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17 Oct 18:44

‘Space Jam’ Is Returning to Theaters For Its 20th Anniversary

by Amid Amidi

It's for only 2 days, but hand-drawn Looney Tunes are headed back to the bigscreen!

The post ‘Space Jam’ Is Returning to Theaters For Its 20th Anniversary appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

18 Oct 04:45

Pokemon: The First Movie Returns to 200 U.S. Theaters on October 29, November 1

Screenings will include "Pikachu's Vacation" short again
16 Oct 06:00

Sae Okamoto's Mecha-Ude Anime Kickstarter Campaign Reaches Goal

Initial US$25,000 goal aims to build production team for 25-minute pilot episode
15 Oct 11:45

J-Novel Club Publisher Launches to Release Light Novels in English Digitally

Occultic;Nine, Brave Chronicle, more titles available now
16 Oct 10:00

Music Producer Porter Robinson Teases 'Shelter' Animation Project With A-1 Pictures

Music producer and DJ Porter Robinson posted on Twitter on Friday a teaser for a "Shelter the Animation" project with anime studio A-1 Pictures. Porter...
13 Oct 14:30

A New Electric Spoon Could Make Vegetables Taste ‘Like Chocolate’

by Chris Crowley


In the near future, humans will laugh about their poor ancestors who had no choice but to eat with basic, outdated cutlery that couldn’t manipulate the flavor of their food. That will be thanks to a group of scientists at the University of London, who are developing a device that...More »

13 Oct 21:34

J.K. Rowling Confirms There Will Be Five Fantastic Beasts Films

by Natalie Zutter

Holy crap. I seriously thought it was just 1.

J.K. Rowling Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise five movies

At Warner Bros’ global fan event for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them today, the studio made a big announcement: There will be five Fantastic Beasts films total, instead of the trilogy, as originally thought.

The Mary Sue and HitFix provided live updates, rounding up a couple of key points about the growing movie franchise:

  • Albus Dumbledore “features a little bit in a wonderful scene” between Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), according to director David Yates.
  • Gellert Grindelwald, Dumbledore’s former friend (and object of his affection) turned dark wizard, will have a bigger part in these movies than previously expected: He’s “sort of in the background [of Fantastic Beasts],” Yates says, “and he’s going to become a much more prominent part of the stories going forward.”
  • After Newt Scamander presumably finds at least some of the fantastic beasts in the first movie, his journeys will take him to other capital cities. More from Yates: “We next see Newt in another big capitol city and it’s not going to be New York, it’s somewhere else entirely,” he said. “And Jo has actually written the script and it’s just as magical and just as marvelous as the first one, but very different, which is so exciting for all of us.”

Amid rumors that there would be “at least” five films, Rowling confirmed on Twitter that they’re stopping at five:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters November 18.

04 Oct 17:53

‘Inside Out’ Writer Meg LeFauve Promoted To Director on Disney’s ‘Gigantic’

by Amid Amidi

The screenwriter of "Inside Out" and "The Good Dinosaur" has a new job at Disney.

The post ‘Inside Out’ Writer Meg LeFauve Promoted To Director on Disney’s ‘Gigantic’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

13 Oct 08:15

Kanae Hazuki's Say 'I Love You'. Manga Ends in 18th Volume Next Summer

Series about 1st love inspired anime, live-action film
10 Oct 06:35

Persona Rapper Lotus Juice to Perform in New York in November

Tribute to Taku Iwasaki's music with iconiQ orchestra
06 Oct 16:15

Kodansha Comics Adds Frau Faust, Fairy Tail: Rhodonite, Kigurumi Defense Squad, Aho Girl, Hōseki no Kuni, More Manga


Lots of interesting stuff here. Frau Faust is the Ancient Magus Bride manga-ka.

Also: Regarding My Reincarnation as a Slime; Love and Lies; Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty; Waiting for Spring
06 Oct 18:10

Wild Bunch & Studio Ghibli's The Red Turtle Film Begins Oscar-Qualifying Run in November

Film opens November 18 in NY, LA; broader N. American release slated for January 20
03 Oct 20:10

Scientist Tracks the Movement and Evolution of Ancient Myths Across Continents

by Emily Asher-Perrin

Julien d'Huy, “A Cosmic Hunt in the Berber Sky: A Phylogenetic Reconstruction of Palaeolithic Mythology,” Julien d’Huy, in Les Cahiers de l’AARS, No. 16; 2013, ACCURAT

Psychologist Carl Jung believed that many cultures across the globe produced similar myths due to a sort of unified subconscious, the idea that deep down in our collective psyche, we all embraced the same symbols in an effort to explain the world. But what if it were far more simple than that? What if these linked myths merely migrated along with the people who told them? One scientist has provided strong evidence to that tune, piecing together together a global mythic tapestry that is thousands of years in the making.

Over in Scientific American, doctoral candidate Julien d’Huy has used computer models and phylogenetic analysis to track the movement of mythic tales across cultures and continents, over thousands of years. d’Huy starts with the example of the classic “Cosmic Hunt” myth–a story where a person or persons track an animal into the forest, where the animal escapes by becoming one of the constellations in the sky–and explains that Jung’s idea of an intrinsic, embedded concept of specific myths and symbology doesn’t hold up across the board:

If that were the case, Cosmic Hunt stories would pop up everywhere. Instead they are nearly absent in Indonesia and New Guinea and very rare in Australia but present on both sides of the Bering Strait, which geologic and archaeological evidence indicates was above water between 28,000 and 13,000 B.C. The most credible working hypothesis is that Eurasian ancestors of the first Americans brought the family of myths with them.

This led d’Huy to create a phylogenetic model, more commonly used by biologists to track evolution, to create a myth tree that tracked the evolution of a single story. By the d’Huy had identified 47 versions of the story and 93 “mythemes” that cropped up throughout these various versions at different frequencies. Tracking these changes made it possible to hypothesize when certain groups migrated to different areas based on the introduction of new story mythemes and changes made to the tale. d’Huy’s model showed that “By and large, structures of mythical stories, which sometimes remain unchanged for thousands of years, closely parallel the history of large-scale human migratory movements.”

Other myths were also tested using this model, yielding fascinating results. The Pygmalion story, the Polyphemus myth, and tales of dragons and serpents all showed evidence of the migratory patterns of humanity dating back thousands of years. It is possible that these models will help future scholars to identify ancestral “protomyths,” or the base tales that many of our widespread myths herald from.

Read more about Julien d’Huy’s research over at Scientific American.

04 Oct 04:32

Trickster Anime Gets Prequel Video Anime in December

2-episode OVA includes stories about Kogorō Akechi, Twenty Faces' past & Boy Detectives Club
03 Oct 05:15

Viz Media Licenses Ryoko Fukuyama's Fukumenkei Noise Shōjo Manga

Manga about band clubs has anime adaptation in the works
29 Sep 14:32

George R.R. Martin and Apple Release Interactive Edition of A Game of Thrones

by Stubby the Rocket

A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition

The Guardian is reporting that George R.R. Martin is taking a new step in expanding the world of the Seven Kingdoms, partnering with Apple to release an enhanced digital edition of A Game of Thrones. The new edition of the book, released today, release marks the 20th anniversary of the book’s publication, and will feature plenty of extras for fans of Martin’s worldbuilding.

Martin praised the project, saying:

The digital book gives readers the ability to experience all this rich secondary material that had not been possible before. These enhanced editions, available only on iBooks, include sigils and family trees and glossaries. Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips. It’s an amazing next step in the world of books.

The enhanced edition will also include an excerpt from The Winds of Winter which was previously available on Martin’s website. (If you’re curious, it is one of the excerpts summarized here.)

The rest of A Song of Ice and Fire’s enhanced editions will follow GoT soon, with A Clash of Kings scheduled for October 27th, A Storm of Swords coming out on December 15th, and A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons to come in February and March 2017, respectively.

[via The Guardian]

29 Sep 17:00

Just Your Average Disney Gothic YA Alien Ghost Mystery Thriller Thing: The Watcher in the Woods

by Leigh Butler

Loveloveloved this movie as a kid.


Hello,! Welcome back to the Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia!

Today’s entry in the MRGN is 1980’s The Watcher in the Woods, one of my and my sisters’ biggest favorites of all the movies we’ve covered so far. So excited!

Previous entries can be found here. Please note that as with all films covered on the Nostalgia Rewatch, this post will be rife with spoilers for the film.

And now, the post!


The Watcher in the Woods was released in 1980, but I did not see it until about five or six years later, when my friend’s mother rented the VHS, thinking it an appropriately creepy ghost story movie for young girls to watch during a slumber party. She was wrong, as it turned out—unless you were a particular kind of young girl. Like, say, me.

The other girls at the party were quickly disenchanted by the relatively slow pace and lack of either explosions, gore, or overt romance in the film, and soon lost interest in it altogether. I, on the other hand, was enthralled. From the moment the credits came up and began playing that lullaby-turned-ominous-suspense-theme, over shots of beautiful, sunlit, and yet also deeply creepy woods, I was irretrievably hooked.


I remember sitting in the TV room with my friend’s mother while the rest of the girls were off doing whatever boring non-awesome-movie-watching things they were doing, excitedly speculating to the lone (and, probably, very bemused) adult in the house about what could it all mean?? Who was the Watcher? What was the significance of the eclipse? And look, the triangle in the mirror matched the triangle in the chapel, and the omg the circle in the water meant that other circle, ring around the roses it was, and holy crap “Nerak” is KAREN SPELLED BACKWARDS, LIKE IN A MIRROR, BECAUSE KAREN IS IN THE MIRROR, and it was all connected, and and and—

I’m not certain, but there is a very good chance that TWITW was my first introduction to the concept of… um.


Well, the best way I can describe it is “the literary convention of creating a fictional reality where symbols, objects, or places have inherent mystical significance and/or power.” I feel like there should be a word for that, but I haven’t been able to come up with it. “Symbolism” is the obvious choice, but in my mind that means something quite different, in terms of literary devices. The Great Gatsby had symbolism; what I’m talking about is if that green light at the end of Daisy’s dock actually did something besides merely represent the false promise of recapturing the past, old sport.

Maybe it’s just that no one bothered to name it, seeing as it is almost exclusively the purview of SF stories, but more likely it’s because my Google-fu is subpar. Bleah.

Anyway, I might not know what to call it, but I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about: worlds where things like circles and triangles and mirrors and doorways all have the power to alter reality, merely by being what they are. And though I have never subscribed to the belief in the spiritual significance of these kinds of things in real life, I adore them in stories to itty bitty tiny bits. And I’m pretty sure that this movie was one of the first, if not the first, story that gave me the joy of discovering that love.


And as was my wont, I immediately tracked the movie down afterwards and demanded that my sisters be enthralled by it too, and the rest is history. To give you an idea of the importance of The Watcher in the Woods in my and my sisters’ nostalgic sphere, Liz and Kate’s textual reply to the news that we were reviewing it next on the MRGN was basically an explosion of “OMG”s and beaming ecstatic emojis. Not that I am mocking them, because my response was essentially the exact same thing. We loved, loved, LOVED this movie as kids. Which perhaps makes it rather strange that none of us had seen it in at least fifteen years, if not longer.

But I think I know why I, at least, never sought it out until now. Because this had been such a seminal movie of my childhood, cementing both my love of SF movies in general and my love of stories containing psychic phenomena/whatever that mystical symbolism thing is I can’t name in particular. So I think I avoided it as an adult because I absolutely did not want to find out that it had been visited by the Suck Fairy in the intervening years. Sort of a twist on that old saw about never meeting your heroes, I suppose.

But these days I have a JOB to do, y’see, and so I steeled myself for possible disappointment even as I gleefully anticipated doing the cinematic equivalent of reconnecting with a long-absent but still beloved childhood friend.

In discussing what we remembered of the movie beforehand, it was interesting how much of our memories were attached to the overall sound and look of the film rather than specifics. It has been well-established by now that I am a sucker for a good soundtrack, but I really do believe the importance of a film score for setting the mood and motif of a film cannot be overestimated—and for this kind of film, where mood and setting are the film’s greatest strength, it is even more true.


Liz in particular commented on the gorgeousness of the woods footage; somebody was apparently very enamored of the filtered sunlight effect, and it was awesome.

The music for Watcher was composed by Stanley Myers, who Wikipedia informs me wrote the scores for over 60 films before his death in 1993. He is most well-known for the guitar piece “Cavatina”, the theme for Deer Hunter, but perhaps he would be pleased to know that it is his warped-music-box theme for Watcher that has been most indelibly engraved on my and my sisters’ brains, to our delight. YouTube has sadly failed me in providing a good clip of the theme (that I could find, anyway), but trust me, it’s great.

The interesting thing about Watcher is that in its own way it is actually something of a genre-buster. The general set-up and atmosphere of the movie strongly leans toward the ghost story/mystery/Gothic thriller, but in the end it takes an abrupt turn for the straight-up science fictional, where it turns out that the mysterious “watcher” is actually an inter-dimensional alien who needs to get back home. Nowadays that kind of sudden left turn would make me blink a bit, but back in the day it never occurred to me to be weirded out about it.

Though perhaps I would have been had I seen the alternate ending back in the day. Seriously, my sisters and I put on the “alternate ending” clip in the DVD extras and were like, OMGWTFBBQ. Let’s just say, all we got to see of the Watcher in the original cut was this:


But apparently something quite a bit more concrete had originally been planned.



KATE: Whaaaaaaat


ME: Holy alien Muppets, Batman!

Allow me to state for the record (a statement corroborated strongly by Sisters Liz and Kate) that whoever decided to nix that thing for the aforementioned amorphous ball of light was a GENIUS. Even if we did get a giant kick out of seeing the alien Muppet blast Jan’s boyfriend Mike across the chapel with its laser beam eyes.


This, by the way, is Mike:


I trust no further explanation of our glee is needed.

But beautiful Mike-blasting aside, this extremely literal depiction of the alien was an extraordinarily bad idea that I am heartily grateful the filmmakers decided to scrap. (There is an even longer alternate ending, where we actually see Jan go to the alien’s dimension to rescue Karen, that is even worse.) Instead, wonderfully, we got a possessed younger sister Ellie to stand in as the alien’s spokesperson, in a much more effective continuation of the earlier ghost/psychic phenomena motif. This approach allowed the movie to not only avoid trying to depict things it frankly had neither the imagination or the budget for, but it let the story imply the hard SF edges of the plot without ever being forced to explicate them directly, which meant, in my opinion, that the whole thing held together infinitely better than it would have otherwise, and also possessed infinitely less cheese to boot. It’s win all around, as far as I am concerned.

(The more alien-y alternate ending is, I think, much more in line with the 1976 novel the movie was based on by Florence Engel Randall. I say “I think”, because even though I actually tracked down the novel and read it as a teenager, I really don’t remember enough about it to say so with confidence. But in any case, as we all know, you can do things in novels you really just can’t in films, especially not in the late 70s, and I commend the filmmakers for recognizing that.)


As a side note, Liz was bothered the whole movie about the young actress playing Ellie, until she finally realized that Kyle Richards is now one of the original Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. At which point I was forced to make endless fun of her for knowing enough about that show to recognize anyone on it, but even so: wow. Okay then.

Which reminds me to point out that if there is any one major flaw in this movie, it is the horribleness of its acting. Most particularly, unfortunately, the awfulness of the actress in the lead role.


Frankly I was rather shocked to find that Lynn-Holly Johnson had had any other acting jobs beyond this one, but apparently she did (including a role in Ice Castles, LOL), which I find more than a little beboggling, because wow is she bad in Watcher. I mean, even as kids we thought she was bad, and if you can get through the movie without wincing at her at least once as an adult, your willpower is considerable.

However, that said, on rewatching the movie now, we marveled at how the badness of Johnson’s acting was actually not the deterrent it should have been. Watching it now, in fact, her overacting contributed, in a very weird way, to selling the overall feel of the entire movie. I don’t really know how to explain it, except that for something like this—you know, your basic Disney Gothic YA alien ghost mystery thriller… thing, which you have to admit is a rather unusual niche to fill—the exaggerated, er, everything about her performance really sort of worked, mostly. Look, I don’t know, it’s confusing.

LIZ: That doesn’t explain her whacko accent, though. “Samthing AHW-ful hey-appened here.” What the hell is that?

KATE: Wikipedia says she was born in Chicago.

ME: Then I think she owes Chicago an apology.

This movie, by the way, is pretty much the gold standard of what I meant when I explained about our love of the Disney Live-Action Trash Movie, from the low budget to the questionable effects and right on down to the (to me) inexplicable presence of an elderly Bette Davis:


Who, kind of hilariously, manages to tone down her far superior acting ability in this movie to blend in with the rest of the cast. Though honestly I’m not sure if that was by design, or if Bette was just kind of done at that point and couldn’t be arsed to do more. In any case, she still failed to camouflage her natural charisma, and my intrigue at her presence in Watcher is what later led me, in probably appallingly backwards fashion, to the gems of her earlier years, like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and All About Eve (one of my favorite movies of all time, you should totally watch it if you haven’t already). Sorry, Bette, you may have tried to be awful (AHW-ful), but you couldn’t quite pull it off.

In the aggregate, while my sisters and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie despite (or maybe because of) its flaws, I don’t know that I could necessarily recommend it to another adult who did not have the nostalgic background to look past those flaws. Acting aside, the plot twists and mysterious symbols and jumpscares that so entranced me as a child are likely to strike an adult viewer as clichéd at the very least.


But then again, maybe not. Just because something’s been done before doesn’t mean no one should ever do it. And if you are an adult who loves movies like Stir of Echoes or The Skeleton Key, it might be worth giving this one a whirl, just to see something similar in simplified, diminutive form.

And if you know a kid of pre-teenish age just getting into the YA swing of things, show them this film, because if they are even slightly like me they will EAT IT UP. Eat it up and then ask for more, please. It would please me greatly if even one other young girl or boy could get anything near the excitement and pleasure out of this movie that we did. I would consider it mission accomplished, really.


And so ends my review of The Watcher in the Woods! And as (almost) always, we finish with my Nostalgia Love to Reality Love Scale of Awesomeness!

Nostalgia: 10

Reality: 8 (but really kind of 10)

And that’s the story, morning glories! Come back and join me in two weeks, when you’ll discover that you have been recruited by the Star League to watch and squee over 1984’s The Last Starfighter! Huzzah! See you then!

30 Sep 09:12

How Parenting Became A Full-Time Job, And Why That’s Bad For Women

by Heather Kirn Lanier

This is a really interesting read to see the development of "parenting" which coincides with women becoming more independent.

The other day, a stranger asked me if I worked, and I answered “part-time.” Another woman who knows me corrected me. “You work all the time,” she said and winked. “A mother’s work never ends.” I conceded the point; with two kids, one of whom has significant disabilities, I do in fact feel like I’m busting my tail 24/7. But I also cringed.

“Stay-at-home mom” is a box on an employment questionnaire, and this is supposed to feel like a validating, even feminist development. We are honoring the work of women when we call motherhood “the hardest job on the planet.” But if a woman’s role as a mother is a round-the-clock job, then how can she ever justify leaving it to do another one? “Stay-at-home” begins to feel less like a descriptor and more like an order.

“If a woman's role as a mother is a round-the-clock job, how can she justify doing another one?”

Is that precisely the point? Is the professionalization of parenting designed to push a woman back into the domestic spheres where gender normative roles insist she belongs?  

In answering this question, it’s helpful to think about toilet scrubbing in the ‘60s. In the Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan relays one way chemical companies marketed to the average 1960s American housewife: They encouraged her to buy a separate product for each of her household cleaning tasks. “When [a housewife] uses one product for washing clothes,” a Madison Avenue consultant wrote, “a second for dishes, a third for walls, a fourth for floors, a fifth for venetian blinds, etc., rather than all-purpose cleaner, she feels less like an unskilled laborer, more like an engineer, an expert.” In other words, in order to sell more products, corporate America elevated and “scientized” the role of housewife. They established it as a high-level profession.

Today a giant jug of all-purpose cleaner sits beneath my sink, but the new job for which there is plenty of scientifically researched accoutrement is parenthood. Contemporary middle-class parents are juggling baby-food grinders and frozen breast milk bags, organic crib mattresses and mesh bumpers, car seat recalls and “toxic formula” headlines, infant massage manuals and Mommy-and-Me Yoga classes, Baby Einstein and Diaper Genie. They’re hearing dire predictions about the future of their children’s emotional attachments or sensory processing developments or tech-savvy, rewired brains. They’re encouraged to keep constant tabs on their kids 24/7 with video monitors and cell phones, and they’re blamed relentlessly when freak accidents occur, like alligator attacks and gorilla exhibit misfortune. As Frank Furedi wrote in Paranoid Parenting, “Now almost every parenting act, even the most routine, is analysed in minute detail, correlated with a negative or positive outcome, and endowed with far-reaching implications for child development.”

Dr. Judith Suissa, Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education at University College London, calls this “the scientization of the parent-child relationship.” The message is so embedded in our culture that it’s hard to see: Being a mother is a job for which you must learn the science. You must have, at the ready, your metaphorical specialty cleaners. You must be armed with your organic baby food cookbook and your literacy boosting “discovery cards,” with your Brest Friend pillow and your Moby wrap and your Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. (Among the latter, I had all three.)

“The message is embedded in our culture: Being a mother is a job for which you must learn the science.”

Suissa mentioned the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper specifically when I asked her to illustrate the ways that parenting has become “scientized.” She notes how the product declares that it “provides night-time security that benefits a growing baby’s emotional development.” This kind of language raises profit margins, of course. (According to Pamela Paul’s Parenting, Inc, the “mom market” is worth $1.7 trillion.) But it also turns the parent-child relationship into a science, one a good parent learns in order to raise the right kind of kid.

“You can find many references,” Suissa told me, “to how certain things one does as a parent will or will not help one’s child ‘develop secure attachment,’ ‘enhance emotional well-being,’ ‘prevent separation anxiety.’” She also cites the Amazing Baby Developmental Duck. “Even the name is telling,” Suissa says. “It is not just a toy duck, but a ‘developmental duck.’… Clearly, one of the effects of the pervasive use of this language is that parents get the message that they need to be fully informed of the latest scientific research in order to be good parents.” And if parenting requires this level of comprehensive technical knowledge, then it becomes an all-consuming profession—one that pulls against any other interests or demands.  

The verb “to parent” didn’t enter the American lexicon until 1958. It’s telling that this is the only familial role to be verb-ified: although a woman would never say, “I need to daughter better,” she might say, “I’m working on my parenting.” A daughter is only something you are, but parenting is something you do. (“Mother” and “father” are also verbs, though it’s noteworthy that only one of them is a job. “Mothering a child” is a form of parenting, an all-consuming personal vocation, while “fathering a child” is a one-off event.)

“It's telling that 'parent' is the only familial role that has also become a verb.”

“‘To parent,’” Alison Gopnik writes in “A Manifesto Against Parenting,” “is a goal-directed verb; it describes a job, a kind of work. The goal is to somehow turn your child into a better or happier or more successful adult—better than they would be otherwise…. The right kind of ‘parenting’ will produce the right kind of child, who in turn will become the right kind of adult.”

To some, this sounds like common sense. But the paradigm of believing that you can do X and Y to produce a child like Z is a suspicious twentieth century development. It has its roots in the 1920s, when childrearing advice exploded. With the rise of psychology, parenting experts (read: male) weighed in with vigor on the behaviors and decisions of mothers and how they were affecting (often adversely) their children. (Most famously, John B. Watson told women they should stop kissing and hugging their children because such affections would interfere with habit-training. The world would not kiss and hug them, so why should mothers?) As Paula S. Fass, author of The End of American Childhood, argues, “Male experts attacked women’s knowledge and made [mothers] suspects in the mismanagement of their children.” Right or (often) wrong, male experts became the informed bosses to whom mother-workers should submit.

“Male experts became the informed bosses to whom mother-workers should submit.”

The male expert reigned so supreme, in fact, that Mrs. Max West, mother of five and author of the Children’s Bureau’s popular pamphlet, Infant Care, saw her name removed from all editions published after 1919. An amateur mother could not possibly be a trusted voice of wisdom, copyright ethics be damned. “The new experts—psychologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and others—would become each mother’s personal trainer,” wrote Fass. It seems far from coincidental that the influx of parenting advice occurs precisely when women were bobbing their hair and casting their first votes. By making parenting a daunting job for which women’s intuition couldn’t be relied on, and for which male experts had to be consulted, the culture tugged women back toward prescribed gender roles.

John B. Watson begat, among many, Dr. Spock, who begat, among many, attachment-parenting guru Dr. Sears, who brought into my own home the belief that I should never put my baby down, even in one of those bouncy seats, lest I damage our mother-child bond. Although the content of the parenting advice has changed through the decades, the volumes have only increased. Gopnik cites the roughly 60,000 parenting books on Amazon today, many of which, she says, “have ‘how to’ somewhere in the title.” These aren’t just books of advice—they are training guides. They emphasize that every minor choice a parent makes can lead to drastic consequences in the lives of their children. They underscore the high stakes of the job.

“Parenting books aren't just advice—they are training guides. They underscore the stakes of the job.”

Because women still do the bulk of the childrearing, the scientization of parenting weighs most heavily on mothers. It has fueled what sociologist Sharon Hays calls “intensive mothering,” in which, as Hays writes, “the methods of appropriate child rearing are construed as child-centered, expert-guided, emotionally-absorbing, labor intensive, and financially expensive.” Intensive mothering has become the standard ideal, the paradigm of “good mothering,” against which all mothers are measured. The intensive mother is the mother who knows developmental stages and toy recalls and car seat requirements. She answers every midnight cry. Her kid never falls into a gorilla exhibit. She mothers so fully, so completely, that her child is sculpted into a perfectly developed human to whom only wonderful things happen, because the good mother enables only wonderful things.

Hays found it odd that the role of motherhood has become much more labor-intensive at the very time that American women now make up over 50% of the workforce. That is, at precisely the point when women are contributing more than their male counterparts to American labor, the domestic job they are traditionally expected to do has vastly increased its demands.

And maybe that’s the ticket, as they say. In All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, Jennifer Senior suggests that today’s professionalization of parenting is actually a response to women’s liberation. Senior argues that there is an “enduring link,” as she puts it, between women’s increased independence and the cultural pressure for women to be “more attentive” in their mothering. She quotes Sharon Hays: “Whenever the free market threatens to invade the sanctity of the home, women feel greater pressure to engage in ‘intensive mothering.’”

For evidence of Hay’s claim, take not only the 1920s era of suffragist-meets-parenting-expert, but the 1950s as well. The word “parent” as a verb, born in 1958, emerged just one year before The White House Conference on Children and Youth expressed concern over the growing rise of women in the workforce. (As Fass writes, “during the supposedly domestic 1950s, more than 30 percent of all married women were in the labor force.”) In other words, as more women were working outside the home, the language of parenting implicitly suggested that motherhood was already plenty of work for a woman. More work would be unnecessary, and indeed, would take away from their functioning at their primary job.

“The language of parenting suggested that motherhood was already plenty of work for a woman.”

And the more work the job of mothering takes, the less energy women have for other careers. Consider today’s widely-hailed “attachment parenting” approach. With its on-demand, all-night nursing and co-sleeping, it’s far from easy for a woman who has to get to the office come morning. A committed attachment mother I know had to forego the rules and let her son “cry it out” (an attachment parenting taboo) when she found herself so sleep-deprived that she nearly crashed her car into a truck on her way to work. “What good am I if I’m dead?” she said. It’s a compelling point, but some “professional”-level attachment mothers would have looked askance at how she chose to resolve the problem. If you can’t do both your rigorous parenting regimen and your paying job, it might be obvious to them which one should go.

It’s ironic: In an age where we pay plenty of lip-service to “women’s choices,” we’ve created an ideal of motherhood that inscribes personal choice as impossibly selfish. (Non-parents aren’t exempt here; the woman who chooses not to have children may be the most selfish of all.) What our culture of parenting seems most afraid of is not the breached gorilla cage, not the freak alligator attack, not the compromised car seat or the DHA-deficient baby brain or the delayed fine motor development of a toddler. It seems most afraid of the woman who claims her authority, defines for herself how she wants to live her life, and lives it, “experts” be damned. What if we called this a “good mom”?


Lead image: hottholler/flickr

The post How Parenting Became A Full-Time Job, And Why That’s Bad For Women appeared first on The Establishment.

21 Sep 13:50

Giant East Village Soup Dumplings Are Already Selling Out Within 15 Minutes

by Serena Dai

Each one costs about $12

The newest line-inducing food craze in New York comes from the mother-son team behind Drunken Dumpling, a tiny restaurant in the East Village specializing in soup dumplings. The biggest draw: a soup dumpling so big that it can only be sipped through a straw. Yuan Lee and his chef mother Qihui Guan opened the restaurant last week, and almost immediately, lines started forming to eat and, of course, Instagram the monster-sized soup dumpling.

Guan, a former math teacher who also used to work at Joe’s Shanghai, is so far the only person at the restaurant who can make them, meaning that only 25 are available each day. Despite the rain on Monday, people lined up before the doors at 137 First Ave. even opened, Lee says. "Let me tell you sweetheart, if I expected it to be like this, I would have rented 3,000-square-feet," he says. "I would not rent an 800 square feet restaurant with a 300 square feet kitchen. I would have five staff like my mom doing this."

[the making of the giant soup dumpling]

Drunken Dumpling is not the first place to create such a gigantic soup dumpling. Guan first spotted the phenomenon on the internet from restaurants in China. An outpost of a Chinese chain Wang Xing Ji in Los Angeles has even been selling one since 2012. (Critic Jonathan Gold aptly compared it to a water balloon.) Guan tells Eater in Mandarin that she wanted to recreate it herself when her family decided to open a restaurant. It took two tries before she made a version that she liked, with her ideal mix of chicken, pork, and vegetable broth, and a thin dough wrapper. It costs $11.75.

The giant dumpling is created much like any other soup dumpling. Guan boils a broth for six to eight hours until it’s a milky color, eventually adding vegetables, pork, chicken, crab, shrimp, and more. The broth gets portioned out in a small bowl and rests in the fridge, which turns it into a gelatinous solid. Guan then turns the bowl upside down into a dumpling wrapper and steams it for ten minutes.

It grows about 25 percent in size — she puts a piece of cabbage on top of the dumpling so that it doesn’t stick to the cover — and once it’s out, you can jiggle the soup gently from side to side, watching it swish around inside the dough. Though the wrapper is not quite as thin as a smaller dumpling for logistical reasons, Guan still prides herself on its translucency. The straw to drink it must puncture the skin gently, lest soup unleash itself onto the rest of the table.

The mother and son may add a bigger chunk of pork inside the dumpling later so that it mimics its smaller cousins a little bit more, but for now, it’s "literally a big bowl of soup" inside a piece of dough, Lee says. "We wanted to have as much soup as possible," he says. "This is the soup that I drank when I was a baby boy."

Chef Qihui Guan with a giant dumpling Nick Solares

[Qihui Guan with the giant soup dumpling]

The other, smaller soup dumplings — one with pork and one with crab and pork — have also sold out every day. After they’re all gone around 8:30 p.m., Guan starts prepping again. In the last week, she and Lee stay up chopping and prepping until about 1 a.m. They get back to the restaurant at 9 a.m. the next morning to do it all over again.

Guan says she’s looking forward to when they train people to do some of the work. Once that happens, she will have more time focus on her favorite — desserts.

Watch: How To Make Dumplings at Home

09 Sep 14:21

‘Brunch’-Flavored Candy Corn Is Now Terrifying the Halloween Aisle

by Clint Rainey

Apparently hoping to combine America’s two most #basic crazes — brunch and limited-time novelty flavors — with the bonus of high blood sugar is another new candy corn from Brach’s. For $2.50 this Halloween, Target shoppers can grab these exclusive variety bags of “Brunch Favorites,” which...More »

16 Sep 16:30

Cup Noodles Will Make Its Freeze-Dried Instant Ramen a Little Healthier

by Clint Rainey

Instant-ramen-maker Nissin Foods is leaping aboard the sudden new trend of bringing Americans natural versions of items often found in vending machines. The brand says Cup Noodles is undergoing a recipe change, the first in the 45-year-old college staple’s history, that will give the product an “improved nutritional...More »

16 Sep 20:33

New York’s Fast Food Workers May Soon Have A Little More Schedule Stability

by Serena Dai

Restaurants will have to set schedules two weeks in advance

The lives of New York’s 65,000 fast food employees may soon be a little less hectic. Crain’s reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to introduce a law that will force fast food restaurants to schedule shifts in advance. Labor advocates have complained for years that unpredictable scheduling makes it hard for fast food workers to take other jobs that they need for extra income or find care for children and sick family members. The mayor’s new law requires employers to post schedules two weeks in advance and pay employees when they have to make a last minute change.

The announcement comes right after the campaign to raise the chain restaurant minimum wage to $15-per-hour. It’s part of an ongoing effort to try improving income inequality in the city. Besides advance scheduling, the legislation also bans restaurants from asking employees to work two shifts that are within ten hours of each other — an addition that would end the practice where employees close the restaurant one night and open it again the next day. It's currently common for restaurants to schedule people last minute based on software that helps them track demand, according to Crain's.

Though the legislation would only apply to fast food restaurants if passed, changes in the chains tend to have a trickle down effect to mom-and-pops and full-service restaurants, too. The demand for restaurant labor is high, and restaurants seeking quality employees have said they must stay competitive on wages and benefits to attract them.

25 Sep 16:40

Orange Time-Travelling Manga Gets Anime Sequel Film Written by Creator

November 18 film retells story from Suwa's view, then continues story
21 Sep 20:06

“AutoPanther” japanese commercial, animated by...

AutoPanther” japanese commercial, animated by legendary Shinji Hashimoto.

23 Sep 14:00

NYCC ’16: Here are your instructions for Main Stage Clearing and Badge Tapping

by Heidi MacDonald
15NYCCday2-3.jpgAs New York Comic Con looms ever closer, they’ve announced the Main Stage Clearing and Badge Tapping – procedures and…wow, clearing rooms is not easy. New York Comic Con will once again clear the Main Stage Presented by AT&T after each Panel. This year you will be required to tap your Badge in the morning […]
23 Sep 20:30

NYCC ’16: Exclusive listing of ALL the 2016 New York Comic Con panels with panelists

by Heidi MacDonald
As in the past, the folks at ReedPOP have graciously shared a text file of ALL the panels at NYCC, all 200+ of them. Please note, although the list is current as of a few weeks ago, it is NOT the final panel list, as that changes right up until the last minute. You’ll be able […]
24 Sep 05:30

Orange Manga Gets 2-Part Spinoff About Future Suwa

Takano to debut spinoff manga in October
16 Sep 20:02

Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party is a Delightful Literary Take on Clue

by Natalie Zutter

Edgar Allan Poe Murder Mystery Dinner Party web series Shipwrecked Comedy

What’s that gentle rapping, rapping at your chamber door? Why, it’s a brilliant new web series that marries the murder mystery of Clue with plenty of deep-cut literary references. In Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party, the socially awkward writer takes on the role of Wadsworth, orchestrating a night of good times among his fellow famous scribes in which each author must play a character at one of those painfully extended icebreakers, the murder mystery dinner party. But when one of the guests pulls a Mr. Boddy and expires facedown in his soup, the guests must figure out which one of them is playing the role of murderer.

Shipwrecked Comedy is really killing it (pun so intended) with this web series, which is released in 10-to-15-minute long installments. The dialogue is witty, the stakes compelling, the Clue connections undeniable: Louisa May Alcott is almost as awkward as Mrs. Peacock; Mary Shelley certainly evokes Mrs. White with her funereal garb and deadpan delivery; H.G. Wells possesses the quiet ingenuity of Mr. Green while being completely unable to function in normal conversation; and poor, constantly-forgotten Emily Dickinson can’t catch a break, not unlike Colonel Mustard. And while I can’t really assign a Clue analog to George Eliot, the actress playing him is a laugh riot, all overly-machismo swagger and “very convincing” mustache. Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Charlotte Brontë, Oscar Wilde, and Agatha Christie round out the rest of the authors, while sassy ghost Lenore makes a perfect partner in crime (as it were) to Poe, who’s too distracted by the pretty but dumb Annabel Lee to appreciate his non-corporeal companion.

Also, there are moments like this Homeland shout-out that made me giggle uncontrollably:

Edgar Allan Poe Murder Mystery Dinner Party web series Shipwrecked Comedy

So far four chapters (all with delightful titles) of the 11-part series have been released. Get caught up below:

While you’re waiting for new installments, you’ll be jitterier than Poe’s narrator listening for the tell-tale heart.

via Boing Boing

18 Sep 01:30

The Eccentric Family TV Anime Gets 2nd Season (Updated)


I can't push the LIKE button hard enough!

Main cast, staff return for new series adapting Tomihiko Morimi's 2nd novel
13 Sep 23:13

Naomi Osaka Takes Twitter By Storm

Naomi Osaka is back home in Japan and into the second round of the Japan Women's Open Tennis, and the 18-year-old celebrated in the best way: by joining Twitter.