Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'Crazy' Women and Bad Penguins

Vivienne Parry rediagnoses the “mad” women of literature on BBC News.

She suggests the Woman in White may have had a learning disorder and Madame Bovary wasn’t crazy, just a fantasist who would have fit in on reality television.

Parry talks about how “insane” women in the Victorian Era were often institutionalized for female sexuality.

Coincidentally, I’ve borrowed two books from Tricia in the last year. Both of which told the stories of women unfairly put in asylums because of their sexuality. (Interpret that how you want — not just that Tricia keeps reading books about the subject, but also that I keep borrowing them.)

On to the next one, Penguin Group Australia gave a backhanded apology for printing a cookbook with a recipe that called for “salt and freshly ground black people.” In case you were wondering, they meant “pepper.”

Bob Sessions, its head of publishing, said, “In one particular recipe [a] misprint occurs which obviously came from a spell checker. When it comes to the proofreader, of course they should have picked it up, but proofreading a cookbook is an extremely difficult task. I find that quite forgivable.

“We’ve said to bookstores that if anyone is small minded enough to complain about this very ... silly mistake then we will happily replace [the book] for them.”

Let me get this straight. Penguin published a book with an unintentionally (I hope) racist typo, quickly forgave its proofreaders, and called anyone unhappy with your faulty product “small minded.”

This would be like if I rear ended Mr. Sessions’s car, forgave myself for texting while driving and called him a “jerkface” when he asked for my insurance info.

Finally, I love Everyday Shakespeare. Where else can I get sonnet battles about poorly parked cars?

-Jason Lea, JLea@News-Herald.com

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