Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Link List: On Crazy Rich Asians and Old-Time Internet Trolls

After mulling it over for months, I finally decided to get that leather cover for my bullet journal. I use a Leuchtturm1917 A5-sized notebook with dotted pages (affiliate link), and bought my handmade cover from Uncommon Elephant, an Etsy seller based in North Carolina. I picked the "laguna blue" shade, which is a pretty teal (it looks a little more green in person than in the above photo). It's quite nice, and I'm very satisfied with it. Because it's a substantial piece of leather, the new cover does (naturally and predictably) make the journal feel bulkier, which took some getting used to. I figured that, because bullet journaling has become a daily habit for going on ten months now, and because I'd also been thinking about the cover for months without my interest in getting one diminishing, I couldn't really go wrong. 

1. // I finally got a chance to see Crazy Rich Asians this weekend, and I loved it! It's a fun romantic comedy, which isn't a genre we see much of these days. Both leads were very well-cast. (Constance Wu is especially fantastic.) They've toned down some of the harsher, satirical things I remember from the book, making the story a bit more accessible and feel-good, and a bit lighter. I'm also thrilled that it's been doing well at the box office

One nice side effect of all the buzz surrounding this movie was that it gives an opportunity to discuss Better Luck Tomorrow, an Asian-American-centric indie movie from when I was in high school. I confess, I never actually watched that film (seemed quite dark and I was a very young teen at the time), but there was this great moment at Sundance that I really took to heart. Some (white) audience members (there's video) said, essentially, that the team behind the film should be ashamed, how dare they represent their people that way. Roger Ebert (forever my favorite film critic) stood up with a vocal defense of the filmmakers, saying that they (and we), have the right to be whomever we want, to tell whatever stories we want about ourselves, and that for others to think that they can tell us how to "represent" "our people" is offensive and condescending. 

With that in mind, I confess to being a bit perplexed by some of the "hot takes" from other Asian-Americans about how Crazy Rich Asians doesn't represent them, because I've always thought the point of wanting more Asian-American representation onscreen was that it would allow a more diverse range of our stories to be told, some of which one might relate to, some of which one might not. Also, it's a romantic comedy! It's not going to be all things to all people. And the book was a sometimes silly beach read. So it's unrealistic to expect it to be everything at once, or for it to get political about income inequality and diversity in Singapore. (This article in The Atlantic is supposed to be a good starting point for reading about that last issue.) 

2. // I've been thinking about internet harassment and trolling because of the thing with Sarah Jeong. It inspired me to dig through the dregs of history to share what I believe is a little-known story, which may show that, when it comes to internet trolling, lawyers and law students have long been a bit ahead of the curve, both in terms of participating in such trolling and in trying to levy real-world consequences on perpetrators.

Nearly a decade ago, well before my time, the most popular internet forum for would-be law students was Autoadmit (link is to a copy of an old article, "Slimed Online" by David Margolick). And it was not pretty. Two women law students at Yale were singled out for anonymous threats of violence and sexual assault, seemingly for nothing more than being women who dared attend Yale. They sued, though it never got far. It's a strange story, and the perpetrators they unmasked seem, from the article, to be sad, strange, and small people. Given what the internet looks like now, the whole episode may have been a bit ahead of its time. It's related to something I might want to write about later, about my own approach to anonymity as a blogger, but it's just such a wacky story that I wanted to share it on its own first. 

3. // And here are a few good blog entries I've read recently: Jess calculated how many hours she spends working as a professor. Revanche wrote about emergency funds and risk aversion, and how her position on that has changed over time. (K and I are both unusually risk averse and keep what most people would consider as excessively large emergency fund. Part of it is that, like most biglaw-ish attorneys, we expect to take substantial pay cuts at future jobs.) We had an interesting discussion at Sophie's about different approaches to treating friends at restaurants and coffee shops, which I may yet spin off into a post of my own.

I also enjoyed this post at Get Rich Slowly about blog monetization and how readers should approach all blogs with a critical eye. Although his post was about personal finance blogging, his points are also applicable to other genres. For me as a reader, the most important factor that determines whether I enjoy, follow, and link another blog is whether I get a sense of the person(s) behind it, that they're interesting, smart people, and that I also "trust" their writing and recommendations to be true to who they are and what they genuinely like and value, regardless of the extent to which they've monetized. And I was also glad to see his enthusiastic recommendation of Luxe's blog and Bitches Get Riches, both of which are excellent. 

Please note that this portion of the post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

4. // Spoiler alert for my monthly shopping budget post, which is coming in a few days: August ended up being a very shopping-heavy month, ack, some of it brought about by poor planning with my summer weekend wardrobe and my upcoming trip. There were also other items I tried, but didn't buy. Madewell just had a 15% off sale that, unlike most of their sales, included the Transport bags, so I ordered the Medium Transport Tote. Although it's a very simple tote and, thus, would likely be somewhat duplicative of my Cuyana classic tote, I've long been fascinated by the Madewell design and its shoulder strap. Once I saw it in person though, I knew it filled too similar a niche to many bags I already own, so I sent it back. 

I've been trying to go to Uniqlo in person whenever I'm interested in something there because I otherwise end up returning way too much of what I order online. If I'm inevitably going to be at the store anyway, might as well just go in at the start. This time, I tried on a new high-neck tunic sweater in lambswool to see if it might be an affordable take on the heavy, oversized turtleneck or mock-neck sweater I've been craving since last winter. Unsurprisingly for a sweater at its price point (and for Uniqlo, it's sweaters are generally on the thin side, making them good for layering over my work outfits), it didn't have that luxurious thickness I was after.

Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians? What did you think? And how do you pick out blogs to follow? 

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