April 10, 2012

The Hunger Games Is A Sexist Fairy Tale. Sorry.

life is beautiful.jpg
this isn't going to have a happy ending



You should probably read this first.

I.

Housekeeping:  it's legitimate to accuse me of being drunk or a terrible writer, both are true.  But you can't say I didn't read the book and didn't see the movie.  I know I did, I was there.

When I say Katniss was continuously robbed of agency, that's a simple fact. Let's examine the commonly cited counterexample that she killed two people by dropping a hornet's nest on them.  Didn't that require her to plan and act, to know the consequences?  Isn't that agency?

Chekov famously said "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there" but the flip of that is that if you don't put a pistol on the wall in the first act, you can't suddenly have the main character find a pistol on the wall.  Unless you're writing a fairy tale.

So when Katniss is desperate, trapped in a tree, and has no recourse-- and suddenly someone points out that there is this immensely lethal object right next to her, maybe it's a hornet's nest and maybe it's a thermal detonator-- so the story then has to take a three minute pause so an omniscient narrator can explain to the audience what it is because we had no knowledge of this before, "oh, it's magic bees," then there are only two possibilities: 1. Deus ex machina.  2.  It's a terribly written story.  I favor 1, but I'm open to 2.  Oh, and it kills everyone but Peeta, that's lucky.


II.

The standard adulation for The Hunger Games is that it has a strong female protagonist who is, and I quote, "a badass."   Is she more of a badass than Alice from Resident Evil?   Come the zombie apocalypse, do you go Team Katniss or Team Alice?  Not who it's cooler to say you'd pick; assume you have a 5 year old daughter with one hit point left whose life depends on your selection.  Because I'm arguing that it does.


resident_evil_extinction_milla_jovovich_with_knives.jpg
actual badass



 
Obviously you go with Alice, which is also why she isn't popular among women:  There's no aspiration, no wish fulfillment, it's too fantastic, too impossible because Alice is, in fact, a superhero.  It's not real.

But Katniss isn't a superhero, and "women can identify with her."  Ok, which part?  She isn't better than her competitors.  Thresh is still tougher, Cato faster, Foxface more ninjalike, etc.  And to reiterate, Katniss is carried through the movie by deus ex machina or continuously saved by other people.  So why is she a badass and not, say, Peeta, who spends the entire movie sacrificing himself for her? 

I want you to pick one single scene that you think best epitomizes her badassness.  Got it?  You sure?  Take a moment.  The one scene you'd show your friends.  "Check this out: badass."

Is it any of the scenes displaying her spectacular inability to hit moving targets at close range?  No?  But it has something to do with the bow, right? Otherwise these wouldn't exist:


THG archery.JPG


huffpo women archery.JPG


I'm not a hater, follow the logic.  Nothing she does makes her a badass.  What makes her a badass is that men underestimate her.  If you don't believe me, what scene did you pick?  The same one the audience did, the one that made them cheer the loudest, "wwoooooooohhhh!!!!!!"

There's a banquet and the contestants have to show off their skills, but the overlords are eating a roast pig and bored with Katniss (because she misses a target) so Katniss turns her arrow towards them and shoots an apple.  Katniss says, "you better recognize, mothafuckas!", flashes a gang sign, and the audience swoons.  That's when she's a badass. Yes, she was wonderful in the Games, I'm sure, but what got your adrenaline going, what made her a badass, is showing off her abilities-- to men.   That's why more than half of this movie takes place before the Games-- it's all about showing what you can do, showing your capabilities.    Badass = showing she can compete on a male level. (1)

In the actual Games, Katniss is continuously saved by men-- Haymitch, Peeta, Peeta again, Thresh-- but you don't notice that she saves no one, including herself, you think she saves herself all the time.  You think this because of the first half of the movie told you she's a badass, so you don't realize that during the second half she shows less agency than Princess Jasmine.

And the reason why showing off-- or, as the movie ever so subtly puts it, "showing them up"-- is so important is that women still secretly believe they are inferior to men.   I know most of you aren't going to want to hear that, and, indeed, the vast majority of you will woefully willfully misquote me as having said,  "women are inferior to men,"  but that's because your brain is broken.  I read the book.  You need to read with a highlighter.

Haymitch, played by a man, says this to a woman, played by Katniss:

You know how you stay alive?  You get people to like you.  Oh, not what you were expecting?

No, unfortunately it's exactly what I was expecting.  Thanks Dad.

II.

If you are angry at me you are not reading your own words.  This is bigger than Katniss, this is the state of human progress.   If it helps, imagine you have a five year old daughter you have to raise in the midst of aspirational images with long legs and no power of agency, and your worry is no longer "will she grow up and find a job?" or even "will she grow up and get married?" but "will she be so conflicted about herself that she is unable to choose a career or pick a nice man from the hundreds of options that present themselves to her because she is ever anxious that any choice is the wrong choice because she only gets conflicting messages from everyone on earth?"  That's the world I'm stuck in, and though I haven't burned a bra in years I do somewhat rely on feminists to nudge the bar consistently higher so my theoretical daughters don't have to rely on penis or Prozac to live happily ever after.  So where my girls at?  I found about a million fawning feminist reviews of The Hunger Games which all contain some version of this paragraph:


Katniss, in this season of woman-hating, is a stunning example of feminism at its finest hour. She is compassionate, yet strong. She cares deeply about her family. While she is tempted to run away with Gale, instead of leaving her sister and mother to fend for themselves, she stays to support them.

Lord have mercy on all our souls, I'll take my chances with Alice and a zombie attack.  None of those things are feminism, those aren't even praiseworthy.  Those are basic, ordinary, unremarkable characteristics of every reasonable human being for 6000 years, and all animals.  But that's the bar the reviewer has set for Katniss, for feminism.  That's the fantasy world she'd like to see women eventually get to.  So either a) she has an unconsciously  cynical view of women in general; or b) she has been tricked by the system about what it is to advance as a woman, i.e she's in The Matrix.   Here's the problem: she's a woman.  She represents women.  She is a feminist, but she does not see that Katniss is allowed to exist precisely because she isn't a threat to men but women can think she is.  If I was a 15 year old girl, and I'm not saying I'm not, then what is being communicated to me by the feminist praise of this book is that my future expectations are low.  Maybe-- MAYBE-- if I work real hard I might someday surprise a boy, "wow, I never would have guessed!"  Can't wait till I grow up. 

III.

The feminists missed this, all of this, and it is their job not to miss this.  What they yelled about is the racism of a small audience, to avoid facing the sexism in themselves.  And, by the way, the racism in themselves:  Jezebel jumped on the racism against black actors because they are stupid.  I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.   Do you know why Thresh doesn't kill Katniss but instead lets her go?  Because Thresh is black. 

The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there. He's one of the giants, probably six and half feet tall and built like an ox.

Black guy= strength, so his letting her go is a signal of her value as a temporary equal.  This is a repeat of the 1980s trope that a (white) weakling being bullied winds up being saved by black gang members: "Eugene is a friend o' ours, so we best not hear no mo' trouble."   Thresh doesn't happen to be black, Thresh is intentionally black, a stereotype, for that scene to occur, because to a white woman, no one knows the value of a person's life better than a slightly retarded giant homicidal black guy.  "He's bad, but he has a internal code of honor."  Oh.  You know you're stupid, right?  In other words, the racists in Central Time are less racist than Suzanne Collins.  Bet you didn't see that coming.  Which is my whole point: no one saw any of this coming, they saw a woman with a bow and flipped the hell out.  Katniss is a role model for girls like Thresh is a role model for blacks.  I look forward to your deranged responses. (2)

Katniss lives in a patriarchy, sure there are some women but they look completely insane, which trivializes them. Odd that no feminists noticed that.  They are all wicked stepmothers-- a problem, but not the problem.  The problem is all the men with all the power, and any women who have power have it only because they are hooked up with more powerful men.  Katniss seems like a lone hero, outside all this, but she she always defers to that patriarchy, and relies on it, operates within the rules of the society but, and this is what makes her a "badass"-- she tests limits.  Postures for the cameras.  Says the right things, but says them with a slightly rebellious inflection.  Feels like 15 again.


twilight-moms.jpg


Deconstuctionists like to ask easy questions like, "why is a story for 15 year old girls so popular among middle aged women?"  They asked this about Twilight, too, but it's not at all surprising that these books are popular among middle aged women who still secretly believe women are second behind men.  Not in terms of theoretical potential, perhaps, but they've grown up in a world with enough experiences that they can't shake it.  It's still a man's world.

The real question is why it's popular among 15 year old girls?  15 year old girls should, in theory, have grown up without 1970s sexism.  Schools are hypervigilant about fostering girls development, and there are enough female everythings that it's not remarkable that there are female anythings.

And yet here we are, teen girls are reading fairy tales.  This book should not resonate with 15 year olds, not this much.  Which means that these girls are still getting sexist signals from somewhere, and, follow the trail, those signals came from the 40 year old women who like the story, i.e. "feminists."  This is what I mean when I say the system no longer needs men to maintain the status quo: it has feminists doing the job for it.

Please, please, don't misunderstand me, I have nothing against The Hunger Games, it's an entertaining story, I am not criticizing the book, I am criticizing you.  If it won an Oscar or the world declared this the next Star Wars and made action figures and lunchboxes I wouldn't say a bad word about it, what's it to me if it makes people happy?  Enjoy what you like, it doesn't have to have deep meaning to be worthwhile.

But what makes me reach for the now empty bottle is how women have convinced themselves and each other that this is a pro-feminist story.  Do you not see what is happening?  You are being lied to, by yourselves.

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych





1. See also Katy Perry's empowerment represented by training with the Marines.

2.  Oh boy. Yes, Thresh is retarded.  In the movie this is not revealed at all-- probably because the poor director couldn't take it anymore, but in the book he has stilted speech, limited vocabulary, one word answers.  The alternative interpretation is that English isn't his native tongue-- i.e., he is a giant, black, cotton picking, immigrant.  I'll let you decide which interpretation is worse.  None of this occurred to anyone?  Outstanding.



More on the future of feminism here.








Comments

If a girl says, "I like Kat... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 7:39 PM | Posted by Andy B: | Reply

If a girl says, "I like Katniss because she's strong and protects other people," does it matter whether Katniss actually is strong or protects other people? That's a serious question, and I lean toward the answer being No.

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If you are a 15-year-old gi... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:01 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

If you are a 15-year-old girl, please do tell us. I'd love for my 2-year-old daughter to be able to look up to you.

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I'm glad you posted this fo... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:16 PM | Posted by William: | Reply

I'm glad you posted this followup. Your stance makes a lot more sense to me now... The standard for women in the story is remarkably low, and I never noticed. I think, unfortunately, that means my default expectations for female characters (and by extension, women) is low too. I want to change that, and I'll try to catch myself on it in the future.

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But... wait... what?<... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Andy B's comment, by Greg: | Reply

But... wait... what?

What did you just say?

Are you saying that if a girl said, "I like Katniss because she's a rabbit and she eats folding chairs," it wouldn't matter that Katniss is not actually a rabbit and does not eat folding chairs?

I have to disagree with you here, since I think it matters whether or not people are mistaken.

I know your comment is really about a girl identifying with Katniss' strength and protection towards others, or aspiring to those qualities, but you're still wrong because if Katniss DOESN'T POSSESS THOSE QUALITIES, then the girl is identifying with something other than those qualities. So now she thinks she knows (at least a little bit) what it looks like to be strong, but she's mistaken. Later, when she tries to be strong like Katniss, she'll be something other than strong.

Of course it matters if my role model actually enacts the role for which they are my model.

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"The real question is why i... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:24 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

"The real question is why it's popular among 15 year old girls?"

Because gender isnt a social construct, but something society constructs around of. Girls are girls and women are women.

Katniss goes around the story protected by a giant bubble and getting undeserved praise, and girls/women see that as natural, because that's what the world looks to them.

And the males are always forward, from their point of view, because males seem to be able to manage without that protective bubble.

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*because that's what the wo... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:25 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

*because that's what the world looks [like] to them.

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Wow. I don't think I've eve... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:26 PM | Posted by GPC: | Reply

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen Alone work so hard to elucidate his points. Just goes to show how vitriolic these issues are, and how ingrained these issues are within us... So much so that rational thought is crushed almost immediately. Unfortunate....
Anyway, a great article, as usual.

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What you're saying is that ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Andy B's comment, by H.J.: | Reply

What you're saying is that a person's interpretion of reality is more important than what actually happens. In that case, you should first ask yourself about why you went to the trouble of reading this post.

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Whoa...this Hunger... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:33 PM | Posted by Anna: | Reply

Whoa...

this Hunger Games post > last Hunger Games post

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I saw the movie a couple ho... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:34 PM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

I saw the movie a couple hours ago. I wanted to not like it (I tried to get my wife who read the book to take her mom instead) but I did. I picked two scenes as examples of agency: when she volunteers (a dumb move from an evo psych perspective) and when they switch the rules again and Peeta says "lemme have it" and she says "you're a moron". In both of these she has other options and she says fuck that shit, it ain't goin down like that. I explain all the lucky breaks as not very good writing. What annoyed me was the way people could pass out for days and not get killed. Was there an unspoken rule about leaving the unconscious alone? Also, the initial five person alliance was really dumb. Even fairy tales have to be internally consistent.

The racist thing was the riots in District 11 when Rue was killed (my wife tells me that was not in the book). Those poor black people accept this bullshit set up, but when one of their own gets it they go on a pointless rampage (just like in this world; see? THG keeps it real). There's some HBD for you.

You point to how she has to put on a show, but then you act like they don't acknowledge that that is exactly what it is, even in the movie. The people of the Capitol are us, the author is doing your job for you. I agree that feminists are idiots. I knew that already. What I don't get is why you focus on the inane response of one fringe group to a movie that has at least a little to do with some of your favorite points.

Also, one way that this is an indisputably feminist story is how boys can hit girls (not to mention tiny ones) and be proud of it. I know there used to be a rule about this in the old days because you mentioned it once. And I know Battle Royale was coed but Japanese people are weird.

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H.J.: No, I'm saying that *... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

H.J.: No, I'm saying that *sometimes* a person's interpretion of reality is more important than what actually happens, and that I think this might be one of those times.

Greg: That's only true if the reader remembers the details rather than the themes. Most readers only remember the themes.

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One difference in the movie... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:50 PM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

One difference in the movie I thought was interesting, because the movie version gives her less agency (again book info is from my wife): in the movie, when they switch the rules back, they're both in good shape. Peeta, happy to be a supporting character in Katniss' movie, offers his breast to his love. She says WTF is wrong with you, let's eat these berries, which was pretty smart. My response was yeah, but what did the Capitol expect? They're dumb and less powerful than they want the districts to believe. A character that would accept the new rules at that point and get on with it is just not believable to me.

But in the book, apparently those crazy puppies messed up Peeta's leg pretty good and he was a goner without medical assistance. So Katniss could have held his hand as he died, whispered sweet nothing's in his ear, and claimed victory with a clean conscience. Instead she threatened to ruin their fun.

Also, Donald Sutherland stole the movie.

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"Also, Donald Sutherland st... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:55 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

"Also, Donald Sutherland stole the movie."

I wish he had stolen it before it got into the theaters.

The berries move, along with the shooting the apple move are the two highlights. I mean, she almost had to make decisions and live with the consequences. Almost.

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I'd suggest analyzing the N... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 8:58 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'd suggest analyzing the Narrator from Fight Club (the movie) in the same way.

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"I'd suggest analyzing the ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:01 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

"I'd suggest analyzing the Narrator from Fight Club (the movie) in the same way."

How about a remake of fight club, where he doesnt fight anyone, yet he symbolizes the insurgence. At the end he's about to blow up the world trade center, but the whole world changes its rules. And he almost blows his own face with a pistol. So brave. No really, he almost did. Modern courage.

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The male and female of ever... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:05 PM | Posted by Dan Dravot: | Reply

The male and female of every species of animal on Earth are different. Our closest relatives are chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. Very different. Not as different as praying mantis girls and boys, but different, they didn't get that way by watching movies.

But you can't think of a single solitary trace of a reason why girls now might be attracted to the same things girls have been attracted to for the last few thousand years, other than subliminal brainwashing. You laugh out loud at the suggestion that estrogen and testosterone might have any effect on people's personalities. Prozac, HELL yeah! That shit's from Merck, you pay for it! It's the real shit! But not testosterone.

Dude. Seriously. Think about it. Brain chemicals really truly do affect people's brains, no foolin', cross my heart, trust me on this. God knows why the fuck a code monkey has to break the news to a guy who does psychopharmacology for a living, but hey, whatever.

You don't have a woman's brain. If you assume they have yours, you will continue to understand them about as well as you always have.

Feminism ism't a rejection of traditional female dependency. It's the industrialization of traditional female dependency. They can't stop being women.

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Empathy starts with underst... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:06 PM | Posted by Dan Dravot: | Reply

Empathy starts with understanding that other people ARE NOT YOU.

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Dan Dravot,Yeah. B... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:11 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Dan Dravot,

Yeah. But i'ts not just the hormones. The brains are different, and specialize at different things. The set of instincts are pretty much the opposite of each other too. We´re just wired differently.

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I read the book and kind of... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:14 PM | Posted by Adrian: | Reply

I read the book and kind of liked it, I'm a man and didn't pay attention to the feminist issue, I have some comments or corrections to what you said, "don't notice that she saves no one" she did save her mother and her sister by taking up hunting. She also saved her sister the second time when she volunteered in her place. She also saved Peeta when he was badly hurt and did that by putting herself in danger. She also decided to partner up with Rue (sure, Rue helped her, but it's still a decision she took) You say she is robbed of agency, but I took the book exactly as a story about people (kids) being robbed of their freedom. She's not a "perfect" heroine, she used Peeta and was also ready to kill him in the end of the game when he clearly would have sacrificed his life for her, she was a bit clueless about the depth of his feelings up till the end. Maybe she's not "badass" but why badassness should be a necessary ingredient for feminists? Non-badass women are not good enough? Only the fact that the main hero is a girl is probably enough to make feminists happy. She's not a badass, but she's dangerous, she's skilled, she's good at what she does: hunting, surviving, why would she be a bad model for anybody?

Yes, she does survive because she's an attractive girl (without Peeta loving her she would not have survived) how does that sit with feminists? Interesting though is that "attractive" is not established by looks, she's described as OK looking, but as character. She's honest, humble, she sacrifices herself for others.

Oh, don't get me started on dresses and makeup scenes in the book... it shows that the book is written by a woman. Even if the writer tweaks her nose at Capitol luxury, decadence and bad taste it's important for her heroine to look good even if she's dressed to be killed. Looks are still important.

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Insects dont have testoster... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:14 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Insects dont have testosterone, yet they have genders. Nature itself is sexist = sexism is natural.

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Pretty much what I mean, bu... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:20 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Pretty much what I mean, but you have to dissociate the narrator from Tyler. The narrator does pretty much nothing deliberate, until the end where he blows he turns the gun on himself. That's the only time he acts by himself and for himself, the only time he makes an actual sacrifice for something he believes in. It's a bit like the hunger games except he redeems himself at the end. And the teenagers have penises.

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Thanks for this; your posit... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:22 PM | Posted by Isaac: | Reply

Thanks for this; your position is a lot clearer than the first post, though I think some people are still not going to be happy with you. Drink(s) on me.

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Anonymous,I should... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:25 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Anonymous,

I should watch Fight Club again, it's been like 15 years. I remember him doing a lot of stuff and he wasnt pressed against a gun, and he wasnt protected from a giant bubble: the stuff he did had repercussions and changed the story, more than the story carrying him around with little input. I might be wrong though, I´ll rewatch.

THG is more like Harry Potter than it is like (my recollection of) Fight Club though.

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"And the reason why showing... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 9:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"And the reason why showing off-- or, as the movie ever so subtly puts it, "showing them up"-- is so important is that women still secretly believe they are inferior to men."

All the women I know think that they are essentially superior to men, and tell jokes and give examples about why. Now, letting men know they think that is a totally different thing, it's true.

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Jennifer Hills in I Spit On... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 10:08 PM | Posted by theskepticalshrink: | Reply

Jennifer Hills in I Spit On Your Grave--now she's a strong female character in film. But you don't hear too many feminists raving about it.

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Well, honestly, I could be ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 10:16 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Well, honestly, I could be totally wrong. I just thought it made sense to compare the two movies ; it appears like he does a lot of stuff, but remember how the narrator doesn't understand how project chaos emerges from the fight club, or how Tyler says he has to "carry him, kicking and screaming". The way I see it, Fight Club is brilliant because it tricks you into thinking it's about someone who believes in stuff and who is making decisions and changing his life, but it's really about someone who is figuring out what to believe in and how to make his own decisions. "Why do you think I blew up your condo ?"

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Could it be that gender isn... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 10:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Could it be that gender isn't a social construct, and most women will always need male love approval and protection to feel happy and fulfilled, no matter how much schools try to fight it? I'm a young woman, and I want to be successful. I've studied hard, went to a good school, traveled places, got through boot camp classes to build strength and explored numerous interests and hobbies, but if i absolutely had to choose one thing to have in life, it would be a relationship with a man who makes me feel like a woman. And those interests and hobbies I've explored? Oftentimes, when I had to choose, I chose stuff that would make me seem more appealing and feminine. It wasn't the only thing on my mind, but it was always there, somewhere. (Do I seem sexier with these chess or with this violin?) I can drive. I learned how to drive at 16, as soon as I could. My dad was the one to practice with me, so the patriarch passed on this power to me with his blessing or whatever. I have a car. But the thing is, if my fiance, my dad, my brother or any man is present, I ride shot gun, even when it's my car. I have no problems driving, just prefer not to, it turns out. I don't know why. When a man I respect is driving i am totally relaxed and don't even pay attention to the road. Oh, and if my fiance gets a great job offer somewhere far, I'll just agree to follow him from the get go, even though I am good at my career and like my job. The right man is that much more important than the right job. I don't think i'm in any way inferior to men, and I wouldn't call myself submissive. Submission requires sacrifice. I'm simply living life in a way that makes me the most happy. Am I a complete disgrace and a failure as a woman, or was I simply meant to be this way, biologically?

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This reminds me of a discus... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2012 10:49 PM | Posted by See You Next Tuesday: | Reply

This reminds me of a discussion I just had on another blog, where in a heated exchange a man called a woman a cunt. Pretty tasteless, right? But the outrage in response was more bizarre to me, with feminists coming out of the woodwork claiming that "men can not ever EVER call women cunts." Oh? But doesn't that proscription imply that women need protecting from mere words, because they are delicate (and inferior) little flowers? Do men need protection from words? Nope.

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@biological woman: <p... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 12:45 AM | Posted by jonny: | Reply

@biological woman:

When you say "a man who makes me feel like a woman", what do you mean by that? Would he be disappointing you if he made you feel like an equal? All that bothersome responsibility and expectation and stuff. Agency is a lot of effort, don't get me wrong; I understand the sentiment.

You want to be carried. You don't want to pull. There is nothing especially alarming about that except the obvious; you've been exploited and you're dependent rather than independent. It's fine if you get the guy you're looking for; the strong, take-charge type who knows how to treat a woman...right. Just cross your fingers and hope that nothing happens to him, like war.

Girls I've taken out have expressed surprise or even raised an objection to my behavior; they have asserted that I don't know how to treat a lady. I really wish I didn't but I do. This insulting and patronizing Society teaches everyone; and as Alone is pointing out, it's the victims that are now corrupting their daughters.I refuse to insult girls I'm with; partly because I have no desire to sleep with feminine children, but mostly because those types of girls are boring. I don't want to constantly lead. I don't want to always have to plan. I don't want to be organizing everything, and working overtime to show a dimwit a good time. I don't want to carry every conversation; drive all the time, or be in control.

I'm never going to help a girl to sit down, or rise like an imbecile when she's off to "powder her nose". I'm not going to open car doors or any doors for them because it's patronizing. I will interrupt them in the middle of a sentence if they're boring everyone or boring me; and unless they want to be treated like a lady, they'd be well-advised to do the same.

I know how to "treat a girl". Society teaches everyone. You couldn't possibly want that unless you were a child who didn't want to grow up; like say, a Christian who cannot think for themselves and needs a Middle Man to do that pesky thinking for them. Or a Muslim who places all that life stuff in the "too hard" basket, leaving everything up to the moral police and the imams.

You don't want to be all Inshallah about life. You could be fine. Or your 'rock' could turn out to be the fodder that runs smack into cannon. That's what it's all about. Men bred to fight slave wars. Women bred to breed.

You should go to Moscow to explore your best interests. Russian women could show you how women are supposed to be treated. I think they lost 27,000,000 nationalist hero patriotic rocks against Germany (and against the Russian guns who wouldn't stand for heroes changing their minds). It'll be a long time before Russian girls forget that, whilst being carried is fine in Fantasy; in Reality, it's your character that will keep you alive.

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@see you next tuesday, who ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 1:02 AM | Posted by jonny: | Reply

@see you next tuesday, who wrote: "Do men need protection from words?"

If they have terrible mothers, they do. Like, for example, when they advertise to everyone that they had an especially terrible mother. They could kill you for saying a bad word about her, or even if they imagine that you did.

I have no interest in their mothers. But it's funny that they're the only person who possibly could, and they can't connect their stern warnings and threats with the inevitable 'insults'. It's like they walk around with a knife in their hands, and then when they meet a bandit they throw it down on the ground and say "Don't use it to hurt me!"

I'm have no interest in their terrible mothers. But I will ethically 'insult' them, on principle. "Leave my mother out of it", they'll warn you. "She's a angle."

They're cute, really. Little Davids on the battlefield of Reality, slinging pebbles at Goliaths; being brave for Mommy. Of course, in Reality, that little kid got stomped. Disney is cruel for children whose parents prepped them for Reality, with Fantasy. They're always fighting against the odds.

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Men need protection from pl... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 1:22 AM | Posted, in reply to See You Next Tuesday's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Men need protection from plenty of stupid things. I'v seen men flip out because I turned my back and walked away in an argument ("Don't you turn your back on me!" says the hysterical man shaking a finger).
But as far as women reacting to the c-word, well, expressing their displeasure is just as important to them as saying the c-word was to the man who said it. Forcing women to not be able to have human emotions/reactions because they have to fit into an ideological box created by self-hating feminists who think the only way to be a feminist is through becoming a man is just not right.
It's also abuse.
Put very simply, society should be designed to support individuals and individuality. Individuals are not here to modify themselves to fit into society (as is the the common problem depicted in dystopian novels).
Women should not have to restrict their humanity to become like men to be respected. Respect diversity--remember?

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I have no clue what it is y... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 1:25 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I have no clue what it is you are trying to say.

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Man, you really need to sto... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 2:39 AM | Posted by Taeshawndrix Bicksnewd Freeman, PhD: | Reply

Man, you really need to stop hangin' round that pastabagel guy. This post was straight trash. Ditch the deconstructionism, the Lacan, the Derrida, and get back to what you were trained at.

Also, ever consider that men and women aren't equal and never will be as long as there are significant hormonal differences? Wah-say, roosh, and all dat.

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Jonny,I'm assuming... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:03 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by So Named biological woman: | Reply

Jonny,

I'm assuming your post was in response to mine-second one above yours- because you referenced a couple of things that I mentioned. But I'm not sure because, otherwise, your whole post seems to be directed at someone else. So, assuming it WAS me you were addressing (otherwise disregard):

You made a bunch of assertions about me that are not only baseless, but directly contradict all that I shared in my post. Then, you spent some time explaining why the personality and desires that you imagined on my behalf won't serve me well.

If you read my previous post closely, you would know that I did take my studies seriously, went to a good college, excel in my career, have a job that I enjoy, am invested in many interests and hobbies, traveled extensively and already have a fiance- all before the age of 30. Nowhere in my post did I state that I wanted men to stand up when I excuse myself or help me sit down. Opening doors can be nice. Believe it or not, doors can be heavy, and I'm a very small person. Besides, I often hold doors open for both genders. It's only a nice thing to do. Chivalry is neither patronizing nor is it necessary. It's not as big of a deal as you make it out to be.

I dunno, perhaps, I am a silly feminine child worthy of your contempt. But that didn't stop me from keeping the household and taking care of my little sibling as a teenager, when my mother became very ill, going to Asia alone for a year to live and work, then doing the same in Europe for a year and being financially independent.

I hope my fiance isn't secretly bored with me because that would mean that our marriage won't last. But we seem to have a lot of fun together. Remember I mentioned hobbies and interests? I'm completely fluent in 3 languages and working on 2 more. I also play 2 instruments and my fiance likes to take me along to jam with him and his friends from college. I've also been taking belly dance classes for years and volunteer at the animal shelter. We both read a lot and recommend books to each other. But, yeah, unless I have a specific thing I want to try or do, I prefer him to choose where to eat, which movie to see and where to go, even if he picks at random, so sue me.

Funny you should mention my birth city of Moscow where I spent the first 11 years of my life. My great grandma is a decorated hero of war. You know what she did as soon as the war was over? She got married and became a teacher, so she could be there when her kids came home from school. She, herself, was an orphan as was my great grandfather, and they both decided that nothing was more important than making sure their kids were well cared for. My grandma on the other side of the family was a young girl during the war. She used to carry supplies to the partisan soldiers, risking her life. Then, she finished school, went to college and became a librarian. She told me that the greatest accomplishments in her life were finding love and becoming a mom. My mother is an engineer like my father, and they met in the math and physics track of the exclusive, admission-based-on-entrance-exams high school. My mom really likes math, but she interrupted her college studies twice to have kids and finished her degree at a less prestigious night classes track. Then, as soon as my father's pay check was large enough for us to not starve, mom left her job to be with her kids. She also went through 7 years of rigorous music schooling and won competitions in voice and piano. And she draws really well. Maybe mom IS just a boring child, but I don't think so. She told me that nothing could even compare with the fulfillment she got from building a family and raising her kids. In fact, between my relatives, my doctors (medicine is a predominantly female occupation in Russia), my teachers (almost exclusively female profession), parents' friends and friends' parents, I never had a Russian woman tell me that anything is more important than family, kids and marriage. Quite the opposite.

You see, succeeding in many aspects of life doesn't mean that the husband and kids aren't the most important aspect. I clearly stated that finding a man was, not my only desire as a girl, merely the most important one. I clearly said that feminine appeal was not the only consideration when choosing hobbies, but it was one of many, though ever present.

And what if something happened to my future husband? Perish the thought! My grandma (the librarian) became a young widow, and she never again found anyone she could love as much... But, I'm pretty sure my siblings and friends would be there to support me. And if you were hinting at the financial side of things, I do have a career. Perhaps, I'd have a bit of a struggle returning to work if I'm ever lucky enough to become a stay at home mom (I won't do it if the price will be barely seeing my husband). Maybe, I'd have to move to a smaller house. However, responsible people get life insurance as soon as they become parents, so I'd have a bit of a cushion while I'd be sorting things out.

And, lastly, I'll answer your question. By "a man that makes me feel like a woman", I meant a man I would fall in love with, a man I'd want to make love to, a man whose children I'd be happy to bare. And I got one. And he is more important that all the promotions in the world, all the doggies and kitties at the shelter, all the books at the bookstore, any note in any key and all the rest of the other things that I love. And I prefer it when he drives (or my brother or daddy). And if he gets a job offer he wants to take, I'll follow him at the expense of my own career health because i think men get more validation from career success than do women.

If you think that his making me feel like a woman somehow contradicts his making me feel like an equal, you are a misogynist, not me. I AM his equal. Feminine isn't inferior to masculine. Nurturing isn't inferior to assertive. Taking care of children isn't inferior to providing for them. Middleman? Are you suggesting that my man is the middleman between myself and the earthly goods? He IS the ultimate earthly good to me, and there are no middlemen between us.

And if you have a problem with any of this, just take solace in that you run no risk of finding yourself on a date with me. I'm spoken for. Find someone who makes you happy, and the two of you can raise your daughters however you see fit. But you'll have no say in how I'll raise mine.

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So Named biological woman,<... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:07 AM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

So Named biological woman,

Way to go. You're my kind of girl.

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Alone's asking for higher s... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:13 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone's asking for higher standards from a heroine in an action or dystopia movie than is asked of men in either genre. He seems to believe what is required is something more akin to a superhero movie.

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"He seems to believe what i... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:20 AM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

"He seems to believe what is required is something more akin to a superhero movie."

I think the issue is more of: why is a traditional, sexist, deus ex machina story / fairy tale, with a passive character a "feminist" icon?

A lot of people are saying Katniss is cool and badass. Aight, but how, when? why? I dont see it. I see something else.

Maybe because she doesnt cry and retreat but keeps pushing forward, in a mildly masculine, but intrascendent way? because she almost, almost attempt to rebel, but just enough to become even more accepted and get more (unwarranted) praise? or is she cool because everything else in the story think's she is?

Cant put my finger on it. But Im a guy. If Katniss was a guy he would be a total joke.

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... I need an edit button. ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:21 AM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

... I need an edit button.

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Commentary from Salon (writ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:55 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Commentary from Salon (written by a man, fyi) as to why the scenes contained little bloodshed and unsatisfying fight sequences:

Most of the book’s Games encounters are here, in abbreviated form, but Ross and company have streamlined the story and altered several details (some significantly), and the whole thing feels ultra-perfunctory. Almost no actual bloodshed is depicted (in deference to the required PG-13 rating), and during the fight sequences cinematographer Tom Stern relies on a wobbly, nonsensical, quick-cut style that leaves you utterly unsure about who has killed whom, and may have you squeezing your eyes shut to avoid throwing up. The problem really isn’t the lack of explicit violence; far more important, we get no sense of the hunger, thirst, cold, disease and harrowing physical torment undergone by Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the shy, blond District 12 baker’s son who has long loved her from afar. OK, they get a few superficial nicks and scratches, but they look as well-fed and runway-ready in the second half of the movie as they did at the beginning.

(Note that people in movies and definitely women in movies always look much better than they should for the condition they're in. Like how women in movies go to sleep looking like they have makeup on. This isn't THG; this is movies in general).

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Katniss saves Peeta by shoo... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 4:37 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Katniss saves Peeta by shooting an arrow into his opponent's hand. I think she also saves Rue. The example you cite of Katis coming across a wasp nest to kill opponents was pointed out to Katniss by Rue (a female character---it didn't just appear out of nowhere which I believe is what you suggested).

After Peeta's opponent falls off a cliff after getting an arrow in the hand, as he is dying Katniss shoots him with another arrow so he won't suffer. This represents some complexity in her value system (stay alive but practice compassion). The fact the film has so many meaningful charcters and not one central heroine who stands out dramatically via her achievements as suggested is in itself a female value as evinced by the values of rapport and consensus building (community, sharing) the has been studied as characteristic women's speech. (by Deborah Tannen) Men's speech tends toward one-upmanship. "My hero is better than your hero." Why does this not surprise me?
Also, it is unnecessary to be overly demonstrative of katniss' abilities as she is the obvious heroine (unless you want to go with her polar opposite, the Capitol).

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It would be very interestin... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 4:46 AM | Posted by Ed The Zed: | Reply

It would be very interesting to read TLP's analysis on how the movie Fight Club relates or doesn't relate with the reality of men. I wonder how it differs from Hunger Games.

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Thanks so much for this upd... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 6:49 AM | Posted by Christina: | Reply

Thanks so much for this update, Alone.

I felt, in my gut, that there was something wrong with both the movie and book series, even though I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Well, actually, I had an idea, it just wasn't comprehensive enough.

I find the lack of rape throughout the series - or even the threat of it - really strange. I think it's strange the word was never mentioned once in all three books. There's a brief explanation that a past Hunger Games winner - a male winner - was pimped out to wealthy patrons in the city. But it's not the same thing.

History shows us that things don't usually go well for women in the impoverished, desperate communities where labor is divided by gender, there is no birth control, and the population is dominated by external "peacekeepers," who all seem to be male and ritualistically terrify the oppressed population. What's more, the highest positions in the government seem to be filled exclusively by males (which makes me wonder - how would the story have read if President Snow was female? Glenn Close instead of Donald Sutherland? That would have been awesome!).

And in the games themselves, where late-teen males, trained from childhood to kill other human beings, form temporary gangs to hunt down their opponents, laughing while their victims cry and beg for mercy...doesn't it seem strange that none take what's for all but one of them the last opportunity to experience pussy before they die?

We can speculate that the producers of the Hunger Games have informed the contestants that they must not violate the TV-14 ratings of the games by introducing sex to violence. Or that rape might alienate their patrons and those patrons might withhold their parachute packages (although late in the game, the packages become so expensive we can assume that the contestants eventually give up on the hope of receiving them - why not rape then?). Or maybe they don't want to live with the consequences of having a reputation as a rapist if they do survive. Not that that seems to have hurt many celebrities in the real world, but maybe the citizens of Panem are more easily disgusted by rape than we are.

But then the question becomes: Why would that be? Why would a society that cheerfully watches child-on-child murder find rape even more offensive? So offensive that it has apparently been completely eradicated, to the degree that Katniss never, ever mentions it?

The word is never used. I think rape just doesn't exist in Suzanne Collins' fictional universe. And so Katniss is protected from rape by never being exposed to even the concept of rape. Because rape isn't a thing that threatens good girls like Katniss. Do you hear that, young female readers? Heroines don't even have to know what rape is. Be pretty, but not sexual, and you won't have to know what rape is, either.

If that isn't paternalism cranking the deus ex machina, I don't know what is.

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Again, I agree that Katniss... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:14 AM | Posted by Elisabeth: | Reply

Again, I agree that Katniss is not a badass. What I don't see is how this relates to gender or feminism.

You yourself have said very similar things about "The Matrix" and "Wanted" - both of which have male leads. I think it's more of a modern, somewhat infantile desire to not have to change or grow in any way, but to still have everyone decide that you are the greatest thing EVAH. Some things actually are gender neutral.

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Steve Sailer came to the co... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:20 AM | Posted by Elisabeth: | Reply

Steve Sailer came to the conclusion that there is no subtext to either the books or the film. He does so partly by engaging in far worse sexism than any H'wood executive, but (in a "stopped clock" kind of way) he makes an interesting point:

"...The Hunger Games addresses today’s most burning social issues: Would a reality-TV show that forces boys and girls to hunt down and slaughter each other with edged weapons be a good idea? Should America switch to a totalitarian dictatorship in which the decadent Capitol economically exploits the twelve starving Districts and annually demands two children from each as “tributes” to compete in “Hunger Games” where 23 of the 24 will die horribly?

"When you stop to think about it, is televised child butchery actually a bad thing?

"We are all entitled to our opinions on this complex subject, but I admire how this film comes down forthrightly on the Bad Idea side of the ledger. Former Clinton speechwriter-turned-director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) doesn’t pull any punches as he shoots innumerable close-ups of starlet Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) scrunching up her baby-fat-laden features to convey unhappiness—even sadness—at having to participate in an underage bloodbath.

"The reason for all the different theories about the movie’s subtext is because it doesn’t have one..."

http://takimag.com/article/mortal_combat_from_a_feminine_perspective_steve_sailer#axzz1qJ6AGsMi

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Patriarchy?Cmmon m... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:35 AM | Posted by qwer: | Reply

Patriarchy?

Cmmon man, don't make me laugh.

Men do things to get women. Men have authroity, but they wield that authority to get women. You don't actually need formal authority as long as that authority is out for your interests.

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The problem isn't the movie... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:51 AM | Posted by Lee: | Reply

The problem isn't the movie/book. The problem is people watched/read it and saw something that wasn't there. And somehow everyone saw the same thing.

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A convincing argument. I ha... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 9:04 AM | Posted by penrose: | Reply

A convincing argument. I haven't and won't read this stuff, but as a sexist I am a little gladdened to erase one tally from the 'foolish and corrupting media of 2012' column.

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@biological womanT... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 9:14 AM | Posted by Christa the BabbyMama: | Reply

@biological woman

That's dandy... for you. I don't think it's a model of feminism (not that you said that it was or wasn't). You know what you want and that's great. And it doesn't sound like you're suggesting that's what all women want and that's great, too. So I don't know why anyone has any beef with you.

What irks me is when people decide there's a perfect right formula for men or for women, when science has shown that there's greater variation between women and between men than there is between women and men. Some ladies want to drive. Some men want to be driven. Find a partner who likes to drive and everyone is happy.

Seriously, haven't we gotten beyond this all women are like X and all men are like y bullshit?

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Looking at the character of... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 9:26 AM | Posted by qwer: | Reply

Looking at the character of Peeta, how is this a patriarchy again?

Peeta risks his life, over and over, and sacrifices himself, just for a slim chance he might get access to Katniss's vagina. There's your patriarchy gentlemen. Peeta's whole life is worth a chance at a warm hole.

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EXACTLY. You nailed it.... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 9:47 AM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Sarah: | Reply

EXACTLY. You nailed it.

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have never been watch this ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 10:08 AM | Posted by mine: | Reply

have never been watch this movies,hope it is not bored movies..

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You belly dance at animal s... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 12:07 PM | Posted, in reply to So Named biological woman's comment, by SameAsItEverWas: | Reply

You belly dance at animal shelters?

Why can't I stop thinking about that?

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It probably is a good thing... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 12:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It probably is a good thing that 15 year olds like the book. The main message is that retaining your humanity (humanity= feelings, interior world, connections to other people, morals) is important despite temptations or incentives to become someone different. I wonder if the fact that 15 year olds like the movie is partly because there is so much pressure these days not to be authentic or childlike, even at 15, but to adultify, be sexy, be smart, for God's sake achieve by external standards that are acquired, not internal sensibilities that are grown.
It's a message affirming self actualization that does not appear to put Katniss into a position where she's politicized or put into a box ("feminism"). She plays into this to gain sponsors during the game, but it doesn't become her. ("In the world not of it"). In the next book I believe, Katniss is wanted for her public image to be used as a symbol of the revolution, and she hesitates at that despite her hatred of the Capitol. That is caring about the integrity of the self. She weighs her decision and does not leap to take a chance to achieve something/become important in worldly terms just because it is offered to her.
The entire trilogy is concerned with the issue of self vs. other (other being achievements beign at the expense of human life, embodied in the Capitol and even in the Revolution) and it is notable that the author did not take an easy route of deus ex machina by giving Katniss an easy victory and a meaningful role in establishing a new society...nothing really was sugarcoated in the sense of everything being made "all better, now, it was just a bad dream." At the end of the trilogy she is disillusioned by her interactions with the revolution,--again the theme is ---self and other---but she finds love, notably *not* after a lot drama about boys, and she evntually heals herself internally enough to have children, symbolizing hope and the potential for human life.
And that is badass.
Please note that words in general and slang terms in particular have a history of being utilized for the purposes of framing but also for re-framing or taking back power. (Which is why black people can use 'nigga' with affection or disdain, and gay people can use 'queer' 'faggot' 'queen' etc). There is no reason badass can't be used for Katniss. There is probably some reasons that it's a hard concept for some men to accept.

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Christina wants alone now.<... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 1:14 PM | Posted by JohnK: | Reply

Christina wants alone now.

She came up with a "rape" argument she calls "actually an idea" (worthy of Alone's time). It is clever, that is not the point. The point is she is seeking validation from a superior "male" brain.

What matters is that Alone writes as a man, not that he actually is one.

Feminists taking care of themselves... did I get it right Alone? Did I?

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very interesting comment. ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 1:14 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

very interesting comment. but your opinion presents its own challenges.

from what you are saying, the actualization challenge for katniss is to be; either herself, or to fall to influences. so the external challenge is a mere backdrop, and the need to accomplish is not a primary thrust (or even a thrust at all). and so katniss simply reacts to things happening around her, she never flies off the dagobah to become a jedi, or ditch her friends to go fight vader and the emperor. even overthrowing the old order is not at all essential to her monomythic cycle, but just another circumstance in which the author revisits or reinforces her struggle of self vs other.

it may be that it's hard for men to accept, because for men, the process of self-actualization is wrapped up in and tied together with the external challenge. a failure of the external challenge will cause a failure in self actualization (e.g, if luke failed to defeat vader). men are told to accomplish; by accomplishing and, more particularly, finding a useful role (jedi), they self actualize.

in other words, this, in of itself, reinforces a male "active/extro" and female "passive/intro" dynamic.

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Heading off topic for thi... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 2:06 PM | Posted by Harry Horton: | Reply

Heading off topic for this Hunger games article----by the way a good deal of the movie was shot here in North Carlina about three hours away from where I am writing in central North Carolina. THe movie was shot in Asheville North Carolina in Buncombe county in the heart of the Appalachians in the western part of the state. THe second oldest mountain range in the world.
Here on the 11th of April 2012, Wednesday breaking news from Little Rock Arkansas on the risperdal trial going on there for the past few days:

"Arkansas judge fines J&J 1.1 B in Risperdal Case" Chuck Bartels. Associated Press

"JNJ Must pay 1.1 billion penalty in Arkansas risperdal case" "San Francisco Chronicle"

"Arkansas judge fines Johnson and Johnson subsidary 1.1 billion" In forum - 27 minutes ago.

A penalty with some bite in it. THe money is supposed to be earmarked to replenish the state's medicaid and medicare revenues. And raises the issue whatever happened to "informed consent", that law that was fairly healthy for everyone that was practiced some time ago in American professional circles, with the psychiatrists treating their patients--that is informing them of the risks and nature of the drugs that were being prescribed to them?

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"it may be that it's hard f... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 2:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"it may be that it's hard for men to accept, because for men, the process of self-actualization is wrapped up in and tied together with the external challenge. a failure of the external challenge will cause a failure in self actualization"

First of all, male babies are not exactly born with achievement foremost on their minds. It's a little more complex than you're recognizing. There's some evidence boys are somewhat more vulnerable socially and academically than girls (which could be seen as an issue with externals, which just means growing better internals...or if you're older, sucking it up and dealing).

But anyway, s that a sterotype and not real in itself? I know lots of men and none of them feel less as human beings because of an occasional failure. But what you have when you have someone who mistakes externals for internals and overreacts to failure could be a narcissistic issue.

Katniss does clearly grapple with the externals and has adequate success. I can't understand why that is difficult to recognize or appreciate "Katniss is this/internal or Katness is that/external." Part of the point is she is a complex charcter (human). The paucity of worldly achievement---uif we are to say, the ability to iflict one's own will in terms that will be recognized as significant worldly achievements, represented by the Capitol...apparently surviving the games does not count for some reason----is fine in this context. I'm not sure what more a child in a dystopia movie can do.
It's funny Alone brings up the point of women wanting charcters they can relate to as some kind of bad thing? Not wanting a not true to life heroine, a superhero? Because women want someone thy can relate to (allegedly a bad thing). Of course then there's men with an inclination to want a much more powerful superhero. So is that because they relate to him or because he is a fantasy object? I'd guess the latter. This would leave men open to some interesting criticism as well. As would relating to superheros. But perhaps we'll never go there. I haven't seen much commentary on men in general on this website other than men who kill their own families (because of external failures which don't threaten the internal structure because it's all externalized in mirroring needs represented by the family). Narcissism.

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You joke, but you don't kno... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 2:13 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

You joke, but you don't know how right you are.

I'm baking muffins for Alone right now. I hope he likes them, he works so hard!

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"First of all, male babies ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 2:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"First of all, male babies are not exactly born with achievement foremost on their minds. It's a little more complex than you're recognizing."

i am not arguing that men are born inherently wanting these things. of course i recognize that they may be (or rather, are) imposed on them socially/environmentally. the monomyth itself is representative of that fact; the male character is not worthy of fatherhood until he has found his defining societal role. is there a corresponding recurring narrative element in which women must seek to become worthy of motherhood? in other words, letting your son watch star wars is teaching him that he has to rise to a challenge to be a man. whether this is inherently right or wrong is beyond the scope of this discussion. i am not here to make a value call.

"But anyway, s that a sterotype and not real in itself? I know lots of men and none of them feel less as human beings because of an occasional failure. But what you have when you have someone who mistakes externals for internals and overreacts to failure could be a narcissistic issue."

i'm not talking about real people with personal issues. what i'm talking about is the way these narrative structures are set up, and what they reflect in society. i'm not talking about small failures in people's lives. i'm talking about the narrative element of failure in overcoming the challenge in a story - which would probably be the dividing line between an "epic" or a "tragedy." and indeed, you will find that (possibly because of these narrative structures) when real men lose jobs or are unable to find work, they can indeed have crisis of self because the root of their self actualization (the societal role) has been shorn away.

"apparently surviving the games does not count for some reason"

possibly, no, if what Alone says is true. because from his perspective it has to be born out of her own will/skill/achivement, not out of mere circumstance (aka deus ex machina, intervention of outside characters)

"Of course then there's men with an inclination to want a much more powerful superhero. So is that because they relate to him or because he is a fantasy object? I'd guess the latter. This would leave men open to some interesting criticism as well. "

i think you're missing the broader picture here. it's not men vs. women... critcism yes, but not of men - but instead of society, *in which case men would also be the victims*, because they've been conditioned to think in the way i've pointed out above. and in the conditioning, they cannot relate to katniss because they now lack the ability to accept narratives that deviate from the elements recited above

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Not a fair or valid point. ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 3:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Eipa: | Reply

Not a fair or valid point. I can't remember to have read a book for children where sex plays any role. I sometimes asked myself why Harry Potter et al. seem so asexual but of course I didn't ask this question when I read the first book being 12 years old...

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In light of the feminism di... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 4:18 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

In light of the feminism discussion- I'm curious what people think about this article and the backlash women have had towards the author

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<a href="http://www.dailyma... (Below threshold) @Greg 4/10 8:17: perfect re... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 4:41 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@Greg 4/10 8:17: perfect reply .


PS to TLP, LOL @ retarded black stereotype. I have not read/seen the hunger games, but this is more reason not to.

I would generally agree with this assessment.

However I also tend to believe that men and women are different, that hormones affect brain development leading to different personality trends among men and women. Just as men are taller, stronger, with masculine looking faces, and women are opposite, there are also biologically real brain differences behind the skull, that make men men and women women.

It would be great if we could live in a world where it was okay to admit men and women are not the same, that men are in general as a group better at some things than are women, and women are better at some things than men... in general, men are better at being heros, and being a hero is intrinsically masculine. This is blasphemous to say and I am pretty sure I may or may not be thrown in a secret government prison for writing this, but all the same it is absolutely true.

If we allow ourselves to understand there are real personality, coping, thinking, feeling differences between men and women, it becomes obvious why females identify with this Katniss character, when she possesses none of the qualities of a hero. It is because being a hero is not feminine, and when I say feminine, I mean it in the biological, immutable, endocrinological brain development sense, not some nonsense social sciences theory that gender/sex doesn't exist / is a result of social programming. When I say hero, I mean it in the male-defined way of being entirely direct and self sufficient. There are no female heros that appeal to females for good reasons.

THe qualities of heros are compatible with being masculine-brained. Most feminine-brained people cannot and have no interest in that sort of behavior, as it is at odds with feminine personality. It is not a complex misogynistic diabolical patriarchal scheme to keep women inferior, that female heros are never heros like male heros are. It is a real biological difference in men and women and how they think. People with female typical brains do not want to be aggressive and in charge and save the day hero types. It is not an accident or some complex socialization process which makes males behave this way - it is genes and human evolution. Society REFLECTS our biology.

When we discover a fossilized cave person, decorated in animal skins and weapons, who died in a conflict with other humans, that cave person is never going to be a female. The people who killed our fossilized cave person are also never going to be females.

IN 2012 society, we have pretty much the same genes as those fossilized humans... the ones who wear decorated animal skins and valuable weapons, who die in bloody battle, being exclusively male brained people, pretty much almost never involving females.

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Many commentators seem to t... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 4:49 PM | Posted by Eipa: | Reply

Many commentators seem to take this as a discussion about differences between the male and female gender. It is not, it's a discussion about feminism. Feminism is widely based on the assumption that there is little difference between the two. TLPs main point seems to be that mainstream feminists are stupid because they call 'the hunger games' feminist.

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Eipa,Yeah. The mai... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 4:55 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Eipa,

Yeah. The main point is "why?" feminism likes THG.

Off topic: Im new to this blog. Is there a reason why nobody talks to each other? any hidden rule against addressing comments arguments directly and having a conversation?

A lot of blogs / forums are echo chambers. This is an anechoic one. Weird stuff.

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What I find interesting is ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What I find interesting is just how many people go about life with thought processes that are right out a tribal early human society.

Accomplished older men will speak to young women as if they are not real people, even if those women are employed professionals. The tone of conversation is like "oh look, a toy to entertain myself, how novel". Those same men will respond to young men with aggression and competition.

Many otherwise intelligent and successful men seem to naturally live as if they are cavemen, fighting hunting and competing for dominance in society and access to mates. I tend to think this is more biological than it is social. Who taught the earliest males to form hunting bands and waring tribes to steal resources and females? I also think it is not an accident socially successful men exhibit these behaviors more strongly.

Females are not exempt from this animal-like mentation; most females live and operate in response to others needs and preserving some kind of family or relationship structure, as is consistent with the tribal female role. No one notices the primitiveness of female behavior because it is so pro-social it seems modern sophisticated and blends in seamlessly. Poor men stand out as unsociable, with their hypersexuality and proclivity to rape and fondness of mental children (teenagers) and brutish violent nature.

Society is only progressive when conceptualized from a male perspective. Social behavior is entirely natural to females, who most obviously reproductively benefit from stable non-violent social situations with lots of protection from anyone who may be given to violence or impulse (always males, fyi).

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It is also quite interestin... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:13 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It is also quite interesting that the one traditionally female violent behavior: infantacide, has been making progress as a socially acceptable behavior. Abortion is now legal. Traditionally, females would often kill their offspring if they were defective, damaged, or if they could not take care of them otherwise. This is now legally protected as long as the fetus does not make it to birth/viability.

Natural male specific behaviors are without exception antisocial: violence, physical conflict, war, rape. These are all reproductive strategies that benefit (specific) males, and they are all antisocial and hurt society/the group as a whole.

This tug of war between male and female behavior is a reflection of how males and females reproduce. Females naturally reproductively benefit more from society and group stability; males benefit from instability, assuming they are the ones controlling the instability, otherwise they lose even more than females do.

It is also interesting that the actual nitty gritty physiology of reproduction (sperm and egg) is a microcosm of how male and female human biologically determined behavior works.

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@YOHAMI people occasionally... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@YOHAMI people occasionally respond to each other.

I suspect the set up of the blog discourages communication amongst participants as there is no way to reply to comments without typing out someone's name, as I have just done. On partialobjects, communication between members is quite common, as the blog allows for responses that are easily visible.

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Anonymous, generally I agre... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:19 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Anonymous, generally I agree, but:

"Many otherwise intelligent and successful men seem to naturally live as if they are cavemen, fighting hunting and competing for dominance in society and access to mates."

You seem to make a distinction between "intelligent & successful" and "competing for dominance to access mates"

Eh. Arent these the same? or what do you mean?

"I also think it is not an accident socially successful men exhibit these behaviors more strongly."

Exactly. It's not an accident. Success and dominant behavior are the same thing.

"Females are not exempt from this animal-like mentation"

Bro. We ARE animals. Women too.

"No one notices the primitiveness of female behavior"

I do, and Im not alone.

"Poor men stand out as unsociable, with their hypersexuality and proclivity to rape and fondness of mental children (teenagers) and brutish violent nature."

This is just feminist BS and brainwash. Spend some time among females. Listen to them. Experience with them. There's plenty of violence, alliances, backstabbing, shallow stuff, bad stuff, ugly stuff, asocial stuff, etc.

In fact men idealize women and think of them as pristine creatures representing all things good etc. But all women know this isnt true, and that women are anything but "pure". So ditch that one.

The reason you like females more and males less, is because you want to fuck with females, and you have to compete and fight with males to death. While you're at it, females are doing their own, more silent, but equally cruel, and animal ranking / war. And they do it close and personal. So, twice the ugly.

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Eipa, The Hunger Games is n... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Eipa's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Eipa, The Hunger Games is not "a book for children." It's marketed as a Young adult novel. Harry Potter is a children's book - and those are different markets. It's not appropriate to compare the two.

The first book of Harry Potter is intended for children 9-11, and even then parents are cautioned about the age their younger children should consume the last few books and see the movies.

The Hunger Games is not sold in the children's section, it's sold in the Young Adult section, which is aimed at people between the ages of 12 and 14.

That is a massively different audience. That's the difference between elementary school and middle school. And as far as content goes, the YA genre is considerably more mature.

And yes, rape exists in the YA genre. Looking over my personal library, rape is mentioned in these Young Adult books:

In Twilight, Rosalie tells Bella about her rape was so brutal she would have died if she had not been made into a vampire.

Sharon Shinn's "Safe-Keeper's Secret" (and this is incestuous rape, no less!)

Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Shadow"

Meg Cabot's "1-800-Where-r-u", and statutory rape in "The Princess Diaries"

Robert C O'Brien's "Z for Zachariah" (which has an extended attempted rape scene - and the book was taught in my middle school, by the way)

I also count at least 10 books in my collection of Christopher Pike novels that at some point address the issue, too.

Those are just books I can see from where I'm typing. There are plenty more, including some where rape and how the young protagonist copes with it is the focus of the story.

On this one, you're just plain incorrect. Rape is a thing that 12 and 14 year olds should and do know about, and it's appropriate to mention it in their literature when it's germane to the setting or story.

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No. A person who can only g... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

No. A person who can only grasp onto movies to create his insides or fix a deficit inside himself has problems already that are beyond what any movie has to offer. Star Wars or anything else. All this whining that essentially criticizes reality because it doesn't mirror back to us what we want needs to become more balanced. Either that or the social critics/intellectuals---an extreme example of of this behavior---a big part of TLP's fan base through Partial Objects--- might want to try their hand at creative pursuits to express their ideas through art-which is hard to do, because it often involves drawing on one's internal resources. Much easier to make it someone else's problem---an artist/writer/moviemaker/young girl, maybe--- or people also like to blame advertising, or "society."

I also think people grasp onto things---movies, opinions of movies---often quite instinctively in such a way as to validate themselves or maybe their conception of themselves. I'd say that more people do it than don't. But it sort of flies in the face of the idea that movies inflict real or significant damage on us by telling us how to be. If someone can do something that would really impress me, I'd love to see those two things reconciled but you know, good luck.

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@so named biological woman<... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@so named biological woman

You seem to come from an exceptional background; eastern european women are noted to understand hardship and work due to social instability. Interesting that social instability can lead to masculine-like behavior in women... like a chameleon responding to the environment, adapting as needed. Throughout history there are anecdotes of women adopting male-like behavior (rising to conflict, competition) in response to an absense of social stability. However, as is the case of your mother, this is not preferred; family and stability is preferred.

The thing that makes men different from women is men PREFER this behavior, women adopt it only in response to a lack of stability. And so, the thousands of jokes about how men wither and suffer in marriage/many aspects of modern life meanwhile women thrive.

P.S. I do not think it is incidental that the girl chosen to play katniss appears eastern european, with mongolian features. I think people unconsciously associate "amazonian / strong" women with eastern europeans and so the chosen actress was selected with these features.

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I agree with you completely... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:45 PM | Posted by Angela Harrington: | Reply

I agree with you completely about Thresh. That character bothered me in the book and I was amazed no one talked about it. Or that District 11 is a plantation.

I would also bet on Alice in terms of survival in a zombie apocalypse. But in terms of teaching real-world survival. I think Katniss does offer interesting perspective if you disbelieve most of what she says. For someone who acts contemptuous of `girly-girls`she spends a lot of time telling you how much she does not want to be one and what was done to make her beautiful in every detail. There is a solid nugget there of female reality if you take the time to tease it out.

My biggest concern is blind, unthinking consumption of the script. Hundreds of kids were bused to screenings when I saw the film. DURING CLASS. I hope they talked about the underlying problems. I am skeptical.

I think the real question is why are non-choice making kids functioning in a machine world (Harry, Katniss) so globally popular.

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Oh. And also, take the pers... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:47 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh. And also, take the person who does feel damaged by thinking they have to be a certain way because they saw it at the movies. Can a person really be damaged by what is basically a clearly impersonal message that depicts something completely other if they weren't damaged to begin with (or even if they were)?

I mean, it's not even necessary to frame most movies as a negative message ("don't do/think/believe this!!) let alone a personal one. One of the intrinsic nice things about movies is they can be readily observed to be a positive message (think/feel/believe this!!!). I can't fathom for the life of me how that could damage people, particularly since how one interprets art is highly dependent (not entirely) on what is or is not a person's own cognitive schemata.

Someone should design the world's most benign, impersonal, positive image to see if they can get some experiemental subjects to say they're damaged by it. Just make sure there's waivers of liability, haha.

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@Christina a book written f... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:50 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@Christina a book written for children will omit sexuality, especially rape. Unless the rape is part of sexual arousal, as it was in twilight when Edward saved Bella (message: I am even more powerful/in control than thuggish rapists, therefore the ultimate rapist!!!11 and all of my behavior is otherwise consistent with being a very powerful controlling psychopath, the ideal man!)

Also, there is the myth that rape has nothing to do with sex/sexuality, desire, or male drive... that it is a specific aborration , a manifestation of power and patriarchy. If we write a fiction book where social destruction leads to widespread looting and rape and male-dominated roving bands of criminality, where stealing sex is the same as stealing food (a biological impulse) this will probably make 11 year olds cry, and it will make their mothers write long angry posts on feminist blogs.


Meanwhile, in the real world, throughout human evolution: roving bands of aggressive males doing just this, even to this very day. WHen society breaks down, women suffer badly, and the losing males suffer most of all. Kill everyone, children, the adults, except teenage girls, who are kept and raped.

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@ChristinaAlso, amer... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 5:56 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@Christina
Also, american audiences love violence but fear sex. THis is consistent with our hyperreligiousity, which programs people to violently defend the status quo (violence = good) but discourages independence and social instability (sex = bad). Religion purposely encourages violence (for god) but discourages sexuality/hedonism/independence/violence for reasons other than god, and so you have america, and so you have the hunger games.

What qualities does an antisocial possess? They are typically violent, but a self-directed violence (not violance for jesus, violence for allah, or violence for america, which are all good forms of violence). They are also hypersexual and hedonistic. They are the complete antithesis of religion and society.

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Furthermore it is interesti... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 6:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Furthermore it is interesting that the hunger games omits sexuality, and focuses on competition for food. Food and sex are related in the sense that starvation inhibits sexuality, and both are a manifestation of biological impulse. When humans enter puberty, shortly before this there is physiological insulin resistance and body fat gain/increased food intake, that facilitates an increase in the hormone leptin that allows for puberty to occur.
It is interesting Katniss is 16, which is the peak of female puberty and the age of ideal female beauty from male perspective.

I suppose on an unconscious level, that all of this conflict centers around food and starvation may be a way to bypass the issues of sexuality in a young adult fiction novel... or even that the book is metaphorical for the conflict of developing sexuality in the world as a female.

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Fair enough, I must admit t... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 7:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Eipa: | Reply

Fair enough, I must admit that I barely know the genre.

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I'm still trying a bit to w... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 7:11 PM | Posted by Josh: | Reply

I'm still trying a bit to wrap my head around why Katniss can't be a strong character because of her refusal to kill any of the other tributes. I don't know if you're a gamer, Monsieur Psych, but if you've ever played a game in the Metal Gear Solid series, you'll have undoubtedly noticed that the developers always give the player the ability to make it through the entire game without killing a single enemy. The same is true of games in the Fallout series: through reinforcing the skills pertinent to stealth and dialog, you can actually succeed in beating the games without ever resorting to violence. And you should note, this isn't the "wuss" method of playing these games. If you run into an enemy, they'll be out to kill you. Nine times out of ten, in fact, killing the people in your way is the easier choice. So I disagree with your stance that Katniss is somehow a lesser competitor because of her generally nonviolent strategy; if anything, choosing not to kill the others is the more difficult path.

On that note, the position you take of Hunger Games attempting to be a tome of feminist ideals is also rather silly. Never while watching the movie did I think to myself, "Man, Katniss is a role model for young girls." No, I thought to myself, "Man, Katniss is living in a really interesting extrapolation of our own society's apparent thirst for entertainment at any cost, and our manipulations of fear, hope, and shallow sympathy to push forward agendas that can make us feel good about how much we do to help the little people while still ensuring that they remain little so that they don't disrupt our comfortable means of living."

You're right: Katniss is devoid of agency. So is Peeta. So is Cato. So is Thresh, and every other one of the tributes. So are all of the citizens of the districts and so is Haymitch, and so is that jerk at the end who was locked in the room with the poison berries. That's kind of the whole point of dystopian futures, is the lack of free will.

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Josh,"I'm still tr... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 7:18 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Josh,

"I'm still trying a bit to wrap my head around why Katniss can't be a strong character because of her refusal to kill any of the other tributes."

No, she is not a strong character, but because she doesnt make hard decisions. She doesnt choice to kill, but she doesnt "refuse" to kill either.

If she had refused to kill, as a moral principle or out of rebellion, then she would be a strong character.

If she had embraced killing, as a survival thing, then she would be a strong character.

If she had decided whatever, and stick to it, and have repercussions, and then change her mind and adapt and do something else, and have other more severe repercussions, etc, then she would be a strong character.

"the position you take of Hunger Games attempting to be a tome of feminist ideals is also rather silly."

Feminists are the ones embracing Katniss. For me the thing is, why?

"Katniss is devoid of agency."

Yep.


"So is Peeta. So is Cato. So is Thresh, and every other one of the tributes."

It goes further. NOBODY on that movie has agency. The story could unfold without any of them. Not even the show runner nor the king have any agency. It's like they are all mounted on top of the story as accessories. With Katniss as the central one.

Agency is not "free will". Katniss has free will. She just doesnt use it, unless she's hard pressed, then she takes the obvious-and-only option the story is handing her at any given moment.

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"If she had embraced killin... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 7:46 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Josh: | Reply

"If she had embraced killing, as a survival thing, then she would be a strong character."

So, for instance, if she were stuck in a tree, and had to take an action that would lead to her getting out of the tree (and thereby surviving) but that would also kill others.

"If she had decided whatever, and stick to it, and have repercussions, and then change her mind and adapt and do something else, and have other more severe repercussions, etc, then she would be a strong character."

So, for instance, if she had refused to act as though she was in love with Peeta prior to the game (which would have forced Peeta into the very painful position of having to deal with the fact that he was probably going to die and that none of the people supposedly there to help him cared in the slightest), only to realize that playing out the charade would save her life because it would make the sponsors favor her more, and then do that, despite the fact that it would crush Peeta's heart when she finally had to admit to it?

"It goes further. NOBODY on that movie has agency."

Yes, I think I said that.

"The story could unfold without any of them."

Reread that sentence and replace "The story" with your choice of 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, or The Hairy Ape. These are all stories of characters without agency.

"She just doesnt use it, unless she's hard pressed, then she takes the obvious-and-only option the story is handing her at any given moment."

See... I don't think that's true. Remember the food stockpile that was being guarded by a single guy? It probably wouldn't have been all that tough to skewer that dude's brain on an arrow, but she didn't choose to do that, despite it being a fairly obvious option. And then when Cato is holding Peeta hostage, I feel like shooting him in the hand was a rather outside-the-box choice.

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I've had the same thought. ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 7:53 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

I've had the same thought.

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Josh,"So, for inst... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:03 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Josh,

"So, for instance, if she were stuck in a tree, and had to take an action that would lead to her getting out of the tree"

I guess you mean the poison bee scene? she's trapped there, the story provides her (materializes) the bee thing, an external character points to it and gives her the idea of using it as a weapon, there's a cutscene explaining how deadly they are. Etc. So no, that's not taking a decision to whether to kill or not and sticking to it, instead, that's reacting to a story which is setting stuff up and deciding it for her. Hence the deus ex machina argument.

"Love [...] only to realize that playing out the charade would save her life because it would make the sponsors favor her more, and then do that"

Did she decide to "play the charade" and "win the sponsors", or she did what others told her to do? was playing the sponsors her idea? was the charade her idea? was the alliance with Peeta her idea? at the end, was she playing the charade, or was she in love with the guy? does she even know?

I didnt read the books. In the movie it's not clear if she has feelings for Peeta or if she's just playing a charade. In the movie, she doesnt even make a decision about that. Did she fall for the guy or not? who knows.

"[nobody has agency] Yes, I think I said that."

Im including the King etc. Not just the tributees.

"Reread that sentence and replace "The story" with your choice of 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, or The Hairy Ape. These are all stories of characters without agency."

There are plenty of literature, movies and what not with characters void of agency. Plenty of them. But, so now you agree Katniss doesnt have agency = is not a strong character?

"See... I don't think that's true. Remember the food stockpile that was being guarded by a single guy? It probably wouldn't have been all that tough to skewer that dude's brain on an arrow, but she didn't choose to do that, despite it being a fairly obvious option."

No, killing would be "obvious option" only if the guy was running towards her with with a knife and about to kill her, and had just murdered her best friend. Wait, thats another scene, where she does kill somebody.

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YOHAMI, I find this insiste... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:22 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

YOHAMI, I find this insistence on the rightness of your use of subjective terms amusing. "No, she is not a strong character." Quit sniffing our hosts jock, show some agency. Your last retort was also pretty lame.

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@Angela HarringtonFr... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@Angela Harrington
From anecdotal evidence, the film has made quite an impression and they do discuss it but they seem more concerned with having to face the possibility of killing for one's survival than the moral general themes of state oppression or free-will. (Though my anecdotal evidence comes from middle-schoolers so their age could explain their lack of interest for themes pertaining to communities rather than to individuals)

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Gerb,"I find this ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 8:54 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Gerb,

"I find this insistence on the rightness of your use of subjective terms amusing."

Re-read what I wrote, or better, read the Josh´s argument Im responding to.

"Your last retort was also pretty lame."

What makes it pretty lame?

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yourself, but also buy it f... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 10:19 PM | Posted by buy nfl jersey: | Reply

yourself, but also buy it for your families. Here you can buy nfl
jerseys for men, women, and children.

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It saddens me that only one... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2012 11:12 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It saddens me that only one person in these comments has mentioned the other books in this series.

This movie is the first part of a trilogy. The character's story is not done yet. I'd like to see some opinions that factor in the character's overall journey.

I'm off to re-read the books with a mind towards just how much agency Katniss has overall. It is my recollection that the lack of agency is one of the central issues in the overarching story, the movie did not hit you in the face with it but the idea is there too.

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You are still doing a great... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 12:35 AM | Posted by Smith: | Reply

You are still doing a great job on showing the Matrix, but for those of us who have troubles identifying with our true selves, what exactly is the solution?

I understand looking at behavior and actions as the measuring stick, but how do you look in the past to know which behaviors are supposed to make you YOU.

Do you simple move alone saying from now on I will be: nice to people, treat others fairly, work hard and not succumb to emotions.

Because I still find myself looking at others to reflect who I am, and I know it's wrong and unhealthy, but when I put the mirror to myself, that motherfucker will tell me anything I want to hear. Where is the other guy?!

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Gabe, dude, you're exactly ... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 1:14 AM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Gabe, dude, you're exactly the same way about Alone. I think this original post abot THG you went on about how some girl wasn't smart but Alone was smart and she should defer like you do because you may not know certain things but you do know Alone is smart, or something like that. I mean tht was you right?

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I'm mostly a lurker, but I'... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 1:31 AM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Mike: | Reply

I'm mostly a lurker, but I'd like to believe no one is responding to you because most people here think gender essentialism is no more worthy of debate than Christian Young Earth Creationism is. I could be wrong, though.

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Random, but: kind of... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 1:55 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Random, but:
kind of sad to see this turn into a discussion going nowhere about men and women and differences and similarities. But as smeone who has paid some attention to feminism, gender issues, humanitarian issues and all that, I will say that the expression "different but equal" has been around for a long time. Equal not having to mean same or not having to mean blinding yourself to differences is a given to a lot of people. Diversity used to mean you behaved respectfully by not discussing differences and pretending everyone was exactly the same (at least when I was a child). Diversity really is more about awknowleging, communicating, appreciating, acceptance,relating and blah blah now. It just feels weird to me when I hear people turning it into a dichotomy based on gender.
But just to jump into the men and women thing for a minute. What if. What if men are actually so sensitive and vulnerable they spend their entire lives trying to hide it by being achievers? Or if women are so powerful they walk around pretending to be the opposite.
Whimsical, but for whatever reason, this seems more true than false in my experience. I suppose I hate to encourage dichotomous thinking when it comes to gender because human beings are human beings, probably a conclusion that becomes more apparent after one has indulged in the genderized world for a while--I think it might represent a developmental stage. I think it is possible that observing dichotomies come so naturally---pairing things into opposites---to the human mind (good or bad, happy or sad, blah blah) that it probably is pretty instinctual to carry that over into discussions about gender. I don't think it's natural to do this forever; at some point people get kinda past it.
Haha, I only remember one incident of clear cut discrimination based on my gender from my entire life---it was my first job when I was 14---childcare---when the kids messed up the floor, it was me (female) and a guy watching them, and the supervisor (female) and gues who always, always had to be the one to sweep? Me. Which turned me ino a very serious feminist--VERY serious---for quite some time. I got a flat top, wore flannels, and birkenstocks, OK? No makeup. I got heavily into working out and hought about joining the Marines. I read Andra Dworkin. (And others). Of course, i still loved Jane Eyre and stuff (which is totally logical; Jane's such a serious person having such a serious life). I can remember many more incidents in my life where I was treated extra favorably based on being female, though...
I don't hear a lot of ambivalence in the comments on ths post. I'm interested in why but nothing's resonating or coming to mind...?

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This may explain why I saw ... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 5:08 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

This may explain why I saw a couple of newbie teenage girls at archery practice yesterday, who didn't look at all like regulars. (The serious girl archers are not necessarily bad looking but they clearly don't prioritize "sexy.")

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Yes doc, I understand what ... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 5:26 AM | Posted by Etrade Baby: | Reply

Yes doc, I understand what you are trying to say, but the same thing happens to similar tales with MALE teenage protagonists (ie. "The Long Walk"). Oh, I see - women and children first.

Still an improvement compared to Twilight.

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"Obviously you go with Alic... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 7:13 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Obviously you go with Alice, which is also why she isn't popular among women"

No, Alice isn't popular among women because how many women watch Resident Evil? This is a film which got 34% on rotten tomatoes so it's not even a GOOD zombie survival horror film.

I'm going with Ripley for my female heroic role model. Because I have better taste in films. :P

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You mean to tell me it woul... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 10:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

You mean to tell me it wouldn't rock your world if he were to contact you personally? Don't you "love his brain"?

This website should be called "Masturbatorium" as most here are doing just that with Alone's ideas... compulsive mental masturbation.

Can't help but wonder how often that translates to: "if we were to actually meet, we surely would hit it off."

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The act of posting a commen... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 11:14 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The act of posting a comment is not masturbatory, it's participatory. As is the act of putting together language in such a way that makes sense.

He's a shrink, anyway. In a way it'd be kind of a waste for people not to get a little---I always forget all of these, but projection and whatnot--- about him, I think it might be theraputic. That's what people do with shrinks, anyway.

If I was a shrink, and I'll never be one, I think the first I would want is for someone to disagree with me and not glom onto me as if I were The Answer. It's be like "whew, what a relief, swimming not drowning.

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ripley sucks and basing the... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 11:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

ripley sucks and basing the movies around her (I mean the movies from 2 to 100) was a very stupid idea. She wasn't even an interesting character in the first movie, just an ordinary person surviving an encounter with pure horror. Then they turned her into an unconvincing rambo woman of sorts.

Ripley = shit character

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ripley is not a terribly st... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 12:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

ripley is not a terribly strong character mainly because she has no developmental arc. she's starts as a no nonsense super strong female awesome survivor heroine and pretty much stays that way forever. she's soooo super awesome that scott had to throw in a male gaze scene at the end of alien - ironically, not for the purpose of male gaze itself, but to remind or reassure the viewers that ripley was still a woman.

the only arc she really gets is the motherhood themes brought in by cameron in the second movie, and even then, it's only her badassness taken past survivor into a mother/protector role. i'd put sarah connor over ripley as you can actually see her transition from meek to awesome to badass but kind of crazy to balanced.

on the other hand, maybe it's not fair to judge a character from a '79 movie by standards 30 years removed from the era. ripley could have been a backlash against the notion that women in film have to be screaming and in trouble all the time. sure, seems like a "duh, of course" deal to us now, but probably not the case in '79, which is probably why her character is recognized the way it is.

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I hate when you equivocate ... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 1:36 PM | Posted by DrModern: | Reply

I hate when you equivocate by saying "the system," e.g. "she [the Socyberty author] has been tricked by the system about what it is to advance as a woman." Especially frustrating in the context of your argument in that passage, where it's obvious you're suggesting this explanation holds sway even though it's presented as one of two alternatives, since you don't have enough evidence to support the first alternative, i.e. that "he has an unconsciously cynical view of women in general." There's some sort of thesis here about culture, maybe; or about politics, maybe; or even about inborn psychological needs, maybe, but I don't know what it is from the phrase "the system." I know this sounds like grousing about usage, but - for this reader - it is impossible to unpack the precise contents of this thesis: How exactly does the system work? Which people are doing which things? Why? Is this system implemented, i.e. put into place intentionally, i.e. hegemonically? If so, by whom? If not, is it dynamic or static? The frustration comes because I suspect, based on the strength and depth of your insights, that your thesis is right; I just really want to see a map of it.

Also,

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Sorry about typos in the ab... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 1:38 PM | Posted, in reply to DrModern's comment, by DrModern: | Reply

Sorry about typos in the above.

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There's an alternative expl... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 1:49 PM | Posted by J: | Reply

There's an alternative explanation. In the same way that Thresh didn't kill Katniss because he's black, isn't it possible that Katniss didn't kill savagely anybody because she's the likable protagonist? His boyfriend didn't kill anybody too, because it would be hard for the audience to accept a child killer, even when the players have no alternative.

That's the same reason why, even in the hardcore action movies, we see the following scene: the protagonist is about to kill the unarmed antagonist in an attach of fury and revenge. But a friend stops him, telling him that he shouldn't fall to his level. The protagonist accepts it, then the bad guy takes a gun only to be killed in the last second. Everybody gets what he wants: the bad guy's dead, killed by the protagonist, but *in self defense*, so no need to feel guilty.

Thirty years ago in stars war a "good guy", Han Solo, killed a bad guy before he started to shoot. The scene put the character in the collective memory and is polemic enough to have been banned from new releases.

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"Strong character" is a mea... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 2:02 PM | Posted by thestage: | Reply

"Strong character" is a meaningless and irrelevant term. That people attempt to praise a work for including a "strong character" in the sense that the character is characterized in an enviable manner only shows that they don't know how to read. Here's a story with a Strong Female Character:

Jane walks around town and does what she wants and doesn't afraid of anything. She is nice and responsible and smart and you cannot keep her down but she will not try to keep you down either because she is nice and responsible and smart.

What a fantastic story, someone hand me a medal.

The problem with The Hunger Games isn't that Katniss is weak, it's that the book is bad. None of these problems occur in a good book because the good book wasn't written by an idiot for other idiots. The book isn't popular because Katniss is pretend-strong, it's popular because it is bad. It is seen as a triumph of feminist thought because girls like it, not the other way around. Status quo. Here's your shitty book of archetypes dumped in an unoriginal setting filled with quotidian prose and 'social commentary', now go back to your shitty life where you get to unconsciously decide between pretending to be a man and pretending you want to suck a man off. The "feminist media" is a-ok with the state of affairs because they are media instead of feminist. Echo chamber. If I've heard of you, you don't have anyone's interests at heart. You are what you call yourself, even if you're not. It's cute that you like to read honey, I'm so proud of you. Lets go see the movie as a family so I can pretend my filial duty has been not just met but exceeded.

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random followup:Wh... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 2:16 PM | Posted by thestage: | Reply

random followup:

Why is young adult literature so popular among adults? Because they're not adults.

That in itself is not particularly newsworthy, but there's an edge to this that is something of a new development. Now, it's not enough for something like a mediocre piece of young adult lit to be profoundly popular--it also has to be seen as good. And not just good, but great. There's a difference. Lots of shitty movies make a lot of money without anyone terribly interested in pretending they are worthwhile experiences, but we absolutely need validation from cultural and intellectual authorities that things like harry potter and hunger games are good works. And those authorities are more than willing to oblige. The hunger games is our new high culture. Emma Bovary, your time has come.

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Alone's post here is an exa... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 2:46 PM | Posted by tim: | Reply

Alone's post here is an example of the kind of feminism that makes sense to me. Liberal feminism has long since been assimilated into the system -- it is advantageous after all, to double the population's work force, etc.

We need a feminism guided by critical theory to deal with gender issues today.

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For Heaven's sake. Katniss ... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 3:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

For Heaven's sake. Katniss is grappling, there's a complexity there.

It sounds like you want some kind of absolute resolution with some definite thing accomplished. Probably something that can be expressed in one sentence. And probably with an implied lesson.

Well, join the world. Everyone wants that when they read literature, even literary critics a lot of the time. Theoretically it could be a useful approach but in reality it's an approach that turns literary criticism into crap and satisfies readers by oversimplifying. People bitch about this same practice in works of art such as movies, but if one uses this kind of thinking and calls it criticism it suddenly becomes more relevant than the work of art itself.

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thestage +1... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 3:28 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

thestage +1

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Annie Le Brun is pretty goo... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 3:49 PM | Posted, in reply to tim's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Annie Le Brun is pretty good. She also expresses herself beautifully. She sort of opens things up in your head. She's waaaay out there, though. I haven't read the stuff that is more directly feminist- I read the book about the Marquis de Sade. It's not like you can just go around making light chat about it, though.

There is plenty of quality stuff that can be called feminist that is popular. Oprah magazine is probably the best example of this. (It's better than the show). I don't read it---the sunny self-growth angle makes me uncomfortable, but it is quality. When my grandma bought me a subscription I read it.

And Deborah Tannen is hard not to like. There used to be a feminist magazine called Heresies I used to love-not sure if it exists anymore. Andrea Dworkin is worthwhile and not at all as she is depicted in media, even feminist media. I'd go for the fiction though, not the non-fiction. I haven't read anything by (Reverend) Frodo Okulam but I know her and know she is a genius, as are the women she hangs out with, some of whom may also write.

Camille Paglia and Naomi Wolf= annoying. I'm not crazy about Starhawk either.

Have heard of male feminists but can't think of any I'd read seriously for any feminist insights.

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I was on board until you sa... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 4:27 PM | Posted by Phil A.: | Reply

I was on board until you said, "Alice isn't popular with women because she's a super hero" and all of that. I see your point, but I think one of the other reasons why Alice isn't popular with women is because the Resident Evil movies are awful and I'm convinced they keep making them at a financial loss because no one knows anyone who likes those movies.

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One interpretation of Alone... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 5:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

One interpretation of Alone’s postings could be that he thinks a movie for 13 year old girls should be comprehensible to and approved by him. This is ridiculous all by itself.

Maybe 13 year olds, like teenagers, are in a position to decide on their own what is meaningful to them and why. That’s agency, right? It’s just a movie.

But if you shift the blame to feminists it doesn’t really solve the problem. “They should know what is right for 13 year old girls!” Well, not really. Because of the nature of movies, including this one, they don’t necessarily need to understand what the appeal is even to their own selves. It’s just a movie.

One interesting point of Alone’s argument was that while he talked about the problems (he had) with the film, females have mostly taken to the film. They’re not having huge problems. But a big point of the argument was that this movie should be different for the benefit of his daughter. But most girls are fine.

There is an underlying impression that it is possible Alone’s main problem might not be for his daughter, but for himself. That’s the fun part of being human. Ooops! The human comedy.

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I mean, yeah Katniss does g... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2012 11:19 PM | Posted by Whaattttt???: | Reply

I mean, yeah Katniss does get saved by people, but have you not noticed she saves Peeta? And she killed a random boy when he sliced Rue?
And she goes and hunts for her family, outside the fence?
Come on, you gotta admit that Katniss has a lot more spunk and badassery than a lot of other heroines of popular fiction.

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<a href="http://anarchykka.... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 12:23 AM | Posted, in reply to tim's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

http://anarchykka.yuku.com/topic/737/Annie-LeBrun-on-quot-neo-feminism-quot#.T4enqFHCUXE

Annie Le Brun on neo-feminism. It's even in English, not her native tongue.

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"I mean, yeah Katniss does ... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 12:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Whaattttt???'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I mean, yeah Katniss does get saved by people, but have you not noticed she saves Peeta? And she killed a random boy when he sliced Rue?
And she goes and hunts for her family, outside the fence?
Come on, you gotta admit that Katniss has a lot more spunk and badassery than a lot of other heroines of popular fiction."

Welcome to the conversation. All of these points have been raised ad nauseum in the prior post which TLP said you should read (which would imply the comments as well since this post is a follow up).

Total internet faux pas, man.

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The part about identifying ... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 4:31 AM | Posted, in reply to Smith's comment, by Agent Smith: | Reply

The part about identifying yourself through others is simply you believing that your reaction to things and people is based around you.

So, when looking at a picture of a nice car instead of:

"That is a nice car" - "I want that nice car"

"This girl looks like she's having fun" - "I want to be there/bang her/be her"

"That dress is expensive" - "Why can't I have this expensive dress? I should"


No, no you shouldn't, unless you are working for it. Things and people are those things and people - they are not a reflection of you. Let it go. And those other people, if sane and the people you want to marry/befriend, do not reflect themselves in you - and how you make them feel by your persona. They just think you are a dumbass or cool or whatever it is your behavior shown to them tells them you are.

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My biggest problem with Kat... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 5:56 AM | Posted by Etsi: | Reply

My biggest problem with Katpiss is her name.

As a 30 something woman I automatically skip YA books. I've only hear about series like THG and Twilight because websites like TLP keep harping on them!

However, I think that whatever keeps kids reading is ok with me. The smarter ones eventually get bored with the bad stuff and move on to better quality literature.

Generally agree with TLP but I think he overestimates the influence of those books compared the influence of lets say environment, family and entire generations of dysfunction.

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Oh for heaven's sake. ... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 9:11 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Oh for heaven's sake.

I generally don't read comments, so I will admit I was inappropriately effusive for the tone of this particular community. But I enjoyed The Hunger Games entry so much I was giddy. I mean, I knew something was wrong with The Hunger Games. I thought it had to do with the strange, idealized gender politics of the book, but Alone picked out the global issue. It was a really satisfying read.

I've been known to say that I "love" my car, and I "love" pizza, too. And I "love" new highlighter pens, when the ink is beautifully saturated. And in that vein, I "love" Alone's blog posts and the brain that created them. You can criticize my diluting the word "love," into "really, really like," I guess, but that's a pretty common conversational gaffe, and most people understand that within its context.

And as for the idea that the readers here are engaging in some kind of mental masturbation - look, I'm not ashamed to admit that Alone is my intellectual superior. He's a better thinker and a better writer than I am, and I feel like I've learned something in the time I've been reading his blog. I feel the same way about Slacktivist's Left Behind literary criticism. And Roger Ebert's film criticism. And even Red Letter Media's Star Wars criticism.

But is that all that unusual? Don't most of us consume the work of people who are better thinkers and writers because they're better thinkers and writers, and we want to be stimulated by their ideas?

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I haven't seen the movie ye... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 10:04 AM | Posted by Tamora Pierce: | Reply

I haven't seen the movie yet, though I still intend to--I've been waiting for the crowds to thin out. I have read the books twice.

I still love the series, deus exes and all, though you've made me re-think it and agree with some of your points. I'm still considering the others--sometimes my brain takes a while to cook things down. You made me remember something that really bothered me in my second read-through: [SPOILER]


Cinna dresses her in a supposed wedding gown that goes to pieces when Katniss twirls, turning into a garment that makes her look like a mockingjay--the very last piece of inflammatory propaganda the President wants to see at that moment. And Cinna does it without warning Katniss beforetime.

I disagree that Katniss is not a feminist role model based on her providing food for her family and protecting/nurturing people like her family, Peeta, Rue, etc., and enduring (in the books) the gussying-up process. How can we be feminists if we do not admit of all traits and choices in our curriculum vitae? Not every character has to be an example of a feminist archetype that does not include mothering, fashion, or caring for a family--it is what the character does in addition to those things, or how the character does those things, that determines whether or not she is a feminist role model.

I did want to drop a thought into the netpool, for what it's worth. Reading the books, I began to wonder if Katniss is not supposed to be an analog for Joan of Arc--a figurehead who leads a revolution by being incendiary. I began to wonder if the series is not about Katniss so much, though we see events through her eyes, but about oppressed people who only need a spark to catch fire. She supplies that spark, over and over, and she is willing to get out into the field, where she is in the most danger, to inspire. Her preferred milieu is her home town and her natural forest, but once she realizes the people have risen up anyway, she continues her role as inspiration. Her story doesn't dovetail with Joan's, but I couldn't help but think of it.

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I don't know that he made a... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 11:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Etsi's comment, by tim: | Reply

I don't know that he made any attempt to measure the influence. But what this is an example of is what is wrong with mainstream feminist thinking today -- that is, this feminism's aim seems to be to try to out-do men at "their game" so to speak, thus staying within the old patriarchal parameters of gender. That is at least a piece of what was said above.

It's also, incidentally, the same old bullshit that has mothers these days often effectively working two jobs, mother and then whatever her employment is. So much for liberal feminism liberating women, huh.

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The whole point of manners ... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 11:53 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The whole point of manners is to make other people feel comfortable. I doubt Alone or anyone else is writhing in pain, psychic or physical, as the result of a lot of comments. But I do think that over 200 comments sends a message that 10 comments don't, even if there are duplicate comments.
I also think it is valuable for people to say what they think and that providing a forum for that might be more important in some ways than anything Alone does or does not write. I also don't recall him saying that one must read the comments before commenting although it seemed to me you insinuated that. ?

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Oh boy, name dropping and e... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 12:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Oh boy, name dropping and everything. Alone if you are reading this, you would get so much ass if you revealed your identity. Just saying. You work too hard not to be banging these girls. They would pay for their own flights to where you are and everything (hoping not to return).

Already jealous of each other and you don't even exist. What a role you play in their lives. Can you hear their thoughts?

"If only my husband was this deep, I would probably have sex for real"

"He is soooo smart, and could make me smarter by association (pants wet)"

Blogger rockstar, are you listening?

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the same old bullshit th... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 12:44 PM | Posted, in reply to tim's comment, by Etsi: | Reply

the same old bullshit that has mothers these days often effectively working two jobs, mother and then whatever her employment is. So much for liberal feminism liberating women, huh.

I totally agree with you, particularly with your last paragraph. This has got to be the biggest joke played on women ever. Yes comradeSS, you too can be a perfect mother, have the perfect career and perfect relationship. No wonder they all end up needing Abilify.

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Are you being facetious? Or... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 1:32 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Are you being facetious? Or just having fun? Or sincere? Is it weird for a man to advocate on behalf another man's sex life, or does it happen all the time? Is that what the whole 'wing man' thing is all about?
I have observed, as a former adult entertainer, that a lot of men seem to interact with other men in a way, publicly, that is sort of, I don't know, like the whole strip club thing is about men interacting with other men more than with the women. Like the woman is a conduit to show how much of a man one is to others maybe. Interestingly, when a pack of dudes come in, they behave much more like stereotypical men then when they come in alone. The more stereotypical stripper types get more attention (a more obvious and easy sexuality depicted, big fake boobs, fake tan, bleach blonde) than they might otherwise.
But maybe the whole remark was actually directed at Christina.
You think TLP is sensitive and deep?!

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to the person above you are... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 1:53 PM | Posted by kujifuruwaju: | Reply

to the person above you are projecting a casual hypothetical observation of one miniscule sample group of men in your town as if it represents all men...

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I'm being sincere. <p... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 2:14 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

I'm being sincere.

I see your point, but I think my advocating for TLPs sex life is a mechanism I'm using to clarify a different point: This is the strip club for (some) women who like a man that thinks "differently". TLP shakes his brain for them instead of boobs. Please insert a dollar -- PayPal.

I think Christina is an example of a customer. Instead of manliness via sex and objectification, the commodity here is complexity and originality. If men go to the strip club to be more man, possibly fuck (yay third world countries!) and then be left alone; woman (so goes my theory) might come here to feel empowered and possibly understood... and secretly be made loved to by someone special who can understand their intricacies also known as the author.

TLP is an alpha male in my book about the web, because he flexes his mental muscles for such market (among others). The rest of us mortals have to go to the gym and borrow his lines to impress pseudo intellectuals in hopes they confuse us with him.

Are you really an adult entertainer?

I don't know if he is sensitive, but definitely clever and insightful and manipulative (I drink all the time! Yes TLP we all want to think this is true).

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I'm being sincere. <p... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 2:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

I'm being sincere.

I see your point, but I think my advocating for TLPs sex life is a mechanism I'm using to clarify a different point: This is the strip club for (some) women who like a man that thinks "differently". TLP shakes his brain for them instead of boobs. Please insert a dollar -- PayPal.

I think Christina is an example of a customer. Instead of manliness via sex and objectification, the commodity here is complexity and originality. If men go to the strip club to be more man, possibly fuck (yay third world countries!) and then be left alone; woman (so goes my theory) might come here to feel empowered and possibly understood... and secretly be made loved to by someone special who can understand their intricacies also known as the author.

TLP is an alpha male in my book about the web, because he flexes his mental muscles for such market (among others). The rest of us mortals have to go to the gym and borrow his lines to impress pseudo intellectuals in hopes they confuse us with him.

Are you really an adult entertainer?

I don't know if he is sensitive, but definitely clever and insightful and manipulative (I drink all the time! Yes TLP we all want to think this is true).

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"If men go to the strip clu... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 3:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"If men go to the strip club to be more man, possibly fuck (yay third world countries!) and then be left alone; woman (so goes my theory) might come here to feel empowered and possibly understood... and secretly be made loved to by someone special who can understand their intricacies also known as the author."

Perhaps, JohnK, if you offered such a service, you might get the kind of ladies you want, not so? Don't you want a beautiful lady?(ladies?) Beauty, the kind you want, must be cultivated. It's a lot of work, even for those who make it appear easy. If you seek such women, and you want them to please you, or to please yourself with their bodies, selves; perhaps you could consider finding out what they might like and cultivate things to delight them within yourself? Is there anything inherently wrong in doing so? Manipulation designed to harm or control in hurtful ways is terrible. Cultivating desirable traits and showing them to world in hopes to trade with others who have desirable traits of other natures is pretty much how trade works. Whether or not love or genuine compassion enters the process is up to the participants involved.

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You just did express yourse... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 3:26 PM | Posted, in reply to kujifuruwaju's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You just did express yourself beautifully. John, I mean.

I'm not an adult entertainer any more, I stopped at the age of 25, and I'm 41.

To the guy who said I'm generalizing about men, well, I traveled around a lot as a "dancer." The observations I made about men in groups are consistent with what I've observed about many men in groups (in many strip clubs). I was a stripper for 2 years. I wasn't trying to say anything about men in the post, although I can see how I might be construed as alluding to something, either about men or about groups or whatever. But I wasn't consciously trying to send some big message- it was a very stream of consciousness post. Part of me wants to quit doing those kinds of posts. Anyway, as to groups of men, yeah, I avoid them. Violence increases in groups, I've never read a positive thing about groups that was documented- only negative-not like I'm an expert. And groups of women, I have no idea. I'll deal with the loner in the corner who buys me a drink. As long as he's not wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up and dark sunglasses and mentions he has a nice place outside of town that's very private, in which case I'm outta there. (Yes- it has actually happened. I had a regular who killed another stripper and set her on fire in a dumpster down by the docks. She even looked like me).

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Feels a bit wierd when some... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 3:42 PM | Posted by Tim: | Reply

Feels a bit wierd when someone uses the same nick as you to post completely different oppinions. Gonna change to tiiim.

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Hey, don't make this about ... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 4:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by JonhK: | Reply

Hey, don't make this about me. The point is that there is much going on behind the comments of the stereotype that has become Christina. I want to cast light to the fact that all this intellectualism is veiled attraction (well, some of it). That is all.

Our relationship mediated by words an images has become stronger than the direct relationship among each other. Those like TLP who succeed in dominating the spectacle (movies, culture, media stuff) and have a strong online presence, are the new titans walking among mortals, with men who want to be them and women who want them. We of course won't come out and say it, we prefer to try and say something smart to seem like him.

What a world. Come to think of it, this site would benefit from a post dedicated to the readers. How inadequate are we TLP? Please do tell us!

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TLP made a distinction in t... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 4:24 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by kw: | Reply

TLP made a distinction in the last post between "fairy tales" and "legends," where legendary heroes (men) have agency. But the majority of those traditional legendary heroes-- Arthur, Beowulf, Homer, possibly Jesus and so on-- were often selected by the Gods/fate for their calling, the gods frequently intervened, magical ladies often saved them, and they were frequently gifted magical weaponry that no one else had. Vader was Luke's daddy, he got a magic new hand, an army gifted to him, and basically magic skillz; still a hero. Harry Potter already discussed here.

So yeah, Katniss is being held to a higher standard.

But the bigger problem is that being a murderous "bad-ass" has zero to do with feminism. No one was calling for machine-gun legs and bullet-proof catsuits at the Seneca Falls Convention.

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I was going to question you... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 9:14 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

I was going to question your sincerity, too, since you're taking a very weird position and it's hard not to believe you're being deliberately obtuse or inflammatory.

Dude, I'm a fan of Alone's work. A bigger fan that you are, apparently. I'm not clear why you're reading that as sexual attraction.

I got the tone wrong communicating my admiration for Alone's work in this particular forum. Most of the comments sections for the bloggers I read are simply a spot to give a little tip-of-the-cap to the blogger and move on. After all, virtually every blogger is providing their work for free, and the only compensation they receive is knowing people are reading their work.

The comments section here is a lot more combative, but I'm not sure why my getting the tone wrong translates into a sexual attraction of which you clearly disapprove.

Do you have a blog somewhere, JohnK, that isn't getting as many hits as you think it deserves?

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Our relationship mediate... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 9:42 PM | Posted, in reply to JonhK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Our relationship mediated by words an images has become stronger than the direct relationship among each other.

JohnK, you've shown me the light. After I post this comment, I'm going to reject the mass media and only listen to people who are physically close enough to fuck if they happen to say something I like.

That's the world I want to live in, JohnK. Thank you!

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I don’t like the post, but ... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 10:18 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I don’t like the post, but I like TLP’s definition of agency (even though that’s wrong too). If one looks at agency as simply making choices that are likely to lead to the capacity to make more meaningful choices, then that’s valuable. It is also true that the last thing girls need is anything encouraging them or rewarding them for risking their lives for any cause. Girls are highly adept at making bad choices already. I don’t think risking their safety or well-being, even by dancing around the periphery of danger, is good. They’ll do it anyway but there’s no point in putting a stamp or approval on it by labeling it feminist or heroic.

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While I agree with a lot of... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2012 10:37 PM | Posted by Lilin: | Reply

While I agree with a lot of the stuff that you point out as problematic with the books, like the 'no, no, don't put me in a pretty dress,' aspect and the fact that a lot of people praise her undeservedly, there are a couple of problems with your assessment.

For one thing, the wasp nest doesn't kill all of the group, either in the book or in the movie. It kills only one girl of the four people there. It's clear that all the other characters come back, and one of them clearly makes it to the finale of the 'game', so I'm not sure why you think that the only the love interest was spared.

Another problem is it's pretty clear - especially in the book - at the end that although she's willing to sacrifice her life, her plan was to try to force the game runners to declare them both victors or have a complete wash-out of the game. In fact, that was one of the points of the book, that she's forced into a situation where she should be helpless, but finally manages to exert power over the people playing her.

And finally, I'm not sure why you picked Alice from Resident Evil, rather than, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'd rather have Buffy on my side than Katniss. For that matter, I'd rather have Willow - who grew into an all-powerful witch, on my side. Both are incredibly popular with women, and both are practically superheroes. The difference between Buffy and Resident Evil is the demographics of the fanbase. Buffy and Hunger Games fans are mostly female. Resident Evil fans - not so much. It seems to me you switched over, demographics-wise, simply so you could say that women don't like powerful heroes.

To put it another way, I'd rather have Buffy, or Faith, or Willow, on my side 'if it all goes down' than John McClane from the Die Hard series. Why don't men identify with actual badasses?

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"Our relationship mediated ... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 9:04 AM | Posted, in reply to JonhK's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Our relationship mediated by words an images has become stronger than the direct relationship among each other."

It seems kind of open to interpretation. I don't see *any* direct relationship among us. I mean, fellow human beings with rights, that is it. To me, the relationship *is* the words and images. That *is* where there is strength-to say anything different I think I'd have to get metaphysical or delusional. Or worst of all, philosophical . I hate philosophy.
I'm dying to know if there is some kind of relationship between us that isn't words and images.

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It is also true that the... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 11:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Tamora Pierce: | Reply

It is also true that the last thing girls need is anything encouraging them or rewarding them for risking their lives for any cause. Girls are highly adept at making bad choices already. I don’t think risking their safety or well-being, even by dancing around the periphery of danger, is good.

Wait just a pea-pickin minute. Will you say this to the girls and women of Afghanistan? The girls and women who are sex slaves? The girls and women of the Congo, or Southern Sudan? The girls and women who are abused in their homes? Will you say it to them during a natural disaster?

And boys and men never make bad decisions? Are never abused, or trafficked, or preyed upon in those areas I mentioned and others?

Better to teach girls how to stand up for themselves. How not to look for rescue to others first, but to themselves and then to others. To make decisions and think problems through, to see what their options are, and to make a risky decision if it will get them clear.

Girls have just as much right to risk their lives for causes as boys, and they have done so throughout history.

Or were you indulging in Joel Steinian "satire," not realizing that no one is laughing?

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Who gave you the right to s... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 11:45 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Tamora Pierce: | Reply

Who gave you the right to speculate on any woman's sexual life publicly, let alone single one out by name.

And TLP, if you are such a feminist, why did you let this stand without pointing it out for the egregious attack that it is?

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"I'm not sure why you pi... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 1:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Lilin's comment, by Scott: | Reply

"I'm not sure why you picked Alice from Resident Evil, rather than, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer... The difference between Buffy and Resident Evil is the demographics of the fanbase."

i think you're making his point, Lilin. Why do you think Alice doesn't appeal to women but Buffy does?

i do think it's telling that the characters you'd prefer to align yourself with were all created by a man who consistently presents prostitution as the ideal occupation for women. (Ex: Firefly, Dollhouse) A man who much like Suzanne Collins, is bizarrely touted as being a praiseworthy pro-feminist writer.

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OT but relevant, found at "... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 1:49 PM | Posted by DensityDuck: | Reply

OT but relevant, found at "more than 95 theses"

“One who will not allow any occurrence whatever to deprive him of his responsibility for the course of history—because he knows that it has been laid on him by God—will thereafter achieve a more fruitful relation to the events of history than that of barren criticism and equally barren opportunism. To talk of going down fighting like heroes in the face of certain defeat is not really heroic at all, but merely a refusal to face the future. The ultimate question for a responsible man to ask is not how he is to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation is to live. It is only from this question, with its responsibility towards history, that fruitful solutions can come, even if for the time being they are very humiliating.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “After Ten Years” (1943)

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Tamora, Just because... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 2:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Tamora Pierce's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Tamora,
Just because you are a feminist does not give you the right to be a rude reactionary bitch.
Just because you're a girl doesn't make it okay, either.
I have as much right as a female to make choices and talk about them. Re-read the post and think about it.
Ginny

Oh, and this:

"Girls have just as much right to risk their lives for causes as boys, and they have done so throughout history."

What kind of mother are you?!
I have a fifteen year old girl. And I don't think she has any "right to risk her life" with or without a cause. SHE'S FIFTEEN.
Hilarious YOU see that as so incompatible with your fucked-up view of feminism.
*Mine* values human life.

There-you've gotten your "pea-pickin" minute. I can't speak for Alone, but perhaps he didn't pull the "scandalous" comments because free speech might be somewhat more important than reinforcing your fairly limiting (and hostile!) view of women's rights.

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I don't think my position i... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 3:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I don't think my position is that obtuse or inflammatory. I find it simple: 1. People comment here, in part, because they are attracted to the author. 2. Because they cannot say this openly (Alone I want you in my life but will settle with the blog! You are more than a father/lover to me!) intellectualism serves as an alternative for all that emotion...because it might look silly to admit to this???

No clue.

I'm sorry Crhistina if I have upset you, dude. Not my intention. Are we cool? Perhaps I shouldn't have used you as an example. My bad.

I don't think you got the tone wrong or anything like that. Your tone exemplifies that of many others here. Because we have a different reading of the purpose of the comment section, we will disagree. For example, I sense the comments here are not combative at all.

I don't have a blog. And if I did, I wouldn't blatantly promote it here like many assholes do. I suspect we both can agree on that and remain somewhat friendly to one another?

I will disregard your "you have shown me the light comment". We are not looking for a fight.

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Those women in Afghanistan... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 3:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Those women in Afghanistan, sex slaves, women in the Congo, people who have been abused in their homes?

Ask them. "My child wants to risk her life. She wants to join a gang/ have unsafe sex/do drugs/see her abusive boyfriend/run away to New York/play the choking game/be a stripper/meet grown men on facebook/stay out all night/go with her friends to Aruba for Spring Break. She has rights..." Most of the time, people who have felt their child suffer and maybe even die are going to say, keep her safe and alive any way you can.
Because human life is real to them, and this one in particular.

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"i think you're making his ... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 4:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"i think you're making his point, Lilin. Why do you think Alice doesn't appeal to women but Buffy does?"

Because Alice is a male sex fantasy and Buffy is a character.

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Ginny,I don't thi... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 4:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Tamora Pierce: | Reply

Ginny,
I don't think she has any "right to risk her life" with or without a cause. SHE'S FIFTEEN.

And in our country and time we can hope that she won't have to worry about risking her life--but that hasn't always been the case; it certainly isn't always the case throughout most of the world; it may be the case one day or even next week if she is confronted with a life threatening situation.

You waved the banner of motherhood at me: surely you understand you can't keep her safe forever, or even into next year if the unthinkable or the unpredictable happens? Surely you understand that it's vital that we raise women who can defend themselves, and not victims? Yes, we will gladly break our own bones to keep kids safe, but the news is full every day of parents who discovered themselves outnumbered by those who intended their kids harm, setting aside their kids' own choices.

You assume I don't value human life. I value it enough to want girls to know where the pitfalls are, even in our seemingly safe, protected world. It chews up 15-year-olds all the time.

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Most of the time, people... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 5:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Tamora Pierce: | Reply

Most of the time, people who have felt their child suffer and maybe even die are going to say, keep her safe and alive any way you can.
Because human life is real to them, and this one in particular.

I think you have taken what I said out of context. I was answering this: It is also true that the last thing girls need is anything encouraging them or rewarding them for risking their lives for any cause.
Of course any parent is going to yell "Oo-RAH!" when you try to keep your kid from throwing her life away in the manners you described. Some of them would probably advise you to lock your kid up for even thinking of doing such things, as your kid is so out of touch with reality as to be certifiable. Reality is very different outside the western world.

When I made that list of the things their kids die for, I was citing causes that differed. Causes of life or death that 15-year-olds were dying for that were not the little deaths of drugs, gangs, psychotic boyfriends, but the big ones of war, honor killings, world trafficking. The causes of death where those who die seldom get to choose them.

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I'm sure Resident Evil crea... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 5:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Lilin: | Reply

I'm sure Resident Evil creators all have spotless gender politics, but that doesn't matter, since you're changing the subject instead of responding the argument.

The point TLP made was that this Katniss was badass, but a different character, from a different medium was even more badass, and women didn't flock around her.

My point was that, if you're going to go as far as cherry-picking a character from an entirely different medium, well, you could easily have picked a more badass hero that appealed to women as well. I went on to say that you could do just what TLP did to men and their heroes, pointing out that they fixated on relatively weak and passive heroes as well.

The argument is about how fans respond to fictional heroes. Saying, "Well there's something sexist about some other projects that the guy who created Buffy has done since then," doesn't have any bearing on this particular argument.

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Not killing is agency.... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 9:35 PM | Posted by Jack Smith: | Reply

Not killing is agency.

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"Because Alice is a male... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 9:47 PM | Posted by Scott: | Reply

"Because Alice is a male sex fantasy and Buffy is a character."

Weak.
They're both male sex fantasies.
On the other hand, you've skillfully avoided the actual question, so bravo.
(Actually, they're both "characters" too, which is causing me laugh at you. A lot.)

Lilin, your feverish desires to defend a terrible show runner have blinded you to the point. (Hint: All his shows are sexist, you're just not paying attention)
The Last Psychiatrist picked a female badass who does not appeal to women on purpose. It's your job to think about why Alice is so unappealing to women, while Katniss is trumpeted as a feminist icon.

John McClane would've been an excellent equivalent.
If he had spent the entire film hiding in the air ducts waiting for Hans Gruber and the other terrorists to kill each other.*

*Note: While crouching in those tight metal confines, his only meaningful decision making would have been his agonizing over whether to choose Holly or Al as his sexual partner partner once the building exploded.

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"Not killing is agency.<... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 10:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Smith's comment, by Scott: | Reply

"Not killing is agency."

Choosing not to kill would have been agency, yes.
i could have respected pacifism. i could have respected choosing not to kill innocent children.
Katniss does no such thing.
"She explicitly states twice in the book how much she wants to kill."
Instead, Katniss makes zero choices. What she does is take many naps hoping decisions and actions will magically happen while she's unconscious. Which, (spoilers!) is exactly what happens.

The unemployed man who stays in bed all day because he can't face the world isn't choosing the life of a deadbeat because it's chic, he's unable to make a decision at all. He pulls those covers over his head hoping the world will change around him (Ding Dong! Nice to meet you! You're hired!), or he thinks he'll make his important decisions tomorrow (maybe).
Now whether you think this guy needs medication, or a kick in the ass... you certainly don't proclaim him a role model.

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I'm not "upset" at all, Joh... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 10:44 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

I'm not "upset" at all, JohnK, although I find it a little disingenuous that you claim you aren't "looking for a fight." It's possible you weren't, but it doesn't really read that way. Let me address that first:

"Christina wants alone now....The point is she is seeking validation from a superior "male" brain...This website should be called "Masturbatorium" as most here [ed. -"most" is me, since your reply is about my post and I am called out by name] are doing just that with Alone's ideas... compulsive mental masturbation...Oh boy, name dropping and everything. Alone if you are reading this, you would get so much ass if you revealed your identity. Just saying. You work too hard not to be banging these girls. They would pay for their own flights to where you are and everything (hoping not to return).

What a role you play in their lives. Can you hear their thoughts? ...This is the strip club for (some) women who like a man that thinks "differently". TLP shakes his brain for them instead of boobs..I think Christina is an example of a customer. Instead of manliness via sex and objectification, the commodity here is complexity and originality....TLP is an alpha male in my book about the web, because he flexes his mental muscles for such market (among others). The rest of us mortals have to go to the gym and borrow his lines to impress pseudo intellectuals [ed. also a reference to me] in hopes they confuse us with him....The point is that there is much going on behind the comments of the stereotype that has become Christina. I want to cast light to the fact that all this intellectualism is veiled attraction (well, some of it)..."

First, "Tamora Pierce" is right. Singling me out and speculating on my sexual life publicly is in itself intrusive and a violation of basic courtesy. I consider it only a minor violation, since there is an assumed risk on any comment board, but it's still a violation.

But going into the meat of your comments:

Do you realize how belittling it is to assert that my original comment is "validation seeking?" Or that you diminished my thoughts about Alone's post as nothing more than "compulsive mental masturbation?" Or that you outright called me a "pseudo intellectual?" Happening to mention the other bloggers I read concurrently with Alone is not "name dropping," and no, I'm not so lonely and self-destructive as to fly somewhere to meet a total stranger for sex, "hoping not to return," whatever that means.

Alone is an anonymous Internet blogger that I have no contact with; as such he doesn't play much of a "role" in my life, aside from elucidating a few concepts that have helped me think more critically about the media, just as Slacktivist has educated me on the subculture of extremist Evangelical Christianity, and Roger Ebert has helped me think more critically about film. Hell, I even get a lot out of Cracked.com articles - you can learn a lot if you follow their reference links.

I didn't say anything that implied sexual attraction to Alone. Both of my comments were not terribly unusual for internet comments in general - looking over the comments sections of Slacktivist, Roger Ebert and even Cracked.com, there are plenty of simple compliments for the authors. That doesn't work in this forum - owing in large part, I think, to the rating system for comments, which encourages competition and dissent - but it shouldn't have given you any cause to speculate on my sexual desires. I've written brief and, when warranted, even effusive compliments for Slacktivist, Roger Ebert, and the Cracked.com authors because, as I've explained to you, it's a form of compensation for their work. That's about it.

When you assert that my thoughts conceal a secret yearning for Alone, you're implying that I'm living a life where I am only able to find companionship, understanding, and even sexual fulfillment (!) through the published - not even private - words of an anonymous internet blogger. Actually, I think you state that outright in this modeling of what is presumably my mindstate: ""If only my husband was this deep, I would probably have sex for real"..."He is soooo smart, and could make me smarter by association (pants wet)" ." That's a lot of negative speculation about my psyche, and it's hard to believe it wasn't your intention to annoy or upset me by making that speculation publicly. Frankly, I think it reads like you set out to punish me - deliberately or not - for enjoying Alone's work more than you personally approve of.

What's more, asserting that my vagina must be deeply involved in my intellectual pursuits comes across as a wee bit misogynistic, JohnK. You haven't said it deliberately, but the implication is that you believe a woman who agrees with Alone could only be doing so out of a sexual desire for him driven by (presumably) a personal emptiness in her own life indicates a rather low view of female intellect.

Last, you shouldn't disregard my sarcastic quip. Your implication that women should abstain from consuming superior intellectual content within the mass media, lest our feeble brains inappropriately attach to the providers of that work, making us discontent with the local "mortals in the gym" was so absurd it deserved an equally absurd reply.

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1. There's a difference be... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 11:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Lilin: | Reply

1. There's a difference between being a male sex fantasy and being a character that men fantasize sexually about.

2. I don't defend Joss Whedon. I don't feel any particular way about him. I'm saying he's beside the point in this argument. If you thought Buffy itself was sexist, you would have said that instead of talking about his later shows, but good try.

3. No, I don't think he did pick a hero who is unappealing to women on purpose. If he did, let him say so. The only one feverishly defending their hero here is you. All I'm doing is pointing out TLP's weak and at times factually inaccurate arguments.

4. And however you want to put it, John McClane is *less* of a badass than Buffy, or, if you want to cross over into male heroes Edward from Twilight. Edward's super-strong and can read minds and can't be killed, dude. Of *course* you go with him if everything's on the line. So why don't more men like him? I'm not saying that McClane's not a badass - I'm saying that he is. He's just less competent and all-powerful than less popular characters from completely different franchises. That's what TLP was saying - 'Obviously you go with Alice, which is also why she isn't popular among women: There's no aspiration, no wish fulfillment, it's too fantastic, too impossible because Alice is, in fact, a superhero. It's not real. But Katniss isn't a superhero, and "women can identify with her."'

The point is that picking a random character from a different franchise with different rules and saying, "THIS guy would be better in a fight, so why do people like him instead of McClane" is a meaningless argument. There are plenty of female superheroes in many genres. Plenty of women identify with them. But TLP picked one that women didn't identify with - going outside of material popular with women to do it - because it supports that meaningless argument.

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Lilin,"No, I don't... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 11:25 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Lilin,

"No, I don't think he did pick a hero who is unappealing to women on purpose."

Yes that's the point. A character that women dont like, vs one they do, and ask why. Do you have any insight on the why?

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Thanks. I haven't read the ... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2012 11:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Jack Smith: | Reply

Thanks. I haven't read the book. My comment was based only on the movie where except for the mercy killing at the end, she only kills in self defense. Seems by your description the book incorporates more aspects to her character

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The Last Psychiatrist... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 12:42 AM | Posted, in reply to Lilin's comment, by Scott: | Reply

The Last Psychiatrist
"Obviously you go with Alice, which is also why she isn't popular among women"

Lilin:
"No, I don't think he did pick a hero who is unappealing to women on purpose."

Scott:
"Wow."

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The Last Psychiatrist... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 2:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Lilin: | Reply

The Last Psychiatrist
"Obviously you go with Alice, which is also why she isn't popular among women"

Lilin:
"No, I don't think he did pick a hero who is unappealing to women on purpose."

Yeesh. You are a professional at missing the point even when it's in your own qhotes. Let's look at this again.
"Obviously you go with Alice WHICH IS ALSO WHY she isn't popular among women."

Not *because* she isn't popular to women. He's naming a badass, proclaiming her the one true badass, and saying that badassery IS ALSO, IN ADDITION TO WHY HE CHOSE HER, unappealing to women. This is even more obvious when you read the sentences above that.

"Come the zombie apocalypse, do you go Team Katniss or Team Alice? Not who it's cooler to say you'd pick; assume you have a 5 year old daughter with one hit point left whose life depends on your selection. Because I'm arguing that it does. Obviously you go with Alice, which is also why she isn't popular among women, which is also why she isn't popular among women."

So let's try this again, only this time with reading comprehension on your part. He's set up a choice between the character and his completely random choice of another character. He's saying, come on, if things are really bad, who would you trust to protect you? Obviously you go with the actually strong one WHICH IS ALSO why it's unappealing to women. Then he talks about how she is, in fact, a superhero.

He didn't pick her BECAUSE she was unappealing to women. He picked her because he singled her out because she was the 'actual badass,' and then said that because she was such a genuine badass she was unappealing to women.

To grind this into your brain, let's go into John McClane vs Edward the Vamp. Come the apocalypse, do you go with John or Edward. Well, obviously the guy who can hunt better, reads minds, can carry you vast distances, never sleeps, and has super strength. He's the obvious choice because he's just tougher and stronger, WHICH IS ALSO WHY he's unappealing to men.

If you can pick out ten reasons other than badassery why he's Edward the Sparkly Romantic Vampire is unappealing to men, then congratulations, you have finally grasped why that was a bad argument for TLP to make. You understand why he shouldn't have drawn the 'women don't like superheroes' conclusion that he did. At least, not from that example.

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@biological woman: What wou... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 5:35 AM | Posted by car: | Reply

@biological woman: What would you think of a man who would leave his career for the right woman and prefer to let her do the driving and the finances? Food for thought.
Personally if i were this woman i would feel that he is too dependent on me- like i am the only important thing in his life.

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This whole False Flag femin... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 7:26 AM | Posted, in reply to Tamora Pierce's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This whole False Flag feminism thing started way back when cigarette companies saw that women were becoming increasingly relevant as consumers, but none were buying cigarettes.

So the inventor of PR, Freud's nephew Edward Bernays stepped in to help, and after consulting a psychoanalyst, who informed him that cigarettes are symbolic of the phallus/male power, devised a campaign involving hiring some attractive women to very publicly smoke cigarettes as a "protest".

Because clearly, women needed the right to slowly kill themselves just as much as men do.

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It depends on the reasons w... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 10:56 AM | Posted, in reply to car's comment, by Eipa: | Reply

It depends on the reasons why a woman leaves her career. Obviously it's not good when she does it because she is dependent on him like he is the only important thing in her life. But if she chooses to stop her career to care for her children or even to have more spare time she still can be a emancipated and feminist woman.

Same thing on following a husband... If he gets happier it's not called antifeminism but caring.

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Is it me, or is there a sex... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 12:52 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Is it me, or is there a sexual vibe going on? I don't have insight here but I can sense something, but it's so complicated---the movie, the book, the postings, the comments, feminism, self-sacrifice, responsibility, narcissism, raising kids, growing up, young girls---a mashup in my head. Then I stopped at my friend's house and she was watching Twilight as she does on a routine basis and Bella was hugging a shirtless Jacob in the most innocent way-!- in a dark room with no parents around and clinging to her principles and indignation in the following scene while a number of shirtless young mean stood around. She pushed one of them in the chest un-self consciously. Take that, young man! I will not be trifled with!
You feel me? I'm not criticizing, I think it's great. Shirtless young men can come over to my house and I'll hug them anytime. No problem! Maybe I'm wrecking the story for someone by pointing it out, but I'm evil that way.
And is your sexuality supposed to be---I don't like Freud's superego/ego/id model and thankfully not everybody uses it, there are other models---but is your sexuality supposed to be an id thing? Seriously, I tried to look it up once and got nowhere, so.

This writing is vague, probably half on purpose and half by design. I can try to clarify but I'd rather someone do it for me or at least provide something to bounce off of. Anyone-?

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Oh, crap. It just occurred ... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 2:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh, crap. It just occurred to me that what I meant was, it is interesting to me that there is this thing with films about young girls growing up and I haven't heard anyone say boo about anything sexual. And women relating to it, and nobody says anything. Or maybe they do and I missed it. And then I ran across Twilight (with the sound off) at my friend's and I've read a bit about it and I watched it very briefly and...I know Edward gets attention in the press and women say all these things about what a nice man he is and protective. I thought, what an interesting juxtaposition for a vampire, usually a powerful sexual figure. He's not attractive to me at all. Nobody says anything about Bella...she's fabulous, I like her. But she's not that different or maybe not at all from women in Harlequin romances. They always have principles---like Katniss---and they get all fierce and kind of wrapped---this is kind of Jane Eyre-ish too, and to some extent Jane Austen, although I'm thinking specifically about Emma. Not that I like romances or anything because most assuredly I do not, I read plenty of things. Ahem! Aren't I supposed to jut my chin out or something, here?
So some dude comes along, there's some kind of low level conflict possibly involving establishing that the guy is one of the good guys with some appearances or illusions to the contrary, of course the girl realizes on some level she was wrong and the guy was wrong too then there's some equality, in one regard, and I think the sex always happens by accident in this spontaneous overwelming way.
No judgment, seriously. Happy is happy. Whatever works.
Katniss is kind of different. She's a survivor. She seems kind of singular in some way, but kind of not. Of course she is a child, but in a way, she isn't; I don't think she is being treated as such in the comments on this site. To me she's just one big tragedy. But when I read some of the comments that support an image of her as feminist icon...I wonder what she means to women on a more personal psychic emotional level. If anything. It troubles me.

Like I said, it's just a mashup in my head.

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"It's your job to think abo... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 4:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"It's your job to think about why Alice is so unappealing to women"

Yep. It's a leading question and you're upset no one followed. Cause we just don't have enough agency to follow where you (mis)lead I guess...

You think TLP picked Alice to be What Feminists Ought To Be, and she *happens* to be a male sex fantasy in a movie built on traditional MALE gender roles (being, stereotypically, winning through violence)? She's the classic male fantasy because she's a blank slate with only one characteristic, and that is precisely why she was so appealing and readily useable to TLP. And precisely why she lacks appeal to (many) women: she's a blank slate, so if you don't need to project your fantasy onto her she is worthless.

Buffy is more unworkable in this regard because while she is a male sex fantasy, she is also a straight female sex fantasy (to live vicariously through) and a somewhat well-rounded character. She is *less* molded to patriarchy (still somewhat patriarchal, good job Scott) and coincidentally less well-molded to TLP's basic argument that when he sees feminists interpreting their own environments he becomes "concerned" and reminded that feminism should be defined by men such as himself. Fortunately for us, we're not his "daughters."

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Car,There are some... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 4:53 PM | Posted, in reply to car's comment, by biological woman: | Reply

Car,

There are some women out there who would love to have a man stay home taking care of kids while they pursue a highly time consuming career (like surgery). I would feel no disrespect towards a man who knows that his career isn't as important to him as his wife's is to her and is willing to act accordingly. People who love each other and plan to spend their life together should worry more about making each other happy than making everything perfectly mathematically equal and "fair".

Right now, my fiance and I both work (Should I mention AGAIN that I am financially independent, went to a good college and am doing very well in my career? People who respond to my comments seem to skip over that when they paint a picture of my lazy, boring, helpless self in their minds...), must he share the cooking duties with me equally? He doesn't like to cook, and I do. I find it calming and satisfying to create a nice meal at the end of the day, and my fiance enjoys eating home cooked meals. Switching roles half of the time would make us both less happy. I don't understand why doing the exact same thing for each other the exactly same number of times makes for a good relationship in so many people's minds. We love each other and concern ourselves with making each other happy rather than keeping score. I don't like to drive. He does. I trust him completely when he is behind the wheel and can relax. Btw, you didn't deliberately skip over the part where I said I have a car and drive myself everyday when I need to, did you? If we both disliked or like driving or cooking equally, we would probably try to share these tasks because our main concern would be making each other happy. Do you sense a theme here?

Yes, I said I would follow my man if he wanted to relocate for a good job offer, even though I have a good job that I like here. It's true. I care about my career, but i think he cares about his a lot more, so our career concerns are not equal. He cares about his more, so his job offer is more important. Does equality mean disregarding people's feelings? For our vacation last spring, he wanted to go to Hawaii, but I REALLY don't like tropical places, and i REALLY wanted to go to Europe. We went to Europe because my feelings there were much stronger than his. Going to Hawaii would've made me unhappy. Going to Europe didn't make him unhappy. Overall happiness factor within our couple pointed us towards Europe. The same points us towards his career goals. And I never said I wouldn't seek work wherever we'd end up. that's a rather strange thing to assume.

No, I don't think that a woman whose husband stays home with the kids while she provides for them should see the husband as too dependent or limited in life based ONLY on the fact that he stays home with the kids. If I were her, I'd assume that I'm a very important thing in his life. That's a good thing. Married people should love each other and put each other high on the list of priorities. (Well, in my humble opinion.) However, I certainly wouldn't assume that I were the only thing in his life. First of all, there would be those kids he'd be taking care of. Remember them? Some people consider their kids interesting, important and worth a lot of work. But other than the kids, since I'd make sure to marry a man I actually liked and respected, he'd probably have a lot of interests, hobbies as well as friends and family. After all, I would like to stay home with kids, and I have all the above mentioned (did you skip over that in my previous comment? Did you think I was lying? What?), so why wouldn't this hypothetical man also have a rich life despite not working? Lastly, I'd think very badly of a woman who planned this life with a man on purpose, and then lost respect for him for fulfilling the agreed upon role. Oh, and I think that this hypothetical couple is a statistical rarity. On average, men care more about their careers than do women. Women are more willing to stay home with the kids, in general. There is nothing wrong with that.

Of course a stay at home mom is dependent on her husband's paycheck... and he is dependent on her taking care of their kids. If she got hit by a bus, he'd be in a really tight spot, as far as the kids go. That's why even stay at home moms have life insurance. Marriage is a partnership. The whole point of a partnership is being able to depend on the partner in some way. Equality doesn't mean doing the exact same thing half the time. It could mean specialization. In fact, specialization is more efficient. Good partners can rely on each other to do their part for the maximum benefit of them both which goes beyond financial concerns (although includes those too, of course). Everyone who works hard for the good of the family deserves respect, no matter where the work is done.

Also, I'm confused. Are you saying that unless the newborn is enrolled in daycare immediately after birth, one of the parents will become deficient, somehow? From what I understand, you suggested that the male parent is deficient if he makes taking care of the baby his primary concern for a while, as a way to make me realize that the female parent is also deficient if a really young child is her primary concern. So... what are you suggesting? That families where children are raised by nannies or spend a lot of time in day care are somehow superior to the families where the kids are taken care of by parents? I honestly don't understand where you were going with this.

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I know! I find it strange t... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 5:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I know! I find it strange that masturbation wasn't mentioned, not even once. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret talks about it a number of times.

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Hello "biological woman", (... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 5:35 PM | Posted by car: | Reply

Hello "biological woman", (sorry that nick stuck somehow)

I made the comment from my phone, so I didnt have space to elaborate (typing on the phone is tedious), but you assumed the most negative things possible from my three sentences. I get what you mean by doing things to increase total happiness. I mean, not that you need my stamp of approval or anyone's but I actually see how things work with you and your relationship. Good for you.

Thank you for your answer to my honest question, it was very illuminating, you didn't have to get defensive/patronizing in tone, but screw the tone, you actually raised some great points (like about specializing the good stuff and sharing the crappy stuff in a partnership)

Now, I will give my input to the question you raised:
'I don't understand why doing the exact same thing for each other the exactly same number of times makes for a good relationship in so many people's minds. We love each other and concern ourselves with making each other happy rather than keeping score.'

It doesnt have to be so black and white (either you love each other and make each other happy OR you keep score). There are many ways love can work. What might seem as keeping score to you in other families might simply be a way of coexisting - no matter how much my dad loves cooking for example, sometimes he's so beat he cant do it, so its fair that he shares the job with my mom, who doesnt like cooking as much. Also, my dad is better with finances, but my mom doesn't feel right if she does not know what's going on in the household for example. Likewise, concerning your current relationship style, so what if some people may think you are not a feminist? It's your way of living and it works for you. But not everyone will be ecstatic about this choice of yours (or mine, or anyone's). People have all sorts of ideas about how other people should live.

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Ha! I meany Ulysses, not Ho... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 5:56 PM | Posted, in reply to kw's comment, by kw: | Reply

Ha! I meany Ulysses, not Homer. But Homer Simpson as hero may be much more complex...

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You know, I also feel relax... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 6:24 PM | Posted, in reply to biological woman's comment, by kw: | Reply

You know, I also feel relaxed and confident when my husband drives. He gradually began driving more and more often. Then there was a mix-up with his driver's license (long story) and I had to drive us everywhere. I actually love driving and hadn't even noticed how the task had become "his." But when I drove he was completely freaked out, even thought he had no reason to be. He just couldn't handle not being in control of the car. Driving got to be a chore for me because of the negativity. When he got his license again it would clearly "just be easier" if he drove. That's not what we did, though-- I drove as often as I could so he could get used to it and I could enjoy driving again, and now it's around an equal split, depending on who is more awake/sober/undistracted.

I'm not saying my experience is similar to yours re: driving, just pointing out another perspective on how it's "just easier" for a man and woman to fall into their respective gender roles when together. Even when a (straight) woman's partner isn't being an a-hole about being in control or being "the man," it's still "easier" to fall into him providing and her staying home with the kids when they live in a society where men tend to be paid more for the same job or working in a higher-paying profession or promoted more quickly, so it just happens that it "makes sense" for her to quit her job. And so on and so on.

I'm not saying that just because a woman stays home or follows him from state to state or whatever that she has no choice or doesn't know what she's doing. It sounds like you had lots of choice and you come from a family of women who had lots of choices. But you insinuated earlier that it was probably a biological disposition because your choice naturally led to [x]. So I'm pointing out that when we make choices they're not neutral and it's particularly difficult to control for social influence.

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I'm sorry Lilin.But ... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 6:54 PM | Posted by Scott: | Reply

I'm sorry Lilin.
But your argument hinges on the belief that picking Alice was completely random, and also that this article's true purpose is a discussion of bad assery.
You're expending a tremendous amount of effort to keep the matrix functioning.

You and i can argue all day about what fantasy character can kick what action character's ass, or who enjoys jerking it to whom. But you are the only one interested in that conversation.

Ignoring Alice's hit points, why do women dislike her, and not Katniss?

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So you've abandoned any hop... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 7:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Lilin: | Reply

So you've abandoned any hope of referring to the text and are just going with "You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, let me quote a movie I think is cool, you're wrong."

Well, I guess it's an accomplishment to have beat down all your affirmative arguments and left you with childish stubborn denial. Let me leave you with this, which you should know since you quoted it.

"Obviously you go with Alice, ***which is also why*** she isn't popular among women: There's no aspiration, no wish fulfillment, it's too fantastic, too impossible because Alice is, in fact, a superhero."

This is not a guided meditation, Scott. He gave us the reason he thinks Alice isn't popular with women. Unlike you, I can still support my arguments.

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"I'm convinced they keep ma... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 7:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Phil A.'s comment, by Anonymous Coward: | Reply

"I'm convinced they keep making them at a financial loss because no one knows anyone who likes those movies."

An entire generation came of age around the time The Fifth Element was released - not that there's any pride in it, but some will tolerate quite a bit of schlock to watch a reincarnation of Leeloo Dallas kick ass.

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Lilin,Yes he did giv... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 7:47 PM | Posted by Scott: | Reply

Lilin,
Yes he did give us his reason.
What is yours?

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"I'm dying to know if there... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 8:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I'm dying to know if there is some kind of relationship between us that isn't words and images."

sex with a blindfold perhaps :) I assume by "us" you mean people in general.

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I like the above comment. I... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 8:13 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I like the above comment. I laughed.
Otherwise, the thread is so surreal/disturbing that I can't wrap my head around it and I literally can't decide if it's fake or I'm dissociating. Real is not an option, it's out of the question. I'm going to go see if my neighbor has any vodka, or even one of those cheap 40 ouncers. I keep telling myself, "Well, people are gonna vote for Romney," in a sad little effort to accept reality. This is not a joke! It's really happening!

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Oh, it's alright, I fixed i... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 8:43 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh, it's alright, I fixed it in my imagination. Lilin and Scott have to sit in the corner and hold hands!

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It's OK. Lilin and Scott ar... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 9:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's OK. Lilin and Scott are fake. If they were real though it's OK, they would deserve each other. They remind me of an Edward Albee play. As long as they don't somehow have children.

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I have no clue wha... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 9:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

I have no clue what it is you are trying to say.

That happens because I don't have TLP's magical writing ability. But in this case, I think it's because you don't like it when people talk about your mother. My point was irrefutable, but you chose to miss it. You asserted that men didn't get emotional about mean words, and you were wrong. I pointed out why you were wrong.

The corruption that is the addiction of humans to emotional validation and 'pleasant' / 'polite' / 'cordial' LYING (in lieu of the ostensibly 'rude' Truth); has rotted its way through men in ways women are still immune. When a female human gets offended by words, she likely won't kill you or even want to. When a male human gets offended by words? Millions can die, but mostly they will just try to kill you.

It has nothing to do with gender. When you are emotionally insane, you will lose your mind at mean words, insults, barbs and insensitive people. You will get offended. You will react disproportionately (and this is how verbal disagreements turn into violence and deaths; one or both parties were emotionally insane and believed offence was grounds for violence or killing).

You were effectively suggesting that only women were emotionally insane. I was telling you that you were wrong, and the simple truth is that women handle mean words with a great deal more sanity than men. This is because men had mothers who loved them a great deal, who were terrified that their little best friend would leave them for his own best interests (~assumed to be the sandbox or playfields of kinder or grade school), and mothers do a very interesting and creepy thing. Perhaps they're too stupid to be plausible, or perhaps they're simply too in love? Because mothers who fear losing their little sons, will make their little sons terrified to leave their mother's 'protective' side. The irony is...yeah.

What mothers do is quite ingenious, actually; it's straight out of the Catholic playbook which has screwed over humanity (and those mothers) for 1000 years. To make their little boys terrified of other little boys (when the boys' interests would be served by the assumption of mutual friendship, rather than the caution of mutual fear leading to conflict); mothers simply get terrified for their son's sake, whilst telling their sons to be strong and brave.

That the state, religion and (not-nearly-as) organised crime syndicates do the same trick is neither here nor there. If you want someone to need your 'protection', all you have to do is make them afraid.

Love is all that is left to betray. - le Carre
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Jonny, I find that... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 10:00 PM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Jonny,

I find that men avoid violence since it becomes deathly quickly. So men tend to resolve conflicts when they arise. Women on the other hand keep and feed the tension for a longer while, using mean words and what not, for a longer while.

So yeah, women do handle the mean words better. But also use them a lot more.

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Look- I can't make you list... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 10:12 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Look- I can't make you listen to me. But I wish I could, because I'm Ginny, I'm not 'so called biological woman' who does actually have her own problems. Lord knows I do too. I'm not a doctor but you sound like you have a lot on your mind and other people aren't helping and you obviously want to talk and vent. You sound like a lot of things have built up and you sound very sensitive to me. Overwelmed. I don't know your situation but there's always 911. I'm not saying you don't have a point-I just can't hear what it is because it sounds so abstract, not concrete. Concrete terms might help. My most worrisome observation is you sound paranoid, but maybe you had a bad mother. Or maybe you are paranoid AND had a bad mother, I have no idea. Just, you know, I'm the one who said I had no clue what you were trying to say. I still don't.

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Love the Bonhoeffer quote, ... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 10:46 PM | Posted, in reply to DensityDuck's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Love the Bonhoeffer quote, and I don't think it's off topic. He's the only writer that conjures the same degree of self-loathing in me as TLP.

The deus ex machina that really got on my nerves was how the Capitol was able to keep the districts in line just by superior technology. If they're really such heartless bastards and you want the districts' resources, gas the people and extract what you need without the hassle, even more efficiently.

But I started thinking about it as an allegory: the Capitol is the people alive today, the present occupants of planet 3. The lower districts (11,12) are the past, the higher are the future. The Capitol's domination is an allegory for how we are squandering both our inheritance from our ancestors and demolishing the prospects of our descendants. The past was a short, grim struggle where most peoples' lives would be called slavery today, and now, we deify individual success to the point that people will flay each other (metaphorically) to get ahead (and the higher districts, AKA the future, presumably are even worse in this way, because they pore resources into training their tributes, most likely to be sacrificed for entertainment).

So in this allegory, Katniss and her success represent the ancient wisdom of putting your family first, and dealing with life as it comes to you, and doing your best to know who your real enemies are. This interpretation would mean that Ms. Collins is a hard-boiled reactionary at heart, which would be interesting. Anybody that read the book care to slice way in? What about the rest of the books?

And to the people getting into the metaphysics of commenting and getting overly personal while veering way off topic, I hate you and I hope you get arthritis soon.

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Car,I was really h... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 11:02 PM | Posted, in reply to car's comment, by biological woman: | Reply

Car,

I was really hungry when I wrote my reply to you, so I apologize for my tone. Perhaps I confused you with the first person who replied to me, and he invented a bunch of false and insulting things about me, based on the voices in his head. Sorry that I lumped you two together.

If your dad usually cooks, but your mom picks up the slack when your dad is really tired (or sick or busy), that's the opposite of keeping score. That's doing the thing that makes the most sense at the moment, considering the needs and happiness of both. We have our roles in the relationship because it feels good and natural. They are not set in stone. When my fiance wants to have a few beers at a friend's house, I drive us back. And when my mom (a stay at home mom at the time) got a bad flu, dad took a few days off work to help warm bottles and change diapers.

I think I'm much more of a feminist according to the classical feminist teachings, then the obnoxious feminazis of today. The point is that I am free to choose and that I make my own decisions which, in turn, benefits those around me. It's not all about me, me, me. Classical feminists (the ones who got me the right to vote and own property) argued that feminism would benefit men as well because women would become more reliable and supportive companions and better mothers, if they had more agency. People thought in terms of family back then.

Again, sorry about the way i came off. I'm now fed and set straight.

Cheers!

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Damn Bio Woman. A lot of pe... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 11:12 PM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Damn Bio Woman. A lot of people use stereotypes to make sense of the world around them, but it's a rare bird that uses them to understand itself and explain its own actions.

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Hey KW,You know, m... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 11:41 PM | Posted, in reply to kw's comment, by biological woman: | Reply

Hey KW,

You know, my fiance is also a bit jumpy when I drive, which makes me really jumpy. I see nothing wrong with going with what's just easier. Your case is different because you really love driving. With stuff both parties feel equally strong about, equal sharing works best, I think. And, of course, I drive him when he's had a few drinks or had his wisdom teeth taken out. We are not trying to appease some crazy feminist ideal or patriarchal gender roles, just doing what makes sense to us. The roles aren't set in stone. They are the way they are because that's how we like it.

You say that sometimes we fall into traditional gender roles because within our current society it's just easier and makes sense. I don't see anything wrong with that. The social influences of which you speak are certainly there, but they aren't strong enough to separate determined people from their dreams. Plenty of women are doctors, lawyers, military personnel and such. The ones who "accidentally" fall into traditional roles are probably the ones who didn't care if they do. And in that case, what's the harm? People who want to do something different have an ability to do so in our society. As for those who don't mind either way, why should they strain and exert more effort than needed to make themselves happy? Is defying gender roles some sort of a moral responsibility or civic duty?

Lastly, I disagree with you about our traditional gender roles not being based in nature, in some ways. There is a large spectrum, of course, and there are plenty of women who never want children or want to give their all to their career, just as there are plenty of men who are sensitive, nurturing and not very competitive. It's wonderful that, unlike 100 years ago, these people can now build lives that fit them. BUT, I think that, on average, there are a lot of differences between the genders that have roots in biology. In my experience, there are more men with type A personalities than women, and I think that's the reason that men are more likely to get promoted. Also in my experience, (outside of the very religious circles) within young couples, women tend to push for that baby and want it sooner than their men, and women also tend to want more kids than men. There are lots of other little things, but my posts are already way too long ( on average, women tend to be wordier then men). I think women tend to be the ones to stay home with the baby because they naturally feel more anxiety letting go of the baby. Also, can't argue against the existence of nature-provided feeding devices. I believe that the patriarchal traditions were based, in large part, on the laws of nature, and then a lot of other shit got tagged on and they took some things to the point of ridiculous.
Basically, i don't believe that men and women are the same, and I don't think that gender roles are completely a product of society, but that they are partially biology based. But if you disagree, i respect your opinion.

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Well, Gabe, I think my whol... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2012 11:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by biological woman: | Reply

Well, Gabe, I think my whole point was that, perhaps, stereotypes are largely based on reality. I just can't seem to communicate this without writing a 19th century novel.

Of course, there are many exceptions, so we should approach every individual respecting the fact that they might be that exception. But, from my own personal experience, the majority of urban Japanese children really do study all day long without breaks, the majority of people in Germany really are neat, organized and utilitarian in their daily lives and the majority of African Americans in the inner city really do love fried chicken and hot wings.

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Yep, you are not upset. Got... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 3:06 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Yep, you are not upset. Got it.

First of all, I don't think that even if I singled you out the current set up here, where nobody knows anyone and everyone can be someone else, kind of makes all your points irrelevant. Hear me out. A few comments ago Tim complained that someone commented under his name and that now he would be writing as Tiim. Someone usurped his "identity" (what kind of violation is that?) and he got a new one for free. In that sense nothing can be claimed to be a personal attack when anonymity and infinite nicks reign supreme. I could be Christina and you could be me or any combination of people, so nothing here can be an speculation of a real someone's sex life or anything else.

What I'm trying to say in short is that nothing can be taken personally when interacting in a realm where nobody is a fixed anything. If I scream at you in a bar we can see each other. Here it does not apply.

So, if I were to say that Tamora Pierce is an idiot, that cannot be considered insulting. Consider that in person to person communication you can see the other person's intention through facial expression, you know who the other is, even the color of their eyes. For all you know I could be a spambot about to sell you something. For all I know, you could be 10 different people laughing and dragging this on.

What I meant by hoping not to return was that you would want to stick with him... until he stops being original to you. In any event you consider a minor violation something that cannot be a violation at all because, again, everyone here is protected with anonymity. Curiously this also prevents us from ever really knowing the other.

Yes, a lot of people read Cracked and they are proud of it. Good for you.

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The technical infrastructur... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 7:44 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

The technical infrastructure that allows for anonymity in these kinds of forums does not excuse one from engaging in basic courtesy. To you, usernames and the paragraphs associated with them may represent so many ghosts in the machine, but these are actual, real people participating in this discussion.

That's a fact. They're real people. Even the people who accidentally use each other's handles are real people. Even people who lie about themselves are real people. They have human brains constructing the sentences and human hands typing the words. They're real. They're as real as the guy sitting next to you in the bar, or the woman getting out of her car across the street, or the flight attendant on the plane cruising miles over your head, or your mom who lives out of state, or me, typing on my laptop at my desk, or the cab driver who took you to your hotel six years ago, or the cop who's going to give you a speeding ticket three years from now. We're all real people, whether we're in physical proximity to you or not.

And since physical proximity to you has nothing to do with us being real people - we go on being real people, even when you're not around - you should owe us the basic courtesy you show the real people who are sitting around you in a bar. You should not insult any of us.

Unless there's something about physical proximity that really matters to you, more than it matters to other people. Perhaps you attach so much significance to physical proximity because for you, courtesy is merely a tool to avoid physical confrontation or earn physical reward. Maybe you only see people in terms of what they can do to you, or for you, and since nobody on the internet can do anything to you, or for you, interactions with us do not require basic courtesy.

Oh! I think I see why you read the blog of a guy whose thesis is that narcissism is the greatest source of unhappiness in the modern day. If you're reading it, it's for you. I guess.

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Ah, no. You brought his las... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 8:03 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Ah, no. You brought his last comment on yourself. He projected shit onto you, then you reacted, then he APOLOGIZED and even better than that admitted he was using you to deal with his own feelings, you came back and went off on him more. So of course he responded, I don't know what else you could expect him to do.

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Good God. I can't tell if ... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 10:25 AM | Posted by Carl Jung: | Reply

Good God. I can't tell if you're one of those lefty crazies who sees racism everywhere, one of those MRAs who are convinced that the system is set up against men and women have all the power because they've got the pussy or if you're a Dworkin-esque radfem who thinks any other brand of feminist isn't actually a feminist.

All your tirades are so verbose and convoluted I can't help to think they're powered by Bolivian marching powder.

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"I don't see anything wrong... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 11:22 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"I don't see anything wrong with that. The social influences of which you speak are certainly there, but they aren't strong enough to separate determined people from their dreams. Plenty of women are doctors, lawyers, military personnel and such."

Yes, and within those jobs the vast majority of those women will continue to deal with gender expectations: those who are well-liked because they're compliant and unthreatening will never get ahead in their jobs while those who manage others and go after promotions will be surrounded by co-workers who dislike and undermine them. Some will not be promoted because their bosses assume they'll just "naturally" want to get married, have kids and stay home. Others will have their voices drowned out in meetings time and again by men who have been taught to believe that a woman's voice is not as important as his own, or simply not listened to at all, or have her ideas and accomplishments claimed by someone else. If no one is listening to you in a meeting, what do you do, bring a pistol and a bull-horn? Maybe it's just "easier" to be the one who takes notes instead of participating. I promise you that those who shout down their female colleagues and refuse to listen will be the first to perk up and compliment her on her neat hand-writing and her coffee-making abilities.

It's no accident that this is easier, and yes. I would like that to change. Women aren't stupid, they've figured out work-arounds for all these issues. But they will be swimming upstream needlessly for the rest of their lives-- from elementary school to their nursing home. At that point settling for the easier route isn't a choice, it's coercion. And what's the problem with coercion? I guess maybe it wouldn't bother me if I had complete and utter trust in politicians, random men off the street, and random petty woman-hating women to make the right choices for me. But I don't. If these problems were really no big deal, then legislation such as equal pay and anti-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment would be pretty popular and non-controversial, right? Or completely unnecessary? If social influences aren't a big deal why does the federal government need to intervene?

I also cannot believe women aren't as type-A or whatever as men. I went to an all-girl school for a little while, and with the absence of boys, plenty of girls became class clowns, uber-nerds, science fair winners, jocks, hamming for the spotlight and going for what they wanted, be it pothead burnout oblivion or Olympic athlete. While in mixed-gender groups girls would be much less likely to speak or perform and when they did there were immediate social consequences. Again, I don't think it's natural for people to follow a road someone else has chosen for them even if that road is covered with rose petals and lined with adoring fans. Maybe it is the right one for them-- even a broken clock is right twice per day.

As far as biology, it's difficult to know what the differences are (scientists don't exist outside of a sexist society). But if I am to believe we "evolved" so men could use their brute strength to shuffle papers in management and women could use our delicate "networking" selves to do manual labor alone in a house all day within a nuclear family that has only been "normal" for a century or so, that's pretty extraordinary and I'll be needing some extraordinary evidence to convince me.

By the way there is no such thing as a feminazi, just as there's no such thing as a "domestic angel." Rush Limbaugh made up the term.

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Sorry-- the above comment b... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 11:24 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by kw: | Reply

Sorry-- the above comment by "anonymous" was me.

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Not related to this post sp... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 11:56 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Not related to this post specifically but would like to hear what you make of the attacks in norway last year

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Ah, no. You brought his ... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 2:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Ah, no. You brought his last comment on yourself. He projected shit onto you, then you reacted, then he APOLOGIZED and even better than that admitted he was using you to deal with his own feelings, you came back and went off on him more. So of course he responded, I don't know what else you could expect him to do.

Huh.

I went back and attempted to read our exchange from your perspective, especially JohnK's "apology post" at April 14, 2012 3:17 PM.

I'm always skeptical of apologies that include words like "if' and "perhaps," since those kinds of caveats usually signal a temporary tactical retreat in the argument rather than a straightforward acknowledgement of wrongdoing (I use "wrongdoing" in the absolutely lightest sense here, as all apologies are an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, even if it's minor and unintentional wrongdoing like knocking over a glass of water).

To be fair to JohnK, he did say outright that it was "not [his] intention," to upset me. I have to concede that it's possible that he was telling the literal truth, and I suppose that possibility is supported by his notion in later comments that nothing said on the internet is "real" or should have accountability attached, ergo he might honestly believe that I have no legitimate cause to be annoyed by the derisive language and insulting speculations in his posts.

That seems kinda crazy to me; if nothing else he should have observed by now that most of the people who comment in most of the intellectual/philosophical/literary-ish forums on the internet are sincerely trying to communicate with others. That's certainly the case for me; you can see in my posts that I'm clearly way more interested in the intellectual exercise of proving why his theories are wrong than exchanging personal insults. I mean, that's why I read Alone; I love literary proofs.

What are you referring to when you say, he "admitted he was using [me] to deal with his own feelings?" I'm not seeing where he indicates that, which I'm sure is oversight on my part.

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I forgot to ask:Jo... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 3:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

I forgot to ask:

JohnK - Do you feel this is this an accurate interpretation of your comments?

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O/TThank you for a... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 5:34 PM | Posted by Lars: | Reply

O/T

Thank you for a fantastic site!

Please, give your analytic view/analyze on the Norwegian murderer Anders Breivik!

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1 of 3This is a lo... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 8:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

1 of 3

This is a long post, I’m dividing it up into sections because otherwise it’s hard to copy/paste; I’m guessing three posts total. Since it is personal and lengthy, if you’re opposed to that, don’t read it. It isn’t for you anyway, it’s for Christina.
The inclusion of rape would be problematic as the story appears simple. Katniss= good, Capital= bad. Poor disempowered people= good, empowered (albeit in a highly dubious way) people with money= bad. So to my thinking if one was to introduce rape, besides making the story much harder and more complicated to respond to and less appropriate for children, there is also the idea that if the rape occurred amongst the poor disempowered people, it upsets the dichotomy of lower socioeconomic class= poor victims, and it makes them perpetrators. Not that they were absolute saints but that including a rape makes it much harder to see them as victims at all. That’s detrimental to the story.
I also think seeing rape in a movie would of course be different than reading it in a book. It would be hard to interpret it for the viewer in a movie, the images would be damaging, blah blah. In a book you can have some control over how the information is interpreted by the reader.
To be fair, I didn't see the movie, I read a brief scene by scene breakdown online and some other stuff online, so maybe I am totally wrong. (I wish I would stop it with the snap judgments because it feels sort of wrong but it’s kind of therapeutic). It helps that it's dystopian; that is kind of a clue, power structure/conformity/government = bad, but humanity/individuality/feelings=good.
Although it occurs to me now that there may be a commonality? Lack of demonstrated critical thinking? On both sides. But whatever, I don’t care. I wonder if I knew more about how plays are structured---the author writes plays and used some kind of typical play structure. Maybe someone else can do it. I’m sick of it.

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2 of 3OK, so this ... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 8:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

2 of 3

OK, so this guy does this email to you and he says you want Alone.The post is very emotional, throwing trigger language around, and attributes power to Alone that is inordinate, kind of idealizing. (?) Frankly it sounded like it had everything to do with him and nothing to do with you or Alone, except for the idea that Alone does appear to write some things that lend themselves to interpretation. I have to say though, I don’t kill myself trying to get it the way it was intended- that sounds headachy. I thought he should write something really personal just for a wild experiment since we really don’t know much, but I can see how that might be problematic.
I’m not re-reading the posts (sorry if I am wrong or inaccurate). I couldn’t get it on any level- I thought he meant you wanted Alone because you talked about rape. I’ve seen comparable thoughts expressed on this site before; I’ve likely made a number of my own remarks that reflect on me badly as well.
So you respond, of course. Anyone would.
So he writes you, I believe he expressed regret or something close enough to an apology and expressed affection for Alone comparable to a father/lover. Actually, no, he said Alone meant even more than that. I guess to me when someone apologizes then they get a break. Not if they keep doing it forever and ever. But it is like an automatic time-out. I wouldn’t much care about whether they realize my position or are thinking it through rationally or anything else, overall I think apologies are felt by someone and so out of concern for them and trying to keep the relationship open, you just accept it and move on. I also don’t much think it matters whether the apology is sincere all the time—I just don’t. Maybe I assume some part of them somewhere must mean it and that is enough. Or maybe the idea of looking at it from the angle of “Is this person sincere?” sounds exhausting.
Maybe the whole spiel about Alone was not real, and he made it up for whatever reason, but I assumed it was; it parsed for me. He does get a lot of extreme attention, love or hate, never more so than when he brings up narcissism or this last bit about sexism. Even calling it love or hate is using a misnomer; it’s more like adulation .I noticed a lot of the ‘hate’ is along the lines of, “I know you are but what am I.” I assume it’s just transference issues zinging around. I feel bad pointing it out because I don’t want to ruin anyone’s trip. But I have issues and thoughts too, so I get to express that like everybody else (or as is the case currently, more). I actually tried to figure out if I had some kind of strong opinion of Alone myself and came up with not anything very definite; he’s a shrink; I tend to think of him sort of like a beanbag that gets tossed around depending on what I am trying to say.
Anyway, I know me (somewhat) and my default is set at, if you’re not sure, assume people mean exactly what they say. I like it, it is easy, I’m sure it must limit me in some ways but in more ways it helps.
And….. then you wrote him back and to me it sounded querulous. The original blog entry reminded me of my mother in a bad way once I got done reacting all over the place (psychological crap, headache to explain). and I was really fed up with not you, but the tone and content of many of the posts.

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3 of 3If I remembe... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 8:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

3 of 3

If I remember right he then wrote in and said something about Alone not being a ‘real’ person. “Just words and images.” So you can see that it is at least possible he is sorting through an issue, trying different feelings and perspectives out. That’s it, that is the limit of my insight. If it is insight. I don’t think he is literally meaning that…I’d assume not, actually. It might be like three perspectives that haven’t gotten all integrated or whatever. That’s not a thought-out thing; it’s a reflexive guess, maybe I’m wrong.
I have complete and total respect for that kind of thing. I think. It’s important. I think it is brave. I can relate to trying to figure people, reality, and my feelings and thoughts out in a felt way. Generally, I think it is more productive to deal with feelings because that is what helps with me, mostly.I mean, sitting around and feeling them seems to help.
But anyway, then you wrote back-I can’t remember if it was to him. Or me.

I just like how he is dealing with his feelings. I suppose I got the sense that there might be enough going on with him that adding to it might not be fair to him. Like his “stuff” was shifting around a lot as it was.
You sounded angry- that sounded pretty constant. Except I remember the whole muffins remark about Alone. I could hear the retro-female thing going on and it didn’t sound sincere. I think what does not work for me is constant anger and perhaps being insensitive when you’re jumping all over someone else for their insensitivity. Or expecting them to deal with too much of your reality when they’re struggling with their own. Or totally flipping over an insult to your sexuality ---which as I’ve said I don’t think was about your sexuality, but maybe it was---it’s a little hard for me to listen to someone who sounds like they’re copping an attitude about their sexual/virtue and womanhood and their victimization when it also sounds, by contrast, like they might be disrespecting another’s virtue/sexuality, sense of their own masculinity, and you’re victimizing them (ironically). And elevating your needs over theirs. (Not saying I don’t do this ever).
But. This conflict is similar to my experience of my parent’s marriage; it wouldn’t be all that unusual for a kid to try to take on those issues and fix them. You can hear how I’m not saying this is me, I’m just observing. My mother is a handful even psychically and I have known this for some time but haven’t consciously been able to do anything with it (or with her). You remind me of her. .

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Argh. AddendumOne ... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 9:24 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Argh. Addendum

One more thing. Uh, about the angry female thing. It’s potentially counterproductive to take this out on men if you’re straight. I guess some stranger on a forum is a stranger on a forum maybe, but I’m not so sure. If some dude (or many of them) hurts you and pisses you off. I’m thinking of someone I know; her father abandoned her, and she won’t acknowledge any anger or sadness about it, …he’s sort of frozen for her. I just feel something that feels weird there. She emotes and reacts in every direction BUT towards him.
I wouldn’t think about it if she wasn’t so pissed at all men. Actually she goes back and forth between the borderline thing about extremes of idealization and devaluation. It looks more like rage and submissiveness/masochism; I wouldn’t see it in a borderline context if I hadn’t read it somewhere.
It’s done a lot of damage in relationships and does not appear to have helped her in any real way. Now that there isn’t such an abundant supply of men, she looks sad and wounded a lot.
Outside of a relationship context, she’s very narcissistic, always on top in every conceivable way. No consistent objective reality. Just whatever keeps her on top at the moment- she won't let herself be vulnerable.
I’m not saying that’s you or anyone on this forum. I’m expressing it maybe because I find it striking how little empathy I seem to have for the angry female thing. It feels right now like I’ve been extremely fortunate at having men who put up with my shit and, after I was raped, in my twenties, my anger. Maybe that helped. ?

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Yes. let's move on, shall w... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 10:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Yes. let's move on, shall we?

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Like the one who perpetuate... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2012 10:47 PM | Posted by Dr. Bubby De Niro Psy.BS, IDGAF: | Reply

Like the one who perpetuates sexism and gender roles... wait you are that person.. you define everything in a binary system which is a mockery to the human intelligence. Go fuck a tree. Or hug, same thing.

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My head hurts... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 12:20 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

My head hurts

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@Biological Woman. <b... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 2:51 AM | Posted, in reply to So Named biological woman's comment, by jonny: | Reply

@Biological Woman.

I'm assuming your post was in response to mine...

You assumed correctly, Ma'am. But the reason you're not really a biological woman is that you seem to have biology confused with the creepiest sociopath this world has ever read about; He's provably the most insane, disturbed, blood-thirsty, vindictive, deceitful, misogynistic, pedophiliac, demented, mind-numbingly vile, patronising, schizophrenic, demonic (His "evil spirits" which torment Him) genocidal, maniacal and the God Damn Creepiest - did I mention how creepy this horrifying Creep was? - Son of a Bitch (His opinion) in all of living history.

I know he had some mother issues, abandonment etc but then Moses and God (they're the same person, I hope I don't have to explain kindergarten logic to you) absolutely HATE humanity, except for their Chosen People. This is how they feel about those lucky Chosen guys:

Numbers 21:5 (KJV) And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water

6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

You live in a world where 60% of those with 'free' will worship this demonic illusion. And you are exploited because this demon hated everyone, but he hated women twice as much. That's two times (count 'em) the HATRED, for free! It's a two-for-one deal on everything God has to offer.

Leviticus 12:2,4 (KJV) If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days ... And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days.

Leviticus 12:5 (KJV) But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks ... and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.

You're filthy for giving birth to children. But if you give birth to a female child, you're twice as filthy. You agree. I disagree. You are arguing with me and this is why I haven't responded to you until now. You're too creepy to be plausible. I was asking you questions in a discussion about an issue that is believed to be "feminism", but which is really something over twice as huge in scale. 7 billion or 20 billion or 100 billion if we can't fluke sanity pretty soon.

Sanity isn't getting any help from you. You think people could possibly care about you when you have given them no reason to. That's the narcissism talking. That is the exploitation that will never be in your best interests because it makes you batshit insane, like your entire rambling post about yourself. I'm capable of doing the same, but only when I'm drunk. Jesus made the water into wine, and I only need to drink purified water or pasteurized milk or fruit juice but Jesus made the water into wine. It's not mitigating, it's merely the reason I embarrass myself with poison.

That's my exploitation. The reason we're exploited are the same. This is a world dominated by the poison of their stupidity and we can all be stupidly narcissistic and insane. When I'm blind drunk. When you're blind sober. Drunks can see, after the hangover. Narcissists just get laughed at and ridiculed their entire life. Not to their face! To your face, I'm sure they're all really 'sweet' on you.

I'm pretty sure Alone has written something about "narcissism; maybe you want to navigate around this blog and check it out.

You have been exploited by a Society so creepy, it almost doesn't bear thinking about it. Religion would prefer you go one step further and stop thinking, period. That's because they have manufactured 100% of the creepy for that express reason (to get people to hate thinking, but if you hate thinking you are doing it wrong). You are doing everything wrong. You prefer other people to think for you. And you think this makes you valued. I dunno, but if I were you, I would not think I was more important an issue than "feminism". Which is what you've done when you insult yourself thinking you're insulting me by imagining that I could possibly give a damn about your creepy dating preferences or your poor, tragically-unlucky, children.

You really thought I could value you more than 3 billion women or 7 billion humans who are exploited just like you. That's not a question. I'm telling you this is what you assumed. You're an imbecile. But I know, being an imbecile is what you CHOSE to do. It's biological, right?

Please. Shut your face until you are ready to take your place in Sane Society. There are 7 billion of us, but very few card-carrying members. Until you become sane, you have nothing of value to assert or preach. Ask questions. Learn. Hush your imbecilic corrupted-childish "me me me" noise which imagines this world is somehow about you; which gets loudest when people try to help you and help humanity...only to end up 'offending' your insanity, instead.

You're getting biology mixed up with this Guy:

Leviticus 12:2,4 (KJV) If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days ... And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days.

Leviticus 12:5 (KJV) But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks ... and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.

But then God and Moses just fucking kill everyone. And rape their children. They hate women, obviously; you better not expect them to be happy if you bring them a blood offering that is a female calf or w/e. Males only, but if the Priests are hungry, they will leave the option open for some female animal wave offerings. You should know that your sacrifice makes anyone who eats it Holy, and you should know that the Priests eat up your stupidity as easily as they make parents think it's a good idea to give toddler girls (who are dressed in pink, or everyone would get confused - and this would be a terrible thing, to get the sex of toddlers confused? why are people thinking about the sex of toddlers?) breastfeeding dolls to play with, and toddler boys (who are dressed in blue, to assist with the identification of the sex of toddlers) little soldier dolls who shoot and kill each other to play with.

Boys to fight and die in slave wars. Girls to breed slaves. You have a very important job on the plantation, Biological Woman. I cannot imagine why anyone would want more for women, than exploitation. Apparently I'm the only kid in the world who doesn't want to trick or trap or coerce girls into sleeping with me, or hook up with any girl who is attempting to do exactly that to me.

Shut up. Go wipe that filthy painted burqa off your idiotic face. Biology? Was it your DNA that forgot to supply you with the requisite whore paint in allow you to be tolerable in public; to allow you to be competitive as a human being; to 'gift' you the means to attract by way of deception?

Biology? You imbecile.

You're not a Biological Woman. You're too stupid to be one. But maybe you want to change, and become sane? I understand this is possible. I knew a kid who did something like this once.

If you don't want to, that's your prerogative. And you will continue to be exploited just like every 12 year old child in the 1.1 million-strong child prostitution industry in Thailand.

Those 12 year old girls are Biological 'Women', too. Women, ROFL. They won't ever get to that age! They CHOSE their exploitation, just. like. you.

7 billion humans all CHOOSE to their insanity. It's biological. Shut your vile poisonous mouth. And clean the filthy corruption which resides where your NATURAL brain used to.

And if you have a problem with any of this, just take solace in that you run no risk of finding yourself on a date with me. I'm spoken for. Find someone who makes you happy, and the two of you can raise your daughters however you see fit. But you'll have no say in how I'll raise mine.

In the 50's they used to slap imbeciles like you. In 2012, they still do (in 3/4 of the 'civilised' world). I don't want billions of girls to be imbeciles like you. I don't want you to be an imbecile. But until you understand that humans care about issues that affect billions, and couldn't - feasibly - care if you lived or died, you should keep your vile exploitation to yourself. Narcissists are covering the globe with their filthy, creepy, exploited paint, and you're poisoning human children. And I'm not going to be 'polite' to creeps like you. That's how you got to be this creepy, for the information of someone who is capable of being sane. From my experience with the exploited, I doubt that is you.

I care about feminism. You care about you. I care about 3 billion girls / 7 billion humans. You care about you and ~ men who are 'sweet' to you. Or not. But that's an entirely separate, yet identical, issue.

The Law guarantees your right to own the children you give birth to. Though they have done nothing to deserve it, why don't you save your creepy shit for their 'benefit' alone? I can only speak for myself but this creepy poison strangles the will to strive for coherence right out of me. It's like your my mother. Everywhere I turn, my mother (who put on makeup every day without ever leaving the house). But gosh did she care about the (imaginary) public perception of her. They didn't care if she lived or died, but she killed all her children with her insane caring about how much she imagined creeps cared about her attempts to deceive them and put her "best foot forward" (her feet were us).

Go put on some makeup. Go impress some boys with your 'biological' insanity, or just smear it on your filthy residual paint, "for you". You have a guy now. And you still put the makeup on. Yeah, you're perfectly sane. You're not exploited at all. Now go, terrifying painted doll; in peace. And take your creepy insanity with you.

If I'm a little emotional, it's because you killed my little siblings. You. My mother. All you painted narcissistic whores blur into pretty much the same terrifying illusion.

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All righty. I'm sorry I di... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 3:48 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

All righty. I'm sorry I didn't take you word at face-value; I can definitely be overly suspicious at times.

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The inclusion of rape wo... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 4:14 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

The inclusion of rape would be problematic as the story appears simple

I should say here that I didn't actually want to see a scene where Katniss is raped.

But I do think that that, as a storyteller, Collins should have hung a lampshade on it. One sentence from Katniss about "at least I won't have to worry about rape, because...(whatever reason)" would have saved it, I think. There was no need to have an explicit attempted rape scene and we can argue it wouldn't have been appropriate for her audience. But I think the sad truth is, if Collins' Hunger Games world was 100% real, rape would be a very real threat, which is why I was distracted by the false note she struck as a writer when the issue was never mentioned. A wee little lampshade - just a sentence or two - would have helped prevent me from getting distracted by why it wasn't mentioned.

Alone's post wasn't about the story on its own terms (the way he wrote about Shame) as much as it was about the choices Collins made as a writer and how her readers are reacting to her work. Never mentioning rape was a failing of the writing, perhaps driven by the same sexism (unconscious or otherwise) that Alone writes about in his original post.

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Okay. Here's the narrative... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 5:57 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Okay. Here's the narrative, from my perspective:

Please believe me when I say it I literally believed that JohnK's first post was a joke. The idea that somebody would seriously make a statement so provocative and (potentially) offensive didn't occur to me.

So I laughed and replied in-kind, continuing what I believed was a moment of improvisational comedy by adding to the joke and playing the role of the absurd character JohnK had speculated that I was in his first comment.

Then he rejected my joke, with a follow-up question implying that he was serious, so serious that he had cared enough to remember a clearly off-handed comment of mine in a different entry. At that point I took his speculation seriously, and I set out to explain why his speculation was incorrect as it relates to me, personally. This post, where I explain my thinking is an exceedingly gentle explanation of my thought process, where, if you'll notice, I didn't address how provocative or aggressive his posts had been up until that point. I just explained why he was incorrect.

His reply was aggressive, dismissive, and did not address any of the facts I stated. In fact, an uninvolved third party noticed and asked if he was being facetious or trolling, possibly because JohnK's assertion struck "Anonymous" as so absurd it was a joke (the way I similarly believed JohnK's first post was a joke).

But JohnK replied, "I'm being sincere,", and made a few more unfavorable speculations about me, which he continued in yet another post.

At that point, after FIVE unprovoked aggressive posts directed at, or about, me, and the fact that he had had refused to address any of my logical arguments, I further explained my thinking.

I admit, I wrapped up the post by asking JohnK if he is jealous of Alone's success. I don't think it's as cheap as any of the shots he took at me, but maybe I should have restrained myself from even going that far.

However, when I saw (later in the timeline) that he had rejected my explanation without addressing it, going on to complain about superior performers (in this case, Alone is a writer) "dominating" the public discourse and, in short, making it difficult for the little guy, I lost patience and mocked his complaint, extrapolating it out to its most absurd conclusion, in large part to demonstrate why it didn't make sense.

Then came his apology, which I didn't believe expressed any sincere concern for me or interest in my thought process, especially as he was continuing to defend his thinking and had yet to address any of my thinking.

I didn't want or need an apology; I would have vastly preferred an acknowledgement that his original thesis was incorrect, or at least an admission that he was potentially incorrect. At that point, his refusal to engage in reasoned discourse was (for me, anyway), even ruder than the tone of his comments, and I started to wonder if he even knew how rude he was being. So I got into why the assertions in his first five posts were offensive.

Which, let's not forget, they were. They were both inaccurate and offensive. I was patient in explaining why they were inaccurate, but when he refused to acknowledge that they were inaccurate, I explained why they were offensive and inaccurate.

JohnK defended himself, not by addressing any of my points, but by asserting that the nature of anonymity on the internet excuses all accountability.

That argument struck me as even more absurd that his original speculations about my supposed lust for Alone, and also made me further question the sincerity of his "apology post." After all, why would he apologize if he believes there is no - and presumably should be no - personal responsibility to be courteous in anonymous forums?

I spent the bulk of my last debate post explaining why his thinking is incorrect. I couldn't follow his logic - not until I tried to model his idea that people on the internet aren't people, since they could all be anything. Once I started examining that perspective, I realized there was a lot of commonality of theme with Alone's posts about narcissism.

I will admit, wrapped up that post with my first outright personal and potentially offensive speculation about JohnK, by positing that he's a narcissist. I might be accurate, I might not be. Who knows.

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"Until you become sane, you... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 6:47 AM | Posted by Elazar: | Reply

"Until you become sane, you have nothing of value to assert or preach."
right
or anything?

Quote me a madman's diary and you might as well be mad. Quote me a "sane" man's diary and I might as well be mad. but more likely bored off my ass.
You lack any original thought. You are a Frankenstein of pathetic proportions
Go rape yourself with a broken bottle, biatch

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Huh...my response to your "... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 8:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Huh...my response to your "part 2 of 3" is being held for approval of the webmaster. I'm not sure why that is, unless it's that the links I included as reference (to the individual comments) need to be vetted.

But if my posts are being suspended because of their content, for goodness sake, Alone, let me know! This is your house and I'm a guest in it; I won't engage in this kind of discussion if it's violating the rules of this forum or the spirit of it!

I just like how he is dealing with his feelings. I suppose I got the sense that there might be enough going on with him that adding to it might not be fair to him. Like his “stuff” was shifting around a lot as it was.
You sounded angry- that sounded pretty constant. Except I remember the whole muffins remark about Alone. I could hear the retro-female thing going on and it didn’t sound sincere. I think what does not work for me is constant anger and perhaps being insensitive when you’re jumping all over someone else for their insensitivity. Or expecting them to deal with too much of your reality when they’re struggling with their own. Or totally flipping over an insult to your sexuality ---which as I’ve said I don’t think was about your sexuality, but maybe it was---it’s a little hard for me to listen to someone who sounds like they’re copping an attitude about their sexual/virtue and womanhood and their victimization when it also sounds, by contrast, like they might be disrespecting another’s virtue/sexuality, sense of their own masculinity, and you’re victimizing them (ironically).

I was debating with JohnK. I was attempting to demonstrate where his thinking was incorrect. My goal - my sole goal - was to communicate where his thinking was in conflict with (what I see as) reality.

Ideally he would have acknowledged that his thinking was flawed, or he would have demonstrated how my thinking was flawed. One or the other.

That exact exchange happened in this very comment thread, where "Eipa" made an incorrect statement that sex does not play a role in books like The Hunger Games. I responded with a list of five specific examples of books within the market shared by The Hunger Games where rape is addressed, proving that she was incorrect.

Eipa then did a thing that is beautiful; she acknowledged that I was factually accurate and that she had inferior knowledge of the subject.

Feelings didn't come into it. We both looked at the objective truth of the matter, and, on that small point, came in to synchronous thought. We both recognized objective reality - and objective reality is the only reality - and we did it together.

That is the most beautifully human behavior I can think of, and it is the goal of my life: To be in synchronicity of thought with objective reality. In human interactions, I seek to be able to change my thinking when it's demonstrated I am out of step with objective reality, and to be able to help others achieve synchronicity of thought with objective reality when they're out of step.

That is the sum total of my attitude about my interaction with JohnK. Aside from a few moments toward the end when I began to abandon objective reality in order to speculate about what is currently unprovable (JohnK's real, actual mindstate, rather than what he communicated through writing), I think I was pretty objective, rational and unemotional.

I would absolutely disagree that I came across as "constant[ly]...angry." I don't think there's anything in my actual text that expresses anger. I believe (believe - but I don't know and won't assert that I do) that you are filtering through emotions caused by whatever trauma you suffered within your family system (you obliquely reference the conflict in your parents' marriage).

Full disclosure: I was raised by loving parents who are in a loving marriage to this day. I talk to at least one of my parents every day. I was never abused, abandoned, traumatized or parentalized. I was raised to be secure in the knowledge that, if I was demonstrably correct about something, that correctness would be honored and acknowledged. If I was wrong, my parents would explain to me why I was wrong. The harmony in our home was based on synchronicity of thought, which was itself based on objective reality.

Your writing gives me the sense that you are an intensely emotional person; I should explain that I am the opposite. Because rational thought was highly valued and rewarded in my family system, emotionality was correspondingly devalued. I learned to overcome emotions that were not productive or rational - or at least, I learned the value of attempting to overcome them (it still takes work).

So please, understand that when I say, I'm not constantly angry, and my writing is not an expression of anger, I am absolutely sincere. If there is something in my writing that demonstrates anger to you, I would love to see, specifically, what it is. But as you've said that you aren't going to be rereading any of the exchanges (and I'm not going to press you to waste any of your time), I think we've reached an impasse.

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Christina, look, I didn't r... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 10:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Christina, look, I didn't read the posts in their entirety-I got tired. It sounds like you live in a world where all of your thinking is the only objective reality. That guy you have so much conflict with just apologized AGAIN "Lets' move on, shall we" is an apology. Do you have a difficult time with feelings? I would guess so. Because of the lack of empathy. Or maybe you're just defensive? It's not that striving for objective truth is so wrong, it's just that not trying to have empathy or feelings is not good. I'm not reading your posts in their entirety because they all sound the same to me. It's like being hit over the head with Christinaness over and over.
But someone else might read your posts and it might totally resonate, or might make them see things in a way that had not ever seen them before, or might be what they've secretly always thought, too. It is certainly true that when I responded to your post I was really responding to my strong feeling about the guy who apologized---I've noticed I jump on people a lot lately. People are mean to other people, I get mean to them. I have no clue why. I just noticed it last night.

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You mad, playa? Keep invoki... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 10:55 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

You mad, playa? Keep invoking your love for all humanity, it's inspiring. Lulz.

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And the narcissism problem ... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 10:59 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

And the narcissism problem is yours, not John's.

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Anders Behring Breivik. </p... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 1:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Steve Jobs: | Reply

Anders Behring Breivik.

In court today he justified his course of action with WWII history, translation:

" - What I did was not evil. It was necessary in the same manner of the bombings of Japan during WWII. In order to save millions of lives, it was necessary to take 300 000."

Assuming he is not motivated by ideology, he still feel the urge to justification. A couple of years ago, I dined a guy who overtly was cheating and playing the social welfare system, not to mention insurance fraud. His justification was "don't you read newspapers? That's the way the world is. Everyone are fighting for a bigger piece of the pie."

They both look to the world for justification, and have no problem finding it. Pardon, not the world, but what he is told about the world, the pieces he chose to buy.

Not important, but our universities raise us to think that one cannot make valid claims about what ought to be on the basis of what is. Although Hume was clearly correct in that there are such errors to be made, it's also intrinsic to this school of thought that ethics doesn't exist (god is dead), like mathematics.

Our rulers are not bound by ethical concerns, nor particularly restrained by the might of intellectuals (hypothetically they would be.)

In the circus, Breiviks atrocities are commonly being standardized as "acts of terror". Lone narcissistic loser killer who proclaim to fight for "European values" and 19 ayrabs organized in hate against freedom - apart from both being malicious, what's the similarities? Couldn't find any highlights myself.

Breivik: "- 22 July is not about me in any way. It was an suicide operation aiming to attract attention. A narcissist wouldn't sacrifice his life for anything, he said."

Did he sacrifice his life?

No, I'm not asking you.

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I agree with you. We create... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 1:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Um science: | Reply

I agree with you. We create fairy tales- religions- to make us less than the programmed animals we actually are. We made a democratic society to feel like we have some control over our fate- and we do have alot. But, we are animals and if we had a clearer understanding of this from school we would all have more respect for what is natural and positive in both and the freedom for mutations- as that is natural in all species. We do strive for that here- and I think women embrace being sudo heroes with morals they want admired about their nature-Katness.
This movie was forgettable to me. I have not read or watched the twilight thing or harry potter or most action and fantasy stuff.
Not my thing at all- or love story stuff like the lucky one. Seems any swing to ultra female or male or fairy tale/religion/ sci fi- I can't be hypnotized.
Anyway- I wish what you talk about was taught in schools so people can grow up with what is known science and make human choices with this in mind. The real choice of ethics, responsibility and morals.

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Biological woman: I really ... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 2:16 PM | Posted, in reply to biological woman's comment, by Um science: | Reply

Biological woman: I really appreciate your INSIGHT. I deal with mostly personality disorders at my job and they have zero insight, arrogance and have no interest in being responsible for just about anything.
You are more than intellectually bright but are emotionally bright.
I wish how you think was taught in schools so we could head off many relationship problems and maybe a few personality disorders.
You are impressive and a true feminist!

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I reread the posts, I can’t... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 2:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I reread the posts, I can’t tell if you are responding to JohnK posts only, or if you are also responding to the Anonymous posters assuming it’s JohnK. I see differences between the Anonymous and the JohnK.
As far as JohnK having conjecture about your sexuality, he can’t possibly know. And whatever he says about your sexuality comes from a place inside him.

I can’t speak to the concept of bringing sexuality into a post as being appropriate or inappropriate. I drag people’s sexuality into things all the time. I don’t know them really. I know there is a shrink somewhere who would say “core damage” to me, like I was causing it.. (Ironically, I slept with him. He had a lot of sexual issues he kept secret). I don’t think so though, I don’t think it is inappropriate to drag (your conception of) their sexuality into things. I don’t think your sexual self or your sexual personae that you have in your head, if you have one, is your core self. I think who a person is, is a mystery. Even if you sleep with someone, you’re not experiencing them---you’re experiencing them with you.

Now, if you sleep with someone and they get all nasty about your sexuality and who they think you are, then you can kill them and I will help you bury the body and I’ll gladly be your alibi.

Sex is real and it is different after you really do it. It matters. Maybe not in such a conscious way, but in a felt way. And it means more if you sleep with someone for a long time. He hasn’t slept with you so anything he says about your sexuality could run off like water on a duck.

Oh, and Alone. Even if you wanted a smart guy like flowers need rain, that just means you have good judgment, right?

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Schools = the Capitol, comr... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 2:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Um science's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Schools = the Capitol, comrade. Read all about it in the archives. If you have kids, show some agency.

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You didn't read the content... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 2:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

You didn't read the content, and you don't want to. And you shouldn't if you don't want to; that's your right, and you should be protective of your energy.

I will say, though, that by not reading my posts - by not analyzing the data - you are not able to fully inform yourself of who the "mean" person was in the exchange between JohnK and me.

You cannot argue that point. You are admittedly - deliberately - existing in a place of ignorance on the subject, for reasons you have outlined; exhaustion, boredom, etc.

That's fine, I'm deliberately ignorant on subjects I find boring, too. There's nothing wrong with deliberate ignorance - as long as you take care to not form opinions or take any action while you're under-informed.

That's the best way to avoid doing inadvertent harm to people, especially when, as you say, "I've noticed I jump on people a lot lately. People are mean to other people, I get mean to them. I have no clue why."

You should know why you're doing everything you're doing.

Because it's possible - likely, given the law of averages - that some of the people you're jumping on, and being mean to, don't deserve that from you. Unless you know why you're taking action - unless you have a reason to take action - you're going to continue hurting people who don't deserve it.

I have a shit-ton of empathy. I have so much empathy, I don't ever, ever want to hurt somebody who doesn't deserve it. My feelings about somebody are less important than my obligation to avoid harming them. I care so much about not hurting people that I wait until there is a definitive pile of evidence before I make a judgement of their behavior and/or character and take action.

A serious narcissism problem, indeed.

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Wait - are you a new person... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 3:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Wait - are you a new person in this exchange? Or are you the Anonymous I was talking to, and you are replying to yourself, to "update" your post?

The use of language and syntax seems pretty different in this April 17, 2012 2:21 PM post I'm responding to, but the content seems like a carryover, and I think you post is directed at me...right? Like it is an update, rather than a new Anonymous writer replying?

Except that you really, really sound like a new person.

Man, I'm confused now.

Anyway, if you're the Anonymous I was addressing in my comment about refusing to read the content, and now you've read the content, please disregard what I said! It's obviously inaccurate if you read the content, and therefore everything else I said is completely irrelevant.

But if you're a new person (new to me, I mean), then I'd like to reply within that context.

(And if you're JohnK secretly using Anonymous sock-puppets to confound me, and demonstrate the futility of trying to communicate anonymously, now's the time for the punchline. I'll get a big laugh out of this if that's the case, and I'll give you a tip-of-the-cap and a hearty "well-played, sir.")

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I have to admit I'm out of ... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 3:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Steve Jobs's comment, by Christina: | Reply

I have to admit I'm out of my depth with you. Your prose is stylish, to be sure, but I've gotten lost.

I can see you're saying something really important, but I'm not following you all the way to your conclusion. I'm not even 100% sure I understand your position.

Forgive me; I went to public school and then a technical film program for college.

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May I butt in for a moment?... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 4:35 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Christina: | Reply

May I butt in for a moment?

I admire your passion, and I also admire the ideological purity that you clearly outline in the comment you wrote. As an atheist, I can certainly agree with you that religion hasn't been good for women.

So please believe me when I say that I'm asking this out of simple curiosity:

What's your take on the biology of gender?

I mean, we know that each gender has different concentrations of hormones. Obviously.

But does testosterone effect men's aggression? Does the oxytocin released during labor bond women more closely - make them more nurturing - than the men who (obviously) don't experience the birthing process?

The science I've been exposed to seems to indicate the answer is yes - but I'd love to hear your argument about why the answer might be no.

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This is not my area, my I r... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 6:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is not my area, my I read you get increased oxytocin after sex! Besides the obvious benefits from the sex, the hormones are good--I think it might work if you masturbate too. Psychological stuff can influence hormones. I read about hysteria not exactly being all in the brain- hormones may be an influence and/or the brain may influence the hormones. I wonder if the bellies men sometimes grow with a pregnant wife- that's a documented thing. It can't happen without a hormonal influence I don't think- I don't see how. You know how women who spend time together get their periods at the same time every month--I haven't seen it documented but I've experienced that. I read once about studies saying the placebo effect actually having a physiological basis. I think that might be controversial. Ever noticed how the same arguments in health drag on and on forever?
Isn't it a nice idea-mysterious things happening in secret making people close. It's kind of romantic, but it's kind of subversive.

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looked it up. oxytocin rele... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 7:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

looked it up. oxytocin released when you have sex in both men and women facilitates bonding.

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Small section of wikipedia ... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2012 7:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Small section of wikipedia entry on testoserone:

Falling in love decreases men's testosterone levels while increasing women's testosterone levels. It is speculated that these changes in testosterone result in the temporary reduction of differences in behavior between the sexes.[30] However, it is suggested that after the “honeymoon phase” ends, approximately 1-2 years into the relationship, this change in testosterone levels is no longer apparent.[30] Fatherhood also decreases testosterone levels in men, suggesting that the resulting emotional and behavioral changes promote paternal care.[31] Both heterosexual and non-heterosexual men producing less testosterone are more likely to be in a relationship[32] and/or ...

even in men, you would not expect this, but *elevated* testoserone can have negative effects on health.

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Nope, I am not writing unde... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:35 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Nope, I am not writing under other names. I thought we had moved on. Anyway, you sure write a lot here.

It's good that you come from a nice stable family, always analyze all possible data and have lots of empathy and never have opinions on issues you don't know enough about and want to close the gap between your thoughts and objective reality as best you can.

It's too bad I'm a narcissist who can't seem to shut up about myself. :)

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Oh, that's too bad - it wou... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 3:43 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Oh, that's too bad - it would have been a funny practical joke. And you're right, I guess I do write a lot. I'm fairly speedy at it, so it doesn't really feel like it's taking up much time, but I guess it's rather a lot of volume.

My problem is, I feel obligated to reply if somebody says something to me, and if my response requires research or elaborate proofs, then that's what I include.

And hey, everybody's gotta have goals in life. Mine is to live as consciously as possible, and do as little harm to others as I can. There are a couple of sentences here and there I should have added the word "try" or "attempt" so as to indicate that I realize I'm not 100% successful, but those are writing errors comparable to spelling or grammar mistakes. But on the whole, I'd like to think I can usually be talked out of wrong thinking or inappropriate emotions if somebody has some evidence for why I should change my state.

Which is why it gives me the willies when people embrace or excuse their emotional state without attempting self-examination. What's guiding their decisions?

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Oh, I know that both gender... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 3:47 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Oh, I know that both genders produce oxytocin, but it's my understanding that women giving birth experience it in the highest doses; much higher than is produced during sex.

I could be wrong, though. I have to admit that's based on general knowledge (some Nova special, perhaps) and I didn't do any extensive research on the subject.

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Wow, that thing about the t... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 3:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Wow, that thing about the testosterone in the honeymoon phase is fascinating. I'd heard that parenthood reduced testosterone, but the idea that it drops off during the start of the relationship and then reverts back to normal is intriguing.

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It speeds up the contractio... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 10:51 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

It speeds up the contractions. Sometimes they give you pictocin, (probably misspelling that) to try to make thiings go faster, I believe, it is an IV medication. Nonetheless, *I* had 17 hour with no pain meds labor. If the doctor is too slow with getting you an epidural, btw people, I recommend turning the screaming up a number of notches, it appears to help.

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The testoserone decreased/i... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 11:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The testoserone decreased/increased thing=Love trumps sex, albeit sneakily? Under the radar?

I also once read---guys will love this---girls are less depressed when they are having sex regularly without a condom, as opposed to with. That's very organic. Not to mention I'm sure it works for men too. OH!--A MAN FUNDED THAT STUDY! Ha.

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I write a lot too. Maybe fe... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 11:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I write a lot too. Maybe feeling bad about that is like feeling bad about the extra electricity? Not worth time?

Some people don't write *enough.*

This is why I am basically somewhat opposed to rigorous self examination- it's burdensome on the mind. People need whimsy and frivolity and whatnot. It's kind of hard to self-generate that though-a person needs friends to help it along.

As far as not confronting someone until they're really done something awful, I think it might be better to just snap at them when they bug you so it gives them a chance to correct themselves before you've gathered a list of total and utter proof that they are, in fact, an asshole; look, it's documented.

Plus then you're teaching them how to interact with you from the git-go really clearly.

I have struggled with this before.

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I keep learning things abou... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 12:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

I keep learning things about you:

1. Reads Cracked.

2. Thinks she writes fast.

3. Feels obligated to reply (to either teach or be taught).

4. Wants to be aware of everything and minimize damage to others.

5. Has a laptop. And goals.

6. Thinks that saying something wrong and correcting accordingly given new info is "beautiful".

Not to mention the stable family and all the other stuff. I suppose that if I read all your posts I could come up with a really long list. Of your brand?

In response to your questions about people not self-examining enough, you must get the "willies" a lot. I think, I don't know. Are you going to tell me?

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Didn't Alone say something ... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 12:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Didn't Alone say something along the lines of: constant examination of assumptions is a must or something?

Now we know where Christina's diatribe on the importance of self-examining comes from. Am I right? Hi 5!

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I like Christina. You've to... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 12:44 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I like Christina. You've totally just justified her going off on you and shredding you to bits.

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it is interesting ... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 12:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

it is interesting to me that there is this thing with films about young girls growing up and I haven't heard anyone say boo about anything sexual. And women relating to it, and nobody says anything.

Really wanted to reply to your posts earlier and if I understand you correctly, I think you're 100% right; except I think it's happening everywhere nonstop. Not just with young girls but with everyone. In the West, definitely there's a thing with young girls - a concerted campaign of sorts - I just see patterns and it gives me the chills.

But in SE Asia every kind of creepy message broadcasted smack into the consciousness of their vassals. Almost no one notices or they're playing stupid. It's social conditioning or "brainwashing" or something more subtle but not quite subliminal. It's everywhere now, and it's not really the sort of thing you can imagine. Especially not in SE Asia. Peasants aren't writers in production companies. These are educated types dulling everything down for the already-dulled-down slave classes. A massive amount is to do with sex, especially virgins and love and betrayal and rape and star-crossed sweethearts.

This kind of Infotainment craftily teaches vassals how to behave. It's "monkey see monkey think" with their heroes as the characters in the stories which are told to them for their entertainment, nothing more! Vassals hate learning and they hate preaching. Don't tell them what to do.

The creeps who handle their moral educating don't really care about what monkey does after they've corrupted the thought process; because when you take away someone's sanity they become predictable. All the vassals who lose their minds with this narcissistic 'sweetness' then do the same thing.

They dream.

Oprah tells them, dream big. Actually everyone tells the downtrodden to dream. It's impossible to dream too big. Who cares about your deficiencies. Just dream. Be women. Use your intuition. Be ingenious. Sleep your way out of this. Flirt your way into that. Dream you'll sleep your way to the White House! To Mars. Don't let them laugh at you, hold you down, and sell you short. Oprah is such a creep.

There is nothing more insulting than compliments, intended to manipulate or take ownership of another's actions.

"I'm so proud of you."

Why?

Alone picked Hunger Games but in SE Asia he could pick almost any show on TV and any movie funded by the state-funded 'heritage' and 'cultural' committees etc. So sneaky, how they do it. A running morality lesson non-stop for their entire lives.

Here In SE Asia it's out of control, really. There was this huge thread on a popular Thai forum where a guy documented something like 38 of the 40 most popular soaps on Thai TV had a plotline that went like this (this is verifiable):

- boy rapes girl because she's irresistable
- boy becomes consumed by regret, remorse decides to pursue her 'right'
- girl initially not interested
- boy persists, it's true love after all, stalking, fate, serendipity
- girl finally breaks down and realises she's loved him all along
- happily ever after.

Coincidence? Some posters were arguing "coincidence". Surreal. In every 3rd world nation, the TV soaps are basically pathways into the brains of their victims, drilling the most vile and disturbing moral-religio creepy babble about how to behave as good slaves; teaching them lessons on how crime doesn't pay, how complaining makes you unattractive to all your friends, how the most important thing is faith in God (in Philippines) even when things don't make sense it always pays to have faith in God to sort it out. Don't kick up a fuss or try and sort it out yourself with police because that's not showing faith in God, is it? And maybe God doesn't like it when those plot characters insult him like that. Lesson learned.

They really do learn these lessons. It's horrifying.

This filthy stuff is drilled into children who watch these soapies growing up, for their entire lives. Their FORMATIVE years. When they're IMPRESSIONABLE. They're taught literally everything, about everything. Their parents are too stupid to even feed them. This is not an exaggeration. The money / food isn't there for slave labourers to feed children. Adults go first. Children starve. This is the reality.

And humans are not born stupid like the finished product. This is the truly sick thing about all this creepy stuff. It's regressive. They drill you backwards. This insulting drilling away at every common denominator is how you keep people stupid. This is my theory, in any case.

----

I'm pretty sure it's how you make people confused enough to have "passion" and commit the insane crimes of confusion.

Cain kills Abel. Why? I'm not sure whether East of Eden was even close but I was six when I think I nailed it. I looked over at my brother with a smirk as the story was being read to us; I was planning on shooting him with my fingers as a joke, but instead felt chills rip through my tiny spine. He was already staring at me, distastefully. 9 and 6. Imagining killing each other for the first time. Tight Society, full of vassals who've never even considered the possibility.

I'm almost 99% sure that's the function of all this insanity. Introduce Evil to children who'd never be exposed to any of the sickness otherwise. Force them to listen to you list all the various sins and suggestions and evils and options they have to shoot themselves in the food. And then warm them, NOW DON'T YOU DO IT. It's naughty and against the Rules.

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The levels of hormones pres... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by kw: | Reply

The levels of hormones present in men and women can be measured but keep in mind that the data is complicated by sensitivity to those hormones. Women, for instance, seem to be much more sensitive to testosterone in their bodies even though they have less than men, so it's difficult to extrapolate from just the amounts.

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Yes, she shredded me to bit... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Yes, she shredded me to bits, online, on a website while we both remain unknown to each other. I feel like a rape victim. Woman or man, doesn't matter.

You like Christina? Well I know you are not her at least because that likeness needs to be backed up by self-examination and objective reality. Given you are not providing 20 paragraphs you must genuinely like her for liking someone in itself.

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I think I understand some o... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:17 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by stacy: | Reply

I think I understand some of what you are trying to say. The first paragraph is the most comprehensible one. I noticed that it degenerates from there, and then it expresses things more intuitively and emotionally.
There is what looks like paranoia to me; I think a medication evaluation by a trained professional might be a good idea. It would help with stabilizing emotions and clarifying thought. I am not a doctor. I'm reiterating that I think ER might be a good idea, or a local county health clinic.
I can't follow a lot of what you said, it hurts to try to follow it. It's just too disorganized. The writing might improve with antipsychotics.
I have felt a sense of young girls representing hope, nascent sexuality and the human soul, on a certain level. In Judaism I believe the human soul is sometimes depicted as female. This is not because it is literally female. It is because conceptualizing it that way is helpful for enabling a certain perspective, or felling, or sensibility. I'm a little vague on it myself. I guess it works well enough intuitively that I don't question it much.
And yes- I too become concerned when I sense a ruthless disregard for young women--particularly when it is very pronounced.

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I think I understand some o... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:29 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by stacy: | Reply

I think I understand some of what you are trying to say. The first paragraph is the most comprehensible one. I noticed that it degenerates from there, and then it expresses things more intuitively and emotionally.
There is what looks like paranoia to me; I think a medication evaluation by a trained professional might be a good idea. It would help with stabilizing emotions and clarifying thought. I am not a doctor. I'm reiterating that I think ER might be a good idea, or a local county health clinic.
I can't follow a lot of what you said, it hurts to try to follow it. It's just too disorganized. The writing might improve with antipsychotics.
I have felt a sense of young girls representing hope, nascent sexuality and the human soul, on a certain level. In Judaism I believe the human soul is sometimes depicted as female. This is not because it is literally female. It is because conceptualizing it that way is helpful for enabling a certain perspective, or felling, or sensibility. I'm a little vague on it myself. I guess it works well enough intuitively that I don't question it much.
And yes- I too become concerned when I sense a ruthless disregard for young women--particularly when it is very pronounced.

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Stacy, your comment on Juda... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:30 PM | Posted, in reply to stacy's comment, by JohnK: | Reply

Stacy, your comment on Judaism made me think positively of the Nazi Regime.

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Remind me of short story. <... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:35 PM | Posted by Zulu: | Reply

Remind me of short story.

The teacher did his thing as usual, everything was okay. Suddenly, out of nowhere he seemingly freaked out, started jumping up and down making crazy shit animal noises. As suddenly as he had begun, he stopped and continued the lecture as if nothing had happened.

After a while he asked the class whether they believed his behavior to be caused by biochemistry. No? How about genes?

We are our bodies, but I'm sorry to say that I haven't found much valuable information in biology (despite periods with frenzies about it). Nice question! Isn't it almost in the gospels that testosterone correlates with aggression? I don't really know. Biology is difficult. I have one thought about gender which I'd like criticized. Intellectually, women are more utilitarian. I've often experienced males to be more genuinely curious about topics with no obvious utility. It kind of clicks with the lack of women in hard sciences, or chess. Could just be the way it looks from my outpost. It wouldn't surprise me if Christina didn't share this experience.

That being said, it's difficult to effectively argue against that the value of something is derived from its usage in relation to other persons. It can be interesting to debate something which is in it self is boring at first glance, and I confess being opinionated on topics I know little about. Males do tend to 'dive into it" more. I've been in the position inviting female academics to debate. It's useless - for every 10 female you're lucky if one of them agree to join "I'm not the one you're looking for. Perhaps you should call my dad?"

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WOW, I would have never mad... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:51 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by stacy: | Reply

WOW, I would have never made that connection! That makes me feel kinda sick!
I took care of a Holocaust survivor in the hospital once. I loved her. We got along. She said after that experience, she was no longer religious. She couldn't comprehend how God could let this happen. It's such a huge issue- theodicy, is that what they call it?

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I like Christina because sh... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:58 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I like Christina because she gave me the chance to, by continuing to express herself. That's pretty cool.

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That's interesting you chos... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 3:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Zulu's comment, by kw: | Reply

That's interesting you chose hard sciences as having no obvious utility. It seems more obviously utilitarian than, say, art or literature, which are highly abstract and reflect a large number of women pursing those degrees.

It sort of shows why that's a difficult question to answer: not only would you have to agree upon a definition of what is and isn't obviously utilitarian, but your decision-making would have to be free of social influences (and I'd suggest that class markers and hierarchical valuing of male pursuits subconsciously affected your choice of chess as an example. You could just as easily have chosen ballet classes, fan-fic or high fashion, which probably lead to a career or any sort of utility about as seldom as chess). Then you'd have to eliminate social influences from your study subjects, and that is just freaking impossible. Those influences really do start at birth.

Personally as a woman find it difficult to participate in debates because of the extraordinary levels of pre-judgement based on gender and unrelated de-railing tactics such as having my sexuality become the focus while the points I'm making are ignored (yup, it doesn't just happen to Christina) or having to prove I've earned the right to speak before I even get to step 1 of my argument. Or simply being physically prevented from speaking by being interrupted and talked over by people with booming voices (woman voices are much less frequently booming or able to boom). The men who witness it usually don't seem to notice anything of the sort happening even when it should be obvious so I'm blocked from defending myself because "nothing happened" or I come off as over-sensitive and crazy. It doesn't sound like a big deal but it's enough to make debate un-enjoyable even if I'm still able to win or contribute. I'm also betting that you've engaged in debate with more women than you know-- online where identities are masked.

This isn't specifically related to debate but you can increase women's participation as experts and audience in, for example, conventions by removing elements that may dissuade one gender, even when they don't seem obvious or like a big deal to many men, such as PAX (I think) banning "booth babes."

The remaining women who never opt in to the debate may be doing so because women and girls are taught in many subtle ways to never, ever take center stage, unless you are extraordinarily exceptional, and you should avoid appearing confident because it's read as bitchiness. Successfully participating in a debate and having your colleagues think you're a bitch or needing to be taken down a notch is more harmful than helpful in the long run, unless you can afford (or think you can afford) not to care what your colleagues think of you. So again, this makes it harder to deduce from your experience with debate participation that it has any relationship to how women think, since debating is primarily a social behavior rather than an internal intellectual one.

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On average, men ca... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 4:03 PM | Posted, in reply to biological woman's comment, by jonny: | Reply

On average, men care more about their careers than do women. Women are more willing to stay home with the kids, in general. There is nothing wrong with that.

There is a lot wrong with that. But you didn't come here to debate.

You are a little bit unnerving and I'd rather ask those who are encouraging you, why they did. Your opening post below. I know what that question is called.

The right man is that much more important than the right job. Am I a complete disgrace and a failure as a woman, or was I simply meant to be this way, biologically?

I think I accidentally got a little too insightful. Is that right?

Biology is not responsible for your being a leech. I said "dependent" because you cannot function as a standalone person. You need to latch onto a guy, but first you need to convince him that he wants to carry you for life.

You don't 'prefer' he take charge. You're coercing him. You're relying on him. You're putting the pressure on him by continually reminding him of your values. "Oh it's more important for you darling, I'll follow you anywhere, you know how important careers are for guys, guys get more validation out of careers." Poor bastard.

Yeah he would have understood. It's all on him. But...the poor guy isn't going to carry you for life, is he? So in game theory, unless you're determined to contribute 50/50 you'll lose no matter the option.
-----------------

Girls are not looking for equality. You're looking for a host. When someone like me refuses; the leeches demand to be treated like a toddler. No. It's rude to ask to be spoon fed. And it's fraud.

This leeching degrades everything. Billions of girls who have prepared to be dependent on men. You would have to be on crack to be expected to be carried indefinitely which substance and character. Love is gone but you are just there. Watching Oprah. Waiting for something interesting to happen. Leeches are the worst.

My first response. I'm so sweet it's sickening. There were five instances of insanity in gratitude.

@biological woman: When you say "a man who makes me feel like a woman", what do you mean by that? Would he be disappointing you if he made you feel like an equal? All that bothersome responsibility and expectation and stuff. Agency is a lot of effort, don't get me wrong; I understand the sentiment.

You want to be carried. You don't want to pull. There is nothing especially alarming about that except the obvious; you've been exploited and you're dependent rather than independent.

You start lying:

You made a bunch of assertions about me that are not only baseless, but directly contradict all that I shared in my post. Then, you spent some time explaining why the personality and desires that you imagined on my behalf won't serve me well.

You lie some more:

I confused you with the first person who replied to me, and he invented a bunch of false and insulting things about me, based on the voices in his head. Sorry that I lumped you two together.

Here is insanity I cannot comprehend:

And if you have a problem with any of this, just take solace in that you run no risk of finding yourself on a date with me. I'm spoken for. Find someone who makes you happy, and the two of you can raise your daughters however you see fit. But you'll have no say in how I'll raise mine.

Everyone ignored my next post about your Whore Paint. I want you to answer it. Biology? Whore paint?

Please address the makeup on your face. Or you'll always be a victim.

Why would you think lying and deceiving guys is intelligent leeching? That's just setting yourself up for misery. You're just a cancer ruining fun.

I absolutely nailed everything about your non-unique brand of corruption in my very cordial and impossibly helpful post. You fired back five instances of insane in response, including outright false claims.

And so many creeps encouraged you. This is interesting. I am interested in hearing from them why they saw fit to or I'll just kick along.

---------------------

@Christina: I literally know next to nothing on the science as I keep running into this sort of thing below. Until we address this religious / insanity cancer, science is moot. Example: When people are as braindead as religion is making them, science has been defeated. Doesn't matter what conclusions are drawn. You can just say Black equals White, science proves insanity. Hallelujah! Science is negated.

ABC News Science "speaking in tongues"

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It's awfully important to y... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 4:32 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by kw: | Reply

It's awfully important to you to teach women-- sorry, girls-- how they should be. A Pygmalion who seeks to create an Athena is just as foolish and power-hungry as one who seeks to create a Venus.

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!?... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 4:33 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

!?

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"(my wife tells me that was... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 8:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Alice: | Reply

"(my wife tells me that was not in the book)"

it was in the book.

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I am female, in my twenties... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 9:46 PM | Posted by Vaelkyrja: | Reply

I am female, in my twenties, and deeply in college. When I tell you that I loved the Hunger Games series but hated the movie, believe me when I say it was because the movie changed everything. I don't think Suzanne Collins has made a stunning victory for feminism. I have no interest in sticking up for Katniss' fabulous qualities; the books did not portray her in a flattering light whatsoever, but you won't see that in the film. It was clear in the books that she did not consider herself to be a good person, and continually demonstrated this by being less humane, compassionate, and thoughtful than Peeta. Katniss is actually extremely selfish, socially inept, and angry; I think almost any teenager can relate to this at some point. What I take issue with is the idea presented: that Katniss' only useful role is as a sacrifice to the Revolution so that it can have an attractive figurehead. Surely there can be some OTHER use for an angry, selfish, (female) social outcast?

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I am female, in my twenties... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 9:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Vaelkyrja's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I am female, in my twenties, and deeply in college. When I tell you that I loved the Hunger Games series but hated the movie, believe me when I say it was because the movie changed everything. I don't think Suzanne Collins has made a stunning victory for feminism. I have no interest in sticking up for Katniss' fabulous qualities; the books did not portray her in a flattering light whatsoever, but you won't see that in the film. It was clear in the books that she did not consider herself to be a good person, and continually demonstrated this by being less humane, compassionate, and thoughtful than Peeta. Katniss is actually extremely selfish, socially inept, and angry; I think almost any teenager can relate to this at some point. What I take issue with is the idea presented: that Katniss' only useful role is as a sacrifice to the Revolution so that it can have an attractive figurehead. Surely there can be some OTHER use for an angry, selfish, (female) social outcast?

Maybe she could become a feminist!

That was too easy...

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... I don't have a response... (Below threshold)

April 19, 2012 12:33 PM | Posted by peithecelt: | Reply

... I don't have a response to this, and that's not a bad thing..

I literally finished book 1 two days ago, and.. I liked it but.. something was wrong, and I think you may have hit the nail on the head.

this needs more thinking.. thank you.

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I would argue that Katniss ... (Below threshold)

April 19, 2012 2:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I would argue that Katniss has a tremendous amount of agency. She CHOSE this for herself. She didn't win the death lotto. She went to save her little sister. She was being heroic before Peeta got a chance to start buffing his shining armor. She's the hero of a bildungsroman, and those sorts of heros DON'T have any great competence. That's part of the point.

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I cannot believe this artic... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 4:21 AM | Posted by anon: | Reply

I cannot believe this article. What a fucking joke.

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JohnK, that's some deeply d... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 7:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Eipa: | Reply

JohnK, that's some deeply disturbing stuff you write there + take note of how you address TLP much more frequently than Christina does. That's certainly not how to come past an Alpha. Christina might rather not be impressed as well...
Christina, your rape thing isn't that irrelevant an idea. There are clear reason why you wouldn't mention it in a book you plan to go bestseller (respectively why well sold books don't go there) and they are similar to why you don't put strongly acting female protagonists in these books. I don't believe that the absence of sexual violence makes a story sexist though. And I dislike your arguing about objective truths. Facts are rarely interesting to talk about. And thought's will only be synchrone with objective reality when they are about facts, e.g. not opinions etc.

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If one is immersed in an en... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 10:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Eipa's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If one is immersed in an environment where one is expected to live up to such an impossible standard as objective truth, which is a highly subjective value system and controlled by those in power, it is damaging to one's spirit. A real dystopia would have to have ideology behind it. Think of cults and destructive religions with a rigid power structure. The claim is often to 'the one true religion.' One gains power by giving up individual power or a sense of self.
Interestingly, as many different ideologies there are that might appeal to a person's sense of 'specialness,' or being privy to special knowledge, or chosen, the underlying activities---the behaviors that are encouraged by cult leaders---are the same. This makes Alone's 2 posts on him and a gun interesting to me, because he found a way to assert power in a powerless situation. I read once about a man who went into a cult to report and it and somehow knew he was going under not based on faith in the belief system or volition but based on the behavioral, dehumanizing practices of the cult. You know what he did?
'Toxins' to the body were forbidden; he found a way to reassert his individuality by sneaking off and smoking a cigarette, and that small act of rebellion saved him by reasserting a sense of self when things were starting to quake. The saddest thing about destructive ideologies is that after a while reinforcements aren't needed because the system is internalized.

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Sex, love, and passion disr... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 10:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Sex, love, and passion disrupt this state by returning us to ourselves and our pain, albeit in the hope of it's resolution in relationship with another. This can be complex and involve a fair amount of power exchange which cannot take place unless someone is receptive to it.

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Unless you're a teenager an... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 10:43 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Unless you're a teenager and haven't been hurt too badly (speaking for myself). In that case, things just kind of happen with spontaneity.

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Subjective != objective. Yo... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 10:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Subjective != objective. You can deny that objective truth is knowable, but objective truth is not controlled by any worldly power, if it exists. And if it exists, and conflicts with your soul, then it would be better for your soul to get on with it and reject the fantasy it would prefer to truth. But you will get no argument from me denying the damage the subjective values of the ruling elite cause to the souls of their subjects.

Have you ever read Lilith, by George MacDonald? Very relevant to narcissism, agency, and the intransigence of reality in the face of our desires.

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This world is being strangl... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 11:10 AM | Posted, in reply to stacy's comment, by jonny: | Reply

This world is being strangled to death by unsolicited idiocy. Capital punishment for unsolicited marketing, unsolicited sleaze, unsolicited mental health referrals, unsolicited attacks on decency - hang them all. To teach them not to do it again.

@stacy

There is what looks like paranoia to me; I think a medication evaluation by a trained professional might be a good idea. It would help with stabilizing emotions and clarifying thought. I am not a doctor. I'm reiterating that I think ER might be a good idea, or a local county health clinic.
I can't follow a lot of what you said, it hurts to try to follow it. It's just too disorganized. The writing might improve with antipsychotics.

If you cannot follow what is said, that is a deficiency you really should address. Try reading it again. And again, until you're literate. The 16 yr olds at my school said Dostoyevsky was insane because they had ADHD and couldn't last a page. If you want pictures drawn for you, turn your TV on and bathe in the glow of those who are happy to communicate with you at your preferred level of idiocy.

@biological woman

I'm not a doctor but you sound like you have a lot on your mind and other people aren't helping and you obviously want to talk and vent. You sound like a lot of things have built up and you sound very sensitive to me. Overwelmed. I don't know your situation but there's always 911. I'm not saying you don't have a point-I just can't hear what it is because it sounds so abstract, not concrete. Concrete terms might help.

I gave you concrete and you ran away after degrading the conversation with your insanity and outright lies. Here is concrete, for you and Stacy both (5 letter word cap, to assist with handicapped comprehension):

WHY DO YOU SMEAR PAINT ON YOUR FACES EVERY DAY?

Is that too vague? Go choke to death on your padded bras, your fake eyelashes, your fake contact lenses, your fake horrifying painted faces, your fake silences (when you don't have a clue what's going on), your fake expressions of concern (when you don't have a clue what's going on), your fake coy (when your "precocious" sailed 400 split legs ago), and your fake consideration (to keep your creepy secrets from those who you're deceiving). Just...noose yourselves.

Or have half a dozen kids instead. Whatever makes SENSE..!

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Think of cults and... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 11:36 AM | Posted by jonny: | Reply

Think of cults and destructive religions with a rigid power structure. The claim is often to 'the one true religion.' One gains power by giving up individual power or a sense of self. Interestingly, as many different ideologies there are that might appeal to a person's sense of 'specialness,' or being privy to special knowledge, or chosen, the underlying activities---the behaviors that are encouraged by cult leaders---are the same.

I read once about a man who went into a cult to report and it and somehow knew he was going under not based on faith in the belief system or volition but based on the behavioral, dehumanizing practices of the cult. You know what he did?
'Toxins' to the body were forbidden; he found a way to reassert his individuality by sneaking off and smoking a cigarette, and that small act of rebellion saved him by reasserting a sense of self when things were starting to quake. The saddest thing about destructive ideologies is that after a while reinforcements aren't needed because the system is internalized.

Must have been a pretty lame ass cult; do you remember which one it was?

I was born into the CoG / TFI and ran at 14 to enrol in school. The batshit crazy insanity of the CoG's victims belies the horrifying reality; which is that they're all imagining themselves (as you've pointed out) to be "special". They're all so shrewd in their exploitation; so guarded of their moronic little 'secrets'; it's all winks and smirks and Jesus loves them more than you! And they're too stupid not to get outplayed by seven yr olds. Of course, they can just rape the tiny kids so it's about a 50/50 split on power.

I don't think I like that term "destructive religions". Can you name a single constructive religion?

It's all 100% exploitation and 100% focused on outplaying children and making their parents as stupid as children. They're drilling away budgeting to outplay 3 year old kids (and girls I guess) because most six and seven yr old children will ask questions and are simply too bright to accept religion's premise: "God needs me to tell you want to do because you're too stupid to talk to him or understand what he wants you to do; God's not stupid, He's all-powerful, the problem is you you you!"

I guess if they were talking to Biological Leech or Stacy, they might have a point. But then religion makes girls stupid because they're the paydirt that keeps on giving. Every 9 months, if you manage battery-women properly - the Children of God creeps get pretty close to optimal with their breeding machines.

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Hi, Jonny. It's Stacy.<br /... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 6:05 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hi, Jonny. It's Stacy.

I've been on anti-psychotics myself before, when I needed them. This is 'not my first rodeo' and I know when someone needs help. All of the observations I made about your post are true. I'm a good person and unlike so many other people, I am not about to look the other way in apathy and also I am not about to write you off for being mentally ill. I'm going to say something direct because that's what I would want for myself in that situation. And I don't need your shit for trying to be your real friend by saying something.

And the post about cults and destructive religions was mine. I'm sorry you were in the Children of God. I'm glad you survived, I heard it was horrible.

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I'm sorry you are in pain J... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 9:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm sorry you are in pain Jonny, and have been hurt and manipulated and are extremely sensitive to situations in the world where you percieve women to be harming others. The women out there in the world wearing make up and potentially coercing men into a terrible fate are not the source of your rage. I promise. The only way out is in. And you will need some forgiveness for yourself and the people who actually damaged you on the way.

But you are right that no one should "coerce" people into anything they don't want to do. Men should not coerce women into having sex and women should not coerce men into supporting them financially. But this isn't where the rage comes from. I don't know you or what happened to cultivate this much hatred in you, but sincerely, the way you are ranting really does match up with very real personality disordered thinking (or thoughts induced by a mental illness). This is likely not your fault at all. I'm sorry you're going through it, and I'm sorry for people around you that you might hurt while you deny you have a problem and lay your wrath on innocent people.

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Saying 'I value objective r... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2012 9:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Saying 'I value objective reality above all things" is a value judgment.

A child raised this way is in a weird position because of many things. Children's reality is different from adults. The concept of objective reality alone could be very damaging to a child because it places the adult reality on a more important level than the kid's reality. It would lend itself well to dismissing important emotional things a kid needs to grapple with and it might mean the child is inappropriately discouraged from doing 'irrational' things that kids need to do, such as throwing tantrums around 2 and 3, because the adult might feel all too comfortable with dismissing with an adult's logic or interfering with something---such as by punishing---a behavior that is normal. You will notice that children do naturally grow out of this without adults inappropriately 'reasoning' and 'teaching' them how to do so. (Even if the kid heard the logic, s/he needs to learn to do by his or herself-it's a confidence builder).
There are multiple reasons kids throw tantrums, by the way. I'm acquainted with two things kids can learn by having a hissy. One is, their brains are reacting to being overstimulated, they can't handle it and it cannot be articulated adequately and they are shorting out. Usually is you don't interfere it'll stop. Another reason is they are learning they can't destroy their parents by getting angry and crazy-their parents are still stable, not overreacting, and not mad at them. That' a big one-this is really important. Kids need to feel loved as they are.
A more personal example: my mother never looked happy when I picked her wildflowers. She looked upset and expressed that she disliked seeing the flowers wilt and die. This was damaging because I was a child and wanted to do something to show love. I was also rational enough to wonder why it mattered all that much when we had fields and fields of them. (Not an acceptable thing to express). But her reality was more important. Another example is she really hated having me sit on her lap and thought it was okay to continue on with her needlepoint by simply explaining to little me that was what she'd rather do. Etc.
Children need to be able to be children and not be inappropriately adultified. It's a complex thing and I am not equipped to address it thoroughly. I will suggest that anyone who thinks they've cornered he market on objective reality is unbalanced or currently highly psychotic. I'm not being derogatory; if someone is floridly psychotic and you talk to them about it neutrally---I've only seen an obvious example of this once, however---there's a chance that they will assume you know exactly what they mean and you will agree with them because, of course, it's the truth. Only seen it once. But. The Bush family was stealing his inheritance as they had all of his birthrights and it had gone on for generations, etc.
Of course, I believe the Scientologists also believe they have a special handle on reality. And the atheists. Etc. All I know is, I'm not too fancy with the whole what-is-reality-argument---I don't even remember what meta-reality means---but if anyone tells you they have the real reality of everything, you might want to run.

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I thought the point of Tyle... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 1:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Oz: | Reply

I thought the point of Tyler Durden was that his other personality was the one with the agency, hence the split. Turning the gun on himself was an act of agency, and that--much more than a "brain wound"--is what flushed away the "agentic" personality. Somewhat hogwash, I imagine, but still...of COURSE the narrator had no agency. If he could consciously ACT, he wouldn't need another personality to do all that.

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This is the longest reply t... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 1:29 AM | Posted, in reply to So Named biological woman's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is the longest reply that I've seen in a while where the responder was trying so hard to correct/win approval from the poster/audience without having invested in them at all. You've almost made the other guy's point for him just by needing the image you portrayed to be accepted by the general populace.

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It's weird, but the people ... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 12:53 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's weird, but the people I know who are most confident with 'objective reality' are narcissists and the person I've met the most obsessed with maintaining an objective reality are having---based on what he told me---dissociation problems. (Not that he had insight into the clinging to objectivity; he didn't). If I get obsessed with objectivity then there's a good chance I'm just trying to keep someone away from me emotionally. I shouldn't say "just" because that can be important. I'm not saying reality doesn't slip---if I'm really depressed the world can become pretty ugly, and I'm not sure it doesn't reflect a little slippage. Actually, I've been so depressed before that I literally craved sunlight, fairly intense amounts of it and most people in my depression group have the same experience. It doesn't strike me that objectivity, which I associate with observing and noting facts, makes life worth living. I imagine striving to remain objective on a continual basis---observe and note facts, observe and note facts---to be insanity-producing and energy-burning and inbalance-creating to the nth degree but if someone can tell me why I'm wrong, I'll listen.
Everybody talks about objectivity with medical care. There's so much made of that. Not labs, not an EKG, but looking at a person and assessing a person---being subjective---"Mn, that doesn't seem/feel right" can be really valuable, and then figuring out the data to support that, scanty as it may be, can be valuable, and then putting it together in reverse. Easily as important as dong a checklist in your head based on a system to assess what's going on. Possibly superior because in theory one could see something earlier, before signs get really pronounced.

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In Judaism I believe the... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 4:42 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

In Judaism I believe the human soul is sometimes depicted as female.

Wisdom was personified as female, in proverbs. No clue why, anyone?

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It'd help if you included t... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 5:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

It'd help if you included the chapter and verse. Offhand, I don't know, but Proverbs is Old Testament, right. So prior to Jesus, so Jewish. Well, Judaism has a female conception of God in Shekhinah, but I'm not connecting that to wisdom at the moment, although it's a nifty thing to look up if you want. There's always wisdom in the sense of the 2nd sephira of kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) on the tree of life. You can look it up, maybe it'd help you figure it out, maybe not. Be careful with kabbalah websites, a lot of them are crappy and there is a lot of...there are a lot of them that aren't Jewish, it helps to speak Hebrew, the Kabbalah Centre is bullshit, New Agers use the term and make it into whatever they want, etc. So it's buyer beware. Wikipedia, maybe. I like Bryan Griffith Dobbs, he's a safe bet if you can find anything he has to say. If they are referring to wisdom in the sense of motherhood then I could maybe intuitively grasp that.
Judaism if anyone cares to know is so complex, yet so easy. I think people think "Old Testament, nice little parables." Not really. The body of literature is just vast. A really fun way to kill an afternoon. Or looking up alternative interpretations of Genesis-I've always been troubled by the common instinctive grasp that there's fruit and it's sex and it's bad. Not everybody thinks this.

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Well, Wikipedia's entries a... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 5:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Well, Wikipedia's entries are such that you can look a lot of things up and come up with very little actual info, but here's a beefy page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chokhmah_(Kabbalah)

of you could do a web search on Sophia/Judaism

Thank you for writing this. I hadn't realized i don't even think about God, sense God or pray anymore.

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This is so annoying, you ha... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 6:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is so annoying, you have no idea. I look up chokmah on wiki and a bunch of fairy tales are cited, with interpretations. It's hard to explain, but when I was dealing with these issues and looking at kabbalah for a story I was trying to interpret which got me way in over my head with work- literally swamped for months- I kept thinking about fairy tales and halfway connecting the dots and I could not find anything specifically mentioning that within a religious context on the computer, anywhere. Now of course I can punch a few keys and there'd be a tape recording and pronunciation guide for the very name of God, if anyone knows what I mean. It's so crazy! That's hilarious-my prayers are answered- 15 years later, I'm too tired to read the article.

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Some conceptions of wisdom ... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 10:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Some conceptions of wisdom consider wisdom to be an action word, interestingly. I believe it is considered to be above conscious awareness and close to God. That's kind of off the cuff, you'd want to look it up.

If I'm not mistaken Psalms is concerned with God's people in exile, right? So that would relevant to Shekhinah.

Judaism has some concern with the idea of restoring the Garden (of Eden); healing humanity. Unlike Christianity, where the will of God seems to be able to be known with a high degree of certainty (I don't trust those people), in Judaism you can say God is both imminent and transcendent. In everything and at the same time beyond- I don't like using that word; let's say beyond the total comprehension of the human mind, must be experienced, can never be fully explicated, all else is speculation.

In Proverbs, it says fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It doesn't mean fear God and you'll be wise; they're talking about a state of consciousness where one feels inept in their humanity and calls upon God to help. Sort of like fear of death or awareness of death. Basically, unworthiness. This is leaning heavily on me interpreting by myself so I have no stamp of approval on it. I suggested it to a rabbi once and he thought that sounded good enough.

la la la, random thoughts, for whatever it's worth. If you find something good I'd love to see it.

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I was musing that Katniss w... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2012 11:40 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I was musing that Katniss would have been better off, and the movie better, if a prince did sho-oh, I mean, if some nice man showed up and rescued her. Shoot me, I'm a horrible human being, but come on. Sometimes I get the sense the women get everything in life, the men get lucky once in a while if they can, and the women hate them anyway.

Plus it seems there is a possible good movie plot here (when I'm in a good mood, I make up romantic comedies in my head). Girl hates boy-make that loathes. Girl can do it herself, boy makes meaningful gestures, girl hates him even more, spends entire life trying to get rid of loathsome creature, boy---oh wait. That's The Frog Prince. Maybe sort of similar to The Runaway Bride...

Back in the seventies when I was born there was this idea you sort of had to make men what you wanted them to be. Nobody accepted anybody the way they were, but everybody pretended to. I'm not so sure this is as wrong as people would say. Oh, all right, I think it is a lost art.
But anyway, that's what I think of when guys talk about being alpha males with game. I mean, whatever, right? I try to keep the gagging to myself when I can. Even girls have gotten into this line of thinking: Christina talks about guys wanting to get a little pussy before they die. That's socially acceptable now.
And I thought to myself today, well, I like sweet talkers. The guy who holds your hand and takes you to a movie and tells you if you'll be his he'll be the happiest man ever? That's hot. It's easy to do and can be repeated over and over, if you have nothing else to say in life it seems good enough to me. I think that's all my grandfather ever said to my grandmother. Ever. Nobody does this. It works. Unfortunately eventually you do have to get married, grow old and die, but everyone's going to do that anyway.

All I'm saying is (yes, what *am* I saying)? Oh, yes. Well, mothers used to tell their daughters you had to teach a guy "things." None of them were especially sexual, it was just along the lines of how to talk, not in really expressive terms (never be anybody's teacher, therapist or mother, unless that's enjoyable to you or you're getting paid) just in like, things girls like to hear terms. And other stuff, I forget. We assumed men knew nothing of romance and would die without us (men probably figured we'd die without them)---they felt love but nobody expected them to know how to express it.

But now everybody does everything and guys have game (as a basis for self esteem?!) and women have made them somewhat useless or obsolete, sort of. Trust me girls-guys did not do this to themselves. Trust me, I know, I'm old. Even five-year-old boys like to open doors for their moms. Something's just wrong.

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Woman used to complain abou... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2012 12:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Woman used to complain about being just sex objects. I find it hard to believe (I mean, boo hoo, right? Hard life) but I wonder if we've effectively reduced men to being...just sex objects. With "game"! Oh, God.

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I am commenting on feminism... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2012 3:16 AM | Posted by Pace: | Reply

I am commenting on feminism in the Hunger Games? It is hard to tell by some of these comments. I haven't seen the movie and I am going to reference the entire trilogy, minor spoilers. I know why these books are popular amongst teenage girls, love triangle. Katniss gets to pick from the hunky hunter or sensitive Peeta, that's all they see and Katniss being bad ass is about being the object of their love. I thought the author was specifically NOT trying to make Katniss bad ass, skilled but not a killer.

I couldn't understand why Thresh, the large dark skinned boy, was the only one to not speak proper english. I thought it was the writer's own prejudice unintentionally coming out. Also, the better off people in the district 12 are fair-skinned and blue-eyed and the poorer are olive-skinned and gray-eyed. The olive-skinned, Gale, Katniss, and Katniss's father are the strong hunters, perhaps the killers. In contrast, Peeta, Prim, and Katniss's mother are the fair skinned and are the sensitive and caring, perhaps the healers or the weak.

Superficially you could say the story is feminist, the woman is the hunter and the man the baker, though the baker is traditionally a male job. My biggest problem is Katniss loves men and hates women and is quite catty to all women through out. She dislikes her mother, Effie, Coin (just for how she looks, Meow!), Johanna, the tiger lady, is suspicious of Madge, and in recounting the people she killed never includes the two girls who died from dumping the trackerjackers. The tiger lady is willing to help her but in Katniss's mind it's not out of being good, it's out of hatred for Snow. Tiger lady also can never be as good as self sacrificing Cinna. The apartment woman she kills is shown on tv and instead of having a tinge of remorse, Katniss comments that her make-up has been fixed - double meow! There are too many examples of her cattiness to point out. Katniss also likes being held in Peeta's big strong arms - not that that's a bad thing just in combination it comes across as her needing a man to protect her. There is an excessive amount of importance placed on her love relationships as if it still determines a woman's value.

I actually really disliked Katniss by the end and was horrified that any young girl would see her as a role model. She did little that was helpful or heroic beyond the first novel. She was quite narcissistic in her interpretation of the events going on around her while being oblivious at the same time and selfish to boot. That just feeds into a teenage mentality that is already like that. Katniss is never confronted with her flaws and the story actually cheerleads her in wanting immoral things like vengeance. I thought YA was about teaching young people lessons to become better people.

I found the story quite empty as a whole. It really went no where and said nothing beyond the obvious. Katniss's character has no growth and has little meaning. I think a lot people project on to the story what they thought should be. Katniss's has a bow and arrow therefore it must be feminist.

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Call me naive but... seems ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2012 2:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by tim: | Reply

Call me naive but... seems like kind of an impoverished idea of relationship. Awfully cynical. It might be close to the truth, though, unfortunately. But if it is, that is an aspect of the sickness of our way of life, not something intrinsic to human social relations, at least in my view. That exchange model, at least so individualized, doesn't really show up until you have something beyond band society...civilization seems tied to this sort of economy of relationship.

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I'll cast my little drop in... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2012 9:11 PM | Posted by el baboso: | Reply

I'll cast my little drop into this sea of comments.

Isn't this just the question that humans have been asking since they've had the power to question? How is The Hunger Games different than the Illiad in any significant way? What agency did the combatants on the plains before Troy enjoy when gods and furies were controlling them, manipulating them?

When do we stop blaming our stars, our genes, our parents, our gods and just admit it's us, it's me?

I suppose that TLP would say that this is just a restatement of his narcissism as the root of human evil hypothesis. It may be. But I suspect that the problem goes much deeper.

Perhaps the problem is this: Having killed God (and the Devil), who exactly do we blame now?

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Woah, man! Sorry about the ... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 2:34 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Woah, man! Sorry about the cult thing, that musta sucked. I thought your comments before were funny as hell. Like you're on pcp or something. But now I think you the man and survivor for getting out of there. I just looked stuff up on COG, and holy shit! I get you now. Did the leaders rape you over there when you were a kid? I bet your mother allowed it too. You still have ptsd and nightmares about those pedos touching you, doncha? Crazy stuff. Anyway, in light of all this, you're the man. Good luck, bro.

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You're a real jerk, you kno... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 3:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Dinah: | Reply

You're a real jerk, you know that? You don't ask a rape victim about being raped. That's so insensitive. Johnny isn't here to entertain you and nothing he writes is funny. He is a person, not a joke, aperson who suffered a horrible trauma. Rape victims often feel angry, misunderstood, and lacking in control over their life and relationships past , present and future, especially if they were children when it happened. Especially boys because there is extra shame involved. Your taunting, disrespectful post is disgusting. You don't treat a person like a freak show or assume he's on drugs when he's obviously had something very, very horrible happen to him and has trouble dealing with it. A little human compassion, please.

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This is Dinah's brother. <b... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 3:12 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is Dinah's brother.
She just made me look over your posts, and this shit makes my blood boil. Those cultish scum sure fucked you up good, and I'm still in high school, but this makes me want to become a prosecutor or an FBI agent, so I could have an opportunity to go after them and fuck them up just as bad.

And if you are on drugs, man, I understand. I probably would be too. Don't let the people here stress you out. They don't get that you relate to men and women totally differently after what's happened to you.

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what if your soul (or, if r... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 3:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

what if your soul (or, if rooted in fear, ego?) keeps telling you "but you ARE special!"

would you logically say,

"well, in which way?"

and the answer can't be "because I have to be"

you are special in a way that you are singular in your "way", but you are in a world of other people who are put in a way too.

so, then, is the question - "am i better than other people?"

and the answer, which is not scary, but freeing, would be - "yes and no. why don't you find out?"

And there it is - the rest you can control with your will. And that will should be used to maintain your beliefs and attitudes, to strive for your ideals.


Fuck, I really wish I had siblings. I wouldn't need to spend countless hours fucking around with my own brain.

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Just wondering, how do you ... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 3:45 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnK's comment, by Dinah: | Reply

Just wondering, how do you know all the things you've listed are components of Christina's "brand"?

Isn't the difference between a manufactured character brand and a real identity that the first is made up of hollow illusions or traits picked specifically to project a certain chosen image while the second is real- made up of parts each chosen for it's own sake for the value it holds to that specific person or just organically present?

So, how do you know that Christina doesn't actually write faster than most people that she knows or doesn't feel compelled to answer when she's addressed?

Most people have laptops, nowadays, and other than the terminally ill and the addicts who've hit rock bottom, pretty much everyone has goals.

Having a stable family isn't even something that she could've created all on her own in order to create an image. When a whole group of people works at something together, it's probably a real thing, instead of a projected image accessory.

What if she actually does enjoy the website that she reads? I haven't gone there yet, but is it such a terrible website that no one could possibly enjoy it?

In short, this is the internet, and Christina might be an old man wearing pink panties in South Korea, but the list that you compiled doesn't really come together to resemble a manufactured brand. The picture is too... normal. Unless you're hinting that she's actually a crack addict with birth defects who is trying hard to create a false image of normalcy by buying laptops, surfing the net and increasing her typing speed.

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Willpower is focused emotio... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 5:32 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Willpower is focused emotional energy. Much of what happens to us we can't control. It is nice when we can fix our willpower on something and attain it. It doesn't always happen.

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I know the conversation dri... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 6:30 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Christina: | Reply

I know the conversation drifted away from me, directly, but since I brought objectivity-as-a-goal-style parenting into the conversation, I do want to add this in defense of my parents:

They understood the objective fact that very small children are not capable of high degrees of self-control, and they parented accordingly. Obviously you can't impose reason on a brain that hasn't developed the ability to reason, or that is unable to cope with over-stimulation.

I gradually learned how to conflict with them: Examine the situation, attempt to model their mindstate, then present evidence/rationale for my argument so that it makes sense to them. Of course it didn't always work, usually because, as a kid, I was narrowly focused on myself and didn't have a full understanding of their priorities.

For example, while I was little (say...six years old-ish?) and going through the fear-of-the-dark, monster-in-the-closet stage, my parents never let me sleep with them when I was scared. I could wake them up if I had a nightmare or whatever, but once they'd comforted me and established that there was no real threat, I was not allowed to continue looking to them for protection. I'd have to go back to my room and cope with my irrational fear. I could have the lights on, if I wanted to keep an eye on the closet, but they refused to indulge or participate in my paranoia.

I suppose some people would say that's a brutal way to treat a six-year-old, but we should keep in mind that they were right. There wasn't anything to be afraid of. I figured that out relatively early, and never had to be picked up from a slumber party or camp.

It worked even better as I got older. The older I got, the more sense I made, and the more I was rewarded for it. I was exceedingly well-behaved in high school, so I had way more freedom than the average high schooler.

For example, my parents knew I wasn't imbibing recreational chemicals (and had no interest in doing so, and was prepared at any time to prove it with a drug test) or socializing with dangerous people. So if I was hanging out with friends they approved of, I didn't have a curfew. I wanted to maintain that privilege, so I did sensible things like keeping them updated on my general plans and familiar with my friends.

It worked out great. We didn't have any stupid, destructive power struggles in my teen years. Smart choices earned me freedom - which is pretty much the exact way the world works when you're an adult (barring random bad luck, of course).

My little brother, who did not make many smart choices, did not have the same degree of freedom. When he started watching too much TV and refusing to do his homework, my parents locked up the family TV - but let me have one in my room. Ditto the computer. When they put a lock on the office door to keep him out, I was given a key. Because he couldn't cope with the freedom of having access to entertainment, and I could. It was fair.

This style of parenting made me responsible and confident, which is not a bad thing for a young adult to be. I'll be the first to admit that it also made me over-confident, sometimes, and judgmental, too. It's a balancing act.

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The remaining women who ... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 7:15 AM | Posted, in reply to kw's comment, by Christina: | Reply

The remaining women who never opt in to the debate may be doing so because women and girls are taught in many subtle ways to never, ever take center stage, unless you are extraordinarily exceptional, and you should avoid appearing confident because it's read as bitchiness.

This is really true. I've learned through hard trial and error that I can't straightforwardly express myself at work.

I'll be the first to admit I don't have any extraordinary talents that would let me engage in the kind of casual disregard for people's feelings most men have. I'm not the brain that's going to cure AIDS or invent cold fusion. So I don't get the "pass" that geniuses get.

That being the case, if I want to get paid, I have to be the person my coworkers and bosses want me to be, which is a nurturing woman. I can't say the professional things my male coworkers say, and I certainly can't say them the way they say them.

So at work I have to frame almost every factual sentence with neutralizing modifiers like "I feel," "I believe," etc. I have to write statements as questions (ex: "If you're comfortable with it, perhaps you should talk to John about the late delivery?"). I can't make a plan without visibly, even obsequiously, seeking consensus. Even if it's my job to make the plan, and nobody needs to approve it. Everybody needs to feel like they could disapprove it, if they are so inclined.

Above all, I can never, ever disregard somebody's feelings. I can't even ignore them. I can't even accidentally miss them. I'm a woman, and I have to be nurturing of those around me, especially those close enough to harm me.

I hate the compromise - being right should be enough - but it's the only way to keep a job. I learned that the hard way, twice.

You know, this hadn't occurred to me before, but poor JohnK is probably bearing the brunt of my frustration at having to compromise my language so much in my professional life. It's a relief to be declarative in my personal life, both with friends and here on the internet.

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Hey, thanks!The br... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 8:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Dinah's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Hey, thanks!

The branding thing threw me for a bit of a loop, and your comment was better thought out that mine would have been.

I can see how the thing about writing quickly came across as bragging, but it's nothing that's unique to me. I mean, there are reasons I write faster than most people I've observed (in school, at work, based on time stamps on the internet, etc.). It's the teaching of a great educator, and practice.

My high school junior and senior English teacher heavily emphasized writing; quickly and in great volume (if you wanted an A, you had to produce at least 250 pages of daily essays and book reports a semester - most students produced at least 400). He would pick us at random to read our essays to the class, creating pressure to write well. By the time I'd been in his class for two years, I was fully prepared to crank out 500 words on a timed essay test or a 20 page paper over the weekend, without any anxiety whatsoever. As were my classmates. I'm not that special.

I've kept up (mostly) daily writing since high school, so I've stayed in practice. And I am a fast typist, in fact, I used to work as a professional transcriptionist (which gave me extra typing practice and brought my typing speed up even more).

Anybody in my circumstance would have a similar skill set (and my best friend from high school does). But then, a lot of people have laptops too.

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Dude,I skimmed the c... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 12:39 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by toiletwars: | Reply

Dude,
I skimmed the comments here, and i get that you've been pimped out to sex tourist by your cultist mother in SE Asia or something similar. I didn't read the whole thing because there's just too much. Look, that's terrible and all, but I won't sugar coat it for you, you need professional help. Pronto. Your writing is batshit insane, bouncing off the walls. Seriously. Maybe you need some therapist to act out a mother-son relationship with you in which you don't get abused. I don't know. But for the sake of those around you, I hope they put you on meds that knock you out. Otherwise, the next random ideological mass shooting will happen in Thailand, or wherever you live now. I'm guessing your target will be a maternity ward.

All your ranting is scary sick, but the way you latched onto the Betty Draper wannabe as your long lost mommy from childhood takes the cake. She is right in that your replies have a lot to do with voices in your head than anything she wrote. And that's a shame because she provided some trolling material gold in her long-ass posts. C'mon, man. She learned belly dance to attract men! Lol! She also had to go across 3 continents to find a man, her first priority in life. Did you catch that? Possible green card bride? But all you can see is your mother's false eyelashes, padded bra, slave breeding and religious zealotry. Dude! The bio-hazard is Russian, not Asian. For all we know she is a communist engineer with C-cups. And they usually have their own lashes over there. She isn't your mommy. I guarantee you her kids will be screwed up in a completely different way than you were. Probably the opposite way. Hopefully, they won't need horse tranquilizers, but you do. For the safety of your town. Jesus Christ, man. I do feel for you. It's hard not to. But not as much as I feel for your future massacre victims.

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"white people can not EVER ... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 3:36 PM | Posted, in reply to See You Next Tuesday's comment, by Lynn: | Reply

"white people can not EVER call black people niggers." Does that mean that black people are too delicate?

No, it's not about fragility, it's about power. The group with more power cannot insult the group with less power.

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Yeesh! I feel bad for Profe... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 4:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by kw: | Reply

Yeesh! I feel bad for Professional Christina! And I know *exactly* what you mean. The first time I was taught (step by step) and encouraged to declare my opinions, state facts as facts and openly disagree with others, I was in college doing in-depth art critiques. God, that was awesome. Until then I hadn't realized how much I'd been specifically taught to couch my every statement in soft fluffy uncertainty for the benefit of others. I mean I knew, but I didn't *know*. Un-learning that still takes practice.

Also it's funny to contrast your post before about tough love parenting with the one about your co-workers. Someone is being coddled, and it isn't the six-year-old.

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I've seen at least 5 differ... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 5:22 PM | Posted by kw: | Reply

I've seen at least 5 different definitions of "objective truth" in this thread which-- aside from being funny in itself-- suggests that either it would help to either go from the same definition or pay stricter attention to Christina's definition if the value of reasoning via objective truth (as she described) is to be debated.

If anyone here has ever had a mood disorder you know that when you're feeling "up," reality seems a certain way and you can reason your way there and back again and you could define that as objective truth. And you can do the same with the alternate "down" reality. And if you do CBT or something else where you graph your anxiety and/or perceptions of yourself/reality every day, that graph can confront you with an "objective truth," or as close to objectivity as you can get with such a system. And all three of those "objective truth" scenarios may have no bearing on anyone else. My point is that both the definition of objective truth, and the "observation" of it (assuming it exists) are extremely open to interpretation, making it difficult to argue for or against such a system.

But historically when people operate in unison with "seeking objective truth" as opposed to "mystical religious true-isms" society and civilization have benefited-- I'm thinking of Renaissance, Enlightenment, and that one period on ancient Arabic history that I dont' remember what it was called but was maybe the 1100's, with massive advancement of science. (Unless you argue that things were better in the Dark Ages and that "progress" is mis-named, which I recognize you could). Then again the Spanish Inquisition and Nazi philosophy was based on the sort of "objective truth" that Anonymous describes above: "If one is immersed in an environment where one is expected to live up to such an impossible standard as objective truth, which is a highly subjective value system and controlled by those in power, it is damaging to one's spirit. A real dystopia would have to have ideology behind it. Think of cults and destructive religions with a rigid power structure. The claim is often to 'the one true religion.' One gains power by giving up individual power or a sense of self."

To me, the most useful application of the idea of objective truth is when it causes one to question assumptions or admit they are wrong when evidence shows they are, within a society where that is accepted and encouraged. As another Anonymous said, "but if anyone tells you they have the real reality of everything, you might want to run." Another interpretation of "objective truth" would provide the basis of that person questioning their assumption that they have the one real reality.

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I've seen at least 5 differ... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 5:28 PM | Posted by kw: | Reply

I've seen at least 5 different definitions of "objective truth" in this thread which-- aside from being funny in itself-- suggests that either it would help to either go from the same definition or pay stricter attention to Christina's definition if the value of reasoning via objective truth (as she described) is to be debated.

If anyone here has ever had a mood disorder you know that when you're feeling "up," reality seems a certain way and you can reason your way there and back again and you could define that as objective truth. And you can do the same with the alternate "down" reality. And if you do CBT or something else where you graph your anxiety and/or perceptions of yourself/reality every day, that graph can confront you with an "objective truth," or as close to objectivity as you can get with such a system. And all three of those "objective truth" scenarios may have no bearing on anyone else. My point is that both the definition of objective truth, and the "observation" of it (assuming it exists) are extremely open to interpretation, making it difficult to argue for or against such a system.

But historically when people operate in unison with "seeking objective truth" as opposed to "mystical religious true-isms" society and civilization have benefited-- I'm thinking of Renaissance, Enlightenment, and that one period on ancient Arabic history that I dont' remember what it was called but was maybe the 1100's, with massive advancement of science. (Unless you argue that things were better in the Dark Ages and that "progress" is mis-named, which I recognize you could). Then again the Spanish Inquisition and Nazi philosophy was based on the sort of "objective truth" that Anonymous describes above: "If one is immersed in an environment where one is expected to live up to such an impossible standard as objective truth, which is a highly subjective value system and controlled by those in power, it is damaging to one's spirit. A real dystopia would have to have ideology behind it. Think of cults and destructive religions with a rigid power structure. The claim is often to 'the one true religion.' One gains power by giving up individual power or a sense of self."

To me, the most useful application of the idea of objective truth is when it causes one to question assumptions or admit they are wrong when evidence shows they are, within a society where that is accepted and encouraged. As another Anonymous said, "but if anyone tells you they have the real reality of everything, you might want to run." Another interpretation of "objective truth" would provide the basis of that person questioning their assumption that they have the one real reality.

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@JohnnyJohnyy, I s... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 5:52 PM | Posted by Allie Celeste: | Reply

@Johnny

Johnyy, I started reading comments from the bottom, and then went looking for some of yours to see what everyone's talking about.

You seem like a really nice person deep inside. I think you care about children, human rights and people's ability to live happy, fulfilling lives. That's wonderful. Perhaps, someday you could make a difference.

I also think that you are hurting a lot. Johnny, I'm not saying that you are crazy, but you do need help. Sometimes people need medical attention for stuff like allergies or asthma, and sometimes they need a doctor to help sort out their mental state. I'm not a doctor, but like some of the people above me had suggested, I believe you probably need medication as well as therapy. Maybe, it's not an organic problem, and you only need to take medication for awhile and be done with it. It would be best if you saw a doctor as soon as possible and shared your overall mental state with him/her.

I think you'd be very sorry if you hurt someone, not just because you'd get punished, but because you'd feel genuinely bad about doing something evil. Your writing is obviously manic. (Why don't you show some of your writing to a psychiatrist along with what triggered such responses in you?) It's all over the place. You are very angry and upset and it'd bubbling up in strange places. You need to find a way to work through your problems, so you could be happier and enjoy a productive life.

You might find that your girl problems will get much better as soon as you feel much better mentally. Then, you won't feel so lonely. I'm sure there are girls out there who are just like what you are looking for. In fact, I've met women who get offended if you open the door for them or give up your seat to them. See? All kinds of people are out there for us to pick to befriend, and befriending them will get much easier once you are a bit better at handling your emotions. Please get help. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Plus, you don't have to tell anybody you know, and your psychiatrist won't think you're weird because it's a psychiatrist's job to help people like you.

As for Biological Woman, she is just a little traditional, that's all. I don't think she is planning to hurt her children or anyone else. She lives in the West now, I think, so if she starts feeling powerless and unhappy, she can leave. If her husband starts feeling powerless and unhappy, he'll be able to leave too. If something happens to their kids, someone will call social services. I don't think you should worry about them so much. Most likely, they will all be okay :)

As for the people who thumbed up Biological Woman's posts, I don't think they support child abuse or slavery either. Most people in the world are really much nicer than that. Maybe they just have fond memories of their moms staying home with them? Or maybe they are moms who wish they could stay home with their kids? Or perhaps they are just traditional people like recent catholic immigrants or Midwestern farmers. Hey, it takes all kinds! Most of these folks don't abuse their kids either, and try to create loving families just like the rest of us. Perhaps, someday, YOU and that feminist girl you marry will be creating a loving family, and you'll meet some of these other parents at the kindergarten PTA and you'll realize that they are okay, even if slightly different from you. Life doesn't have to be a scary frustrating thing, not most of the time. I sincerely hope you figure it all out and start feeling better soon.

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OK, I read ALL his posts no... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 6:08 PM | Posted, in reply to toiletwars's comment, by Dinah: | Reply

OK, I read ALL his posts now. I still say it's wrong to taunt him. And if you are right about Johnny's potential for violence, do you think it's wise to rile him up even more and push him over the edge?

The way he is isn't his fault. He was abused. When abuse, especially sexual abuse, happens to young children, it changes their brain chemistry permenantely, and their brains develop differently. The fact that his mother either did it to him or purposefully let it happen to him, would mess up his psychological development in the most profound ways. The mother is the first person we learn to trust, and she is a boy's first relationship with the opposite sex. A mother like Johnny's could cause severe trust and intimacy issues in general, and inability to form healthy relationships specifically. Of course he has trouble communicating coherently! He is the VICTIM here, not the monster. It makes sense that he sees men as overpowering, commonly in possession of all agency in relationships since they probably overpowered and used him for their satisfaction when he was a kid. It also makes sense that he lashes out at women as useless, worthless leeches since his mother was worthless when it came to protecting him, but still got to use him for motherhood status. And the stuff about wanting to kill his brother while having an epiphany that his brother wanted to kill him, well that's just a product of a very poor, irratic upbringing. Who reads East of Eden to a 6 year old anyway? So, again, have some compassion for a fellow human being who is damaged and suffering.

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I'm 25, not 15, and the ent... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2012 8:58 PM | Posted by Lineypi: | Reply

I'm 25, not 15, and the entire Hunger Games trilogy really irked me. I've been reading 'feminist' authors my entire life and Katniss' lack of direction and ability just frustrated me. I felt like the story should have been following Peeta or even Gale rather than her. Her character was just a one trick pony and got predictable very, very quickly.

I also felt like the author had absolutely zero knowledge of guerilla warfare and instigating rebellions. Seriously if you're going to write a book about something then do your research first.

I can't believe people are holding this book up as a valuable piece of literature. The concept is entertaining, sure, and in the hands of a different author it could have been something really impressive. But what we actually have? It's just rubbish. Sorry.

If you want to read some authors who have actual strong female characters (who also kick-ass) then why not try Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, Garth Nix, George RR Martin... just to name a few.

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OiLet... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 1:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Lineypi's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

OiLet

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OK Folks. Can we move on? ... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 1:22 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

OK Folks. Can we move on? It is just a stupid movie for mom's sake.

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@kw: To me, the most us... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 5:10 AM | Posted, in reply to kw's comment, by Christina: | Reply

@kw: To me, the most useful application of the idea of objective truth is when it causes one to question assumptions or admit they are wrong when evidence shows they are, within a society where that is accepted and encouraged.

I'm always ready to be proven wrong. Bring on the data, and I'll do everything I can to adjust my thinking accordingly.

I referred to myself as an atheist somewhere on the board, but if demonstrable proof of a particular, specific religion was available, I'd convert to that religion. If the world experienced the Rapture; if every child under the age of 12 and a select few adults suddenly vanished, if events started happening that closely aligned with the details of ancient prophecy, if physics stopped functioning, if heretofore considered "miracles" passed James Randi's Million Dollar Challenge...I'd accept it. I'd have to. I think the God of that brand of evangelical Christianity is a total dick, but I'd have to admit that He is reality and submit to His will. I'd have to change my thinking about the scientific method and adjust my liberal views on homosexuality, feminism, etc. If the evangelical Christian God was real, I'd have to accept that reality and embrace it.

And if it turned out a year later that the supernatural events weren't actually caused by God as defined by evangelical Christianity, but rather some human teenage time-travelers from five thousand years in the future, using advanced technology to create an elaborate practical joke, I'd give up the evangelical Christian god and accept that, too (and be hugely relieved).

And if I wake up in a hospital bed, and the doctor standing by tells me that I was in a car accident and had to be placed in a medically-induced coma, using a drug which has side-effects of vivid hallucinations, and he doesn't know what I was talking about when I ask about the evangelical rapture or teenage time-travelers, I'd have to accept that, as real as it might have seemed to me, the Rapture and time-traveling teenagers weren't a part of reality, either.

This was a fanciful hypothetical, because I didn't want to look up the references that have influenced the way my understanding of the nutritional value of eggs has shifted over the last 20 years as new data has emerged and been interpreted (from good to bad back to good, now teetering on bad again). But I think it demonstrates that my goal and intention is to avoid rigid thinking and align my understanding with whatever the current data indicates reality to be. That's fluid thinking - far more fluid than the mind that asserts "this is how I feel, I don't know why I feel this way, but you have to respect my feelings, because I've decided they're truth, too." Which is perhaps an over-simplification of how some of the folk express themselves, but...I don't have the literary capabilities to compare the two modes of thought in a couple of sentences.

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Has your lack of literary c... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 8:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Has your lack of literary capabilities ever held back a torrent of banality before now? I guess this is progress, but maybe you should seek further knowledge of your limitations. Your data is giving you information bias. Regarding your caricature of the believer's mental attitude, why don't you set your sites on a master instead of ridiculing the simple minded?

“And if any man would still say that because of my lack of absolute assurance I have no right to the sacred post [that is, as a pastor], I answer, let him cast the first stone who has never been assailed by such doubts as mine. And if such doubts have never been yours, if perhaps your belief is but the shallow absence of doubt, then you must ask yourself a question. Do you love your faith so little that you have never battled a single fear lest your faith should not be true? For what are doubts but the strengthening building blocks toward summits of yet higher faith in him who always leads us into the high places? Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth into the regions where he would have us walk. Doubts are the only means through which he can enlarge our spiritual selves.”
- MacDonald

I hope the world punctures your balloon of a mind soon so that all the fluid thinking may flow out of it to make room for something with some solidity.

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Ripley's character was writ... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 12:01 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by kw: | Reply

Ripley's character was written as a man, which is why it doesn't have that meek-to-bad-ass arc. He was supposed to be... would alpha-male be the right word? He just *is*. They decided to give the part to an actress instead as a marketing tactic. Fun facts.

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I should have researched th... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 4:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Christina: | Reply

I should have researched the eggs.

First, I'd love to hear more about my information bias. My bias in favor of...what, exactly?

I'm not being sarcastic or snide. If I'm engaging in some information bias that clouds my goal of...well...trying not to engage in information bias, for one thing, please tell me what it is.

Second, MacDonald is doing it wrong.

For what are doubts but the strengthening building blocks toward summits of yet higher faith in him who always leads us into the high places?

MacDonald isn't engaging in the process of doubt. I mean, real, actual doubt, the kind of doubt that requires evidence to the contrary in order to overcome it. Rather, MacDonald is sensing doubt, but is then rigorously preventing that doubt from developing into skepticism, and preventing skepticism from developing into methodical examination. And certainly, he's not getting all the way to the scientific method, with its emphasis on universally observable data and reproducible test results.

So it's not doubt. Or, at least, it's not useful doubt for anybody but the people who already believe.

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Our host has written well a... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 10:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Our host has written well about information bias in several places. It's mistaking data for knowledge. Read some Hume, and despair.

And you should know that the scientific method has been slightly oversold, mostly by middle school teachers, which is why most of us have such a reverence for the idea of it. Even if that weren't the case, MacDonald is in the realm of metaphysics. That you either think your metaphysics is based on "on universally observable data and reproducible test results" or that you don't have a metaphysics is a shortcoming.

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OK, so Katniss isn't the mo... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2012 12:49 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

OK, so Katniss isn't the most badass heroine of all time (I think that's Ripley in Aliens, note, plural). But so what? Can't she be a good role model anyways? Is it such a sin to have a moderately positive role model like Katniss? She's strong, she sticks to her principles as much as she can, she protects the blonde boy but she's vulnerable too. She seems to me like a, intelligent, strong and decent human being - not Wonder Woman.

Are male superheroes good role models for boys? I don't think so. They're not real people, they're caricatures.

I'd like to know how the author of these articles would "fix" THG. Should Katniss say "F%$# it", go berserk and slay everyone in sight, just so she can prove her agency? Would that provide a better role model for young people? O_o

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You're making values-based ... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2012 4:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Christina: | Reply

You're making values-based statements, but you're not supporting them.

Our host has written well about information bias in several places. It's mistaking data for knowledge.

Alrighty, what's "knowledge," then? And what if that knowledge is adaptable, based on new or greater degrees of data?

And you should know that the scientific method has been slightly oversold, mostly by middle school teachers, which is why most of us have such a reverence for the idea of it.

Are you serious?

If not the scientific method, then...what?

Even if that weren't the case, MacDonald is in the realm of metaphysics.

Nope. From the quote you provided (bolded emphasis mine):

MacDonald: Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth into the regions where he would have us walk. Doubts are the only means through which he can enlarge our spiritual selves.

MacDonald's metaphysics is based on the unsupported assumption that there's a "he," and that "he" has intentions for us, and that "he" uses doubt to make us believe more in "him."

There's no evidence the "he" in question - specifically, the "he" as defined by MacDonald - exists. Which is why I don't currently believe "he" exists. If some evidence of "his" presence becomes available, I'll change my mind.

That you either think your metaphysics is based on "on universally observable data and reproducible test results" or that you don't have a metaphysics is a shortcoming.

Why?

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Cristina, you should be ask... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2012 1:20 PM | Posted by gral: | Reply

Cristina, you should be asking yourself that "Why?" and then perhaps you'll get the point Gabe Ruth is making.

You huddle under Facts like it's (the category) and they're (the things themselves) the whole of the landscape of human existence.

Why don't you ponder this: what "facts" can you marshal to prove the existence of an emotion? If someone says she's in pain, what facts can you provide us to demonstrate her pain, objectively and with some discrete measurable connotation of "pain"?

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You huddle under Facts l... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 5:07 AM | Posted, in reply to gral's comment, by Christina: | Reply

You huddle under Facts like it's (the category) and they're (the things themselves) the whole of the landscape of human existence.

I...don't know what that sentence means.

And I'll paraphrase what I asked Gabe Ruth; if not facts then...what?

Why don't you ponder this: what "facts" can you marshal to prove the existence of an emotion? If someone says she's in pain, what facts can you provide us to demonstrate her pain, objectively and with some discrete measurable connotation of "pain"?

Part of caring about observable data is recognizing when there is no observable data, or that we don't have the tools to accurately measure said observable data.

Currently, we don't have the technology to asses an individual's exact mind-state. Maybe we never will. As such, I would never claim that it's possible to prove an individual is experiencing a particular emotion. So, currently, the precise mind-state of a person is best defined as "unknowable."

However, I will point out that it is possible to objectively measure the physiological responses commonly associated with certain broad kinds of emotion. The interpretation of those measurements won't be 100% accurate for 100% of the people, but it gets the researcher closer to the "fact" of the subject's emotion than they might otherwise have been. A lot of that tech is still in its infancy (fMRI, voice stress analysis, etc.), but it's slowly developing.

I'm not a researcher, but this test might work: A slow-motion camera capturing a person's micro-expressions, plus pulse-rate and perspiration monitors, could reflect the changes in a person's body as she responds to a series of prompts, some of which are designed to elicit a painful personal memory. If the physiological responses commonly associated with pain only occur in response to the prompts that have personal and painful significance for the individual subject, you have some data that something is happening.

But even with data indicating there is a physiological response to a certain kind of stimuli, no self-respecting researcher would make a statement that they have insight into the subject's precise emotional state.

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You're missing the point st... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 1:19 PM | Posted by gral: | Reply

You're missing the point still Cristina. It's not about what we can do with technology. Technology will never show mental states with precision and clarity. This I am comfortable predicting. This I predict despite knowing that current neuroscience pretends to show "images" (via MRI etc) of psychological activity. Those who believe this neuro-pseudo-science is real and legitimate deserve the eventual nefarious uses to which it will be put... like in the movie Minority Report.

There is no way to assess human mind states. They are as nebulous as every other ethereal aspect of existence. Some of us humans pretend that worshiping science and technology will remove the uncertainties of the ethereal/nebulous nature of existence. They are using science and tech in the same way a fundamentalist uses religion -- as an ego salve, as a shelter from insecurity and the unknown.

THAT is what I meant by saying you use facts like a blanket, like a security blanket. You appear to think the scientific method is everything, that if only we could use science and technology to gather more facts, we'll understand everything.

You mistake throwing more paint on the canvas for actually seeing and experiencing the landscape the paint and canvas supposedly represent.

You need to be comfortable with un-knowables, not run from them or hope that "facts" will "come to light" which will allow the knowledge to take root.

I wonder why you are so determined to live a fact-based existence. One thing I'd guess is that you were exposed to some religious fundamentalists in your formative years, and are trying to escape the narrow confines of their approach. I could be wrong about that, but in my experience, most people who are so fact-based and so enamored of technology have some negative formative years experiences with the religious type of fantasist, and have merely placed technophilia or science worship in the spot previously held by religion.

The trick is to be comfortable with the unknown and to be aware there are un-knowables in life, and to be able to be in the moment without trying to assess "the facts" or use science to determine what could be.

It's a common trap for self-styled "liberals" and "progressives", to be anti-religion and pro-science and pro-technology, because they think that's somehow more enlightened, more moral, more superior to the supposed ignorance of the religious, who are often presumed to be "conservative" or "reactionary."

Binary is a trap, not a liberator.

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PS:A person's faci... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 1:25 PM | Posted by gral: | Reply

PS:

A person's facial features do NOT prove mental state.

The TV show "Lie to Me" is not reality. Tim Roth is not a real-life mentalist gifted with prescience regarding someone's honesty. It is 100% fiction. It is dangerous to assume the pseudo-technology used on that show is real, durable, and useful. It's hogwash. It's no more real than palm-reading, tea-leaf-reading, tarot cards, ouija boards, or crystal balls. The fact that the pseudo-facts are called "data" and are processed by technological devices doesn't make it real or durable or useful. It just adds to the spectacle.

Turn off your TV, please.

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PPS:I think it mig... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 1:32 PM | Posted by gral: | Reply

PPS:

I think it might be useful to consider this particular logical fallacy --

correlation is not causation

-- and what it means, practically speaking. The neuroscience "images" of emotional states are correlation, not causation. The fantasies sold by the TV show "Lie to Me" or other shows like "CSI:______" are vehicles for confusing correlation and causation with technological glitz and gee-whiz-that's-space-age-right-there hucksterism.

Most pseudoscience engages in correlation and not causation. It's helpful to be able to discern which is at play, and when.

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Katniss actually annoyed me... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 5:51 PM | Posted by Carrie: | Reply

Katniss actually annoyed me throughout the book, but she is a 15 year old girl. I annoyed myself as a 15 year old girl. (Offense not intended to 15 year old girls. Or anyone who was once a 15 year old girl or knows a 15 year old girl.) I was intrigued by the story. A government that can and does get away with murder. Who rules by fear. It was interesting. Though I did respect the Katniss character (annoying or not) for doing what she could to ensure her family's survival. Hunting outside of her district's boundaries, taking care of her sister when her father died and her mother lost her shit. And for volunteering so her sister wouldn't go to the games and surely die. I think that represents inner strength. Putting others before yourself. That is an admirable trait. And I loved Peeta. Which is a little disturbing really because he is a 15 year old boy. Pretend or not I'm a little mortified that I liked his character so much. So many of his actions were noble and lovely. However, the Hunger Game series to me, wasn't just about Katniss (Or Katniss, Peeta and Gale) anymore than the Titanic movie was about the Jack and Rose characters. There is much more to the story.
But the whole point of me commenting is this quote of yours "And the reason why showing off-- or, as the movie ever so subtly puts it, "showing them up"-- is so important is that women still secretly believe they are inferior to men." I disagree. I don't believe I am inferior to men. NOR do I believe men are inferior to women. Why must it be a competition? Everyone is different, everyone brings different things to the table- good and bad. I believe that many men, at least many of those I know in my life, spend a considerable amount of time trying to get women to believe that they are inferior to men and most women spend the majority of their lives fighting back, trying to show them that they are not. I have a father like that. I married and then divorced a man like that. Men who spent a lot of time trying to make me feel as though I was inferior, but I'm not buying what they are selling. They don’t determine my value.
However I believe that's where the existing sexism comes from. I see it with my friends teenage girls- stuff on facebook between them and their friends.. it's no different than when I was in high school. Not much different than when my mom was in high school. Guys insult each other by calling them girls. Coaches insult athletes by calling them ladies. It’s starts young. And never ends really.
I also see it in ridiculous things, like when people find out I have 2 large dogs and they say dumb things like "you don't strike me as a big dog person." Whatever that is. They then say a Yorkie would suit me. What they don't know is I likely would accidentally step on that poor dog and kill it. Just because I am female and petite doesn't mean I want a dog that I can tote around in my purse. What if it peed in there? Gross.
I am fortunately coming either to an age or a level of maturity (likely age- the word maturity doesn't really suit me) in which I know that only I myself can truly know my limitations. Will I ever run a marathon? Unlikely. Can I use a table saw? Yes. Will I ever reroof my house? Hell no. I hate heights. Will I ever build a fence again? Yep. Tile another bathroom? Yes. (Apparently I need to do things that aren't home improvement related.) Could I survive a zombie apocalypse? No. Am I a horrible speller? Yes.
But really I don't think there isn't a person, male or female, that doesn't enjoy showing up a person that underestimates them. I think that is a human factor, not gender related. After all, Peeta throws one hundred pounds after falling off a rope climbing thing (at Katniss's suggestion) to show those watching that he wasn't weak. We all do it. We bristle at those who underestimate us or make a ridiculous judgment because of A thing about us and then we revel in enjoyment that we were more than they could have ever thought. Pleasure in proving those who try to hold you back or pigeon hole you is universal.
And yes- I would totally go with Alice.

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You said it all and said it... (Below threshold)

April 26, 2012 8:15 PM | Posted by Maya: | Reply

You said it all and said it well.

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You know, I started a long ... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 5:41 AM | Posted, in reply to gral's comment, by Christina: | Reply

You know, I started a long response, about how you seem to have deliberately misread my content; how you ignored the fact that I was the first person in our conversation to assert that something is "unknowable," what futurists are predicting for brain research and computer advancements, how I've never seen Lie to Me or CSI, how micro-expressions are a real phenomenon covered by multiple science/educational outlets, how the universe actually is binary in that a thing ultimately either exists or it does not...

But instead, I'm going to rephrase the question that nobody here who has criticized my thinking has attempted to answer:

If not observation of phenomena...then what?

What's the alternative?

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I appreciate your restraint... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 8:12 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

I appreciate your restraint. Whether or not you were the first person to assert that something was unknowable, your comments since are pure positivism. But you ask a good question, and I'm afraid I can't answer it for you. As always, the solution is exponentially more difficult than the diagnosis.

To begin the search, it is enough to accept that the observation of phenomena is insufficient to know Truth, and that objective reality and Truth are one. It's also helpful to remember that there is nothing new under the sun, and many people have grappled with these questions and come to wildly different conclusions. Even better, many of them lived a long time ago and so their writings are not under copyright, and nice crazy people have made many of them available online. Sometimes I have trouble understanding how anyone could ever be bored.

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Wait...are you one person s... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 10:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Wait...are you one person switching between the "Gabe Ruth" handle and "gral?"

But you ask a good question, and I'm afraid I can't answer it for you. As always, the solution is exponentially more difficult than the diagnosis.

That's kind of patronizing.

Whatever the answer is, you clearly think you have it, or you wouldn't have engaged me in the discussion. You wouldn't have gone out of your way to criticize my thoughts if they didn't conflict with your own.

So if you have some personal answers about the metaphysical, you should outline them, and ideally defend them. If, for whatever reason, you don't want to debate with me whether or not they have merit, that's fine; but at least you will have presented your point of view.

It's not okay to say that I'm wrong, but I need to find the answers for myself. These are the answers I found out for myself. I started out with the wrong ideas - demonstrably untrue ideas - and ended up here.

To begin the search, it is enough to accept that the observation of phenomena is insufficient to know Truth...

Whoa...why the capitalization? Are you personifying the concept of truth, or are you merely indicating "truth" as a concept separate and/or more significant than reality?

and that objective reality and Truth are one.

If objective reality and Truth are one, then Truth is objective reality. Or Objective Reality. Truth therefore exists within objective reality. So if you want to know some truth; observe reality.

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I dont think Gabe is gonna ... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 11:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by YOHAMI: | Reply

I dont think Gabe is gonna expose / defend his own ideas.

Attacking others seems to be the modus operandi here. Easy and cheap: If you succeed you make people feel bad get an ego boost. If you fail or get called on it, you move to the next target.

Truth with capital sounds like Bullshit to Me. ;-)

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Gral is another person who ... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 11:25 AM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Gral is another person who joined the conversation.

So we accept the principle of identity (mostly). More progress. Something I've noticed is you should trust a mathematician before a biologist. But if you take nothing else from TLP, after "the problem is you" and "what does the author want to be true", take this: observed reality is not necessarily objective reality.

I am a Christian, and I know I don't have all the answers. But it is impossible to debate someone who believes they have accumulated all the answers humanity can grasp by observing reality, and that progress in science will eventually yield everything else. Your starting point is the exclusion of the Divine. Mine is the opposite.

Yohami, biological reductionism isn't worth attacking.

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Gabe,"biological r... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 11:32 AM | Posted by YOHAMI: | Reply

Gabe,

"biological reductionism isn't worth attacking."

I guess you mean it's not worth debating

"But it is impossible to debate someone who believes"

Amen.


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I'm right and you're wrong<... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 11:57 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm right and you're wrong

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I should add that accepting... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 12:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

I should add that accepting the divine isn't a necessary starting point for the search for Truth, though I think it's a good one. Rather, understanding the point I mentioned before, observed reality is not the same thing as objective reality, and thinking about what that means, is all that is necessary. That, and desire for Truth.

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This blog brings out uninte... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 12:10 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

This blog brings out unintended irony like no other. Put your two statements together, and look in the mirror, guy.

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All put downs and no debate... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 12:14 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by YOHAMI: | Reply

All put downs and no debate.

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That's not completely unfai... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 12:26 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

That's not completely unfair, I guess. Sometimes I think my internet persona needs a good punch in the nose.

What would you like to talk about?

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Awesome! now that's a chang... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 12:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by YOHAMI: | Reply

Awesome! now that's a change in attitude

Anything you disagreed with me or whatever, Im always up for debate. I took the points that mattered the most to me elsewhere though: http://yohami.com/blog/2012/04/21/manliness-harry-potter-the-hunger-games/

be warned that its full of gender reductionism

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Ah, sorry about the identit... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 3:49 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Christina: | Reply

Ah, sorry about the identity confusion. I thought "gral" might stand for Gabe Ruth something-something, and since you replied directly to me in response to the post I directed at gral, it got confusing. Anyway.

take this: observed reality is not necessarily objective reality.

If observation correctly aligns with objective reality, the two are one and the same.

Important: That doesn't always happen.

I'm sure there are components of reality that human beings will never be able to observe; if we don't have the senses or the tools to do the observing, we'll never know what's there. There might be lifeforms made of energies we can't perceive on any level whatsoever. I would add that whether or not these things exist is irrelevant, since we can't interact with them if we can't observe them, but I still concede the possibility that the unknowable exists.

That being said, the best way to get an understanding of knowable reality is to observe it.

As best you can. With the understanding that your understanding of reality always has the potential to be incorrect, or incomplete.

I am a Christian, and I know I don't have all the answers. But it is impossible to debate someone who believes they have accumulated all the answers humanity can grasp by observing reality, and that progress in science will eventually yield everything else. Your starting point is the exclusion of the Divine. Mine is the opposite.


For what it's worth, when I referred to myself as an atheist, it was a reference to myself as a believer - not a knower - that the-Divine-as-defined-by-the-world's-various-religions isn't compatible with my observation of reality.

To that degree, you're an atheist, too, of everything but your particular Christian denomination. By identifying as Christian, you've excluded your belief in the literal truth of the divinity of everything else...the classical Greek pantheon, Hinduism, Wicca, Scientology, Mormonism, Shintoism, whatever it is that motivated paleolithic people to bury their dead, etc. If you're a Catholic, you don't believe in God defined by Protestantism. And so on.

I haven't encountered a belief system that makes as much sense to me as atheism, is as compatible with my observations of reality. But I would never say, "there is no god." Rather I say, "I don't believe in god-as-has-been-defined-by-humans. Whether or not there is an unobservable god-like thing is unknowable."

You have to admit that last sentence is true. Whether or not the divine beings of the classical Greek pantheon, Hinduism, Wicca, Scientology, Mormonism, Shintoism, etc. exist is unknowable. There is no direct evidence that any of those forces exists. They could exist, but we can't know they exist unless we observe them...existing.

Last, I didn't claim I have "all the answers," just that I have one goal: Observe reality. Observe it even when it contradicts previously-held and misinterpreted false observations, and to submit to reality even when it conflicts with my ego (I use the word colloquially, of course).

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To Gabe Ruth's everlasting ... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 4:31 PM | Posted, in reply to YOHAMI's comment, by Christina: | Reply

To Gabe Ruth's everlasting credit, he did reply. :)

Attacking others seems to be the modus operandi here.

DUDE.

I've noticed that comments sections tend to reflect the tone of the page's author; comments on Ebert's blog tend to be gentile, Cracked comments are crude and jokey, etc.

This site is no different; in fact, the way some folk mimic Alone's literary style is actually a little creepy. There are a few comments here and there that sounded so much like Alone that I wondered if he was actually replying, "out of character," as it were, with sock-puppet identities.

Anyway, I think that so many of the comments are arrogant and combative because Alone's posts often feature deliberate, stylistic use of arrogance and combativeness, in order to challenge the reader's assumptions about whatever statement is being made. Especially when he's trying to crack through to the narcissists among us.

That tone is fine in a single-author post, where we, the readers, have temporarily submitted ourselves to the author's world view and literary choices, and he's addressing nobody in particular.

But the arrogance and combativeness is downright rude in personal conversation. At risk of sounding like I'm flipping a feather boa over my shoulder, screeching "Well! I never!" before flouncing out, I will say that I'm going to think long and hard about commenting on the TLP site in the future!

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HOLY SHIT!I meant ... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2012 4:40 PM | Posted by Christina: | Reply

HOLY SHIT!

I meant "genteel," not "gentile."

Balls! That looks stupid!

I, too, wish the comments section had some capacity for editing/deleting!

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I think the racism is appal... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2012 3:46 PM | Posted by Nikki: | Reply

I think the racism is appalling in this movie/book - and I agree, no one even notices.

Also, you praise the schools for their work with bring the standards up for girls, and then wonder where the 15yr olds are getting their misguidance about feminism from, watch any movie, tv, commercial, video games, listen to music, look at the internet, porn, read any magazine, newspaper, any media of any sort.... SEE how woman are portrayed and how we are expected to look, act, do, be... It is still a patriarchal world we live in, women still make 70cents to a man's dollar. Watch the movies/documentaries "Miss Representation" and the "Killing Us Softly" movies. From this blog post, The Last Psychiatrist, I don't think you have seen these.... I would love to hear what you have to say after watching all of those.

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Ah, Christina, in doing vio... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2012 12:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Christina's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

Ah, Christina, in doing violence to words you shrink the bounds of intelligible communication even more tightly than the bounds of the knowable already have. Yes, we are all believers in something, but atheist is (was?) a pretty clear word.

"If observation correctly aligns with objective reality, the two are one and the same." And if the drunk's keys happen to be under the street light, he will find them. The question is whether our hypothetical drunk is in Manhattan or New Philadelphia. I don't think science is a waste of time. I believe that chipping away at the current boundaries of our understanding is a noble undertaking. But our scientists have lost perspective. That is a problem for them. The problem for us is that we are turning to them on questions they have no business addressing, because we don't believe anyone else has a clue. They make the necessary assumptions, give their expert opinion, and sleep the sleep of the just.

"I have one goal: Observe reality. Observe it even when it contradicts previously-held and misinterpreted false observations, and to submit to reality even when it conflicts with my ego." So say we all. But even if you believe you can succeed in doing this yourself, you betray a great deal of faith in your fellow man if you think many are really capable of this, treating observed data alone as the only knowable truth.

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"Ah, Christina, in doing vi... (Below threshold)

May 1, 2012 1:14 PM | Posted by Candy: | Reply

"Ah, Christina, in doing violence to words you shrink the bounds of intelligible communication even more tightly than the bounds of the knowable already have."

-Giggle!

You people are such a hoot.

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...What the hell a... (Below threshold)

May 2, 2012 4:24 AM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Christina: | Reply

...

What the hell are you talking about?

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That last paragraph you wro... (Below threshold)

May 4, 2012 5:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Dirk Willems: | Reply

That last paragraph you wrote, do you even have a comment to that one yourself? What I take with me, is that that thinking are better done in companionship.

Sigh. I guess it always depend on what one is willing to accept as an argument or a proof. First I'd like to share this one thing which really confuses me. It concerns religion, and more. It could be said to be about geography.

Born in northern Europe? Okay, probably you subscribe to our modern day creation myth, the scientific fashionable belief, if not you're probably a Christian, a protestant of some sort. I'd need to know more about where you grew up to make a more detailed guess. Born in Saudi-Arabia? Halleluja - Jesus must be second among the prophets and an educated man could probably make a fairly detailed and accurate list of your beliefs and accurately assess your intellectual structure.

I assume if you apply the same line of reason on yourself, whoever you are, religious or not, your thoughts will soon wander to how clueless we are, particularly in grand questions about God and Nietzsche, and how fragile our knowledge are and how much we depend on other people when designing our personal model of the world.

How am I to become free from my heritage? Shouldn't I try to? Should I accept being determined by my descent?

Now, applying this line of thought isn't very productive and can easily distort any honest attempt on making a slight sense of it all, which is what every participant of the discussion seeks.

So, what I _believe_, given a set of premises such as there is a god and the things we see are intelligible et cetera, is that while all honest and thoughtful individuals perhaps won't find the same answers, they will certainly all be heading in the same direction. In my mind, anything to the contrary would dissolve all meaning and while I could - for the sake of a brief conversation - entertain ideas to the contrary, I generally don't.

Big words ha? Lots of air and not very specific, you say?

The great thing about science is that one don't have to believe. We can know. Well, most of the time we don't do the tests ourselves as the priesthood seem to be very confident, and they're even able to make bombs.

Bomb yes, a cell? No, not even a cell membrane or whatever. Nothing. I know all about the amino acid experiments and the usual counter-argument which is called "god in the gaps": "We don't know how and voila! therefore it must be God."

Actually, the way I understand (and trust) science, life is impossible. Abiogenesis, the leap from dead matter to living things is for me the most obvious argument for a wanted creation rather than a natural process. The way I understand science, that leap is _not_ unknown territory, rather we do know that it is _practically impossible_ - yet it happened.

I'm prepared for an argument over the issue, but I'm not sure what use it would be. That being said, few things would excite me more than learning something which were to revolutionize my world-view. I could testify that such revolutions are highly desirable.

So why do some become atheists and other theists, even when equipped with the same information? I don't know. Different people, different backgrounds. It's obvious but worth mentioning that people are receptible for different ideas at different times.

Perhaps a better way of framing the issue would be to ask what motivates people in their pursuit of knowledge. I think I observe that people with similar motivation do arrive at similar places, but still their reasoning may differ tremendously. Did that make sense? Sigh.

While I value rational thought highly, I sometimes fear falling into the trap of intellectualizing. One guy I can't remember the name of, living in pre-WWII Germany, said something to the effect that one didn't need a very observant pair of eyes to see who the false prophets were, merely a sense of smell would suffice.

Today, our world is far more sophisticated and obfuscated, and there seems no end to the masquerade. Perhaps history as a subject serves us well as a starting point, a place to start digging.

Although History is written by the victorious etc etc etc I sincerely doubt that anyone saw what was coming, e.g information technology. These days, we know so much more. We're seeing past generations in far greater detail than they could ever anticipate. As far as anyone care for looking, the truth is out there.

But no, I don't believe anyone claiming to be speaking in tongues. They are all liars, knowingly or not. Still, not everything they say are false. Perhaps no big surprise as the most sophisticated lies mostly contain truth.

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Every action movie has Deus... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2012 4:56 AM | Posted by Katnip Favabean: | Reply

Every action movie has Deus Ex Machina stuff like the conveniently placed tracker jacker nest and implausible nick of time defying of death, often aided by another character. I just saw Avengers tonight. That happened, like, 5 times in that movie. And even if the presence of the wasp nest was a Deus ex Machina (I agree that it was), Katniss still has to do something with it - if she were Cinderella, the nest would have just fallen on its own.

Every movie made by and for white people featuring black people features Magical Negroes, Numinous Negroes, Head-rolling Sassy Negroes, Gangstas, or Al Rokeresque clown sidekicks. The only exceptions are movies where a black actor got a part that probably wasn't written with a black actor in mind. I hate it too, and the scene with Thresh was easily the worst part. But The Hunger Games is no different than a lot of movies in this respect. Also, this has absolutely nothing to do with the original premise that the it's a fairy tale.

And I still don't get how killing two people with a bow counts as not killing anyone.

If Hunger Games is a fairytale, so is pretty much everything else you'll find filed under "action." Which makes the criticism meaningless.

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Well, those women are not f... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2012 12:40 AM | Posted by nikki: | Reply

Well, those women are not feminists. They are women who buy the false idea of feminism that the system sells

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So let me get this straight... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2012 3:40 AM | Posted by S: | Reply

So let me get this straight: the "main character", the object of glory, is female, and yet the one doing all of the hard work is male?

And this is sexist against women?

How about: try again.

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Wow, you are taking the Hun... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2012 3:05 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow, you are taking the Hunger Games way out of context. It is just a story to keep us entertained, not in the least bit expected to be sexist. Just read the books and stop looking into them so much. Kthanksbye :3

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^^ I can tell thats a 14 y.... (Below threshold)

May 12, 2012 5:37 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

^^ I can tell thats a 14 y.o. Girl.

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And of course, women who ar... (Below threshold)

May 12, 2012 9:18 PM | Posted, in reply to nikki's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

And of course, women who aren't True Feminists™ don't have a valid opinion on what women want, or need, they're just part of The Stupid Brainwashed Other™ that desperately need liberating.

(You can see all the True Feminists™ in the comments here, projecting their powerlessness onto other women who unlike themselves, totally lack agency)

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Oh, I think plenty of femin... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2012 1:47 AM | Posted, in reply to theskepticalshrink's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh, I think plenty of feminists love that film. It's an amazing rape-revenge movie, tough to watch, but certainly powerful.

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No surprise but the rape-->... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2012 1:56 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

No surprise but the rape-->revenge concept isn't much a show of agency. I'm not suggesting anyone of us are capable of forgetting, but here the rape victim still has the rapist as frame of reference in which she act. She want to cut off his balls, perfectly understandable, but it's at cost of her liberation. Surely she has not removed the rapist from the equation or made him into an asset for anything but motivation for violence, which I assume to be far from her mindset prior to the rape.

"She can continue with her life only after accomplishing the revenge."

What do I know, but it seem like her destiny indeed is linked to the rapists'. Is it fair to say that the thoughts of revenge was imposed on her?

Kateniss does at least choose to take her sisters place, but than again, how would her life become knowing her sister died when she could've prevented it. Would it be thinkable - for her - to continue as normal? The way I read it, she chose between two alternatives - herself or her sister. Is it agency to chose between presented alternatives? On the other hand, isn't that the only thing we always do? I.e chose between perceived alternatives. Boring.

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<a href="http://www.youtube... (Below threshold) Sadly, this point has been ... (Below threshold)

May 24, 2012 12:12 AM | Posted by Sarah G: | Reply

Sadly, this point has been made for at least 110 years.

"The heroines may differ externally, they may be tall and stately, or small and winning, but they never achieve an independent character. They are mere sport of their circumstances, i.e. the plot of the story of their role is to be injured and misunderstood, loving and faithful through all affliction, and it is clear that any outbreak of originality would be very disturbing."

Helen Bosanquet, 'Cheap Literature' Contemporary Review 89 (1901), pp. 671-81

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Thresh is not meant to be r... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2012 11:10 AM | Posted by Thomas: | Reply

Thresh is not meant to be retarded, he gave one word answers because he was sullen and hostile, he understood everything he was just mean and sullen.

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Like the select participant... (Below threshold)

June 13, 2012 8:05 AM | Posted by fashion games: | Reply

Like the select participants of its savage sport, The Hunger Games stands triumphant, if scarred and a bit wobbly from the contest.

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Note that the that is aware... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2012 7:44 PM | Posted by alex: | Reply

Note that the that is aware that they has free will feels as though they lacks agency ("it doesn't matter what I do") becomes either depressed or paranoid, or both.
Thanks,
Alex @ jogos de meninas

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late to the party, as usual... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2012 12:13 PM | Posted by puppylander: | Reply

late to the party, as usual.

there's another way to treat this "lack of agency" question. that is, "agency" is fictive.

in other words, for some men and most children, it's foreign territory to think of people other than yourself. women (must) make that transition. katniss constantly frames her interactions in terms of others--what she gives up for others, what she owes others, etc. that's the resounding motif in the book, and that's what's feministic.

i don't know if tlp is missing the boat on this, but extolling "agency" is, ahem, narcissistic. what you call "agency" can also be called fantasy.

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I read about half the comme... (Below threshold)

July 2, 2012 6:12 PM | Posted by droppingby: | Reply

I read about half the comments in this thread but I just want to say that what really made me uncomfortable in this movie was how Katniss was manipulated by Peeta into some kind of relationship. She literally has to cozy up to him to survive whether she wants to or not. Whether she knows she likes him or not. The cognitive dissonance required for that is indicative of exactly what women in general have to do to survive in real life every fucking day. That whole situation just perpetuates the stinking shitpile that is male privilege.

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well, you could say it "per... (Below threshold)

July 20, 2012 5:58 AM | Posted, in reply to droppingby's comment, by puppylander: | Reply

well, you could say it "perpetuates"... or you could say it "reflects" reality. (isn't that always the controversy in "art"?)

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My favorite quotation on ob... (Below threshold)

July 20, 2012 10:32 PM | Posted, in reply to kw's comment, by ginny: | Reply

My favorite quotation on objective truth, (which I still say is highly overrated) is this, from the movie "Adam's Rib":

"I don't make the rules."

"Sure you do. We all do."- Katherine Hepburn's character

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I was actually wondering ab... (Below threshold)

July 20, 2012 10:36 PM | Posted, in reply to gral's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I was actually wondering about Ayn Rand's influence in her life. ?

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My mom mentioned that she h... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2012 8:22 AM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

My mom mentioned that she had just finished the last of the Hunger Games trilogy (she's not a feminist, and she's quite intelligent, don't ask me why), and I mentioned TLP's idea that Katniss lacks agency (for example, "Look, there's a nest of lethal insects a few feet away that will wipe out your enemies and allow you to escape.")

She asked if you'd read the other books, because apparently it comes out that there was an internal power struggle within the existing hierarchy, and they wanted to use Katniss to destabilize the regime enough that their faction could take over (and then return to stability). The nest, and possibly other breaks, were assists from this faction. If this is accurate, it confirms your theory about the anti-feminist message pretty completely, but it also demonstrates an impressively realist worldview on the part of the author, as well as vindicating her imagination.

Can any of the hordes that were so eager to confirm that Katniss does so kill people elaborate on this?

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As a student, I have writte... (Below threshold)

August 13, 2012 2:55 PM | Posted by JMD: | Reply

As a student, I have written literary analysis for 7 years. While I recognize that this is not an academic setting, your posts seem to qualify as a literary analysis-you are, after all, making a claim about a movie and the book it was based upon, correct? In your first post, there was not a single quote taken from the Hunger Games that was used to prove your claim. Here, there are two, yet I am still not convinced. I think you were on the right track with the comparison of Alice and Katniss, but I would like to see a more detailed analysis, because I still feel that Katniss has agency. I would be interested to see your example of a character from the world of young adult literature (Harry Potter, Twilight, etc) that does embody what you say Katniss does not. Perhaps then I might be able to follow your reasoning a little more clearly.

For the record, the "badass" scene I would have chosen from the book/movie is the one in which Katniss blows up the careers' food supply. If I remember correctly, she makes this plan on her own, and executes all but the distraction technique by herself. This also does not seem to be a "pistol on the wall" scenario like the tracker jacker nest because it is not a defensive maneuver, but an offensive one. (Note: calling them "magic bees" is degrading to readers who enjoyed the book and negates your claim that you are not attacking the franchise. I would take you more seriously if you instead used the jargon of the series.)

Speaking of which, if you are looking for fewer "deranged" responses, you should probably take on a less inflammatory tone. You say, "the vast majority of you will woefully willfully misquote me as having said, "women are inferior to men," but that's because your brain is broken. I read the book. You need to read with a highlighter." This is offensive to anyone who might disagree with your point, and most people that I know, at least, tend to lash out in defensive anger in situations such as these. Even more blatantly so is this: "You know you're stupid, right?" I can't respect your argument when I don't feel that you respect other opinions.

Finally, I am confused by this line: "no one knows the value of a person's life better than a slightly retarded giant homicidal black guy." Where within the book was Thresh ever classified as "slightly retarded"? If I missed it, feel free to point out the quote. I also don't remember him being particularly out-for-blood homicidal. In fact, I don't think you even hear much about him between the training and the instance in which he saves Katniss. From what I remember, he goes off the grid.

Overall, however, I think that this article is WAY more heated than necessary. Changing people's minds is difficult, and thought-provoking statements don't have to be the ones that get people up-in-arms.

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I've been thinking at least... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2012 3:14 PM | Posted by Jett: | Reply

I've been thinking at least something like this as I've been reading the books. The setting has been really interesting and I want to know how that all plays out, but I can't seem to find a reason to rout for Katniss on her own. She seems to be for the most part nothing more than a vehicle for other [male] characters.

She's saved by them, directed by them, protected and manipulated by them. And in her own mind there seems to be very little care or concern for anything. At point she even has to remind herself to care. The 1st person narrative doesn't help either.

With Thresh though; I could be wrong but I saw nothing stunted or deficient in his mental capabilities. When I was reading about him the description of his short answers and demeanor seemed to indicate more barely controlled anger. The kind of anger that comes from being put into the horrific situation they were in. Anger at the situation and that Rue had to be involved.

I suppose I could have been over thinking but I always considered the short one word answers to be less about lack of intelligence and more an act of non-compliance with the system's intentions.

Katniss may have been a slightly better character in my mind if she'd reacted in such a way.

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I agree with you. The book ... (Below threshold)

September 9, 2012 5:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Katnip Favabean's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I agree with you. The book is no worse than others of similar genres, and much better than many of them. I doubt the people the writer quoted were hard core feminists, their standards tend to be much higher. And what the write seems to be missing is that Katniss came after Bella Swan....anything after that will seem like revolutionaly feminism.

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I agree with a lot of your ... (Below threshold)

September 19, 2012 9:45 AM | Posted by Kata: | Reply

I agree with a lot of your analysis, and your perspective is interesting. I too have been frustrated by the lack of feminist analysis (as opposed to 'omg Katniss is such a badass!' articles) of THG. I'm kind of fascinated by the books - I like them a good deal, I've done fanart and everything. But it's a very critical version fandom for me.

I also noticed the odd issues going on with Katniss's agency/lack thereof. After her one big catalysing choice at the bginning (to volunteer), she really has no choices to make until the end of the games. And she SHOULD. She's in a deathmatch, the dilemas and difficulties she's faced with should be huge! But there's a curious, meh attitude to all of that.

Like you say, in what should be difficult situations she's often given a third option to nullify the problem. She's allowed to find a middle path every time between the actual moral pacifism that would result in her death, and the overt murder that would compromise her morally. She kills indirectly, in self-defence, from pity. She never really missteps morally, which does rather negate the difficult questions which in theory lie at the heart of the book.

In this way, though she is physically active and capable, Katniss is barely a less passive character than Bella Swan. That's not to say that overall I think THG isn't better than Twilight - THG is in a different league - but I'm not convinved that its heroine has a function that different from Bella's. Ultimately, Katniss's passivity/agency is examined in-series.

In fact, not only what Katniss never allowed to overstep the moral line in the book, she never really puts a foot wrong. Her character lacks definition for me, because while we are told about Katniss's personality. she never acts in a constant way; she acts in the way that has the best result in-story. So though we are often informed that Katniss is not gregarious, lacks charm and cannot lie, she actually demonstrates these abilities with conviction and immense success within the book. When she is pretending to be something or feel something, the audience whole-heartedly lap up her performance. On other occasions she does act according to her own supposed bluffness - and this works out for her too. In the end, Katniss always does what the narrative requires of her.

This lack of agency can read as un-feminist, but I don't think the issue is with Suzanne Collins attitudes in that department. I think the issues are with her ability to chararacter-orientate a story. the distniction is academic - if young female readers get a problematic message from the books, it doesn't matter whay that problematic message is there.

Happily, the messages the books/film seem to be spreading seem to be far more simple and positive: a female-led action franchise being ahuge hit! A leading lady whose character isn't all about teh sex or romance! So hurrah for that.

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So Named biological woman,<... (Below threshold)

September 20, 2012 2:56 AM | Posted, in reply to So Named biological woman's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So Named biological woman,

Re:
"Could it be that gender isn't a social construct, and most women will always need male love approval and protection to feel happy and fulfilled, no matter how much schools try to fight it? "

I think it's great that you know what you want out of life and have found it. The only problem I have is that you think you want those things BECAUSE you're a woman. How can you try to know what other women want out of life and their relationships?

Why don't you try looking at things this way:
You are a person who wants to find love and happiness with a partner. When you trust another person, you enjoy the feeling of them being in control (as in the car). You like trivial decisions to be made for you (like where to eat for dinner). And you also happen to be a woman.

I don't fault you for wanting what you want out of life. But just because we're (mostly) all XX doesn't mean (most*) every woman has the same aspirations as you.

*This is because you qualified your statement with "most" and I don't want you to take the easy way out by you pointing out that there can be exceptions.

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unnecessarily condescending... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2012 6:41 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

unnecessarily condescending article, but had good points

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Katniss has a parallel in t... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2012 3:48 PM | Posted by Percy Fawcett: | Reply

Katniss has a parallel in the world of corporate social responsibility.

In Hunger Games, readers are presented with an aspirational symbol labeled as "feminist," but in reality poses no threat to the sexist system.

When a multinational corporation tells us that we can "change the world" by buying their product, we're coerced into consumer behavior that actually upholds the status quo. The corporation has no interest in changing the world -- that would mean a shift in power dynamics both for the multinational and its consumer base, which would potentially threaten business.

The corporation can neutralize this threat by redirecting it ("buy our coffee and we'll do the rest.") We're given an avenue to allay our First World guilt without having to sacrifice anything. We feel good knowing that we've done our part and that we've got a multinational in our corner who cares as much as we do. In the meantime, nothing changes.

More thoughts on the matter here:

http://benlosman.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/a-hot-cup-of-status-quo/

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Wow. My mother loved this b... (Below threshold)

November 9, 2012 5:06 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow. My mother loved this book, but said she loved it she took it to be about how one has to be more of a social manipulator/actor to survive in the system. I think she was reading the book differently (likely because she pays no attention to media) and I kind of wish I could believe that was how it was meant to be written. I couldn't get into it and didn't end up finishing it, and could not put my finger on why. I think this article analyzed exactly what I couldn't quite figure out for myself.

It may be that my age falls between the two brackets though, neither being the target demographic nor in the mom-factor. I liked The Last Unicorn.

Fairy Tale analysis is really interesting. There are so many stories within our stories. I always find myself drawn to the "evil" female characters, and I think you just explained why that tended to happen. They're active. They may do mean or bad things, but they DO things.

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I have thought about you wh... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2012 7:20 AM | Posted by Rajan: | Reply

I have thought about you which shouldn't be there.

Your euphemisms are tasteful and I wish I could reflect something like that work of art published here, something valuable. Trust me, it's not that I wouldn't like you to have certain experiences upon reading this comment.

I'd like to speak to the ideals we are trying to be, and to a wicked little girl in need. While the rhetoric is distasteful, your emphasizing on value ring true enough. But our ability to assess value? I'd say you are skilled in this, but more so you are too confident.

I hear you, but it's so faint. It's your choice. Talk with me.

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Why are so many comments pe... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2012 7:31 AM | Posted by tornpapernapkin: | Reply

Why are so many comments people who are basically infatuated with the author somehow? I don't see this as much on other blogs? Is that what this place is about?

I can't help but ask because... it's interesting. It can't be an accident.

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That post reveal I don't kn... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2012 5:49 PM | Posted by Kajan: | Reply

That post reveal I don't know perhaps no I don't know. Using "girl" in that context: It's violent, rhetorical. #Winning

I'll try to behave like an adult and be worthy of your sincere attention.

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I'm a girl going into arche... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 3:59 PM | Posted by Sarah J: | Reply

I'm a girl going into archery and everyone seems to assume that I'm doing it because of "The Hunger Games". I'm not, so it's annoying that everyone is asking me that.

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I agree with you--sort of. ... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 8:25 PM | Posted by Kathleen C: | Reply

I agree with you--sort of. The Hunger Games heroine being upheld as a prime example of a feminist role model isn't actually going to harm our wee daughters. The girls who grow up thinking they can be "bad-ass feminists" and still let men and random circumstances dictate their choices were going to think that, anyway. It isn't just media; it's how we raise our daughters.

A good mother teaches her daughter how to achieve things. A mother has failed if her daughter grows up expecting life to be a fairy tale that just "happens" to her. The girls who buy into Katniss as a role model aren't the daughters of strong women--they're the daughters of women who, like Bella from Twilight, do not like to be in charge of their lives or make the hard choices themselves. The girls who enjoy THG books but then grow up to become stand-up, strong women probably have mothers who did the same. In the case of literature influencing the choices we make in life, the dividing line is clear: wilting violets reject reality because aligning themselves with the fantasy ideal is easier, and does not require them to achieve anything. Feminists can tell the difference between enjoying fantasy and the way the world really is, and choose to make their own decisions.

That being said, feminism isn't just about how we feel about ourselves, inside our heads. It's about what we achieve. What value we bring to humanity with the way we live our lives. Women can burn their bras all they like and shout through megaphones that women are equal, but ultimately it's our actions that make us worthy of respect. I'm a female engineer, and a breadwinner. I work my ass off alongside my male coworkers, and no one here gives a crap who's male or female because we're all achieving something. All the women I know who spent college "finding themselves" work at crap jobs they hate (if at all) and are either waiting for some rich prince to sweep them off their feet or completely write off their lack of life achievements as being entirely the economy's fault.

Getting back to your topic, THG and its influence on female readers, I think we have much bigger fish to fry with issues such as women majoring in stupid, useless subjects and ending up with crap jobs or no jobs at all. Issues where girls don't learn to take care of themselves and instead mooch off their parents until they can find a husband to pay for their living expenses. Issues where girls focus on their looks instead of striving to achieve things. Issues where young women jump into relationships to validate themselves, instead of maturing first and then falling in love. Literature--even popular literature--is not going to damage young women and girls as much as their parents' mistakes.

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I get the impression that p... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 8:34 PM | Posted by Anne: | Reply

I get the impression that people think children are stupider than they are.

The girl who takes Katniss as a role model isn't going to imitate every single aspect of her life. She just wants to learn archery, and to be the main character who kicks ass. It's pretty simple.

Even Disney movies aren't as damaging as people make out. I was hardcore into Disney movies, and yeah, at the age of four I'm glad someone gently explained to me that the flirtatious centaurs in Fantasia were not role models, but what I mainly took away from it was a love of adventures with romance in and female main characters.

The idea that "women pick Katniss over a character from Resident Evil because female wish fulfillment doesn't include being completely awesome" is idiotic. That's to do with marketing and genre. I agree with Etrade above. This is nonsense.

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You're really a piece of sh... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 10:50 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Aaron: | Reply

You're really a piece of shit that has no concept of how to treat people with respect, aren't you?

I really want you to answer my question.

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[quote]Let's examine the co... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2012 7:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

[quote]Let's examine the commonly cited counterexample that she killed two people by dropping a hornet's nest on them. Didn't that require her to plan and act, to know the consequences?[/quote]Yes, it did require that of her. What do you know, she planned it and did it.

Thresh didn't spare Katniss because he was black, he spared her because she performed that little funeral ritual for Rue, Thresh's district companion.
Also, did you ever think that maybe Thresh is semi-retarded in the book because of how the Capital subjugates its districts? The districts exist solely to produce goods for the Capital, so it's probably not too far off the mark to imagine that education is quite diminished in Panem. He comes from District 11, one of the poor districts where its export is agriculture. Hey look, an export that requires a strong body and which leaves little time for learning.

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**so the story then has to ... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2012 7:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

**so the story then has to take a three minute pause so an omniscient narrator can explain to the audience what it is because we had no knowledge of this before, "oh, it's magic bees," then there are only two possibilities: 1. Deus ex machina. 2. It's a terribly written story. I favor 1, but I'm open to 2. Oh, and it kills everyone but Peeta, that's lucky.**

The pause and explanation is a plot device that allows the Games narrator to explain to the audience (and by extension, the movie viewers) that it's not a regular bees' nest like we initially thought, but that it's a nest of tracker jackers and why exactly they're so dangerous (they cause a slow, painful death BUT with the addition of hallucinations). You know, sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar.
Oh, and it doesn't kill everyone but Peeta. Katniss, Rue, and two or three District 1 & 2 kids survive as well. You're really stretching things to make your points sound logical.

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While I completely agree th... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2013 2:04 PM | Posted by Nilkad Naquada: | Reply

While I completely agree that Katniss lacks agency (in any way shape of form) I think you are incorrect in implying that the book has no depth of meaning whatsoever. It is certainly not deeply feminist, but I think it's quite clear that the story as a whole (meaning the entire trilogy; the first book lays groundwork, but the second and third build on it greatly and even exaggerate the point somewhat) provides commentary on both the dangers of government becoming too powerful, as well as how easily that can happen if those capable of stopping it choose not to (best stated in the saying "all it takes for evil to prevail is for good to stand by and do nothing.")

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spoken like a true member o... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2013 11:03 AM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

spoken like a true member of the patriarchy, belittling and negating a view that threatens the established power structure. If that is really the way you think I highly recommend you educate yourself, I'd suggest Simone de Beauvior's "The Second Sex" to start with

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spoken like a true member o... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2013 11:05 AM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Sam : | Reply

spoken like a true member of the patriarchy, belittling and negating a view that threatens the established power structure. If that is really the way you think I highly recommend you educate yourself, I'd suggest Simone de Beauvior's "The Second Sex" to start with

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Haven't read the book, have... (Below threshold)

January 19, 2013 8:47 PM | Posted by Mike Giles: | Reply

Haven't read the book, haven't seen the movie. Question, how many - if any - of the black characters reach the end of the story.

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2. Oh boy. Yes, Thresh ... (Below threshold)

January 29, 2013 2:29 AM | Posted by jackal: | Reply

2. Oh boy. Yes, Thresh is retarded. In the movie this is not revealed at all-- probably because the poor director couldn't take it anymore, but in the book he has stilted speech, limited vocabulary, one word answers. The alternative interpretation is that English isn't his native tongue-- i.e., he is a giant, black, cotton picking, immigrant. I'll let you decide which interpretation is worse. None of this occurred to anyone? Outstanding.

...I read Thresh as a guy who doesn't talk much. Partially because he's trying to fly under the radar and already realizes that he's a Big Scary Black Man. He doesn't talk to anyone, doesn't eat lunch with anyone, because he doesn't want to be known. He employs some decent strategy and is pretty smart, actually. Further, when he lets Katniss go for having killed Rue's killer, she specifically thinks that she didn't even realize he knew Rue, implying that Thresh was observing the others all through training without letting on. Like a fucking ninja.

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I think what... (Below threshold)

February 16, 2013 10:31 AM | Posted by Lyn: | Reply



I think what makes Katniss a "badass" (in the first book at least) is that she is one of the few female characters who don't care about romantic love. She pretends to love Peeta for her sake; she doesn't even care about him until the rules are changed. There is none of that "I will die for my love" stuff that so many other movies have, there is simply this very calculating, manipulative girl who instead of acting on any feelings she might have ignores them and looks only for her gain.

When it is announced that the rule change was only a trick, she has a knee-jerk reaction attack Peeta. When he does not attack her, she but realizes that the social repercussion of killing him would be too high (and possibly endanger her family). She then comes up with the berry-trick, pretending to act out of mad love so that the capitol will not punish her.
She never intended to die for Peeta or for love, she knew that the capitol would not allow the death of the last two contestants. She simply picked a way to survive the games wich minimized the consequences following it.

Katniss has an agenda - survival. She realizes that in order to win she'll have to play by the rules, an instead of refusing to play the game in a pseudo-empowering way she freely admitts that she does not care about integrity and "not being part of their games" and will instead do anything to survive.

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I don't know if you'll read... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2013 9:24 PM | Posted, in reply to So Named biological woman's comment, by Sandy : | Reply

I don't know if you'll read this after so long, but dalrock has an article (one of his only sane ones, actually, unfortunately I can't seem to find it so I can link) that is exactly about women like you.
If you want to be a stay at home mom, then be that, it's not a bad thing to be.
But don't do a bunch of half arsed things that even you admit you'd be willing to quit at the drop of a hat for someone else (be it male of female) and don't call them accomplishments, because they are not, the way you put them it sounds like you are just filling your time with something waiting to find someone willing to carry you, as johnny put it very well, before he derailed.
And we're back to this, women like to be carried. We see it in Twilight, in 50 shades and in Hunger games. And in your case.
TL;DR if even insane borderline fundamentalists agree with you, you're doing something wrong.

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I'm a bit late to show, but... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2013 3:15 AM | Posted by DD: | Reply

I'm a bit late to show, but I even though originally read this many months ago, it still ranks among the best written pieces I've read on the internet.

I'll be the first to admit that missed most of the details written about here, and I (naturally) consider myself to be pretty intelligent. I know this specific article is about Katniss and her lack of any qualities that might reasonably qualify her for hero-worship, it was also the first to expose me to the racism that followed the movie's screening (I've read the books but never bothered to follow-up on the movie or any writing on it that followed until I landed on this piece). The ignorance of the people reading this book is astounding. Besides the mention of dark skin, District 11 was also the only district I remember having been given a distinct geographic reference -- ie, somewhere near what used to be Atlanta, GA. It's almost as if the author went out of her way to point out that most of District 11 consisted of poor black sharecroppers/slaves. I guess all the suburban white kids reading this book wanted to believe that all blacks somehow got wiped out during the apocalypse.

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It IS a pro-feminist story.... (Below threshold)

March 24, 2013 3:10 AM | Posted by 141: | Reply

It IS a pro-feminist story.

"Which means that these girls are still getting sexist signals from somewhere, and, follow the trail, those signals came from the 40 year old women who like the story, i.e. "feminists." "

No, the signals are coming from reality, just like they always have. Men and women are not equal in biology or ability. Feminists know this of course, but they desire a fantasy world where men and women are the same size, strength, ability, temperament, etc. These entertainment fantasies ARE modern feminism. Equal rights have already been conquered, so to perpetuate the consumerist system, females need these fantastical heroines injected into their veins and psyche's to keep them working and spending.

The modern Feminist likes to talk about the oppression of the "Patriarchy", without realizing that the "Patriarchy" is using feminism for easy sex, low labor costs, emotional identity politics to stay in power, and best of all, depopulation of the unwashed masses. Killing people is too obvious. A better way is to make men feminine and unattractive, women masculine and unattractive, make abortions legal, promote condoms and birth control pills and homosexuality and pornography, and then profit.

Feminism was a stroke of genius by the "Patriarchy".


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Anyone have an interpretati... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 2:13 PM | Posted by West: | Reply

Anyone have an interpretation of the picture on top:
"this isn't going to have a happy ending"

What does it mean?

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No one wins!... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2013 12:29 AM | Posted, in reply to qwer's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

No one wins!

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You don't have to choose be... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2013 4:30 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by anon: | Reply

You don't have to choose betweee "I'm a disgrace to feminism :P" and "I do this because biology": "Women are diverse and (my brand of) feminism is jsut trying to make sure they are free to chose any road towards happiness, including the one yo are choosing, regardless of what might or might not be going on biologically" is a perfectly satisfying answer for me. Good luck for being happy, and don't let anybody tell you that your choices are antifeminist- the thing about them is that they are CHOICES, and that's the main deal (also, the kind of peopl ewho want to psychoanalize others motivations and suppose all kinds of Real Reasons behing choices tehy don't like... can go fuck themselves.)

ps: having a great relationship is pretty crucial for anyone's happiness, so even if I were in the business of judging others, I really couldn't say anything about that. No job hives you back massages and holds you when you are sick (well, there might be jobs which would do that, but those must be creepy). :)

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I see the point and agree. ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 10:46 PM | Posted by Tedsy: | Reply

I see the point and agree. But let's back up a step and say that both the "feminist" wish-list for reality and the "patriarchal" status quo are flawed and incomplete - and insupportable.
Someone needs to have the courage to start a serious discussion about what is the real point of being both human and male or female. Our animal natures have certain ideas about what sex is about and how it might be conducted, but our social, religious, sentimental, etc, human natures have other, often contrary ones. And both men and women and boys and girls are suffering for this disparity, in quiet minor ways and in loud-splashed horrible ones.

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Sure, if you don't mind tha... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2013 4:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Andy B's comment, by Dana: | Reply

Sure, if you don't mind that girls either (a) are being lied to or (b) are somehow not comprehending what they're seeing. I would think it'd be one of the goals of parents to teach their kids to see the world as it is. And I say I *would* think because I know that's not how it actually works for 99 percent of parents.

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So let me get this... (Below threshold)

May 16, 2013 11:37 PM | Posted, in reply to S's comment, by jonny: | Reply

So let me get this straight: the "main character", the object of glory, is female, and yet the one doing all of the hard work is male?

And this is sexist against women?

How about: try again.

This is the problem. This is the combative malice that misogyny produces. This is the delusion of feminism; other women are the enemy and men and children only exist to be exploited. A powerful girl is one that doesn't care for the opinions of other women because her 'strong' capacity for deceit has men grovelling to please her. The power a woman has when she does this to men is incommensurate with the power she has over women; who will all hate her (as they secretly attempt to emulate her). Misogyny creates broken girls like S; they only respect those who make others suffer. Thus, history.

It is a lie that tells you men and children exist to be the slaves of leeches who do not contribute anything of value by their existence. The refusal of women to accept that misogyny is a demented lie has been the source of all the insanity, all the conflict and all the suffering. Religion is sheer leaching but they had an understanding of women that only women could really possess. Oh.

The truth is staring at you in the face. You just don't want to accept it. "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

How about: try again (when you value truth instead of slavery).

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the "main characte... (Below threshold)

May 17, 2013 12:52 AM | Posted, in reply to S's comment, by jonny: | Reply

the "main character", the object of glory, is female, and yet the one doing all of the hard work is male?

And this is sexist against women?

Though I don't believe the question was genuine because S clearly already Knows Best, The Answer to the question is Yes.

It's sexist because "the object of glory is female and yet the one doing all the hard work is male" is the literal definition of misogyny. At the core of misogyny lies the delusion that women who suffer to repress their biological desire for sex are pure and therefore entitled to be carried on the backs of male labour.

After all, those who openly advocated genocide and slavery literally said this was true!

This has been the status quo for thousands of years; in what world of ignorance and delusion can women persist with the misery of malicious deceit and Self-inflicted dependency? Only in this world of horror can women continue to imagine that their shrewd capacity to reduce themselves into being oh-so-crafty manipulators firing the first shots of conflict whenever they come across another human could ever be a winning strategy.

It has never worked out for women and will never work out; it is in no one's interest that women reduce themselves to a state of needy combat. You shouldn't need me to point out the obvious; it's not working for Humanity. Look around yourself at a world produced by combative mothers; there is misery much further than you can perceive (the misery is universal). Something is wrong, don't you think?

Everything is wrong. It's all back to front when it comes to the best interests of you. Literally every value in this world is corrupted; starting with Good v Evil. God is good because he kills and terrorises everyone (he takes your power) and the Devil is bad because he speaks truth and blows the whistle on God's lies (he empowers you). Those who empower you are evil? Those who rape you and kill you are good?

Look, that is wrong. Your inability to counter the logic of my assertion above really should - in a sane world - result in your tentative acceptance of the assertion as being truth.

That you cannot counter it but refuse to accept it is the irrefutable proof of my argument; you're insane. Every human has crumbled under the oppression of tyranny and has chosen to conform to the value systems of various tyrants. It's called Stockholm Syndrome.

You can deny all you like but traumatising a naked toddler by making them ashamed of behaviour that isn't remotely wrong (as innocent and pure as acting in concert with five million years of winning DNA coding) is an evil act of malice. I see no logical reason why misogyny is any different or any less an evil act of malice. I see only negligible disparity between misogynists who throw acid on their daughters in the Muslim world and misogynists who drench their daughters with shame in the Western world. They're both motivated by the same evil obsession; the object of glory being themselves and any girl who threatens their deluded position of privilege must die (this is not men acting in their own interests; imagining that men who kill girls who are honest about sex are doing so of their own violtion is insane - misogynist whores have lied to them about female biology).

OTOH, I could be wrong about everything. Perhaps humans should be ashamed of being human? Perhaps shame is not actually a conniving trick of Power intended to reduce humans into a state of controllable misery but is actually the natural state of humankind? Who knows! Perhaps mothers actually do Know Best and humans are actually supposed to be stupid, broken and miserable?

Perhaps the cow actually jumped over the moon!
Perhaps the little dog actually laughed to see such sport
Perhaps the dish actually ran away with the spoon?

Keep trying until you value truth instead of lies. I will give up when you make as convincing a logical case for the value of lies > truth.

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Interestingly, I never view... (Below threshold)

May 28, 2013 6:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Interestingly, I never viewed or even considered Katniss as a 'strong empowered female hero' until I began reading articles about it. Especially in the context of the last two books, the story seemed to make it clear that she was trapped and helpless. I don't think the intention was ever to create a 'badass' and that was certainly not how I read her. She is 16 for Christ's sake. She reads to me as a pissed off, scared teenager. She spends most of the later books wandering around in a drugged haze trying to forget the horrors that have been committed to her. She is psychologically damaged.

And as for her being valued for her looks rather than what she can do - she is well aware that she is 'the face' of the rebellion, but she is not a man's puppet - it is Coin, a woman, who is pulling the strings. If she represents the oppression or empowerment of any group to me, it is not women, but the young and the poor.

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Funnily enough, you are wro... (Below threshold)

August 17, 2013 7:26 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Funnily enough, you are wrong when you guessed which part of the movie I thought made Katniss a badass. I didn't even remember the part where she shoots at the judges. The part I thought made her a bad ass is when she stands up to take her sister's place. She acts with courage and with agency, and without this particular moment, there would be no story.

Katniss acts with agency and with courage, but only about the things that matter to her, rather than the things that matter to everyone else. Yes, things happen around her, placing her in the center of things, but she could care less. That does not make her a weak character. Even her last choice, to kill the rebel leader, is one she makes because of something that is important to HER.

Is she supposed to only be considered a bad ass if she caters to the desires of the people around her in every way? Does she have to be the kind of woman who would take over the rebel group and make the decisions in order to be a bad ass? You are the one selling women short if you think this.

I can disagree with your thoughts about the movie without that making me anti-feminist or even making me secretly believe that women are behind men. (That was a silly thing to claim, as it means you insult anyone who disagrees with you and NO ONE'S opinion is infallible.)

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"In the actual Games, Katni... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2013 4:08 PM | Posted by J.F.: | Reply

"In the actual Games, Katniss is continuously saved by men-- Haymitch, Peeta, Peeta again, Thresh-- but you don't notice that she saves no one, including herself, you think she saves herself all the time."

Have you actually read these books or even seen the movies?
Or did you just forget about the whole, "find Peeta in the river bleeding to death, pull him to a cave, tend his wounds, go to the feast to get medicine for him IN SPITE OF HIS REQUESTS THAT SHE DOESN'T..."?
Or do you just have a point to make so you don't care how much you have to lie about what actually happens in the books?

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I don't go Alice because Re... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2013 12:39 PM | Posted by Carol: | Reply

I don't go Alice because Resident Evil movie series are a bad, terrible movies. I really prefer Claire Redfield from Resident Evil game series. :P

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"Am I a complete disgrace a... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2014 2:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Antonios: | Reply

"Am I a complete disgrace and a failure as a woman, or was I simply meant to be this way, biologically?"

I can only hope to marry a level headed woman like you some day. Being a 20 year old guy I was starting to loose faith in the women of today's society...

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Girls obviously get sexist ... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2014 12:45 AM | Posted by Audrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeyyy: | Reply

Girls obviously get sexist signals from the media. Catch up.

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I'm female and Alice from ... (Below threshold)

March 21, 2014 3:49 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm female and Alice from the RE frnachise always appealed to me o__O.

Am I weird? I've never even bothered to see Hunger Games..

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I recommend Farla and Whitl... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2014 2:27 AM | Posted by Kirk: | Reply

I recommend Farla and Whitley Birks' lengthy dissections of the series. They're very thorough negative analyses of the books.

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The irony is that in the se... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2014 4:03 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The irony is that in the second and third books Katniss spends the majority of her time believing everything bad is her fault, complete with haunting nightmares. Most of the book is her whiny self-reflection where she stands at the center of the action instead of understanding she functions as a symbol while other people enact their agency vis-a-vis that symbol.

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FILM extremely famou... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2014 10:32 AM | Posted by FRIV10GO: | Reply


FILM extremely famous I love it, really great

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No one who is a fan of the ... (Below threshold)

June 6, 2014 1:38 AM | Posted by Tom: | Reply

No one who is a fan of the Resident Evil games, and books by S.D. Perry is a fan of Alice. She never existed, and stole a lot of things from Jill Valentine, and Claire Redfield.

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I think it matters that the... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2014 1:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Andy B's comment, by AspieCatholicgirl: | Reply

I think it matters that the girl can't even tell whether or not someone really is strong or really is protecting anyone.

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"But you can't say I did... (Below threshold)

October 22, 2014 6:19 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"But you can't say I didn't read the book and didn't see the movie. I know I did, I was there. Oh, and it kills everyone but Peeta, that's lucky."

Except that's wrong, TLP. A tribute pack of six (five Careers and Peeta) surround Katniss' tree. Only two tributes are killed by the hornets' venom: Glimmer (female tribute District 1) and an unnamed character (female tribute District 4). That leaves three Careers.

"Come the zombie apocalypse, do you go Team Katniss or Team Alice?... Obviously you go with Alice..."
Now you can worry about your hypothetical 5 year old getting butchered in the cross-fire between Alice and the Umbrella Corporation that just happens to be using a global network of satellites to track their "project". Alice might be a badass but she's also a danger to anyone around her. Interestingly, this is a point Claire Redfield made in Resident Evil: Extinction. It's probably beyond the scope of this discussion, but someone who can provide edible greens and meat in the wild is going to be a much better choice long-term when the canned food runs out. Interestingly again, this was also happening to Claire Redfield's survivor convoy.

"She isn't better than her competitors. Thresh is still tougher, Cato faster, Foxface more ninjalike, etc. "
Define better. Throughout the book, Katniss demonstrates an unusually sophisticated level of strategic planning both to keep herself and Peeta alive. What did Thresh do for the entire book? Hide in the grain field and let a 12 year old girl from his district die on her own. Cato was faster but also prone to insane rages, behaving "completely unhinged". Cato was nothing more than a crazy, ferocious beast. The last we see of Foxface is her "emaciated body" being dragged skyward. The tribute you laud as being more "ninjalike" was near death from starvation. Katniss had better survival skills and better social skills. Foxface was little more than a human rat, stealing bits of food and hiding.

Anyone else notice the unintentional irony of TLP complaining about how Katniss badass-ness is tied to her bow while posting a photo of Resident Evil's Alice dual-wielding kukris? You should apply your challenge to Team Alice. You might just discover nearly all of Alice's badass-ness comes from weapons usage, one uncontrolled deus ex machina moment of pyrokinesis notwithstanding.

"Nothing she does makes her a badass. What makes her a badass is that men underestimate her."
Correction: nothing she does makes her a badass to YOU. For some of us, what makes her a badass (especially in the book) is her utter ruthlessness combined with her abilities to live off the land, constantly analyze both the terrain and her competitors, while adapting her own survival strategy to exploit both.

"Badass = showing she can compete on a male level."
Try... badass = the protagonist surviving against nature while being hunted by multiple adversaries, essentially everything that made "Deliverance" and "First Blood" classics both in print and film.

"but you don't notice that she saves no one, including herself, you think she saves herself all the time."
Speaking of things you don't notice, Katniss saved Peeta's life in risking the feast to get him the antibiotics to keep him alive. She was also able to feed herself, feed Rue, and feed Peeta throughout the contest. Exposure and starvation were ever-present threats to every tribute's life.

"I read the book. You need to read with a highlighter."
A priceless piece of advice from a writer who made a 100%, no-excuses, factual error the first time they described a scene in that book.

On a side note, Haymitch's advice about survival and getting people to like you remains true regardless of whether a person is male or female. It stays true if the arena is the workplace, or politics, or the Hunger Games. Likeable people are given more help and more second chances than unsociable ones. That advice was the central premise of the Survivor reality show. TLP completely missed the inherent gender-neutral truth of what Haymitch said, most likely getting distracted by the weight of a very large chip on their shoulder about gender and feminism.

"Those are basic, ordinary, unremarkable characteristics of every reasonable human being for 6000 years, and all animals."
Hustle over to Wiki's lovely article on -Infantcide (zoology)- before generalizing any further about how all animals care for their families.

"Katniss is allowed to exist precisely because she isn't a threat to men but women can think she is."
The parents of Marvel (male tribute District 1) would like to have a few words with you, TLP. They'd like to remind you Ms. Everdeen put an arrow into their son's throat and watched him choke to death on his own blood.


"Do you know why Thresh doesn't kill Katniss but instead lets her go? Because Thresh is black."
Nowhere in the book does Suzanne Collins say Thresh or Rue are black. Even the quote given only mentions "dark skin". Some day TLP will discover America is filled with people of different ethnicities who have "dark skin" and aren't black. It's always amusing when a writer builds an entire argument about racism around a premise that turns out to be factually wrong. Collins was very deliberately avoiding making race a factor.

"in the book he has stilted speech, limited vocabulary, one word answers."
If that's how a psychiatrist diagnoses mental retardation, their degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Better ask a real psychiatrist how many emotional/behavioral problems outside of learning disabilities will produce identical symptoms.

"i.e., he is a giant, black, cotton picking, immigrant. "
Fun Trivia: the word cotton appears only twice in the novel, once describing cloth in District 12, once as a bandage in the arena, and never as a crop harvested in District 11. It's oddly fitting TLP ended the post the same way they started it: with criticisms based on a faulty reading of the book.

It will be interesting to see if this merits a rebuttal and, if so, how soon something like "you took my words out of context" appears. That's an old stand-by for every know-it-all who gets quoted verbatim and then corrected. The original error is safely deflected into a subjectively based dispute whether the context of a factually wrong statement somehow makes it correct. That's a lot easier than dealing with the fact you didn't read the book nearly as well as you thought you did, highlighter not withstanding.

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