Tuesday News: Pantyhose, publishing boycott, tethering (or not), and world literature
The Politics of Pantyhose – Aside from the author’s sometimes eye-rolling attempts at a clever turn of phrase, there are some interesting points made about the historical uses, impositions, and transitions of hosiery, first from male to female dress, and then in the shifts from utility to luxury to wardrobe policing (for modesty, formality, or other gendered expectations). I once heard that hose impervious to snagging had been invented, but no one wanted to sell them because they would kill the market.
We should understand the current state of hosiery in the context of a collapse of intimate infrastructure that started in the 1920s, when flappers cast off corsets and petticoats. The 1960s success of pantyhose, which essentially obviated the girdle and its garter straps, answered a dream of some 19th-century suffragists who identified the matter of holding up stockings as one of the main problems of rational dress for women. In recent decades, some women, embarking on their first office jobs, rolled L’eggs over their limbs because their mothers had. It just seemed like the thing to do — and then they got to the office and saw that things had changed. It was now a matter of personal preference whether to wriggle into a synthetic sheath that was plainly a vestige of an old social framework. – The New York Times
Iranian publishers defy Frankfurt Book Fair boycott – Ongoing controversy over Rushdie’s presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair certainly isn’t hurting publicity, and now it appears that despite the Iranian government’s official boycott of the Fair, a number of publishers will be attending, which reinforces the dual nature of books as both economically and politically powerful:
A spokesperson for the book fair said on Monday that around 10 Iranian publishers would be participating, despite an official boycott by the Iranian government.
“We feel a strong politicization this year and freedom of expression will be a key theme,” said Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, in a statement. – Deutsche Welle
Suspicious of tethering, AT&T threatens to kill man’s unlimited data plan – A disturbing but not completely surprising story of AT&T’s insistence that a customer is tethering another device to his phone, which – SURPRISE! – is reason to deny the customer their grandfathered unlimited data plan. In this case, Evan Shapiro (who has been with AT&T for more than 20 years), insists he has no other devices tethered, but AT&T has threatened him with cutting off his data, nonetheless. Given the problems AT&T currently has with the government over its limited-unlimited data plan, it’s an interesting position the company finds itself in. Although, of course, that may be part the problem — companies like AT&T seem to have so much power to exert over customers when it comes to data use, and many don’t know the first thing about how to fight back.
Shapiro told Ars that his off-contract Nokia Lumia 1520 isn’t jailbroken or rooted, but he did recently install the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview so he could get the latest phone operating system offered by Microsoft.
AT&T told Ars that “we think [the five instances of tethering] all happened after the beta OS was downloaded and installed by the customer.” While AT&T did not offer any details about the process it used to determine whether Shapiro was tethering, the carrier seems to be suspicious of Microsoft’s software, saying “its manufacturer hasn’t finalized it, nor has any carrier (to our knowledge) been able to test.” Aside from pointing out that Shapiro is running Microsoft’s beta OS, AT&T offered no explanation for why the company thought he was tethering. (Shapiro gave permission to AT&T for the company to discuss his account with Ars.) – Ars Technica
WORLD BOOKS: Two theories of world literature – A pithy little piece on the current tension between world literature as the mass popularity of genre works that are often translated into film and television, and as works that are more focused on form and artistry (what some might call ‘classic literature’), not exclusive of genre, but also not completely immersed in the currency of popular culture. It’s an interesting argument, and reading it reminded me of this piece on being a ‘film snob,’ although I prefer the way Lind articulates what I think are some of the same tensions between artistry and industry.
But a century is not a long time in the history of culture. Modernism is no longer modern. Eventually, intelligent people are bound to tire of a choice between a lowest-common-denominator international popular culture and a campus-based literary culture limited to realistic novels and chatty free verse poems. The current ban on the appropriation of forms and genres outside of the West and prior to World War I may be resisted by future generations that are less conformist and more creative.
We can imagine a future global elite literary culture, including new forms of visual media and perhaps virtual reality technology, whose makers regard the classic traditions of India, China, and the Middle East as well as the Greco-Roman and medieval West as sources of inspiration, not relics of an irrelevant past that are off-limits in a museum. And the centers of global classicism in the future may be far from Europe and North America. At its worst, global classicism could degenerate into scholasticism, like Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game. At its best, it could produce a genuine world literature far more erudite and refined than global popular culture. – The Smart Set