parallel living

Meta on Michael Burnham and James Kirk

After seeing the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery and watching how Michael Burnham unwittingly helped bring about the very war she was trying to prevent I couldn’t help but think “There but for Khan, goes James T Kirk.”

The parallels between Michael Burnham’s actions and Kirk’s actions are quite strong. Where they differ is in their reasons and in their outcomes.

In many ways Burnham and Kirk’s backgrounds are also similar and that is where we need to begin. Both of them lost their parents to attacks by the Federations’ enemies, Michael lost both her parents to a Klingon bombing of Doctari Alpha. But then she was taken in as a foster child by Sarek and Amanda. Jim on the other hand lost his father at birth to the Romulan Nero and the attack of the Narada. His childhood after that was much darker than Michael’s. In canon we only have that one scene from the 2009 movie but it is illuminating. First that Kirk’s mother is off planet.

“You get one scratch on that car and I’m going to whip your ass … ”

Second that the man on the phone (Frank he’s called in a deleted clip) threatens Kirk with abuse. Third Kirk drives that car off a cliff into a huge mining pit, only jumping out at the last minute. No ten-year-old child attempts to commit suicide, last minute change of heart or not unless there is a serious and dangerous level of abuse going on at home. And for Winona Kirk to be completely unaware of this is signs of a very distant and absent parent. All of this led to Jim Kirk being a “genius level repeat offender” by the age of 22.

Then Michael and Kirk enter Starfleet. Both of them gain parental figures and mentors there; Captain Georgiou for Michael and Captain, later Admiral Pike for Kirk. It is where they face their greatest fears, that of losing those that they love that their two parallel lives collide.

Michael acted in fear and advocated striking first against the Klingons because that is what worked for the Vulcans. Captain Georgiou thought that it was the Vulcan part of her that was in control here but it was actually the human part. She was faced with her greatest fear, losing her new family to the same enemy that had killed her first one. She said it over and over again.

“I’m trying to protect you.”

When Georgiou wouldn’t listen to her, she mutinied.

“You want to know how I turned on you? I believed saving you and the crew was more important than Starfleet’s principles. Was it logical? Emotional? I don’t know.”

It is after the battle when Georgiou is planning a Kamikaze attack on the Klingon sarcophagus ship that Michael intervenes with another plan. Killing T’Kuvma would make him a martyr, a rallying point for the Klingons. Capturing him alive would shame them and give them a bargaining point as leverage. The plan backfires horribly and everything that Michael feared came to pass because of her. Captain Georgiou was killed by T’Kuvma and in revenge Michael killed T’Kuvma thereby making him the martyr. Her fear and her actions cost her everything but her life.

Kirk on the other hand has already lost his Captaincy and his ship and crew due to his violation of the Prime Directive when Khan attacks the Daystom Conference. Pike’s death sends Kirk careening out of control as much as Michael’s fear did her.

Kirk went to Marcus and practically begged to go after “John Harrison” and kill him. He did so knowing that he was violating not only Starfleet regulations but also Federation law as the Federation Charter explicitly forbade the interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. He also knew that if he got caught war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire would be the result.

Fortunately for all parties involved Spock was able to talk Kirk down off that ledge, much as Captain Georgiou tried to do for Michael. The difference is that Michael’s “family” was still in harm’s way from the Klingons while Kirk knew that “John Harrison” was hiding on Qo’noS.

“He’s got to be hiding there, sir! He knows if we even go near Klingon space, it’d be all-out war. Starfleet can’t go after him, but I can. Please, sir.”

There is no mention in any of Kirk’s speeches about “John Harrison” being any kind of threat to either Starfleet or the Federation. It’s all about Pike.

Now he does change kill to capture thus derailing Marcus’ original plans somewhat. But then he leads his ship into Klingon territory and his away team to Qo’noS to capture Khan and by so doing he puts his crew in danger and almost brings about the destruction of everyone he loves. Just as Michael did when she talked Captain Georgiou into boarding the Klingon vessel to capture T’Kuvma albeit for somewhat different reasons. And this is where their parallel lines diverge. Michael’s path led into dishonour and the death of the one she was most trying to protect. Kirk’s lead into redemption and heroism, all because of the actions of Khan Noonien Singh.

Because it is Khan who saves the lives of Kirk and his away team and by extension Kirk’s ship and crew and ultimately prevents the war that Marcus wanted.

Without Khan’s timely intervention on Qo’noS, Kirk, Spock and Uhura at the very least (we don’t know the fate of the two red shirts) would have been captured, tortured and then executed …

I knew what awaited them on Qo’noS, degradation, torture, slow public death.”

 … the Enterprise would have been discovered and probably destroyed, the Klingons would have declared war on the Federation, Marcus would have lived to enjoy the fruits of his treachery and all of those deaths would have been laid at Jim Kirk’s doorstep or tombstone in this case.

If Marcus’ plan had worked Kirk would have been branded a rogue captain, blinded by the pain at the loss of his mentor, who mutinied and went off on his own mission of revenge and struck first thereby bringing the Klingons into war just like Michael Burnham is held to have done in the original timeline. Kirk’s unthinking recklessness and pain and loss led him to blunder blindly straight into Marcus’s trap. One of the greatest acts of ironies in the movie is that it was the actions of the very man he originally sent out to destroy who prevented the destruction of everything and everyone he held dear and saved him from death or utter ruin.

anonymous asked:

do you think aciman is elio or oliver in the book

I think he’s both. I feel like Aciman shares Elio’s voice and emotional reality, while also encompassing parts of Oliver’s biography and outlook on life, particularly Oliver’s view on parallel lives. 

I do think a lot about the lover who inspired the novel. Did he wear different coloured bathing suits and a billowy shirt? Did he visit Aciman one day while he was teaching? How am I supposed to sleep at night?  

there were a lot of references in the new video, did you catch them all? let’s take a look.

1. nils sjoberg

remember that time she wrote a song with calvin harris but used a different name? this is that name, on one of the gravestones. after releasing that she had actually written the summer hit “this is what you came for,” calvin harris, among others, threw a fit on twitter - even though it had been agreed that if calvin and taylor broke up, she could express that she had written the song.

2. the out of the woods dress

this blue dress probably looks familiar! it’s the same one she wore in the out of the woods music video, the last music video of the 1989 era. this poses the same frantic question, are we out of the woods yet? as this grave-digging taylor suggests, not yet.

3. here lies 2014 met gala taylor

at first glance, it just looks like the taylor from before laying there, but after pausing it and going back, one realizes that isn’t zombie taylor, rather 2014 met gala taylor. 2014 would have been the start of the 1989 era, and the out of the woods video was the end of it, thus: by the end of 1989 era, she was ready to “bury” it.

4. the dollar bill

if you look just next to taylor’s shoulder, you can see a good ole george washington. one single dollar bill. is this a reference to taylor’s sexual assault trial recently, and the one dollar she won then? most likely, because if you go to other shots of her in the tub that aren’t directly above her, the dollar bill isn’t there, meaning it was edited in later, which would explain how it got there so late in the game. it stands for the simple victories everyone else gets to celebrate, while she does the same things and gets flack for it.

5. et tu brute

a famous line from shakespeare’s julius caeser, “et tu, brute” means “and you, brute?” right as marcus brutus lands the fatal blow in julius caeser’s, his once-friend’s back. this is a metaphor for all the people that taylor thought she could trust, before they turned around and trashed her name.

6. the tea

probably pretty simple to grasp - the tea is hot. alternatively, she, the snake in the video, gets to serve the tea this time around, or, she gets to lay down her side of the story.

7. car crash + paparazzi

did you see what happened here, at face value? taylor was in an expensive vehicle that got in a head-on crash, but everyone just stood back and took pictures, instead of rushing over to help. is this a reference to all the times that everyone stood back, took pictures, and laughed at her when she was beaten down? yes.

8. the grammy

the grammy blends in with the gold of the car and her outfit, so it’s pretty easy to miss, but there it is, in her hand, even though the car crashed. perhaps the future is being predicted?

9. the birdcage + leg tattoo

look closely at taylor’s leg, and you can see what looks to be a snake tattooed there. not to mention, here she is entertaining in a birdcage, which is guarded. she’s trying to have fun in this prison, biting her tongue, being the girl everyone wants, but she longs to be let free.

10. robbing a bank/stream co., blind for love

besides getting major harley quinn vibes, what else do we notice here? taylor swift robbing a vault, which says “stream company.” remember that time that taylor wrote an open letter to apple music and called her money hungry, even though she was taking her music off to benefit poorer artists? yes, we do. this is what she’s referencing here. also, her shirt says “blind for love” which makes sense, because she frequently refers to herself as a hopeless romantic, someone who opens theirselves up for love, even if it means getting hurt.

11. the squad

without explaining anything else, this scene can be described as a crowd of blank faced people, staring at taylor swift, who stands upon a stage looking menacing, and impressing one message upon the crowd: u, squad. it’s reminiscent of all the times people said taylor swift was over, because her friends, fans, or sales were fake or temporary. this is like a visual representation of the comments people made about taylor forcing people to do things for her to create the image she desired.

12. fake friends

and here we have the mannequins of the girls from the prior scene, chopped up. this one is pretty straight forward, these “friends” that taylor thought she had sometimes turned out to be more fickle and “fake” than she thought. also, can we talk about how taylor’s red boots are reminiscent of kinky boots? because yes.

13. the dancers, i heart ts

before taylor enters the room, the dancers are goofing around, but the second she comes in, the jump to attention, and rip off their jackets to reveal shirts that say “i heart ts.” it’s a throwback to when tom hiddleston wore a shirt with the same message on the fourth of july in 2016, and everyone said that she had forced him to wear it. it’s the same thing as before with the squad - the world decided that she had forced all these people to love her, not that they actually did.

14. the fight for glory

every time you pause this video, you come across a different taylor. squirrel pajamas wanegbt taylor, 2015 bbma’s taylor, 2014 acm’s taylor, wanegbt red tour taylor, 2016 new years rockin’ eve taylor, sparkly guitar fearless tour taylor, bleachella taylor, ballerina shake it off taylor, 2016 vma’s taylor… the list goes on and on. here, you can see them all fighting and clawing, trying to stand on top. it reminds me of “i don’t like your kingdom keys, they once belonged to me,” and the parallels between long live and new romantics in that line alone. all those times, she thought she’d made it to a point in her career where she could be respected as much as other artists in her tier, only to harshly realize she was going to get her name ran through the mud for doing the same thing as everyone else. the fight for glory is steep, and unfair.

15. junior jewels

looks familiar right? not quite! it is the same theme of the shirt, but look closely at the signatures - they’re signatures of actual people this time around. names like ed, selena, este, lena, blake, and ryan, among others, can be seen on her shirt, representing the true friends that stuck with her through her reputation being bashed.

16. “SHUT UP!”

here, all the different versions of taylor are repeating things that the media or other celebrities had said about her, until finally 2009 vma’s taylor repeated the same thing that 2017 taylor said in an instagram post - “i’d very much like to be excluded from this narrative.” the entire time, you can hear camera shutters going off and people chatting, presumably the rest of the world watching as she got torn apart. when vma’s taylor makes this final statement, all the other taylor’s, as well as what sounds to be an entire off-screen crowd, yell “SHUT UP” before the screen goes black. this is a powerful image, and it’s supposed to be. all the times she suffered, and people told her that she was overreacting, faking it, or doing it for publicity. if you feel remorse for seeing young taylor getting yelled at, or sorrow for the taylors falling when she said “because she’s dead,” you’re doing it right. 

nothing in this video was an accident.

if you’re angry at taylor for this video exposing things you said about her, or you’re repeating any of the words the versions of herself said at the end, you’re proving her point. her reputation was destroyed because people made a sport of making fun of her. and now, as taylor said, there will be no explanation, just reputation.