Why I still read racist, sexist, and transphobic stories

Consider this: HP Lovecraft and JRR Tolkien wrote stories that are blatantly, textually racist, but I’ll still cite “The Call of Cthulhu” as one of the greatest horror stories of all time and I’ll fawn over The Lord of the Rings whenever I’m given the chance.

Also consider this: I once attended a book signing for Orson Scott Card, of Ender’s Game fame, who coincidentally is also from North Carolina like I am, and when I asked for his signature on a notepad because I didn’t have the money to buy his new book, he gave me a free copy instead. Years later, as I learned his staunchly conservative views on homosexuality and how he actively promoted homophobic policies, I still happily bought and read his books.

And finally, this: I grew up with Harry Potter, and no matter how many transphobic comments JK Rowling posts on Twitter, I’ll still proudly wear a Golden Snitch tattooed on my forearm and never once question my love and adoration for her books.

But, uh, if I want to be anti-racist, why do I do any of this?

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When the Movies Come Alive

Imagine you’re sitting at the premier of the biggest blockbuster hit all summer and suddenly the tear gas and the gunfire that was on the screen a moment ago is now four feet away with the barrel in your face. It sounds horrific, like the fodder of another Hollywood hit, but this morning, it was far too real for the twelve now dead and at least another fifty who were injured in the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

It’s amazing how a tragedy can transform the country in a matter of hours and have repercussions that echo across the world at the speed of light. A red-carpet Paris premier of the movie was cancelled in the wake of the shooting and both Presidential candidates have put a silencer on their doomsday rhetoric. The country stands again as one–one victim, one survivor, a single body supporting its own flailing limbs–united in a way only death can unite us.

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Hold A and B to Start

Memories and bravery may get us far, but both are second when the world is a bottle of chaos and you’re stuck somewhere on the inside, shaken up and shaken apart. I tend to feel like this at the end of the semester. It’s all just a messy blur of moments and meaningful if miniscule messages of all the things I’ve learned. Dizzying, stomach-churning, exhaustive. That’s the life of a modern-day full-time college student with multiple jobs, a family, and oft-forgotten hobbies.

Alas, hobbies!

People like to ask what I do in my spare time. I grin a bit (I swear my eyes must sparkle with mischievous light) and I ask, “What time?” Torn between studying, working, family, friends, and sleeping (as much as I’d love to go without it, physiology says I can’t), there is no time. Not until break. Or more specifically, not until the semester ends (those breaks in the middle? They’re for catching up, nor for resting, what did you think?).

Free time. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with it, but when finally I’ve remembered how to use it, well, it’s the best thing all winter. Forget holly and mistletoe. Forget eight nights and everlasting light. It’s the free time that I’m thankful for today.

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Truth and Recreation

I’ve written a lot lately. In fact, since my last post here I’ve written over 23,000 words–or the equivalent of approximately a month’s worth of posts, if we assume I post about twelve times a month and each of them are slightly less than two thousand words a piece. Then again, this is what I expect during NaNoWriMo: A lot of writing but not a lot of writing here. Or on school papers. I’m so glad they’re not due till December.

Lately I’ve also been hung up on saying “the truth is.” Well the truth is I don’t know why I’ve had this obsession, but I’m almost certain that the two might be related.

It’s what I like to call truth and recreation.

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