Saturday, May 12, 2012

Total Domination!

 Let's just jump right in, folks. Off with the pant(ies).

If you're huddling under a rock somewhere and don't know who George R.R. Martin is, then by all means,consider yourself lucky and continue your hermitage. 

Now, having picked up the second book a couple years age I had high hopes. Political intrigue, bloody battles and strategy, fantasy, all these things were promised. Packed into a tidy bundle of several hundred pages, I began.

And had to put it down. I. Couldn't. Finish. It.

As a writer and a reader, not finishing a book is repugnant. I've slogged through much crap, hoping the means justified the end. Sometimes it does. Sometimes (mostly) it doesn't. But rarely do I EVER put a book aside because it's horrible. Must be the masochist in me. 

But I threw Martin's work aside without a qualm. In fact, I recently gave it to my current hunk o' burnin' love to enjoy, since they seem to find more redeeming qualities than I can. 

Maybe it's the rape. Or the gleeful incest. 

I do wonder - and I know it's not the greatest analogy (pun) how many men would read that series if the gender of the victim was flipped. Would they devour those rape and pedophilia scenes as ravenously if it were, say, young boys and men raped repeatedly in the ass and brutalized? 

Now, I know if you like Martin - you may be already disagreeing with me here. That's fine. But, in a world where rape and sexual assault victims number on average 4.2 million - as I write this now statistically a woman is being brutalized. And the general population is becoming (or has) de-sensitized to it. It's entertainment or a dirty secret or both.  

And please, I know 'historically' Martin is straining to be accurate. BUT PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FANTASY WORLD AN OLD WHITE MAN IS CREATING.  

There ya go, buddy. Now isn't that hot?

      And I do agree rape and assault was/is still used today in war and a terrifying yoke around the neck of anyone with a vag. As I've grown older, I can handle seeing a rape scene in a movie theater without having to leave with my stomach heaving or walk around like a numb zombie for several hours after. And to have such a horrible experience gleefully interwoven again and again for entertainment even on fictional characters, well, seems a bit damn creepy. 

But I simply can't buy the 'I'm just trying to be historically accurate and/or honor my character's origins.' I could have. I really could have. Except for this bit from my boy Martin himself: 

"In a medieval society, there was no such thing as marital rape," said Martin. "Marital rape is a conception that just came out of the [Oregon v.] Rideout case… Even in British common-law and all that, it was thought that you cannot have rape within marriage and that's been the law for thousands of years of history. I am not endorsing it, mind you, but let me make it clear here: I am glad we have evolved to the point that we have but I am not writing about 21st-century America. I'm writing about a quasi-medieval society, which had very different standards on these issues."

Listen, I know what it sounds like he's saying. A really PC statement, right? Doesn't seem to like the headliner to a creepfest, huh?

UNTIL YOU RE-READ THE PART ABOUT RAPE NOT EXISTING OR BEING A CONCEPT UNTIL IT WAS MADE LAW. You think women really didn't think they were being raped because a bunch of privileged white dudes said, "Sorry, babe. Technically, I didn't rape ya. See the law?"

BUAHAHAHAHA. *And hysterical laughter pours forth*

Right. I'm sorry. Before the 21st century, a woman knew when she was brutalized, the very core of her sexuality assaulted and ripped open for someone's sick pleasure. Sometimes repeatedly or without punishment for the crime. You can't just have your life back after shit like that. It doesn't happen. 

For instance, just because race laws came into effect saying it was illegal to terrorize/segregate/punish those of another race, does that mean it was okay before those laws were set in? 
    It happened. People knew they were being discriminated against, just like they knew they were being raped. Just because it didn't have the legal and technical jargon wrapped around it, does that mean it didn't exist? Really?

 Nah. Didn't think so. 

Okay. Now I'm not knocking you if you like the series. Really, I bump uglies with someone who shakes their finger at me, saying that's only a small part of this great series, being a political intrigue/battle junkie like myself. 

But I do wonder, if they were raped or molested or assaulted - would they shrug as easily? Do you? It's just not a reality where men fear their sexuality being brutalized as often as women. And for those who have been and can shrug off the gratuitous scenes - kudos to you. May the future be kinder than the past. Though a small worm in my heart thinks you shouldn't be totally okay with it. 


Anyway, now that spring is creeping through the flat boards of the house I call life, it's becoming harder to focus on writing. I mean, yeah, I work a full time and a part time job - but if you keep putting up excuses, you'll just have a long fence in between you and what you want. And my personal goal - to which I receive many eye-rolls when mentioned - is a Pushcart Nomination before thirty years of age. 

It goes like this:

The Heart of my Heart: "How's the writing goin', hon?"
Me: "Crap!" *agonized shrieking* "It's all going to shit! Oh! God!"
The Heart of my Heart: "Ah. You'll be fine. We all go through slumps."
Me: "No! You don't understand! This one feels . . . permanent. 
If I don't get a Pushcart Nom before thirty, I'm going to hang myself!"

*I may or may not be sprawled on the floor at this point*

The Heart of My Heart: "Hmm. Are you going to eat that leftover soup you made? 

Me: "You won't be laughing when I'm swing from the rafters, you pig! *dramatic moaning* I've even lost my soup-making touch! All is dross! All is dross!

*insert much rolling on floor*

Right. So, in private, I may get a bit ridiculous. But, it's just so damn fun sometimes. 


I serve you in a bowl of my grandmother’s
stewing in red sauce
What do you think, I ask my friends
How does it taste, really?
You could do better, they encourage.
Much better. I pick my teeth with your
elbow and ruminate.

More hot nights, I decide, returning
to the stove.

It's always so hard to crit my own work. I mean, everything takes on the slick sheen of absolute shit when stared at long enough. Is this even submittable? I'd like to not bother if it needs work. Would save me a rejection and a nameless editor hassle. If it takes five minutes to write, that means it's crap, right? Because you're supposed to adhere to to writer's ratio of time spent + agonizing, multiplied by the Nth degree. 

Ah well. I'd like to leave you with at least one happy thought today. Kinda. 


*Any and all grammatical/punctuation errors were made on purpose. To, er, enhance the stylistic manner of my writing. Sure. 


  1. This post shows you´re a good enough writer =)

    On writer´s block I could write a book... or no, I couldn´t, I´ve got writer´s block, you know, now and then... more or less on a permanent basis. That and a lot of problems, like I can´t really write anything because my style´s crappy or unexisting. As is my personality. And then I overthink everything. Okay, as you were.

  2. You witty (silly) creature, you.
    And please. Don't give me that bullshit. You have such fluid style - a bit slipstream at times, too. Now go. Make a story. I'll read it, squish its head and love it to bits.

    1. I should have answered earlier but let me just tell you this comment made my day =)

    2. Of course, my dear! Now, post again.

  3. I don't know what asuqi is talking about - she's got a ton of style and character at Lily's Friday Predictions. We're our own worst critic.

    Rape is tricky thing with books, such a fine line. I'm actually stepping across that in my werewolf novella. My character is almost raped, but fortunately, her bitch instincts kick in (she's the werewolf), just in time, and she bites off his head. The top one, no pun intended!
    The novella has a pulp crime flavor to it, but I still want the scene to be classy enough that the general reader won't be put off, because honestly, I don't like reading those scenes, and so I'm trying to skirt around it as best as I can without avoiding it altogether.

    I don't think men would devour those books that show the opposite or rape and incest. No way.

    Great post, Jenny.

  4. I agree, Erin - it's a tricky line to balance on. I've definitely read books with rape in them; either to further plot, character, etc., and I don't shy away from the gore when I read - but for some reason, his seems . . . excessive? Not to mention the author seems to relish these scenes. Either way, thanks for stopping by, I always love to see what you're up to. Glad to see your comment too, and thank you.

  5. Hey there Jenny --

    Mmmmm! Sandkings!

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

    I find GRRM's books hard to read at the best of times -- I feel I should like them, but somehow I stop 'n' start and never get going on them. I haven't gotten far through that second book. I do love his short stories, though.

    If there is literature that features rape -- and I think there can be value in any subject, if it's sensitively handled for the right reasons -- then it should be as equally likely to feature either sex, especially if it's there (as we might hope) to further understanding, rather than for shock value or a suspicious nod towards titillation. We can, after all, choose the stories we tell and how we treat them. Let's just not have such stories too often.

    In relation to GRRM's take on Medieval society, this is where I'd say this is where we need less laws, not more, so that people don't get into that weird mode of reversal, saying, 'if there isn't a law against it, then I'm *allowed* to do it.' Instead, they should be held accountable for having a basic human conscience and taking responsibility for themselves. So who cares what laws were in the Medieval ages -- or even culturally what was, or wasn't, acceptable in relation to the time -- instead, lets treat one another well because that's just what we should do. Those hurt then, would be just as hurt now, and hurtful behaviour is fundamentally objectionable.

    For your writing... here's the rub, you're going to write anyway, right? I mean, it does rather seem to be something you keep coming back to and you keep doing. Probably forever 'n' a day. So regardless of what you might *think* at any point along the way, you might as well just get on with it, because you're gonna, anyway. It's kinda just who you are. Am-ah-right? Relax about the yay or nay, give up, and get on with the words.

    And if that's not true, write anyway -- I, for one, want to read what you write.


    PS: I believe Norman Maccaig used to write his poems in one sitting, and then carefully select the ones he wanted to present, burning those that didn't make his grade. So 15 minutes is fine. Just get the fire going :)

    Actually, don't burn *anything* -- authors are notoriously bad at judging what others might like.

  6. Stephen! You always leave an interesting comment - and a writer to check out that I haven't heard of - this Maccaig guy.

    I do agree, rape scenes can move the plot and character forward and I have and will read authors who use them - but you do make a succinct point - 'suspicious nod towards titillation' sums it up entirely as to my opinion of GRRM. Additionally, I haven't even tried his short stories, so mayhap I should see if those are more up my alley. Thanks for stopping by, and for the encouragement, it is so very much appreciated.