Desperately Seeking SFL…

One of the delights of WordPress is that I can see the search terms that led people to my blog.  Here are a few of my favorites:

dungeons and dragons wedding cake

evil wal-mart

nasty liberals

grammer usage

evil lawyers

i believe i am an alien

sweet yams

janeane garofalo tattoos

Judgey judge

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Twilight of My Soul

Some warnings before we proceed. (1). If the ‘Twilight’ fills you with sparkly squee, you are not going to love this post. (2). If you, as I previously had, have luckily managed to utterly ignore the whole TwiThing, then please, for the love of god, leave this page right now. Save yourself. Run.

Oh..KAY..

So yeah, I am aware of the whole TwiThing. I generally (**generally** NOT unconditionally) love sci-fi and horror/fantasy/whateverthefuck you call stuff with zombies, robots, killer daisies, etc.  However, I am not really into dramatic crap about vampires. I was never a big Anne Rice fan. Quit watching TruBlood after 2 episodes. Etc. HOWEVER, if you throw in some funny and/or some insane fight choreography, I am on totally on board and will sit through the mushy shit (i.e., Buffy, Christopher Moore). Because that is really the difference, isn’t it? Mushy shit. You don’t see a lot of ‘tender’ heroines fawning over zombies. And aside from the dramatic ‘human’ question, robots are more likely to be carnally used and tossed, than to be the object of some self-loathing human’s obsessive love.

But vampires? What a long history of painful, ridiculous, embarrassing “love” stories we have here. Anyone else remember cringing your way through Bram Stoker’s Dracula? I was SO delighted when Gary Oldman floated creepily about – I mean, how PERFECT was he? And then they had to go and spoil a perfectly good vampire horror story. It could have been done differently.

I am not talking about GOOD love stories – I don’t hate love.  I DO hate “love” stories that spray “love” everywhere, shove “love” down your throat, and calls itself ‘profound’ and ‘passionate.’ It isn’t “love” just because you say so – you STILL need to engage in good writing and SELL it to us. The “love story” element doesn’t have to take over and, done correctly, (see Gaiman, Neil:  anything) can enhance the horror/fantasy/sci fi elements. For example, I thought the Buffy/Angel thing was REALLY well-done for the most part.  Because it knew when to be subtle and when to be aggressive. But, unfortunately, these are the exceptions.

So, yeah, not a big fan of the romantic vampire drama genre. But I have been really terribly swamped with the lawyering work of late and much in need of some easy mind-candy.

So, I picked up the first Twilight book, or “Twilight,” as it is called. Made it through. Read the second one, moon something? maybe. Had some hope after that. You know, first book = Girl falls in love with vampire (blerg), second book = Girl rebounds with werewolf. So, I am thinking things are on a decent track. Maybe in Book 3 (there is a ribbon, kind of chewed-up looking) Girl will go on a bender and have nasty revenge sex with a whole bunch of zombies. And by Book 4 (no idea), Girl will settle down with a nice respectable robot and plan the destruction of earth as we know it.  Something told me I was going to be disappointed.

Well, I have finished the 3rd book, and I am sorry to report that it is entirely devoid of zombie. Well, real zombies. There are a lot of 2 dimensional characters that lurch around stiffly and engage in repetitive and uncomfortable speech, but they cannot be rightly categorized as zombies. See, I have read a lot of the criticisms of this series – that it is poorly (or at least not well-) written, that it is anti-female, that it is anti-feminist, that it it anti-sex, etc etc etc. And you know? All of these allegations are valid to some degree. But I was was willing to give it a shot. Because, let’s be honest, the sci-fi/horror/fantasy genre is not exactly a walk down the women’s studies reading list (but see, e.g., Tepper, Sheri).

I think I may have hit a wall. The main reason I have made it this far through the books is that I know what happens in the 4th book, and was willing to suffer through all the TLA shit with the schmaltzy Romeo and Juliet crap and the completely unworthy self-comparisons to Wuthering Heights (hands OFF the Brontes, Twi-Stuff Author!). Because how cool is the violent birth of a human/vampire spawn, right? But people, I just don’t know if I can make it.

Stephen King was right in that these books are NOT well written. The underlying plot is driving, and the backstories are interesting, but the characters are painful, boring, obvious, and/or irritating. Which would be okay, except the characters seem to thing that they are mind-blowingly profound. Please don’t use Cathy and Heathcliff references to excuse your poorly constructed characters. Why does every female have to be ONLY motivated by shopping, vanity, jealousy, or mothering? And then there is Main Girl, who painfully and pointedly is not motivated by any of these things (yeah, I GET it), but is instead motived by TRUUUUUUUUE WUV.  Arrggg… I can only take so much.

I would call it anti-female, except it is equally anti-male. Which leads me to conclude that it is really not anti-female or -male, but is instead simply anti-development and anti-depth.

Sigh. When I finish this, I am going to treat myself to the new Atwood, full price, hardcover…

I *heart* Owls

The Art of Argument, Part 1

I was just thinking how moving back south has really changed the way I analyze and put together an argument and that it actually may have changed how I argue and discuss issues more than law school and lawyering have.  Before I moved back here, I was always in fairly liberal settings, and never had to think about my argument’s structure from A to Z.  “X” was right and good and true and correct because I and everyone around me *knew* it to be so. However, since moving back here (well, and becoming a lawyer, which is really just trying to become a highly skilled arguer), I have had to learn how to discuss and explain and prove what, to me, just seems like obvious universal truths.

Why is it good to help out other people? Why is it bad to allow corporate profit to trump individual well-being? How can I believe that racism still exists when everyone says they are not racist? How can I say that christian ethics are not the most important quality in a candidate? Why do I think the military and military actions profit corporations at the cost of the middle and lower classes? Etc etc.

I also have to remember to always try to discuss my feelings and opinions in a neutral and civil tone, since most people around here and certainly most of my family are very conservative and very vocal in their opposition to everything I believe. I take great care to stick to the issues and facts, never say derogative things about a person, characterize my assertions in the most general terms possible, and talk ONLY about facts that I personally have verified. I also take care to ALWAYS find something to agree about, praise the person I am talking to for having a thoughtful opinion, and actually listen to what they are saying. I never jump on them when they throw out radically erroneous facts and I never demand they defend their assertions.

Though I am beginning to wonder why I bother, since (a) no one on the other side of these discussions ever notices and doesn’t appear to even be listening and (b) it certainly isn’t reciprocated.

At any given chance, these people will say utterly outrageous and just awful things about me, “liberals,” and the people I respect, support, admire, and work with/for.   Ad hominem stuff, things about their family. To my face, to me, as if this appropriate. If an issue comes up in conversation, and I, after carefully examining my words, voice an opinion, they will jump my shit, attack ME and deride my thinking and my sources and claim that I am attacking them, and that all (my “group”) just clearly hate (America, christianity, hardworking Americans, etc.).

None of these people ever take the time to think about how disrespectful or rude or unfair or ridiculous this is. Not once have they noticed the care and respect I show them and their opinions.  I NEVER would say such things to them about the people and issues they support and I NEVER criticize them personally, or deride their thoughts, or accuse them of being a part of a group/engaging in mind-think/being closeminded, etc. EVER. And I certainly would NEVER instigate a fight about politics with my parents right before they went in for a colonoscopy (yes, for real). And it just saddens me that they don’t even notice this.

And these are usually the same people that get deeply personally offended if I simply state an opinion on an issue with which they disagree. For example, relative X goes on and on about how terrible Michelle Obama is and how she has 22 personal servants while Laura Bush has 1 and Michelle Obama is costing us money and much money she spends on clothes and how she is pimping out her daughters to Gap and what an awful mother she is and is so fake and a bad American.

I then pointed out – correctly – that Laura Bush had between 15 and 19 members in her personal staff and that all First Ladies have had roughly the same number, the differences being dependent on how active the First Lady was AND whether or not there were minor children in the WH. For real, that is more or less verbatim what I said.

Relative X then jumps my shit for accusing Laura Bush of not doing anything and how dare I and how awful I and all the liberals are because we were always making fun of the Bush twins and talking about LB’s car accident and how disrespectful and how we are all about the First Amendment until someone says something we don’t like and at least LB was a “real” American.  And so forth. And somehow I was the bad actor in this “discussion.”

And like I said earlier, I am about to the point where I am DONE being the only one abiding by basic rules of decency and respect. Why should I worry so much about offending people that clearly don’t give a shit about my opinions and don’t even think twice about offending me?  I just don’t know how much more I can bite my tongue.  That is one of the reasons I started this blog, so I could work through some of my frustrations with this and perhaps let off some steam that I cannot vent around the people I love.

But for now, I think I am just going to have to leave the room the next time someone brings up politics.  Because if this doesn’t stop, I am going to have to leave the state.

Why Can’t You Be More Like Kevin?

So, one glorious fall day a year or so ago, Mr. SFL and I were taking a kid-free ride in the car.  There was a minivan in front of us, the rear window of which was asymmetrically decorated with those booster decals.  You know, the thing with a baseball, or a megaphone, or a flute and their kid’s name? I really don’t understand why people think these are a good idea. Lecher Pervypants:  ‘Hey Tyffany – your mom asked me to come and pick you up from cheerleading practice.  The Lexis broke down and she had to take it to the shop.’ Sigh. I just don’t get it. I mean, I understand that parents want to trumpet the accomplishments of their kids, but what happened to the fine tradition of the braggy holiday newsletter? I know my parents had those awful oversized booster buttons with pictures of a young SFL doing whatever it is I did, but they would have never plastered my face or my name on THEIR CAR.  

Also, I don’t like how only certain activities get praised. It seems like judgment by omission. Kids are doing things WAY cooler than sports – why aren’t their parents honoring them via vehicular homage? What about a skateboard? Where is the 21 sided-die for the proud parent of a D&D kid?  An eyeliner tube to symbolize your love for emo-lovin’ Junior?  Maybe just a limp sock for your son who is in a period of self-discovery?  

 

KEVIN!

KEVIN!

 

 

But I digress…

So, Mr. SFL and I pull up alongside the decal-laden minivan.  As I note previously, they were asymmetrically arranged, with just one decal on the left side and four or five on the right.  Which bothers me on a fundamental level.  If you are going to ‘decorate’ your vehicle, do it with an eye to the visually pleasing.  But as we get closer, I realize that there is a method to the decal madness.  On the right side, a multitude of various symbols proclaim the athletic prowess of one “Kevin.”  Young Kevin, it appears, is quite the polymath – baseball, basketball, football, track – a real year-rounder.  Contrast this with left side of the minivan, where we have but one sad lonely baseball decal for some lazy shit named Cody.  It seems Cody doesn’t try hard enough.  Cody seems to think that he only needs to get off his ass one season a year.  

Well, we finally pass the minivan and I can see it is being driven by an older female – Mom.  Mom is in the process of vigorously chastising the scowling and slouching sluggard in the passenger seat.  And I don’t blame her, as I know instantly that this is Cody – I can tell by the smirk on his face. I don’t need to hear them to know that Cody has been pulling the same old routine, slacking off, playing video games when he should be studying, talking to that slutty cheerleader, Tyffany, at all hours of the night.  Well, I don’t know about his Mom, but I have had about enough of this – Cody needs to get his shit together and soon.  Doesn’t he realize how much his Mom worries about him?  Can’t he see how he is tearing this family apart?

Cody, you bastard, why can’t you be more like Kevin?