rynling: (Default)
I saw the movie IT last weekend, and it was a good, solid, well-made piece of Hollywood cinema.

Twitter has also been a lot of fun this past week, with people making all sorts of jokes and comics about how they could easily be lured into the sewers with promises of controlled rent and affordable healthcare (this is a good example). This somehow (it's a long story) morphed into fan art of Pennywise and the Babadook dating and doing things like reading picture books and holding balloons (and so on). Some people have tried to explain this by saying that the young Scandinavian actor who plays Pennywise is actually quite attractive (which is true), but I think Twitter's recent obsession with Pennywise is nothing more than people playing around with something that is inherently silly and ridiculous.

If I had to read more deeply into this, I might say that there is a long history of horror movie monsters being coded as queer, and so people facetiously shipping Pennywise and the Babadook is about the normalization of queer romance, which was often characterized as monstrous in the era of postwar American horror films that IT references. I might also say that, now that many people have been forced to confront real-life political monsters due to the rise of militant xenophobic nationalism on a global scale, something like Pennywise (or the Babadook, whose film is widely understood as a Marxist-feminist critique of contemporary Australian society) doesn't actually seem that scary. In the end, these comics seem to be suggesting, it may be preferable to hang out with one's fellow "monsters" in the sewer than to be forced to deal with the monsters who are currently in charge of creating public policy.

Meanwhile, on Tumblr, there are several posts in circulation that are basically saying, WHY ARE ALL THESE ASSHOLES WHO SHIP PENNYWISE AND THE BABADOOK RUINING EVERYTHING BY DEMONIZING QUEER ROMANCE. These sentiments are so performatively radical and ignorant of actual queer issues that they read almost as parodies of Tumblr culture, yet they've received tens of thousands of notes and have been reblogged by people in my own circles of fandom who, by all rights, are old enough to know better.

Personally, I tend to think that people who care about representation in popular media would be better served by celebrating all the things that the actual movie did right, especially in its adaptation of the source material. Let's be real, the book was borderline homophobic in its villainization of queer sexuality. To give an example, in the original novel, Mike Hanlon (the farm kid who stays in Derry and becomes a librarian) is only allowed to join the central circle of friends because another kid turns out to be gay and thus too weak, mean-spirited, and cowardly to fight evil. In the movie, however, one of the child heroes is not only very clearly coded as gay but also gets a lot of screentime, character development, and fantastic lines. Also, unlike the book, there is no bizarre and intensely heteronormative child orgy at the end of the movie, thank goodness.

I feel like, if you want to talk about social justice as it applies to IT, there are so many more interesting and meaningful ways to go about it than to yell about how gay artists on Twitter are making jokes about the love life of a fictional clown monster, good grief.
rynling: (Ganondorf)
I'm still thinking about why that post I wrote about yesterday didn't get any notes, and I can't help but wonder if maybe gender has something to do with it. Specifically, if I were male and had established a fandom identity as male, would I (and the artist) get more positive feedback for this sort of collaboration?

For various reasons (including the lack of support for that particular post), I feel that, if a woman works with artists to illustrate her fic, she's considered pretentious, while a dude would be "innovative." Female writers working with artists is extra, while male writers working with artists is how actual comics and video games get made. As an ongoing phenomenon created and propagated through Tumblr-based collaboration, Undertale jumps immediately to mind as an example, as does the Zelda fancomic Second Quest. And maybe it's just me, but the majority of professional writers for comics and games still seem to be male, even despite rising numbers of professional female artists. So I wonder, is there a stigma against female writers working with artists that begins in fandom, where many female creators start out?

I put an abbreviated version of this question on Twitter, and I got some interesting responses. A friend of mine who used to be a Harry Potter BNF and now studies fandom as an academic was basically like, "Pretty much." Another friend who writes for a few pop culture magazines jumped in to say that this is exactly how it tends to work with cosplay, where female models and costume designers go by pseudonyms even though male photographers get paid while simultaneously advancing their professional careers. Another friend summed the issue up nicely by saying that "women creatives 'are just playing around' while men 'have projects,'" a statement that is given weight by the fact that she gives panels at anime conventions for free while her boyfriend is always paid by these conventions to do the exact same thing she does.

And then this idiot white male friend of mine from college (the same one I was frustrated with in an earlier post) jumped in to inform me that it's difficult to judge public perception based on gender. I was like, Oh really. I get a dozen notes for my creative work on Tumblr, while you get $50,000 for your creative work on Kickstarter. Is it really so difficult to judge the difference in public perception? The only legitimate response would be "that's a good point," but he tried to argue with me, so I blocked him.

Anyway, if we can run with the hypothesis that the broader culture exhibits a resistance against female writers working with artists on fannish mixed-media creative projects, then perhaps the more specific antipathy toward writers within Tumblr's female-dominated fandom spaces begins to make a bit more sense.
rynling: (Default)
Sometimes I look at my activity page on Tumblr and cry a little bit on the inside because nobody likes me and I have no friends. Sometimes I wake up, check Tumblr, and am like, "Oh, I guess this is one of those days when that post gets another three hundred notes."

Now that the Zelgan Big Bang is over, I'd really like to cut back on my Tumblr usage. Stay tuned to find out if that actually happens (spoiler: probably not).

Meanwhile, I am probably the last person in the world to figure out that you can mute people on Twitter. It's possible that I might have abused the everloving crap out of this feature, and it's also possible that in the process my time in the Twitterverse has become 100% more pleasant and productive.
rynling: (Cecil Harvey)
I've been avoiding Facebook for the past two or three months because everything I've posted has turned into a pilot episode for "Men Explain Things to Me: The HBO Miniseries."

What I've decided to do is to remove every straight cisgender man I'm friends with from my feed. Whenever a dudebro leaves a comment on one of my posts, I'm going to flag it as inappropriate.

I'm not a radical feminist, and I don't hate men. I don't understand male-gendered patterns of interaction, though. Like, in what universe is mansplaining considered a prelude to civil conversation? I'm not saying that my female friends and acquaintances are all 100% easy to deal with, but at least I get the impression that they assume a basic level of competence and intelligence on my part. If nothing else, I don't find other women (and gay and trans men) as emotionally draining.

I'm still not sure what to do about Twitter.
rynling: (Ganondorf)
Wind Waker Ganondorf is not right, but he is not wrong. His struggle to reverse an ancient tragedy in a world that no longer cares about what has been lost is heartbreaking.

Most of Wind Waker consists of missions sending the player off to discover how beautiful and magical the world was before it was flooded. The dungeons are gorgeous and richly interactive, while the Great Sea is empty and sterile.

The reception of Wind Waker was extremely mixed, with people loving the land-based exploration and hating the sailing. In other words, players wanted more of what Ganondorf was attempting to restore and shared his frustrations regarding the state of the Hyrule. When I talk to people about Wind Waker on Twitter, I typically get comments along the lines of "I always tear up when it’s revealed that Tetra is actually Zelda" or "Medli’s awakening as a sage gets me every time." What people seem to find touching are glimpses into a past that is all the more poignant precisely because it has been forgotten.

The reason Ganondorf is a villain is not because he’s a bad person or because his cause is unjust, but rather because he’s unable to cope with how the world has changed and what it has become. That being said, the gameplay elements of Wind Waker seem to encourage the player to understand where he’s coming from and why his loss is so tragic. Because Ganondorf represents everything we find so enjoyable about the Legend of Zelda games, it’s difficult not to empathize with him. If the player didn’t identify with him on some level, the narrative catharsis at the end of Wind Waker would not be nearly as powerful and meaningful.

At a meta level, however, Ganondorf was successful. So many players were so vocally pissed off about Wind Waker that the next game in the Zelda series, Twilight Princess, is basically the Ocarina of Time clone of Hyrule that Ganondorf was trying to achieve. I think it's only now, more than ten years later, that the gaming community has started to appreciate just what Wind Waker was doing by attempting to stage an intervention in the classic Zelda system of linear exploration.

I started thinking about this because of a comparison someone made on Tumblr between Wind Waker and Dragon Age Inquisition. She wrote that Thedas, like the Great Sea, is "a current world that is different, drowned, destroyed, a world that doesn’t even know how destroyed it is."
rynling: (Silver)
On one hand, I don't know how I feel about outsiders watching a subculture they don't understand for the express purpose of mocking it. 9/10 of what's posted seems like children being silly or confused, and it feels mean-spirited to make fun of them. It's like how there used to be Tumblr accounts dedicated to belittling stuff posted to DeviantArt until a bunch of professional artists came forward, explained how everyone goes through a weeaboo period in their early teens, and advocated for supporting young artists instead of bringing them down. When people create things and post them for free, they're looking for a friendly community, and some random stranger pulling the online equivalent of the shower scene in Carrie can take years to recover from. Like, if you really want to entertain yourself with the stupid things people say on the internet, go get your "real quotes" from Reddit or 8chan or something and leave the kids alone.

On the other hand, this shit is hilarious.

http://twitter.com/fanfiction_txt
rynling: (Silver)
As a professional adult working in media, I apparently need to have a Twitter account, so I bit the bullet and set one up. It sucks and I hate it. The only upside is that it has lead to me becoming an anime. One of my friends, who is somehow magically active and popular on Twitter, commissioned a manga-style version of himself for his user icon, so I figured, what the hell.

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