tenlittlebullets: (shieldra)
In other news, Netflix is a horrific enabler and I'm now midway through season 5 of the X-Files. We will see whether anything comes of this. Trashchat is trying to enable me into writing an Agents of SHIELD crossover that sics Mulder and Scully on a sinister government conspiracy that turns out to be Coulson's team at work. Probably far too much plot for me to ever write, but man, would it be satisfying.

(At the very least, I want a gag about Coulson enforcing a zero-tolerance no-smoking policy on the Bus. When pressed about it, he mutters something evasive about a boss he had back in the 90s and pointedly changes the subject.)
tenlittlebullets: (Default)
Okay. I'm going to try something. Since Tumblr seems to be going the way of LJ in terms of finding ever-more-pointless ways to piss off its userbase and make the site functionally unusable, I'm going to take a stab at a hybrid approach a few people have floated. The basic idea is to stop using Tumblr's semi-broken read-more feature and instead link to a full version posted on Dreamwidth--the other main benefit being that anything you'd use a cut for probably belongs somewhere with a comments section or somewhere with friends-lock controls or both. I'm going to combine that with going back through my meta tags and starting to copy old posts to Dreamwidth.

What does this mean if you're following me on Tumblr? Not much of a change, hopefully. You can still like/reblog/etc the Tumblr post with the pre-readmore intro in it. Clicking the link will take you to the full post in a slightly different layout, that's all, hopefully with a link back to the Tumblr version. (Also, if you start clicking around or backreading, bear in mind that you will probably stumble across some very old posts. This place is a mirror of a LiveJournal account I've had since I was a dweeby 15-year-old in 2003 and actively maintained until 2013.)

What does this mean if you've got me added on Dreamwidth or LJ? Fingers crossed, a small uptick in actual activity. Mostly in MCU fandom, so apologies to Les Mis or Doctor Who people who have no interest, and no hard feelings if you decide to drop this blog. The archiving of old meta posts will be backdated, so hopefully it shouldn't flood your f-list.

Tumblr version: http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/132507316276/lets-try-this-tumblrdreamwidth-thing-again
tenlittlebullets: (tl;dr)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/105932488971/the-pie-initiative-shinelikethunder-more)

More musings on writing advice:

Honestly, I think “yes, you are allowed” is something a lot of fandom needs to hear right now. We had, what, a decade of “what not to do” writing advice, starting with anti-Mary-Sue campaigns and on through sporking and fanficrants and RaceFail, and now everything is this cracked parody of social justice and ~this is problematic~ is the ultimate “what not to do.” And just look at the messages we’ve taken to heart: don’t get too big for your britches, everything has to be accurate and realistic, no one the reader is supposed to sympathize with should be within shouting distance of “problematic.” We’re writing about these larger-than-life characters whose lives are full of over-the-top, implausible events, and it’s like we’re afraid that if we handwave or take narrative shortcuts or spin crazy yarns about their adventures or don’t treat Bad Shit Happening with the expected amount of solemnity, somebody’s going to call us out for not doing our due diligence.

In fact, the one “yes, you are allowed” message we’ve taken to heart is that we’re not beholden to the original canon, which is a phenomenon I… have mixed feelings about. But the point is, that message combined with the fear of fucking up, of writing “unrealistic” or “problematic” stories about monsters and aliens and superheroes, means that mundane AUs and domestic fic are the path of least resistance. And not only is fic being pushed towards the generic, the moral pressure that drives fandom SJ makes it feel almost… risky?… to stray from the fanon status quo. Breaking the mold, instead of being a sign of creativity, increasingly feels like a sign that you’re Doing It Wrong and may in fact be a bad person. I have seen people say that they want to write about post-CA:TWS Bucky but don’t, because they don’t want to slog through dealing with the “obligatory” recovery issues. Or that they’d feel guilty, like they were committing some sort of erasure, if they wrote pre-war fic without Queer Brooklyn and The Docks a bunch of romanticized-poverty porn.

For the love of God, fandom. You are allowed to come up with whatever fictional means you feel like to undo the Winter Soldier’s fictional (and almost totally unspecified) brainwashing. He’s an amnesiac cyborg assassin hopped up on a knockoff version of the super-serum that lets Steve Rogers get flung off a freeway overpass hard enough to overturn a bus and get up with barely a scratch. He starts getting memories back whenever they leave him out of cryo long enough. If you want the serum to heal his brain damage and leave him twitchy, angry, and guilt-ridden, but more-or-less compos mentis, so that he can go face down his demons without spending months on Steve’s couch eating soup and relearning how to be a human? YOU CAN. YOU ARE ALLOWED. THAT IS A STORY YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TELL. The “it was the super-healing” handwaving already puts you about fifteen realism steps ahead of the comics, where Steve used a magic monkey’s paw ex machina to bring back Bucky’s memories with the power of his love. And then a bunch of stuff happened and Bucky wrestled a bear in a Siberian gulag, okay, and this is the level of Srs Bsns we’re starting from.

You can do whatever the fuck you want. If you want to dwell lovingly on all the interpersonal issues and mental scarring that resulted from that time aliens made them do it because they got fake married in space, go for it. But do not pull out the DSM and start checking off PTSD symptoms out of a sense of duty if what you actually want to write is banter, UST, sarcasm about absurd situations, reckless displays of loyalty, and porn where they realize the depth and true nature of their feeeeeelings about each other. Both of those things are okay things to want.

tl;dr Internal story logic > realism. Write whatever ridiculous tropey or out-there shit you want, and use exactly as much judiciously-applied realism as you need to sell the story.

See, the thing about this critique is that I thought these stories where Bucky has PTSD were written by… people with actual PTSD. Or with eating disorders. Or who have some other actual trauma or disability they can apply to Bucky’s story.

I myself both love and hate the “wounded warrior” trope because I come from a rural area where a lot of my old high school friends actually have PTSD from fighting in Iraq. I hate it, because seeing Bucky in therapy is almost too real… and I love it, because there is at the same time too much silence and fear surrounding this topic, and I can tell that people are using fic to work through these issues in a way that is without precedent in most of the popular fiction I read.

The anger doesn’t come from a place where people see writing about anything but a hyper-realistic recovery story to be bad. The anger comes from the fact that fictional stories almost never got it right in the first place. For the love of God, please write more stories about Bucky wrestling bears… but also give us this space where we can work out the issues we still have after years and years of silence and misrepresentation.

Broski, literally nobody is attacking the right of people who want to write recovery stories to do so. “Write what you want” means “write what you want,” because the stories you’re itching to tell will probably end up more compelling and meaningful than the ones where you’re just going through the motions. And I have no doubt that a lot of the driving force behind the wave of recovery fic comes from people with that itch. But it’s such a dominant fanon trope that a lot of the people along for the ride are there because “that’s just what you do” or because they’re under social pressure to include it in their post-CA:TWS fic whether trauma/recovery narratives are what grab them or not. Where does that pressure come from? Uh, mostly from stuff like the immediate assumption that reminding people they’re allowed to skip over it is an attack on recovery fic and a dismissal of the experiences of people with PTSD.
If you wanna write it, write it. If you don’t, you’re better off skipping merrily over it and digging right into what you want to write than dutifully cooking up a halfassed Wikipedia version just to cover your bases. The problem isn’t that people want to write nitty-gritty explorations of PTSD, it’s that a lot of people whose fic ideas don’t involve focusing on PTSD (or Picturesque Poverty in Queer Brooklyn, or endless kink and relationship negotiation, or whatever) feel morally obligated to shoehorn it into the story anyway.

See, okay, I find all this interesting—I mean, I agree, one hundred and ten percent that fanfiction should be fanfiction, and that internal story logic trumps realism and all that—because I actually DO feel like those of us who WANT to write that recovery trope but who ARE NOT going to get out the DSM and go get our masters in clinical psych for our piece of fanfiction often do kind of get thrown to the wolves. Like, right after I posted one of my Bucky recovery fics, which I wrote because holy shit, I love recovery fics, I came across this tumblr post about how, if you had Bucky going to therapy, you were doing it wrong, and why. I can’t even tell you how terrified I am one day that I’ll write a rape recovery fic, since I legit love that story focus as well, and someone will rage at me about healing-cock. And the thing is, it’s not that I think cock heals a damn thing, okay? But I really do believe that if healing cock is your bag? You should get to write it without being shamed about it. Idk. I mean, do I think there are limits and things that shouldn’t be written? Yeah, I guess I do, because there’s been like, Holocaust glorification fic where I instinctively flinched with my entire SOUL. And yes, in the privacy of my heart, I judged that writer. But at the same time, I can’t be a hard core First Amendment believer, and believe that you know, Nazis should be able to march on Skokie, and not think that writer A shouldn’t get to write her Holocaust-kink porn just because it legit makes me want to be sick.

I guess, in the end, I’m just saying, I get that there are important social issues, and we should be kind to each other, so kind. But I think kindness also involves not shaming other people’s kinks. I.e., I like torturing people in my fic. I do NOT like torturing people irl. Consequently, I’m not going to assume that someone who writes something like healing cock actually thinks it works like that irl. I mean, maybe they do, and that’s a DIFFERENT discussion. But if it’s just their kink? They should be allowed to wallow in it as much as they want.
Nod nod nod. And the thing is, yes, a lot of the prescriptivist “what not to do” writing advice does come from tropes that ended up annoying a lot of people because they were so overdone and so cringe-worthy in their most hackneyed, badly-written forms. I’m the first to admit that I have a mile-long list of fic pet peeves. But the thing about those tropes is, most of them became overdone because there was something deeply appealing about them in the first place. If you start stressing yourself out about whether your fic contains the faintest whiff of healing cock, you’re already long past the point where trope familiarity has stopped helping you avoid the abyss and started making you shoot yourself in the foot.

And “healing cock,” like “manpain,” is one of those names that were coined to describe a very specific lazy-storytelling move that cashes in on the emotional impact of a particular narrative (reclaiming your sexuality after rape, grief over the suffering of someone you love) with blatant disrespect for the character whose suffering is being exploited. Fandom has an awful tendency to generalize both terms to include all writing about those subjects, which is poisonous bullshit because the whole reason those tropes suck is that they cheapen something powerful and important. Diluting them has a chilling effect on the very thing they were supposed to defend. “Healing cock” now means “any sex that ends up playing a positive role in rape recovery, and doesn’t meet some arbitrary standard of difficult, painful, fucked-up, and bleak.” So you know what? Give me all the healing cock. That is a story I want to read. I don’t give half a shit if it’s an “improbably” fluffy power fantasy. That’s why I want to read it. Wanting, and eventually having, certain kinds of sex was crucial to my own recovery from the get-go–you fucking bet I want to suck down the fictional version like delicious crack-laced candy.
tenlittlebullets: (master gives two thumbs up)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/102324449261/just-wanted-to-say-that-your-unsafe-insane-and)

punnyknitwit asked:
Just wanted to say that your "unsafe insane and nonconsensual" tag popped into my head the minute I saw our new Doctor/Master pair on screen. You really have summed the relationship up very neatly.

Hah, glad to hear it! It’s the kind of phrase that once it drops into your head, it’s too apt to not make repeated use of it. Because yes. Them. High-stakes, high-octane power play with no safeword whatsoever.

(Well. I say “no safeword.” But one of the twisted, compelling things about their interactions in Utopia/SoD/LotTL is that both of them use “nope, time out, I’m done playing games with you" as a move in the game–an assertion of ultimate power over the situation. Which, in the end, neither of them truly has. God, I will never stop being fascinated by these two jerks.)

Quick LJ/Dreamwidth note: I'm checking the 'do not show on friends page' tickybox for the vast majority of my backdated Tumblr meta so as not to spam, but I'm letting a few through in case anyone's interested.
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/102251767226/dialogue-pet-peeves-i-didnt-even-realize-i-had)

- The Winter Soldier gets like half a dozen very short lines in the entire movie that’s named after him, and even that is enough to tell that he doesn’t talk like a robot. Or a small child. JFC.

- Sam Wilson doesn’t speak fluent DSM-IV when he’s bonding with Steve over their Shared Life Experiences, no matter how traumatic those experiences might’ve been. He speaks plain old everyday English. He talks about beds that are too soft and being stuck there just to watch your wingman go down in flames and figuring out how to carry the stuff you’ve brought back with you. He talks about the shit that terms like ‘traumatic’ were coined to describe. This is probably why Steve bonds so easily with Sam. It’s definitely why turning Sam into the Designated Avengers Therapist robs him of a lot of his charm: once he’s tossing around terms like trauma and triggers and ~boundaries~ and giving everyone glib advice on how to proceed, he loses the show-don’t-tell angle that made him so approachable in the first place.

- On a related note, if you’re looking for a way to avoid the “making Sam’s existence all about Steve and Steve’s problems” pitfall, canon actually hands you a pretty good one. Sam doesn’t get Steve to open up by poking and prodding at him. He offers up bits of his own life that he thinks Steve might be able to relate to. He’s not even really trying to get anyone to open up, at least not for its own sake–what he’s doing is seeking out common ground, and he does it by opening up about some of his own problems and experiences when he suspects the response might be “holy shit, me too.”

#the more i run into it and the more i think about it #the more i want to dig my heels in and just say it: #psych terminology porn IS YOUR ENEMY AS A WRITER #IT IS THE ULTIMATE IN TELLING NOT SHOWING #write about the messy individual human experiences those terms were coined to describe
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/98935764901/stoatsandwich-when-you-start-agreeing-with-the

[Scan of Steve Rogers gazing out on the NYC skyline, with superimposed villain-monologuing in the captions]
[panel 1]
Red Skull: I could put a bullet between your eyes anytime I want, and you'd never see it coming.
[panel 2]
Red Skull: But that would be too easy. I need to make you suffer.
Red Skull: Because you do it so well, Rogers... suffering, I mean.

When you start agreeing with the supervillains, maybe it’s time to reconsider your life choices.

I have this theory that supervillains who lovingly plot the best, most fitting, most personally painful ways to make the hero suffer are basically just avatars for the writing process itself.

And that goes double for self-sabotaging villains who pass up a zillion chances to just drop a nuke on the stupid bastard, and instead craft elaborate traps that test him and ensure that his suffering is beautiful and make him look awesome when he inevitably thwarts them.

#my problem with cap vol. 5 (besides the sharon carter mess) #is that brubaker writes amazing steve!suffering but his bucky!suffering leaves me cold #and haha guess which one he fell in love with #also #WOW does this trope pick up a d/s-y vibe when pushed far enough #the Master needs to just fucking admit that he enjoys a good hard thwarting #as much or more than he enjoys tying the Doctor up and leering at him
tenlittlebullets: (shieldra)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/98127824576/having-recently-rewatched-the-more-watchable)

Having recently rewatched the more watchable episodes of Agents of SHIELD, I am struck anew by all the creepy authoritarian vibes–not just from the characters themselves, which is plausible on a show that’s all about the shadowy government Men in Black whose job is to put a lid on paranormal occurrences, but in which characters the show chooses to back up and the situations it constructs. I’m not even going to touch the nasty indoctrination Skye goes through to mold her from a freedom-of-information hacker type into an agent of SHIELD, because that mostly happens in the less watchable episodes. But the way the fallout of CA:TWS was handled–holy balls.

“Oh, that pesky, naïve Captain America and his cohort, dumping all our secrets onto the Internet! Taking down SHIELD along with Hydra! That was so mean of him, look, the totally plausible fallout is that now we’re all being persecuted as a ~terrorist organization~ and threatened with indefinite detention of the type we’re so fond of springing on people we’ve deemed to be threats! Why? Because there's no way to tell who might be Hydra. No way whatsoever. If only all of these meanie bureaucrats had some magic list of who had ties to Hydra. Like, some set of secret files with their recruitment data or something. If only, I don’t know, all of Hydra’s records had been dumped onto the internet or something.”

“Are we going to talk about the actual consequences of a leak on this scale, like all the deep-cover agents it burned? Ha ha ha, why would we waste time on that when we could be constructing elaborate strawmen about how Big Brother was the only thing standing between the world and chaos for the sake of chaos.”

“What does Hydra want, you ask? To take over, duh. Are there any ideological differences between Hydra and SHIELD? Um, we’ll get back to you on that. Does it bother us that ‘who’s Hydra?’ might as well have been a randomly-assigned game of Mafia because we’re indistinguishable from our own neo-Nazi conspiracy? Uh… YEAH! Yeah, we would totally have believed Victoria Hand was Hydra, how fucked-up is it that she made it to the top, what a hardass, am I right?”

“Guys. Guys. Hey, guys. I’ve got a great idea. The BEST idea. Let’s pay exactly zero attention to anything CA:TWS might’ve had to say about authoritarian bullshit and extrajudicial killing, and rebuild SHIELD.”
tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/97195887606/dendritic-trees-derevko-last-snowfall)

[Another gifset of Steve's "For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to do what was right" monologue]

Steve name me one time between Basic and going into the ice that you actually followed orders. ONE. TIME.


I have feelings about this. I’m supposed to be doing work, but its hard, so I’m gonna explain them instead. Right from the start of CA:TFA we see that Steve really specifically wants to be a soldier. He knows there’s all sorts of various ways to support the war effort, but not, specifically he wants to fight on the front lines.

But Steve is never a particularly good soldier, in fact, he very specifically isn’t a good soldier. Steve is a good man not a perfect soldier. Steve NEVER has any success when he tries his hand at being a regular soldier, or even a supersoldier. In CA:TFA he ends up working with the Howling Commandos, almost entirely outside of the regular military structure and that’s when he manages all the serious heroics and really lives up to his potential. In Avengers at the beginning he tries to be a good soldier for a while and tries to follow Fury’s orders, but for the first half of the movie Steve is lost and miserable and visibly hiding behind his USO Tour “Captain America” persona. But its only when he goes off on his own, breaks into store rooms and steals Fury’s proto-type tesseract weapons, that he really gets anything done (before that he gets batted about by Loki and sort of wanders about at loose ends), and he doesn’t really get back into a leadership role and really become actual Captain America again, until he steals a quinn jet with Natasha and Clint.

And despite that, in CA:WS he’s back at Shield, trying to be ‘the greatest soldier in history’ and ‘follow orders’, and… not doing that at all…

So where does Steve’s abortive fascination with being a good soldier come from?

Partly I think its an expression of his very obvious depression. I’ve seen about umpteen criticisms of Steve’s ‘we have our orders’ line to Tony in Avengers but I think that the fact its out of character is the point. Steve is miserable, and lost, he doesn’t know what makes him happy, he doesn’t know what he wants to do with himself so he follows Nick Fury’s orders, because he has given up.

But also I think that even though Steve doesn’t really want to be the sort of person who follows orders, he to a certain extent wants to want it, sort of as the equivalent of a very bright girl who plays dumb in class because she’s been told no one likes smart girls. The good soldier is very much the model of ideal masculine success that Steve would have grown up with but wouldn’t have ever been able to achieve

Which is ironic given that the ideal male icon most of the cast of the Avengers probably grew up with… is Captain America.

I think it’s more that for all Steve is willing to be a disobedient shit when his orders conflict with his conscience, he does best when he’s got structure. What he really, deeply needs, his basic prerequisite for not feeling like he’s at a loose end, is to serve as part of something that’s bigger than himself. Something with a purpose. He’s acutely aware that large institutions are fallible and he’s first in line to challenge their flaws when need be, but he’s still first and foremost a team player.

The way I read him in Avengers is–okay, he’s isolated, disoriented, alone and adrift in the modern world and not sure he has anything to contribute to it, and he’s handed A Chance. He’s skeptical of it and whether he can be relevant to it at all, but still. A task, a team, a meaningful purpose–saving the world, even! Except the team is a motley assemblage (heh) of disorganized assholes who don’t want to play ball. All his lines about “we have orders” come off as increasingly desperate pleas of “GUYS, CAN WE PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC” "COME ON, GUYS, WE’VE GOT SHIT TO DO" “TONY, ARE YOU ACTIVELY TRYING TO TANK OUR CHANCES OF EVER WORKING AS A TEAM OR WHAT.” And he is so zeroed in on the task at hand that he doesn’t stop to think critically about the big picture or the agenda of the people who’ve assigned the task until Bruce and Tony have pointed out that something smells funny. Which I don’t think is general blind trust in authority, more like a combination of lack of frame of reference (which crops up again in the form of his doubts in CA:TWS–is it SHIELD, or is it his difficulty adjusting to the modern world? SPOILERS: IT’S SHIELD) and a priority list where questioning authority has taken the backseat to “a task! a team! a chance to do something useful and beat the crap out of tyrannical assholes!” Steve is most likely to defy authority when authority is pointlessly preventing him from making himself useful.

Basically, yes, Whedon’s characterization work in Avengers is wobbly and he’s way too eager to pass off “principled, self-sacrificing team player (military flavor)” as “good obedient soldier” because it’s a convenient character shorthand and source of friction in an ensemble piece with lots of balls in the air. But it’s mostly a problem of emphasis, not wildly OOC behavior, and by and large I think his characterization in Avengers is internally consistent with both TFA and TWS. (Leaving aside the separate problem of Whedon sacrificing characterization for snappy one-liners, because… well, it’s a problem.)
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/94029926961/avengersageofultron-the-other-night-my-six-year)

One thing that jumped out at me [about a great video edit of the entire final Steve/Winter Soldier fight without the other scenes intercut]: this contains several of the same elements as the Lemurian Star fight sequence, assembled in reverse order. Taking off his helmet, putting down his shield, even the long fall into the water. Except the first time it’s recklessness, Steve being careless with his own life because he lacks any sense of purpose, and the second time it’s sacrifice, Steve being willing to lay down his own life for the thing that finally gives him purpose.
tenlittlebullets: (shieldra)
(Archive of a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/92561700584/swanjolras-ohhcaptainrum-swanjolras)

[Image: A mashup of the SHIELD and Hydra logos, with the caption "This isn't freedom. This is fear."]

#[sharp inhale] #these are the times that try canon; seriously this is the point in time where i’m going to ignore agents of shield for THIS PRECISE REASON #the immediate decision to rebuild shield cheapens this turn so fucking much i dont CARE about what cap 2 does for your mediocre tv show #you cannot mistake this film for anything except what it is - a movie made in the 21st century when we’re moving#out of the immediate recent past; it couldn’t have been made at any other time other than now and to TEAR! AWAY! THAT MASK! #and show you that anyone and anything is capable of being /this/; that this rot can grow anywhere and that #we’re not as different as we like to think - is such a smart decision #it topples the status quo it is very decidedly moving forward and goddammit this show had to go and ruin it #man fuck it fuck it so hard fuck it to hell

#mal flawless as per usual #shield was toxic because it was hydra but shield was ALSO toxic because it was shield #BECAUSE SHIELD AS AN ORGANIZATION WAS ROTTEN FROM DAY ONE #you cannot ‘rebuild shield from the ground up’ because shield and hydra WERE ALWAYS TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN #those helicarriers were not horrific BECAUSE hydra was in control of them #they were horrific because TO HAVE THAT KIND OF WEAPON IS INHERENTLY IMMORAL AND TYRANNICAL #because shield is not an organization of good men! it is an organization of perfect soldiers! #any organization like shield would have become rotten and corrupt and ultimately evil #whether! or! not! it! had! nazis! #the nazis were not the REASON that shield was evil #they were a DEMONSTRATION of JUST HOW EVIL SHIELD WAS CAPABLE OF BEING #this movie’s politics were the smartest politics #please marvel don’t take this away from me


My contribution, copied out of tags and into the post body:

#shield was not unamerican because Secret Nazis #shield was unamerican because Authoritarianism #because so very Authoritarianism that they’d been nurturing a faction of secret nazis the whole time and nobody could tell the difference #the principles behind what shield was doing do not suddenly become Evil or Not Evil depending on whose name is on the letterhead #(does one of the WSC members use ‘not if it was your switch’ as a clever retort? yes #are we supposed to trust the moral authority of the WSC? HAHAHA no) #the point is that some things are evil even in service of *your* cause #and yes they are alluring even to smart people like fury #and that is how groups like hydra and the RL fascists they’re standing in for come about in the first place #this entire movie was like a followup to that erskine quote: so many people forget that #the first country the nazis invaded was their own #captain america only works as a character because if #by some accident of birth and nationality #he’d been captain germany instead #he still would’ve gone down fighting nazis
tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/92413964816/xromanogers-again-marvel-just-decided-to-blow)

[Gifset juxtaposing two scenes from Cap 2:
Steve, to Peggy: For as long as I remember, I just wanted to do what was right. I guess I'm not quite sure what that is anymore. And I thought I could throw myself back in, follow orders, serve... it's just not the same.
Natasha, to Steve: When I first joined SHIELD, I thought I was going straight. But I guess I just traded in the KGB for Hydra. I thought I knew whose lies I was telling, but... I guess I can't tell the difference anymore.]

Again, MARVEL just decided to blow my mind away.

In CA: TWS, Steve’s scene happened first with him going to Peggy’s nursing home and being troubled by the whole manipulation that SHIELD made. Knowing that he’s out of it, Peggy decided to ask him what was wrong which ended up with him spilling about how he’s unsure about everything in the world right now. Steve Rogers is a man out of time, still trying to find himself in this 21st century. In the 1940s, nothing was this complicated; what was right, was right and what was wrong, was wrong. Now, everything is just a dark shade of grey where everything that is right is justified as something that could be wrong and what is wrong is justified as something that could be right due to certain reasons.

His morals has been compromised and because doing what is right has been always his life goal, he’s unsure what to do now like a puppy lost, without any sense of direction. So he confides in Peggy, who at least, for a short period of time, is not disturbed by her disease.

“The world has changed and none of us could go back. And sometimes, the best that we can do is to start over.”

I just can’t help but distinguish the fact that when both of them were crashing in Sam’s house, here Natasha is, doing what Steve was doing awhile ago with Peggy.

Steve knows that Natasha is troubled with something; heck, he probably knows that it’s all because of Hydra. But he decided to ask her anyway with a “What’s wrong?”

The determination in his voice to find out what was bothering her shook her from her thoughts and she questioned if it was okay to admit to him about her fears; all of her identity has been compromised.

Natasha was a ruthless, graceful and deathly woman. However, take that suit and emotionless mask away and she’s just a fragile human being who was forced to train in the KGB and to put those feelings aside. She’s not used to confrontations that involves her personal feelings or thoughts. It has always been her receiving orders and acting out according to it.

Joining SHIELD, she was making amends for her red in her ledger, not trying to add more red to the ledger. But now that SHIELD was known as Hydra, what was she supposed to do? She already had trust issues, but now the company she was working for ended up as a deathtrap.

But with Steve, maybe over the course of their breakout and everything, she realized that he was trustworthy enough. So, she decided to open up to him even if it was hard in her place for she still can’t comprehend the fact that all this time, SHIELD was actually Hydra in disguise.

Never has Natasha appear so weak, so defenseless. All she is is stripped bare and even if she can’t admit to herself, she realized she has to and maybe the easiest way is to admit it to someone else and hear herself say it so that she could believe it.

And maybe that was the same for Steve as well, to accept that indeed, the world has changed and nothing is ever the same anymore.

I… hm. I love the parallel in this gifset, but I’m not sure I agree about Steve’s difficulties in the first scene? I’d argue that rather than the ’40s being black and white or a “simpler time,” it’s that Steve felt like he knew the terrain there, and in the 21st century he’s not sure of his footing until events confirm that his suspicions and right/wrong instincts were even more spot-on than he could’ve guessed. (Always remember that the first Captain America comics came out while America was still dragging its feet about whether to get involved in WWII.) Sure, the situation he’s in—facing an increasingly urgent need to take a stand against his own government and his own superiors in the name of his country’s ideals—is a lot more difficult and painful than pledging to go fight another country’s dictatorship, but that doesn’t mean the past is necessarily a more innocent place than the present. Steve was a kid in the corrupt ’20s and grew up in the Depression—the war he was faced with as a young man was morally clear-cut as wars go, but that doesn’t mean it was all he ever knew. In the 21st century he strikes me as someone who’s trying to orient himself on unfamiliar ground that’s more treacherous than anything he’s used to, not someone who’s shocked that he even needs to figure out where he stands.

(I also don’t think Natasha here is fragile, precisely… more that she has a very complicated relationship with vulnerability, and opening up about a real, unfeigned vulnerability with no ulterior motive runs against everything she normally chooses to be and all her instincts for self-preservation. But vulnerability is just “ability to be wounded or hurt” and says nothing about how fragile or resilient you’ll be once you’ve taken damage. What we’re seeing here isn’t Natasha defenseless, it’s Natasha trusting Steve enough to show him a tiny gap in her defenses and a place where she’s still bleeding. To juggle metaphors, this is a place where it’s intensely painful for her to realize she’s lost her footing and doesn’t know which way is up—and she’d carry on regardless, but for once she’s with someone who’s just been in the same place and whom she trusts enough to open up to about her uncertainty.)
tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/90592189381/chinhands-did-somebody-say-rumlowsteve-trash)

*chinhands* did somebody say rumlow/steve trash

did you mean: /my legacy/

seriously tho, taking advantage of the situation, deception and utter betrayal, how great is that trash.

deception, utter betrayal, and steve suffering: MY CATNIP

also all sorts of awful twisted mirroring, if you start thinking about how rumlow being steve’s right-hand man on the strike team basically positions him as Evil Replacement Bucky

also just like. that shot of rumlow breathing creepily down steve’s neck and going “not here” is so inexplicably drawn-out that i had to split it into two gifs and one of them is STILL too big to load consistently

It also goes back to everything steve thinks he knows being a lie. But not only that, it’s also about just how lonely steve is in the 21st century

even if you remove any trash ship element from it (i could go on about that for a long time, but lets refrain for a moment), Rumlow being part of the strike team means they develop that comradeship like soldiers do, a relationship that is built entirely on trusting the other to have your back, probably even more so with the shit SHIELD teams have to deal with. Steve trusts him, and that trust is so important to Steve, his whole life has relied on trust both pre serum and post serum.

and Steve is so on his own a lot of the time so i doubt Steve has any other relationships outside the people he works with. Which then bring it round to the ‘nothing personal’ line in the elevator scene because you can tell Steve takes it personal because it’s not like he has any other ‘friendships’ and all of a sudden he can’t even trust the people he works with which just shakes the foundation of everything Steve knows and ugh, HYDRA look what you’ve done

on another, trash shipping note: the whole ‘not here’ drawn out moment can be so uncomfortable because how many times has Rumlow got that close into his personal space to speak in a completely different context and it’s so /messed up/

YEAH. And it also ties into Steve's unease about SHIELD and his role in the 21st century–he wants so badly to be able to trust his job and his co-workers and the orders he’s being given, but he just can’t, and the beginning of the movie is full of Steve second-guessing himself all over the place. Is it him, is it SHIELD, is he just having problems adjusting, is it the whole damn 21st century? And of course what we see over the course of the movie is that his misgivings were well-founded all along, but the fact that he’s taken a leap of faith and made an active effort to trust SHIELD and his teammates even though it’s not easy makes it even more of a gut punch when they all turn on him. (AND THEN take the one person Steve has ever absolutely, unequivocally trusted and turn him against Steve, AUGH.)

And I love that Steve is never blamed for wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt and trust the people who will eventually stab him in the back–the ability to trust and rely on other people is one of Steve's strengths, as is the refusal to blindly trust institutions even though he works best when he’s working as part of something bigger than himself. And I just. Steve.

...sorry, this is the problem with talking trash ships, it eventually comes out that my entire interest in pairings like Rumlow/Steve boils down to “AND I JUST. STEVE ROGERS.”
tenlittlebullets: (Default)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/86367145626/angualupin-shinelikethunder-i-just-what-is)

[In which I post scans from the truly abysmal Cap 2 prelude comic, with dialogue as follows:
Steve Rogers: Nice bit of acting work, Rumlow. I used to do some of that for the USO.
Brock Rumlow: Where do you think I learned it, Captain? They showed us your old newsreels during our training.
Steve Rogers: Well, now it's time for you to show me what else they taught you.
Brock Rumlow: You'd be surprised.]

i just

what is even


(context: there is a (bite-sized, not particularly good) winter soldier prelude comic. that... seems to be... implying that SHIELD foisted Rumlow on Cap as some sort of Replacement Bucky sidekick figure. I’M NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS no wait I am some combination of horrified, uncomfortably turned on, and disappointed that this thread was dropped in the movie because it would’ve emotionally complicated EVERYTHING in delightful fucked-up ways)



no no no no no

but so many things get so much worse when you think of Rumlow as Evil Replacement Bucky rather than Featured Henchman #2 who is totally not going to be important later on because it’s not like we’d ever get the death of captain america arc in mcu RIGHT

like him looking on while Real Bucky gets mindwiped

and the parallel hits of Steve!pain when, in quick succession, his Would-Be Replacement Bucky betrays him in cold blood and then it turns out that the mofo who’s been fucking everyone’s shit up is Real Bucky who’s been brainwashed and turned on him against his will

also I am just strangely delighted at the thought of SHIELD giving Cap a shady brutal sidekick while they send him out on shady brutal black-ops missions and NOBODY SEEMS TO THINK THERE’S ANYTHING WEIRD ABOUT THIS and he’s left going “okay, am I just having trouble adjusting or are things really this messed-up in the 21st century?”

(also, unrelatedly, I am not an artist and should probably not be making accusations I am not qualified to make, but WOW the art for this comic is bugging me, is it my imagination that it looks traced? like, badly traced from a video game? it’s all… outline-y and weirdly stiff and heavy on foreshortening that just doesn’t quite work but looks like it might’ve in a slightly different picture–)

#rumlow/steve #leave me here to die #i did not want this to become a proper enemy!ship but canon keeps enabling my worst tendencies #cap/featured henchman 2 is not a viable pairing #cap/evil replacement bucky who's probably going to kill him someday is a goddamn goldmine of Wrong
tenlittlebullets: (shieldra)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/85612717591/that-makes-sense-what-make-you-of-the-hinting)

Anonymous asked:
That makes sense. What make you of the hinting that Hydra and its values are not the same as they were?

I mean, it makes sense for them to have ditched the racial-supremacy angle and focused on packaging the authoritarianism as attractively as possible to people already in the defense/security/intelligence industries, otherwise they’d be facing one hell of a recruiting problem. But I think the fact that they’re even still calling themselves Hydra openly is a glaring weakness in the plot–not only is it kind of a cop-out from the issues raised in the movie, how the hell is anyone who’s ever cracked open a history book in this universe going to hear the sales pitch and think “Gosh, joining up with this slick new version of a rogue Nazi science division sure does sound like a swell and non-evil idea?” Like, can’t the conspiracy within SHIELD at least be some secret faction with their own name and membership and everything, which is later revealed to be masterminded by Hydra unbeknownst to the rank and file? That would allow the movie to have its “you have literally become the thing you hate” cake and eat it too, and liven up the moral dilemma Steve throws at the SHIELD employees when he hijacks the intercom. Because in addition to “will the regular employees follow the orders they’ve been given or take a stand on Cap’s say-so,” you’d also get “will some of the conspirators defect back to the good guys’ side when confronted with the truth of what they signed up for.” IDK, maybe it would over-complicate some of the themes they’ve got going on about personal vs. ideological vs. institutional trust and loyalty, but it would also just plain make more sense and be less of a tremendous cop-out.

This is the kind of complication that I would expect to see in a novel, and can sort of forgive in a movie—it’s a matter of how much space there is to tell the story and all. But DAMN. It would’ve been a MUCH BETTER complication.

I don’t actually think explaining it would’ve introduced that much complication–drop the codename a few times in the “omg mysterious conspiracy within SHIELD???” part of the movie, such that by the time Steve and Natasha make it to the bunker it’s pretty obvious that [codename] is the faction/organization behind it all, and then amend Zola’s monologue to “the new Hydra grew within SHIELD, a beautiful parasite disguised under the name of [codename]…” The complication would be in the fallout, dealing with the fact that not everyone who’s in on the conspiracy is enough of a goddamn cartoon villain to knowingly sign on with Hydra, a lot of them were just easily led by a cool-sounding secret society preaching attractively packaged fascism as a balm for the world’s ills. But like. That’s storytelling space that’s currently being taken up by politicians concocting elaborate pretexts to whisper “Hail Hydra” in each other’s ears. It could easily be repurposed to acknowledge that “easily led by a cool-sounding secret society preaching attractively packaged fascism as a balm for the world’s ills” is how such movements usually do get started before their names become a commonly-recognized byword for “evil fuckers.”

Anonymous asked:
HYDRA is all about racial supremacy. The movie showed that Baron Strucker is one of their leaders and he's one of the most racist villains in the MU.

Good to know. The point still stands, though, that the branch of Hydra operating within SHIELD in this movie was pretty exclusively focused on authoritarianism, both in the rhetoric they were spouting and the goals they were trying to achieve. Whether it was because they were operating semi-independently from Strucker’s leadership and had different priorities, or just keeping quiet about the racist BS for the moment to make it easier to reel people in. Which I guess is another argument for why it would’ve made more narrative sense to have them operating behind a cover organization–using an offshoot rather than Hydra itself would’ve spared the creative team most of the glossing-over and uncomfortable avoidance of the fact that Hydra are actual, literal fucking Nazis and that comes with a lot of implications you can’t get away from.
tenlittlebullets: (Default)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/83452708647/klaus-theweleit-writes-of-the-soldier-the)

"[Klaus] Theweleit writes of the soldier: ‘the arena of war is first and foremost his own body; a body poised to penetrate other bodies and mangle them in its embrace’. A body, that is, incapable of acknowledging its own penetrability. A ‘male’ body.

[…] The [young soldier’s] body is treated as something that must be broken before it can be made stronger. In order to survive, the young cadet inevitably develops a 'thick skin’ which Theweleit warns us not to read metaphorically:

'And little by little the body accepts these painful interventions along its periphery as responses to its longing for pleasure. It receives them as experiences of satisfaction. The body is estranged from the pleasure principle, drilled and reorganised into a body ruled by the “pain principle”: what is nice is what hurts…’ (Theweleit 1989)

A kind of masochism, then, is the consequence of such training, a channelling of the need for pleasure into a need for pain: a pain to be endured, overcome, transcended, as proof positive that the body can – indeed, must – be dominated. This is at the heart of becoming a soldier."

- Jonathan Kemp, The Penetrated Male, 41-2

#OHAI CAIUS MARTIUS CORIOLANUS #also arguably #the winter soldier #the soldier #the male body #male sexuality #masochism #coriolanus #aufidius #THAT FIRST BIT IS SO AUFIDIUS IT HURTS #but the masochism's more evident in martius imo tbh #do u understand how many times i have read this section istg #relevant to my interests like FUCK #mumblingsage #sure u must have approved of this bit #jonathan kemp #the penetrated male #pleasure principle #is weak #pain principle #is where it's at yo

‘a pain to be endured, overcome, transcended, as proof positive that the body can—indeed, must—be dominated’

THERE. THAT’S IT. THAT’S MY ‘TERRIBLE AWFUL NO-GOOD VERY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS’ KINK IN A NUTSHELL. Except it leaves out the key point that makes the whole thing so hrrrrnnnngh: the domination isn’t just over your body. Mastery of the body is only the prerequisite, the means to an end; the end, the real victory, is taking power out of the hands of the motherfucker who’s trying to hurt you in the first place.

Your commentary is VERY YES and also explains why I really love character types that can best be described as “snarky martyrs.”

On the other hand, I do want to point out the specific soldiers Kemp discusses included precursors to the Nazis (I think? thepurposeofplaying you may have readier access than I my Nook is charging on the far side of the room) and this dominance over the body, when it neglects the soul, can go—really really bad.

Deliciously bad sometimes. Like in fiction, where nobody’s on the wrong end of it.

(actually thepurposeofplaying Shinelikethunder’s comments sort of remind me of our discussion about masochism styles, and how male masochism is constructed vs the boringly predominant passive femsub construction?)

Yeah, believing it’s a Good Thing to inflict adversity on other people in order to teach them that triumphant response to adversity is always going to be fucked-up on some level, and the consequences if it’s uncritically taken too far can be horrific. OTOH, I do think narratives about it are important, because everyone’s going to face varying levels of adversity in their lives and it’s an important coping tactic–and, as you said, when you’re writing fiction, you can create the pain that enables a character to develop mastery over their pain without having to justify inflicting it on a real person.

A related narrative kink that plays into this is hurt/comfort as a sort of grace, which I think the Winter Soldier movie summed up beautifully in just two lines of dialogue: (paraphrased) “It’s okay, I can deal with this on my own” / “That’s the thing, though. You don’t have to.”
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/83435224625/mumblingsage-roboclaws-lets-talk-about-the)

let’s talk about the winter soldier.

let’s talk about posthumanism and body horror and the kind of thorough desensitisation that’s almost orwellian in its completeness. let’s talk about how the winter soldier has no concept of self or identity, how he clearly doesn’t think of himself as a person. let’s talk about him being desensitised not only to the violence he perpetuates, but also to the violence done to him.

Read More

#i’m so glad america has seen the movie so we can all talk about the movie #now talk to me about violence and guns and knives and penetrative wounds #as a substitute for sex or sexual dysfunction


Remember the thing in Pacific Rim where the sparring scene worked so well because it was filmed like a sex scene? Yeah, please tell me I’m not the only one who thought Winter Soldier was like two and a half hours of that only with actual stab/gunshot wounds and the brutality ramped up to eleven. IT WAS HOT. It was hot because everyone was equally matched and fighting as hard as they could and the fight choreography was beautiful. It was hot because they all kept fighting despite the damage they were doing to each other’s bodies. When the Winter Soldier pays Natasha back for fucking up his metal arm by literally putting another bullet through her, it could’ve gone straight to some boring damsel in distress bullshit where she’s incapacitated as soon as she takes any damage (with all the weird misogynist undertones that entails if we’re talking about sexualized, particularly penetrative, violence). But no, she takes cover and bides her time and pulls herself together long enough to save Steve’s dumb ass when he’s about to get himself killed. And Steve’s final showdown with the Winter Soldier, with all the grievous bodily harm inflicted on both sides… this is a film where being able to wound somebody is a form of intimacy, because nobody else has the skill or knowledge of your weaknesses to get close enough.
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/82859919063/whump-and-tropey-hc-appreciation-for-great-fandom)

This is not going to be coherent meta, but I just wanted to string some ideas together for possible later development:

Point 1: My Thing for pretty people getting punched in the face and bleeding prettily for their ideals is totally a kink, but it’s also, emotionally, about the idea of taking a lot of damage and hurting like fuck but still continuing to fight–that being hurt is not the same as being broken, that vulnerability is not helplessness, that fear doesn’t have to mean cowardice. The not giving up or being broken, at least not permanently, is crucial to what makes this particular emotional kink tick.

Point 2: grimdark is lazy, good is hard work. Go read it, it’s great meta.

Point 3: There are lots and lots of problems with what the misapplication of social-justice concepts has brought to fandom culture, and this is not the time to get into all of them, but a lot of them boil down to what is excusable versus what is the expected or commendable course of action. It’s most noticeable with the glorification of anger and verbal abuse, but there is a parallel glorification of helplessness in the way Tumblr SJ approaches victimhood, illness, disability, and arguably adversity in general: the refusal to shame people who are struggling or who’ve had bad things done to them has long since tipped over into the idea that it’s perfectly okay and normal to just roll over and give up, or even that trying to recover and get your shit together and fight back against the assorted corporeal and non-corporeal bogeymen in your life is implicitly shaming towards those who aren’t doing the same, and so you shouldn’t talk about it too loudly or too approvingly.

Point 4: I fucking hate this aspect of Tumblrfandom, and I hate it for the exact same reasons I hate gratuitous grimdark. It’s lazy. It normalizes and glorifies helplessness as the appropriate response to the existence of evil in the world. It demands not just pardon but approval for sitting back and doing nothing in the face of adversity. They’re two sides of the same shitty coin, and I wish the backlash against grimdark in media could be accompanied by a parallel backlash against fandom’s victimhood culture. I want to talk loudly and approvingly about narratives of being hurt and damaged and afraid and not giving up. Of fighting even when you can’t fix everything and you don’t think you’re going to win, because it would be wrong not to fight. Because sometimes it is wrong not to fight.

Point 5: In conclusion, it is really hard to dismantle and critique these trends in fandom (and a lot of activism in general, I think) and find ways to fight them without enabling the exact silencing/shaming behaviors that the original social justice concepts were designed to combat before they were distorted. But you know what? In this case, I don’t think an upswing in the kink described in Point 1 would hurt. At aaaall. Embrace your desire to whump the living hell out of your favorite characters just to watch them refuse to break, or break them just to watch them insist on putting themselves back together. Make them suffer deliciously for what they care about, because those kinds of narratives are delicious and viscerally satisfying and weirdly comforting for a reason.

Point 6: [image of Captain America on a WWII-era propaganda poster, bearing the caption: RESIST THE GRIMDARK INVASION / WITH HOT IDEALISTS GETTING BEATEN UP FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S RIGHT] [similar image, bearing the caption: WE BLEED SO PRETTY / BUT IT’S WORTH EVERY DROP]

Original Tumblr tags: #in a broader sense i think i only kink on a character's suffering if i think they can take it #like that is an integral part of the enjoyment #watching someone get kicked when they're down is no fun unless you know they're going to get back up #and knowing they've been totally fucked up but they're going to struggle back to their feet anyway is half the fun

In retrospect, this post doesn't even look like a harbinger of my imminent descent into the Hydra Trash Party landfill, it looks like a perfectly logical sequence of events. Note that my first post to actually use that tag was like... one week after this one.
tenlittlebullets: (tl;dr)
omfg, buried in Saint-Merry stuff up to my eyeballs. There's the translation of the public-domain portions of À cinq heures nous serons tous morts, the trial transcripts (which fortunately are just a matter of picking over Google's versions for weird OCR errors, but dude, I'M NOT TRANSLATING THEM SOMEBODY ELSE DO A HIGHLIGHTS VERSION OR SOMETHING, the whole thing runs to like 100,000 words), similar OCR-picking for Rey-Dussueil's novel Le Cloître Saint-Méry, and chasing down more primary-source accounts (most of them by famous authors, so hopefully already available online in translation) in Sayre & Löwy's L'insurrection des Misérables. Plus hemming and hawing over some of the amazing in-copyright print sources (mostly Sayre & Löwy and the explanatory notes for À cinq heures...) and how much I could share/translate without (a) getting dinged by the publishers, and (b) taking bread out of the mouths of the excellent people who've managed to study this stuff professionally. I almost wonder what would happen if I approached the publishers about doing an official English translation? Because I think there are a number of people in UK and American Les Mis fandom and assorted other historical interests who would be happy to shell out money for these books, but are being held up by the language barrier or the cost of importing books from France, which is ridiculously high even compared to other European countries.
tenlittlebullets: (winterborn)
I'm not gonna lie, my favorite part of the "threaded discussion on Dreamwidth!!!" push in Les Mis fandom is that I can subscribe to so many more people than I can on Tumblr. (Yeah, I'm still in the LJ-acquired habit of needing to backread my dash to the point where I left off last time, which severely limits how many people I can follow.) Threaded discussion! Non-redundant content on my flist! Not having to stare wistfully at posts from cool people and wish I could follow them without making my dash completely unmanageable!

So: whether or not we are mutual-following on Tumblr, if you add me and your journal is not 95% made up of Fandoms I'm Not Into, I will probably add you back, and be very happy to be able to do so.


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