disembowelment

Whoo boy do I love Voltron fics, but as I’m writing my own, I keep encountering this enigma that are these healing pods. And the more I think about it, the scarier they are. I mean, think about it. These are kids in space. But they can’t be kids anymore, they have to protect the universe, and with that comes a degree of physical harm.

I mean, that in itself is pretty traumatic right there. Teenagers fighting a war will have incredible psychological impact. But then you throw the healing pods into the mix, and the story begins morphing into horror rather than science fiction.

On the surface, it seems fine. The healing pods are a blessing. Nobody dies or will have lasting permanent damage if they get in there soon enough. But think about the impact that this has on their young developing brains. A paladin gets his insides ripped open. Pop ‘em in the pod. And then they may have to face the monster that did that to them, because it’s their job. They don’t have time to recover.

You fell and broke your arm? Go to the pod. Good as new! Keep training. Shot while trying to protect innocent bystanders? That’s just your job. Get in the pod. do it again. 

I mean, this is going to have a lasting impact on how they view pain and injuries. Does it matter if you get hurt if you can just spend some time in the healing pods, and you’ll be good as new? If you never have to take into account your own injuries, then they start to feel insignificant.

The thing about this is, sometimes, getting hurt gives you time to rest. Think about it, these kids are fighting a war. And Shiro probably has a very double-edged relationship with the healing pods, because they weren’t an option for him when he was starving and bleeding and tortured. And they can’t undo old trauma.

Essentially the healing pods mean a state of hyper-mania. There’s never time to rest, to heal. You never get a few days to recover. You’re either fighting for your life or unconscious and healing and when you wake up, you have to do it all over again.

And then they’d start to lose a normal perception of pain tolerance. Like, with just one machine, your pain goes away. There’s no such thing as agony. Just a few uncomfortable moments before you are healed again. 

And there are two ways this works. Do the healing pods heal everything?  Can the paladins even get scars anymore? Are they just brought back to the state they were in before they got injured? That’s terrifying. Imagine Lance, looking at himself in a mirror. He’s been in space for almost two years, but the skin on his face and neck and chest, all smooth. Unmarred. He remembers nearly being disemboweled, but now he can’t remember if it was on the right or left side. He stares at his body, trying to imagine all the scars that should be there that aren’t and at this point he just can’t remember them all anymore.

And when the paladins finally, finally get to return home? Well, they look exactly the same as the day they left Earth. Lance’s younger siblings look older than him now. He hasn’t changed at all.

And all he can think is: is he even really human anymore?

But the alternative I think I prefer. The healing pods just accelerate the process, encourage the tissue to heal at an elevated pace. So they all have scars, too many scars. 

Hunk has to oil up his torso every night, because the scar tissue is getting too thick and it’s making it hard to move in some places. The tattoos he once imagined he’d get once he returned to earth are now just laughable dreams of his childhood. There’s no place to get them, no room to put them. His body is no longer a canvas, it’s a ripped sheet, held together after every tear by fraying thread. There’s no room for swirling images anymore. All that’s left are scars.

So many scars.

What are the lasting effects? Psychological trauma, for sure. But maybe physical, too. Stopping natural aging, or maybe nerve damage. After Keith got blown from the sky, his fingers constantly tingle, like his hand is perpetually asleep. Pidge can’t taste anything on the left side of her mouth. But it doesn’t matter, because there’s always another planet that needs saving, another injustice they need to fight. And if they get hurt, all they need is a quick tune-up before they’re back at it again.

Healing pods are scary.

anonymous asked:

Could you list all of the tropes that you consider "feel good violence"?

Okay, “Feel Good Violence” is very simple as a concept. It’s violence that feels good, when you’re reading it, when you’re watching it on screen, because for the perpetrator violence can feel really damn good. However, that is violence when taken outside of context. It is violence without consequences. It is violence for the sake of violence. Violence that serves no purpose but to prove the character or person is tough.

Protagonist Sanctioned Bullying - Bullying in general is a fairly popular method to achieve “Feel Good Violence” because bullying does feel good. The audience sympathizes with the protagonist, so when the protagonist acts they cheer for it. Its not presented as bullying by the narrative, but it is still bullying. Usually it’s a rival or a character set up to “deserve it”, but sometimes not.

Making people afraid makes you feel tough. Many authors will fall prey to the sweet lure of bullying and not even know it because bullying is violence without fear of consequence. Most often, they’ve been the recipients rather than the perpetrators, and acting as the bully is a very different ballgame. It is an emotional and psychological high. You feel big, strong, safe, and untouchable. Powerful. In their worst incarnations, most superheroes become bullies.

Bullying is all about control, protected status, and freedom from consequences. An entirely fictional world creates the opportunity for all these things, with the narrative itself siding with the bully. Bullying is Feel Good Violence writ large in real life. It’ll follow you into the fictional world just as easily. Power is a high you never forget.

This is very common trope for characters who also act as a means of self-insertion by the author. For them, it isn’t bullying. It’s an example of how awesome their character is and how tough they are.

Everything But Dead - When the only morals applied are if someone died, the rest is sanctioned without comment. There are no narrative consequences for the character’s behavior, and everyone cheers them on. Anyone who calls them out is an acceptable target, usually evil, or the protagonist wins them over in the end because their actions are “justified”.

By Any Means Stupid - This is the “by any means necessary“ trope, where the violence really isn’t necessary and the author just wanted an excuse to paint the room red.

Unprovoked Violence Is Always the Solution - This is the one where the protagonist skips all the other steps and goes straight to preemptive violence against a total stranger, for no reason other than it makes them appear tough. Usually not framed by the narrative as bad, but it is. Oh, yes, it is. Worse there usually aren’t any consequences for the hero physically assaulting someone in a room full of witnesses because everyone knows they’re the hero, right?

Random Violence Before Strangers is A-Okay -  The protagonist disembowels a bully in front of their victim in order to protect them and receives effusive thank yous. Nothing comes from this. The bad guy is dead. We all feel good. All is right in the world. Except… violence freaks people out.

Acceptable Targets - These are people designated by the writer as non-entities and targets for violence regardless of narrative context. A very slippery slope that is ever descending. But, you know, it feels good? Sure, so long as you’re not on the receiving end. This kind of dehumanization happens in real life too, just in case you were wondering.

Beating Up My Source - You have a character who collects information from an old standby, they threaten and beat up that standby regularly to show they’re tough. At what point does this seem like a terrible idea? Never! Hey, they’re a bad person so you feel good, right?

Waving My Gun Around - Trigger discipline is just the beginning of this problem. A gun is not a toy. but you’ll find a vast array of narratives who use it that way in order to look tough.

Killing Your Way to the Top - You can’t really destroy organizations like this. Killing the people at the top will just lead to someone else taking their place. Whenever you create a power vacuum someone will fill it. You can’t destroy an organization by killing. It doesn’t work. But, it feels good!

Must Obviously Be Boy - Because female fighters are unicorns and the mooks have never laid eyes on a woman before. Usually part of a larger narrative issue with violence, but acts as a “get out of jail free” card.

Clear the Building - That time the character decided to knock everyone out to prove that they are tough. Weirder when it happens on stealth missions.

I Am Not Gaining Levels - When you’re reading a book and the character is fighting like it’s a video game. They fight everyone like they’re in an RPG chasing XP. Why? We don’t know, but it makes them feel good.

Let Me Shoot Him Twenty Times - We could call this spray and pray, but let’s pretend for a moment the magazine could run dry.

Magic Bullets - The bullets that go where you want, stop when you want, and don’t cause accidental casualties. You know, like the protagonist blind firing through a wall and hitting a four year old playing in the yard across the street.

Body Armor Always Prevents A Blow-through - Nope!

New to Training, Perfect Sparring - That time the main character took on their evil rival (school’s top/better trained student) in a sparring match and won, especially when it was their first day.

Sparring Just In General - The vast majority of Western media doesn’t understand the concept or purpose of sparring. Many authors seem to think its a UFC match where you just beat each other up and the first thing you do during training to “assess your capabilities”.

Queuing for Combat - This is an old Hollywood trick where the burden of a group fight is lifted as the stuntmen wait their turn to fight the protagonist. Particularly egregious in written action sequences where the author doesn’t grasp the concept of teamwork. It also warps the understanding of how many people its possible for a human to fight at once.

Terrible At Torture - Torture is a terrible way to gain information in general because it doesn’t lead to a confession so much as confirmation bias. The subject will tell you whatever you want to hear because they want the pain to stop. It’s even worse when done poorly, which it is 90% of the time. Usually, media uses it for shock value or to prove how tough a protagonist is. Torture is not putting a blowtorch to someone’s foot and hoping for the best. It’s far, far more complicated than that. Neither torturer nor subject come out of the experience whole. Besides, the unimaginative protagonists say, “screw you!” The clever ones lie.

What Is: Dress for Success - How we dress our characters is often necessary for crafting a sense of narrative realism. This comes in often as a reason for why its so difficult to take female action heroes seriously, but it happens to the guys too. Not a bad trope on its own, but often symptomatic of a larger narrative approach to violence that ends with “feel” and “good”.

Beautiful and Badass - This one is a very specific female fantasy, which is that you can meet all the cultural standards and definitions for beauty while being in direct defiance of them. These are the female characters who are never touched by the combat they engage in. They are always graceful, always elegant, always beautiful in motion and the narrative will pause to tell us this often. “She fights like she’s dancing.” For these characters, their supermodel-esque beauty is a natural extension of their being. They don’t work at it. Combat is incidental. It’s a set piece to tell you how awesome the character is. It generally amounts to nothing, serves no real narrative purpose, but by god the author is going to walk us through it in excruciating detail. Combat and character are separate, and consequences are for other people.

My Instincts Performed A Wheel Kick - Your instincts just don’t work that way.

There’s probably more, but that hits most of the major sins.

Keep in mind that many of these tropes are not issues by themselves. They often work when context and consequences are taken into account by their narrative/setting. Generally, this results in characters with no accountability for their behavior and exhibit no responsibility for their actions. The issue, of course, is that responsibility and accountability are what make well-written violence work. Violence often drives the narrative. It’s part and parcel to who the character is, and their decision making. It’s the difference between a character who presents themselves as tough or skilled and one who actually is.

-Michi

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The Types and Their Level of Scariness
  • INTJ: At first they might seem worrisome because of their intense stare and nihilistic sentiments, but all it takes is one harsh critique about something important to them and they'll crumble. Their bark is infinitely worse than their bite. Will write a series of salty "blind item" blog entries about you for months. 6/10; too passive-aggressive to be truly scary.
  • INFJ: Hard to get to know, but when they like you, they REALLY like you and you'd better not do anything to break their trust because all of those warm, fuzzy feelings will 180 into pure end-times-level wrath. If you've ever encountered an angry INFJ, you've seen the face of the devil himself. 10/10; scary af
  • ENTJ: While they're capable of verbally disemboweling someone they dislike, they won't actually come after you unless they're bored and feel like starting drama for shits and giggles. Threw a punch once and didn't like it too much. Will tell you to go choke on a bag of dicks with the biggest, brightest smile on their face. 6/10; scary only in theory
  • ENFJ: They love you so, SO much and they want you to do your absolute BEST at EVERYTHING you EVER do like REALLY really, so when you don't meet their expectations, they will get more and more assertive about you achieving your dreams (read: their dreams) until they eventually snap and stab you to death in your sleep. 9/10; file a restraining order and you might be okay.
  • INTP: Too lazy to truly get mad about anything. The only really scary thing about INTPs is their complete disregard for cleanliness. You'll find Chinese takeout boxes from six months ago covered in maggots by their bed, but you won't find nary a discouraging word coming out of their mouths. Only does damage to living things in RPGs. 2/10; scary hygiene but harmless.
  • INFP: Is someone who spends a lot of time writing poetry, getting drunk and crying hysterically about things that happened ten years ago really that scary? I mean, they'll probably throw a whiskey glass or a vase in your general direction and curse you out for a solid ten minutes, but then they'll go right back to crying in fetal position. 4/10; just walk away, dude.
  • ENTP: They'll fuck with you just for the sake of having something to do that day. They'll fuck with you sometimes for no reason whatsoever. They fuck with people because it's just in their nature. Occasionally they'll take things too far and you'll wind up in the hospital but probably never in a morgue. Might send you flowers during your hospital stay. 8/10; scary neurotic
  • ENFP: They're either your best friend or your worst enemy and there is literally no in-between. Sometimes they'll get mad at you for reasons you don't even understand. Rarely ever will they try to physically harm you, though. They'll just whine about "fake people" in their DeviantART journal and mope about for a long time before randomly deciding you're their friend again. 4/10; Super confusing but not scary.
  • ISTJ: The embodiment of "walk softly and carry a big stick". Will sit outside of your bedroom window for days with a shotgun, ready for you to make a wrong move so they can blow you to smithereens. Don't try calling the police, because they're probably a police officer or at least connected to one in some way. In other words, you're fucked. 10/10; lawful evil personified.
  • ISFJ: They love you with all their hearts but they also hate the things you do, ie "love the sin, hate the sinner". Usually harmless, but some of them quickly lose their shit when double-crossed. Might mix poison in your sweet tea and then bury you underneath a bed of roses in the backyard. Prays for your certainly-damned soul every night before supper. 7/10, only scary when provoked.
  • ESTJ: Their big mouths and intense, confrontational attitudes can put the fear of God into you, but for an ESTJ to truly be scary, they'd have to physically harm you and they don't want to jeopardize their careers over something that foolish. Will judge you hardcore from afar but that's about it. 5/10; talks shit but you won't get hit.
  • ESFJ: They're the undisputed champions of guilt-trips, and they'll guilt-trip you over things so incessantly that you might suffer a loss of self-worth in the process, which could lead to severe depression and no will to live. Will attend your post-suicide funeral in a really expensive dress and tell mourners how you could have "really been something". 6/10; scary shady
  • ISTP: No chill towards people they dislike. They will straight-up brutalize your ass in one-on-one combat and you will lose. Will put you in the hospital, wait until you've been released, and THEN put you in a morgue. Probably will laugh about killing you over cold ones with the boys for decades to come. 10/10; cold-blooded killers.
  • ISFP: There is no such thing as a scary ISFP. They might get hurt with you but they just let that shit go after a while. More likely to channel their negative feelings into an artistic outlet than something destructive. No time for pettiness or holding grudges. 0/10; anti-scary saviors
  • ESTP: Also has no chill towards people they dislike, but their hair-brained schemes at revenge are often poorly executed. Will threaten to "beat your ass" for months but won't actually do it unless they're drunk or high. Once they do get physically aggressive towards you though, you are deader than dead. 7/10; flee town before things escalate.
  • ESFP: Often incorrigibly shallow, they'll start rumors to sully the reputation of their enemies before they'd actually consider getting their hands dirty. Rarely ever starts fights but they sure do love jumping into other peoples' fights and finishing them. Will get one of their besties to film the entire beat-down and put it on Snapchat. Hair and makeup somehow stays flawless the entire time. 3/10; more petty than scary.

Begotten (1991)

Directed by E. Elias Merghige this film made Complex’s list of ‘50 Most Disturbing Movies’. Jonathan Rosenbaum from the Chicago Reader stated 'if you’re squeamish you should avoid this like the plague’. This film is also currently banned in Singapore due to extreme graphic content.

Perhaps this may be due to the film opening with 'God’ disembowelling himself eventually leading to his death ?

Old World Blues (As Troubled Birds Quotes)
  • Klein: My emotions have three outlets; haughty silence, tears, and rage
  • Dala: She gave them the heebie-jeebies. She had nothing else to give.
  • 0: The risk I took was calculated, but man, am I bad at math.
  • Borous: Looking for trouble, and if I can not find it, I will create it.
  • 8: He was lovely and charming, almost a saint. He told me he enjoyed laughter and dancing, opera, jazz, and getting very, very, very high.
  • Mobius: That's a crazy idea. Insane. It doesn't make sense. "You'll do it?" "Of course," I replied.
When to Fight ToG Characters

Aelin/Celaena - NEVER. DO NOT. Like actually, don’t even look her in the eye. Not unless you want to be burned alive, or beat or skewered by a sword. She will kill you. I’m serious. You will die.

Nehemia - I guess you could go at her. But beware that she has some mean psychological warfare up her sleeve, plus she knows a demon language and how to wield a stick. That hurts. A lot.

Lysandra - Ha Ha Ha. If you thought going after Nehemia was a good idea think again. This bitch can shape shift. Like actually SHAPE SHIFT. And her favorite form, is a snow leopard. A form she has disemboweled demons in.

Rowan - Bad idea. Abort mission. He will kill you. Maybe with his magic. Maybe with a sword. Maybe with his Fae swiftness. Or maybe even a table or chair. Either way, you will end up dead.

Chaol - He would probably be the easiest to fight. But keep in mind he was the captain of the guard. And survived a battle with the demon possessed king of Adarlan.

Dorian - He has raw magic. Need I say more?

Aedion - Cool, go ahead. Get pummeled to your death by General Aedion Ashryver of the Bane who has studied almost every way of fighting.

Manon - She may be beautiful, but she is deadly. Both with her blade, her teeth, her nails and her wyvern. Besides Aelin or her grandmother I don’t think anyone has lived to tell the tale.

Elide - Um I guess. But your an asshole to go after someone who has a limp. As well as an idiot because if she doesn’t kill you, you can bet your ass Manon, Aelin, Aedion and Lorcan will.

Arobynn - PLEASE DO. He deserves any form of pain. But he also may kill you in the process. (Another name for him is Arobynn Hamel, king of the Assassins)

Maeve - KILL THE BITCH. But she might kill you first. Beware.

Errowan - HE NEEDS TO BE DEAD. Just be prepared to die.

*BONUS*

Sam - WHY HURT THE CINIMONROLL !!! Also, if you fight him, be ready to fight me.

5

Sleight of Hand

They’re still staring each other down when the others shuffle into the room, a collective groan going up at the sight of them at each other’s throats once more.

“So,” Raven starts, conversational, “how do we think Clarke is going to murder Bellamy? Discuss.”

“Knife to the gut?” Miller muses, tapping a finger against his chin. “She’d want to draw it out.”

“She’ll push him off a high-rise.” Monty nods. “Messy, but satisfying.”

“I have it on good authority that she’ll disembowel him with nothing but a spoon and sheer willpower,” Clarke cuts in, dry, “but that’s just me.”

“You know, if you really wanted to get up close and personal with my body, all you had to do was ask.” Bellamy remarks, lips curling into a satisfied smirk when that pulls a scowl out of her.

Notorious criminal prodigy Bellamy Blake has been tasked with a seemingly impossible heist. Luckily enough, he just might have the right crew for it.

Read on AO3.