August 25, 2017

Happy eclipse week everybody, I hope you’ve taken advantage of this bizarre astral energy! This week’s five were hard to pick, so I have some bonus features at the bottom of the post:

  1. What If We Cultivated Our Ugliness? or: The Monstrous Beauty of Medusa by Jess Zimmerman. "I looked great with my haircut, but ‘great’ in the sense of ‘a vast and incalculable thing.’" SO good. This article also talks about how meeting the very narrow standard of beauty might ensure visibility for good and bad, and if you’re *not beautiful* you are invisible. But there’s a certain, tantalizing power in embracing the word ugly…“Better for them to be afraid. Better for them to think they’ll turn to stone.” READ this.
  2. “Hymn” by Sherman Alexie. “So you love your sibling? Big fucking surprise. // But how much do you love the strange and stranger? / Hey, Caveman, do you see only danger // When you peer into the night? Are you afraid / Of the country that exists outside of your cave?”
  3. Jane Austen’s Most Widely Mocked Character is Also Her Most Subversive, Rachel Dunphy. This is an interesting read into a character I’ve found sympathetic over the years of re-reading. I do think "most subversive” is too generous, but I can see Austen using Mrs. Bennett as a mouthpiece for the unfairness of the entail stuff and how women can’t inherit. I think we are meant to conclude that behind the silliness and social grasping of Mrs. Bennett and her friends is a mother’s horror at the dismal fate of women who can’t find a husband to care for them.

    And I have some major side-eye to this essay for condemning the scandal around Lydia’s “premarital sex,” as if the only objection we have to a sexual relationship between a naive 15 year old and a grown man is whether they’re married or not.There’s some good push-back in the comments, but I’d be interested in your thoughts here as well!

  4. The Faces Behind Craigslist’s Strictly-Platonic Personal Ads I didn’t think I’d get as engrossed in this article as I did. I finished it with a sense of universal empathy and a little like I’d been spying on people.
  5. The White Lies of Craft Culture “The character of craft culture, a special blend of bohemianism and capitalism, is not merely overwhelmingly white — a function of who generally has the wealth to start those microbreweries and old-school butcher shops, and to patronize them — it consistently engages in the erasure or exploitation of people of color whose intellectual and manual labor are often the foundation of the practices that transform so many of these small pleasures into something artful.”

Bonus Features:

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