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Apr 12, 2009; tippedover Asks:

Well I am currently taking a class titled Political Satire, where we study political satires i.e. "The Cavemen in the Hedges" and I am going with the approach of looking at the story with an out-ward view in order to find my thesis (for my research paper). I have come to the conclusion that a small part of the story could be the subtle implication that modern news sucks, for example the narrator says, "Just when you think the news can’t get any more absurd" and " I get into my hatchback and listen to bad news on the radio." I know it could be a stretch, but I feel that this could be a subliminal message to the reader that hints at how modern news is bad and absurd. i.e. the social discourse that has become cable news. That is kind of my thesis, however I was wondering if when you wrote “The Cavemen in the Hedges" you felt that the bad news filling Americas air waves was clouding the minds of America, or if this was just some thing that was not on your mind and has no relevance to your story (although two times you point at bad news), so I guess what I am asking is: “Why did you hint at absurd and bad news in your writing and was this at all part of the motive?”

Stacey answers:

I think I understand what your teacher is doing. She's trying to get you to think analytically, which is fine, but the problem with this kind of analysis is that it ignores all the good parts of the story--any story. And I'm not sure why your teacher would pick "The Cavemen in the Hedges" for a class titled Political Satire. Wouldn't political satire have something to do with government or power structures or something that is not contained in this particular piece of fiction? If it had to be a kind of satire, wouldn't it be social satire? I can see why you're having trouble with this, tippedover. I'm sorry I'm not helping.

Apr 11, 2009; tippedover Asks:

I have just begin to write a research paper on "Cavemen in the Hedges" and was looking at the story with an outward approach, with regards to my thesis. I was thinking that a subliminal message hidden in your story could be about how the media influences the way we think with your different references about how modern news sucks: "I get into my hatchback and listen to bad news on the radio..." I was wondering if this was a point that you were trying to make in your story? Or how do you feel about this assumption?

Stacey answers:

Yeah, but I'm not sure what you mean when you say "modern news sucks." That news of the modern world is sucky? Or that modern news-gathering outlets in the media are not doing their job well, and therefore suck? I think it's hard to argue with the former. If that's the case, and if the choice is between yes and no, then the answer is yes.

I am very interested in this idea that there are subliminal messages hidden in the story. Let me know what you find.

Apr 07, 2009; victor et amorata al dente quod vide ipso pecunias res Asks:

Your Question: filling out the paperwork?! Really....?

Stacey answers:

Yes. Filling out the paperwork correctly, making phone calls in a normal voice, paying bills more or less on time, flossing, all hallmarks of adulthood. I hate it, I didn't have to do it when I was 16, I have to do it now or else be committed and be assigned a guardian like Britney.

Apr 04, 2009; yoyome_123 Asks:

Hi, I first read your story, "The Cavemen in the Hedges" when I was about 13. I loved it, and took a few lessons from it as well, but I never really noticed what I learned until I had to do a more in depth analysis of the story for a class. Now I'm an adult (legally at least) and I'm sort of at a crossroads. How do I be a grown up with responsibilities without losing touch with what makes me me? Well I'm still doing some research on your story, and I was hoping you could help. What are some good resources for info on the stories, the historical context, and your life experiences that relate? --If you know of any...

And I was just wondering if you could tell me what your stance was on growing up? Is it really so bad to enjoy plastic pink princess fashions (I think I probably always will --I wear a purple diamond tiara whenever I'm feeling down), or sing random word fragments to the tune of our favorite pop song?-- anytime I forget the lyrics I just mouth "elephant turkey" to the song and it makes me feel like I know it--or at least look like it to whoever might be watching... Why can't you be a home owner and a punk rocker throwing bricks and screaming "Anarchy now!"? Or are those just too different? Is there some kind of balance? How do you find it? I saw in your response to a previous question on this story that the cavemen actually represent cavemen, but what does "The Look" symbolize? Who cares about "evolutionary superior traits"? And most of all, what's wrong with Fred Astaire and James Bond? I think they're both pretty sexy, at least in a sleazy, impersonal kind of way. I know you don't think that there are any answers in literature, but these are LIFE questions, and I need some advice. Please help! OH, and why doesn't your narrator tell us his name? Is because it's embarrassing, like Eustace or Floyd? I can't think of any horrifying names right now...

Stacey answers:

Hi yoyome. First I'll answer your questions about the story, then I'll attempt the life questions. Since the story is contemporary, I'd say the historical context is now, so you don't need to do any research there. The only life experience I can think of that relates to the story is that I, like the characters in the story, have a basement. I guess I was sort of a punk rocker too back in the day but in a wimpy, suburban way--not like running away and cutting my hair with nail scissors so I looked a mental patient or anything like that. Actually, once I did that to my hair, but anyway. The narrator doesn't have a name only because he never gets around to saying it. Sometimes first-person narrators don't have to declare their own names due to the fact that most of us think of ourselves as pronouns rather than names. (And at times I find the introduction of a first-person narrator's name a false moment.) The Look represents unspoken contempt, resentment, longing, shit like that. I don't know who cares about "evolutionary superior traits." I hope no one does. It just seems like if there were suddenly cavemen around the subject of evolution might arise. There's nothing wrong with James Bond and Fred Astaire! The opinions of the characters are not my own.

As for growing up, it has some highs and lows but I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying your tiara. I like your turkey elephant technique and predict it will serve you well for years to come. I'm almost sure that no matter what happens you will always be you. In fact, even if you don't want to be you will always be you and there's nothing you can do about it, just like you will get older and more mature, and so on, even though when you're very young getting older might seem to be optional, or at least under your control. It's not. You could think of it as gaining things rather than losing them (though it's a little of both). Being mature is not about being serious rather than playful, or practical rather than frivolous, or boring rather than interesting. For me, it's been more about slowly starting to understand things, trying not to be an asshole, and filling out the paperwork correctly. And now that I'm thinking of it, I liked that nail scissor haircut and just might do it again.

Apr 02, 2009; The Future Asks:

Dear Stacey, I recently discovered a new form of writer's block that delivers all of the side effects with none of the guilt! It is so clever, you can sit at the computer for 8 hours straight, not having written a word, and still feel accomplished. It's called the internet. And it assures you: inspiration is just around the cyber-corner. Doubting the meaning of that big word you just wrote? Dictionary.com it. Can't name your character? Babynames.com. Just need to check in on what the cool kids are wearing these days? thecoolhunter.net. I'm telling you, there are endless things to learn and discover. Just keep clicking away and, eventually the story will write itself! I'm not one to hoard such cutting-edge information on the possibilities of procrastination and I thought who better to spread the word than you. And the best part? It's absolutely free! Thanks, Stacey, for all you've given me. Happy Surfing, The Future

Stacey answers:

Interesting. I will have to look into this.

Apr 01, 2009; vasya Asks:

DrinksYou will need something; viagra bwjal; online casino =-]]]; cialis >:DDD; cheap flights 8D; buy levitra >:-DD; ambien ita;

Stacey answers:

Vasya! I put up a CAPTCHA so that you and your robot minions couldn't try to sell us Levitra anymore! But you have mutated into a smarter robot, you little rat.

Mar 18, 2009; Wag Asks:

I recently discovered that my dermatologist is in fact a Scientologist (a derma-scientologist?). Anyway, my wife thought the doctor was just a nice Jewish lady, but is now terrified. Should we continue to allow this woman to handle our skin?

Stacey answers:

No. Doctors should be scientists, not Scientologists. You need someone rational. I switched dermatologists when the one I had, the one who wore two pairs of glasses at once, told me that boils were a biblical affliction that plagued Job, then scraped out the inside of mine with a metal tool (maybe a pen?) without giving me anesthesia of any kind. That was how I learned that there's a real reason why they put a leather strap between the teeth of cowboys in old Westerns when they're digging out the bullet because I clenched my teeth so hard that I could barely talk the rest of the day. Also, when I got up off the table the nurse was cringing in the corner. I asked her what the substance inside the boil looked like and she didn't want to answer. When I insisted she finally said, "turkey gravy." Believe me, you do not want this kind of irrational dermatological experience. Get someone who only believes in science, or better yet, nothing.

Mar 17, 2009; bob fletcher Asks:

what is dirty realism???

Stacey answers:

Here's the url for the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_realism

Mar 12, 2009; Sigh Asks:

Yes. I am a terrible person. Thanks for the suggestions, although I'm going to pass on the Cormac McCarthy, sure, he's a brilliant writer, but I loathed Blood Meridian so much that I nearly burned it in my trash can, but then I realized that if I did so McCarthy would have won.

Stacey answers:

That's fine. I just wanted to give you an assortment since I don't know your taste. I find I have more fun reading Cormac McCarthy novels when I think of them as a form of children's lit, like boys' adventure tales, but for grown ups. It works for Haruki Murakami too.

Mar 12, 2009; Wiki'd Asks:

According to Wikipedia, you are married and a Scientologist. Is this true?

Stacey answers:

I am just so happy to have a Wikipedia entry that I didn't write myself. Does it really say that? I have to go look at it.

Wow, it really does say that. The Church of Scientology is prominently featured. I am not married. I do not belong to the Church of Scientology. I just put Scientology down once on my Myspace page because I saw it on the pull-down menu and thought it was funny. I also also put down married because I told my boyfriend I wanted to be Myspace Married, which is different than being legally married but still sort of romantic.

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