rm (rm) wrote,
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  • If you're here from torchwood_three the content you are looking for is at the end of this post, so scroll down past the rest of my life.

  • Last night, I caught a woman on the train. She was giving money to a homeless guy and lost her balance, stagger-fell down the entire length of the train and pretty much plummeted into my lap. Sadly, I was playing a video game on my iPod and not really paying attention, meaning that I didn't see her because she planted both her heels (thank god she was wearing flats) firmly into the tops of my feet with all her weight. Luckily I, and my dress shoes, survived. Anyway, I did actually manage to grab her before she actually sat and me and stood her back up. She kept asking if I was fine, I was, and I told her not to worry about it. Then she slunk off to another car in embarrassment and I've been thinking about that ever since -- since I would have done the same -- although the fact is she did nothing wrong.

  • The Sacred Heart School's version of Flame Trees remains so awesome. This makes probably zero sense to any non-Australian's on my friends list, with the exception of folks that saw Little Fish.

  • We have our bus tickets, our hotel reservation and our burlesque tickets. Boston is almost under control.

  • My exhaustion caught up with me last night, and I was in bed by midnight, asleep, even with the lights on as Patty read. This morning, I didn't wake up at six as I normally do instinctually, and even when my alarm went off at eight I was having none of it. Gaaaaaah.

  • I'm so tickled people want to discuss Torchwood with me. Sadly, I can't quite muster the energy right now. Give me a few days -- possibly until after we're back from Boston? I've a few things for later down in this post, but responses to specific queries, I'm not sure I've the energy for right now.

  • Harry fucking Potter. Need to see it, no idea when that is going to happen.

  • I am worried about our basil plant while we are away as it seems to need water twice a day. Otherwise, gardening is going well!

  • I had a realization today on the subway, which is that my upbringing was such that women were very discrete about pregnancy -- pregnancy clothes were extremely voluminous; the curve of the belly was never, ever visible, because that would mean people acknowledging that the act of sexual congress had taken place. I'm not even joking. I'm always slightly amazed when I see hot pregnant women in fashionable clothes on the subway; it is perfectly normal, but it always strikes me as so recently a modern notion that this is true and that omg, my childhood was even CRAZIER than I already knew. Perhaps this is why it's so hard for me to live in the world, perhaps it's because I never really did.

  • Patty has just paged me to inform me that there's been a squirrel attack on the garden! But she thinks she chased it away before it did anything. Clearly, there's an interested party though, as I had to fix some soil this morning as it seemed like a squirrel had come to dig holes for nuts. Argh!

    Patty wants to know if scarecrows work on squirrels.

  • I've never been to ReaderCon but considered going this year both because authors I am friends with an authors I've never met who I admire were attending. However, after reading this I feel perhaps glad I did not go. But, actually, the post heartens me -- because it says to me we are having some valuable, fandom-wide growing pains, which might in time have good results.

  • I am following the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. However, they are so appalling to watch in a white-men-are-normal-everyone-else-is-suspect way, that I can't tune in a lot or I seethe with rage.

  • On that note, do not bring the tone argument to my door. It's not my job to be gracious about your bigotry.

  • And on that note, moominpuppet links us to a piece about being bi in Britain.

  • From the department of "I can't cope," hllangel alerts us to this which is an article praising the supposed "pro-American sentiment of Torchwood." Among other things, it insists Jack is American (he's not) and compared Gwen to Palin. I CAN'T COPE. Get your crazy paws off my big gay show!

  • Today on Thinky Thoughts About Torchwood, I want to talk about Jack and heroism. The event that leads to Jack becoming earth-bound is him being willing to sacrifice himself on the Game Station in Doctor Who. This is what heroes do, especially in our popular conception of heroism. And while it can be argued that Jack did this because he has reformed (true) and loves Rose and the Doctor (also true) I think he also does it because it's something easy to get his head around, it's an idea he grew up reading about in the 51st century version of comic books -- he's happy to go out in a blaze if he's got to go, it's romantic and Jack is nothing if not romantic.

    But this leads to him becoming immortal, and once Jack can't die, he also can't die for any one else, not in a way that means anything, not in a way that speaks to the little boy who maybe didn't want to be a soldier, but sure did want to be a hero. It's a terrible thing, and one that robs Jack (and the audience) of a lot of illusions -- we get hints at this through Torchwood seasons 1 and 2, but it's only in Children of Earth where we really get the message: being a hero is not romantic; war is not romantic -- and I think that's so important, because woe, Jack does make being a hero look romantic, does make war look romantic, and those are terrible things to think, ever.

    When Ianto dies, Jack has nothing to bargain with, because his life is not his own, even as he will live it endlessly. When he uses Stephen to defeat the 4-5-6, it is the same -- he cannot act as surrogate. Jack cannot take another's pain onto himself to save them, rather he can only live with pain unimaginable to any of us.

    If we look merely at where CoE ends, the message is bleak and pretty horrible. I certainly walked out of my first viewing of it feeling destroyed for Jack and being angry that he was, I thought, a coward. But without his own life to give, it's not that Jack's a coward, it's that he can't be a hero in the simplistic lexicon we all know and all think we'd like to play with and would engage in properly if push ever came to shove in our own lives.

    However, if we look at Jack's arc as it relates also to Doctor Who, specifically Gridlock, it's a particularly unique Hero's Journey. Jack -- the eternally youthful and exuberant boy -- must go on alone, for whatever reason, for whatever trials until he is alone enough with himself (in his identity as the Face of Boe) until he can once again give up his own life for millions. And there, in that moment, in Gridlock it's beautiful, not because Jack gets to be our childlike notion of a hero again, but because it is him being returned, for just a moment before he goes, to the life he once had -- one about which he actually has the power of choice.

    In the end, we have no idea how many people Jack has loved that he has had to sacrifice directly or indirectly because he loved them. But in the end we do know that Jack -- who really does have epic amounts of self-loathing -- ego aside, finally loved himself.

    So yeah. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. (and I'm also thinking.... hrrr, there's some academic analysis to be done somewhere close to this on this....)
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