Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chapter 67: The American Bad Guy

"American Criminal: from a Belly Dancer’s Point of View Who Has Taught International Students for More Than 5 Years."

If you are an American, you are a global criminal. You are the bad guy and you should be ashamed of yourself.
If you are an American, you cannot do anything that is un-American or you will be deliberately and rudely making fun of someone else. Do not say you are a gypsy dancer because you are not Romani and are ignorant and stupid and racist for saying so.
If you are an American, you cannot like other people’s music: especially Native American and you cannot AT ALL wear jewely that reflects said ethnic’s style. If you do, you are taking it, stealing it, and making a mockery of them.
If you are an American, you cannot be interested in someone else’s religion or culture. If you wear a Bohemian skirt or a tribal-looking bracelet you are trendy-know-nothing American.  Pray for forgiveness.
If you are an American, you cannot eat Chinese food because it is not real Chines food and you don’t know what real food is.
If you are an American, always apologize for being white. Beat yourself up and beg the forgiveness of those around you.
If you are an American, you are stupid. You are not allowed to study other myths and write your own inspired by them. You may read Austen and Bronte, though.
But not while drinking tea.
If you are an American, you are not allowed to wear a hijab, Indian shoes, say, “gringo”, or eat anywhere more exotic than Olive Garden.
If you are an American, you must guard everything you say. Just because a certain colored skin man says a word to his friends doesn’t mean you can.
If you are an American, you will be laughed at when you travel to Ireland looking for your roots. You will be ignored in France. You will be the butt of jokes in Britain. You will be killed other places.
If you are an American, do not dance anything but hip-hop. Even then, do when no one with black skin is around.
Best to stick with a hoedown.
If you are an American, you must read only books written by white people. Do not pick up that Indian novel or that Caribbean anthology. If you do, you will be just one more stupid white trying to expand their horizons for no good reason.
If you are an American, do not do yoga or qui-gong or anything that was not invented in America. You will be seen as just a dumb person stealing a practice because you were too dumb to think of your own.
If you are an American, you must be scared of everything less white than you. You must hate it and try to eradicate it.
If you are an American, you must be guilty. You must be a criminal. Stay in America, do not touch an idea, dance, music, food, clothing that is not yours. Even if all you want is to let you imagination grow—do not. That is criminal. That is bad. You are bad and you are wrong. Do not change like the language you speak.

If you do all this, you will be a bad American.    

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chapter 66: Fantasy Men and the Women Who Write Them and the Other Way Around

Dungeons and Dragons is going through another revamping called "The Sundering". I know it's been great so far because I've read some of the books and talked to Ed Greenwood and Erin M. Evans personally about it. While I was ooing and awing over the new books for D&D (which I am new to, I won't hide that little fact) I was hacking my way through a series that was supposed to be great. I heard from many of my friends that this series was great, you'll love it and "it's like Supernatural but better!"
Please... better than the Winchesters, Garth, Jo, and Bobby and Cas? Really?
Well, it's a popular genre and I want to write in that vein as well. Why not try Jim Butcher? He's been around for a while and dear ol' Dresden has had a TV series based on his adventures. MUST BE GOOD!
Or not...
Just popular because...well, I don't know honestly.
People: Read the first one (Storm Front). Me: Eeehh... People: It gets better in the next one! (Fool Moon). Me: Uuugghhh.... People: It gets better in the-- *PUNCH!*
No, it never gets better. I've heard that Butcher's latest one, "Cold Days" is supposed to be his masterpiece. Sure, it takes that many books to describe women's legs, waistlines, and especially those buxom breasts. What would a supernatural book/movie/game be without female legs and soft contours? Well, let's just say they would have to hold their own.
Fed up with that fiasco, I went to the other end of the spectrum just to see what was there. I picked up Margaret Mallory's Highlander series. Never had I read a Romance novel. My sister will tell you I have with Deanna Cameron's "The Belly Dancer", but more on that later. For Mallory, she is honestly just several aspects away from being a pretty good writer. Not going to lie, I felt gypped when the "The Scene" came around and I didn't even get the whole thing. That was for later it turns out. For Mallory though, the attraction for her highlanders comes in the form of their honor, bravery, patriotism, and of course, gleaming muscles. But not overly so. I can hear males disagreeing with me right now. But trust me, we read those book sot get he-man descriptions and Mallory makes us wait for it. We don't know that Alex's muscles are sharp and angular every time he enters a room. There times when Mallory will go PAGES without telling you a thing about this gorgeous guy.
Not male writers. No, the instant that woman walks into a room (or a darkened hall way in a few Butcher cases) we know from the warmth of her body, or the curve of her outline, or the longness of her legs that it's her. Those (always!) dangerous, dominating females of the fantasy genre.
So leading in to Erin M. Evans and D&D, we have Havi, Fari, and the demonic Lorcan. But just so you know, Lorcan is a hunk. A very evil, demon-y hunk. At first, as a female reader isn't that fond of dangerous-Edward-Vampire types, I thought "Oh, great, the evil sexy demon man is here to make you a deal you can't refuse." But Evans wouldn't have it.
Rather than slather Lorcan in sex and attraction, she makes you cringe every time the guy is on the page. He appears and you're like "Oh good, he saved Havi, but he needs to disappear again." No amount of his "good guy moves" makes you want him there. Yes, you remember him floating in the demon trap at the beginning and how much his red, muscled skin glowed in the flames. But you don't want him there like other sadist chicks want Vivian to chomp Aiden oh so hotly. Or how about that new Rid Riding Hood flick, eh? *Crepper grin*
Evans gives us a wonderful departure from those men. Of course, being female she doesn't sexualize her heroines either. Perhaps it is just be because I am female, but I really found Havi and Fari wonderful females. They were strong, but not independent. They depended on their dragon-born father (who was awesome, by the way!) to help them because they weren't perfect and got into trouble. And also something Evans doesn't let her girls get away with is getting into trouble and then apologizing their way out. Mehen let's them know when they've done wrong and they learn (usually) from their mistakes.
I use Evans because she seems to the only author doing genders right. The males look like they should be that guy, but they're not and they give us the creeps rather than making us desire them. Her girls are not sexualized or free to be stupid females either. Maybe she does this because she's a female and is just trying to stay away from stereotyping? Maybe, but I doubt it. She's just good at character and has realized we don't need all the sex to have a good fantasy adventure. Take it from me, the story needs to be able to stand on its own and not depend on females with dominatrix tendencies or males with sadist playmates on their minds. Let the story speak for itself.