fialleril: [Something there is that doesn't love a wall] (Sleipnir's mothers)
Browsing through a used book store this afternoon, I decided to take a look at some older books on Norse mythology for the lulz, and came across a real gem.

(It came from this book, in fact, in its original printing.)

In the course of a retelling of the story about the building of Asgard's wall, the author informed his readers that the giant building the wall was doing so with the help of a mare, and that, in order to distract the mare, Loki turned himself into a stallion, and that the other horse gave birth to Loki's son Sleipnir.

Because Loki can be a horse, sure, no big, but GOD FORBID Loki should be a woman, or (horrors!) give birth. We have got to protect Loki's precious masculinity, am I right?

It's funny because I feel like Padraic Colum is going out of his way to "protect" Loki from the accusation of being unmanly, which is basically the Aesir's favorite accusation against Loki in the mythology. 'Cause there's no worse insult than being called female.

Ha ha ha ha fuck you.
fialleril: [all the movies should be about mothers and daughters] (Brave)
So I saw Brave for the second time yesterday, and it is still the greatest. I won't really spoil it here, for those who haven't seen it, but I will say this (at risk of being called a fandom heretic):

I've enjoyed some Pixar movies before, but I've usually found them predictable and, while enjoyable despite that, not nearly up to the hype they usually get. Brave is the first Pixar movie I have ever really liked, as in liked enough to purchase and watch again and again and show to all of my friends. It's just a gorgeous story, not only visually rich but also incredibly nuanced plotwise. It's a coming of age story that makes sense to me, that treats all of its major players with respect and care and depth.

I am darkly amused by the fact that the only Pixar movie I've ever found truly innovative and deeply moving is the same movie that most Hollywood critics are saying isn't up to Pixar's usual standards. Darkly amused, but not surprised. It's not up to snuff because it's about mothers and daughters instead of fathers and sons, because ladies and their relationships with each other are just not universal stories, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Personally, I think all the stories should be about mothers and daughters. ALL OF THEM. All the Pixar stories, too. Give me more movies like Brave, and I might actually start to understand what all the Pixar hype is about.
fialleril: [someday perhaps I will write that AU about warrior!Sif and fosteredJotunPrince!Loki] (Sif/Loki)
Hello internet, I'm back! Another long absence, but not as long, at least? I am trying! And now that it's summer, I should have some actual time and energy to dedicate to this journal, which I am looking forward to.

In any case, [ profile] vampirynka asked me if I had seen The Avengers, and if so, what are my thoughts on it and specifically on Loki? And a couple people on Facebook have indicated an interest, as well.

Yes, I have (alas!) seen Avengers. Twice, actually, due to a series of ridiculous circumstances which I will not get into here. As a movie it...wasn't bad, I guess. (LOL, a ringing endorsement to be sure!) As a follow up to Thor, it was bloody awful.

I am not going to do anything like a traditional review. Instead, I will give you a list of things that could have been done differently, resulting in a superior movie. Because I am feeling snarky and contentious. (The list is by no means exhaustive, and I'm only talking changes to the film that leave the basic plot intact. A complete plot overhaul might be the best option, but I shan't attempt that here.)

Cut for spoilers. Trigger warnings for discussion of self-hate, othering, dismissive joking about adoption - all things the movie probably should have warned for too. )
fialleril: [Spock disapproves of your poor life choices] (what is this even)
Spotted on a fic summary today:

In a previous fic I got John and Sarah married. This made quite a few people very upset. So to make you all happy I've killed her.


Am suddenly very tempted to write that fic where I get Sarah and John married. AND DON'T KILL HER FOR IT.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Holmes and Watson)
Over the weekend I went and visited [ profile] veriond at her new digs in Springfield, MO. She has a pretty nice place there, though still in the setting up process.

Anyway, the point of this post is: while in Springfield, we watched the BBC's new Sherlock miniseries.

I think I'm probably the last person on my f-list to have seen this, but just in case I'm not, here is a cut for spoilers!

This is the cut in question! )

So! The overall outcome of my consideration of these things has been to make me realize that the DESIRE OF MY HEART is to see a genderbent Sherlock Holmes. To the extent that I have even started casting it in my head! I know that I would love to see Freema Agyeman as Holmes. (I'm calling her Sheila. Yes, [ profile] kittyjimjams, SHEILA. I will not be swayed! Although Sorcha is, I confess, also a good choice.) I think Genevieve O'Reilly would make a pretty good Watson. Further ideas, f-list?
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (lioness)
This past weekend, I was able to go on the Ignatian Spirituality Project's last overnight retreat for homeless women in Chicago before the end of my JV year. I know I don't talk much about my JV experience on this journal, so here's a bit of a refresher:

This year, I'm working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a volunteer agency that gives volunteers the opportunity to live in community and simplicity while being placed at a variety of social justice organizations. In my case, I'm working with the Ignatian Spirituality Project, an incredible program that offers free overnight and one day retreats to men and women who are homeless and in recovery from addictions. I work specifically with the women's retreat program in Chicago, as the co-coordinator for the women's volunteer team and as the main logistics person who organizes all of the retreats. And I get to go on the retreats themselves every so often. They're always incredibly powerful, intense experiences: twelve to fourteen women from four or five different homeless shelters around Chicago gather together to share their stories with each other and find hope and strength through building a sense of community with one another. It sounds so incredibly simple when I describe it, and yet it's genuinely life-changing.

This weekend was even more intense than any of the other retreats I've been on, though.

cut for possible triggers, plus bonus Clone Wars/George Lucas rant )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Ashla)
Yes, that's right folks. I finally found a non-shrink wrapped copy of The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in Barnes & Noble and got to flip through it. And you know what that means. Misery loves company, and I am going to share my disappointment with you all.

The concept art itself is great, as usual for Star Wars. In fact, as is also typical for Star Wars, the concept art is better than the finished product. It's depressing, in a way, to look at all those great ideas and think about what might have been.

Here's what might have been: Dave Filoni's original idea for the show would have followed Ashla, a teenage Togruta padawan, and her Twi'lek Jedi master, a pair who were assigned as undercover agents on a smuggling ship, infiltrating the criminal underground. The rest of the ship's crew would have been composed of a human male smuggler (who looks much like Han Solo in the concepts), his girlfriend (seemingly of an unknown alien species), and their Gungan navigator. Obi-Wan, Anakin, Mace, etc, were slatted to have occasional cameos, but the focus of the show would have been on the smuggling crew and their two Jedi members.

What happened, you ask? Simple. Dave brought his ideas to George. And George decided that this should be a show mainly about Obi-Wan and Anakin and the battles of the Clone Wars. He did like Ashla enough to keep her around, though, so she became Ahsoka, Anakin's padawan. However, he thought her wardrobe wasn't skimpy enough, and personally insisted on the tube top costume.

Having read all of this baldly spelled out in a book that purported to be in praise of George's vision for the show, I feel I may owe Dave Filoni an apology. I've been blaming all of the epic fail in Clone Wars on him, when really, it seems, the guy to blame is George.

And, ugh, how much would I give to be able to watch Dave's original show idea? A LOT, I TELL YOU. There is almost nothing not potentially awesome about it. Smugglers? Check. Kickass Twi'lek Jedi dudes and their female Togruta padawans running around being secret agents? Check. GUNGAN SPACE PIRATES? CHECK. I mean damn.

I suppose now I will go watch the show that, unfortunately, we are stuck with instead. Expect my commentary to be even more snarky than usual?
fialleril: [and I would have gotten away with it, too, if not for that pesky droid] (don't give a damn)
This is another Clone Wars snark/review post. Also, my powers of prediction remain depressingly accurate. You have been warned.

spoilers for Senate Murders under here )
fialleril: [somebody's gotta save our skins] (voice of reason)

Kansas lawmaker compares rape to auto theft.

Kansas lawmakers are currently considering a law that would bar insurance providers from covering elective abortions — unless a woman pays extra for a special plan. The problem with such coverage, however, is that it forces women to “plan for a completely unexpected event.” The bill “wouldn’t apply to abortions performed to save the life of a woman, or to pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.” However, in the latter case, women would first be forced to file a police report:

The bill would require a police report to be filed if the woman wants an abortion to be covered by her insurance under the incest or rape exemptions. [...]

“You’d have to have a report that someone stole your car,” said Rep. Steve Brunk, a Bel Aire Republican. “This is kind of the same thing.”

Attack of the Mandos

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 06:15 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (team fail)
Oh noes! It's another Clone Wars snark fest!

And only two days after the episode went up online. What's going on here, Fia?

Spoiler: I'm bored.

here there be spoilers for Duchess of Mandalore )
fialleril: [y'all don't know 'bout my flawless logic] (T'Pring)
Or, the promised Halloween pics plus a good bit of unexpected and unwanted drama on the side. Things which have forced me to add "overidentifying with Vulcans" to my LJ interest list in an effort to bring something at least kind of amusing out of the situation.

But first the good things. We had a Halloween potluck at our JV house on Friday, to which none of the people we were required to invite actually came. This was, in fact, not a bad thing, since we didn't know any of those people, anyway. And some folks Amy knew from work and an awesome lady named Adriane who is a friend of one of our support people did come. (It turns out Adriane is a hairdresser and is going to cut our hair for free tonight, so!) Also our other support person, Mary Ellen, and one of her friends. Good times were had. We held a costume contest and gave away some truly awful, glow-in-the-dark pictures of Jesus as prizes. (They were donated to us, but they had to go. It was for the best.)

Under this cut there are pictures! And incoherent asexual rage! )
fialleril: [no weapon is easier to get or control than children] (Ahsoka)
Or, yes, I watched the Clone Wars episode "Children of the Force." The moment my muse returns, I'm sure there will be plenty of Nervous Conditions drabbles.

One of my favorite things about this show is how the villains are so often right, even when the show's creators clearly mean for them to be wrong. Slick may be the most obvious example of this, and you all know my thoughts on him.

In this episode, surprisingly, it was Cad Bane.

This was a little annoying to me, because I don't really like Cad Bane as a character; he reads too much like a Gary Stu to me, and I find his name cheesy even by Star Wars standards. Still, in this episode he had some interesting things to say.

More thoughts under here... )
fialleril: [somebody's gotta save our skins] (voice of reason)
I should have known better than to pick up a book called Single State of the Union, especially with that cover. But I was optimistic as always, and I thought that possibly this was relevant to my interests. So.

Some of it really wasn't that bad. The introduction made some good points about media treatment of single women as either washed up old maids living unfulfilled lives or sex-crazed man stealers waiting to suck your wallet dry. And it was nice to see a book of essays by single women saying that yes, shockingly, we can be happy and fulfilled without "a relationship."

But honestly, in a book with over twenty essays about the experiences of single women, was it really impossible to include even one asexual perspective? And even if for some strange reason (or not so strange: read heteronormativity) it was impossible, was it really necessary for practically every essay to begin with some variation on "I'm not a frigid asexual, but..."?

I understand that part of the feminist project has been to reclaim sexuality - so often associated with the female - as a good. And yes, I'm actually very sympathetic to that goal. But reclaiming sex as a good without also challenging the basic equation woman = sexuality is not really going to change much. It also puts those of us who identify as asexual in the position of "problem" not only for the patriarchy, which has seen us as "unnatural" and in need of mental help for centuries, but also for (many) feminists, who in their efforts to reclaim sex as a good seem positively terrified of acknowledging the existence of asexuals, presumably on the grounds that to acknowledge them would negate the good of sexuality.

I reject this false dichotomy entirely, and I'm glad to say that there are many, many other feminists and womanists who do as well. Unfortunately, there's still a lot who don't, and probably a lot who have never even considered the possibility that someone might be asexual.

I want to give this book the benefit of the doubt and say that it falls into the latter category, but there are enough references to "oh those frigid asexuals, destroying the media's view of single women" that I can't quite convince myself of that.

So to the authors of those essays, here's a little note. You'll probably never read this, of course, but I feel it needs to be said. This asexual, who's quite happy with her single life and really isn't frigid at all, would like to point out that your privilege is showing.
fialleril: [somebody's gotta save our skins] (voice of reason)
The interwebz came through at last, so now I'm watching the new episode of The Clone and Droid Variety Hour!

And...did the opening crawl really just say that wisdom could be easily gained? Really? Even if you're not blinded by yourself, I was pretty sure that the whole point of wisdom is that it's not easy to get. Heh.

And this is why we love the opening moral of the story crawl!

Under the cut: Amazingly awesome clones! Snarky droids! Gorgeous Kaminoans! And maybe the occasional Jedi...

under here )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
What follows is a midrash I wrote on retreat this past weekend. It's a story told from the point of view of Hagar, one of my favorite characters from the Hebrew Bible. Because the history of interpretation of Hagar's story has been deeply fraught throughout the centuries, and not least in the American context, I feel that it needs a bit of introduction before I post the midrash itself.

In the biblical story, Hagar is an Egyptian slave woman owned by Sarah, the wife of Abraham. When Sarah finds herself unable to conceive a child, she "gives" Hagar to her husband, and he sleeps with her and impregnates her. Hagar's son is Ishmael, considered the forefather of Islam. Sarah herself is later able to have a child through a miracle. This son is Isaac, the favored son according to Hebrew scripture, considered the forefather of Judaism.

Even a very cursory glance reveals a number of layers to this story, layers that are deepened by centuries of interpretation by three different faiths (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, which all have different takes on the story and its meaning), and further deepened by the stories used to defend certain practices.

Hagar is an African woman and a slave. In the American context, the passages about her, and especially the interpretation of the Sarah and Hagar story by Paul in Galatians 4.21-31, have been used to justify the institution of slavery and to justify racism both against blacks and against Arabs and Muslims (seen to be Ishmael's descendants, and thus the descendants of the "slave woman"). This is by no means a thing of the past. Furthermore, violence against women is a very real undercurrent in the Hagar, Sarah, and Abraham story: Hagar herself is used as a sexual object to give another woman a child, and even Sarah is considered worthless as a woman unless she is able to have a child.

All of these things should be kept in mind when interpreting the story of Hagar, because it has so often been used as a tool of violence and oppression in the past, and is still being used that way today.

And now, after that incredibly long introduction, I have one other important note, this one particular to my midrash.

I chose to write this midrash from Hagar's point of view, and I chose to write her as an asexual woman. Women have for most of recorded history been treated more as sexual objects than as human beings, and as an asexual myself, I feel a special affinity for my sisters in the past who have been defined solely in sexual terms (as Hagar is in her story), and used as sexual objects, even though sexual desire was not a part of their identity as they perceived themselves. But no one ever asked how they saw themselves. So this midrash is the cry of a woman who has been enslaved and defined as something that is not part of her own identity.

Finally, I should add that this is a work in progress, so any suggestions are welcome!

and here at last is the actual midrash )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Fema Baab)
A little late for International Blog Against Racism Week, unfortunately...

As many of you know I don't really follow the EU (although I used to, but that's another story), but I lurk enough around the fandom and on Wookieepedia to notice a few things. And lately, something's been bothering me. Namely, the EU treatment of movie!canon characters of color.

There aren't many people of color in the Star Wars universe to begin with (and that's another meta entirely!). But I've started to notice a pattern in how the EU treats them.

Please note: for this meta, I will be dealing specifically with non-Jedi canon Star Wars characters of color. Perhaps some day I'll write a different meta about the Jedi...

continued beneath the cut, with picspam! )

EDITED to add Sei Taria.
EDITED again to add Queens Jamillia and Apailana, handmaiden Rabé, and Senator Bana Breemu.

P.S. Feel free to remind me of any other non-Jedi movie!canon characters I may have overlooked! And emphasis on the non-Jedi and movie canon characters. I stated at the beginning that this meta was about EU treatment of characters from the movies who are not Jedi, but after reading the comments, apparently a lot of people missed that memo...
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (wisdom & strength)
After my previous post, I felt that this essay by Jennifer Kesler desperately needed to be disseminated more widely around the interwebs. So I'm doing my small part.

The Bechdel test is as follows. In order to pass a movie must meet these three criteria:

1) there are at least two named female characters, who

2) talk to each other about

3) something other than a man.

Why does this happen so rarely? Here's why.
fialleril: [somebody's gotta save our skins] (voice of reason)
I haven't actually seen The Clone Wars yet (though I have seen a pretty extensive clip at Disney World), but I've been looking at some pics, and I felt that this must be observed. Using TV Tropes, naturally.

Obi-Wan and Anakin both apparently realized that it was foolish to charge into battle without at least some body armor. So they outfitted themselves with clone armor over their regular Jedi outfits. Outfits which, I might add, actually covered their entire bodies to begin with. (Actually, Anakin appears to have taken a side trip into the future in order to steal his own armor, but I digress.)

So of course it’s only natural that Ahsoka goes into battle in...a tube top? But that makes perfect sense. Everyone knows that women don't need armor, anyway. At least, they don't need their armor to actually be functional.

fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Fema Baab)
Because there are a number of things I didn't discuss, and in retrospect I think it's important to mention one in particular and say something about why I didn't discuss it.

read more )
fialleril: [somebody's gotta save our skins] (voice of reason)
I tried to think of a clever title for this post. I really did. But all of them just ended up disturbing me further, so I decided to keep it simple.

Honestly, the phrase "pet peeve" is far too mild a term for how I feel about rape fics. And my anger about the treatment of this issue is certainly not limited to fandom. But I figured I had to define the limits of this post somewhere, so I'll mostly be concentrating on fic. Nevertheless, you can expect quite a bit of discussion about social values and attitudes towards rape, and possibly some commentary on the rape culture we live in.

cut for length and possibly sensitive material )

October 2012

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