“To me, if you’re not being honest with someone you’re not being kind to them, and I think [people] are associating kindness with niceness, and I associate kindness with the action of loving. So niceness is agreeable, it’s people pleasing, it’s pleasant. Niceness says ‘let’s not talk about politics.’ And I don’t want to sound like I’m knocking on niceness because niceness is great, niceness is pleasant, and agreeableness at the right moment is just lovely. You can’t constantly be confronting everyone all the time. But niceness doesn’t have hard conversations. The action of loving someone is about working toward the good of them, the good of you, and the good of the world. And sometimes that means having a hard conversation…that’s really uncomfortable, but when you do that, you’re seeing what you believe they could be and saying ‘we need to work through this hardness to get to the good on the other side.’”
- Tessa Violet
These words have been marinating in my brain a lot the past few days.
I speak my mind a lot. I've spoken my mind about politics a lot. As a journalism student, studying media coverage of politics is the majority of what I do day-to-day, and sharing what I know to be true based on what I've learned is something I will never stop doing. It's my job. It's my responsibility.
But of course, in an election season, being the one who speaks up makes you controversial. You become THAT person whose facebook feed is filled with political posts. You're seen as always being negative and a "downer." You lose friends. You get called names.
In the past semester alone, I've been called ignorant, arrogant, disrespectful, insulting, and judgmental. I've been called a "feminazi cunt" and a "stupid twat bitch." I've been told that the Christian ideal I should be following is to not "attack" anyone for what they believe. I've been told that speaking out against injustice is the same as slander.
Holding people accountable is not done out of hatred. Holding people accountable is not slanderous. Holding people accountable is not an attack. Anyone who has known me for a decent length of time knows I unapologietically question authority. I do not climb on the "happy train" for the sake of making others comfortable. I am not passive.
This isn't to say that I engage all the time. I do not bring up hard subjects on a whim. We're in a age of instantaneous communication where thoughts can be spread before our brains are done processing them, and that has its own value, but it's not how I operate. I write drafts. And drafts. And drafts. Any facebook post of mine that is more than a sentence long was written in a separate document, left overnight to be looked at with fresh eyes, then re-drafted again before posting. I don't say a lot, but when I do, it is well deliberated and it makes a point - probably a point worth considering.
Having hard conversations isn't the easy route, but it's a route I continue to take. I can respect the office of the presidency without respecting the person in it. I can give the president a chance without giving him a pass. I can be kind and loving without being nice and agreeable.
Nice girls don't change the world.
I'm generally not a fan of acceptance speeches at award ceremonies. They're usually pretty trite and overly dramatic; someone always ends up either floundering around for words or saying something extremely inappropriate.
At tonight's Golden Globe Awards, however, Maggie Gyllenhaal's acceptance speech spoke to me hard.
"I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about the wealth of roles for powerful women in television lately," she said, "and when I look around the room at the women who are in here, and I think about the performances that I’ve watched this year, what I see, actually, are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not. Sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not, and what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That’s what I think is revolutionary and evolutionary, and it’s what’s turning me on."
It's turning me on, too, Maggie!
Representation of ALL women in the media is so important. Women are human. We're imperfect, and we're complex, and we can't be put in a box. "Strong Female Characters" are always applauded, but females aren't strong all the time. Sometimes we're weak and we ugly cry and we feel broken and awful. Other times we tell off boys and feel confident in ourselves and we conquer the world.
Actual, complicated women are pretty darn great. I'm one, and I'm pretty darn great.
- Jordan -
- 01-11-15 -
So certain people have been pressuring me to put out a reaction to The Fault in Our Stars movie (*ahem* you know who you are.) I'm not sure if I have a great reaction to it after one viewing, and I definitely want to see it again. And again. And again.
In short, it was really excellent and lovely and made me thoroughly emotional and in need of a lot of therapy chocolate, which was exactly how the book made me feel, which I think means it was successful. It retained the spirit of the book to a T. There were quite a few differences between the book and the movie, but most of them didn't matter and I didn't care because of the loveliness and emotional-ness.
And the acting, guys. THE ACTING. Ansel Elgort was insanely good as Augustus, and Shailene Woodley epitomized Hazel Grace, and I was mildly in love with Willem Dafoe as Van Houten. Also the Support Group sequence was flawless and Patrick was so freaking...Patrick.
PRO TIP, though. Don't re-read the book shortly before watching the movie. Because I did that. I thought, "Oh, I haven't read the book in two years, I'll re-read it a few days before the movie and re-capture the magic." And re-reading it did re-capture the magic. It was wonderful. And the movie was a DIFFERENT kind of magic that was also very wonderful. But it was different indeed, and because I finished re-reading it mere hours before I saw the movie, I found myself focusing on all the differences...which is why I need to see it again and NOT think about those things.
And IT IS WORTH SEEING MORE THAN ONCE!!! It is really, really good and I will buy it the second it comes out and watch it every day for a month with a big tub of ice cream and I will enjoy every second of it. So the moral of the story is to go see it. Multiple times.
Crap. TOO SOON!!
*breaks down in a puddle of tears*
*eats more chocolate*
Alright. The point of this was primarily because people wanted to know what was true to the book, what wasn't, and if the differences were a big deal. (again, if you were bugging me about this, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)
****LOTS OF SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT****
(this is way more critical of a look at the book/movie than anyone should probably take. Sorry if it's long.)
(the book/movie differences that I actually took issue with are marked with asterisks.)
- The character of Kaitlyn was eliminated entirely. I thought this was fine, as she was not a great friend to Hazel anyway.
- In the book, Hazel wears a dress for Isaac in the trophy scene. Gus thought this was great because she was "going over to see a boy who is having a nervous breakdown...and gosh dang it, I am going to wear a dress for him." Hazel wore a t-shirt and jeans in the movie. This was also fine, because Gus complimented the color of the shirt in the middle of Isaac's mess, and it was adorbs.
- Hazel told her PARENTS that she was a grenade in the book. She gave the grenade speech to Gus on the swingset in the movie.
- Gus sat on the swingset in the movie. He made a point of never having sat on it in the book.
**- They eliminated the part where they created the want ad for the swing set. I was disappointed in this, as "Lonely, Vaguely Pedophelic Swing Set Seeks The Butts of Children" is one of my favorite things ever written and I think it goes a long way to show Hazel's sense of humor.
- A lot of Hazel's teenage angsty dialogue was removed, which made her seem more mellow. It didn't really bother me, but it was unexpected. It definitely changed her relationship with her parents, as a lot of the anger that she took out on them was not there.
- Hazel seemed to fall in love more quickly in the movie. She didn't tense up the first time Gus touched her, she didn't avoid the fact that she liked him, etc.
**- The matter of Caroline Mathers being Augustus' ex was not a part of the movie. She was never mentioned, and Hazel didn't stalk her facebook, and the notion that Hazel looked like Augustus' ex wasn't a factor in anything.
**- Speaking of facebook, Hazel didn't use facebook as a way to view what it would be like to be dead...looking at the pages of dead friends, seeing what people would post on people's wall after they died, thinking about how wrong everyone was about what dealing with cancer is like.
- Before leaving for Amsterdam, the scene where Gus is fighting with his parents about leaving was taken out. Gus shows up to the Lancaster's in a limo to pick them up instead, which was very romantic and a very Gus-like thing to do, and also didn't give away the fact that Gus was going to die in case people didn't read the book.
- The scene where Gus goes to get food in the airport terminal so he wouldn't have to see people stare at Hazel and get mad at them was eliminated. This wasn't really necessary to the plot anyway.
- When Hazel kissed Gus on the cheek on the plane, in the book Hazel's mom said "just so you know, I'm right here. Sitting next to you. Your mother," and in the movie she says "You two are so adorable!" She also bought Hazel's Oranjee diner dress for her as a romantic date gift instead of it just being something she brought. Overall, mom was much more pro-relationship and teenage cuteness in the movie. I think every girl who has had an overprotective mom was okay with this change.
**- BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT, not going to lie, was that the Iepen trees in Amsterdam weren't in season to be "snowing." I really wanted to see the spring snow. It sounded so pretty in the book. And they apparently DIDN'T FILM IN THE SPRING. Sort of an oversight if you ask me. Not sort of. Definitely. This was my only really valid complaint about the whole movie, actually.
**- Because the trees weren't snowing, it wasn't important that they sit outside at Oranjee. While the inside was lovely and kind of crazy romantic and I would have enjoyed it myself, it wasn't OUTSIDE with the SNOW ON THEIR SHOULDERS and UGH.
- Gus gave his "I am in love with you" speech at Oranjee instead of on the plane, like he did in the book.
- When they went to visit Van Houten, Lidewij answered the door instead of Van Houten, which mildly defeated the purpose of him seeing them and then slamming the door, saying there were apparitions, wanting them to leave, and THEN being let in by Lidewij. They were let in right away.
- Van Houton was not "rotund," because Wilem Defoe is not rotund, but the book is pretty clear about his rotund-ness.
- Some of Van Houten's more bitter, angry lines were eliminated, so he seemed a bit more like a disillusioned drunk than a severely angry, bitter man. A different characterization choice, but still excellent.
- Hazel threw out a "Fuck You" at Van Houten as they were leaving...that definitely didn't happen in the book.
- There was no foreshadowing about Gus' recurrence in the movie, and there was plenty in the book. There was also no evidence that Hazel's mom knew about it in advance.
- The movie glossed over a LOT of Gus' dying process, which was okay and probably appropriate, but I expected more because it was quite graphic in the book. There was no deliriousness, no getting thinner, no "pissing the bed" scene, not much anger, etc.
- The speech Gus gave to Monica's mom as they were egging the car was different than the speech in the book. Still wonderful and delightful, but different nonetheless.
**- The infamous Gas Station Scene was significantly shorter than it was in the book. This is not to say that the acting wasn't unbelievable, because it was. Like...Ansel did so well. There just wasn't ENOUGH of it. Which is a compliment to Ansel. Not a compliment to whoever cut it short.
**- Late Stage Gus was not any thinner than Healthy Gus. I understand not everyone can lose 30+ pounds for a role, but...it would have been more realistic if he had.
- In the book, Gus' funeral starts at the church, open casket (in which Hazel gives him cigarettes, gives her eulogy, etc.) and then moves to the grave site. In the movie, it is closed casket and the entire scene takes place at the grave site.
- Van Houten didn't break down over his dead daughter in Hazel's car as much as he did in the book, nor did Hazel really react with any sense of understanding.
- The pages Gus wrote for Hazel, in the book, were emailed to Van Houten, and Hazel had to ask Lidewij for them, and she emailed them to her after Hazel's long search through the Water's house. In the movie, Van Houten gives them to her in the car, Hazel ditches them, and finds them later after Isaac mentions them. She doesn't return to the Water's home.
- Gus's half sisters weren't in the movie at all, that I noticed. That was fine, as they (and their banker husbands and bratty children) were annoying.
- They made Gus 18 years old and Hazel 17, instead of 17 and 16. This isn't remotely important and it didn't matter, it just seemed like an odd thing to change to me.
- Hazel didn't declare herself a vegetarian in the movie. While her wanting to "limit the deaths she was responsible for" is kind of important to her characterization, it didn't take anything away from the story or anything.
Another detail that only I will care about: I own the earrings Hazel wore to Gus' funeral. They are from Anthropologie. I used to love them. Now they represent death and sadness and UGH. (and they're flower earrings...how can flowers be so sad? dumb.)
SO THAT'S IT, please don't let the differences make you not see the movie because it was so excellent and you will be missing out something fierce if you don't see it. NOT EVERY SECOND OF A BOOK CAN FIT INTO A 2 HOUR MOVIE, and most of the differences weren't necessary to plot, and it is still completely and utterly worth it.
It was everything I hoped it would be. John Green loves it. I loved it. Nerdfighteria and the internet community that has rallied around this book and the process of it becoming a movie will love it, and that is enough.
But...another PRO TIP:
If there are an overwhelming abundance of teenage girls in the theatre, maybe wait to see it another day. The piercing squeels screaching into uncontrollable sobbing is mildly distracting. They're only in it for Ansel, and while I get the appeal, the chances they've even read the book are slim, and one should share their TFiOS viewing experience with a more sophisticated friend who can laugh and cry in a way that is appropriate for being AROUND OTHER PEOPLE. (Like my movie date, Allyson!!!! Thanks for being awesome and sophisticated with me ;D )
That sounded pretentious. That's fine. I'm just practicing my best Hazel Grace Level of Pretentiousness, okay?
OKAY. Curses. TOO SOON.
I'm done kbye.
*resumes emotional eating*
It isn't uncommon to see cutesy blog posts directed toward Christan women telling them things to do/not to do , how to be and not to be, and how that relates to finding a husband.
I have major problems with this idea as a whole, but the reasons why are for another day. Today's issue is a specific post, "Date a Girl who Loves Jesus." (the link leads to the post and my dear friend Liz's response to it, which I love.)
Here is the long and short of how this relates to me, a 21-year-old single Christian girl living in the real world:
I don't believe the automatic alternative to spending my Friday nights partying is spending my Friday nights at home reading Scripture. Is reading Scripture a great thing? Of course, but just because I'm working on Friday nights or spending some time on Pinterest or reading a book OTHER than the Bible doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe I'm less of a Christian intellectual because only one shelf of my two bookcases is dedicated to Christian books, and I don't believe that I'm a bad person because I don't read Spurgeon and Piper on a regular basis (...or ever.) Are Christian books great and powerful things that demand to be read? Of course. But my shelves are overflowing with fiction because I believe God gave writers the artistic talent of crafting stories, picture books from my youth because God blessed the artists with amazing skills in drawing and painting, books about acting because it's a passion of mine, and magazines about weddings because I'm a wedding planner. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that spending my own personal spending money on clothes and cosmetics is frivolous. Is giving money away generously a good thing? Of course, and I tithe and give generously to the church with my money and my time, and in seasons of gift giving I use the money I have to bless my friends and family instead of spending on myself. With the money that's left, I often spend it on clothes and makeup because I work in fashion retail and I have a fashion blog and I really like looking cute and presentable. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that not carrying my Bible with me everywhere I go means I'm not passionate about the Gospel. Would it probably be nice if I did, and would it be good to at least have a Bible app on my phone so if I need to look up a reference I have it at the ready? Of course, but sometimes I simply have other things to put in my purse, and sometimes my purse isn't big enough for my NIV Study Bible. Only taking my Bible to church, ministry, and missions doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that if people don't see that I'm spending time with friends in need, they can't see my love of Jesus. Would it be nice if every spare moment of mine could be spent being the personal psychiatrist for my friends who have problems? Of course, and I strive to be there for the people in my life who need me. I also have to acknowledge that I work two jobs and go to school full time and have responsibilities at home and sometimes I just need to be alone and unwind by myself instead of being with other people. That doesn't mean I'm not responsible with my time or that I'm neglectful of my friends or that I'm not a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that I have the capacity to be thankful all the time for everything. Would it be nice if I could be like that? Yeah, of course, and I wish I could. But sometimes things in life suck and I'm angry and I behave like an ungrateful little brat, which is perfectly human and doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe my expression of worship HAS to be raising my hands or falling to my knees or dancing in church or singing so you can visibly see the light living in me. Would it be great if that were how I naturally expressed myself? Of course. But it's not, and as an introvert it isn't my tendency to show what I'm feeling on the outside. That doesn't mean I don't feel the power of worship on the inside, and it doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that, as an American woman who has been flooded with insecurities and self-doubts and negativity since I could crawl, my semblance of self-respect has anything to do with my relationship with Christ. Should I be more conscious of the fact that my worth is found in Christ and Christ alone? Of course. But it's HARD. I don't think I'm beautiful, it's extremely hard for me to accept it when anyone tells me I am, and that comes from a place that has nothing to do with Jesus. I know Christ designed me to be the way I am and I know He knew what He was doing and I know I am an intricately designed Child of God, and all of that flies out the window when I remember that I haven't been on a date in 5 years. That doesn't make me a good example, but it also doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that the opposite of lusting after actors and wishing romance novels to come true and watching trashy movies and TV shows is studying and learning and thinking and engaging with the world around you. Do I think women shouldn't use their gifts solely for worldly pleasures? Of course. Do I think using your gifts for the world can absolutely coincide with advancing God's kingdom? I sure do. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that I should live in dishonesty by putting on a happy face and always being patient all the time and always being content in my current life stage and always being willing to wait upon the Lord's timing in my life. Would it be nice if I were able to REALLY do those things? Of course. But again: I'm human. Sometimes I'm impatient and sometimes I really think that my current life stage sucks and waiting sucks and I want to move on and God isn't letting me and I get frustrated. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that the greatest gift a man can offer me is reading the Bible with me. Should we both be actively engaging in God's word? Of course. But...together? No thank you. I've done enough group reading as an English student to know I don't like it, nor do I want someone preaching God's word at me like I don't know how to read for myself. I'd much rather we both read independently and learn independently and then share what we've learned with each other and value our individual reading and learning capabilities. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe that expecting my boyfriend or husband to have the wisdom of Solomon or the leadership of Moses or the faith of Abraham or the heart for God of David is a reasonable expectation or qualification. Are Solomon and Moses and Abraham and David positive role models whom he should strive to emulate? Of course. But the comparison game never really works out in a relationship. I don't think he should expect me to be just like Esther, Mary, or Lydia either. They were great people with great qualities, but I'm not them and he's not them, and we just won't measure up, and I think that's okay. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I REALLY don't believe that Proverbs 31 is a rulebook that women in the 21st century are suppose to "align" our lives to. Do I think it had applications within the context of history and do I think it is God-breathed and do I think there are applications to be taken from it today? Of course. But if everything in every book of the Bible were to be taken directly as written and used as a rulebook, none of us would have tattoos and none of us would be eating shellfish and all of us would be slaughtering a heck of a lot of calves to cover our sins. I know what all the women's study books with the pink flowers on the cover say about Proverbs 31, but it simply doesn't add up word-for-word to me. That doesn't make me less of a lover of Jesus.
I don't believe I should be submissive to my man without him also being submissive to me. Submission isn't a woman-only trait, particularly since men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and Christ sacrificed everything for the church, and sacrifice involves a great deal of submission. Do I think we BOTH are to submit to Christ above all else?
And THAT is what a lover of Jesus should do.
Submitting to Christ above all else means different things for everyone, so a list of standards and things to do or not do cannot be universally applicable. We can't turn the Bible into a to-do list of a thousand points when Christ's to-do list can be boiled down into "Love God, Love people."
If we're doing that, we're doing okay. We're not perfect and we never will be, because we're sinners and we always will be. We should indeed date people who love Jesus, but it definitely won't look like what the blog posts say it will.
Relevant Magazine posted a lovely article entitled "5 Questions to Ask Before Posting to Social Media." I love Relevant's posts and I thought this one was great. Being a "youth" and having friends who are also "youths," I have encountered my fair share of idiotic posts by my peers on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and the like. If the rest of the world would live by a few guidelines, we might be better off.
Here is a brief refresher of Relevant's list:
1. Am I seeking approval?
2. Am I boasting?
3. Am I discontent?
4. Is this a moment to protect?
5. Is it kind?
This is a great, mostly all-encompassing list that covers the major ground of your average unproductive posts on social media, and this blog post is not meant to express any disapproval of it.
What I'm here to do is ADD to it. I understand why Relevant wanted to limit the list to 5, but there are a few more things that I believe need addressed.
6. Am I just complaining for the sake of it?
I'm a feminist and never like to pin things on my ladies, but this is primarily a female issue. If that boy was acting totally stupid and treated us bad, we complain about it publicly on social media. If we're pregnant and our back REALLY hurts and we have the worst headache ever, we complain publicly on social media. If our allergies just won't let up, if we had a dumb day at work, if our best friend ditched us for their boyfriend...you get the picture.
Ask yourself - does anyone *really* care about this? Am I the only one to have ever gone through this issue? Do I just want to let off steam, and if so, is this website the appropriate place to do it?
I doubt the answer will be positive, and immature complaints can be viewed very negatively by those who are going through something worse.
7. Is the timing of this post appropriate?
I'll use a personal example for this one. When my dad passed away, my dad's sister told a friend. That was fine until the friend immediately posted about his passing on facebook. This was within a few hours after his passing, and we hadn't yet informed a lot of relatives and close friends. I had to ask this person to take his post down and I spent the rest of the day monitoring social media to make sure nothing "leaked" before we could get the news out ourselves.
Being the first to "break a story" is generally only a good thing if you're a journalist. Thinking about who else is effected by your postings could be crucial, and maybe waiting a day or a week would be more appropriate.
There's my two cents...as if you asked for them!!