September 3, 2021

Anna Atkins

Hi! I hope your roads and basements are dry and your sky is blue today. My semester is in full swing, I’m stressin about Covid, I love my dog, you know — the usual. Here’s what I got for ya:

  1. If the Shoe Fits, Julie Murphy.  Such a cute re-telling of Cinderella meets The Bachelor, by an author I trust! It’s an adult novel by a YA author, so I think it has cross-generational appeal. The main character is fat, unbothered by it, and the fatphobia she experiences in the reality tv-show world is real but not cruel to the reader. And the love is gooey and good, a perfect pool read for the last few weeks of summer!
  2. Negative Space: Close Reading Trauma Porn, LA Times. TW: Discussion of sexual assault and other forms of abuse, referenced but not in detail. “When one person speaks the unspeakable, aloud, and publicly […] it provides both permission for the next victim to speak, and also a template as to how.” This made me think hard about why I watch this type of documentary (the “abuse doc”), and why it’s different than other types of true crime. “This is the key to the abuse doc genre and its connection to histories of sentimental and sensational recitation. Unlike true crime, which is concerned with the dirty deed and tracking down the dirty deed doer, in abuse docs, the Recitation at the center of the documentary always gets situated within a framework of social critique. Always. Abuse docs never ask: “Who did it?” They ask instead: Why did no one stop it? How was this allowed to happen — and then continue? Why couldn’t we see? Why didn’t we speak?” I also appreciate these intense, not-for-everyone documentaries, for centering survivors and their voices.
  3. Fatness & Feminism: A Conversation on Unruly Bodies and Representation, ArtNews. Roxane Gay and Jenny Saville in conversation. “In most art, when a woman is fat, she’s not actually that fat—she’s just sort of plump. She doesn’t have any rolls or wrinkles or stretch marks. And here I saw fat bodies, unadorned and unapologetic. It was really surprising. We know that representation matters, but when you see the kind of representation you didn’t even know you wanted, it can be really meaningful.” And this line, which quickened my pulse: “…We think of poetry as kind of quaint and gentle, not as something that’s threatening to the government.” AND this line from Gay, who continues to be one of my favorite intellects of this generation: “If nobody is criticizing you, and if nobody is disagreeing with you, then you haven’t done your job. Universal appeal is not my ministry. I’m glad to be an acquired taste.” Girl.
  4. Butt News Movie Club #1: Sleepless in Seattle, Lindy West. Just found out the incredible Lindy West has a newsletter where she recaps a movie and makes it hilarious. Instant subscribe, and here’s the first issue! Here’s a sample: “Cut to Baltimore, where Meg Ryan (female journalist) is engaged to Bill Pullman (allergic), because this is a thoroughbred-ass ‘90s cast. They go to Christmas dinner at Meg Ryan’s parents’ house, where Bill Pullman embarrasses everyone by being allergic to strawberries like a huge piece of shit. He sneezes during their engagement announcement! Red flag!!! […] Annie (Meg Ryan) tells the “cute” story of how she and Walter (Bill Pullman) met: “One day [AT WORK, WHERE HE IS HER BOSS] we both ordered sandwiches from the same place and he got my lettuce and tomato on whole wheat, which of course he was allergic to, and I got his lettuce and tomato on white!” I’m sorry. So many things here. Well, two things. 1. He’s allergic to…. The bran of the wheat? He can eat white bread but not wheat bread? What the fuck allergy is that? 2. You not only ordered but had someone drive to you with a lettuce and tomato sandwich!?!?!? WHAT KIND OF FUCKING ARCANE HORROR IS A LETTUCE AND TOMATO SANDWICH?????????????????? Do you eat olive and sour cream tacos too? Oh, you know what’s good? PASTA WATER.” Lmao. The “wheat bread/white bread” allergy has always bothered me! 
  5. Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians, Mr. Library Dude. A treasure of the profession. He created a bunch of Lego librarian personas with cute lil captions, highly recommend a flip through.  “I’m an approachable guy librarian. Look at me! I’m on the fast track to Administration!” made me lol 

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