Thursday News: Bookstore sales down, Should Twitter users police themselves, reproductive justice and anti-black violence, and screen adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time
Bookstore Sales Fell 7.9% in First Half of 2014 – For the first half of 2014, retail sales of books fell 7.9% over last year’s first half book sales ($5.10B to $5.54B). This trend is in contrast to retail sales in general, which increased by 3.6%. It also persisted over all six months. –Publishers Weekly
Dealing with the Twitter mob: Would crowdsourcing block lists make things better or worse? – Following Matt Ingram’s article on sites like Twitter in the wake of celebrity deaths, he tackles the issue of how harassment and trolling can be managed on the site. Ignoring the question of whether Twitter profits from such incidents, there are numerous questions and issues to contemplate here, from the question of how legitimate speech is defined within these paradigms, to more basic questions about how such an initiative would function:
Fleishman’s suggestion is that groups of Twitter users collaborate on deciding whom to block — or mute — via third-party apps and services such as The Block Bot, an open-source project that was set up by a group of atheists who found themselves subjected to harassment for expressing their views, as well as Block Together and a third project in the alpha stage known as Flaminga, which would allow friends to share block and mute lists. Fleishman says that Samantha Allen used Block Bot after her experience and liked what she saw (or didn’t see):
“It’s definitely made Twitter more livable for me, at least in the short term. I know that it might end up blocking a handful of people that I wouldn’t otherwise want to block, but when you get the kind of unwanted attention that I regularly receive, you just have to accept that you have to make little sacrifices like that for your piece of mind.” –Gigaom
On Systemic Violence, the Black Body and Reproductive Justice – A really important discussion of reproductive justice and anti-black violence that raises a lot of questions I think a genre like Romance should be contemplating, not only because the genre is so white-centric and aspirational about children (the entitlement of protagonists to have children and raise them in health and happiness as part of a HEA), but also because of the crucial connection between sexual agency and social privilege.
For decades black women have been advocating for the expansion of women’s rights to move beyond the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life dichotomy to encompass our right to health and safety not just during family planning and childbirth but as we raise our children. While mainstream (read: white) activists have focused on the Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life debate, black women realized decades ago that this limiting framework would not work for the complex interactions our bodies, families and communities experience in this society. Young black people like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, John Crawford, and now, most recently, Mike Brown did not experience RJ. Black fathers like Eric Garner did not experience RJ. Their inability to grow up or parent in safety in this society is an integral part of the struggle for RJ that is often overlooked. –For Harriet
Hell Yes: The Director of Frozen Is Adapting A Wrinkle in Time – Although it’s been a sad, heavy week, here is some uplifting news for fans of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Great news if you’ve got a glasses-wearing, math-loving girl in your life: Jennifer Lee, the cowriter and director of Frozen, will be adapting beloved O.G. young-adult novel A Wrinkle in Time. You know, the one where pissy, mulish scientists’ daughter Meg Murry goes skipping across space and time to find her missing astrophysicist father. –Jezebel