The world and the internet seem to have woken up just in time for the next public holiday to hit us on Thursday. Lots of stuff happened, so here is a linkdump:
I am saddened by the outcome of the Kachelmann trial, because the woman did everything right, she immediately contacted the police and subjected herself to a medical examination without showering or cleaning herself first to allow the gathering of forensic evidence. But in spite of all this, Kachelmann still goes free because of a “lack of evidence” and the woman is painted as a liar as well.
That said, the media behaved awfully in this case from the very public arrest at the Frankfurt airport on up to various news outlets taking sides and having their “experts” slug it out on political talkshows. If there’s one good thing about this trial being over, it’s that we no longer have to see that noxious woman from the Spiegel on every talkshow.
More bad news: The EHEC outbreak centered on North Germany has killed 16 people by now and is still ongoing and since the Spanish cucumbers were apparently not to blame, the search for the source is continuing.
As someone who belongs to the demographic hit the hardest (adult women), likes vegetables and lives in the middle of the outbreak hotspot, this is very frustrating. The cucumbers aren’t so bad – I don’t eat a lot of those. And I get leafy salads and lettuce straight from my parents’ garden and greenhouse, where I know that the produce is safe, though the guy at the garden and plant store told my Dad that people aren’t even buying lettuce seedlings anymore. But what I really miss are tomatoes. Canned tomatoes and pasta sauce have their uses, but they aren’t the same.
Now for an interesting bit of sociology: At the Guardian, Polly Toynbee discusses the the British slang term “chav” and how it is used to denigrate poor and working class people.
Really fascinating from a sociological POV, particularly regarding the shifting of class lines and class markers. For example, Burberry, once considered a staid luxury brand, and the catalogue store chain Argos, considered a perfectly normal retailer, when I was a student in London in the mid 1990s, have now become hopelessly associated with “chavdom”. I have an anglophile aunt who loves Burberry clothes from way back and I have never found the heart to tell her that Burberry now conveys a very different image than it did in the 1980s or whenever she discovered the brand.
More on the subject of Britain and class, here is a whole blog devoted to London council estates. Brutalist apartment block mass housing was a worldwide epidemic in the 1960s and 1970s – Bremen has a particularly fine example in the Neue Vahr as well as Osterholz-Tenever. Objectively, the British council estates are certainly no worse than those – so I don’t know what it is that makes the same South-East London council estate serve as an instant dystopia forty years apart.
Staying in Britain for a moment, but shifting from class to gender issues, the results of the Guardian asking readers to list their favourite SF books are in and unsurprisingly, it’s heavily weighted towards classics and male writers. Nicola Griffith, Cheryl Morgan and Damien Walter, who launched the poll on behalf of the Guardian in the first place, respond here. I wish I could be surprised by this, but really, I’m not.
Finally, here’s an indie publishing link: Historical romance author Courtney Milan discusses her decision to self-publish her most recent novella at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.