Friday, January 31, 2014

Harlequin--chapter 38

I'm doing this early because 1. I started the next Starbleached book today and I'd really like to get back to that and 2. This is FUCKING HORRIFYING and I'd rather not have it be my entire Friday night.

Anita describes Haven, trying very hard to make him sound dangerous. The word "Still" is used a lot, to give the implication that this man is a piece of shit and that Anita's known it from the beginning.

He's got sesame street tattoos and he dyed his hair to match Cookie Monster's fuzz. He might be a dangerous motherfucker, but he will never be scary. But congrats to LKH for writing about bronies before bronies were a thing (You KNOW if this were written in 2012 Haven would be rocking Fluttershy's do. You KNOW it)

And now Anita is going to intervew Haven on taking over Joseph's pride right in front of Joseph. This includes the murder of many of the members, his own death, and the probable rape/gang rape of his wife.

Our heroine is doing this.

I'm gonna elaborate a bit on what I said in yesterday's comments: I am now actively hoping that LKH got pissed off at the real human being that she based Joseph on, and that all of this is just a really shitty revenge fantasy aimed at a real person somewhere. Because that would mean that LKH doesn't actually condone the social implications of this. It would mean that LKH is a silly, lonely woman with poor self confidence, who has surrounded herself with "yes" people, who really doesn't think past her own nose when it comes to people. I am going to ascribe to that "These are all people she knows" theory with all of my mental abilities.

Because the alternative is that LKH really does condone the shit that's happened in this book. The mass rapes. The dehumanization of victims. The victim/predator binary that doesn't allow for altruistic protectors. The mass rapes. The technical slavery of anybody weaker than you. The murder of anyone who DARES suggest you might not be the moral be-all-end-all. The moral absoluteism. The sexism. The racism. The cruelty. The mass rapes of children. Either this is a revenge fantasy based on a real human being, or LKH actually believes that a man defending his family and subordinates from abuse and mass rape from the dominant paradigm deserves to die.  And I'm gonna go with revenge fantasy, and that she doesn't think this shit all the way through, because I refuse to believe that any human being can really be that bad.

Either LKH is a self absorbed, silly, fifty-ish woman, or she's a moral monster.

We covered? Good.

The power was seeking what Micah was to me, a Rex to my Regina. Chimera had been the same way, I guess; he’d been the dominant in whatever group he took over.

Haven reached out to me. I could have moved back, but I was just a little late in moving. Maybe it was a Freudian slip, or maybe it was an entire wardrobe.

1. A Freudian slip usually means a mistake in speech or action that betrays an internal thought or desire. It can apply to actions, but in this context it doesn't betray shit. It just means that Anita was slow in moving and Haven was faster. As another example: I got into my rapist's car voluntarily. That doesn't mean that I wanted to be raped.

2. A Freudian slip has bullshit to do with clothes. I get it, LKH, you were trying real hard to be clever. This is like saying "The color was red, but I felt more like orange, or maybe I felt more like the entire tree." We're talking about psychology. NOT CLOTHES. It comes off as more of a car wreck than a clever observation.

But you want us to read it as Anita wants to fuck Haven. Well, she's sensed a kindred spirit, so OF COURSE SHE DOES.

  Haven was staring down at our clasped hands as if he didn’t know what they were. He sounded distracted, like he was thinking about something very different from what his words said. “Your Nimir-Raj has kicked Joseph and his lions out of the coalition. I’ve checked with the wererats, the werehyenas, and your Ulfric. They’re all cool with me doing what needs doing.”
Murder. He means murder. The murder of Joseph because he ignored Anita.

OF COURSE THE OTHER WERES ARE GOING TO SUPPORT ANITA. However shitty it might be, Micah's coalition is the best hope the weres have for real, meaningful social change. It's a horrible thing, but there isn't an alternative. There's varmint laws that allow weres to be shot on sight, if Richard gets outed that's his career gone, Lillian has the same thing (I can't remember if she's still a legal doc or not. Sue me). It's a little like Patricia Brigg's Marrok, only instead of the Marrok taking care of the needy wolves and policing the packs, it's Micah acting as Anita's procurer. You want basic human rights? You want to not be thrown out into the cold and outside of the protection of the other were packs? You'd better put out for my girlfriend. With those kinds of stakes, if I were in that position I'd probably go along with it. If I were trading my being raped for my human rights I'd probably agree to be raped, because it'd mean that maybe, someday, I'd get to have a life without general fear and dread, and that's the carrot Micah offers.

In fact, this really, REALLY reminds me of what happens when a prominent Social Justice Warrior rapes somebody. The victim keeps their mouth shut because the SJW is doing so much good and who would believe them anyway?

IMHO it shows you how fucking twisted this whole thing is. If ANYBODY reported Anita and Company to the cops, they face either instant death, mind-rape, or the Joseph treatment. Congrats. Being a supernatural in St. Louis is now a dictatorship.

Joseph begs for his life again. Yes, boys and girls. He's still in the room. Anita says nobody trusts you, and Haven just ignores him.

“So you won’t care what I do?” Haven asked. He was looking at my face now . His face was more serious than I’d ever seen it. 
“There are some lions in his group that are weak, but they’re still valuable. Give them a chance to join you.”
 “Valuable how?” 
“They have jobs. They bring income into the pride so that others don’t have to work.”
That sound, blog-readers, is the sound of my brain shattering. I don't know where to start. The abilism--that the ones who have jobs are the valuable ones. The fact that the valuable ones are ONLY valuable because they allow others not to work. I have no idea how to address that one. The fact that they are calmly discussing MURDER in front of the MURDER VICTIM. The fact that said victim is only a future dead man because he WOULDN'T HAVE SEX WITH ANITA.

Haven replies that money isn't a problem, Auggie is bankrolling him.

Dude. Unless the "others" Anita mentioned are YOU and not, you know, the people who can't manage their lions in a public setting, you're talking apples and oranges here.

Anita says that she doesn't want any human mob connections in town, because that would bring too much heat on Jean Claude. Okay, the text says it's the difference between vampire and human but NO WAY IN FUCK are the cops treating vampire mobs and human mobs differently, any more than they are the Italian and Russian mobs. It's still mafia, it's still criminal, and the feds still won't hesitate to break your ass.

 Haven then gets REALLY posessive and demands to know if Anita slept with any of the lions in Joseph's pride. Because OF COURSE we have to have posturing with that. It's not like Anita should be free to fuck (CONSENTUALLY) whomever she wants (Who consents to being fucked prior to the actual fucking)

Haven then tells Joseph that, in effect, his lions have twenty four hours before the shit hits the fan.

“She’s right,” Haven said. He looked at Joseph. “We can’t settle this right now, so go. Go tell your pride that you failed them. Tell them that we’ll give them tonight safe.”
And this is when a sane group of weres, like Joseph's pride, call the cops, tell them that shit is about to go down, and then fort up in a secure building with a LARGE supply of ammo because FUCK THAT SHIT.

I am now sorely tempted to write a book about a group of weres forting up to fight a hostile takeover. It's an idea that's been bouncing around for a long time. I have a set of characters and everything.

Wicked and Truth then escort Joseph out of the building. And this happens:

“You condemn me to death, Anita,” he called back over his shoulder. I didn’t know what to say to that, so I said nothing. You can’t save everybody, and we couldn’t afford to have any ally that wasn’t with us completely. It wasn’t just the sex. There’d been no lion in his pride good enough to be a bodyguard. Not a single one.

And the thing about protecting the weak? They can't usually give back to you once you save them. Nobody ever repaid Superman. Peter Parker gets shit on every time he turns around, in or out of the mask. It doesn't matter. The whole point of protecting those weaker than you is that they CAN'T give back. You don't protect the able because the able can damn well fucking protect themselves. You protect the weaker (As much as they want you to) so that they can become self sufficiant, and even if they don't, you keep doing it because someday, you WILL be the weak one, you WILL need protection, and you'll want somebody to stand over you with a flame thrower or a blank check, ready to keep you alive come hell or high water. And if you're superhuman and you'll never grow old? You keep doing it because it's the right thing to do. Every human being ought to have food and water for the day, clean clothes, a clean body and a door that locks. The fact that we cannot provide that for people when we have this much technology and this much wealth and this much social awareness is an indictment of just how much we've failed as a species.  I mean for fuck's sake, if overextending ourselves in the protection and betterment of the less fortunate isn't something to aspire to, I don't want to be fucking human anymore.

Anita is saying that the lions aren't worth protecting because they cannot directly benefit her.

Can it get worse? Yes. Yes it can.

“What did you say to him, Wicked?” I asked. 
“I told him that the werelion had given him tonight to be safe, but if he kept saying mean things about our masters, I’d just do him tonight.
 “It’s my fight,” Haven said.
 “I said that I’d do him, not that I’d kill him. After everything he’d just said, I figured rape would scare him enough to get him out of here.”
Yes. Rape as a casual threat. Our heroes. Threatening to rape their own murder victims at the drop of a hat. Those crazy kids.

This is never acknowledged by Anita or her folks. Instead, they bemoan that the rumor that nobody can join Jean Claude's protective circle without fucking Jean Claude isn't true.

But now it's time for Haven to swear his love to Anita forever.

I like being a guy. I like being muscle. I like hurting people. I don’t mind killing people. I like my job. I like drinking with the guys, a little poker, and strip clubs, fucking. It was a good life.”
Who not to date, boys and girls. Anyhoo, Haven's unwavering oath of devotion is all about how thinking about Anita fucked up his manliness.

“Yeah, you did, Anita, maybe not on purpose, but you did. First it fucked up my job, then it fucked up my fun. I started looking at my friends and what we did, and thought, She’d be disappointed. She’d think it was stupid.” He shook his head. “Damn it, I’ve never let any woman mess me up like this.”

Note the problem: It's not that his job is messed up. It's that a WOMAN did it to him. Isn't that weak of him? Isn't Anita special for doing that to him?

Anita Blake: Redeeming Potential Rapists, But Only Where She Is Concerned.

I didn’t know what to say. Sorry seemed lame, and It’s not my fault seemed worse. I didn’t mean to fuck up your life seemed the most accurate. I finally settled for, “I didn’t make you rethink your life, Haven.”
She made a RAPING MURDEROUS THUG think that maybe being a rapist murdering thug is a bad thing. AND THIS IS A NEGATIVE ACTION ON HER PART. Haven then confirms this. She did make him rethink his life.  And then Truth chimes in, because his job is to say how WONDERFUL Anita is.

“A lady always makes a  man want to be better than he is."
Yes. Anita is a lady. No one else is a lady. Just Anita. Nobody that Haven raped or fucked is a lady. Just Anita. Anita is wonderful. Anita is everything.

Fuck Anita.

“Only love of a good woman will make a man question every choice, every action. Only love makes a warrior hesitate for fear that his lady will find him cruel. Only love makes a man both the best he will ever be , and the weakest. Sometimes all in the same moment.”

Twenty five people in this universe are amoral, melodramatic shitheads. Yes, folks. Twenty five people highlighted that paragraph on their Kindle. Twenty-five human beings read THAT paragraph in the context of THIS chapter and decided that it deserved merit. Twenty five people.

Anita betrayed a man whose only crime was IGNORING her in favor of his own family and his own subordinates so that Anita would not RAPE THEM. Anita is not a good woman.

Anita basically tells Haven that yeah, she wants sex with him but she likes how her life works right now, so please don't fuck it up. Truth tells her that Haven's ego needs salving, so she salves it.

“I thought about you while you were in Chicago, but not to the extent you thought about me. I sent you away because I wanted to touch you. I wanted to be naked with you, and do all the things you do when the clothes come off.”

Yes. Because actually saying you want to have sex would make you a slut, apparently.

Haven follows it up with this:

“It means that once I kill Joseph and take over his pride, I’ll be a permanent member of your coalition. I’ll be the local Rex. Once I take over Joseph’s pride, I can’t go back to Chicago.”

Yeah, because it's not like your murder victim didn't leave the room FIVE MINUTES AGO. And hey, we haven't had any major sexism this chapter:

The lioness in me wanted to know if he was as good as his brag. Not just about sex, but power. The lioness more than any other of my beasts wanted a mate that could protect her , keep up with her.

Yep. Because protection is what you think of. Not safe, sane companionship. Protection.

Anita realizes that having Haven as a Rex is okay, but having him as a boyfriend might be a problem. Because it's okay if he abuses other lionesses, but there's a risk he might abuse HER, and that's a no-no.

I opened my mouth to say go, but my lioness swiped a claw up inside me, like she was playing with my liver. It made me writhe on the bed and not in a good way.

You know, apparently LKH has a biology degree. I think it came out of a crackerjack box, but she has one.

This could probably go on forever, and apparently LKH realized this, because Dolph shows up and throws everybody out of the hospital room. This is a public hospital, not a were/vampire special. I did not know this. What are these idiots doing here if this is a public hospital? Anyhoo, Dolph tells Anita that Edward and Olaf are enough backup...

or is there something going on in our city so dangerous that you need all this firepower?”

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO WARN THE COPS. THE COPS NEED TO KNOW THAT MURDERING VAMPIRES ARE IN TOWN. Otherwise one of them might go hunting for a murderer and wind up dead. This is info that could LITERALLY save lives.

Instead, Anita finishes the chapter by wondering why she doesn't trust Olaf.

I hate this book.


  1. Sorry, to bother you what happened to chapter 34? Longtime reader/lurker here. Love your work.

    1. Ah, that was part of my nefarious plot to see if you were all paying attention. You were. Very good.

      (Yeah, the reality is I misnumbered one of the headers. 31-33 is 32-34. My bad. Sorry)

  2. Wow, I

    I too desperately hope that LKH is indeed just silly and clueless.

    There's so much wrong here so all I'm gonna go with is lololol at a lioness needing protection

  3. If this were deliberately written as Anita's descent into addiction and psychopathy it would be interesting. It could have been Breaking Bad with monsters before Breaking Bad ever became a thing. But with Anita and her men presented as the Good Guys, it's just nasty: "Oh hey Joseph it's time for a meeting with the man who's going to murder you and rape your wife BET YOU WISH YOU'D FUCKED ME HUH?"

  4. I was thinking about it, wondering why the rape of ALL the swanmanes including their children bothered me less than this one bit with Joseph and his family. I think it's because this is the sort of shit real-life crime bosses do. Someone wouldn't bow deep enough to you? Snuff their kids as payback. Someone doesn't show you enough respect? Send in a pack of thugs to take over their operation and break their friends.

    The swanmane business is fantastic enough to be abstract. But what Anita and her men are doing to the lions actually happens.

  5. I am literally horrified. I think it's hitting me harder than normal because I'm writing a space opera about people being horrible to other people, and the other people have had *enough*. I'm at the part where the rhetoric is dialing up so this stuff is in the front of my head. Anita is like the warden of the prison ship in my story - a tyrant and a sadist, and Anita is still worse than her. I think my villain would be disgusted at Anita for being such a monster. My cannibals would like her, though.

    I've been debating writing an urban fantasy series that's Anita done right and this has made me decide I am totally doing it. I guess you could say that LKH inspires me to write - just not the way she thinks she does.

  6. This actually got worse really.
    I read the last chapter thinking the same as the comments on it. I really couldn't get over the lions betrayed us. It's a real wtf. How? The coalition betrayed them. A requirement shouldn't be doing what Anita wants at all times or death. Joseph is right this is SLAVERY he wouldn't have sex w/ her consent to rape of his people so that's betrayal. She's supposed to be a fed marshal. She's as dirty as any will ever be.
    This chapter gets worse she knows Joseph may lose (which means die) and that in some cases lion take overs includes the MURDER of CHILDREN. She's cool with that. Except for the "valuable ones" who can support others. But most are "worthless" since they can't be her personal body guards & food.
    With allies like her who needs enemies.