". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reading Wednesday - Personal - A Jack Reacher Novel

I spent most of the day getting to, waiting around in and coming back from a hospital appointment.  The moment I began the trip up to the hospital I pulled the latest Jack Reacher novel, Personal (2014), from my bag and began reading it. It took only two sentences and I ask myself, "Did Lee Childs write this?"  Because though the signature pacing of a Childs's Reacher novel was there from the first two sentences, the voice, the tone, even the vocabulary and smart ass cracks, were off the Reacher mark from what my mind's ear had become accustomed over the course of 18 Reacher thriller novels.  The timing and rhythm is also just a bit off.

That nagging sense that this wasn't really Childs's Reacher was sustained all the way through the day of reading, and only increased as I reached the conclusion It is pacey!).

It has not been unknown for a very successful writer to employ sub-writers to follow plot and character instructions, and then run it through his own word processing program to put on the finish.  I can't help but wonder.

Also, whoever did write the text: be it known to you that women don't say nylons and haven't worn nylons in decades. We say, and we wear, tights, leggings, stockings and / or panty hose. Even female military personnel who wear skirts do not wear nylons these days.

Unless we're church ladies of as certain age in the upper midwest, of whom there naturally aren't that many left, we don't carry purses, but we do carry satchels, totes, even computer bags and cases, or tablet folders, etc. (neither men nor women carry brief cases much anymore since the portable digital device revolution), handbags or bags -- see: handbags, designer.*  Go into any place that sells such things and the signs are "Handbags and Accessories."

As well, to write,  " . . . she wore good shoes . . . " doesn't tell us a damned thing about the woman's character, but goes along with the writer's ignorance of putting her into nylons.

That kind of block clunk dumb kicks me out of the story. Among other things it broadcasts the male author's underlying contempt for women and the very many women who buy his books. This is particularly evident when it's the male author's male character telling us what a woman is like.  Worst of all, all through the books the writer / Reacher makes such a huge deal out of what an authority he is about women, including what they wear, which is part of the reason he's had so many really fine women over the decades (he ages but the fine women he has stay the same age more or less). What he does sound like to a female reader who has ears is an old guy, ogling women 30 - 40 years younger than he is, which, by the way is kind of the situation here.  Need it be mentioned that always these women throw themselves at him?



*  See, first paragraph above as first person (anecdotal) proof of this assertion.  I wrote "bag" without even thinking about it, without explaining, because just about every person inhabiting the universe that reads Jack Reacher novels knows what I mean.  Millions and millions and millions read Jack Reacher novels, at least half of them female.

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