meta level

me strolling through tumblr today past all y’all’s meta level breakdowns: hope you kids are having fun!! do you need anything?? water?? condom?? you let me know, 

full offense, but does it ever hit you in the god damn gut that tony stark, protector, knight in shining armor tony stark –

mister “i saw young americans killed by the very weapons i created to defend them and protect them,” mister “i’m trying to protect the people i put in harm’s way,” mister “i hope i can protect the one thing i can’t live without,” mister “i see a suit of armor around the world,”

the guy who answers for his most paternalistic acts (like wanting to keep pepper and wanda locked in a mansion) with “i can’t protect you out there” and “i did it to protect you,”

tony stark, whose gradually worsening mental conditions show in his progressively more backwards, desperate attempts to protect people, tony stark who’s been trying to protect people to the point of harmful consequences,

that tony stark

is the single character

in the entire mcu

who has been accused

– by friends, enemies, and civilians alike

in every movie he’s been in

of FIGHTING ONLY FOR HIMSELF

SIMILARLY

THIS TONY STARK

tony “i shouldn’t be alive” stark, tony “i’m not the hero type” stark, mister “you deserve better,”you’re right, i don’t deserve her,” “it’s me, you’ll think of something [to complain about],” “you’re in a relationship with me, everything will never be okay,” “i saw them all dead, felt it, because of me,

tony stark, who shoots his reflection and views himself as a “monster” and openly resents himself during his speech about charles spencer, THIS TONY STARK

IS THE SINGLE CHARACTER WHO’S CONSISTENTLY PERCEIVED, IN-UNIVERSE AND IN A META LEVEL BY MOST OF THE FANDOM,

AS SOMEONE WHOSE EGO NEEDS TO BE PUT IN CHECK

I AM HONESTLY

“Dennis’ Double Life” Defense & Explanations

In this post, I’ll attempt to explain/defend all of the controversial scenes in the Season 12 finale, “Dennis’ Double Life.” This write-up has helped me to appreciate the episode a lot better and it might help some people who have mixed feelings about the episode to view it in a different light.

NOTE: This is a mix of speculation and canon evidence.

Question 1: Why was Dennis a butt to Mac the entire episode, especially after he was so nice to him at the end of “The Gang Tends Bar”?

Answer 1: I will break this answer into three parts:

  • Part 1: I got the vibe that Mandy surprised Dennis with the visit, which explains why Dennis had mere seconds to tell the Gang to pretend that he was someone else. With the flesh-and-blood reality of Brian Jr. on his mind, I don’t think he had the mental energy to consider Mac at all. (In “The Gang Tends Bar,” Brian Jr. wasn’t there, so Dennis didn’t feel that immediate/strong pressure. Also, Dennis was emotionally vulnerable and available after having told the Gang about his “big feelings,” so he was able to react better to Mac)
  • Part 2: I’m not sure Dennis fully comprehends Mac’s feelings for him. I think he knows, to some degree, that Mac is attracted to him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he sees Mac’s attraction to him as a kind of strange “hero worship.” Dennis verbally confirmed that Mac is gay in “Mac Day,” but he constantly acts weirded out or confused when Mac does/says something that shows that he has feelings for him. For example, in “Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs,” Dennis thought it was weird that Mac would name their dog Dennis Jr. That reaction, of course, mirrors Dennis’ reaction to Mac’s reveal that he perfectly recreated their old apartment. I don’t think he was trying to hurt Mac. He just flat out does not understand why Mac would go through all the trouble.
  • Dennis also doesn’t appear to understand his own feelings for Mac. He has asked Mac to “get off with him” (a “mostly sexual” manipulation game) and tried to get him to participate in a threesome with a male golf caddy in “Frank’s Back in Business,” admitted to Dee that he made his sex tapes for himself and Mac in “The Gang Group Dates,” stated that he has a thing with Mac where he picks out porn for them that he doesn’t want Charlie to join in on (“The Gang Spies Like U.S.”), and danced for Mac when he saw him avidly watching him in “PTSDee,” but he doesn’t see anything strange about this. It’s just par for the course in their relationship.
  • If Dennis has trouble seeing his own feelings, then like hell is he going to fully see Mac’s feelings. And if he can’t see Mac’s feelings, he can’t deal with them properly. 
  • Part 3: In the back of Dennis’ mind, he was seriously considering leaving the Gang and being a father to his son. He knows that leaving the Gang is going to hurt him, so he emotionally pushed them away. When the Gang becomes “lesser” in his mind, it doesn’t hurt as much to leave them.

Summary: Dennis was stressed the heck out about Brian Jr. and didn’t have the energy to deal with his relationship with Mac.

Question 2: Were Mac’s feelings for Dennis treated as a joke?

Answer 2: Not necessarily. Even though Dennis likes to act like he’s the smartest member of the Gang, Mac is clearly more aware and accepting of the nature of their relationship than Dennis is. Mac was 100% fine with them pretending to be a couple and raising Brian Jr. (with or without Mandy), not because he’s super desperate and lovesick, but because, no matter what they call their relationship (lovers, partners, pretend, friends), they’d still be together. Mac just loves being with Dennis and wants to help solve Dennis’ problem, so, of course, that would be his plan. (And it’s actually a good plan.)

It hurts the empathetic audience members to see Mac treated the way he is by Dennis, but it’s normal Dennis behavior that Mac has accepted. Mac has survived his internalized homophobia, his father’s dislike of him, his mother’s indifference to him, and the Gang’s occasional dislike of him. Mac is stronger than we think he is. And if he gets tired of Dennis, he definitely has the strength to walk away from their relationship relatively unscathed.

Summary: Mac was pretty much having fun playing a character (he even wanted his character’s name to be Griffin) and hanging out with Dennis and Dennis was stressed the hell out about Brian Jr.

Question 3: Charlie wanted to have sex? With The Waitress?

Answer 3: Yes. In “Charlie Has Cancer,” Charlie was visibly disappointed when he realized that he missed the chance to possibly have sex with The Waitress. In “Who Pooped the Bed?” a drunk Waitress stated that she would get drunker and bang a random dude and Charlie asked her if it could be him. In "The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang’s Revenge,” when a drunk Waitress told the Gang that she’d bang the next person who talked to her, Charlie opened his mouth and stepped forward, but Schmitty came out of nowhere and The Waitress went home with him.

Summary: I know some people headcanon Charlie as ace and/or sex-repulsed (I personally headcanon him as gray ace) and that’s fine, but Charlie has expressed interest in having sex with The Waitress in the show.

Question 4: Why did the Waitress have sex with Charlie?

Answer 4: Surprisingly, the possibility of that happening was set up in a previous episode. In "Charlie and Dee Find Love,” (which was written by RCG) the Waitress reacted in an arguably jealous manner towards Charlie’s then-girlfriend Ruby (“Who the hell is this, Charlie?!”). Also, at the end of the episode, the Waitress told Charlie that she needed him in her life and that she was thinking about reducing his restraining order. Admittedly, the Waitress’ strange behavior was after Frank accidentally put rat poison in her shampoo (which made her sick) and hit her with his car (which put her in a hospital), so she could have some kind of permanent brain damage.

In the beginning of the show, the Waitress wasn’t attracted to Charlie, but was concerned about his well-being sometimes. (In "The Gang Gives Back,” she tried to help Charlie with his alcoholism) It’s possible that after “Charlie and Dee Find Love,” the Waitress’ view of Charlie started to change. As the years went on, the Waitress’ problems started to get worse and worse, and, like Cricket (her male counterpart), she still found herself continually drawn to the Gang. Even though she still thinks Charlie’s a mess, a part of her might think that he’s all that she has left. (And that might, sadly, be true) And, if Charlie can help her to fulfill her dream of having a baby, maybe things can get better for her.

Something I noticed as well is that the Waitress never said she loved Charlie back. It’s possible that she still doesn’t love Charlie and never will, but sees him simply as a partner that can help her to take care of her child. (Also, in order to get Frank’s money, she needs to be partnered with Charlie)

Question 5: What’s the deal with The Waitress acting the way she did after having sex with Charlie?

Answer 5: We don’t know that much about The Waitress, but we do know that she sometimes does/thinks weird stuff like the rest of the Gang. (In "Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom,” The Waitress slept with Frank, a man she’s not attracted to at all, in an attempt to get back at Dennis because she thought he was cheating on her with older women. In “Charlie and Dee Find Love,” it’s hinted at that The Waitress might be stalking Dennis because she has his phone number even though he changed it. In “The Gang Group Dates,” after years of Dennis’ mistreatment of her, The Waitress was still excited about possibly being Dennis’ girlfriend.) Also, even though she was kind of aggressive towards Charlie, all of her points were valid, some of Charlie’s responses were dumb, and her dislike of Charlie is totally understandable.

Question 6: What’s the deal with Charlie freaking out after finally getting The Waitress’ attention?

Answer 6: Surprisingly, the possibility of that happening was set up in a previous episode. In Season 9’s "Flowers for Charlie,” Frank paid The Waitress to hang out with Charlie because he was getting worried about him after he started taking “intelligence” pills for an experiment. When the Waitress began talking about her life, Charlie immediately started getting annoyed, started hearing a ringing in his head, and had to leave. We found out at the end of the episode that these pills were placebos. Basically, this was a strong hint that Charlie might be in love with the idea of The Waitress, not the actual person. So, even though he has been stalking The Waitress for 15 years, he might not really want to be with the real her. (The fact that he thought of The Waitress’ negative reactions as a “game between them” is another hint, of course)

Also, even though Charlie fantasized about raising multiple children with The Waitress in “The Gang Saves the Day” (which aired before “Flowers for Charlie”), it was still a fantasy. Charlie might fantasize about having a nice house, a wife, and children, but he still likes living in his unfancy and dangerous apartment and doesn’t handle stress well. There are huge conflicts that he doesn’t see.

Also, keep in mind that he came up with the plan only a few hours earlier and he mentioned that he wanted to get The Waitress pregnant so she would be tied to him for life. (clearly no thought about the actual baby and being a father)

So, with Charlie being Charlie and the reality of the situation crashing on him, he is starting to freak out.

Summary: Charlie freaking out is 100% in character.

Question 7: Why was Charlie a butt to Dee after having sex with The Waitress?

Answer 7: Charlie is an idiot and a misogynist, so he projected his issues with women and The Waitress onto Dee. Also, as Charlie mentioned, Dee possibly tried to have sex with him an additional time after “The Gang Misses the Boat” and he didn’t want that to happen again that night. So, overly-stressed and tired Charlie absentmindedly begged Dee not to be a whore numerous times before immediately falling asleep on top of her because even though he has issues with women, he feels comfortable with Dee.

Summary: Charlie and Dee’s relationship in a nutshell.

Question 8: Why did Dennis want to leave the Gang to take care of Brian Jr.?

Answer 8: I get the vibe that this might have been the first time that Dennis actually held Brian Jr. (or he hasn’t held him in a while?). Holding the child made him really understand that he is a living, breathing being he created and not just an obstacle to overcome to get back to his usual life. And then the child knew who he was, which made everything feel even more heavy. This is the first time in Dennis’ life that he’s been responsible for someone other than himself. He knows that if he stays with the Gang, he’ll feel guilty for whatever happens to the child. He’ll feel guilty that the child knew who he was but couldn’t see him. And the fact that the Gang doesn’t comprehend this at all (Mac, for example, excitedly told him “The plan worked!”) pushed him even further away from them and towards his child.

Question 9: Why didn’t the Gang seem to care when Dennis left?

Answer 9: The Gang has a great track record of unusual responses to deaths and departures.

In “Dennis and Dee’s Mom Is Dead,” Dennis reacted to his mother’s death by partying/hazing guys in his mom’s house and Dee and Frank seriously considered grave robbing her. In "The Gang Gets a New Member,” Mac and Dennis had no problem kicking Charlie out of the Gang and replacing him with Schmitty. In "The Gang Beats Boggs,” Mac’s only response to a drunk Dennis spontaneously leaving their plane was to write the number of beers he consumed on his forehead. In "The Gang Misses the Boat,” the Gang “broke up,” yet everyone just spent the episode doing their own thing. In "Frank Retires,” the rest of the Gang started cheering and clapping after Frank declared that he would be retiring from the Gang. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

It’s very likely that the rest of the Gang is still in shock/denial about Dennis leaving and they are expecting him to come back soon like everyone always does.

Since the highlight of the night was firing Dennis’ RPG, they decided to not let Dennis’ departure stop them. (It also doubled as a nice, fiery distraction)

As for blowing up the Range Rover? They think Dennis intentionally left it and it’s the perfect target to take out any frustrations they had/have with Dennis. (This is also one of the reasons Mac, who gave Dennis his cherished RPG, is the one blowing up the Range Rover, one of Dennis’ most prized possessions)

When Dennis comes back, they can excitedly tell him that they blew up the Range Rover and it was awesome.

Question 10: Why did Dennis leave the Range Rover?

Answer 10: Dennis wants to take care of his child, which is a good thing, but he is clearly going through a crisis and is not thinking clearly. He mentally/emotionally disconnected himself from the Gang (notice that he said “The bar’s done” and turned off the lights even though the rest of the Gang is still there and can run the bar) and left everything that reminds him of the Gang behind (which explains why the Range Rover is still there). He did not even think about packing, called a taxi, and headed straight to the airport to fly to Mandy and Brian Jr.’s location. This is one of the reasons the ending feels so “off.” It mirrors Dennis’ mindset.

Question 11: Why did Dennis name his child after Brian Lefevre?

Answer 11: This was probably Mandy’s idea and Dennis went along with it because he couldn’t think of anything else. He also probably wasn’t in the right headspace to complain since he wasn’t ready to have a child.

This picture is meta on so many levels like asklkgf;sjf

Molly bringing coffee for Sherlock and also trying to impress him…..and at the exact fucking time John is giving his phone, also known as his “heart” to Sherlock.

So even though Sherlock’s looking at Molly in this scene, really what’s happening is an exchange of hearts between John and Sherlock.

“What does Rey get from a relationship with Kylo?”

Idk maybe another Force-sensitive individual near-ish to her age (to whom she is likely Force-bonded) who also struggles with the pull of the Dark and can understand the overwhelming pressure of being expected to be some kind of Light Warrior when there’s a deep internal conflict about every aspect of the Force and the battle between Light and Dark and what “good” really means (this could potentially lead to some fascinating and very charged arguments, as Rey will likely still be struggling with these conflicts while Ben Solo/Kylo Ren made his decisions about them several years before TFA). 

Rey and Kylo have a lot more in common than people want to admit, especially since it interferes with the whole “Rey is a cinnamon roll uwu” thing. That girl is DARK. She’s going to struggle with that. Kylo has already fallen. You really think that’s not going to be a narrative point in their dynamic, that they’re ultimately not that different and that Rey could very easily become what Kylo is if she’s not careful? 

I know that the way I view and write Reylo, it’s very much about what it does for them both, because they’re such critically important foils. Kylo is inherently Light but is doggedly holding onto the Dark Side and doubling-down. Rey is arguably more inclined to the Dark but is trying to walk the Light path. An amenable dynamic between them means balance, each of them modulating the other and finding some way to make the Force and its emphasis on absolutes meet in the middle. 

It’s not about Rey just being some kind of prop for Kylo, the catalyst for his salvation. That’s so reductive. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen in fanfiction, but that’s transformative. If we’re talking what Rey and Kylo can get from each other in canon… a whole hell of a lot in terms of navigating the murky balance in the Force that both of them struggle mightily with. And I think we’re going to see a lot of that going forward.

Arya’s journey is very much a feminine one and I wish it was recognized as such instead of people writing her off as “like a boy”. A major theme in Arya’s story is identity and it plays out in a way unique to her relationship with her femininity. Both Sansa and Arya are threatened with having their identities subsumed by a patriarchal society; Sansa by a society that treats her as a consumable object, and Arya because she can’t fit into that little box of what a woman should be according to patriarchal standards.

While Sansa’s journey involves being boxed in, her identity sold to the men around her who seek to possess her, Arya’s journey involves her being flung far across the continent and eventually landing in a place where, because she cannot be a wife and she cannot be a knight or a lord or a high septon, she literally (nearly) becomes no one at all. Because she won’t give up her name to a man, she must surrender her name entirely. Because she does not conform to the male gaze, she must become faceless. This is how women who don’t fit a certain standard are treated in real life. If you can’t or won’t play the game patriarchy wants you to play, then you are no one, and society and the media does their best to pretend that you don’t exist. Arya must give up her body because she refuses to give it, she must give up her emotions because she’s too emotional. She must contain and control herself because she won’t conform, she must make herself smaller and smaller until she doesn’t exist at all.

“The price is you. The price is all you have and all you ever hope to have. We took your eyes and gave them back. Next we will take your ears, and you will walk in silence. You will give us your legs and crawl. You will be no one’s daughter, no one’s wife, no one’s mother. Your name will be a lie, and the very face you wear will not be your own.”

On a meta level, this is very much a story about being a woman. About how patriarchy asks you to give all of yourself until you either fit into that little box or you get treated like you’re an androgynous, faceless being and not a woman at all.

anonymous asked:

what level of specificity would you recommend in naming diagnoses in novels? would you say you run the risk of dating your story if you give your character a label that soon goes out of use (like ddnos in the dsm 4 becoming osdd in the dsm 5)? especially in stories that are meant to be in the far future or an alternate universe. is it better to avoid clinical wording to lessen the chance of it becoming obsolete in a few years? or does the value of explicit representation outweigh that?

This is a interesting question! There’s a couple of ways to go about this:

1. Don’t name any kind of diagnosis at all; let readers draw that conclusion.

This is my least favorite, because I personally think naming the disorder is important for representation. If you choose this one, I recommend really going out of your way to clearly portray the symptoms.

2. Use the real name, even if it’s anachronous / doesn’t fit your setting.

“The wizard has panic disorder and agoraphobia, so they never leave their tower.”

3. Use the real name, but only on a meta / narrator level.

“In another world, her affliction would be called depression, but they had no name for it here.”

4. Modify existing names to try to convey the same meaning while sounding right for your setting.

The healer shakes their head gravely. “He has a disorder of the personality that makes him dependent on others. It is not something a potion can cure.” 

(Dependent personality disorder)

5. Use fancier-sounding existing names.

“I’m so worried about her, Father. Do you think it could be dysthymia?”

(Persistent Depressive Disorder)

6. Use historical names if your story is in the past. Be careful with this one though - some of the historical terms can be problematic.

Alex Example takes a deep breath before confessing to Lord Winston, “I think I have manic depression, just as my mother did.” 

(Bipolar or related disorders)

7. Make up a name and describe its symptoms enough that readers understand what you’re saying.

The seer peers at Alex Example before saying, “The Curse of the Soldier is upon you.”

Alex Example frowns. “But how can I have it? I’ve never been on a battlefield.”

The seer smiles sadly. “War is not the only horror that can bring the curse. The tragedies you’ve been through are haunting you.”

(PTSD)

8. Make up names and link them to the current diagnosis if your story is in the future.

“I’ve got severe neural psychosis.”

“What’s that again? I don’t know psychobabble.”

“Used to be called schizophrenia.”


Hope that helps! 

Followers, can you think of other ways to include a diagnosis in your non-modern stories?


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Voltron Legendary Defender Theory Time: Voltron Origins

Or: a wildly speculative theory about Alfor and Voltron based on like… one scene in season 2 and a bunch of interesting coincidences.

So VLD season 2 gave us lots of juicy new information about the history of Voltron, thanks to Shiro’s visions in 2x07. We know that Alfor and Zarkon were actually friends, and that they built the Black Lion together on the Galra home world. Zarkon wasn’t just the original Black Paladin: he was also deeply involved in the construction of Voltron. Somehow, Zarkon and Alfor went from being best friends to mortal enemies; from building Voltron together to fighting over it.

We still don’t know a lot about the Galra before the war, although it’s implied a few times that they were close allies of the Alteans (we see Galra and Alteans working on the Black Lion together in 2x07). However, we do have some information about the Alteans. In 1x03, Allura says: “Alteans believe in peace first.” She tells Keith “Part of the Paladins’ mission is to spread peace and diplomacy.” In 1x10, Allura describes Alteans as “great explorers and diplomats” who use their shapeshifting ability to blend in wherever they go.

All of which raises a pretty fundamental question: why would the Alteans build Voltron in the first place?

Why would a race of peaceful explorers and diplomats with a code of non-violence build a huge super-weapon?

This question has bothered me since S1, along with the question of why Zarkon was trusted to lead Voltron, and how he went from that to conquering the known universe. Zarkon’s eventual flip to the Dark Side hasn’t been explained yet, but a couple of possibilities exist:

  • Zarkon was originally a Good Dude, but he became corrupted/evil somehow and decided he wanted to conquer the universe
  • Zarkon was always an Evil Dude, but he deceived the other Paladins and/or tricked them into making him the Black Paladin and handing him control of Voltron

Both of these scenarios necessarily involve Zarkon deceiving the other Paladins - including King Alfor - at least temporarily. Which seems like it would be difficult, considering everything Coran says about how close the Paladins were and how their minds needed to be open to each other. They also don’t explain why the Alteans would build Voltron - how exactly did a giant sword-wielding super robot fit into their plans for peaceful diplomacy and blending in with the locals?

Which brings me to the third possibility, which I’ve kinda been jokingly calling the Darth Voltron Theory b/c i’m a huge nerd who loves Star Wars:

Zarkon always intended to conquer the universe, and Alfor knew about it from the beginning and planned to help him. He and (some of) the Alteans naively believed that Zarkon’s invasion would unite the universe and bring order and stability - that it would ultimately be a force for good. Alfor helped Zarkon build Voltron as a weapon of conquest, because Zarkon needed the most powerful weapon ever invented in order to conquer the universe. But similar to the Blade of Marmora, Alfor eventually became disillusioned with Zarkon’s war and realised he was a bloodthirsty tyrant. He stole Voltron from Zarkon to try and make amends for his terrible mistake, kicking off the Galra/Altea war in the process.

If this were the case, the history of Voltron would make a lot more sense, if you think about it:

  • Zarkon wouldn’t need to deceive the other Voltron Paladins if they all drank the Kool-Aid and went along with his plans from the beginning
  • It would explain why Voltron was built on the Galra home world: the construction of such a powerful weapon probably went against the Altean culture of peace and diplomacy, and therefore it had to be built off-world
  • Zarkon’s proprietorial attitude towards the Black Lion makes more sense if Alfor literally built it for him to use in his war of conquest
  • Haggar’s close alliance with Zarkon and support for his tyranny is easily explained if Voltron was built by a group of Alteans who supported Zarkon: she could be one of the original builders of Voltron (if she can keep Zarkon alive with magic, she can keep herself alive as well, right?)
  • The Black Lion’s willingness to open up to Shiro and share visions of her past makes sense if she’s desperately trying to escape the role that Zarkon forced upon her

Although I don’t have a lot of direct evidence for the Darth Voltron theory, I want to point out two things in particular:

The only people we’ve seen pilot the Black Lion so far all have a Galra connection

  1. Zarkon, the original Black Paladin, is Galra
  2. Shiro, the new Black Paladin, has a Galra arm
  3. Keith, who pilots the Black Lion in 2x01, is revealed to be part Galra

I don’t think this means that in-universe, only a Galra can pilot the Black Lion, but I DO think it’s a significant detail on a meta level. We’ve never seen ANYONE without a Galra connection pilot Black. There’s a layer of symbolism here that seems to imply that the Black Lion belongs to the Galra.  It fits in with the wider symbolism of the show: Shiro’s right arm is taken by the Galra and replaced by a corrupted version; his bayard, which should be his ‘right hand’, go-to weapon, is taken by the Galra and corrupted by Zarkon; his right hand in Voltron (Keith; the Red Lion) turns out to be part Galra too.

Given how much this show loves symbolism, I think it’s significant that all the characters who have piloted the Black Lion on the show are connected to the Galra somehow. It ties the Black Lion closely to the Galra, as if it’s their weapon - which it would be if Alfor built it for them.

Shiro’s visions

In 2x07, Shiro goes to bond with the Black Lion, and she takes him on some kind of 'spirit journey’ to the Galra home world. When they first 'arrive’ at the Galra planet, the Black Lion shows Shiro a vision:

That’s the Black Lion, surrounded by Galra technology. You can see Galra battleships flying overhead, and the Galra symbol on the side of a pyramid beside the Lion. The Black Lion is clearly complete: the lights are on in her eyes and wings, and she’s outside the hangar. She’s ready for battle.

On a meta level, this vision is pretty interesting: it’s the first vision Black shows Shiro, and it’s the only vision that appears out of chronological order. It’s clearly something important and significant that Shiro - and the audience - needs to see. It’s also the only vision that looks visually Galra: the colour scheme (red and black; glowing pink quintessence) is reminiscent of other shots we see of the Galra battlefleet and the central system in Zarkon’s empire.

You can even see Zarkon standing on the Galra platform in front of the Black Lion, which is entirely consistent with this scene’s aesthetic. What’s not consistent, though, is who’s standing next to him…

IT’S ALFOR.

For comparison, this is Alfor and Zarkon standing next to each other in another vision from the same episode:

Same armour, same cloak, same colours. It’s definitely him.

Alfor’s presence in this scene is entirely incongruous with the rest of what’s going on. We already know Zarkon piloted the Black Lion, and it’s not a stretch to imagine he used her during the war until Alfor stole her back. Without Alfor, you could read this scene as a much later vision of the Black Lion being forced to serve Zarkon in his conquests. It doesn’t make sense to see Alfor standing next to Zarkon like this… unless you assume Alfor was helping Zarkon conquer the universe and that’s why he built him the Black Lion.

Alfor was in on Zarkon’s plans. He knew Zarkon wanted to conquer the universe - and he helped him build Voltron to achieve that.

So what do we think, Voltron fam? Who’s ready to join me on the Darth Voltron dark side?

{please excuse the terrible quality of the screenshots they’re literally pics i took with my phone}

One of the things that stood out to me most about the way Kacchan’s mom treats him is that she talks about him as if he wasn’t there

He’s forced to just sit there silently while his mom belittles him in the third person. In fact, the only time she acknowledges that Kacchan is physically present is when Kacchan screams at her for hitting him–and by “acknowledgement” I mean just screams back at him. But at least, through loudness and violence, he knows he can get her attention.

I was thinking back to the Kacchan vs. Deku fight during the villain training. Kacchan’s biggest issue seemed to be the belief that Deku had been looking down on him all these years.

But the other thing that set Kacchan off the most? Despite all the physical and verbal abuse he tossed at Deku?

Believing Deku was ignoring him

I like to think that the information we’ve gotten about the american magical world comes entirely from outdated Hogwarts textbooks. like there’s a chapter in Hogwarts: a History on the wizarding school it inspired in america. and of course a bunch of it is exactly what happened…if you ignore everything that doesn’t make the old country look fabulous. Because of course the school based on Hogwarts,  founded by an Irish Immigrant, descendant of a Hogwarts founder would be the first and best and only decent wizarding school in America. Imagine teenage/early 20’s Hermione visiting the USA and realizing the chapter on Ilvermorney in “Hogwarts, a History” was  half entirely outdated and half colonial propaganda. like, she ’s in a room full of american wizards, and causally asks one which house she was in in Ilvermorny, and the other’s all, “oh, well, I actually didn’t go to Ilvermorny, I’m from Texas and I attended Nuestra Señora del los Milagros. Um…lesse, George and Ani both had after school programs, at least I know George was trained with the other magical children in his tribe, and I think Ani had a sort of cram school dojo thing she would port key to. Louise went to a magical school in New Orleans whose name I can’t pronounce right and which is pretty secretive, so you’d have to ask her about it. It definitely wasn’t one of your traditional English style boarding schools though. um, Saria is from Utah, and her no-maj school had free periods available for religious or magical studies during the school day. I think out of all of us only Sinjin and William went to Ilvermorny, but I think Sinjin was expelled for protesting the house names, fairly creatively I might add. Honestly it’s mostly upper class and traditional families that send their kids all the way to Ilvermorny nowadays, it’s just not that practical, even if you want a traditionally English magical education.”

Affordance Widths

Okay. There’s a social interaction concept that I’ve tried to convey multiple times in multiple conversations, so I’m going to just go ahead and make a graph.

I’m calling this concept “Affordance Widths”.

Let’s say there’s some behavior {B} that people can do more of, or less of. And everyone agrees that if you don’t do enough of the behavior, bad thing {X} happens; but if you do too much of the behavior, bad thing {Y} happens.

Now, let’s say we have five different people: Adam, Bob, Charles, David, and Edgar. Each of them can do more or less {B}. And once they do too little, {X} happens. But once they do too much, {Y} happens. But where {X} and {Y} starts happening is a little fuzzy, and is different for each of them. Let’s say we can magically graph it, and we get something like this:

Now, let’s look at these five men’s experiences.

Adam doesn’t understand what the big deal about {B} is. He feels like this is a behavior that people can generally choose how much they do, and yeah if they don’t do the *bare minimum* shit goes all dumb, and if they do a *ridiculous* amount then shit goes dumb a different way, but otherwise do what you want, you know?

Bob understands that {B} can be an important behavior, and that there’s a minimum acceptable level of {B} that you need to do to not suffer {X}, and a maximum amount you can get away with before you suffer {Y}. And Bob feels like {X} is probably more important a deal than {Y} is. But generally, he and Adam are going to agree quite a bit about what’s an appropriate amount of {B}ing for people to do. (Bob’s heuristic about how much {B} to do is the thin cyan line.)

Charles isn’t so lucky, by comparison. He’s got a *very* narrow band between {X} and {Y}, and he has to constantly monitor his behavior to not fall into either of them. He probably has to deal with {X} and {Y} happening a lot. If he’s lucky, he does less {B} than average; if he’s not so lucky, then he tries to copy Bob’s strategy and winds up getting smacked with {Y} way more often than Bob does.

Poor David’s in a situation called a “double bind”. There is NO POSSIBLE AMOUNT of {B} he can do to prevent both {X} and {Y} from happening; he simply has to choose his poison. If he tries Bob’s strategy, he’ll get hit hard with {X} *AND* {Y}, simultaneously, and probably be pretty pissed about it. On the other hand, if he runs into Charles, and Charles has his shit figured out, then Charles might tell him to tack into a spot where David only has to deal with {X}. Bob and Adam are going to be utterly useless to David, and are going to give advice that keeps him right in the ugly overlap zone.

Then there’s Edgar. Edgar’s fucked. There is *NO AMOUNT* of behavior that Edgar can dial into, where he isn’t getting hit HARD by {X} *and* {Y}. There’s places way out on the extreme - places where most people are getting slammed hard by {X} or slammed hard by {Y} - where Edgar notices a slight decrease in the contra failure mode. So Edgar probably spends most of his time on the edges, either doing all-B or no-B, and people probably tell him to stop being so black-and-white about B and find a good middle spot like everyone else. Edgar probably wants to punch those people, starting with Adam.

In any real situation, the affordance width is probably determined by things independent of X, Y, and B. Telling Bob to do a little more {B} than Adam, and Charles to do a little less {B} than Adam or Bob, is great advice. But David and Edgar need different advice - they need advice one meta-level up, about how to widen their affordance width between {X} and {Y} so that *some* amount of {B} will be allowed at all.

In most of the situations where this is most salient to me, {B} is a social behavior, and {X} and {Y} are punishments that people mete out to people who do not conform to correct {B}-ness. A lot of the affordance width that Adam and Bob have would probably be identified as ‘halo effects’.

For example, let’s say {B} is assertiveness in a job interview. Let’s say {X} represents coming across as socially weak, while {Y} represents coming across as arrogant. Adam probably has a lot going for him - height, age, socioeconomic background, etc. - that make him just plain *likeable*, so he can be way more assertive than Charles and seem like a go-getter, *or* seem way less assertive than Charles and seem like a good team player. Whereas David was probably born the wrong skin color and god-knows-what-else, and Edgar probably has some kind of Autism-spectrum disorder that makes *any* amount of assertiveness seem dangerous, and *any* amount of non-assertiveness seem pathetic.

There’s plenty of other values for {B}, {X} and {Y} that I could have picked; filling them in is left as an exercise for the reader.

Does this make sense to people?

anonymous asked:

Out of curiosity, who would you say is perhaps the true villain of the Stars Wars series?

It’s Palpatine.

I mean, I’m genuinely not sure how this could be in question? Sure, there are other characters who are #problematic, and a real argument could be made about institutional evil in the old Republic, but if you’re looking for a Villain, it’s Palpatine.

@ickalo​ it’s not really in-show, but on a meta level. characters who were visibly fat are now being slimmed down when drawn, notably steven greg and amethyst. i loved how the characters used to be unapologetically fat but now their once-visible fat is gone

versus

steven was intended to be a “body-positive hero” but it’s just being heavily contradicted now.

“It could use a space ship,” said the angel.
Crowley subsided a bit. “Yeah,” he said. “If you like. Anyway, this bird-”
“Only it is the end of the universe we’re talking about,” said Aziraphale. “So it’d have to be one of those space ships where your descendants are the ones who get out at the other end. You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you’ve got to-” He hesitated. “What have they got to do?”
“Sharpen its beak on the mountain,” said Crowley. “And then it flies back-”
“-in the space ship-”
And after a thousand years it goes and does it all again,“ said Crowley quickly.

I can’t believe I spent all these years without picking up on the implication that Aziraphale is enough of a sci fi nerd to be at least moderately familiar with the genre’s tropes. I understand why some people reread the book religiously like every year or so. You really DO find something new every time you look inside.

that feeling when deciding between awkward quotation mark placement as inaccessible meta-level sarcasm or lack of familiarity with basic punctuation

How to become a good student (again) 1: Slow down to speed up

Hello, fellow ex-good-student! 

If you’re anything like me, you feel this immense pressure on your shoulders, yes? You want to be good, you want to succed, you want to know more, but somehow -… somehow it just ain’t enough to actually get you to do something? Until the very last minute, that is, when all the pressure comes rushing down like a waterfall?

Ah, or perhaps that stress has driven you over the edge and you have achieved the next stage: being so stressed that you’re oddly calm again and nothing really fazes you anymore? Perhaps you have cynically accepted that this is just who you are now? Perhaps you say:

But somehow you fail to say it proudly. Somehow you’re just really unhappy with the state of things, but feel like you don’t give enough of a fuck to really change anything? 
Yes? Well, then this is the post for you!

Let me start with three observations that are less obvious than you might think: 

1) “Naturally” good students (NGS, so people, like you and me, who didn’t have to learn how to be good at school, but kinda slipped into it) are good thinkers. 

2) Good thinkers like to think.

3) Good thinkers are trouble-shooters. 

Got these three ideas lined up? Alright, let’s move on.

These two attitudes above, where do you think they come from? I’d argue it’s disillusionment. 

See, when I got to uni, I thought it would be like school - just WAY better. That would mean professors who fit their programmes around me, personally, who help my mind become sharper by letting it battle against just the right problems and getting taught how to really get to the bottom of life, to face the really Big Ideas, the Final Problems, the Why is the universe the way it is?s.
Instead, it turns out, uni is like summer holidays - just WAY worse. No one fits anything to you, personally, no one picks out just the right problems, no one connects subjects in just the way you’d like it. You’re thrown into a maelstrom of ideas and it’s up to you to do whatever the hell you’d like with them. You’re on your own, but not in the hero vs. bad guy-way, but it in the loner in a crowd-way. 

You quickly realize, uni is just a slightly filtered version of life in all its random glory and sadness. And I think that any student, anywhere, can have this epiphany at any given moment. You don’t need uni to suddenly look life in the eye and be overwhelmed by how sublime, how overwhelmingly huge it is and to realize: There’s no end goal (we know of). Just loads of open ends. An overwhelming amount of open ends, really. 

Now, what do I mean when I say that NGS (”naturally” good students) are trouble-shooters? I mean that we’re good at working well within systems. 
We like to be fed input, to take it apart, to analyze it and to see how you could perfect it even further. That’s why so many of us are drawn to video games or TV series or fictional worlds with their own reward system. We like to figure out patterns. That’s also why we were so good at school - school is a fairly easy system. 
Once you’ve seen through which lessons will be important for a test, once you notice how teachers stress certain things more than others, once you notice you really only need to pay attention in class and you’ll spare yourself so much trouble, once you notice that doing your homework actually does help, once you notice these few pillars of school, you’re set, man. 

I’d like to compare this to thinking on two different levels: a life-level (where you actually do stuff) and a meta-level (where you think about doing the stuff). My preferred analogy for this is a cube.

Ideally, you first figure out the shape of the cube (meta-level) and, once you’re comfortably settled into the system, you work within it (life-level). I’d say that most people operate this way, but NGS are …a little obsessed with this. The basic idea is that the system must first be perfect (or perfectly understood) before it is implemented, so it runs smoothly.  
This is what I mean when I say we’re trouble-shooters. We detect the trouble ahead of time and pew, pew, pew. And, as I said, this works with video games. And books. And school. And subjects. But life? Life looks a little more like this:

No one’s (yet) succeeded to fit life into this box. 
“But”, a little voice inside you says, “But I can try!” (and another, more smug voice, says “And who’s to say I’m not the one to succeed anyway?”)
And, well, I’ve got good news for you! You’ve already tried! That’s why you’re here. In limbo. 

You and I both, we’ve tried to figure out the perfect recipe for life. We tried to figure out when to best get up, when to best go to sleep, what the perfect conditions for studying are, what best to study in the first place, what artsy pursuits to keep doing to flex creativity, but to also focus on practical things and how to figure out the whole family and friends-thing and schedule it somewhere in between and maybe write a book or two. You’ve tried to create the box. I’ve tried to create the box. We both failed.
Let me show you a highly artistic representation of what your brain has looked like lately: 

Okay, fine, I’ll invest a bit more time:

There, that’s your mind. Pulling in every single direction. Is it really a surprise that you’re not going anywhere? Y’know this meme?

Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a whiny voice at the back of your head going “But picking fewer battles is defeat! I’m sure I’ll conquer it somehow!”
Well, then, let me mindslap you with the cold, hard truth: No. What you’re doing right now, that’s defeat. 

This?

This is DEFEAT. You’re not going anywhere and you’re disrespecting yourself, your mind and the subjects you’re interacting with by spending a fraction of a thought on them. You’re just using them as stepping stones. They deserve better. You deserve better. That’s why you fail to say it proudly. You know that, at some point, you looked at the big, huge mess that is life, realized “I won’t figure this out” and said “Well, I’ll stop trying, I guess.”

I’ll talk more about this in my “Yearn for friendship”-post, but for now, the main take-away is:

You won’t be done with figuring out life any time soon.

So, don’t think “I want to be done with this.”

Think “I want to be doing this.”

Step out of the meta-level into the life-level. It’s okay not to perfectly understand life right now. You’ll figure it out.Trust me, you’ll figure it out. But only by doing things.

Because, see, NGS may be trouble-shooters, but the trouble-shooting isn’t the fun part. It’s the first step to entering a magical world with which you can interact, be it maths, or Middle Earth, or a birthday party. 
We like to think. 
And you’ve been depriving yourself of the fun of thinking by thinking you have to do it in a perfect way. 

“But what if it’s not perfect?”
That’s okay. You’ll get better. And something imperfect that’s striving to be good is always better than nothing at all. Some things you figure out by doing. Life is one of those things. Imagine you’re in a dark street and you want to illuminate it. You can either miserably sit in darkness and try to figure out a way to turn on all lights at once, or you can start with one and let the sight of snowflakes or petals welling up underneath it give you strength for the next. Allow yourself little successes. Allow yourself to have fun with imperfect things. Make the first step. Let it give you strength for the next.”

“But what if I lose time?”

“Be patient. Life will literally last all your life. This is as much time as you’re ever gonna get. Allow yourself to take this time and to take it slow. Again: think not about getting it done, but about the joy of doing it. Time spent doing the thing you love is never lost time. Put the pressure of your shoulders. Trust me, if you take it slow, your brain will speed up because it has breathing room.
Let me repeat this:
If you take it slow
your brain will speed up.

So, allow your brain to think like this:

(or at least like this:

Be patient. I cannot stress this enough. Be. Patient.
Time is not your enemy that you have to outrace. Time is your partner, whom you have to trust. Time helps you to grow. Time helps you to understand. Time literally helps you to BE. 
For me, the phrase that really struck a chord with me somehow was
I will grow as my hair did”, because it a) shows how long it can take for tiny changes to become visible, and how b) they do become visible in the end.)

“But I don’t want to completely lose my grip on the meta-level! I don’t just want to blindly run into one direction!”

“I get you. So did I. So here’s what I did: I made a pact with myself. 
On the 25th of every month (because my birthday is on the 25th, but pick whichever day you like best), I ascend to the meta-level and critically assess my own situation. 
I exit the cube and check if I like what the cube looks like right now. 
No? Okay, time to introduce some big changes. 
Yes? Okay, carry on as before. 
I actually wrote down basic rules for what life in the cube looks like (when to do laundry, etc.), so I wouldn’t have to worry about it during the month and let me tell you, it works great. During the month, I just let my mind slice and dice away (I’ll talk more about the mind as a weapon in the next post) and once a month, I check if I like the results. For me, at least, it’s the perfect arrangement. 

So, be patient. And watch Hyouka - it’s about this very struggle and the MC slowly realizes that, sometimes, it’s worth to spend energy, mind-power and time on certain things. Some things… just take time. And that’s okay.

Grow as your hair does.

(Here’s the masterpost for all the posts in this series: x)

(Part 2)