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”.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

palindroned said: Hi, I was just wondering what the significance of Bedelia leaving her perfume (I think it was perfume?) behind when she left? I wasn't sure if I missed something or if it was meant to be vague, or if its an insignificance that I'm putting too much thought into. Thanks for your time!




I think I should have phrased that last ask differently. I get that the perfume is Bedelia’s ‘scent’ so to speak, and Hannibal can use smell to identify people, so its sort of like leaving an aspect of her identity behind. I was more wondering do you think it was supposed to be referencing a specific event (presumably an event unknown to the audience at this point in time?) or if it was just the leaving something behind as a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to Hannibal?

It was the same perfume she was wearing when she came to his office to cut ties with him, or when he smelled it, he wouldn’t have remembered her saying, “the conclusion that I’ve drawn is that you are dangerous.”

It also evokes the specific act of Lecter referencing Clarice’s perfume in SOTL, and later hand-selecting a certain scent for her in Hannibal

I’ve read a few posts that said that Bedelia leaving the perfume behind was a “fuck you” and some that said quite the opposite (I had been going to link a few but then discovered there’s so many of both, there’s really no point), so there’s plenty of opinions out there on this already, but here is mine.

I think the words “fuck you” are a bit tasteless to describe Bedelia’s communication with Hannibal at that point or at any other, and thus rather out of character for her. Hannibal’s affection for her is real: she knows it’s real, which we see in her exchange with Will Graham where she mentions the “small comfort” to Will that Hannibal did everything he did to him because he thought it was in Will’s best interests. She identifies with Will—Hannibal has traumatized them both with similar motivations and emotions toward them—so by extension, she knows the same is true of Hannibal’s feelings toward her. His feelings are authentic, and as a therapist in general—and Hannibal’s therapist specifically—she can recognize and respect how genuine he is, in his way.

Her feelings for Hannibal were also authentic, or she never would have tolerated him for so long. It’s not so simple, when you’ve been traumatized by someone you care about, to work out your “issues” with them with a simple “fuck you.” Bedelia knows this. She is a good psychiatrist, as well as being self-aware, and I doubt very much she would simplify her own emotions down in this way.

Thus I tend to think it was more of a goodbye than otherwise, a nod to his personality and to his tastes. Just the fact that she left shows that she knew he was going to be there: she didn’t have to leave the perfume behind to make a statement, but by leaving it there, she essentially says, “I see you there, Hannibal. Here is something you might remember me by. Adieu.” (Let it not be au revoir.)

In that, there are elements a gracious leave-taking, but—granted—there’s also a bit of a “check—and mate.” Traumatized, she was unpredictable, and being unpredictable even to Hannibal, she survived. 

So far, at least.

meta meta meta

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

theverysarcasticscientist said: why did you think Sherlock 3.3 was misogynistic? none of the leading ladies were portrayed as evil because of their femininity, and they all fulfilled my two primary requirements for well-designed leads--depth and agency. I think Mary was extremely complex and sympathetic. Janine was not portrayed in a misogynistic way; the issue was that Sherlock was being misogynist--and was justly portrayed as a douche for it (nowhere near as much as he should have been, but still). and Mary was AWESOME.



at what point did mary have all this agency?

  • the part where her husband talked about her like she was a disappointing purchase, while she stood silently in the background
  • the part where sherlock explained that her Surprise Dark Backstory actually proved that she was ~destined~ to be a ~perfect choice~ for john, because john likes Dangerous Things.
  • the part where sherlock and john literally sit down and decide whether she’s worthy of being helped or not (because she can’t help herself by, say, killing magnussen)
  • the part where john decided to “forget”/erase her entire history so they could be together, conveniently meaning that the writers would never have to extrapolate on the actual substance behind the revelation that she used to be an assassin.
  • the part where sherlock tricked her into revealing her secrets to john
  • the part where she shot sherlock in the chest for reasons that basically boiled down to “there needed to be more conflict in the episode”
  • the part where (despite her suddenly-badass gun skills) she was drugged unconscious for the final scenes of the episode so the men could solve her problems for her?

YES, mary is a really likeable character and amanda abbington’s performance was awesome and fun to watch (especially in the first two episodes), but that doesn’t make any of those things any less true.

n.b. i feel like “not portrayed as evil because of their femininity” is kind of a low bar for “not a misogynistic portrayal of a female character,” but maybe my standards are too high.

amanda abbington did a great job of making us like mary, and mary really was a well-written character in the first two episodes. but in the third? nope. in the first two eps she was presented as a normal person who could cheerfully stand up to sherlock and john as an equal, but in ep 3, two things happened: she was revealed to be a Very Special Badass with a Secret Past, and (rather incongruously, considering that first part), she lost the ability to do anything for herself. for a detailed explanation of the many ways in which Mary’s agency was completely stripped from her over the course of this episode, i recommend this post.

also re: mary, the revelation that she’s a former CIA agent/assassin was really poorly handled, partly because it was discarded without being “used” in the story except in the context of her a) being magnussen’s victim, b) shooting sherlock, and c) betraying john — and none of those were about HER, they were about magnussen, sherlock, and john. her past is something that magnussen knows about and threatens her with, and john decides NOT to know about, meaning that we don’t get to know know either. she’s still a complete blank slate, but a useful blank slate when it comes to providing more manpain for john and more conflict for the story. also, the big revelation instantly made her fit into the stereotypical Steven Moffat Fantasy Woman mold of a ~badass confident lady~ who is disempowered by a main hero dude, thus implicitly proving his superiority because she loves him. i mean, she’s a former spy who can shoot a hole through a coin… but she allows sherlock to trick her into revealing all her secrets… and she shoots him in the chest for reasons that don’t really make sense… but she doesn’t kill magnussen… and then sherlock drugs her…??

Then there’s the fact that she literally attempted to assassinate Magnussen… and yet supposedly, the reason why Sherlock was able to kill Magnussen at the end was because he was “so arrogant that he couldn’t imagine anyone ever trying to kill him.” So the fact that she tried to kill him earlier in the episode was functionally meaningless??

Oh, and there’s that whole thing where Moffat & Gatiss effectively erased the central female character/storyline from the original canon story, because they thought it was inconceivable for a woman to kill Milverton/Magnussen. now, i have zero problem with them “changing” the original holmes stories, because obviously sherlock is totally different from ACD canon. but this change not only removed one of the very few canonical female characters who had the power to solve her own problems (and kill the bad guy when holmes & watson couldn’t defeat him!) but it removed her in a way that said, “we don’t think she ever could have existed in the first place.” what isn’t sexist about that?? plus, they could very easily have had mary kill magnussen in the end, what with her being an assassin and everything. but she was too busy being pregnant and unconscious.

and as for janine — huh?? i mean, while it is certainly plausible that some people in the world might respond in the way she did (ie, by “making the most of the situation” and selling the story of her personal life to the tabloids after her boyfriend screwed her over), it’s vanishingly unlikely. basically what you have to remember here is that janine isn’t a real person, she’s a fictional character. a character who was written by a real man with real biases, in order to create a series of funny scenes where sherlock pretends to have a girlfriend, and then reveals that their entire relationship was a lie. but then sherlock’s completely unethical and cruel behaviour is excused by the fact that she’s an opportunist (or “whore,” in Sherlock’s words), making it totally OK in retrospect that he behaved so badly in the first place. i mean, yes, i think sherlock is written as being somewhat misogynistic/thoughtless, but at no point does the text of the show really criticise him for that. and the fact that she went the route of contacting the tabloids etc in the first place implicitly puts her in the Bad Girl role.

her reaction was purposefully written to be as convenient as possible, because any other option would force us to confront the utter weirdness and cruelty of sherlock’s plan to seduce (and become engaged to!) some random woman, just to break into her office.

TL;DR version: Mary, Janine, and every other fictional character ever = not real people. They serve certain purposes within their intended storylines, and are influenced by the biases and emotions of the people who write them. In Sherlock 3x03, those biases were pretty obviously illustrated in the treatment of Janine and Mary (both by the male characters and by the story itself), and this looks even worse when you put it in context with Steven Moffat’s history with other female characters. But that’s a story for another day.

so basically, the depth of the (female) secondary characters is sacrificed to further the (male) protagonists’s stories. i’m too tired to think about it properly now, but i wonder if this is bad writing in itself, or merely a really unfortunate technique because it means there are no women with proper agency in the show? to what extent can we say the other minor recurring characters in Sherlock are deagencied in the same way (Mrs Hodson, Lestrade, Mycroft)?

Pretty much every time I write about female characters in Sherlock, I get comments and reblogs along these lines: all the female characters are secondary characters, so doesn’t it make sense that their role is to support John and Sherlock’s storylines? Well, yes and no. Yes, it’s true that the secondary characters in Sherlock are technically there to support and flesh out John and Sherlock’s adventures and/or character development. But the male and female secondary characters are treated in very different ways.

Let’s take a look at the basic roles of central female characters on the show:

  • Mrs Hudson = mother/nurse/caretaker/occasional victim.
  • Molly = helping Sherlock and being in love with him. (and even once she’s supposedly “got over him” she’s still a punchline, and her main role in episode 3x03 is to be Sherlock’s mind-palace assistant — which is technically just Sherlock’s imaginary version of her.)
  • Mary = John’s love interest.
  • Janine = Sherlock’s love interest.
  • Irene = kind of Sherlock’s love-interest, in a role that sets her up to be ~powerful (particularly in terms of sex) but eventually implies that Sherlock is her superior — ie, the opposite of her purpose in the original Holmes stories.
  • Sally Donovan = a cop, and an antagonist to Sherlock. Equivalent role to Anderson.

Almost all of these characters are partly defined by their relationship to a male character (although Irene is arguable, I suppose), which is often the case in stories where the only way the writers can imagine including a female character is if they’re a wife, mother, love interest, or victim. The one exception in Sherlock is Sally Donovan… who is presented as unpleasant and an antagonist to Sherlock (as well as a slut, for having an affair with Anderson, for which Sherlock publicly shames her in front of her colleagues.) The male supporting characters are a very different story.

  • Lestrade = Before John came along, Lestrade was the only person who Sherlock liked and trusted on a personal level. This already puts him well above Molly, who he basically uses, even after he acknowledged her intelligence (and usefulness) with a little more respect in season 3. Also, Lestrade and Sherlock have a give-and-take relationship because while Lestrade does sometimes need Sherlock’s help on cases, he also has boundaries (ie, drug use, illegal behaviour), and Sherlock needs to stay on his good side if he wants to keep getting access to juicy cases at Scotland Yard.
  • Mycroft = Mycroft isn’t really defined as being Sherlock’s brother in that very few of their interactions are familial (unlike with Mrs Hudson/Sherlock or Mary/John), but instead are about work. Mycroft definitely has power of Sherlock, and is generally implied to be the smartest and most powerful person in the show. While Molly is introduced a lab tech who is in love with Sherlock and Mrs Hudson is introduced as Sherlock’s landlady/caretaker, Mycroft is introduced as Sherlock’s brother… who has power over the entirety of London, and regards Sherlock as frivolous and idiotic by comparison. They don’t really have ~relationship~ scenes until season 3, at which point Mycroft’s role as a strong and independent character has already been solidified.
  • Villains = Pretty much all of the main villains or antagonists are men. Moriarty and Magnussen can hardly be said to exist to support Sherlock and John’s storylines — except in the obvious sense that the entire show is, you know, technically there to support Sherlock and John. Magnussen and Moriarty are both completely independent entities who are feared and respected in their own right. The only female character who really even slightly measures up to this level is Irene, who is pointlessly naked half the time she’s onscreen, often discussed in the context of her sexuality, and is eventually “saved” by Sherlock.

Lestrade and Mycroft are definitely the two main male supporting characters, and first and foremost they are both defined by their careers. Lestrade solves crimes with Sherlock’s help (or vice versa, depending on the case), while Mycroft ~secretly runs the country~. Mycroft is the one who sends Sherlock off to Eastern Europe, which is not so much “support” as having power over Sherlock’s entire life. Meanwhile Molly is introduced to us as someone who helps Sherlock because she has a crush on him, which is hardly an equal role or relationship to Lestrade. Sherlock and Moriarty both manipulate her A LOT. Janine, obviously, is manipulated by Sherlock. Mary is awesome for 3x01 and 3x02, but as I mentioned in the original post, she’s then systematically disempowered over the course of 3x02.

Now, this isn’t me saying, “I wish all female characters were totally career-based and never had any relationships with anyone!” Individually, I like most of the female characters in Sherlock, even if I don’t enjoy the way they’re treated. But overall, BBC Sherlock shows us a pretty dismal and sexist interpretation of reality, particularly when you factor in other minor female characters like Kitty Riley (presented as an annoying fangirl, and then as Moriarty’s dupe), Lady Smallwood (victim), and pretty much every female character in The Blind Banker. There haven’t really been any situations yet where Mycroft or Lestrade’s agency has been removed in a way that compares to Irene, Mary, or Janine.