Spoilers ahead. Thoughts for episodes 3 and 4 should be up in the next few days (we did a marathon). Still working on episode 5. No, we are obviously not caught up. After episode 3 we sort of stopped caring for a while.
Yes, I watch True Blood. Mr. Katje and I marathoned through several seasons and then got all caught up, and started catching episodes as they came out.
If you asked us why we’ve stuck with it we’d likely respond with “Stockholm Syndrome.” The show is like a trainwreck: awful, but you can’t tear your eyes away. At some point the only characters on the show we weren’t constantly wishing death upon were Lafayette, Eric, and Terry. (Other characters had their moments but these 3 were the only ones we consistently did not hate.)
All of the protagonists are stupid. The show is terribly written. They handle rape so awfully I should be surprised but sadly I am not. (Seriously, really really awful.)
And yet we keep coming back. We’re addicted to it, like one gets addicted to V.
So on that note, my thoughts on the first episode of the final (thank gods) season. There be spoilers and a lot of swearing ahead; mind yerself. (though if you haven’t seen it my thoughts might not make much sense, anyway.)
I picked up Thirteen Reasons Why recently because it was on my list of “to read” and it had received much critical acclaim. Also it was one of two books I’d brought with me while traveling (not including the two I read on mom’s Kindle). I figured it might be okay, at least.
Allow me to give you 13 reasons I dislike it. And by “dislike”, I mean “hate psychotically.”
[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE AND ASSAULT]
1.Support of the “Well, she didn’t technically say ‘no’ so it’s not technically rape, right?” trope. The character who gets raped [I’m talking about Hannah; the other character who gets raped is tossed aside like a piece of garbage, her views never explored] is herself unsure if it was rape or no, which is very common because we all get taught that we’re dirty and naughty unless we shout no! in a loud voice — but we’re trained from an early age to never say no, because then the menfolk might get violent. That’s not what I have issue with; I have issue with the book itself seeming unsure regarding the conclusion. If the character who’d been raped could not unequivocally call it that, then another character who knew about it (there were three) should have been clear. Without that clarity it seems the author is saying he agrees that it’s “grey-area rape”. Anything short of enthusiastic consent is rape. Not saying no does not equal consent. The fact that the character was crying and clenching her teeth just to get through it should have alerted the others who knew about the situation that it was rape. Instead, we get vague hand-waving of “well maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t,” and this is wholly irresponsible of the author and holds up standards of misogyny and rape culture.
2. The structure of the book is highly manipulative. The reader is lead on a very deliberate route, leaving no leeway for interpretation. Asher has a conclusion that he wants you to reach and he makes sure you reach it. This leaves you feeling used and abused once the book is done.
3. Horrible characterization: there is no sympathy for Hannah Baker. She’s badly written. Hannah is portrayed as cold, calculating, selfish and childish. Suicidal people get portrayed as selfish all the time, so this is an old, tired, trope. Instead, you feel sympathy for Clay Jensen, who is a basically good guy [even thought he’s been raised steeped in patriarchal rape culture but that’s not really his fault and despite it he seems to turn out okay, at least] who is in love with Hannah. He had no idea how deeply disturbed she was, and feels she didn’t really give him a chance to help her. The added blow of giving him the tapes will give him guilt and anger towards her, which is unfair and childish: suicidal people usually don’t plan big manipulation games like this. We’re too lost in our own pain to even fucking care about how our deaths are going to affect others — and no, that’s not being selfish, that’s called having bodily autonomy. Also, if you can’t understand what it’s like to just want to die because you’re in so much pain, shut the fuck up about suicidal people being selfish. You have no idea.
Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
My favorite book as a child was Drakestail, which is an old French folk tale. Mom would read it with me, and we’d sing out the repeating chorus of Quack! Quack! Quack! When shall I get my money back? together with great relish and glee. I especially liked that the duck was dating the river. Seemed rather apropos.
The Golden Compass is my current favorite YA book. I haven’t yet read the rest of the trilogy, but the first book is top notch. It is a response to The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the not-so-subtle Christianity embedded in that story and world. (Seriously, re-reading it as an adult I’m like “Oh, so THAT’S where all those dominant Christian tropes in my brain that I’ve had to train myself out of came from! The obvious sexism in Narnia (“War is ugly when women fight!” um dude war is usually ugly, and tell that to the Morrigan JUST SAYIN), and that children’s Bible some neighbour gave to me when I was a kid which is honestly pretty creepy now that I think about it.” I mean, in general I don’t have a problem with Christianity OR the Bible, but there are very strong tropes of misogyny, racism, etc, within both book (especially when it’s been simplified for kids, like in my children’s Bible) and Church and it takes a thinking Christian to put aside the “This is how things were back then” and see it as an interesting look at history/a repository of facts, myth, religious meaning, etc. Like, it’s possible to read the Bible and take beauty and meaning from it and not hatred and bigotry (especially internalized self-hatred), just like it’s possible to be a Christian and not be racist/misogynist/classist/etc. I’ve seen it happen. Anyway, I digress.)
It was just fucking crap is what it was. I started reading it and it seemed to be starting a bit slow, but I persevered. I was on vacation after all, and it was one of the three books I had. I wasn’t going to NOT read it on account of it starting slow.
Worst. decision. ever.
There was the point in the book, this magical point, where I realized how crap the book was and how much better off I’d be if I just lit it on fire and threw it in Lago Atitlan. This magical point was also just past the point where I couldn’t stop reading it because it would drive me crazy if I didn’t finish it.
I finished it. It was flat like old soda. The characters were flat, the story was flat, the romance was flat, the tension was flat. I felt nothing for the main character, aside a wish she would die at some point. I sort of wished for them all to die. The protagonists were vaguely good as the antagonists were vaguely bad. Wasn’t much reason for either. I think there was some magic in it at some point, but I can’t be sure because it was 5 years ago and it was fucking terrible and there’s only so much therapy can block out.
So. My recommendation? DON’T FUCKING READ IT OMG MY EYEEEEESSSS.
Oh, and by the way? The duke? WAS THE BAD GUY. The book is about how he’s not really that bad, just misunderstood, or something, and the protagonist writes him a ballad when he dies. It made no sense because there was no clear motivation for anyone’s actions. It was a giant pile of WTF.
Oh man. This one is almost too easy. (I say ‘almost’ because there is a book/series that I actually hate more than the one I’m writing about now…but as I haven’t actually been able to bring myself to read the whole thing, and as there’s a lot of virulent hate for it already, I figured I’d go with the lesser-hated series.)
Eragon. Or the Inheritance saga, whatever the fuck. Has to be the worst writing I’ve ever read in my life. After I finished the first chapter I felt like someone had hit my head with a sledgehammer, repeatedly. Paolini was in high school when he finished the book, and you know what?