end of grand narratives

anonymous asked:

How do U feel about D@n3ryz as a character? What about j0n3ryz?

Oh good question anon.

This might get a little long.

When I first started watching Game of thrones (picked it up just before season 4 started), I loved Dany. I found her story interesting and her character interesting. Her struggles with her marriage to Drogo and Viscerys were appealing to me. As was her dragons and her determination to get back home and become queen. I thought it was cool to see a female character as a powerful leader and Dany’s idealism as character was a welcome departure from some of the other characters on the show.

Basically I used to love Dany…..but then I started to notice that nothing was changing about Dany. I like dynamic characters who evolve, characters who are allowed to have layers and flaws within the narrative….and Dany stopped doing that along the way. I felt like she was moved from one savior narrative to another. From one position of absolute worship to another. When she faced a hardship there was always an easy fix that usually entailed her amassing even more unearned worship and power than she had before. Dany stoped evolving as a character and became the epitome of a special snowflake. Every man who came in her presence loved her for some reason, every group of people ended up worshipping her greatness, every potential ally could never help seeing just how great she is. All of her extreme and selfish behaviors were applauded because it was Dany and Dany does whatever she wants because she’s the ultimate dragon flying fire immune badass and she’s the savior.

I was forced to watch her go on one slave mission after another, leaving nothing but chaos in her wake while still patting herself on the back for being a breaker of chains who brought “peace”. I was forced to watch her give the same awe inspiring speech about how she’s a amazing leader over and over and having the people fall in line with that idea despite never doing a single thing to prove it besides burning shit and riding dragons. None of this would have been a problem for me if the narrative would have addressed her worship for what it truly is….fear, but it doesn’t. Dany doesn’t truly inspire loyalty and belief based on her amazing capabilities as a leader and her honorable and trustworthy heart. She inspires fear and worship off the back of her privilege and her fear Inspiring power. This is barely truly dissected in the narrative with Dany tho. The men and women of the Dothraki just love Dany and think she’s a goddess, they don’t fear the shit it of her because she burned their holy land and all of their leaders to the ground. The Unsullied are just eternally grateful that Dany freed them from their slave masters so they happily act as slaves for her mission to win her throne back. According to the narrative people just can’t help but love and be loyal to the great Dany, even tho her antics over in Essos have been fear inspiring and chaotic. I mean we are still lead to believe that people just miraculously LOVE leaders that burn her opposition alive and let’s her dragons run loose. All of Dany’s short comings as a leader are rectified with advisors who get no credit for their work. All of her mistakes are erased with a display of her unmatched power. Everyone continues to march on to the beat of Dany’s drum just because and that’s that we shouldn’t question why. We are supposed to cheer her on because she’s our “heroine” even tho a lot of the times she feels like she has just as much of a propensity for selfish violence and destruction as the “villains.”

Take for example Ceresi….Ceresi is evil because she blew up a sept of people who humiliated her and came against her….but is what Ceresi did really that different from Dany setting fire to all the leaders of the Dothraki? They were people who mocked Dany, humiliated her and wants her to stand trial and be punished according to their customs and culture for her desertion just like the high sparrow and his followers were people who mocked Ceresi, humiliate her and wanted her to stand trial and be punished for her crimes against the faith according to their culture and customs. Ceresi seized control of westeros and its armies for herself and her selfishly driven desire to be queen and destroy her enemies….but is that different from Dany seizing control of all of the dothraki for her selfishly driven desire to come cross the narrow sea and destroy her enemies? Ceresi has been known to threaten people who will not be blindly loyal to her with death and hasn’t been afraid to take her power by force and shed blood. Dany has also been known to threaten people who will not give her blind loyalty with death by dragonfire, just as she has said that she will shed blood and rain fire down to get her throne. Dany and Ceresi share a lot of extreme behaviors but Dany is cheered on while Ceresi is admonished. Ceresi’s actions are always painted as firmly black, while Dany’s are given an easy out to keep her from looking like an truly mad queen.

After a while that sorta unearned elevation and lack of evolution, and an unwillingness to have her painted as anything other than special, good, and amazing becomes a turn off for me. I can see hints in the narrative that Dany isn’t as great and benevolent as she appears to be but the only way those hints will change my opinion is if it becomes more than hints, it needs to be a full on agenda for me to take Dany seriously as a character again. I don’t like special snowflakes, and Dany is everything wrong with a special snowflake. They always end up too grand for their own good and make the narrative suffer, they always end up with unmovable entitlement that overshadows all of their good characteristics. I can barely see Dany as the compassionate Queen who stoped the rape of women and was disgusted by slavery anymore because all I see now is a entitled woman who thinks the entire world owes it to her to worship at her feet and let her rule them.

I don’t think Dany is a bad character or person. I think she has some good qualities as a person and as a leader, but her ego, her narcissism, and her incompetence are hardly ever addressed in a truly negative light so she has never been forced to evolve beyond them. Even now, she’s in Westeros and we are supposed to believe that she is the greatest leader that the realm deserves and yet she doesn’t know anything about the people in westeros, expects blind loyalty, and It’s TYRION who is doing most of the thinking and planning for her. When you have a characters who thinks so highly of themselves, then you surround them with people who also blindly worship at their feet you get the Dany’s of the world, super special infallible characters that never evolve into anything beyond their own delusions. You get characters that embody everything wrong with privilege and power. There is nothing appealing to that type of character to me. It’s boring. It’s one dimensional, it’s unrealistic. That’s why I don’t see a lot that’s appealing to Dany at the moment.

Even though my dissatisfaction with Dany has been growing for seasons now I was still exited for her to cross the narrow sea and snatch Ceresi by her edges. But oddly enough crossing the sea has only shown me exactly why I started to become disillusioned with Dany in the first place. She’s strolled across the sea in all of her privileged and entitled glory thinking she was going to easily walk to the throne and yet now she’s looking like a selfish incompetent queen that is in over her head in a game with enemies and allies that she doesn’t understand. Ceresi is owning her at every turn and is so unapologetically evil in her victories that it almost makes you root for the crazy bitch. Meanwhile Dany is alienating people like Jon and the North and being stubborn even when presented with a threat to the people she so badly wants to rule because the extent of her diplomatic knowledge so far has been “submit to me I have dragons”. All she does is talk about how she’s entitled to power and worship and authority all while Tyrion has had to hold her hand at every turn so far. If she wasn’t coddled and propped for so long, if she had evolved beyond the girl who can survive fire and control dragons she would be more prepared for this game but she’s not, she’s not because Dany is a superficial leader just like she’s a superficial character, all shiny on the outside but terribly unevolved and ill equipped on the inside.

As far as her and Jon, many of the reasons I don’t care for Dany apply to why I don’t see any appeal in her and Jon. First, Jon is a borderline special snowflake his damn self if we’re being honest. The idea is this entire epic tale ends up being about these two super special destined for greatness people falling in love and saving the world and ruling the land in peace and harmony is so laughable and cliche I just can’t even take the thought seriously. Jon and Dany are predictable and and cliche.

The only thing Jon has going for him despite being a special snowflake is that Jon stays grounded as a character and because his personality and his narrative which is the exact opposite of Dany’s. Dany craves power and Jon usually wants no parts of it. Jon has been handed power on silver platters, but Jon has been given power because he has inspired faith and trust in the people around him based on his actions. Dany was born believing she was the most privileged of them all with her fancy last name that’s meant to rule westeros. Jon was born a bastard and believing himself to be the lowest of them all. Jon has fought and lost, Dany had fought and won at every turn. Jon sees no appeal in the life this game brings, Dany sees glory. I know some people like opposites attract but Dany and Jon are such polar opposites it would be impossible for them to ever work together, everything they are and believe fundamentally oppose each other. The only way they work is if one of them betrays their own character traits

Dany’s goals are also so singular and pose such huge threat to Jon and everything the claims to love and want. Dany wants to rule, she wants the 7 kingdoms. She believes she was born to rule, that it’s her birthright, she just told him that she’s been through a lot and that the only thing keeping her going had been her belief in herself and her destiny…..yet we know know that her entire existence is a lie. She’s not the true heir to the throne, Jon is. Once that is reveled how will it lead to anything else besides civil war with Jon? Dany didn’t come here and endure all her hardships to Marry the one true King and be his Queen, she came here to be THE Queen. That idea can’t co exist with Jon’s existence. Even if Jon doesn’t want the crown. How will she go on knowing it’s not really hers and never was? Is Jon’s magical love supposed to just erase everything about her?

And what about Jon, is he supposed to just forget about the north and his home and all the people who believed in him enough to make him King in the North despite being a bastard for Dany? The only way Jon can work with Dany is if he hands her the North and denies all that he is to give her absolute power, doing so would be a betrayal to North and to all of the things that Jon himself has said that he believes. If he doesn’t yield everything to Dany then how will a romance co exist with Jon being in power in westeros and even in the north? When Jon is standing in the way of what Dany wants? She’s already branded the north traitors in open rebellion because Jon refuses to kneel. Is Dany supposed to fall in love and just throw her want for power to the wind or is Jon supposed fall in love and throw the North under the bus?

Basically when I think about Jon and Dany what I get is two people who are incompatible on a character level and on a narrative level. Two people who are each other’s foils, not each other’s perfect partner. Two people who would make for a very boring and predictable story, and I don’t think anything about GRRMS ending will be boring and predictable.

anonymous asked:

I was wondering if you might be able to share some advice on being a content creator while living with anxiety-type mental illness. How do you maintain consistent dedication to your practice alongside life obligations during times when your illness makes you feel especially paralyzed, sometimes for long periods? If this question is too personal to answer, no worries & thank you for all the great work you do :)

No worries, I’m completely happy to talk about this stuff, although as always with the caveat that anxiety is different for everyone, and this is just me talking in the context of my own anxiety (and depression) and its patterns.

For one thing, I’m not actually that consistent. I was out of fandom for a good five years prior to YOI, for various reasons which definitely included the fact that I was working, trying to do a PhD part-time, and attempting to have a serious romantic relationship, and I was super exhausted a lot and not really in a frame of mind to write. If you know that your mental health limits your capacity to do stuff, then focus that capacity on a) things that will keep you and any dependents fed and housed and generally alive, b) things that do not make your health worse. Sometimes writing is a stress-reliever, and sometimes it’s the exact opposite. Writing fanfic is not an obligation, it’s a thing you do for fun, and if it’s not fun then you are 100% within your rights not to do it.

Also remember that even when you’re not actually actively writing, the things that you do and the experiences you have are still developing you as a person and a writer. I didn’t post any fic between February 2012 and January 2017, but what I did do in that time was finish a Masters degree, have my first serious relationship, privately rent a place alone for the first time, work on a PhD, go through several jobs, get dumped, get evicted, and have a nervous breakdown. I could not possibly have written Blackbird in 2012; so much of the past five years went into it. If you’re not able to write for a period, that doesn’t mean that time means nothing to your development.

And if you do want to write, you feel it will be good for you, but you feel like you just can’t get off the ground? Something that learning to code is really hammering home for me is that there is no task, no problem, that can’t be broken down into smaller and less intimidating components. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have an overall scheme in mind- I think it is very hard, if not impossible, to write a good story if you don’t know before you start how it’s going to end- but that any grand narrative can become smaller and more manageable chunks that each contribute their bit towards the end goal.

With Blackbird, I started with a big, vague idea- ‘I want Victor to betray his country for Yuuri’. I sat with the idea and played around with options until I’d refined the rough shape of it- they would fall in love as allies, during WW2, and then meet again as enemies, in the early years of the Cold War, and then there would be a conclusion (I had the closing shot, kissing in the falling snow, locked in from very early on. Priorities!). So I had two defined blocks of the story. I left the London arc with a rougher idea of its outline and focused on Berlin. What were the key events? They had to overcome their apparent enmity, they had to become emotionally invested in each other, and they had to be separated. Okay, so focusing on the first event, what scenes do I need to establish their starting point and what scenes get them from the starting point to the detente at the boarding house (which was the first scene I wrote, as a sketch to play around with the concept)? And there was my structure for chapter one.

It’s very, very hard to say, ‘I want to write a 100k historical novel in which Victor and Yuuri are spies who end up running away together’. It’s relatively easy to say, 'I want to write a 2k scene which establishes that Victor is a Soviet agent undercover in Nazi Berlin’, or 'I want to write a 2k scene in which Yuuri discovers that Victor is a spy’. Nobody can solve a hard problem. Nobody can write a novel in one go. But most people can solve a simple problem. Even people who don’t write and aren’t very good at it could probably write a basic scene in which a character does x and y.

So allow yourself to write the small thing. Allow yourself to write the crappiest, most comma-heavy and repetitive version of a scene that nevertheless accomplishes what you need it to in the context of the whole story. And when you’ve done it, congratulate yourself! You did the thing! You got the words on the page, no matter how much you might hate them- words you hate that are there beat the hypothetical amazing words that only exist in your head. 

In software development this is what we call the ‘minimum viable product’, and my course tutor made a great analogy about this. If you’re trying to invent the car, you don’t start by building a really amazing and beautiful car door. That’s useless- no matter how pretty it is, it doesn’t do anything. You start by building a skateboard. It might not have an engine, or seats, or a bluetooth-compatible stereo system, but it’s got four wheels and it moves and you can have a go on it. Build the shittiest thing that works; once you have it, then you can make it a good thing that works.

I’m not saying that I’m necessarily very good at any of this myself. I have wasted hours agonising over comma placement and sentence length, I spent ages googling useless period trivia just so I could reassure myself that things 99% of readers would never even notice were nevertheless accurate. Some of that stuff is important for your craft, but some of it is just stupid anxietybrain being stupid. But getting the hang of recognising that something you don’t like that exists is always better than the perfect hypothetical in your head, and learning to be happy about every small step, every little increment towards your goal, will get you a long way.

Wrote a sentence? Awesome! Wrote a paragraph? High-five your dog! Wrote a scene? Do a victory lap around the room! Something is better than nothing. Everything you do is valuable, no matter how small, because it’s still more than you had before you did it.

And again, remind yourself that if writing is just making you miserable, you do not have to write. There are enough shitty things in life that we nevertheless have to do, like waking up on time for work or doing the ironing. Your health is more important than fanfic. Nobody ever died from an abandoned WIP.

Lyotard: The Postmodern Condition

The idea of Postmodernism is one that both fascinates and perplexes me. Throughout my time as an Arts student it has been a pervasive school of thought that has been discussed in everything, from Queer and Feminist Art theory to the identity politics of post-colonialism. However, I have always found it difficult to understand just what exactly it means. Much like its brooding but attractive half-Asian cousin ‘irony’, ‘postmodernism’ seemed to me like an intellectual phrase dropped frivolously by horn-rim spectacled, cardigan-clad hipsters with a propensity for stupid asymmetrical haircuts and listening to the Smiths on shoddy ‘vintage’ cassettes. Being a Fine Art/ Arts student, I’m the first to admit a) my love for cardigans and the morose and melodic self-deprecation of the Smiths, and b) my liberal use of the terms ‘ironic’ and ‘post-modern’, but enough was enough. I felt like the term ‘post-modern’ had been used and abused to the point of meaninglessness. Did anyone even know what postmodernism meant? Did it even have a meaning, or was it just beseeched by intellectuals who wanted to legitimate vapid contemporary art installations involving copious nudity, stale baked beans and a pink plastic poodle named Petinka? Why was it such a powerful force within the intellectual community of the late 20th Century? I needed to get to the bottom of ‘post-modern’, to understand its implications culturally, socially and morally. I needed answers. Which is where Jean-Francois Lyotard’s ‘the Postmodern Condition’ (1978) comes in. Does Lyotard’s work help to fully allay my bemusement of the postmodern project? In short, no. But ‘The Postmodern Condition’ does help to illuminate some important characteristics of postmodernism.

The ‘Postmodern Condition’ was commissioned by the Conseil des Universités of the Quebec government as a way of understanding the nature of knowledge in the late 20th Century. Fancy that! Imagine if the Gillard Government commissioned Alain de Botton to conduct a report on happiness in Australian households. In order to understand postmodernism, it is important to first understand the essential traits of the Modernist Project. For Lyotard, the term ‘modern’ is used to ‘designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse… making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative. (PMC 1) The metanarratives presented by Modernism, central to the thought of Enlightenment philosophers such as Rousseau, Kant and Hegel, were total philosophies of history and human nature. The Modernist Project adopted metanarratives to legitimise knowledge and truth for all humanity, and thus create social and political principles on which all of society should be grounded upon. Central to these accounts was reason – that humans were capable of creating their own values and traditions through the process of self-reflection and self-determination. Modernity privileged reason and self-determination as the core animating principles of understanding human nature and truth. Whilst acknowledging the constant flux of society, the Modernist centrality of reason meant that underlying this change was a single, unitary logic that applied to all people.

Lyotard thus defines postmodernism as ‘incredulity toward metanarratives’, with the ‘narrative function losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its elements’ (PMC, 2). It is a rejection of the metanarratives of Modernism that insribe reason as the unitary principle by which human reason and understanding is founded. The tragedies of the Holocaust and Stalinist Russia, coupled with the emergence of anti-assimilationist ideologies through postcolonial movements in African and Asia, really shook the foundations of the Modernist Project, revealing it is an imperfect model open to gross perversion. Many philosophers writing in the latter half of the 20th Century saw the apogee of self-direction and reason as a path leading not to a global Utopia but to the brutal dehumanisation of Auschwitz and the gulag, and the suppression of indigenous populations in European colonies. Marxism, in particular, demonstrates how a metanarrative based on principles on egalitarianism and emancipation can be corrupted in its implementation, resulting in totalitarian Stalinist Russia. I’m not too sure if Lyotard had the aphorism in mind, but I can see shades of Lord Acton’s ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ within Lyotard’s grim diagnosis of metanarratives.

Acknowledging that we can no longer solely rely on the singular logic of Modernism and its metanarratives, Lyotard posits that we cannot simply replace one metarrative with another either. Rather, postmodernism is defined by its embracing of pluralities, of difference. As Lyotard states in the Human Condition,postmodern thought ‘refines our sensitivity to differences and reinforces our ability to tolerate the incommensurable.’ (PMC 75)This suggests that our understanding of human identity and knowledge is described not under a singular grand narrative, but rather a multiplicity of narratives and discourses. Given the expanding nature of globalisation in the 20th and 21st Century, the respect of difference is highly relevant in attempting to account for coexistence between (sometimes highly different) cultures. One could easily see how postmodernism goes hand in hand with the emergence of the queer, Feminist and postcolonial movements – groups associated with being the ‘Other’. By decentralising the metanarrative of the white heterosexual male, postmodernism heightens the legitimacy and recognition of the ‘Other’ to the extent that they become forms of ‘Self’ (which is different from the logic of the ‘Same’). The 1990s debate regarding ‘Asian values’ and its tensions with liberal democracy is an interesting case in that it raises issues about how we can moderate cultural and narrative diversity without privileging one over the other, as this seems to me to be inevitable. In this regard, one of my

The Human Condition accounts for the plurality of narratives more specifically as competing little narratives - language games. Adopting the philosophy of Wittgenstein, Lyotard suggests that we can understand and legitimise knowledge through examining how sub-groups in society use rules of linguistic conduct to regulate behaviour and understanding. In contrast to the absolute philosophical narratives of Modernity, which prescribed how we should act in all aspects of life, postmodernism postulates that there are many diverse smaller contexts that we can act within. Lyotard is also aware of the agonistic, contestative model of the postmodern condition of plurality. As he states in the Postmodern Condition, ‘language species, like living species, are interrelated, and their relations are far from harmonious’ (PMC 80). I can see elements of Hannah Arendt’s concept of the public sphere (from the Human Condition) in Lyotard’s postmodern world, as both models highlight the significance of plurality. Implicit in this plurality, for both Arendt and Lyotard, is a gathering of individuals who are equal yet different, and derive meaning and knowledge from the contestation of diverse ideas.

One of the things that I thought was missing in my exploration of postmodernism through Lyotard was a sense of its inherent playfulness. Where was the humour of Yasumasa Morimura? The what-the-fuck-ness of the Pompidou Centre in Paris? I suppose postmodernism’s rebuking of grand narratives and essential structures connotes a deep disregard with standards and conventions, seeking to find alternative experiences to the Modern condition – which was evident in Lyotard’s piece. Inherent in this disregard is a reaction against the strict, straight-faced attitudes to Modern cultural institutions using irony, cynicism and humour. The sanctity that postmodernism rallies against is the cultural privilege of High Western Culture at the expense of ‘Other’ cultural narratives, and the narrow vision of excellence that it perpetuated. The playfulness of many postmodernist artists such as the aforementioned Morimura, or Feminist artist Cindy Sherman  thus have serious cultural implications. While it is hilarious to see a nude male Asian man replace the white female nude in Monet’s Olympia, what is inherent in Morimura’s method of cultural appropriation is a revision of Western history – in which the Asian ‘Other’ is seen as equally important within the canon of art history. In this respect, humour has been employed as a way of revealing the plurality of narratives in society, as central to Lyotard’s vision of the postmodern condition.

There were a few elements of the postmodern that I found rather interesting. Firstly, postmodernism, according to Lyotard, is not an alternative to the model of Modernity, and should not be seen as thus: in any case, there is question here of proposing a ‘pure’ alternative to the system: we all know that an attempt at an alternative of that kind would end up resembling the system it was meant to replace.’ (PMC 89) While a reaction against Modernity and its emphasis on reason, the real alternative arises through the plethora of narratives that come in the rise of the truly pluralist society. Another sticking point of postmodernism that was interesting, but difficult to grasp, was how we account for narratives that become more dominant within the overlapping of language games. As evidenced in through this excerpt, it doesn’t seem like Lyotard offers any concrete solutions: ‘All we can do is gaze in wonderment at the diversity of discursive species, just as we do at the diversity of plant and animal species.’ (PMC 80) I’m not entirely convinced that postmodernism can completely escape the development of its own metanarratives in trying to explain the privileging of some narratives over others in contemporary society. Is postmodernism’s self-awareness and use of irony enough to admit its inability to fully escape the Modernist tradition, without the need to completely defeat itself and develop its own metanarratives.

anonymous asked:

Hello Sasha, my dear. Have a nice day, hun! Have you seen zigi arcticle? Are my dream coming true and this will end soon? I trust your opinions, so watchya think about that? Lots of loove :x

The story is slowly picking up momentum. That along with my belief that her bearding services were an old team mandate (facilitated by the new team) makes me think Zigi is going the way of babygate: Over by the end of March. In fact, those two narratives could provide the grand finale of 1DHQ stuntin’ by occurring very closely together. We could get the end of babygate followed by a Zigi “break-up” followed by Zayn’s album release. That makes sense. A stunt as sloppy as babygate may need two big distractions for its wrap-up. We’ll see.

At any rate, I think April is gonna look a lot different than January/February and that’s good news.