Elsewhere for March 12, 2023

You should read this for 3/12/20232:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletAdults complained about a teen theater production and the show’s creators stepped in.

Rehearsals were going well. But about three weeks in, the director, music teacher Vanessa Allen, got an email from the Cardinal Schools’ Superintendent asking why he was hearing about the school musical. “And he mentioned something about inappropriate content,” says Allen.
There is some dispute over what the objections were. Allen says she was told school board officials’ concerns included “sexual innuendo” and “the gay dads.”

decorative leaf bulletBBC will not broadcast Attenborough episode over fear of ‘rightwing backlash’

Senior sources at the BBC told the Guardian that the decision not to show the sixth episode was made to fend off potential critique from the political right. This week the Telegraph newspaper attacked the BBC for creating the series and for taking funding from “two charities previously criticised for their political lobbying” – the WWF and RSPB.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletThomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow Turns 50 – by Ted Gioia:

decorative leaf bulletMan Who Painted ‘Groomer’ on Libraries Caught With Child Pornography, Police Say

Libraries around the country face increasing threats from right-wing activists and extremists who call staff “groomers”—accusing them of pedophilia—because they offer books that feature LGBTQ+ narratives or characters, or host queer-friendly events like drag queen storytimes. Dozens of libraries have been threatened with bomb or active shooter threats. In Florida, some school bookshelves stand empty, as teachers hide books to avoid felony charges after they were ordered to “remove or cover all classroom libraries until all materials can be reviewed” for “prurient” or “offensive” material. Right-wing activists and Republican lawmakers are attempting to group any books that include LGBTQ+ themes into these criminal definitions.


decorative leaf bulletA Florida School Board Member Speaks Out About Being Targeted by DeSantis

My concern about book banning, which is a cornerstone of fascism, is that we already have a policy in place that if a parent is not happy with a book or a lesson plan, they merely have to speak to their teacher and the teacher will not allow the book to be checked out of the media center for that student. Or, if there’s a lesson plan, the teacher will substitute a different lesson for that student. So why is it that any parent feels that they have the right to speak on behalf of other parents’ rights for their child to read a book or have a lesson? That’s just pure politics and fascism. Plain and simple.

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Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletMy grandmother’s indulgent recipes show how Indian women express their love

Labour-intensive recipes, from yakhni pulao to kucho gojas, were my grandmother’s speciality in a culture where cooking can be a form of artistry and self expression for women.

decorative leaf bulletHow fake sugars sneak into foods and disrupt metabolic health


H/T hollie: decorative leaf bulletThe Sooner We Start Thinking of the College Board as a Business, the Better by Jon Boeckenstedt

What people didn’t know then, and what they still seem not to understand now, even as the entity is in the news for the ongoing controversy over Florida’s involvement in amending the Advanced Placement curriculum in African American studies, is that the College Board is a business, despite its lofty mission statement, which suggests that it’s about “connect[ing] students to college success and opportunity.” Yes, it’s a not-for-profit business, but not-for-profit does not mean that it’s a charity. In fact, it’s about the furthest thing from a charity that you can imagine. Not-for-profit does not mean that it’s altruistic in its purpose; it simply means that excess revenue as profit is not distributed to private owners or shareholders but rather held by the company. (There was a brief period when the College Board changed its web domain from .org to .com, perhaps revealing more of itself than it should have, but this misstep was quickly corrected.)

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletIt’s not a darning tool, it’s a very naughty toy: Roman dildo found Contemporary humans sometimes seem to believe they invented sex, They didn’t.

decorative leaf bulletRoman shrine discovered near Leicester cathedral graveyard

“There’s always been a tradition that the cathedral was built on a Roman temple, based on antiquarian discoveries in the 19th Century,’ said Mathew Morris, excavation director for the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services (ULAS) which carried out the dig.

“We’re now finding a Roman building that looks like it had a shrine status to it.
“There are no tests that can prove what it was. That it was a shrine is the most likely theory, but there aren’t really any others.”
He added he believed it was likely used as part of a shrine to a god like Mithra, Dionysus or Isis.

Politics and Society

decorative leaf bulletSo, a Top Guardian Editor Was Married to the Founder of Mumsnet

Seriously: When do you ever just sit and think about the fact that Ian Katz of the Guardian (recently boycotted for its transphobia) and the BBC (routinely protested for its transphobia) was married to Justine Roberts of Mumsnet (a primary radicalizing hub for UK transphobia) for twenty-five years? Most people don’t! I didn’t, until I heard it from the poet Roz Kaveney during an interview. It got trimmed from that piece, and I have been trying to wedge it into different pieces ever since, to no avail. Sometimes, when I talk to other trans people, I will mention that a top Guardian and/or BBC editor was married to the founder of Mumsnet; almost always, when I mention this, I will find out that they didn’t know.

Science and Nature

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decorative leaf bulletVinyl overtakes CD sales for the first time since 1987

No longer just a niche hobby for dads and hipsters, vinyl is experiencing a major resurgence in mainstream music. According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) annual revenue report, vinyl records outsold CDs in the US last year for the first time since 1987, selling 41 million units against 33 million for CD.

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletWhen the words won’t come. This is my life with aphasia.

Within days of my injury, I could unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth and create an odd sound every now and then, but I couldn’t communicate in any traditional sense. I felt like a human radio pumping out static — with sporadic bursts of clarity.

decorative leaf bulletJapan’s military ignored her sexual assault claims, so she went public

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletDiscreetly, and at peril, Russian volunteers help Ukrainian refugees

“My relatives told me I need to go out to protest and I said I don’t think it’ll be easier for you if I’m fined and then jailed. They agreed with me,” the Ukrainian-born volunteer explained. “So volunteering was the only way for me.”

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletA dying baby turtle survived after drifting 4,000 miles to Ireland

A family strolling on a beach in Ireland earlier this month spotted a seafarer that had washed up on the rocks. Her body was battered. She was dehydrated, suffering from hypothermia and in danger of having her eyes pecked out by shorebirds.

Death was close.

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