Fear of blogging and literary baloney.

Do you ever get paranoid that your school will find your blog and fire you for blogging about work???? Or at the very least make you feel very uncomfortable about blogging? I was also going to ask about your opinion on Catherine Barkley. I am obviously very focused today.

The basic honest answer is, no. I'm not really very worried about my blog colliding with my work life. I don't think the chances of anyone from work finding it are very high. I don't broadcast the fact that I have a blog at work, just for the sake of caution, though. I don't want anyone to go specifically looking for anything, either. If they did know that I kept a blog, I highly doubt that they would object to it.

In regards to Catherine Barkley, I have to admit that, although I will always source Hemingway as one of my favorite writers, I really mean mostly in regard to his short stories, memoirs and The Sun Also Rises. His other novels kind of annoy the fucking shit out of me. I think his style is just right for short stories, because the format forces him to get to the point. And his beautiful understated prose is shoehorned into actually saying something rather quickly. In his novels, he tends to kind of mumble and drone on a bit, in my opinion. Also, the misogyny that Hemingway is often accused of displaying doesn't really bother me when I'm reading his short stories or memoirs, because in the short story form, he doesn't usually have time to make it too cringey, and in his real life accounts, it's a bit more honest -- he's just being a misogynistic cock. Which plenty of male writers from his time were. But when he has free reign over a female character in such great detail as a novel affords, it gets really tedious really fast. Because I don't think he's actually aware of what a misogynistic cock he is sometimes.

He has a bad habit of creating what I think he genuinely views as good, worthy, well-crafted female characters who are really nothing more than hysterical, annoying, whiny stereotypes. Catherine Barkley, for all that some feminists like to prattle on about what an overlooked hero she is, definitely falls into that category for me. I don't really see anything heroic about her, and I think if she were an actual breathing human being, I'd avoid her company as much as possible. People like to argue that she was just so overcome with her own passion and suffering as a woman that she couldn't help but fall into pits of despair, or whatever the fuck it is. But, let's face it -- she's a drama queen. Because Hemingway largely misunderstood women as being primarily hysterical. Just because he tried to take his stereotype and turn it into something admirable doesn't mean that it's any less of a boring, predictable and annoying stereotype.

In case anyone's wondering, I have massive issues with people considering Jane Austen's writing to be so completely "feminist" as well. I find her to be nothing of the sort.


쏘냐 said...

Okay because I was thinking about giving Hemingway another chance despite Catherine Barkley single-handedly making me despise second semester of sophomore year of high school English. But I couldn't come up with a good reason. I'll stick to short stories... I've only read Hills Like White Elephants but I can't remember having a problem with it.

Blogging still makes me nervous.

Helena said...

We read A Farewell to Arms for book club just a couple of months ago. The girl who picked it is actually Korean, and picked Catherine for her English name. She said it was inspired by Catherine from Wuthering Heights, but I couldn't help noticing this Catherine has the same name. I mentioned to her that I wouldn't really recommend either one of them as a role model.

I'm no Picasso said...

Sonia: Read A Moveable Feast, if you really want to go for the longer stuff. Also, the short stories are really quite beautiful. Occasionally you hit on one that's like.... what did I just read? But when it hits you, it really hits you.

Helena: I'm really glad to hear I'm not the only one who thinks that way. I get kicked around in a lot of literary conversations because I usually have some pretty serious problems with the female characters a lot of pop media likes to hold up as feminist examples. People somehow tend to turn the conversation into, "How can you criticize women that way!" When really it's about criticizing authors who create female characters who behave that way, because of their preconceived notions about what a female character has to be.

Turner said...

Different experiences with blogging about my company. First time, I was in Japan and they didn't renew my contract because of it (even with some positive things on the blog).

Mally said...

I'm a fan of historical fiction and I find that in most of the books from that time period there are only three types of female characters. Virtuous, villainous, frivolous. Even female authors seemed to mainly stick with those characterization of women. While Jane Austen's characters don't manage to escape those characterizations, I find them more entertaining than the other "virtuous" characters of that time. I've also observed the same three female characterization still exist in modern tv shows geared toward young women.

Gomushin Girl said...

The mistake is that people want to represent Jane and her creations as modern feminists, and radical in a way that they really weren't. I mean, I love her writing - I find it funny and witty and filled with three-dimensional women. It's not something you find in a lot of the contemporary literature. But Austen didn't really challenge the social and gender structure of the time. She lived within it and I think did a fantastic job of illuminating how it worked and even sometimes how it oppressed women, but some people want to pretend like she was out burning corsets and raging against the status quo instead of quietly living at home as a nice spinster of moderate means.
That said, I love Austen. Persuasion fills me with joy, and Emma is like unleashing unicorns, rainbows and sprinkles on my day.

I'm no Picasso said...

Gomushin Girl: Precisely. Precisely, precisely. I think a lot of people just get confused about Austen in general to begin with, because for some reason in their minds, old timey woman writer = feminist. But, let's face it -- she was pretty big on the "good, plain girls who keep the moral high ground and don't get too loud about it will get the man eventually" storyline. Which a lot of people still don't have a problem with on up to Hollywood blockbusters produced even today. Something about conventionally unattractive women not ending up unmarried is supposed to be the supreme height of empowerment, I guess. Not saying it's not good stuff sometimes. Just saying, it doesn't really take me to the top of the mountain the way it seems to some women.