The Truman Show (1998): Questioning Reality

During the late 90’s there was a spate of existentialist movies, that asked questions about the nature of reality, the self,  and questioned our sense of who we were. Movies like Dark City, The 13th Floor, Pleasantville, The Matrix, Existenz, and yes, The Truman Show, all questioned if the world we lived in was truly real, if we were real, and if nothing is real, does anything we experience matter.

The Truman Show didn’t just question reality. It asked questions about freedom, and self determination, as well. Truman is a man who has been imprisoned in a pleasant middle class, artificial, bubble his entire life, with a pretty blond wife, a non-descript job, one close friend, and a tragic past that’s specifically designed to hold him in place, and keep him from moving forward. His life is comfortable and certain. It is difficult not to see parallels to our own lives in Truman and his circumstances.

Truman has a daily routine. He does the same thing every day, with the same catchphrases, ordering the same food, the same magazines at the newsstand, driving the same route to and from work. Truman is mostly happy with his life, but its not an exciting life, so he fantasizes a lot.

Image result for truman show astronaut  gifs

One of the first images we get of Truman is his childlike fantasy of being an astronaut. Truman longs to do something different, go somewhere else, be someone else, but he is trapped in place, as so many of us are, by our jobs, our circumstances, monetary concerns, our families, and other obligations, that we consider more important than our freedom to do as we please. Like Truman many of us fantasize about being  someone else, someplace else, and for most of us, fantastical visions of riding dragons, or pretending to be a favorite cartoon character, are enough.

Many of us live in comfortable bubbles, occasionally  chafing at our restrictions, and any attempts to break free of those restrictions can get you branded with labels like mentally ill,  mid-life crisis, or hysteria. Your desire to  break free, can often make other people deeply uncomfortable, and can prompt them to deploy tactics that will get you back into your bubble, to be quiet, and complacent, once again.

Truman is a man who has been held in captivity, since he was born, by an avant-garde filmmaker, named  Christof, who adopted him, kept him imprisoned in a fake world, with actors and actresses as friends and family, and put his entire life on live television. Everything in Truman’s life is manufactured, his job isn’t real, his marriage was carefully orchestrated, his best friend is an actor, his father was conveniently killed when he was a child, and he has been socialized with a number of phobias (aqua-phobia) that make it near impossible for him to leave the fake set.  In other words, his world is carefully designed to keep him in place, keep him from questioning it, and keep him from growing, changing , or progressing.

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Many of us live the kinds of lives we are reluctant to leave, it can be difficult for us to grow and move forward because we’ve become used to how our life is. It can be difficult to try new things, or make big changes in our lives, even changes we need to have, because we fear the unknown future. If you’re someone who has a great fear of the unknown, then moving into a future you cannot see, would be very difficult. This is how Truman engages with the world in the first half of his life, until a monkey-wrench called “first love” throws everything he knows into question. He falls in love with a young woman named Sylvia, who wasn’t chosen for him, and she is, rather traumatically, removed from his world. Truman developed such a special longing for her, that she came to represent the one thing in his life he didn’t have, uncertainty, and the unknown.

He begins to question the world he lives in. In other words, he starts to wake up, especially after  he experiences a series of strange events. like seeing his supposedly dead father, chunks of sky falling on his car, a photo of his wife with her fingers crossed behind her back (which indicates that she was lying). Truman attempts to express his nascent suspicions to his wife, mother, and best friend, who only try  to gaslight him, with temporary success. Over time, Truman begins to test his theory, and finally reaches the conclusion that the world he lives in, and the people he knows, is not real.

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Truman only begins to ask the right questions, after he sees the patterns around him, and starts putting those patterns in the correct order. When he sees his dead father on the street, the man is immediately whisked away by a group of strangers. Later that week, there is a radio mix up, where he hears one of the camera men narrating what he is doing. He notices a pattern in the people who cross in front of his house. He notices  patterns and reaches proper conclusions. He begins to see the artificiality.

For example, he suspects that he is being watched, that the people in his world are fake, and  don’t know what to do when he does  unexpected things. So he disrupts his routine in small ways, like walking into a different building, or deciding to accompany his wife (a nurse) to a surgery that was made up in an attempt to explain something he saw earlier that day. By behaving unpredictably, he has introduced uncertainty, and the unknown to the set, which disrupts everyone else’s routine, as well.

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Ironically, many of us suspect that the world we live in is a facade, as we seek to explain the uncertainty of our life, rather than the certainties. This theory was especially popular during the last years of the 20th century, which accounts for the popularity of  films, in which the protagonists question the randomness of their lived experiences. In the Matrix, Neo tells Trinity about a number of events that happened to him when he was unaware he was in the matrix, and asks her what that means. Trinity’s answer is that the matrix cannot tell you who you are. She is in essence telling him that when he lived in the matrix, that he was not his true self.

Since the events that occurred to Neo can be said to have been contrived by computer programs, his reactions to those events were inauthentic, and not evidence of his true self.  Another argument that can be made, however, is that such contrived events are not any different than random events contrived by a god, and if we can accept that our authentic self is in evidence when under the aegis of a mythological figure, than why can we not accept the authenticity of self while under the control of an AI?

One of the reasons that Truman gives for desperately trying to escape Christof’s prison, is that he wants a real life, an authentic life. Christof tries to talk him into staying in his artificial world by telling him that life is no more authentic, in the “real” world, than it is in his fake one. he tells Truman that there is no truth, thereby  illustrating a fundamental misunderstanding of Truman’s motives. Truman is not searching for truth. He is searching for “the real”, which is not the same thing.

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But, as we all must do, if we hope to move forward, to progress in our lives, Truman takes a leap of faith, into the unknown. At some point, if we hope to meet our real selves, we must all walk through a mysterious door, into an uncertain future. Truman has no idea what is on the other side of the door he’s about to walk through, but like Red, from the Shawshank Redemption, he hopes to see Sylvia, and take her hand. He hopes to find himself. He hopes to be happy. He hopes to find love.

He hopes.

And so must we all.

 

Why Star Wars Fans Are The Worse Fans Ever…

Its not just Star Wars fandoms, though. We spend a lot of time on Tumblr shaking our damn heads over how shitty some of these fandoms behave towards characters they claim to like, and explaining why its not a good idea for people to do and say racist shit about them.

“Do they even know how to Fan?”

The Star Wars Fandom is, on occasion, a complete shitstorm of every awful racist behavior seen in every fandom ever. This is not to condemn those legitimate fans who genuinely love the franchise, and are not engaging in any of these shenanigans, let me make that clear. Hell, I’m a Star Wars fan! Been one since the first movie. But what I do not want to do, is  have anything do with the Star Wars fandom, in general, whose behavior, from the time of the announcement of Finn as a lead character, has been universally awful, racist, and thoroughly nasty, not just towards other fans, but towards the characters, the actors, and even the show’s creators.

As a general rule I do not engage in shipping of various characters. Not because I don’t think it’s a legitimate activity. It’s just that I almost never think about it, and when I do,  I rarely ever go beyond whatever canon pairing is present. Its simply not my priority when consuming media.  Some of the fans, however,  have taken shipping Rey and Kylo to such a  delusional level of behavior, you wouldn’t believe it.  From death threats to the creators, to cropping characters out of cast photos and posting them online, and harassing the actors on Twitter.

I was in the Supernatural fandom when the Destiel shipping started to ramp up, (it has since died down somewhat, thanks to the show no longer queerbaiting the characters), and saw every one of these behaviors  listed here, , within that fandom.

https://www.thewrap.com/12-times-fandom-has-gone-horribly-wrong-from-one-direction-to-dragon-age-photos/

Star Wars fandom is not the only one engaging in harassment of the actors and other fans. This happens in all the largest fandoms. A lot of the problem seems to be a toxic combination of celebrity worship, racism, and entitlement to the stories being consumed, and people not knowing how to be fans, along with internet anonymity. Somewhere along the way, people forgot that fandom involves loving and respecting the characters, and actors, and that this is supposed to be fun.

http://epicstream.com/features/8-Times-Internet-Fandom-Crossed-The-Line-With-Creators-and-Actors

This behavior tends to have  the worst repercussions for fans of color. Fandom becomes a “safe space” for White fans, at our expense. Part of the problem is the use and writing of meta. You have a lot of people writing so-called, think-pieces about these shows. Unfortunately, a lot  of these are written by people who have seen meta,  think they know what it is, and how to do it, but  have never had an analytical thought in their life.

This is not something exclusive to White male fans either. There are plenty of White women out there writing slavefic about Black Panther, cropping Finn out of photos with Rey, writing racist meta on why Michonne, and Uhura, and Iris West should die, or  remain unloved and alone, and harassing Candice Patton with pornographic, and racist memes on Twitter.

meta

1. Meta means about the thing itself. It’s seeing the thing from a higher perspective instead of from within the thing, like being self-aware.

The Reylo faction of the Star Wars fandom  regularly engages in every single one of the behaviors listed in the above articles. How is this fandom? How does this show a person’s love for a show, or character, or even an actor? Fandom has become so toxic in some places that even the mainstream news media have gotten wind of it, and they’re usually oblivious to such things. (We won’t get into how mainstream media has  aided and abetted the  racist, sexist, and homophobic attitudes that make toxic fandom possible.)

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The Reylo fandom are those people whose priority is shipping Rey and Kylo Ren from the Star Wars movies. Although many people are opposed to this relationship because it’s seen as romanticizing abuse, and as an erasure of Finn from his own narrative, its the behavior surrounding the ship, that seems to be causing the most consternation among fans of color. My general attitude is like whatever ships you like, but don’t delude yourself that it’s going to happen. Don’t delude yourself about what type of character you’re stanning for, and for fuck’s sake, stop make up bullshit excuses for what you’re doing because you feel some type of way about liking the villain.

JUST OWN IT!!!

 

A List of Things Reylos Have Done

rootbeergoddess

 Okay, this will be the last Reylo post I make today but since they want to act like they’re innocent, I’m just going to make a short list of the things they have done.
  • Harassed Daisy Ridley for posting a picture of Finn and Rey holding hands
  • Spammed unrelated Star Wars tags with Reylo content
  • Sent racist messages to various Finn fans
  • Erase Poe to make Kylo part of the new trio
  • Cropped Dev Patel and John Boyega out of pictures only to replace them with Adam Driver
  • Made racist Native American AUs and a racist Black Lives Matter story
  • Made a really gross and disturbing mental patient AU
  • Have tried time and time again to erase the relationship Finn has with Rey
  • Have posted Reylo content in the Beauty and the Beast tags as well as the Dark Crystal tags
  • Crosstag on a daily basis
  • Made Rose’s line about the things we love about Rey and Kylo
  • Made a Handmaid’s AU

This list will surely get longer.

 

 reylo-more-like-reyno
 Adding to this:
  • Organized, promoted, and held a “Cousin Ben Week” dedicated to creating content where Rey and Kylo were cousins in a romantic relationship, purely for the fetishization of incestuous relationships.
  • When some Reylos came forward with concerns about “Cousin Ben Week” they were silenced by other Reylos and told to get out of the fandom if they were bothered
  • Harassed antis after antis posted stories about being bullied by shippers before becoming antis, called many antis “victim-blamers” for sharing such stories
  • Bullied antis after antis posted selfies to spread positivity in the anti community
  • Made up a fake Crepe story to shit on antis
  • Harassed Pablo Hidalgo about if Kylo is a virgin or not
  • Have called Finn/John Boyega racial slurs including “coal boy” and said he looks 40.
  • Have sexually harassed a Kylo Ren actor at a Disney theme park.
  • There are scattered incidents of Kylo Ren and Rey cosplayers being harassed bt Reylos as well.

xprincessrey

 Also adding made Orient Express about their ship when it came out with Daisy as one of the leads ( where character was half of a interracial couple )

And recently Made the song “Rewrite The Stars ” a song about interracial couple facing racist miscegenation in the 1800s sing how they can rewrite the stars so they don’t have to deal with the racism

 

hanorganaas

 Posted a story where Leia died and Han married Rey only to have Kylo steal his father’s bride from his own dad.

 

nutheadgee

 Used the Holocaust experience as a sob story to try and mine sympathy and got mad when actual Jewish people told to not do that because anti semetism.

Called myself and other black fans nazis, KKK equivalents and racists because I said they don’t experience racism and should STFU about anti blackness.

Sent some select black finnreys pictures of black people being hanged and/or lynched.

Claim to “call out racism” in their little circlejerk echo chamber and in the same breath turn around and say how us blackies are mean and racist when we tell them how nasty they are.

Shit talk on our posts all day while blocking us because they are too pussy to have us respond to them directly.

heartlessbrujx

-Told other reylos to reblog an anti minors post because they expressed being triggered by reylo blogger interaction

-Weaponized cope shipping reylos against anti survivors

-Made a sexual assault reylo video

-Sent porn to underage antis simply for not liking the pairing

-Compared me, a Mexican, to Trump for not liking their pairing

-suicide baiting antis for calling Adam Driver ugly

-Said islamophobia wasn’t real and Muslims uncomfortable with Adam were the “real racists”

-Drawn Finn with wide lips and black skin

-Take FinnRey lines to promo their mayo pairing

-Called FinnRey shippers the “real racists” for not shipping FinnRose

-Reduce Poe to a sexy player and refuse to admit the racist undertones in that stereotype

-Demonize Finn as a black man for taking Rey’s hand “against her will” yet praise Kylo for kidnapping and torturing her simply because Kylo is white

 

angelsaxis

 -sexually harassed me in the comments of a fic I wrote and then claimed that I was the one doing the harrassing just for responding

-made an entire theory on how every instance of Kylo/the FO being violent and angry was ACTUALLY super romantic and about Rey losing her virginity

-compare Adam being called ugly to anti blackness and other forms of racism

 

inkstorrn

  • Harassed a minor for “””doxxing”” them when said minor hadn’t actually done anything wrong
  • Continuously harassed various antis about their ship being canon starting in January 2016 when there was not even a hint of that being true
  • Constantly call antis “scum” and insinuate that we’re all a hivemind and/or 12 years old and “just don’t know better”
  • Instead of informing antis about a rapist in the community, turned it into an antis vs shippers situation, and spread misinfo about a popular blogger
  • Continuously jump onto properly tagged posts to gang up on the op
  • Insinuate that antis tell people to die and/or harass shippers without providing any proof

badships

 Gonna add to this too
  • Wrote gross incest stories on anti posts
  • Used that stupid “anne” insult and then used the “it’s a meme” line on trans/nb antis who said it made them uncomfortable/dysphoric (im one of those trans people)
  • Compared black people to purple aliens when called out on a whitewashed finnrey edit
  • Compared finnrey/finnrey shippers to hitler
  • White shippers continue to speak over POC about what is and isn’t racist
  • Said I have no right to speak on racism because I’m not fully black
  • Refered to my race as a “half breed”
  • Sent themselves racial slurs on anon and then tried to accuse me and a few other antis, wouldn’t provide proof that it was me or said antis

 

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My question about this one is, what are White women in fandom supposed to do when The Becky Sue is the example they get from the source material? White racial resentment is  a factor in how fans respond to the media they consume. In one episode of The Walking Dead, a White character named Enid dressed down a WoC on the show. (In  a more recent episode, she tried to do this again to Michonne.) Some fans objected to this, seeing  in this scene, the writers taking the opportunity to express their own real life racial resentment through a white character.

I didn’t see that particular scene, so I can’t say, but I have noticed a trend, in genre media, of White writers putting their own racially coded words into the mouths of Black characters, too many PoC characters being abused and/or  mistreated in the narrative by White female characters, or writing Black characters (especially Black women) to be virulent (allegorical) racists, and xenophobes.

As far as what Tumblr thinks:

 On White Prioritization

 

The dominant ideas in any culture will reflect the ideas of the most powerful, those who control the means of disseminating those ideas for if there is to be social order the less powerful must come to accept the ideas of the most powerful as the correct and right ideas. This is effected via a process of ideological indoctrination. The principal institutions responsible for the spread of the dominant ideology are the media, the educational system, the religious institutions and ordinary popular cultural fare such as movies, music, jokes and seemingly innocent play.

The dominant culture of the US was formed to give preference to and propagate the white supremacist cis-heteropatriarchy, a sociopolitical system in which cisgender, heterosexual white men hold social dominance at the expense of subordinating racial minorities, transgender individuals, non-heterosexual sexual orientations, and women.”

Part and parcel to these interconnected systems of oppression are racist cultural messages that present whites as whole human beings while pathologizing blackness and regarding non-whites as inferior. These ideas become entrenched in our subconscious and infiltrate our social attitudes developed through the socialization process.

 White-centeredness is a deeply-rooted aspect of U.S. culture. White-centeredness denotes the centrality of white representation that permeates every facet of our dominant culture. It upholds as “normal” and “expected” the ubiquity of language, ideas, prejudices, preferences, values, social mores, and worldviews established by the white perspective.

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 The Becky Sue

This is a bit of a rant, sorry for any gratuitous swearing.

I know there’s the term ‘Mary Sue’, but I feel like there should be a ‘Becky Sue’, because both in fiction and life, white women are made out to always be the one who is right, the one who needs protecting, etc. There’s white privilege, and I feel that when a white woman against a PoC is involved, the privilege is taken to an even higher level because white women are always seen as the innocent ones.

I feel that the worst kind of Becky Sue in fandom and fiction are the ones that write stories where PoC only exist to fucking bow down to them and be there only to accomplish whatever goal they have. Like a PoC man sees a white woman at the beginning of a fic and is like–

‘Omg, it’s a white woman and she’s the prettiest most precious woman I’ve ever seen and I know absolutely nothing about her, but this is love at first sight and I’m going to marry her as soon as possible. Nothing else matters. Not my family or my identity, nothing. I’m just here to please/worship the ground of Becky Sue.’

It’s fucking nauseating. Then they have the Becky Sue writers who make their Becky Sue characters complete disgusting bitches to PoC, and when they get called out for it, they’ll be like: ‘Oh em gee, you’re misguided, you’re a drama queen. Like, just don’t read my story and let me have my fantasy of shitting all over PoC in peace.’

And then there’s the Becky Sue writers who write kind, intelligent PoC out-of-character (because if there’s a kind PoC character, white people have to knock them down a few pegs though shitty writing, jokes, or white-washing) then when this is pointed out they’ll be like, ‘Omg, not everyone sees everything the way you do. I don’t care about the source material, I just want to treat PoC like trash.’

Then, there’s the Becky Sues that will make up excuses for their racism and microaggressions with fake (or real) excuses like: ‘Oh em gee. I have depression let me write whatever I want.’ Or, ‘Oh em gee. I have Stigmata and a hang nail so you can’t criticize me.’ Or, when all else fails, just resort to name calling and flipping the situation around (white women’s favorite tactic) to where they say the big bad PoC is being a ‘troll’ or ‘mean’, or a dick, asshole, etc. And they’re the victim of harassment.

Or, another Becky Sue will come along and be like, ‘Omg, your Becky Sue character and her shitty treatment of PoC is the best thing I’ve ever read! This is better than any novel I’ve ever read! You’re the greatest writer ever! Like, your Becky Sue is SOOO down to earth!’

Or, they’ll be like: ‘Oh em gee, pointing out my racism is a personal attack. Becky Sues unite! Take down the big bad PoC!’

Just because you have depression or whatever, that doesn’t give you the right to be a fucking racist, and to treat PoC characters like trash. It doesn’t exempt you from being called out or criticized either. If you can’t write (or draw) PoC without being gross, racist garbage. STOP – FUCKING – WRITING – ABOUT THEM, if you’re that fragile to criticism. (I guess white women compare themselves to porcelain because they’re fragile and crack at the tiniest thing–I guess their evil ways is also one thing that makes their looks crack at an earlier age too. *pettyTM*)

I think that white people who are adamant about writing PoC like that are TRYING to antagonize PoC. And may karma just kick them in the fucking ass, please.

Plenty of PoC deal with both depression and OPPRESSION on a daily basis. And do most white people care? Here’s a tiny hint…HELL, FUCKING, NO.

Representation and the things you write do have an effect on others. Don’t try to make excuses or pretend that it doesn’t.

Can PoC writer’s/fanfic writers and artist start tagging their work as ‘PoC writer’, ‘PoC artist’? Or ‘Black writer,’ etc., etc.

I’m so drained of navigating through klandom’s filth, and having to handle white people (many who claim to be “progressive”) with kid gloves for every little thing because they can’t take discussions about anything that isn’t about glorifying everything they do, or anything that takes the focus off their white world.

submitted by  anon on FANDOMS HATE PEOPLE OF COLOR

 

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Image result for white feminism

On White Feminism in Fandom Spaces

*(This is what happened in the Agent Carter and Wonder Woman  fandoms.)

http://blackyouthproject.com/feminist-triumph-action-thrillers-always-white-women/

http://time.com/4599585/hollywood-female-action-heroes/

RANT: Video Game Fandoms and White Women

FANDOMS HATE PEOPLE OF COLOR

For me, nothing is worse than having to sift through content in video game fandoms and forums that have predominantly white womenEspecially when those fandoms have PoC characters. At least when white men are racist they, most of the time, don’t try to hide it, so you can know what to avoid better.

It’s so easy for white women to get away with microaggressions, colorism, and covert racism because it is extremely rare, that another white woman will care enough to call them out. (Or, the white women that docare, will just get treated like shit by the white women that don’t.)

And it’s pretty pointless for PoC to call them out because on a forum controlled by white women, you’ll just easily get banned, topic will get locked, or they’ll gang up and gaslight the PoC player most likely saying: ‘such-and-such is just a fictional character or pixels’, ‘it’s just a video game’, etc.

They don’t care how PoC are treated in entertainment, or fictional worlds, nor the real world.

Only the comfort of the white woman matters, in fiction, or the real world.

These quotes from MLK Jr. and Malcolm X below could not be more TRUE. (And either though they’re talking about Black Americans, the same can be said of just about any PoC living in the USA):

MLK Jr.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

Malcolm X

The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor; and by winning the friendship, allegiance, and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political “football game” that is constantly raging between the white liberals and white conservatives.

The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox.

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From: FANDOMS HATE PEOPLE OF COLOR

I mainly wanted to rant about the white women that swear they love a PoC character, yet they do the following:

  1. They will not shut up about how they don’t think the PoC character is physically attractive. I’ve seen this a lot with dark brown-skinned PoC. Like they could be the most gorgeous PoC character, but because they don’t fit these white women’swhite supremacist beauty standards, they’re not “attractive”. (Definition of white supremacy: ‘the belief that white people are superior to those of all other races…’ that includes beauty standards.) Of course, they’ll hide their covert racism and colorism with vague statements like, ‘Oh, this [PoC] character has ‘less interesting looks’ than everyone else, or ‘isn’t flashy’. I think they’re just mad that brown and black people can still look like this when they are almost 60-years-old.
  2. Because they don’t like how a PoC has dark brown skin, they useany white-washed fan art they can find to use on the forums they frequent. And might make up some completely asinine excuse as to why they use it. Like, ‘I like how this art brings out their personality’. Why don’t you just use the OFFICIAL fucking artwork instead then? The OFFICIAL artwork doesn’t “bring out their personality” enough?
  3. They refuse to acknowledge the character’s existence and identity as a PoC. Because in white people land‘Everybody is treated equal.’
  4. When you call them out–as always…as fucking always–no matter how friendly… no matter how saccharinely kind, no matter how much you fucking bend over in politeness and sensitivity… They play the fucking victim. 9 times out of 10 this shit happens. Call them out even for the SIMPLEST of remedial things like NOT SUPPORTING white-washing, and suddenly they have every fucking physical and mental ailment in the world, and they can’t be held accountable for their words/actions. Then, they’ll virtue signal the fuck out of any PoC character saying ‘Oh, isn’t so-and-so beautiful, I mean, I DON’T LIKE THEM, but man! Isn’t that other PoC character that doesn’t have dark skin beautiful all of a sudden?’

Then, they go back to supporting white-washed art and doing and saying all the fucked up shit they’ve been doing. Because they do not give a single fuck about PoC. PoC are just an entertainment and distraction to them, both in the fictional world and real world.

Virtue-signalling white women that don’t like PoC, especially the dark brown-skinned ones. Just stop. Go find a white character to “obsess” and “fave” over and call it a day. Find a white character that fits your definition of what a ‘total package’ (great looks and personality) should be, and leave PoC characters the fuck alone.

Fuck your feigning innocence and ignorance. And fuck your superiority complex, microaggressions, and your shallow, vapid, privileged white mind. Dark-skinned PoC characters, and people, are out of this fucking universe, ethereal, and beyond gorgeous to the highest degree possible in this existence. Fuck you.

Furthermore, the white women that do the things mentioned above, you don’t “love” any PoC character if you do these things. You wouldn’t know what love, respect, and treating a dark-skinned PoC character with humanity and dignity was if it bit you in the ass. For you, these characters are your flavor of the month/year distraction and entertainment.  *Where you can gleefully unload all your microaggressions and racism onto them that you wish you could do to PoC face-to-face in the real world. 

(*Boldened by me.)

For PoC fans who experience this shit in real life–to have to put up with racism in the realms of books, video games, and other media too, where they’re just trying to get away from the world FOR A SECOND, but they can’t because of white supremacy, it’s PERSONAL.

Fuck you if you do these things. You’re utterly disgusting at how smug you are, knowing you won’t get criticized for your covert racism in your white dominated and controlled forums. And no one is impressed by your virtue-signalling. Doing that, and then continuing to do racist, disrespectful shit, is beyond nauseating. You’re only earning PoC’s contempt, not our respect. (Not that you care, because we’re below you, right?!) We’re not stupid, or less intelligent than white people, like you gaslight yourselves to believe.

White people know EXACTLY what they’re doing. The majority just don’t care. And will NEVER care. All PoC fans can do, I think: is love, support, and respect PoC characters (in anyway you wish through, art, writing, posts, etc.) and hope that in the future, that REAL love is what will override all the hatred, ignorance, and bigotry of a white supremacist society. I hope karma is real.

When it comes to fandom, or anything else, practically the entire world is white people’s ‘safe space’.

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On Finn And Sacrifice

http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/the-last-jedis-message-to-people-of-color-you-dont-have-to-be-the-sacrifice

stitchmediamix

“I really like Finn, but I thought him sacrificing himself would be a really touching end to his character arc.”

A) You’re wrong. So wrong.

B) If you claim to like a character, but then you’re all for him making an absolutely pointless self sacrifice… You don’t like that character nearly as much as you think you do

 

adeptarcanist

Okay hang on, I’m all with you on A, but you *can* like a character and still think that them having a heartbreaking death scene would be awesome.

 

stitchmediamix

Perhaps I should have been clearer about the fact that this is really about how fandom treats Finn BECAUSE he’s a black character in my original post.

Because fandom has, historically, been full of people who swear they love black characters but can only see them getting an honorable death or making a sacrifice (primarily for white characters).

Fandom doesn’t look at white male characters and decide that they should totally have a sweet send off after sacrificing themselves. They don’t.

That dubious honor is largely only bestowed upon characters of color – predominantly Black characters when they’re present.

(I’m on my way out the door and on mobile so I can’t be handy dandy with links, but if you’re not getting where I’m coming from about Finn’s treatment and why wanting him to sacrifice himself is a negative sign, please go through my “fandom racism” and my “the star wars discourse” for how he’s been treated in fandom.)

 

mikeymagee

^This entire phenomenon is examined at length in Toni Morrison’s Playing In the Dark. In which she pretty much states that in the American literary consciousness, Black people are used (while also denied agency) and once their usefulness has ended, they’re discarded with no forethought/consideration for the Black person/character.

According to Morrison, this is basically the building block of the American literary identity (which has strong parallels to slavery, and the modern prison industrial complex).

“These images of impenetrable whiteness need contextualizing to explain their extraordinary power, pattern, and consistency. Because they appear almost always in conjunction with representations of black or Africanist people who are dead, impotent, or under complete control, these images of blinding whiteness seem to function as both antidote for and meditation on the shadow that is companion to this whiteness –a dark and abiding presence that moves the hearts and texts if American literature with fear and longing. This haunting, a darkness from which our early literature seemed unable to extricate itself, suggests the complex and contradictory situation in which American writers found themselves during the formative years of the nation’s literature” (Morrison 33).

Basically Blackness is alright, as long as it serves whiteness. Anything outside of that is pushing the boundaries. Which is why so much of fandom’s treatment of Finn is him either making Rey  and Kyle look better by comparison, or having Finn “die nobly” so Rey/Kyle/everyone else can save the galaxy.

And it doesn’t just stop at Star Wars, it’s pretty much present in all forms of media. I mean, there’s a reason we have a “Black guy dies first”  trope.

Morrison also noted elsewhere in her book that the entire white literary identity (and by extension the cinematic identity) is dependent on Black subjugation. If Black people aren’t subordinate to the White identity, then where does that leave White people? There was a reason people were more pissed about John’s face being in the TFA trailer for five seconds, far more than anyone else’s, including Rey’s.

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On Iris West and Fandom

Candice Patton, who has played the role of Iris West on The Flash for the past four seasons, has had to deal with racist idiots complaining that she has the audacity to not be a white, red-haired woman. Sorry Karen Gillan was busy.

https://www.themarysue.com/candice-patton-racist-trolls/

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And finally:

On The Fandom Community

lj-writes

Carrying the fandom load

It does get tiring at times staying conscious of bigoted tropes in fandom, deciding not to support racist art, wondering if a quote is appropriative of Jewish experiences, discarding a homophobic fanwork idea, and more.

So as a Fandom Old I can see why some fans long for the “good old days.” Back then anything went! Total creative freedom! We were wild and unfettered! None of these long-winded discussions, we just went and did it and did not give a single fuck!

Except freedom wasn’t for everyone, was it? You only had that total freedom if you were unaffected by fandom’s racism, homophobia, transphobia, antisemitism, ableism, and a host of other bigotries that are a reflection of the world we live in.

Fandom was never the carefree, escapist enterprise some of us like to think it was. It’s just that minority fans were bearing the load of others’ freedom in silence. Too often, fans who were marginalized in real life could not escape to fandom because fandom would uncritically celebrate their oppression and trauma. And if they dared to speak about it they were bullied and shouted down into silence, into leaving.

I speak in the past tense but this is still ongoing, obviously. Fans of marginalized identities are a little more vocal now, but are facing a sustained and vicious backlash that accuses them of being “bullies” and starting “discourse” and “drama” and of “virtue signalling.”

It’s not about discourse or virtue, though. It’s about fans being told that they are not welcome unless they bite their tongues, grin, and go along with a thousand stings and slaps in the very spaces they go to have fun. It’s about fans having to watch characters who look like them be constantly erased and demonized. It’s about fans having to spend endless amounts of time and energy educating other fans about their oppression when all they’d like to do is unwind after a long day made longer by those very issues.

It’s not about virtue. It’s about people.

The thing is, fans who criticize minority fans and their allies for “discourse” aren’t angry about the fact that fandom puts these psychological burdens on minority fans. They’re mad about having to share a tiny little part of the burden minority fans, most visibly Black women, have been carrying for too long. In the minds of these “discourse”-critical fans the burden of considering the impact of fandom and fanworks is not theirs to bear. It is the lot of fans who are not them, “others,” to pay the cost for the majority’s creative freedom. The very suggestion that the load exists, and worse, that all of fandom should share in it so marginalized fans don’t carry it so disproportionately, is enough to make a lot of fans uncomfortable. I know, because I feel that discomfort at times, too.

The thing is, the load of thinking about marginalization in fandom spaces was always mine to bear. It’s every fan’s responsibility to be conscious of how they create and consume fanwork so that they don’t hurt other fans, so fandom can be inclusive and fun for everyone.

No, it’s not pleasant. It’s not fun to always watch yourself and second guess your choices, to fall short anyway and be called out and confront the fact that you have so many unconscious biases and have hurt others. I get it. I do. I want to think of myself as a good person. I don’t like admitting to wrongdoing. I hate challenging myself. I don’t want to think about this hard stuff. I just want to have fun!

But think about how much LESS fun it is when it’s your own humanity on the line. Many marginalized fans don’t have the luxury of just letting go and having fun, not when they always have to brace themselves for the next psychological assault.

These fans have been carrying this fandom burden and are punished for saying it’s too heavy. If you’re feeling a little less feather light in fannish activities than you used to, that’s a good sign! It means you’re starting to carry, in a very small measure, the fandom load of consciousness. It’s something you should be carrying as part of a community, and chances are it’s still not nearly as heavy a load as many marginalized fans are still made to bear.

A community joins together, watches out for its members, shares in the good and the bad. If some members are asked to bear the costs of others’ fun and either stay silent about it or leave, then the promise of community rings pretty hollow, doesn’t it? Sometimes discomfort is a good thing, and if my small discomfort means I am sharing in a tiny measure of my rightful load in fandom spaces, then it is a very good thing indeed.

Hannibal Season Two Finale: Mizumono

And so we end with a perfect cap on this season. We began in episode one, with a forecast of how the season would end, with a massive knockdown fight, between Jack Crawford and Hannibal. How did we get from them being friends to that point? The rest of the season is really just a flashback, to how we reach that moment, and its aftermath.

All season long ,we’ve watched Will Graham, thoroughly unburdened by the illness he was suffering  in that first season, at the top of his game. Most of this season chronicles Will’s  fall from grace. In his efforts to capture the Chesapeake Ripper, he finds himself in spiritual, and emotional, alignment with Hannibal. After failing to get any traction on his accusation that Hannibal is the Ripper, Will, in collusion with a newly believing Jack, after  Beverly’s death, embarked on a campaign to take down Hannibal, by cozying up to him, winning his trust, and gathering  evidence of wrongdoing. Hannibal being too canny for that plan to work, didn’t enter into their equations, and Will found himself being drawn  further down the rabbit hole of Hannibal’s machinations. Hannibal’s goal is  to make Will realize that he is just as much a killer as Hannibal, and make him his partner in death.This culminates in the death of Randall Tier at Will’s hands, in self-defense, and the seeming death of Freddie Lounds.

In this episode everything comes to a head. Jack’s predicament in allowing Will’s plan, Will’s predicament in lying to Hannibal, and the actual fate of Abigail Hobbes is revealed.

Hannibal sends Jack a letter, inviting him to dine with him and Will, and he accepts. Will and Jack discuss this Last Supper, while finalizing their plan to catch The Chesapeake Ripper. Alana is filled with doom and gloom and nightmares, as she begins to realize exactly what’s been happening, and what Hannibal is. She hasn’t been sleeping and is filled with dread that Hannibal has laid a trap for all of them.

Jack is finally successful in finding Hannibal’s therapist Bedelia Du’Maurier, who had gone into hiding, after she felt threatened by Hannibal. In his interview with her, Bedelia warns Will that Hannibal will find a way to prevail. She explains what hold Hannibal has over her. Will and Jack offer her immunity from prosecution for her testimony against Hannibal. An astute observer, she can somehow tell that Will’s loyalties have been severely compromised, and that it is Will’s weakness that will hand Hannibal his victory over their plans.

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Bella Crawford is dying in the hospital of lung cancer. Hannibal visits her and they discuss forgiveness. She says she forgives him for saving her life, and letting her die in this manner, but in return, Hannibal has to save Jack, the way Hannibal saved her. She has no idea that Hannibal didn’t save her out of caring or friendship, but as an exercise to see  what would happen, and to distract Jack from his hunt for The Ripper. She never discovers that Hannibal not only doesn’t keep his promise to save Jack but makes plans with Will Graham to kill him.

Nevertheless, Bella’s words about forgiveness come back to haunt Hannibal in season three. Unbeknownst to her she (and everyone he has met) does have an effect on him. In fact, even though Hannibal later claims that Will and the others had effected no change in him, that is a lie. Since becoming involved with the FBI, and knowing Will, Hannibal has developed close relationships with many people he would otherwise have never met. Remember  season one, when  Hannibal was a profoundly lonely man, who didn’t realize just how alone he was. After involving himself with Will, he became surrounded by people who cared about and trusted him, and although that did not prevent him from killing any of them, it has affected his attitudes and behaviors in small ways that will  play out in season three.

Will is clearly conflicted about Hannibal. As he makes plans with Jack, he also helps Hannibal destroy evidence in his office. While the two of them burn Hannibal’s files,  they make plans to run away together. Will is cagey about the commitment but it all becomes moot anyway, when Hannibal, with his keen sense of smell, scents Freddie Lound’s hair shampoo on Will’s clothes. Will had just had a meeting with her to ask her not to write any more stories involving Abigail, and to let her rest in peace, as he makes plans for Hannibal’s imminent capture.

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Will and Hannibal discuss what would happen to Hannibal if he were ever captured and Hannibal says he would live inside his Memory Palace, (something peripherally mentioned in the Silence of the Lambs), which is a place deep inside his mind, which resembles the foyer of the Norman Chapel in Palermo. Foreshadowing: This is information that Will uses to find Hannibal in season three.

Just as Hannibal has his Memory Palace, Will also has one. Fishing in the river.We saw Will visiting this place when he was in prison. At the time, Hannibal as the RavenStag, or the ManStag, was often shown infiltrating Will’s private mental space, illustrating that Hannibal (and Abigail) were never far from Will’s thoughts. Later, in season three, Will easily visits Hannibal’s Memory Palace. As an example of how intertwined their thoughts are, by that point, its not immediately clear to the viewer, whose mind we’re visiting, Will’s or Hannibal’s.

While having dinner, Hannibal asks Will to just leave with him, and not inform Jack, but Will lies to Hannibal, saying that Jack deserves to know, and puts forth the idea that Jack be killed. Hannibal doesn’t require that Jack die but he allows Will to keep lying to him. He was hoping that Will would come clean but he didn’t. Hannibal makes other plans at this point.

Kade Prunell, the Special Investigator, has caught wind of Jack’s plan. She aims to put a stop to it because its a complete violation of the law, and a private citizen’s rights. Claiming that the imminent death of his wife has compromised his logic, she suspends Jack from his position as Director. Jack, now free of any legal obligations to capture Hannibal alive, surrenders his gun and badge. Alana comes to his defense, arguing that the only way that Hannibal can be captured is in the act, , but Kade won’t hear of it. She tells Alana that Jack and Will are to be arrested for what happened to Randall Tier. Alana calls Will, to warn him about the warrants put out for his and Jack’s arrests, while Jack visits Bella in the hospital one last time.

Will calls Hannibal. Just as this whole thing began, that first season, with Hannibal’s phone call to Garrett Jacob Hobbes, (just because he was curious what would happen), Will’s phone call to Hannibal sets in motion a series of events that will end in tragedy for everyone in Hannibal’s orbit, and have repercussions far into their futures, as it sets off what fans  know as The Diner Rouge, The Red Dinner, where everyone’s  paths cross.

Jack arrives early for dinner at Hannibal’s home. They exchange pleasantries, but they both understand each other very well, in this instance. They begin to fight.

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Hannibal bests Jack and Jack locks himself in the walk-in cupboard, with a near mortal wound to the throat. Alana arrives to find Hannibal trying to batter his way in to finish off Jack. When she attracts his attention, he tells her that he tried, very hard, to keep her ignorant of what he is, expresses regret that he has to say goodbye to her, and as a courtesy, tells her she should flee. She fires at Hannibal but Hannibal had earlier removed the bullets from her gun.

Now she flees. She runs upstairs with Hannibal in pursuit, although he leaves the  kitchen knives behind. Alana is shocked to encounter Abigail Hobbes in an upstairs bedroom. Abigail pushes her out the window, and heads downstairs.

Will is just arriving. He finds Alana broken on the front steps, but alive. She warns him about Jack, while he calls for Emergency Services, then he goes inside where he finally sees that Abigail is actually alive. Shocked by this turn of events he doesn’t try to defend himself as Hannibal approaches. Hannibal says it was meant to be a surprise, the three of them going away together, as one big happy family. But that will never happen now. Just as Hannibal had his moment of complete understanding with Jack, Hannibal and Will have their moment. Hannibal is full of righteous fury about Will’s betrayal and deception.Will knows Hannibal is going to kill him and he accepts that he deserves it. What he didn’t count on was Hannibal taking Abigail away from him, again.

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To show Will his power, and to punish Will for his betrayal, (even if Will did renege at the last minute and warn him) Hannibal stabs Will in the stomach, but doesn’t kill him, although he easily could have, and as Will lays dying, Hannibal cuts Abigail’s throat in front of him. We end as we began, in season one, with Will clutching Abigail’s throat trying to save her life. Killing Abigail is also a moment of defiance because Will said he  affected Hannibal’s life for the good. Killing Abigail is Hannibal’s way of showing Will how little he changed him. After all, if he had changed him, would he be able to do this? But Will, in complete understanding, knows that the very act of killing Abigail, in defiance of Will’s assertions, is in itself, evidence of how much Hannibal has changed.

It’s also Hannibal just being petty and angry. He claims Will didn’t affect who he is, but he allowed Will to get close to him, and trusted him. Will did to Hannibal what Hannibal was doing to Alana, and that betrayal hurts. Its one of the reasons Hannibal kept himself aloof from other people all those years. Not just to protect his secret life, but the understanding that emotional connections would compromise his survival instincts. This is him showing Will that he is not compromised.

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But of course Will affected him, or he wouldn’t feel so much pain.

And this is not something out of character for Hannibal. The entire time that we’ve known Hannibal, he has tried to maintain a facade of equanimity, and dispassion, most of the time (I imagine for most of his life). He’s not emotionless. He has a deep well of emotion, but he maintains a rather impassive veneer. When he does get caught up in his emotions, and allow them to take rein, usually people die, and the Diner Rouge is no different event.

Most of the time we see Hannibal killing others from a place of clinical detachment. Killing is just something he thinks needs doing. This season we’ve seen him kill from emotion, at least once , when he killed the Judge who threw out his testimony during Will’s trial. He was insulted and outraged at his treatment, feeling lonely because of Will’s absence, and killing the Judge fell in line with removing an obstacle to his happiness. (Remember, before he decides to kill the Judge, there’s a scene of him sitting alone in his office, realizing exactly how much he played himself, when he had Will arrested, and how much he misses Will.)

At the end of season one Hannibal frames Will for survival reasons. At the end of season two, he is still in a mental  place, where he thinks more of himself, than he does the people in his orbit. He is still very much a selfish creature at the end of season one. But all during season two he has allowed himself to  care about Will, the only person he has ever allowed himself to have emotions for, since the death of his sister Misha, and he gets betrayed for his trouble. He’s not just mad at Will. He’s angry that he got suckered. Not ever having built up any kind of immunity against even the most the casual pains that human beings can inflict on each other, Hannibal is like a dangerous child, lashing out at anyone who hurts him.

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Having officially burned all his bridges, he steps out into the cleansing rain, believing that this part of his life is over, and that he can begin anew, casually stepping over Alana’s prone body, without even checking to see if she’s still alive. She meant nothing to him except as a means to control Will. He only made overtures to her when it looked like she might fall for Will, and only kept up a relationship with her so that Will couldn’t.

The final coda to this episode is Hannibal on a plane bound for Europe in the company of his psychiatrist, Bedelia Du’Maurier.

 

I started writing these reviews because I couldn’t find any good meta for this show that had been written after season two. I just decided, rather than scouring the internet for it, I should just write something myself.

Next up: The entirety of season three in my Hannibal re-watch.

 

 

 

 

 

Finn Meta Linkspam

Here are some discourses on my favorite character from Star Wars:

Star Wars, Finn, and Fandom Racism

 

We start with an admonishment to not be “That Person”.

thesovereignempress:

the-bi-writer:

this is a post for my fellow white star wars fans: we gotta do better. the treatment of Finn in the fandom at large has been dismal, both in obvious and insidious ways. so let’s talk about this.

quick note before we start: if you’re only here to argue, move on. if you’re already typing out a response beginning with, “not all white people,” don’t. however, if you’re interested in challenging your own biases, welcome aboard.

here are some harmful things white fans do, in regards to Finn:

1. we ignore him in fan works.

a quick check of ao3 stats shows that Hux (who has approx. 3 min of screen time) shows up in two thousand more works than Finn.

before you get defensive: no one’s telling you what you can and can’t write. however, as white fans we need to consider why we’re willing to go to the effort to imagine a rich backstory for a minor character we know almost nothing about, while ignoring the *actual* protagonist who already has a rich backstory of his own. (that protagonist is Finn, in case i was being unclear. Finn is a protagonist of Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens. Finn is a main character and co-lead. it’s Finn.)

2. when we do include Finn in fan works, we treat him poorly.

i’m going to stay in my lane on this one, and refer you to Writing with Color for more specifics on how *not* to treat black characters in harmful and/or stereotypical ways.

briefly: Finn is often hyper-sexualized (BBC, etc.) or pushed to the side by the narrative. additionally, very few fics, even ones with Finn in the main pairing, truly treat Finn as the protagonist of their fic.

i’m guilty of this myself, and i’m working on it. which is all i’m asking you to do: educate yourself, be willing to change, and then do it.

3. we underestimate his role in cannon

go read this post, and then tell me you haven’t been underestimating Finn from the moment he stepped on screen. i’d noticed almost everything the post points out, but chalked it up to plot holes, instead of considering that Finn (again, a protagonist) had been awake in the force since the beginning of the film.

that, right there friends, is racism.

tl;dr fellow white fans, we gotta do better. let’s take the energy we spend trying to convince people we aren’t racist…and actually be less racist. it’s our responsibility to examine our attitudes and change our actions. now is the time.

further reading:

here’s some excellent finn meta

here’s 5 tips for being an ally (video) by chescaleigh (Franchesca Ramsey) – her channel has a ton of other videos about race too.

here are a whole bunch of resources from Writing with Color, a tumblr “dedicated to writing and resources centered on racial & ethnic diversity.”

(feel free to add links + resources)

The thing is, if Reylo is your pairing and that’s the characters you choose to focus on – since that is how shipping works and as a reader I’m definitely going in for Reylo and other characters are secondary – what qualifies as “ignoring” or “pushing to the side”? That’s my issue with these talks about erasure and sidelining around Finn.

Lest it be misunderstood, I totally agree that we can be better at treating Finn in our fan works. I’ve seen him used in some uncomfortable ways. But there are some contradictions in this endeavor that tend to get glossed over.

I mean, no one is saying Finn should be the focus of fanfics about Reylo or other non-Finn ships. That doesn’t make sense. When we talk about Finn erasure, we’re talking about the bigger picture.

For example, if I go to the main TFA tag or the Star Wars tag, Finn is often nowhere to be seen. If I look for Finn (or even Finnrey or Stormpilot) fics, few that come up in the search are actually about Finn, making it difficult to find actual Finn content where he’s not a background character. When the title for Ep 8 dropped, There was a lot of speculation that The Last Jedi might be Ren and Rey as if Finn doesn’t exist. It’s not just in individual ship fics, if you look at many fan spaces, you would think Finn was a very minor character, not a main character. And that’s a problem.

We have to ask why Reylo and Kylux are the dominant ships while fics about Finn are the least popular. The question is not why aren’t Reylo and Kylux fics about Finn, it’s why are these ships exponentially more popular than ships including Finn and fics where Finn is actually a main character.

After a year’s worth of justifications that historically ONLY apply to white characters (fandom loves villains, the blank slate, etc) plus the fact that white heroes/protags are shipped like crazy, it’s clear that Finn’s blackness contributes heavily to his minimization.

Source: the-bi-writer fandom racism star wars finn
jawnbaeyega luminousfinn

skywalkerapologist:

luminousfinn:

The narrative arc The Force Awakens create between Finn and Kylo Ren is an interesting one. Visually it begins in the very first scene they appear on screen together at the assault of Tuanul village after the execution of the villagers that FN-2187 refused to participate in. When Kylo Ren is returning to his shuttle, he stops and stares at Finn for, at the time, no discernible reason.

In doing this the movie draws a visual line between the two men, connecting them in the audience’s mind and in-universe. One is dressed in black, the other in white, both are helmeted and faceless, but already we have witnessed the distinction between them and the movie spends the rest of its time emphasizing it: Kylo Ren will murder on a whim, while FN-2187 refuses to kill unarmed civilians.

After this “meeting” Kylo Ren maintains a distinct interest in FN-2187. So much that he not only knows that it was the same trooper which aided Poe in escaping, but that when he learns that Finn has got away with BB-8 he throws one of his two destructive rampages.

The other he has when Rey escapes captivity.

After this their stories part for a time, but only to be rejoined on Starkiller Base after Kylo Ren murders Han Solo.

After Chewie shoots Kylo, blows up the oscillator and everyone including Finn and Rey starts shooting, we see Kylo Ren kneeling on the bridge looking up. .

The camera cuts to an angle behind Kylo Ren’s head so we now also have Finn and Rey in the shot, both standing on a balcony in the background

Another cut, closing up on our two leads. This shows them both standing, looking down on Kylo Ren. Both look shocked and Finn is stepping forward on the balcony, towards the audience and more importantly, towards Kylo.

Once again the movie cuts and again it zooms in so that now Finn is in focus. His face merges from the shock and fear he has so far displayed, into grief, anger and determination. And throughout the shot he steps further and further forward while the camera zooms in on him, visually emphasizing him stepping into the conflict with Kylo Ren.

Rey is barely in the frame here and by the end of the shot she’s entirely gone, leaving her literally out of the picture.

Next cut is back to Kylo Ren, who is staring up at Finn. The way this sequence is cut together makes it startlingly clear that this is where he is looking and who he is looking at. Kylo’s face merges from surprise into unmitigated fury and hatred at the sight of FN-2187, the Stormtrooper who defected, who is everything he is not.

The whole sequence mirrors their first encounter with the two men staring at each other, though they’re now unmasked and we can see the mutual enmity clear on their faces. Finn is no longer running away, he’s stepping forward and the camera zooms in on Kylo’s face drawing him into conflict with Finn as well.

The movie sets up this conflict not just for the coming battle in the forest, but also for the next two Episodes as the battle between the two men is a draw. Finn is defeated by Kylo, but the Dark Sider does not obtain the lightsaber and is in turn defeated by Rey. Neither of them emerges a victor and the narrative conflict between them remains unresolved.

So whatever Episode VIII and IX brings, it is clear that Finn and Kylo will cross paths again and Kylo had better beware. To borrow John’s words: “Finn ain’t playing no more”, that much is clear from the scene in the oscillator.

Next cut is back to Kylo Ren, who is staring up at Finn. The way this sequence is cut together makes it startlingly clear that this is where he is looking and who he is looking at. 

This part is so important and yet flew over like 90% of the fandom’s heads in favor of focusing on Rey (gee I wonder why).

The shift in Finn’s expression from shocked grief to quiet rage reminds me of Luke’s reaction to seeing his aunt and uncle’s burnt corpses in ANH. Obviously Rey and Kylo will be squaring off again in VIII but TFA also made it clear that there’s some serious bad blood between Finn and Kylo that’s entirely separate from wanting to protect or recruit Rey. Which is why I roll my eyes when I see people claim that Finn is going to be shunted off to a B-plot opposite Hux (a character he never interacted with in TFA) and Phasma (who he literally threw in the trash).

Also, it’s worth noting that for the first time, Rey has to take Finn by the arm and pull him away.

image

Kylo was stumbling up towards them and I’m not convinced that Finn wouldn’t have tried to take him down right then and there.

finn meta to read
rebelfinn

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*Look, as far as I’m concerned Finn is Force Sensitive, and that’s that. He will be a  Jedi. I will wrestle you out of of your underwear, with your pants still on, if you disagree. Here, have some receipts:

Also, I just love this gorgeous essay on the parallels between Finn’s narrative and Arthurian legend.

jawnbaeyega adagalore

luminousfinn:

Maz giving Finn the lightsaber is noticeable for many reasons, not least of which because it happens twice and for all the Arthurian parallels surrounding the scenes.

 

The first time takes place just after the destruction of the Hosnia system which is what makes Finn return to Han (and implicitly to the fight against the Dark Side). At this point none of them knows that they’re about to be attacked themselves by the First Order, not even Maz.

Despite this she immediately upon Finn’s return  takes him, Han and Chewie into the cellar where she keeps the lightsaber. When she takes it out of the chest Han recognizes it and asks where she got it, she brushes him off and focuses on Finn.

Why Finn? Last she saw him Finn made it clear that he was leaving. Hosnia’s destruction marked a tentative return, but so far it is tentative. And wouldn’t Han a man who might not be a paragon, but someone she’s know for years, make more sense?

Her words as she passes it are ambiguous. “Take it. Find your friend.” And do what exactly? Give it to her? Use it to protect her? What? Recall, no one but Maz and Rey herself knows that Rey can use the Force at this point. In fact Finn is never told this in TFA.

In assorted other things the fact that Han’s attention shifts off Maz and onto Finn the moment she tells him to take it, but before she stops talking is interesting. His intent gaze on Finn as he makes the choice to take the weapon is mirrored in the second “giving” by Maz.

Maz too is looking rather expectantly as Finn reaches out and takes the lightsaber from her. The music that has so far been playing softly in the background swells dramatically the moment Finn’s hand touches the saber and mixes with the diegetic sound of an approaching TIE fighter as Finn raises the lightsaber as a young Arthur might Excalibur. The scene ends in a dramatic boom as the castle is struck just as we see Finn look at the saber with a serious face.

It is noticeable that Finn is so entranced by the lightsaber that he doesn’t seem to hear the incoming TIE. Not long before at Niima Outpost he jumped at the first sound of it, but here he’s oblivious to the noise.

 

Now before I go on to the second “giving” I’m going to make a small detour around Arthurian myth.

Much have been made of the Arthurian parallels in TFA. Kylo Ren as a Mordred like figure. Luke as either a Merlin or a fallen Arthur himself and of course Rey pulling the Skywalker lightsaber out of the metaphorical stone. But the Arthurian parallels have been ignored where Finn is concerned, especially when it comes to the giving of the lightsaber/Excalibur, because in Arthurian myths there are two kinds of givings of that sword. One is Arthur pulling it out of the stone which declares himself the true king of Britain, in the other it is given to him by The Lady of the Lake.

In both versions Arthur starts out as a youth of unknown parentage grown up fostered by strangers, just as Finn is. In the second versions Arthur runs into Merlin, often portrayed as an older, wiser man. Depending on the version Arthur either asks Merlin for help or about his future, in either case Merlin takes him to The Lady of the Lake.

The Lady depending on the version of the tale is either a powerful magical being or a High Priestess of Avalon. She proceeds to ask the young Arthur several question and put him through a test which he fails, but she sees that though he is not perfect he has a good heart and a true spirit. Realizing this she bequeath him Excalibur, the sword of the true king and the mark of a hero.

Maz is in a quite literal sense The Lady of the Lake. She a powerful alien, strong in the Force who has made her home on a lake.

Her initial interactions with Finn runs parallel with The Lady’s testing of Arthur, complete with Finn “failing the test” by choosing to leave. But in deciding to return to the fight Finn proves to The Lady of the Lake that he’s heart and spirit is true and so she gives him Excalibur (the Skywalker lightsaber) to wield.

 

That she means for him to wield it and not just as a caretaker becomes clear in the second “giving”.

When they exit the now ruined castle the dark forces are upon them and battle is joined. Maz once more tells Finn to go find his friends.

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.

As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

At first we see doubt on Finn’s face, it’s an unfamiliar weapon and a Jedi’s weapon to boot. How can he wield this? But Maz believes he can and Finn is nothing if not up for whatever challenge life throws at him so he ignites it. The blade flashes to life in his hand, accepting him as a worthy wielder, and the moment it does Finn’s decision is also made. He may not be a Jedi (yet), but the sword is his.

 

tl;dr. There is a lot of Arthurian coding around Han (Merlin) bringing Finn (a young Arthur) to Maz (The Lady of the Lake), Maz testing him and in finding that he has a good and pure heart gives him the Skywalker lightsaber (Excalibur). The sword allowing itself to be ignited (drawn from the sheath) confirms Finn’s worthiness as its wielder.

Source: luminousfinnLISTENTHIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OKfinn factsfinn metafinn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi okchoke on THAT
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*I have a friend who insists that Finn was nothing more than comedy relief and refuses to move from the position that he is a “coon”, no matter how many valid points I bring up. I just don’t get it. Its obvious that she and I were not watching the same movie at all. But then, she and I aren’t in the same place on the idea of representation, either, which might be some type of generational thing. Also part of the problem is that a lot of Black people were expecting Shaft in Space. We already got all that with Mace Windu’s  purple lightsaber, so why copy that?
lj-writes

Finn’s subversive decency

Choosing to be kind is not choosing to be passive. It’s choosing to end the cycle of abuse… . It’s a courageous act in itself.

-Melissa Grey on Cinderella

It’s amazing to me how some parts of the Star Wars fandom have no sense of nuance when it comes to Finn’s character, seeing him as either a naive child who can hardly function in the real world or a ruthless killer who showed no regrets or conflicts whatsoever about killing his former comrades.

Both extremes are fairly dehumanizing and distorted portrayals of the actual character, because the core of Finn’s character is that he is innocent when he has no business being so. He’s a character whose innocence and purity are not oblivious naïvete but qualities he had to fight to keep and attain. His morality is not based on an ignorance of life’s harsh realities, but rather on an intimate knowledge of brutality and the will to break free of it.

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Oooh! More theory!

https://youtu.be/YByg2UoncBs

The Final Girls (2015)

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Normally, I plan my Horror movie reviews,  for October, well in advance of Halloween, but this one surprised me. I’d never heard of it until a few days ago. I originally confused this movie with another movie about serial killers, with the same title, called Final Girl, which was released the same year. Final Girl is also a comedy but the two movies are very different.

The Final Girls is a rather broad parody of serial killer movies from the eighties, with all their various tropes, specifically the  Friday the 13th movies, and  the movie Sleepaway Camp. There’s also some elements of the Scream  movies. Some modern day teenagers get trapped in an eighties horror movie and have to try to survive to the end of it. To that end, they use their knowledge of horror movies, in general ,and the specific horror movie they’ve landed in, to try to navigate their way through the movie. Nothing goes as planned.

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About 25 years ago, Max’s actress mother, Amanda, starred in a horror movie called Camp Bloodbath, and can’t seem to live it down, as she’s having difficulty finding other roles. After one such audition, Max and Amanda are involved in a car crash and Amanda’s mother dies. Three years later, Max is still grieving for her, but has some new friends, and a crush on a guy named Chris.

All of them get invited to a special screening of her mother’s old movie and its new sequel, Camp Bloodbath II. When the theater catches fire, Max, Chris, her best friend Gertie, a bitchy girl named Vicki, and Gertie’s stepbrother, Duncan,  try to escape the fire by tearing their way through the movie screen, only to find themselves stuck in the movie. Duncan is an expert on serial killer movies and Camp Bloodbath specifically. One of the funniest moments is them sitting by the side of the road, trying to figure out where they are, and if they are indeed, in a movie.

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In a moment of prime surreality, Max meets her actress mother, years before she became her Mom, as the nice girl stereotype named Nancy. Max spends the rest of the movie trying  to save Amanda’s life, even though on some level she knows these aren’t real people. Its a bittersweet moment, as you can tell that seeing her mother alive and well again is having a real effect on Max. She tries to advise and guide her without telling her that she’s Amanda’s  unborn daughter.

The Camp counselors consist of the usual throwaway characters including a randy horndog, named Kurt, who everyone thinks is disgusting, except for the girls in the Bloodbath movie. There’s Tina, the camp sexpot, and the actual Final Girl of Camp Bloodbath, Paula. The Black guy of course, is killed almost immediately. Since one of the rules of serial killer movies is that whoever has sex dies, the  modern crew spend most of the movie trying to keep what characters they can from having sex. After Duncan gets killed, they learn that their own lives are fodder for the killer, named Billy.

Billy is played as a straight killer, in the mold of Jason rather than Freddie, with much the same backstory.  We learn this when the modern day teens get caught in a flashback, within the movie, in the movie (and believe they’ve gone colorblind.) Billy  doesn’t crack jokes, or cackle menacingly. He’s actually pretty terrifying, really, which just makes the movie funnier, as no one takes him as seriously as they should with Duncan deciding he wants a selfie with him.

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One of the funniest moments, for me, is when they put Tina in restraints, kitchen mitts, and extra clothing to keep her from having sex or taking her clothes off. Tina, who is best classified as a very dim bulb, doesn’t understand any of it. Bless her heart! At one point, Vicki tries to explain  that her cellphone is actually a  phone, and Tina just laughs at her.

When Paula gets killed, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Without Paula to be the Final Girl,  they elect Max as the only virgin. Her job is to kill Billy just like in the original film. Killing Billy is probably the only way they can escape the movie. So they lure Billy to the camp by using Tina as bait, by allowing her to take off her clothes, and booby trapping the entire house. During Billy’s siege of the camp, most of the other characters get killed. Only Chris, Nancy and Max escape, and Chris is wounded, when Billy kidnaps Nancy.

Max is desperate to save Nancy and goes after her . She manages to free Nancy but is wounded in the attempt. In order for there to be a Final Girl, one of the girls must die, though. Nancy sacrifices herself but not before Max confesses to her that she is the movie counterpart to her late mother. Now, as the Final Girl, Max has the superpowers to defeat Billy. After killing him with his own machete, she wakes up in the hospital to find all her friends are alive again, but unfortunately, they are all now  stuck in the sequel.

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I had a lot of fun watching this movie. I loved the dialogue, the sight gags, all of it. I especially liked the character’s relationships with each other. Normally these types of movies are full of people you are hoping will be killed, but with the exception of Kurt, who is kinda “rapey”, and thereby disgusting, most of them are sweet, but not too bright. Even the modern characters, while snarky, are not actually mean, and some of them even make fun of which stereotypes they are, with Vicki making cracks about being the “mean girl”. I laughed the hardest at some of the throwaway lines the modern teens lobbed at the movie teens, who were too dim to understand.

I especially liked Max’s relationship with Nancy. The two of them spend some amount of time bonding, and you can see all of Max’s grief and longing, when she talks to Nancy, while  trying not to reveal who she is.  Nancy asks her, a couple of times, why she cares about her so much, and Max stutters to come up with a reason for why she’s attached herself to this girl. I like that the women aren’t just sexy floor lamps. They affect the plot as much as they can, considering their circumstances, and manage to contribute a lot of one-liners to the discussion. The movie teens have no idea how funny they are. They play it completely straight, while the modern teens are deliberately snarky, because they can’t believe the situation they’re in.

 

There are several girls in the movie and they all  talk to each other, support each other when they can, and are largely non-judgmental about one another. For example, no one considers Tina’s cat-in-heat behavior, to be at all remarkable. They just take it in stride that she’s gonna try to hump anything that moves, and/or take her clothes off. They try to stop that because it attracts Billy, not because they judge her as being bad.

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The modern teens are surprisingly intelligent, and some of the funniest moments is watching them come up with a plans to defeat the movie they’re trapped in, but it doesn’t matter because, according to the laws of teen killer movies, there can be only one survivor, so everyone keeps having horrible accidents, as the movie attempts to correct itself.

This strongly reminded me of the movie Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, as it has much of the same kind of silly, slapstick humor.  The kind of humor that’s  not predicated on people being bitchy or unlikable. As an example, I give you Grizzly Park, which is a movie about a bear, hunting and killing teenagers, at a summer camp. The people in that movie, are quite possibly some of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever watched  in a movie, and at some point, I wished all of them would hurry up and be mauled by the bear, so the movie could end. I watched that movie with my Mom, an old veteran of these kinds of movies, and even she cheered for the bear.

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And it was very refreshing to watch a movie made in 2015, where you care about the people being killed. Ordinarily, the killer seems to be the focus of any  movies made after Scream, and you root for  him, or the people he’s killing are so annoying that you pray for their deaths. And its also quite a contrast to movies made in the 80’s, where the teens seemed to like each other. Teens were annoying in the movies back then, and the movies were deeply sexist, but the teens weren’t bad people, and I didn’t spend the movie wishing for them to die.

Since I saw this on a family oriented network, I can assume its mostly safe for teens, but not for little kids under a certain age maybe, as there is a certain amount of gore, language, and sexual situations.

This movie was a surprise like for me, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, and I’m adding it to my comedy/ horror list, along with Tucker and Dale, Shaun of the Dead , and The Addam’s Family.

American Horror Story Chapter Six

So yeah, the twist is indeed in, as well as the shift in focus of the show. Everything has been shifted about. In the interests of openness I have to admit it o a hatred of most of reality TV. I’ll watch travel and eatery shows, or shows about wilderness survival, with experts in them, and  I’ve even seen a couple of episodes of Naked and Afraid, but that got boring pretty fast. I am however really liking this season of AHS, mostly because it’s not focused so much  on the inane dramas between the characters, but on the actual horror of the situation they’re all in.

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The idea that we, and the cast, would be revisiting the Roanoke Nightmare House isn’t the twist though. Sydney, played by my precious cinnamon roll, Cheyenne Jackson, is the creator of the show we just watched in the first five episodes, and his proposal to his television backers is that he should gather together the entire cast, go back to the house, and film the results during the Blood Moon. It turns out that what we were watching for five episodes was a huge hit for Sydney and he wants  to cash in on that, despite what has happened to the cast since then. So ,in chapter six, the show goes completely, full-on meta, and I don’t think what we saw tonight is the last of this season’s surprises.

Now, the show has a tendency to go off focus during the season, as the writers get carried away with their storytelling ideas, and start throwing everything into the plot, just to see if it will stick,or just because they like it. This season, with the exception of a few scenes thrown in just to have some action, or a jump scare, has been kept pretty tightly reined in, so I’ve enjoyed it a lot more than previous ones. Tonight’s episode was kept ion point, as well, making it easy to understand, despite how complicated the plot has actually become.

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Since their time at Roanoke, Matt and Shelby have divorced. Matt didn’t care for the fame that came to him because of what happened there, that Shelby called the police on his sister, and accused her of killing her husband, Mason. Yes indeed. That was a dick move on Shelby’s part. Yeah, I don’t like Shelby either. The final straw was when Shelby had an affair with the man who played her husband in the reenactments. His name is Dominic. The actress who played Shelby on the show is actually British, and we get to hear Paulson’s accent, as Audrey, which sounds a bit dodgy. She got married to the actor who played Mott in the last episode, and his name is Monohan. And since he’s so much younger than her ,she’s really super-sensitive about that. I thought it was a scam, on his part, but he seems to genuinely be in love with her.

The actress who played Lee became an alcoholic,  just like the original Lee because she was having trouble dealing with being the public face of the real Lee, who has been accused of killing her husband for the insurance money, and custody of her daughter.  (Angela Bassett’s character is named Monet.) Fans of the show started a petition to have Lee charged with murder, her mother in law is suing for custody of Flora, and everyone treats her with nothing but contempt, including Monet.

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But the worst result of the show is Kathy Bates character, Agnes, who played Thomasina The Butcher, in the reenactments. That actress had a complete mental breakdown and started believed herself  to actually be The Butcher, running through  he streets of downtown Hollywood with an ax, before she was captured and hospitalized. Sydney serves her with a restraining order after a ring of animal organs are found on the new set of the show. He is hoping she will show up on set anyway becasue that will make for great drama. My precious baby is a complete asshole in this role.

When one of the crew gets killed on set with a chainsaw, Sydney’s assistant quits and drives off in an angry huff. She encounters what appears to be a The Butcher by the side of  the road, but is attacked by someone in her car, too, and she crashes. The notecard for her states that she was missing for six months before they found her car, and her body was never found.

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The sixth episode is mostly about the setup, as Sydney lies, cajoles, and coerces all the actual people, and the actors who played ,them into staying at the Roanoke house for several weeks, while they film the entire thing with hidden cameras. And you know it’s going to be explosive because while all the characters have their reason for joining the new cast, they all hate each other.

Matt wants nothing to do with Shelby, who thinks that they might be able to reconcile, during the show. He would love nothing more than to beat the snot out ofDominic, because he slept with his wife. The Shelby actress,Audrey,  is deeply insecure about her marriage, and has nothing but contempt for the real Shelby, as being weak and pathetic. The real Lee  hates the real Shelby. The actress who played Lee, Monet,  hates the actual Lee, and the all actors  have contempt for the actual people they portrayed on the show, laughing and joking about them, whenever they leave the room. Also none of the actors believe in any of the stuff that they say happened to them.

I don’t think this bodes well for non-believers because non-belief won’t save them from what’s happening at Roanoke House.  Like Stephen King’s 1408, what’s happening there isn’t dependent on whether you believe it or not. One of the reasons Shelby, Matt, and Lee survived is because they  simply believed what was happening to them.

Things get off to a rousing start when Lee attacks Shelby, calling her weak and pathetic, just as Audrey does later. Here’s where I have to admit to a certain amount of prejudice towards Shelby myself. As soon as I heard what she did for a living my first thought was that she was a  useless woman, and not someone you want to have in a crisis, but she proved to be okay in that regard. I still don’t like her though.

Later, Matt attacks Dominic and they have a knockdown, drag-out fight, as soon as Dominic steps through the front door. This certainly makes for exciting television for the viewers, but that’s not the point of this episode, because this  isn’t the twist.

It turns out we’re all looking at whatever footage was leftover from a show which never got a chance to air because ,with exception of only one person, the entire cast died.

So we’re really watching final days of everyone involved with the making of My Roanoke Nightmare. And they’re might even be additional twists as the season moves forward.

So yeah,I’m really getting into this. When that note-card appeared onscreen, I got chills. This is awesome!

Captain America Civil War Meta

One of the reasons I like Tumblr so much is that its much easier to find in depth analysis of some of my favorite movies and characters, that go well beyond your typical, glossy movie reviews. In fact, Tumblr is almost famous for this.

*I do actually like Tony despite my criticism of this character. I sympathize with Tony and his efforts to try to do good, and understand he’s gone through a lot of trauma he’s simply not dealing with very well. But at the same time, I also acknowledge that this does not excuse Tony’s fuckups. I like Tony because in the Iron Man movies he is willing to acknowledge when he’s messed up and apologize for his mistakes. That’s not the problem. The problem is that he goes on to make all new, horrible mistakes.

starkassembled

a piece about Tony Stark’s mental state throughout the MCU [spoilers below cut]

Tony Stark, of the original team, is the only civilian after Bruce. But there are some key differences between he and Bruce. Bruce is treated delicately by the team after he comes back from the Hulk. They give him his space, let him listen to his chill out remix. They let him come down in his own time. I also think that Bruce has demonstrated that he has a solid handle on himself. He grapples with a huge amount of guilt (and anger), but he’s never demonstrated any signs of trauma. He’s upset by some of the destruction he causes, but he’s found a balance, probably in his own research into ways to calm himself and balance his anger, that’s helped him be able to live with himself without snapping.

Tony Stark doesn’t have that. Tony is a civilian, with no proper training other than the training he’s put himself through in order to operate the suit. Sure, he was a military weapons contractor most of his life, he’s been around military most of his life, but he’s never seen violence and combat like he has since the kidnapping.

Tony’s also demonstrated that he really has no healthy way to handle his guilt, his pain. He bottles things up and he shoves them to the side to deal with later. Except he doesn’t want to deal with it later. So he tinkers and he builds and with each subsequent betrayal of his trust throughout his film appearances, it only serves to increase his paranoia, increase his anxiety, make his survivor’s guilt that much deeper.

Tony has slowly been losing his mind since his kidnapping in IM1. He’s nearly killed in a bombing by one of his own stolen weapons. He’s held hostage by a terror cell, he’s learning that his weapons that he built to protect his country are somehow ending up in the hands of terrorists and murderers. So when he goes home, he immediately shuts down his weapons manufacturing and starts building a way to get his weapons out of those hands.

He learns that his father figure of the last 30 years has betrayed him, is trying to take over his company, has been selling his weapons to terrorists all this time and tried to have him killed.

He’s grappling with the guilt and the weight of the lives and livelihoods destroyed by his stolen weapons that he can never make amends for. And then he’s dying, he tries to give his life away to his friends while pushing them away to spare them any pain his inevitable death may cause.

And then months later he’s flying through a wormhole, his suit goes dead and all he can do is watch as a nuke tears apart the Chitauri fleet before his eyes as his exit gets smaller and smaller. He could die here. Die floating out in the silence and dark expanse of space. He won’t get a burial. He won’t be laid to rest beside his mother.

But he manages to fall out at the last moment, but every night he’s back there, back in space, unsure if the blast will reach him before he chokes to death.

He has no time for any therapy, because the world always needs saving. He continues to work, his PTSD and survivor’s guilt gets worse and worse, eating away at him. He builds himself an army of armors to try and keep himself and his friends safe.

*(Technically, he does have time for therapy, as the final scene of The Avengers shows. He just refuses to get any more, and chooses the wrong therapist.)

He tries to give it up for Pepper, because it’s what Pepper wants and he’d do anything for her. But he can’t give it up, not when there are innocent lives at risk. So he makes new suits. He makes the Iron Legion. He’s trying to find a way to protect the world while being able to retire. To get some rest. To find some peace. Hopefully to get some therapy. But that time never comes because in all his paranoid efforts to build peace, he builds destruction instead. Ultron tries to end the world and the team stops him, but at the cost of a country. At the cost of thousands of lives. And he tries to do his best to save as many people as he could, but it’s too much.

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*Bucky was born in a different era nd under very different circumstances than Tony, but still, contrast Bucky’s methods of coping with the trauma of the things he’s done, with Tony’s methods.

“But I Did It”- Guilt in Captain America: Civil War

I came away from Civil War really struck by how overwhelming the theme of guilt was. It motivates people to do selfless things, it motivates people to do selfish things, and it’s the driving force behind the ultimate showdown between Bucky and Tony. What the movie does though is contrast the fashion people deal with their guilt.

Tony and Bucky are both people consumed by guilt. In both cases it’s guilt over things they ultimately had no control over. Tony couldn’t have predicted that his parents would die with so many things left unsaid between them and him, yet when we first see him he’s reliving that moment over and over. Tony is steeped in even more guilt when his actions in creating Ultron are thrown back in his face by a victim’s mother. He’s even guilty that his teammates hold him responsible for their containment. The crux of the issue is that Tony just can’t let it go. He’s willing to stare his flaws in the face, but he’s unwilling to forgive himself for those flaws, which leads to an issue I’ll get to in a second. Tony is stuck in an endless guilt loop. His attempts to fix things always seem to lead to more issues that lead to more guilt. He’s understandably frustrated because he’s just so driven to try to make things RIGHT that he’s willing to clash hard and often with people who don’t agree with his ideas. Ultimately the government might be right that the Avengers should have some limitations put on them, but Tony is so desperate to try to fix or at least ease his mind over what he feels like he’s responsible for that he makes agreements and does things without looking at every angle. He flogs himself over his mistakes, but he can’t even really articulate the real problem: acceptance that sometimes things happen no matter what and you’re going to have to live with them.

*Now contrast that  with what Steve says to Wanda after the incident in Africa. These are exactly  Steve’s words to her.

It’s Bucky who actually voices what is Tony’s issue as well as his. As Steve tries to tell his friend that it was Hydra’s fault and that “it wasn’t really you doing those things” during his assassin days, Bucky calmly and quietly looks up and says “but I did it”. It doesn’t matter to Bucky who MADE him do it. It doesn’t matter to him that he was just the weapon. What matters to him is that he did it. He has to live with that. He has to see something he caused happen in his mind over and over again. He ultimately takes responsibility, and in doing that he echoes something Steve says earlier about being willing to shoulder the blame over things that go wrong. What Steve doesn’t address is not just being willing to bear the consequences of mistakes, but being willing to move forward from there.

That’s the real issue. Not whose fault it ultimately is, but the fact that both Tony and Bucky, in their minds, DID IT. They have to live with that. They have to live with something that no amount of reassurance from outsiders can fix. All the love and understanding in the world can’t help someone who won’t move out of the guilt cycle. And in the end that’s why Tony, in spite of knowing Bucky had no control over his actions in killing the Starks, attempts to kill him. I think it would be easy to claim Tony is motivated purely by revenge, but I think it’s more than that. Tony of anyone should be able to understand someone causing something horrible inadvertently. He’s been in Bucky’s place. He’s caused damage without really knowing it. He KNOWS Bucky was programmed, even calls him the “Manchurian Candidate” at one point proving he completely believes Bucky had no control over his actions. Part of the reason Tony can’t accept Bucky’s moral innocence in what he did is because he can’t accept his own. Tony can’t consider forgiving Bucky because he can’t forgive himself. Tony’s generally a reasonable person, but he’s willing to flat out murder Bucky in the end even though he’s aware Bucky was just the weapon that HYDRA used to kill his parents. Bucky didn’t have a choice in the matter, Tony knows that, but he violently tries to hold him responsible in the same way he mentally holds himself. “Do you even remember them” he lashes out at Bucky, sure that the person involved in causing the determining factor in his life can’t understand the magnitude of what he’s done. Can’t understand the weight of feeling responsible for some many lives. He unwittingly echoes the woman who cornered him in the elevator earlier in the movie. He’s suddenly in her place reacting the exact same way.

“I remember them all.”

That line, right there. If Tony had been able to pause in his rage and grief for a second he would have realized that out of ANYONE he’s come across, Bucky gets it the best. Tony lives with all the ghosts of what he’s caused. So does Bucky. Bucky voices what Tony can’t. No matter what people tell you, you are still going to feel guilty that you did something no matter the reason and every incident can still be fresh and painful and seared on your memory whether it really deserves to be there or not. Maybe you had false information, maybe you didn’t have control, but it still happened. You still did it. You’re still going to have to live with it. And if you don’t forgive yourself to some degree you’re not really going to function. You can see Bucky trying to figure out how to live with himself. He can at least voice that he’s not sure he’s worth it, voice his uncertainty. You see him cringing at the scythe of destruction he is (ie. “what did I do”). You see him figuring out how to live with guilt without needing to punish himself.

Tony says the problem without really saying it. “And then, and then, and then”. The cycle over and over and over. He pushes people away because of it. He tortures himself because of it. And it will eat him alive until he is able to step forward.

*Throughout all of the films we witness three different methods of dealing with trauma, Steve’s way, Bucky’s, and Tony’s. Of the three, Steve and Bucky deal with their trauma in a more healthy manner. Steve’s method is to confront what he’s done head on, process it, and deal with the emotions from it. Bucky’s method is to mentally and physically withdraw. After he gets his mind back, his first impulse is  to retire from the field of play. After the main plot is over, his instinct is to, once again, completely withdraw. Not hunt down Hydra or get revenge. And Tony chooses to not deal with it at all, to shove it aside.

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*This entire meta is an echo of the post I wrote about Tony’s motivations earlier. (https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/on-the-right-captain-america-and-iron-man/)

Tony was definitely a villain in the comic books, during Civil War, and frankly, he didn’t come across looking too good in this movie, either.

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I got words.

See that curb party Steve and Bucky were giving Tony at the end of the trailer actually made me feel really bad for him, and that’s interesting. Because while there is something pitiable about Tony in the MCU, the Tony I’m familiar with from the comics, is not. And certainly not during Civil War. In the comics Tony was objectively wrong during Civil War. His methods of getting what he wanted during that run were unforgivable.

But the Tony we’ve been working with in the MCU is decidedly less in love with himself. His egotism is largely for show, because we’ve seen him have panic attacks and display acts of poor self care. But the line about also being Steve’s friend seemed really out of place to me. Because they have never really been friendly. They’ve been civil and work on the same superhero team but for Age of Ultron’s part it was them fighting with each each other over how to handle their problem. So I can’t help but think a lot of this comes from if its because of Tony’s genuine lack of self confidence says he puts a lot of stock into what Steve thinks of him. The MCU has made Tony into someone whowants to do good, but doesn’t actually have the tools to enact that good or have a real understanding of what good is in the real world with it’s moral complexities. It’s not that his intentions aren’t genuine, but this kind of altruism isn’t in his nature. He understands the world in a very binary way. Something is good, or it’s bad. A lack of awareness of grey areas makes it difficult for him to make the best judgement when put in a “hero” position. When he does good there is a lotof collateral damage. And maybe he needs Steve, this kind of universally accepted pillar of good, to agree that what he does and his actions are good so he can justify himself to himself. Because Tony’s solutions to difficult problems, historically, have been “kill myself’ which doesn’t indicate that he’s got a whole lot of self worth, or someone who thinks the only means of being heroic is through a self sacrificing Hail Mary. In all of the Iron Man films and both Avengers films, I’ve never felt as though being a hero was something Tony felt comfortable falling into, there’s always been a certain uncertainty.

But, in turn, I don’t think Steve’s ever thought highly of Tony, I think he’s been surprised by Tony but goes into most interactions with him ready to be annoyed or disappointed. And Tony’s never had like, real friends. Rhodey (and arguably Pepper, and even Bruce being a friend of circumstance) being a singular exception. And now he’s got this Avengers crew who’s actually got his back, it probably never occurred to him that Steve’s got baggage too. He probably doesn’t see Steve as a real person, but as this mythological figure because he grew up while Steve was solidly frozen. Steve’s always been propaganda to him, something his father – who he grew up resentful of – spoke highly of. Steve’s probably never been a real person to him. He’s never treated him like one. I can imagine Tony would hugely misinterpret “tolerance” for “friendship” especially from someone he hasn’t bothered to actually know as a human being.

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radialarch

so i’ve seen quite a bit of doylist discussion about the steve-tony relationship and how marvel is trying to use a long comics history as shorthand in the mcu, but i keep thinking about it from a watsonian point of view. and here’s the thing: tony stark is not very good at friends.

tony is self-centered, antagonistic, and sarcastically belligerent on the best of days (and i say this with great affection); he is not an easy person to be friends with. tony knows this. and tony has, i think, decided very early on that he doesn’t care to sand down his rough edges for the sake of friends. it’s very possible that his first friend in the world was edwin jarvis – and that says a lot, that the people tony grows close to are, by and large, in some ways obligated not to leave him.

because that’s what tony does to people: he is intensely tony at them until they leave. and if they don’t, then maybe – maybe that means they love him. this is the tony stark model of friendship. it’s not a very healthy model, granted, but no one’s ever accused tony stark of being well-adjusted.

and then there’s steve.

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nthnystrk

some civil war (mostly tony) thoughts

ok so i’ve just come out of my fifth viewing of civil war and clearly i have many Feelings about the movie, but i have many Words about tony stark in this movie, so help me god.

Keep reading

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*And now some Bucky meta. For some 7o + years Bucky has had everyone inside his head but himself. Finally he’s free of outside influences, and his first instinct is to withdraw from the world and live off the grid. He just wants to be left the hell alone, and in relative peace. Contrast that with Steve’s method of coping with what’s happened to him, which is keep fighting, until he finds a reason to live.

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and now BUCKY

god bucky is so sad in this film. but i wanna get to how we get to that first credits scene, and why i love it even though it hurts like a motherfucker.

so what’s he been doing since we last saw him in a museum? living in the saddest apartment in bucharest, eating plums, trying not to murder anybody. literally the saddest possible goal.

beyond the exchange of a dispassionate bucky saying “yeah, that’s a good strategy for taking me in,” the most telling moment for me is when steve assures him, “this wasn’t your fault, you had no choice.”

and he says, “but I still did it.”

bucky is not steve–he doesn’t hold choice and agency and decision as the paramount ideal of freedom. i’m not sure that bucky feels guilt, or anything like it. he feels fear and resignation. it’s that moment when zemo starts the lists of trigger words, and he knows what’s happening, and he rips apart his cell trying to stop it from happening. all he wants is to be left alone. and maybe, to forget.

“i still did it,” to me, is the revelation of the horror he’s lived through, and the horror that continues to be his life. he wants it to stop. his worst nightmare comes true: he’s found, he’s unmade, he’s forced to be the killer he tries desperately not to be, and he’s left with the pieces.

for a film that’s all about choice and consequence, about responsibility and accountability, bucky stands as the character who serves as the consequence of other people’s culpability. in many ways, he’s tony’s opposite: he bears guilt for things he never chose to do, while tony pushes the guilt for his myriad sins onto everyone around him, never taking responsibility for the havoc he creates.

and the guilt and horror is too much. bucky argues at the end, as he’s going back into cryofreeze, that this is so he won’t be used as a weapon. I think this is true, but also there’s the hidden motivation: that bucky doesn’t really want to BE anymore. he wants to turn off his consciousness and fall asleep and never wake up until the danger isn’t there anymore.

because you have to think of bucky in romania, waking up in that sad apartment, and thinking, “is this it? is this the day they find me?”

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*This person perfectly lays out why I am and remain Team Cap. Its not because I dislike Tony but because Team Tony had some serous flaws in their reasoning and actions.

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Powerful Moments in Civil War

After seeing Civil War, I’d like to discuss what I believe were some of the most powerful and pivotal moments in the movie. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet:

Keep reading

*Of note in this particular post, is a reference to what Sam must have been feeling, watching WarMachine fall out of the sky, and being unable to stop it.

  • Poor  Sam, having to deal with seeing another   teammate fall out of the sky that he couldn’t save. The fact that he then    asked about Rhodey, even when imprisoned by Tony’s side of the fight. And     the way Tony (unfairly) blasted him for what happened to Rhodey, even     though it wasn’t Sam’s fault

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trashmouse

Civil War Thoughts: On Steve

So, it’s been taking me a while to get my last thoughts out, and I might do a few more smaller ones before I get to my Steve/Bucky thoughts, but in the meantime, here are my broader thoughts on Steve and his role in Civil War.  Obviously, this will be chock full of spoilers.

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kristhelkat

Crossbones, Steve and the“Your Bucky” scene

So, after watching the scene between Crossbones and Steve for the second time, I’ve been thinking about what he said to taunt Steve during their fight. And I thought of something really upsetting, and I don’t want to suffer by myself so I’m telling you right now.

Some spoilers below the cut. All right? Here we go.

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Is it too early to start talking about mid credit Bucky and what it all means? Because, honestly, some people seem to be uncertain about his future, but I don’t think there’s any need to be.Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier is all chrome and black leather, a range of colours associated with weaponry, the bad guys. Not white. Never white. That is, until the scene where we leave him. SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THE SYMBOLISM OF THIS OUTFIT HERE.White trousers, white shirt, someone remarked he’s got bare feet in the opening scene, if the camera had panned back a little on the end scene, I’m fairly certain he’d be barefoot here as well.. He’s in ALL WHITE, the colour of innocence and purity and in western religious circles a colour symbolising the washing away of one’s sins. Renewal. I don’t know what’s going on behind him, but it’s giving off a golden glow, I swear they couldn’t have made him look more like an ACTUAL SAINT if they tried. You think this is the end for him? White is for new beginnings, not endings. Watch this scene again, the white, the gold, the serene smile. This scene is the baptism of Bucky Barnes. The boy is getting REBORN.

Is all this deliberate? I think it is, consider the juxtaposition they’ve given us in the opening and closing scenes of this film. The beginning, pre title scene of a man, Bucky Barnes being awoken from the ice, dressed in black, cloaked in darkness. Not yet the soldier, just the man, being dragged into a place of darkness and screaming agony and forcibly turned into the Winter Soldier, against his will. The ending, the man who was the Winter Soldier, dressed in white, bathed in light. Not being dragged, but choosing to go back into that ice to become Bucky Barnes again. The scenes mirror each other in every way, not just in the motions, but the lighting, the costuming, the tone; darkness and light, black and white, piercing screams and hushed, peaceful tones, coercion and free will. I know it’s just a silly superhero movie, but this is beautiful stuff right here.

Look, okay, I see Bucky as the heart of this movie, Bucky’s my fave, so maybe I’m biased, but I can only see a new beginning here. But you know what, even if this WERE the end of his story, I’d be happy with this. I couldn’t have asked for a more respectful treatment of my baby. And I think he’s going to be just fine.

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*More about Steve’s trauma, keeping in mind that afte Peggy’s death, the only preson left alive who rmembers the original Steve Rogers, is Bucky.
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you know. sometimes i think. in the face of tony’s obvious trauma and ptsd. in the face of the more obvious pain that bucky has suffered. we forget that steve’s motivation in the film isn’t just his tendency to hold stubbornly fast to his ideals, to do what he feels is right and damn the rest.

steve’s hurting too.

like. guys. we are so ready to give weight to tony’s emotional boiling over point at the end of the film, to say “this is why he tried to kill bucky, and it’s not right but it’s understandable.” we are so ready to acknowledge the fact that bucky was a victim and motivated to run by his fear of further persecution and hurt from nefarious forces. what about steve, though? when do we acknowledge that steve’s not just acting with righteous arrogance, but a deep anger, isolation, fear, loneliness, sadness, and hope?

steve died. like, his last memory before waking up seventy years in the future is a few days after watching his best friend fall from a train and he was unable to stop it he willingly flies a plane into the fucking Arctic, ostensibly to his death.

guys. guys. tony was fucked up for years because of untreated ptsd after falling from space and thinking he was dead. why is it so hard to remember that steve probably is fucked up, too?

this dude, he wakes up seventy years in the future and he has to make his way without really anyone or anything familiar, and the only person who is familiar is suffering from memory loss, and he’s now operating under the thumb of shadowy organization that he’s not 100 percent does good things and that continuously lies to him. there’s no war to fight, but that’s all this body is good for. it’s all he knows.

he doesn’t know what makes him happy. guys.

and so he goes through another trauma when he discovers this villain who is trying to kill him is in fact the dead best friend who—surprise!—was actually captured after falling and losing an arm andhis brains were scrambled to turn him into a murder assassin. we know for a fact steve feels tremendous guilt over this. but imagine beyond guilt, the sorrow, the nightmarish possibilities, that are turning over in steve’s head. the idea of what his friend suffered. remember when rhodey fell from the sky and tony blasted sam in the chest? imagine the anger in steve’s heart at the idea of what bucky’s suffered and the unwillingness to let that go unchecked and unsaved.

oh, plus. that shadowy organization he’s been fighting for? the people he’s been taking orders from? the top dog in the neat little hierarchy that’s arranged his world? yeah. hydra. everything steve has known turns upside down. he can’t trust anything. imagine the paranoia. the suspicion. imagine the fear that must take seed at that betrayal.

and then! of course, then he begins fighting these battles with the avengers where the collateral damage is on such a bigger scale than it was at war. where there are aliens. aliens, you guys. and he’s tasked with leading this motley crew of superheroes in a world he’s still getting used to and people die, lots of people die, and we know that even if it doesnt visibly affect him like it affects tony (who always seems shocked when he’s confronted with loss, because it’s presented to him on a personal, individual level) it does affect him. that steve feels the guilt of lives lost. imagine that burden. imagine the weight of the shield, the mask, the responsibility. imagine the loneliness. thefear.

so then. then. in the space of a few days. steve deals with more guilt from the deaths in lagos. he shoulders that burden. then he deals with the moral quandary of signing the accords. he wrestles with that decision. peggy dies. he grieves, oh goodness does he grieve. vienna fuckin blows up andthat elusive best friend is now the suspect. so steve is grieving, he is confused and conflicted, and now he feels doubly guilty—that’s the person he has been looking for, should he have already caught him? did he do it? he couldn’t have. does he bring him in? does he shoulder this responsibility too? what will they make him do when he catches up to bucky? what should he do? steve might act like he always knows what’s right, but a decision like this isn’t easy. it messes with a person. and when you’re dealing with all that mess in your head, sometimes you don’t think. sometimes…you act.

like when bucky is triggered, when steve stops a helicopter with his bare fucking hands, you can feel the desperation. that’s not ordinary heroics. that’s not steve just trying to stop bucky from escaping and possibly hurting others. it’s steve fighting for bucky. for this piece of his past. for the possibility of an end to loneliness. for the possibility of redemption for letting him fall.

and when they go on the run, when they know they have to stop the supersoldiers, when they clash with tony’s team, can you imagine steve’s sheer frustration that no one gets what is at stake? that no one is willing to listen? and yes, he didn’t even try—but why is that, you think? is it possibly because steve is used to institutions and those in power ignoring what he thinks is right and causing disaster anyway?

when steve says, “pal, so are we.” when steve acknowledges to natasha that he’s 90 not dead, when he openly references the fact that he and bucky are 100, can you imagine knowing that? adjusting to that? being 20-something in body and memory but 100 in actuality? living in a body that people perceive as a weapon so strongly that you’ve become a weapon when you are still longing to rediscover the man you were? steve’s not just cap. steve’s steve, and he doesn’t know what makes him happy you guys. he’s a guy, he’s a human, and he’s dealing with A Lot.

i get that he makes some bad calls in the movie. so does tony. my beef is that while tony’s decisions are often supported by his very obvious trauma and emotional burden, we rarely seem to give enough weight to the very real and very similar turmoil that is going on inside of steve.

when tony is fighting him in siberia. when steve says, “he’s my friend,” so simply, so sadly, without any righteousness, just clean tired truth, that’s steve as steve. when he hid the truth from tony, that’s steve as steve. when he drops the shield, that’s steve reclaiming himself as steve. we expect cap all the time, because often, steve is cap. it’s easy to see him as the moral police that way, if reductionist.

but we forget to see steve as steve. that he is a kid, in some ways. and a grieving, lost, lonely kid with a lot of anger, sadness, confusion, and power boiling under the placid-seeming surface.

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scififreak35

Steve and the Sokovia Accords

I keep seeing a lot of posts about how Steve was in the wrong in CACW because while Tony had a plan, Steve didn’t offer any alternative to it, he was just like NOPE. The thing is though, something that immediately struck me when I watched the movie was the timing of everything. Ross and Tony bring Steve and the others the Accords THREE DAYS before they are to be signed. Those Accords were not drafted, approved and supported by 117 countries in a week. This was 100% intentional. This is also very, very common in American politics. When politicians want to pass a bill they don’t want people to look at closely, they schedule votes at weird times or when a large # of people are away from the Hill (Capital Hill). So you get these 11th hour bills that are hundreds of pages long that no one has had a chance to read, ask questions about, or negotiate on about changes. These bills are stuffed with completely unrelated stuff that gets passed as well because the whole thing has to be signed off on/approved. It’s called “pork barreling.” Those are the questions Steve tries to bring up to the group. When he’s like ‘what happens when…?’ And Tony brushes aside his concerns like ‘oh, I’m sure we’ll get to make changes later when everything dies down.’ But Steve is like what are we agreeing to NOW though? And practically as soon as they are given the “generous” 3 day warning, Peggy dies. Steve flies off to London and everything goes to hell. What time is there to propose or discuss an alternative plan??

The timing was 100% intentional to make sure the Avengers would be subject to the Accords as written–no matter what was lurking on the bottom of page 440 in fine print. Steve is 100% right to be suspicious. This is one of the dirty tricks of American politics that Steve would be totally aware of. And sure, maybe there’s a chance that everything was above board, reasonable, and so on, but you would NEVER sign a thing like that w/o actually checking/reading it. that would be foolish. I mean, did we forget that Project Insight was authorized and approved by The World Council? I guarantee you that Steve hasn’t. I absolutely believe that Steve would have been willing to talk everything out, negotiate, listen to everyone’s pov, and really consider everything carefully…but there’s no time given to do that. It’s all last minute, non-negotiable, and shady. Steve is a master tactician, natural leader, and a reasonable, thoughtful person who is a Big Picture thinker. It’s weird that people just assume he rejects the Accords because he’s being childish or something. That’s not Steve Rogers at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geeking Out About: Cabin in the Woods (2011)

 

I’ve finally gotten around to watching this movie all the way through, from the beginning, and I loved it. It’s definitely entered the pantheon of my favorite horror movies.

I initially didn’t pay much attention to it, not because I don’t trust Joss Whedon, who is the producer of this movie, but because the trailers had me thinking I knew what I was going to be in for, and I’m sick to death of cookie-cutter horror movies. Based on the trailers, I thought  I had a pretty good bead on what the movie was about. Boy! was I wrong.

From the opening credits and the first five minutes, I thought I knew what this movie was  about. I was so wrong. After an hour, I thought I had a pretty good idea what was going on, but had no idea why. I didn’t find out why until the last thirty minutes, and then it all made perfect, but insane, sense.

If you are a horror movie fan, this movie is hilarious because you will recognize every horror film trope ever filmed. It’s like watching a movie based on horror Easter Eggs. The movie perfectly explains why all horror movies have the same ten little Indians motif of young people being killed off in isolated locations, (a horror movie trope that I am heartily sick to death of), why there are always five or more and why they’re always stereotypes: a whore, a fool, an athlete, a  scholar, and a virgin.

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On the surface, the movie does seem pretty comedic, and it’s billed as a comedy, although not like any monster comedy I’ve watched, and by the end, it’s a lot less funny. The characters do all of the required stupid shit that young people do in such movies, like running out into the woods to have sex after reading passages from that forbidden book in the basement.

Most of the humor is in spotting the next horror movie reference and in having your expectations upended. The interstitial moments involve a group of office workers celebrating the death and destruction of the people that appear on the many movie screens in their offices, which I found puzzling at first. Later, I found that part of the movie to be the most fascinating and  I kind of wish someone would make an entire movie entirely centered on the day to day of these people’s job.

This movie is very, very meta. Think “Scream” level meta. It’s is very self aware.

Also, if you’re a fan of horror movies, you will spend the last thirty minutes playing spot the monster, and probably yelling stuff at your TV, like WHOA! or WHEW! Every kind of monster you have ever seen in a movie, and a few you haven’t, in a giant, crazy, smackdown free-for-all. Giant snakes, Hellraisers, mutant bats, zombies, Japanese ghost girls, and since this is Joss Whedon, some ballerina action. There’s even a mer-man. Whoa, not pretty!

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The funniest moment in the movie is when nine Japanese schoolgirls, trapped in a room with one of those Ju-On ghostsgirls, triumph by singing her into the shape of a happy frog. (Don’t even  try to understand what the Hell I just said, just go watch the movie.)

I would watch an entire movie based just on the last thirty minutes of this one!

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And no, Cabin in the Woods does not stint on the gore. My only drawback was that some of the scenes are too dark to see clearly and the trailers don’t give you any clue about what you’re walking into with this movie. The trailers are a drawback to getting people to initially watch it, but then the “not knowing” is the point, I guess.

Another thing I wasn’t expecting was caring about the characters. Whedon and the director do such a good job of fleshing out these characters, that even knowing the huge stakes involved, I was still rooting for them. I wanted them to live even though it would’ve been pointless.

Why yes, there are a few Whedon alumni  present. Amy Acker from Angel and Tom Lenk of Buffy fame, make an appearance. Thor…I mean Chris Hemsworth, is also present, and the trope that he is going to be the hero of this movie and save the day, especially after his little “I’m going to save everybody” speech, is neatly turned on its head.

I want to say the movie was a lot of fun and yeah, I was laughing, at first.  But the longer I watched, the more tragic it became, and by the end I realized the movie was telling me that cheering for the monsters to win in these type of films is perfectly understandable and a good thing because its necessary.  It also makes you little better than the office workers who are doing just that, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t found them to be unlikeable, and hated identifying with their depravity.

There is a massive amount of death in this film (and if you’ve watched the movie, you know there’s more to come after it’s over). I couldn’t actually root for anybody in this movie. Not the monsters who are utterly necessary to the plot, and not the office workers, who kind of deserve to die because they know exactly what’s going on. They’re  sort of  monstrous, too.

I kind of wanted everyone to win, although for purposes of the plot, it’s simply not possible and that’s the genius of this movie. Somebody in this movie, either the monsters I cheered in other films, or the  characters I actually liked, (the fool and the virgin), have got to lose for the plot to make sense.

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Oh and keep a look out for a surprise cameo at the end of the film. I won’t tell you who, but I promise, you will squeee! with delight. Really, the only person missing from this movie was Lance Henriksen. I’m guessing he was busy at the time.

There’s not a movie in the world  that cannot be elevated by simply adding Lance Henriksen, even though Cabin in the Woods needs none.

 

 

Geeking Out About : Visually Stunning Films

As an Illustrator, vision is how I understand everything I’ve learned about the world, and  everything I remember and feel has visuals attached. It’s how I can do a mental walk through of every place I’ve ever lived, remember all of my most vivid dreams from childhood and remember every book I’ve ever read.

So when I say movies are like food, then you know what I mean. I need movies like I need books. Some movies are like junk food. They’re not very stimulating intellectually, but rich with detail and  some movies are a smorgesbord. Theyre satisfying in every manner.

These are some of the movies I’ve found the most satisfying both visually and intellectually, in no particular order:

Paprika

Directed by Satoshi Kon 2006

Apparently this film is just a little too deep for me. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of its philosophy, or it only has dream logic.  Well, whatever is going on, this is still the very best eye candy.

Inception

Directed by Christopher Nolan  2010

This movie satisfies on every level. Intellectually, visually and emotionally, it”s a feast.

The Fall

Directed by Tarsem  Singh 2008

I would’ve nominated this director’s first film, The Cell but this is the movie I enjoyed more. Its a lovely fairy tail, with an emotional resonance that sticks with you, long after the movie ends.


Baraka

Directed by Ron Fricke  1992

This is a film meant to be enjoyed on a visceral level. It has no dialogue, but its rich visuals more than make up for this lack.

The Watchmen

Directed by Zack Snyder  2009

This is one of the best looking superhero movies ever made. The plot is pretty horrifying , but it’s visual movement and detail are exquisite. If you can stomach some of the gore and the nihilistic philosophies of the characters, it’s worth your time.

The Tree of Life

Directed by Terence Malick    2011

The plot is a  fairly standard coming of age story, about a young boys rocky  relationship with his overbearing father, but its themes of how small human relationships are in the scheme of the cosmos, yet are the end all and be all of our short lives, lends itself to some truly stunning, and occasionally, perplexing imagery.

The House of Flying Daggers

Directed by Zhang Yimou   2004

Okay, I’m not Asian, so maybe this movie really resonates with someone directly from one of the cultures depicted in the movie, but I don’t care, I just like the way it looks and sounds. Its absolutely gorgeous.

Hero

Directed by Zhang Yimou   2002

The first WuXia movie by the director of House of flying Daggers, this movie is Good practice. The story, characters, action and colors are all breathtaking. If you were impressed by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you will love this movie.

Spirited Away

Directed by Hiyao Miyazaki   2001

I’ve introduced this movie to two generations of little WoC, and for every single one of them, the story resonates so wonderfully and so deeply, that it quickly becomes one of their absolute favorite films. My niece, The Potato, is always up for a rewatch of any film by the legendary Miyzaki, but it is this film in particular, that seems to truly speak to her.

Okay! Me too.

Bladerunner

Directed by Ridley Scott  1982

I knew I was going to love this movie from the moment I saw the first trailer, back in 1982.  C’mon people! Robots, flying cars, detectives in trenchcoats and lots and lots of rain and neon. The style that every SciFi movie, for the next 20 years, attempted to copy.

The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

Directed by Andrew Dominik   2007

I only need to say one thing: Brad Pitt.

Dark City

Directed by Alex Proyas   1998

This is another movie, I knew I was going to fall in love with when I saw the trailer. Its dark and broody and stars William Hurt, and that would’ve been enough, but the story is intellectually compelling, as well. This was one of Roger Ebert’s favorite Science Fiction movies, such that he did two different audio commentaries for the two DVD releases.

300

Directed by Zack Snyder   2006

Many male critics professed not to understand why this movie seemed to captivate so many female fans.  They seemed to be under the impression that we were fascinated by the presence of Lena Heady. This is why you shouldn’tlisten to critics.

Here’s why we loved this movie:

There are about a bajillion more movies that I could add to this list, but these are the ones I’ll watch over and over.

Top Ten Favorite Robots

I’ve been a SciFi geek since, birth, I think. I didn’t truly realize this until I was about twelve years old and made quiet plans to marry Mr. Spock from the Original Series Star Trek. Or was it that time I realized I wanted a Robbie the Robot of my very own from Lost in Space? Or the time I asked for a  replica of the spaceship from Space 1999 and my Mother actually found one and bought it? Or the time I wore my Mork from Ork suspenders, to school, every day for a week?

It’s only been in the last ten years that I’ve realized just how much a love of robots has been a major part of my childhood. ( It would explain why I totally lost my spit after only watching the trailer for Bladerunner and why it took me nearly a week to recover from watching the first Terminator movie.)

I decided to compile a list of some of my favorites.  If you have some ,let me know in the comments but remember, these are MY favorites. You probably have a completely different set and that’s cool beans. There’s a metric ton of robots out there. They all need some love.

1. Optimus Prime

imageVoiced by Peter Cullen during the show’s heydey,  during the depths of the eighties, Optimus was, hands down, the coolest f*ckin’ robot on Saturday morning televsion. He was strong, compassionate, honorable and honest. He devoted himself to the highest ideal of protecting all life. He is, like, the Superman of robots.

And for the record, I’ve seen a couple of the Transformers movies and I was shocked tha they still managed to keep those elements of his personality intact. I’d been admiring robots for a few years up to that point but he was the robot I never knew I wanted.

2. Robocop

imageI saw this in a movie theatre at 14, along with a Double-Bill of The Evil Dead II.  That was the best four hours of my teenaged years (and no, that’s not sad!) Portrayed by Peter Weller, in the 1987 movie, of the same name, it has since become an iconic character, and you know what? When I first saw him, I knew he would be. The body language, the jaw, the vocal intonations, are the things by which all subsequent portrayals of Robocop were measured and found wanting.

And when that massive hand-cannon popped out of his right leg, ready to hand, my first thought was, “I want one of those!” (Never mind what I would’ve done with it.)

3. The Iron Giant

imageProduced by the man who would later become one of my favorite animation directors, Brad Bird, and voiced by the man I would later refer to as, my future ex-husband, Vin Diesel, this was the only cartoon, about a robot, that ever made me cry like a baby, and the only movie whose motto I had ever aspired to live up to.

Although Buzz Lightyear’s enlightenment, in the first Toy Story movie, came pretty damn close, he doesn’t get a shoutout because I’ve learned that I hate it when robots make me cry.

4.Data

imageKind, childlike, honorable and perpetually curious, Data is the only robot, that I ever wanted to be (or just date.) Data had the unenviable job, on the Enterprise, of asking human beings all the hard questions about being  human. Portrayed by Brent Spiner, Data epitomized the best of humanity without ever truly succumbing to it’s worst.

5.Bender

imageI had no idea that Bender’s last name was Rodriguez (and does that make him Hispanic? Can a robot be a member of a human culture?) I watched Futurama, the first couple of years after it aired and I loved this drunken, profane, snarky, asshole of a robot from the moment he  was introduced. With a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other, he’s not evil, but he’s definitely the Anti-Data. I can’t help but feel that was a deliberate decision on the part of his creator. Bender being Bender just brings to one’s attention just how much of a trope is the honorable robot, who wishes to human. Bender doesn’t sit around wishing to be human, he just gets to doing it.

6. R2D2

imageThe first robot I ever truly admired, he’s so obviously the Star of Star Wars. He’s, brave, spirited, plucky and I’m guessing he’s got more than a little smart-assedness in him too, if C3PO’s reactions are anything to go by. If someone were to make a movie, based entirely on his adventures with Chewbacca, I’d watch the Hell out of that.

7. Dorian 

imagePortrayed by Michael Ealy, in the show Almost Human (which was regrettably canceled, despite that shows promise) , he displayed a mischievous sense of humor in constantly needling his partner, played by another favorite actor of mine, Karl Urban. One of the few robots I’ve seen who had a notably deliberate sense of humor, he and Karl had a wonderful chemistry. Dreamy, blue eyes…check! Sensitivity…check! Compassion…check! Intelligent and funny…check!

He is the  ideal boyfriend, that Karl never knew he wanted.

8. Baymax

imageAawwww c’mon! He had to be on this list, even if he is late to the party. He’s just so dern cute. Look at him! He is the Hello Kitty of robots? Like being babysat by a walking, talking marshmallow, with about that same level of intelligence.

Okay, that’s it! I want a stuffed, Baymax doll this Xmas.

9. Solo

imageThe titular character from Robert Mason’s novel, is also the star of the movie, of the same name. I loved the book character, but the film version wasn’t as much like the book as I would’ve liked. On the other hand, how awesome is it that they picked a Black man, Mario Van Peebles, to be the hero, in an action movie?

This is how awesome that shit is:

imageThat’s right, beeyotches! That level of awesome!

10. The T-1000

imagePlayed by the scarily focused Robert Patrick in 1992’s Terminator II, the T-1000 is one of the scariest robots ever. I don’t know what the Hell a mimetic poly-alloy is but I seriously hope humanity never invents it, as this would most definitely be it’s wacky outcome, in a totally pants-shitting, that’s not funny kind of way. I remember leaving the theatre after the movie. It took me several days to stop side-eyeing everybody on my bus route.

(If it does exist, then we need to draw up some laws and shit about not ever using it.)

Honorable Mentions:

image image image

Just because!

Will The Real Sam Winchester Please Stand Up

I have a confession to make.

I used to be a Sam-Girl.Now, I’m what’s called Bi-Bro, (which sounds vaguely obscene.)

Wheww!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, we can talk.

I understand Sam. I always have, up to a point. Not being a cis-gender, straight, White guy, while dealing with the Supernatural, my understanding of some things is going to be somewhat limited. But I get Sam. At least I thought I did.

Let’s back it up here for a second.

I’d heard about this show, about a year before it actually aired. I’d read about it, in Fangoria magazine, of all places, and knew it would be one of the top Fall shows I’d be watching. Other than the premise, I knew nothing about it. I had never heard of the actors and sort of vaguely knew some of the writers from other shows.

But I loved  Sam from the moment he beat the shit out of his brother, in the dark  room where we first met Dean. I hated Dean from the moment he opened his mouth, though. Outside of being heroic, he had every quality I ever hated in a man. It  took me nearly three seasons to figure out what all the “hoopla” over Dean was all about. (It’s definitely the lips!) Up til then, I mostly just tolerated his presence. But I’m all fixed, now.

I  loved Sam, though. That boyish smile and those soft, dewy eyes – he was pretty, earnest (Faith), passionate (Dead in the Water), and he cared about people and doing the right thing (Croatoan) and he argued for compassion (Heart), even for the monsters and I admired that. But now…I’m not sure that was really Sam.

How much of Sam’s earlier persona, was just  Sam trying hard not to be a freak, or give in to whatever dark impulses the demon blood encouraged in him? ( Sam, Interrupted) How much of that, was just him trying to find out who he was and what he wanted to be vs. how he actually felt (Nightmare), vs. how he thinks he’s supposed to act in order to seem normal to everyone else (The Pilot)? Of course, quite a few of us go through that,  but how much of that was just him trying to get as far away from his, then unknown, destiny?

Sam is introspective, self-reliant, quiet and contemplative, and smart as fuck (when the writers remember that). He is a serious ass-kicker, has a cast- iron will, he’s stubborn, compassionate, stoic, and relentless.

And now, he’s different, again.

I’d  noticed a change in his overall attitude since his time in Hell and since his purification from the demon blood in season eight. When he came back from Hell, outside of being soulless for a while, it seemed as if something had been burned out of him. He seemed tired even before he went insane.  Just how much of his earlier behavior, his fire, in season one,  was him fighting  against the pull of the  demon blood in his system? His compassion? Maybe he felt a strong urge  to not be compassionate, so he overcompensated. The cast – iron will? He had to develop that in order to assert control over those feelings. He certainly had to develop that, to fight Lucifer. The relentlessness, and stoicism? How much of that was the demon blood expressing itself through other avenues of behavior? Exactly how long has Sam been fighting the battle for his autonomy?

Were all of Sam’s finest qualities, the qualities I so admired, were they simply Sam’s fortress against the demon blood in his veins? And what kind of person would he have been without that? Would he have been genial, affable, lazy? Without the demon blood, would he have been a slacker? And if most of his life has been spent trying to be whoever he thinks he  should be trying to be (and how could he begin to know who that is?), while fighting against what or who he thinks he might turn out to be, I have to ask… Who is he when he’s NOT fighting something or someone to be that person?

He’s been possessed multiple times by angels and demons, he’s been soulless, he’s been insane, he’s been too ill to care about who he is. Throughout all of that,  there was the demon blood.  His life, who he could’ve, should’ve, would have been, was derailed from the moment Azazel walked into his bedroom that night and neither we nor Sam will ever get to know that man.

Sam is a person who prefers to think through his problems. And once he’s been burned, he learns from that mistake and makes an  effort never to repeat it.  (He likes to make all new, horrible mistakes.) Trusting a demon? Never again! Not looking for Dean after his disappearance? He learned!

He’s not normally rash and we’ve seen why. When Sam makes rash decisions, they are almost always awful. And how much of that was the demon blood clouding his instinctual responses? Sam has never behaved well, on his instincts, and he knows this.  Hell, he doesn’t do well without Dean as his anchor, period. (Neither of them do.) Considering the nature of their profession, this is a good thing. We have enough rash behavior to deal with in Dean.

When Sam isn’t quietly brooding over his issues, then he’s running away from them. When he was a child he ran away from his family several times, according to Dean. When he fights with Dean he would rather walk away. When he fought with his father, he ran away to college. After he raised Lucifer from his cage, he tried to run away from the Apocalypse. When Dean went to Purgatory, he ran away from everything, including himself. (I suspect that is the real reason for the anger fans have for him not looking for Dean.) He runs away from his own life. This same man, has no trouble running INTO a burning building. We’ve seen Sam stand and fight to protect everyone but himself.

And now,  he’s stopped running.

Even during his possession by Gadreel, we witnessed a Sam who is a lot less passive and angsty about who and what he is. He was calm and sometimes even content, in a manner we’ve not seen before, as if he’d found something or reached some sort of peace in himself, laughing, making friends again and hugging people.

Sam used to chafe at everything, his family, his life, his destiny. I  know a lot of fans didn’t care for it but I  love the way he stood up to Dean last season because he was doing it for himself. He stated his case and then he stood his ground. Not only did he stand his ground but no matter how much Dean tried to distance himself, in an effort to not talk about the things he’d done, Sam wouldn’t let him run away.  (Well, not after he got Dean back in his orbit, again.) This was a new tactic for Sam and I enjoyed it. Yeah, it didn’t work because Dean’s a pretty stubborn bastard too, but when Dean walked into danger, Sam had his back. When he called out for him, Sam came running. I would argue that last season was the best fight they’ve ever had. They worked together better than they had at  anytime after Swan Song.

Is this the real Sam? Or as close as were going to get, considering what he’s been through? Or is this some new iteration of ____!Sam? Will the writers give us some more of this version (who I happen to like), or derail it with another possession, illness or who knows what?

I’m not asking for the old Sam back. Season one through three Sam, (the character I first fell in love with),  is long gone. But I’m okay (so far) with this new, standup, brutally honest, sharply snarky version of him that sometimes even smiles. I think the writers are doing a fair job, (so far),  in trying to repair this character. Their attempts, right now, are slow and tentative. Perhaps, they’re not sure where they want to take him but they are listening to the fans and they’re, at least, trying to learn from their mistakes,too.

I’m looking forward to whoever this version of Sam is, we’re trying to rediscover.

I’ve been looking forward. I’ll keep looking forward, with one caveat-I hope they don’t screw it up, and please! no more Dumb!Sam.

I’ve never liked him.

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