Learn Chinese, Cute-Style

ShaoLan Hsueh wanted to make learning to write in Chinese easy—or at least as easy as it could be considering the thousands and thousands of characters the language uses. Her new book Chineasy uses cute, colorful illustrations to help students learn the characters for basic words like bug and deer. READ MORE

Friday Open Thread


Dogs I Saw This Week, Rated


"Vulnerable Young Women Get Fierce"

It's not exploitation if you objectify yourself. READ MORE

"Even the Grave Won't Keep You"

When young, she'd clothed herself in boy garb. "God is always looking after us," Lume said, after showing us into her house and offering us a couch in the living room. Her sister-in-law shuttled in tea and soda as Lume sat, her elbows propped on either knee. "When I was about 12, I said, ‘Please God, help me. I pray to be a burrnesha until the end.’ " Then she talked to her baba—or father—and he understood. He gathered Lume's four brothers and, according to Lume, told them, "Herewith forward, this girl is a sworn virgin and will live like a man. These will be her affairs. You worry only for yours."

Michael Paterniti on the dying Albanian tradition of burrneshas—women who live as men (sort of, it's complicated) despite the "ultraconservative mores" of their society. (Jia fell into a Wikipedia hole about them once.) READ MORE

Who Are You Trying to Convince?: 5 Desperately Upbeat Pop Songs

There's a Top 40 trend, a few years old now, toward making pop music on the radio sound more like dance music from the club: electronic instrumentation, thumping beats, repetitive choruses, AutoTune. Lyrically, there's a violent uptick in mentions of being young, staying up late enough to see the sun, and burning things, all of which are usually described in the first-person plural—not "I want this" or "you said that" but "we did this." Tonight, we are young, so let's set the world on fire. Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy, till we see the sun. Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young. We gonna let it burn, burn, burn. READ MORE

Which English Do You Speak?

You know how when you look up a word on Merriam-Webster's website, a little video will start playing on mute in the corner and someone will silently tell you about some obscure word or irregular rule? The purple-haired woman who shows up in those videos is named Kory Stamper, and she's written a super interesting essay about different dialects of American English and their varying levels of prestige. READ MORE

Tudor PoC

If you're a fan of Medieval POC, or are generally interested in media representations of race, history, and race in different periods of history, you might be interested in a new book called Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England (though it might be difficult to get your hands on it if you live in the States). READ MORE

Kawehi, "Heart-Shaped Box"

Electronic musician Kawehi covers Nirvana like a hurricane through your heart—plus you can actually understand the lyrics now! READ MORE

Someone Explain Dating to Me

Sometimes I think it's hard being in a long-term relationship because I don't know what "swipe left" jokes are supposed to mean, but then I remember about stories like this. READ MORE