Yeah, I feminist <3 Harley Quinn. I just saw Suicide Squad. I know little about the other Harley Quinns—the many versions in DC comic books and animated TV shows and video games–so I can’t really speak to those. But I can say what I noticed about the Harley Quinn in the movie.
The movie doesn’t know who it wants Harley Quinn to be. But I don’t care—I still feminist <3 her.
No, that’s a lie. I totally care. I care about the mess of contradictory characterizations and the abusive version of BDSM* that Harley and the Joker’s relationship represents in the movie. I care so fucking much that I want to blast my way through the shitshow of David Ayer’s narrative with Harley’s LOVE/HATE pistol and make it my own, take that text and chew it like gum and blow it back out in a big pink bubble that is sticky sweet and strong and whole. Continue reading
With the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey out in theaters now, and the conversation around both the film and the books reaching a fever pitch, I want to weigh in on it as a cultural text. And in case you’re wondering—although I have not yet seen the film (my hope is to see a Mystery Science Theater-style screening with a hundred of my closest kinky friends), yes, I have read the books. Or, at least, I took one or two of the books down from a public library shelf while my children played nearby, and I speed-read through it in horror, taking pictures of particularly appalling passages with my phone, because, after years of making assumptions about this piece of self-published fan fiction turned cultural “mommy porn” phenomenon, it turned out to be even worse than I’d imagined.
How is it worse? What are my issues with it? Well, for starters, I feel that the prose is so bad, you guys. SO. BAD. It is trite and clumsy and repetitive and dull. It’s not even worth it for me to bother quoting it here: you can find plenty of excerpted examples online, or you can do what I did, and pull a copy off your local library shelf and flip to any page at random. But trust me: I’ve been teaching and editing creative writing for many years: I know what I’m talking about here. E.L. James writes shoddy, sorry-ass prose. Continue reading