and instant piecrusts. Big Business waged an all-out campaign to win the allegiance of American housewives, but most women were suspicious of the new foods—and the make-believe cooking they entailed. With sharp insight and good humor, Laura Shapiro shows how the ensuing battle helped shape the way we eat today, and how the clash in the kitchen reverberated elsewhere in the house as women struggled with marriage, work, and domesticity. This unconventional history overturns our notions about the ’50s and offers new thinking on some of its fascinating figures, including Poppy Cannon, Shirley Jackson, Julia Child, and Betty Friedan
A funny, clever, and thought-provoking examination of the myth of the "economic man" and its impact on the global economy How do you get your dinner? That is the basic question of economics. When economist and philosopher Adam Smith proclaimed that all our actions were motivated by self-interest, he used the example of the baker and the butcher as he laid the foundations for 'economic man.' He argued that the baker and butcher didn't give bread and meat out of the goodness of their hearts. It's an ironic point of view coming from a bachelor who lived with his mother for most of his life ― a woman who cooked his dinner every night. [more inside]
Toasted marshmallows stuffed with raisins? Green-and-white luncheons? Chemistry in the kitchen? This entertaining and erudite social history, now in its fourth paperback edition, tells the remarkable story of America's transformation from a nation of honest appetites into an obedient market for instant mashed potatoes. In Perfection Salad, Laura Shapiro investigates a band of passionate but ladylike reformers at the turn of the twentieth century―including Fannie Farmer of the Boston Cooking School―who were determined to modernize the American diet through a "scientific" approach to cooking. Shapiro's fascinating tale shows why we think the way we do about food today.
Evan has a secret.
A shameless chauvinist gets a taste of his own medicine when he wakes up in a world dominated by women and locks horns with a powerful female author. [more inside]
The story of psychologist William Moulton Marston, and his polyamorous relationship with his wife and his mistress who would inspire his creation of the superheroine, Wonder Woman.
Teenage girls everywhere suddenly discover that their bodies can produce a deadly electrical charge. [more inside]
In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, cultural critic Anne Helen Petersen has written her own catalog of unruly women: celebrities and other cultural figures who have been called too strong, too fat, too gross, too slutty, too old, too pregnant, too shrill, too queer, too loud and too naked for uncomplicated cultural acceptance. She ranges from Serena Williams (too strong) to Lena Dunham (too naked) and shows how each woman defies norms while still staying close enough to the edges of respectability to achieve mainstream success.
A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, in a tribute to 1960s pulp novels and Technicolor melodramas. [more inside]
Currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and often cited as one of the best films of 2016. [more inside]
So, last week....
- "Unfortunately, we must begin, again, with President Trump, two words that continue to sound unnatural together, like 'Walrus Porn,' or 'Tilda Swinton.'" Trump promises a crackdown on illegal immigrants, despite problems hiring ICE agents, and withdraws Obama-era guidelines for transgender students in school bathrooms.
- And Now: Some Random Thoughts From WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott
- Main Story: The Affordable Care Act (YouTube 19m), and Republicans trying to repeal it despite unexpected (to them) popular opposition. LWT examines what it is, problems with it, and Republican plans to fix it.
- And Now: WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott Drops Some Famous Names
- Finally, the Supreme Court. Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland for 11 months, so that they'd have the opportunity to have their guy Neil Gorsuch confirmed, a historic abberation. To reflect this, LWT's Dog Supreme Court is filling the seat, not with a dog, but by a choice of three lobsters, that they're asking viewers to vote for on their Twitter feed.
The widely praised debut from Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, from her original screenplay, traces the sexual and emotional coming of age of five orphaned sisters as they confront the joys and limitations of growing up in a conservative town in rural Turkey, searching for their own power in a series of dark and comedic events. Trailer for the film, which was France's submission for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars. "Mustang is at once feisty, poetic, hilarious, and gut-wrenching. It’s like a feminist 400 Blows, or if the punk teens from We Are the Best! were cast in a remake of The Great Escape."
Last Week Tonight S03E01 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at age 79. Chipotle restaurants face federal investigations over food safety. (LWT produced a small commercial for them.) Main story: Voting (YouTube 14m), and the increased obstacles put in place to make it harder for US citizens to vote in elections. And Now: Newscasters Using Entirely The Wrong Tone. New Zealand's Prime Minister Steven Joyce is smacked in the head by a thrown phallus and is thereafter nicknamed by the New Zealand Herald "Dildo Baggins." Joyce tweeted to send it the GIF to John Oliver to get it over with -- and so they put the image on a flag, and gave the flag to Peter Jackson to wave. And then things got weird.... Yes that's right: Last Week Tonight is back! [more inside]
The Simpsons: The Girl Code Season 27, Ep 10
In the A plot Lisa takes a coding class and then collaborates on an app to warn people of the consequences of posting things online. In the B plot, Marge posts something online which gets Homer fired, and so he returns to the only job he's ever understood, (No, not The Bowling Alley) being a dishwasher in a greek restaurant.
A young woman discovers her visiting "Uncle Charlie" may not be the man he seems to be. [more inside]
If The Blind Assassin was a layer cake, the layers would be the impossibility of true love, the inexorable destructive force of time, and chocolate. The frosting is pulp and newspaper. It's a remarkable novel, if only for the way Margaret Atwood weaves together three wildly different genres into a whole. There's the gentle comedy of old age about an old woman living a rather solitary existence in a small Southern Ontario town. There are her reminiscences of her life and family, an old-fashioned bildungsroman or family saga. Then there's a story about a doomed romance and pulp science fiction. Each on their own a very good book, but together form a great one. [more inside]
A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker's unhappy family. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: FIFA caught on corruption charges, the Thai love for Hitler Season 2, Ep 15
This week: Cuba is removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. Nebraska becomes the 19th US state to abolish the death penalty. Ireland votes to legalize gay marriage by a 2-to-1 margin. And Now: Newscasters Finding The Fact That They Don't Know Words Hilarious. (Watch for the THUG LIFE joke.) The main story: FIFA is revisited as issues with corruption have resulted in successful criminal prosecution against FIFA officials in the United States. YouTube. (13m) The indictment, which Oliver recommends you read due to being "amazing," is here. (164p PDF) And Now: Bernie Sanders Asks Interviewers Questions. And finally, we look at Adolf Hitler's bizarre cachet in Thailand, where his image is used as a general mascot and cultural signifier. Who would be better than Hitler? Rip Taylor, who appears in a segment stating his case. [more inside]
SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).
There are many synonyms for ‘underwear’. There are many synonyms for the body parts you keep in your underwear. But there’s only one word for ‘bra’. [more inside]
Would anyone be interested in a space to talk about Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin? I've already had a couple of great discussions with MeFites off-site and thought it'd be fun to open it up to more folks.
Call the Midwife: Episode 1 Season 1, Ep 1
The opening of the show introduces it's major characters, sets the historical scene in post-war England, and establishes a tone of woman-centered, bike-powered, socialist-minded tear jerking melodrama and adventure. What's not to love?!