5 Quick Things: April 2020

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

Caliban and the Witch

I read a lot of books, but I don’t tend to recommend them. Both because I mostly read non-fiction, which I generally think people are uninterested in, but also because I read really complex non-fiction which you can’t usually just jump into as a layperson making it doubly inaccessible and uninteresting to a general audience. However, every now and then I run across a book which is complex enough to be interesting to me but accessible enough not to have to have a 301 course on that subject to pick it up and that’s what Caliban and the Witch is.

Part history, part spiritual, part cultural this book goes into so many different areas with its ideas that it tied together a bunch of thoughts for me and helped introduce new ways of thinking about the world we live in. I like books like this which exist at a the cross section of culture so we can try to untangle some of the ideas about the world. I think it’s easy to mistake “things we have always done” for the natural world and books like this tease the two apart in such an interesting way.

It’s also fasinating think of the witch hunts now that we have that may be running similar paraelle structures, albeit with less dying (though still some dying). Something about repeating history we don’t learn I suppose.

>Number Two<

Fanfiction and Time

I’ve been on the internet for my entire life. The first time I dialed in to the internet I was probably three or four and I’ve had daily access to the internet since I was 6. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea ever but I think I turned out okay.

One of my favorite things that the internet has given me is fanfiction though. When I discovered fanfiction at age 10 (in the dark ages of 1996), it was a wholly different beast and I’ve spent the past few years watching even more transformations and permutations of fanfiction as it continues to move, change, and bump up against copyright laws.

This great Fanlore wiki article outlines some of the ways that the medium has changed over the year. Like video games and the internet itself I’ve had a real privlage to watch fanfiction really come into its own while also falling into some traps. I think fanfiction is as much art and creativity and beauty as anything else that is produced by people and I’m glad someone out there is archiving some part of it.

>Number Three<

Creation in the time of Corona

I’ve seen dozens of videos about productivity and what people should and shouldn’t be doing during these difficult times but Melina’s video on it really reached into my chest and pulled at the heart of how I feel. I don’t know why but I’ve watched it three times through any time I start to doubt that my aimlessness is somehow the worst part about me. Like beauty or time or money or energy, there’s a part of me that just believes that productivity is sometimes I owe others. It’s my entrance fee on life. But it’s just not true.

I feel genuinely awful, I haven’t slept more than four hours in row in nearly two months and while I accomplish the minimum of things I need to do it also took me three weeks to make this one stupid article about things I like. And I like these things! And I like writing these articles!

Times are hard, do what you can but don’t worry about the rest.

>Number Four<

Very Diligent Dwarves

You ever see something and you think “oh, I want that.” I like the abstract idea of tiny houses but they don’t really make much sense and would be terrible to live in…however…imagine you build a tiny house but it’s portable and you only use it when you get to fairs and festivals. Also it looks like a MEDIEVAL CASTLE and also it’s adorable. Boom, that’s exactly what these amazing people have built. It’s wonderfully cataloged so if you’re a person who is good at things like building and making this could be in your future however since they document a medical injury that happens to them during the course of making it…well it would probably kill me but I can still sit back and admire their hard work. They also have lots of lovely recreations of armor and other objects on their site.

>Number Five<

The Great Pause (A Chance for Change)

Even thinking about this article is making me tired. I’m going to say that this article is the contrast that I was looking for to people saying things like “we need to return to normal ASAP!”

I’m sure you read this already, it made a few rounds earlier this month but it is worth re-reading and then, one day when this is all over, one last reading. I don’t look forward to the end of this era even as much as I look forward to it because the push and pull is going to be something fierce and it’s likely we won’t particularly move forward from this in ways I hope we do. In the end I am a pessimism. I can hope for the best and try to improve things for others but I am pretty sure we will fail and things might, unfortunately, go back to how they were with a side of condesention that we ever tried to change them in the first place.

This was a weird month so I tried to keep it on the positive side but I’m not sure I succeeded. There’s always next month!

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