The Imaginary Heroine

searching for the plot

Why Summit? Why?! April 27, 2010

Fug via TresSugar

Apparently they’ve released a replica of Bella’s engagement ring. It’s available in faux version for $35 and a version with real diamonds for $1,979.

I blushingly admit that I’ve amassed a not inconsiderable amount of Twilight related merch. I may or may not frequently sport purple ruffled sweats from Aerie or a cadet blue B.B. Dakota jacket.  So, clearly I have no problem with people who want to have fun with movie memorabilia. If you have lots of disposable income and truly want a Cullen engagement ring, more power to you.

My main issue is the design of this ring. It is HIDEOUS. As some commenters have noted, it looks like a bug’s eye.

Wasn’t this supposed to be Edward’s mother’s ring? If you consider Edward died at 17 in 1918 and the typical short time window between marriage and first child at the time, his parents were probably married in the late 1890s. Shouldn’t the ring be Victorian style jewelry? This doesn’t look anything like what should have been around in Victorian America.

I mean, for cripes sake! Look how flipping gorgeous these Victorian rings are!

Why, Summit?! Why did you make the movie ring the fugliest ring ever? Are you just trying to piss off Twilight fans?

UPDATE:

So, here’s the description of the ring from the book:

“The face was a long oval, set with slanting rows of glittering round stones. The band was gold — delicate and narrow. The gold made a fragile web around the diamonds.”

So, I suppose the movie ring somewhat matches the book description. But it is still hideous. So there.

UPDATE2:

Other suggestions for Bella’s ring

I like the first one better, but I think the second one matches the description more. Either one is preferable to the monster we’re promised in June.

Update3:

Oddly, the artist rendering is by the same company that is producing the replicas. The final products don’t seem to match the drawing very well. The inset “web” is more delicate and there’s scalloped edging in the drawing that are nowhere in evidence on the real rings.

Unfortunately, the fug replica rings are officially authorized by Stephenie Meyer herself. Maybe she authorized the drawing and not the rings? I don’t know.

Yikes. I mean, you can’t argue with the author. If that’s what she says the ring looks like, that’s what it looks like. I’m not keen on the canon description, the presumably approved prototype rendering, or the final authorized replicas.

I’m going to go cry in the corner now.

Somewhere in the world, someone is writing the shortest alternate universe Twilight fan fiction ever which says something to the effect that Elizabeth Masen’s ring was lovely and understated with a single stone and delicate Art Nouveau scroll work on the band.

 

Best Thing EVARRRRR!!!! April 7, 2010

Filed under: Television — imaginaryheroine @ 2:55 pm
Tags: ,

Another non-post. Sorry, sorry, sorry! Big work project. Must keep my nose to the grind stone!

I just had to pass along this gem:

The Cast of Mad Men singing “Bye Bye Birdie”

If you’re going zuh? I will refer you to this side by side of Mad Men season 3 episode 4 “The Arrangements” when Sterling Cooper makes a Pepsi Patio commercial based off the Ann Margaret rendition.

 

Pissing Contest April 5, 2010

Filed under: Books,Rants — imaginaryheroine @ 10:22 am
Tags: , , ,

Sorry for the radio silence lately. The confluence of Passover and a crazy time at work has prevented me from putting together any worthwhile posts. However, I’ve been reading up a storm and hope to be back to discuss the bodies of action heroines, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, How to Train Your Dragon, and other good stuff fairly soon.

I finished The Magicians yesterday. Let me just say: Wow. There’s so much going on here. Grossman has skillfully woven together elements of both high fantasy and modern psychological drama to create something exciting. However…

I have one tiny rant that I must get off my chest before I can deal with all that.

First, I have to tell you about the pack of pre-teen boys who play outside my apartment building every day.

They have recently discovered swearing. This means that they swear at anything and everything and usually do so ineptly. Sometimes it’s funny. My favorite so far has been one boy saying “What is the fuck?” Mostly it’s just tedious. The words have ceased being emphatic or expressive and have all the zing of “um,” “like,” and “y’know.”

Which brings me to “piss,” which I ran across a few times in The Magicians. Each time I sighed gustily and rolled my eyes.

What is with youngish male authors and the word “piss”?

Are they three or something? I swear they’re obsessed with “piss” and “pissing.”

As words go, “piss” is a pretty evocative one. It’s emphatic, quasi-lewd, and has a nice hint of onomatopoeia.

But the amount of pissing going on has gotten seriously out of hand. I feel like I can’t crack a book without SOMEONE pissing.

Even more irritating, it usually does nothing to advance the plot or characterization in the novel. It’s not like the lawyer in Jurassic park, who gets eaten by a T-rex right off the toilet seat. Usually a pissing scene is an aside. It’s something that breaks up dialogue or action. It’s superfluous filler and I can only guess that it’s meant to inspire tag lines like “gritty” and “serious” in reviews.

I’m not saying urination and/or defecation should be entirely absent from media. As the children’s book says, Everyone Poops.

It’s just that all the pissing is getting annoying. Why doesn’t the author just put in a footnote saying “I’m serious and gritty! See! Piss!”

The ubiquitous pissing scene has started to sound slip-shod and inarticulate, like a nine-year old saying “what is the fuck?” over and over until it slips from funny to tedious.

 

My Life in Fiction March 29, 2010

“We see the future, we see something waiting for us even when we don’t feel it inside sometimes.”
- Psychosister23, “The Great Debate” by Rachel Caine from A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins.

I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t you…over this whole A New Dawn book review thing yet?! Well, yes, I am. This isn’t really a book review. Just something I was reminded of when I read this bit from Rachel Caine’s essay. It was part of her discussion about Twilight’s positive lessons for young women. Namely, that in encourages them to think about what their adult life could and should be like. Even though they feel like misfits, they can become the heroine in their own story.

This definitely struck a chord with me. I read. A lot. I also watch a lot of movies and TV. I love stories. They give me hope that there is meaning in a really confusing, chaotic world.

This is the origin of this blog. My life has started to feel kind of pointless. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know how I’m going to get there. I go to work, I come home, I do dishes, I go to bed – what happened to the great life story I was supposed to be the star of? I’m not sure. Maybe that happens later. Maybe this is the great adventure I’m supposed to be having. I’m just too close to see it. Maybe my “post-adolescent idealistic phase” is crashing and burning. In any case, I need a project. I need to feel like there is a point to life, the universe, and everything.

It’s a whole lot easier for me to do that when I’m reading and writing and trying to tease out pearls of meaning from between the lines.

I want to make myself clear. I don’t expect to become a heroine in a fantastical quest against evil. I am fully cognizant of the fact that life is not like a novel or movie. This doesn’t keep me from using narratives to explain the mysteries of life. In fact, the reason we read books and watch TV shows and see movies is because well all do this to some extent. This may be why people my age often go through this kind of disillusionment phase (you know it kills me to admit I’m going through a phase, but I think it’s a pretty well documented fact if it’s being discussed by fifteen year-olds in Clueless).

We’re bombarded with all kinds of stories and meanings in the media we consume. To take a particularly dramatic example, in Brave Heart Young Murron gives Young William Wallace a thistle at his father’s funeral. Years later, when William proposes to Murron, he reveals that he saved the same thistle for years. Seeing the thistle, Murron knows that his affection is sincere and long-standing. She consents to marry him.

In real life, this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Stuff today is pretty disposable. Clothes are mass manufactured for no one in particular and meant to be discarded after a season. Ipods are made to survive about two years, since by that time the next generation will be available. We spend $3.50 on a cardboard cup filled with coffee, neither of which will last beyond an hour or so.

Because the tangible world is so disturbingly fluid – our setting and the objects around us so impermanent – it’s easy to start believing that we live disposable lives in a disposable culture. This may be why we are so charmed with the thistle in Brave Heart, tuppence in Mary Poppins, and Harry Potter’s scar. They’re artifacts that prove the existence of meaning.

How do we know William loves Murron? He kept her thistle. We can see his love right in his hand. The thistle, tuppence, and scar are metaphors for an abstract meaning. The thistle device is used by writers to draw the audience’s attention to central points of meaning in the narrative. They’re shortcuts on the desktop of the mind.

I think maybe the tangibility of these objects sometimes gets in the way  of their significance. The object is not the point – the meaning is the point. But instead of focusing on the meaning of the metaphor, we lock onto the physical presence of the object and become obsessed with finding tangible symbols in our own lives. Why not? That’s how several forms of media have taught us to process meaning.

What I’m endeavoring to teach myself is that even without these tangible artifacts I can still find abstract meaning in my life.

 

A New Dawn part 13: “The Great Debate” by Rachel Caine March 28, 2010

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

In “The Great Debate,” Rachel Caine imagines a fictional debate between two Twilight fan girls and two adult academics. The topic?

Resolved: Vampire-themed fiction represents thinly veiled sexuality and violence. Therefore, vampire fiction is not suitable for young adults, and in particular Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, which has brought vampire-themed young adult fiction to the forefront is not appropriate for young adult readers.

When Caine gets over trying to be hilarious and actually talks about how the books are actually beneficial because they deal with difficult subject matter like sexuality, violence, etc she makes really good points. I’m sure a lot of people will think this is a riot, but some of the humor just didn’t do it for me. At one point the moderator says the debate is going to follow the rules for Lincoln-Douglas debate and a teen debater replies “I don’t know who Lincoln Douglas, but I’ll be he’s a hater.”… Cue laugh track?

Youth and knowledge of pop culture does not automatically make someone uneducated. Isn’t that, in fact, the point of this piece? That all the teenage girls the “experts” worry are going to go have babies with quasi-abusive seventeen year old boyfriends because “Bella did it” are actually savvy enough to understand that the book is a) fiction and b) full of consequences for all of these actions? I was also pretty irritated by the teen girls interrupting everyone and even each other with things like “TIME’S UP, BITCH. Also, you suck.” Because we all know teen girls are obnoxious and rude at all times. I’m sure adults ever misunderstand, interrupt, or cover ignorance on an issue with rudeness… I would say that the main crime here was not Caine’s use of teen girl stereotypes for laughs, but that it just wasn’t that funny.

Anyway, the point of the essay is that the Twilight books do cover sexuality and violence, but they do it in such a way that makes it very appropriate for young adult readers. Girls have a pretty difficult time finding a safe space to safely explore their developing sexual preferences – why not do it in the context of books and movies? Twilight actually seems to glamorize abstinence for teens, not the reverse. Plus, what girl is going to want to have a baby that murders her from the inside out? As Caine points out, Bella’s tale is actually full of consequences for romance, sex, and pregnancy. It’s a cautionary tale, not a how-to manual.

Caine also discusses how empowering the Twilight Saga has been not just for young women but for adults as well. We identify with Bella because she’s lonely and a bit of a misfit. She has trouble making connections with people and doesn’t feel like she’s good at anything in particular. Caine’s Twilight teens give us a pretty good list of uplifting messages. Things like don’t hate yourself, because even though you might not think so, you’re awesome. Don’t rush love, because it’s worth being patient and letting it all fall into place naturally. Caine also argues that Bella is a hero in her own right, even if she isn’t a supernatural being. She’s brave, strong, and helps others even when she’s afraid. So…how are these bad things for teen girls to read about?

In fact, they aren’t bad lessons for girls and grown ups, for that matter. Which is probably one of the reasons the Twilight Saga is so popular from tweens to Twimoms. It’s a story of a misfit finding her power and rightful place in the world. I would say that this is backed up by the fact as a human Bella kind of sucks at life, but she turns out to be a really good vampire with super blood lust control, super powers, and a super family. Gaining her rightful place in the world puts everyone around her in balance and results in the deliriously happy ending we get in Breaking Dawn.

[This was in Harper’s Bazaar, but I thought KStew looked pretty vampy. Maybe Bella’s look in Breaking Dawn will take some cues from the shoot?]

 

A New Dawn part 12: “To Bite, or Not to Bite; That Is the Question” by Janette Rallison March 26, 2010

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

Most of what I read about the Twilight refers to destiny or fate. According to Janette Rallison, the books are instead all about free will. This jives with a few statements I’ve read from SMeyer. On her website, Meyer discusses the importance of the apple image on the first novel’s cover. Apples have been featured in myriad stories through the ages, but always with a similar meaning: Choice. She also discussed the importance of Free Will in Mormon doctrine in an interview with Lev Grossman from Time:

“[A]lthough Mormons avoid caffeine on principle, [Meyer] drinks the occasional cherry Diet Pepsi. “It’s about keeping yourself free of addictions,” she explains, sitting on a huge couch in her living room. “We have free will, which is a huge gift from God. If you tie that up with something like, I don’t know, cocaine, then you don’t really have a lot of freedom anymore.”

Rallison shows us that Meyer overtly communicates this idea to the readers when Carlise tells Bella that all anyone can do is decide what to do with what they were given in life. Even Alice’s future sight is dependent on the decisions of others. Rallison points out that this is Meyer telling us again that “no one’s fate is set in stone in the Twilight series. The future is made and undone with every choice a character makes.”

I’m going to stop with the free will vs. destiny stuff right here. It’s a good essay. Go buy or take the book out of the library and read it.

I’ve been derailed (Again!) by someone totally missing the manipulative element behind Edward letting Bella see Jacob. Rallison attributes this to Edward’s saint-like understanding. I’m still pretty sure that the whole point was to make himself appear saint-like and make Bella feel that she had to get rid of Jacob in order to be good enough for perfect, angelic Edward.

He's doing it again!

Then she turns around and says that Jacob is not above manipulation when honesty and logic don’t work. Yes. He did try to manipulate Bella. I will yet again point out the fact that when he did, he totally stank at it. People hated Jacob for that stunt. He’s not a skillful manipulator, for the simple reason that he’s usually an honest guy who doesn’t try to manipulate others. Allow me to point out (AGAIN!) that Jacob only tried it, because he realized that was how Edward was winning! He was manipulating Bella’s pathological need to throw herself under the bus before hurting anyone else.

Even thought Bella says Edward isn’t playing any game, Jacob knows better:

“He isn’t manipulating me”

“You bet he is. He’s playing every bit as hard as I am, only he know what he’s doing and I don’t. Don’t blame me because he’s a better manipulator than I am – I haven’t been around long enough to learn all his tricks.”

“He isn’t manipulating me!”

“Yes, he is! When are you going to wake up and realize that he’s not as perfect as you think he is?”
- Eclipse p594

Maybe it would be different if this was an exploration of open relationships or something. I’m sure there’s a pile of fan fiction about various Bella, Edward, Jacob arrangements. But that’s not what the Twilight Canon is about. Edward, Bella, and Jacob are all up front about wanting to be in a monogamous coupling. Both Edward and Jacob are trying to get the other out of the picture by any means necessary. Neither is above manipulation to achieve their ends. So why is Edward getting called honest and understanding while Jacob gets tutted at for doing the exact same thing?

Ugh. I’m going to pull out a legendary Kansas quote and and simply say: “That’s right…Dollar signs.”

All of this discussion of who is manipulating whom is not about who is right for whom or which guy Bella should have chosen. Of course Edward loves Bella and vice versa. Of course Edward was the right choice for Bella. She may have loved Jacob too, but she always knew she loved Edward best, last, and forever. I just wish people weren’t quite so hard on Jacob. Sometimes I wonder if people don’t hate him so very much because he brought out the nasty side of Edward. It’s hard to see your knight in shining armor get tarnished.

 

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Other March 25, 2010

A couple of days ago, I was perusing my usual morning sites when I came across a post on Jezebel.com written in response to this piece in the Wall Street Journal. The topic? Friendship breakups.

While the WSJ article discusses the painful fallout of a friendship gone bad, it still assumes that you’re going to need to jettison some friends at some point in your life and gives hints as to how to get it done. I agree with Anna N. from Jezebel in thinking that these steps may be necessary for a friend who is stealing your money for heroin or is some kind of a toxic bully,  but the best option for a friendship in a dry spell is probably time and space. Instead of permanently casting off friendships, we should dial them down and wait for circumstances to change. In a few weeks, months, even years, you and your friend may be right back on the same page and you’ll be so very happy you didn’t have that dramatic split. Even if you die without ever getting back together, it’ll save unnecessary time, drama, and tears on both ends.

However this section gave me pause:

“Some friendships can actually be bad for us — if a friend is manipulative, untrustworthy, or intentionally hurtful, self-preservation pretty much demands a split. But what of the pal who’s simply annoying, who has objectionable political views (one of Bernstein’s examples), or with whom we just don’t have as much in common as we used to? This friend might be occasionally fun but often grating, or might make us angry and happy in equal measure. What to do?” – Anna N., “The Friendship Breakup: When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em,” Jezebel [emphasis added]

The political examples Bernstein gives are “Rob Wilson, 53, a writer in Atlanta, saw a 12-year friendship abruptly end after he mentioned he was voting for George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election” on the dump-ee end and for the dump-ers she has the suggestion “Become a Facebook pest. I have a gay friend who has had much success getting rid of bigoted high school friends by making his status updates as flamboyant and politically charged as possible.”

The dump-er example makes sense in one way and not at all in another. If acquaintances have shown themselves to be bigots or hateful towards you, then cut ties ASAP. But the cyber pest suggestion seems childish, passive aggressive, and counter-productive. If you really want to get rid of someone just do it. Hide them from your feed. Or block them. It’s instantly effective, since you don’t have to wait for them to act. You wont see them and they wont see you. The end.

Trying to annoy the crap out of someone in hopes that they cut you off on their own is not attractive, effective, or constructive. You will NOT get the satisfaction of seeing them break down sobbing and saying you were right all along, like a bully in some afternoon teen special. They’re more likely to make additional inane and hurtful comments or just ignore you, giving you no real satisfaction. Don’t let someone you dislike turn you into a nasty person and ruin any more moments of your life.

The dump-ee example, a man voting for a candidate his friend disliked and its equation with “objectionable political views” as grounds for breakups (Bernstein) or distancing (Anna N.) upsets me on a visceral level for a number of reasons.

Neither my friends, 7abibi, my family, or any of my acquaintances ascribe to the same political views as I do. The few times I have sought out people who do, I haven’t been successful in uncovering anyone I really connected with. If everyone kept to their own kind, I would have no one at all.

My own experience with politics and relationships has been ugly. It started out ugly in high school, in the amazingly charged climate after 9/11, and has stayed ugly, right through college to the present ever-escalating  political nightmare. It was a hard lesson, but I learned that I would seldom, if ever, have the luxury of being in a situation where anyone agreed with me or backed me up in a political discussion…or argument.

I came to expect being the one at the bottom of a dog pile of derision. Sometimes the dog pile was full of people I didn’t know. Other times it was composed of people I loved, trusted, and respected. No matter who it is, it hurts. Every time. I’m still trying to figure out how to let it go and move on. Because this dog pile wont be the last or the worst or the most important. Sometimes I play dead and say nothing. Either because I just can’t take it that day or this fight doesn’t matter or this dog pile might prove fatal for a friendship, job, or my personal well-being.

You’re thinking “fatal? Dramatic much?” Allow me to point you to this section of the comments on Jezebel. Where a few people chimed in that politics is definitely grounds for dismissal. Says one commenter, “I’m not friends with people who don’t share my general political views. I just don’t do it. Does this make me judgey and intolerant? Perhaps. Does it make my life better? Yes.” Another says “I don’t have any friends who aren’t on the same page as me either. It’s a total deal breaker.” Another woman says she does maintain friendly acquaintances who disagree with her, but follows it up by saying that she’s currently distancing herself from someone too different.

You’ll see me in there doing a terrible job of making a point, because I broke my cardinal rule of commenting: don’t comment while you’re emotional. I also broke my cardinal rule of speaking up: don’t speak up when there is no benefit. I lashed out for no reason. I feel bullied, hated, misunderstood, and alone. And it’s my own damn fault. I made myself feel bad through the medium of someone with no reason to give a shit about me and who also claims intolerance in the name of a cause as a virtue.

I need to just drop it.

But I can’t.

I can’t not be emotional on this issue. Let me boil down these comments:

I do not like people who are not like me.

Ugly, isn’t it, sitting out there all bald like that? At least one of the commenters owned it for what it was: intolerance. I would consider Jezebel and its commenters to be a generally progressive lot. But this is definitely NOT a progressive idea. At all. This is regressive and hateful.

Since when is it acceptable to say and act in accordance with this sort of philosophy? It is unacceptable to say I don’t like black people or gays or Muslims or people from Arkansas. Why is it okay to say the same about someone whose political beliefs aren’t in lock step with yours?

A wise friend* explained the thinking to me thusly:

“It’s allowed when it’s an ideological issue. People view political beliefs as changeable. It’s not like race, or to some degree religion, where you’re born one thing and you stay one thing. Your politics can change and so if you disagree with someone, it’s YOU disagreeing with them, not some other that you can’t get away from. (I mean you in a global sense, btw)”

I tried to think my way around this by saying that politics has taken the place of religion as personal identification for a large segment of American society. People don’t like to see it that way, because they think religion is not based in fact and political points of view are. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say a lot of our politics are taken on faith, especially in the US’s two-party system. We decide to ascribe to a whole bulletin of party issues that aren’t always related.

For instance, if someone identifies as a Christian first, they may be against the death penalty, abortion, and war, but are they a Republican or a Democrat? I think a lot of religious people struggle with the dilemma of reconciling political and religious doctrine. Some Christians consider themselves Republicans based on single issues like abortion or gay marriage. Others consider themselves Democrats based on single issues like…abortion or gay marriage. I was going to put war or social welfare, but I’m not going to pretend that either party has a lock on the Christian vote for any one issue.

Once they decide on a party, they are automatically presumed by people on the ground and pollsters in DC to agree with a host of other party issues. They themselves may even assume that because a party is right on one issue, it’s right on other issues. Some people aren’t assuming. Maybe they’re brilliant human beings that live to a ripe old age of 101 and read day in and day out about political philosophy. Or a dedicated warriors in pursuit of radical changes of their country’s political and social environment, like one of the Jezebel commenters mentioned above.

I still don’t believe that it’s the best idea to categorically ban relationships with people different from ourselves.

Why? Because once we are within an echo chamber, it is far easier to see that the other side, being wrong on one issue, is wrong on every issue. Not only are they wrong on every issue, they want to be wrong. They’re trying to trick us into being wrong too. They’re actually mean, hateful, evil people. They’re not like me. They are the other. I could never like them.

I do not like people who are not like me.

There it is. Again.

This is the perfect example of how intolerance is born of fear and ignorance. We did it in the past with race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Hell, we still do it with race, religion, gender, sexuality, and tons of other stuff. We human beings are really good at hating each other for any and every reason. Usually not a good one.

I’m going to go out from my limb to a twig and say deciding to eschew contact with all people who are not like you does not make your life better.

In fact, it makes everyone’s life worse. Do I have to go back and make citations of historical and present day events for people to see that hate and intolerance are demonstrably bad not only for individuals, but society as a whole?

So what is the answer? I don’t know. I don’t know that there is an answer.

If you don’t want to or can’t be friends with someone, then don’t. It’s better for both of you than building up resentment and misunderstanding.

You don’t have to be best friends with someone who thinks abortion is murder, if you think abortion is a right and integral to women’s empowerment. Maybe it’s not possible. I don’t know.

But I beg you to consider what you are doing if you dismiss out of hand people who are not like you. Here is why:

1) We may already like people we think we hate.
The social atmosphere right now is so poisoned by intolerance, people who see the world differently from the dominant group (whether it’s the dominant group in the country, in the room, or in the circle of friends) are too terrified to speak up. Think of that person who always says something non-committal when politics come up. It may be she has no opinion. It may also be she doesn’t agree with the dominant group and knows or fears that it could lead to isolation and resentment if she were to reveal herself.

I “came out” to a college friend and roommate about my political views after a long time of working on a bond of trust and mutual affection. I shit you not, her first response was “Oh. I thought you were normal like the rest of us.” To her credit, she continues to treat me like a normal person who is capable of being her friend. Because I freaking AM. I’ve also had this go the other way and had former friends attack me viciously and never speak to me again. Usually I’m too afraid. So I just protest I have no interest in politics. Or I say nothing at all and hope it goes unnoticed.

Some people realize the folly of cutting off friends for differences that aren’t as divisive as they once realized. Some people feel betrayed. Instead of letting the knowledge that they like someone they thought they would hate explode their past logic, they revert. So it goes.

2) We don’t hate these people, we hate fear and uncertainty.
By refusing friendship and discourse with someone different, we are missing the chance to challenge our own point of view. Meaning we are limiting our own knowledge and personal growth. We are making ourselves a bad advocate for our own causes. We open ourselves up to all kinds of manipulation by people who may have other ends in mind.

As anyone with a background in social sciences will tell you, “the other” is not reflective of an actual reality. It is a creation in both collective and individual minds used to define ourselves by comparison to another group. When we hate the other we are actually hating our own creation. Our own fear. We are actually hating a small piece of ourselves.

When we refuse to consort with the other, people who are not like ourselves, we refuse to face the fact that everyone doesn’t think like us. Scarier still, if we talk to these people and become their friends, we might start to realize that these beliefs are valid (do not mistake this as true/perfect/universal – just valid). Which leads to uncomfortable thoughts like I might not be right and there are alternatives.

We hate the idea of uncertainty. Of maybe being wrong. Or at least not knowing if we’re right. Not 100%. Not all the way right. It’s a really uncomfortable feeling. Being unsure and trying to justify decisions to ourselves and others based on assumptions that could possibly be wrong.

But guess what? That is a good and important feeling. It is the feeling of stretching, growing, seeking out knowledge.

Who was that moron who said “the unexamined life is not worth living” and thought the wisest man knows he knows nothing? Oh right. Socrates. He’s really old, male, white, and dead, but considering people are still listening to him after something like 2500 years, I think he might be on to something.

I’m starting to think that accepting this uncertainty while still making decisions and taking actions that hopefully lead to a good life is what learning to be a grown up is all about.

Having a friend to help you is invaluable in this task.

3) We are missing the chance at a relationship that could give us comfort and love when we need it most.
If you are thinking, what is this person talking about? I don’t hate them. They hate me!

Congratulations. That is going to solve exactly nothing. You are condemning those you hate to ignorance, meanness, and fear whilst simultaneously giving yourself the same. If we all continue to hate and push away people we believe are not like us, it’s going to be a nasty unpleasant life for everyone forever. Yippee.

It is a cold, hard, lonely world out there. Who are we nattering little nincompoops to be pissing away love and friendship?

*Thank you to my dearest Elbie Toes for listening to me cry and complain about this for two days (or is it 11 years?) straight. We may not agree on much of anything politically, but I love you all the same.

 

 
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