Happy belated holidays, POMEs! If you are back to your normal responsibilities after a brief vacation, we hope that you are able to power through until New Years. But whether you are still relaxing around the house or back to your daily grind, we bet you could use an afternoon pick-me-up full of interesting stuff to read and think about. Settle in for a post-holidays Afternoon Snack.
Keep the chill holiday vibes going by living vicariously through one muggle’s search for the perfect alcoholic butterbeer.
If you are as quietly obsessed with the American lore of the open road as I am, you will also get super into this piece on paying off one’s student loans through trucking.
Jia Tolentino gets into the mechanism/utility/demand for offense in feminist blogging, feminist identity policing, and the current landscape of feminism on the internet. This piece is a little dense, but a meaty read for a chilly Monday afternoon.
Data journalism supporting The Nicki Effect: Nicki Minaj’s ability to make other artists’ tracks more successful by being a part of their work.
As The Billfold switched to Medium, I can no longer easily link you to the How Gilmore Girls Do Money series. However, it’s still going and How Lane Kim Does Money is the absolute best post in the series so far. I think we can all agree that Lane deserved a lot better than the show gave her (see also: Mallory Ortberg’s alternative path for Lane).
Books have always been my friends. Every book, every single book in my house and your house and the Library of Congress is my best friend and not yours. They told me. Every book I’ve ever read has said that I’m they’re favorite out of everyone who’s read them, and I tell them all of my secrets and they never tell anyone, especially not Christine. Do the books you read tell you that?
Rick Perry’s significantly cooler cousin is the best Cat Man in Austin and also in the whole world.
I sort of kicked the hornets’ nest the other day, by expressing feminist opinions about books. It all came down to Lolita. “Some of my favorite novels are disparaged in a fairly shallow way. To read Lolita and ‘identify’ with one of the characters is to entirely misunderstand Nabokov,” one commenter asserted, which made me wonder if there’s a book called Reading Lolita in Patriarchy. The popular argument that novels are good because they inculcate empathy assumes that we identify with characters, and no one gets told they’re wrong for identifying with Gilgamesh or even Elizabeth Bennett. It’s just when you identify with Lolita you’re clarifying that this is a book about a white man serially raping a child over a period of years. Should you read Lolita and strenuously avoid noticing that this is the plot and these are the characters? Should the narrative have no relationship to your own experience? This reader thinks so.
All I had actually said was that, just as I had identified with a character who’s dismissively treated in On the Road, so I’d identified with Lolita. I read many Nabokov novels back in the day, but a novel centered around the serial rape of a kidnapped child, back when I was near that child’s age was a little reminder how hostile the world, or rather the men in it, could be. Which is not a pleasure.
Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things To Me, on men explaining her own take on Lolita to her.
We’re going to keep you guys company in this last week before we kick off 2016. What are you guys reading this week? Drop us a line in the comments!