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5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 0 replies · +10 points

Thank you for correcting me! I can't go back and edit that now, but I will definitely remember that in the future.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 2 replies · +58 points

[warning: MR-typical discussion]

No one asked for long lectures from you on what the patriarchy is. Again, everyone I saw wanted you to engage with the book. It seemed as though you weren't paying attention to the book in front of you, because you couldn't share personal anecdotes about sexism the way you can about other -isms. Or at least, because you couldn't personally relate to the struggles the characters were facing. (Which is certainly a valid way of reading, even if it's not the way I myself read-- I love reading about people who are nothing at all like me, because I already spend too much time in my own head!) Saying "hey it's pretty fucked up that Polly can't inherit the inn but Paul can, even though he doesn't want to run the inn.*"

*(Also this is a side-note but I don't think we ever talked about Paul? I know there were a few discussions of ableism in the comments but I don't think Paul ever came up, and I think Paul is very interesting as a contrast to Wazzer. They're not the same, of course: Paul read as autistic to me, and Wazzer reads as having a mental illness (in addition to her visions of the Duchess). But I think there is a discussion to be had about how men and women who are neurodivergent are treated very differently in the Borogravian culture and why that is!)

And. Jackrum. Jackrum is a difficult character! I'm going to refer to him with he/him pronouns here (it's how I think of him), but I think arguments can be made several ways-- his gender is left pretty ambiguous to the reader. (And someone please correct me if I make any mistakes on terminology here; I'm a cis woman and I know that gender issues are not my strong point.) He could be a transman who doesn't have a word for that or even realize that that is a thing other people might feel. He could be a butch woman who prefers presenting as a man for gender reasons and for safety combined, and who knows that a fat old woman turning up at her long-lost son's house wouldn't be respected in the same way a fat old army sergeant would. Jackrum's gender could be "army sergeant"-- that is, after all, the most important way he defines himself, not as a man or a woman. Lots of people have written very thoughtfully about this subject! I don't think any of them are more right than others!

That's the rub. Sometimes, lots of people can be right about things that are contradictory, and saying that you don't want to say anything because you don't want to be wrong is absurd. It's not staying in your lane (which is a concept I take issue with, especially as you're using it). It's refusing to give an opinion because someone might disagree with you, when disagreement is okay and healthy and this book has lots of great discussion points that we could all discuss for hours and still not agree completely on. It's cowardly.

(part 2/2)

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 3 replies · +58 points

[warning: MR-typical discussion]

I've been thinking about this comment, and indeed, this entire series of recaps a lot. It has been, to use the parlance of my former subculture, weighing on my mind.

You seem to be looking for the One True Answer. Something that you could say that would make everyone happy, the one thing that would be good and perfect and make everything hunky-dory. Something that is appropriately Woke and won't step on anybody's toes, anywhere.

Here's the answer: there isn't one. And no one wanted that, anyway. People wanted you to engage with the book you were reading. Which is, in large part, about how sexism and patriarchy have affected the main characters. It's not "a dense, complicated book". It's written for the mass market. Lexile puts the reading level at a grade 4, and dogobooks puts the reading level at a grade 5, although the themes would go over the heads of children of that age. I would expect a high schooler or a bright middle schooler to follow along perfectly well, even if they didn't understand all the references. (I certainly didn't know the reference to Apocalypse Now until it was explained to me, although I knew it was a Vietnam reference.) But this is Pratchett, and Pratchett does not hold the reader's hand. His writing is clever and humane and interesting and very rarely subtle (it is often described as the best kind of didactic writing), but it does not say THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT WHY THE PATRIARCHY IS BAD. NOW LET ME SIT DOWN AND GIVE YOU A LECTURE ON WHY THE PATRIARCHY IS BAD. It shows; it doesn't tell.

You say that you were "trying work out the evidence of misogyny in the book". What is there to work out? From the very beginning, it shows: Polly cannot inherit the inn because she' s a woman, even though Paul cannot run an inn by himself and Polly would do a much better job. The Working Girls' School looms over the end of town, and is a threat for "bad girls" who do things like buy paints for their brothers. It goes on and on and on. Igorina, Jade, Tonker, Lofty... every single one of them is a victim of patriarchy. And not in a particularly fantastical way, either; in a way that is analogous to our own world. Maybe it's hard to understand when you're looking at it through a 21st century, US-centric lens, but as has been pointed out numerous times in the comments, Magdalene laundries aren't so far in the past. Even in the US, marital rape only began to be criminalized in the 1970s and became a crime in all 50 states in 1993. It wasn't until the mid-1800s that some states in the US allowed married women to own (but not control) property in their own name. No-fault divorce was first legalized in California in 1970, and wasn't legalized in all 50 states until 2010. Roe vs. Wade was in 1973. And people are trying to push for many of those rights and others to be taken away all the time. (Other countries, of course, have their own timelines that differ.) Sexism is not some thing of the past that needs to be explained-- especially to those of us who live it.

(part 1/2)

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 1 reply · +34 points

"The lurkers support me in email" is an old and discredited internet argument. I mean, maybe Mark is telling the truth! But it's also a line that gets trotted out in every internet argument, and it's nice to see the classics make a comeback.

ETA: In fact, it is so discredited that author Jo Walton wrote a filk called The Lurkers Support Me In Email in 1998.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 1 reply · +30 points

It’s not as if the government is directly taking money that would actually go to welfare and putting it toward defense. The government is creating a budget with questionable priorities and choosing to fund some things and not fund others. Even if the defense budget was slashed, that doesn’t mean welfare would be funded, because that’s not a priority for the government.

(Additionally, it’s even more complex because there are a lot more pieces to the pie than just welfare and government. And they all have lobbyists pushing their agendas with Congress.)

This should change! Seriously, it should-- vote! Call your congressperson! Get involved with your local parties and canvass or stuff envelopes or call voters or whatever! But the problems we have with our military are not at all equivalent to the problems with the Borogravian military in Monstrous Regiment.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 9 replies · +44 points

...I'm sorry, did you just say that the lurkers support you in email?

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 0 replies · +49 points

swung too far in the other direction

From... talking over women to completely ignoring what they say? Because you were never engaging with the theme of "patriarchy is bad", at least, as far as I could tell.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 0 replies · +46 points

Okay but people have been pointing out that "personal gain" was a shitty and misogynistic comment since the moment you put that post up, and you've been engaging with the comments off and on for all that time.

It's nice that you finally apologized, but this is hardly the first time this has been pointed out. It's not even the tenth time it's been pointed out.

But apparently you do know the word misogyny, even if you didn't use it in any of your reviews.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 0 replies · +36 points

You might be able to build a case that these young women have been fighting a war this whole time, one to change the world around them.


...yeah, it's possible

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 0 replies · +27 points

Yes! Yes you could! But what is it they've been fighting? What very specific thing?

You know, it's on the tip of my tongue...