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[This is kluge.]Where some ideas are stranger than others...

FOUND SUBJECTS at the Moonspeaker

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'Found Subjects' are a whole range of writings and websites that I find interesting and worth spending some time reading and responding to. The grey right hand column displays those neat (or obnoxious, depending on your point of view) logos other websites provide when you link back to them from yours (except for the animated ones, those suck). I notice that providing such logos doesn't seem to be too fashionable just now, but far be it from me to be fashionable, so the little link logos for The Moonspeaker are at the top.

Well, that's the very general overview, but what is a 'found subject' more specifically? If it's something I add to or write, it may be anything from an annotated edition of 'Alice and Wonderland' to commentaries on the denizens of the women authors only section of my book shelves. If it's something I link to, it could be a website providing information on how to construct languages for alternate literary worlds or one with tips on how to wrestle desired results from the ever-growing and harder to use Adobe Photoshop. (Though I have to acknowledge that Adobe Photoshop has effectively died courtesy of Adobe's new "you can never own your software" business model.)


Alexiares' Annotated Alice In Wonderland: I've read Martin Gardner's annotated edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice books, and to be honest was quite disappointed. An annotation that doesn't explain what 'cucumber frames' are is simply not what I was looking for, although a later edition of his version does finally provide the definition.
Mors Iabrochii: Go on, you've always wanted to read Jabberwocky translated into Latin. For good measure, I have finally located an Ancient Greek translation as well.
Thought Pieces: A bite-sized writing appetizer now featured on the home page of The Moonspeaker. I decided it was time to get away from "feature essays" as such, that's just too much at a first run, even if you come here all the time. In addition, this now gives me an opportunity to impose my photographs on site visitors. (g)
Alexiares' Annotated Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass: Here at last is the follow up to the annotated Wonderland above. Let it never be said that such projects don't lead to really learning something. Since the book is partially structured by means of a chess game, I finally had to learn more systematically about chess.
Alexiares' Annotated Hunting of the Snark: This is the last of Lewis Carroll's works that I will be annotating for the Moonspeaker. It will be interesting to find out what a railroad share is — that is, whether it is a unit of ownership in a railway company or something to do with the actual railroad tracks!
Sappho's Fragments, With Translation: It perhaps shouldn't have surprised me that the Perseus Project doesn't have any of Sappho's works up in ancient greek or english since her work is not usually part of the undergraduate classics reading curriculum. So I have decided to take a run at filling the gap at least in terms of getting an electronic text out there, since I would like one! UPDATE: I have stumbled over a site that takes a stab at this, at Sean B. Palmer's site. There are a couple of wrinkles, though. His recommendation of Wikipedia's article on Sappho as a good introduction to her works is almost risible — the article is not bad, but it is also not that helpful. He makes no translations of his own, and since he disclaims knowledge of aeolic greek and does not state whether he can read ancient greek at all, I feel nervous of his judgements on quality and succinctness of translation. He also seems to be completely unaware of Anne Carson's work. But, he does have all the greek text there on-line.


LaTeX — A document preparation system: I first encountered LaTeX back in 1999, and while it seemed an unwieldy sort of thing at first, it turned out to be a fabulous tool. LaTeX is very much like html mark up (in principle both LaTeX and html are spawn of sgml), and it has been expanding steadily out of the scientific and mathematical typesetting realms into the social sciences. This is partly because of the increasing role of statistics in social sciences, and partly because so many word processing programs do violence to documents.

Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health: When I stumbled on this site, I was actually looking around for information on victorian era patent medicines. Truth be told it is quite odd, because it was started and is still maintained by a guy who appears to be an expert in creating museum exhibits — and has very strange ideas about webpage layout. This shows in his emphasis on ephemera related to menstruation, especially advertisements for pads. If nothing else, the site is worth looking at because it is thought provoking.
The Gage Home: Don't let the name of this website fool you; it is far more than an on-line shingle for the Gage Home museum in Fayetteville, New York. It is rapidly developing into a central resource for those interested in the Radical Feminist scholar and researcher Matilda Joslyn Gage. In many ways she was ahead of her time, including her analysis of racism and a participant in the Underground Railroad system, as well as a major influence on L. Frank Baum and the Oz books.
Patricia Monaghan: Author of a range of influential books on Goddesses and Goddess spirituality as well as the sublime prose-poem The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog. This site hasn't been updated for a long time, but the links are still useful, and Patricia answers her own email, which is pretty awesome.
Z. Budapest: Unwittingly picking up the thread found by Matilda Joslyn Gage, Z. Budapest is one of the leading pioneers and leaders in the Feminist Wicca and Dianic Wicca religions in North America. She has worked through some of the most important questions around Goddess Spirituality, from whether Feminists should put energy into it to whether Euro-descended North Americans wanting to leave behind judeo-christian faiths should simply take up Indigenous ones instead.
Mary Daly - Radical Elemental Feminist: Sadly, Mary Daly passed away in 2010, and her website at marydaly.org has gone as well. Her writing is well worth reading in sequence, as it so clearly shows how her scholarship and thinking led her to Radical Feminism and then to deepen and improve her analysis by challenging her own unconscious racism, classicism, and anthropocentrism. Her last book length publication came out in 2006, Amazon Grace. There is a tribute blog still on-line in her honour.
The Language Construction Kit: A well-written guide to creating languages, as well as a fun and non-painful introduction to linguistics. (There's a thought: an introductory linguistics text that teaches by getting students to create an artificial language...) Mark Rosenfelder takes you through all the things you need to consider: sound system, orthography, grammar, how not to make a simulacrum of your own language unless you want to. He also has a good sense of humour. (Alas, I cannot recommend his companion site/book The Planet Construction Kit.)
George Orwell - Why I Write: One of my favourite essays on writing, giving what is certainly a male perspective on why a writer writes in a tongue-in-cheek way. His essays are a bit of a mixed bag in general, however. UPDATE: Well, since learning about Orwell's participation in witch hunting his colleagues and some of his own friends, I simply can't recommend him at all, not in a full-hearted way. Knowing he was involved in such vile activity sheds a whole new light on the two books he is most famous for, which are of course Animal Farm and 1984.
Starhawk's Tangled Web: The heterosexual counterpart, so to speak, of Z. Budapest. She has expanded her activism and practice in somewhat different directions, becoming more overtly tied into environmental activism. If you want to see some of the original source material on permaculture and guerilla gardening (which has recently arrived in Vancouver, BC), this is a place to start. Her email list is quite busy, and she updates her blog regularly.
Doctor Who - The Classic Series: On-line home of my all-time favourite science fiction programme. The one serious drawback with it is that it is acutely flash dependent with no HTML5 options. There's something to be said to being thoughtful and not taking yourself too seriously, which became the show's ouvre. Unfortunately the new series simply doesn't have the same charm, I think it cut two surprisingly useful anchors: no hanky panky for the Doctor, and the existence of Gallifrey aka the British upper class on sci-fi steroids.
Trivia: Voices of Feminism: Trivia is one of several pioneering Feminist journals that got its start in the 1980s and became host to a whole posse of cutting edge, now classic Radical Feminist articles. The on-line Trivia reappeared after the original print journal had gone into apparent hiatus in 1994. It has recently had a change in editorial team as well as a change in web domain.
Judy Grahn - Blood, Bread, and Roses: A book that at long last looks at what it meant for humans when the females among our ancestors began to menstruate instead of going periodically into heat. Don't let the snipe that there is no evidence for Grahn's thesis scare you off: this book is not intended to be an anthropological treatise, though the topic certainly cries out for treatment from that direction as well. After an initial print run with Beacon Press, the book has been stubbornly out of print since, joining the ranks of pretty much the entire corpus of Feminist literature right now. It is worth reading against Terence McKenna's Food of the Gods. McKenna is onto a complimenting phenomenon, another means by which humans were rendered aware of themselves as individuals, which may have helped out the males who didn't have any sort of menstrual cycle as a means to build this sense. That said, McKenna's thesis that first psychedelic mushrooms caused people to realize they were individuals but now they make people realize they are part of everything seems a bit contradictory, but his point is that now humans have evolved so that the way we respond to those mushrooms is different. (I think!)
Metaformia: A journal taking up and building on the ideas and theories Judy Grahn developed in Blood, Bread, and Roses. It seems to be updated infrequently, perhaps because there is no information at all on how to contribute to it. Their contact options are all broken, so at this point there seems to be no way to request submission guidelines.
Webpages That Suck: If you're a webmaster, you should read every one of Vincent Flanders' books and look at his website. His critiques and pointers are incredibly useful, and he doesn't lose his head over stupid web fads like fonts that look like the product of badly maintained manual typewriters. For a flavour of what he's like, in paraphrase: "If you want people to pull out their credit card and buy your product, a dark background and light type SUCKS. If it's your personal site, or you're an artsy type, go for it."
The Women's Library: One of the few libraries I know of with a mandate to maintain documents that pertain specifically to women's history period, let alone its own mandate which focuses of the history of British women. At this point there are few electronic resources available from this site except for their catalogue, but that is a huge resource in itself. It can be no easy task to find proper references for women's history materials in general purpose libraries. That said, right now (2012) the British government is acting in effect to enforce the closure of this institution, apparently depending on certain bigoted claims that "the library is segregated" to bubble as a background justification. Pathetic right-wing politics at its worst and most petty.
A Celebration Of Women Writers: A decent archive of books by women authors, where significant effort has been put into finding materials in other languages than english and authors other than those you usually hear about. Where the text is not available the reference is a full one, so it should be possible to find it by other means.
Central Stn - Mysterious Paper Sculptures: In March 2011, an anonymous woman began dropping off beautiful paper sculptures made from books and additional materials at literary and museum establishments in Edinburgh, Scotland. Each sculpture had a note explaining that each was a gift in support of "libraries, books, words, ideas..." These marvellous works have certainly served their purpose, and are now going on exhibition tour in Scotland, while their creator remains anonymous.
The Web According to Paolo - All the Books in the World... Except One: Continuing on the book theme but in a different track, have a read of this wonderful and bittersweet graphic short story by Darko Macan and Tihomir Celanovic. "Bittersweet" can be a cliché description, but it is unreservedly appropriate here.
Monique Wittig: Monique Wittig, a brilliant Radical Feminist writer and philosopher died suddenly in 2003. Thankfully, the decision was taken by her executors to make sure this website stayed online and it continues to be updated. Personally I find her fiction a more immediately challenging read than her non-fiction, in the sense that her imagery is non-linear and at times disturbing in the former as opposed to the more straightforward format of her essays. Both challenge the reader to think, and reward the thinking.
Suppressed Histories Archives: Max Dashu's huge and ongoing research and archiving project bringing together extensive women's history materials, founded as a project in 1970. It has good coverage of cultures and places outside of "Europe" and "North America" that is improving all the time, and also incudes some of the best visual archives in the topic area I have seen. Dashu has put considerable effort, money and time into digitizing photographs and slides to make them available, as well as writing numerous essays, reviews, and lectures. Furthermore, the site is bilingual, english-español. The only thing that is not there yet is a full bibliography, which is understandable as Dashu has her hands full keeping the archive in order and cataloguing materials. This is a project well worth supporting.

Copyright © C. Osborne 2016
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 1:03:58