Art and Design Political Commentary

The tactic of destroying the meaning of words

Replied to Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture by Elaine VelieElaine Velie (

Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.

It’s a known authoritarian practice to undermine the meaning of words: in this case, applying the word pornographic to an artistic masterwork representing a biblical figure in the nude. At the same time, they are diminishing the cultural and historical value of art; art and history are threats to them that must be suppressed for their narrative to reign.

Il David is an important work to study in European art history, and frankly any curriculum that omitted it would be questionable.

Nudity is not the same as pornography.

Activism Political Commentary

How to support trans people

Bookmarked Thread by @magpiekilljoy on Thread Reader App (

@magpiekilljoy: if they mean what they say, here’s a thread of ideas about how to stand up for yourself or your trans loved ones (or just be a decent human) during this time of escalating legislative and extralegal threats and violence against LGBT people

Take this threat seriously. Don’t treat trans people like we’re hysterical. Don’t assume this is just another culture war issue.

At the same time, avoid jumping to conclusions or overstating the enemy’s strength. History doesn’t have to repeat itself.

I’ve been feeling a little helpless and anxious over all the hatred towards trans people escalating, and not knowing what to do about it since the legislation is happening in other states. (Washington had two anti-trans bills that fortunately died in committee.)

Charlie Jane Anders shared some interesting info about a historic debate over the best approach in her most recent newsletter. I appreciate the reminder that there are many approaches that can help.

Do we fight for protections for specific vulnerable groups (trans people, but also non-binary folks and other gender-nonconforming people who embrace labels like genderqueer or gender-fluid)? Or do we push a general principle that nobody should be penalized for their gender presentation, even if that person identifies as a cis straight man but happens to wear pink?

Before anyone else says it, I will: these two approaches are, of course, not mutually exclusive. We can do both.


Read A Lady for a Duke

Read A Lady for a Duke

When Viola Caroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.

As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.

This story was long, which meant the author could include both the gothic oceanside home and a Season in London. I don’t feel the second half and first half tied together enough plotwise — the villain for the end of the piece was brought in quite late. Emotionally, I can see why a longer resolution was needed for reconciliation, but I think it could have been accomplished a little more directly. Both halves of the story could easily have been made into their own story, and perhaps picking one to focus on would have kept it tighter. And it maybe bothered me that the heroine is given another side role rather than being central to the story, when part of her story is that she gave up so much to be herself, including having her own independent life?

I thought the emotional conflict over the MC’s transition and “betrayal” was done well (though I’m not trans so defer to actual trans people on whether the rep was good). The hero adjusts to the transition fast, but I feel like as an author you need to do that or he’d look like a transphobic dick, which would kill the story. The sex scenes were written tastefully and thoughtfully.