My First Crush

Sunday, 14 September 2014 11:45 pm
[syndicated profile] lovejoyfeminism_feed

Posted by Libby Anne

Growing up on the conservative Christian homeschooling culture of courtship and purity rings made a lot of things about boy-girl interactions different. Everything was ramped up, accelerated somehow. Our mothers jumped straight from simple attractions on our part to the possibility of marriage. We did too.

I still remember my first crush. I was seven. He was nine. I was homeschooled, but he wasn’t. My mother and his mother knew each other from church. Finally, I got up the courage to ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, to see if our life visions were compatible. He said he wanted to be a basketball player. I knew that almost certainly wouldn’t happen, and that even if it did, the longterm prospects were slim. This declaration on his part made him seem unwise, and thus definitely an unsuitable partner. How would I be able to submit to his headship when his life ambition was basketball player? I still thought he was cute and all, but my crush was for all intents and purposes over, because I knew there was nothing there for us.

We were told we shouldn’t date until we were ready for marriage. Well, they told us we shouldn’t date at all, that we should court, but that those relationships should not begin before each party was ready to marry. In other words, guy-girl relationships were intrinsically tied to marriage. Guy-girl relationships that weren’t marriage-oriented were wrong and would have all sorts of consequences.

In this context, it’s not surprising that we children would immediately jump to thoughts of marriage upon even the slightest crush. Were there prospects? Could we possibly end up married, someday? If no, attraction must be crushed. If yes? Well, one can dream, right? I mean, I might be 14 and he might be 16, and we may not be ready for marriage and I might be too afraid of the opposite sex to talk to him anyway, but the most important pressing question is whether maybe, someday, we might be compatible and in a position to marry, right?

There was one young man whom I had always found gangly and awkward and unattractive, but when I headed off to college I learned that he was headed off to university to study engineering. Hmm, I thought. That’s good prospects. Maybe I should reconsider how I felt about him? If I played my cards right, perhaps there might be something there. After all, we had the same beliefs and background. Like me, he was from a large homeschooling family, even more conservative than mine if anything.

Reading that now, I’m struck by how mercenary it was. But that was my reality.

I don’t think it’s helpful to ramp the pressure up to 100 and insert the marriage question into the slightest childhood crush. Most people will have multiple relationships before they meet the person they marry, and that’s actually a good thing, because it’s how we learn and grow. I was taught growing up that we give away “pieces of our heart” every time we have a relationship. The ideal, I was taught, was for my very first relationship to lead to marriage. But the truth is that we learn and grow through our relationships. My husband wouldn’t be the person he is today if he hadn’t dated the two women he dated before me—and I like the person he is today. Far from depriving me of pieces of his heart, those two relationships improved him.

But perhaps what I find most unhealthy about this whole pieces-of-your-heart/your-first-relationship-should-lead-to-marriage ideal is what it means for young men and women who begin a relationship and find it turning south, only to feel that leaving the relationship is not an option. I know women today who found themselves in abusive relationships—yes, good evangelical homeschooled girls who followed the rules and courted good evangelical homeschooled boys—only to feel trapped. Leaving was out of the question—leaving meant not simply relationship failure but comprehensive life failure, and things lost that could never be retrieved.

I know what I’m going to tell my children: It’s okay. It doesn’t have to mean more than you want it to mean. Enjoy the moment. Focus on building healthy and fulfilling relationships rather than trying to force things toward marriage. Oh, and also? Sometimes a crush is just a crush. And that’s okay.

Salvation at the gift shop

Sunday, 14 September 2014 09:21 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Red states and blue states: “We now seem to be living in two geographically separate nations: one scalded by unbearable heat, the other bitten by waves of unusual cold.” I liked the old jet stream better.

• From what I saw on Twitter, it seems that Pacifist Fred Armisen did a good job in his debate with Cranky White Geraldo.


• “None of us glorifies war,” said Robert George, Eric Metaxas and Marty Peretz, before congratulating one another for saying it with a straight face, then resuming what they’ve all done for the past several decades: glorifying war.

David Swartz shares a bit of Isaac Watts’ First Catechism, published in 1730 and intended for small children:

Question: And what if you do not fear God, nor love him, nor seek to please him?

Answer: Then I shall be a wicked Child, and the great God will be very angry with me.

I absolutely want that answer on a T-shirt. Maybe on business cards.*

The “shall” in that response strikes a note of resolve that makes the whole thing remind me of Huckleberry Finn’s “All right, then, I’ll go to Hell.” That moment of accepting the Puritan’s damnation was actually the moment of Huck’s salvation.

It’s not just that Watts’ catechism is inappropriate for small children, but that its theology of a “very angry” God seems inappropriate for everyone. If that theology insists that to be a non-Puritan is to be a “wicked Child,” well then, very well, I shall be a wicked Child. (But I do not think that word means what Watts thought it means.)

• Pop quiz: Which Patheos blogger is being described in this eyewitness account of a recent social gathering? “_________ just reached back and started clocking him. … Reached way back here and caught him right in the chin, like, you know, I counted at least six times.”

• Saving the USPS, helping the working class, and hurting predatory lenders all sound like Good Things to me. We need the Bailey Bros. Building & Loan here in Potterville, and since the private sector has no interest in providing that modest service to people of modest means, then, yes, let’s let the Post Office do it.

Dragons find a dinosaur. A really, really big dinosaur.

- – - – - – - – - – - – -

* This item updated, amplified and, I hope, clarified.

Nietzsche, Neo-Atheism, and Nihilism

Sunday, 14 September 2014 01:25 pm
[syndicated profile] against_the_stream_feed

Posted by Scott Paeth


Apparently P. Z. Meyers* has gotten a bit tired of the invocations of Nietzsche by believers determined to show how he's been misinterpreted by neo-atheism:

And then Spencer and Smart drag out one of my pet peeves: Nietzsche. Not Nietzsche the philosopher, of course, but Nietzsche the dolorous atheist. Nietzsche the regretful non-Christian. Nietzsche the sorrowful, reluctant thinker who praises Jesus while weeping sincerely, and simultaneously predicting cultural cataclysm because we’re losing our faith. It’s the only atheist message the devout want to hear — if you’re going to abandon religion, at least be sure to stroke the pastor’s ego on your way out the door.

These guys always make Nietzsche sound like a 19th century S.E. Cupp, which is an awfully nasty insult to deliver to a guy you’re praising. ...

You know what? Fuck the Christian cartoon Nietzsche. He’s wrong, he’s annoying, and I feel no obligation to respect his views of a lovely essential Christian dogma. Also, as noted above, if atheism is a reaction to false authority…why the hell do you think citing a philosopher who has been dead for over a hundred years will make us roll over and surrender? Nietzsche ain’t the atheist pope, either. Christians can keep trying to shoehorn atheism into obligatory tropes that they’re subject to, but all it does is convince us that Christians don’t know what they’re talking about.

So of course, Meyers then proceeds to a detailed demonstration of why this interpretation of Nietzsche is wrong. Oh wait, no he doesn't! He just proceeds to turn around and bash on some Christian straw-men:

Christian ideas like free will and equality? Have you ever heard of Calvinism, or are they not Christian now? You’ve got a holy book with a set of prophecies that are destined to occur, and this same book endorses slavery and genocide, and somehow, in the endlessly malleable universe of Christian fantasy, outright heresy has been morphed into a central tenet of the religion. Amusing.

This is a ... strange reading of Calvinism, both in terms of how it relates to the history of the development of democratic political systems in the west, and also how it understands Calvinist readings of the Bible. Suffice it to say, I'm not sure that Meyers understands Calvinism any better than he understands Nietzsche, and to be clear, he does not really appear to understand Nietzsche at all, nor does he understand what it is about Nietzsche that folks like Nick Spenser think the neo-atheists get wrong.

The point being made by Spencer is one that has been made by others (including me), which is that Nietzsche's philosophy simply does not allow you to reject the Christian idea of God while at the same time holding on to moral principles such as love, kindness, generosity, mercy, etc. Those things are dependent on a philosophical and religious superstructure rooted in the idea that God exists as a guarantor of the moral stability of reality. In the absence of such a guarantor, the universe is knocked off of its axis, and really anything goes.

But Nietzsche is not Dostoevsky. When he concludes (to use Dostoevsky's words) that "without God all things are possible," he takes that as a good thing -- a grand thing. Now that God is dead, Nietzsche says, we can remove the shackles that have bound us to the slave morality of love and mercy and we can embrace the morality of the Overman, that of the will-to-power, in which we may bend the world to our will, dominate and subjugate the weak, who refuse to relinquish their slave morality, and allow the genuinely noble and creative geniuses of a new world to arise and take their rightful place in lordship over the world.

That's Nietzsche. You can like that or abhor it. You can try to build your morality on some other foundation than the existence of God or some other form of metaphysical moral guarantee. What you can't do, however, is to ignore Nietzsche's proclamation, glom into the phrase "God is Dead" without introspection, and fail to understand what he sees are the implications of that phrase.

The problem that the neo-atheists face, and Meyers' "fuck the cartoon Nietzsche" is simply a reconfirmation of this fact, is that they are philosophically shallow. Really, deeply, alarmingly philosophically shallow. Daniel Dennet is an exception to this, being a trained philosopher himself, though in his writing on atheism he doesn't often put that training to best effect. For the rest -- Dawkins and Meyers and Krauss and Hawking -- they have made the mistake, continually, of deciding to hold forth on a subject they really don't know well, while at the same time claiming to have some form of privileged insight into it, rooted in their scientific training. But their lack of philosophical acumen is usually quickly apparent, as it is here, based upon their complete inability to comprehend the details of the subject under discussion.

Meyers can like Nietzsche or dislike him. But he can't pretend that Spencer is misrepresenting him, unless he wants to do the hard work of reading and interpreting Nietzsche to at least some significant degree. Having failed to do so, he just further demonstrates the point that Spencer is making in his book.

But the S. E. Cupp line was good. No one should be forced to be compared to S. E. Cupp, but then that's Meyers doing the comparing, not Spencer.

*As a footnote, Meyers never does himself any favors as an intellectual when he holds forth on books, like Spencers, that he refuses to read. I can certainly understand that life is too short to spend reading books that you know in advance you're likely to hate, but it's hard to credit any claims of "Spencerian inanity," when Meyers clearly doesn't have the first idea about the substance of Spencer's book.

Sunday Superlatives 9/14/14

Sunday, 14 September 2014 05:36 pm
[syndicated profile] rachel_he_feed

Posted by Rachel Held Evans

Around the Blogosphere…

Most Fascinating: 
The Australian Ballet with “En Pointe!” 

Most Powerful: 
Ben Moberg with “Insomniac Christians” 

“I give up on the imperative that I can reach God by my own means. I give up on all the ways I should on myself and accept that I am already accepted. There is no ladder to get me there. There is no step-by-step that will land me in God’s good graces. I am in it. I am here. I am lying in the hallowed ground of the love of God.” 

Most Encouraging: 
Sarah Hofius Hall features Rv. Bill Carter in “Jazz Belongs in Church”

“At First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, jazz music empowers. It breaks through isolation, leads to reflection and encourages a spirit of community. For the last 23 years, Carter has organized a yearly jazz communion on the Sunday before Labor Day, bringing his jazz band, his congregation and visitors together. Now the nationally recognized jazz ministry is expanding to offer four jazz vespers services in the next year as a way to explore the powers of music and healing.”

Most Challenging: 
Drew Hart at The Christian Century with “Beyond a White Privilege Model”

“…A society dominated by white control can’t be fixed by white people taking control of the situation. The failure in the white privilege stewardship model, is that it inherently affirms and utilizes the very thing that it is called to resist and counter. If the answer to our racial problems is that white people must run things, call the shots, and be the saviors to the world, then we have missed the mark.” 

Most Insightful: 
Sandra Glahn with “’Act Like Men’: What Does Paul Mean?” 

“It is worth noting that the NIV renders the phrase I italicized as ‘be courageous’; the NET goes with ‘show courage.’ And indeed the emphasis is not about gender, but maturity—about being a grown-up. Paul made a similar contrast between ‘adult man’ and ‘child’ when he wrote three chapters earlier, ‘When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things’ (13:11). So in summary, he contrasts being a man with being a child, not with being a woman.”

Most Beautiful: 
Fall Colors Around the World 

Most Urgent: 
Boz Tchividjian with “#WhyIStayed: How Some Churches Support Spousal Abuse” 

“Instead of helping vulnerable individuals understand the importance of reporting this criminal behavior, too many within churches prefer to push victims back into the arms of abusers as they congratulate themselves and praise God on another successful “reconciliation”.   These victimized spouses stay with those who hurt them, resigned to the hopeless belief that is what God wants them to do.” 

Most Inspiring (via Tony Jones):  
Yale Divinity School with “Theology of Joy: Jürgen Moltmann & Miroslav Volf”

Best Analysis: 
Marg Mowczko with “But the Twelve Apostles are all Male” 

“Once Jesus had fulfilled all the requirements of the Old Testament with his death and resurrection, the old rules and restrictions became obsolete.  No longer were disciples to be only Jewish.  Jesus commissioned his disciples to make more disciples from every nation (Matt. 28:19 cf Acts 9:36).  These other disciples included Gentiles and women.”

Best Response: 
Sarah Bessey with “Be Not Afraid: A Letter to My Charismatic Brothers and Sisters”

“We are living out of our worst fears instead of our best hopes. We are teaching and preaching, we are writing, we are leading, we are praying out of crippling fear instead of the hope of Christ. This saddens me because it is so far from our historical roots as charismatic/pentecostals. And it is also so antithetical to the Holy Spirit.”

Best Reflection: 
Donald Miller with “Why I’m glad I’m not the same guy who wrote ‘Blue Like Jazz’”

“I’m so grateful I’m not the same guy who wrote Blue Like Jazz. Certainly I still love the book and am grateful for it, but it’s been ten years now and I’ve changed. If I haven’t changed, something is drastically wrong. People are designed to grow and if they don’t it’s because something’s wrong.”  

Best Interview (nominated by Haley Compean)  
Tavis Smiley on The Daily Show

Best Writing (nominated by D.L. Mayfield) 
Amy Peterson with “Wanderlust: A Personal History”

“I begin to wonder if I, like the brothers at Taize and the desert monks, need to learn the discipline of stability. Do I need roots, when this earth is not my home? That third instruction from Saint Anthony sinks like a seed into the dark recesses of my heart and lies dormant for a long time: In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.” 

Best Conversation:
Rob Bell interviews Peter Enn

“…The Bible isn’t a rulebook for Christian living. It is a narrative that has movement and a trajectory.” 
[Look for a review of Enns’ book on the blog this week!]

Best Reminder (nominated by April Fiet):
Micah Murray with “Into the Winter”

“Those words have haunted me this summer — sometimes hanging over me like a terrifying shadow, other times shining like a glimmer of hope. When I can’t breathe and I feel the anxiety rising in my chest and my heart screams “Please, make it stop hurting,” I hear it over and over again: ‘We dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.’”

Best Tweets:


Wisest (nominated by Dan Evans):  
Salman Khan with “The Learning Myth: Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart”

“Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.” 

Coolest (via Preston Yancey):  
Alexander McCall at NPR with “Feminism in a Run-Down Taffy Factory: The Women of ‘Bob’s Burgers’”

“Most animated sitcoms have ugly histories when it comes to female characters. Women are frequently there to be mocked or to represent men's sexual desires. But instead of using Tina as an arbitrary tool for cheap laughs, the writers of Bob's Burgers –– several of whom are women –– have given audiences the opportunity to see adolescence through the lens of a central female character. The show, in fact, embraces Tina's own sexuality for all its uncomfortable awkwardness.”

The Rabbi, the Shofar, and the Dog [If you’ve read “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” you’ll know exactly why this especially cracked me up. This rabbi and I have something in common.]

Most Practical: 
Austin Channing Brown with “What Now?”

“... Become an expert. Trace how these institutions, policies, and laws have changed over time, how they effect the lives of the people you serve. Its time to stop patting ourselves on the back for having these services; we need to start figuring out what injustice has occurred that makes them necessary in the first place.”

Most Eye-Opening: 
Neil Carter with “What I Learned about Atheists from God’s Not Dead”

“In the end the central injustice of this movie is its failure to fairly represent a class of people whom Christians purport to love.  But it’s not loving people well to misrepresent them this badly.  This movie caricatures, dehumanizes, and depersonalizes people like me, portraying us in the worst possible light…This is not love.  You cannot love people while ignoring everything they tell you about themselves.  You are not loving people when you refuse to listen to their stories.  You are not loving them well when you decide before hearing them that you already know all that you need to know about them, overruling their own self-descriptions and self-identifications because you are convinced you know better than they do what’s going on inside of them.” 

Most Relatable: 
Abby Norman with “Heartbreak: A Spiritual Discipline” 

“The worst break up I ever had wasn’t from a man. It wasn’t a romantic one. The break up that left me devastated, unable to breathe, wandering through the world broken and confused was a friend break up. A friend (ex-friend? former friend? what do we even call that?) is the one that got away, the one I still wonder about, the one I don’t look up on Facebook but kind of want to. I just hope she is happy. Even as I hope that she knows how much I miss her. Even as I know it is best that we have both moved on…”

Most Thought-Provoking (nominated by Drew Hart)
Rod at Political Jesus with “Be Ye Kind One to Another: Civility, Blogging, and Social Media”

“Kindness, in the biblical metanarratives of liberation and reconciliation, is inextricably linked to communal justice, freedom for the prisoner and the enslaved, dignity for the impoverished.” 

On my nightstand...

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith by Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, &  Soong-Chan Rah

On the blog…

Having finally finished edits for my next book, I’ll finally be able to get back to regular blogging. Don’t forget that this week begins our discussion around Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian. We’ll be discussing Chapters 1-2 on Wednesday. 

On social Media…

This week on Facebook, we had several powerful conversations around Anne Graham Lotz’s words on gender equality and Boz Tchividjian’s article about churches that support spousal abuse. I was amazed by some of the stories you shared there. So if you haven’t already, check out the Facebook page. I’m often surprised by (and grateful fo)r the conversations we have in that space. 


So what caught your eye online this week? What’s happening on your blog? 

Wuthering Linkspams (14 September 2014)

Sunday, 14 September 2014 05:00 pm
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  • [warning for discussion of violence, rape threats, suicide] They Are Not Trolls. They Are Men. | Rosie at Make Me a Sammich (Sept 9): “By calling these people “trolls,” we are basically letting them off the hook. It’s a lot like the “boys will be boys” mentality that helps to keep rape culture thriving, but it’s also different, because boys are expected to be human. By calling these people “trolls,” we relegate them to non-human status, and we make it clear that we don’t expect them to live up to the same behavioral standards as human beings.”
  • Researcher loses job at NSF after government questions her role as 1980s activist | Jeffrey Mervis at ScienceInsider (Sept 10): “In August 2013 she took a leave from Union College to join the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a program director in its Division of Undergraduate Education. And that’s when her 3-decade-old foray into political activism came back to haunt her. [...] Barr was grilled for 4.5 hours about her knowledge of three organizations [Women's Committee Against Genocide, the New Movement in Solidarity with Puerto Rican Independence, May 19 Communist Organization] and several individuals with ties to them, including the persons who tried to rob the Brink’s truck [in 1981 near Nyack, New York].”
  • [warning for discussion of sexual harassment] After the Shermer Article: What Do You Decide? | Stephanie Zvan at FreeThoughtBlogs (Sept 11): “This news story contains accounts of three women, named and well-known in skeptic and atheist circles, who say that Michael Shermer engaged in sexual behavior aimed at them without their consent. How many incidents of that sort are you willing to put your reputation behind? That’s what you do when you continue to employ Shermer, entwine your name and reputation with his. If now is not the point when you feel having that name and behavior associated with yours is bad for you, when does that happen?”
  • 17 Rare Images Tell the Real Story of Women in Tech | Michael McCutcheon at Mic (Sept 9): “Tech isn’t a male dominated field, in many respects. Women are responsible for some of the core innovations that drive the Internet today. It’s increasingly important to remember as we read the disquieting stats about the industry. Diversity seeds creativity and it’s possible that women approach the development of tech in slightly different ways that, when combined with others’, helps produce a more powerful Internet. It’s why having more women in tech, and recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments that began over a century ago and continue today, is vital to producing a more powerful future.”
  • [potentially NSFW content] Breasts without Photoshop violate community standards | Sam B at Fit Is a Feminist Issue (Sept 11): “We were banned from Facebook, sent to the virtual time out chair in the corner, for 24 hours. I was also forced to scroll through pages of rules about content and about community standards and then tick boxes promising my photos didn’t contain nudity. Mostly tedious. But I confess I’m a bit riled about what got me banned: ‘Bare Reality: 100 women and their breasts’ A hundred women have bared their breasts and their souls as part of a project to further understanding of how women really feel about their breasts, and how they really look.”
  • Women’s education in Hogwarts (before the first wizarding war) | The Postmodern Potter Compendium (Aug 6): “Question: What are your thoughts on the education of women in the wizarding world? Authorial assumption: Possibly antiquated, similar in nature to education of non-magical British women in the 1800s or so – most conservative people with the least contact with muggle world did not develop that much when women are concerned – given that the wizarding world separated from the muggle world in 1689-1693.”
  • Mother Gothel’s design makes me uncomfortable | Not Your Ex/Rotic (Sept 10): “Her dark, thick, curly hair, her sharp nose, and the way her features are generally perceived as more “ethnic” in comparison to all the other human characters in Tangled – it all reminds me of an archetype for Jewish women”
  • [potentially NSFW content] 23 Female Cartoonists On Drawing Their Bodies | Kristen Radtke at Buzzfeed (Aug 12): [illustrations] “So what happens when women draw their own bodies in a medium that has represented them so poorly? While graphic books published by men each year still outnumber those by women, the exclusionary landscape of American comics has been called into question. From blockbuster successes like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, to rising indie artists and vibrant online communities, female cartoonists are producing some of the most exciting work in the genre.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

The Loves We Need From Other People

Sunday, 14 September 2014 05:35 pm
[syndicated profile] unequally_yoked_feed

Posted by Leah Libresco

Apropos of our discussion of friendship, romance, and the very confusing boundaries and barriers between the two, I wanted to share this excerpt from Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.  In this part of the book (in the section titled “The End of Loneliness”), Hill is listening to a professor speak [Read More...]

OTW Fannews: Wearing the Mask

Sunday, 14 September 2014 04:02 pm
[syndicated profile] otw_news_feed

Posted by Jennifer Rose Hale


Vintage photograph of people, primarily children, in costume
  • A feature on LonCon in The Guardian discussed various fanworks including filk and cosplay. "While most attendees save dressing up until Saturday night's masquerade, Jonathan Hall, 21, who studies physics at Oxford, spent Friday of the convention fully clad in a homemade Thor costume. For him, while comics breaking out in the mainstream was 'only a good thing,' he said the big comic book and fantasy films made by Hollywood had a lot of catching up to do in terms of representing minority groups in the way the fiction and fan fiction did. 'I'm quite into queer fandom,' Hall added. 'I watched Doctor Who and Torchwood when it came back on television and being 14 at the time and starting to realise I was bisexual, having Captain Jack as a figure on television who become a role model in many ways was a huge help to me. So I think representation is really important and in many ways these big budget movies don't do it as well as books have been doing for a while.'"
  • SyFy interviewed designers who took part in San Diego Comic Con's Her Universe Fashion Show. Asked about whether geek couture is becoming a movement in fashion, one designer replied "Geek culture right now is coming into a really strong time because people are being themselves, they are embracing what they like and embracing who they are...and saying if you don't like it, that's ok because I like myself." (No transcript available).
  • While some fans are creating cosplay for animals, The Inlander profiled cosplay as animals in a piece on Spokane’s First Night. "Escapism is nothing new to the human experience. Ask the guy who drops his paycheck on Zags season tickets, or the people waiting in line for a movie on a Friday night. Ask comic book fans, artists, musicians, gamers, woodworkers, distance runners, Civil War re-enactors, avid fans of Game of Thrones. Odds are they'll all tell you they're just looking for a vacation from the norm, a few minutes when they can forget the bills to pay, the obligations to meet, the 9-to-5, the problems they don't want to address. 'When we fantasize, we experience the same emotions we would feel if we were in reality. Think of the fear you feel with a nightmare. Happy fantasies make us feel good,' says Norman Holland, author of Literature and the Brain and a researcher of psychoanalytic psychology...'Fantasies — escapism — give our emotions a workout. That's why the imaginative arts are good for you.'"

Have you taken part in cosplay or attended cosplay events? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.


“Normality” and salvation

Sunday, 14 September 2014 06:36 pm
anglomedved: (Default)
[personal profile] anglomedved


As we think about the church’s role of bringing salvation, we are confronted with a dramatically changed situation from two generations ago.

Put simply it seems to me that, traditionally, the preaching and teaching on conversion/salvation has worked on the presupposition that the target audience consists of persons who are basically functioning ‘normally’ as human beings. Yes, they can cuss, swear, hoar, fight, cheat, lie or steal, but basically they are ‘normal’ and can move beyond this behaviour towards Christian holiness through conversion and a period of repentance. 

This presupposition, it seems to me, no longer holds water. A significant percentage of persons who present themselves in our churches seeking for something in the Christian message, are not functioning ‘normally’: either they have not passed through the usual stages of development, including in particular for males the ‘initiatory’ process into adulthood, or they carry severe internal wounds, often connected with broken family backgrounds.

This must, if we are to be any use to anyone, force us to radically rethink our pastoral-missionary approach, not least in the Orthodox world.

Prima facia, the English-speaking, and especially the American world, seems to be at least two generations ahead of us here in tackling these areas. On the question of handling the failure to initiate, I think of Richard Rohr, on that of wounded memories, Lynn Payne. While we may want to cautious with their therapeutic practices and perhaps question some of their underlying assumptions, these persons and their like present the virtue of describing and making a first attempt to address these issues.

We could do well to listen to them.

Authenticity and Community

Sunday, 14 September 2014 03:15 pm
[syndicated profile] emergentvillage_feed

Posted by Janel Apps Ramsey

I love being part of the emergent movement. I love the space to think, learn, and grow, in ways that help bring faith to life. That space, one created in authenticity, and one that tries to live in authenticity, is something that I found liberating and engaging. As I started dipping my toe in the [Read More...]
[syndicated profile] roger_olson_feed

Posted by Roger E. Olson

This is a follow-up to my most recent post about Christian care-giving that focused especially on hospital chaplains (although much of what I said could apply to any form of Christian care-giving).   It seems serendipitous if not more that today’s (Sunday, September 14) newspaper carries a front-page story entitled “Seminary grads lack psych training.” [Read More...]

Did Adrian Peterson “Spank” His Son?

Sunday, 14 September 2014 01:11 pm
[syndicated profile] lovejoyfeminism_feed

Posted by Libby Anne

Yesterday WORLD Magazine weighed in on Adrian Peterson’s arrest for child abuse.

A grand jury in Texas indicted star Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and a warrant for his arrest was issued Friday by the Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office for “reckless or negligent injury to a child” for the way he spanked his son.

Notice that last bit—Peterson was arrested “for the way he spanked his son.” Not for abusing his son. Not for leaving his son’s body covered with bleeding lacerations still visible a week later. No. For the way he “spanked” his son.

Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Friday that Peterson cooperated with the investigation and never intended to injure to the boy, who is believed to be 4 years old.

“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son,” Hardin said of Peterson’s use what some reports call a “branch,” or “switch,” as Peterson called it, to spank his son. “He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas.”

WORLD continues to use the word “spank” to describe what Peterson did, and Peterson’s attorney refers to it as “discipline.” Plenty of  othernews outlets have also been referring to what occurred as “spanking” and “discipline.” There is a big problem here both with definitions and with sanitation.

I’ve had people argue that “spanking” is appropriate and and should be allowed, and when asked what they mean they explain that a quick swat with the hand after a child tries to run into the street can help get their attention and communicate the seriousness of their action. Then I’ve described what my parents called “spanking”—being struck with a wooden paddle on my bare bottom until I demonstrated proper penitence for my action—and these same individuals have insisted that that is abuse, not “spanking.” And while my parents consider they way they spanked completely nonabusive, they would have considered what Peterson did to his son abuse (my mother drew blood with a switch only once, and was so horrified that she stopped the session and apologized to the my brother profusely). In other words, what the word “spanking” means—and what considered abuse or simply reasonable discipline—varies from person to person.

The word “spanking” sanitizes the action and papers over the differences in definition. When one person defends “spanking,” they are in a sense unwittingly defending all actions given the label “spanking,” including my parents’ actions and Peterson’s actions. We need to drop this word, or at very least not use it without explaining what is meant. Those who think a quick swat with a hand in the moment should be legal but that what my parents did crossed a line need to make that clear. Similarly, those who think that what my parents did should be legal but that Peterson’s actions crossed the line should likewise make that clear. I would say, “I don’t think hitting a child is ever okay.” Another might say, “I think hitting a child with an open hand in the moment is fine, but I don’t think hitting a child with an object or for long periods of time is okay.” Another might say, “I think hitting a child with a switch or paddle is fine, but I don’t think it should be done in anger or cause bruises or break the skin.” This both adds clarity and removes the sanitizing affect of the word “spanking.”

Personally, I am against hitting a child in any way. I think hitting a child should be against the law. If Peterson had done what he did to his son—whipping him with a switch from a tree until his body was covered with bleeding lacerations—to an adult instead, there would be no question that that was assault. But because hitting children is legal, we have to ask whether or not he “crossed the line”—and his lawyer can argue that what he did falls under reasonable discipline.

Another thing these discussions of Peterson’s charges have demonstrated is a stunning lack of understanding of what child abuse is and what child abusers look like. Most child abusers claim that they are only doing to their children what their parents did to them. Most child abusers insist that they have never intended to injure their children. Most child abusers argue that what they are doing is reasonable discipline. Peterson’s lawyer is using these defenses because he knows the public does not understand child abuse. And yet, the public tends to see child abuse as something only committed by parents who dislike their children and intend to harm them out of malice.

Back to WORLD Magazine for a moment:

In what any other week might have been a fierce debate over when spanking becomes beating, Peterson’s case finds itself squarely in the domestic violence controversy, caught between a public wanting someone to punish and a league desperately trying to protect its image. 

Perhaps I should be pleased that WORLD acknowledges that a “spanking” can in some situations become a “beating,” but I’m afraid I’m caught up in WORLD’s suggestion that Peterson is some kind of accidental victim unintentionally caught in the Ray Rice domestic violence “controversy.”

Here is how WORLD described the child’s injuries:

Houston’s CBS Radio affiliate released details from the police investigation, which has been ongoing since the child’s doctor in Minnesota reported the injuries in May. The doctor’s report describes welts and scratches with some scabbing on the child’s back, buttocks, legs, and scrotum. Police said the child also had defensive wounds to his hands. 

WORLD left out the word “extensive,” but this description is otherwise accurate.

The child’s punishment was for pushing another child off a motorbike video or arcade game, the report said.

Peterson beat his son as punishment for pushing another child at a video arcade. This is going about things completely backwards. On a simply intuitive level, it should seem obvious that using violence against a child communicates to that child that violence is an acceptable and appropriate part of society (and there are studies that show that this is indeed the case). Using violence to teach a child not to be violent makes no sense.

Beyond that, pushing another child at a video arcade is normal behavior for a 4-year-old. That doesn’t make it acceptable, but it does make it understandable. What would I do in this situation? First, I would take the child aside. I would explain that yes, it can be hard to wait for your turn and that the noise of a video arcade can make it easy to get frustrated, but that pushing other children is not an acceptable way to express that frustration. I would ask how would they feel if some other child pushed them. I would explain more appropriate ways to deal with their frustration—asking an adult for help if the problem if the issue is sharing, or walking away to do something else if waiting their turn becomes so frustrating they have the urge to push or otherwise lash out. This conversation wouldn’t be one-sided—I would start by asking the child why they pushed the other child, and I would ask the child to help think of solutions to their frustration. My goal would be to hold a conversation rather than giving a lecture. We would model and practice, if needed. Then I would let the child go back to playing. If inappropriate behavior occurred again, we would leave the video arcade, and that would be part of the lesson—we remove ourselves from situations where we can’t trust ourselves to act appropriately. And yes, it’s easy to say all this when I’m not in the situation, but I’ve gone through this process many times, and it works—and leads to more actual learning than does pulling a child aside and hitting them.

If you read Peterson’s description of what he did—he claims he continued beating his son for as long as he did because the child didn’t cry (here’s a link, but I’ll warn you that the article contains pictures)—you’ll notice that it fits with what Michael and Debi Pearl teach in their book, To Train Up a Child. I suspect that the Pearls’ teaching that you have to hit the child until they are submissive to your authority is probably more common than we would like to think. And this case demonstrates, once again, where it can lead. Many parents who follow the Pearls, my own parents included, would probably see what Peterson did as crossing a line, and that’s why this needs saying—when you teach that you have to keep hitting until the child shows some sign of submission (crying, in this case), this is what you will end up with. Sure, most kids may show submission long before they are covered in bleeding lacerations, but some will hold out, and it will go on, and on, and on. This is what happens when you see parenting as a battle in which one side must “win” and the other side of necessity must “lose.”

I would contend that there is no situation where hitting a child is more productive or healthy than other means of correction. I also don’t think any human child deserves to be hit. I mean for goodness sake, we no longer give criminals 40 lashes and we don’t sentence convicts to being beaten. How is it that we have given these up as inappropriate and yet we still feel it is somehow instructive or good to hit children? We as a society need to stop giving cover to child abuse by arguing that parents should be allowed to hit their children and using sanitizing words like “spanking” without definition—and we need to correct our assumptions about what an abuser looks like (and doesn’t look like). We need to promote healthier childrearing practices and consign hitting children—no matter what we call it—to the dustheap of history.

Spit(ting| and) images

Sunday, 14 September 2014 12:46 pm
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Posted by Mark Liberman

Bob Moore was taken aback by "spit and image" in Frank Bruni's 9/9/2014 NYT Op-Ed, and wondered whether it was an eggcorn for "spitting image":

I worry about the combustible tension between our abysmal regard for the Congress that we’ve got and a near certainty that the Congress we’re about to get will be its spit and image: familiar faces, timeworn histrionics, unending paralysis.

Ben Zimmer added a note about this to the Eggcorn Database back in 2005, noting Larry Horn's argument that both "spitting image" and "spit and image" are probably re-interpretations of an original "spitten image":

Most major dictionaries report that _spitting image_ is an alteration of _spit and image_. In an article in American Speech, however, Larry Horn argues that the expression was originally _spitten image_ (_spitten_ being a now-archaic dialectal form of the past participle of _spit_), and that both _spit and image_ and _spitting image_ are later reinterpretations. (The _American Speech_ link requires a subscription to Project Muse — see also Michael Quinion’s summary at World Wide Words). Horn’s article also discusses various eggcornish reanalyses of _in_/_and_/_-in’_/_-en_, some of which appear elsewhere in the database (e.g., off the beat and path, once and a while).

Bob observed that the Google Books ngram viewer indicates that "spitting image" and "spit and image" ran neck and neck (neck in neck?) until about 1960, when "spitting image" began a steep rise to dominance:

Sunday favorites

Sunday, 14 September 2014 10:26 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 

“For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”


The Satanic Panic arose from abortion politics

Sunday, 14 September 2014 07:05 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

Anyone who remembers the white evangelical subculture of the 1970s and 1980s will enjoy and squirm in equal measure when reading Chaplain Mike’s rapid-fire reminiscence “My So-Called Evangelical Life,” posted last month at Internet Monk. It’s the sort of thing that produces both the occasional delighted “Ooh — I remember that!” as well as the occasional wincing “Ewww — I remember that!”

It kind of makes me wish for an evangelical version of VH-1′s “I Love the ’80s.” For panelists, we could get, like, Steve Taylor, Amy Grant, Frank Schaeffer, Molly Worthen, David Dark and Sarah Masen, Barry Taylor, and of course Michael Ian Black (who, as far as I know, doesn’t know anything about the evangelical subculture, but apparently you can’t do one of those shows without him).

I want to quibble with one point in the good Chaplain’s narrative, though, which he conveys in this section:

Of course, 1980 was the year that brought us President Ronald Reagan, the first president to use “God bless America” in a major speech (except for one time when Richard Nixon was trying to save his butt during Watergate). Steven Miller observes that Reagan “was more an evangelical’s president than an evangelical president,” but that didn’t stop Jerry Falwell from proclaiming that Reagan was “the greatest thing that has happened to our country in my lifetime.” This, despite the fact that evangelicals saw few actual substantive policy changes amid an abundance of symbolic actions and gestures. Still, their leaders and spokespersons had unprecedented access to the halls of power, and that was heady stuff.

A new set of political issues and interest groups were also formed in the 1970′s, becoming more focused in the 1980′s. The Equal Rights Amendment. Abortion. Homosexuality and the AIDS epidemic. Issues like these pitted the Moral Majority, Eagle Forum, and Concerned Women for America vs. the ACLU, People for the American Way, and the National Organization for Women. Republican vs. Democrat was taking on new meanings. Culture War lines were being etched ever deeper in the sand.

But battles that were more personal and “spiritual” also got our culture’s attention in those decades.

The rise of charismatic Christianity and talk of “spiritual warfare,” along with movies like The Exorcist, fueled a new dualistic supernaturalism among Americans. This was given credibility when we watched the news and witnessed the evil, grisly acts of murderous cults like the Manson “Family” and Jim Jones and the People’s Temple (Jonestown). A “satanic panic” arose in the 1980′s fueled by revelations of “repressed memories” indicating that large numbers of children had been subjected to Satanic ritual abuse (SRA). A new diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder looked a lot like demon possession. Christian comedian Mike Warnke made a meteoric rise to popularity, with outrageous claims of having been delivered from Satanism. He told stories that scared the pants off Christian parents and youth alike who flocked to hear him speak and to buy his books and recordings. Preachers engaged in a focused critique on rock music’s occult influence on young people, especially in the “heavy metal” genre. These years saw the rise of the “New Age” movement. Popular Christian fiction writer Frank Peretti wrote best-selling books about “spiritual warfare against a vast, seductive New Age conspiracy” that was taking place in towns like yours and mine.

That’s good stuff. He pulls together a bunch of things that belong together — making some important connections and associations in this litany of cultural milestones and touchstones.

My quibble, though, is with that second-to-last paragraph, wherein he breaks some of those connections and associations by making a distinction between white evangelicals’ rise to political power in the Reagan years and “battles that were more personal and ‘spiritual.’” Those things were not really distinct.

Same shtick, different day.

Same shtick, different day.

The rise of the religious right didn’t just change white evangelical politics, it changed white evangelical religion — reshaping the personal and spiritual as well as the more obviously political. We went from being a people centered on and defined by a passion for evangelism to being a people centered on and defined by our political opposition to abortion. In the vocabulary of CM’s pop-cultural review, we changed from The Jesus Movie to The Silent Scream.

That accounts for Mike Warnke’s meteoric popularity and that accounts, I believe, for the Satanic Panic. Both of those accompanied the sudden ascendance of anti-abortionism as the defining characteristic of white evangelicalism.

It happened like this: Rather suddenly — in about a decade — white evangelical politics, identity, piety and dogma were rewritten and recentered around the assertion that a wicked Other was murdering babies.

Toward the end of that decade, a con-man comedian became one of the top-selling white evangelical recording artists by concocting grisly horror stories about wicked Others who murdered babies. Toward the end of that decade, a moral panic swept the country, driven by a fear of a shadowy conspiracy of, yes, wicked Others who murdered babies.

It doesn’t take a big stretch to imagine a causal connection between the rise of politicized anti-abortion religion and the rise of Warnke and the Satanic Panic that followed soon after.

It takes an implausibly big stretch of the imagination to think there is no such connection.

Our politics and our religion were reshaped and redefined as opposition to Satanic baby-killers. Then Mike Warnke came along, making a fortune by tapping into white evangelicals’ insatiable appetite for tales of Satanic baby-killers. Then fear of Satanic baby-killers wreaked havoc in schools and daycare centers and communities across the country, putting innocent people in prison for decades.

The distinction is not that anti-abortion religion is “political” while Warnke and the Satanic Panic were “personal and spiritual.” The only meaningful distinction is that, in the case of Warnke and the Satanic Panic, we have subsequently admitted that the vast conspiracy of Satanic baby-killers were a figment of our imagination — nothing more than a projection of our darkest fears and our self-righteous pride. But when it comes to anti-abortion religion, white evangelicals still refuse to admit that.

Barefoot in Phoenix (and my fall speaking schedule)

Saturday, 13 September 2014 06:53 pm
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Posted by Rachel Held Evans

I’ve updated the events page to include my fall 2014 speaking schedule, and as you may have noticed, it’s a bit thinner than in seasons past.  

After speaking at more than seventeen events last spring, which involved catching dozens of flights and a couple of stomach bugs, I made the decision—along with Dan and my speaking agent Jim—to cut back on travel this fall. Some writers love “life on the road” and thrive on the challenge of speaking to a new group in a new city every day. Others find themselves eating too many carbohydrates and seriously questioning whether man is intended for flight.  I fall into the latter camp. 

So as much as I love meeting you guys in person, I’m scaling back a bit, at least for a while, so I can rest and write. 

That said, I’m really looking forward to the events on the schedule this year, which will take me to West Virginia, Minnesota, Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama...and at a much more relaxed pace. 

Today I want to draw your attention to the Barefoot Tribe Gathering in Phoenix, October 16-18, which is now registering participants.  The purpose of the Barefoot Tribe Gathering is to promote conversation and collaboration among Christians working for justice in their communities and around the world.  I’m thrilled to be speaking alongside some of my favorite people, including Bob Goff, Becca Stevens, Dr. John Perkins, Erwin McManus, Jenny Yang, and Lindsey Nobles. You can register here. 

Other events I’ll be sharing more about in the weeks to come include: 

Tuesday, October 14 – Wednesday, October 15
West Virginia Annual Conference (UMC) Clergy School 
Charleston, West Virginia 
More Info 

Thursday, October 16
Good Earth Village Launch Project 
Spring Valley, Minnesota 
More Info 

Friday, October 17
Barefoot Tribe Gathering 
Phoenix, Arizona
More Info

Saturday, October 25
ISU Wesley Imagine What’s Next Mini-Conference 
Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois 
More Info

Friday, November 7
Ohio Wesleyan University Love Across the Spectrum Event 
Delaware, Ohio 
More Info

Friday, November 14 – Saturday, November 15
Dunwoody United Methodist Church Young Adult Retreat 
Glisson Camp and Retreat Center, Dahlonega, Georgia 
More Info  

Sunday, November 16
Canterbury United Methodist Church
Birmingham, AL
More Info 

Saturday Links: Burger of Despair Edition

Saturday, 13 September 2014 04:00 pm
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Posted by Meagan


Collage of NariNari burger photo and YouTube music video via Eater.

Collage of NariNari burger photo and the Cure’s music video for “Just Like Heaven” via Eater.

THIS IS A GOTH BURGER. The home of the goth burger is Burger King Japan, and apparently the bun, cheese, and sauce are made with charcoal and squid ink (natural ingredients!) to achieve its spookiness. If you were looking for something to eat while sitting in the dark and listening to Gene Loves Jezebel, HERE YOU GO. My goth soul has never been hungrier for a cheeseburger.


Photo by Jeff Bark for Dazed and Confused.

Photo by Jeff Bark for Dazed & Confused.

Nicki Minaj is the coverboss of Dazed & Confused’s latest issue. The interview is chock-full of crystal gems of inspiration:

I realized that my voice is very important to pop culture. It’s very important to hip hop culture. It’s just…very important. I can’t stop; I have to complete this mission. When I came into the game, I said I wanted to be a mogul, and a lot of my fans want to see that come to fruition.

File under: dictionary definition of BOSS.


The teenaged queen and Rookie pal Lorde graces the cover of Elle’s October issue. She gets real about her fame, Tumblr, and her intolerance for bullshit, but the best part is when she talks about her confidence as a young woman, and what that means for fans. My favorite quote from the gleaming bunch: “People know that if you talk down to me, I will roll my eyes or whatever.”

Maxim has hired Kate Lanphear as Editor-in-Chief. Lanphear is one of the most badass fashion editors around: She’s an alumna of Elle and T Magazine and her dark approach to style has made waves for years. Now she’ll be calling the shots for the “men’s lifestyle” brand, and hopefully she’ll change a thing or two about it—I might actually buy a copy when her first issue debuts in March 2015!

Illustration of Spinosaurus by Mike Hettwer via The Verge.

Artistic rendering of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus by Mike Hettwer via The Verge.

Paleontologists at University of Chicago have discovered that the world’s largest known predatory dinosaur, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, was kind of half-duck, half-crocodile. That’s one of the strangest combinations I’ve ever heard, but it’s cool nonetheless.


Anna Wintour starred in’s latest “73 Questions,” the lightning-round interview series where the host, Joe Sabia, barrels into someone’s zone and asks them super simple questions that often lead to intimate answers. In this episode, Anna refers to Brooklyn as “the new Silicon Valley,” has a hilarious conversation with the model Karlie Kloss, and tells a Vogue staffer her favorite thing about her job is “the people” as strides right by her. Even more amazing: The Editor-in-Chief of Vogue loves watching Homeland as much as I do. Chant with me: “One of us, one of us!”

12 years ago, a book called Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live came out, and reading it brought me so much joy. As a fan of the show, hearing behind-the-scenes stories about SNL from Cheri Oteri, Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, and Lorne Michaels himself was a gift from the heavens. You can imagine my delight when Vulture published an excerpt of a forthcoming expanded edition of Live From New York. The updated version of the book will include new coverage of the past 10 years at Studio 8H, and this story about Kristen Wiig’s emotional final moments on the show is a great introduction.

Remember that time you sobbed while watching the entire cast, plus past members and Lorne himself, say farewell to the incredible comedian as Mick Jagger and Arcade Fire sang “She’s a Rainbow”? Turns out you weren’t alone, according to this quote from Wiig:

I know that Lorne knew I was leaving just from being around the show; we can’t really keep any secrets around there…But of course I knew that I still had to sit down with him and talk. I believe we were at dinner and I just said, “Well, are we going to talk about this?” And it was really hard and emotional. The last show of my first season I went up to Lorne and just thanked him; I was just overwhelmed from the year and I got a little choked up, and then when I left, I got really choked up. So I started and ended my experience there crying in front of Lorne.


The Things We Suffer,” an essay by my close friend Judnick Mayard, is an astonishing and wildly heartbreaking personal essay about being abused by her mother—both as a child, and even as an adult. As my friend, I know Judnick to be a straightforward, frank person, but the ferocity with which she bears her soul—and the courage along with it—still moved me to tears:

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I came home to this speech: “I hate you. I wish you would walk into traffic and get hit by a truck. Why don’t you kill yourself? You ruin everyone’s life and can’t you tell they wish you weren’t around anymore.” The cause was always the same: Either I had lost one of my gloves or my hat or a scarf or I was asking my mother for some sort affection or attention. Whenever I said “I love you” her favorite response was “I don’t love you at all.”

It will rip your heart to shreds, but it’s a testament to Judnick’s loving character that she turns this story into a way to reach out to other victims of parental abuse and offer reassurance that no one is alone.

Higher,” is the first video from Jane Jupiter, the sophisticated, futuristic alter-ego of one of my favorite rappers, Kid Sister. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS, PEOPLE. I get chills when she sings the harmonies in the chorus…while doing body-rolls in a disco-ball catsuit! How could this be better?! This song is from Kid Sister/Jane Jupiter’s first release in three years, Dusk2Dawn, and I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing.

Caitlin D.

Few things are as important as being able to communicate with cats, so praise Gaia for this study guide on the phonetic expression of kitties, as excerpted from a 1944 journal of comparative psychology.


A recording of isolated guitar and vocal tracks from a four-year-old Hole performance has been making the rounds, prompting jokes and accusations about Courtney Love’s lack of talent. Enter the writer/superwoman Judy Berman, who discredits the sexism of criticizing isolated parts of Courtney Love’s live music (as well as any other artist’s). Berman spoke with an audio engineer, who explained how listening to only the vocals and guitar parts has little bearing on the power of a live performance. Berman also goes in on the misogyny of the repeated jokes at Love’s expense—here’s the final TRUTH as laid out by Berman:

Imagine seeing similar snark applied to an isolated vocal track from a live Bob Dylan show, which would surely be all bluster and wheeze. If a writer were stupid enough to argue that Johnny Rotten was a fraud because he lacked technical skills, punk fans would be quick to point out that his lyrics and attitude and delivery are what’s important; it’s just the same for Love. Her particular genius is in her embodiment of a certain chaotic female experience, and the potency with which she articulates it.



Image by Danny Evans via The Daily Beast.

Image by Danny Evans via The Daily Beast.

The artist Planet Hiltron, aka Danny Evans, makes artistic renderings of how he pictures famous people would look if they had entirely different lives. Like, imagine if Beyoncé had grown up to be an accountant in Ohio without a team of stylists and trainers (OK, she’d continue to look like an otherworldly beacon of light, but still). This week, Planet Hiltron released a fresh batch of celebrity-makeunder Photoshops, including one of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez that I found particularly gripping. ♦

Welcome to OTW Elections Season!

Saturday, 13 September 2014 04:16 pm
[syndicated profile] otw_news_feed

Posted by Kiri Van Santen


Banner by Diane of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW', 'Elections News' and a checkmark next to 'Make your voice heard'

We’re very excited to announce the beginning of elections season and would like to issue you a warm welcome! The members of the OTW are entrusted with electing 3 new Board members yearly. In order to become a member, you can simply donate $10 or more to the OTW. This post will provide you with a basic overview of what the elections process will look like this year.

What Potential Candidates Need to Know

The Board handles strategic planning and decision making for OTW’s mission, budget, projects, and priorities. They monitor progress toward strategic goals and maintain OTW’s long-term focus. The Board also takes responsibility for organizational actions and ensures the organization’s legal compliance.

Board terms are three years long. There are nine Board seats, three of which are up for election every year. If there are three candidates or less, all candidates will be elected automatically. If four or more candidates step forward, the election will be contested, and members will be able to vote on who will take the open positions. In case of a contested election this year, voting will be held November 14-16, 2014.

Eligibility and Candidacy

In order to be eligible to run for Board, a candidate must:

  • be a paid member of the OTW by 8 weeks prior to the election,
  • be at least 18 years old by the time of the election,
  • run under their legal name,
  • be a current staffer on a standing committee in the OTW,
  • not be a member of the Elections Committee during the year of candidacy (for 2014 elections, Jan 1, 2014 onward),
  • have served as a staffer for a total of 9 months (excluding hiatus) as of November 1 of that election year.

The Elections Committee is now accepting candidacy declarations for 2014. Candidates must be a paid member by September 19, 2014, and they must declare their candidacy by September 26, 2014.

Getting to Know the Candidates

Candidates will provide a short biography summarizing their background in both their fandom and professional lives, aiming to show voters why they are suitable candidates for the Board. Candidates will also present a manifesto in the form of answers to a standard set of questions provided with the intent of expanding on what their relevant skills and experience are, as well as their vision for the OTW.

We will also be hosting a number of open chats, of which every candidate is required to attend at least one. These will be a chance for everyone to ask questions that may not have been answered in the bios or manifestos, as well as follow-up questions. The chats also allow voters to see how the candidates interact, both with each other and with the public. Transcripts of the chats will be posted for the benefit of those who could not make it.

Additionally, there will be a Q&A period. This will provide an opportunity for voters to follow up on questions from the manifestos or ask new questions that were not previously discussed, as well as allow the candidates to express their opinions in a situation that is not as immediate and high pressure as chats. Questions will be sent in over a set period of time and reviewed by the Elections Committee for repeats and similarities. The questions will be split into small batches of 3-5 questions, and each candidate can request a batch when they are sure they have the time to return the batch within 24 hours. The candidates will be given a certain amount of time to complete all the batches of questions, the length of which depends on the total number of questions.

We will be posting more information regarding eligibility to vote and the deadlines for the election period in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can direct any questions you might have to the Elections Committee. We are looking forward to a great elections season, and we hope that you are, too!

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"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best."
-- St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

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