Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Apologies for disappearing again. I'm giving my cousin a bridal shower this weekend and I've been busy getting ready for the last week or two. I've also been sick, so any other spare time I've had I've spent sleeping (or at least resting - by breezing through almost all four seasons of Remington Steele).

But I wanted take a moment to say congrats to all the 2007 ALA literary award winners, most especially John Green for following up his Printz winning debut novel with a Printz honor winner for his second try (not too bad) and Kate DiCamillo for not only knocking everyone's socks off with every book, but also writing award winning books for more than one age group.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gems, All

From the DC boards (via Occasional Superheroine)

Shyguy and Herald: why don't you give your point of view about why the blog ISN'T feminist

Mr.M: Give your point of view about why you think it IS?

I'm torn. I can see both sides.

Context : The thread is about Occasional Superheroine's Goodbye to Comics posts and what they are actually arguing about is whether the term "feminist rant" as posted by "Mr. M" (whose handle, is not, in fact "Mr. M" - but rather starts with M) is dismissive.

Methinks "Mr. G" - the author of this odd question - is confused as to why "Mr. H" considers the phrase "feminist rant" to be dismissive.

To be fair, apparently so is "Mr. M":
I entered into this civilly, I attacked no one, esp. Valarie, who I'm sure you think I did by describing her work as "feminist."

But, wait! There's more.

...Do you know what feminism is? Do you think it is the opposite of chauvinist? Or misogynist?

(dear god where do these people come from?)

"Mr. H" states the obvious

You didn't JUST say "feminist", pal.
You called it a "feminist RANT".
There is a WORLD of difference.

(psst - herald - I love you)

I was, of course, on tenderhooks to see how "Mr. M" would respond.

Unfortunately, he dissapoints with usual fallback of the dictionary definition of "rant". Because, of course, he went through all the words he could think of that meant "a bombastic, extravagant speech" and decided that "rant" worked best. He in no way choose rant because it's what feminist complaints are usually referred to. And well, the dog ate the part of his dictionary that explained that "rant" also means "To speak or write in an angry or violent manner" and "A speech or piece of writing that incites anger or violence" and gave such example sentences as "The vast majority [of teenagers logged onto the Internet] did not encounter recipes for pipe bombs or deranged rants about white supremacy” He also must have confused it's synonym "rave" with that thing you go to.

But he makes up for it by later stating
I have some trouble calling her work "feminist" because it's not calling out men as a whole, nor is it a "call to arms" for the women of the world to rise up and overthrow their "vagina-challenged" opressors. It just doesn't have that smack to it.

See, guys, that's why I'm so bitchy. I like being called a feminist....and if I don't bag on men all the time, how the hell are you going to know that I am one? I really hate it when people mistake me for a "I'm not a feminist, but...."

Another "Mr. M" seems like he might be taking this all as seriously as it ought to be
The fact that mainstream comics has not dealt with this subject is a crime. Rape should leave you feeling outraged, invoke feelings like you wish it never happened, it should make you react!

but then shows his true colors

In stories about heroes saving people from mass murders and drug pushers and evil despots and corrupt presidents...rape should not be so taboo that we are not able to confront it like all of these other concepts. And even if there are kids reading this, how is it different than watching the nightly news? Kids need to know about these subjects and the earlier they learn the more of a chance a potential rapist can be averted or educated.

Yes, because Sue Dibny's rape was motivated by the same concern that prompted Speak and was dealt with in the same, responsible, thought-provoking manner. Complete with information on how to contact RAINN and Men Can Stop Rape.

He then responds to the obvious point that DC used rather than addressed rape with

In your opinion. You keep forgeting to write, in my opinion after you say things like this, 'cause that's all you're really speaking for. Just you. The rest of as get to make up our own minds. Thanks for caring though...

Cuz, you, know, everyone else on the board is using their "imho"s as they should!

And nevermind that it's quite obvious from what Valerie writes, and conversations not on the DC boards, that a large number of women (you, know, the people who are more likely to live in fear - or live through - sexual assault) agree with people other than "Mr. M" #2

Although, I must say my personal favorite from that thread is everyone arguing that without Sue Dibny being raped, there would have been no reason to go after Dr. Light. Call me crazy, but I rather think it wouldn't have been difficult for the masterminds at DC to come up with a reason other than "save the princess from, shocking, titilating violation!" to get the team on the hunt for Dr. Light.

Heck - I'll bet if they thought real hard they might have even been able to come up with a reason that allowed Sue Dibny to continue to help our amazing heros!

- side show (if you can stomache it) another commenter complains that Valerie brings everything back to her "broken vagina." Commenter is schooled by others in the basic literary terms "metaphor" and "theme." Hijinks ensue!

Yes, I know, I'm a bad person for picking on such easy targets. But it's so much fun!

Besides - how else is "Mr. M" #1 going to know I'm a feminist!

Speaking of Terms That Need to Dissappear:

(at least for a while)

Fan Service

Now, I'm going to admit here that I wasn't actually aware of what this term meant until Ms. Tokyopop came to visit and she explained it in her "What is Manga?" presentation.

I'd heard it used before, and I had a vague idea of what it meant, but I didn't hear it all that often and so I wasn't entirely clear on the exact definition. I honestly didn't really care.

But when she stated it as baldly as she did, and I thought of her examples and all the other things that I've heard the term used for, all I could think was "what a completely stupid phrase."

Because, of course, all the examples of "fan service" are not only sexual, but they are meant to appeal to heterosexual boys and men.


Am I not a fan?

How is this serving me?

'Cause I generally find it to be very rude, actually.

Now, I'd be willing to let such fan service slide as simply "not my cup of tea" if there was (more) stuff that was serving me AND if said stuff was referred to as fan service as well.

Because if panty shots in manga is fan service - then so are the lovely butts that Kalinara and Ragnell adore so much in the Green Lantern comics. But no one calls them that. Because girls aren't fans, I guess.

No, when fan service does come out for women, it's not only botched all to hell, it's derided as bad writing and pornography by all.

Look, I'm under no illusions that the latest Anita Blake books are smut, and not always well written smut at that. I also don't see how anyone can find the comic book adaptation to be anything but poorly adapted and poorly drawn.* However, I don't really see why the comic is more deserving of a smackdown than half the stuff I pass over as I'm picking up the latest Runaways or Wonder Woman. And I will defend Laurell K. Hamilton over Piers Anthony - often a favorite of fanboys - to the death. And I won't be the one dying.

The Anita Blake comic deserves all the derision it's getting, but I have to question the underlying motives of many who are deriding it. Is it really because it's so much worse than everything else? Or is it because the idea makes so many people uncomfortable? People, after all were making fun of it long before it hit the stands. And yeah, there's a lot to make fun of in the source material, but no more so than half the shit that makes the bestseller lists. There's just very little on those lists (largely due to the makers of said lists screwing with the numbers btw) - or in comic stores - that focuses so much on women having sex.

There's plenty that are all about women getting fucked, however.


I really didn't mean to go on a tangent about Hamilton's books, I'm just getting really annoyed at derision for fan service and/or porn for women masked behind derision for the not surprisingly low quality of such porn and/or fan service.

And while I don't mean to be the feminist police, may I politely suggest to my fellow feminists and fans of shapely male butts - and our allies - that if they'd like to see more of the same - even if only for other's sake, they may want to think about making it clear that they are dissing DBPro/Marvel for doing such a shitty adaptation of what has been widely regarded as a fun book and not dissing the basic idea of said fun book. 'Cause we all know we aren't dealing with mental giants here.

Please, please, please demand that comic book publishers do leaps and bounds better next time. But please try to make it clear that we want better - not that we want them to drop the idea. That we love Manhunter and we want our adolescent power fantasy, but we sometimes want that other kind of fantasy too. We just want it done well.

And please, everyone, stop calling boob shots fan service unless you are willing to call shirtless Mal and Simon fan service as well.

(Personally, I think Mal in a dress and Jayne getting knifed should count too, but I can deal with the definition remaining sexual.)

*well, actually, having seen Brett Booth's sketches, I think it's not so much that they aren't pretty, but that they don't work well for comics and that the penciler and colorist made tons of bad choices in trimming them down for mass publication.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I am a frickin' idiot.

The Colleen Gleason who wrote the book that I've been going back and forth with myself about buying (it looks interesting, but I'm not sure, and I just bought a whole bunch and...) the Colleen Geason whose new book was given a huge thumbs up by The Smart Bitches (always a good thing, maybe I will pick it up...) is the same Colleen who reads my blog. Er, well, read a post and left a nice comment anyway.

Don't ask me why it all suddenly clicked today when started reading her interview over at SBTB's - but it just did.

So, sorry for not picking the book up yet, Colleen. I work at the big box store on Friday and I promise I will do so then.

And I swear - I am working on that post I promised.


Now I actually have to do one of these things.

OK, here goes.

1) My first crush was on an anime character. And since I'm not that young it was - of course -

Rick Hunter!

(My little brother teased me about that for years, the little snot.)


As does Fraggle Rock, The Gummi Bears, and Voltron.

Power Rangers and that stupid purple dinosaur can kiss my you know what. Children's librarian be damned - I only have to pretend they're cool when the kids are around.

2) I like to drink pickle juice.

Not all the time, but I really, really like pickles. Not the big ones that you can barely fit in your mouth, but the thin wedges that let the juice dribble along your tongue. Once I start, I have a hard time stopping. And if my craving isn't satisfied when the jar is empty, I'll pour a couple shots worth of pickle juice into one of those itty bitty jam glasses and sip it slowly.

3) I am currently watching Reminington Steele.

(Well, technically, I'm currently at work, but you know what I mean.)

Earlier this week, I picked up seasons 1, 4 and 5 (which, from what I can tell looks to be only a single episode) for a total of less than $40. It is soooooooo my new guilty pleasure.

Yes, the pseudo-early 80's-feminism is grating, the storylines are just awful for the most part, and Remington Steel can be quite the dick (sigh - yes, pun intended).

However - it's Pierce Brosnan! A young Pierce Brosnan!! Who runs around getting into fistfights with mob hit men after falling into overly large water harzards at miniature golf courses!!! And occasionally gets his ass handed to him by his (inconsistently) competent female boss/partner/....whatever!!!!

God I love technology. What would I do without the internet and TV shows on DVD? Read even more novels, I suppose.

4) I didn't get my driver's license until I was 24.

And yes, I grew up in southern California.

Somehow the whole fascination with cars and being able to drive on our horrendous freeways completely passed me by. I don't think it really helped that my physics professor father would explain physics to me using the relative momentum and stopping time required for various vehicles at typical speeds. Neither, I'm sure, did the fact that I was perfectly capable of grasping everything he was trying to explain to me.

I also failed my first driver's test because I didn't wait for a pedestrain. Now, it should be noted that said pedestrian was about to jaywalk and was obviously doing the sensible thing and waiting for me to continue on my way. But it was still a stupid thing for me to do during a driving test.

5) I almost got a perfect score on the logic portion of the GREs.

(and I knew which two questions were wrong when I turned the test in, but I didn't have time to fix them, dammit!)

Not, of course, that you'd know it from my blog posts. But then my score had everything to do with my doing logic puzzles for fun in junior high and in no way reflected my abilty to string words together persuasively and coherently.


I usually hate these things - and love them at the same time. Generally, I hate chain letters, and these things are kinda like chain letters. I especially hate figuring out who to pass them onto, so I usually don't. Except these memes are fun - but too fun because I keep wanting to go off on tangents and add more stuff.

But I had to do this one either way bc it was 100littledolls that tagged me, and I feel bad for not emailing her the words of support that wouldn't post to her blog for some reason.

So, I did it! But I'm not passing it on yet. I'm going to wait for that. And I may. Or may not. You can drop hints if you want to be tagged. Or I may decide to keep it all to myself. I'm weirdly anti-social that way.

The Myth of the Boogyman Rapist (Warning: Long, Rambling Post)

I know that I've said similar before (and I'm sure this won't be my last post on the subject) but I'm going to bring it up again because it can't be mentioned often enough. Although this time I'm going to let twf in the comments at Feministe do it for me:

I guess I’m just saying that part of where blame-the-victim comes from is thinking that “rapists” are not real people

Often times, the response to pointing out that one should be asking why rapists rape, rather than why women "get raped", is either that "no one wants to think about that" (which begs several obvious questions) or that such people are just plain sick - which is implied by the first response.

That reminds me of the quote - that I can't quite remember - about how everyone who commits murder is insane at the time. Sane people don't kill. Which has some truth to it - but no one would ever suggest that only obviously bat-shit crazy people could possibly be guilty of murder. And yet many people assume something similar when it comes to rape. Only evil men rape. Which isn't true at all - at least no more so than the idea that every murderer is insane.

This really seems to be where the majority of guys mess up. They just can't imagine that the guy sitting in the cubicle next to them at work - trading sports scores, TV gossip, game strategies or what have you - could be a rapist. Their drinking buddy? No way. The guy they see opening doors for women all the time? Pshaw. The die-hard Buffy fan? Are you kidding?

Which a lot of women I know would find funny in a dark humor, you gotta laugh if you don't want to cry, sorta way. Because we spend so much of our time wondering if the guy sitting in the cubicle next to us could be a rapist. Or the janitor. Or the security guard. Or anyone else who may be in the building with us long after most everyone else - including all our female co-workers who reminded us not to stay too late because "it's not safe." - has gone home.

Granted, a certain amount of this is that we have a hard time believing that the people we interact with on a daily basis could do such a thing. But a part of it is also a willfull blind spot on the part of such men - willfull because it allows them to cede responsibility for their own actions. They aren't required to worry that their friend may be capable of such things. They aren't required to examine their own behavior and change it accordingly.

Most criminals justify their actions in some way - even if it's only along the lines of "they deserved it." Rapists often believe that not only would conviction be unfair (which, I'd imagine, is quite common) but that no one was even inconvenienced, much less hurt. Many men see anything that leaves bruises or causes bleeding to be highly suspect, but dismiss a whole host of other behaviours that hurt women.

It's not a coincidence that many of the jokes about consent revolve around the idea of legal documents. The inescapable implication is that there is some exact - and ridiculous - procedure that feminists are asking for. Which in turn suggests that there's a reason why it's silly to expect clear consent to be easily obtainable. The obvious one being that women don't want sex - at least not as much as men. Which kinda makes the whole idea of enthusiastic participation a farce. Consequently, just about any way of getting a "yes" - or even the silence of previous "no"s - is acceptable as long as it doesn't require physical violence - because how else are you going to get it?

Recently, a commenter at Pandagon dug a hole for himself in arguing that the suggestion of safewords was a reasonable response to a woman whose boyfriend had raped her while she was tied up (she had agree to sex, but had made it clear that she did not want to do the specific act he ended up forcing on her). While there are all kinds of things to pick on in his comments, the part that I found interesting was how much this real life scenario mirrored a hypothetical rape scenario argued over at Alas, A Blog.

Both women were with their boyfriends? Check.

Both women had repeatedly said no? Check.

Both women's choices were restricted in some way by the rapist? Check

Both women made choices that contributed directly to being restrained? Check.

Now, there are some big differences. In the second, the girl never screams out "No!" during sex. (It's unclear if she ever says "yes" and, as just stated, she has said no repeatedly. It's also made clear that she is simply giving in to what he wants - her desires haven't changed.) The second victim is also not brutalized enough to require an overnight stay at the hospital and the restriction was mostly veiled threats and psychological ("Don't you love me?", boyfriend is her ride home, she snuck out of the house) rather than the physical restraint in the first.

It is quite clear when comparing the two, however, that they are simply different degrees of the same thing. In both cases the boyfriends do not respect their girlfriends stated wishes. Both rapists see getting what they want - rather than mutual pleasure - as the main goal. Both are willing to ignore - or get around - the entire concept of consent in order to get what they want.

Many, however, would only see the first as a rapist. Even disregarding legal definitions and (supposedly) looking at both scenarios only through the lens of what consititute's consent in the true meaning of the word - many would claim (and did) that the second guy is merely an asshole.

Considering how many people are willing - on the other hand - to conflate copyright violations with stealing, I find that very telling - and frightening.

Putting aside the logistics of legal definitions and punishment, this hypothetical rape scenario - although less violent than the real one - certainly deserves to be called such. If it doesn't, we're going to have to seriously rethink how we use words like "steal" - even outside of talking about copyright. If one can "steal" a parking spot - this can certainly be called rape.

But men especially get uncomfortable at the suggestion because it's safer for them to think of rape as something strangers do in dark alleys. Or psycho boyfriends that send their victims to the hospital. The very logical assertion that sexual violence is a spectrum and not a clearly defined act tends to put them on the defensive.

From the comments at Alas:

Rape is so horrible to me, and I view it as one of the most violent acts against a woman that a man can commit, either through physically violence, emotional abuse or emotional manipulations, and I have no desire to view a man that has raped as any other than horrible person, I can’t have all these gray areas about what rape is

Which, unfortunately, seems to sum up many people's views on rape. The fact that life is messy and uncertain, and that otherwise good people can do bad things, is too scary to be worth contemplating. Even if people get hurt because of it.

I, however, don't want people simply hurt because we're all too scared to look inside ourselves.

So, listen up, everyone:

1) Women like sex. We don't need to be "tricked" into agreeing to pleasure. We just sometimes need to be convinced that sex with you will be worth it. And sometimes you just aren't going to be able to do that. Because sometimes it just isn't. And the fact that sex with you isn't always (or ever) worth it is not proof that women do not like sex.

2) Rapists are not monsters. Or, at least, they are no more monsters than murderers are. And very few people around saying "I can't have all these gray areas about what [murder] is" Especially the justice system, which recognizes at least a dozen type of murderers if you add possible state and federal charges together. Some of which include the word "involuntary." Meaning - you aren't an evil person who wants to harm anyone, you're just a stupid shit who cares so much more about your own wants than other's needs that you ended up causing someone's death. I'd say that idea, at the very least, can be applied to our hypothetical rapist. Especially when one is talking about morals rather than legal definitions.

3) Safewords - and even notarized consent forms - only prevent rape if both people understand the meaning of "no", "yes" and "willing partner" to begin with. Because rape, like murder and theft, isn't just a legal definition, it's something people do to other people. "Date" rape, marital rape, the rape of prostitutes, and all kinds of other rape existed long before the law recognized such rapists as worthy of punishment. The law is merely a tool for protecting people's rights and the current interpretation of the law is not a trump card to be used to ignore the ways in which people hurt each other. We really don't need to providing would be rapists with more excuses.

4) The only way to prevent rape is to educate people about what causes rape - and it has nothing to do with short skirts or women going out to bars. It's caused by people disbelieving that women like sex, pretending that all rapists are boogeymen, and acting as if rape is something that happens rather than something someone does to someone else. Death is something that happens. Rape and murder require perpetrators who fail to respect the rights and desires of others.

VM Forever

I got seasons 1 and 2 of Veronica Mars on DVD (thank you, mom and dad!) and I've become obssessed all over again.

I've also realized (because I'm slow that way) how loaded with meaning everyone's names are: Kane, Woody, Mac, Mercer. It makes me think all I need to do to figure out "whodunit" is review everyone's names. Plus - Keith Mars losing the race for sheriff to someone named Lamb - not effing likely.

And I really, really want that shirt she's wearing in the episode where she tracks down Wallace's girlfriend's sister when she disappears after her bachlorette party. The shirt that's like all the truck flaps - only it's a guy.

'Cause that's just too cool.

Sadly, it's not one of the things listed on CW Style.

This is Just Too Perfect and Too Sad

at the same time.

From She's Such a Geek, we get the discovery that when you put

biologist OR physicist OR scientist “she says”
into google news search, google responds with
Did you mean: biologist OR physicist OR scientist “he says”

It does not do the same if you replace "biologist OR physicist OR scientist" with "teacher OR nurse OR housekeeper."

I also tried searching with
teacher OR nurse OR housekeeper “he says”
and I didn't get anything back but the search pages I asked for.

Now, I generally dismiss conspiracy theories based on Occam's razor, and this is no exception. I don't think this bit of sexism was purposely built into google. The most likely possibility is that it's simply a result of the combination of search algorithims, the number of instances in which female scientists, physicists, and biologists are quoted, and the number of times that people search for such quotes.

But that's what makes it all the more interesting. It's such a perfect example of how prevailing biases in one area, and the absence of activisim in another, can combine to turn even something that wasn't meant to be sexist into a tool of sexism.

It's such a perfect rebuttal to the idea that lack of action in a culture were such biases exist means that one is being neutral.

After all, if you add negative 1 to 0, you've still got negative 1.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Yes, I Will Most Definitely Go See Blood and Chocolate

(Ok, maybe I'll just rent it, but still...)

It's directed by Katja von Garnier - who also directed Iron Jawed Angels. Which, yes, had some problems, but was still very, very good.

Poll: which trailer is cheesier:

Blood and Chocolate


Rocky Balboa


Ahem - just sayin'

Some Thoughts on Mary Sue

I think there needs to be a temporary moratorium on using the term "Mary Sue."


Because it is, in the end, a sexist concept.

I get why it came about, and I don't really see sexism as the motive for the original idea, and I don't doubt that teen girls writing fanfic are more guilty of writing Mary Sues than teen boys.

But using it to refer to popular media as often as people have been lately is just stupid. And annoying.

Yes, Joss Whedon's female leads, Anita Blake, and probably even Vivian from Blood and Chocolate and all of Tamora Pierce's heroines all deserve the title of Mary Sue in some way or another.

But you know what? If they do, so do half (or more) of the male leads in popular culture.

My pet theory for why girls are more likely to write Mary Sue fanfic? A) they are more likely to write fanfic and B) They need it more because fewer of the female characters out there fulfill the same function for girls and women that Rocky, Eragon, Batman, Luke Skywalker, James Bond etc. fulfill for boys and men.

So, yeah, any female equivalent of Rocky is going to have aspects of Mary Sue-ness - because Rocky has aspects of Mary Sue-ness.

But we only call River a Mary Sue, not James Bond. And seriously, which is more deserving of the title of Mary Sue - James Bond or River?

So, please, unless you are willing to deride Harry Potter for being a Mary Sue, please refrain from talking about Buffy's - or anyone else's - Mary Sue-ness.

That goes double for not being happy with the direction of a series because the writer did something you don't like to the characters you do like in order to do something he or she likes with his or her favorite character.

Feel free to not be happy about it. Feel free to deride their writing, choice of favorite character, not so secret fantasies, whatever. But complaining that Whedon's Astonishing X-Men has turned into a Mary Sue story about Kitty Pride just seems a bit silly when there's an entire X-Men series devoted to Wolverine. The way in which he has done so may be worth complaining about. Aside from personal taste, the fact that he has done so isn't.

Synergy and Sexism Mess Up Blood and Chocolate Marketing

So, you've got this cheap (but possibly fun) movie about a love triangle between two werewolves - one a rising leader in the pack and the other the daughter of the old leader - and a human boy. It's based on an older YALSA pick.

Most people are going to see it as an Underworld knockoff as both have to do with werewolves, intrigue, and love stories. This is partly true since the book has been around for longer, but the movie probably finally got the green light because of Underworld's success and is produced by the same people (and possibly "borrowed" some of the werewolf visuals).

In reality, however, the story is more along the lines of a cross between Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and the coming of age stuff in early Buffy episodes (and other superhero type stories). As such, the main target audience will be teen girls (the main audience for the book) and scfi/fantasy/superhero fans that prefer Spiderman and other coming of age type stories over say, The Matrix or The Lord of the Rings.

So, what movie are you going to put the trailer before?


Freedom Writers?

No - apparently you put it before Rocky Balboa.*


I realize there's not a whole lot of movies out there to choose from, but - WTF! That has to be the least likely crossover audience ever.

Needless to say, the audience laughed their asses off.

Just like they would have if there had been a trailer for Ever After or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants before any of the Rocky movies.

Because of course, MGM is doing both movies, and Blood and Chocolate has scifi/fantasy stuff in it, so the perfect place for the trailer is before the umpteenth (and reportedly awful) movie in the ultimate macho macho movie series about the ultimate macho guy doing macho guy stuff.

Yeah, ok. That makes sense.

One person who saw it and laughed and says (same link as above):

I love metaphors, but after watching a couple of minutes of teeny bopper garbage and then having that cerebral title drop on the screen, the absurdity is obvious. You can't give such a stupid looking production a brainy title like Blood & Chocolate.

Completely ignoring the fact that he may be looking for brainier stuff to go with his metaphors, but the "teeny boppers" the film was made for really do not.

Trust me.

A name change might help get more teen boys in, but the the title is perfect for appealing to fans of Midnite, Tithe and The Sisterhood. Which (should be) the movie's target audience.

The book may be sophisticated, it could be great "literature", but the movie is pure cheese...

The book is great - but it's not Jane Austen. It's mostly just really good cheese with a little bit of deep thought thrown in. Like most really good teen books.

It is a PG-13 movie. It is aimed at children, and children are not gonna get this title so Blood and Chocolate is in trouble.

It's aimed at teen girls (and, to some extent, women in their 20's), not children. Note the change from teen characters - which would appeal to mainly tweens - to adults in their 20's - which will appeal to an older audience.

And, I don't know about you, but I can't think of a single teen girl alive that needs "blood and chocolate" explained to them.


Blood and chocolate. Chocolate and blood.

Violence and sex. Sex and violence.

Not terribly complicated.

Which would be why a) I first picked up the book based only on the title and b) there are so many damn books in the romance section that have chocolate in the title. Chocolate is not an intellectual metaphor for sex the way that nosebleeds in manga are, it's a physical one that just about every woman instantly gets because chocolate triggers the chemicals in our brains that tell us something is pleasurable. So, it's hardly an intellectual metaphor. It's about the least intellectual you can be, and still call it a metaphor.

The only reason the film is "doomed" is because it's a movie for a niche audience, and so by definition it's got limited potential. More importantly, it's the niche audience that studios rarely make movies for, so it's the audience that's least likely to be in the habit of going to see a specific movie (as opposed to going to the movies as simply something to do) and there's less potential for easy publicity since it's not as if the're were a whole lot of choices for where the put the trailer.

The solution to that, however, is not to try to market this as another mainstream movie, it's to make more movies that appeal to this niche audience so that, they too, will get into the habit of making a point of seeing specific movies rather than just whatever looks halfway decent on whatever day they are in the mood for a movie.

But then, maybe I'm just weird, because while there are lots of nice serious, mainstream movies lately that I ought to get around to seeing sometime, the only movies that really have me wanting to make a point of going to the theatre are Bridge to Terebithia - because it was my favorite book as a kid- and Blood and Chocolate - which I've also read and really liked.

You know what else, though? If I hadn't read either of the books, I'd be more likely to make sure I saw Blood and Chocolate than Bridge to Terebithia. The trailer for the latter just makes it look silly and sweet (which it's not) but the trailer for the former looks like some nice mindless fun. With lots of pretty eye candy.

And (gasp!) a female lead. One who, unlike Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld trailers, is presented as someone for us to connect with rather than simply watch. I liked the Underworld trailers, but Beckinsale's character was presented in a cross between the typical hero voice over and a damsel in distress explaining her situation to her hero (too much emphasis in the sexy, and not enough on the scary monster who can easily rip your throat out). Vivian is presented as more relatable, but still physically strong and the focus of the story in the Blood and Chocolate trailer.

The fact that I've read the book and know that it may (like the book) manage to be a little bit more than that, is simply the icing on the cake.

*Has anyone else seen trailers for this anywhere else? I can't remember where I first heard about it, but it was recently (nd the movie comes out soon) and I know it was online rather that from a trailer.