Thursday Three #43

  1. My thought on the Kavanaugh affair (well, on sexual assault in general): I honestly feel like some women are crying wolf for various reasons. It seems like something accidental or even looking at a woman the wrong way is now considered sexual assault if it is a painted a certain way. If that is really the case, then high school was one long, drawn-out assault, and practically every high school boy is an assailant. True, drawing the line is difficult, especially when it’s one person’s word against another’s, but the definition of “sexual assault” unfortunately tends to be flexible.
  2. Parenting books. Usually, if I tell someone I’m reading a parenting book, they start laughing because there is apparently nothing about parenting that can be learned from a book. But I find them useful because they seem to give at least an idea of what to expect, even though all the ones I’ve flipped through come with the caveat that “every child is unique. Don’t freak out if he or she doesn’t meet each milestone exactly on time.” OK. Easier said than done, I guess.
  3. Everybody needs to read We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. I’ve read a lot of “realistic fiction,” but this book is by far the most realistic of all the realistic fiction I’ve ever read and one of the better books I have read so far this year. Yes, it is incredibly sad, but it’s sad because everything in it is true. Nothing is sugar coated. The book is pretty long, but it is actually a fairly quick read.

Harry Potter and “Diversity”

I used to be a pretty big Harry Potter fan until the books really started getting popular.* Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the books and movies, and the books did inspire some of my writing, but I never got as involved in the fandom as many others in my age group.

What bothers me most about the Harry Potter fandom is the push for “diversity” among the characters, or the laments by some fans about the lack of “diversity” in the characters or situations. A few years ago, J.K. Rowling announced that Albus Dumbledore was gay. My reaction was, “So what? Who cares? Why are we talking about this now, after the books have been published?” Albus Dumbledore’s sexuality doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the series at all. In a similar vein, we heard that Hermione Granger could have been black, because she was described in the book as having frizzy hair. Her skin color was never mentioned. Also, J.K. Rowling has said that Hogwarts was home to Jewish and LGBTQ students, although there’s not much (if any) mention of them in the books.

Honestly, I’m not sure why all this diversity stuff matters, especially in a book series that’s already been published and read by millions. I paid no attention it when I read the books when I was in middle and high school. I doubt it would have mattered to me if Hermione was black or if there were LGBTQ students. I wouldn’t have thought any differently about the series. So why is J.K. Rowling trying to go back and insert “diversity”? Can we not just enjoy the series for a spectacular plot and well-developed characters, not to mention that it got a whole generation of reluctant readers to actually pick up a book, rather than pick it apart because it’s all of a sudden not “diverse” enough?

I hate reading J.K. Rowling’s Twitter account because I strongly disagree with most of her social and political views, and it bothers me that those views have such importance and hold such weight in the minds of some of her fans. But that doesn’t make me dislike her books. Same with Stephen King—I love his books and always will, but his Twitter account and political views infuriate me and make me want to wring his neck. Sometimes his views and opinions influence his books, and sometimes they don’t. A good author can write from perspectives other than his own and pull it off well. It seems to me that Rowling and King do this… so what is the problem?

It is hard to avoid progressivism and “diversity” in the New York City publishing world, but I fail to see the point of picking apart already-published books just to make sure that they are conforming to the trend of the day, which is to make sure everybody and everything is “included,” lest we “offend” someone. New books with “diverse” characters are being published every day, especially those geared toward young adult audiences. Maybe someday in the near future, we will have another wildly popular series like Harry Potter but much more representative of all kinds of people. Until then, let’s wait patiently and not overanalyze a beloved series.

*I’m kind of weird because I tend to dislike things that are extremely popular (for no real reason other than that they are popular), so the more popular Harry Potter got, the more apathetic about it I became.

The Thursday Three #32

  1. I’m dreadfully behind on NaNoWriMo and doubt that I will catch up at all. I have a legitimate excuse this time: I have been ludicrously busy this month with work and personal matters. I actually typed this blog post a week ago, when I was sitting in a hotel in Atlanta, and yes, I could have been writing in my NaNo novel, but blog posts are quicker and easier. 🙂 Then I got busy again and totally forgot to publish this blog post. I hope everyone’s NaNo is going better than mine.
  2. To address the elephant in the room (bad pun, I know), in the aftermath of the election, the nation is still divided. When I was in the airport leaving for my trip, I saw several despondent travelers wearing Hillary/Kaine shirts, and the guy next to me on the plane was texting something about “this plane is full of Killary fans. These flights to Atlanta are always f**ked up.” There is still so much animosity, and I am unsure that the president-elect will be able to bridge the gap, although the reality is that the matter should not have to fall entirely on his shoulders.
  3. Excerpt from aforementioned NaNo novel:

“The hell’s going on here, my man? I called the cops—they’ll be here soon. Coming to get this teenage wasteland.”

At least that’s what Eliza thought was said. She was falling down, down, even though she had already fallen. Her hand and wrist had begun to sting and she tried to remember if the side of the Dumpster where she had scraped them was rusty, but the act of pulling something from even her short-term memory was painful enough to cause her to lose energy.

xxx

“Can you get up?”

“She’s drunk. Just graduated high school and probably can’t think straight at all.”

“I don’t know whether to feel sorry for them when they act this stupid. Girl. Can you get up? Are you all right?” The voice took on a sympathetic tone and a hand reached under her armpit to pull her up from her half-sitting, half-lying position on the pavement.

Eliza blinked. She didn’t see Miller Lite or Corona anymore, or even Adrian for that matter. Blue lights swirled from the top of what had to be a police car. “Am I going to get arrested?” she asked.

“GHB,” said the woman who was pulling her up, and Eliza thought that was some kind of police code to acknowledge that, yes, she was going to be put in handcuffs and dragged off somewhere. Her parents would kill her—Adrian would kill her—the last thought struck her like a blow to the chest.

“Where’s Adrian?”