Monthly Archives: June 2012

Secret shame

I have a confession: I love trashy romance novels.

I also love murder mysteries, and forensic science novels, and many, many other genres, but every now and then I’m compelled to read a bodice-ripper. They’re like book candy. And, like candy, you can’t read too many of them at once, or you’ll feel a bit ill. But occasionally, they’re a fun retreat.

The problem with bodice rippers lies in their covers. They’re embarrassing. Shirtless men, lots of cleavage, lots of wind blowing lots of hair. Ridiculous. It’s enough to get you to making book covers like your teachers made you do in grade school. (Side note: do they do that anymore? I wonder.)

Cue the e-reader.

Now, you can read any number of embarrassing trashy novels with no one the wiser. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s this phenomenon that is fueling the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” (Disclosure: yes, I bought it for my Nook, but haven’t read it yet.)

Before the e-reader, a woman might be embarrassed to be seen reading a book that has been described as porn. Or soft porn. Or erotica. Or whatever. The cover, at least, is tasteful. But for anyone who knows what the book is about, being seen reading it might raise questions about the reader.

I wonder what other books might be more popular in electronic formats?


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Filed under Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

Requiat in Pacem


My mom passed away last week.

Mom was warm and generous, witty and funny, and brilliant. When mom was in kindergarten, one day the teacher found her in the corner reading to the rest of the kids. They decided that perhaps it would be more fitting to have her move to 1st grade.

Mom went through school the youngest in her class. She entered Marquette University at 17 and almost immediately met Dad at a Marquette football game. They’ve been together ever since.

Mom and Dad married a few week

s after her graduation from Marquette with a degree in nursing. While Mom was a good nurse, what she really wanted to be was a mother. So Mom and Dad set out to have a family, and they wanted a big family. Mom hated the fact that she had been an only child. When we kids would inevitably fight, her mantra was, “When I was your age, I would have given anything for a brother or sister.” This would usually prompt us to offer to give her whatever sibling we were fighting with at the time.

Mom was generous with her time, volunteering with the church, with schools, and with the Red Cross. She was warm and inviting, and opened our home to friends, to family, and even to the occasional stranger. She was a terrific writer, and was the Grammar Police. We were often told that if we could write well, we could get through college. (True.) And we were admonished if we swore too often, as that was a sure sign that our vocabularies weren’t robust enough.

Mom loved being a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She loved dogs. She loved law shows, and probably would have been an attorney had her mother not pushed her into nursing.

My mother was the heart of our family, and will be dearly missed.

Rest in peace, Mom.


Filed under Me and mine

Language Police

I was scolded in a meeting yesterday.

We were discussing same-sex marriage, and I was scolded for using the term….same-sex marriage.  I was informed that the correct term now was same-gender marriage. When I replied “Oh, for crying out loud,” I was scolded again for being disrespectful.

Orwell, anyone?

I am an advocate of freedom, and free speech is one of the biggies on the list. I have no problem whatever with the language people choose to use. To quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The codicil to this, of course, is that if you choose to use language that is incendiary, you also have to accept the possible consequence of a listener becoming offended and beating the hell out of you. But that’s another post.

So here I am, at an academic research institution, and am being schooled on ‘appropriate’ language. The chastising of me pretty much shut down the discussion, which is precisely my problem with this sort of censorship.

If we are to have any kind of open discourse in this county – and God knows, we need to start having open discourse – then we need to stop censoring the language people use when they’re trying to have the conversation. Especially if the term (or phrase) is one that is commonly used, stopping someone and correcting them stops the conversation dead in its tracks. People will be afraid to open their mouths and say anything for fear of being openly shamed.

Enough with the Politically Correct stuff. I’ve read “1984.” I’m not going there without a fight.


Filed under Me and mine, Miscellaneous