Quote for the Day: October 4th, 2021

Compete with no one but yourself.

Dionne Alexander

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly measuring yourself against people you know in real life or people you follow online?

In a world where success is measured by the number of likes or followers you have, it’s easy to turn a numbers game into a measurement of self-worth, and it’s not.

It’s a toxic practice that seems unavoidable most of the time. In a world where success is measured by the number of likes or followers you have, it’s easy to turn a numbers game into a measurement of self-worth, and it’s not. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about for years now but that I’m just now starting to internalize is the fact that value is inherent. I’m going to repeat that: VALUE IS INHERENT. You cannot, as a human being, become more or less valuable based on your characteristics or actions. It’s just not possible.

I’m going to add to Maggie’s quote and say that nothing you can say or do can fuck up the space for God. That connection, like our inherent value, is irrevocable and impregnable.

When you really think about it, it’s incredibly freeing. It reminds me of another quote I feel like I’ve shared on here (not entirely sure, my apologies) by Maggie Nelson. In her book The Argonauts, she says, “Nothing you can say can fuck up the space for God.” That’s a slow burn, isn’t it? I’m going to add to Maggie’s quote and say that nothing you can say or do can fuck up the space for God. That connection, like our inherent value, is irrevocable and impregnable.

We believe the things we repeat, so repeat good things about yourself to yourself.

There’s an exercise I’d like for all of you to try with me. Every day when you wake up, I want you to find a mirror (the front-facing camera on your phone will work just fine) and repeat these words: “I do not have to earn my value.” The first few times you do this might me awkward and embarrassing, but eventually you’ll come to believe the words you can hear yourself saying. We believe the things we repeat, so repeat good things about yourself to yourself.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

New Social Handles!!!

Hello there beloved readers, I have some exciting news. The Voracious Bibliophile now has dedicated TikTok and Pinterest accounts. So now, you can follow this blog on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Album Review: Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish

How does Billie Eilish respond to criticism of her newest full-length offering, Happier Than Ever? With a dismissive eye roll and a snappy comeback.

Apparently, many “fans” of Eilish are not enamored with her sophomore effort, ostensibly because of its lack of radio-friendly tracks. This doesn’t seem to bother Eilish, however, who’s too busy counting her stacks and referencing her rack at the same time to be bothered by petty inanities.

This doesn’t seem to bother Eilish, however, who’s too busy counting her stacks and referencing her rack at the same time to bothered by petty inanities.

Clapping back at a slate of recent TikTok videos made by so-called fans, Eilish posted a video with “NDA” playing in the background while her eyes are rolling up at the text is it just me or is billie in her flop era like why does she suck now. Her c(l)aption: literally all i see on this app…eat my dust my tits are bigger than yours.

…eat my dust my tits are bigger than yours

Billie Eilish

This is the very reason the world (and yours truly) loves Billie: she doesn’t play by anyone’s rules except her own. The same woman who drew criticism for wearing excessively baggy clothing on the red carpet is the same woman who drew criticism for posing seductively on the June 2021 cover of British Vogue wearing a corset and sporting new blonde locks.

Happier Than Ever embraces these complexities while at the same time rejecting all classification whatsoever. What matters more than anything is what Billie wants to say in the moment, and she has a lot to say on this record—about fame, mental health, sex, and the (im)balances of power inherent in all relationships (toxic and otherwise).

What matters more than anything is what Billie wants to say in the moment, and she has a lot to say on this record—about fame, mental health, sex, and the (im)balances of power inherent in all relationships (toxic and otherwise).

Haters are never happy with how women own their power and inhabit their sexuality, always attempting to reify a made-up circumscription placing them within a false dichotomy of prude or slut, Madonna or whore. How much cleavage is too much? How little is too little? Is she pure or just a tease? It’s all nonsense rooted in the detractors’ own unavoidable mediocrity: eat my dust my tits are bigger than yours.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/4)

Favorite Tracks: “I Didn’t Change My Number”, “Oxytocin” “OverHeated”, “Your Power”, and “Happier Than Ever”.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Some of My Favorite Tweets

Sometimes Twitter is just *chef’s kiss* magnificent. While no social media platform is perfect and some are downright godawful (here’s looking at you, Facebook!), I always return to Twitter for conversation, community, clarity, and hilarity.

I am so dedicated to Twitter, in fact, that I have a Google Drive folder full of screenshots of tweets that speak to me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Note: Under the screenshots, I’m going to re-type the text appearing in the tweet as well as text descriptions for any gifs or photos so they’re accessible to everyone.

@kat_armas: Them: be like Jesus Me: ok *drinks wine, calls people hypocrites, upsets men in power* Them: not like that Me: *shrug emoji*

So, I love this tweet for many reasons, not least of all because it paints Jesus as a rebel contrarian, which he was. If “Fight Me, Heathen” Jesus isn’t your favorite Jesus, what are you even doing with your life?

@socompliKATIEd: Phil Collins created that Tarzan soundtrack with the passion of someone whose parents were personally killed by a leopard

Yes! It has always been my assertion that Tarzan has the best soundtrack of any Disney film ever, and that still tracks. Frozen could never.

@Potatopolitics: Vikings worshipped crossdressing genderfluid gods, I am fairly sure they’d be fine with trans folks actually

The beauty of this tweet is the fact that it’s so many things at once: a call for trans rights and visibility, a history lesson, and a call-out on the ahistorical ignorance of the heteropatriarchy.

@internetanja DKNY: is a fashion label my brain: donkey kong new york

I am so glad I’m not the only person who’s said this in their head. Also, I have a tendency to read initialisms as actual words in my head so I’ve also read DKNY as dick-knee, which is something we should have access to. If I had dicks on my knees and could slap people with them when they’re rude in public, the game would be over. Game. Set. Match.

@CornOnTheGoblin: im a bitch / im a plumber it’s-a me / luigi’s brother

You have to be from a very specific micro-generation to appreciate the humor in this tweet. I am specifically talking about people who were school-age in the early-to-mid aughts, with at least one parent who owned an NES console as a child. Fun fact: my first exposure to the song referenced in this tweet was the critically-unappreciated-but-still-managed-to-get-a-remake banger of a movie, What Women Want, starring the goddess Helen Hunt and the human trash bag Mel Gibson.

@realemilyattack: I’m locked out of my dogs Facebook account that i created in 2010 and they won’t let me back in unless I send over a copy of his drivers license

This reminds me that I used to know a girl who had a Facebook account for her bedroom. Like, her actual bedroom. I’ve also friended people’s pets but in the end, it’s too much to deal with because they always die and I don’t think you can make a legacy account for a non-human.

@dannybarefoot: Gay culture is your English teacher being the only friend you keep up with from high school.

Why is this so painfully accurate? True story: when my high school girlfriend and I broke up (stop laughing, you swine!), we returned each others’ books using our English teacher as a go-between. Nothing says petty like telling your English teacher to tell your ex that you want your Capote back. Jesus Christ, how did no one realize I was gay?

Nothing says petty like telling your English teacher to tell your ex that you want your Capote back. Jesus Christ, how did no one realize I was gay?

@_RobertSchultz: millennials love picking a movie they watched once as a kid that has a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes and then making it their entire personality

Okay, first of all, I saw Batman & Robin way more than once and I’m fairly certain it has something like a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t understand the lack of appreciation for this cinematic masterpiece. People didn’t like the Schumacher Batman films because they were expecting them to be like the Burton (and later, the Nolan) Batman films, and that wasn’t Schumacher’s schtick. Those movies were *supposed* to be campy and overdone, and so what if they were a little too focused on the bat-nipples and bat-codpieces?! Chris O’Donnell is the reason a lot of comic book-loving little boys grew up to be raging homosexuals—it’s science.

Chris O’Donnell is the reason a lot of comic book-loving little boys grew up to be raging homosexuals—it’s science.

@SHEsus_Christ: The fact that we blur women’s nipples but Ted Cruz’s face is still visible is blasphemous.

This one pretty much speaks for itself.

@BibliophlMarie: tfw you’re tidying your bookshelves & find that book you were thinking about buying.

Is this callout culture? This has happened to me so many times, but more often than not I don’t discover a book until I’ve already purchased it for the second time and then not until it’s way past the date by which it was returnable.

@VinMan17: i know ben shapiro is going to lose sleep over a gay black man doing a lap dance on satan and id like to say thank you lil nas for that

Y’all, people in the Evangelical Christian Right really lost their minds over that video. My question is: what did they expect? If you tell someone they’re a vile and irredeemable sinner enough times with enough vitriol, damning them to an inescapable hell, why do you get mad when they say they’re going to enjoy the trip?

Fun fact: did you know that Mara Wilson (of Matilda fame) and Ben Shapiro are maternal first cousins? Don’t worry, though; they don’t speak and she has him blocked on all the socials.

I really don’t like any of the right-wing blowhards, what with their demagoguery, proto-fascism, and intellectual dishonesty, but I really dislike Ben Shapiro. He’s an idiot’s version of a smart man—all bluster and no substance. Not to mention that whole Aryan master race thing he’s got going on with his face.

He’s an idiot’s version of a smart man—all bluster and no substance. Not to mention that whole Aryan master race thing he’s got going on with his face.

@billielurked: Quarantine has me living like a sim. It takes me six hours to cook spaghetti. If something is blocking my path i just cry

Ah, Sims. I *loved* that game. I was also a bit of a sociopath with it, though. Apologies for the armchair self-diagnosis, but what do you call it when someone makes a Sim-ulacrum (see what I did there?) of someone they know in real life just to sabotage them and ensure they fail in the world you’ve created? You deserved to flunk out of Sim College. You know who you are.

You deserved to flunk out of Sim College. You know who you are.

@danielleweisber: how do astronauts not cry all the time from being scared

I would also like to know the answer to this question. Being in space would be like the mega-souped-up version of when you’re a little kid and you’re staying away from home for the first time and it’s the middle of the night and you don’t want to be a little bitch and admit you want your mom so you sit in the bathroom with the lights on and wait for daybreak. There’s no one you can panic call in the middle of the night from space.

Being in space would be like the mega-souped-up version of when you’re a little kid and you’re staying away from home for the first time and it’s the middle of the night and you don’t want to be a little bitch and admit you want your mom so you sit in the bathroom with the lights on and wait for daybreak.

@bigestaban: RIP to the citizens of Pompeii, they would’ve love that song by Bastille

Would they have, though? Wouldn’t it be kind of like when Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring caused a riot when it first premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris? Would it have been so far outside the listeners’ experience that they couldn’t really appreciate its artistry? I think that’s a question worth asking.

Wouldn’t it be kind of like when Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring caused a riot when it first premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris?

This post was so much fun to write. If you enjoyed it, please let me know and I’ll make more of these in the future.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

From the Archives: Quotes Graphics Part 3

I have a lot of these, but this will probably be the last batch I’ll share for a while. I have a lot of reading to catch up on because my day job has been incredibly time-consuming recently. Let me know what you think!

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Graphics © 2020 by Fred Slusher. All rights reserved.

From the Archives: Quotes Graphics Part 2

As promised, here are more of the quotes graphics I made last year.

Listen, I know I’m not going to win any awards for graphic designing but these were so much to make. Stay tuned for part three!

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Graphics © 2020 by Fred Slusher. All rights reserved.

From the Archives: Quotes Graphics

There was a time last year when I became obsessed with making quotes graphics like a bored suburban Pinterest Princess.

I’m not going to lie, I’m probably going to do it again sometime in the future. It was a good way for me to have a creative outlet that wasn’t writing and that didn’t require me to practice delayed gratification, which is not something people with ADHD are good at.

This time in my life also coincided with Taylor Swift’s surprise release of folklore, and let’s just say I was *really* in my feelings. As we all probably were.

This time in my life also coincided with Taylor Swift’s surprise release of folklore, and let’s just say I was *really* in my feelings. As we all probably were.

This is probably going to be a three-part series because I have a lot of graphics to share. I hope you enjoy them!

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Graphics © 2020 by Fred Slusher. All rights reserved.

“Devils Roll the Dice, Angels Roll Their Eyes”: Reacting to *That* Vanity Fair Article

In case you didn’t already know, I’m a diehard Taylor Swift stan. Or Swiftie, if you will. She is the author of every emotion I’ve ever had, and I will most definitely fight someone over her. When Taylor released folklore, I bought all eight of the deluxe albums with different covers. #NoRegrets

Bonus: Which of Taylor Swift’s 8 Folklore Covers Are You? by Zoe Haylock for Vulture

If you’ve not followed the controversy surrounding BMLG (Big Machine Label Group)’s ownership of the masters for Taylor Swift’s first six albums (Taylor Swift through reputation), it is quite the scandal. Pre-fame Taylor didn’t realize that her catalog would become such a valuable commodity. For those of you who don’t know, a master is an artist’s first recording of a song or record and it’s from this master that all other copies are manufactured. Whoever owns the master(s) therefore owns all versions of the music, both physical and digital.

Taylor Swift first signed her contract with Big Machine Records in 2005. It stipulated that in exchange for a cash advance, BMR would own the rights to Swift’s first six albums. Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), and Reputation (2017) and their accompanying master recordings (as well as the album artwork) were property of BMR under the original contract.

When Swift’s contract with BMR expired in November of 2018, she signed a new contract with Republic Records, whose parent company is Universal Music Group (UMG). It turns out that some lyrics from “Look What You Made Me Do” became prophetic: “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time”; this time around, Taylor would retain ownership of her masters with each new recording, starting with Lover (2019).

“You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.

Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince

Big Machine Records was acquired by Scooter Braun through his company Ithaca Holdings in 2019. The paltry sum: a reported $300,000,000. With Braun’s acquisition, he now legally owned the masters to Swift’s first six albums.

Taylor took to tumblr. to decry the deal. For her, it was a worst-case scenario. She’d been trying to buy the rights to her work back for years, but Scott Borchetta, founder and CEO of Big Machine Records, would only let her do so if she signed a new contract, one with terms that to her were unconscionable. Note: You can read Taylor’s reaction on her tumblr.

And when you can’t sleep at night / You hear my stolen lullabies

my tears ricochet

Here’s why I believe Taylor: if her claims were actually counterfactual, Braun would have cause for a major defamation suit. He would hold all the cards. Instead, we have puff pieces (which really read like nothing more than information subsidies from Braun’s own PR team) like the one in Vanity Fair with the classic good old boy exoneration and exaltation, i.e. “All these other people love me and have nothing but nice things to say about me, so this can’t possibly be true.” How many times have we borne witness to this exact scenario, wherein a woman’s word and work are dismissed to uphold a man’s ego based on nothing more than a shoddy bootstraps narrative and a goofy smile? If she’s a liar, show the receipts. No? That’s all the proof I need.

How many times have we borne witness to this exact scenario, wherein a woman’s word and work are dismissed to uphold a man’s ego based on nothing more than a shoddy bootstraps narrative and a goofy smile? If she’s a liar, show the receipts.

This really is a tale as old as time and it speaks to one of the biggest assertions of artistry; namely, that what you create should not only belong to you, but that it is in fact inseparable from the rest of your being. Taylor’s detractors can all take a seat. With her re-recordings of her first six albums, fans can now enjoy Taylor’s back catalog without helping men like Braun and Borchetta to profit off her work. Looks like Taylor got the last laugh.

These are the albums you can purchase which Taylor owns the rights to. Red (Taylor’s Version) is forthcoming, as are the re-recorded versions of Taylor Swift, Speak Now, 1989, and reputation.

As always, thank you for your unwavering support of this blog and my work. I love you all. I think it’s appropriate to close here with a lyric from evermore:

Your nemeses will defeat themselves / Before you get the chance to swing

— long story short

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Red (Taylor’s Version)

“Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street.” — Red

Yes, I know this is supposed to be a blog about books. But it’s also about whatever I want to talk about. And if we’re getting technical, our Reverend Mother Taylor Alison Swift has contributed at least as much (if not more) to American song craft as Bob Dylan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 by the Swedish Academy. I rest my case.

I am LIVING for this era of Taylor Swift. In 2020, she brought us not one but two full-length studio albums (folklore and evermore). With folklore, Taylor made history, becoming the first woman in the history of the Grammy Awards to take home THREE Album of the Year Awards, for Fearless, 1989, and now folklore. (Note: I’m not linking to the original versions of Fearless and 1989 because Taylor has asked her fans not to support the versions of her music released under the Big Machine Label Group. For more about how to make those pesky older versions disappear, please check out this awesome article in Variety.

“This path is reckless.” — Treacherous

And yesterday, Taylor announced that the next album she’ll be releasing will be a re-recording of 2012’s iconic Red, which brought us masterpieces like “Red”, “All Too Well”, and “I Knew You Were Trouble” (which in hindsight sounds like the strongest hint about the upcoming 1989-era on the entire record). The large and fiercely devoted community of Swifties is blowing up social media with theories, speculations, and forensic analyses about Taylor’s Easter eggs, which if you follow the trails, led to Red (Taylor’s Version) the WHOLE TIME!

The large and fiercely devoted community of Swifties is blowing up social media with theories, speculations, and forensic analyses about Taylor’s Easter eggs, which if you follow the trails, led to Red (Taylor’s Version) the WHOLE TIME!

“And the saddest fear comes creeping in. That you never loved me or her, or anyone, or anything…” — I Knew You Were Trouble

The fact that she made the announcement on Scooter Braun’s birthday makes the whole thing glimmer with the iridescence of her haters’ tears, imbuing the whole affair with a sense of righteous indignation and utter pettiness that I aspire to. Drag him, Taylor! November 19th cannot get here fast enough.

The fact that she made the announcement on Scooter Braun’s birthday makes the whole thing glimmer with the iridescence of her haters’ tears, imbuing the whole affair with a sense of righteous indignation and utter pettiness that I aspire to.

“Loving him was red.” — Red

What are you most excited to hear in Red (Taylor’s Version)? Personally, I am dying to hear the re-recorded version of “All Too Well”, but the fact that the album will feature all 30 of the originally-intended tracks is almost too much for my heart to stand.

In the meantime, I would not be a bit surprised if Taylor drops another album with all-new material in the interim before Red (Taylor’s Version) releases in November. She’s set a whole new standard when it comes to providing one’s fans with fresh material. It’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to make “New Taylor Swift Music and Merchandise” a line item in my monthly budget. Oh well. She can take my money. She already has my heart.

You can preorder Red (Taylor’s Version) here.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.