Welcome to another edition of the Weekly Reader, where I share interesting links with you. Got a hot story? Just drop a link in the comments!
ALL THE TIMES NORTH KOREA PROMISED TO DENUCLEARIZE (from Wired): “But this is not the first time North Korea has promised to abandon its nuclear efforts. (In truth, even this was simply a reaffirmation of a denuclearization pledge Kim had already made in April.) Nor is it the second time, or the third. The offer has resurfaced over the past several decades with surprising regularity. And it has never panned out so far.”
‘Barbaric’: America’s cruel history of separating children from their parents (from the Washington Post): “Until the end of the Civil War, it was common for slave owners to rip families apart by selling the children or the parents to other slave owners.”
High School Valedictorian’s Mic Cut Off When She Talked About Her Own Sexual Assault (from the Mary Sue): “Seitz was told that her speech had to be pre-approved, and anything negative in her draft would have barred her from speaking. Seitz had to fight just to include a passage on the teacher’s strike, which the school had originally blocked. “They pulled me out of my last class in high school to say ‘You can’t speak about how we treat sexual assault victims,’” she said.”
Netflix Cheekily Promotes Thor: Ragnarok, Forgets Someone Very Important (from the Mary Sue): “Yet there was another attractive Ragnarok star and fan favorite character who was not featured in the Tweet. Loki fans—and fans of actor Tom Hiddleston—were not about to take this one lying down.”
Saying Something Is Problematic Doesn’t Mean You’re Not a Fan (from the Mary Sue): “For me, the value of a book, especially a good book, is not entirely wrapped up in the politics of it. There are very few things I actually judge entirely on being problematic—shocking, I know—and I think the term “problematic favs” exists for that very reason, but it doesn’t mean we put our heads in the sand and ignore it just because we want to hold on to that innocence.”
One of the Guys (from Slate): “The first time I came across a group for women and nonbinary people, it was soon after I’d come out as a trans man. The group was a queer meetup organized by a friend of mine, and there was room in it for transgender women, cisgender women, and nonbinary people of any presentation or birth-assigned gender. Transgender and cisgender men were not invited. Since then I’ve come across other events, parties, groups, and spaces that bill themselves as being for women and nonbinary people. There are remarkably few spaces, though, that cater to trans and cis men, and nonbinary transmasculine folks.”
Veterinarian Suicides Reflect Quiet Professional Crisis (from the Independent): “Multiple studies in recent years have revealed disproportionately elevated rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among veterinarians in the United States. Their suicide rate is four times higher than the general population — higher than any other white-collar field. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of 10,000 practicing veterinarians showed they displayed signs of serious mental illness and feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness two to three times as often as the rest of the population. Similar statistics have been reported in Great Britain and Australia.”
The Deadly Incel Movement’s Absurd Pop Culture Roots (from Medium): “By the time r/incels was shut down, it had at least 40,000 members. To understand how it got this bad, you have to understand how the manosphere first erupted into the mainstream: Not as a scandal, but as a joke.”
We need to talk about the woke droid (from Vox–Warning! Solo spoilers so read at your own risk!): “The full meaning of this two-tiered caste system was never really interrogated in that film, and the subsequent films over the past four decades have largely played down the thick earlier references to slavery and racism. Were the droids supposed to represent an oppressed racial class? Were they a suggestion that sentient beings ultimately need an underclass, but it’s okay if that underclass is artificial? The franchise largely let these questions go. At least, it did until the recent installment, Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
After racist ‘Star Wars’ fans reportedly drove Kelly Marie Tran from Instagram, Disney needs to respond (from NBC News): “Obviously, the vast majority of “Star Wars” fans are not abusive trolls. But it only takes a vocal minority to ruin the brand. To prevent this, Disney and Lucasfilm need to step up and loudly quash this nonsense. They have to issue press releases stating what should be obvious: that “Star Wars” is not here to cater to the whims of the white male fan, and thus anyone who feels differently is not a true fan of the franchise. They have to state, upfront, that any harassment of cast members will not be tolerated. They have to stop worrying about “alienating older fans” of the franchise. And they have to do it soon.”
Why are (some) Star Wars fans so toxic? (from the Guardian–Warning! Contains spoilers!): “From Comic Book Guy to Tim from Spaced screaming at that small boy about The Phantom Menace, fantasy and sci-fi have always gone hand-in-hand with a kind of boundless enthusiasm that doesn’t apply to other genres. And this is what makes being a sci-fi fan brilliant. If you want to sign a harmless petition to have The Last Jedi removed from Star Wars canon, then that is entirely your choice. But what’s happening to Kelly Marie Tran is different, and it’s important not to casually conflate good, honest, red-cheeked arguments about Star Wars and geek culture as a whole with these isolated yet incandescent pockets of racism, homophobia or sexism. It’s the same gulf that exists between a football fan and a hooligan. Sci-fi is the vehicle for their bigotry, not the cause.”
And that should do it for this week. Drop by next week, same time, same blog, and find more articles to peruse. Until then, happy reading!