this is hero status

If we tear down (racist statue designed to instill fear & misery in post-reconstruction black communities) then obviously the next step is to tear down (statue of widely-beloved hero who while flawed still isn’t an overt extension of Jim Crow)

2

I started this last year after I read Blood of Olympus, found the unfinished work-in-progress recently, and worked it into this during some downtime. 

After all that happened to Reyna and Nico, I just want them to chill together forever in New Rome looking at pictures of cute dogs.

ron weasley is so important

we need characters who have doubts and don’t always hide them. we need characters who are embarrassed, we need characters who have a bit of prejudice, and we need characters who can be selfish, because it actually gives them someplace to grow. it makes writing them important, because they are natural people.

ron weasley is everything we need, because in all his flaws, he matures, and he’s loyal, and he owns up to his mistakes. it’s important for readers to know that it takes time and effort to get to that point. recently i’ve been noticing this thing on tumblr where a naturally flawed person or character is completely disregarded and attacked, and i get it. we want to correct things, but ron weasley is the perfect example of being – well – normal, and actually transforming into a better person. he’s the prime example of the “problematic fave” because he’s awesome, and has flaws. but the thing is, that itself is normal, and we can’t treat it like the plague.

ron doesn’t refuse to change, and he doesn’t want to hurt people, but in his youth and jealousy, he can’t really help the way he acts all the time. and that’s completely okay, because what matters is that he actually tries to get there. but it lets readers who are familiar with “problematic traits” feel some sort of comfort, because things like jealousy and embarrassment can’t just disappear because someone tells you you need to get better.

i think this was already clear in the books, and i know we all praise book ron because he’s witty and a great friend, but it’s also really important to not only acknowledge his flaws, but accept and embrace them. because it’s cool to see someone like ron, who went from belittling house elves to wanting to make sure they were safe for example, actually go from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’

so seriously PLEASE REMEMBER RON’S FLAWS. don’t just attack a character because they have undesirable traits because lots of us can relate to ron, and he’s a huge source of inspiration and admiration. he shows us it’s possible to not be the “scum of the earth” just because we have resentment and doubts and insecurities

10

toot toot all aboard the athenaboat bound for long island, ny 

based on a conversation into which the question of the atlantic ocean was brought. like how do they plan on crossing the ocean if nico can only shadow jump like a couple hundred miles at a time with this enormous hecking statue

the statue would probably be able to float?? it’s made more of wood than stone 

(adventures in crap backgrounds :D ))

I want to talk about Star Wars in the context of left-wing politics for a second. It’s actually really good, maybe even better than we realize. It might actually be the best massively popular mass media franchise of the modern era - not because it is undeniably really good entertainment, but because it actually attempts to say something meaningful and positive about rebellion and change.

Many left-wing writers and critical theorists have written about a general problem that plagues mass media. In many stories, the only real movers or changers to the status quo are the villains. In other words, the task of the hero is to merely uphold the status quo against some deviant force that wants to change it. You can see this in works like Harry Potter, where the ultimate goal is really just the defeat of Voldemort and the preservation of the way things are. People that want to change things drastically are either laughed at (like Hermione with the house-elves) or are themselves villainous. This same dynamic is also true in many comic books and comic book movies - The Avengers aren’t looking to fundamentally change the structure of society. That’s what the villains want. The Avengers are supposed to defend the earth from change, not instigate change themselves.

This dynamic points to a sort of end-of-history view of things, where liberal democracy is the best anybody can hope for, and anybody attempting to change it is either worthy of derision or villainous. It propagandizes the audience to be more happy with the way things are, because every possible alternative is worse.

The other side to this particular narrative is the straight dystopia, where liberal democracy has somehow been lost, and the hope of the hero is to restore it. Even though this narrative takes a different approach, it still points to the same thing. This narrative acts as a warning to a similar end - “imagine how bad things could be, you really ought to be happy with the way things are.”

But then there is Star Wars - a story that takes place in a galaxy far far away, but is perhaps more relevant to us on earth than any other mass media franchise. In Star Wars, the heroes are the Rebellion, a rag-tag group of people fighting against an evil Empire. Right from the beginning, the changers are the heroes, not the villains. It’s the heroes that shake things up, or in many cases blow things up, and the goal of the villains is the preservation of the status quo. That’s a huge flip to the problematic narrative right out of the gate.

An argument could be made that Star Wars falls into the dystopia trap, and that the end goal of the Rebellion is merely the restoration of liberal democracy - but two huge things challenge that narrative. In the first place, Star Wars is not presented as a dystopia. In most dystopias, the dystopian environment itself is the central narrative. We are told in great detail just how bad the government is, and how bad they have made the world. Star Wars doesn’t do that. In fact, the amount of time spent on the Empire and its inner workings is minimal. The central narrative to Star Wars is instead the rebels themselves - particularly the three central heroes - and their personal journey and interactions. Their personal acts of rebellion are explained in far greater detail than any Imperial actions. Star Wars could be seen to celebrate rebellion itself, in this way. We aren’t bogged down with an explanation for why opposing the Empire is the right course of action. We are simply made to believe that resisting power itself, in any capacity, is good and should be done.

In the second place, the prequel trilogy actually did a really good job of deconstructing the trappings of liberal democracy. In the prequel trilogy, it’s the Republic that grants emergency powers to the Supreme Chancellor, essentially creating the Empire. It’s the Republic that willingly sacrificed thousands of clone troopers to the scourges of war. It’s the Republic that financed both sides of the civil war. It’s the Republic that let liberty die with thunderous applause. After the prequel trilogy, if the end goal of the Rebellion is just the restoration of that same type of Republic, the audience would not be satisfied. We believe that the Rebellion is fighting for something greater. We have to.

For this reason, the current sequel trilogy actually plays a pretty central role in the interpretation of the series. Depending on what the Resistance ultimately ends up creating, the series could come to a fantastic and satisfying conclusion, or it could stumble into the same trappings of other mass media franchises. I’m not sure if I have total faith - but I honestly have more than I normally would, just because Star Wars has been so comparatively fantastic so far. And Rogue One kept with the tradition, portraying a firmly left-wing insurgency, willing to use whatever means necessary.

That’s the tradition of Star Wars - the heroes are the rebels, the changers, the movers. We’re actually here to create something radically better. Come join us in the galaxy far far away of our wildest dreams.

Originally posted by geekybasket

anonymous asked:

You said its much more interesting to have a character try to fit into their role and fail then a princess character who automatically rebels. Can you tell me more about it and what makes it interesting? I really like your insight when it comes to stories and fairytales.

Ah! Thank you! Well, I really dislike the ‘Rebellious Princess’ narrative for three reasons, and I’ll just go into them below before talking about more interesting approaches

  1. It’s Classist

This is the most obvious issue. Your hero is a rebel princess, born into a life of status and privilege. She is the 1%.

You remember this comic making its rounds on social media? 

Your rebel Princess is Richard.

Every time the Princess laments that she’s trapped by her own wealth and status, she ignores the fact that her problems are minute and petty in the grander narrative. Princesses are inherently privileged, and it’s ignorant to ignore their own wealth in favour of chasing some bohemian ‘freedom’. 

We get it, kiddo. You hate needlework and you don’t want to be Queen. But your kingdom is in the middle ages, people eat dirt and no one is happy. The Princess might yearn for some vague concept of ‘something more’, but that’s myopic and selfish when her people yearn for electricity and proper sanitation. 

I have extreme difficulty enjoying Star vs the Forces of Evil.

2. It pits the hero against other women to make her rebellion look good. 

So you have your Princess who rejects the institution of traditional femininity. All well and good. But in order for her to be rebellious, there must be an institution in the first place for her to reject.

Enter The Institution. Call her St Olga’s Reform School for Wayward Princesses, call her Prudence, or Marina Del Rey. No matter what she looks or acts like, you know you’ve seen her before. She’s prudish, traditionally feminine, tough as nails, and probably sews her own ballgowns on her weekends off. 

She is a perfectly good woman in any other sense, but since she’s everything your princess doesn’t want to be, conflict has to arise from the princess fighting her and her ideals. 

And of course, the princess will win, because traditional femininity is evil. 

Oh, Prudence, you deserved so much more than the Disney Sequel you got.

In a feminist world there’s nothing wrong with fighting old ideas of what women should act like - but in a postmodern feminist world, one must be aware that some women willingly are quite happy to be traditionally feminine, and some don’t have the luxury of choice to pick whatever kind of femininity they embody.

Pitting the ‘feminist’ rebel princess against traditionally feminine women is a microaggression in itself: we have never needed to sell men an empowerment narrative by pitting men against each other, so why start here? Also note that Disney is extremely fond of this, especially in marketing Frozen and its reboot movies by saying it’s better than ‘classic princess’ movies because ‘classic princesses’ needed men:

“That’s a bit different from the animation, I think, it’s not about Cinderella just being rescued by a man.”  

3. It’s a White-Feminist narrative. 

Oh GOD is it a White-Feminist narrative!

I said before that some woman don’t have the luxury to be rebel princesses, and some willingly want to be traditionally femme. This is especially so in POC cultures. 

In Chinese culture, the concept of filial piety is a very important one: to be dutiful and respectful to your parents, and placing your family’s honour and their values above your own. 

Mulan does not have the luxury of ‘rebellion’. Rebellion would dishonour her family, rebellion would shame her parents. Mulan’s entire character arc exists to teach her to balance her parent’s needs with her own, and it ends with her bestowing her war prizes to her father - at the height of her own glory she doesn’t forget where she came from - and it’s the greatest show of honour she could possibly give.

To turn Mulan into a rebel princess would be to undermine everything her culture and the folklore surrounding her represents. A lot of these themes are repeated in Moana - how much of yourself do you give up to make your parents happy? What is the true meaning of tradition? When you exist for other people can you still know who you are? 

Originally posted by tarajis

Moana is great. Watch it. 

Making White Feminist statements like ‘my princesses isn’t like a classic princess! she feminist and doesnt need to listen to anyone!’ does a massive disservice to other cultures who have to balance force of will with filial piety. 

So, about those Interesting Narratives…

Originally posted by a-dark-and-terrible-thing

Pans Labyrinth (2006) is thematically about ‘rebellion’ - it’s set in the Spanish Civil War and half of its narrative is about fighting a military dictatorship. It’s other half is about Ofelia (a fairy changeling), who is given instructions so that she can return to the magical world. Ofelia proceeds to mess all of them up: she eats from a magical table when she’s told to take no food, she refuses to kill an infant to open a gate to her homeworld. While excited to be a princess, Ofelia struggles to cope with the morally dubious or downright strange demands she’s presented with. Her rebellion isn’t a girl with a weapon in her hand: it’s a girl who legitimately wants to be a princess but isn’t cruel enough to do what it takes to get there.  

I wanted to give others - and they are plenty - but this post has gone on long enough. ;w; Do come back to me if you want to know more, anon! I’m overjoyed to be able to talk about this!

this was going to be a small project to alleviate stress and art block but i underestimated how much i missed drawing pjo/hoo and especially these three so have a team statue drawing

(i had a ridiculous amount of fun with this rip))

9

I was lucky enough to attend the Pacific Rim: Uprising NYCC panel at Madison Square Garden (and sat in the first row ayyy~~) and took a bunch of notes lol. The panel included the director Steven S. DeKnight, and a few members of the main cast including John Boyega, Cailee Spaeny, Scott Eastwood, and Burn Gorman. Here’s my recap:

General Worldbuilding Tidbits

  • Pacific Rim: Uprising is set 10 years in the future after the last film. DeKnight said that they wanted to show a “new generation of Jaeger pilots who have known nothing but chaos.”
  • Previous characters slated to return, as seen by the trailer, include Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman), and Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day).
  • The new main “trio” seems to consists of the main lead, Jake Pentecost, and the late son of Stacker Pentecost (John Boyega), Jake’s best friend and Jaeger pilot Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and tech-savvy Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny). 
  • 10 years later, the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) has come together to work as an international fighting force, with all of humanity working together - i.e. Jaegers are no longer coded by specific country, like the Russian Jaegers, Australian Jaegers, etc. 
  • This also allowed the opportunity to build Jaegers from the ground up, since they were all previously destroyed in the first film. It was jokingly claimed, “we cancelled the apocalypse and then un-cancelled it to make this movie.”
  • DeKnight discussed how  Del Toro originally set the table with Pacific Rim as a “fantastic visual feast,” so the goal with the sequel was to honor the original, but also expand the universe at the same time. 
  • John Boyega claimed that they weren’t trying to “rewrite what Guillermo Del Toro did, but rather to build upon and expand this universe, and where the humans are at now.”
  • Boyega also talked about how he came onto work behind-the-scenes creatively on the film as a producer. He described Pacific Rim as one of the only franchises he’s come across where the fans are hopeful and “sacred science fiction ground." 
  • Going in, Boyega felt like he had the same creative passion as DeKnight. When they met in LA for the first time, they went over the specific Jaegers and basically what Boyega wanted to see after Pacific Rim. He claimed that "I believe this is everything you want Pacific Rim to be." 
  • One of the goals of Pacific Rim: Uprising is to explain exactly what happened 10 years after the first film, but not necessarily be a complete detachment to the origin story. It was highlighted that there are a lot of young teenage characters in the cast and hopefully that’ll be something that new viewers can relate to. 
  • According to DeKnight, one of the overarching themes of Pacific Rim is: "It doesn’t matter who your parents are, the color of your skin, your religion, or sexual orientation, you can make a difference and be a hero. It’s the human inside the Jaegers that makes you super." 
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising was filmed both in Australia and China. The cast pretty much agreed that as a director, DeKnight runs a "relaxed” and “creative” set - it was a tough schedule, but the actors all felt that they could still have creative input.

New Jaegers

  • DeKnight called them all “badass,” with Gipysy Avenger leading the charge.
  1. Gipsy Avenger: Has a lot of upgrades, including a Gravity Sling which allows the Jaeger to reach out and grab buildings, cars, etc. and hurl them directly at the Kaiju.
  2. Bracer Phoenix: This is the brute force Jaeger. One of its special abilities, above many, is the fact that it’s a three-pilot machine. Therefore, the third pilot can drop into the chamber and operate a pair of massive guns called the Vortex Cannon.
  3. Saber Athena: This is the most advanced Jaeger in the fleet that uses Plasma swords. Also described as a “little experimental,”  and “incredibly swift.”
  4. Titan Redeemer: Has a special weapon called the “ball of death,” which is attached to the end of his arm. According to DeKnight, this was “pretty damn cool." 
  5. Guardian Bravo: Is another brute force Jaeger that has a special weapon called the "graphine arc whip." 
  6. Scrapper: Described as a "little guy,” that’s been slapped together. Since in the future, there are a lot of people pilfering and stealing PPCD technology to make their own Jaegers. 
  • During the Q&A, an audience member asked if all the new Jeagers run on analog. DeKnight claimed one Jaeger is built on sticks (lmao), but the general idea is that no EM-powered Kaijus will be able to take down the Jaegers in this film.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega)

  • Boyega stated that he “loved the first movie and one of the reasons was Idris Elba.” So, he understood the big shoes that he had to fill. Boyega claimed he understood this responsibility, but  "we [the cast] all worked as a unit, and Jake Pentecost doesn’t exist without the other characters. This is also a great ensemble piece.“
  • When the moderator asked if Jake is trying to live up to Sacker’s legacy, Boyega jokingly claimed: "Hell no!” He went to explain that “the greatest heroes don’t accept legendary status. It takes a tussle and a turn and for Jake’s position. Where we find Jake in the beginning of the film is in very different circumstances from his Dad.”
  • Boyega described Jake as a “stealer, a hustler, and lives in half a mansion. He’s really a guy that doesn’t want to live up to the Pentecost name.”
  • Jake is bought back into the PPCD in a very unique way through his connection to Cailee Spaeny’s character Amara. So, Jake is bought into this adventure and decides that he’s gotta “step up,” after realizing that the “Pentecost name still means something to people." 
  • During the Q&A, an audience member asked Boyega what’s the most rewarding part of being a sci-fi icon. He claimed that he doesn’t feel like one, but working on both Pacific: Rim Uprising has been exciting, since it’s allowed him to jump into various elements of sci-fi that he loved growing up.

Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood)

  • Eastwood described him as a Jaeger pilot who’s one of the best out there. Yet, he’s still "the tip of the spear,” and really nothing without his best friend Jake.
  • Jake and Nate still have issues in this movie to work out from the past, so Eastwood felt that coming back around and dealing with a lost time with these characters was something cool to explore as an actor. 
  • Eastwood also emphasized that while yes, there is plenty of action in the film, it “has a great story first and foremost.”

Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny)

  • This was Spaeny’s first film that she was ever cast for. So, she was definitely intimidated and a bit terrified, but knew that fans were so supportive of the first film. 
  • Spaeny didn’t actually watch Pacific Rim until she got the audition for the sequel, and really took it upon herself to dive into the universe in order to understand and respect the original film.  
  • In terms of Spaeny’s film experience, there was also diving into tons of stunts and action and lots of skills that she to catch onto , since she was participating in a whole world that’s already been created. 
  • But Spaeny felt that both DeKnight and the cast were very supportive and helpful, whenever she had questions, so it was really easy for her to dive into Cailee’s character. She also bonded with DeKnight since this was the first feature-length, theatrical film that he ever directed. 
  • Spaeny described Amara as very “independent,” and super “badass.” She’s also a tech-savvy person. 
  • For Amara’s backstory, her entire family was killed in the first wave of Kaiju attacks. So, Amara really “takes it upon herself to dive into Jaeger tech and make sure that when Kaiju do come back, she’ll be ready to fight and protect herself." 
  • While Amara’s past is very different from Jake’s, Spaeny claimed that both of them still see a lot of things in similar ways.  

Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman)

  • Gorman said he was very excited to be back in the sequel, which felt like "being back in the playground.” He also joked, "I’ve been lucky enough with this face that God gave me to play a few jerks on screen,” when an audience member briefly highlighted his past roles on Torchwood, Revenge, Game of Thrones, and The Dark Knight Rises. 
  • Gottlieb still has problems with personal hygiene. Gorman claimed, “let’s just say that he hasn’t changed his socks since the last film." 
  • In comparison to Charlie Day’s character (Dr. Newt Geiszler) who has moved onto the private sector, Gottlieb chose to stay behind with the PPCD and arguably their most important scientist at the highest level at this point. So, Gorman joked that Gottlieb now, in effect, has a "really great budget,” to work with now. 
  • However, DeKnight makes it clear that where we find Gottlieb is: “as a man still very much affected in what happened in the previous film in terms of his drift and communication with the Kaiju.

There was a brief Q&A and the last question really stuck out to me, where an audience member asked each cast member to sum up their Pacific: Rim Uprising experience in one word:

  • John Boyega: Unity
  • Cailee Spaeny: Life-Changing
  • Scott Eastwood: International
  • Steve S. DeKnight: Mind-blowing