Friday, March 21, 2008

yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi

Hehe. I have to admit I'm finding all the exclamations of how gay this book is a little surprising. I realized some of my lack of surprise may have come because I was expecting something of this nature since when I was researching books for the final essay, I came across another by this author that sounded just as...interesting. If not...more so. ^_^ (Actually I found the description rather amusing and was thinking about doing it till I realized we were already reading a book by this author and that might get a little tiring.) Still, even accounting for that, I still find myself a little...unsettled somehow? Certainly the book is more up front and...excessive in the area of anything relating to sex than we are used to in books we read in lit class (and for most of us anything we read out of class as well? ^_^). Surely that warrants a few utterances of surprise...

To some extent surely I'm just desensitized. (I read manga, so sometimes I trade manga with a friend of mine, but unfortunately most of what she has is yaoi and shoujo, which I, depending on my mood, am either taking just to read the same things as her so we have similar reading experiences to talk about, or, just to be polite. ^^ ...Currently I'm in possession of one apparently about a goldfish that turns into an effeminate man and then has sex with its male owner. *sigh* I just...haven't been able to bring myself to read it.) But I dunno. If this were a book about lesbians constantly having sex I'm sure I'd be more uncomfortable, but...

Glancing through posts again, I guess the main thing is the excessiveness and the unrealistic, er, ratio of gay men? (The connection to immorality, too, of course, but it seems like comments related to that have been...separate from the general, “Wow, this is gay!” remarks. Even if there was no murder in the book, you guys would still be saying that, right?) ...I think MAAAAYBE (I really, really don't know. Shot kind of in the dark here.) I'm getting a vibe that these exclamations of how gay it is and how many phallic symbols there are etc are being stated like the very fact they are there has some sort of inherent meaning. Like...for a random and not exactly equivalent example from another class...I read a transcript of an interview a professor did with a girl about 'dealing' with non native English speakers. The girl started one of her stories with something like, “My friend works at this hospital. It's like...the poor hospital in town.” And then just went on with her story not staying what she meant by that. Because what she meant, of course, is that 'the poor hospital is where the non-native English speakers go.' But she said 'poor hospital' unconsciously assuming people would make the connection. If you asked her she might have told you she was just giving background, but it was pretty clear. Saying 'this novel is really gay' ... I don't think it's anywhere near as extreme as the example, but I still get that feeling of 'poor hospital = non-native English speakers,' like 'really gay novel = ..???' I don't know what the “???” is, but I think it's something kind of negative. It seems...belittling?

I may be getting a little defensive since I read fantasy novels, and while I'll agree that most I've read are...sadly less than engaging/intellectually stimulating, being a fantasy novel does not make a novel inherently insubstantial. And a book being full of sex and sexual descriptions of men and buildings does not make it inherently insubstantial either. All of you acknowledge that in your posts I think (and the kind of person who would take this class would probably anyway, right? ^_^), but I also wanted to say that if a book that is in either of these categories IS 'literary'/substantial, it is also not necessarily 'substantial DESPITE being Xunrespectable thingX,' either. A book having lots of gay sex in it is a book with lots of gay sex in it. (By the way, how do you think everyone would react if it was straight sex?) While that might often come with empty/bad writing, that's just a correlation, and not something inherent in writing about gay sex as talking about it in that way might imply.

And maybe I'm just misunderstanding the cause of my uneasiness, or understanding your statements wrong. Seeing what is easiest for me to see, etc. ...But we DO do some interesting accidental things with our carefree, late night, spring-break-has-almost-started-and-I'm-not-in-the-mood-for-this-now language use. ^_^

To a certain extent, I really believe that the excessive sexual stuff is just for the author's own fun, but I think they're also doing something with it in a literary/meaningful way, helpless as I feel to figure out what that is at this point or possibly ever. ^_^ I mean, my friends and I for a time would pick up trashy romance novels from library giveaways or other such things and leave them in the cars so on long drives we could read them aloud to one another. (Count the times the word 'ivory' was used.) I know the writing style of the time period factors in, but... Pure trashy porn really, really doesn't sound like this, does it? Plus, hasn't this section we read for today been little more...uh...normal? ^_^;

And I suppose a quick bit on today's reading since I haven't mentioned that at all, but I'll keep it simple since I read it half asleep and had to rush through so Brother could start:

Opinions of Gil? I'd certainly be wary of making friends with the guy, but I find him a sympathetic character. So we've got two gay murderers (but of course, everyone is gay ^_^), but Gil is portrayed differently than Querelle. Has it effected anyone's opinion of how they feel the book is portraying homosexuality?

Mario and the lieutenant feel rather...impotent people? ^_^; Mario's a cop, and the police force in general kind of seems to feel that way as well... and the Lt... at first I was thinking the more morally tied down people were the more 'impotent' ones, but... none of them are HORRIBLY moral. But...maybe by comparison to others, heheh?

Reading quickly was possibly part of the problem (Normally I read slower than.....I'm just too sleepy to be thinking of creative ends to sentences right now.) but there were some whole sections I just didn't get. The looong paragraph about the prisoners? Page 118 with the...I don't even know how to describe that. And while I get what literally happened with Querelle and his brother, obviously the author is trying to say something with all this talk of joining or whatever it was. Bah, I wish I wasn't reading this for school. Trying to understand that guy's sections is just cognitively overwhelming, and you still barely get anywhere. I kind of wish it was more predominantly the other characters, even if I do have difficulty understanding their motivations as well sometimes.

1 comment:

fehrer said...

In reguards to your second paragraph where you said the ratio of gay men stood out...
It is almost like when you do a science experiment and you want an example that is controled and one that is not. It's like camparing the fall of two items, varying in weight, in plain air and then in a vacuum.
I feel like the author almost put us on a desert island and said watch and see what happens when we put a handful of gay males and just a couple females and then some drugs and outlandish situations. Hum, sounds almost like some of those reality TV shows where it is all supposed to be real, but the circumstances are so bizzar that no one can really relate and everyone seems bizzar and evil.
OK, so you've got your desert island and all your gay guys with hot bodies and glistning tans... now, throw in some drugs and a whore house.
Yeah, the ratio is off, but I find it is best to look at what the author is showing us about their psychy through reaction, than about real life situations and people.
It's a weird situation, but what these people feel is normal and common and we just need to focus ont hat and look past the, um, well, you know...