“Up and Down”: On Chairlifts and Ski Towns

In Colorado the lowest point is three thousand, three hundred and seventeen feet above sea level, where the Arikaree River finds Kansas, and the average elevation is just shy of seven thousand. Spanning from the Great Plains to the Colorado Plateau to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a floating quadrangle in the mountain west.

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The Only Problem With The Maze Runner

As you may or may not be aware, my New Year’s Resolution this year was to only go to see movies I thought I’d have a really good time at this year (this is why I have seen Vampire AcademyI, Frankenstein, the Purge sequel, and both Hercules movies in 3D but not Gone Girl). It has been the best decision I have ever made with my life, and it is directly responsible for my having seen The Maze Runner last Friday afternoon in a nearly empty theater.

For a while, after I saw this movie, whenever someone asked me what I thought of it, I told them “it was amazing,” in a way that made it clear I was saying it with the word maze in the middle, but my heart wasn’t really in the pun. I liked The Maze Runner a great deal more than I anticipated, but I could not bring myself to love it. It was still the greatest movie I have ever seen (every movie is the greatest movie I have ever seen until I see the next one).

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Inevitable Fates of Beloved Children’s Book Characters

The author apologises that these alternate plot lines are almost entirely based on the movie versions of these books, watched feverishly during an 18 hour flight over approx. 16 airplane desserts. The author’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.

Mary, The Secret Garden

After an adolescence of playing Dickon and Colin off of one another (in exchange for pony rides and handmaid gowns, respectively) Mary and Dickon finally undress one another in the quiet of the Secret Garden, days before Dickon is sent to the trenches of World War 1. When Colin finds out (because Colin ALWAYS finds out, he reminds them, in third person) his largest complaint is that the deed was done in HIS mother’s garden, with HIS cousin, and therefore the right was inevitably his.

“It doesn’t work that way, Colin” Dickon says, gently.

“Dick on THIS, farm boy” says Colin, who has been saving this particular phrase for some time.

Dickon, obviously, is among the first to heroically perish, astride the only horse ever declared more stoic than War Horse while Colin’s various and non-specific ailments keep him out of the war and alive to comfort Mary throughout. Mary appreciates the gesture and has even let Colin kiss her with his mouth open several times.

Colin will interpret this as sex his entire adult life.

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“It Wasn’t Written for Me”: A Conversation About Asian Americans and the Media

Editor’s Note: The following is an email discussion that took place between Sarah Jeong and Nicole Callahan on October 20. Nicole Cliffe saw our tweets about some of the articles discussed below and the challenges of writing about Asian Americans, and asked us to write up our conversation for The Toast. 

Nicole Callahan: Hey, Sarah. Before we get into Jack Linshi’s Time article (“The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans”) and Julianne Hing’s response at Colorlines, I just wanted to acknowledge something you said about cringing in anticipation before you read the original piece. Because I had that same reaction when I saw the headline, and I admit, I immediately checked the byline to see if the writer had an obviously Asian name. Not that that’s any guarantee you won’t dislike something you read on this subject, but it’s the first thing I do when I see any story about Asians. Like you, I was relieved that the Time article wasn’t worse.

Sarah Jeong: I think this point is actually super important to the discussion. A lot of the stuff we see written about Asian Americans and race is just plain bad. And that totally colors our perception of Linshi’s Time article, and our reaction to Hing’s critique.

Let’s review our initial reactions to Linshi’s piece in Time. I think I said something like, “It’s fine, I just really didn’t have to read that.” It’s pretty basic stuff, information that circulates fairly regularly among people who take an interest in Asian American issues.

Nicole: My reaction was nearly identical to yours: this is okay, but it wasn’t written for me. And that’s fine, it doesn’t need to be written for you or me; it can be aimed at mostly white readers of Time and/or people who don’t read much about race.

But I feel as though many, many articles we read about Asian Americans and diversity never move much beyond the “Asians are being left out of the conversation!” point, and that always makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes we are “left out” because we don’t face the same racism. I think it’s disingenuous to claim to be “left out” of the black/white framing, and then conveniently ignore or not talk about the ways Asian Americans benefit from not being seen as black.

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“Luke and Douglas”: Two Essays on the Same Multiracial Marriage


What can I say about the emotions of my wedding ceremony that won’t sound like a three-ring circus of cliches? I got married inside Boston’s City Hall, one of the most hideous structures conceived in modern history, an inverted bone-gray pyramid straight out of 1984. My cousin was there as a witness and three of my husband’s friends. At least the Justice of Peace’s office was tastefully decorated: a handsome bookshelf, cranberry carpet. When I said “I do” to my husband, I briefly entered a moment of the sort I’ve always pined for in life but rarely experience: happiness unstained by my perpetual financial anxieties and my bitter distaste for the many injustices that won’t seem to go away.

My husband, Douglas, came from Anhui Province, in China, a product of the economic boom of the late eighties and early nineties. We met nearly two years ago, when I crashed an incoming students’ party (I was starting my third year) at a bar near the college we both attended. This cherub-cheeked, wavy-haired journalism student stole my heart with his goofy vocal imitations of jazz trumpets. When we became an item, every time I told him something personal, he’d ask me “why didn’t you tell me that already?” as if he’d expected to have learned my entire life story on the first date.

Our honeymoon was a single night at a Mariott where a friend of mine worked. We were on the 27th floor and had a fantastic view of the Cambridge skyline and the Charles River. I had to get up early the next morning and teach at a Saturday school. I needed the money. The leases on our apartments prevented us from moving in together for the first four months of our marriage. Rationally, it shouldn’t have mattered much. Four months is not that long. But on our first night sleeping apart, it stung that pillow beside me was empty, the blanket cold when it should have been warm.

“Do you think I’m exotic?” I asked Douglas one day. We were sitting at the college cafeteria, a rarity for us since we didn’t have meal plans. I had piled my plate high with couscous, spinach salad and marinated peppers. Douglas was munching on a cheeseburger and fries.

“Yes, of course,” he said nonchalantly. He said it as if it would be preposterous for him not to think that of me.

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Women In Eagles Songs, In Order Of Trustworthiness

“It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me”

She sounds like a lot of fun! She drives her own car and she stops to look at men in the street. I’ll bet she’s part owner of the local bar, too, and is a very sexually frank person.

“Wooo hooo witchy woman, see how
high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman she got
the moon in her eye
She held me spellbound in the night
dancing shadows and firelight
crazy laughter in another
room and she drove herself to madness
with a silver spoon”

What doesn’t sound appealing about that? She flies around the night sky and owns the moon and wants to have insanity sex in the darkness. I love this woman.

“I’ve got seven women on my mind…Four that wanna stone me”

Perfectly straightforward. You know what they want. They have not attempted to hide their motives. Stay out of their way if you can, apologize if you must, and duck either way. These women have no surprises for you.

“I’ve got seven women on my mind…Two that wanna own me”

These women are a little trickier. They should not be allowed to own you. Eagles have to fly free.

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Link Roundup!

The attack in Ottawa yesterday. Love to all our Canadians. Here’s what we currently know about the shooter.


Buzzfeed did a great look at the history and present of “painting down” stuntpeople in the wake of the incident on the set of Gotham (which I am watching the crap out of, btw):

In 1971, stuntperson Marvin Walters led the charge when it was discovered that a white stuntperson was painted down to double for Lou Gossett Jr. on the Warner Bros. film Skin Game. He contacted the U.S. Justice Department, and that move helped to change the opportunities for women and minorities who also worked behind the camera.

On behalf of the Coalition of Black Stuntmen and Women, he filed lawsuits — which they won — and damages were paid out to stuntpeople of color.

“In 1976, I filed 32 EEO charges against the motion picture industry, and I won five settlement agreements,” Walters, now 76, said in an interview with BuzzFeed News.


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The Stage Door: On Waiting to See Celebrities

There are a handful of truly historic meetings in the theatre world. When Rodgers met Hammerstein. When Lunt met Fontanne. When legendary American playwright Eugene O’Neill met The Bottle.

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