Doctor Strange tells the story of an eminent surgeon who leaves his job after he starts to believe in impossible magic – so it’s basically the Ben Carson story. Recently, the massive success of Marvel’s Doctor Strange proved that the character can appeal to a wide audience – which wasn’t a guarantee for the sorcerer, who was specifically spawned by and for filthy acid-flashbacking hippies. In fact, a cursory glance at this goateed aging hipster immediately makes us think he belongs inside a crappy blurry VHS copy, not a massive IMAX 4K theater. It’s fitting, then, that that’s exactly where Strange started out.
Doctor Strange’s road to the big screen is one paved with rancid dog turds. First, there was the 1978 TV adaptation starring Arrested Development’s Jessica Walter and a sentient mustache stapled onto a mannequin. Then, in the early 90s, it seemed as though Doctor Strange would be coming to the big screen, albeit in a schlocky low-budget form. Charles Band, the B-movie producer of Ghoulies infamy, was all set to tell the story of Strange when the rights reverted to Marvel, who then sat on them for 20 years biding their time like some evil ancient dragon that hoards intellectual property. So Band did what any responsible producer would – he told the writers to change the character’s name, lose the goatee and make the damn movie anyway.
I finally got around to creating a masterpost of all of my favorite blogs since I do seem to get asked that question quite frequently! Soo here they are! (in no particular order) …and I am quite sure I’ve forgotten some people so I will add them when I remember :’)
The basic premise of the Baby AU is this; what if, through some twist of circumstance or fate (which in no way reflects on the characters of the real life people involved), Pete Doherty was left as Astile’s sole guardian upon his birth, and Pete and Carl had to raise a baby together and explore a host of sitcom tropes in the process?
For maximum Dramatic Effect, Astile’s birth has been moved a few years forward to some indeterminate time before The Libertines were signed or found any real success (and also before any drug related problems manifested themselves bc we’re not evil). This means that when Astile is born, Pete and Carl are still sharing a grotty flat somewhere in London, and both of them are horribly young and horribly poor and horribly unprepared to deal with a real life baby.
Can you imagine Pete and Carl at the hospital waiting for him to be born imagine that (Pete cries?? probably).
Fortunately Gary and John are very mature and responsible and are probably the main reason Astile doesn’t die in that first year.
Picture this; it’s Christmas Eve, Astile’s first Christmas, and Pete and Carl are exhausted from working a bunch of awful jobs just trying to hold things together, but the heating’s broken and they can’t afford to get it fixed, and they only have one electric heater and they’re tired and miserable and they don’t know what to do, so they give tiny Astile his bath and put him in his footie pjs and they all huddle together for warmth on the one mattress in front of the heater, and Pete’s probably crying because he feels like a terrible dad but Carl tells him he’s doing his best and they fall asleep all huddled up with Astile between them, and the next morning John and Gary come round with food and presents and maybe it snows and it’s a Christmas Miracle we did say this AU is corny as heck right.
Pete and Carl going grocery shopping with Astile in the baby seat in the trolley! Carl attempts to follow his list but Pete keeps disrupting things and making Astile giggle and Carl is distracted because they are both beautiful and cute.
Pete and Carl teaching Astile all about their music and Pete dances with him to The Smiths and Carl sings him The Velvet Underground and Dream A Little Dream is absolutely his lullaby.
Pete giving Astile Pandy because you know who is not here to burn him.
Astile saying Carl’s name for the first time and Carl bursting into tears (in front of some cool and aloof journos probably).
It’s the night of the NME awards and The Libertines have been nominated. It’s their first time attending a proper awards ceremony, and in all the confusion Astile goes missing! Pete and Carl run around the venue frantically until they find Astile safely sitting at a table with Johnny and Angie Marr and Noel Gallagher, who is reluctant to return Astile because Pete is extremely tall and he is annoyed by tall people.
Carl buying a fancy car which he can’t actually drive so Pete has to drive him everywhere.
By the time Astile starts school The Libertines have their first two albums out (but minus the pain and heartbreak bc Astile was ~enough to keep them together~) so they have a nice flat (it has never occurred to either Pete or Carl that they don’t actually need to share a flat anymore) and Astile can go to a nice school.
Now come to the most important part of the AU: PETE AND CARL ATTEMPTING TO INTERACT WITH REGULAR PARENTS. From the first day Pete charms all the teachers and all the mothers at the school gate with his winsome eyes and his charming manner and he is immediately accepted into the coffee drinking gossiping circle of Mums and he excels at it. Usually Pete brings Astile to school, but one day Carl arrives to pick him up, leather jacket and motorcycle helmet and reeking of petrol and cigarette smoke and being amazingly cool and attractive and horrifying everyone.
Consider: Pete and Carl attending Astile’s school play (Carl tries to teach Astile everything he knows about acting, which is not much), parent-teacher meetings, etc. Does Pete wear eyeliner to every single one of these? Yes.
One year Pete’s away so Carl has to go to Astile’s parent-teacher meeting by himself and Pete’s given him a list of questions but he can’t read Pete’s handwriting or speak clearly and Astile’s teacher is very concerned and Carl wants to die.
Astile’s first time at the seaside! He’s three and they get the train and go to the seaside for the day and Carl is wearing dark jeans and a leather jacket because he’s stubborn but he starts to melt the minute they step off onto the sweltering platform (eventually Pete takes pity on him and reveals he packed Carl a pair of shorts in his giant Mum Bag). And then cute beach things happen like swimming and looking for fish in rock pools and finding good rocks and burying Carlos in the sand and coming back half an hour later to find that the tides come in and Carl has vanished and is probably dead and what is Pete going to do now (turns out Carl’s fine and he went to buy ice cream). Pete has a giant hat but Carl gets sunburned and he’s grumpy about it all day and then he and Astile fall asleep slumped against Pete on the train back home.
Pete meeting Carl's parents, Carl meeting Pete's parents, Pete and Carl's parents meeting each other.
Carl is minding Astile while Pete is away and Pete’s parents drop in unexpectedly and Carl sits tensely on the edge of the couch as a stifling silence descends on the room (bonus points if this is the first time Pete’s parents have met Carl and they confused and mildly horrified at this filthy hippy who’s taken up residence in their sons flat) but then Pete comes home and smooths things out.
Please imagine Carl wearing that fur coat to a respectable family event such as a neighbor's barbecue.
Imagine Carl at a neighbor's barbecue, full stop (Carl, attempting to blend in with suburban dads, Carl, avoiding being hit on by suburban mums).
“So, Charles is it? What do you do?” asks a suburban dad. “Cocaine. What. No. Not anymore I mean.” blurts Carl in his panic.
“You’re in a band you said?” “Yeah we’re pretty successful? You’ve probably heard of us, we won best band at the NME awards last year.” “Wait… I do know you! You’re the guy from Suede, right?!”
Someone asks Carl to play them a song and he panics and launches into “What A Waster” before Astile runs to stop him.
Astile as a tiny ghost at Halloween and Pete as a larger ghost, Carl didn’t dress up but he keeps getting compliments on his vampire costume.
Pete and Carl going to all Astile’s football matches and Carl making a fool of himself by yelling at the wrong times because he knows nothing about football.
Eventually they all move out to that big rambly house Pete used to have in the country so they have room for a studio and seventeen cats and it's absolutely haunted and Astile very calmly deals with the ghostly threat while Pete and Carl become the stereotypical White Parents in a horror movie. Also one morning Astile finds Wolfman in one of the spare rooms, he was there for weeks and nobody noticed.
For some inexplicable reason baby Astile thinks Carl looks like Thomas the Tank Engine.
There are several running gags in the AU but the most important ones are Carl panicking and doing something Terrible and the aforementioned “So, Charles is it? What do you do?” asks a suburban dad. “Cocaine. What. No. Not anymore I mean.” blurts Carl in his panic.” and also Carl being mistaken for Brett Anderson.
Carl and Astile attempt to bake a cake for Pete’s birthday but Carl starts a lot of fires in the process.
Carl cries during every important event in Astile’s life because he is just so proud!
Another very important fact: Carl accidentally calling himself Astile’s mother and Pete hears him.
All of Astile’s drawings are very cute unless he draws Carl (when that happens his drawings turn into something a kid might draw in a horror movie).
Everyone thinks Pete and Carl are a couple but they simply can’t understand why anyone would think that.
They both cry the first time they have to ground Astile.
A major crisis is the fact that Astile doesn’t want to learn to play Wonderwall. (”Peter, where did we go wrong?” Carl asks, gazing dramatically at a window.)
It never occurs to Pete and Carl that they don’t need to share a house or that Carl isn’t actually part of their family.
- This picture started this whole thing:
- This is what we like to call “prime dad aesthetic”:
(there is no dad aesthetic for Carl, he always looks like a rock star)
- Carl wears this outfit at several school events and everyone dies.
- A few other pictures that are important for the AU:
I work for the US government and I have proof we're all brainwashed via memes
If you’re on reddit, you know what a meme is. Hell, these days, if you’re on the internet you know what a meme is. It’s a short, sweet rush to the head, a barely there image that you can process and move on from in split seconds. It’s the world’s biggest in-joke. It’s a massive time-waster, and a way to feel a little less “forever alone”.
It’s also a weapon in a war you don’t know exists.
I am- was- a high level social media strategist for a branch of the government you’ve never heard of. Most people think “social media strategist” is a vague title that glorified hacks use to make old fashioned companies feel young and with it. 90% of the time, that’s true. It’s just bullshit marketing jargon. Hell, that’s all I thought I was, initially: a glorified headline writer, fit only to join upworthy or buzzfeed. That was before I started wars, molded opinions, fostered world changing decisions.
It all started in 2003, when a former college buddy of mine invited me to join him in Hawaii for a week, all expenses paid. Hawaii was mind blowing in the way a tropical island with bikini clad babes can be when you’re 23 and living in a seven star hotel for the first time in your life. Steve had invited four of us there, and the first three days, were spent in what I now know to be a classic honey-trap. We partied each night with 19 year old models who (although I didn’t know this) were recruited to be extra nice to us. “Us” being three socially inept PhDs and I (a socially inept college drop-out). When we weren’t drunk off our asses and partying (actually, even when we were), we’d sit under the stars on a private beach, and indulge in long conversations about world politics, the future of computer languages, the vastness of space… all the things that drunk engineers find interesting. When we weren’t clubbing, we were coding; when we weren’t coding, we were chatting.
I’ve always been an introvert, unlike Steve- heck I’ve been standoffish with my own family. But these guys- the fantastic five as we called ourselves- became my tribe. You’ll mock me for saying this, but I hungered for their friendship and approval even more than I did for the 19 year old supermodels.
I guess I didn’t realize it then, but it was on one of those nights that Steve first planted a thought in our minds, a thought that eventually helped him recruit us. This was post 9/11, the days when the Iraq war had just started out, and we were having a fierce debate on whether the war was ethical, and what USA’s role in world politics should be.
The bonfire flickered over the four of us, beer bottles resting half-buried in the sand. Steve lay on his back, gazing at the milky way as it shimmered above us, his lone cigarette a firefly dancing above us all.
The rest of us were leaning forward, hands gesticulating as we fought and yelled and debated. Andy was saying, “…in the end, we’ve just never moved on from our concept of manifest destiny- the idea that the American way is the only right way- and it’s destined to stretch from one corner of the globe to another.” “This war isn’t about invading a country for its land.” I said angrily.
Steve got up, shaking sand from his hair. “That’s right. This war isn’t about land at all.” The noisy debate became a respectful silence as he took a drag from his cigarette. Steve was our leader, and when he spoke, we shut up.
“Look guys- war is how the American economy stays powerful. The largest defense companies in the world are American, and all the ammo getting produced needs someone to consume it. There’s always going to be a war- as a country, we need wars to siphon off extra man power, and create a money flow. Land ownership is just a fringe benefit. The real reason we fight wars is to destabilize other regions and keep our economy powerful. Peace would just create a bunch of dangerous competition.”
“What are you some kind of hippie?” Andy snorted. “You sound like a nutty conspiracy theorist.”
“I’m a patriot.” Steve said. “A proud American and a believer in Manifest destiny. But the world has it all wrong: in the olden days, empires were built by conquering countries. Now, empires are built by conquering minds.”
“Like big brother?” I laughed. “1984 has come and gone, I don’t think Orwell’s delusions of constant surveillance came true.”
“Not yet maybe.” Steve shrugged. “But give it ten years. Let PCs expand into every home, let internet connections become ubiquitous. Then see. Don’t forget that the military invented the internet.”
“Steve, you’re just a filthy hippie.” Andy leered, swigging his beer. “All you need is a tie-dyed shirt and a flower in your hair.”
There was some nervous laughter. We all agreed with Andy but Steve just sounded so sure of himself- so quietly confident.
“Think what you will.” Steve shrugged. “Here’s what I know: war is an unimportant side product of our world dominance, a cheap trinket in a chestful of gems. If America wants to control the world, it has to control the world’s opinions, not its oil supply. My new job helps me do just that.”
“What is this job anyway? How did you afford all this?” Yuri asked. “The supermodels, the seven star hotel, the clubbing and fine-dining. More importantly, why did you spend the money on us losers?”
“I’ve worked with all of you, in one job or another.” Steve said. “You’re the most forward thinking, skilled engineers I know. This isn’t a holiday, it’s a job interview. You’re here because I think you’re the smartest men on the planet.”
We blushed. I know I did. I felt a warm glow of acceptance hearing him say that. Steve- the genius who’d once corrected a nobel-prize winning professor in stats class back in Yale- thought I was smart.
“Job interview?” Andy’s mouth fell open.
Steve ignored him. “Have any of you read this book by Richard Dawkins? The selfish gene?” We shrugged collectively. “No.” “Dawkins has given birth to a new concept. A meme. A piece of content that spreads like a virus from user to user, changing along the way, till its instantly recognized across languages and cultures.” “So?” “So, hang on to that thought and listen to this-” Steve took a last drag off his cigarette and buried it in the sand. “Since the advent of democracy, governments are now slave to public opinion. If the opinion of the masses is strong enough, it can break even the most powerful empires.” “True.” “Which is why one of the first thing governments do, is invest in figuring out how to shape opinions.” We were silent, leaning forward, elbows on knees, faces intense. Steve smiled. “See, the average man, he’s a busy man. He’s got his own problems- love problems, money problems, family problems, status problems. The average joe has got approximately 3.5 minutes a day to think of world issues. That’s 3.5 minutes, to be divided over hundreds and hundreds of issues. Which is why, the average joe gives about 3 seconds of thought per issue- according to his personality, he subscribes either to the “orthodox view” the one his newspaper prints, or to the contrarian view- the one conspiracy theorists and rebels spin. Pick an issue, any issue- abortion, healthcare, education, politics: the average joe is going to see it in terms of black and white, and voice an opinion accordingly. Even with countries- take USA- opinion wise, either a foreigner loves the US and wants to live in it, or he hates it and thinks it represents evil. No one has time to think nuanced thoughts.”
“Now aggregate this by millions and millions. A tidal wave of voices. All of which use sound bites as their opinion formers- and imagine, if you will, that we found a way to control these opinions.”
“You’re terrifying me.”
“I intend to.” He said. “The USA is fighting a war- not just in Iraq- but a global war that will decide which culture dominates this decade -hell- this millennium. We’re fighting to create a global culture that will keep us a superpower forever. I’m fighting for my country because in the end, hell, we are meant to rule the world.”
“You’re full of shit.” Andy said. “This is all talk and no results. No one can control the masses this way. Give me an example.”
“Feminism.” Steve shrugged.
“What about it?”
“There’s three opinions people have on feminism: one, they shrug it off as unimportant while agreeing with a few obvious points like “Rape is bad and shouldn’t be condoned”. Two, they’re rabid feminists who think “All women are prosecuted and all men are bad”. Three, they’re men’s rights activists, who hate feminists and think they’re all out to emasculate them.”
“Sounds about right.”
“It’s one of my proudest works.” Steve smiled. “It’s what got me my current job. I manufactured the debate when it sprang up again.”
“It was a test case, really. I was trying to prove that in defending their own gender, feminists and anti-feminists each lose out because they don’t realize gender roles constrict both of them. Men suffer just as much from the effects of gender expectation as women do. They just suffer in different ways. But instead of realizing this, joining hands and eventually abolishing the concept of gender, I helped steer the conversation so that it became an easier, more palatable, “men vs women” debate. A debate that will rage on forever with hardly any change happening. This lack of change, in the end, will be advantageous to marketers in all sorts of industries- from women’s fashion, to automobiles, to movies, to guns.”
At this point, I think I shook my head in disbelief. Andy was shaking his head like a dog trying to get water out its ears.
Steve laughed. “I masterminded this- a tough job- by researching opinion makers and leaders in each side, then supplying a few critical flashpoint incidents to create argument.”
“I told you. To control argument. Thus, to control the world. Religion tried that in the past- to control the world via control of human emotion and beliefs. It worked extremely well- except that religions are singular: ‘follow our path, or go to hell’, literally. The minute you say that, some wise guy is going to cross his arms and oppose you.
I realized that its human nature to want to oppose the majority, just as much as its human nature to want to be the majority. If you want to control everyone- recognize that rebellion is inevitable with any propaganda. So, when creating propaganda, you try and create your own rebellion, to give natural born rebels the illusion of control. That way, you secretly control both sides by creating an artificial war that hides away the main issue- the way I created an artificial war between men and women to hide the fact that gender roles and expectations are deadly to both.”
“Jesus.” Andy whispered.
Steve grinned, his teeth flashing under starlight. The bonfire had died down to little wisps of flame by now, and he sat in shadow, only the whites of his teeth visible between shades of darkness. “Like I said, fellas, this isn’t a vacation- this is a job interview.” I gulped. “It’ll take a while, but I want you on my team- I’ll train you from the start, and together, we’ll be unstoppable. Trend spotters, argument creators, spreaders of the American way. This is what life’s about, boys- not the rat race, nor the futile quest for power. Life is about molding the very essence of history.” “How?” I asked. “Through memes?” “Yes.” He smiled. “Like I said before, the average joe has 3 seconds of time to devote to a given subject. I want to create artifacts- image based, viral memes- that will help shape that opinion. 3 seconds. We bury hidden messages in inconsequential jokes. We create artificial communities that recreate the rebel/majority fight across different issues. In the end, to quote Lex Luthor, in the end, we take over the world.”
In the end, to quote Steve, in the end, we took over the world.
10 years. We worked for 10 years and accomplished everything Steve said we would. Take a look around you, and you’ll know the truth of what I’m saying. Debate is dying down- replaced by stone throwing and hysteria. Any issue, every issue, of importance has people yelling over their fences without anyone bothering to fix root causes. Hell, think of our own presidential elections- they have become puppet shows.
So why am I posting this online, knowing as I do that I could be killed for my revelations?
First, because I’m dying.
I’ve spent the last year trying to cure myself from a mysterious illness I’m convinced is long term polonium poisoning. I’ve spent it in hiding in a tropical island with no seven star hotels or bikini clad babes. I’ve spent it in vain, because I’m dying anyway. The disease inside me is inching away, killing more and more of me every day- and with each day that I’m robbed of life, I feel a devastating remorse.
I’m still as patriotic as I ever was- despite all that I’ve seen, I believe, with all my heart that at it’s core, the american way is good for humanity, and must spread beyond our borders- I’m just not sure the means justify the ends any more.
I also know that our country isn’t the only one who’s using these tactics any more. Virality is a global commodity now.
So that’s reason 1.
Reason 2: I have no hope of anyone ever believing me. The nosleep community was my last refuge. Most of you will go away thinking I’m bullshitting, unable to understand what I’m even talking about.
Others, among you, will continue to roam the internet, helplessly addicted to your morning shots of email and memes and in jokes and twitter debates. Never conscious of how easily you’re manipulated by an army of scientists, marketers and engineers. Never bothering to think more than 3 seconds before shouting your opinion- which will basically be you parroting the opinion of the people you find coolest.
But maybe, just maybe, a few of you -a small intelligent fraction- will think of Tom Riddle’s diary from the chamber of secrets. The internet is a lot like it. For god’s sake, listen to what Rowling said.
*Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brains. *