Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things (This Week)

In lieu of boring you with a long post of my boring borepinions, I thought I'd recommend some truly great shit to you with prodigious use of links and short, palatable bursts of borepinions.

Here is my current favorite...

-answer to people who claim America is not a fascist state.

-new song (well, new to me): “Punchlines” by Mates of State—catchiest bastard ever, especially the second half. It’s definitely worth a dollar.

-peon: Carla Bird, a TV assistant, actually collected her overtime. I’m so impressed with this woman and her refusal to be exploited by her employers. As a publishing assistant, it was made clear to me that no one ever collected overtime and an attempt to do so would basically be viewed as an act of aggression against the company. This is so completely typical in the media and entertainment industries. Also sadly typical is that it is mainly young women who take these low-paying, long-hours assistant jobs, maybe because (if I may editorialize a bit) they tend to place less value on their skills and abilities in the workplace than young men do. In my experience, when young men do take assistant positions they get promoted much faster, probably because they speak up more and aren’t afraid to push for what they want. One hard-working female editorial assistant I knew, certainly no shrinking violet herself, was passed over for promotion twice. Each time she was told to “wait and see” for six months and maybe there’d be opportunity for her to advance then. It was only the third time she was given the same line that she quit and found a new, much better job that rewarded her work. I don’t know any guy in publishing who would “wait and see” even once.

Anyway, this is all to say, Carla Bird, you are one brave, smart cookie. Nice work. May you be given your own TV show to run one day and your own assistants to not-exploit.

-baby replacement: Gorillas are now critically endangered. I don’t know why this bothers me so much more than, say, the same information about snow leopards. Maybe because “Gorillas in the Mist” was my favorite movie when I was little. In any case, you can “adopt” a gorilla (or a snow leopard, if that’s your thing) through the WWF. The money goes towards helping gorillas and you get an adoption certificate (adoption: so hot right now!) and, if you’re a big spender, a stuffed gorilla. The perfect gift for the childless spinster in your life.

-hater: Even though it shit talks my future ex-husband, I must insist that you read this essay about Brooklyn Books of Wonder. This is precisely what is wrong with popular literary novels now. The author’s points are scathing and spot-on and nothing short of revelatory for me as a writer and a reader. If I taught a class right now, this would be on the syllabus.

If I were a doctor and this, a disease, my prescription would be Mary Gaitskill.



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