I’ve been away for the week while I was sick. Bummer.
I could never get it white-girl bushy — and don’t even get me started on white-girl movie-sleek-pretending-to-be-frizzy. My hair was a whole different kind of frizzy. I loved her so much, but it took me a long time to accept that I could never be her.
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hermione is introduced with a description of her bushy brown hair and her large teeth. There’s nothing there to indicate she didn’t look just like me, yet I always pictured a white face under that bushy head. I always pictured her not-me.
Human lives are governed by the desire to experience joy. Becoming educated should not require giving up joy but rather lead to finding joy in new kinds of things: reading novels instead of playing with small figures, conducting experiments instead of sinking cups in the bathtub, and debating serious issues rather than stringing together nonsense words, for example. In some cases, schools should help children find new, more grown-up ways of doing the same things that are perennial sources of joy: making art, making friends, making decisions.
The problem is that [he] made the same mistake that many other nerds and Nice Guys have made: he misunderstood the point of what he was reading. Specifically: he wasn’t willing or able to step outside of himself and realize that not everything was about him. It’s #notallmen all over again – seeing everything as being about him instead of about what women go through.
You see this repeatedly whenever someone brings up, say, The Gift of Fear or the essay Schrödinger’s Rapist – there will inevitably be someone complaining that it’s unfair to them, that they’re not a rapist or murderer and how are they supposed to meet women?
If anything, the fervor of the Janeites puts into relief a fact almost too obvious to notice: the world of books is a romantic world. Romance structures literary life, and to be a reader is, often, to follow its choreography, from susceptibility and discovery (“I just saw it there in the bookstore!”) to infatuation, intimacy, identification, and obsession. We connect with books in an intellectual way, but the most valuable relationships we have with them are emotional; to say that you merely admire or respect a book is, on some level, to insult it. Feelings are so fundamental to literary life that it can be hard to imagine a way of relating to literature that doesn’t involve loving it. Without all those emotions, what would reading be?