Book Notes: The Sleeping Voice by Dulce Chacon

The Sleeping Voice is one of the most famous novels of the Spanish Civil War. We all know how much I love this genre but this novel I detested.

This was supposed to be a novel about the Republican women in Franco’s jails. In reality, though, it’s not a novel, it’s a fairy-tale.

For one, it is written in this deeply obnoxious, childish voice that is so primitive and prattly that in the 450 pages of text I only needed to consult the dictionary twice.

The characters are all so perfect that they seem inhuman. They are all beautiful, kind, loyal, they invariably fall in love at first sight and remain faithful to their partners even when those are separated from them for decades. They are perfect parents, perfect friends, perfect siblings, perfect comrades, and perfect revolutionaries. After 450 pages of this unblemished perfection, you begin to detest these freakish robots.

This way of depicting the Republicans has a dubious effect. What if some of the Republican prisoners were less perfect and more human? What if they sometimes snored, picked their noses, yelled at their kids, fought with their friends, lied or even flirted with somebody other than their spouse? Would they not deserve our compassion then? Does our interest in them depend on their capacity to convince us of their saintly behavior throughout their lives?

And can you guess how the fairy-tale ends? Right you are, with a wedding!

But hey, among the hundreds of novels on the Spanish Civil War, this primitive tear-jerker was one of the 3 most successful.

Tuesday Link Encyclopedia

Have you considered the oppressive nature of pumpkin spice lattes before buying one, you oppressor?

Maternal and offspring fitness interests are aligned in certain domains and conflicting in others, which may have led to the evolution of fetal microchimeric phenotypes that can manipulate maternal tissues.” This is a crucial and often ignored area of research. I’ve experienced both the positive and the negative effects this study discusses and was stunned to discover how clueless doctors are about this phenomenon.

Raising tax rates on the highest earners will not have any impact on income inequality. The kind of economy where it did is dead. It’s not coming back. The time has come to stop fantasizing about its rebirth and start engaging with the new set of circumstances.

Kids’ palates are so undeveloped that they are incapable of eating school lunches that consist of anything but grease, junk, and garbage.

A really good observation on the weirdness of American dating practices.

In a wide-ranging interview Friday, Fiorina also explained her opposition to abortion rights in the most personal way since her campaign officially started last fall. “I myself was not able to have children of my own, and so I know what a precious gift life is,” Fiorina said.” Ah, well, this explains the weird fixation on the imaginary “kicking fetus” video.

Russian ambassador to Poland blames Poland for WWII. Apparently, the new Russian definition of the word “diplomatic” is “capable of antagonizing everybody in sight with extreme assholery.”

The absolutely ridiculous things American psychotherapists are taught about sexuality. Please be very careful before you contact one for help with sexual problems. Instead, consider doing Skype sessions with specialists from Europe.

[Russian] A really good, honest post about the reasons why life in Haiti sucks so badly. Great photos, too. It’s only in Russian or Ukrainian that one can read insightful posts on the topic and not find the same idiotic regurgitation of the evil French and the nasty reparations.

I never heard of Garbage Pail Kids before but we had something very similar in the USSR in the form of little poems. These kinds of things perform hugely important functions for kids, and only idiots would try to censor them in any way.

Australians refuse to punish even the most egregious and horrifying kind of domestic abuse because the perpetrator is a woman.

The extremely bizarre situation of the NY school janitors.

The offensive and disturbing way in which a Chicago news station celebrated a Jewish holiday.

Do read this great report about the time when Obama humiliated Trump. It’s hilarious.

Not That Into Work

Republicans – both in Congress and on the state level – have adopted the strategy of stopping all work altogether whenever anything is the least bit not to their liking.

Commentators are trying to come up with all sorts of political and ideological explanations for this phenomenon but I’m thinking that everything is much simpler: these folks are just not that into working and look for any excuse to avoid doing any work.

An Inscrutable Mystery

A Muslim father strangled his 19-year-old daughter to death after learning that she had been caught shoplifting condoms to have sex with her boyfriend, who she had been forbidden from seeing.

Asadullah Khan, 51, admitting killing his daughter Lareeb in the early hours of the morning on 28 January as she had brought ‘dishonour’ to the family, reports Germany’s Bild newspaper.

I’m posting this in response to the timid and mumbly question by blogger Echidne as to the possibility that the gender norms of migrants who are coming to Germany might not be entirely in tune with those of the “receiving population.”

Hmm, what a mystery. How can anybody possibly find an answer?