Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why is cheating the special snowflake of bad things? *Secret's this needs no spoiler alert*

So, I'm noticing a trend in the reviews LOL...and I expected it, obviously.

I made a joke to a few people that the violence in AFC wouldn't be a problem because the cheating would distract from it regardless of how violent it was. I probably could've thrown in a beheading or two or three and still the cheating would've overshadowed it. And I get that. I really, really do. Some people just can't tolerate it.

And I'm not going to defend the cheating, and this book isn't about making it okay. It's about Jesse, and also how he and Drew reconnect. But I was (and am) going to write about it, though, because I've never seen it as being so taboo that it has to stay out of stories. I just wanted to write it differently than I often see it used in writing. Normally, I see it as: hero/heroine has been cheated on and is brokenhearted and has trust issues. And then that's how said brokenhearted person ends up with heroine/hero. Perfectly fine storyline. Very, very true to life storyline.
Well, Shonda Rhimes changed all of that for me with Scandal. She gave me the lady-balls to follow through with my own idea I'd been thinking about for ages, which was that the hero and heroine might cheat with each other and well...yeah...the story wasn't going to take any other trajectory. And before Scandal, it happened on SATC (Big and Carrie), One Tree Hill (Lucas and Peyton) and Gossip Girl (well that was just a clusterfuck of cheating). The Vincent Boys is one of my favorite books EVER, and I loved how Abbi Glines just went for it, and especially between characters where the cut was so deep. I appreciated the risk. Karina Halle is coming out with a book that looks very adulterous.

I could've made some insincere, heavy sense of guilt between them to make them "better people," but why? They're already decent people! In fact, they are great people...who made poor decisions for incredibly selfish reasons (so, like...humans).

I say all of this not to turn you off, which I'm sure I have LOL, and not even necessarily for sympathy, but because Drew and Jesse are supposed to be human, a deeply flawed species, and humans, even the good ones, do hurtful things to other humans, especially stuff that doesn't rise to the level of bodily harm or harm to human life (mind you, the two people do innumerable good things for each other and other people, too. It's probably a HUGE flaw in my thinking, admittedly, but I just don't get how the act of cheating on Lydia negates everything Jesse does in the entire book).

 Did cheating make them unlikeable? Oh, sure. But nobody is always likeable, and maybe wanting someone you should not and acting on it is more common than we're comfortable with?

And a temptation to upend your life completely for that other person? Real thing.

I read this secret on Post Secret recently, maybe like two weeks ago:

Anyway, I didn't write this to change anyone's mind. AFC is still my favorite thing I've written to date, and I'm certainly okay with controversy. I welcome all opinions and feelings. I enjoy reading them, no matter what! But sometimes I see a trend that I just can't help reflecting on.

Although, I'm incredibly curious about the reaction to the topic, I say all of this only for the insight into my thinking, and not to argue with your feelings as they are yours, because I'm only here to write about humans and humanity (not role models, not moral guidelines, and definitely not heroes) and that definitely includes the morally reprehensible parts. And a lot of us are intrigued by those parts. There's a reason Scandal, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Mad Men and Weeds had/have cult-like followings. The writing is amazeballs (not even comparing little ol' me), the action is great, BUT one could also argue that they're popular because of the antihero nature of the leads. People love antiheroes. I certainly do. Jesse is very antihero-leaning.

None of us is good 100% of the time in real life, but moral ambiguity in fiction is quite fun for me.
And I've seen male leads and fictional boyfriends and hearthrobs get away with all kinds of things that are so incredibly sociopathic and criminal and cruel and cause so much emotional pain (hello Damon Salvatore), but for some reason most things are allowed and forgiven as long as they fall short of cheating. So, we reconcile bad traits/behavior with good ones all the time, but why is this seen as such an un-redeemable thing no matter what else someone does? I started talking about this on Facebook, and I love talking to y'all so please don't hesitate to drop a note, as I said I am curious.

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