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Sanditon: Not Austen

It’s a conundrum when one likes a certain storyteller, but they are no longer telling stories. Having created other series adapting Jane Austen’s work, the most famous of which is Pride and Prejudice from 1995 starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, it makes sense that Andrew Davies would try his hand at a story Austen was unable to finish before her death: Sanditon, originally called The Brothers, stopped short at only eleven chapters. As I haven’t yet read the story, I can’t say how faithful the 2019 adaptation is to the bones of the story. As to the spirit of Austen’s romances, assuming Sanditon is to end at season or series 1, it’s a great big fail.

Davies is hit or miss for me with his adaptations, but I have truly enjoyed P&P ‘95, Little Dorrit (Dickens), Sense and Sensibility ’08, Northanger Abbey, and others. Sanditon begins well, feeling like a fresh story, because for many it is a fresh story, but modernity is soon shoehorned in, most noticeably in the casting of Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke) which actually works really at times, but seemed awkward throughout, and the really unnecessary sexual exploits of some of the minor characters. Although this does promote character growth in one of the characters, Esther Denham (Charlotte Spencer), it’s so, so not Jane Austen. It’s not as if Austen never refers to sex in her books, but it’s very subtle–a girl can be ruined, but it’s never detailed exactly how and we don’t have to witness the act. In this adaptation we also we have to sit through how presumably bigoted everyone was back then, because that’s the main point, isn’t it? We are so modern now, so much smarter and better than they were, aren’t we? I mean feminism has made women perfectly happy, right?

Having to check certain Progressive or as I like to think of them, Communist, boxes in every single modern work, is tedious and ruins storytelling. The world isn’t perfectly or equally distributed by race, class, or creed, and to force it to be so, again, ruins the story, and real life as well. Human being are unequal in so, so many ways. That’s ok. It’s reality. Never will we make everything and everyone perfectly equal and how boring that would be. I myself am surely guilty of some of this in my own writing, as it’s a mindset pervasive and hard to shake off.

Sanditon is grating also in that the sense of the period is off. Never, did I think that the setting was truly Regency, and the excuse of it being a seaside town where conventions of society presumably drop, was exactly that, an excuse not to pay attention to detail. The detail, or should I say main storyline of the show that was severely lacking, was the main romance between Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) and Sidney Parker (Theo James, Divergent). We simply don’t get to spend enough time with them and have to spend an inordinate amount of time with a creepy, manipulative sex triangle of other characters that have little to do with the three brothers in the story. Sadly, the romance is never resolved and hopefully there will be a season 2.

With all that, Sanditon wasn’t entirely bad. The Celtic music in the first episode was great, as was the dancing. It was exciting to watch Mr. Tom Parker (Kris Marshall, Love Actually) try to make his seaside resort town a reality, and his brothers Sidney and Arthur (Turlough Convery), and their sister Diana (Alexandra Roach, No Offence) have a fun quirkiness about them that is very Austen. The story of Miss Lamb was also intriguing and it was nail biting to watch as both she and Charlotte both plot and plan to thwart their guardians and caregivers who truly only have their best interests at heart. Ah, the rebellion of young women. It can be so, so dangerous for them, far more than for young men, though in this show nothing truly bad happens to the young women, if broken hearts can be considered as not truly “bad.” I would watch a season 2, but more, it would be great to have someone write and produce a screenplay more in the spirit of Austen, or even take on the works of her contemporaries, Fanny Burney, for example: Evelina would made a great show and has a ton of funny parts and a little romance that one could expand.

A bit more on the main romance: It’s generally true to Austen, for usually the main character does not at first get along well with her would-be suitor, but Sidney Parker’s initial anger at Charlotte seems to come out of nowhere, and I think that scene could have been done much better. Also, Charlotte came across as too young, in appearance, but also in her actions and thinking, at times like a teenager compared to Sidney, who’s clearly in his 30s. Not that unusual of a gap for the time period, but it made the match seem off. Why they made the choice to have her wear her hair down all the time, baffles me. Not only does her hair look bad, it just doesn’t fit with what the time period is supposed to be. The ending (spoilers) could have been better explained, for Sidney doesn’t really seem like a person who would agree to marry someone just to save his family. It just didn’t make sense, no matter how much he loves his brother and wants to save his enterprise. I wrote something earlier about men and being forced into marriage. If they allow it, it’s an allowance and on some level they want the marriage. Again, perhaps a season 2 is in the works and will explain further.

I think Davies is at a point where he can just write his own stories and succeed. He’s done plenty of series and movies set in the 1800s and could really get it right, if he wants and also add as much modern ickiness as his heart desires. I say his heart, for I truly don’t think it is the audience that wants it. Perhaps he’s just following the law, though, and shouldn’t be blamed.

Ten Things I Learned on the Carnivore Diet

1. Eating Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat.

Since it’s the new year and people tend to go in for resolutions, especially regarding health, I thought I would share my experiences with the carnivore diet. How exactly I came to try and like the carnivore’s diet is merely a culmination of years of curious reading and watching things considered conspiracy theory and also having chronic health issues myself, mostly of a digestive nature. As a Christian it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the sinful world is lying to us, but from vaccines to fake news, I have been amazed at just how much lying has been going on for so long. If you really think in common sense terms, we all know the truth, it’s just we tend to ignore it, because #10 coming up: We are ALL addicted to sugar. It is sugar which makes us fat, not eating fat. In America, anyway, we are likely the fattest we’ve ever been and it’s not because we’re eating fat.

This past year I’ve eaten more bacon, more butter, and more fatty meat than I’ve probably eaten in the past few years combined, and I lost weight! Over 20 pounds. And that’s without exercise. Sure, I do walking sometimes, sometimes stretch and do pushups, sometimes jump on the trampoline, but by no means, do I have a dedicated exercise regime. Just cutting out grains and most of my sugar did the trick.

2. Without Sugar, Most Grains Taste Like Cardboard.

No, I haven’t actually eaten cardboard, but once I started cutting out grains and eating mainly animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy, my taste buds changed. Or perhaps they just woke up to the truth. Without sugar most grains don’t have much taste at all and we wouldn’t eat them because we could tell instantly they weren’t good for us or nutritious. The Bible often talks about Jesus being the bread of life, but back then they must have had some awesome, substantially nutritious bread, not what we have today. It must have been bread that truly sustained the body and did not harm it. Hard for me to imagine.

Cutting out grains reminded me about what I already knew: I like hamburgers for the filling, the burger, the cheese, the tomato and onion, and the sauce. The burger is just a way to hold it all together without getting grease all over my hands. I’ve also learned that traditionally, grains have had to be fermented or tamed in some way so that humans can eat them, and if it’s not done properly or well, aka white flour, the effects on one’s digestive and immune system can be disastrous.

How horrified I was to find that cake or a donut just didn’t taste the same anymore, even with the sugar! And I then I reminded myself I was supposed to be avoiding those items, anyway.

3. Meat Is Where It’s at.

Never have I felt better than when eating red meat, the fattier the better, and also shrimp, salmon, hamburger, and the like. Grains, a least modern ones, make me sluggish in body and mind. Before I always thought it must be something with not getting enough sleep. Now I know better, though good sleep is certainly also good for one’s body and state of mind. I am able to digest meat better than fruits and vegetables, and will discuss them in #8. Meat is where’s it’s at as it’s really one of the the most nutritious things you can eat.

This is why in the Bible when Daniel wanted to eat vegetables only, the guard in Babylon was afraid to grant his request, for surely his health would suffer. Vegetables and water was not considered a healthy diet. But God produced a miracle and Daniel and his buddies thrived on the vegetables—a miracle, and an exception, not, I think, a call for everyone to eat vegetables only. Everyone is different, though, and it does seem like at least some people thrive on a diet of mostly vegetables, but I would think if they only eat vegetables they would soon find themselves malnourished.

4. More Grease Means More Cleaning.

This one’s a little funny. I have a gas oven and stove and found one day the flame on the stove seemed unusually high. This was because I hadn’t cleaned the hamburger or bacon grease off well enough. Eating more meat and especially more fat, means more grease in one’s kitchen. You will literally start a fire if it doesn’t get cleaned as frequently as possible.

5. Some People Need to Supplement, No Matter the Diet.

Sometimes those who’ve had success on the carnivore diet scoff at those on a vegan or vegetarian diet, saying how can that possibly be the right diet for humans when one has to supplement things like B12? Maybe that’s a good point, but maybe not. I have found that even with eating much red meat, including liver, I still have to supplement iron. On the vegan diet, I would have to supplement iron as well, because something, whether it’s just due to chronic inflammation or a genetic defect, something in my body blocks me from absorbing iron well. If I take more of it, the more opportunities I have to absorb at least some of it. Perhaps someday I will be healed enough and able to absorb iron well, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Interestingly, I have learned that the carnivore diet can be dangerous for men, giving them too much iron. Women have less of a risk because of our menstrual cycle. I would suspect that it varies for men as well, though, and that sticking to fatty meats helps decrease risk of toxicity.

Anyway, it’s clear now that just because one has to supplement, doesn’t necessarily mean that the diet is a wrong one. Many on the carnivore diet will encourage one to “supplement” with liver or organs at least once a week. Some claim they don’t need it. I suppose time will tell, but everyone is different, so it make nutrition all the more confusing.

6. Breakfast Doesn’t Need to Happen.

After watching an embarrassing number of Korean dramas, I have seen that their breakfast is not the same as ours: No cereal, no blueberry muffins, no cinnamon rolls! What they eat is a variety of meats, eggs, soups, and vegetables and maybe some rice, a home cooked full meal. I just found that curious, and recalled my favorite breakfast has always been bacon eggs and maybe a couple of pancakes. Now that I eat bacon and eggs all the time, they are no longer breakfast too me, and when I stick closely to the carnivore diet, breakfast just doesn’t need to happen. In fact, I often feel too full if I eat breakfast now.

I propose that it is not lack of coffee or sleep keeping one feeling sluggish in the mornings. No. It is all those grains and sugars slowing everything down in both your mind and body. We humans are a lot like Tolkien Hobbits. We eat all the time, whether it’s a snack or a second or even third breakfast. Our bodies need a break from all this eating and drinking. It’s no wonder that so, so many people have digestive problems. We are barely giving our digestive systems the opportunity to work.

For me, fasting does not work if I’m depending on grains. My system will definitely crash. Becoming fat adapted has helped my energy stay constant, and now I have to get fat adapted all over again because I allowed myself to indulge for the holidays.

7. Willpower Is a Superpower.

Or it should be considered one. There is nothing like the thrill of when one’s will rules the day for good, especially if someone has tried to make one do something they don’t want to do. Willpower with oneself, however, I have found the most tricky. I can rationalize and think of over one thousand reasons why I must have sugar today–cake, pie, anything. I have the power to resist the temptation, but I often choose not to use it. The days where my willpower holds strong are the best days, for it does feel then that I’m winning. When it comes to health, willpower can absolutely be a superpower, for one is able to resist all manner of bad foods, bad medicines, and bad advice. But it’s not easy to use this power, especially in times like today where a sort of spell has been cast over the whole world to not see the truth of things.

We often think of willpower to be used to motivate one to work out every day, but far more important is to use that power to resist sugar, which I’ll talk about more in #10 below.

8. Vegetables are a Garnish, Fruit a Dessert.

The carnivore diet has taught me I do like fruits and vegetables, just in limited quantities. Meat, fish, or eggs is where my nutrition is coming from, but adding garlic or onion give it a nice flavor, along with some cabbage, carrots, or broccoli once in awhile. As for fruit, when you cut out a regular inhalation of sweets, fruit is itself a great dessert. Some fruits like dates or bananas have a lot of sugar and should really be considered a dessert only, and not healthy to eat as snacks.

It’s also been interesting to learn that I don’t need to have fiber in my diet. It’s not necessary. It’s only necessary to eat a lot of fiber if one eats a lot of fiber to begin with, coming from grains, fruits, and vegetables. Cutting all that out, one finds one does just fine, and even better, without it.

9. You Don’t Have to Follow It All the Time for It to Work.

It’s true. Mostly I’m carnivore during the week and on the weekends have some grains–it’s palatable with addition of a ton of butter–and some sweets. My weight and energy has been fairly steady, but I have found that fasting really is necessary if I eat too much. I think just doing a keto diet and cutting out most grains and sugars would do most people a world of good. I don’t know what the perfect human diet is, but A., there’s probably not one to fit everyone, and B., these days we’re all to sickly and inflamed to find out what that is. Even just adding more meat, eggs, and fat, to one’s diet could work, because you’d be getting more nutrition and eating less of the non-nutritional stuff.

10. I Have a Sugar Addiction.

Not only do I have a sugar addiction, but you likely do, too, and so do your children. Sometimes I watch Dr. Ken Berry on YouTube and he started out skeptical about the keto and carnivore diets and over time became amazed by the results he saw in his patients and then himself. His theory is that almost all chronic illness and ailments are caused by insulin resistance, which is caused by the longterm spiking of one’s blood sugar. Simply put, we eat too much sugar. We also eat too many carbs–grains, vegetables and fruits–that our bodies essentially treat like sugar as well. After awhile, the situation is so dire that we resist our own body’s insulin that meant to help keep our sugar in check.

Back to that willpower. When it comes to sugar, I have little. I have even less when my coworker or friend or relative brings a carton of donuts or a plate of cookies to share with everyone. The look in their puppy dog eyes, how can I crush that? And they’re so happy to be doing something for someone else. Try, just try giving up sugar, and maybe you’ll resist and maybe you won’t, but every time you turn around you’ll find someone offering you a sweet or something sweet to eat or drink. Less so today with our social distancing, but it’s still there.

Resisting sugar is key. It is why when most people start a new diet they do start to feel wonderful, because they are reducing at least some of that insulin resistance. But a diet relying on carbs as fuel will not ultimately break the cycle of addiction and also weight gain from the sugar. I have learned that my main fuel has to be fat. Fat, and then protein. Is this longterm? I don’t see why not, but who knows, for we have so, so much more to discover about how our bodies work in conjunction with the God-created world around us, and a decaying world at that.

For more motivation on not only eating well, but incorporating movement into one’s life, I recommend Oh My Venus starring So Ji Sub (The Master’s Son) and Shin Min A (My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox) about an overweight lawyer who finds help and love with a famous personal trainer.

Happy New Year!!

Merry Christmas: Do Not Fear

A Merry Christmas to everyone. How wonderful it is to get together with family and friends and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is a shame that so many places and countries are forbidding gatherings, and I hope and pray that the longer this goes on, the more people wake up to it being not only a shame, but a sham as well. We have a God-given immune system and we do not need to fear giving it a work out. The message of the angels of God to both Mary and Joseph was firstly, Do Not Fear. We really don’t need to be afraid, especially if we have faith, and God does not want us to live in fear. Sure, there’s a lot of things to be afraid of and a lot of things that could kill us, but still, over and over in Scripture it tells us to not live in fear, that we can live boldly in Christ, confident in our salvation. I think this can apply to a cold virus as well as anything else. Certainly it applies to snow and ice. Here in Minnesota we just had a blizzard and even with icy, snowy roads where any number of us could lose our lives in an instant if the car would slip, thousands, perhaps more, were still out on the roads, because being with our loved ones at this time is more important than the fear of a car crash.

That’s the big contemplation for me with 2021 coming up: What’s more important? Fearing the threat of illness? Fearing the threat of violence from the authorities? Or living life to the fullest and placing community and people of higher importance than all that? As Christians, the one thing from this world that we can take with us to heaven is other people, and it’s hard to witness to them if we never see them or are around them. It saddens me greatly that the worst thing to come out of this is that the Church has allowed itself to be silenced to some degree. In a world so blessed by God, this should not be! We are to thank and praise, serve and obey God rather than men, daily! However, there is hope, and I do think in many places the tide is turning. The battle for freedom is something absolutely worth being fought, for if we are free, so can we freely proclaim God’s wonderful promises of salvation and the fulfillment of them in Jesus.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Restaurant to Another World: Book Review

Never before have I read a book that made me so hungry! Restaurant to Another World, book 1, by Junpei Inuzuka, is a light read focused on gastronomic goodness. Every Saturday, Western Cuisine Nekoya restaurant in Japan connects to another world, a world full of magicians, elves, warriors, and the like.

Restaurant is charming in its approach: It is from the perspective of the people in the magical world who come to the place to eat their favorite dishes. Although there is some awkward phrasing with the English translation, it mostly works as we are seeing things from the perspective of fantasy people and creatures who struggle to describe the delicious alien dishes. It’s fun seeing our food–and it’s a variety of dishes, not just Japanese dishes–from that viewpoint.

I enjoyed the book, but it was more a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive story. Any and every fantasy creature populates this other world, from Lord of the Rings characters, to tiny people, and there is a complete lack of forward momentum or overarching story arc. Character and food descriptions are okay, but I’m a reader that likes plots, and often complicated ones at that. Perhaps in the subsequent volumes there’s more going on plot wise, but at this time I’m not going to spend the money to find out. The bland names for the countries in the fantasy world disappointed me also: Ocean World, Mountain World, Desert World.

It also seemed unrealistic that not a one of these fantasy creatures and people tried to get out of the restaurant into our world. We get a basic background of what’s going on with the character, they find a door to the restaurant and either order their favorite dish or try it for the first time. Sometimes they get takeout. That’s it, that’s how each chapter plays out.

The idea for Restaurant is creative, and I can see this could be something that teachers could use in the classroom for creative writing. Explain the concept to the students and then they have to think of their own fantasy creature or person and write a short story of what’s going on in their lives, how they come across this restaurant, and the describe the dish they ordered and ate. Describing the food alone would be a great writing exercise. This would totally be something I would have used back in my teaching English as a second or foreign language days.

Updates

Well, Nanowrimo was a bit of a bust for me, but then November, even this November is always very busy at work, so it’s difficult to find the time and brain space for writing. I did get over 10,000 words, so that’s something. Kevin and Becky Colossus are getting into serious trouble and the actors in the Etherland are realizing they are not alone there.

Readingwise, I’ve started The Last of the Mohicans and will also be starting another Regency romance. My stack of possible reads for winter is piling up, and I’m aiming at reading the entire Narnia series, finally getting to The Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt, and other books which I’ll detail in a future blog post.

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, America! Even with all our troubles, we still have so much to be thankful for. The truth will out! God wins!

And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor ANY powers, neither high nor depth, nor anything else in ALL creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8: 28; 38-39

The Truth Will Out

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

For the sake of ten righteous people, God would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Sadly, those cities did not possess even that.

Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:2

In the hopes that Judah would turn from their evil ways and repent, God sent the prophet Jeremiah and other prophets to tell of the coming destruction. He gave Judah 40 years to repent. They did not.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His love endures. forever. To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. Who made the great lights–His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:3-9

For love of sinful human beings who deserved nothing from their Creator they so spit upon and despised, God sent his one and only Son, sacrificing himself in order that they would be saved. Sadly, many have and will reject that sacrifice.

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. And brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. With a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.

Psalm 136: 10-12

The Living God of the universe is a God of love and of justice. He is patient with sinners to the point of it being ridiculous; but then, love can appear crazy sometimes, as it’s something out of this world. The world witnessed God’s absolute commitment to love and justice and his own holiness in the person of Jesus Christ. The world fell into sin and payment had to be made. No human could ever make up for that sin and because he loved us, God intervened, himself living up to the holy standards we could not. Himself being placed on the cross as punishment for the sins of all of mankind. Justice was satisfied, but it didn’t end there, for God also proved love does conquer all by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, bringing life everlasting to all who believe in him.

To him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. And brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.

Psalm 136: 13-15

If you don’t think a reckoning is coming for the election fraud on gleeful display this week, you underestimate God’s commitment to justice. God will not be mocked, and he is all about law and order, so much so, that he did not go against his holy nature when those he loved sinned. Instead he gave his one and only Son to become human and live a holy life in the sinners’ place, and then die and pay for their sins, an atonement once for all. One man died for the rest, an innocent man at that. If God did not spare his own, innocent and holy self, why would he spare those openly defying him and the law, order, and justice that are a complete part of himself? Repentance is necessary; faith is necessary, as it bestows righteousness on the believer.

To him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. Who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. And killed mighty kings–His love endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. And Og king of Bashan–His love endures forever. And gave their land as an inheritance. His love endures forever. An inheritance to his servant Israel; His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:16-21

God is our Savior, our ultimate knight against the dragon. He fights on when in our weakness we fail and despair. He never gives up hope on repentance, faith, and salvation. He is always open to prayers, and many, many times in human history has in his lovingkindness interfered on behalf of good due to those prayers. If you love God, holiness, righteousness, law and order, truth and justice, God is asking us to get down on our knees this week and pray in repentance for deliverance, and he hears us.

It is no accident that President Trump held up the Bible in front of the church that day. It is no accident that he is also a fighter and is for truth, justice, law, and order. God is holding him up as an object lesson for us. God is calling us to repent and believe. Calling us to throw away despair and fight on. He is calling us to live in joy and freedom against the evil that clearly worships lies, chaos, and wretchedness. He is calling us to not be lukewarm or apathetic in the face of this blatant fraud taking place in America right now. Those who have the power to do something: This is your chance! God is on your side and he will bless your efforts.

It is God who choses the rulers of this world and for his purposes. He put Trump in place for just a time as this. It’s insanely ridiculous when one thinks about it, how feeble a candidate Biden is, unable to even think, unable to even stop himself from saying he was planning to win by fraud. God is giving us a huge neon sign right now, and it’s been burning for at least four years. This is our chance. Do we have ten righteous people? Do we love law and order or would we rather live under lies and tyranny? God will bless us if we pray to him, if we do the right thing and hold to the truth.

To the One who remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. And freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever. And who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:23-26

This isn’t over, not by a long shot. This is just the beginning of a very fierce battle for America’s heart and soul. Americans, please pray for your country and that our leaders will hold to the truth. Our friends, please pray for us that we put on the armor of God, as Q, prophetic in nature, has so often reminded us to do. Pray we walk the walk and not just talk the talk of wanting true justice, God’s justice, in this country. Pray that those who think winning by cheating will lead to a good end, will become sober of mind, and realize that all sin without repentance leads to death. Pray that America’s leaders that still have a conscience would do what they can to prosecute and punish those responsible for trying to steal an election. They are stealing against their fellow Americans and human beings. They are stealing not just a physical vote, but our very futures. God’s reckoning will come for that certainly in the next world, but here and now, God’s giving us an opportunity to have a reckoning on earth as well. The truth will out! God’s love endures forever! He is merciful and loving, patient and kind, and rejoices when we repent and turn to him. Thank the Lord for this opportunity! He is good and His love endures forever!

One more thing: It’s Redemption Season! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV_uXnL2DVM

Fall Reading List: 2020

With the cooling weather, fall is a great time to curl up with a hot drink and a book. Okay, who am I fooling, I do that all the time, no matter the season. Here are some of the books I plan to read this fall.

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. Sadly, I didn’t get to read this classic this summer, so fall it will be. It’s one of my favorite reads and a great adventure story.

Partners of the Heart by Vivien T. Thomas. My mom has been bugging me to read this book for a few years, now, and finally I’m getting around to it. It’s about cardiac surgery and the two men who pioneered the program at Johns Hopkins University.

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier. Nothing like a du Maurier story, but add time travel and I’m sold!

Marriage by Decree by Ellen Fitzgerald. I am still wading through the tacky Regency romances. In this one, the heroine is American.

Restaurant to Another World, Book 1 by Junpei Inuzuka. Sometimes I do peruse the Manga shelves at my local bookstore. This one sounds promising and is also written as an actual novel. The chapter titles are all food dishes, so I will make sure to have snacks near me when reading it.

The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester. This is a second read for me, and tells the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary came to be. It’s one of those books that many would find boring, but I find fascinating and have wanted to read it again for some time.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. A retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, a German fairy tale in the Grimm collection. I really like modern versions of fairy tales, especially if they are done well. One of my favorites is Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce, a retelling of the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.

Heart of India series by Linda Chaikin. Starting with the book Silk, as a teenager I could not put this series down. It’s got romance and adventure galore and is set in the late 1700s. Somehow this series avoided being cookie cutter Christian fiction, an amazing feat in its own right.

This isn’t a full list, as I’ll likely pick up some Sherlock Holmes or Poe–’tis the season, after all. And always, always, am I finding new stories to read every day.

Those D’Urbervilles: A Review of Tess of the…

Thomas Hardy just may be my new favorite writer. Somehow I missed reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles in school and am sorely sorry I did. What a crazy, wonderful book. There’s much to love and hate about the story and that’s kind of why I like it–Great literature often produces polarizing views and opinions.

Because Hardy is writing in a time of more censor in art and entertainment, the scenes regarding the rape were unclear to me. Not that I wanted to read violence or anything, it’s just he wrote it in a way that even Tess herself didn’t understand she was raped. But Hardy makes it very clear she doesn’t like Alex D’Urberville, especially in the last part of the story. More spoilers ahead.

Tess is a sad, sad story, but it’s not a boring sad story: It ends with a cathartic, pathetic climax of both horror and ecstasy. I do not like the story itself, nor many of the characters, but it reminded me of another much hailed horrible story: The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald. Both of these books are somewhat the horrors of their times on display, written in gorgeous prose. Most of the enjoyment is in the writing itself, but as with Gatsby, there’s much to learn from Tess about the times in which she lived.

Again, we come to the problem of a woman in being young and beautiful. Here, my sympathy is roused, as Tess faces not only a rapist who impregnates her, but who, after encountering her later on continues stalking and pursuing her. Because she is poor and her husband who could have helped her has abandoned her, she has little defense against him. The story is intended to show how hypocritical society is towards young women who have been wronged in this way. The rape part aside for a brief moment, even still today a woman that sleeps around is reviled, where a man that does the same is often lifted up as having many conquests. Why this is the case, I’m not sure, but it has largely to do with the differences between the sexes, and there are many.

This is shown a bit in the story: Tess and three of her friends all are in love with Angel, our almost hero. One gets the impression that at least her friends would have all been perfectly happy to be in a harem with Angel. Maybe they think it would be better than nothing. Tess herself seems genuinely sad for them that they don’t get the desire of their heart. They also are genuinely happy that Angel chooses her. This is may be a bit of a fantastical view of women from a man’s point of view, but it is true that at least some women don’t seem to mind sharing a man. Men seem far less likely to agree to share their woman with another man, and a man who would, would automatically go down a few notches in a woman’s perspective of him.

I think the dichotomy between the sexes comes largely due to the fact that men are and should be the pursuers when it comes to romance. It just doesn’t work out when the woman is the one doing the pursuing, and that is the implication that comes to mind when we hear of a women having many sexual partners.

However, this is not our dear, beautiful Tess! In this story, Tess is an innocent teenager who has been raped. Society should have compassion on her; sadly, in those times, it often did not. Hardy doesn’t really show society’s rejection of Tess in full force. He shows it through one man: Angel Clare. Like his name, Angel is a fanciful head-in-the-clouds kind of person. He doesn’t take the religion of his parents seriously, has the luxury of being well off enough to have time to think and dabble in farming, considering making it his occupation. Being able to study, think, and write is really a form of wealth all on its own. Tess is quite a thinker herself, but she has to do it while doing physical labor or while making treks of miles and miles across Wessex, Hardy’s fictional English county.

Angel Clare is essentially modern society at the time, throwing off religion and taking up fanciful views of the people who work the land. He is a man who imagines himself to be very liberal minded, but when it comes down to it, it is the Christian love and forgiveness that would have served him far better than any liberal attitudes. Not that Tess really has anything to forgive. It was so, so hard to read the chapter when they finally got married and on their wedding night she still hadn’t told him that she wasn’t a virgin, when lo and behold, he suddenly brings up the topic. Angel, too, is no virgin, having had a fling one night. He is anxious that Tess would forgive him for this and her soul soars because she, too, has a similar sin to confess, and is thrilled thinking they will both forgive each other and that will be the end of the matter.

But as will people who profess to be tolerant, often one finds they are not. So it is with Angel. He rejects her almost instantly. Does he understand she’s been raped? Does society understand this about the incident? Tess’s mother certainly does, but she seems to be the only one. Tess is so in love with Angel, that she agrees to be a martyr, to take whatever punishment he meets out. Hardy says she would have been far better to act more the emotional women, to beg and plead at his feet, as then he would have been won over and relented. Hardy is referring to the fact that men are moved by women’s genuine tears; and to their credit, they so often are. We love that about men. Hardy also states that Angel’s father who is a preacher and very religious is far more full of forgiveness than the irreligious son. It is true that society so often promotes the judgmental church, that it forgets the church is also and much more so about forgiveness and love, and being able to start over no matter what–all things are possible with God.

Tess’s behavior in willingly letting Angel walk all over here is pathetic, but it comes from an unstable mind: It is unclear in the book until the end that Tess understands that what Alex did to her was wrong, though she is afraid of him and talks about doing him harm if he keeps showing up in her life. It is also clear that Angel’s rejection is merely a picture of society’s rejection of her. At this time Tess would be perfectly happy to die at Angel’s hand as punishment for her sin. This foreshadows her death at the hand of society for another, worse, sin. Tess really has no outlet for sharing her sorrows, for the guilt of the rape is placed on herself, i.e., she never should have put herself in that vulnerable position. While it’s true that sometimes young women don’t use common sense in dress and behavior that encourages unwanted attention, I don’t think it’s fair to blame them for a man raping them. Even Alex continually says it’s her fault for being so attractive! Is this belief genuine, from Alex, from society, and from Angel? It seems to me a good way not to deal with the actual problem: Alex D’urberville is a dangerous predator who should be tried and charged.

Happily, Angel eventually wakes up from his stupidity, realizing a year or more later that he does love Tess and does forgive her. Sadly, there still is little self-reflection on his own sin. Aside from his confession on their wedding night–a confession in which there was no question in his mind that Tess would forgive him–he thinks little of it. What hypocrites we humans are: We commit the same sin (though I wouldn’t call it a sin on Tess’s part) and ignore it in ourselves, yet see it as unforgivable in other people.

Angel and Tess are reunited for a few good nights of passion, but this comes at a cost: Tess murders Alex D’Urberville. Because Angel takes so long coming back to her, and she and her family are so down on their luck, Tess becomes prey once again for Alex. Although he is loathsome, when someone wants to step in and provide for you and your family that are on the brink homelessness and starvation, that’s hard to turn down. She also believes his lies that her husband will never come back to her, and it is those lies that actually cause her to stab Alex.

The story ends rather epically in the early morning as Tess and Angel are fleeing cross country. They happen upon Stonehenge and decide to rest there, only to be surrounded by the police. As before, Tess is only too happy to be taken away to be tried and executed for her sin. I think Hardy is making it very difficult for society at the time to swallow such a thing as the criminal so eager to be brought to justice. The implication in this is that even in committing murder, Tess did nothing wrong. Again, Christian love, forgiveness, and understanding from the beginning would have been far better, as would have justice against the true villain, Alex, but then we wouldn’t have a story.

For a time, Hardy has Alex himself reform and take up religion, but it is only a sham, for the moment he sees Tess again, he drops God like a hot potato, and picks up his sin of wrongfully pursuing her once again. Alex justifies this by claiming to love her and also to want to take care of her and provide for her, but it’s pretty clear all he’s going by is lust.

What the significance is with the D’Urberville family history in the story, I’m still not sure. Tess is Tess Durbeyfeld, and her family was at one time the powerful D’Urberville tribe, of which her very distant cousin, Alex, is one of the last. The family estates and cemetery plots appear to be all over the county. Tess’s father is a drunken lout, who has no real keening for work. He’s a dreamer and when he finds out that his family was rich long, long ago, he fancies that somehow riches will find his family again, as if by magic. He and his wife send their eldest daughter, Tess, out in search of the leftover D’Urbervilles, putting her in Alex’s way, and there the story begins. So far has the family fallen, that their last remaining heir is a rapist, and Tess’s branch of the family poverty stricken. It’s all great, great stuff, especially Angel’s profession not to care for lofty families, but then being impressed that Tess is a D’Urberville. Maybe the significance is, again, just the ironies involved, or Angel’s inconsistency. It’s easy to forget that he, too, is very young–maybe 25?

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the wonderful writing, and will definitely be reading it again at some point. I take it back what I said about good looking people: It can be a curse for them, just as much as ugly looks can be a kind of curse for others. The good news is that we don’t have to live our lives based on such shallow things. We can choose to rise above them, and with God’s help, succeed. This love and charity Hardy showed best between Tess and her friends. They were only too happy for each other’s success in romance, held no grudges against each other, and continued being friends and giving genuine help, despite their unfortunate fixation on Angel Clare. As for this idea that only women are held accountable when it comes to sex, it’s hard to deny that even today, this is still somewhat true. It may be largely due to the fact that women alone can get pregnant, a nine-month visibility of the sin. Happily today, rape is considered wrong and not the women’s fault, though that’s muddied a bit by some women falsely accusing men of the crime and the feminist push to perceive all men as rapists.

Again, we don’t have to live this way. All women are not harlots trying to trap men and all men are not rapists trying to abuse women. I for one would be happy to see the movements of the sexual revolution and feminism die the agonizing deaths they well deserve. Both philosophies are a stain on humanity and have caused so much grief, sorrow, and torment, especially for women. Nowadays, some men have been so estranged from women that they will gleefully talk about sleeping with them whenever they feel like it, but never about protecting, providing, or loving them. With glee, these men joke about lonely cat ladies, while they eagerly pile on wealth for themselves and themselves alone. Many women do the same, neither caring for or nurturing the men they sleep with, and only wanting their money, quickly divorcing them for the alimony at the first chance they get. Both attitudes keep the cycle of war between the sexes spinning at an impressive rate. How did we get here?

I say, again, we don’t have to live this way. We can choose to marry, to settle down, to have children and family, to have lives full of love and meaning. We can rise above past hurts and still love and care for the opposite sex. Even if for some reason we can’t marry or can’t have kids, we can support those who can, and encourage their prosperity. Families, not single, selfish, lonely people, are the true building blocks of a thriving society. Tess clearly shows that all of Angel’s lofty ideas are but nought if he has not love and charity. This, for me, was the true lesson of the story.

Jeremiah: Always timely

This was supposed to be published last week, but other things got in the way. Gotta earn my daily bacon somehow. Next week I plan to review Tess of the D’Urbervilles and also possibly the Kdrama Melting Me Softly, if I finish it in time. Tried Watcher starring Han Suk Kyu (Secret Door) and Seo Kang Joon (When the Weather is Fine), and made it to episode 5 before realizing I was extremely bored, despite it being an interesting plot of investigation police corruption. Sometimes a show can be too slowly paced, even if it’s a slow burn type of story. On to the prophet Jeremiah:

In Bible reading the Old Testament prophets don’t get a lot of love. Many people like Psalms, Proverbs in the OT, and the Gospels and letters of the New Testament, but the books of the prophets are often a hard sell for daily reading. For one thing, God’s prophets were sent with one main message: Repent or you will be destroyed. Not a happy message. God also asked the prophets to do strange things in their lives, making them into living object lessons for the people. The books of the prophets often require a knowledge and understanding of the history of Israel and Judah at the time as well, so they can really be intimidating. These days, I’m reading Jeremiah, as I’ve never read the whole thing before, but I’m doing it via The People’s Bible series, which combines commentary and annotations to the text, presenting a fuller picture for the reader.

Jeremiah prophesied from 627BC to 586BC, some forty plus years. He lived in Judah after the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed, and went through four kings of Judah in his time of ministry. After I finish Jeremiah, I want to read the parts of 2 Kings that deal with this time in history, as it will give more a picture of each king’s reign. The first king, Josiah, was a good king, who rediscovered the Scriptures and helped lead at least some of the Jews back to worshipping God. Josiah’s sons, however, were ungodly and despicable, and although God’s patience is long, eventually the kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon and king Nebuchadnezzar.

A prophet’s life is one of ministry, it’s a calling and is one’s whole life. Jeremiah didn’t get to have a wife or family, as God wanted him solely focused on telling the people of Judah what God wanted him to say. For warning the kingdom of the coming destruction, Jeremiah got no thanks and was much abused by the people and officials of the day. His life was often threatened and at times he was imprisoned or put in the stocks. Still, he kept speaking the truth, hoping that some would listen, repent, and turn back to the Living God who so loves them.

One thing I really like with The People’s Bible series is getting more background of what’s going on. It also helps in separating what parts of the prophecy are Jeremiah speaking and what parts are what God said. For some reason in trying to read it straight through on my own, I didn’t really distinguish it as much, even though it’s pretty clearly identified by Jeremiah. Likely, I was just trying to read it too fast. Forty years, lots of prophecies. Now I’m about halfway, and like with Isaiah, another long book of prophecies, one almost gets whiplash. It goes from punishment to redemption, destruction to salvation, and captivity to freedom. That is kind of the roller coaster or rather pendulum of the Christian faith. Sin, repentance, forgiveness and redemption…and then usually back to Sin again, because our sinful natures constantly drag us down, pulling us away from God. Again, again, and again, we need to be shown our sin and turn back to God. If that’s sounds frustrating for us, it’s probably even more so for God, but he hasn’t deserted us. He has a lot of patience, considering. In Jeremiah, he had a lot of patience for Judah as well, but finally had to fulfill the prophesies of destruction and captivity, for they would not repent of their idolatry and turn back to them.

Unrepentant hearts aren’t unique to Judah. This is a problem every nation faces. Many Christians can see the same effects of sin and idolatry in America today. It’s maybe not outright idol worship, but it’s just as destructive to the country. We have many criminals and people of violence wishing to seize power and drag us down even further. However, I think many people are turning back to God, which is a wonderful thing. Now, a lot of the evil is being so blatant and open about what they are doing that many people’s eyes are being opened to the truth. Our governments have all become very, very corrupt, and it is only by God’s grace that we currently have a president who actually loves America and its people.

The other side only has fear, violence, and hate. Most people don’t want to live that way; they want to live quiet lives and go to work and care for their families. For some reason, in this day and time, God is letting the good people have power again, and they are gaining more every day. I’d like to think that he is relenting in our country’s destruction because many are turning back to him in prayer, but I don’t know for sure. God chooses the authorities and rulers in this world, and, good or bad, he works out what they do for his purposes. In Jeremiah, it’s clear that any ruler who deliberately scorns God is walking a dangerous tightrope, both for himself and for his nation.

Jeremiah also has some good quotes. I’m on chapter 29 and here are my favorites so far:

Circumcize yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your heart, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done–burn with no one to quench it. –Jeremiah 4:4

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.” –Jeremiah 6:16

They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire–something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind. –Jeremiah 7:31

O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. Do men make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” “Therefore I will teach them–this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.” –Jeremiah 16:19-21

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is him him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that send out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. –Jeremiah 17:7-8

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? –Jeremiah 17:9

“I will punish you as your deeds deserve,” declares the Lord. “I will kindle a fire in your forests and will consume everything around you.” –Jeremiah 21:14

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.” –Jeremiah 23:5-6

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. –Jeremiah 23:23-24

“But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.” (Jeremiah speaking to the false prophets who kept saying everything would be fine and that Judah would not be destroyed) –Jeremiah 28:9

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” –Jeremiah 29:11-13

There are so, so many more good quotes, so many cool idioms and metaphors, and such great descriptions, that I just couldn’t write them all down. Would have to become a biblical scribe. I’m sure by the time I’m done reading it, I will have many more quotes written down. Jeremiah is timely in his message now and until the end of the world, because we are always sinning, and always need God to remind us to repent and to turn to him and all will be forgiven through the blood of Jesus. It’s very comforting to know that God does take sin seriously, especially idolatry and the evil practices regarding children of the day. This has not gone away. Children are still being trafficked and abused horribly by those in power who practice idolatry or even just pretend to practice it to get ahead in whatever power group in which they want to advance. Because God does take sin seriously, it is all the more comforting to see he is just as serious about our salvation from sin. He wants everyone, all people, to turn to him, to believe on Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life and died for them, and to be saved to eternal life.

Are You Human?: Give Shin His Life Back

The good news is, I am currently watching a drama that I love with a million hearts. The bad news is that Are you Human? (Viki title is Are You Human Too?) starring Seo Kang Joon (The Cheese in the Trap) and Gong Seung Yeon (Six Flying Dragons) is not that drama. A very watchable drama with decent acting, Are You Human? could have reached for profound, but settled for easy. It is also one of the few shows that had me constantly yelling at the screen: He is a robot! A robot!

Yes, my friends, this is a robot story involving a theme that has been overdone in sci-fi at this point: defining humanity. Exploring the question what does is mean to be human through a robot’s eyes can be effective, but in this show it was used to promote the idea that it’s ok to think of robots and human and even to replace actual humans with them. Not sure if this was the intended message by the writer, but nevertheless, it made me sick to my stomach.

The story is about a young man named Nam Shin, and in this review I’ll mainly call him Shin, who of course is the grandson of a rich company CEO. The grandpa is…how can I say psychotic nicely? I can’t. Anyway, grandpa basically holds kid Shin hostage, saying if he goes to his grieving mother (dad just committed suicide), grandpa will harm mom. Thus mother and son grow up apart. But this is not your average mom. Oh Ra Ra is a super smart robotic scientist who flees to the Czech Republic and there makes a robot to look exactly like her son. She finds out later that her project is funded by (spoilers) grandpa. Robot Shin III is programmed to be a kind, loving, young gentlemen, who in disaster mode will leap into action to save whatever human lives are at stake. Not a bad thing, but at the beginning, it’s unclear just what mom’s motive is in this. Her son is still alive, and I would have actually found it less weird for him to be dead and in her grief she finds comfort in a lookalike machine.

The real Shin grows up and appears to be a typically spoiled rich boy, but he does long for his mother and makes a plan to escape grandpa’s watch and go to Czecho to see her. This involves the manipulation of a bodyguard, Kang So Bong, who used to be a pro fighter, but had to retire due to injury. She’s a somewhat feisty character who becomes less so over time. Robot Shin runs across real Shin in the town of Karlovy Vary, and I kind of wish the story would have stayed in Czecho, because it’s a beautiful fairy tale country and I miss living in it. The bad guy, played stereotypically by Yu Oh Seong (Faith) wants to take over the company and has a hitman take out Shin. Mom and her scientist buddy arrive just in time to witness the accident and mom instinctively knows it is her real son that has been run over. Turns out Shin isn’t dead, but he’s in a coma and so mom and Shin’s watcher for grandpa Ji Young Hoon (Lee Joon Hyuk from City Hunter) come up with the obvious plan to have robot Shin pretend to be human Shin.

The story didn’t quite play out as I imagined it would, but instead of surprising me, it continually disappointed me. The acting was very good, Seo Kang Joon has a bright future ahead of him and played both Shin’s well. He also has great screen presence, something one just has or doesn’t have, and will continue to be a great lead because of that. Gong Seung Yoon started out strong, as did her girl bodyguard character, but the writing basically killed her character by the end. She would have benefited from a ton more screen time with human Shin, which would have been a romance worth watching. Everyone else did a decent job, but nothing really of note.

Let’s get into the ranting part. So human Shin is a jerk, a spoiled jerk, but he loves his mom, has been royally abused by his grandpa, and wakes up partway through the series to find that he has literally been replaced by a lifelike robot built by his mother. And she won’t destroy it for his sake. She’s far too attached. Understandably, Shin is upset, very upset and wants the robot gone and his life back. He does pretty despicable things to try to make this happen, and the thing is, most of the time I was cheering him on! His fellow humans were all acting psycho, continually telling him that the robot was a better human than he was, and having affection for a machine that just…shouldn’t be there. I like my cell phone and my vacuum cleaner, but I’m not about to fall in love with them. Come to find out that crazy grandpa has the plan to actually fully replace his grandson by the robot and having the robot run the company.

This is a dark side of humanity, that we think we can create something better than a human and replace humanity with it. But it’s faulty, sinful human beings doing the making and programming, and it’s simply wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, to do this. Robots are a machine, a tool, and while they can certainly be humanlike, we walk a dangerous tightrope trying to make them as much like humans as possible. And on this show, what does that look like? Sadly, it reduces humanity to one thing: emotion. There’s a little nod to kindness, etc., being a part of humanity, but the focus is on emotion. Robot Shin is only still a robot because he doesn’t have emotions. He’s programmed to smile or give someone a hug when they need it, but that’s about it. Humans are so much more than their emotions, and why the writers didn’t choose to plumb the depths by either doing outright fantasy and having robot Shin somehow earn a fairy blessing of humanity, or by giving human Shin a beautiful redemptive love story, I don’t know. Either choice would have been so much better than what they went with. Yes, robot Shin (spoilers) does magically shed tears at the end, but this is never explained, and other than the humans continually telling him he seems human to them, no reason is given other than the fact that he sacrificed himself to save a human. But that’s no great feat, because he’s a robot programmed to do just that.

Let’s talk about the love story. Gong’s first interaction is with human Shin, who actually hit her to carry out his little escape plan. She then has a chance to vent her anger, but it ends up being on the robot Shin. It takes a little while for her find that this Shin is a robot, but bizarrely, she continues down the path of a relationship with the robot. Yes, he’s handsome, he’s kind and gentle, and so on, but he’s programmed to be that way. At times she treats him like a child, and other times like a pet. If a real, grown woman tells you she wants this kind of romance, run. Run away fast. Real woman do not want robots or pets, they want men, real men that don’t do whatever they say, and who have flaws and faults that they sometimes courageously overcome. Real women want a man they can argue with, share their lives and dreams with, and…ahem…have sex with. Now the show doesn’t go there, but they could probably program robot Shin to do the deed, but he’s not more much more than a blowup doll. Is that really what Gong should be aspiring to, a pretend relationship with a blowup doll? They did give him tears at the end, they did, but even at the end, when she first encounters human Shin, there’s a spark there that is not there when she and the robot kiss. The ending turned my stomach. Human Shin happily looking on as a woman kisses and makes promises to a machine that looks just like him. It was rather gross and not romantic in the slightest.

Give human Shin his life back. Rewrite this atrocity and give him a redemption and love story that values humanity, not programmed robots. There was another character that did love human Shin and the writers did nothing with her, except finally send her away to America where hopefully she found someone to appreciate her persistence, sweetness, loyalty, and bravery.

Are You Human? is watchable, far more than some other dramas, but the message it conveys is just so icky to me that I have trouble recommending it because of that. Even emotionally, there wasn’t really a good cathartic moment. Anger, maybe, Shin’s anger at being replaced, and then more anger because he’s met not with understanding, but with the robot is a better human that you are. I mean, what the actual blank? As for robot Shin, he’s got a bland personality, but of course he does. Humans can’t program a personality the way God creates one. The idea that we can is laughable. Also really not sure what to make of the talk in the show of a whole city with humans and these humanlike robots…sounds nightmarish to me. Sometimes I really hate science and think that at its heart it is anti-God and anti-human.