Otterday! And Open Thread

Odie the five month old North American River Otter was rescued from his dead mother and grew up at the Texas State Aquarium.


Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a great book? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies

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121 replies

  1. Just too cute!!
    Locked in the office attempting an essay. Which at this point is essentially some kind of book report on the textbook! Gaargh!

  2. I’m in at uni, working on my thesis (mostly), and bemoaning the way that J. K. Rowling portrays married women in the later Harry Potter books (even though that’s not what I’m discussing in my thesis).

  3. Beppie: I was just recently reading this article: “Molly Weasley has 99 problems”: which I rather liked. Which characters are driving you round the bend?

  4. That’s an interesting post about Molly Weasley. I swing back and forth between sharing that author’s opinion, and being annoyed that we ONLY see Molly Weasley becoming powerful in the context of protecting her family– I have no objection to that scene in and of itself, but it would have been nice to see her wield power outside the context of her family in one instance.
    At the moment though, it’s the Remus/Tonks marriage in Deathly Hallows that is really bothering me, as the result of a conversation I was having elsewhere. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s an unhappy marriage, but at the same time, I think that Rowling wants her readers to believe that it’s happy. Harry’s smackdown of Remus early in the novel is chilling on a couple of levels. Firstly, it’s all about Remus abandoning his “child”– that is, it’s about the embryo currently in Tonks’s womb, and it completely effaces Tonks herself as a subject. And then secondly, the whole scene reads to me like Harry refusing to let Remus out of the closet, forcing him to perform compulsory heterosexuality, in spite of the fact that he’s clearly deeply uncomfortable with it. So you also have Remus effaced as a (potentially) queer subject, and Tonks is reduced even further to simply an accessory that allows Remus to perform heterosexuality.
    Throughout the novel, we get indications that Remus is happy once he returns to Tonks, but this seems almost entirely down to the fact that she bears a child for him– he visits Bill and Fleur (who are hiding Harry and co.) within an hour or so of Teddy being born, gets drunk with them in celebration, while presumably leaving Tonks (and her mother, I guess) to take care of the baby.
    Then, as the Battle for Hogwarts is starting towards the end of the novel, Tonks turns up late, and strongly implies that Remus has ordered her to stay at home with the kid, but she’s turned up anyway. Now, this is kind of cool, insofar as she’s not just sitting there obeying him, but her primary objective seems to be to find Remus, rather than to join in the battle in and of itself. It has an air of “I can’t bear to be separated from him” rather than “I want to join in the battle”, while in contrast, Remus’s attitude to her was pretty dismissive– which gives me the strong impression of a very unequal relationship, in which Tonks is the only one with any true emotional investment.
    And the really problematic thing is that this is all presented as pretty normal– I think that Rowling wants her readers to think that Tonks and Remus had a basically happy marriage that was cut tragically short (mirroring James and Lily). There’s nothing that asks readers to interrogate the inequalities in their relationship, and the way that it effaces Tonks’s subjectivity. We’re all supposed to believe, along with Harry, that the two of them should be together.
    The other minor rant is that Fleur Delacour, when she puts in an appearance after the trio escape from the Malfoys, does nothing but run around with skele-grow, while Bill stomps around the place demanding answers and giving Harry cautious, paternalistic warnings. And to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with Fleur treating wounds or anything like that, but she’s completely reduced to an accessory, and it’s Bill who is used to drive the narrative forward.

  5. I am lamenting the announcement that Petro Georgiou is retiring from politics. I lean so far to the left I am almost horizontal, but I thought Petro was a fine voice of compassion and reason for the Liberal Party.

  6. Seems I’m not the only one procrastinating from a thesis on the hoyden!
    Those are really interesting points, and I thoroughly agree. I remember a bit of anger in the fan community at the time at the perception JK had deliberately drawn Remus and Tonks together to invalidate any potential romance he’d shared with Sirius. Not very likely, but it underscores the sense it wasn’t a very naturally occuring relationship in the first place.
    One of the major problems I had with the HP series (apart from books 5, 6 and 7!) was the way Hermione’s activism for the house elves was treated. It always seemed as a point of humour (calling her organisation SPEW) and something that the boys in particular would laugh off and find an irritating interruption to their eating of pies and discussing of sports. It seems Hermione pursued it in the epilogue, but it never seemed validated as something very important by the other characters or by JK which upset me.

  7. Not disagreeing overall, but I believe Sirius had a go at Ron and Harry for being dismissive in that scene where they sneak out to Hogsmeade to see him while he’s holed up in a cave…

  8. Cutest otter, zomg.
    Not much is happening here. I’ve had a running migraine for days and it’s ridiculously cold out, so my thought processes are low…otherwise I would have something to say about JKR and women.

  9. Lil, there are a few of us around, I think. 🙂 What’s your thesis on? (Mine, if it wasn’t already clear, is on YA fantasy literature– though not specifically on gender roles).
    I wouldn’t actually be surprised if Rowling had wanted to invalidate Remus/Sirius– the whole Remus/Tonks thing does feel so forced, it definitely doesn’t spring naturally out of the text. But then again, Harry/Ginny feels pretty forced too, so maybe it’s just that Rowling can’t write convincing romances.
    And I completely agree with the way that Hermione’s activism is treated– the texts encourage a very condescending attitude towards it (she means well, the dear, but doesn’t she know that they want to be slaves?) I’ve actually heard people argue that Hermione is closed minded, because she doesn’t accept the idea of a “natural” slave race. I actually find it really disturbing that Harry’s last thought in the final chapter (not counting the Epilogue) is that he wants Kreacher to make him a sandwich (even though Kreacher, like Harry, has been fighting all night– indeed, while Harry was pissing about with the Pensieve, Kreacher was organising a whole frickin’ House Elf army to defend Hogwarts!)

  10. I believe Sirius had a go at Ron and Harry for being dismissive in that scene where they sneak out to Hogsmeade to see him while he’s holed up in a cave…
    This is true, he did have a go at them then, but even the way he expressed that was oozing with privilege. I don’t have the book with me right at this moment, but I believe it was something along the lines of “if you want the measure of a man, look at the way he treats his inferiors, not his equals”– implying, of course, that House Elves are, in fact, inferior. And then, of course, Sirius spends the whole of Book 5 treating Kreacher like crap, so what does that say about him?

  11. Personally, I read Sirius’ behavior towards Kreacher as symptomatic of his loathing for his family life, but that he made Kreacher a convenient scapegoat because of Kreacher’s slave status.

  12. 🙂 I’m finishing up an honours year in anthropology… mine’s on militarism and gender, primarily examining how masculinity and warfare are understood. It’s doing my head in as I’ve got a major procrastination problem- if it wasn’t for that I’d be rather enjoying myself!
    And ooo… natural slave race! That makes me shiver… and boy, does that attitude of Harry’s reinforce everything Hermione tries to undo. There’s so much that’s problematic in those books that I could be here forever trying to pick it all apart. I can’t decide that I have a habit of doing that because I really do like the source material or if my love is of deconstructing it. 😉

  13. Bene, I think that’s exactly right– it’s a perfect example of privilege in action. Sirius takes it out on the person least able to defend himself, and implicitly uses his family life as an excuse to exempt himself from his own standards regarding the treatment of House Elves. It’s kind of like people who argued that sexist attacks on Sarah Palin were justified because her politics are abhorrent.

  14. Yes, even as I wrote it, I remembered those words about ‘inferiors’. Gaargh. Such fun books, and so many problems! 😦 But I am procrastinating. Onwards in my search to show that tribunals make an excellent supplement to courts in administrative review (WOOOH! THRIIILLLLL-ING!). I’m afraid I just deeply do not GIVE a shit this Saturday with a bad headache and missing my time to hang with people!

  15. I’m headachey today too, FP, and had to do a lot of writing, dammit. It’s been a strange day outside, with showers and gusting winds, but after the rain the Sydney sky is the most beautiful blue with bright sun – I might go for a walk shortly.
    There’s a great Astronomy Picture of the Day today, a panoramic shot of the moon rising in the east while the sun sets in the west, taken from a hill overlooking Lisbon. Check it out, and don’t forget to scroll right to get the sunset.

  16. I was really weirded out by the whole SPEW thing. I totally thought that Rowling was setting it up for an interrogation of the way that divisions between the races work: like, not just between House Elves and wizards, but between wizards and muggles! Instead, we wind up with a kind of protective superiority being expressed towards muggles by the end, and a hiding of wizardry. I am not at all sure about that. And what was with the House Elves at the end? We get very clear indications all the way through the series that they are incredibly powerful, in a magical sense, possibly even more powerful than the wizards (that’s part of what’s so creepy about them being slaves, to me)and then they run out of the kitchens with kitchen knives?! WTF?! I was so sure that Hermione’s activism and the House Elves were going to be demonstrated to be key to the possibility of defeating Voldemort. And potentially for some interrogation of the fact that what made Voldemort bad (the blood purity thing in particular seemed to be an attempt at some interrogation of racism) is replicated by wizards, particularly the fact that the whole wizarding world functions on the back of a slave race. Instead, it winds up being some weird kind of false consciousness that lets the House Elves fight in the end. Blah. That’s a bit incoherent, but I’m too tired to tidy it.

  17. I just lost the plot while reading this Shakesville post about an incongruous quote from a Catholic representative in an article about genetic science:

    What is that quote even doing in a science article? You never read a story about a church bake sale being interrupted with an interview from some Nietzschean saying “God is dead, cookies are pointless and futile.”

  18. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s an unhappy marriage, but at the same time, I think that Rowling wants her readers to believe that it’s happy.
    Well, then she probably should have included a sentence like “Remus and Tonks were very happy together, and enjoyed heterosexuality immensely” instead of making them both obviously repressed queers.
    Tangentially, I though the zombie lake scene was a great metaphor for Dumbledore’s PTSD. A still lake deeply hidden behind an almost impenetrable wall. The requirement that it must be visited alone. The fact it can only be entered by making oneself vulnerable. Countless vindictive corpses just waiting to be resurrected by a trigger. And the worst thing Voldemort can think of as a method of torture is having to repeatedly relive painful memories. Having to keep a inner place cold and still unless all hell breaks loose is a neat descriptor of the illness, if ever I’ve heard one.

  19. cookies are pointless and futile.
    That’s not true, you would never put those two flavours together. It would make the biscuit taste all bitter. The more traditional combinations are pointless and butterscotch, or futile, pistachio and white chocolate.

  20. Well, then she probably should have included a sentence like “Remus and Tonks were very happy together, and enjoyed heterosexuality immensely” instead of making them both obviously repressed queers.
    Well, there is one point where Remus goes on about how right and good Harry’s instincts are, in a way that is obviously supposed to refer to him and Tonks– I think that was supposed to serve this function (of course, Tonks doesn’t get any say in it, but this is Patriarchy, so I think the audience is meant to understand that he is allowed to speak for both of them).

  21. The Amazing Kim, do you have a blog? If not, why not? You are very amusing and I would definately read…esp your Rowling take downs.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..NO!!

  22. I am so loving this discussion, and in the spirit of the share-your-research theme that seems to be developing, I am gearing myself up to continue filling out a table of the conditions of betrothal in Norse sagas, namely who hooks up, who gets them to hook up, whether the woman consents, and how they end up dying horribly. If no pattern develops I may have to stab myself and try to content my supervisor with a mere literature review (ahahahahaha no).
    Remus/Tonks annoyed the hell out of me, but mainly because they died offscreen and it felt so contrived – “Look, reader, a walk-by of corpses, oh noes, not Named Characters, FEEL SAD NOW!!! WITNESS THE HORRORS OF WAR!!!”

  23. I think your otter needs a lolcap. Something like “Ah guys, anyone seen my fish, I left it right here. I’m lookin at you Simms.”

  24. I’ve just spent nearly three hours helping out backstage at my daughter’s dance concert. I was in the audience for the matinee performance but I have this chronic volunteering problem so for the duration of the evening performance I was fixing hair, escorting small children to the toilet and repeatedly herding escapees from the dressing rooms back to where they belong.
    mimbles’s last blog post..Happy (belated) 98th birthday Grandma

  25. The Amazing Kim, do you have a blog? If not, why not?
    Oh, I’m blushing (or it could be Brisbane’s recent relocation to the solar surface. I don’t know; I’m melting.)
    Well, it’s a bit circular. I have a blog so I can procrastinate from uni. I have uni so I can procrastinate from work, and I work so I can procrastinate doing the laundry. Everything gets done eventually… except the blog. Maybe next year I’ll get around to procrastinating from “life” or even “dating”.

  26. You know, I have absolutely nothing to add to the Harry Potter discussion.
    tigtog, I loved today’s weather. I lay around reading and looking out of windows. Fantastic day.
    I was reading Nabokov’s Mary, which a friend gave me for my birthday. Chapter 3 was gorgeous, but the novel as a whole was not exactly feminist-friendly. It made me even more reluctant to pick up Lolita any time in the near future… I’m so glad to have the time to actually finish a book now that exams are over. And this week I’ve also plunged into being an active participant in the feminist blogosphere, which is very exciting! In other news, tonight I’m packing for a holiday and tomorrow I’m going to a concert with my family. So I’m having a great weekend. 🙂
    Chally’s last blog post..My reading list for the next little while

  27. In one or two weeks I will be in book reading/movie watching heaven too!!

  28. I’ve never read any HP, just seen the movies (didn’t even see the last one) and I’m still incensed that Ron and Hermione ended up together. So I amuse myself by writing Harry Dresden/Hermione Granger while at work.
    Just finished Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland. My mind’s still swimming with how achieving the ideals in there would be possible. That, and I’m also procrastinating, but from NaNoWriMo, by watching She-ra, Princess of Power.

  29. I may be the only person in creation who HAS NOT read Harry Potter. Instead, I’ll contribute this news story that English otters are in training for the olympics.

  30. Sorry TT, just noticed you’ve already linked it. Doh!

  31. wow I’m glad that my post started such awesome conversation!
    In relation to Hermione and SPEW I think the major victory was supposed to be when they start to treat Kreacher like an equal and he helps them in discovering the locket. In order for them to really begin the quest they needed to treat him with respect and like and equal. I do agree that the final line is pretty disquieting though, in relation to him having a sandwich made. However, Harry is not always one for self-reflection. He acts on instinct and most of his responses are tied to how he feels. Hence, his unwillingness to take Lupin’s side with the issue of Tonks, or to even understand that the only time he felt normal and real was with Harry’s father, Sirius and Peter. Lupin was always a doomed character, however, I didn’t feel there was a real need for Tonk’s to die, except for the fact that I felt Rowling wanted another orphan, just like she always intended for Harry to marry a redhead (Ginny).

  32. I’ve had a running migraine for days and it’s ridiculously cold out, so my thought processes are low
    Bene, me too. WTF?
    And yay Herland.
    A present for Tigs, Lauredhel, and the rest of the otter-lovin’ Hoydens on the cover of National Wildlife this month. Made me laugh out loud.

  33. This had been one of the longest weeks in forever as both my little boys are sick. The little one has been cussing us all out at every opportunity. His father is getting the brunt of his animosity. While it is terrible of me to laugh there is something about being told off by a three year old who still had trouble with whole sentences that cracks me up. This of course just drives him right over the edge again. Heaven help us all when this child speaks properly.
    Renee’s last blog post..The Role Of The Hymen In French Marriage

  34. I’d just like to mention one of the minor moments this week that you all didn’t see because it played out in moderated comments – a morphing twerp put on a sockpuppet and bounced over here from LP to leave comments about how our blog software must be faulty because hir comments were held up in moderation.
    Nope, that’s not a bug, that’s a feature – if I see a twerp cluttering up the comments at LP I often add their details to the permanent moderation list here pre-emptively: the LP-collective is committed to publishing virtually any comment short of actual abuse or libel, but our standards here are tighter, because we take a stand for our readers and ourselves and decline to publish comments whose effect is disruptive.
    I doubt sie is reading this because nobody’s mentioned hir particular hobby-horse on this thread, but if you are, your details now go straight to the spam-bucket: your comments are a waste of pixels over at LP, and they’re a waste of pixels here, too.

  35. I would just like to quickly plug a blog on Australia in the 1980s that a friend of mine is doing in conjunction with research for a possible exhibition on that topic at the Powerhouse Museum.

    The 80s is of course is a topic that never fails to excite the nostalgia glands of bloggers any time it is raised so you might have something to say!

  36. Oh, and no one’s mentioned the Ernie Awards yet? A few nice quotes here.

  37. The Ernies were mentioned briefly in comments to the original thread about Mt Isa mayor John Molony, but yes, we haven’t done anything else.

  38. I forgot, because I told Lauredhel a few days ago, but I’m going to be a panelist for WordCamp Australia next weekend, discussing New Media. Should be interesting, hoping for fun, too.

  39. Craaaaap, so much to catch up on.
    mimbles, Renee: you are a hero.
    Chally: Lolita is…intensely problematic, but with that, it’s made sort of obvious that the problematic factor is the point. I don’t know how I’d read it now, a few years on.
    Theriomorph: mine has brought vertigo issues for the first time in years, which is not pleasing me at all. If I weren’t so worried about paying for it, I’d see if I could get an MRI.

  40. …bounced over here from LP to leave comments about how our blog software must be faulty because hir comments were held up in moderation.

    … After sie asked whether it was “feminine incompetence”.

  41. …and then complained that we weren’t nearly radfem enough for hir!
    Inconsistency salad.

  42. …and that sie adores Germaine, but our comments policy has too many words for hir to read.
    Inconsistency salad dressing, with sprinkles.

  43. Oh yes, don’t forget that the comments policy has too many words, but that we disagree with Germaine in this instance only because we’re not well versed in the Classics of Literature as hir. (I felt that needed Excess Capitalisation). So inconsistency salad dressing with sprinkles and a side of Inconsistency Fries?
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..Nothing is neutral…

  44. I’m hungry.
    Me too! I want to go home and make some chips now!

  45. I am now revelling in a bowlful of melons.

  46. I just ate melon too. Now Mr H is making me Port Wine jelly.

  47. Now Mr H is making me Port Wine jelly.

    *Hornblower flashback*
    ooh, thanks for that.

  48. ASCII art of the week: a dancing chicken
    ^(^v^)> <(^v^)^ v(^v^)^ ^(^v^)^
    I plan to love it and hug it and call it George and post it an awful lot.
    Found in the comments over on the marathon Welcome Back Liss thread at Shakesville, which is absorbing my Sunday (missed it during the week).

  49. Bene, so sorry – that sucks. Any chance at all of insurance covering an MRI (she asks cautiously, knowing too well what it’s like to not have insurance for extended periods of time)? Or a good neurologist appointment, anyway? Migraine’s evil enough without vertigo. You’ll be consigned to flames of holding very still all the time, or puking. : ( Horrible, and scary. I hope you feel better.
    Here is an Inconsistency Salad With Sprinkles.
    * * *

  50. Theriomorph: I had an MRI about six and a half years ago (after about three years of migraines), which was clear. I’m honestly not sure what my insurance covers in a case like this where it’s not an emergency (read: Dr. Greg House hasn’t called them up and threatened them). I should look at my policy but I can’t really be bothered to dig through it because it makes me depressed that I’m paying through the nose and yet certain things get shafted. Stupid reason, I know.
    That, and my upbringing is sort of the ‘you’re not really sick’ kind, so I tend to put off going to doctors. Mr. Bene will change this, but we’re not quite to the married stage yet…

  51. Oh, Herland! Another book looking dejected on my shelf.
    I hope everyone’s problems find some measure of relief soon. 🙂
    Sorry to switch the subject back, but Beppie, seeing as this is your area of expertise, would you happen to have any favourite YA fantasy to recommend? I’ve just promised to edit someone’s work and I think I need a refresher.

  52. Chally, the YA fantasy that I’d recommend to everyone is Philip Reeve’s Hungry Cities Chronicles– incredibly clever, some very cool and strong female protagonists, and a male protagonist who doesn’t exactly conform to the norms of hegemonic masculinity. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is also well worth a read– a wonderful, strong, female protagonist, and the whole narrative is basically about overturning the woman-hating paradigm promoted by patriarchal religion. And if you want both strong female protagonists and a female author, you can’t go past the work of Tamora Pierce (although that’s not quite as contemporary as Reeve and Pullman). I also really love Ursula Le Guin’s fantasy, which, since the 1990s has been very feminist (although the early Earthsea trilogy written in the 60s and 70s was very patriarchal and misogynist, in spite of the fact that she was writing adult books like The Left Hand of Darkness at the same time).

  53. Thanks so much, Beppie. I’ll be sure to check out Reeve and I haven’t had a look at Pierce in years. Loved HDM. Le Guin is my favourite author, but I know her more for her SF. The Left Hand of Darkness is so so good, except, I’m afraid, the male pronouns to describe the Gethenians killed it for me a little. But ‘the king was pregnant’ is pure win. I guess her struggle to write as a feminist moved her fiction in interesting ways. My favourites of hers are Four Ways to Forgiveness, “Another Story” and “The Rock that Changed Things”. I shall have to explore her fantasy side!

  54. Heh. Funny you should mention my gal Tamora, Beppie; I’m re-reading them as we speak. I loved the Alanna books six ways to Sunday when I was younger, and re-reading bits of them has been great fun. Pullman rocks several worlds all at once. I love them, and the audiobook version is also great, if anyone’s looking for ipodable stuff. And it’s kinda nice to have my (radical) priest dad cracking up at the theological in jokes (which are way more obscure than the stuff I get). I’ll have to check out Reeve. What are you saying about these authors in the thesis, Beppie? (200 words or less 😉 j/k)
    LeGuin rocks, too; I find it interesting how her ‘writing mythology for now’ stuff has developed from being quite problematic to being something more interesting. Although some of the imagery from the first novels remain striking: releasing, then being hunted by the shadow, the girl losing her name to a deathly religion, wandering labyrinthine caves with only memory to guide… etc.
    As part of my self-education in vampire fiction, I read the Twilight series a couple of weeks ago. Anyone else done the same? What did you think? My own response is kinda a combination of boredom, irritation with the lead character, or maybe just disbelief at her abrupt-but-forevermore falling-in-love-with-vamp thing, some interest in the depiction of the otherworldly (which is a consistent thing for me: how we imagine the otherwise and elsewhere) and a fascination that the books have done so well. The latest novel in the series makes me wonder if Meyer has been taking some criticism of the extreme strong man/weak woman thing to heart… which seems to do funny things to her ability to construct a decent climax. I do worry about girls reading that series… Anyway. And for my HP tie-in, the lead male in Twilight-the-movie, about to be released, is Cedric Diggory from HP. Tada!

  55. Someone tell me this is a spoof site.
    <a href="</a&gt;
    In fem-friendly YA, I’m just nearing the end of “Uglies”. I read around the web that the next two books are a bit less stellar, but I reckon this one’s pretty good – I’m buying it for my niece for Christmas.

  56. My favourite Le Guin was “The Word for World is Forest” which is a culture-clash/colonial drama where humans exploit the natural resources of an alien planet that is already inhabited by sentient beings. It was a really old copy I found in a tiny library and I’ve never been able to search out one of my own.

  57. DEM: The Word for World is Forest isn’t too hard to get here in the US even though it’s out of print. Let me know if you want some help.
    As for Tamora Pierce, I adore Alanna, Kel, and Ally, but really loved her latest about Beka Cooper. To be honest, Pierce should have been writing more about the non-nobility all along, because the culture is fantastic.

  58. Chally, Diana Wynne Jones – brilliant YA fantasy.

  59. Oh, oh, and Isobel Carmody’s Obernewtyn series. And Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series. Susan Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Joan Aiken.
    Rebekka’s last blog post..We’re living in a post-feminist world? Fat chance.

  60. I read the Twilight series a couple of weeks ago. Anyone else done the same? What did you think?
    I’ve heard a lot of critisism, in terms of it being terribly written girly fluff, but in a world where the majority of entertainment is marketed to 12 year old boys I can’t begrudge teenage girls getting their jollies where they can.
    My favourite part is that the vampires can’t be exposed to sunlight – not because they burn, but because they sparkle.
    “Oh no, I can’t go outside; I’ll be fabulous!”

  61. Obernewtyn! I only was able to read the first two, sadly, the Milwaukee County libraries didn’t have the third.

  62. The problem with the Obernewtyn books is that they still aren’t finished, and Carmody seems to take a decade to release each new book (I wish that was an exaggeration, but it isn’t). I also have to second the suggestion of Diana Wynne Jones, although I haven’t read close to all of her work. Nonetheless, Hexwood is one of the most brilliantly clever books out there.
    WP– I’m discussing Pullman’s work at length in two chapters of my thesis– one on immortality and evil (looking at the way that Pullman rejects any kind of spiritual immortality), and in a chapter that discusses the reconfiguration of traditional narratives.
    *sigh* In other news, my dad’s aunt died last night. I’m okay, but I’m worried about my dad, as he spent a lot of time with her family when he was growing up, and he was best friends with her son, who died in the 80s. She was a very vibrant woman– a few years ago, we were out at an Italian restaurant, and she danced in her chair as some musicians serenaded her.

  63. Thanks, Rebekka. Susan Cooper is excellent!
    I haven’t read Breaking Dawn. Was not a huge fan of Edward’s creepy obsessiveness. I loved the tension between lust and bloodlust though. Stephenie Meyer really hit on something there.
    Did anyone ever try Emily Rodda? She was my extra special favourite when I was younger.

  64. I’m so sorry about your great aunt, Beppie.

  65. Thanks, Chally. I am trying not to feel sad, but instead am thinking about her life, which was long and full (though not without grief). She saw the harbour bridge being built, she lived through the great depression, her brothers and sweethearts went off to war, and I recall her speaking of her relief that the boys would finally be coming home after VP day. She had four children, and buried three of them, and yet she herself was alway full of life. When I was little, and we would visit her place, she would always give my siblings and I $2– a fortune! 🙂

  66. I’ve read all of DWJ and it’s uniformly excellent.
    It is an issue with Obernewtyn that the books have taken so long, but there’s only one to go and it is due out September 2009, which probably means Christmas 2009, but still. And she’s written a lot of other books that are all worth reading too.

  67. I read Twilight just recently, and thought it was horrible. The driving theme was this weak klutzy girl (what was with the clumsiness?) who was OMG sooooo star-crossedly attracted to the loom-y doom-y gorgeous man who kept telling her that if she fell in love with him, he’d one day just have to kill her.
    For me, it just reads like a grand domestic violence fable, except that the moral is “violent guys who are going to hurt you r so hott, and it’s not their fault, it’s just their nature.”
    [yes, I have this problem with a lot of vampfic, but Twilight sure played up this aspect, with no other redeeming features.]

  68. I’m so sorry, Beppie. 😦
    Yeah, this is the thing, Lauredhel. It’s why they bug me too! And it’s why I was kinda surprised by the most recently released book: when she actually does become a vampire, and, at least according to Edward, is the main reason they get out of the fix they get themselves into. But it futzes with the climax in a weird way, as if Meyer can’t quite manage to work out how to put people in proper danger and have them find a way out of it when Bella’s not playing weakweakweakprotectme. Not comforting. I also really didn’t like the whole ‘I am helpless against my desire for him.’ Not so much coz I think desire shouldn’t be helpless (the suspension of the will is part of what is heady about lust) but because he just so didn’t earn it: obsessive, kinda creepy (‘I watched you sleep even before we got together…’) and she is totally in love with him forever only coz he’s hot? Oh uh huh. He just really wasn’t all that. Honestly, I preferred Jake, not least because he trusted her with her own decisions.
    And I second the vote for Scott Westerfeld, Lauredhel. The later books are, indeed, less crisp. They’re still interesting, though, and explore some more of the ideas about humans-becoming-‘more’. Garth Nix (well, the Abhorsen books, anyway, which I loved), Susan Cooper, and of course Isabelle Carmody. I think I’ve decided to wait until the last book is out in Obernewtyn before I go back to re-read them all the way through. I got impatient with Ashling, but can’t remember why. I also loved A Wrinkle in Time, although I found the other books in that series kinda irritating. And Madeleine L’Engle certainly has a twee, conservative edge, perhaps more visible in her other books; although when I try to think about how to describe Wrinkle, it sounds pretty twee too. 😉 But I liked Meg, the heroine with glasses, and her big family. And when I was younger, I also liked the So You Want To Be A Wizard books, esp. the early ones, but they’re a bit ordinary now, I think.
    Sounds great, Beppie. I’m always intrigued by rewritings, and Pullman does some pretty cool stuff. Gay angels are teh awesome. The death of God is great too. As are the daemons, obvs. And let’s not forget the Serpent… 😉 And Lyra has to be one of the best girl characters ever written: caring, and never saccharine, a crazy liar but generous and goodhearted, smart and courageous and wilful as all hell. I luvs her.

  69. Can anyone reassure me that the third His Dark Materials book gets better? I thought the first was marvellous, but the second book left me completely cold. All of a sudden the fabulous female protagonist has to completely subsume her self into the Great White Boy’s mission? What was that all about? I’m hoping this all gets resolved in the third, but right now I’m just pissed off at it, and I’ve shoved it to the bottom of the pile. Back to Bujold for me.

  70. Lauredhel, as with just about everything, the final HDM book is a bit of a mix, but I definitely think it’s worth reading. Without spoiling too much, Lyra does get some great moments, there is a lot of development of Mary Malone’s character (the physicist from “our” world), and it ends on a note that is very positive in terms of bonds between women, and women mentoring other women.

  71. Cool – thanks, Beppie. I won’t pull it out of the pile altogether, then!

  72. Can I just ask WTF was up with the elephants on wheels section in those books!!!??? I mean, yeah, evolution, but I just remember it grating at the time, and I wanted it over to get back to the main story.

  73. Lol, I actually really liked those bits, fuckpolieteness. But, as I said above, I also really like Mary Malone’s character, and that was a big part of how she developed.
    I think the main purpose of the mulefa was to show how a society might look when not pulled down by patriarchal religion.

  74. About HP: There are so many reasons why I don’t really care for anything but fic any more, I was suprised to see one of my pet peeves expressed here which is Remus/Tonks. This also is one of my pet peeves overall in current fic/lt/tv/movies is the fact that despite all evidence to the contrary, characters will have relationships with people I’m surprised they would be friends with, let alone anything else.
    And can I ask, what is “twee”?

  75. And can I ask, what is “twee”?
    Excessively cute, or trying a bit hard to be cute. It’s an English expression. Like trying to be homely, but just ending up kitch.

  76. Ahh Gotcha! Thank you for my enlightenment, The Amazing Kim.

    Gosh, I just love expressions!

  77. Me too: regional expressions are just so snertwad, in a flim way.

  78. Aww, FP, the mulefa were great! I thought it was a nice change of pace.
    I haven’t got time to comment on it, but any thoughts on story about DoCS in NSW?
    Chally’s last blog post..
    Pre-holiday quick post

  79. And I failed at HTML just a bit.

  80. Wouldn’t it be nice if we took the money out of the useless internet censorship system, and put it into, oh, I don’t know, actually protecting children?

  81. Wouldn’t it be nice if we took the money out of the useless internet censorship system, and put it into, oh, I don’t know, actually protecting children?
    No way – the Strangers On The Internet meme is way too useful to the familial unit structure. Might have to actually wonder why most sexual abuse occurs in the family home, otherwise.
    I’m probably missing something way obvious, but if they have a list of sites to ban, why can’t they get at the owners by legal means?

  82. Side note–I’m lazy and curious about this whole censorship debacle in Oz, is there a good quick synopsis anywhere? I’d like to understand how it could be legally passed in a democratic society.

  83. Hehe…seems I have judged the mulefa scenes too harshly! I will go back and reread during the hols. I am a very character driven reader, so was probably desperate to get back to Lyra (it’s been a while,but in my memory book 2 was not so focussed on her, so by book three I was ANXIOUS!!”More LYRA PLEASE!!”)
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..No words…

  84. @ Bene:
    Bene, has the basic outlines and latest news.

  85. I’m probably missing something way obvious, but if they have a list of sites to ban, why can’t they get at the owners by legal means?

    AK, the sites they are most concerned with are those operating outside Australian jurisdiction but that can be accessed by innocent Aussies who just stumble across them, apparently. The fact that the most repellent pornography sites operate by using file-sharing sites that the proposed filter won’t catch at all (and that nobody just “stumbles across”) seems to mean nothing to the agitators on this.

  86. Well, that’s what I figured. But surely there’s international law to cover the nastiest of the nasty? And most individual countries have laws too? I just don’t understand why the proposal acts against the community rather than the actual bad people. It just seems nonsensical, like banning mention of the slaughterhouse will mean that the sheep will live forever.

  87. You know the more I look at that otter the picture, the more it looks like he’s about to make a martini…

  88. Please I can be reading fiction soon?? (Head deep in complex articles on jurisdiction and procedural fairness)

  89. *insert obligatory joke about how jurisdiction and procedural fairness IS fiction, here*

  90. Hehehe…oh dear! It’s so TRUE! Last paper made me proud of the administrative law system (tribunals and merits review, world leaders, no obligation, ability of affected individuals to challenge the executive blah blah). This one is making my head hurt and frustrating me – to respect the seperation of powers the courts can’t really *review* the fairness of the executive’s actions…so they stick to procedural stuff…except that legislation can limit this…then when it does the court goes whacky in its reasoning trying to get around it, procedural fairness explodes into an icky and ill defined mess, and everyone goes crosseyed. (Can I just copy and paste this and hand it in do you think?)
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..And more stories…

  91. I thought of another really good YA fantasy author – Margaret Mahy, with particular reference to The Changeover and Catalogue of the Universe.

  92. What about Jurisfiction?

    (this blog comment brought to you by the Toast Marketing Board)

  93. It’s meant to be Bene – the d and the f are RIGHT next to one another on my keyboard! I shall hand in my essay about jurisfiction! 🙂

  94. @ fuckpoliteness:
    The thought of slash jurisfiction is a worry. Is that a gavel under your robes, yeronner, or are you just pleased to see me?

  95. Hoyden is written by a man according to this shiny Gender Analyzer.
    The more blogs are tested, the more obvious it is becoming that it is a crock (you can give them feedback as to whether the analysis was correct). Authors are not yet willing to reach the shocking conclusion that there is no difference. “It’s going to be very exciting!” – yeah, I really, really doubt that.
    Twisty is also a man apparently. Gee I don’t know how she’s gonna take that.

  96. Sorry- here’s the link for the Gender Analyzer.

  97. Looks like a mob who were doing the same thing a few years ago, the website’s just a bit slicker now.
    I seem to remember that basically if your blog was at all sesquipedalian or academic in tone, it thinks you’re a man.

  98. Well I am also a man. I await delivery of my shiny new phallus and a truck tonne of societal priveledge in nervous anticipation.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..Men’s health ambassadors, bringing homophobic, misogynist horseshit to a town near you

  99. I am apparently a man no matter what I write about: comedy, feminism – it’s all masculine.

  100. For the first time, my eljay is coming up female. Everything else I’ve ever fed to an online “gender analyser” has said that my writing is “masculine”.

  101. I believe that I shall conduct experiments over the next little while with short posts about handbags and shoes (you know, *women’s issues*) followed by short posts on war, death and opening beer bottles with my eye sockets…just to see how hokey their methods of judging are. Incidentally when I posted about this it rated me as 2% less manly than my uber-angry anti-patriarchy rant of earlier this afternoon.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..“House of chicks, relax. I am a man, and I have a tool”*

  102. Yet at the same time, Attitude Problem is 89% certainly written by a woman.

    My mind boggles.

  103. They are only 59% sure that I’m a woman. Apparently I’m quite gender neutral.

  104. I’ve been watching and reading too many horror stories. A bird is sitting just under my office window and just raised it’s tail slightly above the sill, and the first thing my brain thought was that it has three fingers of a hand, reaching towards the window… Of course it would make much more sense for anyone wanting access to the office to walk straight in through either of the open doors. Must be time for food or something.

  105. I think it analyses your latest post as it assessed me as male (and was 57% sure) and then I posted *about* the Gender Analyzer and it assessed me as male, but they were then only 57% sure. I’m keen for some testing. I think if I go insert words like ‘shoes’ and ‘handbags’ one at a time that these sorts of cliched ideas of female interests will start to tip the scales…

  106. “I shall hand in my essay about jurisfiction!”
    In Jasper Fforde’s books there is a Jurisfiction policing agency that works inside books.

  107. Rebekka: Indeed!

    plock plock.

  108. S0, people, given the opportunity what book would you go into for a squiz? (for those of you not familiar with the term it means ‘look’). I think I’d go for one of my childhood favourites “Which Witch” by Eva Ibbotson.

  109. “S0, people, given the opportunity what book would you go into for a squiz?”
    Just one?
    Northern Lights. Daemons!!! Witches!!! Talking Polar Bears!!!

  110. Oooh, thanks for reminding me of The Changeover, Rebekka. I have to go home and steal more of my teenage library back from my parental units! And was it just me, or did Fforde’s books lose something as the series progressed?

  111. They totally lost something as the series progressed – the later ones are dreadful, and I only *really* liked the first one.

  112. Yeah, me too. I actually gave up before I finished the series (which is kinda unusual for me: is it slightly OCD to feel like one ‘ought’ to finish the series?). It’s a shame, though, because the first worked so well, and there was such promise in the stuff about fiction and time and ‘proper’ versions of things… ah well.
    And Mindy, if it were just for a squiz, I’m currently-right-this-very-moment (I am fickle) thinking I’d head to Perdido Street Station. Or perhaps Terre d’Ange.

  113. The thought of slash jurisfiction is a worry. Is that a gavel under your robes, yeronner, or are you just pleased to see me?
    I’ll have to ask Skepticlawyer about that one…

  114. … she’s doing her MPhil in Jurisprurience.

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