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Surprise! My favorite episode of Miracle Day, so far, is the one that involves historical flashbacks, dysfunctional romance, a long conversation about friendship, and no exploding helicopters. Okay, not surprising at all. I didn't like the earlier episodes enough to post about them, but I loved "Immortal Sins," and have some thoughts that I'd like to get down. I'll try to make sense of this by focusing on three parallels that I see in the episode: (1) Gwen and Angelo, (2) Jack and the Doctor, (3) sexuality and immortality. Warnings: spoilers for Miracle Day Ep. 7, excessive manpain, and brief analysis of things that should really have a proper meta. [ETA: revised version of this post--now with more gender!]

spoilery meta under the cutCollapse )

Torchwood meets Middlemarch

Hello everyone! It's a long time since I've posted, but I've been checking LJ occasionally, and enjoying your updates. I keep meaning to post when I have more time and energy and something interesting to say. But the moment has come when I cannot resist posting about... a Victorian literary reference in last night's Torchwood.

No spoilers here--except that several characters are still alive, and that Jack has some surprising literary tastes. But I'll put this under a cut, just in case...

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party like it's 1899

Note to self:
You know you've been reading too much about Victorian gay men when you misread "Iranian" as "Uranian" in a recent newspaper headline.

In other news about current events in the 19th century, I'm thinking of claiming a queer_fest prompt for War and Peace, centering on the relationship between Dolokhov and Anatole. Leaving aside the fact that I haven't completed a fic in over two years, is this a crazy idea? Writing a story about the most dislikable characters in a 2000-page epic that most people vaguely think of as an unread classic (though everyone should read it, because it's actually totally fun). And I foresee lots of period-accurate misogyny, Orientalism, internalized homophobia, and other bigotry as expressed by the main characters: a pretty unpleasant story all around. But it's hard to resist, because I'm already thinking of some historical ideas about 19th-c Russia, and some possible narrative motifs about gambling as an erotic symbol (in canon, Dolokhov is a high society card sharper, like Rawdon Crawley in Vanity Fair but without the warm fuzzy side).

(How awesome is it that lgbt_fest is still alive as queer_fest? I love fests that encourage people to look at social issues in fic. Yay!)

Okay, now back to commenting on senior theses. Hey, it's only 2:40 am! And I'm probably going to regret posting this in the morning. (Late-night ramblings about the 19th century are my equivalent of drunktexting.)

famous theater fails at fanfic

I just got back from seeing the new musical The Blue Flower. According to the website, it's about "four lovers and friends finding their way through a world in pieces" during and after World War I. The characters are loosely--and I mean LOOSELY--based on German painters Franz Marc and Max Beckmann, plus Dada collage artist Hannah Höch, and Marie Curie (yes, that Marie Curie). This should have been right up my alley, but I found it incredibly boring: there is zero characterization, and everyone spends the whole time spouting clichés about the First World War being, like, you know, really really long and not at all fun. The songs were pretty, but they all sort of blended into each other.

Partway through the show, I realized the real problem: it's an incompetent piece of fanfiction. So apparently the writers had the bright idea of doing something like this:

"The Blue Flower"
Historical RPF AU
Pairings: Franz Marc/Marie Curie, Max Beckmann/Hannah Höch, Franz & Max friendship and UST

This could have been awesome! I would love to see a plausible AU plot for how Marie Curie managed to make great scientific discoveries while having hot affairs with German artists. Also (on a more obscurely geeky track) I would find it hilarious to see Franz Marc and Max Beckmann as BFFs, with slashy sexual tension fueled by heated arguments about the relative merits of nature mysticism and urban angst. (I don't think they even knew each other IRL.) And Hannah Höch could have cut up all their paintings and made collages--so much for male masterpieces!

But, alas, the writers completely dropped the ball: instead of coming up with a plausible AU where all these characters could meet, they were just like, "We're going to call the characters Franz, Max, Marie, and Hannah, but they will simply be vague stereotypes of bohemian youth, and if you expect them to resemble their historical models in any meaningful way, then you are a conventional bourgeois audience member and we thumb our noses at you."

On a more serious note, I was actually really disturbed by the portrayal of Hannah Höch (the inventor of the feminist photocollage, and one of my bisexual historical heroines) as a vampy Weimar cabaret girl, like a combination of Sally Bowles and Louise Brooks. Yes, Höch did also have a black bob (like in my Louise Brooks icon here), but she was a FEMINIST PERFORMANCE ARTIST and didn't get up on the stage just to attract and sleep with famous men. Ahem. But this is getting too geeky even for LJ. Luckily, I have a chance to teach the film of Cabaret for the first time next semester, and we can talk about the implicit sexism and historical laziness of the Weimar Cabaret Girl image then...

In short: Hannah Höch, I love you! Louise Brooks, I love you too, but do you realize that your black bob has become a sexist cliché of "decadence" that totally obscures your kickass legacy of rebellion against Hollywood?

(If I could figure out images, there would be cool pictures here, but instead I'm linking to wikipedia on Hannah Höch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_H%C3%B6ch)

DADT repeal and "Captain Jack Harkness"

Like many of my LJ and RL friends, I am thrilled by the Senate repeal of DADT, but also aware of how much more still needs to be done to end discrimination here in the US. This is especially brought home by the failure of the Dream Act on the same day as the DADT vote. Today, my thoughts are with all the undocumented students and their allies (we have both at my college) who are fighting for equal rights to education.

But the real point of this post is... fannish enthusiasm! I would like to invite all Torchwood fans (or anyone curious about starting to watch Torchwood) to celebrate DADT repeal by watching the episode "Captain Jack Harkness." We're having a rewatch party over at tw_gleeclub at 7 pm EST. Or watch at your own pace, and let me know what you think about the episode!

Why "Captain Jack Harkness"? Well, neifile7 has a beautiful post connecting the episode to LGBT civil rights. But here are some more thoughts...

To start with, this is most likely the only episode of a popular sci fi/fantasy TV show that focuses directly on the experience of being gay in the military. And it does so in the inimitable Who/Torchwood style, mixing serious emotion with complete crack. So, here we have a moving exploration of characters facing prejudice (racism, sexism, homophobia) and finding their courage (whether through fighting, coming out, or facing mortality). Plus one hell of a sexy dance. But it's also all about time travel! And stolen identities! And Owen and Ianto having the most ridiculous argument ever, which goes something like this:
OWEN: "Woe is me! I'm in love with a female aviator from the 1950s who left me for a space-time Rift!"
IANTO: "Get over it! My longtime girlfriend was TURNED INTO A ROBOT, but do you see me complaining?"

This combination--absurd fantastical adventure and emotional depth--is one of the things I love most about TW in general, and about TW fans. TW fandom gets a lot of flack (both from within and without) for supposedly being divided between violently obsessive bring-back-Ianto fans and Children of Earth cheerleaders. I realize that this may be true somewhere, but what I see (from my own corner of fandom) is a group of people who are incredibly creative, often funny and silly, and keenly aware of issues of politics and prejudice--all at the same time.

And this is another reason why I love tw_gleeclub (even though I'm terrible at graphics or snappy one-liners, myself). It's a capslock comm for gifs and LULZ, but the user info also says "Don't be a bigot: Racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/ableist/sizeist, etc. comments of any kind are NEVER OKAY. DON'T FUCKING DO IT." For comparison, look at the original capslock comm, capslock_house, which (I kid you not) warns posters not to act like a "major pussy" or a "giant floating vagina." Yeah, because sexist language is so funny and daring. *cue Ianto eye roll here* But in TW fandom we can--and often do--get this right: sex-positive humor, not sexist humor. I think Captain Jack would be proud.

[ETA: this is probably the least funny post ever written about humor...but let's just roll with it, okay?]

my fictional road trip

Thank you, thank you to the anonymous commenters who have left me love from Sally Bowles, Peter Wimsey (with Harriet), and Granny Weatherwax (with Nanny Ogg). I don't know whether you get comment notifications on this, but I've tried to write back--though I can't possibly match your brilliantly in-character voices.

So, dear flist, instead of spending more time catching up on LJ right now, I'm off on a transtemporal road trip. First a visit to the Ramtop mountains to share scumble with Granny and Nanny, then a stop by the Kit Kat Club in Berlin. That will take me to the right era for my journey to Talboys, where I hope to spend the foreseeable future happily ensconced in a discreet liason with Peter and Harriet.


p.s. If anyone else wants to play, the thread is here: http://diner.livejournal.com/429753.html?thread=6678457#t6678457

all I need is (fictional) love

Hello dear flist!

How are you all doing? Sorry I haven't been here much lately. I just stopped by to wave hello, but I seem to have arrived in the middle of the best meme ever. I am so honored to be LJ friends with people who are receiving billets doux from Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jack Harkness, and Severus Snape. (Well, okay, Jack loves everybody, but still...)

I think this is the first time I have ever posted a meme! But I cannot resist talking to imaginary people. So please leave me some love here:



1. Comment with your username.
2. People will reply to your comment anonymously, pretending to be a fictional character who expresses their love for you. It would be preferable if the comment was "signed" by the fictional character, to avoid any confusion.
3. HAVE FUN! Be silly.
4. Any comments that are negative or douchey or mean will be deleted. This is for fun, folks.

am I the only one?

the new DW season... very minimal spoilers ... under the cut

emotional reaction is emotionalCollapse )

meta: Jack in "Doctor Who: End of Time"

Enough about the long drawn-out exit of RTD as lead writer David Tennant as Ten. (Just kidding--I'm sad too.) Now it's time to talk about the most important 97 seconds of Doctor Who this year... the reappearance of Jack!


A time lord walks into a bar...Collapse )
Just finally saw the "Half-Blood Prince" movie, and was pleasantly surprised to emerge without any major trauma. It looked pretty! All those virtually black-and-white scenes were haunting. And I was relieved that they left out the Remus/Tonks subplot. Now I can pretend that she kept her kickass transformation skills and never did that whole pining away thing.

This was a nice change from the "Order of the Phoenix" film two years ago, which disturbed me so much that I spent several sleepless nights tossing and turning and muttering to myself. It was just a badly made film in so many ways. But what upset me most was the fact that (in the movie) I wasn't upset by Sirius's death. The film sidelined the Order completely, and Sirius just came across as smarmy in his few scenes. I kept brooding about the differences between book-Sirius and film-Sirius, and then started googling "Sirius Black." And that, folks, is how I discovered fanfic (only about 5 years late). So, in retrospect, I'm grateful for the awfulness of the OotP film, because it led to my meeting all of you here on LJ, and reading your wonderful fic!

And speaking of wonderful fic--and of gratitude--I'm belatedly posting a link to the splendid fic that woldy wrote for me at rs_small_gifts. (I was off LJ at the time for family reasons, so I missed the chance to post at Christmas.) She does some startling things with felix felicis--so the fic ties in to HBP (and current fandom events!), even though it's First War Remus/Sirius. I asked for "social class differences" and historical period details, and what I got was an amazing piece of literary art, experimenting with time and causality while tugging on our heartstrings in the best and darkest way:

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards, by woldy
Find it here at: http://community.livejournal.com/rs_small_gifts/47680.html