Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Some thoughts on Harry Potter as a dystopia.

Interesting, why do you consider harry potter is a dystopia?

I find it impossible to think of Harry Potter as anything BUT a dystopia. Even Hogwarts itself is a dystopia.

Children are segregated based on a personality test at age 11, and then left to fulfill roles that were set out a thousand years ago, leading to cultural divides that continue for the rest of their lives. The Hogwarts house system is one of the main foundations of the pureblood/muggleborn conflict. And I haven’t even gotten into how Hogwarts is run, how useful it is as a tool for preparing people for adult life, and how dangerous it is to live there.

As for Wizarding Britain at large:

  • There’s no evidence that the Ministry of Magic is organized by anything other than cronyism.
  • The Minister for Magic is not a democratically elected leader.
  • Voldemort easily finds a foothold in mainstream society (even within living memory of his last reign of terror!) and his supporters easily infiltrate the government and implement all sorts of nightmarish and bigoted policies.
  • Azkaban,
  • We rarely see people working to innovate any aspect of wizarding society, with the exception of eccentrics like the Weasley Twins or Luna Lovegood.
  • Wizarding society is so isolated that purebloods find it strange if a witch or wizard takes much interest in muggle culture, even if they are muggleborn.
  • Umbridge is allowed to torture children and spread propaganda at the only major educational institution in the country.
  • There’s a huge amount of discrimination relating to non-human races, particularly House Elf slavery.

I could go on at some length on this topic, but instead I’ll finish with my pet theory: that Wizarding Britain is so fucked up that the rest of the wizarding world has just given up on it.

We know from the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that there are plenty of magical cultures all over the world, but Britain receives NO kind of international help when Voldemort is on the rise or when the Ministry of Magic is in turmoil.

Obviously the “real” explanation is that the Voldemort/Harry/Hogwarts narrative must to be isolated for Harry’s story to be told… but I still quite like the explanation that Wizarding Britain has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Their society has become so warped, so backward and so beholden to irrational beliefs and traditions that other international wizarding powers have decided the situation is unsalvageable.

There’s no point in stepping in to get rid of Voldemort unless he becomes a threat overseas, because another Dark Lord will probably rise up in a few years anyway. And Wizarding Britain seems functionally incapable of defending itself from this threat without the help of Harry and his team of teen sidekicks — who by the end of the series are all suffering from PTSD because they have spent their formative years fighting in a dystopian war.

(P.S. Even if my pet theory ISN’T true, then the international wizarding community must still have SOME reason not to step in and help Britain fight back against Voldemort. Which, in itself, makes the world of Harry Potter seem even more dystopian than before.)

Sunday, August 31, 2014


do you ever wonder what would have happened if the dursleys had actually managed to hide harry’s identity from him until he turned 17

like dumbledore somehow lost track of them when vernon changed jobs or when they moved houses, and for some reason they just couldn’t find them again

and harry potter the boy who lived grew up attending typical schools and his friends knew that sometimes weird shit would happen around him, but they just thought it was a coincidence or that they were imagining it but slowly they all left him and he grew up even more isolated and angry and so he runs away at 16

and meanwhile voldemort knows harry ran away and that he is out there somewhere, vulnerable, but he’s not in the wizarding world, so his death eaters are wreaking havoc trying to find him

and harry obviously has magical talent but he doesn’t know that, but every child in hogwarts does and they’ve learned about him and now know that he’s just out there somewhere, completely unaware of what’s going to happen to him

and some kids it doesn’t bother, but for others like neville and hermione and luna and ron, it’s horrifying to think that this innocent person who should be in their year is going to be hunted down like this

so they decide to go find him before voldemort or the death eaters can

and harry is in a train station on his way to work and is converged upon by about six people who are trying their hardest to not freak out and tell him that he’s a wizard in grave danger, but they know they have such little time

so instead of the wizarding world finding harry at 11, it finds him at 16 and a half when it’s in a much darker, desperate place

i don’t know i just really like the idea of harry potter joining the wizarding world through a bunch of rebellious hogwarts dropouts hiding throughout england and running from enemies he didn’t know he had and learning magic along the way in dark alleys and through street fights

Thursday, August 14, 2014

im-the-asshole-that said: HEY so I have a question you may or may not be able to answer. Thanks to that PAINFUL CONDITIONING GIFSET I'm starting to figure out that part of Dreams(Where pierce starts being bucky's handler). Do we know how old Pierce is in Catws? OR even more helpfully how old he would be during the cold war era? HELP IM FEELING TOO MANY FEELS FOR RESEARCH



{haha if you really want to hate everything i can give you a rundown on operant conditioning that will make you want to die} I am assuming that Pierce is just a few years older than Nick, and  in Zola’s speech Nick’s file has his age around 61-62. SO i’m guesstimating Pierce around 66? 67? Redford is 77 {speaking of OH MY GOD throw his name into Google and look at the first picture that comes up HE LOOKS LIKE STEVE I AM SO WRECKED}.  So I thinks TWS is set in 2O13?? which puts Pierce’s birth year as early as 1946, 1947. He literally grew up in the golden age of the Captain America hero-worship I am dying.  

So Bogota was in ‘81? He would have been 34. Zola died in ‘72, Pierce would have been ……26.


which means he looked like this:





fuck. everything.

Hey, zooeyscigar. You like angst, right? Have a knife in Bucky’s heart.

Thursday, August 7, 2014



the idea of harry potter not only straddling two worlds between him (the british wizarding world and the british muggle world) but also being met at each end by two entirely different systems of historical dehumanization/subjugation (with harry on one hand being a half-blood in a society built on blood pedigree and on the other hand being black mixed-race in a society built on white supremacy) is at once extremely tragic and extremely compelling narratively

it’s also interesting that either status has a completely negligible effect within the opposite world (i.e. harry’s blood status means nothing in muggle britain and his race means nothing in wizarding britain)

mixed-race harry continues to rise to the top as the most narratively compelling interpretation of the text

(Source: feelknower1993)

Sunday, June 8, 2014



Because I’m tired of the “Steve sucks at modern technology” trope.  He was picking up and using HYDRA tech that was powered by the tesseract in WWII. And user interfaces were pretty un-intuitive back then — knobs labeled in German or French, most likely.  And think about the number of dials and thingamabobs on an airplane control panel!  Yes, he’s a man out of time, but it’s probably the social stuff that’s much harder to adjust to.  (You can tell he’s recently-thawed because he still insists on wearing at least a button-down shirt and suspenders when out in public.)

<3 both the comic and the tags. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014


i think the reason rhodey is so ignored/unpopular with fandom and tony fans in particular is because he ruins the woobie tony narrative so decisively. because rhodey is a supportive, understanding friend, so like, the fics where tony is all alone and friendless and ~broken and alone except for his tech~ because he’s such a troubled genius dont work, cause rhodey’s right there. they also have to admit that tony is flawed as shit and not just ~*tragically flawed*~ but like dismissive and arrogant and an asshole with misogynistic attitudes and he’s not like that because he didnt have friends and doesn’t know how to work with people he’s like that because he’s tony.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Anonymous said: hi, sorry if this is annoying but i was just wondering why you think whedon's gonna kill hawkeye in avengers 2? i'm just curious, bc it never occured to me and then you said it and now i can def see it happening but i was just wondering about your thought process that got you there or if i'm just completely unaware of my surroundings (not an unlikely option). anyway thanks, and i've loved your fics since inception days :)


Well, they’ve said they are going to kill somebody off, and the fact that they are talking about this already says to me that it is going to be an actual central(ish) character, and not somebody like Maria Hill (who is very cool but not exactly somebody in whom people are, for the most part, very emotionally invested). They’ve already pretended to kill off Fury, which I’d say leaves him out. They obviously cannot kill Steve or Thor, since they have Captain America 3 and Thor 3 in development. Tony has to be around for Avengers 3 because they’re clearly going to do Civil War, at which point they will write him and Steve out to let Chris Evans and RDJ be free. The Hulk is indestructible (and that would be a strange narrative choice anyway). Natasha is the only woman, so: out. (Also, she is too valuable a character to kill, in that she can be used in a variety of storylines, so getting rid of her would be really dumb, especially since they’re making noise about giving her her own film [DO IT, MARVEL].)

Which leaves Hawkeye, a funny weirdo character. Joss will make him loveable and then he will kill him, because that is what he does. Also, Renner is desperate to get out, so I think he and Marvel are probably happy to part ways. (Obviously, lots of people are desperate to get out, but Chris Evans, for instance, simply CANNOT; Hawkeye is disposable in the MCU by comparison. So: adios.)

all of this, basically. although i DREAD the possibility of a Civil War movie, because I JUST CANNOT TAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


One thing I haven’t really seen discussed much yet about CATWS is the role of the Smithsonian exhibit and how it informs the theme of identity in the movie. As lots of you probably know by now, I find the presence of history (as a discipline) really cool when it appears in pop culture, so I kinda want to talk about what putting this exhibit in the movie does on a narrative level. Because museums tell stories through cultural artifacts, right? Only, cultural artifacts don’t always tell the whole story, or at least don’t tell a single story. The story they tell very much depends on how they’re curated: how they’re displayed, what they’re displayed with, how they are contextualized and commented on by the curator(s).

So while the exhibit is about Captain America, at least one of the stories that it’s telling is actually about Bucky.

Read More


Sunday, March 16, 2014
Dystopian worlds have become very popular lately. Whether it is Revolution, Falling Skies, The Walking Dead or Defiance, the one thing they all have in common is straight, cisgender, able bodied White male leadership. This suggests that at the end of the day, no matter the circumstance White masculinity represents authority, logic, safety, and intelligence. People of colour and women are often relegated to side characters who week after week submit to this authority and often times appear to be grateful for it. It is no accident that the White male is so revered in dystopians. It plays upon the idea that White straight masculinity is a declining power because of resistance by women, people of colour and of course GLBT people. It suggests that there will come a time when nature will correct itself and once again White men will rule the world, as though that is not the current situation and further; the world will be grateful for it.

Dystopians: The Leadership of Cis, Straight, White, Able-Bodied Men

(via avioletmind)

I get where this quote is coming from, but what about The Hunger Games, ie THE MOST POPULAR DYSTOPIA OF ALL, right now? The lead character is a young woman who ends up deaf in one ear and married to a guy with sever PTSD and one leg. The cast is racially diverse (moreso in the books than the film, admittedly), and the central villain roles are mostly taken up by (implicitly) straight white men. I know the Hunger Games isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely more well-known than Revolution, Falling Skies, or Defiant. You’d have a better time arguing that the detective/crime genre is a white male power fantasy thanks to the success of True Detective and Sherlock.

Looking at the next two big dystopian blockbuster movies coming out soon, one of them is Divergent (whose main character is a teen girl) and the other is Mad Max, where one of the two main leads is a middle-aged woman.

I’ve watched a lot of dystopian/post-apocalyptic movies, and my impression is that it’s one of the very few sci-fi or action movie subgenres where you can consistently find good, entertaining movies with female leads and diverse casts (diverse by Hollywood standards, anyway).

Tank Girl, Dredd, Doomsday (one of the best dystopian movies ever), Ghost in the Shell, Battle Royale, FRITZ LANG’S METROPOLIS (the foundation of the genre!), V for Vendetta, Milla Jovovich movies like the Resident Evil series and Ultraviolet (which aren’t that good, admittedly)… even male-led movies like The Matrix, Blade Runner and Children of Men have a more diverse and interesting supporting cast than most equivalent mainstream sci-fi/action movies.

I think this quote is referring to a specific subgenre of dystopian fiction that feeds into American white male survivalist fantasy. If you google some of the posters/promo materials for Falling Skies, Revolution, The Walking Dead, and Defiance, you’ll see that they’re all marketed in a very similar, videogame-looking way. There are a bunch of people in beat-up “normal” clothes with weapons, looking “gritty” in a dark, forbidding landscape, generally with an unshaven white guy in the foreground. This is absolutely like the multitude of popular videogames where you play near-identical gritty antihero types with messy dark hair, 5-o’clock shadow and a gun, where this hero dude is humanity’s ~last best hope~ against aliens/zombies/whatever.

This subgenre definitely fits in with this writer’s view of straight white masculinity being reinforced in a post-apocalyptic antihero landscape, BUT it’s an incredibly narrow view of the genre as a whole. From this description, you could easily say the same of almost every single movie/TV genre except sitcoms, literary drama, and romance. crime shows, action movies and science fiction in particular all remain very male dominated, generally with angry violent white men in the lead roles.

The truth is that people of colour and women are ROUTINELY relegated to side characters in popular media (and LGBT people are regularly ignored outside of art cinema, dramas, sitcoms and romance), but post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction is nowhere near as bad as traditional sci-fi or action movies. I mean, people are still namechecking Alien as the biggest female-lead sci-fi franchise to date, and Alien came out in 1979. (Plus, there’s definitely an argument to be made that Alien a piece of dystopian fiction as well, albeit set in space.)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Anonymous said: wait, dean was named after a bisexual character???



Supernatural’ was loosely based on Jack Kerouac’s book “On the Road”. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a road trip novel, mainly autobiographical work, written as a stream of consciousness about Kerouac and his friends criss-crossing the country in 1940s.

Two main characters are named Sal and Dean, and even Kripke admitted he named our Sam and Dean after them. Sal Paradise was Kerouac’s alter ego, and Dean Moriarty was named after his friend, Neal Cassady.

So, let’s talk about Dean Moriarty. He is a beloved character, much admired for his carefree attitude and sense of adventure. A fast-talking womanizer and a con-man with classic good looks and tons of charm, with a love for american cars. Dean races from journey to journey and pulls other people along, always on the move. He grew up with an alcoholic, troubled father for whom he searches on many occasions. His various fixations were drugs, booze, women, and finally the search for his father and constant desire for a family life. In fact, he tried to settle down on many occasions, but his restless spirit always pulled him back on the road.

Sounds familiar? Add monsters and demons, and you’ve got yourself a Dean Winchester.

What most people don’t know is that Dean Moriarty (and subsequently Neal Cassady) is bisexual.

There are two versions of the book. The one that was published in 1950s is a censored version of Kerouac’s original manuscript. Since homosexuality was nothing short of a crime in the 50s America, Dean’s bisexuality was only ever hinted at, and of course remained in the subtext. What we got was a character who was constantly picking up women and even got himself married two times. If you read the book closely though, you can see that his character was also constantly flirting with men, crushing on men, etc. There’s even one male character (Carlo Marx) in the book with whom Dean had a confusing relationship dynamic which was never directly explained, but mostly looked like jealousy over Dean’s constant man-whoring and picking up girls.

The original manuscript of “On the Road” was finally published in 00s, without censorship, but with all the sex, drugs and real names, including the sexual relationship between Dean and Carlo (which were finally named after their real life counterparts, Neal Cassady and Alan Ginsberg). Yeah, Dean and Carlo, I don’t even have to try and make it work. :)

Jokes aside, if you google Cassady’s life, you’ll see that he and Ginsberg had a sexual relationship which lasted on and off for the next twenty years, as he traveled cross-country with both Kerouac and Ginsberg on multiple occasions.

In conclusion, it’s perfectly possible and plausible to have a womanizer, manly character in a story and also have him be attracted to men on occasion. And not only possible for purposes of the story and only in fiction, but also realistic, since the character of Dean Moriarty almost autobiographically follows the life of a real person. In my opinion, it would not be in any way insulting to Dean Winchester’s character to make him ‘suddenly’ attracted to men. Real people like him do exist, and I think it was hinted enough in canon that Dean Winchester isn’t as straight as others would think.

And for final thought, if you doubt that Kripke didn’t have this book in mind anymore after he started filming Supernatural, think again. In the finale of season 5, “Swan Song”, Chuck talks about Impala’s first owner, named Sal Moriarty. Another nod to Jack Kerouac’s classic “On the Road”.

— mekbuda.tumblr.com  (SOURCE)