for each age is a dream that is dying,

or one that is coming to birth

404 notes


I think I finally put my finger on what bothers me about all the tons of meta discussing how Mako Mori is really the main character of Pacific Rim.

It’s the same reason I like but am sort of uncomfortable at the idea that Pepper is the hero in IM3, and Natasha in Cap2.  And I do like it, don’t get me wrong—or at least, I sort of like it.  And I’m sort of made really sad.

I am sick of stealth heroines.  I’m sick of the idea that yes, this girl is the center of this movie, but you need an essay to figure that out.  And I’m kind of sick of pretending like we’ve discovered some secret feminist truth in these movies, that of course the main arcs belong to Mako, and Pepper, and Natasha, that this is the way the movie is framed and that’s all there is to it.  Because it’s not.  That’s not all there is to it at all.

Here’s the thing: there are many ways to make a character the hero of the story.  One of these ways is via plot arc.  These ladies get heroic plot arcs, yes, but if you ask the average moviegoing audience member who the main character, the hero of any of those movies is, that’s not what they’re going to say.  And no, we can’t just wave off the average moviegoing audience because they’re blinded by what they expect to see, because they’re not aware enough to have read the same meta essays as us.  There are reasons.

There are reasons it reads like Raleigh is the main character of Pacific Rim, and it’s because that’s how the movie is presented to us.  We get huge swathes of the movie from his POV.  We get the beginning of the movie from his POV.

We get Raleigh’s tragic backstory right there with him, as it happens, we’re with him in that.  We get Mako’s in flashback.  We find it out, we discover it, as Raleigh does.  We come to her from the outside and learn our way in, whereas we start on the inside with Raleigh and stay there the whole time.  That’s the difference between the framing of a main character and a second lead.

I think I’m just tired, you know?  Of seeing analyses that put female characters’ arcs front and center that ignore the fact that the movie itself didn’t.  Did Natasha make the big heroic sacrifice here, did she change the most, did she have the really important arc in this movie?  Yeah, she did.  But she had it all in the background, in passing dialogue and in action scenes, with none of the quiet moments that Steve got to help build his story along.

It’s continually fascinating to me how stories show focus, what they do, how they center one character and not another.  I don’t think we meta about it enough.  I don’t think we talk enough about how shows and movies distinguish which characters we’re with, on the inside, and which we’re watching from across the room.  What are the subtle hints used to say ‘this character is a factor in how events progress’ vs ‘this character is a person’?  And these hints are every bit as important as isolating plot arcs, in determining who’s central to a story and who’s not.

Mako’s a person, but one we’re trying to figure out, not one we start with, not one we’re inside of.  Pepper’s a person, but we get her victory through Tony’s eyes, not her own.  Natasha’s a person, but we only get hints and the brief moment of fingers stilling on a keyboard to tell us how much this means to her.

And I want to talk about what that means more.

(via lighteningpool)

151 notes


i think a lot of people don’t realize that ‘privilege’ as it’s used in a sociological context is a really hard concept to understand. you know, the difference between ‘being privileged in a certain way’ and ‘having nothing wrong with your life’. i still have to untangle those two concepts in my head, and i’ve known the basics of this language for about three years.

and many people on tumblr will hurl ‘privileged’ as an insult even when it’s inaccurate, i.e. ‘you can’t understand this concept so you must be privileged,’ and then they’ll turn around and yell that privilege isn’t an insult. ok, so why are you using it as one? it’s impossible not to get confused. especially when the ‘social justice’ rhetoric slides into that place where the more oppressed you are, the more morally pure you are. (most people who espouse this idea deny it, and are vehement that oppression isn’t a special fun thing to have, but the way they conduct arguments contradicts this.)

EVEN IF the concepts of ‘privilege’ and ‘oppression’ were not being bandied about in a climate of bullying and social cliquishness, they would be difficult to understand. having visceral experience of a thing does NOT necessarily mean that you will readily understand that thing when it is described in highly detached, academic language. i’m a disabled person who can barely understand the word ‘ableism’. it’s hard. it’s hard because these concepts do NOT map directly to most people’s lived experience of the world. stories and concrete examples can demonstrate realities like ‘oppression’, but just saying the word ‘oppression’ repeatedly cannot. if you want someone to understand you, rather than just cower in confusion and fear, you have to be ready to explain things in different ways.

(via into-the-weeds)

26 notes

Set the WABAC Machine to 1979


I feel like you guys really need to understand how the 1981 JAMA write-up of the newt-eaters sounds.  So if you’ve got access to it, we’re talking vol. 246:3, page 247.  If you don’t, we’re talking about a description of events that took place in 1979.

Because it took place in 1979, there was no such thing as ‘the internet.’ There was no such thing as everyone else in the ER hopping on twitter or instagram or whatever and going “This dude ate a fucking newt.  Does anybody know what the active ingredient in newt is?” and maybe having a million people text back “tetrodotoxin” within ten minutes.

I mean, dude was admitted at around 8:30 PM, and they contacted “various poison control centers in the US,” all of whom pretty much went “You want to know what about a what, now?  The hell have you people been doing?”, before finally, at 2:30 in the morning, locating a biologist who was able to provide the answer.

(via teapotsahoy)

Filed under the active ingredient in newt

784 notes

I am so ready to let go of the America’s Next Top Radical model of social justice; it’s unsustainable, unproductive, and frankly a pretty bad strategy. It seems as though some of us – us being folks invested in the advancement of social justice in some way or another – are calling folks out sometimes not to educate a person who’s wrong, but to position themselves a rung above on the radical ladder. What’s worse, both in real-world organizing and online, this behavior is often rewarded: with pats on the back, social status, followers. We’re waiting and ready to cut folks out when they say the wrong thing. We’ve created an activist culture in which the worst thing we can do is to make a mistake.
Verónica Flores (via andreagoldston)

(Source: viajerra, via butterflyjou)

9,588 notes

Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view.

And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone.

When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.’

Tom Stoppard, University of Pennsylvania, 1996 (via flameintobeing)

(via duckwhatduck)

Filed under shakespeare theatre

1,857 notes

Ah. Another tricky one. As the official Keeper of the One True Copy, Terry physically wrote more of Draft 1 than Neil. But if 2,000 words are written down after a lot of excited shouting, it’s a moot point whose words they are. And, in any case, as a matter of honor both of them rewrote and footnoted the other guy’s stuff, and both can write passably in the other guy’s style. The Agnes Nutter scenes and the kids mostly originated with Terry, the Four Horsemen and anything with maggots started with Neil. Neil had the most influence on the opening, Terry on the ending. Apart from that, they just shouted excitedly a lot.

The point they both realised the text had wandered into its own world was in the basement of the old Gollancz books, where they’d got together to proofread the final copy, and Neil congratulated Terry on a line that Terry knew he hadn’t written, and Neil was certain that he hadn’t written either. They both privately suspect that at some point the book had started to generate text on its own, but neither of them will actually admit this publicly for fear of being thought odd.

This happens a surprising amount in any good collaboration. “That’s a great line!” “You wrote it.” “No, I’m pretty sure you did.”

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (2006 edition) - appendix by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (via hapfairy)

(via duckwhatduck)

Filed under terry pratchett neil gaiman good omens