bookgazing: (moar wine now)
bookgazing ([personal profile] bookgazing) wrote2012-10-22 12:52 pm

5 things I would like to get the hell out of my media

1. Straw middle class characters whose stereotypical, un-nuanced, prejudiced ways are directly linked to their class. Yes, bigoted middle class people exist. There are also working class people who hold extreme prejudices. We would never let working characters that are portrayed as un-nuanced, bigoted, representative class stereotypes pass by without comment. The same should hold true for middle class characters. Simplification is so dull, especially in a realistic novel. (‘there but for the’ – Ali Smith)

2. An internet that is killing us all by promoting disconnection and problems with concentration. There’s nothing wrong with showing the darker side of internet life, but I am so bored of seeing media that just presents the down sides of the net. (‘there but for the’ – Ali Smith)

3. The everyday worker portrayed as overwhelmingly grey faced, bovine or depressed. 1. Not everyone can be an astronaut 2. Some people enjoy their regular jobs 3. Again, lacking nuance, which is crucial to realism, which is important if you say you're writing a realistic novel (‘Nothing to Fear’ – Matthew D’Ancona)

4. Women whose friends and relatives gather round to work out their issues on her inert body while she lies in a coma. It’s the narratively disenfranchised female character taken to its absolute limits. I hate it. (‘The Descendants’ – Alexander Payne, ‘Oh Dear Silvia’ – Dawn French)

5. Servants who are terribly, terribly wise and straight forward. Generally they provide the shock factor of common sense that helps their employer to re-start their lives. I could also do without servants that are wise cracking and jolly all the damn time. (too many to mention)

What do you hate and wish would get out of you media?
nymeth: (Default)

[personal profile] nymeth 2012-10-22 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
YES to #2. I mean, not that the rest of the stuff you listed isn't bad, but I've come across it less often in my reading, I think - or maybe I'm just hyperaware of number two because it's such a huuuuuge pet peeve of mine. Have you heard of Nick Harkaway's The Blind Giant? I've heard great stuff about him from Jeanne and others, and this seems to be a rare book willing to engage with what the Internet might mean to our lives without the panicky tone and either/or approach of The Shallows and others. I still want to read There but for The because it's Ali Smith, but... gah. I'll now approach it with caution.

My big thing right now is subversive women being killed at the end of a narrative. I say this knowing perfectly well that in some classic novels in particular, this was almost a way for the authors to pay lip service to conformity; to get the revolutionary ideas in the middle bits of the story in by the back door by safely removing the "threat" at the end. If I read these novels generously, the concessions they make at the end don't erase the exciting possibilities the middle raises. Still, whenever I start one of these stories I always hope it will be the one to break the pattern, and when it inevitably doesn't happen it hurts my heart so.

(Anonymous) 2012-10-22 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
In addition to The Blind Giant (yay for Harkaway!) there's an older book entitled Everything Bad Is Good for You by Stephen Johnson that you might like for its arguments about how the internet is a force for good.

[identity profile] 2012-10-22 08:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Femmephobia! FEMMEPHOBIA IS A BIG ONE. Hiss. I agree with the Internet as disconnective, and I'd love to see fans not treated as obsessive jerks (Marvel Comics, Sean Howe, and that's nonfiction about a comic book company! C'mon, people!).

[identity profile] 2012-10-29 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes this forever. Not only for femme-identified folks but for feminine women who are treated as the YUCK and never a combination of femininity/strength can be found. Oh it makes me crazy.

(Anonymous) 2012-10-24 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I lack coherent thought as I've had the most awful day of meeting after meeting, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. And YES to so many of the things you mention. I'm afraid to ever try "There but for the" again now. I have tried reading it once but had to return it to the library before I got 50 pages in. Do I want to put it on hold again?