If I loved Bucky Barnes any more I’d be Steve Rogers
As you might imagine, I walked into Captain America 2 ready to get my Soviet Russia on. The Winter Soldier run is one of my favorites in—well, in any comic, really, and from what I’d seen in the trailers and whatnot, it looked like we were going to get a heaping dose of what makes that series so special and so sobering: the bloodstained underbelly of Soviet international politics, a glimpse at the way men and women were fed into the meat grinder of the State, pulped for the greater glory of their nation. In Bucky we’d see a drafted soldier kidnapped, brainwashed, and streamlined into the perfect machine. Not an ideal Soviet man, far from it; but a tool, utilitarian and dispassionate, with the five-pointed martial star on his shoulder; the awful triumph of the State over so-called human frailty.
And we did, we got all of that—insofar that you can’t have a Winter Soldier without those things. But as I watched, it became increasingly clear that this movie wasn’t looking to talk about the Soviet Union. There is a reason Bucky only speaks Russian once in the entire film. There’s a reason he’s never addressed in it. There’s a reason his code name is drawn from an investigation into one of the ugliest chapters of American history. And there is a reason that the movie takes this snarling, mechanized, indiscriminate killing machine and explicitly sets him up as Captain America’s other half.
I’ve seen some reviews going after the film for pulling its punches, of holding up the Greatest Generation as America’s past, and a polluted security branch as its future, absolving it of responsibility for its actions in both cases. It’s HYDRA now and “sacrifices for freedom” then; why aren’t we interrogating ourselves a little harder?
My answer to that is: we did, and the movie is named after what we found.
The Winter Soldier is concerned with security and international supremacy, and the moral compromises America has made (and continues to make) in pursuit of both. It draws a straight line from WWII America to the modern day, where “we did some things we weren’t proud of” becomes drone warfare and Big Brother. Steve is at one end of this timeline, Nick Fury at the other. There’s a chasm of about fifty years between the two points. That’s where the Winter Soldier steps in.
This film is haunted by an American war, yes. But not the one Steve fought in. The Cold War was “a battle for the soul of mankind”, waged across millions of hearts and minds, and it’s a patched-over burn in the American psyche, barely healed and still tender to the touch. We emerged on the other side of forty-four years as the world’s one and only superpower. And it fucking cost us.
McCarthyism saw Americans turning on one another, fueled by snarling, indiscriminate paranoia. Operation Paperclip recruited Nazi scientists to keep German technology out of Soviet hands. Vietnam, with its thousands dead, was fought to keep the dominoes of Communism from falling across Asia. America, augmented by an unimaginable weapon and ruthlessly militarized, spied, ordered assassinations, irradiated its own children, and dragged the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust. All for the sake of security.
The Winter Soldier is that America.
Inhuman, bionic, unfeeling, unthinking, the perfect weapon: a creature of progress, powered by pure ideology. The mind wipes? Decades of propaganda in its purest, most undiluted form, administered directly to the brain. The arm? I know a nuclear metaphor when I see one.
If Cap is the potential of America, what we should never stop striving for, the Winter Soldier is what became of us when we fell desperately short. He is what we did to ourselves.
In many ways this film is a ghost story, and like all good ghost stories, it holds up the tragedy of our mistakes and begs us not to repeat them. What SHIELD proposes—Project Insight—is assured destruction, a level of control over a population not exercised since we were staring Russia down over a launch pad. And so the Winter Soldier appears, the long cold shadow of America’s past, and crashes into the hope for its future with the ring of a metal fist against a shield.
Cap can’t destroy him, what’s done is done. Bucky can’t be unwounded, or given back his stolen time; the blood on his hands won’t be scrubbed out. But they can walk slowly together, one helping the other stand.
Steve can’t progress without Bucky, just as, the film seems to say, America itself is doomed to fester unless it looks to its past and acknowledges what it has done; the things it has ground into dust in the name of a higher cause. In the MCU, the only way Captain America’s country will move forward is if it swears to never, ever go back.
Leave it to Emily to knock this meta out of the park. <3
hey tumblr let’s play a fun game
it’s called “think of all the fictional characters who will never be older than you.”
Anonymous asked: What are your feelings on the marlovian theory? (Or Shakespeare and Marlowe in general)
Oh man I am so glad they let you do a Read More cut on asks now, because this is going to be long.
Short answer: There are overwhelming masses of evidence to support that Shakespeare did, in fact, write the plays attributed to him (though some of the works in the canon are coauthored, which wasn’t an uncommon practice at the time; none of them, however, were coauthored by Marlowe). Marlowe not dying in Deptford in May 1593 is an interesting story hook, but it’s just that: a story hook. Did Marlowe influence Shakespeare? Oh yeah — heck, Shakespeare’s still tossing off not-so-oblique references to the guy in As You Like It, which was probably written six years after Marlowe’s death. Did they know each other? It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume so — Shakespeare might not have hung out with Marlowe’s University Wits, but the theatre scene in late Elizabethan London wasn’t that big.
Do I ship it? LIKE BURNING, although I acknowledge that this is me tinhatting and not, you know, actual historical fact. But Kit Marlowe’s a fascinating enough man in his own right without attributing Shakespeare’s work to him.
So let’s look at the evidence, shall we? (As I’m writing this, I want to acknowledge the ginormous debt I owe to James Shapiro’s Contested Will, though Shapiro mostly focuses on the Baconian and Oxfordian claims in that book — I highly recommend giving it a read.)
Anonymous asked: What do you think of erenjean?
I am fond of Erejean! (Gah, I am never sure whether or not to capitalize these portmanteaus.) What can I say, I have a thing for teenage idiots, especially teenage idiots who spend most of their time bickering and insulting each other but also have a slowly-growing mutual respect. And for all the shit they give each other — and for all that Eren will never stop calling Jean “horseface” and Jean’s favorite appellation for Eren will never stop being “that crazy asshole” — they’ve also grown to trust each other a lot more. It’s trust with consternation, sure, but at the end of the day Jean’s not wiping his faith in humanity off on Eren’s back; he’s really, really hoping that Eren is what humanity needs. And Eren knows what Jean’s offering, and he does want to make good on it. They’re never going to be BFFs, but they’ve come a long way, and it’s fun to watch that happen.
And frankly, picturing the two of them doing the dance of whoa I want to kiss him and oh my god what I want to kiss HIM? makes me laugh my ass off. AWKWARD BOYS. NEVER CHANGE. Seriously, I can never resist the call of hilariterrible makeouts where neither party can quite look each other in the eye the next day. (Which the two of them can’t. Because it is so awkward. Heck, Jean’s probably on edge to the point where he blurts out something like NOT KISSING EREN when someone asks him what’s on his mind. Because Jean is a dumb.)
…erp, unless this was a request for the sex headcanon meme, in which case I’LL GET ON THAT IN JUST A MINUTE.
This is what anime sounds like to our parents
ITS THE THING
HEL P I CANT BRETAHE
OMFG I CANT-I CANT-SHIT
This joke is actually based on a really old story from the Edo period. I’ve seen a couple different versions, but it comes down to “Parents have a kid, can’t decide what to name their kid, they go ask the local monk for advice, the monk keeps giving them suggestions, and they take them all.”
Ok. I’m tired of the typical vampire, werewolf and fairy.I’m also tired of the occidental-centrism in mythology. Hence, this list.
I tried to included as many cultural variants as I could find and think of. (Unfortunately, I was restricted by language. Some Russian creatures looked very interesting but I don’t speak Russian…) Please, add creatures from your culture when reblogguing (if not already present). It took me a while to gather all those sites but I know it could be more expansive. I intend on periodically editing this list.
Of note: I did not include specific legendary creatures (Merlin, Pegasus, ect), gods/goddesses/deities and heroes.
The Ancient Dragon (Egypt, Babylon and Sumer)
Of the Cockatrice (creature with the body of a dragon)
Alphabetical List of Dragons Across Myths (Great way to start)
- Little creatures (without wings)
- Creatures with wings (except dragons)
Bendith Y Mamau (Welsh fairies)
Peri (Persian fairies)
Yü Nü (Chinese fairies)
Garuda (Bird-like creature in Hindu and Buddhist myths)
Bean Nighe (a Scottish fairy; the equivalent of a banshee in Celtic mythology)
- Spirited Creatures
Jinn (Genies in Arabic folklore)
Oni (demons in Japanese folklore)
Demons in the Americas (list)
European Demons (list)
Middle-East and Asia Demons (list)
Judeo-Christian Demons (list)
Mahaha (a demon in Inuit mythology)
Flying Head (a demon in Iroquois mythology)
Toyol (a dead baby ghost in Malay folklore)
Yuki-onna (a ghost in Japanese folklore)
The Pontianak (a ghost in Malay mythology)
Funayurei (a ghost in Japanese folklore)
Zagaz (ghosts in Moroccan folklore)
- Horse-like mythical creatures
The Kelpie (Could have also fitted in the sea creatures category)
Hippocamps (sea horses in Greek mythology)
Horse-like creatures (a list)
Ceffyl Dwfr (fairy-like water horse creatures in Cymric mythology)
- Undead creatures
Asanbosam and Sasabonsam (Vampires from West Africa)
- Shape-shifters and half-human creatures (except mermaids)
Satyrs (half-man, half-goat)
Sirens in Greek Mythology (half-woman and half-bird creatures)
The Kumiho (half fox and half woman creatures)
Scorpion Men (warriors from Babylonian mythology)
Domovoi (a shape-shifter in Russian folklore)
Aatxe (Basque mythology; red bull that can shift in a human)
Yech (Native American folklore)
Ijiraat (shapeshifters in Inuit mythology)
- Sea creatures
The Kraken (a sea monster)
Nuckelavee (a Scottish elf who mainly lives in the sea)
Lamiak (sea nymphs in Basque mythology)
Bunyip (sea monster in Aboriginal mythology)
Apkallu/abgal (Sumerian mermen)
The Encantado (water spirits in Ancient Amazon River mythology)
Zin (water spirit in Nigerian folklore)
Qallupilluk (sea creatures in Inuit mythology)
- Monsters That Don’t Fit in Any Other Category
Myrmidons (ant warriors)
Giants: The Mystery and the Myth (50 min long documentary)
Inupasugjuk (giants in Inuit mythology)
Fomorians (an Irish divine race of giants)
The Orthus (two-headed serpent-tailed dog)
Rakshasa (humanoids in Hindu and Buddhist mythology)
Yakshas (warriors in Hindu mythology)
Taqriaqsuit (“Shadow people” in Inuit mythology)
- References on Folklore and Mythology Across the Globe
- References on writing a myth or mythical creatures
(I have stumbled upon web sites that believed some of these mythical creatures exist today… Especially dragons, in fact. I just had to share the love and scepticism.)
Fearsome Critters - creatures of American frontier lore
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS LIST