For some reason, almost nothing got done today. Owen had a severed Mummy-need, so I spent a painful amount of time sitting on the floor near him. He was allowed to walk away from me, but if I so much as stood or sat a level higher, he whipped his arms up in the Hold Me position. I tried to wash dishes and he nearly pantsed me pulling on my leg.
When I did get a chance to do something, it was the dishes. There were a lot of them. When I could, I read more of the Pirates book. I had to break it up for the Vesuvius Club though. Dry facts are dry, after all. And Mark Gatiss is one of my favourite people. That is the shortest way to describe how I feel about him.
However, I did have a crisis of like about… er, well into the book. I’m reading it and listening, and it was on disc four or five. The bombshell of the main character’s bisexuality was both entertaining and welcome news. It’s not historically inaccurate, but since the book was written in 2004, that sort of thing can be written in without fear of being banned. Sort of.
So when a horrible racist caricature of a Chinese man shows up… I died a little inside. The audio version made it even worse. It’s read by Gatiss himself, and he does accents, like you do… and the accent he affects for the Chinese guy is offensive. I kept waiting for the accent to be a ruse on the part of the character, but no. He’s a racist caricature, and he’s also evil. He even runs an opium den.
I may have said before that I can sometimes ignore racism in books that were written when that sort of thing was de rigeur. You certainly don’t have to read it if it bothers you, but you shouldn’t judge the book for it, since that would be like judging a man as a misogynist for having pulled his sister’s hair when they were both children. One of the reasons I say this is because no one will learn anything from it. Vent, sure, but that’s… well, it’s pretty much kicking a corpse, since the author is dead in the cases I’m thinking of.
But this book was written ten years ago. (damn i’m old) And the author is very much alive. The racist depiction and indeed the character himself are not vital, untouchable parts of the book. There is no reason to include this kind of nasty muck in the book. I could have tolerated racist behaviour from the main character, because that would have been (questionable) time setting detail, and he’s already got other unattractive traits.
Sigh. I’m not going to write a review for this book. So far, I haven’t shied away from reviewing a book about which I could not be objective, but that’s because my reviews have been about both the books and my experiences reading them. I don’t want to share my experience reading this book. I don’t have a lot of writers that I really love, but Mark Gatiss is one of them. I like him for his writing more than his acting. The punch of racism is late in the book, brief, and doesn’t seem to affect much after or before.
I don’t want to write a review later, because I don’t want to have to talk about this again, and because I want to keep all the squee parts of my experience to myself. For some reason, my enjoyment of Gatiss’s writing has proven to be a private thing. I don’t even know any other fans.