Friday, April 5, 2013

Cerulean Sins--chapter 21

It probably goes without saying that Texas is pretty fucking white. Except for South Texas. We have a very large hispanic population. Not quite fifty-fifty, but sixty-forty wouldn't be much of a stretch. Which is why I found it a little interesting that my city (TINY city) has an Asian population large enough to rate its own asian market. And we have this little vietnamese boy at work. If I have his story right, his parents and grandparents immigrated and he was born over here.

This is all important.

Last night we had a four top. Three of the men were wonderful. One of them was that special blend of male, white, money and drunk that makes you want to punch them repeatedly until they stop talking and/or flirting with you in circumstances that pretty much obligate you to flirt back (because you want their tip.) They had been obnoxious all night, first requesting that we violate state liquor laws and let them bring their own wine and THEN demanding they get a discount on our most expensive bottles of red because hey, they went through all that trouble and bought expensive things that they can't use now. We gave it to them. Then they asked for my name.

I hate telling customers I don't know what my name is. Because they will use it like it's a dog leash to rope me into their table no matter how many other customers I've got. Which is exactly what happened. By the end of the night I was thinking longingly of showers and what I would do if one of them grabbed my ass (hint: It would probably involve one of the chef's uber-sharp knives. Or possibly the blunt ones, depending on how feelsy they got)

Finally it is time to shut things down so I go in back to start cleaning refridgerators. The vietnamese kid is in the back busing tables. He comes back with this look on his face, that mingling of horror and humor I'd been swallowing all night long, and he says that the guys want their check. Then he adds that when they asked for the check, they interpreted his expression of boredom (it was a slow night) with incomprehension--and had Token Hispanic Dude start repeating everything White Douche said in Spanish. 

Let me repeat that. The embodiment of everything rich, white and male had his hispanic friend talk to a vietnamese boy in spanish so that the kid would understand that they wanted his check. When the kid has a better understanding of English than I do. (Seriously. He is an awesome kid. He is leaving in a few weeks to focus on family and his ROTC stuff so that he shoot for a Naval Academy scholarship.)

I can't make that level of asshattery up. 

And of course when I come over there Rich White Douche not only demands Desert That Takes Too Much Fucking Time, he demands that we light the fucker on fire. Just for him! Because it's his birthday.

I'd say "And that's when I shot him, your honor" but Token Hispanic Friend proved to also be incredibly awesome by paying, apologizing for how his friend was acting and buying everybody on staff over 21 a shot. He is now officially Awesome Man and I hope I get to see him again. Without his friend.

That is why there was no review last night.

 Right. Sucky book.

Anita is lying on a bathroom floor with Tammy Reynalds holding a washcloth to her face.

Anita should be in a hospital right now. She fainted down a flight of stairs and was unconscious long enough to be carried into a bathroom and be comforted with wet, cold washcloths. But this crowd of trained professionals really can't be bothered to do the right thing and make sure Anita isn't dying.

Great friends.

Anita doesn't point out that, given her mutant shapeshifter stuff, being put on cold things is the worst thing you could do for her, which is actually the kind of thing she should be talking about given that the last time she was stuck in an ice bath SHE ALMOST DIED. She and Tammy talk about being the only two people who have passed out at the crime scene, and they're both women. Boo Hoo.

Or you could be the only two people at the crime scene who feel intimidated by their gender and thus pushed themselves further than they could actually go, whereas all the men felt the upchuck urge and stepped out because they didn't feel they had anything to prove.

Or it could be that LKH is a terrible writer. One of the three.

Tammy and I weren’t actually friends. She was a Follower of the Way, Christianity’s version of witches. Most of the Followers of the Way were zealots, more Christian than the right-wingers, as if they had to prove they really were worthy of salvation.

I'm gonna be glad when Tammy is gone, because again: NO. IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. I am sure that there are some zealots in the group, but again: You get thrown out of both clubs once you go public. I mean...let's define what you mean by "Christian" here, Blake? Do you mean the do-unto-others, blessed-are-the-peacemakers, take-care-of-widows-and-orphans, communal property, self abnegation, faith as a mustard seed part? Or are we talking Westborough Babtist Church style prudery and bigotry. Because most Christians that I know want WBC and people of that ilk to go the fuck away just as badly as the rest of ya'll. Also, if you seriously want me to believe in Evangelical Christian Witches you REALLY need to do better worldbuilding. Because that combo just made me snort soda up my nose.

And of course we have that "women need to be bigger men than men" nonsense.

 As women we needed to be tougher just to be accepted. Today hadn’t helped either of us.

Says who? And hey, weren't you just sneering at the whole "Christian Witches need to be more Christian than Christians" thing a second ago? Isn't this more than a little hypocritical?

And then Tammy reveals that she's pregnant.

And then she pushes Anita to reveal that she's pregnant too, I guess to justify the whole passing-out-at-crime-scene thing. And by "Pushes" I mean she says "You can lie to me if you want, but everybody will figure it out so you might as well come clean now."

Nobody acts like this. NOBODY.

Jason comes in and carries Anita off like she's a precious little flower, and of course this is caught on camera by everybody in the media and there are lots of questions. Jason says that Anita needs Micah and Nathanial and the hot tub because she's so badly hurt and the chapter ends with her fainting again.

Empowered woman. Finds her empowerment threatened by health issues. Right.


  1. Gah. Customer service can really suck. It can suck even harder when Privileged Dude shows up and figures he's entitled to one of the 'girls' on staff.

    Anita always manages to faint at just the right time to get special attention from other people. It's almost as though she's doing it on purpose. Which is problematic as hell, because it makes me suspect that LKH thinks people with non-visible disabilities or health issues are just attention seekers.

  2. "Jason says that Anita needs Micah and Nathanial and the hot tub because she's so badly hurt and the chapter ends with her fainting again."

    Aspirin? Rest? Chicken soup? No no, you need hot guys in a jacuzzi for what ails ya!

    Anita's constant fainting and needing to be tended to and crying and such would be a lot more tolerable if we weren't also supposed to buy her as the toughest tough person that was ever tough. She's an amazing combination of TWO things that I hate: women as weepy fainting delicate flowers who need men and 'strong female characters' as these inhuman tanks who can do everything physically and have no flaws morally and any woman who doesn't is a worthless weakling (HINT TO AUTHORS: Even if it's with positive traits, a stereotype is still a stereotype, and expecting women to live up to any impossible standard--and shaming them when they don't-- is still sexist)

    Anita is both. She is presented as flawless, as incredibly tough, and any woman who isn't like her is shamed. Yet at the same time she also gets to faint every book and be fawned over and literally gets her life force tied to several men. It's not only inconsistent, it's a sexist fuck-no all around.

    1. I hesitate to go "Fainting heroines are bad" because physical issues exist. Fuck, I've passed out before (during a karate lesson) and I've had co-workers and customers pass out right in front of me on multiple occasions (at different places of business).

      But it only works if it is a character building thing. Heroine has health issues? You can let her faint if you strongly believe that it'd be realistic in someone in her condition. But then you have to do character stuff around the health issue AND HAVE THE CHARACTER TAKE REASONABLE STEPS TO PRESERVE THEIR OWN HEALTH.

      (I now want to write a story involving a heroine with blood sugar issues and/or aplastic anemia so she can faint when stressed and still be a strong character because people go through this ,damn it.)

      Fainting to close out a chapter on an emotional high note is NOT OKAY. ESPECIALLY WHEN THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THIS BOOK.

  3. "Isn't this more than a little hypocritical?"

    One thing I noticed in NiC is that Anita is a GIANT HYPOCRITE. I loathe hypocrisy. She cracks on in that book about what an idiot Richard is being because he's letting his ideals blind him to his needs....AND THEN REFUSES TO ACCEPT THE ARDEUR EVEN WHEN IT IS EXPLAINED TO HER REPEATEDLY, INCLUDING HER LIKELIHOOD OF HURTING OTHER PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS IF SHE DOESN'T GET WITH THE PROGRAM.

    Just once I want her to accept the framework she's given (you have the ardeur and need to feed it with sex) and work within it, instead of trying to burn the whole damn thing down. There are beings in the world bigger than her, powers and situations bigger than her, and working within those is what makes a good character. Not telling everyone to fuck off all the time, and she'll do whatever she wants, and be tough, and hate feminine things, because that's what equals empowerment to LKH.