But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
Q:I'm 14& my bf is 26 & we had sex and ever since we did it he's been really distant and rude and keeps presurring me to do it again even though I don't wanna...how do it talk to him about it?
Readers won’t stop sending the Bad Advisor their real-ass questions to answer, so the Bad Advisor is periodically going to try her hand at answering them.
Your 26-year-old boyfriend is a gross creeper who needs to get his shit together and date people his own age when and if he gets out of the prison he should be in. I know it probably seems to cool to have his attention now, but when you’re older please please don’t stop listening just because I said “when you’re older” because this is a real thing it will seem immature at best and, more likely, predatory.
Look, you may or may not already know or care about this, but Bad Advisor needs you to hear it: if you are an American person: when 26-year-olds have sex with 14-year-olds, that is not generally considered to be “sex” but rather a creepy crime called “statutory rape" almost everywhere in the country, if not absolutely everywhere in the country. Bad Advisor can’t speak to the technical terms that might or might not be used elsewhere in the world, but Bad Advisor bets shit is illegal there too. Bad Advisor isn’t saying this to scare you, but to illustrate the gravity of the situation: people have made laws to protect teenagers like you from people like your boyfriend.
But aside from the fact that this dude is way the fuck too old for you once again please do not stop reading, this is not about the fact that you’re 14 it’s about the fact that he’s twenty fucking six years old here’s what:
"he’s been really distant and rude and keeps presurring me to do it again even though I don’t wanna"
is, hands down, a REALLY FUCKING GOOD REASON TO DUMP LITERALLY ANYONE’S SHITTY ASS, BUT ESPECIALLY AND SPECIFICALLY YOUR BOYFRIEND’S SHITTY ASS.
Good, healthy relationships do not EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES include “pressuring” anyone to do literally anything they do not want to do. Good, healthy relationships do not EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES include tap-dancing around the feelings of someone who is “distant and rude” because when that happens, the “distant and rude” person is putting you on the train to Emotional Abuseville and you will not enjoy being on that train and it is a hard-ass train to get off of and the view sucks and there’s not even a shitty food cart and it’ll be hot and un-airconditioned in the summer and fucking freezing with no heat in the winter time.
You never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever have to have sex—or do anything with your body or anyone else’s body—if you do not want to. Nothing you can ever do or say obligates you to have sex with someone else. Sex is not a deal, a prize or a transaction, it is something enthusiastically consenting humans do with other age-appropriate enthusiastically consenting humans.
What the Bad Advisor would love for you to do are three things:
- Join up at some online communities for teenagers where it’s safe to talk and read about sex, healthy relationships and other fun shit to do that is not worry about the 26-year-old grown-ass man you are about to kick to the curb. You might like Scarleteen, Sparklife, or gURL.
- Consider talking to a trustworthy adult about your relationship with this man, bearing in mind that some adults (like teachers, counselors, or doctors) may be required to report what you tell them about this man to the proper authorities, again, not because you are a bad person but because what he is doing to/with you is not only gross and inappropriate, but illegal. (EDITED TO ADD: Anon, this means your boyfriend gets in legal trouble, not you! You have not done anything wrong. You are fine and you deserve better.)
- Send one piece of communication to your boyfriend telling him that your relationship is over, and that you will no longer be seeing him, talking to him or communicating with him in any way, and block him in every way possible and stick to it forever. If he continues to pursue or harass you, or attempts to contact your friends or family, or shows up at places he knows you’re going to be, document everything he does (writing it down in a notebook will work just fine) and tell a trustworthy adult (youth director? teacher? coach? theatre club sponsor?) or, if you feel comfortable, the police directly.
tl;dr: DUMP THIS FOOL IMMEDIATELY AND NEVER TALK TO HIM AGAIN EVER
Leaving this here for personal reasons.
This information is really important, and not just for minors. TOO MANY people (myself included, unfortunately) have to learn this the hardest of ways and if this little post even gets one person (male, female, gay, straight, or any permutation thereof) to realize Oh Crap This Applies To Me, You Mean I’m Not At Fault And I Should Get Out? then that makes all the crap I (and others) went through a smidge less meaningless.
What about our fans? Are they privileged? Let me tell you about Anders. He was one of two male love interests in Dragon Age II, and the only one of the two that would actually make his intentions known to the player without the player expressing interest first. If you were nice to him, he would make a pass at you, and you could turn him down, and that would be the end of it. And some fans REALLY did not like that.
Some of them asked for a gay toggle; because in a game where there’s mature themes, slavery, death, and none of which we offer toggles for, encountering a gay character? OOH, beyond the pale. They didn’t want to be exposed to homosexuality.
And this one fan on our forums posted that he felt too much attention had been spent on women and gays and not enough on straight male gamers. For all of whom he personally spoke, of course. ‘It’s ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamers, when in the past I would only have to say fans.’ The purpose of the romances in Dragon Age II was to give each type of fan an equal content. Two romances whether you’re male or female, straight or gay.
How upsetting for this particular Straight Male Gamer to realize he wasn’t being catered to. This was not equality to him, but an imbalance; an imbalance of the natural order. He did not want equality, he’s not interested in equality. To him, from his perspective, equality means he’s getting less. Less options? Actually, no, the number of options we had in that game was actually the same number of options that he would have received earlier. What was his issue was the idea that there was attention being spent on other groups, which SHOULD have rightly gone to him.
Do ALL straight male gamers feel exactly the same as he does? Absolutely not. In the thread where this came up in fact, there was quite a few guys who came in and identified themselves as straight male gamers and said ‘I actually don’t have an issue with that, as long as I receive an experience I enjoy, I think other people should be able to enjoy that too.’ But if you think that Straight Male Gamer Dude is an outlier among our fanbase, you were not paying attention.
This is Anita Sarkeesian, she’s the author of the Feminist Frequency, a blog which examines tropes in the depiction of women in popular culture. You’ve probably all heard about this, it’s a matter of public record, she announced a Kickstarter to start a web series to look at the tropes in video games and she was subjected to a campaign of vicious abuse and harassment by male gamers. Why? Well, because she represents to these guys the loss of their coveted place in the gaming audience. Never mind that well all know Goddamn well that they’re still at the top of the totem pole. What they see themselves losing is sole proprietorship over their domain. That’s what it is.
Everything that is changing about the gaming industry to accommodate these players, to them, is diluting the purity of gaming which has belonged solely to them. That’s what this is all about. And here’s the thing, I’m pretty certain that our industry fears the scrutiny of those guys way more than the scrutiny of everyone else. Because those are the guys that scream at the top of their lungs, they spend their time on every internet forum, they spend their time making Metacritic reviews. Infuriate them, and you become a target. It’s so much easier to say “Well, that’s what our fans are like. There’s nothing we can do.” And that’s bullshit.
They didn’t set the tone, did they? We set the tone. What we put out there, what we permit, whether it’s on our forums, whether it’s on Xbox Live, the things that we permit we are in effect condoning. What happened to Anita, we the industry, are partly responsible for. We’re in part to blame. And if the idea of moral responsibility doesn’t phase you, consider the idea that the time will probably soon come that this will also amount to legal responsibility.
also known as “Why I Love And Support BioWare Games”
Bioware ain’t perfect, but good gosh it does give me the warm fuzzies when one of their crew knocks it out of the park.
The first cell felt no call to divide.
Fed on abundant salts and sun,
still thin, it simply spread,
rocking on water, clinging to stone,
a film of obliging strength.
Its endoplasmic reticulum
was a thing of incomparable curvaceous length;
its nucleus, Golgi apparatus, RNA
magnificent. With no incidence
of loneliness, inner conflict, or deceit,
no predator nor prey,
it had little to do but thrive,
draw back from any sharp heat
or bitterness, and change its pastel
colors in a kind of song.
We are descendants of the second cell.
This bone-chilliing, heartrending poem is a surprise. Sarah Lindsay has written a mere sixteen lines of chaotic facts about cell division and the simplicity of nature, and the language is comprehensible, the poetics clear and vibrant. The soft “s” sounds begin in the first line with “salts” and “sun,” extending to the second line with “still thin,” and transition to assonance and repetition of “s” sounds again with “simply spread.” These are unsophisticated watery sounds, liquid and bright—utopic even.
But, the sounds begin to morph with the movement and growth of the single, first cell. In the fourth line, when the ancestral cell rocks on water, or clings to stone, the language mimics movement, and the liquid sounds take form, become more active, and rise from the sludge in a kind of poetic relief.
Throughout the poem, Lindsay allows the beauty of scientific language to showcase itself, to pin its precious self neatly to a square of paper-covered cork for all to see. The beauty of “endoplasmic reticulum” needs no further embellishment. Likewise with the Golgi apparatus, though she reminds us of the lyricism of this singular historical moment with her mention of “incomparable curvaceous length.”
Then, we have six basic lines of didactic work. Lindsay teaches us in the negative, or reminds us about everything the first cell was not. The uncomplicated, uncompetitive nature of first life is revealed, and we begin to grow wistful, nervous even, until she turns the penultimate corner, trepidatiously approaching the end of the poem with the first cell’s changing “its pastel colors in a kind of song.” The incomprehensible beauty and simplicity of that line, and that existence, make us pause.
But, with the final line, retroactively, the poem teaches and astounds. Until the moment of the last line, we associate ourselves with a singular set of circumstances, ideal in every way, but Lindsay’s final words here remind us that perfect peace and ease are not our birthright. By nature, as descendants of some hidden portion of that ideal picture that was not at ease, we are not victims of some greater problem. We are the problem itself. For moments extending long after the poem is read, we puzzle over all that we thought we were and all that we are not and cannot be. It is a humbling and frightening realization.
However, reading this poem and others in Lindsay’s new book, Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower, comforted me in the same way that watching old episodes of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos does, him in his turtlenecks and camel hair, reminding me gently that I’m not the center of the universe, and that therefore the world won’t end when I do. For me, and in spite of my Charismatic/Pentecostal/Primitive Baptist upbringing, there is no approach to mortality more consoling than various reminders of how insignificant I am. Life goes on.
Until I was introduced to Lindsay’s work, I’d never heard the term “didactic poetry.” Didactic, which means “intended to teach” or “instructive,” is generally the last thing I think of when I think of poetry. The poems I choose to read—and I don’t think I’m alone—are usually heavy-laden with pathos. Good poetry is conscious of this (sym)pathetic burden, but nevertheless, when we sit down to read a poem, our intention isn’t necessarily to be witness to the inscrutable clockwork of the impenetrable physical world.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when science and poetry were sister disciplines, when all art was permeated by investigation, and all inquiry showcased through lyricism. Scientists understood intuitively that the lens of poetry renders everything more palatable and fascinating. Erasmus Darwin, Hesiod, and Lucretius are just a few examples of classic scientist-poets (or poet-scientists) who utilized poetry quite pragmatically as a conduit for providing material insight to the masses, though this practice died, most agree, sometime between 1900 and 1915 with the birth of the Modernists, when poets and scientists experienced the messiest of divorces, and no one could determine who was to blame for the split, or what should be done with the children.
But, Sarah Lindsay has revived didactic poetry in verse that amazes and astounds, taking full advantage of a symbiotic tradition whereby scientists reap the benefits of lyricism and the way it can reveal the hidden beauty of dry investigation. Poets, in turn, become recipients of a new inheritance of ideas and secret parlance that excites and entertains.
In an interview with Guernica Magazine, Lindsay says of science in poetry: “I think I’m seeing more references to it—maybe because I’m looking, maybe because there’s more popular-science writing available for dilettantes and browsers like me. Ecological concerns are daily news now (alas). And poets have been writing all along about stars and roses; it’s not such a stretch now to bring in the Hubble telescope or dark matter or genetics.”
-Shawna Kay Rodenberg
*Shawna Kay Rodenberg is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. She works online as a writing instructor and moonlights as a poetry editor for the Southern Indiana Review's poetry prizes. She is also the founder and host of Slant, a monthly poetry reading in Evansville, Indiana, which accommodates both professional and amateur poets. Her work has appeared in New Millennium Writings and is forthcoming in Structo, drafthorse, and Free State Review. When she is not writing poems or teaching, she works part-time as a registered nurse, caring for elderly nuns. She is also an unschooling mother of five (two days in college) and she lives and works on a dairy goat farm in southern Indiana.
On the first Sunday of every month, Structure and Style features a guest post by a fantastic writer. This is our tenth month with a guest post.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (1983) Vs. Seven Nation Army (2003)
YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS IS LITERALLY THE SOUND OF COOL
Press play and you will find yourself wearing a long black coat on a windy city street holding a firearm that won’t be invented for another 50 years, your voice will be a full octave deeprer AND YOUR HAIR WILL LOOK PERFECT.
if only Lucifer had his theme song this would be it
wat. why would you
Take that, Bembridge Scholars!
The Mummy is a film about a woman having a marvellous time, and I think that’s so beautiful.
Yes, let’s just ignore that whole part in the middle where she was being hunted by a mummy who tried to use her body as a vessel for his dead lover.
I’ve seen a handful of comments like this and I just wanted to address it because I think it’s worth talking about. I realise my summation of the film is flippant; it was an attempt at irony because obviously the movie is full of gruesome death and dismemberment, and I fully agree that Evie is terrorized. But that’s not what the film is about. It’s not about Evie the human sacrifice - that’s something that happens to her but it isn’t who she is.
The point is, the whole plot of The Mummy literally could not happen without Evie pursuing the thing that she loves.
They go out to Hamunaptra because Evie is passionate about knowledge and discovery, and when they get there she is in her element - she is loving every minute of it and she is proud of herself and she is absolutely going to kiss Mr O’Connell. But once that thirst for knowledge and discovery inadvertantly raises Imhotep, and there is literally fire and brimstone raining from the sky, and everyone else is running and hiding, she never ever once despairs. She accepts responsibility, she owns her mistake and she refuses to believe there is nothing to be done. She follows her passions again and decides that more knowledge and more discovery is what’s required. And she’s right. She finds the answer and she takes triumphant pleasure in proving to herself that she is a greater scholar than the ones at Bembridge, the ones who have repeatedly found her lacking.
Do you realise how rare it is for a female character’s intellectual pursuit to be the thing that kicks off the action and the thing that saves the day, AND a source of ultimate joy in her life?
When Imhotep comes for her she goes without a fight, to save her companions’ lives, because she knows that’s the best chance they have. When Rick and Jonathan and Ardeth come to save her she is pivotal in her own rescue. She is never a Damsel, she is always part of the team.
And then Evie SAVES THE WORLD. She saves the world by doing the thing that she loves and is good at. She saves the world, she gets the guy, and they ride off into the sunset with some treasure. And really, that’s a pretty good end to a day.
Also, she is one of the very, very few cool librarians in fiction. And she is proud of that.