It's interesting that the idea of a "wishing genie", the Genies of the Ring and the Lamp from Aladdin, and the Genie in the Bottle from The Fisherman and the Genie, is the established Western idea of what djinn are even though originally that was an "exception"
I mean the word "genie" isn't even the real word, it's a fortuitous homonym with the Arabic "jinni", singular of "jinn" ("djinn" in the old-fashioned Romanization)

"Genie" is an unrelated French word also meaning "spirit" in a more general sense, same root as "genius"
But yeah I mean The Fisherman and the Genie is a *special situation*, it's this shocking thing that a jinni has been *trapped* by human will in a *container*

By the power of Solomon's Seal, the wisest king and greatest wizard who ever lived
It's an intentionally scary situation, a sense of wrongness, like... I dunno, like Scalzi's The God Engines, where they casually mention that their spaceships are "powered by gods"
And the more famous genie(s) from Aladdin are even less authentic -- that story was added to the 1001 Nights in modern times, in the 1700s, although evidence is now that "Hanna" was a real Syrian dude who really did write that story and the French translator tried to take credit
But, you know, taking the basic idea of the Fisherman and the Genie and making it even more over-the-top -- as opposed to the Genie being pushed into granting a favor to let him out of the bottle, they've been *permanently* bound and can be controlled like robots or computers
(The way the genies work in this story makes me think this story must've been written in modern times, it feels like a modern POV, something developed when machines like Jacquard looms and such were already seeping into people's consciousness, "industrial thinking")
So, you know, *even more like* the God Engines (not just "we trapped a god and we managed to make it take orders" but "we have a society that runs on treating gods as machines")
I dunno it's just interesting to me how what was originally transformative becomes the new "standard" myth

Like it's not that "undead" mummies *never existed* in Egyptian folklore, there's an authentic Egyptian "scary story" about exactly that
It's just that, you know, that was a scary story

It wasn't something people literally expected to happen

It's like the evolution in our culture of random stories about "dead men rising from their graves" to an actual "vampire lore" or "zombie lore"
To the point where now, in our foreign culture, we think of "mummy" as MEANING a way to preserve a body in such a way you can make it literally rise from the dead as a terrifying monster

Which is kind of like, I dunno, imagining that coffins are for turning people into vampires
And yeah in OP's thread they talk a little bit about the similarities between jinn in the Middle East and fairies ("the fey") in the British Isles

How they started off as, you know, actual literal gods, and then "diminished" -- especially after the coming of monotheism
But they're still dangerous, they're the spirits of the wilderness, the untamed, something powerful that's neither angel nor devil, merely alien
And what happened to the jinn to make them "genies of the lamp" in our culture is *kind* of like how certain fairy tales made "fairy godmother" into a trope
Like, again, having a fairy godmother back in the day was like saying "An angel owes me a favor", it meant you were extremely special, it was a big exceptional thing for a fanciful tale

But those tales were so popular there's now pop-culture "lore" about everyone having one
Until, like, doing favors for humans becomes what the most "diminished" of fairies (little tiny people scurrying around in hiding places) are *for*, like the elves and the shoemaker

The parallels are striking (even if the genie stuff is mostly Western appropriation)
As is, you know, the po-mo symbolic mythic shit you can get into about how this symbolizes the slow retreat of true wilderness from the world as humanity civilizes the planet and turns more and more of the natural world into systems designed to serve our whims

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More from @arthur_affect

14 Oct
Yeah I mean I am as Asian as anyone else in this story okay

At least come correctly at me and accuse me of being *sexist*
Well we already talked about this, "as a straight MoC you put white women on a pedestal" etc etc

Yeah okay I dunno sure maybe
I'm gonna try to say this delicately

No one is "more Asian" than anyone else, okay, being "Asian" doesn't work like that

But I was BOTH an Asian AND a foreigner as a kid

What they call a "FOB"

You know? It's different from "Being Asian DOESN'T make me foreign"
Read 10 tweets
14 Oct
Lol I mean

The point of the story, to be fair, is that she's a bad person both by Chinese and American cultural standards (her husband actually picks up on how little effort she's putting into this meeting and gets upset)

But yeah she doesn't commit
It's like she still can't bear to really follow through on making the story "morally ambiguous", Chuntao is still clearly the sympathetic one and Rose is still clearly supposed to be unlikable and annoying

It's like... cheating, I'm being told I'm not allowed to dislike Chuntao
You know? Like Rose is trying so hard not to react to what is honestly Chuntao's obvious rudeness because, well, she almost died and you have to cut her some slack right, and we can see in her narration she's deeply unhappy and you gotta give her some space right
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct
Yeah so this is an instance where a lot of overconfident humanities majors just straight up say shit like "Any communication from the donor to the recipient is an emotional burden, an demand for emotional labor" when actual empirical research says they are often wrong
This is what I have come to hate about "emotional labor" discourse, this unintentional implication that if I avoid all emotional connections and interactions that do not directly benefit and center me, I am making an "emotional profit", I am accumulating emotional wealth
I am developing an abundance of "emotional resources" rather than depleting them, so that, after years of never talking to anyone who wasn't specifically supposed to be talking to me ("Take it to your therapist!"), I will find it *really easy* to provide "labor" if I have to
Read 7 tweets
14 Oct
The workshop/academia/litfic/litcrit world absolutely is just "fandom with a suit and tie"

Or, really, what we call fandom is just regular nerds who like Harry Potter re-evolving these social structures under similar circumstances (lots of free time to talk about books)
I'd like to thank the OP for putting this on my TL because it's really an interesting idea

I think a lot of people in literary and fandom circles would react badly to the idea that these two things have way more in common with each other than with more "normal" communities
(Even though they have a lot of overlap too -- a surprising number of actual MFAs slumming it on TVTropes and AO3 under fake names)

But I mean the real thing connecting these two communities isn't how "elite" they are
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
Sitting here wondering if they'll tell me I have to lose weight to make it through the donor screening (if you're REALLY fat the FAQ says they'll just exclude you, but someone at my level of fat "may be asked to lose weight)
And I mean like I'm like

"Is that actually a good reason to lose weight"

And then I'm like

"If that's NOT a good reason then what would a good reason even be"
It's not saying I agree with the rule to say that if that is the rule and I can't donate otherwise then it might make a lifesaving difference to someone else if I at least try right

I dunno
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
The litfic world comes off TERRIBLY here

And it's not just snobbery and cliquishness, which of course is everywhere

It really is something specific to this kind of "artistic community" - the insistence that your ONLY real responsibility as a Writer is to your own "truth"
That if you think there's any competing interest to "your truth", like THE truth, then you're the same as all the censorious Christian moms who ban books and shit

That there's nothing that being a Writer is ABOUT other than vomiting up your feelings onto the page
And look it's not like I hate and despise litfic and only read books that have robots or dragons or both

I do strongly believe that ultimately the only point of writing books is "emotional truth", is feeling like you've formed some connection with another person's experience
Read 12 tweets

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