Critical Linking

Pants Used To Be a Bad Word: Critical Linking, February 11, 2020

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

Critical Linking, a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web is sponsored by Get Booked: The Handsell.

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“Another bad word around that time was…“pants.” Read points to numerous newspaper articles referring to trousers with words like “unmentionables” or “inexpressables.” In one 1848 account, “Mr. B. dressed himself in a new bright blue coat and a pair of large and showy unwhisperables.” (It apparently wasn’t until the early twentieth century that similar euphemisms came to refer to underwear.)”

Taboo words based on place and time.

“I highly recommend Bang by Daniel Peña, Butterfly Boy by Rigoberto González, Mean by Myriam Gurba and The Moths and Other Stories by Helena María Viramontes, all of which are by Chicano writers who have dedicated themselves to researching, exploring and writing about and around the border and immigration. I read Viramontes as an undergrad. Her work was being taught in a sociology class. In my creative writing and lit classes I was taught writers like Simpson, Gaitskill and Atwood. All of whom were writers in the same generation as Viramontes but stocked on different shelves in the bookstores. And this is obviously a problem because Viramontes’ stories are innovative, acute and beautifully written and if published today, one hopes her collection wouldn’t have had to include a long academic introduction to create context and validity for her work and instead would have been reviewed and celebrated in mainstream literary spaces for the explosive content, the nuanced characters and her singular literary style.”

Get your read on with these recommended books by author’s with books about immigration.

Ever wondered the size comparison between fictional buildings like Orthanc (LOTR) and Hogwarts (HP)?