Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Poem for when you can’t leave the house because it’s raining elephants

August 15, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books



Irony in daily life

August 14, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Notebooks


On “shipping”: When fandom becomes a crusade, things get ugly

August 14, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, Television

G-rated Johnlock fanart


Shipping is as old as fandom itself. But traditionally, fans never expected their particular pairing to “become canon” — that is, to officially happen on a show or in a storyline. In modern fandoms, however, fans of movies and TV shows often root for their ships to become canon the way sports fans root for their teams. If the football fans’ goal is to see their team win the Super Bowl, the shipper’s goal is to see their ship “win” by entering the narrative as an official storyline.

These shippers collectively form group narratives about their favorite ship. More and more, these group narratives are evolving into unshakable belief systems that usually take one of three increasingly common forms:

1) The belief that the ship in question is unquestionably going to become canon

Historically in fandom, liking a ship meant just that: You liked a ship. Anything more than that would get you a lot of side-eyeing. In the Harry Potter fandom, the advent of Ron and Hermione becoming a couple in the sixth book led to a very famous (and still ongoing) meltdown among Harry/Hermione shippers.

At the time — fandom in 2005 — their unwavering faith that Harry/Hermione would eventually become canon was widely seen by fandom at large as extreme, because shipping was typically viewed as something that existed outside of canon and generally had no particular relationship to the course of canon at all.

Today, expecting your ship to become canon is more or less the norm. But there are lots of complications with this line of thinking. Even if a ship does become canon, it might not become canon in a way that fans like — Buffy/Spike, anyone? And of course it might not be guaranteed to remain canon. Breakups happen, actors leave shows, and, as The 100 fans were brutally reminded earlier this spring, characters die.

Read it.

There are vast differences between the UK and US editions of Cloud Atlas.

August 12, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books


Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2004, Cloud Atlas is already complicated enough: telling the story of six interlocking lives and hopping back and forth across centuries and genres. But differences between the US and UK editions highlighted by Eve in a journal article published on Wednesday on the Open Library of Humanities run to 30 pages of examples.

In the UK text, for example, Mitchell writes at one point that: “Historians still unborn will appreciate your cooperation in the future, Sonmi ~451. We archivists thank you in the present. […] Once we’re finished, the orison will be archived at the Ministry of Testaments. […] Your version of the truth is what matters.”

In the US edition, the lines are: “On behalf of my ministry, thank you for agreeing to this final interview. Please remember, this isn’t an interrogation, or a trial. Your version of the truth is the only one that matters.”

Read it.

Hmmm. I read the British (Sceptre) paperback, gave it away, and got the American (Random House) trade edition. Now I have to get the British edition back.

To avoid confusion, print different versions in different fonts or colors.

Archaeologists unearth Tintagel Castle of Arthurian myth

August 12, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, History, Places


The palace is just one of a dozen structures that ground penetrating radar surveys picked up on the Tintagel peninsula, some of which likely housed workman, soldiers and artists. Whoever lived in the main structure, however, lived a pretty glamorous lifestyle considering it was the dark ages. The researchers have evidence that they drank wine from the geographic area known as Turkey today, and used olive oil from the Greek Isles and Tunisia. They drank from painted glass cups from France and ate off plates from North Africa.

Read it.

If I remember my T.H. White (and Thomas Malory and Mary Stewart) correctly, Tintagel was the castle of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall, whose wife Igraine was coveted by Uther Pendragon. The obsessed King Uther Pendragon besieged the castle without success, so he resorted to magic. Merlin cast a spell that caused Uther to take on the form of Gorlois. Gorlois was lured out of the castle, whereupon Uther rode in and convinced Igraine he was her husband. Nine months later, Arthur was born and given to Sir Hector to raise as the boy “Wart”. No one but Merlin knew Wart’s real parentage until Wart came upon a sword stuck in a stone. . .

Later, Gorlois and Igraine’s daughter Morgause seduced Arthur and gave birth to the horrible Mordred, who would rebel against his father/uncle.

I try to read The Once and Future King every other year. My sister and I have memorized most of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so we can ward off boredom with phony French accents and the Camelot song.

Book Oracle: Pick up the book nearest to you and turn to page 45.

August 11, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Science

The first sentence will describe your lovelife.

I had just bought these two books so they were in my bag.


“Now we’re trying to figure out why the fundamental fabric of reality is one way rather than some other way.”


“…axioms, in the dust of outsiders and mistrust of insiders, in wanderers’ totes and Judas’s totals, in the movement from and the standing over, in the lies of the cheated and in the truth of the deceived, in war and peace, in tinted glasses and tall grasses, in studios and studies, in shame and suffering, in darkness and light, in hate and compassion, in life and beyond it—we need to make good sense out of all these and other things—there’s something in it, perhaps not much, but something.”

Hmmm, the two readings agree.

(Thanks to Tina.)