@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.
@Nymphomachy This is *plausible*; people DO exploit shitty people's hangups, and Umbridge IS a terrible, terrible person.

But what it sure as hell isn't is modern beats of humane, empathetic drama w/compassion for victims. It relies on the remove of Potter being a cartoon to license it.
@Nymphomachy And this does form something of a pattern - it's one of the big Things edgy Potter fanfic made as a standard plot beat: "what if we removed the cartoonish remove that justifies all the terrible things regularly happening in this series and approached it with realistic trauma?"
@Nymphomachy And it's not that Rowling isn't aware of this - Harry IS plausibly traumatized and he does behave in ways that you'd expect a traumatized and alienated young man to behave.

But it's very telling where she switches from Cartoon-Track to Serious-Track and back, given the era?
@Nymphomachy Anyways this isn't, in itself, an unforgivable creator sin; lots of people end up doing this, some stories deliberately some accidentally, and in general cartoons & comedy relies on a certain degree of dramatic license granted thus. But Potter mixes them, uncomfortably.
@Nymphomachy And the conflation undermines a lot of Rowling's convention as a Kind Compassionate Author - there are parts of Potter which are compassionate (to People Who Matter, in the narrative's eyes), and there are parts of Potter which are very cruel (to people who don't matter).
@Nymphomachy So we must discard the idea that Rowling is intrinsically, axiomatically kind by basic inclination because of the positive feelings people have for her works or their perceived moral message - we have seen she is perfectly capable of cruelty, with intent. It is not foreign to her
@Nymphomachy Rowling absolutely can write the sorts of narratives which indulge in cruelty - even vicious cruelty exploiting someone's most vulnerable agonies - towards those they see as deserving of that cruelty.

And as we see in real life, she can express that in reality as well.
@Nymphomachy There's nothing *utterly* damning about that *by itself*, a lot of us have a touch of capacity for cruelty.

But it means that when we see her public cruelty to a vulnerable population, well... her heroes exploited peoples' trauma if they thought they were bad, why wouldn't she?
@Nymphomachy Like that's the core, damning thing of this all, right? The thing a lot of her fans really don't want to think about:

What if Rowling *genuinely thinks* that the marginalized communities she derides are Bad People? Well, then we know how she might behave towards them, don't we?
@Nymphomachy Folks want her to "just" be ignorant, but the simplest answer is Rowling - for reasons largely tied to the history of British feminism and the toxic demagogue appeal of TERF rhetoric to a certain sort of woman - is genuinely, assertively convinced trans people are evil predators.
@Nymphomachy We've got a word for that, & not Kind, Compassionate, or Progressive. She's had too many people DESPERATE to convince her otherwise to not be clearly an assertive choice - whether or not it comes from fear or lies.

You disarm such people before you try to bridge gaps with them.

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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
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
22 Feb
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.
Read 8 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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