It’s Not Relevant to Me.

In a time where any foray onto Facebook can easily become a trip down the rage management rabbit hole (because, let’s face facts, Facebook is rather awful these days), I have found a solid and consistent source of pure joy: hiding ads.
I can’t possibly describe to you the rich, luxurious feeling of denying advertisers my eyeballs. The bliss that comes from reclaiming ground previously held at the mercy of those who desire my sweet, hard-earned bucks is without social media parallel. Now, this probably speaks to my steady devolution toward being a cranky old lady hermit, shrieking things like “WE DON’T WANT ANY” and “HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER” and “STAY OFF MY LAWN, YOU PUDDING-HEADED RAKEHELL“. It’s a slippery slope, to be sure… but, in my defense, there’s something to be said for the cathartic rush that comes from scrolling through my feed and obliterating ads one by one, then refreshing the page and going through the process again… and again… and again.
Friend’s picture of precious baby:  ❤️ 👶🏾
Politcal post: 😭 😭 🤧
Facebook ad for handcrafted mattresses stuffed with the graciously donated hair of highly educated, farm raised, and organically fed grey llamas: 😈 🔨🔪💣

Why am I seeing this?

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I dearly love this question, which is probably why I always read it in a British accent, with the most lushly peevish of tones. This question demands that Facebook explain why they chose to show you rubbish that only tangentially relates to your life in that you are (probably) human and may have at one point used a calendar or eaten something loosely categorized as food. I click on this question so often that, most of the time, Facebook doesn’t even bothering generating the pop-up answers anymore.
We’re showing you this ad because you like “Door”.
We’re showing you this ad because you clicked on an ad that was related to “cheese”.
We’re showing you this ad because the seller wanted to connect to women in your area between the ages of 25-34 who are over average height, are cranky, and have husbands who are allergic to cats.
Piddle.
We all know that the only reason why I’m seeing this ad for pretty, slim women in wretchedly ugly footwear is cash money on the barrelhead.
IT HAS LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH MY PREFERENCE FOR CHEESE.
MY MOTHER DID NOT RAISE STUPID CHILDREN.
HOW DARE YOU LIE TO ME LIKE THIS. YOUR PREVARICATION IS NOT TO BE BORNE.

Hide ad.

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You are… denied. Whatever you are selling, I do not want it. Take your wares and depart, ye peddler of junk.This ad is not useful, and I shall waste no more time on it.

THIS is what POWER feels like.

It’s not relevant to me.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-2-22-32-pmThis final step in the clearing of my feed is rather arbitrary, considering that the Powers That Be do not care much about the spirit of the law. If I don’t wish to see ads about eyebrow shaping, then the following day, sure as the dawn, I will see ads about the newest innovations in nose hair trimming instead, as if THAT is somehow closer to my interests.
But the knowledge that I am only shoveling sand against the tide has no negative effect on my enjoyment. Let’s choose to claim the small victories.

My go to answer for the ads I dismiss is “It’s not relevant to me”, even for things that technically could be considered relevant (if you didn’t know me at all and simply made assumptions based off of broad demographics).
Ads related to bodily functions? Not relevant (and how dare you attempt to discuss such things with me in public).
Ads related to group exercise classes for WOMEN WHO 💖 FITNESS AND WANT TO MAKE NEW BFFS XOXOHUGZ? Not relevant (and I find your intensity frightening).
Ads related to fun nail polish techniques? Not relevant (Solid colors only and stop trying to make me have fun, Marianne).

But really, the main reason why I do this is because I don’t want to see ads.
I don’t want to see any ads.
I don’t want to be sold things.
I want to be left alone, with my rapidly diminishing wardrobe and my old shoes and my non-organic foodstuffs. I don’t know why you think I’m concerned about grey hair and wrinkles (I’m not… LET ME AGE IN PEACE, WOULD YOU?!), or finding a good looking single man who likes to party (L’horreur!). I’m not the least bit interested in Sears or skydiving or why someone that I don’t know thinks I should stop eating gluten, and I’m not sure why you would assume that I am. I don’t care about your latest Kickstarter campaign, I’m afraid.
For me, being an intense and committed introvert, being buffeted with ads is no different from being harangued in a department store by a helpful associate (who is only doing their job and I applaud them… I also avoid them, but that’s not their fault). I do not want to be chased and harassed and finally worn down and convinced to buy. I want to recognize a legitimate need or want in my life, conduct a thorough and exhaustive search, and discover a product that I’m then going to excitedly share with my friends.*
I realize that I’m asking businesses to return to a previous era in marketing, and I realize that there’s very little reason for them to do so. So, as it is, I will continue ruthlessly shutting down all attempts to connect with me, because DANG IT, I have to squeeze some enjoyment out of Facebook.

 

 

*THIS IS TECHNICALLY HOW I MET MY HUSBAND. 

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The Good Girl -or- I Will Slap Your WHOLE FACE.

 The Good Girl

This book, man.
This… book.
Overall, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read in my life. To give the author a few points, the bones of a good plot are there, but… unfortunately, the meat is stringy and tough and utterly flavorless, and could have done with a lovely marinade or dry brine. There are some rather thick cliches here and there, the way the author addresses race and POC is, quite frankly gross, and there’s an incredibly problematic romance that’s central to the plot.

I’m going to spoil it, I’m afraid, so if you’re not ready for spoilers, this is a good jumping off point.

Alpha Male Casting Call

“It never crosses her mind that there are a million places I’d rather be than here…”
“I grip her wrist tighter and I know it hurts.”
“I back her against the wall, bumping into a lamp as I do… I hold her there. I tell her to shut up. I say it over and over again.”
“I take a step closer and hold the gun to her head.”
“I yank her into the bedroom and tell her that if I hear her so much as breathe she will never again see the light of day.”
“I saved her life. Who the h___ does she think she is to run away?”
“It’s like I’m caring for a d___ infant.”
“What pisses me off is that she talks like she got the short end of the stick. Like her life is full of hard knocks.”

Brace yourselves, lords, ladies, and jesters, because this clown is our hero.
He is the criminal with a heart of gold… a man who believes that, after kidnapping, restraining, punching, and threatening a woman, what he’s done was for her benefit, and the predicament that he created is ultimately her fault.

Let me set the stage:
After she consents to go to his apartment, he keeps her there, hours after she has repeatedly stated that she needs to go home, he then pulls a gun, forces her into a car and, instead of taking her to his (scary African… we’ll come back to this) colleague who would demand a ransom from her (terrible) father, takes her to a poorly outfitted cabin in the woods on an impulse that we’re perhaps meant to find endearing.
He terrorizes a store clerk. He repeatedly and harshly grabs and restrains Mia, being sure to let the reader know that he’s completely aware of the pain he’s inflicting. At one point, he tackles her, taking time to remind us of the difference in their respective sizes. He hits Mia. He threatens to murder a kitten to ensure Mia’s compliance. He repeatedly sexualizes his naked victim while bathing her in cold water to bring down a potentially deadly fever. He plots to get Mia a fake passport so they can run away together because, of course, she has no say in whether or not she goes home. He demeans her incessantly in his thoughts, calling her weak and stupid. However, despite it all, he seems to think that Mia should be grateful and there’s a nasty implication that he expects Mia to, in particular, be grateful because he did not rape her, or take her to the scary African (we’ll come back to this, I PROMISE), whose scary African grasp would surely mean a fate worse than death for our delicate Mia. Mia’s random nightmares about a black man with a machete are hilarious, considering that she has been kidnapped by a scruffy, cute white dude with a violent temper (but, of course, she can’t have nightmares about him, because he’s doing all this to save her from a black man, and that makes what he’s done perfectly okay, and she should love him for it).

The deeper we go into this squicky narrative, the more the victim and her kidnapper begin to open up to each other (yay) and the more he tries to shame her about her wealthy upbringing (because, you know, if your family hasn’t been on welfare, your kidnapping is justified and you should pity the predator in question). He’s excused for everything that he’s done because his father abandoned the family and they were poor.

The Pixie is Manic.

You might think that Mia (being the eponymous “Good Girl”) is the focus of this story… but you’d be wrong. Mia is nothing more than a blank page that the other characters simply project their own perceptions onto. She’s a list of characteristics with no actual personality attached, and while I hope that was intentional on the author’s part, it made for an irritating read.
For Colin, she’s a waifish, delicate, manic pixie, who enthuses at length about the colors of the sky, used to wish on airplanes because stars aren’t visible in Chicago, and blithely dismisses the very real possibility that she could have been killed by Colin, because she “would have killed him” if she had the chance.
Of course, being the victim of a BRUTAL KIDNAPPING, her act would have been JUSTIFIED, but sure, whatever.

For Eve, (Mia’s cardboard cutout mother), Mia is a shadowy reflection version of the young Eve, and one who doesn’t really become all that interesting to Eve until everyone thinks Mia might be dead. Eve barely has a relationship with her daughter prior to her kidnapping, and manages to make Mia’s ordeal into a long personal whinging session about how Eve used to be beautiful and how she married a jerk. She spends page after page obsessively longing for a daughter that she couldn’t be bothered to contact for weeks on end… and also apparently wants to see the detective’s badge and weapon, if you know what I’m getting at.
Detective Hoffman is such a cliche himself that he deserves an entire blog just about him… but we’ll just say that he wasn’t as consumed with finding Mia as he was with sniffing her mom’s perfume.

Mia is such a void that caring about her (other than in a general sense) is difficult, and considering the format of the story, you know that she is ultimately found. She’s a walking plot device.

People of Color = Danger

“… and as I looked around the bar, I saw that I was the only one who was white.”

“When I saw him, my throat rose up inside me and I found it hard to breathe. His eyes were black, like coal, his skin dark and rubbery, like tires.”

“He was black, like the blackest of black bears, like the rubbery skin of the killer whale, an alpha predator with no predators of their own.”

“I looked into his black serpentine eyes…”

“Nearly everyone there, except for a twentysomething waitress in jeans and a too-tight shirt, was male; all, besides me, were black.”

These gems are all from the last few pages of the book. Previously, we had just been treated to the usual reiterations of race relations from people who somehow still don’t seem to know any better… Detective Hoffman judges how safe neighborhoods are based on the ratio of white people to people of color. People born in other countries do not speak fluent English. White people (like our poor sweet Mia) do not really belong with inner city types and teaching art to those inner city types makes white people like Mia saints.
All you need to know to navigate the world is that African men have skin like rubber.

To wrap this review up, which is much longer than this book deserves, let me state the following:
Black men are not animals. That’s an ancient trope, and it’s an unacceptable one.
The presence of numerous black people in one place does not indicate danger. Again, ancient and unacceptable.
If a man thinks that hitting, restraining, and terrorizing a woman is for her own good, then he needs therapy, not a lover. This is yet another ancient trope.

I want to say something good about this book, because I really don’t like feeling as though I’ve taken a hatchet to someone’s work, even if I hated that work with the heat of a thousand suns, so…
Um…
I liked the cover art.
It’s very pretty.
Good job with that.