Mar. 4th, 2017

My tweets

Mar. 4th, 2017 12:00 pm
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I’m not sure if this is going to answer your question or not, but my brain kind of does what it does, so here we go:

The examples you’ve given here for “Nazi aesthetics” are all quite different. Indiana Jones uses actual, literal Nazis as bad guys: this is unambiguous, as the films are ostensibly set in our world despite the magical/occult underpinnings of the various historical McGuffins. Hydra is simultaneously a Nazi analogue while being Nazi-adjacent: this is also unambiguous, especially given that the comics/films are set in WWII, albeit in Marvel’s alternate version of history. Of the three, it’s Star Wars which relies on Nazi aesthetics - uniforms, empire, soldiers in lockstep, genocidal rhetoric - to evoke the spectre of Nazism and fascism in a different narrative context. That being established, I don’t think any of these examples really qualify as a failure to portray said ideologies in an “appropriate way”, as in all three instances, Nazism/fascism are clearly depicted as monstrous. Whether these are subtle, nuanced or historically detailed depictions of Nazism is a different question, but I don’t think it’s really possible to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Captain America or Star Wars: The Force Awakens and come away with the idea that Nazism is a Good Idea or that Nazis are Good Guys unless you already thought that to begin with, which is a different sort of problem altogether.

When I talked recently about the cutsefying of Nazis, I was doing so in response to a specific fandom example. I don’t think there’s been a recent narrative shift towards portraying Nazism as harmless or misunderstood otherwise, but I do think that stories have had an impact on how many people are reacting to current politics.

Namely: by virtue of having been in constant use as a narrative shorthand for These Guys Are Evil pretty much since WWII, Nazism has become, not so much diluted in the public consciousness as reduced to a form of background noise. The Nazis were - and are - genuinely horrifying, but for so many of us, that horror was never personal; it was something we learned about in school or saw portrayed cartoonishly in films and on TV at least as often as it was played straight, and somewhat paradoxically, this ubiquity has negatively impacted our collective understanding of it as a real threat in the actual real world. Saying, “The Nazis are rising!” in 2017, even if it happens to be true, sounds a lot like saying, “They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard!”, because the first example many of us think of when we hear the word Nazi isn’t personal or historical, but narrative. They’ve turned into storybook monsters, and I think that makes a lot of people worry that the threat can’t really be as bad as all that, because Nazis are gone, aren’t they? Didn’t we already slay that particular dragon?

It is, I think, a similar phenomenon to how decades of stories about corrupt democratic governments and behind-the-scenes political conspiracies have normalised the idea that this sort of thing is just what happens. You see enough movies about shady backroom political deals being carried on for The Good Of The Nation, and even though such stories are meant to horrify us, they also serve as an emotional dry run for acceptance without action: generally speaking, you don’t go out and protest the real government because of something that happened in a fictional narrative. 

Which is why, in counterpoint, stories about resistance - about revolution, about fighting back, about building new worlds and relearning the old lessons of history; which is to say, stories that are overwhelmingly filed under YA and SFF - are so very, very important. Narratives set in the real world, playing by real world rules, don’t tend to end with the world itself materially changed even when their plots are concerned with grand political conspiracies. There might be a great revelation of truth at the climax, but we don’t get to see the reconstruction or systematic upheaval that follows this pronouncement, because as soon as that happens, the genre changes from political thriller to dystopia, literary fiction to spec fic. As soon as you speculate a mechanism by which the current political defaults no longer exist, you’ve gone beyond the bounds of political thrillers and into a new realm entirely, and as such, I’m inclined to think there’s a material overlap between people who devalue SFF, comics and the like for not being “real enough” and people who lack the imagination to understand that their world can indeed be altered beyond recognition. 

The problem with Nazis in modern literature isn’t that we’re failing to portray them as bad guys; it’s that too many of us have forgotten that they aren’t just fictional villains. We’ve looked the spectre of Nazism right in the face and declined to call it what it is, because the whole point of bogeymen is that they don’t really exist. Except that, in this instance, they do, and now we’ve jumped genres yet again. If we’re not careful, global politics won’t turn back into a bad thriller or veer off into spec fic.

It’ll be a horror story.
from Tumblr
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Conservatives have so much fucking nerve talking about how “ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS ARE OUT OF CONTROL” when absolutely no-one feels inconvenienced by them or has ever even encountered them in their personal lives unless they’re the CEO’s of a megaconglomerate bitter that they couldn’t rip up a national park and buy like their fifth house boat

Yeah, it’s literally the Kochs saying “It’s so UNFAIR that when the oil pipelines we own but don’t maintain bust and flood a town with toxic sludge, that WE have to pay to fix it.” and “An employee we forced to clean chemical storage tanks without the proper gear for 15 years developed cancer, and they’re allowed to sue us over it? TYRANNY!!”

How is it never occurred to me to put it like this before?

“It’s so unfair that we can’t just dump coal waste into rivers!”

And when anything DOES impact the ~average person, big corporations generally don’t have to follow those rules. Like during the CA water restrictions people were barely able to bathe but Nestle was still bottling millions of gallons (and turning around and selling those bottles to people who couldn’t use their tap water bc of the restrictions).

Corporations being able to earn as much profit as possible is more important than people’s lives in America.
from Tumblr
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I know cats have a stigma of being evil little robots who care for nobody but themselves. I don’t deny that there are some out there like this. But in defense of the large majority of darling cats who have been given a bad name due to the wicked few, I would like to tell you a story…

I am asthmatic. I’m not as bad as some; my asthma is generally well-controlled, and I don’t have much trouble with it on a daily basis. However, as all asthmatics know, getting sick becomes a nightmare. Even a small cold can turn into a days-long asthma attack, one that is very painful, and very annoying for me and those around me. The asthma cough sounds like an ill seal at best, or an angry moose with a nasal condition at worst. Y'all with asthma, and y'all with asthmatic friends, know exactly what I’m talking about. The bark. The hack. The Cough Heard Round The World. It’s painful, it’s loud, and it doesn’t stop. Even the rescue inhaler can only do so much to calm it. It just has to run its course with the cold.

Well, this week I caught the crud, and in the past few days it deteriorated into The Cough. Last night, I took some NyQuil to try and stave it off for as long as I could, just to try and get some sleep. That meant that for a few hours, I was cough-free. After that, I was still doped up enough to sleep through some of it. However, by 2am the sleep aid had worn off and The Cough woke me up. Since lying down makes it worse, and I didn’t want to wake my sister, I sneaked out of my bedroom into the living room, where I sat on the recliner and proceeded to hack up a lung while I waited for my next dose of NyQuil to kick in. That is when I noticed Simon.

Simon is a Russian Blue with a masterful resting-witch-face and an attitude to match. She (yes, she’s a girl, that’s another story) is old, fat, proprietary, and attitudinal. She isn’t shy about telling you when she is displeased, and does so with a loud shriek and some teeth or claws thrown in. She is convinced she owns the place, and owns all of us in turn. She is particular about where you can pet her, like most cats; and, like most cats, she loves her sleep and hates to be woken up.

And of course, my hacking woke her up.

Attempting to whisper an apology in between bouts of coughing, I noticed she was getting off her perch atop the chair nearby. She stretched, made a little squeaking sound, and trotted over to me.

I expected her to demand petting as payment for having woken her precious sleep, but she did not. Instead, this traditionally cranky dragon of a cat did something that amazed me.

She began to purr loudly, and sat herself directly on my aching chest. She kneaded my sternum softly, and nosed my chin as if to say, “I’ve got this, you sleep.” Even though I was still coughing, and bouncing her horridly in the process, she remained settled on my chest right above my diaphragm, purring loudly so that it vibrated through my ribs. I don’t know what magic spell she was chanting between her boat-like purrs, but within minutes my cough had subsided and I was able to sleep.

I didn’t wake up until about 4:30. When I did, it was to discover that my lap and chest were devoid of Simon’s presence, and I was coughing again. As I started coughing once more, I heard her familiar “I’m here” squeak from the area of the water dish. I heard some hurried lapping, and then her heavy gallop across the floor. She flumped onto my lap again, and resumed her purring and kneading. She had evidently been doing that for the past 2 hours, and had only left to get some water. Hydrated, she had returned to take care of me.

So yes, she has her share of evil, jerk-cat moments, but I can no longer pretend that Simon is entirely heartless. For that matter, I now refuse to believe that about any cat. Just because they act like a jerk doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.

I have a cat who loves me like this. We ended up spending 5K once to save his life. Best money I ever spent.
from Tumblr
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INTERESTING mistake in the subtitles: “You will come to MY rescue soon” instead of “HER rescue” lmao, idk what to make of that, but ok I guess :’)))

One of my favorite episodes, too. Mad, Mad Tea Party -
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American school books are far from accurate, or even true. Lots of omissions and falsehoods.



When I was in school, that is not how they taught it. Wow.

I got the ‘you didn’t know this but’ version - not happy to see how far backward education has gone on this one. When did I get my education? 1967. The dark ages. Which appear not to be that dark anymore.

from Tumblr
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Updated photo. MLK March earlier this year. Would you harass this face? (I was, and frankly? Goods luck with that.) (at Long Beach, California)
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ECCC day 3, Three Chai Lattes, who will win! Come find out at table w08 and check out my art or something too haha #eccc
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Tomb of Jules Verne, Amiens, France

Can I be as baller in death as Jules Verne? We can only hope.
from Tumblr


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