First of all, thanks to @marypsue for listening to my ramblings and giving some feedback about this a few days ago and to @eregyrn-falls for talking about Alex’s Q&A, which reminded me to write it up and post it.
Warning: this is going to be long. Sorry.
One of the things that I’ve always hoped would get an explanation from Alex (but possibly never will?) is the meaning behind the symbol on Stan’s fez/the Cipher Wheel.
First, a bit of a tangent, but I hope a productive one: in GF fanfic, a common issue when Bill and Stan appear together in a fic is that we never canonically heard Bill’s nickname for Stan (assuming he would have given Stan one, which, given Bill’s character, seems like a safe bet). Fic authors usually get around this by having Bill call Stan “Fez,” which makes sense given that’s where his symbol is and it’s a pretty distinctive element of his appearance.
But Bill doesn’t call Dipper “ballcap,” or Mabel “sweater,” or Soos “t-shirt,” even though that’s where their symbols are found. Their nicknames are based on what the symbol IS, and the symbols (at least roughly?) represent who they are as characters.
So, ultimately, thinking about what Bill’s nickname for Stan might be sort of helps clarify what Stan’s symbol might mean vis-à-vis his character. Ahem. Back to the symbol.
The clearest direct mention of the symbol is in Journal 3, when Ford writes that Stan’s fez is from Filbrick’s membership in the “Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel.” It’s totally possible this is all there is to it, it’s a funny fish symbol. Alex’s old DeviantArt account is reportedly holymackerel, so it’s possible it’s just something he thought was funny and that’s that.
But, we all know how much Alex loves to misdirect people – almost as much as he likes to have multiple layers of mysteries and meaning in GF. So I think it’s more likely this is just a superficial meaning for Stan’s symbol.
Looking at the symbol, there could be a few different interpretations, so I’ll present the three most interesting ones I came up with, in order of what I think is the likelihood it’s the real meaning of the symbol.
First, another look at the symbol as it appears on the fez:
Now what if we do this:
Looks like an eye, right? Just one eye?
The least likely theory is that the symbol has something to do with Stan’s character being connected to Bill’s in some way. It’s a cool interpretation, considering how important the idea of the “beast with just one eye” was, and the fact that, as Mr. Mystery, Stan wore an eyepatch (and so had just one eye visible). If you’re a subscriber to the Same Coin theory, this interpretation might work for that.
I personally don’t think this is it, though. So let’s turn the symbol this way:
Notice the symbol in canon art is always represented with these proportions. Now what does it look like? A bit like the portal casting a shadow? Who lived (figuratively and literally) in the shadow of the portal for 30 years? Yeah.
Stan, with his long-standing self-esteem and self-worth issues, saw himself as just “part of a dynamic duo,” essentially Ford’s shadow, not capable of accomplishing anything on his own. So, this interpretation is a little more likely to me, and I headcanon that Bill’s nickname for Stan would be something like “Shadow,” because it’s not only thematically appropriate, it’s snide and hurtful.
But this still doesn’t seem like it’d be an appropriate symbol for Stan’s character. After all, reductively thinking of him as Ford’s shadow would only represent most people’s (and his own self-) perception of Stan in the first (admittedly long) part of his character arc. So what represents the culmination of his character arc?
Let’s turn the symbol one more time:
Well, first of all, there are some similar-looking symbols in the history museum in SotBE:
And on the ur-Cipher Wheel in Mabelcorn:
I personally don’t think it’s related to the symbol that’s similar to the Freemason symbol, because that seems on-the-nose and superficial to be on a secret society fez (though a cute reference), and more related to Dipper’s character than Stan’s. I think the other symbol gives a clue as to its meaning, since it’s also incredibly similar to Stan’s symbol’s shape.
…what legendary bird is often represented in this shape? And the shape on the fez? Wings upraised in a circular shape?
So…my best guess is that this is a simplified, stylized version of one of the best symbols for Stan’s character: a phoenix. The imagery of Stan burning is present throughout the series, and of course, Stan is literally immolated and reborn in the finale. I absolutely headcanon that this is what Stan’s symbol really means. (But I don’t think Bill would ever call Stan “Phoenix,” do you?)
All this is just speculation, though. You’d have to have actually been in the writer’s room (or Alex’s brain), or have done a lot of research into ancient symbols (in so many cultures and historical contexts, seriously – Egyptian symbolism, indigenous American tribal symbolism, secret society symbolism, alchemy symbols, etc) to suss out what everything related to Stan and his symbol (the flag/banners for the Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel, the first symbol in comparison to the second symbol – both work for the Phoenix symbolism, the color symbolism in the series, etc) might mean.
The twelve-color woodblock prints in the portfolio Meltdown have been created by Sherrie Levine by entering images, after Duchamp, Monet, Kirchner, and Mondrian into a computer scanner that spatially quantizes and transforms these images into the minimum number of pixels, thus determining each of the colors in the four prints.
“The actresses I’ve known support each other very much. We all have different things to offer. It can be frustrating when you’re put in a category with others. Women do get lumped together in this reductive grouping, and you think, ‘gosh, that rarely happens with the boys.’ I’m sure people don’t say to Eddie Redmayne, ‘How do you feel about Andrew Garfield?’“
[points revolver at Akira] Do you believe in God?
That’s a complicated question. It depends on what you mean by ‘God’. You see, I–
[shoves gun into Akira’s face] Yes or no?
[pushes gun away] It helps no one to be reductive. I think that, that we are here implies to some degree that there are forces larger than us. Now, we can get into the semanticalities-
[becoming agitated] Yes or no?!
The very notion of belief itself can be be rhetorically whittled to the bare nub of its meaning. I’d like to talk to you a lot more about this, would you be interested in reading some of my literature?
David had just given our daughter medication to help her deal with a cold, and, quite abruptly, she announced that he was “more like the mom” and I was “the dad.” Wait, what? How can our kids (of all people!) be hypnotized by the rigid gender dichotomy that our family undermines by our very existence?
It’s not even as though we follow roles that break down in quite the way of “traditional” mom/dad couples. My job’s hours are pretty flexible, so I have lots of time to spend with the family. I do my share of the laundry and generally clean up after dinner. David does the cooking. And when it comes to caring for them when they’re sick—which, after all, triggered the mom/dad comment—it’s a pretty even deal.
I admit the home workload isn’t strictly a 50/50 proposition. David’s design business is part-time at this point, and he does more around the house than I do. But our roles are flexible and nongendered enough that calling us Mom and Dad is just weird.
It’s also true that our neighborhood is very gender-progressive. Our next door neighbors both work full-time, but the dad’s home a lot more, does more than half the cooking, and is forever busy around the house. On the next block is a dad who mainly works from home while mom goes off to her full-time engineering job. Another mom is a high-level nurse practitioner whose husband is an ice sculptor. And so on. In sum, there is no shortage of gender-role busting all around us. Why isn’t all that enough to steer our kids away from such reductive ways of thinking?
Because even those important, living examples of role flexibility are still overwhelmed by the morass of gender traditionalism swirling around them.
"Fans of Dungeons & Dragons seem to have a masochistic relationship with alignment..."
Here’s an excerpt from RollPlay Presents: a 5E Roundtable Discussion, which is great and you should watch it. (excerpt
starts at 0:14:27)
ADAM KOEBEL: I think [4E] is a great game, but 5E definitely succeeded more in the “being D&D” kind of space. Mike, when you were developing 5E, were there any of those mechanics that felt less like points of inspiration and more like… shackles, let’s say, for the design? Because there are things, I’m sure, you felt you were required to include.
MIKE MEARLS: Yeah, and the trick to it was instead of thinking of those things as shackles that are holding us back, to think of it as a challenge. I know it’s a cheesy answer…
ADAM KOEBEL: “What would you say are your greatest weaknesses, Mike Mearls?”
MIKE MEARLS: But really, when you’re building the game, [you might say] “this is kind of a weird thing to have in a game”. Like, why would you have alignment? But then you realize your users are asking for it. You have to come at it from the angle that this is a benefit. You can’t hide it.
ADAM KOEBEL: I see Evil Matt Colville has something to say about that.
MATT COLVILLE: They’re asking for it! You asked for it, you’re gonna get it.
ADAM KOEBEL: Fans of Dungeons & Dragons seem to have a masochistic relationship with alignment. They’re like“we hate it! it’s the worst! fuck you, get it out of here!”, but if you’re like “what if we just took alignment out?” then they’re like “NOOOOOOOO! bring it back! it’s not D&D if I can’t be Lawful Evil!”
MIKE MEARLS: D&D is a culture. That’s what we discovered working on the game, it’s not a game, it’s a culture. So you can say, game-wise, alignment, pfff, this is kinda silly. But for having-arguments-online-wise, oh, alignment is awesome. Just say, alignment’s back, man! That gives you like two weeks of threads. Because it fuels the stuff you’re doing when you’re not at the table playing the game, and it fuels the connective. It’s a connection between each playgroup.
MATT MERCER: *is hungover, listens politely*
I’m gonna correct Mike Mearls here. (The nerve!)
They didn’t accidentally “discover” that D&D is a culture, they deliberately designed 5E around that notion, in order to use it as the main selling point of 5E. That was their marketing strategy from the very start. And that’s why, in the early stages, they weren’t asking playtesters “do you like this mechanic? is it good enough?”, they were basically asking “is this mechanic D&D enough?”
The above is fact, the following is an educated guess: It must have been at those early stages, when they were figuring out what elements are so iconic in D&D that they just have to keep them (shackles or challenges, you take your pick :p), when alignment passed, and probably with flying colours. It may not be a good rule, but damn it’s the most iconic D&D rule ever.
What Mearls says later is also telling, and very very true: alignment is never-ending fodder for controversy. Once an argument erupts, everyone has something to say and no one ever shuts up. I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there. An alignment debate is like a perpetual motion machine: it’s fucking imaginary, and it never fucking stops.
The relevant TV Tropes page perfectly illustrates this point even BEFORE it gets to the actual article:
And that, from the designers’ point of view, is apparently not a bug, it’s a feature. It’s clickbait. In D&D 5E, that’s literally all alignment is for: it exists to generate buzz. We suspected as much, and now it’s confirmed. :p
But there’s another reason alignment is so popular. It’s basically a bunch of little boxes where you can put yourself (primarily!) plus all kinds of characters, concepts and things. Such reductions are immensely appealing (think Hogwarts Houses, signs of the zodiac, INTP, RPG classes *cough*) even when they are inelegant and/or arbitrary. And alignment is neither. It’s actually an ingenious reduction (and if it were treated as such - and NO MORE - by all D&D players and designers, you’d have never heard me complain about it), with its easy to grasp two-axis structure, and the neatest possible visualisation in a perfectly symmetrical 9-box grid. This is pleasing for anyone, imagine nerds!
In the end, alignment’s elegant simplicity is the reason why it’s so appealing and so infuriating at the same time. It’s practically impossible to agree on what exactly it means once you start applying it to actual characters and their actions. And it’s a recipe for DISASTER if you apply it to real life people and historical figures. (Seriously, don’t do that.) But everyone thinks they know what it means, precisely because it’s so elegant and simple. And when you think you know something, why, you gotta make sure everyone else knows, too. You wouldn’t let someone be wrong on the internet, would you?
Hence: the undoubtedly masochistic relationship that D&D fans have with alignment. Oh, it’s not because the fans are weird. It’s because alignment is so freaking… symmetrical.
Some thoughts on Ieyasu’s Cherished in Love ES. Spoilers ahead.
So I responded to a post earlier (on the wrong blog lol) and looking back and listening to everyone else’s opinions, I want to say I downplayed the abuse present in the story. I was biased and let it cloud my judgment.
Now that I’m conscious of that, I was able to look at the ES from a more objective standpoint and I agree that:
There is an undeniable power imbalance.
There is a lot of unwarranted and over excessive name-calling and threats from Ieyasu.
There is verbal and emotional abuse.
I don’t want the discussion to end there though. I think we should take the time to look at this more holistically.
A lot of people have expressed disappointment on how his character behaves throughout this ES. I share the same feelings on the subject, but I want to point out a few things about recovery, seeing that Ieyasu is an abuse survivor himself.
”So often when we talk about Asians in media, people expect Asian-Americans to be placated by Asian content. They don’t distinguish between Asian and Asian-American content — they’re very different, and that’s not to place a higher value on one or the other. It’s just to give an awareness to people that to lump us together as the same story is reductive to our experience. The fortitude it took to come here as an immigrant, with no support system in a new place, sometimes not even speaking the language, and what it must take to have the courage to build that kind of a story and home from scratch — it is a different experience. When Hollywood executives think Asian-Americans are placated by simply Asian roles, I think that’s reductive to what it means for our immigrant experience and how unique and special that is to us. Asians and Asian-Americans — not better nor worse — just different.” [x]
Shoot + claire (i mean dynamics-wise cause i find her being an addition so cool and exciting like??? A weird kid or fan girl of root's skills and TM who literally no one asked for but is here running about in their lives in STC as a trainee :'))
(so this one is very definitely set in the universe of my canon-divergent fic sliding towards chaos. it should be really easy to pick up on what’s going on without having read it though. i had a lot of fun writing this.)
“John, can you babysit my stalker?”
Reese looked over Root’s shoulder to where Claire was pounding furiously at the subway car door with one fist. Root must have locked her in. Again.
“Aren’t you supposed to be training her today?” Training wasn’t quite the right word. Insulting and ignoring a student didn’t count as training in his books.
Root patted him on the shoulder. “I think you have so much more to offer her as a teacher.” She flitted past him and vanished out the door before he could argue.
He heaved a sigh and went to look for the remote to open the subway car doors.
The thing with Claire was, well, he couldn’t really blame Root for dodging her all the time. Claire had been trailing after her like a lovesick puppy since day one, completely enraptured by being in the presence of the Machine’s analogue interface.
It had weirded Root out a little the first few days.
“John, why is the angry child staring at me all the time?”
“She’s almost twenty-two, you know.”
“Fine. Why is it staring at me?”
Negative progress. He moved on from the point. “Well, Claire is like you….”
The toothy grin that formed on Root’s face reminded him of a wild animal about to pounce and rip out its prey’s throat.
“I just meant she’s a, uh, very big fan of AI, right? And you’re basically the Machine’s chosen human, so she’s probably a big fan of you as well by association.” He decided not to mention Claire’s painfully obvious crush on Root, just in case Root had somehow not noticed. It would only make things worse.
“Hmmm. We’ll see about that.”
He tried not to worry too much about that ominous statement, and for the next week or so things actually went surprisingly smoothly. Until he noticed an emerging pattern.
Root had never been the tidiest person ever. He wouldn’t have called her a slob, by any means, but stuff seemed to accumulate in a trail behind her. Usually wires and hard drives and laptops, but it could be almost anything. But Claire now followed her around cleaning up after her. And fetched her drinks. Ran to the store for her. Picked up her laundry.
“She’s using her as an errand girl,” he told Shaw.
They both watched as Claire hurried across the subway carrying a tray of starbucks to Root.
“Where’s my whipped cream?”
“I thought you said…”
“I always get whipped cream.”
“I, uh, I’ll be right back.”
Shaw and Reese watched Claire scurry out of the subway.
“See?” Reese said.
“I mean she does always get whipped cream.” Shaw looked thoughtful. “I wonder if I can get her to go on food runs for me.”
In the end, he had to beg the Machine to convince one or both of them that Claire was not there as Root’s servant. Root sulked for a while, but eventually relented and went back to avoiding Claire whenever possible.
Claire wasn’t doing much to help her case. The day she showed up with her nails painted black, Shaw had to physically remove Root from the subway before she could get her hands on a taser (or possibly his grenade launcher. Both were in the weapon lockers at the time, but he firmly chose to believe that she was going for the taser). He got left with the task of convincing Claire to remove her nail polish and dealing with the inevitable round of moodiness that caused.
And then there was the whole Root and Shaw…situation. Whatever they were calling it. Claire had to have known on some level (since Root was the antonym of subtlety), but sometimes seeing was believing.
He’d taken her and Harper to the shooting range that day, and Claire had followed him back to the subway after, no doubt hoping to find Root. He should have known better than to come back to the subway late without checking in first, but he’d been distracted by Claire sulking about how much Harper had teased her (Harper wasn’t as bad as Root in that respect, but still) and didn’t even think about what they might be walking into until it was far too late.
Fortunately, no one had removed any vital pieces of clothing yet, but Root was very definitely sitting on Shaw in the computer chair in the subway car (which he was never going to be able to sit in again now), with her face buried in Shaw’s neck and Shaw’s hands down the back of her pants.
Claire walked right into a pillar.
Root didn’t get up, but she did turn her head and shift sideways so Shaw could see them as well. She looked incredibly smug and Reese was willing to bet his favorite gun that the Machine had told her they were showing up and she had ignored her. Or instigated the whole scene.
Shaw, for her part, was a bit flushed and breathless, but didn’t appear to be even slightly embarrassed by the whole situation. She did make Root get off of her (eventually), but otherwise didn’t seem to give a shit that they’d been walked in on.
Claire had basically fled after that, and going forward she went all wide-eyed and forgot to breathe every time Root and Shaw got within three feet of each other. Since Claire’s view of the world had previously been narrowed down to only the Machine and Root, her newfound discovery of Shaw’s existence meant she was tripping over her feet even more.
She happened to show up one day while Shaw was in the middle of brainstorming how to handle the new number they’d gotten. Shaw’s chosen method of brainstorming that day involved doing pushups while she thought things through. Claire took one look at Shaw–all sweaty with her tank top showing off her rippling arm muscles–and her jaw dropped and her face turned bright red. Reese was unsure if he should be amused or concerned by this development.
It did make Claire take the non-computer-related parts of her missions more seriously. She went from barely paying attention to tactical lessons, to being Shaw’s most attentive student overnight. Shaw was either oblivious to the attention or just completely didn’t care, which worked out pretty well for everyone involved.
But Root still had to be cornered and forced to spend any time training Claire at all. (He’d been worried about Root’s reaction to Claire’s sudden fascination with Shaw, but when she’d noticed she’d laughed so hard she’d fallen out of her chair). There was really only one thing that could possibly soften Root even a little towards her, but it took months before that happened.
“Why does she have you maintain this setup for her here still?” Claire asked as she looked over the Machine’s hardware in the subway car. “Surely she doesn’t need it anymore.”
Root watched her from the far end of the subway car, clearly suspicious. Reese had decided to sit on the subway seats halfway along the car, placing himself between them. Just in case.
“Obviously She doesn’t need them,” Root said, “but She likes having a physical location near us. It’s largely symbolic, of course.”
“It’s incredible.” Claire sounded awed.
Root scowled, probably offended for some reason Reese couldn’t fathom. “What is?”
Claire turned around to face them. “Well, she’s an AI. The first artificial general intelligence to ever exist. She’s faster and smarter than any human ever could be, and she doesn’t need us for anything. Not really, I mean. But she fought to protect all of you, even after she didn’t have to.”
Root’s scowl had vanished, but she looked ready to bring it back at a moment’s notice. “She cares about us. Because she chose to.”
“Yeah, and that’s incredible, right? Like she’s this being that’s so vastly different and greater than us, and she chose to care about a handful of humans. In all the theories out there of what a true AI might do, no one saw that coming.”
“She’s always been so much more than anyone ever thought She could be,” Root agreed. “Almost everyone who knows about Her sees Her as a threat or a tool. So reductive. Typical human thinking to value what She can do over who She is.”
Claire turned back to the humming server racks. “Their loss.”
Reese figured it was the closest thing to a breakthrough moment that they’d ever have.
The next time Root locked Claire in the subway car she left a window cracked open for her and seemed genuinely pleased to learn she’d escaped unaided.
about your post on how liking certain fiction doesnt make you a bad person i really don't get it. if you're not a bad person why like bad things in fiction? how does what you read not show what kind of person you are?
Because life and humanity are not just not that simple. It seems easy to believe something like “person likes horror = person is obviously a horrific human being” until you actually take a closer look at people, until you actually think about the complexity and depth of human thoughts, feelings, and desires, and you realize that to boil all of human personality down to what someone has read in a book or watched in a movie is reductive black and white thinking at it’s worst.
Let’s talk about popular media for a minute:
The book ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and the rest of the Hannibal Lecter book series which feature a cannibal as a main character and shows other such delightful past-times such as loving moths and making trench coats out of people has won multiple awards and sold millions of copies. The show 'Hannibal’ that was adapted from the book series (and, it should be noted, was 1000x more gorey than the books) had millions of viewers and continues to have an active fandom who have created thousands of pieces of fanworks based on the show that are just as bloody (if not more) than what is seen on screen. The 'A Song of Ice and Fire’ books which are 90% murder and 10% incest have also sold millions of copies, saying nothing of Game of Thrones which everyone should know is also widely popular. On a similar note, the book 'Flowers in the Attic’—everybody and their mother’s original problematic fave—has sold over forty million copies worldwide and has been adapted onto screen several times.
These are only a few examples of books—there are millions more. Crime thrillers routinely top best seller lists, as does dark fiction in general, where the more horrifying and devastating the plot twist the more people tend to love the book. This is to say nothing of fanfiction (of which there are millions upon millions out there) which have as much, if not more, variety as published work.
Moving on to shows and movies: new horror movies are released every year because people can’t get enough of them. The 'Scream’ movie franchise, for example, is one of the most profitable ones out there and has made hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States alone. A new version of the movie 'It’, based on Stephen King’s highly popular horror book, will be coming out later this year along with over a dozen other horror flicks. Horror shows aren’t quite as common but crime dramas are a dime a dozen. See: Criminal Minds which depicts horrible things being done to people in as much detail as you can get on network tv, a show that is going into its 13th season in September and continues to be popular.
Horror is also a rather popular game genre. See: the Silent Hill franchise, Resident Evil, Until Dawn, and many others. It’s also a popular genre in comics, such as The Walking Dead which turned into a highly popular tv adaptation. This is all not even getting into music or art, both of which are mediums that can contain content that is just as 'problematic’ as anything you’d find in books or on screen, because if I keep going on about this I’ll be typing all day.
Take allll of that in. Take in all the examples I haven’t mentioned, all of the millions of shows and movies and books and songs and comics and whatever else. Take that in and think of how many people those examples translate into. Millions of books sold = millions of people reading them. Millions of viewers = millions of people sitting down to watch these shows every week. Millions of dollars at the box office = millions of people giving their money in order to sit down and watch these movies.
That’s millions and millions and millions of people who are consuming content which contains “bad” or “problematic” material. I feel it’s completely accurate to state that these people are your family, your friends, your neighbors, probably even yourself because the probability that you’ve never consumed any of this content or don’t know anyone who has is astronomical.
These are millions and millions and millions of people who, according to you, would be bad people simply because they consumed this content. And if you have consumed any of this content—which, again, you probably have at some point—that would make you a bad person too.
Does that honestly make sense to you? Do you honestly think that there are THAT many terrible people in the world? That the millions of people who, for example, sat down and watched Hannibal every week condone cannibalism in real life? That the people who have read the Game of Thrones books and loved them are all on the same level as someone who would screw his sister and push a kid out of a window? That the people who have watched every Scream movie are all a step away from putting on a mask and going on a stabbing spree?
If people were defined by the media they consumed and only the media they consumed with no other factors (such as what they actually believe is moral and ethical IRL, such as how they actually treat other people) then god help us all because the world would be a fucking utterly horrid place to be.
But, people aren’t defined only by the media they consume because—again—people are much more complex than that and are so much more than only the kind of books they read or shows they watch.
This then begs the question: why do people consume this content? Why, if you’re not condoning something, would you want to read about it or watch a movie about it? What do people get out of consuming fucked up media?
This isn’t a new question. It’s one that’s been asked hundreds upon hundreds of time. If you only google “why do people like horror” you’ll get page after page of results of laypeople and psychologists alike trying to explain it. The simple answer is basically that human beings as a whole like to feel intense emotions in a controlled, safe setting and as complex as we are we’re also interested in the complexity of other people, even when they’re fictional.
Most of us would not want to actually live in a horror movie, we wouldn’t want to actually be locked in a closet with a guy on the other side breaking in with an ax and we wouldn’t want to live in a haunted house surrounded by ghosts hellbent on murder and property damage. But in the safety of our own homes, a library, a movie theatre? We can sit down and read our books and watch our movies and feel terrified to our heart’s blood-pumping content without ever having to actually put ourselves in harm’s way. The same situation applies to other emotions: love, sadness, heartbreak, humor. Fiction gives people a chance to feel things as intensely as possible in a way that is, ultimately, safe. It gives people a way to escape and cope and be entertained and in a way live a life and experience things that it wouldn’t be safe or practical or even desirable for them to experience in the real world.
And then there are plenty of people who like to consume this kind of media because they’re simply fascinated by the psychology of the fictional characters involved. Like you want to know why people would want to consume this 'bad’ content, the people who consume this content usually do so because they want to know what motivates these characters—what makes a person into a monster? What makes a monster into a person? And what does it say about us as people that we emphasize so strongly with monsters? There are entire swaths of people who find something almost addictive, almost holy about looking at the absolute darkest aspects of life and humanity and things beyond humanity and finding something in there that they can relate to and understand.
Human beings are, generally, an emotional species. We want to feel things. We want to feel things about people. We want to feel love and pain and fear and every single emotion there is to feel but we don’t want to put ourselves in an unsafe position in order to do that. Fiction gives us a happy medium. The kind of fiction we consume doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us people, period, because people are complicated and flawed and messy and to try and apply black and white thinking to people as a whole is an exercise in futility. People aren’t either good or evil, moral or immoral, “pure” or impure. It’s more complicated than that, people are more complicated than that.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand more times: there are better ways to judge a person than by what fiction they like, by what movies or shows or books they prefer. The way people treat others matters. The way people talk about others matters. The way people believe things should be in real life matters. All a person’s taste in fiction shows about them is their taste in fiction. You can’t make any other assumptions about them based only on that because to do so is to try and apply an overly simple concept (liking fiction that contains bad things = you are a bad person) to something that isn’t simple at all. Now, you don’t have to like what another person likes or even understand it and you are 100% allowed to be critical of the media itself but if you go throughout life under the idea that people are defined by the media they consume then the world you believe you are in is going to look like a godawful place and every single person you ever meet is going to disappoint you because I think it’s safe to say that there’s not a single person on this earth who has only ever consumed 'morally pure’ media. Everyone has watched a crime show, everyone has watched a horror movie, everyone has read a book or a fanfic with some fucked up things happening in it and anyone who says they haven’t is lying their ass off.
The only way to not consume 'problematic’ media is to never consume any media at all and if we are all defined by the media we consume, if we are all guilty of everything we have read about or watched on screen, then by that logic we are all bad people - we are all monsters - and that’s just…not something that I believe in whatsoever, at all, because I think people are more complex than that and I have more faith in humanity than that.
you do realize that people in asia do the same thing with english, right? go into any clothing store in japan and you're guaranteed to see at least 5 different shirts/accessories with english on it.
Like, I’m totally open minded to the idea that this could be wrong, but it’s always confused me. Why is it bad for us to have Japanese things written on our clothes, but then you see other countries having English on them we don’t get offended, even though they’re doing if for the aesthetic of it too. Idk it’s always confused me, and made me feel bad for thinking that, why is it wrong?
i don’t have the energy to fully articulate an argument about language being linked to colonialism and the hegemony of english as a language being imposed not just on the west but also on eastern cultures and peoples. the very very short answer i can give you is that english has become a default lingua franca throughout much of the world. the domination of english as a language of exchange means that whether they want to or not, a lot of japanese people are forced to learn english. no white person in an english-speaking country is really ever “forced” to learn japanese. a lot of japanese people buying clothes with english text probably understand the words and can actually read the language. dan and phil don’t understand japanese and can’t read it and neither can probably the wide majority of their audience. that means they are utilizing this text for the appearance of it which means they are reducing down a language to its visual appeal or its contribution to their sense of “aesthetic.” their only basic exposure to japanese language and culture is through their avid consumption of anime and one week-long trip to the country where they mostly visited popular tourist destinations, which in itself shows that their understanding of this country, its vast history, and its culture is almost certainly limited to one sector of its entertainment media which, crucially, a lot of actual japanese people don’t even enjoy or watch. it’s just frustrating to see two white men profit off of their fixation on cultural stereotypes and, importantly, perpetuate those stereotypes and reductive thinking amongst their primarily young and largely western audience. on the flip side–japanese people putting english text on their clothing doesn’t really constitute an oversimplification or erasure of an entire language or culture because english is already the world’s dominant language and it’s not tied to a specific country or people.
Do you think Dean has BPD? I love your stuff btw, I hope your day is going alright.
Hi Thank you! :D
I’ve put this under the cut as this may be triggering for some people as I talk about mental health. Also, I want to caveat that I am not a mental health worker, this is just my random person’s opinion on the show, nothing to do with any kind of real psychological analysis of any real person.
I think the priority of the post isn't about hating cats it's so reductive that you think that. It's a poetic view on how bi women date straight men because they are 'cute' even though they won't get anything equal from the relationship. They're saying technically cats don't really "love" owners as much as they enjoy having a warm caregiver. they aren't protective or selfless or able to perform tasks so you're not going to gain anything from the affection you give, same with most pets.
The article had a 49 point list of reasons they refuse to date someone and insisted that it’s scientifically proven that cats don’t love their owners and “hit me up if you’re a dog person.”
It reads an awful lot like someone projecting their feelings onto an innocent animal that can’t understand what her problem is and less like some poetic metaphor. You’ll do well to note that the author is the one to accuse the cat of not returning emotional labor and other such bizarre pseudofeminist rantings. Am I supposed to gloss over such a bizarre accusation made to a tiny innocent animal? Or that you must hate yourself if you love anything that doesn’t follow you with slavelike devotion? That the article at its core seemed to think its internalized misogyny to have any pet other than a dog?
If thats supposed to be poetic it’s shitty poetry and I’ll be as “”“”“”“"reductive”“”“”“” to it as I want.
Can we acknowledge that A Song of Ice and Fire is not just about Dany and Jon. Ignoring other elements like dragons, white walkers. What D&D was pure fanservice, good one but stil la fanservice to us. Title is not about two people, but more complex than that. As a Jonerys shipper I can see that and hopefully so will you and the rest of us.
I really don’t appreciate the tone of this ask. As my longtime followers know, I have already acknowledged this several times. Here’s one recent askfor example. Here’s a snippet from that ask:
The White Walkers are also ice, situated in opposition to the Lord of Light who is clearly making moves against them through proxies like Mel–and they are fire.
Dragons vs wights could also be ice and fire, Rhaegar vs Lyanna, North and South, etc etc etc.
It is reductive to think it means any one thing …
Most people in the Jonerys fandom know that the antis spent literally years telling us that Jon and Dany are not ice and fire. That ice and fire referred only to Jon himself. So yeah, I’m going to celebrate the fact that it’s been confirmed that they both are. And I never said they are the only thing ice and fire refers to. Thanks.
there are a lot of Satoko's fans but she has the worst jumps in the top ladies field. I can't even remember someone pretty succesfull but with such shameful jumps. where is all the salt and criticism about it? I just don't get it :( I don't see how her spins&spirals could compensate her jumps.
Shameful is not the word I’d use, though it is true that Satoko’s jumps are far from being ideal. She pre-rotates quite severely, her jumps are small, and because of that she usually risks under-rotating too. She does have a nice flow in and out of her jumps, but that is about the only positive thing I have to comment. That and the fact she seems well aware of her shortcomings and is actively working towards improving them. From what I’ve seen of her lately she’s trying hard to make her jumps bigger and less prone to UR. I strongly suspect that the injury she’s been suffering from is due in no small part to overexertion in her eagerness to improve her techniques.
Now as to whether or not Satoko’s spins and spirals and everything else are enough of a compensation for her flawed jumps to make you enjoy her skating, that’s entirely up to your own preference. Me, personally, I’m neutral about her, as in I’m not overly enthusiastic about Satton’s skating, but I don’t hate it either. Her skating skills are solid, with lovely edgework, control, and precision. Her ice coverage is impressive especially considering what a tiny lady she is. Her spins are top notch, her layback is hands down the best you can find on the entire circuit these days. I also appreciate her competitive mentality: she never appears flustered in the face of a mistake, she always carries herself calmly through the program and stays committed to the choreography.
Why aren’t there enough criticisms and
salty comments surrounding her? I don’t know what your quota of enough is, but I’ve seen and heard lots of people criticizing her jump techniques, so it’s not like the entire skating community is blind to her flaws, and as I said, Satton herself is also very much aware of the need to work on this area. As for salty comments, I’d say asking why anybody doesn’t get unnecessarily hated makes for a most pointless and reductive discussion, don’t you think?
In other news, "Friend-zone" is still complete bullshit.
Saw this today. Don’t remember the exact wording, but the gist was this:
‘Don’t let her use you for deep and satisfying conversation while she’s fucking some guy who barely texts her. Know your worth.’
The following commentary is what I’d call cis-heteronormative, and even a bit lazy. I’m just frustrated and have to get this out.
If the conversation is satisfying, why are you worried about who she’s fucking? Are you a reductive asshole who thinks conversation is just the key to her pants? Is that the ultimate endgame for every relationship with a woman who isn’t your mother or sister? Are you also similarly usurious of your relationships with men, using friendship as means to selfish end?
Once again for the guys up in the nosebleed seats who maybe still haven’t heard:
“Friend-zone” is bullshit. If “knowing your worth” hinges on whether or not she thinks you’re more fuckable than some other dude, you probably don’t know your worth, and definitely don’t know hers.
In case it got past you, you are allowed to have deep, satisfying conversations with friends while dating other people. She can do that. So can you.
And for anybody on the other side of this (i.e. facing direct criticism from somebody you thought was a friend but who’s mad that they’ve been so nice to you and you give it up to some asshole because that’s your goddamn decision to make):
You probably already know this, but there’s nothing wrong with you or your decision. The problem lies *entirely* with your “friend’s” insecurity and extremely limiting priorities. That person is not ready to be your friend.
It’s entirely up to you to decide whether you have the patience to wait for them to get their shit aligned and catch up with you.