In our next installment of dispensing literary advice we’ve decided to consult Lisbeth Salander, the tough as nails protagonist of Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. As a ward of the state, she just can’t seem to get a break in this life, and is constantly picked on by men in power. When she’s not escaping from murderous, wealthy tyrants, she’s busy hacking into their computers and reading their personal files and off-shore bank statements. Depending on their actions, she might even break into their apartments and make them repent for their misdeeds, frontier justice style. She is a loner, a casual reader of the Apocrypha, and the owner of a lot of black clothing and prickly chokers. What’s not to love? She’s graciously agreed to answer some questions from curious readers today, so without further ado, we’ll leave it to Lisbeth.
I am hopelessly in love with you, but I am also, funnily enough, hopelessly in love with a number of other women, including my boss. What is a feminist journalist to do? You all seem to have no qualms about jumping in the sack, but it seems as if all this is some sort of fantasy of mine — the strong, willing female character. Is this wrong?
That’s a tough one. It seems as if I have no trouble sleeping with you, as long as we can continue working together. You really can’t keep your hands off women, can you?
As a psychiatrist, I treat many troubled children in the course of a day, but it wears on me. How do I maintain my empathy when I am worn out by the pace of my job and made to diagnose cases so quickly?
Dear Dr. Caldin,
You can’t, which is why I will never ever talk to you or any other crazy-doctor. None of you actually listen to what your patients have to say. You can keep the kids locked up until they die, but they’ll never talk to any of you. It won’t change a thing.
I’m a teenage girl who has been dating this guy for a few months now. We’re both going to different colleges in the fall and I know it’s going to be difficult to separate once the time comes. Lately I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s best if we open up the relationship, but he tells me that this is a stupid idea and that I’d never suggest such a thing if I really loved him. I don’t really know what to do — I just want to make the inevitable break up as painless as possible. Do you have any advice for me?
You’re a smart girl. If I were you, I would set your boyfriend on fire. Or just break up with him already. It’s your call, but I think relationships are overrated anyway. Just pick yourself up and start over again.