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Eventually, as the show goes on, we meet the Asgard, another alien race pretending to be deities. However, unlike the Goa’uld, the Asgard wish to guide people to a better future, watch over them, and keep them safe. But even though the Asgard are more benevolent, giving, and have no desire to be worshiped, we are still left with a religion invented by aliens. The Asgard do readily drop their ruse as soon as they think a people are advanced enough to understand who they are, but unfortunately those same people never stop to wonder about some things they should be wondering about, like: I’ve been praying to these jackasses! Or even, what’s going to happen when we die? Does this mean Valhalla isn’t real? Fuck!

On the whole, the first so many seasons of Stargate has a very negative view of religion—or at least, it does of non-Christian/non-Judaism religions. At almost every turn, the show takes multiple deities or historical figures, regardless of how popular that religion is, and turns them into villains. Hell, even Kali shows up as a Goa’uld for one episode in Season 5. And the show mentions that she used to work under Shiva. So even Hinduism, the fourth most popular and quite possibly the world’s oldest religion, is written off in a single episode, and then it’s never mentioned again.

I always wondered when watching this show why a Goa’uld never took on the persona of Jesus or Mohammad, but I imagine that since it was a Western show whose primary audience was more likely Christian than another religion, Jesus was probably off limits. Eventually, Stargate introduces characters from a more Westernized religion or legend, such as Merlin and King Arthur, but at no point does it introduce Goa’uld Jesus, or any other Christian figures. This struck me as both racist and culturally appropriative, since Stargate does whatever it wants with non-Western religions and has no problems presenting them as evil. Even someone like Yu, who isn’t actually a deity, just an historical figure, is an antagonist in the show. But people like Merlin are all more or less good guys.

In the later seasons and movies, Stargate does take a more positive stance on religion—well, Christianity, at least—while still managing to talk about religious fanaticism, subjugation, and persecution. But it’s not something that the show delves into all that much, and the narrative could have most certainly expanded on it. While Stargate was under no obligation to be a positive show religiously, I would have expected it to talk more about what it would actually mean for us to discover that just about every deity ever worshiped on Earth was actually an alien. That has huge ramifications that Stargate rarely addresses.

—  from “Oh, My Pop Culture Goa’uld: When Our Gods are Aliens,” originally published December 2014.

Though I will concede that there are decent and thought-provoking arguments against Skye, most of them don’t make a lot of sense. She has vague morals, but she’s too perfect. She wears makeup and is pretty; well, that’s a crime worthy of extreme hate right there, amirite? I mean, I wasn’t aware that being both good-looking and a hacker were mutually exclusive.

Additionally, she also gets a lot of hate for wanting to know about her past and not appreciating S.H.I.E.L.D. keeping secrets about her own life from her. And apparently, in the episode “The Hub”, it was also wrong of her to be concerned for her other team members who were sent on a top-secret and incredibly dangerous mission. But at the end of the day, Skye can’t seem to win any favors with the fans. If she’s not being too selfish, she’s being too nice.

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A while back, Red Hood and the Outlaws, a title in DC’s New 52, became the source of much outrage, and we here at LGG&F weren’t the biggest fans of it either, if only because of the character Starfire and her blatantly misogynistic portrayal.

Starfire was never really that big of a character in the DC Universe before, except for in Teen Titans, but her portrayal in the reboot has upset a lot of people nonetheless. The New 52 initially seemed to have revamped her character from a sexually liberated, loving superhero, who fought with righteous anger and the power of her emotions, into a vapid sex doll who suffered a severe case of amnesia—to the extent that she couldn’t remember who Dick Grayson, the love of her life, was. She was no longer sexually liberated or her own person. She was nothing more than a woman who stood around posing sexily in spine-breaking positions for heterosexual men.

Her portrayal in the first issue was so sexist and misogynistic that it turned me off the entire series, and I had no desire to continue it. That was, until very recently, when I saw this picture.

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Well, like any RPG in the history of ever, you don’t have to look too hard to find sexism in the Final Fantasy series. And that unfortunately includes FFX. At this point, it’s really not very surprising to see women objectified in games and to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to talk about how sexist this game is, because when you compare it to other games, it’s really not that bad. On a whole, Final Fantasy tends to be fairly good about this sort of thing. Yeah, we got large-breasted ladies like Tifa from VII—the game that also brought us Yuffie, the girl who is incapable of zipping up her shorts.

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen the women in these games pose for the sake of posing. At least nothing immediate comes to mind until I start thinking about X. And even though X seems to have more objectification than other Final Fantasy games, it’s still nowhere near as bad as other games as a whole, and it doesn’t forget that the women need personality and motivations as well. I’d honestly much rather talk about sexism in the sequel X-2, just because there’s more fodder to work with. But that’s a review for another time.

So here we go! Sexism in Final Fantasy X!

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So just to be clear, I want to say that I have yet to play a Final Fantasy game that I don’t like, which may seem surprising, considering that I do nothing but complain all the time. Oftentimes, Final Fantasy X goes from something I genuinely think is good to a guilty pleasure, but other times, it’s completely infuriating. I’ve mentioned before when talking about XIII that I prefer games that start off weak and end strong, compared to games that start off strong and end poorly. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X falls into the latter category. The first part of this game is pretty okay. We’ve got a great setup with some unique characters, we can see what’s at stake, and on top of the entire apocalyptic catastrophe that’s going on we’ve got religious oppression.

There’s a lot happening in this game. Also, much like IX, it tackles some pretty deep subjects, like death and sacrifice. On top of the aforementioned religious oppression. Unfortunately, X just couldn’t keep up its momentum.

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The 1997 movie Batman & Robin is quite possibly one of the strangest movies I have ever watched. The last time I watched it, I noticed that the story liked to switch back and forth between two different things—being completely awful and being completely awful. It does literally nothing else. At any given time Batman & Robin is so awful it’s boring, and during all the other times, it’s so awful it’s baffling. Nevertheless, it’s a movie that has stuck with me over time—not because I particularly want to remember it, but because my traitorous mind won’t let me forget it in the slightest.

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For once I was planning on showering something with praise, but that’s not going to happen. You see, Young Justice has a lot of strong points, but it doesn’t cover so much as it touches on as many characters in the DCU as possible. In fact, it’s a little upsetting that there haven’t been more episodes delving further into some of these characters. Young Justice is the show that helped me get into DC comics. It’s well made, it’s got some great characters, and it gives some neat insight into the world. It’s a show with a lot of personality. But I do wish that it would spend more time with certain characters. It has a lot of interesting people and relationships that should be further explored.

The second season has finally come to a close. Unfortunately, one thing I noticed right away with the season finale is that it seemed a little rushed. It was in a hurry to tie up as many dangling plot threads as possible, while leaving others open for the next season. And I’m all for leaving dangling plot threads as long as they’re eventually taken care of. And from this last episode “Endgame”, I can say that the show was definitely building toward a third season.

I say ‘was’ because Young Justice will not be renewed.

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Last time I talked about the plot of the game. More specifically, I talked about one of the game’s primary antagonists and how he has nothing to do with plot. The character is question is Seymour, who was a maester of Yevon, an oppressive religious organization and the leading political power in Spira. This leads me into the religion in Final Fantasy X.

First of all, before I get into Yevon, let’s talk about the obvious. A few weeks back I wrote an Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus post about Aerith from VII as a female Christ figure. I should note that I could probably do the same for Yuna, but I don’t feel as though I would be able to write a decent OMPCJ about her that didn’t repeat most of what I said about Aerith. And to be honest, it would just be a cheap way for me to fill that monthly quota. I should note that the two of them are the same character type; they are both presented as selfless Virgin Mary figures, but have more in common with Jesus than Mary. In some ways, Yuna is a more obvious Christ figure than Aerith, especially because VII doesn’t really talk about religion, whereas X does. And Yevon is partly influenced by Catholicism, although I should mention that Yevon is also influenced by Buddhism and Shintoism.

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Final Fantasy VII features a character named Barret Wallace, seen above, who I’ve mentioned in previous posts as being the leader of a terrorist organization called AVALANCHE on a mission to save the Planet. I can’t say that I agree will everything AVALANCHE does and all of Barret’s viewpoints. I’ve mentioned before that I think some of the things Barret has done make him a complete asshole, and the same goes for all the other AVALANCHE members.

I do, however, find Barret a very complex character with a lot of agency. He used to work as a miner in a town called Corel. However, the Shinra Electric Company burned Corel to the ground, supposedly killed Barret’s best friend Dyne, and in the process of all this, Barret’s right hand was shot off. Following these events, Barret grew a great distrust for the Shinra Company and correctly proclaimed it evil. He adopted Dyne’s young daughter Marlene as his own, had a gun attached to the stump where his arm used to be, and eventually found himself the leader of AVALANCHE and at odds with Shinra due to their different ideals.

“Barret” is a Japanese transliteration of the word “bullet”. Before the release of the game in English, Barret was actually called Bullet in some of the magazines. His name has also been spelled “Barrett” on occasion as well.

Barret is very notable. He is actually the first playable black character in the Final Fantasy franchise. Reception to him, however, has been rather mixed.

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Well, now that we’re nearing the end of this miniseries, there aren’t too many things left to cover. I just spent the past five posts analyzing the plot, Yuna as Jesus, the religion of Yevon as a whole, how the game deals with death, and how the summons work. This leads me into the characters as a whole.

Final Fantasy X was a significant development for the franchise, and it has gone down for many as the “last good Final Fantasy game.” Even if you haven’t read my earlier posts or my reviews for some of the other Final Fantasy games, you can probably guess that I don’t agree with that. But I can most assuredly see why people feel the way they do about this installment in the franchise. I may have my issues with it, but this game offered a lot at the time it came out. The graphics are beautiful, and when it was released, they shocked people because of how realistic they looked compared to the other games. Visually, Final Fantasy X is stunning, and even nowadays, the graphics aren’t bad. On top of that, musically, it’s pretty amazing as well. And the visuals and the audios do a decent job of complementing each other.

This game is very appealing. And it’s very easy to tell that a lot of effort went into its production. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Final Fantasy game, and this one delivers all that and more. In fact, Square Enix has plans to remaster it for a PS3 release, in order to redeliver the experience of playing such a high quality game. I may have just spent the past five posts more or less bitching and nitpicking everything, and I do have more complaints about how this story is told, but Final Fantasy X has a lot of redeeming qualities to it. And most, if not all, of the bad qualities concerning its gameplay and production will more than likely be fixed if it actually does get remastered.

So let’s talk about the characters.

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While I’m not the biggest fan of Will Smith or his son, I was actually really excited for this. Anything involving a post-apocalyptic Earth tends to grab my attention immediately. And this one doesn’t even seem to have anything to do with zombies, and yet humans are still no longer the dominate species on the planet. So I was already interested in what happened. I wanted to know how it came to be that humans are afraid of Earth. On top of that, Will and Jaden have appeared together in movies before, and being actual father and son makes their relationship on screen all the more real. So there are not a lot of instances in their relationship where I could see bad—or rather, unbelievable—chemistry pulling me from the movie.

I say I was excited because the movie’s director is none other than M. Night. Shyamalan—or, Shyamalamamon, as my brother likes to call him.

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Oh… okay…

That really wasn’t what I had been expecting.

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Probably the only upside to cancelled shows is that fanfiction attempts to fill in the holes they leave behind, and Young Justice had a lot of holes in it. Very obviously the show was designed to run for a least a few more seasons to explain everything and justify the numerous characters it introduced.

One such character was the Riddler; I was never sure how I felt about his introduction into the series. We first meet him while as an inmate at Belle Reeve, not Arkham, and instead of working on his own personal goals—like proving himself smarter than Batman—he’s an agent for the Light. I was a little underwhelmed by his character, and I felt as if the show should have done more with him, instead of having him be a random adversary for our heroes, especially since working with the Light never seemed to line up with his original goals in the comics. I just wanted something to justify his alliance with them. And Enough by FelineOverlord doesn’t set out to do that specifically, but it does give me some closure with his character.

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It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the abomination that is this series, so let’s talk about it again. When it comes to Eragon, I sometimes don’t even know where to begin. Christopher Paolini’s books are shit, and Eragon himself is so obviously a self-insertion, that I’m not sure if the author was ever able to separate himself from the character.

Unfortunately, because Eragon is a self-insert for Paolini, his character is given a lot of leeway and is handed rewards for almost no reason except that the author thinks he deserves them. Nowhere is this more apparent than near the end of the second book, Eldest, when Eragon is magically healed from a restricting handicap.

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So now that both Lady Geek Girl and I have reviewed the trailer for this movie (here and here), I figured I’d subject myself to it, because why the hell not? As it turns out, “why the hell not” seems to be the driving motivation behind just about every scene in the movie, so yeah, why the hell not? I can’t say that I had that many high expectations for this film, and so I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Sometimes, I was remarkably surprised at hints of, dare I say, good writing. Other times, I was torn between laughing and cursing at myself for paying to go see this thing.

Obviously, there are going to be spoilers in this post. But before we begin, M. Night Shyamalan likes to work with twist endings. Some of you may be asking yourself what the twist is for this movie. Lady Geek Girl speculates that it’s that the movie takes place in a utopia where The Last Airbender movie didn’t suck.

If only.

The twist is that there is no twist. There’s some fear monster that Jaden Smith is terrified of, but at the climatic ending, he learns how to not be afraid of it. At just that right moment. He and Jamie from Rise of the Guardians seem to have a lot in common in that regard, except that Jamie wasn’t an annoying caricature.

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There are a lot of theories surrounding the Disney movies, and Aladdin in particular. Specifically, no one really knows what to make of the Genie. He is one of those characters that fascinates just about everyone. Despite being a slave trapped in a lamp for over ten thousand years, he’s still upbeat and eager to help our hero out, even at the cost of his own freedom. While his mental state alone could be a post in and of itself, what really gets to people are all his pop culture references and how he seems to know so much. Coming to the rescue of all of us theorists, however, are Ron Clements and John Musker, co-directors of the movie, who recently revealed that one of the more popular theories—that Genie and the peddler are the same person—is true. While this is certainly big news indeed, it unfortunately doesn’t explain everything, specifically how Genie knows all those aforementioned pop culture references. Aladdin takes place c. 300 CE, so as Lady Geek Girl posits, Genie must have some form of omniscience, or at the very least, some form of precognition.

Another popular and plausible theory is that Aladdin takes place in the distant future, sometime after the rest of the world is wiped out by a nuclear apocalypse.

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