Tirade Tuesday: Shipping Bellarke Apparently Makes Me White

I tend to stay out of ship wars most of the time because it’s often a case of a lot of talking, and no one listening. I’ve been around The 100 fandom so long that even if a healthy discussion takes place, I know that in just a week or two the same issues would be brought up and it would be like nothing’s changed. That’s the nature of Tumblr, and you can say I’m resigned to it.

But recently I saw a post on my dashboard that disturbed me. It asked Bellarke fans to examine their privilege, and in particular, our white privilege. The premise was that Bellarke was a racist ship and that if you shipped it, you were racist. In the same way, it also implied that if you didn’t ship Braven, you were racist.

These are serious implications that are not to be taken lightly. Race is an important issue, and by all means one should examine their white privilege. But here’s the problem – I’m Chinese. One of the many people of color who ship Bellarke. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has seen such posts. Sections of the Braven fandom have also called POCs white feminists. It’s callous and it’s a sweeping generalization that lessens the credibility of the person using the term.

On a level, I get it. I don’t think that the writer really believed that all Bellarke fans are white. I also understand how people may sometimes use assumptions and sweeping statements to strengthen an argument. Throughout The 100 fandom I have also seen people pull out social justice issues to try to strengthen a case. I have seen people reveal their sexual identities, race, and personal histories to make a point.

However, in not acknowledging that the Bellarke fandom is incredibly diverse, and by erasing our identities as people of color by generalising us, it makes it difficult for me to believe that such people care all that much about the racial issues they supposedly champion.

In fact, such posts are potentially hurtful, because you never know who may be reading it. The person you asked to examine their white privilege has perhaps been trying to be white all their lives because of the difficulties of being a POC.

Discussions of race can always be grounded in the context of the show. In discussing ships, the option to form an argument solely on canon is always there. In fact, by sticking to facts on the show instead of trying (pretending) to be a champion of social justice, you may just end up having a much more fruitful discussion. Try it.

Tirade Tuesday: Celebrating The 100

My dash and my blog have been filled with this terrible vile ship war that’s been going on, and I’m tired of seeing people focus on the negatives on a show that has so many amazing points. I’m going to acknowledge up front that the show does have aspects that it needs to improve on and other people have explained that a lot better than I can especially considering I’m white and I can’t speak for the POC community. I would also like to point out that this show is created, acted and written by humans and people are naturally flawed and make mistakes, and we need to be given a chance to learn and fix those mistakes.

Now onto the greatness of this show…

 

Behind the scenes/the people that make the show:

  • The cast: The 100 cast clearly gets along, as shown by their interactions at the panels and interviews and photos. The actors also clearly understand their characters and there have been so many times when Bob in particular talks about Bellamy that my theories and headcanons are validated, and it’s amazing to see. The research that Lindsay has done on addressing Raven’s disability is incredible. The way they support causes – the support of the 100 charity project, Bob’s shirt for mental illness, Devon’s support of children and support of the trevor project, it’s inspiring to see people you respect and look up making a difference in the world.

 

  • The Music: The CW always has great music for all of their shows but the 100 knocks it out of the park. From the brilliance of the ending song of s2 finale “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” to “Remains” at the end of 3×08, the music elevates the show and the tone perfectly. Tree Adams has also written amazing pieces for the show including the “Grounder Anthem”  song which was hauntingly beautiful and reminded me so much of ancient Rome, where power was everything and death could come at any time. The fact that in episode 3×14 they ended the show with an acoustic cover of “Radioactive”, driving home for the viewer the horrors we have seen them all go through and just how many of them have died, truly allowing us to appreciate that the Delinquents arrival on the ground heralded a New Age that has only just begun. For many shows, the songs they play hold meaning but often weeks, months later, that meaning has been lost after you’ve listened to it a hundred times, but for the 100, I cannot listen to any of the songs played without thinking of the show.

 

  • The Writing Team: Yes they’ve done some crappy stuff and Yes, some of them need to stop interfering with the fandom and go on Twitter less, but they love the show. I love that JR livetweets with us, because he also gives us questions and new tidbits of information about filming. The writers are also listening to us: we asked for more Monty and Miller and Harper and they’ve given that to us, we said that one LGBT character wasn’t enough and they gave us Miller and Bryan and Niylah and Clarke and Lexa, we complained about the actor who played Wick and he wasn’t there in season 3. They could just ignore our requests and say “oh fans don’t know the show the way the writers do” but they are listening to us and that’s important to remember. The writers are trying to increase the diversity and that makes it easier to criticize because it exists in show. The writers have also made so many literary allusions with last season being a combination of the Iliad and Dante’s Inferno while this season alludes to the Matrix, the Biblical Exodus Story and the Odyssey.

The show itself:

  • The unpredictability of the show, it constantly keeps the viewers guessing. It goes to places that I don’t expect it to go and just when you think it’s going to get lighter, it shifts and reveals something truly dark. That’s why the MW storyline was so good was because just when you thought it couldn’t get any darker it did. Many of us thought that they’d save Finn, that Tondc wouldn’t be destroyed but the show doesn’t give us any easy way out.

 

  • Raven Reyes:  Raven is a badass, she is one of the most badass characters on television and she always has been from the moment she used a century old ship that she fixed up herself to get to Earth because Finn is all she has to fighting against Allie. Her disability does not impact her ability to fight, to create and to love. She truly is the modern day Hephaestus. Natalie talked about how amazing Raven’s storyline is from the perspective of a person with chronic pain here, and it’s an awesome post which everyone should read. As someone with a disability, I have never seen someone on TV break and struggle and fall and get back up the way Raven does and it’s incredible to see. It makes me cry to see how much Raven struggles and how much she tries because that is my everyday reality. Raven Reyes will forever be the character I look to when I feel like giving up because she inspires me in so many ways. Raven also loves fiercely and reckless, I mean this a girl who went way beyond for her boyfriend/only family and crash landed on earth. She also didn’t hold Clarke’s actions against her and the friendship between them is one of my favorite things.

 

  • Abby Griffin: I got be honest, I watch this show with my mom and one of the most amazing things has come out of watching the show is that my relationship with my mom has improved. In many TV shows the parents are either nonexistent, just parents or have superficial characterization. With Abby Griffin, The 100 gives us a mother who will do anything for a daughter, a woman whose entire job is about healing but is in situations where healing is so hard. Abby Griffin sacrifices unlike any character on TV, but she also incredibly selfish  with and protective of those she loves. Abby will do anything for her daughter, but she’s also shown to be willing to do something that could hurt her when it will save humanity. She’s a doctor, a healer and a leader, but most importantly, she’s a mother. I love her relationship with Raven and the constant checkups that appear throughout the seasons. Abby Griffin is not just a mother and that’s an important decision the writers made.

 

  • The Blake Siblings: Bellamy and Octavia have one of the most complicated honest siblings dynamics on TV. They are the only siblings on the show and that forces the characters around them to acknowledge. The two fight and they fall, but at the end of the day there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each and as Bellamy says in 3×03 “You’ll always fit with me”. Bellamy basically raised Octavia and the past seasons have been about Bellamy letting Octavia have freedom, and Octavia learning that Bellamy isn’t perfect. Octavia and Bellamy have been arguing since they got to the ground and they find themselves now on moral opposites in terms of the grounders. I’m a twin, I fight with my brother all the damn time and do we agree on everything, fuck no we don’t. Granted The 100 is currently in a civil war so there is that. The Blakes will do anything for each other, but their interactions are often antagonistic, they know exactly how to hurt each and that’s true of all siblings. At the end of the day, what both of them want most is the other’s happiness.

 

  • The Moral Questions: The 100 forces us to question the world around us like no other show on television does. This is a world where Racism, Sexism and Homophobia do not exist, we get Lexa, a lesbian as the commander, Jaha as a Moses-like figure, Kane and Abby and Bellamy and Clarke as equal partners in leadership. But the show addresses Xenophobia, social change and how not to achieve it; it asks its’ viewers repeatedly what makes a good person? Are you even allowed to consider yourself one after what you do in the name of your people? What will you do to survive? In the first episode, Kane and Abby have an exchange that I believe is the theme of show where Kane says “I’ll will do what it takes to make sure our people survive” and Abby’s response is “And I’ll make sure we deserve to” which is such an important distinction. The Mount Weather storyline also asks these same questions with Dante and Cage while giving us Maya and those who lead the rebellion to help the Delinquents as an example of innocents that were killed in the name of survival. This show has also killed or broke the moral compasses of the show so the moral questions of the show are now left to the discussion of the fans, which is why the meta the fans create is so interesting and so in tune with the social issues of this time period. The show is filled with death and anger and pain, but it also has the themes of hope and love and forgiveness running through it. The way I believe they will defeat the CoL is through Love as love is clearly the glitch in the system. The show forces us to address and acknowledge the imperfections of the world around us in our time period and forces us to discuss those.

And there are so many more ways the show is amazing!!!

Judaism and the 100

So I was reading a meta by the brilliant Anne here about faith and how it influences the show, and I was thinking about how the 100 is influenced by Judaism and Jewish Values. I was also talking about how the 100 season 3 will end with the exodus of the delinquents, which I wrote about here with Cams.

Background info: I am Jewish, I went to Jewish School for nine years and currently go to a Catholic High School where I am senior. Jason Rothenberg, the creator and executive producer of the 100 is also Jewish.

Forgiveness and Repentance in the 100 and in Judaism

Forgiveness in both Christianity and Judaism is often unearned by the wrongdoer, it is something we do because humans are made in the image of God and thus are worthy of respect, understanding and dignity. This concept is shown multiple times in the 100 through both words and actions. Bellamy and Clarke say to each other “If you need forgiveness I’ll give that to you” in both 1×08 and 2×16 where the person hearing the words feels like a monster. In 3×13 Clarke tells Bellamy “I forgive you but the question is will you forgive yourself”. Another example is after Kane realizes that Culling was not actually needed and his mother, Vera tells him that “God will forgive you”. Kane and Abby forgive each other with actions after the shock lashing, Abby still trusts him later in the season. Clarke and Lexa also experience this where in 3×04, Clarke bandages Lexa’s hands after the fight with Roan, implicitly forgiving her.

Now it is the concept of repentance that differs between Jewish and Christian traditions. For many Christians the act of repentance is often as simple as giving money to the church or taking confession because they believe that Jesus died for their sins and thus they are absolved already, however there does have to be regret. Both Jewish and Christian Traditions require the person to regret their actions. In Jewish culture, repentance requires a change in behavior, it is a choice to reflect on your mistakes and try do better. This is the essence of repentance on the 100. Both Kane and Bellamy are forgiven for their wrongdoing but they only truly become heroes in the eyes of the viewer because they change their behavior, they only succeed in their respective redemptions arc because they actively become better people. Bellamy and Kane both work to create a better world, to protect their people, and in terms of Bellamy being less chaotic and in terms of Kane being less rigid. Yes, they do both fall back into their antagonistic roles at times but that is what the active choice of the idea of repentance is.

This is why the Lexa repentance/hero arc didn’t feel like it happened to me. Because Lexa would bow to Clarke and say “I vow to treat your people as my people” in 3×03 while forcing the Sky People to stay within a border and not allowing them to gain justice for the murder of several of their citizens when Mount Weather blew up. In the aftermath of the massacre, Lexa ordered a siege of Arkadia wherein they poisoned the river and created a kill order on all of the Sky People, despite Clarke wanting to convince Lexa otherwise. Her promises to Clarke fell short of influencing her actions, she never changed from wanting to subjugate and punish the Sky people. Pretty words are not repentance. She also implied that Clarke was right to blame herself for the action Lexa’s betrayal forced her to commit in 3×03, let me repeat: LEXA’S BETRAYAL CAUSED CLARKE, BELLAMY AND MONTY TO BECOME COMMITTERS OF GENOCIDE – SHE IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT OCCURRING AND SHE NEVER ONCE APOLOGIZES OR SEEMS TO CHANGE HER BEHAVIOR. This is exactly why I understand Clarke’s forgiveness because forgiveness is healing to the person giving it, but I don’t understand anyone calling Lexa a hero because she hadn’t changed. I do believe that the writers know that Lexa never actually had an onscreen apology/change in her actions, which is why they are bringing her back in the Finale, so instead of forcing Clarke to stay, she can tell Clarke to leave which would be a change.

The Mourning Prayers

Now the first time we hear the words May We Meet Again on the show are in the context of a mourning prayer, The Traveller’s Blessing, and despite the term being used a lot on the show, it is almost always as a goodbye or alternatively sometimes as a promise that they will see the person they are speaking to again, see Abby using it with Clarke in 2×14 and Bellamy and Clarke using it in 2×16 at the end before Clarke walks off. The mourning prayer/epitaph in Judaism is May Your Memory Be Blessing. Both have very similar wording and the incredibly similar of meaning of “I will keep you with me after you leave”, “You will not forgotten” and “I will act as you would want me to act”.

The Exodus Story

In the meta referenced above, Anne talks about how Allie is a false god, which as I was talking with Cams about our predictions for the season finale, I realized could possibly mean that season 3 is a parallel to the Exodus Story.

Because after the revelation of God as the true God, the Israelites are sent away in part because of the 10th plague, the death of the first born, which I believe will parallel the delinquents being exiled after Clarke destroys the City of Light in finale that results in the death of almost everyone in it. The death of firstborn is as tragic as the death that will occur in finale, and it will destroy Grounder society in the same it destroyed Egyptian society in the Bible that the delinquents, like the Jews, will have to be exiled. Also, The delinquents/Sky People were treated terribly by the grounders – the siege, the limits of where they could go, the fact that they couldn’t use Mount Weather despite it being theirs by conquest, the lack of trade with the other grounders, and that’s just season 3.  However just like the Jews, they never lost hope that someday they would find a place of belonging, but like the Jews, the remaining Sky People must go through a journey, they must go out and face trials and be tested and doubt in order for them to  truly find their promised land.

The reason I believe that Kane, Abby, Clarke and the delinquents that enter the City of Light in next few episodes will be saved is because when the Jews were told of the tenth plague, they placed Lamb’s blood above their doors to tell the angel of death to pass over. I believe that this action of the Lamb’s blood is paralleled with Kane and Abby, especially because they both entered the City of Light to spare the lives of other people that they love, Kane for Abby in 3×13 and Abby for Raven in 3×10.

Allie and Jaha also represent an interesting parallel to the Pharaoh and God relationship where God hardens Pharaoh’s heart and then allows greater and greater harm to happen because of the plagues. Jaha convinces Allie that she can supersede free will and, as a result,  Allie forces people to commit horrific actions. Allie’s first act after forcing Raven to submit, thus overriding free will,  is making Raven cut herself until she would have bled out which is a parallel to the first plague being God turning the Nile River, the life source of Egypt, to blood.

Also after Moses kills the slaver, he runs away just as Clarke after slaying the Mountain Men runs away because both Moses and Clarke are afraid of their power. Moses also encounters God in a burning bush just as Clarke reconnects with Bellamy, the man she has the most faith in, by Lincoln’s pyre where they both address their demons and become a team again (3×12). In addition there are several times throughout the story where the Israelites lose faith in God, just as the Delinquents lose faith in Bellamy (3×05-3×010) but Moses never loses faith in God just as Clarke despite hearing about Bellamy seemingly going off his rocker never loses faith in Bellamy (3×05).

 

Abby is a fangirl, writer and poet from California. You can contact her on tumblr at the-ships-to-rule-them-all.

Harry Potter is a Bad Boy

Harry Potter is a bad boy. In fact, he is a textbook definition of a bad boy. If you haven’t read my previous article about how bad boy’s are actually good guys, or if you just want to refresh your memories, you can find it here.

TL;DR

What makes a bad boy:

  • They do what they want, when they want
  • They don’t pretend to be somebody they are not
  • They have confidence in themselves
  • Everything they do has a purpose
  • They think for themselves
  • They call it like it is

What bad boys are not:

  • Thugs
  • Criminals
  • Abusers

Their ‘criminal’ activities are done in order to protect or defend themselves or somebody they love.

Calling it like it is: Harry has a tendency to point out the obvious, and call a spade a spade. He doesn’t care who hears his opinions, or what they think about his opinions. He also doesn’t say something he doesn’t mean.

Thinks for himself: Harry puts his trust in his gut feeling above all else. Even when Hermione is 100% right, if Harry feels like she isn’t, he will go with his gut feeling. If his gut feeling knows that Hermione is right, he will admit it.

Confidence in himself: Once Harry knows he can do something, his confidence never waivers.

Doesn’t pretend to be somebody else: Harry could have easily played up “the boy who lived”, but he doesn’t because that is simply not who he is. He would rather be liked for himself, then have friends who only want the status of being his friend.

Everything has a purpose/does what he wants: Harry doesn’t do anything without a purpose, and everything he does is in the name of upholding his moral guidelines. He believes in protecting everybody, especially those he loves. If Harry believes that he can save somebody, he will break any rule/law and die trying. In fact, he does die (jury is still out on whether he actually died or just Voldemort’s soul in him died) in order to give protection to his friends and schoolmates. He’s also probably set the school record for how many school rules he’s broken.

It is only because he is the main character that we don’t view him as a bad boy. Instead, we view him solely as a hero. By seeing what he sees, knowing what he knows, and feeling what he feels we can root for him as a hero. If any other character would have told the story, Harry would not be seen in the same light; he would have been seen as ‘dangerous’, ‘mysterious’, and ‘mischievous’.  We wouldn’t know that he is trying to save the school when he breaks 100 school rules on his quest to finding the Chamber of Secrets entrance. We would just see him breaking the rules and then later (at the very end of the book) finding out that there was a purpose to it all.

If other bad boy characters had a chance to be the main character, they too would be seen as a hero and not as a bad boy. Bellamy Blake from The 100, for instance, would be seen as a hero who has to make tough choices in order to protect his friends and family. We would be captivated by his backstory of being forced to hide his sister and would base all of his current actions/behaviors/tendencies off of the emotional trauma that arose from it, much like how we analyze Harry Potter’s abusive background to explain his current actions/behaviors/tendencies.

A simple shift of POV changes how we see characters, and Harry Potter will always be a bad boy that we love as the hero he is.

*photo credit

TV Talk: Why TV Bad Boys Are Actually Good Guys

It’s a question as old as time: why do girls love bad boys and nice guys finish last? Well, I’m here to try to dispel some misinformation. TV bad boys are not bad, they are the actual good guys. 

Let’s first look at what makes a TV bad boy:

  • They do what they want, when they want
  • They don’t pretend to be somebody they are not
  • They have confidence in themselves
  • Everything they do has a purpose
  • They think for themselves
  • They call it like it is

What TV bad boys are not:

  • Thugs
  • Criminals
  • Abusers

Why exactly do we label the first set of characteristics as ‘bad’? Probably because they go against everything we have ever been taught. As children, we are taught to be helpful, do what we are told, speak when spoken to, listen to our elders, etc. Bad boys ignore all of that and take care of themselves, and those they have deemed worthy, first and foremost. Once a bad boy puts you in the circle of people he loves, there is not anything in this world he wouldn’t do to protect you.

In fact, according to Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, bad boys would often be put into the highest category, Level 3 Stage 6: Universal Principles.  Those that are in this stage have created their own moral guidelines, regardless of what the law is. Examples include Mother Theresa and Ghandi. Kohlberg mainly focused on human rights, justice, and equality for what these moral guidelines would be.

A prime example of a bad boy that would fit in Kohlberg’s Stage 6 would be Logan Echolls from Veronica Mars. From the very first episode he is billed as the bad boy, even taking a tire iron to Veronica’s headlights after she planted a bong in his locker. A few more episodes in, and we discover his true bad boy character. He does not care what the other student’s think, he speaks his mind and calls out bullshit when he sees it (even if it’s a teacher), he has a confidence about him that speaks to him knowing who he is and knowing what he wants, and when he wants something done he will go to any length to get it.

It is that last one that truly makes a bad boy. The lengths they go to to get something done. Remember, bad boys aren’t thugs, criminals, or abusers. They aren’t out stealing in order to get the latest iphone. Everything they do has a purpose. Their ‘criminal’ activities are done in order to protect or defend themselves or somebody they love.

Back to Logan. He turns the whole school against Veronica because he believed that she turned her back on Lilly, somebody he loved. He is willing to go up against his father, even though his father will clearly win, in order to defend his mother. When Logan finds out who attacked Veronica, he intentionally beats up a cop car in order to get arrested and land in the same jail cell as her attacker. The things he does is not for fun and games, they are done out of a higher level of morality, in the belief that the protection of yourself and those you love should be put above all else.

Another example would be Bellamy Blake from The 100. He puts those he loves above everything else, including himself. He is willing to do a suicide mission (sneak on the dropship to Earth) in order to protect his sister. He removes wristbands in order to make the adults think they are dead because he fears his and his sister’s freedom will once again be taken away. He soon becomes a leader of the delinquents and the rules are based off of his own moral ideals. He clearly believes in people paying for their crimes (Murphy being hanged for Wells death), but draws the line at children (not hanging Wells true killer, Charlotte). It takes a while for him to put Clarke in his inner circle, so to speak, but once he does he will do anything to help her. Whether that be going on a suicide mission into Mount Weather (much like he did for his sister in the pilot) or by trying to rescue her. If he believes that he can do something to protect somebody he loves or uphold his moral guidelines, he will do it no matter the consequences.

In conclusion: “It’s hard to resist a bad boy who’s a good man.” -Nora Roberts

*photo credit

TV Talk: The 100 3×12 – Demons

Erica:  Can we do a gushing episode recap kinda thing for The 100, please?
Abby:  YES
Erica:  OMG IT WAS AMAZING!!!  I was absolutely CONVINCED that Miller and Bryan were messing with Harper. CONVINCED!!!
Abby:   THE WHOLE “I’M GOING TO KICK MY BOYFRIEND’S ASS”
Erica:   YES!!!
Abby:  AND THE FACT THAT THE ARK HAS IT’S GHOST STORIES
Erica: They are so CUTE!
 
Abby:  BRILLIANT WORLDBUILDING
Erica:  Omg! I know!!!
Abby:  SO SO SO SO SO SO CUTE.  I love Harper + Briller, she ships them so much
Erica:  She does!
Abby:  And her scream, how does Chelesy produce such bone chilling things week after week???
Erica:  Oh, I know! You just know that girl has heard some tall tales. lol  But seriously, they should have been a foursome. :disappointed:  Briller and Harpoe.
Abby:  YES GOD THAT WOULD’VE BEEN SO GOOD
Emma Claire:  Late to the party but I LOVED that episode.  Those 3 lil munchkins at the start are my faves.  Also why can’t Murphy catch a damn break? I’m so hurt by Emori.
Erica:  I know! The ONLY reason I can think of for Emori to have taken the damn chip is because she found out her brother took it before he died and she could see him again.
Emma Claire:  That’s my best case scenario. Worst case is she was chipped all along…My poor lil Murph.
Erica:  Oh man. Wait, but her brother wasn’t until Jaha came along.
Emma Claire:  Oh, that’s true.  That makes me feel a bit better. Still sad about it, though. Murphy was so hurt. Wahhhh I’m so protective of him. lol who would’ve thought?!
Erica:  Definitely not me at the beginning of S1!!!  Hey, did you hear that The 100 has a new co-executive producer for S4?
 
Emma Claire:  No, I didnt! That bodes well, though, surely.
Erica:  I hope so!
Emma Claire:  Do you think Jasper is going to die? I really hope not, but it’s seeming more and more likely.
Erica:  I’m really hoping not.
Julie:   DO NOT LET JASPER DIE. Me and my mom love him so much!
Erica:  He’s finally able to see the pain of others and is trying to be there for them, too. I’m loving him. I really want him to stay.
Julie:  I seriously can’t wait till Netflix US has season 3! I need Jasper character development
Erica:  It’s gonna be such a long time before that happens.
Sara:  One of the drawbacks of Netflix is how long it takes them to update TV seasons.
Erica:That’s definitely one of the biggest drawbacks.
Julie:  We are getting the new seasons of Baby Daddy and Young and Hungry just a few weeks after the last episode aired. It all depends on the contract Netflix is able to get/how long they want DVD sales to be the only option.
Erica:  Unless you’re in Canada. Then Netflix has each new episode of The 100 uploaded at midnight PST every Friday. Something they do for Shadowhunters at midnight PST on Wednesdays. I love it!