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Just a great article through and through.  Go read it all here.

“I sort of kicked the hornets’ nest the other day, by expressing feminist opinions about books. It all came down to Lolita. “Some of my favorite novels are disparaged in a fairly shallow way. To read Lolita and ‘identify’ with one of the characters is to entirely misunderstand Nabokov,” one commenter informed me, which made me wonder if there’s a book called Reading Lolita in Patriarchy. The popular argument that novels are good because they inculcate empathy assumes that we identify with characters, and no one gets told they’re wrong for identifying with Gilgamesh or even Elizabeth Bennett. It’s just when you identify with Lolita you’re clarifying that this is a book about a white man serially raping a child over a period of years. Should you read Lolita and strenuously avoid noticing that this is the plot and these are the characters? Should the narrative have no relationship to your own experience? This man thinks so, which is probably his way of saying that I made him uncomfortable.

All I had actually said was that, just as I had identified with a character who’s dismissively treated in On the Road, so I’d identified with Lolita. I read many Nabokov novels back in the day, but a novel centered around the serial rape of a kidnapped child, back when I was near that child’s age was a little reminder how hostile the world, or rather the men in it, could be. Which is not a pleasure.

The omnipresence of men raping female children as a literary subject, from Tess of the d’Urbervilles to Less Than Zero, along with real-life accounts like that of Jaycee Dugard (kidnapped at 11 in 1991 and used as a sex slave for 18 years by a Bay Area man), can have the cumulative effect of reminding women that we spend a lot of our lives quietly, strategically trying not to get raped, which takes a huge toll on our lives and affects our sense of self. Sometimes art reminds us of life.”

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fellowship    Tackling organized religion and all the inanity that goes along with it is a full time job.  It is quite possible to sink days worth of thought and engagement into the struggle against religion and the toxicity it spreads through our societies.  As a writer, one needs to know when to disengage and take a break from the front lines because there is always a shiny new low to be discovered when deconstructing, criticizing, and generally putting the boots to all that is holy.

I find it to be particularly hard during the Christmas season to filter out all the amazing crap that people do in the name of their Oooga-booga of choice.  Looking at you purveyors of the mythic War On Christmas, O members of the Persecuted Majority, but I digress.

What I find heart warming and inspiring is that, almost everyday, I can check my wordpress feed and find a article or a story that is championing the side of reason and rationality.  The serious posts, the funny ones, the gut-wrenching/stomach turning articles – all written with the intent of hoping to nudge the ledger of history a bit further toward reason and away from the false hope that is religion.

I take solace in knowing that there are like minded individuals who share my struggle and wrestle with some of the same issues and problems that can seem so insurmountable at times.  The general high quality and thoughtfulness of argument and prose I see on a regular basis inspires me raise my own standards and continue onward with doing what I do here in blogland.  I’m honoured to be part of such a intellectually fruitful and challenging community; thus I feel obligated to extend my thanks to those who take the time to comment here and bring the noise when necessary to hammer out a better arguments and generally just raise the level of discourse past whatever I could do on my own.

You nice bloggy-people are a damn invaluable resource.  Thank you for spending the time and the effort in pursuing the over-arching goals we all work toward, in one way or another.

Keep up the good work everyone, solidarity and comradery yadda-yadda, and of course best wishes to you all in this fine holiday season.

 

Warmest regards,

Arb

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