“The Prophecy of the Witch” is laid in the mouth of a witch, what the Norse called a völva, a “carrier of the sacred wand”, a well-respected female, who,  once initiated into her arts, would operate as a traveling, professional diviner and magician. These women were important members of Old Norse society, but also liminal and much feared people, set outside of the normal hierarchy of class and gender.

The witch, the völva, who speaks the prophecy that is to shape the framework of the Poetic Edda, the story of the beginning and of the end, is not any human völva either – this is The Old Witch, an immensely ancient creature who can remember nine worlds before the present Universe. The old woman remembers giants who existed before the beginning of time itself, giants who fostered her then.

She knew nine worlds, conceived of as nine ividjur – troll-women, giantesses or witches – who personify each universe before this present one that we are experiencing. These nine giantess worlds existed before the present World Tree sprouted from the ground. In fact they gave birth to it in unison, a world, the world as we know it, conceived of as a giant or as a tree. He is Heimdallr, the “Splendid World”, he is Ymir, primeval Sound, born of nine previous giantesses, coming into existence from the melting ice of the world of the dead.

The ancient völva who tells the tale appears to stand outside of Time, older than everyone, observing everything and carrying the memory of all these previous worlds and even the memory of the future.

Actual events that will never stop amusing me

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

The Space Cannoli

The 5 most ridiculous wars ever fought

The Darwin Awards

Vibrators having been invented to cure women of hysteria

List of inventors killed by their own inventions

Julius Caesar telling his kidnappers to make his ransom higher

The obscure history of the word “fuck”

The origins of the phrase “pardon my french”

Regarding time travel,

Wouldn’t the most responsible use of it be going back in time to record the actual history of events? Not change them.
Like go back to 1963 to see if there was another shooter?

Let me explain you a thing about the Marvel Civil War...

‘Cos I’ve been seeing a lot of post from people who have actual lives and don’t spend their every waking moment reading comics worrying about this, and in particular, the characterisation of Tony.

The Civil War is arguably the biggest event in Marvel’s publishing history. The Civil War fucking defined the Marvel Universe as it exists today. I would not be exaggerating to say it was one of the most important events in human history. (Actually I would, I’d be massively exaggerating, but this is the internet, so it’s okay).

The Civil War began with some of the best ideas in comics, and ended with some of the stupidest. It produced some of Marvel’s greatest moments, and also the comic universally considered to be their lowest point ever (though that won’t come into the film, since Spiderman isn’t around. I like Spidey but I’m honestly glad he’s not in Civil War just so we don’t risk another One More Day).

Okay, so why is the Civil War so important? And why am I taking the time to explain you this thing?

It’s because, if we disregard certain elements which I’ll explain below (which the MCU definitely will because they’re stupid and make my brain cry) there isn’t actually a right and wrong side to the Civil War.

First of all, you’ve got to remember that this isn’t the MCU. This is a world with Mutants. In the MCU I’m pretty sure Inhumans are going to take the Mutant role, but they’re still establishing them, so that’s supposition on my part.

So yeah, Mutants. A persecuted minority who serve as an analogue for just about every oppressed minority there is. But also, a species that keeps producing babies with godlike powers. Babies with godlike powers are not good. They level cities when they don’t get their rusks. They’re scary and uncontrolable and generally just really bad. They’re a minority of Mutants of course, most of the them get their powers during puberty. And pretty much any superpower is dangerous when given to an angry hormonal teenager.

So people are scared. You’ve seen the X-Men films, you know how this goes down. Except, in the X-Men films, the evil government types are just trying to oppressed poor adorably little magical Ellen Page. What big meanies.

In the comics, it’s a bit more complex.

People are scared of meta-humans, that’s only natural. There’s a lot of anti-mutant feeling. And then a group of junior Superheroes, called the New Warriors, mostly teenagers, mostly mutants, mostly very inexperienced, hear that the Supervillain Nitro is in Conneticut. They decide to go fight him. This is a stupid thing to do, Nitro’s pretty tough and actually killed one of Marvel’s most powerful heroes, Mar-Vell. But they’re teenagers, and they want to be heroes, so off they go.

It doesn’t go well. The fight happens right outside an elementary school, Nitro gets angry and uses his explodey powers and 612 people are killed, including 60 kids, and all but one of the New Warriors.

Obviously there’s an outcry, and the question being asked over and over is “Why was this allowed to happen? Why wasn’t someone watching these teenagers. Why was is under prepared kids sent to fight instead of, say, Cap? And now it has gone wrong, who do we hold accountable, and how?”

The answer proposed by the government is manditory registration for Superpowered beings. Training would be provided, proper oversight, accountability. All the things Superheroes just don’t have. And those are all good things, and if they’d been in place, maybe the school in Conneticut would still be standing.

On the other hand, it removes the impartiality of Supers, makes them essentially government controlled. It also, obviously, disproportianately affects Mutants,who have enough problems as it is, and people like Magneto start saying is just another piece of anti-mutant legislation and clear discrimination.

Tony argues that Superheroes need training and accountability, Cap argues that they need the freedom to live their lives without constant government surveilance.

You might agree with one or the other, but it’s a complex problem with no clear answer, and neither of them is the bad guy.

And that’s the bits of civil war I think they’ll be keeping for the MCU.

In the comics, Spiderman believes so much in the new laws that he reveals his secret identity. His enemies immediately shoot Aunt May. (He makes a deal with the devil to bring her back, so it’s all okay). Cap is shot, and replaced by Bucky.

The pro-registration side get creepier and creepier, to the point of giving Norman 'Green Goblin’ Osborn control of the superpowered Black Ops team, which is obv a good idea, and slowly become the villains. Then it turns out that they’re all Skrulls, Cap comes back to life, and everyone magically forgets about the war and goes back to killing Green Aliens. The Mutants try and point out that they’re still being oppressed, but no one cares because they’re a minority, and also green aliens to kill. (But it’s okay because Scarlet Witch solves the problem by wiping out 99% of all mutants).

Despite the Aliens though, those themes of accountability vs freedom is something that defines Marvel comics storytelling, and the longterm effects of the Civil War are still being felt throughout the 616.

So that’s why Civil War is important, interesting, and doesn’t mean Tony’s character is going to be ruined.

tl;dr: Tony and Cap are both right and there isn’t really a bad guy in Civil War, except for Nitro and Skrulls.
Mocking the Holocaust, by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
There is a recent trend to trivialize and mock the Holocaust through art. What’s behind these shocking depictions?

The results of mocking and using the Holocaust are desensitization and confusion. A 2014 survey showed that two thirds of people world-wide haven’t heard of the Holocaust, think it is a myth, or believe it to be greatly exaggerated. One poll showed that 17% of university students in India admired Hitler as an ideal type of leader. In 2014, a mayoral candidate in Ontario, Canada, praised Hitler’s “leadership qualities” – then stood by his comments in the face of criticism, insisting that Hitler’s qualities could be “positive” in different circumstances.

At times, confusion about the Holocaust can tip over into anti-Jewish stereotypes. That seems to have been the case in 2014, when southern California’s Rialto Unified School District used classic anti-Jewish terminology to ask eighth graders to write an essay on whether the Holocaust “was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.” (The school district withdrew the assignment after a public outcry.)

Twenty five years ago, responding to artistic representations that he felt trivialized the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel explained why it was so hard to represent by quoting a story written by a fellow survivor. In it, a young Jew is told by an SS officer, “One day you will speak of all this, but your story will fall on deaf ears. Some will mock you, others will try to redeem themselves through you. You will cry out to the heavens and they will refuse to listen or to believe….”

What I would like to see a Mass Effect movie about:

  • Grissom’s exploration of the Charon Relay with an ending that foreshadows the First Contact War.
  • The First Contact War with a focus on Grissom and Anderson (w/ the ”yo mama” jokes scene.)
  • The events leading to the creation of Cerberus (w/ a Saren cameo?)
  • The first three options together in one.
  • The Rachni Wars and the Genophage that followed.
  • A collection of origin stories about some of the crew. Kaidan, Ashley, Jacob, and Vega in the Alliance. Wrex’s merc days. Mordin on Tuchanka for his last mission with the STG. Liara researching the Protheans (hints to the events of ME?) Hell - Jack, Kasumi, Samara, Zaeed, and Thane have enough adventures to make a full movie for each of them.
  • An origin movie about almost anyone other than Shepard.
  • Seriously, just vague hints and background chatter about Shep’s service history events without actually tacking Shep’s name onto anything is fine.
  • Aria.

What I would not like to see a Mass Effect movie about:

  • Shepard.
unicornduke replied to your post “unicornduke replied to your post “unicornduke replied to your post…”

Ok that makes a lot more sense. There’s just so much tangled up in everything that its hard for someone recently paying attention to politics to figure out. And not any obvious ways to find things out. I only started paying attention to this stuff 2ish? years ago. I mean I didn’t even vote in the last election. I was too much in anxiety/depression hell to be able to figure out how to even vote. So the NSA, no fly lists, etc never went away even tho they were supposed to

Oh, yeah, I have never been super-involved in politics and I’m never the most well-informed person in a room, but at least I’ve always had people around me who were, and who could point me toward resources or just brief me on situations. I had a very strong background in history, both formal and informal, spent my childhood going to museums and things, grew up surrounded by books and discussions– so I just passively had all this context. I’m not much of a researcher but my mother is, that’s what she does, so even though I’m not super great at it I at least have the framework of where you start to look things up.

I don’t know where one goes to start getting involved and informed. It’s all sort of overwhelming. And it’s worst, of course, to try to get into it out of this feeling of despair, instead of just because it’s interesting. It’s very hard, even for someone pretty well-informed, to understand what kind of thing the government can just– do, and what kind of thing it requires bureaucracy to change, and so on. 

I do know that the vast majority of what goes on in our government and legal system is based on precedent, on the accumulated examples of previous office holders. That’s how the Supreme Court makes decisions, by deciding how to interpret previous decisions about the laws– ostensibly, the judge’s own feelings shouldn’t come into it at all, but we all know how that works out– and that’s how much of the president’s conduct is determined, by how various situations have been handled in the past.

There were specific provisions in the PATRIOT act that Obama specifically extended, well through the next administration– not the NSA as a whole, but, like, warrantless wiretapping, forcing libraries to reveal patrons’ browsing data, that kind of thing where the government can just monitor anyone they want to for any reason without any notice. There are also uncomfortable precedents in the government forcing Internet providers to give them data without informing users, and so on. And while I say to myself, whatever, I don’t do anything illegal, I also am an unmarried childfree bisexual woman with a lot of friends who are of similar demographics, and the upcoming administration may decide that makes me suspicious. (Substitute your innocuous-but-non-”default” condition there, and start getting uncomfortable.) And once they’ve decided you’re suspicious, they can always find something, especially since they’re not really under any obligation to justify themselves. So it’s very worrying.

Obama, separately, overcame a lack of support in the legislature by issuing a lot (like, a lot a lot, an unprecedented lot of lot) of executive orders, which are easily removed and also establish a precedent of the President just– decreeing things, which could be disastrous with someone impulsive and ill-informed like Drumpf at the helm. And while we’ve pulled back from some of our military overcommitments, under Obama we’ve really kept up things like the drone attacks, which have an uncomfortable record of collateral civilian damage and not a great percentage of actually killing the targets they were intended for. So many of us who suffered through W’s administration and had really hoped Obama would point America back in a direction we could approve of, wound up pretty disappointed. 

I don’t know where to start in getting informed more generally. There are probably some good overview-type books or maybe even TV shows, but where to start? Once you have an entry point, other stuff can kind of slot into place, and once you have enough context, it’s a lot more manageable. But I don’t really know where one would start.

I’d recommend picking an issue and reading the Wikipedia page about its history, and doing a good old Wikipedia spiral about the issue and the politicians and the people involved, and from that baseline, see what catches your interest. Wikipedia has its problems, sure, but from a “I don’t know anything about this, where should I start” standpoint, it’s aces– if you think the page might be biased or weird, look at the sources cited and follow links to some of them and just see what you come up with. 

I will also say– AP US History review sites have a lot of information about underlying US historical issues. I personally know the dude who does HipHughes’ YouTube channel, and I haven’t watched the videos but I know he is extremely popular. He’s a Buffalo public school history teacher, and he started making videos to help his students review for the AP US History exam, and they got really really popular. I notice he has a few videos on Trump and the like. He’s political; I think he’s no longer a teacher so he doesn’t restrain himself anymore. But he also knows everything from Dredd Scott to the Constitutional Convention to Nixon’s impeachment, and people think he’s funny, so. Something like that could be a good start!