Category Archives: Society & Culture

Radical New Weight Loss Program Launches Globally

New Weight Loss Approach Set to Finally Achieve Effortless Weight Loss, and Permanently Combat Obesity

bg86A new weight loss program has arrived on the market that signals the demise of every other program, because finally we have one that actually works without effort, and where people find it difficult if not impossible to revert to old behaviour.

The really exciting thing is that anyone can try it for free, without handing over credit card details so you know there’ll be no nasty surprises on your bank statement.

WeightChoice – How Does it Work?

Well first up it’s not a diet, doesn’t include supplements, shakes, meal replacements, or any other gimmicks. Neither does it need anyone to embark on some gut-churning exercise program.

To understand very quickly and easily how it works, it’s necessary to first realise why every other diet program fails for nearly 98% of people.

The reason for the failure is that these programs expect people to make changes that are directly opposed to how they’d deep-down prefer to be eating. Also, they expect people to make these impossible changes using willpower or silly old CBT or mindfulness. It’s a load of bunk, and with hindsight it’s very obvious why these programs are doomed from the get go.

In contrast, WeightChoice understands that eating behaviour is driven by unconscious conditioned responses, and these are different for everyone. They first identify your specific conditioned responses around non-hungry eating, and then use almost-unknown new psychological techniques to literally wipe them out, permanently.

Here’s an example of how that can happen in just a few fun minutes.

World-wide Giveaway Requires No Credit Card!

Anyone can get a detailed “how to” video, along with notes, just by going to www.win.weightchoice.com.au. There’s even an opportunity to win the entire program just by sharing as many times as you like.

How to Turn a Business Around in Perth, Western Australia

Turning a Business Around

How to Turn a Perth Business Around – Quickly and Safely

 

Key points in this article: turning a business around, how to save a business from going under, how to run a business, business advice, grow a business, help – my business is failing, small business plan, small business consultants

 

Perth businesses have always experienced a high failure rate of close to 98%, but it can be surprising just how easy it is to put in place strategies to turn a business around, and see it fulfill its potential.

 

Factors Involved in Turning a Business Around

 

Your Capacity to Service Extra Sales

 

Typically when I’m asked to help save a struggling or failing business, the major focus is on increasing sales as fast as possible. Even though it’s possible in many cases to turn those sales around almost overnight, it’s frequently not safe to do so without some basic analysis at least! Let me explain.

 

If a business doesn’t have the infrastructure to manage increased sales, if the systems are not streamlined enough, if the people are not well trained enough, if there simply isn’t currently capacity to service those sales, the business is at severe risk of imploding.

 

So the first questions you need to consider are around your systems, your infrastructure, and your or your staff’s capacity to service that growth without “stuffing it up”. If you get a mass of new business through the door, and fail to service it properly, all you’d be doing is creating a whole lot of bad will out there in the community, and actually further risking your business’s survival.

 

If those extra sales also mean that you incur extra expenses, or have to support extra debtors, they could even send you broke or insolvent very quickly. This is not a time when a bank is likely to extend an overdraft.

 

Your Ability to Run Your Business Differently – Especially in Perth, Where Relationships are Key

 

One thing is for sure, if you keep doing things the way you are doing them, whether that’s your sales and marketing activities, or your actual operational activities, nothing else will change either. A new and better outcome necessarily demands new and better strategies.

 

Because frequently people find change so overwhelming or challenging, most competent business consultants usually prefer to set out a blueprint for change where new strategies can be tried one by one in an easy, sensible, doable sequence, and that varies depending upon the person and upon the business itself.

 

These new strategies can involve cutting costs but this shouldn’t create fear. For example often I find that money being spent on advertising can be slashed to the bone, and yet other marketing activities can be easily put in place which cost very much less and yet deliver so much more.

 

First Steps in Turning Your Business Around

 

There is no doubt that the services of an experience small business consultant are required, and that this will include business coaching and support so that you’re not only getting sound business advice, but have hands-on help to run your business to the best of its potential, stop the losses and grow your business very strongly.

 

The cost of an initial interview is normally free and this makes sense because you should feel that you like and trust the person who’ll be working with you to turn your business around.

 

In the Integrity Program we call this “The Chat” and it consists of an enjoyable question and answer session which highlights the main challenges, and enables us to put forward a blueprint for progress, describing a very specific business plan or plan of action. In effect we are undertaking a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to get as complete a picture as possible.

 

From there it’s up to the owner to decide whether or not to engage us, and to what degree.

 

Our Mission Is Turning Businesses Around and Putting an End to the Failure Rate

 

Currently the overwhelming majority of small businesses fail within 5 years, with the failure rate kicking in from day 1 in business. With over 66% of small businesses either struggling to break even or operating at a loss, this is a sector not generally awash with money to invest even in their own survival.

 

Turnaround management, whether done in-house using free resources, or guided by business consultants external to the business, is essential to save the business and experience success.

 

Our mission is to have a positive impact on business survival rates, whether an individual business can afford us or not.

 

That’s why we offer such valuable free resources, as well as a very inexpensive monthly mentoring and support group, in addition to our full professional services.

 

To find out more, click the logo below, or simply telephone us on 0409 689 741 and let’s talk soon.

 

Turning a business around can be a lot of fun!

 

See link on Turnaround Management: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnaround_management, in particular:

1. The evaluation and assessment stage

2. The acute needs stage

3. The restructuring stage

4. The stabilization stage

5. The revitalization stage

Testosterone Implants in Perth, Western Australia

 

This article addresses the rationale and benefits of testosterone implants, and describes both incompetent and competent implantation so that if you do decide upon an implant you can assess the medical professional who does your precedure and don’t have to suffer pain, scarring, and money down the drain as I did.

I also discuss testosterone and weight loss because many people wonder if their excess weight is due to having low testerone.

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It’s not unusual for both men and women to make so little testosterone as they age, that quality of life suffers severely.

This isn’t just about the well-known “loss of libido” effect, but about deadening fatigue, sleep problems, depression without psychological cause, and a whole lot of other symptoms that can make life hellish.

The answer to low testosterone may be a pill or a cream that is used daily, but more people are turning to testosterone implants in order to get better absorption, at a lower cost, and with more convenience. However there are a couple of problems, particularly here in Perth.

Difficulty of Obtaining the Implant

Your doctor may readily write a prescription for you, based on your testosterone status, but there are no compounding pharmacies in Perth which can manufacture the testosterone implant/s, which look like small pellets.

There is a compounding pharmacy in Sydney, and you will have to send the original prescription to them, and wait about 2-4 weeks, before you can take the implant/s to your doctor for the implantation procedure.

Physician Incompetence

Shockingly, a so-called Northern suburb specialist, appeared to have no idea whatsoever about any stage of the procedure. These were his areas of incompetence:

He clearly did not understand how local anaesthetic works, and did not wait even 10 seconds before beginning to pierce the skin with a needle to test numbness. He then injected another ampoule and immediately began cutting with the scalpel, of course creating intense pain. He then accused the patient of having a low pain threshold.

He either wasn’t aware or didn’t care about the position of the incision, cutting into the abdomen instead on the back of the hip area.

He failed to position the pellet correctly. Instead of the standard practice of using a trocar to position the pellet several centimetres on the horizontal away from the incision, he simply used the scalpel itself to push the pellet to the bottom of the hole he had made. This almost guaranteed that the implantation would fail (ie, work itself to the surface), and indeed it did.

Patients undergoing hormone implantation should be monitored over the duration of the implant’s expected effectiveness. However this doctor gave the patient a pathology request form and instructed the patient to have the test in 6 months’ time (by which the pellet would be inactive anyway) and come back in 6 months! This means that the patient’s hormone levels would be completely unmonitored for the duration of the implant’s “life”.

Having inserted the pellet, he did not attempt to stem the bleeding (ie no pressure applied for any length of time whatsoever) and neither did he attempt to close the wound in any way, failing to use steri-strips, a suture, or even surgical glue. He merely placed a waterproof bandage over the open, bleeding wound, which of course bled into the bandage.

He instructed to patient to remove the bandage 3 days later, whereupon the patient was shocked to find a gaping wound, still bleeding.

It took almost a month for the pellet to work its way out and the wound to heal, but required 3 visits to the GP to manage the wound, which become infected despite the best care possible.

If you are unlucky enough to get a negligent or incompetent doctor to do this procedure, be aware that you will have no recourse through legal action or via the Medical Board of Western Australia. I realise that is very unjust and even quite disgusting, but that is how it is.

How the Procedure Should Be Done

Before you allow any doctor to undertake this procedure, check that they are skilled enough to do so. The following is what a properly-qualified and experienced doctor will do:

  1. There will be a nurse assisting and all equipment will be properly prepared beforehand.
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  2. You will be asked to lay well onto one side to allow access to the back of the hip area.
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  3. The area will be sterilised and local anaesthetic will be injected into several spots not only around the incision area, but also along the path of the implantation instrument, the trocar (see below).
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  4. The doctor will leave you for at least 10-15 minutes for local anaesthesia to be successfully achieved.
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  5. The incision and placement of the pellet/s are extremely rapid and totally painless. A trocar (hollow, quite wide-bore tube) will be used to push a “tunnel” horizontally away from the incision point, and the pellet/s will be dropped into the trocar and then slid along to the end using a wand that is pushing along inside the trocar after the pellet has been dropped in.
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  6. Following this extremely rapid, fuss-free and pain-free procedure, you’ll be asked to roll onto the incision and stay there for 10 minutes so that your body weight can act as pressure to stop any bleeding.
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  7. Steri-strips or surgical glue will be used to properly close the small wound, and a waterproof bandage placed over that.
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  8. In 3 days you will remove the waterproof bandage (carefully so that you don’t disrupt the steri-strips) and replace it with a fresh waterproof bandage, to last a further 3 days.
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  9. You’ll be asked to avoid physical activity such as sport for about a week to allow the wound to heal and the implant to settle into place.
  10. You’ll be told to leave the steri-strips in place until they fall off naturally.
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  11. You’ll be given a pathology test request to have your testosterone levels checked in a month’s time, and to meet with your doctor to review, so that your uptake of testosterone can be properly monitored.

Who Can You Trust to Do this Procedure in Perth Northern Suburbs?

Dr Lou Zaninvich at Green Road Medical Centre, Hillary’s, has been performing this procedure for many years and is an acknowledged expert. Whereas the standard failure rate for this procedure is about 6-8% (where it is rejected by the body and works its way out to the surface) Dr Zaninvich’s failure rate is around 2%, which is outstanding.

Dr Zaninvich will even order the implant for you, saving you the bother of dealing with the Sydney compounding pharmacy, and the clinic will telephone you to book for your procedure once it arrives.

Because Dr Zaninvich is a GP, his fees are very much lower than those of the incompetent specialist described above.

The telephone number for the clinic is 9401 2299.

Testosterone and Weight Gain – Myths and Truths about Weight Loss

Many people, especially women, wonder if their weight gain might be addressed through increasing their testosterone. Unfortunately, although testosterone might provide many benefits for men and women whose lab tests show low levels, there is no evidence at all that weight loss is one of them.

What we would urge everyone to do about excess weight is to avoid diets and other weight loss programs which depend upon willpower and self discipline to make changes. According to Australian Government Health Department reports, this approach FAILS for nearly 98% of people.

The net effect of those types of programs is that weight increases over time due to the “yo-yo” effect on metabolic rate. The more dieting, the more damage.

For both men and women who want to reach a healthy weight and maintain it without effort, there is only one way to do that and that is to get help to identify their conditioned responses around food and beverages, and to eliminate those so that they’re no longer in play. In effect, you become “fat proof”.

What About Exercise?

Exercise is proven to increase testosterone but not to decrease weight. More than 60 recent studies show that rather than leading to weight loss, exercise can lead to weight gain for most people due to increased appetite and compensatory rest.

So while exercise is essential for health and wellbeing, and dramatically decreases the risk of developing some quite fatal diseases and disorders, it is not really relevant for weight loss.

You can read more about exercise and weight loss HERE.

The Definitive Listing Of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels

As a fan of Terry Pratchett’s unique and quirky perspectives on life, the universe and everything, I was delighted to come across this great set of reviews by Tom Chivers. Enjoy!

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“Mort” or “Reaper Man”? “Pyramids” or “Small Gods”? WHICH IS THE BEST?

Not ranked: Raising Steam (2013), Snuff (2011), Unseen Academicals (2009), Making Money (2007)

Not ranked: Raising Steam (2013), Snuff (2011), Unseen Academicals (2009), Making Money (2007)

Snuff cover art. Harper
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I don’t want to talk much about the books published after 2007, the year of Sir Terry’s diagnosis with a form of Alzheimer’s. They shouldn’t be characterised as part of the Discworld canon: In the case of Raising Steam and Snuff, they are almost unrecognisable as Pratchett books. The dialogue is baggy and expository – especially in Raising Steam – and the characters have the right names but behave nothing like the people we know from the earlier books. The earlier two are more Pratchett-like, but still, it seems a shame to start a celebration of the Discworld by focusing on them. I’m really sorry, Sir Terry. I feel awful writing this.

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30. Monstrous Regiment (2003)

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Monstrous Regiment (2003)

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Pratchett does good feminism. His female characters are flawed, interesting, varied, fully realised human beings: look at Nanny Ogg and especially Granny Weatherwax for proof. His books are shot through with wry anger at men forcing women into preassigned roles. But normally he weaves it in: The plot device in this book (set in an obscure country torn by religious war) makes it explicit, and therefore clunky.

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29. Carpe Jugulum (1998)

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Carpe Jugulum (1998)

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The most damning thing I can say about this book, in which the Witches head to Discworld Transylvania, is that it has entirely failed to stick in my memory. It has good lines (Vetinari describing the up-and-coming nations of the Hub as the “werewolf economies”) and some good satire of Hammer Horror vampire films and the like, but it is not one of the greats.

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28. Thud! (2005)

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Thud! (2005)

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Some of Pratchett’s political beliefs shine through in his books, of course. But in this one, in which Vimes is trying to prevent a resurgence of ancient violence between dwarfs and trolls, he’s a bit heavy-handed with it. There’s a “War! What is it good for?” message and a we’re-all-the-same-under-the-skin message which is so front-and-centre that it gets in the way of the plot. Also, this is another later-period Vimes novel, with all the Vimes-worship that entails. The early Vimes, who hated the privilege of the rich, would have been infuriated by the Thud! Vimes shutting down several city streets just so he could get home in time to read his infant son a bedtime story. But Pratchett holds this up as something to be applauded, which feels weird.

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27. Sourcery (1988)

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Sourcery (1988)

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Sourcery is the fifth book in the series, and it is of a piece with a lot of the early books: The world is threatened by some mystic power which seduces power-hungry men, and it is the lot of some reluctant hero to stop it. But while the humour is as sharp as all the early ones, the plot is wayward – Pratchett doesn’t really get control of plot until later – and feels like a retread of the first two. Also, Rincewind, although you can’t help but be fond of the guy, isn’t that interesting a protagonist.

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26. Night Watch (2002)

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Night Watch (2002)

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You’ll have got the impression that I don’t like Commander Vimes very much, by now. But it’s false. He was a fascinating character for several books. Night Watch was pretty much the last of those books, and it was an interesting break from the Pratchett formula as well, throwing in a time-travel twist which showed us how Ankh-Morpork had been in the pre-Vetinari days. It’s also a good superhero origins story for Vimes himself. It’s not, though, very funny.

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25. Eric (1990)

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Eric (1990)

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I feel a bit harsh putting this (explicitly) Faustian tale so low down the list. It’s got some great stuff in it – the bureaucratic redesign of Hell is particularly good, as well as some hilarious historical pastiches. But it’s just so damn short. It’s like half a book.

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24. Thief of Time (2001)

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Thief of Time (2001)

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This may be a controversial choice, but this book suffers from a common Discworld failing: A third-act problem. The set-up is interesting, involving the personification of Time falling in love and having a child. (Personifications of abstract nouns are always doing things like that in the Discworld. Just ask Death.) And all the stuff with the Listening Monks and the parodies of kung-fu movies it lets Pratchett play around with is great. But then he’s got to the last 50 pages or so and he has to end it, and it feels like he doesn’t quite know how.

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23. Soul Music (1994)

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Soul Music (1994)

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This is the third Death novel, and for the third time, the plot hinges on Death having taken a break from being Death, and as a result Things Go Off Course and the universe tries to heal itself. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to a formula, of course, but this is sticking particularly closely. Also, the jokey band names don’t really work and the satire of the music industry isn’t particularly sharp. But the bit about the Klatchian Foreign Legion, with its entirely throwaway pastiche of P C Wren’s novel Beau Geste, is brilliant.

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22. Hogfather (1996)

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Hogfather (1996)

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Pratchett villains often fit an archetype: They’re mad, but in a sane way. They’ll be described as being so mad they’ve gone through madness and out the other side, or words to that effect. Jonathan Teatime (pronounced “Teh-ah-time-eh”) is one of those.

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There’s a lot of fun stuff in this book (any book in which Death gets a good wedge of stage time is going to be fun) and Pratchett enjoys himself as the assassin Teatime heads off to kill the Discworld version of Santa Claus. But, again, the third act feels a little out of control, and the “sanely mad bad guy” trope is getting a little whiskery by this point.

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21. The Fifth Elephant (1999)

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The Fifth Elephant (1999)

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The dark lands towards the Hub, a sort of mix of a Bram Stoker vision of eastern Europe with a little bit of Mordor thrown in, have been mentioned in passing earlier in the series, but this is the first time they’ve been properly explored. And as always, when Pratchett digs deeper into one of his asides, he unearths whole worlds: Vampires and werewolves aren’t simply monsters but people with goals and desires.

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One minor grumble is that he has tried too hard to turn throwaway jokes in earlier series into actual things that exist. Dwarf bread being so inedible it’s a sort of weapon of war was quite funny, but trying to write that into the story as a serious part of the plot feels laboured.

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20. The Truth (2000)

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The Truth (2000)

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A satirical take on the birth of the newspaper industry which provides the best role of all for Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, the get-rich-quick-schemester and purveyor of inedible sausages (he was simply born to be a red-top tabloid proprietor). It’s a lovely depiction of the powers and responsibilities of the press, and of how the media can be in one moment a conduit for meaningless nonsense and in the next a vital curb on the excesses of the powerful, and of how people believe something simply because it is in the newspaper. Pratchett was a journalist for some years and of all his satires on the birth of real-world phenomena in the Discworld, this feels the most accurate.

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19. Moving Pictures (1990)

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Moving Pictures (1990)

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A satire of the golden age of Hollywood, imbued with Pratchett’s ongoing obsession with the power of myth and story. Unlike the later The Truth, though, the satire doesn’t feel based in a knowledge of the thing itself, so much as in the stereotypes of the genre. The main characters are somewhat forgettable, as well. But Gaspode the talking dog is an absolute joy, and it’s notable for the introduction of Detritus the troll, as well, who becomes a major character in later novels. And the plot rollicks along satisfyingly.

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18. The Colour of Magic (1983)

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The Colour of Magic (1983)

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Look, this is going to annoy some people, I know. But while TCOM is hilarious in parts, Pratchett simply hadn’t sharpened his game properly yet. In a way, the book it’s most like is his earlier sci-fi novel Strata. That too had a world shaped like a disc, and a Death character who TALKS IN CAPITALS, but it wasn’t the Discworld. TCOM, although it’s canonical, doesn’t represent a fully formed Discworld, and lots of the stuff that happens in it has to be quietly ignored in later novels. Compare the Ankh-Morpork of that era, which wouldn’t be out of place in Dungeons & Dragons, to the one of the Vimes novels, which is a fully realised city. And the plot is barely worthy of the name; it’s just a lot of things happening one after the other.

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17. The Light Fantastic (1986)

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The Light Fantastic (1986)

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It’s The Colour of Magic, only now there’s a plot, so it’s better. Also, Cohen the Barbarian.

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16. Equal Rites (1987)

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Equal Rites (1987)

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Four novels into the series, Terry Pratchett has, perhaps, his greatest idea: Granny Weatherwax, the arrogant, powerful, moral, headstrong, iron-willed witch. The first act of Equal Rites, in which Granny tries to teach witchcraft to Eske, a young girl who – against all the Lore – is born to be a wizard, is a joy. The Pratchettian love of the power of symbol and ritual is born in this novel, really. The witch’s hat isn’t magical, but unless you’re wearing the hat, no one knows you’re a witch, and that’s the magic.

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The book loses its way somewhat when the action moves out of the witchy mountains and into Unseen University, but the creation of Weatherwax is an important moment.

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15. Jingo (1997)

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Jingo (1997)

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Compare this Vimes novel to the later ones. It is so much better. That’s partly because Vimes is still fallible. His opposite number, a foreign policeman who I won’t reveal because his identity is a minor plot point, cons him two or three times, because Vimes is so disdainful of the xenophobes who think “foreigners” are evil and stupid that he is unable to remember that “foreigners” can be just as evil and stupid as the rest of us.

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As so often, there’s a foreigners-are-just-like-us message, and an anti-war one (Vimes furiously insists on the difference between policemen and soldiers). But unlike the later books, it’s not ladled on, and the jokes are particularly good. Lord Vetinari gets an excellent turn alongside the more usual comic acts Nobby and Sergeant Colon, featuring a donkey up a minaret, and a Discworld Leonardo da Vinci.

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14. Going Postal (2004)

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Going Postal (2004)

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Going Postal is, technically, part of the Moist von Lipwig series. But since the later Moist books are part of the decline of the Discworld, I prefer to think of it as part of a two-hander with The Truth. Essentially, they’re about Ankh-Morpork changing from a magical fantasy medieval city to an industrial Victorian one, and in this case, it’s the rise of the city’s neglected postal service that takes centre stage. Moist himself is a chancer, a petty conman given a second chance at life by Vetinari in Vetinari’s usual Machiavellian way. But the main character is the concept of the letter, for which Pratchett is sweetly nostalgic: While the Discworld-telegraph “clacks” system is efficient and useful, you can’t send a love letter by it, he says. It’s a paean to the physical written thing, the book over the Kindle and the letter over the email. Not that Pratchett doesn’t love the modern versions – he’s a technophile – but his love of the smell and sound of real paper with real ink on it leaps out from the pages.

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13. Witches Abroad (1991)

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Witches Abroad (1991)

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One of the weaker Witches novels, by which I mean a very good novel. The surface jokes are on various national stereotypes, as the Witches meander through the Discworld’s funhouse-mirror versions of real-world countries, but the real joke is on Brits abroad, and our refusal to speak “foreign” and insistence on eating chips. Pratchett’s theme on how story and narrative shape the world, which was brought up in Moving Pictures, is front and centre here, as the witches find themselves moving through one fairy-tale after another, subverting each one as they go. The parody of The Wizard of Oz is particularly good.

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And Pratchett lets Weatherwax grow as a character. In the stories she finds herself part of, she’s the Good Fairy Godmother, or the Good Witch. But while she may be good, she’s not nice: Her caustic, tactless arrogance is a constant joy.

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12. The Last Continent (1998)

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The Last Continent (1998)

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A lot of this book is cheap jokes at the expense of the Australians. It says a lot for Pratchett’s skill as a purveyor of cheap jokes that so many of them work, and that the book manages to come across as enormously fond of Australia. (There’s a bit when some wizards ask their magical library for a book on the dangerous animals of XXXX, the Discworld Australia-parody, and are promptly crushed underneath the Dangerous Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Jellyfish, Insects, Spiders, Crustaceans, Grasses, Trees, Mosses and Lichens of Terror Incognita, which runs to, at the least, Volume 29c Part Three. They then ask for a list of the not-dangerous animals, and a small piece of paper drifts down, saying “some of the sheep”.)

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Rincewind is much less boring in this book than in some, and Pratchett’s prose evokes a real vastness and dryness to the XXXX outback.

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11. Maskerade (1995)

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Maskerade (1995)

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I should admit that I have no idea how good the parody of opera is, or how good the parody of The Phantom of the Opera is. I’ve never seen the latter and I’ve hardly seen the former. But it works well as a parody of the tropes of opera, and as a murder mystery. More importantly, it’s the Witches blundering chaotically through a genteel Ankh setting, and it’s got a surreptitious feminist message, as Agnes the witch tries to become Perdita the opera singer, but can’t become the star despite her amazing voice because she’s not slim and pretty like a “star” should be.

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10. Lords and Ladies (1992)

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Lords and Ladies (1992)

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I want to flag up something that happens in L&L but, as far as I can tell, literally no other Discworld novels. That is: Pratchett introduces a new species, but instead of that species being misunderstood and actually just as worthy of respect as humans, that species is straightforwardly evil. Elves (the species in question) are conniving tricksters bent on domination. Which makes me think that Pratchett is kind of racist against elves.

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But problematic species-attitudes aside, Lords and Ladies is great. For the second time, Pratchett does a good Shakespeare parody (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this time). Nanny Ogg and her great sprawling clan get higher billing than they do in most of the Witches books, and there are some very funny bits about Morris dancing (you’ll just have to trust me on that). Casanunder the dwarf lover is a splendid little addition, and the whole thing is steeped in a love of ancient England, its gods and monsters, its hedgerows and burial mounds. Oh, and all its phallic symbols. Lots of phallic symbols all over the place.

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9. Mort (1987)

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Mort (1987)

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The first of the Monsieur Death’s Holiday novels, and an excellent example of the genre. There are some splendid set pieces: Death working as a short-order cook in a sort of Discworld McDonalds is particularly good.

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The actual characters, other than Death, aren’t that memorable – Princess Keli is something of a cipher, and Mort himself is just a sort of bog-standard hapless adolescent, although he gets more interesting as the book goes on. Ysabell spends most of the novel as a whiny teenager and then seems to grow up in the space of a couple of pages. But the heart of the book is Death, who’s such a brilliant character he can carry the whole thing on his own. All the scenes he’s not in, you’re just waiting for him to reappear.

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8. Interesting Times (1994)

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Interesting Times (1994)

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Look! A Rincewind novel that’s really good!

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Of course it’s not just a Rincewind novel. The real stars are the members of the Silver Horde, Cohen the Barbarian’s superannuated gang of heroes, including one in an ancient wicker wheelchair. And while it contains lots of Far East clichés and tropes the underlying message, as in most of Pratchett’s books, is that underneath the trappings of ritual and tradition, people are really just people everywhere. And the denouement is brilliant.

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7. Feet of Clay (1996)

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Feet of Clay (1996)

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The facts of the novel, if you like, are that it’s a whodunnit featuring Vimes trying to solve the mystery of a poisoned Patrician. It’s tied in with a plot about the liberation of golems, who are a sort of slave race in Ankh-Morpork society. But the heart of the novel is an investigation of how Vetinari keeps the city ticking: It’s a machine which he keeps oiled with a certain amount of blood, and which he adjusts with specialist tools in the form of people like Vimes. There’s something slightly uncomfortable, perhaps, about how this benevolent dictatorship is held up as a good system of government, but Vetinari is a great character and it’s all so cleverly done that you don’t get bogged down in the politics.

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6. Guards! Guards! (1989)

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Guards! Guards! (1989)

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Dragons, a shadowy brotherhood of cowl-robed magic-workers, the return of a king to overthrow a tyrant: On the face of it, this has all the elements for some of the straightest fantasy in the Discworld oeuvre. But it isn’t. The cowl-robed brethren (specifically, the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night) are a splendid send-up of the Masons; the prophesied king is not all he seems to be, and you’re always rooting for the tyrant.

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And what’s more, this is Vimes’s first appearance, along with Carrot, who is a much more interesting and funnier character than he immediately appears. The splendid Sybil Ramkin is a note-perfect pastiche of a certain kind of British aristocracy, rich enough to look shabby, and the “Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness” is introduced, which goes like this: “A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

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5. Men at Arms (1993)

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Men at Arms (1993)

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I tend to think of this as almost Guards! Guards! Part II rather than a standalone novel. At the end of GG the Watch’s dignity was partially restored, but in MAA we see Vimes, and Carrot, start to build it into something great.

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It’s also a welcome return for an underused character, Gaspode, and in the Detritus/Cuddy storyline it has genuine heart. Also the stuff in the pork futures warehouse is brilliant. The City Watch stories never again reached the heights of these two opening chapters, but that’s forgivable when the opening chapters are as good as they are.

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4. Wyrd Sisters (1988)

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Wyrd Sisters (1988)

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The greatest of Pratchett’s parodies. The “wyrd sisters” are Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and the younger witch Magrat, the “wet hen” who makes up their triumvirate. The book is chiefly a pastiche of Macbeth, but there are lines and scenes ripped off from Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays. And, just as in the bad parody in Snuff, a figure meant to be Austen herself appears, in Wyrd Sisters there’s a Disc Bard in the form of Hwel the dwarf (who eventually sets up a playhouse called the Dysk. Like the Globe, geddit?).

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But unlike the Austen parody, this stuff is all vital to the plot – I mean, most of it is the plot – and more importantly, it’s done well, and is funny. Weatherwax and Ogg are brilliant, the Magrat/Fool relationship is poignant as well as comic, and the whole thing has a marvellous mists-and-mountains atmosphere that permeates every page. One of the greats.

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3. Pyramids (1989)

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Pyramids (1989)

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Remember we talked about the mad-in-a-sane-way villains? There’s another of those here, in Dios, the ancient high priest of a Discworld version of Pharaonic Egypt (it’s called Djelibeybi. Say it out loud).

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There are so many brilliant ideas in Pyramids. Djelibeybi as a tired former superpower, broken by spending so much of its GDP on giant pointy houses for its dead kings; Djelibeybi as a sort of buffer-zone between two other parodies of ancient civilisations, Tsort and Ephebe, vaguely meant as Rome and Greece, which would immediately fight were the old kingdom not there (which becomes important); Teppic, the prince of Djelibeybi sent to be expensively educated in Ankh-Morpork (as an assassin, which he’s very good at apart from the killing people part); and, most importantly, the pyramids. The pyramids which actually distort time. That little conceit allows Pratchett to have lots and lots of fun, as do the sheer practicalities involved in building the things.

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As always there are messages, about modernity and tradition and symbols, but they are in support of the plot, never suborning it. Dios might be a classic crazy-but-not-really villain, but he’s weirdly sympathetic. And the whole thing is riotously funny.

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2. Reaper Man (1991)

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Reaper Man (1991)

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This is probably the Discworld novel I’ve read the most. Mustrum Ridcully – the bluff Archchancellor of the wizards’ Unseen University – gets room to breathe that he doesn’t get in many other books. Windle Poons isn’t a hugely strong character, but he allows Pratchett to gather a little squadron of hilarious undead around him. The wizards’ swearwords coming to life is repeatedly funny. And the subplot of Death becoming a farmhand and having a sort-of romance with an elderly farmer is touching.

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The only reasons it doesn’t quite make the top spot are, one, the third-act problem raises its head again – there’s a sort of chaotic bit at the end where everyone’s running around in an out-of-town superstore being attacked by shopping trolleys which doesn’t quite work; two, the Death-is-missing-presumed-Death shtick is slightly old already; and three, the book that beats it is so bloody good.

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1. Small Gods (1992)

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Small Gods (1992)

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What a book this is. Profound, hilarious, wise. Omnia, the theocratic state it’s set in, is one of the great inventions of recent British literary history (I know Pratchett doesn’t like the word “literature” but I wasn’t sure what else to use). The little conceit which Pratchett had previously set up, that gods rely on belief for their power and without belief wither and die, is explored and expanded here to create a whole treatise on the nature of religion and zealotry. Not in a kneejerk anti-religious way – Pratchett is an atheist himself, but has a lot of time for the trappings of religion – but on how religion separates itself from the god it purports to worship, creating a great shell of ritual and tradition until the god inside it dies, forgotten.

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It’s also a marvellous buddy-movie of a book, as the god Om comes down to visit Brutha, his last remaining true believer in the city that is ruled in his name. And it has time to throw in informed parodies of a lot of Greek philosophy. The experimental philosopher trying to see if an arrow can catch a tortoise – it can, by the way, despite the apparent paradox – is a gem, as is the fight breaking out over the “liar paradox” (“he called me a liar!”).

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The ending is explosive and moving, the jokes are sharp, and most of all it is shot through with Pratchett’s fond eye for human foibles and sillinesses. In a great series, the greatest book.

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Disclaimer: This list will annoy some people, but it’s my list, so there. Also, I haven’t included the Tiffany Aching novels and the other young-adult books, or a few other oddments such as The Last Hero. The list was long enough already, and again, it’s my list.

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With thanks to Graeme Neill, who is behind the blog Pratchett Job, in which he’s reading all of the Discworld novels in chronological order and writing about each of them. If you’re a Disc fan, I recommend it.

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Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/the-definitive-listing-of-terry-pratchetts-discworld-novels

The 1970s Feminist Who Warned Against Leaning In

There is more to gender equality than making money. Four writers talk feminism, race, capitalism, and the appeal of some good, sexy class analysis.

Getty Images / BuzzFeed News

Forty years before Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, there was Sheila Rowbotham’s Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World.

Hailed by Simone de Beauvoir as one of the most interesting feminist thinkers of her era, Rowbotham didn’t always think of herself as a feminist. Growing up in 1950s England, she associated the word with “frightening people in tweed suits with stern buns,” but she was always countercultural, drawn first to the bohemia of the Beat movement, and later to the moral certainty of Marxism.

Within these movements, Rowbotham began to think critically about her experience as a woman. She reeled at the socialist men who “solemnly told everyone that drugs and drink and women were a capitalist plot to seduce the workers from Marxism,” and the passivity of the ideal Beatnik “chick,” who was “serene and spiritual … with a baby on her breast and her tarot cards on her knee.” But she also felt a sense of solidarity with the women she encountered, from girls “with no academic protections” who earned their financial independence by dancing in clubs, to Beat women who organized “co-operative sewing schemes” for artists. “They weren’t like me,” she writes in Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World. “But they were enough like me in a different way for me to respect what they were doing.”

By the end of the 1960s, both the U.S. and British Left were in a state of fractious expansion, as the burgeoning black power and women’s liberation movements demanded a new politics that took into account identity and difference. Rowbotham was at the forefront, co-organizing the landmark National Women’s Liberation Conference, held at Oxford in 1970.

Courtesy Verso Books.

In Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World, first published in 1973 and re-released by Verso books last month, Rowbotham brings her feminism and socialism together, arguing that capitalism shapes and upholds the gender divide: Men’s earning power depends on having someone, typically a woman, do a whole lot of unpaid work in the home. (In recent decades, that housework and child care is increasingly done by immigrant women and women of color for low wages.)

Rowbotham’s critique of capitalism is scathing, but she also acknowledges that capitalism provided the conditions for second wave feminism to emerge. Liberating technologies like the Pill — and the capitalist philosophy of the self-actualized individual — enabled women and children to be seen as people with their own rights and desires beyond the family unit.

In an age of #GirlBosses chasing a vision of success defined by men who relied on the support of stay-at-home wives, Rowbotham’s arguments feel both provocative and immediate, calling into question some of the sacred cows of 21st-century pop feminism. So I called three of my favorite young feminist writers, Laurie Penny, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Jacob Tobia, to talk about what we might learn from Rowbotham’s work today — from the new wave of feminist consciousness raised (sometimes painfully) over social media, to the problem with measuring gender equality in the bank account balances of America’s richest women.

–Rachel Hills

Frederic Lewis / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Reni Eddo-Lodge (London journalist on race, gender, and social justice): One thing that Rowbotham talks about in the book is the development of a new feminist consciousness that was happening in the early 1970s. She says, “Now we are like babes thrashing around in darkness and unexplored space. The creation of an alternative world and an alternative culture cannot be the work of a day … theoretical consistency is difficult, often it comes out as dogmatism.” It reminded me of some of the battles going on in feminism as the moment. It feels like a lot of kinks and creases and sticking points are being painfully ironed out and tugged at, in a massive community of people who have different ideas about what it means to imagine a better future, even though they are all broadly left of center. Currently, some U.K. feminists are trying to have a debate on trans people’s right to exist, which is very disturbing.

Jacob Tobia (genderqueer media maker and LGBT business consultant): There are times when I think that the internet has made the sticking points of feminism (i.e., trans issues, racial justice, pro-sex vs. anti-sex, etc.) much stickier, as the controversy around Patricia Arquette’s comments at the Oscars demonstrates. Arquette used her Oscars speech to advocate on behalf of wage equality for women, later adding that “it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” The feminist blogosphere erupted with voices telling Arquette where she got it wrong — that women of color and LGBT people have been fighting for women’s equality for generations.

Rachel Hills (feminist journalist, author of The Sex Myth): Yes. I’m still on the fence on whether fourth-wave feminism is a “thing,” but if it is, I think it is characterized mainly by a diversification of the types of stories and experiences we hear about when we talk about what it means to be a “woman.” White, middle-class cis women (like me) don’t get to hog the microphone anymore. That’s tremendously exciting in terms of the conversations we’re having with each other, but it also means that there are a lot of arguments happening about what it means to be a “good feminist.” If there are competing versions of reality, it is because we are all living different realities. Take the recent dust-up over Jessica Williams’ disinterest in taking Jon Stewart’s hosting job at The Daily Show. It is true that many women experience a lack of confidence that makes them less likely to put themselves forward for jobs they are perfectly qualified for. But while that might be true in the general, it was not true in the case of Jessica Williams, and the assumption that she didn’t know her own ambitions was misplaced.

Reni: We live with a lot of contradictions. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I were a status quo-loving Tory.

Laurie Penny (author, journalist, Nieman fellow at Harvard University): I think within feminism, as within nerd culture, a lot of the pain comes from the feeling that you are already part of a special circle of people who feel marginalized, and feel like they’re creating an alternative community. To have someone then come into that group and tell you that that you yourself are engaged in marginalization and exclusion, that creates existential crisis. It’s profoundly upsetting.

Reni: So, what does this mean for the “new consciousness,” as Sheila calls it? I would like to see the better future we’re all imagining to be open minded rather than falling into dogmatism.

Jacob: I think that in order to get there, we have to change the ways that we engage with one another online. We have to find ways to be more considerate and constructive in our feedback if we are to really build a new feminist consciousness of any sort. When feminists yell at each other IRL, sometimes that can be productive. But when we yell at each other online, I rarely find that it’s working toward a new collective consciousness.

FPG / Getty Images

Rachel: Laurie, I want to go back to a point that you made at the beginning of our conversation. You said, “I feel like the discussion of labor, what does and does not constitute labor and how it should be divided, are the great taboo in modern feminist thought.”

Laurie: So, right from the start Rowbotham challenges the notion that liberation means shoehorning more women into male modes of production.

Jacob: Yes! And that is so important!

Laurie: The idea that “equal pay” is where it starts and ends is kinda where mainstream feminism ended up in the 1990s. You’ve got the right to be equally exploited, now shut up and get to work. It’s no accident that this idea is just starting to be challenged again right now as a new generation is discovering that work does not equal liberation.

Jacob: I think that feminism has lost that sense, at least in a mainstream cultural capacity. Mainstream cultural feminism is epitomized in demands for equal pay, for the ability to “play like the boys.”

Laurie: I think the challenge to “work” itself is the most radical thing in this book.

Rachel: Yes, as a non-Marxist I found it very eye-opening. In particular, how she talks about labor under capitalism in terms of exchanging your LIFE for money. At one point she writes, “The money represents the measure of the time and possibility which has been subtracted from his life. Time is the measure of what he has lost, money represents the measure of what he is allowed.” It’s powerful stuff.

Jacob: I think what we’ve seen in recent years is a real constriction of the imagination of mainstream feminism. Mainstream feminism means becoming Oprah, Beyoncé, or Sheryl Sandberg — the accumulation of wealth is how you demonstrate your equality.

Reni: Don’t get me wrong. It costs money just to stand still these days. I can understand why those of us who don’t have much money dream of it setting us free.

Jacob: I love Beyoncé and Oprah as much as anyone else, but they only represent one vein of feminist thought and analysis, and that type of feminism has definitely been elevated in pop culture over other, more politically challenging forms of feminism.

Rachel: How do you think feminism could incorporate a better class analysis? And what is stopping us from doing that? Is it just that class isn’t sexy? Or perhaps more pertinently, not profitable?

Jacob: It doesn’t work with the “keeping up with the men” mentality of modern pop feminism.

Laurie: It’s partly about who gets to speak and define the conversation. Mainstream feminist discussion has been dominated by wealthy white Western women, mainly straight and cis, who are financially secure and who are able to employ less privileged women to do menial work on their behalf, talking about those parts of gender oppression which affect them. (And those issues are important too.) But class is actually part of the root gender oppression, so it affects everyone, including the 1%.

Reni: I wrote an article a few months back about the domestic labor gender divide. Women are still doing twice as much housework as men, shouldering the majority of a shared burden. The response I got reminded me that housework as a feminist issue doesn’t get much airtime.

Jacob: I think what is really interesting is that we are in some ways replacing what used to be a gendered divide between workers and homemakers with a class-race divide between business people and domestic workers. Like, modern women who are “equal” to men and are able to maintain families and such often do so at the expense of other low-wage workers of color raising their children and cleaning their homes.

Laurie: Yes. That’s the entire message of “having it all” feminism. Lean In is predicated on the notion that you’ll also be leaning ON immigrant women, women of color, and poor women.

H. Armstrong Roberts / Retrofile / Getty Images

Rachel: Does domestic work HAVE to be a shitty job, or is the problem just that it’s not valued in our society?

Reni: It’s just not valued. Cis men still aren’t taught that keeping the home they live in clean and livable is their responsibility.

Jacob: And not only are they taught that it’s not their responsibility. They’re also taught that it’s not VALUABLE. They’re taught that it is silly, unimportant work.

Reni: YES, Jacob. One good thing that Sheila says in the book is how husbands return home and see all the housework that hasn’t been done.

Rachel: What is the solution here? Is it to pay domestic workers more money? To get men to do more domestic work so that it doesn’t need to be bought and sold?

Laurie: I’d say universal basic income, socialized medicine and child care, and a complete re-evaluation of what constitutes labor. As a list of preliminary demands. I think it’s also going to involve talking about misery. About depression and exhaustion and how shitty it is to have to earn money. Talking about anger and depression is not sexy feminism, but it is important.

Reni: I often imagine what a world without compulsory work would look like. I still can’t conceptualise it.

Rachel: True, but non-sexy feminism has been put on the agenda before. Domestic violence is not at all sexy, but it is a big media issue in Australia at the moment, where I grew up, and that’s mostly down to one writer, Clementine Ford, writing about it again and again and again. Rape culture involves sex, technically, but it’s not sexy either — and it’s a massive part of the feminist agenda now.

Laurie: Hey, I happen to think total reorganization of the wage labor system is sexy as hell.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelhills/the-1970s-feminist-who-warned-against-leaning-in