they had a common theme but i think they look quite a bit different from each other

“Deconstructed” Assimilation Plot

My wife and I were thinking of writing a near-future (2030) sci-fi novel with utopian/dystopian themes, revolving around an viral video (produced by a team of researchers) that causes a profound quasi-religious experience in a receptive viewer. As a result, people who have watched it are generally happier and have a sense of shared purpose and trust of others who have watched. 

They also become more altruistic, tend to want to “convert” dissidents, and organize together to do so. Essentially an optimistic deconstruction of the Assimilation Plot, which maintains individuality, so most of the typical reasons why assimilation is bad aren’t such large factors. We thought this had some fascinating parallels with a lot of different issues about identity, religion and politics, as long as we present it as something not entirely good or bad. We figured that this would be a great opportunity to have a ethnically diverse cast of characters to discuss the moral issues posed by such a ideological group attempting to integrate/assimilate different communities and groups of people. Our main cast is fairly diverse, though we plan to use their families and friends to offer more varied viewpoints, and avoid tokenism.

Anyways, we’re concerned about crafting authentic and nuanced reactions to this event, particularly among our main characters, so if you have any suggestions about how their ethnic backgrounds might contribute to their viewpoints about the event (either as converts or dissidents), we’d love to hear them. Two of our characters we’re particularly concerned about are a 30 year old former Syrian refugee female software developer (non-practicing Muslim, married to a white agnostic ethicist), and a 23 year old Afro-Latino cyber-security expert/conspiracy theorist (middle child from a stable lower-middle class family).

[ask shortened due to exceeding length, reminder: aim for brevity, askers]

Deconstruction is not the word

I’m confused by this question.  Let’s look at what a “deconstruction” in literature actually is.  Quite literally, you take a common or established storyline and break it down into its component parts, then examine each of those parts closely and play them through to their (often painful) logical conclusions.  In a deconstruction, if some action has a consequence, the deconstruction of that plot point is to to play that consequence cruelly straight without handwaving things away, seeing in gruesome detail what effects that conceit has on the characters.

In brief, when you deconstruct high fantasy, what you get is Game of Thrones.  When you deconstruct space opera, what you get is Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica.  Deconstruction is an intentional reading of an established formula with an eye counter to that which was originally intended.  Deconstructing modernism gives you Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” wherein the protagonist becomes a giant freaking bug for no god damn reason.  When you consider that many of the things that often occur in narratives would actually be incredibly psychologically damaging in real life, balance and optimism are not really a thing in deconstruction.

What Deconstructed Assimilation Looks Like

So, with this knowledge, let’s look at what deconstructing assimilation would look like in this context.

Cultural assimilation is about subsuming the characteristics of one’s native culture to the larger society in which one lives.  Wholesale assimilation requires you giving up your native food, your native dress, often your native name, because its “easier” or “cooler” or whatever.  People actually do this a lot. Often we choose to do so because it kind of greases the wheels when we live in a place where people like us are the minority.  But there’s a price.  Even the most psychologically well-balanced individuals are going to be torn by the tightrope act required by assimilation.  

I often give my name as “Nick” at Starbucks even against the twinges of feeling like I’m selling out my family, because it makes my afternoon proceed just a little bit easier.  Sometimes I don’t.  It’s basically a coin flip depending on how I’m feeling that very second.  But each act is a choice that changes a person’s sense of being an individual in an culture that regard them as an outsider.  If we deconstruct this notion we’re going to be playing the consequences through to the gory logical ends—every choice a person makes to assimilate or not assimilate is going to be affecting their sense of what being “an individual” means on a very basic level.  

In this sense, I see the whole point of a deconstruction being that “individuality” isn’t a discrete, concrete concept.  Deconstructing assimilation means deconstructing individuality, particularly cultural individuality, and a storyline that deconstructs the concept of assimilation can’t do so while maintaining “individuality” because the two concepts are inextricably and contradictorily linked.

Subverting Assimilation may be the word

If you mean subverting the concept, that’s different, but I have a very hard time seeing how deconstructing and closely examining the notion of assimilation can be done “optimistically” if you’re coming at it from the perspective that assimilation is a bad thing.

~Mod Nikhil

I’ve discussed people ‘deconstructing’ assimilation plots with a more positive twist here: [Pagan Scandinavians and Colonialism]. I’d suggest reading that post to get my full thoughts.

Risks of Adding Optimism to Assimilation

Broadly speaking, attempting to create a “positive” spin on assimilation runs an extremely high risk of sanitizing cultural genocide. The core rooted belief of converting others is that all other beliefs are wrong, your way of life is the best, and you should do whatever it takes to convince people to jump into your way of life because they’ll eventually see it’s the best thing ever.

This has huge problems. If you think it’s okay just because the doctrine will adapt to individual culture, allow me to point you to the sheer number of places Christianity got mixed with the local beliefs in order to convert more people. That’s what made it such an insidious religion; they were willing to adapt to whatever culture in order to get more converts (usually destroying parts of the Indigenous culture in the process, using the mix as a stepping stone to slowly assimilate them and have them lose touch with their original beliefs).

While some of the mixes have been taken back by their individual peoples, that doesn’t stop the mixed reaction many many many Indigenous people have with any religion that tries to take over. Trying to spin tactics that directly lead to cultural destruction as positive “this time” doesn’t hold up, because you haven’t created a situation that has addressed the problem. You’ve just draped it in new decoration, with a video instead of a metaphysical being. Otherwise, this mirrors colonialism. 

This sort of scenario has happened all over the world, with dozens of faiths, hundreds of ethnicities, and it always follows the same method: a group of people believes everyone should be like them, and is willing to use whatever tactics to get there. I see nothing different, at its heart, with your plot.

If you want to try and avoid it, get rid of the need to convert others. You could still have some squicky parts, but at least without a need to convert others there is far less room for psychological manipulation and coercion. 

~ Mod Lesya 

YGO-DSoD: on Seto, Pride and Soul.

So the two week airing of DSoD has come to pass. Luckily I got an Obelisk card on one of the days I went, but even after watching Dark Side of Dimensions twice, there was a nagging feeling that I might’ve forgotten something, so I took a memory walk to figure out what it was…

~ The following blog post covers some thoughts on Seto Kaiba in the movie ~

(It’s also sorta, lightly spoilerish. Read at your discretion…)

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Evermore: Why Beauty & the Beast lives on throughout generations

“Minutes turn to hours, days to years and gone. But when all else has been forgotten… Still our song lives on.”

Everyone knows the story: how a beautiful young woman fell in love with a hideous beast, lifting a 10-year-long curse from his castle and all who lived there. This is as the song goes, “A tale as old as time”, and anyone who’s anyone would have at least watched this Disney classic at least once. Though I’d like to believe we all managed to watch it more times that we would like to admit. 

But Beauty and the Beast is more than just a love story; a romance between two different people who at first hated each other but eventually grew fond of one another. No. There’s more to this story than what meets the eyes and the most recent live-action remake showed us exactly that and even made us realize what made us love this tale so much in the first place.

I grew up watching Disney films. These stories are the borders of my childhood; the foundation of my beliefs apart from the things taught by parents and teachers. Beauty and the Beast basically taught me never to judge a book by its cover. Funny I should say that considering Belle is portrayed as a bookworm. But it’s true that the tale taught us the value of beauty and how it is not determined by appearance but found within.

This is such a timely theme, considering we live in a world where physical beauty is so important. People strive to be beautiful—to stay beautiful. Judging by the countless beauty advertisements, movie actors and actresses that glitter under lights like stars, we have truly built a “beautiful world.”

Though from another perspective, is it really a beautiful world when there is so much wickedness going on? There are wars being fought; injustices prevailing; evil and insecurities residing in people’s minds and hearts. The world may look beautiful on the outside, but what about on the inside? In order to make this words truly beautiful, people must learn not to let hate rule in their hearts; to be good. I believe everyone is ‘innately good’, no one was born bad… much like the Beast who was only influenced by his cruel father, turning him heartless and unkind. 

People — mostly girls should also be more accepting of themselves. A lot of girls find it hard to tell themselves that they are beautiful, even more so to accept compliments from others. It is sad but this world has made its own standards of beauty which we have fooled ourselves into believing. If you think about it, it’s quite ridiculous to have a common standard for beauty since it’s subjective. We all have different perspectives. Best to keep that in mind next time you look into a mirror. 

Apart from that main message of this story, Beauty and the Beast actually teaches us more things about life—and ourselves—which was very evident in the live-action remake.

One being: girls can be heroines too.

It’s always the knight in shining armor; Prince charming who sweeps us off our feet or defeats the might dragon and saves the damsel in distress. Belle was actually one of the few Disney princesses who didn’t act like a “princess” and did more than just stand there and look pretty, hoping for Prince charming to come and save her from that so-called “provincial life”. Belle was a very active character and even ended up saving everyone in the end. She should definitely be a role model to young girls as she embodies a strong and independent personality which women need to take note of in order to break through ongoing inequalities in society. 

If Belle can save the day, why can’t you? And it’s actually quite amazing how recent Disney princesses like Moana and Elsa from Frozen—or even other classic princesses like Mulan are taking more active roles. 

Beauty and the Beast also has one of the most beautiful — and meaningful songs ever composed in Disney history. So when I discovered that there were going to be new tracks, I was simply overjoyed!

“Days in the Sun” was a beautiful track filled with much hope and longing. Although I adored “Human Again” (and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit saddened at first when I found out that it wouldn’t be in the film), I thought Days in the Sun fitted really well into the scoring and storyline. 

How in the midst of all this sorrow
Can so much hope and love endure
I was innocent and certain
Now I’m wiser but unsure

- from Days in the Sun

Belle’s part in this song really stood out for me as it can be related to our world and how amidst all the sadness and hardships we go through, love and hope are the two things that thrive and keep us going. Also, is it not true that when we were younger and innocent, we were always certain of the things we wanted? Our dreams were pretty clear then and we had it all figured out on who we wanted to be like or what we wanted to do. But as we grew older, we changed—dreams change which often left us unsure. Being wiser doesn’t mean you would know everything…it simply means learning to question things—learning to doubt even.

“Evermore” was my favorite track for this film simply because the beast was humanized through this song…making us see that he is truly indeed a person underneath that beastly appearance.  

Now I know she’ll never leave me
Even as she fades from view
She will still inspire me
Be a part of everything I do
Wasting in my lonely tower
Waiting by an open door
I’ll fool myself, she’ll walk right in…

And be with me forevermore

- from Evermore

It such a sad song and I loved how the Beast was able to show his sorrow at Belle’s departure and express his feelings for her through this scene. His act of letting her go was already a clear sign of his love for her but this song took it to a whole new level when he practically sang how he’d only love her forevermore and that no matter how far she may be from him, he would always be reminded of her.

While watching that scene, I couldn’t help but cry (yes I cried twice when I saw it for the second time) and its not only because I felt through the Beast’s pain but also because I realized we were all the Beast in a way. We’re all flawed, we’re all hurting, and we’ve all lost someone along the way; be it a loved one, a significant other, or a friend. But the memory of them remains and no matter how sad it makes us when we think about them and all that might have been, our experiences with them inspire us and has made us stronger. You know I’ve always believed you can’t un-love someone whom you “truly loved”. Because that love we gave was real, and you can’t really take it back. To move on, you can only love someone more. 

“How Does a Moment Last Forever” basically captured the essence of this beautiful tale. The whole song practically breathes and lives on quotes so I’m not going to mention my favorites because I would end up writing the whole thing. It’s a beautiful song about life and the beauty of its imperfections; and how love is what binds everything together.  

Beauty and the Beast truly has a lot to say about real life and it’s amazing how a fairytale can affect us so much. We fell in love with it in the books… when Disney released the animated version in 1991…and today as we witness it come alive in 2017. Beauty and the Beast taught us that beauty is found within and that love is a powerful catalyst. Most importantly, and I’d say this as it is not said enough, this story taught us about second chances and that it can be granted to those who try to change and become better people.

“Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong.” - from Beauty & the Beast

I truly enjoyed watching this film again and dare I say it was as good as watching it for the first time back when I was a little girl. Now that I’m an adult, it became more meaningful and the experience was spellbinding. This is why I think Beauty and the Beast will continue to live on throughout generations… because it is a story with depth; one that teaches us so much about ourselves… 

Teaches us that amidst all the sorrows and hardships, there is love and there is hope. And that’s basically all you need for wonders to happen. 

Originally posted by ewatson

PS: And to all the hopeless romantics out there…or to those simply looking for their one true love, don’t lose hope. I think everyone thinks they’re not worth it but hey, if Belle can love someone who was as flawed as the Beast … someone can love you too. No matter how crazy or imperfect you may be. 

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Tsuyu Asui and Uraraka Ochako’s friendship/parallels

The theme of friendship in Boku No Hero Academia is a small but important thing that helps to make the characters feel more real. To clarify, I’m talking about the notion of friendships outside of Deku - the idea that Bakugou is Deku’s fierce rival but also pals around with Kirishima, and in this post the idea that Ochako, despite her fixation on Deku, cares very much for Tsuyu. 

But this post is not just to prove/appreciate Tsuyu and Ochako’s friendship - its also to examine one thing they have in common and two things they don’t - selflessness, commitment to truth and use of deception. Let’s start just by proving their friendship, and then we can move on to examine the more hefty psychological stuff.

Chapter 80! Clearly the best choice to avoid hefty psychological stuff! But in all seriousness, when Tsuyu and Ochako are attacked by Toga in the woods, they both take measures to protect the other at the cost of themselves.

Tsuyu flings Ochako away and tells her to run.

And Ochako

tackles Toga to the fucking ground instead of running away

The general rule for employing unarmed combat against an opponent with a knife is don’t - especially after you’ve been stabbed. But Ochako out of pure concern for her friend risks it all anyway. Like Tsuyu, Ochako is a good friend, and Ochako is a good person. Seems weird for me to highlight that, but you have to keep that in mind when I move onto examining the psychological differences between Tsuyu and Ochako.

So let’s talk just about Tsuyu for a bit. The best way to describe her is stoic. She’s fairly intelligent, and can keep cool under pressure - this trait of hers is explicitly identified by the school rather than by any inference on my part. She wears that blank expression of hers most of the time, but she is not lacking in emotions, or even emotional expression - she’s just very muted. 

Here in chapter 84 we see Tsuyu and her approach to emotions. She does not deny them - but she is not controlled by them. Tsuyu’s driving principle is honesty - even if what she says is unpleasant, even if it goes against her emotions, if she believes in something she’ll say it. But this blunt approach is not without its drawbacks.

Tsuyu’s commitment to honest expression is such that when she was conflicted - when she felt guilt - she chose to lock herself in her room and say nothing at all rather than hang out with the others and pretend she was fine with her feelings. That approach is quite clearly unhealthy - and Ochako gently urging her to spit out her feelings to the others shows how she is a good friend to Tsuyu - and understands Tsuyu. But it also shows us something else.

Unlike Tsuyu, Ochako is not honest. In fact… Ochako is a liar. Before you jump down my throat, take a look at the next page - I promise you this is nowhere near as bad as it sounds.

Ochako says Tsuyu “wasn’t feeling well”, and that Tsuyu “had something she wished to tell everyone”, but it’s pretty clear here from here and the panel in the first page where Ochako looks towards Tsuyu’s room that Ochako isn’t a proxy of Tsuyu’s expression/confession but rather the driving force behind it. Ochako knew why Tsuyu wasn’t coming out, and Ochako knew the reasons behind it. But she didn’t do what Tsuyu would have done - she didn’t just bluntly say “HEY GUYS TSUYU SEEMS PRETTY GUILTY OVER THE STUFF SHE SAID TO YOU AT THE HOSPITAL YOU SHOULD TALK TO HER” - she quietly, and secretly, arranged things so Tsuyu could have the agency in telling everyone what was going on.

On one hand - what a fantastic friend, and what selfless behavior. Ochako “lied”, to put Tsuyu’s feelings first.

On the other hand - when you put everyone else first, lie, and deliberately crush your own emotions - how will people ever be able to help you?

Tsuyu and Ochako are interesting to me, because their love for each other and approach to emotion remind me of two characters from a visual novel called “Tsukihime” - Hisui and Kohaku.

Hisui is the one on the left, and Kohaku, the one on the right. Hisui wears that neutral expression nearly all the time, while it is rare for Kohaku to not be seen with a smile. With a spoiler warning, I’ll give you a snippet of the protagonists’ description of the two.

“Come to think of it, the expressionless Hisui actually showed a lot of different feelings. From the outside, she appeared to be a heartless doll, but her heart was not a doll’s.”

“However- what about this girl? The always, ever smiling Kohaku.”

"No matter what happened, she always wore a smile, like a person with the heart of a doll.”

“-But even that was untrue. Beneath the mask of “Kohaku” was not a doll, but a girl who cried.”.

“One who cried, and cried, and cried - until no one came, and it became clear that crying out to others wouldn’t do - that the only person who could save her was herself.”

With Tsuyu and Ochako, we see something. Sometimes the least expressive people are actually the most open, while sometimes the most expressive people are hiding something - anger, regret, shame, guilt - and above else - hurt.

anonymous asked:

Why do you ship suzaku and Lelouch, sorry if you've answered this before?

Thanks for your question! Interestingly, I don’t think I ever did, at least not on this blog? I did write a long private post last year for someone who asked me for reasons to ship Suzaku and Lelouch, though. Let’s see if I can copy-paste / pick out the main points from there.

Keep in mind though that this is a personal response, being that it’s a personal-opinion question, and even as the mod of the suzalulu blog I can only speak for myself and don’t necessarily represent the opinions of the entire fandom. BUT hopefully this might be a mini manifesto or a nice nostalgic trip back into feels for some of you!

The short version of it is that:

  • they shared a certain care and tenderness between them that clearly lasted till their final scene together in R2 DESPITE everything that happened between them
  • they’re the only ones who can understand each other in a certain way
  • they’re the winning combination in any video game
  • they have a very balanced/equal dynamic as a pairing, which I like
  • and also (or perhaps very importantly) it’s a beautiful bittersweet tragic mess

You’re talking to someone who boarded the ship only at the final moment, when Lelouch caressed Suzaku’s face through the mask and Suzaku was shedding some serious tears. For me, this was the moment that proved to me that there was at least something more between them - but even prior to boarding the ship, I could always see that they had a very beautiful, tragic friendship - and it was unfortunate that it was wrought with so much misunderstanding, but one cannot deny that in this relationship, each always felt intense emotions toward the other, whatever those emotions might have been (or may be, given the news from last week ;D). The real hatred/cruelty is indifference, but to each other, Suzaku and Lelouch were anything but.

The rest of my elaboration needs to go under a cut, lmao.

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Haikyuu!! Chapter 230 Review

After the high point of last week’s chapter I think the roll has been established; I liked this week’s offering mostly because it keeps up that momentum and still has some residual character development which is what I wanted out of the future.

Karasuno are off to Tokyo, and shit is about to get real.

Nice callback to previous jokes. The team used to think that radio towers were the Sky Tree; now that they’re actually in Tokyo, it’s only fitting to show that they’ve had some time to grow and step up to the main stage.

Love this bit of interaction mostly because Dachi is laser-focused on the task at hand, and he realizes that any distraction is likely going to affect the team’s mood going forward. We’re also treated to a lot of awesome cityscape shots here, which I’m theorizing that manga artists love to do because they get to use some photo reference they don’t normally get to do.

The team is holed up into a small hotel which I think fits their character. It doesn’t give a huge amount of room for “messing around at the expensive hotel” shenanigans, and I think it fits their humble beginnings. We get back around to them being country boys eventually in this chapter, but this keeps them grounded.

The major theme in this chapter is nerves, and how the characters deal with them. It’s pretty awesome to have the team divided into people who can deal with them and people who need help, like below.

There’s a weird translation of “shouted Tattsuan those beers” in the next panel which seems to be referring to treating Ukai’s fellow alumni; this doesn’t carry over very well to the English translation because it’s not something we hear very often. This is apparently an Australian thing.

This is a cool addition mostly because it’s going to serve as a major grounding point for most of the cast; it’s taking the people who have a tendency to run away with themselves in terms of overthinking or hype and gives them an outlet to remember what they’ve done to get here.

Again, Ukai knows what’s up. 

“Take that energy and passion from the music and the video and burn those images of the very best version of yourselves into your minds. Because being able to maintain this image will be of the most utmost of importance.”

A pretty great quote that’s pretty common to hear at the higher level of sports where psychology is very much a battlefield to get an edge. I think the fact they beat Shiratorizawa is going to be brought up a lot in the next couple games, mostly because that’s a huge deal. Hyping up Ushijima so much has the effect of making it hard to make a bigger threat without it seeming more of a hard sell that the boys can beat them.

Simple character building, but effective stuff. Especially if Ennoshita is lined up to be the next captain, Daichi doing transitional stuff is pretty important; it also shows a bit of Suga’s personality, and I can’t help but feel this plays into much of the community’s perception of him.

I think Furudate wants to establish that Daichi is trying to be his most responsible to present the possibility of their defeat. Having Daichi say “yolo, we’re not going to prep for the possibility” kind of robs the situation of some stakes. There’s a fine line between being overly negative and being prepared: I think Daichi wants to be the latter.

Again, establishing Ennoshita as a captain. Tsukishima didn’t get much development post-Shiratorizawa, and I think this run/bike/whatever is going to be an awesome chance for the three first years who’ve exploded in skill the most (sorry Yamaguchi) to mesh, understand each other, and maybe fight out some last-minute awkwardness that could get in the way of the game.

Hilariously, this didn’t result in the typical “Karasuno runs into the enemy while on a run,” but it also missed out on a chance for Tsukishima, Kageyama and Hinata to say “hey, we’re the monster first years, time to get our shit together because this is the big time.”

Hoping for a flashback to that effect because it’s rare we see all three of those guys together, and I think it would represent Tsukishima’s entrance into the upper echelon of the team.

So the rest of the chapter revolves around Shimizu and Yachi chilling out in a bath; even though this is a prime opportunity for cheesecake, I think Furudate actually handled it quite well. They needed to give these two some alone time for development away from the boys, and it’s hard to do that with so many people around.

This is pretty sick, because I think Shimizu’s been broken down as a character (as in, we’re seeing more of her as a deeper person) lately. Seeing her origins as a sprinter gives her the context of someone who’s competitive and gives her a reason to be involved with the volleyball team in the first place.

Seeing Shimizu open up to Yachi is good because it de-mystifies her “hot girl who is quiet” persona, and shows that it wasn’t just her being cold; she’s as awkward as anyone else being a teenager, and it just happened to present itself in a different way.

This is going to positively influence Yachi’s character, mostly because it’s going to give her a figure to look up to and say “she was awkward, but she still managed to do an amazing job. I’m a spaz, but if she can do it, I can try, too.”

Positive female friendships, woo! They tend to do it really well with the female managers, who tend to seem like they all know the bullshit the others have to deal with.

“And now my time’s almost up.”

STAKES STAKES STAKES. Like I said with Daichi earlier, this type of talk is usually the type of thing that authors set you up with when the team is about to lose

It’s the thing you hear from the small army who has no chance and is about to get crushed by much larger forces; they have their back against the wall, realizing that being hopeless is useless, and they can only go out with honor. And while you smile and think “well, that sounds pretty cool,” it doesn’t change the ending. They’re still going to lose.

And that’s what the author is setting up here. Something where the reader cannot actively predict whether he’s setting up the tearful “we had a good run” speech after Karasuno get wrecked, or whether it’ll be that much more amazing if they do win.

I hope we get something good out of this either way.

Note the level of detail between the buildings and the people. Again, artists like a shift.

And the cats make their entrance.

Overall a great chapter because it builds on the previous one; if read together they paint a picture of a determined and passionate third-year character roster who have huge stakes in this and aren’t taking it lightly. This can only build in the next ones, as well.

Until then!

Thanks for reading; if you liked this review, reblogging and following is the best way to help me grow!

Dark Felicity

I mentioned in my 5x07 meta that saw a potential for a dark Felicity arc & was writing a post, but I received an angry comment and it kinda dissuaded me from finishing it. Now, after the latest press release, I felt encouraged to go ahead. 

Our girl has been suffering for a long, long time. It looks like the show is finally poised to deal with it. She has been saying she’s okay but she is clearly not.

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It Really Grinds My Gears...

Okay, so I’ve seen people complaining about many things having to do with Final Fantasy XV for a long time now. Despite it being popular both as Versus XIII and XV, the game, like anything else, has gathered many haters in addition to fans. I personally disagree with many of the gripes other people seem to have. These opinions of mine may prove to be quite unpopular, but I feel that as a fan, I’d be doing the game a disservice by not coming to its defense when I feel it’s being wrongfully criticized. There will be some Kingsglaive spoilers in this post, so don’t read past this point if you would like to steer clear of those. Here we go.

1. Luna being weak

One of the most common things I read here is how Luna is weak or a damsel in distress and how we were cheated out of Stella, who is, apparently, the gold standard for heroines everywhere. Luna is a priestess, the youngest in the history of the FFXV world, and has been confirmed as the only person able to hold back the plague of the stars, a strange phenomenon that threatens to cover the world in darkness through the lengthening of the night. She’s also able to speak with the gods themselves. Luna has remained unbroken even after seeing her kingdom being forcibly taken over by Niflheim, her mother and King Regis being killed by Glauca, Nyx sacrificing himself so she could get away, and the horribly destructive conquering of Lucis. She knows her brother is a servant for the empire that has taken everything from her. She stood against armed soldiers of the empire. She stood against an Archaian, and Leviathan at that, confirmed to be one of the strongest. In Kingsglaive, Luna jumped from one airship to another, jumped out of a moving aircraft, stood up to Luche, who threatened to kill her (and tricked him into putting on the Ring of the Lucii, which killed him), and then embraced death without fear as Glauca was about to swing his sword down on her.
My point is that Luna’s incredibly courageous and has a will of pure iron; she’s determined to do what she has to do, regardless of how many people she loses or what she has to sacrifice, even if it ultimately means losing her life. She holds certain abilities no one else has, that are key to the survival of the world, and she fights for the good of everyone. Quiet determination and emotional fortitude are NOT weakness. Not being a physical fighter is NOT weakness either. As for Stella, we knew next to nothing about her save for her role as the Juliet to Noctis’s Romeo in the story. She was his love interest as well as enemy. Yes, she fought for her family and kingdom despite her opponent being the man she loved. Yes she showed determination and strength through her facial expressions and actions. HOWEVER, Stella’s strength doesn’t take away from Luna’s. Luna is not a weak or badly written character because she doesn’t do what Stella does or share her role in the story.

2. Cindy being overly sexualized

This one is really problematic for me. I see people complaining about Cindy’s clothes all the time. She wears shorts and has big breasts. Big deal. She’s got the goods, so she flaunts them. This one’s actually very simple: the main facet of Cindy’s character is NOT her clothing of choice, with the keyword being choice (and I know that Cindy is a fantasy character whose clothes are chosen for her, but I’m going at this assuming we’re speaking about a real woman). Cindy is a genius mechanic. That’s already impressive and good representation, considering that her field is usually male dominated. Cindy is quite literally the only reason the hero party’s car gets fixed and it can be on its way to, well, save the world. Cindy’s clothing being provocative takes nothing away from her skill as a professional or her personality. Her clothing is representative of real life, as all women don’t cover themselves from head to toe. Some women enjoy showing off their features, and more power to them, because we all have the right to dress how we want to dress without being subject to prejudice or critique.
Everyone complaining that she’s sexualized needs to take a step back and think about why they aren’t saying the same thing about Gladiolus, who is literally Cindy’s male counterpart in terms of costume. No one says he’s less of a warrior for not wearing a shirt. No one says men are being sexualized or insulted by his lack of a shirt. If you’re complaining about Cindy’s supposed sexualization, YOU’RE sexualizing her because you’re putting all the emphasis on her clothing when she exists beyond that. Her shorts and cleavage are her defining trait only if you make them.

3. The party
I want to point out that I’m a woman who has absolutely no qualms with other women, because I did get called a woman hater at one point for bringing this up to another user on here. I find no issue whatsoever with the fact that the entire playable cast is comprised of males. I’ve brought up before that most of the games in the Final Fantasy series, at least as far as I’ve seen, have evenly split casts in terms of gender, if not almost evenly split. Final Fantasy X-2 had an all female cast, and, similarly to XV, focused a lot on the sisterhood that formed between the protagonists. Now many people seem to be insulted that men are getting their crack at getting a cast exclusive to them, and I’m just not seeing what the problem is. X-2 had an all female cast, yet males were prevalent in the story and played their roles; they got their chance to shine, but the women were in the spotlight. XV follows this as well, with the game concentrating on the chocobros whilst still showcasing a female cast (one that I find very diverse and interesting).

Luna plays an important role, as does Cindy, even if her role is much more brief. Gentiana, Luna’s attendant, has been confirmed to play an important role in the story and to be much more than a simple servant. Leviathan is a female, and Gladio’s sister, Iris, is also included. I almost forgot to mention Aranea, who’s the captain of an aerial platoon in the Niflheim military and an expert at aerial combat. All these women are extremely different yet are important to the story.
The fact that you play as young men doesn’t detract from the importance of the women in the story; they’re still important and have roles to fulfill. The game is not sexist for not having playable women and neither are it’s creators. The creators of X-2 weren’t sexist for limiting your playable party to YRP, so please stop it with the double standard. Further, some are more upset with the reasoning behind the all male party than with the party itself. All I have to say to that is that, while some people are consistent and comfortable with themselves to the point that they can be around people of other sexes and genders without acting a least a bit different or strange, other people simply aren’t; certain people’s personalities change, whether drastically or not, depending on the groups of people they’re with. That’s neither sexism nor rocket science, and it’s not an excuse either. If the creators of FFXV didn’t want women in the game, they wouldn’t be in it period, with no excuse. It’s be very difficult to touch on the theme of brotherhood and the bonds forged and strengthened between these four men if they’re all constantly acting differently than they normally would because a girl’s around. We saw this in the Duscae demo, where Prompto and Gladio flirt with Cindy incessantly. Events like those are great to show new facets to the characters personalities, but they also show you that these young guys (at least Prompto and Gladio) would behave quite differently with girls in the group, even more so if romantic dynamics were brought into the mix.

4. The emo boyband look

Since the days of Versus XIII, it was known that the story of XV would be very dark, dealing with heavy, real world themes like death. Noctis talked to Stella about seeing the light due to a traumatic experience. It was said that this light gave Noctis the power to sense others’ impending deaths, if I remember correctly. It was also said by Square Enix that black is a very important color in Lucis, as it’s connected to… well, I forget. I don’t remember if it’s Etro or what, but the color black apparently has some relevance in Lucis. The chocobros aren’t dressed like a boyband. If you look at them, they actually each have their own distinctive style. Ignis is prim and proper with his fancy looking attire. Noctis looks more sporty and casual, Gladio looks like he wears clothes because he sorta has to, and Prompto looks a little artsy fartsy even, like he has fun dressing himself and accessorizing. Quite literally the only thing the chocobros’ outfits have in common is the color, and that’s because they’re all from Lucis, where the color holds importance.

So sorry for the long post (and for all the typos… I’m on a cell phone…)! I tend to ramble a lot. I also get really passionate about defending FFXV because I’m very excited to play the game. It’s disheartening to feel the critiques against it are unnecessarily harsh or hold no basis in anything we’ve been shown… if I’m incorrect in anything I said, feel free to respond and correct me! I wrote this solely as a defense for FFXV, not to bulldoze anyone or their opinions on the game, so apologies in advance if I did that with my words, opinions, or tone!

The primary aim of this list is to bring together a group of books with no sex in them for younger teenagers or asexual teenagers who don’t want to read about sex. I’ve marked books which I know have skin colour/racial diversity with a ** if I’ve missed that in one of these books let me know. These books are recommended for an age range of 13-17 and if the title is in italics it’s more for ages 16/17 with older themes but should still be sex free. This is part 1 of a series.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz **

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

Ash by Malinda Lo

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

My birth name is Elizabeth, but I’m a guy. Gabe. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I’m right. I’ve been a boy my whole life.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance. (A little bit biphobic)

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger 

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he’s the only gay kid at Goodkind High School.

Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz **

Thirteen-year-old best friends Stephen and Marco attempt a go-for-broke heist to break into the high school prom and get Marco onstage to confess his love for (and hopefully steal the heart of) Benji, the adorable exchange student and bass player of the prom band. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan, and every heist comes with its fair share of hijinks.

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva **

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl. Her whole life is leading up to the day she decides to become Grady, a guy.

Sister Mischief by Laura Goode **

Listen up: You’re about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities - or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) is a Jewish lesbian lyricist.

Proxy by Alex London **

Syd’s life is not his own. As a proxy he must to pay for someone else’s crimes. When his patron Knox crashes a car and kills someone, Syd is branded and sentenced to death. The boys realize the only way to beat the system is to save each other so they flee.

Street Dreams by Tama Wise **

Tyson Rua has more than his fair share of problems growing up in South Auckland. Working a night job to support his mother and helping bring up his two younger brothers is just the half of it. His best friend Rawiri is falling afoul of a broken home, and now Tyson’s fallen in love at first sight. Only thing is, it’s another guy.

Sprout by Dale Peck

Sprout Bradford has a secret. It’s not what you think—he’ll tell you he’s gay. He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he’s had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought possible.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan **

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual

The Culling by Steven dos Santos **

Recruitment Day is here…if you fail, a loved one will die. For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.

The Necessary Hunger by Nina Revoyr **

As a star basketball player in her last year of high school, Nancy Takahiro’s life is about to change forever. Faced with the college recruitment process and unsure of where her skill will take her, Nancy is not prepared for meeting Raina Webber, an All-State shooting guard whose passion for basketball is matched only by her talent.

Totally Joe by James Howe

“Everybody says you and Colin were kissing." 
"What? That’s ridiculous!” 

Wide Awake by David Levithan

Everything seems to be going right in Duncan’s life: The candidate he’s been supporting for president has just won the election. Duncan’s boyfriend, Jimmy, is with him to celebrate. Love and kindness appear to have won the day. But all too quickly, things start to go wrong.

anonymous asked:

Why do you think that Dean refused to open up to Sam about his feelings about his mom, but in 11x02 he talked to Cas about his problems with his mom and asked for his advice?

The way I see it, is that Dean still feels like he needs to protect Sam. I have mentioned quite a bit how I think that a major theme this season is communication and learning to understand each other for all characters involved. Dean struggles opening up to Sam in general outside of ‘end of the world - we are about to die’ situations. Partly because he sees himself as Sam’s parent and doesn’t feel like he should be burdening his ‘son’ with his issues and partly because he has always had to keep up this persona with Sam that he is this tough guy who doesn’t do chick flicks and ‘Dr Phil crap’. 

I think Dean is afraid that Sam will judge him if he sees who Dean really is, and I think alot of that comes down to how they were raised and how Dean tried to hide alot of the dangers of the world and alot of his own fears from Sam to protect him. He doesn’t want Sam to see him as vulnerable, and that means shutting down his emotions. Sam constantly tries to reach out to Dean, not just in the latest episode, but throughout the entire show this is a common theme. Sam tries to reach out and talk about Dean’s feelings and Dean shuts him down with some joke about ‘cowboy junkies’ or ‘Dr Phil’. (before I watched this episode, i predicted that Dean would in some way mention Dr Phil to Sam. I was totally right. That’s how predictable Dean is with his emotions when Sam is involved.)

However, with Cas, its the total opposite. Dean has no fear of Castiel’s judgement. Maybe its because Cas is kinda awkward and removed from the whole human judgement thing. Maybe its just because Dean knows that no matter how much he fucks up, or how much of himself he reveals, Cas will still look at him like some dazed teenager meeting her celebrity crush for the first time. Dean knows that Cas has seen the very worst of him and yet he also knows, canonically, that Cas loves him. He may not know what kind of love that is, but he knows that no matter how much he fucks up, Cas will still love him, because Cas vowed to stay with him forever. So what’s a little anxiety about his mother to Cas? 

The difference between how Dean acts around Cas and how Dean acts around Sam, is that Dean can completely be himself around Cas, but with Sam, he still puts on that big brother/ parental figure act, because unfortunately, Dean still doesn’t see Sam as his equal. He sees him as his child. And that’s where the toxic codependency comes in and needs to be destroyed more than anything else on the show. Thankfully, only 4 episodes in, they are doing a bloody fantastic job of highlighting this as an issue and working on it, as Dean’s change of heart (or thawing of his frozen heart from episode 3) showed by the end of ep 4. 

WTNV Theories and Ramblings - Episode 53: The September Monologues

My angels, today’s forecast is dissatisfaction. I know…again, right? Dissatisfaction with your work, with your lot in life, with the people around you. If August is the month of reversals, September is the month of dissatisfaction – a half-measure month, a limbo of restless indecision.

Here, above the cut, dissatisfaction with the way things are presently, and the way things will be, and the way things always have been.

If you believe it will help, you can think of this as disappointment instead – less restlessness in that. But we should all know by now that changing the word does little to change the reality.

And below?

  • observations on the structure of this episode (and why it deviates from the norm)
  • thoughts on each of our speakers (plus Chad), and an attempt at finding some common ground between them
  • probably something about identity
  • some miscellaneous things
  • My own monologue, thrown into the mix of monologues from today’s episode

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entrochic  asked:

gimme a scarlet witch pitch

i thought about this one in particular as i was heading out.

Wanda Maximoff has had a pretty fucked up life - which isn’t to say that other superheroes haven’t, but it seems whenever Wanda picks herself back up, something comes to kick the ground out from underneath her, and she has to rebuild all over again - often, seemingly, by herself. her personality often tends to have her introverted, even when stepping up to the plate and taking the lead on a team or a mission. she can often keep to herself, and, for good or ill, tries to work out things inside of herself on her own. a hero who dives inwards instead of outwards.

for Wanda, i would make a slower paced comic that is deeply focused on character and internal conflicts, with a few key themes: rebuilding the self and struggling against depression, what our families are and what they mean to us if anything, and what do you do as a middle aged superhero.

the basic premise is this: wanda acknowledges that she has a lot of weight on her shoulders, and a lot of things on her mind, some or even much of it toxic and draining, and, increasingly, doesn’t feel like she has any kind of rock or stable ground to rely on. and that if she doesn’t start rebuilding again, if she doesn’t start reaching out for someone to support her, the days where she feels like she can’t get out of bed, for lack of energy, or for a growing dislike of herself, are just going to get more common and more intense. and finding places in the Avengers, a group that is more and more on constant missions and having very little downtime, to let this stress out and unshield herself, is getting rarer.

so Wanda decides to build her own support group. a place where she can speak honestly about what’s troubling her, and working out all the fears or dislike swirling around in her stomach and mind, in an attempt to get stronger, to build back up, and, hopefully, not have the ground kicked out from underneath her again. a place for superheroes with problems that can’t be solved by punching, and where they can talk about it, talk about themselves.

the long-term arc is Wanda working through these doubts, anxieties, fears, hate, and even outright depression. bit by it, arc by arc, gathering that strength and support to be better again. like i said, this would be a slower paced, more character focused story. less push on plot and action, more on character development and dialog. fitting for Wanda, i think.

more details after the cut!

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