“In some ways, the baby I never had is a part of me. She has given me freedom.” [Stephanie Zacharek] time.com
Like the author, we don’t have children. Unlike her, I don’t have a road-not-taken feeling. There is no other road. The hypothetical me who had kids is another person entirely.
Tech companies need to make it easier for people to customize the ads they see, says the mother of a stillborn child who wants to stop seeing ads for baby products.
Heartbreaking essay. I only had an inkling what people go through when their child is stillborn. I guess I always thought of it as being something like recovering from a serious, but short-lived illness, like when an otherwise healthy person gets pneumonia or a burst appendix. It’s really more like losing a child, isn’t it?
Most people who think they hardly need any sleep are kidding themselves, but a select few are “short sleepers” who get by on six or fewer hours of sleep per night. Jenn Schwaner, a 43-year-old from Port Ritchie, Florida, is one, and she talked with New York Magazine about what it’s like.
.. I always said I was made to have children. It never bothered me when I got up in the middle of the night. It didn’t matter if it was every two or three hours, and I nursed all my kids. And then I started taking in foster children. A lot of the babies were born addicted to drugs — meth or prescription meds — and they need somebody to cuddle them and hold them in the middle of the night when they are going through withdrawal. I felt like I didn’t sleep at night anyway, and I knew that these kids really needed someone who wouldn’t get frustrated being up with them all night.
Julius Streicher was one of Hitler’s favorite writers and editors. Streicher wrote a children’s book that indoctrinated German kinder to anti-Semitism. (Naomi LaChance, The Intercept)
The 80s influences of “Stranger Things” are obvious — Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, the “Goonies” and other 80s movies that appealed to preadolescents of that decade. But Joshua Rothman at The New Yorker finds an older, darker influence: H.P. Lovecraft
The scientific worldview says that the universe is neutral. It doesn’t care if you live or die. But Lovecraft had a different view: The universe is evil. It hates us. And it’s supremely powerful, inhabited by entities who are to us as we are to insects, and are eager to torment us just for giggles. In Lovecraft’s view, the Earth is a tiny little island of relative safety that could open to that wider, hostile universe with a single pinprick of reality. In Lovecraft’s view, the pinprick came from miscegenation — racial contamination — Lovecraft was a full-throated bigot who hated and feared brown-skinned people and Eastern and Southern Europeans.
But Lovecraft has many heirs and imitators today, and they substitute other forces for racial impurity. In the case of “Stranger Things,” the horror is unleashed by US government scientific bureaucracy, as it often is in King’s novels.
Rothman identifies two target audiences for “Stranger Things:” Adults who were children in the 80s and view the series as a big ol’ nostalgia wallow, and children who look back on that era as a golden age before they were born, sort of like the 50s were viewed when I was a teen-ager in the 70s.
I’m from an older generation; I turned 20 in 1981. I enjoyed the nostalgia of “Stranger Things” because the period portrayed on the show was not all that different from the early 70s, when I was the same age as the show’s child heroes. As kids in the early 70s, we roamed freely around the neighborhoods on our bikes and engaged in nerdy pursuits without parental supervision. We didn’t have Dungeons & Dragons; that hadn’t been invented yet. But we played marathon games of Risk.
This idea of the universe being actively hateful and evil is a new one for me. I’m a rationalist, I don’t believe that the real universe is evil. An indifferent universe can be hostile enough at times.
But the idea of an actively hostile and evil universe certainly opens possibilities for fantastic fiction.
Joe Haldeman said that in science fiction, the universe is neutral and knowable through reason and science; in fantasy, the universe is unknowable; and in horror the universe is hostile. (I think he said that — he said something along those lines but I may be misremembering the specifics.) While science fiction and fantasy are usually paired together as “fantastic fiction,” science fiction’s actual closest sibling is the police procedural, Haldeman notes.
“If you look closely you can see the age at which children stop being amused and start being embarrassed by their parents.”
Source: Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing. Thanks!
Schoolkids eating lunch at their desks, 1963.
9-year-old Hilde Kate Lysiak got a tip early Saturday afternoon about heavy police activity on Ninth Street in her town of Selinsgrove, Pa. She got over there with her pen and camera and posted something short online, beating the competition. Then she worked the neighbors and cops and nailed down her scoop with a full-length story, headlined, “EXCLUSIVE: MURDER ON NINTH STREET!”
But her reporting did not impress some of the good people of Selinsgrove, and they let Hilde have it on Facebook Saturday night. “I think this is appalling that u would do a story like this when all the facts are not in yet,” wrote one commenter. Her parents were attacked too: “does no one realize that this is a 9 year old reporting this type of graphic information!” wrote a Facebook poster. “I mean, what parents are encouraging this type of behavior!”
Hilde was unfazed. Sunday morning, she gathered many of the comments she’d received online, summoned her older sister and her video camera, and read the comments aloud. Then she took on her critics directly: “If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?”
She got the bug from her father, a former Daily News reporter.
9-year-old reporter breaks crime news, posts videos, fires back at critics [Tom Jackman – The Washington Post]
For years danah boyd has been watching the internet through an academic lens, studying how society interacts with technology. Her recent book, It’s Complicated, looks at how teenagers, born into an online world, are navigating social media and whether they’re better off for it.