in a galaxy far, far away

Like a lot of people I binged Bridgerton in one night. I love period pieces and there is absolutely nothing like Bridgerton. I haven’t read the books because the whole ‘Duke and I’ thing was never my thing but I may make an exception in this case.

Watching a diverse cast make a period piece is a very recent pleasure. I alos enjoyed Personal History of David Copperfield for the same reason. Does that sound awful? Does that sound like I’m treating it as a novelty? I don’t mean to but there’s no denying it is a novelty right now. Like watching women-led casts, it is sadly still a novelty to see films and shows that aren’t white male-dominated.

Bridgerton showed an alternate history for racial diversity, but unfortunately it’s fairly historically correct in its depictions of women’s right in Restoration era Britain. Women were mostly treated as nothing more than bargaining chips, chattels, and broodmares. As I touched on above, I’m not a reader of stories involving a Prince/Duke/billionaire/whatever. I’m not a fan of 50 Shades and that kind of thing. Researching an agent recently I noticed this line in their “What we’re not looking for” entry – ‘Romance where the hero would, in any other novel, be tried for domestic abuse (dubcon is not for us.‘ Then this, researching Dubcon, “Dub-con” refers to sex involving dubious consent in fanworks . This indicates that consent is unknown or uncertain, and this is distinguished from consent being definitely absent, as in non-con or rapefic . Often, a character involved is uncertain about whether he or she wants to participate. Seriously? This is what people are reading in 2021?

Yes, I am being judgemental.

The next generation are watching Ana and Elsa get shit done in Frozen-land but apparently some of us are still waiting for Mr Maserati Driver to whisk us away to the sex-dungeon under his cliff-top mansion?

Why does it matter? It matters because the whole chattel/broodmare thing is still a sad fact of life for many women around the world. It matters because some people are in relationships like that and can’t get out. It matters because what people do in the bedroom is often the least interesting thing about them, to quote Stephen Fry.

It also matters because how we live now creates a path and a pattern for those who come after us to follow. Like it or not, the way we act today is going to help determine the structure of the level of consciousness that everyone gets tomorrow.

no pressure, then…

My post on Facebook this morning… “A video of a 1998 Jana Wendt interview with author Toni Morrison is doing the rounds and people are (understandably) losing their minds. Jana, the darling of he Australian media in the 80s and 90s looked like she was in pain during the interview. She asks Morrison, arguably the pre-eminent female author in the US at the time, ‘Will you ever write stories about white people,’ I’m paraphrasing…but then she adds, ‘in order to enter the mainstream…’

Wtf Jana? I took one look at the blue eye-shadow on Wendt and thought, ‘hang on a minute, this has to be an old interview.’ We don’t need to look back 20+ years to find things to be outraged about, there’s plenty happening now but yeah, it’s an uncomfortable watch. You’ll have to go in search of the video. I don’t want to be guilty of spreading it further.

On one hand it’s great to see how far we’ve come but appalling to think how far we have to go if people think this is a current interview (blue eye shadow and vaseline on the lens notwithstanding!) I can’t imagine an interviewer of her stature (then) asking a question like that now. It’s ignorant and racist to the extreme. I still can’t believe she went there, even 23 years ago.

Rant over…for now.

I try to limit the amount of descriptors I use when writing my characters. I would rather a reader imagine for themselves what the character looks like. I’ll often mention a character’s ‘long, curly hair,’ or their height, but unless it’s crucial to the storyline I don’t know if detailed character descriptions work to move the plot forward, which is the goal after all.

I am now watching The Mandalorian. A bit late to the party I know but I wanted to watch it in one go and not wait for the eps to come out. I am LOVING it! Also with a quite diverse cast (but failing the Bechdel test so far), I’ve been using the opportunity to teach my husband about Spiral Dynamics. If you’ve watched it already this might make some sense to you.

At first I thought The Child aka baby Yoda was straight up Turquoise, but now I wonder if he’s the more rational Yellow. He did save Mando from the Mudhorn but he did then allow Mando to kill said Mudhorn. Turquoise may have found a way to save the Mudhorn too?…

But yeah, he’s got the Force and he’s helping people left and right with little regard for his own health and well-being. It’s for the greater good. That’s a pretty Turquoise thing to do.

The main character, the Mandalorian, is evolving before our eyes, moving up through the stages as he attempts to reunite The Child with his people. When we meet Mando he’s a warrior, so Purple, but he’s also a mercenary, so he’s got a bit of Orange creeping in there. But he’s mostly very Blue. Mandalorian isn’t a race, he explains, it’s a creed. Like the Martial Arts, the Mandalorians have a complex set of rules to live by and they stick to them to the death. For example, they can’t take their helmet off in front of another living being because the rules say they then must leave the order. Pretty harsh but that’s Blue to the core.

So when Mando meets baby Yoda, something shifts in him, right there on the screen. He decides to ‘answer the call’ and save the child’s life. What call? You know, The Call, the hero’s journey. The Star Wars universe is inhabited with all kinds of creatures and most of them are food for at least one of the other races. Mando has never seen anything like this baby before. He reaches his hand out to the infant who reaches back in a bit of a Michelangelo moment and Boom! He moves/gets pushed just a little into Green. Maybe it’s the Force he can feel but the story doesn’t mention that but instead focuses on Mando’s growing compassion for all beings, a decidedly Green perspective. After a surprisingly touching moment, (I’m not crying, you are!) he even finds himself caring about droids and suddenly sees even them as worthy of respect.

But then the Purple rears its head again when they kill the Crate Dragon. Purple kicks in when Beige (survival) is threatened. That’s the beauty of Spiral Dynamics – it’s a model for the evolution of humanity and anything can be viewed through the SD lens to make sense of it.

And the answer to the question of “how can we get people to evolve, to level up?” is easy to answer. Get them to care more, to be more compassionate to other beings and it’s easy. It should come naturally.