Hello, my lovelies. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t thought too much about this week’s derriere before. I was never much for the fantasy tales of the future and all that, and I only have a bit of a cursory familiarity with the mythos of “Erect Mass” or whatever it is. Hawke does like…
Greetings, my ducklings. It is once again time to investigate what lies beneath, those hidden inner secrets behind interesting and important people. This week, we will be examining the buttocks of a man I would like to have a drink with. He’s suave, charming, and irrepressibly irresponsible, with an ego the size of a small planet. Unfortunately, we’re discussing his outward appearance, and while he’s quite the dapper fellow in his casual clothing, he is truly armored and guarded beyond all measure.
Of course, my darling onefangirlamongmany. You asked, and so this week, we will be squeezing the buns of iron.
@isabelaexplainsitall - I hate to disappoint, but I took half the meat home. It was an ample plate.
@fluffykassius - the feast consisted of scrambled eggs, lean corned beef, and a bagel with scallion cream cheese. It was all incredibly tasty.
filantestar asked: Isabela, I'm not sure if you will be free to answer this at this time, but since September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, do you have any choice pirate phrases or interesting tales to tell of your time at sea?
It is that day, and I should definitely do something. I’m still a bit swamped (literally, my ship is taking on water as I write this), but I hope to be back and fully capable soon.
In the meantime, and in honor of this joyous and glorious day, I present you something in terms of the age-old pirate tradition. Small stories told in verse both past and present. Cheers, my darlings.
As a friend, Varric Tethras is best
Watching over you, or sharing a jest
but most focus on
how he’s a paragon
of manliness, written all over his chest
Merrill’s a cute, naive girl
whose innocence largely unfurled
when a pirate told stories
of the shanking of Jories
while at a place known as the Pearl
Aveline is as strong as an ox
She puts crooks behind bars and locks
She’s definitely proven
through many a bruisin’
She’s tough enough to chew rocks
I love to work them with my hands,
Guide them home and give into demands
With sleek sexy body
Both make me feel naughty
My ship and Hawke, on sea and on lands.
Isabela had run ‘way too soon
with the relic, at time inopportune.
But when she returned
Hawke sensed that she’d earned
A satisfying for a demand of her Qun.
There’s no place I’d rather be
than sailing the uncharted sea
It’s the freedom you crave
as you crest the next wave
and the horizon you chase endlessly
Cheers, my darlings. Happy talk-like-a-pirate day!
Forgive me for being a bit ranty today, my lovelies. I promise it won’t happen very often.
One of the little idiosyncrasies about being friends with a published author is that I will occasionally hear people discussing the latest happenings in the stories he tells. Recently, I’d been invited along as a helping hand to a storyteller festival in Ostwick, and that afforded me the opportunity to spend some time with those who like Varric’s stories, as well as pick up some ideas for my own writings. And I discovered that there’s an awful lot of stories out there that are focused on a very traditional tale of a fair-skinned manly hero who defeats a villain and has a beautiful, submissive, equally fair-skinned female love interest, along with a cast of generally fair-skinned cast that tends to pair up the men with the women, while ignoring or brushing aside the people who have different shades of skin, different preferences when it comes to lovers, or female in general. And while I don’t have anything against that sort of tale, what bothered me was how prevalent it was.
I certainly wasn’t the only one who noticed, of course. There was a good amount of discussion on the subject. However, one rather common response I kept hearing from the defenders of this common trope was this:
"I don’t have anything against the inclusion of (women, people of color, different cultures, different sexual preferences), but I think a story about (the same as before) just for diversity’s sake wouldn’t be a real story worth telling. It’s the story that matters, not the diversity.”
I’ve been in enough duels to know a feint when i see one. You see, my darlings, if it was really the story that mattered, there wouldn’t be so many fair-skinned, male heroes, or fair-skinned submissive female love interests. When asked, none of these people would admit to thinking that another protagonist or hero couldn’t have brown skin or feminine bits. It was just that they shouldn’t just for the sake of diversity.
And that’s the real crux of the matter. Nobody who tells a story will spend all that time plotting, writing, editing, revising, and publishing a book, a play, or anything else will do so simply for the sake of diversity. If one did, it would shine through the work and be a shoddy creation. The things created “for the sake of diversity” are the awful, stereotypical token characters that plague the popular media today. These are the sort of creations that cannot stand up to any scrutiny, which is why they could not carry a plot - because they just lack the substance to do so. And because they are such flimsy creations, the ignorant and the myopic will think that it is literally impossible for anything but such shallow characterizations to exist.
That is what they mean when they say “I don’t want a character like that simply for diversity’s sake.”
That isn’t how it has to be. That isn’t how it is. But inevitably, whenever someone asks the publishers for such things, the fans of the existing status quo feel threatened. They feel that it is a zero-sum game - that any time, coin, or effort spent that deviates from the storied traditions somehow means less for the ones who like the traditional work. And they look at it as if someone is clamoring to take away from the pie they’ve been enjoying exclusively for years, rather than growing a larger and broader variety of pie to choose from for everyone.
At its core, storytelling is about themes, not specifics. Alienation, courage, loneliness, adventure, excitement, danger, fear, romance, wisdom, yearning, and growth most of all are what resonate with us as people. Whether the story is a romance on the high seas between two women, or a man and a woman in the jungle, or an urban setting, it’s the themes that evoke the reaction in us. A compelling tale can and should be crafted regardless of the color of one’s skin, or the sort of fleshy bits the character is interested in. What’s important is who we are underneath the superficial outer layers, and whether one’s skin is alabaster fair or a deep chocolatey brown, we can all identify with themes such as love or loss.
When it comes down to it, saying that one doesn’t like something for “diversity’s sake” is a ruse. Nobody really wants a shallow, token character or story, and such a thing wouldn’t be particularly well-received anyway. No one wants a bad story. What I think is worthy of ridicule is the idea that a good story should have, by default, the fair skinned cast with a male hero and subservient women, and that deviating from this tired and trite formula must be for “diversity” rather than the desire to tell a good story. The idea is preposterous. I just wish more people would give these things a chance, rather than dismiss them out of hand because they are assumed to be “for diversity’s sake”.