Adultery


Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn My rating: 2 of 5 stars This book was good, but it wasn’t. That may not be obvious since I rated it so low. Firsts tackled some tough subjects, but it didn’t really do so in a great or helpful way. I honestly wonder if it may have done more harm than good. The intention of the author, much like the intention of the main character Mercedes Ayres, was probably a good one at heart, but, as the proverb goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions cannot fix what is truly wrong with this book. I understand the attempt to soften the approach people take to cheating and slut-shaming, but it doesn’t actually achieve that. Instead, it pushes those stereotypes even further and dismisses criminal behavior as seduction and bad parenting. Luke is portrayed as the former boyfriend, while the behavior described is clearly sexually abusive. He groomed Mercedes before forcing her to perform oral sex on him and before eventually raping her. Charlie’s actions are not really any better. Filming a person having sex without their consent is illegal. Trying to physically force someone to have sex with you is illegal. Attempting to blackmail someone over their sex life is, you guessed it, illegal. But the author chooses to say that Charlie was trying to “seduce” Mercedes. No, that’s not seduction. Those are acts of sexual violence. Kim is an emotionally abusive and emotionally & physically neglectful mother, and Mercedes’ absentee father who decided to punish Mercedes for her mom’s decisions isn’t much better. Kim is portrayed as a slut and a bimbo who only cares about spending the ill-gotten gains of her ex-husband. It’s the kind of storyline that you might get from websites run by “men’s rights activists” and MGTOW. Faye is the supposed-to-be-subtle-but-really-isn’t cautionary tale. Zach is the night-in-shining armor. Angela is the good girl, the girl with the patience of a saint and who is let back into Mercy’s life too easily. Mercedes is the fallen girl/girl gone bad who takes on the sins of all those involved & is nearly ruined in the process. She is constantly obsessing over what side she should show others, which is something that a lot of people feel, but it was never really addressed in the book. Yes, there’s the whole, her mom screwed up how she thinks about sex, beauty, weight, etc., but that’s not enough to explain why she is so hyper-critical and why she is convinced that she is unlovable. And if you’re going to spend a whole book tearing down the main character’s self-esteem, then you need to spend more than a couple of pages making her act like she’s all-better all of a sudden. Sometimes it came across as preachy. No, wait, it always came across as preachy. The sex lives of most of the characters in the book are regularly criticized. Angela, Mercy’s BFF, is super-religious and pushes her faith onto everyone. (There are even Bible verses that are quoted and referenced.) Her sex-negative attitude only pushes Mercy to hide her actions. Kim’s antics seem to push the idea that adultery leads women to even more vice-filled lives. Mercy’s internal dialogue about how many guys she’s had sex with pushed the idea that girls & women who have ‘too much’ sex might be seen as used up goods. The outcome at school for Mercedes pushes the idea that women and girls have to be punished for being sexual. When Mercedes describes how she feels about sex and intimacy, even when she sometimes thinks she’s attracted to Faye, it’s almost like reading a pamphlet on sex addiction. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by the way that her pseudo-attraction to Faye was handled. I know that with sex addiction, a person might engage in sex with people that they aren’t really attracted to, but the whole “is she going to kiss me” thing that existed through most of their interactions was just shrugged away toward the end. I didn’t know if Mercedes was only thinking about Faye that way because she really doesn’t understand relationship boundaries or if she might not be as heterosexual as she eventually felt the need to declare she was. Sex addiction or figuring out that you’re LGBTQ might be an interesting topic to cover in a novel, but it needs to be addressed in a better way. Come to think of it: all of the issues that are described within the book need to be addressed properly. In attempting to counter the sex-negativity that people, especially women and girls, encounter in their lives, the book actually pushed an even more sex-negative outlook. The book essentially normalized sexual violence, parental neglect, and shaming young women for being interested in sex. That’s why I don’t think I could ever truly love this book. It almost seemed like a book I could like until it became clear that it was just another in a long line of anti-sex books with ambiguous attitudes toward abuse and sexual assault. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. View all my reviews

Review: Firsts


In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I loathe Donald Trump and don’t want the man to be President. I’m in the process of publishing a list of 2016 reasons to oppose him. Trump’s followers have a tendency to ask for reasons why people don’t like them and they tend to dismiss them as having no basis in reality. They even suggest that Mr. Trump has been misunderstood by the media and by people who’ve watched his speeches live. This list will hopefully show that Donald Trump has been advocating for some pretty awful stuff throughout his career as a real-estate-developer-turned-reality-television-star-turned-presidential-candidate. His “gaffes” aren’t new, nor is his bigotry. And alleging a 43 year campaign by the media to smear him and ruin his chance at becoming President is a big clue that he is the one who is saying things that are not based in reality. 132. Opposed to a living wage, then for it, then opposed to it… I don’t even know if Trump knows how he feels about raising the minimum wage at this point. He can’t keep his story straight if asked twice within a twenty-four-to-forty-eight hour period. I wonder if he contemplates raising the minimum wage while sitting on his gold throne. 133. Blamed concept of climate change on China. He now claims his 2012 tweet about China creating a climate change hoax was a joke. You know, like his hacking joke and his “blood coming out of her whatever” joke. It’s a good thing that Donald didn’t go into stand-up comedy because his comedy career would deplete the world of its tomatoes. Anyway, the supposed joke is something that he’s referenced repeatedly, even before he joked about it. If it’s really a “joke”, and “it isn’t, then even he doesn’t get it. 134. Taxing Chinese exports. He wants to put a forty-five percent tariff on Chinese exports. In other news, the zombie form of George III is planning on suing Donald Trump for using his shtick of supporting outrageously high taxes. 135. His claim of beating China in trade deals. He backed it up by saying that he owns part of a Bank of American building that he got from China in a war. Actually, it was a result of a relationship between Hong Kong billionaires and Trump after they helped rescue him from having to file another bankruptcy on a property; when the property was sold without his support, Trump waged a legal battle with them. That chunk of the bank building he bragged about getting was something he had to settle for after he lost the legal battle. 136. Said US leaders would invite El Chapo to become a citizen. Someone in his family or his campaign needs to take his Twitter account away from him. 137. Calls himself the least racist. Considering his lack of understanding of how even the simplest things work, it’s unsurprising that he considers himself to not be a racist. 138. Bragged about a former employee calling him the least sexist boss she’d ever had. Apparently, he didn’t realize that she didn’t say that he wasn’t sexist, just that he was the least sexist. 139. Stacie J. While Trump wants to capitalize on his fame from The Apprentice in this election, it’s important to remember every single time he did something flat-out-wrong on that show. Case in point, his treatment of Stacie J. Other competitors portrayed her as mentally ill because she consulted a Magic 8-Ball toy before her team did their tasks. He called her a “loose cannon” and fired her, violating the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. He fired her simply for behaving in a way that was perceived as being due to mental illness. 140. Trump stigmatizing the mentally ill. This is a continuation of the Stacie J situation. Because of Stacie’s quirky behavior he said, “This comes from two people, Stacie, that don’t like each other at all. The first thing they’ve agreed on is that you’re crazy…Stacie, if you have a problem, I don’t want you running my companies.” This suggests that Trump refuses to hire or continue to employ mentally ill people. This is backed up by his use of ableist terms like “nut job”, “crazy” and “wacko” to demean Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Elizabeth Warren. He conflates mental illness with crime and said that gun-free zones that gun-free zones are “target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill.” A man who willingly tears down the mentally ill should not be in charge of a country where 25% of the population is believed to have a mental illness; and at least two-thirds are either unaware of it or are going untreated for it. 141. Painted himself as the hero of NYC in New York Times article in 1983. According to Trump, he alone is responsible for Grand Central being renovated and hotel jobs being saved. 142. Doesn’t like compromise. He told Life magazine in January 1989, “I’m not big on compromise. I understand compromise. Sometimes compromise is the right answer, but oftentimes compromise is the equivalent of defeat, and I don’t like being defeated.” 143. He suggested success/deal-making is genetic; that people who don’t succeed are afraid to or are “life’s losers”. In 1984, he told Lois Romano of the Washington Post, “Some people have an ability to negotiate. It’s an art you’re basically born with. You either have it or you don’t.” In The Art of the Deal, Trump said, “Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning.” He also said, “One of the problems when you become successful is that jealousy and envy inevitably follow. There are people—I categorize them as life’s losers—who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others. As far as I’m concerned, if they had any real ability they wouldn’t be fighting me, they’d be doing something constructive themselves.” 144. […]

2016 Reasons to Oppose Trump: Reasons #132-158



Only four posts in and I’ve already touched a nerve. @janersm which literally most people do on a regular basis. And the fact you’re writing a 2500 essay on the wrongs of trump is biast — StopRaven (@stop_raven) July 26, 2016 It’s “biast” for me to express my own opinion. Oh my goodness. How dare someone have an actual opinion! So, if you didn’t read my first, second, or third set of 21 reasons to oppose Trump, consider reading those before you read the next 21 reasons. After today’s post, there will be 95 more posts. If they were bottles of beer, this could be a song. 64. Donald Trump lied about witnessing Muslims celebrating 9/11 on a rooftop in Jersey City, New Jersey. I’ve mentioned Trump’s mocking of Serge Kovaleski, but not how he earned the ire of Trump. Kovaleski had covered a story in 2001 that suggested that there were people in Jersey City partying on rooftops. Donald claimed to see thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on rooftops after the World Trade Centers collapsed. He claimed there was video of it on television all the time. When he was asked about it by George Stephanopolous, Trump said: “It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.” Except it wasn’t, because it didn’t happen. The story was never about thousands of Muslims. There was no video. It’s all in Trump’s head. 65. Trump insulted Seventh-Day Adventists. While speaking to supporters at a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Florida in October 2015, Trump, after talking about how he’s a Presbyterian, said, “Boy, that’s down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about. I just don’t know about.” While Trump’s dig may not sound that vicious, it was meant to be very vicious. You seem, some Christians don’t believe that Seventh-day Adventists are even Christian. This is a group that also refuses to vote for non-Christians. This was a time when Trump was behind Ben Carson by 9 percentage points; Carson is a Seventh-day Adventist. It was personal. 66. Trump hired Manafort. When Donald Trump dumped Corey Lewandowski and replaced him with Paul Manafort, very few people in America knew of the background of Manafort. Most stories touted him as having ties to the Republican Party. A few brought up some recent jobs of of his. Manafort has ties to Viktor Yanukovych, who was the the prime minister of the Ukraine at the time, as well as an ally of Vladimir Putin. In 2010, Yanukovych became the president of Ukraine, but had to flee to Russia during the 2014 revolution. Manafort was also a consultant of Yanukovych, helping Yanukovych’s first run for the Ukrainian presidency in 2004. When Yanukovych hired him after the first results were invalidated, Manafort was meant to improve his images. He was unable to in the time given, but Manafort continued to work within Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Manafort was still working with the administration when Yanukovych fled and continued working within Ukrainian politics after he’d fled, including his reported involvement in the 2015 election campaign of Vitali Klitschko, who ran for mayor in Kiev. Now, Manafort is working with Donald Trump and was even used on July 27th on CBS This Morning to argue that Donald Trump had no ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime, which may have ties to the hacking of the DNC by Russians and subsequent Wikileaks email release. 67. Trump called Hillary Clinton “shrill” at a rally. A lot of people don’t like Hillary Clinton, but most don’t call her “shrill” at campaign events. Actually, he didn’t just say it once, he said it twice–over-pronouncing it the second time. I guess he wanted to make sure that everyone at his half-empty rally heard him correctly. He tried to suggest he calls men shrill, but if he has, it hasn’t been on Twitter. And he should know that the term “shrill” is meant to shut women up. My guess is: that’s why he said it. Luckily, it didn’t work. 68. Trump mocked Fiorina’s physical appearance. No, really. He did and managed to do it while being interviewed by Rolling Stone. When the anchor throws to Carly Fiorina for her reaction to Trump’s momentum, Trump’s expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. “Look at that face!” he cries. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” When asked on Fox News if he really said something like that, he confirmed, saying, “Probably I did say something like that about Carly.” But he tried to walk it back with, “I’m talking about persona. I’m not talking about look.” Donald always has an excuse. 69. Donald Trump believes that John McCain shouldn’t be considered a war hero. While speaking at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Trump said of McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured.” 70. Donald Trump also stated that he doesn’t believe that people who are captured are war heroes. In his words, “I like people who weren’t captured.” He’s walked those comments back, because they didn’t go over very well, but they were still said. And his reframing of his comments (“If somebody’s a prisoner, I consider them a war hero.” and “If a person is captured, they’re a hero as far as I’m concerned. … But you have to do other things also.”) didn’t really explain the difference between McCain’s capture and the POWs who he actually sees as a war hero. 71. Trump comes up with childish and […]

2016 Reasons to Oppose Trump: Reasons #64-84