The intersection of Taking-Media-Way-Too-Seriously Ave. and Not-Taking-It-Seriously-At-All Rd.
I’ve been thinking a lot about SHIELD and the Agents of SHIELD finale and how and why the decision to have Coulson reform SHIELD is as unsettling as it is to me. So I’ve finally decided to sit down and meta it out and hope I don’t live to seriously, seriously regret this decision.
So, let’s talk about Steve Rogers and Captain America and shady-ass governmental organizations.
Ummmm. Probably safe to say that this won’t exactly be kosher for Coulson fans.
This is a really good explanation as to why the decision to rebuild SHIELD seemed out of place and worrisome. There’s just one point I differ on, and my perspective on it only further supports what queercap was saying.
Before the show started, he was, as queercap put it, “the picture of the Man in Black”. He had a dorky-nice-guy side, but when it came to his work, all that was put aside. He was perfectly content to blindly follow orders and never once question the reasons behind them, or the methods used to enforce them. Taking on the task of remaking SHIELD is something movie!Coulson would have been overjoyed to do.
However, upon coming back from “Tahiti”, Coulson found that the tables had turned. He had a lot of questions and every time he tried to get them answered, he came up against a giant wall of suits (all bearing the same SHIELD logo) hell-bent on keeping him in the dark. It was this experience, being on the opposite end of SHIELD’s policies, that set off his entire character arc. It made him start questioning the orders he was given, his superiors, and the way the organization was run. It took some trial and error, but he is learning when keeping secrets was harmful, to rely on his own judgement to keep or share information, to consider his orders before executing them, and when to outright disobey the authorities. This is why I was so confused when Coulson all but jumped at the opportunity to rebuild SHIELD; TV!Coulson should have known better!
Personal opinion time: My impression of the show’s portrayal of SHIELD was that the first part of the season conveyed the message “SHIELD is kinda shady”, but the second part backtracked into something more along the lines of “SHIELD has problems and all of them are HYDRA”. Coulson’s enthusiastic attitudes about rebuilding SHIELD would make sense in the context of the latter, but I didn’t think that context made sense in the first place. The Winter Soldier movie showed SHIELD and HYDRA as two sides of the same coin. If the show were to have adhered to that, the message would have been more along the lines of “SHIELD was started for a good reason and it often does good things but it has a lot of problems when it comes to the distribution of power, and that is exactly what HYDRA took advantage of and the reason it was able to grow so powerful”. The whole thing felt a little bit like the show-makers took all of Coulson’s character development that they built along with the plot, put it in a nice little box, tied it up and set it aside, and then went back to play with the plot now that the character development was out of the way.
Anybody else feel similarly? Differently? Any thoughts?
Audrey says “fuck your gender roles”
This movie is super underrated.
Audrey is so underrated. How can you not love her?
I have a love-hate relationship with this movie.
On one hand it’s got awesome PoC characters who defy racial and gender stereotypes. It also discusses colonialism and how people tend to destroy indigenous cultures to obtain land and resources (which is why the crew ultimately decided a to pretend they never found Atlantis because they don’t want anyone else to try and destroy the culture).
But on the other hand, the whole plot is that Atlantis needs a white, cishet man to save it from extinction and for some reason he understand their culture and language better than they do.
hEY FUCK YOU OKAY
MILO WAS THE ANTITHESIS OF WHITE SAVIOR
HE WAS A NERDY USELESS LITTLE SHIT WHO WAS COWARDLY UNTIL OTHERS FORCED HIM TO ACT
HIS ONLY STRENGTHS WERE HIS MIND AND HIS ETHICS
HE WAS THE PERFECT DUDE FOR THE JOB AND THE REASON HE KNEW BETTER WAS BECAUSE HE RIGOROUSLY STUDIED TEXTS THAT HAD BEEN LOST OR DESTROYED IN ATLANTIS BECAUSE KIDA’S FATHER INTENTIONALLY LET HIS KINGDOM LAPSE INTO DECAY AND OBSCURITY
DO NOT PULL THAT WHITE SAVIOUR BULLSHIT BECAUSE MILO WAS A DAMN GOOD DUDE
This actually represents an ongoing ethical dilemma in language documentation and the linguists who do the work. Milo both is and isn’t a white savior. Yes, he’s not trying to colonize the Atlanteans or “civilize” them to save their society, but he is going in, saying he knows their culture better than they do, and it’s his knowledge, not Kida’s, that saves the day.
Modern day linguists who work with underdocumented languages are often met with suspicion and initial distrust when they go into a community. With indigenous groups, there’re several good reasons for that suspicion! They’ve been exploited, marginalized, had their culture and language and land forcefully taken from them, and so on. And then, to have someone from the hegemonic white culture come into their community and deign to “give them back” their language and traditions is incredibly demeaning and painful. Plus, over the past 100 years, many linguists have actually just taken from these people, using language data they collected to publish and further their careers, in effect, exploiting them again.
As to the point about the King letting their culture die: just because he “INTENTIONALLY LET HIS KINGDOM LAPSE INTO DECAY AND OBSCURITY” doesn’t mean he needs someone from the outside to restore it for him. In Native American communities, language was often not transmitted from one generation to the next because there was (and still is) quite a bit of stigma and ridicule associated with Native Americans and their languages. If you are belittled and made fun of in school for speaking Cherokee or Chickasaw or Yuchi or Myaamia or any of the hundreds of indigenous languages of North America, you won’t make your children go through that same pain. Not to mention the fact that speaking an indigenous language puts them at a disadvantage in school. So, culture and language die, not because people want it to happen, but because they want their children to succeed and sometimes that means begrudging assimilation.
In the case of Atlantis, if they believed that the gods disapproved of them, why would they keep doing what they believe they were punished for? The King didn’t want Atlantis to die, but he could have thought it was best for his children and his people.
We linguists like to break language into itty bitty chunks and then try to figure out how those itty bitty chunks work together. We use words like animacy distinctions and evidentials and voiceless laterals to analyze and objectify language, and then we think we know a language. But the truth is that we are still outsiders and we can’t tap into that linguistic competence that comes with being a native speaker, nor the intricacies of the linguistic-cultural interface, the way a community member can. This is why linguists who work in the field with underdocumented languages must work with community members and speakers, and not just use them to collect data.
So no, Milo is not trying to save them through whiteness. But he is coming into their community and asserting his knowledge and linguistic dominance. Milo is a good guy and a fun character, but he is also an old-school linguist who thinks he knows better than the people who speak Atlantean because he’s studied it.
If you want to learn more about this, check out the Breath of Life workshops (CABOL, National BOL, and OKBOL), the work done by Daryl Baldwin with the Myaamia language, and the documentary We Still Live Here about the Wampanoag’s struggle to reclaim their language.
(Also, Audrey is amazing and the whole cast is fantastic, and this movie is one of my all time favorites)
have you READ THEM
aren’t they adorable
i want to go to hogwarts
FRICKLE FRACKLE MUGGLEBORNS ARE ADORABLE
Carver also teased that there would be some returning characters — one episode will team Sheriff Mills with Sheriff Donna Hanscum from the episode “The Purge,” and the show will be doing its own version of The Heat.
We also know that Supernatural is going to have another spinoff (/backdoor pilot?) next season.
What if, guys.