Monday, January 09, 2006

Elyce Deconstructs "Fight Club"

What is even more interesting re the gaze than how the film plays it out is how it turns it around. Instead of having a narrator constantly gazing at his femme fatale or sex object (a la Hitchcock’s Vertigo, for one), Fight Club has him gaze at his hypermasculine alter ego, Tyler Durden. Both the protagonist and the camera linger over Brad Pitt and his buff bod—as well as over the many other men who must strip to the waist when they fight and the pumped up army dudes. This goes even further as the film fetishizes blood, scrapes, and bruises (and I’ll get to kinkiness presently), but first…

It Ain't Easy Being a "Pale Male"

Yea, right.

On the contrary, men at Fortune 100 companies commonly complain that due to diversity goals, women actually have an unfair advantage. "Every company I've worked at goes out of its way to hire or promote women to senior level positions," says an upper-middle manager at a major food company. He adds with a sigh, "It's not easy being a 'pale male' in today's corporate world."

Where do these guys get these impressions? Not from the stats:

Yet recent research and statistics tell a different story, suggesting that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place. It's been 10 years since the U.S. Government's Glass Ceiling Commission released its findings that while women had 46 percent of America's jobs and more than half the master's degrees being awarded, only 5 percent of all senior manager positions were filled by women. What's more, female managers' earnings were on average a mere 68 percent of their male counterparts'.

And, some reasons for it, which I see everyday here in Grande Latte Enema Land:

- Different standards are used to judge the performance of women and minorities.

- Their corporate culture assigns lesser value to women and minorities.

- The "good old boy network" is the biggest discrimination barrier to career advancement.

- Because women and minorities are less willing to play the political game, many choose to leave the corporate world entirely.

Not really new stuff, but fascinating that men's impressions of women's levels of seniority in the workplace are a lot higher than the actual levels women achieve. It's that old 1/4 rule. Anytime a room is composed of 1/4 or more women, people will say that at least half the room is "full" of women.

Read the rest

It Gets Better & Better

HONOLULU -- A state lawmaker has suggested Hawaii's public schoolteachers be forced to weigh in as part of the fight against obesity in students, KITV in Honolulu reported.

Because teaching kids it's OK to discriminate is cool.

This gets into all those tricky arguments about who decides what "fat" is, and what about medical conditions and... and... oh, forget it! Just oust the fatties.

Note that they're not advocating testing cholesterol levels or resting heart rates. It's never really about health. It's about all that nasty, disgusting fat.

Next up: plastic surgery for teachers who don't appeal to Aryan beauty standards!

The Writing Game

As mentioned earlier, I heard back from the Agent about my fantasy novel, The Dragon's Wall. She's incredibly enthusiastic about the whole project, thinks it'll make a great series, but thinks it needs a total overhaul.

Now, that might sound really great, but I had to hide in my room for two days getting over the initial "rejection" part of it before I could think clearly and re-read the e-mail again with a cooler head. When somebody tells you your book really doesn't hit its stride until page 200 and she's fully expecting it'll be about a year's worth of edits, well, you're going to cringe. You're going to cringe quite a lot.

But for all that, she really likes the book. And I ran into her at a con, and I really liked her. I'd love to run the whole series with her. So there are a lot of positives.

Yet I honestly had to sit down and have a mental conversation with myself about whether or not I was going to do this. I had to ask myself: am I just being delusional? Is it worth spending another five years on this book, potentially taking away time from other books that I might work on? Am I just fooling myself? Should I just move on to something else?

Which is a dumb question to ask about a book you've already invested five years in. Escalation of commitment. You just have to keep going.

Because the thing with the first book in a series is that if you can nail that one, if you can sell that one, and it sells well, you've got a series. It's possible you can lock it in, so long as they don't all suck. You may even be able to support yourself for a couple of those years (if you're lucky) on writing alone. And, of course, you may wow everybody and have 500 people show up to all your signings and have huge fan clubs and be able to buy a big house.

I mean, there's that.

But let's be rational, shall we?

One of my writing buddies agreed to look at the book again, and I think I'll haul it to a writing workshop sometime this year. It's a lot of time and attention, but it's my baby, and I want to get this one out there. Maybe I really am delusional to sink so much into it, but really, what else am I going to do besides write? This is what I do. I'd be bored otherwise.

I wrote up a response to said Agent and said she should expect to see a heavily revisied version of the book sometime later this year - after I'm done drafting God's War, of course. GW has about 100 pages to go (yea, I've discovered my max fiction rate appears to be 100 pages a month). My computer's broken again (it keeps automatically restarting everytime it gets to the "login" page"), so who knows how things'll go, but that's what they make those yellow legal pads for.

So here we go again, playing the writing game, gambling that if I do good rewrites, Agent will like them, then Agent will find Publisher(s) who like the book (or require, of course, MORE REWRITES), and you just keep writing, and keep hoping you're getting better at it, and hope that sometime, somewhere, something will roll over and it'll all just hit.

Of course, it may just be a continuous upward slog, but I really hope there's a hilltop somewhere that I can get to the top of and something, somehow, some aspect of the game, will get easier.

I'm not counting on it, though.