Thursday Link Dump

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Art by Heather Adel

This Eulogy for a Fairy Princess will break your heart. Here’s a FB page with Heather’s art.

Eleven Asian and Pacific Islander women you should have learned about in history class.

Fansplaining covers the concept of the Mary Sue.

I hesitate to get too reductive on the links between shaming girls out of their own stories and the kinds of things that dominate many corners of the fanfiction world, but one could draw a line from the embarrassment of the Mary Sue to the positioning of certain types of characters in fandom as “default.” In the vast landscape of popular media, at least in the Anglo-American context, we’re implicitly taught to view the white male character as neutral, blank, infinitely relatable. While media certain can shoulder some blame, fans should be held responsible, too, and the way young fans are encouraged, gently or mockingly, to step out of their own perspectives, away from their own backgrounds, and into the perspective of certain types of characters is one of the lasting legacies of the Mary Sue construction.

(I found that via Elizabeth and Gav’s The Rec Center which I highly recommend if you’re into fandom)

Politics gets Too Witches.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Witches casting spells in public to subdue the president seems no more surreal a phenomenon than anything currently emanating from the crucible of the White House. And going forward, as women’s autonomy and dignity is challenged by a misogynistic regime that seems bent on modeling our treatment of women on The Handmaid’s Tale, and indeed creating a sort of tyrannical government seeking a return to holy wars, it’s not a far stretch to assume that women’s resistance will increasingly be characterized as witchcraft or worse. It will be in the best interests of progressive witches among us to demonstrate solidarity, support, and flexibility in the uncertain days ahead.

Fuck your notions of special snowflakes, identity labels are helpful.

A rec list of books about death.

I la-la-la-love online tests. I take them all the time and rarely think much of the results, but this one was surprisingly accurate (I got Rationality, Independence, and Resilience).

The article is four years old and written by a white guy, but anything that gets me a little closer to Spock is still good for me! Twelve cognitive biases that keep you from being rational.

A post about a book, Bitten by Witch Fever, showed up on my dash this week.

Beautiful to look at and compelling to read, this book is a highly original and captivating volume that interleaves facsimile sections of alluring, arsenic-laden wallpapers with thought-provoking narrative. It is tracing the arresting story of the use and effects of the toxic pigments ingrained in popular wallpapers of the nineteenth century. Hawksley presents the history of Scheele’s green and schweinfurt green, pigments created using arsenic, which produced the vibrant shades whose brilliance made them instant favorites with wallpaper designers and householders alike.

With the aid of contemporary case studies and reports in the press, she reveals how, by the middle of the century, manufacturers were producing millions of rolls of arsenical wallpaper, with devastating consequences for those working in their factories and for those living in rooms decorated with the deadly designs.

An interview with the costume designer from the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale.

Jane Zhang sings “The Diva Dance” from The Fifth Element

45 Responses to “Thursday Link Dump”

  1. Kazoogrrl says:

    I read the Eulogy earlier this week and cried like a baby.

    On a Two Witches note, I started Penny Dreadful. Yes, this is my aesthetic. In the first episode I was thinking about the acid green arsenic wallpaper when they went to the Egyptologist's office.

    I can't pay too close attention to anything about The Handmaid's Tale. I read it several times as a tween/teen, and it was both formative and traumatizing. I credit that book and Marilyn French's The Women's Room for galvanizing my feminism.

    • CleverManka says:

      I hope you like Penny Dreadful! I wasn't as thrilled with the second season (and haven't watched the third), but I loved the first season so much.

      Hard same on Handmaid's Tale. Definitely won't be watching it even though it sounds like it's gonna be amazing. I'm just not equipped for it right now.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Friends have warned me me that it doesn't necessarily sustain itself, but I could sit and watch Eva Green read the phone book, so I might be ok. Also, if I could put up with seasons 2 and 3 of Sleepy Hollow, I can watch anything.

      • jenavira says:

        I watched the Handmaid's Tale trailer accidentally (it came up when I was trying to watch something else on YouTube) and it fucked me up for a full day, no way am I watching the show. (It looks excellent. I'm glad they're making it. I wish it wasn't now.)

        • CleverManka says:

          I can't help thinking "when they started making this, we didn't know who was going to win the US presidential election" and then the anxiety stomach-ache returns.

  2. CleverManka says:

    I just found this Elle article about Maxine Walters and figured there were people here who might need it today. I did!

  3. Flitworth says:

    A little dump related to the recent bill passed to allow ISPs to sell your info
    How to set up a vpn:

    recommended by wil wheaton

    There are several efforts to buy congressperson's data once its for sale:

  4. Lynn says:

    Hmm, I got Shyness, Sensitivity, and Orderliness — the first two are dead on, that last one I was at first not so sure about (they led off the description as "you like things neat and tidy" which anyone who has seen my desk will tell you isn't true) except when thinking about it I *do* like order in terms of having systems to deal with problems and not being particularly fond of uncertainty. It's also probably especially pronounced right now given that my life for the last three months has been one disruption after the other.

    • vladazhael says:

      Rationality, Aggression, and Exhibitionism. The explanations are pretty convincing, but just listing those aspects by themselves makes me sound like an online dating profile I'd block immediately.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Ooh boy do I ever love a good personality quiz.

      I got Reverence, Shyness and Sensitivity, which is (1) about as far away from my own self-conception as possible, (2) a fancy way of saying "classic artistic temperament", and (3) *sigh* a deep, unshakeable truth that I try so very hard to ignore.

      Why did I get that engineering degree again?

    • Absotively says:

      Neediness, Independence, Playfulness.

      I'm not sure how I feel about having two near-opposites there.

      • CleverManka says:


      • Alluvial_Fan says:

        Rich tapestry.

      • littleinfinity says:

        I got Neediness, Independence, and Sensitivity! The contrast between Neediness and Independence actually feels pretty accurate for me — I can definitely be needy in romantic relationships, but otherwise I tend to be pretty independent (with friends/ family/ work).

        Neediness: "Being affirmed and nurtured by others is a central requirement for you to feel safe. This means you can be slow to warm up to other people, which is difficult because what you most need from them is their warmth." – yes, totally. Slow to warm up is me in a nutshell. One of the reasons I don't have a posse of girlfriends – other girls seem to bond so quickly and just love the crap out of each other immediately, and I'm like WHOA watch the personal bubble.

        Independence: "In sex you are more aware than others of impulses which are not entirely conventional. You know the value of selective irresponsibility, of forgetting occasionally about being ‘good’." Heh heh, yupppp.

        Sensitivity: "Expressive, intelligent language has a powerful hold on you; your mind works better when it is inspired and provoked by vivid imagery." Yes, language and visual imagery are huge for me.

        I can't help but feel this is a little like a horoscope, in the sense that anyone could say these traits apply to them — on the other hand, it feels pretty spot-on, not least because of what I *didn't* get (e.g. Reverence or Orderliness, which would have been completely wrong for me).

        • Absotively says:

          Yeah, it's definitely not wrong for me.

          I'd have more faith in it if it had been a little more Myers-Briggs-y, with more direct questions. As it is, it does feel pretty horoscope-y.

          Of course, I'm not convinced that Myers-Briggs is really revealing deep truths about personalities either, so perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on this thing.

          • Alluvial_Fan says:

            MBTI has been pretty decently debunked as far as absolute, universal truths. But that doesn't mean it's not useful for insight. (Like my insight that Sensors annoy me with their fixations on the concrete. And that I should put aside the annoyance, cause that's a balance I need.)

          • RoseCamelia says:

            I get a different outcome every time I take the Myers-Briggs.

            I think it's because I take it only because an employer requires me to. I keep my personal feelings and preferences out of my work life. I answer as an employee.

            And because I have moved so much and, therefore, changed jobs so much, I have become so very flexible in many ways. In other ways, I have refined How To Be Me and survive all this fucking moving.

            Why yes, I am mid-move just now. Did my mood show?

          • CleverManka says:

            Poor thing. I forgot to send you a music rec…will do that now!

    • Flitworth says:

      My fucking work day. Every day.


      You like clarity and intelligent simplicity and you get frustrated at messy thinking. This can make you seem unreasonably pushy to some [leave it at that] you are motivated by a horror at pointless effort and a longing for precision and insight into how things [ug people] work. Your ability to synthesise and bring order is essential in producing thinking which is truly helpful [but, like, only sometimes].

    • CheddarBiscuit says:

      I'm your trait twin! These are extremely accurate descriptors for me.

    • Alluvial_Fan says:

      I got Independence, Sensitivity, and here's my shocker: Exhibitionism.

      There’s a strand in your nature which loves making an impression – perhaps with your clothes, or conversation, or in a self-revealing blog or a novel. You like to dramatise yourself, to pose as a unique, perhaps mysterious person, to joke or exaggerate your part in adventures. Though you might more than once have been called a show off, it is actually a generous tendency: you want to please and entertain others.

      And it's totally on point.

    • jenavira says:

      Independence, Shyness, and Orderliness. Sounds about right – the war between Independence and Shyness is my defining inner struggle.

      (I think I took this last week and got something other than Shyness, but it's cold and rainy today and I want to wrap up in a warm blanket and that brings out my social aversion.)

    • Räven says:

      Independence, aggression, playfulness. I'm not at all sold on the last of them – I am not in fact an especially whimsical or in-the-moment person.

  5. vladazhael says:

    All this stuff about arsenic reinforces my theory that wallpaper is just a big middle finger to whoever owns your home next. Naturally, I had to buy that book.

  6. jenavira says:

    This seems like a good place to mention that I've been listening to S-Town, the new podcast by the producers of Serial, and it is AMAZING. The hook is a potential murder, but if you're not a true crime fan, don't worry – that's not the point. (I'm afraid this is going to get a lot of shit reviews because the true crime community has been frothing at the mouth for this for a while now, and they're gonna be disappointed.)

    The point is a deeply intelligent, conflicted, depressive, and disappointed man living in (as he calls it) Shit-Town, Alabama, who hates that the world is terrible and wants to do something about it. I cried twice in the first two episodes. It is very much an illustration of the failure of the red state/blue state way of understanding the world; John cares about climate change, he cares about education, he cares about people throwing their lives away because they can't see anything better than what they have. And he has the most down-home redneck Alabama accent, he's friends with these guys – well, the host has to introduce some of their clips with "this is really racist." I didn't grow up in a place like that, but I grew up adjacent to several of them, and I know a lot of people like John, and I'm so glad his story is getting made as such a big deal.

    • vladazhael says:

      I think is maybe the third overwhelmingly positive review I've seen of this today. It might help that at least one other was from an Alabama native, but still – all I've heard is good.

    • CheddarBiscuit says:

      Oh, I've been hearing really good things about this podcast–thanks for the additional endorsement. I've been getting through my day thinking about how I'm gonna give it a listen at the gym tonight.

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