Monday, October 31, 2011
It's just another version of the Snow White tale. How creepy can it be?
You'll want to be locking that door, by the way.
Illustration by Julie Dillon.
"Snow, Glass, Apples" -- by Neil Gaiman
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Seven-year-old Bobby Montoya identifies as a girl and wants to join the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts won't let him. His mother, Felisha Archuleta, thinks the organization is being ridiculous.
Archuleta says that Bobby identifies as a girl and she doesn't have a problem with it: "He's been doing this since he was about 2 years old. He's loved girl stuff, so we just let him dress how he wants, as long as he's happy." Bobby himself told CNN, "It's like hurting my heart. It hurts me and my mom both. Somebody told me I couldn't like girl stuff."
Fortunately, Bobby's mother and grandmother are telling Bobby that it's okay to like girl stuff! It's about time people figured out that girly-boys, however they grow up to be, shouldn't be shunned, discouraged, shamed, teased, beaten, or otherwise just because they're different. My life would have been a lot better had the adults around me, when I was a girly-boy, understood this.
Here's a great video about Bobby. All I can say is, just like with Livvy James, when I was a kid I would have killed for those fecking GORGEOUS boots Bobby is wearing!
My girly-boy story is here. I still miss that black cat costume an awful lot...
"Transgender Boy Tries To Join Girl Scouts, Rejected Because Of 'Boy Parts'" (Gothamist)
BTW, Bobby likes My Little Pony, so on top of everything else he totally rocks!
Monday, October 24, 2011
I first read this book many years ago on a business trip, one of those things you have to endure where you want some sort of engrossing novel to carry you away from the bullshit of a job you hate (and traveling with the company owner, too) and one of those nerve-wracking times when you have to be “on” all the time because you’re surrounded by clients who are all morons anyway, and you have to be nice to them. I was on board a plane reading the opening scenes of American Gods that take place on a plane. Not that it had anything to do with the novel, but I remember watching what was almost a mugging on a Baltimore street from my hotel room late one night while I read this book. Fascinating, as if the world had become weirdly in-tune and out-of-order from the normal and usual, as if tendrils of the novel wormed their way out of the pages and into the ether.
I finished American Gods well after that trip ended, and when I closed its pages I was startled by an unbidden thought: “That was one of the most satisfying books I have ever read.” And I meant it. Every moment spent reading American Gods had been worth it, every hour with it an hour much more than well-spent. How often can you say that about any book? The works of Shakespeare and Homer; the utterly perfect characters and situations of Stephen King’s masterpiece, The Shining; the overwhelming too-muchness and diamond-flaw perfection of my favorite novel, Les Misérables. Not many others. Not many others at all.
The edition of American Gods I read years ago was the “standard edition,” I guess we could say. I started reading it again recently in the above pictured, Tenth Anniversary edition, with text restored by the brilliant Neil Gaiman. I’m already hooked again. Read this. It’s worth every minute of your time. Very little written today is this goddamned excellent.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Puck has wandered into the outline for my next novel and wants to take it over. I continue to resist his insurrection, but plan on finding a good and proper place for him in it. I figured I’d better catch up on Puck’s most famous literary appearance and re-read (and re-view) A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve always wanted to see this old 1935 adaptation of Shakespeare’s play and I finally watched it last night. What about Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Puck?
He’s completely deranged and psychotic. It’s amazing.
I was intrigued by this quip from Amazon.com about Rooney’s performance:
The other actors are decidedly varied, and they tend to be overwhelmed by the production design. Not so Mickey Rooney, whose performance as Puck is a feral, antic act of imagination (he was 14 during filming); picture a boy raised by wolves who somehow memorized Shakespeare. His Puck growls and screams and mocks the drama of the other characters, a little postmodern imp before his time. (Critic David Thomson called this Puck "truly inhuman, one of the cinema's most arresting pieces of magic").
“A boy raised by wolves who somehow memorized Shakespeare.” That is amazingly accurate. Rooney’s portrayal of Puck is legendary – he’s off-the-wall, annoying, magnificent, profound, silly, and magnetic. His laugh is one of the three greatest film laughs I have ever heard, along with Tom Hulce as Mozart in Amadeus and Heath Ledger as The Joker. In fact, give Mickey Rooney’s Puck a knife and make him malevolent, and he instantly becomes Ledger’s psychotic villain from The Dark Knight.
I enjoyed this all more than I expected to. Definitely worth hunting down.
Here’s Gore Vidal introducing AMND on TCM. There’s a brief clip of Mickey Rooney in this with just a touch of that insane laugh of his. Pay attention to what Vidal says that Tennessee Williams once told him about Mickey Rooney.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
THIS KID IS AWESOME! Nine-year-old Aiden Sagerman loves opera and he wants to find other kids who love opera. He's not having much luck, though.
Most kids think of operas as long, boring plays that are in some language they don't know. Other kids think of operas as good chances to get some sleep. Still other kids think of operas as both. And then there are kids like me; kids who like opera, kids who understand the plot.
A lot of kids misunderstand opera. Once I told a friend the plot of "Die Walkure." I knew it was the kind of thing he might enjoy. As soon as I told him it was an opera, he stopped listening and tried to change the subject. That's what has happened with everyone else.
There are so many reasons why I like opera: the complex plots, the amazing music, the interesting characters, the battle scenes and just the stories themselves. I really don't understand why other kids don't like it. What idiot came up with the idea that operas were boring for children?
Reading his commentary is one thing, but you have to hear him deliver it for the full effect. Cripes, three-fourths of the adults out there couldn't deliver a short commentary with this much expression and feeling. Dang it, I think I see now why Aiden loves opera...
Good luck, kid! Eventually the opera lovers all find each other somehow.
"Opera Kid: Nine-year-old Aiden Sagerman likes opera, and he's not kidding." (KQED Radio)
Thursday, October 6, 2011
This is a fantastic article about a terrific girl, her beyond-awesome mom and dad, and how they defied bigots to help their child be who she needs to be. Naturally, the worst of the bigots are adults. The kids are all right.
‘None of the other children called me nasty names and the boys accepted me as a girl. A few of them kept calling me by my old boy’s name, but I didn’t mind because it takes time to get used to something new. I have a small group of close friends — all girls — who would look after me if anyone tried to pick on me, so I’m not worried. I have as much acceptance as I need.’
Read the whole thing for an inspiring look at a world that, small hard-won bit by small hard-won bit, is changing for the better.
"Why I let my son live as a girl: Mother of boy who returned to school in a skirt bravely tells her extraordinary story" (Daily Mail)
BONUS STORY! Here's a look at a sweet world where boys want to be girls, girls want to be boys, boys just want to love boys and girls just want to love girls, and bullies get their comeuppance!
"Gryphon and Tiger and the Boy Filled with Dreams"