What I read
The only thing I finished in the past week was Jo Walton, Necessity (2016), which perhaps I didn't enjoy quite as much as the preceding two volumes - though at some time I must reread the entire trilogy.
On the go
Still making my way through the Merrill Theory of Lit'ry Criticism, which is very good, though, by the nature of thing - collected prefaces, editorial matter in anthologies, review columns, essays - has a certain amount of repetition. But lots of great insights and a substantial degree of plus ca change, in her accounts of the tensions between the Old Thing and the New Thing in sf, the nostalgia for the gosh-wow of adolescent encounters with the genre vs the pushing of the boundaries, questions of style/substance, etc.
Also making my way through Chris Kraus, I Love Dick (1998, recently reissued). Which is weird and amazing autofiction, around her infatuation with an acquaintance of herself and her husband - lots of interesting stuff, including How To Suppress Women's Creative Endeavours, inverting the usual gendered muse narrative - I am slightly amused by the one star reviews on GoodReads that are horrified by this and her 'stalkery' behaviour, when I think that this obsession with someone known only slightly who becomes a major figure in the imagination is such a trope the other way round. It's using the situation in a very knowing way. I'm a bit irked by the use of the schizophrenia metaphor in the section I've just read, which I think is awfully Laingian romanticisation that I suspect one wouldn't use these days. I'm a bit surprised that when she and her husband (at one point I was, the whole thing is just finding a way to leave him and their relationship) are citing all sorts of literary/other cultural analogues, that they don't name-check Liasons Dangereuses...
No idea. Possibly something a bit lighter...
To the launch of a book about the Woodcraft Folk, in which, as my dearios may know, I have a research interest.
I'm not sure I was even aware that there was such a thing as the Woodcraft Folk when I was a young thing: the Scouts and the Guides, along with Brownies and Wolf Cubs, seemed to have the place pretty much sewn up.
And I am somewhat of a mind to suppose that had I been sent to the Woodcraft Folk rather than the Brownies and the Guides, my reaction, which was towards the apathetic end of the spectrum, it was a thing one seemed to be obliged to do but I had no great enthusiasm about or commitment to, would have been much the same.
It is one of those things that I consider perfectly okay, even admirable, per se, but really, not per me (see also, the Brixton Squats and everything in common including underwear).
(Struck me, listening to the talks at the launch, to wonder whether anyone has ever written a children's/YA book based on the party of Woodcraft Folk who went to an international camp in 1939, and smuggled back as part of their group Czech children with no passports or papers whose parents were under imminent Nazi threat.)
But there are lots of things like that: that I am glad that are in the world, or at least, I have no objection to their presence in the world, but my own feeling is 'thank you, I would prefer not to'.
Mrs Angela Leadsom, who lived across the street from Mr Smith, and who didn't usually see eye to eye with him, agreed that children were really important in that they gave a politician a real stake in the country.
And a Mr Simon Hughes from Bermondsey, who'd been a neighbour of Mr Smith and Mrs Leadsom up until last May, agreed with them both. "A lot of times in politics you're faced with really difficult choices. But once or twice in your lifetime, there's a straight choice and when you have a straight choice, it's quite clear what you have to do about it."
As a matter of fact, one of the contenders for Labour party leader in 2016 resorting to the tactics which were so effective in 1983 against his (married but to a woman so doesn't really count as "normal" and childless so what did I tell you about lack of stake in the future?) rival in the Labour leadership fight Angela Eagle wasn't even the weirdest thing happening in The Shit-Show Formerly Known As British Politics This Week.
Welcome to the Cabaret! Where to start?
David Davis the minister in charge of Brexiting apparently thinks the United Kingdom's borders are as they were in 1921, which I imagine means most of Ireland has suddenly switched over to 100% renewable energy as the corpses of Dev and Michael Collins compete to rotate the quicker.
Then Theresa May told Boris that he had to have room-mates at Chevening (I tell you, it's going to be The Young Ones meets The New Stateman) and also that he'd have to drop the Telegraph column. It's been an expensive promotion for Boris; while he dismissed the £250,000 loss of his columnist gig as "chicken-feed*" (leading to queries as to what the fuck he's feading them damn birds?) he's also had to withdraw from a £500K book deal for a biography of Shakespeare because of time pressures. And he's also been packed off to deal with an autocratic Turkish president prone to suing people for comparing him to Gollum. Which, to be fair, Boris hasn't. Oh, go on, you write one limerick describing a foreign Head of State as a goatfucker and you never hear the last of it.
In other news, as well as chopping his weekend pad off at the knees, it looks as if (h/t caulkhead) Theresa May has outsourced Boris's transport to OJS Airlines: All flights to and from airport are grounded as aircraft carrying new foreign secretary experiences technical fault (unless you take the Flanders and Swann line that "untraced technical fault" means "can't find the radio operator">)
I think that's everything, but wait five minutes.
*It's almost precisely £100K per annum more than he gets as Foreign Secretary, including his MP's salary.
Re contender in Labour Party leadership contest claiming himself as normal because he has a wife and children.
(NB: does Maureen Colquhoun not count as first out lesbian MP in the UK because she was outed?)
Let's face it, few politicians in any party have been quite so philoprogenitive as George Lansbury (12 children! 12! 10 survived to adulthood, which was probably extremely good going for Bow at the period).
I suppose indicating that you have a wife and children is to prevent any suggestions that actually you nurture a gigantic FLEA upon blood in the secrecy of your bedchamber (yes, I did see Tale of Tales recently) or are an android that plugs itself into the mains at night to recharge?
But really, this emphasis upon women's involuntary or chosen childlessness is beginning to sound weirdly anthropological: WOE, the land will become WASTE, just like it did under Elizabeth I - oh, wait.
I think I've got the factory-default uterus setup pretty well covered, but I want to make sure that I am representing (as best I can) trans people who *don't* have that set of factory-default anatomy, and their/your concerns about accessing gynaecological health care.
If you would be willing to drop me a line about your thoughts, in comments here or in private message or in e-mail, I would be super grateful. <3