Okay, per some comments written below by R.A. Salvatore, I’ve gone through and edited this thing. I meant to make it shorter, and failed. So have fun. Oh, and did all 3 of you know that I rant on this blog? I know, right? I didn’t know either.
P.S. Sister Allie, if you were the real person who left that comment, know that revenge comes in the form of photoshop, a man’s speedo, and a certain arch-bishop dancing to “My God is An Awesome God”.
Now there’s a title to attract some people. Especially people who write things like “Mexican Perv” into the search engines and then find my little blog. Is that some sort of whacked out fetish straight from rule 34?
Even though I’m not a huge fan of Simcha Fischer’s blog over at NCR, I still read it from time to time. Some of her stuff is pretty good. I won’t link to it here since I’m not in favor of being a traffic vacuum, but the post I read was “Dangerous Books For Teenage Girls”.
There was a comment down below the piece, in which it was implied that “you can’t judge whether a book is good or bad unless you’ve read it” which is better known as “you can’t judge a book by its cover”.
Maybe because us humans, especially American humans, are just now finally dragging ourselves out of the “let’s judge everybody by nonsensical bullshit like wealth and how many baby trees died to make my car” we have catapulted all the way over to the other, open-minded side. By open-minded I mean we’ve completely lost our minds, and now pretty much anyone can crap out a “novel” and call it good. And we still judge by wealth. Don’t believe me? Guess what one of the reasons for keeping abortion legalized is… I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with getting rid of poor people.
It seems like “open mind, insert crap” has taken hold in dating as well. I’m 24, a virgin, pretty damn proud of it, and am getting married to a beautiful man- who was also my first kiss. I have never been with anyone else, and I didn’t date in high school.
shhhhh….did you hear that? That was the sound of a thousand feminazi heads exploding….
“Open Mind” sickens me. One thing I’ve learned about books and men is that sometimes you really should judge a book by its cover. If its got some sort of rebel looking girl pretty much dressed up in a hipster’s leather fetish outfit (Girl With A Dragon Tatoo) I know I’m probably not going to like it- even if the writing is good. I’m probably going to read a lot of things that conflict with my faith, and quite frankly everything conflicts with faith once you leave the sanctuary of the Mass.
It’s okay to judge a book by its cover! How men (or women) dress themselves says a lot about who they are, and who they see themselves as. Chances are the 30 year old in cargo pants, an over-sized T-shirt, his hat hung backwards and his slang from somewhere out of an 80’s blaxploitation flim is, 999 times out of 1000, a loser. Chances are that guy in highschool who looks so hot but hangs a Confederate flag in his truck is less interested in history than he is in being a jackass. Chances are that girl who doesn’t wear underwear under her skirt that’s short enough and thin enough to see through actually is looking for nothing good. (Yeah, I know, shock right? Because women can’t possibly be just as horny as men!)
But then, there are some books, and some dates, that open your mind to things that you never thought of before. Girl With A Dragon Tatoo might put some things into light for me that I’d never have considered otherwise. Reading the Quran ended up teaching me that I love the rhythm of Arabic poetry and composition, even if I’m pretty sure Mohammed was definitely not talking to anything remotely God-like. Having an unrequited crush on an Atheist taught me that emotional love conquers good reason, and that it really is a better idea to find someone who shares your beliefs.
Then there are books and boys that seem fun at the time, but are realized to be a big waste of effort later on. Facebook, for example. A better example of this in my personal life is R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt series. I was obsessed with this series. I spent what little money I had on it. I watched for the release of every new title, scoured the libraries, viewed pages and pages and pages of horrific fan “art” and “literature”. I bemoaned the craptastic “art” that took my lovely Mary Sue (Drizzt, and I liked him as a Mary Sue) from a young, dark elf with lots of muscles and oozing teenage hawtness with his pretty purple eyes and spat him out as some old white human with wrinkles and what might possibly have been mange. I don’t even like the series anymore, and I still feel an urge to set things on fire with my mind when I see those covers.
Was I entertained by these books? Oh definitely. They even got me through some rough times, as I could connect with the outcast with a penchant for self-pity, but of course, was totally awesome secretly. Like, you have no idea how awesome. Like, yeah. So cool. But were these books good for me? Did they nourish my soul? Get me to contemplate God and the transcendent?
I’m going to go with a no. For one thing the books seem to be extremely anti-Catholic (if not anti-organized religion), absolutely misogynist, anti-authoritarian, History Channel blunt about it. Sure, transcendence gets talked about…except the gods and goddesses are as banal as the Greek gods and goddesses. Drizzt got me through some very rough times, but would I have fared better reading Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien? Perhaps instead of listening to a lot of wine and cheese, and watching one beloved character foist his supposedly “unselfish” sacrifice unto another, I could have learned about the more realistic mutual self-giving of Arwen and Aragorn.
For the 3 or 5 (?) of you reading this lonely little blog who’ve never read the Forgotton Realms series, what basically happens is that Cattie-brie and Drizzt have a years and years long “it’s complicated” relationship. Drizzt can basically live for something like 1000 years or whatever, while poor human Cattie-brie can live maybe a hundred (although not likely, living among a world full of evil characters that would kill for a chance to make Drizzt cry). So instead of realizing that Cattie-brie has a choice in the matter, and that she can probably assess her ability to handle such a situation (perhaps her addled female mind can’t handle the stress) Drizzt does the manly thing and “sacrifices” himself. Or rather, being scared of his own insecurities and inability to control the future, yet still not trusting anyone beyond himself, he drags out the “complicated” status of the relationship for years. Its like college, only it takes a decade and a half or more.
Or, just like college.
I could have read City of God or Beowulf or Dante’s Inferno or The Dog Died At Midnight or Father Amorth’s book on posession and demons. I could have at least been spared when the books lost their soul and became a heap of pages that equated Orcs with black people (really? The orcs get to be Black??) and settlers with the fair (and edging ever so closer to delightsome) people of Ten-Towns. There’s even a racist/species-ist group called the…*eye roll* C.C.C. I’m sure that wasn’t a reference at all to a real life consonant loving, genocidal group of idiots who are running out of slogans as fast as they are genes. Oh, and Drizzt goes from loveable, whiny Mary Sue to David Carusso.
Instead of reading actual literature that would have challenged my thoughts and beliefs, I ingested junk-food for the soul that confused me spiritually, and warped my view of the world. And exposed me to David Carusso. THE HORROR!
Sadly, the misogyny of the books stunk like that bog in the Labyrinth. The series begins with a female dominated society of dark elves. Bar none, they’re all pretty much horrific little harpies running around controlling the hapless males. Malice (the most subtly named character since Maleficent) is the mother of Drizzt (and his Aunt, too, and wow that was awkward when that dawned on me) who just about kills off cute baby Drizzt because he’s boy number three. She, and his sisters, are all perfectly evil, except one random female who later on kills his father, technically his
sexually abused Uncle. (This hit me worse than when I figured out that Luke and Leia were twins and I couldn’t get that kissing scene out of my head. WTF LUCAS???).
Possibly due to the gender defined, hierarchical, matriarchal society, with lots of rules that make no sense (at least it doesn’t get called the “Magisterium” like Pulman did with his books, because I guess then it wouldn’t be so “subtle”) the one good sister who didn’t beat Drizzt as much when he was a little kid goes through with the human sacrifice of her brother’s (and possibly her) father. Not that this is at all similar to some sort of Christ figure, being sacrificed by a horrible oppressive society that includes lots of
priests priestesses, nor is it at all similar to that tired, beaten, old straw man who cries out that Catholics are re-sacrificing Christ.
Then, on the other hand of the misogyny person…figure…thing… you have the Perfect Women. Alustriel is all pretty, all wise, and pretty much just echos Drizzt alot. Mielikki is Drizzt’s personal goddess, apparently made from thoughts, impressions, and ideals just like dragons but she’s so damn perfect there’s no real contact with her other than as a unicorn, since avatars are “too accessible” to be real. Because, you know, a personal God who came down as a man is too disgusting to fathom. Oddly enough, that sounds like an ancient Roman rant… Anyway, the one “good” woman who has a character in the books is Cattie-brie. Even she’s pretty incorruptible though, other than when she gets possessed by a crystal shard.
Then she pretty much amps up the creepy by just about raping poor Drizzt, but of course its not her, its the pretty shiny thing controlling her mind making her go all seckshy. If this sounds like a diamond commercial to you, I’ll have you know that it didn’t last forever. The pretty shiny thing, after all, was just a sword.
When Cattie-brie and Drizzt FINALLY go from “It’s complicated” to “in a relationship” and finally to “married”-she dies. After waiting until she’s pretty darn past the years when bearing a child would be a heck of a lot easier (try 20? 23? 25? 28? NO, we have to wait until 30 or above!!) the annoying couple finally tie the knot, having earned their master’s degrees in drama. But then, poor female Catti-brie has to catch a plague and die. And then she gets stuck in another plane of existence, along with annoying little Regis (do not get me started), as a reward to Drizzt for his years of
fairly blatant agnosticism service to Mielikki.
So now in this Forgotten Realms universe we girl nerds are left with pure evil pretty girl, flat echo-y pretty girl, and absolutely gorgeous good girl who doesn’t even exist in a real body for models. Wrap it up with a few totally
obvious subtle digs at the Church (The Weeping Friars, which if you read the books sounds like every lead-up to an oft repeated half-truth about indulgences or even the complete crap about a female pope) and you have a wonderful cocktail of things that maybe shouldn’t be ingested indiscriminately by a teenage young lady.
I ended my relationship with that particular book series like it was a mildly-retarded man-boy, and I had just woke up at the theater wondering “wait, I wasted how many of my years with you?”. It looked like a great idea at the time, and it brought some comfort through some difficult years. However, it was junk food for my soul. Instead of forcing me out of myself, it lead me down the selfish, depressing road of agnosticism. My agnosticism could have ended a lot quicker if someone had dropped by and perhaps handed me Orthodoxy by Chesterton, or Screwtape by C.S. Lewis.