19 April 2013 @ 06:50 pm
Kissing book  

Kerstin Gier, Smaragdgrün- Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten 3
The plot thickens after the cliffhanger-ending of the second instalment: is it possible that Prince Charming double-crossed the main lady and only faked being in love with her to be able to do so?
Of course not. This is teen Fantasy romance. The ending to the series is as well-written as the other two parts, but the plot bellyflops severely several times. I suppose you have to care most about the romance plot to like it, and I don't. It was still fun to read, though.
Current Mood: okay
22 March 2013 @ 07:42 pm
Book challenge  
Two German books - one a comedy on poor, out of work Germans living on welfare and one on the German school system written by a mother.

You can imagine how both turn out.


Kai Twilfer, Schantall, tu ma die Omma winken!
I found this one at the train station store bargain bin when I had an hour to kill and bought it in spite of the little red sticker on this book calling this a "Spiegel bestseller". Being familiar with SPON, I absolutely believe that. The book says that this is a social worker's account of his experiences on his job with a family. So this is an account of what the social worker in question imagines the life and decision-making-process of his charges to be like, though that particular character himself is never introduced, he merely narrates the story. Since he is a middle-class white German and his charges are lower class, it's obvious this would not end well, and so it is what you can deduce, a middle-class German attempting to show that the family he is looking after are a bunch of morons with their priorities completely wrong who cannot live unsupervised. Well. You are a social worker. Who did you think you were going to look after? So don't waste money on this.


Lotte Kühn, Schulversagen
A mother outraged at the German school system works out her frustrations in writing therapy. At least that's what I took away from the experience. She does raise interesting points, but her sources are ridiculous and she doesn't really follow through on any of the points she is making or draws any conclusions other than "teachers are terrible, incompetent people" and "school doesn't live up to all of the parents' expectations and the childrens' needs". Which... well, no, of course it doesn't, and how would it? How would anything but a private tutor do that? She does not have any answers, she does have a lot of frustrations that German schools are not like Swedish schools, (and I remember reading studies don't differ that much from problems German city schools are facing in Swedish city schools). So - if you feel like reading a hearty gripe at the German school system, evil teachers, and poor parents and students, this is the book for you.
09 March 2013 @ 02:43 pm
The fight between good and evil as told from the refreshing POV of two angsty built white dudes in their twenties. So. Um. Who is this show for?

It's as though they marinated an eighties cop show in current slash fandom for a while and this is what came up. There are these two angsty brothers in their tweens who fight demons, and angst about the (dead) women in their lives, go to hell, and angst, and get tortured, and angst, and torture others, and angst, and kill boatloads of innocent people, and angst. Later on, they acquire an angelic side-kick, and the show seems to be fully aware of the slash potential, at least I find it hard to explain away the way scenes between these three are filmed otherwise.

Much like in most corners of manslash fandom, there just are no female main characters in the show, and if there are women, they are used as bait, as window dressing, as a cause, as a reward, and usually to scream because they can scream at a higher pitch. Every female character is a "bitch" or a "whore", and they all come between the brothers and therefore ultimately need to be destroyed. But they are demons, so that is fine.

The series seems to be aware of the fact that it has a fandom, but also seems to think that they're a bunch of overexcited morons. So... is this aimed at self-loathing or ~self-ironic~ white female slash fandom or really misogynistic white gay men (and neither seems unlikely, given that the series seems to imply that one of the male leads is bisexual)?

Internet, please explain. 
Current Mood: confused
20 February 2013 @ 09:37 pm
Dresden File #1 - in which lovable chauvinists aren't.  
I like my escapist fantasy literature frustration-free and therefore can't enjoy fastfood literature anymore. )
Current Location: Bremen
Current Music: Haydn's Creation Nr. 12 (or 13? Who knows).
Current Mood: tired
23 November 2012 @ 07:45 pm

This show disappoints me. I want to like it, but there are so many things off. First of all, the story, dear Lord. If this were alternate universe Gilmore Girls fanfiction I would refuse to read it because the premise is so out there and unrealistic. 

In Bunheads, a former ballet dancer character made to sound and also almost to look like Lorelai and who works as a showgirl marries a dispisable love interest stalker creep. He changes his will to leave her everything before he expires, forcing her into running a dance studio with a hippy version of Emily. This version falls flat in my eyes because there is no universe in which you can be a high-strung ballet teacher AND a hippy AND Emily Gilmore. 

I am so confused at the choices the team made on this show. They have so many members of the GG cast that it is very hard to  get used to their new characters, although in most cases I found I didn't have to worry, because they are the same characters, Star's Hollow had its name changed, Kirk has opened a coffee place and Gypsy is taking dancing lessons. 

The things I really liked about Gilmore Girls are still in there somewhere, but I am finding it really hard to deal with the lack of diversity in the cast, the astonishing whiteness and the classism of this show. I think they were going for a diversity in body shapes, but that's also where it stops - and I suppose, for this to even be aired, this is where it has to stop. The standards+1 new thing-innovation rate can't handle anything more than mildly diverse body types in teenage dancers, and thus they all have to be white and middle class, I imagine.

And I was hoping that this would be obvious as a shortcoming to Amy Sherman-Palladino, too, but she doesn't seem to. In fact, her behaviour and reactions are a prime example of the ways in which middle class white feminism has always and is still continuing to fail WOC and people from other social strata.  

If Shonda Rhimes, WOC producer of Grey's Anatomy, says: "Hey @abcfBunheads: really? You couldn't cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?"

And your response is to take it as a personal attack rather than pretty justified criticism of ABC's policies and respond that: "I’ve always felt that women, in a general sense, have never supported other women the way they should…I think it’s a shame, but to me, it is what it is. [...] I wouldn't go after another woman. I, frankly, wouldn't go after another showrunner., you are getting things wrong. She also goes on to say, "[The show] is about strong women and strong voices, and it is hard to put that on the air." 

I believe her, but how hard is it, really, to realise that she is putting it on air at the expense of other women? 

Current Mood: contemplative
03 August 2012 @ 09:03 pm
Dear Pottermore  
Elizabeth I is perfectly capable of making her own decisions regaring matrimony. 

Without magic of any sort, thank you ever so much. 
Current Mood: annoyed
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
05 December 2011 @ 07:26 pm
Book frustrations  
Is there a reason why werewolf fiction sucks this much? I thought Shiver was the bottom of the barrel in aTwilight-clone-filled world, but looking through the tag on Amazon, I find that most things I found look SO. MUCH. WORSE.

And why does everything have to be a romance?
Can this generation of Fantasy readers not conceive of any interaction with mythical creatures apart from boinking them? 

I probably need to dig a bit deeper than going through the first couple of results pages on Amazon, though. 
Current Mood: aggravated
31 July 2011 @ 08:10 pm
Hunted: The Demon's Forge  
Since I'm house sitting, I have the fortune to peruse my brother's steam library, and this game was among them. There will be spoilers in this post, so if you don't want to read about the ending, please don't read this.

To sum up- the gameplay is repetetive and annoying, and the story - all you need to know about the priorities of this game with regards to story and fully fleshed, three-dimensional characters can be gauged pretty much by looking at our heroes: 

I mean, seriously. Read more... )
27 November 2010 @ 07:10 pm
Gender Lessons learned from School Books  

I have the sneaking suspicion that there are more and more aggressive and stereotypical gender-norm affirming messages in today's German EFL books than in the ones we had in my school days. You may say that I am only saying that because I have only vague and fond memories, but I checked. I couldn't find examples similar to the ones I fond in today's EFL books anywhere in the eighties editions I have at home.

While working with the new editions during the last half year, I found gems like these: 

1. In the noughties edition of Green Line A1 for learners in their first year there's a dialogue on various school activities and the plans people are making for the weekend. It's a very short dialogue and briefly runs down the various activities the school offers, their times and places, and then includes an exchange along the lines of: 

"Oh yes, we could go to a concert, there's this band I like, called FourYou..."
"Oh, not a boy band, Donna! Ask another girl to come with you, I want to play ball in the park with my friends instead."

2. Also in the noughties edition of Green Line A4, there is a dialogue entitled "Football for girls?" in which two girls debate whether a team for girls would be a good thing to have at their school. One argues that girls "are just not as good as boys" and therefore a football team for girls would not be a good idea, but then acknowledges that it might be a good idea to try out a team, anyway, and see who shows up. In the end, she still says that boy's football is better because of their butts. Because girls cannot like football for the sake of the sport, they must like it for the sake of the players.

3. In the 2001 edition of Camden Town 4, the book for the Realschule, we have the usual national stereotype text in the first unit. What's typical for US America (fast food and chewing gum), what's typical for Great Britain (queuing and tea), what's typical for Germany (according to my student, who had to think about this for a couple of minutes, it's "Potatoes.")? That sort of thing. Our protagonists eat in a fast food restaurant, discuss national stereotypes (fast food is apparently super different in Great Britain's McD's), and then they decide what to do with their afternoons, leading to this exchange: 

"We could go shopping!"
"Ugh, Shopping is a girl's disease!"

4. Another one from the Green Line series,  this time A6. They have an excerpt from Nick Hornby's "Slam". Not a bad idea as such - there is a learner's edition that goes with it which they could read after reading the excerpt, and it's in a series on "Growing up". My problem? Slam offers the  teen father's perspective on a teen pregnancy. While it's a good thing that there is someone who writes a book about teenage fatherhood in the first place, in A6 this appears to be the only text on teen pregnancies after a lengthy unit on the perils of alcohol intake and drugs. Also, there's the casual transphobia, among a lot of things that made me uneasy about Slam.

So, you might think this are really minor things, but usually, people make very careful decisions on what is supposed to be included in those very short recorded dialogues and why.

So why is it so vital to remind today's EFL learners of what is proper behaviour for their gender in their English classes? Why do ten-year-old kids need to learn that it's embarrassing for boys to like boy bands? Why do fourteen-year-olds have to be told that shopping is for girls and that it's highly unlikely that girls can be good at football and should look at butts instead?
Current Mood: annoyed
27 November 2010 @ 05:42 pm
Razor in candyfloss  
When his weird American aunt dies, Matthew's cousin Sam comes to live with Matt, his SAHD and mother, and soon makes social life very difficult for him and his friends. They decide to give Sam a second chance if he can prove himself by infiltrating the local girl gang ("The Bitches". Yes.) as a girl, but soon changes and things go ~out of control~, the more so when Sam is predictably hit on by the class heartthrob, gets in touch with his emotions and falls for a girl, etc, etc

This book is one of the recommendations for queer fiction in one of the most popular German textbooks in the country, so obviously I had to investigate. I was disappointed very soon. In my opinion, if there was some kind of shitlist that warns readers of books which include trans- and homophobia in spades, "Boy2Girl" would definitely need to be on it.

I can't even put to words how much I loathe the entire "cross-dressing is hilaaaaarious! Especially if MAAB people do it!! But only so long as they get reaffirmed as cis, straight, manly masculine guys pronto!!"- thing. It's fucking annoying, and I don't get what the appeal of this book would be to cis/het people, either. Does it say to them that cross-dressing is only for wacky comedies? That, following the blurb, "hilarity ensues" once you overstep the reinforced steel boundaries of your gender? Because it certainly doesn't show that it's ok to do just that to me - there are scenes in which that seems to be the case, but mostly, there is a character to add a judgemental voice to the choir as soon as someone does the overstepping, which might be realistic, but unhelpful.

None of this wouldn't be redeemable if it wasn't cut off after the scene in which it is revealed to the general public that our hero is "really a boy" (uuugh big reveal scene ugh), and even though his entire character changed a lot (and for the better, seeing as how he seems to be much happier by the end of the book) it's unclear what will become of this change once he,  back in his male role, is no longer required to be ~girlish.

My biggest problem is that we get to read the voices of all characters apart from Sam, so there's no saying what he takes away from this, what his views and feelings are.

So, did I miss anything? Is this secretly good and I missed something because I was busy facepalming over people going on about "the g-word"?

And why anyone would want their kids to read this mess?
Current Mood: aggravated
26 November 2010 @ 10:21 pm
Book challenge  
I did not write entries for the books I read this year, so this'll have to be from memory and it'll be very incomplete.

59 books I can remember reading this year )

It's become pretty obvious that I don't have as many long train rides anymore as I used to.

Next on the reading list: 

- Boy2Girl  by Terence Blacker- a story of a boy who cross-dresses as a prank. Sounds horrid and is on the reading list for our 6th graders.
- Ich hätte Nein sagen können by Annika Thor - a book about mobbing, also on the reading list for our 6th graders.
- Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller,
- Ambereye, by Gill McNight. Here's hoping my fears about the quality lesbian werewolf fiction are unfounded.
- Wit'ch Star by James Clemens. Found this at a sale at the local library. Not sure about this because it's the sixths part of a six-part-series and I only have this one, but might be worth dipping into.
- Die vollkommene Ehe - Eine Studie über ihre Physiologie und Technik by Hendrik van de Velde. Surprisingly open German sex ed from the 1920ies.
- The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer if I ever have the patience.
- Middlemarch, by George Eliot. This'll be the third time I start that novel.
Current Mood: calm
17 November 2010 @ 04:27 pm
Oh, Kristin. I am disappoint.  
In Cashore's Fire, everything alive is spellbound by the sight of Monsters, creatures of astonishing beauty and the ability to control minds. Human monster Fire finds it difficult to live in a world in which everybody is spellbound by her beauty and/or wants to kill her and has to learn to come to terms with that as well as face a powerful enemy threatening those she loves. And according to Cashore, women are only ever jealous of her beauty, because:
"There is something consoling in the regard of a woman. Roen never desires me, or if she does, it's not the same."

Uh-hu. You do realise that there are women who look at other women that way, right...?

Current Mood: annoyed
25 September 2010 @ 12:56 pm
Join The Challenge.  
Crocky and I like reading books together, and we are always on the lookout for books likely to make the Bechdel-Wallace-test, but lately, especially when it comes to Fantasy, even those that make it leave me dissatisfied. It's not only that there are hardly any books with and about strong female main characters, it's that as long as the female characters are older than eleven, they usually MUST. FALL. IN LOVE.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love love. I love being in love. I do not, however, enjoy reading about people finding love and engaging in activities related to courtship. Which is what seems to be the only thing going on in most love plots. And there really does not need to be a love plot in every single book. They rarely ever add anything to the plot and they rarely ever influence characters in a realistic way, and tend to be as exciting to read and varied as people making sandwiches. They tend to be tacked on, without point or purpose, just because it apparently is a part integral to the experience of being a woman to fall for a man - any man - because lesbians don't exist, and god forbid female characters get a plot without throwing a male love interest into the mix somewhere, because there might be riots in the streets and people will protest in front of publisher's houses with torches and pitchforks.

Because Crocky has similar inclinations, we started searching. And searching. And searching. Thus, the challenge came about.
It does not sound like much, but try it, and you'll see what I mean.

 [ profile] niaseath joined it, spent an hour in a book shop and couldn't find one single book that made it. I must be reading the wrong Fantasy books, because without the odd Discworld novel and the Worst Witch series, which is for young children, and a couple of books by MZB, I've drawn a blank. There are slightly more titles that come to mind outside the genre, but it's only a tiny fraction, and that's usually because the main character is considered to be past datable age or too young.

Granted, there are also few books about men without a love plot in them, but how many can you think of that do exist?
That's more than none, right?
05 September 2010 @ 11:04 pm
I Shall Wear Midnight  
I finished it today.

I am really not what to make of it yet. I'm worried about a couple of things, especially with regards to word choices, and love others.

Spoilers and yes, trigger warnings. For domestic abuse and misogynistic language. Yes. In a Discworld novel.  )

So, I loved the way that coming of age in a misogynistic world as a powerful woman is dealt with, I really didn't agree with the way misogyny is portrayed. I have to think about this a bit more.
Current Mood: blank
05 August 2010 @ 11:22 am
True Blood  
  • When there are sex scenes, I'd like to be able to see the difference between rape and sex.  Trigger warnings )
  • Saying you own someone is not romantic without very specific context requirements. Without those, it's creepy as fuck.
  • Even abusive pedophile uncles deserve a trial.
  • No, vampires are not just like gay people, fighting for equal rights and all. 
  • I can't decide who's ripping off whose cheezy pulp romance story line here, Twilight or Charlaine Harris' opus. What's with the chastity and the really submissive white girls holding out for an abusive domly Mr. Right?
  • People are not pets. Repeat after me. Even submissive airheads. People are not pets. ("Sookie hates feeling like she's lost her independence" wtf).
  • "As your maker I command you"? Kudos, series, for replacing a physically abusive father figure with a controlling father figure. Hasn't been physically abusive yet if you discount the ~making~, but I suppose we're getting there at some point. EDIT: aaaand physically abusive, too. Awesome.
  • So you can cut hair and it behaves like human hair but hymens grow back? Uh-hu...
The only reason why I enjoy the series nonetheless are these two:

... in spite of various things (casual misogyny, fatphobia, etc., etc).

EDIT: ok, the only way this series makes sense is as BDSM porn for an audience sensible enough to kno about consent.
Two questions - do the people who made this series really believe that is everybody really that kink aware? And number two: the state of consent being what it is in mainstream (victim blaming, violence against women and slut shaming being so damn common), who thought it was a bright idea to make this series mainstream accessible?
Current Mood: bored
11 July 2010 @ 03:50 am
... the hell is this?  
It's hot. I am bored. I'm unemployed. I have nothing else to do. Still. What the hell is this? Someone posted this on [ profile] theaudiolibrary  and in spite of better knowledge, I gave it a try. I'd like to believe that this is ironic, but I can't, because this is so close to similar nice-guy narratives. It'd make a good litmus test for feminist allies, though.

It's about a whiny-ass sleep-deprived misogynistic white ~nerdy~ socially inept bully victim finding his muse in a dark and ~edgy white gawth ("post-goth") girl. I don't even know where to start. I'm guessing it's supposed to be "ironic" in that hipster sense that makes me wonder if people are using the same kind of dictionary.

This hero's misogyny and racism is incredible, as is the female characters flatness and her tendency to try and be "one of the guys", and in spite of the hyperbolic tendencies I can't bring myself to believe that this is not an author writing from his own personal and completely unironic experience.

I especially enjoyed the main character's whining about being treated badly when he's walking around thinking of female bodies as decoration, and the casual ass-pats he gets from his Goth-muse for staring at women like pieces of meat, because it's "fine for him" to do that. Because he's still young. Also, it's important to note that his chest-baring muse chooses not to "flaunt" her breasts. Unlike those hussies, you know? She still shows him her boobs, because that's just what girls do instead of explaining about minimizers. With, you know, words.

Oh, or the hero being upset with his one friend and bringing up the fact that he is one of the few white guys who know why black history month exists! So how dare he be upset with the white hero!

Or the countless occasions when the storyline is twisted away from NG's obvious shortcomings in the  human decency department at the moment where he's almost about to get called out on them, and get re-rendered as a pity party for the hero or morphed into a wish-fulfillment sequence. Like the scene in which the "nerd guy", when the "goth girl" calls him out on his obvious sexism, calls her out on her failed, attention-seeking suicide attempt. That'll show her. Or when the girl he lusts after without knowing anything about her just because she is beautiful tells her about how girls sometimes can be shallow, especially if they turn him down. And then makes out with him. Because's he's just that special.

He does seem to realise he's just as bad as the other guys, but the realisation is a mere blip of cognitive activity in a sea of self-centred ignorance, and while I wish readers are supposed to see that and point and laugh, I am not convinced. This appears to be a character honestly trying, and I am not sure whether this is book is someone cleverly telling the story of a privileged-as-fuck male teenager trying and failing to improve, or a failed attempt at writing a story about a quirky, yet relatable and most of all redeemable hero.

While it is possible to read this as the story of an inept narrator with an incredibly ironic focalizer I find it hard, and that still does not mean this book is worth the paper it is printed on, because it is not less annoying than similar and completely unironic accounts. It is so over the top that I wish I could be certain it was meant to be a mental kick in the rear for the target audience, but since I find it hard to believe that an audience who'd find this character relatable or interesting would even be able to see the irony I have my doubts about that working out. Maybe I'm underestimating people, but this book is still a waste of space unless you always desperately wanted to see the subtle workings of a privileged whiny white guys' mind and needed this book to come along to tell you about that, because you hadn't encountered any other sources on that so far.

For me, it's white noise and whining. It's whining about comic books, whining about not getting girls, whining about having a step father NG doesn't approve of, whining about having an unborn sibling, whining about not getting to go to a convention, and curiously enough, the fictional world always bending to his whiny will, which is annoying as hell, as by the middle you, or at least I started hoping for him to finally get a comeuppance. Even though this character clearly is in need of some serious therapeutic help.

In this as in the comic books/graphic novels the hero enshrines, I really, really don't manage to see the appeal.
01 June 2010 @ 05:54 pm
To quote Hartmann: Herre, des wundert mich.  
I have to admit, this abstract really leaves me wanting more and raises some questions, especially about what the point of this is, really. It may be my headache, but I really feel as though I'm not getting something here.

Sexuality scholars have noted the historical connection between appearance and gay or lesbian identity. However, as the social landscape for lesbian women and gay men has shifted over the past forty years, little research has documented how such changes influence gay and lesbian individuals' appearance choices as they form, manage, and maintain their identities. To explore the impact of this "post-closet" (Seidman 2002) era on the identities and appearances of lesbians and gays, in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty individuals, aged eighteen to thirty. Findings suggest that while most people use appearance to attain a sense of authenticity after "coming out," achieving a feeling of authenticity in gay and lesbian spaces presents unique challenges as individuals come under scrutiny by the community.
David J. Hutson‌.

1. Post-closet era. Post. Closet. Era.
2. How, pray tell, do you "use appearance to attain a sense of authenticity"...? I mean, I'm guessing here that they're aiming at the struggles that femme women face to "look gay enough" in the eyes of some people and the backlash that butch women get for "embodying a negative and harmful stereotype", but I'm still left with the feeling that I need to find myself a pansexual outfit ASAP. Maybe some bisexual pants? Does that mean that Crocky has to cut her hair? I just... yeah.

Also, I am not sure why they went for a qualitative study here, and I'd really appreciate if someone enlightened me. And also, the point of this. So twenty people say that they use their appearance to signify their identity ~authentically~. And now?
Current Mood: confused
24 May 2010 @ 02:00 pm
Ye Olde Science: Parts of my identity in stages  
After initial scepticism towards these rather rigid models I have to say that I can really see part of my experience in those stages.

Cass Model of Gay and Lesbian Identity Formation (1979)

"Coming out is a life-long process of exploring one's sexual orientation and Gay/Lesbian identity and sharing it with family, friends, co-workers and the world. Coming out is one of the most significant developmental processes in the lives of Gay and Lesbian people. Coming out is short for the phrase "coming out of the closet." Coming out means recognizing, accepting, expressing and sharing ones' sexual orientation with oneself and others."

Read more... )
16 April 2010 @ 05:26 pm
«Masculinity as Homophobia»
The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood. It starts so early. "Boys among boys are ashamed to be unmanly," wrote one educator in 1871. I have a standing bet with a friend that I can walk onto any playground in America where 6-year-old boys are happily playing and by asking one question, I can provoke a fight. That question is simple: "Who's a sissy around here?!" Once posed, the challenge is made. One of two things is likely to happen. One boy will accuse the other of being a sissy, to which that boy will respond that he is not a sissy, that the first boy is. They may have to fight it out to see who's lying. Or a whole group of boys will surround one boy and all shout "He is! He is!" That boy will either burst into tears and run home crying, disgraced, or he will have to take on several boys at once, to prove that he is not a sissy. (And what will his father or older brothers tell him if he chooses to run home crying?) It will be some time before he regains any sense of self-respect.
Michael Kimmel (sauce).
Now, in that essay, he does make a lot of good connections, but.

1.) What a totally excellent bet,
2.) Wouldn't the same thing happen if you said, "Who's an [any other epithet/insult] around here"...? Sissy's far from being a neutral term, after all.
Current Mood: pensive
10 April 2010 @ 09:44 pm
Foreigners hate the gays!  
You know, if you start your Master thesis by saying that you're only going to consider male homosexuals in your study because they clearly have it worse (oh god I wish this was more of a paraphrase) as well as because there's so little data on female homosexuals (well, fair enough), because there are so many men writing about homosexuals (...?), that doesn't make you look that good to start with, but I was willing to read your paper, anyway.

But then you proceed to make your case, saying that those pesky foreigners, especially muslim foreigners, hate gay people, want to steal from them and beat them up. What the hell. I was looking for a sensitive insight into sex ed aimed at muslim students regarding homosexuality in Germany, not xenophobic garbage.
Current Mood: aggravated
03 April 2010 @ 03:34 pm
Watching TV - there must be a trick that I'm missing  
How do you guys watch TV?

This is a serious question. Ever since I got sick I rediscovered watching TV in an attempt to brighten my mood. Turns out it's not as effortless as I thought it was, because pretending that things never happened to keep my mood from plummeting isn't effortless, relaxed entertainment.

It used to be easy before I got sick - turn on TV, forget I am a gay woman and that I actually care about people, go.

Now, not only can I not forget I'm a gay woman, I'm also no longer able to appreciate cynicism because again, it hurts my mood. And I like being in a good mood. I only started watching TV again because it requires comparatively less effort than reading and since my expectations of TV are so low that I'm not as easily disappointed or hurt by issues relating to LGBT people/gender/race, bad characters, bad writing, historical inaccuracies, you name it.

Still, even given my really low expectations, it's getting harder and harder to watch TV without needing to make a conscious effort to pretend that what you just saw did not happen and force your mind to black out whatever comedy or sitcom just drove home that people like me deserve to die/be raped/be tortured/be in pain because that's funny.

Is there a trick to this that I'm missing? If you watch TV, I'd like to know what your methods are, and I'd also be really grateful for recommendations for funny series.
Current Mood: annoyed
19 March 2010 @ 12:30 pm
I promise I'm not heteronegative.  
Although many studies have been conducted on homophobia, little information exists about the attitudes of homosexuals toward heterosexuals. In order to compare the attitudes of both groups, a well-known homophobia questionnaire (Hudson & Ricketts, 1980) was reworded to assess the attitudes of homosexuals toward heterosexuals, forming a “heterophobia” questionnaire.
The less clinical term “heteronegativism” is introduced here to refer to the range of negative feelings that gay individuals could possess regarding heterosexuals. Sixty homosexual students were matched with 60 heterosexual psychology students on sex, age, race, and education. Each group was given its respective “phobia” questionnaire.
Hypotheses that homosexual participants would report less phobia and more negative experience than heterosexuals and that gay women would report more phobia than gay men were supported. Hypotheses that level of abuse in closeted homosexuals would be positively correlated with phobia scores and that being “out of the closet” would be negatively correlated with phobia scores were not supported.
Stephen M. White, Louis R. Franzini, '99
04 February 2010 @ 04:36 pm
Dragonriders of Pandora  
What we learned from this movie:
  • we live in a post-racial society, and cultures are the same and totally equal - like Western cultures and whatever passes for culture among those weird savages who run around naked and worship sky jellyfish.
  • women have to look after men. In any species, on any planet, women look after men. Until it gets dangerous. THEN the mighty male white saviour rescues the savage females.
  • men make decisions. Women may disagree with these decisions, but that's clearly wrong.
  • women (in this case, all-powerful nature goddesses) are resilient and need to get told what to do by foreign male saviours interfacing with them.
  • heterosexuality is a natural norm.
  • mother-characters are only in the story to take care of their men and then die and through their death make a powerful statement about how their men can live better.
  • men get to choose women. On any planet, in any society, men get to choose women. Also, everybody mates for life.
  • on any planet, women are the ones who cry, and the men are the ones who harden their features in response to grief.
  • minorities have to instruct hostile foreigners in their weird ways for the benefits of the foreigner.
  • white Americans can easily learn the ways of a noble savage race within a couple of weeks.
  • "tribal" music that fits a Westerners idea of African music is the only appropriate score for a movie about blue Aliens. Until there is large-scale genocide, that calls for a full orchestra. Until we reach personal tragedy, then we need a sad, shapeless lament sung by the Universal Voice of Grief™, a sad alto.
  • James Cameron is a huge gamer dork. Even the quest progression of the avatar in question is like that of any MMORPG. Even the order in which he gets mounts follows that (riding mount, flying mount, EPIC flying mount!!!11), and did we see the floating mountains of Outland on the horizon? Also: good to see that other people are looking forward to the Cataclysm expansion pack. Oh, yeah. Also, we know, James, we know, gaming addiction can be a real pain.
  • we know that the main character is a Real Man because a.) he really showed that pterodactyl who's boss by sticking his body parts into its body and restrains it physically, and b.) his manly rugged behaviour throughout the rest of the movie. 
  • unobtainium. Unobtainium. Yeah, we got nothing.
  • white invaders are hurt by warfare, too - their love told them to piss off, imagine how that feels! They all make really sad faces. The complete obliteration of what passes for culture among the nekkid tribe pales in comparison.
  • no genocide can be quite as bad as Grace dying (grace, get it?). So let's have a huge-ass ceremony all about a white woman.
  • savages will trust a complete stranger who absolutely cannot be bothered to learn their language just as long as he boinks their  princess and has their biggest ride to lead them into battle that will cost most of their lives.
  • there is a good military and a bad military. The good military are benevolent colonialists who are willing to put up with some heathen mumbo-jumbo in order to rise to the top, and the bad military do the same, only that they're willing to make sacrifices among enemy lines and just take what they want.
  • Intentions really, really matter - the hero (eventually) didn't mean to hurt anyone.Yes, fine, he told everybody everything about all of the savages secrets, but he didn't mean to do any harm!
  • Oh yeah, protect trees!.
In short: holy shit, this is a bad movie.

BAD. Really BAD.

I have never seen aynthing quite as bad in a long, looong time. Just how can anyone be involved in that movie and not realise how fucking bad it is?

Also, the worst thing: it is so obvious that in thousands of cinemas everywhere, people are going, "Wheee, flying dinosaurs!! Wohooo! BOOM, explosions!!" rather than, ".... what is this shit?!"
Current Mood: bitchy
31 December 2009 @ 12:24 pm

Maybe I've come down with a series case of the dumb, but I don't get this show. It does bend over backwards to include a whole rainbow of minorities and then still goes out of its way to still make the straight, white, pretty, able-bodied and cisgendered people, usually males, end up in the main character slots and the administrative roles.

It's like watching a compass needle that's made out of the metal that comprises a white, able-bodied, cisgendered, heterosexual, male audience. In this case, it's been shaken up pretty badly by the presence of so many weird and non-white people, but as each episode progresses, you can watch the WACHM main character overcome adversity! I suppose that the show is meant to satirize this fact (or so I hope), but as a satire of other High School TV shows, it does not do a very good job.

Unless "satire" now means "take the storyline you wanted to write, notice that it's stereotypical, slightly exaggerate the stereotypes, let audience, who also doesn't know what "satire" means, think that your show must be a satire of ... well, something. It's clear that they don't mean this, right? That's why it's so exaggerated. Right?

Well, no. A "satire" is more complex than that. It usually focuses on individual shortcomings of the thing it's meant to satirize and exaggerate them with the goal of exposing these shortcomings. I don't see that done very convicingly in that show. If making fun at other High School stereotypes was not their goal, I don't understand what in this series is supposed to do, apart from trying to get more WACHM viewers interested in their local Glee club, because obviously, that's the only target audience that's represented in a mildly respectful way. If that was the intention, well done! And now piss off!

31 May 2007 @ 12:22 pm
Battered Teachers  
To teach is to be battered
Scrutinized, and drained,
Day after day. We know this.
Still, it is never said.

Poor us.

Aww. Poor teachers. To be honest, when I read that quote, I immediately thought about the guys in special ed or the people who teach in Hauptschulen in Germany, secondary education for students whose academical performance is considered to be below the standard, who end up teaching classes in which most of the students have little perspectives and even less motivation, social and academic outcasts. I thought about people who face their students on a day-to-day base, who find themselves arguing with rebelling teenagers, who have to call parents and do the parenting for them, who deal with with abuse and abused children, with the pigheadedness of our state officials, with violent students.

Yeah, not so. 

I have found that quote in an article by a lady who writes about the anxiety of teaching in tertiary education and its reasons as well as possible counter actions.

"The most profound anxiety of teaching is our awareness that we are making it up as we go along. Teaching is a demanding occupation, but few of us actually have studied how to do it. Most tenured professors at the beginning of the twenty-first century picked up teaching through painful experience, doing unto others as was done unto us."

For some reason I find it very hard to sympathise with my tertiary educational colleagues.
Aww, so they have to plan a lecture?
That's harsh. It's almost like making a group of teenagers listen to you. Only it is not. The people listening are paying to be there, they want to learn, they are attentive. They cricitise you, but if they do, you can expect that they have a point. They are interested in what you are saying. They share the same interests as you do. They want to pay attention, they want to learn.

The funny thing is - the primary cause of anxiety among them seems to be lack of training, the feeling that they have to "make it up as they go along" - as most universities seem to employ a sink-or-swim method. Poor, poor them. Did no one point them to the part of the library that addresses teaching?
There are plenty of texts on how to teach, and there have been for decades, and the methods do not necessarily have to differ, even if the content does. The lack of training is hence pretty much self-inflicted.

I mean, I know where they are coming form. I taught my first class without so much as a course on teaching under my belt - but guess what? I looked up what methods there were and I was fine

I do think that people from Yale and Princeton of all places would be able to do the same? They would be fine if they would do something against their own lack of training, if they don't, they'll have to learn how to live with nightmares that have them facing a class without being prepared on how to teach their students. How can people whose training costs so much be so perilously ignorant about how to further it on their own accord?

What is so extremely charming about this load of self-pitying bull is that it comes from a person I wanted to shoot earlier for saying the following about tertiary education on poetry:

" We need to keep in mind that students outside of Stanford, Oxbridge, or the Ivies may need more subject-centered training before they can even think about prosody or metaphor."

Looks as though I have to keep in mind that fellows inside Stanfort, Oxbridge and quite apparently the Ivies may need training on teaching before they can even think of torturing people with their first lecture.
Current Mood: cynical
17 August 2006 @ 04:17 pm
True Q  
I ALWAYS loved Star Trek. When I was six, I first watched the series, TNG and TOS, and I have loved it ever since, have seen nearly every series, and every episode of every series apart from that terrible new one at least three times. Star Trek was what first made me love astrophysics. Star Trek was among the reasons why I befriended one of my oldest friends - we used to watch it secretly when my Mum wasn't home.

But somehow... Some of these are too silly to bear. 

Meet: the True Q.

Do you remember her? Short overview of the plot: the Enterprise has to put up with an intern from Starfleet Academy, Amanda Rogers. She starts to display amazing powers, for example she manages to counteract the an accidental meltdown of the warpcore. Also, Q appears and tells the crew that Amanda is a Q. Shock, horror, sensation. They also find out that the storm who has killed Amanda's parents (Tragic Past Alert) was probably caused by Qs. This is really lame, isn't it? And... just look at her: 

That terrible pink garment. Those horrible doe-eyes. That "Oh my god, I just want to be like everyone else!!! My soopa powazTM will probably keep my from enrolling in the Academy!! Oh, what to do!" - attitude. And the name! Amanda! What a dead give-away. And she has BLONDE hair, even though her parents had brown and black eyes. Terrible. And she's been studying what, bio-regeneration? And then tries to join up? Why?? And why on earth does she want to get rid of her supa powazTM? There just does not seem any reason at all. Onmipoetent and Omniscient and all that. And pink. Must be so terrible. 
And there are all the catch phrases that are the markings a really, really lame plot:

"I just want to be like everyone else."
"Ooooh, it must be so terrible to be able to do everything I want. Oh, noes!" 
"I am not ready!"
"With great powers comes great responsibility."

Seriously, next time someone says that in any context in any series, I am going to shoot them. The worst thing is that she has a heartfelt talk with Beverly Crusher. I guess even she has not deserved such a fate. 

Luckily, Q is a Sue spotter. He just realises that she is too much of a Sue in a human environment to bear, so he wants to remove her and take her far, far away, to the land of the rarely used plot devices. so she can become a true Sue.

The horror

Uhm, yeah. Just avoiding having to clean the kitchen. Once again. I've tidied it this morning, but in the meantime, my grandma has done some cooking, and thus it needs cleaning again. Went in with white socks, came out with black socks. Ungood. My brother has wiped the cloor yesterday evening. I don't know what they DO in that kitchen. But it's hard for my grandma, because she can't really see well, so she does not realise if something spills. Sigh.
Current Mood: content
Current Location: The Basement
10 July 2006 @ 06:24 pm
Monday, Monday...  

Monday again already? Wow...

Went to see Dead Man's Chest on Friday and although I loved it to bits, I felt a bit guilty for doing so because of all the poor characters who die in the movie.
And I am not talking about potentially tragic main characters dying here, but about the underappreciated millions, all those characters who are just there to die to make things seem more dangerous to the uncaring audience. I know that I used to hate all those Westerns my granddad was watching when I was little because of all the shooting and all the fights, because it was so dangerous and hitting people, shooting and dying are somehow just. not. funny. It is scary to see how little I mind, even though I feel I should. We had a very good time, especially walking back along the deserted banks of the Clyde once more in the dark, and discovering the snails in the dark.

I can't wait to see Superman. I made a list of all his speshul powerz for Crocky, who does not know the movies, and it's unbelievable just how many there are. Ok. Superman. He:

  • can fly
  • can see through things
  • is indestructible
  • can shoot laser beams from his eyes
  • is super strong
  • is allergic to Cryptonite.

Did I forget anything? 

On Saturday, we watched Beloved and I needed most of the rest of Saturday to recover from it. It is a lead weight for sinking moods, but a very, very vivid and enchanting movie, I can't wait to read the book.

Yesterday, I finally fulfilled a promise I had made to myself and baked a cake!
I daresay that the only person who knows what kind of disasterous side-effects that can have is [profile] angie_21_237, who has been my partner in crime the day we baked the infamous Cherry Cake which left no cutlery unused and took around five hours in total, excluding baking time. The result of  my latest exploit is a lot sweeter than I had anticipated, which could be due to the fact that we do not have any scales so I had to measure everything using cups. Not the best method, unless you like your shortbread really, really sweet.

I have also fixed the date when our boxes are being picked up by the awesomeness which is the DPD - this Friday and the 24th of July, four days before we leave the country for good. Boy, that is so... soon. And this was it, was a year? Years used to be longer when I was young.

Next to me, Crocky is busy planning the trip we embark on at the end of the week; it seems that there is still nothing new on the western front - all hostels in Skye remain very secretive about whether or not there are beds available, neither reacting to e-mails nor to texts. One of them has a particularly endearing name, it's called Skyewalker. I feel useless; Crocky has been planning the whole trip so far. She has had a busy week organising it, and all I have done is organise... the return of our boxes home. Hm. Not as impressive as a seven-day-Highland-tour.

I have started to dream about moving back to Germany, and all of those dreams were very unpleasant.
Yesterday night, I had just finished counting our boxes and told my father there would be eight, when I went into the living room, only to find out it had turned into my bedroom at home - in which only the odd square centimeter of wallpaper is visible behind all the shelves, which are full of books. Feverishly, I started tearing the huge tomes out of their shelves and heaving them into boxes. In the end, there were hundreds of boxes, and me ambling along between them with a small set of scales, no longer in our cosy flat or my childhood home, but in a huge mansion with a long corridor. The boxes were piled in huge stacks all along it's walls, and then it was suddenly time for the boxes to be collected and I had not weighed more than two of them and then - ... well, then I woke up.
This night it was returning to the absolute chaos I left behind before I left because suddenly, there was no time to tidy up my room. It was terrible. I wonder what it's going to be this night. They are not nightmares, but they make me feel gloomy all morning, a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach. Bwah.

Off now. Hugs to all!

Current Location: Glasgow University Library
Current Music: a door creaking. For the 30th time.
Current Mood: blank