Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mean Girls and Frenemys

I know I should finish off my "5 Characters" series, buta thought bubble occurred to me and refused to leave me alone. It happened while I was watching Mean Girls.
Oh, Mean Girls. This was the movie of my classmates during high school. I think every graduating class has a specific movie that set the tone throughout their high school years. When I was a freshman, the seniors had "Napoleon Dynamite." According to my younger brother, who is a sophomore in high school, it's currently "The Hangover." But for me and my classmates, it was "Mean Girls."

What was it about this movie that resonated so deeply with my peers and me? Was it the clever one-liners that everyone quotes--"Don't have sex or you will get pregnant and DIE." "That's why her hair's so big, it's full of secrets!" Was it the ensemble cast, with Lindsay Lohan pre-rehab, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel McAdams, etc...? I don't think so. I think it was because it baldly uncovered the sad truth about so many girl's friendships.

I think that sad truth is that a heckuva lot of girls don't have friends. They have frenemies. I've also noticed, that the more 'popular' a girl is, the more true friends she loses and frenemies she's gained.

What is the difference between a frenemy and a friend? I'll elaborate.

A frenemy will tell you you look cute to your face and then talk badly about you with her other frenemies. A friend will be either honest or resolutely tell you that you look cute.

A frenemy will ditch her girls for a guy, no matter what the situation. A friend, to put it simply, will not.

A frenemy will backstab when it pleases her. A friend may be hurtful, but at least she'll do it to your face.

A frenemy will judge on looks--parties, drinking, sex, clothes and makeup will be her new priorities. A friend will judge you for who you truly are.

To a frenemy, friends are disposable. Easily replaced. To a friend, they're priceless and forever.

As I enter my twenties, it grows more and more apparent what real friendship truly is. I generally take it for granted that everyone I love are true friends and feel precisely the same way as I do--that they're irreplaceable, they're forever, and they're THERE through thick and thin. Becoming an adult has its hardships but it also gives a blindingly clear picture of has been there all along and who will continue to be there all along.

I think there are those who have been caught in the frenemy's trap. They've been influenced by girls who don't genuinely care about them but still play them false. It's like Regina George's cronies--they hate her but they desperately want her to like them.

So, please, listen to me. The Plastics aren't worth it. Frenemies aren't worth it. Look to who truly matter in your life and who truly love you--cuz as we head out into the big bad world, they're not easy to find.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

5 Characters Everyone Hates But I Actually Like

Character 2: Ron Weasley
Why you no like me?

This is another one that baffles me. Why is there so much Ron hate? I've never understood it. There are whole webpages devoted to hating this guy. Is it because he's a ginger? (It better not be, 75% of the characters in Harry Potter are redheads. DUMBLEDORE was a redhead before he was old.) Is it because his actor has weirdly placed eyes? Like Raoul, here are the reasons I've managed to unearth on hating Ron, and here is my defense of him.

1. Ron is stupid.
Ron isn't stupid. He just has the misfortune of having a best friend who is extremely talented at Defense Against the Dark Arts and another best friend (and later girlfriend) who is extremely talented at everything. Ron also has the misfortune of having extremely talented older siblings, whereas Ron is...just, kinda average. There's nothing wrong with that. But in comparison with all these intelligent and amazing people, it does make him look stupid. But he's not. He's fended off Death Eaters, he can summon a Patronus, he is an EXCELLENT chess player, so back the eff off. Ron isn't stupid.

2. Ron is ignorant of others' feelings.
Well...he's kind of a guy. Snicker. Okay, I'll admit that empathy is not a strong suit of Ron's. He has a tendency of putting his foot in his mouth--it's a character flaw, what of it? He does this repeatedly throughout the series, breaks Hermione's heart through this flaw in the sixth, and then in the seventh genuinely works to overcome this. Look how much sweeter he is to her in the seventh--this is called character growth, people. Harry grew, Hermione grew, this was the way Ron grew. Sheesh. (I'd also point out that Fred and George, as lovable and amazing as they are, are often pretty cruel in their words to Ron and sometimes to others, but just because they're funnier and more attractive, they always get a free pass from fans. Also, this isn't slamming Fred and George--my favorite characters and the central characters of my fanfiction--but I am being realistic to their character.)

3. Ron isn't very loyal.

Oh wait...I assume you're referring to the grand total of TWO times Ron effed up and ditched Harry. The first was in the fourth book. The second was in the seventh.

Yeah, Ron screwed up both times. It happens. Characters (at least GOOD ones) screw up sometimes. But consider Ron's position. He grew up in a family with five older, more talented, smarter, better at Quidditch, and generally more attractive brothers. He was the youngest boy so he got all the handmedowns, and generally had the fact that he WASN'T his brothers shoved down his throat constantly. His best friend is Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, who is amazing at Defense Against the Dark Arts, an spectacular Seeker for the Quidditch team, and has had girls fancying him since he was a second year. And still, even through being shunted to the side all his life, he stuck by Harry. Frankly, the fact that he's only gotten frustrated and sick of it all TWICE is rather amazing, and an incredible testament to his personal loyalty.

Ron not loyal? Yeah, and Voldemort really did fancy Bellatrix back. Dumbass.

4. Ron messes with my Harry/Hermione ship.
You can't see it, but I'm giving you a withering glare that basically means you're an idiot. Really? The only reason you don't like Ron is because he gets the girl, not Harry?

Okay. It's time for my Ron/Hermione rant.

There has been support for Ron/Hermione since book three. It has in no way been forced. The constant bickering between the two of them has been little more than foreplay. FOREPLAY, people. Opposites attract. Ron is clueless when it comes to emotions, so it took him a very long time to realize he liked Hermione. Hermione, who is more adept with emotions, realized it earlier. Yeah, they fight all the time. Because they like each other. Sometimes couples never fight. A lot of times couples fight all the time. (In a good way)

As for Harry/Hermione...I'm sorry guys, but there has been NO support for Harry/Hermione ever. Ever. There has never been anything between them that wasn't strictly platonic. Harry has never seen Hermione in any way other than being his best friend--'like a sister', as he assured Ron in the seventh book. They have no romantic chemistry.

One of the main reasons I like Ron/Hermione is because Hermione, the main girl, the one who you'd expect to pick the hero, picks the sidekick. I LOVE this. I LOVE that she picked the flawed guy who messes up all the time rather than obvious hero choice. It fits perfectly within her character--Hermione LOVES lost causes. (S.P.E.W. sound familiar?) Not to mention, Hermione is clever enough to see who Ron precisely is--a loyal, essentially kind guy with a great sense of humor.

Much love, Roonil Wazlib. Much love.

5 Characters Everyone Hates But I Actually Like

In different fandoms, I've noticed that there is that one character--that one character that everybody hates. Fanfics will turn him or her into a buttmonkey, into an out of character jerk or lady with questionable morals, all sorts of things. So for the next few days, I'm defending these poor characters.

My first character that everyone hates and I actually like: Raoul, from "Phantom of the Opera".
So seriously, why does everyone hate Raoul? I don't get it. I've never gotten it. Is it his doofy haircut? Is it because he's not played by Gerard Butler? Is it because he DOESN'T psychologically abuse and abduct unsuspecting girls?

After careful research, I've discovered the reasons why most fans prefer the Phantom over Raoul. I am here to display them and also point out why they are utter horse manure.

1. Raoul is a fop.
...what? Do these people even know what a fop is? A fop is a person who is often effeminate, overdresses, a 'man of fashion', so to speak. Something really close to a metrosexual. Check out some restoration comedies, they use fops a lot in literary devices. Raoul doesn't dress any more fashionably than anyone else. Hell, the Phantom is more of a fop than he is.

2. Raoul is boring.

Boring? Ok, so he doesn't live underneath an opera house and he doesn't terrorize a bunch of dancers and actors. Nor does he wear an admittedly cool mask. But just because he's a (dare I say it, NICE guy?!) he's boring? Come on! He risked his neck several times to save Christine, he was nearly tortured to death (in the book), he's always the first to try and fight the Phantom, he has several moments of badassery! He is in no way boring!

And I'm sorry, but if you don't think it was extremely awesome the way he spat, "Why make her lie to you to save me?" you and I should really not be friends.

3. Raoul is a controlling horrible man who orders Christine around and wouldn't believe her when she told him about the Phantom, waaaah!

This is probably the complaint that aggravates me the most. First of all, look at context, look at the period. Guys ordered girls around all the time. I'm not saying that this was okay, nor do I support it, but it was accepted. Raoul grew up in a time where men were expected to control women. If you expect me to believe the Phantom, who expected not just women but EVERYONE to obey his beck and call, wouldn't treat Christine the same (or worse) then you're deluding yourself.

Secondly, yes, Raoul didn't believe Christine. Yes, it was aggravating, yes, he should've trusted his beloved, blah blah blah. Once again, look at it in context. If your girlfriend or boyfriend suddenly dragged you up on a rooftop and informed you that an evil angel of music abducted you to an underground lair and was killing people, would you honestly believe them right off the bat? Cuz I wouldn't. I'd be likely to ask, what are you drinking, and can I please have some, but instantaneous belief? I'm too skeptical for that. So are most people.

Thirdly--even if Raoul is chauvinistic due to a product of his period, this does not make him worse than the Phantom. Good gracious people, the Phantom has been psychologically messing with Christine since she was a child, pretending to be the spirit of her dead father. He abducted her. He tried to control her life. He stalked her, followed her. He killed people and threatened to do the same to a crowded opera house unless she 'married' him. (Marriage is in quotations cuz you and I both know all he wanted was some bow chicka wow wow.) Yes, I get that he had a messed up childhood and was beaten and abused, but you know what? The majority of abusers were abused themselves. This does not excuse them and it does not excuse the Phantom.

Honestly, the Phantom's only redeeming quality is that he's played by Gerard Butler in the movie.

3. Raoul is pathetic.
Wait a second, the Phantom has been lusting after this chick since she was a little girl, creeping on her, pretending to be her dead father in order to seduce her, and Raoul is the pathetic one? What?

I think people mean the final scene, when he gets caught by the Phantom and Raoul is literally begging Christine to not lock her life away. One of his lines is, "I fought so hard to save you!" A lot of people think this is him whining, like, 'I'm so awesome! I triiiiiiied!'

No. He's saying, 'Christine, I tried my best to free you, I fought really hard, my entire purpose was for you to be free and you being with the Phantom would lock yourself away and render it all pointless, please please please just get out of here and save yourself!' That's pretty effing noble, if you ask me.

Also people bitch about the many leaking fluids he has pouring down his face as he's being choked to death. Well excuse the crap out of me, we can't all shed manly Gerard Butler tears (Gerard Butler doesn't cry, he leaks testosterone) and a lot of us in near-death situations can't always remain looking sexy and dignified. He's being CHOKED to death, people. Choking isn't pretty.

I'm mostly going from the movie here, but look at the scenes between the Phantom and Christine and Raoul and Christine. With the Phantom, there's dazed confusion and slight adoration mixed with a healthy dose of fear, especially when he sings to her. With Raoul, there is nothing but honest to goodness happiness. Yes, Raoul is a product of his time period, but at least he makes her happy which is more that can be said for the Phantom, who is pretty much a mind rapist. You may think the Phantom is more interesting and sexy than Raoul, but I'll have you know that in the end of the movie (you can't make me believe that fanfiction crap they call a sequel is real) Christine chose Raoul, and it is probably because he's not an emotionally abusive asshat.

I will take the nice guy over the sick twisted abuser any day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Foray Into the Labyrinth

After my last two rather upsetting posts, I decided to do a movie review to make me feel better. Something I'd never seen before, but enjoyed immensely.

I am speaking of course, of Labyrinth.

WHAT?! You're probably screaming. You haven't seen Labyrinth?! The essential 80s fantasy film for every blossoming nerdette as a child?! You poor deprived baby! WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!

Now hang on. It's not that my mother is unnecessarily cruel. In fact, "The Neverending Story" is one of her favorite movies. It's just...when I was little, I liked princess movies. Really girly ones, with frilly dresses, fairy tale routes, and handsome princes. Mostly animated.

Stop looking at me like that.

So, rather than requesting puppet-filled masterpieces like I should've, I asked my mom for princess animations, which she supplied to me. Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Mulan, Anastasia, Swan Princess, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty--these are the movies I grew up with and watched several million times a day.

Ahem. Anyway. Labyrinth.

For years people have begged me to watch it and I've replied, "Meh." I just wasn't that interested. Clearly, I am an idiot, because I have been fangirling over this movie for the past two days.

So the movie starts out with this girl Sarah in a really pretty dress, pretending to have epic adventures. She comes home late, yells at her stepmother for asking why she was late, screamed at her dad, and then wished for the Goblin King do take her baby brother away.

Which was a mistake because the goblins kidnap her brother and the Goblin King HOLYCRAPDAVIDBOWIE'SPANTS.




I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

Oh, right. Labyrinth. Yeah. Ahem.

So the Goblin King is played by the incomparable David Bowie (who is interestingly enough the best actor...Jennifer Connelly's acting has a long way to go. Seems like she's managed it nowadays though.) who tells her that she has thirteen hours to get her baby brother back or he'll turn him into a goblin. So then she...


I'm sorry, I have to bring it up. I have never in my life ever lusted after David Bowie before. Until now. Apparently glittery-eyeshadowe'd-pale-white-mulleted-sparkly-sequined-jacket-high-heeled-boots-and-DAMN-THOSE-BEAUTIFULLY-TIGHT-PANTS reeeeally do it for me. I wish I were joking.


AHEM. The review. Right.

So Sarah goes on this great adventure through David Bowie's labyrinth and meets all sorts of great Jim Henson critters that help her along the way. Like Hoggle, who we charmingly meet whilst he's urinating.

He grows on you, I promise. I think he rather develops a thing for Sarah, which is rather sweet...(*millions of Jareth/Sarah fangirls send me death glares*) er, I mean, I'm sure Hoggle's feelings for her are purely platonic.

Then we meet Ludo, who is an adorably fluffy beast, and yes, the band Ludo was named for this darling.

D'awwwww. I want one.

And, closely followed by Jareth's pants, my favorite character, Sir Didymus!

Sir Didymus is an interesting mixture of C.S Lewis' Reepicheep and Don Quixote. I'm pretty sure Reepicheep and Didymus would be buds. I love him, he's darling and I love his fluffy tail.

So this ragtag group navigates the labyrinth to get to Bowie's castle so they can retrieve Sarah's baby brother. In the process, Jareth Bowie sends homicidal robots, (yes, there is a giant robot.) metal death contraptions, goblins, and Hoggle betrays Sarah twice for him. Jareth even drugs a peach which Sarah consumes and gives us a really trippy dance sequence between Jareth and Sarah which is both really hot and makes me really uncomfortable, because Jennifer Connelly was 16 when this was filmed and David Bowie know what? I'm not going to wikipedia how old he was, it's just going to make me more uncomfortable.

But it's still kind of hot.

Well, Sarah manages to wake herself up. They make it to the castle. At this point, I'm pretty sure Jareth Bowie has fallen in love with Sarah, or is at least weirdly infatuated by her. At the end, there's this intense sequence...and I'm not just talking about Bowie's pants.

Sarah, at this point too, is also infatuated, or at the very least mesmerized by Bowie's pants, I mean, presence.

Then Jareth (who I've pretty much at this point added to my imaginary harem of movie characters) says, "I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, and do as I say and I will be your slave. Just let me rule you, and you can have everything you want."

Huminahuminahumina...okay...whatever you say, Jareth can rule me any day of the week...

Apparently, Sarah is a better film protagonist than me, because she realizes that Jareth has no power over her and she says it to him--"YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME!" And poof! She wins, she comes home, her little baby brother is safe, and she has a dance party in her bedroom with Hoggle and co.

Bowie was not invited.

I would've invited him. Just saying.

And I shall end this review with this letter to my dear little brother.

Dear Little Brother,

I just wanted you to know that if I ever accidentally wished that the goblins would take you away and you were suddenly kidnapped by Jareth Bowie to be doomed to live in his Labyrinth and I had to save you...

Your ass would be screwed, cuz I totally would've opted for Jareth Bowie to be my personal sex slave. Sorry.

Love, Phoenix

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Despicable, Horrible Human Beings

I'm angry again. No, I'm beyond angry. I am furious. I can't even think of more synonyms for mad.

I wrote yesterday about the death of Christina Green, and how grieved I am for her family and for her. I was literally in tears while writing it. I hoped to counter balance the sadness of that blog with something lighter, like the fun lists my friend Running Fish is doing, but a girl's gotta write when a girl's gotta write.

I'm talking about the Westboro Baptist Church.

I have never been fond of these people. These are the delightful members of America who never fail to exhibit their right to free speech, including picketing soldiers' funerals, marching around college campuses with signs that say, "God Hates Fags", "God Hates the USA", "God Hates Soldiers", "God Hates People with Freckles", etc. I've mentioned them in this blog a time or two, usually in conjunction with an example. Obviously these little gems aren't prime examples of Christianity.

However, I've always said they have a right to their opinions. Yes. They have a right to be nasty, bigoted, despicable people and they have a write to hold signs that proclaim it. (Whether they have a right to do this at funerals is another matter--I'll get into that in a moment.) This is also the same reason years ago I didn't join the facebook group, "Remove the 'Soldiers Are Not Heroes' Group on Facebook!" when all of my other friends did. I thought the people in that group were awful. But the thing is, they have a right to have that opinion. They have a right to make that facebook group. I believe it was Thomas Paine who said, "Sir, I disagree completely with what you're saying, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

Now. It has recently been announced that the Westboro Baptist Church is planning on picketing Christina Taylor Green's funeral.

They had this to say. "The 9-year-old girl was born 9/11/01! “Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it,” Mic. 6:9. God mercifully gave this nation a fair warning on 9/11 – but you despise His mercies, so you get no more mercy – man, woman or child. That’s how God the Avenger rolls!

That child was not innocent. This is a nation of depraved perverts who pass their children through the fire of their rage against God & all-consuming lust. From the womb, she was taught to hate God & mock His servants. That child is better off dead, so the cup of her iniquity will not overflow! Rep. Giffords passed laws trying to keep WBC watchers off the street corners. In repayment, God sent the shooter when she took to a street corner! The blood of the 9-year-old is on Rep. Giffords’ hands! This nation rejoiced & your officials were ho-hum when a violent veteran stalked 5 WBC picketers with 90 rounds of ammunition. In repayment, God sent the shooter with 90 rounds of ammunition & killed your federal judge, your child, & others. Now let’s see if you’re so ho-hum in the face of God’s wrath! The blood of these six dead is on your hands rebellious doomed-america! God’s judgments are so righteous & marvelous in our sight!


I am pretty damn furious at the moment. When I read this, all of my idealistic notions of free speech flew out the window and I wanted blood. I wanted to find these people and scream at them, throw stuff, scream some more, maybe even punch the more obnoxious ones. Now that I'm calmer, I still agree with my previous statements. But--you should not be allowed to protest at a funeral. No. Get them out. Make it illegal. There is no statement you can make by intruding on someone's grief and memory. A funeral is very often times a religious ceremony, and even if the person in question is not religious, it still has spiritual implications. Atheists would not be permitted to stand in the back of a church holding signs that say "YOU ARE IDIOTS FOR BELIEVING IN GOD." Christians would not be permitted to walk into a mosque with their shoes on and hold signs that say, "YOU ARE ALL TERRORISTS AND GOING TO HELL." Police would be called. There would be consequences. Therefore, these assholes should not be allowed to protest at funerals. Period.

Generally, the police have been pretty good about making sure these dickweeds aren't actually at the service, and are at least a city block away. My concern is that people are going to get rightfully upset and try and start shit with these guys. Arguments and fights should not be what's going on in the background of this little girl's funeral.

People aren't standing for this however, thank God. There will be a wall of silent people, calling themselves 'angels', who will stand in the way of the protestors. That's the nice thing about a free country--we can protest the protestors.

God bless Christina's family. I won't ask for God to smite the WBC--but maybe a really bad case of the stomach flu?

(Btw, sorry about the crazy font changes, I copy and pasted from the article and blogger dot com doesn't seem to understand how to change back to the original font.)

Monday, January 10, 2011


I am angry. I am angry and upset. There's been another tragedy in the world, and it has claimed the life of a nine-year-old girl named Christina Taylor Green. Nineteen other people were shot and Gabrielle Giffords, the Congresswoman who was the target, is still in the hospital.

According to this article Christina had just been elected to the Student Council at her school. Her aunt invited her to come and she went eagerly, hoping to learn more about the world of politics.

I think what angers me the most is that in someone's mentally depraved way of making a political statement, a child's life was taken. I am furious and heartbroken that on Saturday a little girl with a bright future went off to see the people who change the world, and never came back.

But I think what's even more heart-wrenching is how suddenly everyone's playing the blame game. It was my understanding that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was the one who caused this. He was the one who attempted to murder Congressman Gifford, who shot 19 other people, who killed somebody's little girl. And yet, suddenly everyone's pointing fingers at the RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS and SARAH PALIN and RUSH LIMBAUGH and ANN COULTER--it literally makes me sick.

I'm a feminist, and most feminist websites I read for the news have a very liberal slant. A few of the articles made me angry, and not in an angry at the point of the article, angry at the writer. Blaming the conservative media? Are we serious? They say that they've made death threats in the past, and while they probably didn't mean them, they were influential.


No, they weren't. I'm not one to say we shouldn't take death threats seriously, but honestly, there have been just as many liberal commentators, writers, and bloggers who've made just as many as Limbaugh and Coulter. Google 'kill George Bush' if you don't believe me.

Apply the same logic to religion--there are crazies in Kansas that take the Old Testament to an extreme, wanting to kill anyone who isn't white, heterosexual, and religious. Is that Christianity's fault? No. There are Hindu extremists in India who hunt down and murder Christians and Buddhists. Is it the religion of Hinduism's fault that they're doing this? No.

It doesn't matter what 'influences' you. What it comes down to, is you are responsible for your own actions. Loughner is responsible for his atrocities, not Sarah Palin, not her stupid gun target map (Politics have been using weaponry metaphors since the start of America, so please shut up about it!) not Rush Limbaugh's remarks, not Ann Coulter's articles. So stop blaming the republicans and conservatives, please!

Remember Christina Green and what that means. Let's help stop the violence, be it through guns, words, or actions.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Skinny Bitch's Thoughts on Mr. Kenneth Tong

I find it ironic that after writing my first post on body image, I then discover a charming individual named Kenneth Tong, who's entire mission in life is to encourage 'managed anorexia', promote his Size Zero diet pill, (which sounds about as legit as a guy in an alley with bad teeth offering you free candy), and basically tweet back to the outraged celebrities who are calling him out on all of this.
Before efficiently eviscerating this gentleman with my prose, I would like to point out the hypocrisy of the celebrities who are getting their panties in a wad. These are the movie and television stars I loathe, who indirectly promote just what Mr. Tong is advocating simply by being in that industry. Save your righteous indignation for when you all get normal body sizes, because it's you, more so than Mr. Tong, that makes girls feel bad about themselves.

Now, for Mr. Tong. I notice that he seems to be rather enjoying the attention he's getting, even more so when people hysterically insult him and scream incoherently. Ignoring him isn't the solution, however--because the aardvark manure he is spouting is so offensive that everyone's just going to get mad and call names. So I propose we attack with dignified tweets and blogs, explaining coherently and clearly precisely why Size Zero is not perfection, admirable, or something to aspire to. Come on my Hermiones, I know we can do this.

I doubt you'll read this, Mr. Tong, as I am not famous or rich, but I am what you might call 'skinny'. Oh yes, my body type is right up your alley. I've always been the tiny one and my friends lovingly comment on my skinny ass. Yay. So since I obviously have the trait that is most important to you, here's hoping you'll listen to me.

There is no such thing as 'managed' anorexia. You may as well say someone has a 'managed' drug habit or a 'managed' acute alcoholism. There is no managing a disease, unless by managing you mean curing it.

I'd like to share a few of Mr. Tong's more delightful tweets: "Inner beauty is a myth. You are just fat. You are unloved. People look at you & are pleasant cause they feel sorry for you. Size zero..."

"If your beautiful in your own way, am glad you appreciate yourself, cause that plus size garment can't breathe with your fat stretching it." (I would like to point out his incorrect use of the word 'your' which probably doesn't matter to many people but the grammar nazi within me is chortling with superiority at this slip.)

And my personal favorite, "I wholeheartedly hope I put you off your Dinner. Look at yourself. You are a disgrace. That's why the guy you like doesn't notice you."

Man, if he said all that in a latin accent, he'd be completely irresistible.

No, Mr. Kenneth Tong. We don't hate you because you're right. We hate you because you are a shallow, selfish, spoiled little boy who feels he can say whatever he wants because he's rich and can name drop. You keep on telling girls, 'who's going to love you if you're fat?' My wonder is, 'who would want someone to love them purely because they're skinny?' You may not have realized it yet, but there is more to a person than the amount of skin you can pinch. I doubt my blog will make any difference to what you are doing, but here's something straight from a skinny bitch to you.

I would rather be overweight and obese with intelligence and creativity than thin and empty-headed and your type of girl.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mockingbirds Make Easy Targets

Move over Harper Lee, no room for you now. And Mark Twain, an abolitionist though you may be, your works are simply not politically correct enough. According to John Foley’s article, “Time to Update Schools’ Reading Lists”, the American classics “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” are now obsolete in the classroom. Foley claims that these works should not be used in the high school curriculum because the dialect and pace is too slow and challenging for students, some of the vernacular used is offensive nowadays, and that now that Obama is president, it is time to make radical changes to the books students are made to read. He helpfully suggests several books too. I disagree strongly with Foley because I don’t think we should accommodate ignorance, Foley seems to have a poor understanding of the books, and that Obama’s election should rather inspire students to read these rather than hinder them.

Foley demands that “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Of Mice and Men”, and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” be removed from our schools’ reading lists. He graciously adds that we should keep them in the various libraries (because we know how much high school students read on their own) but that they must immediately be eliminated from the curriculum. He promptly informs the reader that both “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” consistently use the N-word and demeaning stereotypes. He also says that Huck Finn is too slow and challenging for high school students to read and that explaining that the authors didn’t mean to be offensive is a task much too daunting. He comments that in “Mockingbird” that much of Atticus’ reasoning of why we shouldn’t be prejudiced is outdated. He gives a list of books that should replace the classics and remarks that his arguments are only common sense.

Frankly, the mind boggles at this display of idiocy and ignorance on behalf of politically correct slugs. Though Foley goes on and on about the offensiveness of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” he doesn’t say a peep about why “Of Mice and Men” should be removed. Foley complains that “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is too slow for students. “…it would remain a tough sell to students accustomed to fast-paced everything. The novel meanders along slower than the Mississippi River and uses a Southern dialect every bit as challenging as Shakespeare’s Old English.” (Foley 1) This comment causes me to wonder why the dickens we are accommodating ignorance rather than striving to overcome it. I’m sure that students are accustomed to a ‘fast-paced everything.’ I’m also sure that given their way, they’d write their papers as if texting a message on their cell phone. It’d be more ‘fast-paced’, wouldn’t it? Last time I checked, school was for learning, learning even when it was challenging and slow.

Foley also whines that Huck Finn contains the N-word and demeaning stereotypes. He says the same thing about “To Kill a Mockingbird”, puling that one of the main protagonists Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout not to use the N-word only because it’s common. Foley conveniently leaves out the courtroom scene where Atticus shames the town of Maycomb by shoving their prejudice against African Americans in their face and the scene where Scout Finch comments that she thinks there’s one kind of folks—folks. Still, Foley is right. Both novels use the N-word very often. But considering both books were written to combat racism—were those terms really meant to be offensive to the African American community? The answer is an affirmative no. The N-word was a quickened form of Negro—which at that time was what African Americans were called. Yes, the N-word was derogatory—but not offensive. It was used in the same way that we would use the word ‘hick’ nowadays. An unpleasant common word, usually used in a degrading manner, but not in a nasty offensive way. It was only years later that the word became offensive and cruel. And finally, we are not teaching our children to use offensive words by having them read the classics. We are teaching them to use offensive words by flipping on the radio and listening to rap stations throw those words around as if they’re nothing. Rather than blaming the classics, if parents are worried about offensive words being used offensively—blame the media and music of today. Harper Lee and Mark Twain did not mean to be offensive—these supposed artists do mean to be offensive.

Foley puffs up his literary feathers by offering a few books to replace these masterpieces. He mentions “Snow Falling on the Cedars”, “Going After Cacciato” and “Lonesome Dove”. He concludes smugly by saying that in honor of Barack Obama, our first black president, we should forward his dream of change by altering our school curriculum’s books. I find that this particular change is ridiculous. If anything, the books “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” should be pressed even further, not taken away. Obama is a hot button for many, mainly due to his race. If we are trying to break barriers and promote ‘change’ then shouldn’t we teach kids the two books that actually broke barriers of racism? Or must we shoot these mockingbirds down because they’re easy targets? They’re challenging and hard to read, they can hardly be called politically correct. Now that Obama is president, I say they must be read now more than ever if we want prejudice against Obama’s race to ebb.
If we want change, let’s not accommodate ignorance. Let’s further our understanding of these literary works of art and let Obama’s success inspire the next generation to fight prejudice and racism. This is why we should keep “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” on our schools’ reading lists.

Works Cited
Foley, John. "Time to Update Schools' Reading List." Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 5 Jan. 2009.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My New Year Non-Resolutions

My family doesn't do New Year Resolutions. Instead, we have New Year Planning Sessions.

I don't remember when my dad started it--it's been going on for at least four years--but we're rather dedicated at it. My dad will sit us all down, buy us planners, make us worksheets, and we will all fill out detailed plans for the upcoming year.

It sounds a little lame, I know, but it's actually rather helpful. I'm the sort of chaotic planner, which means I plan things, but the plans are vague and far off, though I'm wholly dedicated to them. Making myself write down things I'm going to do this year somehow impresses me to do it--I suppose it's all part of being a writer, once things are written down they are very real. Anyway, these planning sessions have been successful--four years ago, I wrote that I would get accepted into my previous college, and I did. One year ago, I wrote that I would start a literature-based group with my friend LeTempest at my current university, and I have done that.

So here are my non-resolutions for the new year, because, as my dad says, no one really follows through on their resolutions. These are legitimate goals.

1. To not be anoemic and become a better runner.

I'm kind of an odd duck when it comes to stress--a lot of people eat a TON when they're stressed. This is...not me. When I am super stressed, I don't eat. It's not that I'm anorexic or have body-image issues, I just simply don't eat. The thought of forcing food down my gullet nauseates me and I almost have the feeling that if I sit down and eat, rather than studying, working, cleaning, or whatever I feel I need to be doing, that I'm wasting time. So I don't. I think I pissed LeTempest off a LOT this past semester--she threatened to call my mother, and even though she doesn't know my mother's phone number, I somehow am still really intimidated. I have been anoemic since high school and I'm tired of being fatigued and exhausted all the time. So I'm going to work hardcore on eating healthier, especially iron-rich foods.

As for the running thing, I've already been running and I suck at it, so I just want to work on doing that a little more and get a tad more toned. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy cute new workout clothes.

2. Budgeting

This is a boring goal. Basically, I'm going to work on writing out a budget every month and trying hard not to overspend on it, because oftentimes I run out before the month's up. This was never a problem at my previous college because I had a mealplan, but as I'm a commuter (a walking-distance commuter but a commuter nonetheless) I simply don't have that to fall back on. There were times this semester when I was literally wondering what the hell I was going to eat this week, it was no wonder I was anoemic. It's not that I'm a huge spender or anything--I'm actually rather stingy when it comes right down to it--but not writing it all down and keeping meticulous accounts of everything I spend money on has bit me in the ass on several occasions. So all hail my most boring goal of the year.

3. OXFORD (or Cambridge or WashU)

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it in this blog, but if you know me personally then you'll be aware that it is my greatest dream to attend Oxford University for grad school. Yes, that Oxford. The really intimidating one in England. All of my favorite writers attended there, it has not only a nationally renowned English program but a WORLD renowned English program (it's Asian Studies program is also superb) and it's just plain where I want to be. This semester is the semester when I begin the arduous application process which will make me cry, scream, rip my hair out, and not eat. Minor sub-goals along with this is to get a 3.7, an A in Japanese, study sessions, tutoring when I need it, whatever it takes. Cambridge and WashU are my safeties--but it is Oxford I dream and lust for.

4. My clubs

I have been super lazy about the clubs I joined this semester, aside from Inklings. Even with Inklings I've been lazy. So my goal for this is to attend meetings regularly, come up with more big plans for Inklings, and really involve myself, even when I'm tired and don't feel like hanging around on campus. The groups are as followed, Inklings (of course), Feminists for Action, SER, Philosophy Club, PeerxChange, and possibly Spectrum, though Spectrum may coincide with Philo club and then I choose philo club over it.

5. Be more clean and organized, read for fun.

I didn't get nearly enough reading done this semester (other than school reading) and as the president of a literature group, that's pretty sad. So I'm setting an hour aside every evening to get a tiny bit of reading done and putting aside thirty bucks out of my budget to order more books off of Amazon every month. As for the organizational stuff, that's pretty self-explanatory. Just need to stop being so damn lazy.

So there you have it, my goals for the new semester and hopefully the new year. It should be an interesting year to say the least. Happy 2011!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Oh Yeah?! Well, You're Fat!

A really common feminist discussion piece is body image, and how much it sucks. I thought I'd give my take on it, as I've had my own share of troubles, as have my friends, and I recently read this article discussing when we women first started having our body insecurities. I noticed the article itself rather made a stereotype, something any well-meaning feminist tries to avoid--it mainly pinned this on men, asking commenters to tell stories of the first man who made them feel like crap. But in reading the comments, I noticed that it was mainly women who imparted body issues on other women, be it mothers, stepmothers, sisters, aunts, or grandmothers. How can this be? Shouldn't we all be in this together?

Apparently not. Think about the first insults a woman will use on another woman--bitch, fat-ass, slut, skank, etc. In my experience, the words 'fat' are often paired with these insults, as if a fat bitch, a fat slut, a fat husband-stealer somehow makes it infinitely worse. Is fat really the worst thing you can be? And who decides what 'fat' even means anyway?

All things considered, I've been pretty lucky. The women in my life have NEVER made me feel insecure how I look. From the time I was born, my mother has always impressed on me that I am beautiful, talented, and highly intelligent. Even when I didn't brush my hair when a little girl, even when I stopped showering in middle school, my mother has never said anything to me except that I was beautiful and the daughter she's always wanted.

My father has generally been the same way--I can only recall two instances where he's ever made me feel bad about myself. The first was when I was twelve, and my father told me that I was pretty, but not pretty enough to be noticed in a bad way by bad people. I don't think it meant in a mean way, but as an insecure twelve-year-old, it still stung. The third was about a year ago, when my father jokingly commented on me gaining a little weight (which wasn't true). I don't think he meant it--two weeks later, I explained that it hurt me, and he didn't even remember what he said. He apologized to me though. But the fact is, that night I skipped dinner.

As for the rest of the world...that's another story. Boys are very vindictive in middle school, and I suffered a lot of name-calling. Girls were nearly just as bad, but rather than saying things to my face, comments on my personal hygiene were whispered and gossiped about--somehow, I think that's even worse than direct assault.

I have a friend who is a talented writer, intelligent and social, and beautiful in nearly every way. And yet, this doesn't seem to be enough. The females of her family insist on deriding and belittling her because she isn't what they consider thin or attractive enough. I have another friend who was picked on because her fellow classmates felt her boobs were too big, and she was drawing unwanted attention on herself (as if this was her fault.) I also have a friend who nearly developed an eating disorder because of the pressures to be classically thin.

What is it about girls that make us vivisect each other on the way we look? If she's slim, she's a skinny bitch. If she's curvy, she's a fat slut. If she's blonde, she's a dumb bimbo. If she dates a lot of guys, she's a slut, if she doesn't want to have sex till she's married, she's a prude. What is it about our personal habits and appearance that makes us easy targets? Shouldn't we be more concerned if a woman is cruel or rude? Or vindictive and mean? And if they are, why is our first automatic insult about the woman's looks rather than her personality?

J.K Rowling, one of my favorite writers, summed it all up nicely. "I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny--a thousand things before 'thin'...Let my girls be Hermiones rather than Pansy Parkinsons."

Amen, Ms. Rowling. C'mon girls, let's stop the shaming. Let's be Hermiones, not Pansy Parkinsons.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Harry Potter: Day 2

Day 2: Your favorite movie.

Please see my previous blog, "Why I Hate Book to Film Transitions" for my thoughts on the Harry Potter movies. I hate them all. If you had to make me choose, I suppose the third because I liked the song at the beginning. I still hate it with a passion.

Thirty Days of Anime: Day 27

Someone helpfully pointed out that I hadn't finished my Thirty Days of Anime before starting on my Harry Potter meme. To that I say...who says I have to wait?

Day 27: Favorite Anime Opening Theme Song

I actually did a blog post about my top ten favorite anime theme songs. My favorite is Tokyo Majin's theme, both first and second season. Both are done by the JROCK band ACID, and the first one is called 0:00 AM and the second one is Prayer. Both are fabulous.