The Trouble with “The Trouble with Being Born”

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Promotional image for the 2020 film “The Trouble with Being Born”

In 2017, I wrote a short story on my blog called The Girl from Svay Pak. It leveraged what I had read about a Japanese company that manufactured AI-driven sex dolls of little girls. I also added narrative details about the outrageous amount of children being sold for sex in Cambodia. The tale was fiction and in my wildest dreams I never thought someone would make a movie based on this premise (unless it was straight up kiddie porn).

Right on the heels of my commentary on Cuties, I find out that a German film called The Trouble with Being Born was released last February.

The story centers around Georg (played by Dominik Warta) who, as the film begins, is relaxing near his swimming pool while having a casual conversation with his ten-year-old daughter Elli (played by ten-year-old Lena Watson, though that name is a pseudonym). As the story unfolds, we find that Elli is a highly sophisticated android made to look exactly like Georg’s actual daughter who disappeared ten years ago at the age of ten.

However, Georg and Elli don’t exactly have a wholesome parent/child relationship. At night, he has sex with her.

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Netflix’s “Cuties:” The Sexual Exploitation of Children for Profit

cuties

Promotional image for the Netflix TV show “Cuties”

By now, you’ve probably heard at least something about the new Netflix series Cuties. Netflix describes the show as:

Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.

I, like a lot of people, became aware of the show based on the promotional poster I’ve featured above. Really, a bunch of eleven-year-old girls dressed up like streetwalkers and prancing around in front of an adult audience. What does that sound like if not grooming pre-teen girls to be sexually exploited.

Except, that’s not how Netflix sees it.

But before we get into all of that, here’s the official trailer courtesy of YouTube. Duck lips presented for your entertainment:

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Why Is Kylo Ren a Hero?

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Promotional image of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from the 2019 film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

A day or two ago, I saw a YouTube video on Mara Jade’s twitter account commenting on a Bounding Into Comics article titled Fans Threaten J.J. Abrams and Report Mental Breakdowns Over Kylo Ren’s Ending in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Frankly, I was amazed. I guess I shouldn’t be. As a fan of the television show Smallville (2001-2011), I watched fans on social media tear each other apart over which female lead should be in a relationship with Clark (Tom Welling). I watched the show for the superhero stuff, even though it really was a teenage/millennial soap opera.

So why shouldn’t Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) be any different?

However, the more I read the outrageous comments being supposedly made on twitter (to read them, click the appropriate link above), the more I became curious. Are these people real?

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Why Ed Kramer is Evil but Marion Zimmer Bradley Isn’t. Go figure

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Undated photo of the late author Marion Zimmer Bradley found at Wikipedia

The world is a funny place. On Mike Glyer’s “fanzine” File 770 this morning, I read an article called New Child Porn Charge Against Ed Kramer. I’d never heard of Ed Kramer before, so I looked him up. According to Wikipedia, he is:

an American editor and convicted child molester. Kramer lives in Duluth, Georgia and was a co-founder and part-owner of the Dragon*Con media convention. Kramer has also edited several works in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Before pleading guilty in 2013 to three counts of child molestation, Kramer was the subject of a long-running legal battle that began with his initial arrest in August 2000.

The word DragonCon got my attention. DragonCon has been associated with more conservative elements in Science Fiction and Fantasy. In and of itself, that means nothing. If you’ve been sexually abusing children or been into child porn, you are evil and deserve to be in prison, regardless of your politics.

But what gets me is that certain demographics in SF/F fandom seem to give other, similar people a pass because of their politics and because they are feminists, or at least they seem to do so.

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Ashes of Avalon Revisited

bradley

Undated photo of the late author Marion Zimmer Bradley, found at Wikipedia

I’ve been considering science fiction awards named after flawed human beings lately.

Of course, on my blog, this all started with Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance Speech and Here We Go Again, and then continued into The Sins of John W. Campbell Revisited, Tiptree Award Name May Change (Here We Go Again), and here, and here, and so on.

Then, I saw today that someone has read an article I’d written last January called Out of the Ashes of Avalon. I had been exploring the serious allegations of child neglect and abuse leveled at beloved feminist fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley, as well as the fact that her husband was sentenced to prison for sexually abusing her daughter (and some say Bradley actively participated in that abuse).

What surprised me most wasn’t that Bradley was possibly (likely) capable of both failing to protect her minor age daughter and possibly sexually abusing her own child, but that there seemed to be some sort of debate between more conservative and more liberal participants and fans in SciFi as to whether this constituted any sort of “problem” with Bradley.

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Out of the Ashes of Avalon

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Cover art for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s novel “The Mists of Avalon

I’m aware of the name Marion Zimmer Bradley because, if you read science fiction and fantasy at all, that name comes up quite a bit. That said, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe I’ve read any of her works, including her arguably best known novel The Mists of Avalon. Although rumors of her being a perpetrator of child sexual abuse in one manner or another have come into my awareness over the past year or two, I never paid much attention to them.

Then I found an interview published at Life Site News with Bradley’s daughter Moira Greyland titled INTERVIEW: Daughter of famed sci-fi author explains mother’s gay pedophile worldview published last May 2018, which discussed Greyland’s book The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon.

This is the book’s description at Amazon:

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Hope is Being Sucked Out of Life One Person at a Time

memorial

A Boise mass stabbing left nine people hurt, including six children, after a man attacked a 3-year-old’s birthday party on Saturday, June 30, at an apartment complex near West State Street and Wylie Lane. Four of the victims were critically injured.

I don’t know if I successfully communicate this on my blog, but I do try to understand people who aren’t like me. I may not always agree with them, but I want to know where they’re coming from. After all, I’m not the sole source of human knowledge, and I’m not the ultimate moral and ethical authority in the universe. I suppose my efforts are wasted, at least with a few folks who really, really need the world to be polarized, and if you aren’t like them, you’re evil. Nevertheless, I do want to get some sort of comprehension about people, even those who (probably) hate me.

This stuff like this happens and it sucks all of the hope out of the room. Really, I’m suffocating.

A 30-year-old guy was staying in an apartment complex in Boise, Idaho near where I live. He’s from Los Angeles, and I can’t really glean from the news stories why he was here in the first place. Apparently, there was some sort of trouble with the apartment manager and/or tenants, and he was asked to leave.

So what is his response? He gets a knife and, targeting a child’s birthday party, stabs nine people, including the birthday girl who was turning three. She was flown to Salt Lake City for treatment and just died of her injuries.

A three-year-old little girl is dead and for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The suspect is in custody and being held without bail. The victims were all recent immigrants from Ethiopia, Iraq, and Syria. All they wanted was to escape the violence of their countries and make a new life here in the U.S. This guy (I won’t honor him by posting his name or photo) took away the hope they found here.

Every time something like this happens, my faith in humanity diminishes just a little bit more, I become more cynical, and I become more like the pundits on social media who demand the (metaphorical) heads of their enemies on a platter just because they dared to disagree with them.

I know we live in an evil world and human nature isn’t really a great nature. We have to work hard to overcome the lowest levels of who we can be. Apparently, this person didn’t feel like working that hard and now a three-year-old girl is dead.

My granddaughter turned three last week.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t like people very much right now.

Flowers and Scars

wreath

Photo credit: Goroyboy

“Aren’t they pretty, Eva?”

She kept the name the nuns gave her. She had little in common with them, but they made occasional allies in her fight to take the children away from the depravity of the streets.

“Of course they are, Malika. Where did you get them?”

“The old man said he was closing his cart for the day and they wouldn’t sell.” The six-year-old waif nodded vigorously.

Eva trusted few men, but she had been watching the vendor for months with an eye that sought evil. So far, she had seen nothing from him to threaten her children.

“I wanted to give you something as pretty as you.”

Eva smiled weakly and was brought closer to tears than she wanted to be. A child of the streets herself, although now an adult, she bore a multitude of invisible scars and some physical. Suffering from rape at age three, she could never bear babies of her own. Yet her shelter was full of the laughter of all the children she would ever need.

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge 163 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

This is part three in a small series that starts with The Downfall of Eva and continues with Whatever Happened to Eva. I’m trying to give her a happy ending, but as you can see, even healing leaves behind some scars.

For more stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Last Festival

desert crossing

Found at a travel blog

“…I’m trying to erase you from my mind …you’re my religion and my belief…”

This wasn’t Yunin Obia’s first pilgrimage to the Holy City for the Festival of Qet but it would be her last. Every devotee of the God Slaz was required to travel to the great city of Shilarbor once every year for the Qet when Barkon’s orbit brought the planet closest to its sun. Motorized ground or air transport was allowed but it was considered a greater act of piety to make the journey on foot.

Yunin was healthy and relatively young and so encased in her skinsuit with the required possessions for the festival strapped across her back, she trudged across the soft sand from dusk until several hours after dawn each day stopping when it became too hot to go on. Then she slept in her insulated body tent until the desert permitted her once again move forward.

Occasionally, she would see another pilgrim in the distance. Sometimes they travelled in groups of three or four, but again, the greatly pious made the trip on foot and alone. Yunin had chosen an approach that was distant from aircraft flight paths and vehicle roads to accentuate her solitude. It also made it possible to hear the God Slaz’s voice a little sooner. She wanted to see if He knew what she was planning.

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Playtime

child vampire

Child vampire – Found on Pinterest.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has announced plans to seek the death penalty for a San Jose man accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s infant daughter before beating her to death in October 2015.

Wayne Moreno, 25, had been dating the infant’s mother for roughly six weeks when she left 14-month-old Diana alone with him for the first time on October 2, 2015.

After she left, Moreno allegedly spent hours repeatedly sexually assaulting the baby. When Diana wouldn’t stop crying, Moreno beat her – resulting in multiple skull fractures, according to prosecutors.

By the time police arrived at the residence in San Jose around 2:30 p.m. Diana was already dead.

Moreno claimed the infant had been injured falling off a changing table, but an autopsy determined that was not the case. He was arrested two days later.

Moreno has been charged with murder occurring during the commission of forcible lewd acts on a child, assaulting the child resulting in her death and three separate counts of forcible lewd acts on a child.

“Wake up, Wayne.”

Wayne Moreno was in a cell in a secure wing of the Santa Clara County Jail on suicide watch. It would have been impossible to place the high-profile prisoner in the jail’s general population, and although he had not made any explicit threats of suicide, the nature of his case required the Sheriff’s Department take every precaution.

However, they couldn’t have been prepared for the impossible.

“I said wake up, Wayne.”

“Huh? Wha…?”

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