Friday Reading S02E13

Unlucky episode thirteen. Every article in this blog post is secretly cursed in some way. Read them to discover what the curse is…

I put aside my ridiculous franchise toys to read the internet for a bit and found these words of wisdom…


“Fandom is not really about entertainment – it’s about identity, society, and change. We all belong to a fandom – something we identify with, and something that we use to build friendship networks, and to change the world around us. Fandoms are assumed to be the kind of thing you do in your teens and then grow out of, but as the tweet I sent above shows, any group that strongly identifies culturally around a common object is a fandom. Fandoms exist around Jeremy Clarkson as much as they do around Harry Styles.”

Why fandoms make a difference” – Matt Locke

Politics, social media, and bias, bias, bias…

Lovely piece from Isabel Hardman talking about the current “brittle” phase Twitter is going through if you are a journalist who writes about politics. Under the relentless onslaught of partisan SNP, Ukip and Corbyn supporters I can see why some have given up or started finding it less useful than before…

…but equally important food for thought…

“It’s no coincidence that the current trend for editors wanting to direct the conversation away from comments sections and onto social media correlates exactly with journalists’ growing dissatisfaction at the level of discourse on social media. Comments sections are easy to avoid when you know where they are. But when anyone can actively approach you on Facebook or Twitter to tell you that your review of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet was a fucking disgrace and that you wouldn’t know good acting if it sat on your face you miserable feminazi, then suddenly it seems desperately unwise to have ever wanted to encourage people to take that conversation out onto the unregulated wilds of social media.”

Trash Talk”, Popbitch

Talking of all that, I counted “the 25 different ways that BBC Question Time was accused of bias on Twitter last night


“My first reaction was that the National Anthem business was a ridiculous non-story, one that could be laughed off. On the contrary, while it may have been trivial and petty, it was also symbolic. It was a test. And it was a test that Jeremy Corbyn passed with flying colours.”

Why Corbyn’s silent National Anthem does actually matter” – Ally Fogg

Tube strikes are good for you?

Did the tube strike improve London’s economy?” – study shows that one effect of Tube strikes is that being forced to walk or take buses or use other alternative methods ends up with 5% of commuters optimising their journeys and saving themselves time in the future.

Games and tech and gender and games and gender and tech and kids

“The best films generally feature complex, fully developed characters with diverse perspectives. So when female characters are one-dimensional tropes, the film suffers for it—in much the same way a film suffers when any of its main characters are one-dimensional tropes (and/or tiny, fuzzy bears). And when a character who’s supposed to be smart makes dumb choices—like running away from dinosaurs in high heels—it hurts the realism of the film (just like when tiny bears are able to take down Stormtroopers by throwing rocks at them).”

If you like Return Of The Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism” – Caroline Siede

“Knowing who you are isn’t just an intimidation tactic, it’s used as a vector to dig up additional information to harass and terrorize you with. This digging and invasion of privacy is done in a way that dredges up deeply personal histories, past traumas, or lives someone has long since left behind. They dug up and distributed old, private photos of me before I transitioned, pictures of my family members that passed away, pictures of my friends and associates — the kind of stuff you’re not cognizant about if you don’t realize you’ll be targeted by a hate group ten years down the road. Many of my loved ones received threats as a result of this, sometimes involving their home addresses. They hacked into sites I own, emailed advertisers attempting to get them to pull out.”

I’m Sarah Nyberg, and I Was A Teenage Edgelord” – Sarah Nyberg

This glove lets someone else control your hand – and it even works on dead people” – so much nope.

“The argument over whether to intervene early or wait and see how a child’s gender identity develops naturally is so polarised, with such potentially serious implications, that it can be baffling – terrifying – for the families caught in the middle. Whatever the correct balance, medical intervention alone cannot ensure that transgender children become healthy, happy adults. More than anything else, transgender children need resilience; even if their family accepts them, and however tolerant we are as a society, they will need enormous strength to manage the choices and challenges they will face as they grow up and form relationships.”

Transgender children: ‘This is who he is – I have to respect that’” – Jenny Kleeman, The Guardian

“The way any culture talks about its future says more about their present than it does about anything else…The kitchens of the future are inevitably full of these kinds of devices , as much as they’re both devoid of a real sense of human behavior, and tied to old-fashioned ideas about domesticity and the division of labor. But these videos and presentations are fantasies — they’re unconstrained by reality, technical limitations, or cost. So why can’t their designers break away from domestic roles that have long been outdated?”

– “Why the ‘Kitchen of the Future’ Always Fails Us” – Rose Eveleth


Swing low etc

It all starts today at Twickenham, but how well do you actually know the laws of Rugby?