Dads That Suck: Me and Peter Quill

**SPOILERS**

Since I talked about absent male parents on my other blog, I guess I’ll keep it coming.

For my birthday, I went to the movies for the first time in years and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Just like an increasing number of Marvel movies these days, the writers really need to adjust some of their humor. But what I found myself struck by was the relationship between Peter Quill and Ego.

Since my birthday is around the same time as Father’s Day, I give a thought to that relationship. I sensed the pain and anger that Peter Quill, even as a fictional character, must have felt to learn the truth about his father. There was just something there in the story that resonated with me.

I do not easily refer to my sperm donor as “Dad”, despite the title of this post. Simply because he’s not that and it offends my definitions of the words family and father to give him an honor he did not earn. No, my sperm donor didn’t kill my mom and he isn’t a god. Just a really messed up, manipulative, entitled, arrogant guy who can’t keep it in his pants. He might not think he’s God’s gift to the entire universe but does think he’s God’s gift to women and he deserves a throne built on my back for not wearing a condom.

I know what it’s like to want an absent father to turn out to be a better person than his absence would lead you to believe. I didn’t play a game of Light-ball catch with my sperm donor like Peter Quill did. But I did give him a chance. And he wasn’t worth the time, energy, or the chance I gave him.

Maybe I’ll save a post about Yondu for later.

I’m rooting for you, Nebula. Commit that patricide.

Race-naming in Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’

I was talking with my friend over the phone about how weird it is that in Tolkien’s world that it is totally legit to address people by their race. Weird because, in reality, outside those pages, people don’t commonly do that–

And with good reason.

A lot of people fail to understand why its not okay to address a people (and by this I mean primarily POC,who don’t even really exist in the LOTR universe–a telling sign) by a racial identifier (whether its a slur or what appears to be a simple “race name”), particularly one that they themselves or individually have not given you permission to address them by.

In The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, its completely commonplace to address somebody as “my dear hobbit” or “Master Dwarf”. Usually, race-naming is used in only one of a few different ways:

  1. to refer to the great accomplishments, blessings/abilities, and skills  known of that race (es. Elves are “fair”, immortal, and wise or Dwarves are great craftspeople and miners).
  2. to point out a characteristic that seems to be shared among many members of a race (ex. Dwarves are stubborn or hearty or Hobbits appear as children to the eyes of Men because of their size),
  3. and, most of all,  it seems that race and race-naming is specifically built into the entire cosmology of Tolkien’s universe, the way things turn out.

I am not a Tolkien scholar, I have not read all of his work, but I find race-naming in his writing and its effects on generations of fiction/fantasy writers to be bad news. That’s almost a different post though.

I just don’t live in that world, or society rather, where race-naming between races is usually positive. I don’t want a Japanese person calling me “nigga”,  someone Spanish-speaking to call me “the [insert adjective] negro“, or white people to address me as anything other than what I give them permission to call me (they can even manage to turn that into a disaster). With the amount of ignorance and hate hanging around, its detrimental that race should be treated as a practiced way of labeling peoples, whether its because they are known for their negative characteristics, deepest failures, or their greatest accomplishments. Homogenizing races and cultures is…a touchy business. In my society, I don’t think its possible to address somebody by their race and have it be a simple thing because social interactions and history are so much more complicated than in this fictional world.

When have the Elves ever enslaved the Dwarves? When do ents go around sneaking into the Shire and murdering Hobbits because they’re shorter? My point is that race and racism does not manifest itself  in Tolkien’s world in such a way that it does any real justice to how racism and oppression operates in reality, much like Rowling’s Harry Potter. And that is why race-naming and racial homogeneity is presented as commonplace and usually presented as harmless or unoffensive.

Its the same problem I have with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: there is no one “Enemy” to unite against as there is these stories. In my understanding and lived experience, the problems between races lies in their shared violent and oppressive history, not at the root of some common enemy. We are not the Free People” of Middle Earth, we are the constantly divided peoples of Earth.

The Walking Dead: Cherokee Rose–Indeed

“…all I saw was a redneck White man appropriating Indigenous culture. There isn’t even a single Native American in the cast, but apparently it’s okay to draw upon their history and their pain to make appoint.  This yet another example of how The Walking Dead fails when it comes to race. Appropriation no matter the reason, is never acceptable.” –Fangz for Fantasy

I know I’m thinking about this too much, but I keep having these conversations with her that lead absolutely no where but to me feeling frustrated with stupid people like myself for even engaging in these conversations.

My sister was outraged and said what she usually says to me when she wants to consume pop media without admitting it’s problematic or looking at it for what it really is: “Shannon, not everything is about Black and white and racism.”

To which I said: “This isn’t ‘Black and white’, in terms of race, and you’re just trying to say I’m being too sensitive or overly critical.”

She replied, “Yeah, but not everything is about that.”

To which I replied: “Yeah, but when it comes to a lot stuff on TV, it is.” Because the American media is dominated by white hegemony and saturated in it’s images and culture. And that spreads like a disease to almost everything else because that’s just how it operates.

Even at the Best Week Ever, somebody was confused.  I admit I didn’t get how the story was supposed to comfort this white woman at a time when her daughter is lost in the zombie-infested wilderness or city or whateva.

0_0

On the one hand, the kid was either dead with cherokee roses growing on or the near the place where her body was or she was zombie in a place where there were cherokee roses 0_0 *confused*

I commented on this at Fangz for Fantasy: The Walking Dead Season Two, Episode 4: Cherokee Rose:

The thing is, I didn’t even see the episode, my sister, who watches the show, was telling me about it and we had a minor spat over the fact that I wasn’t okay with the Trail of Tears reference coming from a racist white man, fictional or not. I do have my issues with people who passively consume media and fawn over presentations of the “good whitey” fallacy. A person doing good deeds, like Darryl, can still be a bigot.

As much as we might use our imaginations or lived realities to sympathize with the characters, a [white] woman who has lost her child in a dangerous area in a fictional situation in NO WAY COMPARES to the myriad systemic oppression, forced displacement, and genocide of an entire racial and ethnic group of peoples by white Europeans in the U.S. or anywhere else.

o_o *more confused* at how that reference was in any way appropriate to the situation, historical and present context, and not racist!!!

I’m done,

~MsQ