Things to Read - 7 Interesting Articles From Around the Web (on The Middle Class, Guantanamo, Grocery Shopping, Garden State, Self-Defense, Sexist Toy Aisles, and Feminism)

1. On Salon, The Internet Destroyed the Middle Class - not sure what to make of this one, I'll need some time to think about it.

"“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face . . . [a]t the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?

2. Mohamedou Ould Slahi Writes His Memoirs After 10 Years in Guantanamo - I can't figure out where or how to excerpt this, it makes for some sad, scary reading, and the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts.

3. The New York Times went grocery shopping with Michael Pollan and Michael Moss -

“Real milk, no hormones, no antibiotics,” Mr. Pollan said, reading aloud from the label. “I love the term ‘real milk.’ I wonder if we can get fake milk anywhere here.”

So went the shopping trip: everything that went into the cart was subject to scrutiny.

“This seems like such a tranquil atmosphere,” Mr. Moss said. “It’s quiet, there’s peaceful music, it smells O.K. But behind these shelves is the most fiercely competitive industry there is.”

4. Jesse David Fox discusses What We Talk About When We Talk About Hating Garden State. When it first came out, Garden State became my favorite movie ever - Natalie Portman, the soundtrack, the shirt/wallpaper, I loved it all. But I have to wonder, would I still cherish it as much if it premiered today? Or do I now crave Ron Swanson?

"Garden State was good enough to define the things that we come to hate in certain movies (and certain characters and people). It's become a symbol for its blend of quirky, twee, morose, earnest, precious, hipsterness, and it's resented for it. We've confused its influence for cliché.

. . . .

. . . Garden State and its success taught studios and producers how to market and make money off these films. It's a lot easier to sell a pitch by saying "It's like Garden State but ... " than "it's a deadpan, offbeat, romantic dramedy about a disillusioned boy-man and the impulsive, vintage-clothes-wearing, non-sequitur-loving girl-woman of his dreams." The result was many, many kindred spirited films — some were good (500 Days of Summer), some were bad (Gigantic), and a lot starred Zooey Deschanel. Like Pearl Jam and its shitty post-grunge imitators, it grew hard to not resent patient zero.

Worse yet for Garden State's legacy is it's tied to the codifying of an archetypal character that is easily one of today's most reviled: whiny hipsters."

5. The Washington Post published a great article about firearms and a clear case of self-defense.

"By the time Herman called her husband at work to say an intruder was in the house, she had rushed both children into an upstairs bedroom and locked two doors behind her. She also had retrieved a .38 from the gun safe. The only place left to hide was a crawl space that led to the attic, and that’s where Herman crouched, with her son and daughter beside her and a revolver in her hand.

“Just remember everything that I showed you, everything that I told you, all right?” Donnie Herman told his wife, juggling phones. “Melinda, I’m on the phone with 911. They are dispatched right now.”

Walton County sheriff’s deputies barreled toward the subdivision off Sharon Church Road, but the intruder reached the crawl space first. When he opened the door, Herman fired six times.

The 37-year-old mother emptied her revolver as the national gun debate was reaching its most fevered pitch in the weeks after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Melinda Herman became an instant hero to gun owners facing new restrictions on firearms. While the intruder lay in a hospital, clinging to life, the National Rifle Association tweeted about GA MOM. The 911 tape of Donnie Herman yelling to his terrified wife, “Shoot him! Shoot him again!” played over and over on the news, fueling hours of programming on Fox News and radio call-in shows."


6. It breaks my heart that this issue exists (especially since I have a daughter who can't stop playing with her microscope kit), but so it goes - The Sexist Toy Aisle on Salon profiles a store where the “Girl Toy” section featured princess gear and mini-tea sets, while the “Boy” section was chock-full of Science Museum brand kits.

"But the excessive polarization of toys by gender – a trend that has been rampantly increasing in recent years – is bad for both sexes. It’s crappy when science toys are presumed to be boy things, and it’s also heartbreaking when parents are scared off from “girl” things. As Peggy Orenstein deftly explained in “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” “You don’t want to send the message that things that are feminine don’t have value.” That’s why we all win when boys get Easy-Bakes too.

Otherwise, we risk telling our kids that there is science and there is girl science, that there is dress-up play and there is boy dress-up play. And it limits all of them. At my daughter’s birthday party a few months ago, it wasn’t the gift itself – a small set of purple and green interlocking pieces, accompanied by a wide-eyed plastic girl and a kitten — that made my heart sink. It was what my daughter’s friend told her as she handed her the present. “It’s like boy Legos,” she said, “but for girls.”

7. And, finally, Some Women Want to Stay at Home With Their Children and Feminism Needs to Make Peace With That -

"By all means fight for women’s place in the workforce, it’s vital activism and I’m a working-outside-the-home mother myself, but don’t for a minute think you’re really challenging the patriarchy until you’re questioning the way in which capitalism relies upon a framework of unpaid care. It is equally a mistake to see the desire to be at home with children as either essential or universal in women, but as feminists, it matters less whether you think it good or bad for women to feel this way, it is instead crucial for the movement that you accept that some women do feel this way and that it is an authentic and strongly held feeling for them. Some women might be flinching from complexities in their life by relying upon conservative gender roles to express their preferences but for many this drive is real. Maternal desire is real.

Accepting that this is the case is not some call for women to be free to ‘choose their choice’ – it is, rather, a time for reflecting upon the internalised misogyny that allows you to assume, without questioning, that self-actualisation cannot simultaneously include mothering."


1 comment:

  1. Hey Darcy! I found your blog via Land of Nod, and I am LOVING it. I've been coming back for the past several days now, scrolling through old posts. You've got a fun place going on here :)



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