Can’t be a great writer without reading, right?
I had the pleasure of being introduced, electronically, to two wonderful writers who have really captured my attention in that last few months. Those writers? Daniel Jose Older and Nnedi Okorafor, PhD. Both of these authors dabble in science fiction/ fantasy which is right up my alley and they both have built a following that I am, for one, jealous of, but extremely proud of.
That pride, mostly associative and thirdly removed, stems from them both being, one, writers in my genre, and two, them being both writers of color.
I discovered Nnedi from a very odd (at the time) but fascinating synopsis of her book, Lagoon.
Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria’s legendary mega-city, they’re more alone than they’ve ever been before. But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they could never imagine. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world…and themselves. ‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’
The rapper part got me and from there I was following her on Twitter, visiting her blog, and just being totally enamored.
I discovered Daniel Older in a completely different way. It was comical and serious and epic all at the same time! During the height of Eric Garner’s protest, Daniel Older was explaining, patiently, and passionately, how the medical team that attended to him were also culpable in his death. A woman, who we famously just called PAULA now, nudged her way into his mentions with a fevered claim of
“WHERE IS YOUR MEDICAL LICENSE???”
Where this happened:
It wasn’t until recently that I connected the dots, that the talented and ultra chill author I was following was indeed that SAME GUY!
So onto their books, right?
For Nnedi, I purchased one of her earlier novels, WHO FEARS DEATH.
The critically-acclaimed novel-now in paperback.
In a far-future, post-apocalyptic Saharan Africa, genocide plagues one region. When the only surviving member of a slain village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand, and instinctively knows her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means “Who Fears Death?” in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers she possesses a remarkable and unique magic. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to confront nature, tradition, history, the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and eventually to learn why she was given the unusual name she bears: Who Fears Death?
For Daniel Older, it’s his highly anticipated latest novel, Shadowshaper.
Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world.
Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.
Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and writing as luscious as a Brooklyn summer night, Shadowshaper introduces a heroine and magic unlike anything else in fantasy fiction, and marks the YA debut of a bold new voice.
Sounds interesting right?! I’ll keep you guys updated as I continue to dive into these books!
Release and now relax,
So in Anime fashion, we’ve reached another set of filler episodes (which I KINDA don’t get since the manga is done and has been done HOWEVER, I don’t complain about fillers. I want the show to last forever. I’m desperate. I’ll take a 30 episode filler about Neji or Itachi, I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care).
These current fillers focus on Madara’s Infinite Tsukuyomi and what each character is dreaming. We’ve already seen Tenzo’s, Killer B, and TenTen (Neji is alive and all touchy feely with her I LIVE!). Now we seem to be the dream of Tsuande. It’s an alternate universe (based of Jiraya’s stories) where Minato is still the Fourth Hokage, Kushina is still alive, and Naruto has grown up with both of his parents. However, he is still the Jinchuriki, and is still a hyperactive, loudmouth brat with a slap and tickle with kunai frenemy relationship with Sasuke (as well as his crush on Sakura). Their friendship is more begrudging respect, and it even shows the affection (although hardboiled and rough around the edges) that Sasuke has for Naruto. Everything is the same, except a step to the right, in what you would think would have bee the ideal world for Naruto.
Except that line of thinking is wrong.
Guess what’s still the EXACT EXACT EXACT same, tho? The village prejudice. This prejudice has even sneaked its way into the ranks of the Konoha 11, causing Shikamaru and Choji, of all people, to distance themselves from Naruto.Outside of my great horror that Shikamaru and Choji of all people have adopted this position, it allowed me to see one thing.
The villagers, on a whole, are not worth shit.
In the very first episode of this dream, we see, as mentioned, an energetic, ambitious Naruto. He runs along the roof with a huge smile on his face, excited with the possibility that his next mission will be a S-ranked one. Nothing about Naruto presents as a threat. He has never lost control of Karuma, there has been no an attack on the village WITH Naruto as a Jinchuuriki. He’s never hurt anyone.
Regardless of that, guess who’s still a prejudice packed of idiots?
That’s right. The villagers.
As Naruto runs, a group of ladies are watching him, one who uses an obvious slur to denote Naruto’s Jinchuuriki status, and is only stopped from continuing by another in the group who reminds her that Naruto is still “The Young Lord”, son of the Hokage. Her mean words begrudgingly come to a stop.
Naruto then stops by a mask shop to purchase a fox mask, one similar to an ANBU mask, because who knows what path Naruto would have taken if the Akatsuki and the War hadn’t have come along. His sudden appearance scares the shop owner. And as Naruto is trying to purchase the mask, the shop owner tries to give it to him for free as the Hokage would scold him for making him pay. Naruto insists that he has to pay (because he is a sweet boy) but sees he doesn’t have the money so he promises to return to buy the mask. This seems like a sweet gesture and evidence that Naruto was raised to have manners and respect the villagers. They can’t see that, however. As soon as Naruto leaves, the shop owner tells his wife to throw salt and that if Naruto wasn’t “The Young Lord” they would have ran him out of the village years ago.
Note: Throwing salt over your left shoulder was often done to get rid of bad luck. The thought is that the devil, that tricky son of a bitch, was standing behind you, obviously always on your left side, and that the salt would land in his eyes, and thus distract him from causing any real mischief.
I hate the villagers. Not only in Konoha, but in every village there is a Jinchurikki. They are scardy cat gross people.
Let’s break down the word and definition of Jinchuriki for you. Jinchūriki (人柱力, Literally meaning: Power of Human Sacrifice) are humans that have tailed beastssealed within them. They exhibit extraordinary powers due to the immense chakra reserves they possess. (via http://naruto.wikia.com/)
The words Power, Human, Sacrifice should mean something to these people. It means something to me!
Now, granted there have been a few, such as Gaara, who have been uncontrollable Jinchuuriki. (Gaara’s bloodlust was born from the prejudice his village (and family) had shown him. He was a bright a loving child before that malevolence and probably, if he had been built up with love, he could have battled Shakaku in a better manner, rather than letting his poison his mind.) Because the Tailed Beast are associated with wild uncontrollably power, it makes sense for people to be wary and maybe fearful of that power.
It’s terrible to hate someone for something they had no control in becoming. There aren’t many Jinchuurikis who CHOSE to be Jinchuurikis. Normally the ones who chose to be this are generally evil or misguided (Hello Madara and Obito!). So for those, where this was forced on them, usually as babies or small children, for a village of adults to treat a child this way is ridiculous.
But is it really ridiculous…as in abnormal? Naruto, at its center, is a story of prejudice, preconceived or taught. Most of the characters were introduced to prejudice early on and it helped shaped the way they were raised. Naruto and the other Jinchuurikis, Sasuke and the Uchiha betrayal. Kakashi and his father’s suicide. On the other end of that, you have people who were introduced to prejudice and let it guide them; a young Neji comes to mind.
What irritates me about this is the way the characters who are the subject to this discrimination decide (and eventually fulfill) this unspoken requirement to gain the favor of the village or as Naruto says “Make the village acknowledge me. (Think about how heartbreaking that is for a moment. That a child has to—okay, I’m getting distracted.)
The only fault I’ve ever found with Naruto, besides NEJI FUCKING DYING (and ruining a ship I’d been planning like an arranged marriage since they were kids. NejiTen FIVE EVER!) is this one fact:
The underlying message here is this: It’s not the village who has to improve, it’s Naruto. It’s not the village who has to become better, be filled with better people, do fucking better…it’s Naruto. Naruto has to train with abandon, be a beacon of hope and tireless optimism for himself and those around him, have the ethical stamina of a saint, almost die, and save the village, and it’s only then, only then, after he puts his life on the line for a village that has hated him since he was BORN, do they finally acknowledge him.
Do you understand my anger?
Understand what I’m saying. The village never ever ever got over their prejudice for Naruto as a Jinchuuriki. It only became a secondary factor because he saved them. That’s the condition. What Kishimoto is telling us is the ONLY way the villagers accepted Naruto is basically because…they had to. They are somewhat decent people, you don’t outwardly hate your savior. You can still be scared, resentful, full of hate…but you can’t do it out in the open now.
This message ties into so many other facets of life. People, every day, are hated for things they cannot control, whether it be the color of their skin, their sexuality, what gender they identify with, what language they speak. Kishimoto is letting you in on a secret. People will hate you for those things and there is nothing you can do to get through to them, no matter how sweet, kind, noble, ethical, upstanding or righteous you are. People will still hate you. And sometimes for that hate to be set aside, you have to damn near throw yourself on a sword for them to acknowledge you.
And I hate that it had to happen to Naruto. It shown in a way that makes you cry (because boy did I cry at the end of the Pein arc), it’s supposed to make you feel all warm and bubbly, but when you start peeling back the layers, you see…
Nothing really changed. The hate remained. Naruto went on to be one of the Heros of The War and eventually Hokage, which changed him in the eyes of the youth (as exhibited in Naruto the Last). But it only reinforced one thing. Naruto, in the end, STILL had to prove himself, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he wasn’t “the devil” to gain the love of the villagers. It is my opinion that even AFTER the Pein arc, that making him Hokage would have been out of the question. With his victory during the Fifth Shinobi War, he reinforced the notion that in order to be accepted, he had to excel leagues in front of his peers.
The villagers are terrible people.
Release and now relax,
I am an opinionated woman (duh, blog) and I’ve spent enough time on social media, as an opinionated woman—that is an important fact–to know what a troll is.
History and fables tells us that trolls are nasty beings, those creatures that dwell under bridge, ask stupid questions and try to ruin everyone’s day. Here is Wikipedia’s spiel on them.
A troll is a supernatural being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. In origin, troll may have been a negative synonym for a jötunn (plural jötnar). In Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings.
Later, in Scandinavian folklore, trolls became beings in their own right, where they live far from human habitation, are not Christianized, and are considered dangerous to human beings. Depending on the region from which accounts of trolls stem, their appearance varies greatly; trolls may be ugly and slow-witted, or look and behave exactly like human beings, with no particularly grotesque characteristic about them
Outside of your everyday fairytale or folklore legend, however, it used to be that trolls or “trolling” was an obscure term. If you’ve ever been on a forum or message board, especially before the birth of high traffic social media, you were aware of what a troll was before it was a go-to term. They were ones who entered a thread with the sole purpose of wreaking havoc. Nothing was beneath them–attacking strangers using any tactic was fair game. A young girl with an eating disorder–Attacked her weight. A minority? Racist slurs, of course! A woman? You’ll be directed back into the kitchen before you can formulate a response.
Here’s Wiki’s spiel on an Internet Troll:
In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.
Some of us have a history of dealing with trolls. For a small moment in time, I was a troll. It was in a controlled environment, where trolls battled trolls, (and it wasn’t often that we strayed outside of this small sect of bullies who bully other bullies; next to none actually) but still, the purpose was to dig as deep as you could, construct an insult of the higher order, for the biggest momentum of disruption, feelings be damned.
So I, in some context, understand what a troll is, although my version of “trolling” was playing the dirty dozen with a people I’d known for years. What I’ve never understood is—what makes a troll, who goes out of their way to do these sort of things to strangers, want to troll?
I once read an article about a woman who’d discovered her husband was a troll and he was a troll of the worst variety–the anonymous kind. He was going onto Tumblr, leaving anonymous messages to teenage girls telling them to kill themselves. By the end of the article I couldn’t distinguish if this man was 1) mentally deranged (I conflating mental derangement as the trope’ish kind of “crazy” or “mad” that you see in movies. I have no other word for it at the moment.) or 2) Evil.
(Note: there are no correlations between mental illness and evilness. But you’re smart. You know that.)
Yet, this isn’t a blog to try and delve into the minds of trolls. I think they are sad little creatures who live in their mother’s basements, have “nice-guy” syndrome or are mad at the prom-queen, maybe didn’t get to date the captain for the football team and generally mad at the world for some strange reason they can never vocalize without outing themselves as trolls. (The guy above said he did it for “stress relief”. Some people exercise or do breathing exercises to relieve stress.)
I’m here to tell you how to avoid feeding trolls–Because honestly they are attention hungry, very attention hungry. They are lacking “nutrients” (attention) in their lives and rely on you to feed them. Your misery, annoyance, discomfort fills their bellies and they go on to live another day to harass another person.
Note: This will be Twitter biased as that’s where I meet the most trolls, however you can apply this to any format of social media.)
How to point out and avoid trolls:
Check the AVI/Avatar/Profile Picture
Nothing screams TROLL like. [insert pictures of anon grey head, twitter bird, egg]. Anomonity gives them the courage they lack in real life, the control they don’t get from their wives, the chance at power they don’t get as Treasurer of the PTA because no one listens to them. Every thing they have festering inside of them is unleased as soon as they log into their Twitter account and see that bright shiny egg staring back at them.
DOGS, maybe cats, The Constitution, definitely American flags, definitely guns, MOST DEFINITELY juxtaposition of The American Flag and Guns. Also see: fishing boats, pictures of them holding up a fish, any fuzzy low megapixel shot of them in a natural setting. Usually woods or a lake, a caricature of President Barack Obama. Donald Trump.
Although it’s a petty thing for me to do, I always check someone’s follower/friend (or rating if you are on a forum) before I debate them. Something about a person with 5 followers, following 1,000 people throws me off. It’s obvious no one listens to them, but they spend a majority of their time online listening to others, only for sole purpose of interrupting their conversation with their unnecessary 2 cents.
Block List/List they’ve created
Twitter has done the ultimate and provided sharable block list. This requires cooperation with others but if you have a few, check their list. Also, check the list THEY’VE created. I am currently on a few list, most of them insults of the “Racist Black!” “Stupid Libretard!” variety. When someone enters my mentions, I take a quick scan of their list. Any weird ones, I quietly ignore it as if I never saw it.
Their actual timeline (news feed, recent posts)
This is a big indicator and also ties in with their followers. If you go to a timeline and 99% of it is them @’ing people with either the same message, a variety of the same message with some mix and match curse words, this person is a troll.
This works across all social media platforms with a few twerks and body rolls for maximum flexibility. Facebook? Avoid the Memes. Tumblr. Might have to turn your anons OFF. Blogs? DON’T READ THE COMMENTS IN THE BLOG, ANY BLOG. That’s like taking a lap in toxic waste.
The cure to trolls? Don’t feed them. Don’t give them the satisfaction. My favorite method is to reply after they’ve mentioned them with any zinger that I have, then promptly block them. Because I’m petty. Whatever your method, don’t let these poor unfortunate souls ruin your day. Let them starve.
Release and now relax,