It’s time for my monthly link roundup. Some of these, by the way, are taken directly from Skepchick’s newly returned Quickies feature. The Skepchick team sure knows how to find the links.
The Unbearable Irrelevance of Contemporary Music (video) – So, I’m one of those extremely rare people with a marginal interest in contemporary classical music despite having no connection to the academic music world. What can I say, I like avant-garde, drone, and xenharmonic music, and contemporary classical is one of the places you can find such things. All the same, contemporary classical is the most frustrating genre. We’re not just talking inaccessibility in terms of the music itself (although there’s that), but also recordings are literally inaccessible, and discovery mechanisms are absent. Ask me in the comments and I’ll rant further.
In my humble opinion, as a former academic in a different field, this is a failure of the academic organizations. I don’t really know how music departments operate, but they have clearly never placed enough value on outreach.
The war to free science – Holy shit, I hadn’t realized that the University of California system stopped paying for Elsevier access. That’s a huge deal, Elsevier owned a large fraction of articles that I accessed in my own academic career. Elsevier basically has a monopoly on a very inelastic good. I looked into it and apparently academics can still access most Elsevier articles, they just can’t digitally access articles published in 2019.
Supreme Court Says Constitution Does Not Bar Partisan Gerrymandering (NYT) – Like the title says, The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of all partisan gerrymandering. This is absurd, disenfranchisement on a massive scale.
The Anita Sarkeesian story – It’s a long biopic of Anita Sarkeesian, the kind that we could only get many years after her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. One thing I had not realized was that the first season (which featured longer episodes) was the product of a collaboration between her and Jonathan McIntosh (aka the Pop Culture Detective), and they parted ways in the second season. Personally I liked the first season better, but the punchier style of the second season also has its appeal.
Gay Fanfiction (video) – Sarah articulately discusses some of the reasons why so much fanfiction is based on m/m pairings. One commonly cited explanation, is that fanfic writers are predominantly straight women who are attracted to men, but this is not entirely true. AO3 surveys have shown that a lot of fanfic writers are LGBTQ+. For further (or shorter) reading, you might be interested in this 2013 discussion of why M/M is disproportionately represented, and why F/F pairings are so rare.
LGBTQ Rights Still Have a Long Way to Go – This is Tris Mamone’s rebuttal to a recent article in The Atlantic arguing that the struggle for gay rights is over. Tris is too kind. The Atlantic article is a combination of crass minimization of the challenges to gay rights, and a crass dismissal of (and active bigotry against) all other LGBTQ groups. Dude, it’s okay to observe that things have gotten better, but that doesn’t justify the rest of this garbage.
I find it funny how the Atlantic article is just so puzzled by the presence of a workshop about asexuality in the National LGBTQ Taskforce conference. He obviously didn’t attend the workshop, or he’d know why it was there. Queer conferences have always covered a range of topics, and not just marriage equality. Asexuality workshops have been in that conference since 2012 (I was a panelist in 2013), years before same-sex marriage was legalized in the US in 2015. I have to conclude that this guy had never been to a queer conference before, he’s just mystified by the most basic observations.