Sep. 11th, 2012

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So, like most days in an average person's life, today is a day full of good things. And bad things. Mostly bad things, but there are some nice ones in there.

For once I wasn't COMPLETELY moronic in my Dickens class (yes, I'm wasting my life by taking a Dickens class - putting your money to good use, Daddy!). I believe I accomplished this by saying little and only repeating a story told to me in brief terms, and not inserting any of my own beliefs.

I also worked on two articles for our newspaper. Both of which suck intensely, but hey, I worked on them!

My prospects continue to worsen as this 3rd week of school continues. And when you can't even do well in English classes... you know you've hit an all-time low.

I'm good at the comp sci stuff, though!

Pity that's not MY DAMN MAJOR!

...

So we workshopped that story I turned in. There were some rather glowing remarks about it, and I failed, epically, to say "thanks". No. Instead I had to mouth off about my writing intentions for longer than the other two authors combined.

I know the story should really be a longer short story, at the least, but I think it could still work in a ten-page format. There was commentary to support this fact. That others had seen it, as well.

There was also a... a problem. Well, a couple problems that I failed to address. Because I prefered to make two jokes about how I was surprised it reminded people of "1984", when I've never read "1984", and how I might have been channeling the "Twilight Zone". And I was distracted by the fact that people were talking about things like the "red rain" and "crossing the line" and "the Edge" as significant features in the story and it sounded like people talking about "The Great Gatsby" (yes, there's a lot of arrogance involved, tyvm). And that made me laugh because it felt really weird.

So people brought up the fact that I didn't use gender pronouns. The author isn't supposed to talk during the discussion (at least until the end), so I stayed quiet and let people talk, and didn't respond to the problem. One of them commented on how it was interesting that he felt a NEED to get a gender pronoun. And I was thinking "there's hope for the world yet because they know there's a problem". And then another student commented on how one of the characters was definitely female.

...

Worse, a lot of people agreed with that person.

Yeah. Why? Because the character is peppy? Sorry to break it to you, but guys can be peppy, too. People who don't identify with either men or women can be peppy.

I didn't write the story with the intention of addressing the issues of writing gender and gender stereotyping and addressing sexuality. In fact, once I fully realized what I was doing, I just thought it was a challenge to write a story without using gender pronouns. Personally, I don't see the characters as anything. They could be men. They could be women. They could be anything. Gender is a social construct. The characters in the story exist in a world without social constructs. They don't interact with each other. They don't have a society to begin with. They don't even have a sense of difference. Physically, there should be no differences between them. They're mass-produced robots designed to clean carpets. There's no reason to program that information into them.

What they were programmed with, which makes them easy to connect with, is curiosity, inventiveness/creativity in the wake of new problems, and logic. They even almost have a belief in a higher power/morals, if you can look at programming in a different light. They are also willing to work together and face problems when confronting the unknown. So, even lacking some of the concepts we consider basic to human life, like "fun", "enjoyment", and others, they are remarkably like us.

I don't know if my peers in that class are sexist, close-minded, stupid, or what. Even an idiot could consider the fact that "hey, there aren't any gender pronouns here, but I need them... something funky is going on here!" rather than just assign one to the character and move on.

I know this, because of the discomfort a large portion of people feel when they give an undesignated author a gender in casual discussion. If you are given a neutral name and use a "he", what does that say? If you use a "she", what does that say?

People wanted me to give them nicknames. The professor thought it would be interesting if I let them get inebriated on the wine. Which would let them change.

...

So anyway. The story is quite flawed. I'm aware of this. There were two problems I'm very annoyed at myself with. One was that there was a typo I missed early on that was very important. I switched the location of the main character halfway through writing the piece, and the typo got them mixed up.

The other is the fact that this story type is listed on the "Don't Do This" list we read early in the course. It's a big reveal. I didn't even... I mean, the "reveal" is kind of required for the way the story functions.

I didn't make it that difficult to catch on without the reveal. There's plenty of clues if you're not distracted by the lack of gender pronouns. Their names. Their duties. Their environment. The way they speak to each other. Sure, you might not picture vacuum bots, but it's pretty clear that they're robots of some sort. The "big reveal" could far more easily be "ah, so that's what it is" and not "What the--? There's no reason for that!"

That's part of the problem with relating it to a Twilight Zone episode. I didn't do a reveal that shows they're in a crystal ball at the end. I didn't do a reveal that showed aliens doing an experiment up above all the chaos. I did something simple that just gives you a bit more information on what's going on.

It's not really amazing enough to say that it's okay. And some of the answers to the problem are okay. There's actually a few things that I could do.

I'm just really annoyed. At myself and the others.

Sailor Moon 7 came in today. Ooh, I found cover art for the first short story collection. It's cute.

I started playing this old Lord of the Rings game I got years ago and gave up on because a) the controls suck and b) I got lost in Moria, which is confusing as, well... yeah.

So what did I learn today? A) Walkthroughs are awesome, and b) the controls still suck.

While this is further informative about the volume-arc breakdown in SM, I'm still confused about things. I was write that the current arc is 2.5 volumes. But if the pattern continues, that means that Stars is still stuck in one volume, which I still can't comprehend.

Aaand there's the cover art for the other volume.

So the first lady is coming to our campus on Thursday. That's really cool. Only you need tickets to get in. That's fine. I went to get in learn half an hour early, and the line stretched back to the street, so I gave up. I apparently shouldn't have, because they still have leftover tickets and they'll be putting them out again tomorrow.

So that's annoying.

And then there's the really bad translation that continues to plague the new SM. Yeah, it's better than the old one in many ways. But... in others it's almost comical for being bad.

A pile of stupid stuff, really. Just a pile of it.

Ta.

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