Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

I've moved!

I've moved!
If you .... read this... which would be Connor only (hi Connor!). But still.

I'm now here.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Twilight is like Brain Cancer

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. A lot of fangirls (read: ALL fangirls) seem to think that if you hate something (really only if you hate Twilight, whereas they're entirely okay with hating, say, Jacob*) you should leave it be and not say anything that might be construed as vaguely logical or critical. But I disagree, especially when something this popular (how many copies have been sold again? Oh right - millions) is so absolutely terrible, and such a terrible influence on its primary demographic. I'm not going to go into a long, detailed criticism of everything bad about Twilight. I can paraphrase: Edward is abusive, Bella is, for lack of a better word, a 'ussy'*****, Jacob is a borderline rapist, the whole thing reeks of mysogyny (veritable servitude and unyielding passivity, anyone? We're having a special in honor of "I Hate Strong Women Week"), the plot is vacationing in Iceland the entire time, it eloped with logic, reasonable dialogue got so depressed it committed suicide, it's painfully obvious no care or research went into it, and the writing is less impressive than a love-starved psuedo-pubescent teenybopper's fantasy journal. But I most certainly WILL go on some kind of almost organized diatribe on how Twilight is killing brains, and we're hard up for a cure. In other words, TWILIGHT IS BRAIN CANCER.::clears throat:The primary demographic of Twilight, and the following books New Moon, Eclipse, and the soon-to-be-released Breaking Dawn, is girls, ages about twelve and up. It's no great secret that girls this age are being pumped with more and more idealisms and romanticisms - cute couples on Disney channel, awkward first kisses on Nick, coupling all over the place in movies and books and television. However, they're also just coming into a realization of their own sexuality, if you will (especially the older ages). Boys (and girls, I suppose) are no longer just naughty, dirty beings to be scoffed at, scowled at, and ignored - they're now to be desired. And this is the very reason why the "romantic" literature let into these girls' hands should be so closely monitered- and why I'm so terribly worried about the popularity of Twilight.As a pubescent girl, I feel safe saying that being a girl and coming to terms with your "sexuality" (if you will) may just be harder than coming to terms with it as a teenage boy. At least in Western culture, boys are expected (hell, they're practically encouraged) to lust and experiment and pursue, to fantasize and made crude innuendos and objectify the desired sex. They're raised in an environment that allows them full range to want, sexually speaking, and they're taught that girls, unlike them, do not want. It's a notion that permeates all parts of society: the essential idea that men will pursue and women will be pursued. But this, like most of society's notions, is almost entirely incorrect. Girls think about sex. They fantasize and they imagine and they ponder and they consider and they want. They're just not expected to, which creates a kind of unnoticed repression that often finds its only outlet in idolisation of various public figures - they could be pop stars (The Jonas Brothers are a good example), actors (Orlando Bloom, anyone?), comedians (I love Julian Barratt myself), or even fictional characters. And here come the fangirls.Fangirls are a curious social phenomena (non?). They are the recognisable face of overblown, undiluted devotion - they take a fairly common emotion, love/adoration/etc., and ramp it up to extremes. That's how Twilight got such a strong following in the first place, I think - it struck a chord with its primary demographic (teenage girls), because of a main character (Edward Cullen) that represents a perfect opportunity for idol worship.But where does sexual repression come in? Well, I'll tell you (!) You see, Edward is presented as the perfect boy. He's a gentleman, he's romantic, he's gorgeous, he's ethical, he's considerate, he's intelligent, he's hardworking - or so Bella (our faithful and witless narrator) says. Because the series is written entirely in first person (thus subjecting its audience to 1.5 thousand pages of pure, undiluted brain torture), all things are filtered through Bella's unintelligent and extremely prejudiced brain. That's how, without a careful reading (and really - most of the targeted audience of Twilight don't read things carefully unless they have something to lose. Let's be perfectly honest), Edward is the perfect man. And he's timeless - he'll be young and physically flawless for absolute eternity, and he's damn near invulnerable. Hooray! How convenient! But he's empty - I mean, with the same careless reading, there isn't anything wrong with Edward (looking back and thinking about the text reveals that he is, in fact, an abusive boyfriend, but that's another rant for another time), but he's terribly flat and absolutely static. He never changes, he never grows. He never makes a mistake, but he never learns - he's kind of stuck in this eternal limbo of flawless stagnation, thus making him the perfect vessel into which impressionable, romantically frustrated (oh yes, another thing Mr. Cullen is: everything that your typical American boy is not), pubescent girls can pour their sexual frustrations. They are suddenly dissipated as individuals and are absorbed into Bella, loyalling linking limbs with their fellow cultists-er, Twilight fans. Then we get into fangirl territory (those are murky waters), and into the deeply disturbing depths we find absolute, ridiculous fanaticism (such as girls saying that Edward is their imaginary (or even their real) boyfriend, and sooner or later he'll ditch Bella and come ravish them). And even beyond how silly it all is, it's just...deeply unsettling. I mean, these books are serving as a kind of new religion for its followers - its kind of the way they define themselves and their lives, how they gauge potential romantic interests and relationships. It's infiltrating their minds, affecting how they make decisions and what books they read and etc. And these books are TERRIBLE influence - an abusive, and absolutely unrealistic******, relationship, borderline rape, stalking, recklessness, sexism, passivity, and isolation are all completely romanticised in these books. BORDERLINE RAPE. Well, Jacob threatens to kill himself if Bella doesn't love him, and then forces his mouth on her mouth and it's all very scandalous and just bad.This is a terrible influence for millions of young teenage girls - what's worse is that it's going to cheat millions of people out of actually rewarding relationships because of these bullshit expectations formed by "omfggorgeiousperfectsparklyvampireboyfriendLOVEedwardcullen!!!!!!!!" I don't suppose anything I've been ranting about has made any sense, but I'll summarise quickly: Young girls are reading Twilight and seeing it as a kind of strange beacon of joy and love, while really they only like it because they don't have any actual, fulfilling hormonal outlet in their lives and its giving millions of impressionable pubescents the wrong idea about so many things. The messages are all wrong. The characters are BULLSHIT. The plot got so tired of being neglected that it went streaking through the vatican just to get some attention, but even then it was just playfully admonished and put back in its cabinet. Also, I realised after saying that Twilight was brain cancer that there actually was brain cancer in the world. (I was thinking something along the lines of brain crack, but cancer just sounds so much more...terrible).
*I hate Jacob too, because he's a borderline rapist. But I hate Edward also. Because he's an abusive boyfriend. But I hate Bella the most because she's the biggest idiot I've ever read three books about.**
**Oh my god, I can't believe I wasted 1,500 pages of my life reading the endless, pointless, ridiculous slop that was the Twilight trilogy.***
***And even more than that, I can't believe I still feel compelled to read Breaking Dawn.****
****Although a large part of it is that I want to know how it ends, so that I can keep up a running anti-Twilight commentary. And pwn the fangirls. Stupid fangirls.
*****Yes, I realize that this is mostly used as a derogatory statment when used against men for accusing them of being spineless, effeminate, etc. Bella is all of those things, however, so it fits. ******I've never even been in a relationship and I know it's total shit.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I've Been Neglecting a Couple of Things

First of all, I've been neglecting this blog. I think my last post was in January. Which was a significant space backwards in time.
Second, I've been neglecting Beyond Suburbia, my longest writing project to date (currently, I have just over 20,000 words). It's essentially the story of a suicide and a long trek - through the afterlife. Connor can tell you all about it.
I know no one reads this, but I don't really care.
Regardless, I've decided to take on both of my forgotten projects, in addition to a few new ones (namely languages - French and German and Latin, in addition to Spanish, which I'm almost conversational in).
I'm also trying to read 132 books in summer (before August 13, that is). I've already read eleven, which is not going to cut it if I want to read 121 more, but I'll manage it. I always manage.
So my summer is going to be packed with productivity - I'm taking a correspondence course in French I, I'm learning the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary, I'm going to write 60,000 more words in my story, I'm going to read a total of 132 books, and I plan on volunteering at the library. I was going to get a job, but there's just too much that I want to do.
No one can say I don't have a hobby.
I haven't read two of the books I have to this summer. One is on the founding fathers, and another one is a play.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Attractive Men

Since this is the only place I have on hand right now to write a list like this, this is where I'm writing it.

  1. Julian Barratt
  2. Michael Palin
  3. James McAvoy
  4. Jim Sturgess
  5. Johnny Depp
  6. Colin Firth

And that's the truth. I think you'll notice, self, that all of the above are of some flavor of British save for Johnny Depp, who does a pretty good attempt at sounding English.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Conviction is a beguiling poison.

Conviction is a beguiling poison.
From the faithful to the free-thinkers, and all the flavors sandwiched in between, complete certainty, in your cause, in your faith (or lack thereof), in your way of life, entirely negates the purpose of belief.
Belief is a pathway, a lifestyle, a guiding light. When you cement shut your mind to all other options, that gentle, fickle, flickering flame is suffocated by neglect and the mind settles into a predictable pattern. Metaphorical mold and mildew fester, the flies gather, and growth, intellectual and spiritual, sputters to a stop. And there, where open-mindedness takes its leave, tension crescendos into a bloody, pulpy fist fight of faith.
I believe there is no such thing as educated certainty, especially when the topic unabashedly sashays onto the topic of the unholy G-word. From one corner of the ring we have the self-declared “Brights,” a horde of angry atheists out to kill that devilish deity from up above, and in the other we have the Fundamentalist Faithful, a similarly obnoxious band of close-minded young earth creationists.
Between these two exceptionally vocal extremes lies the majority of the human race. Most of us are left bewildered at these bias-based brawls, and occasionally disgusted by the utter dogmatism and hypocrisy of both teams’ claims. The Christians fail when they pull out slurs and stale prejudices – nothing can possibly be less Christ-like than an avalanche of antagonized abuses. And the Angry Atheists, those so painfully adamant in their profession that all their opponents are close-minded and hypocritically dogmatic, are merely describing themselves.
When all the turmoil boils down, no one is right. In such a sensitive and controversial and eternal clash of creeds, no one can go home at the end of the day rightfully in the fog of comfortable conviction. When dealing with the existence or non-existence of a God that is beyond even the farthest stretch of human reality or reason or comprehension, especially when you try to explain it, or explain it away, using these most insufficient human weapons, all it accomplishes is making the debaters look silly and the audience uncomfortable.
There can be no doubt without an open mind, and there can be no faith without doubt. When doubt dies, all that’s left is a feeble mantra of memorization – nothing more than a wolf in wool.
Whatever I believe, whatever you believe, whatever any of us have believed or will believe or could believe – there is no place for certainty where truth may be sought.

Saturday, January 12, 2008