in media res
Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity. In addition to going by the name the Man Book Club, for instance, Mr. McCullough’s group expresses its notion of manliness through the works it chooses to read. “We do not read so-called chick lit,” he said. “The main character cannot be a woman.”
There’s also a real problem with setting up a book club devoted to manliness in which writing by women is excluded. Because the fact is, in my experience as a man and (dare I admit) a reader, the most daring, thoughtful, and insightful discussions of masculinity have been written by women.
This isn’t some sort of bizarre accident. It’s rooted in the same cultural givens which led some significant number of men to think that they’d look more manly if they put the word “MANLY” in the title of their book group. Women, for their own well-being, have to know how masculinity and the patriarchy work; men, for their own perceived well-being, have to keep themselves ignorant.
There’s a hashtag, because of course there’s a hashtag. #ManlyBookClubNames. The Gripes of Wrath is simple yet beautiful and destined to become a classic.
Speaking of the New York Times, it’s come up with a rather odd / inspired plan to deliver ingredients to people’s homes so they can cook the recipes it prints. Go on, get those jokes about snackable content out of your system now.
I’m not a large media conglomerate so I can’t get into the headspace where launching a print publication in February 2016 for an audience who have ‘fallen out of love with newspapers’ was a good idea, especially as the same group shuttered Ampp3d and UsvsThem just under a year ago. Both of these are now widely and mostly badly copied across the digital publishing industry but, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Apple steals your music. Or does it? Either way, get used to the concept of renting, consumers. I’m comfortable with regarding the cloud as someone else’s hard drive they’ve lent to me in exchange for some personal information, and using it as such, but when the cloud wants to tidy up my hard drive I feel the cloud may have overstepped the mark a bit.
Finally, there may be a totally unstable government cobbled together in Ireland later today. Everything points to it being powered primarily by neo-liberal garbage juice. So there’s a cheery thought for your weekend.
Yours etc., @loughlin
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