Genre: Horror Format: Audiobook I picked up The Outsider because I kept seeing the menacing cover at the library, in bookstore windows, and on my Libby app, like it was stalking me. I finally gave in and listened to the audiobook. The … Continue reading
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Format: Hardcover novel If you haven’t yet read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, then you should really stop everything you’re doing and go read it or listen to it now. It’s the delightful book … Continue reading
Genre: Horror Format: Paperback novella I’ve been reading a lot of the novellas released by Tor lately. They’re quick reads–they usually take me 2-3 hours to finish–and they count as an entire book towards my annual goal on Goodreads (you … Continue reading
Genre: Horror Format: Paperback book I’ve been really into Lovecraftian fiction lately, so I was pretty excited to pick up The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu at my local Half Price Books. It features a story I liked by Brian Hodge … Continue reading
Genre: Horror Format: Hardback novel I’ve been telling everyone who will listen how much I love Grady Hendrix’s last two horror novels, Horrorstör and My Best Friend’s Exorcism. If it’s possible, his latest novel We Sold Our Souls is even more masterful than his … Continue reading
Format: Hardback Book
In case you don’t know, Franchesca Ramsey is a YouTube personality and host of the popular MTV show Decoded, which breaks down racial issues in a quick, easy-to-understand way with lots of colorful graphics and sound effects. I picked up this book because I’m a fan of Decoded, and because I liked the “memoirs and mistakes” portion of the title. I’ve certainly made lots of mistakes, both in real life and online, and I was intrigued that someone who is perceived as a fearless leader of social justice warriors not only made mistakes, but was going to confess to them and (hopefully) disclose how to bounce back from them.
The book is mainly a reflection on Ramsey’s career, which started out on YouTube and evolved into writing, producing, and appearing on shows like The Nightly Show and Decoded. The parts I appreciated the most were her frank, honest discussions of her mistakes, spanning interviews and YouTube videos to podcasts and Facebook discussions, especially the sobbing mess she became after Black Twitter came for her. While I would never wish an internet dragging on anyone, having been dragged myself, it made me feel a lot better that even really intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate people like Ramsey occasionally get it wrong and then, whether they have anxiety disorders or not, crumble into a hot mess when they’re attacked for it (thought I suspect her recovery time was probably a lot shorter than mine. Thanks anxiety).
I also especially appreciated her chapter on Calling In. Ramsey makes a compelling case for Calling In instead of Calling Out, which is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The act of Calling Out certainly creates an outraged stir, but it can also ruin careers, or drive people (like me) off the internet. Sometimes, Calling Out is appropriate, as with large companies (and conventions, *ahem Worldcon ahem*) that are prone to ignoring individual marginalized voices. And I’d argue it’s probably the way to go for violent hate speech, as well, because it’s probably not safe to engage one-on-one with someone who wants you to see you dead. But when dealing with well-meaning individuals who have made a mistake, Ramsey urges us to try Calling In instead, before resorting to public humiliation. Essentially, Calling In involves reaching out compassionately one-on-one to the individual who has offended, and providing them with resources and advice. It requires a little more personal effort–you can’t just retweet a call for the person’s head and be done with the conversation–but it’s ultimately more rewarding in the long term, creating more allies rather than alienating them, and helping people to grow and become better instead of bitter. Obviously we don’t all have the spoons to Call In all the time, but I think it’s a good goal. Compassion should always be at the forefront of our minds, and it’s too easy to forget that when the Horn of Gondor has been sounded and the troops are rallying for yet another call out campaign.
At the end of the book, Ramsey also has a couple of chapters with resources, including book titles she recommends for further reading, snappy and appropriate comebacks for passive-aggressive or microaggressive comments you might run into on the internet or in real life, and a handy list of terms that’s useful for anyone who is just getting started on their social justice journey.
All in all this is a very informative, intelligent, funny, and compassionate book that I would recommend to anyone who exists on the internet, especially if you’re a creative.
5/5 tragic YouTube wigs
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Genre: Horror Format: Hardback novel I picked up Meddling Kids because Goodreads recommended it to me and because I absolutely loved the cover. If you like Scooby Doo, Stranger Things, the Stephen King novel IT, or 80’s/90’s nostalgia horror like My Best Friend’s Exorcism, … Continue reading