June 6th, 2004


What Not to Wear

Friday night, I went to our local Barnes & Nobel. Me being me, I walked out of there with Scurvy, by Stephen Bown, about the efforts to cure scurvy by three British men. However, while lounging about in the store, I picked up a book called What Not to Wear. It's written by two women who are fashion consultants, apparently.

In the book, they usually have on the left-hand page, a model wearing clothes which are to be avoided, and on the right-hand page is a picture of a model wearing better clothes. Accompanying the photographs are explanations of particular items of interest about the ensembles, as well as a paragraph describing 'What this outfit says about you.'

These ladies do have some good advice about clothing and what it says about you. However, a lot of their photographs were heavily dependent on the model's hairstyle, facial expression, and posture to convey an impression, more than on her clothing.

Additionally, most of the clothing to be encouraged was designed solely for women who are 5'10" and weigh about 120 lbs. The style favored the most by these women was bell-bottom slacks worn under a knee-length frock coat or dress.

I am 5'0" and weigh more than I used to. I'm not fat, but I am gaining weight. Even if I still weighed 90 lbs., I couldn't possibly wear most of the suggested styles. I like frock coats, but on a woman of my height, they look dowdy and ridiculous.

So, while I think these ladies had some good ideas, their book is largely useless to me, because it espouses a clothing style I can't wear. Most women who consult such books for advice on what to wear are not built like models. Most women in the world, period, are not built like models.

When do we get a 'how to dress' book that is written for the rest of us?
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed

Scurvy and Rum

I should not have bought this book on the history of scurvy and its cure. I'm in an RPG called The Other Pirates of the Caribbean, which takes place in the same era as the movie, but with original characters.

I can see now that my character, just to satisfy my demand for historical accuracy, is going to have the grossest, most medically accurate pirate ship in the game. *buries face in hands* Ewwwww.

On the other hand, since he's supposed to be the villain, maybe that will simply add to the ambience.
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    amused amused

Mandinkas and Missionaries - Outrage of the Week

It's been a while since I did one of these, so...

The people who put together the MandinkaPeople.com website really piss me off. I was looking up information about them for a story I'm working on, and that particular site seems to be the font of all Web wisdom concerning these people. (Many sites link to this one.)

The site is run by Christian missionaries who just cannot get into their heads the idea that there might be more than one path to God.

The site poses a question: Why do the Mandinka remain unreached by the Gospel? The answer that the site gives is essentially that the Gambia region has poor infrastructure, so most villages are isolated. Natural barriers also isolate things, and oh--the people are superstitious and believe in talismns and amulets.

It never seems to occur to these people that perhaps the Mandinka are happy as Muslims and see no need to change their religion.

Another irritating thing--they constantly refer to the Mandinka as 'MNK's' rather than as Mandinka. How degrading is that?

Anyway, my main gripe is, I think, with this particular missionary's attitude. In a way, it's almost medieval in the depth of conviction that the missionary's belief is right, and the Mandinka beliefs are wrong or at best misguided. I think this person believes that, because the Mandinka have very little in the way of written knowledge, that they are religiously handicapped and cannot understand the true depths of religion--which is bullshit. You don't have to be literate to be able to understand the depths of faith. Yes, literacy helps, but it's not essential. Can this missionary walk into the Mandinkas' minds and know what they think of their god and their religion? No.

I find the whole website--though informative--just...icky. It's someone trying to impose their beliefs on a people who are doing just fine with their own beliefs, thank you very much. Why force them to change? Why automatically presume that their faith isn't good enough? Would this missionary appreciate being preached to by a Muslim missionary? I doubt it.
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    angry angry