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AvatarComments by atomickristin in reply to Vikram Bath*

On “Fried Green Tomatoes and The Husband Problem

Wow, thank you so very much!!! I really appreciate it!

On “The Happiest Sadist: Phèdre and Kushiel’s Dart

I'm replying to Ozzzy but this observation is really directed at more than one person, just that this was a good jumping off place.

Also, I am using "you" just because it's convenient and not because I am singling out YOU whoever you are.

There's an expression, "comparison is the thief of joy" and it is super true. Like, I could look at EL James, that chick who wrote Fifty Shades, and be consumed with rage that she's had all this fiscal success when she sucks and I'm so much more deserving than her yet I'm sitting here writing for free. I could let that bother me all the time to such extent that I would refuse to write anything because it's so unfair that I have to give away my writing when others so much worse are making bank off it. (and I have a friend who thinks I am nuts for giving away writing I "should be" charging for even though no one would ever see it otherwise. He said I was "writing for dopamine" LOL and it's a fair assessment. This is an actual attitude people do have, not a straw man.)

But me worrying about EL James and her bank account wouldn't make me HAPPY. I wouldn't enjoy that. I would only be hurting myself and reducing my enjoyment in life because I would turn away from things that bring me joy for no better reason than it wasn't what I "deserve". I have learned over the years that what brings me joy is being the best darn Kristin I can be in my little circle of the world. Even though I may occasionally complain how bad the writing in Fifty Shades is, it doesn't eat me alive even though I know I could do way better (or I like to think so anyway). And it isn't just writing/money, it's kids and marriage and sex and the decor of my house and my work accomplishments and other people's good health, all sorts of other stuff.

Defining your life and happiness by what you imagine other people have/deserve (whether it's better or worse than you have) is a losing game. Getting happiness from assuming other people are not happy is not a good way to get happiness because what happens when you find out they ARE happy? And assuming that you would BE happy if only you had Element X, Y, Z of someone else's life is also a losing game because trust me, you get those things and then find out you're not happy anyway. It's hella shocking because you built your life on a lie that some achievement or event would create this state of satisfaction and it doesn't. It doesn't because satisfaction is a choice you make, not a state of nirvana you attain.

If you don't change that mindset of expecting happiness to come from externals, you'll just go on looking for the next reason why you're unhappy even if/when you get the thing you think will answer all your prayers. Because you'll still be unhappy, and you'll look all around at your life still hunting for the reason why and trust me, you'll find it. You'll blame that person, that thing, that goal you haven't reached, because there is ALWAYS going to be something in life that you're lacking, something that the other guy seems to have that you don't. There are people on this site without financial security, without social standing, without good health, without kids, without a relationship, with a relationship but it isn't a good one, every person you meet has both blessings and burdens and it has absolutely nothing to do with your own personal level of happiness what another person has or doesn't.

And I know that's not something another person can explain, it's a realization that has to come from within, but once you have the revelation, it will change your life forever.


Kushiel's Dart actually was meaningful to me in an artistic sense, as I generally prefer slow moving, carefully paced storytelling and I happened to read it at a point in time when every popular book and movie seemed hell bent on doing the opposite. I felt like everyone was dispensing with the niceties and having Frankenstein pummel Van Helsing rather than spending any time on world building or character development. It really came along at a time I needed to feel like "ok I'm not alone in what I'm trying to do here" so I'll always be grateful to Jacqueline Carey for reminding me that people were still writing books that way.

The sexuality part was interesting to me but more in an academic sense. But I can completely see how it would be meaningful to other people, unlike Fifty Shades which I think is suitable only for starting fires


Thanks. I give all credit to Madeleine L'Engle.


I don't necessarily agree with that take and it's in this essay from last year:

I don't think a lot of people WANT to be Bella Swan or Ana Steel or Seth Rogan in Knocked Up. I think they're getting something else out of it, like believing in a world where someone unremarkable can find love.


A client probably wouldn't verbalize this as it would of course be wildly inappropriate for them to do so. What Jay is trying to point out is you have a lot to offer people even if they're not saying that to your face.

On “Do You Really Want Full Access to Your Health Data?

And I would have to trust politicians to legislate to prevent that in the future. (I'd also point out that pretty much everyone has SOME medical issue or genetic disposition towards such) and so at some point if an employer tried to find an employee without those issues they'd be choosing from a ridiculously small pool)

I find I'm quite tired of these line drawing exercises where the lines are drawn always to favor already powerful lobbies at the expense of relatively powerless individuals. Kinda puts me in mind of saying "Women need to wear burkas to protect themselves from men who can't control themselves". The solution to bad actors is not removing freedom from people and allowing potentially corrupt 3rd parties to decide whether or not you have a right to go outside in shorts or seeing test results that you paid for.

I am sure you're the one out of ten good doctor that I just haven't been lucky enough to come across, but I am also sure you've seen your fair share of docs that are overworked and burned out and not always giving patients their best selves. I think I have a right to take care of myself if no one else seems willing to.

On “The Case for Conservative Climate Action

Great piece! I really enjoyed reading it!

On “Do You Really Want Full Access to Your Health Data?

Yes. I want it.

Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from medical error, countless numbers more just live with uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing completely treatable health problems for years like I did, and we can't know how many people were told by doctors "you're fine, go home" and then died and the connection was never drawn. I suspect it's a lot, particularly a whole lot of women and minorities.

Will there be practical issues? Sure. Do I care? No. They need to let me see my goddamn test results since they don't even bother to look at them before I get in the room with them.

Dr. Google gives better advice than 9 out of 10 doctors I've ever been to.

On “Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders, Round Two

Just to offer a different perspective with the same conclusion -

If Hillary had been gracious and magnanimous in defeat she would have won over a lot of people like me who would have been more kindly disposed to Democrats as a result. I didn't vote for her (voted Johnson) because I thought she had a certain set of personality characteristics that made her a lot more like Trump than anyone really cared to admit. Personal vendettas, not able to let anything go, using her position for her own gratification/to continue grudges, speaking without thinking about the consequences or even understanding that there WERE consequences, that kind of thing.

Her doubling and tripling and quadrupling down on this stuff since the election has simply brought it home to me that she was exactly the person I perceived her to be, petty and small minded and self-obsessed, possibly even worse since she's not willing to shut her damn mouth long enough to let a)Trump hang himself by being visibly worse than her and b)support the Democratic Party as a whole by being a good loser. Nope, she can't do either, because she's a personal vendetta person, always has been.

All she's done time and again is prove to me the Democrats are rotten since they were telling me how great she was when I can see with my own two eyes she isn't. So it even undermines the present messaging of the Dems in which I am supposed to trust them to effectively govern my "half'" of the country because this person who cannot let anything go was their standard bearer.

She is hurting the Dems badly with this.

On “Failure Propagates Upward For Democratic Party

Everyone who doesn't agree with me is psychologically incapable of dealing with things on a factual level!!


Great post! I enjoyed it!!

On “For Your Consideration: A Preview Of The 92nd Academy Awards

I honestly hate years like this because we are so spoiled for choice with great movies, no matter what some really deserving people are going to get the shaft. And then in other years they're handing out awards where we're all like "yeah ok whatever".

It really makes the whole thing an exercise in futility, and I think that's one of the main reasons people have tuned out.

On “What the Houston Astros Teach Democrats About 2020

I learned something today, several somethings as a matter of fact. Great piece, very much enjoyed it.

On “Frank Pembleton, Raymond Holt, and The Necktie

Great piece! Thanks for writing it!

On “I Want to be Kissed by a Scoundrel

My great concern is that we're simply going to end up codifying a set of rules where the answer is STILL going to be "oh well, it's her fault" but it's going to be a more palatable set of rules for people so they accept them without really even questioning it. She went to a guy's hotel room? In this day and age?? Her fault. She consented to that particular act not because she wanted to, but she felt she had to because she read about it in Teen Vogue? Doesn't matter, her fault, she consented. Men will get a pass because the women broke the rules and put herself in some situation. Even though the rules were set up a certain way to still give men as much leeway as humanly possible and the rules are always, always going to be handicapped against women and women will be held to them far more strictly. Until we reconcile that double standard I am going to remain very wary of rules, if that makes sense.

I feel like we are just taking the teensiest of baby steps to a more reasonable view of sexuality and I don't want this to boomeranging around back onto us so we're all having to have our elderly aunts accompanying us to work to protect our virtue or whatever.

I am all for enthusiastic consent modified by basic common sense. Absolutely. It's just that I can see some very real times when consent is being given just not audibly, LOL.

As always, thanks for reading!


Yep, that's my argument. People love to create systems but systems are blunt instruments, and worse when they're based on flawed ideas (such as, boys seeing Han Solo turned men into sexual aggressors while simultaneously denying that some men actually just kinda want to be sexual aggressors cause they like it). So it makes me highly wary of the direction things seem to be headed where we're calling for a complex system of rules to govern sexual relationships when we're not even willing to talk openly and honestly about why things are the way they are or to acknowledge any wiggle room for nuance. I just think strict definitions are going to end up working against women, not men.


First point - I think we do a very, very bad job of both telling girls about how their signals might be wrongfully perceived and telling boys how to read and act on signals (or not.)

Second point - I'm not too sure that your kid turning out to be troubled necessarily means you made a mistake with who you pursued a relationship with. A lot went in to Ben turning to the Dark Side including his own free will.

I know this is not what you are doing at all but I am very wary of assigning too much blame for a kid making bad choices onto the mother, and very VERY wary of telling any woman, even a fictional one, that their child turning evil was the result of them having sex with the wrong person.


Yes! Exactly what I'm thinking as I'm sitting here reading these comments.

These are all roles we play and not necessarily the sum total of who we are.

People seem to be viewing archetypes as diagnoses and not simply a lens through which to view the world.

IRL there are no Chads. Chad is not a real person. There are no MPDG and there are no scoundrels, not really. They're all people with motives and needs and while people do tend to shake out into "types" they're just not so hard and fast as some people seem to think. There are nerds who wear leather and ride motorcycles. Perennial Tarantino bad guy Michael Madsen writes poetry.

A lot of the good guys I know were once bad boys. And I know far too many good guys who decided to become bad boys. This idea that these things are set in stone isn't real.

Thanks for reading!

On “Confessions of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl

I need to think on this some, but if there aren't it's more representative of the lack of 40+ female leads in anything, MPDG or otherwise. Which I have always found exceedingly stupid because women of a certain age have disposable income and time to spend and a fair number of 40+ actresses are still quite popular and box office draws.

This is one of my personal pet peeves and I hope to finish some writing I've done on the subject and share it with you guys.

A couple that come to mind:
Catherine Keener's character in the 40 year old Virgin wasn't exactly a MPDG but had some elements that way.
Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson in As Good As it Gets - had some elements, she def. needed help and turned his life upside down (but that was happening anyway)


Maude is definitely a MPDG without a shadow of a doubt.


I have mixed feelings about this for all the reasons we have already discussed.


Something a lot of women of my acquaintance have noted when they rejoin the dating pool is that a lot of the people on the market are there for a reason (both men and women alike, this includes some lesbians) and so I wonder if people who are actively dating are bumping into more than their fair share of jerks. I wonder if this is happening to you as well.

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