If you give a mouse a copy of _Outlander_

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2014 at 2:37 am

That mouse will turn into a ravenous book-reading monster who quickly spends upwards of $100 on books and develops a taste for Scotch.

I speak from personal experience. I am the mouse.

I read _Outlander_ by Diana Gabaldon.

Mmmmmph (which is a noise all the Scottish people in _Outlander_ make repeatedly in either agreement, disagreement, thanks, suggestion, avoidance, or request). Actually, I read each of the eight books in the series, plus three of the books in a spin-off series. Let me put this into (a slightly manic) perspective for you (and myself): I ordered the first book on August 5, 2014 immediately after I read a Buzzfeed article about the book because Buzzfeed. Today is September 29, 2014–just shy of two months. In that time, I have sizzled through 9,168 pages. I went to law school and, unfortunately, never showed that sort of dedication to my reading assignments.

I don’t know what Diana Gabaldon puts in those books, but its the same kool-aid that’s in television shows like The Wire and Scandal. You have to consume all of the output. No, I don’t have Starz. Yes, I am contemplating criminal activity in order to binge watch the first eight episodes of _Outlander_. For all of you smart alecks, I may have the mens rea but I have not done the actus reus. I **did** read in law school.

You see, _Outlander_ confirms and enriches many of my basic assumptions about life:

1. First of all, one really should not refer to a penis in public. But, if you must, one will likely not use the word penis. Steady yourself for this one. There is a vast array of epithets for the penis. But, generally, the penis (when it makes an appearance in this book, and it often does) is called a “cock.” Just accept that. No matter how embarrassing, wildly inadequate, or completely inappropriate this seems. Apparently, 18th century Scottish bros were way into referring to their necessary bits as cocks. WAY into that. Or, if they weren’t, you will come to believe that they were.

You need to accept this immediately. Like right now. Otherwise, you will be distracted and possibly convinced that you have, indeed, downloaded the wrong book. But, you haven’t. Do you see the word cock twice in one page and nary a scene involving a rooster? If so, you are reading the right books.

2. The epithets for a vagina are decidedly MEH. I have great faith in Dr. Gabaldon’s research abilities (that’s right, sucka….DOCTOR). So, I believe that she would have included better epithets if any existed now or then. Please be aware that a vagina is a sheath, a home, a slippery crease. All of these are MEH. This is not Diana Gabaldon’s fault. The fault lies with each of us, ladies. We have failed ourselves.

3. Scottish and Irish are obviously different, but I am completely ignorant. I have no clear idea what a Scottish accent sounds like. I thought I did. But, I don’t. I keep hearing Tom Branson (or, rather, the actor who plays the character of Tom Branson) in my head. That’s absolutely the wrong fandom….and the wrong country.

You need to listen to someone from Scotland. Otherwise, many of the characters will sound like Scrooge McDuck or Scottie from Star Trek–if, like me, you actually hear the characters saying the words while you read. Yeah, I know……that’s both totally boss and slightly disturbing.

4. England ruined everything. Hey, hey, hey, don’t get me wrong! I love Great Britain now….solid chaps. But, Ireland? India? The Americas? Africa? Asia? Australia? Let’s not kid ourselves: Earl Grey tea does not make up for much of the ruination brought to the world through the germs, boats, people, laws, guns, and customs of England. The Scotland of _Outlander_ is pretty thoroughly ruined by the English.

Again, though, the England of today: peopled by solid chaps.

5. There is such a thing as magnetic loins. I always suspected it; Dr. Gabaldon has offered a hypothesis in the person of James Fraser. The dude has magnetic loins and, apparently, 75% of the people in the eighteenth-century world of _Outlander_ are made of metal. He can’t walk more than about 100 yards without something being drawn to him–men, women, cats, bears, fish, bullets, knives, nails, axes. Obviously, this gets kinda messy. This is why the Illuminati kill all the people with magnetic loins.

6. People of color do not time travel well to the past. This IS a basic assumption that I hold about life. Of course, I have pondered this before reading this book. Would I travel back in time and lead a slave uprising? Would I travel back in time and put my legal skills to use, totally mess up history, and be the first practicing Black female attorney? Would I use the mighty pen to write words of equality and truth?

Probably not. I’d probably end up being a slave.

Real talk: I’m Black. Not only Black, but what was once referred to (in the past to which I would travel) as cafe au lait. Time travel in _Outlander_ occurs generally across two hundred year spans (there are exceptions; read the books). Me? Time travel back to 1814? That sounds bad. Very bad. Why am I so light? Why can I read? Why is my spoken English the way it is? Where are my papers? So, then, the score becomes: I’m Black. I’m female. I’m light. I’m tall and solidly built. AND, I’m **_suspicious_**–no matter what continent onto which I emerge from the rift in the space-time continuum.


7. Red hair has always been sexier than anyone thought. I never realized that there were so many extremely attractive descriptors for red hair (rivaling even the sheer number of descriptors referred to at #1). It sparkles; it’s burnished; it’s bronzed; it’s copper; it’s a flame; it shines; it glows. I’m not sure if I want red hair or I want to see it or I want to be it or what. I just don’t know.

8. Homophobes always, always, always gum up the works and make things unnecessarily difficult. The Eighteenth century was full of homophobes because ignorance, repressive church teachings, unbridled machismo, etc.. Ergo, the works were always getting gummed up and things were unnecessarily difficult. There is one particularly awesome character who is homosexual, but it’s the eighteenth century and that means certain death. So, he is always having to fight duels and dodge danger, and he spends not enough time being sarcastic and generally dashing.

9. Obvious literary danger is not necessarily less exciting. Everyone is in danger all the time, but you will not grow tired of it at all. Never. You will see it coming and you will love it. I can’t tell you where or when or why or how. But, I promise that you will see it coming a mile off (like sunshine glinting off the coppered streaks of Jamie’s burnished mane) and you will love it in the same way you do the pattern of the Fraser plaid. Trust me, despite the fact that I make jokes about the Illuminati and I hear the voices of characters when I read.

10. One might attempt to watch the _Outlander_ series on television, and one might be somewhat annoyed because Frank, Jamie, and Claire do not look like the Frank, Jamie, and Claire one pictured in one’s mind while one was reading _Outlander_.

One is me. This happened to me.


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