Good Hair

Quick aside on the fantasy genre’s treatment of hair. I’m sure that everyone has read a fantasy set in “mock-Europe” in which the heroine has a rare hair color to set her apart–red, for example, or silver blonde (which I’m not sure even exists, even after the discovery of hair bleach among the white peoples). It’s something of a cliche by this point. In addition, the heroine often has dramatically long hair, which looks beautiful even when she sleeps in the dirt and and never gets in the way when she has to do some awesome fighty stuff or cast fire from her amulet or dragons or whatever. Anyone who has dealt with long hair knows this is the true magic.

I mention this because I’ve just started Mary Gentle’s Ash, in which the heroine manages to be a fully armored medieval mercenary captain while sporting a full yard of attractive ash blonde hair. There’s a certain amount of trust that I lose in an author when she pulls a stunt like this–really, everyone is pissing, shitting, puking, and bleeding left and right, and the heroine has hair down to her dirty ass? But just as I was about to despair, Gentle earned back some of my trust by mentioning how Ash’s hair catches in her armor. She puts up with it because it looks so good, and she’s a bit vain about her image as a woman warrior. I’m still not certain whether this works or not as a realistic depiction of hair or as a character trait (Gentle’s characterization has always been a bit slapdash for me), but at least this isn’t total hair high fantasy. Hair grimdark, maybe?


I Watched This for Free on the Internet: Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale

“It doesn’t feel right. If it were someone I knew, even an acquaintance, I’d do it without pay. I am sure that I wouldn’t feel this deep sorrow.”–Sohaila

Iran is the only nation in the world where a living person can legally sell their own kidney (you only need one, after all). Prospective donors come to a state-run charitable office to sign up. If you’re in the proper age range, pass some medical tests, and are willing to wait out the bureaucracy involved, you can sell your kidney. Nima Sarvestani’s documentary Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale follows both donors and recipients as they go through the process of kidney donation. Continue reading →

I Watched This For Free on the Internet: Little Lady Fauntleroy

“Television is the second best to sex.”–Lauren Harries

Well, in this case it’s a far second-best. Or maybe the sex just isn’t that good.

I was looking for Internet fuckery on a weekday night and ended up watching British Channel 4 documentary Little Lady Fauntleroy. As a child in the 1980s, documentary subject James Harries was famous for being a bowtied, velvet-suited child prodigy who judged antiques on British television—the “Little Lord Fauntleroy” type. He even “wrote” a book about becoming rich through antiquing. She is now famous for being Lauren, a transsexual (who went on Celebrity Big Brother after this documentary’s release). I had seen James Harries in action on YouTube or somewhere and wanted to know more about the life of this scary, tiny Tory being, so yeah, I watched this documentary, which follows Lauren and her messed-up family as they go about their daily lives. And goddamn it, it disappointed me. Continue reading →