DiscoverPopagandaLabors of Love
Labors of Love

Labors of Love

Update: 2018-06-21


Why do romance novels get such a bad rap? The genre is often maligned as being inferior to more “literary” writing, but there’s so much more to it than shirtless cowboys and inaccurate portrayals of BDSM etiquette. Romance writers like today’s two guests live in a complicated world. They navigate arcane sorting algorithms, racism, and more intracommunity drama than you can shake a stick at. But despite all of the hardships, they keep on working hard to make sure their readers get the happy endings they’re looking for.

First, we have Tracey Livesay, a former criminal defense attorney and current author of interracial romance novels. She talks about how she became a fan of the genre and why she loves its community. Second, CK Gold, writer of LGBTQ fantasy romance ebooks, shares some fascinating things she’s learned about race, marketability, and metadata.


In Channel
Rebecca Solnit Talks Women, Activism, and Anger with Andi Zeisler
Even if you’ve never heard of Rebecca Solnit, you know who she is. It was Solnit’s 2008 essay at the blog TomDigest that identified the concept we know today as mansplaining. (“Most women fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is and one simply for the right to speak, to have ideas, to be acknowledged to be in possession of facts and truths, to have value, to be a human being.”) But long before Solnit became a patron saint of the extremely online, she was an activist, a historian, a mapmaker, and a prolific author of books on a dizzying breadth of topics: the history of walking (2000’s Wanderlust); the motion-photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge (2004’s River of Shadows); the emerging evidence of climate change (2018’s Drowned River); and ambient cultural misogyny (2015’s essay collection Men Explain Things to Me). Solnit’s new book of essays, titled Call Them By Their True Names: American Crises (And Essays), connects the Trump administration, economic inequality, Indigenous history, police brutality, and gentrification gracefully, tying them together with meditations on American exceptionalism and the importance of precise language that gets right down to the lived facts of politics. Call Them By Their True Names doesn’t boil over with long-simmering ire on behalf of democracy and social justice, but rather deploys Solnit’s trademark precision, dry wit, and enduring optimism toward an absorbing whole. All the more reason to get her on the phone to talk about the role, and the necessity, of anger in a world that tosses up fresh outrages at least once a day.
Popaganda: Pro Wrestling with the Sublime
Pro wrestling hasn’t been the kindest entertainment industry for women. Relegated to Playboy-sponsored pillow fight matches or mud wrestling, women wrestlers didn’t get to shine for their athleticism or fighting prowess very often until Chyna came around in the late 90s. Her storylines were pretty meta, with male wrestlers and announcers who questioned her qualifications being on the receiving end of her feminist rage. But even then, women wrestlers like her had to constantly endure being sexually objectified and called “yapping female dogs” by the commentators. Yet pro wrestling is still very much a part of American pop culture, with folks making connections between it and other forms of expression, as an art form. So what’s the draw? Why does pro wrestling affect people so much, to the point of emotional catharsis? And… is it art? Today’s guests are two people who’ve shown me just how cool wrestling can be. First, I talk to Julian Burrell, producer of a really great podcast called Tights and Fights, about a wrestling match that made him cry. Then you’ll hear from Kath Barbadoro, a comedian and host of Wrestlesplania, a podcast where she explains to her co-host, Rachel Millman, why wrestling is good. SHOUT-OUTS Read April LaValle’s retrospective take on WWE’s Attitude era for Bitch. Curious about EVE? Find out more about their mission, events, and wrestlers. Check out this great writeup on Chyna and her history with the WWE at the Mary Sue. If pro wrestling lingo seems a bit confusing, you can cross-reference with this handy guide from Complex.
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Labors of Love

Labors of Love