I was just thinking about how crazy that might have been considered. Like Stakar rescues him and he’s like “how long you been a battle slave?” And Yondu goes “20 years” and Stakar is just “DAMN, SON.” Because I’m thinking battle slaves are put on the front lines to be cannon fodder and in gladiator rings to be killed for entertainment. This means Yondu must have been exceptionally clever, strong, resilient and resourceful to survive all those years - which probably made him both hated and a favorite among the Kree.
The rhythmic sound of the milking machine had the almost hypnotic effect on her that it always had. The accompanying pull and release on her nipples that accompanied the sound was, as always, a constant physical reminder of her usage.
Of course, everything about her situation served to remind her of her purpose. Whether it be the constant bondage, the torture of her body, or the way her Master used her for his pleasure whenever the mood struck him.
But the milking, that was when she was truly reminded of just how much of an object she had become.
It overwhelmed all her senses, became the center of her universe, and, surprisingly, allowed her mind to drift and wander.
She had learned from her Master, the man that had owned her the last two years, that most “dairy farmers” used mind altering drugs, of various types to put their “livestock” into an altered mental state that made them easier to handle.
The drugs were designed to, essentially, cloud a woman’s mind, making her more susceptible to suggestion and, more importantly, make her more accepting of her situation.
Her Master, however, believed that this state of drug-induced acceptance reduced the woman’s production of milk, both quality and quantity and so chose not to use any of them.
Instead, he relied solely on physical training, unyielding bondage, and psychological dominance to achieve the same results.
She knew, from her own experiences, that it was an effective alternative to the drugs. Although it had an extra benefit, according to her Master, it left the woman, completely aware what was happening to her. He liked that his cows didn’t have a drug induced stupor to escape into, and instead were forced the experience everything that they were subjected to with no shield. Leaving them all completely broken and submissive to the will of their cruel Master with no ability or inkling to offer any resistance or even consider trying to escape.
Even if all her shackles and bindings were removed at this very moment, and she was shown a clear path to escape, with a virtual 100% chance of success, she would still not be able to muster the mental resistance needed to take advantage of it.
She had been a slave now for 20 years, but her current Master, was more brutal and effective, as a psychological manipulator and slave trainer, then all the former men she’d been trained and tortured by, combined.
While she’d been tortured, abused, and dominated to the point that she had long learned, that this was her life, and she was never going to escape it, it wasn’t until this man got his hands on her that she truly understood what it meant to be a slave.
All the other men had simply dominated her with their power to rape, beat, and enjoy her, but it was a power they exercised through bondage that rendered her helpless to resist.
Here, on the farm, she’d learned that there were far more powerful forms of domination.
Here, she’d been broken. Completely, utterly, irrevocably broken.
Her current master had taught her, through repeated, and judicious use of the whip, the crop, the cane, and a myriad of other implements of torture, including various electrical devices that had never existed in her darkest night terrors, even after over 15 years of slavery, that she was an object who’s only purpose was perfect obedience and perfect submission, and that anything less than absolute perfection was brutally punished.
If he told her that she was expected to cover a distance of exactly 6 feet, and four steps, while bound, where in ballet boots and a helmet, then that is what he expected.
Anything less than exactly 6 feet led to come at the very least, a vicious caning of her ass, thighs, and calves.
If he was especially displeased, he would use special boots, that had tacks in the soles, and make her do it again, and again, and again, until she was perfect and ready to collapse from exhaustion and pain.
Then he would do it all again the next day.
Every aspect of her existence was like that.
Perfection, obedience, subservience, and submission were the only currency available to prevent some level of suffering.
Nothing could prevent it completely, as she had heard him comment often, suffering, was a slave’s lot in life.
But she had learned, the perfect obedience did help too, usually, keep this to a minimum. After all, damaged cows didn’t produce as well as healthy ones.
It also had the added effect, as mentioned before, of making it impossible for her to even contemplate any form of resistance, let alone escape.
To this day, years after she had learned all this, her mind is still refused to consider, and her body shuddered in uncontrollable terror, at just the mere idea of the savagery she would endure, if she ever tried to escape.
As her mind continued to wander, she was reminded, after all, it is another torture, reminding her of her, “anniversary”, was coming up, she thought about how this all began.
Time had been difficult to track, but she knew at the time she’d been in her early 30’s and had been living in Portland, at the time.
At this time her name, had been Nikki. That of course was one of the first things she’d lost.
She was 6’2”, beautiful, full size 40 breasts, fit and trim, with long, luscious black hair that she took great pride in.
She was a picture that anyone would surely call upon if they wanted to imagine a powerful Amazon warrior.
She took pride in her height, and her body, and enjoy the fact that both men and women looked at her with envy. She had her pick of bedmates and was never without someone to entertain her.
She’d, at one point, been approached to act as a Mistress, but that hadn’t interested her. She was simply enjoying her life and wasn’t looking for anything to complicate it.
Unfortunately for her, it was her physical attributes that first brought her to the attention of the slavers in the area. After they had learned a bit more about her, they decided her attitude was perfect for a future sex-slave. A woman that desperately needed to learn her place.
It was her physical attributes that had attracted their attention, it was her personality that was to be her undoing.
The idea of, “sex slavery” was, to her, something from the movies. A plot to a bad ‘B’ rate movie perhaps, or something one might see in a movie of the week on Lifetime.
It most certainly wasn’t something to be concerned about in modern day America.
Because she could not contemplate the existence of the danger, she certainly wasn’t doing anything to protect herself from it.
She had no idea that she had indeed caught the attention of such a group, nor did she notice when they spent the next several weeks with her under surveillance learning anything and everything about her life. Every aspect was learned, cataloged, and assessed to decide if she was a candidate. If she had too many attachments or too many people that would look for her, they’d have to forgo acquisition.
They’d lost many a prime candidate because of things like that. This time, however, there were no such worries. The green light was given.
Then one night, while she was shopping, not paying attention to the dangers and predators in the shadows around her. She suddenly felt a sharp, painful prick in her ass cheek, she reached back instinctively.
Her hand came back with, what looked like a dart.
She had just enough time to wonder what this could mean, what the hell was going on before the fast acting drugs took effect and her vision quickly tunneled to black.
When she finally regained consciousness, it was in a decidedly different situation than she had been in. She couldn’t see at all, she could barely hear, and, apart from the bindings that were holding her in place, she knew she was naked.
She screamed, struggled, and squirmed for what felt like hours. Tears fell in really from her face, only to be absorbed by the horrible helmet that they had wrapped her head in. Her nipples were in agony as something was pinching them, tightly, and making every move that much more painful.
Finally, she felt hands upon her. That fact, however, did not bring the comfort, as the hands did not try to release her. In fact, the hands lingered and took their time as they stroked, caressed, pinched, twisted, and even slapped various parts of her body.
As she struggled against all of this, more hands joined in. Her breasts were grabbed tightly and bounced and jiggled as if someone were weighing them in her hands. Her nipples were pinched and twisted, and it seemed that they were testing her responsiveness to the pain.
Hands delved into her cunt, and fingers penetrated her without mercy, remorse, or permission. Her clit was grabbed and held tightly, and even her asshole with penetrated.
All this was happening as she struggled to resist, and begged for mercy.
Finally, as the hands slowly fell away, she felt something and part of the helmet was removed.
When it was, her eyes snapped shut at the sudden brightness of the light.
She saw figures in the brightness, shadows in the shape of men, but she couldn’t see their faces. She had no idea the numbers, but she estimated at least a half a dozen.
Soon after, the rest of the helmet was removed and she could open her mouth to speak.
Before she could, howeverr, her nipple was suddenly grabbed tightly and as she tried to pull away, but the pressure was increased and then began to pull, forcing her to move forward, or hurt herself more, rather than away as she wanted.
“A slave does not try to pull away from its master,” a voice said coldly.
“Slave? What do you…”, She didn’t get to finish her question before she was viciously slapped across the face.
“The slave will remain silent, or will be punished”
she didn’t take the hint, her mind too shocked by being hit to register the words that had been spoken and again she tried to speak, “I don’t understand, I’m not a slave.”
She again was cut off, only this time not by a slap to her face, but because she was too busy screaming to speak.
The man had picked up what looked like a switch, and without warning began to rain blow after blow across her body. In her bondage, she could not protect herself, and her ass, thighs, breasts, and feet received repeated vicious blows.
The beating seemed to go on for hours. Slowly, over time her efforts to resist were slowly exhausted and she was even too tired to really scream anymore. It was only then, that the prolonged beating finally ended.
Her body was a crisscross of angry looking welts, but, she would have been pleased to know if she could form a thought at that moment, that the man had known his business and had not left a single permeant mark on her body.
The only place this beating would ever leave a lasting mark was on her psyche. A painful reminder and lesson that would quell many an effort at rebellion in her mind.
The first of many such lessons she would learn over her time as a slave.
“This slave has been warned, it will not talk, it will not attempt to talk, and it will not attempt to resist. Does this slave understand what is demanded, or shall I continue with the more persuasive instruments?”
The man held a bullwhip, and she realized that the long thin leather would be utterly agonizing, and she knew, down to the bottom of her very terrified soul that he would use it on her, happily.
In fact, she was certain everyone would enjoy it.
Except for her.
“The slave will obey, instantly,”, the voice said, “does it understand?”
She nodded her head quickly, desperate to convince his man that she would do anything she was told to avoid more torture or pain.
After that first introduction to her future, her surrender to absolute sexual servitude and slavery became a mere formality.
The occasional bouts of instinctive resistance to her new existence were quickly and ruthlessly overcome by various forms of training and torture. All too quickly, and depressingly easily, her will, her spirit, her very soul came to accept and then embrace her slavery.
Once satisfied, the men began to use her, as a whore to bring them money. They offered her holes by the hour, for the use of various men.
Never in one place more than a few days, she was a traveling pleasure instrument.
Sometimes would be in the back of a trailer, the grunting of manual laborers as their dirty hands pinched and mauled her body.
Other times, her accommodation would seem almost palatial, as well-dressed men violated her body with the abandon of knowing that no one could or would stop them.
Through it all, she slowly lost all hope that she could be rescued. Eventually, she was reduced to completely accepting the realities of her situation.
Time passed the men got tired of her, and the novelty of the Amazon Warrior wore off.
Her owners eventually decided to get rid of her and turn a profit at the same time. She was sold to someone south of the border, she suspected Columbia or Brazil, as she knew the language somewhat and had occasionally seen something she thought she’d recognized as a landmark.
Her new master was, incredibly, even more, vicious than she’d previously been exposed to. Her old Masters were determined to keep her in as good a condition as possible, lest she be worth less when rented out or, eventually sold.
Her new Master didn’t think the same way at all, enjoying her cries as she was raped again, again, and again while being tortured for any perceived lack of skill or effort. She was never once given the option of displaying her obedience to avoid pain.
In fact, the entire idea seemed foreign to him. On more than one occasion she was sure she was going to die. She surrendered to the idea that she wasn’t going to last long here, and eventually, she’d end up in a shallow, unmarked grave.
If she was that lucky
Then, one day, she was simply strapped down, masked, and loaded into, what she thought, was a trailer of some kind. No explanation given, after all, one did not explain the situation to livestock. All she was told, as clamps were applied to her nipples and a vibrator placed against her clit, was that if she came, she would be punished.
She was driven for what seemed like hours, fighting desperately, a losing battle in which she lost count of how many times she came.
Finally, she was dragged out of the trailer, her mask was removed and she gazed upon her new Master who was, incredibly, a farmer.
He owned several slaves, some used as horses, some as cows, and some he simply destroyed.
Her, he thought she would be perfect pulling his cart and proving him milk, and he took great delight in explaining that future to her. But first, she needed to be punished for her failure.
He wielded his whip like an expert and when he was finished there was not a single square inch of her body, save her face, that wasn’t burning red with welts and pain.
She resolzed then and there, to be perfect, if only as a way to maintain her sanity. She would learn, over the course of the next several months, that her sanity was the least of her worries as she suffered more pain, agony, degradation, and breaking, than in all of her previous years of slavery combined.
At least it felt like that.
Her Master was unforgiving, unrelenting, and simply vicious.
He seemed sexually insatiable, violating her ass, cunt, or mouth in what felt like hourly cycles of abuse.
All three seem to constantly be dripping his semen. The slightest twitch that even implied resistance was brutally punished.
The first time he introduced her to the milking machine, she tried to struggle. Even after all she had been through to be reduced that completely to an animal had caused her mind to momentarily flinch.
He said nothing, his demeanor had not changed at all. It wasn’t until she was fully strapped in and immobile that he had beaten her ass to the point that she was sure the flesh was going to peel off.
Then, once he was done with that, and a fully cowed slave was again before him, he showed her the branding iron. She shuddered and struggled in absolute terror, but he ignored it completely, stroking her hair, almost gently as the iron heated up.
When it was finally blazing hot, glowing red with heat, and anger, he calmly walked behind her and, without ceremony or comment, pressed the red-hot metal into her bare ass.
She screamed in utter agony, but he ignored it. He was finally finished, mutilating her with his mark, he put the brand away, applied some salve to the burn, and then fucked her ass again, while she continued to cry and scream in pain, humiliation, and defeat.
Finally, he came around to her face, and lifted her chin roughly, “Congratulations, Niknik, you’re now going to be my perfect cow and my perfect pony. You’ll serve in both ways and do so exactly as I demand. Or else.“
He made good on that promise over the next several months, and then years. His training was relentless as it was effective. She performed flawlessly after just a few months. Pulling his cart like she was born to it. Sometimes he even dressed her elaborately, so he could show her off. She was embarrassed by how proud she was that she performed so perfectly for him.
Where had her pride gone? How could she be so accepting of her reduction to a mere animal?
As a cow, she was, if anything, a greater source of pride for her Owner. Fed a complex cocktail of drugs, including such drugs as Domperidone, to stimulate, and then increase her production of milk.
Every night, after being used in his bed to please him in any way he saw fit, she was strapped into the milk machine and left to produce for the night. After the initial horror of it all wore off she began to look forward to her time with the machine as her breasts were usually very full and sore by the time he hooked her up.
The need to be milked overriding any sense of shame. In too short a time she wasn’t even able to feel shame or humiliation anymore, because, for it to be possible to feel either of those, you needed some sense of self-worth.
She had absolutely none.
She had become a mere thing for him to use and abused.
During her time here, being used as she was, she had twice ended up pregnant. Both times he had taken the child and told her he sold it to an adoption agency.
In both cases, she was never even informed of whether she’d given birth to a boy or girl.
Indeed, she never even heard them cry.
After giving birth the first time, and not even being acknowledged as her child was taken from her, that was when she truly realized what her life had become. Yes, she had accepted her place, but there had still been some small, insignificant part of her that was holding out hope for a chance to return to some semblance of her old life.
But as the vet stitched her up, and her Master carried the little bundle of life away, not even acknowledging her, she truly accepted what she was.
She wasn’t a person anymore. She wasn’t a free woman, American, or even a human being.
She was just a pony girl. She was just a milk cow. She was just a slave.
She was there to bring pleasure to her Master in any way he saw fit to use her.
All these thoughts passed through her head as the machine continued its unfeeling cycle of milking her filled, massive breasts. She felt the tears in her eyes at the memories and she tried desperately to push them away. This was one of the drawbacks of her Master not using the mind-altering drugs as others did. She remembered her life, remembered who she was, and how she came to be here, but, due to the training and complete mastery he had subjected her to, she couldn’t develop the necessary feelings to try to get any of it back, or to even hate him for what he had done to her.
Her master came in, and stroked her hair gently, almost knowingly.
She leaned into the touch, knowing that all too soon these gentle hands were going to be inflicting agony on her once again.
The farmer said, "you’re such a good girl, Niknik. My good little cowgirl.”
Those words, made her cunt spasm in orgasmic need.
Later, as she hung from the ceiling, her ass and cunt fully exposed for her Master’s use, she thought that she didn’t want to be anywhere else, and she was so lucky to have found her place in life.
Her Master simply stroked her bare and well used pussy, and told her, over and over, what a good girl she was.
In our travels thru the maze that is FetLife and the local fetish community, we often times hear the phrase “The gift of submission”. I personally do believe that submission is a gift, just as I believe that dominance is also a gift. The two dance together, wonderfully, and when it’s right, it’s intoxicating for all parties involved. To me, the real gift, is what the involved parties share with each other. On a related note, we also hear a lot about the strength it takes to submit one’s will to another. While I also agree with that, what we don’t hear as much about, is the strength it takes to be a dominant. To have someone look at you like you hung the moon, and hold you in such high esteem, that you put pressure on yourself to try to live up to their image of you. To be the guide they look to, to take them on this journey, even when you yourself are unsure of which route is correct. For me, sometimes, that pressure can be immensely overwhelming, and at times, I wonder if it’s all worth it.
But then, I remember what I get from my gift. First of all, I get their gift, in return. As many of you know, I’m lucky enough to have a slave that has been my wife for 20 years. She’s the part of me that makes me me, and she’s irreplaceable in my life. I love her despite her faults and insecurities, just like she loves me, thru mine. Also, over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to have other submissives in my life, that have been both friends and lovers. So I know what you’re thinking, you think I do it for sex. Nothing could be further from the truth. While yes, we have our fun, sex is only a small part of what I get from being a dominant. What really makes it all worthwhile, is knowing I’m needed, that I’m helping them in some way. Providing support, positive motivation, and sometimes just a shoulder to cry on. Even that afore mentioned look that puts so much pressure on me, is something I crave.
The thing that bothers me most is, when one of my girls is feeling low, and shuts down. It frustrates me to no end. When they shut down, and I don’t hear from them, it makes me feel useless to them. I feel like they’re lack of communication is denying me of being needed and also denying themselves of any help I may be able to offer. This particular pond, is some of the murkiest waters I have to navigate, and quite honestly, I suck at it. I try to be patient, I try to bite my tongue, but then that dominant side steps up and refuses to take a back seat. I end up being the opposite of what I hope to be. Instead of being positive and supportive, I become negative and dismissive. Feeling that person that had put you on such a pedestal, remove you from that pedestal, is heartbreaking.
Rated M for language and future NSFW chapters (these will be marked as such).
you pull away from the house, a strange sense of closure falls over you, the
same sense you had when you packed a picture of your family and your brother’s
medal. Like you’re not coming home again. That’s ridiculous. Get a hold of yourself.
the time you get on the road in earnest, it’s starting to get dark. It’s a
long, three and half hour drive to the cabin (plus a fast food drive through
for dinner, a stop at the gas station to fill up, and a bathroom break off the
side of the road for Yondu), but time passes quickly as you listen to music and
what did you do before you were a Ravager?” you ask a little while into
your drive, turning down the music. He doesn’t answer right away, which is
unusual for him. He usually answers your questions right away. You glance at
him. He sits a little lower in his seat, hand clenched on the arm rest.
“I’m sorry,” you say quickly. “You don’t have to-”
arabs in the MENA are such huge Victimzzz when alladin’s cast includes south asians but after living in an arab country for 20 years, not one has ever bothered to mention/acknowledge literal south asian slave labour they use to build their countries. there are such despicable & gruesome horror stories that south asian/african maids, cleaners, nannies have from arab families who consider themselves superior to south asians, but when a racist disney movie with a combination of asian cultures in it doesn’t have a muslim arab in it, & all hell breaks loose lol I really can’t believe the arrogance
Request: Hi! Can you write one where Loki kidnaps a teenage girl (14-15) because she has powers like the avatar. He tries using her to get back at the avengers but hurts her when she doesn’t obey. She gets rescued, and then recruited into the avengers and they all love her like a little sister.
A/N: I couldn’t fit it all in one part, but I will write part 2 in a moment.
You’ve always been seen as the ‘freak’, ‘unnatural’, and just plain old ‘crazy’. No one accepted you, but your foster mom. She was the only one that was kind to you and accepted you. You walk into the kitchen looking for your foster mom, Riley. You see the young late 20 year old woman, in her jeans and old t-shirt. Riley was slaving away cooking dinner for you and the other foster kids. “Hey, Riley!” Riley looks over at you and her face instantly brightens with a smile.
“Hey there Y/N. How was the walk around the neighborhood today?” Riley asks while putting the pan of potatoes and chicken roast in the oven with ease. You look at her with a frown upon your face.
“Like the usual. People staring and making snide comments under their breath.” You tell her honestly. She gives you a sad smile as she closes the oven with a push. She shakes her head while bringing a handful of trash to the trash on the other side of the kitchen.
“I’m sorry sweetie. One day they’ll accept you.” She states and goes to throw it away, but notices the overflowing trash. “DANIEL!” Riley yells throughout the house, but there is no answer.
“He’s not here, he has soccer practice with Brian.” You inform her, which makes her groan in frustration. “Here I’ll take out the trash today.” You state walking over to her kindly and pull up the strings on either side of the trash bag and tie them. You try pulling it out of the trash, but you it wouldn’t separate from the garbage can. You smirk at Riley who scolds you slightly.
“Y/N…” She warns, but you ignore her. Pushing a gust of wind between the crack of the garbage can and the trash bag. The garbage can flew off hitting the counter. “That power of yours is real useful.” Riley laughs as she grabs another trash bag after setting the trash on the counter.
“Sure, does.” You state before using the same gust of wind to levitate the bag of trash. “I’ll be back.” You reassure before walking out the door the bag still levitating with your gust of wind. You walk to the backdoor and open it with another gust of wind. The sunset rays fall over the sky making everything have a slight pink tint to it.
Opening the trashcan, you push the bag of garbage with your gust of wind. You hear something moving and you turn around quickly putting your hands up ready to attack. You hear rustling around the corner, so you move forward. Leaning against the side of the house, you take a deep breath. Jumping quickly you look around the corner to see two squirrels looking at you curiously. You sigh in relief from your slight panic, but that’s when you hear a scream.
Your heart hammers as you recognize that scream. Running through the backdoor, you turn the sharp corner to see Riley being held against a man’s chest. The man has long black raven hair and pale skin with light eyes. He is dressed in leather black, a green silky looking cloth, and gold plating all around his suit. He has a fancy knife held to Riley’s throat as he faced your direction. ”Where is she?” he whispers, like a warning in her ear.
“I’ll never tell you.” Riley seethes back while she makes eye contact with you. You duck behind a wall, but still able to see the scene unfold. “I know what you want with her, and she’ll never allow that.” Riley seethes between gritted teeth.
“That’s what you think. I have something she’s been looking for her whole life.” The man states still whispering in Riley’s ear. It even sends shivers down your back.
“What, huh?” Riley asks him still trying to escape. He has a smirk playing on his lips as he leans even closer to Riley’s ear that his lips could be touching her ear lobe.
“Answers.” He whispers so low that you can barley hear him. That’s when he slides the knife across her throat so fast that if you would’ve blinked you would have missed it. Riley falls to the ground, still alive, but bleeding out. You scream, and use a gust of wind to push the man back on his ass. You run over to Riley holding her to you as she bleeds out.
“Riley!” You yell out, but she points to her heart then to yours. Right then she closes her eyes and her breathing stops. You cry as you see the only person that has accepted you die to protect you.
“There you are Y/N.” the man states now behind you. He has a hand on your shoulder. You turn looking at him angrily, you push Riley’s head gently off your lap before standing up and turning to face the man.
“Who are you? What do you want with me?” you ask him while pushing a force of wind down his throat making him choke. He chokes, but pulls up his right hand and closes his fist. You feel pressure on your throat choking.
“I am Loki and you are very talented. You will help me destroy those who have wronged me.” He states before throwing you against a wall and knock you out cold.
You open your eyes to be welcomed by the view of the sky. You look around and notice the plain white walls and the only door in the room made of steel. You feel your hands bonded behind you, as you try pulling at them, but nothing. “Finally.” You turn to see the man that calls himself Loki.
“What do you want with me?” You ask him backing away as he comes closer to you. He smirks before stopping in front of you. You look around to see that your in a room that seemed to be on the highest level. The only light the light from above.
“I want you to help me steal something.” He twirls the knife, that killed Riley, in his hand. He points it at you as you look at him questioningly.
“What is it?” You ask him as you push yourself up. He smirks at you, but that only sends shivers down your back.
“A machine that will help me rule this earth.” Loki states casually, but you shake your head.
“I am not going to help you rule this world. Over my dead body.” You seethe and he smirks at you. Suddenly he has the knife to your throat.
“That can be arranged.” He states, but you just open your neck wider for him.
“Do it. I’ll never help you.” You say through gritted teeth and spit in his face. He scoffs before wiping the spit off his cheek. He glares at you before stabbing your leg. You scream out as you feel the blade in your thigh.
“Be careful for what you wish for, little girl.” He states removing the blade and wiping the blood on your jeans as you cry from the pain. He turns his back to you and walks out of the room.
It’s been a few days now, and Loki has patched up your thigh, but has hurt you again recently for not helping him. This time the blade left a slit on your cheek. You are no longer bleeding, but you feel weak with no food or water in your system. You are asleep with your hands still behind your back when you hear shouting and shooting. You shoot up, which uses all your energy.
“WHERE IS SHE?” you hear a booming voice yell. You shrink away scared as you hear banging on the steel door. You lay back down and turn towards the wall to act as if you were asleep to maybe steer away the new person coming after you. The door gives in and it slams against the white wall. You close your eyes tightly as you try not to let a whimper fall from your lips.
“Y/N. It’s okay.” You hear a soft woman’s voice whispers before putting a hand on your shoulder. You turn to your other side shaking as tears fall from your eyes.
“Who are you?” You ask stumbling over your words slightly. She gently helps you sit up and you hiss in pain from your wounds. She notices them, but doesn’t pay them any attention as she works on the bonds on your wrists.
“I’m Agent Romanoff from SHIELD. I’m here to save you.” She states freeing your wrists from the bounds. She looks at your thigh to see it’s agitated as fresh blood begins to seep out of it.
“Romanoff, you got her?” you hear a man’s voice ask. You look up to see a man with a very patriotic outfit with shield in hand.
“She’s hurt and needs medical attention. Can you help me carry her?” Romanoff asks looking behind her at the man. The adrenaline stopping, you feel how week your body really is. You begin to sway slightly before going unconscious. “Y/N! Stay with me!” You hear Romanoff yell, but you were already out.
$10 Reward. Absented herself last evening, the slave girl MARY JANE, about 20 years of age, and remarkably white for a slave, but when spoken to has the accent of a negress. It is supposed that she has been enticed away by some white person. The above reward will be paid for her apprehension on application to WILLIAM COLLERTON.
Benedict Cumberbatch interviewed by Style (n. 1-2 january/february 2014), magazine of Corriere della Sera newspaper.
For everyone who can’t understand italian I translate the interview. (please let me now if something sounds odd, it’s since high school that I don’t translate such a long text and my english is a bit rusty)
Magazine cover: Benedict Cumberbatch. Change life: an actor’s art.
page 51: Benedict Cumberbatch. Very british (I know, sounds a lot like the doge meme XD). He changed face and personality to interpret Julian Assange, the man who changed the rules and relationships in the world with his revelations. He is the coolest actor of the moment, for elegance, aristocratic charm, beauty changeable. And transformation. «I flee to change the routine. A year in a Tibetan monastery. Silence and English lessons»
page 52: «IN LIFE IS ESSENTIAL TO KNOW HOW TO REMOVE ANCHORS TO HABITS»
page 53-55: He is considered a master of transformation. A true artist in changing private life. As well as the characters he portrays. From the most iconic of detectives, Sherlock Holmes (in the last english TV series), in that kind of digital detective who is Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. To Khan, the villan of the last Star Trek, Into Darkness, the sinister dragon (which lends facial expressions and, in the original, even the deep baritone voice), which gives the title to The Desolation of Smaug, the last chapter of The Hobbit saga. And then, even the actor in more mature films whitch could all wins Oscars: Catholic landowner and slaveholder, oscillating between pity and sadism, in the already praised 12 years a slave (in theaters from February 20); mentally unstable member of a disrupted family in August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper (from February 6). So many different characters, only one face: the modern and aristocratic one of Benedict Cumberbatch, 37, englishman moved to Hollywood, one of the most popular actors at the time because of its elegant transformation. In his England where, thanks to Sherlock enjoys immense popularity, he is a reassuring presence for the charity events of prince Charles. Thanks to its style made of impeccably cut dresses, regimental ties or silk in shades of gray and worn elegance shoes. Plus a charm typical of certain characters that you meet in the pages of Evelyn Waugh or Julian Fellowes, Anglo-Saxon high society style. But in spite of the ancestors whorty Downtown Abbey is one of the faces of most contemporary cinema: rangy, ductile eclectic, able to embody the good and the bad, but most notably in trouble with the ugly. Cumberbatch looks in between the boy and the mature young man, away from the excesses and able to keep their emotions hidden, he is son of artists: the family, with strong theatrical traditions, has always supported his natural talent for acting (albeit with some invitation to graduate in Law). Even if you ask him how it ended its long relationship with actress Olivia Poulet, he avoid answering with British snobbery: “I do not like talking about myself, thank you. I had a serene childhood and adolescence, but introspection is in my nature. Talk about me to strangers it’s hard, I usually disappear behind my characters or litt run away ”
Where do you flee, mr Cumberbatch?
My last time I went with few, trusted friends on the Himalaya and I confirm that I spent a whole year in a place of silence and culture in a Tibetan monastery where I taught English.
You became Assange in The Fifth Estate: a character among the most topical and controversial.
When I am stimulated I give myself unreservedly. I feel admiration for what Assange tried to do to and his consistency; I support protests against cuts to culture in the UK and sending troops to Iraq. and then sometimes I have fun to embody the mysterious types, radicals and spies.
You graduated from the prestigious University of Manchester and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. What was your favorite subject?
Literature: I always found who knows how to translate the clarity or cluodiness of the ideas in enlightening words. Panting and film came soon after.
What is your favourite film? There is a director with whom you’d like to act in particular?
Among colleagues I have a great admiration for Gary Oldman and Daniel Day Llewis. Lawrence of Arabia is my film par excellence. It has everything, adventure, a good script able to project into the present, spendid and complex human portraits. My cinematographic imagination has been shaped forever by this great show, its actors, Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif, by its wide open and limitless spaces and at the same time with limits and historical meanings, in which the film of David Lean was set. With the doubts of Hamlet, which I brought to the theater, this great film show is one of my references for an ideal world of entertainment that is culture.
Among directors, from which one would you like to be sign up?
I would be thrilled to be chosen by Paul Thomas Anderson: his films give something strong and true to the audience, and Martin Scorsese, who has a deep passion and knowledge of cinema. There is a sort of musical rhythm in all of his works.
What music do you prefer?
One that can translate into notes a thought, a state of mind. Just as I’m interested in painting that knows how to be read. There are some bands that I follow, like Radiohead.
How you spend a typical day of yours?
I do a job that takes away the anchors to habits. An example? We shot 12 years a slave mostly in New Orleans: a charming place, even disturbing and gothic. Although I often shut myself in the hotel, I was seized by this strong film and the history that I felt around.
You love to travel. Which of the places where you have shot a film was impressed in your memory?
I’ve played August: Osage County in Oklahoma and Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, with streets that were lost and an old house that seemed out of a painting by Edward Hooper. It had created a curious intimacy between us as actors: Meryl Streep, the great Chris Cooper, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Edwan McGregor. Even the small towns not far from the sets in the two Countries seemed as empty appearances, lost in the streets of America. Moreover, in these places often I lack the energy that London can give me; ah, I will never take permanent residence in Hollywood or Los Angeles.
Do you usually use your computer, smartphone or internet?
No, I don’t. But I find fascinating the parallel realities of cyberspace. The film about Assange has also represented a time of study and knowledge. After that, the books of J.R.R. Tolkien stimulate me more fantasies and mental journeys.
You have attended Catholic schools. Did they form or condition you?
I would not say that, and in a more mature age I chose the pacification also made of silences of Buddhism, though I do not practice any religious doctrine.
Even in Star Trek there is a form of longing for religion…
I prefer the word spirituality, I always liked Star Trek because it goes beyond life, as director JJ Abrams always says, a true visionary.
Be honest: do you like most Sherlock Holmes, the detective often depressed Baker Street or Dr. Watson, who loved women, playing cards and drinking?
They seem complementary to me: Holmes is an outsider, Watson the nicest. I like them both, they are two literary creatures of eternal fascination as Victorian England.
«THE FEMALE WORLD TODAY IS OVERPOPULATED BY MODELS. I PREFER TRUE AND STRAIGHFOWARD WOMEN»
Do you think you have an Anglo-Saxon elegance?
I prefer classic dresses in men, but I’m comfortable in jeans and sweaters, and yes, I am convinced that the style of a person will reveal at least part of his/her character. Sometimes I wear shaved or ribs velvet suits, suitable for all hours; I could never pose as a model. I would feel absolutely ridiculous.
Do you consider yourself a snob or a elitist?
In some aspects yes, especially if I chat with someone who does not grasp the things I’m talking about. There is a difference between the words elitist and aristocratic. I prefer the first.
What do you ask in a friendship?
Energy, availability, advice if I need it and sincerity. Meryl Streep on the set of August: Osage County has proved to be an extraordinary and potential friend and a woman with a genuine, strong femininity.
What do you value most in a woman?
The ability to be herself, with spontaneity and without superstructures. The female world today is overpopulated by models.
The same can also be applied to men…
That’s true, today virility is showed off. Too much, which, in my opinion, hides fragility and insecurity.
How do you deal with the vanity that every actor has, even if he pretends that it is not so?
Reading, traveling, studying, being interested in the world. Usually I buy two newspapers, trying to avoid the ones that trample and manipulate reality through stereotypes, the exasperation of consumerism and the morbid hunting revelation about privacy of others.
Be a quick-change artis on the screen has changed some of your attitudes or habits?
Being an actor is a job of continuous adaptations and transformations. Due to these characteristics frees you from a lot of filth habit. On the other hand, I love the routine of walking to London, to feel free from any label, be Benedict Cumberbatch and nothing else.
Like I feel like tumblr’s reaction to this is so… based outside of the reality of things. People chose to frame the argument as “a cis person is playing a trans person” but they ignore several things:
First of all, Dallas Buyers Club is an indie film with a $5 million dollar budget, and an even smaller marketing budget.
Let me put this in context… To advertise “The Avengers”, Disney paid an estimated $4 million for the 30-second spot during the Superbowl. That is how TINY Dallas Buyers Club’s budget was. More context: Daniel Radcliffe earned $20 million for the final Harry Potter installment. Just him. One actor.
In comparison, "12 Years a Slave" had a $20 million budget and also had a stellar cast of famous people both black and white.
So let’s establish the objective reality that “Dallas” simply don’t have the money to promote this movie aggressively.
Second, it’s not a comedy or an action film, so it’s either going Oscar or broke in the first place, but to get Oscar consideration, they need the “Oscar buzz”. Essentially the film had to rely on the established fan bases of big name stars and the gossip their fame generates in order to be talked about on the internet or in mainstream media. Every time some gossip mag writes an article on Jared or Matthew, they are likely to add “Jared Leto is currently filming ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ in ____ with___” and that generates interest, like people will go online and google “Dallas Buyers Club” and even if they might not be interested in the first place, they might be curious and learn about the people in the movie just by reading the summary.
Because the reality is that this story is little known, and the majority of people aren’t interested in indie films. For example, my movie budget for an entire year is $100, and a movie is about $10~$13 dollars a ticket depending on if I’m seeing it in 3D or not. That’s about 9/10 movies max in one year… and “Dallas Buyers Club” STILL didn’t make that list. (Might buy it from google play tho if it doesn’t end up on netflix, I’d feel dirty pirating 12 Years a Slave and/or Dallas Buyers Club)
Now my family is pretty well off, solid middle class, no kids yet, so we can afford to set aside $100 just to see movies on top of everything else we want to do (vacationing every year in or out of the country, eating out, saving up for a baby, house renovations, bags shoes makeup etc) Not every other family has this kind of luxury if they don’t place “going to movies” that high on their list of entertainments. With the economy the way they are, maybe they’ll go and see 3~4 blockbusters a year, that’s it. You can’t expect a person to pay $10 out of pocket to see a movie they otherwise have no interest in.
They might go see this movie if they are a fan of McConaughey or Leto, and if someone less famous is casted for it, they simply don’t see the point in paying money to see it. Maybe they’ll pirate it when they saw it nominated for an Oscar, maybe not even that.
It doesn’t make that person cis scum or transphobic or w/e. That person might be supportive of LGBT issues and votes accordingly, they just simply don’t and shouldn’t have to shell out money to see a movie about an issue that they might not hold so close to their hearts.
Now, there’s a real issue of an indie movie maker putting in $5 million dollars in a movie and not have it gross more than the budget.
So their only target audience without the stars involved is 2 kinds of people:
people who cares about AIDS/LGBTQ issues enough to shell out the money to see it.
True film fans who will see movies at film festivals or whatever is generating buzz on Rotten Tomatoes or w/e.
By casting already famous “stars” they are accessing a third target audience: fans of said “stars”.
People need a earn a living.
Content Creators need to not only earn a living but build capital for their next project.
Just because they are “artists” doesn’t mean they have to adhere to a “moral high ground” according to tumblr sjw and then earn barely scraps to get by.
Before anyone say “they could have did _____ and still earned money”… let me tell you a wise Chinese meme that basically means “it’s easier to criticize the swimming technique of a drowning man when you are sitting on the shore"
If the content creator had casted some little known actors: a male lead with AIDS, a transgender person for the supporting role… etc, but the movie didn’t do as well financially because of the lack of exposure, the critics are not the one bearing the financial responsibilities.
In fact, Matthew McConaughey was paid an upfront fee in the low six figures (under $200,000) and I can only imagine Jared Leto earned way, way less. If you consider the publicity they bring to the film, budgetary wise, the movie is actually earning money by casting those two because they are getting back more than they paid the two in publicity well before awards season. The film gets free publicity and the actor takes a pay-cut to participate in a film that will better their career, it’s a mutually beneficial situation.
Sometimes casting decision is not based on talent.
Sometimes a casting decision is based on a complex equation of talent, connections with the right people, and the math of the monetary reward of their fame converted to publicity.
Nobody should be saying "trans actors/actresses are just not as talented.” No. You asshole. Stop.
However, nobody should be trying to justify casting decisions only based on an argument of talent when the reality is that it’s much more complicated than that.
If the director had a choice of two actors wanting the part.
One actor is talented enough for the part and super famous, he will get invites to all the talk shows to promote the film, all the gossip papers will follow him while he’s doing the film, his fans will pay money to see the film.
One actor is just as, if not more talented. And for whatever life experiences, more fitting for the part, but nobody outside of a certain circle knows about him.
If I was a small time filmmaker and wanted a film made, after having to suck a dozen dicks (figuratively speaking… or literally, who the fuck knows) to scrape together five million dollars, I would chose the famous actor in a heartbeat.
The financial risk is exactly why television are way ahead of film in terms of representation and inclusion of social minorities in leading roles. It’s way cheaper to produce TV shows, and they could introduce a __whatever__ character, and if ratings drop, they have the option of writing the character off, if rating stays, they keep the character and the character develops. If it wasn’t from the get go, it gets cancelled. Shows get cancelled every season, networks recover, but it’s harder for smaller film production companies to bounce back from a loss, while larger film companies are risk averse because they have shareholders. Television also benefits from getting feedback in real time and can attempt to take risks and innovate from season to season.
Financial risk is the reason we’ve seen Disney Channel create a strong black female lead (that’s so raven) before they ever created a black princess movie.
Financial risk is the reason we’ve seen Disney Channel debut their first-ever lesbian couple but we probably won’t see queer representation never mind a lead in a Disney film.
I really find the complete lack of understanding of financial risk extremely toxic to any kind of productive dialogue…
Like if sjw want representation, then reblog all the shows with GOOD REPRESENTATION. WATCH IT ON TV AND DON’T FUCKING PIRATE IT (unless you are in like Australia or something, in which case buy the damn DVD. If the issue is important enough for you, you should be able to budget a monetary support somehow. It’s easy for anyone with a keyboard to say they support this and that, and harder to actually donate to the cause). Support indie film makers as in see their films with actual money. SUPPORT KICKSTARTERS. No matter how much everyone whines on the internet, if there’s no money to be made, it’s not getting made.
I will never understand sjw who complains about poor representation and then turns around and pirate a show or movie that is diverse. If you don’t have cable, fine, but if you are a “nielsen family” (it means the cable counts what you watch), watch the damn thing or stream the show (which is free!) from the ACTUAL NETWORK’S WEBSITE.
You are on tumblr, so clearly you have internet access, SHOW content producers your support when they are doing something right!
But none of the sjw blogs I’ve came across ever talks about stuff like that, all they do is whine or distort the context of the representation they do have, or trivialize the role and then say it’s not enough.
Example, in Agents of SHIELD, the main character Skye is played by a mixed race actress, Chinese and some shade of white. The sjw loves to either conveniently ignore that or say the show never talks about her being part Chinese.
However, in the episode that reveals her background, she was explicitly told that she was discovered in a village in China, her heritage is not paraded around like that’s all she is, it came up when it was relevant to the story, and Culson and May didn’t make a big deal out of it. May didn’t go like “so I guess we are both Chinese”, and Skye wasn’t suddenly shown as something “exotic” and “foreign”. She is still Skye.
Or when it was revealed on Arrow that Black Canary is bi. Nobody batted a lash and treated her differently, she never came out and said “I’m bi”, nor did she have to explain to the other characters that she’s not “suddenly a lesbian”.
I’ve seen sjw talk about the show “Almost Human” and how Dorian is a “sidekick”… like he’s a main fucking character okay?! It’s possible to have two main characters okay?! Stop fucking invalidating Dorian’s importance in the series/plot by saying he’s a “sidekick” because he’s a fucking main character okay? (also he’s a cute bb and you should watch the show.)
This was a really hard list to do. It didn’t feel fair to rank these movies when they are from all different genres, but I do enjoy making these lists and it’s a great way to wrap up this really great year for film.
I don’t leave a reason for why each film is on the film because I want anyone reading who hasn’t seen one of the movies here to go into watching it open minded. There was a lot of incredible independent films that came out this year that should be watched.
These are 20 movies that I thought stood out the most for me. Honourable mentions will be at the bottom of the list. Enjoy!
20. Computer Chess
19. This is the End
18. Frances Ha
17. The Wolf of Wall Street
16. Spring Breakers
15. The Kings of Summer
14. The Way, Way, Back
13. Blue is the Warmest Color
12. Blue Jasmine
11. Inside Llewyn Davis
10. The Spectacular Now
9. 12 Years a Slave
7. Drinking Buddies
6. Fruitvale Station
5. The Place Beyond the Pines
4. Before Midnight
2. Short Term 12
Honourable mentions: Dallas Buyers Club, Wrong, The Act of Killing, Enough Said, Upstream Color and of course, Sharknado.
Movie I wish I got to see before making this list: Nebraska.
I’ll be writing reviews for 2014 released films I see. I also have plans to open up my own Film Website sometime this year with some help.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? I’d like to hear what you thought was your favourite movies of 2013 were.
It was my first Halloween as a reasonably conscious being who had the volition to make his own choices about what to wear. My mom casually asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween, no doubt expecting a normal answer.
“A bearsnake!” I replied
“Honey, I have no idea what a bearsnake is.”
“I want to be a bearsnake!"
"How about a gorilla or a prince or a -”
*Sigh* “So what exactly is a bearsnake?”
“Well… A bear, and a snake of course.”
And so, after hours of motherly toiling and sewing - oh, the things moms do for us kids! - this was created:
Look how ridiculously smug I look in that costume. I totally knew I had totally gotten my way on this one. Getting my mom to make a crazy costume: success!
Me and my mom still have that outfit to this day.
I went to school, proudly showed off my bearsnake costume to friends (who all, of course, asked what I was and I smiled and said, “A bearsnake!”) and that was that. That was my fourth Halloween.
Flash forward about 20 years.
Everyone is connected. It’s oddly fun to show all of your friends snapshots from your childhood. And, rummaging through old pictures around Halloween, I found that one of me as a bearsnake. I posted it on Facebook with the story.
I did not expect what happened next.
My friends adored the picture and started up quite a long thread talking about it. Conversation continued. Questions ensued. People wondered if I still owned the costume.
Then my birthday (AKA Gavincon) happened.
My incredible friend Mel drew this: (Which now sits framed prominently above my fireplace, I might add)
There are many great things about this picture. You may note the alot (of Hyperbole and a Half fame) striking the same pose as one of Magic: the Gathering’s Grizzly Bears. You might even spot the TARDIS sneakily hidden in the background.
But more than anything: Bearsnake, brought to life, front and center.
Of all coincidences, my mom was at Gavincon and present when this was revealed to me - and she could hardly believe it! The costume she had slaved away on 20 years earlier had suddenly made a resurgence.
And that was just a harbinger of things to come.
Soon my friend Elise handmade a bearsnake plushie for me as a gift:
And another of friend of mine crafted one out of clay!
And, of course, I’ve taken to positioning these various bearsnake totems around my house in various… scenes, shall we say.
Here’s where you can spot these two currently:
Run stegosaurus, run for your life!
And then, of course, there are constant references online.
Of the latest batch, you may have seen this photo taken of me at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. This version has been appropriately altered to reflect the quest I’m actually on out there:
Hey, I’d certainly play it.
When it comes to the zodiac calendar, for me 2014 was the year of the bearsnake.
Somehow, in just one year, something which was some random part of my past created by 4-year old me became relevant again.
And you know what? I’m glad life is like that sometimes.
People ask me all the time: When will bearsnakes show up in Magic?
Well, we don’t do vanity cards. I’m not just going to get a bearsnake made by snapping my fingers and without a good reason.
But I will say this: as a Magic designer, someday when I lead a Magic set I’m going to put in a bear snake creature or two. Creative will almost certainly change them… But maybe they won’t. Maybe, just maybe, bearsnake will make it all the way in a fashion I could have never even imagine.
But most importantly to everyday life, I think back to that original Bearsnake. Back when I was 4. Back to something I said that reflects a mindset I still have 20 years later.
My mom told me at one point while discussing the idea, “Bearsnakes don’t exist - you know that, right?”
“Well, they should.” I replied, nodding. “Let’s make one.”
Peaceful protesters have been pleading their case against police brutality for months in Baltimore. I kept hearing people say, “Baltimore is not Ferguson,” meaning, I suppose, that we do not repress our issues of wealth and racial disparity or deny them. Baltimore, after all, has been a city in recovery for half a century now. For my entire life, it has been trying to lift itself up from reeling blows — the loss of manufacturing jobs, the civil rights riots, and the forty years of white flight which followed.
In a unique arrangement, Baltimore is literally split into two cities, one rich and one poor, one white and affluent, the other primarily black and destitute. I’m not speaking metaphorically. It is a political arrangement, another racist legacy of the 19th century. Confusingly, Baltimore is divided into two counties: Baltimore County and Baltimore City. Wealthy Baltimore County does not share its tax revenue with poorer Baltimore City. City services — public schools in particular — languish, separate but unequal.
The marches broke into violence for the first time on April 25th. Though it’s unclear exactly what happened, we know that white people, reveling around Camden Yards stadium during an Orioles game, began resentfully baiting, heckling and even punching the protesters.
It is strange to me that no one to my knowledge has yet mentioned a bizarre historical coincidence: that the last riot that broke out on that street corner (Pratt and Camden Yards) turned into the first battle of the Civil War. It occurred on the same day Freddie Gray died in Baltimore police custody, April 19th. That’s also the anniversary of the first battles of the Revolutionary War, Lexington and Concord.
In 1861, President Lincoln had called in troops from the north to defend the District of Columbia. Southern states had just seceded, furious Lincoln might abolish slavery. As troops changed trains in Baltimore at Camden Yards, a riot broke out. Resentful, racist, pro-Confederate Baltimore citizens baited the Union soldiers, hurled bricks at them and killed a few. Their first target was the only black man they could find: a soldier with a Pennsylvania artillery company named Nicholas Biddle.
Some history books refer to Biddle as a “servant” because blacks couldn’t serve in the army, though in all other senses he was a soldier; he was in uniform and had trained with his company for 20 years. Born a slave in the south, Biddle decided to return to defend the United States. He was the first man to shed blood in the civil war, though his name is largely forgotten.
Baltimore County has a beautiful public park called — I swear to god — “Robert E. Lee Park,” but no monuments or memorials to Biddle.
I suspect no one has noted this historical conjunction because Camden Yards isn’t known for these extraordinary events. Rather, it’s famous as an early victory in urban renewal — part of a growing constellation of buildings and construction projects meant to reverse white flight and bring suburban money back into the urban areas abandoned by whites in the latter half of the 20th century. That is to say, it’s known as a success story for attracting white people.
Meanwhile, poor black areas to the west and east that make up the majority of the city still languish… as they have for half a century.
And indeed, the whites came, spent their money on beer and clashed with protesters, as though all of the history the city had failed to confront, its centuries long legacy of racial discrimination, were echoing back from obscurity. Forgotten events were repeating themselves — a variation in a familiar arrangement. The bricks came again on Monday, and then the federal troops poured in. The same tired themes. America’s bad dream, recurring until Baltimore and the nation confronts its past.
Standing outside Mondawmin mall last Monday afternoon, I saw with my own eyes, more or less what you saw on TV from the perspective of the helicopter: angry children hurling bricks at long lines of police officers in riot gear as they surrounded their neighborhood.
The police had blocked off both ends of the street and were standing in military formation — a black-clad phalanx. It was an absurdly disproportionate response to problems I deal with every day as a Baltimore City school teacher. It seemed to me like the city could have just called in a handful of teachers, school administrators and parents to deal with students shoplifting at the mall.
At one point, I got heckled by the upset and excited kids.
I looked up at them, trying to see if I recognized any of their faces.
Being a teacher feels like (in the words of John Updike) “shouting out to the flotilla of the young as they slide in the fatal morass of the world — its dwindling resources, its disappearing freedoms, its merciless advertisements.”
I am a daily witness to an endless procession of brilliant shining souls, who, like all of us, are “impaled live upon the pin of consciousness, fixed upon self-advancement and self-preservation.” But unlike most of us, they are given so little it’s hard for them to figure out even what’s missing.
It’s been my job to fix that, to teach them modes of expression, understanding, to give them a voice. But I have been failing because there are too many — hundred, thousands, a multitude — streaming past. All of them, who need so much you might as well call it everything.
The reason for this is not because their communities have failed them. Their communities are working much harder than I am.
I didn’t recognize any of the boys who wanted to steal my bicycle. I felt stupid, naive for even looking. So many are not even in school at all.
It’s why they have no language to express their indignation. They don’t know about the books and words that describe their situation. The only reference points available — the only thing American society cares to want them to know — is consumerist popular culture.
Major news outlets reported the teens were inspired by a two star movie starring Ethan Hawke.
And indeed the idea for a “purge” did exist among the students, at least in the form of an Instagram flyer. The plan, if it was ever real, was for a sort of Saturnalia, I suppose, where the existing social order that pins them in their cramped little space briefly disappears. In a way, it was a beautifully naive fantasy, a child’s fantasy.
But I learned later from fellow teachers that the police had wanted to believe in it more than anyone else. In fact, they had made it come true. Panicking at the rumors, they caparisoned themselves in riot gear and marched on the teens just as they were leaving school.
“That neighborhood was doing so well. It just got that Target,” the news lady narrating the helicopter footage said. The footage showed teens streaming out of the Target store at Mondawmin mall to escape the police.
Ironically, Target had become just that for those whose lives were targets — targets for the police, but also targets of the Targets of the world — people who our society fails to educate and so traps in low income jobs and consumerism. How could she think what those kids needed in that neighborhood — a neighborhood that had been so gutted by the boom and bust of capital — was another Target?
There is a story my Baltimore high school teacher told me: A man is riding through a country estate and sees a number of arrows shot very precisely into the bulls-eye of targets all about the property.
“What an incredible marksman the lord of this estate must be!” the visitor remarks to the servant guiding him up to the manor house.
“That depends on when the lord make me paint the targets,” the servant replies, “before or after the shot.”
Now that the missiles have been flung in Baltimore, hopefully America will take the opportunity to redraw its targets.