Monday, July 26, 2021

You know what I said about the Olympics?

About how I wasn't going to watch it, it would be boring, blah, blah, blah? 

I take it all back. I've been watching bits and pieces, and loving it. 

Richard Carapaz, of Ecuador, winning the road race
I'm still turned off by the counting of total medals, gold medals, medals in each category, and so on---the whole ol' USA! stuff. Because isn't it supposed to be about unity, nations coming together, and so on? And I *really* definitely do NOT like how the families of the athletes have let the TV cameras into their homes to show them cheering for their children/brothers/sisters/and so on. But that's probably just me.

In general, though, I'm loving watching the athletes themselves compete, and shine. 

And the guy from Ecuador who won the bicycle race? I was just blown away. And I've never been one to enjoy watching other people ride bicycles, before that. 

I felt bad for the American guy who stayed close to him for most of the last of the race, before (I guess) hitting the wall and dropping back. But the cyclist's country didn't seem to be the point, for me. 

It was slogging through 234 kilometers, including hills and incredible curves, for over SIX HOURS! That's what was worth watching, even if I watched only the last 20 km or so, in suspense the whole time. 


Memoir Monday, July 26, 2021: Are You Jane Eyre or the Madwoman?

What a question, no? When I was a young girl, a lot of my young-girl friends just loved "Jane Eyre." They saw themselves as the brave and stoic and darn-near perfect heroine of the story. They just adored Mr. Rochester. They sympathized with him over the horrible Parisienne who stuck him with her baby and then his first wife, the madwoman who had to be locked in his attic. Poor Mr. Rochester. At least he finally got the person he deserved, though he had to go blind first. Huh?

Well, I didn't get it. Not at all. It didn't help that I couldn't force myself to finish reading the book, even though it was (of course) required reading for my freshman English class. I thought Rochester was a mean, stupid, arrogant, unpleasant, abusive (I could go on, but I won't) guy. I thought Jane Eyre was an insipid, ignorant, naïve, self-righteous little girl who, sure, she had been badly treated all her life, and she had suffered stoically through it all, but, really? This was anyone's idea of a heroine? Not mine.

So I loved reading this article, whose author points out that the "madwoman" in the attic was right to be angry about the way she had been treated. The writer does not claim that the madwoman was "right" to have set the house on fire, but notes that her treatment up to that point was cruel and abusive, and of course would lead to righteous indignation.

I don't think we really have to choose between being Jane Eyre or What's-Her-Name. But we do get to choose to be treated better than the madwoman was treated. And we get to be angry. 

Sorry that I can't access the article right now, as Salon has blocked me because I won't pay to read their articles and I have the gall to decline to read their ads. So I can't even remember the name of the "madwoman" and life is too short for me to take the time now to look it up. (Life is short, I should say, and my patience is even shorter.)

But here's the funny thing: One of my FB "friends," who had blocked me for a long time b/c she didn't approve of my political posts, and who before she blocked me responded to my posts only to argue with me, suddenly came back to write that "Jane Eyre" is her favorite book of all time. Hey, maybe she'll block me again. I can only hope. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Emmett Till

Would have turned 80 today, if he had not been killed by a violent racist mob. From Wikipedia:

Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States.Wikipedia (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=emmett+till&t=chromentp&atb=v278-1&ia=web)

Born:Emmett Louis Till, July 25, 1941, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died:August 28, 1955, Drew, Mississippi, U.S.
Cause of death:Lynching (bullet wound and mutilation)

May justice be done. 

Yes, and...

Here's a video that will make your Sunday, and maybe the whole rest of your week. I just loved it. Thanks to Ellen for sending me the link! It's worth the 30 minutes it takes from your busy Sunday schedule to watch it. I promise. 


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Speaking of Tennis...

...which I was doing yesterday, the old angry John McEnroe has done something good lately. I'm sure he has done a LOT of good things lately and before "lately," which I just don't happen to know about, but this is one I have read about:

He has stood up for Naomi Osaka.  He explained, in an L.A. Times interview, that he was on her side "because it's good for the sport." Which, I think, is not good enough. But he went on to say that he was concerned for her, herself, too: 

“She’s a big star,” he said. “When she went out last year at the [U.S.] Open, and she was wearing the mask with George Floyd’s name, it really had a big impact, I think, for us as a sport that she was sending a really strong message.”

He added that Osaka’s experience with the press has shown that there’s clearly something “wrong” with the current system.

“She’s the highest paid female athlete in the world, so if someone that makes tremendous sums of money can’t handle it, you’re like, ‘Whoa, wait, something’s wrong with this,’” he said. “So hopefully it’ll get better soon.”


Friday, July 23, 2021

Oh, Yeah, The Olympics

I did not even consider getting up at 4:00 this morning to watch the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Summer Olympics....and I didn't even know until later this morning that the USA gymnastics team wasn't going to be marching in the opening parade. 

Is anyone even watching the Olympics this year? How many athletes are going to have to get sick, either there in Tokyo or as they're training and preparing to compete, and how many Japanese people are going to have to protest, for the organizers of this year's "Games" to throw in the towel? How many female athletes are going to be fined for not being willing to wear bikini bottoms while their male counterparts get to wear modest "baggy" shorts? 

I don't even care any more. What would I enjoy watching, if I did watch? Tennis? Not even. Swimming? I can't even appreciate that sport from seeing it on TV. What else is there? I don't even care any more. Do I repeat myself? Yes, I do. And I don't even care any more...

Fiction Friday, July 23, 2021: More Charlie Parker?

Yes, I admit it. After writing that I didn't think I wanted to read any more in the Charlie Parker series, by John Connolly, I checked out three more of the books from my local amazing Camas Public Library. So I have been reading backwards in the series, with "A Game of Ghosts," "The Reapers," and, most recently, "A Time of Torment."

Yes, these books are full of violence and mayhem. And, no, I would not recommend them to, for example, my own mother, who enjoyed detective stories as much as anyone (and more than most, I think). The books she loved to read were set back in a simpler, less violent, less sex-crazed time. Or at least in a time when people didn't talk or write about the violent and the sex-crazed bad guys. 

Yes, maybe I'm addicted. I don't want to say I'm "addicted" to the violence, though; and I appreciate the fact that these books do not include graphic sex. But I think I'm "addicted" to the good writing. No kidding. Good writing like Stephen King, whose books I still enjoy reading (some of them, anyway), because they're so well written. They catch your attention and keep it, and make it hard to stop reading, even to take a break for a meal, or to get to bed at a reasonable time...or to get some actual work done. 

So, that's my report for now. For next Friday, I'm going to write about some books that I enjoy even more than these: the fantasy writing of Peter S. Beagle. I'm going to ask, "What's your favorite book?" One of Beagle's is my all-time favorite, I think...though I have a hard time deciding between this and some others.

Also, I would like to know what kind of book you, my Dear Reader, would like to read that you haven't been able to find yet. If there's a kind of story you would love to hear, but can't find, how about writing it, yourself? Let me know, please. I'll catch up with you-all later.