Gonna break this one off, I think.

The thing is this beat, and the anxiety it represents, is about as old as formal drama.

Shakespeare plays even sometimes open with, basically, the chorus begging the audience not to make fun of them or notice it's all on a stage.
"It's only a model."
"I can see the wires."
"Why didn't you shoot Sailor Moon when she was transforming?" (This one in particular is like one of the oldest and most persistent of contemporary geek jokes.)
The critical audience - or just the jaded one, and a lot of geeks and critics both are extremely enmeshed in genre traditions - are very aware of the tropes and the implicit vulnerability to mockery in simply playing them straight.
Asserting that you are above the material is a way to avoid mockery, position yourself as discerning and shrewd.

So like the insistence that Thor Ragnarok was somehow above or slyly mocking the beats of a Thor comic has an element of very illustrative self defense, to me?
This is a film that absolutely revels in the beats of heroic space Viking melodrama, and yet people insist that it's really made as one big joke at their expense. I feel like the actual dynamics on display are the exact opposite of those they claim:
All those scenes of smug mockery or watching our heroes faceplant and fuck up or even the villains smugly dismantling their heroic routines aren't the challenging bit, because they reassure us that the film is "in on the joke," that we can see the wires.

They're the bait.
They are the cynic-pleasing lure that buys sufficient audience buy-in (by reassuring them that *they're* not being mocked, the material is, totally, we promise) for the big bombastic totally-played-straight finales of over the top, easily mocked, totally sincere melodrama.
(Side note!
Given that Usagi regularly warps reality about once a season, I think it *somewhat more likely* that her magic has accounted for the possibility of some Smart Cynic just trying to put a bullet in her mid-magic ritual than that she really is gonna be vulnerable!)

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More from @loudpenitent

23 Feb
I'd go both further and less far:

Even if one believes (as I do) that some form of professional constabulary is preferable to vigilantes and partisans extracting their own justice, that is precisely what most cop shows actually depict.

They are not invested in just policing.
If we're talking about the genre's dramatic use for policing, Hot Fuzz is possibly the most honest cop movie ever mad.

The traits that make Nicholas a "good officer" - his restraint, minimal force, & bureaucratic diligence - are exactly what the film wants him to throw away.
Nicholas wants to be a civic-minded clerk. Somewhat bossy and obnoxious, but far more concerned with making sure the rules are followed without bias, crime is kept from hurting people, and every alteration rigorously investigated.

That's not why stories use cops though!
Read 6 tweets
23 Feb
@Nymphomachy Alright so:
CW: discussion of sexual violence
After that implicitly awful scene which Rowling deliberately *alludes*, in a sort of coy and winking way, to the prospect of centaurs assaulting Umbridge, her protagonists later mock and exploit the woman's triggers later. (cont)
@Nymphomachy They exploit Umbridge's issues related to her experience with the centaurs - which let's give Rowling a benefit of the doubt and assume is "just" a violent & terrifying flight. It's still clearly a traumatic experience, & the protags exploit it by feigning the sound of hooves.
@Nymphomachy This is justified, in the narrative, by the fact that Umbridge is herself an utterly wretched and bigoted person - exploiting her triggers is treated the same way as any other undercutting a villain's pompous grandeur or exploiting a monster's One Weird Weakness.
Read 14 tweets
22 Feb
Actually hell with it:

Bloodborne's thesis really feels like, partly, less "this is what happens when you worship the great old ones," and more "this is the fail state of when man sets out to supplant the gods because he can."

it's Enlightenment Prometheus as grotesque horror.
There's something particularly grotesque about Bloodborne's "religious" iconography - it's like the lurching pantomime of religious ritual without its core of reverence.

Because the Healing Church - and the School of Mensis - doesn't worship the gods, it wants to eat them.
So they're going through the motions - shrines and icons, votive candles, "communion" - but in a horrific, literalist, "rationalist" sort of way where they feel like if they just do the rites it'll bring the Great Ones into reach so they can be devoured.
Read 10 tweets
20 Jul 20
Long as I'm at it today HOT TAKE

all the moralistic "why don't Americans sacrifice for the group? why are we all so selfish? surely there is some evil latent in our nature!" takes are missing the obvious factor:

Shitty social conditions create & reinforce selfishness.
It's not just that there's some latent American Evil pulsing in our souls, some innate BadPersonness.

It's that for decades we've seen a selfish plutocracy enshrined and the community let all of us down! It's harder to sacrifice for the team w/o faith it will be repaid!
Deprivation does not make people saints. It makes many people crueler, angrier, more spiteful, more cynical, and less likely to trust the group or sacrifice for the common good.

Why the fuck SHOULD Americans put their trust in a community which has failed them so often?
Read 14 tweets
15 Jul 20
Related: if Wicked Abrahamic Religion in general manifests, it may CLAIM "oh it's Catholicism," but odds are the big bad is gonna be G-D, not Jesus; reluctance to confront specific Christian doctrine ends up making it feel de facto anti-Jewish instead by giving Christians an out.
Since - as I have mentioned - for many whose primary interaction w/Abrahamic imagery & culture is Christianity, Judaism registers as "Christianity minus Jesus," therefore subtracting Jesus is all Christians seem to need to make it Not About Us (cont)
And since Jews are defined as Christianity -, Christianity 0.5, subtracting Jesus therefore almost immediately seems to place a religious image or fictional institution resembling Abrahamic doctrine into the "Jewish" zone, ESPECIALLY given the Christian assumption of Jews = power
Read 13 tweets
6 Aug 19
Hot take, bc I just had an argument about it:

We would have a lot healthier discussions about firearms if we all dropped hunting as a talking point, or at least acknowledged hunting is a somewhat orthogonal culture war element used as a smoke screen.
Every nation with the space to do so allows hunting & weapons for that purpose. That's not why we argue.

Ultimately the liberal vs revolutionary argument over firearms is about whether the threat to kill your fellow citizens is considered acceptable political leverage.
And that's really the long and short of it.

This is not a left vs right thing, per se! There are lots of leftist (revolutionary) arguments for an armed and HIGHLY militarized population who are absolutely ready to start slitting throats and shooting people to guarantee liberty.
Read 13 tweets

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