“I was really excited to see people who looked like me up on the stage. And I hope that’s what I do for some 14-year-old girl in the audience tonight and tomorrow and the next day after that.
You know, it’s a funny thing and it’s a sensitive thing, but I do think history has shown that the people who make change in the world are artists. We are the people who challenge society. It’s not our job but it’s part of our job to challenge our audiences to see the world through our eyes… and by challenging them to think outside the box and not to be so bound by the rules of how they think things were, there’s an opportunity to find lots of beautiful nuances in our performances. And I say that as an African-American actress who would like to play a variety of roles. I don’t want to be stuck only playing roles that are written for African American performers. I want to play Evita. I want to grow and change, and so obviously I am slightly self interested in the continuing of having non-traditional castings happen all over the world in theatre. I think that we’re on our way.”—Nikki M. James, Hear the People Sing: African-American Les Misérables Stars Break Down Broadway Barriers (via ohheygrace)
“The way she sees it, there’s a gender element to such scrutiny. “I really resent the idea that if a woman writes about her feelings, she has too many feelings,” she says. “And I really resent the ‘Be careful, buddy, she’s going to write a song about you’ angle, because it trivialises what I do. It makes it seem like creating art is something you do as a cheap weapon rather than an artistic process. They can say whatever they want about my personal life because I know what my personal life is, and it involves a lot of TV and cats and girlfriends. But I don’t like it when they start to make cheap shots at my songwriting. Because there’s no joke to be made there.””—Taylor Swift (x)
“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realise that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”—Taylor Swift (x)
“Humor is an antidote to — or at least an analgesic for — a condition we’re all suffering from. I would call this condition clarity, not depression; humor and depression are two different, but not mutually exclusive, responses to it. I know we’re told to regard depression as a disease, its victims no different from people who succumb to cancer or diabetes. But because it’s a disease whose symptoms take the shape of ideas, it can get hard to parse out pathology from worldview. The Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert once told me that “there are people who have no delusions; they’re called clinically depressed.” Depression’s insights aren’t necessarily invalid; they’re just not helpful. Depression uses clarity as an instrument of torture; humor uses it as a setup. Comedy tells us, “But wait — that’s not the good part.” Depression condemns the world, and us, as hateful; laughter is a way of forgiving it, and ourselves, for being so.”—Tim Kreider on the death of Robin Williams (via austinkleon)
Everything I know about basketball, I learned from my friend Craig. We grew up on the same street, a couple of houses down from each other. He didn’t treat me like a fragile little flower because I was a girl. He boxed me out, hard. He set screens like a wall. I was on the receiving end of his elbows, knees, and noggin — just like he was on the receiving end of mine. Foul-calling was for pussies unless you were bleeding, and me and Craig were not pussies. We played basketball from the time the sun came up until the the time the sun went down, all day, every day, except when we were at our different schools or different churches.
Other boys in our neighborhood always tagged along; we had enough players for three-on-three almost always.
But Craig and I were different than those guys.
For one thing, no one — no one on this earth — loved basketball as much as we did.
And for another thing, I was the only girl and he was the only black kid.
We were inseparable.
Craig taught me an ankle-breaking crossover, an un-guardable spin move, a fade-away jumper, a pump-fake reverse layup, a behind-the-back bounce pass, and an eyes-closed free-throw. At basketball summer camp, it was teenage girls and a thousand free throws and talk about bras and blow jobs. Craig spared me all that nonsense and showed me how to throw my own alley-oop off the backboard.
My dad had to replace I-don’t-know-how-many rims on our driveway goal because by the time Craig was 15, he was throwing down monster dunks. Any other boy, and my dad would have been livid. But Craig popped two different neighborhood dudes in the mouth the summer my sister stopped looking like a little girl; my dad adored him.
Some summer nights when we wanted to keep playing after the sun went down, we’d walk up the road to the People’s Baptist Church and shoot around in their parking lot in the orange glow of the street lights. It was always a hundred degrees and so humid you needed gills to breathe. The tree frogs were our audience, and Craig could stun even them into silence. He was dribbling; he was dancing.
On the way home one night, when we were 11, a cop pulled us over and asked where Craig was “taking me.” I said he wasn’t “taking me” anywhere. We’d been playing ball and now we were both going home to eat dinner and then we were coming back to play more ball. Craig put his hand on my forearm to shut me up, but jerked away like my skin had burned him. The cop never even looked at me, except when Craig reached for me. He never even spoke to me. “Watch yourself, boy” is what he said. “I know I’ll be watching you.”
It was a long time before Craig went back to the People’s Baptist Church parking lot with me, and we never went again without one of the (white) boys tagging along.
"I hate bringing them with us," I told him every single time. "They slow us down. They talk too much. I can’t believe Kyle thinks he balls hard enough to wear Jordans."
He said, “It’s safer this way.”
I said, “I’m not scared.”
He said, “You don’t have to be.”
When we were teenagers we used to sometimes go see dollar movies together on nights when we didn’t have basketball games or practice. He was a Bobcat. I was a Spartan. He said being named All-Area had made me soft.
People stared and pointed at us at the movies, and on more than one occasion, I reached down and clutched Craig’s hand because it felt defiant and loyal and I loved him. Not boyfriend-style. I was a clueless, late-blossoming lesbian who could only ever stomach dating the most feminine boys I could find. Craig was all man. He never pulled his hand away from mine, but one night some kids from his high school were waiting at his truck when we got out of the movies. They said the same thing as that cop that night at that church, years earlier. They said they were watching him and he’d better watch himself too.
He asked me to stop holding his hand.
"I don’t care what people think," I said.
He said, “But you do care about me not getting hurt.”
The truth is, I didn’t get it. I was young and sheltered and Hermione-frees-the-House-Elves naive about the way the world actually worked. But Craig didn’t have that luxury. As an 11-year-old child, he already knew that if he touched me, even in an attempt to get me to act more respectful to a police officer, he was putting himself in danger.
I understood it better when I grew up. When I was in college, I watched the black inner city kids I worked with get harassed by cops right up until the point that a white camp counselor walked over to see what was going on. I studied and studied and wrote multiple theses on the Rwandan genocide (something that never, ever would have happened if the victims had not been black). I moved to Jamaica to do charity work and experienced, repeatedly, the phenomenon that young black patients would wait all day to see a doctor, but young white patients were treated immediately (because so many of the hospitals were staffed with white missionary doctors). A five-year-old orphan in a makeshift wheelchair looked me right in an orphanage in Montego Bay and said, “If I were white, an American would have already taken me home.”
Watching what is happening in Ferguson makes me physically sick, every night. Because of the perpetual devaluation of black lives in this whole world. Because just under the surface of politeness, the disgusting, irrational, inexcusable racism that has permeated American society since its inception has only been fueled and stoked by the hate-mongering propaganda Conservatives and Christians have been raining down since Barack Obama first announced his intention to run for president. Because it could happen in any city in this country. Because it could have happened to Craig that night in that church parking lot when all we did was play H-O-R-S-E and drink fruit punch Kool-Aid from the thermoses my mom had packed for us.
I’m wiser than I was back then. I have the physical and emotional scars of a dozen lifetimes. I’ve traveled and traveled and traveled the world. But Ferguson makes me feel as helpless as I did when I was just a kid. I guess the only real difference is I’m old enough now not to be afraid to call a foul. What is happening in Ferguson, what continues to happen to black people — especially young black men — in this country, is a foul. A wicked, indefensible foul.
I always thought it was just basketball. But Craig knew all along it was the Hunger Games.
So, fine. Let those of us who know the truth stand together, and rise up, and be the Mockingjay.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”—St Augustine (via itsquoted)
“Even if someone makes something terrible—like the music the Insane Clown Posse makes—at least they’re doing something that speaks to them. And they kept going even though people told them it was terrible. And they found their audience, and now they built a community around their work. Look, you couldn’t pay me to listen to their music, but I still feel like I have more in common with the Insane Clown Posse than I do with someone who just sits on the sidelines and shits on other people’s work and who never puts themselves on the line.”—Tom Scharpling in Mike Sacks’s Poking a Dead Frog (via lauraolin)
“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look — I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. An so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete — the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball — seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”—
From “Agincourt and After” (1975) by Roger Angell.
He writes about baseball, specifically Carlton Fisk’s curving, twisting, home run in Game 6 of the World Series, but he could be speaking of all fans in every corner of fandom.
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”—John Muir (via thecalminside)
The district school board voted 6-1 Thursday night to remove the entire reading list
If you’ve been following the story of a Delaware school board’s decision to remove The Miseducation of Cameron Post from its high school summer reading list, apparently the final decision is in — the entire reading list has now been removed.
That means not only has Cameron Post been removed, other books including Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, John Lewis’s March, and even John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars will no longer be recommended as summer reads for incoming freshman at Cape Henlopen High School. A sad end to a really wonderful and diverse reading list.
Hey there captain! I dunno if you already wrote your recap on PLL last night but I'm not sure if you'll be able to beat this one so thought I'd share :P hashtagpll./tumblr./com/post/92599158547/pll-5x07-episode-recap !
So, good. I guffawed so many guffaws. “DID YOU JUST CALL ME TRAVIS?” Clickity link.
One of the best things about Pretty Little Liars is how it has spawned the greatest online fandoms known to man. Here are some of the best recaps the internet has to offer. Feel free to pass along other recs. I’ll do another post in the next few weeks.
9. Spencer (last week: 11) Even I cannot be blinded by favoritism here: Spencer’s outfits are a joke. She swapped last week’s overall shorts for an overall dress. The overall dress is, beige, maybe? Some sort of sad, sandy-looking dirt-tan? Anyway, she continues to wear that dopey hat — hats like that are for hangovers; they don’t go with overall dresses in blah-beige because nothing goes with overall dresses in blah-beige — even when she is alone in her bedroom and obviously would have tossed it on the floor.
THIS WEEK’S LVP Alison, for not paying attention in Kung Fu Jake’s mailorder self-defense class. JK! Kung Fu Jake is recovering from the major foot injury A gave him for absolutely no reason, so obviously isn’t giving self-defense classes of any kind. Which Ali wouldn’t know, since, despite being on the run for her life for two years, before which time she got her pilot’s license in order to better evade A, she still apparently never once even RESEARCHED a self-defense class.
Alison snaps at Hanna about her stupid love triangle between Travis and Caleb, and Hanna goes all dark about the eyes the way she does when she’s about to shove a huge amount of money into a pasta box or bash someone over the head with a rowboat paddle. Hanna decides to help Alison get out of town and do it without any of the other girls finding out. She shoves her whole closet into Alison’s bag and grabs her emergency savings from a box of farfalle to hand over to Ali. You get the distinct impression she would strap Alison to her back and run her out of town if there were no other option.
Later on, when the troops are rounded up, bombs are dropped! Lucas and Melissa are in Mona’s army! Eddie left Bethany’s drawing because he wants the girls to know to look into stuff at Radley! A bullies Ali into staying in Rosewood! Hello, information overload!
Meanwhile, Aria is backsliding into her earliest stages of teen romance with her ex-boyfriend and English teacher Ezra Fitz, which is as understandable as it is understated this time around, and perseverating on the hilariously elaborate videotaped funeral (multiple angles!) of the girl she kind of killed. Only Mona, Ezra and the Liars know about Shana’s death, which admittedly connects Aria’s storyline to the overall plot more closely than ever: The Liars have to go along with Alison’s gonzo obfuscations, because Aria is now the one in danger of arrest. Still, between the hat and the strange hallucinations Aria continues to have, it’s all very Aria.
“Have you ever seen a pair of trees grow together? There are places where you can see that they are separate, distinct plants, but their trunks and branches wind around each other and their roots are so tangled up you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. Neither started out needing the other; they were growing just fine on their own. But they’ve knit themselves together, and changed their shapes so that you can’t take one away without losing a piece of the other. Lena wants to cling to this baby, this tiny sapling she’s been growing for twenty weeks. But Stef, as much as she loves the promise of little Frankie, she can only see the ripping, the tearing, and the pain of losing the woman around whom she has grown her entire life.”—
The most beautiful description of Stef and Lena, and love in general, I’ve ever read. From Lucy Hallowell’s AfterEllen recap of 2x06 [Mother] (via lifesizehysteria)