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Jun. 25th, 2010

# *yawn* Tired. Braindead. Another ten days until my holiday.

# It's a good thing I don't have children, because playgrounds are so not for me. More precisely, playground conversations.

# Saw Die Frau mit den fünf Elefanten with my Russian teacher last week, which I probably would have missed otherwise, because sadly I apparently need people to more or less physically drag me to places, or nothing ever gets done. It was very much worth seeing, though. I'm always vaguely fascinated by the process of creation, and there's this 87 year old Russian lady, dictating her translations to an old German lady typing on an old-fashioned typewriter, and a musician who then reads it out loud to her, and they argue about the best expressions, commas or semicolons... it's really fascinating and all kinds of wonderful. There were of course also interesting and touching bits about her family, her life & history, as she travelled back to the Ukraine for the first time since the war with her granddaughter, about languages and the differences between them and the love for language and texts, but this is what really stuck out for me — these three old people between them recreating Dostojewski in a different language. Lovely.

(Trailer on YouTube that gives at least a bit of an impression.)

# Watched The Second Coming a couple of days ago, which IMO is brilliant with a very powerful ending, but also came with a bit of a déjà vu, because some of the ideas have totally been reworked in Ten's arc; very obviously in the last three specials, but it probably goes back much further than that. *thinky thoughts*, or rather when I'm a bit less tired, because right now my brain is more like *- - - - ? -*. And really, everyone who said that Adelaide's death in WoM is somehow rooted in RTD's alleged issues with women, older women, women in a position of power, or whatever it was people were complaining about at the time, should maybe watch this. Personally I always thought it was evident that she wins, that even if she dies, in the end the real power in that episode is hers, because she's standing up for free will, for human dignity and human autonomy in the face of someone who's in the process of taking that away, but the comparison with Judith really clarifies this beyond a shadow of doubt.

# On a maybe slightly related note, I think the reason why I'm so completely unsuited for fandom is that I'm never very interested in characters. I talked about this with my Russian teacher this week because one of the question in the textbook was about favourite literary figures, and I couldn't come up with one. I have favourite novels, favourite authors, but no favourite literary figures; for me it's almost completely impossible to separate a character from their story. What I most notice is ideas and authors' voices, not so much in the sense of writing style, but in the sense of the worldview and philosophy behind the books, and how they speaks through the story and characters; my bookshelves are full of (more or less) complete works by favourite authors. And it's the same for TV, really; I've never really identified with a character. If anything I connect to the characters and/or relationships that are most emblematic for a show's ideas, which also makes it really hard for me to keep watching a show for a character or aspect of the writing, when it doesn't work for me on a more profound level. And I guess this is also the reason why with maybe one or two exception the most fanfiction I've ever read was for fandoms where I've seen only a few episodes of canon, if that, and never really cared a lot about it. When I really like the original text, I stop being interested in alternative takes on it, because in my mind they're just... jarring, somehow, no matter how well they're written, no matter how canon compatible. Maybe especially when they're canon-compatible.


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(Deleted comment)
Jun. 26th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about this on and off for a while now, and of course characters are also important, but as I said, I can't mentally separate them from their stories, and in the end the story has priority. I think. Or at least when I look at my favourite shows, what they do have in common is a comparatively strong philosophic angle, meaning of life, good and evil and the grey shades in between, that sort of thing.

also find myself sometimes overlooking actual character problems and issues like racism and feminism, just because the way the authors have presented their stories, in terms of plotting and worldviews and world-building, are already so fascinating and engaging to me in the first place.

I've noticed that, too. When a story convinces me emotionally on the level of ideas, philosophy, story-telling, etc., I tend to give an author a lot more leeway; certainly when it comes to plot-holes, and I guess even when it comes to various -isms. I wonder, though... maybe if one looks more at the story as a whole, at least in some cases one's perception might genuinely change. It's not a very helpful example, since you aren't familiar with Doctor Who, but in the instance of Adelaide's death that I mentioned in the post... If one prioritises the character and completely ignores the narrative context or simply hates the story, one will only see a female character who kills herself in the end, and I guess it's easy to perceive that as misogynist. However, within the story, taking into account why she dies and what she dies for, I certainly can't see it this way, and I do think it's actually wrong in an objective sense.
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