Saturday, February 26, 2011
I'm always fascinated when Hollywood talks about race: they almost always leave out the Hispanic population. They're the people who cut their lawns, clean their homes, and care for their children. Now, how many Hispanic superstars can you think of? Remember that in the US, the black and Hispanic populations are about the same size.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Now, whether they can actually accomplish anything remains to be seen....
Friday, February 18, 2011
I started this post as a joke, but here's the underlying truth: If you write badly about people who are different than you, it's because you're focusing on what you think they're like instead of what you would be like in their shoes.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Can you guess that I'm visiting my mother-in-law's home? I love her, and I like her home, but she has lived like a middleclass American in the vague US suburban sense for most of her adult life. Now that her health requires a change in her living circumstances, I'm very aware of all the things she has that she can't take care of.
If you have more than you can take care of by yourself, you have too much.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Among the things that rape culture theorists don't grasp: Just as there are women and men who fantasize about being raped who hate the idea of anyone being raped, there are men and women who fantasize about being rapists who hate the idea of raping anyone. Human sexuality and human imagination are not as simplistic as moralists believe. We all have fantasies about being powerful or powerless in sexual or nonsexual circumstances. We also know our fantasies are only fantasies.
(Many thanks to serialbabbler for providing this link in the comments on the previous post.)
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
The kerfuffle's in many places; search "dickwolves" if you're curious. Here's the writer's response: On The Matter of Dickwolves http://bit.ly/gZ8UGp
I think the idea that rape jokes promote rape culture is as reasonable as the idea that dead baby jokes promote dead baby culture. But this can't be explained to people who don't understand that in art, what's obvious may not be what is meant.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Sometimes the judgment is fair. For example, Celine was anti-semitic. I disagree with those who say that's sufficient reason to leave him out of an upcoming commemoration of French writers—to be human is to be flawed, and greatness often co-exists with great flaws— but I agree with Richard Prasquier's observation, "When the text is despicable, so is the writer."
But sometimes the judgment is not fair. Sometimes the failure is the reader's.
An easy example: Twain used racist language to write a profoundly antiracist novel.
A harder example: People who don't understand Christ figures will conclude that Uncle Tom is weak rather than the most admirable character in the novel.
A challenging example: In the 1960s, Asa Carter was unequivocally racist. Whether he truly changed his nature when he became Forrest Carter and wrote The Education of Little Tree is debated. The only black person in the novel does some admirable things, but he's a minor character. However, whatever the strengths and weaknesses of the book may be, it's not the work of a writer who secretly thinks American Indians are inferior to white people.
Because this is true: the work reveals the soul. Writers cannot hide their prejudices. When the only capable characters in a story are white men or brown women, you know the writer has issues. When the characters represent the world as it is or the world as you wish it would be, you know the writer is like you.
I was inspired to write this by a comment about a writer whose work I know. I'm not going to link to the commenter, who can most kindly be described as very naive, or name the writer, who does not need any controversy—but it's not me or Emma, so don't bother googling our names in the hope of finding the comment.
What struck me was the commenter's claim that the writer was racist, but the commenter enjoyed the writer's work, so the commenter bought it second-hand.
I wanted to leave this reply: Either the writer is racist, and you enjoy the work because you are, too, or you've misjudged the writer. I've read stories by that writer, and you're right to enjoy them: they've got complex characters of all hues and beliefs and orientations in them. The work isn't racist. And that means the writer isn't, either. You're making the same mistake that people do who say Matt Taibbi is anti-semitic for writing about corruption at Goldman Sachs: your beliefs are making you see racism where it does not exist.
But I decided to write this instead.