Okay SURE we all agree that Enid is queer-coded as FUCK with her rainbow nails and lesbian flag of a sweater, but I really wanna talk about her usage of ‘howdy’ more:
Enid Sinclair is someone canonically from California- my state, actually- and like…. NO ONE here who is straight uses motherfucken ‘howdy’ as a casual greeting. No one. You know how there’s this thing where if a person uses the word ‘y’all’ all the time and they’re not Cowboyishly Southern™️ then chances are they’re a fruit? Like, I use y’all every single day and I am a raging Californian through and through. I also love hot moms and dads. Sure, I am willing to concede that not EVERY non-Southerner who uses y’all is queer, but with the countless other queer people I know who do the same as I do… well.
Yes, correlation does not automatically equate to causation, however, there ARE enough people in this particular category that can give the claim I’m tryna make statistic significance. By extension of the y’all to fruit pipeline, ‘howdy’ is even MORE Cowboyishly Southern™️ than ‘y’all’ and Miss Sinclair is just spouting it right off the bat with her whole chest no hesitation as she joyfully greets Wednesday. Therefore, Enid is queer-coded as FUCK because when was the last time you EVER saw some Californian girlie casually use howdy unironically like this?
(Did I just try to use modern cultural linguistic patterns to try and justify a fictional character’s lesbianism? I mean YEAH in my defense I am delusional Wenclair trash but sshhhhh my science is still sound.)
Something so satisfying about the idea of Jason moving out of Gotham and moving in with Kyle in NY after all the drifting from place to place, self-discovery, and the death of his best friend. (Oh lord here we go, Jay's gonna write a half-baked fic again):
It's a shitty apartment, but Kyle offers up what little space he has to give Jason a home, because God knows the man needs a place to call home now. The closest thing he had to call home in a person is dead, or a family that doesn't even really see him as a person half the time so much as a problem to be fixed or contained; Kyle doesn't expect to take that place or be anything excessively important, but he does have a couch and a few extra cups of instant noodles he can share.
And then Jason lives there. He's been there for a month, and Kyle is noticing changes. Jason isn't anything like what Kyle expected when he first met him years ago; he calm, he's quiet, he's smart. He's multidimensional, and that never really rang true until Kyle noticed Jason seemed comfortable enough to let his guard down.
Kyle also notices other changes. Such as a lack of being hounded about rent by the landlord, an increase in actual food in the apartment, and a stack of books that used to occupy the floor on an actual bookshelf. He debates asking a lot of the time, but he never finds the right way. Instead, he leaves it alone for a year.
The year rounds out. Kyle finally asks, because his entire apartment doesn't look half as bad as it did when Jason moved in. He finds Jason in the kitchen, cooking, and the whole place smells like Kyle's childhood. Spices that make his nose tickle and his mouth water fill the air, and he finds Jason leaned against the counter, scrolling through his phone with one hand and stirring the pot on the stove with the other. He's humming, a tune Kyle can't place but recognizes, somehow.
"Hey, Jay?" Kyle starts, eyeing his roommate as Jason looks up and, be still his beating heart, smiles at him.
"Oh, hey." Jason says, putting his phone down on the counter. He's giving Kyle his full attention, a gesture he usually reserves for important conversation. "I would've texted you about dinner, but y'know. I kinda just started."
"Nah, that's fine." Kyle says, waving off the statement. "I did want to talk to you, though. About uh... the apartment?" He doesn't miss the way Jason's shoulders tense, the way his jaw sets. He curses himself as he realizes how that must have sounded, knowing Jason must be expecting the worst now.
"Sure. Let me just-" Jason says, turning to knock the heat on the stove top down to low. Kyle watches him, the way his fingers just slightly falter with the knob. He's nervous.
"Its nothing bad, Jay." Kyle says quickly, and almost as if he's said some magic word, Jason visibly relaxes. His hand draws back from the stove dial slowly, and he turns to look at Kyle. "Its just... have you been paying the backrent? And... all the furniture and the food- Jay, I can't afford to pay you back."
"Whoa, whoa, slow your roll, bud! Who said anything about paying me back?" Jason asks, furrowing his eyebrows as he leans back against the counter. "Dude, you're letting me live here, and between your day job and running around doing... whatever it is Lanterns do, I don't know your life, you don't exactly make the big bucks. The least I can do is help you keep your shithole in your hands. And respectfully, after week three, if I had to eat one more cup of shrimp-flavored noodles, I was gonna murder you in your sleep."
"Jason." Kyle sighs, tucking his hands in his pockets as he eyes the floor. "Thanks, man. I've been stressing out for a year now about where in God's name I was gonna find the means to pay you back for this."
"And now you can rest easy, dreamboat. Now, do you or do you not want me to finish dinner before the game? I'm not gonna sit here and listen to you bitch about missing anything again." Jason warns, lifting the spoon out of the pot to wave at Kyle in a mock-threat.
"Right, right. Let the chef work his magic, and we all go to ved happy." Kyle laughs, holds up his hands defensively as he moves to leave the kitchen area. He pauses then, leaning into the room again to eye Jason. "Oh, and Jay?"
"Hm?" Jason doesn't look up, eyes focused on his methodical stirring. Kyle grins to himself, deciding that if Jason is so comfortable with him as to call him fucking dreamboat directly to his face, he may as well enjoy it.
"You make a great housewife, sweetheart." He ducks just as a knife flies into the wallpaper beside his head, laughing as he scrambles away from the kitchen as a flurry of yelling in the heaviest Gotham accent he's ever heard barrels out the door after him.
"I'm so poisoning your food, Rayner!"
Now we've seen Whitestone, I want to comment on Culture in Critical Role, and how there are some fundamental aspects of DnD which make it unsuitable for exploring cultural differences.
I've seen some very valid posts about how Marquet in C3 isn't used to its full potential as a cultural setting, among others because most of the PCs are not native to Marquet. But while I fully agree, I want to broaden the argument even further: neither were Wildemount, Xhorhas or Tal'dorei.
I believe that Dungeons and Dragons is ill equipped to explore cultural differences, because there are key aspects of culture that it actively ignores: language, food and weather.
To start with language. In almost all versions of DnD or fantasy, everyone speaks common. This solves one of the main issues in world building, because it allows the players to travel the world without the issues that stem from not speaking a language. However, language is one of the main tools people use to distinguish themselves from others. Language, accent, tone, vocabulary and even grammar change based on who you are, where you come from and whom you're speaking to. But because everyone in Exandria speaks English like the cast do, they have a uniform culture, whether they are from Wildemount, Tal'dorei or Marquet. Even Caleb, who comes closest to breaking this pattern, is not truly Zemnian, because Liam (and Matt) doesn't actually speak German. Apart from the German accent and some German words, he doesn't speak like a non native German English speaker would.
Next up, food. Apart from some quick mentions of breakfast or dinner, food is almost always an afterthought. The Bell's Hells do not stop for lunch, and rations are almost never a problem. However, food is intrinsically linked to culture. What food is served, when food is served, and with whom food is eaten differs from place to place and from class to class. Is the food imported or is it grown locally? Is food served at 6PM sharp or much later? Do you eat with the whole family and is there always a surplus or do you have to fight for the scraps? What is the street food like? What spices are used? How does Xhorhas' cuisine differ from Wildemount, given that they live in perpetual night? But ultimately, the pie in Marquet is no different from the pie in Byroden, because again, the default will be the casts' default.
Finally, weather. While it might seem arbitrary, weather influences almost all aspects of our lives, from our homes, to our clothes, to our relationships. Is it warm enough to sit outside during the evening? This will encourage parties and late bedtimes. It is cold and rainy? People will sit inside pubs to stay warm. Colder and warmer climates, hot and dry climates, each of these influence when people are active and how they behave. Apart from the extremes, like the snow in Eiselcross, or the heat in the Fire Plane, the characters never have to deal with rain, or mist, or cold. They don't have to take shelter, they don't wake up cold, they don't need to keep a fire going or set up tents. And as such, there is no difference between a warm and hot jungle surrounding Jrusar or a high mountain trail in Zephrah, nor are the people who live there different.
There can be much more said about each of these three aspects of culture, and there are probably more examples to be given. And this is not intended as a excuse, or a reason for Matt not to try better. But sadly, DnD as a system glosses over most of the day-to-day interactions that make a city a particular city, or a culture a particular culture. And the default will always be the players' default.