Video Vednesday: Legend of Korra S4E4 “The Calling” Vlog

I typed “The Callening” like four times, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Ikki gets an episode, apparently. Was there demand for an Ikkisode? I don’t know, I have very little sense of what’s going on in any given fandom, even one’s I’m theoretically a part of.

MOAR TOPH PLZ.

Captain’s Log, Weekly Digest 3

A summary of the past week of posts to my in-character Star Trek Online Tumblr, chronicling the adventures of E.N. Morwen, a science-loving and thoughtful young woman trapped in a galaxy of warring space giants.

  • [Promotion]: Lieutenant Commander: Morwen is promoted and given command of a new ship, the USS Sakura. She has mixed feelings about this.
  • Halting the Gorn Advance: Morwen fights to protect miners in the Tostig System from lizard space giants, and she and T’Vrell take the first steps toward learning some important lessons.
  • The Kuvah’Magh: Morwen tries to prevent a pro-war faction of Klingons from disrupting peace talks.
  • Treasure Trading Station: A servant in one of the Klingon Great Houses wants to defect to the Federation.
  • Secret Orders: The Sakura is sent to locate a Klingon base hidden in the dangerous Briar Patch Nebula, while the seeds of tension sprout among the crew.
  • Task Force Hippocrates: A Starfleet task force tries to stop Klingon and Gorn raids on medical and research facilities near the border.
  • Skirmish: The mysterious Drake sends the Sakura to investigate fighting between the Cardassians and Klingons. (Interdimensional Vampire Ghost Giants From Space Saga, Part 1).
  • Outreach: Morwen helps negotiate a trade dispute.
  • Spin the Wheel: The crew of the Sakura goes on shore leave, but it’s actually a cover for Morwen to go on a mission for Drake. (Interdimensional Vampire Ghost Giants From Space Saga, Part 2).

The Final Count

Come Sunday, My Little Po-Mo will have its final blog post. Including the introduction, Derivative Works Months, Best Pony, and Commissioned Essays, but not book-exclusive chapters, guest posts, or things like “Equestria Stands!” it will be the 103rd entry, and falls just over two years after my first post. Being the kind of person who leaves a long trail of abandoned projects lying in ruins in his wake, this will be the first time I have ever finished a project of remotely this kind of scale.

This blog will continue. I really, really want to finally get jedablue.com up and running by the end of January, but even then this blog will stand as a redirect to that site–and that’s assuming I do get it up and running. But that still leaves the entirety of January for guest posts and such.

I have written a single sentence of it, which puts me ahead of where I usually am on Monday. That sentence is the first sentence: “This is the path from Crown to Kingdom.”

It will be a mildly gonzo post–no dual columns or intentional jumbling, but definitely not standard essay structure.

The title will be the only thing it can be, the only way this can end. It has a comma in it.

The Madoka Magica book is, as of two days ago, in editing. I hope to release it in January-February. I will probably also be conducting the Kickstarter My Little Po-Mo volume 3 in February. It will consist of the third season and the Derivative Works/Fanworks Months.

At this time, other than the liveblogs when Season 5 airs and whatever commissioned essays/Best Pony/book exclusive chapters I do for the remaining two volumes, I have no intention of ever writing anything about My Little Pony ever again.

But you never know.

Let me help you (Equestria Games)

Sorry this is late. It was actually finished in plenty of time, but I screwed up queueing it and set it for noon instead of midnight. Soon as I realized I switched it to publish immediately, but unfortunately that wasn’t until after 11.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the “feed them
grapes and fan them” thing done that it wasn’t all women
doing the serving. Also: Spike has a fanboy. Haha, get it?

It’s May 3, 2014. The top song is unchanged, and the top movie is The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In the news, India surpasses Japan as the world’s third-largest economy in purchasing power parity, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford takes leave in order to get treatment for substance abuse, and the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma leads to a brief reignition of debate over the death penalty in the U.S.

And in ponies, we have something of a perfect storm: a story set in the Crystal Empire, which has not boded well in the past, that is also the second Spike episode in a row, and written by Dave Polsky, whose output has been uneven, to put it mildly: he’s written on real gem, “Rarity Takes Manhattan,” several fairly solid episodes, including the misunderstood “Feeling Pinkie Keen,” and a few, let’s be honest, total stinkers, such as “Over a Barrel,” “Daring Don’t,” and most importantly for our discussion of this episode, “Games Ponies Play,” which was both set in the Crystal Empire and focused on the Equestria Games.

Fortunately, “Equestria Games” falls into the “fairly solid” range, thereby achieving the rare feat of a Good Spike Episode. Spike manages to not be a jerk to anyone else for an entire episode, which immediately shortcuts the usual problem of Spike episodes not noticing that Spike is a jerk, and instead spends it acknowledging he has a problem and then attempting to address the problem. Specifically, he is suffering a crisis of self-confidence, and the only cure is for him to accomplish some kind of meaningful achievement.

In its own way, this episode is a step further along the same path as “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies.” That episode was about the damage that saving instead of helping can do, and while it was from the point of view of the would-be savior, Fluttershy, it gives a great deal of screentime to a very strong character from among the “saved,” Seabreeze. “Equestria Games” tops this by having the “saved” character be the main focus, and showing the damage it does to him and the process by which he recovers.

As I noted in my article on “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies,” this is a difficult and delicate topic to address, because there is a significant political faction in our culture that uses the philosophy of Ayn Rand to argue against helping, and the arguments against saving are quite similar: that it creates dependency, undermines confidence and self-esteem, and imposes a submissive or servile state on the saved. The key to navigating this is to remember that these don’t happen with helping, and are in fact how you tell the difference: saving imposes the will of the savior, which in turn forces the saved to be submissive, undermines their confidence, and makes them dependent. A helper, by contrast, allows the helped to decide what help is needed and how to use it, which empowers the person helped and prevents those negative effects.

The episode gives us two pairs of acts of helping and saving, and contrasts both, once in a silly way and once in a more serious way. The more serious contrast is in Twilight’s actions. During the torch lighting, she saves Spike when he is crippled by performance anxiety. She has no idea what is causing the problem–she outright states that she doesn’t know why he’s not lighting the torch–but she can see that he isn’t lighting it and fears that he will be embarrassed, so she rescues him by lighting the torch for him. Once he understands what’s happened, Spike is devastated; he sees it not only as a failure, but as a vote of no confidence from Twilight. His resulting desperation to prove himself leads to him humiliating himself with the Cloudsdale anthem, pushing him even deeper into withdrawal from the outside world and unhappiness.

It is only when Twilight starts actually talking to him, asking him why he’s upset and what would make him feel better, that it becomes possible for her and Cadance to help him. As Twilight puts it, he needs to do achieve something that has meaning to him, not others, in order to earn back his confidence, and only he can tell them what that is. They can offer help, but he must be the one to take it, rather than having it pushed on him by them or by circumstance, as with the falling ice cloud.

That ice cloud forms part of the second contrasting pair. Spike, from the start of the episode, is hailed by the people of the Crystal Empire as their savior. Which is true–he was the one who actually retrieved the Crystal Heart in “The Crystal Empire.” But nonetheless the episode paints this as ridiculous–Spike, who the viewers know is the perpetual fifth (or, rather, seventh) wheel of the Mane Six, has ponies kowtowing to him, asking for his autograph, even fanning him and feeding him gems while he reclines! Spike, too, ultimately finds this empty; even when he saves the Equestria Games by destroying the ice cloud, he is unable to feel a sense of accomplishment from it. Unstated but implied is the contrast between his actions to save the Empire, which were spur-of-the-moment things that weren’t asked for, to his failure when the Empire actually asked him to do something. He has internalized the difference between saving and helping, having experienced himself, and now he wants to be a helper rather than a savior.

Which Twilight and Cadance then help him become, repairing the damage Twilight did by saving him earlier. Twilight and Spike thus both learn the same lesson in this episode, but for once the gravity of Twilight’s character is resisted, and so her learning occurs more or less in the background. The result is actually a little bit like a key episode for Spike, though not as much as the previous episode; he has repeatedly been described as Twilight’s helper or assistant. “Helping” is the closest thing he has to an Element of Harmony, and this episode was about exploring the fail-state of Helping just as “Rarity Takes Manehattan” was about the fail-state of Generosity, “It’s Not Easy Being Breezies” was about the fail-state of Kindness, and so on.

Which, with only the finale left to the season and, presumably, the key arc, raises the question: What is the fail-state of Magic? Of Friendship? What must Twilight overcome to earn her key?

Next week: Why we climb trees.

ETA: Corrected an error in the first name of the Toronto mayor.

Escaflowne Ep 5 Liveblog Chat Thingy!

How to participate in the liveblog chat:

Option 1: Whenever you watch the episode, comment on this post as you watch with whatever responses you feel like posting!

Option 2: Go to http://webchat.freenode.net/. Enter a nickname, then for the Channels field enter ##rabbitcube, and finally fill in the Captcha and hit Connect! We’ll be watching Vision of Escaflowne and commenting there starting at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Chatlog below the cut!


 
01[14:00] I have yet to get over how fantastic this opening is.
[14:00] Ohhhh yeah
01[14:00] Hey, I now know some of these people!
[14:00] There’s still a couple we haven’t met yet…
01[14:00] I can’t actually remember their names, but I now recognize blonde guy and the prince and Merle.
01[14:00] Okay, I can remember Merle’s name.
[14:01] Allen and Van
[14:01] (also, Van’s king now, remember)
01[14:01] Oh, and also the green-haired guy and the Cliche Effeminate Villain BEcause Homophobia.
[14:01] King of ashes
01[14:01] Van and Allen are pretty much both kings of ashes at this point.
[14:02] In the dub, Dilandau’s voice sounded like a 10-year-old kid… which I think is a great interpretation of his character
01[14:02] It is!
[14:03] He’s just a little boy frying ants with a magnifying glass, kinda like Kefka
01[14:03] Also, I like that despite very obviously being The Super Mecha of Prophecy Escaflowne doesn’t actually have an easy time in every battle.
[14:03] Oh, they used the stealth cloaks effectively
01[14:03] Mostly due to Van’s incompetence.
[14:03] “I can’t STAND that heroic crap!” Best line ever
01[14:04] I will admit, the flying fortress design is seriously metal.
[14:04] What’s on fire? It’s all rock
[14:04] Oh well
01[14:04] Some rocks can burn!
01[14:04] That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
[14:04] True
[14:04] “Tough?” Allen has a gift for understatement
[14:05] Ah, Hitomi actually USING her fortune-telling abilities in a creative way!
[14:05] “TEST?!”
01[14:05] Did he LITERALLY just pat her on the head and then tell her to leave it up to the menfolk?
01[14:05] Fuck you Allen.
01[14:06] Drag the *what* out of there?
[14:06] Folken has eye shadow, I just noticed
01[14:06] Oh, they mean Van.
01[14:07] I thought there was, like, a component of it called “samurai.”
[14:07] She called him a Samurai, probably because she doesn’t know better
[14:07] Ah, notice how Folken can activate Escaflowne?
01[14:07] Yep. Is he the long-lost brother?
[14:07] Wait, Dilandau didn’t even know who was in there?
[14:07] Rhetorical spoiler question
[14:07] I’d forgotten that
[14:08] It could be a cold reading… his daddy issues are pretty easy to diagnose
[14:09] So much for his “leave it up to the menfolk” schtick
[14:09] Anything to avoid having to talk about my feelings!
01[14:09] Yeah, they should have had her do it for a crewmember she’d never met and couldn’t see.
01[14:10] “Because I’m your long-lost brother.”
[14:10] Van doesn’t recognize him because it’s been like 10 years
01[14:10] da FUQ?
[14:11] Ooh, angel wings!
01[14:11] Oh, now Van recognizes him.
[14:11] Eeyup, that’s their family secret
01[14:11] “Did I not mention my brother had FUCKING WINGS?”
[14:11] Oh, Van has them too… that was Hitomi’s premonition in the first (or second) episode
[14:11] We just thought it was a metaphor then
01[14:11] Okay, that’s crossing into spoiler country Sylo.
[14:12] Well, Hitomi already saw it in her premonition, so… but anyway, sorry
[14:12] Ouch
01[14:12] Yeah, btu I (a) thoguht it was a metaphor and (b) forgot it, so.
01[14:12] Also, agreed: ouch.
[14:12] Why did Folken drug him? He’d been unconscious until two minutes ago anyway
01[14:12] Because that’s what villains do.
[14:13] (Allen is a douche, but I do like how he learns fast and changes his tune)
01[14:13] WOW, that’s the most annoying noise Merle’s made yet.
[14:13] Dilandau, don’t touch that
[14:14] (but of course, he will, since he’s an angry child who needs to touch everything)
[14:15] The rescue sequence begins!
01[14:15] Okay, Allen’s plane is fucking awesome.
[14:15] Yeah… it’s one of the best fantasy airships ever
[14:16] So, they’re both knights AND sky pirates, IE, the best of both tropes
[14:16] Ah, of course, Mole Man is looting the place
[14:16] WHOA… four with one shot!
[14:16] That dude gets owned again!
[14:17] Yeah… Dilandau’s henchmen are wimps
01[14:17] NO Hitomi.
[14:17] Oh, here it comes…
[14:17] I guess anyone who wasn’t the type to get pushed around all the time would just be murdered or something
[14:17] True, Arrlaari…
01[14:17] Hitomi! No!
01[14:18] THIS IS A BAD PLAN
[14:18] Well, we already knew she could run the 100m in ten flat…
01[14:18] Fuck that’s a logn long-jump for a high school kid.
[14:18] Ahahah, Merle’s reaction
[14:19] Ahahah… that’s how Hitomi finds out
[14:19] Ooh, Folken gives him his sword
[14:19] Ouch
01[14:19] Ah, a classic, the face-cut.
01[14:20] Van now has an enemy for life.
01[14:20] Well, one of their lives.
[14:20] Ohhhhhh yeah
[14:20] Facial scars are a permanent grudge
[14:20] (of course, Dilandau is pretty much everyone’s enemy for one of their lives)
01[14:20] Doubly so if you’re a villain stereotype rooted in homophobia.
01[14:21] (Not letting that go, btw.)
[14:21] (I am bravely resisting the urge to disclose another spoiler re: that)
01[14:21] Okay, so, that was still pretty darn cliche, but also *really fun*.
01[14:22] And Allen’s airship has, in a single episode, jumped into the ranks of the all-time greats along with things like the FFV airship, the Epoch, and Flammie.
[14:22] And the Falcon
[14:22] I find it notable that Hitomi had to do something brave and athletic in order to get into position to deliver her warning
01[14:23] Was the Falcon the one with the crane or the drill?
01[14:23] Indeed, that was nice Arrlaari.
[14:23] The Falcon was Daryl’s airship in FFVI
01[14:23] Oh, I was thinking FFIV.
[14:23] I thought Millenium Falcon
01[14:23] They’re both named for it, Arrlaari.
[14:23] (maybe there was one in FFIV named the Falcon? I forget, it’s been a while since I played FFIV)
01[14:24] The two main airships you get in FFIV are the Enterprise and the Falcon.
01[14:24] The Falcon in VI was mostly interesting for the circumstances in which you get it, it was a pretty generic Final Fantasy airship otherwise.
[14:24] Well, I attached such emotional strength to it, it made it more awesome
[14:25] (the Blackjack, its predecessor, had a casino)
01[14:25] Oh sure, I can understand that, getting it is one of the all-time great moments in the series.
01[14:25] Anyway, regardless, we are all agreed that Allen’s is among the great airships?
[14:25] Ohhhhhh yeah
[14:25] They did some pretty cool moves this episode
[14:25] I haven’t played a lot of Final Fantasies so I’m not familiar with the competition
[14:26] Hitomi’s crazy-awesome long jump, and the fight scenes were pretty epic too
[14:26] It’s notable that although Folken didn’t die hunting the dragon, he did lose an arm
01[14:26] Wait, he did?
01[14:27] I didn’t even notice, he keeps them under that cloak all the tiem!
[14:27] He has a prosthetic now
[14:27] Yeah… you saw his metal arm
[14:27] and I presume that he lost hte original to the dragon
01[14:27] Oh, I must have missed it/assumed it was some sort of armor.
[14:27] Taking the cloak off was a Big Moment
[14:27] so I noticed that the skin around his shoulder has burn scars
[14:27] Yeah, it introduced the angel wings
01[14:27] Oh wait, that’s what the rivets on his shoulder were!
01[14:28] I just thought he was being badass. “Look at me, I screwed bits of metal into my chest.”
01[14:28] A silly thought, in hindsight.
[14:28] And then they showed off the drug needle in one of his fingers
01[14:28] Also I thought the claws he injected the poison with were some kind of glove, but that’s his robot hand, isn’t it?
01[14:28] Makes MUCH more sense now.
[14:28] Anyway, Folken being Van’s brother was spoiled by the preview at the end of last episode
01[14:28] Glad I skipped it.
[14:29] That is a thing I think one should keep out of previews
01[14:29] Yeah.
[14:29] Agreed
01[14:30] BTW, going back to earlier comment from Sylocat: Total agreement on Hitomi’s long-jump. She has to use both her mystical and physical skills to save the boy, which is still fairly rare for a female character.
01[14:30] It helps keep her from being a standard-issue Staff Chick.
[14:30] And they went to the effort of establishing early that she’s a track & field star
[14:30] Hitomi still seems ahead of her time and forward-thinking TODAY
[14:31] Allen Schezar, not so much
[14:31] Let alone in the 1990s
[14:31] (also, it was Arrlaari who pointed out that she needed to do the physical leap to save Van)
[14:32] Eh… I do like that, when Allen gets shown up, he actually learns from it
01[14:32] Oh, you’re right. Sorry.
[14:32] Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about how one of the subtle and pervasive elements of sexism is automatically disbelieving women
[14:33] “Subtle?”
[14:33] Well the degree varies so it can be subtle
[14:34] And I think it shows up a lot in fiction, a plot point where a woman Knows Something but no one believes her until it’s Too Late
01[14:34] It’s one of those things that’s concentrated in some places but exists almost everywhere.
[14:34] Well, it didn’t take until it was too late, in this case
01[14:34] And yeah, the Cassandra
[14:34] I’m having trouble thinking of specific examples other than Cassandra who was cursed to never be believed even after she was proven right
[14:35] But I have this impression of the plot point where it’s not unreasonable to test her claim but everyone programmatically dismisses the notion and she’s helpless to avert something
[14:35] So at least that didn’t happen
01[14:36] Sally in Nightmare Before Christmas is a good example.
[14:37] And once Allen believed her, he was downright encouraging and helpful, even enthusiastic… you sure don’t see THAT kind of thing from Tuxedo Fedora
01[14:37] Indeed.
[14:37] You actually do? Enthusiastically encouraging Usagi is a thing he does
[14:37] The irritating part is where Usagi gives him credit for helping her when that’s all he ever does
[14:38] Well, you kinda do, but it still leaves too much of the focus on Mamoru
[14:38] Like if a football player thanked the cheerleaders every time he made a touchdown, that would come off as weird
01[14:39] Okay, just thought of a great example where (unlike Sally, who eventually gets proven right and redeemed in the eyes of others) the female character is NEVER believed, and it’s all played as a joke: Candace, the older sister in Phineas and Ferb.
[14:39] You know, I’ve never actually seen Phineas and Ferb
[14:39] I don’t recognize the name.
01[14:40] It’s a really good, funny show as long as you never think about the fact that the writers have made a running gag out of gaslighting the stereotypical annoying older sister.
01[14:40] (Note that the characters don’t gaslight her, the writers do–it is the forces of plot contrivance and coincidence that cause all the evidence to evaporate every time she thinks she’s caught her brothers in the act.)
[14:41] Eww
01[14:41] And it’s pretty much a once-an-episode thing.
[14:41] The Cassandra plot always irritated me because I never picked up on the message that automatically disbelieving women is a “natural” thing to do. I also didn’t notice that it always happened to women.
01[14:41] There *are* male Cassandras, thoguh. G’Kar for instance is explicitly described as one in JMS’ commentaries.
01[14:42] Mulder on the X-Files.
[14:42] Well, with Mulder, it was (often) actually understandable
01[14:42] But you see the difference, right? Male Cassandras are these towering tragic heroes at the centers of their narratives. Female Cassandras exist to be ignored by the hero.
[14:43] Oh, definitely
[14:43] Another example is Commander Shepard (Mass Effect). Player specified but a man in all the promotional material except that the box art for 3 is reversible.
01[14:44] Never played Mass Effect, but yeah, just from being the main character of a video game its safe to assume Shepard is at the center of the narrative.
01[14:44] Though the option to play as a woman does improve things there.
01[14:46] All right, so, any final thoughts before I post this up?
[14:46] Commander Shepard has to deal with Global Warming tier denalism. There was a meme from it.
[14:46] Nothing comes to mind at the moment
01[14:47] Okay, see you all next weekend!
[14:47] See ya

Fiction Friday: Faultless, Part 2

Continuing on from where we left off… wow, was it really a month ago? Bit of a short one, but this feels like a natural break point.

Content Warning: Child abuse/neglect

It wasn’t her first time outdoors, of course. She’d been in the garden many times, to pull oranges and avocados off the trees or smell the flowers or just feel the sun on her skin. It was hot out there, beyond the faint blue glow of the cooling spells at every door and window, and sometimes she just needed to be hot. She would stand out there and hug herself tightly and just let the sun wash over, beating at, imagine it squeezing its way through her skin and deep down inside. Sometimes for hours, if nobody came out–she had a vague notion that she was not supposed to go outside, but fortunately there were a great many doors between garden and house, and she could always get back inside without being seen.

But this wasn’t like going out into the garden. You couldn’t see anything but house from there–you could hear the noises of the city, and sometimes smell its smells, but not see it. Ghost found that these days she very much wanted to. Maybe it was from being in the cellar so long, but she had developed a powerful yearning to actually see the place in which she was, supposedly, growing up.

Of course, she’d watched people coming in and out of the house for years. She knew that you dressed differently for outside than in. She wasn’t entirely clear on why, but she could see what–going out meant shoes, and frills, and hats. Fortunately there was the ragpile in the corner of the laundry, where all the clothes that couldn’t be mended or cleaned went. Ghost had gotten her smock there, and the one before it. Before that she was fairly sure she’d been dressed by the servants, but it was long enough ago and she’d been small enough that it was only a vague, fuzzy notion. A lot of the past seemed to dissolve into those, sometimes very quickly.

From the ragpile she procured her secret treasure, her going-outfit as she thought of it, a broad-brimmed hat that had once been white, with a chunk missing from the brim, a pair of shoes that were only a little too big for her, and which she stuffed with torn and crumpled paper stolen from her father’s study, and a light, loose white dress with a broken strap, but she was able to tie the two halves together. The result was a little lopsided and too big for her, falling well past her knees, plus it was supposed to be belted at the waist and she couldn’t find a belt, but it would do well enough.

She slipped out the servants’ and traders’ entrance when no one was looking, and found herself on a sort of ribbon made of a strange rock, gray and pitted with other rocks–all smooth and rounded and in a variety of colors–sort of half-buried in it. Up the hill and to the left the ribbon split off a side-branch which ran under the house’s main gate–Ghost thrilled to finally see it from the other side–while the main trunk of it continued up the hill. Some ways beyond that, at least ten times as far as Ghost had ever walked in a straight line, was another house.

To the right, the ribbon–which, Ghost realized, could only be a road–descended to the base of of the hill, where it grew suddenly wider. From up here she could see buildings of all descriptions lining it, and dirt ribbons–roads, she corrected herself, or maybe alleys?–running away from it through more buildings, spreading out as far as she could see. And rising up from it came a blurred hubbub of noises, voices, sounds Ghost couldn’t identify, sharp cracks and creaks and a sort of rumbling undercurrent to it all where the sounds just gave up and dissolved together, and smells! Good smells, bad smells, cooking meat and baking bread and garbage and something not unlike what Ghost’s cellar had smelled like by the time she was let out of it. It was enticing and horrifying, inviting and lurking–but within all those things it was exciting, and Ghost was determined to experience it at least once.

She set off down the hill.

Cease Fire

The terms of the cease fire in the War on Christmas are as followed:

  • Christmas shall be permitted to continue as a voluntary activity
  • All Christmas activities shall be contained within the designated temporal zone: December 24-25 (Gregorian calendar, Julian for Orthodox and related sects only)
  • Hostilities against Christmas shall be suspended within the temporal zone
  • All those who wish it shall be issued a statement of “Merry Christmas”
  • Hostilities shall remain suspended through the end of the year, after which they may resume if Christmas attempts expansion outside the designated temporal zone.

Video Vednesday: Vlog for The Legend of Korra S4E3 “The Coronation”

And the Korra vlogs continue with episode 3! This is kind of rambly, but I’m mostly rambling about Toph, so it’s okay.

(Note for people viewing this through Tumblr: the service I use to repost all my blog posts to Tumblr fubars the video. If you want to watch it, just click the link and go to my main blog.)

Captain’s Log, Weekly Digest 2

A summary of the past week of posts to my in-character Star Trek Online Tumblr, chronicling the adventures of E.N. Morwen, a science-loving and thoughtful young woman trapped in a galaxy of warring space giants.

  • Personal log: Morwen’s feelings on being put permanently in command of the Oracle.
  • Stranded in Space: The Oracle is assigned to look for a lost freighter, and finds trouble.
  • Diplomatic Orders: The Oracle is assigned to protect an ambassador who is not all that he seems.
  • Oracle‘s Last Stand: When a Borg fleet enters the Sirius Sector, Morwen is determined to help stop them. In the aftermath, she struggles to deal with her sense of failure.
  • Celes Patrol: Morwen and Kolez investigate possible sabotage on Starbase 114.
  • Hide and Seek: The Nephilim explores the Paulson Nebula in an attempt to determine why the fake Ambassador Sokketh sent a signal there.
  • Starbase 24 Defense: The Nephilim must help defend Starbase 24 from a massive Klingon fleet that has slipped behind Federation lines.
  • Stop the Signal: The Nephilim searches for a hidden Klingon listening post in Federation space.
  • Researcher Rescue: When contact is lost with an archeological research station in the Kassae system, the Nephilim is sent to investigate and provide assistance.
  • [Promotion]: Lieutenant Commander: Morwen is promoted to Lieutenant Commander and given command of a new ship, the small but advanced science vessel USS Sakura. She has mixed feelings about this.

Happy Fucking Hanukkah

Here’s the thing about Hanukkah: It’s a fucking nothing holiday. It’s President’s Day or Arbor Day or some shit like that.

And here’s the other thing: for two thousand years, one of the major goals of the Christian religion has been to eliminate the Jews by some combination of killing us and turning us Christian. (I mean, one of the major goals of the Christian religion is to make sure everyone in the world is either dead or Christian, but Jews have historically been a particular obsession. Also, note I said “one of” and “Christian religion” not “the sole goal of each and every sect of Christianity and individual Christian without exception,” so kindly take your strawman and shove it up your slippery slope.)

And they’ve pretty consistently failed. I mean, they kill a few million here, convert a dozen there, but we’ve persisted through Inquisitions and pogroms, forced conversions, missionaries, kidnapping of our children, and “stealth” conversion attempts like Jews for Jesus.

By far, the most successful attempt of the 20th and 21st centuries? “Happy Hanukkah.” Because inexorably, thanks to the spirit of “inclusion” (being included by Christianity is rather a lot like being included by the Borg), American Hanukkah has morphed into Christmas with a menorah. It’s morphed from a holiday where the kids get a daily small treat for a week to a major gift-giving event. It’s become a time of “warm feelings” and “family togetherness” and fairy lights and fucking godawful novelty pop songs.

And an entire generation plus of American Jews has grown up believing that the biggest holiday of the year happens in December, and that “big holiday” is equivalent to “gift exchange.” I have met more than a few, Jews who celebrate Hanukkah and nothing else, or just Hanukkah and Passover, and don’t know that there even is anything else. Jews whose own kids will just celebrate Christmas and be Christians, and another fucking drone joins the collective.

So when you say “Happy Hanukkah” to me, or you put up a “Happy Hanukkah” sign in the middle of big gaudy display of Christmas decorations, and you have never mentioned or given any indication of having fucking heard of Pesach, Sukkot, Shavuot, or Yom Kippur, then I know what you’re really saying. “We are Christians. You will be assimilated. Your cultural and religious distinctiveness will be repurposed to service us. Happy Jewish Christmas.”

To which the only response is, “Fuck you.” And, possibly, “Mr. Worf… fire.”