Today in Tabs: The Left Tab of Darkness

Choire interviewing Ursula K. LeGuin on Lia’s guest-tabbing day is the most Tabs thing that has ever happened.

Today in Tabs: The Left Tab of Darkness
[Photo: Flickr user a200/a77Wells]
Shifgrethor demands it.

Good afternoon! Rusty is on his way to Other Portland to put a bird on it. Instead, here’s your Guest Tabber Lia Bulaong:


Ursula K. Le Guin is the best and don’t you forget it:

CHOIRE SICHA: Can anyone be a writer? I used to have strong opinions about this, and I feel like I’ve lost them along the way.

URSULA K. LE GUIN: You want strong opinions? Anybody can write. You know, one of my daughters teaches writing at a community college. She teaches kids how to put sentences together, and then make the sentences hang together so that they can express themselves in writing as well as they do in speaking. Anybody with a normal IQ can manage that. But saying anybody can be a writer is kind of like saying anybody can compose a sonata. Oh, forget it! In any art, there is an initial gift that had to be there. I don’t know how big it has to be, but it’s got to be there.

Le Guin’s classic “The Left Hand of Darkness,” which received both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel when it was published in 1969 and is one of the most essential reads of the last century, only just became available as an e-book this July, so even if you do all your reading (and rereading) via handheld screens, you have no excuse not to revisit it!

Related: Ann Leckie won the Hugo and Nebula Best Novel awards in 2014 for her debut Ancillary Justice, a book frequently and easily read as being in conversation with “The Left Hand of Darkness.” The final book in Leckie’s “Imperial Radsch” trilogy comes out on October 8th; if you’re chewing your nails in anticipation like I am, here’s a great list of 9 space operas you should read while you wait for Ancillary Mercy. My personal recommendation off that list: Rachel Bach’s “Paradox” trilogy, which kicks off with “Fortune’s Pawn.”

Here’s a heartbreaking essay by Juliet Kahn on three ways women unlearn their love of video games:

I press my sister to explain how she knows games are a “boy thing,” how everyone “just knows this.” “I don’t know,” she answers tentatively. “Y’know, the commercials, and… everything. All of it. You know?” It’s difficult to explain why and how she just knows, in part because parsing the roots of any sociological phenomenon is difficult, but also because it’s just such an immutable fact for us.

For girls who do not fight to be a part of the club, who are not conversant in that world of quarter-circles and Konami codes, it’s as codified as all the other gendered aspects of our lives. Video games aren’t for us the way football and finance aren’t for us: sure, there are girls who break in, and we applaud them for it at a comfortable distance. But where there is a welcome mat rolled out for men, there is only a bloodied stretch of briar for women.

Quick, let’s all play Masques and Murders, a role-playing video game set during the Renaissance in which “the statistics that are used to make a ‘lady’—your knowledge of verse, theology, music and dance—actually lull your evil suitors into vulnerability” so you can kill them all.
Tracey Ross makes very compelling arguments as to why, after 30 years, “The Golden Girls” is still the most progressive show on television.

The pop star JoJo wasn’t even alive thirty years ago—and she probably hasn’t been on your radar for the better part of a decade because her contract with her former label was a hot mess—but she has a new EP out and it’s amazing and so you really should let Jane Hu explain to you why JoJo matters.


Finally, mega congratulations to Emily Weiss, who started mega-successful blog Into the Gloss five years today, helping reframe beauty routines as valuable but also perfectly regular parts of our every day self-care. Put a face mask on tonight, watch an episode or two of the Golden Girls, and try to love yourself just a little bit more than you did yesterday.

Today’s Song: JoJo, “Too Little Too Late

~When action grows unprofitable, gather tabs; when tabs grow unprofitable, sleep.~

Today in Tabs was written today by Lia Bulaong and brought to you by misandry, Fast Company, and email, in that order. See you Monday! Maybe! Hi Mom!

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