organic principles

Let’s talk about the elements!

I’ve written a lot about the seven classical planets and celestial/cosmic witchcraft. I think it’s time to bring things a bit more down to earth, though!

This is a new two-part series! It will focus on the natural elements as understood by the Western Magical Tradition.

In today’s article, I’ll be explaining a bit about the history of these concepts and how I see them. I hope you find this interesting and informative!

Thinking About the Elements

Elements are one of the first concepts I learned when beginning a journey into witchcraft. 

But! How do we view the elements as concepts? Lets consider how they relate to us and the whole universe. Here’s my views!

Some believe the elements are simply words for natural phenomena.
In other words, Fire is fire - the burning of a campfire or candle, or another flame. Water would always be something like a stream, the ocean or other liquid. I don’t see it this way. They’re far more complex than that!

The four elements stem the observations of ancient philosophers. These thinkers guessed that these substances were the building blocks of physical reality. Of course, they were wrong! In reality, atoms comprise matter. Matter and energy, then, make up the physical universe. 

We could associate four classical elements with the four states of matter. These are solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. They’d correspond to earth, water, air, and fire in turn. This is a very simplified view, though!

These concepts were fundamental to the ancients. A wealth of lore has developed around them. They have grown into complex metaphors for aspects of the human condition. The physical manifestations of the elements have become potent symbols. 

They represent various mental and emotional phenomena. Symbols are important in witchcraft. The way I see it, all tools of the Craft are symbols used to connect with larger forces that work within the universe.

The elements themselves, and their attributions, are in fact, somewhat arbitrary. This means that each of us will have a different idea of what each element represents!

There’s nothing wrong with this, though. The point is to use them as symbols. What they symbolize to you is your own business!

Qualifying the Elements

In the Western Magical Tradition, there are four core (classical) elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  

Some traditions do posit a fifth element called the quintessence, also known as Spirit or Aether. This fifth element stands apart from the other four, as it doesn’t behave in the same way.  

I’ll be focusing on these four, not on the quintessence. Spirit as an element is a very large topic best suited for its own series of articles.

Alchemical thinkers have placed these four into categories. . They’re quite useful for understanding the system. 

Each element is either “hot” or “cold,” as well as either “dry,” or “wet.”

This doesn’t describe the physical qualities of the phenomena in question. Rather, these terms are metaphors. They refer to the roles taken by the concepts each element embodies.

Hot and Cold Elements

Hot elements are active in human existence. 

They stand for concepts that penetrate and alter the world around them.
An outdated way of putting this would be to describe them as “masculine.” This comes from historical stereotypes about gender. I tend to use the term “active” to describe hot elements. That’s Fire and Air.

Cold elements are passive and receptive. 

They represent concepts from which we draw nourishment. They are the structure or substance that forms our mental landscape. The hot elements tend to be the essence or organizing principle. 

Cold elements are often stereotyped as “feminine.“  They are Water and Earth, both of which play a nourishing role in human existence.

Wet and Dry Elements

Dryness as a concept within the Western Magical Tradition refers to a fixed state. In other words, the dry elements are things that don’t often change. These elements are full of stability. 

The key feature of a dry element is lack of intense motion. We can depend on the stable parts of our existence, represented by these elements.

The dry elements are Fire and Earth. It may seem strange to call fire stable, but it is a reliable source of warmth to us. It represents a constant feature of human life.

When we speak of wet elements, we mean the two elements that aren’t fixed. In other words, elements that flow ,change and transform. It is the concepts associated with these elements that drive the changes. They are reliable, but only insofar as change, itself, is something to rely on! 

The wet elements are Air and Water. Both are natural features that shift and flow through our lives. The inclusion of Air as a wet element shows that these are metaphorical, not literal terms.

Much more could be said about how people have described the elements throughout time. The above image shows the alchemical view of how the elements can combine to create secondary principles. 

As you might guess, “fixed” and “volatile” here stand for what we’ve been calling “passive” and “active.” If you want to know more about these further topics, I recommend Robert Bartlett’s book, True Alchemy. 

The entire concept of the elements is a metaphor, though. It’s a metaphor that can work for you. It can help with your Craft, and help you connect with the universe. I’ll be posting the next article tomorrow! In that, I’ll be discussing each element in detail.

MBTI Types’ Shadow

“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.” ~ Carl Jung

ESTP

Flexible and tolerant, they take a pragmatic approach focused on immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them – they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focus on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoy each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoy material comforts and style. Learn best through doing.

  • ESTP  Shadow: ISTJ.
    Can become stubborn about their perception of the past and fixated on its relation to the present (Si). Can become critical, disgruntled with disorder, illogical, or inefficiency (Te). Rigidly following a belief system or what they personally think is important, with accompanying childish and/or selfish behaviour (Fi). Over-reading between the lines, often misinterpreting someone’s actions and seeing negative intentions where there are none (Ne).

ISTP

Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyze what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.

  • ISTP Shadow: ESTJ
    Can become stubborn about organising things and insist on a systematic approach (Te). Prefer not to focus on the past but can be quite critical of past performances and overuse negative experiences to inform decisions (Si). Interpret situations in a naive way, inferring malice where none exists (Ne). Spend money and time on things that are unimportant and care little about the value of things (Fi).

ESFP

Outgoing, friendly, and accepting. Exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts. Enjoy working with others to make things happen. Bring common sense and a realistic approach to their work, and make work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments. Learn best by trying a new skill with other people.

  • ESFP Shadow: ISFJ
    Can become stubborn about their perception of the past and fixated on its relation to the present (Si). Can be quite critical and disgruntled about the expectations of the group to the point of rebellion and disengaging (Fe). May make statements or believe in ideas that are contradictory and illogical (Ti). Over-reading between the lines, often misinterpreting someone’s actions and seeing negative intentions where there are none (Ne).

ISFP

Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.

  • ISFP Shadow: ESFJ
    Stubborn about how others affect them and resist being pulled into being responsible for others feelings and choices (Fe). Prefer not to focus on the past but can be quite critical of past performances and overuse negative experiences to inform decisions (Si). Interpret situations in a naive way, inferring malice where none exists (Ne). Caught up in pointing out others’ inconsistencies, with a dogmatic tendency to adhere to one principle rather than seeing its distinctions (Ti).

ESTJ

Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.

  • ESTJ Shadow: ISTP
    Can be stubborn about the models and principles they’ve adopted, categorising everything simplistically and robotically following the principles (Ti). Go on about “facts,” blocking others’ proposed actions, or get caught up in the moment and engage in impulsive behaviour (Se). Envision how something will play out and ignore signs that it won’t work out, foreseeing disaster or nothing at all (Ni). Convinced others don’t like, appreciate, or need them, and over-accommodate others needs (Fe)

ISTJ

Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

  • ISTJ Shadow: ESTP
    Stubborn about going on impulse and insist that they have an accurate read of the situation (Se). Prefer not to articulate operating principles and can get stuck in models and frameworks they have learned or adapted (Ti). Over-address others’ concerns and feel disappointment over a false sense of closeness (Fe). Make dire predictions with certainty and mistake deep symbolism as a guidepost for life (Ni).

ESFJ

Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.

  • ESFJ Shadow: ISFP
    Be stubborn about values as they crusade for a particular cause, turning off people instead of mobilising them (Fi). Go on about “facts,” blocking others’ proposed actions, or get caught up in the moment and engage in impulsive behaviour (Se). Envision how something will play out and ignore signs that it won’t work out, foreseeing disaster or nothing at all (Ni). analyse, lash out if others criticise their logic with emotional arguments, and make subjective arguments (Te).

ISFJ

Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.

  • ISFJ Shadow: ESFP
    Stubborn about going on impulse and insist that they have an accurate read of the situation (Se). Dwell on conflicts in beliefs, being critical, and locking into their desires by bulldozing others (Fi). Spend unnecessary time establishing order, planning, and misguide themselves and others in the process (Te). Make dire predictions with certainty and mistake deep symbolism as a guidepost for life (Ni)

ENTJ

Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

  • ENTJ Shadow: INTP
    Can be stubborn about the models and principles they’ve adopted, categorising everything simplistically and robotically following the principles (Ti). Oblivious to unspoken potentials and get off track with inferences and interconnections (Ne). Cling to what they are used to; repeat themselves in ritualistic fashion (Si). Convinced others don’t like, appreciate, or need them, and over-accommodate others’ needs (Fe).

INTJ

Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.

  • INTJ Shadow: ENTP
    Be stubborn about responding to emerging information and locking on to a hidden meaning (Ne). Prefer not to articulate operating principles and can get stuck in models and frameworks they have learned or adapted (Ti). Over-address others’ concerns and feel disappointment over a false sense of closeness (Fe). Get stuck in impressions of how things were and resist change; waste time reviewing the impact of the past (Si).

ENTP

Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

  • ENTP Shadow: INTJ
    Be stubborn about perceptions of how the future will be, and lock onto a vision that won’t happen (Ni). Can become critical, disgruntled with disorder, illogic, or inefficiency (Te). Rigidly following a belief system or what they personally think is important, with accompanying childish and/or selfish behaviour (Fi). Excessively seek physical stimulation or following the urge to do nothing; zero in on isolated details, acting impulsively on them (Se).

INTP

Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.

  • INTP Shadow: ENTJ
    Can become stubborn about organising things and insist on a systematic approach (Te). Indulge negative thoughts of how events will unfold (Ni). Dwell on the perceived “realities” of a situation; act highly impulsively (Se). Spend money and time on things that are unimportant and care little about the value of things (Fi).

ENFJ

Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

  • ENFJ Shadow: INFP
    Be stubborn about values as they crusade for a particular cause, turning off people instead of mobilising them (Fi). Oblivious to unspoken potentials and get off track with inferences and interconnections (Ne). Cling to what they are used to; repeat themselves in ritualistic fashion (Si). analyse, lash out if others criticise their logic with emotional arguments, and make subjective arguments (Te).

INFJ

Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.

  • INFJ Shadow: ENFP
    Be stubborn about responding to emerging information and locking on to a hidden meaning (Ne). Dwell on conflicts in beliefs, being critical, and locking into their desires by bulldozing others (Fi). Spend unnecessary time establishing order, planning, and misguide themselves and others in the process (Te). Get stuck in impressions of how things were and resist change; waste time reviewing the impact of the past (Si)

ENFP

Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

  • ENFP Shadow: INFJ
    Be stubborn about perceptions of how the future will be, and lock onto a vision that won’t happen (Ni). Can be quite critical and disgruntled about the expectations of the group to the point of rebellion and disengaging (Fe). May make statements or believe in ideas that are contradictory and illogical (Ti). Excessively seek physical stimulation or following the urge to do nothing; zero in on isolated details, acting impulsively on them (Se)

INFP

Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.

  • INFP Shadow: ENFJ
    Stubborn about how others affect them and resist being pulled into being responsible for others feelings and choices (Fe). Indulge negative thoughts of how events will unfold (Ni). Dwell on the perceived “realities” of a situation; act highly impulsively (Se). Caught up in pointing out others’ inconsistencies, with a dogmatic tendency to adhere to one principle rather than seeing its distinctions (Ti).

Hey guys! I want to share to you the 5s methodology, usually used by companies for workplace organization but what’s good about it are its basic principles which you can actually apply in organizing your study review and habits.


The 5s Methodology

  • Seiri (sort out). Before you dig into the long list of your to-do’s, it’s important that you sort them out first from your major to minor priorities especially the ones on due. Through this, you can avoid cramming over a requirement which you could have done earlier and make sure everything you put in it are conscious and well-thought ideas.
  • Seiton (set). Estimate the amount of time you would need for each task then make a schedule that not just fit your time but also your mental awakeness (you don’t want to pull an all-nighter, only to end up sleep deprived the next morning with a pile of untouched requirements). Make a review setup that your most comfortable with given that it had already help you achieve satisfying results.
  • Seiso (shine). It’s unavoidable to keep your desk always clean and smart but it’s important that you keep it at a tolerable level where it’s not affecting the quality of thinking you’re investing on your tasks. Otherwise, you’ll only end up more stressed and cranky.
  • Seiketsu (standardise). Consistency is important once you already found the setup you are most productive with. In this way, your brain recognizes a pattern that will eventually become your lifestyle. Of course there will be times when you can’t follow it and it’s okay, remind yourself that you are open to adjustments (adjustments, not excuses though).
  • Shitsuke (sustain). Well, if you are doing great then, keep it up. But don’t forget to always aim for the better. I believe that for every strategy, there’s always a need for improvement even it seems to be so perfect.

Hope this helps! Happy studying!

art-johnreach  asked:

What's your response to the ML criticism of anarchism that posits that revolution is an inherently authoritarian process since it involves a class forcing it's will upon another class?

it’s actually older than Marxism-Leninism, this is one of the oldest criticisms of anarchism, first articulated by Engels in his essay “On Authority” in 1872. It’s all built on the false assumption that is something can be described as an exercise of “authority”’ in any sense or from any perspective at all, anarchists are automatically against it.

For communist anarchists like myself, who have politics rooted in class struggle, the observation that a revolution involves “a class forcing it’s will upon another class” is obviously true - but it also leaves out an important bit of context which is that one of those classes is already forcing it’s will on the other. Classes aren’t just free floating discreet groups of people who can either be on the top or the bottom, they are produced and reproduced in relation to one another through specific, violently enforced relations of production.

The way this question is usually framed is as if our antagonism with the bourgeoisie is just a simplistic battle between two sets of people with the same aim - to repress the other by force - but our aims are fundamentally different, it’s about the reinforcement or abolition of class society… and our enemy isn’t just simply the group of people who currently compose the capitalist class, it’s class society itself, and the social relationships that produce and maintain it.

The ultimately violent authority of private property, capital and state is an organizing principle of society which determines every aspect of our lives. We are submitting to authority right now, is it “authoritarian” to stop? If someone has their boot on your neck, is it authoritarian to kick them off? From the perspective of the bosses, sure - the same people who perceive strikes and picket lines as violent incursions on their liberty, for them any sign of people rising up from their knees appears as an act of aggression - if we look at revolution from their perspective, then yes Engels had a point, we are authoritarians and every anarchist who ever punched a nazi or threw a brick at a cop is a huge hypocrite. This is of course the ancap point of view, and I accept that it exists, but it hasn’t really troubled the conscience of communist anarchists through 100 odd years of punching and brick throwing.

Anyway that was a much longer answer than I thought it was going to be, but Iain McKay dedicated a whole section of the anarchist FAQ to refuting this argument:

Didn’t Engels refute anarchism in his essay “On Authority”?

“I want a little sugar in my bowl”: narrative deconstruction in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

Earlier this year (Link), we presented the first half of our takedown on the sugar bowl mystery. Now that we’ve gotten all the plot elements out of the way, it’s time to approach the solution in on a literary level. If there is, indeed, a solution to the sugar bowl mystery, what kind of solution a writer such as Daniel Handler would choose? Studying the series on a more thematical level gives very interesting results. If there’s one thing “A Series Of Unfortunate” does well, it’s making sure that the narrative fits the narration, that the plot fits the style (and vice-versa). Lemony Snicket uses absurdist humor, and his characters live in an absurd world.

We can’t prove that the sugar bowl really is empty, of course. What we can prove, however, is that an empty sugar bowl wonderfully suits the hallmarks that made  “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” such a literary sensation.

Keep reading

In Congress, July 4, 1776


When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed - That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to Institute new government, lying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government, and provide new guards for their future security. - Such has been patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states
To provide this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless subjected in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right Inestimable to them in formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convolutions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws of naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage the migrations hither, and raising conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing to judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, in the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and to eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of in superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and acknowledged by our laws giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops Among Us.
For protecting them by a mock trial from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.
For imposing taxes on us without our consent.
For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury.
For transporting us Beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring Providence establishing theirin an arbitrary government and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies.
For taking away our Charters abolishing our most valuable laws and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments.
For suspending our own legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and Waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas ravaged our coasts burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death desolation and tyranny already began with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages and totally unworthy the head of a Civilized Nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bare arms against their country to become The Executioner’s of their friends and brethren to or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our Frontiers the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare is undistinguished destruction of all ages Sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petition for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by Every Act which may Define a tyrant is unfit to be a ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren we have warned them from time to time of attempts by the legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us we have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration in settlement here we have appealed to their native Justice and magnanimity and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections in correspondence they too have been deaf to the voice of Justice of consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind enemies in War and Peace friends.

We therefore the representatives of the United States of America in general Congress assembled appealing to the Supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions do in the name in by authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the states of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved, and that as free independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and to do all other acts and things which Independence States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other Our lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Okay. So a couple weeks ago I promised a lovely anon that I would write about why Chowder is my favorite Check, Please! character. I have since discovered that all of the reasons Chris Chow is my favorite omgcp character really don’t fit into one post (I mean, I could make them fit, but it would be a very long post lacking any sort of organizing principle, and I just don’t need to go there). So this post is the story of how Christopher Franklin Chow *became* my favorite character. There’s more to why he’s important to me than this, but this is how it started.

It happened very quickly. In the space of one panel, in fact (the one above, in case you hadn’t guessed–it’s from Year One, Comic 17-“Tadpoles”).

About a year ago, I was reading my way through the main comic of OMGCP. It was probably nine or ten pm, and I was thinking about calling it a night. And then I saw this panel, and thought to myself “wow, that San Jose Sharks hoodie is *exactly* the right color. What sport do the Sharks play, anyway? Is it hockey? It might be hockey. hmm. Anyway.” This sequence of thoughts makes slightly more sense if you know that I grew up about 100 miles from San Jose.

After the enthusiastic new character in the Sharks hoodie, I registered a redhead looking either skeptical or uncomfortable (or both), and Lardo looking efficient.

I started to read, confirming that Lardo is in full-on manager mode, Sharks!Dude is indeed enthusiastic, and Redhead is definitely way outside his comfort zone. And then Sharks!Dude, clearly a prospective goalie, says “‘swawesome!” and earns himself a special place in my heart forevermore.

Why, you ask, should the fact that this enthusiastic probably-seventeen-year-old went to the trouble of learning campus slang before he’d even committed to attending Samwell make him special to me? Well, because the only reason for a person to do such a thing is that they have previously embarrassed themselves by either not using or mis-using local slang. And because the Sharks hoodie tells me that Sharks!Dude currently hails from the part of the country I went to high school in, which means that I know *exactly* what local slang he ran afoul of (it’s “hella.” I, someone who was not born in NorCal but basically grew up there, have a very complicated relationship with that word. To me, it is clear that Chowder’s relationship with it is different but equally complicated).

Let me expand for a moment. I get the sense that a lot of people just read Chowder as just straight-up over-the-top enthusiastic. I…don’t. Right from his first appearance, I see him trying to project enthusiasm (because that’s how you get Californians to engage with you–you display a lot of enthusiasm for *their thing,* whatever their thing happens to be. Not enthusiasm for them personally–that’s too much and comes across as sucking up–but there’s no such thing as too much enthusiasm for *their thing*), but I see it as coming from a place of deep anxiety. He really wants the SMH to like him, and at least in this panel he is deeply afraid of being rejected for being too different–so he overcompensates and goes way out of his way (if you think he did not read every Ask A Wellie that was posted during Bitty’s first year, you are wrong) to learn campus slang far too early (one of the major differences between campus slang and regional slang is that no one expects you to understand campus slang on your first day–it was new to everybody at some point. Regional slang is another story).

Basically, I see Chowder as someone who shares my experience of having been The New Kid somewhere in NorCal, and who is trying to apply the lessons he learned the hard way from that experience to getting off on the right foot at Samwell (he should not be doing this, because being The New Kid is a vastly different experience from being one of several hundred new freshmen, but try convincing any ex-New Kid of that while they’re preparing for college, and see how that goes). That makes him very important to me.

The panel that follows, in which Lardo calls out the fact that Chowder should not have known how to use ‘swawesome yet, Chowder gets anxious, and *nobody gives him any shit for any of it* is, for me, the one that makes the whole comic special.

When I finished reading “Tadpoles” that night a year or so ago, I was no longer thinking about going to bed. I had to keep reading, to make sure that Sharks!Dude did in fact become a major character in Year 2. Which of course he does.


Anyway. Chris Chow is hella ‘swawesome, folks.

the person who wrote the “homonormativity is heteronormativity with limp wrists” thing is a 30-something with a degree in queer theory, and like i’m not against queer theory inherently, there’s definitely some good in it, but it’s worrying that you can clearly successfully study it without at any point taking steps to address your own biases against gay people. in fact many people, including this person, seem to think the primary lesson of queer theory is “it turns out gay people are actually bad.” as if this is a shocking, countercultural conclusion you can only reach after intensive research of power structures, and not, you know, literally one of the organizing principles of our society that we all learn from childhood. this way of thinking misses so much, and lets the massive oppressive system of homophobia off the hook to a huge degree, and it’s so disheartening to see.

The Declaration of Independance

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Men’s Lives Have Meaning, Part 5: The Hour of Ghosts

Series so far here

“There’s a tipping point in every tragedy where inevitability locks the exit doors on free will and you know that after this, there is no turning back.”

@racefortheironthrone

Hello everyone. My name is Emmett, and I could have been imagined, designed, constructed, and sold as a consumer for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. I had just turned twelve when the first one came out at the end of 2001, I’d read the books that summer, and the infusion of swelling Hollywood orchestras and Peter Jackson’s beloved action schlock was perfectly calibrated to take my love for the material and shoot it into the stratosphere. I still look back on those movies with love…mostly. There are moments, especially in Return of the King, where the tone tips overboard: 

On one level, that’s what we want our heroes to say, right? We’re up against the odds, we might not be rewarded for our efforts, but let’s do it anyway; that’s the lesson a lot of great genre fiction is meant to leave us with, in one form or another. The problem with that clip is the knowing wink, the sly acknowledgement that after they’ve escaped so many other hair-raising disasters, this is just another day at work. I get the joke, but it would make more sense for (say) a Bond or Indy movie, where it really is just another day at work and part of the enjoyment comes from how what’s over-the-top for us is normal for them. In the context of LOTR, it’s tonally off, because this is not supposed to feel episodic. It’s supposed to feel climactic, like our heroes are genuinely in danger as everything comes to a head, and that’s marred when you expose the plot armor so blatantly. If this is just another day, why are we supposed to be invested in their risk? 

Of course, Peter Jackson didn’t invent that problem. It’s a storytelling problem. And that is why GRRM created Quentyn Martell. It’s why he tries to tame a dragon and why he fails: to reclaim the stakes and re-sensitize us to the risk. It’s not just that he dies, it’s how and why he dies. What does it mean to not have plot armor? What does it say about quest narratives that they can collapse so completely and yet the quester clings to tropes as if they’ll save him? How are we to live if Story fails as an organizing principle? “The Spurned Suitor” brings these questions to the forefront, right before “The Dragontamer” sets it all on fire. It’s the most reflective and dialogue-heavy of Quent’s chapters, the most thematically explicit; it’s the one that cuts through the hellish imagery dominating this storyline right to what it all means. In genre terms, where previous Quent chapters soaked the fantasy tropes in blood-red horror, this chapter has a distinctly noirish feel to it, in terms of both imagery and theme.

Keep reading

Unsolicited transformers thought of the day: I want the decepticons to have human allies in whatever tv show comes next

I know traditionally the decepticons hate all organic life on principle but they could still do it as, like, a strategy thing to achieve their goals on earth (because the human element does, invariably, give the autobots an advantage). Maybe have them be kids who the system has failed to any extent, more likely to be in the wrong place at the right time to fall in with the cons. Maybe megatron and the gang lie to them about what they’re actually doing, maybe not, maybe they make promises they don’t intend to keep, but for whatever reason they end up working together. It’s tense, the cons definitely wouldn’t watch their step, but maybe they have no where else to turn. You could set up so much awesome conflict as the stakes in the war get higher, maybe the humans start to question what’s really going on or defect because they fear for their planet and species, maybe some of the decepticons get attached to their unlikely squishy allies and begin to question their own beliefs. the autobots human allies would have opponents they could physically deal with for once, and it could be a great way to show the inner workings of the decepticons and make them better antagonists because just “rawr I’m megatron and I’m space crazy for no reason” isn’t compelling. Basically I’ve always wanted a show that is dark in the way prime is dark that isn’t afraid to do something with the unexpectedly good potential present in the transformers narrative and I think a good way to do that would be to give the ‘cons their own humans.

anonymous asked:

I know you already have an interpretation of Harry's movie, but I'm looking forward to your vision, you're so good at it. Thank you for your wonderful work.

Hi!

Harry is so handsome in the video. And judging by the quality of his acting, he learned a lot on set with Dunkirk and he’s going to be superb in it.

However, I do not understand the video.

SOTT has a lot of imagery alluding to the apocalypse, as depicted in the Book of Revelations– the last show, best clothes, rising into the atmosphere, you look pretty good down there (the people left behind), but you ain’t really good, the bullet. These allusions are reinforced by promo imagery– the red sunset/ sunrise cover, the submersion into water, the television ad with Harry walking toward light, dripping in baptismal water.

The album cover of water depicts purification; the pink color alludes to newborns, nudity, and rebirth.

There is SO MUCH POSSIBILITY here.

The music video does not, imho, understand the dramatic arc of the song.

I’m not a movie maker or anything like that, so take this with a grain of salt.

A 6-minute video has to have momentum and narrative tension. Even if we’re watching a nature documentary, some conflict is happening, some character development.

This video is a narrative mess. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. An art thing? A technology thing? A visual metaphor? An ad for Harry Styles, solo artist? It doesn’t have vision or integrity. It’s all over the place.

Close-ups and wide shots alternate randomly. Sometimes the camera cuts away in the middle of a musical phrase. How the shots are used do not correlate at all to verse/ chorus, chest voice/ falsetto; the camera switches in the middle of phrases, for no reason. The tension gets cut off with shots of scenery that say nothing, except, “look at this shot we took with an expensive wide range lens.” Wow, what a great lens.

Blurred shots come into focus haphazardly. Close-ups of Harry’s hands are gorgeous, but do not develop into any visual, poetic meaning.

When Harry first takes off, there is narrative momentum, but it gets cut off awkwardly when we see him back on the ground. There’s no explanation why? And before we can try to understand it, it’s cut away again.

The shots of Harry against the sunset are very beautiful. But by then, I don’t trust the director anymore. I’m seeing a very expensive, very pretty… ad, I guess, for a song that promises so much, but is ultimately about… a handsome guy? An ad for Gucci?

Other interpretations might be more valid than mine. I know not every music video has to mean something. But, take for example two videos from other 1D guys. Zayn’s “Still Got Time,” with all the random, NSFW imagery, is shot so precisely and esthetically coherently– the visual cutaways aligned with the rhythm of the music, the intimacy of images matched the intimacy of sound. The video for “Just Hold On,” for all its (maybe) cheesy special effects, was charming and had narrative momentum, and the camera switches actually made sense. The visual and audio worked together. One could sense an organizing principle other than: look at the expensive pretty.

S

All commentators on twentieth-century lesbian life have noted the prominence of butch-fem roles. Before the 1970s, their presence was unmistakable in all working-class lesbian communities: the butch projected the masculine image of her particular time period–at least regarding dress and mannerisms–and the fem, the feminine image; and almost all members were exclusively one or the other. Butch-fem roles not only shaped the lesbian image but also lesbian desire, constituting the base for a deeply satisfying erotic system. Beginning this research at a time when the modern feminist movement was challenging gender polarization and gender roles were generally declining in importance, we at first viewed butch-fem roles as peripheral to the growth and development of the community. Eventually we came to understand that these were at the core of the community’s culture, consciousness, and identity. For many women, their identity was in fact butch or fem, rather than gay or lesbian.

Why should the opposition of masculine and feminine be woven into and become a fundamental principle of lesbian culture? Several scholars have addressed this question. Modern lesbian culture developed in the context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when elaborate hierarchical distinctions were made between the sexes and gender was a fundamental organizing principle of cultural life. In documenting the lives of women who ‘passed’ as men, Jonathan Katz argues that, in the context of this nineteenth-century polarization of masculinity and femininity, one of the few ways for women to achieve independence in work and travel and to escape passivity was by assuming the male role. In a similar vein, Jeffrey Weeks holds that the adoption of male images by lesbians at the turn of the century broke through women’s and lesbians’ invisibility, a necessity if lesbians were to become part of public life. Expanding this approach, Esther Newton situates the adoption of male imagery in the context of the New Woman’s search for an independent life, and delineates how male imagery helped to break through the nineteenth-century assumptions about women’s natural lack of sexual desire and to introduce overt sexuality into women’s relationships with one another.

We agree with these interpretations and modify them for the conditions of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. During this period, manipulation of the basic ingredients of patriarchy–the hierarchal distinction between male and female–continued to be an effective way for the working-class lesbian community to give public expression to its affirmation of women’s autonomy and women’s romanic and sexual interest in women. Butches defied convention by usurping male privilege in appearance and sexuality, and with their fems, outraged society by creating a romantic and sexual unit within which women were not under male control. At a time when lesbian communities were developing solidarity and consciousness, but had not yet formed political groups, butch-fem roles cannot be viewed simply as an imitation of heterosexual, sexist society. Although they derived in great part from heterosexual models, the roles also tranformed those models and created an authentic lesbian lifestyle. Through roles, lesbians began to carve out a public world of their own and developed unique forms for women’s sexual love of women.

Like any responsible ethnography, this book aims to take the reader inside butch-fem culture and demonstrate its itnernal logic and multidimensional meanings. We will document the subtle ways that lesbian community life transformed heterosexual models, pondering the inevitable and fascinating confusions: What does it mean to eroticize gender difference in the absence of institutionalized male power? Is it possible to adopt extremely masculine characteristics and yet not want to be male? In addition, in writing this history, we consider the context of the severe oppression of women and homosexuals that generated and reproduced butch-fem communities, showing the way that butch-fem roles changed over time as part of lesbians’ resistance to oppression and their attempt to build a better life. We explore butch-fem culture as an historically specific form of rebellion that facilitated the building of communities, that supported women’s erotic interest in one another, and that contributed to women’s general struggle for entrance into the public sphere and for sexual autonomy.
—  Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Madeline D. Davis, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community

cynicalclassicist  asked:

So, any thoughts on Guardians 2?

Thar be spoilers ahead…

Loved it! Upon reflection, I might actually prefer it to the original. Don’t get me wrong, the first one had better jokes (the humor’s actually the weakest part of the sequel) and a brisker pace (GOTG2 contributes to the MCU tradition of the opening action scene being the weakest scene in the movie), but the second one is more accomplished visually and explores character and theme to a greater degree. Which is a smart move for what serves, in the big picture of the MCU, as a transitional movie between the introduction of these characters and their interactions with the Avengers in Infinity War next year. 

Just one telling example: Ego the Living Planet, here presented as Star-Lord’s dad, reveals his backstory and eventually his plans to his son via a series of 3D models. This immediately made me think of a near-identical scene in Man of Steel, wherein Jor-El teaches Kal-El about Krypton via a holographic simulator thingy. In both cases, we have the alien dad trying to bring his half-human son in on his grand project using basically PowerPoint. But what makes GOTG2 (and, by extension, the MCU) work better than MoS (and, by extension, the DCEU) is that Peter Quill is given a grounded, explicable dynamic with his father’s plans that contributes to his overall character arc: will he sacrifice his friends in order to finally understand who he is? We understand that dilemma because we saw his traumatic backstory in the original, and we feel the tension because we care about his friends, the people we’ve gotten to know over two movies. In MoS, we never really learn about how Clark Kent feels about Jor-El’s plan, or the sins of Krypton that he is supposed to cleanse, or Krypton in general. There’s no tension between well-defined choices that would draw us deeper into the character. None of the parts come together: how, exactly, would Clark showing off his powers to humanity prevent them from repeating the mistakes of population control and ecological destruction? Then Zod shows up, threatens the world, and Clark’s choices are hurled bodily into the background. 

Character is king, or should be anyway, and GOTG2 adheres to that idea everywhere, from Gamora & Nebula to Yondu and the Ravagers. Again, this is all about establishing these characters so that we have something to hang on to dramatically when the cosmic fireworks really go off in Infinity War. I imagine the same organizing principle will be at work in Homecoming and Black Panther, with Ragnarok getting the big picture ready for Thanos comin’ to town. Like I said when the trailer for the latter dropped, 2017 might be when the MCU really gets good. 

Oh! Can’t forget to praise Taserface, the Victarion Greyjoy of the MCU. 

Our research reveals that the salience and tenacity of butch-fem roles in the pre-1970s public lesbian community derives from their functioning as both a powerful personal code of behavior and as an organizing principle for community life. As the former, they dictated the way individuals presented themselves in daily life, particularly in regard to image–appearance and mannerisms–and sexuality. Butches affected a masculine style while fems appeared characteristically feminine. Butch and fem also complemented one another in an erotic system in which the butch was expected to be the doer and the giver; and the fem’s receptive passion was the butch’s fulfillment. Appearance and sexual expression were the primary indicators of butch-fem roles. Sometimes narrators would also refer to personality–being more of less domineering–but not consistently.

Butch-fem roles, however, entailed much more than a personal code of ethics. They were also a powreful social force. They were the organizing principle for this community’s relations with the outside world. The presence of the butch with her distinctive dress and mannerism, or of the butch-fem couple–two women in a clearly gendered relationship–announced lesbians to one another and to the public. Butch-fem roles established the parameters for love relationships and friendships within the community. Two butches could be friends, but never lovers; the same was true for two fems. The importance of visibility and erotic difference for the organization of the community explains in part why appearance and sexual expression were key elements in the btuch and fem guidelines for personal behavior.

Roles as the basic organizing principle for the community and roles as a code of personal behavior were inseperable throughout this period. Whether or not someone wanted to follow the code of personal behavior, the community’s relations with the straight world and its methods for developing love relationships depended on roles, and therefore, to be an active member of the community a person had to adhere to the rules to some degree. As a result no matter what a particular lesbian personally thought or felt about the butch-fem code, whether assuming a role identity felt like a natural expression of her being or something imposed, she needed to adopt a role. They were a social imperative. Only then could she participate comfortably in the community and receive its benefits. For lesbians coming out in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s this is a very difficult concept to grasp, because we can imagine roles only as a code of personal behavior. As a result, we make the mistake of considering the social pressure for roles as simply arbitrary, negative pressure. But in the 1940s and the 1950s, the social pressure came from the way roles functioned in building community. If they required individuals to compromise their identity they offered the reward of participation in a community which effectively resisted the oppression of gays and lesbians.

–Elizabeth Kennedy and Madeline Davis, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community