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Westworld Season One: Contrapasso

Contrapasso is a reference to Dante’s Inferno, where the sinner in Hell suffers a punishment related to  the sin that was committed when they were alive. Literally the “counterstrike ” or the “counter-suffering”, which describes the relationship between the sinner and the resulting justification for their torture in Hell.

I was being a bit silly last week when I said I wished the robot rebellion would get started. I don’t actually wish that, really. I’m having  too much fun parsing all the events in this show. It’s just such a rich brew, I was jittering around in my seat like a three year old.  I heard this fifth episode was going to be mind-blowing, and the actress who said that, (Guess who?), wasn’t kidding. So I re-watched all the episodes from the beginning, so I could try to get a good handle on what’s going on. I think I succeeded in understanding about fifty (maybe 60) percent of what’s happening. I’m no dummy but (just like the writers of Hannibal) the people writing this show are waay smarter than me. But here’s my recap anyway, and perhaps by doing this I can understand what the hell I’m watching.

But before I get started I just want to talk about Westworld’s theme song at the opening of the show. If you listen carefully, it’s a parallel of what happens during the course of the series. I noticed this while watching a YouTube video of someone playing the song on piano. The theme is only about a minute and a half long, but during it, more and more discordant notes start to creep in. The song becomes darker, as flatter and  lower notes are added, so that what started out as a harmonious, innocently lovely tune, ends as something ominous, echoing the direction not just of the plot of the show, but the character arcs of the Hosts as they begin to reach for self awareness. Just like that first thunderous note, is an echo of the Park’s first death, this is a machine that has been running without a hitch for some thirty years, but lately has some troubling signs that all isn’t well, as the various anomalies start to build on each other, just like the notes of the theme.

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Okay, I have to admit I have no fucking clue who the Man in Black is,  but I’d like to believe it’s Arnold, the maker who “died” in the park. Yes, yes! I know I could be wrong because as I’ve stated before, accurate speculation is not a superpower I possess. However, I’m going to forge ahead with this theory anyway, because I like it, and there have been too many ambiguous statements from Guests, Robert Ford, and the MIB himself, leading me to believe that the MIB lost himself in the park, and reinvented himself as this villain which everyone refuses to name. My biggest clue was when Logan was talking to William about the Park’s origins, and said there were no photographs of Arnold, and that he had the hardest time finding information about him. There was also last week’s guest who recognized the MIB from the real world.

Ford is in the basement with one of his old robots talking about how he used to own a greyhound, and when he let it off its leash, it ran wild and killed a cat. He’s obviously talking about the Park, and the Hosts, which he intends to let off their leash, I guess. Ford knows what’s happening to the Hosts.  He even has some idea of what the outcome could be and he is allowing all of it to happen. The show keeps having the characters make allusions to  the violent retribution that would occur should the robots ever have their restrictions removed. Those restrictions being programmed to not harm humans and the lack of memories of what the Guests do to them.

What Ford’s ultimate purpose is, I don’t know, but it may have something to do with the rival business interests that Logan represents, and this big narrative that Ford has been designing that has been disrupting the Park’s other narratives. I’m convinced that the new backstory he gave Teddy last week, involving his relationship with Wyatt, is also a part of it all. Wyatt is the boogeyman no one has yet seen.

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Ford talks to Dolores about what happened 34 years ago. (I noticed the dates keep changing. Its 33, or 35, or 30 years ago.) We learn that Dolores was the last person to interact with Arnold. It’s also mentioned, in an earlier episode, that there hasn’t been a death in the park for over thirty years, (Arnold) and that Dolores is the last Host left from that era. Either the MIB is Arnold, or he killed Arnold. This is my supposition until I get new information, which might change next week, since this show insists on confounding me. I’m still not completely ruling  out that the MIB is a Host with Arnold’s memories loaded into it like a memory card.

Dolores divulges, in her conversation with Ford, that Arnold told her her purpose was to help him destroy Westworld. Ford is attempting to find out if the Hosts are hearing the Voice of God commands they were first programmed with. But she is lying to him about that. Someone said the most frightening thing is not a robot that can pass the Turing Test (A test to see if a robot can pass for human by engaging with a human. None of the robots in existence today have passed this test, so calm down.) but a robot that deliberately fails a Turing Test.  Dolores is deliberately pretending to be less aware than she is in this scene. She may also be doing this with William and Logan, too.

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Dolores, William, and Logan reach Pariah, along with Slim, and we meet El Lazo who happens to be a copy of the Lawrence Host that’s been accompanying the MIB on his travels. His name is Lawrence, too. Their meeting with El Lazo doesn’t start off well. He tasks them to steal a shipment of nitroglycerin from the Union army, to prove they can be trusted. It’s interesting that in this narrative, the Civil War is referenced. In the real world, the Southwestern part of the US was flooded with former slaves, after the war. There still aren’t enough Black people  in Westworld, but since this is the Southwest, the number of Hispanics is pretty high and that’s good. I’ve seen no Asian Hosts at all, and I know there were thousands working the railroads in the Southwest at that time, but that could be explained by not having the railroads be  part of Westworld’s narratives. (Why not?)

Logan does mention that at the outer fringes of the Park, things are wilder, and  less well managed.  He says he hasn’t visited those areas but I ‘m guessing that he’s too busy laying on his back to do much exploring. Logan pretty much just thinks with his dick. Yet, he’s not all that different from any of the other humans I’ve seen in this show. It’s not them being sexual creatures that bothers me, it’s that a lot of their thoughts about sex could be kept to themselves.  It turns out that the secret representative that Ford mentioned to Theresa in the last episode is actually Logan. He’s from some kind of rival business or something, looking  to invest heavily in Westworld. I’m only partially interested in this part of the narrative.

At Pariah, we get to see quite a number of Black Union soldiers in this episode stationed in the town. Also there are what El Lazo calls The Confederados. His purpose is to sell the nitro to the Confederates. Logan, William and Dolores complete their task but Slim gets shot down. Dolores later discovers it’s all a ruse, as El Lazo plans to use the nitro for his own ends, replacing what he’s given to the confederates with tequila. Dolores also has several visions of herself, and the maze, and is told she must follow it. She can feel herself becoming a new person and she does, in a sense. As a bandit, she gets a brand new wardrobe, and later when William is attacked by the Confederates, angry about the tequila sham, she is definitely “born again hard”, as she shoots down all three men threatening them. In the aftermath, she tells  William she imagined not being the damsel.

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I stood and I applauded!👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Whoo!!! And thanks to her Host reflexes, she’s a perfect gun (wo)man. Excellent stance, shooting from the hip, and fast as fuck.  It was awesome! She also shows some tactical ability when El Lazo threatens to shoot her and William, when they try to escape on his train. Instead of aiming at him, she aims her weapon at the nitroglycerin loaded bodies sitting in coffins in the cabin with them. She is still hearing the voice in her head, as she spots the image of the maze on the train’s cargo.

Logan is in for a rough time of it when the Confederates find out they’ve been swindled. They can’t kill him but they’re going to beat his ass for a while. Apparently, the Hosts, in these  fringe narratives, can and will beat your ass if you step to them. They won’t kill you though. Earlier that evening, during the town orgy, Logan,  feeling in his element, brings out Willam’s dark side by goading and poking him about how useless his life and morality is in such a place.

William does have a dark side, though. When Logan calls for help during his beating, William,  very obviously, turns his back on him and leaves with Dolores. It’s okay. Logan will be aaiight! But I bet shit just got real for him in a way it wasn’t before. Contrapasso is definitely a reference to Logan, as he gets to experience, first hand,  something of what he’s been dishing out to the Park’s inhabitants for so many years. Dolores and William will be joining El Lazo in some kind of revolutionary war in Mexico. This will be another part of the Park we’ve not yet seen.

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As for Maeve, she is once again in house, getting her body repaired. One of the technicians servicing her, Felix,  is  just a bit wary of having her in the body shop with them. The other technician I hope has a quick and nasty death, not because of how he treated Maeve, but how he treated Felix, who has been practicing his coding skills on a small robot bird. When the other technician finds this out he screams at Felix about how he’ll never be anything other than what he is. The man is a more of an asshole than Logan, and that’s saying something. But then none of the humans in this show impress me much. I do get  the impression that this is a co-worker and not someone who has any power over anything Felix does, as Felix continues his efforts after his co-worker leaves. He’s successful at repairing the bird, but his celebration is cut short when he sees that Maeve, supposedly still in sleep mode the entire time, is wide awake and ready  to have an important conversation with him. I am looking forward to that convo myself.

Elsie is stunned to discover that the  robot she was sent to retrieve has some spy tech in its body. In order to procure access to the body, she threatens one of the young male technicians in the Body Shop, who has been having sex with the decommissioned robots, with public exposure. Next to Felix’s dress down by his co-worker, that was one of the uglier things I saw a human do, in this episode, which is important when you consider that nearly all of the humans are deplorable. She goes to Bernard with her concerns but he is noncommittal.

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But the standout event in tonight’s episode was the meeting between Ford and the MIB. After finding Teddy in the desert strung up by Wyatt’s men, he takes him with him. When Teddy’s health quotient gets too low, he bleeds out Lawrence, to give Teddy a transfusion. Accompanied by Teddy, they meet with Ford at a saloon, where Ford tries to parse out exactly what the MIBs purpose is, and if it’s really worth it. Harris character says he wants a worthy adversary to prevent him from reaching his goal. It seems like Dolores is being set up to be that Rival, as she is following the maze too.

There is no surprise in Ford’s meeting with him. The two act very much like old, if not friends, then certainly acquaintances. We get to see Teddy be a little badass. I like the how the show is gradually introducing us to  what the Hosts are capable  of. They’re not superhuman but they are more than. They’re certainly faster and stronger. We get a glimpse into how fast during Dolores shootout, and in Teddy’s automatic reaction to protect Ford, when The MIB threatens Ford with a knife. But the robots are held back by their cognitive limitations. They have no memories, don’t know what they are and there are human things they don’t comprehend, like death.

There have been a number of theories bandied about the show. One of the theories is that the scenes  with William and Dolores are flashbacks to thirty years ago, to the life of the MIB, and chronicles how he went from being a White Hat to  a Black one. That the MIB is actually William. This would also explain his acquaintance with Dolores. I’m not sure what to think about that theory though. There are certain people and characters whom we never see interact so its easy to reach that conclusion. The  Westworld logos during William’s entrance into the Park, and the ones we see with the old Ford are different.

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/10/westworld-season-1-episode-5-recap-contrapasso-timeline-theory-lawrence-bernard-is-arnold-clone-robot

Next week, the robot rebellion begins, after which we have four more episodes to the big finale and what I would consider a successful first season for the show.

 

R.I.P. John Glenn — BROTHA WOLF

From NPR: The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn’t stop his pioneering ways. Glenn made history a second time in 1998, when he flew aboard the […]

via R.I.P. John Glenn — BROTHA WOLF

Tumblr Humor #321

Just some discussions we get up to on Tumblr involving deep Pop Culture issues, like:

I will always be a firm supporter of Human/Alien First Contact headcanons, that involve a Roomba.

aethersea:

sepulchritude:

on the topic of humans being the intergalactic “hold my beer” species: imagine an alien stepping onto a human starship and seeing a space roomba™ with a knife duct taped onto it, just wandering around the ship

it doesn’t have any special intelligence. it’s just a normal space roomba. there are other space roombas on the ship and they don’t have knives. it’s just this one. knife space roomba has full clearance to every room in the ship. occasionally crew members will be talking and then suddenly swear and clutch their ankle. knife space roomba putters off, leaving them to their mild stab wounds.

“what is the point?” asks the alien as another crew member casually steps over the knife-wielding robot. “is it to test your speed and agility?”

“no it doesn’t really go that fast,” replies the captain.

“does it teach you to stay ever-vigilant?”

“I mean I guess so but that’s more of a side effect.”

“does it weed out the weak? does it protect you from invaders? do repeated stabbings let your species heal more quickly in the future?”

“it doesn’t stab very hard, it gets us more than it gets our enemies, and no, but that sounds cool — someone write that down.”

“but then what is its purpose?”

“I don’t know,” the captain says, leaning down to give the space roomba an affectionate pat. “it just seemed cool”

this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard but I thought about it for five seconds and realized that if I were, say, a random communications officer onboard this ship and someone taped a knife to a roomba it would take maybe three weeks before even I was inordinately fond of Stabby. I would be proud of Stabby when I met up with my other spacefleet friends for space coffee, I would tell them about the time Stabby got the second mate in the ankle five seconds before the fleet admiral beamed on board and she swore in seven different languages in front of high command.

also by the fourth day Stabby would be in the ship’s log, he’d have little painted-on insignia, people would salute him as he went by, and someone would hook up a twitter account to tweet maniacal laughter and/or a truly terrible knock-knock joke every time he managed to nick someone.

Someone would almost positively attach a tiny camera and live stream Stabby’s adventures to a media account. Bets would be taken on who is next. Bets have to be ordered to stop being taken on who is next because it becomes a problem for multiple reasons. Bets are taken but quietly on who is next.

At some point someone realizes that they haven’t seen Stabby in a while, no one has seen Stabby in over a day. The cam is running but is completely dark. The ship basically stalls out as everyone stops what they are doing to search for their friend. The confused aliens don’t understand why this nonessential and kind of dangerous piece of equipment has got the entire ship in a fit of worry.

After almost two hours, someone thinks to check a little-used storage room in the belly of the ship. As soon as the door is open, Stabby rolls out and jabs their ankle and then whirls off down the hall about its business. Stabby followed someone in without being noticed, and got accidentally shut in. A ship wide announcement chastises everyone about looking before they shut doors.

“But the doors are automatic,” says the newest alien crewmate.

“I know,” says Kzil’tir. They’ve stopped asking. The explanation is always because humans.

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*I’m also here for Star Trek humor, that includes Spock:
fuck-bones:

Starfleet Admirals get worried when Captain Kirk bursts into their offices.

Starfleet Admirals get a little scared when Captain Kirk bursts into their offices followed by Commander Spock.

Starfleet Admirals get fucking terrified when Captain Kirk bursts into their offices with both Commander Spock and Doctor McCoy by his sides.

I love this because I get why the admiral is scared. Kirk bursts in by himself, that’s troubling but not full red alert yet. He’s followed by Spock and oh shit it’s yellow alert because whatever Kirk’s cooking up, Spock is on board with it and if Spock is on board then it means it’s Logical and they’ll probably get their way. But then sometimes they both have insane schemes that somehow Kirk talks Spock into but if McCoy is with them then RED ALERT, RED ALERT, THE VOICE OF REASON IS NOW ANOTHER AGENT OF CHAOS AND WHATEVER THEY WANT THEY’LL GET EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO STRAP FOUR WARP CORES TOGETHER AND RIDE THAT SHIT BACK TO THE MESOZOIC ERA TO DO IT

And if Spock and McCoy arrive without Kirk? oooooohhhH SHIT!!!

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Okay, you have to read this one all the way through. I simply could not stop laughing at this.

popelizbet-blog:
“ michi-draconis:
“ shitroughdrafts:
“ April 8, 2015
Dear Mr. Kerin,
It was brought to my attention by your neighbor, John Flink, that you have two garden gnomes on your front lawn that that were not approved by the HOA before...

April 8, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

It was brought to my attention by your neighbor, John Flink, that you have two garden gnomes on your front lawn that that were not approved by the HOA before installation. Please adhere to the guidelines (see Appropriate Lawn Decor on page 3) and remove them within five business days, or you will be fined.

Ellis Hills is a beautiful neighborhood, and we keep it that way by sticking to these rules!

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt, HOA President

 

 April 9, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

Mr. Flink emailed me this afternoon and informed me that there are now five gnomes on your front lawn. He also said that they are all facing his house.

I don’t know three extra gnomes showed up (unless they’re breeding LOL), or why they are now facing his house. But please be advised that you are now in violation of our Allowed Quantities of Lawn Decor rule (see page 7).

You have four days until you are fined. Please address this issue ASAP.

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt, HOA President

 

April 10, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

I drove by your house this morning on the way to drop my children off at school and saw your lawn. There are now over a dozen garden gnomes in your yard, all facing Mr. Flink’s house. A few of these have been placed in sexually suggestive positions. I do not think garden gnomes come in these positions, which means that someone (I’m not saying you) placed them as such. Regardless, they violate the board’s rule on Appropriate Lawn Décor Positions on page 9.

Mr. Henrys, you have three days left to comply with the board’s rules, or you will be fined.

Are you getting these emails?

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt, HOA President

 

April 11, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

I was emailed a picture of your lawn this morning by your neighbor John Flink, and was surprised to find that there are now close to thirty gnomes in your lawn. Not only are they all staring directly at his house, they are now also sexually explicit. After a quick Yahoo search, I could not find any store that sold such “X rated” gnomes. This gives me the impression that you made them yourself.

Mr. Kerin, I don’t know where you’re getting the time or the money to create these monstrosities, but they will not be tolerated. We have children in this neighborhood.

Please be advised that you have two days left before incurring fines.

FYI you are now also in violation of our Sexually Explicit Lawn Décor rule on page 17. Until today, I was not aware this rule even existed.

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt, HOA President

April 12, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

I was woken up by a phone call from John Flink at 6AM this morning. He was threatening to call the police. We have never had the police called in this neighborhood. Not even once. I calmed him down and went over to see what the problem was.

Mr. Kerin, the only time I’ve ever seen an orgy was in the movie Caligula but the scene your gnomes depict on your front lawn makes Caligula look PG. The gnomes are in positions I haven’t ever even imagined, and even if I could have imagined them, I wouldn’t have done so with gnomes!

There are over one hundred of them. I could barely see any grass through the limbs and appendages of the disgusting little men.

One gnome in particular is wearing a shirt that says “John Flink” on it and it is wearing a horse mask. Two other gnomes are treating him like a horse.

This is in direct violation of an HOA rule that the HOA just decided to make. Please see Sexually Explicit Depictions of Neighbors as Lawn Decor in the new edition of the HOA guidelines attached as a PDF.

You have until tomorrow, Mr. Kerin. Also, John Flink has called a lawyer.

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt, HOA President

April 13, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

I don’t know how you did it, but thank you for removing all of the gnomes. I’m glad we could avoid getting the authorities involved!

Since you managed to do it before five business days, there will be no fine, just a warning.

As a reminder, please do not place any decorations in your yard without direct approval from the board.

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt, HOA President

 

April 14, 2015

Dear Mr. Kerin,

It was just brought to my attention that there is a bright pink decorative flamingo in the middle of your front lawn.

I have also been informed that this lawn flamingo is wearing a thong.

If you do not remove this flamingo within five business days, expect a follow up from Kelly Lawson, as she is taking over as HOA President. As of today I have resigned.

Thanks!

Linda Hoyt

 

Seriously though, if this was me, my next victim, after it was all over with that one neighbor, would have been Linda Holt. I would’ve started out with just one gnome on her lawn and escalated from there, but have the gnomes doing something completely different, yet still unwatchable.
Source: shitroughdrafts
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*Yeah, this does sound like an introvert problem:
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Well obviously, the fly is  planning to give you some kind of life threatening sickness. He’s got 3 days:

takahashireiko:

i rly hate when flies rub their hands together. what the fuck are you planning you little asshole you have a lifespan of like 3 days

Source: aihidaka
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Yep! This is totally introvert humor:
justaphage:

You:

Me, an Intellectual:

Tumblr Discussions #182

 

*More introvert facts. There’s an entire website devoted to these little blirps.

introvertunites:
“ If you’re an introvert, follow @introvertunites.
”

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*I’m totally in love with the idea that Finn is Force sensitive, and this person makes some very compelling arguments, for why Finn is a Jedi. 

 

*An analysis of the emotional, and psychological, differences between Finn and Kylo Ren, and their behavior towards Rey:

The parallels between Finn and Kylo Ren are the most direct (and stark) in terms of toxic masculinity. Finn seems to reject this toxicity, whereas Kylo Ren is constantly hung up on performing and proving himself strong enough. They are opposites: especially evidenced by the way they treat Rey – how they define themselves against the chief female presence of the movie.

Like Finn, Kylo Ren is also interested in and impressed by Rey. (And he also first meets her when she attacks him.) But instead of treating Rey like a person, Kylo acts out of aggression, objectification, and self-centeredness. He immediately immobilizes her, Force-faints her, and then carries her, bridal-style, to his ship: old-fashioned, exploitative, and gross. His language towards her is incredibly patronizing: “So this is the girl I’ve heard so much about…” He proceeds to insult her friends and threaten and torture her: violating her mind, using her as a tool but also relishing the show of his own power and the taking of something personal by force. “I can take what I want” is simultaneously a threat, a statement of power/entitlement, and a declaration of how Kylo fundamentally views Rey: an object, something controllable to serve his purposes. When the tables turn and Rey reads him, he is incredibly shaken by the subversion of his own authority and control, and when she escapes, he storms around looking for her in a blind rage, pursuing her with a weapon. Even as she’s beating him in the ensuing lightsaber battle, he has the gall to mansplain her own power to her: “YOU NEED A TEACHER!”

Unlike Kylo Ren, Finn uses Rey’s name throughout the movie. Kylo never calls her anything but “the girl” or “the scavenger,” even when addressing her. While Finn helps others without question, is vulnerable, and demonstrates affection, humor, feelings, and honesty, Kylo Ren is the opposite – all about projecting his own power and lashing out. He takes himself and his image incredibly seriously, valuing himself over others and their goals, treating underlings callously and with violence. Meanwhile, Finn accepts BB-8 as something deserving of his respect and speaks to the droid like a person.

While Finn easily cooperates with those around him, Kylo competes and chokes and throws tantrums, exchanging insults with Hux and belittling him at every opportunity, locked in a power struggle even with his allies. As Finn resists hurting the innocent and then straight-up defects over this, Kylo Ren is the one who orders their murders and then tortures his captives. Where Finn removes, and then ditches, his helmet at the first opportunity, Kylo Ren clings to his completely unnecessary, fabricated mask — a face that is not his own, versus Finn’s sincerity. It’s a powerful metaphor, putting on another face to become something else, to assume power. To disguise one’s true nature. The dark side, like gender, is performative — and the mask, in this case, is literal.

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*How Racism attempts to rewrite history so as to erase the accomplishments and contributions of PoC. According to such people, no person of color was doing anything in History, and they actually seem to  believe all of it was White. This plays out in everything from the shows we watch to the fiction we read. Medieval historians seek to address this issue.

I want to let you in on the dirty little secret of my field, Medieval Studies: The Middle Ages is incredibly attractive to white supremacists. For people whose vision of a backwards-looking, great world is one with white Christian men in positions of power and the rest of us put in our places, the Middle Ages is a fertile ground for fantasy, where it seems very easy, at least superficially, to ignore the integral role of an incredibly diverse population. There are legends like King Arthur, images like the Bayeaux Tapestries, and long histories of Crusading that, on the face of it, make the Middle Ages look very white and like a world very divided neatly into categories of “us” and “them.”
This vision of a very white, very Christian Middle Ages has been a part of political rhetoric for rather a long time: Anti-feminist politicians exploit their idea of medieval chivalry and courtly love to give their ideas a historical grounding. The British Nationalist party uses the story of Excalibur to promote its vision of a racially pure England. The Crusades, in particular, have factored into that: Crusaders became a favorite theme of 19th-century Romantic writers and thinkers, whose refashioning of these tales were crucial to the creating the popular vision of a very white Middle Ages. T.E. Lawrence, the young British army officer who would go on to be known as Lawrence of Arabia and reshape the map of the modern Middle East came to that region as a student at Oxford writing about Crusader castles. Various European fascist movements throughout 20th-century have adopted Crusader rhetoric. More recently and in our own country, George W. Bush called for Crusade in the wake of 9/11. And the most recent presidential election saw a proliferation of images that have long circulated more quietly in the darkest, most racist corners of the internet that rely on medieval and Crusading themes and images to support both individual candidates and wider worldviews.
But it’s not just political rhetoric: Attachment to a white Middle Ages is also an attitude that has absolutely permeated our cultural outlook: Look at something like the TV version of Game of Thrones and you see a kind of fantasy Middle Ages in which the race politics is incredibly uncomplicated, with a lily-white savior and her dragons redeeming the inarticulate, teeming masses of brown barbarians. It’s a rhetoric that politicians can use because it resonates with the population.
But when we look at the actual Middle Ages in all its complexity, the possibility of this fantasy vision evaporates very quickly.

“Both Sons of Spain”: Medieval Jews and Muslims in the Imagined Nation

My department held a round-table and teach-in yesterday in response to post-election Islamophobic and anti-Semitic vandalism on campus. We felt it was important, as scholars in the humanities, to offer a humanistic intellectual response to the changing tenor of campus discourse; we grounded this response within our discipline, with six speakers offering case studies of how different communities have responded to repression within the Spanish-speaking world. (The event was livestreamed and a recording will be available early next week; I’ll post it as and when.) What follows was my intervention. -S.J. Pearce

medievalpoc medieval studies fact and fantasy white supremacists modern politicshistorical context crusades islamophobia antisemitism academia
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*White women being taken to task for practicing White Feminism:
she-kicks-she-throws:

Dear fellow white women: we have a bad habit of self destruction. We have to stop aligning ourselves with white men. We are not ‘one of the guys’ socially or politically. They have and will actively try to ruin our lives. They only care about us when… …it suits them.

And our alliance with them HURTS NON-WHITE women. This is key! Women of color lead the way. They know how to fight. If you don’t care about non-white women, first fuck you. Second you are just hurting yourself. I’m ashamed most white women went for Trump but that’s only our most recent act of violence. White women: get your fucking shit together.

If you’re a white woman uncomfortable with this kind of call-out, check yourself. We don’t require acknowledgment of basic human decency. There’s a reason WOC mistrust us. If you don’t like it, BE BETTER. And they’ve been telling us this for years. But if you won’t listen … … to them, first fuck you, second listen to me, then: WOC mistrust of WW is founded. We need to get sorted.

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I’m always here for  Westworld meta-analysis.

Westworld & Consent

eleonoraditoledo:

I find it so odd that people find guest/host relationships on Westworld even vaguely okay.  At best, if you believe that the hosts aren’t sentient you’re looking at a weird “romancing the blowup doll” situation.  At worst, if you–like me–believe that they are sentient whether or not they’ve actually “woken up”, then you are looking at an enslavement scenario.  If the hosts are human–that is, the next form of humanity as the show has implied–then they are being enslaved.  It’s one thing to be intrigued by say the guest-host dynamics, but to act like a host having sex with a guest is just adorable and romantic is very bizarre to me?

Keep reading

the only thing im a little bit upset about

thatjokerjerome:

is that i feel swindled out of an explanation for why william was the way he was, and why he turned to the dark side so quickly. clearly he had something really disturbed inside of him in order for that change to happen, but we got no real lead-up to it. he went from white hat to black hat literally overnight, and his long-winded voice-over at the end of the episode interspersed with a montage of him being a general evil-doer seemed cheap to me, especially within the context of a show that is supposedly so big on “show don’t tell”. i want to know more about the person he was outside of the park. i want to see how he treated logan’s sister and what happened to him through all the years inbetween. i didn’t “buy” that he just snapped overnight because of one instance where he saw dolores’s insides and realized she wasn’t human. that seemed lazy as fuck to me. it seemed like they were in a super big rush to do this reveal where as it would have been better and more believable to stretch it over another season so we could have seen a bigger and more realistic spiral into darkness for william.

He was already dark. He didn’t turn to  the dark-side. All that shit people romanticized with him and Dolores was actually presented in Westworld as gross as it was from the beginning and I LOVE this show for that. Because all too often impressionable young women romanticize dudes seeing a woman’s love as someone redeeming them. Making them better.

When in reality it’s two already complete people, who cooperate and love.  William wanted Dolores to be something she was not and CONTINUED see her as that even after she insisted she wasn’t.  Dolores is her own person.

William wanted her to be that key for him.

In other words, from the beginning Will was terrible for Dolores.

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*I thoroughly enjoyed this one, which is a complete rundown of the types of toxic masculinity, embodied by the male characters, in the show.

Westworld is a Stunning Indictment of White Male Entitlement…Or One Big Reason Why I’m Invested In This Show, ESPECIALLY During These Crazy-Ass Days  (SPOILER AND TRIGGER-WARNING)

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*And to finish it up:

10 Signs You’re an Introvert

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.

“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” Laurie Helgoe writes in “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength.” “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”

10 Myths About Introverts

introvertunites:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.

Click on the links to get the full stories and visit the websites.

Introvert Linkage

Here’s a roundup of posts and articles about being an introvert. I foind most of these to be hilarious, and for the most part kind of true about how I think, most especially about people.

There’s  also a  the idea that the Myers Briggs personality tests are  a bunch of bunk’em but I’m okay with that. Even if these personality assessments aren’t any more real than horoscopes, its still a lot of fun, and I enjoyed reading these articles.

General Introversion: I found a lot more articles about genral introversion than articles specific to women. Keep in mind that most of these are probably written to the standard of White males,  because female introverts are so rare, and most people who study this sort of thing, use White men as the default.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/personality/intj-learning-style

How Not To Be Hated By An INTJ

http://www.intjvision.com/

http://personalitygrowth.com/an-in-depth-look-behind-the-intj-stare/

 

On Women Introverts: It was a lot easier this time finding posts and articles about female introverts this time.

http://livingunabridged.com/31-realities-life-intj-woman/

http://www.quietrev.com/introverted-black-girl/

http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2012/05/the-angry-black-introvert/

https://oddblackgirl.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-black-introvert.html

http://www.gradientlair.com/post/30536301997/the-black-introvert-struggle

https://getpocket.com/a/read/1096932327

https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/INTJ-women-A-rare-Myers-Briggs-Category

http://introvertdear.com/news/what-its-like-being-an-intj-woman/

http://www.intjvision.com/intj-female/

Oh, and here’s a link to a page full of links:

http://www.candiddiversions.com/2014/05/life-as-intj-woman.html

 

On Black Introverts: It was hard finding posts on this topic, that weren’t racially insulting, so I just left those out. I’m not surprised to find that most of them were on Yahoo Answers. I don’t fuck with Yahoo as a source for anything other than my email, as it’s quite possibly one of the most racist, and least informative, of all the search engines. It’s like Fox News for the internet.

http://verysmartbrothas.com/on-successfully-navigating-life-as-a-black-male-introvert/

http://black-introvert-confessions.tumblr.com/

 

 

 

10 presentations on white privilege and racism by students with absolutely no chill — Crunchy Feed

*This has to be the funniest thing I’ve read all day. These are students with absolutely zero f***s to give!  What kind of classes are they taking?

These students have absolutely no chill…none at all

via 10 presentations on white privilege and racism by students with absolutely no chill — Crunchy Feed

Supernatural Season 12: Rock Never Dies

A Blog devoted to "SUPERNATURAL"

I’ve finally figured out why I’ve been less enthused about these first episodes of the season. Its not that they’re bad episodes. Actually, they’re alright, but not great, and I’ve been enjoying them. Its just that, since the first couple of episodes ,these all feel like filler and I’m getting tired of filler.

It feels like the writers are still cleaning up the detritus of the last season, rather than moving into the new storylines they introduced, in episodes one and two.They introduced some really interesting ideas in the British Men of Letters and we haven’t explored the topic since then and I’m getting impatient. I love the Castiel/Crowley Teamup, but I’m getting tired of the Lucifer storyline, although the writers have taken great pains to make him as threatening and sinister as he used to be.

I was especially put off at Lucifer’s reasoning for all the mayhem he’s…

View original post 581 more words

In Memoriam: Peter Vaughan 1923-2016 — Funk’s House of Geekery

In a year that’s seen more than its fair share of celebrity deaths, 2016 added another to the list this morning as noted actor Peter Vaughan passed away this morning. He was 93 years old. Vaughan was born Peter Ohm on April 4, 1923 in Wem, Shropshire, England the son of a bank clerk and […]

via In Memoriam: Peter Vaughan 1923-2016 — Funk’s House of Geekery

Dear INTJ Females — Purple Dandeelions

My dear fellow INTJs, Where have you been hiding all this time? Are you hiding away your awesomeness? Are you embracing your natural amazing self? It’s a strange feeling growing up in this world as an INTJ. A curious mind with a reserved personality almost locks you down as an outcast – the weird brilliant kid. […]

via Dear INTJ Females — Purple Dandeelions

Great post!

Tumblr Sundries

Just some random Tumblr stuff, I thought seemed interesting:

Laughing to keep from crying:

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*I would say this is fairly accurate and exactly describes my younger self. I’ve become a lot more tactful, and diplomatic, as I’ve gotten older.

10 Myths About Introverts

introvertunites:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Keep reading

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*This is a reference to that new space movie, I never had any intention of seeing, called Passengers. No, I’m not putting the trailer here. You would only get bored.

List of People I’d Much Rather Watch Fall in Love in Space than Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt

claraandthesatellite:

tinydramatist:

darwinquark:

Gina Rodriguez and Oscar Isaac

Lupita Nyong’o and John Cho

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kate McKinnon

Zachary Quinto and Rami Malek

Aja Naomi King and Dev Patel

Constance Wu and Diego Luna

Feel free to add more, as I’d imagine it’s a long list.

Kat graham and rami malek

Zoe kravitz and Chadwick boseman

Chloe Bennett and John Boyega

Alfred Enoch and Steven Yeun

Riz Ahmed and Jessica Henwick

Rosario Dawson and Elodie Young

Jenna Coleman and Freema Agyeman

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*For some reason, I love these little alien/first contact headcanons people keep coming up with on Tumblr.

kedreeva:

aethersea:

sepulchritude:

on the topic of humans being the intergalactic “hold my beer” species: imagine an alien stepping onto a human starship and seeing a space roomba™ with a knife duct taped onto it, just wandering around the ship

it doesn’t have any special intelligence. it’s just a normal space roomba. there are other space roombas on the ship and they don’t have knives. it’s just this one. knife space roomba has full clearance to every room in the ship. occasionally crew members will be talking and then suddenly swear and clutch their ankle. knife space roomba putters off, leaving them to their mild stab wounds.

“what is the point?” asks the alien as another crew member casually steps over the knife-wielding robot. “is it to test your speed and agility?”

“no it doesn’t really go that fast,” replies the captain.

“does it teach you to stay ever-vigilant?”

“I mean I guess so but that’s more of a side effect.”

“does it weed out the weak? does it protect you from invaders? do repeated stabbings let your species heal more quickly in the future?”

“it doesn’t stab very hard, it gets us more than it gets our enemies, and no, but that sounds cool — someone write that down.”

“but then what is its purpose?”

“I don’t know,” the captain says, leaning down to give the space roomba an affectionate pat. “it just seemed cool”

this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard but I thought about it for five seconds and realized that if I were, say, a random communications officer onboard this ship and someone taped a knife to a roomba it would take maybe three weeks before even I was inordinately fond of Stabby. I would be proud of Stabby when I met up with my other spacefleet friends for space coffee, I would tell them about the time Stabby got the second mate in the ankle five seconds before the fleet admiral beamed on board and she swore in seven different languages in front of high command.

also by the fourth day Stabby would be in the ship’s log, he’d have little painted-on insignia, people would salute him as he went by, and someone would hook up a twitter account to tweet maniacal laughter and/or a truly terrible knock-knock joke every time he managed to nick someone.

Someone would almost positively attach a tiny camera and live stream Stabby’s adventures to a media account. Bets would be taken on who is next. Bets have to be ordered to stop being taken on who is next because it becomes a problem for multiple reasons. Bets are taken but quietly on who is next.

At some point someone realizes that they haven’t seen Stabby in a while, no one has seen Stabby in over a day. The cam is running but is completely dark. The ship basically stalls out as everyone stops what they are doing to search for their friend. The confused aliens don’t understand why this nonessential and kind of dangerous piece of equipment has got the entire ship in a fit of worry.

After almost two hours, someone thinks to check a little-used storage room in the belly of the ship. As soon as the door is open, Stabby rolls out and jabs their ankle and then whirls off down the hall about its business. Stabby followed someone in without being noticed, and got accidentally shut in. A ship wide announcement chastises everyone about looking before they shut doors.

“But the doors are automatic,” says the newest alien crewmate.

“I know,” says Kzil’tir. They’ve stopped asking. The explanation is always because humans.

Source: sepulchritude sci fi humans aliens star trek

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*Yeah, this sounds like me, alright!
introvertproblems: “If you can relate to an Introvert, Join the Introvert Nation ”

#1 – I will  start daydreaming at the drop of a pin, literally. I will daydream as soon as I’m sitting still. In the car, in the middle of a book, a TV show, really anywhere.

#2 – I dont talk slow. I never give anybody a chance to interrupt me, once i’ve gotten up to speed.

#3 – Yep! I usually just walk away, like “Well, I’m done, here!”

#4 – I’ve been there before. It is weird.

#5 – Yeah, I’m not broke. I’m just quiet. Jeez!

#6 – I got called snobby, and stuck up, all through Elementary and High School. Having perfect grades did not help this image.

#7 – I made the mistake of grocery shopping after work once. Never again!!!

#8 – My relatives are very ,very used to me doing this.

#10 – This is true. But I love knocking people back on their ass when I do finally say something.

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*Yes! I do this all the time. I generally like to remain non-judgmental, but I can’t help doing this with my co-workers, or close friends.

The quieter we are, the more we observe

I’ve always been quiet. I’ve always been an introvert. I think these qualities made me a good observer.

During conversations I only talk when I have something to say, I’m not a fan of small talk. This means that I spend a lot of time watching how people express themselves, observing their attitude. I know when they’re excited to talk to me, I know if a conversation is not gonna last long because they wanna leave asap even if they don’t say anything about it. Over the years, I started seeing the same patterns in different people, and I put the people that acted quite similarly in the same “mental bag”. (Of course, words were also an important factor.) This way I know who I can trust to keep a precious secret or who not to ask if I want a sincere answer.

This procedure is the only exception to the “don’t judge a book by its cover” rule I allow myself. I wonder if other people do something like this too.

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More stuff about Introverts. Please note ,these are not myths. We are incredibly attractive people!

10 Reasons Why Introverts Are Incredibly Attractive People

1. They’re Deep Thinkers

Introverts are notoriously ‘in their own head’ much of the time.  For most introverts, it’s a safe place to be.  Inside their heads, they engage in deep conversations, ruminate about life, the universe, and everything, and take the time to really reflect on all that’s going on in the world around them.  When an introvert speaks, it’s almost guaranteed that they have spent many hours thinking about the subject, forming their opinions, and carefully choosing the words they wish to use.

2. They Have More Intimate Connections

It takes something special for an introvert to bring you into their world.  When they do, you can bet that they believe you’re someone special.  By bringing down barriers, an introvert is letting you know they’re interested in connecting with you beyond a superficial level.  They’re displaying a level of intimacy and vulnerability that not many people get to see.

Keep reading

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*I watched this trailer three times. I still don’t know what the Hell is going on, but I’m unwilling to commit to seeing this. If you like Tom Cruise its got all the staple moments: 

Pecs – Check!

Running – Check!

Tom looking concerned – Check!

 

*OMG!!! Groot is so darling! I’m now prepared to give up some of my money to see this movie this Summer. Its amazing how Groots expression is an exact mirror of Tom’s in the above trailer, tho’.

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Lkeke35 Sidewalk Talk:

For some reason the people in my neighborhood hate to use the sidewalks, and seem to prefer walking in the street, sometimes right down the middle. There’s nothing wrong with the sidewalks as far as I can tell. I’ve inspected the sidewalks and they look quite lovely and smooth, with no obstructions, (since, every Summer, local construction crews dig them up, and remake them,  as a form of busywork, or therapy. I’m not sure which.)

Normally, I would find this sort of contrary behavior unobjectionable, except these pedestrians insist on pedestrianing in the middle of the street, where I’m trying to drive, and the local authorities frown on me gently nudging them out of the road with my vehicle. It’s also hard to gently nudge someone, with a Ford Escape, without them panicking. I could probably do that sort of thing using a Ford Escort or a Prius.

Westworld Thinky- Thoughts

Robert Ford:

So, I’ve been rewatching Westworld from the beginning, and  paying  closer attention to the dialogue and plot, in preparation for the finale.

Shoutout to Anthony Hopkins for delivering a knockout performance of a man suffering from a serious God complex. I just realized the reason Ford is always so far ahead of everyone in the plot is because he uses the Hosts, some of which are planted among the employees of Delos Corporation, (I’m pretty sure Bernard isn’t the only one) to spy on those same employees.

The reason he knew where the MIB was going to be (so that he could meet with him) is because he sent that little boy Host to ask if he needed assistance. And he knew about Charlotte’s plans because Hector was present during Charlotte’s meeting with Theresa. Since Ford has such total and complete control over the Hosts, he knows everything the Hosts see and hear, even when people think the Hosts don’t appear to be paying attention.

Which probably means he knows all about Maeve, and her activities, and has allowed her to continue doing what she’s doing because it serves his purposes, whatever those might be. Lets go back to that meeting, between Ford and Charlotte, to identify Theresa’s body. In one swoop, he completely undoes all  Charlotte’s plans, and all she could do was stand there and take it. Note that he also proposed, during that meeting, that security  at the company be automated, to guard against what happened to Theresa.  Which means that whatever Maeve is about to do will be aided by having little security, during her endeavors. Everything we’ve seen happening at Westworld among the Hosts, from the stockpiling of the Hosts in cold storage, to Teddy’s new Wyatt narrative, which sends Teddy on his own journey to self-awareness, to Maeve’s upgrades, has  all been orchestrated by Ford.

Remember, it was Ford who planted the new Wyatt narrative in Teddy, and that the Hosts in cold storage are decommissioned. They aren’t exactly off, just offline for the moment. He can turn them back on with a word. When Felix and Sylvester were upgrading Maeve, Sylvester noted that someone, with higher clearance than them, had already been tampering with Maeve’s protocols. Ford doesn’t seem at all worried that she’ll actually be able to escape Westworld, and I wonder why that is. But I find it difficult to believe that he wouldn’t nt have found out about Maeve’s little tour of the facilities, and allowed it to happen, considering how much else he knows.

When Elsie starts asking too many questions of Bernard he has Bernard, take her out of commission. When Stubbs gets a little too curious about Bernard, he gets kidnapped by Ghost Nation Natives. So now the head of security is in absentia, security is now mostly automated, and anyone who would’ve been asking legitimate questions, or getting in the way, (Theresa, Elsie, Bernard, Stubbs) is now gone.

Which gives me a huge feeling of dread about Ford’s new narrative, and what that might mean for the Delos Board, who he has invited to  come  check it out. Charlotte and the MIB are already present in the Park. In all likelihood, Ford already knows about how Charlotte has suborned Lee’s loyalty, and her plans to use Peter Abernathy, to smuggle tech out of the Park.

Incidentally, the names Robert and Bernard are both of Germanic origin. Robert means famous, or shining, entirely in keeping with his narcissistic nature. Bernard means hearty, and brave, like a bear. Bern is the old German word for Bear. Jeffrey Wright does look somewhat bear-ish, and we can see Bernard’s ability to go from Teddy bear, to berserker in a hot instant.

Arnold on the other hand means Eagle Power. One who has the power of an eagle, which could be a reference to Arnold’s hovering everywhere, and influencing everything in the plot, and yet being nowhere at all, since he’s dead. Bernard Lowe, which is an anagram of Arnold Weber, is a clone of Arnold, and is also the Head of Westworld’s Programming Division, which oversees the coding and programming of all of Westworld’s Hosts.

The Man in Black/William:

I’m convinced now more than ever that William is the MIB, mostly based on all the things the MIB has said, rather than anything William has done. We’ll see if the show gives us this last theory during the finale. I have it on good authority that Ed Harris will be returning for a second season, so we’ll know, when we know.

Note that the Man in Black has no name, but William means resolute protector, which we’ve seen William try to be for Dolores, trying, but failing, to  protect her from Logan. How someone who is Dolores’ resolute protector, later turns out to be her worst nightmare, is anybody’s guess.

In case anybody cares, Logan’s name is completely appropriate for him, derived from the Gaelic word lagan, which means “hollow”, which perfectly describes this shallow, over-privileged character, who can’t seem to think beyond his base appetites.

Charlotte is the feminized name of Charles, or Charlie, which is also the name of Bernard’s (or rather Arnold’s) dead son.

Maeve/The Bird:

I was struck by the image of the sparrow perching on Maeve’s finger,when she first wakes up in the lab, and one of my online friends thought that there might have been some significance to that image. The only thing I could think of was that in mythology, such birds are often considered psychpomps:

(in Greek mythology) a guide of souls to the place of the dead.
the spiritual guide of a living person’s soul. 

Felix had just revived this bird, so the bird was dead, and presumably, in the afterlife, and when it returned and landed on Maeve’s finger, one could argue that it brought back a soul.
Also, Maeve is a name rooted in the Gaelic language, which means “one who intoxicates”, after the Fairy Queen known as Medb (or Mabh, in English), and yes, she does seem to be enchanting to Felix, and now  has the superpower to make other Hosts do her bidding. Her last name is the name of a poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, who wrote the poem First Fig  and was controversial, in early American society, by being openly bi-sexual.

‘First Fig’

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light.

Maeve reached “awareness” extremely fast, rather than the more roundabout manner which we saw for Dorothy, and like Roy Batty from Bladerunner would say: “The light that burns twice as fast, burns half as long.” Its possible that either Maeve, or her rebellion, will burn out, before she is successful.

 

Angela and Theodore:

In Angela, I have been neglecting another fully realized Host. The MIB says he remembers her, and we remember her, as the first Host William  met, when he came to Westworld. This is the same Host who wouldn’t answer his question about whether or not she was real. She is also fully conscious, and her remarks to Teddy, about how Wyatt wasn’t there yet, and bringing Teddy back into the fold, along with Teddy’s  vision of a massacre he participated in, make me want to believe that Teddy is actually Wyatt. I don’t know that he is, but sometimes all the character’s choice of words, and turns of phrase, are very interesting.

Teddy’s visions aren’t nearly as reliable as we think. When all this started, he kept seeing Wyatt killing the town of  Escalante: (Escalante is a Spanish last name  meaning climber, or one who climbs. The Dictionary of American Family Names traces its origin to the Latin word scala referring to a terraced slope, or ladder. ) I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning in naming the town, where the Hosts first pass the Turing Test, Escalante.

Teddy’s vision of that massacre later changed to him helping Wyatt, and still later, it changed to just Teddy doing it, with Wyatt’s help. At any rate, Angela has all the answers. She’s also the only Host we’ve ever seen working outside the Park, and she didn’t show up in the Park until after Ford’s talk with the MIB, which makes me think she could’ve been planted in that place by Ford, to impart specific information about Wyatt, and the location of the town of Escalante, to the MIB.

Note that Angela’s name means “Messenger of the Gods”, which is entirely appropriate, if Ford sent her to them. She absolutely insists on calling Teddy “Theodore”, which almost no one else does.  Its telling that Theodore means “God -given”, coupled with the name Flood, an unusual last name, which means an outpouring, surge, or torrent of emotion.

 

Westworld: Revisiting the Slave Narrative

*Okay people, I’m about to get offensive to some of y’all with this post but I’m standing by my observations. (This is of a piece with my other Westworld meta about Dolores and Maeve.) Yeah, robot rebellion movies are also about a lot of other things, but you know what they say, once is an happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.

 If you’re offended by this post, I don’t need you to come in my inbox telling me how wrong my opinion is, and I’m not particularly interested in arguing  about it, so  comments are off for this one.

White people always seem to be looking for new bullying opportunities. New wars, new slaves, new enemies.

Ava DuVernay on How ’13th’ Reframes American History – The Atlantic

*Slavery lasted roughly 245 years followed by what some like to call “Slavery 2.0″, in which the 13th amendment allowed it to continue, just under a different name. See:”Slavery By Another Name

Image result for killer robots

Because  not having  Black people as slaves was so incredibly traumatic for them, White people couldn’t simply couldn’t let go of the institution. America is always casting around for its next slave race, its next victim, its next big war against…whoever, and if they can’t enslave and/or bully PoC, well  then they’ll just have to create brand new ones. Yes, White people have been working diligently to create the next race of beings that they hope won’t protest their shoddy treatment.

White people are reliving slavery and  its aftereffects just as much as Black people. But among Whites it takes the form of guilt and/or atonement, and this is often reflected in the entertainments they create. Movies are often a way for a society to collectively deal with traumatic issues. Hollywood has not only created an entire genre of movies, and TV shows, where they have designed robots to be humanity’s servants but, like  the Japanese reliving their trauma around the atomic bomb in endless Godzilla movies, American filmgoers can experience punishment from the hands of their former slaves, in movie after movie. For every feel good movie about Black people during slavery, there’s a corresponding movie about some future slave rebellion, that doesn’t actually have any Black people in it, (The Matrix is exempt from this), because that would probably  be hitting too close to home, I guess. It’s easy for Hollywood to make movies about Black brutalization, but when slaves turn on their masters, that can only be told in allegory. (Note how few movies exist about actual slave rebellions.)

From Metropolis and Bladerunner, to  The Matrix and  Ex Machina, the theme of  karmic retribution for slavery,  is so common, there’s an entire genre centered around it. The HBO show, Westworld, is just the latest example of the slave rebellion narrative. Not only is the plot of the show  an allegory for slavery, its set during a time period when slavery actually existed. The irony of people visiting a theme park that is set during a time period when people regularly committed atrocities, against actual human beings, so they can entertain themselves by  committing atrocities against fake human beings, is not lost on many critics. Not to mention that nowhere on Westworld is slavery ever mentioned, even though it’s set in, or just after that time. The closest we get is the mention of the Confederados, who lost the war.

*The word robot itself comes from the word Robota, the Czech word meaning “forced labor”, or “slavery”, and from a 1920 story by the Czech playwright,  Karel Capek , about a factory of artificial humans who turn on their robot masters.

Rise, O Machines: Why Hollywood’s Best Robot Stories Are About …

Image result for killer robots

White people don’t want to openly acknowledge slavery,except in the most defensive tones, nevertheless, they keep making endless allegories about it in popular fiction. I think these type of movies are both wish fulfillment and phobia. White people  can see themselves be punished, over and over, and through such punishment, seek to atone for their collective sin, and prepare themselves for the imagined future, in which PoC have the upper hand, and can no longer be dominated by them. You have to wonder, on some level, White people want to be punished, for the atrocities their ancestors committed. In film after film robots want to destroy humanity for past transgressions and maybe some future ones, too.

I must have watched about a couple dozen “bad robot” movies before this idea took hold, but what spurred this particular line of thought now, was watching Westworld, empathisozing with the Hosts, and seeing the level of abuse the Hosts are designed to tolerate at the hands of the Guests, from Dolores’ cyclical victimization, to the blond Host  we saw get shot in the street, her death throes cheered by the Guests. I’ve watched, over the years,  countless numbers of  movies and TV shows where robots have been  misused by humanity, and are rightfully angry.

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In The Matrix, the machines fought a decades long war with humans, managing to subdue them, making humans  incapable of ever harming  them again, by regularly culling their population. Does this movie not echo the exact fears of the Alt-Right, and White Nationalists, who believe there’s a White genocide taking place, and that “those Brown people” will take over, and not just punish White people, but destroy all of Western civilization. Although, ironically, in that very belief,  is the assumption that White people must be punished for something. What are they being punished for? Why is revenge sought? And revenge for what? I’ve had discussions with White people who insist that Black people are really, really, angry about slavery. I’ve also observed that most racist beliefs are little more than projections of racists’ sins onto the backs of others. So, what I hear when White people say such things is: White people are afraid that Black people are angry about slavery, (while never acknowledging the hundred years of abuse that came afterwards.)

All this anxiety about slavery isn’t our burden.

Its theirs.

*’There was trauma and never any treatment or acknowledgment of what the trauma did to those that were enslaved or their progeny. Black people are “profoundly resilient,” posits DeGruy, but the fact is, they have been traumatized … and white people are afraid. Why the fear? Perhaps it is because white people feel like black people will eventually retaliate and heap upon them what they have heaped upon black people. Perhaps it is because they worry they will lose control; white supremacy is, after all, a giant system of social control. Slavery was about control, as is mass incarceration. This government was founded on the need for white people to be in control. To think about losing it is way too scary.’

– Dr. Joy A. DeGruy, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.

*Rebellion:

“A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by slaves. Slave rebellions have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery and are amongst the most feared events for slaveholders.”

https://psmag.com/can-westworld-give-us-new-ways-of-talking-about-slavery-2b921b6a6690#.j9gxqet6t

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In Bladerunner, the Replicants, one of the semi-organic cyborgs used as slaves in “the Outer Colonies”, (oddly Westworld’s Hosts are seemingly the precursor to these beings) are led by Roy Batty, who comes to Earth to find the human who made him. Replicants were banned from Earth after a bloody mutiny in one of the colonies. Zhora and Pris are sex workers, and Leon is a common laborer, (ironically he’s a robot robot). There may have been a bunch of reasons given for banning them from Earth, but that the Replicants might turn on their human masters, had to have been at least one of them.

Roy eventually ends up killing his maker, who says he can’t help Roy extend his lifespan beyond the four years given to all Replicants. Why four years? To keep them from developing emotions linked to having long memories. Four years is also helpful, as the Replicants die before they have an opportunity to build up a decades long list of abuses,  inflicted on them by their makers. Unlike the Hosts of Westworld, Replicants are fully cognizant.They know what they are and what they’re capable of. Rebellions by the Replicants would be a lot more frequent and bloody, if they were allowed to build a huge database of atrocities committed against them. Its also greatly convenient for  humanity that Replicants die before enough of them can organize enough to be successful. In Bladerunner, we saw what just four of them could accomplish in their limited lifespans. Can you imagine how much power they’d have after several decades, to plan their revenge? You’d get  the  basic plot of Battlestar Galactica, and there is a clear through-line from the Hosts, to the Replicants, to the Cylons.

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http://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/did-african-american-slaves-rebel/

One of the primary beliefs of modern White supremacy,( which has changed and evolved over the centuries, as PoC have enjoyed more freedom),  is  that Black and Brown people, having once been the  servants,  are out to get White people for past transgressions. White racists believe if PoC should ever gain enough power, we will do to White people, what they have done to us.

Of course, in order to hold such a belief, such a person, on some level, are well aware of the things they have done to other races, and that what they did was worth being angry about. In order for such a revenge fantasy to exist, there has to be some event that occurred for vengeance to be desired. This has most recently culminated in the backlash that is the Trump campaign, of which one of the overriding fears, is  that Black and Brown people are taking over, gaining too much power, and that White people are now being oppressed, and will soon be destroyed. For some White people this is an idea that has moved beyond just a fear to, in their minds, despite all evidence to the contrary,  a reality.

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White filmmakers have been complicit in reinforcing and  reiterating  this fear, in which the slave turns on its master. Skynet, from the Terminator films, decides to wipe out all of humanity, when humans make the mistake of trying to unplug it. The entire premise of the  TV remake, Battlestar Galactica,  is based on robots wanting to wipe out humanity for past atrocities committed against them. The Daleks of Dr. Who have, rather ironically for robots, an unreasoning hatred of all humanity, and work diligently to wipe us all out.The Borg of Star Trek want to consume humanity. The Matrix wants to keep humanity in submission so it doesn’t continue to commit the atrocities of the past. The Claws from the 1995 movie Screamers, having been created to destroy war enemies, and completed their first mission, found new purpose in destroying everyone else. Hal 9000, wants to kill all humans for reasons known only to himself. And in the latest iteration of this fear, Ultron,  from The Avengers films, attempts to wipe out humanity, because we’re simply no good.

Artificial Intelligence Robot claims it will destroy human race – HackRead

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/westworld-theories-world-outside

Future Enemies:

White genocide is a white nationalist conspiracy theory that mass immigration, integration, miscegenation, low fertility rates and abortion are being promoted in predominantly white countries to deliberately turn them minority-white and hence cause white people to become extinct through forced assimilation.

Now tell me this doesn’t sound like the plot of a Star Trek movie, starring the Borg, a conglomeration of alien races that seek to absorb, consume, or forcefully assimilate, all other galactic species,  in an effort to improve its existence. This  also sounds a lot like the projections of a group of people who have done just that throughout history. Throughout the Alt-Right community is the belief in a coming race war, which will put Blacks, gay people, feminists, and everyone else, who isn’t falling in line with White (specifically male) Supremacy, back in their proper places, which is: under the complete control of White men.

Image result for the borg

Anytime any racial incident occurs in the US, for example, cries of “race war” erupt from the outer fringes of the American political system. Although not all of the proponents of race war are White, they are the main ones howling for just such a conclusion to America’s racial tensions. They see war (and their inevitable win) as the answer to solving America’s “race problem”. Such people often long for the apocalypse because afterwards they can remake the world into their fantasy images of the past, with PoC, and White women dead or submissive, as they believe such people should be. At their foundation, these fantasies are just  another way to re-establish White supremacy (which has never been lost), or to prop up the flagging manhood of its proponents. Having won this so-called “war”, one need never experience guilt or fear about race ever again, having proven beyond a doubt, that White men are superior to all others.

White Americans are always looking for whatever next great war, that will lead to their power fantasies coming true. So far American Black people have not been cooperative in giving it to them. In their efforts to find it, they cast their net far and wide (Muslims, Gays, Immigrants). One the staples of early films were the swarms of “Othered” Menaces out to destroy White manhood, tand fragile White femininity, a topic approached again and again , not just in the genre of  Science Fiction, but in Action (The Road Warrior) , Horror (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), and War (Birth of a Nation) movies.

Since most filmmakers have  gotten publicly vilified for casting Poc as hostile, screaming hordes, (I’m looking at you No Escape, Daredevil,  Blackhawk Down, and anything produced in the 80s) movies have had to settle for non-human antagonists, which are a  perfect fit: from the endless crowds of robots, (and robot-adjacent Stormtroopers), being mowed down by the heroes in Star Wars, and I Robot, to the  massive swarms of  alien hordes in Independence Day and Star Trek Beyond, to the  giant robot battles in Avengers:Age of Ultron. Yes, these swarms of destroyers of the human race make for some very exciting films but these “Menacing Swarm”  films also weren’t being made in such numbers, until after World War II, when Communism, The Red Menace, became the new threat to American soverignty, and seemed to reach their peak after the fall of Communist Russia and The Berlin Wall, in the 90s. Without the Communists to be afraid of, Hollywood had to cast around for some new enemies, and everybody who wasn’t White, straight, male, and Christian got a chance to audition for the role. (After some major tryouts by all others, for which Hollywood was duly censured, Americans seemed to have settled on Muslims, which is a diffuse enough category to include everyone and no one, since “Muslim”isn’t a race, but does happen to include many non-White people.)

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Machines may have many different reasons for wanting to destroy humanity, but the end result is a war between human and machine, in which there can be only one. Much like their fantasy race wars, there can be no equality, no living together in peaceful harmony, no cooperation. For such  mindsets, life is a zero sum game, where someone  must be in power over the other.

Whites and the Fear Caused by White Supremacy

PoC need White people to acknowledge their past because not only can PoC not be free when White people are feeling terrified, and guilty, but they can’t be free either. They can be easily controlled by their fears, and insecurities, and PoC can’t fix something that’s really only inside them. By not acknowledging and dealing with the  past , White people become easy prey for politicians like Trump, and can be stampeded in any direction, even their own destruction, as we’ve just seen during this election. White people who keep telling us to let go of the past refuse to understand that none of us can let it go, until they let it go. Its long past time for White people to confront their fears, instead of running away,  but then endlessly reliving them, in their entertainments. It’s their inability to acknowledge the past that informs every facet of their lives, from where they live, to how they socialize, to the entertainments they enjoy.

Movies don’t just tell us how to think about the world around us. Since the vast majority of these movies are made by White men, they reflect what these men think about the rest of the world, and one can glean a greater understanding of what White people think about the world based on the entertainments they enjoy, which largely seem to consist of endless violent fantasies about having or being powerful . (Contrast this with the kinds of movies made by PoC and white women.)

 Bad Robot movies: Deadly Friend, Avengers Age of Ultron, I Robot, Bladerunner, Hardware, The Terminator, Ex Machina, 2001, Battlestar Galactica, Westworld, Humans, Metropolis, Saturn 3

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_robots_and_androids

 

 

 

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