alixtii: Kara Zor-El stands over a fallen Kara Zor-L. Cropped so that Powergirl's chest and Supergirl's midriff are in frame. (Supergirl)
(N.B.: Portions of this letter have been lifted from last year's letter.)

Thank you for signing up to write a story for me! You're one of 7 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for Tom Sawyer, one of 9 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for The Secret Garden musicalverse, one of 9 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for Heinlein's multiverse, and/or one of 9 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, and I love you for that alone.

If you check out my userinfo, you'll find a 'thon policy which implores that you be true first and foremost to the prompt and your muse, and to consider whether I'd like a story as, at most, a secondary concern. I stand by that, but I also recognize there is a sense that a [livejournal.com profile] yuletide story is explicitly a gift in a way which most 'thon fics aren't, so feel free to surf through this journal to get a feel for me, and here's a little bit more, if you are interested, to help you understand how I relate to the specific texts and characters in the fandoms I've requested and what I might like.

I'm drawn to what I call will-to-poweriness, the adolescent fantasy, the desire to exceed oneself that also draws me to things like superhero comics (one of my fandoms is, indeed, X-Men) and fantasy shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is my main fandom). My especial kink is children and teenagers who prove themselves to be the equals (or betters) to adults because they are just that awesome. All of this comes through in my requests, I think, although not quite so much as in years past. There is a clear will-to-poweriness in Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, most of all in Carmen herself, of course, beyond good and evil, doing whatever she wants whenever she wants because she can, stealing things for no good reason except as an expression of her superiority, the former ACME agent engaged in a perpetual game of cat and mouse. But also, on one level, in Zach and Ivy, the young (!!) ACME agents who pursue her, and on another level, in Player, just as much a teenager, radically empowered within the world of the game she plays and manipulates, Carmen's eternal antagonist.

Likewise, Laz and Lor always get the better of their elders. Mary Lennox is one of my paradigm cases of a radically autonomous female child. And what is the appeal of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn if not as part of just this type of fantasy?

This, actually, is where my interest in incest comes from: with these radically autonomized figures no real problematization of consent is possible, an argument I make more fully in this post from 2006. But don't feel like you have to write incest if you've matched up with me on Heinlein or Twain; I'd much prefer experiencing the characters as you see them behaving in-character as you see them than twisted out of shape to force them into bed with each other. The most important thing is to preserve the canon dynamics--I have my trusty 'cest goggles for everything else. Although if you throw me a bone in making it subtexty, that's wonderful too.

Although, really, Laz/Lor is pretty much canon, no? But there is a way in (my corners of, I don't know whence you hail) fandom that we use sex as a metaphor for emotional intimacy, so that twincest becomes the deepest, strongest type of interpersonal communion imaginable--and this is the dynamic I'm looking for with Tom/Mary and Laz/Lor and even Mary/Neville, the way their strongest bond is to each other, and if you feel most comfortable providing that bond in a non-sexual way that's still absolutely wonderful.

more on where on earth is carmen sandiego )

more on tom sawyer )

more on secret garden musicalverse )

very little about r.a.h. )

Thank you again for writing a story for me. Be true to your own muse, and I'm sure I'll love the result!

Yours in La Mancha,

Episkopos Reverend Alixtii O'Krul V, TRL
Church of St. Jesu the Heretic, Discordian
alixtii: The groupies from Dr. Horrible. (meta)
Thank you for signing up to write a story for me! You're one of 12 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for The Parent Trap, one of 7 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for Heinlein's multiverse, and/or one of 9 people (one of whom was me) who offered to write for Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, and I love you for that alone.

If you check out my userinfo, you'll find a 'thon policy which implores that you be true first and foremost to the prompt and your muse, and to consider whether I'd like a story as, at most, a secondary concern. I stand by that, but I also recognize there is a sense that a [livejournal.com profile] yuletide story is explicitly a gift in a way which most 'thon fics aren't, so feel free to surf through this journal to get a feel for me (let me note that  is my incest tag), and here's a little bit more, if you are interested, to help you understand how I relate to the specific texts and characters in the fandoms I've requested and what I might like.

I'm drawn to what I call will-to-poweriness, the adolescent fantasy, the desire to exceed oneself that also draws me to things like superhero comics (one of my fandoms is, indeed, X-Men) and fantasy shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is my main fandom). My especial kink is children and teenagers who prove themselves to be the equals (or betters) to adults because they are just that awesome. All of this comes through in my requests, I think. There is a clear will-to-poweriness in Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, most of all in Carmen herself, of course, beyond good and evil, doing whatever she wants whenever she wants because she can, stealing things for no good reason except as an expression of her superiority, the former ACME agent engaged in a perpetual game of cat and mouse. But also, on one level, in Zach and Ivy, the young (!!) ACME agents who pursue her, and on another level, in Player, just as much a teenager, radically empowered within the world of the game she plays and manipulates, Carmen's eternal antagonist. And likewise in The Parent Trap with Annie and Hallie and in Heinlein's novels with Laz and Lor; both sets of twins are constantly getting the better of the adults who surround them, setting up their own "parent traps" so to speak.

This, actually, is where my interest in incest comes from: with these radically autonomized figures no real problematization of consent is possible, an argument I make more fully in this post from 2006. But don't feel like you have to write incest if you've matched up with me on Heinlein or on The Parent Trap; I'd much prefer experiencing the characters as you see them behaving in-character as you see them than twisted out of shape to force them into bed with each other. The most important thing is to preserve the canon dynamics--I have my trusty 'cest goggles for everything else. Although if you throw me a bone in making it subtexty, that's wonderful too. (Finding a way too insert gratuitous nudity or close touching into The Parent Trap shouldn't be too difficult. Getting Laz and Lor to wear any clothes at all might be.)

Although, really, Laz/Lor is pretty much canon, no? But there is a way in (my corners of, I don't know whence you hail) fandom that we use sex as a metaphor for emotional intimacy, so that twincest becomes the deepest, strongest type of interpersonal communion imaginable--and this is the dynamic I'm looking for with Annie/Hallie and Laz/Lor, the way their strongest bond is to each other, and if you feel most comfortable providing that bond in a non-sexual way that's still absolutely wonderful.

more on the parent trap )

more on where on earth is carmen sandiego )

very little about r.a.h. )

Thank you again for writing a story for me. Be true to your own muse, and I'm sure I'll love the result!

Yours in La Mancha,

Episkopos Reverend Alixtii O'Krul V, TRL
Church of St. Jesu the Heretic, Discordian
alixtii: Mac and Cassidy. Text: "*squee!* (Cindy Mackenzie)
spoilers for tonight's VMars ) off the top of my head I don't know how to conjugate the plural of machina--help anyone? More spoilers )

Yeah. I really have to say, not as good as Torchwood. Be cool again, Veronica. Be will-to-powery. Or have you matured beyond that? Is that little piece of Kitty Pryde Lilly Kane inside you dead?

Oh well. 5 days until the next Torchwood!
alixtii: Peter and Susan, in extreme close-up. (incest)
Consider some texts, all of which count as fannish on my flist (if nowhere else):
  • Veronica Mars: A sixteen-year-old girl defies parental authority in many ways including, but not limited to, having sexual relations with three different individuals. (Admittedly this behavior led to her death, but the show consistently portrayed Lilly Kane in a mostly positive light.) After her death, her best friend defies parental and civil authorities by engaging in a series of investigations bringing many things to light. Ultimately, these authorities learn that the best course of action is to let Veronica run her course: upon finding his daughter in a coat closet, Keith remarks, "Yep, that's mine," and upon her graduation Van Clemens admits that he doesn't know if her absence will make his life easier or harder.
  • Matilda: A six-year-old (in bookverse) girl defies parental authority by playing a series of practical jokes on her parents and, when they are forced to flee the country, convincing them to sign over guardianship to a Miss Jennifer Honey, with whom in movieverse Matilda has a relationship of equals.
  • The Secret Garden: Defying the parental authority of her uncle and guardian Archibald Craven, as well as his surrogates Mrs. Medlock and Dr. Craven, Mary Lennox enters a forbidden girl garden and carries on a secret relationship with her cousin Colin, effecting his cure in the process.
  • A Little Princess: Even before Sarah Crewe is forced to withstand the authority of Miss Minchin, the text takes pains to underscore the girl's adult nature and the egalitarian character of her relationship with her father, who treats her as a miniature adult. It also uses the word "queer" a lot.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Four children defy the authority of the parental surrogates by hiding in a wardrobe, where they wage a war against the evil witch Jadis and save a magical world, becoming Kings and Queens in the process.
  • The Parent Trap: Two twin eleven-year-old girls defy parental authority by secretly switching places and living each others' lives. In the process, they manipulate their parents into meeting and falling in love again.
  • As You Like It: Two cousins defy parental and civil authority when they enter the forest to escape the rule of the evil Duke Frederick.
  • Harry Potter: Not that I've ever read the books, but a twelve-year-old boy defies the parental authority of his aunt and uncle by becoming a wizard. At the school of wizardry, three children operate outside of the school authority, continually disobeying the explicit directives of their professors, and in the process triumph again and again, presumably culminating in the defeat of the Dark Lord. While what the professors were thinking is debated, one theory is that it was their plan from the beginning to let these children run loose, recognizing they would be able to succeed where adults would fail. In any event, the disobedience of these children is celebrated by the professors as the children win the House Cup year after year.
  • Robert A. Heinlein: Where to begin? From Podkayne to Peewee to Laz and Lor, this is a multiverse chock full of supercompetent teenagers who either operate outside the bounds of, or are forced to defy, parental authority.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Another case of "Do I really need to say anything here?"
All of these texts act out a specific type of wish-fulfillment fantasy: the usurpation of parental authority by a child who is revealed to be more intellectually mature than her adult counterparts. It is a fantasy that pings powerfully for me (as well as many others), even now that I am no longer quite a teenager. It is an especially potent expression of the will to power, being beyond all authorities because one is just that good, ubermensch.

It is no coincidence that Sunnydale and Neptune each has one good parent, Joyce Summers and Keith Mars respectively. (Actually Neptune, while including a huge number of bad parents, isn't quite so bad as Sunnydale. Both Wallace and Jackie have parents who all, in the whole, good parents, and the Mackenzies and Sinclairs are not really bad parents despite their inability to meaningfully engage their respective [adopted] daughters.) Parents in this type of fantasy are like governments: King Log is to be preferred to King Stork, and the parent who parents least parents best.

This is the context in which fictional incest thrives. While "in the real world" (how I loathe that phrase!) incest, cross-gen, and mentor/teacher relationships all are problematic due to issues of consent, these difficulties disappear in the face of the radically autonomous children of the adolescent fantasy. Of course Lilly, Veronica, Matilda, Mary, Sara, Susan, Annie, Hallie, Rosalind, Celia, Hermione, Podkayne, Peewee, Laz, Lor, Dawn, and all the rest are capable of consent--the very nature of the fantastic world in which they exist assures they are capable of anything.

Keith/Veronica, Matilda/Jenny, Mary/Neville, Crewecest, Peter/Susan, Annie/Hallie, Rosalind/Celia, Hermione/McGonagall, Laz/Lor, Dawn/Giles: these are not pairings that Ari and I invented in our minds. For me (I won't speak for anyone else), the sexualization of these relationships is a response to--and a reaffirmation of--the fantastic element which attracted me to these texts in the first place: the radical autonomy of the pre/teen characters.

*

And I really should finish that "Buffy as Nietzschean Ubermensch" essay.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] cereta, one of the many fabulously brilliant producers of meta whom I've friended recently, has posted a mea culpa of sorts to her controversial (at least on my flist) essay The Ten Commandments of Crossovers:
[. . .] I can't deny that this play was making a lot of people very happy, and I didn't see that it was my place to piss on their Cheerios by telling them all the reasons they should stop it. I mean, it turns out my notion of play wasn't some folks' cuppa, either, but it sure makes me happy.
Now, I value [livejournal.com profile] cereta as a new addition to my flist, and I don't want to piss in her Cheerios (or anyone else's) when she is being gracious, but I do have some issues with her new post and in the spirit of friendly dialectic I commented with my thinky thoughts, and now this post is being cannibalized from those comments, because part of the raison d'être of this LJ is that so when I have thinky thoughts, I can tell to the world, damn it!

Metametametatastic )
alixtii: Veronica and Mac. Text: "Girlfriends Actually." (Veronica Mars)
Gilmore Girls

I really liked it. Plot stuff was good, nice developments, dialogue was fun, Alexis is still hot. Two thumbs up.

Although what was up with those act breaks? I mean, I know, "fade out on scary monster" isn't so much an option in this genre, but still.

Veronica Mars

Honestly, only look under the cut if you're really bored. Short story is I enjoyed it. Under the cut is random impression recorded as I watched.

spoilers, sorta )
alixtii: Mal and Kaylee, from Serenity the Movie. Text: "I Love My Captain." (iluvmycaptain)
Here are twenty-five favorite characters from twenty-five different shows, in no particular order.

1. Dawn Summers (Michelle Trachtenbeg) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. Fred Burkle (Amy Acker) from Angel
Bonus! Drusilla (Juliet Landau) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
3. River Tam (Summer Glau) from Firefly

Is there really anything else to be said about the above?

4. Player (Justin Shenkarow, Jeffrey Tucker, Joanie Pleasant) from Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? Commentary )
5. Dr. Olga Vukavitch (Justina Vail) from Seven Days Commentary )
6. Morgan Matthews (Lily Nicksay, Lindsay Ridgeway) from Boy Meets World Commentary )
7. Capt. Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) from Star Trek: Voyager Commentary )
8. Cindy Mackenzie (Tina Majorino) from Veronica Mars Commentary )
9. President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) in Commander-in-ChiefCommentary )
10. Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) from The West Wing Commentary )
11A. Tess Doerner (Summer Glau) from The 4400 Commentary )
11B. Maia Skouris née Rutlidge (Conchita Campbell) from The 4400 Commentary )
12. Clarissa Darling (Melissa Joan Hart) from Clarissa Explains It All Commentary )
13. Alex Mack (Larissa Oleynik) from The Secret World of Alex Mack Commentary )
14. Fred Rogers (Himself) from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood Commentary )
15. Nona Mecklenberg (Michelle Trachtenberg) from The Adventures of Pete and Pete Commentary )
16. Rogue (Lenora Zann) from X-Men (90's cartoon) Commentary )
17. Kitty Pryde (Maggie Blue O'Hara) from X-Men Evolution Commentary )
18. Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) from The Brady Bunch Commentary )
19. Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family Commentary )
20. The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant) from Doctor Who Commentary )
21. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelly) from Star Trek: The Original Series Commentary )
22. Col. Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) from Battlestar Galactica (2003) Commentary )
23. Rita Repulsa (Barbara Goodson, Carla Pérez, Machiko Soga) from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Commentary )
24. Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Commentary )
25. Rory Gilmore (Alexis Beidel) from Gilmore Girls Commentary )

Ari wondered what it meant that she guessed that most of my favorites were female. It means that she knows me well, because most of my favorites--all but four, plus the ambiguously-gendered Player--are female. Which is interesting, because many of these relate to early childhood, when my heterosexuality wouldn't have been a factor (right?). I'm not sure what it says that I've always found it easier to identify with (or at least be interested in) female characters than male ones, but I think it's pretty clearly true.
alixtii: Summer pulling off the strap to her dress, in a very glitzy and model-y image. (River)
Anyone who has been following this LJ knows I am a defender of seriality. I (in theory if not always in practice) wait until a work is finished to start posting but still serial post it anyway, and always use the same anecdote about my brother complaining about how shows on DVD are missing something without the commercials. It's an intellectual position designed to give the author as many tools in their toolbox as possible, because most of my flist are talented writers whom I trust to use those tools effectively. The anticipation, the frustration, the withdrawal: these emotions, while not always pleasant, are sometimes what we need even if they aren't what we want. (Yes, I will go to the grave defending Joss for that quote.)

But don't think for a moment that I'm immune to the pleasure of inhaling an entire chaptered fic or season on TV. There's something wonderful about being so caught up in a fictional universe that one loses track of the soi-disant "real world" (which makes me think about how it has been way too long since I've read a novel, especially a long one).

Of course, the simple truth is that for the most part, the only practical mechanism for producing such detailed worldbuilding and depth of story is a serial one. So we have a paradox; we must embrace seriality in order to eschew it.

Which is a (characteristically, for me) long-winded way of saying that I've spent the last week or so mainlining episodes of The 4400. I watched season 1 (such as it is) last Saturday, and watched season 2 (again, such as it is) Thursday and Friday.

The 4400, while excellently done science-fiction, isn't nearly will-to-powery enough (which is one of its strengths, actually) for it to earn the sort of love I have for Buffy or Veronica Mars. (When they start the spin-off series Tess of the 4400, on the other hand....) But I think it'll settle in comfortably with my other minor fandoms.

Vaguely spoilerish? )
alixtii: Dawn Summers, w/ books and candles. Image from when Michelle hosted that ghost show. Text: "Dawn Summers / High Watcher. (Dawn)
So I was watching the rerun of last night's Colbert Report, and I saw this segment which fit in with some of my recent thoughts: Colbert v. Colbert ) Now, I don't buy that argument--I tend to side rather with these students. But my point isn't to bring up my politics so much as my ethics, although the two can't really be separated. I'm not going to be talking about President Bush in this post. I'm going to be talking about Dawn Summers and Rupert Giles.

The point is that I don't think it's morally permissable to set aside one's principles because of extrenuating circumstances. Doing so is tempting, as Colbert ably demonstrates using his Superman metaphor. If the only way to stop the world from ending is doing something morally reprehensible--for example, taking a life--isn't that necessary? Commendable, even?

Capt. Kirk Logic )

The twist is, what if the Huns at the gates aren't Islamofascists, but vampires and demons?

I remember reading someone recently complaining (in a review of Serenity, I think) that Joss Whedon's characters are never held accountable for their actions. ThI think they might have missed the point (I like that about his characters, and I'll explain more in a bit), but they are right, of course. Buffy's the Slayer, and as such as works behind the scenes, never being held answerable to Sunnydale's clueless (or in the case of the Mayor, evil) authorities. (Although, sometimes she does hold herself answerable to them.)

As I pointed out to [livejournal.com profile] hermionesviolin in the comments to A Watcher's Work, Dawn and Giles, while they run the Watcher's Council, are accountable to no one but themselves. There are no checks and balances to restrain their power. And this makes them very, very dangerous, especially since they allow themselves the freedom to utilize that power. Sure, they angst about it--I've written a good number of ficlets on the subject--but they still do it.

In her post on moral ambiguity, [livejournal.com profile] jennyo called Giles' (and President Laura Roslin's from Battlestar Galactica) moral paradigm "on the very outside edge of ambiguous, in that he is basically on the side of good, but is entirely capable of being not morally conflicted about doing evil or wrong in the cause of good. Like, it's the lightest shade of morally ambiguous: being willing not to go to heaven for the cause."

And this is basically a description of the Operative in Serenity. He, like them, has no illusions that what he does is evil. He is a monster. So are they. To continue to quote [livejournal.com profile] jennyo (who is still referring to Giles and Roslin), he "has humanity's back" but has "done scary shit to have humanity's back." He has Serenity spoiler ), but the difference between Serenity Spoiler ) and what Giles does to Ben in "The Gift" is merely a difference in degree, not quality.

Now I've said before that Dawn Summers is my Mary Sue. Certainly I return to the character again and again. How do I manage to see myself in a character whose paradigm I find morally repugnant. Or to look at it the other way, why have I given this moral paradigm to a character in whom I see myself, since when we finish canon Dawn isn't quite like this (although it is a plausible development)?

The Allure of Evil )

I can see my Dawn and Giles ordering the illegal wiretaps that Bush ordered. I can also see them ordering the Serenity spoiler ). I can see them giving the order for (what I call) Project Pandora, to cut into River's brain and make her an assassin. The fact that they could do these things and still believe in a more perfect society, that they were doing what they were doing to protect humans, that is what makes them endlessly fascinating to me.

But I don't particularly want to see them outside of my (and Joss's, and your) fiction. Because that's where monsters belong, in bedtime stories.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
Quotes )

It's Bufferverse Day 2005. So. . . .

Why do I love the Buffyverse? Well, why do I? ) Buffy allows me to vicariously live out the adolescent fantasy without ever treating me like a child: it assumes that I'm culturally literate and can get a joke about Sartre or Arthur Miller, that I can follow a complex plotline drawn out over several years, that I'm interested in the depths of human emotion, and that I care about the characters as more than just fighters of evil. That I am prepared to face some of the darker sides of human nature. That I will notice the gender and racial politics at work within the show. That my desire for knowledge, my desire for power, and my sexual desire are all intertwined and that it is possible to engage them all at once.

Buffy is intelligent television.

The show isn't afraid to blur the line between hero and villain. Angel, Spike, Darla, Drusilla, Amy, Willow, Faith, Wesley, Giles, Anya, Lilah, Lindsey, Eve, Quentin, Roger, Illyria, and even Buffy herself challenge the clear and easy distinction between hero and villain and make it extremely clear that "normative" is not always the same as "good." In doing so, the show flirts with the fascination I and others feel for the villain, recognizing it as not essentially something belonging to the Other (the monstrous, the vampiric), but something which is essentially human. We empathize and identify with Faith and Willow as they go evil--and as we confront them on the screen, we confront ourselves.

Read more... )

June 2017

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