“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)
Content warning: This post contains graphic language, slurs and triggering content
This article is heartbreaking. And true.
There is a reason I throttled back on doing a lot of creative gaming content a few years ago. And why I still avoid taking some jobs in the gaming world when they’re offered to me. And why, when we have a female host on any of our Geek and Sundry gaming shows, we have to monitor the comments on YouTube extra, to remove the many comments that are offensive and pollute our community’s spirit of equality. Because I hate that shit.
There is an endemic acceptance in the gamer world that “well, it comes with the territory” when a woman receives threats and harassment and the hateful anonymous internet dialogue is focused on her body and whether they would “do” her or not. I don’t know why this became okay. It’s a vocal minority that has been given way too much power over the industry dialogue, and I am so happy to see more and more articles like this shining the light on what reasonable gamer men and women have been conned into accepting as a given.
NOTHING is a given in this world. And frankly, it taints the art form we so love and keeps it back from becoming more respected and more diverse to not at least TRY to fight it. Gaming deserves more than complacency in this area.
Even posting this link will cause me to receive hateful Tumblr PMs. I can always tell when something I write gets linked on certain places on the internet (like 4 Chan or a few other forums of troll-hood), because I’ll immediately get dozens of hate mails along the veins of what is posted in this article.
Well, I’m a lucky one to be prominent enough to have 10 supporters for every hater. I mostly feel sorry for girls and women who aren’t in my position, who may just give up on gaming when they’re too beaten down to fight anymore.
We have to change that. For the good of what we love doing, gamers! Okay, back to work :)
Do you think other recappers of pll get as many people saying they should write exactly what ~they want to read and ~their specific interpretation of events/ships/etc -- or is that specific to you?
I think it’s specific to all writers who write for minority groups. Representation for LGBTQ peoples is better than ever, but it’s still sparse, so it matters a lot what sites like AfterEllen say. I don’t blame people for wanting to read what they want to read. Luckily I’ve been doing this long enough that people hollering at me about that doesn’t bother too much anymore. I work really hard to be an awesome ambassador for the lesbian/bi community — with my brainparts and my heatrparts and my soulparts — and I’m content in that knowledge. :)
Hi Heather. Just wanted to say I love your recaps, regardless of ships. Reading your PLL-recaps, and any other, is just great. I hope AfterEllen holds on to you for a looong time. Also, do you think there are any real chances Alison is honest (for once) about her feelings for Emily. My baby-dyke-heart almost wishes for it even though I'm a Paily-shipper at heart.
Thanks so much!
If Alison really is honest, it’ll be a love story for the ages. It’s almost like Paige healed herself and Emily is the only person who can heal Ali, right? At this point, that’s what I’m seeing, but only if Alison is for real. (And I have a hard time believing she is, just based on pretty much every flashback we have ever seen of her.)
I’m not writing off Emison. What I’m saying is: What I know right at this moment in time makes me not want them together right now at this moment in time. We’re in the middle of maybe the most bizarre (and bizarrely complicated!) story on earth. I will declare my endgame allegiance only after Tippi has sung her final funeral lament. :)
Which Hogwarts Houses would you sort the characters of Pretty Little Liars into? Personally I see the four main Liars as being Aria in Ravenclaw, Spencer in Slytherin, Hanna in Gryffindor, and Emily in Hufflepuff. Would you agree? And what about the other characters of Rosewood?
Yep, that’s how I see it too!
Mona, Jenna, and Melissa all seem Slytherin to me too, which makes me want to be evil a little bit, but I feel dirty just saying that, is how much of a Hufflepuff I am. And I think Paige is kind of a Slytherin too. It’s tricky. The line between Gryffindor and Slytherin is practically imperceptible if you even just squint.
Reading your amazing replies to the PLL fans just reminds me why you're my favorite recap journalist and Hufflepuff. I may not tweet you like I used whenever I read your recaps but I still love you and pretty much everything you say from a safe distance.... More precisely from the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Anyhow, please keep going because I'm loving to read the replies! (Also that Mona was is totally Hanna, like cannon of the cannon of the cannon)
I agree with the other anon. I adore your writing but the bias with Paige/Paily is so hard to stomach that I have to skip that part of the recaps b/c it feels like you are writing about fan fiction Paige and Paily, not canon Paige. I want interesting and engaging stories about queer girls and right now, Alison and Emily have angst and mystery. Ali may be a psychopath but it's interesting to watch. I'm willing to let the story play out before writing her off so quickly. lots more PLL to go.
Totally fair. But I mean, that’s the thing about recapping: You have to respond to what you just saw added to the things you’ve been watching for five seasons. What we’ve seen from Ali for five seasons plus what I see now makes me not trust her. If the story plays out differently, I’m not falling on some kind of Paige-shaped sword (wanky!). I’m reacting to what I see now. You can’t withhold judgment on a thing and write interesting recaps every week. It’s impossible.
Do you watch Rookie Blue? And if so, what's your opinion on Gail/Holly?
I do not, sadly. It’s on my list and if I had a Time-Turner I would absolutely be all over it. One day maybe! (Or maybe not! Maybe we’ve finally reached the age where no one person — except PunkyStarshine — can watch all the lesbian TV!)
Do you think it would make sense if it was revealed that Mona was/is in love (and/or just obsessed) with Alison? That is why she want her gone so much - because Alison bullied her so much while Mona was so in love with her? We've seen Mona wanting to be their friend (Byron cheating flashback); Mona kissing Ali's forehead and taking her advice on a makeover to heart; making Hanna into a "safe" version of Ali. She also had plastered the motel room with pics of Ali before Ali ran away.
I can’t decide if it’s really about Ali or really about Hanna, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of them (and I’m pretty sure it’s Hanna). #PoorMona. Loving straight girls will make you do the most adrenalized hyperreal things.