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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Experience of Diversity (and the blindness of privilege)

Last year I made a vow to myself that I would only read books written by authors who were not straight white men. By and large, with two explicit exceptions, I was successful in my goal. And I learned a bunch of things.

The first (and most important) thing I learned is that my reading habits were already moderately diverse; I made a list of ten of my favourite authors and nine of them were women, so I didn't really have to give up on anyone that I was particularly invested in.

The second thing I learned was that my "historical read" list is actually pretty white/straight/male, though; I often go back and read a book again for comfort's sake, to go over familiar territory and comfortable writing and try and find something new or at least interesting. That means I haven't been doing a bunch of rereading and that led to...

The third thing I learned, which is there are a LOT of non-cishetwhitemale writers in SF, both historically and especially currently. Just lookin…

Day 40: Agnus Dei

A thing that I like in music: switching instruments. I love listening to Andres Segovia playing Bach's Cello Suites on a Flamenco guitar. I really enjoy Two Cellos playing pop music, or Apocalyptica doing Metallica songs on a string quartet. I think a version of Danse Macabre for violin, viola, and cello is one of the best versions of that tune I've ever heard.

I am also a big fan of human voice music. From the traditional choir a cappella and Jewish cantor, to barbershop quartet, to Tuvan Throat Singing, to Pentatonix,]; music that humans make with themselves alone (solo or in groups) makes the hair on my arms stand up. I love it unabashedly and unapologetically.

So in steps Samuel Barber. In 1936 he writes what is possibly the most haunting piece of American Classical Music of the 20th Century, and in 1938 Arturo Toscanini records it with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. It's a big hit, and cements Barber's early career as composer par excellence. And then, in 1967, Barbe…

Talking Through The Problem

So we were in raid chatting it up like one does when one is waiting for stuff to get going, and a friend of mine was talking about how on their podcast they were asking listeners to call in or email with which fandom they'd like to live in and why. Many people mentioned their favourite universes: Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, even World of Warcraft. And I tossed out Gilmore Girls.

Yeah, that was the reaction of many of my friends, too. "Gilmore Girls? The TV show about the mother and the daughter?" Yes, that show. Exactly that show. That's the universe that I'd like to live in. Seriously. It's awesome there.

It's pretty clearly a post-scarcity universe, since no one ever pays for anything or does any sort of work that they don't want to do. I mean, Lorelei manages a hotel and works pretty hard, but given the size of the house she lives in it's pretty clear that the money thing isn't really an issue (I mean, the crazy cat lady and the jazz mus…