Re: book club: Random ponderings on changing societal attitudes
I read some reviews on HP Lovecraft’s horror stories, and they resonated in my mind with the discussion of the Thousand White Women book echoed on this forum.
To summarize, some readers feel thet Lovecraft’s stories are – racist, sexist (to lesser degree) and a host of other -ist words. I also recall an Indian friend commenting unhappily on how all the evil in the Lord Of The Rings comes from the South/South-East, (not to mention the clearly Turkic uruk-hai).
And so I am bringing you this observation, which seems painfully obvious: in the past, things were different than now. Different in many ways, perhaps the biggest being that life in general was much much harder and harsher and filled with various suffering and indignity even if you were born into high society. Much harder for both men and women. Also, people had different values regarding people who were different than themselves – that showed in different ways. Also, people had a completely different idea as to the gender roles. And then there were wars and the really really horrible people from the other side… And of course, people were much less tolerating of deformity and defectiveness. And of course, they could not afford to view their animals (well other than the cow and/or the horse, who fed the family) as anything but animals. Etc. Things were different in the past. Look at the boards for quick examples: the oldest members seriously observe that women do not read science and philosophy, the fem lib generation still sees the world as anti-female, etc.
It seems that some part of readership is not quite grasping this idea fully, as stream of moaning about -ism in writings of any writer of older times testifies to. Most ridiculous of course are complaints for using words that at the time were not deemed offensive!
I can only imagine the flak that the author of the 1000 White Women would have got if he actually portrayed those women accurately!!! So then a modern writer is d*mned if he does, d*mned if he doesn’t. Make the lady appropriate to the time period, and the author would be eaten alive for sexism, ablism (one of the most nonsensical of modern day innovations) and racism. Make her more modern, and you get complaints from people who want to see more accuracy….
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This has the potential of becoming a really good thread if people would just stop being so defensive and close minded. This is supposed to be a thread about BOOKS and VIEWPOINTS. No singular perspective is wrong. Peoples’ perspectives are based on their experiences. Since different people have different experiences, people will view the same book from their unique outlooks. It’s pointless to chastise or insult someone for not seeing your view. Someone’s detail might be your oversight. I think it’s more important to be receptive to different opinions and arguments. An opposing opinion will force you to see the world from someone else’s view. Or, at least, it should. Aren’t readers supposed to be open minded?
Nice thread massha, Who knows what any author originally wrote, but was forced to edit because of the publisher’s view point. The author’s manuscript probably appeared like the released to the public government documents that have key information redacted. The publisher wants to sell the book as well as the author but in many instances the publisher has the final say.
I have read some books that a description of an incident or the use of a particular word turned me off and I probably missed the point the author was making. I find this to be the case mostly in period books, but to make it authentic the author must use the euphemism’s of the time period without being offensive. Imagine a pirate story and one character summons another by calling out ‘hey, dude over here’. Not very authentic and as a reader I would find this ridiculous and probably quit reading.
Hmmm, tough writing assignment to be authentic and politically correct.
I think every reader comes to a book with their own "emotional triggers" so certain authors/topics/characters will set these triggers off. I think that’s why one reader can enjoy the view of the forest while others will focus on one tree and miss the bigger view.
It makes sense that people from the same generation might share the same emotional triggers. I think that’s what we’re seeing on these threads.
Personally, I try to avoid books that I think might set off my own triggers. I have a difficult time with the school shooting books. Some people praise the novel We Need To Talk About Kevin. I know if I were to get into a discussion with someone who enjoyed it, I would have a difficult time getting past my revulsion of the topic.
I was surprised at the strong reactions against One Thousand White Women. While I understand their point of view, I see a radically different message in the book. But, I also think it would be a very boring discussion if we all agreed on everything. I enjoy looking at something from someone else’s perspective, as long as it’s shared in a positive spirit and not insulting. (To say that my body parts prevent me from enjoying certain genres can be a little offensive.)
Marsha Marsha Marsha. I feel like I’m with the Brady Bunch here. I like this thread. I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many times. Watched all the DVDs too. Tolken was way ahead of his time. The feel for his books came from the war years and what was going on….Ronnie
If you are a fan of ‘alternative history’ writing and since AH writing is a genre of fiction in which historical events unfold differently than they did in reality, then the injection of so-called ‘modern day’ females into vintage time period settings should not bother you. I thought the point of AH was to explore social and/or political changes of a particular world or to examine any consequences of the particular fake change.
massha, I’m not sure what your point is. Are you complaining about peoples’ opinions? If you are, it seems rather a needless or futile exercise. An opinion is a personal viewpoint or belief. It doesn’t seem fair to criticize people for their personal outlooks.
People will always debate a stance that is contrary to their beliefs. Contrary opinions somehow feel like personal attacks to many because viewpoints are tied into personal moral codes. I guess people feel as if they are being insulted
I posted an opinion about the book, 1000 White Women; so, I can only speak in reference to that opinion. I can’t speak for anyone else.
I JUST WROTE A VERY WELL THOUGHT RESPONSE AND IT WAS EATEN!!!
MY COMMENT WAS MUCH LONGER. I’M NOT RE-WRITING IT.
Your point is well-taken.
I find it very irritating when a female character from a past time spouts out all sorts of feminist points (when they seem to come out of the blue). I’m not saying there weren’t women who truly felt that way, but all of a sudden these characters are popping up in stories set in vintage (pre-1900) times. It seems so calculated to me.
Posted in Talk Among Yourselves
08.16.15 1:53 AM