Sunday, January 20, 2013

Narcissus in Chains chapter 45+46

So Anita calls Dolph. Let us take a moment to acknowledge that Anita Blake, queen of the dumb choice olympics, has finally done something that MIGHT result in people coming back alive. Look, I know that cops aren't always the good guys IRL, but MOST of them are. And they are the ones who spend all of their time trying to find missing kids, murderers and traffickers. Anita raises dead people for a living. The cops know how to do this shit better than Anita.

Dolph half-jokes about Anita having killed somebody else. Given that her usual contact with the cops involves a dead body of some kind, this is not a big leap to make.

Anita explains about the missing people. Dolph lets her know that he now has to re-interview everybody involved in these cases because the were connection is a strong one that nobody brought up because they didn't want to lose their livelihoods. The snakes own a restaurant, one kid is studying to be a doctor, know, we can have doctors, cooks, chefs, moms, cops, nurses and teachers who have AIDS, and we've only had to deal with that nightmare for seventy years. Weres have been around since prehistory in this universe. Why aren't there tolerance laws? I know we're trying to draw a paralelle between weres and gays, but that doesn't work. Vamps and gays, maybe,  but therianthropy is discriminated against because it is contageous. It's not like the weres would be walking around with "wolf" or "tiger" on their nameplates. Again: Shifting for Dummies should totally be a thing.

Anyway, Dolph being pissed is passed off as him being irratated over having a bigger work load. In reality the cop would be pissed because AT MINIMUM, there is a serial kidnapper and/or trafficker in operation, and the veil of were-secrets has allowed the guy to operate without reprocussions for a nice, long time. Worst case senario is a serial killer who is obviously a very bad boy, given that a were-bear is on the list of MIAs. Who knows how soon they could have gotten this guy if people weren't so scared?

Of course, we can't have this conversation without casual race/speciesism:

“Why is it that most of these people go in for professions where this is a problem?”


Moving on.

Dolph accuses Anita of still hiding things, which she is, and Anita accuses him of losing his objectivity, thus completing yet another overly defensive cycle of conversation. Dolph, at this point, probably agrees with Zerbowski: Anita's doing drugs. Possibly selling them. Better pass that tip back to Narcotics.

Anyhoo, they hang up, and that's the end of the chapter.

Hence, why this is a two-fer.

Chapter 46 opens with the were-cobras going off with Janet Talbot to speak with the cops. Did we ever figure out what she turns into? Whatever it is had better be fucking awesome, because that character is great. Christine the tiger goes home because she doesn't actively know anything. 

Donovan Reece says nobody gets to take his girls away from him.

Anita calls him on saying "girls". They're "women."

Anita, you get the right to correct people on their dehumanizing language when you stop calling members of your pard "leopards" and "puppies" and members of the wolf-pack "wolves". It's something that consistantly bothers me, even though I have a tendancy to do it too when I'm writing weres, but it bothers me more so when Anita does it, than when, say, Rae Seddon is talking about were-chickens or Mercy Thompson discusses Adam's pack. It's a little like the difference between saying "Native American" and "Pet Dog".

And then Anita spots Donovan's gun (Dibs on the band name) and gives him a quick lesson in gun safety and concieled carry laws for Missouri, because Donovan doesn't have a permit.

And then Donovan praises Anita for doing such a good job taking care of all the little were-animals in the area. And...wait. Where was Richard in all of this? Isn't this the kind of thing Richard should know about? Right. Evil person. He'll die later.

And then Anita suggests that there be a sort of were-animal council thing, and Donovan accuses her of wanting to be top kitty-cat on the puppy pile, and Anita is all like "Who, me?" And it all comes off about as sincere as that scene in Casablanca where the guy goes "I can't believe there's gambling down here."

And then we find out that scardy fragile Gil is a werefox.

...I do not remember timidity being a fox's primary trait. Playfulness, intelligance and an inability to understand ruses when briar patches are involved, but not "scared of my own shadow" fragility and...oh please dear god in heaven Anita lets him stay on the property, please tell me he doesn't become Sex Toy number three. Please.

There is a long discussion about what Gil will do if the shit hits the fan. It boils down to "Hide".

I touched his face very gently. He flinched, then relaxed a little. All the animals liked to be touched.
EW. Just. fucking. EW.

Anita realizes that she'll protect him, but not that much. And then she realizes she isn't a sociopath, because if she were a sociopath, she'd be throwing him out and making him take his chances, because he's a "fucking casualty waiting to happen". In other words...ta da, yet another ready made victim. And by the way, a good symptom of mental illness is denial. YOU ARE A FUCKING SOCIOPATH, IS WHAT I AM SAYING.

And then she brings him along on more "business" and the chapter ends.

Next chapter: ...oh right, that DID get mentioned several chapters ago. I thought we traded that for sex.


  1. Well, a person can have a personality that doesn't match up with whatever wereanimal they happened to become infected by. But the fact she makes everyone who isn't a moral monster into this timid helpless thing does make it annoying that of course Gil is fragile too. You will be happy to know that she never sexes him up.

    Yeah, in Bullet she gets mad at a woman for using dehumanizing language ("You get to take that home and play with it") towards Nathaniel, when not a few sentences ago one of her other boyfriends referred to him as a kitten and she regularly calls other people "food" because she satisfies the ardeur with them., not all animals like to be touched, wtf. And those that do (such as horses, which communicate a lot through touching) may not like being touched by a stranger, by a human, by someone like YOU, etc., Anita.

    Vampires as a parallel to gay people has never worked for me either. Firstly, vampires are an actual threat to people by virtue of just being what they are. They are natural predators that drink human blood. There is no parallel to gay people you can make with that that isn't offensive as hell. Secondly, vampires get benefits for being what they are that could be said to make up for the social stigma they face--they're immortal, they have super powers, some can even fly or summon animals, etc. When you're gay, that's just it. You don't get a bunch of bonuses to make up for the discrimination you face. No, having a great fashion sense or insert-stereotype-here does not count.

    That's also why wereanimals as gay people doesn't work for me either---they are legitimately dangerous creatures with very real advantages over humans and urges inside to kill said humans that they need to control or else (which is...really not comparable at all to same-sex desire), and they get a lot of cool powers. The same thing bugs me when vamps/were/etc are used as a metaphor for racial discrimination, because of the same issues.

    Which brings me to how it really bugs me that everyone with any issues about therians or vamps is always just a big mean stupid bigot bully who couldn't POSSIBLY have any good reasons for being afraid of these creatures. Of course hating them for existing isn't right, ut being a little nervous about someone who can literally tear you limb from limb if you get them angry does not make you a terrible prejudiced person.

  2. “Why is it that most of these people
    go in for professions where this is a

    Let me fix that for you:

    "Why is that most of these mistrusted, stigmatized people go in for unstable professions on the margins of society?"

    Kinda answers itself, really.

    course hating them for existing isn't right, ut
    being a little nervous about someone who can
    literally tear you limb from limb if you get them
    angry does not make you a terrible prejudiced

    Yeah, if I'm working with a shifter the only thing that really matters to me is that they've had the training to control themselves when startled or hurt. I don't want to be killed if the woman in the cubicle next to me accidentally spills hot coffee on her lap.

  3. *nods*

    And that's the kind of funderwonderful shit that makes me think Laurel has never had a wild animal in her LIFE. Here she's got leopards as sweet big furry purry critters, and there's a show on Animal Planet about how people who keep leopards as pets sometimes wind up as leopard food. Yes. They will butt heads with you and play and be pretty. And then they will eat you because that is what they do.

    I think the reason privelaged writers like to use weres and vamps as metaphores for the disenfranchised (ie. gays, jews, non-whites)is because in the privelaged eye, people that don't look like us are predators. That this mindset is utterly wrong doesn't enter into the equation. Usually it's not even conscious.

    I think that's why the x-men movies bothered me, too. It's like it was saying "Hey, these guys absolutely have everything their opponents say they had, and absolutely are a danger to your society, and you should tolerate them anyway because it's the right." But that's setting up a false arguement. A mutant or a were could defend themselves. I don't see gays with laser vision.

    1. Yup, I'm a big X-Men fan, but I'm also a lesbian, and the obvious parallels they were trying to draw in the movies just made me facepalm. I think you're right, the authors doing this always do seem to be not a part of the groups they're trying to make the metaphor for, so that's probably why they miss what's wrong with it. I appreciate the good intent that some seem to have, but it just makes me cringe how it basically ends up saying the exact opposite of what you'd want.

      And yeah, LKH just...does not even attempt to research anything about animals, no matter how much she says otherwise. That I'm sure from what I've been reading in Skin Trade and Bullet and the behavior that is being presented as coming from the animal side of shifters. Even when she DOES make them act like animals in any way, it's still usually THE WRONG ANIMAL DX

    2. The X-Men as Stand-In Minorities bit is a relatively late addition. When the team debuted in the '60s there was a tiny bit of it, but not to any huge degree. They were mostly superheroes who faced some suspicion from the general public. It wasn't until the '80s and '90s that the whole anti-mutant prejudice thing became a big part of the storyline.

      I suspect that initial small piece of storytelling in the '60s comics came from two sources:

      First, the X-Men seemed to be set in an entirely different world from the rest of the Marvel comics, and weren't brought in to Spider-Man etc until their slaes were low enough to need a boost. So mutants were new, the Children of the Atom, in the first stories. People were nervous. Second, the creators were Jewish. I suspect a certain amount of wish-fulfilment here. "But we're awesome! And we only want to help! Why can't we get that promotion!?"

      And yeah, LKH seems to think all animals are domesticated and highly socialized to people. I'm guessing she hasn't spent a lot of time around other animals.