Smart people saying smart things

Abby Norman: “Why I Stopped Telling”

I stopped telling the stories of my most resilient kids, because I realized that people were getting the impression that because some of the kids were rising above their circumstances, it was okay to blame the rest for not being able to do the same.

I stopped telling the stories of my church donating cases of paper to my school, because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that it is ever okay for a school in America to run out of paper in October. The church should absolutely meet the needs of the poor, but the church shouldn’t have to supply copy paper for an entire school because the system is broken.

I stopped telling the stories of my most brilliant teaching, my most inspired ideas, because I did not want someone to get the impression that if I was just brilliant and inspired all of the time, I could save my kids.

Equally Blessed: “Prayers for Benedict, Hopes for His Successor”

We pray for a pope who is willing to listen to and learn from all of God’s people. We pray for a pope who will realize that in promoting discrimination against LGBT people, the church inflicts pain on marginalized people, alienates the faithful and lends moral credibility to reactionary political movements across the globe. We pray for a pope who will lead the church in looking the sexual abuse scandal squarely in the eye and make a full report on the complicity of the hierarchy in the sexual trauma inflicted on children around the world. We pray for a pope who is willing to make himself vulnerable on behalf of the voiceless, the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed.

Garry Wills: “New Pope? I’ve Given Up Hope”

Jesus, we are reminded, said to Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” But Peter was addressed as a faithful disciple, not as a priest or a pope. There were no priests in Peter’s time, and no popes. Paul never called himself or any of his co-workers priests. He did not offer sacrifice. Those ideas came in later, through weird arguments contained in the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews. The claim of priests and popes to be the sole conduits of grace is a remnant of the era of papal monarchy. We are watching that era fade. But some refuse to recognize its senescence. Such people will run peppily up, like Charlie Brown, to the coming of a new pope. But Lucy, as usual, still holds the football.

Paul Krugman: “Raise That Wage”

It’s important to understand how the minimum wage interacts with other policies aimed at helping lower-paid workers, in particular the earned-income tax credit. … The tax credit … is also good policy. But it has a well-known defect: Some of its benefits end up flowing not to workers but to employers, in the form of lower wages. And guess what? An increase in the minimum wage helps correct this defect. It turns out that the tax credit and the minimum wage aren’t competing policies, they’re complementary policies that work best in tandem.

Brenna Clarke Gray: “Stop Apologizing for What You Like to Read”

You should not apologize for what you like to read. The person you are apologizing to can only fit into one of three categories:

1. He or she shares your joy.

2. He or she doesn’t give a good goddamn.

3. He or she thinks less of you for what you read in which case don’t apologize to that person because he or she is clearly a douchebag who doesn’t deserve your obeisance.

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Smart people saying smart things (2.24)
Smart people saying smart things (2.12)
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Smart people saying smart things (1.21)
  • AnonaMiss

    The first link points to an empty blog. Typo, perhaps?

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Unfortunately, no.  It doesn’t look that way.  The words Fred quotes only show up in links to the place Fred links to.  It looks like the blog itself has ceased to be or something.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    And, interestingly, the blog was active as recently as five hours ago, as of this comment.  So four hours between the most recent post on that blog and AnonaMiss finding the blog empty.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Brenna Clarke Gray: “Stop Apologizing for What You Like to Read”

    I think this is quite valid. There are books that some people will go “ew” over, and there are some books that broadly should be condemned on the basis of the implications of the writing involved (Hitler’s Mein Kampf being the notable example, but Mao’s Little Red Book has a cult following among some Western Communists in particular), but the vast majority should be celebrated as part of the diversity of knowledge available to all who can take part of that diversity. :)

  • Cathy W

    And even so, there’s a distinction to be made between reading Mein Kampf because you think it’s the most awesomest book ever, and reading it because it’s an important book whose terrible ideas nevertheless went on to have huge impact on our history… the answer is not to say “don’t read this”, but “if you read this and think it’s a great idea, perhaps you need your perspective recalibrated, and meanwhile thank you for alerting me to the high likelihood that you’re a reprehensible human being”…

  • reynard61

    “(…T)here’s a distinction to be made between reading Mein Kampf because you think it’s the most awesomest book ever, and reading it because it’s an important book whose terrible ideas nevertheless went on to have a huge impact on our history… the answer is not to say ‘don’t read this’, but ‘if you read this and think it’s a great idea, perhaps you need your perspective recalibrated, and meanwhile thank you for alerting me to the high likelihood that you’re a reprehensible human being’…”

    Speaking as one who actually *has* read Mein Kampf — twice*! — I can tell you that anyone who reads it because they think that it’s “the awesomest book ever” must be an utter glutton for punishment. It was — for me at least — a long, grim slog through near-incomprehensible rants about German history (and pseudo-history), the treachery of “The Jew”, and the “Socialism of the Trenches”, mixed in with generous amounts of racist hogwash. If the Left Behind series are the World’s Worst Books, then Mein Kampf has to be the World’s Worst political tract/screed.

    *Admittedly the first time was an abridged version read when I was in my mid-teens. The second was the new annotated translation by Ralph Manheim.

  • Jim Roberts

    While I agree in an academic sense that you shouldn’t apologize for reading a particular book, there’s something to be said for apologizing for reading a particular book in the wrong way, when and where you allow that incorrect reading to negatively impact the lives of others.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    That rather reminds me of Ana Mardoll’s piece on liking problematic things. Some of the things we like will be in one way or another … bad. But that doesn’t mean we’re bad to like them. Also, Greta Christina had a post a while ago (I can’t find it now) in which she asked for advice on how to frame non-consent in some erotic fiction she was writing. She said that the fantasies of non-consensual sex were not wrong in themselves, but she was concerned about the best way to frame them to minimise any possible real-world damage.

    TRiG.

    Edit: Found it: How do you write about fantasies of non-consent in a way that doesn’t glorify actual, real-world non-consent?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yep! I was totally thinking of that blog entry by Mardoll but couldn’t remember anything about it besides a hazy recollection of discussing books that could inadvertently convey acceptance of less than desirable social behavior.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Mein Kampf can be condemned on just stylistic grounds. It’s really poorly written. Only a nazi could like it. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I hear ya. I tried actually reading it in the English translation and oh my god I think I literally fell asleep after the second chapter.

  • mud man

    Not sure it’s a good thing to be called Stone. Peter felt that he had to give up feeding the folk in order to preach the gospel. Jesus *told* him to “feed my sheep” but he got carried away by people in the street who only wanted his shadow to fall on their infirmities. The whole thing got off to a bad start. Makes you wonder why God thinks we *need* a church, but there you are, and personally I like my Sundays.

  • Fusina

    I love the church sign epic fails. Some of them got me to thinking about churches, and cathedrals, and buildings that go almost unused during the week, and I started thinking about money usage. I attended a church that was given a gift of a large acreage, on which they thought to build low price housing for seniors. They did not do this, as a mall moved into the area and purchased a great deal of the acreage from them to build a mall, far more than would have been realized from the senior housing.  This was the church committees decision, and fiscally it was a very smart decision, but sometimes I wonder if it was the right decision. I mean, all those cathedrals in Europe, and while we are at it, I’ve been to the National Cathedral and it is gorgeous, but what if the energy and effort to build them had gone into building something similar and as artistic for people to live in? Maybe build a big room for common worship, and lots of suites for people to rent out? Wouldn’t that be a much better use of the space? I’m sure that there are lots of flaws and problems with this, but–well–I was just having a “pipe dream”.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Now, granted, I wasn’t there to see it myself, but from what I have read, the vast majority of the medieval cathedrals in Europe took hundreds of years to build and employed hundreds of people in the building of them.

    They may not have ended up providing housing directly, but they did keep food on the table for and a roof over the heads of a lot of people for a long time.

  • SisterCoyote

     People who argue that raising the minimum wage is a bad thing… tend to be people who either never had to live on it, or have not had to live on it in a very, very long time. But the part that really bothers me is that these tend to also be the same people arguing against food stamps, welfare, and any other kind of aid. It’s the same paradox with people who argue against unions. If you want to talk about how we shouldn’t need unions because there should be strong governmental worker protection, and enforcement of such… sure, go ahead. But you can’t slash worker’s rights with one hand, and slash unions with the other. That doesn’t work.

    It’s the same with the minimum wage, with food stamps, with welfare, with health care. The fact is, people do have to live on minimum wage. A lot of people. You can’t get rid of that fact. You can argue that people shouldn’t have to, and try to institute programs that help those people, make it possible for them to have enough money to take care of their kids despite making less than a living wage. Or you can argue that a wage should be a living wage, and try to raise the minimum wage so that people don’t need as much aid from the government.

    BUT YOU CANNOT DO BOTH. That’s fucking inhuman.

    (Totally unrelated, but Fred, thank you for recommending (somewhat indirectly) Breaking Bad on this site. My brother, sister, step-brother and I have been watching it, due to recommendations from him, our step-sister, and you combined, every weekend that we’re all in the same house. Several episodes at a time, which is probably bad for mental health and tends to leave me with a splitting headache, but always seems to be worth it. We just caught up to the end of Season Four, just in time, as I’m leaving home semi-permanently in two days, and dead silence reigned in that room, as we all stared dumbstruck at the screen, each other, and back at the screen, for about two straight minutes. It’s been awesome, and we plan on watching Season Five together via Skype or somesuch. So – thank you, to you and all commenters who have also recommended it, and for real guys, if you haven’t seen this show, you should, it’s flipping awesome.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s “fucking inhuman” to simultaneously argue that minimum wage should be a living wage and that people who make minimum wage should have government support to make it possible to live on minimum wage? Why? We should only need one of the two, yes, and of the two I prefer the first, but why is it “fucking inhuman” to argue in favor of both? Did you leave a bit out of your argument?

  • SisterCoyote

     Ahhh! Yes, I must have. I’m so sorry. I meant that it is inhuman to argue that we need neither. That you cannot take away government aid AND lower/freeze/remove the minimum wage. That you cannot take away government-enforced workers’ rights AND weaken or remove unions.

    Definitely not that you can do neither. Very sorry – should’ve clarified.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thought that’s what it was. Thank you for clarifying.

  • SisterCoyote

     No worries. Thank you for catching it! I hate when I accidentally turn into a frothing libertarian overnight.

  • AnonymousSam

    Eww, hopefully that’s not contagious!

  • hidden_urchin

    Yeah, I hear that’s what happens when you fall asleep in front of the TV and it’s turned to FOX. Subliminal messaging. *nods* Yup.

    :-)

  • Tricksterson

    Aha!  You’re a were-libertarian!  One of them mustt have bitten you!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    I know the wording is a little odd, but I’m pretty sure the argument was that it’s “fucking inhuman” to argue AGAINST both.

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

    You say “inhuman” as if dehumanization were a bug, not a feature.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh yeah. I’ve watched BB all the way through and OMFG WAT

    that was my expression through S4 and the half-S5 in particular! I can’t wait till it resumes this year. :O

  • SisterCoyote

     I KNOOOOOW! I can’t wait to get into S5! (Rot13’d for S4-finale spoilers) Frr, sbe zr, Thf jnf – ol gur raq bs gur frnfba – n zber flzcngurgvp punenpgre guna Jnyg. Erzrzore Jnyg’f ernpgvba gb gur arjf nobhg Gbznf? Zber be yrff “Lrnu, ohg gurfr crbcyr ner rivy, jr xarj gung, vg’f abg bhe svtug.” Jurernf – V pbhyq or ernqvat guvf fprar jebat, ohg – Thf frrzf fhecevfrq gb yrnea nobhg xvqf orvat hfrq, naq beqref gur gjb thlf gb fgbc. Ur’f abg n Tbbq Thl, ohg Jnyg unq fb znal punaprf gb jnyx njnl, naq rirel fvatyr bar, uvf cevqr trgf gur orggre bs uvz, naq ur znxrf gur qrpvfvba gung tvirf uvz zber pbageby. V qba’g frr Thf nf cher rivy… ohg V guvax Jnyg vf urnqrq va gung qverpgvba.

    …I could probably ramble about this show for pages on end, but I’ll stop. Sorry.

  • Victor

    (((..I could probably ramble about this show for pages on end, but I’ll stop. Sorry.)))

    Come on Fred! That’s not fair, you’ve got some of your followers using some kind of a code NOW!

    Go Figure Victor! If ya can’t take a int when they swear then they have no choice but to post secretly NOW!

    You think so sinner vic? :)

    http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2013/02/the-weekly-benedict-ebook-volume-50/

    Peace

  • SisterCoyote

     Heh. Click the link (that says ROT13), Victor. Then copy the weird/jumbled text into the box, and press the button at the bottom. It’s a way of communicating without spoiling the ending of a show, via foreshadowing or otherwise.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I suspect Victor’s posts use ROT-26. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You sure it isn’t ROT-i? *badum-kish*

  • Hexep

    I will totally think less of people for what they read, or how they otherwise amuse themselves privately. The human being is a creature of nobility and grace, capable of great reason and creativity! The human being can create great treasures and do great things! What a sin it is, to squander oneself on mediocrity and the consumption of mediocrity!

    I am a man of many and multivaried guilty pleasures, but at least I have the onus to feel guilty about them and keep them secret, hide them away, diminish them. If anyone asks, I only cop to my love of great things, and the production of great things, or at least things climbing towards greatness.

  • Lliira

     What a sin it is, to squander oneself on mediocrity and the consumption of mediocrity!

    Oh blah. Expecting everyone to live their lives in the constant pursuit of Art and Truth and Beauty is expecting the impossible, besides being annoying. And guilt about anything that does not hurt other people is only beating yourself up for no reason. Unless you get a thrill out of it, in which case, carry on, but don’t pretend it makes you a better person than the rest of us.

  • Carstonio

    Uh, I doubt that Hexep meant for hir high-flown language to be taken literally…

  • Hexep

    In order to explain myself, I’m going to go on a slightly round-about, circuitous course. Do you mind?

  • stardreamer42

    I hope this was intended as sarcasm. If it wasn’t, you’re a sad, pathetic creature, judging your entire life by the way you think other people would judge you. And the very saddest part is that you’re probably wrong about that too.

    (And if it was, I think your sarcasm filter needs some adjustment.)

  • Carstonio

    Maybe I suspected the sarcasm because I’m used to thinking that my safety and physical well-being depend on others having favorable judgments of me, like a performance review. Personal dislike is the only reason that individuals deliberately harm others for the sake of harming them, as opposed to harm for some personal gain.

    But you do have a point – the sarcasm seemed very subtle, and I re-read the post because it didn’t seem right at first.

  • stardreamer42

    Personal dislike is the only reason that individuals deliberately harm
    others for the sake of harming them, as opposed to harm for some
    personal gain.

    Yes and no. People will also harm others for the sake of harming them, even if they do not know them personally as individuals, if they are seen as representatives of a despised class. (cf. gay-bashing, trans-bashing)

  • Carstonio

    People will also harm others for the sake of harming them, even if they do not know them personally as individuals, if they are seen as representatives of a despised class. (cf. gay-bashing, trans-bashing)

    That’s still personal dislike because the motivation is a disliked characteristic.

  • Hexep

    And yet I have done you a service of surpassing value, serving – to my own dear surprise, to be sure! – as your own personal Jamarat. Well, you’ve got six more, but don’t let me hurry you – just pick up your stones when you’re done. And mop the floor behind you! You’re dripping fluids of every description.

  • The_L1985

     You know what?  I like Chaucer.  I’m not ashamed of liking Chaucer.

    I like Poe, and Whitman, and Shakespeare, and Cervantes, and Homer.  I’m not ashamed of liking them either.

    So why should I be ashamed of also liking Archie Sonic comics, when I have a great appreciation of the classics?

    It’s like saying that simultaneously liking Bach and Lady Gaga is a terrible, shameful thing. People are allowed to like a wide variety of things if they want to.  Not all of us are going to like all of the things somebody else likes, or think that they’re great.  But the only opinion that really matters is the opinion of the person doing the liking.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I actually take great pride/glee in quoting comic books and pulp fiction when discussing important issues, especially with people I find unbearably pretentious. It’s funny and kind of makes the point that wisdom can come from anywhere.

  • Madhabmatics

    I’ve always felt that there was a difference between referencing nerd-stuff and nerd signalling, nerd-signalling drives me up the wall. Like a lot of people quote that line from Sandman or American Gods or whichever about stories not actually having to be factual in order to be true, and that makes sense, because it’s a pretty snappy and relevant quote that expresses a feeling in some new way.

    But like in every other article on this website someone goes “omg americans are just like Khorne worshipers” which isn’t saying anything new or clever or expressing an idea that is best expressed by something mad nerdy, it’s just going “Hey guys. Guys. I love Warhammer. Did you know I’m a warhammer fan????”

  • JustoneK

    It’s Popular Now It Sucks :D

  • The_L1985

     I’m not even a warhammer fan, but I know all about Khorne. :P

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Yeah; it only works if it’s dead-on and doesn’t need to be explained too much (pref. at all). Otherwise you’re duplicating effort. 

    A good example just happened to me over on FB: Someone was discussing set theory and wondered if a set of all sets contained itself. My response is that the problem ‘felt’ the way Slivers work in Magic:The Gathering — Slivers give powers to all Slivers, and as a Sliver, it gives the power to itself. 

  • David Starner

    The set of all sets doesn’t exist in standard set theory, because of Russell’s paradox.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659001961 Brad Ellison

    There is nothing, nothing at all, that I enjoy more than quoting wise passages from superhero comics and pulp novels in mixed company.

  • banancat

     As a wise philosopher once said, “Love is like a brick – you can build a house, or sink a dead body.”

    I like to quote things like that and not make a point of who said them, just to see how long it takes for people to realize.

  • Kirala

    I like to quote things like that and not make a point of who said them, just to see how long it takes for people to realize.

    Does it count if I Googled immediately to find out the source, because I was impatient to realize? (Not that I could have ever come up with that particular source on my own… there are days I feel my ignorance badly.)
    I like to
    quote things like that and not make a point of who said them, just to
    see how long it takes for people to realize. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    I like to
    quote things like that and not make a point of who said them, just to
    see how long it takes for people to realize. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    I like to
    quote things like that and not make a point of who said them, just to
    see how long it takes for people to realize. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread

  • Kirala

     Crap. Disqus really hates copy/pasting today, apparently.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know what?  I like Chaucer.  I’m not ashamed of liking Chaucer.

    I like Poe, and Whitman, and Shakespeare, and Cervantes, and Homer.  I’m not ashamed of liking them either.

    So why should I be ashamed of also liking Archie Sonic comics, when I have a great appreciation of the classics?

    Because culturally, liking the “Classics” is a marker of being intelligent and educated. (>_>)

  • The_L1985

     Yes, but liking other things doesn’t somehow negate liking the Classics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    I’m reminded of something that Scipio over at The Absorbascon once said, though I can’t find the original anecdote, so I’ll have to paraphrase…

    Essentially, someone found him reading comic books* and, knowing his background in the classics, asked him something like, “Why would you read comic books when you can read the classics in their original languages?”

    He thought about it for a moment, and then said, “Well, when the comic books get too complicated and hard to understand, I like to take a break by reading something easy, like Ovid or Virgil.”

    *It may have been the other way around; he may have been reading one of the classics at the time.

  • JayemGriffin

    If dollar-store romance novels let me kill a couple hours of my life by being entertained and happy (they do), then fuck it, I’m going to read dollar-store romance novels. Fuck you and your pretentiousness.

    FWIW, I study Shakespeare. Who was, in his day, just as trashy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    FWIW, I study Shakespeare. Who was, in his day, just as trashy.

    Back in high school, I was supposed to write an assignment on why I thought Hamlet suddenly stabbed Polonius (IIRC?) through the curtain. My theory involved comparing Hamlet to Die Hard, noting that Shakespeare’s audience would be getting impatient for some bloodshed.

    My teacher gave me a 0, because apparently Shakespeare was High Culture and written purely for the art, not so he could put food on the table. So I guess that scene with Hamlet laying in Ophelia’s lap wasn’t as incredibly bawdy as it sounded.

    This was one of the events that convinced me not to become an English major.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Given that description, your teacher sounds like someone who never directed Shakespeare.

  • hidden_urchin

    Or even seen it.  I never realized quite how hilariously raunchy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was until I saw it performed by Actors from the London Stage a couple of years ago. 

  • christopher_y

    That is so sad. A teacher who has no understanding of their own subject area turned loose on kids and driving them away from that subject area through their own ignorance. What on earth did they teach that person in college?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    That is so sad. A teacher who has no understanding of their own subject
    area turned loose on kids and driving them away from that subject area
    through their own ignorance. What on earth did they teach that person in
    college?

    Apparently that the point of literature was “the use of language,” not telling a story or making your audience feel something or think about something. And of course, that a work’s literary value can be determined by whether it is “genre fiction” or “literary fiction” (a distinction which requires a very, very bizarre idea of “genre”).

  • hidden_urchin

    I don’t get it.  How did your teacher think the use of language was independent from storytelling or making the audience feel or think? 

    Also, I’ve run into the literary/genre fiction distinction before and I find it equally perplexing.  Maybe it’s just because I choose my words and syntax very carefully to reinforce my story and give it extra layers of meaning, even if I’m only writing a horror story, but  I’m suspicious the distinction is really more about classism than anything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    How did your teacher think the use of language was independent from storytelling or making the audience feel or think?

    Apparently because storytelling didn’t matter, and making the audience feel or think only mattered if it was done through “the use of language,” rather than through engaging ideas or characters.

    I’m suspicious the [literary’genre] distinction is really more about classism than anything else.

    I think so too. The definitions of “literary fiction” that I’ve seen all essentially describe a set of audience expectations, and that’s what a genre is. These expectations usually happen to require protagonists who are well-off white people.

    There’s also the times where a work that is clearly part of another genre like science fiction, but is classed as “literary fiction” because it is written by an established “literary” author. I find this especially funny because when a “literary” author ventures into “genre fiction,” they usually do so without studying the genre and the result is terrible. But the litcrits fawn all over the author’s “bold exploration” of ideas and themes that have been addressed beautifully for decades by the “genre fiction” that they refused to read.

  • vsm

    I think film culture is a lot healthier in this regard. Sure, there are dumbasses who think only Bergman or Bresson are worth their time, but the classic cinephile follows in Godard and Truffaut’s footsteps and adores all of cinema, as long as it’s made well.

  • Cathy W

    My daughter is currently taking a Shakespeare class in high school, and perhaps it helps that her English teacher is also the theater instructor? She wrote a short paper, well-received, on all the butt-related puns in Midsummer Night’s Dream…

  • The_L1985

     It always makes me laugh that people hold Shakespeare up as High Art, but not teenage sex comedies–especially given that a lot of the lines from Shakespeare aren’t that different from what you see in said comedies.

  • Fusina

     I read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales a few decades back–still can’t believe that didn’t make a banned books list–and remember thinking when hearing about people complaining about all the sex jokes and fart jokes in current movies, “Haven’t they read any Chaucer? That’s considered a classic and at least one of the stories is all farting, all the time (tale about the miller, not the Miller’s Tale, IIRC). So slacker type movies may be lowbrow humor, but it is also classic literature. Um. And Shakespeare was catering to the masses too. I prefer his comedies to the tragedies, mostly because it seems the protagonists in the tragedies bring their problems on themselves.

    And I see MacBeth, as Oedipus, as just a warning not to take prophecy too seriously, a theme most recently seen by me in the Harry Potter books.

  • hidden_urchin

    Hah!  That reminds me of when we read excerpts of Chaucer in 9th grade.  Our teacher couldn’t teach “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” so he told us every few minutes “Do not read ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale.'”  Of course, everyone read it as soon as class got out and it was a topic of discussion for the next few days.  Which was our teacher’s goal.

  • Carstonio

    For decades I had thought that a love of fart and shit jokes was a sign of immaturity, like 6-year-olds trying to out-gross their peers. I saw sex jokes as stemming from the same immaturity, except for the jokes that are anti-sexist, like the Eat, Pray, Queef episode of South Park. That’s a show that has long been confounding for me – two guys who act like they just discovered their wee-wees shouldn’t be capable of good social satire. Almost like they believe that fart and sex jokes are really attacks on privilege. Well, considering some of the racist attacks on African-American culture, they may have a point.

  • vsm

    it seems the protagonists in the tragedies bring their problems on themselves
    Well, that’s literally the definition of tragedy.

  • Fusina

     Oh, Okay, good point. But they don’t seem to get clued in that maybe they should do things differently.

    Yeah, yeah, if they did it wouldn’t be a tragedy. ;-)

  • Hexep

    Maybe if you read a few less of those trashy romance novels – maybe if you consumed something challenging and uplifting and meaningful, instead of mass-market trash made by people who are openly contemptuous of you and their other readers, marketing products around the blissful, intentional ignorance of their customers and clearly doing very well at it, reveling in the kind of aw-shucks-plain-folks nonsense that comforts people for their own self-created mediocrity instead of inspiring and challenging them to make something of themselves, whispering constantly in their ears that everything is fine, that life is good, and that as long as you don’t do anything obviously unkind, there’s nothing more to aspire to, nothing to create, nothing to accomplish, nothing to ever worth doing, that the plateau of human achievement is reached by non-harm and everything else is just high-nosed pretentiousness designed to make you feel bad for yourself, that you’re already a ‘good person’ and that your worthiness in the sight of the human race and of history is something to take for granted rather than something that must be continuously proven and refined, that you are a plucky victim and that noblesse oblige is for other people, and that the naive spontaneity of the unlettered child, preferably the sort of saintly halfwit that exists in popular media and absolutely nowhere else, is superior to the sober introspection of the mindful adult, and that most of all, you need never, ever put away your childish things…

    Maybe if you read a little bit less of that stuff, you’d be able to articulate yourself in a way that is actually persuasive, or worth listening to, or at least well-composed.  But why bother, right? The elixir of consciousness stings going down; make mine chocolate milk.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Maybe if you read a few less of those trashy romance novels – 

    Stop right there.

    Do you really think that the popular disdain for romance novels has nothing to do with sexism?

    If someone likes men’s adventure beach novels, it’s, “Sure, everybody needs popcorn reading now and then.”  But if someone likes romance beach novels, it’s “You’re mentally deficient and have no taste.”

    You seriously think the fact that the former genre is aimed at men and the latter at women has no effect on the way the latter is considered an easy target?

    Go and think about this for a while.  Come back when you’re ready to apologize to the class.

    (Also, “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” is proof positive that a diet of romance novels does not in any way lessen one’s ability to think critically and write persuasively — not to mention hilariously.  http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ )

  • Carstonio

    Yes. I’ve also wondered why the folks who slam romance novels as trashy don’t make the same criticisms of the Mack Bolan series and the Survivalist series. Or of the original Godfather novel, where the Hollywood chapters pandered to the egos of male readers.

    I often condemn the value systems of some books while holding no opinion about the people who read them. When my daughters are old enough for Twilight, I wouldn’t bar them from reading the series, but I would first encourage them to draw their own conclusions about the Edward and Bella relationship. Similarly, if they read the Godfather, I would ask them why they thought Puzo described the male Hollywood stars were closeted gays and the female ones as boozy and promiscuous, and why Puzo would think this would appeal to his readers.

  • Fusina

     Are you the Smart Bitch who gave a pointer to that blog a few entries ago? If so, Thanks so much for the total time sink you led me to and without being sarcastic, I have never, ever, in my life, laughed as hard as I have at some of their entries. Plus, I now have a longish list of books to look for at the library books for sale racks. Along with the usual sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, etc… that I read. Was running low on my TBR pile, but not anymore. Between that and finding the 99 cent kindle books at Amazon (Just got a set of four longish romances for 99 cents for all of them, I have quite the pile now). Thank you, thank-you, thank-you! I have a friend who also thanks you–I send her links to my favorite entries.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    My presence on Slacktivist has been sporadic of late, so it probably wasn’t me.  But thank you anyway.  :)

  • Hexep

    Mine is a wide-spectrum misanthropy, which is unbound by sex, gender, orientation, creed, color, or nation.

    But I’ll just say this and be done-

    I am a smoker. Company policy forbids me to smoke at my desk, so in-between reading this and composing this, I went to grab a cigarette and think over what I wanted to say. Having gone through four theoretical frameworks and trying my best to articulate my thoughts, I ultimately came up empty. I had something about my unwillingness to let an artist fool me into liking their work more than they did, or something, but it was all hogwash.

    So – I got nothing. Whether this is due to poor ideas or poor diction, I cannot say, but I cannot mount a meaningful counter-argument or defense of the position that I had previously taken. My wits have failed me, and all that remains is to acknowledge that.

    So, I concede the field. You are right, and I am wrong. I retire from this argument in defeat, wishing myself better luck next time, and acknowledge the victory of those who disagreed with me.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Maybe if
    you read a little bit less of that stuff, you’d be able to articulate
    yourself in a way that is actually persuasive, or worth listening to, or
    at least well-composed

    Dear gods, your first paragraph that quote is from is all one sentence. I really hope this is a poe. Or that you’re high. Preferably both.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    FWIW, I study Shakespeare. Who was, in his day, just as trashy.

    Seems to me part of the reason that _Left Behind_ was so popular may be an unfulfilled need for trashy novels on the part of RTCs.  It’s basically a trashy novel without the swear words and illicit sex. 

  • Carstonio

    My answer to Equally Blessed is that prayer alone won’t produce a pope who fights for the marginalized and oppressed. Large organizations are primarily about their own preservation, and any change probably has to come from the bottom up. 

  • christopher_y

    But you can’t slash worker’s rights with one hand, and slash unions with the other. That doesn’t work.

    Oh it works all right. It’s class war, that’s what it is. The corporate panjandrums are always waging class war, all the time. But when people try to fight back they start whining that it’s unfair.

    “This animal is very nasty; when attacked it defends itself.”

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Context matters when it comes to what you’re reading. 

    A few years ago, I decided I was going to try reading some of “the classics”, and I started with Lolita. I picked it up at the bookstore, wandered around until I found an open chair, and started reading. It wasn’t until a bit later that I realized I had wandered next to the children’s section, at which point I awkwardly got up and left.

    I tried reading more of the book when I arrived early for a training session at a local firehouse community room. Sitting in my car, parked near the firehouse, I got a good chapter or two in before I realized I had parked across the street from a grade school. At which point I closed the book, and put it in the glove box.

    The troubling thing about certain pieces of art is not reading them, but mis-reading them. The narrator of “American Psycho” is not a character to be emulated. Roarchock of “The Watchmen” is not a heroic figure in any sense. And no one should read “Lolita” unless they understand that the narrator is not reliable. 

  • vsm

    Not realizing that Humbert Humbert is unreliable means the reader has failed to understand something important, and leaving Rorschach at “badass” suggests one has either missed a few issues or not thought about the character very deeply, but I don’t see how deciding to emulate Tyler Durden is a case of misreading the work. If one happens to share his worldview, surely he’s a wonderful figure to emulate.

  • Michael Pullmann

     The point is that Tyler’s worldview is one of a petulant child.

  • vsm

    Well yeah, that’s what us right-thinking leftists would think of his worldview, which is essentially fascist. I don’t think the film (haven’t read the novel) ever makes that point, though. On the contrary, it fully accepts its first premise, namely that life under capitalism, even if you’re part of the middle class, is terrible and alienating. The film’s a bit more ambiguous on the second premise, that men have been feminized (Mealoaf’s character has literally grown a pair of breasts) and must recover their masculinity and a simpler form of life, but it certainly suggests the world is full of men who agree. Full, as in enough to create a terrorist organization with ties everywhere and strong enough to beat the department of justice.

    Granted, the narrator does spend the final act trying to prevent Tyler from destroying modern capitalism, but he fails and the moment the skyscraper comes down is depicted as something awe-inspiring and monumental, implying Tyler succeeded. So, rather than showing him as a petulant child, he’s a charismatic and brilliant guy with a vision that’s embraced by thousands and that probably changes the world forever. If Fincher was going for the former, he would have shown their terrorism as futile, or suggested that there are other ways of making life bearable than fascism. As it stands, the film is mighty impressed by Tyler Durden.

  • AnonaMiss

    Granted, the narrator does spend the final act trying to prevent Tyler from destroying modern capitalism, but he fails and the moment the skyscraper comes down is depicted as something awe-inspiring and monumental, implying Tyler succeeded.

    That interpretation makes the mood of the final scene make a lot more sense to me. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that the camera thought Tyler succeeded, because his plan was so transparently stupid. (I grew up in a telephony corridor, so everyone I knew growing up had at least a basic understanding of what distributed backups were; it hadn’t occurred to me at the time that it might not be common knowledge.)

  • Kubricks_Rube

    the narrator does spend the final act trying to prevent Tyler from destroying
    modern capitalism

    And the narrator remains the film’s hero, which makes Tyler- and what he represents- the villain. I know many people continue to identify with Tyler, but are they rooting against the narrator? How do Tyler’s real-world
    advocates view the narrator and his actions once Tyler’s true non-existent
    nature is revealed?

    the moment the skyscraper comes down is depicted as something awe-inspiring and monumental

    I didn’t take that literally (given Tyler’s nature, I think on one level the film works as an exploration of the Jungian process of individuation). I mean, I know that’s what happens in the film, but I viewed it more as Tyler’s defeat that was monumental. Capitalism wasn’t destroyed, the grip of Tyler’s childish worldview was destroyed, and now the narrator and Marla can have a real, adult life together. It’s not the city that will need to be rebuilt, but the narrator’s psyche- “Where is my mind?” is what’s playing over this scene.

    Taken more literally, I see Tyler’s success as a cautionary tale against unleashing one’s id or buying into cults of personality or risk losing all control over oneself
    and everything else.  I mean, isn’t it a satire? Isn’t the joke on anyone who gives up their own identity to an apocalyptic, charismatic leader or cause, all in the name of their own individuality no less?

  • vsm

    the grip of Tyler’s childish worldview was destroyed, and now the narrator and Marla can have a real, adult life together.
    The way I see it, the narrator merges himself and Tyler when he shoots himself in the head (this must be a really interesting conversation to follow to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie), which also means him accepting Tyler’s vision. When the Project Mayhem people arrive, he accepts their reverence, gives them orders and promises to meet them downstairs. While that might still be him bluffing, the way he calmly holds hands with Marla as they watch the buildings come down makes no sense if you assume he defeated his evil Brad Pitt side and is now the relatively good Edward Norton side.

    I’d imagine most viewers had at least a vague idea that his plan wasn’t realistic, even without the kind of knowledge AnonaMiss mentions. However, during the preceding two hours lots of weird things have happened on every level of the film, editing included. In the film’s world, maybe blowing up a few buildings, followed by whatever they plan on doing next really will destroy capitalism. It makes as much sense as the part where attacking and threatening a police commissioner makes him stop investigating their conspiracy.

    I know many people continue to identify with Tyler, but are they
    rooting against the narrator?

    If you interpret the ending like I suggested, the beauty of the scenario is that the narrator remains more or less innocent and still gets to enjoy the ending. The same applies to the audience, of course. Few of us would openly root for a terrorist, even in 1999, but their merger allows us to have our cake of innocence while eating the joy of destruction.

    Isn’t the joke on anyone who gives up their own identity to an apocalyptic,
    charismatic leader or cause, all in the name of their own individuality no less?

    That’s the thing with rugged individualism as a basis for a mass movement. Anyone who joins Project Mayhem is a sucker, but the system works quite nicely for the guys at the top.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The way I see it, the narrator merges himself and Tyler when he shoots himself in the head

    I agree with this completely, but I don’t think merging means accepting Tyler’s vision, I think it means combining the narrator’s two distinct modes of being- the depressed insomniac from the beginning who is mindlessly consuming life and the unrestrained id of Tyler who is violently reshaping the world to his whims. Both halves are defeated by forcing them into a whole.

    Tyler is (to use Jung’s term), the narrator’s Shadow. I think that concept sums up the plot of Fight Club:

    In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious, or (2) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself.[…]

    According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.[…]

    The shadow’s appearance and role depend greatly on the living experience of the individual, because much of the shadow develops in the individual’s mind rather than simply being inherited in the collective unconscious. Nevertheless some Jungians maintain that ‘The shadow contains, besides the personal shadow, the shadow of society … fed by the neglected and repressed collective values’.[…]

    “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself” and represents “a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well”.[17] If and when ‘an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in others — such things as egotism, mental laziness, and sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice; inordinate love of money and possessions — …[a] painful and lengthy work of self-education”[…]

    According to Jung, the shadow sometimes overwhelms a person’s actions; for example, when the conscious mind is shocked, confused, or paralyzed by indecision. ‘A man who is possessed by his shadow is always standing in his own light and falling into his own traps … living below his own level'[20]: hence, in terms of the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ‘it must be Jekyll, the conscious personality, who integrates the shadow … and not vice versa. Otherwise the conscious becomes the slave of the autonomous shadow'[…]

    The impact of such ‘confrontation with the shadow produces at first a dead balance, a standstill that hampers moral decisions and makes convictions ineffective…. Jung remained of the opinion that while ‘no one should deny the danger of the descent … every descent is followed by an ascent, and assimilation of- rather than possession by- the shadow becomes at last a real possibility.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology)

  • vsm

    Right, Jung and the shadow archetype. I should have remembered that.

    Anyway, the question seems to be what happens next. You suggested Marla and the Narrator would get over their issues and live together in capitalist America, which is too strong to be felled by a few acts of terror. Despite Fight Club not being at all realistic, I think that would still be a bit too unlikely. Even if capitalism survives, they’d at least have to be wanted by the state for the largest terrorist attack on US soil ever committed, this being 1999. There’s also the implication that the Narrator will continue associating with the Project Mayhem people. Well, you could argue the whole thing was symbolic and that we shouldn’t consider such details, but I’d find that unsatisfying.

    In any case, I think it’s interesting that at least two successful, mainstream Hollywood movies from 1999, Fight Club and American Beauty, were about the emptiness of middle class life after a decade of economic growth following America’s triumph in the cold war. If Bin Laden and company hadn’t given America a new purpose, how would this trend have evolved? I can’t imagine George W’s presidency being all that inspiring to anyone, left or right, if it hadn’t been for that supposed existential threat.

  • arcseconds

     There was also American Psycho around the same time. 

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    the way he calmly holds hands with Marla as they watch the buildings
    come down makes no sense if you assume he defeated his evil Brad Pitt
    side and is now the relatively good Edward Norton side.

    I’ve never seen the movie, but I had a friend once recount the entire thing for me, scene by scene, so I don’t think that I really need to have seen the movie. 

    Except for one thing.  For years now, I have always pictured Brad Pitt as the narrator and Edward Norton as Tyler Durden. 

  • Guest

    The glovebox, incidentally, is the perfect place for Lolita, since it’s about American travel as well.

    Anyway, I don’t judge anyone for reading something “bad” unless I know the book is full of bad morals (you know, like the Left Behind series) and the reader either approves of the bad morals or shows no awareness of/doesn’t care about the bad morals despite being made aware of those bad morals (which in practice means knowing the other person somewhat and having long conversations about said book, so it’s no snap judgement). If the things you choose to read show that you don’t want to be a better person or are actively making you a worse person, then yeah, I’m going to think less of you. Sorry about that.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Given how many people I know who don’t read AT ALL, enjoying something like Twilight or even LB puts you ahead of the game IMO. If the LB reader learns to enjoy reading, maybe they’ll even get around to the Bible!

  • P J Evans

     I got to read Lolita for freshman English in college. I was not impressed. (I’d been reading science fiction since I was in junior high.)

  • Madhabmatics

    watch out i’m about to post an entire chesterton essay

  • Madhabmatics

    One of the strangest examples of the degree to which ordinary life is
    undervalued is the example of popular literature, the vast mass of which
    we contentedly describe as vulgar. The boy’s novelette may be ignorant
    in a literary sense, which is only like saying that a modern novel is
    ignorant in the chemical sense, or the economic sense, or the
    astronomical sense; but it is not vulgar intrinsically—it is the actual
    centre of a million flaming imaginations.

    In former centuries the educated class ignored the ruck of vulgar
    literature. They ignored, and therefore did not, properly speaking,
    despise it. Simple ignorance and indifference does not inflate the
    character with pride. A man does not walk down the street giving a
    haughty twirl to his moustaches at the thought of his superiority to
    some variety of deep-sea fishes. The old scholars left the whole
    under-world of popular compositions in a similar darkness.

    To-day, however, we have reversed this principle. We do despise vulgar
    compositions, and we do not ignore them. We are in some danger of
    becoming petty in our study of pettiness; there is a terrible Circean
    law in the background that if the soul stoops too ostentatiously to
    examine anything it never gets up again. There is no class of vulgar
    publications about which there is, to my mind, more utterly ridiculous
    exaggeration and misconception than the current boys’ literature of the
    lowest stratum. This class of composition has presumably always existed,
    and must exist. It has no more claim to be good literature than the
    daily conversation of its readers to be fine oratory, or the
    lodging-houses and tenements they inhabit to be sublime architecture.
    But people must have conversation, they must have houses, and they must
    have stories. The simple need for some kind of ideal world in which
    fictitious persons play an unhampered part is infinitely deeper and
    older than the rules of good art, and much more important. Every one of
    us in childhood has constructed such an invisible dramatis personæ,
    but it never occurred to our nurses to correct the composition by
    careful comparison with Balzac. In the East the professional
    story-teller goes from village to village with a small carpet; and I
    wish sincerely that anyone had the moral courage to spread that carpet
    and sit on it in Ludgate Circus. But it is not probable that all the
    tales of the carpet-bearer are little gems of original artistic
    workmanship. Literature and fiction are two entirely different things.

    Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity. A work of art can hardly
    be too short, for its climax is its merit. A story can never be too
    long, for its conclusion is merely to be deplored, like the last
    halfpenny or the last pipelight. And so, while the increase of the
    artistic conscience tends in more ambitious works to brevity and
    impressionism, voluminous industry still marks the producer of the true
    romantic trash. There was no end to the ballads of Robin Hood; there is
    no end to the volumes about Dick Deadshot and the Avenging Nine. These
    two heroes are deliberately conceived as immortal.

    But instead of basing all discussion of the problem upon the
    common-sense recognition of this fact—that the youth of the lower
    orders always has had and always must have formless and endless romantic
    reading of some kind, and then going on to make provision for its
    wholesomeness—we begin, generally speaking, by fantastic abuse of this
    reading as a whole and indignant surprise that the errand-boys under
    discussion do not read ‘The Egoist’ and ‘The Master Builder.’ It is the
    custom, particularly among magistrates, to attribute half the crimes of
    the Metropolis to cheap novelettes. If some grimy urchin runs away with
    an apple, the magistrate shrewdly points out that the child’s knowledge
    that apples appease hunger is traceable to some curious literary
    researches. The boys themselves, when penitent, frequently accuse the
    novelettes with great bitterness, which is only to be expected from
    young people possessed of no little native humour. If I had forged a
    will, and could obtain sympathy by tracing the incident to the influence
    of Mr. George Moore’s novels, I should find the greatest entertainment
    in the diversion. At any rate, it is firmly fixed in the minds of most
    people that gutter-boys, unlike everybody else in the community, find
    their principal motives for conduct in printed books.

    Now it is quite clear that this objection, the objection brought by
    magistrates, has nothing to do with literary merit. Bad story writing is
    not a crime. Mr. Hall Caine walks the streets openly, and cannot be put
    in prison for an anticlimax. The objection rests upon the theory that
    the tone of the mass of boys’ novelettes is criminal and degraded,
    appealing to low cupidity and low cruelty. This is the magisterial
    theory, and this is rubbish.

    So far as I have seen them, in connection with the dirtiest book-stalls
    in the poorest districts, the facts are simply these: The whole
    bewildering mass of vulgar juvenile literature is concerned with
    adventures, rambling, disconnected and endless. It does not express any
    passion of any sort, for there is no human character of any sort. It
    runs eternally in certain grooves of local and historical type: the
    medieval knight, the eighteenth-century duellist, and the modern cowboy,
    recur with the same stiff simplicity as the conventional human figures
    in an Oriental pattern. I can quite as easily imagine a human being
    kindling wild appetites by the contemplation of his Turkey carpet as by
    such dehumanized and naked narrative as this.

    Among these stories there are a certain number which deal
    sympathetically with the adventures of robbers, outlaws and pirates,
    which present in a dignified and romantic light thieves and murderers
    like Dick Turpin and Claude Duval. That is to say, they do precisely the
    same thing as Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe,’ Scott’s ‘Rob Roy,’ Scott’s ‘Lady of
    the Lake,’ Byron’s ‘Corsair,’ Wordsworth’s ‘Rob Roy’s Grave,’
    Stevenson’s ‘Macaire,’ Mr. Max Pemberton’s ‘Iron Pirate,’ and a thousand
    more works distributed systematically as prizes and Christmas presents.
    Nobody imagines that an admiration of Locksley in ‘Ivanhoe’ will lead a
    boy to shoot Japanese arrows at the deer in Richmond Park; no one thinks
    that the incautious opening of Wordsworth at the poem on Rob Roy will
    set him up for life as a blackmailer. In the case of our own class, we
    recognise that this wild life is contemplated with pleasure by the
    young, not because it is like their own life, but because it is
    different from it. It might at least cross our minds that, for whatever
    other reason the errand-boy reads ‘The Red Revenge,’ it really is not
    because he is dripping with the gore of his own friends and relatives.

    In this matter, as in all such matters, we lose our bearings entirely by
    speaking of the ‘lower classes’ when we mean humanity minus ourselves.
    This trivial romantic literature is not especially plebeian: it is
    simply human. The philanthropist can never forget classes and callings.
    He says, with a modest swagger, ‘I have invited twenty-five factory
    hands to tea.’ If he said ‘I have invited twenty-five chartered
    accountants to tea,’ everyone would see the humour of so simple a
    classification. But this is what we have done with this lumberland of
    foolish writing: we have probed, as if it were some monstrous new
    disease, what is, in fact, nothing but the foolish and valiant heart of
    man. Ordinary men will always be sentimentalists: for a sentimentalist
    is simply a man who has feelings and does not trouble to invent a new
    way of expressing them. These common and current publications have
    nothing essentially evil about them. They express the sanguine and
    heroic truisms on which civilization is built; for it is clear that
    unless civilization is built on truisms, it is not built at all.
    Clearly, there could be no safety for a society in which the remark by
    the Chief Justice that murder was wrong was regarded as an original and
    dazzling epigram.

    If the authors and publishers of ‘Dick Deadshot,’ and such remarkable
    works, were suddenly to make a raid upon the educated class, were to
    take down the names of every man, however distinguished, who was caught
    at a University Extension Lecture, were to confiscate all our novels and
    warn us all to correct our lives, we should be seriously annoyed. Yet
    they have far more right to do so than we; for they, with all their
    idiotcy, are normal and we are abnormal. It is the modern literature of
    the educated, not of the uneducated, which is avowedly and aggressively
    criminal. Books recommending profligacy and pessimism, at which the
    high-souled errand-boy would shudder, lie upon all our drawing-room
    tables. If the dirtiest old owner of the dirtiest old bookstall in
    Whitechapel dared to display works really recommending polygamy or
    suicide, his stock would be seized by the police. These things are our
    luxuries. And with a hypocrisy so ludicrous as to be almost unparalleled
    in history, we rate the gutter-boys for their immorality at the very
    time that we are discussing (with equivocal German Professors) whether
    morality is valid at all. At the very instant that we curse the Penny
    Dreadful for encouraging thefts upon property, we canvass the
    proposition that all property is theft. At the very instant we accuse it
    (quite unjustly) of lubricity and indecency, we are cheerfully reading
    philosophies which glory in lubricity and indecency. At the very instant
    that we charge it with encouraging the young to destroy life, we are
    placidly discussing whether life is worth preserving.

    But it is we who are the morbid exceptions; it is we who are the
    criminal class. This should be our great comfort. The vast mass of
    humanity, with their vast mass of idle books and idle words, have never
    doubted and never will doubt that courage is splendid, that fidelity is
    noble, that distressed ladies should be rescued, and vanquished enemies
    spared. There are a large number of cultivated persons who doubt these
    maxims of daily life, just as there are a large number of persons who
    believe they are the Prince of Wales; and I am told that both classes of
    people are entertaining conversationalists. But the average man or boy
    writes daily in these great gaudy diaries of his soul, which we call
    Penny Dreadfuls, a plainer and better gospel than any of those
    iridescent ethical paradoxes that the fashionable change as often as
    their bonnets. It may be a very limited aim in morality to shoot a
    ‘many-faced and fickle traitor,’ but at least it is a better aim than to
    be a many-faced and fickle traitor, which is a simple summary of a good
    many modern systems from Mr. d’Annunzio’s downwards. So long as the
    coarse and thin texture of mere current popular romance is not touched
    by a paltry culture it will never be vitally immoral. It is always on
    the side of life. The poor—the slaves who really stoop under the
    burden of life—have often been mad, scatter-brained and cruel, but
    never hopeless. That is a class privilege, like cigars. Their drivelling
    literature will always be a ‘blood and thunder’ literature, as simple as
    the thunder of heaven and the blood of men.
     

  • ReverendRef

    We pray for a pope who is willing to listen to and learn from all of
    God’s people. We pray for a pope who will realize that in promoting
    discrimination against LGBT people, the church inflicts pain on
    marginalized people, alienates the faithful and lends moral credibility
    to reactionary political movements across the globe.

    We all know about Fred’s tendency to use Acts 10 (Peter’s vision from God of clean/unclean) as a basis for welcoming LGBT into the Church.  I believe that is a proper reading of that chapter.  But at my adult ed class between services yesterday, we came across another piece of scripture that can be read that way as well.

    Since it’s Lent, we are looking at a variety of “wilderness” stories, and the one we looked at yesterday was Noah and the flood.  I pointed out that there were at least two stories wrapped up in Gen. 6 & 8, and in one of them God instructs Noah to take seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean.  A few things came out of our discussion:

    1) Noah built the ark;
    2) Noah did not close the door of the ark, God did that;
    3) God called both clean and unclean animals into the ark

    From these three points, the class determined that the story of Noah is a parable and that
    1) It is our job to build the Church;
    2) There will be a time when God puts an end to things (i.e. closes the door), but until then we must leave the doors open;
    3) The Church (the ark) needs to welcome everyone with open doors, those we deem clean and those we deem unclean, by keeping our doors open until God decides it’s time to close shop.

    My prayer is that the new pope will read the stories of Noah and Peter with the understanding that God isn’t concerned with cleanliness, but is more concerned with getting people on the boat.

  • Hexep

    Don’t think for a moment that I am not on your side, but I do have to point out – while it’s true that every animal, clean and unclean, is welcomed into the ark, the fact remains that the clean animals came in seven pairs but the unclean came in only one pair. That strikes me as being significant.

  • The_L1985

     To me, the significance is that “unclean” sorts are less likely to want to go to a place of worship in the first place. ;)

  • ReverendRef

    the fact remains that the clean animals came in seven pairs but the
    unclean came in only one pair. That strikes me as being significant.

    I think you’re right — it is significant.  But the question is, “Significant how?”  Because we are treating this as a parable, we can play around with it and come to a variety of answers.  For instance:

    Is it a proportional thing?  Were the clean and unclean animals taken aboard in proportion to the overall count of animals?  I haven’t done a count, but is it possible that the list of unclean animals totals 1/7 of clean animals?

    If it is a proportional thing, that opens up another possibility.  I’ve heard stats claiming 10% (or greater) of the population is LGBT.  Could this parable of Noah’s ark reflect welcoming that percentage of the population?

    And while that’s all fun to do, the reality is probably a little more basic:  The storyteller knew that people weren’t supposed to eat unclean animals.  Why crowd the boat with a bunch of stuff you couldn’t eat, while at the same time managing to save at least some of everything God created.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Though the storyteller overlooked the fact that at this point in the narrative, God had not yet told anyone which animals were clean and which were unclean.

    (Hm. Would the Israelites have eaten pork while in Egypt?)

  • ReverendRef

     There is that.  I have no idea if they ate pork while in Egypt.  I suppose when they complained about their food and workload, Pharaoh could have let them eat cake . . .

    **Ba-bing!

    Or not . . .

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    That reminds me of a joke about Pharaoh outlawing the Hebrew practice of eating smoked salmon when resting between tasks. Thus, ancient Egypt was the first country to promote anti-lox breaks. 

    Hello? This thing on? 

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    That reminds me of a joke about Pharaoh outlawing the Hebrew practice of eating smoked salmon when resting between tasks. Thus, ancient Egypt was the first country to promote anti-lox breaks. 

    Hello? This thing on? 

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

     

    I have no idea if they ate pork while in Egypt.  I suppose
    when they complained about their food and workload, Pharaoh could have
    let them eat cake . . .

    …as long as they baked it without straw.

    Funny that you mentioned Noah; the unclean animals on the ark came to mind in passing earlier today. (And presumably the unclean birds, if they were a category.) It strikes me that Noah can be read as subverting “Biblical” (OT-normative) moral/hygienic codes in a broader sense than that: even if the clean/unclean distinction is divinely ordained, humanity isn’t required to distinguish the two, or even told what it is.

    (Granted, Noah being I think Elohist?, the authors and audience would understand “clean” and “unclean” in Mosaic terms; but that’s anachronistic, and Mosaic law has never been understood as binding humanity in general.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Noah’s E and J, I think. I’ve got The Book of J by fuck if I remember who, and at least part of Noah is in there.

  • ReverendRef

     It strikes me that Noah can be read as subverting “Biblical”
    (OT-normative) moral/hygienic codes in a broader sense than that: even
    if the clean/unclean distinction is divinely ordained, humanity isn’t required to distinguish the two, or even told what it is.

    That’s an interesting point.  I’ll have to keep that in mind for future use.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Beer, more than likely. That’s what they gave everyone who worked on the Pyramids. 

  • Matri

    And while that’s all fun to do, the reality is probably a little more
    basic:  The storyteller knew that people weren’t supposed to eat unclean
    animals.  Why crowd the boat with a bunch of stuff you couldn’t eat,
    while at the same time managing to save at least some of everything God
    created.

    Well, the whole point of gathering the animals is to save them from extinction in the flood.

    Which kinda defeats the purpose if you eat them, wouldn’t it? :p

  • Victor

    (((the fact remains that the clean animals came in seven pairs but the unclean came in only one pair. That strikes me as being significant.)))

    Of course that’s significant and if ya ask sinner vic when he starts is future church at the four corner, he’ll tell ya that GOD only took “ONE” of each animals and that’s because they were really animal gods of this world. Why is “IT” so hard to understand NOW?

    GIVE “IT” UP sinner vic cause you’re not welcome any more in this kingdom, I mean body of mine and “I’M” warning YA to leave my 7% Jesus Cells alone so  YA better find a WAY in “Time” to do “IT” if YA can NOW?

    A little off track:
    Fred I really must be going crazy cause I read all the comments and when I came to mine “IT” was on the first page and then when “I” clicked on “ONE” of my links, long story short, “IT” never took me back there and longer story shorter, “I” found my comment on the second page will a LOT more comments to read if ya get my drift so what’s wrong? Just asking NOW!

    Go Figure! :)

    Peace

  • AnonaMiss

    Disqus has been acting up over the past week. I’ve noticed it on other blogs too.

  • Victor

    AnonaMiss (unregistered) wrote, in response to Victor: Disqus has been acting up over the past week. I’ve noticed it on other blogs too.
    Thanks for the heads UP!
    “IT” is All to blame Right NOW?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G462y-cIESI
    I hear ya! You’re funny Victor. :)

  • SisterCoyote

     Heh. I like that one – it makes me think of some smartass kid listening to the story.

    “So, following God’s instructions, Noah and his wife and sons gathered two of every animal, and then the rains began– yes, what is it?”

    “So what did they eat?”

    “What do you mean, what did they eat?”

    “They ate the harvest!”

    “What, the whole thing? How did they feed all the animals with one man’s harvest from one season and still have enough left for themselves? Mama says we’re not allowed to eat the whole harvest even when it looks like there’s extra in case one of the ewes has an extra–”

    “They also ate some of the animals.”

    “But if there was only two of each, how did they keep from eating the m–”

    “So, following God’s instructions, Noah and his wife and sons gathered two of every animal except the clean animals, of which they gathered seven, and then the rains began. Satisfied?”

    “Are you sure that’s what happened?”

    “AND SO, FOR FORTY DAYS…”

  • Brenda

    Reverend,
    That is beautiful. I think I’m going to cry. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
    Brenda – who usually lurks because she is not nearly as witty as the rest of you!

  • stardreamer42

    The first article appears to be gone. But based on the quoted material herein, it was describing one of the great fallacies of the Right — the assumption that the extraordinary should be ordinary. That an inspirational story should be inspirational, not to move us to make it more possible for everyone to achieve such things, but as an example of how, if one does not achieve despite hardships, one is simply not trying hard enough and therefore does not deserve achievement at all. 

  • Hexep

    I think that’s the gist of it. Inspirational stories have happy endings, which suggest that things worked out fine – and yet the whole impetus here is to show that things are not working out fine, that things need to be changed.
    Now, a very gifted storyteller could craft a story that does both; it shows some small victory by the forces of righteousness, or even a great one, such to the point that it shows that while the forces of darkness are yet still a danger (and thus create the imperative to do something), these small victories show that the ultimate victory is, in the long run, still possible (thus being inspirational.)

    But this is a master-level technique. I consider myself one of the finest storytellers I’ve ever met, and even I approach such a double-ended moral with great timidity. It is not easy to get right.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    Working link for “Why I Stopped Telling” http://accidentaldevotional.com/2013/02/19/why-i-stopped-telling/

    EDIT – Ack, she only cross posted like 3 paragraphs, nevermind

  • Madhabmatics

     That’s only a part of it unfortunately.

  • AnonaMiss

    To me the non-pology/guilty pleasure label is useful primarily when you want to say you enjoy something but don’t want to endorse it – it’s an acknowledgement that your enjoyment of the work comes from the way your personal experiences and tastes interact with the work, rather than from the work itself. 

    Suppose for example that you meet someone who enjoys Manos, the Hands of Fate unironically and without the commentary – maybe ze grew up in that part of the country, and the long driving scenes with panoramas of flat desert remind hir of home. Maybe Torgo’s odd manner of speech is similar to the one hir older brother used for his half-orc barbarian, and that makes her smile. Describing Manos as a guilty pleasure would be that person acknowledging that the movie is objectively a pile of faults, but that ze enjoys it anyway. That has a very different meaning from simply saying that ze enjoyed Manos, and is a world away from saying Manos is a good movie. 
    But yeah, if you’re honestly apologizing about your personal tastes, rather than using an apologetic sentence structure to communicate your acknowledgement that your taste is unusual, you may have some issues you want to work through.

  • stardreamer42

    Something I found elseNet that I think the community here will enjoy:
    http://mslorelei.tumblr.com/post/43998791289/you-were-hungry-and-thirsty-so-i-eliminated 

  • Worthless Beast

    There was a thread on a fan forum I go to all about Guilty Pleasures.  I divided my “Guilty Pleasures” into a list of what the world thinks I *should* feel guilty over but honestly, really don’t, and a list of things I do actually feel a bit guilty for.

    I don’t feel guilty for being in my thirties and loving animation (sometimes animation from the Thirties at that).  I also enjoy the music of U2 and don’t really care what the Internet thinks.  However, I do feel guilty after every time I step into a Teavana because I wind up paying good money for good tea (it feels exhorbitant), and I feel a bit guilty when I go fishing because, while I love the primal sense of it all, I do feel sorry for the fish I kill to eat. (Do it as quickly and cleanly as possible). 

    I’m ashamed of my former Left Behind fandom, but, eh, even something good came out of that because I can understand the riffing here. 

    By the way, in case everyone’s jumped ship on an earlier thread, a “Trixie” wanted to see an old shame short story of mine.  I found it and posted it:  http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2013/02/old-shame-by-request.html 

    A girl left alone after the Rapture.  She thinks the whole thing might be an alien conspiracy.  She just wants her family back.

  • The_L1985

     That’s actually not bad.

  • AnonaMiss

    Worthless Beast, as one beggar to another, you should seriously check out http://www.sevencups.com . Their prices are the best I’ve seen for loose leaf tea, even before dipping into the bargain bin; and I will personally vouch for their quality, because between myself and the big Catholic group I used to  quality is excellent. For the free trade-concerned, they’re exceptionally transparent with their sourcing, as they host small tours of China’s tea country when they go over every year to choose what to import that year.

    They’re also lovely people: at their physical location they hold free tea tastings on Fridays, which come with mini-lessons on the differences between the varieties and what growing conditions & preparation techniques cause them; and except during the tea tastings, they always give free refills, whether you’re having an excessive Israel vs Palestine debate, or swearing under your breath at the stupid C compiler for hours.

    Not that, you know, I was ever guilty of disturbing the atmosphere like that.

  • AnonaMiss

    …damn my editing. *Between myself and the big Catholic group I used to go to the tastings with, we tried pretty much everything they had over the course of 2-3 years and it was always great.

  • The_L1985

     As a fellow tea lover, I’m bearing that in mind myself. :)

  • Fusina

     And you got more emotion into that short story than was in the entire Left Behind series. I liked it. And I’m not gonna be embarrassed about that.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Well, a better reason for feeling guilty for stepping into Teavana is that they are now part of the Starbucks Borg.  (And this not long after Teavana had bought out Teopia, a similar Canadian chain.)

    Fortunately, there’s still David’s Tea (even if they do go a bit more New-Ageish than I would like), The Republic of Tea, Distinctly Tea, and more local Toronto places like The Tea Emporium and House of Tea.

    Yeah, you can tell I’m a bit of a tea fanatic, can’t you?

  • Victor

    Fred me, myself and i  know nothing about all of this stuff butt sinner vic says that he and his spiritual reality smart cells can sum “IT” All UP by taking these titled  “Why I Stopped Telling” ,  “Prayers for Benedict, Hopes for His Successor” ,  “New Pope? I’ve Given Up Hope” ,   “Raise That Wage” ,  “Stop Apologizing for What You Like to Read” and putting them on The so called chapel they created here in the pass and say a few Chapelet if ya get “ME” “ME” and “ME” drifting on NOW?

    STOP “IT” sinner vic before some “ONE” really does decide to put U>S (usual sinner) under and then we’ll need to “Undergo” a LOT of things that we might not enjoy NOW! :(

    Don’t worry “Bout “IT” Victor!

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18142394&postID=4869191338125486705

    Easy for YA,, sinner vic, to say NOW!

    Really Victor just listen to what we have to say below NOW!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc-N1F2j4rg

    Anything else YA want to say before my 7% Jesus Cells shut YA down so called YA WAY NOW?

    Well NOW that you mentioned “IT”!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYtkL4Svk-I

    Go Figure! :)

    Peace

  • Fusina

    Met up with the Fundymum yesterday for snacks and suchlike, and in spite of me not bringing up controversial subjects, a discussion about the government got started. Found out she disapproves of minimum wage laws. Also something about Obama going on vacation and taking bodyguards along. Hadn’t heard about that, so didn’t comment, also didn’t really comment on minimum wage. For reference, she is in her seventies, and thinks both social security and medicare should be dissolved…since one is her medical plan and the other is her income… I dunno what I could have said, other than, “You don’t have to use medicare, you could get your own insurance, and you could send the social security check back to the government.” Didn’t feel like going there. So I didn’t. And yes, she watches Fox News. She loved Glenn Beck. 

  • Lori

    Also something about Obama going on vacation and taking bodyguards along.   

    As opposed to what? Going on vacation without the Secret Service? Or maybe as opposed to manly man GOP Presidents who don’t need no stinkin’ SS because they’ve got a concealed carry permit and they’re not afraid to use it? Neither of those things makes any sense whatsoever.

    The constant complaining about the Obama’s vacations is truly one of the weirder forms of Right wing whackadoo-ism. He’s POTUS, the SS goes everywhere with him. As they have done for all his predecessors, for over a century now.  It’s possible that Obama has a somewhat larger SS detail than some other presidents have had, but if so that’s only because of the number of Right wing asshats who threaten to kill him and/or his family.

    My parents were complaining about this recently and I about had to bite off the end of my tongue to keep from being really rude about it. After Shrub, complaining about presidential vacation time should be totally off limits to Republicans for at least another decade.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    IIRC not jus compared to Shrub, compared to practically all presidents in living memory (say, JFK on), Obama has taken the least vacations. They really like to make hay out of his vacationing in Hawaii, though, since it’s more glamorous than Bush II’s little town in Texas. 

  • Cathy W

    That started even before he was elected – he took a break from the 2008 campaign to visit his grandmother, who was in ill health at the time, and Cokie Roberts was on NPR talking about how maybe he should vacation somewhere less exotic…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, like John McCain never went to the Panama fucking Canal.

  • Fusina

     Don’t you mean, born in Panama? ;-) This one goes out to all you silly, silly birthers (cough, coughdonaldtrumpcough cough) out there regarding birthplaces, not to mention that parental citizenship is also a factor, in that the child of a US citizen is conferred citizenship at birth regardless of birthplace. God, those arguments made me crazy. I mean, if there was actually anything to them, I am pretty sure that Obama would not have been allowed to campaign, so the whole thing was just a smoke screen to hide something else–and the usual suspect in nefarious deeds involving smoke screens usually is the one dispensing said screen.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     You know, it just gave more fodder to the birthers. Apparently at some point, Congress passed a resolution explicitly declaring John McCain specifically to be native-born, which the birthers take as evidence that McCain, and by extension Obama, wouldn’t have been otherwise.

  • P J Evans

    Apparently at some point, Congress passed a resolution

    Actually, as I understand it,  it was before McCain was running – there were a lot of people born in the Canal Zone in the 30s, and Congress wanted to make sure it was clear they were citizens.
    (I ran into a case last week where a woman was naturalized at 65: she’d been born in Canada to parents who were US citizens, and the family returned to the US before she was 8 years old.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think they don’t grasp how their actions still look like hypocrisy. They should’ve been demanding McCain’s birth certificate, and just for completeness, Biden’s, too.

  • JustoneK

    The impression I keep getting (living quite deep in Rightwingworld) is that as a POTUS who keeps screwing up like EVERYTHING, he shouldn’t be taking vacations at all, much less spending time with his family and using gubment resources via the SS while there.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, that’s what I hear. I’m told that my mother got just as annoyed when Bush went on vacation, but I’m told so by my mother, who may well be rewriting her memories so as not to know she’s a hypocrite.

  • Fusina

     I did mention something about all the death threats. She alleges she has not heard about them. Didn’t have any details to hand so dropped it aside from mentioning that SS go with sitting Presidents as a matter of course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.paxton.94 Susan Paxton

    You should have said that. We need to not tolerate this, even from our own.

  • Fusina

     I have, on other occasions. I’m pretty sure she knows by now how I feel, so there is a possibility that bringing it up, yet again, was just a ploy to get me to go off. I am trying to quit doing pointless activities, so didn’t. But it did get me down, so I whinged a bit here. Y’all are, regardless of religious persuasion, very liberal in the monetary sense, so I can blow off some steam here and get sympathy. She will not, I don’t think, change, and doesn’t see the hypocrisy in using medicare while being against a single payer health care system–she complains about how expensive medicare is but I doubt she has any idea how expensive everything has gotten. This reminded me of when, mid eighties, I was attempting to find an apartment I could afford. The cheapest one bedroom apartments were something like 550/month. I was making minimum wage, which was $5/hour. I couldn’t afford rent, and food, and telephone, and electric, and insurance, and gasoline to get to my job, and she couldn’t understand why I didn’t find a cheaper apartment. My parents were still paying on their mortgage at the time, and their payment had ballooned up to $200/month what with all the taxes etc… that were included. She is clueless, and probably will remain so.

  • LoneWolf343

    Unless you like Twilight, but you probably don’t have shame enough to apologize, anyway.

  • vsm

    I thought the plot twist in the last movie was very cleverly executed, even if it created a bit of a plothole. I also liked the locations, the body horror, some of the performances and Meyer’s courage in finally doing away with the ridiculous Weimar Germany crap about sunlight killing vampires. I haven’t read any of the novels yet so I can’t comment on them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Sunlight vs. Vamps == Weimar Germany? This sounds interesting. Please explain?

  • vsm

    Sunlight being fatal to vampires was apparently invented in F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic Nosferatu. In Stoker’s novel, Dracula has no trouble walking outside during the day, though he couldn’t use all of his powers. The same applies to J. Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, if memory serves.

  • The_L1985

     Dracula could walk outside during the day, but newly-vamped Lucy couldn’t.  In the novel, Van Helsing even describes sunlight as “the light of God” as a way of explaining why sunlight would hurt a vampire.

  • vsm

    Vampires don’t seem to like the sun in Dracula, but is it ever suggested its light could be fatal to one? I tried to look up “light of God” in the text, but it doesn’t seem to be there.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Even Twilight puts you ahead of the game. A large number of people NEVER READ ANYTHING they don’t absolutely have to.

  • LoneWolf343

     I have to give you that one.

  • Worthless Beast

    AnnoaMiss:  I’ll have to try to remember that site. It looks yummy.  Ever since I discovered loose leaf tea I buy a lot from Teavanna, but also Mom & Pop stores. Sadly, the one within walking distance of my apartment was replaced some time ago with a New Age shop. (I don’t think they sell tea).  I try not to spend too much on luxuries like that.  Ironically, I kind of can now that my Disability kicked in.  Of the Christmas gifts I got this year, the one that’s seeing the most use is the cast iron teapot – even more use than the handheld videogame system!

    To everyone who’s been reading my goofy little story: Thanks.  I was actually surprised by it myself when I re-read it last night… I was just so focused on what it was initially inspired by I forgot I’m actually somewhat decent with a pen…I guess. I think my character could have been fleshed out more.   I find that I have a habit of “leaving things mysterious” in my stories rather giving anyone straight answers – also, a love of graveyards. o_0.

  • Fusina

     For me at least, it rang true. The distress over the opened graves, and wondering about the missing people–you built a world and it was good.

  • arcseconds

    I’m a little bit… nonplussed? that’s possibly a little strong, can’t think of a better word… by the way the discussion about Fight Club is being framed.

    To me, it’s though I wandered into a discussion about and action flick and found the hero being described as a psychopathic and dangerously unhinged mass murderer, and derided for not allowing the law to handle it/following correct procedure/phoning in for backup, and wondering whether after the movie he’s going to be arrested and made to pay for his crimes, or be dishonorably discharged, or have to do an eternity of paperwork.  Also, how is this relationship with the heroine really going to turn out when they don’t really know one another, don’t have anything in common, and only got together under highly unusual and stressfull circumstances (at least for her)?  Is she really going to stick with him through the inevitable PST?

    It’s not that this approach doesn’t have some kind of a point, and maybe that’s the way truly decent people really ought to react to an action film.  It’s certainly the way decent people ought to react to someone doing this kind of thing in real life.

    But it’s also sort of missing the point.

    An action film, like most films, is really a fantasy film.  It’s a world of moral certainy, where  the good guy really is good and really does know who the bad guys are and where it’s possible for him to take them out through his wits, determination, and his massive handgun. It’s a world where at least in this case proper procedure really does prevent justice from being done.   It’s a world where collateral deaths and PST don’t exist.

    I’m not claiming Fight Club should be read as an action film. But there are similarities, and I don’t think approaching it with “what would we think of this if it happened in real life” works any better than doing this with an action film. 

    I think we’re supposed to kind of root for Tyler Durdan, to think he’s kinda awesome and compelling — and, sure, maybe be horrified by him too.  Just like Jack does — in many ways, he’s a stand-in for us.  I don’t think we’re supposed to treat blowing up the banks as terrorism, any more than we’re supposed to treat shooting all the bad guys as mass murder.   I think we’re supposed to buy the story that that they’ve made it so there aren’t any deaths (just like an action film), and while again we might have a sharp intake of breath at the audacity and extremism of the plan, I think we’re also supposed to engage in the fantasy of blowing up capitalism, along the same lines as we’re supposed to engage in the fantasy of the villain getting his comeuppance by being thrown off a building in a fist-fight with the action hero.

    (one reason I have for thinking this is how we’re supposed to see it is that there are several times in the movie when you think Tyler is going to topple off the moral precipice into being a monster, but it turns out he’s not.   )

  • vsm

     The reason we are able to shrug off Arnold or Sylvester’s body counts is
    that they’re presented as killing evil people in either self-defence or
    to protect the innocent, which is something American culture tends to approve of. Action film endings usually also give us a
    pretty good idea of what happens next, usually meaning the restoration of the family. In contrast, Fight Club is about overthrowing the social order via bombing, historically a somewhat less popular notion in America. The ending does suggest fulfilment in a heterosexual union, but we have no idea what happens after the buildings explode. This being such an unconventional story for Hollywood, I think it deserves a bit more consideration than an almost ritualized action film. It’s just a bit difficult to know where to go with it, it being a fantasy.

    I think we are meant to consider Project Mayhem terrorism. The film itself uses the word “terrorist” twice, both times in relation to Jack/Tyler*. They’re also reminiscent of Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber, the faces of 90’s explosives-based domestic terrorism. As you suggest, Fight Club doesn’t quite embrace the same ethos, but it does flirt with it. It’s horribly irresponsible, but I’m still kind of fascinated.

    Incidentally, I think the Matrix could also fit our alienated Hollywood before 9/11 theme. Morpheus describes the Matrix as “that feeling you have had all
    your life. That feeling that
    something was wrong with the
    world. You don’t know what it is
    but it’s there, like a splinter in
    your mind, driving you mad,
    driving you to me.”

    *See the script at http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Fight-Club.html

  • arcseconds

    Oh, I certainly think it deserves a lot of consideration :]

    But I don’t think it’s giving it the kind of consideration it deserves to say “it’s a film about an evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up high-rises”. 

    Again, it’s not so much that that description is inaccurate, it’s just that it kind of misses everything interesting about the movie.   People aren’t quite saying exactly this, but they’re saying things that are sounding quite a bit like it.

    Actually, action films often deserve more consideration than you’re suggesting we should give them, too.  Clint Eastwood films spring to mind as an example, and in particular I think The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and High Plains Drifter could offer some profitable comparisons to Fight Club.

    By ‘we’re not supposed to consider it terrorism’, I really mean we’re not supposed to respond to it as we would in the real world, which would be to immediately put it into the ‘unjustifiable evil’ basket.  Just as we’re not supposed to react to Riggs as we really would to a cop who apparently has mental issues, who routinely ignores procedure and orders, and who prefers shooting to negotiation, or Blondie as we really would to an armed robber who kills in cold blood (if Blondie, Tucow, and Angeleyes were real people, on the loose in your area, we wouldn’t be interested in the fine distinctions that distinguish Blondie from the other two, which are kind of the whole point of the film).   That’s not to say that we’re supposed to think of Tyler Durdan, Riggs, or Blondie as good, wholesome people that we’d like as a next-door neighbour or be happy for our sister to date, either — they’re supposed to be dangerous and transgressive figures.

    I’ve already suggested that we read the  blowing up of the banks as action-film fantasy, i.e.  ‘you don’t like capitalism/bad guys, right? The real world is kind of frustrating and boring with its general elections and occupy movements/police procedure, due process and legal trials, right?  Even though in the real world you might admit it wouldn’t be good to do it any other way, part of you really wants to smash something, right?  So here you go: your fantasy about having them decked over by Our Hero for your viewing pleasure’

    Another way we could read it is as a potted ethical problem.  Given that the film’s premise that late 20th century capitalism is alienating, suffocating and soul-destroying for the very people that look like they’re benefiting most.  Assume you can destroy capitalism, or at least strike it a severe blow, by blowing up some banks.  You can arrange it so no-one gets killed in the process.  Is it right to blow up those banks?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I guess we disagree about Tyler’s role in the story. You’re comparing him here to the heroes (even if they are antiheroes) of other movies, but I don’t view him as the hero of Fight Club but the antagonist. He’s the houseguest that won’t leave, the seemingly great idea that ends up backfiring, the Frankenstein’s monster that can’t be controlled- and that, in my opinion, is how the movie presents him. He serves the same basic function as Tom Cruise in Collateral (a movie with a lot of similarities to Fight Club and another favorite of mine).

    I think the film asks us to answer your ethical question by judging Project Mayhem as both inadequate and hypocritical. These people aren’t against capitalism because it is exploitative or evil; they are not fighting for the poor or marginalized; they oppose capitalism because they have allowed it to make them passive and depressed with their lives. Fight Club serves a useful and important purpose in providing them an outlet and method for taking back their identity and individuality. Project Mayhem, on the other hand, is their sense of entitlement (hinted at in all their lamentations about their generation and their fathers and the undercurrent of misogyny running through their “castration” anxieties) given an outlet by their newfound confidence. Against the narrator’s will and to his horror, they decide that choosing another path is not good enough; giving people another option is not sufficient; instead, society must be coerced and the system that they let themselves be deadened by must fall. They abdicate personal responsibility and with it the personal identity they worked so hard to recapture (as the Narrator tries to show them in the “His name was Robert Paulson” scene).

    For related thoughts, here’s a Fight Club essay I like from Jim Emerson:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19991025/EDITOR/40828001/1023

  • vsm

    I think the interesting thing about Fight Club is that it’s a film about a violent fascist cult leader and terrorist that we sort of end up rooting for. I think your reading of the film as a wish-fulfilment fantasy is correct, but isn’t it interesting they chose this particular character as our fulfiller? You don’t need to be a fascist longing for the days of proper masculinity to blow up credit card companies; If it was only about that, they could have just as well used a leftist anarchist as Jack’s alter ego, or rewritten the script until it was about a socialist revolution.

     I didn’t mean to imply action films don’t deserve analysis, especially if we include westerns. Rather, I don’t think contextualizing them in the real world is nearly as interesting as with Fight Club, because its ideas are so far from the mainstream. Saying John Wayne’s default character would likely be a Republican in the real world is hardly shocking information, but placing Tyler Durden in the context of fascist ideology and domestic terrorism can be a bit more revealing.
    it’s a ilm about an evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist
    paramilitary cult which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation
    and blows up high-rises”.  – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    about an
    evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult
    which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up
    high-rises”. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/comment-page-1/#comment-377544
    about an
    evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult
    which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up
    high-rises”. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/comment-page-1/#comment-377544
    about an
    evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult
    which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up
    high-rises”.  – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/comment-page-1/#comment-377544
    about an
    evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult
    which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up
    high-rises”.  – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/comment-page-1/#comment-377544
    about an
    evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult
    which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up
    high-rises”. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/comment-page-1/#comment-377544
    about an
    evil, mentally disturbed man who runs a violent facist paramilitary cult
    which eventually turns into a terrorist organisation and blows up
    high-rises”. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/comment-page-1/#comment-377544

  • vsm

    Disqus hates us all today, it seems. Please ignore everything after the word “revealing”.

  • Lee B.

     Disqus hates everyone, always and forever.  It’s just having trouble hiding it today.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Despite having a different take on certain elements of the film, I do think your reading is fair, and that ambiguity is one of the reasons I think that Fight Club lends itself to analysis more than the average film of any genre, not just the average action film.

  • AnonaMiss

    The first link is back up, btw.

  • Sereganor

    Hexep,
    Maybe if you read a little less of what you’ve been reading, or smoked a little less of whatever you’ve been smoking, you’d be able to articulate your points more concisely, instead of spewing verbiage that alienates the very readers you’re trying to impress.
     

  • Carstonio

    I’m not ruling out the possibility that Hexep’s two posts on the subject were an extended joke, like a pastiche of H.K. Menchen or another writer equally misantrophic.

  • Madhabmatics

     If that’s the case, Hexep needs to find another form of comedy, because he is terrible at satire.

  • Isabel C.

    @hexep:disqus : Fuck right off and die, you pretentious, worthless little dickwaffle. You don’t deserve a more thoughtful answer than that. 

    In general: on the one hand, I read and write romances, so genre snobbery certainly–and obviously, as above–pisses me off. I will certainly mock *bad* writing, and I can’t say with all honesty that I wouldn’t give a little side-eye to someone who was really enthusiastic about their love for Da Vinci Code or Phantom Menace, because…really? 

    But there’s a whole big spectrum between High Art and Bad Writing, and most things fall pretty solidly in the middle: they have good points and bad points, and you can go either way. There’s also, as mentioned here, the difference between liking something while recognizing its issues and really believing that it’s awesome in every way. And, of course, there’s a difference between a work that’s just badly done and one that’s actively bigoted or harmful.
    So: judging other people for their reading material is *generally* a dick move, but I absolutely reserve the right to avoid anyone who says that his favorite book is The Fountainhead. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It could be worse.

    His favorite could be Anthem, which is written like an extremely turgid and mind-numbing children’s primer.

  • arcseconds

    Anthem is my favourite :-)

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I read Hexep’s post and thought “them’s fightin’ words”, especially since I knew you write romances. But even though I read all across the entire spectrum, that still doesn’t – counter to Hexep’s theory – give me anything close to the level of eloquence required to properly dissect their post (now, set me down in front of *any* computer language and I can write stuff that has you swooning in appreciation).

    In Steven Brust’s Issola there’s a scene where Lady Teldra explains to Vlad that there are times when a polite gracious reply is appropriate, and times where a simple “fuck off” is better. This is the latter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    So: judging other people for their reading material is *generally* a
    dick move, but I absolutely reserve the right to avoid anyone who says
    that his favorite book is The Fountainhead.

     “There are two novels that can change a
    bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas
    Shrugged
    . One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong
    obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally
    stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real
    world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ― John Rogers

  • Madhabmatics

    The only funny thing in that post is that it is an extended, angst-ridden screed that is all about how if you are a person living a normal life instead of working in experimental tech at Google you are worthless, and then it ends with “That’s probably why you aren’t persuasive.”

  • Madhabmatics

    Let me tell you how to persuade people: Telling them they are dumb, their lives aren’t worth anything, and they should just lay down and die. That is how you persuade people,

  • cyllan

    Oh good; Isabel C. got here before I did.  What she said. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Incidentally, since we’re on criticism of Obama – you know how all those right-wingers are fulminating about the liberal media ad nauseam?

    Proof: The press was far more fawning over Dubya Bush.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    I confess: I actually kind of enjoyed Twilight.  It’s like cotton candy: fluffy, no nutritional value, no subtlety of taste, and melts instantly in your mouth.  But sometimes that’s the sort of thing I’m in the mood for.  By no means would I claim it’s a good book, but it entertained me.

    The rest of the series pretty  much plunged downhill from there (and it was never a very high hill to begin with), but I read it anyway because I wanted to know what everyone was talking about.

    But of course I’m in my 30’s and know perfectly well that in real life men who act like Edward and Jacob (especially Edward) are not good men to be involved with, and that as important as good spousehood and parenthood is, in real life it’s desirable for women to have other interests besides being a wife and mother.  For the target audience group I think the series is potentially more problematic.   (At least. I’m pretty sure Edward was meant to be appealing to the target audience, despite being a boring character.)

    *****************

    At any rate, if someone has the mental energy to always consume material that is deep and though-provoking in their spare time instead of material that’s just entertaining, go them.  I’m not one of them, though. :-)

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Even bad pop culture can have good things come out of it.  io9 had an article recently called “9 Reasons to be Grateful for Twilight” — one reason listed is that it sparked a conversation on what kind of messages teenage girls are getting.

    http://io9.com/5960015/9-reasons-to-be-grateful-for-twilight

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I hate Twilight a lot. But I have nothing against people who like it. There’s a story buried down deep in the book that’s rather compelling. 

    A ton of the Twilight hate is pure sexism. Oh, those stupid girls are so stupid; girls shouldn’t get turned on by descriptions of hot guys, ew, they might think they’re allowed to have sexual fantasies; girls are completely unable to tell fantasy from reality. There’s an underlying idea that teenage girls must be protected from themselves at all costs — and the best way to do that, of course, is to take their masturbation material away from them. 

    Every girl I knew read V.C. Andrews books when we were 12-14. None of us started thinking being raped by, and then marrying, our brothers would be peachy keen. 

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    So I’m not the only one who uses the V.C. Andrews comparison!

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I see people use it all the time :). And it’s hardly only her — ever since girls started reading lots of novels centuries ago, people have been rending their garments and gnashing their teeth over how horrible said novels supposedly were for girls to be reading. They wanted girls to read sermons every night before they went to bed, not novels in which young women were placed in dangerous situations with sexy, likely dangerous men.

  • Daughter

     Oh yeah, I read VC Andrews, too!

    I have heard some refer to Catherine Morland, the gothic romance novel-loving heroine of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey as a “proto-Twihard.” So yes, this criticism of young girls’ reading habits is a centuries-old trend.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     “A ton of the Twilight hate is pure sexism. Oh, those stupid girls are so stupid; girls shouldn’t get turned on by descriptions of hot guys, ew, they might think they’re allowed to have sexual fantasies; girls are completely unable to tell fantasy from reality.  There’s an underlying idea that teenage girls must be protected from themselves at all costs — and the best way to do that, of course, is to take their masturbation material away from them.”

    Really?  Because that’s not the Twilight hate I’ve seen at all. 

    I agree with Invisible Neutrino — the problem is that stalking and behaviors that IRL are warning signs of a potential abuser are being portrayed as the way to tell that a man is truly, deeply in love with you.  And I’d like to think that everyone knows that’s just a fantasy and not true IRL — men and women both — but I think the statistics on abusive relations tend not to bear that out.

    Likewise, I’d like to think that everyone knows that in real life, wifehood and motherhood isn’t necessarily the ONLY thing that women should aspire to in life, and that having a baby can be wonderful but isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all of every woman’s life.  (This is also a recurring theme of the books.)  But again, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

    I’ve never read VC Andrews, but I think that “Men just try to control you because they love you and want to protect you,”  “Following a woman around is a sign that a man is in love,” and “Hey, why would a woman go to college when she could get married and be a mother?” are memes that are still floating around society in a way that “Women should want to get raped by their brothers and then marry them!” isn’t.

    Also the fact that it’s badly written and all the characters are boring as all get-out, of course.  Actually, that’s the biggest Twilight hate I’ve seen, the others have just been sidelights.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Really? Because that’s not the Twilight hate I’ve seen at all.

    Lucky! I have multiple times seen people talk about wanting to beat Bella bloody… for being in an abusive relationship. I’ve seen people call Stephenie Meyer all sorts of misogynist names. I’ve seen people call Stephenie Meyer sick and twisted for being a “middle-aged woman” who wrote down her sexual fantasies. I’ve seen 14-year girls old bully other 14-year old girls online for being so “stupid” as to like the series. I have seen a few links to adults who think Edward and Bella have the perfect relationship, but you can always find people who are incredibly weird about anything on the internet. 

    The main reason I started reading and dissecting Twilight myself is that I didn’t see one single instance of anyone dissecting Twilight who did not use misogynist tropes to do so at least sometimes — except Ana Mardoll, iirc. And Ana’s great, but we come to things with very different worldviews. (Though she is the only other person I’ve seen criticize it who realizes what a scumbag Charlie is from the time he’s first introduced, rather than criticizing Bella for not worshiping her supposedly perfect daddy.) Also I had to see for myself. I didn’t realize it would be as badly written as it is, or that Bella and particularly Edward were as hateful as they are.

  • Carstonio

    I never knew that V.C. Andrews had a strong readership among middle-schoolers. All the readers I’ve met have been adult women.

    Since becoming the father of daughters, I find myself analyzing books for
    them from a feminist perspective. American Girl author Valerie Tripp
    said there weren’t enough girl-empowering books when she was that age.
    Too many stories where the boy explored the cave and the girl warned him not to go in there. (Insert your own Freudian symbolism joke here.)

    I agree that it’s silly to imagine girl readers of Andrews marrying their
    brothers. But if the books used sexist assumptions to define their
    female characters (and I don’t know if they do), I think that’s a
    justifiable concern as a parent, only because of the staggering
    pervasiveness of such assumptions in the larger culture. We’ve
    discouraged our kids from watching many reality shows because of the
    attitudes toward women. Instead of directly forbidding these, we stress
    the ugliness of those attitudes.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The books used sexist assumptions to define all their characters. And we knew it. They were soapy sexy over-the-top drama. Also, sex. 

    We knew what the books were. But they were Gothic romances with massive emphasis on sex, but without lots of explicit sex scenes, and those have always, and I think will always, pull young teenage girls in. The stuff we were “supposed” to read didn’t drip of sex danger sex danger sex danger sex. I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path.

    Also, until people start flipping out at popular comic books, movies, or anything else for their horrible, sexist portrayals of everyone as much as they flip out at Twilight, I will keep saying: it’s a double standard based on the idea that girls need to be protected from their own sexuality. Also, the idea that girls need to be the ones doing everything about sexism and abusive relationships, but boys get to keep having their fantasies and not working on these things at all.

  • Carstonio

    Damned right about the sexism in the books targeted at boys. Comics have gotten worse about this in the last few years, with the female heroes reduced to eye candy even further than before. Really infuriating when the apologists for this insist that critics are shaming female sexuality. A few times I’ve reread books from my childhood and realized how patronizing these were toward their female characters – back then it was probably like a fish not noticing that its environment is water.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    The stuff
    we were “supposed” to read didn’t drip of sex danger sex danger sex
    danger sex. I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and
    danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but
    ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
     “I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path.”

    In that it has a lot of sexism, a little bit of danger, and almost no sex? 

    Maybe one of us was reading the wrong books as a preteen, but the ones I remember reading had a lot less sexism and a lot more sex. :-)
    The stuff
    we were “supposed” to read didn’t drip of sex danger sex danger sex
    danger sex. I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and
    danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but
    ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    The stuff
    we were “supposed” to read didn’t drip of sex danger sex danger sex
    danger sex. I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and
    danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but
    ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    The stuff
    we were “supposed” to read didn’t drip of sex danger sex danger sex
    danger sex. I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and
    danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but
    ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    The stuff
    we were “supposed” to read didn’t drip of sex danger sex danger sex
    danger sex. I think we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and
    danger without having the sexism, in novels though not much else — but
    ironically, I think Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    I think
    we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and danger without having
    the sexism, in novels though not much else — but ironically, I think
    Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    I think
    we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and danger without having
    the sexism, in novels though not much else — but ironically, I think
    Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread
    I think
    we’re heading towards stuff that has the sex and danger without having
    the sexism, in novels though not much else — but ironically, I think
    Twilight is one step on that path. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/25/smart-people-saying-smart-things-87/#disqus_thread

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I guess a related criticism could be that authors feel it is a normal thing to present stalkerish behavior (like Edward hanging out in Bella’s bedroom without so much as a by-your-leave) in fiction rather than showing that it is actually A Problem.

    That ties into how Western culture has presented male-female interactions generally, with persistence in a man “winning over” the reluctant woman, and off the happy couple go into the sunset.

    In that respect one could say that Meyer’s writing is more descriptive than prescriptive.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I’ve always been fond of the Calvin & Hobbes/Fight Club theory: http://ignatz.brinkster.net/cfightclub.html


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