No one in The Great Gatsby is worth a bottle of bathtub gin: What does our narrator Nick do when swaggering douchebag Tom breaks his mistress Myrtle’s nose, for example? Nothing. But the really detestable member of the bunch is Daisy, who has no character. She spends the book being languidly beautiful and wealthy, ignoring her child, flirting with her cousin, and leading on her old flame, before running away with her racist brute of a husband.
Daisy may not be the technical villain of Gatsby (Tom, a proto-bro, gets that honor) but she still sucks, and if it weren’t for her a couple key players in the book would be alive at the end of it. In her honor, here are the top 10 detestable characters of literature—a brief rundown of bad guys who aren’t the bad guys. …
Stop Saying Men Don’t Read Women on Slate
It has become a truism that “men don’t read women.” The assertion is taken as self-evident by feminist publications like Salon (“while women read books written by men, men do not tend to reciprocate”) and shown anecdotally by blogs. It is also perpetuated by male bastions like Esquire, which recently released a list “of the greatest works of literature ever published” featuring one (1) book by a woman out of a total of 75. (Dudes like stuff that is “plot-driven and exciting, where one thing happens after another,” helpfully explains Esquire’s editor-in-chief, who introduced Fiction for Men e-books to widespread scorn last year.)
To be sure, the inequalities of the literary world are as plain as the nose on Jonathan Franzen’s face, and many writers and readers alike remain outraged about this unbalanced state of affairs. The Women In Literary Arts numbers for 2012 (compiled annually by VIDA) have barely budged from 2010 and 2011—men still dominate the major outlets as tastemakers, reviewers, and authors whose works are deemed worthy of review. The Nation recently published a cri de coeur by novelist Deborah Copaken Kaganlamenting “centuries of literary sexism, exclusion, cultural bias, invisibility. There’s a reason J. K. Rowling’s publishers demanded that she use initials instead of “Joanne”: It’s the same reason Mary Anne Evans used the pen name George Eliot.” And a recent Saloninterview with Meg Wolitzer addressing these frustrations is titled “Men won’t read books about women.”
The truth is more complicated. … more
The How Much Should You Pay to See … series at the Billfold, co-starring Adam Freelander
Listen from about minute :30 to :40
Transvaginal What Now? at The Hairpin:
The trans-vaginal ultrasound wand really is as big as they say: faced with one, I flashed back to the scene in Marla Singer’s apartment in Fight Club where, sitting on her dresser, there is a dildo of unusual size. Tyler Durden may not have been daunted in the moment, but, eyeing the wand, I was. Before I could say anything, though, the doctor squirted the length of it with unromantic-looking blue lube and thrust it inside me.
Lying on my back in a putty-colored paper gown, I felt like one of those unfortunate souls who believe they’ve been abducted and probed by aliens. I squirmed, trying to find a less-uncomfortable position. Meanwhile the doctor kept her eyes on the monitor, trying to get a clear picture to appear on the screen. “Your bladder is full,” she said disapprovingly, manipulating the wand like a 13-year-old with a joystick.
The “It’s Complicated” Wedding Registry at Hello Giggles:
Let’s be frank: when you’re not crazy about the couple or their chances, for whatever reason, picking out a present can seem really fraught. Sure, you can resort to the registry (“Oh look, a toaster.”) You can have a policy, as a good friend of mine does, where you buy the exact same fruit bowl for everyone. Or you can use this opportunity, within the limits of propriety and good taste, do what NWA would advise: Express yourself.
Don’t be obvious; this is an occasion for subtlety. If they perceive any hostility toward their union, you’ll have to take calls from a tearful bride and nobody wants that. But if you’re creative, you can communicate some of what you’re feeling while still giving them something they’ll enjoy!
Such as: … more
A Great European Cities Tour of America on The Hairpin:
It is a fact both true and sad that Europe, while awesome and filled with classy old buildings, is expensive. A boyfriend backpacking there after the decline of the dollar told me he missed fruit, which cost too much, and made the wistful request that I eat grapes for him. He also gave up shaving rather than shell out for razors.
But unsightly facial hair and scurvy need not be the prices you pay for travel! Not if you do it right. Thus, I present to you: The Great European Cities Tour — of America! You already buy and eat local; now travel internationally that way. Your country and your wallet will thank you. … more
How Many Children to Have? A Scientific Analysis on Thought Catalog:
Let’s say you — grown, responsible, possibly partnered, somewhat solvent person — have agreed to have children. They’re important to have for various reasons: in case you need a kidney later in life, or a loan, or someone to spring you from jail because they feel obliged to. Your parents can also serve these functions but only for the term of their natural lives.
So! How many, then, should you have? Some people wing it but I think a decision like this should be well-thought-out and based on logic. … more
The Best Time I Got My Wisdom Teeth Out on Thought Catalog:
I’m not a brave person. There’s a reason I carry small, dissolvable tablets of Klonopin around with me in my change purse. I don’t like pain, I hide from danger, and I am not even that crazy about excitement.
“Do you want to get your wisdom teeth out?” a dentist asked me in high school.
“No, thanks!” I said because, A) obviously, and B) I assumed he was asking the question rhetorically, the way my mother asked if I wanted to empty the dishwasher. Instead he said, “Okay!” What kind of idiot, hippie dentist does that? Why not ask a dog if he wants his shots, or that drunk guy you took home if he wants to use a condom? … more
Why I Hate Cats on Thought Catalog:
Dina was a 29-year-old, curly-haired Egyptian pothead on whose 2ndAvenue apartment’s walls hung her own paintings of women morphing into trees. She had worked in advertising but had decided to go back to school to get a degree in Art Therapy, presumably to help other young people express themselves through cliché.
Craigslist had presented my boyfriend Ben and me with slim pickings for housemates who were willing to bunk with a couple: an immigrant who had been avoiding taxes and feared FBI raids; a painfully shy teacher who collected tarantulas. We decided to go with Dina.
A week before we moved into her place, she informed us that she had adopted a cat. … more
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Time Travel on Thought Catalog:
So you want to time travel! Congratulations. You’re about to embark on an exciting journey, and I’ll bet you think you’re prepared. You know not to do the following things:
- Kill your grandmother
- Become your own grandmother
Otherwise, you figure, you’ll be set.
You watch Back to the Future and read a little Audrey Niffenegger, and you think you know everything. Have you considered that, in the wrong historical moment, you could be picked apart by lions for the amusement of a coliseum, or die gasping and spitting from cholera?
It’s time to get serious. Here are the most important considerations if you attempt time travel. … more
Waif Vs. Waif: The Battle of Saoirse Ronan and Mia Wasikowska on the Film Experience:
Saoirse (“Sur-shuh”) Ronan and Mia Wasikowska (“Vash-i-kov-ska”) burst upon the scene at roughly the same time: In 2007, S. Ronan lent much-needed eeriness to Joe Wright’s Atonement in her first major role and received an Academy Award nomination. In 2008, Mia W. elevated both the HBO series “In Treatment” and the Daniel Craig vehicle Defiance, earning a place as one of Variety magazine’s “Actresses to Watch” in the process. … more
Brooklyn, I Love You, but You’re Bleeding Me Dry at Bundle.com:
Even in the second-best borough of New York City, Brooklyn, houses regularly sell for millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars. With a budget of $450,000, if you want a house — not four walls and a ceiling, but three bedrooms and a yard — you have two options: You can buy all the way out in Coney Island (with a commute to Manhattan of an hour and a half each way), or you can check out your options elsewhere in the country.
Here, in alphabetical order, are houses I could afford to buy if I weren’t so enamored of the city that my husband and I pay $2,100 to share a 1-bedroom rental. … more
Why Franzen is the Wrong Face for Franzenfreude on Salon.com:
I feel the time is right to weigh in on the literary meme of the moment, “Franzenfreude,” a term that, loosely defined, indicates that author Jonathan Franzen represents all that is wrong with the contemporary highbrow book world.
Is that stupid? Quite! Except there’s a caveat. The phenomenon referred to by “Franzenfreude” — the idea that the highbrow book world reserves its highest praise and most fawning attention for the works of men — is absolutely true. It just happens that Jonathan Franzen is a terrible poster boy for that problem. … more
Finding a Job Examiner at Examiner.com:
“Of Course I Know HTML” and Other Interviewing Tips
This is the most important piece of advice you’ll ever receive. A person who smells nice will be forgiven multiple sins, while an applicant with BO is DOA. If you’re prone to sweat stains when nervous, wear layers and make sure one of them is black. Of course, also brush your teeth and your hair and, if you have cats, your clothes. … more
The Seven Deadly Sins of Unemployment, and How to Avoid Them
You will often find yourself jealous of your friends: those still lucky enough to have a cubicle to call home, those who seem to be making more progress in their job searches than you are, and those whose grad school classes make you miss college with searing intensity.
Deep breathing is the best way out of this one. … more