declaration chamber

The Warling | Chapter One

Synopsis: Following the Aesir-Vanir War, brother and sister, Nerthus and Njord are given to Asgard by the Vanir, to advise the Aesir and help ensure peace. Instead Odin gives them to his sons as a spoil of war, to do as they please with. Bitter about not being allowed to choose, Loki is saddled with Nerthus, and takes his frustrations out on her.

Mira works for the diplomatic service on Earth but every night, her dreams are plagued by Loki. When he invades New York, she realises that he isn’t just a figment of her imagination, but how can a human find a Norse God?

Spanning all 4 movies, The Warling is a story of love, loss and redemption.

GENRE: Romance, adventure, drama
RATING: M
WARNINGS: Contains concentual BDSM in later chapters
COMMENTS: Huge thanks to evieplease for betaing this. You’re a star.

Chapter One

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Charlie Hebdo : cover analysis

Other French people have done tons of good posts about Charlie Hebdo in response to the magazine’s so-called rampant homophobia, racism and islamophobia. I won’t ramble on the definitions of satire, secularism, or the concept of freedom of speech and its peculiar importance in France. Google is your friend.

Rather, I’d like to analyse several covers of the mag and shed some light on the subtleties that a lot of non-French and (sadly) French people themselves miss. Some are hard to interpret sometimes, but for the sake of intellectual honesty, we need to go over those whose message should not be mistaken.

Humour is something to be made with intelligence, if not always with class. I’m the first to battle anyone who tells me that humour of all sorts absolves all attacks against minorities. Humour is a fantastic tool, it can be used for the worst but also the best. Charlie Hebdo is not a humouristic magazine void of any political message. It is exactly the opposite. It begs to question problematic aspects of French culture, politics, and religions via humour. This post is not to revere them or assert that they cannot be subjected to criticism. But Charlie Hebdo is not a racist, homophobic, or islamophobic magazine. This is incredibly simplistic and dishonest. I will do a series of three posts trying to highlight that as best I can. French people are free to complete my comments.

1. On July 16th, 1942, the French police arrested Jews in Paris to have them deported in concentration camps. It was the most massive organized deportation to take place in France with 13 152 Jews arrested and deported. Less than a hundred of them survived. This event is known as “La rafle du Vélodrome d’Hiver” and the cover of CH titles “30th anniversary etc” with a Jew man using the yellow star that marked them as Nazi cattle as a squirt flower on a French policeman, mocking him playfully and saying “No grudge held”. This is a reminder of how traumatic the collaboration of the French government has been in recent years (and it is still denied on some levels). The Jew man here is getting back at the policeman in a downplaying way meant to highlight the actual horror that the Rafle represents in contrast to a harmless squirt flower.

2. On September 13th, 1987, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and ex-leader of the nationalist party the Front National, declared that the gas chambers were a “detail” in the history of WWII. This cover is parodying the infamous sentence by having Le Pen declare that the killings of Toulouse (the caption says “Anti-Semitic Toulouse killings”) that were perpetrated by Islamic terrorist Mohamed Merah in 2012 were a detail (“It’s just a detail of the campaign”). In the back, you can see Marine Le Pen, her daughter and actual leader of the FN, deploring that declaration. Why? Because the FN could use it to make it emblematic of one of their most important fight, “Muslim terrorists” (the line between the two being often blurred by the party), during the election campaign, which Le Pen Father has seemingly forgotten in his usual crass insolence.

3. In the past three years, gay marriage debates have propelled discussion about the deeper introduction of gender studies in France. Although the subject is recognized in the humanities field at a higher education level, discussion about how sexism could be reduced from a very young age by reforming the education system has sparked a massive paranoid backlash from the Catholic, conservative right, still going on to this day. There have been speculations as to how teachers were encouraged to teach 4 year olds about explicit sexuality and how to masturbate (I’m not kidding, no). In France, a mistranslation has made gender studies widely known as “théorie du genre”, from the variant term “gender theory”. The word ‘theory’ doesn’t bear the exact same meaning in French and is inappropriate to use to designate gender studies and research. This is what is written on the blackboard of the classroom on the CH cover. Advocates for measures against sexism (like the ABCD of equality, which was unfortunately terminated early because of protests) are often depicted as deranged, sexual perverts who are going to teach children how to masturbate and “change their sex as they wish”. These people are not afraid to put up posters claiming “Don’t touch our gender stereotypes!” Back to the cover, CH illustrated these ridiculous fears by having a teacher dressed as a transvestite pervert giving a seemingly scholar course about sex. Translated, it can give something like: “Globanal or sylladick method?” CH is poking fun at such paranoid speculations: no, teachers are not going to dress in bras and panties to teach children how to fuck and whatnot.

4. During the general elections, the nationalist party was elected in much more areas than we anticipated. Needless to say, this was alarming. In the above cover, the cartoon represents a Frenchman killing himself with a bullet whose trail takes the shape of the nationalist party logo. The caption titles “Desperate? You’re right, go on and kill yourself!” meaning French people are killing themselves by voting for the FN.

5. This is a reference to Nazi skinheads. Here we have Marine Le Pen on a horse that symbolises the Trojan Horse, pretending she doesn’t know that her party is problematically racist and ethnocentric, and much more: “Skinheads? I’ve no idea what these are!” all while skinheads are filling the horse underneath her, bats in hands, with the intention of harming people. Moreover, again, she is wearing the nationalist logo on her arm. You should know that by now, she alone has filed 40 complaints against Charlie Hebdo’s attacks against her and the FN. Edit : someone remarked that she’s also dressed as Joan of Arc, historical figure who fought for France against the English and also a symbol of the FN.

6. The lifeless head is that of Mohamed Merah, whom we have seen earlier. This cover basically bears the same kind of criticism as the second one: the imagery tells us that Sarkozy, ex-President from the right wing UMP, is using the Toulouse killings to encourage people to vote for him during the presidential election of 2012, as he is slipping the head into a ballot box as if it were a voting paper.

7. “Sarkozy is finished!” says the headline on the newspapers the servant is holding. “Fear changes sides” claims the caption. This is a critical view of upper-class, rich people who often hire women of color to do their laundry, take care of the children, etc and how the end of Sarkozy’s presidency may change things the privileges they have.

8. We have here a priest with a kid on his knees. The above caption is saying “Private school” (or public, in British English), assuming we’re in a Catholic private school. The priest tells the kid “If you’re nice with me, I’ll take you to the anti-fags demonstration”. The cartoon denounces the paedophilic acts perpetrated by the Church along with their hypocrisy towards same-sex marriage, meaning they have no lesson to give to anyone in terms of morality.

9. On this cover, a bishop is confessing his paedophilic acts. In response, the Pope advises him to “turn to cinema, like Polanski did”. Reminder: Polanski raped a 13 year old girl in 1977. Again, this is criticism against the scandalous paedophilia perpetrated by members or the Church, but it also points out the fact that being famous can absolve you of past criminal activity, like many other male celebrities often cited on Tumblr (Chris Brown, Bill Murray, etc).

10. Last year, a member of the FN, Florian Philippot, was revealed to be gay by a gossip newspaper with pictures of him and his partner. Knowing how much the right wing hurt the movement for gay marriage and the general opinions the party has of homosexuality, this was obviously a scandal. People have commented that it was unacceptable to out someone, others appreciated this bit of transparency. In any case, this cover makes fun of the far-right party again. The caption says “Philippot’s parents are shocked” while the parents declare: “We didn’t know he was extreme right” which is yet another euphemism and a reversal of the scandalous aspect of the case. We all knew he was a member of the FN, but we certainly didn’t expect to discover he was, ironically, gay.

Part II.