Thursday, March 29, 2012
BLOGGING LOOKING FOR ALASKA pt. 10: Transcript #001
And in all likelihood I will figure out a way to put this audio up, as an MP3, which you can download for your listening pleasure, if you'd rather do that sort of thing. And the link to it will be, let's say, HERE.
Anyway. BLOGGING LOOKING FOR ALASKA, part 10. When we last left our heroes, Pudge, who--I've been calling him Miles, but we're gonna have to start calling him Pudge, because that is what he is called in the book. He's Pudge. I've been pretending that's not true, but it is. PUDGE took a basketball to the ol' noggin, and then threw up on his date Lara's lap.
I would be surprised if some enterprising nerdfighter hasn't already put up like a picture on Tumblr that says "In Soviet Russia, Lara throws up on YOUR lap!"
84 Days Before (Hey, it rhymes!)
It starts raining at Culver Creek, like a lot of rain, like there are multiple references to Noah and the Flood. And the first one is cute, and the second one is like WE GET IT. And the third one is like, I don't know if there's a third one, but TWO IS PLENTY.
And Pudge goes a couple days just seeing Alaska, not talking to her, and then one day he finally does. And there's this very Hemingway section:
"Indeed," she said. Her wet hair hung from her head and mostly covered her face. I ate some. She ate some.
And he asks how she's been, and she says "I'm not really up for answering questions that start with how, when, where, why, or what." Which is basically all questions unless you're the kind of person who asks a question like "The fuck?" Which is what I would say if someone said something like this to me.
But clearly we're in the MDPDG phase, the Manic Depressive Pixie Dream Girl. OK. And he asks if he's done something wrong because that is what guys do, and she says "Of course not, Sweetie" in a condescending way because that is what girls do. And Miles acts like he could never possibly understand her problems, and you get the sense that her problems are part of what makes her so fuckable to him. And that makes sense, because that is what, I'm sorry, WHITE MALE AUTHORS do. They think that they are being progressive by saying, "Hey, you know what? I even like the fact that this girl is a bitch sometimes!" And they don't realize that that is just as--it's worse! It's like when Esquire does that thing where they're like, "Hey have you guys noticed, for the sixty-second consecutive month, we have noticed that women are more than just walking vaginas for putting our dicks in? They're good at stuff other than sitting on dicks! They talk with their mouths and say words! And we enjoy the shape of their mouths while they talk, but we also listen to half the words or so!" Farbeit for me to speak on behalf of all women, but I think I can speak on behalf of white women (obviously), when I say: they would probably rather you just say you want to tit fuck them rather than obviously AVOID saying you want to tit fuck them and then act like you deserve a medal for avoiding it, like it was SO HARD TO DO.
76 Days Before
Once again we have one of those things where a woman acts in a complicated way, and John Green does a relatively fair treatment of it, and then a male character calls a girl a bitch on the next page. The Colonel is talking about his girlfriend, whatever the fuck her name was, and he has an epiphany that she was a bitch, which I feel like is the same epiphany he had last time he thought about her, and I don't care about her, and I just want everybody to move on. I want the Colonel to move on. Not because I care about him at all as a person but because I want him to SHUT UP.
So then The Old Man, the spiritual lynch pin of this book or--ugh--I could SAY he's the central philosophical figure of this book, and then I'd turn the page and Pudge would say, "He's kind of the central philosophical figure of this book!" Anyway he comes in and he says "Now, about this Jesus fellow..." and we go "Oh, that's a funny turn of phrase!" And a thousand vlogs were born. And the Old Man has a nice little speech about Jesus, which only makes me a little bit uneasy because one of you told me that this book was actually conceived as a Christian novel? And that makes me feel dirty, like you nerfighters tricked me into this shit.
But anyway he ends with "But Jesus was special because he lacked wealth and noble birth, but inherited the ultimate nobility: King of Kings. Class over. You can pick up a copy of your final exam on the way out. Stay dry." Which is nice in one of those "I wish you way more than luck" type things, but also he's talking about Jesus so I don't really care. So the final exam question is "What is the most important question human beings have to answer? Choose your questions...then examine how Islam, Buddhism and Christianity attempt to answer it." (Which is like a question that gets less and less interesting as it keeps going on--also, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity? I feel suspicious about the content and order of that curriculum. Like, he's two weird exotic things and here's The Way The Truth And The Light! CLASS OVER!)
So the Colonel and Pudge are talking about what they might do for the exam and then Alaska comes running toward them and she's screaming and being hysterical, in that way that bitches are, because maybe they are having their lady-times, but obviously Pudge will understand because he is the Great White Hope. And she's upset because the guys who tried to murder Pudge have now "pranked" her by flooding her dorm and destroying a lot of her books (what is with these guys and the water torture?). And a crime against a book within a book is a crime that we should ALL feel bad about. But the Colonel doesn't seem that down about it, he says it was a good prank. But also adds "God will punish the wicked. And before He does, we will." Like some Boondock Saints shit. There is a time that would have worked on me.
67 Days Before
We are moving at a pretty rapid clip toward whatever this thing that happens is. And I'm not just skimming faster because I'm talking now and because my voice gets tired faster than my hands do (LADIES...). We're really moving fast, jumping eleven or twelve days at a time. So more Noah references (luckily the rain didn't last for forty days because I would have been like FUCK YOU PUDGE) and then the rain stops. And Pudge is reading about the Civil War which he mentions as being known around his parts (gross) as The War Between The States, which is one of maybe like THREE times that he acknowledges the cultural differences of being in the South. There is no racism in this book, because there aren't any black characters to speak of. And it's fine that there aren't any interesting cultural observations--you can set something in Alabama and not talk about that. I'm sure there are at least five or six people in Alabama who are not racist, and maybe this book is about those five people, but don't bring it up at all! If you're gonna not with the thing, you know?
Pudge mentions that a lot of the people who died in the war had good last words (I mean the odds are just in your favor there, what with the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF SENSELESS DEATHS but never mind that, let's get to the cleverness!) like a guy who was asked if he was injured and he said "Yes, and I fear seriously" (very witty way to die, nice job). Takumi shows up, superfluously, and he gives Miles an oatmeal cream pie, and he bites into it and says "Mmmm, hundreds of delicious calories per bite," and I wrote next to it OH RELAX. Seriously.
Takumi has a purpose, for once, he is bringing along some information that couldn't conceivably come from one of our major characters (OH that is why he is here). He tells Pudge that Alaska ratted out her roommate and her boyfriend who were fucking and getting high and you know, doing fun stuff while our heroes were talking about, I don't know, math and french fries.
So Alaska is the rat; she got caught leaving campus with booze and the principal said Tell me everything you know or go home. Which doesn't strike me as a particularly realistic administrative policy, but apparently everybody knows That Is How The Eagle Does Business. This guy, who will later be presented as an upstanding, good person--we don't leave this book with an unfavorable opinion of the Eagle. But he is a corrupt cop, I guess.
And because Omerta is so important at Culver Creek, the fact that Alaska is a rat--oh, she's a bitch AND a rat, how is Miles every going to fuck her again? I'm sure he'll find a way. But he is very upset about this new revelation. And maybe we are supposed to be too? They speculate why Alaska would be a rat rather than just get expelled, and guess that her home life is probably not so good (and there's a problem that LEGITIMATELY should increase Alaska's fuckability, girls who hate their parents are TOPS).
Nevertheless Takumi makes Pudge promise that if he ever gets caught critically, he will NOT be a rat, he will not give up information about, you know, the fact that the Colonel keeps vodka in his milk and weed in his own shit, or whatever. And Miles says yes, of course, I will fall on my sword before I give up my comrades. And of course he says that to Takumi, because fuck him, who cares what you tell that guy?