Summer Reading: In the Unlikely Event

I had to check multiple times while reading In the Unlikely Event whether it was a Young Adult novel or not. No, really, this isn’t for adults, I thought over and over.

If it isn’t obvious, I was not a fan of Judy Blume’s latest book.

via Amazon

via Amazon

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Summer Reading: My Struggle

Ever since Karl Ove Knausgaard’s books hit stateside a couple years ago, I’ve been intrigued by the Norwegian series. Knausgaard, who was already an established author, made waves in his home country then across reading realms when he released the first installation of the series in 2009 in Norway, then in 2012 in the US.

My Struggle is a literary oddity because it is a wildly successful six-volume autobiographical novel. No one writes in volumes anymore and it is bizarre — in the best way —  that in this age of listicles the public devoured thousands of pages of autobiography that often. But eat it up they did. Joshua Rothman in New Yorker article reviewing the third volume states that, “in Norway, one book has sold for every nine adults; as translations have proliferated, readers all over the world have fallen in love with Knausgaard.”

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What Those Statues Are Really Thinking

via Flickr

via Flickr


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Ellie Puckett is My Every Woman

As I’ve recently shared, I love “Are You The One?”. This MTV masterpiece has everything – lust, physical violence, men crying, and the promise of more of that happening during the reunion episode. For ten weeks I followed the cast members through their connections and conflicts, cheering them on when they found their “perfect match” and being as devastated as they were when they didn’t.

The second season ended this week, leaving a gaping hole in my heart. It was a very satisfying ending; eventually everyone sobered up enough to match accordingly and win a collective $1,000,000. They could all pat themselves on the backs and ride off into the sunset with their soul mate. With one exception: Ellie.

Ellie was my favorite cast member from the outset. When she bravely asked about the status of everyone’s dildos within the first ten minutes of the premiere episode, I knew she was the catch of the house. And I also knew that no one would realize this.

Ellie spent the season attempting to form relationships with guys who put her on the back burner. Sure, they hung out constantly,opened up to her, and told her she was the best girl in the house. But did that mean she got all the nookie? Nope.

Just heartache and unlimited Jager Bombs.

And why not? What made her so undesirable, compared to the other “Are You the One” ladies? Was it her ability to put people in their place?

Or her unrelenting self-awareness?

Maybe the ease with which she shared her thoughts?

Or her proclivity for having a blast over worrying about the haters?

It was all these things that put poor Ellie in the Friend Zone. Her easy camaraderie hurt her chances at finding her match. While the other women in the house spent their time fighting with each other over one guy, Ellie focused on having fun, making friends, and being herself. She was unapologetic in how little she cared about playing the game, which made her a pariah every time a match ceremony came around.

I’m not faulting any of the other women of “Are You The One” for not acting like Ellie. I’m just saying that I get it. I understand Ellie. I am Ellie, and proud of it. And guess what? Come reunion, her “match” knew what he’d missed out on. Because a real woman isn’t afraid to let her dildo flag fly.

I salute you.

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Publish or Perish

I was much more interested in events leading to the release of “The Interview” than in seeing the movie. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re familiar with the premise – two American journalists are tapped to assassinate Kim Jung Un, who hates the West on an ideological level but loves its pop culture. The film was announced and denounced nearly in the same breath; I had barely turned off the trailer before I heard rumors of its cancellation.

North Korea threatened mass destruction if “The Interview” made it past the production room. Movie theaters pulled it, because you can’t make money from something that people are too scared to see. YouTube picked it up hours later, and everyone who was interested in “The Interview” watched it anyway. The world turned, Sony still made money, and the rest of us continued to avoid Seth Rogen movies.

Let’s discuss another recent world event – last week’s massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Much like the creators of “The Interview”, the staff of the French satirist publication create work that is as entertaining as it is provocative. For this, they were brutally murdered. They’d also been warned by their attackers. They knew the dangers, and kept on keeping on.

These are dramatically different situations, but the most troubling dissimilarity is how the media reacted to each. Here, when a whisper of potential repercussions of “The Interview” was heard, doors immediately shut. Despite general dissent, cancelling the movie seemed justified –  it could potentially put people’s lives in danger, ruin holiday theater profits, and it was “silly” anyway. We became terrified of terror.

Meanwhile, the staff of Charlie Hebdo received (and ignored) requests from the French government not to publish the very material that became the fodder for their slaughter. They prioritized their ability to share their work with the public over their fear of what might happen when they did. They’re continuing to do so. The people of France stand behind them, taking to the streets to show support for the magazine’s right to print; in comparison, Americans demonstrated support for “The Interview” by streaming it from the comfort of their couches.

In a country that defends its right to free speech with religious fervor, we allow ourselves to be backed into corners by the people trying to take it from us. Is “free speech” a right we expect from our own government, and are willing to give up to any other entity?

Art exists to make a statement, prove a point, and change ways of thinking. While we may not refer to a Seth Rogen movie as “art”, it still is, and should be as fervently defended as the work of Charlie Hebdo. It deserves fearless supporters who won’t allow it to be cast aside because extremists – whether they be political, religious, or moral – threaten us with backlash. Free speech can only exist if we don’t let anyone silence us, and the only backlash we should be concerned about is losing our voice.

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