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Subject: "S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Gryphonadmin
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"S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
 
   (on Corwin making Utena a Water Tribe betrothal necklace)

>>>It seems a bit... I dunno. Cultural appropriation is usually something
>>>that is not cool.
>>
>>Is is appropriation when one of them gave it to you? When you have a
>>genuine affection for the South Pole, its people, its cuisine, and so
>>forth? When you've made the Water Tribe's most famous daughter your
>>own daughter's godmother, and, oh yes, she's also your own? I
>>dunno. It seems more like respectful admiration to me.
>
>I was way more preachy about that than I should have been, wasn't I?

Yes.

But, in looking through the logfiles from the movement's construction, I was reminded of a related thing that I did find a bit dismaying. It's not actually about "cultural appropriation" (which I still don't think this is; if anything, it's "cultural accepting-as-a-nice-thing-to-do"), but it is about Sending the Wrong Message.

See, I initially intended Corwin's reply to Korra's question about whether he'd started on Utena's necklace to be yes. In fact, it had occurred to me that it would be a nice thing if he made something at-least-internally-to-the-organization official with Anthy before their daughter was born, so he was going to round up (probably with Korra's help) another set of the materials the next day, then get them both done, possibly with a Christmas 2404-style all-nighter, to be presented the day after that - because he could hardly see clear to propose to Anthy if he hadn't finished Utena's first, having already married her - there's doing stuff in the wrong order and then there's just bollixing the timetable up completely. Or that's how he figures it, anyway. He's makin' this stuff up as he goes along.

Except... doing it that way, rounding up the materials on Tuesday and pulling an all-nighter, would mean that he'd be doing all of that - proposing to Anthy and sorta-retroactively to Utena too - on Wednesday, which is their own anniversary. Which, well. What message does that send, exactly? It seems a bit... "Hey, happy anniversary, you crazy kids, and by the way, YOU BOTH BELONG TO ME." He wouldn't mean it that way - hell, they wouldn't take it that way! - but it's... there.

Now, whether Corwin actually had that train of thought (less the part about knowing Wednesday was his absolute deadline, obviously) and decided to take his time with the project instead, I'm not sure, but at least one of us recognized that it would be potentially awkward timing. :)

--G.
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Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Mercutio Sep-22-13 1
     RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Peter Eng Sep-22-13 2
         RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Mercutio Sep-22-13 3
     RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Gryphonadmin Sep-22-13 4
         RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Mercutio Sep-22-13 5
             RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Gryphonadmin Sep-22-13 6
                 RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing The Traitor Sep-23-13 7
                     RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Peter Eng Sep-23-13 9
                         RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing The Traitor Sep-23-13 10
         RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing zwol Sep-23-13 8
             RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Gryphonadmin Sep-24-13 11
                 RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing zwol Sep-24-13 14
                     RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Gryphonadmin Sep-24-13 15
                         RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Mercutio Sep-24-13 16
             RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Mercutio Sep-24-13 13
  RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing DaemeonX Sep-24-13 12
     RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing Gryphonadmin Nov-14-13 17
         RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing DaemeonX Nov-19-13 18

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Mercutio
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Sep-22-13, 11:21 AM (EST)
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1. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #0
 
  
>But, in looking through the logfiles from the movement's construction,
>I was reminded of a related thing that I did find a bit
>dismaying. It's not actually about "cultural appropriation" (which I
>still don't think this is; if anything, it's "cultural
>accepting-as-a-nice-thing-to-do"),

Knowing Corwin's background with the water tribes now, combined with the fact that you can conveniently assign any cultural weight you want to the necklace tradition, it makes my initial objection even more comically overstated on my part, especially since it wasn't meant to be an objection at all, more of a "you're sort of edging toward awkward and potentially not-cool ground" observation.

>Except... doing it that way, rounding up the materials on Tuesday and
>pulling an all-nighter, would mean that he'd be doing all of that -
>proposing to Anthy and sorta-retroactively to Utena too - on
>Wednesday, which is their own anniversary. Which, well. What
>message does that send, exactly? It seems a bit... "Hey, happy
>anniversary, you crazy kids, and by the way, YOU BOTH BELONG TO ME."
>He wouldn't mean it that way - hell, they wouldn't take
>it that way! - but it's... there.

As a guy intensely interested in both process and narrative implication, I like that you take the time as an author to consider this stuff. Polyamory is hard! It's not just about having two awesome and exotic partners, it's about the delicate balance of which parts of the relationship belong to all of the participants and which parts belong only to sub-components of the greater whole.

I've read... a lot of bad harem stories. Not just fanfiction, I mean stuff people have gotten paid real money to publish. (I'm looking in your direction, John Ringo.) A lot of them. Even getting to the point where you consider "maybe having the one guy in the triad present symbols with more than a little patriarchal baggage to the two ladies in it, on THEIR anniversary, is something that could possibly send the wrong message" puts you miles and miles ahead of other people.

Anyway, I think you definitely made the correct call here. I mean, for whatever my opinion is worth. I'm wrong an awful lot!

-Merc
Keep Rat

"Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away. Try to make yourself bigger than the librarian."


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Peter Eng
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Sep-22-13, 01:48 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #1
 
   >
>I've read... a lot of bad harem stories. Not just fanfiction, I mean
>stuff people have gotten paid real money to publish. (I'm looking in
>your direction, John Ringo.)
>

Let me guess. Rise of the Kildar?

I still think this is the best commentary on that series. Even John Ringo knows it's male-fantasy BS, but popular demand is weird.

Peter Eng
--
Insert humorous comment here.


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Mercutio
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Sep-22-13, 10:41 PM (EST)
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3. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #2
 
   LAST EDITED ON Sep-22-13 AT 10:52 PM (EDT)
 
Ringo has done "one guy and multiple ladies" more than just in his Kildar stuff (although I think Kildar could be redeemed if he had the balls to insist on his original vision for the ending of it) and it's always been... ugly and disturbing. I reached for him as an example because he's a commercially successful author who has decided to piss in this particular pool more than once. I could have used others, I guess.

-Merc
Keep Rat

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Gryphonadmin
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4. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #1
 
   >I've read... a lot of bad harem stories.

I think the main problem is that the increase in complexity (for the characters themselves, let alone the person who has to manage describing what they're doing) isn't linear. Dealing with three characters in a relationship isn't twice as hard as two, it's more like nine times as hard. With four it'd be sixteen. Gods help you if you ever have to go past that, it probably turns into a logarithmic progression at that point. In Zeta Cygni, polygamy is legal, but any combination of more than four people has to go before a review board before adding anybody else to make sure everybody involved can actually deal with that action.*

--G.
* That second part is probably a joke. I hope it is, anyway.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
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Mercutio
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Sep-22-13, 11:25 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #4
 
   >I think the main problem is that the increase in complexity (for the
>characters themselves, let alone the person who has to manage describing
>what they're doing) isn't linear.

The main problem if you're actually trying to treat the subject with the respect it deserves, anyway. If you view a harem of hard-bodied exotic women as a kind of reward you give a male character just for being awesome, or as a way to titillate your audience, it suddenly gets so much easier! :)

>That second part is probably a joke. I hope it is, anyway.

If I were to put my overthinking cap on, I would imagine that rather than a formal review board, social services keeps a very close eye on any polygamous arrangement that goes above four and seems to have a very, very lopsided gender ratio, in order to keep a lid on religious whackjobs or to let the IPO know that they think they've got a sentient trafficking organization on their hands.

(I think literally every CSI series, as well as NCIS, did some kind of 'using marriage laws to facilitate human trafficking' episode. Probably all of the Law and Orders, too. A bit too dark for CSI: New Avalon, tho.)

-Merc
Keep Rat
"Iím still not completely sold on there being more than one mountain. Itís possible that the mountain apologists built a single mountain in order to prove their skewed world view."


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Gryphonadmin
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6. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #5
 
   LAST EDITED ON Sep-22-13 AT 11:45 PM (EDT)
 
>If I were to put my overthinking cap on,

... it comes off? :)

>I would imagine that rather
>than a formal review board, social services keeps a very close eye on
>any polygamous arrangement that goes above four and seems to have a
>very, very lopsided gender ratio, in order to keep a lid on religious
>whackjobs or to let the IPO know that they think they've got a
>sentient trafficking organization on their hands.

You're probably right about that part, though.

Mind you, there are almost certainly species for which that kind of thing is the norm, but they tend to be sort of more... eusocial than anything else. For lifeforms with more numerically limited reproductive biology, one expects it's a very delicate politico-legal balancing act between keeping people from getting hurt and not screwing with the lives they want. Politico-legal systems are not historically, um, gifted in this regard? But since that's exactly the sort of thing I don't want to spend a lot of time on, I prefer to believe that the Republic of Zeta Cygni's gotten pretty good at it. For one thing, the legal machinery of the republic is capable of doing a lot more reasoned, measured case-by-case consideration of such matters than real life's logistically obligatory lowest-common-denominator approach.

The "review board" thing is a common Avalonian joke, though. I thought of it here because it's probably going to get made in one of the conversations in TbS3.

--G.
"Oh, so, we're still in the clear, then."
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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The Traitor
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7. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #6
 
   I think we can take that as read. New Avalon's always seemed to run on the Coulson approach to bureaucracy, rather than the Pointy-Haired Boss one. The New Avalon Civil Service will get you exactly what you need exactly when you need it; it may not be what you originally wanted, but once you start using it, you'll end up wondering why you didn't. I used to wonder how it was all paid for, but then I remembered that not only do a lot of rich Wedge Rats live there, they're pretty universally civic-minded, so would probably be okay with paying their taxes and not go through elaborate shell games of creative accountancy. That and the NAPD fraud squad's got a boatload of teeps in it.

---
"Yeah, I'm definitely going to hell/But I'll have all the best stories to tell" -- Frank Turner, The Ballad of Me and My Friends


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Peter Eng
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9. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #7
 
   LAST EDITED ON Sep-23-13 AT 12:50 PM (EDT)
 
>I used to wonder how it was all paid for, but then I
>remembered that not only do a lot of rich Wedge Rats live there,
>they're pretty universally civic-minded, so would probably be okay
>with paying their taxes and not go through elaborate shell games of
>creative accountancy.
>

Considering that some of them probably have wealth beyond reason, I could see a Wedge Rat going through elaborate shell games of creative accountancy to increase his or her taxable income one year, either something needs funding, or just as a joke.

Peter Eng
--
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The Traitor
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10. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #9
 
   After one of them suggested a tax wheeze that involved actually paying the government of New Avalon five times the total sum saved to set up a bursary in the College of Chartered Accountancy, most of the high-ranking members of that august body had to have a sit down. And a cry.

---
"Yeah, I'm definitely going to hell/But I'll have all the best stories to tell" -- Frank Turner, The Ballad of Me and My Friends


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zwol
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8. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON Sep-23-13 AT 09:48 AM (EDT)
 
>I think the main problem is that the increase in complexity (for the
>characters themselves, let alone the person who has to manage
>describing what they're doing) isn't linear. Dealing with three
>characters in a relationship isn't twice as hard as two, it's more
>like nine times as hard.

Yah, seriously.

I was actually in a polyamorous relationship for a while, and the thing that makes this even worse is, in real life nice tidy trios and foursomes are quite rare. What tends to happen is chains. Alice is dating Bob and Betsy, each of whom is dating two or three other people, and each of those people is dating a few more people, and so on; there are probably some loops back in there, but it's not unlikely that Alice hasn't even met all of the people at more than two removes from her -- but they can all potentially screw up her plans for the week.

It is very like the old joke about how green soldiers talk strategy but old soldiers talk logistics.


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Gryphonadmin
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11. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #8
 
   >I was actually in a polyamorous relationship for a while, and the
>thing that makes this even worse is, in real life nice tidy trios and
>foursomes are quite rare.

On the other hand, situations where not everybody is necessarily into everybody else probably both complicate and simplify matters to a certain extent. 'Cause it's true, I've known people who were into that sort of thing, and their networks tended to be a bit more distributed. (A woman whose husband's girlfriend is not also her girlfriend, but from whom that other branch is not a secret; and such-like.)

We haven't really seen that happen in any of the really prominent plural relationships in the Symphonies so far, that I can recall off the top of my head (with the obvious and special exemption of Azalynn). They tend to be reasonably closed units, like "conventional" relationships with an extra person in them. This is not as a result of any particular conscious agenda on my part, I should note, but it does seem to be how such matters have unfolded for me thus far.

--G.
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Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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zwol
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14. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #11
 
   To be clear, I wasn't criticizing the plural relationships in SoS; they all seem (to me) like "what the characters would do". (Except that the Juri/Miki/Kaitlyn thing kinda came out of left field for me, but I haven't seen most of RGU so I don't have a solid sense of Juri in particular. It didn't seem out of character, just unexpected, if that makes sense?)

In real life I suspect the prevalence of long chains is tied to the lack of general social acceptance for polyfidelity, which pushes the people who are into that sort of thing into a subculture. So you, say, meet someone on an online dating site who is into that, decide to give it a try, they introduce you to their friends, and now you are socializing with lots of people who are also into that. (This is approximately what happened to me.) If it were considered more normal, it might be more likely to be something that Alice and Bob and Carol decide to do just the three of them.


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Gryphonadmin
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15. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #14
 
   >To be clear, I wasn't criticizing the plural relationships in SoS;
>they all seem (to me) like "what the characters would do".

Didn't think you were; to be honest, probably wouldn't have cared if you had. :)

>(Except
>that the Juri/Miki/Kaitlyn thing kinda came out of left field for me,
>but I haven't seen most of RGU so I don't have a solid sense of Juri
>in particular. It didn't seem out of character, just
>unexpected, if that makes sense?)

Well, it was unexpected to them, too, but there is actually a semi-canonical basis for it. There are several illustrations in the official RGU artworks showing Juri being uncharacteristically affectionate with Miki, including at least one where she's outright vamping him and he's sort of going "... help? I think?" It was that one that more or less inspired the schnapps scene. :)

>In real life I suspect the prevalence of long chains is tied to the
>lack of general social acceptance for polyfidelity, which pushes the
>people who are into that sort of thing into a subculture.

True, and... well, I'm not sure if it's not something people in UF's 25th century have to deal with as much, or if it's just not something the central Symphony characters give much of a damn about. Probably some ratio of both. We're much more likely to see non-closed structures (as it were) because of a lack of fully mutual inclination, and possibly because of circumstances that militate against fully meshed lifepaths, than because of social anxieties.

Come to think of it, there is an example of that sort of thing in the later Symphonies: Liza Shustal's male and female lovers, while friendly, have no particular interest in each other, and don't live anywhere near each other, so Liza's generally going to be either with one of them or the other, rarely both at once (and never intimately).

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
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Sep-24-13, 05:02 PM (EST)
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16. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #15
 
  
>Well, it was unexpected to them, too, but there is actually a
>semi-canonical basis for it. There are several illustrations in the
>official RGU artworks showing Juri being uncharacteristically
>affectionate with Miki, including at least one where she's outright
>vamping him and he's sort of going "... help? I think?" It was that
>one that more or less inspired the schnapps scene. :)

Back when I lived, ate, and slept Utena fandom, the standing joke there was that Miki was ALMOST a girl anyway, so that made it okay for Juri. :)

... in hindsight, that's rather demeaning to both of them, but it was considered a funny thing to say at the time. And Miki's voice actress is just that... a voice actress.

>>In real life I suspect the prevalence of long chains is tied to the
>>lack of general social acceptance for polyfidelity, which pushes the
>>people who are into that sort of thing into a subculture.
>
>True, and... well, I'm not sure if it's not something people in UF's
>25th century have to deal with as much, or if it's just not something
>the central Symphony characters give much of a damn about.

They have to deal with it in at least some places on Earth. I think? I seem to recall Kaitlyn telling someone else at one point that while same-sex marriages were allowed in Zeta Cygni, they weren't allowed in the United States part of the EA at least. If the state isn't even okay with your parts not matching up, there probably isn't widespread societal acceptance of polyfidelity either.

The Doylist explanation, of course, is that twelve years ago the production team had no clue about how the Culture Wars were going to play out in the near future, let alone after four hundred years. The Watsonian explanation probably involves one of the numerous times that UF-America had an ugly, repressive authoritarian episode, resulting in rollbacks of rights.

(Sometimes when I go back through the parts of UF and the Featured Documents that deal explicitly with history and politics, mostly Redneck's stuff, I am left with the distinct impression that everyone SANE bailed out of Earth and headed for the colonies the second it was viable, leaving the homeworld to stew in it's own crazy juice and periodically immolate itself.)

-Merc
Keep Rat

"Step 1: Write down the names of everyone you know. Step 2: Rearrange the letters. Step 3: This will reveal a great secret of time."


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Mercutio
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Sep-24-13, 05:50 AM (EST)
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13. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #8
 
  
>What tends to happen is chains.

In the vein of this, I submit without comment.

-Merc
Keep Rat

"The government makes no secret that they can control the weather, and earthquakes, and monitor thoughts and activities. Thatís the stuff a big government is supposed to do! Obviously, you have never read the Constitution!"


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DaemeonX
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12. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #0
 
   When I read through that part I though it was incredibly awesome of Corwin to be that accepting of the practices of Korra's tribe. Then again, if I had the avatar as my god parent in my formative years, I would be keen on learning about their culture and taking in their beliefs.

Was Corwin adopted into the water tribe? I seem to remember reading that somewhere, but I advance in years and my memory isn't my strong suit anymore.

DaemeonX

"Never memorize anything that you can look up."

~Albert Einstein


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Gryphonadmin
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17. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #12
 
   Just noticed that I'd failed to answer this:

>Was Corwin adopted into the water tribe? I seem to remember reading
>that somewhere, but I advance in years and my memory isn't my strong
>suit anymore.

Not formally, but his was a fairly familiar presence around Senna and parts of Nanisivik (the Southern Water Tribe capital city) as a boy; before the Great Interruption he was usually there for a week or two (not contiguous) per year, long enough and often enough that Korra's neighbors got to know him. That's where he knows Karana from (as seen in the changing room scene in Past Is Prologue).

--G.
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DaemeonX
Member since Aug-3-08
54 posts
Nov-19-13, 02:37 AM (EST)
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18. "RE: S5M6: Of Culture and Timing"
In response to message #17
 
   >Just noticed that I'd failed to answer this:
>
>>Was Corwin adopted into the water tribe? I seem to remember reading
>>that somewhere, but I advance in years and my memory isn't my strong
>>suit anymore.
>
>Not formally, but his was a fairly familiar presence around Senna and
>parts of Nanisivik (the Southern Water Tribe capital city) as a boy;
>before the Great Interruption he was usually there for a week or two
>(not contiguous) per year, long enough and often enough that Korra's
>neighbors got to know him. That's where he knows Karana from (as seen
>in the changing room scene in Past Is Prologue).

I had to go through the posts again to figure out where I was coming from. I find it ungracious of others when they find fault in people, or characters as this case might be, who are genuinely trying to fit another culture into their life. I really enjoy that Corwin takes cultures and entwines them with his own to create something new.

I understand that if a person takes from another culture, just taking the good stuff, but not the actual work behind it, that it's a horrible thing to do. When one learns, grows and start to love another culture it's a wonderful thing that should be praised.

DaemeonX

"Never memorize anything that you can look up."

~Albert Einstein


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