beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Just got all the way to the end of Flash season 2.
... I can tell where my fannish attention is focused, I immediately started figuring out how this would effect Mick and Len...

Read more... )

So I saw a whole season of Flash and basically wondered what it would do to the Rogues and how I could use it to sort out the end of season 1 of Legends.

Pretty clear which show I'm actively fannish about.

On Secrets

Sep. 3rd, 2016 01:41 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Having watched two seasons of Arrow and one season of Flash
I am really fed up of secrets.

They keep being so gendered too: Must Keep The Secret To Protect Her

But they are doing great at show-not-telling us that keeping secrets does in fact not protect anyone, endangers them. And straight up telling us this via Thea etc.

But in between times people keep secrets because they? want? to?

I guess with Slade if he had told them he'd have kicked off a different phase of a fight he knew he was going to lose, but still, you figure out a way. Hi there, your new friend wants to kill us all, trust me. All Ollie needs to say is he blames him for his not-girlfriend, the location details don't have to follow.
(Also I don't know why anyone believed for a minute that he was alone for five years when he had a new tattoo on his back.)

Also Sara not telling her mom she's back because her mom would never stop looking for her, I thought her mom already not stop looking for her? Was the crying supposed to be her giving up? Because ugh.

I also hated the whole middle of the season where women are saying 'huh, this guy creepy' and men are saying 'date him, you need therapy'. I mean, we have a better creep radar than guys. This is known.
But it turns out to be demonstrably true, so, that proves out.

I hate how much gaslighting is involved in this secret keeping bit. If women get suspicious they're just told not to. Blergh.

But then it goes horribly wrong, so, moral of the story, secrets pretty much suck.

Everyone keeps doing this whole moral weathervane thing or a whole dance of disagreeing where they are always on opposite sides of an issue even when that doesn't make entire sense. It's not just because they find out more, it's just because those two characters having an argue is the most angsty. Do better.

... this is pretty much all my thoughts on the matter. I thought they'd be longer. But no, secrets are a horrible idea, people need to be led by data not maximum angst, shows should do better.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Basically, the wheelchair thing :

So, right from the first episode, the wheelchair and the way it was portrayed bothered me.
And having seen the whole season I can now say the really stupid part is that the parts that bothered me were completely unnecessary.

Read more... )

The Flash needs some depictions of disability that are neutral background and not a sign of deception, creepiness, or intent to harm others.

I mean, that's... that's pretty important.

But season 1 was worse than it needed to be even to keep the exact same story, in really foolish ways.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This morning started kind of poorly, with a nightmare where Superman got shot Read more... )

So once I woke up I had to write that in my head until things were much better than that. Like, clearly Kryptonians have healing nanotech, Clark would be fine, obviously, he's always fine. But that was really upsetting.

So then my day started late, which wasn't cool.

but I'm up, I'm clean, I'm dressed, I started Cleaner Day appropriately, and I remembered to clean out the fridge and put all the new cutlery in the dishwasher before I started it. So that's working.

It's weirdly annoying having nightmare feelings hangover. Like, I know full well it's all imaginary stuff that isn't even wrong, but feelings just had a really bad thing happen in front of them and are kind of ... like bad smell, trying to stick around.

Last night I went looking for Supergirl fanfic, but found despite an actual strong presence of f/f that none of it is my happy place. I haven't figured what my happy place would be.

Read more... )

Mostly I'm just having a feelings and some of them are not nice
but I liked Supergirl so there's nice feelings around as well
so that's nice.

Cleaner is here, I can stop rambling and go do something useful.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm all tired and stressy now, because the world keeps making Noises from quite early in the morning, and it's annoying.

Also because books.

I mean, when I buy a book new, I often research it a little, I buy from recs lists, I maybe know the author already, and I have some idea what I'm getting. Or, you know, I run out of book and pick up something with a nice cover. Either works sometimes.

But these 500ish books I inherited... looking them up hasn't been very helpful. Somehow people reviewing old books don't feel the need to mention the underage noncon parts. Trigger warnings like woah, yet never mentioned. And whatever the reviewers are looking for in a book, star rating does nothing helpful either, because wildly not matching my opinions thus far. So what am I left with? Reading one at random and hoping. And thus far? That has been stressful, and intermittently ugly.

But when I decide a thing, like that a whole author's work is just blah so far so I may as well send a foot of books away at once, well that's stressful too. Because what if secretly six inches down the stack there's a book that would change my life? You never know.

And never mind that a bare handful of these things meet my basic reading criteria in the first place - the ones by women I have mostly read already, some of them thirty years ago. The ones about women are... rare, and frequently poorly labelled. The epic and blatant sexism is really difficult to get away from if I'm going to read those decades. There's so many stacks of books where they don't even make sense because women are just moved around like dolls, be the girlfriend now, ignore all the reasons not to, who knows how women think? Ugh. Or women are there to think about babies. Or the basic failure of imagination that is projecting tens of thousands of years into the future while preserving the systemic sexism of stereotyped media of the 1950s, ignoring even the reality of the 40s which they ought to have known about, and writing well into later decades. The simple assumption that doctors are men and nurses are women? How do they even get stuck thinking that, let alone deciding it's true of a future so far away it's multiples of humanity's entire written record out?

And the racism... jeez, the basic difference in assumptions about what's polite, or how you talk about humans. It boggles the mind. The times the writer is apparently trying to be nice about someone they've known a really long time, but all they're telling the ages is they were a little colored woman servant... I mean typing that feels wrong, but they were clearly sad of them and trying to be nice about them. So do you adjust your brain filters? It leaves a feeling like tripping over the steps every time. And then there's the times people are trying to be helpful and positive but they just end up with stereotypes like strong blacks or subtle orientals.

The basic idea that people are people are people, all of them just as much people as the straight white male manly man protagonist, well, that's ... that's advanced stuff, apparently.

So then I think, how about I skip the sixties. How about I leave the seventies alone for a while. The eighties can keep. Possibly I could just leave the books be until I've read some things I actually like for a bit. That would be nice.

... and then I get all anxious, because who knows, I might be skipping something important!


I know I'm making progress. I know I've sent away entire bags full of books, shelf feet at a time. I know I am keeping books that will be an interesting collection to refer back to in the future.

... it's just making me really anxious, because what if?



And maybe upwards.

I mean, considering some of the stuff I've read lately, TV and film tie-ins from the 90s onwards are looking like literature, because already they have characters I could like and some borders on the situations they'll put them in that on the whole I can live with.


Aug. 4th, 2016 10:21 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was thinking on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the end of Angel, which I still haven't got around to rewatching because I just somehow can't commit to watching every character I care about suffer that bad and mostly die.

Specifically I was thinking about time differentials in hell.

Read more... )

So that's just a whole stack of problems, inherent in the throwaway concept that time in hell travels a hundred years in a day.

I'm not being real coherent about them, but, they're kind of giant.

So that's a whole stack of bunnies.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm interested at the connections between economics and justice.

Read more... )

I think it's pretty obvious that the modern world can afford a whole lot of very nice and kind justice.

But I don't know if that has always been true.

Or if it would be true in these fantasy worlds where you'd need, for instance, a steady supply of blood donors to keep your prisoner fed.

So then what could you do, what are the parameters, what would justice look like under those different conditions?

How to be maximum nice under difficult circumstances?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I don't know if I've written this up before - I searched but didn't find - but I'm bored, so:

Goa'uld biology and what it implies for the structure of System Lord civilisation.

Was prompted to the topic by a comment Melannen made in her thoughts about siblings and sustainable populations: "If only 1/1000 people are queen mothers, they each have to have 1000 children."

What we know about goa'uld reproduction seems to mostly be in the episode about Hathor?

Where we see her in a single 'birth' make a hot tub full of goa'uld symbiotes.

So how rare are goa'uld Queens?

Read more... )

There is something wonky in the reproductive cycle of the goa'uld
and in the Watsonian way it must be driving their civilisation.

The way I figure it is that Queens are super rare.
System Lords are so competitive because they're competing for Queens
and their method is 'hey baby, check out the size of my host pool'.

But Ra imprisoned Queens, Hathor in a host and Isis just in a jar.

So some of the oldest and most powerful System Lords also try and control the Queens, perhaps bestowing or withholding to control their subjects, and some of those Queens are having none of it but mostly failing in their attempts at independence.

Apophis & Amaunet, Baal and Nirrti were all trying innovative approaches to the host problem, not just increasing the pool but making it more species specific, better able to host, and more useful. They had varied results and failed for reasons as much social as scientific, specifically that SG1 kicked their arses.

None of them seemed much fussed by killing symbiotes in Jaffa or out, which might bork my theory, but might just indicate that as a species they've never much cared until an individual was a potential reproductive partner. And maybe there aren't many of those. Much more competition than co-operation, then.

The host pool is also crucial for their extended lifespan, since without a sarc they need multiple hosts (see Tok'ra) and even with one they might need an escape pod (see Lo'taur). Controlling the availability of hosts seems ridiculous, given how many humans there are, but we see how wrapped in ceremony a new implantation is and how many hosts have to be rejected. Going among the humans, who have no biological ties to the symbiotes, is high risk. And they still have to sort them for suitability. Sending Jaffa out for a first sort and making sure the potential hosts are outnumbered by Jaffa lowers the risk. And enables the System Lord to better control their subjects by knowing when they implant and controlling when and where they can try it.

All of this developed in reaction to an original environment where their host species tried to eat them on the regular. They would remember from their earliest hosts what it was like to eat their own species. And they would kind of expect relationships with new species to be antagonistic. And bitey.

The genetic memory would freeze a lot of reactions and the sarc freezes individuals, so it takes many many host generations for a goa'uld to change. But change they must have.

The System Lords as a society and the goa'uld and Tok'ra as biology are reorganising in reaction to their version of First Contact, the meeting with a new species, and the new technologies and ideas that came out of that.

They're fascinating.

... or they could be, if they weren't mostly just being evil because evil, and then wiped out.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Been reading fanfic... aaand even saying that is kind of like 'been breathing some more lately'
been reading fanfic with sex scenes that made me think.

Second one brought into focus what I didn't like about the first one.

In both one guy is getting compliments from their long time crush. In both physical features that might in other contexts be considered unattractive are instead what their crush is concentrating positive remarks on. And yet the first one was so very not my thing I stalled on it for like three days, and the second one I liked a lot.

First one was from the point of view of the man giving compliments, and the reaction was a sort of lost for words silent awe and gratitude that I could only just barely buy as being in character. Yet ooc wasn't what was bothering me.

Second one was from the point of view of the one getting the compliments, and the reaction was kind of like blossoming. Like, yes, I am beautiful butterfly, say that some more, do that again, no over there, yaay bodies are fun.

So I realised the first one bothered me because same reasons as in tumblr post about 'social experiment: agree with men giving you compliments'. Like, the one giving the compliments was saying how his new lover wasn't like all those good looking guys who know they're good looking and they're so up themselves. He's all pudgy and soft and kind of wonky looking instead, it's great, he's so sweet. *awe and gratitude* ... silent awe and gratitude... as response to being told his fat bits are sexy. Reminded me too much of ... like, what if he'd said thanks, I know? How would his crush have responded? Like, yaay, we both agree you're gorgeous? Or, oh no, arrogance, this doesn't work. (Despite distinguishing feature of character being arrogance.) It felt more like he was negging him and making him grateful for having his flaws pointed out, more like he was trying to score points for being the only one to ever find him attractive. Which, er, no? Verging on epic no. And it wasn't like the story of itself was inherently creepy, because sincere compliments to what one considers one's less attractive features could be relaxing in that context, but it's too much like too much other stuff so tensing for negative reaction happened.

Second story was fun, because everyone involved seemed to be having fun, and while it would be emotionally devastating to get a really bad reaction in a relationship they cared about so much, it wouldn't be because there's only one person in the world who can physically appreciate him. He's pretty and he knows it because he's seen the mirror and he knows how he feels. Much more relaxing.

It's like in the one version all the power stays with the person giving the compliments, and you're just flinching away from them using it the other way. Someone only feels attractive when they're told they are, that's not fun, and telling it from the point of view of the confident one makes it less fun somehow. But in the other version they're going to be okay either way, so it's better. This person makes them feel beautiful like they know they are, and any gratitude in the equation seems more evenly distributed.

I don't know, I think it's just the other story feels really gendered and really common, like so many 'ugly duckling' stories where she gets a makeover and then the guy notices her and it's supposed to be super cool but it's really saying over and over that it only counts if the guy notices. Somehow putting two guys into the story doesn't take the nasty off.


Mar. 30th, 2016 05:59 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It just occurred to me what bugged me about the women in the... last half dozen books I read by several different male authors.

Women as prizes are never women who choose between different options.

It's obvious once I've seen it. But when I was reading it was all from a male point of view and the most that happens is they compete for a woman but then something happens to take one out of the running and the other mourns for a while and then claims his default prize. It's never like in romances where there's the nice guy and the dangerous guy and a woman has actual opinions on both of them.

Women as prizes happen in the exact quantity required, exist long enough to prove they're worthy of their guy, and then just fade into the background.

It's creepy.

Now I have a sudden urge to rewrite something a bit more Pride & Prejudice... except I've not read that in a really long time and I'm not even sure I mean that one. So it's not my sort of rewrite that I'd be good at. Boo.

But also I was reading about the roles of women historically and how marriage was more about wealth and power than about love and it just struck me again how duty gets devalued by the romantic love narrative. I mean Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy because they die, but also because their stupid hormonal messing around gets other people killed. And yet there's a lot of people under the ridiculous impression it's romantic. Also any story where the lord runs off with the servant girl. It's all very well as far as it goes, it elevates the servant girl's social chances and is a much better gig than just getting the attention without the marriage, but there's a reason that a good aristocrat cares about his wife's wealth. Aristos are the boss of a really large number of people. They need money to maintain their estates, which means employing and feeding a whole lot of people, as well as doing things necessary to the community and being a good landlord. Yes there's not much guarantee they'll be good lords, but if they're good, they need the money for their people. Like reading the word Lord etymologically derives from Loaf Warden. There's the dude with enough bread for everyone. Marrying poor is bad not just for him but for potentially really large swathes of the country. That's not happily ever after, that's not romance, that's just ignoring duty for personal desire.

And yet that's a really difficult point to push, given how uphill it is against current standards.

Checking out someone's prospects is just trying to ensure neither the married couple nor their children will starve. And when a family was pretty much a business organisation, say with farming or weaving or any other thing, the extended family would be relying on strong marriages to keep everyone in eating.

Leaving all that behind, say to ride off on horseback somewhere, would be a bit like leaving with the company car, still on hire purchase, belonging to the company formed with relatives, and never seen again while not a breath of payment comes back.

Doing that for romance just means burning through your assets twice as fast, with more mouths to feed.

And if they're only your assets as part of a complex web of family investments, well, that's just rude.

So I don't get what's so wrong about going looking for a good investment prospect, seeing as you want to continue to eat without taking more than you return in food off the family table.

And the kind of fantasy adventure novel where the prince goes undercover and comes back with some pretty young woman who is at best trained to run a family business the size of an inn or a smallholding... it's like promoting the secretary to CEO because true love, it's really unlikely to work out well for tens of thousands of people.

... promoting the personal assistant to CEO because she's been running the company really well for years anyway is just a good investment.

But choosing the prince because he's a prince has a lot of drawbacks too. I mean, politics involves actual backstabbing. And if the kingdom falls apart you know who they'll blame, fairly or otherwise. And the new girl at court has absolutely no useful contacts.

If you're looking for a good place to raise children it's a hell of a gamble.

So 'romance' in fantasy novels is frequently a series of very poor choices, creepily presented as destiny with an ongoing lack of apparent choice.

I dislike it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It's always about the first gens.

Which pulls the heroic age ever further into the modern era and distorts our place in history.

It's like they're saying nobody before this ever thought to make a stand. Sure there's Captain America, but he gets like two hours in the past. Everyone else is origin movies, set in the moment of production. However many times they have to reboot a title, it's always origin movies, because movies are about the most important day of your life and that seems definitive to movie makers. Which is bull, because there's a lot of most important days. Sure there's the day you choose your career, but there's also the day you choose your wife, your partner, your children, your successor.

When I was reading comics the first time I identified so hard with Robin. Because he's not even the first Robin. He's stepping into a role held previously by giants and martyrs, and he has to make it work, because Batman needs a Robin. Robin at that point held himself responsible for Batman's mental health. He was pretty sure Batman couldn't go it alone. And I internalised that so much that I watch the movie versions of Batman and they're all crazy, they're just Lone!Dark!Bats! and he's off doing his thing alooooone like dark vengeance is a life sustaining thing, and he does it for years. And that was never true in the comics. He was alone only a very short time before he met Robin and realised that was the light he needed to keep him balanced. He needed someone to protect as well as someone to avenge, he needed someone at his back while he fought so many people trying to stab him in it. He could not do it alone.

Movies? Lone!Grim!Dark! ... or bat nipples. I realise that series went rather wrong, but it was not the simple presence of Robin that did it.

My favourite legacy characters are Blue Beetle. I never read much about Blue Beetle the first, he's from a much earlier era. He was a college teacher and his student took up the mantle when he died. Ted Kord wears a different uniform, with more modern materials, but when he dreams and in the back of his mind he's always wearing the heavier chainmail of his predecessor. And then Ted dies, and the next person to find the Beetle steps into the role and has to learn about the legacy. He puts up a banner, what would Ted Kord do? And much as I love Ted, I love that someone picked up this name, this in-universe at best B list name, and realised it was a legacy to live up to.

Reading comics I always identified with the young ones stepping into their elders role, but growing up I got to see the even younger ones coming up behind them, aspiring to be them, however much of a hot mess they might feel sometimes, determined to do better this time.

That feels like a more respectful role. Because there has always been someone before us, standing for what we believe in, dedicating their lives to some level of the good fight. And we have to hope there will always be someone after us, maybe not having to fight, but just as dedicated.

Movies? Erase history. To make their hero stand out.

Getting real tired of that.

Batman wasn't even first gen in the comics. He was inspired by the Justice Society before him, or by Zorro, or a million other things. But he's more famous and more useful as a leader and mentor, his skills multiplied over a whole Bat family.

As the MCU goes on it is doing something interesting with legacy and history, but mostly by showing it has been deliberately erased in universe. Ant Man makes it clearest, where he has to call himself a propaganda trick, and pass the skills on to someone new. But even Tony Stark never knew the work his father did, and generations of SHIELD happened in the shadows, erasing the contributions of, thus far, women, disabled people, people of color. Which is interesting, but really depressing.

I want to see the legacies. The multi generation inspirations. Especially the women who inspired women, Black Canary like her mother before her, or the people of color who have been fighting the good fight since forever.

Because otherwise they're doing the same thing to superheroes as gets done to women in science fiction, to pick just one of a bazillion fields of achievement, where each generation of writers is new! strange! different!, having ignored everyone before. It makes each 'new' person of diversity prove themselves from scratch, as if the white guy default really was the only one that ever stood there. And they never have been. They're always standing on the shoulders of giants, and those giants didn't look like them.

Give me that universe, the one where we've always been there, just like here.

And let the stories unfreeze, cause you can't hold back the rest of the world by propping up your white boys.


Jan. 11th, 2016 02:02 pm
beccaelizabeth: Tony Stark, Iron Man, face with HUD lights (Tony HUD)
MCU theory after Avengers, during Agents of SHIELD, into Winter Soldier:

Fury kept Coulson quiet and classified the same way you drop dye in the water to see where it goes colours. Level 7 to know he exists, Level 10 eyes only to know how.

Read more... )

Fury? Really really wants to know if Tony Stark is still in his system.

Read more... )

Fury didn't tell the Avengers. That's the only fact here. But if he specifically did it to see where the data went, he got a lot of very criminal splash really fast.

And ultimately they led to HYDRA.

Which is more plausible, to Fury: that he'd missed HYDRA in his own house his entire life, or that he'd missed it in Stark's?

Read more... )

But if we start from the idea that Fury keeps secrets because he believes it keeps the world safe, he's got stacks of reasons to not trust Stark.

I think fic could do better by him when addressing the whole Coulson secret. Just act like he's got a reason and see Coulson as the company guy who is really dismissive of the bits of SHIELD that went private after the fall. That fic plays out much different.

And probably with less Clint kisses, so my reading preferences could be heavily slanting what I seen there, but still, that's the challenge of ongoing canon, how can we keep the 'ship without throwing out the new episodes. Do the two guys as we know them now still fit together, or did we just AU them forever. Not knocking the AU, just wonder how the new canon could work.

Also think the future new canon is going to work much less well without noticing where there are actual tensions in the existing story.

But, today's conclusion: It makes sense for Fury to worry about Stark post Avengers movie, because he set out bait for Stark and got nibbles from Centipede, the Clairvoyant, and HYDRA. Sorting out where they weren't connected could easily take more time than they had.

Meantime, Coulson was very lively bait, which went poorly for a great many people.

Is fun.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm reading a long fic and Stark just gave Fury a 'suck it, boss' speech, after smashing through a SHIELD base and kidnapping/freeing someone, where the punchline was the Avengers are going independent
as long as they do less damage than the Chitauri they can do as they damn well please because the world needs them.

I stalled right there, because that? That is a supervillain origin speech. And I don't think the fic knows it.

Read more... )

A world that needs superheroes so much they'll let them smash all the things is a world with some pretty major problems, many of them now superheroes.

And yeah, sometimes it's as clear as aliens pouring through a portal or a robot overlord crashing a flying city, so someone's got to do something. The story really pumps up the contrast so you can't exactly argue for pacifism. Diplomatic solutions don't work when you don't even know the enemy exists or acknowledge their sentience/sapience/rights.

Not cool. Don't think there's RL equivalents. Not pretty ones, anyways.

But as I understand it the whole law and courts and trials thing is there to see if the actions taken were reasonable, proportionate, vaguely legal. So why shouldn't a superhero be subject to those same processes of law?

... the usual comic book answer is their utter corruption, but if the story stops there it's pushing a morally bankrupt rule by titans that I want no part of.

... so basically I just sat down and wrote out which side of the superhero civil war I'd be on.

Accountability is a necessary prerequisite of civilisation.

Freedom's necessary too, but not to the extent you can stand there and go You Can't Make Me over laws about if you're allowed to hit people and never answer for it.

Bad laws need fixing, but bringing down civilisation and letting rip with the might-makes-right is not the way to do it.

(ugh, okay, so my Chaotic Neutral tendencies are all D-:< right now)

Bad law needs fixing, bad systems need protesting, bad regimes even need replacing, but people just standing there saying they're outside of law and beyond judgement because they've got the biggest weapons? Are the problem. Never the solution.

... why am I reading superhero stories if...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The Bechdel-Wallace test, blunt instrument that it is, is not there to measure if women act in a stereotypical way. When it says 'are they talking about something other than a man' it is not a test for romance. It's not even just to filter out characters playing The Mother and The Sister and The Daughter, though it does that pretty handily.

It's there to test whether we exist in our own right. Women, plural.

Because if the film only has one woman, or two women that do not talk to each other, or who only talk about men?

Then women in that film only exist when observing or observed by men.


Women are half the world. Women should be half the movie. Very simple.
Instead we tend to get 2:1 male to female.
And that 1/3? Talks to and about men. And exists only in relation to men.

It's very easy to fix this. And yet it doesn't happen.

Making women the protagonists is important, essential, really great
and not sufficient.

We are not the lone exception. We are half the world.

Women exist. Plural. We talk to other women, with no men around, about things entirely not involving men.

Until media reflects that, it will come up short on the Bechdel-Wallace test, and fail at this really basic component of realism.

A film can have many other virtues, but the only way to get women to exist independently is to have it pass the test. And failing the test is a great big minus that drags the whole thing down.

I realise this particular rant might work better in relevant comments threads, but I am just not feeling that confrontational, so I'll rant about it here where people will either agree with me or be quiet. *sigh*

I like it that people like their favourite movies, I just get really frustrated when people decide this test doesn't matter, because often they're saying it doesn't matter if there's only one woman if she's sufficiently cool. But it matters. Nobody is cool enough to make up for the numerical disadvantage. We need to exist, and we need to talk, and we need to talk to each other.

Ugh, boys

Dec. 12th, 2015 11:00 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Okay, title not fair, but:
have finally finished reading the epic fantasy novel I stalled on. A lot of fighting happens, a lot of things that read like random D&D encounters and contribute neither to endgame plot nor character development, especially since there doesn't seem to be character development. And while huge swathes of story are theoretically driven by the emotions of those involved, who are mentioned to be in love with each other at the beginning and end of each book, there's an utter absence of recogniseable emotion, except jealous rage from the one bad girl.

It is the most stereotype boy version book. It's all about who can crunch who. And really? We know who is going to still be there in book nine, we know who does all the crunching, why is this satisfying?

The worst bit though? The peasant boy who is secretly king was part of a bit of a shell game of body swaps, and while his ancestor the last legit king is wearing his body, he announces his engagement to his secretary. In front of several thousand people. While it is imperative to the safety of the isles that she helps him pull off the king impersonation.

And then everyone agrees this is a good thing because now they'll both have to go through with it.

The hell?

I should point out that those two aren't even a couple that mention they're in love yet. Nobody has said that. He hasn't declared his love to her, she hasn't declared her love for him. The only evidence of feelings is physical proximity. She follows him around. With a notepad, fantasy tech edition. Because she's working with him to restore the kingdom. If they have any feelings for each other at all, that isn't something the book felt the need to share with the reader.

But now they must get married! Party!

The layers of lack of consent in there. I mean, the guy isn't even the guy who owns that body, he never asked the girl, she looks panic and fear when he ... I was going to say proposes, but he never, he just announces they're already betrothed. And then the book glosses that as she's afraid he won't go through with it when he gets back? Ugh.

So it's creepy. And it doesn't know it's creepy. And it is just chugging merrily along with the wedding preparations at the end of the book because the peasant prince guy saves teh day and gets his body back and gets the girl!

At no point has the girl been asked if she wants to be got.


There are girl point of view characters too, but they don't feel the need to think about feelings, or the people they love. Bad girl thinks about jealousy and concludes she hates the woman who distracts men with her cleavage and then kills them but she hates them because cleavage and sex and if she wanted a guy she'd just go for it, rather than, you know, killing. Because it's a killing people book, nobody can just hate people for killing. So instead of having actual positive emotions towards a guy the bad girl just kind of hates herself for not jumping on that. Ugh.

But mostly it tries so hard to avoid feelings that the characters are just killing machines wandering a fantasy landscape occasionally deciding wrong about which things to kill.

Why does he think we want to read a giant epic series of that?

Fanfiction is just playing a very different game than a lot of published fiction. Even when it's all plot and a lot of things happen, it's all about feels. You want to put your characters through things and watch them react and feel for them whenever stuff happens. It's not so much about what they do to the world, that's not the interesting bit, so even if they do something interesting like declare independence then the important bit is what it does to their relationships.

Why is that so rare when I venture into male authored books?

Their cut out people are just disturbing.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Lindsey is one of my favourite characters of all time. He hangs out in my head a lot and I have way more of my version than canon version. But still, in canon, favourite.

He just drove off in his beat up truck with his (probably formerly) evil hand and his guitar, and now I'm going to miss him for ages, sulk.

He had so many moments he could have made the other choice and still went back to Wolfram & Hart. And that makes him frustrating, and willingly evil, and fascinating, because it wasn't seeing children in danger and it wasn't seeing what they do to the woman he loves that makes him walk away. It was the realisation that evil just wasn't working. And sure, that he's so many spare parts to his employers, that part has to suck, but he stood there and got brains on his face while his co-worker got shot, I think he got that memo. What makes him interesting is Lindsey is, by the measures of his peers, winning, and he walks away. Because evil? He's bored with this crap.

It's kind of what fascinates me with Methos too, though he was on a different scale in a very different era. Methos was an Immortal warlord who ruled the known world, could have anything and anyone he wanted, and he just got bored. He decided he'd rather read, study, be a philosopher, be... well, over the next four thousand years, pretty much be human every which way a man can be. And it started when he'd tried evil, reached the top, and just... decided he was done with it.

I like it because evil is boring. It's banal, it's tedious, it's the same shit over and over with a fear and pain soundtrack. Characters that never go there in the first place, great. Characters that see the light and realise that love and compassion are the guiding forces they've been looking for, awesome. But there's also a place for the guys who just try it and end up done with it. Cause they're saying a different thing. The path of righteousness isn't that hard or made of sacrifice, because the path of evil is just kind of crap.

Makes the other ways look way more attractive.

And all those times he coulda woulda shoulda walked away, the times he nearly saw the light but put blinders on, the times he closed the door on redemption... they're followed up by this. So you get to see, there actually isn't a too late to change. People can be pricks over and over and they've still got a choice about it. So Lindsey chose.

That's what makes him fascinating.

Well, that and he remains easy on the eyes. And ears. And... well, beyond that, mostly speculation and some data from conventions. But wow is he pretty. And when he smiles at you... *happy sigh*

I watch him real close whenever he's on screen and it's fascination as much as attraction, barn owl and mouse maybe.

But I really, really like his character arc.

Up until here. Or, you know, up until almost the last minute.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I skimmed past another thing saying that slash just isn't feminist or progressive or whatever.

And okay.


One thing that fascinates me in fiction, esp slash fiction, is dynamics of power.

... yes I mean I read BDSM fic but that's not only or most of what I mean.

One theory that has bounced around since long and long is that slash fic isn't specifically about men, it's about power. Equal power.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've seen some pretty ridiculous commentary on the new Marvel trailer.

Mostly I've seen complaints that if you're going to do a film about how [issue] divides the eternal friendship of Captain America and Iron Man then it helps if you have, first, shown that they're friends.

That's kind of fair, it only gets ridiculous when people are turning it into deep psychological readings of Tony Stark that somehow leave out one of his most loyal friends and then say he's the one that doesn't know what friendship is.

Thing is, it's also reading in the wrong mode. It's reading the films with a TV hat on.

And yeah, okay, we've been watching these since 2008, we've got a bunch of 'episodes' here, we've got a feeling like we're on the 7th season of something epic.

But they are not television.

On television, if you want to break up an epic friendship, you devote a bunch of episodes to that friendship.

In a movie, you have one scene at a party (show they have fun together), one scene of working together (in our genres, show they save each other's lives), and one guy say 'we're friends'.

That's how they set up Rhodey. I mean, in Iron Man, he hung out with Tony getting drunk, then he turned up to save him in the desert, and then we know that when they have a falling out, that's serious, that's one of Tony's best friends having a falling out right there.

So when the movie says Cap and Iron Man are friends? Just look at how Age of Ultron set that up. They had a save each other's lives day at the office. They had a party, social together. Then when Cap makes sad frown faces at Tony, it's because they're friends, and Tony did a thing that was against that.

So when the next movie has them have a falling out? They're probably going to start with scenes of them working together, maybe have a social bit, and then boom, big argue.

And because that's a movie, we're supposed to extrapolate from those two scenes.

Because a TV series will show you a hundred days in the life, but a movie will show you the most important day in their lives, and whatever came before that, we have to fill in quickly in the establishing bit at the start of the movie.

The thing with comic book movies is we're so used to having decades of canon to draw on we bring the wrong toolkit and then complain the movie didn't do the thing. The movie did the thing, in movie language.

I'll grant it didn't make them close unto slashiness like it did Tony/Rhodey or Cap/Falcon, but, it did make them friends.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've had 'write about buffy season 6 and 7' on my to do list for long enough that I have, on the whole, forgotten what I was going to write. So, ticklist:

Read more... )

Hope that was what I wanted to write about ... mostly season 7 as it turns out. Think I forgot a bunch of things by waiting this long, but so it goes.

Meanwhile I'm on the last episode of Angel season 1, and one of the most interesting things about it is how, when Buffy turns up, she swiftly seems entirely irrelevant. Way to establish your show as its own independent thing. And way depressing if that's supposed to be the love of his life: as soon as they're not fighting the exact same good fight the exact same ways, side by side? All they've got left is arguments.

I don't ship it.

I do like to watch it though.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
some random links on tumblr lead to a bunch of how-to guides for inventing calendars.

... they all irritate me so far because they don't start with orbital mechanics.

The funniest thing though is they one and all agree that all these fiddly little variable months and quarter days are just the worst. That's the first thing they throw out! Really, the worst.

And I reckon if you want recogniseable humans on another planet, or even a different civilisation on this one, the first thing you're going to get is random encrusted variables.

Some guy comes up with a calendar, and it's near enough. Except you wait a few years and your solstice has wandered off towards your equinox. So okay, what to do? Leap years? Bung in an extra month? Have a few corrective days at some boss dude's fiat and then keep going as before?

The answer is all of the above, depending on who wins the argument this side of the mountain, or the river, or the sky.

And that's without figuring that the original calendars will be different on different continents for sure, and probably far more often than that.

Half a dozen 'how to' in a row started out with 'Earth's calendar has' , though one of them admitted (in the West anyway). And right there they are so very wrong. Because you've got your solar year civilisations and your lunar year civilisations, and they all live interpenetrated even now. And even when you agree how long a year is, when it starts depends on too many things. 'New Year' isn't a beginning for anything except the paper calendar, work restarts in the Spring and education in the Autumn and never the two line up.

I've vaguely wanted to know how we end up with a seven day week, and when that started, and who uses it. *googles*
Ancient Near East, probably something to do with planets maybe, and other places use/d 'weeks' between 4 and 10 days. After that it's a question of terminology, because translators use 'fortnight' or 'month', though 'week' seems to be tied up to this 'rest day' cycle that not everywhere used anyways.

Actual Earth civs? All the calendars. None of them meshed and all of them were great big political and religious arguments in the making, not to mention business implications.

And it's not just fantasy writers/gamers who get annoyed with the math. There's a bunch of attempts to tidy up the calendar and make it all regular and fitting together. It just turns back into a mess again in fairly short order when it grinds between habit and neighbours.

You want to invent a new civilisation and you're going to bother thinking about how they think about time?

Simplification is the last thing you want to do.

... though as most of the links pointed out, it do bear consideration how often that's even going to come up. And if your readers/players really want to be fiddling about with it.

But still. The SF writer in me says it should start with figuring out what lights are in the sky, and what kind of orbits you're talking, and how much wiggle there is in the seasons. And if they somehow settle on a 7 day week with none of our cultural precedents in common, you'd better have an actual reason.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have a theory about human behaviour, devised to explain the actions of Owen Harper in Torchwood. I am aware there's layers of problems there. But.

Owen Harper, when stressed, tries to piss off the boss. My theory is he feels small, so he picks a fight with the biggest monkey. Either he wins, in which case he's bigger than he thought, or big monkey wins, at which point it's all his problem and he's proven he's big enough to handle it. Except on Torchwood big monkey refused to play and fired him. So that doesn't work out so well.

Managers probably don't appreciate having small panic monkey around. If your problems from outside are big already, you do not want problems from inside the team. And it's a waste of effort doing threat displays to show you're biggest monkey. Well run teams are probably less monkey based.

But when we look for leaders some people have this sort of thing in mind. They're looking for someone bigger than them - actually depressingly literally, see correlation between height and getting elected, it's embarrassing. Someone bigger, stronger, smarter, all those useful things.

And in the genres we hang out in, we can take that further. Not hit the limits on human capacities. Go for the literally superhuman.

Read more... )

So I like fantasy and science fiction when it's average people, badass normal at the outside, having to deal with these huge great problems. Because you can, if you just teamwork good enough.

But I also enjoy the power fantasy that does basically add up to 'but what if BIGGEST monkey?'
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I woke up this morning and it occurred to me that it could in fact be deliberate that DW have been killing off black male characters, specifically mostly black male soldiers, because it could be all about Danny Pink.

Read more... )

The trouble with doing a racist thing repeatedly is that it looks really racist. The pre existing racism stinks up the place, even if you're trying to use that particular scent in a different way. It's like inviting in a bunch of really loud people chanting racist slurs, so even if there's a quiet geek in the corner expanding on the literary themes, they get drowned out.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Sometimes I just get really wound up about the lack of appropriate mental health services in urban fantasy.

... I know, but, I just watched Spike get so thoroughly screwed over in season 7, and it's just, like...

He did his best, right? He let people know he wasn't coping. Read more... )

So I get just very wound up, even entirely independent of the real world parallels where mental health services, especially for homeless people with a lack of documentation, can be a bit difficult to access. I just, I really feel that even vampires should be able to get help if they need it.

But instead there's just Buffy deciding when to use her stake. That's it. That's the only way their universe copes with having non humans with divergent thought processes and difficult dietary requirements.

Read more... )

I do like how Buffy really worked to avoid treating mental illness with a good being killed.
This season.
And in season 5 the dude that did that was clearly the bad guy.

I'm not so keen on how there's Dru and now Spike making an apparent connection between mental illness and tendency to do violence. TV does that a lot.

But I get stuck getting upset about how nobody helped Spike until it got really, really bad. I'm not saying Buffy should have, because his victims really sincerely don't owe him care, but there should be someone who can help.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Sometimes I read a fic and just get so frustrated of missed opportunities.

Like, if a fic has a big reunion but a huge communication fail to deal with, and if a fic has one character having gone deaf since last time they met and another having lost one hand, why does it not connect these dots? Sign language with one hand can be tricky. The job took away their ability to communicate both metaphorically and literally. Working through the literal would demonstrate a commitment to working through the issues.

... usually using disability as a metaphor is of the bad though, because disabled people just exist, they don't signify personal qualities. But I don't think this is that? It's just now their disabilities clash. Like when I can't speak and someone else hasn't brought their glasses. Trying to communicate through increased barriers means you've got something you care about enough to make it work.

also also, I'm really quite frustrated when super science gets brought in to just handwave away the difficulties. Deaf, but you can't even see the 100% effective hearing aides, they're so cool and tiny! Replacement hand, only marginally cyborg, 100% sensation and function and appearance! :eyeroll: Like you want disabled people in your fic but not their disabilities.

I know sometimes it's like wanting to make it so they don't hurt, but AUs where the cool robot arm is a cool robot tattoo are just... erasing a whole bunch of people who definitely don't have that option.

I know fiction can fix absolutely anything it feels like with a couple of words, and I know if we like people we don't like seeing them suffer, but sometimes disability isn't suffering anyway, it's just part of who they are now. And sometimes when you undo a disability to give them a happy ending it's like that time travel movie I saw which changed a bunch of things a bunch of times but pretty much concluded the only way to cope with an abusive childhood was to not have one in the first place. It's like giving up on people. It's rubbish. The good stuff is getting to happily ever after from wherever they start. Which for certain robot arm having people is clearly very tricky, but, the existence and recovery of these fictional archetypes is a lifeline of hope for people who have been through shit. Undoing all the bad stuff before you like them can be like pulling up the ladder and leaving hurt people to it. Or it can just be saying you'd rather they didn't get hurt in the first place, like sympathy. Difficult.

If you count all the trauma (which, yes, very) then a really high percentage of superheroes are dealing with disabilities and illness, mental and physical. If you mix and match continuities and points in their history then you get even more. And these are the people who rise above, come out stronger, save the rest of us. Not by leaving their disabilities behind, or always having them secretly be superpowers, but just by being awesome anyway. They're a multi decade story that says we're stronger than we think, we can cope, we can do better than cope. It's something I've always loved them for.

But it's an aspect that frequently gets taken away, in canons and fanfic, and that's really frustrating.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm lacking big thinking about Buffy of late. There seems to be a bunch about masculinity and violence, direct parallels between Spike and Riley, and Riley and Adam of course, plus some stuff about how useless Giles and Xander feel now they're not defined by their jobs. Giles and Xander keep trying to help with the violence cause they've got none jobs and want to be useful, Xander beats up Spike and it's a sign he cares, Giles gets all sad because nobody is scared of him any more. Spike of course refers to his lack of capacity to do violence in direct comparison to neutering. Masculinity and violence. Big thing.

... big thing covered by every other show ever. Bored? Kinda. I mean, not bored of the episodes, but not coming out with meta.

All of them feeling less masculine because Buffy is more successful at violence than they ever could be, and Spike and Riley eroticising that, that's a thing BtVS does a little different. Mostly if the girl is kick arse it's to teach a guy to be better than her by the end of the movie. Here she just stays better, consistently. Yaays.

The same sex desire metaphor in the magics, the way Willow and Tara have to be, er, subtle, and the way Giles and Ethan are at the pub... a couple of old mystics, sorcerers, the night is still our time... yeah, still liking that, except for the not trivial thing where not being allowed to show stuff sucks. But the metaphors are pretty and the guys at the pub are, well, I'm coming up with plausible and I don't know if that's what I mean? Giles responding when he thinks Ethan is calling him attractive, intense eye contact, history together... you can see it happening, and you can see it in those scenes.

Ethan and the Fyarl thing: you can read it as Ethan didn't do it. Way back at the start of Buffy, episode three, it was established that one way to undo every spell in progress was to kill the caster. But when Giles the demon breaks in to grab Ethan, Ethan says "I can't undo you if you kill me!" Okay, he could be lying about everything, but if true, it means it wasn't his spell.

If it was then it's a classic be careful what you wish for. Giles wanted to be scary.
But that could also mean he got very, very drunk and did something unwise to himself. Unlikely, sure, but if you want to tell that tale...

For G/E shippers there's the teensy problem of him apparently trying to get Giles killed when he tells Buffy "It killed Ripper and now it's trying to get me!"
He could simply be mistaken about how far gone Giles is, if he can't get back from there. He could be making a complex statement about tweedy Giles and his ongoing fight with his own Ripper side. Or it could just be mischief to cover his own escape. Granted Buffy tries to kill Giles because of it, but she epic fails. And Ethan predicted that, reckoned "You're only going to make him angry." If he don't believe Giles can be hurt then it's mischief, not murder.

But then there's "I've really got to learn to just do the damage and get out of town. It's the 'stay and gloat' that gets me every time."
He's saying he did damage, and should have run before Ripper caught up.

Probably meant to be Ethan then.

But there's loopholes available if you want them. Like, what was he even doing in the place a demon was meant to rise and didn't anyway?

... Ethan Rayne can be so much more interesting if you read a little depth into a character that's pretty much just an excuse for mayhem to happen. But mayhem of the insides to outsides sort, which is always very character based fun.

Giles chasing Professor Walsh because she called him an absent male role model, always funny, but again connecting masculinity and violence. Giles feels powerless and judged, because a woman is implying a woman made herself without him. So he gets big and scary at her. Because clearly it's fun to use threats to counter words. And clearly it's more funny because it's Giles, who is usually words guy. But it's a moment that comes from him, not Ethan, even if Ethan did give him the outsides to do it.

Rupert Giles: earning his nickname since the early 70s.

I'm dissatisfied with how they used Walsh. She was evil psychology lady, and some of that was clever. Introduced doing stuff like controlling the discourse by naming herself as both good and evil versions, smart on several levels, and funny from writers cause they know what we don't. Creepy stuff that reminds me of abusers when she controls Riley just by mocking or relabelling his feelings, so he's just being college boy when he's trying to have opinions. Makes him feel small and then tells him to make her proud, so all his self worth is supposed to come from her reactions. Reworking his base code, like Adam said. Must have taken a lot of creepy manipulative work. And then making soldiers that don't ask questions... that's such a wrong view of soldiers. So all of that is perfectly good evil overlord stuff. But it's wrapped up with Riley and Adam calling her Mother on different occasions, and the weird thing with watching Riley have sex and getting rid of his girlfriend. Creepy gendered stuff. With no matching good version. I mean, if they're exploring mothers, Buffy has one of those, but no, they're just contrasting with Giles for some reason, current teacher vs ex teacher, at a point Giles is distanced from Buffy. Also there's previous evil teacher ladies but no hint of comparison. Comparing what Walsh does to what Watchers did would be perfectly reasonable, but you have to reach to other seasons to do it. Which, okay, it's season 4 and you'd expect some stuff to just be background, but I'm dissatisfied with how it turned out. There should be more women, more mothers, more teachers.

... I'm watching Buffy and thinking there need to be more women, even though Willow and Tara and Anya and Buffy are all right there.

I'm quite a lot creeped out by how Xander treats Anya. I mean I know she's an ex-demon but the comparisons with her behaviour have her turning up on list of autistic characters, so this time every time Xander corrects her on social skills is kind of grating. Like she's not meant to have her own thoughts and feelings but has to fit the mask on to be acceptable to him. It's not that she's actually learning compassion and empathy and that good stuff, she's just being told 'we talked about this' and changing how she behaves. I feel like Xander doesn't actually like Anya, he just likes how she makes him feel, and part of that is him feeling like he has the knowings and can teach from a position of moral superiority.

I'm super grumpy today and don't know if it's the TV that's always grump making or me that's always in a grump. So it goes.

The first three seasons, the basic metaphor was 'high school is hell'. Okay. They shift to college, but after the room mate episode I'm unconvinced they upgraded to 'college is hell'. More of a general 'young adulthood is hell'. Everyone trying to tell you who to be and shape you into who they want, but at the same time leaving you to sink or swim and not supporting you like you were supported a minute ago. Not knowing how to relate to adults, who are now meant to be other adults like you, but get cranky if you treat them that way and make you feel weird. Being expected to make a quantum leap in maturity and then frowned on for thinking you're mature. The whole thing with the drugged Initiative agents seems less metaphorical and more just a thing in itself, but I guess the pressure to perform physically and mentally is a college thing. Even Willow's magical lashing out is the thing where having a little power does not always go so good. So the metaphors are still there.

I'll watch more episodes later.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

September 2016

     1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 910
11 12 1314 1516 17
181920 21 222324


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 27th, 2016 08:34 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios