Ooops, sorry, if you're a Butler fan. I find many people are Cinderella lovers; even if they don't watch basketball, the story of David (Butler) beating up on Goliath (Duke) has them rooting and cheering for the smaller college. And I don't blame the instant fans because I love a feel-good story myself, and Butler played like a team on a mission through the night, down to that last second heart-breaking Hail Mary that almost, but didn't. However, for once, I was on the side of the Big Bad because Duke has my heart. Unless, of course, if Notre Dame is involved. Then that's another story :).
It's funny, isn't it, that, if you ask everyone, this tale, if it had a happy ending, with that final shot going in and making Butler--a nobody school--the Big Champion would have everyone jumping up for joy. It is some kind of inherent DNA switch that come on, that we humans WANT the smaller to beat the bigger, and when they do, we get a euphoric nod from the universe, as if that win reflects our hope that we too can beat the odds.
Yup, we love us our Cinderella-makes-good stories. When I think about it, the story really doesn't fit the analogy--why is the school compared to Cinderella? After all, the players aren't mistreated by evil step-kin and made to clean the hearth. And there aren't any glass slippers, balls, pumpkins or fairy godmothers.
I know, I know, I take things too literal sometimes, but I really wanted to know why Cinderella. Why not Three Little Pigs, who outsmarted the Big Bad Wolf? Or, Snow White, which also had an evil stepma and lots of cute dwarfs to her get a slam dunk? Further research gave me the answer and it is BILL MURRAY for whom we can blame this odd term. Of course it's from Caddyshack. It's popular college vernacular we're talking about, and of course they wouldn't be referring to any fairytales. Duh, dude.
In Caddyshack, Bill Murray, our favorite half-crazed character, was self-announcing his own fantasy golf: "Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion." So, there you have it. College kids think Cinderella is Bill Murray, a greenskeeper with a gopher complex.
Still, mix-up and all, the public roots for the Cinderella team because it wants that happy ending. The TV producers want that happy ending because then people would tune in and watch and give them happy ad revenue, another kind of happy ending. Heck, I'm beginning to think we all want that happy ending for our own selfish happiness ;-).
But not so for us poor pitiful romance readers.
We, romance readers get bashed ALL the time because our stories have happy endings. There's Oprah, who thinks romance books are just so damn unrealistic in life. Everything must have a horrific heartwrenching ending to be "realistic" to her. So, I'm going to assume that she's satisfied that Butler's defeat proves her theory, that in real life, everyone must end up unhappy.
It is, as if, we can say Cinderella defeated the evil stepmother and her nasty stepsisters, but what? she married the Prince too? You got to be kidding me. That's just so...unreal!
Many try to shame us into hiding our reading habits. Others call what we read non-books. Even writers denigrate the genre (Nicholas Spark, eyeballing you here) and some previous romance writers run from their roots after changing genres. Somehow, romance readers aren't allowed to have Cinderella-loving DNA without inducing some people into eye-rolling, spotting Oxegen-channel-heebeejeebees who suddenly spout purple prose in haiku.
Also, lately, there's this new phenomena of romance studies, chopping up our love of the genre into feministic labels and philosophizing on topics such as the "hole" that the "magic penis" must enter, or some such deep matters. I kid you not. It's a conference of serious romance studies.
I've always posit that breaking down a novel too much takes away the joy of reading. Even though I love to do it and still think it's an excellent tool to help analysis skills, I also have a secret believe that those who become lifelong experts of a certain novel or author or genre tend to not see the story for the words.
And when I start reading fun romance topics like the Magic Hoo Ha become a literary topic at conferences, on how it relates to feminist studies and whatnot, my eyes start glazing and my brain turns to sticky candy. These topics are brought up as if they're something new and relevant. SERIOUSLY? The Magic Hoo Ha and the Big Penis Savior have been around forever, folks. We romance readers have been bandying those terms on the Net since, oh, I dunno, since before there were such a thing as discussion boards. Mrs. Giggles in the early 90s. AAR and Prodigy Romance Boards in the late 90s. I was there, and we were pure romance readers just happily yakking about our favorite (and not-so-favorite) books.
They were fun labels we gave so we could laugh at ourselves because we enjoyed these crazy romance tropes so much. They do NOT reflect our feministic needs to cure ourselves. Nor do they reflect our being strangled in a phallopaternistic society (not my theory, folks). Sure, we welcome new challenges--the -isms, the anti-this/that, the sexual freedom--but if those authors overpower their stories with their agenda, we turn away from them like a kid from veges. We want our meat.
Romances are feel-good stories. We champion our main characters and want them to win in life. We want our happy ending. That's all. We really don't go any deeper than that.
Perhaps if we drop our knowledge about the real Cindy and just go for the Bill Murray version? Maybe that'd help them understand why we enjoy our HEAs and HFNs without those scary analysis about how reading certain books reflect on our character/culture/knowledge/DNAIQGQBBQ?
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