solarbird: (korra-excited)

Well, it’s 2015, and I’m writing this as the fireworks are still going off around me and downtown; I didn’t go, I’ve been too busy working on all the tune parts for the live Bone Walker release party/concert at Conflikt at the end of the month.

It’s hard work, too. I have a little secret that isn’t very secret: I am not a natural tunes player, and, this being the trad album, there’re a lot of tunes in it. They were by far the most difficult part of the album, and they’ll be the most difficult thing to perform live, and even though I’ll be kind of miked down a bit on mandolin, I still need to get it right.

Seriously, though; rhythm parts: 10 minutes to learn. Melody on flute: maybe 20. Sung parts: 10-15 minutes, and I’ll make new parts. Tunes: weeks. No idea why. It’s such an outlier that Anna has incorporated it into the Free Court universe, in the background, as part of the way magic works; traditional Irish tunes and the Sidhe magics don’t get along, and that’s on purpose.

But I’ll manage, I always do.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Space Needle is currently fireworking Newfoundland colours. I’m not even making that up. Newfoundland Liberation Army, represent.

I’ve seen people say that 2014 flew by; not for me. For me it felt kind of endless; 2013 seems so long ago. 2014 certainly had some personal lows; two more rounds of eye surgery, including – hopefully – the last one; way too much hanging out at home (recovering) and studio (recording). But it had highs, too – the most successful nwcMUSIC to date, actually finishing the Bone Walker project (preorder OK!) and y’know what, I’m going to say it again:

Korrasami is canon and nothing hurts.

No, seriously, see… here’s yet another level of it. There’s this longstanding trope of having queer couples who end up dead, or in tragedy. I mean, sure, mostly we don’t exist, but if we do: tragedy or death. Not cake or death; tragedy or death. We get one or the other, and sometimes both. Mercedes Lackey did it, for example; big three-book queer love story; one ends up dead, and gets reincarnated (without memories), so he can fall back in love with the survivor… who then dies. Tragedy and death twice in one trilogy! It’s amazing.

Similarly, as much as I love Revolutionary Girl Utena, it did it too, more or less. Maybe Utena still exists; maybe Anthy will find Utena; we don’t know. (In the manga, she doesn’t, but the anime is different in many ways.) At the time, I was really angry about it, because it hit that same trope after teasing us with better; even though she’s not dead (or so it’s implied), they’re still ending apart, as stories say you must, if you’re queer.

Elfquest, too. Dart’s boyfriend Shushen? Introduced and dead in two issues. Boom.

Basically, as a rule, queers don’t get to go off into the sunset together, in fiction. That’s historically not for us. For us: tragedy and/or separation, often through death.

Until now.

I can’t overstate how much that changes the world. It may not seem like much to people who are used to having it. But in a desert, even a teacup’s worth becomes an ocean of water. And for that, I can forgive a lot about 2014.

We face 2015 with a whole new world. Gear up, everybody – let’s see what it brings.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (korra-excited)

I saw a comment on Tumblr that this Korrasami ending was the ending we all wanted, but that we weren't emotionally ready for it. I think they're on to something; we did all want it, but we weren't ready for it, because we didn't think it could happen - it was our impossibility.

But suddenly it actually happened, and the world changed, and we're all in a kind of shock from the emotional unreadiness. It's the best kind of emotional unreadiness, perhaps, but unreadiness nonetheless.

I think that comment reveals a lot about why so many of us are reacting not just so strongly, but over so many days. We weren't ready for this; we couldn't be, because it was impossible. And all these many days of reaction are us emotionally processing that the world is suddenly new. Particularly for the adult fans, we're... catching up. We're playing forward this emotional release from all the years ago when all the straight kids got this sort of thing but we didn't, reeling it out to whatever point our adult lives are in now. That takes time. It may take a lot of time for some of us; it's as if a lot of very old metaphorical/emotional logjams across the many people of the fandom have been blown clear, and it's all cascading downstream.

The poison wasn't just in Korra; it was in a lot of us, too.

solarbird: (korra-excited)

Not much going on at the Lair tonight; we’ve been binge-watching Book 1 of Legend of Korra, now that the Korrasami Is Canon after-parties are in full swing.

And, y’know, even as a very happy Korrasami shipper, I really gotta say two things. One: Bolin and Korra were kind of adorable together. They really were. I’d kind of forgot that, and it’s a lot of fun watching that all happen again. Sure, they’re better as drinking buddies, but that’s still adorable.

And two: I’m sorry, but Korra and Mako were terrible for each other. They just were. I thought that at the time, and I think it again in rewatch. They bring out the worst in each other – and the people around them, except for Asami – all the damn time. And I’m not even blaming Mako. The dynamic is just kind of toxic. They spark off each other, sure, but seriously, these sparks set the wrong kind of fire.

Also, I don’t care whether they said they weren’t writing it in book one, you add a little blush tone on Korra when Asami is all over her after the tournament semifinals in “The Spirit of Competition,” and that would be our first hint. Not Book 3. Book one.

Korra shys from spiritual and emotional issues and wants to charge in with everything. Korra’s and Tenzin’s frustrations they haven’t yet dealt with. Mako and Korra making a bad kind of fire. Korra and Asami’s then-crackship being not such a reach. Benders and non-benders being so out of balance – with our Avatar quite atypically later falling in love with a non-bending technologist.

Which all comes back to the theory that I had that Book 1 would be better in retrospect. Specifically, as Books 3 and 4 have progressed, I’ve had the thought that the characters in Book 1 and how they work with (and against) each other would make more sense in the complete context.

Knowing the destination, all of these mixed emotional signals came over time to form a prelude, carrying a set of themes which came to be addressed in both general, and specifics, over time. Again and again, this whole series has been about dealing with the scars of the past – revisiting political scars of our world, and personal psychological scars of characters.

I like Book 1 much better after having read The Promise, which tells us more about how Aang’s life progressed in certain key emotional ways after the end of The Last Airbender. Korra is dealing with Aang’s issues, too. I like Book 1 much better after finding out more about the Gaang’s kids in general, and how the traumatising dangers and adventures of their childhood affected their parenting and children, and how their issues were addressed in Books 2-4, where we learned about all that history. I like Book 1 better knowing better that each year’s Big Problem was an interpretation of one or another political extremism of the last century, instead of just skimming an idea for cheap drama.

I like Book 1 better knowing that the bad-dynamics relationship did fail, and that the failure was handled maturely and well by those involved. And I like Book 1 better knowing that the accidental relationship everybody joked about but which just seemed to flow given even a hint of a chance came true.

JMS on Babylon 5 used to call this “holographic storytelling.” This is where episodes of the past would become more relevant and revealing later, in the future. Ivanova gave Talia her water during a Series 1 interrogation. Korra thanked Asami – rather tenderly – for the chance to keep playing. Both were seeds.

I think it was more of a strength in B5 than here, truth be told. But I am very happy that Book 1 is made better by Books 2-4 – not “fixed,” not “retconned,” but explained and in a way that mades a whole. I just wish it had been a little more palatable before all that. Sure, it’s great that it came together and became wonderful. But it would’ve been even more lovely had – to paraphrase Tenzin – the ride not been quite so bumpy. Not for the characters, but for us.

Even so – goddamn I am glad I stayed along for the whole ride.

This was supposed to go out earlier, but for some reason did not. But if you have celebrate a holiday today, I hope you enjoy it. If you celebrated one last week, I hope it went well; if you will be celebrating one in a few days, or one in a couple of weeks, well, I hope it goes wonderfully. Me, I got my present. Korrasami is canon, and, at least for now, nothing hurts. :D

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

Korra and Asami as a canon romantic couple is CONFIRMED. The completely obvious is categorically and unequivocally confirmed; Korrasami is canon on every level.

The Korra page on Wikipedia – where I had been fighting the erasure battle – has been unlocked, and the edit has already been made. I’d won the argument to at least the point of being in Significant Other with a section talking about the evidence – now we can just skip ahead because 100% creator-confirmed yes that is exactly what we meant and you gotta deal with it.


BOOM.

I am dealing with it by crying my remaining good eye out. I had no idea how much this mattered to me. It mattered to me because of how much I couldn’t let myself believe it was possible, no matter how heavily they were hinting at it all the last couple of series. I just couldn’t let myself buy in, I wanted to, but I couldn’t believe it was possible I was just praying we’d get an ambiguous no-endgame ending, and I was prepared to respect that.

I feel like a huge, missing piece of my emotional childhood has just been filled in. I feel like something very old and very hurt just got healed. I never believed we would actually get this one. I have never been happier to be so wrong.

KORRASAMI IS CANON AND YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH IT! And, at least today, everything is beautiful and nothing – not even Wikipedia – hurts.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

There is a big debate – following a edit war – on Wikipedia’s Korra page. A couple of editors are bound and determined that the Korra-Asami ending is not true, and are demanding a statement from the writing team as the only evidence they’ll accept – which isn’t even how Wikipedia works, but let’s put that aside.

I’ve been fighting this particular bit of queer erasure today, because we finally got one. And now we need to defend it.

They are leaning heavily at this point on “room for interpretation,” how the ending is “ambiguous” in their eyes. And to that, I wrote this response.


I want to talk about “room for interpretation” for a minute.

What’s that mean? “Room for interpretation” is usually invoked to imply that there are reasonable grounds for differing conclusions based on evidence. In fiction, one fandom example is the original Battlestar Galactica (1978). We don’t see Pegasus destroyed; we see Pegasus destroy two base stars successfully and go in for the kill on a third. Then we do not see Pegasus again. Given that we had not seen Pegasus before, and that Pegasus had escaped similar situations in the past, it does not seem unreasonable to assert that Pegasus might have survived the battle – limping away needing months of work before getting back underway, who knows? Pegasus was most likely destroyed saving Galactica and the fleet, but it’s not unreasonable to consider the alternative. That’s “room for interpretation.”

I want also to talk about “deniability.”

Deniability comes in to play when you’re forbidden to talk about or do a certain thing, but you do it anyway, with just enough obscurity to it that if observers really, really, really want to, they can deny you are doing what you’re actually doing. An example is in the film Spartacus, and the “oysters and clams” discussion, which was cut from video for many years because it wasn’t quite deniable enough for television censors. But that was the attempt; a discussion about gay sexuality that wasn’t about gay sexuality, but was about seafood. It was deniable that it was about sexuality, at least for initial release.

Now, how does this apply to the Korra finale?

Nickelodeon has a known policy against showing clearly GBLT relationships. This has been discussed extensively in regards to work such as Adventure Time, so I won’t go into it here; it suffices to know that this policy is in place. It has to do, we are told, with overseas markets – but they don’t make special cuts for places like North America and Japan, either, so we all get to fall under those rules.

This leaves creators who want to go in that direction with the reality that they must include at very least deniability. They cannot explicitly state the presence of GBLT relationships. They can only hint or imply, and the only question is how hard in that direction one can go.

In a context of women in relationships in particular, this can be difficult, due to the blinding phenomenon often referred to as “lesbian invisibility,” or the cultural assumption in the west that two women involved in a relationship can’t really be in a relationship until – and often not even after – it is stated explicitly. This causes many people to ignore vast swaths of contextual (and real-life, for that matter) evidence.

You can also see this phenominon in reactions online to this episode. Personally, I was surprised when I started seeing evidence of Korra and Asami building a relationship in Book 2, and told myself I was just overreading it – until it became pretty obvious in Book 3. Even then I was thinking that there was no way the show would be allowed to go there – until Book 4, when it became so strongly stated, given the limits of their allowed range.

And despite all that, a small but meaningful percentage of online reaction calls the Korra/Asami relationship ending “completely out of the blue” and “unexpected.” This is lesbian and bisexual invisibility syndrome at work.

But at the same time, this reaction also indicates how far the authors went in this episode; even those people most likely to ignore and/or downplay same-sex relationships between women as “just friends” are reacting to the finale. It is that conclusive in their eyes; they can’t ignore it – however much they might want to.

What does this have to do with “room for interpretation” vs. “deniability?”

I assert this to be supporting evidence that we are well past “room for interpretation” and into “deniability.” When people who routinely ignore implications of same-sex female relationships are confronted with evidence so strong that they’re reacting against it, “lesbian invisibility” has been shattered. Yes, deniability has been maintained, as we see in discussions above. If one insists, one can ignore enough parts of the source material to conclude it didn’t happen. This allows the show to be aired in places like Russia – “see, it’s legal, we didn’t say romance. We didn’t say elopement. We didn’t say girlfriends.”

But you’re certainly out of the “room for interpretation” field. It’s not ambiguous. It’s just deniable. Which we already know is a Nickelodeon requirement. And I think all of this must be considered in any reasonable discussion of the topic. Context matters, and this is our context, and to ignore it is to do a disservice to everyone.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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May 2017

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