Laurie Penny's first science fiction book, Everything Belongs to the Future
, is available to the public as of today: if you've followed her work
, you're probably expecting something scathing, feminist, woke, and smart as hell, and you won't be disappointed -- but you're going to get a lot more, besides.
Doges are done; sneks are so September. What's next? @Hay_Man's Peasant Memes! Read the rest
After penning the best article on the RNC, Laurie Penny has taken her Red Pen of Justice to the DNC, where she reports on the state of American progressivism in the balance, where the best we can hope for is "a future slightly less terrifying than Trump nation." Read the rest
Laurie Penny, "a radical queer feminist leftist writer burdened with actual principles," has a weird frenemy relationship with trolling, racist, alt-right opportunist Milo Yiannopoulos, who was just permanently banned from Twitter for orchestrating a racist harassment campaign against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Read the rest
Laurie Penny reviews Andi Zeisler's ‘We Were Feminists Once’ and considers the progressive dilemma of popularity: how do you turn new popularity into change, when the idea of change is so easily turned into an ersatz commercial product?
As a founding editor of Bitch Magazine, which was first published as a zine in 1996, Zeisler understands the fraught relationship between feminism and pop culture. It’s a relationship of toxic codependency. Activists need the media to help spread the word, even as it pumps out sexist stereotypes; the media, meanwhile, cannot risk losing touch with the zeitgeist. In her introduction, Zeisler describes her book as “an exploration of how the new embrace of marketplace feminism — mediated, decoupled from politics, staunchly focused on individual experience and actualization — dovetails with entrenched beliefs about power, about activism, about who feminists are and what they do.”
However, Penny writes that things have become more nuanced, less monolithic, and that feminists are one again engaging the in the "time-honored tradition" of being too hard on their own movement -- and especially on grassroots creativity that's succeeded despite media indifference.
Read the rest
Granted, as she points out, this newfound feminist populism hasn’t stopped the relentless conservative assault on abortion rights in the United States. Given the tireless work of abortion rights activists, however, perhaps it’s time we stopped blaming feminists for that and started blaming Republicans. The women’s movement has always been good at rebuking itself for every imperfection. The “confidence” promised by Dove body lotion may not be the revolution we have waited for — but feminism could use a little more faith in itself.
Laurie Penny's latest, sacrelicious short story on Tor.com, "Your Orisons May Be Recorded," is a hilarious thought experiment about the working conditions for the angels who answer customer service prayers from dissatisfied humans. Read the rest
It's a good week when we get two new short stories from political science fiction wunderkind Laurie Penny: on Monday, it was The House of Surrender, about a prison in a world without coercion; today it's "The Killing Jar," about the intern to a serial killer employed by an English town council: "Since serial murder was first recognized as one of the English Fine Arts, the trick has always been to keep it original." Read the rest
Laurie Penny's new science fiction story "The House of Surrender" is a bittersweet little mindbomb about rape (trigger warning), coercion, prison, and what a society without locks would do with the people who hurt others. Read the rest
Laurie Penny's science fiction story "Blue Monday" is a mean little kick up the ass. I workshopped this story with her last summer at the Clarion West workshop in Seattle and it doesn't get any less punchy on subsequent re-readings. Read the rest
The illustrator collaborated with Syrian writer Marwan Hisham (a pseudonym), who sent her mobile-phone photos from Syria that she used as the basis for a striking and moving series of illustrations for a Vanity Fair feature. Read the rest
Laurie Penny weighs in with an important addition to the discussion about privilege and pain, making the important point that privilege is not the absence of pain, discrimination or hellish conditions -- but that doesn't mean that the nerds who suffered through school bullying are without it. Read the rest
, author of Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
explains "Social Justice Warriors" and why they're winning.
Laurie Penny writes, "What do you give your single friends and ex-partners on Valentine's day?
Cult online journal The New Inquiry has released a product line to help them keep on paying their writers and staff. Their exclusive misandrist totebag, with a design by Imp Kerr, is aimed at all those who want to smash the romantic industrial complex in style."
Limited Edition Valentine's Day Tote
(Thanks, Laurie!) Read the rest
Two members of Pussy Riot have travelled to London under a cloak of secrecy to speak to the press about the plight of their bandmates in Russian labor camps. Laurie Penny was one of the reporters who got to interview them in a small, no-photos press conference:
These girls are young. Very young. For their safety, I can’t say how young, but imagine how young you think they might be. Are you imagining it? They’re about five years younger than that. When they arrived I wondered, for a second, who let a couple of moody work experience kids into a clandestine meeting...
And then there’s the cultural backlash - including sexist attacks on what Pussy Riot stand for. "The simplest example is the idea that there’s a [male] producer behind us, or that we must be being paid by foreign governments - nobody can imagine that women themselves are expressing their opinions!" says Schumacher.
"In the Russian mass media they're saying we're stupid girls, not able to think. Among the orthodox believers, in the media, they tell us to stay at home, do cooking, give birth to children," says Schumacher. "And Masha and Nadya are attacked for not fulfilling their roles as mothers." This last is particularly cruel, because not only is it the Russian state that placed Masha and Nadya in Labour camps far from their children, but both have been denied the usual clemency that allows mothers of young children to receive suspended sentences.
Pussy Riot: "People fear us because we're feminists" Read the rest
American expat Leigh Alexander has had her first Eurovision party as an embedded foreigner in London. It went well.