This is the kind of stuff I say on Twitter, if you were curious.
Since I can never let anything go and I get weirdly self-conscious whenever my commentary starts to spread around the internet, I thought it’d be a good time to elaborate on these two quippy tweets I made the other day.
This is a point I make with some frequency, although it’s kind of divorced of context here because, you know, Twitter. Basically, I get a really bad case of eyeroll whenever I see/hear people complaining about how the romance/love triangle in THG was “unnecessary” or “annoying” or any of the other million words people use to say they think the series would have been better if Katniss was a lone fox who never kissed anyone.
Here are my main problems with this.
1) The initial “romance” between Katniss and Peeta was LITERALLY STAGED. SHE DIDN’T REALLY CARE OR WANT TO DO IT. There’s an entire subplot dedicated to Peeta’s sadfeels about the fact that Katniss wasn’t really into him and did it for the cameras/survival.
2) The subsequent actual developed romance between both Gale and Peeta was about a frightened, confused teenage girl hashing out some very complicated feelings about life, death, love, and friendship/family. The girl was loaded with a whole lot of baggage she didn’t ask for or deserve. I’m perfectly okay with her wanting to kiss a boy once in a while as escapism or just getting a jolly in amidst the misery. If I were a teenager whose life was in literal danger all the time, I’d want some nice memories, too.
3) Anyone who’s actually read the books knows that, comparatively speaking, the “romance” takes up very little of the series. It’s a subplot at best. She does have feelings for and cares for both boys, who have very intimate, personal ties to her and her constant near-death experiences. Sue her or something.
4) In my mind, Gale/Peeta has always been a metaphor of choice between revenge and healing for Katniss. That’s how I read it. I hate seeing it reduced to some throwaway kissy-face to appeal to the teenybopper girls or whatever.
5) The “Team Peeta vs Team Gale” stuff has always been spearheaded by the media, not the series itself.
These are the reasons I tend to eyeroll whenever The Hunger Games is criticized for being too heavy on the romance, or Collins accused of bowing to the corporate publishers’ desire for sexy kissy-time. It grates on me.
THAT SAID, the context of these particular tweets is steeped partially in these observations, and also in some other, overreaching personal observations. As background, I first read 1984 as a 17-year-old senior in my AP English unit of utopian/dystopian literature. I loved the book. LOVED it. Liked it more than Brave New World, which I also read during that same unit. I have no doubt that it was formative in my love of dystopian literature.
To get this out of the way, I’ll admit that every time I make this point, I *always* hear the following arguments:
You can’t compare 1984 to The Hunger Games because one’s a literary classic and one’s a contemporary commercial bestseller.
You can’t compare them because the context in which they’re read is different and THG is at the forefront of media and fandom in the modern age, while 1984 isn’t read that way.
And here’s my response to those arguments: that’s not the context in which I’m making the commentary here. I’m fully aware that it’s pretty much impossible to accurately compare the two works because they’re from different times and often read in wildly different contexts (academic vs pop culture). But that’s also part of the issue.
Academia is not some untouchable monolith whose intentions are always pure and true, first of all. Academia is far and away influenced by carefully selected “quality” literature filtered through a lot of sieves that end up producing a lot of books by white guys. We’re at a period in history where the past is largely overwhelmed by dominant voices and minority voices are still only just being recognized as worthy, when they’re recognized at all. Books we consider classics today are classics because we’re told they’re classics. They’re the books that survived and were labeled “literature.”
I’m not here to argue that THG is destined to become a classic. Probably not. But who knows? Ultimately, my argument is that these two books are books that we feed teenagers. They read 1984 for class as assigned reading, they read THG at home for pleasure. The context is that we make snide remarks about a teenage girl written by a woman as having needless romantic entanglements that muddy the story, while we teach that the man sleeping with a woman is expressing love in a society devoid of it.
We read Winston and Julia as metaphors, as foils, as illustrations of the opposing themes of the novel. This is what we tell young adults reading the book for the first time — this relationship is a metaphor, it has a purpose.
Katniss’ relationships, however, are stupid. Pointless. Meaningless fluff to appeal to girls and distract from the “real” story. This is what we’re telling young adults, too. That THIS relationship, in THIS dystopia, in THIS context, is totally the worst and not worthy of exploration.
Time and time again, I hear people argue that men who wrote the literary classics knew how to write love/sex without making it “distracting” from the core literary thread. Ladies, however, remain the damned mob of scribbling women who can’t write a single kiss scene without it ruining an otherwise worthwhile story.
Can we really compare 1984 and The Hunger Games? I think so, on some level. They’re the same genre. They explore similar themes of destructive totalitarian governments and oppressed citizens. There’s love, hate, betrayal, destruction, misery. It’s not a far stretch, really.
Can they ever play on the same field? Well, I don’t know. We don’t really let them, do we? 1984 is removed because it’s an academic classic engrained in our curriculum because somewhere down the line someone thought it was worth it. We don’t have to give THG that distinction. We can write it off.
(And before people argue that 1984 is THE dystopian novel, I’ll just remind you that dystopia in fiction existed decades earlier)
Can we argue they’re the same quality with the same teaching potential? Yeah, I think we can. They’re different, certainly, but we have a tendency to write off modern literature as lacking when compared to the classics. We do it in art, in literature, in music… always. Nothing that’s made today is ever good enough to compare. Except that it is, and some of the art we create today WILL survive and WILL be “classic” a century from now. It all depends on how the cards shake out, doesn’t it?
Anyway. I’m rambling. This is why I don’t try to make elaborate arguments on Twitter. That’s what my Tumblr’s for.
THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS, I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THEM. If people want to make counter-arguments, that’s cool. I laid my cards on the table. Let it lead to wherever.
I DID enjoy these thoughts very much!
Ahhhh! I love that idea! Man, kinda wanna draw that now…
"Maybe you didn’t save the universe, but you saved me and Breakdown and that makes you my hero! … I’ll never give up on you, Hot Shot, but that means that you can’t give up on me either, no matter what!”
Scout Clocker - Transformers: Cybertron
13 of 52 Transformers: TFP Beast Hunters deluxe Prowl
Wow this was a HARD figure for me to find. He was released in the last wave of BH deluxes— a wave that had 6 figures re-released with no change, a Bumblebee redeco, and him. I know the wave made it to STL because I found the Bumblebee a couple of times, but I never found Prowl. Eventually I had to bite the bullet and get him off eBay, because I really wanted him.
(My girlfriend later found him in a Chicago WalMart on clearance, doublepacked with some other BH figures. Sigh.)
He’s great, though, so I don’t regret the way it worked out. He’s a redeco of the Smokescreen mold but I really prefer this version— the headsculpt fits the body better, IMO, and I really like the black and white paint. He does look unfinished in alt, most of the paint apps are on his robot mode, but that’s how I display him so I don’t mind. Probably my biggest criticism is the mold has fused wrists, I hate that personally, but he’s pretty poseable despite that so I don’t mind too much.
Overall just a really, really striking figure. Check out that light piping! Goddamn.
I’m kinda pissed that feminists of all people are making the Windblade mini-series as their own, claiming things like “IT’S WRITTEN BY A WOMAN AND IT’S ABOUT WOMEN OMG!!!!!”
It is written by an IDW writer who has worked on other IDW series before (the two Prime Dinobot series, in fact)
and it’s about a fictional character who happens to be a female without it being the leading plot point in any way or shape.
Nobody in the issue gives a damn about Windblade or Chromia’s gender. Ironhide doesn’t give a damn, Blur doesn’t give a damn, even goddamn Starscream doesn’t fucking care. The only one who tried to ask was Rattrap, and he didn’t even get an answer.
So yeah, we still have no explanation of how other female Transformers exist in a universe where the only one so far was the result of a morally ambiguous experiment done by one of the most deranged scientists of the IDWverse.
Jhiaxus created the IDWverse’s first female and technically the first transgender. Of COURSE she’s going to be insane and bloodthirsty after that. Does this make her any less of an interesting character compared to her “male” brethren? No. Likewise, is having a female character written by a female writer a big deal? Not to me it isn’t.
If you start treating women differently than men, you’re only accentuating the discrimination which you’re trying to fight against. Yay, a woman is writing TF issues, big woop. Yay, TF issues have now more girls in them, another big woop. I don’t see all of that. All I see is writers and artists with talent writing and drawing characters that are interesting to follow. Windblade could be a male character, or written by a male, and it wouldn’t change shit.
But to some people it does, because they fail to consider the fact that genders aren’t everything. Sigh.
I really don’t mean to be rude, and I apologize if it reads like that at any point, but, I feel like you’re missing the point a bit.
I’m not sure why you’re annoyed or somewhat spiteful towards feminists, but you are and it seems to be coloring your perception of why people, especially feminists, are celebrating Windblade as something written by and drawn by women, about women.
Its not something that is normal, that a somewhat main-line transformers comic -which will become an ongoing if it sells well enough- is being written by a women. And drawn by one. And it’s also not normal that the main characters are all “women”, in that they go by female pronouns and such. So, because this rare event has happened, people are celebrating it. They’re enthusiastic that a good transformers book happens to be written by women with female coded characters as the main cast.
Yes, the Prime comics written by the same author of Windblade are under rated and under celebrated, but that doesn’t diminish the importance and the quality of the Windblade book. These are books that a lot of people have been waiting on, and was something that a number of people were doubtful if they were going to be good or not. And wonderfully, it turns out that the first issue is solid.
And the fact that the femmes were female is practically a non-issue is also another plus.
No one is taking your books away, no one is making it all about gender forever, no one’s treating the women differently and making it so women in comics can’t be normalized. They’re celebrating, and celebrations do wane after a while. People shouldn’t be begrudged for celebrating positive victories.
found this old piano in the bushes last spring, hiking around an island. it’s been there for so long the tree is growing into it & it makes me wonder who used to play it and why it’s outside
The joke that Bender tells but never finishes (while crawling through the ceiling) actually has no punchline. According to Judd Nelson, he ad-libbed the line. Originally, he was supposed to tell a joke that would end when he came back into the library and said, “Forgot my pencil”, but no one could come up with a joke for that punchline.
Did they just make up this entire movie on the spot.
Cool idea: remake The Breakfast Club, reverse the gender of each character and base it on today’s generation. I was in a modernized gender reverse play of the Breakfast Club and got to play female John Bender, Joan Bender. And it was awesome.
if you have a good singing voice there’s a 300% chance I will fall in love with you
"I can’t just ask Optimus!" Jack hisses behind his hand. "That’s—that’s just wrong!”
Miko pouts intensely at him, crossing her arms over her seatbelt. “Stop being such a baby, Jackrabbit.”
"I’m not being a baby, I’m being a fully functioning human teenager that doesn’t want to ask a giant alien robot-slash-super-dad about giant robot alien sex!”
And his blood runs ice cold when Ratchet’s voice crinkles to life, “You do realize that I can hear every word you two are saying, correct?”
… oh, but why no answer? It’s a legimate question, pfffft!
But Ratchet, you’re a medical professional, surely you can find a way to answer this (and shut Miko up)