Among the many weird manifestations of Kim Il Sung’s tyranny was a prohibition of romance in the works of North Korean culture ... Growing up on the very best of Soviet and Hollywood movies, Kim Jong Il comprehended that romance could be an essential spoon of sugar to help people better swallow the bitter medicine of social mobilization and various other political campaigns. “People love love,” he once claimed in his characteristically laconic manner. “We must show it on the screen”.[more inside]
Márta and György Kurtág play Bach-transcriptions by Kurtág - The two play transcriptions made by the composer of Bach's choral prelude Das alte Jahr vergangen ist BWV 614, his Duet BWV 804 and a (devastating) movement from the Baroque composer's cantata Actus tragicus. [more inside]
on Grindr? [NSFW kinda]
"Jo, having devotedly fulfilled her readers’ expectations for years, confounds our hopes by ending up not with the dashing, boyish Laurie but with Professor Bhaer, a somewhat older, less glamorous, rather didactic German tutor. To anyone steeped in the conventions of romance—not to mention conventional plotting—the gesture has for generations felt almost vindictive on Alcott’s part." Who is Professor Bhaer? Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
"The Sexy Douchecanoe isn’t an official trope, as such; at least, it’s not one that I often find people analyzing, subverting, and/or railing against. It is one, however, that I run into constantly because, while they’re often unfairly associated with strapping, half-dressed men on paperback covers, Sexy Douchecanoes actually pop up in every medium and every genre."
What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage "You are both screwed, everything will be exactly this unexciting until one of you dies, and it's the absolute greatest anyway."
Saigon Deli Sandwich and Taco Valparaiso offers a lesson in cross-cultural communication. In 2011, Tony Torres, who owned a taqueria, approached Dieu Ngo, who owned the Saigon Deli banh mi shop, with a proposition that they join forces. The result was a classic multi-cultural fusion, and a budding romance.
An ABZ of Love [NSFW], or, Inge and Sten Hegeler's bewitchingly illustrated 1963 book that Kurt Vonnegut told his wife to read, "[if] you are as interested in sex as you say you are." [more inside]
Since 2006, a group of lonely single men in Japan calling itself Kakumeiteki Hi-mote Domei (“Revolutionary Losers’ League”) has been protesting against Christmas, arguing that the holiday, as practiced in Japan, marginalises the uncoupled. [more inside]
You might expect love to be the last frontier breached by data. It is the Antarctic of the human experience, richly feeding the oceans of our emotions, yet somehow remaining elusive and unknown. Philosophers have argued over it for millennia without arriving at a satisfactory definition. Poets like Erich Fried capture its strange mix of pleasure and pain, the sense of its essential ungovernability: “It is foolish, says caution / It is impossible, says experience / It is what it is, says love.” [slhuffpo]
Asha Leo of Refinery29 travels around the world to learn about international fashion subcultures and the way fashion affects society worldwide. So far she's met Gothic (and other) Lolitas in Amsterdam, Moroccan expat culture, hijra in India, Hasidic designers in Brooklyn, Korean matchy-matchy fashion for couples, and the highly colorful world of Japanese decora.
Heather Lindsley's "Werewolf Loves Mermaid," Sunil Patel's "The Merger," and Emil Ostrovski's "Tragic Business" develop humorous situations from SF/F motifs: cryptid romance, intergalactic business negotiations, and the cycle of death and rebirth, respectively. Lincoln Michel's "Dark Air" combines common weird fiction / horror situations with a very dry, very dark sense of humor. Naomi Kritzer's "So Much Cooking" is a serious SF story about a grave possibility, but it brings the matter home via a witty parody of a cooking blog.
By analysing the language of popular magazines, TV shows and self-help books and by conducting interviews with men and women in different countries, scholars including Eva Illouz, Laura Kipnis and Frank Furedi have demonstrated clearly that our ideas about love are dominated by powerful political, economic and social forces. Together, these forces lead to the establishment of what we can call romantic regimes: systems of emotional conduct that affect how we speak about how we feel, determine 'normal' behaviours, and establish who is eligible for love – and who is not.
"So for my overarching statement I will say that in a Gothic, every single aspect of the text—language, plot, setting, characterization—is in service to the mood. And that mood is creepy."
For Such a Time, the first work by author Kate Breslin was an obscure romance novel..until it was nominated for two RITA awards by the Romance Writers of America. The ensuing publicity storm has exposed serious rifts in the industry group, and has started a major discussion about problematic themes in romance fiction. This is because the story, a retelling of the Story of Esther, set durng the Holocaust, is part of a subgere of romances set in concentration camps. In brief, a young woman is saved by a concentration camp commandant, and uses her relationship with him to try to save some people, while drawing faith from the New Testament. The controversy centers of over the sympathetic portrayal of the Nazi commandant, and the conversion of the heroine to Christianity. [more inside]
And so, while romance is often treated as a static genre, I prefer to think of it as a sprawling, decades-long intergenerational discussion (sometimes polite, sometimes a bare-knuckle brawl) among women about what constitutes love, how one finds a partner that's worth putting up with the occasional tantrums and dirty socks. Scenes that disturb the modern reader nevertheless paved the way for the more sex-positive genre we enjoy today.Lots of articles are discovering feminism in romance novels, a genre historically neglected as being for women and having such restrictive plot rules that it could never be more than paint-by-numbers.
"In Creatures Such as We, living on the moon is lonely, and stressful, and exhausting. Video games have always offered you an escape to a better life. The easy, happy life you wish you had. Which makes it so frustrating when the game you’ve been playing ends badly. But you have a chance to figure it out, because the next tourist group is the game’s designers. You can debate with them about art, inspire them with the beauty of outer space, get closer to any one specific designer in particular, and finally find out how to get the ending you always wanted.[more inside]
Did Amazon Sink the Queen of Online Erotica? - Phoebe Reilly, Vulture
"Engler is an underappreciated pioneer, a self-proclaimed feminist in furry-cat slippers. To put her crowning achievement demurely, she challenged the book-publishing industry's denial of women's appetite for sexually explicit books. She wrote tawdry, lowbrow novels, and published hundreds of others, that freed romance from its lame euphemisms well before Fifty Shades of Grey, and she did so in a digital format long before the Kindle and the iPad allowed e-books to flourish.
"To put it less demurely: There were readers out there, lots of them, who didn't want to read about thick manroots. They wanted hard cocks. So that's what Ellora's Cave gave them. Easily and often."
I've been slightly under the weather for the last week, which means, of course, soup, self-pity and comfort reads. Rather than my traditional winter-sniffles re-re-re-read of the Belgariad, I thought I'd go wandering around the historical romance category. That is: duchess porn.At Pornokitsch, Jared Shurin expresses appreciation for "5 things in historical romance I wantonly desire to see in epic fantasy," and commenters suggest where to find them. At the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, similarly meta yet more searching questions arise. [more inside]
How Bioware helped one lucky couple unlock the paramour achievement in Mass Effect.
A Buzzfeed writer exercises her semiotics and gathers a bunch of stock photos to recreate Tinder, the quick glance social dating app, to find out why we swipe. [more inside]
The Love App. Digital life and couples culture in South Korea.
The Real Castaway (2001; 48:13) is a tense and awkward but sometimes beautiful documentary about a teenage boy moving to the Ulithi Atoll and seeking companionship to fulfill a romantic fantasy. [Via.]
How to Pick a Life Partner. From afar, a great marriage is a sweeping love story, like a marriage in a book or a movie. And that’s a nice, poetic way to look at a marriage as a whole. But human happiness doesn’t function in sweeping strokes, because we don’t live in broad summations—we’re stuck in the tiny unglamorous folds of the fabric of life, and that’s where our happiness is determined. So if we want to find a happy marriage, we need to think small—we need to look at marriage up close and see that it’s built not out of anything poetic, but out of 20,000 mundane Wednesdays. This is the second of two posts. The first one tells us why we suck at picking life partners. [more inside]
For it is the future generation in its entire individual determination which forces itself into existence through the medium of all this strife and trouble...That growing affection of two lovers for each other is in reality the will to live of the new being, of which they shall become the parents...The lovers have a longing to be really united and made one being, and to live as such for the rest of their lives; and this longing is fulfilled in the children born to them, in whom the qualities inherited from both, but combined and united in one being, are perpetuated...Therefore Nature attains her ends by implanting in the individual a certain illusion by which something which is in reality advantageous to the species alone seems to be advantageous to himself... Arthur Schopenhauer on the Metaphysics of Love.
An illustrated guide. "Enjoy life with your bride or groom. Be aware, however, that you're never guaranteed a storybook ending. Someone who is likely to walk from a wedding may be afraid of commitment, and insecure in relationships. This could pose problems for your relationship."
Anne Helen Petersen of " Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" fame talks about Zac Efron, the impossible demands of movie masculinity, and the history of the Teen Idol Industry on BuzzReads
May 7 is International Tell Your Crush Day. Maybe you found this site after someone told you they had a crush on you. Maybe you thought of the same holiday and we beat you to registering this username. Perhaps you’ve been a fan all along and have always wanted more propaganda to peruse while at work.
Comedian Aziz Ansari has posted a subreddit asking for relationship and dating experiences. Ansari and NYU professor Eric Klinenberg are using the subreddit as part of their research for a new book on modern romance in the US and elsewhere. [more inside]
When German soldiers arrived in Paris in the summer of 1940, there were so few of them that they had to win hearts and minds. The untold story of one young couple.
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Agent of Change and Fledgling are now available as free downloads. Starting points in the Liaden Universe, a space opera series notable for its romance elements and convoluted publication history, their particular sequences (among others) in the same setting take noticeably different approaches to common themes such as complicated manners, familial obligations, and meeting a soulmate. Not to mention humanoid turtles. And occasional cats. [more inside]
The romance comic blog Sequential Crush takes a look at an astrology-themed love story from 1970: "Horoscope, Don't Fool With My Heart!"
There is no such thing as Everlasting Love. Apparently all we have are "micro-moments of positivity resonance." Deflating the Love Myth, just in time for Valentines Day? [more inside]
When Bill Met Shelly Bill Ott will always remember the moment he met Shelley Belgard. It was in spring 1988. He was 12 and sometimes shy. Into music, sports and, suddenly, girls.
Ilana Gershon is a professor currently researching how people use the Internet to break up with their romantic partners, but before that she wrote an anthropological study about "strategic ignorance" in Samoan immigrant communities, all of which is just a complicated way of showing that she's the most unusually qualified person on the Internet to comment on the Manti Te'o hoax. (previously)
From the comedic duo Key & Peele, mentioned twice before on MetaFilter, comes Pizza Order, the funniest sketch I've seen in years. Their new season has had some terrific moments – Dubstep, I said "Bitch", Slow Brotion, and School Bully, amongst others – but Pizza Order is something special.
Romance novel covers are a frequent subject of ridicule. But they have also featured highly talented illustrators like Alan Ayers, Pino Daeni, Elaine Gignilliat, Phil Heffernan, and Albert Slark. [more inside]