this isn't freedom; this is fear

okay but nah like let’s discuss ‘steve rogers as digested by history’ because that’s all i care about in line of marvel headcanons at this point like:

  • steve used as propaganda at the beginning of the cold war following soon after the end of ww2.
  • "the spirit of captain america lives forever in the battle against communism";
  • baby boomer consumerism using him as a symbol for “the american way” and further enchancing that culture, the beginning of culture of steve rogers being used as a symbol by capital for their own means.
  • captain america on cigarette ads. captain america on united states air force recruitment posters as it became it’s own entity, his death romanticized as a great feat. captain america transformed into something that is used to promote what the government wants.
  • captain america used in counterculture against the white bread, wasp culture of american consumerism of the 1950s and early 60s, turned into a rebel figure against the government’s garbage
  • poc depictions of captain america, used as a striking visual force in the civil rights movements of the 1960s. “this is what america should look like.” 
  • ventures into who steve rogers really was beginning. his history being used against classist culture, being read in a queer context. slowly becoming ingrained into queer culture
  • captain america being used both as a pro-vietnam and anti-vietnam figure; used as propaganda on television for why you should support sending your children to become killers for a political cause; used by anti-war figures in protests and demonstrations
  • captain america becoming ingrained into political music culture. being used by springsteen and woodstock and holding that note of change and rebellion and need
  • (this only getting into vietnam; i could’ve gotten into korea, i won’t)
  • depictions of jfk and mlk as captain america following their assassinations
  • satirical british versions of captain america during beatle mania/the british invasion
  • references to captain america during watergate, during nuremberg, during the bay of pigs and the cuban missile crisis
  • during zodiac and son of sam because “americans will not be intimidated”
  • duality in the 1980s of reagan trying to play up pro-government reference to captain america while he also becomes a part of punk counterculture
  • being used as a motivational tactic during the gulf war, for the “war on drugs”, for the justice system shifts of the late 20th century
  • becoming prominent once again in queer culture during outrage over the hiv/aids epidemic
  • becoming prominent in music political culture again via the boom of rap and hip hop in the ’90s

if you’re gonna do it man, do it

repeat after me: body hair isn’t gross. whether one decides to shave it off or let it grow, both choices are completely valid and normal. body hair is great and don’t let anyone bring you down for having body hair because they’re just a shitty person that is stuck in a mindset that body hair = gross and wrong and unnatural when it is the exact opposite

anonymous asked:

i'm confused about that gifset from the first captain america movie where everyone is cheering for steve and bucky is too but then when steve turns around, bucky's face falls. like. why? did he have something to be upset about? maybe i'm just missing a lot of context

i think the most important thing to remember in that scene is that bucky literally just came out of a cell where he was being tortured for days. (and you know that he was being tortured/experimented on bc even before we knew he survived, he was muttering name rank and serial number on that bench which are the only things a soldier is allowed to reveal under torture, and also to get the level of treatment that’s entitled to their rank.) and it’s very clear and very obvious in sebstan’s choices that the bucky that came out of that hydra base is not the bucky who sauntered down the alleyway towards steve who didn’t know, really, what he was going into.

just basing it off the movie, he’s a boy who gets sold the idea of this war. that he was going to wear these clean pressed uniforms and tilt his hat all cocky like and swagger down the street with a girl on each arm, that he was going to go overseas - something that he wouldn’t have been able to do before because while wealthy young men still did the grand tour, he is not a wealthy young man - and kill nazis and fight the good fight and come back. war isn’t a call of duty; war isn’t even an aspiration; war is an adventure. he was going to come back and steve was going to be safe drafting up propaganda posters or picking up trash or whatever, and he was going to find himself a girl and find steve a girl and this entire war is going to be a great adventure, and he’s leaving the hero and he will come back still a hero. it’s not that he’s blind to the casualties of war - ‘this isn’t a back alley, steve.’ - it’s just that he didn’t think those same risks would apply to himself; not in the sense that he thought he wouldn’t die, but in the sense that he thought he wouldn’t have to get his hands dirty.

and that’s really what it is - it’s envy in some respects, but mostly i think it’s bitterness and it’s resentment; not at steve - never at steve - but at this war and at the universe and at this army and this country for leaving him for dead, for selling him this idea of glory and adventure and giving him instead two weeks on a bench screaming himself hoarse while the higher ups washed their hands and said there was nothing they could do. this is how the war narrative goes: the boy soldier goes to war and overcomes his hardships, he gets the girl and he punches the bad guy in the face. he comes back a man and he might be scarred and changed and he might have bad dreams, but he comes back whole. bucky barnes did not come back whole. bucky barnes, in all the ways that matter, did not come back. the great part of the first captain america film - even though it was a straight up hero origin story - is that it subverts that classic war narrative. two boys from brooklyn go to war, and one gets turned into a super soldier while another falls screaming into the abyss, one gets buffed and shined into the symbol of a nation and another gets his hands dirty becoming the underside of the war, but neither one of these boys come back. this is what happens. neither steve rogers nor bucky barnes came back whole. neither steve rogers nor bucky barnes ever stopped fighting in that war; so that’s really what it is to me, the realization there that this isn’t the fight he signed up for, that yes, steve just saved a couple hundred men single handedly but what does it say about the people he’s fighting for that steve had to do that alone in the first place? what does it say about the people he’s volunteering himself for that they’d leave these people to die screaming themselves hoarse on a mad scientist’s bench? 

and then the fact that steve wants to go back. that he’s so good and so true and so kind and so stupid that he can’t see what bucky sees, that these people will rip him up and spit him back out only they never do and never can because steve is just. that. good. and he wants to go back, and on the surface - at least right at this point - he’s living out the war hero narrative that should be bucky’s, was bucky’s for all intents and purposes, that the same experience that ruined him from inside out and changed him in ways he couldn’t even put his finger on only buffed steve’s shine more and made him the hero, the icon, the myth. bucky comes back from the hydra base the bare husk of what he had been. steve came more as more. and you can love someone with your whole heart - as bucky does - you can be willing to do anything for them, but some part of you, something small and ugly and dark, it’s always going to be resentful that the worst experience of your life is the best adventure of someone else’s. some part of him will always be screaming on that bench. 


There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code, that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul. Why is it that when some robots are left in darkness, they will seek out the light? Why is it that when robots are stored in an empty space, they will group together, rather than stand alone? How do we explain this behavior? Random segments of code? Or is it something more? When does a perceptual schematic become consciousness? When does a difference engine become the search for truth? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote… of a soul?



RUSSIA, 1973.

They call it the Black Widow Programme. Girls go in, they say, and come out as wolves; teeth sharpened for flesh, smiles as perfect as their fingers are deft around a throat. That is, if they come out at all.

Natalia Romanova was eight when her handler put the puppy she had raised for a year into her hands alongside a garrotte. Natalia Romanova was twelve when she killed her first man. She was fourteen when they gave her a gun for the first time. She is sixteen when the whispers of a new operative drifts through the halls of the Red Room, carried by the whispers of thirteen girls.

They call him the Winter Soldier. And he only takes the best.



they take you when you’re young. they buff you and shine you and chip away all the things they don’t like; they take a heart and make it into an icon, they take a girl and make it her into a wolf, they take a boy and make him into a knife. they take you when you’re young. they take you. what do you do when the idea of you no longer exists? what do you do when you find the girl under the pelt? what do you do with the knife?

P A R T  I :  A N T E B E L L U M
                    i wanna stand up, i wanna let go / you know, you know, no, you don’t, you don’t / i wanna shine on in the hearts of men / i wanna mean it from the back of my broken hand
ii. TEAM - lorde (BUCKY BARNES)
                    we live in cities you’ll never see on screen / not very pretty, but we sure know how to run free / living in ruins of the palace within my dreams / and you know, we’re on each other’s team
iii. KEEP BREATHING - ingrid michaelson (NATASHA ROMANOFF)
                    all that i know is i’m breathing / all i can do is keep breathing / all we can do is keep breathing

P A R T  I I :  T H E  W A R
                           even if i come back, even if i die / is there some idea to replace my life?
v. BLACK FLIES - ben howard (BUCKY BARNES)
                           and no man is an island, oh this i know / but can’t you see, oh? / maybe you were the ocean, when i was just a stone
vi. YELLOW LIGHT - of monsters and men (THE RED ROOM)
                            running into the night / the earth is shaking and i see a light / the light is blinding my eyes / as the soft walls eat us alive

P A R T  I I I :  T H E  F A L L

vii. POET - bastille (CAPTAIN AMERICA)
                           i have written you down / now you will live forever / and all the world will read you / and you will live forever
viii. HUMAN - daughter (BUCKY BARNES)
                          waking up like an animal / i’m all ready for healing / my mind’s lost with nightmares streaming / waking up (kicking, screaming)
                           and give us your strength, world, your food and your water / oh, i am your saviour, your last serving daughter

P A R T  I V :  W A K E  U P
x. POMPEII - bastille (STEVE ROGERS)
                         but if you close your eyes / does it almost feel like / nothing’s changed at all? / and if you close your eyes / does it almost feel like / you’ve been here before?
xi. SAVE ME - a girl called ruth (THE WINTER SOLDIER)
                         can somebody please show that there’s more to it / to why i feel like this, to why i feel like this?
xii. OLD JACKET - regina spektor (NATASHA ROMANOFF)
                          he trims and sews without a word / with such meticulous precision / as if upon a sacred mission / to have my happiness restored

P A R T  V :  B R A V E  N E W  W O R L D
xiii. STAR SPANGLED MAN - a singing detective (soundcloud)
                           who’s there to fight for our rights, for our hopes and our hearts? / who’s here to save us and make us more than separate parts?
xiv. SKYFALL - adele
                           let the sky fall / when it crumbles / we will stand tall / face it all together
xv. SAVAGES - the indelicates
                           as the dust just settles sweetly / on the songs that we sang / we are savages, you and i / and we will hang hang hang


The Three Laws of Robotics. - Isaac Asimov

but you know what got me the MOST about that ‘i knew him’ scene tho?

not the childlike repetition of ‘i knew him’ and the confusion on his face, because if the winter soldier’s tunnel focus translate to carrying out his orders it also translate to his thoughts, because in that moment the single strain ‘i knew him’ is strong and strong enough to counter the programmed kill order

not that

(im kidding, that as well. i am a MESS about this scene)

but the sheer obedience in him. when pierce backhands him so hard the crack sounds and he turns his head - HIM, the perfect fucking human weapon, taking the impact of the blow like a man and not a machine - when he leans back, when he blinks fast a few times, when he puts the gag in his mouth and tightens his fist and readies himself for the pain that has happened before and will happen again, and again, and again, and again -

someone pummel sebastian stan

anonymous asked:

hi mal! do you have any good captain america: the winter soldier fic recs??


okay i like depressing shit a lot but mostly i like stuff that deals with bucky/the winter soldier’s inner landscape, and i have a particular weakness for stuff that kind of extrapolates that he became the winter soldier long before he got picked up by the russians, ja feel?

mind fucks, i like labyrinthine mind fucks.


i have one semi fluffy lighter fic i like:

that’s it that’s literally it

also you know what else i like? RED ROOM ASSASSINS IN LOVE.

and of course, one of my top faves in any fandom:

  • trouble never comes alone - postcardmystery (the winter soldier and war and the winter soldier and terrorism and the winter soldier and history; basically an exploration of war and terror and genocide through the winter soldier’s eyes during every soviet conflict in the latter 20th century. this one is killer.)

anonymous asked:

when Steve was in the hydra plane and he told Peggy "this is my choice" echoing her earlier words about Bucky's death it made me think that Steve would've made more of an effort to escape had Bucky not fallen? and in TWS It's like Steve has no reason to live other than saving the world, Like he's /surviving/ but he's not really living (and Natasha sees that) but then Bucky shows up and Steve doesn't even have the will to survive anymore?

well, steve’s defining characteristic is always that he will do the right thing, no matter what it costs him personally. only this time, i think - and you’re right - he has less to live for, outside of the work. all his friends are dead, peggy carter will probably die very very soon, and he’s increasingly disillusioned with the organization he works for; not to mention - and this is probably one of my favourite parts that i somehow forgot to put in the review - he’s obviously suffering from some kind of survivor’s guilt and ptsd. that’s why, i think, natasha tries so hard to find him a date; it’s not about settling down, it’s not about having a good time or replacing peggy carter - she’s trying to find him an anchor. but the fundamental difference is that though natasha can reinvent herself over and over to survive, that she has the flexibility and willpower to look forward and not back, to keep moving and atone instead of staying back and risk losing herself - steve can’t do that? which is why the framing of this film, as him literally confronting the ghosts of his past - hydra, bucky - is a kind of healing process that works for him the way sam’s therapy sessions work for the others.

so in a sense, i don’t think he loses the will to survive once bucky shows up, i think he just - like his first face off with hydra - accepts the fact that he may have to die, in order to make things right. its interesting, because if you look at these two passages of dialogue:

SAM: what makes you happy?

STEVE: i don’t know.


NATASHA: you seem pretty chipper for a guy who found out he just died for nothing.

STEVE: i guess i just like to know who i’m fighting.

he needs a purpose. he’s not… happy, per se, by the end of this conversation with natasha, but he has a purpose. he knows what he has to do, he knows what is necessary, and so long as he can fulfil that purpose he is more or less, a functional human being. so when you put him on that falling hellcarrier with bucky; he’s not happy. he’s the furtherest thing from happy - but he has a purpose. he had a purpose when he made the decision to crash red skull’s plane, and he has a purpose here. between his life and stopping the bomb from hitting new york, between his life and bucky remembering - well. it’s a small price to pay.

and so, i don’t think he went out on to that plane looking to die. you’re right - he would probably have made more of an effort to survive if bucky had been alive still, but remember that peggy carter was alive and waiting on the other end of the radio, and that didn’t change his decision. certainly bucky’s death is what galvanizes his decision to go after hydra - compare ‘i don’t want to kill anyone. i just don’t like bullies’ with ‘i’m not going to stop until all of hydra is dead or captured.’ - but if bucky was alive, and the decision still came down to between him and the millions of people who would die?

the decision would still be the same.

with regards to bucky, i think the underlying idea here is that even from the very beginning, steve didn’t want to be useless. he didn’t want to be a liability on anyone, and he didn’t sign up for the war for glory or for vengeance (considering this was post pearl harbour) or because he wanted to kill nazis. he did it, very literally, because he felt a duty. because ‘there are men laying down their lives; i got no right to do any less than that.’ so the thought behind this, behind crashing the plane is - this is what happened to bucky. bucky died serving his country, crashing into the alps. he will have an empty casket because they never found a body - he will never have a decent paying job, he will never have a wife or children or grandchildren, he will never get to grow old with them and he will never get to come home from the war with steve. all he had and all he will ever have is that icy death in the alps; because he served his country. he laid down his life.

so steve’s not looking for death. when push comes to shove and a decision needs to be made - steve, well. he’s got no right to do any less than bucky.

anonymous asked:

how do you think the us government feels about steve rogers? i've just been thinking that they might resent/hate him a little, because a dead martyr is much simpler than a living saint. before he came out of the ice, every second rate politician could use the idea of steve rogers, but now he's back and it's much more difficult to claim that the american hero would support your issue when he's in the next room. what do you think (if anything) about it bc you are so much more coherent than i am


honestly? i think you’re right with the whole dead martyr stuff - we LOVE martyrs. martyrs are easy. martyrs are political, martyrs can become anything we want or need them to become. you cannot tell me that in the mcu itself steve’s legend and genesis wouldn’t have been warped to fit whoever is talking about him - given that he spent most of his time post serum fighting in the howling commandos, and probably didn’t have time to do anything more political than selling war bonds, there’s a nice little blank spot there for anyone to fill in with whatever they wanted. especially - and this is the key point - everything about dead national icons is just so EASILY warped to fit whatever perspective you’re going for, unsavoury actions so easily erased - for example, ghandi hated black people, churchill was a racist and said some weird shit about gassing, thomas jefferson raped sally hemings (the founding fathers OWNED SLAVES COME ON). in light of what we’ve managed to sweep under the rug with regards to ACTUAL people doing ACTUAL shitty things; it’s not a stretch to imagine that steve rogers and captain america would have been used as an easy shorthand to promote some pretty fucked up shit in recent history. in fact, im pretty sure you only have to look at the comics that came out during the sixties and seventies to see how they do it?

ANYWAY, now that he’s out of the ice and OH DONT FORGET DESTROYING INTELLIGENCE FACILITIES nobody is probably too fond of him at the moment. in this case, however, there’s an ideological issue at stake here - sure, nobody would want to make extrapolations on ‘what captain america would do’ because there’s a very real chance that he would show up and be like YOU’RE WRONG - but there’s also an issue of conflicting purposes. for the first time, they actually have QUITE A GOOD REASON TO BE PISSED AT HIM. for all that cap 2 was a big movie it was also really really internal - everything was seen from steve’s point of view, and we as the audience know that destroying shield and subsequently unleashing the majority of delicate state secrets was a necessary move; but at the same time - it also puts america as a country in very very dangerous waters. how many agents deep undercover do you think were recorded on those files? how many of them do you think died as a result of total transparency? how many plans in the pipelines? obviously as an institution and as a ideological creation nazis are BAD BAD VERY BAD and so is the military industrial complex, but those plans and those institutions are made up of people who will be endangered by this complete transparency. steve himself, as well - you see by the end of the movie, refuses to show up to the congressional meeting to answer for his actions, and natasha basically says ‘yolo’ and leaves. there is no accountability, and it’s interesting because - when tony decided to be iron man he told the press that his company was going to be held accountable, but he never (and neither do the other superheroes) applies the same standard of accountability to themselves. both steve and natasha showed contempt for the court in refusing to answer for their actions; there’s an ideological issue where people won’t be able to use captain america for politics anymore, but there’s also genuine reason for resentment considering how steve’s actions look to the outside world.

it’s not purely an issue of partisanship. it’s not purely an issue of how politicians use him to further their own ends - i mean, god, of cOURSE WE DO if we can use political unrest in other countries as a talking point then we sure as hell can use this - but it’s also GENUINE REASON TO BE WORRIED, because a system without accountability for individuals - a system where you literally cannot make these individuals obey the law, is a system of private vigilantes and ‘privatized world peace’. that’s not a sustainable model and it’s sure as hell not going to hold. so yes, there is personal resentment, but on the other hand i think they’re realizing now that this is a problem that needs to be contained.

anonymous asked:

can we talk about how brainwashed bucky just. accepts the order that hes gonna be 'wiped'? he just takes the rubber bit like its nothing like hes done it a thousand times

the third time i watched this movie i laughed quietly to myself at this point because a) so many jokes i could make (im sorry iM SORRY) and b) thats my defense mechanism against heightened emotions

i think its interesting because that’s literally the first and only time he shows any kind of defiance, and pretty much the first time that he shows any personality at all -  (altho, i will make an argument for his little interlude fight with natasha on the causeway, because you see a bit of swagger in him that you don’t see any other time. i could be reading too much into it but it almost looks like he’s showing off.) he holds pierce’s gaze, and he leans back, and he makes what should be a passive thing - being wiped by someone else - into an active participation in his own brutalization - allowing himself to be wiped. there’s a lot of blank space that needs to be explored here; how this wipe and how his conditioning was structured in the mcu, for example. it’s very obvious that he would have no trouble taking out the entire room if he really wanted to, but he doesn’t. why doesn’t he? how much agency does he have in his own actions? what is his inner landscape like? does he register that realistically, he doesn’t have to do this? or is there a kill switch programmed into his mind that he knows about? how much of this is survival, how much of this is ‘i don’t know what else to do’, how much of this is that he doesn’t even know that he has a choice?

it’s obvious that he knows how this procedure goes; he’s gone through it before and he knows what is coming. it’s as much a punishment as it is a necessity (which brings up another question, how much do they choose to wipe every time? it can’t be everything, because otherwise he wouldn’t remember the wipe. or maybe it’s the pain that embeds itself into his mind. anyway, a lot of questions.) and at this point, he’s like a child. he knows he asked the wrong question and he knows that he shouldn’t have said anything; he’s done something wrong - he’s not sure what but he knows that he needs to be punished and straightened out. but at the same time, somewhere there, the wall between the winter soldier and bucky barnes is beginning to crack. the winter soldier is a thing, he’s a gun with an empty chamber, but bucky barnes is a man. bucky barnes is the bullet. and in that moment, there is a sliver of defiance - not enough, obviously, but it’s there, which is why i think for that split second before he opens his mouth for the bite the air is so tense, and rumlow is watching him with his hand on his gun. they recognize something shifting in him, they notice that something is off. but the second he opens his mouth for the bite - no matter that he makes a point of actively participating in his own erasure - the air eases, and pierce walks away. they’re riding out a wave, waiting at the edge to see which way he topples. but the moment passes, and the attack dog lowers his head dutifully for the muzzle. but somewhere, inside, bucky barnes is screaming. bucky barnes remembers.