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[sticky post] About Me - Updated June 2014

Buffy - glossy season 5
So, here's my "About Me" page for those of you playing along at home.


About MeCollapse )

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Let's Talk About Manpain and Masculinity

GoT - Sansa birds
I had a new idea for my grad school writing sample.

MANPAIN.

It's a fan-coined term for "when a main character in a story (always male, generally white) is written with a particular kind of psychologically painful history that causes him to behave in specific ways."

Fanlore lists some of the criteria for describing a male character's history as manpain:

  • It's marked by excess. The tragedies of the character's history are extreme: his reaction to them is melodramatic: his pain is tacitly or explicitly acknowledged by the story and/or other characters to be worse than anyone else's.

  • It is self-centered and inner-directed; events, especially traumatic events, in the narrative are typically viewed through the lens of how they emotionally impact the bearer of the manpain, who is often a figure of isolation.

  • The character's painful history is frequently (although not universally) created by exploiting the death/suffering/loss of a woman, or children, or both. These women and children are often not characterized as having any importance in the narrative other than as plot devices to create manpain.

Here's a flow chart to help you determine if your pain is manpain.
Manpain can also be understood as a visual aesthetic, as seen in thingswithwings's brilliant vid "The Price", complete with thinky thoughts.
pocochina has some of my favorite thoughts on manpain.

So here's my problem: I can't just write an essay saying "LOOK AT ANGEL/TEN/MULDER/DEAN/BATMAN'S MANPAIN!" I need to ground this thing in some sort of theory, so I'm positing that manpain is a trope that allows "real" men to show vulnerability. If they're crying over a dead woman, it's totally legit. And I want to talk about masculinity from a gender studies point of view,but I'm having trouble trying to figure out what sources I need/can use. So basically I need some scholarly essays on masculinity in speculative (sci fi/fantasy/horror) shows/movies. I don't know if I want manpain to be the subject or if I should dissect the video to show the manpain in the shows. Any ideas for a direction I could go in are welcome.

The Mockingjay Lives

THG - Katniss Mockingjay


This is so much cooler than a short story about Harry Potter going gray.

Carry Your World :: A Buffy Summers Fanmix

Buffy - plaid
About a month ago I promised to make red_satin_doll a proper Buffy fanmix with art and everything, and here it is. It turns out I had twice as many songs as I needed, so there might be a second volume of this coming out. I could have separated the songs with one album being angsty and one being empowering, but instead I mixed it up (mostly because I'm too lazy to differentiate between the mood of the songs). Expect a lot of Florence + the Machine, a lot of Coldplay, and some interesting covers by YouTubers I found scouring the Internet.

Some Saw the Sun, Some Saw the SmokeCollapse )

Because I'm Still Waiting for a Lady Doctor

DW - River Bang Bang
Excellent piece by Vanity Fair about how Orphan Black is Buffy's heir, and that the world is ready for more strong women in geek media properties.

"Because Maslany’s performance and the show’s writing contain multitudes and run the gamut of archetypal feminine strength. We have Sarah (who covers wiliness, brawn, and a mothering instinct), Cosima (sheer brain power), Alison (cunning, heightened femininity, and another kind of mothering instinct), Rachel (ruthless ambition), and, best of all, Helena (relentless, feral strength). Helena is the show’s true gift to women, OB Season 2 Spoilers (OMG RSD IS GOING TO LOVE THIS!)Collapse )

This is my thesis in a nutshell. Geeks are ready for strong women. Bring 'em on.

Also worth sharing is The Daily Show's report on sexual assault on college campuses:

Two AMAZING Things Are Happening Today!

Comm - Girls approve!
1. I GOT THE SALLY CASANOVA PRE-DOCTORAL SCHOLARSHIP! This is the one I was working on in March, and I seriously thought I wouldn't get it because I talked about using fan fiction in education. That's $3000 towards visiting graduate schools next fall!

2. HULU IS IN TALKS WITH SONY TO REVIVE COMMUNITY! Yes, this gets me as excited as a $3000 scholarship.

Revisiting Seasons 4, 5 and 6

Dawn and Tara - friends/cuddle
I was going through all of the mp4 files from my ripped Buffy DVDs, titling them in my ever so anal way, and I was using the BtVS Wikipedia list of episodes for reference. I noticed the ratings for a few particular episodes. Season 4 ended with 3.2 million U.S. viewers watching it live on the WB (tangental thought: I wonder how many more viewers BtVS would have gotten if DVR and streaming video were invented back then? I know I got TiVo circa 2005, when I re-discovered Buffy via reruns, and it was used to tape Buffy, Angel, and - wait for it - Passions; but it wasn't out there when the show was on. Were there ways to illegally download shit from the Internet back then?).

Season 5 started with 5.8 million viewers, and my guess is people heard how weird "Restless" was, and wanted to check out what was happening on Buffy (another tangental thought: I know exactly where I was when "Buffy vs. Dracula" aired: on a bus touring the Washington, DC monuments on a program sponsored by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The kid I was sitting next to kept on complaining about how he was missing such an important episode, and based on his recommendation, I checked the show out on the WB, which we had just gotten in our cable package, and fell in love with Dawn and Spike. The first episode I saw was "Out of My Mind," and I was under the impression that Buffy and Spike were the show's Sam and Diane, so Spike's dream was a BIG FUCKING DEAL. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my initiation int BtVS. ORIGIN STORIES, YO).

Anyway, "Buffy vs. Dracula" had 5.8 million viewers, and the numbers jumped to 6.2 million for "Real Me." My guess is word got out about Dawn's introduction, and everyone was going WTF? and decided to see what was going on.

When season 6 started, BtVS got its highest ratings with "Bargaining I & II", each getting 7.7 million viewers. My guess is everyone wanted to see how they would bring Buffy back. I think the nearest equivalent was between seasons 3 and 4 of Supernatural, when everyone was wondering how they would bring Dean back.

So, my question is this, for you old-timers who were there: why the jumps in numbers from "Buffy vs. Dracula" to "Real Me" and in the lead-in of season 7? Are my guesses correct? I'm trying to figure out textual reasons for audience viewership, in case you were wondering if I'm talking out of my ass and reminiscing about my introduction to the show. This is for scientific purposes. I can re-write this into the form of a research question if you want, but today I went to a workshop where we did that for two hours, so I really don't feel like it.

Because I Know Kelsey Needs This

Dawn - blue


FIX-IT FICATHON


Because Alison Didn't Deserve to Die


(This one already made me pretty happy.)

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