Social Conventions

anonymous asked:

What are some of the major differences between autism and ADD/ADHD? Stuff like impulse control, executive function issues, stimming etc are pretty common to both of them, and i know a good handful of autistic people (myself included) who got misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD as a kid. And the fact that the two can be comorbid just makes it more confusing

eokay so first of all: i have both. so of course i cannot distinguish between both, because both are “me”. so i’m making the distinction by what i read more often in ADHD or autism contexts.

the things i’m listing are not diagnostic criteria, just things that i have seen talked about often. you might not relate to all of them even if you have ADHD / autism. additionally, having one or a few traits of something does not mean you definitely have it, but if you go “yes! that’s me!” at most or all of them, you might check the thing out more thoroughly.

there’s a summary at the end

things that are more ADHD and less autism:

impulsivity. i get an idea and then i immediately drop whatever i am doing (often quite literally) and do the other thing. for example: i am preparing a sandwidch. i am in the process of putting butter on the bread. then i think: i want tea. in that same second i drop the knife, on the floor, turn around to the water boiler and switch it on. then i realize that dropping the knife was probably not such a good idea because it’s dirty now. 

getting distracted. not by anything specifically, just.. anything. for example, i opened this ask and wanted to answer. then i got distracted for 15 minutes and forgot all about it until i accidentally opened this tab again. i described this in this slightly funny post: my general idea of functioning is getting distracted often enough so that i eventually come back to the thing i was originally doing.

constantly forgetting what you were just doing or thinking. this is pretty much what leads to both being easily distracted and impulsivity. it’s more than just forgetting. it is completely forgetting about the idea of a thing possibly occurring. you’re having an intense, captivating tumblr chat with someone and then you go to the bathroom and it is gone from your brain. you go bake some cookies, read a book, cut your hair, and when you come back to the computer it’s ohhhhh shit i was having a conversation until i suddenly disappeared… 3 hours ago.

being unable to sit still ever. it is more than just stimming. it is stimming 120% of the time. it is doing multiple stims at the same time always. i CAN not sit still. it does not happen. i am unable to not stim. 

hyperfocusing randomly. like what i am doing with this post right now. i started typing and then i got completely caught up on it and now i cannot stop and i forget the time and anything else i was going to do because this post is my world now and i. must. finish.

hyperactivity. i cannot describe this better than ALALAL ALALALA KLHADFUILSDHFJKUIEF!!!!!!!!!! LKSKSHALALALAL!!!!!!!!! it’s jumping around the room. running up the walls. sitting upside-down on your chair while screaming from laughter. spamming your twitter with 200 tweets that just say “CACTUS!!!!!!!!!! MOLAR TOOTH!!! CACTUS!!!!!!!” while laughing your ass off. 

losing every object. always. misplacing objects that you were actually using just now. pencils, headphones, jewellery, coffee cup, everything. where is my phone that i was using 20 seconds ago? i have no idea. 3 hours later i find it in the laundry basket. or on some door handle. losing ridiculously large objects that you cannot possibly lose and being unable to locate them for hours. objects that i have misplaced inside a 40 square meters apartment: laundry basket, mattress, chairs, tables, small oven, computer, and many others. you get the idea.

forgetting plans and appointments and everything really. i recently learned that some people can actually keep complex plans in their heads. a fellow autistic explained me that he can remember everything he needs to do and lie it down neatly in his mind. i don’t think every autistic is as good with that as he is, but most people have some sort of idea what their next big tasks are. i don’t. i don’t even know where i wrote them down. i also forget appointments because even if i remember that i have plans for wednesday, that does not automatically mean that i realize when wednesday is happening.

addiction to distraction and entertainment. boredom is torture, and i don’t mean that as an exaggeration. sitting in a waiting room drives you up the wall, sometimes quite literally. forgetting your phone is not just irritating and means you have to read the cereal box. no. you build a tower out of the cereal boxes and jump on the table. when the party is going slow you collect all the paper flyers and fold 100 airplanes and shred the rest of the flyers to pieces. not being able to concentrate without loud music in the background. 

things that are more autism and less ADHD:

sensory hypersensitivities. not just getting distracted or annoyed by bad sensory input, but actually getting hurt and deeply uncomfortable. not being able to even sit near someone with deodorant on. starting to cry whenever you get cold. ripping your shirt off because the tag was too scratchy. 

sensory hyposensitivities. not being able to feel the pain from scratches. not being able to enjoy music unless it is ridiculously loud drumming against your ears, while not being hard of hearing. only being able to calm down when something is pressing against your ribcage so hard you can hardly breathe. enjoying bright flickering lights right against your eyeballs. 

the bliss that stimming is. it is not just “something that feels pleasant”. it is something that makes you feel whole. it is something that puts you in a place where everything is good and right and the right stim fills you up with pure bliss. you soak it up like a sponge and you feel like you’re flying and it’s the best thing. it clears your mind and soothes your soul.

the overwhelm of sensory overload. you literally cannot function in a loud, crowded area. sensory overload makes you forget how to think. you immediately shut down or meltdown. you become helpless. you can not get yourself out of this situation safely. you get lost. you are unable to figure out a way to get out of the situation. you can get in real danger because of sensory overload if you do not have help or luck. 

auditory and visual processing difficulties. needing subtitles for every movie you watch, even though you are neither Deaf nor hard of hearing. constantly going “what? say that again? HUH?? i can’t hear you over that noise!” while everyone around you is conversing easily. being unable to decipher an image quickly. being unable to read maps or flowcharts.

trouble with verbal communication. you might be nonverbal sometimes or always. you might have problems saying the right words. you might rely on scripting heavily, that means you have fixed rules of what to say in which situations. you might be unable to react if your script stops working because someone says something unexpected. you might be unable to say what you mean because you cannot find words fast enough. you might say things that you do NOT mean because you have heard them somewhere so the words are more easily found. 

trouble with nonverbal communication. not being able to read tone of voice, facial impressions and allistic body language. constantly being misinterpreted because you make the “wrong” body language or facial impressions or tone. not being able to recognize irony and jokes because you can’t take the subtle hints that people give about them. not being able to interpret emojis and emoticons. not being able to recognize the difference between “hello”, “hello!” and “hello…”. coming off across as “rude”, “weird”, “scary” or something else that you are not. 

being unable to figure out social rules and conventions. why do you always have to answer “fine” to the question “how are you?”? why does a person think that i hate them just because i do not like talking to them? why do people think i like them just because i was talking to them? which people do you call by their first name and which by their last name? why do people laugh about me just because i hugged my teacher? nobody laughs when i hug my friend.

relying on sameness, rules, schedules and rituals. no, i cannot drink tea out of the coffee cup. it Does Not Work. i cannot sleep without my squishy pillow. i cannot wear my Outside clothes inside. when i make a plan, things have to go EXACTLY as planned or i melt down. i cry when i lose my favourite stim toy. it can also mean: having to do the same things every day at the same time. getting overwhelmed by changes. not being able to function in an unfamiliar schedule. not being able to do things out of order. not being able to sleep with the Wrong sheets. not being able to eat from red dishes. and many others.

things that are both autism and ADHD:

needing to fidget or stim. being unable to concentrate or calm down without moving or specific sensory input. not being able to function properly when not allowed to stim. shutting or melting down when not being able to stim. 

special interests or hyperfixations. “special interest” is the autism term and “hyperfixation” is the ADHD term. it means fixating on a certain subject so intensely that you can hardly think about anything else. some people learn subjects very deeply in a very short time. it means getting caught up in it. it’s what you think about in every second. like being in love, only with a subject instead of a person.

living in a fantasy world. retreating into a safe space to escape from a world that is not very kind to us. hyperfixating on a story or a fantasy world or dreamworld as an interest, either as a refuge or as a special interest or both.

trouble with socializing. being ridiculed for being “weird”. being unable to function well in social situations because of your specific disabilities. having a hard time maintaining friendships and other social relationships.

appearing eccentric. dressing and behaving in unusual ways. having unconventional interests and hobbies. being unable to connect with most other people, being the “different” person in most groups. having social positions such as the “class clown” or “the outcast” - entertaining everyone else or distancing yourself from everyone else. 

appearing childlike or younger than you are. never getting rid off childlike behaviours. stimming and fidgeting because you like it or because it helps. not caring about how you look. having hobbies and interests that are seen as “childish”. impulsive actions that appear childlike. behaviour that is seen as childlike.

executive dysfunction. being unable to do things even though you really want to do them. being unable to start tasks or switch tasks. being unable to recall what you know in an unfamiliar situation. being unable to figure out the steps necessary for completing a task. 

reactions to over- and understimulations. you might start to fidget or stim. you might try to get away or get angry or cry because things are too much or because there’s not enough stimulation. you might fall asleep in class because it’s too little stimulation. you might cry in class because it’s too much stimulation.

meltdowns / shutdowns. having reactions that are stronger than is deemed appropriate to negative things like adverse sensory input, emotional stress, etc. that means breaking down crying from small things, having rage fits over small things going wrong, or on the other side completely shutting down, flopping on the floor, freezing in place etc. in case of under- or overstimulation or emotional stress.

developing anxiety or depression. social or generalized anxiety as well as depression are common in people with ADHD and autistics because we often get bullied, our disabilities are often exploited to hurt us, and we may get excluded, ridiculed and hurt on a regular basis. we might despair because we never seem to fit in. we might overcompensate and overtax ourselves in order to appear “normal”. we might burn out as a result.

creativity and unconventional thinking. getting ideas that nobody else has. making connections nobody else would even think of. being good at finding similarities, patterns, and differences. 

daydreaming and spacing out. shutting down or simply daydreaming your way through situations that you cannot function in because of your specific disabilities. forgetting what you were doing and just dreaming away. getting lost in thoughts. dissociating from adverse sensory input. escaping from the reality that is hard to bear or just getting distracted. 

getting caught up in a task. hyperfocusing on a thing that you are doing or being unable to initiate the end of an action. being unable to interrupt your train of thought or action. being unable to switch tasks. 


summary

i don’t claim completeness for this list. so.

more ADHD than autism:

  • impulsivity
  • getting distracted
  • constantly forgetting what you were just doing or thinking
  • being unable to sit still ever
  • hyperfocusing randomly
  • hyperactivity
  • losing every object. always
  • forgetting plans and appointments and everything really
  • addiction to distraction and entertainment

more autism than ADHD:

  • sensory hypersensitivities
  • sensory hyposensitivities
  • the bliss that stimming is
  • the overwhelm of sensory overload
  • auditory and visual processing difficulties
  • trouble with verbal communication
  • trouble with nonverbal communication
  • being unable to figure out social rules and conventions
  • relying on sameness, rules, schedules and rituals

both autism and ADHD:

  • needing to fidget or stim
  • special interests or hyperfixations
  • living in a fantasy world
  • trouble with socializing
  • appearing eccentric
  • appearing childlike or younger than you are
  • executive dysfunction
  • reactions to over- and understimulations
  • meltdowns / shutdowns
  • developing anxiety or depression
  • creativity and unconventional thinking
  • daydreaming and spacing out
  • getting caught up in a task

so that got a lot more elaborate than i was planning… anyway. i hope it answers your question, anon

-lhmod

Why women don't code! (?)

An overview:
So basically the programming industry (and the IT industry itself!) have a MASSIVE shortage of female programming, less than a third of computer science students are female, and less than that actually go into the industry, (in my company in particular there is a 1:4 ratio for female employees to male employees!)

The problem:

we want female coders! Everyone should feel comfortable programming, it’s a great, creative and intellectual skill with so many useful applications. The computer science and software industry is changing rapidly and the need for skilled individuals (both males and females) grows everyday.

The cause (in my opinion):
When computer programming and computer science were first becoming mainstream industries, there were many negative sexist attitudes, the idea that females should play with ‘girly toys’ like dolls and play-houses was a massive concept and the reinforcement of the idea that girls should look pretty with make-up and they should be cooking and baking. At this time all of the negative reinforcements were there, make up to teach young girls they should be pretty, dolls to teach them they should be mothers one day, play-ovens and play-houses to teach them they should focus on home economics. This caused a problem for computer science, at that time computers were widely used to make electronic toys and video games, and because it seemed there wasn’t a market for girls in that respect; boys got bombarded with the advertising. Images and widespread advertising of boys playing video games, video game concepts being primarily for boys (beating things up and killing things wasn’t seen as 'lady-like’) - this led to computing interest planted in the minds of boys from a young age, it was natural to be interested in how it worked and to be excited at the concept of possibly making your own games one day (Shown by the success of the zx spectrum and commodore 64, both of them you could create your own games on - which reinforced the idea of programming in young boys)

This massive focus on males and not females led to one of the biggest downfalls of the computing industry, most girls simply were not interested since computer science hasn’t shown then what it can do and peaked their curiosity and girls that were interested felt like they couldn’t keep up with the interest of boys with one girl reportedly saying 'Yeah, it’s interesting, but I do have other hobbies, I like to relax, you know? Pick up a new skills or something, I don’t dream in code like all the boys do’ which leads to them not completing their qualifications or possibly not becoming part of the industry because they feel outweighed by the devotion of the boys!

Shockingly this still goes on today, the stereotypes of the nerdy male software developer and the iconic figureheads of software (Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc. etc.) all being male, dig these roots deeper, and do nothing to unpick the vicious, sexist and unproductive dismaying plants of software development.

The solution:
We need to focus on females now! We need to destroy the harmful stereotype of programming being for males, teach female only computer science classes, teach it in schools, shatter the 'video games are for boys’ ideal, it’s time equality came to the exciting, ever-changing and developing world of software development.

What bothers me the most about the “friendzone” interpretation of Snape, it’s not the mischaracterisation of Snape himself, but the complete lack of understanding what a “friendzone” guy is.

Do you think a friendzoned guy would accept the refusal, yet still be envolved in the well-being of the girl, endanger his life trying to save hers, and then watch over her kid until his very end? Nope, the friendzoned guy would have whined, used his pain to touch another girl, got rejected 4546th times until his tragedy becomes the consistency of rejection and not a particular rejection itself, and after her death, would have passed by her ravaged house, rise his fedora, said out loud “this is what you get when you marry assholes” and at the pub he’d have sighed deeply with his boys wondering : “why do women always prefer to get killed by Dark Lords instead of dating Nice Guys” and all the boys would have nodded because it happened to four of them so that’s the proof, women just prefer get killed in wars, how strange yet fascinating creatures, so mysterious, so killable. 

Overwatch Characters as Dog Breeds

Genji- Shiba Inu: “The Shiba Inu originated in Japan and was used primarily as a hunting dog to flush out small game and birds. A small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba has an independent nature and can be reserved toward strangers but is loyal and affectionate to those who earn his respect.” 

McCree- Coyote: “The coyote is a canine native to North America and one of the most adaptable animals on the planet. It is gregarious, but not as dependent on packs as more social canid species like wolves are. The coyote is a prominent character in Native American folklore (Southwestern United States and Mexico), usually depicted as a trickster. As with other trickster figures, the coyote acts as a picaresque hero which rebels against social convention through deception and humor.”

Pharah- Pharaoh Hound: “The Pharaoh Hound is an ancient dog breed who has changed little since its development more than 5,000 years ago. They were the dog of kings and may have hunted gazelles with pharaohs, hence their name. As with any hound, they can have moments of aloofness and can be strong-willed, but in the main they are gentle and get along well with others. They love human companionship and will seek out affection and attention from people while still maintaining their independence.”

Ana- Canaan Dog: “ The Canaan Dog is a pariah dog that has survived in the desert region of Israel for thousands of years. Canaan dogs have a strong survival instinct. They are quick to react and wary of strangers, and will alert to any disturbances with prompt barking, thus making them excellent watchdogs. Though defensive, they are not aggressive and are very good with children”

Reaper- Presa Canario: “ The Perro de Presa Canario, A.K.A. the Canary Mastiff, is a Molosser-type dog breed originally bred for working livestock. They are large dogs with thick and muscular bodies. Their aspect denotes power. They are especially gifted for the function of guard and defense; their impetuous temperament, fighting skill, and low, deep bark make them quite formidable. They are gentle and noble with family and distrustful with strangers.”

Tracer- Jack Russell Terrier: “Jack Russells are an energetic breed originating in England, and rely on a high level of exercise and stimulation. Jack Russells tend to be extremely intelligent, athletic, fearless, and vocal dogs. Despite their small size, they have a tremendous amount of energy, a fact which can sometimes lead to trouble involving larger animals.”

Hanzo- Akita Inu: “The Akita is a large and powerful dog breed with a noble and intimidating presence originally used for guarding royalty and nobility in feudal Japan. The Akita also tracked and hunted wild boar, black bear, and sometimes deer. A fearless and loyal guardian of his family, the Akita does not back down from challenges and does not frighten easily.”

Junkrat- Dingo: “The dingo is a wild dog found in Australia. They are opportunistic hunters, but will also scavenge from human settlements and even eat fruits and plants. Europeans regarded them as devious and cowardly, since they did not “fight bravely”. They were seen as predators that killed wantonly, rather than out of hunger. They were associated with thieves, vagabonds, and bushrangers.”

Mei- Samoyed: “ Originally bred to hunt, haul sledges, and herd reindeer, the Samoyed dog breed proved a valuable companion for northwestern Siberia’s Samoyede people. To this day, the Samoyed’s reputation as an intelligent, dignified, family dog is well deserved. They often choose to dote on one special person in the household, but are affectionate with everyone in the pack. Happiest when part of family life, this breed needs to be with people. In fact, leaving a Samoyed alone too much is the best way to make them miserable.”

Torbjörn- Schipperke: “Known for a stubborn, mischievous, and headstrong temperament, the Schipperke is sometimes referred to as the “little devil”. Schipperkes are very smart and independent; and sometimes debate listening to owners, instead choosing to do whatever benefits them. They are formidable barkers and can be aggressive with other dogs.”

Widowmaker- Standard Poodle: “The poodle is a medium sized dog that was standardized in France. Although today’s poodles seem to epitomize a life of leisure and luxury, make no mistake: These are real dogs bred to do real jobs. Poodles are renowned for a playful but dignified personality and keen intelligence, as well as what his fans call “an air of distinction”: a dignified attitude that’s hard to describe, but easy to spot in the dog.”

D.Va- Korean Jindo: “Originating in South Korea, the Jindo exhibit unmatched loyalty. They are incredibly intelligent dogs with a knack for hunting, tricks, and even agility. Renowned for their bravery and intelligence, they show diehard loyalty to their owners, making them great companions, and rather reserved with strangers, making them effective watchdogs as well. In fact, they are such good watchdogs that the Korean army frequently uses them as guard dogs for military bases.”

Reinhardt- Leonberger: “Originally from Germany, this giant breed, with their lion-like looks and deep bark, make intimidating watch dogs. First and foremost a family dog, the Leonberger’s temperament is one of their most important and distinguishing characteristics. Leonbergers are self-assured, well-composed, and self-disciplined when obliging its family or property with protection.”

Roadhog- Bullmastiff: “The Bullmastiff is a a large, quiet, fearless dog with the speed to track down poachers and the strength to hold them. While standoffish toward strangers, they have a soft spot for loved ones. Large and powerfully built, the Bullmastiff was bred to be a silent watchdog and only rarely barks; their formidable appearance is a wonderful deterrent to would-be attackers or intruders. They are determined protectors when needed and a loving family companion the rest of the time.”

Zarya- Caucasian Shepherd Dog: “Caucasian shepherd dogs are large, strongly-boned, muscular, and even-tempered molossers originating in Russia. They have existed since ancient times, and served shepherds in the Caucasus mountains as guard dogs, defending sheep from predators, mainly wolves, jackals and bears. They are still successfully served in this job.”

Lúcio- Boxer: “ Boxers are large, muscular, square-headed dogs who look imposing but are very bright, energetic, and playful. They are known to be clownish and loving to their family, but also headstrong, dignified, and self-assured, especially in guard work. They often are distrustful of strangers at first, but will not be aggressive unless they perceive a threat to their families.”

Mercy- Berger Blanc Suisse: “The Berger Blanc Suisse is a breed of dog originating in Switzerland. Most are gentle, very intelligent and learn easily. They are loyal to their family and may be wary around strangers, but are not prone to show shy or fearful behavior. They are suited for a variety of services to man from search and rescue to medical alert to therapy. They are also structured and have temperaments to succeed at performance events.”

Symmetra- Kanni: “The Kanni is a rare indigenous South Indian dog breed used mainly for hunting. Though usually shy, it will always defend its home or master, if the need arises. They are a silent breed and are not nuisance barkers. The Kanni dogs are faithful and easy to train but they will always think independently when on a hunt. They are extremely agile and strong while remaining light on their feet.” 

Soldier: 76- Yellow Black Mouth Cur: “ The Black Mouth Cur is a well-muscled rugged herding, hunting, and all around utility dog originating in America. The black mouth cur was bred as a homestead dog that would protect its family and home against intruders. This means that a well-bred black mouth cur is territorial; most off their ‘turf’ work well with other dogs, hunting or herding stock, but on their family property will chase the same dog away.”

anonymous asked:

what are some examples of autistic social difficulties?

There are a lot of potential social difficulties that can come along with autism. The following is a list of social difficulties taken from the article DSM Criteria For Autism Explained:

Differences in social approach

  • Difficulty starting social interactions
  • May not initiate social interactions at all
  • Differences in ways of approaching others
  • Difficulty understanding physical boundaries

Differences in flow of conversation

  • Difficulty understanding when it is one’s turn to talk (may result in interrupting others or not speaking out of hesitancy to interrupt)
  • Conversation may be very focused on a particular topic
  • Conversation may be one sided/a monologue
  • Difficulty initiating conversation
  • May not respond when spoken to directly
  • May have difficulty with social norms of conversation (may not clarify if not understood or may not provide background information to what is being said)
  • Lack of engagement in small talk

Reduced sharing of interests

  • May not be interested in sharing interests with others
  • May not point out or show interesting objects to other people
  • May have difficulty remaining engaged in conversation about a subject one is not interested in

Reduced sharing of emotions/affect

  • May not smile in response to another’s smile
  • May not share enjoyment, excitement, or achievements with others
  • May not respond to praise
  • May not show pleasure in social interactions
  • May have difficulty offering comfort to others
  • May be averse or indifferent to physical affection/contact

Differences in use of eye contact

  • May be averse to eye contact
  • May make too much eye contact
  • May not know when to make eye contact
  • May use eye contact only in specific situations such as only with familiar people or only with strangers

Differences in body posturing

  • May face away from listener during conversation
  • May appear uninterested in conversation
  • May not use gestures to deliberately communicate
  • May have difficulty understanding other’s body posturing

Differences in the use of gestures

  • May not use typical gestures such as pointing, waving, or nodding/shaking head
  • May have difficulty understanding the gestures others make

Differences in vocal tone

  • May speak too loudly or too quietly for a situation
  • May speak with different pitch, intonation, rhythm, stress, or prosody than is typical
  • May speak very quickly or very slowly

Differences in affect

  • More limited or exaggerated facial expressions than is typical
  • May appear cold or unengaged
  • Limited range of tone of voice
  • May have difficulty conveying emotions via words
  • May have difficulty interpreting or understanding other’s nonverbal communication

Difficulty coordinating verbal and nonverbal communication

  • Words may not match up with facial expressions/tone of voice
  • May have difficulty coordinating eye contact and gestures

Difficulty developing and maintaining relationships

Difficulty taking another’s perspective

Difficulty adjusting behavior to fit a situation

  • May not notice another’s lack of interest in an activity
  • May not notice nonverbal social cues indicating a request for change in behavior
  • May express emotions that do not fit a situation (laughing or smiling when something sad has happened, for example)
  • May ask socially inappropriate questions or make socially inappropriate statements
  • May not understand or be aware of social rules
  • May not recognize when not welcome in a social setting
  • May not notice how one’s behavior affects others emotionally
  • May not notice when one is being teased or mocked

Difficulty engaging in imaginative play with other’s as a child, though may engage in imaginative play alone

Difficulties making friends

  • May not initiate friendships
  • May not engage in cooperative play as a child but rather parallel play only
  • May make friends outside of age range (i.e. may make friends with people significantly older or younger)
  • May have an interest in making friends but doesn’t understand the social conventions involved
  • May not respond to social advances of others
  • May prefer to interact one on one rather than as part of a group

May appear to not be interested in other people

  • May prefer solitary activities
  • May prefer to interact with a select group of people
  • May not try to attract the attention of others
  • May have a limited interest in others

-Sabrina

anonymous asked:

Do you have any advice for writing characters undercover? Thanks!

So, we’ve covered this topic a lot in the past. Undercover operatives, intelligence agents, black ops, assassins, and spies I’d start with a spies search on our website, as that’ll get you started. The really good references will be there. My big advice for writing any kind of spy fiction is to have a clear idea of what you want and which genre you’re chasing. Do want James Bond or George Smiley? You can blend these genres, but it’s a good idea to have a clear idea as that’ll define your narrative.

The first thing to understand about spies and any sort of shadow operative is the Burn Notice quote: “A spy is just a criminal with a government paycheck.”

Take a look at this passage. This is a character (Thirteen) trained as an undercover operative exiting a bad situation. What do you see?

Limping down the hall, I forced one foot before the other. Slowly, my stride lengthened. The silver door at the end didn’t open, so I pushed it, and stumbled out onto the launch pad. My gaze fell on a string of oval automatic airstreams parked all in a row. No, I frowned, eyes sweeping to street and the vehicles winging by in the air overhead. No self-respecting AI would let me drive in this condition. Robots always insisted on hospital, and I had no time to hack. To get out fast, I needed a human. A cabbie. Older, preferably female. Fingers to my neck, I tapped twice. Up came the ODS, my thoughts linking to: call a cab. Human.

A string of numbers and faces appeared before my eyes, the oldworld men and women working a dying industry. Better for No Questions Asked rides in our digital world, no one else called when they could pay a corporate run robot for half the cost.

I picked the first female face that flashed across my dash.

Time to pick up… thirty seconds.

I gripped my injured arm, and ran an analysis. Tucked out of sight, Sixteen’s pistol rested against my ribs. Ammunition at less than half a magazine, so seven rounds. Eight, if I counted the one in the chamber. The Uplink already registered the irreparable damage and severed the blood flow to the damaged limb. So, no more bleeding out. My upper lip curled. A bad trade off for no more arm. Damn, Sixteen.

Fifteen seconds.

I couldn’t hide in the shadows. Needed to seem desperate, distraught. Call up tears.

Ten seconds.

My blurred gaze flicked to the skyline, watching for black. The Ghosts wouldn’t appear in the datastream. Still, NIS hadn’t cut my access. Not yet.

Five.

A beat up airstream in ruby red dropped out of the sky to the left, pulling up to the curb. They were early. From the shabby state of their car, probably desperate. Good.

I limped over quickly. Even if they weren’t my ride, they were human and sitting in the driver’s seat. A car enthusiast who needed no AI systems to handle the steering. Likely to have built in cameras. More likely to possess a slow Uplink. Slow data received poor police service. My fingers seized the handle, flung open the door, and threw myself inside.

“Need a ride?” the voice was sympathetic, unfamiliar.

I slid across the bench into the seat behind the driver. My free hand tight on my damaged limb, couldn’t do much about my nose. So, instead, I tilted my head and caught her reflection in the mirror. Younger. Mid-thirties. Red hair worn short with one gray streak, tied back in a severe bun. Clear hazel eyes. Talk like you’re in pain, scared, but putting on a brave face. Tears. I wiped the blood from underneath my nose, sniffling. “Y-y-yeah.” I cleared my throat. “Yeah. Thanks.” I tried for a half-smile, half-grimace, and leaned on the window. “Just looking to get away. The address should be—”

“You don’t need to worry, I have it,” the driver said. “Came in with your order. Grace, right? You want to go downbelow, the Rep Shop.”

“Yeah.” Resting my cheek against the glass, I closed my eyes; Uplink sizing up her car’s systems. Automatic turned off, but easy enough to hijack. My free hand drifted off my injury, and moved near the pistol hilt jabbing my ribs.

“I’m Marla, I’ll be your driver today.” A pause followed. “You sure a pretty girl like you wants the Rep Shop? Not a hospital? You look pretty banged up.”

“No,” I replied. I got what she suggested, this was a nice neighborhood. “I just need… need to go…”

“Boyfriend trouble?”

I grimaced, eyes squeezing shut, and wished I felt a twinge of guilt. It’s like the Overseer always says, love is just a cover.

“Don’t worry, no need to say it,” Marla said as the engine revved, the floorplates shook, and the airstream lifted skyward. “Shipped enough victims out of here to know.”

Notice, she pays attention to her surroundings and makes choices based on her condition in service of her needs. She needs to get out quickly, but would run into more trouble stealing a car so she calls up a cab driven by a human. Human’s are easier to manipulate in short order than code cracking. She specifically aims for a female cab driver, one preferably older than she is.

Why?

She’s female. Another woman is more likely to assume her injuries are because of a man, and a cab driver will have encountered this scenario often enough to not pry too deeply into it. An older woman is likelier to be maternal and protective, but not so protective that she’ll stay beyond when Thirteen needs her too. However, pay attention to the fact that Thirteen never verbally confirms it was a man who caused her injuries. She lets Marla assume, and fill in the blanks herself. This gives her an out later if she needs to change her story and place the blame on Marla’s shoulders for misunderstanding.

This is an example of what’s called social engineering. Deliberately manipulating the people in your environment to divulge confidential information or getting them to do what you want.

Notice also: After getting into the vehicle, Thirteen’s hand goes to the gun she stole. As she is playing to Marla’s sympathies, she is also assessing the possibility of killing this woman and taking control of the car if things don’t go the way she’s planned. Thirteen would prefer to exit by the easiest means possible, but a good spy always has a contingency. She won’t compromise her safety, and civilian lives mean next to nothing. A dead body is one more problem to deal with, one more attention getter that she doesn’t want, but she’ll go there. Violence is messy, and sometimes necessary.

There’s no real difference between a spy and a conman. Still, if you want to trick people there’s a few rules to follow.

What a spy isn’t:

A compulsive liar, an overseller, or lies all the time. An undercover operative needs to maintain their identity, that is one identity, singular. While a spy can create many false personalities, they should only be using one at a time with the goal of giving away as little information in trade as possible.

Notice: Thirteen does not tell Marla a story, she lets Marla create the story and then plays along. It is easier to convince someone of a lie when they’ll craft it themselves. Why say something when you can get just as much by saying nothing at all?

“You’ve told her three lies. Suppose she’s an asset, now you have to make all three lies true.” - Spy Game

Your character can’t just lie, a liar will be caught after a prolonged period of time. They need to manipulate the truth by creating a fiction. A cover is a fictional person with a fictional job who people think really exists when they check the character’s identity. Assume their identity will be checked, re-checked, and checked again. They are not maintaining a cover to a singular individual, but multiple ones. Their assets are the locals they are manipulating in order gain access to information, and who often run the jobs for them. These assets will, most of the time, not know the truth or not know the whole truth about who the spy really is.

Assets can be friends, business associates, girlfriends/boyfriends, wives/husbands, disgruntled employees, janitors, etc.

Your character can’t enter a business or government agency as a pretend janitor if they’re also going there everyday as a reporter or contractor or some other job. They must maintain the fiction of their identity.

This is the biggest problem most authors will get into when writing spy fiction. The concept of telling lies is something that comes easily to most of us, the problem comes in with keeping up a fiction over a prolonged period of time. The next step is to be able to lie without guilt and throw over people who help you without remorse. Crafting that dual identity of a person who genuinely cares about their friends and allies versus the real one who… really doesn’t.

You need a solid grasp of social functions, mores, and conventions in order to write a spy because a spy is manipulating all those points to gain access. You also need to understand these rules change based on what society your character is entering. Social rules change based on social groups, be it economic or cultural. The expectations for a man or woman in Mexico City versus Seattle are vast, and your character needs to be versed in the world they’re walking into. They need a cover identity to suit their work. Someone who has the freedom to go many places without being questioned, but unimportant enough to be neither needed nor remembered.

A spy is always looking for a way in, to slide into your confidences or sympathies however they can. They are going to use you to get where they need to go. They are very convincing actors and they are changing, modifying themselves slightly for each person they encounter. Not so much though that their falseness becomes obvious to the other people who know them.

When we’re working with a female spy, for example, all the “bad woman” societal traits you’re inclined to throw away are exactly what she needs to succeed. She will flirt, and flatter, and seduce, and manipulate the men (and women) around her to gain entry. She may rotate between being a gorgeous woman and an unremarkable one by the use of fashion and makeup. She is exactly what so many men are afraid of, a social climber who is manipulating their feelings and her attractiveness in order to get what she wants because it is the most expedient method to get what she needs. The one who is manipulating society’s view of women as nonentities, nonthreatening/replaceable objects in order to do her job.

Don’t be afraid of these characters. Don’t be afraid of “unlikeable” characters.

Spies are bad people who do bad things. They are often cold, calculating, impersonal manipulators looking for the most expedient method to get what they need. Your spy’s cover is just a cover. Never forget the real person underneath, especially when they’re lying to themselves.

-Michi

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scarletnightwalker  asked:

Hello, I was wondering if you could help me. Lately I've come across the healthy/unhealthy personality types. Though I know, that I'm an ENTP, I would like to learn, how you can tell whether they are healthy or not. Would be great if you would explain this. Thanks in advance PS.: I'm not sure, if this is the right place to ask my questions, so correct me if the 'question' section isn't the right one.

It’s the right place. All the mods are pretty chill coz we’re awesome. :)

Unhealthy NTP: never finishes anything or focuses on the details (zero follow through), uses their Fe to manipulate people (you’re soft, and a pansy, and making you fall for my BS is so fun, maybe I can even get you to cry by pointing out how stupid your ideas are!) or intentionally hurt them rather than forge genuine connections or take into consideration people’s feelings.

Healthy NTP: knows which ideas are better than others, in order to focus on bringing them into fruition and either commits to them long-term by selecting a creative partner (Ne/Fe) or giving their ideas away to others who can nail down the details. Is logical but gentle in correcting others, mindful that people’s feelings matter and it’s important for others to genuinely like you in life, in order to get things done (and because it’s the nice thing to do). Realizes they’re prone to hyperbole, short term interests, and exaggeration, and learns to laugh about it, but also acknowledge it and work on fixing it. Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy NFP: never finishes anything or focuses on details (zero follow through), follows their heart without regard for the consequences, using that to justify hurtful behavior (I don’t care what you think, I fell out of love with you, so I can cheat on you all I want, I’ve done nothing wrong, this is who I am, just deal with it or get out), refuses to take blame for their part of the problem, may intentionally offend others, and doesn’t care about anyone but themselves.

Healthy NFP: knows which ideas are better than others and seeks to bring the best ones into the world through healthy engagement of goals, deadlines, and process of elimination (Te). Sets personal deadlines for self, and beats them, in order to stay motivated. Understands what drives them most, slows them down, or angers them, and commits to doing something about it. Learns such things as “tact,” when dealing with others, but also when and where to defy social norms and stand up for oneself (does that really matter? is it worth a fight?). Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy NTJ: becomes obnoxious in pushing their “vision” on others or asserting they know everything (including your motives) while devaluing your feelings or beliefs, often sneers at people who make emotional decisions, and sometimes passive-aggressively attacks people’s ego or intelligence that they do not like (okay, stupid, I’m just going to make you look like an idiot, while correcting every damn thing you say, all day long, until you run away and cry).

Healthy NTJ: has a fair, balanced, and open-minded approach to life, is willing to listen to others’ ideas and offer practical thoughts on them, but is neither arrogant nor pushy about their knowledge, expertise, and logical detachment. Chooses when to correct others with care, and never does so to humiliate, only to educate. Respects others’ feelings even if they personally feel that the other person is making a mistake. Focuses on taking their ideas and goals and making them real. Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy NFJ: total detachment from reality, while stubbornly clinging to the belief that their irrational interpretation is “the truth” (and the ONLY truth) (It DOES make sense, you’re just too stupid to understand it!), and resorting to a “you’re either with us or against us” mentality, which manifests in creating a single universal (sometimes abstract) enemy and trying to recruit others to join their cause against them / you (bad Ni and Fe).

Healthy NFJ: has a fair, balanced, and open-minded approach to life, accepts their interpretation may be unrealistic, but is committed to bringing their ideas and visualizations to life, often by recruiting others to a positive common cause. Uses their understanding of others’ motives to uplift rather than tear down, and becomes a source of compassionate and guiding “wisdom” for friends (I worry about you choosing this path, and here’s why…). Never recruits others in any negative ways against someone who disagrees with them. Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy STP: irresponsible, reckless, and hedonistic, engaging in short-term behaviors that leave a wake of destruction behind (broken marriages, families, and violated responsibilities), often using Fe to manipulate people to get what they want (hey, I’m super hot and I’ve seen you ogling my backside, so I’m going to wear something that accentuates it so you’ll give me what I want in return one of these days; I don’t care how wrong it is) and then dumping them like hotcakes.

Healthy STP: knows life has much to offer and not only enjoys it but helps others loosen up and try new things, but commits to the people, beliefs, and jobs that are most important to them, for the long term. Understands and respects others’ feelings and seeks to connect to them through that, as well as develop their own ability to communicate. Learns the art of tact and when to use it (is it worth correcting this person or does it matter?). Tries to think about the long-term consequences of impulse, before engaging in it. Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy SFP: irresponsible, reckless, and hedonistic, going through jobs and romantic relationships like wildfire, abandoning people every time they get “bored” or feel unattached; justifies this behavior with selfish reasoning (I just don’t love you anymore, so I don’t have to treat you with respect); unable to be counted upon by other people, since they never show up or follow through; refuses to take responsibility through their actions and doesn’t mind offending others for no reason at all.

Healthy SFP: is good at self-entertaining and eager to try new things, and infects others with a similar excitement; is good at pushing people out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to aim high for their dreams. Has a strong sense of personal beliefs, and is willing to commit to other people, and prioritize them in relationships. Knows when it’s appropriate to defy social convention, and when it’s better to dial back the “but this is just who I am!” and chill. Sets personal goals, deadlines, and achievements, and sticks with things, so they have something tangible to show for their time (Te). Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy STJ: refuses to adapt or change even when their world implodes; may try and “force” or “strong-arm” others into their point of view. Has little interest or respect for people’s feelings and doesn’t mind crushing them on their way to success, but may also play the role of a martyr in the process (since NO ONE ELSE IS RESPONSIBLE AROUND HERE, I HAVE TO DO IT). May become irrational or paranoid with lower Ne, and turn into a pessimist.

Healthy STJ: uses their extensive past experience to figure out what will and won’t work when dealing with life and problems, but is also open to new ideas, trying out new things, and experiencing what “lies beneath the surface” (Ne). Tries not to shut down ideas until they have considered them. Is practical, efficient, and logical, but also respects people’s feelings and doesn’t intentionally try to hurt, shame, or control them. Becomes able to share what they need emotionally with others, rather than playing a martyr (I would like it if you would take the trash out; since I’m doing this other thing, it seems fair, and it would make me happy). Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes.

Unhealthy SFJ: refuses to change or adapt, while clinging stubbornly to their idea of “how things were,” while struggling to control their emotions; may resort to being “fake” in order to manipulate others, to “us vs them” thinking and overt moralizing (if you don’t agree with us, you’d better change your mind or face the consequences, because we can’t let you hold such a wrong point of view and will punish you for it).

Healthy SFJ: uses the past to form impressions about people and situations, but changes those perceptions based on new experience; is open to new ideas and beliefs, and willing to look beneath the surface (Ne), with the aim of making those things “useful and tangible” in the real world (how can this idea apply to life and improve our situation?). Learns the art of “polite affirming correction,” which helps others become better, while not shaming, humiliating, or insulting them for their behavior. Aware not everyone needs to agree, and comfortable with those who don’t; never recruits anyone against anyone else, or adopts a mentality of “let’s get that person, together.” Takes personal responsibility for their mistakes. 

- ENFP Mod

Memoirs

My Sorcerer, in a rare moment of honesty: “Actually, sure, I’ll tell you. I’m planning to use my powers to uplift an international network of sorcerers in order to check the rapid expansion of a dragon’s mercantile empire, as well as generally overthrow social norms and conventions I find objectionable.”
Lich: “Wow! That sounds exciting! Will you write a book about it later?”
Me: “Damn, I hadn’t considered that. Should I write a book?”
Lich: “I’d read it.”

that one post about the summer science camp and the kids covered in shaving cream eating the watermelon alien eggs in the middle of the night isnt even surprising.  Like all the comments on it are like “wtf is this” but those people have never been to a summer camp.  As someone who went to one from 8th to 12th grade, summer camps are surreal and just plain weird like

  • that one year where the entire group had an intense obsession with old bay seasoning.  old bay got put on everything. pasta. sandwiches. chips. pudding. a guy snorted it
  • same kid also drank dirty taco dishwater on a dare
  • flies on leashes
  • one of the guys had 4 pairs of decorative boxers.  he shared them with 3 other guys and they wore them over their shorts for at least 3 days.  they wore them in public.  theres a picture of them doing model poses in front of a waterfall wearing fluorescent decorative boxers over their shorts
  • a girl deadpan goes “i am the captain now” and then pushes our counselor out of the raft into the white water rapids.  he was cool with it
  • the 2 guys that shared a canoe and tipped their boat 7 times in 30 min
  • everyone imitates a velociraptor when you cross that specific field on the hike. no one questions it
  • the indestructable piece of firewood that became a minor deity
  • hearing coughing and screaming in the tents at 12 am because someone decided to kill all the bugs on the ceiling of their tent with a 10 second long spray of 40% deet aerosol bug repellent
  • someone put a frog in a kids shower.  he let it stay in there with him.  he kept it for the next 5 hours.  it sat by his bowl at dinner
  • pillow fight using entire couch cushions in a shabby 1800′s log cabin
  • on the last night at camp we go back to the main property where the hotel is. the hotel kitchen has a cookie jar.  we wanted cookies.  so logically, we dressed in all black, put black mesh kits over our heads, grabbed a bunch of pool noodles, and “snuck” up to the half mile to the hotel, dropping to the ground anytime a car passed vaguely in our direction.  we send a kid into the kitchen through a side door.  he is acting as a decoy to get the staff out of the kitchen.  he says he is a guest and cannot find the bathrooms (especially not the one in his guest room). he is still wearing the mock ninja attire.  the last 2 staff leave to show him where the bathroom is in his own room that he doesnt actually have.  everyone else in our group goes into the kitchen to get the cookies. the cookie jar is empty.  we end up taking a half eaten loaf of wonder bread instead.  we run back away from the hotel waving pool noodles in the air holding a loaf of wonder bread.  no one questioned any part of this entire event. 

basically dont underestimate the surrealist hive mind of a small group of people cut of from all social conventions for a week

If you look up symptoms of ASD specific to girls one of them is frequently “masculine behavior/dress” or whatever and people love to blame that on autism being an “extreme male brain” but it’s really very easily explained when you consider what femininity is: a set of implicit social rules forced on women. Like, of course autistic girls and women aren’t going to be as successful at performing femininity “correctly.” It doesn’t have to do with the fictitious male brain. It has to do with femininity being inaccessible to people who have difficulty navigating complex and arbitrary social conventions. 

@GabrielLuna : S.H.I.E.L.D. Family Photo. @AgentsofSHIELD @starfuryevents #Blackpool #ultimates2 ‬

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Are Part of a New Generation Who Don’t See Fashion as Gendered

Midway through Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, a startling transformation takes place: Our hero, Duke Orlando, awakens from a seven-day slumber to find that he has switched genders. “Orlando had become a woman,” Woolf writes, “but in every other respect, Orlando remained precisely as he had been. The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity.”

He becomes they. The pronouns shift, but the person remains the same. Woolf’s words, written in 1928, could easily be mistaken for a manifesto posted yesterday on Tumblr, the preferred platform for the growing cohort of “fluid” young people who, like Orlando, breezily crisscross the XX/XY divide. Fashion, of course, has taken note of the movement, which is sufficiently evolved to boast its own pinups, including Jaden Smith, recently the star of a Louis Vuitton womenswear campaign, and androgynous Chinese pop star (and Riccardo Tisci muse) Chris Lee. But where, exactly, is someone neither entirely he nor she meant to shop? And how, exactly, is such a person to be defined?

“They don’t want to be defined,” says Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, one of the many designers taking inspiration from the trend. “You see boys wearing makeup, girls buying menswear—they are not afraid to be who they are. This category or that category—who cares? They want to define themselves.”

This gender-bending approach to fashion has begun to achieve critical mass in pop culture and on the catwalk, with Alessandro Michele dressing his Gucci girlsin dandyish suits and his Gucci boys in floral and brocade, actress Evan Rachel Wood wearing Altuzarra tuxedos on the red carpet, Pharrell Williams gallivanting down the Chanel runway in a tweed blazer and long strings of pearls, and rapper Young Thug posing on the cover of his mixtape in a long ruffled dress. More broadly, designers such as Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons at Calvin Klein are knitting their men’s and women’s collections together, showing them on the same catwalk and twinning certain looks—identical fabrics, identical embellishments, nearly identical silhouettes.

This new blasé attitude toward gender codes marks a radical break. Consider the scene one recent morning out in Montauk, New York, where the photos accompanying this story were shot: Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik snuggle in interchangeable tracksuits as, nearby, Hadid’s younger brother, Anwar, rocks back and forth on a tire swing, his sheer lace top exposing scattered tattoos. For these millennials, at least, descriptives like boy or girl rank pretty low on the list of important qualities—and the way they dress reflects that.

“I shop in your closet all the time, don’t I?” Hadid, 22, flicks a lock of dyed-green hair out of her boyfriend’s eyes as she poses the question.

“Yeah, but same,” replies Malik, 24. “What was that T-shirt I borrowed the other day?”

“The Anna Sui?” asks Hadid.

“Yeah,” Malik says. “I like that shirt. And if it’s tight on me, so what? It doesn’t matter if it was made for a girl.”

Hadid nods vigorously. “Totally. It’s not about gender. It’s about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day. And anyway, it’s fun to experiment… .”

Anwar, eavesdropping, pipes up. “We’re chill!” he calls out from a picnic table not far away. “People our age, we’re just chill. You can be whoever you want,” he adds, ambling over, “as long as you’re being yourself.”

This is how you can tell a paradigm shift has taken place: when a fresh way of seeing a thing seems like common sense. Once, the Earth was flat; then it was round—at which point, of course it was. Likewise, for eighteen-year-old Anwar Hadid and many of his peers, gender is a more or less arbitrary distinction, a boundary that can be traversed at will. Maybe that leads you to call yourself agender or bigender or demiboy or mostly girl—or maybe it just means that you and your significant other share a wardrobe. Either way, there’s a terrific opportunity for play.

It’s this space that fashion designers have rushed into. Alessandro Michele, whose recent Gucci shows have been at the epicenter of fashion’s genderquake, says that he treats traditional feminine and masculine wardrobe codes as if they were a language, a score, a dictionary.

“I use them to rewrite a story,” Michele explains. “I find it fascinating to break and mystify them in order to reinvent them in a different way. I create space for a personal interpretation.”

Jonathan Anderson, meanwhile, sees his blurring of gender lines in aesthetic terms. When he included dresses in his fall 2013 J.W.Anderson menswear collection, the aim, he says, was “to play with new moods and silhouettes; to find newness.” Hence his surprise when the U.K. tabloids responded with wrath. “Men in dresses! Shock! Horror!” Anderson says, laughing. “I’m not sure the world was ready for what we were doing.” But he stuck to his guns—and now there’s a whole wave of British menswear designers challenging traditional notions of masculinity, including Martine Rose, who claims fans such as A$AP Rocky and Rihanna, and Grace Wales Bonner, winner of the 2016 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.

“I’m playing with elements that might be considered feminine, but always in pursuit of an ideal of male beauty,” Wales Bonner says. “Are there versions of male beauty that incorporate flamboyance and vulnerability?”

Of course there are: Think Prince and David Bowie, both of whom scrambled male and female fashion codes in the name of liberation. For more current examples, think of James Charles, the eighteen-year-old makeup fanatic tapped last year as CoverGirl’s first-ever male campaign star—or the gender-blurring members of the art collective House of Ladosha featured in the upcoming New Museum exhibition “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon.” Or check out the Instagram belonging to New York City man-about-town Richie Shazam.

“Fashion allows me to break the rules,” says Shazam, 27, who has earned a fervent following for his distinctive his/hers look. “I adorn and embellish myself, play with makeup and jewelry, and just put on clothes that are beautiful. Through fashion, I get to explore my own ideas about what’s manly.”

Women, of course, have been permitted to explore different iterations of femininity for some time—men are merely playing catch-up. But there is something new in the way women now buck social mores: Conventional notions of “sexiness” are being refused point-blank. When model and actor Ruby Rose uploaded “Break Free” in 2014, the video—which shows Rose transforming from a made-up, minidress-clad, long-locked Barbie into a cropped-cut and tattooed androgyne—went viral, with 28 million viewers and counting. Suddenly the notion that a person could dwell in a state of sexual flux was a trending topic.

“When I came out, I came out as trans,” says Tyler Ford, the agender poet and activist who first found fame as Miley Cyrus’s date to the amfAR gala in 2015. “I felt like you had to choose—that there were only two boxes you could tick, and if I had to pick one, maybe boy felt more right. But it never felt entirely right. Then I read about being non-binary online, and it was, like, Aahhhh… .

“I’m a college dropout,” Ford continues. “I’ve never taken a queer-theory course. But the ideas are trickling down via the Internet, and they make intuitive sense to me. I am who I am, and I just want to exist as myself.”

I just want to exist as myself. This is a generation’s cri de coeur, and if technology has enabled its elevation as a rallying cry, technology also accounts for the intensity of millennials’ drive to resist categorization. Social-media natives, they’ve been trained from childhood to maintain profiles on Instagram or Facebook that can reduce a person to a list of biographical data or a face among faces competing for “likes”—or function as platforms to transmit a complex, sui generis identity.

“I have a friend who identifies as ‘all boy, all girl, all male, all female,’” says Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe, who is known for his party-like fashion shows cast with pals from all along the gender spectrum. “It’s like—what is that? But it doesn’t matter what it is.” Eluding the labels, constructing an identity apart—for Uribe, that’s “a clapback to a society that wants to define you.”

For a demographic so keenly attuned to being looked at, style serves as a convenient means of liberation. And so it’s always been, as Marc Jacobs points out.

“These kids—I’m not sure they’re any different from the people I saw at Danceteria or Mudd Club in the eighties,” Jacobs says. “The difference is that back then, the expression—extreme looks, cross-dressing, what have you—was hidden away in a speakeasy or a club. Today, thanks to the Internet, that culture is widely exposed.”

Young New York–based brands such as Gypsy Sport, Eckhaus Latta, Vaquera, and Chromat are doing the same thing—striking out from the safe space of the club to bring their anything-goes ethos to the runway and the street.

Millennials like Gigi Hadid have taken this new freedom to heart. “One day you can be this,” she says, watching as Malik is buttoned into a bedazzled Gucci blazer, “and another day you can do that.”

Over the course of a few short years, that craving for latitude has manifested a trend that’s electrified fashion, transforming not only the look of clothes but the ways they are presented and sold. Chances are, there’s no going back—though a man in a dress or a woman who doesn’t shave her legs and prefers not to be called “she” is still an affront in many places. But if this month’s cover stars are anything to go by, the momentum is all in the direction of attitude, not gender, as the all-important marker of a human being.

“If Zayn’s wearing a tight shirt and tight jeans and a big, drapey coat,” Hadid says, “I mean—I’d wear that, too. It’s just about, Do the clothes feel right on you?”

Malik shoots Hadid a tender look and joins the conversation.

“With social media, the world’s gotten very small,” he says, “and it can seem like everyone’s doing the same thing. Gender, whatever—you want to make your own statement. You know? You want to feel distinct.”

Read the full article at Vogue.

I don’t disagree that D&D‘s nine-point alignment system has issues, but I think it’s interesting to look at how those issues are a direct consequence of how the framework of alignment has developed over the course of the game’s history.

Folks tend to think of D&D as being based on epic, good-versus-evil fantasy in the mode of J R R Tolkien - which is totally understandable, given that many highly visible elements of the game, like having elves, dwarves and hobbits as playable races, are clearly lifted directly from Lord of the Rings. However, in terms of its actual storytelling conventions, the game owes a much larger debt to swords-and-sorcery fantasy and weird fiction - especially authors like Jack Vance, Robert Howard and Michael Moorcock.

One of the common features of these genres - and of Moorcock in particular - is the notion of an eternal battle between cosmic forces of Order and Chaos. These forces are characterised as vast, inhuman and largely alien to conventional morality. Early versions of D&D followed suit and included not the more familiar nine-point alignment system, but a three-point system: Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Though player characters weren’t necessarily expected to take an active role in this cosmic battle, it was assumed that most would be notionally aligned with one of these forces. (Indeed, this is why it’s called “alignment”!)

Trouble is, folks who weren’t familiar with the source material tended to  assume that “Lawful” was a code-word for “good”, and “Chaotic” for “evil”. (Or possibly the other way ‘round, depending on their political bent.) Subsequent versions of the game attempted to clarify the matter by adding the Good/Evil axis to complement the Law/Chaos axis. The idea was to emphasise that the universe didn’t particularly care if you were a good or bad person, as long as you served the appropriate cause. As far as the monstrously inhuman gods were concerned, the most virtuous saint and the most brutal tyrant were morally equivalent, as they were equal in their commitment to cosmic Order. Likewise, a heroic freedom fighter and a cannibalistic serial killer were equally good exemplars of cosmic Chaos.

Of course, that was a really weird perspective, so a lot of players continued to ignore the whole “cosmic battle between Order and Chaos” thing and simply treated “Lawful Good” as “Extra Good”, and similarly, “Chaotic Evil” as “Extra Evil”. Compounding the issue, while later iterations of the game still included the notion of Law and Chaos as cosmic forces, they de-emphasised the battle between Law and Chaos in favour of foregrounding more accessible Good-versus-Evil conflicts, and discarded the notion that player characters would be actively aligned with those cosmic forces - yet they retained the nine-point alignment grid as a legacy feature.

With the nine-point grid still in place, but its original rationale now downplayed or absent, it was necessary to find alternative justifications for it. The Law/Chaos axis gradually shifted from being described in terms of cosmic principles to being described in terms of social conventions: a Lawful character was now merely one who believed in a well-ordered society and was inclined to respect and obey legal authority. This is where awkward questions like “how does a Lawful Good character react to unjust laws?” rear their ugly heads; note that this question wouldn’t even be on the radar in earlier versions of the alignment framework, since human laws don’t necessarily serve the cause of cosmic Order (and may well serve Chaos).

And that’s basically where we are now: the nine-point alignment grid is a semi-successful patch job on a feature designed to give rules-based weight to an aspect of the game’s default/assumed setting that no longer exists, subsequently kept around as a legacy feature. It’s not really surprising that its conceptual basis is full of glitches and weird edge cases - really, it’s kind of amazing that it works at all!

i will never forgive bigots for taking some of my favorite forms of comedy, satire and irony and parody, and turning them into cheap caricatures of the art forms they are in order to get away with bold-faced racism, transphobia, and general cruelty to anyone vulnerable -the polar opposite of how these forms of comedy work when they’re done the most skillfully

anonymous asked:

I have problems finding different "voices" for each of my characters. Could you help me by maybe explain the different aspect that can change one's voice? Thank you!

Hi, love!  Thanks for your question and your patience :)  I love writing unique character voices, both in dialogue and narration, just because it can make a story completely different just through the way it’s told.  There are a lot of different aspects to a character voice, though, so I’ll just go through the basics I run in my mind when I develop voices.

Aspects of Character Voice

  • Education – To be as realistic for your character as possible, you need to consider the level of education they received growing up.  There are too many characters in modern fiction who speak eloquently, confidently, and grammatically correct, yet don’t have the educational backstory to support this.  This is especially important if the character has to speak publicly, which many overlook as a skill that must be developed.
  • Influences – People learn how to speak, how to joke, and how to appeal to others from their family, friends, and idols.  For example: my aunt is much more reserved than my father and uncle.  She’s a quiet, thoughtful psychologist – but every once in a while, she shows her roots over her education by engaging in some of the awful puns that run in my dad’s side of the family.  Puns seem uncharacteristic of her at first glance, but it adds depth to who she is by reaching back into her childhood.
  • Communication Style – I touched on this in my post on character traits, and it probably applies even more here.  Your characters aren’t all going to speak up at the same times, about the same things, in the same ways.  Some people avoid confrontation; some people can’t ignore irritants.  Some people are open about their personal affairs; some don’t feel comfortable sharing their middle name with friends.  Some people think out loud, and occupy the room subconsciously.  Some people use humor to mask their feelings, and rarely speak without a hint of irony in their voice.  Some people are horribly self-aware, and some people talk without really hearing or filtering themselves.  It’s all important.
  • Demeanor – Mood, countenance, disposition – basically, what is the character’s general attitude?  If someone were to describe them in a couple of words, what would they be?  Some people are generally positive, and some are generally negative, or irritable, or uncomfortable, or emotional, or just really strong in whatever direction.  I had a friend in theatre describe me as “anxious at rest”, and I think that pretty much covers my demeanor.  Now, no one behaves one way all the time – this is just more of a “default emotion” that colors how they approach certain situations.

Example: Because I’m “anxious at rest”, I feel happiness like butterflies in my limbs, and sadness like it’s raining bullets in my stomach.  Because my brother is naturally chill as hell (my words), he feels happiness like a warm, gooey piece of pie, and sadness like a thin, wet sheet clinging to his skin.

  • Social Skills – This can tie into education and influences, but also has a lot to do with personality.  A character can be raised to know and value social convention, or they can pick it up themselves; or they can disregard social “rules” despite any kind of education.  How does your character handle awkward situations?  Are they blunt with strangers?  Are they respectful to authority?  Do they keep their opinions to themselves, or speak up no matter what?  Do they at all change themselves or their behavior to adapt to new situations?  There’s a spectrum there, between 100%-Integrity and Chameleon status, and your character’s somewhere on it.
  • Sense of Humor – I’ve talked about this before, too, but for posterity, I’ll add it here.  When writing a character’s voice, you have to think about what amuses them – and it’s not necessarily what amuses you.  I think of the show The Office, which is basically a playground of different senses of humor.  There’s Michael Scott, who works with things like “that’s what she said” and celebrity impressions; there’s Jim Halpert, who’s both sarcastic and a diehard prankster; there’s Pam Beesly, who can only offer puns along the line of, “I’ll put out an A.P.B. – an Ask Pam Beesly.”  These small details make characters sound distinct from each other.
  • Introversion/Extroversion – Lastly, a lot of how a character communicates depends on how they experience social interactions.  Are they energized by conversations and social events, or do these things drain them?  Do they seek out others, or do they wait to be addressed?  Are their thoughts focused outwardly – on what’s going on around them, what others are saying or thinking, on how they appear to others – or inwardly – on their internal thoughts and interests, on what they’re thinking and feeling?  This will affect how they speak and how they narrate the story, even if you’re not writing in first-person.

Anyway, that’s basically what came to mind when I saw your question.  If this doesn’t help you, be sure to send us another ask with more information :)  Good luck!

– Mod Joanna ♥️


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

Analyzing the Snicket Aesthetic

A few little observations in regard to time period, location, etc. that I’ve written down as guidelines for my fanfic/art. I doubt Handler was working from any set rules, so these are just patterns that I’ve noticed and use as a starting point for research.

(Above: Stylistic differences between Asoue and Atwq)

Continued under the cut, because it’s pretty dang long and there’s a lot of pictures. 

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