ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Daily Archive: August 6, 2017

Sunday

6

August 2017

0

COMMENTS

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Five Stars

Best for: Kids. Adults. Humans. Other.

In a nutshell: Very smart young woman Matilda uses her mind to fight back against those who treat her — and the people she cares about — poorly.

Line that sticks with me: “Of course you looked! You must have looked! No one in the world could give the right answer just like that, especially a girl! You’re a little cheat, madam, that’s what you are! A cheat and a liar!”

Why I chose it: As part of our library’s summer reading challenge, one of the BINGO squares is a book recommended by a young person. My eight-year-old niece recommended this one.

Review: I don’t think I’ve ever read a Roald Dahl book. I know, I know. No James and the Giant Peach, no BFG. I first heard about Matilda through Mara Wilson’s (grown-up) writing a few years back, since she played her in the film. So I had a very basic understanding of the book’s plot, but not much more than that.

I started it at lunch and didn’t put it down until I was done. I loved how smart and kind and capable Matilda is. I loved that she uses her brain to help people, but also that she isn’t so absurdly wise beyond her years that you don’t believe she’s only five. And I loved that it showed sometimes adults are wrong and sometimes adults are right. That you kids should speak up for themselves.

I do have to say … as lovely as Miss Honey is, she and all the other adults at the school really were completely failing at protecting those children from Miss Trunchbull. I don’t care how intimidated you are by your boss, if she treats kids that way you do something about it. Yikes.

Sunday

6

August 2017

0

COMMENTS

How to Be a Bad Bitch by Amber Rose

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Two Stars

Best for: People who like Amber Rose; people who like glossy how-to book with lots of pictures and not a lot of text.

In a nutshell: Amber Rose offers some (I suppose not totally shockingly) heteronormative advice to woman.

Line that sticks with me: “Don’t follow trends if they don’t look good on you.” [Note: but why not? What if you like the way they look? Does she mean if *you* don’t’ think they look good, or if society doesn’t?]

Why I chose it: It looked like it could be fun.

Review: This book is fine. Some parts – like the push to cultivate confidence and not change yourself for others – are laudible. Other parts are so focused on the idea that women will want to date men that I’m curious whether Ms. Rose is aware that non-heterosexual people exist.

In the first couple of chapters there are some clear product placements; I can tell you what skincare brand Ms. Rose uses, and what body shaping undergarment brand she prefers. I was worried this was going to carry on throughout the entire book, but that was it.

There are photos of Ms. Rose on pretty much every page. Most are glamour shots, but some are of her as a kid and teen, which are fun and sweet. There are also some good tips in here, but none that are especially groundbreaking or new, and some strike me as oddly old fashioned and gendered. She makes some pretty sweeping generalizations about what ‘men’ and ‘women’ are like, which is fairly uninspired.

Sunday

6

August 2017

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – August 6, 2017

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Horrific Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary Action

““Passage of this bill would be a major step toward rationalizing and modernizing the federal immigration program,” Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the right-leaning policy organization Center for Immigration Studies, told ThinkProgress in an exchange over Twitter. “It does this in two major ways, first, it reserves special immigration rights only for husbands, wives, and young children of residents. Second, it cleans up our tangle of employment-based immigration categories by creating a streamlined points system designed to select exceptional talents.”” Republican senators introduce bill sharply limiting legal immigration (by Esther Yu Hsi Lee for Think Progress)

Racism

“That so many of these policies are based on perception and lies rather than reality is nothing new. White resentment has long thrived on the fantasy of being under siege and having to fight back, as the mass lynchings and destruction of thriving, politically active black communities in Colfax, La. (1873), Wilmington, N.C. (1898), Ocoee, Fla. (1920), and Tulsa, Okla. (1921), attest. White resentment needs the boogeyman of job-taking, maiden-ravaging, tax-evading, criminally inclined others to justify the policies that thwart the upward mobility and success of people of color.” The Policies of White Resentment (by Carol Anderson for The New York Times)

““The NAACP is a membership-based advocacy organization that has worked for generations to protect the hard-fought freedoms of all American citizens—freedoms which are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution—and one of the most basic of those freedoms is the ability to freely travel from state-to-state without fear of threat, violence or harm,” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO. “The numerous racist incidents, and the statistics cited by the Missouri Attorney General in the advisory, namely the fact that African Americans in Missouri are 75 percent more likely to be stopped and searched by law enforcement officers than Caucasians, are unconscionable, and are simply unacceptable in a progressive society.” Travel Advisory for the State Missouri

Workplace Culture

“The person who wrote the document argued that the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes, according to public tweets from Google employees. It also said Google should not offer programs for underrepresented racial or gender minorities, according to one of the employees I spoke to.” Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes ‘Internally Viral’ (by Louise Matsakis for Motherboard)

Transphobia

“The hosts laugh after using my image as a literal prop — just days after I was a guest on the same show — for laughs, vitriol, and a deeper call and justification for violence. Just so we are all clear: On a black program that often advocates for the safety and lives of black people, its hosts laughed as their guest advocated for the murder of black trans women who are black people, too!” Dear Men of “The Breakfast Club”: Trans Women Aren’t a Prop, Ploy, or Sexual Predators (by Janet Mock for Allure)

Sexual Abuse

““We aren’t investigators,” Dispenza continued, “but when several allegations or accusations are raised against a prominent leader, we can’t remain silent. We do believe that Mayor Ed Murray needs to resign—and do it now.” SNAP’s national organization, which counts 20,000 members, stood behind the call for Murray’s resignation, said Dispenza, herself the survivor of childhood sexual abuse. When it was founded, the group focused on abuse by religious figures, but has since expanded to support all victims of sexual abuse, she said. The organization is calling for either Murray’s resignation or the city council’s removal of him from office.” Network of Sexual Abuse Survivors Calls for Mayor Ed Murray’s Resignation (by Heidi Groover for The Stranger)

Democratic Politics

“The optics here are not good — especially given the attacks on Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, and even Elizabeth Warren just for endorsing Clinton during the last cycle. Cooper assures us that racism and misogyny play no role, and that to assert they do is just a cynical attempt by centrists “to win dirty.” But if racism and misogyny play no role, then why is it only men of color and women who come up for this sort of scrutiny?” “Sanders Democrats” Don’t Own the Left (By Melissa McEwan for Shakesville)

“On Monday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), the DCCC chariman, told The Hill that financial support would not necessarily be withheld from anti-abortion candidates. As Lujan said, “there is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates. As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.” Some found this position strange, while others saw it as unacceptable.” Here’s How Men Reacted When This Woman Asked Them If They’d Give Up Their Civil Rights (by Almie Rose for ATTN)

“I relate to the flailing panic that is no doubt undergirding such a morally putrescent idea. Nineteen hyenas and a broken vacuum cleaner control the White House, and ice is becoming extinct. I get it. I am desperate and afraid as well. I am prepared to make leviathan compromises to pull us back from that brink. But there is no recognizable version of the Democratic Party that does not fight unequivocally against half its constituents’ being stripped of ownership of their own bodies and lives. This issue represents everything Democrats purport to stand for. To legislatively oppose abortion is to be, at best, indifferent to the disenfranchisement, suffering and possibly even the death of women. At worst it is to revel in those things, to believe them fundamental to the natural order. Where, exactly, on that spectrum is Luján comfortable placing his party?” Of Course Abortion Should Be a Litmus Test for Democrats (by Lindy West for The New York Times)