eumelia: (little destiny - bookworm)
Oh gentle readers and beloved friends, I shall miss you.

I've just spend an hour or so stuffing Offiver Kalakaua (my tablet) with ebooks, some of which I spend far too much money on, some gotten by means best not mentioned.

Regardless, I have lots and lots to read this weekend, for you see, it is that time of year again, where my clan collects itself, the entirety of the food (as in far too much, because really? We can't pop over to some shop and get some milk if we need it!?) and sets off on the grand adventure by the seaside.

A long weekend of going to sleep too late due to scrabble, getting up for too early due to fishing and a great many siestas.

Last year I brought one book and barely touched it, opting rather to listen to the podfics I shoved into my mp3 player. This time I'm putting nothing but music on her, so that I can read my the longfics I downloaded and read the ebooks (holy shit, so much lesbian pulp!) I now own.

Lucky me.

It's a family holiday.

I will be back sometime Sunday, and while Officer Kalakaua will be joining me, I very much doubt there will be any wifi for her to hijack.

I might still be around tomorrow morning, depending and how much I'm needed for schlepping.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Hint: It isn’t a debate.

Trigger Warning: This post is about the narratives of dubious consent, non consent, rape, sexual assault, body autonomy (or lack thereof) in fanfiction and fandom, and what being triggered actually means.


Before I begin to dig into this issue, let me put one thing on the table; the only moral issue about sex between two or more adults is consent. Everything else is a matter of what floats your boat. My kink is not your kink and that’s okay – in fact, it’s great, because in fandom we share and learn and discuss these things to a greater degree of openness and detail that in the “real world”.

So, I read a fic. It is a good fic. It’s not perfect, but very few stories are. Much like life, I must say1.

It is a really good story, which, right off the bat, places the characters in a scenario known in fanfic as dub-con, a short hand of “dubious consent”.

Let me put something else on the table here. In real life, there is no such thing as “dubious consent”. Dub-con is a narrative device, it is a construct of point of view, we see and read the conflict of the person (say, Hermione of “Harry Potter”) whose autonomy has been breached and we know, along with Hermione, that she actually wants this happen, only she’s not sure about why, or how, or some other thing – she just knows, kind of, that she wants this other person (say Snape) to do what he is doing.

Alternately, we have Snape’s pov, he who breaches the aforementioned autonomy and magically (no pun intended) knows that this fine, that Hermione actually wants it. That this is sexy, even if Hermione says “stop” or “no” or says nothing at all.

I use this example from “Harry Potter”, because this type of narrative is so typical in this pairing it is practically a trope. But it is a narrative found in all genres and happenstances of fic, be it het or slash, hurt/comfort or fluff – it is there and frankly, I despair at having to actually talk about this.

In real life dubious consent can’t happen. It cannot. Not because we don’t often feel conflicted about doing something with another person in bed, or because there wasn’t enough communication and the sex ended up being more enjoyable for one of the partners over the other (or others).
It cannot happen in real life, because the narrative in our heads can’t be shared. We can’t know if our partner is conflicted, or not comfortable, unless they tell us. The opposite, of course, is the same.

Dubious consent alleges that Ianto (for instance) can and would fight against Jack’s advances and actions if he really wanted to, this is the context of Ianto being subordinate to Jack in the hierarchy of the “Torchwood” team and their age (putting it lightly). With that in mind, it is likely that this scenario wouldn’t actually be construed by fic authors as an issue of consent because it is happening between two men, in the case of slash.

Consent isn’t about Steve’s (for instance) physical ability to stop Danny from performing fellatio on him. Consent is about the fact that Danny doesn’t care to ask or wait for Steve to actually say what he feels about the idea of it happening at all.

That is the point. The disregard to one’s choice, one’s comfort and one’s own wants (and needs) when it comes to sex is endemic, because the idea that the onus is on the person whose will and autonomy is being violated is simply not true. In the fic I read, there was a clear description of someone wanting to say “No”, but didn’t get a chance to do so, due to the narrative dictating that the “No” or the “Wait a minute” didn’t count because the sex was just that good. Dubious consent hadn’t even been an option here, because this scenario was constructed in order for the inner conflict of “do I or don’t I want this” to be taken as a token resistance as opposed to assertion of free will.

This particular fic isn’t even the only time in “Hawaii Five-0” fandom that this sort of thing has happened. In the name of sexy, how many times have we read Steve or Danny say “wait” or “stop” and have the other guy say “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” or “I know what you want/need” and continue to do what they were doing despite the “No”.

And yes, “wait”, “stop” or even non-responsiveness when action is taking place in sex is a big “NO”.

You cannot know why a person says “stop” or “wait” during sex unless you actually stop or wait. Possibly, this person has a cramp, or you’re digging your knee or elbow somewhere uncomfortable or maybe, you are doing something that is making your partner feel distressed and things need to change.

When you assume that Steve or Hermione can physically/magically prevent Danny or Snape from violating them, you are perpetuating rape culture2.

When you assume that knowing what a character is feeling or thinking when their free will is being disregarded by their sexual partner makes this disregard okay, and when you then normalize this behaviour in your fic, you are perpetuating rape culture.

And in the case in which there is clear non-consent going on when you assume that by removing the word “rape” from the fic magically fixes the disparity in power dynamics and that the violence perpetrated now isn’t sexual or gendered, you are perpetuating rape culture.

This is doubly so, when you don’t warn that these things actually exist in the fic!

It doesn’t make a difference what your intent was, I doubt authors are actively malicious, but when you have a character (major or minor) that is assaulted, whether “live”, or in a flashback or memory, or discussed, that is still a textual description of sexual and/or gendered violence. The assault, whether explicit violence, psychological coercion or disregard to another’s free will, choice and autonomy, is still written down and as such must be warned for, because the words you use are the same.

The thing is I don’t mind that dub-con exists in fic, as it is a fantasy narrative device and everyone has fantasies they wouldn’t want to actually happen in real life. This is why we have role playing and BDSM and actually talking to your partner(s) when it comes to making fantasies come true. In the name of full disclosure, I read fics that have dub-con, non-con and rape scenarios in them, because I like hurt/comfort and angst – I need to be warned for this, not because I have triggers, but because I need to know that these scenarios are going to be handled with the due respect and sensitivity that they deserve.

The respect and sensitivity should be awarded to the readers who do have triggers.

It is no secret that transformative art fandom (fanfic, fanvid, fanart and more) is made of a majority of women and/or female identified people and a significant amount of gender variant people, LGBT men and women, non-white people, disabled people and other social minorities who are all vulnerable to sexual violence, because our humanity and body autonomy is considered inconsequential.

The notion that a not insignificant part of your readership will have been through a traumatic experience concerning sexual consent, and sexually based and gendered violence, is not out there!

It is not only a courtesy to warn for this in your header, it will save someone from stumbling into a scenario that will make him or her feel less safe in their own lives, because their hobby and their creative community triggered their trauma.

But in the end, what I find distressing is that people do not recognise what they write for what it is, and in slash fiction it is particularly endemic, due to the fact that this happening between two men. Because rape culture dictates that between men consent isn’t an issue. Because rape culture dictates that men never say “no”. Because rape culture dictates that men can stop the coercion by virtue of being “strong” and physically powerful.

Dear readers, this is bullshit.

As a community of vulnerable people who often place characters we love in painful and violent scenarios that happen in real life to real people in a society that considers our trauma to be exaggerated at best and made up at worst, we have to consider the consequences of our actions and take care of each other.

One of the ways we do this is to know what it is we are writing and to warn accordingly.

Footnotes:
1) This post was triggered (no pun intended) by a particular fic and a discussion that followed, but it is not specifically about any one fic. This post is about a trend and a trope that is all too common in H50 fandom and in fandom as a whole, and I am using this fic as a way to exemplify and make clear my points.
Back to text.

2(For a clear and concise definition of what rape culture is I would refer you to Melissa McEwan’s post at Shakesville where she writes:
[…]Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.[…]

Back to text.
eumelia: (brilliant)
For the past month, I've written more fiction that I have in the past three years. Perhaps more, I recall the romantic sci-fi novel I wrote when I was 13 and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fanfic Role Play my friend and I co-authored at the time.

Good times.

But over the past month I've written a 18K of an X-Men: First Class and am in the middle of writing a truly challenging Hawaii Five-0 fic, which is being cheerleaded, beta'd and hand-held as it is going along, because it is also the fic that will probably be going on-line soon enough.

It is challenging not only because of the subject matter (which has a huge potential of fail and will probably require fresh eyes of a certain perspective to tell me whether I stuck my foot so deep in my mouth is has come out of my ass), but because I'm writing to readers.

I want people to read me.

This is evident by the fact that I have a public blog and it has been going strong for nearly six years.
Sure it's petered here and there, but at this point, it's because I'm writing fic and writing takes time. I actually hope I manage to finish the first draft at least my mid-week next week because then I have to focus on my academic writing. Of which I still have 12K words to write out!

Oy.

My cheerleader/beta/hand-holder has told me more than once that I'm improving, that I'm learning and that I take criticism very well.

Well, once you've spend four years looking at the Red Pentm telling you where you went wrong, why, you tend to not view it as a personal failing, but rather as a challenge to prove that Red Pentm that you will do better every time.

So, yeah, I'm becoming awesome under tutelage.

And even if the fic that is teaching me to become a better writer has to be shelved due to fail, it will still probably be a seminal work for me.

So, here's to hoping my Hawaii Five-0 mojo doesn't destroy me!
eumelia: (Default)
Workers of the World Unite and Dance around the Maypole!

So, yeah, where was I?!

Well, the day after I posted about the Seder, I actually went on a proper holiday weekend with a couple of my friends. We stayed in a very nice lodge with a stable motif. It also had no mobile phone reception(!!) and barely there WiFi (which I cared less about because I didn't bring anything that needed WiFi in order to live).

During that lovely weekend I read one the best young adult books ever and one of the few original Israeli sci-fi books!
There's a sizeable sci-fi/fantacy community in Israel and it's a very creative one too, there's plenty to chose from when it comes to translated works, but when it comes to original work in Hebrew the pickings are a little slimmer and this book was just, oh my god, I really hope it gets translated into other languages soon so that you can all read its gorgeousness.

Right after that holiday I was dumped back to school in which I wrote a crappy paper and probably got a decent grade on an exam.

I also found myself escaping into fanfiction a lot, being annoyed at Glee, being annoyed at Doctor who (I haven't seen yesterday's episode yet! EEK!) and being really unsure what to make of Game of Thrones... it is good. Really good. It's making me want to read the books good, though I have a feeling the books are not as good, because damn, High Fantasy does not like me about as much as I don't like it - that is to say, the series is making me have major, huge, thinky thoughts about many things, but they are possibly not the ones every one else is thinking. Or maybe they are, very possibly they are and I'm just not reading them.

And now, lunch. This year has been brutal on my updating, why!?
eumelia: (dandies)
"Slash, drug use, torture..." in the Warnings section of the header of a Sherlock fic.

I have the story open in a different tab and I'll probably read it later on, but damn, I contemplated not bothering with it.

As I write this, a few other stories have appeared on my list containing the warnings "M/M Kiss" and "There will be slashy sex"

I know, that it appears petty, possibly insulting, to equate Slash fiction with Queer lives. But I can't separate the two issues, especially when it is so acute with regards to a text (BBC's Sherlock) that I find to be one of the few actual canonically queer texts out there at the moment.

[livejournal.com profile] rm said it best in her post:
The queering of Sherlock. By which I do not mean that I see Sherlock as gay, bisexual, omnisexual or ace. I don't know. In fact, if the show presented me with a heterosexual Sherlock, and did so credibly, I could get on board with that too, without a problem, because it wouldn't make Sherlock any less queer in the literary sense.
[...]
There is an inherent "other" about him in regards to his instinctive presentation of whatever his sexuality may be, and it is recognized by people who see him, both in the audience and in the narrative. Even a theoretically heterosexual Sherlock is, in this presentation, still queered.

I really couldn't agree more.

What happens in non-fictional situations that actual queers live through is that this Otherness is an inherent part of our lives. I'm not even talking about the over exposure to violence and the fact that our lives are considered forfeit in many ways. To stay on topic, our representation in culture is minuscule (and demographically skewed to begin with) and when it appears it is often vilified.

When I was a kid and I began reading Slash, I discovered alternative narratives and stories based on stories I already loved. Many times, these narratives weren't even "alternative" just, you know, another way of explaining a dynamic.

When I was a kid and understood myself to be bisexual, I watched shows with the knowledge that what I saw wasn't everything there was to get. That within the lines spoken, an entire world of meaning of hidden or coded and all I had to do was expose it, or crack it.

My Slash goggles have been a major tool in my studies of literary theory, even if I was forced to remove them, they were still a part of my interpretative machine.

Slash is not just a genre (it may not be one at all), it is, as I've said before, a conscientious dynamic that manifests a homoeroticism that already exists in the canon texts, whether it's more sub-textual or less (or totally overt, like in Torchwood), because tension between characters is what happens when there's interaction.

When one writes Slash, you're writing an overt homoerotic and potentially queer event, whether there is explicit sex or not. Because a dynamic between characters, is a dynamic of identities.

When one writes Slash, you're writing about identity, you're writing about literary identities that can and do, exist outside of fiction.

"Slashy sex", i.e. Sex between two male characters, i.e. sex between two men, surprise! It happens in real life.

Not only does it happen in real life, people have been punished for it and moreover they are still punished for it, we are still paying the price of the stigma that is placed on people who commit sexual acts that are considered... wait for it... unnatural.

The connection between warning for Slash (as a dynamic of identities in fanworks) and the experience of homophobia by gay people is connected. Not only is it connected, it cannot help but have a negative effect and affect of queer people who are consumers and producers of culture.

Sherlock is a queer text, because it deals with and manifests dynamics of marginalised characters - Sherlock specifically (and obviously) and John to a lesser effect, but still, John, as a veteran of an unpopular war and a person who has experienced war-fare and trauma, those experiences also marginalise him, but we as a culture, have better tools with which to understand John as human.
Sherlock, not so much.

When you warn for Slash, you're warning for Queer. When you warn for Queer, it is implicit that Queer identity and dynamic is dangerous to those identities that are habitually considered "normal" and "safe".

Just like 30-40 years ago, when Slash zines were more marginal and underground, we as consumers and producers of text and textual dialogue, were also marginal and underground.
Gay liberation and Queer culture have come a long way in terms of visibility and in many ways perpetrating and perpetuating homophobia is worse today because we are no longer invisible and we can't be ignored and we have shouldn't be vilified and told to "wait for change".

Things have changed and to see this kind of ignorance of the meaning of the word "Warning", the implications of putting Slash there and ignoring the fact that deciding to ignore queer persepctives on Slash and fandom in general is pandering to homophobia (at best).

I'm not asking for a safe place. I don't consider fandom a safe place nor should it be. But alienating those who want to participate and don't bother to fix a problem that is really so easy to fix, because "other people's feelings will be hurt" is disingenuous.

I may talk about this some more, later.
eumelia: (leaving)
I am still not a huge participant in Inception fandom, I comment little and read much, but I read practically everything there in my preferred characters (which honestly it's almost all of them, so I end up reading a lot).
But I lurk, it's easy to lurk and avoid the fail. Of which there is lots let me tell you, of the sexist kind, the hetero-normative kind, the constant use of Magical Healing Cock, dear god and... the racist kind.

However, there is a lot to chose from and as per usual I tend to skip stories I perceive as to be written when the characters are OOC - Out of Character - as in, do things I don' think they'd do or do things I'm particularly uncomfortable with.

Such a story exists and it is currently the topic of debate in this monster of a baby fandom.
The fic is Metaphores as mixed as you can make them by [livejournal.com profile] halflinen, which is about, according to the Author's Note summery: Eames tries to incept Arthur. A story of forgiveness, family, fancy suits, and ~feelings.
I didn't read it, because I don't think or I am uncomfortable with the idea, that Eames would ever do something like that to Arthur.
My perception of Eames doesn't fit with his characterisation in this fic and so I didn't read it.

Another thing that apparently happened in this fic is that Eames is casually racist towards Yusuf - one of the only two non-white characters in the movie - and well, readers have said so to the author.
And have expanded upon what they said to the author
There's another example of a different fic (that I liked) that has begun to be discussed, but it's somewhat different as it isn't a character being racist towards Yusuf, but more a use of the stereotype in the narrative to make a joke about something else entirely, but because it is tied to Yusuf and his Desi heritage it can be construed as an unfortunate combination in the material of the text.

Sorry, I went literature student there, be thankful I did say an "unfortunate metonymy".
There is Meta and a Point! )

And so my unpopular opinion is thus: exchanges, characterisations and textual proximities may be written in a casually racist way, but they too can be interpreted in a manner in which it actually suits the characters, narrative and don't necessarily mean that the author's ass is showing.
Critique of fic is necessary, good and should be a bigger part of fandom. The writing of issues race, gender relations, gender identity, sexuality, physical, mental and cognitive abilities is also necessary, good and should be done with more thought, rather than regurgitate the old stereotypes, however, things tend to be interpreted differently depending on one's standpoint and that also needs to be taken into account.

Now, after all that, I'm going to read some fic.

Edited to Add: I just found an older post of mine that discusses this topic (during the terrible incident of the Haiti SPN story) and I have found that I've contradicted myself in this manner.
So I'll add that I think there's a difference between writing a story framed in a manner that serves as nothing more than a convenient background for the written fandom at hand and thus appropriates and disenfranchises other characters (and the people reading) which are marginalised (holocaut fail comes to mind) and an incident of characterisation and narrative in a particular story.

Again, the line is fine and this isn't a pass/fail thing, none of the criticisms I linked above do that, but is can easily turn into one and that's my fear when critiques begin to deconstruct fics in this manner - not because the critics are being over sensitive or because I'm "all about the art", but because I sometimes feel there is no space left for ambiguity.
eumelia: (dogma snape)
Will wonders never cease.

No, this isn't the Eames of Inception meta I've been threatening, alas, that will probably be on hold until I have my own copy of the movie so that I can analyse every scene he's in - because dude, it's all about the clothes, mannerisms and his turn of phrase and... yeah.

Any way, ever since I saw Inception I've been going over other movies I've missed due to having awful Hollywood taste and skipping a bunch of indie flicks that had Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page in them.

The films I'll be mentioning are: "500 Days of Summer", "Mysterious Skin", "Shadowboxer", "Smart People", "Whip It", "RockNRolla" and "Bronson".
This post may contain spoilers regarding some characters, but I'll be doing my best to keep plot out of it.

Don't say I didn't tell you!

In which I go on about Joseph Gordon-Levitt )

By the way, Joseph Gordon-Levitt covers songs by women and listening to him singing "Express Yourself", "Bad Romance" and "Natural Woman" is just fucking grand.
The man is scarily talented.

Watching all those movies made me appreciate him a whole lot more - There's barely an audience here for Indie Cinema and the Cinemateques are not very close by to me and I generally miss screenings and had no idea these movies even existed until I see a mainstream movie, go to IMDB and find out that whoa! These people are prolific!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome y'all!

Ellen Page is lovely. She really is. Obviously I'd seen Juno, because everyone had seen Juno and I saw her as Kitty Pride in the third X-Men movie and she was very sweet there as well.
I've yet to see Hard Candy and yes, I know, it's a huge cavern in my film viewing arsenal, but I saw other movies instead!
Now Ellen Page! )

Tom Hardy is a curious case. As it happens, except Bronson (which I will get to), I'd actually seen most of the feature films he'd been in! (he's acted in a few British mini-series and drama shows, which I've yet to see). Like Layer Cake - I've seen that a few times, because of Daniel Craig and Burn Gorman! And there he is on IMDB, Mr. Eames!
Not to mention Star Trek: Nemesis, which really, let's not mention it.

And Rock N Rolla the underrated (and also not as good as previous) Ritchie film. The first Guy Ritchie film (correct me if I'm wrong) with a canon gay character! Tom Hardy, I knew thee before I knew of thee! )

Getting back to Rock N Rolla for a mo'.
When I saw it all those many moons ago I expected to go online and find a whole slew of fanfiction! A canon gay character! A canon gay character with a crush! A canon gay character in the same 'verse as Jason Statham! (*wink-wink nudge-nudge*)
And 'lo, there was none. Or more to the point, barely any.
What with Tom Hardy's sudden popularity, the movie is getting rewatched and there were at least ten new fics I've found since I'd seen Inception back in August.

I find that interesting. I'm not really all that sure what to make of it. Especially considering that Eames, as a character, most definitely put ambiguous vibes sexuality and gender wise, there's nothing in the actual text to suggest that he's queer in any way - he's just got excellent chemistry with everyone.

Handsome Bob (Ritchie, you love your Statham*, don't you?) played by Tom Hardy is very much not ambiguous, seeing as he comes out to the audience and protagonist early on and would appear to have been out to everyone else since before the events of the movie!

I'm wondering if it's because of this lack of ambiguity and the very real reaction that came from the character to whom Handsome Bob came out that there were barely any takers. I have a few fic ideas, but it takes me forever to write and I'm not very prolific, so don't expect anything from any time soon.
The more I think about, it really could be the fact that there was a reaction to the fact that here's a masculine bloke who likes the romantic and erotic company of other blokes, and the other blokes in the movie make it clear that being gay isn't as good as being straight in various and sundry ways - most of them are ambiguous in their malice, as in, clearly the actions were homophobic but it's unclear how much of it came from actual hatred of gay men and how much of it a part of macho gangster life.

That kind of ambiguity is rare. So often, you see a polarised split in reaction, not to mention the gay characters themselves are usually so stereotyped it's hard to watch... but in this film, the performances felt... friendly... a dangerously awkward moment in which I feared there would be yet-another-dead-queer-on-screen... but ended up being sweet and touching, throughout the film.

I think the fact that there was this reaction existed on screen, jostled the slash goggles a bit.

Your own thoughts on this?

Footnotes
* In case you weren't aware, Jason Statham played a character named "Handsome Rob" in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, where he plays a fast driving British lady's man. Handsome Bob, is also the driver for the East End gang he's a member of - he's also referred to as a "lady killer" at a certain point... only, he's a gay man. Yeah.
Back to Text
eumelia: (leaving)
If I read one more Inception fic in which the author gives Eames the first name "Jack" I may be forced to say something. And a vein in my head may burst.
Depends.

Dudes! If your first name is "Jack", you do not go by your last name.

Seriously, it's that simple!

Petty reader is petty.

And there really is hardly any love for Ariadne... *sigh*
eumelia: (bollocks)
Via a comment on a different journal, I read that the mod of the My Chemical Romance Bandom com on LJ wrote a response to what has been going down with the aforementioned AU H/C Bingo fic, in which a depiction of the Holocaust, the camps and the treatment of gays during that time was used as a backdrop for angst of two US soldiers.

Yeah, I read the story.

It makes me fingers itch. I want to grab a red pen and mark and correct and fucking rip that story inside out until something resembling "adequate" comes out of it.

The mod, has this to say:
The story was properly disclaimed, and with plenty of warnings with regards to the themes it dealt with, therefore any comment that is not related to any possible literary criticism, should have been left alone.
I chose not to read it at first, because I am uncomfortable with the themes dealt with, and that could have been the choice of all of those people who thought, at first glance, that they were going to find it offensive.
I am not going to ban this type of stories, because I still believe in freedom of speech and because I believe that if we ban stories that refer to that particular chapter in history, we need to ban stories about incest, about BDSM, torture, rape, and in one case necrophilia.

We write FICTION.

WE WRITE FICTIONAL STORIES.


These stories are not historically accurate, these stories ARE NOT just written for sexual gratification.

These stories express part of who we are, what we feel, what lives inside our heads and our hearts.

I hope you will agree that RESPECT for your feelings as readers, should find a corresponding level of RESPECT for the writers.
Emphasis mine
In the words of George Carlin: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.
You know what I did there?
I executed my right to "free speech", are you offended?
Maybe.
You know what you have a right to do now?
TELL ME ABOUT IT! AT LENGTH! HOW I OFFENDED YOU WITH MY WORDS!
Yeah, really.

I find it utterly, utterly despicable that criticism of offensive material is considered more offensive than the actual subject discussed.

I hate getting personal about it, but it has to be done, because honestly, it's the only way to get it through people's heads.

I am a Queer Jewish Person.

Depictions of gays and Jewish people during the Holocaust matter to me, on a personal level. You know why? Because whole branches of my family tree were eradicated! An entire Queer European Culture was erased!
After the camps were liberated, gay men were sent to other prisons because homosexuality was still illegal regardless of Nazi legislation!
Yes.
Seriously.

Just to put that into perspective for you.

The story in question depicted horrors which happened. That is not the problem, the fact that it was used in a cavalier manner, disregarded the actual lives that lived through it, didn't bother to check the facts of what went on in concentration camps, the fact that American soldiers were sent to POW camps and of course putting the picture of the Gates to Auschwitz in order to illustrate the story.

Yes, these stories are fictional, that doesn't make them "untrue", that doesn't mean that the you can use the material available to you without considering who it affects and what it might mean if you use it. If you wanted to explore the themes and torture committed by the Nazi regime onto gays, you might want to find out what actually happened to these men, who they were, why they were persecuted and where they were sent to.
Let me give you a hint, none of them were captured POW experimented upon, mainly because non-Soviet Ally POW's were treated with the Geneva convention in mind.
Just, FYI.

Fiction does not mean "free for all". You do not write in a vacuum. You cannot say "Don't like, don't read", that's like saying "Shut up, your problems are meaningless".
Fiction, all art, is a dialogue.
You want to dialogue with history via fanfiction, by all means. That doesn't mean you, dear author, are immune from criticism when you are writing a story that depicts a period of time with gross inaccuracy and decides that any and all critical reaction to said story is illegitimate because it was "just a story".

Nothing, is "just a story".

We do not live in a vacuum, what you write will be reacted to, fiction is not a vehicle of self-expression, being accused of bad writing and bad taste is not a personal attack, it is a challenge to one's preconceived notions of what good story telling can and should be.
Good story telling does not continue the dehumanisation of people that happened during that period of time, it does not use Arbeit Macht Frei as a code for free speech (it doesn't mean what you think it means!) and saying that people should "be nice to each other" is silencing and derailing and basically tells those of us who are affected by the depictions of our history to suck it up!

When I see a story that treats a subject matter that is close to my heart for historical, personal and identity related reasons treated with utter DISRESPECT I will call on it. I will say that this author does not care, does not think about and is not informed about the subject zie is writing for "just a story", for "self-expression", for the sake of "fiction".

To conclude, if you're going to use free speech as a silencing mechanism for critical reaction of a piece of fiction that depicts controversial material... you're using it wrong.
eumelia: (exterminate!)
Things always hit you harder when they are closer to home.
Always.

I had a race fail a few days ago, in which I basically preached to a woman of Japanese descent why the casting of Avatar: The Last Air Bender was racist.
I was called on it.
And I apologised and I was told it wasn't a problem.

Still, the shame continues to linger, because my privilege fogged the way I viewed this person and the way I discussed the issue with this person.

However, you live and learn right.

Well, no.

If history teaches us anything is that we would rather forget, or even not know and you basically need a very strong lobbying group in order for things to be remembered.

The past month or so has seen so much fail in fandom, the Race!Fail, the Trans!Fail, The Abelism, I'm quite sure there were more fail I'd forgotten and seriously, even though I commented only briefly I was outraged and saddened by all of these incidences. People can (and have) asked me why do I put so much energy into issues that don't have much to do with me (yeah, I know), I mean... why get so worked up on something that doesn't directly affect me.

Well, for one, despite the fact that I'm not in the disenfranchised group of non-white people, trans people and disabled people, these issues affect me mainly because the fact that those groups are disenfranchised I can safely go about my day not thinking about it.

But you know why I really take the time to give a damn and cracks my heart wide open? Beyond it being the right thing to do and being in an ethically sound position.

I want to be safe.

I want my body and mind to flourish, and the body I currently inhabit may have a lot of privileges associated with it, but its history is also bloody, by virtue of it being cis female, queer and Jewish.

My Jewish body is very weird thing. On the one hand it is Israeli Jewish, meaning it is the default body of superiority where I live, on the other, it comes from generations of bloodshed, exile, pogroms and genocide.

The history of this genocide, like most genocides oddly enough, is well documented. The violence was recorded, photographed, duplicated and triplicates by well meaning bureaucrats who kept the train tracks clear.

The genocide of my people even has a special name, The Holocaust1, and like all historical events which linger in the collective memory of a people, a nation, a community, we tend to treat it with a deference of some kind. Even as I make Holocaust jokes, and sing "Springtime For Hitler" and make cracks about Germany blitzing its way though the Mundial and yeah, I'm waiting for Germany to serve up Spain's ass in the upcoming Semi-Final...

Still.

The Holocaust is an event that continues to shape my life and inform me of who I am, as a Jewish person in Israel and Palestine, as a queer person and as a feminist woman.

It does not, however, as a historical event, exist to be a backdrop to an AU Fanfic about American Soldiers and their love affair. What? The Battle of the Bulge was too tame?!

Yes, someone wrote a story, which has since been locked, but luckly there exists a Screencap (H/T to [personal profile] allchildren). I have not read it. I do not intend to.
I did read the Author's notes though; the warnings read thus:
Beating, abuse, non main character death, scientific experimentation, starvation, physical and emotional damage
Oh and the added disclaimer (after "nasty comments" began to appear) the gist of which is that this piece of work is NOT meant to be historically accurate. Accompanied to this Author's Note is a picture of the gates of Auschwitz, you all know the one, the one that was stolen and returned and reads Arbeit Macht Frei - "Work Makes One Free".
The... writer... of this AU fic stated that they added the picture, not for itself, but for the slogan, the meaning of the words upon the gate.

I've said it before. I'll say it again. I will probably say it for the rest of my life.

Context matters. Context, much like money, makes the world go around. That slogan cannot be removed from the gates it is attached to. Those words do not mean what you think they mean. The work they are talking about is not craft and the liberation they symbolise is not freedom.

A story, does not need to prettify history in order to make palatable for the readers. On the contrary, history should be shown in its grittiest form, it should be shown to be true and it should be portrayed with verisimilitude.

So, when you use a historical backdrop, in which you, dear author, feel the need to excuse yourself that by writing this you are no different from anyone who writes about rape, incest and domestic abuse, then you do not understand what fetishisation means.
You do not understand what treating subjects (people and events) with respect means.
You do not understand what this writing about history means.

You do not understand what context means and beyond that making you a disrespectful, blinkered and privileged fool, it also makes you, no matter your style, no matter how well written the characters are, a really really bad writer.

Personally. I blame Hollywood. And you know, bad education, entitlement and plain good ole' dehumnasation and antisemitism.

Also. No. Just. No.

This Nice Jewish Grrl needs to lie down now as she can't believe fandom sucks so hard right now.

ETA - 09/07/10: The story that is screen capped above is "1945" by [livejournal.com profile] slashxyouxup and is now unlocked. I'm not holding my breath though.

Footnotes
1) Even though we were not the only targeted people. The Roma people and other Gypsy groups were targeted and experimented in the same manner, homosexual men were castrated and murdered and many others. Still though, when you've got an entire country (Poland) set up to be an extermination station, while special Commando forces, Einsatzgruppen, are sweeping though Europe targeting Jewish Communities, you're going to feel that this is the Pogrom to end all Pogroms... in a way... it did...
Back.
eumelia: (bollocks)
I hate to break it to you, but some opinions are more valid than others.

This is tangentially related to the current RaceFail swooping through fandom and once again it seems that people are misunderstanding what it means "to be silenced" or "walking on egg-shells to keep from offending".

Two years ago, I wrote a post for [livejournal.com profile] ibarw which I titled What Is this Symmetry You Speak Of?, in which I discuss the phenomena of silencing the discussion of Race in my locale - which is Israel/Palestine.

Not much has changed, if you saw my previous post (LJ/DW) there is a great amount of fear and hate generated towards opinions that are critical of the status quo.

[ETA]It's important to reiterate that privilege enables you to ignore criticism. What I see being ignored in the discussion is that what is being criticised and brought to attention isn't the right to voice them, but the fact that this is abuse of privilege and bias.

It took me a long time to realise that I had racist bias, surprise! I do my best to be concious of it, usually I fail. Which I guess is unavoidable, but still, it bothers me, it niggles at me, it tells me "do better".

One of the ways of doing better when discussing race is realising the asymmetrical position I have (as a white Jewish woman) in the power structure of the discussion and of life in general. That means that despite the fact that I'm offended by the notion that someone called me on my racism, the hurt I caused by saying or doing something racist is that much more damaging.

Yes, damaging. Not hurtful, not offensive, but actually damaging.

The asymmetry, the imbalance of power between the parties is important because it informs me who has been historically silenced and damaged by the disparity of voices, material resources and media presence. All these are hugely important because without this information you can say, in perpetuating stereotypes, that you're just writing a story, that it doesn't mean anything and that you are simply expressing all sorts of things that stories, media and other tales do.

Because one boy's adventure across the Mississippi, can be another man's continuous verbal assault.
Just as an example to how differently one can read the same story, the same street.

Currently there is a big brouhaha in my locale regarding ethnic segregation in a religious community in a Settlement (i.e. a town situated in the West Bank) called Immanuel, in which a school segregated students according to their ethnic background which informs one's religiosity - the Ashkenazi (European) Jewish people in that town said that the Sephardi (North African) Jewish people weren't religious enough and so the Ashkenazi girls shouldn't be exposed to ideas belonging to the Sephardi girls.

You know what's being spoken about in the News? Whether the Ashkenazi Mothers are in contempt of court or not.

Yeah.

Back to the point. When someone reproduces thoughtless stereotypes regarding people who have been colonised, racialised, segregated and pretty much been beaten up by history like "The Magical Negro" or "Wise Indigenous Woman" - what you are doing is adding to the damaging media representation of people who have been, historically, been shown to be less-than-human.

When you are called on it, the correct response is not "I'm just telling a story" or "You are just looking to be offended".
Stories do not exist in a vacuum and not everyone sees what I see.

Trust me, no one is looking for things to be hurt about.
Honestly, it's just there, all the freakin' time and one gets fucking sick of it.
One of the benefits of fan fiction, specifically, is that you can rectify the damage done by the that book/movie/television show we love, but woe it fails.

Being critical is not personal, it is a standpoint, one that is needed, because feeling that those loud minorities are offending you, because you said/wrote/did something that disregarded that asymmetry of their and your position in life is imperative - especially if we are looking to be better story tellers.

In short, if you feel that you (I and others) are writing something that may offend people; ask yourself, who are you offending and why?

Personally, have no qualms offending people who find my existence and the existence of my friends to be distasteful. I have no qualms saying to people who think that Arabs should stay in their own spaces that that is akin to saying Jews should be placed in a ghetto - offensive? You betcha', worse that saying that Arabs and Jews shouldn't mix? Hardly.

One opinion is considered status quo, the other is not.

I'm not saying not to write certain stories. I do not believe there is a story that shouldn't be told, the question you should ask isn't "Should this story be written?", but "How well written can this story be?"
eumelia: (Default)
Today was full of events and NSFW language!

First my Deleuze & Guattari Seminar prof came into class in the most hideous shirt I've ever seen! Good god, man, why?! Dark forest green with orange leaves, weird grey "blue print" sketches splotched all over.
It was hilarious. I was so distracted. I'm so happy he's compelling in his own right and I could focus on his voice while I stared either at my notepad or the whiteboard.

Then I hung out with friend in which we spoke about eugenics, which always makes me uncomfortable, not just because the subject is disgusting in its own right, but because I have strong associations to Mengele when speaking about race-based genetic research - Josef Mengele is my Boogyman.
Then we stalked other profs we like.
Yes, we're those students.

The highlight was seeing and hearing Michael Cunningham speak about writing. He read us the first chapter of his new book and it has a het sex scene in it. Which was kinda hawt seeing as it was basically a description of a man going down on a woman. I always enjoy hearing the word "clit" in public. He spoke about the female sex organ being either medicalised ("Vagina", blech) or, ya know, just demeaning (if you're not into reclaiming "cunt" or "pussy"), which was great too.

I like Cunningham's work, The Hours is an amazing book and got me looking at Virginia Woolf in a different way and appreciate her even more. I told him so and I even got a bit emotional, it's not every day you meet an author you appreciate and had an affect on your life.

I didn't expect him to be such a large man, then I again, I always imagine myself as much bigger (sometimes I feel like I've got a Hulk wanting to rip out of my skin... but that's when I'm angry... usually I'm simply a huge uber-nerd-geek fangrrl monster).

Last but not least, I had a Sign Language lesson today and got the gumption to ask my instructor how you say "gay" and "lesbian" (she didn't even know what "bisexual" was, so I gave up on "queer") and friend... I knew ISL would be sexist language, after all Hebrew and Arabic are very gendered, but I seriously didn't expect the Signs to be so unabashedly homophobic.

Gah, when she showed me the sign for "gay" I wrinkled my face, for "lesbian" I just burst out laughing... it's so rude! How would you make that Sign in public?!
Any way, I've decided that once I'm a bit more proficient and speak to some Queer Deaf people that there be changes done to those words.
And find out what the words, should they exist, for "bisexual", "queer", "transgender" and other pertinent words for the community.
eumelia: (Default)
Yes more on the Slash Debate. Yes, more.

I'm rapping my fingers at the screen here, getting irritated by the reiteration, upon reiteration that I'm seeing.

I've read the latest metafandom and linkspam and once again, I'm seeing cluelessness, carelessness, privilege and more identity erasure.

Stop it. Just, stop.
Cut for length, seriously )
eumelia: (Default)
I'm hoping this doesn't get me flamed or that I lose friends from my f-list. *sigh*.

A little anecdote if you please.

My BFF and I are very intimate with each other. We hug, we snuggle with each other. Our body differences make it easy for me to lie on top of hir without me being too heavy and hir softness make it extremely comfy for me to cuddle.

We are completely platonic. Zie's married and monogamous, we've known each other since we were in Elementary school (we're both in our twenties now) and a few years ago we sported a shaved head together.

Yes people thought we were a couple and we both acknowledge the fact that if we were on teevee we'd probably be Slashed (we'd make awesome characters, btw). Well, it helps that we're "canonically" queer I suppose.

Slash, as I've often said, is an interpretation of the text.

The whole debate regarding slash and m/m is coming off as a huge turf war. It really isn't who has the right to write what because honestly, people will and should write what they want.
The policing of identities (straight women writing gay men), while erasing identities (queer women, straight men) is irritating.

I haven't read every single post on [livejournal.com profile] metafandom and [community profile] linkspam because, dude, there are many.
Quite likely mine will get lost in the shuffle; after all I'm just another reader with an opinion.

A few issues rise from this debate;
#1 That these women misrepresent men, because they're in fact writing women (albeit with the men's bodies).
#2 That these women are appropriating an identity that isn't theirs by writing slash and pro m/m and don't take into account the history of that identity.
#3 That these gay men are policing women's expression of sexuality by demanding that they stop fetishising them.

I'd like to tackle these points one by one, I hope I manage: Click to expand )

There is no clear answer. Ignoring that there is hurt doesn't do any good. Ignoring the fact that this hurt is going in all directions is not good either.
The notion that m/m stories (gay or not, slash or not) are being marketed as a "women's genre" is what's problematic and identity erasing – so let's stop jumping on the fact that "straight" "women" are writing "gay" "men".

People and our quaint little categories.
eumelia: (Default)
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eumelia: (Default)
Arachne Jericho wrote a series of blog posts titled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction (Broken into one, two, three and four parts).

It is a really good series. Trauma and the dealing with it can be a deal breaker for me when it comes to fiction.
I happen to have PTSD.
It's not something I talk about often because I'm in a good place in my life.
The latter part of 2006 and the majority of 2007 sucked, sucked, sucked. Most of 2008 was okay and improved as I realised what I needed to do in order to be able to function. I was in therapy from April 2007 'til January 2009.
That's a year and eight months.
I was never on any medication.
In 2006 and 2007 I had a few panic attacks, I've had one full blown flashback once in my entire life - I hope I never ever have one again, but really that's not up to me.

Briefly, for those who were not reading me during 2007 and/or 2008 and joined after Jan 2009, I participated in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, the war changed me - I think for the better - and also left a scratch in my brain.
I've been told that I shouldn't make myself out to be a victim, that other soldiers during the war, those who were on the front line and actually fought and didn't just watch the fighting on a big screen and count the rockets as they fell (which is what I did).

Perspective is great. It doesn't lessen my own pain. Making fun of myself and calling myself a whiny self-pitying ass does, though!
My therapist at some point said I use self-deprecation as a way to deflect.

Jericho gives an excellent over-view of what PTSD is and what it isn't and the way it is depicted in fiction - I think there's a unanimous agreement that The West Wing Christmas episode Noel is the best ever on television.

PTSD is a subtle disorder for many, including me. One friend nagged me gently to get help, because she could see that I wasn't "myself".
For a while I was unable to watch the News on teevee for fear that they would show aerial footage from a war plane - those images are still triggers for me and I can get very tense and, ha, stressed. Most war movies have become no-no's, but not good ole' Action films (I'm so glad I didn't lost James Bond).

It took me a while to want to get help, because damn it I'm not weak! Not to mention, in my mind you can't get PTSD by watching a television screen and seeing things blow up! I see that in movies all the time!
Except I was hearing the crackling voices of people telling me co-ordinates of rockets that were being fired from Lebanon.
Trees became targets.
A man who fired one those rockets died on July 26th 2006, it was a Wednesday, he was blown to smithereens.
I saw it happen.
People clapped for a job well done.
That night I broke down and the paradigm of my conciousness was altered - for the better and also with a few hiccups.

PTSD doesn't happen to people who sit in HQ. It also only happen to War Poets, to people who are really hurt.

I was told I take things too hard. That I'm too sensitive. That I need "to get over it". Well, I did... that's why I have PTSD and a good year, instead of... something else entirely.

Go read that series of posts and know that PTSD is hard to write, is often not named (I'm not sure it needs to be, every time or all the time) and I'll think about why I love the characters I love and identify with more than I did before the war.
eumelia: (Default)
...as I write this.

I'm not ashamed.

I decided to watch it, so that I could pin-point my hate of this franchise. Yes, I went into it knowing that I'd hate it.
Twihards, I know Good Vs Bad is hard to resist. I also know that reading about a girl who could be you (because you can transplant your personality onto her) being with a handsome boy who isn't all about the sex (though it really is) is compelling.

But let's get one thing straight; abusive relationships are not romantic. Thinking your boyfriend is a predator is not sexy. Stalking is a crime.

Also, my god she could be replaced by a blow-up doll and it have the same effect on plot, narrative and her personality.

That's great female role-modelling you've got there.

WTF! Sparkles?!

*sigh* I'm disappointed in literature sometimes, and thus the human race.

Related to this, I've taken to reading [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets. It's very fascinating, what anonymity enables us to say and do. Most of what's written there is quite common and a large amount of the secrets repeat each other in variations.
By reading F!S I can also tell which Fandom is bigger than others.

Today, this secret appeared:
Hating Fiction ).
You can read the comments here.

I'm not planning on commenting.
Mainly because I find the "secret" a fascinating one. To me it reads as someone who possibly enjoys reading fiction that they are ashamed of.
Fiction and possibly fanfiction because it is de facto unedited by an outside reader and usually Beta readers (the editors of the Fanfic world) encourage the writers to go beyond what they consider their limits - you can read that often when authors thank their Beta readers.
The all encompassing offence of this "secret" is just incredible.

The way I see it, fiction gives us the ability to discuss all the "offensive exploitation and glorification of real issues" - humanity is not really good with dealing with things head on. We do truly horrible things to each other.

The monsters of fiction (Vampires and Werewolves and Zombies... whatever) are yet to have been verified by science - but we all know those people who suck the life out of us, those people who can be the sweetest people one second and then without warning can make you cry from the violent cruelty they impose and who hasn't met those people who just wander through life without passion and want nothing but to take the passion out of others.

Most of life's bad things are not actually spoken about. We do not talk about torture or how sexual it is. We do not speak about the fact that rape is a crime against humanity and that it is committed against 1 in 4 women, 1 in 10 men, 1 in 6 children of any gender - usually by someone they knew.
That incest is far more common than we want to imagine.
Fiction is able to present us with a disturbing, yet palpable picture of the world.

The "secret" is obviously accusatory, but I think it's more inward than anything else. The person who wrote the "secret" most likely has read a bunch of fiction that "offensive" and "glorified violence", enjoyed it and was ashamed of pursuing the stories that were gritty, disturbing, kinky and fantastic (= fantasy, not "amazing").

I say, if we can't discuss, talk, explore and live fictional lives how can we do the same for non-fictional lives - in which we hide, repress, suppress and oppress so much more?

As I finish writing this, the credits of Twilight are rolling. A more boring movie I can't remember seeing. Disturbing gender, race and class relations abound.
This is fiction that many find meaning in. It is bad, it glorifies behaviour that in our world can get you killed, relationships that can wreak emotional havoc and personalities I hope one day get help to sustain healthier lives.

If we can't say that on a world found in books, how will we ever be able to say it about the world that exists at the end of our nose?
eumelia: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] rm I discovered the comm [livejournal.com profile] kinkfreezone and friends... for a fanfic comm that allows high ratings on the fics and includes Slash, Het and Gen; I have never in my whole on-line life seen a more sex-negative fic community.

Wanting to have a community and specific requirements on fic is fine, fun and dandy. Honestly, it is. Wanting to exclude certain criteria that you and others would rather not read, very fine, your prerogative.
That's not the issue.

The issue is with language and the so-called binary of Vanilla and Kink.

For a more lighthearted, yet not, commentary on the list of kinks NOT permitted you can read thingswithwings' entry here. The comments are hilarious.

But oh, where to start... hmm, possibly from the most offensive one: So as not to eat your f-list )

Voice fetishization (cracking or broken; husky, low, throaty; purring; accents; whispering close to someone's ear).
Fucking hell! Involuntary reaction is not a kink. No, really. This is possibly the most absurd (not offensive, I've listed things I found particularly offensive) criterion on this list.

That whole list needs a serious language editor, a workshop in sex-positivism and just a little shake-up when it comes to Vanilla/Kink binary - here's a secret... it's NOT!).

Enjoy mocking the whole thing.

Edited to Add: Amazing what going to bed will do.
My comment in now deleted, as are all the other critical comments made on the post - I restrained myself a lot and wanted to be respectful, I may have failed a tad.
Here's my comment for keeps:
This list has extremely problematic and prejudicial language.
Perhaps if you edited it, it would read differently, but as it stands, this is offensive to a whole slew of people who you included as a kink.
Some of these aren't even kinks but literary tropes!
Trope=/=Kink, please learn the difference.

Also, including involuntary bodily reactions? Please, get a clue - also the inclusion of "accents", "uncircumcised penises", "homosocial environmental", "nautical themes", "exoticism" and a big portion of "gender themes" just to name a few is downright, and here are heavy words, racist, xenophobic and over-all queerphobic in general.

Fetishising Vanilla is also a kink, you know.
As I said, get a clue.

I understand and respect the want of specific kind of fic, but that toes a line that isn't just about criteria... this is exclusionary in the extreme.


Here is the Mod's reply:
WOW am I getting sick of repeating myself. Had you actually READ the damn post you would see RIGHT AT THE TOP!!! that it is, in fact, a list of KINKS, TROPES AND CLICHES from fandom!

You can go GET A CLUE sweetheart and get the fuck out of my community.

For serious.
The post itself has been updated, because you know, instead of trying to make the comm a little more inclusive - let's just be all the more offensive and delete the things I dun like!
How dare people get offended and say something about it! Sheesh!
eumelia: (Default)
Comic books came to me at a time in which I was searching for belief.

Between the ages of 13 to 15 I was going through a Wiccan/Pagan phase, sad but true, I lived the stereotype. I even have a paper diary in which I wrote down my teenage angst and rage at not being able to be polytheist, not realising I didn't actually believe in any god - because the gods are stories to me.

Mythology, the stories of why we are, who we are; that was what attracted me to the Bible stories, the cosmology of Life after Death in ancient Egypt and incestuous love affairs of ancient Greece.

I can't remember what motivated me to explore religions outside Judaism (I loved the myths before I understood that god was supposed to be more than just a character in a book), possibly because I found and still find, going to shul incredibly boring.
The liturgy can be lovely, but I can't stand the thought of being there just because of (cue the Fiddler) Tradition.

At around that time I was reading Terry Pratchett and found that the philosophy he espouses in Pyramids and Small Gods sat very well with me and my apathetic-yet-literary pursuits.
I also found Good Omens and wasn't that a delight for me, receiving validation in my dislike of religion and being critical of belief at the time1.
I had no clue who Neil Gaiman was.
I found out.
Enter the Sandman.
It took me four years to collect all ten volumes, as a teen my funds were lacking, of course, so I begged for early birthday presents, loaned money from my brother, just to get my hands on the next Sandman books.
When I realised that Sandman operated in the same world (though a different plain) as DC comics - I began to read Batman again.
Batman, whose villains are so much like himself... he even "dates" them - costume fetish? You bet!

I can now see, looking back and thinking critically upon that very apathetic time of my life, that my need for religion, the search for something bigger than myself - was the search for stories that were bigger than my life... and there ain't nothing bigger than the Endless, the Justice League, the X-Men, V and even the all too fallible Watchmen - post-humanism... oh yes. Now that's transcendent.

I remember reading Season of Mists at 18 and feeling as though my ideas regarding all the gods, faith and world order, laid out in front of me... in vivid colour2.

I read "Concerning Mammoths, and Falling Walls" again (the third chapter in Brief Lives) not long after the second Lebanon War and the line Death (our friend, our constant companion in Life) says to the very long-lived man who asks "...I did okay, didn't I?" concerning how long he lived, she says:
"You got a lifetime. No more. No less."

That sentence has been resonating in me for the past three years. It comforts me when I think of my mortality, because we live as long as we do.
And that's it.

Having recently read Gaiman's rendition on the "death of Batman" in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" that line echoed in my mind.
It echoes all the time.

Though slash fiction were my main source of understanding "alternative" sexuality and the fact that I, myself, was not straight, comics empowered me in being outwardly weird - I like the colours... in comics even black is bright.
The dynamics of gender in comics are far more complex that what people think - sure, it's busty women in skin tight (or barely there) costumes and it's muscled men in skin tight (there are bulges) costumes.
You can learn so much about what is idealised and why by reading these people who still hark from that time of pulp-fiction and illicit magazines.

I'm writing this whole spiel because Blognewsarama (my main comic oriented news site) plugged this website:

The A-Z LGBT Comic Book Character Superlist
, which is freakin' awesome! This website Queersupe appears to be that much more extensive, in-depth and analytical.

Works for me! Go and explore.

And just to keep with the theme of this somewhat sombre entry; comic books (along with my search for faith through religion) enabled me to doubt, ask questions about the veracity of the stories we tell ourselves (all are real of course) and the ideals upon which they are supported... helped me learn about myself and the stories that make my world the way it is.

Footnotes
(1) I'd just like y'all to know that it took me a long time to come to the conclusion that agnosto-atheism was the best place for me, I really wanted to have some kind of faith that was bigger than me. But my identification with being Jewish is too strong, though historical, cultural and ethnic - religion is a composite in that, and despite being a complete heretic... I cannot remove it from me entirely.
Back to text.

(2)For a long time Bast and Anubis were my closest companions in my dreams and I even bought two little figurines of them... they sit along with the other statuettes in my room, that I collected over the years. I once used them in a ceremony with a bunch of friends - I was still trying to be of belief, faith and religion, but inwardly I was already gone. A hypocritical portion of my life, without a doubt.
Back to text.
eumelia: (Default)
In my previous post regarding the Lammy Awards I was very fuzzy on where I stood regarding the fact that non-queer authors were now disqualified from submitting their work for the award.

The way I roll, I think stories should be honoured first and foremost. Just this evening I was talking to my older sister and she was telling her kids how their dad was seeing the same Moon in India right now (because that's where he is) and it slipped out of my mouth "Because all times are now and all places are here. And that's why even fictional people are real" h/t [livejournal.com profile] rm.
My sister agreed with me whole heartedly and it began a whole discussion with my seven year old nephew about the veracity of Vampires and Werewolves.

My concern, first and foremost, is the policing of identity. We live in such fluid times, it causes problems.
I know I prefer to my Lesbian Friends and Sisters when it comes to political identification and queer social gatherings... I'm also wary of the fact that if I ever date a man (cis man specifically, whether he is queer or not), that I will be viewed as though I'm betraying some kind of identity promise.

That's a Queer concern.

So are the Lammy Awards.

When I first read about the Lammy Awards change, the people who were raising alarms and concerns were people who are openly queer.
Later on, as I read more on the issue I encountered the voices of straight authors who write same-sex romance, specifically m/m. Professional Slash authors, as they've been dubbed and like most Slash authors they are Straight.
Straight Cis authors who write LGBTQ characters, I thank you for writing awesome people with which we can fall in love, identify with and celebrate.
That doesn't mean you get to say that by taking Orientation into account you are being oppressed.
You are not, because you have straight and cis privilege.
By bringing up the fact that you're a member of another oppressed community you're derailing and playing the Oppression Olympics.

Stop it, just... no. Your entitlement and privilege blindness is showing by demanding to be recognised in an Award that is about celebrating our lives and stories. You happen to write people who could live our lives, and that's great, I love reading and knowing stories like that, that still doesn't entitle you to come into our space and trample all over what we (or the Lambda Literary Foundation, rather) built so that our status and visibility could be elevated.

I'll not be writing any more about this, but I wanted to get my piece out there. I wanted to say, this is a queer concern, about queer visibility, queer identity and queer story telling. As such, it's not about straight cis people.

The end, ces't tout.

Now I have to decide whether I'm going to write about Rape Culture, or about the fact that my Identity is flaunted as propaganda in order to deflect criticism over the human rights violations my country commits on a daily basis.

Any takers?

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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