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Friday Midday Links: Game of Thrones is for boys; Meyers vampires...

A reader alerted me to a passage in the Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide wherein Stephenie Meyers elaborates on the perfect vampire. A couple of years ago, Alisa Valdez Rodriguez blogged that Meyers’ was racist and gave a point by point summary supporting her claim. I and dozens of other bloggers refuted that claim given Rodriguez’ “facts” were actually wrong. However, I couldn’t help but think of Rodriguez’ claim when I read Meyer’s account of the transformational aspects of human to vampire:

BEAUTY:

The common factor of beauty among vampires is mostly due to this crystalline skin. The perfect smoothness, gloss, and even color of the skin give the illusion of a flawless face. The skin reacts differently to light, creating an angular effect that heightens the perception of beauty…

PALLOR:

Pale vampire skin is a product of vampire venom’s transformative process. The venom leeches all pigment from the skin as it changes the human skin into the more indestructible vampire form. Regardless of original ethnicity, a vampire’s skin will be exceptionally pale. The hue varies slightly, with darker-skinned humans having a barely discernible olive tone to their vampire skin, but the light shade remains the same. All forms of skin pigmentation–freckles, moles, birthmarks, age marks, scars, and tattoos–disappear during the transformation.

BUT! “While all vampires have similarly pale skin, they can have a certain variety of eye colors.”

AND! “Vampires are frozen in the state at which they are transformed.”

PHYSICAL CHANGE:

Vampires are frozen in the state at which they are transformed. They do not grow older, taller, or wider (just whiter – editorial note by me), or experience any other physical change, including unconsciousness (vampires never sleep). Their fingernails and hair do not grow. Their hair does not change color. (emphasis added by me)

Now, I know you could say that death leeches out color, but death also doesn’t bestow sparkly skin, a thirst for blood, special “gifts”, and immortality. I don’t think Meyers is racist, but this is a sign of not thinking about what you are saying, at the very least because according to Meyers’ account, vampirism really does whitewash everything. At the very least, this is facepalm territory.

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In an eyebrow raising review of Game of Thrones, the New York Times describes the HBO adaption of the epic fantasy series by George RR Martin as appealing to those who “are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic.” But that the sexual perversions are tossed in for the girls who have never read Martin:

The imagined historical universe of "Game of Thrones" gives license for unhindered bed-jumping –here sibling intimacy is hardly confined to emotional exchange.

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to "The Hobbit" first. "Game of Thrones" is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

I haven’t seen the HBO series so I can’t say whether it is patronizing. It might very well be. I can say that the article is patronizing. And wrong. So all you fantasy girl readers are either men. Or you are reading the books for the sex which just goes to prove that men are the superior species because they only read Playboy for the articles. Why are the women so dumb that all they understand is sex?

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More wrongness! QuarryGirl blogged yesterday about how VegNews, a vegan food magazine, is using iStockphoto pictures containing MEAT and trying to pass them off as vegan dishes.

We’ve always been fans of VegNews, since back in the mid-2000s when we’d wait with bated breath for the US Mail to deliver our copy. We’d eagerly flip through, reading all about the latest veg stuff, salivating over the amazing pictures, trying out a vegan recipe, and maybe even discovering a restaurant in our home town through one of their reviews.

it’s sad, then, that the pictures we’ve been drooling over for years are actually of MEAT! Veg News has written tens (possibly hundreds) of articles extolling the virtues of a vegan lifestyle, while purchasing rock-bottom priced stock photos of MEAT, EGGS, DAIRY and other completely non-vegan things.

Really, you have to click to look at the pictures. The chutzpah of VegNews is breathtaking.

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Kindle DX is on sale for $299. This is about an $80 savings. I’m not sure if that is a sign that the price is coming down permanently or that Amazon is phasing these larger eink devices out.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

69 Comments

  1. R
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:06:45

    I thought Meyer was a tad racist when the only vampire who actually scared Bella was also they only vampire she described as being brown skinned- Zafrina. Also the only vampire outside of her family who she trusted with her child…

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  2. LoriK
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:13:11

    That reviewer from the NY Times needs to be smacked upside the head with a copy of The Hobbit.

    ReplyReply

  3. RFLong
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:22:48

    I do so love that the reviewer in the NYT used the phrase “boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population's other half.” Patronizingly? Oh the irony.

    LoriK, why stop at a book so small as The Hobbit when The Silmarillion is available?

    Grr… Well, I for one am proud to be a geek, even if it means I’m not a real girl.

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  4. AmyW
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:25:55

    Ugh, that NYT article made me so mad. Ridiculous to say women don’t read fantasy or won’t watch the show.

    Anyway, it’s not like the sex in GoT is romantic sex… Rape & incest? We girls sure love that!

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  5. Sylvia Sybil
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:28:29

    Right, the TV producers are pandering to women. Because we’re the almighty demographic block they always pander to. White females 18-34 are what drive summer blockbusters…wait, what?

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  6. Heather Greye
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:33:17

    Wow, that was a crazy patronizing article about Game of Thrones. I read fantasy (ah, Anne McCaffrey, I <3 you) long before I read romance.

    I'm not sure I'm going to ante up for HBO, but I'm really curious about the show. I read the book eons ago when it first came out.

    I have to admit, when I read the review, I though "who the he** is Lorrie Moore?" According to Wikipedia (too lazy to look further), she writes "humorous and poignant short stories." Um yes, I would be asking book club to read Hobbit first.

    I thought this Today story that someone linked to on Twitter sounded a lot better. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42560281/ns/today-entertainment

    Count me as another geek girl (or maybe fake girl) and proud of it.

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  7. Sunita
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:33:32

    What is it about SFF that brings out the condescension and ignorance. What a terrible review. I don’t even understand what she is trying to say. Do men stand up and insist the book club read The Hobbit before they’ll read Lorrie Moore? Huh? The financing for Mad Men on AMC is somehow related to the cost of GRRM on HBO?

    The review in Slate is just as bad. What happened to taking something seriously on its own terms when you review it?

    ETA: I guess middlebrow publications think it’s clever to let their reviewers sound like they’re slumming when they talk about genre.

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  8. HelenK
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:34:36

    According to my DH: “That person has obviously not read the books
    Because it’s in there, and the books are certainly NOT aimed towards a womanly audience” (and by that last comment – he means me :)

    So I don’t know what the NYT is getting at (at any level)

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  9. Cathy KJ
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:37:42

    Wow, I’m not sure I can count all insulting things about that NY Times article. If the author of the piece clearly dislikes spec fic so much, why did they ever agree to review the show?

    But, then again, I guess I’ll never understand what the article was really about, since Sean Bean is clothed in the header image.

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  10. Kerry Allen
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:38:17

    While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin's, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first.

    That sentence should have ended at “I have never met a single woman.”

    I admit, I experienced a bit of girly excitement when I caught of glimpse of Sean Bean in one of the commercials, but since I don’t have HBO and avoid film adaptations of books as if they’re covered in snot, I doubt anyone’s pandering to little ol’ me.

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  11. Raini
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:39:29

    Oh Jesus.

    I don’t live in America – the land of extreme political correctness, where every second kid on Sesame Street has to be in a wheelchair or else it's ‘discrimination' – but this ‘you must have one of every colour’ attitude is beyond ridiculous.

    How about the Harlequin line where the characters HAVE TO be black? How about those Hispanic writers who write all their characters as Hispanic?!

    That said, I despise Stephenie Meyer and the narrow-minded, religious extremist attitudes she possesses. Not being American, Mormons puzzle me. How can they possibly believe all that magic-glasses, Moronic angel, black people come from hell, Christianity began and will finish in the great and mighty USA garbage they tell everyone about?! Twilight fails for its religious extremism as much as its embarrassingly dreadful writing and thesaurus abuse (and doormat heroine of all doormat heroines).

    I’m not of British or Irish origin. I’m not white in that respect. My family – up until my generation – was treated appallingly because we were so ‘ethnic’. But I don’t pick up a book expecting everyone to include one character of every colour, weight, height and cupcake preference.

    Americans seem to be extremely sensitive about this issue, but I don’t get it. Don’t writers write from their own point of view? Christine Feehan writes about vampires – they’re called ‘Carpathians’. Americans get upset there isn’t enough ethnic variety in the series. Uh, excuse me, but the Carpathians are mountains that encompass countries like Ukraine and Romania! Of course they're white! If someone wrote a vampire series set in Africa, there’d be riots if they had white people in it!

    I was in India a few years ago when there were riots and murders because one magazine cover had two Indian women and a white woman. Apparently it’s racist to use any picture of a white woman in India. But in the West we're always so busy trying to include everyone we forget about telling a decent story.

    Overreactions drive me insane.

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  12. fairyfreak
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:46:29

    Huh. The Song of Ice and Fire series (starting with a Game of Thrones) is my favorite series. Weird. *looks down at boobs* All this time, I thought I was a girl. Crazy. (BTW, looking forward to the HBO premeire Sunday night. Woot!) And I agree with HelenK’s DH, that stuff is in the books. I don’t know if the show plays it up more (I was actually worried they’d downplay part of it, so this sounds encouraging), but it’s there.

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  13. Jane
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:50:16

    @Raini This has nothing to do with inclusion of characters of different races in Meyers’ books but rather her whitewashing of every ethnicity upon vampirism. Hair color and physical form is frozen upon the transformation but not the skin color? It’s a very disturbing picture that she draws, particularly in a section about how vampires are so beautiful because of the luminescence and perfection of the pale, pale skin.

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  14. Jan
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:51:59

    That NYT review has me annoyed since yesterday. What a stupid and ignorant person. For starters, it’s a review that fails to mention anything plot related, but instead makes loose connections with a whole bunch of other totally unrelated shows. I’m still not sure what she meant with the whole sex and the city remark.

    I find this extra strange because the series has some great female characters, and while the world isn’t really female friendly, there’s plenty of woman that refuse to bend to the mold and shape their own destiny. I could see how a feminist would have some remarks on the series and world, but not how a woman could think that all the sexorring is geared towards women, because lets face it, the book is filled with whores and rape and sex at way a too young age. If anything the sex should repel women, not attract them.

    I really wonder if this person actually saw something of the show – it’s obvious she didn’t read the books – but I really doubt that she saw all 6 episodes available to reviewers.

    And then I haven’t even mentioned the whole thing that women can’t enjoy fantasy… Please…

    Ugh. I am quite flustered about this.

    The guys from HBO-Watch are asking for the female perspective on the show as a reaction to the review: http://www.hbowatch.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=496

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  15. Hope
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:06:58

    Overreactions drive me insane.

    Yeah, Raini, I can see what you mean. More than a little over the top, aren’t you?

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  16. Brian
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:09:16

    And then I haven't even mentioned the whole thing that women can't enjoy fantasy… Please…

    Reminds me of how a guy can’t possibly enjoy a good romance. Hear that one all the time.

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  17. R Singh
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:15:31

    I wonder if anyone would be up in arms if Stephenie Meyer said vampires turn black after their transformation. I’m guessing no.

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  18. Elaine
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:19:55

    The reviewer really hit the jack-pot: she got to slam two different genres for the price of one. Sadly, she missed the triple slam by failing to sneer at mystery readers as well.

    Another fake girl (with real boobs) here who many years ago made her librarian grand-mother open up the library after hours so she could get the last book in the LOTR trilogy.

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  19. Susanna Fraser
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:21:40

    Huh. The Song of Ice and Fire series (starting with a Game of Thrones) is my favorite series. Weird. *looks down at boobs* All this time, I thought I was a girl.

    I know! All this time I thought I was a woman, what with the girl parts and having been pregnant and given birth and everything! My poor husband is going to be so shocked when he learns he’s not, in fact, married to a woman, since I don’t belong to a book club and before this blog post was only vaguely aware of Lorrie Moore’s existence. Of course, he should’ve suspected something was up when he realized I spent all my fall Saturday afternoons watching SEC football, or maybe that day I demonstrated the Battle of Waterloo over lunch using cutlery, condiments, and soda cans.

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  20. k reads
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:26:59

    @Raini: But in the West we're always so busy trying to include everyone we forget about telling a decent story.

    Somehow, I don’t think the difficulty in finding decent stories is because authors are too busy trying to be inclusive. I mean, I’m trying to remember the last time I read a book and thought, Gee, this would have been good if only there weren’t all those people of color ruining the story with their multiculturism.”

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  21. Kathleen O'Reilly
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:40:14

    Once again, the NY Post and the NY Times diverge. From today’s Post, Linda Stasi (the female TV critic for the Post) gave it 3.5 stars (out of 4) and writes:

    If a “Harry Potter” Death Eater had a baby with a knight from Starz’s “Camelot,” chances are good that the bambino would come out looking a lot like Sandor Clegane. Oh, come on — you know I’m right.

    Who? If you don’t have a clue about what the hell I’m talking about, then clearly you aren’t a fantasy fan and haven’t read all three (so far) of George R.R. Martin’s promised seven-book series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

    ********
    KO: Sigh. I love the New York Times, but they are the Harvard-educated grad who is blind to the existence of the other 99.9% of the population.

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  22. Anne
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:41:19

    @Raini: You. Are. Awesome.
    And I couldn’t agree more with all that you said. Everybody seems to be looking for a reason to be offended.

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  23. Christine M.
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:52:39

    Another fake-girl here. I’ll have to warn my D&D players tomorrow night that their Dungeon Mistress (Master?) really just is a boy in disguise. The shame.

    Sean Bean had me squeeing of course, but that’s mostly because I was reminded of Boromir when I saw the poste for GoT. =)

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  24. Isobel Carr
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 14:22:02

    Guessing that @sshat reviewer doesn’t know that most of the staff over at LOCUS happen to be GIRLS! Quelle horreur. And hello, has he actually read GRRM? The books are full of sex (creepy, incestuous, and sometimes even degrading sex). I always assumed it was there for the boys, LOL! Who knew it was supposed to be my favorite part.

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  25. Jane
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 14:36:02

    @Anne: and @Raini: I kind of feel like I am being gaslighted here. I am not looking for reasons to be offended. I am offended by the idea that the most popular teen books in the past five years is promoting the idea that the pinnacle of beauty is whiteness. Why is that okay?

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  26. Ridley
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 16:32:01

    Really? You guys are high-fiving Raini for shitting on multiculturalism and diversity like a FoxNews host?

    Way to miss the point, kids. The point was that Meyers was, undoubtedly inadvertently, equating unearthly beauty with white skin. That skin pigmentation is in the same category as scars and moles. Gotta admit, that’s a dumb thing to say.

    And the “Everybody seems to be looking for a reason to be offended” is straight out of Derailing for Dummies. Grats on being an internet joke!

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  27. Las
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 16:54:30

    We have to stop with the idea that “racist” only means people who want to go back to Jim Crow and lynching. The term is much broader than that. It’s really frustrating when someone gets called out on a racist statement and the immediate response is, “Oh, she’s not a racist!” She might be a decent person, but she clearly has deeply ingrained racists thoughts that, if she cared to, she really needs to explore and try to work through. Jumping to her defense when the R word pops up only allows her to keep her head in the sand and deny her privilege.

    Yeah, you hit a nerve.

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  28. Sunita
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 17:28:49

    I was in India a few years ago when there were riots and murders because one magazine cover had two Indian women and a white woman.

    Do you have a link to these amazing events? Because while I dimly remember a kerfuffle, I can’t find any news stories via Google or Lexis/Nexis.

    Apparently it’s racist to use any picture of a white woman in India.

    Someone had better tell all those Indians photographing Sonia Gandhi.

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  29. Brie
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 17:31:49

    Come on guys, you all know that once you finished Lord of the Rings the first thing you though was that it would have been much better with some hobbit/elf/ent threesome, you know those scenes during The Two Towers were screaming for it!

    This is ridiculous, but I think that it all comes from the same misconceptions about romance novels and the people who reads them. If people bothered to leave the stereotypes behind and actually read some of these novels they would know that as in any book, is about the story, yes there are some distinctive elements that need to be there for it to be a romance, or a fantasy, or whatever category you give the book, but in the end, if the story is weak, the characters are bad and the writing sucks, then I’m not coming back. And I think that the perfect example of this is erotica, I do love it and the hot sex is a huge part of that, but if the story is nonexistent or just some excuse for it to have more sex then I feel like I’m reading porn and stop reading the book.

    And about SM, you know what, I believe that she’s just clueless, maybe she is a racist but that she came out as one wasn’t intentional, I just don’t think she stopped to read what she wrote and didn’t think about how people might interpret it, she’s just milking it for all it’s worth.

    Writers should be very careful with their words, because once printed they stay that way forever, but this is specially delicate when writing books aimed towards younger readers, wait, scratch that, is delicate no matter who you are writing for.

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  30. Jan
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 18:12:13

    Sigh.
    I love how many outraged reactions were all around the net by offended female fantasy fans. Only, I wish, some of those didn’t feel the need to identify themselves as non-typical females by claiming they don’t read “romance novel tripe”.

    Seriously, can’t a woman enjoy both fantasy and romance? I’m so tired of having to defend what I like to read. Either I’m too girly because I love romance, or I’m not girly enough because I love fantasy and science-fiction.

    Where does this need come from to bash what you don’t like? Why do personal preferences validate or devalidate entire genres and their fans?

    Discourses like this really get on my nerves, and today is one of those days I wish I hadn’t turned on the internet.

    /end grumpy rant

    About Stephenie Meyer:
    I never really read her etnic (not sure what the correct word is in English) vampires as white exactly. More of a desaturated hue of brown. Or at the whitest as a slightly darker version of the albino woman of African origin that lives around the corner. She doesn’t look white, but more of a strange shade of yellow, by lack of a better word.

    In this excerpt though, the authors equalization of white with beauty, intended or not intended, does leave a foul taste in my mouth.

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  31. pamelia
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 18:24:43

    As an avid fantasy AND romance reader who is decidedly female and who LOVELOVELOVES Martin’s books I am still sitting here with my shocked outraged face while my husband (who also reads Martin and will be watching GoT on Sunday with me) tries to advise me that it is not wise to argue with the Internet. Suffice it to say, I love the books as do several of my fabulous female friends and several of my fabulous male friends.

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  32. Sunita
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 18:37:34

    @Raini: Oh, and all that Mormon bashing you indulged in? Way to undercut any potentially reasonable point about racism/bigotry you might have had buried in all that incoherent outrage you let fly.

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  33. sarah mayberry
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 18:54:02

    The NYT review is a joke, on so many levels. Here’s the thing: People like stories. They like to be entertained, regardless of what brand of genital they have between their legs. GRRM is a master story teller and he attracts readers from both sexes, as do lots of genre writers. It’s irritating that the reviewer clearly sat there with her superiority hat on through the whole thing, but it’s not going to stop me from enjoying it, as I am sure it won’t stop lots of other women and men from watching it.

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  34. Hell Cat
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 20:48:44

    You know what’s funny? Like Jan, I’m a fan of both genres. It doesn’t mean I want to watch Carrie Bradshaw pout in her cosmo. Or that I mind at all. They’re completely separate genres. It’s like comparing polka to heavy metal (Weird Al notwithstanding). Things may kind of overlap, but each have different focuses. I love fantasy (high/epic/whateveritscalledtoday) as much as I love a good fluff romance piece. Each serve different parts of my wants.

    I don’t understand anyone that volunteer/be assigned a genre or series that they’ve no interest in and will end up causing people to avoid a publication. Pretty sure there are plenty people around that wouldn’t have a problem reviewing. I want to see the series because of the scenery and world-building. I’ve never read the book series (too many things trip me up from reading other women’s views).

    Oops, I forgot to hand in my woman card. Anyone left to hand it to?

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  35. Tina
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 22:01:02

    How about the Harlequin line where the characters HAVE TO be black? How about those Hispanic writers who write all their characters as Hispanic?!

    I know right? Seriously, how dare those blacks and hispanics have romantic stories written by or about them? After all, 40 plus years of all white heroines, in all white cities, in all white professions is good enough for you, it should be good enough for everybody! And honestly, why would anyone writing a book want to include characters of different ethnicites without being forced to do so by hysterical American hegemonic political correctness? We all know the races don’t mix! C’mon people!

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  36. Bren
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 22:49:02

    @Raini: um ok I

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  37. Mel
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 08:34:17

    I read somewhere that the whole marble-like whiteness thing is a part of Mormon belief. That good people will be white in the afterlife, regardless of color in this one and that bad people will be black. If this information about Mormonism is true then I’m adding lazy writer shortcuts to her faults. Not everyone color-codes the afterlife, Ms. Meyers, so the information you tryed to portray about your characters was lost on the greater audience.

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  38. FiaQ
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 08:35:49

    @Raini:

    I’m not of British or Irish origin. I’m not white in that respect. My family – up until my generation – was treated appallingly because we were so ‘ethnic’. But I don’t pick up a book expecting everyone to include one character of every colour, weight, height and cupcake preference.

    Do you really not see the connection between these two things? You say people don’t treat your generation as badly as they did to your older relatives’. Don’t you think that is due to the fact there is more diversity in entertainment and media than it was in your elders’ time?

    Also? It’s not an American thing and it’s definitely not “political correctness”. It’s called “making sure we don’t repeat our countries’ bigoted cock-ups”. There were black, Chinese, Indian and other non-white Londoners during Charles Dickens’s time, but he rarely acknowledged their existence in his novels and short stories (I can only think of three).

    He wasn’t unusual in this aspect. Artists, photographers and turn-of-the-century film-makers were expected to leave them out of their works, but thankfully, some flipped the bird at those expectations and included some in their works, such as this 1854 photograph of Greenwich pensioners and this 1863 photograph of a black Welsh miner. Ironically, some 19th century authors did make an effort to acknowledge their existence without making them caricatures, but their efforts were inexplicably ignored by readers, teachers, historians and academics. The idea of having another century’s worth of something like this is something I can’t and shouldn’t accept. No one else shouldn’t either.

    The point is, yes, authors should do whatever they want with their stories, but Meyer’s comment is dodgy as hell. I feel it’s fair for some to question it, at least until Meyer gives a clearer clarification why she thinks white is the best for her vampire mythology.

    I hope my overreaction didn’t drive you nuts that much. :D

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  39. LoriK
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 09:38:33

    I read somewhere that the whole marble-like whiteness thing is a part of Mormon belief. That good people will be white in the afterlife, regardless of color in this one and that bad people will be black. If this information about Mormonism is true then I’m adding lazy writer shortcuts to her faults. Not everyone color-codes the afterlife, Ms. Meyers, so the information you tryed to portray about your characters was lost on the greater audience.

    Until fairly recently it was LDS doctrine that black skin was a curse placed on wicked races by God to mark them as bad. Black men could not be ordained to the LDS priesthood until the mid-1970s and AFAIK the LDS Church still doesn’t support interracial marriage.

    So, I doubt very much that SM is a white hood & Jim Crow racist, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that she equates white and good in a racist way.

    Also, what Ridley, Las, Tina and FiaQ said in response to Raini. Good grief, good stories are not being drowned in a sea of “political correctness” and taking issue with the idea that perfection = white is not looking to be offended. That’s so far from reality that it’s no wonder Jane feels like someone is yanking her chain.

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  40. Michelle
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 12:35:46

    Woah.

    First off, I’m ignoring that Game of Thrones article. “Other half of the population” my butt. Why are women always “other”?

    Second, I live in Utah. I am not Mormon though. I know very well where SM is coming from. Utah has some diversity, but very, very little. If she has never taken any social diversity classes, she probably will have some stereotypes in her mind based on ideologies she saw growing up that would enforce what she sees in media all the time–that white is the beauty ideal, which would go hand in hand with the “vampires are so gorgeous”…ideal.

    I know in my own writing that it takes stepping back and review to include diversity and realize that, especially in fantasy, the odds of other races holding equal places of power in a world where the religion would not create racist ideologies, is more likely than not.

    @Raini: America may be the land of political correctness to the extreme, but it also a land of diversity to the extreme. I don’t believe there is a single population of the world not represented here, but most of our media does not reflect that. It is not only about races. The old, the queer, the disabled, and everything different is avoided in American media. Like SM, it’s probaby not on purpose. The majority of people producing the media are white males that have grown up culturally dominant in every way. Even if they have grown up with diversity, the connection from real life to the media they produce may not be there. But it IS important to include diversity. I can change a character’s skin color and thus represent other readers (including ones who are my friends) without changing who the character is, because skin color alone is no determinant of who that person is.

    Also, your rant against Mormons was uncalled for. They are a religious minority, so it may seem okay to bash them to you, but all beliefs are based in a little…unreasonability (if that’s a word). That’s why it’s FAITH and not FACT. I would avoid bashing anyone if I were you, because it is detrimental to your own life–you hurt future relationships you might make with people who are different than you for no reason and without ever getting to know them.

    Also, yes, there are some writers and other producers of media that happen to be of racial minorities that will include nothing but that race in their works. Minorities can often be pushed together in a society, and that creator might very well have only seen one race growing up. If that is not the case, it may be in search of racial empowerment, not racism. Example: Those American Black actor awards (I forget what it’s called), only allow black actors to win, but not because they are pushing out whites (or any other race) but because they want to raise their peers to positions of visibility in the media.

    All of that is my opinion.

    Thanks for posting these!

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  41. Michelle
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 12:40:43

    @LoriK:

    One more thing: I don’t know what AFAIK is, but they major LDS leaders do support interracial marriage. Mormon missionaries go to every part of the world and very, very often return with a girlfriend of another race (pacific islander, hispanic, asian, etc.) Almost all of them who go to a different country, come back much more openminded.

    Also, if they are racist, then I believe it is that person as an individual, as it is with anything. The religion just gives them backing for their hatred in my opinion. After all, there are racist mormons, and there are nonracist mormons. There are also nonracist nonmormons, and racist nonmorons. The only connection there is PEOPLE.

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  42. Lazaraspaste
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 12:48:19

    I have a Mormon background and I am fucking appalled, APPALLED, by the tone of many of these comments.

    Mormonism, no more than any other religious or secular institution in the United States of America, has indeed had its far share of racist, sexist and homophobic cock-ups (-coughs- Prop 8). But to suggest that her religion is what makes Stephanie Meyers racist is to ignore the complexity of race relations and beauty ideals in American culture as a whole. Moreover, it suggests–and let me use this word one more time–an appalling ignorance of Mormon history, theology, and culture. As if all Mormons and LDS members, like the Borg, share one brain.

    Racism in the United States is not limited to Mormonism nor is the idea that beauty is white, thin, and Anglo. How many popular women’s magazines do you see with black women on the cover? Or fat white women? Or Asian women? How many Asian actresses are out there in comparison to blonde white ones? How many Latinas? Are you really suggesting that equating beauty with a certain type of whiteness is a Mormon problem rather than an American or, yes!, even a European problem? Because France, Belgium and Austria have had such an amazing record of tolerance and acceptance towards other races, haven’t they?

    People who dislike Stephanie Meyers and the Twilight series use her Mormonism as a justification for hating her, whether it is to call her racist, anti-feminist, or plain crazy. People who dislike Mormonism hate Stephanie Meyers and the Twilight series because she’s Mormon. This is no different than hating someone because of the color of their skin and the structure of their bones.

    Could her comments have stemmed from some religious doctrine? Possibly. But it is as equally likely that these comments stem from the a pandemic problem of Western culture that idealizes one form, and one form of beauty alone. That said, it is clear from the excerpt that Meyers had no malicious intent and did not think about the ramifications of what she was saying. A problem that affects everyone, as comments in this thread clearly indicate.

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  43. Las
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 12:59:59

    @Lazaraspaste: While I agree with your general point about racism and beauty ideals in the U.S. (though I think you’re being a bit disingenuous, since racism is actually a part of LDS dogma, what with dark skin being a mark of evil, but whatever, human beings are very good and being shitty to each other, and religion is just a reflection of that), I take major issue with this:

    “This is no different than hating someone because of the color of their skin and the structure of their bones.”

    Oh, it is most definitely different, and I find it extremely offensive to suggest that criticism of religion is in any way comparable to racism. Religion is about beliefs, and no matter how important they are to you and how much it hurts people’s feelings to have their deeply held beliefs questioned or ridiculed, it’s is perfectly valid to criticize and challenge them.

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  44. Ridley
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 13:35:08

    If that skin thing is indeed a part of LDS beliefs, then I think Meyers’ religion is perfectly germane. It explains where her strange ideas come from.

    If a Catholic author had written a book that was heavily critical of birth control, I don’t think it would be anti-Catholic bias to point our where her particular outlier views came from.

    But, as an atheist, I have to tell you that all religions you don’t believe in are kind of wacky. They’re not meant to compute, they’re to believe in. Singling out Mormonism if you believe another religion is hypocritical, really. Believing a revelation on buried gold plates is no more silly than believing wafers and wine turn into flesh and blood.

    Calling Meyers out for her bigoted ideas and identifying them as being perhaps based in her faith is different than generalizing about all Mormons in toto. Just because a person’s religion holds a belief doesn’t mean all of its adherents do. The pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, BCP ingesting Catholics out there are a prime example.

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  45. Lazaraspaste
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 13:35:59

    @Las
    Then you missed my point. My statement was not about feelings being hurt because beliefs have been criticized. My statement was about when people hide their intolerance for particular religious groups under the guise of “critique” or “challenging their beliefs.” Dissent and critical thinking are important to any belief system, to any ideology, to any method of thought whether scientific, political, religious or cultural. If we cannot examine our most fundamental beliefs, if we cannot question what we hold true than we cannot even begin to attempt change. However:

    1. What is the purpose of criticizing a theology that one knows little to nothing about? Or a religious culture? Should relgious beliefs be examined? Yes. Should they be subject to exploration and critical thinking? Of course. But most of the time when people level criticisms against a certain religion they neither know the history, the doctrine or the culture well enough to render an actual critique of any of those things. In short, they criticize it not because they are questioning it but because they dislike it.

    2.When people hate someone for their religious beliefs or use it as a justification for hating something about that person, that is exactly the same kind of hatred that drives racism. It has nothing to do with critiquing or dissenting. It is about hating what is different just as much as racism is.

    I fully acknowledge that Mormonism has a racist and troubled past. Do you think Catholicism doesn’t? Or science? However, as I said in my comment above racism is not a uniquely Mormon problem nor is the equation of beauty with a particular type of whiteness. My problem is particular to this comment thread, wherein people have been swift to suggest that Meyers comments are a product of her Mormonism. Just as her sexism is a product of her Mormonism. Since I highly doubt that anyone here has sat down with Stephanie Meyers and asked her pointed questions about her religious beliefs and how they have affected her views of race and gender, I hardly think that rolling out her Mormonism has proof of her innate racism and sexism is a critically viable action.

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  46. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 13:43:09

    I was going to stay out of this, especially since Lazaraspaste already said it for me, but…

    @Las:

    since racism is actually a part of LDS dogma, what with dark skin being a mark of evil

    Bullshit.

    I read somewhere that the whole marble-like whiteness thing is a part of Mormon belief. That good people will be white in the afterlife, regardless of color in this one and that bad people will be black.

    Bullshit again.

    If people want to talk about Mormonism and its villainy, perhaps they should actually study it a little more.

    Most of the negative comments about Mormons in this thread are nothing more than a big game of Telephone.

    I will go one further: I was born and raised in the Church and never was taught this about race. However, the redneck Southern evangelical Christians I grew up with were a lot harsher with their racism than anything that’s ever been ascribed to Mormon doctrine. My father, who was a disaffected Mormon at best, was horrified with the lifting of the ban on blacks having the priesthood. Trust me, his racism wasn’t the result of any doctrinal brainwashing. It was pure 1950s white American culture–and that cut across socioeconomic lines.

    And to put a really fine point on it, I have known some very fine black Mormon bishops in my life, and other fine black men in important positions of leadership in the Church.

    And my final point: While it is true that in the past this doctrine was taught, it was killed in 1978, and has not been taught since and in fact is repudiated.

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  47. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 13:47:05

    @Lazaraspaste:

    In short, they criticize it not because they are questioning it but because they dislike it.

    Worse is that they don’t know WHAT they dislike.

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  48. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 13:47:50

    @Lazaraspaste:

    In short, they criticize it not because they are questioning it but because they dislike it.

    Worse is that they don’t know anything about the nature of what they dislike.

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  49. Las
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:01:03

    @Moriah Jovan: Oh really?

    Example 1: 2 Nephi 5: 21- ‘And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.’

    Example 2: Alma 3: 6- ‘And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.’

    You’re telling me that those who grow up in the church never read the Book of Mormon?

    Look, I’m not trying to single out Mormonism as a particularly racist religion, since all religions have some…um, let’s call them questionable, teachings. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not one of many things that have informed Meyer’s views on race and gender, and it’s perfectly fair to bring it up as one of the reasons she might view things that way when she says something as ridiculous as she did. Not that people should pile on Mormonism or hold it up as the main reason that Meyers has the views she does, because, again, this country is fucked up about race for a while mess of reasons. But YOU need to step getting defensive and taking any mention of Mormonism in this discussion as a pile-on.

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  50. Ridley
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:02:27

    Pointing out a church’s past racial bias doesn’t mean that church had a lock on being a dick to black people. Of course other churches had similar periods during the Jim Crow era. But other churches doing it doesn’t mean the LDS church is off the hook for it. As it pertains to this post, it could mean SM was raised at a church that resisted the change in 1978 or her family did.

    Generalizations about what the church is now and what Mormons are like are out of place, but why not wonder what effect her faith had on her formulation of her worldview? I’m sure it had at least as much of an influence as the media’s racial whitewashing did.

    Or maybe it didn’t, who knows. Alls I’m trying to say is that pointing out that someone’s bad behavior might be tied to her religion is not necessarily an attack on said religion or its adherents. It certainly can be, sure, but it’s not an absolute.

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  51. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:06:26

    @Las:

    But YOU need to step getting defensive and taking any mention of Mormonism in this discussion as a pile-on.

    This has been one big pile-on.

    Yes, that’s in the Book of Mormon. And? Racism is not taught as an acceptable practice. Period.

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  52. Las
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:12:24

    Let me try to be clearer. When the major myth around which a religion is built upon has a blatantly racist theme, and people who grow up in that religion are taught that myth as if it were historically accurate (which all religions do about their myths), what do you think will happen? You DO understand that racism doesn’t have to be explicitly taught or condoned for that message to be internalized, don’t you?

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  53. Nicole
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:24:10

    There is nothing I hate more than to be told that I am not supposed to like something because of my gender. A good story is a good story period and I don’t care what category the book is placed in. There are no male or female genres, as much as publishers would like to tell us. I had started to read the series, but held off when I heard that GRRM is taking forever to finish it and I will be watching this series. So NY Times is just trying to get people to go to their site and complain with the hopes that perhaps some of them will then decide to pay for a subscription to read the rest of the articles. I have no interest in supporting this kind of garbage journalism.

    As for Stephenie Meyer being racist, I can’t help but think back to the Avenue Q song: “Everyone is a little racist”. I did not really pay attention to the good vampires are white aspects of the series because I was too busy being pissed off about the horrible gender stereotypes in them. And having read them once to say that I did, I do not care to try to look deeper into this. I hope that in a few years from now we stop talking about these crappy novels and focus on way better YA authors. Maybe Hunger Games can take over the blogosphere.

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  54. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:27:51

    @Las:

    And you do understand that Mormonism’s myth was created in a country that claimed Christianity as its myth of source, and also condoned and encouraged the buying and selling of humans with dark-colored skin, don’t you? Why single out Mormonism as if it were created there?

    Yes, it got codified. I’m relinquishing that point. And then it was repealed.

    However, to my view, her statements, if indeed racist, are the product of a middle-to-upper-class sheltered white upbringing, in a larger culture that prizes blue-eyed blondes built like undernourished refugees. Why ascribe racism to her on the basis of her particular religion that you can’t ascribe to the rest of the country that doesn’t claim it?

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  55. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:30:23

    I can’t edit my comment.

    I mean to say:

    Why ascribe racism to her on the basis of her particular religion that you CAN ALSO ascribe to the rest of the country that doesn’t claim it?

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  56. Las
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:41:26

    @Moriah Jovan: I’m confused as to why you think I view Christianity–or any religion–more favorably than Mormonism when it comes to all the various “-isms.” I mention Mormonism because it has already been mentioned in this thread and it IS Meyers’ religion. And frankly, I’m not in the mood to post a bunch of caveats when it should be obvious why I single out Mormonism out of all religions considering the context of this thread.

    And as to your last paragraph…well, yeah, of course her sheltered white upper-middle class background has a lot to do with her views. I thought that was obvious from my posts. It’s not just one thing.However, that doesn’t mean that her religious upbringing has nothing to with it, and it’s fundamentally dishonest to not acknowledge that fact just because it hurts people’s feelings that their religion is being criticized.

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  57. Las
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 14:45:06

    @Ridley: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say.

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  58. Michelle
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 17:07:52

    This just occurred to me, and I’m not pulling Meyer off the hook or saying her religion did or did not have anything to do with her writing, but if in her beliefs black skin=bad, then why would she give white skin to the vampires who are supposed to be going to Hell anyway? Doesn’t it seem like if she were creating this damned race of creatures (the vampires) that she would equate them with what the Book of Mormon (not exclusively) also deemed to be damned (people of black skin)?

    Just a thought :) How I love lively debates! (But can we keep it polite [as it has majorly been so far]?)

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  59. Statch
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 17:14:54

    Jane, how funny that you picked up on the VegNews story! I was actually thinking yesterday that it was the kind of story that would interest you, but since the subject matter is outside the realm of this blog, I didn’t think it would appear here.

    If you go to vegnews.com, and click on ‘A Letter from the VegNews Staff’ (on the left of the page), you’ll see their [non]apology, and then almost 300 reader comments on the controversy. Many of the comments are from people who feel that quarrygirl and the others who broke the story are mean-spirited and harming veganism by bringing this kind of thing to light.

    Can’t think why I thought you would find it interesting…:->,

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  60. Lynn S.
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 17:53:56

    Funny how when people go on and on about something long enough they sometimes paint themselves into a corner. In Meyers’s case it appears to be a very white corner.

    On the NYT review. First, I had to check out who Lorrie Moore was and after checking, I think I’d rather have my teeth pulled. If made to choose the lesser evil, I’d go with The Hobbit. Guess that means I’m not a woman. Curious, there is an “F” marked under the sex tab on my driver’s license. But then I don’t like fantasy fiction either so I guess I’m not a boy. I’m confused, is there another option?

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  61. Sayuri_x
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 18:39:28

    I have read Fantasy fiction all of my life,and it’s what ultimately lead me to romance and urban fantasy. I also read Horror. Does that make me a man too?

    Also, does that mean that all fans of The Lord of The Rings films were boys? Cause there was no sex in that. It’s such a facile comparison to make and lazy journalism.

    Plus the sex in Game Of Thrones is present in the book so was not shoe-horned in. It’s an essential part of the characters and the world. (much like it is in this world! SHOCK!)

    I also resent the implication that I wouldn’t watch anything without the smexxin in it. My tiny,teeny female brain obvs can’t handle anything other than the magic peen.

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  62. Sunita
    Apr 17, 2011 @ 11:58:38

    GRRM has responded to the NYT review. Among other things, he calls it “spectacularly wrong-headed and condescending.” There are over 250 comments to his post.

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  63. Laura
    Apr 17, 2011 @ 12:18:12

    Never mind.

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  64. Sylvia Sybil
    Apr 17, 2011 @ 13:01:21

    @Laura:

    I was being sarcastic and referring to how TV producers aim almost exclusively at the White 18-34 male demographic. Chris Buchanan said that Firefly was canceled because women liked it more and men liked it less than the network wanted. There’s a rumor going around (haven’t been able to track down a definitive source yet) that The Dresden Files TV show was canceled because it had a strong female viewership and the network only wanted male-oriented advertisements.

    The point I was trying to make, which apparently did not come across well, is that networks almost never pander to anyone outside of their special little box. Whether their viewers are female or Black or middle-aged or whatever else, our wants are likely to overlooked or outright canceled.

    Therefore, it sounds ridiculous to me to assert that TV producers are throwing in some sex to pander to women. Especially since HBO is known for “blood and tits” style dramas. Which I’m sure is appreciated by queer women but I doubt we’re the demographic they’re going after.

    Obviously Blacks and other POC read fantasy too. :)

    ETA: Laura has since taken down her response to me.

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  65. Chicklet
    Apr 17, 2011 @ 17:05:02

    The front page of DA says this entry has 64 comments, but when I tried to read them, only 14 loaded, and it seems like there are at least several comments missing because the comments I *can* view make references to them. Were these comments deleted? Is this one of the technical issues Jane mentions in another entry?

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  66. Jane
    Apr 17, 2011 @ 17:08:19

    @Chicklet: Nope, I engaged the paged comments feature because of the Nalini Singh giveaway. You can see the “older comments” by clicking on the “older comments link right above the words “Leave a Reply”.

    ReplyReply

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  68. Elspeth
    May 16, 2011 @ 18:07:24

    @Mariah Jovan

    I know exactly what I hate. I hate the fact that the Mormon Church violated federal law by campaigning extensively to have my civil rights taken away from me.

    There is absolutely nothing you can say to justify or excuse away that fact, the way you’re attempting to excuse away the apalling racism of pre-1970s LDs doctrine with “but they don’t believe that anymore,” because that happened two years ago, and the LDS church has not recanted, changed their beliefs and doctrine, or apologized since then. And every LDS person who tithes to their church or supports it in any way rather than leaving the church because they’re principled people who can’t bring themselves to promote and support active bigotry indirectly supported and directly financially contributed to the Prop 8 campign, which was funded with the Mormon church’s money.

    And before you start, I hate right wing evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity just as much, but they’re not the religions being discussed in this post.

    ReplyReply

  69. Watch Game of Thrones Episodes Online Free
    Jun 07, 2012 @ 07:25:57

    Game of Thrones. A magnificent series. And the end exceeded all my expectations!. Simply put, today is already a classic.

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