Politics: Bah Humbug!

Forgive me as I try something a little different, but I’m from America and we have some shit going on. I know some of my blog family are overseas, and that’s super awesome, but you might not know what’s going on over here. You see we’re in the middle of figuring out our Presidential situation…

I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t care what your opinions on politics are: whatever they are, they’re right to you because they are your beliefs.  I’m not in the business of telling anyone that what they believe or think is the right thing is actually wrong – you won’t hear me say anything like that. But what you will hear me say is this:

Can we PLEASE stop tearing each other apart? 

Okay okay, so here’s what’s going on. Come November we will have a new president. In the meantime, it’s all about who will be elected and running against each other head to head. Politicians are campaigning left and right to get voted in and currently the Republican frontrunner is Donald Trump, and the Democratic candidates are Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

From what I gather, older democrats seem to enjoy Clinton’s views and the younger demographic like Sanders. Honestly I couldn’t even begin to tell you what Trump’s demographic is. All I know is that both sides of the parties are being incredibly narrow-minded and cruel.

So here’s what I mean about tearing each other apart:

EVERY ELECTION, not just this one, but every four-fucking-years, co-workers, friends, neighbors, people you meet in retail, the barista you like at Starbucks, the dog thats always humping other dogs at the dog park, they all have one thing in common: they totally disagree with your views on politics and therefore you’re a horrible person.

As I said before, I don’t care what you believe – everyone is entitled to their opinion and that is that. I may not agree with it, but I’ll sure as hell fight for your right to say it as long as you give me the same courtesy.

But you see that’s the thing, when election time rolls around no one wants to give others that courtesy. For example, I was talking to someone at the drug store today who was saying that Trump and his supporters have the right idea. Now I don’t know enough about politics to have an in-depth conversation about it, but I said that as a democrat (or at least someone who is liberal) I would rather Sanders be elected.

This person then proceeded to tell me just how wrong I was by listing every single state that has voted for Trump as the Republican frontrunner and telling me that obviously that means that he’s the best candidate. She said that people like me are the reason that Trump supporters are fighting so hard to get him into power. She told me that he tells it like it is and understands what the people really want. I could go on for another 5 paragraphs explaining what she said to me, but all that matters is that it was condescending and made me feel like crap.

But I left the store thinking, really? I have a different opinion than you so I’m the bad guy?????? How is this fair? I didn’t tell you that your opinions are wrong, but mine clearly are? How?

Look, this might sound bad but I don’t keep up with a lot of current events. I’ve only recently been getting into world-wide news and paying attention to the things that are happening in politics (I’m more of a People Magazine gal). But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have opinions on what’s going on. Nor does that mean that anyone else who has an opinion on what is happening in the world is wrong and can’t have that opinion.

The thing that I’ve always believed is this: Every person is different. Every body is different, every brain is different, everyone’s personalities are different. Why? To conform? To be the same? To have exactly the same ideas? HELL NAW! So that we can be different!

One of my favorite things in the world to do is to talk to someone about their views on a book or a topic and hear what their side is. I don’t want to sit here and only talk about my opinions on the use of German tanks in WWII, I want to know what you think of German tanks in WWII. And how am I going to get that information if we all have the same thoughts? That’s boring as shit.

More importantly, how am I going to get that information if the second I tell you my thoughts on them you interrupt me and tell me that my thought is wrong. I’m sorry, but I’m allowed my opinion and you are allowed yours. So, please, tell me your opinion and I will not tell you in any way, shape or form that you’re wrong. But the second you ask me for my opinion and then cut me off saying I’m wrong is the second that I will turn on my heels and walk away. G’day, sir. Good. Day.

That was a really roundabout way of saying, for real guys, just stop making people feel bad about their opinions. As I said, I don’t care what your views are, but when a group of supporters start berating and harassing people simply because they don’t have the same ideals THAT’S when I get upset.

There is nothing that should make someone be so emotionally or physically violent simply because someone has a different opinion than them. And while, yes, maybe there are exceptions (for example, if someone’s opinion is that they want to break your leg, and you think that’s not such a good idea, then yeah, maybe get the hell out of that situation), but for the most part the majority of arguments going around are with people you see all the time (I’m talking to you, lady at the drug store) and there is absolutely no reason to fight with a cashier about Donald Trump as they scan your Chapstick.

Anyway, that was a giant ramble. But please, please, please, please just be courteous and respectful when you speak to people. Especially if they have different views. I understand that it can be hard to refrain yourself when you feel so strongly about a topic, but that doesn’t give anyone reason to be hurtful or condescending.

Just think about the ramifications before you speak so heatedly to someone. Is it worth it? Is it worth it for you to force your opinions down someone else’s throat just to have them spit theirs back out to you? Is it worth it to get in a fight with your favorite barista in the middle of a Starbucks because he happens to support someone you dislike?

Just consider it. And be kind. Be so kind.

Until next time,

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Book Series’ That Get Worse Over Time

Hi friends! I have different kind of topic for you today, but it requires a bit of an explanation:

So you all know that I’ve been obsessed with Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series since the beginning of 2016. I finished the first two novels, Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code, and then began reading The Lost Symbol. Well, to be quite frank: The Lost Symbol sucks.the-lost-symbol

As you know, I’m a big supporter of what I like to call, “stop reading bad books!” It’s pretty self-explanatory, if you’re reading a bad book, stop! Don’t waste your time. Life is way to short to be reading books that aren’t contributing to your happiness.

So, I stopped reading that book and began the fourth book, Inferno, which has proven to be pretty interesting so far, with absolutely no mention of the third book – so I’m in the clear.

But anyway, I was discussing this with my sister when we switched topics to the new Chelsea Handler show on Netflix. I was always a HUGE Chelsea Handler fan. It wasn’t until her fourth book and final  seasons of Chelsea Lately, actually, that I stopped giving a crap.

Apparently my sister felt the same way about her books and our mutual disinterest made me think about the books she’s written and how, much like Dan Brown, it got worse over time.

Chelsea’s first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands was incredible! I could read that book a thousand times and never get bored of it. It’s her observational humor and her “who-gives-a-fuck” attitude that I am drawn in by. But what happened was she began with a great book – a really, really great book. That, to me, would be just setting her up for failure… Except her next book, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea was almost as good as the first! Who’da thunk?

my_horizontal_life_book_coverUnfortunately, her third book was not as great. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang seemed like Handler just wanted to give the reader some weird and awkward stories. It was honestly more awkward to read than her first book which was entirely about sex. This book was almost awkward and uncomfortable for the sake of being “edgy” and I didn’t like that. For example, she discusses masturbation and tells us EXACTLY when, where and how her first experience happened (Hint: it’s when she’s in third grade.) Too much, Chelsea. Too much.

Her fourth book, and the last one that I read, Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, was really kind of a bullshit book. Very few parts were written by Handler herself, and instead were just chapters written by people in her life, including the comedians that worked with her on Chelsea Lately. It was less of the humor that I was used to with Handler – drinking and sex stories, observational humor, sarcastic responses and just all around a fun read. Instead it was a novel written by everyone except Handler saying how horrible she is (in the best way). Not my kind of book.

She has a fifth book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, that I didn’t even bother reading. At the time when this book came out I had stopped watching Chelsea Lately entirely because she didn’t even want to be there anymore. Every episode she said something bad about who she was with or the network itself or would say things like “I don’t even know we’re still on the air. Stop putting us on the air.” So I just said screw it and read other books/watched other shows instead.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are so many book series, or at least books by the same author, out there that really do get worse over time. Not because the writing is worse, or the plot isn’t interesting, but rather (or at least to me) that the author kind of stops giving a shit, or tries to be something they’re not. 51febvmy-al-_sy344_bo1204203200_

You’ll all remember that I loved the first Mindy Kaling novel, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the second. I thought that even though she was trying, she was trying too hard. Her stuff wasn’t as funny anymore because she wasn’t being herself, she was being herself PLUS everything that she’s trying to sell. So instead of being Mindy Kaling, she’s being everything her brand is. It’s hard for a comedian, or any author, to write two solidly good books in a row, let alone a series of books.

I hate to say that when it comes to Chelsea or Dan Brown, their books just get worse. But it does seem to be true! For Chelsea, after the second book she ran out of material and instead of just leaving on a high note she thought, “I can still milk this and get some money off of the people who watch my show or want my books to be as good as the first one” and just went for the lazy approach of picking uncomfortable stories to tell her audience or not even really writing a book at all – having her staff do it for her. That just seems lazy.

With Dan Brown, I know he’s a great writer, I know he can come up with compelling and intriguing plots, but for whatever reason after The DaVinci Code he seemed to just stop putting as much effort into the books. It was almost like he figured his first two books were great so anything that comes after might just be filler, but he’d still be getting paid a lot of money for it, so what the hell! Let’s a write a book!

Please keep in mind, though, this is just my opinion. I’m not sure what other readers have thought on either of these topics. But for me, it’s not worth it to spend my time reading a book that I either know I won’t like or appreciate as much as I’d like to, or that just sucks. I already have limited time Dan Brown Inferno book coverto read books, I don’t want to spend that precious time not enjoying it.

Soooo, now I’m reading Inferno – the fourth and final Robert Langdon books, and this book is pretty good so far. It starts of with a bang – literally. So it’s been fun to read so far. I don’t think it’s as good as the first two, it still has the same sort of formula: Langdon is in a foreign city and has to outrun people with a beautiful woman he just met who happens to be a very strong, independent person and he brings art history and conspiracies into the mix. Every single book. But at least it’s not as bad as The Lost Symbol at this point.

I have a few more books on my reading list that I plan on getting to as soon as I’m done with the Dan Brown series, but for now I’m just enjoying the mystery of whatever the hell is  going on in this book…. what the hell is going on in this book???

I actually heard a lot of people didn’t care for this novel, but I’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much!

Well, my loves, it’s been a pleasure. I hope this blog at least gets you to stop reading a bad book you’re reading and start getting into something interesting!

Until next time!

Rachel

P.S. If you’ve read any of the Chelsea Handler books and think I should give the fifth book and the new TV show on Netflix a shot, let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. I’m very on the fence and want your opinion.

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com