Reblog if you seriously want the Incredibles to have a sequel.
But could it ever be as perfect?
School is no place for a reader. An object of suspicion and a source of discord in the classroom, the reading child is a threat to school harmony. Her act of reading is itself a provocation to authority. She must be stopped and made to play team games or gaze dumbly at a screen. The silent reader dangerously escapes supervision and the escape is most threatening when the content of the book is unknown.
But reading boosterism is everywhere. Notices in the hallways advertise the Book Fair. Slogans abound. “Reading Rocks!” “Reading is Cool!” “I ª 2 Read!” Oracular posters prophesy “TODAY A READER, TOMORROW A LEADER.” A spurious promise. Reading seems at least as likely to undermine a desire to “lead” as to encourage it. In the act the reader retreats from the world, makes herself absent from the forum. When I think of “readerly leadership” Tolstoy’s General Kutuzof comes to mind – observing, waiting, delaying action, frustrating the ambitions of courtiers and counsellors. His was a leadership prone to doubt, aware of the vagaries of chance, and the unpredictability and frequent futility of action – “When in doubt, don’t.”
The Book Fair tables are filled with things that aren’t books – pencil sharpeners, stamp art kits, novelty pens – and things that only look like books – video game character guides, Lego sets packaged in a book form, One Direction Fact Books, Power Rangers and Angry Birds advertisements disguised as “Early Readers.” The Book Fair is a hoax.
When I was a kid, our school library didn’t even have computers. As a teen, computer systems were used for reference lookups. When my younger brothers passed through school, the world wide web was coming to the fore, but the school library still had real, actual books.
What happened? Why are we letting this happen? All this talk of “nerd” and “geek” being the new cool, and smart being “in”, but our schools are behaving like only the most superficial portion of being a part of that movement (video games and pop culture fandoms) is what matters.
If people want to BE smart, and feel bad when they aren’t smart, shouldn’t we be teaching them how to gain knowledge and do research on their own, rather than patting them on the head and telling the other children to shush because they’re making the “dumb kids” feel bad?
Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.
So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects…
And here’s the problem with this whole thing: the author, whom I presume was not around during the time that the phrase “Mary Sue” was coined, has utterly and COMPLETELY missed the point of where it came from.
It was a very different time when Star Trek was airing in the 1960s. There was no web. If you wanted to communicate with a group of people, you couldn’t go online - you had to get together in person, or do it by mail. Not email - snail mail. Stick it in an envelope, lick a stamp, and send it off to whomever you wanted to send it to. When Trek was cancelled, people craved more stories and so a fan fiction movement was born to fulfill it.
The thing was, most people wanted to read about Kirk and Spock and McCoy. They DIDN’T want to read about Ensign Orphangirl of the planet Obsessia, they wanted stories about the characters they knew and loved. Unfortunately, many authors of fan fiction were inserting themselves into the medium rather than writing about the further adventures of those characters they knew and loved. The backlash against this sort of thing not only resulted in the “Mary Sue” term we all know, but even extended to a hatred of Wil Wheaton’s character on Star Trek:The Next Generation (Wesley? You mean like in Eugene Wesley Roddenberry? Was Wesley a “Mary Sue” for him, or a representation of his son? It didn’t matter what the truth was, some fans vehemently hated Wil Wheaton simply because he was Wesley Crusher and was perceived as a Mary Sue).
There is nothing wrong with writing a fictional power fantasy about yourself, or writing fiction where there is a character that is a reflection of yourself in it in general, for that matter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 13 year old girl (or a 25 year old woman, or anyone else) writing stories that empower themselves, nor is there anything wrong with someone who actually wants to read those stories seeking them out or asking for them.
The problem is using an established character, set of characters, or canon as a backdrop in order to trick people into reading your power fantasy when they otherwise would have no interest in doing so.
But, you know, nice try in attempting to turn it into something about sexism. What the world really needs is a MORE adversarial approach to that sort of thing.