fleetinglogic (fleetinglogic) wrote in ontd_sassenach,

"..like Eat Pray Love with more alcohol and less sun..."

"'Och Aye': Reading Scottish Romances as an Actual Scottish Person"

Interesting article from a Scots perspective. Some quotes:

Outlander is an odd duck in Scotland. The books have their fans here, but it’s nowhere near the cultural phenomenon it’s been in America. We certainly upped our tourism game to cash in on that sweet sweet fandom money, but most of us haven’t really watched it (my dad did, and his main response was wondering why it was so rapey). For all our national pride, there’s little drive to see ourselves made exotic like that. It’s been over 50 years and we’re still mad at Brigadoon.

I did try to read the first Outlander book, but I was hyper-aware of the tools it used to evoke a very romantic view of Scotland, even with all the rape. Everyone is a ‘lad’ or a ‘lass’ or a ‘Sassenach wench’; the men are savage but noble, stern but ceaselessly dedicated to their clan; and the most notable Englishman in the story is the most despicable creep ever. I cannot fault the achingly detailed research of the era, and elements like the accents are generally accurate, but reading stuff like Outlander and Highlander romance novels, or watching Braveheart or Rob Roy, are like tourism guides written for a place experienced only through cultural osmosis. The parts are all there but it’s just a little too clean. Of course it is - it wasn’t written for us...

...Highlander heroes tend to be almost magical in their savage nobility: Tall, broad and probably ginger, always in a kilt (even when it’s not historically accurate) and ready to launch into battle at any moment. Pure, undistilled alpha rollicking across the scenic glen. Alphas are nothing new in romance — every category has them — but a Scottish alpha always ends up feeling a little less than human to me. They’re not just stoic warriors; they’re stoic warriors because it’s in their Scotch blood. The very nature of their national identity imbues them with incredible power, and it renders them the ‘other’ of the story. Even in non-romance stories, this is a common feature - the mystical power of Scotland and its people, lost in time, literally (Brigadoon) or figuratively (Local Hero), not quite of the real world but something more special, like Eat Pray Love with more alcohol and less sun...

...After a sea of Highland flings, battles with the English and rampant screwing in castles, it becomes hard to ignore the overwhelming whiteness of these books...

...We have commodified our nation into the perfect tourism product, and have done so for decades. As with most things in Scottish culture, you can blame Walter Scott...

I hope people like what they like, no shame involved, and there are books I’d recommend (When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare is sweet, well-constructed and delightfully self-aware)...

...culture is a major power in shaping not only how the world sees you but how you see yourself, and there’s an undeniably smothering effect in place when everyone’s reference point for your existence is either Outlander or Trainspotting (in fairness, the latter doesn’t offer as many gift-shop opportunities)...


I'm curious about his recommendation: "When a Scot Ties the Knot" by Tessa Dare. Has anyone read it?

Tags: article, book!outlander, droughtlander, hiatus of our discontent, is there any more whisky, kilting me softly, review, sassy book club
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