Brain Food – Episode 14

Hello everyone and welcome once more to another episode of Brain Food!
Sorry about the wait, but I’ve been out of it due to back therapy and playing lots and lots of Mass Effect 3.  At any rate, I hope you enjoy the Top 5 Books I Refuse To Read.

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25 thoughts on “Brain Food – Episode 14

  1. I’m going to join you in risking the wrath of Tolkeinites everywhere and say the man COULD NOT WRITE. Oh dear gods the Lord of the Rings was harder to read than a Dickens novel. So overwritten, so full of pointless nonsense, so much damn singing. He needed an editor with an axe and a shredder to remove entire paragraphs of meandering pointlessness. One of the reasons why the film is so good is because it can and did cut most of the books

    • I actually read and liked The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth (Vol.X-XII), but I couldn’t trudge through the LotR trilogy.

      • Good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way… I tried, I really did try to read that, but between the bad writing and acrackedmoon’s analysis on how racist and sexist the dude was, I just could not get through it at all.

        Although I liked Gimli. I liked how he was this rather simple, down to Earth dwarven warrior who wasn’t the best spoken or dressed or elegant, but he had a good heart and courage and strong… and they made a complete joke of him in the movies.

  2. While it’s not much of a reassurance, the Game of Thrones book series actually isn’t bad when it comes to rape, treating it not as a plot device, but an ‘this is the awful shit people get up to in war’. It is also balanced out with equally seriously bad shit happening to male characters (one character famed for his skill at arms gets his sword hand cut off). While rape does happen, it usually takes place off-screen and is not gratuiously lingered upon as it is in the examples you cite. I’m having problems thinking of examples of main female character (of which there are a lot) who are raped. Rape is a fear, understandably so, but for the most part it is abstained from, or treated with respect.

    I can understand if just the notion of rape squicks you out of liking these books, but if your fears are just that the series uses rape as a plot device, I would ask you to give the series a try. It’s very good, very in-depth, with a lot of fascinating characters (including one of the best deconstructions of the princess sterotype I’ve seen. I love her)

    HOWEVER, I will not argue against this assesment of the TV series, in which on relationship, which in the books is carefully described (because it would be easy to come off as otherwise) as being consented on by both parties, the series turns into the Rape as Love trope. Yeah. Really not a fan of that.

    I’m not sure about the Ayn Rand part though. Could you link me to the site that mentioned that, ebcause it doesn’t really fit the image I have of the series. Odd.

  3. I definitely agree with your assesement of Scott Pilgrim. 100%! Seeing the movie is enough more than enough for me. Not going to touch that shit in book form.

    And I wouldn’t be so quick to take the word of the above poster. After all, Tyrion takes part in the gang rape of his wife or something, don’t reall care, and then it’s all about his MANPAIN! Besides, it brings in the good old noble savage brown/mongol people and then stuff happens and a white woman becomes their leader or some shit.

    • “Besides, it brings in the good old noble savage brown/mongol people and then stuff happens and a white woman becomes their leader or some shit.”

      Yeah, this didn’t sit well with me.

    • “Besides, it brings in the good old noble savage brown/mongol people and then stuff happens and a white woman becomes their leader or some shit.”

      In the latest book it’s become very clear this is going down very badly because said white woman doesn’t understand their culture and they’re all turning against her. The series isn’t over yet, and I hope Daenarys is going to learn her lesson on this, and Tyrion as well.

      I’m not saying the series is perfect, and Tyrion is definitely a problematic character. However, it’s is far from being the rapefail it’s described as here.It’s a flawed book, but still a very good one, and I would reccomend reading it and making your mind up for yourself.

      • Why should someone put themselves through that?

        And just FYI, it’s OK to disagree about the nature of the problematic elements in a particular work, but glossing over, dismissing, or denying them goes against the standards of home training here (which I’m sure you have acquainted yourself with, right?).

        • I’m not deny that there are problems (as I stated in my last post) just that these problems are not as all-consuming as kazei makes them sound. They are a very small part of a very long series that isn’t finished yet, so we don’t yet know how these currently problematic themes are going to play out (the Daenarys Mighty Whitey problems seems to be heading to a far less problematic conclusion), and the rest of the series is something I presonally find very rewarding, interesting and definitely worth the read, and something one should make one’s own mind up about, instead of relying on criticisms that I, for one, find misrepresent a great deal of the series.

          • What is “a very small part” to you may very well be a very large part to someone who has personal experience with rape, sexism, and misogyny.

          • Mate, the series isn’t being misrepresented if the stuff exists within it, no matter how small that section might be. Rape plots make me feel uncomfortable regardless of the length or overall significance of the scenes.

            Also, on “equally seriously bad shit happening to male characters”, kindly fuck off.

            • Please name a rape plot. Does rape happen in the books? Yes. It is shown as a bad thing. It is dealt with sensitively and not used as a plot point. If you find it a trigger, then I am not forcing you to read this book. Do all books which touch on rape as a topic, no matter how briefly, all into these categories?

              “kindly fuck off.”

              Kindly review the ‘home training’ bit of the posting rules.

              • The purpose of Ars Marginal is not to debate about the existence or prevalence of problematic elements in arts and entertainment. It’s to shed light on those problematic elements and how that affects our engagement/enjoyment of arts and entertainment. If what you say detracts from that, you are derailing.

              • Actually, telling someone to “kindly fuck off” is well within the acceptable responses to comments that brush off problematic uses of rape in media.

              • So I am not allowed to disagree on a post that makes assumptions about a series the poster admits he hasn’t even read?

              • Well, the name of the video IS “Top 5 Books I Will Never Read,” and he lays out his reasons for not doing so. Trying to convince the OP that it’s worth his time to read stuff that he’s already said he’s not interested in (and explains why, based on things he’s learned from people who HAVE slogged through the books on that list) is off topic, which you realize is #2 in on the things to do to demonstrate home training.

                This is the last thing I will say about it. You’re free to talk about works that are on your own personal Top 5 list of books you won’t read, but this tangent has been derailing for long enough.

            • As for the “equally seriously bad shit happening to male characters”, that was a bad choice of words, my apologies. My point there is that a trend in the comparisons kazei was making, is that there’s a gender disparity between the bad thinsg that happen to characters. Male characters get a slap on the wrist, but female characters are threatened with rape. I meant to show that this is not the case in this series.

              • Equal opportunity bad shit happening does not automatically mean it isn’t problematic. Especially if the bad shit that happens to female characters is used to further the manpain which happens to the male characters and simply becomes another of the bad shit they accumulate.

                Like a certain gang rapist…

              • Actually, I am curious about the Tyrion thing, because while I agree the situation as is is incredibly problematic, I’m not sure if that’s the way the author means for us to see it. Remember, this is JRRM, who loves to lull the reader into a false sense of security and then pull the rug out from under them. A lot of the characters in the books are having their previous bad actions come back to haunt them, and I would be very surprised if Tyrion was not next in line to have his actions come back to roost.

                The issues of a critiquing a series not yet finished, I guess.

        • Yeah, sexual violence is just a major squick, something that reallly turns me off from liking most about anything. I had the same reaction when Watchmen had that rape scene for no good reason, and then of course, just where that leads for the original Silk Specter and her daughter…

          I just hate the idea that for something to be dark, there HAS to be rape, that nothing is serious until someone is sexually assaulted, and it’s a fear and a danger that only women face in these stories, like it’s not enough that there’s tons of killing and burning down of towns and whatnot… nothing is bad until women are raped, and THEN the men cry, because for all purposes, someone basically scratched their favourite car and they just can’t have that.

          I trust Sparky’s opinion. I haven’t known him as long as others I know on this website, but he went through the books so I didn’t have to, so when he tells me about the rapefail, I tend to believe him.

          Sorry for not responding to all of this sooner, but good lord, I am massively sick and completely out of it.

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