Saturday, September 26, 2009

Miscellany (part whatever)

1. When The Millions began posting their "Best of the Millenium" list last Monday I was excited that it seemed evenly divided between men and women. Equal representation on a best-of list isn't exactly common. And several of the women were people whose work I'm not familiar with as well. But then 9 of the top 10 were men. So, in the end the panel put together a fairly typical list when it comes to gender representation. And the list put together by Millions readers was roughly the same. I'm in no way criticizing the panelists or the readers; a quick glance at my shelves is enough to remind me that a list I put together would be roughly the same in that respect.

I also find it interesting that more than half of the six books by women on the panelists' list are short story collections. Meanwhile all but one of the books written by a man are novels. The readers list--also featuring six female writers--only has two short story collections by women. But none at all by men. I don't really have an explanation for this, but I do wonder if we, collectively, are judging literature by standards that are disadvantageous to women.

2. Alastair Macaulay seems a little baffled by the reception some of the performances are receiving at Fall for Dance. I think there are a few things at work here:
  • The tickets are only $1o so people are generally going to be happy whether they love something or not.
  • The wine is $2 a glass and nearly everyone is louder after a few drinks
  • To a greater extent than at other dance performance you have a mixed crowd that includes not only people who go to watch dance all the time but people like myself who attend performances regularly but not frequently and people who almost never see dance. So if something features terrible cliches or whatever a large portion of the audience isn't going to recognize that those things are so done.
  • It's kind of a loud, relaxed atmosphere.
I haven't actually seen any of the Fall for Dance shows this year, but hey, that's not stopping me from making conjectures.

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