So a week or so ago when I was on the east coast, in a moment of extreme weakness, I went to see the Avengers exhibit at Times Square. It was awesome, I somehow charmed a really sweet employee — ahem, operative — into giving me their rad as hell SHIELD beret, I bought Ellen like sixteen souvenirs (okay, two) — but that is not what I’m here about. (Ask me about the Cap t-shirt I got. Please. Oh my god. Ask me.)
What I’m here about is, unsurprisingly, the Captain America portion of exhibit.
The experience is immersive, all set up so you feel like you’re in SHIELD archives or the like. The Cap section includes the VitaRay (complete with a cameo by the salt stains from, you guessed it, Chris Evans’ back sweat), the rescuing-Bucky leather jacket, some seriously exclusive trading cards I Coulson’d all over, the Avengers uniform, and, endearingly, a section where you can test your strength against Steve’s. There’s also a little portion by the VitaRay that explains the changes Steve’s brain went through after they administered the serum. Being the massive bag of science trash that I am, this is where I spent most of my time.
The info graphic basically told me what we already know: that the serum enhances everything you had going for you before. So Steve’s brain is smarter and faster, the neurons have a longer life span, the hippocampus — that’s your memory storage — is nice and healthy; whatever. But then they said that the part of Steve’s brain that increased the most in mass and synaptogenesis was the amygdala. And I promptly lost all control over my feelings.
Cut bc this is about to get really gnarly. It’s science time, kiddos.
So @TheCapitolPN tweeted this
which was promptly deleted. (G-Bb-A-D are the notes to Rue’s whistle.)
But if you had clicked inspect element before it was deleted
"You silence our voices, but we are still heard."
HOW COOL IS THIS MARKETING?!?! Like the rebels are hacking into the capitol’s twitter!!!!
“The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.” -Natalie Portman (x)
When people dismiss concerns about diverse representation (the “best” examples in prominent media often still being less diverse than what should statistically be average) with language like “we’re not trying to cater to [a particular demographic]”, they’re revealing the fundamental truth that white heteronormative male-dominated stories are not something that “just happens”, they are not something that happens because “that’s how the story goes”, they are not the result of “hiring the best actors” or “giving the audience what they want”… or at least, not the whole audience.
The people who make these statements are in the business of serving up stories, and they make choices about what stories to serve and to whom they will be served.
They might not think about the fact that they’re catering to a select audience to begin with, but as soon as you propose that they shift their focus, this is the kind of language they find that best describes how they see such a shift.
As if anyone could really forget the most quoted line in “The Avengers” — “I’ve got red in my ledger; I’d like to wipe it out” — it helps to have that line fresh in your mind when deconstructing what Widow does in the final act of what’s billed as a Captain America movie. Black Widow doesn’t wipe out the red in her ledger. No, she blasts her ledger out to the world, like it was the grisliest email forward of all time. We know from her heart to heart with Hawkeye that the shame she feels about what she’s done is real, and she hesitates when she realizes that taking down the bad guys means revealing her secrets. But she does it anyway, because she’s not just a spy anymore; she’s a super hero, and she makes a super hero’s sacrifice. (x)
As much as people try to make Bucky a complete woobie post Zola torture, he’s NOT. Yes he’s messed up, but in his defense he’s had a LOT going on in his life. When it comes to actual fighting, you NEVER see him flinch, not before his capture (in the deleted scenes) and not after during all the Howling Commando missions. The closest you might get is when he’s pinned down and out of ammo and gives a facial expression that pretty much is steeling himself to be killed, but short of that Bucky is a natural soldier. He’s tough, he’s stubborn and he’s smart and there’s never any indication that he was second in command simply because he was Steve’s friend. Even in the deleted scenes he was taking leadership roles. Bucky has PTSD, there’s no doubt about that, but that doesn’t mean he’s nonfunctioning.
That’s why I take so much issue with everyone woobifying him after his stint as the Winter Soldier. Bucky has ALWAYS been resilient. He’s always clawed his way back from the brink. Yes, he could probably use a warm meal and a hug, but he doesn’t WANT that. If he did he would have tracked down Steve who he KNEW could give him answers. Bucky tends to crawl off and lick his wounds on his own. It’s a trait people tend to ignore that he’s a personality type that is so invested in taking care of people, he tends to resist being taken care of himself.
I’ve said many, many times that my favorite thing about tamorapierce's “Circle of Magic” universe is the fact that these four isolated children have magic quite unsuited to their stations. Class is the barrier that seems most prevalent in their world (because sexism is incredibly limited, given how many women of power we see as judges, caravan leaders, dedicates, rulers, etc.) and here we’re shown a street rat, who has no property or gardens, being gifted with plant magic. The noble who would never weave her own cloth is a stitch witch. The Traders are known for trading, not creating – and the only magic they appreciate is weather-magic to promote successful travels, but the Trader-girl has the ability to magically metal-smith. Meanwhile the merchant girl, whose family seems to value everything on its marketability, has power with weather. Everything is out of place, and in losing their backgrounds (two are orphaned, one is abandoned, one is rescued from a short life of prison labor) they are able to find who they truly are. This is my favorite kind of self-discovery book – where the possibilities are endless, once the door is opened to them.
However, let’s take a look at what could’ve been. I love the idea of switching Sandry’s and Briar’s magic, and Tris’s and Daja’s. Just to see what could have happened.
What if Daja had been the weather mage? She would live with the Traders training as a mimander, possibly saving her family from the storm that sank Third Ship Kisubo. The Kisubo clan could have become one of the most powerful among Traders, if Daja had born Tris’s magic. I can see her being enchanted with Runog’s Fire, I could see the electricity running through her veins making her hot with impatience in dealing with kaqs, and her love of her family making her occasionally ruthless when dealing with war magic and the pirates who raid the seas.
Nobles shouldn’t sew, certainly, but what if Sandry had Briar’s plant magic? It wouldn’t have saved her parents, but maybe she would’ve shown an affinity for her gardener-cousin, the empress of Namorn. Would Sandry have lived her life preferring her ties to Namorn rather than Emelan? Would she have submitted to her cousin’s rules of court life, and been a pawn in the Narmornese court, or would Sandry’s stubbornness manifested in ways that were dangerous to her? Would anyone have been able to train her?
Tris is cast aside because she offers nothing to her merchant family. But what would they think of a girl who was drawn to metal smithing, who could manufacture trinkets or jewelry or metal toys that could be sold throughout the Pebbled Sea? Tris would still have her intellectual mind… I see her making clockwork toys that dazzle the world, bringing in plenty of money for House Chandler. Would Tris be a different person, were she not denied love? Would her temper be the same without lightning being born in her hair?
And Briar… he lost his family when he was young, and would still likely have a life of crime. But I imagine snatching purses and running away from the law enforcers would be easier if you can tangle people up in their own threads. And a belt-purse made of cloth could easily develop magical holes allowing a coin or two or more to gradually slip out. There are plenty of things a clever, street-smart thread mage could conjure. Perhaps he would’ve gotten away with more, with no pesky plants in nobles’ gardens holding onto him. Who would he have become without Rosethorn to smooth out his sharp edges? (and who might Rosethorn have become – or remained – without Briar under her wing?) And what about the fact that Sandry can weave pure magic? If Briar had that, would he have been able to deal with magical locks and spells in ways no other thief could?
I wonder if this mismatched magic and lifestyle was all deliberate decision-making on Tammy’s part, or if things just fell into place on their own when she was creating it. I love this series because it makes me think and wonder so very much. My heart belonged to Tortall first, like many Pierce fans, but the Circleverse is where I’d rather live.
Okay but the thing that really gets me about the Cap/Commandos Smithsonian exhibit is that it’s so telling about how alienated Steve is in the present day, and just how thoroughly he’s lost Bucky - not just to time, but to history and nationalism and the specter of “Captain America” that has consumed Steve’s existence since 1943.
Page 1 of 43