nemonclature: Rush looking to the side (look side)
Bouncing off this thread here - I completely agree with the content of the post itself - the main characters not being anti-heroes, but just being morally complex protagonists. That counts for Stan as well as Philip and Elizabeth but also a lot of the supporting cast as well. I wanted to talk abut what was raised in the comment thread, however, regarding the way the two organisations have been portrayed.

Trigger warning for rape.

So first, yes IRL the counterpart to the KGB would probably be the CIA, but we are watching a tv show, it's a step to the side of reality, and within the world of the show it's quite clear the two opposing govt. bodies are the KGB and the FBI. They're the two the show focuses on, they're the two our leads respectively work for, they're the ones we are meant to set against each other.

It's difficult/impossible to distance the organisations' orders from the character's actions. So there is that, but broadly speaking I think we get a more negative vibe off the KGB's actions - I'm not saying the FBI comes off smelling of roses. I'm not saying it's more positive than the KGB, I'm saying it's a case of worse and worst.


The FBI blackmail Nina directly - with the threat of extradition/trial/execution if they abandon her to the KGB vs Philip and Elizabeth blackmail the cleaner - by threatening her child with death. Both are bad, but the KGB sanctioned actions come off worse. (Try flipping it. The FBI catch the Jennings, can you seem them threatening to poison and kill their children?)

Stan kidnaps/tortures/shoots Vlad vs Philip stabs/kidnaps/tortures Amador. It's a horrible, messy situation and (I would argue) they are both tortured: one physically, one mentally. (But, flip it. Can you see the FBI and Stan leaving Vlad to bleed out on the table whilst pumping him for answers?)

KGB orders the rape of (female?) recruits as part of their training*. Through the inaction of the trainer, who turns away, and the rapists' comment about the other recruits: it's clearly something that, if not directly, is certainly tacitly sanctioned by higher ups. (There is no FBI equivalent here, so lets just flip it. FBI orders imaginary female operative to be raped. I can't imagine that at all.)

* -- Is this even a real thing that happened? Or was it introduced because all tough women must have rape as back-story? Authorial decisions aside, it definitely makes the KGB come off badly.

KGB assassinates a civilian (Rob's wife) and kidnaps/extradites their child. Now, I can imagine the FBI doing something like this - if the Jennings get found out, this will basically be their fate. But the lying to the wife: the implication Cuba was an option, and then taking the bloodier road, that elicits a different reaction in the audience to just doing the action straight. Lying when leading characters to their death is definitely a calculated writerly-choice, engineered to make the viewer sympathise more with the victims ... but has the knock on effect of turning the viewer against the KGB. (And if we flip it - I can see the FBI executing the Jennings, I can't see them lying about it.)

KGB assassinates their own agent (Udacha). Now assassinations of other people happens on both sides, for example, the CIA assassinated Zhukov, which we hated them for because we like Zhukov, cue revenge story etc etc. BUT I couldn't think of an example where the FBI has assassinated their own people. (Flip it - say they find out about Martha, can you see them having her assassinated?)

KGB contracts an assassin, then changes its mind, then it can't get hold of the assassin it hired, and then it fails to stop one of the bombs from gong of, which kills FBI agents in the blast. Which all just looks like a massive clusterfuck vs the S1 finale and the FBI clusterfuck where Elizabeth got shot. (Flip it, can you see the FBI leaving a massive trail of destruction in their wake? Or are they more organised, more efficient, more caring of human lives/collateral damage?)

KGB tortures its own operatives (the Jennings) and threatens their children when trying to find the mole. OTOH, when the cleaner comes forward about the clock... the FBI do nothing? Reassure her? She keeps her job? (Flip it: would the FBI beat the shit out of Stan if he were a mole? What about Martha, who actually is a mole - albeit an accidental one, but would the KGB let that sway them do you think?)

So, even setting aside the inexcusable (rape), while a lot of the KGB's actions seem to be excusable considering the situation, when I flip them, I realise I can't see the FBI doing them. Which means I'm holding them to different standards, by which I mean I expect worse of the KGB than I do of the FBI, which means the show has succeeded in vilifying the KGB for me.

And I don't think it's intentional, I think it's almost entirely because they want greater sympathy with the victims, whether that's Elizabeth during the rape, or the assassination targets. But greater sympathy for victims results in greater dislike for aggressors. And we don't see the Jennings as the aggressors, because we see how conflicted they are about what they're doing, so the blame is shifted up a level to the KGB itself.

Conversely Stan's actions (wrt Vlad) come from him alone (and was retroactively sanctioned). So we blame him, but also excuse him (Amador guilt) and so the blame doesn't go up a level, but stops there.

The only thing I can think of that we can explicitly blame the higher ups for, is the stringing along of Nina. But since we know that she is actually stringing Stan along, the sting has been pulled from that action.

Ultimately, IRL a lot of the US' atrocities happened abroad, whether that's direct action or support of military regimes. Which means we're probably not going to see it, or at most we'll get off-screen 'the CIA did a bunch of stuff' which distances it again because it's the CIA not FBI and they're totally completely utterly different things, guys. Take the Afghanistan example: They brush by the fact that the US was pumping guns into the proto-Taliban, by having Philip, our KGB operative, kill a bunch of people.

ETA: I just got reminded of this - one thing we do know is that the CIA was infiltrating various civil rights groups IRL. But in-show, we get Stan who's been undercover among white supremacists - Imagine if Amador had been instrumental in locking up members of a black civil rights group instead.

So yeah. Let me know your thoughts. I recognise that this is somewhat subjective. But I do still think that there is a general trend towards: the FBI doing bad things, the KGB doing worse things.
nemonclature: Raylan pointing a gun at the camera, text: bang bang (Raylan gun)
Ultimately I was spoiled for the main thing I knew I'd hate. The other things I disliked were mostly ignorable and though they take up space here, in terms of how many watching minutes were devoted to them? They were outnumbered by the fun, positive elements. I just find it easier to talk about and take apart the things that I didn't like than the things I did. I'M SORRY GUYS. THE GLASS IS HALF EMPTY. Overall, like, watch it? For sure. Have fun. But the thing you know you'll hate. Yeah. You gonna hate.

The good, the bad and the ugly. Spoilers under the cut )
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (Default)
Watched Waitress again. Loved it, so entirely women's pov, women's stories. Tough issues with a light and slightly surreal touch. Only nitpick is spoilers )

I've been listening to Just A Minute recently, and I was thinking about comedians and how doing a show like that is mostly about being quick-witted. It's all banter, you know? Hearing something, saying something sharp or funny or sarcastic without really having any time to think about it.

And then I started thinking about the Avengers Theatre AU and the Loki problem. I mean, flyting is basically a war of banter and 'your mum' jokes. Only with slightly more entrails and torture.

So, Loki the comedian. A comedian hired to be the villain in the panto, so we still get the villain thing.

I'm actually going to have to write this now aren't I?

I'm Glad You Came by shadowhisper


GAH. I didn't even. That wasn't supposed to happen. Now I'm going to have to start watching it properly.


mostly recs, a couple of anti-recs and some thoughts on race fail and remakes )
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (stormcloud)
I'm enjoying reading requires hate, who reviews books and blogs about racism, sexism and homohobia in the SF world. But sort of tangentially to that -- I like that there are loads of blogs out there that talk about racism, lots of different types of racism, sometimes religionism, (or should I just say Islamaphobia?) which unsurprisingly, is relevant to my interests (oh intersectionality).

But really, I wish more mixed-race kids would speak up. I'd love to read people's thoughts about passing or 'how ethnic is ethnic?' What it's like to be called white by one person then brown by another (or not brown enough, or not white enough). And obviously I'd rather a British perspective, because, relevant. I get the feeling the experiences, of say, a Black American who can pass in the US is not going to be the same as mine.

Also there's the Islamic curveball - being a Muslim is a much stronger cultural identity than my Pakistani blood, so again it's a different, invisible sort of divide or passing or whatever. Plus there are all those wonderful English class issues and scholarship girl envy issues.

There's just things, lots of things, self-confidence things, and 'can I be part of this discussion?' things, and 'who's culture am I appropriating here?' things, and just. Straddling the line, (lots of lines... hello bisexuality) is a tough place to be.

So. Um I'd like to commiserate? With other line straddlers? Or something. I guess I could try and fashion a coherent post, but since it's mostly formless thoughts and worries, I think the post would be more brain-splurge, than well articulated argument.

Does anyone know of any blogs that hit the subject on the nose?
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (Default)
I wasn't lying when I made those last straw posts. I've finally had enough. That's not to say I'm dropping my white men fandoms. I'm not. I love them, I'm not going to deny that. But I've reached the point where I just can't stand to continue as I have been, complaining and still doing nothing.

So here is my first step on the path to hypocrisy-free media consumption and critique. For every white men centric source I consume (tv/film/vid I watch, book/fanfic I read etc) I'm going to consume two things about women or POC, a corresponding source if I can, but if not, fic for film or book for vid or any permutation is fine, as long as it's two for every one.

It's not exactly arduous! More media to enjoy!

The same rule however, is going for fanworks. I've got my Wolf!Stiles fic to post soon, and after that I'll create two female/POC centric fics/fan works. (Oh, and a twofer only counts as one.) They don't have to be equivalent size, it's more about opening my mind to the possibilities, it's not like I don't have fics about women and POC rattling around in my skull, but instead of rattling and back burnering, I'm pushing them to the front.

Plus I can work on original fic as well, (in fact that should probably take priority, um). So my work won't always appear up here, but when it's fandom related it definitely will.

The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner. )

Takers (spoilers) )

I fail at memes )

Aliens, and TMI )

nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (Default)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Dominic Cooper, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Whishaw, Rupert Friend, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hardy ...

pic heavy )
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (Default)
Tom Hiddleston talking about Archipelago to The Herald (Scotland)

“It’s about an inarticulate middle-class family,” he explains. “The truth is that actually here are these people who are quite closely related but they’re not very connected – and that’s both cringe-making and hilarious, in a way.”

Do we really need another of those stories? )


Nov. 15th, 2011 12:12 am
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (tada)
"It could just as easily have been you." (Teen Wolf)

According to a recap I read, the Alpha says this to Stiles. Which made me want an AU. Instead of doing the sensible thing and finding a kink_meme on which to prompt it. I STARTED WRITING IT. So first I got hold of the show and now I'm watching and writing. I quite enpoy doing it parallel like that with these kind of AUs -- staying very close to canon until divergence is necessary. But if I really stay close to canon, as in, scene by scene, it's gonna take bloody forever to write. So I'm going to have to diverge sooner rather than later. I have some ideas plotwise, but since I haven't actually watched any further than I've written (Which would be halfway into ep one... >_<) I don't really know if it's going to make sense within canon parameters. IDK, I could go entirely off track, but that means more work, and GDI I HAVE OTHER STUFF TO WRITE. Where did this even come from? I wasn't going to watch this damn show.

There should be more threesomes on TV (How I Met Your Mother). This clip ends too early, they cut the bit where they then all fall onto the sofa together. (NB: This is from the blooper reel, don't get those hopes up.)

A sexual minority speaks out and Response. -- It's not subtle, the response even less so. But it's funny and painful all the same.

Spanish TV part 2 )

Anyone interested in joining a con-crit comm? )

nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (eh)


Could be fun. With caveat:

I feel like I need a tag for films where women only exist as 'the mum' or 'the girlfriend'. Female characters free standing and important in their own right? PFF NO. THE WIMMINZ only matter if they are defined by their relation to THE MENZ.

[world of girlfriends] maybe?
/made it.

The entire set up is one where there cannot be equality. It's not a matter of, 'the female characters don't do shit' it's a matter of, 'these characters are not the same as these other characters' -- The standards, the set up, the parameters, the everything, it's an entirely different scale we're marking them against.

It's like having a film about these people and some pets, whose defining characteristic is being owned by these people. You don't say, OH the dog had a big role or OH the dog had a great character, because it's a fucking dog, it's not a person, it doesn't work that way.

That's what these, [world of girlfriends] films do to women. It's not that the characters fall short, it's that they don't even get the chance to try. They're not in the fucking race. The makers/writers make a choice to rate male narratives above female, it's intrisnically sexist. No matter what happens in the film, there is no way for it to be equal.

It doesn't feel pointed, in that you don't get the icky, Christopher-Nolan-oh-god-stop-fridging-your-women, feeling. You just get that more insidious, I-have-been-erased-from-this-picture, feeling.


My week with Marilyn
IDK if I'll watch it, but Eddie Redmayne sure is pretty, (even if his lips freak me out a bit). Can we have more of these CHEEKBONES English boys please? Or just cast him and Hiddleston in everything ever, I'd settle for that.

The Iron Lady
Right, because there's such a lack of old white ENGLISH actresses. Not that I'll be watching it anyway, because fuck Maggie. But still it's the spirit of the thing. (Though from the trailer at least the accent sounds fine, so there is that I suppose).

I live!

Mar. 22nd, 2011 10:48 pm
nemonclature: Blade tied to a chair, looking up at camera (look up)
My computer died. Is still dead in fact. And then I proceeded to kill A's as well. I'm just waiting for this one to die next. IT'S NOT MY FAULT. I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. I just have some anti-tech forcefield, or something >_<.

So. This is why the sudden silence. Also all my files and documents are stuck on the dead computer. Which has put a spanner in both fandom and revision works. To be fair, more of an excuse on the revision front than an actual obstruction, but shhhhh.

On the procrastination front, have done a good deal of baking since getting home.

I am lost without a computer. SRSLY. Without lj I have no one to talk at. (as a result, this post is epic long, guys). I couldn't read fanfic, or check my flist properly or ANYTHING. These couple of days have been hellish.

... I am sort of worried for myself. Clearly, yes, I have a problem. Internet addiction is very real. I should probably get some twelve step book or something.

Or, you know. Some self-control.

"Transition" by Iain Banks (I am not impress) )


Die Hard 4 (needs Nikita crossover) )


What should happen in Justified (OT3, yes I am predictable) )
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (mmm tv)
Apple Tree, Khameleon808 (Glitch mob fan tribute)
- 15 minute fan tribute to Glitch mob, using 4 of their tracks and footage from dozens of recent movie trailers
"It is not intended to tell a story. I didn't edit it that way. I wanted to relate sound to motion. So each and every cut you see was picked for a reason."

From a technical standpoint it's wonderful, the editing is superb and professional, the vid itself must have been a massive undertaking. Some of those clip choice to music decisions - the breaking glass, the spatter of gunfire on the sand, they are seriously amazing - Really it deserves a technical review all on it's own. But doing both technical and thematic at the same time seemed too big a mission, so I've focused only on themes for the purpose of this review.

nemo attempts vidding meta )
nemonclature: Daria looking unamused (um)
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."
"So which am I in this scenario? The horse, or the beggar?"
"... You know you're the wish."


In Violation of Copyright (Inception)

Oh wow, so we're talking stealing ideas extracting from a fanfic writer... iiiinteresting.


On collaring and slave!kink )

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