More navel gazing
Earlier, I was navel gazing on liking problematic things. I started writing a post on it, as if my opinions on these things mattered. I’m not devaluing my voice here, I just don’t have anything new to add to the conversation. I decided the right thing to do would be to delete the five paragraphs of nonsense and talk about other things.
1) I finished Jane Eyre and felt an echo of my teenage rage over it. Jane is this great early feminist character, you know? She makes choices not based on what society would think of her but what she would think of herself, and acts accordingly. And ok fine she apparently really loves Rochester for whatever reason, but he’s an ass. He figures that if he just explains to Jane why he tried to trick her into a life of bigamy and why his marriage doesn’t count, she’ll just fall into line. “I’m being reasonable. I’m a GOOD GUY.” He may have been blindsided by Bertha’s insanity (which a footnote intriguingly informed me was likely caused by syphilis! Wikipedia concurs.), but he also married her out of pure lust. That marriage counts, dude, no matter her mental status.
And then there’s St. John, who I hated like no one else in this whole book. Here’s why — if I thought he was representative of something that existed in Jane Eyre’s England but not today, I might roll my eyes and move on. But no, St. John can still be found today in any forum where woman might dare to speak for themselves and make choices that don’t fall into line with his morality. OBVIOUSLY not all men are like this, but his archetype hasn’t disappeared. It’s been nearly 200 years and people are still the same. That’s the gift of great literature, I guess, to remind us that at our core people are still assholes.
Now I’m reading Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon. I haven’t read a single book by him I didn’t adore — The Adventures of Kavelier and Clay was amazing, of course, but so was Mysteries of Pittsburgh. And Wonder Boys haunted me for months. I’m only about 30 pages in but it already does what those other books did to me: make part of me feel like I’m drifting through that world. The scholarly parties and strange little bar of Wonder Boys, the apartments and streets and cloud factory in Mysteries of Pittsburgh…part of me is already entrenched in Brokeland, wandering around.
2) I am about to restart playing FTL and hoping to actually beat it. Strategy games are not in any way my strength — turn based or real time, doesn’t matter (there’s a reason that my simcities were always destroyed by natural disasters. Spawned by me) (and also, in Civ, I’d always cheat so the city states around me would be working on bowmen and I’d have freaking nuclear weapons) (the one time I tried to play starcraft I gave up in disgust). But! FTL is charming and I WANT TO WIN. I have only 2 ships unlocked and also I always end up boarded by aliens and fire in every room and my cloaking system nonexistent. DAMNIT. My FTL escape game is going to be the Hidden World, which I started and liked but found baffling. I got a worm drunk, first of all. And bargained with a garbage seller for some garbage that turned out to be, wait for it, garbage. Games that are bonkers speak to my soul, which perhaps says something about the state of my soul. Sorry, years of Catholic schooling, you never quite feared the bonkersness out.
3) I’m getting to the bottom of my book backlog which means NEXT I get to buy a bunch of books mentioned in Among Others, and also another Jo Walton book. And also, after all these years, I’m going to read Lord of the Rings. I NEVER DO THINGS ON TIME. I always am years too late, like some kind of reverse hipster. I don’t even hop on the bandwagon when it’s hot, I wait till it cools right down. I LIKED THAT AFTER IT WAS COOL, suckers.
God. I’m insufferable.
4) Wandering around leveling in Dead Rising, I was chatting with Uggs about history. I admitted that I have some major lapses of historic knowledge, and that my mother somewhere was shaking her head sadly at me. He teaches science and civics out in the boonies of Canada, and was telling me some funny stories about Canadian history. Here’s what I wish more of my history teachers had done over the years: show how hilarious history is. It’s heartbreaking, and momentous, and important. But it’s also HILARIOUS. There’s a reason why Hark! A Vagrant is so great (aside from Kate Beaton’s art and writing) (which obviously are both amazing). Her love of history shines through, and with it her ability to see how absurd much of it is. It’s comforting, right? Someday all of this nonsense will seem absurd too, to some future generation. I hope, anyway.