beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It bugs me sometimes how easily audience reactions are manipulated.

The simplest thing is how people are led into empathy just by how much access they get to specific characters.

Like, obviously familiarity makes it easy
but

In Captain Cold's introductory episode they play with light and shadow, the goggles on his trademark outfit, and camera angles, all so you see him, but you don't get to see him having a feelings. He's shadows and angles and outlines, he's controlled and collected and as cold as his moniker, and while you get to see him glory in violence, see him grin and laugh and aim the cold gun one more time, you don't get to see his feelings about actually hitting someone.
Because once he hits someone he stops. Flash is sitting there next to the frozen guy, there's opportunity, but. Nope. He's out of there.
And we don't get enough access to guess why.
But then with Legends of Tomorrow we're at the whole other extreme with him, we get to see him have feelings with his face, fill his voice with emotion, even tell little stories about his past. Because he's a regular character now, because we're in his point of view often, so the gradual unfolding of character you get on the Flash is turned up to eleven.
And he's still the same guy. He'll kill people and he'll only have feelings about it in really extreme cases. But they showed him in those cases, or even the one or two cases where he purely wouldn't kill.
So now the audience sees him having a feelings, and they have a feelings too.

Logically every last random thug and henchman has as rich an interior life as you do.
But the story doesn't give you access, doesn't invite empathy, so when they go down like ninepins, nobody is paying that much attention.

And sometimes that gets creepy. Sara Lance's ability to claim the Legends aren't killers when they were initially recruited for an assassination and routinely mow down opposition? Either writers or character be being creepy there, cause they're just blithely ignoring the human cost of the fx fests.

But sometimes it bugs me that we're just that easy. That the story, by manipulating our attention, giving or withholding emotional data, can manipulate who we think of as people, who we even count. Who stays the dire thing in the dark.

Stories are a technology of empathy, able to build a connection with people radically different from ourselves.

If they want to.

If they don't... I don't like it that humans don't so much build that bridge themselves.

Even while I actively seek out genres that'll have the kind of mass fight scene where 'we' blow up gigantic numbers of 'them' and never go to the funerals.



But I do like that Doctor Who takes viewers on a journey so often, from the scary thing in the dark we don't even get to see, through their terrifying actions, to understanding, empathy, and on a really good day making a deal to resolve it all.

Not evil, just misunderstood, so let's put the work into understanding.



Back in the real world, this is the baseline need for diverse representation.
Because access builds empathy, practices seeing the stranger as a person, and humans are just scarily bad at that without story to build the bridges.



I should go write story.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
At the Redemption conventions there's a bit called Ruler of the Universe
where mostly bad guys line up and try and get our votes for Ruler of the universe

and it's been fun, it's funny, choosing between evil!UNIT and The Master or Missy and an assortment of Centauri is just funny theatre

but

then this year instead of Drazi War we had Empire or Rebellion on our badges
and
No.

Given those options, we rebel.
Right?
All of us?

And now reading about Marvel's latest comics drek and marketing gimmick, same with HYDRA. That is not an option. Ever. They want shops to cosplay as nazis to sell comics? Never.

And it's just rolling back the unfunny line, so instead of a joke about the wrong lizard, it's... nasty.

Like, the closer to reality the dark gets, the less funny it is.

Read more... )




It feels like media has taken a long march down into the grimdark for a really long time now
until it's all zombies and don't have to save you
and heroes are just people choosing who to punch.



I miss when the Justice League was a UN peacekeeping force made up of a really wide assortment of people including a guy who fought with a solar powered flashlight to disorient his enemies. I mean, write a world where that works. Where there's the option of being good and having it work out.

Heroes are supposed to hold that line.

Live as though the world were as it should be to show it what it can be.
Where the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.


And I'm tired of stories that just answer that with all the angst and woe and bad consequences.

I want to see where being decent to people works out and gets them to be decent back.


Supergirl season one was pretty good like that. Some comics right now are apparently good like that. But there's all this grimdark noise too, and I'm tired of that.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I figured out another problem with the Doctor Strange movie, specifically the casting and performance of Strange himself.

The movie is his transition into a strange new world, one he and the majority of the audience know not of. But he doesn't invite us in or make a bridge for our understanding. From his role in the world before to every nuance of his performance, he's as alien to us as the new world is, an arrogant mask that bounces us off without understanding or empathising.

That leaves no one to draw us in. It becomes spectacle, empty, beyond us. And if we're meant to react with awe, well, that's one way to go, but...

Read more... )




Marvel movies nag at me because they're playing with such rich ingredients but where they fail they fail... boring. Standard. Whitewashed and bechdel fail, sort of thing.

I'd rather they took more chances and failed more interesting, like the rich comics stew before them, but at their budget they're wildly unlikely to contradict orthodoxy even when the numbers say they really needed to.


Cast someone else as Strange - someone with the knack of showing characters the mask but letting the audience behind it. Cast him as the son of immigrants reconnecting with a culture he rejected, or someone cast adrift from his ancestral culture by the actions of colonisers and slavers, or someone who had to work twice as hard to be seen as half as good and has sacrificed everything on the altar of his talent because he knows how others have failed. Cast him as someone who gives an interesting, relatable, vulnerable angle just standing there, and you've got your way in to Strange, even as he tries to have a white man's arrogant swagger, and watches it all fall apart.

Instead they cast mighty whitey yet again there to school us on everyone else's beliefs, and it's just... empty. Without leaving us a space
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It bothers me when writers use holy items without regard to the theology of that particular religion.

I mean sometimes it's because different denominations can't agree which way is up, let alone what's the significance of this, that and t'other.

And sometimes it's just being rude.

But it bothers me because it's sloppy storytelling, bringing up all these associations and then just shrugging them off because Our Thing Is Different.

The specific associated theology implies morality implies which actions make our heroes heroes. They can go with or against that, but to have it hanging around ignored is... tacky.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I watch time travel shows. From my first and longest fandom, Doctor Who, up to the latest I may be falling out with, Legends of Tomorrow, I have watched a whole bunch of time travel shows. And a thing that bothers me is that somewhere in their decisions about the physics they make a whole lot of ethical decisions, often without meaning to, and the ethics of time travel is then held up as an entirely distinct thing from everyday ethics.

Time travel is the ultimate in the ends justifying the means.

Someone who knows The Future from a particular point, someone who knows who lives and dies, who by the conceit of this fiction is absolutely sure of the outcome because they've walked around in it, has two distinct categories of choice ahead of them.

Compliance and defiance.

They can either go along with what is, or say fuck it and try for what should be.

Read more... )




I'm with Terry Pratchett and Sam Vimes on this one. You do the job that's in front of you. Doesn't matter if you time travelled to get there, you save lives and stop bad guys.


But that leaves a writer in a shared universe an insoluble problem where they'd logically be changing history out from under their peers every single week. Or, of course, the choice to make good endlessly futile, and hope someone still wants to watch that.


And it leaves someone who can deliberately chose their destination in time with an infinite task, somehow choosing the best of all possible worlds, attempting to build heaven right here.




Heaven, or the afterlife and souls and so forth, is the other ignored and entirely writer dependent variable here. Read more... )



It's tempting to solve it by keeping theology out of one's science fiction, but DC very clearly does not do so. I mean they're using the Spear of Destiny, they're being religious, but I haven't seen it to know if they're doing so with clear theological underpinnings.




But a theological lens brings one set of consequences into sharp focus. It doesn't just matter who lives and how long, but how, right down to the details of their state of mind. And granted, many people are not religious, but if this whole being alive thing matters, if this thinking thing matters beyond its survival utility, if we are the universe seeking to understand itself? I choose to believe every last drop of understanding matters. Every last thought.

So a time traveller changing someone's understanding is also huge.

Read more... )



The time travel shows I stick with are the ones that choose life and freedom, the ones where you can make a difference, and the writers actually let it be a good difference when you do a good thing. Sure it can take you on a dance through consequences, but if the story tries to argue for choosing death and compliance with destiny, it loses me. We have to look at the world as it is right now in front of us and choose the best thing we can think of. We can't know the consequences, so we do the best we can with ethical rules we have, the ones that say free will and the time to use it are what really matters in life.

Yes that leaves time travellers in a never ending battle, but how does that differ from your average superhero?

So I want the show where the heroes are shown the book of destiny and say
No.

There's always a way out
There are no strings on me.



And then somehow when they act out of kindness and love and protect others, they work their way through the consequences to a better world.




Because the other thing, the one that says you've got to give up and let it happen?
Sucks.
A tragic hero gets ground down when they stand in the way of fate, but we don't have to only write tragedies.


A hero defies destiny to make things better.

Passion

Apr. 5th, 2017 03:47 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Also also Buffyverse meta:

That one review that made it all about bad boyfriends... okay, I get where you're coming from, Buffy had a fascinating map in that respect, though what is with all the Riley erasure and simplifying it down to Didn't Love Him?

But they seemed to conclude with saying passion is what makes life worth living, and meant specifically romantic passion.

And I mean, they might have been quoting? "If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow." That sort of thing.

But, small point to remember, that was serial killer Angelus talking.
We do not uncritically accept the admittedly artistic monologues of serial killers.

Saying without romantic passion, the kind that leads us into bad relationships, our lives would be empty? Eeew. I mean, way to write off aro aces there. But also, eeew. And saying we have no choice about who we love? Yeah, but, no. Love is a choice. You wake up every morning and put the work in. You learn someone and learn how to see them. You decide to fit your lives together. And love is a promise. A commitment to act a certain way, in the beloved's best interests. And yeah, love and passion can turn up for unhelpful people, but, after that, you grow it or you don't.

And granted I'm sitting here perpetually single and baffled by most humans, but still, pretty sure I'm right even for people with the big overrides in their heads. We get plenty of choices. Just some are more appealing than others.

Plus how can someone see fandom and only understand passion as a romance thing?

... wait, 'ship wars, fic read as primarily about a 'ship, I can see it. But. Wrong.

People get full of energy for many things, and it can lead them astray in far more contexts, or drive them on to greatness.

Forgetting that and flattening every relationship that doesn't work to bad boyfriend passion? Does story such a great disservice, let alone people.

Buffy had many passions and many loves and each of them changed her and helped her and hurt her in various ways, because bumping into other humans does that.

But romantic passion isn't the only way to do it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been reading all the things about Buffy because 20th.
... many people are not particularly fussed about evidence if it gets in the way of their preferred reading, especially if that evidence is a 'ship.
I mean you can read Willow and Buffy as single in the last season, and learning to love themselves etc etc, but in Willow's case you have to ignore the actual sex scene, and Buffy ends the show by saying I Love You to a guy, it's just he happens to be on fire at the time. But single. Because feminist.

It is not in fact more feminist to be single. The trick to writing feminist relationships is to make them actually about the woman and her needs. Stuff like putting her career first and listening to her and doing what she actually says she needs and being emotionally supportive. In an ideal world stuff like woman sees guy thinks he's worth pursuing and does so successfully. Because then it's about her choices. The only things that are not feminist about relationships are when it's about what a man wants and can talk her into, and it reflexively centers the man. And oh look, with Willow, real easy to avoid, seeing as there's no man in there. And yet, plural times, I seen this interpretation.

There's nothing wrong with being a wife or mother, it's just when people are ironed flat to fit into stereotypes of those roles there's a problem. Just like there's nothing wrong with being a woman who kicks arse, but there's problems when she's flattened out into being just that (and second best at it). And the makeup thing? Makeup is fun for everyone, all people have the option to paint themselves colors, even if the guys mostly stopped at nail varnish. What is no fun is sticking women in the double bind where their character hates girly things and never spends time on them yet somehow is perfectly made up at all times, or ironing them flat into painted up pretty and then hating on them for vanity when they do the only stuff the story allows them.

Also feminist is giving men a full range of feelings and a wider range of wardrobe options and centering girly things for everyone. Because men get ironed flat too, and it's creepy weird.

And then there's single point authority through competition for dominance vs networks of multiple expertise in cooperation. The latter, apparently, is feminine? Because humans really like to sabotage themselves? I mean women compete, don't get me wrong, but the ideologies that say someone has to be lone loner lonely grimdark, that's apparently patriarchy. Because reasons.

Ugh.

But everyone who can stand up will stand up, could have the power, will have the power.

That's a much better and more effective way.

And that ending would not have been undermined if everyone walked away in one big polyamorous group, or got their emotional support with a side of romance as well as all the regular platonic stuff, so I don't know what show the reviewers were watching, but I like my one better.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was reading a string of Moffat quotes on the topic of recasting the Doctor as a woman. He maintains that you never cast just A Woman, because you never cast A Man, you'd only do it if you had someone specific in mind. Which I maintain is how we get more straight white men everyone has seen before, and never enough of the rest of us, so it's dangerous bollocks.

But. His other point was to wonder if we, the audience, are ready yet. His question is Would the viewer accept her as The Doctor?

And, wrong.

That is the wrong question.

The question is, How do we make them accept her as The Doctor? Better yet, how do we make them love the Doctor?

And the answer to that is the same as every other time.

You have them walk on and Be The Doctor.

Twelve climbing out the window because 'Me', listening to a dinosaur, being so so sorry, caring so much, and being brilliant. Eleven rolling up all faster than light travel with two diagrams and a joke, whoever I am I'm a genius. Is this world protected? (Ten has declared it so.) I'm the Doctor. Basically, run. (Run for your life, says Nine to Rose.) And every other time we meet him for the first, eighth, seventh, so on and so forth times, though I think Eleven did it with the most style.

Every single time, every single episode, every time you meet you've got to sell two things: This is The Doctor, the definite article, and the Doctor is the most amazing being you will ever meet.

So you bring on the new cast, sure, and to sell the transition you have someone who already knows him, and to sell the Doctor you have someone falling for him for the very first time. Not romantically, at least not until recently and I don't consider it an improvement. That feeling that this is the single most interesting person in any room, and you could follow them anywhere. All of time and space, yeah, but it's who you travel it with who matters.

So there's the new Doctor and the old Companion and the new audience identification figure companion the second, bewildered but bewitched.

And there's not one word of that that changes if you change her gender. Not one line.

I'm the Doctor, I'm a genius, and this is defended.

If you can't sell that you've no business writing Doctor Who.

... and we had Clara selling that, which was interesting. But you don't get the structural shift in center until you move the white man out of it, so, it has to be the Doctor.

Soon.



And the thing is, every writer, every fanfic writer, but novels and audios and episodes too, has to sell us the same thing every single time. Or else fail to convey why this is Doctor Who and not some other thing with the serial numbers swapped.

And funnily enough they do it pretty frequently.



So I just don't see the argument. I don't give a monkeys if you think the audience won't swallow it cold. Cook the blooming banquet and serve it to them at such a pace they're asking for it by the time it gets to table. Make us feel it, and we'll believe. That's what writing is about.

Vision

Mar. 17th, 2017 02:54 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The s in vision started to bother me.

… I’m reading Avengers fic, it came up.

But it’s not quite like other s sounds, so I just kept looking at Viz or Vis as abbreviations and they’re not quite right.


So I looked it up

http://teflpedia.com/IPA_phoneme_/%CA%92/

wait, does that work? It’s a sort of curly z. ʒ

It says other words with the s-in-vision include

equation, usual, seizure, luxurious, genre and beige

which by my count means spelling it with an s, t, z, ge and half an x.

Unless it’s a translation, then it’s zh.

English!

So now Viz, Vis and Vision will continue to bother me

but in a more informed way.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I feel a lot of arguments could be more productive if everyone agreed

strong female characters

means both strength of character and strength of punching people, necessarily female.

like, the argument that goes 'she's a strong character because she punches people' is at best incomplete, but when I say I want more strong women I also mean I look forwards to seeing muscles.

Because we are in need of women being varied and well rounded humans who are the equal of men in every way, and sometimes that means punching things.

Punching things is not sufficient.

But neither is being always the thinky one while the men fight.




Every time I find a bunch of good shows in a row I figure we don't need to even say that bit anymore, but then I end up in a room where a male author starts off by saying female characters are more interesting because they can't fight, and, well, the argument is back.


I'd like to start with parity. Equal numbers of men and women. Not just nearly equal, though two out of five is clearly better than one out of four. Actually equal. And if a script comes in that isn't equal, just flip someone at random.


... and realise that math leaves out nonbinary people entirely, but they could add as many nonbinary people as they liked without unbalancing the script, and they'd solve the odd numbers...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I am so tired of stories where the only issue they have is self esteem and nobody asking.
I mean I do get the appeal of the whole you were beautiful all along bit, but, seriously, I have read a bazillion of those stories, and given that everybody involved looks like literal movie stars, they're freaking ridiculous.

And it's not like canon doesn't give them actual meaty stuff to work through. Stuff is all over canon. Trust issues and lying for a living and we're not who we are and whole stacks of mental health problems both new and lasting and lifelong, and disabilities same, and on top of all that political differences and being in different minority groups and not really groking each other's experience, and whole stacks of events where you kind of have to fix their universe before you can get them to happily ever after.

But no.

They just never said because they're insecure.

The story you could tell with literally every person in the world with a little tweakage.

Why are we telling it Yet Again with these two?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
today I discovered I did not understand as much as I thought I did about genetics and meiosis and recombination
which, given my a level grades, is not a surprise, but remains slightly frustrating.
but now I have a dozen tabs open to learn more and replace my wrong knowledge, which is always a nice opportunity.

... all this in aid of figuring out exactly how much of the world a time traveller from the 25th century would be related to, and how likely he is to grandfather paradox himself on accident if he's a serial killer.

... except the TV version of the flash says he's born 136 years into the future, which is a very different number of generations (and like 64 or 32 ancestors to memorise? 128 if all super eager?). And comics version gives multiple different dates of origin in quick succession according to web pages that claim to know, so who knows how many generations. so it's not entirely useful even in fanfic terms, it's just what I was wondering.

Because if you kill your grandfather you're clearly screwed, unless there was secretly a slightly different ancestry than you were aware of. But if you go far enough back we could have more ancestors than there were people, but don't because of marrying in your village and so forth, and people who do clever math reckoned an English child would be related to 80% of Britain a thousand years ago, or possibly not depending on which what where who and what you believe. So does that mean that a time traveller from far enough forward would have an 80% chance of a grandfather paradox if he killed any random person, or would it only matter if their specific genetics made it down the line to you?

But then that's more likely than I'd at first understood, because recombination, so you probably need a really large percentage of your ancestors for a bunch of generations. But there's one page has fancy graphs to show you're probably not related to all your ancestors at ten generations out. So could you just kill the ancestors you weren't carrying genes from, and because Time Wants To Happen, it'll all work out somehow anyway? Different ancestor swaps in instead, but washes out the same way? Seems unlikely.

Best just to say that time travellers trying to kill ANYbody far enough back they're unclear on their ancestry are risking a grandfather paradox, and that therefore time travellers should not dare be killers, and killers really must be stopped from time travel.

And it makes no sense to pack a ship full of vigilantes and murderers to go assassinate someone who started living four thousand years ago, and then treat their violence as trivial. It would be quite difficult to be sure of a four thousand year old man's descendants, even if he tried to keep track. And it would be impossible to be sure of the identities of all the people they've opened fire on, let alone their descendants.

Ciolence whilst time travelling is very likely to be terminally unwise.

Unless you are dealing with different species and an isolationist home planet, in which case you'd only have to make sure not to go home again. Unless of course you're a hybrid...




but, genetics. more complicated than I remembered even. which was quite complicated enough.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There was a thing at Redemption in part about how Immortality might not in fact be a good thing. Which always pisses me off. But it's that Highlander Claudia Jardine thing where she says she can only feel the music if she fears death, plus the idea that we need that ultimate deadline to make us ever finish something.

And, no? I mean I've heard the poetry teacher say that everything is eventually about sex or death, but it was bollocks then too. Humans have feelings for a wide variety of reasons? Humans have feelings about cupcakes and quesadillas and beer. I'm reasonably sure there's some really ancient poetry about beer.

And as for needing the deadline or we'll fiddle with it forever... look, my WIP folder is a graveyard of yesterday's dreams, but what twenty, possibly thirty years of such things has taught me is: you can only write *that* story today. The one in your head right now, the one with the vivid mature characters who act just like real humans as you recognise them right now? You can write that today. Because in five, ten, fifteen years you'll look back on it and wonder what you were thinking. You'll have moved on. Your understanding will have moved on. Your tastes will have moved on. I mean I've always been more of a Giles or Methos fan, but I couldn't from here write a Xander or Richie as sexy if I'd only just met them. I could remember how they used to look to me, but new people that age are just... young. And that's the tiniest part of it. And it isn't - it is not - simply that you understand better now. Every generation complains olds don't remember being youngs, and they've got a bit of truth in that. Every generation was only young in their own context too. We can remember, we can imagine, but there's always stuff we just won't know from here, and did then.

So that story in your head? Write it today. It'll be a whole different story tomorrow, as a different person writes it.

... and if I took my own advice more often the story graveyard would be a bit less tragic, obviously.

But the other thing is sex. Or intercourse, shall we say. Story is one fraction of the ways humans connect and are in conversation with each other. People still make art in reaction to the art of thousands of years ago, but it's different art than it would have been last century, because that conversation has moved on. The deadline isn't just people getting dead, it's story getting born. How many times have we raced to publish before the next episode jossed us? How many stories get irrelevant a season or two along? How many dead fandoms would not be waiting for your input any more, so the story just never gets told? We might write for ourselves, but we publish to connect, converse, communicate. We're not just making words, we're making communities.

So the kind of person who would take forever seeking perfection, they exist, because there's seven billion people and there's always one of anyone. But they've got to be outnumbered by the prolifically creative, the exuberant profusion, the back and forth. Even just the people who'll throw a hundred pots looking for the good one, instead of fiddling around with their first. And we can teach people to be that, even against their anxious inclination, just by encouragement and feedback.

I've seen people say they write like death's on their tail, because it has been trying to eat them all their lives. And they write beautiful and brilliant things, and maybe that makes that kind of fear look useful. But I've seen more cut off in the middle of things, or writing despite the deadly grind, writing as they can between hospital visits until you hear the worst and realise that WIP will never update again.

So don't tell me about the benefits of mortality. It might feel more cosy to think we wouldn't want the impossible things anyway, but I'd rather think big. Want. Dream. Write as if we'll all be here to feedback for a thousand years. Because it's not the thought of death that keeps us going, it's the thought of all the dreams we could be having, and sharing with all these people around here.

Reboot

Feb. 28th, 2017 06:12 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The thing that bugged me about the weekend and the frequent refrain of 'why don't they just make an OC' instead of changing things in the reboot, or even 'why don't they make something original'?

this is utterly bizarre to a fanfic writer.

and, also, the hell is even original anyway?



And this is mostly about recasting, women and people of color, or making someone gay, but
we read comics
every blooming thing is a re re reboot by now

or we watch science fiction where the spin off shows spin off spin offs
or where they're just very identifiable in their lineage
and really, why so grump?



There's ways and ways to reboot, you can discuss if things are optimised for old fans or new, there's respectful adaptation and there's just ripping the title and hollowing things out, there's keeping the ethos or destroying it, there's a lot of arguments you can have about reboots.

But why not OCs and original fic?
Because these are the toolkits we have, and every generation wants to play with them anew.

Not complicated.





Also, for the record, The Doctor being cast as anything other than a white man is what we need by now.

It doesn't take away some unique role model for men, we're not short on tricksters and philosopher kings, they're just as pervasive as the macho warrior stereotype. But the class dynamic has changed so warrior reads working and thinker reads middle, there's not so many warrior kings around. That's why Merlin's the hero and not Arthur these days. The dynamic was even addressed in DW, he's not a soldier, he's an officer, though he asserts otherwise. And he's got more a veneer of non violence than the substance thereof, cumulatively, given how much boom he's done. But that keeps coming up too. DW is engaging with interesting issues. But the Doctor being a thinker doesn't make him a unique role model for men.

The Doctor being a woman and yet still walking into a room and taking it over by virtue of pure expertise? That would be newer.

Write a season in advance of casting, so no one gets knocked off course by the new embodiment, and then cast some different. Any difference. But a woman of color would be grand.




... yes I'm having arguments in my head with a succession of panels from the weekend. I didn't think it productive to engage at the time, but I did my dissertation on gender in Doctor Who, I have some knowledge here.

The structural sexism cannot be resolved until you recast so that world revolves around a woman.



Recasting for greater justice is for the win. Everywhere. Every time.

History and the fiction thereof has some shit to answer for, we could actively try to rebalance for a really long time and it'd be necessary work throughout.

Zombies

Feb. 28th, 2017 04:28 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The thing about zombies is they're not harmless. Real world harms I mean.

They creep me out because even when the story isn't about disability and mental illness, it is fundamentally about disability and mental illness.

Zombies are the idea that someone can start out as human but by the way they act or by physical differences they can lose that status, even while moving and doing things.

Read more... )

But when story is optimised for drama, danger, violence, and 'having to' kill... when any other approach gets punished? It grinds a groove of thoughts that try and make it seem reasonable. There end up being cumulative hundreds of hours of stories saying the only answer is extermination.

Which is a whole other sort of terrifying.



And that's without getting into how zombie movies tend to work out with regards to class, race, gender, and all the rest. I haven't specific numbers so I don't know for sure. But there do seem to be a lot of white guys in these things.


So. I really do not like zombie stories.

People are not things. They cannot become things. And you deal with them in an ethically responsible manner come what may, because the right thing to do doesn't wear off when things get scary.




And all that is like a third of my thoughts in response to that one talk at Redemption. I'll probably end up writing later about why immortality would, surprisingly apparently, be a good thing. And I ended up talking a lot about robot rights an artificial people, which tends to be a much better story from where I'm standing, because you start with apparent not-people and the whole thrust of the narrative is about getting you to acknowledge them and treat them better. Robot story as the anti zombies? Only sometimes. But when it is I much prefer it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I get really tired of fanfic's tendency to swap out women.
When a show has only women of the week and the guys go home together, the slash is simples, and rarely has to bother swapping out women.
But the more women are in the story in the first place, the more some fanfic decides what a story really needs is to just reattribute their everything to a man.

I've read fics that were just episodes but with their preferred pairing instead of a woman.
I even liked them cause I hadn't seen that episode yet.
Felt icky when I realised.

In Clint/Coulson fics after Age of Ultron, well, the vast majority simply aren't after Age of Ultron, but the ones that are? I'm mostly left trying to decide if it's creepier when they give the farm to Coulson or make Laura Clint's sister.

Probably the sister thing, considering, but in the general case it's just creepy to erase a woman and give her everything to the nearest pretty guy.

It's also annoying because so unnecessary. I mean Coulson makes some little speeches in Agents of SHIELD season one that imply he had to choose between wok and raising kids, and then Clint turns out to have kids, so the poly fic really ought to write itself. But I haven't even seen a handful of those. Just the erasure.

I get fed up of het fic due to the increased tendency to get icky patriarchy all over everything, but this is not an improvement.

I'm kind of feeling like I should retrain myself to only read fic with women in, because wow am I fed up of white men getting all the stories.

But I'm in the habit so somehow the fic that grabs me is all white men all the time. Which is embarrassing.

When canon gives us awesome women doing things, or even mediocre poorly written token women doing things, it's really important to keep them around. And do better with them. Like we have been with the men for some decades.

We can write so many more interesting lives. We don't need to treat what they've already got like scraps to be fought over.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I know this makes me a fandom Old
but I really very intensely dislike the abandonment of standardised / notation
for stupid smushnames.

I imagine it was necessary for to search on imperfect platforms, or something
but it means you have to know what it means to know what it means, and know what you're looking for before you can look for it.

also, smaller but annoying, the tendency of said names to use the superhero or supervillain codenames of a character.
I mean, there's several of the Flash, or Batman, and a bazillion Robins
so how the heck are you meant to distinguish to search by person rather than role?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
"he hurt people"
he
hurt?

speaker has personally witnessed him straight up murder three people right in front of him. would have been many more, without intervention of speaker, including him aiming and firing at speaker's foster dad. we the audience saw two more cold blooded murders as this guy's introduction, and probably a whole bunch more next time he came back. two of what speaker saw you can kind of think of excuses, but one was straight up murdering a guy just to test his gun.

either this fic is secretly very much an au from before the first moment we met villain
or hero is just...
it ends up sounding epically creepy if his newly discovered lust for the guy downgrades all that to 'he hurt people'

dead isn't hurt

dead needs a different phrasing.




I mean don't get me wrong, I'm here for stories of dubiously aligned semi allies with a dark past. mixed alignment parties where the ones that call themselves heroes have to be either massive hypocrites or rethinking their whole morals just to work with the other set of people. any time the heroes interact and the one set remember the other set have personally murdered dozens of people before their latest change of heart. the ones that don't bother calling themselves heroes, or would hiss and spit at the label but are being dragged into it backwards, working simply to defend what is theirs but somehow accidentally expanding that ownership until they're protecting the while world... well, those are pretty much decades of my fannish life.

But you can't just sum that all up as 'hurt'. Sure, they hurt people. They also left a trail of corpses with really distinctive causes of death, and yet in both canon and this story, team hero is for some reason not putting them in prison for it.

if the reason why in this fic boils down to wanting to get them into bed
I just
ugh.




This pushes all the same buttons with me as rl incidents where abuse gets summed up in the most minimising words, like assault and hurt feelings can somehow share a word and a response. this sounds like news reporters about young white men. it's creepy and gross and wrong in an entirely distinct way from acknowledging the past but still giving a chance for a different future.



... I mean there's 'superheroes' on tv who should really be in prison but instead the narrative keeps handing them get out of jail free cards. this isn't just fic doing the thing. but it's creepy.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have read a few times a post going round tumblr basically begging for more feedback from readers
and that is very reasonable
except my attempts to do such a thing lead to panic attacks and woe spirals
but probably there ar a lot of readers who are not mentally ill
probably.

But, writers: sometimes, you do not make it easy.
I have no idea how to interact on tumblr
so mostly I'm following tags on Ao3
(anyone who does not tag: what are you doing how do you expect anyone to know you wrote that thing zomg some writers so frustrate)

the first hit on a multipart story is just me pushing Mark for Later.
Then I will hang out checking my 31 page Marked for Later list to see if you update.
If it goes a year with no updates then I'm very probably umarking it unread. which may be another hit. depends which button I use.

some fics? are not actually a single multipart story. some fics are what that writer does with any short story they write.

writers, I am begging you, do not do this.

one, the tagging is a nightmare. the story either has all the tags or none. it is every AU, it is canon, it is every obscure thing... or they don't bother to tag anything and Choose Not To Warn. the odds of it hitting one of my squicks just in the tags go up exponentially with each part. and how can you decide if you want to read the thing? it's a weird looking frankenthing.

and it is *never finished*

those of us waiting see this weird random update schedule and no end to the tags and never dive in.

and last but most relevant to current discussion, we can only kudos it the once.

could we comment on every chapter? sure. but you know fewer of us are gonna.

and if we do kudos it, it will sit there as a kudos for the whole endless saga.
do we want to kudos every part of it? unlikely. the high school au tentacle porn may have a much smaller audience than you generally get. some of them will be embarrassed to leave their username on it. or maybe they're into tentacles but not the mpreg curtainfic. you don't know. you can't find out. for all feedback is sitting there attached to all stories, and if they're waiting until the end to write it, that's a whole lot of random to comment upon.

Just post the fics. I don't care if they're short. we can see the wordcount right there. if it's a tumblr prompt fill you can tag it as such. if it's not betaed you can tag it as such. tell us what they are and give us choices and see how many turn up for each. it's perfectly reasonable. I have actual drabbles posted separately. drabbles. one hundred words precisely. and some of them I think have kudos. which is rare anyway on my ancient fic.

but I can't return the favour on some writers works because they've got a 120K epic unfinished with the world's weirdest tags, and it's a lot of commitment to dive into that even long enough to figure out it's their grab bag.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I might have said this before
but

It's somewhere between hilarious and really annoying
that stories that 'ship Leonard Snart with anyone else
kind of treat Mick Rory as the slash wife.

You know, the canon relationship they'd rather wasn't there, so they have to either write him out of times he really ought to be there or explain why he doesn't count.
I mean the one I'm reading right now says it in so many words, Mick Rory doesn't count.

It's also being ablist as hell, cannot seem to distinguish between different mental illnesses, and says he doesn't even count as a friend because he's too mentally ill
so I suspect I shall not be finishing reading this one
and it's pretty far on the really annoying side of the scale

but when it's hilarious it's because as far as explicit canon goes, Mick shouldn't be an obstacle to romance
and yet
most every story treats him that way.

It's almost as if the queer reading of those two is the one that makes the most sense
and all canon did was chicken out of giving them the words or a kiss.

*sigh*




Also kind of hilarious are gifsets of Captain Canary that literally cut Mick out of the picture to make it look 'shippy

... and canon expecting us to read those two as romantic when pretty much every time they talk to each other it's either about not killing people or it's about Mick. I mean I'll have to rewatch with het goggles on but I felt they at best made Cold that guy who pulls by explaining how things are really rough in his marriage. which, you know, awkward, and not romantic.

their first kiss being over Mick's unconscious body is really weird on a meta level.
.. also, you know, just as a thing.




I want Caprain Cold back and I want him and Mick to keep doing that thing where they're choosing redemption over their relationship and then getting really angsty about it and ending up tempting their other half into the light. That would be a good story.

I fear canon instead doing that love of a good woman thing where the choice ends up looking like dumping the bad man for the good girl. that would suck. with thirty years of partnership on the line all the charge of their story is with each other.

... see also right back to the start above: why I keep noticing and finding implausible when Mick gets made somehow irrelevant.



Write more threesomes, is what I'm saying.

And more Coldwave.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
He’s got stashes of almost everything he’s ever stolen, everything Lisa didn’t need and he didn’t need to live on. Like me when I ended up with a bedroom packed full of catalogs and ancient computer parts, so I found a desktop tower under a guide to windows 98 under a Next directory from 99. In 2014. Because You Never Know. It might turn out crucial later. It might be the one thing you need. And even the money, it’s rainy day money. So what if there’s flooding, it can always get worse. So he lives in warehouses and safehouses and hides the really important stuff so he can’t get arrested with it on him, and so many shiny things are just stashed someplace, for later, when he’ll really need them.

His pockets end up full of little trifles recently in other people’s pockets, because it helps him think. He wouldn’t say it keeps him calm. (It totally is about keeping calm.) The oldest lessons are the hardest, and the old skills need keeping up, even when lifting wallets hasn’t exactly been his day job lately. (It used to be. And when it wasn’t enough, they went hungry. Bigger things are better now.)


He plans like I plot, endlessly, elaborately, doing all the research he can get his hands on to fill his days, then filling in elaborate contingency plans when it might more usefully be time to sleep. And he’s very, very good at it. And the longer he goes between jobs the more he has the itch to prove that again. Because inside his head it’s tick tock clockwork, until it isn’t, until ways it goes wrong are all he can see, and he’s long since learned the point where he has to act or be frozen.

The Waverider messed with both of their heads, Mick because he couldn’t burn anything, Len because they never knew what they were going to do next until they were in the thick of it. This is a guy who knows response times to the second all over Central, who cases the place twice even when that gets attention, who spends months learning to take his equipment apart and put it back together before he uses it at all. Full tilt blindly is not his favoured way to proceed. And he is good, but not that good : they lose crew. They lose Mick, to torture prison, and nearly other ways. And it’s because the plan can’t keep up with the random factors. Because however good he is, he’s not good enough.

So he stashes Mick, somewhere safe, for later.

Which does not work out well for them.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This is a random thing to realise, but I just put two thoughts together to an angle on why I get so very wound up at the idea of maintaining the Masquerade or covering up alien first contact over and over again.

Sounds like a stupidly irrelevant scenario, I know.

But if Masquerade applies then every generation makes first contact new. Every year group would. You'd grow up and learn whatever your culture thinks you need to know, think you have a handle on it, and then boom, here's something nobody ever bothered to mention. And maybe you've got some hasty paradigms ported over from genre fiction, but if all the schemas there to activate are fiction, if your scripts are built for drama from skewed discourses based on unexamined ideologies that are probably only using the parts for allegory anyway, well, you'll be lucky if you have any clues which way to jump. Every generation, every graduating class, gets presented with this problem as if brand new, and they have to reinvent the wheel, every time.

And it reminded me of disability. And just a bit of being queer. But disability presents you with whole new problems, and if you've only got mainstream media to draw on, they look... insurmountable. Appalling. Demons walking, apocalypse has come, end of the world time.

There just aren't that many scripts for it, because almost everything is meant for the currently abled, written by them, meant to make them feel good.

Read more... )


So I just suddenly felt very strongly about first contact
and all the people who don't make it
because they have to be the reaching out ones
and they don't even know there's anyone
to reach.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I find I'm getting increasingly annoyed with mpreg stories where they have to do some weird superscience on accident just to get them pregnant.
Just make them trans. Just write it like it never came up before and oops, now a baby. That is a thing that is actually possible, no loop the loops required.

Yes I know it's a whole seperate narrative niche
I just
I get cranky.

Actually accidentally a baby also makes me cranky
like
does no one in fiction actually try on purpose?

I tealise most of them are actually actively saving the world a lot
but they seem to live in worlds where this is continually required
yet population replenishment also happens.

Have people juggle on purpose
let them make decisions
let them have bodies that can actually exist.



There's so much more mpreg than trans fic though, it's... making me cranky.



Plus also I have a headache.
crankier.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was thinking about my current reading habits, which involve a lot of superhero/supervillain pairings who have really screwed each other over, and I was trying to think of another excuse for being into it... because mostly I feel I should be cheering on whenever they lock the villain up again or end him forever somehow, rather than sympathising and feeling vaguely upset. But I thought a thing.

Okay, so, this is wanky, but : patriarchy.

Read more... )



If life is already heavily populated with varying degrees of enemy, it's satisfying sometimes to see a story work through all the issues and turn them into assets instead, is all.



Or possibly I just have a thing for power. *shrugs*

Alternates

Nov. 13th, 2016 08:17 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
A lot of fic I'm reading about alternate universes or alternate timelines is actually actively creepy.
Because it treats people as interchangeable.

Like, I keep reading / where one of the partners dies in one universe but their alternate universe self turns up so it's somehow happily ever after.

And I mean, like, what? Really? Because these are the kind of alternates where their whole universe and history has changes so far back that precisely zero of their life experiences are the same. That's like ceasing to mourn because hey, the deceased has a twin, it's all okay now!

Creepy.

But then how much has to be different before they're a different person? That's the bit I'm interested in and why I even keep reading these things.

Read more... )

But even with shared memories and proximally divergent timelines it's also a question of how much do you have to change before you're treated differently than if you had only just then done the thing. Like, is it like prison sentences, or statutes of limitation, and x time after a thing is enough to hit reset and no longer carry the old consequences? Except even then you keep the old reputation. Not much like being judged for your alternate self, that's more unfair, twins sharing a face again, hardly ones fault if the other is drunk. But being judged based on things both timelines did, but reacted to differently... story.



I keep looping back though and getting really creeped out by Barry Allen. Read more... )


Getting distracted by made up multiversal physics aside... the kind of model of 'love' that allows same feelings for alternate selves just bothers me. It seems to be... well, sometimes it's absolutely the most shallow, and all they share is looks, which is like falling for different characters by the same actor and just rather weird to me. But the rest of the time it seems to be the model is that love is a recognition of certain attractive qualities, that lead to kissing and then happily ever after. Nut that bugs me because attraction can be that, sure, but *love* is built up of shared experiences, surely? You do things together and make a life together, like actively, and it works because of choices made minute by minute, and a different set of minutes of choice is exactly what's changed about an alternate self. Love for an alternate wouldn't, shouldn't, be a recognition of replacement, it would be a blank slate with some pleasant aesthetics.

Or, of course, my perenially single self has some weird ideas about love.


But a lot of this fic bugs me.
Because people are not swappable.
And 'partner in your life together' isn't some kind of... plug where a matching fitting will do.

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