the sea and the mirror
20 most recent entries

Date:2014-01-09 04:39
Subject:la noire update
Security:Public

spoilers for up to the beginning of the White Shoe Slaying spoilersCollapse ) This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/363179.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2014-01-07 18:02
Subject:review: LA Noire, first 30% of the game
Security:Public

That is to say, I just got through the “Golden Butterfly” case and I definitely do not want spoilers. But I also want to comment on the game.

[warning: spoilers from how far I’ve gotten below]

1) Can’t Win for Losing: Noir Narrative and Themes

At first I thought the game was merely using the setting rather than the deeper themes of hardboiled detective novels and film noir. The cases as a patrol officer and in the traffic division seemed pretty clear cut. There are the occasional clues which show you short backstory clips that lead you to suspect that Cole, the lead character, has a disturbing past he’s hiding from (?) though he’s trying to be a Good Cop. So I thought we’d get a combo of classic, solvable Golden Age Detective Novel type mysteries for individual cases combined with a background arc that was Noir. But then I hit the Homicide division and things got nice and Noir.

There’s been two cases so far where I know for damn sure none of the suspects available are guilty of the crime and I’ve had to choose the lesser evil, whether for myself or for the suspects. The feeling of the ground slipping out from under my feet as the clear cut nature of the earlier cases went away and I could not find the right man or woman the first time was quite good and unsettling after the Patrol and Traffic cases. Then another case came up that just reinforced all those same bad feelings — I actually steered Cole to be more hard-nosed than the game needed him to be at one point.

The game wanted me to charge a pedophile with circumstantial evidence rather than charge a hardworking dad who had tons of physical evidence against him. But I was all… damn, this is Noir. And also I am playing an LAPD officer, I might as well do the realistic thing. So I charged the dad and left his daughter an orphan. But the story played a scene where my superior reacts as if I went for the circumstantial charge against the pedophile.

Which was weird, but part of telling a novelistic story is that they need Cole’s arc to be in certain places at certain times and I deliberately ignored the game’s prompting to charge the pedophile, so…

Still, I was pleased by how they created the sensation of corruption and confusion as I moved into Homicide cases and they commenced turning the Film Noir themes up.

2) Comfortable Corruption: Gender and Victimization

The game is comfortable with certain kinds of corruption. Namely, violence against women and girls. It’s supposed to be very dark and disturbing, but the way they hammer on it just makes me think that it’s this way because it’s sufficiently tough and gritty while also being very distant from the experience of male game creators and the presumed male gamer.

The thing is, there was a shitton more stuff going on in 1940s LA. But the game is really politically ignorant in a lot of ways — corruption is this background radiation whose exact dynamics aren’t really explored and all we see are the cases where it allows violence/abuse of women.

Now, it’s not like that’s not both an element of modern police procedurals and hardboiled novels/film noir. But I was thinking about all the other kinds of interesting crimes and the story kept dragging itself back to Black Dahlia-esque stuff.

In its favor, however, it doesn’t visually romanticze violence against women the way police procedurals do — women’s bodies are not posed as gorgeous objects of art. Violence is actually violent and its results are actually gruesome. The Homicide victims in the two cases I’ve had so far are ordinary 40something women instead of, say, sexualized 20somethings, and the casting of women in various roles tends more toward interesting/lived in faces rather than romanticized perfection.

It would be better if we ran into ANY WOMEN AT ALL engaged in the kind of active roles that women did indeed have during the period, though. There were even women on the LAPD. Not in particularly awesome roles, but Cole should run into one and have to respond to her as a colleague. Certainly on the cases where there’s young female victims one of the female officers could realistically be brought in. There were rare women in the producing side of film-making too, but the story seems to think women could only be starlets. The story doesn’t understand women were in the military and war zones and etc either. They had a lot of opportunities they could have taken to show that kind of thing if only they’d bothered themselves. It would have really meant something and strengthened what they did with the non-romanticized depictions of violence. But instead women are housewives, mothers, and victims, which takes away from anything positive they might be doing on that front, really.

Apparently they did Legit Research for the gorgeous recreation of 1947 LA. I wish they’d bothered to poke their noses into some of the LAPD archives from the time period or other sources that would have led them to include a broader depiction of women’s involvement in cases based on history rather than sexist stories written during the time period.

3) Rainbow City?: Depicting Multi-racial LA

One of the distinctive things about LA history is how multi-racial it is throughout. You don’t have the traditional black/white binary of other regions dominating. The story makes some gestures in that direction: there are appearances by African American and Mexican American characters. One of the patrol officers we see reoccur is Latino and depicted positively.

But, really, if you want to talk about corruption in a non-SEXY GENDERED VIOLENCE way, steering directly into race and labor relations in LA and how the LAPD was used by Anglo elites to control and coerce labor would be incredibly powerful. Instead of doing that, the story is very timid. There are some Bad People who say openly racist things, but Cole himself is a Decent Guy and, though it’s cool to have a respectfully depicted Latino officer character, he’s not seen very often and his inclusion doen’t bring up any issues about, for example, what it would be like to be a man of color working on the LAPD (hint: NOT FUN, at least not from the stories of African American LAPD officers I’ve read).

The handling of race and the nonexistance of class as a point of discussion both made me think, along with the handling of gender and how corruption is depicted, that the game creators could have benefited from reading some works by historians about the social world and forms of social control at the time.

3) Pounding the Pavement: the Pacing/Play Experience

I loooooooooooove the ruminative nature of the game. It moves along very much like… well, like if you filmed every chapter of a hardboiled detective novel and then made the resulting film noir interactive, basically. The art direction is fucking awesome, even though I’ve had to set the graphics quality lower on my PC so it’ll play smoothly. They walk a nice line between trying to make a world that feels real and making a world that’s cinematic, influenced by the striking visuals of film noir.

There’s several kinds of game-y challenges: interrogations, finding clues, the odd puzzle, shootouts, chases on foot, and racing through the city at the top speeds your vintage automobiles can go. I enjoyed the format, particularly since I can set the game to let me try my hand at certain challenges a few times and then move on to what felt like the “real thing,” the next part of the story, if I kept losing the guy in a car chase or whatever. Since I’m more interested in it as a noir narrative and far less interested in perfecting my skills at shooting with Cole’s .40 caliber, that suited me just fine.

Unlike reviews and promotions for the game suggest, you don’t use body language/expressions to judge if someone is lying, telling the truth, or saying something doubtful during an interrogation. At first you can, because the characters telegraph so much, but after that it is all about making sure you head into an interrogation with your evidence in order so you can use it to pin the suspect’s ass to the wall.

Speaking of pinning/violence: I came in once and found that my superior officer had beaten a suspect, but the game has allowed me to steer Cole (the male character) around that so far. He’s supposed to be very idealistic (so far), which means it’s not really his interest anyway.

For a gaming newbie like me, coming to this game because of my interest in ’40s history and detective novels/films more than anything, the requirements of interactivity and immersion were quite astonishing. I found myself spending about 9 hours playing without realizing how long it had actually been. Furthermore, unlike when I watch TV and film or read a book, my critical thinking wasn’t screaming at me about flaws as much as I played. I was too busy trying to keep up.

Which means I enjoyed a narrative with pretty typical failures re: depictions of women

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/362916.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

2 comments | post a comment



Date:2013-07-02 04:51
Subject:new vid: "bravely, my diligence" [prospera/ariel]
Security:Public



title: “bravely, my diligence"
fandom: The Tempest (2010)
song: THC - "Dip"
pairing: Prospera/Ariel
summary: Bravely, my diligence. Thou shalt be free.

links: || vimeo | youtube | sendspace ||

embeddedCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/362598.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2013-06-25 03:22
Subject:summer vidding update
Security:Public

I'm planning to use what remains of the summer to finish some vids I've had to leave unfinished for far too long. Things are going well so far! I now have a complete draft of the Helen Mirren!Prospera/Ben Whishaw!Ariel shippy fanvid I've wanted to do since forever :DD

You can watch it embedded behind the cutCollapse )

I'm really excited! I started vidding it about a year ago (?) and I just haven’t had the time to work on it until now. But my desire to share dommy sorcerer lady/genderqueer spirit lover vidding fun remained undiminished!

:)

Everything is done pretty much apart from making the end titles, going through and tightening up all the edits/transitions and clips to make sure it’s all smooth, etc. There's some places where I might use a different transition or change clip order idk.

PLEASE give me whatever feedback occurs to you if you have the time to watch and comment!

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/362439.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2013-06-21 00:48
Subject:fic rec: "Invictus" by Ayezur
Security:Public


Back in 2011 I made a post on the DW comm kink_finders where I said that "It seems inevitable that when het fic does those fun H/C power differential tropes--slave fic, prostitution fic, kidnapping and assorted imperilment--that it's the woman who gets stuck in the role of slave, prostitute, kidnapee. I really, really want het where the guy's the one placed in a position of fetishized vulnerability and all that delicious power given to the woman."

People were awesome and I got a lot of recs. If your storykinks align with that, I'd suggest wandering over to take a gander! I'm mentioning it today because recently I found a het slavefic that does exactly what I always wanted to see done with excellent quality over in Rurouni Kenshin fandom. It's a WIP, standing at 9 chapters right now. You can read it here on AO3. I highly rec it! Even if you're not familiar with the manga or the anime, since it's an AU you should be able to enjoy it anyway.

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/362228.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2013-06-04 05:23
Subject:tv: orphan black, tatiana maslany's acting playlists [youtube links]
Security:Public

character spoilersCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/361357.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

1 comment | post a comment



Date:2013-06-02 05:21
Subject:Orphan Black finale in two words
Security:Public

reaction mood spoilerCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/361174.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

2 comments | post a comment



Date:2013-05-26 02:44
Subject:tv: "Orphan Black," 1x09
Security:Public

Penultimate episode!

spoilersCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/360775.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2013-05-23 21:35
Subject:biology is not destiny: the anti-essentialist (anti-sexist, pro-queer) message of Orphan Black
Security:Public

Okay, so we all know what essentialism is, right? In its simplest form, it’s the whole “men are from mars, women are from venus” thing that gets thrown around, saying that (a) there is such a thing as an inherently female or male body (b) all people are either female or male (c) and the biology of their bodies determines their personality/characteristics/abilities. People who like to pretend that women talk more than men because OVARIES or something. Or that a dick makes a person a man and that having one is a ~magical power source~ for channeling the mental energy to do math.

It’s bullshit, basically. The science hasn’t been firmly established at all, and whatever the case, variation between individuals trumps variation between groups. You can’t say “women suck at math ha ha! and men r super good at it because DICK” when there are individual women who are fucking geniuses at it and individual men who cannot balance their checkbooks (if we had checkbooks anymore; do youngsters even remember what those are omg i am old). And you can’t say that women are natural nurturers and men suck at it when there’s women out there who cannot stand the thought of caring for a child and men who love being really involved dads or become kindergarten teachers or… hell, HAVE YOU HEARD OF MR. ROGERS.

Anyway. So there’s that. And there’s essentialism about sexuality, which is connected. Where people put articles in Psychology Today about how there’s a “gay (male)” brain and how it’s similar to the brains of women. Conflating their essentialiized idea of gender with sexuality and saying, OH, if you wanna fuck dudes you must be like a woman! Etc. etc. And the hetero/homo binary itself is essentialist, though that one has a lot of defenders across the board.

And basically this show raises the most gorgeous middle finger to all that shit without even having to get didactic. It just sails the fuck in and says

fuck you, no. Biology is not destiny. Not for any individual, and not even for… [MASSIVE SPOILERS - srsly don’t read before watching, spoilers are important on this show and you want to avoid themCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/360567.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

3 comments | post a comment



Date:2013-05-21 01:41
Subject:FBND Rewatch: Episode 1
Security:Public



"Flower Boy Next Door" is a thoroughly adorable, kind-hearted, genderfucky (there's basically a role reversal in the main pairing, with a sweet and bubbly hero and a serious and angsty heroine) little Kdrama which I fell head over heels in love with a couple months ago. In the past I've talked about problems I have with the standard het Romance tropes -- well, this series beautifully dances around all of them. My Tumblr tag for the show (warning: spoilers at link) has no less than 66 pages of entries! LOL I'm rewatching it and doing meta on the eps now that summer's here and I have the time.

All the episodes are available for legal and free streaming here, if you want to try it out.

ep 1 meta with spoilers for the whole seriesCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/360192.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2013-05-17 03:12
Subject:update & elementary
Security:Public

Two days ago I finished my first year of grad school. It was quite stressful (to say the least) and my attention span has been more comfortable with Tumblr than DW/LJ. But now that the summer is here and my workload's lighter, I'm going to try to engage more over here! Fingers crossed.

The first thing I wanted to do is say how pleased I am with S1 of Elementary. It concluded tonight and pleased and surprised me (as it has always done) in the very best ways. Looking back on the season long character arcs, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Now for some spoiler-y meta (which I'm bringing over from Tumblr TBH)...

spoilersCollapse )

ETA: graphicsCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/360131.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

2 comments | post a comment



Date:2013-04-01 03:51
Subject:years before i came to grad school
Security:Public

[personal profile] blacksquirrel and I had a conversation where she jokingly referred to a popular article in Queer Theory where the author backs up an argument with references to an episode of South Park with a "Pakistani Leather Man" character. It was memorable and it kind of represented the mysterious/strange qualities of academia to me.

Reader, I have come across that article! I never thought I'd see the day. But here I sit, doing coursework at 4AM, mere weeks from the end of my second semester of grad school, exhausted as heck (honestly: the chair of our department calls the course requirements of our first year "heavy lifting"; another prof bluntly says it's "hazing") and looking forward to the summer like you wouldn't believe, working my way through "Mapping US Homonormativities" and there on page 79 is the section title "South Park and the Pakistani Leather Man."

Followed by an adorable little defense: "South Park itself. . . . [is] perhaps a minor cultural artifact, may appear superfluous, but the implications of its representational praxis and approaches are not. The 'trivial' must be attended to precisely because marking it as such may mask or obfuscate its deeper cultural relevance."

L O L

I have arrived!

My favorite part is when, after a description of the leather man character "being anally penetrated by a gerbil," the author writes "One can open up this analysis to the level of geopolitics as well."

OH HONEY REALLY

REALLY R U SURE

Basically folks on Tumblr who want to claim I read too much into TV shows need to read this article and see what that would really look like lol

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/359896.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

3 comments | post a comment



Date:2012-12-24 19:44
Subject:comments on finishing my first semester as a Ph.D student in history
Security:Public

“[T]here are elders in the field [of history] gleefully announcing the passing of the theory they refer to as the ‘linguistic turn.’ … employing conceptual tools they would renounce in the study of medieval society or modern intellectual history, they chronicle a succession of phases or stages (from the political to the social to the cultural, to language, to the postcolonial and the global) that totalize history’s practices at any point in time. They reduce the theoretical preoccupations of ‘language’ to a simple thematics, it becomes an object of study (in a succession of them) rather than (what it is) an epistemological position… . There has been great celebration recently, in the pages of the American Historical Review and elsewhere, o f the passing of the linguistic turn (a stand-in for theory more broadly) and the restoration of the empirical imperative in contemporary historical work. Sylvia Schafer refers to ‘the sigh of relief’ that has accompanied this commentary. ‘Declaring theoretically informed historical writing to be a certain kind of ‘dead’ not only distances history ever further from modes of thought that have never sat well with its preferred politics of knowledge. It also suggests that no ‘new’ insight can emerge from history’s past.’ … This thematizing of history, its placement in a succession of ever-evolving objects of study… nullifies its epistemological threat and renders it simply out of style, passé.”
— Joan Wallach Scott, “Wishful Thinking,” Perspectives on History, 50:9 December 2012

Finally I’ve read an article that explains things I’ve been finding so frustrating. I have a strong liking for theory; in fact, what I know of it so far energizes everything I do. And I assumed that coming to grad school would mean that I’d get the opportunity to rigorously explore and learn theory as well as traditional historical facts, but honestly… my first semester, I had to fight and claw to get even a bit of it. I went outside my department to a Gender Studies class taught by a Sociologist, which people looked down upon for various reasons.

It's been pretty unpleasant.

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/359522.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

1 comment | post a comment



Date:2012-11-18 21:10
Subject:if you ship M/Bond
Security:Public

You might enjoy this clip Judi Dench did in character. It's ADORBS.

I've made gifs. :)

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/359179.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

2 comments | post a comment



Date:2012-09-30 03:42
Subject:vid: "daughter of the rain and snow"
Security:Public



title: “daughter of the rain and snow”
vidder: mswyrr
song: Florence + the Machine - “Landscape (Demo)”
fandom/character: Revenge (ABC) | Emily Thorne (née Amanda Clarke)
summary: born from dark water / daughter of the rain and snow
vidder’s note: Special thanks to amnisias and greenchestnuts for their help, and to everyone else who gave encouragement & feedback!

embedded playerCollapse )

lyricsCollapse )


youtube || vimeo || sendspace

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/359134.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2012-09-05 11:31
Subject:Elementary 1x01: meta and graphics [major spoilers behind every cut!]
Security:Public

general episode thoughtsCollapse )

this week in canon kink depictionsCollapse )

Male Gaze and Joan WatsonCollapse )

visual symbolismCollapse )

graphics and gifsCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/358473.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

4 comments | post a comment



Date:2012-06-11 02:38
Subject:Mad Men 5x13
Security:Public


you’ve come a long way, baby


moreCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/358074.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2012-06-07 12:34
Subject:"i grew up in a place like this": joan, don, and selling sex
Security:Public

Mad Men 5x11 spoilersCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/357658.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

1 comment | post a comment



Date:2012-05-28 16:37
Subject:Revenge: shippy meta grab bag
Security:Public

I’ve been chatting on various fan forums about the finale, and several topics keep coming up. Below are some of the topics that have been raised and my POV on them.

season 1 spoilersCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/357338.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment



Date:2012-05-27 17:38
Subject:"revenge" fic recs
Security:Public

Emily/AmandaCollapse )

Emily/NolanCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://mswyrr.dreamwidth.org/356899.html. comment count unavailable comment(s) there.

post a comment


browse
my journal
links