Jon: Is this meta, po-mo, or just fucked up?


Paul and I just got back from a trip to Seattle to visit fellow Gaycondo author Nickey. We had a good time (which has never happened the other 5 or so times we’ve been there), and I am happy to say that after six years of disdain for Portland’s neighbor to the North, I have now officially upgraded Seattle from hate to indifference.

While we were visiting, we went to the grocery store to buy some beer. After checking out, we got sucked into the book section near the exit. There was the usual grocery store fodder (Twilight novels, Anne Coulter garbage, etc…), but what I found most eye-catchingly inane was this:

That’s right. It’s a novelization-movie-tie-in book of the movie Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire.


I could understand why the movie itself had such a wordy and seemingly unneccessary title (there was already a dumb super hero movie called Push earlier this year), but to actually rename the book after the movie, though delightfully postmodern, is actually pretty insulting both to Sapphire herself as well as the book reading community in general.

When Paul and I first started dating (8 years ago bitches!), one of our first homo bonding moments was reading and discussing Push together. It is a seriously upsetting and enthralling read. When I heard about the movie, I pretty mush immediately decided not to see it because one of the following two scenarios would be true:

a.) It would be watered down and not do justice to the book.

b.) It wouldn’t be watered down, and would therefore be extremely upsetting and probably a little exploitative/offensive. It’s pretty hard to make an unflinching movie about a brutalized black woman without getting it all tangled up in sexist/racist/sexualized exploitation. Not to mention, the imagery in the book is so disturbing, it’s not really something I am interested in seeing acted out. Like the difference between reading about a car crash and actually seeing one, I don’t need to go there visually.


I just hope that Sapphire is getting a butt load of money to fill the void left by the huge turd that she was forced to excrete.

Word of advice: Skip the movie, and instead buy a used copy of the original book.


2 Responses to “Jon: Is this meta, po-mo, or just fucked up?”

  1. 1 Nickey Robo
    December 15, 2009 at 12:47 am

    To be clear: it’s NOT a novelization, it’s the same book (Push). They just for some reason had to very confusingly rename it.

    Also, I literally just got home from seeing the movie. It was good, and I’d say it did the book justice in a way that was not too exploitative. It was relentless and disturbing, but not so overly fucked up as to be unwatchable.

    Jon, I feel like telling people to skip the movie when you haven’t seen it- a movie that has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews, no less- is pretty unfair.

  2. 2 gaycondo
    December 15, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Yes and no. It’s true that I haven’t seen it, but that doesn’t mean my arguments don’t stand. I don’t really think this is the type of story that should be made into a movie at all. Not everything need be dramatized. I mean, why would a person want to sit and watch a young girl be raped, beaten, and systematically tortured for 2 hours? Especially if it is well acted and true to the novel! I say skip the movie because there is no reason to see it when you can just read the book, which pushes pretty hard to the edge of readability on it’s own. I think the stories of girls like Precious should be told, I just don’t think a dramatic film is a socially responsable way to do so. and if people aren’t willing to invest the mental energy needed to read a book or sit through a documentary to learn/think about these issues, then that is the biggest social problem. People should be able to experience the emotions and neccessary idealogical shift caused by learning about these issues without having to sit through the orchestral score of a hollyywood tear jerker.

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