ETA: Specifically superheroic/comic book-style universe building would be most excellently appropriate.
ETA: Specifically superheroic/comic book-style universe building would be most excellently appropriate.
by Victoria Silverwolf
In recent days the eyes of the world were focused on the most important event yet during the administration of President Kennedy. No, not Scott Carpenter’s successful, if suspenseful, orbiting of the Earth, so ably reported by our host. I’m talking about Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to the leader of the free world in a skintight beaded dress that drew at least as much attention as her little girl's voice.
In other musical news, after three weeks at the top of the Billboard's Hot 100 with their smash hit Soldier Boy, the Shirelles, pioneers of the girl group sound, have yielded the position to British clarinetist Mr. Acker Bilk with his performance of Stranger on the Shore. (Bilk is only the second artist from across the pond to make it to Number One on the American pop charts. The first was just slightly less than a decade ago, when Vera Lynn reached that position with Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart. I suppose we'll have to wait another ten years before the British invade the Yankee airwaves again.)
Bilk's haunting, melancholy melody could easily serve as background music for the cover story in the June 1962 issue of Fantastic.
(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
The NEA statement on being asked to close by Trump.
The Pentagon's response when Trump blew his mouth off in the Philippines: "We do not talk about subs. Ever."
The science behind why people lie. Very relevant to the current politics.
The House has dismantled a permits system that gave us protection against pesticides in our common water supplies. What do they think we're drinking, imported champagne?
The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals rules against Trump's travel ban, again. Here's the published opinion. Do read this, just for the list of who's bringing the lawsuit. Quoting from this document:
The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the
Constitution, as the Supreme Court declared in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2,
120 (1866), remains “a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.” And if
so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks
with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance,
animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet
stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding
principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or
disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny
entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the
President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to
individuals across this nation. Therefore, for the reasons that follow, we affirm in
substantial part the district court’s issuance of a nationwide preliminary injunction as to
Section 2(c) of the challenged Executive Order....
Former CIA Director John Brennan urges us to resist.
The Senate seeks a lifetime ban on Congressmen returning as lobbyists.
The ACLU demands an immediate end to using drivers' license photos for law enforcement facial recognition.
What happens when ou leave 15,000 coins on a sidewalk in London?
I know I linked this before, but it deserves to be here again, because it's beautiful.
Author: Yoshida Akimi
Publisher: Flower Comics
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Molly
Status in Japan: 12 volumes, complete
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates
Summary: Twelve-year-old Sei lives a normal, quiet life on a small island in Okinawa until one day a strange man who seems to know his mother shows up and tries to kidnap him. After that, nothing is normal or quiet in this sci-fi thriller from the author of Banana Fish.
Chapter Summary: While on the hunt for the diary, Sei and Rin are attacked by a mysterious group of men, forcing the two to work together.
Lance Mannion: [Content Note: Class warfare] They Hate Us. All of Us.
Sarah Kendzior: There Are Many Reasons to Oppose a Mike Pence Presidency—But His Skill at Lying Is the Biggest
Sarah Lerner: [CN: Culture of abuse; white male privilege] Only White Men Get to Do Apology Tours
Amy Littlefield: [CN: Christian Supremacy; war on agency] Will a Catholic Hospital Merger Gut Health Care in Gary, Indiana?
Kenrya Rankin: April Ryan Explains Press Responsibility in the Age of Trump
Keith Reid-Cleveland: Gina Prince-Bythewood Becomes First Woman of Color to Direct Marvel Superhero Film
Rebecca Bodenheimer: [CN: Fat hatred] Where Are All the Fat Women in The Handmaid's Tale?
Shannon Gibney and Lori Askeland: [CN: White supremacy] Race, Intersectionality, and the End of the World: The Problem with The Handmaid's Tale
Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!
An incomplete list of stuff I did while away from the internet: art (pencils, oil paint, watercolours), minimal writing (did you know it's hard to write without a computer), swimming (3K IN 1H42!!! record à battre), read a lot (mostly in French -- also I have thoughts), was told that I wasn't an asshole, had my teeth hurt like bloody hell (it's nothing to worry about), saw friends, went on dates, learned some poems and probably spent longer going "OMG I HAVE MUSCLES NOW :D" than I should have, but you know what? I HAVE MUSCLES NOW! Hell, yesterday I even managed 100 push-ups (in 10 sets of 10, not in one go). I am severely regretting this choice today, but I did.
Between voluntary break, Eurovision and broken computer, I've been away for pretty much a month. WHAT'D I MISS? It can be big stuff, small stuff, I'm sure I've missed a lot.
And it gets even worse.
[Content Note: Video autoplays at link] Dana Bash, Shimon Prokupecz, and Gloria Borger at CNN report that not only was the document fake, but Comey knew it was fake.
Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email was fake — created by Russian intelligence — but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process.As Eastsidekate succinctly summarized: "They admitted to intentionally using hostile propoganda to undermine HRC in order to prop up their own credibility?" Yup.
As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over — without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch — while at the same time stating that Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information.
...US officials now tell CNN that Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false.
In fact, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe went to Capitol Hill Thursday to push back on the notion that the FBI was duped, according to a source familiar with a meeting McCabe had with members of the Senate intelligence committee.
...In classified sessions with members of Congress several months ago, Comey described those emails in the Russian claim and expressed his concern that this Russian information could "drop" and that would undermine the Clinton investigation and the Justice Department in general, according to one government official.
Still, Comey did not let on to lawmakers that there were doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to sources familiar with the briefings. It is unclear why Comey was not more forthcoming in a classified setting.
You know how I keep hammering away about how this war between Donald Trump and intelligence community is not a good thing? And issuing reminders that pro-Comey leakers are shaping their narratives to be favorable to him? Yeah, this is why.
Comey engaged in devastating unprofessionalism during the election, and it had catastrophic consequences. There is very good reason to withhold enthusiastic cheerleading for James Comey, and many of the people on "his team" in this escalating war.
As usual, Hillary Clinton gets it right (commenting before this news broke) in a new profile by Rebecca Traister:
"I am less surprised than I am worried," she says of the Comey firing. "Not that he shouldn't have been disciplined. And certainly the Trump campaign relished everything that was done to me in July and then particularly in October." But "having said that, I think what's going on now is an effort to derail and bury the Russia inquiry, and I think that's terrible for our country."The takeaway here is that it is the Republicans' job as the majority in Congress to take this stuff seriously. That's the way our system of government is supposed to work.
It will be days before newspapers report that Trump asked Comey to move away from the Russia investigation prior to firing him, but the implications are already clear. History, says Clinton, "will judge whoever's in Congress now as to how they respond to what was an attack on our country. It wasn't the kind of horrible, physical attack we saw on 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, but it was an attack by an aggressive adversary who had been probing for many years to figure out how to undermine our democracy, influence our politics, even our elections."
Her hope, in the wake of Comey's dismissal, is that "this abrupt and distressing action will raise enough questions in the minds of Republicans for them to conclude that it is worthy of careful attention, because left unchecked … this will not just bite Democrats, or me; this will undermine our electoral system."
When they refuse to take action—and we can be certain they will refuse to take action on this newest revelation of breathtaking failure, as they have on every other piece of the colossal scandal that was the 2016 election—they are actively preventing the government from working the way it was designed. They are breaking it.
Because they are enemies of the state.
Will Comey ever face meaningful accountability for the role he played in 2016? I suspect not. And that is a real shame. For us all.
Where does the Hulk sleep? Well, wherever the hell he wants. But when the big green guy’s at home, apparently, he curls up in one of the most weirdly majestic and oddly toothy beds you will ever see.
Au Bord de la Fontaine - Le Vent de Nord
V'la l'Bon Vent - The McDades
Le Grain de Mil - Edith Butler
Le Grand Coureur - Ginevra diMarco
Le Chant des Corsaires - Corsaire
Y a Quatre Marins - Tri Yann
Le Vert Laurier - The McDades
Les Filles des Forges - Die Irrlichter
A la Claire Fontaine - Jairo & Sacha Distel
La jument de Michao - Gérard Jaffrès
Marie Picard - Galant, tu perds ton temps
Au Diable les Avocats - Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer
I love how smart Kamet is about human behavior and the way he uses it to their advantage, though I am mystified that he, himself, is so easy to read. People read his mind multiple times, like take the words right out of it, and most of them don't even know him that well. So perhaps, as a slave, he wasn't as successful at schooling his expression as he thought he was, but in this world where your gods come down to talk to you, it's distracting because I kept thinking of supernatural explanations. Instead, he's probably just incredibly transparent, and maybe, since this is his account of events, likes the humor of exposing his thoughts so exactly, a reversal of the Senabid jokes with the clever slave and idiot master. Maybe, in this way, Kamet is acknowledging his past prejudices by making himself the butt of the joke.
Kamet goes through a lot in a short time, and his relationship with the Attolian basically carries the whole book, in between all the stabbings and such, and I enjoyed their interactions and the partnership they build. I missed Gen so much though—the Attolian's little remarks about him killed me: "No one knows what my king knows." My kink is people realizing that Gen is more than he seems, and this series continues to deliver. I loved learning all the details as the story came together, and even though it's been a while since I read the rest of the books and couldn't remember everything, I still had a broad understanding of the way this corner of the world works, and I felt confident enough reading this. Like I knew who the Attolian was even if I couldn't remember his real name. But mostly this is a story about Kamet and Mede and doesn't depend too much on past events. As long as you're familiar with the series, you should be okay, but a reread of Queen of Attolia and/or King of Attolia wouldn't be amiss. If you haven't read any of the books, this isn't the place to start. But—good news!—I highly recommend the series. It's filled with masterful character work, and this book is no exception.
Contains: violence, animal harm, mention of miscarriage, suggestion of sexual assault.
Wonder Woman Gal Godot and Wonder Woman Lynda Carter joined forces on the Wonder Woman premiere red carpet Thursday night in Hollywood, along with (in the background) many adoring Wonder Woman cosplayers of all ages.
How to play: Fling means I spend a single night of passion (or possibly passionate hatred) with the book, and write a review of it, or however much of it I managed to read. Marry means the book goes back on my shelves, to wait for me to get around to it. (That could be a very long time.) Kill means I should donate it without attempting to read it. You don't have to have read or previously heard of the books to vote on them.
Please feel free to explain your reasoning for your votes in comments. For this particular poll, I have never read anything by any of the authors (or if I did, I don't remember it) and except for Hoover and Lively, have never even heard of the authors other than that at some point I apparently thought their book sounded interesting enough to acquire.
The Spring on the Mountain, by Judy Allen. Three kids have magical, possibly Arthurian adventures on a week in the country.
The Lost Star, by H. M. Hoover. A girl who lives on another planet hears an underground cry for help (and finds chubby gray cat centaurs if the cover is accurate)
The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, by Penelope Lively. Lucy visits her aunt in Hagworthy and is embroiled in the ancient Horn Dance and Wild Hunt.
Carabas, by Sophie Masson. Looks like a medieval setting. A shapeshifting girl gets accused of being a witch and runs off with the miller's son.
Of Two Minds, by Carol Mates and Perry Nodelman. Princess Lenora can makes what she imagines real; Prince Coren can read minds, but everyone can read his mind. (Ouch!)
There were, as ever, so many things to appreciate and value about this address, but this part was particularly meaningful to me:
You know, our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is that's not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments, for whatever reason, when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it will help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future. One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them.Hillary Clinton is a leader for people who want to lead. She is a shatterer of glass ceilings. She is a blazer of trails. She is a dreamer of big dreams, and the inspiration for even bigger ones.
And I'm going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called Onward Together to help recruit and train future leaders, organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends. When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible. That was true then. It's truer today.
I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later. Certainly never that I would have run for the presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling. Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now open. They're ready for you to walk through or charge through. To advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom. So whatever your dreams today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don't do it because I asked you to. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it's often during the darkest times when you can do the most good.
Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try. Fail. Try again and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams. I'm have been optimistic about the future. Because I think after we've tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you with all my heart. I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth. Be great.
Above all, Hillary Clinton is a builder of villages.
She knows, and reminds us often, that it takes a village. She knows, too, that not everyone has the village they need—and so her life's work has been, and continues to be, finding ways to ensure that every person is part of a strong, supportive, sustainable village that can uplift its villagers to achieve their goals. And to imagine radical goals of otherwise improbable scope, which can only be conceived in the safety of spaces where opportunity and community make the impossible seem within reach.
Clinton embodies the absolute inverse of the Republican Party's destructive instinct. Following days and weeks (and months and years) of the Republican Party proposing and enacting policy designed to destroy democratic institutions, communities, and people's very lives, it was an excruciatingly stark juxtaposition listening to Clinton speak about the things we can—and must—build. And promising to help us build them.
Following Clinton's address, a number of Important People wondered: "Where was this Hillary Clinton during the election?" There is, perhaps, no more dishonest or self-serving musing anyone could make in response to that address, which was classic Clinton.
It is a musing that is naught but rank victim-blaming and gaslighting. A rhetorical device meant to absolve oneself of having failed to see who she really is.
She was right in front of our faces, all along. I spent the entirety of the campaign writing about "this Hillary Clinton," which was one of the great privileges and highlights of my professional life. She was there to behold, for anyone who was not busy instead being enchanted by Trump's empty podium or four decades of misogynist filth.
The difference between now and the campaign is not in Clinton: The difference is that she is no longer seeking power. The terrifying threat of female power is gone. (For now.)
"This Hillary Clinton," the one giving a sharp and stirring commencement address, was the same Hillary Clinton who has always stood before us, offering her service. The same gifted leader, the same master of policy, the same patriot who petitioned to lead this nation.
The same builder of villages.
I am incandescently angry at the people who made great efforts to not see "this Hillary Clinton" during the election. I will never get over her not being my president; we will lose so very much because she isn't—and I lay a significant portion of the blame at the feet of those who couldn't be bothered, or flatly refused, to see Clinton for who she is and has always been.
And I almost—almost—feel sympathy for them, that they have denied themselves the opportunity to get to know and spend time with this extraordinary woman, and with the people who believe in her; the people who see her.
Because it is a fine experience indeed to be a part of the village she's built.
So, I’ve been attending a salsa dance class the last few months. The class is structured so that you are welcome to come as a single person, and the participants shuffle through partners throughout the class. It’s a lot of fun and the men are generally pretty respectful and appropriate.
My problem is that a young man has been attending the last two weeks, and while he is very polite, his body odor is HORRENDOUS. I really cannot overstate how bad it is. By the middle of class he is sweating profusely, such that there is perspiration dripping off of his nose, and yes, onto his dancing partners (or at least *this* dancing partner, which is my main concern).
I really don’t want dance with him, but I don’t know how to refuse or what to do about it without being rude. I can totally see his attendance in this class as a suggested “assignment” from a therapist or other advice giver (such as yourself!) to get out there and be around people, even if it’s something he’s not comfortable doing.
Do you have any scripts that I can use? I do want to be kind.
~Dreading Dance Class
Dear Dreading Dance Class,
I’ve gotten a lot of “how do I tell someone they smell” and a lot of “how do I deal with this awkward dance partner” questions that I haven’t answered yet – thanks for this question that lets me combine both!
You don’t have to dance with him (or with anyone that you don’t want to) and if his turn as your partner gets a “No thank you/Not this time/Oh, sorry, I need to use the rest room/catch my breath/make a quick phone call” for now while you work up to talking to him about it, that’s okay. This is as true for The Dance Partner Who Never Stops Talking, Too Much Perfume Lady, and The Brotherhood of the Traveling Hands as it is for Febreezio The Fragrant.
Ideally dance teachers and studios should communicate ground rules for class and issue periodic reminders, for example:
- Dancing means getting really close to people, so we expect that you’ll wear clean clothes and freshen up before class. Don’t forget to brush your teeth/use breath mints, too.
- Everyone sweats when they dance so please remember to blot/mop yourself up occasionally – handkerchiefs or bandanas are useful for this!
- Please avoid strong cologne or perfume due to allergies.
- We like everyone to dance with everyone else and feel welcome, but you can refuse to dance with anyone or sit a dance out for any reason. If someone doesn’t want to dance with you, or sits out a dance, don’t take it personally – in 5 minutes you’ll have a new partner.
- If you feel like someone is dancing too close here is how you signal that!/Here is how you signal or ask for permission to dance closer.
Of course, posting general “for everyone” rules definitely don’t magically solve the issue. We all know that Sylvia-in-your-office-who-cuts-a-sliver-
When you join a scene or a hobby or a workplace or any social enterprise, certain expectations come with that (There is no talking in the Diogenes Club). If Febreezio doesn’t already know that “It’s okay if you are a naturally sweaty person but dancing close to people means doing what you can to manage your sweat”/”Your usual hygiene game is not cutting it for this level of close contact and physical activity” someone in that scene – you, or the teacher, or another old hand – is doing a kindness if they tell him directly as soon as possible. Communicating those expectations is not persecution.
He will definitely not enjoy the conversation and not feel good! Nobody likes to get told that they stink! It’s embarrassing! But it will also be wicked embarrassing if everyone suddenly needs to take an urgent phone call when it’s their turn to dance with him.
If you want to have the conversation, pull him aside privately (not on the dance floor) and try this script:
“Hey, X, can I talk to you real quick about something awkward? Great.
I’d love to dance with you sometime, but I’ve noticed you don’t smell so great today and you don’t mop up when you get sweaty. Can you make sure to freshen up before next class, and bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up sweat?“
Casting it as a thing you’ve had to deal with personally can help:
“When I first started coming to dance classes I definitely underestimated how sweaty I’d get. I needed to raise my deodorant game for one thing, and I also realized I needed to bring a clean shirt with me to change into between work and coming here. I’ve noticed you having some of the same issues. Can you make sure to freshen up before next class, and bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up sweat?”
Whatever you do, keep it short and treat it like a normal, reasonable request that you think he will want to follow in order to make you more comfortable as a dance partner.
If you talk to the teacher about it, try:
“X is new here, and I’ve noticed that he doesn’t smell so good or mop up when he sweats, so I don’t want to dance with him. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I want him to have fun and be included here. Can you speak to him about it or do you have suggestions for how to approach it with him?“
The teacher should take him aside and say something like:
“We’re very glad you’re here, but I’ve noticed* some issues with body odor and sweat today. Please take a shower, use deodorant, and please make sure you’re wearing clean clothes before you come to dance lessons next week, it’s part of being a good dance partner. Also, bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up if you get sweaty.”
Notice the list: Clean clothes, shower, deodorant, bandana to mop sweat. Now is not the time for vague euphemisms like “be more aware of hygiene.” Either the guy doesn’t know he smells, or he does know but he doesn’t have a good practice to make it stop. You’ve come this far into Awkwardtown, might as well be specific and tell him what exactly you’d like him to do.
As for your worries about driving him away from dance class forever, let’s get some perspective: What if a therapist did recommend for him to come here? What if he is really really really nervous about dancing? What if he comes straight from working a really physical job and doesn’t have time to shower and this is his only outlet for exploring the pleasure of dance? What if it’s a medical issue? What if these are his only clothes what if the closest washing machine and shower are 10 miles away from his house and uphill both ways?
Is that really your baggage to take on?
Isn’t it also patronizing to project all of those possible explanations, excuses, and reasons onto other people? After all, he is an adult man who signed up for and attends a dance class, so isn’t it likely that he can:
a) Take steps to clean himself up before doing a social activity (See Jimmy’s trunk full of wet wipes on this week’s Better Call Saul)?
b) Experiment with and adjust his hygiene strategies if it is in fact a medical issue?
c) Handle 5 minutes of awkward conversation about it?
d) Make choices about how he deals with uncomfortable feelings, whether that’s “Clean up a little better so I can enjoy dancing” or “flee forever…too mortifying…ack?”
When someone is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s very easy to get lost in diagnosing all the reasons they might do it. Compassionate people try to walk in the other person’s shoes, and it’s even more pronounced when you factor in how relentlessly women are socialized to protect men’s feelings. But if you avoid a difficult conversation with someone who is making you uncomfortable because you can’t stop worrying about the reasons or stop generating possible excuses for them, it won’t help the person or solve the problem. It will just put you through a lot of emotional labor without making a single thing better for anyone.
*Important: If you are ever a peer or an authority figure who has to deliver embarrassing news to someone, and if it can possibly be avoided, don’t start with “We’ve had complaints” or “Everyone talked about this and we think ____” or “Some people have suggested that you…” I understand the temptation to displace the awkwardness onto the anonymous authority of the group, but it just makes it worse for the person and also risks derailing the conversation with “Who complained?” “What exactly did they say?” The first time you have the conversation with someone, let them save a little face by not making it them vs. the whole group or the whole world. You’re already here delivering the awkward news, so use your “I” statements and own the problem.
Appendix: I’m not a dancer but as a teacher and a manager and a dater and a person with a body, this has been my approach Private Conversations About Smells (And Other Body Awkwardnesses).
Case Studies #1-???: Conversations With Stinky College Students
Odor/hygiene problems are almost always co-morbid with the student falling behind academically, so that’s usually my angle.:
Me: “You’ve been missing a lot of class/You didn’t turn in your last assignment. What’s going on?”
If The Stink has crossed to a Truly Problematic place, then I add: “Also, is really awkward and I hate to put you on the spot like this, but I’ve noticed that you don’t seem like your usual self in class lately – you don’t smell good/your clothes aren’t clean – is everything all right?”
As you can imagine I find out all kinds of stuff, from “I live in a homeless shelter” to “I don’t know how to do laundry and I’m too embarrassed to ask” to “Showering wastes crucial earth resources and deodorant is just a conspiracy from Big Pharma to make us CONFORM!” … to depression, grief, sexual assault, and other really hard stuff, so I never, never assume what the problem is.
- Obviously, deadline re-negotiation and referrals to many campus resources for the hard stuff.
- For the “Oh, Buddy” Freshmen: “Have you Googled ‘how do I do laundry?’ “No” “Maybe try that? Oh look, here’s a couple of tutorials” “Ok!” “Cool, I don’t want to smell you next week.” “LOL, you got it.”
- For the “I’m stinky FOR THE EARTH, DEAL WITH MY RIGHTEOUS STENCH” student I’ve had luck with “I get that but if I can smell you from here it’s gotten out of hand for what’s okay in a small classroom or working on a film crew in close quarters. Can you research some environmentally-friendly solutions or schedule the weekly bath for right before my class? I’d sure appreciate it.”
Case Studies: SexyTimes Stink! 2000-present day
Brevity and directness are kindness:
- “I’d very much like to put my _____ on your _____ or your _____ in my _____ but I think you/I/we both need a shower first.“
- “Oof, it’s a little funky down here. Can we pick this up after a shower? Awesome.“
If you’re close enough to someone that you’re going to put your ______ on their ______, then you’re close enough to say “Bodies are gross sometimes, let’s agree to take mitigating measures.”
Case Studies In Which I Was A Manager Of Someone With Awkward Hygiene Stuff
“Hey, this is awkward and I hate to put you on the spot, but [you don’t smell good][you aren’t wearing clean clothes to work][you’re probably not aware but when you lean over in that top your whole chest area and bra can be seen (true story!)][that white shirt is see-through please wear an undershirt][there is some other specific thing about your hygiene or physical aspect that is giving me cause for concern].”
“Have you noticed that, too? That’s not like you at all, so…[Is there anything going on we should know about][Have you had a medical checkup lately][Visited a dentist to talk about that?][Do you need a couple of days off to catch up on Life Stuff like laundry?][Need to make a Target run for something that doesn’t have holes in it before our client meeting?]”
As with students, people who had difficult life reasons got referred to whatever resources could be had, and everyone got a “Hey, this is informal right now – I just wanted to check in with you and talk about it before it becomes a real issue. Please [do the stuff we talked about][take a few days to get it together][take another look at the dress code and let me know if something is unclear or seems impossible] and it will go back to being a non-issue.”
By way of contrast, here’s a story about what not to do about The Stinky Guy:
Case Study: The Saga of The Smelly Hippie Guy I Shared An Office With For A Year In The Late 1990s Before I Had Therapy/When I Was Still Terrified Of Conflict
Me: :Agonizes for months about whether to say anything:
Him: :continues to stink:
Me: :Complains about him to everyone who would listen…except him.:
Him: :keeps it funky:
Me: :Tries to get my office moved: :Have a choice of sticking with stinky-but-quiet guy or sharing with a lady I hate who never stops talking:
Me: :polls my work friends at length re: The Noise or the Funk?:
Me: (sigh) :inertia + Funk:
Him: :wavy stink lines come off him sometimes:
Me: :executes a complex series of trades with everyone in the office until I am his Secret Santa:
Me: :gives THE GIFT OF TINY FANCY MAN-SOAP & DEODORANT: (We travel a lot for our work so this can be played off as “I got you some awesome travel supplies!”)
Him: “Sweet! Thanks! Hahaha! Are you saying I stink?”
Me: “Hahahaha no. No. Hahahaha. No. Why would you think that?
Him: “Right on!” :gift disappears into desk drawer:
Also Him: :rocks on with his funky self:
Me: :Periodically checks his desk drawer to see if the soap package has been opened or moved:
(It hasn’t moved)
(It never moves)
Him: “I’m going to start biking to work, is it cool with you if I have my bike in here?”
Me: :buys a scented candle and moves it slowly closer to him each day when I burn it:
Office Manager: All Staff Email: “Reminder: No candles or open flames in the office.”
Me: :buys a carved wooden incense burner and some incense from a street vendor down the block. For some reason tell him that I got it on an international trip:
Him: “I like this incense you brought back!”
Office Manager: All Staff Email: “No incense, either! No fire at all!”
Me: :sprays Glade:
Him: “Ugh, could you not spray that stuff? It’s full of chemicals.”
Him: “Yeah, and also I just can’t stand the way it smells.”
Another month goes by. It’s my turn to take over our department’s “Word of the Week” email. It’s a fun game so I’ll describe it for any office workers reading: Junior staff would secretly take turns picking an unusual word and gaining bragging points by using the word as much as possible in meetings and office communications throughout the week. Points were awarded based on sophistication and correctness of usage, frequency of use (more points for being the seventh person who says “I think we’ve crossed…the Rubicon… here” in the same meeting than for being the first), whether we could say it without laughing, whether we could make the one Cool Boss who has caught on to the game laugh or (better yet!) use it, and (best of all) whether we could make the expression catch on widely among senior staff.
My words that month: noisome, malodorous, putrescent, fetid.
Him: :adopts some kind of all-rotten egg, all-compost lunch routine:
Also him: :keeps on reekin’ on:
Another month goes by. It’s almost a year to the day that we started sharing an office. In summer. In Washington, D.C. aka SWAMPY MCHUMIDPLACE.
Me: :Walks into our office and gags because it smelled like old socks have been dipped in ball sweat, wrapped around road kill, and slow-roasted over a dung fire:
Me: “DUDE, it’
Me: (small voice) “I’msorryIdidn’tmeantoyell”
Me: (small voice) “But you stink.”
Him: :smells his own pits: “Wow yeah I am kinda stinky today. Sorry.”
Me: (almost a whisper) “Not just today.”
Him: “There are showers?”
Me: “Yeah! Top floor.”
Him: “Is there a code or a lock or anything I need to know about?”
Him: “Sweet! I’ll bring a towel with me tomorrow.”
Me: “And…every day?”
Him: “And every day.”
Him: “No worries! I hope this wasn’t bothering you all this time?!?”
Me: “Hahahaha…no, of course not. All good. Just…clean yourself.”
Him: “Got it.”
(I had checked 2 days ago)
Him: “GOT it.”
Me: “OkI’mgoingtolunchnow…bye…can I bring you anything back…”
Him: “All good…”
Him: “Seriously, Jen, it’s all good.
Me: :goes to lunch, brings him back a cookie and a brownie and a coffee:
And lo, he did take regular showers, and behold, a bike makes a pretty good good rack for holding a damp towel, and indeed, when his towel started to get funky I said “Hey time to wash that towel, yeah?” and he smelled it and said “Good grief, yes, I’m sorry!” and we never spoke of it again.
Letter Writer, your conversation with this dancing guy is going to be easier than that, right? Right.
Ideas are the easy part.
These posts are almost all series' of quick sketches of really amazing ideas. Vignettes get written, and they're good. But they remain vignettes.
Take the example above.
Someone posits a silly idea. Someone else writes the opening scene - frankly, it can stand against some published short stories and a solid short story in its own right. (Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer is actually a similar story, a bit more polished and with more of an arc, but proving it can be done.) Someone draws a cartoon.
Someone else then says "I would watch six seasons and a movie."
Note the wording, though.
I would WATCH.
(no suggestion of "Can I help you guys turn this into...". Please note, this is not a bad thing of itself. We want watchers and readers. We love people who witness our art. The more the merrier. And this is true even when the art is unpaid stuff for fun.)
The next person sketches out a paragraph of the town's initial reaction, and a one-line thought for one story arc... in the fourth season.
The next person similarly posts a summary of some of the details that could become scenes throughout, then another story arc.
The last two people who post ideas, not reactions, post an extended plot summary of the final episode, and scripted dialogue for the last minute of that episode, respectively.
Arc done. Whole six seasons of a tv show (With a spin-off movie in the middle, presumably, since the ending is, er, final) in 2,832 words -- 1,410 or very very close to half of which is the opening scene written out by one contributor.
THAT is how easy it is to come by an amazing writing IDEA.
I'm not dissing these ficlets. Please understand. I adore them. I want people to keep spawning these ideas all over the place. I want to see them in comment threads discussing why a particular book was good, or bad, or deconstructing them. I want to see them tossed out under a photo or a piece of art or fanart someone particularly liked. I want them to pop up all over facebook, tumblr, anywhere else people make and collect random story ideas. I've thrown one up myself in the comments to a review of the Disney movie Rapunzel, though rightly speaking that was more of a plot sketch for a fanfic, not for an original story like many of them (Although i love and encourage direct fanfic, too. And formal written short fiction.)
And as I understand it, if you happened to meet such a fic in tumblr via a different person, you might see a different thread of responses, spawning another sketch-out of the same kind of six-season arc, with a different ending, different suggestions for scenes along the way.
But... six seasons of a tv show is a sustained effort. A different thing entirely. Multiple writers throwing out these ideas across a table in front of critics and executives, and then expected to come back with a polished and perfectly 42-minute-long script (with the right commercial breaks) out of their one-line sketch, which also needs to be added to and accounted for in continuity by every writer after them, just as they had to account for every script ahead of them AND the already agreed upon seasonal arc. The existance of tv producing forms that no longer have to leave room for commercials leaves wiggle room for exactly how to set up the arc and the exact length of an episode, but audience expectations still hold a writer within a fairly short distance both of ultimate length and of where to fit in plot points and reversals and beats.
And that? That is exhausting. Because if you're the one tasked with introducing Nettie's birth family (And the true fate of the real Todd) into the business, based on the equivalent of somebody's (Even your own!) one-paragraph tumblr comment, you have a lot to think about that simply isn't in that paragraph, which the reader of that paragraph can create for themselves in a flash. You now have to set out every single breath of what's in your head in concrete terms for everyone from the actors to the lighting crew to the set designers to the wardrobe crew to the storyboard artist turning your ideas into each and every camera shot and exact actor's mark on the carpet.
This is why "I've got this great idea, you just have to write it, and we split it 50-50..." is so nauseating for writers. We see those ficlets, and we love them, and we rejoice at people who would not call themselves writers tossing out yet another new idea into the mix, and making everyone squee. But there's a noteable difference between that and ongoing sustained effort. And now we can point to tumblr and say, "Look. If I want ideas from outside myself, I have a literal thousand to choose from. Why do I need yours?"
* One of my current novel ideas is spawned by a series of posts deconstructing another popular book, AND by the commentary and mini-fanfics and fix-fics caused by that deconstruction. I really really enjoy these things.
If you disapprove of politicians beating up journalists (or winking at other politicians' beating up journalists) and have some spare cash, one possible action would be to contribute to the Guardian -- whose journalist, Ben Jacobs, got beaten up.
There are various options for becoming a member and paying a regular subscription, but you can also make a one-off contribution.
Although they're a British newspaper, their coverage of US issues is very very strong.
They would like to note (in an e-mail sent out to members) that they recently ran pieces including GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies and Trump diehards stay loyal in Montana's 'white man's country' – video:
In that interview, the Guardian's west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, challenged Gianforte over his support of Trump's executive order that threatens more than two dozen national monuments in America, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.
Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's roundup of the shiniest toys currently threatening that pile of money you have in your back account. This week we’ve got an insanely detailed Wolverine figure, Spider-Man: Homecoming’s weirdest new Spider-tech made robo-flesh, and some unique DC comics statuettes. Hide your wallets!
Pasta might not make you think “science.” But then again, you’ve probably haven’t shouted “holy shit” while you watched it curl up before your eyes.