afadingoctober asked: Interesting fact about Captain America! He was created during WWII by two Jewish kids, *specifically* for the purpose of being a blonde-haired blue-eyed 'Übermensch" Aryan ideal.... who punches Hitler in the face. Knowing that, he's a bit more than just the male power fantasy. They were sending a very specific message to a very specific audience. Re: A middle finger to the Nazis.
Good to know, though I can’t say it’s surprising. Captain America was in the interesting position of being propaganda in the real world and in the comics themselves.
But it’s an even more explicit power fantasy, in that case: creators burning their “bully” (hell of an understatement) in effigy, making a fake man who outclasses Hitler in every aspect (he’s even a better artist, though that trait might have been added on later). Times a hundred, because they’re taking weakling everyman Steve and using a little pseudoscience to turn him into a brick shithouse of muscle and power, so it’s got the “this could be you” dimension that Superman and Batman lack and Marvel is so good at.
It’s why Harry Potter gets to us on such a deep level - who read those books without wondering, at age eleven, where their letter was? It’s also why X-Men is so popular - anyone could be a mutant, even you. The call of an unknown, unexpected destiny is a brilliant device in fiction, to lift ordinary characters into extraordinary circumstances. Bless Princess Diaries and other media (mostly of the 20th/21st century) for giving that narrative to girls, too.
Anyway, there’s nothing inherently wrong with power fantasies. The problem lies in people criticizing female power fantasies as “unrealistic” and then unironically enjoying, say, the Superman comics. Because an alien crashing to Earth, being adopted by blue-collar Midwesterners, and then growing up to fly around and shoot lasers from his eyes while somehow managing to keep his powers a secret despite the fact that the closest thing he has to a “disguise” is the glasses he wears as Clark Kent…
Yeah, totally realistic, I absolutely see the difference.
The most important thing I learned, though, was that there is no such thing as “standard English” with a capital E. Instead there are many “englishes” with a lower case E. There is the english of the Caribbean and the english of the southern United States and the english of Oxbridge and the english rappers use in their music. Traditionally we’re taught that one of these is better than the rest, but in this class I learned that that’s an arbitrary distinction and not necessarily the case.
Why? Well, there are two schools of thought when it comes to how we should use language. One is “prescriptive” and it’s backed by grammar snobs and the kind of people who froth at the mouth over the decline of “the King’s English”. The other is “descriptive” and it’s more about accepting that how people use language is how language works. A prescriptivist believes in the idea of standard English and sees mistakes everywhere. A descriptivist sees many englishes, and none of them are standard.
[…] We’re all fluent in more than one english, for example the language of our peer group and the language of our parents’ generation. And then there are the two factors that have possibly the biggest impact on how we use language: education and socioeconomic status. When you judge people for what you consider to be poor grammar, you’re judging them for not being as good as you at something that might be a challenge because they didn’t have the advantages or experience you did. Maybe they haven’t had the luxury of worrying about their grammar. Maybe their use of language is right in line with their community. Maybe you’re just being a pedantic, prescriptivist jerk.
Why I Stopped Being a Grammar Snob — I.M.H.O. — Medium (via wildletters)
Pretty much this is why I quit correcting people for spoken English and stick to copy-editing written stuff. Because that is standardized, in that different publications have style guides and so forth (though many American ones just follow AP or Chicago style because it simplifies things).
I fully confess to pedantry, but since that’s how I plan to make a living (copy editing), I also don’t feel bad about it. Unless an error is particularly egregious or repeated, I don’t generally offer uninvited corrections (some exceptions apply, of course: I am still a pedant).
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Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.
So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with…
Really interesting stuff.
I wrote my first fanfic of any real length at the age of ten, with - you guessed it - a blatant self-insert/wish-fulfillment character.
Eventually I decided not to write original main-characters into fanfictions at all, because to be honest there’s no way of doing it without creating this sock puppet character (generally a love interest). Also because I lost interest in heterosexual romance in general, so suddenly the all-male casts of movies like Newsies had plenty of love interests to go around.
I read fanfiction because I know the characters already - if a main character is not canon, then that right there almost defeats the purpose of reading fanfic. Genderbends are different, though I’m still not partial to m/f romances (for the same reason I don’t like “perfect” characters - they’re boring).
I also never much liked Superman because he’s what I’d consider a Gary Stu - pinnacle of (in)human perfection, chiseled body and heart of gold, whatever, only flaw is a fictional material. Lame. Batman is an improvement, but not much of one, because his superpower is basically having enough money to pay someone to be his tech geek. Blaaaah. At least Tony Stark makes his own shit and isn’t annoyingly ~perfect~ and too serious and traumatized by his issues to even crack a joke (at himself or otherwise). Spoiler alert: I almost always pick Marvel over DC because Marvel actually makes three-dimensional characters most of the time, while DC makes 3D characters only by accident and usually erases their interesting bits as soon as they notice.
I’m not really big on Captain America (my least favorite of the current Avengers line-up; even Thor’s storyline is more interesting and it’s suffered from terrible screenwriters), either, because like Superman he’s a blatant male power fantasy: nerdy little “nice guy” busts a six pack and grows half a foot and all the ladies suddenly love him. Snore. His main advantage over Superman is that he doesn’t have x-ray vision or shoot lasers from his eyes/have…ice breath? What the fuck is even up with Superman’s powers, seriously?
So - I agree that stigmatizing female wish-fulfillment characters is shitty if we simultaneously worship male ones. But I contend that I don’t read fanfiction to read fan insert characters, and I don’t read male power fantasies much at all, not anymore anyway (not since I quit reading Dresden Files).
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Thor: “fist me captain america”
Tony: “thor i told u, it’s fist pump”
Rachel is feeling pedantic tonight: this is a fist bump.
Fist pumps are solo activities - you punch the air, basically, in an upwards motion.
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Women have historically critiqued and challenged their subordinate role. In 248 ce, a Vietnamese peasant woman, Trieu Thi Trinh, told her brother that: “My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I want to drive the enemy away to save our people. I will not resign myself to the usual lot of women who bow their heads and become concubines”. Women also challenged the male claim to religious authority and power. A’ishah, Muhammad’s third wife, for example, battled a Khalife in 656, and afterwards created her own religious laws. In eighth-century India, women involved in the bhakti (a popular revolt against a form of Hinduism) broke with their families, created their own spiritual writings, and demanded that men treat them as spiritual equals. European women preachers and heretics claimed direct connection with God thus creating religious and feminist impulses. Guillemine of Bohemia, a late-thirteenth-century preacher and mystic, challenged Catholic dogma, and created a women’s church that attracted aristocratic as well as ordinary women.
Barbara Winslow, Feminist Movements: Gender and Sexual Equality
The next time someone tells me that you can’t have feminism in historical settings I’m going to print out 1,000 copies of this post, bind the paper, and throw it at them.
“My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I want to drive the enemy away to save our people.” HOLY SHIT.
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The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug | cast & characters
way to ruin this nice photo set with nasty cumberbatch
I like how it’s in alphabetical order by character…exceeeeept then there’s the Master of Laketown just chillin out in the top row.
Because Stephen Fry, that’s why.
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"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken”
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