There's an interactive novel on steam with a 600,000 word count, and it costs like, $7 or $8. I played the demo and I had a lot of fun and thought it was funny, so I went to leave a review.
And. Most of the top comments were saying that they love the game and story but $7 is "too expensive"
"Unless its a 100 page novel, I find the price a bit outrageous"
Its six. hundred. THOUSAND words. That literally qualifies as the length of 12 novels! You are getting 12 novels worth of content for 7 fucking dollars!! Fight me!!!
I mean we been knew that people dont understand or appreciate how much effort and time goes into artistic labor but that first comment really put it in to perspective how ppl who know literally nothing about your craft will explain to you why you don't deserve money for it.
Anyways go check out Choice of Games, I've been playing those games since like 2012 and they have so many awesome stories and talented writers. They're all choose your own adventure type stories with a wide variety of genres, choices that actually affect the outcome, cool character customization, and many are queer friendly. In most of the games you can play as male, female or nonbinary, and your character can usually be gay, straight, bi or ace (its becoming more common to have alloace and alloaro options too!)
There's some variation between games, and the older games can be kinda frustrating with sexuality/gender stuff, but i still appreciate them for the awesome stories. Even tho some of the writing is flawed, its one of the first pieces of media to ever introduce me to the concept of being nonbinary, so Im attached, lmao.
게이PC방 “gay PC room” podcast recommendation - for intermediate/advanced korean learners looking for queer content 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️🌈
Highly recommend this podcast! This is the first time in my life I’ve ever truly enjoyed and looked forward to a podcast (including English ones).
They have four hosts, all of which are gay men in Korea, and they talk about a really wide range of topics with various guests. In season 3 they’ve been focussing on the “ordinary queer” life (some brief episode synopses at the end of the post), but in the previous seasons (which I’ve not listened to yet) it sounds like they talked about more activist stuff.
Their audio quality is excellent + they speak slowly and clearly (compared to other native podcasts lol). Minimal talking over each other. And their voices are nice to listen to! (No seriously the audio quality is amazing for an amateur podcast because they actually use a recording studio.)
The PC is a pun on the regular definition of PC방 lol, initially I thought they were going to be like… talking about computers? But in a gay way? 😂 but it actually stands for politically correct lmao i.e. they’re going to talk about things with as much sensitivity & respect as they can.
Overall, it’s super interesting, funny, and really just struck a chord with me, esp knowing how Korea is… hm… not very progressive 😬
Their main platform is 팟빵, but they’re also on google podcasts & Apple podcasts. Google podcasts is more user friendly but if you enjoy their content pls go support them on 팟빵 as well! (Also if anyone listens to it and wants to chat about it feel free to PM me! I’m dying to talk to find people to talk to about it. I can probably help you out if you don’t understand sth as well although my comprehension isn’t 100% yet)
~ some episode synopses under the cut ~
ep 52 was about korean bear culture (iirc one of the guests was a bear and the other one was a “stan” (i.e. “standard” guy) who likes bears. good discussions abt body image and stuff
ep 47 was a bit of a catching up w/each other type episode and covered things like attending uni during covid, funerals, korean and french holiday customs, something about christian organisations installing christmas trees in public areas and being bullied away last year(?) bc of people making civil complaints? the kdrama D.P. and korean military service in general, Q-Force
ep 46 talked a lot about kpop and the korean wave because the guest was a french dude who's doing a masters or something in korean culture (he mentioned that - idk if in this one or 47 - that he's looking into the differences between how intl and kr fans perceive homoeroticism in kpop, which i thought was cool)
ep 44 was them interviewing an openly gay korean artist http://yangseungwook.com/ (and going off on wild tangents lol)
ep 40 “queer in Taiwan”. Guest was a korean dude who’d been a tour guide in Taiwan for several years, talking about his experience. There was a good helping of politics as well. If you’re so inclined I recommend getting verified on 팟빵 (super quick, just need to email them a photo of your ID) so you can access the 19+ episode because it was hilarious.
ep 39 the guest was a korean currently living in America who’d gotten married last year. they talked about his life (how he met his husband, how the wedding went etc) in part 1 and then more on the broader issue of gay marriage in part 2.
ive been neglecting my inbox so im answering all the asks rn. sorry...if you’ve been waiting for a response.
yes go ahead!! Also ik it is hard to access my FAQ from the app but btw this is in my FAQ its very comprehensive because I get this type of ask a lot LOL. dw it’s not annoying though its easy to answer and I’m glad ppl like my art enough to use it and also care abt crediting!! its in my faq not because i dont like to answer but more so u guys dont need to ask LOL
thank you!! I dont see much infinity train content ever either. when i was making infinity train fanart everyday i felt like i was on an island LOL...
honestly I feel like cahiers are decent with posca because theyre not really absorbent and posca marks tend to sit on the page as opposed to soaking through anyways. umm i wouldnt like... use it to do a whole posca piece or anything but i use poscas just for pops of color in my sketchbook pretty often and it holds up ok. sometimes u can see the shadow of the color through the paper bc its thin but thats mostly it. i took pics of some sketchbook pgs and how the back of the page looks so you can see for yourself ( cw for bakudeku LOL ) ...theres a lot of like.. normal brush pen ink and india ink that penetrates the paper more like even compared to the black posca
thank you!!!! I love drawing assorted cephalopods... their proportions remind me of drawing digimon characters LOL.
not right now u_u I’m busy.... but you can always email me at [email protected]
to check abt it! sometimes i will do commissions even if im busy because it sounds cool LOL...
lol thank you!! idk if i ship(?) them either but its interesting to think about!!! theyre funny characters to bonk together and i feel like most fanart ive seen doesnt address how funny their relationship could be if it were more exploratory i guess
yk that scene is kind of a meme now but it like genuinely still makes me emotional. when colette makes lloyd promise not to tell the others at the end it breaks my heart
yeah here you go
I feel like I’ve probably talked about this before in another ask post but i dont really think about style because its one of those things that artists should try to change depending upon intention, what you’re drawing and what you want to communicate etc. what people often recognize as style are quirks that an artist maintains throughout changing their subject and approach.....ANYWAYS. thats all to say my style probably just comes out of normal stuff like looking at other art and thinking “I want to do that” or trying out different mediums and methods and settling with whatever feels the best LOL. It’s always changing & growing! Because I’m always learning new stuff!
Theres a lot! I really like the scene when daisukes lying awake in bed thinking abt how ken’s heartbeat felt. And the scene when they have a sleepover and ken wakes up first and looks over to daisuke sleeping LOL idk subtle stuff you can read very clearly as like burgeoning queer moments.. theyre recognizable from my own queer childhood and i love that in a kids anime. also at the end of the series when theyre fighting the final boss dude and ken grabs daisukes arm to ask him to jogress but hes shivering and daisuke just turns to say “youre shaking....” and in revenge of diaboromon when ken goads daisuke into endurance running by taunting him about soccer LOL (jock romance).
but one i rly want to mention is theres this youtube video about how ken and daisuke’s honorifics change over the course of the series and how significant it is when they switch over to first name basis and honestly i think about it a lot THEY HAVE GREAT SCENES!! I love ken and daisuke
wow!! thats rad... the sad truth is its just my name with like a shitton of letters taken out. sometimes i abbreviate it even further as mrz and i think to myself haha ... mister z.
So Dana said on a stream that it's too late for a full Season 3 of The Owl House (there are going to be three 44-minute episodes instead of the 20-ish the crew had in mind,) probably because the crew has already started working on the episodes and scheduling and stuff. However, it's not yet too late for us to possibly get a season 4 and beyond. The Owl House is an amazing show with off the charts animation, lovable and relatable characters, and A+ representation, and it deserves more than what Disney is giving it.
So many people of different ages love it (I watch it with my siblings and it's our favorite show and there's a significant age gap between me and the youngest,) and the cast and crew have obviously poured their heart and souls into every episode and it shows, so it would be incredibly sad to see it get only 2 and a half seasons.
On a slightly different note, I have heard some stuff on Twitter about some kind of graphic novel based on TOH, kind of like we got with Gravity Falls. I'll let you know if I hear anything about that.
So, what can we do to get more seasons? It's pretty similar to what we were doing before when we wanted a full season 3, except now that we're 5 episodes into Season 2, we have a little more information as to what's working and what's not.
Snail Mail is still the most effective way to persuade Disney to extend a show. This is partially because people who send letters are slightly more likely to be adults, aka people who can pay for a Disney channel/Disney+ subscription, but also because the amount of letters they get is tiny compared to the amount of notifications they get on social media. The address you send these to is: Disney TVA, 811 Sonora Ave., Glendale, California, USA. For people who can't send letters, someone might be willing to mail letters for you. I only found one person and they stopped doing it before I could submit, but if I find someone else I'll definitely tell you. If you know anyone, drop the link in the notes! Another important note: I've heard that Disney will throw out letters they classify as "hate mail," aka anything accusatory, and while I don't know how accurate this is, we probably shouldn't take chances. Explain how much the show means to you/your friends or family, say that it's a wonderful show, talk about your favorite parts, and maybe throw in some fanart if you're an artist! Also mention the queer representation if you can, because that's the part Disney was most against doing, and if they can see that people think positively of it (aka they can get money from it) they'll likely allow more, either in The Owl House or future projects.
Every time we get a new episode, the show trends to a certain extent on Tumblr, Twitter, or both. Disney execs see this. Keep posting! I might try to organize a trend event like with Infinity Train in between seasons 2 and 3 if that's something people would be interested in.
Stream the show on Disney+. I know we hate supporting the mouse, but if you have access to a Disney+ account this is absolutely one of the best ways to support the show. Season 1 recently became available in Canada, and I heard something about it becoming available in Columbia a few months ago. The first five episodes of season 2 will be available in the US on Disney+ starting July 21. (Separate Tides, Escaping Expulsion, Echoes of the Past, Keeping Up A-Fear-Ances, and Through the Looking Glass Ruins.
Petitions only go so far, but it takes 2 seconds and can't hurt. Here's 2 I've signed, feel free to add more if you know more: Petition for The Owl House Season 4 and Petition I've been spreading for awhile now
Create content! Fanart, fanfics, animatics, et cetera. This helps us trend and gives us less artistically talented fans some much-needed content. I'm considering giving 1 TOH-focused artist a week a special boost in addition to my regular art/fic reblogs but idk if my platform's quite big enough for that.
If you have Twitter, consider giving some crew members a follow. Infinity Train creator Owen Dennis has said that networks will often look at a creator's follower count before greenlighting their show, to see how much support the show would get. The crew is also filled with some very cool people who post very cool things.
Animated TV shows are the most popular they've been in a long time among teen and adult audiences, and TOH has a pretty big fanbase. I believe we can harness that power for good and get some more of the show we all love. I'll be updating whenever I get more information, and feel free to drop any petitions, information, et cetera in the notes. I'll make a separate post later to boost content creators. In the meantime, hoot hoot, let's get a Season 4.
reading every article in my twitter likes part 3
part one part two
took a break to bake some cookies and read a few chapters of Darcie Little Badger's new YA novel, but now it's back to the grind. for those of you playing along at home, I've made it as far back as my likes from early November 2021.
article 41: "Twitter Is The Worst Reader" by noted Fonda Lee on the twitterish tendency to assume the worst of everyone - particularly women, people of color, and other marginalized folks - at all times. of particular note is this scathing observation of twitter mobs demanding apologies from the targets of their harassment: "Never in the history of Twitter have I ever seen an apology be accepted or actually reduce the abuse leveled. One hundred percent of the time, they are dissected for inadequacy and insincerity, held up as proof of the offender’s malicious intent all along, and used as kindling to further fan the flames."
pried from behind the cold and unforgiving paywall of the New York Times it's article 42: "The Mark Zuckerberg Aesthetic" by Amanda Hess. I'm so tired of this utterly banal cyberpunk dystopia. there's not even any neon. and I would rather swallow a live iguana than ever have to interact with Zuck's shitty little metaverse.
article 43: "We Were Too Stupid for Jennifer's Body" by twitter user @/SamFateKeeper. did NOT expect this to talk so much about post-9/11 conservatism but I love the journey I've been taken on.
anyway probably should have mentioned that we've crossed the line back into tweets from October 2021.
article 44: "Thackery Binx is not Trans Masc, Sorry, and Neither is Rufio, or the Concept of Jonathan Taylor Thomas" from Julian K. Jarboe's substack. what a buckwild analysis of... something? characters that transmasc dudes of a certain age tend to project onto? also just a fantastic series of digs at poor useless Thackery Binx.
article 45: "New roots: Black musicians and advocates are forging coalitions outside the system" by Jewly Hight at NPR (our first NPRticle!). incredibly exciting to discover so many of my faves in this article - Amythyst Kiah! Yola!! Lizzie No!!! - discussing the way they've fought for space in a genre so heavily dominated by white artists. also a lot of cool new names to know - go listen to Roberta Lea n o w.
you guys are not gonna believe this but article 46 is ANOTHER entry from Ijeoma Oluo's substack. this time it's "All Of the Outrage You Could Ever Want." it's about "cancel culture," it's about accountability, it's about hierarchies of perceived value, you know the drill.
article 47: back to BuzzFeed for another article by Scaachi Koul, "Emily Ratajkowski’s New Book Tests The Limits Of Self-Awareness." an unsurprising and very fair criticism of Ratajkowski's essay collection, which I am still very much looking forward to reading based on my great appreciation of her September 2020 essay in New York Mag about experiences with an exploitative photographer. I don't need to her to solve the conundrum of benefitting from her objectification; I'm content to pick a stranger's brain.
article 48: speaking New York Mag, we've got "You Can Still Say 'Woman' But You Shouldn't Stop There" by Irin Carmon. I've never in my life seen such an impressive collection of pissbaby justifications for refusing to use inclusive language to talk about reproductive rights. grow up lmao.
article 49: everyone stop sharing that fake Bible verse about how Jesus was transmasc and read this article by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg queering Joseph of the infamous technicolor dreamcoat.
article 50 (can you BELIEVE I've done 50 of these? 40 of which I've read over the course of a single Saturday?): the intriguingly titled "The Politics of 'Jewface'" by Rebecca Pierce at Jewish Currents. an almost undeservedly thoughtful response to some comments that, at a guess, Sarah Silverman did not think about for more than approximately 0.003 seconds before making.
why mcyttwt does not think some (if not most) of the time when it comes to mcc
if i post this in twitter, i’d surely get hated upon but someones gotta have to say this one day. also this does not target to mcytblr!!! this rant is more of towards mcyttwt!!!
remember how mcyt was so chill before all of this shit? how we would watch our favorite minecraters when the community was so small? or how mcc was an event that both ccs and fans can have some fun and entertainment once per month? and that was only last year too. now look at the new generation of mcyt fans and see why some of the old fans dont really associate the new ones.
as a fan of the old gen mcytbers like DanTDM, SkyDoesMinecraft, Aphmau and CaptainSparklez. heck im a fan of pewds’ minecraft series before dream or tommy or ranboo or the new gen of mcyt ccs blew up (a year before them if im correct), and we dont see drama or bad shit all the time when it comes to their content.
now compare that to the new gen where every single fucking day, a bored fan or anti would post shit drama in twitter where some of the people from twitter moved to tumblr just to not get a headache from the batshit craziness mcyttwt brought forth. and it just snapped more when the mccp21 rolled in.
heres some of my takes about the mccp21 issue:
1) “there’s a lack of representation of lgbtq+ in the teams!!!”
heres something to tell yall about that. scott doesnt have a fucking choice. scott smajor has told time and time again, WEEKS before the announcement of teams, that there are certain requirements and limitations to mccp21 thus there will be difficulty in choosing whos entering or whos not. limitations and requirements such as it will be streamed on youtube or how streamers with twitch contracts aren’t allowed to stream or (god bless scott’s good heart) scott not allowing some of the lgbtq+ streamers in joining the special event due to wanting them to have a chance to stream and experience their first mcc (so to those who said that ranboo should have been in mccp21, shut up ‘cuz scott wanted genderman to have fun streaming his first mcc but cant due to ranboo being a well-known twitch streamer). to those who complained that ant and velvet should be in the mcc, stop being selfish and do some actual research on why scott didn’t include them. a simple question to those two’s fans would answer that they can’t make it due to them camping for a week which within those days is the mccp21. they’re having time to themselves, not wasting it on a minecraft championship.
take in the consideration that, oh i dont know, not a lot of lgbtq+ ccs applied to the event? its not a free invite championship (in fact, mcc has always been like that), it’s an applied with the sufficient and correct requirements kind of event. the artist who created the icons from the previous mcc for the teams said that scott let in some of the new ccs in last minutes due to lack of applicants not meeting the requirements thus not having custom artworks for the teams if they want to announce the teams in time.
2.) “there’s no lesbians or trans in the teams >:(((”
sadly enough, there’s not much of the players from the lgbtq+ community but to say there’s no trans people in mccp21 is utterly false. by definition, trans mean denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. other genders such as non-binary, genderfluid, androgyne, bigender, gender expansive all fall under trans. you define yourself with the gender you personally chose and comfy with from you birth gender. so saying there’s no trans in the teams when there are players from the event like eret or sqaishey who are nb and genderfluid respectively are there to also represent not only the sexuality but also the gender identity of others??? like c’mon, please make sense mcyttwt.
also, while its sad to not see lesbians, please know that lgbtq+ doesn’t strictly be defined by lesbians. ffs, lgbtq+ literally means Lesbians Gays Bisexuals Transgenders and Questioning (or Queer but im not too sure about that one) which means that there are still other representatives for the community in the event.
3) “technoblade is in the event?!!! WHAT THE FUCK, HES A HOMOPHOBE/LESBIPHOBE-”
utter clowns, toxic twitter users are. do you really think that scott smajor, an openly gay man, would let a supposed “homophobe/lesbiphobe” in an event that focuses in supporting the lgbtq+ community? do you hear yourself? do you even do research where the joke he made was when he was the same age as me and it was based on a historical article back in WW2? or how he passionately supports the community especially the lesbians because a lesbian couple complimented him to which kickstart his confidence? the man willingly went to this mcc event despite being flamed a lot in twitter because he (and everyone) knows that his chat, his fans and supporters, are literal millionaires. if you saw a stream from foolish where he auctioned canonical characters for funs, a techno fan donated thousand of dollars to get technoblade, and that’s only one fan, now imagine a hundreds of thousands of them.
like it or not, technoblade has always been open about his support to the community, especially that majority of his fanbase are from the same community that mcyttwt allegedly swore that technoblade hates.
4) “since this mccp21 is pointless because theres no dteam, quackity, punz or (insert cc name), let’s have a watch party of the previous mccs to spite mccp21!!!” “let’s hope (insert cc name) stream on the 26th so mccp21 doesnt have the same amount of viewership like before!!!” “where are (insert cc name)??? gosh, this mcc is so boring without them!!!”
shut up shut up shut up shut up shut the actual fuck up. are you really seriously hearing yourself? are you willing and proudly boycotting a once in a year special event that is seriously needed by the lgbtq+ community? are you that cruel and selfish to sacrifice a project that helped tons of people just for your sick entertainment and desires? are you that evil to stop others from enjoying and donating to the trevor project? are you that inconsiderate of other ccs that aren’t part of dsmp and calling them boring? and for what? because your favorite cishet streamer isn’t there? oh booofuckinghoo! you’re so fucking petty to even post about this kind of tweets in public.
(edit: did yall honestly thought that without your favorite streamers that the mcc is not worth watching because they aren't there? well let me tell you, im a ranboo fan. ive watched him when he first entered the dsmp and watched him spinning in his unicorn chair for 5 minutes. the boo community waited for so many months for genderman to join mcc yet we didn't even do that kind of disgusting action and behavior every time he isn't in mcc. 8 months. that's how long ive watched him. ive waited 8 months for him to be in the event yet i still watch other povs like tommy's, puffy's, wilbur's, and etc., because it's fun and entertaining to watch them despite the beloved not participating in the games.
if you're that spoiled to not even watch mcc because (insert cc whose not part of mccp21 name here) isn't part of the roster then you most likely have a one dimensional humor because there will always be someone more funny and entertaining than them. i like dsmp don't get me wrong, but i found parrot's school smp funnier than dsmp yet you don't see me insulting both series, do you? learn to keep yourself if you're calling ccs as boring or dull or not entertaining enough due to not having the same big platform as the dsmp members.)
you don’t deserve to call yourself a fan if you’re doing this kinds of actions. in fact, people like you should be kicked out from the mcyt community because your kind of people are the reason why we look so bad from the outside. your toxic and self-entitled to these content creators are the reason why famous ccs like sbi, purpled, tubbo and almost ranboo left twitter/implied strict rules to their subtwts. you drove out an entire friend group that tons of fans found comfort in from the platform and you still have the audacity to this kind of shit? honestly, just leave before you give me a headache.
what im sayin’ is that mcyttwt is one of the worst, if not THE worst, subtwts out of the other subtwts in twitter. having no actual research or evidences or spreading false information is common in twitter where you would have to take what they said with a micro size grain of salt. mcyttwt already ruined the fun and spirit of mcc during its comeback in mcc14 due to the glitch and beta testing shit (ey i still stand for the ranboo beta testing but i know that will be worthless since theres hints of him joining soon in mcc15). if you’re still in mcyttwt, i suggest to get out of there while you still can. we’ll never know if there’s a bigger shitstorm than this in the mcyttwt that may happen in the future.
edit! hi bella again, ive been told by a polite and cool user that not all people from mcyttwt are toxic and/or cruel. im going to clear something up here. ive written this during the heat of the announcement of mccp21 teams. so there's a lot of complains and/or entitled people in the app (you can even see it in my previous post too if you want evidences!) that gave off mostly negative vibes towards the event.
ive seen the cool ones who actually took the consideration for scott's side and the criticism of the lack of representation of other communities within the lgbtq+ umbrella (ive even share some parts of it above so im also a bit upset to the lack of numbers in the community). and some of them are correct about recruiting lgbtq+ creators in youtube but! like i said, it's an applied event and not invitational one, so its up to that content creator if they want to join or not. the amount of cishet in the roster are just those who want to support the cause and/or backups/stand-ins in case scott and noxcrew can't find enough ccs in time!
just wanna clear this up because mcyttwt these days are covered by really cringe fans (ive noticed a pattern of them mostly new ones but there are still awesome new fans (like my irl friend who just joined this year) within the community) that covered the good ones where they enjoy, have fun and share some neat ideas and thoughts to the community within the platform!
when i said to get out of the mcyttwt while you still can, i meant to get out of there to avoid drama (that is really small contrast those who really need to address the issue) and take a break from it. it's still your choice if you want to be surround by it or not or if you want to come back to the app. all im saying is to buckle up for the shitstorm cuz this is not the last time that the twitter side of mcyt will cause negativity to the community.
An interview with Måneskin: “It's not about out bodies, it's about our music”
Heyo, I'm back with another translation. This time the article is from the German Rolling Stone website who met with Måneskin after their TikTok performance at the Schwuz, Berlin, and posted the interview yesterday. Again there were some interesting questions asked (and the pictures they added to the article are quite nice, though severely lacking some Ethan content, but check it out!).
Again, I hope that no one has already gone through the effort and translated it or is currently working on a translation. Also this is an official invitation, if you stumble across any articles or video interviews in German that you would like to have translated just message me and I'll get to it! (or if you just wanna chat about Måneskin, my inbox is always open :))
Have a great day everyone!
Full article under the cut.
An interview with Måneskin: “It's not about out bodies, it's about our music”
July 6, 2021
Måneskin are just what this generation has been missing. Passionate, corny, and full-on honest. In an interview with Rolling Stones, the ESC winners explain to us why they would never work in a normal job and why the hype for their appearance is sometimes going too far.
Damiano, Victoria, Thomas and Ethan are entering the nearly deserted dance hall, before they wait on stage in a red-blue spotlight. They are wearing glittering fish net tops, black tape across their nipples, leather pants, heels and make up. The camera men who are filming in portrait format (9:16) suitable for TikTok are whirling up the haze of the fog machine.
Måneskin are [in] Berlin to give a TikTok concert. A TikTok livestream of this scale has not been done often – tension is in the air. The four Italians don't know at this point that due to the stream the few people present are not allowed to clap or cheer. In complete silence and with slight uncertainty the four are crossing Neukölln's club Schwuz. A few puzzled glances are exchanged. Finally, Måneskin are striking the first chord.
Then the rich sound of Ethan's bass drum is tearing through the silence. It's almost as if someone has flicked a switch somewhere. There it is, the rock star presence that is hovering over everything they do, with an ounce of arrogance (in the best sense of the word). Singer Damiano is dancing lasciviously on his heels, and during an especially ecstatic solo guitarist Thomas is throwing himself down on the floor in a way it can only be done by a passionate 20-year-old musician who had never had to worry about the looming doom of an artificial knee joint [for 'passionate' the interview is using the term 'besessen' which means 'possessed', and although I think it's rather supposed to describe the way Thomas is 'possessed / obsessed' with the music, thus passionate for the music, you never know if they didn't mean to say that the way he dances looks 'possessed' … I mean, they might be on to something here ;)]. Around half an hour and about 120 decibel later, Damiano says their goodbyes with an almost shy-sounding “Okay, bye.” After the performance, we do our interview in the Schwuz.
Rolling Stone: It was a little bit weird, right, when you went on stage today?
Damiano: Yeah, that was really strange (laughs). They only told us after the performance that the audience was instructed to stay silent for the stream.
Vic: But at least they weren't silent because we were shit (all laughing). We are slowly getting used to playing without a live audience. I mean we are doing this now for more than a year.
RS: What do you think about these new kinds of concerts such as the TikTok livestream today?
Damiano: Well, at the moment it is the only option to perform anyway, so it's alright. But of course you cannot compare this to a proper concert.
Thomas: But it's pretty cool that so many people can experience our concert live.
Vic: Also we're gonna start touring again soon. Right now we are arranging some festival and gigs. In December we will be touring Italy and afterwards we are planning to go on tour through Europe. But we don't have anything fixed yet, there is just a lot going on at the moment.
“A lot going on”. Quite an understatement considering the recent journey Måneskin has made through the past weeks after their ESC win. Their singles “Beggin'” and “I Wanna Be Your Slave” went through the roof (also thanks to Social Media) and are currently dominating the international charts – lately they were also number one in Germany. There is barely a radio station that isn't playing the band on heavy rotation [would love to know what stations they listen to, have never heard Måneskin played in German radio tbh :( ], and everyone opening Instagram or TikTok these days is flooded by Måneskin content. Every second a new fanpage with the name of 'maneskin_obsession' or 'damianos_slut' is springing up like a (virtual) mushroom. It sounds like a cliche, but Damiano, Vic, Thomas and Ethan became international stars over night.
“Of course it's nice to get compliments. But sometimes they definitely cross a line.” – Damiano David
RS: How has your life as a band changed since your win at the ESC in Rotterdam?
Vic: I think we don't even notice a lot of what's happening. Right after the ESC we went to a studio in the countryside where we made music the whole day long. So at first we didn't realise that so many things were happening all around us – and that we had so many new fans. We're just now beginning to learn what's going on. We were at Sony yesterday, there were so many fans waiting for us. That was crazy.
RS: A large part of the attention you are getting now is about your outer appearance, your style, your attractiveness. Is that getting a little too much sometimes?
Damiano: Of course it's nice to get compliments (laughs). But sometimes they definitely cross a line. Especially when we just talk about our music or about a social or political topic that we care about. In those moments it's just completely inappropriate to reduce us to our appearance. Sure – when I'm posting a half-naked picture of myself on Instagram I know that I will get these kind of comments. And then it's totally fine, I mean in the end I'm posting the picture to show myself. But sometimes it's not the right place for it.
RS: And also you should be allowed to wear what you want without being sexualised, right?
Vic: Yes, absolutely. We are wearing these outfits because we feel good in them, not to put the focus on our bodies. And in general it shouldn't always only be about how you dress. We are musicians – so first and foremost it should be about our music. But I think it will still be a long way until we will reach that point.
“That the boys are wearing make up does not tell you what gender they are attracted to. Those things should never be equated with each other.” – Victoria De Angelis
RS: But still you are sending a message with your style against stereotypical gender roles. I guess it's also not only coincidence that we are in the Schwuz today, which is normally a party location and safe space for the LGBTQ community.
Vic: Yes, that is all part of the positive message that we try to send. We want to give our audience the feeling that they are free. Free to wear whatever they want to wear, be how they want to be and love whom they want to love. It's unbelievable that there is still so much intolerance in our times. That has always been really important to us so we try to talk about these topics. We also believe that the narrow-mindedness of society is an educational problem. When you grow up with people all around you telling you how you should be, you will never feel completely free. The more people are talking about it, the sooner things will change.
RS: Some artists who are advocating for these topics are accused of 'queerbaiting', that they are only pretending to be a certain way to gain more support from the queer community. Have you also been faced with those allegations?
Vic: Yes, a few times. But of course we never pretended to be anything. Some people accuse of us queerbaiting because we look and act the way we do. But that's flawed thinking. We don't believe that clothes are connected to a person's sexuality. That the boys are wearing make up does not tell you what gender they are attracted to. Those two things should never be equated with each other.
RS: This courage for free self expression that you are conveying is mainly lived by our (young) generation through Instagram and the like. What is your relationship to social media?
Damiano: For me it was almost scary at first. The more we grew, the more people were trying to twist all of my words. But over time you start to understand that with more fame you also get more criticism. The happier you look the more hate you will get. It's not only like that for celebrities. If you are brave enough to show the things that make you happy there will always be people that support you, but they are also those that envy you. Of course, this should never lead anyone to not express themselves openly but that's easier said than done.
Vic: We are also trying not to spend too much time on social media. In the end we just try to be honest with our fans and to avoid negativity.
[caption under the picture of Damiano: 'Is already being compared to icons such as David Bowie']
It's actually surprising how little power a win at the ESC holds in most cases. Almost 200 million people are watching this shining spectacle every year – and still, a few months afterwards it is hard to remember who those people were that got covered in confetti during the award ceremony. It's the well-known curse of a casting show that rests on the winning bands. When just next year a new sensation will come to marvel at, how much impact does a win have then? There are exceptions of course, like Lena who is until this day, 10 years after her win in Oslo, a part of the more famous music scene of German pop music. With their charisma, their unusual sound at least for our modern standards, and their contemporary message Måneskin could become such an exception, too.
It's likely also helpful that the band already had a standing in the Italian music scene prior to their ESC participation. Their first album 'Il ballo della vita' already achieved platinum in 2018, three years prior to Sanremo and the ESC. And then there is also the long way that led the four schoolmates to this point that helped them gain the necessary persistence. Because contrary to what some people might want to believe Måneskin are not a phenomenon that has just been deliberately bred to be this way by the entertainment industry for Eurovision.
“I have worked [in a 'normal' job] for a whole month in my entire life – it didn't really end well.” – Damiano David
RS: You were all raised in Rome, the capital of the catholic church. What was it like to start as a young progressive band in such a conservative environment?
Damiano: In the beginning, when we started as buskers, no one gave a damn about us anyways (all laughing). But of course … Once we got a bit bigger there were a few people who had a problem with us. For example when we went to Sanremo, there were quite many people who thought that the way we looked and acted we shouldn't be allowed to represent Italy. They didn't even want to listen to our music first.
Vic: Especially when it comes to appearance and sexuality, Italy is a little more backward than other countries. The church probably also has an influence there. They are often quite conservative of course, so many people grew up with such a [conservative] mindset.
RS: You once said that the song 'In Nome Del Padre' is an answer to exactly those people. What does the song mean to you?
Damiano: Back in the beginning [of our career] we had to deal with a lot of problems. They didn't want to let us play in clubs because we would take too much space as a band or because they didn't like our (fashion) style or because they didn't want to pay us. Italy isn't a good place for bands. Our musical style was also criticised a lot. Many people were telling us: Don't do that [rock music], you won't get popular with that in Italy, you will never achieve anything with it. Of course those comments were hurtful but they were also a good reason for us to continue with what we did. And we turned our sadness into anger. With that song we wanted to tell those people from back then: Fuck off and look at us, we did it!
RS: Did you ever consider working in a nine-to-five job and live a 'normal' life?
Damiano: Nah, not really. For one month in my life I worked [in a 'normal' job] – it didn't end well (all laughing).
Vic: We all made music since we were kids. It's a huge part of us, that we couldn't just ignore. And the most important thing is that you do something that makes you happy. At least that's what we believe. So we started from a young age to put all our time and energy into music.
Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Ever since we were in school together we always made music. That has always been our main focus and it is until today. We play and play and play because it is the only thing that …
Ethan: … we live for.
Damiano: Music has also something very therapeutic for us. Even when we are in a bad mood or fight with each other – yeah, that happens, too – then all of that is gone the moment we enter the stage. Maybe that's the beautiful thing about music – that it allows you to forget everything else. You're just standing on stage, having fun with your friends.
From most bands you wouldn't buy such a corny love letter to music. Mostly it just sounds like an empty phrase, a well-practiced quotable line. But when there is something that defines Måneskin and that becomes more and more evident during our conversation it's their uncompromising honesty. The four of them are definitely not lacking a sense of humour but they take their music very seriously. Which should not be taken for granted in a generation that has mainly produced sarcastic cloud rappers and has made cynical twitter comedy a national sport. And maybe Måneskin are exactly what this generation was lacking all along.
Still, the four musicians, all in the age of 20 to 22, are also prone to the constant need for self-expression, that has become an intrinsic part of today's life. This does not only reflect in the outfits of the band (always 'on fleek') and their Instagram profiles, but also in their lyrics. Their latest record 'Teatra D'Ira – Vol. 1' shows a clear theme: The album is an ode to individuality, accentuated by fast and hard sounds.
Sometimes this message fitting for a Disney movie [really? guess I have been watching the wrong Disney movies my whole life …] is wrapped in a contrasting loud and forceful packaging, but never so much that it becomes inauthentic or self-caricaturing [note: I'm honestly not entirely sure what they wanted to say with this sentence since it uses a lot of rhetorical devices that could be interpreted in different ways, but I'd say this sounds the most plausible]. And in the end, the thing that makes Måneskin so interesting is their unification of the spirit of this time – between TikTok hedonism and an omnipresent political statement – with the music of past generations.
“When you are twenty, you start to think about what the future will hold.” – Damiano David
RS: Your musical style is often described as classical 70s rock, but in fact there are many different influences in your music. Sometimes you groove almost into funk, sometimes it's more rapping than singing. How did this mixture come to be?
Thomas: It's just that we all have our own individual influences and then we meet somewhere in the middle. And we always try to stay open for experiments.
Ethan: Yes, we are very experimental in our song writing process.
Vic: We also don't want to limit ourselves to what is regarded as typical rock music. If rap fits better at some point then we just add that in. It just happens naturally without us thinking too much about it.
RS: So why was it still rock music in the end?
Vic: Because it's the style that we feel most represented by. But actually we just play the music that we enjoy playing. That's really important to us so that we can show something real on stage. We don't want to pretend to be something that we aren't or mock those people that really enjoy our music. You should always be proud of what you're doing and never fake anything just to sell more records.
RS: Is there something like an Italian rock music scene?
Vic: There are quite a lot of bands – but the most of them are much older than us or they are more going in the direction Indie rock. There isn't really a young rock scene, which we think is a pity. But ever since we got more famous people are telling us that they started listening to rock music because of us or that they bought their first guitar and such. That's incredibly nice!
RS: So you're saying that you also want to show this style of music to a younger generation. And you capture this contrast quite well in the song 'Vent'anni', which is a typical rock ballad but lyrically portrays the thoughts of today's youth. Where did the motivation come from to write that song?
Damiano: With the song I wanted to show that I'm just a normal guy, a really typical 20-year-old. I experience the same things that other people in my age are experiencing, I'm just doing another job than them. Also I wanted to describe this age as a whole because I think it's a really special age. At 20 you start to think about what the future will hold. I think it's one of the most important stages of your life. Since we (the four of us) are all in the same age, I then started to mix our experiences together. In the end the song shows what it means to us to be 20. There is a lot of good things – you are quite carefree and are looking at life enthusiastically. But on the other hand you're too young to do certain things and too old to do others. Some people are treating you like a full-grown adult, but …
Vic: … not entirely.
Damiano: Exactly. It can get pretty frustrating at times. We wanted to show our audience: Hey, we're also just 20 years old, and we're going through the same things as you. We understand you.
RS: Except that you are the ones who are becoming a world-wide phenomenon right now. How do you want to maintain this honesty?
Damiano: I think that we could just reach this point because we have always been authentic – for better or for worse. Also we are just trying to have fun with what we're doing together. That's something special that we don't want to lose. In the end we're just four friends who started to live their dream. It's actually pretty simple. Of course – we go on stage, we get a lot of attention, we give interviews – but when we come back home we're just four friends.
As someone in closed species who has also gotten a lot of hate over misunderstandings or people taking things out of context. How do you handle it so well? How do you cope?
Aw man, that really sucks. First off I'm so sorry anon! Just know it is a very normal and human experience to rub other humans the wrong way. We all have a lot of different ideas and come from all different walks of life! It's pretty incredible how much information each individual has at the tips of their fingers and when we bring this information together we get an entire world of info! So that's usually my first thought - not to be negative with people who disagree with me. But to try and understand where they themselves are coming from even if I don't agree with it. It really helps broaden your own scope of information.
At first I did not handle it well. A lot of people who claimed to be my friends online just ghosted me / blocked me without a single check in or asking me what's going on privately. That to me personally hurt the most, all these kind peers who I thought I had so much in common with! These people who wanted to meet me IRL and invited me into their homes. I was hurt and disgusted with these peers. It's hard to see people you liked (parasocially loved?) choose silence and prejudice.
Just know it's okay to vent. It's okay to cry about it. You're hurt, you're actively being hurt. It's okay to feel it. But don't let yourself stew in only that. It's okay to grieve what is lost, but trust me. It's not the end. There will always be more people. New friends. New artists to enjoy and look up too. There is always more OUT THERE. So don't cry in your corner the whole time and actively go looking for cool new stuff to engage in!
For me personally I like to read into media discussion. Especially when it comes to taboo subjects and dark fiction! It's been an incredible learning journey over the past couple years the more I read into it and how it relates to queer people and their erasure from public society. So I like to keep talking about it and reading about it. A lot of that content can be easily found with anti/proship discourse.
Taking time to look into why I like dark fiction, why others like dark fiction? Just amazing experience that has really helped me understand the world around me a little better. So for me it was to research my own opinions and to see if I still stood by them after all the call outs/hate mail. GUESS WHAT I LEARNED? I DO STAND BY MY OPINIONS WOO! So having that self confidence from research really helps when I felt so uncertain before.
Last good chunk of advice - Anon hate / hate mail.
Getting anon mail is the exact same as getting unsolicited art crit. If this is not someone you personally would go to and ask for help/advice like a mentor, teacher, or peer.... Well that information means nothing to you!
If someone is making the effort to send you anon hate mail / crit mail, it means jack shit. As soon as you remove your name and context from the message it literally is a scrap of trash rolling around in the wind. There is literally no value in it. You only want to take legit talks from people you know and trust. People who will talk to you face to face (username to username?) and actually want to talk to you the person to see what's going on? Those people are worth talking too. Even if they are critiquing you or arguing with you. Usually they will have some merit in your life that will make you stop and consider things around you. Those are people to treasure! Friends who aren't afraid to just talk to you!
So yeah, the minute anyone checks "anon" for hate mail or critique. Worthless. Absolutely worthless. You delete the messages, block if needed, or if you're like me you like to openly mock and laugh them? That's fine too. Just don't let your brain roll in the gutters too much, you gotta keep up with stuff you actually want to be doing and creating!
FIND PEOPLE WHO ARE CHILL AND ACTUALLY TALK TO YOU~
People who ghost you/block you over a simple misunderstanding? Fuck'em. I am dead serious. If that person doesn't think it's worth talking to you about misunderstanding? They are not worth chasing. Write them off and look forward to what new adventures and friends await you! THEY ARE OUT THERE! THERE ARE SO MANY!
(CREDIT TO THE LOVELY @sindirimba FOR THE GRAPHIC)
Do you love The Old Guard but find yourself lost in the morass of NicoJoe content?
Do you crave simple non-ship based gen?
Do you really just want to read about Andy and Quynh recounting wild things from sometime before the birth of christ and getting razzed to hell and back by all the youngins???
Do you just wanna write a fix-it fic for the Noriko TTT comic?
Do you just want to see more Lykon content because he’s adorable and he’s RIGHT. THERE.!!!
Do you despair of the fact that Nile Freeman is the main character but has the least works tagged in the fandom?
THEN THIS IS THE CHALLENGE/FICATHON/FIC COLLECTION FOR YOU
For the month of July, The BoN Group chat is sponsoring/organizing an ‘Ohana-thon!!! Or for the angry bitter cockroach people among us, a Kaysonova Free Month!
Because ‘Ohana means family and, in the glorious words of our Favorite Baby Immortal, family means...
(gif by @inejsghafaa)
In the beginning, we were rather pissy and in our feelings because TOG fandom is buried up to the eyeballs with Kaysonova fic and while they are a lovely pair, the sheer volume of attention fandom gives them is drowning out the other characters. As tempers cooled, the BoN Group chat realized that we had a golden opportunity staring us in the face… Why not spend July creating and enjoying a wealth of TeamFic in celebration of the 1 year release of the movie!
The Old Guard gained SO MUCH fandom love for many reasons, not just Immortal Gays, but Immortal Wives, A Black woman centralized and cared for in her narrative, A Queer Man of Color- sans the cultural baggage and tropes that are usually attached, The first Black female director of a comic book movie! Charlize Theron with an axe! Charlize Theron drinking vodka in a tank top! The list goes on for days… but the point is the same. We can make a space for fans to love on all the parts of the movie, not just one.
The primary goal here is to genuinely celebrate the togetherness that TOG is about because we (and they) are not meant to be alone. As the comics say at the beginning of each issue: So with that in mind, let’s make some fanworks that reflect that! And then next time you want to read something new, but you can’t find anything on AO3 except 100 new Nicky/Joe AU’s and PWP’s, hopefully you can turn to this collection and see the kind of found family escapism you’re craving.
On July 31st, those of us who want to read stories that aren’t Kaysonova will all go back to digging through mountains of content for nuggets of gen and other ships, but until then we can spend the next 30 days with the entire team, together.
(gif from @theoldguardsource)
Low on inspiration???
Try this ridiculous tv episode title bingo!-https://mfbc.us/m/u9ses3z
And basic word prompt bingo for the folks who like the classics-https://mfbc.us/m/ve7nhw5
Rules and FAQ for the collection are under the cut!
1. ‘Ohana-thon is about the team, so all members of the team should be present.
Obviously if you choose to create something set 100 years in the future in movie canon, Andy might be dead so that caveat exists. But Andy’s presence would surely extend beyond her (un)natural lifespan, so consider that angle...
However, if you choose to work in the past, that doesn’t mean Nile should be excluded by rote. This is about the found family that we came to know and love in TOG and Nile is a part of that! Maybe Andy indulges Nile’s desire to learn more about art history and ends up telling her stories about various configurations of the team and the artists they knew. Maybe Quynh and Nile get to know each other by trading stories about the dumb shit they’ve watched their brothers get up to. Maybe Nile gets picked up by the Doctor and dropped into various adventures with her future family members across time!
“But you mentioned Lykon!! How are he and Nile supposed to be part of the same anything!?!?!” That is between you and your own creative muses. That being said adding Lykon is definitely a bonus action here XD. All of the literary devices above can be used to bring Lykon into the story too! If you’re the kind of person who likes to give yourself a challenge then this should be right up your alley
As much as this is about the comics/movie canon and the fund family dynamic that it introduces- if you have an idea that says, “fuck canon I wanna write about 7 people doing cool found family shit together”, then Fuck Yeah- Fuck Canon! ‘Ohana comes first in ‘Ohana-thon
2. As an overall Idea, this collection is not about the romantic relationships between any of the team mates, but of course that doesn’t mean that romance is forbidden, that being said-
Apart from works that view the team through a polyamorous lens, romantic dynamics should not be the driving plot.
If your work center’s around a ship it cannot be or involve Kaysonova
If there is porn it cannot focus on Kaysonova- If you really wanna make something that involves Nicky and Joe fucking, perhaps consider the orgiastic possibilities of 6/7 ridiculously attractive people living in close quarters for eternity
SERIOUSLY LOOK AT HOW AGRESSIVELY BEAUTIFUL THESE PEOPLE ALL ARE. IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING (@sindirimba once again)
None of the works should center around Kaysonova as a pair, as a focal relationship, point of view, etc.
It feels unpleasant to spell it out so plainly, but the entire idea for this sprung from a desire to create more fic about the team and less about the pairing of Joe and Nicky.
3. There are no word limits, but all written works would ideally crack the 2k words mark.
4. Previously published works can be added to the collection after July 31st. We’ll prioritize the new upfront but in time it would be FANTASTIC for this to truly become an archive/rec list/resource for all of the gen/found family fic the fandom has to offer.
Does this mean that If I ship Joe/Nicky I can't participate?
Nope! We dont give a fuck who you ship! You can love Nicky and Joe and their thousand year love with all your heart (many of us organizing this event do too!), you just can’t focus on them if you want to use the tag/add to the collection, because the point of the event is to do a little equalizing of the fandom love for all of these characters. Sometimes we wanna read something different, and this would be a great time to expand your views and HCs about the rest of the team!
Does this mean Nicky and Joe cant be in my works at all?
Nope! Everyone in the team should get some space to shine! Take your cues from the movie and comics themselves. Nicky and Joe are only ⅓ of the team, so they shouldn't be the central part of your work. The point of this fest is to enjoy the team dynamic that makes the movie so good in the first place.
This event is sponsored/organized by the Book of Nile group chat. Does my work have to contain Book of Nile as a ship?
Nope! If you’re inspired to write Booker and Nile in a romantic relationship, that’s awesome! If you want to write either of these characters shipped with someone else? Go for it! Want to focus on Andy and Quynh and Lykon instead? Absolutely do it! Shipping is the lowest item on the totem pole here- We just want to encourage more team/family fic!
Can I just see ALL THE PROMPTS???
YUP! You beautiful crazy diamond, click this link Right Here!
With those ideas in mind GO FORTH AND CREATE!!!!!
(Fingers crossed we end up with WAY MORE than two!)
For Vampire Chris! What if he and Jake went to a museum and came across some of Tooley's paintings? And Chris has a panic attack! We would finally get some Jake comfort. And maybe Chris would reveal more horrible things that Tooley had done to him.
CW: Discussion of death, blood, vampire whumpee, caretaker and whumpee
The sun sets early in the winter, and it's the only reason they can make this work.
Chris is barely awake even so, sipping from a coffee cup Jake filled with the contents of one of his blood packs, hoping he doesn't trip and spill and lead to Jake having some very awkward, panicked explanations to make to anyone nearby.
He'd slept in the truck Jake borrowed from Nat most of the way over here, curled in the passenger seat. He looks for all the world like any high schooler who stayed up too late the night before, dragged out by his family, forced to go learn when all he wants is rest.
Chris is draped in a hooded sweatshirt pulled on over his head, hair mussed from sleeping in the closet in the little nest-bed he made for himself in there. It sticks out like stray from beneath the hood he's pulled up, coppery strands occasionally covering his eyes and making him shove them out of the way with a snort that has no right to be as adorable as it is, considering the monster who makes the sound.
Not a monster, no. Not really.
Or his monster, anyway, the same way his mother is his mother. Jake is starting to understand the little vampire - more than three times his own age - has chosen him for family now.
The sweater he wears is kind of a joke, actually. Jake bought it weeks ago from a website that puts the covers of books on clothes, and it's an old cover image from Dracula.
Jake thought it was funny, anyway. Nat was less amused. Chris only smiled and said something about being happy the hairy palms thing isn't true.
The air is chilly, and Jake shivers a little as they head in from the parking lot across a small sidewalk next to a park and toward the museum itself, but of course Chris doesn't even notice. He seems to be enjoying it, the way it blows around his hair as they make their way slowly up the steps and past the row of Grecian-style columns that mark the entrance.
Jake has to visit for one of his classes, an extra-credit something-or-other, and Chris had asked to go along with him.
Jake had been hesitant, but seeing the way the vampire's green eyes sparkle as he moves around in public like any other person, well... he feels like he made the right choice to bring him along now.
"Finish up your drink, you can't take anything in once we pay and get past the lobby," Jake says, and Chris nods, gulping the last of the blood as fast as he can as they push through wide double-doors. Jake tries not to imagine how it must feel, swallowing thick congealing cooled blood. Someone's life, someone's heartbeat, down your throat...
Really, is he that much different? Jake has eaten a dozen cows' worth of beef in his life.
Does Chris see them all as just livestock? He doesn't act like it, but then, there are people who treat pigs or cows like pets and not like food...
His stomach flips a little and he forces himself to look around, up at the chandelier at the high ceiling, the heavy wooden desk they have to walk to off to the side to get their tickets. To stop trying to understand if Chris is a sort of stray they've adopted, or if he's a higher-level predator living with prey.
Once Chris drops the cup into a trash can, Jake throwing a couple wadded-up tissues on top so no one can accidentally see the smear of red around the edge of the lid, they buy their tickets, and wind their way through and past the little velvet ropes that mark off the entrance.
The museum opens before them into a grand hall, with paintings the size of two-story buildings on either side, permanent installations in the museum. Commissioned for its opening, sometime back in the 70's.
Jake picks up a brochure so they know which way to go - LGBTQ+ Art in Pre-War America is the temporary exhibit he's here to see, traveling work that is usually housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
"Oh, nice, it's on the first floor. Looks like you go through a couple of 'specialty' rooms, just showing off stuff from the in-house collection. Sounds cool, right?"
Chris, looking from side to side at the gigantic paintings that hang on the walls in the opening hall, hums softly, a tuneless constant sound. He doesn't answer Jake's question. He hums often, and Jake barely notices any longer, but there's something edged to it, now. As if just being around the paintings is making him nervous.
"Okay, little man, let's go over here." He touches Chris's arm, lightly, through the thick fabric of his sweater. The vampire looks over at him, smiling with his lips pressed together to hide his teeth from any potential prying eyes.
He follows easily, but he sticks closer to Jake than he normally does, and his eyes are constantly roving. They move through an exhibit of Pre-Colombian pottery first, on their way to the room in the back where the temporary showcase is.
Jake watches Chris's fingers twitch with the urge to touch, to learn by feeling the bumps and ridges in the ancient clay, and how he holds back as best he can. His urge to lift the clear protective plastic boxes right off the pottery so he can get at it is nearly physically painful.
Jake pretends not to see it when Chris's fingers trail along a column, settling for the white-painted rectangle the pottery is balanced on, taking in the rough texture smoothed by the matte paint.
"Did you ever meet anyone like you that was old enough to have made stuff like this?" Jake asks, stopping in front of a water jug in the shape of a man playing a flute with a dog at his feet. The dog wears a carved smile marked with disturbingly human-looking teeth. The paint it must have been covered in is worn by time, leaving the reddish-brown of the clay behind, with the faintest streaks of white still in the crevices.
"No," Chris replies, tilting his head, making direct eye contact with the statue in a way he never quite can do with any real person. Not comfortably, anyway. Jake has seen him force it and shudder afterwards, overwhelmed. When he'd asked about it, Chris had said he never liked looking at anyone's eyes, even before, when he was alive. It's too much, was all he would say. It's always too much. "None, um, none of us live that long."
"Why not?" They're alone in the room. It's the only reason Jake feels safe asking.
Chris's tongue runs over the sharpening bumps of his growing-in fangs, pressing against them, easing the itch and the ache of their return. After a second, he pulls a plastic bat on a cord from inside his sweater and puts the bat into his mouth, chewing on it idly, jaw working. "I, I, I don't know. That's just what what what my, my, my pack told me."
"I thought vampires lived in covens."
"No." Chris doesn't elaborate on this one. He can be weirdly secretive about how he lived before he came to Nat's, before he was pulled out of a basement, a living drug for a wealthy asshole.
Secretive, or just forgetting whatever wasn't essential.
He moves away to another pedestal, a shard broken off of a larger vessel, marked with a deep white and intense black angular design. He hums again, and Jake takes the hint and leaves him alone.
They spend several more minutes looking over the pottery before they head through a second room full of what must just be the favorite pieces of museum employees, as there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason, and each little card with the name of the piece and its maker has a paper next to it with a note on why each employee loves this piece in particular. Chris lingers around older things, a woven tapestry from medieval England, landscapes from the 19th century. He stares for a while at a painting called The Country Path by Joseph Poole Addy, a pale watercolor of winter trees with bare branches breaking the line of sky and a woman bundled in a coat carrying a basket down an equally colorless road.
Chris's humming getting louder, and he rocks a little, forward and back, his eyes moving again and again through the lines of the painting.
Jake wonders what it is about this one specifically that catches Chris like that, and when the vampire finally moves on he checks the employee's statement. Joseph Poole Addy, Irish painter in the 19th and 20th centuries, blah blah, something something countryside... Jake frowns, and glances over at Chris, who isn't looking back. He's moved on to something else.
Jake decides to ask him later.
They make it to the exhibit they're here to see, and Jake whistles under his breath as he enters. There are vibrant, saturated paintings lining the walls, a couple of large sculptures on the floor that still are taller than he is, a few smaller ones on pedestals. The work is mostly figurative, although there's some early abstraction there, a hint of the contemporary push to take even figurative work out of simply being an echo of a real life thing.
Chris looks at a sculpture, his head cocked so far to the side it looks almost birdlike, not quite human. Jake thinks his own neck would ache for days if he tried to do that. "Must've been, um, later," He mumbles to himself.
Jake files that away in his mental list of things to talk to Chris about later.
He walks slowly along the line of paintings. The whole point of being here is that he's supposed to pick a specific piece and write a short essay about it and the artist who made it, prove he saw it in person.
The class itself is about how to encourage better outcomes for healthcare in marginalized populations - but if she's giving out extra-credit for looking at queer art, well, Jake is happy to spend an hour in a museum.
After his dismal performance on the last test, he could use whatever credit he can get. Besides, the exhibit is actually kind of cool with that in mind. Every one of these artists was in some way outside of the sort of het ideal, and Jake smiles a little as he catches the heaviness of a look between two men seated across a table from one another, looks over the clasped hands of women, sitting with everything from shoulder to hip touching, who are listed as 'friends visiting the riverbank'.
Art that celebrates, hidden in plain sight. Art that rebels by sliding details in under the surface where only those looking for them will find them.
Each piece has another little paper, although this just has details about the artist and their work, what they were known for. He can use it as a jumping-off point for his paper, anyway.
"You, you, you finished her," Chris whispers, standing in front of a sculpture of a woman with her head thrown back as if in uproarious laughter, a woman with curls expertly carved so that her hair seems to have been there before the stone it's made of somehow. "I wonder if she, um, if if if she saw it."
"What'd you say, Chris?" Jake blinks, pulled out of his own internal reverie.
"Nothing," Chris responds, and walks slowly around the statue. The woman's smile is a shining light in the room. No one could carve like that without being at least a little in love with the subject.
Jake wanders away and then comes to an abrupt stop before a large painting, probably taller than Chris is. The background is near-total darkness with only a suggestion of stone, a single beam of light shining down to illuminate the central figure.
A naked boy clothed only in scraps of torn cloth that only emphasize his nakedness everywhere else is crouched in terror. His knees are bent and his feet are on the floor, one hand holding his weight with fingers slightly curled, his spine bent and arched as if he is caught in the midst of turning to look up to find the direction of the light. His other hand is thrown out, as if trying to ward off an attack.
He bleeds from a dozen or more places, the blood curving perfectly around his form, giving it extra weight and heft that makes it seem like he'll step out of the canvas, grab Jake, and shake him.
Jake's heart starts to race as he stares.
There are bones littering the ground around the thin, wasted boy, not bleached but sort of yellowed, marked with little notches as if cut with a knife. There might still be bits of skin attached to some of them, a hint of muscle. The detail makes Jake sick, but his panic, that comes from something else entirely. Just behind the panicked boy there is a body, as if just fallen, the eyes still open in the final terrified throes of death. The body's fingers are still dug into the dirt floor as if the dead man had been trying to pull himself somewhere, to escape.
A skull watches with eerie cheer from one corner of the painting, a few teeth missing and knocked out from its garish grin.
Barely visible, a thin wash of grayish-white, there is a pale, gnarled hand near the bottom reaching out from the background as if to grab the boy's ankle and drag him into the darkness.
Count Ugolino's Last Son, oils, 1932, reads the little plaque beside the painting. Its faint brassy shine glints in the carefully calibrated light. Edward Tooley, 1907 - 1936.
Jake swallows, but the lump in his throat doesn't budge, and he swallows again. And again. He can't take his eyes off the boy's painted hair, a dirtied copper, strawberry-blond badly in need of a wash. The wide green eyes with their terror writ large and clear, painted with lovingly perfect detail.
The boy in the painting is the perfect identical twin of the vampire who is still staring at the sculpture on the other side of the room. The fear in his face is so expertly done as to seem more photographic than painted in oil. The blood that drips to the ground follows his anatomy with absolute perfection. The bones are not bleached by they so often are in paintings, no, these...
Jake holds his phone up and takes a photo, and then another of the little plaque.
"Chris." His voice cracks and Jake clears his throat. His heart is still pounding. "Chris, come look at this."
"Yes, Jake," Chris answers, sounding a little faint, and then he seems to simply appear at Jake's elbow, the teenage boy who has seen two world wars and a half-dozen smaller, stupider ones.
He goes still at Jake's side when he looks up. Jake looks over, just slightly, glancing sidelong to see a look of something like... wistfulness on the vampire boy's face.
"Tooley," He breathes. His hand goes up, and out, and he would have touched the canvas if Jake hadn't reached out and grabbed on to stop him. Chris jumps a little and turns to meet Jake's gaze. His eyes are pink-tinged in the whites, as if he's holding back tears. "Is, is, is he famous?"
"I guess. He's... he's here, isn't he?"
"He always wanted to, um, to to to to be famous." Chris's eyes move over the details, but it's not with surprise, it's with easy familiarity. He's seen this painting before.
He's been this painting before.
"That's you, isn't it?" Jake asks in a hushed voice. "Like, that was really you."
Chris looks away again, a faint flush in his cheeks. He's full enough of blood for it to happen, and you'd never know he isn't alive if you didn't already. "Yes," He whispers, and wipes at the corner of his eye with one hand. "That, that, that's me."
"Were you his model?" Jake blinks, looking back over the painted twin of the vampire beside him. The fear in the boy's face, woven in with a kind of awful resignation. It's all so perfectly rendered.
"Yes. Sort, um. Sort of. He, he, he kept me in a room." Chris exhales, slowly, and his eyes shift over to the paper with the little bit of biographical information on it. Edward Tooley's early works focused on landscapes or retreads of common historical subjects, only to find greater excellence and focus when he began to paint, again and again, the same figure - a representation of the darkness of the human soul - he stated appeared to him and demanded to be portrayed... art historians believe Tooley was driven by the demons of the Great War that had taken his family from him one by one to seek out uncomfortable subjects that force viewers to see the damage humans do to one another...
Chris's nose wrinkles as he reads, his lips moving slightly with the words as he takes them in. "I never did that. Never, um, wanted to be painted. Also, um this, um. He was... wasn't... he wasn't... wasn't like the paper says."
Jake looks over, reads it himself. Gregarious, sociable, popular with the libertine art crowd... he frowns. "What part is wrong?"
"This." Chris points, this at least he can safely make contact with, and presses the pad of his finger under a sentence that reads took inspiration from the ugly side of the city hidden under its shining lights. "He, he, he he didn't care about anyone in the city. He thought everyone who, who who who who-who wasn't him was, um, was stupid."
"What did he care about?" Jake imagines telling his professor that instead of an essay, he's going to bring in a vampire who literally knew one of the artists in person. How she might react.
Probably call the cops and report an unsecured vampire loose on the streets. But maybe she'd listen to what Chris had to say first.
"Blood," Chris says, softly. His voice is getting lower and lower, until it's barely more than a whisper. "Pain. Fear. Being... being the the the the last person who, who saw someone. He, he, he, he liked to lay them out and paint them, liked me to, to, to... arrange them for him."
Jake's eyes go unwillingly back to the dead body behind the scared boy in the painting. The grasping fingers, the open eyes that look sightless, lifeless, at nothing at all. When he looks, he can see - more suggestion than made clear - that the body's throat is torn open, as if by an animal's teeth.
Now, only now that he's looking for it, does he realize there is the slightest hint of red tears on the cheeks of the painted boy, a sheen of pink on his teeth where he begs for mercy from the grasping singular hand coming out of the dark.
His stomach flips again. "Chris, are you saying-"
"His, his, his name was Ben." Chris nods at the dead body in the painting. "I asked. Before..." He gestures, a little vaguely. "That."
Jake feels a sudden, wild urge to look up missing persons cases from New York City in 1932. See if there's anyone named Ben on there. He knows without having to do so that there definitely will be.
"What happened to him... after?"
"I don't know. I, I, I was never let out when Tooley was gone. I... wonder how, how, how many of me there are." Chris looks up at the echo of his own face, his head tilting again. His lips tremble, just a little, and then part to show the hint of white teeth wet with pinkish saliva. "On walls, in houses, in... in places like, um. Like this. How many there are... is, is, is, is that what I still look like?"
Jake clears his throat again, looks down at his feet. This feels, suddenly, like he's walked in on someone looking down at his own dead body in a funeral home. Interrupting a moment so immensely private it shouldn't even exist.
"Yeah," he says, a little gruffly. "Yeah, that's it. More or less. Except I hope I scare you less than that. Also you wear a lot more clothes with us."
Chris laughs - it's a huff of sound, barely-there. Then he turns away from himself. "We, we, we can't see ourselves, in mirrors," He says, and he's got the little plastic bat back in his hand, rubbing his thumb over the carved silicone. "But I have mirrors everywhere. On these walls."
He goes suddenly terribly still. He isn't breathing.
He doesn't have to, but the realization that he isn't even pretending is a jolt of awareness of exactly how dead Chris is. He leaves the exhibit, and Jake is left to scramble after him, struggling to catch up to someone he should be able to easily outrun.
He breaks into a flat run when they get outside the double-doors, jumps the steps three at a time with grace, and runs across the grass and towards the stand of trees halfway across the park. Even Jake, who works out four days a week, is breathing hard and has a hitch in his rib by the time he catches up.
He finds Chris curled up under a tree in the evening dark, the stars starting to twinkle overhead as the sun finally allows them a clear night sky to shine in.
Jake drops to his knees, ignoring the damp that seeps into his jeans from soil that still hasn't dried since yesterday's rains, and he leans over, putting a warm hand to either side of the vampire's face.
Chris looks up, his eyes glinting like a cat's briefly in the dark, and there are trails down his cheeks, his lips pulled back from his teeth in a snarl that is anything but angry.
No, this is grief.
This is loss.
Jake knows the feeling.
"Talk to me," Jake says softly. "Tell me what it was like, what it's been like for you. Tell me about the life you've lived before I knew you."
"It, it, it hurt," Chris whispers, and his own hands cover Jake's. They're the same temperature as the air around them, and Jake shivers a little. It's almost a chill. "Every time. I, I, I try not to kill, Jake, I try so hard, but but but he would keep me so hungry and I couldn't-... stop..."
Jake thinks about the robbers Chris killed - for him, to save him from them - and how he'd locked himself in the closet afterward. Had he cried like this, over taking lives even when in defense?
"The museum thing said this guy Tooley died in 1936. He was only, what, twenty-nine? Did... did you-"
"Yes." Chris's voice is thick but it's not quite with regret. "I was hungry. He, he he he he didn't bring food. I was so hungry... then I was, um, was alone for a while... then, then, then, then then then I was taken for, for, for the, um, the trade, for my v-venom, and..."
"Got it. I got it, Chris. It's okay," Jake says, softly. "It's going to be okay. You're with us, now. And we'll never, ever make you hurt someone that way. We'll never make you go hungry. We'll never hurt you or use you."
Chris ducks his head, rocking forward until it knocks into Jake's shoulder, and Jake slides his arms around the vampire's shoulders, listening to his soft, muffled sobs, wondering how red his shirt will be stained by the time the vampire's tears have been cried out.
The same mouth that tore out the throat of a dead body that lays in a painting on the wall is so close to his neck it would take less than an inch for him to bite down. Even without fangs, he could lock his jaw and break the skin.
The same dangerous monster that has killed likely dozens to stay alive, the same stalking predator that has been the last sight of far too many, cries in his arms. Just a teenage boy who has been lonely, and terrified, and hurt for too long.
A teenager... and a monster that hunts prey after dark. Jake tightens his arms around Chris, holds him tighter.
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter how long he's been alive, not really.
He's just Chris.
That matters more.
@mylifeisonthebookshelf @insaneinthepaingame @keeper-of-all-the-random-things @burtlederp @finder-of-rings @newandfiguringitout @astrobly @endless-whump @pretty-face-breaker @gonna-feel-that-tomorrow @doveotions @boxboysandotherwhump @oops-its-whump @cubeswhump @whump-tr0pes @downriver914 @whumptywhumpdump @whumpiary @orchidscript @nonsensical-whump @outofangband @what-a-whump
It would be so cool if the OTW (the nonprofit that owns AO3) bought Tumblr.
we’d get NSFW back - the site would be safe for sex workers and NSFW artists again, and content creators wouldn’t get flagged for posting things like LITERAL ANKLES (you’ve seen that post, right?)
we’d actually be able to report death threats and stuff, and get those reports looked at by a real person
no more ads - the OTW doesn’t work with advertisers, so that they can’t control anything by threatening to stop paying to advertise
in my opinion, the OTW’s values align pretty well with the values of Tumblr’s userbase - we don’t want to be profitable, we just want to post about our Blorbos
no more app (for the same reasons AO3 doesn’t have an app - they wouldn’t want Apple having control over the site)
I don’t have any idea of how much money and how many new volunteers it would take to buy Tumblr and then keep it running, but I bet if they asked, the people on here would make it a priority to support them. I know I would.
I know they didn’t have any plans to create a social media site or forum in 2018, when the NSFW ban first went into effect, but maybe things could be different now. The Internet is slowly becoming more and more a platform for advertisers and corporations, not for people. AO3 is one of the last places where I feel safe.
I’m tired of being a cockroach. I’m tired of seeing Tumblr’s latest user-repellent update and deciding to stay anyway because everywhere else is worse. I want a social media site that welcomes fandom, with all of its distasteful, icky, unapologetically queer parts that CEOs can’t profit off of.
Edit: it looks like the OTW buying Tumblr is very unrealistic! Someone brought up BobaBoard, which looks promising.
An intriguing post has crossed my dash that says “don’t just recommend media to people solely because it has queer representation: make sure to give some kind of summary or context.” The idea is to flag if the movie/series/game has content that could be uncomfortable or trauma-related. For e.g., I won’t watch a movie with queer characters, no matter how good it is, if one of those characters commits suicide. That’s just one of my own rules for comfortable viewing. (I have heard a similar pattern of argumentation from black Americans: not all of them enjoy watching a movie with a majority black cast if the movie is about the visceral horrors of slavery, so I assume this discussion of tailored recommendation also has some intersectional potency as well.)
I do very much vibe with these requests, but there’s something else about it that I’ve been tossing around in my head for a while. When people mention to me that a piece of media has a) queer representation and b) no suicides (my one plot restriction), that doesn’t tend to be a persuasive recommendation to me. I also want to know If the Movie is Good.
There are lots of ways a movie can be Good, or at least The Kind of Good that Currie Likes. The Handmaiden is good in the traditional sense of quality cinema — extraordinary acting, lovely cinematography, extravagant sets, meticulously romantic plot, and it’s one of my favourite movies of all time ever. Rocky Horror Picture Show is none of those things (and can be uncomfortably transphobic in modern contexts, so it doesn’t really score high on the “representation” card any more) but to me it’s Good because it’s Gothic, campy, catchy, and deeply embedded in queer culture.
The reason I care about this is because I think evaluating movies purely on whether they have good representation will have a few inevitable pitfalls. The first is one discussed in the post I referenced earlier, which points out that “good queer fiction” tends to focus on coming-out narratives and leave genre films by the wayside. Furthermore, if we fall into this trap of assuming that “good” queer representation means good movies, we’re going to inevitably give bad (in the aesthetic sense) works of fiction a pass — of course, “bad” is very subjective, and queer has a long history of embracing camp and so-bad-it’s-good filmmaking. I have heard good things about the representation in Sense8, Black Sails, and Gentleman Jack, but I’ve never actually committed to watching any of them because all people talked about when recommending them to me was representation. The “is it good” question is doubly important for genre narratives, at least for me. Like, Black Sails is a pirate adventure, so while the queer storylines are great, I would also like to know if there are some cool cannon battles. The reason why The Handmaiden is one of my favourite movies ever is because it’s an amazing con movie that just so happens to have adorable lesbians as its centrepiece.
But I think the real problem here is more that if queer representation is “enough” for acclaim, we’re going to get a lot of rainbow-stickered corporate schlock pumped out to attract queer viewers (what I would call a subtler kind of queer baiting). Asking for queer representation and nothing else reduces the queer consumer to a market demographic: to people who will inevitably support massive studios so long as their boxes are checked. We aren’t demanding quality, imagination, surprise, or even appeal in our artistic products; we’re demanding a checklist of tokens. This is especially disappointing to me because queerness is often the inspiration for a lot of very imaginative and revolutionary art, and not all of it is exclusively about love or gender performance. We should be asking for more than representation — we should be asking for good shit!
“seraphcastiel’s 2021 monthly roundup: JUNE
⋙ JAN | FEB | MAR | APRIL | MAY
hi guys! i wanted to do something new this 2021 and do a sort of “round up” of all the edits i make, as well as some of my personal favorite bits of content (edits, fic, art, etc) that others have made throughout the month. this is largely to keep track of my own content so i can see how my PS skills are improving as i continue to relearn how to make edits, and also i thought it’d be cool to take note of how many edits i do/what kinds of edits i do each month so i can see how i’ve grown as a content creator at the end of the year. (plus, i get to give a quick shout out to some of my favorite content creators as well hehe).
so without further ado, onto the roundup! big thanks to everyone who liked/reblogged my stuff this past month, i really appreciated it! xx
jimmy novak, “saint jimmy”: calling it now, this is gonna be one of my favorite things i make all year. i’m honestly surprised it took me this long to make a green daynatural edit, considering that i listened to this album religiously when i was in middle school (and making this made me realize how not middle schooler-appropriate this song is lmao). i was going for the really colorful, grungy, almost messy kind of vibe that i associate with the american idiot musical’s lighting and set design that served as inspiration for the whole set’s aesthetic. i also wanted to experiment with the ripped paper effects that i used since those had been the bane of my existence back when i was a baby gifmaker first joining tumblr, and i think they came out pretty well!
12.23, “all along the watchtower”: not much to say about this one, since i made this in literally 30 minutes lmao. i don’t normally make script gifsets like this just bc it’s not really my thing and so many content creators do it much better than i do sdkjfsdl but the script dropped pretty late at night and after waiting for about an hour for someone else to make this gifset bc i wanted to reblog it, i was just like “fuck it i’ll do it myself”. cue the most frantic 30 minutes of my life trying to make two gifs while having an emotional breakdown over “on dean. shattered.” i remember i was physically shaking. unwell behavior. unhinged, even.
deancas, “godspeed”: pridenatural my belovedddddd <333 getting to be a mod for spn pride week was honestly the highlight of my month, all the drama and stress aside lol. between helping prep for that and work/personal life, however, i basically had no time to make any edits for the actual event so i ended up doing a mix of simple and technique-heavy gifsets throughout the week so that i would have time to finish everything. this was one of the simpler ones i made, featuring one of my favorite frank ocean songs. getting consistent coloring between all four gifs took a looot of patience, but i love how the teals came out. the text effects were also a split second decision in an effort to make the edit a lil more interesting - it kinda reminds me of how karaoke screens look. idk i thought it looked cool lol.
castiel, “legends never die”: mark this down as another edit that is sure to be one of my favorite things i make all year. this edit and the dean “i want to break free” edit took a collective 25+ hours to make over the course of several days. first of all, i think cas would LOVE orville peck by virtue of him being a gay cowboy, PLUS this song featured certified Pop Girlie Shania Twain, PLUS this song is a banger to begin with so i definitely had to use it for a castiel-centric pride gifset. choosing the scenes for this edit took a surprising amount of time as i wanted to find parallels of cas throughout the entire series to show how he became more comfortable in his own skin (aka, “pride”). initially the coloring of this was completely different; it was more purple/orange/blue and i finished the entire gifset using that color scheme (trying to get consistent coloring across all these different scenes/seasons/lighting styles made me want to rip my hair out), only to realize that it looked too similar to the dean edit’s color scheme :))))))) thank god i was off that day, because i spent almost 8 hours redoing the whole damn thing. i’m glad i did though, because the green/blue/red fits the vibe of the song much better and compliments the dean edit’s coloring (more on that later). god i love this edit. really proud of this one.
deancas, “it’s okay to cry”: a lil transnatural for my beloved @holyroad‘s birthday! sophie (rest in peace) was a trans musican/producer whose songs are catchy as hell, i highly reccomend checking their work out. this song in particular was such a deancas song, i honestly couldn’t believe how easy it was to find scenes that fit the lyrics. obviously, i colored this to match the colors of the transgender flag but i kept the shades darker than the actual official pantone colors to match the mood of the song better. the pink panels were the hardest to color just bc pink is not a commonly occuring shade in the spn universe so i had to get a bit creative with how to pull it off lol. the pink lighting in the second to last panel came out so cool, that’s probably my favorite part.
dean winchester, “i want to break free”: god. this edit. this fucking edit. first of all, this bitch took me over 15 hours to make the first time. bc like the cas edit earlier, i ended up having to remake the whole fucking thing to completely change the coloring (and some of the layout tbh). remember how i said that i had to remake the cas edit bc it’s original purple/orange/blue coloring was too similar to this one? i was making both of those edits at the same time bc i wanted them to almost look like a series, like how they have a similar layout and design style. once i decided to change the cas edit’s coloring, however, it ended up looking too different from the original version of this edit so i had :))) to start :)))) over :))). so instead of purple/orange/blue, this became green/blue/red as well, but with more emphasize on the blue while the cas one was more green-heavy. i also changed the font style and the gif blending techniques to be a bit messier and scratchier (compared to the cas edit) bc i felt like the song and the overall vibe of the edit called for a “messier” aesthetic. if you can believe it, the hardest panels to make were the boring, more muted ones bc i had to make them still fit the look of the whole gifset while keeping the coloring/effects more simple to avoid the edit from looking too overwhelming. to be honest, i’m not 100% happy with how this one turned out, just because i can see all the little coloring and blending issues that i wasn’t able to fix in time. it’s not that big of a deal in the long run, but,,,,, ehh. idk. maybe i’ll remake this one again. or i’ll use this song for a different edit, bc it is one of my all-time favorite songs.
spn women, “you don’t own me”: if you couldn’t tell by now, i made a point to use songs by lgbtq+ artists for all my pride week edits, so of course i had to honor thee lesbian icon ms lesley gore for wlw day. again, this was another simpler edit in terms of layout and techniques used, but finding shots of the four of these women that were close-ups of their face in half-decent lighting took,,, a while lol. not much to say about this edit, i’m pretty happy with how it turned out and it was a nice challenge trying to sharpen/color gifs that are so,,, concentrated? in terms of their content, if that makes sense? idk, but the definition in their hair and their eyes make me happy i have no idea how i did that but i’m obsessed with those lil details.
casmick, “don’t go breaking my heart”: listen. LISTEN. i will NOT apologize for casmick truthing, so go ahead and jot that down. let cas have a silly lil boyfriend with a silly lil accent! they drink tea together! they watch documentaries! they listen to elton john and dance around the living room! i love this edit so much, and if you don’t then get well soon :)
max banes, “sun goes down”: when we first started planning pride week and i personally started planning what gifsets i wanted to make for what day, i knew that i wanted to do something for max. max is one of my favorite one-off characters - i’m forever mourning the banes twins-spinoff that never was. and for pride, i wanted to find a way to honor the sadder, more solemn side of pride, for those who are not out or those who have struggled/are struggling with their sexuality, for those whose pride month might not always be a time of celebration. it’s a type of pride that i and many other queer POC have had to deal with , so i felt this lil nas x song that deals specifically with those types of struggles was a good fit.
cas against humanity: had to end spnpride week on a fun note, so i finally got around to making an spn-version of the good omens x cards against humanity edit i made years ago on my gomens blog. tbh, the hardest part of making this was picking ten panels, i had a whole list of card pairings and scenes that i wanted to do (some of them nsfw kdskdjh). it did take a bit of time to make though, so maybe in the future if i have another 4 hours to kill i can sit down and make a follow-up.
castiel x the consecration of saint joseph: oof, the catholic upbringing jumped out on this father’s day edit lol. something about cas being the foster father of thee son of god just,,, really gets to me, man. :( i wanted the gifset to look like those saint prayer cards/novena cards we used to get in sunday school, hence the flower borders. i also made the outer edges of the gifs black and white to draw all the attention on the center of the cards, and i made sure the coloring and saturation levels were very intense to give it an almost-stained glass effect. idk, i like it. very very happy with how this one came out.
supernatural + tarot card series (crowley, amara, chuck, mary): guys, we’ve almost made it. literally LITERALLY the final countdown, i’ll be posting the LAST tarot card this coming saturday. holy shit, i can’t believe it’s almost over. these past month’s tarot edits were some of the most difficult i’ve made the entire series, tbh. there was a lot of gif doctoring and creative cursing involved just to get these completed. i had to build amara a whole fucking bench aftter i moved her from right to center frame, and don’t get me started on the mary edit ughhhh. still, i’m pleased with how they all came out, more or less, and i’m so excited to complete this series once and for all lol.
and now some of my favorite edits, fics, and art from this past month:
this meg and cas fic by @crystal-doesnt-watch-spn
father’s day by @one-more-offbeat-anthem
painted nails and pride by @expectingtofly
moments of glitter by @casenergies
my life is a song for you by @angelfishofthelord
this fic by @deanspurpleflannel
this fic by @thekingslover
this fic by @perlukafarinn
this fic/hc by @deanpdf
blend by @friendshapedcastiel
happy pride! by @sketching-fox
transnatural rufus by @cptsdean
babynatural by @lemon-wedges
bitchy cas by @angel-derangement
papa cas and his kiddos by @kastrzmiel
pizza man by @cat-peach
this goodbye stranger art by @liorlen
jack please by @skepticalfrog
this season 8 art by @dance-on-the-bones
this saileen art by @transkaia
this jack and claire art by @cowboydeanwinchester
this cas art by @swildy
this clairekaia art and this cas art by @mjulmjul
this deancrowley art by @deancascrowley
this season 4 art and this tfw art by @heller-jensen
sam’s turn by @fan-arter
this cas art by @girlinthemirrorbluenight-library
this dreamhunter art by @archivistcastiel
all of it for you by @winchester-reload
this cas, crowley, and juliet art by @lizstiel
this deancas art by @clickbaitcowboy
this deancas art by @redwing
this cas art by @dragqueendean
this endverse edit by @cosmiccas
this endverse poster by @burnhamandtilly
this fresh blood episode edit by @emptymeg
every outfit: claire novak by @charmedslayer
billie by @inacatastrophicmind
this cas edit by @gentledomcas
this deancas edit by @agentcastiels
this dadstiel edit by @untilthenexttruck
a guideline for the proper maintenance of your shield by @redwing
this edit by @subcas
this archangels edit by @billiethereaper
this deancas edit by @dearestiel
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The Green Knight (2021): Promises Broken and Games Unfulfilled
The following is the distillation of my overall thoughts on David Lowery’s recent film The Green Knight. Its purpose is to serve as some form of catharsis for myself and more conclusively pin down my complicated feelings surrounding the movie, in an effort to quell the resulting tumult of musings, that I have - to the labor of my friends - not stopped talking about.
I will preface this by saying that no laws particularly exist surrounding adaptations. There is only as much impetus to stay “true to the source material” as any one creator has, and in most regards they will be neither right nor wrong in their decisions; often it is simply a personal choice for the sake of art, which is happily, eternally subjective. However, valid critique of adaptations I believe can stem from alterations to the source material, and I usually prize source material above the content of adaptations. Thus, this will refer back largely to Tolkien’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written by the “Pearl Poet,” as well as my passing familiarity with the largest and latest corpus of Arthuriana, from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, and some Wikipedia skimming. I am not an Arthurian expert nor claim to be: I come to my more or less concluding opinions of the film from where I am with some sense of its origins and original form, many aspects of which are important to me in terms of queer representation or discourse, which I feel the film did not match.
It feels most appropriate to start with what I loved. Far and away, TGK is visually and aurally astounding, and a feast for the senses, particularly when one is in a dark theater with excellent surround sound. The costuming and set design is intricate and marvelous; it feels in some ways a few steps from reality, or at the least the sort people are accustomed to today, with Arthur and Guinevere’s wonderful halo crowns and Saint Winifred’s wedding dress, the impersonal but regal stonework of Camelot’s throne room, and the relative elegance of the de Hautdesert estate. I have also been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for hours for the past two weeks while completing a laborious drudgery, and though I think critique of its general same-yness is fair, particularly those with accompanying vocals I enjoy very much, and they fit their scenes well.
To pick one favorite element from the film it would have to be the Green Knight as an entire entity, which I think is the most delightful culmination of the film’s best parts: its visuals, sound editing, and cinematography. Reminding me pleasantly of the effort put into The Lord of the Rings films, his armor, costuming and prosthetics are from what I can tell almost entirely tactile and physically real as opposed to CGI; he is certainly otherworldly and strange, but not in any strange uncanny valley sense. The shots that look up at him and others that place him at a much higher register in the frame than Gawain impart a significant part of his massive presence, and for lack of a better term, his accompanying tree sounds when moving, the weight of his footsteps, and the booming resonance of his voice are all expertly rendered. I do not typically notice such things like sound editing or soundtracks in films as much as I do the story, but TGK is a distinct exception to this, and I believe, conceptually, it did great service to its titular character.
Generally the only visual elements I ended up displeased with were the fox, which I thought was little more than a disappointing successor to Disney’s recent and lackluster string of “live-action” “photorealistic” CGI animals - and Excalibur, which seemed an average broadsword. There is something to be said for the film’s general lack of emphasis on the splendor or distinction of King Arthur’s court, but Excalibur I would have hoped to have rather flashier decor, not to look like any weapon fresh from a barracks.
These things being so, I must say I did relatively enjoy the film. I have seen it twice now, once on opening (k)night with my friend and their friends, and the second, two weeks later with my uncle. Even after being disappointed the first time, I wanted to see it again: in part to collect my overall thoughts on it, but also because it is a pleasant enough ride to give two hours to.
However, I was disappointed in the film. This stems primarily from the story, and the value I place on the tale of the original poem, and where the movie made alterations, additions, omissions, which I found paramount to the essence of the narrative source. As I said before, I am primarily referencing the lovely translation by J. R. R. Tolkien, a free version of which you can find here, if you like: http://jessicasladechms.weebly.com/uploads/5/1/7/4/51740093/sir_gawain_complete_large_text.pdf
To borrow a phrase from my uncle, on his own and as compared to his 14th century self - and with all love and admiration to Dev Patel for his truly impressive acting ability - Lowery’s Gawain is a wussy. The film begins with him in a brothel with his modestly steady lady of the evening, Essel - whose existence is wholly fabricated for the film, utterly nonexistent in the mythos as I know it - and upon his return to the castle, being caught by his mother, and as indicated by a later scene in a tavern, Gawain is a habitual drinker and generally a lackluster son and noble.
The exchange between him and Arthur within the throne room/dining hall - and their brief but subsequent interactions throughout the film - is very tender and I think another moment of solid execution. Likely to Tolkien’s chagrin I don’t belief “thee,” “thou,” and “you” are used with any consistency and mostly exist to add a Ye Olden Timey flavor to the much older Arthur, but nevertheless their conversation is endearing and each line delivered with sincerity. The sound editing in reducing the ambient chatter of the surrounding conversation was also well done. I will say for the briefest of moments upon my first viewing I thought Arthur was played by Viggo Mortensen, best known for his Aragorn fame, and I was crushed to learn of my mistake, but Sean Harris still offers a formidable performance.
The entrance of the Green Knight is perhaps one of my favorite scenes in the film, and though the possession of Guinevere’s voice is another artistic choice of the movie, I think the “rule of cool” applies and I have little trouble with it. Where I do derive confusion is from Gawain’s mother: the impression given seems to be that she is Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s sorceress half-sister, the ultimate antagonist/puppeteer of the poem SGaTGK, and perhaps one of Arthur’s more famous opponents. If indeed she is Morgan, this is a similar mother-swap to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s in her godawful Mists of Avalon, where “Morgaine” is Mordred’s mother. However, as I understand of the usual traditions, Morgause, Queen of Orkney, is the usual mother of both Gawain and Mordred. Once and Future King gives me the impression however that Morgause and the third sister, Elaine, are all somewhat inclined to magic, and it is then not so unreasonable to see - in the film - Gawain’s mother performing the magic that summons the Green Knight and serves as the Call to Adventure.
Though this is all very muddy, and in any case no matter the identity of Gawain’s mother in the movie, she still appears to be the inciting incident of his adventure, and when thought of in that way, the story nearly takes a tone of “disappointed mother endeavors to kick her son out to make something of himself.” Whereas, in the original poem, Morgan - wholly removed from Camelot - rigs the whole game as a test of Arthur’s knights, and a sort of halfhearted attempt to scare Guinevere to death. This is not necessarily bad, but… different, and leaves a funny taste in the mouth; strange to those that know the mythos and just confusing to those that don’t. Though, the interpersonal exchanges between Gawain and his mother are generally very soft and appreciable, and add a nice human touch.
However, his mother’s role and continued presence throughout the film, I believe both within his fox companion and the old woman at the de Hautdesert estate, serve in some way to overshadow Gawain and his integrity in attempting to fulfill his oath. Lowery’s Green Knight is very much a coming of age story; Gawain himself says repeatedly he is not a knight, his mother keeps a careful eye upon him almost always - having engineered the whole affair herself - he does not assert the value of the belt nor the bell to him, is faithless to his compulsory heterosexual love interest Essel, and gives in to the Lady’s game immediately. I shall cover this more later, but Gawain is not the valiant and renowned knight of the poem taking on a new and uniquely dangerous quest: he is a young man trying to figure out what honor means. This again is not bad; but it is though Lowery took a teacup and shattered it; it is still discernible as the pieces of a teacup, but a teacup no longer.
Gawain’s youth and inexperience are evident throughout the film, with his reluctance to go out and keep his promise requiring a prompting from Arthur after another drunken night in a tavern, after which Arthur asks some such, “Is it wrong to want great things for you?” As if living in this world in which the Round Table exists, peopled by magnificent knights enthused to serve Arthur and the code of chivalry, Gawain would find no reason within himself to try to follow expectations. An additional small nit I have here, is that Gawain’s pivotal cue to get going and fulfill his oath to the Green Knight on time, is a falling snowflake, and the puppet show uses a spinning winter scene to indicate the passing of the year; they clearly know what snow is. And yet for the entire rest of the film taking place very near Christmas and Gawain galavanting off in the mountains, there is no snow to be seen anywhere.
Anyway, Gawain at last embarks in a fetching yellow cloak (I must reiterate the excellence of the costuming) and throughout the film passes exquisitely chosen landscapes captured with excellent cinematography, but for him as a character things almost immediately go wrong. It takes several attempts for him to bother compensating a peasant boy for offering him directions, only to be set upon the same young man in a trio of the absolute worst thieves I have ever seen in cinema. While they do strip and bind him with some wisdom, they break his intricately painted shield (perhaps its easy break speaks poorly of its integrity as a shield, but nevertheless), surely worth a pretty penny, they leave his sword and cloak with its stupidly (but impressively) quilted fabric, and, ultimately abandon him, taking the axe and his horse, not to sell but to “try to complete his adventure” for him. The horse is surely a wise thing to take for its value, but leaving essentially the rest of everything for a fool’s errand is uniquely dumb.
Here it is also worth mentioning Gawain’s belt, the most crucial object of the story. For some odd and seemingly unnecessary reason, his mother gives it to him, saying in essence he will not come to harm if (when) he returns home wearing it. The bandit, after- very oddly and intensely caressing his face and touching foreheads with him (and after my second viewing, I say sincerely, this is, Everyone Caresses Dev Patel’s Face: The Movie; making a drinking game of each instance might give you alcohol poisoning), cuts it from him, and flaunts it, but again does not really take it. For his earlier introduction of stripping bodies and pressing Gawain for money, I would have thought such rich fabrics would be best unmolested to sell later, but what do I know. Gawain cries a little - well-acted anyway - and then is tied up.
The unreality sequence in which his skeleton is shown is odd perhaps but thematically fitting, and I did enjoy the ingenuity of him struggling over to his sword (why was it left??) to free himself. I don’t really mind this stripping of his equipment, even if in the original poem his journey to the Chapel is more or less summed up as (in a literal summary within the poem), “And Sir Gawain had many adventures and bested many foes.” He must make the journey, might as well try to make it interesting.
But, while I feel impartial about the encounter with Saint Winifred - I believe it and his later marriage to her in the ending dream sequence is a reference to another poem in which he does marry her; it is not authentic to this single poem about the Green Knight, but… eh, whatever I guess - it’s not poorly done and I do appreciate her comments about why he would try to touch her, or ask for something in exchange. It reminds me pleasantly of episodes from The Witcher in a general sense of slightly morbid curse-curing, and conveniently Gawain’s stolen axe is returned; obviously it’s magic, not much need to question it. It all fits, and is… notionally supposed to teach Gawain something?
However, I feel it is the start of something that both extends the movie to a feature-length run time, and bogs it down. The original poem I may say is generally fairly simple and arguably boring, though I enjoyed Tolkien’s colorful and lyrical translation of it immensely: for the most part, it describes clothing, food, hunting, or the Seduction Game. The journey to Castle de Hautdesert is not important at all; what happens there is. The movie misses this by a wide margin.
I say again the cinematography and the locations chosen are simply beautiful, though so much time is dedicated to Gawain simply reaching Castle de Hautdesert, it feels to the detriment to the point of the original story. The musical giants aren’t bad, though I found their CGI lackluster and an additional waste of the R rating just for unnecessary boobage. The upside down transition of Gawain following them was very cool, I concede easily. And, sure he eats some magic mushrooms and has an unrealistic trip - it’s Arthuriana, it’s weird, it all fits, even if the giants are meh.
Then, he reaches the estate. This is the important lead-up to the climax of the poem, like the assembling of the assault on the Black Gate and Frodo and Sam nearing the forge of Mount Doom. Except, the weight of its importance and respect for what it meant is pathetically absent.
My introduction to the existence of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a poem was from one of my professors, a habitually boring personality but a very learned medievalist. Very excitedly she told me SGaTGK’s roots were “deeply queer,” and this came from a queer and reputable expert within the field of the original story.
Lowery’s The Green Knight is an unfortunate exercise in the reduction of queerness. In the poem, when Gawain arrives at Castle de Hautdesert, the lord of the place, Bertilak, proposes they play a game for the duration of Gawain’s stay, until he departs for the nearby Green Chapel. Whatever Gawain receives in the castle, he will render to Bertilak in exchange for whatever Bertilak hunts for him. Unlike in the movie, this arrangement lasts for three days. And wittily, on each day when the Lady (oddly played by the actress who plays Essel) comes in an attempt to seduce Gawain, he evades her advances with wordplay and inoffensive deferment. In the film she approaches him once and he capitulates to her and ejaculates immediately.
The film blurs Gawain’s original motivation and strife during this seduction game. On the first two days the Lady only offers her love; on the third she offers this, and he continues to refuse. What he accepts - and only accepts - from her is the magic sash that she says will keep him from harm as long as he wears it (no relation to anything from Gawain’s mother; she had nothing to do with it), safeguarding him during his imminent appointment with the Green Knight. Gawain does not succumb to lust; as is described of him later, his only fault is loving his own life. Perhaps the film’s Gawain is more human, but he is not the poem’s Gawain; one is struggling and all but lackluster until the end, while the other strives for perfection from the first and only falters at the end. Their motivations are not dissimilar, but the resulting choices they make and what I feel the audience is supposed to take away from them are very different, I deem even missing the point of the original story.
Something else the movie misses sorely, which I find the most egregious, is Gawain’s relationship and interactions with Bertilak. While the film is more expressly erotic to include a two-second cumshot, the poem from seven hundred years ago is far more intricately intimate. What Gawain returns to Bertilak each day are kisses: for on the first day the Lady kisses him once, on the second day twice, and on the third, thrice. His return of these kisses may arguably be stilted and simply “putting them in their proper place,” upon the lips of the Lady’s husband-- and yet it is very popular for translators to take these lines with liberal amounts of homoeroticism. Tolkien, for example, writes of those three exchanges:
“His fair neck he enfolded then fast in his arms
and kissed him with all the kindness that his courtesy knew.”
“He clasped his neck, and courteously a kiss he then gave him
and swiftly with a second he served him on the spot.”
“He clasps then the knight and kisses him thrice,
as long and deliciously as he could lay them upon him.”
To which Bertilak comments on the last exchange:
“and that is price very poor to pay for such treasures
as these you have thrust upon me, three such kisses
“and that’s poor return for such a trio of things
as you’ve given me here, three kisses
Scream anachronism to the high heavens as you will, but nevertheless these kisses are clearly given with the utmost willingness and enthusiasm from Gawain to Bertilak, word choice across several authors needing no stretch at all to cross into the realm of the erotic. They kiss six times in total as part of the game. For the 14th century this would have been salacious, and for some readers such as myself - and my professor as I mentioned before - it is queer, and an indicator that indeed the past is not so far removed from today when it comes to human desire, an intrinsic and important part of life. Gawain playing this game is an integral component of the story structurally and narratively, and particularly his homoerotic discourse with Bertilak and the readable bisexuality as the same occurs with the Lady, is palpable and a travesty to mitigate in 2021.
But it is mitigated. What is a careful dance of desire and Gawain largely upholding his oath of honor to Bertilak, is assassinated almost the moment it’s begun with an unimpressive and frankly unsexy handjob and one unwanted kiss. The Lady telling Gawain “you are no knight” is meaningless, as he himself has said the entire film he isn’t one! Any reader of the mythos knows he has just yielded immediately to something he did not give into at all or not until the last! He is not a knight! He fails twice in giving in to lust, and again in accepting the cum-soaked sash inexplicably returned from the ether.
The sash and its connection to his mother in the film seems a good moment to mention I feel the film mishandles most of its intended romanticism and eroticism. Essel is little more than compulsory heterosexuality in a story recognized by academics as being distinctly queer; the encounter with the Lady is awkward and doubly so when the old woman walks in - who, as is revealed in the poem, is Morgan le Fay, and in the film, Gawain’s mother! In the final dream sequence he is then again walked in on immediately after sex by Arthur, who then dies in the bed he’s just fucked in. There is some poignancy in his refusal to consummate his wedding night later, but again and again the physical intimacy between two people is continually awkward and stilted.
This brings me to an additional point that for all of the “humanness” introduced into the story with the tender moments between Gawain, his mother, and Arthur, repeatedly throughout the poem kisses are customarily exchanged in greeting and farewell. These as an aside to the more significant count raise his kisses with Bertilak to a total of eight, and yet the film is devoid of any kiss given between friends or family. There is no lack of caressing Dev Patel’s face, but the movie held so many opportunities to be groundbreaking and display to a 21st century audience that so often clamors “not everything has to be gay!!” instances of platonic intimacy between friends and family - things featured in, for example, The Lord of the Rings, but also omitted in their film adaptations for all of but one or two exceptions.
Of course, most egregious to my mind is the single kiss that is shared between Gawain and Bertilak in the film. Earlier in the day before my first viewing, I came across this tweet, and spent the rest of the day and the majority of the movie in anxious suspense, wondering if they would include even a single kiss from six in the original: https://twitter.com/teartoxin/status/1421150930502754306
As I have said, they did. In very nearly the worst way that they could. Gawain attempts to throw the terms of their arrangement in leaving Castle de Hautdesert early, and Bertilak pursues him asking if he’s “sure there’s nothing he wants to give him.” Gawain stops and turns to him as Bertilak rides up, and what Bertilak says runs very closely to, “Yes, there is something. And I think I could take it from you.” “It” being not a stone’s throw away from the implication of sex, considering the Lady in essence just gave Gawain a handjob. Bertilak then leans down to kiss Gawain, who in essence just stands there. And a moment later says, “Unhand me.”
The rush I got seeing two men kiss in a high-budget, highly anticipated mainstream movie on the silver screen was immense, especially as the prior viewing experience had been an anxious misery over whether they would include it at all, the part of the story most significant to me. My best friend, with whom I saw the movie first, commented that they completely believed Gawain and Bertilak were about to have sex in that scene: my uncle, who is as averagely cishet as they come (save for having endured about two years of my impassioned speeches about Frodo/Sam), had been expecting Gawain would either suck Bertilak off (or “fellate” as he said, being old school) or Bertilak would hump him. After all, the game had been arranged that Gawain would give as he received. Between viewers queer and cishet, there was the intrinsic expectation that upon setting up an earlier, distinctly erotic - if awkward - encounter, the film would follow through, and Gawain would of his promise. That there would be an expression of homosexual desire matching or even greater than those of the preceding and rampant heterosexual ones.
But there was not. Instead a kiss was unwillingly given, a white man forcing it upon a brown man. And, within the narrative of the story - even at the end when Gawain surrenders the belt - his game with Bertilak is still unfinished. Unfortunately during my second viewing, two cis men behind me laughed when they kissed, which soured the experience even more.
Nevertheless, Gawain leaves for the Green Chapel. The cinematography and setwork and lighting of this set overall is beautiful, as I have said, perhaps aesthetically my very favorite part of the film. Of course, as Gawain threw the game with Bertilak, he must spend an otherwise unnecessary night kneeling uncomfortably before his quarry. In the morning, the Green Knight awakens and discards of his overgrowth to conclude their covenant.
But again, even this, the very drive and purpose of the story, is left unfulfilled. True enough the Green Knight has at Gawain with three strikes (three, an important number in the trashed Seduction Game), but upon the third Gawain runs and runs, giving his apologies that he cannot follow through with it. Sadly, this is set to perhaps my favorite track of the score, Blome Swete Lilie Flour.
And then we see the culmination of the film’s Gawain as compared to himself 700 years ago; the knight of the poem and the young man of the movie. The movie depicts what is revealed to be “just a dream” (which I typically hate on principal, and only the skeleton scene I could forgive; this I could not), in which Gawain returns to Camelot, having abandoned his promise to the Green Knight, and fled with the magic belt to protect him from all harm. And this choice of his, to value his own life, manifests drastically and cruelly near the end.
We are subject to yet another otherwise nonexistent heterosexual sex scene, and with intense awkwardness Arthur bumbles in to knight Gawain and then die immediately, as I said in the bed Gawain just had sex in. Subsequently Gawain is crowned king (beautifully I must say, fantastical though it is for the mythological Gawain’s doomed fate) there is a drawn-out scene of Essel giving birth to Gawain’s child, and though I hold no interest nor pity for her as a character, savagely her child is taken from her immediately, not even by Gawain who stands by impassively - and upon her bed in the blood of birth a pile of money is left. Gawain then marries Saint Winifred by some magic bullshit I don’t really care to know - the costuming is really beautiful here though - and he refuses to let her remove the sash when they go to bed (very attractive shot of Patel’s navel however). Gawain then shows some compassion for his bastard son when he disrupts a strategy meeting (appreciably, Gawain’s immediate family are all played by similarly Southeast Asian actors, save Arthur), until suddenly he is old, in the midst of war, and he watches his son die.
All of this, and most of all the final scene of the sequence, impart a great deal, particularly in all the things Gawain does not do. I do not claim to understand Lowery’s vision, but I interpret it as I can: I believe the point of this dream is to show that if Gawain chose to keep the belt, he would value his life above everything else. Supposedly it protects the wearer from harm: he did not offer it to Essel in the torture of childbirth, nor even try saving his dying son with it, and it appears he becomes so consumed with his own self-preservation that he will not have it removed even to make love. He is never shown to fight and from taking Essel’s child and not saying a word when the man who flings excrement at him is slain on the spot, his compassion is gone and he cares only for himself. When the very castle is besieged and his wife and child are the last to run away, he only sits on his throne, waiting; the Lady’s portrait hanging behind him, I believe the Round Table destroyed. His kingdom has come to ruin and everything Arthur stood for is rubble in this shrine to himself, and even as the heir of Excalibur with two potential safeguards from mortal wounds (the inconstant scabbard from the Lady of the Lake, and the sash), Gawain only watches as his guards try and fail to brace the door to the throne room.
Not once does he even consider fighting to defend his family so recently fled. Instead, he notices a bloody spot upon his tunic, and pulls it, the sash emerging like his entrails, bound to him for so long it became part of him. He pulls and pulls until he is freed of it at last, not bothering to make any noble final stand; and a few moments later, his head (I laughed at this at first, for it’s a veritable repeat of stories such as Carmen Machado’s The Husband Stitch) falls off. Cuing perhaps that indeed, this was all a dream; that the Green Knight’s axe really severed his head, and the sash was worthless after all.
But I conjecture. That does not happen at all in the poem. In the poem, thrice the Green Knight swings his axe. On the first Gawain flinches and is upbraided; on the second, the Knight halts his swing and commends Gawain for remaining still; and on the third, the Knight strikes him. But only imparts the smallest of blows, a mere snick on the neck (but still, it reveals even there the sash did not do as the Lady promised).
In the poem, thrice pays for all; three days, three kisses, three strikes. And the Knight lands his blow, as he avowed to do with Gawain a year before.
In the movie, after Gawain comes back from his dream, the Green Knight is still waiting to strike. He has not moved yet for the third blow, nor perhaps even the second. Gawain takes off the belt, and the Green Knight caresses his face, offering a middling comment to the disappointed queers in the audience by calling him “My brave knight,” then to follow it up with an exceedingly lame reference to Alice in Wonderland by saying, “And now, off with your head.”
Gawain in the final moment “succeeds,” such as he does, in the film. He does not fulfill his romantic/erotic obligation to Bertilak, but he yields the sash at the last moment and prepares himself to die, in essence a gesture of suicide. It is unclear if he does this in inversely valuing honor to his life, or simply out of fear of what he would become if he loved his own life too dearly.
In any case the movie does not deliver its inciting promise that the Green Knight would deal Gawain a blow in turn. We are left waiting on the second or third swing.
In the poem, Gawain keeps the sash. For as much as he values his honor and chivalrous integrity in rejecting the Lady’s advances and dutifully delivering the necessary affections to Bertilak, he wants to live. One might read of this choice, a critique on the suicidal nature of honor and the inhuman askance of any man to lay down his life for a code only deemed valuable by general agreement.
The Green Knight snicks him on the neck on the third swing, his promised blow. And the movie leaves the viewer in a likely confusion; the poem, meanwhile, reveals the Green Knight was Bertilak all along, under an enchantment of Morgan le Fay. He was impelled to make the trip to Camelot both to try to scare Guinevere to death, and test Arthur’s knights. Bertilak knew of his Lady’s endeavors and also of the sash; and the first two blows were harmless for Gawain upheld his promise on the first and second day, but fell just short on the third, for the belt. But, though Gawain is humiliated and views the sash as an emblem of his failure, Bertilak forgives and commends him immediately.
“But that was for no artful wickedness, nor for wooing either,
but because you loved your own life: the less do I blame you.”
“Thou hast confessed thee so clean and acknowledged thine errors,
and hast the penance plain to see from the point of my blade,
that I hold thee purged of that debt, made as pure and as clean
as hadst thou done no ill deed since the day thou wert born”
Gawain falls short of the chivalrous and honorable ideal, wanting only to live, and is forgiven for it. The Gawain of the film believes he will become a horrible thing if he chooses to live, and having lost all the rest of the game in a mess, “wins” by giving up the sash and believing he will die, though we do not see the game properly ended, nor do he and Bertilak part companionably. The gutting of the Seduction Game in turn cripples the axe swings, which were the very first things promised to the audience at the beginning of the movie. To remove the first is to the utter detriment of the second, and it is not even finished; and makes Gawain’s presence at Castle de Hautdesert pointless.
Lowery’s Gawain is an inversion of the Pearl Poet’s, and I think the story itself is too. A knight falls short of the ridiculous expectations of honor for his life, vs. a young man just barely meets them, yielding his life in their name. One is taught humility by taking back the sash as a symbol of his mistake - which all the knights of the Table don themselves later in honor - the other is left, as the audience, on the cusp of a story that will never be finished, a promise unfulfilled.
The movie, overall, appears to have a preference for showing over telling, and yet it does not show enough to make a sensible story for those that do not know a handful of ligaments of classic Arthuriana. Bertilak is done wrong nearly as much as Gawain, perhaps getting ten minutes of screen time when he is a significant character in the poem, and his hunts a necessary parallel to the Lady’s pursuit of Gawain, and the revelation he is the Green Knight. The movie hints at this with Winifred’s comment that the Green Knight is someone Gawain knows (not at that time), and I think something the fox says when it emulates Achilles’ steed Xanthus and warns of his impending fate. Bertilak too has a game as the Knight has, but beyond those breadcrumbs the connection is not made, not for my friends nor my uncle, without my citing of the poem after the credits began to roll.
I do think for Bertilak there is much more the film could have done to imply without stating directly Bertilak’s dual identity, possibly exacerbating the theme of a game, but also by showing. I understand Joel Edgerton is 3 inches shorter than Dev Patel, though Tolkien describes both the Knight and Bertilak as veritably mountainous men, built like fortresses- following Edgerton’s Bertilak with camera angles that look up at him as was done for the Knight; intensifying the resonance of his footsteps and voice; taking a page from LotR with forced perspective or Star Wars with a stepstool; even donning him more in green (as much as I love his enormous blue dressing gown), all could have helped enormously to indicate but not say who the Green Knight is. Why, these opportunities could have been explored in abundance if they included his hunting scenes; perhaps his favored weapon is even an axe?
Overall, the movie does not end on a compelling note, stopping just shy of Frodo throwing the Ring into the Fire. Perhaps Bertilak’s reveal and his plea for Gawain to stay for the holiday is comparable to the Scouring of the Shire, lengthy and a little dull and arguably unnecessary, but at least the story told is complete, and delivers what was promised. As it is, so much does not add up from viewers that see the movie just once with no other material; why will Bertilak and the Lady be gone when Gawian returns? Who is the Green Knight? What was the point of the games when neither of them were fulfilled? Why can no one pick between saying “Garwin,” “GAHwin,” or “G’wayne”? (Lest we neglect the unspoken yet best, “Gaywain”.)
The movie is a beautiful adventure into the bizarre unknown, comfortably folkloric in a very basic sense with magic and games of will and fate. But it disappointed me greatly for an inexcusable absence of queerness present and crucial in a 14th century poem and almost utterly devoid in a 2021 film, purposely mitigated in favor of heterosexual encounter after heterosexual encounter. Perhaps uncommonly I went to see the film because I knew the poem was very queer. It astounds the eyes and the ears and can move the heart, but it is inside out from what it once was, and fails to deliver on small promises, as well as its very biggest.
Massive congrats on 1k! You absolutely deserve it! Idk if you're still doing matchups, but if you are, may I get one?
Im 5'2", chubby/curvy, queer, and gender noncomforming. I have short kinky curly brown hair, brown eyes, and wear big retro glasses. I'm also autistic and really anxious/often nonverbal so I spend virtually all of my time alone. I like reading, writing, drawing, meditating, and listening to lots of music. Really the only time I'm not wearing headphones is when I'm asleep. Recently I've been listening to a ton of Kings of Leon, Nirvana, Radiohead, Helvetia, and a bunch of indie artists. I like to create playlists and share them with people and I’m huge into books + movies. Especially horror and A24. I have tons of collections as well (Pins, movie tickets, cool rocks, books, etc). My love language is definitely quality time, and I'd like to think I'm somewhat of a hopeless romantic despite being asexual/somewhat aromatic and having zero romantic experience. I love going to museums, art galleries, bookstores, etc. basically anywhere calm and quiet. I'm also very spiritual and have really strong morals/values/beliefs that I live by.
Idk if this was enough info, but thanks in advance. I absolutely love your blog and want to thank you so so much for ALL of your content. Have a great day. ☀️🦋🤍
Thank you so much :(<3
I SHIP YOU WITH DWAYYYYYNEEEE
I Watched Heartstopper, Then Crush And I Regret One Of The Two
Here's some commentary nobody asked for!
As a queer person, I'm very much glad we're getting more content in the media (I'd say LGBTQIA+ content, but let's be real, not all those letters make it almost ever, which sucks). It surprises me and then it hurts me that it is a shock; I have to run some numbers in my head to remind myself we're still barely there when it comes to representation and I finish my thoughts with an uncertain landing on the "I have to be happy for some progress anyway, even if it's not even close to enough".
That being said the other day I binge-watched Heartstopper on Netflix and later on Crush on Disney+. What I learned is that I shouldn't have done it in that order.
Heartstopper is truly sweet, I adopted all the gays in it, they're my children now (you can co-parent, it's fine). It’s also much more light-hearted than I anticipated, which is good 'cause Aphrodite only knows how done I am with the whole coming-out plot. Sure, after watching it I went like "Ehh, could've had more substance", but honestly fuck no: it was perfectly fine like it was. A feel-good, rainbow series. Love it, wish we had more.
Now onto Crush.
What the fuck was that.
First things first, this movie is the stupid humor kind. The type that makes zero sense at all, that's simply not how people are in real life (OK, maybe some of them are, but not all of them and not in such an exaggerated way). Then it falls onto a terrible writing issue which is the “telling instead of showing” of things. As in: "Look at Gabri, she's the most popular girl in school!". Except we only see her hang around two or three people in the whole movie (one of them is her literal twin), nobody seems to be giving a shit about what she's up to. I would've literally never known unless you told me and I'm still doubting you. Even more apparent is with the character of AJ (Gabri's twin sister), who's explicatively described as "brooding", with a too-cool-for-school vibe etc, but yet again the only thing she does to indicate anything of the sort is eye-rolling a couple of times? And having a skateboard? Girl, bye.
More importantly, the protagonist (*goes to check her name on The Web ‘cause the character made such a splash*) – aka Paige – has only two things going on for her: being annoying and constantly reminding everyone she's gay (technically being an artist too, but it doesn't play into the plot almost at all, so). She says she's gay so many times it sounds like the whole "I'm straight, I swear!" thing in reverse. It's all played as a running joke in the movie, as if that's funny, but is it? Personally, I found it cringe as hell.
The plot didn't even try to make sense, it was a big shrug, which isn’t necessarily something I’m against if I end up having a good time, but I didn't. If you watched the trailer (or the movie), then you know the baseline: Paige wants to get into a prestigious school, but is framed as the person making graffiti on school property, and for the sake of moving the plot along the only way to prevent getting a suspension is to join an extracurricular activity and find the actual "culprit" behind the graffiti. She picks track ‘cause that’s what her crush – aka supposedly-most-popular-girl-in-school – has as extracurricular, but ends up falling for the other twin along the way because... I don’t fucking know. Maybe because Gabri’s character is even more insipid than AJ’s, I don’t know.
Honestly, all the characters are either annoying or boring, with the only exception of Tim, so important he doesn’t even have a last name now that I’m looking him up on the wiki page. He had a very charming smile and seemed the most genuine out of the bunch, as in I could see a guy like him actually existing in this world, so he wins in my book, I guess.
This whole rant is to say that I’m quite upset I watched this after Heartstopper, ‘cause it doesn’t even compare. One is a series and one is a movie, but that's no excuse.
Even though I want to be happy we’re getting more… well, not representation, Crush is hardly any representation at all. I’m happy we’re more out there (I guess), but I’m still conflicted about the way we’re portrayed. ‘Cause Crush wasn’t it.
Important to mention, it really wasn’t the cast’s fault: the writing was simply not there at all. Big shame.
P.S. If anyone liked Crush no worries, this is simply my take on it. You’re free to enjoy what you enjoy and that’s the beauty of it all. Keep reblogging GIFs from the movie and so on, I prefer those to the actual thing anyways (lol).
The Myths of Forced Diversity and Virtue Signaling.
In my novel Mail Order Bride, the three main characters are a lesbian and two agendered aliens. In my novel Scatter, the main character is a lesbian, the love interest is a pansexual alien, and the major side characters include a half Cuban, half black Dominican lesbian, a Chinese Dragon, a New York born Jewish Dragon, and a Transgender Welsh Dragon. In my novel The Master of Puppets, the Main Characters are a lesbian shapeshifting reptilian alien cyborg and a half black, half Japanese lesbian. The major side characters include three gender fluid shapeshifting reptilian alien cyborgs, and a pansexual human. In my novel Transistor, the main character is a Trans Lesbian, the love interest is a Half human/Half Angel non-observant Ethiopian Jew, and the major side characters include a Transgender Welsh Dragon (the same one from Scatter), a Transgender woman, a Latino Lesbian, an autistic man, three Middle Eastern Arch Angels, and a hive mind AI with literally hundreds of genders. In my novel The Inevitable singularity, one of the main characters is a lesbian, another has a less clearly defined sexuality but she is definitely in love with the lesbian, and the third is functionally asexual due to a vow of chastity she takes very seriously. The major side characters include a straight guy from a social class similar to the Dalit (commonly known as untouchables) in India, a bisexual woman, a man who is from a race of genetically modified human/frog hybrids, and a woman from a race of genetically modified humans who are bred and sold as indentured sex workers.
Why am I bringing all of this up? Well, first, because it’s kind of cool to look at the list of different characters I’ve created, but mostly because it connects to what I want to talk about today, which should be obvious from the title of the essay. The concepts of ‘forced diversity’ and ‘virtue signaling’.
For those who aren’t familiar with these terms, they’re very closely related concepts. ‘Forced Diversity’ is the idea that characters who aren’t neurotypical cisgendered heterosexual white males are only ever included in a story because of outside pressure from some group (usually called Social Justice Warriors, or The Woke Brigade or something similar) to meet some nebulous political agenda. The caveat to this is, of course, that you can have a women/women present as long as they are hot, don’t make any major contributions to the resolution of the plot, and the hero/heroes get to fuck them before the end of the story. ‘Virtue Signaling’, according to Wikipedia, is a pejorative neologism for the expression of a disingenuous moral viewpoint with the intent of communicating good character.
The basic argument is that Forced Diversity is a form of virtue signaling. That no one would ever write characters who aren’t neurotypical cisgendered heterosexual white males because they want to. They only do it to please the evil SJW’s who are somehow both so powerful that they force everybody to conform to their desires, yet so irrelevant that catering to them dooms any creative project to financial failure via the infamous ‘go woke, go broke’ rule.
What the people who push this idea of Forced Diversity tend to forget is that we exist at a point in time when creators actually have more creative freedom than are any other people in history. Comic writers can throw up a website and publish their work as a webcomic without having to go through Marvel, DC or one of the other big names, or get a place in the dying realm of the news paper comics page. Novelists can self-publish with fairly little upfront costs, musicians can use places like YouTube and Soundcloud to get their work out without having to worry about music publishers. Artists can hock their work on twitter and tumblr and a dozen other places. Podcasts are relatively cheap to make, which has opened up a resurgence in audio dramas. Even the barrier to entry for live action drama is ridiculously low.
So, in a world where creators have more freedom than ever before, why would they choose to people their stories with characters they don’t want there? The answer, of course, is that they wouldn’t. Authors, comic creators, indie film creators and so on aren’t putting diverse characters into their stories because they are being forced to. They’re putting diverse characters into their stories because they want to. Creators want to tell stories about someone other than the generically handsome hypermasculine cisgendered heterosexual white males that have been the protagonists of so many stories over the years that we’ve choking on it. A lot of times, creators want to tell stories about people like themselves. Black creators want to tell stories about the black experience. Queer creators want to tell stories about the queer experience.
I’m an autistic, mentally ill trans feminine abuse survivor. Every day, I get up and I struggle with PTSD, with an eating disorder, with severe body dysmorphia, with anxiety and depression and just the reality of being autistic and transgender. I deal with the fact that the religious community I grew up in views me as an abomination, and genuinely believes I’m going to spend eternity burning in hell. I deal with the fact that people I’ve known for decades, even members of my own family, regularly vote for politician who publicly state that they want to strip me of my civil rights because I’m queer. I’m part of a community that experiences a disproportionately high murder and suicide rate. I’ve spent multiple years of my life deep in suicidal depression, and to this day, I still don’t trust myself around guns.
As a creator, I want to talk about those issues. I want to deal with my life experiences. I want to create characters that embody and express aspects of my lived experience and my day-to-day reality. No one is forcing me to put diversity into my books. I try to include Jewish characters as often as I can because there have been a number of important Jewish people in my life. I include queer people because I’m queer and the vast majority of friends I interact with on a regular basis are queer. I include people with mental illnesses and trauma because I am mentally ill and have trauma, and I know a lot of people with mental illnesses and trauma. My work may be full of fantastical elements, aliens and dragons and angels and superheroes and magic and ultra-high technology and AI’s and talking cats and robot dogs and shape shifters and telepaths and all sorts of other things, but at the core of the stories is my own lived experience, and neurotypical cisgendered heterosexual white males are vanishingly rare in that experience.
Now, I can hear the comments already. The ‘okay, maybe that’s true for individual creators, but what about corporate artwork?’. Maybe not in those exact words, but you get the idea.
The thought here is that corporations are bowing to social pressure to include characters who aren’t neurotypical cisgendered heterosexual white males, and that is somehow bad. But here’s the thing. Corporations are going to chase the dollars. They aren’t bowing to social pressure. There’s no one holding a gun to some executive’s head saying, “You must have this many diversity tokens in every script.” What is happening is that corporations are starting to clue into the fact that people who aren’t neurotypical cisgendered heterosexual white males have money. They are putting black characters in their shows and movies because black people watch shows and spend money on movies. They are putting queer people in shows and movies because queer people watch shows and spend money on movies. They are putting women in shows and movies because women watch shows and spend money on movies.
No one is forcing these companies to do this. They are choosing to do it, the same way individual creators are choosing to do it. In the companies’ cases the choices are made for different reasons. It’s not because they are necessarily passionate about telling stories about a particular experience, but because they want to create art to be consumed by the largest audience possible, which means that they have to expand their audience beyond the neurotypical cisgendered heterosexual white male by including characters from outside of that demographic.
And the reality is, the cries of ‘forced diversity’ and ‘virtue signaling’ almost always come from within that demographic. Note the almost. There are a scattering of individuals from outside that demographic which do subscribe to the ‘forced diversity’ and ‘virtue signaling’ myths, but that is a whole other essay. However, within that demographic, lot of the people who cry about ‘forced diversity’ see media and content as a Zero-Sum game. The more that’s created for other people, the less that is created for them.
In a way, they’re right. There are only so many slots for TV shows each week, there are only so many theaters, only so much space on comic bookshelves and so on. But at the end of the day, its literally impossible for them to consume all the content that’s being produced anyway. So, while there is, theoretically less content for them to consume, as a practical matter it’s a bit like someone who is a meat eater going to a buffet with two hundred items, and then throwing a tantrum because five of the items happen to be vegan.
The worst part is, if they could let go of how wound up they are about the ‘forced diversity’ and ‘virtue signaling’ they could probably enjoy the content that’s produced for people other than them. I mean, I’m a pasty ass white girl, and I loved Black Panther.
So, to wrap out, creators, make what you want to make, and ignore anyone who cries about forced diversity or virtue signaling. And to people who are complaining about forced diversity and virtue signaling, I want to go back to the buffet metaphor. You need to relax. Even if there are a few vegan options on the buffet, you can still get your medium rare steak, or your chicken teriyaki or whatever it is you want. Or, maybe, just maybe, you could give the falafel a try. That shit is delicious.