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August 2014
21
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August 2014
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We should disavow the failures of feminism without disavowing its many successes and how far we have come.

 - “Feel Me. See Me. Hear Me. Reach Me.” by Roxane Gay
August 2014
21
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August 2014
21

Feminism is a choice, and if a woman does not want to be a feminist, that is her right, but it is still my responsibility to fight for her rights. I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves.

 - “Feel Me. See Me. Hear Me. Reach Me.” by Roxane Gay
August 2014
21

Bout of Books 11.0: Like This? Try This Challenge

Today’s Bout of Books 11.0 readathon challenge is brought to you by Lori from Writing My Own Fairytale. The challenge? To recommend a book that is similar to another book you’ve read and explain the connection between them. I love recommending good books, so let’s get to it! I’ll even throw in a bonus rec.

If you liked The Giver by Lois Lowry, try The Circle by Dave Eggers. Although radically different in theme, they both share the same kind of setting — a utopian community that slowly reveals its dystopian nature. In fact, you could even call The Circle a kind of prequel to The Giver, as it perfectly displays the kind of societal unraveling that would need to take place for the Sameness to override the country.

Bonus rec: If you liked Stardustby Neil Gaiman, try The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton*. Both books deal with the intersection of magical and non-magical worlds in a captivating way, and both explore the struggle that their protagonists face as they fight for survival and try to find their place in the world.

*Trigger warning for violence and sexual assault.

August 2014
20

Bout of Books 11.0: Day Three

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Approximate time spent reading: 1.5 hours

Pages read: 54 (total: 482)

Books completed: 3/5

I had to cut down on my reading time due to work today and didn’t get nearly as far as I had the first two days of this readathon. I anticipated today being kind of an off day, as I’m preparing to leave for Seattle tomorrow. If I’m not dead tired tomorrow morning on the plane, I should get a significant chunk accomplished.

I started Disney U by Doug Lipp today. I picked it up because I had read the blogs and books of several Disney College Program members and wanted to peek behind the scenes of Disney’s successful business model. So far, it’s an oversimplified, over-glorified spiel about the “Disney Way” that I find hard to buy. I’ll try to stick with it for at least a few more chapters, but no promises.

August 2014
20

duckduckbooks asked

What sports do you write for/about? (it says your a sportswriter so I'll assume that hasn't changed!)

Currently, I write about baseball for SB Nation and USA Today Sports Weekly. I also dabbled a little in hockey last season, mostly for my own amusement.

August 2014
20

REVIEW: The Celebration Chronicles

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Once upon a time, Walt Disney dreamed of creating a utopian city called EPCOT. Far from the cultural melting pot of present-day Walt Disney World, this EPCOT was designed as a functional space for residents and employees to live, work, and create together.

While Disney’s idealistic city was canned by future presidents of the Company, his dream was realized in some small part when the city of Celebration, Florida was founded just a stone’s throw away from the resort. In The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Values in Disney’s New Town, author Andrew Ross ventured to the tiny town when it was first erected in 1997, committing to a one-year stay in the city to chronicle its history and discover how much control the Disney Company was exerting over its residents.

Far from the picture-perfect Main Street of the Magic Kingdom, things got off to a rocky start in Celebration. Snafus with contractors led to collapsed driveways, doors that wouldn’t close, and stoves that were not properly installed. Housing regulations were strict, and community guidelines prevented residents from straying too far from the rule book – for instance, painting their shutters anything other than the specific brand of off-white that fit with the themed residential areas.

The problems extended well past poor standards of construction. Prospective buyers were lured with the promise of cutting-edge technology and quality education, only to find spotty Internet (and this is back in the 90s, remember) and unorthodox, sometimes ineffective teaching methods in the school. Perhaps worst of all, Disney pulled out of its project, leaving the community to deal with these roadblocks itself.

Although Ross tackles these subjects in-depth, his narration of the town’s history cannot be described as unbiased or objective. Instead, his book reads like a snarky report card, often docking the residents for doing or saying things that he finds stupid. To one resident bent on attending graduate school and pursuing academic work, the author dismisses these dreams and dissuades the man from carrying out his plan. “As a friendly caveat, I drew his attention to the local newspaper currently running a series of Doonesbury cartoons about the desperate plight of low-wage adjunct professors in the rapidly downsizing academy,” Ross writes. “Confronted with the bad edge of the economy, where labor contracts can sour or dissolve overnight, Miller’s buoyant mood subsided.”

When Ross is not disparaging the citizens of Celebration, he is lauding himself for being a part of the community, whether remarking on his prominent position as George Washington in the Fourth of July parade or patting himself on the back for taking the “high road” when a couple more journalists move to town and refuse to have dinner with him.

Overall, Ross’s history of Celebration offers some unique and pointed insights into a Disney project that faced legitimate setbacks and crises. It also provides a nice sweeping picture of the state of education and the economy in the United States several decades ago, and isolates the factors that had a heavy influence in the shaping of the town. These are fascinating subjects and, if not for Ross’s often patronizing commentary, ones that I would be happy to explore in further detail.

August 2014
20
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August 2014
20

Movies, more often than not, tell the stories of men as if men’s stories are the only stories that matter. When women are involved, they are sidekicks, the romantic interests, the afterthoughts. Rarely do women get to be the center of attention. Rarely do our stories get to matter.

 - “Feel Me. See Me. Hear Me. Reach Me.” by Roxane Gay