Archive for 'the pretentious it burns'



What Stace had to say on Friday, September 4th, 2015
On Happy Endings

A while ago I was wandering around the IMDb page for “The Departed.” I imagine it won’t be much of a surprise to many of you for me to say that I fucking love The Departed, but just in case: I fucking love The Departed.

Anyway. As is my wont, I had a look through the discussion threads for the movie; there is often fun to be had there, even if it’s of the “Really?” sort. (Example of fun: A thread on the Unforgiven page suggests that maybe William Munney moved to San Francisco, where, in order to put his criminal past behind him forever, he changed his name to Callahan. Seventy-some years later, his great-great-grandson Harry becomes a cop. Silly, maybe, but I thought it was fun.) The discussion I saw is either no longer there–since IMCb has started ruthlessly deleting discussions after a short period of time, which is very annoying–but it was basically somebody sniffing snootily (say that three times fast) about how The Departed sucks, because they had to add some dumb happy ending to it and Americans always have to ruin movies with their stupid endings that imply the world isn’t a miserable shithole. Dumbasses!

(I note that in the current discussions there’s a discussion which will be the subject of another post in future.)

Many of us are probably familiar with these wet-blanket sneerers at happy endings, since anyone who’s spent any time in the “book world” has seen them. I bet you have. You know, the ones who insult women’s fiction as a category and the genres within it as “stupid trash” because the endings are usually happy and that’s just dumb because what idiot wants to read a book where the characters are happy in the end? Really, what sort of moron enjoys it when things work out for other people? Don’t the readers of those genres, or of any books where the ending is anything less than an apocalypse of misery and death, know that in the real world things don’t always end happily? How stupid do you have to be, to enjoy reading something uplifting when you could be spending a nice afternoon being reminded of the world’s inhumanity and that that no matter what you do, you’re likely to end up screwed (in a bad way)? Dumbasses. People who like books with happy endings or movies with happy endings are clearly barely above a dog in terms of intellectual capacity, and also are cowards who bury their heads in the sand.

Can you tell from the above just how much these misery-gut thought police annoy me?

I don’t think there’s much purpose behind pointing out that, as bad as things might be, in the real world things often do work out for people. If in the real world people never got married and spent their lives together, then maybe we could agree that books in which the protagonists do exactly that are “unrealistic.” But they do. It happens every day. I’ve been married for over fifteen years, and while we’ve had a few less-then-perfect periods–as most couples do–we are still quite happy together. I’m aware of more than a few others, who’ve been married far longer, and are still pretty happy to spend time together.

But it’s not just romances/stories with strong romantic elements, I hasten to point out. Again, this all started (partly) with a discussion of The Departed, where the term “happy ending” fits loosely at best. The complaint there seems to be that revenge was gotten, or at least vengeance was served. Thinking people know that just because vengeance was served doesn’t mean anyone is happy; the dead certainly do not come back to life. To say that’s a “happy” ending makes me wonder just how much you hate people, and if you will ever consider your personal revenge on humanity complete.

But honestly, the point is not how mean people who sneer about happy endings are and how they probably kick puppies in their off hours. (No, really, it’s not.) And–honestly, again–I don’t insist on them in everything myself, and have been known to enjoy plenty of books and/or movies where the ending is ambiguous or downright unhappy. I’ve even hated a few happy endings which I felt were tacked on or unearned or just plain shitty–I’m looking at you, Natural Born Killers.

But in general. I don’t think turning up your nose at a story with a happy ending (and anyone who enjoys it) while drawling about how much better it is when stories are realistic, like real life, man, not inane and sappy (as if real life is not inane and sappy sometimes), and how stupid it is for people to like happy endings and how American movies should be more like European movies because they’re real and nobody is ever happy in them and nothing ever works out in the end. Which, wow, sounds fun, but also, can we please get over the idea that it is somehow intellectually superior to wish ill on others, and that it is some kind of virtue to expect everything to be shitty and horrible and that doing so makes you a person of fine and elevated tastes far beyond the average in some fashion?

It’s not. I promise. And you’re not either, Joe Misery. There’s nothing virtuous or clever or special about thinking it sucks when other people find happiness, and that’s what you’re doing when you get all grumpyass about happy endings: You’re saying that it’s wrong–it’s dumb or it’s naive–to take pleasure in the joy of others (because in its essence, taking pleasure in a the happy ending of a story is really taking pleasure in the joy of others, isn’t it? Being glad that things worked out for them, that they overcame their obstacles and found happiness at the end? We don’t smile and sigh because the protagonists ended up miserable and alone and it’s made us feel better about our own shitty lives of existential horror–at least, we don’t if we’re decent people and the characters are, too [I make no apologies for being glad when hideous evil characters get what’s coming to them]. It’s nice to be pleased when other people are happy. It’s virtuous and good. It’s kind. It indicates that you have positive human emotions instead of being riddled with envy and hate and rage.

And I have to admit, it’s that last part that always crosses my mind when I come across some “Why do you people want a happy ending, you simps,” person. Why don’t you want one, man? What is it about things working out okay for other people that you find so offensive? Why do you want people to be unhappy? Is schadenfreude so noble that you want to pat yourself on the back for it, really? Do you think you’re actually imparting some earth-shaking wisdom by reminding people that things aren’t always great for everyone all the time? Or are you really just stomping on the only joy someone might have, in the middle of a shitty patch–the only joy to be had by someone whose life could very well be a hell of a lot worse than yours, by the way, Mr. or Ms. Emotional Bully?

Of course the world can be a cold and miserable place. We all know that already, and don’t need you to tell us. That’s why we need happy endings. And happy endings aren’t just about fooling us into thinking things could work out for us, too, or whatever. They’re about reminding us that they sometimes do, and that even when things look awful and we’re at our lowest, there could still be something good around the corner. It’s like playing the lottery, but everybody wins. That’s a good thing. And it doesn’t deserve anyone’s contempt.

(Note: Yes, my tongue is slightly in my cheek as I write this, and I’m not referring to people who disagree with a particular ending to a particular story or even people who simply prefer ambiguous endings. I’m talking specifically about people who feel the need to insult others who do like happy endings, and who act as though there’s something especially clever or cool about not liking them; that’s what I take issue with. Also, about halfway through this post I began feeling like I was writing some sort of obscure porn about massage parlors; the double entendres are just everywhere, aren’t they? But it couldn’t be helped.)

What Stace had to say on Friday, May 13th, 2011
It’s the Suede/Denim Secret Police

(You get bonus points if you can name the song the title came from.)

So, lately I’ve been putting the TV on in the daytime, while the girls are in school. And is it just me, or is every goddamn show on these days either about cupcakes or makeovers? Seriously. All these “fashion makeover” shows, whose soul purpose seems–to me at least–to be to rip the fucking soul out of people and force them to conform no matter what.

What the fuck, man?

You have “What Not to Wear” on TLC–an update of the British version with Trinny and Susannah which I actually enjoyed to some degree–with some horrible bitch who’s using my name (although to be fair, I think she had it first *cough cough*), who seems to think people don’t even have a right to wear comfortable underwear much less anything else, and has some sort of vendetta against women over the age of thirty wherein we’re all required to dress like librarians. Jesu forfend we, you know, have a personality and express it through clothing, or *gasp* be comfortable instead of prancing around to pick our kids up at exclusive private schools wearing tasteful calf-length skirts and sweaters in dull shades of pink.

You know what? I turned thirty a few years ago. Never mind how many. Less than ten, okay, and that’s what’s important, not that it matters if it was more either because fuck you, clothing Nazi. The second a woman crosses that “thirty” line is not the very moment she must give up showing her legs forever, or the moment she has to stop wearing stuff she likes and retreat into some kind of fucking Ralph Lauren lethargy full of neutral colors, nude lipstick, and one-inch heels.

Except “What Not to Wear” isn’t the only bullshit You-must-conform-to-our-snooty-corporate-standards show on TV. There’s also this crappy “How Do I Look?” thing, which is basically exactly the same: Random Subject had personal style, TV Presenters do their best to stamp it out at any cost. It’s almost like a Goodfellas-style situation: You prefer a certain color? Fuck you, pay me. You like to wear T-shirts? Fuck you, pay me. You live a very casual life, huh? Fuck you, pay me. Like Paulie is controlling the clothing for every woman in the world, except Paulie in this instance is a prudish matron who hates everyone and strongly desires a homogenous society full of country-club look-alikes. We’re all supposed to look like we belong in the Pottery Barn catalog and generally be dressy all the time, and there is absolutely zero thought given to what our lives are, what kinds of people we are, who we are in general. It seems to be especially fun for these dickwads to pick on lower-income women and stay-home moms, too, which says a lot.

It’s slut-shaming on a grand scale, and the slut is any woman who dresses for comfort rather than style, any woman who expresses any form of personal taste rather than buying and wearing whatever she’s told to wear like a good little lemming, any woman who rejects “fashion” and wears what she likes or sees clothing as a way to express herself. Such women are not to be tolerated, the whores, and they must be shown up as evil on national–international–television and made to see how dirty and wrong they are, and how all of the “normal” people should point and laugh and look down their noses.

You know what? Fuck you, What Not to Wear. Fuck you, How Do I Look. I don’t give a fuck what you think. I will continue to wear the things I like to wear. I will continue to wear my skirts above the knee because you know what, skirts below the knee don’t look so good on me and I have nice legs despite being that horrible over-30 age (which of course would normally mean I should retire quietly into the Neutrals-and-Earthtones-convent with skirts that hit my ankles and capri pants and tops that button to the neck and deep, deep regret for my whorish tattoos). I’ll keep wearing black almost exclusively because that’s what I like, and I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like it because who the hell are you? Just because you’re boring doesn’t mean I have to be, and just because you spend all your time studying issues of Vogue doesn’t mean I have to. I will have my own personal style, and I will look the way I want, and I will teach my daughters that they should wear the clothes they like, what makes them happy, what makes them feel good about themselves.

Because you know what? Who they are matters more than what they wear, just like who I am matters more than what I wear. And who I am is someone you can’t fathom in your narrow-minded existence. Who I am is someone you’ll never understand, given how you judge people according to one narrow set of standards, how you think the only worth of people lies in their bank accounts and their conformity to a false ideal.

I won’t conform. I won’t be what you want me to be. I’ll wear what I want, and I don’t give a shit what you think about it. Go fuck yourself, fashionista; all we women are okay just the way we are, and we don’t need you.

What Stace had to say on Monday, January 17th, 2011
The NEW Downside Market is open!

Yay! Go check it out!

As I said before, it’s on Spreadshirt. Spreadshirt had the lowest prices of the three places of this type I looked at (the other two being Zazzle and CafePress) and they seemed to have the biggest variety as well, or at least they had more things I thought would be good to have. But as far as both of those go–pricing and variety–I don’t have a huge amount of say in them, so I did the best I could.

I did a lot of the designs myself–and it was really fun! if time-consuming–and all of the designs from the old store did carry over. Unfortunately most of those designs were/are too small for Spreadshirt’s specifications, so until I get bigger files I can’t put them on a lot of stuff. I also don’t have copies of those with white print, so I can’t put them on anything dark or black. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to do that, though.

There are two designs done by the fantastic and wonderful Michelle Rowen. She sent me the “Team Lex” and “Heart Terrible” designs as a surprise, which was so freaking cool. (Also, she managed to use actual art in hers, which I am not able to do. Whether that’s due to my crappy fake Photoshop program or my dunce-ness at computers, I don’t know, but I can’t do it.)

There’s a nice big section for the urban fantasy genre in general, which I think is pretty fun. I might grab myself a few of those to wear to cons! See, we UF readers etc. are indeed out there, and we are part of the community. Plus I just find them, well, fun, like I said, and I hope you do too.

I plan to add more designs periodically; of course when the fourth book is released I hope to put up a couple related to it, and so on. And as I’ve said before, if any of you find yourselves in the mood to play around, by all means send me what you’ve got, if you want!

A lot happened in the writing community this weekend, but I think it’s all been covered in plenty of detail. I’m just going to say that people who behave as though everyone should worship and admire them just because they say so, tend to not be very pleasant when people don’t in fact worship and admire them, but instead ask them to actually prove they’re worthy of it. And no matter how politely the questions are worded, they still behave as though they’ve just been urinated upon or something, and proceed to attack. Very nastily. It’s not pleasant to be on the receiving end of one of those attacks.

And those who do that sort of attacking? They very rarely change, and stop behaving in that fashion. This makes them dangerous to deal with or work with; they don’t care who they drag down with them.

Also, on a halfway different subject, Michele Lee made this for me, isn’t it great? (If you don’t know what it refers to, read here, specifically this line:

But it seems as if the comments and the criticisms are not edifying. If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job.

I freely admit I find the phrase/epithet “Boo-bird” to be completely awesome. I plan to use it in a book one of these days. It’s too cute to avoid. A ridiculous thing for a grown, supposedly professional woman to say in a supposedly professional context, but charming nonetheless.

Anyway. Michele Lee made this for me:

Adorable, isn’t it?

I myself made this:

Yes, I am embarking on a new career. My darling friend Jane Smith over at How Publishing Really Works (and if you are a writer I cannot recommend her blog highly enough) is coming with me; she will be the Boo-bird CEO, and I will be VP, at Boo-birds Inc.

If you’d like to be part of Boo-bird Inc. too, just take a card! Put it on your site or blog, print it and keep it in your wallet, tattoo it on you, whatever you like.

So, to sum up:

*Lots of new t-shirts and stuff which I hope you’ll all like, at the new Downside Market!

*Chicks named Michelle (or variations thereof) have mad Photoshop skills.

*People who love themselves a little too much tend to keep doing so, and often use very bad judgement because they are convinced they’re right, and especially that they matter and everyone cares about them/what they think. (This is also true when, as is often but not always the case, they’re the sort of people who lie and “pad” their credentials so, for instance, checking over a quarterly employee newsletter for typos for an architecture firm becomes “being a journalist and editor in the architecture industry.”)

*I am a big old boo-bird.