ANDROGYNOS. [2017-07-08 - BARKS live report]

ANDROGYNOS. “Just what the hell is this Megiddo and Acro? Can’t we all just get along?”


I really thought this wouldn’t take that long to translate but with all the militarily terminology and the damn wording of this thing it was like giving birth to a baby for three days straight. 

So please, LOOK AT MY BABY. 

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A Japanese perspective on imagery in Mothra vs Godzilla

Hiya both,

Great job on the podcast, guys, I just recently started listening as I am midway through my own non-chronological run through the bulk of Godzilla films. I was glad to see you both enjoyed Mothra vs Godzilla as much as I did. It is one of the very best in my opinion also. I just wanted to add a little wrinkle from my Japanese cultural background that might not be obvious but might make MvG that much more poignant to the non-Japanese observer.

Two points to make, really…

One: The scene when the kindergarten/primary school teacher is fleeing Godzilla with the pupils to the other side of the island.

This scene, needless to say, is incredibly affecting just on the surface of it. The scene sells the high stakes - losing innocent children to the monster (rather than just greedy/stupid fishermen and their homes) and the manic desperation of the headmaster ashore on the mainland. However, in addition to that, some cultural background makes this scene even more chilling. By way of explanation, first, indulge me a short paragraph of history.

During WWII, Japan’s battlefront with the US was mainly aerial bombing of strategic targets, and the main ground warfare avenues were in Japan’s imperial conquests, the Pacific islands, famously Guadalcanal in the Solomons. The only time US-Japanese forces clashed on either country’s home turf was in the closing stages of the war when American forces reached Okinawa. For the first time civilians were forced to reckon with a physical enemy presence in their towns and homes, and the self-sacrificing, brainwashed nature of contemporary Japanese society would manifest in unimaginably awful incidents.

You can Google “Okinawa children mass suicides” for details (Reuters, The Guardian, NY Times have covered it), but in a nutshell, the military would hand out two grenades to classroom teachers to use when cornered - one to throw at the enemy, and the other to commit suicide instead of being taken alive. On small islands like in the Okinawa archipelago, there’s only so far you can run before the enemy catches you.

Of course, the Godzilla movies are no stranger to stoic death (the family in the 1954 original accepting their fate at the mercy of Godzilla so that they could meet their deceased father comes to mind) but the mechanics of this scene really stand out to me as the product of deliberate, conscious choices:
• The fact that the scene plays out on an island, with the mainlanders unable to offer support to the women and children - an obvious reference to Okinawa’s physical separation from mainland Japan
• The children, crying as their female teachers console them, are forced to grow up before their time, being made to “march” over a steep hill to get to the far side of the island
• Godzilla, the embodiment of atomic might (wielded by the United States over Hiroshima & Nagasaki in the context of WWII) is the force of doom
• The children and teachers hide in a cave on a sandy beach - in popular culture, the child and infant suicides from WWII are often depicted taking place in hiding spots at the edges of islands - usually stone cliffs and coastal caves

Even without straying from the text of the film, the scene is an emotionally wrenching one, but with the added historical and cultural background (women and children in peril at a coastal cave), the effect is a bone-chilling pathos and dread.

(sorry if that got a bit heavy!) Now for the second point, which I swear will be shorter…

Two: the Japan-specificity of the criticism of (a) theme park construction and (b) over-development of coastlines.

As you’re doubtless aware, in the immediate post-war period following the rewriting of the new demilitarised constitution in 1947, Japan experienced high economic growth, basically from the 1950s through the 1980s. This included wholesale embrace of American pop cultural entertainment-business products such as the movie studio system, Disney and Warner mascot characters, and theme parks.

Even today, Japanese theme parks and extreme rides rank highly in international lists of extreme rides, and Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disneyland in Asia, even before Hong Kong or Singapore, international playgrounds of the Asian affluent. I appreciate you touched on the criticism of capitalism, but I might just add that theme parks are particularly central to Japanese society as an affordable entertainment venue.

Lastly, I’m not sure if you’ve been to Japan, but many coastlines are covered in concrete “tetrapods” as a measure against coastal erosion and tsunamis. These sorts of large-scale, concrete-heavy (in many cases) white elephant projects in rural areas came under intense criticism, especially in the 1990s, as it was revealed that many projects had been fronts for yakuza-related local government corruption. It was also in the 1990s that many opulent theme parks that had sprung up in economically unviable situations in the 1960s through the 1980s went out of business and decayed (the inevitable hangover from three decades of heady development).

The principled messaging of Mothra vs Godzilla, and its optimistic depiction of the idea that the press could influence the people for good, should be commended, especially with a view to how specifically Japanese the major social-economic problems raised in the film are.

Anyway, sorry about the long message. Keep up the good work! Loving the podcast.


Thank you so much for this! 

the boy king

(I felt like trying my hand at writing some fic, as a change from just drawing!)

Summary: It’s 1947, and they’re supposed to be picking up the pieces. Alfred makes a scene, Ivan is unmoved and Arthur reflects on how the world has changed- and what Alfred has become. 

Warnings: historical!hetalia. allusions to various real events. profanity.  

The silence is shattered by the sound of Alfred’s chair scraping across the floor.

Alfred is smiling, as always. There is no want for jauntiness in his manner, nor in the casual friendliness of his relaxed slouch, palms pressed to the table. He’d always been good at that. Putting people at ease. Not for the first time, Arthur thinks of the tall blonde surrounded by a ragged semi-circle of German children, cracking jokes, ruffling heads, handing out sweets and chewing gum. They took to him easily; he was every bit that straightforward and handsome boy-next-door, who might’ve been their older brother in another life.

But now, there is also something distinctly calculating in the tilt of his head, in the sharp alertness of his eyes.

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Game of Thrones Creators Spark Twitter Uproar Due To Slavery Theme
Television network HBO’s announcement of its upcoming fantasy drama project titled Confederate has led to an uproar on Twitter due to its slavery theme.

The project, stewarded by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – creators of TV mega show Game of Thrones, was announced on Wednesday, reports

According to the network’s description of the American civil war drama, the series “chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution”.

“The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarised Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall,” the description continues.

People soon took to Twitter to express their displeasure at the fantasy drama woven around the theme of slavery.

“The writers of a fantasy show with no black people cant wait to write a fantasy show where the black roles are… slaves,” writer Ira Madison III wrote.

Another baffled reader reacted, “I don’t know how you keep your sanity in a society so crazy it’s still having public slavery fantasies. I really don’t. Maybe you can’t.”

Writer Marc Bernardin wrote, “Feels like HBO should greenlight my show, in which the African slave trade never existed, as parity.”

“Game of thrones just got called out for not having enough diversity and then the writers came up with #Confederate,” another commented, while posting a meme.
"There’s a blaring sound coming from the demilitarised border between North and South Korea, and it’s not from fire the two sides are exchanging. It’s coming from 11 giant speakers. The loudspeakers are also blasting Kpop, and it’s a sound that’s not totally unfamiliar along the border. When the North fired a torpedo that sank a warship in 2010, the South responded with the song 'Hit Your Heart' by the girl group 4minute. North Korea was so incensed by this that it threatened to turn Seoul 'into a sea of flames' if it didn’t turn down the music."-

Kim Jong-un: *awakes in middle of night* what the… Da fuq IS that?!


autopilotsoul  asked:

Do you mind my asking, what the argument against a two state solution is, provided of course, Israel doesn't include the recent occupied territories, and the states share claim & access to Jerusalem? (I'm out of characters to elaborate) - Thank you

Okay territories and Jerusalem aside -

The primary argument against a two state solution is based on three things: its refusal to hold Israel accountable for its injustices, the right of return, and the lack of acknowledgment of land ownership prior to 1948.

Secondly, the right of return. Palestinians cannot return to a place which they do not belong, and for most of them they do not belong in the West Bank or Gaza. Not to mention, a considerable part of the population are already refugees and living in refugee camps. Most aren’t interested in becoming citizens in a future state of Palestine, but are more concerned with returning to their homes and ancestral lands, most of which lie in Israel (proper). This also ties into the fact that majority of the land prior to the creation of Israel was owned by Palestinians who fled or were evicted from their lands.

There is also the issue of settlers in the West Bank. They number over 750, 000 and the question is will they easily be able to be absorbed into the Israeli population, even though they are Israeli citizens and travel freely throughout Israel and the West Bank. What will happen to the settlements?

I think my main concern with a two state solution is one must envision what it looks like. The problem with the whole idea of a two state solution is that there is no set concept as to what it looks like, and thus it must be negotiated so how can we envision what it looks like when we have no idea? One thing for sure though is that it’s going to leave both their West Bank and Gaza destabilised and its citizens living in poverty due to the economic blockade on the Gaza Strip, and of course the economic limitations as a result of the occupation. For example, Netanyahu is proposing a demilitarised Palestinian state. Other Israeli politicians have proposed land swaps, and even politicians like Lieberman have proposed ridiculous things like absorbing Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of the Palestinian state which would rid them of their Israeli citizenship and the rights they have.

Another issue is that it’s Israeli politicians who make these proposals despite the Palestinians being the ones who make concessions, and as Israel gets more right-wing, the two state solution becomes impossible even more. I also do think that not much is going to change, Israel is going to remain hostile towards the Palestinians and I doubt it’ll allow travel between the two territories as much. It’ll have a reason to keep its checkpoints and its walls which in turn is suffocating the West Bank.

I mean, there’s really no set concept for what a one state solution looks like as it can also take on many forms however most people who support it envision either a unitary democratic state or a binational state.

There’s so much more I can get into so if you’re looking for more answers, just check out my #two state solution tag


Gaza ceasefire reveals full extent of Israeli destruction
July 26, 2014

Thousands of people in Gaza have ventured out from homes and shelters during a 12-hour ceasefire to find that whole streets and neighbourhoods have been destroyed in the last week.

Israel and Hamas both agreed to a UN request to stop fighting from 8am until 8pm on Saturday. Shortly before the ceasefire took effect, at least 18 members of the al-Najar family, including many children, were killed in an air strike on Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip. The family had recently gone there to escape fighting in a nearby village, a Palestinian health official said.

As the Palestinian death toll in the 19-day-long conflict topped 1,000, diplomatic efforts to forge a longer ceasefire continued in Paris. Foreign ministers from seven nations – the US, France, Britain, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Qatar – called for an extension of Saturday’s 12-hour humanitarian truce.

The group had convened, along with a senior EU representative, at the request of the US secretary of state, John Kerry, who failed to win Israeli or Hamas backing for a week-long truce on Friday. There were no envoys from Israel, Egypt or the Palestinian Authority.

“All of us call on the parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire that is currently under way,” the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said.

n Gaza, scenes of devastation were discovered by those who returned to areas which had been the centre of particularly intense fighting, such as Shujai'iya, Beit Hanoun and around Khan Younis. Scores of homes were pulverised, roads were blocked with wreckage, and power cables dangled in the streets.

Many of those attempting to check the condition of their homes, retrieve possessions and, in some cases, search for the bodies of relatives seemed dazed by what they found. Some who had not seen each other for days embraced as they surveyed the wreckage around them. Ambulances with wailing sirens and donkey carts loaded with mattresses and pots clogged the streets.

In other areas, Palestinians rushed to stock up with food and essentials, and get cash from banks and ATMs, ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which starts on Monday.

In Beit Hanoun, close to the border, Israeli tanks stood by as people searched through the debris for their belongings, packing whatever they could – blankets, furniture and clothes – into taxis, trucks, rickshaws and carts before fleeing the town.

Siham Kafarneh, 37, sat weeping on the steps of a small grocery store. The mother of eight said the home she had spent 10 years saving up for and moved into two months earlier had been destroyed. “Nothing is left. Everything I have is gone,” she said.

Some people were defiant. One woman pulled a black-and-white Palestinian scarf from the rubble, shouting: “They won’t take away our pride. We’ll wear this to Jerusalem and the day of victory is close.”

Others were resigned. Zaki al-Masri noted quietly that both his house and that of his son had been destroyed. “The Israelis will withdraw, tomorrow or the day after, and we’ll be left in this awful situation as usual.”

At the nearby hospital, six patients and 33 medical staff had spent the night huddled in the X-ray department as the neighbourhood was shelled, said the director, Bassam Abu Warda. A tank shell had hit the second floor of the building, leaving a gaping hole, and the facade was peppered with holes from large-calibre bullets.

Two Red Crescent ambulances were hit in Beit Hanoun overnight, killing a medic and wounding three, one critically, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. On Saturday, rescue workers pulled the scorched body of the medic from the wrecked vehicle, which had been hit about 200 metres from the hospital.

“Targeting ambulances, hospitals and medical workers is a serious violation of the law of war,” said Jacques de Maio, head of the ICRC delegation for Israel and the occupied territories.

In areas that had seen intense fighting, 85 bodies were pulled from the rubble, many of them partially decomposed, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra. Fighters were also among the dead, said the Gaza Civil Defence spokesman Said al-Saoudi.

Speaking in Cairo on Friday, Kerry said he was confident there was a framework for a ceasefire agreement that would ultimately succeed and that “serious progress” had been made, although there was more work to do.

Kerry, who, along with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, has been leading international efforts to reach a truce, has been in regular contact with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar as both countries wield influence on Hamas.

Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon, said on Friday that the military offensive could expand in the coming days. “At the end of the operation, Hamas will have to think very hard if it is worth it to taunt us in the future.”

Israeli troops have so far uncovered 31 tunnels in Gaza and destroyed half of them. Israel considers the tunnels to be a strategic threat because militants have used them to launch surprise attacks inside the country.

The Israeli government has also begun suggesting that Gaza be demilitarised as a condition for a permanent ceasefire so that Hamas cannot rearm itself. The current war is the third in Gaza in just over five years.

Hamas says it will not halt its rocket until it receives international assurances that Gaza’s seven-year-old border blockade will be lifted. Israel and Egypt tightened the blockade after Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.

The violence spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem late this week. Nine Palestinians have been killed as protests over the bloodshed in Gaza have erupted into clashes with Israeli security forces. Hundreds more have been wounded, many with gunshot injuries.

On Thursday night, 10,000 demonstrators marched in solidarity with Gaza near the Palestinian administrative capital of Ramallah. Protesters surged against an Israeli army checkpoint, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation called for more demonstrations in the West Bank but said it was helping to try to secure a ceasefire deal.

As well as more than 1,000 dead in Gaza, at least 6,000 people have been injured. The UN said more than 160,000 people had sought shelter in its buildings, and thousands more had fled their homes to stay with relatives and friends in what are thought to be safer areas.

The Israel Defence Forces said 40 soldiers had been killed in the conflict. Three Israeli civilians have also died in rocket attacks.


just staring at this gorgeous work makes me think oh god, i need a sci fi au so much.

bilbo as an ordinary denizen of the shire, a very fertile planet with a demilitarised civilisation whose only commerce with the neighbouring planets in the galaxy are those of trade, scientific research, diplomacy. they’re protected (though many of the hobbits don’t realise it) by a paramilitary group called the dunedain. the dunedain are extremely good at their job, as the shire has not seen war in a very long time.

erebor as a mining planet, maybe even a diamond planet? its golden towers and spires of its metropolises are the stuff of legend; it was dripping in wealth. and then smaug, a great machine of destruction, a giant AI dragon of nuclear might, destroyed the people of erebor, and thorin and his family, the royal family of erebor, had been evacuated at almost the last minute. 

they live a life of wandering from job to job, mostly mechanics, sometimes thieves, and thorin’s ship is a ragtag thing he named after his lost planet, cobbled together from parts he gets for cheap at scrapyards. they’re constantly on the run from patrols from gondor and the elves, as they are really the only law enforcement folks in this galaxy.

gandalf as a mercenary of sorts with a wide variety of connections, concerned about the return of the necromancer in the old space station of dul guldur orbiting mirkwood, as well as the destructive force of smaug, decides to encourage thorin to retake erebor, but stealthily. no need to retake erebor wth an army when you can instead get a saboteur to enter the dragon and shut it down, right? 

and of course, gandalf chooses bilbo for the job.

seriously though, talk to me about a space au.