The Butchering: I Read Changes, Book Something Or Other of the Harry Dresden Files

So there’s this popular fantasy series about a “wizard detective” called Harry Dresden. I’d never read any of the books before; I don’t particularly care for “urban fantasy” — i.e., fantasy set in the more or less modern world. While I might have loved it when I was younger (and some of the fantasy I read in my teens and twenties had elements of what is now a fixed subgenre, namely magical things happening in the “real” world), now it strikes me as a subgenre suited for children and adults who never grew out of the childish desire to have magical things happen while never having to leave the comfort and safety of their bedrooms. You know, like wanting a tame dragon to be your pet, or a handsome rich vampire to marry you and settle down with you in a nicer neighborhood in your home town. But anyway, I was given the chance to read one of the books of this series, called Changes. I’m a couple chapters in, and frankly already I’m bored.

I’m also pissed off. Jim Butcher is an American dude, you can tell by the way the only thing his protagonist seems to care about is the fact that his ex-girlfriend didn’t tell him he had a daughter until said daughter was kidnapped by some of his enemies. Oh yes, the plot: Harry the Wizard gets a phone call (because despite the effects of his wizardly powers on computers, somehow he can get phone calls without the things fritzing — oh yes he talks about “receivers” and “the hook” but those old-fashioned things had electrical parts and computer bits in them since the 70s, and this story is not set in the 70s). Anyway he gets a phone call from his ex, who left him for Tragic Reasons (tl;dr: she was half-vamped by an enemy of his, and she’s okay only as long as she doesn’t drink any more blood, so she ran away south of the border so as not to be tempted to drink her boyfriend’s blood, and also to become a vampire fighter), and she tells him they had a daughter and the daughter’s been kidnapped by his vampire enemies. Anyway, you can tell that Butcher is an American male because he has his hero spend precious thinky time moaning about how awful it is he was never told about this daughter, even though as his ex has to point out (because hurt male ego and reason can’t share space in Harry’s head) they are both involved in dangerous evil-creature fighting which leaves no time to take care of a kid, so she had the kid fostered by a “normal” family. I will point out I can understand his ire but the question of just what can two vampire fighters with dangerous enemies do with a kid is left sort of hanging. I mean even if they retired until the child was grown, they’d always have to be in hiding… I dunno.

This fucking thing is longer than the Silmarillion so I’m just going put the rest under a more tag. You have been warned:

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Boys are icky and stupid

When I first came across this review of the Hunger Games movie, I thought, “Finally! A review that doesn’t fawn all over it and use it as some sort of tired metaphor for ‘America, today, our future!'” But in reading I found that the actual topic wasn’t so much how the movie is just rehash of all those Seventies movies of an evil decadent future America where they play deadly games, but how we should just accept that boys won’t read books written by women: author Steve Sailer relates how his young son quit reading the Harry Potter books “in disgust” when he found out J.K. Rowling was a woman as if this action on his kid’s part, of rejecting something he was enjoying because it was written by an icky girl, was no big deal and somehow acceptable.

America, what kind of sons are you bringing up? Is this what you want? To produce young men who will reject anything a woman makes “in disgust”? Do you really think it’s cute when your kid refuses to have anything to do with something because “a girl did it!” Let me tell you something. It’s not cute. A proper father wouldn’t stand for it. If it were my son, and I were a father (hell, if I were a mother — my mother would have raised holy hell if I’d pulled some unreasonable trick like that), and my son came to me and said “I can’t read this, a lady wrote it”… every night after dinner he would have been made to read a single chapter of the rest of the book or books. Out loud. To myself and my spouse. And there would have been no television or other “reward” until he was finished. With the entire book. Yes, that would probably scar his tender soul for life, but you know what? Some scars are deserved.

Damn it all to hell, America, you do not raise your kids like this. You do not just accept whatever lame sexist bullshit they learn from tv or their peers or some dumbass adult. You don’t just chuckle and say “boys will be boys” because those boys will grow up to be lonely, angry young men who don’t understand why they aren’t happy. Why they can’t get a date. Or why their relationships always founder because of mutual contempt. Because women don’t respect guys who think they are lesser beings and treat them like shit. Oh, they might fear them, and the men in their lives might think fear=respect, but it doesn’t. Women are people, not pets or dolls or evil monsters. And they shouldn’t have to hide behind initials because some little boy-man somewhere is raising his son to think girls have cooties. No wonder our country is in such a mess. We’re raising little sexist, racist monsters.