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.