A Wrinkle in Time new trailer

The second trailer is even better than the first. I’m totally geeking out over this more than the new Star Wars. I feel about L’Engle’s work the way Jason does about the Star Wars books.



So there’s a new app that lets you filter out makeup. The company claims it’s about augmented reality and it’s just a fun thing they did, but unsurprisingly, people are um irritated that there’s just one more way to unmask/shame women out there. So here’s why I wear makeup. Below is me without makeup this morning and with. No I didn’t use the app.

Me without makeup

Me with makeup.

So without makeup, my skin is fine and so are my lips. I put on makeup mostly for fun, so I look professional, and so don’t get flack about looking tired. I’ve had sinus issues since I was a kid. My under eye area is naturally darker as a result and puffy in the fall/spring when nature is trying to hurt me. As you can see in these two pictures, make up only slightly does away with the eye thing. I don’t want to cake on concealer mostly because I’m busy and I’m notoriously bad at reapplying anything during the day.

The makeup removing filter apparently absolutely adds puffiness and undereye wrinkles. In other words, it makes you look tired. (Also, not cool Mashable to make your female journalist try it out.) Being told I look tired is one of my biggest pet peeves because either a) it’s allergies or b) I’m actually tired and telling me that means you’re in some way suggesting I shouldn’t be showing that I’ve put out effort or c) a combo of the two. B is obviously is infuriating; C is when I’m too tired to care. I work hard. It’s sometimes exhausting work. And I balance that work with a long distance relationship. If I’ve put out effort for you in anyway, don’t tell me I look tired or any variation there of. Bring me coffee and tell me thank you.

I particularly hate it when women tell me this. It’s never a question, and as an introvert, I withdraw immediately and don’t want to have any further conversation. Not my best reaction to be sure, but it makes me feel like I’m being told I’m not upholding my end of the falsehood that women can do all the things we’re expected to do and not be tired. In other words, while I mostly wear makeup because I enjoy it, I do also wear it so I perform my gender role in specific proscribed ways so I don’t go through the world annoyed and being slightly shamed for somehow not living up to arbitrary expectations. But thanks for reminding me that I’m failing.

People of all gender identities wear makeup for all the above reasons and more. For some people, makeup makes them feel better moving through the world or helps them realize their own version of their gender identity. And this is where the app is super problematic. It’s suggesting that people who wear makeup, particularly women, should be unmasked as somehow faking it. It’s that crappy double bind we put women (cisgender/transgender/non-binary) in–they must conform to current standards of gender performance AND they must be always “authentic” and not showing that they are performing. There’s no way to do either of these things well and definitely no way to do both simultaneously. The app, whether intentional or not, is just another way to shame people.

The Present, short film

A student is writing a review over this short film. I was hesitant at first to let him because it’s only four minutes. The paper is four pages. I didn’t think he’d have enough to say, so he showed it to me after class. Mind you, I should have trusted him because this a student in my 2pm class, which consistently astounds me. This is also the student who hasn’t had an easy life, but he is kind and good natured, and he’s been helping the international student in the class during peer review in such a sweet and understanding way. At any rate, you’ll pretty quickly see where this film is going, and it doesn’t spoil the beauty of the bittersweet reveal in the slightest. I definitely teared up. I know this student is pursuing a different career path, but I kind of hope he continues on and goes into animation. He clearly has an appreciation of the form, and he likes a good story about a boy and his new dog.

Commonplace: Wilfred Owen, “Futility”

“Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?”
~ Wilfred Owen, “Futility”
Owen died in action on 4 November 1918, almost precisely a week before the Armistice, 11 November 1918, ended the First World War.

HGTV Addictions

I’m not an HGTV addict; I’ve watched Rehab Addict (a DIY show, but same genre), mostly the first few seasons because they play well in the background while doing the marathon type of grading you do when you have large composition classes. (Long story to do with ADHE not understanding the appropriate size for a writing class.) At any rate, I’m also not a daytime television being on person either, so I really only watch TV at night.

But, there’s no way to miss how HGTV has permeated the atmosphere of the housing market. I see it every time I run the M-Streets in Dallas, and I would see it more in Kessler Park if not for the historical district status that prevents people from tearing down homes. Yet, I have definitive opinions about tiny house buyers–the houses and their crafters are ingenious; the buyers are obnoxious. (I feel about tiny house buyers the same way I feel about Ancient Aliens “scholars”–these are not real people.)

NYMag has a great article by Caitlin Flanagan placing the HGTV obsession within the context of the almost certain next housing bubble burst. (I see that coming too from my Dallas runs; there are a lot more houses on the market and for rent than there was six months ago.) Key point about the housing market:

 It’s true that bankers made loans to Americans wildly unqualified for them — but the notion that buyers on the lower end of credit distribution began to default in unprecedented numbers isn’t accurate. In fact, the rate of default in the subprime market throughout the bubble and the bust remained steady compared with before the crisis. It was buyers from the top and middle top who account for the skyrocketing rate of default — and it wasn’t that they were buying bigger family homes that they couldn’t afford. It was that they were buying additional houses to flip for a profit, and when holding on to them stopped making financial sense, and with no personal and emotional connection to them, they began walking away in huge numbers.

Flanagan also has a smart thread running through the article about the gendered and social conservative dynamics of HGTV’s offerings, with a schlubby husband doing the renovation work to please his more exacting wife’s design vision.

Commonplace: Anne Dillard, “Total Eclipse”

“From all the hills came screams. A piece of sky beside the crescent sun was detaching. It was a loosened circle of evening sky, suddenly lighted from the back. It was an abrupt black body out of nowhere; it was a flat disk; it was almost over the sun. That is when there were screams. At once this disk of sky slid over the sun like a lid. The sky snapped over the sun like a lens cover. The hatch in the brain slammed. Abruptly it was dark night, on the land and in the sky. In the night sky was a tiny ring of light. The hole where the sun belongs is very small. A thin ring of light marked its place. There was no sound. The eyes dried, the arteries drained, the lungs hushed. There was no world. We were the world’s dead people rotating and orbiting around and around, embedded in the planet’s crust, while the Earth rolled down. Our minds were light-years distant, forgetful of almost everything. Only an extraordinary act of will could recall to us our former, living selves and our contexts in matter and time. We had, it seems, loved the planet and loved our lives, but could no longer remember the way of them. We got the light wrong. In the sky was something that should not be there. In the black sky was a ring of light. It was a thin ring, an old, thin silver wedding band, an old, worn ring. It was an old wedding band in the sky, or a morsel of bone. There were stars. It was all over.”

Annie Dillard, “Total Eclipse,” The Atlantic. Full essay here. Hat tip Natalie.