If you want to live in a “Children of the Corn”-style bubble of innocence and purity, well, to me, that’s a startling approach to adolescence, but every generation’s got to find its own way to reject the one before, so: do as you will. But you can’t bring the bubble to the party, kids. Fandom, established media-style fandom, was by and for adults before some of your parents were born now. You don’t get to show up and demand that everyone suddenly change their ways because you’re a minor and you want to enjoy the benefits of adult creative activity without the bits that make you uncomfortable. If you think you’re old enough to be roaming the Internet unsupervised, then you also think you’re old enough to be working out your limits by experience, like everybody else, like I did when I was underage and lying about it online. If you’re not old enough to be roaming the Internet unsupervised and you’re doing it anyway, then that’s on your parents, not on fandom.
If you were only reading fic rated G on AO3, if you had the various safe modes on other media enabled, you would be encountering very little disturbing material, anyway (at least in the crude way people tend to define “disturbing” these days; some of the most frankly horrifying art I have ever engaged with would have been rated PG at most under present systems, but none of that kind of work ever seems to draw your protests). In the end, what you really want is to be able to seek out the edges of your little world, but be able to blame other people when you don’t like what you find. Sorry. Adolescence is when you get to stop expecting others to pad your world for you and start experiencing the actual consequences of the risks you take, including feeling appalled and revolted at what other people think and feel.
Now, ironically, fandom’s actually a fairly good place for such risk-taking, as, for the most part, you control whether you engage and you can choose the level of your engagement. You can leave a site, blacklist something, stop reading an author, walk away from your computer. Are there actual people (as opposed to works of art, which cannot engage with you unless you engage with them) who will take advantage of you in fandom? Of course there are. Unfortunately, such people are everywhere. They will be there however “innocent” and “wholesome” the environment appears to be, superficially. That’s evil for you. There are abusers in elementary school. There are abusers in scout troops. There are abusers in houses of worship. Shutting down adult creative activity because you happen to be in the vicinity isn’t going to change any of that. It may help you avoid some of those icky feelings that you get when you think about sex (and you live in a rape culture, those feelings are actually understandable, even if your coping techniques are terrible), but no one, except maybe your parents, has a moral imperative to help you avoid those.
In the end, you’re not my kid and you’re not my intended audience. I’m under no obligation to imagine only healthy, wholesome relationships between people for your benefit. Until you’re old enough to understand that the world is not exclusively made up of people whose responsibility it is to protect you from your own decisions, yes, you’re too young for established media fandom. Fandom shouldn’t be “friendly” to you.
Where polyamory gets it right, in my book, is when jealousy is accepted as just an emotion with no moral imperative, and it is embraced as an opportunity to identify, express, and meet one’s own needs better. Those needs can range from wanting to have more time with a partner, or more sex, or more help with kids, and so on.
I kept wondering why I immensely dislike the ‘how dare Padme be written as losing the will to live!!!’ posts that unfortunately swarm this place, for reasons other than the fact that I adore tragedies and Tumblr seems to have an allergy toward them.
And then it clicked, when I saw post #5491 along the lines of ‘she had two beautiful babies.’ That’s what drives me up the wall – the idea that women and female characters by extension must have some sort of overriding moral imperative to live for the sake of their children, otherwise they’re not worthwhile as characters or ‘written well.’ I grew up in a conservative Christian society and people’s idea of helping me get through suicidal ideation was ‘think of the babies you’ll have and how happy they’ll make you when you learn to live for them!’ No wonder Tumblr and its screechy hatred for Padme’s death makes my hair stand on end, when it’s turned into ‘but what about the baybeeeez!’ nonsense.
Unpopular opinion: I think that, to Padme, her husband and the Republic carried more value. I’m not saying that she didn’t love her children – no, she loved them fiercely, enough to fight the odds, cling to life a little bit more and name them. But this love was likely not enough to offset the blows and the grievous harm caused by the loss of both Anakin and the Republic. Add in the very real possibility of Sidious meddling and you end up with a foregone conclusion. But that would entail her being a complex, flawed and perhaps somewhat selfish person (gasp!), when it came to the things close to her heart, instead of a wholly pure, angelic figure who was supposed to live for the sake of her children, like every Virtuous Mother should. Supposedly progressive people coming at something from the same angle as religious conservatives is the thing guaranteed to always make me angry.
There’s also this obsession on here to claim that Padme was supposed to be some sort of Leia 2.0 were it not for ‘that dastardly Lucas.’ And my God, does that shit ever irk me – it reduces the category ‘female heroines’, which is supposed to be incredibly broad and diverse, to a narrow archetype: they’re supposed to be fiery, snappy, with a spine made of titanium and they’re not supposed to ever fall apart or give up, ever, otherwise they’re badly-written characters.
The public’s inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite makes it difficult to organize effective resistance. Compliant politicians, entertainers, and our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture and news media hold up the elites as leaders to emulate. We are repeatedly assured that through diligence and hard work we can join them. We are taught to equate wealth with success. This narrative keeps us from seeing the truth.
Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion The Moral Imperative of Revolt
why Voltron’s queerbaiting is particularly loathesome
because they’re choosing to write the story this way
see here’s the thing, these folks clearly recognize the moral imperative of lgbt representation in media, particularly children’s media. we know this because they’ve done it before with Korra, and they’ve been exposed to heartfelt reactions to lgbt people seeing their reflection in stories
they know this, and they still made the choices they made
what this means: their creative choices have all been made with the knowledge that they hold the power to communicate literally life-saving diversity in their stories, and they’ve chosen not to. and their defense is that it’s a writing decision they’ve made, because @voltron is a fictional construct and everything that happens in that story is a choice that the writers have made
the message from the @voltron crew is unmistakeable: storytelling aesthetic is more important than the actual lives of real queer children
WHO SHOULD I FIGHT: THE PENUMBRA PODCAST EDITION (FEAT. ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE)
(why? why?????? would you ask this???)
JUNO STEEL who wins: him are you kidding me? the lady is a brawler with a legitimate death wish. also, why would you? enough people are already trying to fight him. you don’t need to, unless you’re peter nureyev and no matter what he’s into, peter, I’d really rather the two of you just talked this out. he’s already fighting himself anyway. someone please stop him.
PETER NUREYEV who wins: him ???? he’s made of knives and death and charmingly sharp teeth and a distinctly warped moral compass. and apparently you just tried to fight juno. to be avoided if you’ve ever considered genocide and/or cheating him at cards.
RITA who w no you know what I’m not finishing that, don’t you dare, don’t you fucking dare. there is no possible justification. also, juno would annihilate you before you even lifted a finger. so would I. so would all of us.
CECIL KANAGAWA who wins: you, in the ways that matter in all probability you’ll get pounded by his security and your horrible death broadcast on TV afterwards, but apparently people have gotten away with fighting him more than once, and you know what? it’s worth it. it’s so worth it.
CASSANDRA KANAGAWA who wins: uncertain there’s a lot of simmering resentment and barely restrained fury and angry rock aesthetic going on here that suggests a challenging fight. and she did technically kill a dude. however, if you do win, way to kick a girl while she’s down. you asshole.
MIN KANAGAWA who wins: me like cecil, but even more so in every possible way. I live for the day when I get to see someone fight min kanagawa.
JULIAN DIMAGGIO who wins: you I can’t imagine any possible reason why you’d want to, unless you are yourself currently a struggling actor and/or barista, but I’m guessing you’d win.
ALESSANDRA STRONG who wins: her you, tumblr user and podcast listener, versus alessandra, space war veteran, badass private eye, and possessor of a right hook that can floor multiple people simultaneously? anyway, you know deep down that you don’t deserve to fight her. none of us do.
MICK MERCURY who wins: you it’d be an easy fight, but you’re not gonna get any satisfaction out of it. and he’s just going to bounce right back afterwards and keep on going as optimistically as he ever has and quite possibly buy you a drink. you might as well leave the hetero be.
SASHA WIRE who wins: don’t make me laugh sasha wire killed a person in her sleep after having a hole lasered into her chest. sasha wire fought hyperion city and won. sasha wire wears sunglasses indoors and no one, ever, not even once, has considered questioning her. the moment you think about fighting her she’s already beaten you.
VALLES VICKY who wins: her you should definitely fight vicky just because I’m pretty sure she’d enjoy the hell out of the attempt, but you’re never going to win and you should know that already.
INGRID LAKE who wins: depends on preparation despite her violent criminal past it doesn’t seem like it’s particularly hard to physically overpower her. however, if she has already decided that she wants to fight you, she is very good at convoluted murder scenarios, and your odds are severely diminished.
CAPTAIN KHAN who wins: probably him noir treats him about as kindly as it does any cop but listen, he’s a good guy who seems to be laying out some serious asskicking among criminals despite having a totally corrupt force. if necessity arises, I suspect his moustache is his weak point.
BROCK ENGSTROM who wins: you if you catch the smug old man when he doesn’t have someone around to do his fighting for him, he won’t stand a chance. do it.
VALENCIA who wins: her juno steel may have beaten her, but you’re not juno steel. unless you are. is that why you wanted to fight yourself? if you are juno, you’ve already fought just about everyone on this list and I’m not sure why you’re reading it. also, I’d like to have Words with you about some of your recent decisions.
MIASMA who wins: her do you have a bomb that specifically targets her genetic code? no? ahahaha. good luck, buddy. you’re soup now.
MAG who wins: nobody there’s no question that there’s a moral imperative to fight mag. but you’re going to cry, and peter’s going to cry, and it’s entirely possible that mag will cry, and at the end everyone’s just going to feel sick and tired of lies and suffering and manipulation and dad jokes. or they’ll be dead.
CHANCE SEQUOYAH who wins: her this is the worst possible idea??? first of all, she can and will shoot you, and then she’ll take your stuff just to add insult to injury. also, if you fight her, then her wife is going to show up and probably murder you. it’s canon.
MARY ANNE SEQUOYAH who wins: her first of all, if you want to fight her, you’ll have to go through me first. then she will destroy you in a well-bred, morally outraged, and ladylike manner, probably while Chance stands in the background laughing.
BEAU RICHMOND who wins: all of us oh my god. oh my god please fight him. let me bring popcorn.
JOE NIX who wins: him we’re talking about apparently a legitimate serial murderer and sadistic criminal here, so I’m feeling that your odds are probably not great. on the other hand, he’s a scumbag and he needs to be punched. the choice is yours.
MARC who wins: him good lord did you even hear how goddamn tenacious this man is? he can duel the shit out of people while lying on his back. if you think you’ve beat him he’ll just come back and annoy you into submission. also, he talks to his horse, a clear sign of a dangerous foe.
TALFRYN who wins: probably you if you work out sure, he’s got a sword, but presuming this is a good old hand to hand fight you have a chance because he’s definitely not all that into it so you might as well give it a try.
SIR CAROLINE who wins: her only enter this fight if, like juno steel, you find the idea of being beaten to within an inch of your life by people who you find attractive (specifically including ladies) to be appealing. if that’s the case, this is the best fight you can possibly choose.
This last week at the borzoi nationals, I realized just how far I’ve come in the last four years, how much I’ve learned and how much I still have to learn!
I have a lot of half-baked ideas. I’m looking for people from all breeds to pitch in and see if we can make / build something awesome.
The Problems: Dog sports are aging out. All you have to do is attend any event and see that the ratio of young to older people is *heavily* towards older people.
Us young people have grown up in an era where “Adopt Don’t Shop” is practically a moral imperative. Those of us who actively choose to move towards purebred dogs face a lot of stigma from our peers.
Very few of us have solid connections into the dog world. So we turn to google to find breeders. Unfortunately, the mediocre and worse breeders are the ones who tend to have the best websites with the best SEO. Combine with the fact that even if you do locate a quality breeder, most will not take a chance in any form on a newbie, and you get newbies who get suboptimal specimens who enter the breed or performance ring(s) with NO idea of how to handle their dogs and no resources for improvement and get burned out quickly.
The Dog World Establishment is pretty damn cliquey. If you get a dog from a disreputable or not well liked breeder, odds are good you’re not going to be welcomed into any fold with very open arms.
Learning dog conformation IS HARD AF. There are A LOT OF PIECES and finding someone who is not kennel blind enough to be able to be less biased and more straight forward about what makes a good / bad dog or not AND who is able to analyze, break down and communicate effectively to someone who has NO foundation or baseline for understanding this stuff is at this point pure luck.
Learning handling skills is HARD AF. And again. Unless you find someone WILLING to help you in the first place who also has the skills to analyze, break down and communicate to you small pieces of what you need to work on at a time, you’re up shit creek.
Learning how to effectively train a WORKING quality dog is a whole new experience from the pets you’ve had before who are fine just laying on the couch and easy enough to teach basic domestics. When you get a dog that’s smart, devious and has a temperament designed for having a job of some kind, everything escalates. And if you don’t know where to go for that kind of serious training (read: not petco level training), puppyhood can be super challenging.
We need a network of people who are available to mentor and help newbies. Regional, or better yet, state lists of GOOD obedience and handling classes perfect for people who are new. Lists of TALENTED mentors by breed who can teach from the ground up what makes a good dog, how to read breed standards and how to identify good breeders.
I think ideally, you should work with someone who ISN’T in the breed you’re shooting for, but has experience in that group. I was lucky enough to find an experienced sighthound owner who has been an incredible, analytical mentor who has helped me to understand, see and feel the mechanics of a functional dog in all breeds, sighthounds specifically and we’ve learned borzoi together. In shadowing her search for a silken breeder, I’ve learned so much about what I should have done and am doing for my next borzoi breeder. We need to identify people like those in any and all breeds that are willing to work with enthusiastic greenies like I was. Or else all this knowledge and expertise dies out. And WHAT A WASTE that would be!
I don’t know how to go about this or where to begin. I’m also terrible at effective tagging.
But I think this is a start. IF YOU ARE A PROSPECTIVE DOG WORLD NOVICE IN THE SEATTLE AREA, please know that I’m available to you. I will hook you up with the school and trainer I assist and teach at and with. Don’t be discouraged. This world is a hard nut to crack. The good news is us younger folks are pretty sick, by and large, of The Establishment in any arena and just want to learn and contribute. I think we can stand to change the culture of the dog world for the better. There’s a lot to learn and it’s SO REWARDING. I would hate to see this world die away and out.
Let’s get a conversation going on how to make this shit better.
if you’re seriously asking ‘why are so many cis lesbians terfs’ then maybe take a moment and think about why women exclusively attracted to other women might object to the abrupt appearance of a new moral imperative to artificially fabricate attraction based on ideas of political righteousness and ideological purity, essentially a rebranding of the eternal hetero-patriarchal refusal to let women have the last word on their own expressions of sexuality, love and affection, forcing them to alienate themselves from their own instincts and essentially pushing them back into the closet even in lgbt+ spaces because to be honest about their sexuality will get them branded a bigot, up until the moment they absolutely have had enough so find community with likeminded women who aren’t telling them to ‘unlearn’ and ‘examine’ their unnatural dislike of male bodies, as if mainstream culture was ever supporting the beauty and joy of female love to the extent that it could possibly be an internalised mistake and not an authentic expression of desire
and then maybe find a mean terf lesbian u were mad at and go send an apology on anon??
Serious question: how to recognize if one is Fi or Fe in a simple way
some Fi vs Fe litmus tests:
1) do you objectively analyze and engage in in-depth criticism of the things you like and encourage others to do the same? basically, can you distinguish “Good Thing” from “Thing I Like” (or does the difference confuse you)?
yes = Fe; no = Fi
2) does ideological purity in media matter (whatever your ideals are)? do you ever invent headcanons/explanations for why the media you like fills these personal requirements? (i.e. altering or interpreting canon characters’ race, gender or sexuality to make the cast more inclusive)
yes = Fi; no = Fe
3) would you be able to be close friends/voluntarily associated with someone you /genuinely/ consider to be a shitty person or whose core values are completely contrary to your own?
yes = Fe; no = Fi
4) do you a) attempt to convince people by appealing to their viewpoint, empathizing with them, or otherwise demonstrating that you understand their perspective? alternatively, do you caricaturize or make fun of their perspective for being poorly thought out, inconsistent, or “clueless”?
or do you b) tend more towards stating what you consider to be moral or logical imperatives that they should adhere to? alternatively, do you ever use guilt as a tactic or mock people for being illogical/childish?
a = Fe; b = Fi
anyone else feel free to add on, I had four hours of sleep last night and I’m sure there’s more important stuff I forgot
I feel like anti-Jyn people fail to consider that Cassian is being a bit unfair with the 'luxury of caring' line (which happens, he's angry at that moment) and take it at face value like they do with Jyn's 'it's not a problem if you don't look up' line
I'm sorry if you've already answered this, but what's the deal with Mandalorian society and sexuality? Would a larger portion of the population be of one sexuality than others? Would sexuality be the same as we know it since they don't recognize gender? etc
I’m sorry for the delay in answering this !! I haven’t actually answered / addressed this topic quite just yet, bc they’re both easy and difficult questions to answer, if that makes sense.
So I’m gonna do the short/long again.
The Short Answer to the three questions is this: Mandalorians don’t care about your sexuality inasmuch as, within mandalorian community and society, specifically, it’s not a big deal — or any deal, at all. And because there is no compulsive heteronormativity, and because mandalorians as a society have a heavy emphasis on adoption and sharing the burden of child rearing with the entire clan, the population’s sexuality should not skew in any specific way.
If I had to guess, I would suggest that the society leans more bi/pan, if only because there’s no stigmatization to be tied in with a gender binary that doesn’t exist to them. Ideally, though, I would think that there would be equal representation of every combination, and every iteration, of relationship under the sun — so long as everyone involved are consenting fully-grown adults.
The long answer is … it’s complicated.
The thing is … uniquely, as a society, mandalorians don’t recognize gender in the same way that we do. So, it’s safe to assume that sexuality is dependent entirely on each individual’s personal frame of attraction. Procreation via popping out babies (crude, I know but u kno) would not take such a strong focus or precedence or moral imperative because mandalorians don’t just accept adoption as an option — mandalorian society strictly enforces the legal equality of adoption.
That is, the negative attitudes surrounding adoption just don’t exist. And because they don’t exist, the societal pressures tied up in maintaining a blood line disappear.
Our society’s understanding of sexuality is, in part, highly contingent on the framework of the gender binary and the nuclear family. I would even go so far as to suggest that a heavy skew towards a cis-centric heterosexual population is, at least in part, due to the homophobia inherent in a heteronormative society. And none of these things exist in mandalorian society.
Thus it’s hard to say if sexuality would still resemble sexuality as we know it, or if it would take a completely different definition or range, or if it would be somewhere in-between. After all, mandalorian society is not one that is wholly isolated, as it’s hard to be so when so many societies are interconnected by necessity and diplomatic allegiances across the known galaxy — and the rest of the Galaxy Far Far Away seems to have the machinations of sexism and homophobia still in place (whether or not you want to chalk that up to writers imposing their internalized sexism / homophobia on the material, knowingly or otherwise, is up to you). So even if these terms and way of thinking aren’t natural to mandalorians, that doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t be present at all.
That said, I’m of the opinion that the general mandalorian society may actually skew in the direction of pansexual/bisexual.
Explanation going under the cut, because this got … very long.
Both Ones and Eights are in the Instinctive Triad, both have strong wills, both are action-oriented, and both have strong notions about how to do things. However, Ones try to convince others to do the right thing (as they see it) from the standpoint of a moral imperative–because it is the right thing to do. They try to logically convince the other of the soundness of their views, but become irritated and less logical when others resists their reasoning. Eights, on the other hand, rely on their own self-confidence, and attempt to sway others by their gutsy convictions and sheer personal charisma. (“I don’t know if it’s the right way, but it’s my way.”) Ones try toconvert those who resist them: Eights try to power through them.
The greatest misunderstanding between these two types involves their concern with justice, although the nature of their sense of justice can be quite different. Ones hold justice as an extremely important value–many judges, attorneys, advocates, and criminal prosecutors actually are Ones. Ones think a great deal about issues of providing suitable standards for human beings and about the specifics of how to administer a fair and equitable system. Ones at all Levels of Development refer to justice and think that they seek justice (no matter how skewed their interpretation of it may become). In any case, justice is a matter of principles–part of their idealism. They strive after justice and want to rectify injustices wherever they find them because, among other reasons, to do otherwise would be to fail to live up to their high moral standards and make them feel guilty.
In Eights, justice is more of a visceral response, a reaction to witnessing injustices occurring. Eights, generally speaking, do not walk around thinking about these matters, but if they saw a helpless person being harmed or bullied by others, without thinking about it, Eights would rush in to “level the playing field.” For Eights, justice has little to do with abstract principles. Eights see themselves as protectors of others, and when they are healthy, they actually are. Eights are more likely to seek justice for “their people"–their family, friends, co-workers, ethnic group, and so forth. It is usually expressed in a concern that those in their care (or under their power and authority) be treated fairly. The cowboy marshal protecting the town against criminals and the union chief negotiating a just wage for the rank and file are examples of this more restricted concern for justice. With Eights, the sense of justice usually involves addressing an imbalance of power. This is quite different from the One who seeks to make sure that people are appropriately rewarded for good actions and punished for bad ones.
Of course, in their unhealthy manifestations, both types can be extremelyunjust. Ones will still believe that they are being fair–the punishments they are meting out are for the good of the person being punished, or at the very least, for the good of society. Ones feel they need to rationalize their punitive activities. Eights do not. For unhealthy Eights, administering justice is simply meting out vengeance. ("You hurt me or my people, and I’ll destroy you.” “He ripped me off. Now he has to pay.”) Needless to say, others may question the “justice” in either of these types’ unhealthy behavior.
The confusion between Eights and Ones probably also stems from the fact that some Ones may misidentify themselves as Eights since they would like to have the authority and influence of Eights. They may also recognize that they have aggressive impulses and misidentify themselves as an “aggressive type,” although they are really compliant to their ideals; the Eight is the true aggressive type par excellence. On the other hand, Eights almost never misidentify themselves as Ones, viewing Ones as lily-livered and bloodless–moral only because they are too weak to be strong. Although Eights themselves are unlikely to think they are Ones, other people sometimes misidentify Eights as Ones because they see them as reformers. But clearly, many natural leaders, including Eights, lead reforms when they are needed. Contrasting Ones such as Pope John Paul II, Ralph Nader, and Hilary Clinton with Eights such as Lee Iococca, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Barbara Walters gives a vivid sense of their differences.
Staff at United Nations Headquarters in NYC observe a moment of silence in solidarity with the Syrian people.
Colleagues held up photos of a six-year-old Syrian child as a symbolic marker of the number of years the conflict has been raging – and to put real faces of those most affected by the violence at the center of the action.
“For six years now, the Syria people have been victims of one of the worst conflicts of our time,” said Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday. “Peace in Syria is a moral and political imperative both for the Syrian people and for the world – an imperative that cannot wait."
Are you still doing the Animorphs reviews? If so, Megamorphs 3: Elfangor's Secret.
Short opinion: One of my friends was gently poking fun at me for reading trashy sci fi paperbacks meant for small children*, so I read the scene from the beach on D-Day aloud to the whole room. No one has poked fun at my reading material since then, and two people have since asked to borrow my copies of the series.
Elfangor’s Secret might have the most social commentary of any book in the entire series—even #9 and #40 pale in comparison—but it delivers that commentary in a way that is subtle, nuanced, and doesn’t resort to black-and-white thinking. The way it accomplishes that goal is through using the opening scene to suggest that even Our Intrepid Heroes have the potential to develop some incredibly toxic ideas if raised in a society that sufficiently encourages them.
Tobias opens the book by wistfully watching some humans slaves (apparently) enjoying themselves, because in this universe he’s an ignorant little jerk who has been taught not to consider the extreme drawbacks of being enslaved and can only see that the slaves get to be on the beach while he does not. Marco is living with two healthy, engaged parents and his very own Pong system… at the expense of referring to people of Latino descent as “jungle rats” (MM3). Cassie is at least kind to her slaves, which doesn’t exactly nullify the fact that SHE OWNS SEVERAL SLAVES. Ax and Rachel end up outside of the Racist Hatefest for different reasons (Rachel, at least, tried to fight back—go Rachel). Jake engages in so much xenophobic, narcissistic, paranoid posturing that he might as well be POTUS wearing his insecurities printed on a t-shirt. Although the book’s narration doesn’t excuse his behavior, it does explain why he’s so desperate to fit in with the status quo: in Nazi America, he has grown up his entire life being told that he is inferior because of his “Jewish blood” (MM4).
This book wastes no time at all in thoroughly condemning everything from Jake’s contempt for other races to Cassie’s and Tobias’s willingness to minimize the horror of slavery. It shows that in a world where the U.S. doesn’t take advantage of the innovative ability of all its residents—regardless of race or religion or nationality—its technology and economy not only don’t advance but actually backslide by several decades. Not only does the book condemn the atrocity of imperially-driven foreign war, but it actually lampoons the concept by showing the idiocy of Jake and Marco being so concerned with whether “decent” people own all the land in Brazil when they have much bigger concerns like, say, the impending annihilation of their entire species by the yeerks. But the opening sequence also shows how easy it is to slide into that kind of counterfactual thinking.
The Animorphs aren’t inherently bad people (well, maybe—but that’s a debate for another time) but they develop a lot of truly atrocious ideas when they’ve grown up their whole lives drinking the poison of their uber-nationalist white-supremacist government. It’s the same poison that the Princeton student who can’t see beyond Cassie’s skin color long enough to treat her as a human being has been drinking all his life. The same poison that makes several hundred English archers believe their only path to glory or meaning in life is through slaughtering hundreds of French knights as a part of some conflict they don’t even understand. The same poison that drives the Nazi soldiers to try and conquer the world so they can wipe out anyone who doesn’t look like them. The same poison that makes the sailors at Trafalgar look at Rachel as an object not a person. The same poison that causes Visser Four to view the humans as livestock to be corralled or slaughtered.
However, as disturbing as this book is in its portrayals of nationalism and racism, it also shows that anyone who is willing to overlook surface differences not only can but must fight back. As horrifying as Nazi America is in the first scene, it is still a world in which Rachel is definitely a “subversive” and Cassie is probably on her way to becoming one as well. When Tobias first pops up in Princeton in the 1930s, he gets a skin-crawly sense of wrongness at the realization that 100% of the students are white males even though he himself has the necessary privilege to “belong” there. Marco describes his own decision to kill Visser Four as a “stain on the conscience,” correctly realizing that just because the yeerk isn’t human doesn’t mean that he isn’t killing a sentient being, much less an unarmed prisoner of war—and even then he only kills Visser Four quickly to spare the yeerk a slow death. Ax spends a lot of this book desperately trying to find some greater meaning in the battles he witnesses, but after Rachel describes the Holocaust to him he comes to the realization that sometimes the only way to stop an unthinkable wrong from happening is through committing a wrong as well.
The ordinary humans themselves also come out of the woodwork to protest the divisions between them. The one Princeton student, Friedman, immediately speaks up on Cassie’s behalf when Davis addresses her with a racial slur. Ax is moved by the devastating kindness of “Doc,” an Allied soldier who dies trying to comfort a fatally injured comrade. Adolph Hitler himself, raised in a world different from the one that let him become a demagogue, is a humble truck driver who hesitates to shoot an alien he doesn’t know anything about. All of these people—and the Animorphs themselves—face a choice. They can do what is easy, through accepting the message that they are somehow superior simply because of their birth status or national identity. Or they can do what is right, through fighting back against those divisions long enough to reach out to their fellow humans and make radical steps toward peace.
*Just to be clear: I am not in any way implying that the Animorphs books aren’t trashy sci fi paperbacks meant for small children. They were literally commissioned as a marketing tactic to sell AniTV and transformer toys to kids, they use alien species and fictional technologies to ask important questions about the boundary conditions of humanity, they were all (except Visser) published straight to paperback, and they are deliberately written in a way that children as young as six or seven can enjoy but also learn from them. I’m saying that the fact that they are trashy sci fi paperbacks meant for small children does not in any way preclude them from having extreme violence, literary merit, or moral imperatives.
To be a strong woman, to be a fierce woman, to be a true woman, to be a leader, to be truly powerful, you have to get to place where you can tolerate people not liking you. And know that when you actually do that, you have to fall back on your own moral imperative in your own moral trunk and say, ‘I don’t care, this is what I believe. This is who I am.’
All the terfs getting all pissing mad over trans women being like “wow Hugh Hefner didn’t want me dead? Nice” maybe if you guys hadn’t gotten in bed with the people that wanted trans women dead back in the day (and still do) the standards for what stands as progressive for the trans community wouldn’t be so low?
I’m just saying lmao you guys helped create this situation by making the extermination of all trans women the moral imperative of most of second wave (and a frightening portion of radical feminists now), against the wishes of Dworkin and others. No wonder the bar doesn’t go higher than “doesn’t treat us like vermin”