The Reader’s Catalog

For Him – The Reader’s Catalog

Why are scrabble puzzle books, pens, notebooks, and travel scrabble “for him?”  I don’t even know if this is sexism or just strangeness.

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Ladies to Love

Thanks to this essay (read it, it’s hilarious), I found myself watching Teen Wolf  in the wee hours of this morning.  I’m only sort of embarrassed to admit that because even though it was pretty much what you’d expect from MTV (melodramatic music, twinks with disturbingly few facial expressions, lots of bare skin), there was one serious bright spot: her name is Holland Roden, she’s a 25-year-old TV actress, and I’m nursing a serious crush.  I mean, just look at her:


Not only is she an (okay, allegedly) natural redhead, but the girl is rocking some seriously sexy curves.  She’s smart too: she first came to L.A. to study molecular biology at UCLA but, be still my heart, graduated with a major in women’s studies.  I’ve checked out some of her interviews and she seems like an intelligent, thoughtful, and genuinely grounded individual.  As with any Hollywood/celebrity culture output, I try to take them with a grain of salt, but regardless, I love that someone is putting out messages like these (I was going to post some quotes from that one, but realized I would end up quoting the entire thing, so I’ll leave it for people to read on their own and just say I strongly encourage you to do so).

I like her character too.  She may be “the popular girl” dating the lacrosse captain, but she’s great at science and math, and my introduction to her was a conversation in which she reminded a friend to have safe sex.  In and out of character, she seems like my kind of woman.

Ratings in David Tennant “oh yes”s: show 2/5, lady 5/5

My Hero

“I heard police or ambulancemen, standing in our house, say, “She must have provoked him,” or, “Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight.” They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it.”

-Patrick Stewart (via Shevilfempire)

Something That Makes Me Smile

A Beginner’s Guide to Sherlock Fandom

Here that, Supernatural and Teen Wolf and Inception and Thor and Suits and now Skyfall and…?  This is why I avoid you on the internet. And even though I enjoyed you, X-Men and The Avengers? It’s getting a little boring.

Rating in David Tennant “oh yes”s: 4/5

Apples and Oranges are Still Both Fruit

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about a new book by Andrew Solomon, a journalist, called Far From the Tree.  Full disclosure: I haven’t finished it yet.  From what I’ve read so far though, and read about it (a multi-page article in The New Yorker, among others), I’m a bit disappointed.  It’s an interesting topic and approach but there are some glaring questions regarding Solomon’s take on his chosen subject.  The book rests upon the premise that there are two kinds of identities, those that are shared among family members (vertical) and those that people develop independently (horizontal).  To summarize his efforts, Solomon has set out to investigate how families cope with children’s development of horizontal identities and in particular how parents deal with children dramatically different from themselves.  My problem is that I don’t believe that horizontal and vertical identities are as distinct and clearly differentiated as Solomon claims.  Several of what Solomon characterizes as horizontal identities (mental illness, criminality, genuis) arguably are passed on vertically, from parents to children by way of genetics, child-rearing, social situation and status, or some combination of these and other factors.

Furthermore, from what I’ve found out so far, Solomon fails to differentiate between identities based on the level of their social construction.  All the identities he discusses are in some sense socially constructed, but there is no arguing that deafness, for example, has a more biological basis than criminality.  Indeed, his inclusion of “criminal” as a horizontal identity makes me uncomfortably wary of Solomon’s book as a whole.  That “identity” is so subjective (it could be argued that it isn’t an identity at all, as it is primarily defined by behavior rather than any intrinsic personal characteristic) that it threatens to dilute any interesting conclusions he may have reached. After all I doubt he is including jaywalkers in his analysis.

Even having just begun the book, I have also already noticed some off-putting misrepresentations of vertical identities.  Solomon claims that vertical identities are more accepted as immutable and worthy of embrace, even if they are marginalized, which I agree is true.  He goes on though to say that people do not attempt to change these identities and that no one would ever suggest that they should, a statement that seems puzzlingly oblivious to me.  Clearly this is the work of someone who has never set foot in the hair care aisle of a CVS in an African-American neighborhood or been informed about the popularity of nose jobs in the Jewish-American community.  How someone so educated, clearly intelligent, and worldly can so wholeheartedly ignore the ongoing struggles and conflicts over assimilation experienced by many, if not all, vertical identity groups eludes me, and it does not bode well.

In some ways what upsets me the most is that this question, of drawing too sharp a line between horizontal and vertical identities, need not have presented a problem for Solomon.  I believe he betrays a lack of confidence in his argument through his insistence on an either/or system of characterization of identities.  Solomon has chosen an interesting and important topic for his book, one which deserves the attention it is receiving.  I only hope that his analysis proves worthy of it.

Rating in David Tennant “oh yes”s: 3/5 (so far)

Internalized Sexism in Country Song Form

Jaida Dreyer – Guy’s Girl

I’ll no doubt have more to say about this later, just posting it so I won’t forget.  For the moment, its existence is just making me kind of sad.  Country music isn’t exactly a bastion of progressiveness, but really.

ETA: Upon later reflection, I’ve realized there actually isn’t anything else that needs saying about this.  Except that that line about being whistled at is really, really embarrassing at best.

Rating in David Tennant “oh yes”s: 0/5