BEST ROCK SINGER
Elvis Presley could sing in any style and genre– gospel, country, pop, r&b, rock, even mock-opera. His voice had great range. Yet the one rock n’ roll singer Elvis was in awe of was Jackie Wilson. Hear a number of his recordings and you see that only a few others even come close. I put Presley at #2, the fabulous Roy Orbison #3.
WHEN I WAS AWAKENED by the sound of helicopters some minutes ago, I instantly knew what was happening. It’d rained all evening. A perfect time for the police to shut down the Philadelphia encampment.
According to the radio, hundreds of police are surrounding the remaining fifty Occupiers at Dilworth Plaza. Buses are parked nearby to take them to jail. Should I go down there to try to view? I don’t know. . . .
Are the Occupiers troublemakers, or are they heroes?
To me, any sign of dissent in this locked-down hyperregulated society is heroic.
As Sarah is saying over at Romance University today, this is conference season for romance scholars as well as for romance authors and fans. Eric was the organiser of a session on “Foreign Affairs: Romance at the Boundaries” at the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)’s World Literature, Comparative Literature conference, held from March 31 – April 3, 2011. Among the papers on offer were:
Still to come, there’s the joint 2011 Popular Culture Association (PCA) and American Culture Association (ACA) conference, being held in San Antonio from April 20-23, 2011. There will be a number of sessions on romance. Where there is no summary for the whole session, I have included a very short summary of each paper and linked to the full synopsis.
Alternative Historicals: Sheikh Romance
Session Chair: Amy Burge
The title of the panel, ‘Alternative Historicals: Sheikh Romance’ is intended to indicate the unique ways in which sheikh romance deals in and with history and is suggestive of the idea that sheikh romances might be considered as a kind of ‘alternative’ historical, precisely because of its use of ‘history’. Furthermore the three papers each consider historical aspects of sheikh romance: Hsu-Ming Teo is looking at the relationship between conflict in the Middle East and the growth of the sheikh genre; Emily Haddad is considering the sheikh novel in a post-9/11 historical context; and Amy Burge’s paper compares sheikh romance with a Middle English romance,The King of Tars.
Romance From the Past: Genre, Race, Rape, and Narrative Structure
Session Chair: Sarah Frantz
Formula and Conventions: Cover Art, Nora Roberts, Translations and Happy Ending
Session Chair: Darcy Martin
Genre and Romance: Young Adult Literature, Westerns, Urban Fantasy, and Gaming
Session Chair: Darcy Martin
Beauty and the Beasts of Romance, Real and Imagined: Animal Studies, Bestiality, and Fairytales
Session Chair: Darcy Martin
Nudity, Infidelity, Celibacy, and Kink in Popular Romance Media
Session Chair: Sarah Frantz
The Study of Romance: Aesthetics, Aca-Fandom, Theories, and the Structure of Romance
Session Chair: Eric Selinger
Identity Crises: Heteronormativity, Social Conventions, and Gender
Session Chair: Darcy Martin
Queering the Romantic Heroine: Past, Present, and Future
Session Chair: Katherine Lynch
Dr. Katherine E. Lynch will trace the evolution of the queer romantic heroine in print, television, and film. Within the past decade, the rise of the queer female hero as a viable love interest reflects the rapidly changing landscape of sexual identity politics in early twenty-first century America. In “Where the Wild Things Are: Contemporary Lesbian Romance and the Undomesticated Queer Hero,” Dr. Ruth Sternglantz and Carsen Taite will argue that while the domestication of dangerous women in traditional romance (going back to the medieval period) was designed to diminish their queerness and bring them in line with societal expectations, in contemporary lesbian romance love enables queer women to embrace every aspect of their queerness. In “The Queer Heroine as a Re-imagined Reflection,” Lynda Sandoval will explore the ways in which queer heroines both converge with and diverge from their heterosexual counterparts within the genre of traditional romance. And in “Queering the Alpha,” Len Barot will map the ways in which contemporary female heroes in the sub-genres of lesbian intrigue and paranormal romances have adapted the characteristics of the alpha male of the traditional heterosexual romance.
There will also be an
Open discussion about the current state of romance studies, including: the progress of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance, the past and future publication of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, IASPR’s conference in New York City in July 2011, in Toronto in October 2012, and in Istanbul in 2013, the planned Popular Romance Studies Special Issue of the Journal of American Culture in 2013, and current Call For Papers for popular romance-themed anthologies or academic monographs.
Romance professionals — both authors and performers — discuss their careers, their motivations, the highs and lows of their experiences in their industries, and why they wouldn’t do anything else.
After that there’s the annual IASPR conference. This year it’s taking place in New York from the 26th-28th of June.
When my son was diagnosed with autism, my entire world turned upside down. My one and only priority was to do whatever I had to do to help him. Our every day struggles with simple tasks, the constant tantrums over obstacles that are invisible to my eyes seemed to be insurmountable 6 months ago.Today I have peace.
My son will make his way in this world, I am certain of that. My mother and the many therapists always praise me for the time and effort I have put in, but all the glory belongs to my beautiful boy. In 6 months time he has made progress that I wouldn’t even believe if I hadn’t witnessed it for myself. He has the full support of me, my husband, and his little sister. We’ve learned to be patient. We’ve learned that we are a unit operating and feeding off our love for one another.
To those battling and facing the struggle, don’t ever give up. Don’t ever look back. Every day is a new opportunity, don’t waste one single second of it.
Art by Alex Grey
Questions and answers are as meaningless as the people who ask and answer them. People search for the meaning of existence and their contribution to it because they have nothing else to do. We are not fighting for our lives everyday, we are not focused on survival 24/7 like most other creatures. We have heating, blankets, food stores, even the true environmentalist like hobos can survive with ease if they plan properly. The thing is we’re bored, so we make up stuff like meaning and quality and fate and destiny and purpose, all of which is personal and relative. one person’s idea of destiny can be totally different than someone elses and so on. but I mean when it comes down to it all, where do you think you came from, some higher human like being? How about apes? How about dirt? Everything you eat comes from dirt and water. In fact, dirt helps sustain all life on earth… Do you?
So perhaps 42 is just a completely random number that some weird guy happened to think of while contemplating what the worst possible response to the meaning of everything could be and perhaps by choosing a number that made no sense at all it would in turn be the best possible answer, for it holds no real meaning what so ever, just like all of us.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the recent internet outbreak of speculation about OMG!why? do “straight” women read and/or write romances about gay men (LINKS: OUT magazine article that started it all, Gawker’s response, Lambda’s original response, Erastes’ response to Gawker, TeddyPig’s response, Gehayi’s response, Victoria Brownworth’s Lambda-sponsored response that is the subject of this post), it’s that everyone has their niche to fill and their script to follow and that everyone does an admirable job of doing precisely that.
Cintra Wilson fills her role of (apparently) being snide and supercilious quite well in the original OUT article. I can’t quite make out her stance on the issue, but I do appreciate that she let Beecroft and Erastes mostly talk for themselves, despite how wrong the headline-writer originally was in calling Erastes and Beecroft “straight”. Gawker does a great job of being snarky and impenetrable. I’ve read their response four times and canNOT make out which side of the issue the author is arguing from. In the comments to Brownworth’s hatchet job (which, OMG, you fall into them and never get out), Paul Bens does a great job of following his self-imposed script AND of cuing the scripts other people follow as if it were somehow their contractual obligation. They, of course, oblige with his cues. The layers of irony are mind-boggling.
And I will now fulfill my role, follow my script, say the predictable thing that I always say because of my own particular obsession and the position from which I’m commenting. At least I know I’m doing it—that should count for something, right? But I’ll say it anyway, because, like the other commenters, I’m convinced that my piece needs to be said and recognized by everyone else, even if no one really listens because they’re caught in their own little circular script.
I’m discussing here the Brownworth article in particular, not only because it’s the most desperately defensive but also because she’s the new voice in the debate. As I said, Erastes, Beecroft, Bens, Gehayi, even Lambda in their original article (schizophrenic as it is) all fulfill their predetermined script/role. But Brownworth is a new voice, a voice backed by an extensive resume that she doesn’t hesitate to wield rather indiscriminately. And it was her arguments that were the most egregiously incorrect, badly written, and offensive, which was disappointing precisely because of her credentials as a writer and a journalist.
But, that’s not really the niche I want to fill right now. My response, my script, is not generic scholar writ large or the very small subset of m/m romance scholar/reader. Rather, I am writing here as a POPULAR ROMANCE scholar. And in the comments, Ms. Brownworth said something so egregiously rude and dismissive in the comments, that I would argue that the issue is not that (supposedly straight) women are writing about—or even fetishizing—gay men (and I’m not going to deny that particular claim, actually), but that anyone is daring to give anyone else a happy ending.
Brownworth said to Elisa Rolle, who continues to communicate brilliantly in English considering it’s not her first language, that “that she might have less of a language problem if she were reading something less low-brow, but that was probably mean of me.” Yes, indeed it was. But really, Brownworth’s fundamental assumption that these m/m ROMANCES are low-brow, are NOT art, are trash, pulp, worthless, worthy of derision, is, I argue, the real issue. I’m not even going to get into the commercial debate (would we be having this discussion if m/m weren’t successful?), because, to my mind, that’s not what you’re talking about here. Brownworth isn’t upset that m/m romance is successful; she’s upset that it’s low-brow. She’s upset, specifically and in my opinion, that m/m romance is ROMANCE.
And really, THAT’S what pisses ME off more than anything else.