The thing about emo (as a musical genre and a cultural phenomenon) is, I think, that it was a response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and the Bush administration’s painful mishandling thereof.

No, I’m serious. My Chemical Romance was formed as a direct result of Gerard Way witnessing the towers fall. Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ (an album that, at least as far as I can tell from having been a teenager in Canada at the time, was seminal in influencing the look and sound of emo) is all about the Bush administration – all the lyrics are about life under a democratic dystopia and many reference current events from the time – and it came out in 2004, halfway through the Bush presidency. A bunch of Linkin Park’s stuff makes reference to it also, especially their album ‘Minutes to Midnight’, where they first started moving out of the nu-metal/rap sound they’d been working with before and into a more mainstream emo-rock sound. That album came out in 2007. All of the really big bands with that kind of sound – and most of the smaller ones with more of a punk/hardcore sound but similar themes – were active in the mainstream from around 2001-2010. Many of them didn’t survive past 2009, and those that did either totally reinvented themselves (Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, MCR for the five minutes it took to produce Danger Days, Linkin Park) or became near-totally irrelevant (Paramore dropped an album sometime in the last two years; did any of you know that? And Green Day haven’t mattered since 21st Century Breakdown, which was released in 2009).

Why? Well, many of you are probably too young to remember this, but the 2001 terror attacks were what really made ‘Islamic terrorism’ a real threat in the minds of most Westerners. We’d never experienced an attack of that scale on American soil, and it was just as the internet was really becoming a mainstay in every house and my generation was getting online. As a result, it was not only a major political event, but it was hugely personal – the coverage was everywhere, in everybody’s home, all the time, and there were a lot of kids being exposed to the coverage in such a way that they often had no good way to process it. I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed the way we live. I’m Canadian and I felt this shit. Before, we could fly to America domestic, without a passport. Now? Half the draconian, ridiculous rules that hold you up at the TSA today were initiated in September and October of 2001. It was the only thing anyone could think of to do – lock down, protect your own. People were scared, on a continental scale.

And to make matters worse, George W. Bush’s government, which had to somehow respond to and take point in the response to this unprecedented event, didn’t seem to have the first foggiest clue what they were doing. This was a government that not only didn’t seem to listen to its people, not only lied blatantly to its people, but did it badly. They made hugely unpopular decisions, including starting a war in the Middle East that dragged in multiple countries and completely failed to achieve its stated goal of catching Osama bin Laden or proving that he had in his control weapons of mass destruction (the whole war was predicated on the fact that these so-called weapons of mass destruction existed, that the Bush administration had good reason to believe that they existed, were under the control of the Taliban, and were going to be used against Western targets, none of which was ever proven to be true).

So, from 2001-2009, the two (TWO) full terms of the Bush presidency, there were a whole lot of people who couldn’t vote (be they under the age of majority, like most of the emo kids I knew, or Canadians unhappily dragged along with the US’ boneheaded foreign policy decisions because we’re allies, also like most of the emo kids I knew) and therefore felt, not only scared of basically the impending end of their world in a way that they hadn’t previously had to feel, and not only angry about being clearly lied to and clumsily manipulated when the truth was obvious to anyone with eyes, but also powerless to do anything to change anything about that. And meanwhile, people kept dying in this pointless war and the president kept trying to hold together the illusion that everything was hunky-dory.

And what was popular with teenagers from about 2001-2009? Yep. Emo.

Emo as a genre was very personal, very focused on the individual (with the exception of the albums I noted above), but lyrically and musically, it fit right with the cultural atmosphere of the time. People were scared of the impending end of their world/their lives? Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade. People were angry about things they felt powerless to change? From Under The Cork Tree and Decemberunderground. Emo captured what kids were feeling about trying to fit into a world that was so clearly fucked up and broken and pretending to be okay, putting on a strong face to Show The Terrorists They Didn’t Win. Emo was about stripping away the mask, exposing the messy, angry, frightened, sad, true underbelly of American society at the time, and exposing hypocrisy – in individuals as much as in politicians. The hatred of ‘preps’ and ‘posers’? Totally not just a My Immortal thing. Emo was about wearing your heart on your sleeve, about it being okay to mourn, to rage, to be afraid for your life beyond this – and to keep moving forward regardless, step by slow step.

So what changed in 2009 that made the phenomenon fade without so much as a whimper? Simple. Hope. The Audacity of Hope, to be exact.

Barack Obama won his presidency largely because young people supported him. Those were the young people who suffered through feeling helpless and powerless under Bush, who wanted things to change but felt they had no chance of making it so. Barack Obama was a chance. One of his first campaign promises was to end the Iraq war, a promise he followed through on. And even if his presidency hasn’t been perfect, it has never been the Bush administration, with the feeling that the will of the people was being entirely and quietly ignored by those in power to further their own agendas.

What I am saying, then, I guess, is that it’s time to buy stocks in Hot Topic, because whatever happens in the upcoming US presidential election, there are a lot of young people who may soon be needing black, white, and red graphic band tees and Manic Panic hair dye.

From someone who was in American high school in 2001, we were also incredibly terrified for at least the early Bush years. We were all pretty sure that the draft could possibly be reinstated and we could get sucked into the war. Some of my friends and I had plans on how best to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Telled out of the draft. We were all absolutely terrified of the prospect.






concept: a TV show with a dark, tragic, fucked-up beginning that steadily gets happier and lighter and more hopeful as the seasons go on, the narrative arc premised on healing and growth instead of a “gritty” downspiral, the challenges faced in each season finale leaving the characters in a progressively better place. nobody queer dies, and the worst things we ever see after season 1 all happen in flashbacks to events preceding the now. 

So… Leverage?


It’s a very distinctive plotline.


‘staring into the camera like you’re on the office’ is such an interesting cultural phenomenon because it points to one of my very favorite things in pop culture, which is the use of commonly known fictional situations to indicate an emotion or context that is extremely specific and can’t necessarily be communicated with language alone.

why do characters on the office look into the camera?  on the office, the characters are being filmed as part of a documentary; they understand they are being filmed and can acknowledge that fourth wall and those theoretical future viewers.  but because the office is a comedy, that fourth wall acknowledgement is not about explaining motivations or gaining approval for an action, but about sharing an agreement with a group of people who are not actually there.  

characters on the office look into the camera when something ridiculous is happening that no one in the room thinks is ridiculous but the person looking at the camera, were they to say ‘this is so ridiculous’ to the people in the room, their comrades in fiction, they would get serious pushback or anger; to those characters the situation is serious.  the character looking into the camera is a more objective viewer, like the audience, and by looking at us they’re putting themselves on our objective team.  and in the future when this ‘documentary’ would air, they would be vindicated as the person who understood that the situation was ridiculous.

so in real life, when we talk about ‘looking into the camera like we’re on the office’, this very specific emotion is what we’re referring to: that we’re in a situation that any objective viewer would find inherently ridiculous, and are seeking acknowledgement from an invisible but much larger group that would agree with us, even though nobody in the situation would do so.  we’re putting ourselves in an outsider position, a less emotional position, and inherently a more powerful position, because we’re not vulnerable to being laughed at like all the ridiculous people we’re among.  we’re among them, but we’re not with them, and the millions of people watching us on theoretical tv would be on our team, not theirs.  that’s such a specific idea and concept, and one that’s really hard to communicate in pure language.  but we can say ‘looking into the camera like we’re on the office’ and it’s much easier to communicate what we mean.

for me that’s what pop culture is for, and why it’s so important that it’s pop culture.  maybe it feels more special if it’s only you and a grape who know that something exists, but the more people consume something, the more its situations and reactions become common knowledge, a sort of communal well from which we can draw to articulate real life problems.  and ultimately, the easier it is for us to communicate and understand each other.


One of the things I love about Leverage is how all of the main male characters are giant middle fingers to toxic masculinity.

Like, Nate is shown to suffer through his grief, coping through alcohol, and he’s not portrayed as weak for his emotions.

You think Eliot would be the most obnoxiously masculine person in the show, being a former military black ops dude who busts heads for a living. But he isn’t! He’s passionate about cooking, he loves kids, even when he sleeps around he treats all of those women with an equal amount of respect; when Hardison is affectionate with him he often denies his small moments of reciprocity but instead of getting violent (”gay panic”) he simply goes “Dammit Hardison!” and is embarrassed because Hardison usually does it to embarrass him in front of a girl he’s flirting with, but he’s never ashamed or humiliated. 

Speaking of Hardison.

Oh, Hardison.

My dearest, beloved marshmallow.

The most loving and affectionate member of the team is a black man. This guy hacked the bank of Iceland to pay his foster mom’s hospital bills. He plays the violin, he paints, and he just feels so much empathy for the people they help. He’s the first one to go in for a hug, the first one to admit his feelings, this funny and delightful man who is so fiercely protective and loving. He owns up to his weaknesses, admits when he needs someone, is so supportive of his team. The first one on the team to call them a family

Sometimes I just randomly think about Leverage and want to cry because I have never seen another show that does characters the way Leverage does.


you know, mostly I love the way Castiel is presented in fandom. but sometimes I miss seeing the side of Cas that isn’t just cheery and bumbling and sweet-mannered. I love the old bad-tempered, overdramatic whiny pissbaby Cas. this is the creature who bitched and complained constantly, and whose first instinct upon hearing the Apocalypse had arrived was to suggest they all get piss-drunk and lie down on the ground and wait to die.

where’s the high school AU where Cas is a melodramatic bitter asshole like ‘I failed this test. what’s the point. I’m going to drown myself in the water fountain’ where’s the coffee shop AU where someone gets Cas’ order wrong and instead of being a cutie about it he just stares bleakly into his styrofoam cup like ‘i guess it’ll do. i guess it won’t matter when we all eventually turn to the abyss. then again, by that logic, nothing really matters’ or the cute teacher AU where he teaches philosophy and gives all the kids existential crises being like ‘well, technically, nothing is real. and our concept of human life is arbitrary and entirely meaningless……. your paper is due Thursday’





Kalique scoping out her sort-of mother’s sort-of boyfriend.


my headcanon for this scene is Kalique took one look at Caine who battle-parkoured shirtless into her private residence to hold her at gunpoint, and then at Jupiter and the way they looked at eachother

and let them go with minimal fuss

and went to order a ticket to some ludicrously expensive vacation spot for herself

‘My Lady, what about your plans to usurp your traitor brothers and take over their fortunes?’ says Maladictes. 

‘Nevermind that,’ says Kalique. ‘You know, it’s been ages since I had a proper massage.’

One week later she’s hanging out by the pool sipping on a fancy cocktail when the news comes in that Balem is dead, Titus is in the slammer for attempted kidnapping and obstructing justice, and Jupiter and Caine are making out on a roof somewhere.

Kalique smiles to herself. She’s now the only living heir of the Abrasax line, still in Jupiter’s good graces, and all she had to do was step back and let everyone else do the work for her.






We the generation who grew up on this movie turned out to be an interesting bunch of people, let’s put it that way.


Susan Pevensie







Susan Pevensie goes up to the counter, but the barista won’t let her order any coffee because she is wearing lipstick.

oh my god

Actually, it’s more like Susan Pevensie won’t go up to the counter because she’s stopped believing coffee is good or wanting anything to do with it, despite all the efforts of her family and friends to remind her coffee is delicious. Besides, the cup would smear her lipstick, and she’s on her way to a party.

Strangely enough, however, people keep insisting that the only reason Susan doesn’t have coffee is because the barista is mean and judgmental and her family and friends don’t love her enough. Apparently it’s their job to hold her down and pour hot coffee down her throat? Or something?

hmm, it has been a long while since I read The Chronicles of Narnia, but I always thought the way “people keep insisting that the only reason Susan doesn’t have coffee is because the barista is mean and judgmental and her family and friends don’t love her enough” is not really about what people think the characters in the book should have done but about how C. S. Lewis chose to treat Susan. 

It could have been any character who stopped believing in Narnia, but he chose to make it Susan and he chose to make it because she preferred traditionally feminine things and he chose to have her siblings resent her for this. And a lot of people have had an emotional reaction to that, so there have been a lot of posts about how this can be seen as misogynistic and upsetting. It’s certainly what I remember most from the last book. If I reread it then I certainly may come to a different interpretation, or find other details that make it seem less so, but I think the thing people are fixated on is that the way Susan was cut out was done in a way that it overshadows whatever other reasons there may have been. 

Add this to the fact that I believe the new version of Narnia was supposed to represent heaven or something? and it kinda looks like Susan was kept out of heaven bc she… liked makeup. or whatever.

but then again, i haven’t read it in a while and don’t plan to.

So I went and found the passage where they talk about Susan not getting to come back to Narnia in the end and I’m so mad. “No longer a friend of Narnia” when Narnia turned its back on her twice, made her a queen and an adult and a heroine and then sent her home to be a child again because that’s “just the way things had to be”. She ruled as High Queen of Narnia, with all the diplomacy and bureaucracy and management that entails and if Jill thinks that she went home and only cared about fashion and parties than she clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about. 

Or she was enjoying the childhood she didn’t get to have because an all-powerful lion decided to place the responsibility of a country on the shoulders of children. She spent her formative years up until her first adulthood, plus some of that adulthood, under all the stresses of leadership and duty. Maybe she wanted to enjoy it this time around. 

“Wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now” Are you kidding me? What adult wants to be shoved back into childhood, with no choice in the matter, and have to go back to listening to their parents and doing schoolwork (that is either pointless or that they already know) and having very little independence? She used to be able to ride from the mountains to the sea if she wanted to and now she has to ask permission to visit the next town over. Of course she wanted to be an adult again. And what the hell was she wasting, when she spent her school time wanting to be an adult? School was wasting Susan’s time, not the other way around.

“Silliest time of one’s life”? And I suppose, Polly, that you were silly at that age? Tell me, is it Susan you disapprove of, or do you just have some self-loathing going on of who you were at that age? Was Susan silly at that age when she ruled Narnia? Were the “parties” at Cair Paravel silly? Why do you think that she couldn’t do something just as worthwhile at a party in England as she could at a ball in Narnia and why don’t you understand how socializing plays into political maneuvering? 

@ink-splotch  put it really well  in her series, Once a King or Queen of Narnia, Always a King or Queen of Narnia. Also, Jill and Polly need to work on their internalized misogyny and I forgot how horrifically racist the last book is. 

Susan, too vain and frivolous for Narnia. How dare you. 

Can Laura Glue and the Grail Child (whose name is escaping me) punch Jack in the face?





When Superman: Man of Steel came out people were saying that the film was too gritty and cynical and it was that cynicism that destroyed the Superman we have always know and loved.

That it was that very cynicism that had Superman break his cardinal rule of do not kill and had him that very thing, kill.

As the reviews come out about Batman vs Superman and the bleakness and cynicism of that film I posit that the reason Superman has killed and the reason he is so unrecognizable as the hero we grew up with and the hero we loved and looked up to is because every essence of his Jewishness has been meticulously and calculatingly been scrubbed out.

Superman was written by two Jewish teens in the early 30′s and they imprinted onto Superman a Jewish identity.

Superman is in Diaspora. His homeland gone, his language, his culture, and his heritage both alien and foreign to were he lives. Living day to day with a part of himself hidden so as to be live a somewhat unmolested life.

He must struggle with what it means to be a member of his people while not having his people or culture around him and while having the outside culture imposed upon him and expected to assimilate to this outside force.

A great example of this can be seen oddly enough in Man of Steel when Lois Lane asks Superman what the S on his chest stands for. He tells it means hope in his people’s language and Lois responds by saying that here it is a S.

Superman is expected to accept this new reality and to let go of his culture and understand that he must rather assimilate instead. That he must let go of what it means in his language and culture and understand that it is now a S.

It is the internal struggle of the Jew. To survive in Diaspora. To endure and still maintain a sense of self and one’s roots. To keep your people’s language, customs, and culture alive especially surrounded by a world where you are the alien. You are the foreign being and you must assimilate and then be grateful that you were allowed to be forced to assimilate in the first place.

Superman has two masks. The mask of Superman and the mask of Clark Kent. Kal-el, is the face of Superman and not the mask. Kal-el is the struggle to survive when you are the alien.

Superman in the films and especially Man of Steel and even more so in Batman vs Superman is meant to be a jesus figure. A Messiah.

But that is not what he really is. He is rather the personification of Tikkun Olam.

Tikkun Olam is that each and every person is obligated to fix the world. To leave it a better place that when it was when you got there. To work towards justice, peace, and truth, the three pillars of Judaism.

Superman is meant to reflect what each of us can be. What we should be and should do. That when given the opportunity to good we should take it with both hands. That is whatever way we can with whatever our own abilities and powers are we should help others when given the chance. That is Tikkun Olam and that is Superman.

The new Superman does not fail because it is cynical. The new Superman fails because he is not Jewish.

You forgot to mention that kal-el, which in Hebrew is famously and intentionally spelled קל א-ל means “voice of G-d”. His story specifically was based on that of Moshe in many ways. His father and mother – knowing that if he stayed with them he would only find death – placed him in a basket. And that basket, they floated down a vast river. The river of stars and particles, and seemingly nothingness. A nothingness that swallows everything which has falls into it. And that basket came to a place where he could grow up, and where in the end, he was needed. I personally don’t know much about the movies – my job as colony paper pusher leaves no time for such fun, but I agree with you. To erase superman’s jewish identity is to erase superman and create an entirely new character, empty and devoid of its original meaning and purpose.


Running with this, I want to point out fundamentally different approaches between Christian and Jewish traditions on heroism, and good and evil. To simplify a couple hundred years of literature and parable: in Christian fantasy, you have to eradicate evil. The narrative of Christian goodness is generally a strenuous, violent opposition to badness, and frankly this moral philosophy makes people really fucking dangerous, because in order to define themselves as good, they have to be fighting something bad. Purge their sins, slay their demons, drive out the unbelievers. In Jewish fantasy, to do good, you have to actually find things to do that are helpful and needed. It’s not so oppositional, it’s… supplemental. If no one is helping someone, you help them. If no one is fixing something, you fix it. The hunger of children is as important as the enemy at the gate. Kal-El, the voice of god, protects his people both as a super-man and as a human reporter. In both cases, on both stages, he asks people to stand up for truth and justice, and to stand up for each other. 

I did not know this and it is VERY NEAT


reminder that james t kirk

  • was a walking stack of books during his academy days
  • was way too immersed in his studies until he fell head over heels for a woman who he almost married
  • plays 3d chess
  • likes classic earth literature to the point where bones got him antique reading glasses
  • is basically on good terms with all his exes that we know
  • puts his crew and his ship before his love life
  • literally the only times you see him use physical seduction on female characters is when a mission or lives are at stake, with most women he is completely respectful and on the rare occasion you see him trying to woo someone in sincerity it’s rather gentle courtship

reminder that james t kirk is a giant cute nerd who happens to be a competent captain and total hottie who loves a good fight but is also super sneaky when he needs to be and i just wish the reboot universe kirk was allowed to grow and develop in ways that showed he was still fundamentally this character instead of every troubled young man trope ever