“Carrie White Will Never Die”: I review the Carrie musical

at AmCon: Carrie is the only book I ever put down because I knew I was too young for it. It was the summer between fourth and fifth grade and I was staying with cousins, taking the opportunity to raid their bookshelves. I flipped idly through the book’s opening, got to the shower scene (“Plug it up! Plug it up!”), and–for once in my life–realized I was in over my head. The combination of nudity, menstruation, and sadism, all happening to kids just a few years older than I was, … [Read more...]

“Daniel Chong Is the Entirely Predictable Result of Dehumanizing Drug Offenders”: Radley Balko

writes: The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General  has just released part of its report on the awful case of Daniel Chong. Here’s some background from the San Diego Union-Tribune: Chong was a 24-year-old engineering student when he was caught up in the drug sweep by a DEA task force two years ago. On the morning of April 21, 2012, Chong was detained with six other suspects and transported to the DEA field office, where agents determined that he was not involved in the … [Read more...]

“Speaking of Sexual Trauma”: A Queer Calling

blogs: Speaking of sexual trauma as an LGBT person requires walking on eggshells. Our stories have political capital, whether we want them to or not. In my experience, the broader LGBT community expects survivors to defend the idea that sexual abuse rarely, if ever, is a determining factor in one’s sexual orientation. On the other extreme, most of the conservative Christian community is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that if an LGBT person was sexually abused at some point in life, … [Read more...]

And All at Once I Had to Face the Big Light: Some movie reviews

Rachel Getting Married: The story of a woman coming out of rehab just in time for her sister's wedding. I think even people who don't share my particular issues would find this a gripping, intensely painful story, showing our attempts at self-justification (and how even our attempts to do the right thing, be good, and/or make amends become self-centered and self-justifying) and how hard it is for well-meaning people to love one another. The set-piece scenes, like the toasting, are uniformly … [Read more...]

Before #yesallwomen, There Was “The Gift of Fear”: Me at AmCon

w/criticism, but you should read the book: I had the vertiginous experience of reading Gavin de Becker’s 1997 bestseller The Gift of Fear in the midst of the reporting and reaction to the killings at UC-Santa Barbara. I read Gift for the same reason as hundreds of other women: A close friend told me to. And there’s a reason the book gets passed along. It’s pushy, it’s overstated, it’s flawed—but it’s a powerful guide to recognizing potential violence and listening to your … [Read more...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: Me in AmSpec

not really a book review! I read John Darnielle’s 2011 novel Master of Reality under the unfamiliar constellations of Australia—which was fitting, since the slender book is about being both physically and spiritually far from home. Master of Reality is an entry in Continuum’s “33 1/3” series of books about pop or rock albums. (The other books in the series tend to be straightforward critical studies.) I’ve never listened to Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, but Darnielle’s … [Read more...]

“Five Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser’”: Cracked

well worth reading even if you have no especial interest in weight loss or shows about ditto: ...Every week on the show, you watched us exercising and working out. That's part of the process, of course -- making people healthier. But they don't show the additional mandatory six hours or so of us furiously flailing the pounds away. They much preferred filming us right at the end of a workout, when we looked like lazy quitters for stopping so early. Even the giant scale they had us all weigh in … [Read more...]


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