The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Five Things Meme

Pamziewamzie from Red Confec has tagged me with the Five Things meme that she in turn caught from DPF.

It's kind of similar to a meme I did a while back, but I'll do it anyway.

The idea is that these are Five Things that no one knows about me. Then I have to tag five more people to do it too.

1. Sometimes I ask the receptionist at work if she will help me hide the bodies of two particularly irritating workmates.

2. I'm quite disappointed that I probably won't live long enough to see humanity spread to the stars and encounter new environments and species.

3. I'm really curious about something that happened last year where I think I got sold a dummy but I can't bring myself to ask the one person I think I could question about it because I'm scared of the answer (and its consequences).

4. I've never been able to read any Stephen Donaldson because I can't stomach the idea of a hero (or even an anti-hero) who rapes. (I've read Lord Foul's Bane up to that bit, but no further).

5. Whenever I eat scorched almonds I think of that story about the old person with the bowl of almonds and I get a little grossed out.

Ok, here's the five I tag: MTNW, I/S, Maia, Left Reckoner, and Stef. No pressure to do it though, I know meme's are not up everyone's alley.


Maria von Trapp said...

mmmm scorched almonds.

whenever I eat scorched almonds I think of the little girl wrapping them up and eating as she goes.

"one for mummy.........AND daddy!"

once I start eating them I can't stop ;-)

Ghet said...

IMHO, you've lost nothing through the aversion to Stephen Donaldson. I'm not the only person I know who can't stand all the whining and self-loathing Thomas Covenant crap. And it's not like the world is empty of GOOD stuff to read.

Make Tea Not War said...

I read that entire series. As I recall it got good at about the fourth book(?) but, in retrospect, I really doubt whether it was a good use of my persistence and endurance abilities to stick it out that long.

Pondering five things now...

Pamziewamzie said...

Hey that was really interesting.

I came across a rape scene once in one of John Grisham's (yes, I'm not as erudite as some) books, not the nicest thing to read.

Span said...

When I was in sixth form my English teacher (a man) said I couldn't possibly be a sci-fi/fantasy fan if I hadn't read the Thomas Covenant books, so I started LFB and quickly regretted it. I should point out this was at a Catholic girl's school...

The scariest part of Firefly for me is the bit where the assassin threatens Kaylee with rape. The horror is legion and even though I haven't seen it for months I still get the heebe-jeebies thinking about it.

I think sometimes when men write stuff they don't necessarily think about how that would read for a woman (and vice versa too I suspect).

Craig Ranapia said...

Span wrote:

The scariest part of Firefly for me is the bit where the assassin threatens Kaylee with rape. The horror is legion and even though I haven't seen it for months I still get the heebe-jeebies thinking about it.

Well, I'd be damn sight more upset if you weren't. And, to be fair, there are any number of (artistic) sins you can lay at Joss Whedon's door, but misogyny or a delight in sexual sadism aren't among them.

Have you seen the second season of Battlestar Galactica - I want to avoid spoilage for people who haven't seen it, but at the mid-point there is a plotline revolving around the discovery that another battlestar survived the holocaust, with a (female) Cylon prisoner - who has not only been torured but gang-raped. The Galactica also has a Cylon prisoner - who is not only female but pregnant - and things get very dark and ugly very quickly.

Now, there was a very serious debate (not only inside the show but among fans) whether it was... well, just too much. And where do you cross the line between saying "you know, this shit happens and it's evil" and being exploitative. I think BSG walked a very fine line very well, but I'd be interested to hear your opinion.

As for Donaldson, my real problem with the man is that he can't write, plot or draw characters worth shit. But that's just me...

Span said...

Craig, sorry I haven't seen any BSG (new) and can't remember the old one really (which I hear was pretty different anyway). But Mr Stupid Internet Name is supposedly sending some my way soon I hope.

Sorry if it seemed like I was criticising Joss for that scene in Firefly, actually I think he wrote that just right. But I do wonder about authors who think their readership is mainly male and how they write this stuff sometimes - Grisham could be a good example perhaps, although I've only read one of his books and I don't remember a rape scene.

Craig Ranapia said...

Well, that's a fair point - especially when you're trying to get genre snobs past the idea what SF/fantasy is jerk-off fodder for socially retarded teenage boys who need to lose their virginity with a real live woman, expose themselves to sunlight and move out of their parents' house. :) OTOH, I get seriously creeped out by Patrica Cornwell's relentless atmosphere of physical and psychological abuse of women. I read somewhere that most of her books are brought by women, and I can easily believe it, but I'll be damned if I can see the appeal.

Span said...

Good call in relation to Patricia Cornwell - although I've never read any of her books I used to sell them in buckets to mainly women when I worked at Whitters. Also Lee Child (no idea of gender) whose books are absurdly violent, apparently there is a crucifiction scene in one that put a lot of readers off.

It also makes me think about the level of detail we seem to get now in crime reporting, about sexual violence. I feel very uncomfortable with it - on the one hand I think it is helpful that people understand what happens in these situations so that they can see the importance of eradicating this violence, but on the other hand the descriptions totally creep me out. I suspect that they serve only to scare people like me, while they are ignored by those who need to hear them.

Those who wish to make less heavy contributions to this thread please feel free, I'm not sure how we ended up here!

Craig Ranapia said...

Lighter? Got the series two box set of Doctor Who for Christmas - yay! I'm going to miss Mickey The Idiot and Jackie Tyler though... Both really bugged me in the start, because I thought they were just going to be stereotypical comic relief and ended up as anything but. Sometimes, it's just nice to regress to your childhood peeking over the top of the couch at the scary bits... Now that was a nice job of bringing a show into the 21st century, without chucking out everything that made it work in the first place.

Make Tea Not War said...

Just had to jump in to say I watched those episodes Battle Star Galactica Craig mentions and they were really upsetting. I felt quite bleak and depressed for about two days afterwards.

Um..trying to think of something light now... Heroes should be ressuming in the US soon! Good news for those of us with broadband. And those without should watch out for it. Its a great series. Oh and also My Name is Earl.

Span said...

I should say, I don't mind heavier contributions to this thread at all, just didn't want to put off anyone who wanted to continue in the light vein it started with!

If Craig or MTNW (or anyone else) cares to expand a bit on the BSG episodes in question I'd appreciate it - perhaps interesting to think about in the context of the recent legal moves in NZ to get rid of the discrimination against women serving in the front lines?

Make Tea Not War said...

Well...can't really comment on recent law changes- but what, to me, in part, made the episodes so upsetting was actually the very good writing in BSG. The humans felt it was ok to brutally rape the Cylon women prisoners because they weren't human. But in choosing to do so they appeared utterly lacking in any humanity themselves- the scene of the almost rape of the pregnant one was particularly disturbing- the actress has got a very small frame and with the character being pregnant and captive it seemed like an utter atrocity- particularly as she'd actually been co-operating with the humans.

In the context of the series I found myself thinking perhaps the Cylons are right and the humans don't actually deserve to survive. And then when you come to think about it in the real world the story arc was a very graphic and brutal reminder that such terrible things do happen in real life and that humans frequently don't recognise the common humanity in their fellow humans and feel justified in all sorts of atrocities--