I wonder if the progression of vampires from disgusting to desirable tracks with the progression of female sexual expression from taboo to mandatory.  In all cases they’re the boyfriend who won’t take no for an answer, and what’s changed with the times is whether that provokes “how awful, only your husband should do that” or “how wonderful, this is what sexy romance is supposed to look like.”


I disagree. I've been a fan of vampires since I first read Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the recent stuff? Twilight and such? These are not vampires. We'd already be having this conversation if we were talking about, frex, sexy thieves who don't actually steal anything or violate any relevant social convention.

We should be having this conversation whenever we're talking about a villain archetype that's being watered down into a socially acceptable anti-hero.

That's happening a lot lately - media creators are trying to capitalize on the widespread popularity of villains by tampering with their personality until they stop saying and doing things that make society uncomfortable. With Buffy, they had a fucking joke for a vampire boyfriend. Angel, who not only doesn't eat people, he's plagued with guilt over his villainous past. He had his fans, but ... let's just say he wasn't poaching people from the villain-fan pools. And then Spike. He was alright until Whedon became concerned about his popularity, and tried to discourage it with the (notorious) abortive rape attempt. That backfired spectacularly, so they shifted gears and made Spike less and less of a villain, sacrificing most of the things that fans who like villains liked about him in the process.

By the time Twilight rolls around, you have vampires who are waiting for marriage. I haven't read it, and overall I don't plan to bash it. But as far as I can tell, Edward is just another boring hero who's trying to hide his boring hero-ness behind "noo, I'm a bad boy! Look, I wear black!"

Society hasn't become so different and progressive that a vampire, a foreign, genderfluid, relationship anarchic, bestial, otherkin, serial killing, Satan worshipping, Madonna seducing,  sex-death-and-eternal-youth vampire is the triumphant male lead of any commercial story. It has, unfortunately, slapped a lot of edgy, deceptive labels on the same old conventional bullshit (and deprived us of legitimate contemporary versions of some great villains in the process).

If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.

So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

Let’s Call Climate Change What It Really Is—Violence | Alternet (via guerrillamamamedicine)

 But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

(via misandry-mermaid)

Important. And once you start seeing it, you start seeing it everywhere. I live in a very polluted third world capital. The bad air quality literally causes thousands of premature deaths every year. None of the entities causing it are held responsible, although the effect of their actions results in indiscriminate murder and especially does in the old, the very young, and disabled people. Ah, but no. Society is all condemning of face-to-face intentional killing, and gives no fucks about the fact that science can prove you're more likely to drop dead from breathing poison. Or long term exposure to carcinogens. Or a dozen other things that people can't prevent with individualistic, band-aid "healthy living" solutions. We live in a world where millions of people are dying from preventable diseases, and have been brainwashed into attributing their own ill health to bad genes and similar bullshit. Your genes are not the problem. The complete and utter lack of consequences for astronomically rich people doing things that kill poorer people slowly, in subtle ways, is the problem.

"It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless."

L.R. Knost (via maxistentialist)

I think agreeing that it's "your job" to make your children be a certain way for society's greater good is an abuse of power. However, inflicting needless cruelty on them to make them "accept reality" when the reality they were born into was shitty is much worse. It's a sad, modern paradox that society pins all its hopes for change on children - but only after indoctrinating them with the idea that all the bad things in the world are inevitable. 

aquila_black: Soubi still looks/acts teenaged and uncertain around Ritsu-sensei (Ritsu Soubi: Takes You Back)
( Aug. 4th, 2014 11:02 pm)

"We have a trick, we do, those of us who work with or otherwise support people with disabilities. We believe in their competence when they are compliant - when they agree with us, when they submit to our authority, when they bow to the hierarchy of the natural order of things. We determine incompetence when they have the temerity to dismiss our opinions as interesting but irrelevant. Yep, we use competence as the reward for compliance and submissiveness."

Excerpted from Dave Hingsburger's blog post, Jenny and Eve and the Statistics of Freedom

And some of the comments were just as insightful, so I'm quoting them too.

... at Harriet's Fugitivus blog. I love her posts, but sometimes she mooshes together several different, large, related concepts and I want to send people to a particular part and that's not possible because of the way the writing is formatted. I'm putting the part that I share around the most often below. The rest of the post is here.

I Don’t Want To Say I Was Abused Or Raped Because That Cheapens Abuse and Rape/Some Girls Ruin It For The Rest Of Us

Let’s make this simple.

Rape and abuse exist. They’re horrible and they’re wrong.

The only way rape and abuse can be less horrible is if we don’t value the person who is being raped or abused.

Let’s Godwin’s Law this: Hitler is being raped and abused. How much do you care?

Okay, let’s back this up realistically. Your sister is being raped and abused. How much do you care?

A woman who sleeps with a lot of people and callously disregards their feelings is being raped and abused. How much do you care?

A woman who was drinking heavily at the club and hanging off every single guy is being raped and abused. How much do you care?

The only way rape and abuse can be cheapened is if we cheapen the victims. They aren’t cheapened by expanding the definition of victim. If rape and abuse are horrible and wrong, then more victims just equals more horrible and more wrong. But we can cheapen rape and abuse by limiting the definition of victims we give a shit about.Read more... )
aquila_black: Text says "sometimes we let go" (Seimei Soubi: Broken Tether)
( Aug. 3rd, 2014 11:06 pm)

"In the eyes of a watching world, the fact that the great-grandmother of an Israeli soldier died in Treblinka is no excuse for his own abusive treatment of a Palestinian woman waiting to cross a checkpoint. "Remember Auschwitz" is not an acceptable response.

In short: Israel, in the world's eyes, is a normal state, but one behaving in abnormal ways. It is in control of its fate, but the victims are someone else. It is strong, very strong, but its behavior is making everyone else vulnerable. And so, shorn of all other justifications for its behavior, Israel and its supporters today fall back with increasing shrillness upon the oldest claim of all: Israel is a Jewish state and that is why people criticize it. This - the charge that criticism of Israel is implicitly anti-Semitic - is regarded in Israel and the United States as Israel's trump card. If it has been played more insistently and aggressively in recent years, that is because it is now the only card left.

The habit of tarring any foreign criticism with the brush of anti-Semitism is deeply engrained in Israeli political instincts: Ariel Sharon used it with characteristic excess but he was only the latest in a long line of Israeli leaders to exploit the claim. David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir did no different. But Jews outside of Israel pay a high price for this tactic. Not only does it inhibit their own criticisms of Israel for fear of appearing to associate with bad company, but it encourages others to look upon Jews everywhere as de facto collaborators in Israel's misbehavior. When Israel breaks international law in the occupied territories, when Israel publicly humiliates the subject populations whose land it has seized - but then responds to its critics with loud cries of "anti-Semitism" - it is in effect saying that these acts are not Israeli acts, they are Jewish acts: The occupation is not an Israeli occupation, it is a Jewish occupation, and if you don't like these things it is because you don't like Jews.

In many parts of the world this is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling assertion: Israel's reckless behavior and insistent identification of all criticism with anti-Semitism is now the leading source of anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe and much of Asia. But the traditional corollary - if anti-Jewish feeling is linked to dislike of Israel then right-thinking people should rush to Israel's defense - no longer applies. Instead, the ironies of the Zionist dream have come full circle: For tens of millions of people in the world today, Israel is indeed the state of all the Jews. And thus, reasonably enough, many observers believe that one way to take the sting out of rising anti-Semitism in the suburbs of Paris or the streets of Jakarta would be for Israel to give the Palestinians back their land."

Excerpt from Tony Judt's article, The Country that Wouldn't Grow Up

This was published in Haaretz in 2006, but it's only gotten more relevant and urgent since then.

aquila_black: Vegeta, (circa his time with Napa) head-on. Eyes closed, head thrown back slightly ... open-mouthed laugh. (Vegeta: LOL)
( Jul. 30th, 2014 09:35 pm)
I was in The Powerpuff Girls fandom years ago as a teenager. I had a crush on these two villains in a gang. One was the leader. The other was his punching bag. I explored my feelings for both of them in depth and realized that more than anything, I wanted the leader to stop hurting his second-in-command. Even when he screwed up, he didn't deserve that. And I knew that canon was never going to fulfill my wish because it was played for laughs. So I asked myself why I wanted this so much and what I could do about it. Read more... )



Nonviolent Communication can be emotionally violent


Nonviolent Communication (NVC) culture facilitates abuse in part because NVC culture has very little regard for consent. They call it nonviolent, but it is often a coercive and emotional violent kind of interaction.

NVC has very different boundaries than are typical in…

sorenandjoey said:

Chilling is right, another response I’ve noticed that seems to be standard to any critique of NVC is the whole “oh well that was a misapplication of NVC, if you’d been doing it correctly that never would have happened”.

It’s been incredibly refreshing to see these posts and then reading the comments even though it’s sad to see how many people have been hurt by it, just being able to know I’m not the only person in the universe who rejects NVC has been so helpful, it’s just like my god, finally.

realsocialskills said:

NVC advocates say that to me a lot. Every single one of them who has ever said that has also quickly done the exact things I say are pervasive and awful in NVC culture.

They also often do a thing where, no matter what you say, they interpret it as though you have said something they agree with. NVC people can make it impossible to express disagreement with them and be heard. That is also an act of emotional violence.

The "oh, you're objecting to the misuse of this thing I'm in favor of" is endemic to privileged groups. I'm reminded of a sexual abuse survivor that I have a lot of respect for, who has been pointing out how little mainstream Christian culture accommodates the idea of consent being important or necessary, and is sick to death of hearing "the Christians who abused you were not real Christians" as a justification for why the culture doesn't need to reevaluate anything or change.

"The NVC users who silenced you were misusing it" is exactly the same willfully oblivious derail. It's a knee-jerk refusal to engage with the subtance of what you're saying because people don't want to confront the fact that their communications tool is abusive. When used as directed, it's exploitable. Read more )

[I dislike posts that involve scrolling through a ton of images to read a modest amount of text. So here's what it said.

Narrator: The Keekorok [baboon] troop took to foraging for food in the garbage dump of a popular tourist lodge. The trash included meat tainted with tuberculosis. The result was that nearly half the males in the troop died.

Sarpolsky: It wasn't random who died.

Narrator: Every alpha male was gone.

Sarpolsky: And what you were left with was twice as many females as males, and the males who were remaining were, just to use the scientific jargon, they were good guys. It completely transformed the atmosphere in the troop. This particular troop has a culture of very low levels of aggression, and they're doing that twenty years later. If they're able to, in one generation, transform what are supposed to be textbook social systems engraved in stone, we don't have an excuse when we say there's certain inevitabilities about human social systems.]








Robert Sapolsky about his study of the Keekorok baboon troop from National Geographic’s Stress: Portrait of a Killer.

Thiiiiiiis, people, thiiiis!

1. Kill alpha male types
2. Achieve world peace

Got it.

I’ve actually read a lot of Sapolsky’s work.  He’s one of my favorite scientists in the neuro/socio world.

I just watched the documentary and there is so much more about the troop that isn’t in this photoset—not only does the troop have a culture of little aggression and greater cooperation, but any incoming jerk baboons learned within a few months that their shitty behaviour was in no way acceptable, that the troop only rewarded sociability, and they changed accordingly. 

If effin’ baboons can learn this there’s pretty much no reason to believe that our only option in dealing with assholes is to just ignore their behaviour and let it continue.

there really is no excuse.

"incoming jerk baboons" hahaha

Recently I reblogged an article showing that social agreeableness could have a positive correlation with "following orders" types of abuse. I wanted to discuss that more. 

Needing the group's approval can manifest as norm-following behavior patterns: "niceness," professionalism, a positive attitude, etc. Not needing the group's approval is only visible when the group demands a specific action or stance and the person does not comply. 

What they do instead doesn't necessarily benefit oppressed people. But they have a choice that someone who is controlled by what the group considers right and good doesn't have. 

People the group protects and treats well are predisposed to see rule-breaking as antisocial, dangerous behavior. People the group mistreats and leaves vulnerable are more likely to expect good things from nonconformists.

Some of the people who can buck society are selfish. But others are courageous, altruistic, and moral in a way that society pays a lot of lip service to, but ultimately doesn't encourage at all.

aquila_black: Caption: time for a little black magic. (Nisei: Black Magic)
( Jun. 21st, 2014 12:52 pm)
I'm importing posts I made on Tumblr and meta from my e-mail to Dreamwidth, to keep them on a platform I like better. This is going to take a while and result in a lot more activity on this account than usual. I'll try to remember to put anything long under a cut.
There are specific tropes that annoy me, but when I criticize them in men, I'm an outlier, and when I criticize them in women, people discount what I'm actually saying on the grounds that it /must/ be an expression of internalized sexism. Which makes me want to laugh, bitterly, because they're generally protecting a male creator's character from reproach and finding reasons not to listen to a flesh-and-blood woman. Because /sexism/. Not theirs, supposedly mine. The specific thing is that I'm really put off by is incompetence in any form. Neville Longbottom squicked me right up until the 7th book, because if there was a way to get it wrong (whatever "it" was) he probably did. I hate watching characters who live in a way that they're constantly belly-flopping and easy to take advantage of; characters that make the heroes look extra smart and good by comparison; characters who are in an awesome setting, but miss out on the coolest parts because, at best, they're being left out and worked around.

My feeling hits me especially hard when the character has a position of responsibility, and is putting other people in danger by being clueless and ineffectual. Jasmine's dad in Aladdin. Belle's dad in Beauty and the Beast. This is a character type I can't stand. But, weird as people think it is that anyone could possibly dislike such well intentioned, good-hearted men, throwing in any mention of women who fail this way turns it into a conversation about "victim-blaming" even when the only thing going against them is an author who decided they should be defenseless, naive, and incompetent. We're getting fewer female characters like this than we used to. Fewer straight-up damsels. But often they're still covered with a defensive veneer of "look, once in a great while she shines, and if you aren't impressed that's totally because you're against female characters." Whereas, when a male character doesn't fail twice a year and that's trotted out as a valid, redeeming quality, I dislike him just as much. Summer-of-supervillainy and Ami-angelwings have written some very eloquent posts about the contemporary and historical pervasiveness of this, in relation to female characters. It tends to be much more pervasive and stubborn with regards to women (in the sense that they aren't allowed to outgrow it and do something cool at the eleventh hour). But what's annoying me right now is how little tolerance there is in fandom for disliking incompetent characters of either gender. The widespread agreement with sentiments like "if you don't like Neville Longbottom, I think you must have no soul" is tiresome.
"Justice stems from each person getting what they deserve based on their individual actions. It concentrates a huge amount of power in the hands of those who get to decide what others deserve." --Rory Miller

This quote crystallized something I hadn't been able to articulate as a preference. I don't like fictional stories that have people "getting what they deserve." I think it's incredibly arrogant to position what your culture thinks someone deserves as an objectively good thing. Or in practice, what a certain author thinks. There is probably no faster, easier way to make me reevaluate my choice in entertainment than by being heavy-handed about it, but my tolerance for punishments disguised as consequences is low. Which is part of why I prefer animanga, or nothing, to most American media: Japanese entertainment is sometimes about other things, that have nothing to do with matching up people and "acceptable" outcomes for them.

More thoughts. )
aquila_black: Text says "chasing memories" (Ritsuka: Existentially Lost)
( Feb. 12th, 2013 06:58 pm)
I have a friend who's a damn good photographer, and she's trying to fund a trip to Japan with Kickstarter that will result in a photobook. She has formally studied Japanese, hosted an exchange student, and taken pictures of Japanese events and stores in her area (although her interests certainly aren't limited to that). She does not charge for access to most of her work and permits it to be distributed online without restrictions. However, getting money for this book will determine whether she can afford to create it. If you can, please help an artist out.
Concern trolling of genres in fanfiction is long overdue for a challenge. Here's my counter-argument: Fanfic writers are not obligated to prove anything to their readers. Not sanity, not social responsibility, and not agreeing with you on key topics. All of that is optional. If you only want to read stories written by people who are very concerned about gender issues, or precede their story with an exhaustive list of trigger warnings, or never, ever write about a relationship dynamic that might be considered problematic without making it crystal-clear that the author does not endorse, condone, or even really like what they're depicting ... that's your choice. However, saying that things that don't meet your strict criteria are irresponsible and shouldn't exist is a dickish thing to do.

The longer argument. )
Last year, my brother was hit by a motorcycle. We were crossing the street and the light changed before we got to the other side and these guys on motorcycles just gunned their engines and one of them hit him. We are incredibly lucky, because my brother was completely unharmed. He fell on top of the motorcycle and it skidded sideways and started leaking fluid. Click for the rest of the story )
Fandomsecrets is a wonderful source of writing prompts. It reminds me of things I want to say, to or about fandom, but would just as soon not leave in an unindexed post that I have no chance of ever finding again. For now, I write the short stuff there, and put the longer rants here.

Today's subject: thought policing in fandom.

Click for why it's harmful and I want to see less of it )
There's a big conversation on fandomsecret about the pros and cons of Tumblr, and I what I have to say really belongs on my journal.

Tumblr appeals to me for specific things - it's a very good place to keep pictures that I like, feel comfortable sharing, and am not so attached to that I want a copy on my hard drive. Its indexing feature is reasonable, if what you have basically amounts to a ton of image thumbnails.

Discussion happens, but not in enough quantity or quality that it's worth my while to hang out there. Roleplay happens ... and that's what made me invest the time in learning to use the damn thing in the first place. There is a large, awesome, welcoming LOVELESS cast on Tumblr. Their Nisei, in particular, is to die for. Their Mikado (the badass MOONLESS sacrifice, you guys!) is similarly worth following.

Short digression, but I think some fandoms (and characters) lend themselves to panfandom games, and some just don't. I was so glad to find a place where LOVELESS characters could play with each other, without being outnumbered 100 to 1 by non-castmates. It's a little like this. By which I mean that it has an interesting premise that's worth exploring, but can't be explored if what everyone else in the space wants to know is, "why are you bothering with that? Just cut the gordian knot!"

Back on topic, I more or less quit tumblr because the signal-to-noise ratio is unacceptable to me. There are conversations there I'd like to be in on, but people post so much stuff to their blogs that I'm not interested in (and reblog/like in such a way that I get a ton of repeats!) that I spend most of my time scrolling through ephemera. And I can't. One life, short life, not going to spend it skimming pages at top speed to pull what's relevant to me out of the oceans of stuff that isn't.

I know I'm missing out. I love that there are platforms out there where the fandom is young and opinionated and posting back and forth at a speed that makes me lightheaded. But it's not a medium that I feel any good at contributing to, and the company's idea of free speech is rather conveniently "whatever we currently approve of," so DW will continue to be where I meta, roleplay, and hang out.

Even though I mostly comment rather than journal, chances are, if I'm online, you can find me here.
I'm reading a professional guide in Spanish for voice actors and singers, and it has been so unexpectedly useful. I'm learning stuff I didn't even know how to look for. Even better, though, I'm finding out what to do about some old, unfortunate habits.

No one tells you how to talk unless you're unintelligible. Most people are proficient at it without being told. But unfortunately, because we picked up the skill intuitively, it's easy enough for external pressures to screw it up. And if they do, we don't know exactly what has changed or how to correct it. This happened to me. I bet this happens to plenty of people. I'm writing this post because I have a story to share, and some new information that may be useful to more than just me.

The crux of what I learned is this: the more you're projecting, the less well you can hear yourself. The less you're projecting, the more your voice vibrates the small bones in your inner ear and resonates inside your own head. Everyone else hears what comes out of your mouth. Unless you're standing right in front of a wall (and outside of theater exercises, no one does this) what you're hearing is the part of your voice that doesn't leave your mouth. That's why it sounds different. That's why typically, the first reaction people have to hearing a recording of their own voice is "I don't sound like that." The personal part: )
The publishing industry has forced the takedown of Library.nu, a place where students throughout the third world could download out-of-print, hard to find, and overpriced scholarly works. This was not a site that pirated the latest Stephen King novels. It was a place to find everything from physics texts to literary criticism. When the constant refrain of teachers and academic types everywhere is "educate yourself," functionally restricting that to people who live in countries where they can easily acquire and pay for printed books is not a morally neutral act.

The full story is being carried by Al-Jazeera. I haven't seen it get much press elsewhere.


aquila_black: Harry Potter is unconscious. His outstretched hand holds the Philosopher's Stone. Caption: Immortality. (Default)


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