If people want to think of Bert and Ernie as lovers, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. And I don’t think there’s really any harm in thinking that. In fact, I guess if it helps someone to think Bert & Ernie are gay, then they should go on thinking that. But I think this whole dustup is pretty dumb because Bert and Ernie just are not gay. As characters, they are not written to portray fully-developed human beings with sexual/romantic feelings at all. They’re written to portray children who are best friends and that’s it.
(5/5 stars) This is an exploration of shame as a punishment, as a fundamental human impulse, as a force for good and bad. Ronson goes into a little bit of the history of how shame has been used in the past, but focuses especially on how shame functions in our internet-based society today. To wit, he explores several contemporary case studies in shaming.
This book functions in some ways as a collection of essays rather than a structured exploration of ideas. As such, there are points where he pursues aspects of shame that seem to be a digression from the core theme, for example the parts about Radical Truth and humiliation paraphilia. Those parts don’t make the book less interesting, but readers should be warned: you probably won’t come away with any strong conclusions about what can be done about internet lynch mobs.
In sum, this book is funny and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.
(5/5 stars) I’m not sure where I heard of Akata Witch; it was probably one of my podcasts. I was just excited to read a fantasy novel based on a magic system from a non-European mythology. I did not know it was a YA novel, though, and I was very delightfully surprised by what I found.
The story structure and plot aren’t exceptionally different from other stories of this sort: a young outsider learns that she has a destiny and finds camaraderie in a community of other outcasts. But the characters are fun and interesting. The culture is lush and fascinating. And the magic system is scary and fascinating. Overall, I really enjoyed this book quite a lot.