August 17, 2014

Books Recommending People

I was warned, though, that stalkers are clever and may pretend to read your favourite book to spark your interest! So beware :)

{Image source: By Jelizawjeta P. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons}
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August 16, 2014

Book Review || Feminist Literary History by Janet Todd

Janet Todd's Feminist Literary History is an excellent overview of early Anglo-American feminist criticism, particularly with regards to its early history, and to how it differs.

She takes a look at notable publications by the likes of Elaine Showalter, Kate Millett, Julia Kristeva, and many more, pointing out the positives and negatives of their arguments, but intending to show how the early feminist criticism was hostilely attacked from feminist and non-feminist arenas.

She summarises her main points best in her introduction: Her look at the history of early feminist criticism reviews in particular the rereadings of Lacan, Freud and Derrida to demolish traditional binary oppositions, while they still hold firmly to the importance of the penis for the development of these binaries and of language. She also questions how psychoanalysis has taken away the political reins of the original feminist movement and turned the horse's head to focus on interiority - a feminine trait indeed - and family rather than opening wide canonical texts to expose conservative workings of culture.

One of the most interesting features of this book was Todd's look at Mary Wollstonecraft, whose temporal location in history provided for her a background in enlightenment that was hopeful, yet at the same time bound her in her gender that left her confused, and made her writings seem too much to desire the position of dominance her male contemporaries revelled in. However, Todd states Wollstonecraft was claiming the only power aristocratic females had in hand in her time; where male aristocrats were supremely active, she claimed the feminine sexual power of passivity as her own in her writings.

Todd's second to last chapter looks at how men in feminist criticism have claimed their place in the negotiations for female power, but morosely admits that for the most part, it had been turned around to become an investigation into what was masculine, and finally concentrated on how homosexuality was also a victim in the world of hegemonic masculinity.

In her conclusion, Todd calls for feminist literary study to be recognised as the study of women affecting and becoming part of culture at particular sociohistorical times, and urges male feminists to read women as part of their studies, too.

Of course, this book was published way back in 1991, and it may be safe to assume that gender studies today makes a more far-reaching area for debate on gender.
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August 11, 2014

Purebred Cruelty

Wikimedia Commons\Aobranc
I recently attended the World of Dogs and Cats in Johannesburg over a week ago. I enjoy going; I like to see all the different breeds of cats and dogs, watch some animals frolic with their owners in the competitions, and just generally look around.

I haven't been to the expo in quite some time, and this time around, I could not get a dis-eased feeling out of my stomach. The trained dogs barked and played with their owners, running after balls and through hoops and climbing through obstacle courses, and though I smiled, I still felt dis-eased. Walking through the cat hall, the prim and proper flat faces of Persians lined the desks, and I couldn't help feeling dis-eased, especially when my mom reached out to pet one of the cats, and the owner said, "Please don't! He's about to be judged!" When I took a peek at the show budgies, I looked at their squashed-in beaks, wondered how they breathed with hardly any nostrils, and felt dis-eased.

I think my issue this year was the result of a ViralNova article I read about how purebred dogs and cats and other animals are merely human-enhanced; that is, their deformed, genetic mutations have been taken advantage of to meet the "breed standards" of a select few, and usually result in short lives of pain for the animals in question. With certain characteristics becoming associated with certain breeds, those characteristics were encouraged by inbreeding, and more inbreeding, so that the Persian cat's nose is just-so, the bull terrier's snout is just-so, the pug can hardly breathe through its tiny snout, the sloping back of the Alsatian is its painful bane, the bulldog can only give birth through Caesarian section because the puppies' heads are too big, and most "purebred" animals have shortened lifespans as a result of cancer, bone and spine issues, sensitive stomachs, and much more.

So, like College Humor (below) says, give me a little mongrel any day. At least he'll share more than six years with me.

{Image source: Wikimedia Commons\Aobranc}
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August 1, 2014

Giraffe's Death Ruined My Friday

I was enjoying my Friday, because I was surprised that it was Friday, until I heard the news about a giraffe killed on the N1 highway because it hit its head on a bridge.

I would love to know who thought it would be a good idea to let the heads of these animals stick out above the truck. It's such an illogical thing to do, I have to wonder if the person who told the drivers they could go was of sane mind.

I don't believe the neglect was purposeful, but it's the apathetic not-my-problem attitude that permeates the accident that has my blood boiling. It's because this attitude of it's-not-my-job is one of the reasons the world is the way it is today. No one takes responsibility for anything, because it's always someone else's responsibility.

People on social networks were also outraged by the incident:

I think the outrage is more intense in South Africa, because we already have to deal with reports that over 1,000 rhinos were killed in 2013 alone because of demand from the Asian black market for the supposed horn that is proven not to solve the sexual problems of its buyers, and that the killing of our rhinos is ongoing. We hear about our pangolin being eaten to extinction and its scales sold in the thousands on the black market because they are believed to be a miracle cure. We have to deal with hunters coming from the West revelling in canned lion hunting because, you know, they paid for the right. We've just recently heard about the first two elephants poached for ivory in our country since forever.

And then we have this blatant ignorance, or apathy, or uncaring attitude that carelessly transports such beautiful and dignified animals without a further thought than how much they're going to be paid at the end of the day.

Well, I hope you're sued for animal cruelty and neglect. I hope your pay goes into paying for your idiocy. Even though it won't make up for the loss of a life.
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