My post about YA and getting kids to read generated quite a bit of discussion, and not a little bit of outrage, if clueless pasty-faced Anglophones frothing at the mouth on twitter are to go by. Well, that and people who are generally angry that I had the temerity to malign YA (and assorted other genres, but it’s the YA defenders that are the most riled up). It’s very zergling-defending-the-overmind. I hope I never come to intimately associate my identity with a genre of texts I consume (or even individual works). That’s a horrible thing to do to yourself. Here’s one that tickled me:
Ah, me and my hate of reading fiction. Excuse me, I’m going to change this blog’s name to “Requires Only Yuri.” Lesbian manga. Forever. No more books! Give me a moment to delete all the book reviews.
It also confirms rather that some people have this bizarre idea that reading fiction in particular is some exalted, exalting fetish, like going to church. Really, I wish I had the intellectual vigor to absorb more non-fiction, but I’d guess to some the height of intellectual curiosity is picking up a copy of The Hunger Games.
But enough about the easy targets. Let’s go over again where I come from:
In comparison with the public expenditure of other countries, (especially developing countries): China 13%, Indonesia 8.1%, Malaysia 20%, Mexico, 24.3%, Philippines 17%, United Kingdom and France 11%, the Thai GDP and national budget allocate considerable funds to education. By 2006 it represented 27% of the national budget. Although education is mainly financed by the national budget, important local funds, particularly in urban areas, are being released to support education. In the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, up to 28.1% of the education budget has been provided by local financing. Loans and technical assistance for education are also received from Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the OECF.
There’s a lot to criticize about public education in Thailand, but as you can see, funding isn’t exactly one of them. I know, I know, the US is a third-world shithole, but I can’t quite come to grip with the idea of an education system so appalling it has trouble teaching its students their native–and often only–language. Students here do have trouble with English, but you know, that’s a second language. The idea that some US schools are supported by advertisements is pretty fucking unreal. Totally alien, even. How does that even work! I’ve never seen a single ad at schools in my life, and certainly not themed Coca-Cola days. That’s dystopian stuff, that is.
I make fun of the US a lot, but I still maintain a faint conception that a first-world country surely can’t be so desperate. That’s why I have a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around all the poverty, the terrible healthcare, and all the rest (so many school shootings! What hideous crime rates!). The sheer dissonance between how the US presents itself and its actual reality cannot be stressed enough. If I told a Thai friend today that many people in the US live hands-to-mouth, have to put up with debilitating illness/injuries due to a lack of healthcare, they won’t believe me. That’s not even getting started on the misogynistic regime.
Apart from that, I did quite make an ass of myself by not thinking of several perspectives: of living in a white world (and therefore having to get white literature aka the western canon, which is end to end dead white people), of students with learning disabilities, and immigrants (though having said that, there were immigrants in the discussion and they were talked over by people who weren’t). For that, my apologies.
I still don’t think “get them to read YA no matter how shitty” is the magical panacea or even that it’ll solve any problem at an appreciable level, but hey.
So, appropriately, Hayibo: Africans shocked by uncivilized antics of European savages.
“The brochures promise sea and sun, but they’re still incredibly backward in Spain,” she recalled. “Basically they all live in mud huts called haciendas, and they sleep for two hours in the middle of the day. In Europe they call it a ‘siesta’. In Ghana we call it ‘being fucking lazy’.”
But, she added, this kind of “depressing inertia” was to be expected in a country with more debt than most of Africa combined.
I love it, it’s the best thing.
Check out the comments for this Bangkok Post item. This is why I think white liberals really need to start collecting their expat cousins from all of Asia. The white man has a burden, folks, and it’s the reining in of other whites.
If you attack Hitler, you’re attacking me, and every other fan who, tortured during the hellish ordeal of mockery and ostracisation which the sensitive, intelligent geek boy endures going through school, turned to the haven of SF for escape. [...] Boys of a geeky persuasion need role models like Hitler more than ever, because they are growing up in a world where there is no White History Month to encourage them to take pride in their ethnicity, where feminism has completely sidelined and creep-shamed the Men’s Rights movement, and where nobody will ever throw them a Straight Pride parade to honour their sexuality.
Fozmeadows had a run-in with Professor Mansplainer.
Guy: Honestly, I think you ideology is hurting you.
Guy: I am a perfectly reasonable person.
Me: What, feminism?
Guy: Have a perfectly reasonable conversation with you.
Guy: Not feminism.
Guy: YOUR ideology.
Guy: The bastard chimera of a misused ideology that you have crafted for yourself.
Mansplainers all seem to talk the same, too. See one and you’ve seen ‘em all.
Let’s Read Some Cory Fucking Doctorow. This is an amazing thing, and I say that as someone who used to like Doctorow.
That part of San Francisco is one of the weird bits — you go in through the Hilton’s front entrance and it’s all touristy stuff like the cablecar turnaround and family restaurants. Go through to the other side and you’re in the ‘Loin, where every tracked out transvestite hooker, hardcase pimp, hissing drug dealer and cracked up homeless person in town was concentrated.
shut up shut up shut up fuck you FUCK YOU NOT ANOTHER WORD OUT OF YOU DOCTOROW
Right? There’s a “tranny hooker” trotted out later in the same book.
This is subtly, but importantly, different. Marcus is the narrator and the only interpreter of this world we have: it’s his story, and what he says goes. More than that, he’s quite obviously the author’s Gary Stu: the smartest, bravest, sexiest, best-liked guy in every room he enters, and self-evidently incapable of error. Doctorow is walking a very thin line between having a character be a habitual dick to women, and having the text actively hate women, and you know what? I’m not going to give him the benefit of the doubt in ambiguous cases, because fuck Cory.
Much better than I can articulate.
This “first page” at Dear Author is what, I imagine, functional illiteracy is like.
“Sarah I really don’t want to be here?” Said Karly.
Karly tapped Sarah’s shoulder when she ignored her.
“Why are you ignoring me?” Said Karly.
So if she kicked some pedophiles ass, or slapped some abuser here an there that was fine by her.
She remembered unsheathing her steel Katana blade from her back and readying the blade for revenge. Calm washed over her; the comforted feeling she got right before she dealt deaths.
I’m so sorry, Americans.