Monday, August 26, 2013

Soap Box Moment

So I know everyone and their mom is weighing in about the Miley Cyrus VMA performance, but I have opinions too.

Here’s what I have to say. Deep in the bowels of Reddit I stumbled upon this video of Miley Cyrus singing “Jolene” about a year ago. It’s been out for eight months and has 8,534,478 views. Mostly upvotes. But I had never seen it before. “We Can’t Stop” her new crazy stuff that is pretty much more of what you’ve seen from the VMA’s (I’m guessing) has 158,401,767 in two months. Let’s let that sink in. Almost exactly 150,000,000 more views. Her VMA performance went freaking viral. Everyone has an opinion, and you know what that means? Everyone is paying attention to her.

You know what that means? In about six months we took this girl

and turned her into this girl 

 We did that by showing her that the world will watch her when she twerks and the world will basically ignore her if she stays a Disney Princess.

So stop talking about what Robin Thicke did or what Miley Cyrus did or who should or shouldn’t be slut shamed and take a long look in the mirror. You and me give young girls the idea that we will watch them ruin their lives but we will neither pay attention nor care if they come of age and stay a princess.

I could end that rant there couldn’t I? But I’m not going to. I’m going to go a step farther and propose a solution, of sorts. Watch what you share. Watch what you share your opinion on. Don’t point fingers at those you think are doing stupid shit. Share something that means something to you. Until we decide that we’re going to find entertainment from watching moments like this (Same Love - VMA) Until we start applauding each other for the good we are doing, they are going to keep up with the shock value performances.

Go give Jolene an upvote on YouTube. Maybe if enough people do that, maybe if enough people tell Miley that we want to see her succeed and be the next Oprah or Macklemore or whatever we can be the strong females in her life that so many are crying out to save her from herself. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (4)

After starting and - not abandoning, but - shelving the last four books I picked up, I didn't know if I could like any books. Maybe I’d read all the books I would like in my life. It was over. I might as well go re-read Game of Thrones*. Then Harry Potter. Then Hunger Games. And perhaps start all over again.

I was sold by the end of the first page.
“I’d sit at my kitchen table and start scanning help-wanted ads on my laptop, but then a browser tab would blink and I’d get distracted and follow a link to a long magazine article about genetically modified wine grapes…”
You sir, understand me. I will read your book.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a book for nerds. So many of us are nerds these days, with the rise of Microsoft and Google and the Internet you need to be a nerd to make a living. This book takes nerds and the things they love and combine them into your tale-as-old-as-time Hero Quest. Its light, and lovely, and sweet.

It's about kids who play a lot of D&D
Clay Jannon is a young web designer living in San Francisco who has just been laid off. To break the monotony of idly searching for jobs, he takes long walks. And one fateful day he wanders down the wrong street at the right time and spies a help wanted ad. So begins his journey at the 24-Hour Bookstore. The patrons are strange. Really strange. And he has to keep a log of what they get (they never seem to pay, but each has a membership card) and also what they looked like and how they appeared to be feeling.

Thus starts your hero quest. What are these books? What language are they even written in? He brings in his best friend and his love interest and together they are off to find a path to immortality. 

Now I think I need to go read a book that’s thick and long and breaks my heart. Because that’s what I like to do with my time.

*Yes, I know it’s called A Song of Ice and Fire. But no one calls it that. No one but you and me, friend. No one but you and me. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Time's 100 Best Books of All Time

This list compiled by Time magazine's critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo. Let's see how many we've all read. 

I am at 16/'d you do?
The Adventures of Augie March
All the King's Men
American Pastoral
An American Tragedy
Animal Farm
Appointment in Samarra
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (I love that this made the list)
The Assistant
At Swim-Two-Birds
The Berlin Stories
The Big Sleep
The Blind Assassin
Blood Meridian
Brideshead Revisited
The Bridge of San Luis Rey 
Call It Sleep
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
The Confessions of Nat Turner
The Corrections
The Crying of Lot 49
A Dance to the Music of Time
The Day of the Locust
Death Comes for the Archbishop
A Death in the Family
The Death of the Heart
Dog Soldiers
The French Lieutenant's Woman
The Golden Notebook
Go Tell it on the Mountain
Gone with the Wind
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity's Rainbow
The Great Gatsby
A Handful of Dust
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The Heart of the Matter
A House for Mr. Biswas
I, Claudius
Infinite Jest
Invisible Man
Light in August
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Rings
The Moviegoer
Lucky Jim
The Man Who Loved Children
Slaughterhouse Five
Their Eyes Were Watching God
To Kill a Mockingbird