Missing the point

Once I learned how to read – in kindergarten, if not earlier – I read voraciously. I started out with the usual children’s books; by the mid–1970s, though, I was reading mostly science fiction.

Mike was the same. He & I read every science fiction book we could find in the Hobart Public Library; and, after the family moved to Dyer in 1975, we set to the Dyer Public Library’s collection. (This led to frequent…disputes over who got to check out / read which book. I’m sorry for that.)

Most of that early reading has long since faded from memory, but not all of it. I remember reading, in one or another Best of Analog Magazine anthology, the story Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand, by Vonda N. McIntyre.

It was an interesting story: an itinerant healer, snakes, aliens; beautifully written. Later, there was a novel, Dreamsnake; I read that, too.

Years later, I was surprised to see Vonda N. McIntyre and Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand mentioned in an essay on feminism in science fiction.

Apparently, in reading & enjoying the story and the novel, I’d completely missed the significance of certain aspects of both: the female protagonist who has adventures & accomplishes great things, while the male love interest stays home & waits for her return. (I oversimplify. Grossly. If this were a book review, I’d be ashamed.)

Others weren’t so oblivious. There was controversy.

As there is now controversy over Mad Max: Fury Road, episode four of the Mad Max franchise, currently in theaters. Is it a feminist movie? An anti-feminist movie? Across the nation, people anxious to preserve their ideological purity await word on how empowered / offended they should feel.

Me? I don’t care. I haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road, and most likely never will.

I harbor the (admittedly, cynical) expectation that Fury Road is not so different from The Avengers: Age of Ultron (which I did see, a few weeks ago): two hours of special effects, pretty explosions & snarky dialog, uninterrupted by character development, plot, etc.–far too frothy a confection to support any ideological analysis.

Arguing about What It All Means just seems…pointless.