harpy week: hurtful words, healing words, and sexy words

Greek Harpy.
650 B.C.
This past week saw another two posts authored for The Pursuit of Harpyness in addition to participation in my first ever "harpy seminar," or conversational group post, in which a number of us contribute thoughts on a given topic. This week's seminar was on the topic of talk therapy and what it's "for." Is it a waste of time and money or a cure like no other? Is it an elitist indulgence or mental health necessity? What's worked or not worked for you? We took a stab at it and then opened the floor for comments from our readers.

On my own, I wrote two language-related posts this week.
  • The first was on the new expurgated edition of Huckleberry Finn that has been making waves in the mainstream media (as well as in the blogosphere) the past couple of weeks. I shared a couple of my favorite commentaries on the topic, a few preliminary thoughts about censorship, racism, and the writing -- or in this case re-writing -- of history, and then asked readers for their thoughts and personal experiences studying Huck Finn in classroom settings.
  • My second post of the week was on sexual fluidity, and our culture's struggle to understand the way in which human sexuality is sometimes dynamic, changing over time in response to our environment (both ecological and social). I meditate on the anxiety this fluidity causes people, and some of the possible causes of that anxiety. I also describe how the cultural narrative of an innate, fixed sexual orientation was a personal stumbling block as I grew into my adult sexual identity. Commenters shared some wonderful (and wonderfully varied) personal stories in the comment thread.
In addition to my work, obviously, other Harpies were equally busy!  SarahMC wrote a post about a recent "driveway moment" with NPR, listening the Delusions of Gender author Cordelia Fine discuss the (junk) science of sex-difference. Marie Anelle shared her struggle to balance her political values of fat acceptence with her personal anxieties over her health and appearance. foureleven revealed that she is a future librarian and discussed some of the common responses she gets when discussing her chosen field; the comments in this thread are particularly interesting as folks swap stories about translating their professional selves in mixed company.

Check out these stories and others over at The Pursuit of Harpyness. Hope you all had a restful weekend (and enjoy your holiday tomorrow, those of you who get an extra day off for MLK day)!

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