Finn, on Feb 10 2009, 17.17, said:
Wow, Morgan and Bakker checking in to the forum in the same week. Can we get them together in one thread? Maybe they can exchange . . . insults and recipes?
Or maybe they could field questions about the other's work?
Hijinks would ensue!
Morgan, as in Richard Morgan? *fangirls* OMG!!! where!!??
Shryke, on Feb 10 2009, 19.57, said:
In that the majority of posters here will be those who, for whatever reason, had a problem with something involving women in this series?
According to your criteria, ASOIAF has serious problems with being all perverted.
The majority of posters here aren't dumbasses and realize there is something wrong with the books. And I can't think of anyone who seriously wanked to the thought of Tyrion. Ok, maybe a few.
Kalbear, on Feb 10 2009, 21.24, said:
I wouldn't judge the veracity of the topic based on the amount of posts. It doesn't mean it's good or bad, or that that was what people thought in general; it just means what it does.
Not that it should matter in the slightest whether or not popular opinion values or devalues something.
If popular opinion says these books are sick and uninteresting, then its probably right. Or you could be a lying lair who lied. Value is subjective, so none of what we say really has a difference on if we are right or wrong about the books. Look at the sheer volume of RJ and Goodkind posts - that sure isn't an indication of quality, is it?
Ghost of Nymeria, on Feb 11 2009, 09.46, said:
Was that a joke? :o
Its rather funny you would bring that up since this current thread about women in PoN stems from a huge conversation about women and minorities in Science Fiction and Fantasy in general.
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but yes I find that there is in fact an extreme lack of positive, female characters in the genre.
Agreed. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist about representation and tokenism, take a look at shit on the whole.
Kalbear, on Feb 11 2009, 11.38, said:
For example, in Neuropath I don't have a problem with the woman being the sociopath. I do have a problem with her being only successful in manipulation of the man when she fucks him. She's a brilliant, amoral killer and the only thing that works is to fuck? Then she goes crazy and starts fucking more? Aside from the bad girl as slut meme that's been around for ages, it's kind of sad that this is the only thing that works. I recognize that this was in part largely because the book centers around showing how humanity is meat, not a soul; that's the Argument. Still, after seeing it over and over in PoN, seeing yet another set of women defined by how they fuck men or how they have kids, it was just another shrug and 'that's Bakker for you'.
Like I've said countless times in this thread and others, I don't have a problem with women being oppressed in the tale; it has countless historical antecedents and is largely taken from the history that the whole world is based in. Martin does it as well. The problem I have is that women in Bakker's world are defined by their relationship to sex in a way that men are not, and that is not necessary to the telling of the tale. That's their sole source of power in the world. I hope that explains things a bit better, and I apologize for my misuse of biology before this.
So the 'I am a crazy little boy stuck in this large penis' theme carried over to other books? I sip my beer, all smug satisfaction.
Pierce Inverarity, on Feb 11 2009, 12.42, said:
So is this a taste thing for you, Kalbear? Or do you think no man - perhaps no woman - should represent women in a sexualized light? I see lots of judgment in your posts, lots of 'oh-ya-that's-Bakker-for-you' (because ultimately I'm simple?) and very little in the way of what you think I should have done different, let alone any real engagement with the justifications I've so far provided.
Neuropath, as the title implies, is about psychopaths, serial murderers, which for whatever reason happen to be serial rapists as well. So are you saying that I should have 'desexualized' the two signature 'neuropaths' in the book? Or do you think I should have made all the neuropaths male? Or do you think I should have avoided the topic altogether?
In writing the scene that I'm assuming you find so offensive, I knew that very many people would have a response similar to yours. The thing I was interested in was the inversion, the way having a female serial rapist engages an entirely different set of responses. If the genders of the participants were reversed, then the scene would have been monstrous. As it is, it smacks of a hairy-palmed teenage fantasy. (Sam even says as much in the scene at issue). Since, at a cultural level, sexploitation is a cornerstone of the whole cult of the psychopath, I'm not sure how I could have written this story without confronting it somehow. And since I'm suspicious of all orthodoxies, PC included, I'm not sure how I could have written it without pissing you off.
Are you suggesting this subject matter was too toxic, too subtle, or too something x, for someone like me to tackle?
Or could it be that I intentionally (and trust me, I debated all these issues endlessly in the course of writing the book) tweaked your normative expectations in ways you didn't like, and you're doing your best to recontextualize/reinterpret in ways that make it more ideologically manageable - to turn it into 'more of the same.'
After all, most everybody reads to win. When was the last time you saw an amazon reviewer who blamed themselves instead of the book for their inability to appreciate this or that x?
I think I've provided enough grounds to at least consider the possibility that at the very least this isn't your run-of-the-mill sexism. Maybe it's more subtle, and therefore more dangerous.
Or maybe you're simply doing what we all do all the time when we interpret: selectively confirming our initial impressions? Like I say, when you smell a rat in fiction, odds are you're going to find one.
Am I a rat, Kalbear? Do you really think that? Do you really think your interpretations exhaust the essence of my books, and that all the rest is simply ad hoc, face-saving rationalization?
Or could it be that I've written something genuinely complicated, genuinely problematic, something that provokes timely debates about timely issues? Of course, I want to believe this, which instantly makes me suspicious of it.
What I'm really curious about is your apparently absolute faith in the in the universal veracity of your individual interpretative perspective.
For what ever reason? Spare me. Hairy palmed teenaged fantasy? Robert Jordan wrote for that too and no one is claiming he was da shizzle. You were provocative because it got you noticed and a thousand bucks says you have more issues than I do. We are too dumb to get you? As would be said in GC, OMG, get over yourself already. What happened to you to make you hate sex and women as much as I hate men?
Zollo, on Feb 11 2009, 16.03, said:
Are authors now getting onto fantasy boards to explain their books and / or defend themselves from opinions / impressions (a tiny) part of their readership might have based upon having read one or more of said books? Someone pinch me.
Besides, as an author, if you feel you have to explain the motives of a book... something isn't right.
Not many authors have been called upon to defend their books as often either.
Dylanfanatic, on Feb 11 2009, 16.39, said:
I still think I'd rather Scott make up his eternally doubt-ridden mind and start a blog where he could make a weekly post or so on a particular topic, let his readership battle it out, with only occasional commentary there. After all, there are several close races in the NHL right now that I'm sure he'd rather talk about at length as opposed to other topics ;)
As for not providing "concrete examples," there's a reason why I'd rather make a hint and let others follow along with it (or not): I knew beforehand much of what Scott would have had to say on the issue regarding "certainties." Go back and pay close attention to the hints I gave, if you so desire (don't blame you if you didn't, however). I've met him in person, conducted or help conduct four interviews and some Q&As and over the course of almost five years, I got to know enough of what he was arguing to know that claiming one is "certain" on any particular issue regarding his work would be akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull.
But since "concrete examples" are wanted, pardon me if I start by mentioning another author, one Vladimir Nabokov. This Russian immigrant wrote a rather unsettling novel, Lolita I believe it was called, that was told from the PoV of a child molestor. Many hailed the novel as a masterpiece, others condemned Nabokov for "glorifying" perverts like Humbert and glossing over the suffering that victims of child sexual abuse suffer. Which side is more "correct"?
Yes, the role of women in Scott's story is not a glorious one. Yes, they are often abused, mistreated, and viewed in ways that are quite alien to those of us living on the other side of the Enlightenment. Yes, it is worthy to ponder if the messages carried in these books is clear and concise enough. But it would be wise to consider each of those points with a healthy heaping of self-skepticism. Don't kill the messenger for the message perceived. Don't conflate the story with the author. That's why I quoted that passage from Stendhal's novel, in hopes that rather than stating baldly that some were attacking the author more than the story, that some would think about it and draw their own conclusions and thus react in their own ways.
Do you floss with that dick? Conflate the story with the author? Where exactly do you think the story came from?
Kalbear, on Feb 11 2009, 16.48, said:
Do you talk with your friends this ambiguously as well?
Some times it's just acceptable to share your opinion and state it clearly and concisely. Especially on a message board where there are no nonverbal cues.
I think it's also reasonable to state this: don't conflate the criticism of the art with the criticism of the artist. Don't conflate the criticism of the message with criticism of the messenger.
Yeah, sort of.
Dylanfanatic, on Feb 11 2009, 16.54, said:
It's a bad habit of mine, as I teach for a living and I've been indoctrinated not to lecture to the students whenever possible, but instead to present problems for them and give them only enough hints to put all the pieces together. I'll try to do better in the future.
In my memory, you have been reminded 5 times now to kindly remember that this board is not your classroom and you are talking to your peers in age for the most part. As well as your peers in intellect. Don't think you are superior to people because people don't respond to you - perhaps take that as a sign you are on a large number of ignore lists.
Ran, on Feb 11 2009, 18.11, said:
Are you sure about Ash and A Sundial in a Grave getting those responses around here? Moreso the latter than the former.I don't recall anyone saying anything about Sundial in that sense.
Ash, I can see some knee-jerk reactions to it due to that opening scene. That said, the fact that she kills her mutilators and rapists at the tender age of 8 immediately afterwards kind of suggests this isn't your standard rape scene.
Ash got hit hard.
Pierce Inverarity, on Feb 11 2009, 20.39, said:
The thing which gets my goat, I think, is the presumption that the books don't hold more than what meets the eye. It'll be interesting to revisit this topic following The Disciple of the Dog, which is the first thing I've written without labouriously pondering subtext after subtext - direct from by subconscious without all the torturous, ass-saving twists and turns of reflection.
Otherwise, I'm really not all that unsympathetic to a number of criticisms that have been floated here. I actually DO think negative representations have the nasty habit of reinforcing negative attitudes. I follow the research on bias too closely not to have the odd, ohmigod-what-have-I-done moment. My knee-jerk defence has always been to say that I'm not writing after-school specials. Probably too dismissive, that.
You think you have layers and layers of subtext? Can you please share what you are smoking so the rest of us can glory in your godlike wisdom? Don't worry about offending your readers - you are in it for the art
, not the sales, right?