Sunday, January 10, 2010

Admitted Discrimination...Against Jocks.

So, again, I feel that I should address something a reader has pointed out to me (cough my mother cough). There is a scene mid-book, I'd say, in which some jocks are making fun of Mary, one of Phyllis's friends. Mary is going through what might be a little more than just a goth phase. I guess it's kind of a "Mean Girls" moment.

As Phyllis watches the scene unfold— the jocks' teasing and Mary's revenge— she describes the jock in question as Mike or Harry or Bobby and so on, giving him different names each time. This is because Phyllis tends to see jocks as a very generic brand of person. Yes, I know that being a jock isn't a bad thing, not by any means, but in all honesty, there is most certainly one very specific section of jocks. We've all seen them, whether we've been friends with them or harassed by them. They call each other "fags" if one does something the other doesn't like. They can be hilarious, and even nice, but more often than not they just act...well..stupid. Again, it is admittedly a stereotype, but that doesn't mean these guys are non-existent.

The other important thing about this scene is that, well, the jocks are being just plain mean. They're being jerks to a girl just because she looks different. This is off-putting in general but ESPECIALLY off-putting to Phyllis, who knows well what it's like to be shunned, talked about, or made fun of by classmates (read the Prologue). In elementary and middle school she had a rough time socially. Partially because of her age, and partially for, well, no reason at all. Alienation in school is a tough issue to deal with but it's something people should be aware of. And kids like the ones in this scene contribute to it. Luckily for Phyllis, by high school she has come into herself a bit more, learned to stand her ground, and she also has a nice strong foundation of friends. This isn't the case for everyone, however. Some people spend high school searching for who they are, and as they try on different identities, as Mary seems to be doing, they're scorned for it. Luckily, in THIS story, people who are mean for stupid reasons generally get their come-uppants. (Uppents? Uppence? Uppance?) Not always, of course, but generally. Most of my characters tend not to let things go. Especially Anna, but she's for talking about another time. Anyway, I just wanted to address the scene. Everyone's high school experience is different and I'm sure that if Phyllis had joined a different sort of clique her view on the incident would have been a little nicer. In retrospect, it's really not the MEANEST thing to do. She just didn't know the dude's name. And Mary's revenge on the jocks really wasn't quite so bad, either. Just...appropriate, using their own prejudices against them.

Cough. Plus this scene is something I would have LOVED to see happen in high school.

Anyway, you'll just have to read it to see what I'm talking about. Here, I'll even be nice and post an excerpt!
Caution: There are expletives used. Also I just found another spelling error...heh, adds intrigue?

There she was, coming out of a lunch line with a tray. I never bought lunch. It was usually disgusting if the school had made it. If I bought anything, it was from a vending machine. Aunt Chasey made my lunch and enjoyed concocting little snacks, like big marshmallows with peanut butter scooped inside and french bread with homemade garlic butter.

We all looked on as Mary came toward us.
Suddenly something whooshed past Mary’s head. She whirled around to see that it had come from the jock table. Some kid named Kyle or Richie or Mike. I couldn’t keep all those damned jocks straight.
They threw food all the time, but in most cases it was to the neighboring table where Max, the school genius, sat, or another jock table. Never at us, we had never bothered them, we didn’t know them, and everyone knew that Key was cool. Plus, just a few months ago Mary had been a pretty, peppy preppy girl.
Apparently though, Mary now had a different attraction. And they obviously didn’t know just who she was.
Mary turned back around after glaring at Ted or Steve or Ryan, and kept walking. When the second chicken nugget hit Mary’s long, thickly braided and dreaded hair, she turned on her heel and walked right up to the jock table, quickly ducking as someone else pelted a french fry at her.
“Oooh she’s mad.”
“You’re gonna’ get it, man.”
“What are you gonna’ do, bitch?” the boy sitting next to Jeremy/Greg/Jake yelled.
She grabbed Jeff or Aaron or Mike’s shoulders, and stared at him. Suddenly she looked calm. She stood up straight, and put one hand on Jared/Harry/Connor’s shoulder, and one on the boy next to him’s shoulder.
“Fucking freak, don’t touch me!” said the boy next to what’s-his-name.
“Why don’t you two confess your true feelings to each other?” I didn’t hear her actually say this, but later she would tell me. Aloud, she only said, “Fuck you.” Then she lifted her hands from the boys’ shoulders and walked away.
They all laughed at her as she did so.
She sat down and quietly began eating her rotini.
Suddenly there was an outburst of “Whoa!” and “What the fuck?!” and chairs rustling as the jock table was abandoned.

So now you see what I mean, with the use of the names and what not. Ah well. Some people might be offended. Some people probably won't. But I guarantee you this is in no way the worst part of the book, nor does it contain the worst errors.
(-shakes head hopelessly-The inside of the book expresses how my publisher was kind enough to let the work go without edited input. Let me just say, this could be the worst kindness anyone has ever done me.)

Is rotini spelled wrong, too? Oh dear me, I hope not...

If I'm lucky though, maybe some jocks will find this funny too. High school can be rough, but it can also be fun, and I suppose we all deal with it in our own ways, and hopefully, with a sense of humor. I couldn't have every scene happen at the house when high school is a place so full of random incidents like this one.

Oh, and I'm going to try and AT LEAST have the spelling of Claude Rains' name fixed tomorrow.

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