Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dumb It Down

"You're too smart," my sister told me, nonchalantly painting her nails.
"What?" I'd said, cutting off my diurnal rant of why I hate my life and the week's culmination of grievances.
"For boys," she assured, "You're too smart for most boys. They don't like smart girls. It's intimidating."

It wasn't the first time I'd been told that I was too intimidating, which is a lie mom's like to tell their daughters when their years as a single lady turn from one to five. It was, however, the first time I'd been told that I was too smart.

I don't know why I was surprised.

Women have been told since the beginning of time that it's their job to dumb it down. Take care of their man. Have a certain beauty, a certain grace, reserve. That they're only as good as the clothes they don and the household they keep. We only just earned suffrage in America around the late 19th century/early 20th century, when men finally decided that our sally little ideas were just as valuable as theirs. Like the idea is even dead.
But you know why? Because girls themselves help to perpetuate the notion. We dumb it down.

This is one of the most common tricks women like to pull in order for men to like them. Men like to feel powerful, women like to be cared for. We dumb it down so their ego won't deflate and make ourselves small so that they can appear to be big. Because we know that guys like this---In February 2011, a study showed that 73 per cent of men would prefer a pretty, dumb girl rather than a clever, more plain one.

But what does that mean for the girls who are playing meek and find themselves in a long-term relationship? The more time one spends with a person, the more comfortable people become. They begin to really, honestly, open up. So when a girl is done playing games and obscuring her intelligence, then what does that mean for the relationship? What does it mean for both of them---the girl who has demeaned herself and belittled her own mind, and the guy who by being responsive in effect helped encourage the act? What does the relationship even become when the essential part of honesty crumbles?

I've heard of it as Silly Me Syndrome before. It's mentioned often in articles about girls not correcting their love-interest if he says a word wrong or if he states a fact that is inaccurate. But the uncomfortable part is that this implies that girls don't correct them simply because they are girls, while it's perfectly OK for guys to do it to girls. As far as I'm concerned, it shouldn't be about gender, it should be about how close two people are: you won't go around making any new friends if you correct everything they say because it will cause them to embarrass (which they'll blame on you), but if you know someone long enough or in rare cases where you need to save them from embarrassment, then it's fine. But to divide that rule on gender? A little bit disconcerting.

Speaking of which, in the article Should a Girl Dumb It Down to Impress a Guy? Chester Bloom bullets some key points on why guys like dumb girls. And why they don't like smart girls. For the former, some of his reasons include that they are more friendly and responsive, less intimidating, boost the man's ego, make them feel powerful, gives them power. My personal favorite was the one where "dumb girls are more easily fascinated." Here, let me quote.
"#1 Dumb girls are easily fascinated. It’s true. All a smooth talking guy has to do is talk about his imaginative experiences and she’ll sit doe eyed with little bits of drool and beam at him all night long. A guy would like any girl who gets fascinated by him."
I'd rather stab my eyes with a spoon than kiss ass. And hey, just because a girl falls into the lesser IQ, doesn't mean that she does either. Remember that whole thing about men disliking feeling inferior to someone smarter? Girls feel that too. 

For why men hate smart girls: they almost always earn more (which intimidates them), they're smug, they can "be insensitive to a man's wallet", which in the context of the article means that they get him better gifts than vice versa. Again, the implication that it's only wrong for women to do this, but that it's fine for men. The truth is that most women hate it too. But because this has been enforced by society, this has become commonplace and thus stood untested and understood. And while I understand that being smug or making more money can be intimidating, that doesn't mean that all smart women are. Flaunting one's wealth looks good on no one. And on being smug--hey, I know, it's called not being a complete jackass. That doesn't jump any gender boundaries, this goes for e v e r y o n e.
I'm so sick of these little games women think they have to play to get men. The games that they actually do to get them because a lot of men have been told that if a women is too smart for him than somehow that makes him too good for her. It's disgusting and belittling. Why can't we learn that we are all equals? That gender doesn't need to dictate the qualities of a person, and then define them as good or bad? 

Forget it. I'm probably going to die old and alone. I'm never going to to dumb it down. I owe it too much for the women who fought like hell before me for my rights that I naturally deserve, but have just only legally attained. I owe it to my mother and my grandmother who keep their families together while knowing that playing stupid is no way to keep a marriage. And I owe it to myself because I know that I can be--that I am--so much better than anyone who thinks they can call themselves my friend, a partner, or even someone who respects women while still belittling me in my own self-worth.

I'm done.

coffee break

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saw the Dark Knight today

with one of my besties. We wasted the first half the day on homework and Starbucks and circling around Twixt Town before we went to the movie. It's September, so a lot of the hype from the movie was calmed down. I knew one of the major spoilers already because the internet is terrible. I wasn't expecting anything out of it, just a nice time to sit and relax and enjoy Joseph Gordon Levitt's face.

But I do like surprises, and this was an especially nice one---the movie was actually pretty good! A friend recently posted something on this topic in her blog about movie reviews and seeing a movie with an open mind. I read it right after I got home from the movie---good timing. So anything I'd have to say on that has already been said in her blog post.

As an average movie-goer I'd have to say that the third installment of this Batman movie was pretty solid. There were lots of good twists that were only subtlety hinted at, and thus managed to come as a complete (and believable) surprise when they were revealed. Some of the pacing was a little bit off, but no scene was there without reason.

I liked the characters. Instead of discussing their development the characters showed it through their decisions and actions---nothing got too sentimental. Bruce Wayne didn't really develop any further other than to return back to his life in the suit. Certain relationships had nice developments throughout the movie, but a few were a bit overdone and obvious. I want to give examples on them---but I don't want to reveal any spoilers!!

Because the plot twists are plenty and great. There are a lot of ways you can guess how a story is going to play out----like the trope of Spoiled by the Format and when there are too many plot lines that need to be resolved in an efficient and obvious way and therefor aren't done in a creative and novel manner. Think of how in romantic comedies all the side characters get paired up with each other in unlikely and humorous combinations. It's literally a writer's way of keeping them busy and finished.

My favorite element of the whole movie was definitely the action and technology though. Because holy crap have you seen Batman's new flying space machine thingy? It looks like it came out of a video game! Out of my wildest dreams! The love child of a sci-fi nerd and a CGI Picasso. It was so COOL. And then his motorcycle that could reverse the wheel's direction! I've taken some tough engineering classes at Kirkwood and the U of I and so seeing something switch gears like that kind of blew my mind. SO AWESOME.

And that's a blog post.

It's just a bunch a BS

On how people conduct themselves in society. Recently I read a friend's blog ranting about how girls dressed in either scandalous or promiscuous implying clothes don't have respect for themselves  title ATTENTION ALL FEMALES. The ending that sums it up: "Put some clothes on and dress with modesty. Stand out and show the world what a self-respecting woman looks like. Be respectful of your body, extend love to everyone, and be the kind of mature woman a classy and respectful man wants to be with. " It wasn't the first time I'd heard the argument, or the cruelest. But it was one that hit me hard because of the proximity, and because of the pure---well, the pure abhorrence of which it intones.
"It’s not cute when you post pictures of yourself in a bra and panties. Have some self respect." [Same article as above]
But the point that the author of this article is this: What if a girl who posts such a picture does respect herself?
What if she loves her body, and respects herself so much that she doesn't mind posting pictures of herself in nothing but her undies, or you know--her birthday suit? What if she chooses to dress that way, for herself and self alone? And hey, what if she even does want to dress up nice for a boy she likes? Who are we to condemn her, when she has made a clear and conscious decision about she wants? 

It's hypocrisy. Feminists and women like these advocate the choices of women yet at the same time antagonize and condemn other women for doing exactly what they preach. And still they do not see the irony of their actions. "Be respectful of your body, extend love to everyone, and be the kind of mature woman a classy and respectful man wants to be with." How is this extending love in any way whatsoever? How is telling another woman to respect herself and love everyone while condemning a certain group of women who respect themselves and love everyone, just in a way that this author doesn't agree or see as doing? How can she pass down such pure judgmental, biased criticism without first placing herself in their shoves? The writer of this article lacks empathy and insight.

People should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want to do. I'm not saying that it's against the law for her to express her opinions on other people's actions and write about how she thinks people should conduct themselves in society. But I sure as hell wish people would educate themselves before passing judgement. Because really, what's it matter to them? Live the life they want to, the way they think they should. The only time I have a serious problem with other people's opinion  (or hatred, criticism, idiocy) is when by some authority they try to boss me around. 

I respect myself too much than to let some girl who thinks she has the authority to write ATTENTION ALL FEMALES and then simultaneously slam on certain women for their life choices and belittle them if they don't.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Nice Guy Lie

Let's just shove this one out before it gets in the way of everything: "Nice guys finish last." There. It has been said. The phrase that became a law, a theory that became the motto of millions embittered men. Nice guys finish last is the popular phrase used to describe how males who define "the nice guy" stereotype are rejected by their love interest for another man who is usually either a bad boy or a jackass.

The best way to understand this cultural phenomenon is by being coined and defined by the culture itself. Urban dictionary, which is a website updated freely by the public, is kind of like having that older, sexually-experienced sister who you go to when you want to figure out a term you've overhead by someone but are too embarrassed to ask what it means. While your parents continue their lives in complete obliviousness, you now know fun terms like "Zubrug" and "Freedom Fondle" are. But I'm getting off topic.

So I went to Urban Dictionary and looked it up. Read several of them for yourself to get a sense of the general consensus on what a Nice Guy is. And count the number of definitions where the author identifies as a dude, and times that by a million. Now you have the Nice Guy defined by Nice Guys. If you didn't read the definition, here is some reoccurring elements:
"A male who can't get a girlfriend, never mind get laid, because he DOESN'T treat women like shit." ----Definition #2 by D.
"the person every girl will compare their would-be boyfriends to, for they possess every trait a woman desires. However, for whatever reason, women avoid them like the plague." Definiton #4 by ares1013.
"Feeling emotionally unsatisfied, the female will then turn to her nice guy friend, whom she has long since castrated, for comfort, and complain to him about how men suck,..." Definition #5 by Killing Kittens.
Simply, it is a long procession of glorifying a male for characteristics generally admired in our society--but saying that their only downfall is that they are too good, that they are too nice, or by saying that women are still to shallow to appreciate them because they may be lacking in the male-dominance attribute and good looks department.

Nice guys are the people who apparently give everything to women, but yet their individual woman never takes notice in them and instead goes for jerks....And so, excuse me? If you don't get the glaring implication right there, let me explain: by this definition alone the intimation is that if a guy is nice to a girl, then she is apparently in some sort of way indebted in returning and/or expected to reward his "nice guy" behavior by starting an intimate relationship with him in any sort of romantic or sexual nature.

The idea that just because a guy acts like an above-decent human being to a girl doesn't mean he really is a "nice" guy, and even if you accept that he's a nice guy doesn't mean that the girl has to like him that way because of his personality. It's the behavior-reward system that is enabled by the ideology itself that somehow manages to make the "Nice Guy" a sympathetic victim and villianizes the girl of the pursuit. It's a method that is insidious and premeditated---and that is no way nice at all.

Because why should I date a man just because he's "nice"? In what way, shape, form, or natural law does that make me obligated to him in one way whatsoever? Considering what I have just talked about, shouldn't I be wary of someone who is termed as a "nice guy", when I understand that his personal motivation and behavior is a means to an end? That it is an act---because he's doing exactly what he thinks a women should want in a man and therefor should invest in, but not really being himself? People are assholes--that goes for everyone---so why are they surprised when we go to the people who act like themselves, who are real? How am I being in anyway self-centered when his whole motivation is self-centered for a single want?

I am not alone in the women who see Nice Guys for what they are. Heartleats Bitches International  has a whole archive filled with essays criticizing "the self-professed" Nice Guys. A lot of the essays include personal anecdotes of women who experienced first-hand the worst of them---they're stories that I unfortunately find that I can relate to.

Because you know what a Nice Guy is? A lie.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

coffee break

I'm so done

I absolutely cannot control myself. Every time I log onto Facebook, I will inevitably start to browse everyone else's Facebook stuff, pictures and comments and mostly more pictures, ultimately making me feel like a pile of utter crap. It's a matter of comparison: I already hate myself enough, seeing all these people positively delighted with theirs makes me want to throw myself off a bridge.

But hey, thanks to research, I know I'm not alone!

"According to the study by Utah Valley University, the more the people use the hugely popular social networking website, the more they will believe that others are much happier, the Daily Mail reported."--IANS, of the Tribune.

So, I nailed it on the head. Something about seeing everyone else having a great time makes you feel like you're not. The United States, which is the superpower of the free world, is second place in the world for life-time Depression, right after France. Think about it: we're one of the most prosperous, educated, elite countries in the world, and we're the second most depressed. Think of all those countries in Africa that you see on TV reminding you for all that your life sucks, it could be so much worse. And yet, those countries, on  the sliding scale of depression, don't out top us. So again: it's a matter of comparison.

Man, screw this. I am so done. All of it is just a bunch of pretentious, dick-measuring contest in the first place. While I'm not the type to advocate the evils of new age technology and social media, I'll be first to say that what Facebook does is make us diminutive, a tool that flattens the complexity and struggle of a human being to 140 characters or less or some stupid picture of cartoon animals with the caption, "tag which one applies to you! xoxox." Because we are so much more than that---and people are in flux, and we are growing, and Facebook lets us remember our stupidity, how we looked and how we thought when we were younger, envelops old grudges in a manilla folder format, when really they should be let go, let bygones be bygones. But nothing truly dies on the internet.

And do you know how absolutely creepy and disturbing that is? My uncle died several years ago, and being able to see his profile on Facebook felt wrong. In a sense, it felt disrespectful. He was so much more than his profile. It presented him less than he actually was. I...if I die, I certainly don't want to be an old profile haunting Facebook. God, anything but that.

Jesus. Guess what I'm gonna go delete now?

Buffy Speak

"Everybody talks first draft."
Larry Niven, Niven's Laws for Writers

Remember that whole saying when you're trying to find the right word and you know and you can't just think of it, so you say "It's on the tip of my tongue!" (succeeding or proceeding a rather colorful blue streak), or when you want to describe something to someone but you don't know where to start, because words have failed you and start to ramble like a fool? Yeah, there's a name for that---Buffy Speak. And if you're like any other human being on the planet, it's most likely that this applies to you.

What I really like about this article is how they describe it. "A thing you see a lot with this is when they don't know the right words and stuff, so sometimes you see noun and verb things combined like in "shooty-gun thing", and stuff that goes in a cycle thing in frustration: "That idea went over like... like... like a thing that doesn't go over very well." That's exactly the idea.

The most associated with this trope is teenagers. Teens have this special kind of ability to just make up words and phrases and repeat them until their past the point of funny and become commercialized, like "Swag" or "Call Me Maybe" or "Cool Story Bro". It's a skill that is more highly refined than any political propagandist could ever hope for and then any rap artist would hope to coin. But part of the reason for this is that a lot of times, teens--like any other human being in this world---are just awakening into new emotions, feelings, internal struggles, and other conflicts, and have a hard time describing or relating these new emotions and translating them into something that even they can understand. So they often try to work around it by creating new hypes either to help them feel as if they have some sense of control in how they describe things into things they can start to comprehend.

Expect a lot of expletives---primarily the versatile "fuck". It's used as a placement word for, well, anything. Sometimes when thoughts are so jumbled and incoherent, you just have to get it all out. In addition, it also helps relieve the frustration and anger that comes with not being able to articulate your thoughts--which are probably serious and important to your or another's feelings--in an intelligent and comprehensible format.

After all--this should be noted and important to anyone who is going to write realistic dialogue--because you know, what the hell, Realistic Diction is Unrealistic. 

Reality of Honey Boo Boo

My first introduction to Honey Boo Boo was this lovely gif set:

"You guys are so right! That girl Alana from last night’s Toddlers & Tiaras was saying some pretty wacky things! Where does she get this stuff from? Kids today! [Random quotes generated by the perennial favorite, The Nietzche Family Circus]"--comment by Tumblr user imsosorry.
After cleaning the spurted Pepsi off my keyboard, I went to Google and looked up who she was. And oh man, there was so much more than I could ever imagine I was in for. Honey Boo Boo, christian name Alana Thompson, was released into the wild (also known as TLC) on the show Toddlers & Tiaras last January. If you don't know what T&T is, save yourself while you still can. The premise of the show is that the production team of TLC follows around young girls and their families as they enter and prepare for pageants. Think Little Miss Sunshine only written as a macabre comedy. And who are we kidding--- I'm sure all of you have heard of this show before, and the outlier that is Honey Boo Boo.

And now she has her own show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. But really, why? What makes Honey Boo Boo so noted by the media and society, when the media and society is already at 210% full of bullshit, ignorance, general stupidity, and Jersey Shore? Especially after considering the fact that even The Hollywood Gossip described some of the quotes as nauseating? 

Primarily, it's the family itself. Living in the boons of McIntyre, Georgia, 7 year old Alana has her mother, June Shannon--"Mama"; father Mike Thompson, "Sugar Bear"; 17 year old sister Anna (who recently just gave birth to niece Kaitlyn); 12 year old sister Lauryn; and 15 year old sister Jessica, "chubs", to which have all separate fathers. They also have a pet pig named Glitzy. 

And oh man, where to start. Ok, so Sugar Bear just got in an ATV accident the other day, resulting in crutches. As he puts it, he was "mud-bogging". All of the girls fathers have been convicted in one way or another, from arson to child exploitation.  They spend about 10,000 dollars a year on pageants. They participate in the Redneck Olympics, which includes the family-fun game of bobbing for pig's feet. 
If that doesn't convince you that their life is absolutely crazy, then let the universe convince you: Alana's new niece, Kaitlyn, was recently born with two extra thumbs. I shit you not, the baby had two extra thumbsIts that quote about reality being stranger than fiction, recorded on live television. If that isn't a sign I don't know what is.

The media is currently exploding with various opinions of Honey Boo Boo. The hype ranges from careful defendants to explosive rage, like one overzealous writer (who runs the blog People I Want To Punch In the Throat) on the Huff criques: "The language that they speak (I've been told that it's English) is so garbled and fucked up they need subtitles just so you can understand when Honey Boo Boo's pregnant sister tells the world she needs to go to the hospital because her "biscuit" hurts or Honey Boo Boo tells you "A dollar makes me holler."

Speaking of which, Honey Boo Boo, is ridiculously easy to quote: "A dollar makes me holler, honey boo boo!", and "You better redneckgonize!" are just two that I can mention without feeling the cell count in my brain drop. 

And the thing is, people love this. They are drinking this stuff up faster and harder than Alana's infamous "Go-go" juice (Which, by the way, was such a volatile concoction that even Child Services had commented on it, along with the whole thing about them eating roadkill and consuming too many cheese puffs. Also, the reason they were even involved? Alana was caught on video dancing for dollars in a college bar. "Not a sleazy one," according to June. Full article here. And that's not even counting the recent trouble with Lauryn feeding Kaitlyn mountain dew with a pacifier.)

But continuing. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo's ratings topped RNC's last August.  They were featured in People this summer, and the rating's have skyrocketed since then. Cracked does a nice job covering on how Honey Boo Boo has redeemed reality TV--their number one reason? "Bringing Back Reality." And really---what's more real than eating roadkill and talking about your bowl movements with the people you love?

 Anyway, if you still haven't got your fix of enough Honey Boo Boo Child---here, I've got you covered.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My girl is not a slut

I love TV Tropes. If you've ever been on the website with even the slightest of interest in TV or literature, than you already know the dangers of tabs, like it's some kind of weird addiction and I can't stop. As such, some of my blog entries will be my own interpretation, thoughts, and analysis on 
certain tropes that I find intriguing, prevalent at the time, or representative to certain subjects I write about.
Or, you know, tropes that pop into my life. As it is today, this one titled: My Girl Is Not a Slut. A short summary of a short summary, this trope discusses the stupidity of the common idea that while men can have multiple sexual partners without being criticized, for a woman who is sexually active means she is too be condemned and scorn. In my peers term, common on Facebook statuses: "How come when a guy sleeps around he's a stud, but when a girl does she's a slut?"

It's a double standard, Older than Feudalism. And everybody knows this. However, each person tries to rationalize this in their own way. But with the 2012 Elections coming up, this is a common issue that is becoming more imperative to discuss everyday. Perhaps the views of society may not change, but the laws certainly will depending on who is elected to our next president. You know what I'm talking about: Romney, and his plan to cut the cord on Planned Parenthood. It is, I believe, a testament to the double standard that condemns women for their sexual lives more than we condone men for their own private lives.

Yasmin Nair does a great job with dissecting this issue further in her essay In Defense of Sluts. The timing is important--it was published during the infamous case of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student who was ripped apart by Rush Limbaugh for making her case in court about birth control. Nair puts it beautifully at there: "That brings me to an aspect of this case which leaves me, at best, deeply uneasy and, at worst, terrified for the future of women's sexual lives in this country: the fact that the media coverage and responses of feminists so far have been to first criticise Limbaugh's "slut-shaming" and then to insist that Fluke is no slut." 

What's wrong with being a slut? The most important part, I think, is that woman should be allowed to make whatever the hell decision they want to, without the double standard hanging over them, a mechanism built into our society made to shame and condemn women for their lifestyles, while glorifying men for theirs. That is not to say people are not allowed to have their own opinions on other people's lives, men or women, but when it comes to the law---then it's a problem.

Because, really, in the end, who's going to care if your girls a slut?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

coffee break

Whenever someone starts to talk about politics

Haplessly, my ears will tune out for it, especially when it comes to topics about women. It's two months away from November 2012. Politics are in the pan right now, and are slowly sluicing into the fire. It's inevitable, and it has been slowly creeping into the classroom.

Inevitable, also, to hear some of the things people say when discussing politics. Does it matter what side they are on? No. Modern media, there's literally millions of outlets and news sources where people can go to for their types of information, where they can listen and read the same ideas all day long and not even bother to listen to the opposition's position. It's self-brain wash, and people very rarely try to educate themselves beyond the boundaries of their own values. It's natural, maybe, to shut themselves in like that, to not have to hear things they don't want to hear. Because the idea that maybe you're wrong or that someone whose ideas or values differ from your own in such a foreign way, is scary. It' not a brave thing about people, avoiding self-conflict like that, and it certainly doesn't press forward for any self-development or progress. A faith unchallenged is no faith at all.

Which is why I've started to write, once again, about issues that matter to me. I said in my first post about how I was tired of fighting. I'm not: I'm tired of not being able to, when the time comes, to defend myself. My ideas, my values, my morals. The facts and the truth, unimpeded by the media or news forums. What my own personal research has amassed, the things I have taught myself, the things that I believe, wholly and entirely, by my own conscious, not what someone else tells me to think, to believe. And maybe that's a little naive. But I'm trying, and that has to count for something.

Last year, I had published my first opinion, and argument, in The Torch. It was a story on birth control and the parties that were trying to encumber women's access to it. What the hell, you might even remember it.

Oh man, the backlash I'd ended up with. Besides from the juvenile responses of You said the word hell! I got a lot of good responses, a lot of bad. But the most important, I learned, that was I had received any response at all: the people, specifically girls my age, who had taken time to read it, were thinking for themselves. What I had written, to my everlasting amazement, had girls my age considering their own thoughts and beliefs, deconstructing what they had been raised in, what the media had told them, and what life had taught them. And that felt good, you know? If you can't question yourself, then why the hell should you be allowed to question others? There's this quote I really like, and I find it fits nicely in my point.

"You cannot transcend what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself."

~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Solid quote.

Course, that's not to mention the negative response.  Summary for those too lazy to read it: Where in my editorial, I argue for the rights of women for access to birth control, and how it should be no one else's decision; Catron argues that birth control is a infringement on religious freedom. It was published an issue or two after mine, and no one had told me that it was going to print, that the editorial had even existed. Surprise. 

And you know what? Good for her, for standing up for what she believes in. I did my piece, she did hers. Of course, that doesn't mean I agree with her, but I respect her for her opinions and for her decision to voice them. The grace of respect, I find, is disintegrating. In a culture that places value in being  "politically correct", it's ironic that the only people who our media grants such respect to is those with the power to demand it. This is something that happens all the time. For example, TV Tropes does a wonderful job on this page describing how the media often portrays certain races.   This is what we are raised in, stereotypes and other discriminatory 'characteristics' that continue to be perpetuated by the media, and thus, society. It works vice versa.  

 So I've already taken my first beat down. But I'll live. It's time to get back into the old game. I'm a tough one. 

I know that now. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

So there's this contest

called the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. It's a pretty tough competition—national, grades 7 through 12, various and assorted competitions. Three rankings, and winning Gold? Earns you some serious moo-lah. Like, 10k serious. Money for college. And I'm entering this year.

So I'm nervous as hell. What do you do when you're up against thousands of other potentially probably better writers and artists, all clawing for the same title? It's not exactly Sun Tzu kind of tactics.

You look at the old winners and see what works.

And boy, they must be right about me. I'm a snob. I have to be, because if I'm not, then that means I'm not sophisticated enough, apparently, to understand or appreciate most of the contest entries. I mostly focused on Gold recievers. See what they wrote that was so good to get what they got.

I was a torsion of mixed emotions. Most of them, I thought, what the hell, I can do that, I can do better than that. Because I'm nothing if not modest. Others I had to look away, because I thought was going to throw up because of how good they were. Better than me, something I couldn't, can't, measure up to.

And then there were the ones where I simply had no idea what was going on. Poetry, mostly, and they had won gold, and I was confused, and it was contemporary, and it was all trying too hard. Like that quote from Stephen Dunn. “When people praise a poem that I can’t understand I always think they’re lying.”

It's intimidating, this mix of results, declared Gold, best of the best. And to the standards of high school, they were all good. I was in Plain Brown Wrapper for my Freshmen and Sophomore years. Oh, man, the things we'd have entered. The things people would approve. I felt pretentious and snooty, mostly because I thought I could write better than most of the entries we got. Something like truth, because for the most part, I could.

I felt big, important. Something I could do, contribute to. Big, big, big, arrogance.

Now I feel small.

This was actually supposed to be a post on how I feel that many teens don't have a really high expectation of literature, or a high quality in their writing. I was going to use examples like Twilight, and 50 shades, but I guess I'll save that for later.

So I don't know what the hell I'm to do with myself. I went through almost all of them. A lot of the stories have similiar syntax, and even more commonly, the same phrases, and adjectives. What words they use, you'd swear it was the SAT study guide or something. All the same words for different things. The word 'molasses' came up a lot. I don't know why, actually. Maybe people my age just like that word? Sugary adjective that implies sweetness and slowness.

Maybe that's the trick. Sweetness and slowness. I don't know much of either, but I can try. Make that my signature—I can sure try.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm a snob

Literary, Cinematic and Live TV reviews, analysis, dissections, and hypothesis. Taking apart books word by word and finding the obscure themes in your daily TV. Add some sarcasm and flailing over attractive actors. Shake well.
For books, I'll be studying Literary Classics and contemporary novels--from Paradise Lost to 50 Shades of Grey. Why they are popular, syntax, impact, meaning, theme, foreshadowing, all that jazz. The architecture of the novel.
For TV, expect everything from Arrested Development to Downtown Abbey. I'll be liveblogging this season of Supernatural 8 and American Horror Story 2.

I have great literary taste and I don't care what you say.


Now also an amateur pseudo-woman's rights blog. Sexism, stereotypes, and idiocy about women in the media, society and politics.
Because I've never been able to shut my mouth when I hear ignorance and bigotry.

And I'm tired of not being able to defend myself. I thought I was tired of fighting, but that's not it-- I'm tired of feeling trapped, maybe scared. Something about being the change you want to see in the world.

I guess I'm back into the good fight.