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Gud Summries ficathon! A reminder...

Things of importance, OMG. I sent out emails to all of the folks who signed up for the Gud Summries ficathon, and a few bounced back. (the hell? spikendru?? Did you change your email?) Anyway, I want to make sure everyone remembers that your masterpiece is due on July 4th, and if you need any help, or need to delay, just shoot me an email at my username@livejournal.com, okay? The original sign-up list is H E R E, and the community in HP that spawned the whole thing is H E R E, if you need some inspiration. Remember: this is for FUN, so don't beat yourself up if it's not perfect.

I was going to address this whole thing of how I am not going to apologize for what I find funny, just like I'd never apologize for the food I like, or clothes I wear, nor would I expect anyone else to apologize for loving Harry/Snape as Swiss mountaineering rescue climbers who have a hot torrid affair in fondue before an entire chalet of people. Because if I squint, I can see the appeal, there. Snape + hot cheese = OTP. Plus, stabbing wee forks, yay!

Folks: if binary numbers on your screen upset you: turn it off. Turn away. I won't read Lolita, but will I call those who do read it and find it funny sick pedophiles? No. Alrighty. I'm going back to stomping puppies and poisoning the WORLD, omg, with my vitriol. (Because let's face it: Chuck Norris and Spike were SO doing it, and I am cruel to not portray their love properly.)

(So, um, in a nutshell: if you don't like the stuff here, GO AWAY. I don't bash PEOPLE. I don't really BASH anyway. CLearly laughing at human foibles is why I am such a bitch.... Do you honestly have this much free time on your hands to create such draaaaaaaama? Go volunteer at a hospice or something, for chrissakes.)

In conclusion: VIAGRA, MUCHAHAS!


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Writing...must get to work...
Jun. 17th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay!! Your email got bounced back, so I was hoping my resend hit you, joy!

*cracks whip*
*then makes you margarita for inspiration*
Jun. 17th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
You won't read Lolita? Tell.
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
Not again, nope. I felt sick and disgusting after having read it, too, like I'd never get clean again. [/Ron Weasley.]

See, the book is about an older man (I don't care how handsome and intelligent he is, he's a mature, older MAN) that fixates on prepubescent girls (prefers them to be prebuscent, actually) and likes to fuck them.

And ruins them.

Yay? Yes, yes, clever turn of phrasing, well constructed, but child molestation is Number One on my list of Bad Things. For me. But obviously, many many men who compile lists of books deem it Wonderful and worst yet, "a delicious black comedy." I'd like to think I know from funny, but... *shrugs* Not my thing. In the slightest.
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay. Thought you'd mean you'd never read it, not that you'd never re-read it.

You'd disagree with Oscar Wilde that there's no such thing as an immoral book, then?

Couple of questions? Do you think that a horror of child molestation (which I hope everyone reading this shares) is incompatible with enjoying the book? Also, re: your "many many men who compile lists of books.." thing, d'you think it's a particularly male/masculine thing to deem the book "Wonderful". I don't think Lolita's a comedy, I think it's a tragedy, and whoever called it "a delicious black comedy" obviously got a very different reading.

See, from my point of view, I think that what you call the "clever turn of phrasing, well constructed" ...ness of the book is, in fact the.. fact (I have had a lot of champagne today, please forgive my occasional not having words) that Lolita is, stylistically in terms of intertextuality and narrative structure, the most stylistically brilliant novel written in English that I have read, ever. I can comprehend not being able to get past the subject matter, just. I think the acclaim Lolita receives comes from the fact that the execution and plotting aren't just good or very good, they're sublime, and people who can see it as just a book appreciate that over the moral implications of the content.

Have you read any other Nabakov?
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
I have, but it's been very long ago.

And I'll say this: most book sellers list Lolita as a "delicious black comedy." On the back of the last three printings it's categorized as such. Also, you are the FIRST female I've ever spoken with about the book that loves it.

And while I agree that a book in and of itself HAS no morals - it's paper, words and glue - I don't care how well constructed it is. I find that tpic absolutely horrifying, and while I know I'm in a minority in literary circles, it's just not something I'm willing to compromise on. The way the molestation is presented isn't in a way to compell change, or really, to bring about talk of how fucking AWFUL Humbert Humber is. It becomes discussion about how "brilliantly stylistic" etc., and the fact that the main character likes fucking 11 year old girls who haven't "budded" yet isn't a part of the dialogue disturbs me. And I disagree on it being the most stylistically written book in English language.

But I'm a bit frazzled with 5 kids in addition to my own tearing my house from rafters to flooring to really give you the time this topic diserves.

Um... I hate the book, not the reader? :)
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
Dude, really? I don't have my copy in Oxford, but am sure the Penguin doesn't say that. Seems both a cop-out and a misrepresentation of the book (and is even odder given that the most recent film version - the Dominique Swain/Jeremy Irons one really doesn't play up the comedy after Charlotte's death).

I'd say that the book shows rather than tells, you know? Like. Lolita and Humbert both end up destroyed. We hear Lolita crying every night, going off with Quilty, and then dying in childbirth. Humbert's deliberately pathologised by the backplot Nabakov gives him: he's a sick and traumatised man, which makes him a pervert and a danger to Lolita. Dunno, for me the fact that what Humbert does is wrong has always been so much of a given, and that the consequences of Humbert's awfulness are shown in the consequences for all concerned (which is demonstrated by the plot not the narrative, perhaps? Given that the narrator is, well, Humbert) that I think Nabakov's book shows rather than tells sufficient judgment.

Also: deliberately did not say it was "the most stylistically written book in English language", I said that I thought it was the most stylistically brilliant novel in the English language that I had read. I know it's just my own opinion and of course I couldn't possibly claim that it's the best ever, because I haven't read them all, or even enough. Also specified "written in English" not English literature because of its origins (i.e. Nabakov writing America, in English). Also I think Le Ble En Herbe (scuse accents) is stylistically better, but is in French, for example (is shit in English).

Also eep many children.

And thanks - would be alarmed to think you hated me for reading it. :D

Jun. 17th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
GLAH - of COURSE I wouldn't judge you (or hate - that's reserved for people who actually, physically HURT people, etc.) for reading a book! I'd be alienated from most of the literary loving world!

And clearly, "The DaVinci Code" is the most brilliant thing EVER WRITTEN EVER, omg, the plot! The mystery!! hahahahahha! I think I just threw up a little in my mouth WRITING that. :D

(And I'm being curt, I don't mean to be. I need a glass of wine, bodies in bed, and nothing to do for a few hours, is all. *huge hugs*)

Oh! Oh!! AND!! I'm reading two Python autobiographies and thinking of you, because you are one of the few that shares my love of those boys, etc.
Jun. 18th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
OH GOD THE DA VINCI CODE. One of my friends from school has it on her Favourite Books on facebook and since Dan Brown is such a byword for literary excrement in Oxford I TWITCH.

(no no, is okay! *huge hugs BACK*)

OH PYTHON YES. John Cleese/Graham Chapman OTP.
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
(ooh, and slipping back in here, in case you have not passed out in champagne bliss...)

What are you calling "style?" As in, what are your criterion for labeling that book the very best of the best in English history? And while I can say EMPHATICALLY than anything James Fennimore Cooper will never make the top 10,000 of "best stylistic writers ever," I'm curious as to what, specifically makes you say this about Nabokov's book? I mean, moveable type's been around for a loooong time.

(The PLOTTING is sublime? The PLOT? Okay. And you, as a female with working ladybits - do you not take any issue whatsoever with teh fact that the book makes excuses and sympathetic the molestor? Who has repeatedly sought out young, pre-period/breast development girls for his own titilation? As a mother of a girl in that age range, I find that topic a bit... chilling.)

*pours us both tea, gets blankets out*
Jun. 18th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
Again, am not labelling it the very best of the best in English history, am saying that in my opinion, which is not fact, of the very small sample (relatively speaking) of books I have read, I think Lolita is the most stylistically brilliant. You may have read a book that I have not which you think is better, for example! I might then read it and think the same (what would YOU choose, incidentally?)

I am biased by the fact that Lolita was my first introduction to certain narrative forms - y'know, the idea that you could do certain things with literature? I think the literary clues scattered through the text regarding Quilty's identity make it a brilliant detective story. I like how soaked in literary allusion (without being derivative) the text is, and that every time I return to it, I find a new allusion and a new echoic link to something else. Also, since Annabel Lee was the first Poe poem I read, the book's reciprocal relationship with the poem fascinates me in the light the former might shed on the latter ("Kingdom By The Sea" was Nabakov's original title). Not only does that show a wealth of knowledge on the part of the writer (Nabakov), which is always nice, I think it's fundamental to the characterisation of Humbert. Does all of the following (slipping into note form for clarity. Also tired yes):
- Reflects his own academic background and upbringing, esp as someone who's had a "classical education" etc
- Reflects wish to self-dramatise by narrating his own history; I think Humbert's constant evocation of other people's histories (true or imaginary) indicates that he is less reliable as a narrator than Humbert himself would wish us to believe (and ergo that we should be less sympathetic to him than he would wish us to be), and also - subtly - reflects his reliance on fantasy and his wish to live in a fantasy-world rather than in reality. So, as a narrative decision, the intertextuality (okay, FORGIVE ME, I am about to go literary terms on you in a big way, which is a bit like being a bloke and waving a penis about at your dinner party, sorry) is psychologically sound. I.e. reflects that Humbert isn't. Things like Humbert's poem.
- The frame narration (you know... oh god, wish had copy here, but the bit either at the end or the beginning where either a policeman or a medic does his whole spiel about the "true story", and says how Dolores Haze, her surname only rhymed with "Haze", but they couldn't change Dolores, and how Humbert dies of heart failure?) is, I think, another indication of how constructed and false we should find Humbert's overly partisan view of events. Firstly, the contrast between the policeman/medic's frame narrative and Humbert's highly florid and emotional one pathologises the latter and encourages us to believe in the former. Secondly, the framing of a story as "true" is a literary device of which Nabakov would have been aware. Originally, the device was genuinely used to present stories as "real", esp by early Gothic writers - think the Mysteries of Udolpho, or poss Castle of Otranto *sucks at remembering which way round they happened* - to historicise totally unrealistic/implausible events, like the writers would claim they'd dug up the story in Italian in some castle, and translated it and here was a story about the Giant Helmet Of Doom that crushed people to death (trufax). But - as with a LOT of stuff from the Gothic genre - that device passed from (omg technical is pastede on yey) pre-cliche originality to a byword for cliche, and the assertion that something "really happened" simultaneously suggests the opposite. Thus the use of a frame narrative to make a text more "real" may strengthen the impression of an imaginary world as dense and consistent (thus enabling us to decide, in relative terms, which is more "real" out of HH's narrative and the narrative of the medic/policeman), but the world is exactly that - imaginary, because in terms of genre, the use of a factualising frame narrative tells us we're dealing with fiction.

Jun. 18th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
Re: 1/2
Haven't read Lolita, but this reminds me somewhat of Samuel R. Delany's Triton, which devotes about five hundred pages of incredibly dense and stylistically brilliant prose to making you realize ever so gradually that the first-person narrator not in fact the rugged individualis stifled by society that he paints himself as, but is, in fact, a complete and utter asshole. A lot of people hate that book because "nothing happens," but I've always thought that the whole point isn't the plot as such but the narrator's gradual and indvertant stripping away of his own facade.
Jun. 18th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
(okay. Another clarification - when I say "plotting", I do not mean "plot". The terms aren't synonymous. "plot" would be the events, "plotting" Nabakov's structure of these events. Namely, Charlotte's death: such a moment of apparently contrived action that enters a narrative of intense realism, and yet, we all KNOW about massive coincidences that have happened to us or others (and there's always the tantalising possibility that Humbert, as unreliable narrator extraordinaire, is lying to us about how Charlotte died, and that he had more of a hand in events than we know). I think it takes a bold writer to make life art even when life won't satisfy the demands of art - by looking "contrived", for example. Contextually, it's always a struggle for writers. Orwell refused to compromise; Bennett, however, went completely the other way, and when transcribing events from diary to stage - i.e. with his play The Lady in the Van - actually glossed over a wholly factual "coincidence" from the diary because it would have seemed "too neat" on stage. This, incidentally, was that a homeless woman who had lived twenty years in a van in/near his garden died the first night she was returned to her van from a day centre, the night she slept clean and between clean sheets for the first time in those two decades. As a reader and writer, I'm always fascinated by how writers handle coincidence - is a purely technical consideration, but it really is something that intrigues me. To introduce a plot twist like that is very bold, esp as he doesn't make it a cliche.

Also, as I've said before, I think that the total destruction of both Lolita and Humbert indicates that what Humbert is and does is very, very wrong. And that the narrative structure of the book - the decision to let Humbert speak in his own voice, rather than have a third person omniscient narrator calmly condoning Humbert's actions (which I absolutely WOULD take issue with, because that would be VERY wrong) - means that we don't have to believe the sympathy Humbert offers himself. Nabakov emphasises again and again how unstable Humbert is (e.g. the chapter which is more or less JUST "Lolita Lolita Lolita"). I don't think we're supposed or even expected to agree with everything he's said. Which is partly where I think the most recent film broke with the book: Irons was too sympathetic, too much the man more sinned against than sinning. Of course, that's how Humbert presents himself in the book, but the medium of film presupposes the existence of that omniscient narrator, because we know the director is there, and we know we're looking through the eyes of an observer rather than our own eyes.

And of course I find the topic of child molestation horrible and chilling, and I can especially see why you do. I also don't see why a man should be any less horrified by the topic than a woman)

*eats tea

*realises typo*

*lets it stand*

*snuggles under blanket*
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 18th, 2006 12:04 am (UTC)
Have you ever went over a friend's house to eat and the food just ain't no good?
I mean the macaroni's soggy, the peas are mush, and the chicken tastes like wood!

HEEEEEEEEE! *pop locks*
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC)
Lolita is considered by some to be funny?!?! That's like calling War and Peace a laugh a minute comedy. Wow.

Jun. 18th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)

But come on: War and Peace is practically SLAP STICK. *shifts because of your herpes invading my pants*
Jun. 18th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)

My friend cheshire_kai would looooove to play Christopher Walken...do we have a Walken??? And if not, would we like one? I've told her about the application process, so, you know...
Jun. 18th, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)

We don't officially have one yet - meaning the person I knew that wanted to play hasn't applied, so... No!

But - tell her to hold on to her app until July 3rd, okay? I'll be out of town, and we're going on hiatus for the next two weeks, and I wouldn't want her to think we were ignoring her. (Yay!!!!! More play! Also: I got your email wrong the first time, but I'm hoping you got one from me today re: the ficathon.)

Jun. 18th, 2006 03:06 am (UTC)
Omg, not the puppies!

And seriously, how glad am I finally to run into another person who admits to disliking Lolita?
Jun. 18th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
SERIOUSLY?!?! OMG, we are few. See, I've figured out that I'm a reader of STORIES. I get very eye-rolly with books that are so immured in style that the story gets lost (*cough* Jonathan Franzen). So for me, the story of Humbert and Lolita is inescapable. I can't focus on the way words are knitted together, or how spare and eloquent and on and on because an 11 year old girl is being trained to not tell, and her mother isn't coming to her rescue and OH MY GOD could this be more tailor-made to upset me?!?!

And I am SO killing the puppies. (But not Frankie!!! How is kitters?)
Jun. 18th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC)
I made it all the way through the book, but it was with great distaste. Because, hello, not even confusing child-abuse where the child is sadly partly drawn in, but...trapped! on the road with no escape! her mother dead and no one to help! scenarios that obviously shamed and saddened the child written about from HH's pov with total glee and enjoyment.

I think in some ways some critics enjoy it for the writing and say "well, the obsession is just part of the style and narrative decisions, and you have to just go with it."

Really, though, to my reading Nabakov did get that HH is the worst kind of monster, who thinks he's doing what's best for his victims, revels in what he sees in his kindness, and presents a genteel and charming facade.

But still -- doesn't mean I have to like and re-read the story!

To me there are cultural products that you can look at and say, yes, this part was done well, the style was admirable, of its genre/type it's obvious a fine examle -- and you can still hate the damn things because you don't like the message. I so feel that way about Breaking the Waves, a movie that was well-written, capably acted, and interesting in its execution, but I still hated the husband for what he made his wife do, and I hated the film, ultimately, for the fact that it made me feel so hollow in the pit of my stomach and angry at the message that all the humiliations the wife had gone through had been worth it and right. Yeeeeesh.

Anyway. YES. Nabakov wrote so many wonderful other things, so I'm happy to read those instead if I want to be immersed in his style.

Eeeeepe, the puppiiiiies! But yay for sparing Frankie! He's hilarious. He was all put out last night because we turned on the a/c and for the first time closed the door between the bedroom and the living room. It so screwed with his world! He's just the softest kitty -- you will meet him the next time you come to town so you can pet his gorgeous coat and listen to him mreeeoooow! *decrees*
Jun. 18th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC)
Kitty!! We will make it so, yes yes.

And re: Lolita.... Exactly on the POV's enjoyment/excitement/lust. Which is part of why that book can be so very damaging. Obviously a person who has never suffered abuse isn't going to relate in the same way as someone who HAS, but nonetheless. The terminology HH uses: nymphet, etc. He may as well be calling this CHILD a cock-tease. Which fits along with "she was asking for it, look at how she's dressed!" IMO.

Beautiful words/phrases aside, that's his perception.

And honestly, I have a hard time getting beyond the THROWAWAY mention towards the beginning (before he comes to the US) about the young FRench girls he used and tossed aside. AND LET'S NOT FORGET THAT HE IS PURPOSEFULLY SEEKING OUT GIRLS WHO HAVEN'T DEVELOPED SEXUALLY. SO the idea of his grooming them and "educating" them makes me so sick, my stomach is in KNOTS.

And if anyone wants to counter with the brilliance, the lack of harm, etc., andswer me this: if you do a google image search for "Lolita" what are you going to find? And how are you going to explain the single-digit aged children that come up to me? And.... why are the girls who played the role in the two movies both almost 18 or older? Because that's not the age in the book.

Um... this is obviously a hot-button for me, so I can just shut my yap and move on. Erm, has anyone read "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie? How about "Hearts at Sea" bu Nathanial Philbreck? :)
Jun. 18th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
Heee! I love Midnight's Children. I read it in Thailand, which doesn't have anything to do with the book, obviously, but I associate it with the wooden lounge chairs and slow-moving ceiling fans and fruit shakes of the place I was staying at the time. I love that it's obviously an important book, that Rushdie has an awareness of the claims he is trying to stake, but that it still has humor and joy and sorrows that are so personal even though they matter to the nation itself.

And yeah, to Lolita -- the copy I had of the book showed a knobby-kneed girl, which was exactly HH's type, not the "can play young" adult.
Jun. 18th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
Ha! I think the same thing about all of Rushdie's books. He has such a funny nature, but can see all of the tragedies, intrigues, etc. in human life, and I find him a lot of fun to read. He's the writer that has the intelligence of his style hit you quietly. That's my favorite kind of writer. I don't like feeling that "I'm Reading Something Important" through every page. Um, does that even make sense? Pretension?

And I grabbed my copy of L and there's a pull quote from Time magazine: "Intensely lyrical and wildly funny." *throws up* Or Vanity Fair: "The only convincing LOVE STORY of our century." (emphasis mine.)
Jun. 18th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
Good god. Love story? Um. It's great when love no longer has to involve consent or maturity or has to rule out obsessive asshattery.


What other of Rushdie's books have you read and enjoyed? I've read bunches of his essays, and some short stories, but I should check out more of his books, so I was wondering if you had recommendations.
Jun. 18th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
I think I've read all of his essays, too, as for books:

Haroun & the Sea of Stories (is so very sweet - YA)
The Satanic Verses (this is my favorite of his - I have love of religious discussion/interpretation + there's mountaineering!)
The GRound Beneath Her Feet

I'm currently reading a "dude lit" book, Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. It's a "poolside book" so far. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed something will hit me with a clang. Whatchu readin'?
Jun. 18th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'm about to start Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (the author who wrote The Virgin Suicides).

grammar_glamour adores Palahniuk, but I don't know if she's read that one already. Poolside books are all kinds of fun, though. :)
Jun. 18th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
I will say that I'm enjoying "Haunted." It's the first book of his I've red, and didn't know what to expect at all - apparently people passed out etc. at book readings, which amuses me. Um, I think fanfic has hardened me against squicks. :)

The premise is fun - a few of the short stories aren't hitting me with anything other than a way to pass the time, but there's nothing wrong with that. I'm about half-way through?

Ooooh, I really liked "The Virgin Suicides" as a film. I haven't read the book. Probably should remedy that, huh?
Jun. 18th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, people passed out? Awww! It's almost like people walking out of Hair because of the nekkidness.

I didn't love The Virgin Suicides as much as other people I know, but it's worth a read. Haven't seen the film, actually, in part because while the book was fine I wasn't overly impressed. This newer book, though, looks to be excellent. I'll let you know how it turns out!
Jun. 18th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
"convincing LOVE STORY"


I love the book, but "love story"? She's trying to escape from one abusive situation to another to another and he's been completely captured by his screwed up desires so that he doesn't try to resist the evil he does. Meanwhile they make each other miserable. Heck, even the abusive sex isn't as awful as the way the protagonists relate to each other.

I don't have to love the characters to love the style or the story, though.
Jun. 18th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
if binary numbers on your screen upset you: turn it off. Turn away.

Who could be upset by these binary numbers? It says HellZiggy!
Although I suppose it could be considered upsetting because I made the icon originally for posting about a good friend's unexpected death. He was on of those geeks who could read binary.

And poison the world if you must, but for the love of gods, don't stomp the puppies!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun. 18th, 2006 01:10 pm (UTC)
hahahahaha!! That's a great icon.

And you can't stop me! I will poison AND stomp! Don't you know I am a super bitch?!?
Jun. 18th, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
Viagra muchahas! That doesn't look like it's spelled right. Oh well.
Jun. 18th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Heeeeeeeee!!! Your icon is giggle-inducing.

*points to my icon*
Jun. 18th, 2006 07:24 am (UTC)
01001100 01001111 01010110 01000101 01010011

leik whoa.
Jun. 18th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Okay, #1: this is why I love you. #2: you kiss your mother with that mouth? #3: WHY ARE YOU UP SO LATE??! (It's been all I could do to stay up until 11 lately, omg sew ould!)
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )


Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

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