Book Review: Geek Love

Halla M.

Geek Love

Katherine Dunn

1983

Fiction

Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn, tells the story of the Binewski children, wonderful “freaks” designed by the poisons, drugs and chemicals ingested by their mother during her pregnancies.

Much like the short story, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town by Charles Bukowski, books explore what it means to be beautiful- in more way than one. Not only do the stories challenge what beauty means, but they also show the sometimes devastating effects of beauty on the beautiful. It is a common misconception of people that physical beautiful equals happiness. Some people who think they are ugly and feel sad for this reason believe that the only way to make themselves happy is to be beautiful, because not only does beauty lead to happiness, but, in their minds, being beautiful means that they will be loved. However, in reality, this is not so. Being beautiful is not always what people actually want, and being beautiful does not mean they will be loved, as shown in the quote below.

“Because people would love you if you were beautiful? And if people loved you, you would be happy? Is it people loving you that makes you happy? . . . Or is it people not loving you that makes you unhappy? If they don’t love you it’s because there’s something wrong with you. If they love you then it must mean you’re all right. You poor baby. Poor, poor baby. . . . You just want to know that you’re all right. You just want to feel all right. . . . That’s all you need other people’s love for! You don’t want to be beautiful! All you really want is to know that you’re all right!”-Arturo Binewski, the “Aqua Boy,” a character in Dunn’s Geek Love

Arturo points out why people want to be beautiful- it’s because they want to be loved, and they feel that being loved is impossible without the aid of beauty. However, simply having a beautiful outside cannot make someone love them. People fall in love and love others no matter what: it doesn’t matter if they are “beautiful,” because a pretty face could never make up for an ugly heart.

In the quote below from The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, Cass talks about why it’s better to not be beautiful, because it means that what people do for them is out of actual care or love, not just to gain something.

“Because people think it’s all I have. Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay. You don’t know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you, then you know it’s for something else.”

The point of view that these two quotes show is that beauty is beside the point. It’s frivolous; physical beauty is something that leaves with time. What is the point of basing oneself, and the way people think of them, on some fleeting façade? Why not allow people to love what’s inside, their brain and their soul? Beauty can turn women into sex objects and women’s beauty can turn men into illiterate fools, interested only in what females can offer them.   Beauty allows people to coast through life, not using the full potential of their minds, but rather relying on a superficial outside. And yet, despite the passing nature of such things, people still want beauty, and will go to any means to get it.

In Geek Love and The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, beauty is the cause of pain for many of the main characters.  One’s beauty is more of a curse, and other characters not deemed beautiful are much happier, although spiteful and jealous. Nevertheless, some of them would never dream of wanting to be beautiful. They prefer to be uniquely special, because they feel that the beautiful ones are shallow and empty. In the absence of beauty, the characters in the stories had power.

So what does beauty mean? Both books challenge the definition, changing it from a physical and visual thing to a mental and emotional one. In both the main characters attempt to destroy outward beauty and force themselves as well as others to love people for things that won’t leave at the first grey hair or wrinkle.   Beauty is fleeting; there is no doubt about that. People get old, they become less beautiful, and if they have lived off their aesthetic appeal their entire life, when it leaves they have nothing. Geek Love and The Most Beautiful Woman in Town attempt to show this.

It’s okay to be beautiful, but it’s not fair to oneself to only be beautiful.

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Ben’s Magical Comedy Column: The Patio, Revisited

By: Ben H.

I am going to be taking a short break from the “Cats v. Dogs” posts for a while to reopen the case for the school patio. Unlike my previous posts, this article will be actually talking about the truth about the school patio.

The school patio is pretty relaxing. One can eat “nutritious” lunch food while looking at the majestic Sandia Mountains and at some of the old trees that have been at Jefferson since the dawn of time. The clouds and interesting murals make the patio a place where hipsters and normal people alike can hang out and chat about the weather and other non-important things (like school). However, the patio has its own “dark side” as well.

When I mention this “dark side,” I am not talking about the clouds on one side actually shading the patio, I am talking about the regulation of the patio. In the patio, a jerk, bully, or as I like to call them, “troll” (a troll is basically an internet term for someone who annoys or tricks people for fun), can easily throw food, stab peers, and make sophisticated sculptures with random food objects.

I occasionally enjoy sculpting stuff, but what really frustrates me is the throwing of food and other fatuous actions that wouldn’t normally exist in such a peaceful scene or even at a normal school. Sadly, Jefferson Middle School is no normal school.  I guess it is more important for teachers to restrain students from traveling to the bathroom than actually enforcing the school’s patio safety.

(Suffer more next time on Ben’s Magical Comedy Column!)

Ben’s Magical Comedy Column: Cats v. Dogs, Part II

By: Ben H.

We have already heard most of the Cat statistics, now it is time to cover the special abilities of the Dogs.

Dogs are loyal, strong, fast, and resilient. Unlike the Cats, they attack with vigor and power. They may not be as smart or as organized as the Cats, but their pure energy and warlike spirit make up for it. Dogs are the primary example of a stalwart military force. They fight without mercy; without thought; they are the United States Army the Dogs.

In war, there are two types of Dogs. The first is called a Screecher. Screechers, also known as lap-dogs, lack the weapons to harm an enemy. However, as their name suggests, Screechers blast through enemies with their insanely high pitched cries of battle. Often, Screechers are used to either scare or disorient enemies, but one might be able to see one viciously gnawing on an enemy (usually with little success).

Though Screechers seem like stupid dogs, they actually follow a specific set of laws set by their founder, the Kardashians. Also known as the “Almighty Sharia Dank,” Kim Kardashian leads this group. “We follow one single oath: to breed and hug small puppy dogs. My assistant, Juan Manzer, is an expert in making puppies. I used to only need puppies for slave labor, but now I have discovered that ladies love puppies as party gifts. Now my parties are the most popular in the world!”

(Pop sensation Krysteen Krueger knows the gossip that Lady Mama doesn’t want you to know! Learn more next time on Ben’s Magical Comedy Column!)

(Part One) A Small Installment

By: Staple

Edited by our honorable guest editor: Corundum

“It’s happening again!” the boy remarked as his pencil leapt from his hand and fluttered in the space above his cluttered desk. How could this be? He had an exuberant amount of ridiculous work to do, yet he couldn’t execute his muddled ideas without a writing implement, the only one in his possession was now moving stoutly toward  the window, moving back and forth as if it’s ends were the wings of a butterfly. The innocent boy could feel the rest of his meaningful thoughts and overall focus drain from his existence as he watched it fly toward the window. “Was it worth chasing after?” he thought.  The shock from the phenomena was enough to stall his reflexive decision making.

The pencil was now nearly out the window, exposed to the bright light of the hot spring day. Usually this instance occurs at the most unfortunate of times, when the boy’s thoughts are truly on track and fast paced. However, unlike the current scenario, he catches the pencil before it flutters too far out of sight. Earlier within the school year, the boy learned how to properly maintain the seemingly nonsensical sight. This day, however, something else had occurred which influenced the “flying pencil” that was now barely within sight. The boy sighs, and begins to think of a rational solution to his diminutive issue.