silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
It makes me smile every time Angel Clare comes up on meme and piles of people talk about how much they hate him. I hate his guts. I hate him so much. I love a lot of characters usually, I like antagonists and villains and protagonists and most characters. But I can't stand Clare. He makes my blood boil. I mean, I liked Alec better than him, and Alec is a rapist. THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG THERE if I like Alec better. I hate him so much that I went through and stripped out a lot of the italics and capslock I used but guys, normal text formatting isn't enough to contain my seething hatred and loathing for him.

I think it's a combination of Angel basically dismissing Tess after he finds out her past, running off like a huge prat, and then--when he gets back--doing absolutely nothing. What is the use of repenting if you never do anything?! "Let her wake naturally"--oh thank you so very much, Angel Clare, that's all you can do? That's all you do in the whole thing! Oh my god, why are you such a horrible person? Maybe this comes of being weaned on stories where it's normal for the protagonist(s) will do something (anything) to help each other. I'm not asking him to whip out a weapon and fight through all the men surrounding them. But he literally leaves her to be killed.

Also, he never gets his comeuppance. At least the husband in the Mayor of Casterbridge does. No, he just goes off with Lizzy-Lou and presumably marries her in a bit. It reminds me of the closing stanza of "Clementine."

I really have to get around to reading Jude the Obscure. I don't like Hardy's poetry (I can't get over his Titanic poem. It was an abomination) but I love his novels, and that's the last of the big ones I haven't read.
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
I almost didn't finish A Natural History of Dragons. Here's what the back cover says:

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten...

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Interesting, right? Victorian lady off on dragon-hunting adventures? Natural history? ADVENTURES HUNTING DRAGONS?!

The dragons. The dragons. I'm in it for the dragons.

I'm starting to think I should stop reading Victorian-set literature (as separate from literature written by Victorians, is what I'm trying to say) because with few exceptions, the overall tone is maddening. I'll get into that at the end of the review.

The novel begins in Isabella's youth, where her interest in dragons begins: she finds a sparkling in the garden, a tiny dragon. At that time sparklings were classified as insects, and dragons were not well studied because of the difficulty in preserving them. Any specimen that a hunter or a researcher brought down and shipped home would have decayed into dust or fragments in a few days. However, what little is known of dragons fascinates Isabella, and she concocts many schemes to learn more, like getting her brother to pilfer books from her father's library.

Isabella chafes at the restrictions on her life. Although it's called Scirland, the novel is very clearly patterned after Victorian or Victorian-adjacent England; as a young woman of breeding, she mustn't do this and that etc, sneaks out in boy's clothing and nearly gets herself killed trying to see a dragon, etc etc, her father puts together a list of eligible gentlemen to marry (he's starred the ones who own a copy of "A Natural History of Dragons", the first book Isabella read about them), tries to push down her interests but ends up talking to gentlemen about her dragon fixation, etc...

rest of the review )


I'm gonna stop reading fiction set in the Victorian period (unless it is written by Victorians.) There's this arch, coy voice which is SO ANNOYING, as well as the apparent prevalence of "I'm not like those girls" (let's punish other people for conformity) and "all mothers are daft", both of which drive me up the wall.

silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Agatha H and the Airship City, by Phil and Kaja Foglio--DNF.

This book is terrible.

It is unbelievably clunkily written. Paragraphs that don't have any connection follow each other. There are entire paragraphs are made up of sentences which are very short and simple, which make the whole thing sound choppy. There are multiple italics and CAPSLOCKED WORDS AND PHRASES on nearly every page. No one acts like a human, all the Jäger machines have their accents written out phonetically (possibly German caricature?), and the whole thing tries to be clever and arch and falls so badly short. And honestly, it's the last that really gets my goat.

So I had some issues with this book. )

Having now written all of that out, I think the authors were trying to go for humour. But there's nothing for the humour to go on top of. Nothing to build on top of, so instead I'm left wondering what's going on and why I should care, and finding the humour illogical instead.

In conclusion, I hope that their webcomic is leagues better than their writing, because this book is just plain awful. Girl Genius won a Hugo? Why do so many steampunk novels insist on being arch? It reminds me of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate, which was uneven and whose main female character practically screamed I'm not one of those girls! Thank you, I'll pass.


Jan. 19th, 2011 04:39 pm
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
I hate the phrase "Life is not fair."

Uh, yes. Yes, it's not fair. Pretty much everyone realizes this sooner or later, and most often sooner. You needn't add this smugly into the conversation when people are complaining, because generally when people complain, they realize it's not fair. (Sometimes, believe it or not, it's just venting!) Little platitudes and clichés aren't required here, thank you.

Moreover, I absolutely resent the way this phrase is used to express the futility of doing anything. You may be perfectly content to let things go on as they are, but I am not. Yes, life is not fair. That doesn't mean it will never be fair, or that there's nothing we - or I - can do to make it more fair.

Please, just go away and take your stinky, pessimistic, snarky little banality away with you.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
re: the Julian Assange thing - [ profile] lookninjas says it better than I do:

And then, if you're lucky enough to find yourself accusing a well-known public figure like Julian Assange, It gets even better. Because then everyone hears about it, and the speculation starts. WikiLeaks groupies! Golddiggers! CIA AGENTS! Everyone from Michael Moore to Keith Olbermann to ignorant fuckheads on Gawker will go on and on about what a slut you are. What a liar you are. What a conniving, golddigging bitch you are.

What makes me sickest is that there's so much speculation of well, no maybe it didn't happen and she's making it up. That it couldn't possibly have happened, because, well, he's famous. (I wonder why I'm having a flashback to Polanski?) Where is the speculation that, oh, perhaps women don't like making these statements? Don't like having their name dragged through the muck? That for once, can we please, please, believe the victim before the aggressor?
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Link to misogyny and ignorance. Click with caution.

I made it halfway down the first page of comments and then gave up.

My reaction, helpfully summarized:
DEAR EVERYONE ON THE PLANET (minus those already armed with The Clues):

1. Words have meaning.

2. Words have two types of meanings: one is a dictionary (or scientific, or otherwise defined meaning). There is a second meaning, connotation. These are associations attached to words.

3. Generally connotations are the most important.

4. Pulling dictionary definitions when people are clearly talking about the connotations is neither helpful nor clever.

5. We are not separate from our history. Even if you think there's no misogyny in your world*, by using words that historically** carry misogynistic intent to describe someone you don't like, you are using the term in a way that is misogynistic. Even if you don't mean it. I'm sorry, this is the legacy we've been handed down with.

6. Live with the awareness that yes, while you wish you could totally throw around "whore" and "bitch" and all the rest without worrying about PC POLICE***, don't.

7. For the last time, the history is why words like "dick" do not garner such reactions. No, really. You're not pointing out anything that has not been brought up before in these conversations.

8. Please for the love of all that is holy stop telling anyone they're overreacting or oversensitive.

9. If you know nothing about this issue, I would advise your library or Google or another person who knows you well and this issue.

10. This applies wonderfully to just about any -ism you can think of; just change some of the words! 


**They still do, by the way.
***Someone forgot to send me the uniform, obviously; I still don't have any weapons for these things...

tl;dr: *puts head on desk and thinks of happy thing*

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I saw this post come up this morning. I thought: "OK, it's not horribly bad; it looks like the OP, after some comments, could see why this is offensive and maybe it'll be okay!" This is the text of the OP's post, in case it gets taken down.

... )

I gave up trying to read the twisting comments of the OP after awhile. But seeing [ profile] saciel start to pull out the tone argument--again and again and AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN--I...I...I don't know. I remember zie from the last time [ profile] fanficrants went and got into a huge racefail, but seeing so many people--half-a-dozen, at least--try to explain, again and again, PATIENTLY AND CALMLY (Oh my God, the irony) why zie was wrong, it didn't sink in. And so all I can repeat is OW OW OW.

ETA: There's actually quite a nice little summation by [ profile] lil_utterance about why this post's comments are so very faily. Here.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

Because many people plainly don't get it, here's an analogy that hopefully they can grasp. If not, there is a serious problem which is beyond my power to rectify or help in any way.
To borrow it from someone's lovely post (author, unfortunately, forgotten; if you do find them, please pm me):

If someone steps on my foot and it hurts, I am going to say: "OW!" And the harder they step on my foot, the louder I will shout it. OW, OW, OW. I'm not at the moment concerned with the delicate ears of the other person, because OW their stomping hurts and no I will not be quiet.

If that person continues to stay on my foot, I'm going to try to dislodge said person, because it hurts. It's not hurting you. It's hurting me.

When people say: "That's offensive, and x, y, z is why," it's not because they want to hurt you. It's because it's hurting them.

Why people who take my culture and twist it to suit their needs can't understand this, I don't know. OW. Go away. If I've linked you to this post after an argument/discussion/feeble parody of a discusion of racism, I invite you to educate yourself and read through this.

War may be inevitable, oppression may be inevitable, but @$#%^ no I am not going to take it lying down.  *snarl*

'pologies to f-list, who don't need this.

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I was going to post a feel-happy, look-a-pretty-book, isn't life wonderful? sort of post. I suppose not. I bring this to you because the person in question was ignorant, and that's the last time I ever want anyone to use that excuse for racism again.

If you're not in fandom, you might've missed this. An author posts a story set in Haiti during the earthquake, accompanied by really, really cringe-inducing portrayals of actual Haitians, many of who are still suffering. This is, apparently, to further the relationship between two of the characters. See link lower for context (the round up has a large number of commenters, as well as the link to the original.)

A lot of people, most more eloquent than I, have already gone through and processed this, torn it open and looked at the racism and the bad taste, and have offered their own commentary. I was going to sit on my hands and read, but then there was a sentence in her apology that really, really ticked me off.

' [I see how the] portrayals can be seen as unflattering,"

No. NO.

Unflattering connotes vanity, self-image, trivial, skin-deep. Unflattering is used to describe clothes: "Oh, that dress really doesn't flatter your figure, dear." 

People are not objecting to the fact that all your characters aren't saints. Excuse the capslock, but THEY ARE POINTING OUT THE RACISM THAT IS INHERENT IN THE INTERACTIONS THAT YOUR PROTAGONIST HAS WITH HAITIANS. These are people, they are living through an immense tragedy, and a decency to understand that their pain is not OK for you to exploit for your story--you're missing that.

Semantics? Maybe. But I think it shows what the author truly thinks, and that word--"unflattering portrayals"--is indicative of their attitude towards this. I don't think they get it.

[ profile] amazonziti has a beautiful round-up of links, but warning: if you value a rage-free day, avoid the direct quotes. It is bad. Very, very bad. Don't look.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Another mind-boggling thing, this link: another absolutely insane senator from Arizona wants to mess with how citizenship is granted. You know--if you're born in America, despite your parents' citizenship, you're American. Link here.

Mind-boggling because of the blatant racism (oh, I WONDER which nationality will be discriminated against here, hm? I am so very glad to be neither Latino nor American, thank God.) and also because I know there will be people up there nodding along with that sick politician, agreeing with everything he says. And thinking that all the "immigrants take our jobs" and "make it hard for our kids to get into university" and all that !@#$%^.

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I absolutely refuse, my dear, to regard the world as black and white, and to have a firm opinion that sits on only one side for every issue. I will be relativist and consider each circumstance individually in real life--I'll just pick a side in your essays, that's all.

You know what? I am not going to make a snap judgment about everyone on this planet (the question was, "Are women more democratic than men?" [out of a video about democracy; this was right out of left field]) based on my experiences--a sample size so statistically insignificant it might as well not even exist. I'm sorry, but I think actions more often come down to the individual, and not as a mass grouping--mobs happen, but not commonly. People are influenced--sometimes so easily--but that doesn't mean their actions are all the same.

I understand that you don't want us to sit on the fence, because I suppose that's not the point of a persuasive essay or argumentative essay (I forget what the idiot things are called: to my mind, they're an exercise in regurgitating previous arguments and evidence). But I do not live in a world where things are delineated cleanly and sharply; I do not live in a world where a single yes or no, about a decision that encompasses all people, answers that question adequately.

I'm afraid I've quite made up my mind; I have no idea if you're playing the Devil's advocate or not, but, aargh, I need to get this off my chest.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
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Not outright bullying, no, but there've been moments where I've thought: should I call them out on a bigoted/racist/homophobic joke? Should I ask them not to say that? and often enough, I don't. I feel guilty for not doing so, but there you go. I think that we should call people out on stuff like that, but it is hard in real life, and I'd like to keep trying to make people aware. 

*Edit: I've found one. Emotions pending.* And on a tangentially related topic--does anyone have a transcript of the conversation between Gillian Duffy and Gordon Brown? When I read the news over here, my first thought was to wonder if she was really being bigoted, because I don't think people throw those kinds of words around lightly. And if she was talking about immigration, I can hear the alarm bells ringing wildly. 
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I was biking today to work when I saw two birds tumble out of the air right past me. At first I thought I'd scared them (there are a pair of quail-like birds that act like pheasants--meaning that they scare me half to death each time) and then I realized that they were fighting. A robin and a pigeon--and the pigeon must have been eight, nine times bigger than the other bird. And yet the robin kept flying up to a tree, then diving down to strafe the pigeon. Repeatedly. And in the end, the pigeon gave up and flew to another tree, some ways away, while the robin taunted it. Strange: I expected it to be the other way around.

Not going to elaborate on my other thing--the casual use of the term "Nazi". I would like to say, right now, that anyone using it is one of the following: a) horrendously ignorant, b) flippant. Horrifically so. Let me tell you, that despite the intervening seventy and eighty years (or more; it depends on the dates you use), the term "Nazi" is still incredibly loaded. It carries heavy, heavy negative connotations, and it calls up inexpressibly twisted actions. Do not use the word "Feminazi".
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Someday, I hope that the people (whether or not they deserve the term "human" for their actions is, at present, debatable) who have been actively or passively part of the disgusting filthy prom night yuckiness--if you've missed it, here is one article--I honestly wish they'll look back and see what they've been doing: being part of the systematic oppression and hatred directed at someone who's got less rights than you do.

Dear stars, I hope.

Because there are still stupid people out there claiming that the eight sent to the fake prom were "filth" and that all of the mess was caused by McMillen. That there is nothing wrong with making a whole new private prom party for "normal kids". And that is sickeningly, obscenely disgusting.

Newsflash: IF YOU DO SOMETHING BIGOTED LIKE THAT, PEOPLE WILL CALL YOU OUT ON IT (In, of course, an ideal world; many things slip by). Your job is not to blame the victims of your bigotry. I don't understand.

And also? Spare me your excuses about being in the Deep South, raised by religiously conservatives, or being whatever other "put upon" group you choose to belong to. Do you think the people who have suffered under that kind of hate and prejudice care anything about your little problems? It's not about you. Stop trying to use your stronger voice to override the ones that are trying to speak up.

I recommend you get up and consider what kind of impact you're having on the LGBT community--I couldn't care less about your motives or intent, it's your impact that matters--and THINK.

P.S. And triple fail for the adults in the school involved. You might have escaped through the loophole, but your actions are even worse than the students', because you have that life experience and advantage in every way. You are acting in indescribably hurtful and scummy ways right now, and I hope to what deities there may be that you realize this and feel remorse. In the meantime, as far as I'm concerned, your actions make you not fit to wipe Constance's boots, much less be in charge of students.

I wonder why this seems SO MUCH like the institutionalized racism of our society today? privileged group trying to shout down a minority that's speaking up? I wonder why.


silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

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