Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

I have one friend who will never read Jane Austen because he thinks they’re “just” romances, and he doesn’t like romance. I have another acquaintance who believes Jane wrote anti-romances. I think they’re both right (although that first friend isn’t right to deride romance out of hand.) The thing I love about Jane Austen’s novels is […]

I Hope Trump Fails

I hope Trump fails to destroy our nation. I hope Trump fails to defy our Constitution. I hope Trump fails to repeal Obamacare. I hope Trump fails to deport the Dreamers. I hope Trump fails to overturn marriage equality. I hope Trump fails to register Muslims. I hope Trump fails to unleash the KKK. I […]

More on Diversity in Fiction

That Facebook conversation I had the other day continues to resonate. The male writer with whom I was discussing diversity in awards said, “Equality … is about judging on merits relevant to the task.” I could only think of a rather snarky comeback (my default mode), saying, “That all sounds very egalitarian, but also very […]

Franzen, Political Correctness, and the Novel, Part 2

In yesterday’s post, I covered Terence Blacker’s muddled defense of Jonathan Franzen and other male writers from their feminist critics. (To re-summarize Blacker’s argument: it doesn’t matter that novels featuring female protagonists win fewer awards; the idea that novels have to do with moral improvement is new and sinister; and no one should criticize novelists for the […]

Franzen, Political Correctness, and the Novel, Part 1

A writer from my local writing group posted a link to an article in the UK’s Independent titled, “Don’t tell authors how to write about gender – creativity isn’t social work.” It featured a defense of Jonathan Franzen and other male writers who have been criticized for writing poorly about women. The author, Terence Blacker, is an English […]

What Bicycling Can Teach Us About Privilege

Excellent post from fellow Lansing-area blogger A Little More Sauce on what white people can learn about our own privilege from the distinctly unprivileged position of riding a bike on streets that systemically favor cars. Check it out here.

Getting Georgian England Wrong

My impression of Cracked.com was that it provides accurate information in a humorous way, but I was not amused by the over-simplifications in a recent post on sexual mores during England’s Georgian period. Yes, there was a lot more sex going on than in your typical Jane Austen novel, but the article implies that this […]

Michigan: Time to Pass the Vulnerable Roadway User Act

UPDATE 4/29/15: According to the Lansing State Journal, Mitzi Nelson today pleaded “no contest” to the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving resulting in the death of bicyclist Jill Byelich in September 2014. Her sentence could include up to one year of jail time.   This one hits close to home – fifteen miles from home, to be exact. From […]

Jailed for Fiction

    Update 9/3: And the other shoe has dropped. I should have known better than to trust a story based on reporting from local TV stations. Thanks, WBOC, “Delmarva’s Fake News Leader”! Turns out McLaw’s dismissal had little or nothing to do with his books, and more to do with a letter he wrote with […]

The Last of Us, Feminism, and Misogyny

Just finished The Last of Us, the most character-driven video game I’ve ever played. Both the main game and, even more so, the DLC left me feeling not only emotionally involved but also shattered. It’s not just a game, it’s an interactive story. The Last of Us is also one of the most feminist and LGBTQ-friendly games out […]

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