Tuesday, June 07, 2005

To Get More Stupider

Some things are not what they seem. I'm reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Ok, don't read this book. Why? Well, it's dumb. The dialog is moronic. Seriously, you're better off watching the Anna Nicole Smith show. I think that I might be acting like a book snob. Apparently from the reviews from Amazon, A LOT of people like this book. It is entertaining. But I don't read just for entertainment. I want to learn something about life. I want to be touched - and not just beaten over the head with less-than- accurate descriptions of 12th century life.

In Pillars, the author graphically describes rape. It also includes gory descriptions of other violence. I don't mind these things in books if they further the plot or provide for character development. In Pillars, it's kind of like a Sly Stalone movie - just there. Lots of blood - no reason. Just because. So, the sex and violence are pointless. No need to be so graphic, honestly.

I also think that Follett reinforces negative stereotypes about Jews and women. With both groups he tries to do the PC thing and show another side - basically, Jews can be kind and giving and strong women aren't all bitches. But via his descriptions, he defeats this purpose. He has to set up the fact (reinforce) that lots of folks think that Jews are shrewd business people and independent women are bitches or lesbians. I mean, he doesn't just come right out and say it - but I think that it's there. Please, please, please don't comment and say, " John, you are so wrong. Because...." and expect a response. I am just putting out here what I feel. Please feel free to comment away, but I am not going to re-read this book to back up my sentiments. God, what torture!

I am about half way through. I am going to finish the book. I have a rule that I won't stop reading once I have started. Even until the end I have hope that the author will experience redemption in my eyes. It's the same reason I didn't walk out of the second Bridget Jones movie. That stank too!

Once again, you can't tell a book by it's cover - or the reviews on Amazon.

Along those lines...
There are groups of American teenage girls that come to Israel for the year or summer. Some of them fit my stereotype of the Jewish American Princess. Rich. Private school. Good hair. Designer clothes. New England - ok, Long Island. Spoiled. Nasal voice.

I know that these young women are much deeper than that. I am just describing the stereotype here - it's not what I think myself. Calm down!

Ok, I know the stereotypes are bad. It's like seeing a black man and making assumptions. Generally, I am self aware enough to realize when I am being racists or judgmental. The other day I was in my favorite book store in Jerusalem, Sefer ve Sefal (Book and Mug), and overheard a conversation between a young lady that might fit this JAP stereotype and the shopkeeper. The young lady had credit and asked the shop keeper for recommendations. The shopkeeper pulled out a couple of books and to my surprise, the girl said something like, "Oh, I've read this one and that one. I don't like this author. I read one of her books already. Do you have anything by ___? Oh, no, I read that one already. I liked that story because it had a love story within." This went on for several minutes until the girl was able to find a book that she hadn't read. Seriously, I was amazed at how well read this girl was. I haven't read half those books. So, even if you phrase a sentence like, "Like, I have read all of those *smacks bubble gum* and I really, um, like that author. Do you, um, like have any other books by her?" Well, after you decipher the code, you'll see that there's a young person that reads. I happen to think that reading doesn't happen without at least some thinking - so there's a young person that thinks too. Hmm.


At 6/12/2005 5:07 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I agree with you on the whole reading thing. With my Mom, reading was always important. She didn't care what we read, as long as we were reading. My brother read comic books and I read magazines, but we were reading. I go through different phases. Sometimes I want to learn things. Then after I read a few books like that I think, "I just want to be entertained." Right now I am going through the latter. Though late last year and earlier this year I was reading for education. I remember being in college and I refused to buy any magazines because I thought if I have time to read magazines, I have time to read my text books. So you know what happend? That's right. I read neither and instead hung out with you! Thanks for being such a humorous and fun distraction! That's one thing that hasn't changed about you since college.


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