svollga: (smile)
2010-07-14 07:10 pm

thinky thoughts on person/world interaction

Swimming pool and long walks lead to thinky thoughts that sort of flow from one topic to another. I started with thinking about transformative art as an empowering tool. The original text (in any media) is sort of like the world around: it is whole, complete and exists without me, by the rules written not by me, and while I'm included ad the reader of the text (which is sometimes addressed directly to me via breaking the fourth wall), I'm supposed to be passive and play by the rules. But is I transform the text via fanfiction, fanart and so on, I can change it. I can take what I like and rewrite what I don't like, or add something I think is missing, or simply rearrange the parts in the order that makes more sense to me. At the same time, I keep the feeling of the original, its atmosphere, its essence, while working out the kinks. For me, this action is a metaphor of the interaction with the real world around me: I can take the cards I'm dealt with and rearrange them, change them, rewrite the parts I don't like while still working with the same old world. It takes time and effort, but it's working. In some sense, transformative art gives me stronger feeling of power than original art: original art is the process of creating something new which doesn't translate as well for me into interaction with the world around me. But the feelings I experience when creating a canon-compliant story where Ianto Jones lives, or Sirius Black is brought back from behind the Veil, and the feelings I experience when working on some pro-lgbt project are similar: in both cases, I have a feeling that I'm changing something that is bigger than me, by small steps, because I can.

Speaking of the small steps: from watching tv-shows and movies made in the US and in the UK, I've got a feeling of some inherent difference in the stories they tell about how the world can be changed. In the US products, there's one Big Hero who changes everything, does everything, saves everyone in one big ultimate effort. The story I get from them is usually, 'you can change entire world in one big push if you try hard enough'. In the UK products, there is a common person that strives to be a better person, or just to be themselves, or do their own thing the way they see fit, and  in the process change the world around themselves - a lot of small, almost imperceivable changes that grow up into a bigger picture. The clearest example is Life on Mars where Sam Tyler changes the people of 70th and the police methods just by being himself all the time. The story I get is, 'you cannot change the whole world but you can change the world around you by being yourself and making small steps, and the changes will go further and further'. I like this story better. It fits my worldview, and it gives me strength to do something because I don't have to get ready for the Big Push - I can do something today, something that I'm actually able to do, and it will still make a difference.

This is how I understand the 'personal is political' thesis: what I am and what I do matters because it influences the world around me and goes into the big pucture, and the big picture changes and influences me and everybody else, and I change and influence it and everybody else... and so on. Everything is connected*, and I have the power to change the entire world, if not at once, than with time.

* This worldview is probably the reason I find Wicca the closest of all religions though I'm not religious and don't identify as Wiccan.

svollga: (ianto)
2010-07-12 12:44 am
Entry tags:

Ianto's Shrine Today

It's a year since CoE, and the Shrine in Cardiff is still alive and full of gifts and flowers. I find it exciting. It reminds me that there are actually a lot of people for whom fictional characters are real in the sense of emotions they evoke and their role in our lives. (That's one of the reasons I loved the Doctor Who finale so much. The story of Amy who missed her imaginary friend at her wedding rings true for me, and I think I'm not alone in this feeling.)
svollga: (ianto)
2010-07-10 11:10 pm
Entry tags:

fandom notes

# For some reasons, I can't listen to music while working, it distracts me, but I usually listen to some tv series I've already watched as a background noise.
Today, I listened to Buffy's Hush. Hmm.

# Speaking of Buffy, the storylines in it tend to repeat itself first as farce, and then as tragedy. Take Something Blue: there's Willow using her magic to deal with unwanted feelings and bringing trouble to everyone including herself, and there's Buffy and Spike in love. All played to the comic effect. We all know how it ends in season 6.

# Someone have written an RPS fanfic in Russian about John Barrowman a lot of words about RPS and the issue of cheating/breaking up as a plot point )

# Another fanfic I'm reading and having thinky thoughs about is a rapefic. some triggery stuff )

# I feel like I should write something about CoE today, but I can't. I don't have anything new to say, and I'm tired of repeating all the stuff I've said during this year. I ended up talking about it anyway )

# I started watching Huge, new ABC series about the weight-losing camp for young adults, with Nikky Blonsky and Gina Torres. I'm still undecided if it's mostly good or mostly bad, though. They have some possible win and some possible fail, but it's too early to decide because it depends on where the story goes later. For now, I'm sad that in the 2nd episode the character was called a lesbian and got dissappointed about it - I think mostly because the boy she was interested in called her so, and he didn't mean any offence, he jus assumed, so it was more a misunderstanding that any offence, but I'm very touchy on the subject.
svollga: (tv)
2010-07-01 03:06 am

queerness in who: venting

There's a discussion on The non-queerness of our current Who that has so. much. fail in comments, I can't stop wincing. There was a lot of win in comments, too. But fail grabbed me stronger. I'm very sensitive these days.

# It is a family show. Queers aren't allowed in a family show because they are enemies of family. Also, naughty queers.
# It's for children, not for teenagers as RTD's era was. Again, children should never see queers. They can get queer cooties. Right through the screen.
# Moffat isn't gay so he doesn't think about gay agenda when writing his stories. Minority stories are for the minorities to tell (to each other, probably) while privileged people enjoy their privilege to forget about the existence of said minorities.
# The story isn't about relationships, romance and/or love. So we can have blatantly heterosexual people all around flirting/in love/married/having families (not to mention heterosexual couple as the main characters and a wedding as a major plot point), and the story isn't about romance, but having any kind of queer representation makes it about romance.
# I watch for the story, not for romace/sexual situations. And queers can't be action characters, they are all about queer sexuality.
# Most foregrounded relationships in the series are between parents and children. And queers can't be parents. Never.
# Heterosexual relashionship aren't really in your face. But they are in background all the time, and did I mention heterosexual couple as main characters and a wedding?
# It is close to the ratio of straight/queer in real life. No, it's not, even if we take only quantity not quality (i.e. one short remark vs wedding storyline).
# I assume that River is bisexual/Eleven is asexual/character N is queer, so add it to your list. Can we please stop talking about subtext while discussing text? Subtext is in the eyes of the beholder. Those who want see it, those who don't - don't. Text is a slogan, a speech, a statement of existence. Queers were in the closet of subtext for too long. Thank you, but no.
# And my personal peeve: I'm bisexual, and I don't care whether there are queer storilines or not, because I make no difference between genders/don't look specifically for queer references. So you are okay with dating any gender but seeing only straight couples on screen? Well, I'm bi, and I'm not okay with it. Because I'm tired of feeling that one half of my sexual identity is forbidden while the other is supported by society, and that I have to choose sides. I want not to care about the gender of people kissing on my screen, but because nobody cares, not because I'm blind to the unequality and queer invisibility.

Grrr *shakes fist*
svollga: (tv)
2010-06-28 02:04 am
Entry tags:

Things I wish to see in Doctor Who next year

1. My new Tardis-a-trois, travelling together and having fantastic adventures.
2. And meeting Jack Harkness.
3. River Song being awesome and intriguing and on screen. Often.
4. Liz Ten. Preferably with River Song.
5. Nasreen Chaudhry. Preferably snapping the Doctor's braces. And being generally awesome.
svollga: (wish)
2010-06-25 11:00 pm

Criminal Minds cuts 2/3 of its female cast

Criminal Minds was tv-show I've always recommended as very PC in quite, dignified and clever way. It had a regular cast of 4 men and 3 women, all the women had distinct and non-stereotypical personalities, were well-respected professionals and could be good role models and examples of How You Do Women on TV (hint: as human beings). In addition, it had a lot of women (as well as people of colour) in the episode cast, in very different roles, and all of them had their own agenda and were not just token girls or helpless victims. Among other procedural shows where good female characters are a rarity, this one was a gem. It went through 5 seasons without lowering their standarts in both plot quality and passing Bechdel test. It was a very successful show even though it had a lot of force-major problems in production.

Now, the CBS company suddenly decided to cut their female cast 'for financial reasons'. One of the characters, Jennifer Jareau, an essencial member of a team who is also a mom, will be cut entirely. There's a huge possibility that plot-wise, it will be played as 'she decided to devote more time to her family', and we will lose not only a strong female character, but a female character who can balance very difficult job and family/parenthood. The other character, Emily Prentiss, a field agent, will be 'scaled down'. The one character left, Penelope Garcia, is a brilliant, quirky and interesting character (and a lovely fat girl, too!), but she is largely in a periphery, working from the home base.

The entire cast have expressed their dismay over the sudden decision, which will surely affect the story lines and the show’s audience. There's a huge apheaval among the online fans of the show, including the online petition (also supported and promoted by the cast).

Personally, I'm very sad about this new development because it was really a rare show with a full-fleged female cast, and I was hoping that the girls will be getting even more screen time and personal plot archs. This cutdown was a very unpleasant surprise. :(
svollga: (Default)
2010-05-22 05:51 am
Entry tags:

ongoing tv-shows

I should really stop watching ongoing TV-shows I get emotionally invested into.
Really. I'm too sentimental for this. I get invested, and I spend the week before the finale waiting and watching previous episodes back to back, and then I spend the last 24 hours running in rounds on the ceiling, and then I spend s couple of hours hypnotizing the torrent into going faster, and then it's 5 in the morning and everyone is asleep while I want to talk about it.
I'm fine with being emotionally invested in the show, that's what they are for. I'm fine with ongoing shows, especially when they are planned with separate plotlines per episodes. But sometimes it's too much.
Let's not talk about Children of Earth (which had me doing nothing for a whole week because I couldn't). Let's not talk about End of Time because I was strong enough to wait until both parts aired, to spare myself from the guesswork of the period between the episodes (which means that I stopped reading any of my friend lists and talking to most of my communication circle to esape the spoilers). And I'm really glad that I wasn't watching Buffy while it aired for the first time because I would have a heart attack somewhere during season 6, and another one while waiting for Chosen. Also, I'm glad that I started watching Criminal Minds after Mayhem and Lo-Fi aired, because that cliffhanger? Not nice. I had enough waiting between episodes 99 and 100 this fall.
This year, I had Dollhouse back in winter, and now Ashes to Ashes. I suddenly became invested in Ashes somewhere after episode 3x06, and I spent this las week waiting for the finale. And it came, and I watched it, and now I'm burning with both satisfaction and afterglow and craving for more and a little bit of dissapointment which has more to do with my personal desire to have all the characters living their happily ever after in some sort of family units, never alone. (I will probably have to write some reaction-fanfiction to get read of this nagging feeling. Something sappy. Or smutty. Or both.) It was brilliant, really - some very good television, something I add to my list of most recommended. But... bloody emotional investment into ongoing TV-shows. Now, when it's over, I miss it.

Digest of other shows I watch:
Castle left me a bit dissappointed with the way they started to resolve the UST - too much mansplaining, too little action for the girl.
Criminal Minds have one more episode which will be a cliffhanger, so I'm thinking about skipping it until the next year. The last three episodes in a row were very good. (Though I'm still waiting for the echoes of Hotch's tragedy and breakdown.)
House made my OTP into reality. And the scene itself was so very sweet. Oh my. I am sentimental.
Doctor Who still goes on, and Lie to Me starts in a couple of weeks.

svollga: (tv)
2010-05-15 01:27 pm
Entry tags:

TV series

I suddenly discovered that I'm more invested in the plot and character development of Ashes to Ashes that that of Doctor Who. Maybe it's because in A2A, it's the grand finale, second-to-last episode just aired, and it is brilliant. And I've waited for tonight's episode of DW but god bloody spoiled too much and not that interested now.
Really, I want to know what Gene Hunt is and what happened to Sam Tyler and how it ends for Alex, I can't wait till next week - but I'm afraid that they will lose it in the last episode. This tension, this energy of the mystery... Well, they did well in Life on Mars (except for that scene after the jump, I still think the jump was the best place to end on though I adore Annie/Sam) but will it go that well for A2A?

Unrelated: sometimes I have a feeling that I watch two tv-shows, one filmed in the UK and the other in US, because I'm in the phase where you know the faces of all guest stars and actors in background roles and know the names of many of them. Really. The one person I keep seeing way too often is Yellow-Eyed Demon from Supernatural; I always think there are be the Winchester brothers somewhere nearby.

Speaking of Supernatural, I can't but remember RTD's famous recommendation for Torchwood fangirls dissappointed by CoE. Oh, the irony!
Also, I haven't seen it yet but judging from the spoilers, the God in this universe is spoiler )
svollga: (smile)
2010-05-04 12:33 am

(no subject)

I've started watching X-Files, for the first time since 2000. I was a huge fan back then, but now, I remember little of the series.

The thing that is sort of a cultural shock to me today is the male gaze in the show (lack of it). During the first three series I've watched, Scully is wearing sensible outfits. When she's in the Bureau, she's dreassed as a business lady, no cleavage visible, shirts up to her neck, long skirts, comfortable pants. When they are in the woods she is dressed for the woods: jeans, big warm shirt, big overcoat, hair tied in a ponytale.
It's so... unusual. Today, the heroine goes into the woods dressed in skin-tight jeans and low-cut top, leaves her overcoat open (if she has one), and her hair are long on her shoulders.

Then, there was a bathroom scene in Episode 3. You know those scenes when the heroin is going to take a bath, and then shit happens? She starts the water, and sensually takes her clothes off, the camera following all the lines and curves of her body, and then she steps into the bath, and maybe there is foam covering her skin... then shit happens and she has to fight almost naked for the viewer's titillation. *yawn*
What do we have here? Scully starts the water. She's almost fully dressed, wearing her comfortably wide pants and white blouse, also rather wide and buttoned almost to her neck. She's also wearing comfortable flats. No male gaze camerawork. She is just a women filling the bath to relaz after a hard day.
Then shit happens. While she is fully dressed. Nothing is done for viewer's titillation at all. She doesn't fall into the bath, so that her blouse would become transparent and wrap her body tight. Her clothes aren't torn to give a glimpse of her body. Nothing.
Oh, and she gets the bad guy before Mulder comes to resque. While being fully dressed and awesome.

In Episode 2, she took the bad guy, manhandled him and forced him to do what she wants at gunpoint, wearing big shirt and big overcoat. No high heels, no sexy tight tops, no flirting. Only Scully, no-nonsense and awesome.

The only titillating scene was in the Pilot (Episode 1) where she is actually in her (quite sensible) underwear. (And then Mulder was looking at her naked back. UST on the way!) One scene in three episodes. And I have a feeling I'll have to wait a lot to see Scully undressed again.

Oh. And did I mention that all this time, being dressed sensibly and with her body fully covered, giving nothing to the titillation, she was not just awesome - she was hot like hell?

svollga: (tv)
2010-04-17 07:12 pm

on representation of women

I'm watching Sharpe (for the fourth time, I think), and can't but notice how in the first episode, Teresa, the love interest of the main character, is dressed and behaves. She's a partisan, a leader of guerilla. She wears comfortable man's clothing - throusers, shirts, a high wide scarf-belt, a lot of layers of clothing. She has long hair tied in a simple ponytail - so is her uncle. Nothing in her clothing shows her female curves. Even when she has to go flirt with some soldiers to get into the town they guard, she wears a skirt and a shawl over her usual dress. The only scene some parts of her are naked is the scene where she makes love to Sharpe, and even then, we see only her shoulders and a hint of her breasts. The scene is still erotic and emotionally loaded, but it's all in the actor's work, their gazes and gestures, not in their bodies.

By the way, another moment of interest was the 'no means no' scene. Teresa takes Sharpe by the hand and takes him to her room. They kiss and sit on the bed. Then she tenses and says that she can't have sex with him, not yet (she is interested, but not ready). Without any arguement, he takes a deep breath, kisses her hand and leaves. Next time, he also waits for her to initiate intimacy.