A spoonful of linkspam


Only a small few links this week, but they’re hopefully varied enough to keep you interested.

First is a post from the AntiRoom on Lola Montez, Her Name Was Lola. Something that myself and the author share is a fascination with “stories about eccentric, unconventional and often brazen women who happily disregarded what was socially acceptable for their gender in the times they lived in and as a result, led totally badass lives.” What could be better?

Back to the here-and-now with ‘here’s how the unemployment trap works‘ from thejournal.ie. Róisín Nic Dhonnacha argues eloquently against the idea that unemployment is a ‘lifestyle choice’, and pointing out how stigma against the unemployed and fear of unemployment can keep the most able and qualified people out of work. As a recent recruit to the super-trendy world of the funemployed (er, woop?), I hereby decree that you all read it.

While we’re talking about stigma, let’s get to language. In Trust me, you don’t speak English badly, Courtney Stoker argues against English language prescriptivism and the idea that there is one ‘correct’ dialect of English- which just so happens to be the way middle-and-upper-class people speak. Funny, that.

If some­one is a native speaker, and it sounds right to them, it is right. Native speak­ers are com­pe­tent in their own lan­guage… There’s noth­ing inher­ently or log­i­cally bet­ter about SAE than any other dialect in the coun­try. And the rea­son we believe in the supe­ri­or­ity of SAE has noth­ing to do with the actual speech, but with who speaks it.”

Finally, I love-love-love the Vlogbrothers. But who doesn’t? Here’s Hank talking about a guy in a massively shielded car calling him a pussy as he cycles down the street with only a couple of inches of polystyrene between him and the road. And also bullying. And how you don’t deal with it, you survive it. And why that’s the problem with It Getting Better. TW for talk about bullying, natch.

Oh, also: I know there’s no sound on the vids I posted the other day! I’m currently on a connection where uploading them again somewhere else would take hours (literally- I tried). I’ll repost ’em when I get somewhere a bit faster.

Oh! And before I forget- Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating it! Hope you’re all having a wonderful time. 🙂

Quit taking my stuff! On bookshops and the recession.


Reading the Anti-Room a little while ago while brewing a nice big pot of Saturday morning chai and munching on some overly-wholesome muesli, I came across a post lamenting the impending closure of two of Dublin’s favourite bookshops, namely the Dawson Street and Jervis Street branches of Waterstones.

Image of the inside of a bookstore, with shelves along the wall and also tables covered in books.

The spaces to the side of those tables? The perfect size for a curled-up eight-year-old bookworm.

My first reaction to this was relief. You see, the Waterstones that I grew up in was their Cork branch. Waterstones in Cork was where I used to go with my parents on weekends, where I was left entirely undisturbed to curl up on the perfectly-sized empty shelf under their tables to read to my heart’s content. It was where I first made the big step out of the kids’ section into the wonderful, scary world of grown-up books.

But you know what? The fact that the bookshop I grew up with is safe for the moment doesn’t matter a damn. What matters is that this recession is stealing away so many of the people and places that we grew up with. It started oh-so-slowly and around the edges. Job losses in industry, a slowdown in immigration. So gradually that many of us didn’t notice in our day-to-day lives. We worried a bit more for our jobs. We were less inclined to take risks. But we got on with things more or less as we had done.

But now? Now a thousand people are leaving my country every week. And we can no longer afford to keep some of our most lovely bookshops. And I can feel this insidious, gnawing sense of loss and fear getting closer to my heart and to my life. This helpless outrage every time I’m told that it was me and those like me who caused this, when we were never the ones living it up and squandering everything we had when we could. This anxious worry that this place that I love is being steadily gutted, piece by inevitable piece, while we stand by. While we have our going-away parties and queue for our flights.

And yes, I know it’s just a couple of bookshops. But closing a couple of bookshops means that we live in a city that can no longer afford those bookshops. A city that looks a lot like it used to, but where something is missing. And I can’t help but wonder when we’ll find out exactly how much is missing, and how much of it we’ll be able to regain.