Why do you want to fight Nicholas Sparks? And how would you challenge him (thrown glove, e-vite, etc)?
Thrown glove, definitely. This has to be PERSONAL, even though my problem with him is really everything he represents.
I have talked before about how his brand of dreck has basically killed the romcom, but I don’t think I’ve talked about why I hate his brand of dreck, so gather around, chickadees, for “How do I hate thee, Nicholas Sparks? Let me count the ways.”
1. Tragedy porn. Look, honestly, I liked “A Walk to Remember.” Mostly because of “Only Hope” and Shane West’s face, but I liked it (if I watched it today, even divorced from the whole of Sparks’s canon, I would hate it, but that’s a separate issue). But as time went on and I watched a couple more of his movies and then heard about the others, it’s just … look. I know that we make stories to make people feel a certain way. We want to elicit an emotional response. And that’s a good thing, you know? And I know I rail about darkness and sadness a lot, but I’m not even saying that stories should only try to elicit good emotions. That feels shallow.
But with Nicholas Sparks and other tear-jerker-type stories (see: reasons I never got into Grey’s Anatomy, reasons I’m more likely to read straight-up darkfic than what people call “sads”), the emotional manipulation is incredibly blatant and formulaic and … I don’t know, is “cheap” the word I want? I don’t see the point in a story that says “Here’s a thing you love. Fate is going to take that thing you love from you. The main character is going to lift their chin like Scarlett O’Hara and say ‘tomorrow is another day!’“ I don’t feel like it’s something the creator is sharing with me, I feel like it’s something they’re trying to do to me, and I don’t take kindly to that.
2. White Cis Hets Touching Foreheads.
3. His whole brand is marketed to women, books and movies both, they’re chick flicks, date movies, stuff For the Women, but he sure is a dude. Not that men aren’t allowed to write romances, but it’s just that slimy feeling of “a wise man making money off all those silly weepy romantic women” rather than “a wise man showing that it’s okay for both women and men to cry over a love story where tragic things happen.” Like. Nora Roberts sure doesn’t have this kind of franchise. And I can’t say I enjoy reading Nora Roberts, but one could excise the sex from her books and make movies and market them to women, but somehow nobody got to be a romantic-book-adaptation juggernaut until Sparks. Partly because he’s a man and partly because
4. Happiness Isn’t Art. There seems to be this implication that because things end badly, because they’re sad, because they make you cry, it’s okay that they’re romantic. The sadness makes sure that they’re art. And fuck that, honestly? Tearjerkers are fine, whatever, they can (and should, I don’t want to stop people writing for the genres that appeal to them) exist in the world even if I don’t want to consume them, but nobody in this world gets to tell me that the unhappiness elevates them higher than the romcom. That it’s better than Nora Roberts not because he’s a man but because the sadness makes it somehow more worthy.
5. Look at that face. Tell me you don’t want to punch that smug face.
6. Sometimes you just read a book or watch a movie and know that the person behind the story is ideologically opposed to you in pretty much every possible way.
Just to sum up, I guess … I’m a person who loves reading and writing love stories. I always have been, since I was a little kid. If there’s tragedy and difficulty along the way, sure, I’m willing to go along with that, but when there’s someone who consistently says “no, this is only worthy if I take happiness away from you, because happiness isn’t art, because romance is only worth of attention if tragedy interrupts it,” then I get ready for a fight. And since he’s very much the trend leader there, I am pretty much ready to meet him in the pit at all times.