Tea With Chris: Controlling Forces

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Margaux: A great, rigourous article by Lynn Crosbie about the Joker in the Christopher Nolan movies and cinematic/real-world violence. I had been a little bit irritated to see recently that The Dark Knight Rises was still playing at the multiplex. I saw that movie with Chris and Carl, which was fun, Carl continuously shaking his head throughout. But the movie, which is filled with so much thoughtlessness and conservatism,  seemed like it was written by two guys in a room – two guys who don’t have the kind of friends who like to read screenplays and give good feedback. You’d think you’d be able to pay a lot of people for feedback with 300 million dollars. Maybe that’s why everyone in the movie was talking so quietly.

I just read another good rigourous article this morning by Kao Kalia Yang about her trouble with Radiolab. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s really interesting.

My friend Mark Grief over at N+1  will soon be releasing a book called The Trouble is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street. The book is edited together from letters written by Americans to bank executives and directors. In Mark’s words: “I was determined that once we made this book, we would try to put it into the hands of those bankers, and also every Republican and Democratic politician who needed to hear these citizens’ words”. You can pre-order the book here. “Any profits from this book (and all your donations) will go to getting this book to people who need the call of conscience or inspiration, or will be re-donated to campaigns for economic justice, debt relief, or charity.”

Speaking of controlling forces: people’s fear can be very, very funny – best scared bros at a haunted hause of 2012.

Carl: I want to second Margaux’s endorsement of the Yang piece on Radiolab. It’s a really instructive parable of how people with good intentions can go deeply wrong, or perhaps better put, how people who think they always have good intentions can acquire bad intentions and refuse to admit it.

Speaking of well-intentioned, I don’t remember when I first ran across Free to Be … You and Me in my life. I certainly knew a couple of the songs (for better or worse, “It’s All Right to Cry” got down deep) but I think they were second-hand, via Mr. Rogers or something. We didn’t have quite the sophisticated liberal-feminist connections in Brantford, Ont., to bring the news from NYC, and by the time it likely did reach there I was too old. But I know a lot of people for whom it was kind of a childhood bible, and though I laugh at its hippie earnestness a bit, I like how those people turned out. Reading Dan Kois’s 40th-anniversary retrospective series in Slate is illuminating, primarily as a reminder of how we’ve forgotten how big a part of second-wave feminism was concerned with child-rearing issues. Looking at Kois’s evidence, it seems to me like the revolution succeeded in loosening up the strictures of girlhood somewhat, but that boyhood remains a lot more narrow than the Free to Be types hoped. That doll-play is still verboten, for instance. You might argue that this was because boys were boys and already had everything they wanted, and that’s what male privilege means. That’s not quite how I experienced it as a not-so-gender-conforming boy (see my previous post), but that might not be quite so solvable a syndrome, for the outliers.

Yet if that’s true, why does it feel like we now have a couple of generations in which so many women do seem to have a more expansive, inclusive view of the world and yet feel faced with an unending parade of trolls and rape-culture douchebags? Is this some unstoppable biological or cultural gap, or could it just be that there’s a lot more boy-rearing revolutionizing to be done? Not sure, but revisiting a point when people were super-hopeful, perhaps even foolishly hopeful, feels valuable in that light.

Otherwise I am just following election news and thinking about everything they don’t talk about. Sigh.

Chris: A few days ago I was thinking about how somebody began their year by trying to make “babu” catch on as a rap neologism. “You’re my babu, my baby and my boo.”

Jason draws Nancy of Nancy a la Lynch.

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