female inventions

Did the Baudelaire orphans survive “Chapter Fourteen”?

“The End” left us with a literal question mark: the Baudelaires took to the sea, and Lemony Snicket ended the series abruptly. What became of them once they left the Island? A coded sentence in “The Beatrice Letters” gives us the answer: their ship, the Beatrice, sank. End of story: the Baudelaires died in the depths of the ocean.

Except…

Except their foster daughter, Beatrice Baudelaire Jr, somehow survived this shipwreck. If a baby can survive that, why not the three other Baudelaires? Is there still some hope of finding proof of their presence on the mainland?

And if there is, why is Lemony not doing anything about it?

Let’s unravel the series’ final mystery after the cut.

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Among Violet’s many useful skills was a vast knowledge of different types of knots. The particular knot she was using was called the Devil’s Tongue. A group of female Finnish pirates invented it back in the fifteenth century, and named it the Devil’s Tongue because it twisted this way and that, in the most complicated and eerie way.

“The future is female.”

“The galaxy just got a lot more feminist.”

Star Wars was not a feminist victory…you idiots didn’t invent female main characters, stop talking responsibility for everything involving a woman that you approve of. Woopity fucking doo the force awakens passed the bechdel test, who cares. Think about this, if you had a movie with only 1 character and that character is female…it would fail the bechdel test. A movie 100% female…failing a feminist movie test…great test morons.

Treating every female character you approve of like it’s a feminist accomplishment doesn’t help women…it helps feminism. Because of bullshit like that every time people like me see a good female character we have to stop and think oh great does this have some kind of sociological agenda attached to it. When otherwise we would have just enjoyed it for what it was…isn’t that what you want…female main characters to just be seen as normal and not a big deal? So stop making a big deal about it and stop trying to make it about feminism when it isn’t. God dammit.

There was not an ounce of social justice in the new Star Wars movie but you idiots are taking a victory lap because you’re a bunch of identity politic collectivist idiots that are ruining the world. Go fuck yourself feminists.

Moffat Appreciation: The Female Villain

Let me tell you a little story: a couple of years ago, I did an internship in a programming company. I was the only female intern. Less than two hours into the first day, one of my fellow interns wrote a little script for me so I could get “familiarised with the concept”. He had only just started university, while I was in the process of getting my master’s degree. Education wise, I outranked him by roughly four years. He still felt compelled to give me an introduction to programming. Me, yes, but none of the male interns.

I spent six miserable weeks in that internship. When we couldn’t get our project to work, every single line of my code was double- and triple-checked, because surely, the girl must have gotten it wrong. I was treated like I was pulling everybody down. Thankfully, rather than having caused the mistake, it was me who found and fixed it in the end, which also made me the one who ended up getting hired by that company. Happy end. 

Why am I telling you this story? Because this was only one of many, many encounters where colleagues assumed that, because I am a woman, I must have no brains. I am not saying it is the only kind of sexism, but it certainly is the kind of sexism that I am affected by the most.

I have written before about how Moffat’s writing is working against this. How he is single-handedly debunking the notion of intelligence as a male prerogative and how I appreciate that to no end. In Moffat’s world, men are no longer the sole source of wisdom, whereas women are no longer the sole source of love. Moffat does it right.

But, when it comes to equality, what I appreciate most about Moffat’s writing is the fact that he writes brilliant female villains. Women who are heartless, merciless, calculated, and properly nuts. Women who can’t be swayed by the cry of a baby or the love of a man, whose motivation is something other than procreation or social status. These characters are so important, because they show us that women are no more slaves of their own feelings than men are. Women are capable of raising rationale over emotion.

Of course this isn’t quite true. Missy’s main motivation is her love for the Doctor. And the famous Irene Adler is defeated by being “Sherlocked”. Yes, these women are defeated or driven by their love. But this is not because they are females. It is because Moffat’s notion of evil is a complex one, as is his notion of love. In his world, love is not an emotion, but a terrible force. Love is a psychopath that defeats everything. Men and women alike.

And what really is important here is the fact that it is surprising that Irene is defeated by love. Far too often in fiction, women are expected to be guided by their heart. Moffat, on the other hand, portrays their fight between heart and mind as a believable internal struggle of which the outcome is completely unsure. Because if men really can chose to ignore their heart, then so can women.

I am not saying that Moffat invented female villains, far from it. But what makes his villains great is that they are disturbingly powerful, scary, evil masterminds, no matter their gender.

In all honesty, I don’t usually like to write about such things. My approach to gender equality is to treat it like the most natural thing in the world, to consider it as non-negotiable canon. Whenever anybody mentions “strong women”, I cringe, because in my book they should be called “normal women”, or better yet, “people”.

But I am breaking the habit, because his female villains are something that Moffat has been criticised for. People have gone so far as to claim that he hates women. Personally, I think that is a ridiculous opinion, seeing as Moffat has gone out of his way to portray women as what can only be summarised as magical uber beings.

But even if we were to ignore all his female heroes, I would still argue that Moffat’s evil women’s quota is a long overdue necessity in fiction. We no longer live in the age of witch burnings. Being portrayed as evil is no longer the most dangerous thing that can happen to a woman. We live in a time where calculated cold-heartedness is a virtue. Granted, not a virtue I would strive for, but a virtue nonetheless. A sign of good business skills.

The point is this: if men can be evil masterminds, so can women. If men  are capable of ridding themselves of morality, then so are women. Rationale is not a male prerogative, nor is emotion a female one.

True equality not only requires equality among heroes, but also among villains.

The fact that evil female fictional characters surprise us to such an extent that it makes us question the writer’s motives shows me that we still have a long way to go. Lead the way, Moff!

Random thoughts...
  • Canada needs more actors so Supernatural can stop recycling them into other characters
  • Why are Sam and Dean suddenly interacting with only female law enforcement officers?
  • Did The Darkness invent female standards of beauty or did she get cable TV and Vogue while locked away?
  • Wasn’t the Mark of Cain some kind of seal that kept The Darkness locked up? If so, why does she have one?
  • The Darkness says something like like “You helped me Dean, I helped you.” What the hell did she do for him? Take him out of the car? Sam was in the car and survived, so…
  • The boys are already not being totally honest with one another so fuck you Carver. Really bored with that shit.
  • Oh and then they split up because that always works out well
  • Sam gets attacked and bled on by an infected nurse and fuck you without lube Carver for shitting on the classic “Croatoan.”

Okay let’s give this a shot

There are a million reasons to write fanfiction.   The first fanfic I ever read was by my dad, and he wrote it because I told him to, on account of how the ending of Stuart Little as written distressed me, and I needed it to turn out different.  (I didn’t understand at the time that Margalo the bird was meant to be a symbol, rather than a person - I thought Stuart had lost his friend and his car, and that was no way to end a story, as friends are very rare and difficult to come by.)  An unbelievable amount of years later I wrote a fanfic about the feeling of having had just the one friend, because playing Undertale reminded me of that feeling, and I wanted to highlight that element of the game, to illuminate it, in the sense of drawing in its margins.  I think these are both pretty decent reasons to write fanfiction, but I also think all other reasons are pretty decent reasons to write fanfiction.  It’s a useful practice.  It’s a way to expel stuff that’s in your brain without having to worry too much about whether it’s art or truth or good or evil, because it’s fundamentally a limited act, a thing meant for a particular crew who know the colors in the palette you’ve chosen and will surf your context without asking questions.   We are weirded out by the Yudkowskis and E.L. Jameses of the world because they let the thing grow too big – it’s meant to be a cipher, a curio.  A present.  A bit of writing on a wall.

Of course, that’s what it means to me.   There are folks for whom it’s a basic human way of being creative – talkin’ about Milton’s epic fan-poetry, Plato’s habit of writing RPF about his buddies, Dante’s self-insert adventures in the apocrypha, and so forth. That’s pretty big.   There’s people who are into the possibilities of fanfic as a narrative form, or more accurately as a metanarrative form, as a place where fiction can actively tangle with its artifice and characters can fight their multitudinous authors.  And then there’s fanfic as a statement of identity.  Fanfic as rebellion, fanfic as reclamation.  Fanfic as politics.

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There’s no mythology for women. If you’re reading On Poetics or whatever, the archetypal, primal stories are all about men. With women you’re either Persephone, the innocent that’s captured in the underground, or you’re Aphrodite, the unapproachable goddess. There are no gradation.
—  Brit Marling: Inventing The Female Narrative
Reboot stuff

Alright here’s a summary of the info so far on the MST3K reboot, mostly from Joel’s Reddit AMA:

  • It will have an all-new cast, and Joel plans to announce the new people in the next few days.
  • Joel plans to stick to riffing old obscure B-movies and the like, but they also might riff some more recent stuff too. They’ll also be shown in widescreen if they were filmed that way
  • Joel wants to keep the show’s cheap homemade look, but at the same time add a little more polish than before.
  • It will be shot in Los Angeles but many people from various parts of the country will be contributing to the writing, props, puppets, costumes, etc.
  • 2 million dollars may be lot to ask for, but TV shows aren’t cheap, even ones like MST3K. Joel has a graph of the how the money will be spent here.
  • Joel’s invited everyone from the original cast to come back and write and do cameos. Don’t call it a reunion though, he’s asked them but it’s more “wait and see” if they’ll actually join depending on how well the Kickstarter goes.
  • It seems the new host will be wearing a yellow jumpsuit, and rumor has is that his name might be Jonah Ray or Bill Melader. The new Mad will be female too.
  • There might be invention exchanges, but not like before. Looking back, Joel thinks the invention exchanges made people wait too long before getting to the actual riffing, so they may put the invention exchange in another parts of the show or segments.
  • They haven’t nailed down where the new episodes will air, but they’re trying for either online distribution, broadcast networks, or even both. According to Joel he’s even getting some calls from people in Hollywood who are interested.
  • Lastly, it looks like Shout! Factory now owns MST3K as they recently bought the full rights to MST3K outright, and they’ll likely be helping out with creating the new show.

@shibbolethe​ said:

sorry! i don’t want to come off as rude or trying to derail the statement you previously made, but there are certainly ways to tell the sex of a skeleton. this mainly has to do with bone size, hip width, ect. this mainly applies to skeletons of adults.

@slutshamingbobdylan said:

Hey thanks for answering my ask; I just want to add a quick note that it’s possible and in fact relatively easy to sex a skeleton, as in tell whether it had a uterus– pelvis shape is pretty distinctive between meant-to-have-a-baby-pushed-through-it or not. You can also make an educated guess from skull features, though it’s less reliable. (Gender presentation is of course almost completely opaque.)

Sorry folks, but that’s a big huge nope. There is way more physical variation within the categories “male” and “female” (even if you only look at cis men and women) than there is between the two “sexes” or “genders” we commonly acknowledge.

Not to mention, even if these markers were accurate predictors (which they’re not), any attempt to dump skeletons into distinct “had a penis” and “had a uterus” buckets would necessarily fail because it ignores the existence of intersex people.

Whether we’re talking about “gender” or “sex,” the male/female binary is an invention by white people, spread through colonialism and genocide. It is no more objectively true and right and natural than “red” and “pink” being distinct colors while “blue” and “light blue” are shades of the same one. It’s a social construct—and, like all social constructs mapped onto a power structure, incredibly pernicious and incredibly dangerous.

Alternate Titles

How to Negate Nine Seasons of Character Development

How to Trample All Over Nine Seasons of Your Audience’s Good Will

How to Snap the Two Major Plot Threads of an Entire Season in Under Half an Hour

How to Invent a Female Character for the Specific Intent of Turning Her Into a Hurdle for the Protagonist to Have to Overcome; or, Fridging Women TV RomCom-Style; or, TV Writers Have Really Gross Attitudes Toward Women as Characters

How I Am A Horrible Person Who Never Deserved Your Mother in the First Place But She Got Stuck With Me Anyway Because TV Says So

How to Obviously Stick to Your Original Premise After Years of Organic Plot and Character Development Despite the Fact That This Ending is Not the One You Earned With the Story You Told; or, Self-Indulgently Lazy Story-Craft 101

How I’m Totally Like a Fifty Year Old Man and I Spent Much of My Young Adult Years Stewing In and Practicing Really Harmful Attitudes About Women and Love and Making Self-Destructive Decisions But I Finally Learned My Lesson After Alienating My Friends and a Good Chunk of My Audience, But Now I Just Want My Kids’ Permission to Forget I Ever Grew as a Person

Yeah, I can see why they thought How I Met Your Mother sounded snappier.