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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Politics in daily life

Two things on my schedule today: watching the second Thor film and attending LC4's birthday party. Let me deal with the party first, as it will be shorter. 

Nothing much eventful happened at the party. It's the talk that took place in the car on our way back. It was aunt A, uncle C and aunt B talking... about the couple of mums. Not "a couple," "the couple." As in lesbian mums. I knew. I saw them and smiled. I saw a world where two lesbian mums can take their children to a birthday party and hold hands. It's the kind of world I want to be a part of. I thought it was so nice to see that not a single fuck was given (as far as I could tell), as it should be. Aunt A was all "Oh, they don't fool ME! I know what they are!!! Not that I care, what do I care...? But they CAN'T FOOL ME! I know they're different!!!" Aunt B's attempt at "class" was saying they were probably mother and daughter, no fucking way they were a lesbian couple, with a child (or children?), at a six year old's birthday party. Aunt A countered with the hand holding and how one of them put her hand on the other's leg. Uncle C half-jokingly said he'd seen mother-daughter interactions being very affectionate and it didn't disturb him in the least. I very much wanted to say something because it felt wrong not to say something, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what that something was.

On the one hand, aunt B was trying to be nice to this couple by "assuming the best." To out them (though they were sort of out in the open) would have seemed a bit wrong. On the other, to go out and say "Yes, they were lesbian mothers. What of it?" would have invited the damned discussion of what the poor child(ren) must have to live with, not having a father figure and all and that nonsense. And that's the problem. I wish I could have just stated the obvious and left it alone but I know these are not the kind of people who leave such subjects alone, because they have opinions and they must be voiced even when they're awful and cannot be backed by any kind of forward-thinking logic. This is the sort of crowd who thought it wrong for a three year old girl to want a sprayed-on tattoo of a snake. Because it should have been a bloody butterfly or something else girly. But no. She was so very happy to have a snake on her arm and I'm glad she got it but resent the fact that anyone thought she should have gotten anything other than what she wanted. She's fucking three and it was just a fake tattoo on her arm. She just so happens to think snakes are awesome. Why shouldn't she? (It's LC6, by the way.)

Again, I felt like I should have spoken up and said something. I worry that these children may grow to such ass-backwards teachings and that they will enforce the stupidity rather than help cure it. But I'm in the rather pointless position of being the quiet relative who can't really speak up her mind and tell their parents how to raise their children. Because it's sort of not my place. It's all I can do to play anything they want and do everything I can to make sure that I'm as neutral as I can be and don't invite any kind of prejudice. It just feels like it's not quite enough. Frankly, that couple today did more than I ever could just by showing up to the party. I applaud them and wish them all the best.

Also on the topic of politics, we have today's film. It goes by the name of Thor: The Dark World. I couldn't watch it without thinking far too much about it. It's an action film. It does sort of leave you with quite a bit of time to ponder while you're busy not being entertained by the graphics. I'm afraid this will come out with very little order, because the things that bother me are not exactly connected.

First, there's Loki, and the cartoonishness of the dark elves. I saw all the techniques at work, dehumanising the bad guys so the audience felt it was right to kill them all without a moment's thought. They're the easy villains, the goons you need just to have an excuse to show fighting on screen. There's really nothing worse than a bad villain, and a good villain is the one that's human and might kind of have a point. Because real life is more like that. That's why I found myself rooting for Loki. Say what you want, geeks, but, the way they were portrayed in the films (yes, I watched the first one just now to verify a few things) Thor is the stupid one. In the films, Thor is all brawn and very little brain. Loki is all brain, so to compensate and make sure we don't root for him he's given a sickly appearance and made both smaller and physically weaker. Not so in the comics. In the comics, Loki is as badass as the rest of them. Loki's motives weren't fully explained in the films and I'm afraid that to do so would have made him a bit too likeable. All the audience needs to know is that he's the one that needs to be defeated. Yet, he's doing exactly what Odin did, in a way Odin and Thor could only wish to have been able to think of. He's clever enough to bypass Heimdall's watch over Asgard and his plan, get this, fucking works. So maybe he gets a little carried away with the whole "being jealous" thing, but I daresay that might be more a problem of the films (wanting to make him "wrong") than of the comics. Without having actually read the comics. I know. But I won't be reading the comics, and here's why: I'm afraid they're quite sexist and I refuse to feed that sort of industry.

What? But there's Sif! And Jane is an astrophysicist in the film! Sure, but see Sif in the comics as being very inconveniently half-naked for a warrior, with an unrealistic body figure, and kind of unreasonably helpless in the film, with her unrequited love for Thor and all. Jane is frankly a bit of a joke in that I absolutely adore Natalie Portman and I cannot help but detest how silly she looks playing an astrophysicist that talks utter nonsense (in real-life science terms), has been absolutely devastated by losing the man she fell infatuated with (I know, I know) for two bloody years, unable to make a name of herself in the scientific world in spite of all her degrees and merit (really? she can't even be a professor in some decent university?), and, worst of all, the way she was responsible for finally being able to win the battle against the dark elves was kind of brushed aside. It was all Thor and his mighty fucking hammer. Even though it was her technology and her brains to put it to the right use which actually helped give Thor an even chance to begin with. Had she been a man, and not a "love interest" for Thor, I'm pretty sure Odin would have called him up to be an honorary Asgardian or some other nonsense. Frigga was absolutely badass and classy, though. So there's that and the fact that they attempted to have multicultural characters (read: Heimdall was black and Hogun was asian, even though Asgardians are supposed to be Nordic-looking).

There's more to my issues with Jane, though. It's not the fact that she's smart but that's not really why Thor falls for her. It's not the fact that they made her pretty even though she doesn't really need to be (though those two are related). It's not even the fact that she fell infatuated with Thor.

I will make a small parenthesis for those of you worried that no one has ever been recorded to be "fallen infatuated" with anyone else. But it's my term for the midpoint between falling in love at first sight and being infatuated with someone. "Falling infatuated." 

It's the fact that it's  never to work out. In the comics, she fails to pass Odin's tests and so she has some other human person to fall back on. I can't tell from her biography on Wikipedia if there's any proper development of her feelings for Thor beyond "Thor needed someone to bone while he was on Earth and Jane Foster is it." Thor's girl and childhood sweetheart is Sif... except Thor wanted to get Jane into Asgard and marry her and make lots and lots of babies and was willing to throw away what he had with Sif for that. And then didn't (but only because Odin didn't deem Jane good enough). I appreciate that Sif was given the chance, in the comics, to explore relationships with other men. Why not? She's a strong woman and can do as she pleases. But then, this is not about her. It's about how I'm rooting for the Jane-Thor thing to work out in the films (where else?) because... it's going to sound stupid, everything does at this point when I bring him up: because it reminds me of SmTn. Childhood sweetheart/stable girlfriend? Check. Foreign stranger and him falling mutually infatuated? Double check. Simple language hinting at beautiful knowledge (as in "when Thor explains the workings of the universe to Jane," and not "when Thor acts somewhat stupidly/rashly/childishly which is pretty much always")? Check. Ensuing swooning? Check.


On to the subject of the maths seminar and colloquium I wanted to attend on Friday? The time we agreed upon to work on a project was smack in the middle of being able to attend either. It felt even worse because that meeting felt so utterly pointless. I could have decided exactly as much and sent them e-mails over the weekend. I'm afraid my two partners were not very enthusiastic (one a lot less enthusiastic than the other). 

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