Monthly Archives: February 2013

My article about hybridized genres at the LA Review of Books!

My article about hybridized genres at the LA Review of Books!

America, with its relative lack of codified, non-race-based class distinctions, has always been a good place for working out questions of literary status. Novels in particular have been the repository for these struggles since the 1890s, as Mark McGurl tracks in The Novel Art: Elevations of American Fiction after Henry James. But literary distinction has been especially important to writers of speculative fiction since — well, since the word “speculative fiction” was used by Judith Merril in the 1960s to gently disentangle the more aspirational science fiction from the robot-and-spaceship kind.

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Those Are Jumpsuits, Dummy

While intoxicated earlier this evening, I sketched this New Yorker cartoon on my husband’s iPad:

"Personally, I think the DIY movement is bad for women."

“Personally, I think the DIY movement is bad for women.”

I feel that in addition to expressing something I sometimes halfway agree with, it really captures the essence of a New Yorker cartoon. It’s oblique, yet corny. It alludes to a topic that’s been trendy for five or six years, while poking gentle fun at the liberal politics you love to feel sheepish about espousing, without actually critiquing them. And of course, it features a classic “one guy tells another guy somethin’, and the other guy is like, HUH??” set-up. My husband’s comment: “Just annoying enough!”

My one concern is that in an actual New Yorker cartoon, they would probably eschew the unlikely label “MAIL ORDER SHIVS” and just draw a postal worker delivering a package with the more realistic label “SHIVS” to a woman who is more clearly in jail. Alas, three figures were simply beyond my skills at the moment, especially since one would have to have stripy shorts and a cross-body bag and a complicated hat. Still, I deserve a million dollars for this.

After I drew this we watched Argo, which is all about how Ben Affleck feels every day. Seriously, watch it again and imagine that Ben Affleck is basically using the movie to express how he feels about being himself, every second. Movies save America, you guys! He tried to tell you but you wouldn’t trust him! And then Canada got all the credit!!

"If I can write/direct/act my way out of this, I will have saved America."

“If I can act/direct my way out of this one, I will have saved America.”

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