dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Those of you who don't normally follow online discussions of YA literature may not be aware that yet another debate about the value (or lack thereof) of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series has been raging for the past few days or so. I was going to write my own response, but I realised that to do so adequately, I would have to write about my own attitudes as a teenager towards sex, in horrific and embarrassing detail. Ultimately, I feel uncomfortable doing that. Suffice it to say that in spite of a comprehensive (harm minimization-based) sex education during my teenage years, a mother who was open about such matters and answered my questions frankly, and access to the best in 90s teen advice columns (ie, I read Dolly and Girlfriend religiously), those attitudes were extraordinarily messed up.

I'm going to leave it there, as far as my own experiences go, and instead link to five posts which I've encountered recently. While not all are about Twilight specifically, the things they discuss are all connected.

YA author [livejournal.com profile] blackholly kicked things off with a post in which she argued that the criticism of Twilight fails to recognise a very valid reading of Meyer's series: namely, that if you interpret it through the lens of kink (that is, Bella has a submission and masochism kink), it ceases to become such a problematic narrative.

It's okay to be a feminist and fantasize about being tied up and whipped. It's okay to fantasize about being in love with an ancient and deadly monster who, perfectly or imperfectly, loves you back. It's okay to fantasize that you're a deadly assassin, slipping through an ancient city. And it's okay to fantasize about even weirder and darker stuff than that.

I'm not completely convinced by this reading, but I agree it's a valid one, and Black's post is something that needed to be said. I'd encourage you to read the comments, as they add a lot to her points.

Next off the mark was [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales, another YA author, who sadly seems to have abandoned LJ for the bright lights and big city of Tumblr. Her post takes Holly Black's feminist perspective and expands on it.

But ladies should be allowed to be into weird business, and nobody should shame them. Being like ‘I am SO MUCH MORE WORRIED about ladies being into Edward Cullen than anything dudes might like’ does carry a bit of a savour of a Victorian papa, who is like, the young ladies must be protected from the world, their brains are too feeble, they will wander into SIN, they can’t even help themselves, they will dump buckets of glitter on ROGUES and go to town on them, they have no sense at all!

And then someone linked to Kit Whitfield's post about Twilight, Flowers in the Attic and Wuthering Heights. Whitfield, in my mind, gets right to the heart of the matter:

[G]iven that both Twilight and Flowers In The Attic are books aimed at the young adult, the blend of innocence and experience has a definite edge to it. Both feel like books addressed to a virginal state of mind - which is obviously not the same as a chaste state of mind: a state of mind whose experience of ordinary sexuality is too limited for it exert much gravitational pull, and to which wild transgressions seem all the more natural because there's no first-hand knowledge of the mainstream sexuality the books are transgressing. Sexuality in these books is so innocent, it doesn't know how far from innocence it strays.

(I'd recommend reading Whitfield's earlier post 'Misremembering the Brontës', as it represents an earlier stage in her thinking on these matters.)

It was almost serendipitous that I happened to follow a link one of my friends posted on Facebook to this New York Times article, 'Teaching Good Sex' by Laurie Abraham, which is about a sex-ed programme at a Philadelphia school which emphasises, along with the usual stuff about contraception and consent, the actual emotional and physical feelings associated with sex.

Nobody wants to talk to teenagers about these things. Partly this is just because it's awkward, and partly it's because the backlash from doing so would be too great, but as I read the article, I began to realise that this is the kind of education all teenagers need.

You may not see the connection between this and Twilight, besides the fact that both are about sex, but when I post my final link, I hope my thought process becomes clear.

It's from Libby Anne, a survivor of the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy movement in the US, and it's about how that movement's panicky attitudes to sex had extremely harmful reverberations that affected her ability to function sexually after she got married.

When I first started dating the young man who was to become my husband, I didn't have any sexual feelings toward him. No sexual fantasies. No sexual desires. None. When I told him this, he became concerned, very concerned. He insisted that this wasn't normal, but I had no way to know, nothing to measure it against.

After a few months, I did start having sexual fantasies. But they were all fantasies of non-consensual sex. Why? Because on some intuitive level that made them safer, less taboo, and less sinful. After all, in these fantasies, I didn't have a choice. I didn't have sexual agency. I wasn't choosing to have sex. I wasn't active. It wasn't that I wanted to fantasize about non-consensual sex; rather, as a result of the purity culture and my suppression of my sexuality, this was the only kind of sex I could fantasize about.


Believe me, I am not trying to kink-shame here - from the glass house of my adolescence, I'm in no position to throw stones (and if I have screwed up in this regard, please tell me). All I am saying is that I see a very clear connection between Twilight, and the story it tells, the lack of sex-education classes like the one discussed in the NYT article, and Libby Anne's experience of an adolescence spent suppressing all sexual impulses. Texts are not written in a vacuum, stories do not resonate with an entire generation for no reason, and when something is as popular as Twilight, we need to think about why that may be.

ETA: My boyfriend pointed out this article by Anne Billson in The Guardian, which seems to be drawing on some of the points raised by the bloggers I linked to before.

Twilight caters to the sexual fantasies of teenage girls. I'm not saying in a good way, but at least it caters to them, and there's not a lot else at the cinema that does.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Those of you who don't normally follow online discussions of YA literature may not be aware that yet another debate about the value (or lack thereof) of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series has been raging for the past few days or so. I was going to write my own response, but I realised that to do so adequately, I would have to write about my own attitudes as a teenager towards sex, in horrific and embarrassing detail. Ultimately, I feel uncomfortable doing that. Suffice it to say that in spite of a comprehensive (harm minimization-based) sex education during my teenage years, a mother who was open about such matters and answered my questions frankly, and access to the best in 90s teen advice columns (ie, I read Dolly and Girlfriend religiously), those attitudes were extraordinarily messed up.

I'm going to leave it there, as far as my own experiences go, and instead link to five posts which I've encountered recently. While not all are about Twilight specifically, the things they discuss are all connected.

YA author [livejournal.com profile] blackholly kicked things off with a post in which she argued that the criticism of Twilight fails to recognise a very valid reading of Meyer's series: namely, that if you interpret it through the lens of kink (that is, Bella has a submission and masochism kink), it ceases to become such a problematic narrative.

It's okay to be a feminist and fantasize about being tied up and whipped. It's okay to fantasize about being in love with an ancient and deadly monster who, perfectly or imperfectly, loves you back. It's okay to fantasize that you're a deadly assassin, slipping through an ancient city. And it's okay to fantasize about even weirder and darker stuff than that.

I'm not completely convinced by this reading, but I agree it's a valid one, and Black's post is something that needed to be said. I'd encourage you to read the comments, as they add a lot to her points.

Next off the mark was [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales, another YA author, who sadly seems to have abandoned LJ for the bright lights and big city of Tumblr. Her post takes Holly Black's feminist perspective and expands on it.

But ladies should be allowed to be into weird business, and nobody should shame them. Being like ‘I am SO MUCH MORE WORRIED about ladies being into Edward Cullen than anything dudes might like’ does carry a bit of a savour of a Victorian papa, who is like, the young ladies must be protected from the world, their brains are too feeble, they will wander into SIN, they can’t even help themselves, they will dump buckets of glitter on ROGUES and go to town on them, they have no sense at all!

And then someone linked to Kit Whitfield's post about Twilight, Flowers in the Attic and Wuthering Heights. Whitfield, in my mind, gets right to the heart of the matter:

[G]iven that both Twilight and Flowers In The Attic are books aimed at the young adult, the blend of innocence and experience has a definite edge to it. Both feel like books addressed to a virginal state of mind - which is obviously not the same as a chaste state of mind: a state of mind whose experience of ordinary sexuality is too limited for it exert much gravitational pull, and to which wild transgressions seem all the more natural because there's no first-hand knowledge of the mainstream sexuality the books are transgressing. Sexuality in these books is so innocent, it doesn't know how far from innocence it strays.

(I'd recommend reading Whitfield's earlier post 'Misremembering the Brontës', as it represents an earlier stage in her thinking on these matters.)

It was almost serendipitous that I happened to follow a link one of my friends posted on Facebook to this New York Times article, 'Teaching Good Sex' by Laurie Abraham, which is about a sex-ed programme at a Philadelphia school which emphasises, along with the usual stuff about contraception and consent, the actual emotional and physical feelings associated with sex.

Nobody wants to talk to teenagers about these things. Partly this is just because it's awkward, and partly it's because the backlash from doing so would be too great, but as I read the article, I began to realise that this is the kind of education all teenagers need.

You may not see the connection between this and Twilight, besides the fact that both are about sex, but when I post my final link, I hope my thought process becomes clear.

It's from Libby Anne, a survivor of the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy movement in the US, and it's about how that movement's panicky attitudes to sex had extremely harmful reverberations that affected her ability to function sexually after she got married.

When I first started dating the young man who was to become my husband, I didn't have any sexual feelings toward him. No sexual fantasies. No sexual desires. None. When I told him this, he became concerned, very concerned. He insisted that this wasn't normal, but I had no way to know, nothing to measure it against.

After a few months, I did start having sexual fantasies. But they were all fantasies of non-consensual sex. Why? Because on some intuitive level that made them safer, less taboo, and less sinful. After all, in these fantasies, I didn't have a choice. I didn't have sexual agency. I wasn't choosing to have sex. I wasn't active. It wasn't that I wanted to fantasize about non-consensual sex; rather, as a result of the purity culture and my suppression of my sexuality, this was the only kind of sex I could fantasize about.


Believe me, I am not trying to kink-shame here - from the glass house of my adolescence, I'm in no position to throw stones (and if I have screwed up in this regard, please tell me). All I am saying is that I see a very clear connection between Twilight, and the story it tells, the lack of sex-education classes like the one discussed in the NYT article, and Libby Anne's experience of an adolescence spent suppressing all sexual impulses. Texts are not written in a vacuum, stories do not resonate with an entire generation for no reason, and when something is as popular as Twilight, we need to think about why that may be.

ETA: My boyfriend pointed out this article by Anne Billson in The Guardian, which seems to be drawing on some of the points raised by the bloggers I linked to before.

Twilight caters to the sexual fantasies of teenage girls. I'm not saying in a good way, but at least it caters to them, and there's not a lot else at the cinema that does.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I seem to be on a bit of a blogging roll right now, so here's a post about three things I've been musing about in relation to various things I've been reading in recent times.

1. I still find Buffy empowering, in spite of everything

Let's get this out of the way. Buffy fails on numerous occasions in matters of race, sexuality and even the feminism which its creator, Joss Whedon, claims. I personally think its storytelling is excellent, but I know numerous people who find it deeply problematic and even hurtful, with good reason. It is, to me, an example of a flawed story that nonetheless never fails to speak to me, and I know that I have in the past excused or failed to recognise its flaws due to ignorance.

Chief among these flaws is one that feminists often raise in relation to all of Whedon's work: he ostensibly writes stories about 'empowered' women whose source of empowerment is overcoming some kind of trauma, usually a literal or metaphorical rape.

And yet, for me, as a teenager and young woman, I found that particular story, especially as it was told in Buffy, extremely empowering. Despite having a relatively calm adolescence, with nothing worse than low-level bullying, I always felt broken (and indeed in my early 20s actually sought out situations that would give me an excuse for this brokenness). As such, the idea that out of brokenness came strength was incredibly empowering for me. I know now that we need stories about women whose strength is not simply an act of revenge, a side-effect of abuse or destruction, but back then, Buffy's was a story I needed to be told.*

2. Leave Twihards alone!
On a related note, I think the bashing of Twilight fans needs to stop. This is not because I think Twilight is a wonderful story, or that it's a terrible story but this somehow doesn't matter because it's 'light, fluffy entertainment' (nothing is 'just a story', and nothing is above criticism). It's because if I had been twelve, or fourteen or even eighteen when Twilight came out, hell, I would've been a fan too, and I think those of us who were introverted and 'only ever fell in love with fictional men' need to show a bit more empathy and compassion.

You know how I said I felt 'broken' as a teenager? Well, I used to think the solution to that 'brokenness' was an all-consuming, all-sacrificing, transformative love. I read just the kinds of books to feed my rescue fantasy, and I thought if the right guy (always someone 'dangerous' and 'damaged') would walk through the door, all my troubles and angst would be over. As a fifteen-year-old girl, it's a powerful idea: that true love is obsessive and dramatic and will cause you to change completely, and Twilight simply taps into that idea. As a teenager I was reading Cecilia Dart-Thornton and Sara Douglass and Juliet Marillier and a whole host of other female romantic fantasy writers who fell under the umbrella of 'Celtic-inflected historical fantasy', and who am I to say that they were any less damaging to my ideas about romance and relationships than Twilight?

I'm not saying that we should throw our hands in the air and give up criticising Twilight. No, we should criticise it until Stephenie Meyer is no more than a distant spot on the horizon of the YA corpus. But we should stop thinking of Twilight fandom as a new phenomenon and recognise that many of us read equally problematic books as teenagers, and gained equally disturbing beliefs about relationships because of them.

3. Hufflepuff and proud
I'm a self-sorted Hufflepuff, and actually only want to join Pottermore so that I can have this sort of officially confirmed. (I'm sad, I know, I know.) And while I know I'm overinvesting, it does make me sad (even though I know it's all done in humour), when people like The Last Muggle persistently bash my beloved house and the qualities that it epitomises.

This criticism does have some validity. After all, loyalty - the key Hufflepuff trait - does have a dark side, as one may be blindly loyal and supportive where he or she should be constructively critical or antagonistic. But I think that kindness, compassion, hard work, fairness and loyalty are unjustly underrated, and that these are qualities (kindness in particular) that we ought to demonstrate, not mock or belittle.

In any case, it seems to me that the whole Potter series is, in fact, arguing for a less rigid separation into houses, since people don't tend to only embody the traits of one House, but rather possess them all in varying proportions. Ultimately it takes representatives of all Houses, and the utilisation of the myriad traits they embody, to destroy the Horcruxes, not Gryffindor bravery alone. We are composite beings.

But then that's probably just me being earnest like the Hufflepuff I am.

_________________________
*Also, I rewatched Season 6 - not a fan favourite - at a time in my life when I really needed it, and I seem to be alone among fans in thinking that it was a well-executed season whose story perfectly matched where the characters were in their lives. (I do recognise, however, that many queer fans found the Willow/Tara storyline distressing and a betrayal, and, though they don't need my validation, I think they have a valid point.)
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I seem to be on a bit of a blogging roll right now, so here's a post about three things I've been musing about in relation to various things I've been reading in recent times.

1. I still find Buffy empowering, in spite of everything

Let's get this out of the way. Buffy fails on numerous occasions in matters of race, sexuality and even the feminism which its creator, Joss Whedon, claims. I personally think its storytelling is excellent, but I know numerous people who find it deeply problematic and even hurtful, with good reason. It is, to me, an example of a flawed story that nonetheless never fails to speak to me, and I know that I have in the past excused or failed to recognise its flaws due to ignorance.

Chief among these flaws is one that feminists often raise in relation to all of Whedon's work: he ostensibly writes stories about 'empowered' women whose source of empowerment is overcoming some kind of trauma, usually a literal or metaphorical rape.

And yet, for me, as a teenager and young woman, I found that particular story, especially as it was told in Buffy, extremely empowering. Despite having a relatively calm adolescence, with nothing worse than low-level bullying, I always felt broken (and indeed in my early 20s actually sought out situations that would give me an excuse for this brokenness). As such, the idea that out of brokenness came strength was incredibly empowering for me. I know now that we need stories about women whose strength is not simply an act of revenge, a side-effect of abuse or destruction, but back then, Buffy's was a story I needed to be told.*

2. Leave Twihards alone!
On a related note, I think the bashing of Twilight fans needs to stop. This is not because I think Twilight is a wonderful story, or that it's a terrible story but this somehow doesn't matter because it's 'light, fluffy entertainment' (nothing is 'just a story', and nothing is above criticism). It's because if I had been twelve, or fourteen or even eighteen when Twilight came out, hell, I would've been a fan too, and I think those of us who were introverted and 'only ever fell in love with fictional men' need to show a bit more empathy and compassion.

You know how I said I felt 'broken' as a teenager? Well, I used to think the solution to that 'brokenness' was an all-consuming, all-sacrificing, transformative love. I read just the kinds of books to feed my rescue fantasy, and I thought if the right guy (always someone 'dangerous' and 'damaged') would walk through the door, all my troubles and angst would be over. As a fifteen-year-old girl, it's a powerful idea: that true love is obsessive and dramatic and will cause you to change completely, and Twilight simply taps into that idea. As a teenager I was reading Cecilia Dart-Thornton and Sara Douglass and Juliet Marillier and a whole host of other female romantic fantasy writers who fell under the umbrella of 'Celtic-inflected historical fantasy', and who am I to say that they were any less damaging to my ideas about romance and relationships than Twilight?

I'm not saying that we should throw our hands in the air and give up criticising Twilight. No, we should criticise it until Stephenie Meyer is no more than a distant spot on the horizon of the YA corpus. But we should stop thinking of Twilight fandom as a new phenomenon and recognise that many of us read equally problematic books as teenagers, and gained equally disturbing beliefs about relationships because of them.

3. Hufflepuff and proud
I'm a self-sorted Hufflepuff, and actually only want to join Pottermore so that I can have this sort of officially confirmed. (I'm sad, I know, I know.) And while I know I'm overinvesting, it does make me sad (even though I know it's all done in humour), when people like The Last Muggle persistently bash my beloved house and the qualities that it epitomises.

This criticism does have some validity. After all, loyalty - the key Hufflepuff trait - does have a dark side, as one may be blindly loyal and supportive where he or she should be constructively critical or antagonistic. But I think that kindness, compassion, hard work, fairness and loyalty are unjustly underrated, and that these are qualities (kindness in particular) that we ought to demonstrate, not mock or belittle.

In any case, it seems to me that the whole Potter series is, in fact, arguing for a less rigid separation into houses, since people don't tend to only embody the traits of one House, but rather possess them all in varying proportions. Ultimately it takes representatives of all Houses, and the utilisation of the myriad traits they embody, to destroy the Horcruxes, not Gryffindor bravery alone. We are composite beings.

But then that's probably just me being earnest like the Hufflepuff I am.

_________________________
*Also, I rewatched Season 6 - not a fan favourite - at a time in my life when I really needed it, and I seem to be alone among fans in thinking that it was a well-executed season whose story perfectly matched where the characters were in their lives. (I do recognise, however, that many queer fans found the Willow/Tara storyline distressing and a betrayal, and, though they don't need my validation, I think they have a valid point.)
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got lots of great links tonight.

The first two are from i09. Honestly, I really should add it to my RSS feed, rather than waiting for other places to link me to awesome stories, as that site always has really great articles.

The first one is about what 'Team Jacob' (or rather, the 'defeat' of Team Jacob) represents in Twilight. The second, via [livejournal.com profile] thelxiepia, is about tropes in television (but not TV Tropes). They're both really thought-provoking.

[livejournal.com profile] ceilidh_ann has a great post snarking Cassandra Clare's book City of Ashes. It's part of a series of posts reviewing dodgy YA literature.

Hal Duncan has an excellent article up at BSC about the Last Airbender film.

Finally, the Australian federal election has been called for 21st August. I don't think I know many 17- or 18-year-old Australians who read this blog, but if there are any of you reading, make sure you're registered to vote. Being in the UK myself, I'm going to have to figure out how to vote from over here, since I'm going to be flying back from Ireland that day. Clearly, I'll have to get a postal vote, so I should organise that as soon as possible. Any UK-based Australians reading this should sort out what they're doing, too.

ETA: Via [livejournal.com profile] angelofboox, this Marauder-era Facebook timeline by Julvett on DeviantArt. The link goes to part 1. There are three parts.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got lots of great links tonight.

The first two are from i09. Honestly, I really should add it to my RSS feed, rather than waiting for other places to link me to awesome stories, as that site always has really great articles.

The first one is about what 'Team Jacob' (or rather, the 'defeat' of Team Jacob) represents in Twilight. The second, via [livejournal.com profile] thelxiepia, is about tropes in television (but not TV Tropes). They're both really thought-provoking.

[livejournal.com profile] ceilidh_ann has a great post snarking Cassandra Clare's book City of Ashes. It's part of a series of posts reviewing dodgy YA literature.

Hal Duncan has an excellent article up at BSC about the Last Airbender film.

Finally, the Australian federal election has been called for 21st August. I don't think I know many 17- or 18-year-old Australians who read this blog, but if there are any of you reading, make sure you're registered to vote. Being in the UK myself, I'm going to have to figure out how to vote from over here, since I'm going to be flying back from Ireland that day. Clearly, I'll have to get a postal vote, so I should organise that as soon as possible. Any UK-based Australians reading this should sort out what they're doing, too.

ETA: Via [livejournal.com profile] angelofboox, this Marauder-era Facebook timeline by Julvett on DeviantArt. The link goes to part 1. There are three parts.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got a couple of new posts up on the Geata. The first is about characterisation problems in all television series not written by Joss Whedon. The next is a spoiler-free review of Steven Saylor's book Roma.

I'm about to head off home to Australia, so I thought I'd do a big links roundup before I left. Justine Larbalestier has written two really fantastic entries recently. One is about Gone With the Wind and the other is a really good summary of the failings of so many reviewers (especially those who are unfamiliar with YA literature).

There's a good post on The Intern about copy editors. As a former sub-editor, I can only applaud.

I found a couple of interesting Twilight-related posts. This one ties the books in with the whole 'purity' movement in the US. This one is hilarious and tries to imagine Breaking Dawn as a movie. I'd pay money to see that.

Finally, John Scalzi notes that Mystery Writers of America have followed the lead of SF Writers of America and Romance Writers of America in condemning Harlequin's disgraceful treatment of aspiring writers. Good for them!

Now, back to packing!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got a couple of new posts up on the Geata. The first is about characterisation problems in all television series not written by Joss Whedon. The next is a spoiler-free review of Steven Saylor's book Roma.

I'm about to head off home to Australia, so I thought I'd do a big links roundup before I left. Justine Larbalestier has written two really fantastic entries recently. One is about Gone With the Wind and the other is a really good summary of the failings of so many reviewers (especially those who are unfamiliar with YA literature).

There's a good post on The Intern about copy editors. As a former sub-editor, I can only applaud.

I found a couple of interesting Twilight-related posts. This one ties the books in with the whole 'purity' movement in the US. This one is hilarious and tries to imagine Breaking Dawn as a movie. I'd pay money to see that.

Finally, John Scalzi notes that Mystery Writers of America have followed the lead of SF Writers of America and Romance Writers of America in condemning Harlequin's disgraceful treatment of aspiring writers. Good for them!

Now, back to packing!
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I've been writing epically recently, not only online, but also for my PhD. I'm now sitting on about 2000 words, which pleases me immensely. But today I'd like to show you some of my less academic writing.

First, here's my (supposedly) weekly Longvision post. It's about Christian symbolism and the character of Sulien, and it's the sort of thing I wish I could spend more time pondering.

I've got two posts on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. The first is just a general post about life in Cambridge this term - my regular update that sums up the Cambridge experience in a more formal way than I do on this blog. The second post is a review of Kate Elliott's Crossroads series. It might be slightly spoilery for the first two books. The focus is on Elliott's positive depiction of middle-class characters in a medieval world, which is something of a rarity in fantasy literature.

I've got a couple more links for you. First up, something I stumbled upon through [livejournal.com profile] metafandom. It's a rather interesting post pondering the appeal of the Twilight series, which, as you know, is something I ponder myself from time to time. I think you'll be interested in the conclusions the blogger reaches.

If you're not reading The Intern, a fantastically snarky look at the publishing world, you should be. Her recent post on author websites had me wondering whether to laugh or cry. As someone who has struggled recently trying to track down authors' publicity representatives in order to get review copies of books sent to me, let me reiterate The Intern's complaints: Authors! Fix your websites! Most importantly, include a link to your representatives at each of your publishing companies, with contact details! You would make this reviewer very grateful.

Check out John Scalzi's remarks on Fox 'News' and Obama. He's spot on as usual.

I discovered, via Justine Larbalestier's blog, the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales (author Sarah Rees Brennan). She's got some very interesting things to say on the double standards readers tend to hold in relation to female characters. It's good food for thought.

That's probably enough for you to be going on with for now!
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I've been writing epically recently, not only online, but also for my PhD. I'm now sitting on about 2000 words, which pleases me immensely. But today I'd like to show you some of my less academic writing.

First, here's my (supposedly) weekly Longvision post. It's about Christian symbolism and the character of Sulien, and it's the sort of thing I wish I could spend more time pondering.

I've got two posts on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. The first is just a general post about life in Cambridge this term - my regular update that sums up the Cambridge experience in a more formal way than I do on this blog. The second post is a review of Kate Elliott's Crossroads series. It might be slightly spoilery for the first two books. The focus is on Elliott's positive depiction of middle-class characters in a medieval world, which is something of a rarity in fantasy literature.

I've got a couple more links for you. First up, something I stumbled upon through [livejournal.com profile] metafandom. It's a rather interesting post pondering the appeal of the Twilight series, which, as you know, is something I ponder myself from time to time. I think you'll be interested in the conclusions the blogger reaches.

If you're not reading The Intern, a fantastically snarky look at the publishing world, you should be. Her recent post on author websites had me wondering whether to laugh or cry. As someone who has struggled recently trying to track down authors' publicity representatives in order to get review copies of books sent to me, let me reiterate The Intern's complaints: Authors! Fix your websites! Most importantly, include a link to your representatives at each of your publishing companies, with contact details! You would make this reviewer very grateful.

Check out John Scalzi's remarks on Fox 'News' and Obama. He's spot on as usual.

I discovered, via Justine Larbalestier's blog, the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales (author Sarah Rees Brennan). She's got some very interesting things to say on the double standards readers tend to hold in relation to female characters. It's good food for thought.

That's probably enough for you to be going on with for now!
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is going to be a bit of a link, meme, thank you ma'am type of post. I just finished watching the season (and series?) finale of Robin Hood and will probably post about it at some point - perhaps in a post called 'How to lose viewers and alienate your fanbase, all in one 13-episode season'. Right now, however, it's meme time. This one's swiped from [livejournal.com profile] boojumlol.

Don’t take too long to think about it.
Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you.
First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Copy the instructions into your own post.


books, books, books )

Here come the links.

First up, I wrote a post on Longvision about the imagined modern-day Roman Empire of Sophia McDougall's Romanitas series.

The ever-wonderful [livejournal.com profile] elle_vee has written a great post about fandom rules. She also posted a link (from WorldOfWonder) to Michael Bay's keyboard. I thought it was hilarious.

I don't exactly feel up to the task of writing about Michael Jackson, but luckily, the author of one of my favourite blogs has done it for me.

Finally, to lighten the mood, have this fabulous clip which mashes Buffy and Twilight (with logical conclusion).

dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is going to be a bit of a link, meme, thank you ma'am type of post. I just finished watching the season (and series?) finale of Robin Hood and will probably post about it at some point - perhaps in a post called 'How to lose viewers and alienate your fanbase, all in one 13-episode season'. Right now, however, it's meme time. This one's swiped from [livejournal.com profile] boojumlol.

Don’t take too long to think about it.
Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you.
First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Copy the instructions into your own post.


books, books, books )

Here come the links.

First up, I wrote a post on Longvision about the imagined modern-day Roman Empire of Sophia McDougall's Romanitas series.

The ever-wonderful [livejournal.com profile] elle_vee has written a great post about fandom rules. She also posted a link (from WorldOfWonder) to Michael Bay's keyboard. I thought it was hilarious.

I don't exactly feel up to the task of writing about Michael Jackson, but luckily, the author of one of my favourite blogs has done it for me.

Finally, to lighten the mood, have this fabulous clip which mashes Buffy and Twilight (with logical conclusion).

Buffy stuff

May. 8th, 2009 10:51 pm
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Here's the rather excellent Cracked summary of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Major spoilers, of course.

I think I must be in the minority of Buffy fans who like (well, 'like' is the wrong word. 'Appreciate the quality of' might be better) Season Six and, for the most part ('Conversations With Dead People' aside), dislike Season Seven.

Also, any friends of mine who are Twilight fans, don't click on these links. The rest of you, enjoy some rather sarcastically articulate summaries of the problems with the Twilight series. The second link has a hilarious 800+ flame war going on in the quotes. Good times.

ETA: I try to refrain from Twilight-bashing because I have a live-and-let-live attitude to fandom (hell, I'd be in a pot-kettle situation if I started saying that Twilight was escapist, never mind most of the other things I think about it). However, I've just spent the past two hours reading all the comments on that Twilight article (the second link) and I simply had to respond to one remark: "I loved ‘Wuthering Heights’, but isn’t it about the same, and it’s a classic?"

Umm, if you think Twilight and Wuthering Heights are the same, you are doing it wrong. It actually makes me feel queasy (and sort of like removing my second X-chromosome) that you, commenter, cannot see that the relationship in Wuthering Heights (which the relationship in Twilight is meant to imitate) is incredibly destructive and abusive. Wuthering Heights shows what happens if you let your love of one person consume your whole life. It's terrifying.

That being said, I do remember what it was like to be a teenager, and to love my favourite books so completely, so utterly and so passionately. Measured criticism of my favourite books felt like my soul was being stomped on, because those books were, on many occasions, what got me through the horrible moments of adolescence. When a book-reviewer at The Sydney Morning Herald wrote a measured criticism of The Amber Spyglass, I sent her an abusive letter accusing her of not actually reading the book before reviewing it. Luckily, instead of telling me to get lost, she wrote me a polite response (saying, memorably, that I seemed to be denying her right to free speech and free thought, which, as a Pullman fan, I should have been defending). She also offered me my first paid job as a newspaper reviewer. Seven years later, here I am. I hope that some of those outraged Twilight fans can gain something as positive from the experience.

Buffy stuff

May. 8th, 2009 10:51 pm
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Here's the rather excellent Cracked summary of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Major spoilers, of course.

I think I must be in the minority of Buffy fans who like (well, 'like' is the wrong word. 'Appreciate the quality of' might be better) Season Six and, for the most part ('Conversations With Dead People' aside), dislike Season Seven.

Also, any friends of mine who are Twilight fans, don't click on these links. The rest of you, enjoy some rather sarcastically articulate summaries of the problems with the Twilight series. The second link has a hilarious 800+ flame war going on in the quotes. Good times.

ETA: I try to refrain from Twilight-bashing because I have a live-and-let-live attitude to fandom (hell, I'd be in a pot-kettle situation if I started saying that Twilight was escapist, never mind most of the other things I think about it). However, I've just spent the past two hours reading all the comments on that Twilight article (the second link) and I simply had to respond to one remark: "I loved ‘Wuthering Heights’, but isn’t it about the same, and it’s a classic?"

Umm, if you think Twilight and Wuthering Heights are the same, you are doing it wrong. It actually makes me feel queasy (and sort of like removing my second X-chromosome) that you, commenter, cannot see that the relationship in Wuthering Heights (which the relationship in Twilight is meant to imitate) is incredibly destructive and abusive. Wuthering Heights shows what happens if you let your love of one person consume your whole life. It's terrifying.

That being said, I do remember what it was like to be a teenager, and to love my favourite books so completely, so utterly and so passionately. Measured criticism of my favourite books felt like my soul was being stomped on, because those books were, on many occasions, what got me through the horrible moments of adolescence. When a book-reviewer at The Sydney Morning Herald wrote a measured criticism of The Amber Spyglass, I sent her an abusive letter accusing her of not actually reading the book before reviewing it. Luckily, instead of telling me to get lost, she wrote me a polite response (saying, memorably, that I seemed to be denying her right to free speech and free thought, which, as a Pullman fan, I should have been defending). She also offered me my first paid job as a newspaper reviewer. Seven years later, here I am. I hope that some of those outraged Twilight fans can gain something as positive from the experience.

To arms!

Jan. 10th, 2009 02:09 pm
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is quite possibly the most important thing I've ever written. It's my response to three articles on young-adult literature that have been getting a lot of attention from bloggers I respect. If you read nothing else I ever post on Wordpress, read this.

EDIT: God, I've just noticed how self-important and arrogant this little lead-in post is. That'll teach me to write when I'm incandescent with rage.

To arms!

Jan. 10th, 2009 02:09 pm
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is quite possibly the most important thing I've ever written. It's my response to three articles on young-adult literature that have been getting a lot of attention from bloggers I respect. If you read nothing else I ever post on Wordpress, read this.

EDIT: God, I've just noticed how self-important and arrogant this little lead-in post is. That'll teach me to write when I'm incandescent with rage.
dolorosa_12: (joyce)
When I read in [livejournal.com profile] fanficrants that there'd been yet another Buffy-Twilight crossover, my heart began to hurt. But then some benevolent commentator posted me these links and I couldn't stop grinning like an idiot.
dolorosa_12: (joyce)
When I read in [livejournal.com profile] fanficrants that there'd been yet another Buffy-Twilight crossover, my heart began to hurt. But then some benevolent commentator posted me these links and I couldn't stop grinning like an idiot.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
I've been in a weird depressed mood recently. Everything's been a bit too much, and all I could manage to do was re-read the extreme trash that is Twilight.
I don't really think it's a coincidence that the protagonist is called Bella Swan, do you?

In other news, I'm blathering on at Wordpress as usual. Wow, I really know how to sell myself, huh?
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
I've been in a weird depressed mood recently. Everything's been a bit too much, and all I could manage to do was re-read the extreme trash that is Twilight.
I don't really think it's a coincidence that the protagonist is called Bella Swan, do you?

In other news, I'm blathering on at Wordpress as usual. Wow, I really know how to sell myself, huh?

Profile

dolorosa_12: (Default)
rushes into my heart and my skull

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