In which I give up (I hate this song)

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I hate these two assholes.

Before I get started with the swearing and the fuck-thising, a bit of context: my son, who I have thought many very unkind things about today that I will not repeat in this space, decided to come in and wake my wife and I up at four o’clock in the fucking morning because he wanted to sleep in our bed with us.  There was no particular reason for this; he woke up in his bed and decided he wanted to be in ours instead, so he woke both of us up.

This was perhaps not reacted to as compassionately as it should have been and he was dispatched back to his own bed.  I never got back to sleep, meaning that it’s currently 9:20 in the morning, I’m a quarter of the way through my morning coffee, and I have been awake for almost five and a half fucking hours.

It is already not going to be a good day.

Have you ever hated a song so much that you memorized it out of pure spite?  I’m going to assume that you have and that this is not an experience unique to me.  I have a number of Taylor Swift songs that I have completely memorized, and the main reason I have them memorized is that I hate them.  Similarly, a song which I have just learned is called Friends by a pair of idiots named Anne-Marie and Marshmello.  Marshmello apparently regularly appears in public with a fucking bucket on his head.

This fucking song ran through my head for hours last night while I was trying to get back to sleep.  While it was running through my head, I was mentally composing this blog post, which I’ve been trying to avoid writing since I first heard this fucking song eighteen thousand years ago.  Or maybe it’s just a few weeks; fuck, I don’t know.

Point is I almost got up and wrote this at 4:30 in the fucking morning because I realized sleep was not happening and at least maybe I could get something done.

Yeah.


So I initially wasn’t even going to write about the first reason why I hate this song: the godawful fucking obnoxious accent that Anne-Marie is putting on.  I generally don’t like making fun of people for the way they sound or talk, but now that I’ve seen a picture of white-ass blonde-ass whitey-white Anne-Marie?  Fuck you, that’s an affectation, and when she says so doan you looka me wif dat look in yo eye, or tries to spell “friends” and slurs it so badly that it comes out as effar aiyee endee ezzsh, to the point where I wasn’t actually sure she was spelling it right until she bothers to enunciate later in the song the first time I heard it, she is absolutely just being an asshole.  No goddamn white girl grows up sounding like this in the UK.  She’s doing it on purpose.  Fuck her.


Now let’s talk about the friend zone.  And let me be clear here: this is something that I absolutely fell prey to when I was younger and stupider.  The difference is that now that I’m grown I know better, and I’m not super keen on letting current younger men get away with the same horseshit that I did when I was a kid.  Y’all need to be better, goddammit.  Men need to improve, and one of the first things we need to do  is to let go of this stupid fucking idea that there are any women anywhere who owe us anything.  And that, ultimately, is what the so-called “friend zone” is about.  It’s about feeling entitled to women and their bodies and feeling like it’s okay to just hang around being unwelcome until they, I dunno, realize that they’re actually attracted to us after all instead of the men they’re dating (men, for the record, who they are attracted to) and fall into our arms.

Nah.  This is bullshit.  The friend zone is bullshit.  And if you’re being this asshole, stop.  If you think you’re in love with someone, you tell her rather than hanging around like a fucking angry puppy, and if she says no, that’s your answer and you fuck off.  You decide what level of relationship you’re able to have with that person, whoever she is, and if your Deep Feelings are just Too Serious to maintain an actual friendship, and not a fake sham of a friendship where you’re constantly looking for a fucking moment of weakness so you can get your stupid dick wet?

You fuck off.  And you stay fucked off.

The end.

My coffee’s gone, by the way.


All that said, there’s some other shit going on in this song that probably needs to be addressed, and at this point I’m addressing women.  Lemme copy-paste some lyrics here, in more-or-less conventional English rather than the bullshit-ass white girl’s fake urban accent she’s putting on:

You say you love me, I say you crazy
We’re nothing more than friends
You’re not my lover, more like a brother
I known you since we were like ten, yeah

…and, see, it’s at this point where I go back to not wanting to write this, because there’s a point at which I’m punching down.  If you are not already aware of this, you should be: the thing men are most afraid of in relationships is that they will be rejected by women.  The thing women are most afraid of in relationships is that they will be killed by men.  So I can’t act like it’s all fine and good to say things like you need to stop humoring these assholes when not humoring the assholes might result in the assholes turning violent.  But can we maybe not treat relationships like this like they’re family?  Because given the rest of the song, I really don’t get describing this person as “more like a brother.”  The order of relationships here goes dating –> friendship –> family.  Your friends are, or at least should be, more important than whoever you’re fucking at the moment.  And your family, at least ideally (I am aware that families can be toxic, obviously) should be more important than your friends. This is one of the things that never made any sense to me– the “just” in “just friends.”  Friends is better.

Anyway.

Have you got no shame? You looking insane
Turning up at my door
It’s two in the morning, the rain is pouring
Haven’t we been here before?

Don’t mess it up, talking that shit
Only gonna push me away, that’s it!
Have you got no shame? You looking insane
Here we go again

So don’t go look at me with that look in your eye
You really ain’t going away without a fight
You can’t be reasoned with, I’m done being polite
I’ve told you one, two, three, four, five, six thousand times

I think it needs to be made clearer, to young women in particular, precisely the demographic that this top-40 pop song is targeted to, that this is not how friends behave.  And I say that as someone who has spent a career working with adolescents and has had a couple of classes that were composed entirely of girls in that time.  Songs that take behavior like this and phrase it as how friends act are not helping.

None of this shit is how friends behave.  None of this shit is normal.  And if someone in your life is acting this way, that is not the behavior of someone who is your friend.  That is the behavior of a stalker.  This person is dangerous.  He is not your friend and this is not normal.  And maybe the most fucked-up thing about this song is that it’s portraying legitimately crazy behavior as something that your “friends” do.  And I am telling you if you don’t already know that there are far too many young women who do not know this is fucked up because we have normalized male entitlement so fucking much in this culture.

No.

Men, boys, stop fucking being like this.  And again I’m not in a position to get all high-and-mighty about how women should behave when they have a legitimate showing-up-at-two-AM crazy fucker in their lives, but hey how about we don’t write songs about how those people are our friends?  Because fuck the hell out of that idea.  It’s bullshit and this song is bullshit and I hate it and I don’t want to hear it any more.

Especially at four o’clock in the fucking morning when all I want to do is sleep.

The end.

RIP, Sonya Craig

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Friendship online is such an odd thing.  I have a couple of friends in my Clark Kent identity who I’ve known for damn near fifteen years and who I’ve met once and never, respectively, and I don’t have the slightest idea when those numbers might go up again. We met through the previous incarnation of this blog, over at Xanga, and at the moment I can honestly say that the only reason I’m still on Facebook is so that I can keep track of the two of them.  I have a handful of other friends who I lost track of after college and reconnected with– again, on Facebook– and for at least one of them I think we actually have a closer relationship now than we did back then.  But I never see any of them.

And making friends as Luther is even weirder, right?  Because the vast majority of you don’t even know my real name.  I’ve got this network of people, mostly bloggers or independent authors, who I interact with a lot on Twitter and a bit less on Facebook and on the blog.  I consider a lot of them friends, but the thing is people have Real Lives outside of their online personas (well, I don’t.  I’m told people do, though.) and sometimes they just get busy or change jobs or move and their priorities change and suddenly someone you interacted with on a daily or near-daily basis has just gone poof and you don’t know why, and sometimes you don’t even notice for a few weeks, in a way that would never ever happen with people you know in the real world.

And sometimes you log into Facebook and you find out through the grapevine that someone’s depression finally caught them after a lifetime of struggle, and that person is gone, and you don’t really know how to react to it.  Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.30.25 AM (2).png

“Follows @nfinitefreetime,” it says there.  Were I not connected to her on Facebook, too, I’d never have known she was gone.  It’s not like Twitter is going to notice and unfollow me on her behalf, right?  There was an outpouring of grief among our little sci-fi indie community last night on Facebook and Twitter; I retweeted a bunch of them on my account, or you could just check the #thankyousonya hashtag if you like.  There were tons of posts, and the amazing thing, to me, was just how many of the people participating were also people I “knew” and considered friends the same way I did Sonya.  She was at the center of a big group of people online, and we were all reacting the only way we could.

I don’t really know her, is the thing.  I don’t know her family, or her RL friends, or what she liked to do with her time other than write and hang out with yahoos on the internet.  I know she had a cat, named Fang, who was frequently the subject of tweets and Instagram postings.  I don’t know where Fang is right now.  I hope he’s okay.  I know that she was the type of person who created random meme pictures for people she’d never met on their birthdays, which is where that picture up at the top came from.  (My Twitter bio at the time referred to me as a friend to muskrats.)

And yet.

I wish I could have been there for her, when she was suffering, to point out all these people whose lives she’d touched and would miss her when she was gone.  But I never did.  Part of the reason why?  I know people online who are struggling with anxiety and depression and the insane thing is I wouldn’t have listed her as one of them.

I dunno, guys.  I don’t know how to end this because I don’t know how I feel right now.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel like suicide is their best option.  And I want to say something like “If you feel that way, know that you can reach out, even to a relative stranger online,” but the fucked-up part of depression is that that information doesn’t matter and it’s not that simple.  She’d probably had people she knew in the real world tell her that, people who she’d actually recognize if they walked past her at the grocery store, not rando authors behind an @ on Twitter.  And she took her own life anyway, because that’s how depression fucks with you, because it’s a disease, not a goddamn personal failure, and you can’t help it.

God damn it.

You will be missed, Sonya.  I can only hope that you’ve found some peace.

LTR WTF LOL

0b6622fce10fd4eb2d2d03ed66c87c74.400x254x1.pngI’m not convinced this is actually a terribly important or interesting insight for anybody other than me, but it’s been on my mind for the last couple of days and I wanted to get it written down before it slipped away.

My son is four.  He’s in preschool now– real preschool, which means that I can’t just go get him if I’m home and bored in the afternoon any longer, which hit me the other day while I was heading to the car to do just that.  There are, I don’t know, eleven or twelve other kids in his class, something like that.

He has four friends.  Now, at his age, “friendship” is obviously a really fungible concept, but there are two kids from his previous day care who are still showing up at our house (and vice versa) every once in a while and there are two kids in his preschool class who he seems to be part of a mutual admiration society with more so than the rest of the kids.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t play with the others, of course, but these kids clearly are getting more attention than the others.  And, interestingly, they give me more attention than the others, too.  I’ve been dropping the boy off lately, and generally walk with him to his classroom, and one of the kids has been insisting that he also gets a hug before I can leave.  The other one seems to be more of a priority during the after-school program despite being in his class, but she too insists on me paying attention to her a lot of the time before I am allowed to take her (him!  Him! Christ, I’m only getting my own kid.) home– either that or he’ll drag me over to her to have her tell me something about their day.

1433504206201518479.jpgWhat’s gotten into my head is that he’s at least in theory at the point where he might know some of these kids for a very, very long time.  Now, I’m not friends any longer with anyone who I knew as far back as nursery school, but I was through college or so, and my oldest friends now are people I met in middle school or late elementary.  But part of the deal at Hogwarts is keeping their clan together– I get the feeling that a lot of the kids that eventually transition out of there are graduating, meaning that they’ve been with mostly the same kids for a bunch of years.  So it’s possible that he’ll be forming lifelong friendships earlier than I did, especially if we’re able to afford to keep him at this school. I have– most people do, I imagine– my own relationships with the parents of some of my friends who I’ve known for a really long time.  And it’s interesting that we’ve gotten to the point with him where I can look around at the kids he knows and go “Which ones am I going to have to buy high school graduation cards for?”

In, like, 2030 or whatever.

Nah.  No way I live that long.  Never mind.

A note to my real-world friends regarding my books

I have a thing about advice columns.  You may know this about me.  They’re like crack.  I can’t avoid them.  And Dear Prudie dropped this on me today:

Q. I Don’t Like My Friend’s Book: My friend recently self-published his first novel. I bought a copy to support him. I really, really hate to admit it but I didn’t care for it. In fact, I didn’t even finish. I got through half of it before I gave up, read the last couple of pages, and put it down. He needs an editor badly and overall, it just wasn’t well-researched or plotted. In fact, he self-designed the cover in Photoshop. He wants to know if I liked the book, and honestly, I don’t know what to say. On one hand, I don’t want to tear him down because I know how proud he was of writing the book. On the other hand, I feel like he needs to know that he needs to improve on a few things. Is there a way to broach the subject without hurting feelings? Or do I just drop the issue and lie to him?

First things first, actually: don’t buy my book to support me.  Buy my book because you think you might enjoy it.

That said: If you have bought my book to support me, and if upon attempting to read my book you discover you don’t like it, and if I enquire as to your opinion of said book at some point subsequent to your reading it, tell me the truth.  I write science fiction and fantasy.  I am fully aware that my writing is not the preferred genre of any number of my friends even before we get to issues of the quality of my prose.  I need y’all to understand that I live in fear of being an impostor, a fear most writers share.  I would absolutely one hundred percent prefer to know that you didn’t like my writing than to have smoke blown up my butt, and I am more than smart enough to figure it out if you’re trying to be sneaky with your word choices with me.

It will be fine.  I will be fine.  You will be fine.  The phrase you want is “I couldn’t get through it,” or “I couldn’t finish it.”  Say it fast, if you need to; rip the damn Band-Aid off.  I might ask you why, but I probably won’t.  If I do, tell me.  It will be okay.  I have yet to drop a friend because of their opinions on my writing.  It won’t happen with this book, either.

The end.

(And go buy my stupid little book because you will like it, dammit.)

On making friends

anigif_enhanced-24280-1393682518-9Non-WordPress folks can sit this one out, I guess, as it doesn’t have anything to do with you guys, and it’s totally a post about me making a mountain out of a molehill anyway.

I am– no, really, I’m devoting an entire post to this announcement– about to make a new folder in my bookmarks, and I’m going to put links to a bunch of y’all’s blogs in it.

Why am I doing this?  Because while I throw a lot of Likes around on WordPress, what I’m really not doing very much is engaging with people who I actually know, where “know” means “interact with on my own blog.”  I’m subbed to a bunch of you, but WordPress’ subscription reader absolutely sucks, and it means I’m missing posts that I would probably enjoy reading all the time.  I’m an old-time Xanga dude, right?  I got my start over there.  It amazes me that with the huge array of ways in which WordPress is vastly superior to Xanga that it seems to suck so bad at basic community-building tools.  The process of “keep track of what my friends were writing” was infinitely easier over there.

Don’t tell me about an RSS reader.  I don’t RSS.  I’ve tried it a couple of times and I can’t figure out why anyone would ever use it.  Bookmarks and the “Open All” command it is.

So, yeah.  If you’ve been subbed here forever, and you comment a lot, or if I recognize your name because you like every post, chances are I’ll be dumping you into that “Blogs to Go Read, Dammit” folder at some point or another, and you might actually start seeing me interacting with you at your own sites once in a while, because this is nonsense, and it’s high time that I start reading what y’all have to say more regularly than I do.

Alsothebook’soutthisweekendpleasebuymybookthisplugbroughttoyoubyfolgerscrystals.