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Thursday News: Bookstore trolling authors; Fantastic collection of grooms’ photos; and...

happy groomsmen

I loved this collection of photos by a redditor poster featuring reactions of grooms upon the first site of their brides.  The expressions range from tears to exclamations of joy to “I’m tearing that dress off before we get to the reception.”

 A spokesman for Waterstones said that the leaflets Eckhoff distributed in the Bluewater branch were encouraging customers to order his book from “a major competitor” – Amazon. If the leaflets had just been about his book, then obviously they would still have been looked for and removed (not a great use of staff’s time…) and we’d put it down to an over-enthusiastic new author. But including the encouragement to use a major competitor is just rude and surely obviously inappropriate, which is what prompted a polite email to the author asking him not to use our shops in such a way,” said the spokesman. “Unfortunately, it subsequently emerged that staff at the shop had taken matters into their own hands and indulged in some completely inappropriate behaviour, as pointed out to us by the author. We took action to identify those involved and have the offending material removed, and dealt with the situation accordingly, and of course we are sorry that members of our staff acted in such a fashion.”

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

26 Comments

  1. Ros
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 04:44:10

    There was nothing freak show-ish about the Paralympics. It was simply a celebration of sporting achievement of the highest order from brilliant, dedicated athletes.

  2. Aleksandr Voinov
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 06:25:25

    Having been in London (hey, I work here) during the “summer of sports”, I got the impression that this year’s Paralympics were really the point when the Paralympics were seen as a pretty much normal sporting event. In my own experience, it was the first time that the Paralympics (and the coverage of them) made it into the mainstream. People were talking about the Paralympians (with superstars Oscar Pistorius, Jonnie Peacock, Weir, Simmons), in the same tones as they’d speak about the Olympians. Also, several sports such as “Murderball” (wheelchair basketball) got really really popular.

    I found the coverage by the media pretty tasteful and respectful. There was even a show called The Last Leg, broadcast right after the news roundup, which was a tongue-in-cheek look from the disabled perspective, as some ex- and active Paralympians were trading jokes and anecdotes about their prosthetics in a relaxed, fun, grown-up manner. It was really well done.

    The mood inside London was interesting; there were a LOT more disabled people on the streets than I’m used to seeing, and I haven’t seen one that was in need of help and didn’t receive it. Similarly, it raised my own awareness – especially the question, why don’t we see more of them out and about? And if it’s a prtoblem of access and facilities, how can we improve that.

    Personally, I felt it was a sea-change, and I’m not prone to gushing. Hopefully, next year, the BBC will broadcast the whole thing, as it did with the Olympics, rather than a small channel.

  3. Joanna Terrero
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 06:54:50

    Thanks for telling us the facts of the situation, Mr.Voinov. As the mother of a disable child, I’m glad to know the world’s attitude is changing .
    Speaking of changes, did you guys notice that Amazon changed the layout of Genre Fiction Top 100? – The paid books are now separated from the FREE ones. There is a tab between the two categories, but they aren’t any longer side by side. I’m wondering if this is a sign of things to come.

  4. Aleksandr Voinov
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 07:05:37

    @Joanna Terrero:

    I wouldn’t presume making any statement of “fact”, those were just some impressions I got personally and from talking to friends and colleagues. I’m also wary of the potential to use the event as a self-congratulatory exercise in “oooh, we are such a diverse & inclusive society” by the mainstream. No doubt much work remains to be done, well past mid-2012.

  5. Joanna Terrero
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 07:21:12

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I understand what you meant. Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement, and I hope it will be achieved in the near future. Still, it’s great to hear the positive aspect of it. Thanks again.

  6. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 08:51:40

    The theme of the Olympics, as announced at the opening ceremony (which I believe was truncated by the US TV franchise) was Inclusiveness. That wasn’t just the disabled, it was the underprivileged, women from a male-centric society (the first female Saudi Arabian contestant was celebrated) and other groups. Not as separate groups, not as “different,” but as part of the whole.
    The Paralympics was given the same kind of lavish coverage (from a different TV station) as the main Olympics. And it was just as much fun.

  7. cbackson
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 08:56:52

    My favorite of these grooms is the dude in the second set of photos, who appears to be having a totally awesome hipster Jewish wedding (complete with small child in fedora) and is all like, WOOOO! I WIN AT LIFE!

  8. Patricia
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 09:13:58

    Thank you for posting a link to the Knocked Over essay. That was a very, very powerful piece.

  9. Tamara Hogan
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 09:26:23

    The Knocked Over essay is must-read stuff. Thanks for posting it.

  10. CourtneyLee
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 10:09:54

    Thanks so much for the link to the Knocked Over essay. Not only was the essay itself incredible, relevant, and moving, but the comments are full of personal stories of choice. I’d love it if more of these stories made their way to our legislators’ ears. Maybe then they won’t be so quick to reduce the issue of choice to impersonal dollars and black-and-white ways to look at what is actually one of the most difficult, heartwrenching, and far-reaching decisions of a person’s life.

    I absolutely LOVED the groom photos. The range of expressions was awesome, as was the reminder that men, too, experience an excess of emotion on their wedding days. I don’t know why that struck me so much when I knew it intellectually. Looking at that album got me really emotional.

    So did the essay. I feel like I have to go release some emotional steam. I hate crying, so I’ll head over to The Oatmeal and I Can Haz Cheeseburger for some laughs.

  11. Maili
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 10:16:40

    @Aleksandr Voinov:

    I found the coverage by the media pretty tasteful and respectful.

    Which still blows my mind! When the Paralympics were in the US during the summer of 1996, we had problems getting info about the games from the media of *any* country. The best we could find was the sort that fit a 1/8th filler somewhere in the middle of a newspaper, and usually with a patronising tone. Like so: “Brave swimmer Joe Smith, tragically lost his legs in a 1987 road accident, wins a gold” and “Gymnast Jane Brown courageously overcomes her spinal deformation to win a silver.” No details about their sport performances. None whatsoever.

    Loads of journalists also thought Paralympics was a compound name of paralysed + Olympics. Heh. What a bunch of plonkers. Yeah, the 1996 coverage was truly shite. Now in 2012, I was truly shocked when I saw a full colour photo of Ellie Simmonds (a gold-winning swimmer) smiling on the Telegraph or Observer’s front page last week or so. I was so gobsmacked that I couldn’t think straight for a moment. What a huge leap from 1996.

    Anyroad, the sum of Danielle Peers’ comments – “promoting the idea that disability is a tragic problem in people’s bodies, rather than a structural problem in today’s society” – is 100% spot on, though. I do think this year’s Paralympics is a landmark in terms of British media coverage (I don’t know how the media coverage of the Paralympics has been overseas) and changing British public attitude and perspective. Which is a Very Good Thing.

    For example, most seemed shocked when cyclist Jody Cundy completely blew his fuse – riddled with swear words – when denied a chance to restart his race. How about wheelchair rugby/basketball players’ extremely aggressive performances and how much they relished in it? This shocked some radio commentators into saying things like “Oh! Oh, my god! Player 2′s wheelchair has just knocked Player 7 down! So violently!…There’ll be medics….(pause)…No. No medics. Uh? No medics, huh? OK, both are now up and running, uh, rolling… (pause)… (sounding shocked) How could Player 7 be grinning? Isn’t he hurt at all?” before belatedly realising: “They’re enjoying it!” It was a few minutes before they stopped using words like ‘wheelchair’ (e.g. “player 1′s wheelchair hitting player 5′s wheelchair” to “player 1 hitting player 5″) and being so concerned about players’ welfare, and finally focused on the game itself. Hurray.

    All that seems to help some to realise that people with disabilities aren’t tragically tormented yet courageous fragile saints with the bottomless well of saintly patience, noble smiles and vulnerable neediness. They are human with human emotions, warts and all. And that personality does come before disability.

    But how long will that realisation last? Have people finally stopped looking at disability as a source of pity, fear, compassion, disgust or the like? Will people stop using those words – brave, courageous, etc. – when describing a person with disability? Will they even realise that it’s the society itself that disables people with disabilities, not the disabilities themselves?

    I doubt it. So I feel there’s still a long way to go. I do hope this changing attitude will show up in cinema, literature and genre fiction as well.

  12. Aleksandr Voinov
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 10:28:13

    @Maili:

    >>>All that seems to help some to realise that people with disabilities aren’t tragically tormented yet courageous fragile saints with the bottomless well of saintly patience, noble smiles and vulnerable neediness. They are human with human emotions, warts and all. And that personality does come before disability.>>>

    This is what I would have wanted to write if I’d had a little more clarity in my argument. Oh Hell Yes. It took me a while to understand Pistorius’s whole thrust about “see us as athletes” (and I really welcomes how he knocked himself off the “Saint Bladerunner” altar by raising points about Oliveira’s blades – it’s just one of those issues that happen in ny sport, and just because he’s running with augmented legs doesn’t change the way sport works AS A SPORT).

    What did annoy me a tiny bit was the parade at the start, where the appearance of every 2nd/3rd world country was greeted with “oh, Place X, another terrible war-torn place with lots of amputees and huge amonts of mine fields” (funny, some of the biggest contingents were Chinese, German, American, British – all without recent civil wars – and not every Parathlete was ex-military, either). But that was the only blip I noticed and it soon vanished.

    I think the Person of the Paralympics/Olympics for me was Alex Zanardi, the Italian F1-driver who returned on the handbike. Maybe it was the difference in age, but he had an amazingly ispirational message for the world – disabled, abled, everybody – that pretty much made me cry. Such beauty and maturity. And you also have proud people, and agression, and big egoes. I just thought it was inspiring overall; very much about the human spirit, whatever the body is shaped like. (And a marked contrast to professional football, for example.)

    Actually, I was considering writing a romance about a “Bladerunner” type guy. (Maybe because Pistorius and Peacock are both incredibly hot.) :) We need more of that rather than less. It has to give so much to society as a whole. In any case, it would just make us all more “normal” by including the whole spectrum, if that makes any sense.

  13. Kate Pearce
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 11:03:42

    I have family in London and several of them attended events at both the Olympics and Paralympics and enjoyed everything immensely. As I have a disabled Young Adult of my own I was glad to see the respect for everyone who competed including the disabled athletes.
    I just wish NBC could’ve been bothered to show some of the competition from the Paralympics…

    And This:

    “All that seems to help some to realise that people with disabilities aren’t tragically tormented yet courageous fragile saints with the bottomless well of saintly patience, noble smiles and vulnerable neediness. They are human with human emotions, warts and all. And that personality does come before disability.”

    Trust me, I want to kill my disabled kid just as often as his other siblings. :) He’s a person first, not a disability or a problem or a sad case.

    And the wedding pictures? Awesome. :)

  14. Hannah E.
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 11:05:02

    @Aleksandr Voinov:

    Yes! Please write it. You know, ’cause it’s not like you have a million other projects going or anything. :-)

  15. Mireya
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 11:51:04

    Wow, that “Knocked Over” article is one powerful piece. I can only imagine the feelings of the author, and precisely because of everything she shared in the article I will always be pro-choice. I wouldn’t undergo an abortion myself, unless there were strenuous circumstances, but I would never dare take the option away from other women. Very powerful piece. It is not anyone’s place to tell women what they can or can’t do. All the current attitudes only show that there is still quite a bit of work to do regarding women’s rights.

  16. Ridley
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 12:06:09

    @Maili:

    All that seems to help some to realise that people with disabilities aren’t tragically tormented yet courageous fragile saints with the bottomless well of saintly patience, noble smiles and vulnerable neediness.

    But… this describes me so perfectly!

    Will people stop using those words – brave, courageous, etc. – when describing a person with disability?

    Considering Jane basically used that language up above, I don’t think so. The Paralympics was either completely ignored or used to “inspire” able readers of the US media. I wish they’d just fold the Paralympics in with the Olympics. Their separation just screams “consolation prize.” Why not just include wheelchair/prosthetic/etc. events in the Olympics? Athletes are athletes.

    I wish we could just see Oscar Pistorious’ blades the way we see Shaun White’s snowboard.

  17. HelenB
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 13:36:58

    During the Paralympics, the main stadium seating 80,000 people was full every night, which a great change from previous games and the people were there, I believe, for the sport. The prize giving for the swimmers annoyed me because some swimmers do not have arms and they still were presented with flowers and had to tuck the bunches under their chins! That was so stupid, why could they not have been presented with Lei’s or something similar. Overall though the sport not the disability, came first, which is how it should be.

  18. Sunita
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 14:53:46

    When we were driving cross-country in August, the BBC was running stories on the Paralympics. We heard this terrific piece on the Canadian wheelchair rugby team and it was amazing. Talk about crazy dudes. They were that before and after they acquired wheelchairs, from what I can tell: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00x3x9m

  19. Ann Somerville
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 19:52:11

    @Mireya:

    “I wouldn’t undergo an abortion myself, unless there were strenuous circumstances”

    Well, I’ve had one, and I doubt any woman makes the decision lightly or for casual reasons. The idea that women who find themselves pregnant just go ‘oops, better get an abortion’ and spend no more time on it than that, pisses me off. So does the idea that there is a list of acceptable reasons to have one, and if your reasons aren’t on the list, then you’re a slut or a baby murderer.

    We don’t question the reasons people have children and we don’t set up a moral, financial, intellectual or practical test to make sure they know what they’re doing. Yet a woman who decides that this or any baby is not right for her, has to be grilled and punished and abhored and treated like she’s not right in the head or the ethical muscles.

    Makes me sick.

    [Oh, and if anyone's planning to use this information to slam me? Go right ahead. I'll put your remarks in the same round file as I do those who think it's funny to snigger at me admitting I suffer from a mental illness. Tells the world more about you than it does about me.]

  20. Ann Somerville
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 19:58:59

    @HelenB:

    “they still were presented with flowers and had to tuck the bunches under their chins!”

    Um, how do you know they weren’t thrilled with the flowers? Or weren’t perfectly used to holding things that way (which they probably were?) Having seen the fierce competitiveness of some of these athletes, a lei just for a few of them would have been seen as a damn insult. They managed. That’s what they were showing us. They manage, and they thrive, and some of them are champions.

    This is the kind of thing that I bet more athletes with disabilities care about:

    Many of Britain’s gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools are “no-go zones” for disabled people and will struggle to cope with an expected surge in interest in fitness activities, following the Paralympic games, campaigners have warned.

    A crowdsourced survey of hundreds of gyms across the UK by charity volunteers suggests that many local facilities are partially inaccessible, difficult to navigate and expensive to join. Some did not have specialist gym equipment and nearly half lacked staff trained in disability awareness.

  21. Cervenka
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 20:18:21

    I wish more women knew about how health insurance works in this country. Most women seem to take for granted that pregnancy would be covered under virtually any health insurance policy–they don’t stop to read the fine print that says pregnancy is not covered for the first year of their new job, or not covered at all in the case of an individual policy.

    This is something that women in the U.S. should have been protesting for years now. Some of us have been, but it’s amazing how not being able to get health insurance–I’m not talking about not being able to pay for it, I’m talking about actually not being able to get it because the law says insurers can turn you down for whatever reason they feel like–throws one into the category of “freeloader” in this country. If I can’t get maternity coverage it’s because I must be doing something wrong or I’m not willing to pay for it–the fault couldn’t possibly lie with a system that thinks prenatal care isn’t a vital part of women’s health care.

    It’s definitely a case where most people do not seem to care about the issue unless and until they suddenly find themselves in the situation. The selfishness of many Americans when it comes to access to health care never fails to amaze me.

  22. Ridley
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 20:38:28

    @Ann Somerville:

    The idea that women who find themselves pregnant just go ‘oops, better get an abortion’ and spend no more time on it than that, pisses me off.

    Why? Seems reasonable enough to me. If you think life begins at viability, why would a chemical abortion at <8 weeks be a big deal?

    I don't begrudge anyone's feelings on abortion until someone tries to insist that their feelings should be my feelings.

  23. Ann Somerville
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 21:11:18

    @Ridley:

    “Why? Seems reasonable enough to me.”

    All I can say is that having been there, talking to those who have, reading about those who have, is that for none of us, it’s not a decision taken lightly.

    However, you’re right. Even if it was, that’s no reason to villainise it.

    “If you think life begins at viability, why would a chemical abortion at <8 weeks be a big deal?"

    Point of fact – many abortions take place after that, simply because of the time it takes to obtain the procedure and time for decision making. Not that it makes any difference to viability or legitimacy.

    I just get angry at the propaganda that makes women out to be heartless and feckless for a decision which almost involves varying degrees of soul-searching and deep consideration. Contrary to right-wing talking points, women do have brains, and we do use them.

  24. Ridley
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 21:38:17

    @Ann Somerville: I chose the 8 weeks figure because that’s when most American abortions happen.

  25. Janine
    Sep 14, 2012 @ 09:01:32

    @Ann Somerville:

    We don’t question the reasons people have children and we don’t set up a moral, financial, intellectual or practical test to make sure they know what they’re doing.

    This is just an aside, since I agree completely on abortion but I sometimes do wish there was some kind of required training for prospective parents. Of course, it would be wrong to take away anyone’s right to have children, yet so many people abuse their kids that I do sometimes wish it required a license.

  26. Jules Jones
    Sep 15, 2012 @ 07:59:34

    Media coverage of the Paralympics in the UK was excellent, and as mentioned upthread, included “The Last Leg”, a brilliantly funny nightly round-up and discussion programme. One of their threads was the #isitok Twitter hashtag for people to ask things they’d been wondering about. One that got broadcast was #isitok to say “some of those paralympics dudes are well fit!”? , a sentiment which has been expressed by a number of viewers. :-)

    One of the Last Leg able-bodied guests talking about the way it’s been largely covered in the UK as just another major sporting event said that for the first three days he saw the athletes come out to the starting block and wondered “what’s wrong with him?”, and after the third day didn’t even notice the disability and just saw the sport. I think that’s partly as a result of the fact that Channel 4 was quite matter of fact about explaining classifications and the rules for sports in the same way they’d explain for newcomers any other sport that doesn’t normally get a lot of mainstream coverage outside world championship time.

    And Aleksandr Voinov wasn’t the only one thinking, “Mmm, would make good model for romance hero…” Apart from those already mentioned, there is the awesome Richard Whitehead. He’s primarily a marathon runner, but there was no marathon event for his classification at London 2012, so he switched discipline to sprint. I caught the live coverage of his 200m sprint win – brilliant stuff. But if I ever do put this on the “To write” list, it will probably be based around wheelchair rugby. I fell in love with wheelchair rugby during the Beijing Games, and wish there was more coverage of it.

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