Friday, May 30, 2014

Mini-series: John Green and Why I Kinda Sorta Hate Him


Please don't rifle through all my various social media sites and cross reference my internet trail to find out where I live so you can come slowly kill me in a variety of cruel ways, possibly involving viciously beating me with a hard copy of The Fault in Our Stars. And then posting a picture of my mangled body on tumblr. There's a reason they are called nerdfighters.

Seriously, it's that bad. Well not literally, but I can say with a lot of confidence that planned murder is among the thoughts of Green's cult members dedicated fans when I casually comment that I'm not a fan of Green. People literally glare at me like I just said that I hate puppies and small children.
<Disclaimer: I have the utmost respect for each and every person's literary tastes. Just because I don't like Green doesn't mean that I don't understand why other would. Understand that public criticism is inborn in the career of writer, and every one there ever was has been subjected to it. In the next few post I will cite exactly what it is about his writing that rubs me the wrong way and cite specific plot points and quotation.>
In my not so humble opinion, John Green is an above average YA writer. There, see! This review isn't totally biased. His writing style is pretty original, and he doesn't rely on ever-present, cut and paste phrases like "a chill ran down my spine" to get his point across.

So if I think he's a good writer, why am I hating on him?

I will answer that in this upcoming mini series reviewing the books of his I have read. In this segment, I only wish to comment on the overbearing culture surrounding him that serves as a shield against public opinion.

Upon reading TFIOS, I was actually an uncommitted fan of Green's. I honestly liked the book, it was a respectable novel. Is it the "best romance novel of the decade" as one reviewer of the book states, don't make me laugh that is up to you So, wide eyed, innocent me picked up a few of his other works, and was disappointed. But then again, in the oh-so-wise teachings of the Green man himself.
Call me crazy for hating one of the most popular YA writers of this age. I however find Green to be obsessed with his own brain, sure that his philosophical meanderings are deep rather than uninspired. This is not reality people! Basically, his philosophy says f**** society, and limits, they only constrain us and ruin our fun! His fans think of themselves as "better" than ordinary teens with oh so boring outlooks when their's are just self-serving and bogus. The die hard fans partake in an small minority of his ego-loving cult , with the outliers being meandering, lost conversions to "literature". They have absolutely no idea how to read a book. It's harsh I know.

These are the type of people gushing over the merits of TFIOS. Its as much of a conversation piece as last night's Biology homework or One Direction's latest concert. This is how the conversation usually goes.

"Ohhh my gosh, did you read the Fault in Our Stars?"
"Yesssss, oh my goshhh, I was like literally crying my eyes out, like I can't even!"
"I know, like what even is air?"
"Oh my goshhhh I knowww, so sad."

All the while the hard core TFIOS fans (who actually read the book and understood the themes and literary techniques that they were reading) and the rest of us who are silently punching ourself repeatedly in the face.

The catty girls who refuse to read The Great Gatsby assigned to them in On-level English class because its just sooooo boring are frantically clinging onto the experience of reading the book as a social life raft. Can we please just go back to reading not being cool anymore? I'd rather have people make fun of me for being a nerd than having the horrifying experience of fake girls pretending that they really do think being awkward is cool all while making fun of that girl in the corner who may be just like on of the characters in Greens book that they claim to so adore.


I'm not saying that in order to be a "literary person" you have to be part of a certain friend group or have a certain personality, but I guess I am saying that there are so many teens that only read because they want to do what they always do, fit in by faking. Its great that our society is encouraging reading, but I am just not attracted to the kinds of books that illicit participation from people who otherwise wouldn't touch a book with a ten foot pole. Face it, the Green fandom is no longer a group of socially awkward teens who know more about Pokemon than social convention. It is now grown to include basically every single high schooler who wants to appear hipster, a dubious goal at best.These fans don't take what they are reading or their motives seriously so why should I take them seriously?

To conclude, the reason why I only kinda sorta hate John Green (more his writing than personality) is because his fans aggravate what would have normally only been a casual dislike of his work. Please, at least only proclaim undying love for books that you read for the pure joy of literature, not for a status symbol. Its an insult to the author and reader community.