Monday, September 15, 2014

Pride, I Have it

I once went to a sermon where a radical action-oriented minister mentioned that she's had a congregant say to her that rallying, protesting, and writing to congress wasn't the only way to make the world a better place.  She agreed.  And in that vein I wanted to make something clear.  I worked for about ten years with amazing teenagers from my congregation and others in various capacities.  They were all amazing.  (Seriously.  The adults were often more problematic.)  And as I discover various things from college graduations, to medical school enrollments to jobs of various flavors, to decisions to out themselves as transgender or enroll in seminary or start a blog I continue to be proud.  But, I am proud of each and every one of them.  Even though I had only the teeniest to do with any life success they have put together for themselves.  Working with teenagers is often viewed as a fast track to insanity, but honestly, I remain utterly hopeful about the future of this world thanks to my work with them.  This world is so lucky to have these folks, they are going to change, enhance, and sometimes just exist and make it a better place.  All of them.  All. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On This Day

Every year on this day, I read Meg Cabot's post about her 9/11 experience. I think about calling my sister, who was fine, getting sent home early from work because the building my office was in shut down for the day. People talk about how everyone was nicer, kinder, more helpful for a while. There were first responders at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and people who weren't officially first responders but showed up to help, that day and later. There was the flight that went down in Pennsylvania.  During the Olympics in London, NBC cut away from the remembrance of the 7/7 bombings because they assumed Americans didn't care.
Both 9/11 and 7/7 have become days that babies were born, that people got married, that people just went about their day.  And I think that's the most important part, that in addition to remembering these tragedies, we remember to go on.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Be Your Own Curator

I've talked before about how the joy of the internet is that you can connect with people across the world and yet, it therefore becomes easier to believe that you are seeing everything, instead of a carefully curated list of people and topics you have decided are of interest to you.  Or, it's a big internet out there.  You're really only looking at part of it. 
Don't get me wrong, this is amazing.  And I find it particularly interesting as things develop in areas and on topics that the US media tends to report on narrowly, that we all have options, whether it's reading news and reporting from other countries or reading on the ground reports from citizens be they in Missouri or Israel.  It is a wide, wide world out there.  But, by removing the filters and restraints of relying on the news that is provided to you, you also lose some filters of fact.  Citizens on the ground may or may not have the same agenda of truth.  (And yes, not all reporters are truth driven.  There are layers in place to try to make sure there is truthiness, but sure, not a given.)  Much of this is just good internet protocol.  Things get retweeted, shared, and reblogged, fast.  Much like a game of telephone, things can get distorted.  They also, invariably, get shared faster than the correction or update.  Sometimes when you track back you'll see the originator has deleted it to try and stop the spread, but it's still going strong.  And, hey, mistakes and errors happen.  But just like that time you forwarded that email about the free trip to Disney (what?) you go back and you apologize for the misinformation.  And you try to get better at verifying things. 
It is a great big world. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Three Interesting Things

1. I confess I am not watching "Outlander" for a number of reasons, lack of the premium channels being one of them.  But a number of folks I know are, and seem confused and amazed by the field hockey.  Nope.  Not field hockey.  Shinty.  Which was described to me by a dorm member who played it as hockey without rules.  (Obviously there are a few rules.)
2. Gayle Forman wrote a wonderful post about why YA is for everyone.
3. I posted this to tumblr too, but seriously, this transcription of Gene Luen Yang's speech about writing diversity is amazing and go read it now if you haven't already.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Once Again, Teen Girls are Thought to be Idiots


Ally Carter said once that if she ever needed a huge heist done, she'd get teen girls to do it, since no group is so constantly underestimated at teen girls are.  I imagine the snarky little tweet that set my blood boiling about paranormal YA romances teaching teen girls to love monsters was intended to be humorous. Let me list for you the reasons that I am unable to entertain such a notion. 
1. This assumes that reading romance could only possibly teach you about falling in love with people like the book characters you read about.  So, if I read about military guys, or firefighters, I will no longer be able to fall in love with a lawyer or accountant without first reading a book about it.  As the wonderful posts at read a romance month have shown, romance novels contain many lessons within them, lessons about love, compassion, and expecting to be respected and treated well by those who love you.  I honestly have to wonder if the people who are constantly so threatened by this, worry they are unable to live up to this idea of love and respect. We could spend a lot of time discussing what may or may not be realistic about books, and goodness knows I'm not saying every book is perfect, but dismissing a whole subgenre because someone might get a bad idea reading one, is kind of insulting really.  Oh wait, not kind of.  Totally.  Totally insulting.  No one worries that reading too many mysteries might give you an unrealistic sense of justice. 
2. Paranormal romance is of course, only ever about boys with powers. Oh wait, it totally isn't.  Girls can be vampires, dragons, witches, werewolves and all those other things.  Anyone who had done more than glance in the general direction of the shelf in the bookstore would know that.  Just looking at the covers would make that clear.  But, silly me, I'm ruining the joke with facts. 
3. And the final assumption - of course only teen girls read paranormal romance.  Not boys.  Or adults.  Nope.  Couldn't be.  Unless of course we are somehow assuming that only teen girls will get wrong ideas because adults know that books are fiction and maybe boys do to, but teen girls, apparently don't understand that lesson until they are older.  Sure.
I know, it turns out there was a lot of assumption and misinformation packed into that tweet.  So, I did what I often do these days.  I bought some books until the rage went away.