Reading List: It's A Nice Day For Kicking Butt And Destabilizing Predatory Cultural Dynamics, Don't You Think?
Darlings! I’m going to be moving over the next week, so our Reading List is also a Listening List, as I’m going to need info in my ears to keep my spirits up. Please send podcast, audio book (or music!) recommendations so that I may stay informed and entertained whilst hauling boxes over the next few days.
TO THE INTERWEBS!
Zahra Hirji, Trump Led An “All-Out Assault” On The EPA. Now Biden Has To Rebuild It. (BuzzFeed News) - I am very much looking forward to a working EPA that protects us from polluters, as opposed to one that opens up the doors to poisons in the air and is like HAVE AT ‘ER, FRIENDS. But as Hirji writes, there’s a ton of work to be done to undo the damage wrecked by the previous admin.
Cameron Joseph, She Lived Through the Capitol Attack. Now This GOP Staffer Is Calling Out Her Friends’ Conspiracies. (VICE) - As many people much smarter than I have pointed out, Jan 6 now serves as a dividing line in GOP circles between those who will not and cannot tolerate violence against democracy, and those who embrace it—or at least ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ in its general direction. And reading about someone who must now speak out against conspiracy theories about the attack she experienced is one example of how that division will play itself out.
Tim Dickinson, How the Anti-Vaxxers Got Red-Pilled (Rolling Stone) - Um, this isn’t exactly light reading, but it’s important. And scary.
Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekerim, The next insurrection (Popular Information) - Uhhh, same on this one. Don’t read this before bed—or, frankly, after you read the piece above.
Jamie Loftus, Lolita Podcast (iHeart Radio) - (Content warning: discussions of sexual abuse and abuse of minors) I am one episode from the end of this series having basically binge-listened to it this week. I remember reading Lolita when I was far too young to be reading Lolita, and finding it entertaining and confusing and well-written and disturbing and deeply unsettling. And by the time I got to college, so many young gentlemen of the artistic bent would cite it as one of their favorite books, saying it was a “love story,” which seemed pretty damned strange in my mind. But I was a young women in the early aughts, a time when entertainers like Britney and Christina were chided for their provocative clothing while we asked no questions of the grownups who were hungrily consuming the content. Well, podcast host and thinker extraordinaire Jame Loftus is here to remind you in this incredibly well and extensively researched series of the cultural, ethical and moral implications of the culture-wide mis-reading of a book that is about a predator grooming and abusing his step-daughter. Full stop. That’s what the book is about and, as Loftus argues, is what Nabokov wanted you to walk away thinking. And part of why this series is SO good is Loftus’s dedication to interviewing experts of all stripes, from Nabokov scholars to those who developed and propagated Lolita tumblrs in the early 2010s, while also including her own complicated relationship with the book. Loftus points to moments where popular culture tossed the nuance and dread of the original book and turned “Lolita” into an aesthetic and cultural touchstone that continues to put undue onus on young women to police their looks and actions while romanticizing the actions of dirty old men who “just can’t help themselves.” Because remember: Dolores Haze is TWELVE YEARS OLD in Lolita. So the next time a guy mentions that Lolita is one of their favorite books, I look forward to diving deep into whether or not they know what an unreliable narrator is.
Be kind to each other, my doves. And wear two masks, s’il vous plaît.