Eroticism in Cinema, Ackermann Paint Boxes, and Sharif Kabungsuwan — A Quarterly Digest

Behold! my favorite articles, thinkpieces, and media that did not make it into the January to March wrap-ups. A girl’s got to declutter her hoard of bookmarked pages somehow.

❝ The Marriage Law of Jane Austen’s World ❞

Jane Austen novels have been known for their depiction of English Regency-era society. Ultimately, though, the novels revolve around marriage; everyone in Austenland is desperate to get married, is defined by their marital status, or at least has strong opinions about getting married or otherwise. This journal article delves into the various facets of the institution as it was practiced in the early 19th century: from the economics of marriage, to pre-marital sex, to underage marriage. Read the full article here. (Martha Bailey for Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line, 2015)


❝ How to Talk to Ghosts ❞

R.F. Kuang presents a reading of Chinese history using the metaphor of ghosts and the theory of hauntology. This is a history struggling to be told, and told faithfully — partly because older Chinese generations find it difficult to tell their stories to younger generations, and because white writers have taken it upon themselves to write about pasts and cultures they will never genuinely understand. Read the full article here. (R.F. Kuang for Uncanny Magazine, 2018)


❝ Obelisks, Stone Eaters, and Lorists: The Many Faces of the Archive ❞

In this two-part essay for a SUNY Geneseo course on N.K. Jemisin — how lucky! — Jonah Goldstein explores the world of the Broken Earth trilogy through knowledge and memory. “Much of history is unwritten,” one character is quoted as saying in The Fifth Season. This idea is tested against what Goldstein calls the unsung archives of Jemisin’s world: the Obelisks that essentially store the will of the Niess; the Stone Eaters that are practically walking history books; and the Lorists who have fallen from their original mandate to study stonelore and lost history, finding themselves instead serving as mere comm entertainment. Read the full articles here and here. (Jonah Goldstein, 2018)


❝ Actors on Actors: Chris Evans & Scarlett Johansson ❞

Variety Studio’s Actors on Actors segment on YouTube is a fascinating gimmick: Hollywood stars are invited to sit down and interview one another about their craft. It’s easy to say that we know someone’s filmography every which way, but it’s not until we hear that someone in a proper, unscripted conversation with another actor one or two degrees away, that we realize the sheer amount of thoughfulness that goes into every role acted in a film. The actors’ awe and respect for the grand tradition of cinema is palpable in every interview, and that is, in my opinion, enough reason to spend half an hour of one’s life on at least one of these videos. View more episodes here. (Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson for Variety Studio, 2019)


❝ Give yourself permission to be creative ❞

Speaking of actors! Ethan Hawke of Before Trilogy fame takes no more than nine minutes to gently remind us of the power of human creativity. See his full filmography here. (Ethan Hawke for TED, 2020)


❝ Open letter to Secretary Lorenzana: A terrifying and despicable statement ❞

This letter deserves better context in the form of a timeline: On March 3, 2018, Myles Albasin and 5 young men were arrested in Negros Occidental, supposedly for the illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They all tested negative for gunpowder residue. On March 21, 2018, Myles turned 22 years old in detention. On March 21, 2019, Myles turned 23 years old in detention, while waiting for the chance to petition for bail. On March 21, 2020, Myles turned 24 years old in detention, with the court still undecided on whether she would be allowed to post bail. On January 20, 2021, the Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana listed Myles among the UP students who supposedly died members of the communist movement. On March 21, 2021, Myles turned 25 years old in detention, still very much alive. Read the full article here. (Grace Cantal Albasin for Rappler, January 22)


❝ Everyone Is Beautiful and No One Is Horny ❞

Here is an interestingly titled essay that covers the evolution of libido (and the lack thereof) and fitness (and the lack thereof) in film from the late 20th century to the present. According to Benedict, actors are more physically perfect in today’s blockbusters than they have ever been in previous decades — and yet for all this fitness, characters are never horny for each other anymore, as anyone else would naturally be if they were in the same situation. Read the full article here. (RS Benedict for Blood Knife Magazine, February 14)


❝ Sleeping Beauties: The alchemy of colourmen and dreamers ❞

Jackie Morris narrates in the most romantic and whimsical fashion the process of “waking up” a 200-year old Ackermann paint box. “Paint boxes are like prayer boxes,” she writes. “They are alchemical resting places for dreams.” Read the full article here. (Jackie Morris, February 28)


❝ Are You Feeling Tense? Exercises for Your Neck, Jaw, Back, Arms, Wrists, Legs, Core, Etc. ❞

Grace Miceli’s submission to the “Daily Shouts” segment of The New Yorker magazine is all about dealing with tensions in the body in the midst of the pandemic. They’re all highly effective. (Grace Miceli for The New Yorker, March 2)


❝ Why celebrate Magellan when there was always Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan? ❞

Patricio Abinales — the historian known for his work with Donna Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines — offers up an alternative to the Philippine history that is traditionally defined by the arrival of the Spanish expedition in the early 16th century. Instead of putting too much importance on the Magellan expedition whose 500th anniversary we recently commemorated, the article challenges us to acknowledge that the Philippine archipelago had already been actively involved in a different global network long before 1521. However, Philippine history written in that way may never be popular, because it would mean treating Moro history as equal to non-Moro history, and treating Mindanao as the core and Luzon as the periphery. Read the full article here. (Patricio Abinales for Rappler, March 21)


Thank you for reading!

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☞ Do you have any bookmarked pages hoarded over the last three months? Share them below!


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