The Sunday Brunch Post: 22nd of June

The Sunday Brunch Post is the roundup of good things I’ve read this week. Some of these I’ve already shared on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t really read much online this week but I did finish Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives, Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill and started Troubling the Line: Trans & Genderqueer Poetry & Poetics and Sex After Facism (all links to Goodreads.)

Sex

  • Um, No: Teddy Love” by Epiphora, Hey Epiphora: “A teddy bear with a vibrating muzzle? Really? This is condescending, infantilizing, and damaging. This is not how we get over the stigma around sex toys. This product is WHY THERE IS A STIGMA AROUND SEX TOYS.”
  • The Dramatic History of American Sex-Ed Films” by Sarah Mirk, Bitch Magazine: “In 1914, the nation’s first sex-ed movie debuted in theatrical release: Damaged Goods. This film about the dangers of syphilis is rather grim: On the eve of his wedding to a ‘virtuous woman,’ a man sleeps with a prostitute and contracts syphilis. The movie ends with the him about to commit suicide. Damaged Goods was originally made as rather educational entertainment and screened to the public, but soon the U.S. Army began to screen the film in training camps… Progressive Era reformers supported the public showings of films as a way to teach diverse, immigrant-heavy urban audiences about what they considered proper health and morals. The first sex-ed films were geared toward male audiences and centered on characters who were white men, with messages about how preventing venereal disease and limiting sexual desire was an important part of protecting one’s manhood.”
  • Anal Eaze: Never, Ever” by Sexational, Sex-Ational : “The fact of the matter is that, anal sex? It shouldn’t hurt. It even has a great potential to be outright pleasurable in ways you couldn’t imagine- but it can take research, trial and error, and more than one successful try to get there.”

Books

  • Ebooks for all: Building digital libraries in Ghana with Worldreader” by Craig Mod, Medium: “Those of us who work in technology tend to take religious-like stances over its ability to change the world, always for the better. My trickster-paranoia comes from an inherent suspicion towards technology, and an even deeper suspicion of presuming to know better. It’s too easy to fall into the first-world trope of ‘all the poor need is a little sprinkling of silicon and then everything will be fine.’ It’s never that simple… Technology deployed without infrastructure, without understanding, without administrative or community support, without proper curriculum is nearly worthless. Worse than worthless, even — for it can be destructive, the time and budget spent on the technology eating into more fundamental, more meaningful points of badly needed reform.”
  • Is This Just Fantasy?: LGBT+ Speculative Fiction” by Kelly Dickinson, The Hub: “Speculative fiction has remained a fairly white, cis-gendered, & straight world for a long time.  The fact that there seem to be more dragons and robots than LGBTQ+ characters in fantasy & sci-fi novels is shameful and disheartening, especially to the genres’ LGBTQ+ fans.”

Food

  • F.D.A. Issues Clarification, but Cheese Makers Are Wary” by Kim Severson, The New York Times:  “‘It appears the F.D.A.’s right hand doesn’t know what its left hand is doing,’ Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont [My representative!], said in a statement Thursday. ‘Which F.D.A. should cheese makers listen to?’ […] He, several cheese makers and other government officials plan to gather Monday at the Cabot Creamery store in Waterbury, Vt., to discuss the bill and continue the battle to defend the use of wood. The gathering Monday is ‘to let the world know, including the F.D.A., that cheese makers and our delegation are ready to defend our industry from the vagaries of unpredictable and inconsistent regulation by the federal government,’ said Mateo Kehler, an owner of Jasper Hill Farm [Right near my home!] in Vermont, who is organizing the event. Cathy Donnelly, a microbiologist at the University of Vermont, will be on hand to answer questions about the health risks associated with ripening cheese on wooden boards.”

Misc.

  • Angela Y. Davis on what’s radical in the 21st century” by Patt Morrison, LA Times: “[Prison abolition] would be about building a new democracy: substantive rights to economic sustenance, to healthcare; more emphasis on education than incarceration; creating new institutions that would tend to make prisons obsolete.”
  • The bar for TV diversity is way too low” by Roxane Gay, Salon: “But the show misses so many opportunities to be truly original and smart. There’s a Haitian character, Miss Claudette (quite the rarity), but her accent is inconsistent, bizarre and bears no resemblance to a Haitian accent. Perhaps, on this point, I am biased, because I’m Haitian American. Another inmate, Crazy Eyes, is more caricature than character. She is fixated on Piper. Her infatuation is supposed to be funny because crazy people are, I guess, hilarious. In one scene, Crazy Eyes pisses just outside of Piper’s bunk, the whites of her crazy eyes shining in the dark. I laughed along because Crazy Eyes is entertaining and the talented Uzo Aduba makes the most of the role. The pleasure, though, is guilt-ridden because I’m too aware of how cavalierly dignity is sacrificed for pleasure’s sake.”
  • A Linguist On the Story of Gendered Pronouns” by Gretchen McCulloch, The Toast: “Despite this occasional lingering sense of unease around it, these days reputable usage guides endorse singular they for a whole host of reasons and institutions from Facebook to the Canadian Government are increasingly accepting of it, so maybe in another couple hundred years we’ll have finally forgotten about this foolish vendetta.”
Virginia Woolf, "On Being Ill" [Screenshot from my Goodreads quotes page, 22.6.2014]

Virginia Woolf, “On Being Ill” [Screenshot from my Goodreads quotes page, 22.6.2014]

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