Apr. 21st, 2014

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.

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#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: (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.”