On My Home Planet

I have an opinion about everything, and here it is for the world to see.

Hating on: morons, self-righteous political extremists, the man-and-baby-hating strain of feminism, CraigsList, yuppies, careerists, white liberal guilt, people devoid of any sense of morals or personal responsbility, and other generally clueless and misguided types who continually piss me off.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What awful book am I?

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I first read Heart of Darkness in 1997, the last book for my senior year high school AP English class. Being days away from graduation/escaping my parents' house, I skimmed through it not really caring if I passed the multiple choice test. Come to think of it, I think I remember our class launching a coup d'etat of sorts and not even taking the test.

Too bad I didn't read it for class my senior year of college, when I'd have appreciated it much more. The story of a man from a developed country going to live in a third world jungle and slowly losing his mind would have been much more germane to my life - I was back in the US after a year in a third world jungle of my own on a junior year abroad. Seriously, there is just something about corruption everywhere, being harassed by psycho cops whose last thought is law and order, being turned away from hospitals because my skin's the "wrong" color, people not air-conditioning buildings when its 40 Celcius (approx. "hot as hell" Farenheit), and seeing malnourished children dying on the streets that brings out the worst in a person. Or at least this person. I was totally evil by the end of my study abroad program, having lost much idealism and faith in humanity. To a point, yes, one does have to fight tooth and nail to survive, but having that fight kicked into high gear and sustained that way brings out the evil in me. I thought back to that book often. Unfortunately, they don't have libraries in third world rathole countries so I couldn't re-read Heart of Darkness. Of course by the time I got back to the US, I was too busy reading other books for senior year college classes, and didn't have time for pleasure reading.

I have seriously never understood why English teachers, most of whom seem to be reasonably good people, take such pleasure in cramming shitty books down teenagers' throats. Why the hell do you make us read Herman Melville, Beowulf, Shakespeare and other crap when there are multitudes of fascinating, deep, enjoyable to read books out there. How about The Poisonwood Bible, The Stand, anything VC Andrews (not her ghostwriter) wrote, Gregory Maguire's fractured fairy tales, Valley of the Dolls, A Wrinkle in Time... the list of interesting, enjoyable, quality books from which one can glean foreshadowing, symbolism, etc stretches on and on. What I should have learned in high school english is that reading = frustrating. Thank God the Internet and cable still sucked when I was a child, otherwise I'd be illiterate.

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