It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus: In Defense of the Villains

In honor of Halloween. Originally posted October 29, 2013.

A few weeks ago, I was telling Gail about my Game of Thrones marathon. I tried to explain that, no matter how drawn out the storyline was, it was entirely worth it to keep up with the Khaleesi.

Gail: “Okay. Wait. Are you sure she’s the heroine? Because, you really don’t have the best track record with that.”
Me: “Hey. Like 14 people liked my Facebook status defending the witch against Hansel and Gretel. Those little shits vandalized her house. She was the victim, damn it!”
Gail: ::silence::
Me: “.. but, no. Everyone else thinks the Khaleesi is the heroine, too. Even the people who can’t see that Cruella de Vil was doing her part to curb over-breeding.”

cruella
She’s practically an activist.

So, it came as no surprise to Gail that, for my next blog post, I was going to make my case for the Sanderson sisters… particularly since I’ve watched Hocus Pocus nine times this month and have been quoting it on Facebook daily. Actually. Best thing about living alone: the dog doesn’t care that I can (and do) recite that movie as it plays. Now, just to clarify, my argument isn’t so much that the Sanderson sisters were innocent and/or wronged. It’s more that their actions were justified. The kids in the movie deserved to have their souls sucked dry. Happy Halloween, y’all.

hocus pocus soul sucking

We all know the story. In 1693, the Sanderson sisters were tried and convicted of witchcraft, after punishing some young trespassers. Perhaps the girl was lured into the yard; perhaps not. We never got to hear the details of the case, over the sounds of angry townspeople. We do, however, know that Thackery Binx was was doomed to live forever as a cat. Wait. Doomed? Being an immortal cat would be fucking awesome!

schrodingers cat meme

Regardless, the witches cast one last spell, just before they were hanged.

Three hundred years later, in not-so-modern-day Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison and his “laid-back, California, tie-dyed point-of-view” have relocated with parents and little sister Dani. Though he lives in the aparent Halloween capitol of the United States, Max isn’t buying into this whole “Sanderson sisters” bit. His enthusiasm for his new school and town is further lessened, by the bullies who steal his shoes.

ice
His name ain’t Ernie no more.

Disgruntled and frustrated, Max goes home in socks, only to flop on the bed and masturbate to the thought of Allison, the pretty girl in class, who totally shot him down. Fortunately, little sister Dani leaps from the closet before Max unzips, demanding to be taken trick-or-treating. Max puts up a fight, declaring that she’s eight and can go by herself.

dani screaming

Ultimately, Max ends up escorting his little sister, leading them to a luxurious house, owners unknown. Finally, we begin to see the true character of these little delinquents as they knock on the door of this stranger’s home, and upon receiving no answer, stroll right on in. Alright Dani, I’ll forgive you for this. You’re eight. There’s candy involved… but what the fuck Max?!?! You’re 16/17 years old! You’re on your way to a fucking B&E!

Fortunately for Max and Dani, this just happens to be the home of Max’s mastubatory heroine, the one and only Allison… and she is simply delighted that the boy she turned down earlier in the day is standing in her foyer uninvited and stealing candy. At this point, Dani embarrasses Max by declaring that he loves Allison’s “yabbos.” Rather than asking her obvious stalker to leave, the teenage model in a $200 Halloween costume laughs at the fact that the rude and awkward new kid has been talking to his kid sister about her tits.

allison hocus pocus

Allison seems taken with Dani and tells her that her mother used to run the museum dedicated to the Sanderson sisters. Max immediately suggests they break in.

boy that escalated quickly

I told you he was on his way to a B&E. Despite the protests of both Dani and Allison, the three criminals soon find themselves in the old Sanderson house… setting shit on fire.

just a bunch of hocus pocus

Okay, I get that this was just a candle with a mystical warning, but this place is a damned tinder box. Look at it! It’s made of 300 year old wood! It’s best not to start fires, y’all. Also, why the hell is all this stuff still here? Doesn’t someone own the merchandise? I mean, maybe they can’t just sell the Occult shit to tourists, but the lighters and the candy? If this place was so haunted that the workers had to just desert everything inside, I’m pretty sure Satan’s Damned Candle isn’t just sitting around with an “I dare you” sign on a box of matches. Just sayin’.

Max reads the inscription and Dani does not ask what a virgin is. I’m sorry, but this is the one thing that I just don’t buy. I’ll allow for the suspension of disbelief for everything else, but as much as I adore this movie, Dani was eight. They just said so! It was 1993 and her parents scolded Max for saying “sucked.” There is no way she knew what a virgin was. Anyway… just as Max lights the Black Flame Candle, the electric lights burst and… wait, wait, wait. If someone’s paying the electric bill, surely this place is better guarded than this!

Ahem…

Green lights flash as the witches strut in and marvel over who lit the Black Flame candle. Upon discovery of the children… wait. Hold it. In 1693, a boy Max’s age was considered a man. He likely had a wife and kids. What, exactly, are the parameters for “child?” Anyway… apparently Max and Allison both qualify as children, because the Sanderson sisters want to eat them as well. I’m a little confused as to whether or not they were, indeed, cannibals and feel Disney has done me a great disservice by not clarifying. Case in point: “Let’s barbecue and filet him.” – Mary

In an effort to flee, Max sets off the sprinkler system, insisting it is “the burning rain of death.” Okay, so at this point, this kid has not only broken into two houses and risked burning the latter to the ground, but now he’s flooded it? Three hundred year old wood is going to be seriously damaged by that much water! Eat him Winifred. Eat him and scratch your back with his spinal column, for destroying your home. Before Max can escape, Binx the cat leaps onto his chest, calls him a fucktard, and instructs him to steal the sisters’ spell book

1. Breaking and entering… twice
2. Lighting the Black Flame Candle
3. Flooding the house
4. Stealing the priceless Occult artifacts

How is Max the protagonist? Why is Max the protagonist? He asked for all of this.

Sidenote: Did anyone try to blow the Black Flame Candle out? I mean, it’s at least worth a go, you know?

After robbing a museum, the derelicts and cat seek refuge in a cemetery… after dark. That’s right. The cemetery was closed.

5. Breaking into a cemetery

In contrast, the Sanderson sisters did not break in. They just hovered over the ground for awhile. Eventually, events lead the witches, desperately trying to reclaim their rightful property, to a neighborhood filled with trick-or-treaters. In the meantime, Max leads Binx into the street, with no idea that he’s immortal, ultimately getting the cat run over. Even if he doesn’t die, we know it hurts, because he complained of pain later, when he was held over an open flame.

6. Killing/inflicting immense pain upon Binx

As the witches seek out children, the main ingredient in the potion that will allow them to live forever, they come upon a creepy old man dressed as Satan and think he’s the real deal. They figure their “master” can help them reclaim their book. Let’s just hope it’s not like the books get back, covered in urine. Who knows, though. Max clearly has no regard for anyone else’s property. The Sanderson sisters consult with Fake Satan, while Max and company try to convince a cop (psych) and eventually his own parents that they’re in danger. The sisters realize they’re mistaken about their master and leave to find that their brooms have been stolen by three children dressed as our “villains.”

stealing brooms

What?!?! 

Who the hell just steals a bunch of brooms that clearly belong to someone?!?! No wonder the Sanderson sisters want to kill children! It’s not like they’ve had any pleasant experiences with them!

The witches chase the “protagonists” to a town party, where Max has been unsuccessfully trying to convince his parents that he’s being stalked by the supernatural. No shit. Really? After the sisters put on a lovely performance, encouraging overweight Americans to get some exercise with “dance until you die!”, the children hatch a plan to burn the witches in the school kiln… in the middle of the night.

7. Breaking into a government building in the middle of the night
8. Operating highly volatile and expensive equipment with no experience
9. Burning school property in the form of a boombox used as bait

The witches burn as the children cheer… sadistic little shits. But, wait! They’re not really dead. Binx is fully aware that this may be the case, instructing them not to open the Sanderson sisters’ spell book. Allison, however, is enjoying her bad boy phase and declares “What harm could it do?”

hocus pocus book

For realz, yo?!?! It’s made of human skin and has a working eye. What the hell kind of harm do you think it can do?!?!

While Max was making out with Allison, the Sanderson sisters acquired some more children…

ice
Seriously. What is a child? On what are they basing this?

… and are currently waiting for death, when they look out the window and see the beacon sent out by the book. You know what? I’ve about decided that this is just the story of a woman desperately fighting censorship. We’ve got another activist here.

book burning

Belatedly, Binx the cat tells the kids that “nothing good can come from this book”… because it is made of human skin. Seriously. These kids fucking asked for it. There’s a final showdown in the cemetery…

10. Breaking into the cemetery again

… and sadly, Max survives, though Winifred had him in her clutches.

soul sucking hocus pocus

Not only does Max survive, but the Sanderson sisters perish. The worst part? The only intelligent and good being in the entire movie is officially killed. That’s right. Binx the Immortal Talking Cat is turned back into a stupid boyWhat the fuck, Disney? First you take the awesome talking furniture in Beauty and the Beast and turn it into boring ol’ people and then you kill Binx the Immortal Talking Cat?!?!?

The movie ends on this tragic note, but we see in the sequel that Max and Dani got theirs for leaving the bullies to slowly starve to death in cages. Though it’s never addressed in Hocus Pocus, the brief soul sucking leads to Max’s eventual demise. His parents no longer mention his name, their marriage crumbles, and Dani grows up to seek refuge from that tragic night, through the comfort of the deeply disturbed neighbor boy in…

american beauty

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The Top Three Worst and Best Women of Fiction

In the last fifty years or so, we ladies have focused a great deal on female empowerment. I don’t want to call it feminism, because that term seems to mean so many different things to different people. No, the idea to which I refer is something much simpler: women matter and their choices are their own. So, throughout the years, numerous efforts have been made to depict strong women in media. Some of these have been Rant of Rage abhorrent, while others have become the product of my obsessive fangirling: i.e. the only reason Gail could ever tell you who Buffy and Angel were… and Nathan and Haley… and Jamie and Claire…

That girl stuck by my side even after I made her play the Buffy the Vampire Slayer video game… and described in detail my plans for who would be together in my Sims game. There were charts. To be fair, though, she did talk about politics an awful lot for a fifteen-year-old girl. I cannot unhear those National Youth Rights Association tangents.


Pictured: not us

So, not only is it a librarian job requirement to be able to name strong female leads (or pathetic attempts at them), but it’s also a side effect of my media tunnel vision. I present to you, the worst and best women of fiction.

*** Spoiler alert if you’re unfamiliar with any of the titles… duh. ***

THE WORST

Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City


She’s horrified that someone doesn’t love her as much as she loves herself.

I graduated in 2006, from a Southern suburban high school. Like any misfit in overalls, a turtleneck, and ribbon-laced combat boots, I found common misfit ground with the three gay guys in my graduating class. At the time, this pretty much required me to have seen every single episode of Sex and the City; therefore, I am fully informed in my loathing of Carrie Bradshaw. Now, don’t misunderstand me, here. I am not anti-Carrie because of her sexual freedoms. In fact, Samantha was probably my favorite of the four characters. No, my issue with Carrie was her absolutely unforgivable selfishness.

Gail and Malik have always defended Carrie in this argument, insisting that her impossible self-absorption was the point. I get it. Real women are flawed. Miranda is a workaholic. Samantha is emotionally unavailable. Charlotte is painfully idealistic. None of these compare, however, with the utterly horrifying extremity of Carrie’s self-absorption. For example, there was the time she…

1. … cheated on her boyfriend, ultimately breaking up with him on her friend’s wedding day.
2. … got angry with her boyfriend for insisting she stop seeing the man with whom she cheated.
3. … threw a tantrum when one of her best friends wouldn’t loan her money after she’d spent years proving she was bad with money.
4. … knowingly slept with a married man, then confronted his now ex-wife for telling people about it, after causing her to fall down the stairs and break a tooth.
5. … became so focused on the materialism and fame of her wedding that she completely ignored the groom’s vocalized discomfort over both.
6. … blamed one of her best friends for her having been left at the alter, despite having ignored the groom’s vocalized discomfort.

These are just the plot points I remember from ten years ago, but they certainly qualify as evidence that Carrie Bradshaw was an absolutely disgusting and offensive portrayal of a woman who chose to forgo the suburban soccer mom path.

Andrea – The Walking Dead


This gif is just so watchable, because she’s tied up and gagged.

One of the best things about the current apocalypse craze is the chance to see some badass heroines. I mean, what woman wouldn’t want her daughter to look up to the brave and selfless Katniss Everdeen? That gal had moxie, y’all. Sadly, however, some of the efforts toward a strong female lead have fallen far short… as with Andrea.

When I first started watching The Walking Dead, I knew little about the fan preferences, such as the fact that the audience violently hated both Lori and Andrea. Just a few episodes in, however, I was confused. Why was everyone so sympathetic to Andrea over her loss? For realz, yo, it’s the zombie apocalypse. Every person in this camp has lost everyone they’ve ever loved in the last thirty days. Rub some sand in your vagina and get on with life.

As the show progressed, it was painfully obvious that the writers wanted Andrea to become the fan favorite she was in the comics… and failed. Instead of holding her own with the men, as guardian of the camp, she accidentally shot a member of her own team, got left behind after the zombie attack, and ended up solely dependent on Michonne for protection, putting her and everyone in their makeshift family in grave danger, because of Andrea’s idiotic decision-making skills. By this point, I can only assume the writers had given up hope on “Team Andrea” t-shirt sales, because they killed her off, despite the fact that her comic book character is currently alive and well. Personally, I don’t think she went painfully enough. I wanted her eaten from the feet up for being such a weak and selfish representation of a woman in crisis.

Robin Scherbatsky – How I Met Your Mother


Stab her. Please stab her now.

Robin, Ted’s obsession in How I Met Your Mother, was originally driven, confident, straight-forward, and disinclined to pursue a traditional family life. She was initially a decent portrayal of a woman who didn’t know exactly what she wanted, but knew exactly what she didn’t want. As the series moved along, however, she quickly became overly brash and masculine, calling to mind the 1990’s ball-busting career woman stereotype, in an ugly gray power suit. You can’t be successful and feminine. You have to burp in public and eat ribs in your sleep.

Despite everything she claimed to want, Robin ended up repeatedly dating Ted, a man who clearly specified that he had completely different goals in life. She met a few men along the way, always ending things for horribly insulting reasons, and eventually ended up dating and even marrying/divorcing one of Ted’s best friends. For realz? You’re breaking up the band, Yoko! In addition to mistreating the people closest to her, we even got to see Robin’s outright abuse of a friend, as she treated her like a hated slave for comic relief.

Ultimately, in a show with only two leading female characters, one of whom was an artistic, sweet, kindergarten teacher, who married her college sweetheart, it was just insulting to women to see the only portrayal of a career-minded single gal as a flighty, self-absorbed, butch, bitch. I won’t even mention the fact that The Mother was just a stand-in for her, making the entire series a complete waste of time, as Ted does eventually end up with her.

THE BEST

Endora – Bewitched


She doesn’t need a man to make her drink.

When I was little, I watched an unhealthy amount of television, particularly during the Nick at Nite Block Party Summer event. I am pretty sure that I was the only eight-year-old who not only watched every single episode of Bewitched, but considered it an absolute favorite. In hindsight, however, I will say that I couldn’t have chosen a better woman to look up to than Endora.

By today’s standards, Endora was independent, diabolical, and unafraid to speak her mind. The fact that her character existed in the 1960’s however, makes her an even more impressive heroine. She was all of the above and she was powerful in a way no other character was, male or female. She was more powerful than Samantha, Aunt Clara, Uncle Arthur, Cousin Serena and even able to go head to head with her own husband. Furthermore, despite the understanding of the time, that a woman essentially becomes her husband’s property, Endora never let go of her insistence that Darren was attempting to quell a natural part of her daughter. She was willing to concede to her daughter’s wishes (mostly), but at no point did she back down and tell Darren that it was acceptable to stifle Samantha. She was relentlessly mischievous and meddlesome, often stealing the show in a time when women weren’t usually able to do so.

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter Series


I’d have totally practiced those spells, in secret.

As a librarian, there are a lot of reasons I despise most of the reading programs implemented in American schools. One of the primary reasons, though, is that I was assigned a 9th-12th grade reading level in the 6th grade and was only allowed to receive credit for books at an 8th grade level and higher. Translation: I could read Harry Potter with the other kids, but I couldn’t get any credit like the other kids. Well, Hermione Granger is absolute proof that there’s more to be had from reading than an improved vocabulary.

I desperately wish I’d read the Harry Potter series in middle school, reading points be damned. Not only was I obsessed with magic, even then, but I’d have benefited a great deal from knowing Hermione Granger. School always came effortlessly to me, pretty much until graduate school and I’ll tell you right now, that doesn’t make you the most popular girl in the 6th grade… especially if you’re willing to announce it to the room in true Hermione Granger style. I have never been willing to deny my intelligence and will, to this day, quote Professor Snape and admit that I am “an insufferable know-it-all.” I mean, it’s pretty much a job requirement now. Not only was Hermione smart, she was also loyal, brave, more than capable of overcoming That Awkward Stage, and she could throw a decent punch. More than anything, though, I needed someone to tell me that it was cool to be smart, as opposed to punishing me for it by not allowing me to read Harry Potter for credit.

Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Gaia Moore – Fearless)


If I try this, I will accidentally stab myself and die.

I was actually pretty torn on this one. I wanted to say Gaia Moore, from Francine Pascal’s Fearless series. She was a seventeen-year-old badass with no fear and an inability to relate to her peers and coupling my inability to relate to my peers with no fear would have been the shit. You, my readers, likely have no idea who that is, though. Instead, I’ve chosen a heroine that was both similarly and equally significant to me: Buffy Summers.

At fifteen, I climbed on the Buffy Bandwagon pretty late in the game, just as the series ended. It started with watching a few episodes before school and quickly morphed into saving my pennies to buy all of the seasons on DVD and constantly quoting it to Gail as she read The Communist Manifesto in our Pre-AP English class.

“Does this sweater make me look fat?”
“No. The fact that you’re fat makes you look fat. That sweater just makes you look purple.”

Buffy Summers was the perfect representation of a woman who could be both feminine and strong. She was a babbler who said the wrong thing a lot, hung out with the misfits, and just really wanted to be normal, despite having a pretty rocky home life. At fifteen, I related to that in a huge way. Not only that, but Buffy never pretended to be less than she was. Not once did that gal hand over a pickle jar that she could damned well open herself. Buffy taught girls to be proud of what they bring to the table and to own it, even if the boys quail. She was also an endlessly selfless character, giving up all hope for a normal life to save people. Furthermore, she was just a generally good friend, daughter, and whatever the hell she was to Giles. Sure, she was kind of a shitty girlfriend, but even that was a lesson that sometimes, love doesn’t go the way you want and life goes on… because Joss Whedon is kind of an asshole.

quote-q-so-why-do-you-write-these-strong-female-characters-a-because-you-re-still-asking-me-that-joss-whedon-277715

Why I would make a better mobster than Tony Soprano.

Me: I want to buy a motorcycle and shoot my guns from it!
Gail: Turn off Sons of Anarchy. 

Me: I just found a Shake and Bake Meth Recipe on Google! All I need are the batteries.
Gail: Ugh. You’re going to blow yourself up. How many episodes have you watched?
Me: Like one. Breaking Bad isn’t really doing it for me.
Gail: Your search history is going to get you on some kind of list. 

You know, good friends support each other, GAIL. Just this last week, you were appallingly negative about my attending a simple party.

Gail: “Well, for one, judging by how often you leave your drink unattended, I would say you definitely should not go to a frat party. Two, while I’m sure you could pass for 21, no one’s going to talk to you when you excitedly open with ‘Hi! I’m Belle and I’m 21!'”

Ugh. What am I going to do with you?

Recently, I’ve decided to break up my Gossip Girl marathon with The Sopranos. I had actually planned to watch the latter first, but I couldn’t find it to rent and I’m too cheap to purchase anything I haven’t seen. Because libraries are the coolest, I was able to get it from work, through Interlibrary Loan. After two episodes, Gail, once again, decided to crush my dreams.

Gail: Surely you’re not the first person to think ‘I’m a librarian.That’s practically Al Capone.’
Me: Was Al Capone technically the mob? Hmm… I’ll need to catch up on my trivia.

I can’t wait until you have kids, Gaily. They’ll run in and joyfully share their desire to be an explorer…

“Oh, honey, that’s not practical. Everything’s been discovered already and you’d probably just be bitten by some kind of exotic bug and die. Also, keep the desire to leave the country under wraps. The president can hear you right now.” 

conspiracy theory

So, despite obvious Mean Girl Sabotage, I plead my case for exactly why I would not only make a good mobster, but in fact, a better mobster than Tony Soprano.

I could carry out a vendetta, without getting caught, at a very young age.
When I was in the second grade, I got a cool new kind of glue, with a sponge applicator. Everyone thought it was the neatest… until it went missing. A few days later, as I was walking by Sammy’s desk, I noticed a suspiciously similar brand of glue. Of course, I promptly declared that she stole it and told the teacher. Ultimately, Sammy confessed, Mrs. Green  made her apologize and return the glue, and likely issued a reasonable punishment… as I seethed. An apology and some missed recess, when the little bitch wronged me?!?!?

Naturally, in a lawless society, I took matters into my own hands and meted out justice like Batman. I waited two weeks, to throw off suspicion, and graffiti’d the bathroom stall with Sammy’s name during recess… first and last, so no one would be mistaken. Mrs. Green was livid and all Sammy’s friends thought she was lying when she said she didn’t do it. Not only did she have to scrub the wall clean, but she missed a lot more recess, as well. I actually managed to earn her a greater punishment, and also completely discredit her as a person, exactly as the little thief deserved. 


Lord help me when I have children, because that was just plain awful.

I can cuss better.
No, really. Isn’t the seventh “fuck”, in a sentence, a little superfluous, Tony? I mean, there are a lot of things I could suffer from while being held at gunpoint: rape, robbery, blackmail, torture. Do we really need to add redundancy to the list? I’m not offended by your usage of the word “fuck”, but it’s a little tired, what with the 13-year-old in the corner using it. The key to swearing with impact is to mix it up a little. Not everything has to be HBO-worthy. “Mountain of dicks” is totally prime time appropriate and still gets the point across. It doesn’t even have to be that adult. You throw in a “zetus lapetus” or an “oh em jingles” and those f-bombs really pop.

tony soprano strangling
“I’m gonna drape your intestines over the trees like Christmas garland!” See. I win.

I know where feelings belong.
Say it with me now: “With the last fucking Horcrux.” Now, I’m not too far into this show, but I feel it’s in poor judgement for Tony to see a therapist. So some ducks flew away? Bee eff dee. You don’t talk about your feelings. This is an HBO crime drama, not a sitcom about a recently widowed father raising his three young girls. Get your fucking genre right, dude. I mean, were I a therapist treating the mob boss of Jersey, I’d shut my cakehole and all, sure. The thing is, all it takes is one time for this chick to talk. Yeah, you’ll cut off her arm and rape her with it, or whatever mob bosses do, but the FBI will still have proof that you’re the guy laundering money, selling coke, moving stolen DVD players, and cutting off people’s arms and raping them with them. The therapist will be dead. It will have hurt. It will still be all Tony’s fault for being such a vagina. Need to vent, but find you’re a crime lord? DON’T. That’s part of the fucking gig. Just hide in fiction until the problems go away. 

jennifer melfi

Overall, I would be a lot more discreet. 
Okay, seriously dude, I know you’re like a household name in this world, but maybe, just maybe, you wouldn’t be if you didn’t wear that mobster costume every day. You’re a chubby Italian man with a thick accent, obvious anger problems, and an income level that’s completely incongruent with your claimed profession? Wow. Your Etsy store must be doing great! I, however, have pink guns, denim dresses, pearls I actually wear, and country music blaring from my car. The only indicator I might give of my mob involvement, would be that I’m Catholic. Granted, this is a bit more brow-raising in the Midwest than it is in Jersey, but I assure you, the flowered dress, peep-toes, and usage of the word “y’all” will more than conceal my secret station and crime ring.

southern belle
“Hello, there, Sir. I’m here for my gats.”

Why I would not survive the horror movie.

When I was in high school, I was really into horror movies. Even now, it’s understood that Malik and I are slasher movie buddies, though I am more into picking them apart these days. For example…

Why is Carrie White suddenly an ultrasound tech?

Stanley Kubrick, I really don’t think you fully understand basic human anatomy.

I’m sorry, but those zombies would’ve completely decomposed in this heat. I’m not buying it.

This analytical frame of mind might not make me the best overall movie pal, but it certainly entertains me. It’s also allowed me great introspection into the question of whether or not I would survive a horror movie. Sometimes I’m 100% sure I would, because fuck that guy, I’ll totally shoot him in the foot as bait. Other times, I’m not so certain. So, in honor of Halloween, here are the top reasons why I wouldn’t survive a horror movie.

My Priorities

Spring in the Midwest is a terrifying time. I’ve written about my tornado adventures before, but even when we don’t have Hell funneling down from the sky, we do have some epic storms. Frankly, winter can be even worse. Whereas everyone north of my home state gets snow, we get ice. Ice sucks. It tears down power lines far worse than any rain storm. Regardless of the cause of a power outage, in every single instance, I am faced with a choice: I have time to charge my phone or my Kindle, before the storm gets bad. It seems like I’d be able to do both, but in the past, there has always been something keeping me from it. Perhaps, it’s that I’ve had to buy a new phone charger three times, and have been left with my Kindle charger when it’s out of commission. Each time, however, I end up with a fully charged Kindle and 18% on my phone, until the power comes back. I mean, that phone was only going to amuse me for so long, ya know? My Kindle battery lasts for 30 hours. It just made more sense.

samsung galaxy s3
Call for help?
kindle
… or pretend this isn’t happening?

Not only do I prefer reading over communicating with other people (why wouldn’t I?), but I also prefer my dog to most of humanity (why wouldn’t I?). It’s a recurring them in horror movies to kill or threaten the pet. There’s always some scene where the group goes into the room, sees that the family dog has been killed, its blood spelling out a warning, and they just sort of forget about the defenseless animal and fight for their own survival. I would become completely engrossed in the fact that my McSqueezybear had been harmed. I’d run to the scene of the crime to see if he could be helped, putting myself out in the open and completely vulnerable for the taking. If I wasn’t killed at this point, I would not care about fighting for my survival, anyway. The movie would suddenly become all about my effort to avenge/save my puppy, my safety becoming secondary. Naturally, that awesome and totally valid number one priority would get me super murdered.

Also, there are my princess tendencies. You know that scene in the horror movie, where the woman is crawling through the rat infested tunnel to-


No.

My Observational Skills

I worked at my first library for approximately two years. At about 20 months, I realized that one of the librarians was missing a thumb. I did not notice for two fucking years. I worked with this man every day! It’s not like our paths never crossed.

Me: OH EM GEE. I am the most self-absorbed person on the planet. I seriously JUST noticed that Joe is missing a thumb.
Gail: Wait. How do you not notice that? It’s a THUMB. 

Alright. Maybe that was a fluke.

Me: I am a horrible human being.
Gail: WHY?!?!
Me: I just realized Regina is not only missing a finger on one hand, but the fingers of the other are all severely deformed.
Gail: What is so dangerous about working in a library that these people are all missing appendages?!?! 

When I wrecked my car, back in June, my uncle asked if I’d been texting. I informed him that, no, I hadn’t. I’m just a terrible driver and wasn’t paying attention. I do not notice shit around me. In a way, this is an admirable trait. Regina holds her hand in a delicate way that betrays her discomfort with her disability. I didn’t even fucking notice. I overheard a regular favorite customer talking to a coworker about his “accident” about a year ago. It was then that I noticed his missing legHe wore shorts all the time and I never even realized he was bionic. He was just my friendly, cheerful customer.

NA/BIONIC
Accident? What accident?

However… this is not a benefit in a horror movie. I don’t even watch the news. I am 100% certain that the known serial killer, with the very specific pattern of raping and butchering librarians who look like Velma from Scooby Doo, could walk into my library and I’d greet him with a smile and ask how I could help. Then I’d follow him into the stacks alone. Gaily’s big source of contention with my online dating habits is that I’m not cautious or observant enough. Only during her lecture did I realize that most of the guys I’d dated had, in fact, been left alone with my drink. WHAT?!?! I had to pee.

Me: “Oh, come on, Gail. No one’s going to rape me in a Chili’s.”
Gail: “Stop leaving your fucking drink alone!”

As I’ve said before, I’ll get caught up telling Gail why I didn’t like a guy. She’ll tell me I’m being ridiculous. Then I’ll remember that teensy weensy detail.

Me: “Well, he did say one thing that might have been kind of weird, but I think I was reading into it.”
Gail: “What did he say?”
Me: “Well… um… nevermind. It sounds worse than it is, when I say it out loud.”
Gail: “What did he say?!?!”
Me: “Well, when I texted to ask what intersection we were meeting at, he responded with ‘the restaurant or my apartment?’, but I think he just misunderstood what I was asking.”
Gail: imitating my voice… poorly  “Ell oh ell! You don’t know how words work!”

killer clown
“Certainly, Sir. I’d be happy to help you take your books to your van. Behind the library? In the alley? Alrighty. Lead the way.”

My Coordination

Scene: I’m in a hurry to make dinner, because I’m going to miss the football game between my alma mater and our biggest rival. I don’t want to waste time getting out the cutting board, so I just hold the onion and slice it. There is blood.

Scene: I’m stepping out on the patio to get something out of my storage closet. I trip over the watering can, which gets stuck in a groove of the wooden planks and does not budge. The spout gouges out a chunk of my shin. There is blood.

Scene: I’m making Oreo Balls. I mix the cream cheese and Oreos in a food processor, but can’t get the resulting dough out. Naturally, I try to scoop it out with my fingers. There is blood.

I really don’t think I need to continue. You know the scene in Scream, where Drew Barrymore sneaks around the house with a chef’s knife? I’m pretty sure I’d save Ghost Face an awful lot of trouble by impaling myself on it, before he ever even found me. At the very least, I’d disable myself by dropping the knife on my foot or somehow stabbing myself in the eye while trying to scratch my ear. Forget about running from the killer. I tripped going up my own stairs just a few days ago. I almost landed on the dog. Working the phone quietly in the hallway, while the killer searches for me? I have an Otterbox on my phone, because I literally have an “Oh, shit. Did I crack it this time?” moment five or six times a week. I am not even going to have to baby proof my house when I have kids. I, myself, am already deeply endangered by sharp corners.

drew barrymore scream
=
edward scissorhands

My Mouth

There are many things at which I excel, such as not ending a sentence in a preposition. My impulse control, though? Nope… it sucks. In my defense, I can say that I don’t have a buying addiction. That’s all I can say, though. It was even worse when I was a kid. One day, my second grade teacher used the phrase “workbook.” I felt inclined to correct her and let her know it was just a “book.” I thought “workbook” sounded babyish. I made her so angry that she went to the third grade hall to get a math textbook. This very even-tempered woman shoved the book in my face, in front of the entire classroom, and told me that this was a math book and it was hard. My response? I rolled my eyes. The was my favorite teacher throughout elementary school. I just drove her to rage that day. In the 6th grade, when the principal told me that she’d never met anyone with the nerve to poor milk on a bully’s head, I thanked her sweetly. My first day of freshman year, my biology teacher made the obvious joke about my last name, which I’ve heard my entire life, and I responded in a deadpan voice “Oh my gosh. You’re the first person to ever notice that.” Wait. How did I get through high school without detention?!?!


Meanwhile, in Great Britain…

As an adult, I’ve improved. I realize that this kind of behavior is self-destructive and keep my “Well. I’m sorry you chose to take it that way.” apologies to a minimum. But in a horror movie? Under terrible duress?

anthony hopkins
“Bite me.”

“Rape her with a billy club!”: How unaffected I am by violence in media.

So, I am not a huge television watcher. In fact, this is my background on my computer screen at the moment…

read instead
Yes. It was intended to be ironic.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with watching television… when you want to watch television. I just think there’s something broken about Americans that has them plopping down in front of a screen as a default, rather than finding something they enjoy more. It’s the home where I grew up. It’s the home where my dad still lives. It’s the home my brother has built. It’s my entire technological experiment of a generation that just plugs in, because real fun is harder. That’s fucked up. That being said, television can be truly enjoyable. Well, Netflix can. My hatred of all advertising is a topic for its own entry, with an honorable mention of the ridiculous price my cable company charges for pretty much anything. Netflix, however, caters to the 11-year-old that is still inside of me re-watching last Monday’s recorded episode of Roswell before she goes to school. I am an obsessive person and the selection of television series feeds that.

Bo: “Do you watch Sons of Anarchy?
Me: “I don’t have cable. I also hate reality T.V.”
Bo: “That’s not reality T.V. It’s about a motorcylce club.”

Oh em jingles, I was just masturbating to a motorcycle club romance novel! See, Gaily. There’s a lot of shit I don’t say. My filter isn’t broken. It’s selective, fuck you very much. In actuality, I downloaded the motorcycle club romance novel after that conversation and it wasn’t porn… not exactly. Wednesday night, however, I had just finished a couple of those books and figured I’d give this Sons of Anarchy thing a try. My first thought being, I don’t get it. My second thought being…

jax
Oooooh. Noooow I get it.

I’m kidding. There were no coherent thoughts. When I Googled that photo, I saw ones with his hair cut off and I think I need to change my panties now. Eventually, I totally understood the appeal of the show, beyond the fully naked backside shots, though those are worth rewinding. Being the obsessive gal I mentioned above, I started the show Wednesday evening and made it to season four by Saturday night.

Now, anyone who reads this blog regularly is fully aware of my affection for alpha male romance novels. The hot, pushy, protective, special ops guy is super appealing in fiction-only-fiction-ever. As I’ve mentioned, I can compartmentalize and acknowledge that, because I’m 25 and my brain development is leveling off. Being threatened and bullied and pushed around only works in those books, because the women secretly want it. For example, if Anastasia Steele were to legitimately say…

“Fuck off, Christian. I’m an adult and I’m capable of making my own decisions. Bee tea double ewe, I want a divorce.”

… he would bar the door to physically prevent her from leaving, then tie her up and punish her sexually just like it was still a normal Tuesday… only this time she would mean it and there would be no way to express that. In a fantasy, the alpha does nothing I don’t secretly find sexy, so I don’t need a way to state genuine disapproval. In reality, I’m calling my daddy and he’s loading his gun.

jed
I’m kidding of course. I’m loading my gun.

guns
Pink or not, they’ll still fucking kill you.

My point is, though, that I get that it’s fantasy and a different set of rules apply. Women have rape fantasies because the responsibility for the degrading things they’re imagining is put on someone else. It does not mean they want to be raped. I have fantasies about some big strong man coming in and taking over the responsibility in my life, because I have deep-seated abandonment issues and if I weren’t so fond of gummy worms, I’d be stripping. It does not mean I’m going to go out and start that relationship.

All that being said though, during my Sons of Anarchy marathon, I found myself thinking thoughts that girls with a fondness for pink aren’t typically supposed to think. There’s a scene in season one where the woman is knocked over the head by another woman and then gang-raped. I don’t believe in that feminine power crap about how we’re all sisters because we all slough our uterine lining once a month, but the idea that a woman would betray another woman in that way was just abhorrent, as I’m sure the writers intended. So, as I watched and waited for this gal to finally get hers, she ended up alone with a cop and I found myself shouting at the screen:

“Rape her with a billy club!”

Later, the bad guys were getting away and I was yelling:

“Shoot out their fucking knee caps!”

The doctor’s boss had been a bitch all season and the doctor finally punched her and threatened her and I was thinking…

Yeah… maybe it’s a little weird that I just rewound and watched that again.

After two seasons, I was texting Gail…

Me: I want to buy a motorcycle.
Gail: No you don’t.
Me: … and sell guns illegally.
Gail: Again, you’re mistaken.

Back to that compartmentalization skill of which I was so proud… I understand that if that character were raped with a billy club, the actress would just go home and call her dad and explain that he probably wouldn’t want to watch next week’s episode. No one’s knee caps are actually being shot. Punching anyone would make me feel horrible, because I apologize to the dog when I have to move him off my blanket. I get that the depicted life of crime is only appealing because there are hot guys and they gloss over all that prison. I’m not stupid or sadistic. I’m only enjoying this vicariously through fiction… because I’m an adult and capable of doing so.

After last year’s theater and Sandy Hook shootings, a lot of debates about violence in media sprung up and people brushed them off to focus on the creation of more gun laws that we won’t enforce and criminals still won’t follow. If a few hours of watching Sons of Anarchy can have a future librarian screaming “rape her with a billy club!” though, maybe we should give this violence in media topic a little consideration. I’m not a violent person, but I still can’t wait for Grand Theft Auto Five and gleefully told Gail:

“I hope they bring the chainsaws back!”
leatherface My mind is more or less fully developed. These books, shows, and games are not shaping my brain. I understand that this isn’t reality and I would no more want to physically assault someone, let alone chop them up, than I would want a man to lock me in his sensory deprivation chamber and condition me to enjoy rape.

comfort food
Don’t perform an image search for this book at work. You’re welcome.

If I’d read the above book at 15, though? I don’t know how that would have shaped my views of sex and relationships, particularly when paired with the trashy alpha male motorcycle club books I just read. If I’d been playing GTA and having Sons of Anarchy marathons when I was still learning anger management and people skills? I don’t know. I can guess, though and I genuinely think that I would’ve developed a more warped view of sex than I presently have and my favorite thing about masturbation is that I’m the most normal person in the room despite the tears. Life broke me enough on its own and I absorbed an abnormal amount of electronic media as a kid and teen. Thankfully, it was mostly Roswell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and maybe a couple of Sims characters locked in a room with a rocket launcher. Then again, maybe that explains the violent werewolf porn on my Kindle.

I don’t necessarily have a solution beyond parents actually, you know, parenting and not letting their kids have access to violent shows and video games. My primary declaration, though, is that this shit does matter. Maybe it’s not a video game that shot a bunch of scared babies in Sandy Hook, but Manhunt probably didn’t help the anger issues. Even as an adult, during my Sons of Anarchy marathon, I’m pretty convinced that I want a motorcycle and have for years. Because I’m a huge Superman fan and watched Man of Steel during said marathon, I’m danged certain I want it to look like this….

superman motorcycle

… but I’m an adult who couldn’t possibly be affected by media since not even children are, right? Isn’t that what keeps advertising from being a billion dollar industry? I started using Maybelline cosmetics at 12 (and still do), because Sarah Michelle Gellar was in the commercial. Don’t tell me Teen Mom doesn’t have anything to do with the rising teen pregnancy rate in my hometown. Even so, you can get on your high horse and tell people to read instead of watching T.V. or playing video games, but there’s still violence and fucked up sex in books, too. Maybe the time people spend arguing about this crap should be time spent discussing the abusive relationship implications of the Twilight novels with their 13-year-old daughters. Maybe we should be finding out where our teenage boys heads are at and reviewing their Internet history to discover what kind of porn they’re watching and how much that’s fucking them up. Maybe we should stop blaming external sources and blame ourselves for allowing impressionable children full and unlimited access to said sources.

watch responsibly

Fictional men I’d date… wait… on second thought….

In the past, I’ve dedicated entire posts to a man everyone loves, but I hate: Christian Grey. But there are others, whom I openly cheered for from the beginning… until I gave them a bit more thought. Producers, I must say, you’ve been doing a pretty shitty job of writing my dream guys for the last 50 or 60 years now. For example…

alcide
No, no. Not him. I’d have back-of-the-knee sex with this one.

Leonard Hofstadter of The Big Bang Theory

leonard

From the beginning, Leonard is the obvious favorite of the BBT gang. Sheldon’s too in love with Sheldon to date; Raj can’t speak to women; Howard’s hand is likely glued to himself in his mother’s kitchen. Leonard is actually a great guy. He’s funny, loyal, independent, cute in a pocket protector sort of way, ambitious, social, successful, smart, and doesn’t mind looking like a nerd when he’s having fun. Even if he is shorter than my preference and probably can’t shoot a gun better than I can, I’d give the guy a chance. On second thought…

I’m 25 and just shy of a Masters degree. Twenty-seven-year-old, PhD-wielding, first season Leonard would be a great match for me. Penny, on the other hand, is an incredibly lost and immature 22-year-old. Yes, at 22, some women are working full-time and planning a wedding. They have an understanding of their life goals and finances. I get that. Some, however, are collecting Hello Kitty panties while they wait for their fontanelles to close, like Penny. This girl has moved from Nebraska to LA with the hopes of becoming an actress. She laments the fact that she cannot accomplish her goal, yet rarely attends any auditions. She works at the Cheesecake Factory and spends well beyond her means, not just shopping, but by living alone in an apartment that two physicists can afford to share. She’s lost and looking for direction in life, a not uncommon occurrence at her age and the entire basis for the Fifty Shades series. She’s often short on her rent, so she needs someone else to pick up the slack, pay for her internet, cover her share of the fast food bill, and just generally finish raising her. Enter Leonard.

Despite his success and security in his career, Leonard is desperately clinging to the idea that the nerd can get the girl. You know what? That’s pretty danged true. Many women his own age have dated enough douche bags to look past the superficial stuff and recognize a decent guy. Leonard, however, is too insecure to approach those girls, so he takes advantage of the hot chick next door, who is desperately seeking someone to take care of her. Penny sees this in steady and reliable Leonard and mistakes it for romantic feelings, so he takes his chance to  prey on some of those daddy issues and get a piece of that Hello Kitty clad ass.

The issue here is not the general age difference, but the fact that Leonard and Penny are worlds apart in their interests, their aspirations, and their places in life. I don’t doubt that there are some couples who are 22 and 28 and function quite well. I doubt that Leonard and Penny could even possibly be one of them and that someone of Leonard’s intelligence wouldn’t immediately realize this. There’s no way he thinks he and Penny are even going to have common ground for small talk, but he pursues a relationship anyway, because the cheerleader turned him down one too many times. Penny just sees a nice guy who has his shit together, which appeals to her, because she so very much doesn’t. While both are adults and I’m by no means suggesting Leonard be placed on a national registry, I do think that based on his age and education, he’s more capable of recognizing “using someone” versus “dating someone” and therefore blame him for this destructive relationship.

Luke Danes of Gilmore Girls

luke danes

When Lorelei Gilmore leaves her stifling upper-class home life as a teenager (baby in tow) she takes refuge in Stars Hollow, Connecticut: a town with an exorbitant land-tax, based on the number of elaborate festivals held each year. Seriously. That’s what the sign at the city limits should say. Lorelei raises her daughter in Stars Hollow and exchanges adorable daily banter with Luke, the local diner owner for years, before she sees what all her neighbors and the entire audience could already see and they finally get together.

Luke is a successful business owner, just like Lorelei. He’s funny, intelligent, frugal, and doesn’t let anyone push him around. Shockingly, he has very little baggage for a guy in his mid-thirties, except for an ex-fiance and delinquent nephew. He loves Lorelei’s daughter and clearly adores Lorelei in a way I can totally appreciate, because it doesn’t involve any obvious emotion or romance. Ew. This is on cable, people, not Showtime. He’s the perfect small town guy. On second thought…

Lorelei loves Stars Hollow, the home that took her in, because being wealthy is awful or something. She really gets into the ridiculous festivals and town meetings and is friends with everyone. Her daughter has spent her whole life here and it’s the only home she knows. Luke is a true native, but he’s so fucking negative all the time that I can’t help but hope he gets lost in a hay maze or run over by a colonial wagon. It’s not enough to just not participate in something, he has to take the time and effort to make everyone else feel stupid for enjoying their surroundings (and massive amount of tax dollars at work) and having a good time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local hockey game. a town meeting, or a snowman building contest, Luke isn’t having fun unless he’s taking a shit on Taylor’s podium. Granted, that might be worth a celebration, but come on. He’s the fifteen-year-old who thinks it’s clever to publicly criticize everyone who likes Twilight or my coworker who says “That would lower my IQ” about all genre fiction.

Every.

Single.

Fucking.

Title.

No one is superior for disliking harmless fun. It’s fine to skip the All Night Danceathon. I don’t think I’d want to attend that either. However, attending it just to mock everyone who showed up sounds more exhausting than the event itself. Dating someone who’s constantly making you feel like an idiot for being involved in your community and immersing yourself in the local culture sounds like it would lead to the worst pillow talk ever.

Joey Tribbiani of Friends

joey tribbiani

I don’t care if I was six years old when the first episode of Friends aired. I can still totally relate to the depiction of the random years between college and babies, when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want in life. You know, the years that don’t exist in the Midwest. Joey Tribbiani was cute, loyal to his friends, good with birds (totally loses points for that, because birds are terrifying), funny, laid back, supposedly good in bed, and just generally comfortable to be around. He’d have been great for Phoebe, and not only because they were the only two left. On second thought…

I don’t even know how Joey Tribbiani got five friends, because he was a horrible person.  This show started with a 24-25-year-old Joey, who was still trying to be an actor. In time, he makes it on a soap opera, which is indeed impressive. The problem is that this lasted only two or three seasons out of ten. How did he support himself the other seven or eight seasons? Oh, yeah. He didn’t. It’s great to pursue your goals in life, but there’s a time to grow up and realize that you aren’t going to be a rock star. Perhaps you can still find a way to support yourself with your passion, and if so, that’s awesome. But that’s not what happened with Joey. He spent most of this series “borrowing” money from Chandler and stealing food from Monica and Rachel, all the while trying his best to contract some kind of venereal disease.

Not only was this guy a financial leech and a womanizer, but as the show went on, he became progressively stupider. I don’t understand how any of these people related to this guy after the first two years. Chandler and Ross were dedicated workers from the first episode, while Monica and Rachel  (who were two years younger) found their passions and careers in a relatively reasonable amount of time. Phoebe may never have joined the corporate world, but she did pay her own way through a means she enjoyed. In fact, Phoebe was the grown-up version of Joey, dreaming of being a singer while still working a day job she found financially and personally satisfying. It’s not like Joey even paid back his friends’ generosity in any other ways either. Joey half-asses every relationship in his life, from refusing to share food with his date to losing every single item in an apartment where he doesn’t even regularly pay rent. How did the guy even get laid past age 30 while claiming to be an actor with no day job and few auditions? I know I can’t wait to adopt support marry this guy.

George Bailey

george bailey

What the hell kind of list am I working from? Present day, 00s, 90s, and then the fucking 40s? For realz, though. If you haven’t thought of George Bailey’s big ol’ greyscale hands while masturbating, you’re doing it wrong.

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George Bailey is the epitome of American Family Man. He has a sense of family loyalty to rival the Godfather, lost his hearing saving his baby brother, is kind (but not too kind) to the town slut, stands up to Potter, and repeatedly sets aside his own happiness to do what’s right for everyone else. He’s good-natured, charismatic, and the whole town freaking loves him. On second thought…

George Bailey whines more than any single holiday movie character ever and that includes Charlie Brown wanting to kill himself and Ralphie wanting his Red Ryder BB gun. So you gave up going to college to take over the Bailey Building and Loan, George? Well, that’s what happens when you choose to give up going to college to take over the Bailey Building and Loan. You got married instead of traveling the world? Well, that’s what happens when you choose to marry before you’ve traveled the world. No one forced this guy to do anything. George and Mary are about to embark on their honeymoon when they get news of a run on the banks and solve the issue by handing out their own savings. Then the babies come and they keep on coming, so the trip never happens. I didn’t once hear Mary complain about missing her honeymoon and giving birth to George’s litter under the stairs. She didn’t mention how she could’ve been the rich wife of Sam Wainwright instead of listening to George bitch all the time (though according to an alternate reality, no one would’ve wanted her and she’d have become ::duh duh duh:: A LIBRARIAN! Fuck. Off.) The guy wanted credit for making the choices for the greater good, but still wanted pity for all he sacrificed. Life is still about sacrifice and choices and that was far truer in the 1940s. This guy was no trailblazer for his hard times. Instead of standing by his choices, being proud of all the good he’s done, and leading by example, George complains so much that the freaking Heavens intervene. Angels are actually sent down to Earth to shut this guy up. Sure, I want to marry someone good and selfless one day, but not if I have to forever hear about how good and selfless he his.

How about these writers take the best qualities of all these guys – the smarts, the financial awareness, the laid back attitude, the confidence, and the sense of responsibility – and toss out the insecurity, the negativity, the laziness, and all the fucking whining? I’d write fan-fiction over that. Also, make him look like this…

alcide
I am telling you, I would do things that would make my Gramma weep.