Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Queen of the Orcs And Other Stories

Ludacris has produced a political song in support of Barack Obama's campaign. Sadly, the song is not one which the Obama campaign could support. Indeed, the campaign expressed its disapproval in the strongest possible terms.

And what did they disapprove? For example, these lyrics about Hillary Clinton:

Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant

That made me wonder if she would be a relevant bitch had she and Barack not been campaign rivals, or if she then wouldn't be a bitch at all or if all women are bitches, only some are irrelevant as they are supposed to be and others are -- what? Relevant?

Is it possible to be a relevant bitch? And am I going too far with these thoughts? Of course I am! After all, I support Barack Obama's campaign as the best chance we have of slowing down the Destruction Train, and I probably shouldn't write anything at all negative about anyone who also supports that campaign.

And I do remember that John McCain is rumored to have called his very own wife a cunt and a trollop once. There are so many cute titles for women, probably because women are so very loved. You know, a beloved child has many names.

Which brings me to the fantasy book The Queen of the Orcs, by Morgan Howell. I read it on a train trip some time ago, and found the treatment of gender relations in the book very interesting, because the majority of men (as opposed to the orcs) in the book had a view of women as things to fuck and as things to use or as things to conquer with violence. Misogyny, in short, was the setting for the story, and only the orcs (who were brought up in a matriarchal society) and only a few odd human men (including the hero) were free from it.

What struck me after finishing the book was that I don't recall another fantasy book, feminist or not, with such a dismal view of men. I also wondered if the views expressed in those other books I've read weren't part of the fantasy, because the women in them were so often treated a whole lot better than they would have been in real life. They are hardly ever called irrelevant bitches, for example, when they reach for the brass ring in those fantasies.

Imagine my surprise when I found that the author of this dystopian fantasy, Morgan Howell, is a man. Interesting, is it not?