January 10th, 2005


Like So Totally, Like, Annoying!

I am not a fan of censorship. You all probably know this by now. But if no one ever in the world ever ever ever wrote another story in cutesy ditzy teenage girl voice, I swear we would still have at least enough of those stories. At least.

Take Mike Resnick's story in Janis Ian's Stars anthology. (Do I have to say "please" here, or will you take the pleading for granted?) It starts out, "He's GORGEOUS! I mean, it's as if Morvich and Casabella and that old guy, Michael something, you know, the one who painted some big ceiling, as if they all got together and said, what's the most beautiful thing we can paint, the most beautiful thing in all the galaxy?"

If you read that and thought, "I hate the narrator and find her unbelievable and could not possibly care about anything she does ever," you are not alone. Later, the reader who is unwary enough to continue is treated to the gem, "He wasn't there today. I came home and cried and counted 51 ways to kill myself, but then I cracked a nail and had to go to the beautician to get the acrylic fixed." Oh, HA! Ha HA! Mike Resnick, you are so much with the funny!

Teenage dialect is hard to get right. You can't just decide to be optimally shallow and edit out a random half of your own knowledge and have a believable teenage narrator. Doesn't work that way. Go back and try again.


I am also probably being cranky to feel that there are far fewer "thick-headed shallow male teenager" stereotype POVs, and that people who write dizzy, shallow teenage girl narrators are likely to overlap significantly with the people who assumed I was dizzy and shallow for seven years just because I was a teenage girl. That is probably not fair of me.