"Fantasy movies are for people who can't handle reality," my father said scornfully when Braunbeck asked him why he flatly refused to watch any of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Set aside for a moment that this was a phenomenally rude thing to say; Braunbeck makes a significant part of his living writing fantasy and horror, and I seek to do the same. My father bloody well knows this. That little comment was on par with saying "I'd never send my kid to a public school -- you can't get a good education at a place like that!" in front of someone you know is a public schoolteacher.

But the rudeness is irrelevant, so we'll set it aside and focus on the hypocrisy of his statement.

I could have accepted it a little better if my father were someone like my past housemate who didn't like reading fiction at all and stuck with nonfiction on the grounds that she only wanted to read about "real" things. It's a fair enough sentiment, and she didn't go around scorning other people's reading tastes.

But my father reads fiction. Furthermore, he has a huge collection of opera and Shakespeare DVDs.

And, gosh, opera is so realistic. Shakespeare, too. I mean, "The Magic Flute" is all about, uh, the gritty realism of trying to be a flute player! And Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" is about a ring that grants the power to rule the world, and it's totally real and non-magical! And Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" contains absolutely no portrayals of fairies or anything imaginary. All the characters are real! Honest.

Yeah. Sure.

So I can only conclude he said what he said in an effort to belittle our chosen professions. Or he's got a really wacky idea of what constitutes reality, and being able to deal with it.

And to think I got him a Father's Day card anyway ....