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Episode 30 - Message from Nam

DO NOT FUCK PAXTON ANDREWS.  Avoid accidentally making eye contact with Paxton Andrews.  If you absolutely must enter a room with Paxton Andrews take extreme precautions so you don't die horribly in the Vietnam War.  It's pretty good for her career as a journalist tho.
This one has no sexual assault but it does have a horrible pointless war, an awful murder-suicide, bombings, screaming, howling, and a mammy.  (YES A MAMMY.  Yeah I wasn't expecting that either.)
You got it, we're reading Message from Nam as our second 4 for 40 book for Sara!  I would like to apologize to the Academy...

So I actually did borrow this from my aunt's bookshelf when I was a young person (what, like 10 maybe?) and I expected it to be Well Intentioned Racism About Vietnam.  And don't get me wrong, it is that - but it's also Well Intentioned Racism With Regards to the Civil Rights Movement and urrrrrrgh y'all.  It's also.... I mean I hate to use the word "Mary Sue"…

On Language and Consent

So.  Trashy romances often have... let's go with "issues" with consent.

A lot of people have very good reasons to not want to be ambushed by a book that depicts nonconsensual sex or sexual violence, or to stumble into a podcast that's discussing fine gradations in either.  We want to make it very clear exactly what you're getting into with each book or podcast so you can make an informed decision.

Many, many romance novels include scenes where a woman verbally or nonverbally does not consent to sex, but she changes her mind during the course of the encounter and enjoys the experience.  In real life, this is obviously rape.  In a book, this can be a fantasy - obviously a very popular fantasy, one that many women enjoy.  When we talk about this kind of fantasy nonconsensual encounter, we're going to call it a "ravishing", so you can tell the difference.  There's nothing wrong with enjoying this kind of fantasy, and it doesn't mean you don't know the difference between it and reality.  

I've read a ton of books about sexy vampires over the years but if a stranger in a pirate shirt and a ponytail tried to bite me in real life I'd mace him and call the cops.  We know you're smart enough to know the difference between fantasizing about being "talked into it" or being asleep or having a "no no no yes YES!" encounter in a stable with a guy in a kilt versus actually having any of that happen to you.  But some people definitely do not want to read about ravishments either, so we're going to be very clear in our labels.  Some people might not want to read a book where they experience this content viscerally but are completely fine with listening to two tipsy rednecks talk about it.  That's cool too!

Some books also have actual rape in them; romance authors have a horrible track record of using rape as a lazy way to introduce trauma either in the narrative or the backstory, some use it well and sensitively, and some think they're writing about a woman getting ravished but are actually writing about a woman getting raped (I'm talking to you, The Flame and the Flower.)  If a book has content that's about sexual assault, not a fantasy, we will be very clear in the episode description and here on the website, ESPECIALLY if it's written in a way that we suspect it was meant to be sexy.  

If we get it wrong, let us know.  We'll also note clearly when a book has no consent issues at all, so you can easily find them.  And sometimes we'll (gasp!) be reading books where nobody actually has any sex, and we'll give you the heads up there too in case you need a Christmas present for your meemaw.


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