fireez: (Monty Python - Monks)
Kind of going back to the discussion about "YA isn't proper literature, adults should be reading ADULT litererature", I goddamn hate this quote from tumblr: http://melonylotseven.tumblr.com/post/88415332760/what-are-your-thoughts-on-penny-dreadful-so-far-i-feel

Because urgh, "high concept". Yes, PD is horror, which is one of the most looked-down-upon genres there is. It's also one of the most clever genres. Yes, it has its stinkers, but so does every genre. Anyway.

PD's writers aren't just clever for their (fucking blatantly obvious) Shakespeare references. There's a lot of stuff hidden in there once you look past the "gory amazing ridiculousness". There's the question of how far are you willing to go to achieve your goals. There's the question of responsibility for your actions. There's the whole theme of redemption. There's the question of where does humanity begin, and where does it end.

And the literary references for sure don't end with Shakespeare. I'm wondering if that person has ever read "Frankenstein". That book is considered a classic not just for being one of the foundations of a whole genre, but also because it touches on some very deep and important themes on what it means to be human, the fear of what is different and how revenge is more destructive than anything else. And PD follows that course with its interpretation of Frankenstein. Then we have Dorian Gray, with its themes of hedonism, dupicity and narcissism. I'm pretty damn sure that Caliban is also a reference to "The Phantom of the Opera".

Just because something is shocking and bloody doesn't mean it's not deep. I thought we all knew that after Hannibal hit the screens.
fireez: (Default)
Putting this under a cut because it mentions self harm, eating disorders, hospitalization, substance abuse and suicide. Since this is an autobiography of someone living with bipolar disorder, there will also be some personal stuff by me.

Madness )
fireez: (Quotes - Geek Fangirl no apologies!)
New book by Neil Gaiman! Wooot! As usual, it's awesome. Magical and sad and a bit scary, and it sucks you right in. It reminded me a bit of "A Monster Calls".

Review. Might be a bit spoilerish. )In non-book news, I have a new haircut which I love. It's definitely more snazzy, and has a nice androgynous touch to it.

Also, Season finale of Hannibal soon. I'm pretty sure I'll go into some kind of catatonic state, induced by too many painful fangirl feels. Probably worse then the SPN finale, or "The Rains of Castamere". Seriously, this show has me wailing and ranting and screaming at the screen like whoa. Still in love with the fandom, too. So far, the level of wank has been quite low, and mostly confined to the margins where the movie/book fans gripe because it's fucking with the canon a bit. WHATEVERRRRR, it's good. And I've never been one of those canon snobs anyway.
fireez: (Marvel Movies - Loki say whut)
Yesterday, my bb and I had a very interesting discussion about interpreting fictional characters, and stories in general.

The whole thing grew out of me having a rantfest about how fed up I am with pretentious SJ wankers on tumblr insisting that they have the one true interpretation of a character, and everyone who denies that is obviously not only wrong but a social justice sinner.

And I'm sitting over here making a face not unlike the one in my icon and thinking to myself "have you people ever heard of things like literary theory? Of authorial intent and reader response? How can you stand there and proclaim that your interpretation is the only valid one when there are so many other ways of seeing this?"

Saying "it's obvious that the author meant X" is being pretentious to the extreme. For one, the only person who knows what the author meant is the author himself. And if she or he is dead, good luck with asking them. And even if you can ask them, authorial intent is not the be all and end all of literary interpretation. Once you put a story out there, you are inviting others to see it through their eyes, to see it with their subjective and personal point of view. To them, the words you wrote might have an entirely different meaning than to you.

That's also something people often seem to forget. Interpretations of literature depend a lot on the person doing them. On who they are, what experiences they have had during their life, their age, the country they live in, the times they live in. The interpretations of a 20-something from the US are going to be vastly different from those of a 40-year-old Englishman in the 1890s, simply because times, values and society are different in every country and every decade.

So sitting there with your interpretation and declaring them the obvious truth is not only silly and pretentious, it's also pretty sad. You're robbing yourself of the chance to assume a different point of view, a different perspective on things. And here's where the disrespectful from the header comes in. I think it's disrespectful to any piece of literature to reduce it to one "obvious" interpretation. You are doing the story, the characters and the author a disservice if you don't at least try to see things in more than one way.

And really, what are stories if not gateways into the minds of people who are not like you? Why do people read, if not for going places, times and circumstances that they would never be able to go otherwise? It's... sad, seeing people adhere to this "one right way of seeing this" school of thought. It's what a lot of teachers in high school do. They give you marks according to how well you parrot either their own or the interpretation du jour. Doesn't matter if you can actually back your own interpretation of things up with arguments. It's not the "right" one, so it doesn't count.

Which is exactly what those people on tumblr and other platforms are doing. They're stuck in high school. Bad high school. Where there's one way of seeing things and all the others are wrong.

It's one thing I really loved, and still love, about the Watchmen fandom. You were able to have civilized, mature discussions about how the characters might be interpreted. Some people are of the opinion that Adrian is clearly a sociopath who doesn't really care about humanity as much as he cares about his own glorification. Others, like me, see it differently. And both sides can back their interpretation up with arguments. I might not be swayed by them, but I don't deny that you could see it that way. I don't insult people for thinking differently.

It's similar, only a lot more vitriolic, in the Berserk fandom. Is Griffith a sociopathic monster or not? Most people think he is, some think he isn't. But civilized discussion is a lot harder because people refuse to be, well, civilized.

So far, I've been quite impressed by the Hannibal fandom on this account. There's a discussion going as to if Hannibal cares for Will on some level, or if he's just using him as an interesting experiment, like you would a guinea pig. Or maybe he's doing both at the same time (my own interpretation) because the way thinks is just so far removed from "normal" that he can actually do both. His moral compass is so off, it doesn't even exist any more.

Basically, I think that people are robbing themselves of a lot of fun by clinging to one interpretation when it's obvious that there might be different ones. But then, I prefer intellectual excercise over intellectual masturbation.

Must read

Jun. 9th, 2013 04:29 pm
fireez: (Default)
Over the last few days, I've been devouring "Among Others" by Jo Walton. It's won both the Hugo and the Nebula award, and I can really see why. It's an amazing book, a magical realism coming of age story about books, reading and finding yourself. And unlike some other stories about books, it's not about "proper" literature or "the classics", but about SF and Fantasy (though mostly about SF). Thinking about it, that could have played a role in why it won those awards :P. Anyway, I highly recommend it. It's one of those "oh I'll read a bit and oops it's 100 pages and an hour later" books.

Also, there's a few quotes I really liked

In here )
fireez: (Monty Python - Monks)
OMG WTF IS THIS SHIT

Why the hell are people getting 7-figure deals for REVAMPED TWILIGHT FANFIC???

...oh, yeah, because sadly enough, books about overly submissive, passive women and their stalkerish asshat crushes who disrespect them at every turn are hugely popular AS EVIDENCED BY TWILIGHT ITSELF.

Ok, this is IT. I am going to write that story about the somewhat shy and awkward girl who falls in love with an asshole BUT THEN REALIZES WHAT AN ASSHOLE HE IS AND ENDS UP WITH HER BEST BUDDY BECAUSE HE OR SHE IS AN ALLAROUND NICE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY CARES. It will not earn me any money, but by Cthulhu's tentacles it will make me feel better.

Also, shit, all this time I was writing for the wrong fandom. If I'd written badly revamped Twilight instead of (hopefully good) revamped Watchmen, I'd be a fucking millionaire.





fireez: (Marvel Movies - Tony tech)
It's my birthday! :D

And I'm happy! :D (yes, this is not a given)

Tonight, we're going out to dinner with some friends at our favorite bar/restaurant, the Fegefeuer (purgatory). I am planning to get boozed.

Olly gave me a mini water heater, the prequel mangas to "The Dark Crystal", Peter Beagle's new short story collection and half a dozen nerdy t-shirts from threadless. Four of them are about robots, one is about zombies, and the last one is about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. NERD LOVE.

My co-workers got me the DVD of "The Secret Life of Bees" and "Little Star" by John A. Lindqvist (the guy who wrote Let the Right One In). I'm very much looking forward to reading that, and since I just finished my last book, I think this one will be next :).

boozed!update: this birthday's motto was "t-shirts and unicorns". Got a bottle of TLU perfume from my bb rocks_not_dead, and a t-shirt with a unicorn on it from my bbs with whom we went boozin'. And I drank a drink with the name "traumatized unicorn with rainbow tail which prances across the meadow by sundown". Yes, that is the drink's name. I AM NOT SHITTING YOU.
fireez: (Default)
I finally managed to finish "The Cold Commands", the second book in the Land Fit For Heroes series by Richard K. Morgan. So, here's my review!
Spoilers! )
fireez: (GoT - Daenerys and dragon)
The girl with the dragon tattoo in under 5 minutes

It's a very good article, imho, especially since it points out all that is wrong with the story.

I admit to really not liking the movie. OK, so I saw the Swedish version, but well, I had problems with the story, which apparently stayed exactly the same.

While I do approve of the brutal revenge on the rapist, I absolutely do not approve of how apparently, in this movie, if you're a woman? Yeah, you're going to get raped. Mostly because I don't approve of the "rape as drama" trope, which this movie uses ad nauseam. Want to add a dramatic backstory to your female character? Have her raped! Because according to those writers, rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman, and the only thing that is really dramatic. Sigh. (Also, yes, I am fully aware of the irony of using a Game of Thrones icon on this post)

Rape is horrible. But there are other horrible things out there. Like having your family killed in front of your eyes, which is the usual trope for male characters. See where I'm heading with this? IMHO, the "rape as drama" trope is tied to some icky assumptions about gender, mainly that the worst you can do to a woman is take away her purity (note: I know that this is not what rape is or feels like, but this is how it is most often presented in the context of media - the victim is now a "soiled" and "broken" woman). Strangely enough, "rape as drama" is very very rarely used with a male character. Probably because of the "real men don't get raped" trope. More icky assumptions about gender.

And then there's the whole thing about oh, she just got brutally raped, but a few days later she's banging our hot male lead even though she has a girlfriend. Sorry, but this has "terrible authorial wish fulfillment" written all over it. It's, to use that word again, icky. If you absolutely have to use rape as a point of drama, please do it realistically. Do some survivors of sexual violence continue to have a normal sex life immediately afterwards? Probably. Most of them don't, though.

And then there's the backstory about why the author of the books wrote them, and that thing pushes it from "bad writing" into "kind of skeevy" territory, if you ask me. If you want to make penance for not helping the real-life rape victim, there are far better ways to do this than write wish-fulfillment novels while using her actual name. And then having her bang your author self-insert. SKEEEEEEVY, dude.

So, yeah. I know a lot of people love these movies/books and think they're great and pro-feminist, but I happen to disagree.

Reviews

Jan. 1st, 2012 02:48 pm
fireez: (SPN - road trip)
So one of my not-exactly-New-Year's resolutions is that I want to not just read more books again, but also review them. Lately, I've started to notice that most of the books I read have come to me by way of recommendation by someone I know, so I guess I'm trying to give back. Also, I know I have a lot of bibliophiles on my f-list who might be looking for the next book to read. So, here are the first two book reviews, followed by a perfume review ;).

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan )

Abarat: Absolute Midnight )

BPAL - The Lady Amalthea )
fireez: (SPN - naughty Dean)
So I'm making my way (slowly) through the first literature module of my cultural studies course. It's an online lecture, or rather, I downloaded the mp3 version and am listening to it. I've neve been a fan of lectures, but whatever. At least with this one, I can get up and get a cup of tea inbetween, or rewind the professor.

Anyway, so the professor is talking about the Sorrows of Young Werther, and omg I feel validated. Because he basically said that Werther? Is just a bunch of fluff. It's not deep or instructive or anything, because it's not even supposed to be. Goethe says so himself in the foreword! HA!

See, I've always suspected that ever since we had to read that drivel in German (read, literature) lessons at school. It's horrible. It's pages upon pages of Werther MOPING. Like the worst of all emo kids. Oh noez the woman I fell in love with is betrothed/married to another, whatever shall I do? Oh, I'm gonna (SPOILER!) shoot myself. He mopes, and inbetween he talks about the countryside and the quaintness of the peasants. Nothing happens in the book, nothing at all. Except for Werther finally ending things rather dramatically. It's boring, it's pretentious, and it lifts its protagonists wet-ragness, self-absorbtion and passivity up as if that kind of thing were something to aspire to.

I have only one thing to say to young Werther:




...but I can understand why it was so popular back then. It was the Sturm und Drang's "Twilight", complete with the stalkerish behaviour, a main character who does nothing but sit around and mope, and no real plot until right up to the end. The teens (or, back then, twentysomethings) must've gobbled it up.
fireez: (True Blood - Godric and Eric)
PS I am becoming obsessed with the world of “The Forest of Hands and Teeth”. Finished the first one in record time (for me) and have already started on the second one. I also read a short story in the “Zombies vs Unicorns” anthology that seems to be set in the same world. I like the idea that it’s apparently set quite a long time after the actual zombie apocalypse. Most zombie media focus on the outbreak, the spread, and the immediate survival. But these deal with long-term survival in a world full of zombies, and the different ways society has coped with the apocalypse.

Also, Forest of Hands and Teeth kind of reminded me of The Village, which is one of my favorite movies (haters gonna hate).

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