Some interesting thoughts (some for writers, some not)

•Writer Tamago discusses the challenges of getting the writing done, and how to balance it with the rest of your life. Especially if you have a life.
•Vanity Fair asks why the styles of today—music, movies, fashion—look so much like 20 years ago? I think writer Kurt Andersen has a point: This is not something we’d have seen in any 20 year span in the 20th century. Hullabaloo focuses on one reason Andersen suggests for this, that corporate America is generally very risk averse. Staying with what works is better. Andersen lists other possibilities: That the sheer amount of retro material available to us digitally has slowed down the rush to try anything radically new, and that as the substance of our lives has changed so much, we’re compensating by putting the brakes on style. This reverses past eras when style compensated for underlying stable substance: Cars didn’t change much in the 1950s and 1960s, but the look certainly did.
I can’t help wondering if this isn’t true of book covers: Despite the innovations in digital art, I don’t think I see anything as weird or strange as the Powers covers from the fifty years ago. Or is that just a surface impression?
I do think genre fiction can make a claim that we aren’t just cloning ourselves, despite the huge growth in media tie-in novels over the past two decades. Subgenres such as steampunk and paranormal romance have bloomed from nowhere, which I think proves we’re not completely stuck in a rut yet.
•Hullabaloo also discusses an article reporting the shocking news that President Obama did not tie up Washington’s partisan divide and lead to a glorious utopia of bipartisan cooperation. As Digby points out, this has been obvious for a while, but it’s a radical statement for the DC press corps, where bipartisanship and centrism represent a holy grail (as witness Dana Milbanks’ claim that his centrism is superior to both sides of the abortion wars).
•Slacktivist points out the gender differential in the way things are marketed: “Toys for kids” vs. “Toys for girls” or “family doll” vs. “Asian family doll”
•Last year, Newt Gingrich warned America (or at least Republican voters) that atheists wouldn’t stop until they’d imposed Sharia law on us. Now he claims that gay marriage is a “pagan” behavior that violates “our civilization.” As the Wild Hunt blog notes at the link, the Greeks and Romans who are usually considered the founders of Western Civilization were, in fact, pagans.
•If women are forced to get ultrasound before abortion, maybe men should face the same experience when they get their penis checked out.
•And to wrap up, some thoughts interesting for their lack of thoughts: Jonah Goldberg explains that when Obama praises the military, he’s trying to subvert American freedom! (for bonus idiocy, Goldberg attempts a witty putdown of vegetarianism).
And some Tennessee tea party memberswant history teachers to stop mentioning that our Founding Fathers owned slaves and that our country stole Indian land. Despite one Tea Partier’s argument that the Founders were radical for their time—certainly true—the fact remains that the abolitionist movement existed in 1776, and most of them were not riding that train. So I don’t think criticizing Jefferson and Washington on slavery is us judging them retroactively by modern-day standards.


Filed under Politics, Writing

3 responses to “Some interesting thoughts (some for writers, some not)

  1. Pingback: Zeitgeist again: War for the Oaks | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Links for readers and writers | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Reboots, remakes and retro (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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