This is not the genre I would normally read. I still don't know what to think of it. It was "okay" for a fantasy book, and I made it through 800+ pageThis is not the genre I would normally read. I still don't know what to think of it. It was "okay" for a fantasy book, and I made it through 800+ pages without too much tedium, but I'm not rushing to pick up the next volume either, even though it's a few yards away on my boyfriend's floor at the moment....more
I only read the book and haven't had the opportunity to view the included DVD so I don't feel qualified to add a rating. I do admire the concept thougI only read the book and haven't had the opportunity to view the included DVD so I don't feel qualified to add a rating. I do admire the concept though....more
It's pornography that repeats the same predictable formula: three lesbians fuck and then relocate to a new location (from steam room toNonstop filthy.
It's pornography that repeats the same predictable formula: three lesbians fuck and then relocate to a new location (from steam room to pool, for example), at which point two lesbians fuck and the third recounts a personal story involving fucking. The lesbians in question are Alice (of Wonderland), Dorothy (of Oz), and Wendy (of Neverland). I use the term lesbian loosely since Dorothy and Wendy are rather lesbian n00bs, whose first preference is for males (usually ones related to them). It quickly becomes a bit of a bore. The sex doesn't let up for a moment and it left me desensitized. The magic is stolen from these stories, and replaced with nothing of substance.
I can't recommend this; I couldn't even get off on it, lolz. It's only appeal is in the perverseness of its concept.
Although I have to give some credit to the illustration of Captain Hook being devoured by an alligator/massive vagina with teeth....more
"Freedman and Barnouin reveal the truth in Skinny Bitch, but they encase the truth in lies--women must be skinny to be attractive and being attractive"Freedman and Barnouin reveal the truth in Skinny Bitch, but they encase the truth in lies--women must be skinny to be attractive and being attractive should be a priority--via the typical verbiage of female disempowerment."
"...with a few sentences, the authors attempt to counteract the unscrupulous messages endemic to the title, content, and imagery of their book. This attempt fails, but speaks strongly to the character of our culture that even a book that earnestly wants to be about saving animals must resort to destroying women."
"When women tell me that Skinny Bitch made them go vegan, my appreciation of the book's purpose is tainted by a sadness that their self-worth had to be bartered to make that choice."
Overall, this is a more-than-decent reference book and place to start for people interested in various animal welfare/rights issues. The format isn'tOverall, this is a more-than-decent reference book and place to start for people interested in various animal welfare/rights issues. The format isn't the most fluid and the writing isn't the most inspiring although it does have its moments of humor. Issues are broken down into chapters and then smaller sections, much like a textbook, only less dry. I don't see this effectively influencing most omnivores to make major lifestyle changes, but it might sway those already on the path towards being vegetarian or vegan.
The photographs included are largely courtesy of PETA, and this, of course, has its drawbacks. PETA often looks stupid just to get the media's attention. On the negative side, animal rights just becomes more of a joke to some people. On the positive side, animal rights gets coverage it arguably wouldn't otherwise. Which side outweighs the other? I haven't decided, and when I do, I'm sure my own answer won't be definitive. Just the fact that I have to ask myself this will clue you in that I'm leaning towards the negative at this point in my life. Still, the "hip and trendy" celebrities may draw the interest of teens and tweens. (One of the female stars of Twilight posed naked for PETA's anti-fur campaign recently. Is this publicity that might cause some Twilight fans to consider the plight of animals? Maybe, or it will at least give young boys something to masturbate to. But personally, eh, it's not for me. I don't even want the music I like associated with Twilight, much less a serious cause.)
On the other hand, there are a few amusing comics, mostly Bizarro.
The author takes on issues from fur to circuses to eating meat, but her stance is surprisingly more supportive of being vegetarian than vegan. It isn't until the last chapter that this becomes apparent. In a way, she makes a compelling argument. She says at home she eats vegan, but in a restaurant she will order a vegetarian option such as a veggie burger without asking about trace amounts of egg or milk. Her reasoning is that an increase in sales for veggie burgers (and other vegetarian meals) combined with contacting restaurants thanking them and requesting more vegetarian/vegan options will encourage others to eat less meat. She believes that being a strict vegan in social settings sometimes makes not eating meat appear too difficult to friends who might otherwise consider changing their lifestyle.
But doesn't this also add to the confusion about veganism when Karen Dawn is referred to as "wisecracking vegan ambassador"? It might seem like a small point, but it makes a big difference to people transitioning into a vegan lifestyle who are faced with people constantly trying to tempt them to "cheat" a little by eating something with dairy or eggs, as if it were the kind of dieting where it's okay to intentionally slip up now and then. It's also fuel for those antagonistic meat-enthusiasts searching for inconsistency/hypocrisy. It would be nice if these weren't concerns, but as it is, vegans are often put on the defensive and so it remains a concern.
Thanking the Monkey introduces a variety of animal welfare/rights issues and offers some enlightenment, but mostly opens the door for more questions, which isn't a bad thing in the least. These issues deserve more thorough research, which I suppose is why Karen Dawn includes website, book, and movie recommendations along the way. Dubious PETA association aside, the existence of this book is a good thing although (personally) it doesn't earn the same strong recommendation as Jonathan Safran Foer's recently published Eating Animals....more
If I had read this when it was released, I might have given it three stars, but the material here has recently been covered in Dave Cullen's ColumbineIf I had read this when it was released, I might have given it three stars, but the material here has recently been covered in Dave Cullen's Columbine, which was better written and covered the tragedy more in depth. However, I can see the necessity of such a book to help clear Brown's name, which the sheriff department tarnished.
This book might be more accessible to teenagers who might relate to the angst of being an outcast. Personally, because of mixed reports, I still wonder exactly how bad the bullying was at Columbine High; I cannot entirely discount the possibility that Brown uses the tragedy for his own anti-bullying agenda, just as some used it as an opportunity to convert teenagers.
Some of the incidents cited made me roll my eyes, and think "grow the fuck up and get over it." In primary school, Brooks and Dylan accidentally got mud on another student's coat and were forced to clean it with a toothbrush. Oh, the cruelty!
They were taunted for being the "smart kids" in the academic program during middle school.
I, too, was tested for and placed in a program for the "academically gifted" in middle school. As a result I was segregated from the rest of the school for my core curriculum. This did cause some small amount of teasing. I got over it fairly easily. I was teased on the bus rather aggressively because of my name and because there were cows in my yard. (Yeah, I know, it even sounds ridiculous without going into further detail.)
In high school, I made few friends, talked to few people, spent my lunch period isolated and reading. People later told me that they were kind of worried I was going to shoot up the school one day. I joked and said there weren't enough bullets.
Brooks mentions how the jocks would pour oil on the floors so that the outcasts would slip; they would call this bowling. This triggered a memory I had completely forgotten: on my way to class during my junior year, walking with the mistake I dated at the time, I slipped in baby oil that had been poured on the floor. I was irritated, slightly embarrassed, and even more irritated that my then-boyfriend laughed before asking if I was alright, but the people who did it were just typical dumb teenagers, not "bullies" in any way that I could see. If this type of behavior drives someone to build bombs and buy guns, then there's something inherently wrong with that person.
I suppose anti-bullying is as good a cause as any, but when I can't accept that as the cause of the Columbine shooting. Listing a few incidents of bullying hardly delves into the psychological mindframe of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Finishing this book, I felt no closer to understanding them; instead, I just felt depressed by the inept way in which the police responded.
(I was also left wondering how the author could be a fan of literature such as 1984 and Atlas Shrugged, yet still listen to Insane Clown Posse, but I guess there are some things beyond human understanding.)
^I wrote this before having read Atlas Shrugged. What a piece of shit. Oh, you like Atlas Shrugged AND ICP? No conflict of interests. You just like shitty things....more
Death of a Salesman is the story of Willy Loman, a salesman past sixty-years-old with a deteriorating grip on the present, his two sons and his wife LDeath of a Salesman is the story of Willy Loman, a salesman past sixty-years-old with a deteriorating grip on the present, his two sons and his wife Linda. It is his mental decline which allows the play to present both the present-day action and various scenes from the past without those scenes being actual "flashbacks." In short: Willy is a failure, and has set his sons--particularly his eldest Biff--up for failure by instilling in them the same belief that being well-liked is enough to ensure success. This leads to a tragedy, or not, depending on who you side with in the seemingly endless critiques that follow this edition of the play.
This edition features over a hundred pages of essays about Death of a Salesman (both the written play and the theatrical run) and Miller in general. It was a bit of an overload to read all at once (but hey, I've got to move on and focus on writing papers, which won't be about Miller). The analogous works included are:
- The Know-It-All Salesman by Walter D. Moody. This is just a selecton from his book Men Who Sell Things, and it isn't all that interesting. It reads like a pep talk for salesmen.
- "Death of a Traveling Salesman" by Eudora Welty. I was on the third page of this story when I realized I've read it before, but I'm not sure in which anthology I first found it. The story doesn't do that much for me, but I can see its relevance.
- "The Last of My Solid Gold Watches" by Tennessee Williams. This play is a brief exchange between a an older salesman and a younger salesman, as well as even briefer exchanges between the older salesman and the porter at the hotel. The southern dialect made me laugh, which I'm fairly certain was not its intention.
"NEGRO, solemnly nodding: The graveyard is crowded with folks we knew, Mistuh Charlie. It's might late in the day!
MR. CHARLIE: Huh!
He crosses to the window.
Nigguh, it ain't even late in the day any more--
He throws up the blind.
The space of the window is black.
NEGRO, softly, with a wise old smile: Yes, suh . . . < I>Night, Mistuh Charlie!"
- "The Eighty-Yard Run" by Irwin Shaw. Despite two glaring typos ("beginnnig" and "here" instead of "her"), I liked this story best of the analogues. In it a married man, alone on a football field, reminisces the best day of his life--an eighty-yard run made during football practice fifteen years prior. Football just didn't work out for him, and after some cozy years working for his father-in-law, the economy went sour and his wife got uppity and got a better job than he could find. She didn't get uppity so much as grow up, improve herself, and grow apart from her husband while he stayed home and drank whiskey. It's a depressing story if you sympathize with the protagonist, the husband, but it's actually a bit empowering if you just see a woman who loved her husband, but didn't want to fall into the pit of depression and self-helplessness alongside him.
This is not nearly as interesting as the story of Schindler itself--a good half of the book is about the reception of the book, receiving the Booker AThis is not nearly as interesting as the story of Schindler itself--a good half of the book is about the reception of the book, receiving the Booker Award, and eventually having the movie made into the film--but it does has its moments. Leopold Poldek is introduced to the world as the driving force behind making sure Schindler's story was told. Poldek was a strong personality--he passed away in 2001 and the book is in part dedicated to his memory--and gave the book more "character." ...more
I picked this up because I noticed a green plushie peppermint-tailed kitten for sale near it. Aww! The book itself is a tad average, but throw in theI picked this up because I noticed a green plushie peppermint-tailed kitten for sale near it. Aww! The book itself is a tad average, but throw in the stuffed animal and it would make a cute gift for the holidays....more
This isn't as much of a review of Jonathan Safran Foer's latest book as it is a reaction to it--a reaction to the reactions of others, even. The titleThis isn't as much of a review of Jonathan Safran Foer's latest book as it is a reaction to it--a reaction to the reactions of others, even. The title of this book garners a reaction from people who haven't read it and who may never read it. Just carry Eating Animals around for a few days and you'll understand. There's an assumption that a book about eating animals is going to tell you that it is in some way wrong to eat animals--whether for the welfare of animals or for your own welfare--and most people "don't want to hear it." We know something is wrong with meat today--with how completely estranged we are from the process that turns animal into product. We have that general feeling and we don't want the specifics. We don't want to face being held accountable for what we know. We don't want to think about eating animals. Why not? If there's no shame in it, then why is there such an aversion created by the title alone?
I say "we" because I'm guilty of the same, and it took this book to make me realize it. It took seeing how the people around me wanted nothing to do with a book that might challenge their eating habits. Allow me to explain with a little bit of backstory here, which is irrelevant to the book itself, but entirely relevant to my reading of the book:
I've been a vegetarian for close to five years. I've had a moral qualm about eating animals since I first made the connection between the meat on my plate and the animals in my backyard. (I grew up on a farm. There were cows and they had much happier lives than most do these days, though I never saw what end they met once my parents sold them.) Why then did I only become vegetarian at the age of eighteen? (I mean, obviously, I pieced together that burgers were made from cows long before then; I wasn't that slow of a child.) My various attempts to give up meat failed. I'm not sure why. The obvious answer would be that I had weak willpower, but I think that's a cop out. When vegetarianism did stick, I didn't feel any more self-empowered. In fact, the attempt that succeeded started as a fluke. I had no intention of seeing it through. I found out about PETA's 30-day challenge and I was curious. "I can abstain from eating animals for a month," I reasoned. When the month was over, I didn't want to eat animals anymore. No craving for meat was strong enough to compensate for the amount of suffering inflicted on animals. (What can I say? I'm a bleeding heart, a pussy, whatever.)
I surrounded myself with literature and images of slaughterhouses long enough to fend off the desire for flesh. The desire disappeared and I felt better. I felt better because I was eating better (fresh fruit and veggies was a vast improvement over my childhood diet of Hardees and Mountain Dew). I felt better once the nagging guilt the conflict between my beliefs and my actions caused was no longer. Or so I thought.
The truth is that over the years I became lax in my beliefs. Not eating animals became more habit and preference than moral conviction. People wore down my enthusiasm. Oh, the enthusiasm was there to begin with! There's nothing more exciting and refreshing than newfound vegetarianism! I felt better and I wanted other people to feel better, too. I thought I could help initiate that. I thought that I could lead by example--I wouldn't push my opinions down anyone's throat, of course, because I didn't want to be uppity about it. It doesn't work that way, or at least it didn't for me in rural North Carolina--in the county supporting the largest Smithfield slaughterhouse in the world, to be exact. People were interested, but only for the sake of arguing. Foer obviously experienced the same, writing:
"I can't count the times that upon telling someone I am vegetarian, he or she responded by pointing out an inconsistency in my lifestyle or trying to find a flaw in an argument I never made. (I have often felt that my vegetarianism matters more to such people than it does to me.)"
There's only so much antagonistic query I was equipped to handle at the age of eighteen. To be perfectly blunt, I stopped giving a fuck. I decided to be a vegetarian, not explain my reasons to others, and to stop giving a fuck what others thought about it. When someone asked me why I didn't eat meat, my responses ranged from "I don't like being overwhelmed by choices" to "I was raped by a butcher." When you stop giving a fuck, then people generally stop harassing you. These people aren't that clever to begin with, so they usually don't bother if they have to compete with another's nonchalance.
My initial reason for not considering becoming vegan was the difficulty. I felt it was a big enough change to quit cold turkey cold turkey. Yeah, I know, there's no excuse for my sense of humor. Over the years I should have made the necessary steps to eliminate eggs and dairy from my diet. I have no excuse for that either. I knew neither were essential to my nutrition or well being--that it was just a matter of putting forth more effort. In the back of my mind I knew, too, that my inaction was supporting animal cruelty towards laying hens, as well as indirectly promoting the veal industry. That nagging guilt was still there, but I pushed it aside.
I realized this past week that I can no longer do this. It is no longer acceptable. In fact, it never was. Nothing changed.
I was hardly beginning the book when I started to suspect that I was on the brink of a life-altering decision. Was Foer so persuasive that he alone managed to turn me vegan within the first few chapters? No. It wasn't even the news that Natalie Portman turned vegan after reading Eating Animals, either. ;)
It was my boyfriend telling me that he "didn't want to hear it" when I mentioned that piglets on factory farms have their testicles removed without anesthesia within the first ten days of their lives.*
It was the moment when my literature teacher asked me if Eating Animals contains information so disturbing and disgusting that she would probably never want to eat meat again; and then without pausing for a reply, she said, "I'd better not read it then."
It was this general reaction I received coinciding with what I read that made me re-examine my own unwillingness to live by what I know--something I've known without needing to be told, but something I needed to be reminded of: shame. I am ashamed to be part of a system that is inexcusable.
"Not responding is a response--we are equally responsible for what we don't do. In the case of animal slaughter, to throw your hands in the air is to wrap your fingers around a knife handle."
What does all of this say about the book? Not much. Just read it. Throw your assumptions away, quit looking for someone else to tell you what to expect, and just read with an open mind, and a willingness not only to accept what feels right, but to take the actions necessary so that you may be at peace with yourself.
* In defense of my boyfriend--although no defense is necessary--since the conversation mentioned took place, he has agreed to read Eating Animals. Ideally, he'll read it and never eat another bite of meat again; just as ideally, when I handed my copy of the book to my mother a few hours ago and asked her to please do me a favor and read it, she would have done so in earnest, in an attempt to understand her daughter's lifestyle, instead of putting it down after a few pages and resuming her crossword puzzle, which although not ideal, was what actually happened. I can't allow myself to expect much to come of it, because there's enough disappointment in life as it is, but I am grateful for this much: that he cares enough about me to read what he would otherwise rather turn away from.
Update (7/6/11): He never read it. We broke up, for reasons unrelated to diet. But if you know any cute, single, straight, literate, vegan boys, send 'em my way. If they do, in fact, exist.
Update again (5/2/13): I'm a feminist now, so I apologize for the derogatory use of the word "pussy" within the original review. If there were any point to it, I'd also amend the previous update to exclude the word "straight" and change "boys" to "men" (not the band) because it's creepy when grown men want girls, so vice versa? There's no point though, because I'm not looking. I'm no longer single.
We're dating again. Everyone advises against dating an ex, but everyone can go fuck themselves. I'd like to think compassion is about second chances. For whatever more-complicated-than-that reasons, I've decided to give it a second go. He recently read the book. Kudos, right? Everything in its own time, or something. He's been vegetarian since, but I announce that tentatively, because obviously, things change: you can see that in just the span of updates to this not-a-review review. I'm happy right now. I'm hopeful. I finally realized I can't change the people I love. I can't shake them until they see what I see if they don't want to look, but I can tell my truth and maybe, just maybe, it will reach someone willing to take off the blinders.
I decided to try listening to an audio book on my 9-hour drive to Florida. Being poHow is it that this book is popular?
I don't get it.
I really don't.
I decided to try listening to an audio book on my 9-hour drive to Florida. Being poor, I naturally turned to the library and was not surprised by its pitiful selection. This was one of the few titles available in CD format. Simply to pass the time, I listened to over 4 discs. I started zoning out during disc 3. By the middle of disc 5, I reached my limit. I have another 9 hours of driving Sunday, but I won't bother finishing this. I am a bit obsessive about finishing even bad books, but I have overcome this in order to admit to myself that I just don't give a fuck about how this book ends.
The characters are ridiculous (the audio is a bonus since Norah sounds like Lady from Disney's Lady and the Tramp) and the plot just drags on pointlessly. The Downs Syndrome daughter hardly even factors in. This book is just a few explicit sex scenes away from being a trashy romance novel. It has all the other elements, after all. For Frith's sake, the relationships within are... stupid. Just fucking stupid. One character's car breaks down. A trucker gives her a lift home, spends the night on the couch, and then tracks her down a year later and they fall in love and get married. Gimme a break....more
I really like the style and illustrations. Since I was a big fan of the Redwall series as a child, my mind automatically formed comparisons. The histoI really like the style and illustrations. Since I was a big fan of the Redwall series as a child, my mind automatically formed comparisons. The history and characters aren't as fleshed out in Mouse Guard, but this volume certainly sets the stage for what could be an epic series. ...more