Paragon of Virtue

For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee.
Pyrrha Nkos

It’s no secret if you’ve followed me for a while that I was originally a big fan of RWBY.

And that I’m still a fan of the first 3 volumes, at least. Possibly the 4-5 ones also.

I’m also a fan of the Justice League Animated show (and recently I watched the Snyder cut of the live action movie, and holy cow was it like watching a different film! One I actually lied. I think we should burn the theatrical cut and pretend it never happened.)

So I was talking to my sister about both these things and comparing the characters, and she specifically requested I blog about this topic.

So here we go:

What is a Paragon?

Let’s look at the web’s definition, though most weebs already know what it is, sort of:

“A paragon means someone or something that is the very best. The English noun paragon comes from the Italian word paragone, which is a touchstone, a black stone that is used to tell the quality of gold. You rub the gold on the touchstone and you can find out how good the gold is.” (vocabulary.com)

Most people acknowledge that the main character of any given kids show or movie is supposed to be the paragon. And if I name names, you’ll see a pattern.

Anime has a paragon almost as a requirement, with a few exceptions, like the Shield Hero.

Midoriya (My Hero Academia)

Naruto (Naruto)

Tohru (Fruits Basket)

Natsu (Fairy Tale, Erza would also be one)

Hiro (Darling in the Franx)

Not all of these are perfect examples, the first two are the closest. But you know the characters who stand above the rest, who everyone wants to be like, who they trust to lead them, who they think has some moral insight that they don’t.

Outside of anime, the paragon is less worshiped, but still present.

Captain America (Avengers)

Xavier (X-men, often Logan also fulfills this role)

Mickey Mouse (any Micky Mouse media)

Aang (Avatar the Last Airbender)

So you see paragons are everywhere. That’s why it’s considered a trope.

For a better explanation of how it is used in a story and the pros and cons, I refer you to Overly Sarcastic Productions excellent video:

Love Red’s videos about tropes

So, of course, the two paragons I wanted to talk about are Ruby, from the show RWBY, and Superman, from the DC Universe. Particularly his recent shows and movie renditions.

I’m going to argue that neither of these characters are good paragons, though they are treated like paragons by their writers and fellow characters, and the fans, by and large.

But my unpopular opinion is that they both suck at fulfilling this role, and that is because people lack understanding of what makes a paragon really work.

I think it goes back to our culture’s lack of understanding of what makes a righteous person to begin with.

(I’ve argued that Gaara should be the protagonist of Naruto also, and a protagonist and paragon do not have to be the same thing but they usually are in anime, however I think Gaara fulfills both roles better.)

It’s easy to see why Superman would be considered the best of the best, who can be better than Superman?

Yet, it’s interesting that in every version of the Justice League that’s written where they turn to the dark side, Superman is the first to fall.

I now the premise is that he is the only one holding the league together, so if he falls, they all fall.

I’m going to argue now that that is actually one of the signs of a bad paragon.

1. Instead of people being inspired by the paragon, they instead rely on them, both intellectually and physically.

Ruby is the bigger offender here, but so is Superman.

Lazy thinking is the bane of every group in real life, but it’s also one of the main things that kills fictional teams.

The whole team relies on thsi one person to know what’s right and to know what to do.

Sample:

Yang from RWBY: “She (Ruby) always knows what to do, so I’m going to follow her.”

Flash from JL animated series: We don’t do that to our enemies.

Diana: Speak for yourself.

Flash: I was trying to speak for Superman.”

This is just one of many examples from the shows where the other characters rely on the example of the paragon…to a point where it seems they may not actually agree with them.

I’m against murder, of course, but Diana stopping herself only because Superman would say to, and not out of any mercy of her own, seems like a red flag.

And it’s made more poignant when we consider that both in the Justice Lords episode of this show, and in the video game and movie versions of the Dark Justice League, Diana goes dark once Superman has led the way. Implying she never had any root in herself and her own ideals to resist the pull of power.

Diana’s weakness is not thinking for herself. Flash, who we learn died before the League went full on power mad in the alternate world, would have been the only person to resist the corruption, and he is the only one to stop Diana in the regular timeline.

J’onn, the Maritian, also expresses how he wonders if they can still be a league, how many battles did they win just because Superman was there, he asks.

[I actually think he’s less necessary than they think based on the show at least, but not in the movies.]

On RWBY, Ruby is followed by her sister, Yang, but also by Ozpin, who insists that victory is in the simpler things. Even the theme song says ‘victory is in a simple soul.’

The problem is, Ruby is not a simple soul.

Actually she is full of insecurities, questions, and later on, she resorts to deception and misleading her allies, just because she’s not sure what they will do with the truth, even though she was angry at Ozpin for doing the same thing.

Whereas Oscar, a much better character, is against ding this, but gets ignored because no one respects him.

And Superman, despite Flash’s well meaning optimism, is not the paragon of mercy Flash thinks he is.

Flash didn’t witness the two times Superman tried to kill Darkseid, a villain who humiliated him more than even Lex Luthor, who he just barely holds himself back from killing as it is. But Superman actually had zero hesitation to try to kill Darkseid, and was only stopped, one by Supergirl using reason, and once by Batman, who used brute force (sort of, he got lucky with a boom tube.)

The issue I have with both Supes and Ruby isn’t that they make these mistakes, while being the leaders, but it’s actually my second point:

2. The paragon lacks humility.

A good paragon has flaws, that’s not the problem. The problem is when they pretend that they don’t.

Ruby makes a crap ton of mistakes, but notably, she never once admits it.

As far back as volume 1, Weiss goes off on Ruby for being reckless and a show-off, but then admits that she herself can be a little ‘demanding’ and offers to compromise.

I might be missing something, but I don’t recall Ruby ever owning up to Weiss having a point. She’s just blindly confident that she’ll impress everyone with her skills. Which she does, but that doesn’t make her a good leader.

Weiss also complains that Ruby is the leader of their team, and offers some valid reasons, which in my mind were proven entirely right by Ruby herself several times, and then some, and while Weiss is hardly perfect, Ruby never tries to amend her actions to give Weiss more confidence in her, or acknowledge Weiss might have a point.

“I’m not perfect! Not yet, but I’m still a hundred times better than you.” Weiss, volume one. (I may have paraphrased slightly)

All the way up to Volumes 6-8, which were all horrible train wrecks, including the actual train wreck that happened in volume 6, where Ruby actually says she never needed her uncle’s help, after he saved her butt like 3 times just since his reintroduction in vol 4, and the other times people bailed her out.

Ruby, much like Naruto and Deku on their shows, doesn’t one off win nay fights on her own after volume 2, and that was a draw. Yet she has the idea that she’s independent somehow…why?

Let’s look at Superman for a moment.

In one of the worst episodes of the first JL show (but still far better than the last season of the Unlimited follow up show) Secret Society, Superman pisses off Flash and Hawk Girl by saying:

“At the end of the day, I’m the invulnerable one. Every hit I take is one someone else doesn’t have to.”

While they get mad at this, no one makes the pretty obvious come back: “Sure, until someone has Kryptonite or Red Sun Radiation.”

Something multiple people have had access to, in the show alone, and on his own show.

Superman may be tough, but everyone knows his weaknesses! He’s not invulnerable or invincible. Plus, even Lois Lane has had to save him, not once, but at least 2 or 3 times on his show, and the others saved him many times on the Justice League show.

So where does he get off suggesting that he’s somehow less subject to peril than they are? If he was less reckless about his own safety, they’d actually win their fights faster because they might employ this thing called strategy.

And this leads into point number 3

3. A paragon that never learns

Because of people worshiping them, and their big head, often bad paragons never learn anything from their mistakes.

The entire show of RWBY is proof of that for Ruby, but Superman is a little less obvious.

However, if we consider what happens in the Justice League show, it’s kind of unnerving.

One episode, Patriot Act, points out that after the League got called into question for having a weapon that was worse than a bomb would have been in their watchtower, and Cadmus has issues with them, instead of losing power, the League gains a second base on the earth, but doesn’t’ dismantle their watchtower.

And the only group that was capable of competing with them has been so publicly shamed that they are no longer a threat. Meaning the League is freer from criticism than ever.

Yet the League is still caught off guard by the villains unifying, and almost loses yet again to Darkseid. Superman, rather than show more caution, seems to be overly confident, and has to be saved, ultimately, by Lex Luthor, the most humiliating choice yet.

I can’t blame Superman entirely for that, but he didn’t really back off after the Cadmus incident. I don’t see how getting more power is learning his lesson about hubris and controlling things too much.

What really stands in the way of the League becoming the Justice Lords by the end of the show? Only Flash, anything could still happen to him. How have they learned and become stronger?

This is a problem with the show overall, but especially with Superman. Everyone else changes and evolves over time at least a little, but he stays the same. The same pride and anger under the surface, and willingness to compromise what he claims he upholds.

And finally, one last point

4. A paragon who is only an example when everyone is looking or they have something to prove.

What I detest about both Ruby and Superman, not because I’d hate them as people if it was true, but because they are hailed as such paragons of virtue, is their lack of consideration for anyone else.

If no one is looking, Ruby never gives a crap about helping anyboyd but herself, if shes’ not playint he hor.

Ruby herself is helped both by Blake and Jaune just on her first day at Beacon Academy, but we see her help no one else, nor try to.

While others stand up to the racism against Faunus, Ruby does nothing.

And when Oscar gets beat on for unfair reasons later in the show, Ruby only steps in one time, and that’s when it’s someone who she’d not get much flack for calling out, but not when her uncle or sister also abuse Oscar.

Ruby is nice to Oscar, because she has a crush on him, and once or twice she is nice to Jaune. So she’s not the worst, but she never goes out of her way to help anybody. Nor is she ever more open-minded than anyone else in the team.

But Superman has to be even worse.

I was reading someone else’s post about Wonder Woman the other day, and they brought up a scene where Diana teaches a little girl how to fight to help her have confidence about playing with the boys. The author commented that she couldn’t see Superman or Batman doing this.

I think Batman actually does demonstrate compassion more often, in his own way, when he helps Ace, one of the villains Cadmus created, as well as Baby Doll, one of his sadder villains, and many others. Actually it’s why he and Diana are good together.

But I agree, I can’t see Superman doing it.

Superman is the type of guy who’d say he has to focus on the big problems, fly around and help people, and the little things aren’t ones he can afford to spend time on.

Yet those things are what make us the most human and help us to stay grounded. If you’d take time to help a kid, even if it’s just over something small, then you will remember what’s really important.

He keeps Lois, the closest relationship he has, at arm’s length. At the end of the show, she still doesn’t know his real identity, that we know of. She knows freaking Batman’s, but not his!

I’ve never seen Superman help a kid, outside of his old comics, and then it was to prove a point, that he was Superman…he still helped either way, and I’m not saying he wouldn’t have anyhow, but he got invested primarily for that reason.

Contrast it with Flash, who is a great guy on and off the job, based on how his coworkers treat him. And is a great guy even to the other League members.

Can you see Superman getting Hawk Girl a coffee and blanket? Or giving an old coot an actual fair chance to explain his magic crystal and have a job later? Or painting someone’s fence?

Me neither. The fact that I wouldn’t even imagine it says a lot.

Oh and RWBY has an example of this too. Pyrrha freaking Nikos!

And that’s the perfect cue for me to launch into why Pyrrha is a way better paragon than Ruby, and why many people would be a better one than Superman.

Ironically, almost any member of the 7 would be better than Superman, but most of them lack the leadership drive to be so.

Good Paragon traits

Basically just turn all the bad ones on thier head.

Let’s star twith the last one and work backwards.

Instead of only dong good when it’s beneficial for them also, good Paragons do good when no one thanks them for it.

On Naruto, Gaara sticks up for the rights of people to have life, and for the ideals of mercy, long before he gets made the leader of the army. He works for years to reform Sand Village, to the point where assassination attempt on him by the elders who think he’s crazy or wrong happen so often that his siblings no longer even react to having to save him and each other’s lives at any given moment.

On RWBY, Pyrrha sticks up for Faunus though it gets her little thanks from her classmates. She also helps Jaune with his problems, even when it would get her the opposite of what she wants, or when he gets mad at her.

But what I love is that she’s got bit of a temper too. When Jaune forsakes his team because Cardin blackmails him, instead of coming to them for help, she makes her sentiment clear until he finally apologizes, but she still bails him out of a tight spot.

Pyrrha helps Jaune for his own sake, even when she’s not getting anyth out of it.

She also is nice to team RWBY, paying for their meal and is generally kind and caring to everyone.

Jaune also is a decent paragon, he has more of the traits of pursuing excellence that they have in anime, but he also sticks up for his team and helps people even when he doesn’t have to, as I mentioned above.

Turning back to Justice League, Wonder Woman is far more compassionate than Superman, and Batman is less arrogant. Flash however is the best example, since he combines both those traits at the same time.

Often the traits of a good paragon would be better if they rested on two or three character’s instead of just one, since few people are that virtuous, but if we want to find who’d be a better starting point, those are our choices.

Hawk Girl has the most integrity of everyone in the League, but lacks the confidence to lead, or she might make the better choice.

Point number 2, all of these other characters learn more than the actual paragon characters do.

Granted, not that much, in Batman’s case.

But Batman has a healthy respect for people with different qualities than himself, whereas Superman doesn’t.

Pyrrha is not given the chance to learn much since she (SPOILER ALERT) dies before she really can. But based on her overall humility, it seems like she would have.

Jaune we see does learn from his mistakes and improve, becoming more of a peacemaker in the group and a protector.

And of course, that includes having humility.

One of my favorite things about Pyrrha’s character, as I got more mature about looking at her, was that she isn’t above improving. She has a power that makes it easy for her to win fights by hardly doing anything, but only uses it to give her a bit of an edge, she still trains like crazy to hone her skills. She still thinks she needs to practice. Shes’ willing to team up with less skilled people like Jaune just because she likes his attitude, and to take orders from him despite his lack of experience, unlike Weiss’s attitude towards Ruby.

Pyrrha could roll her eyes😒at Jaune, but instead she builds him up. And he becomes the kind of leader she believed in, as he even acknowledges in vole 5 when he said she told him something once, and he believed her.

Pyrrha and Jaune

Pyrrha could win more on a different team, or if she asserted herself over Juane, but she doesn’t. Instead she embraces being treated like a normal person by him, and doesn’t see herself as the invincible, untouchable warrior.

And last bu not least, back to point 1.

A good paragon is not worshiped, they are imitated and respected.

Perhaps this is where Pyrrha, Flash, and the others I mentioned shine most clearly beyond their competition of the canon paragons.

While people talk about imitating Ruby, or Superman, no one actually does it. Or when they do, it’s usually the worst parts of them. Because people always copy your underlying attitude more than your professed one.

Flash copies Superman’s reckless actions more than his selfless ones, the Flash is selfless on his own, that’s why he can take that out of Superman’s example, but Superman never really has any interaction with Flash about this, nor do we see any one moment where Flash is inspired by him to be selfless when he’s actually there.

In contrast, Batman is moved by Flash’es compassion towards his foe the Trickster, in the episode about Flash. And tells Orion that he does not understand him.

Batman actually never talks Flash down, notably, and hes’ shown to be a closet fan of the Flash even in other renditions of the League.

So Flash inspires respect from people it’s worthwhile to earn the respect of, and he is looked up to by kids and regular citizens also just for being so good hearted.

Even if not everyone imitates Flash, they respect his heart.

Pyrrha on the other hand has admiration from her peers and superiors alike, but it’s interesting that in her closet ring of friends, she doesn’t inspire the hero worship that Ruby does.

People don’t look up to Pyrrha to lead them, they want to be like her, because she follows the right thing not just in her words, but in her actions.

Ruby and Superman tell people what the right thing is, Pyrrha and Flash show them what it is.

This doesn’t even mean that I’m arguing for Pyrrha and Flash to be the leader of their teams, I don’t think either of them are suited to that, in fact I thin paragons often don’t make good leaders because of their lack of putting themselves first. A leader ha to have some self confidence.

But like Jaune, and like Batman, the best leaders are the ones who are following the example of a paragon who isn’t the leader, but isn’t a blind follower either, who makes their own choices, but i willing to work with others also.

Pyrrha never turns down help, and Flash is the first to ask for it again after the League breaks up.

Every leader I know of who is also a paragon is the most boring and frustrating kind of protagonist, the most engaging leaders are the ones who learn from paragons as they go.

Like the show My Little Pony’s MC Twilight, who has to learn from all her friends in order to become the Princess of Friendship.

Pyrrha’s influence is felt in volume 4 and 6 especially when we see that Juane, as well as her other teammates, all want to be more like her, they do not say that about Ruby.

Ruby can lead, but she can not exemplify. That’s the problem.

Like Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Luke might be the leader, but he’s following Obi Wan’s example.

Once in a great while, a paragon may make a good protagonist, Twilight Sparkle sort of grows into being a paragon by the end of MLP, usually it’s done best when it’s like that, one character growing into being one over time.

Which is where Pyrrha having struggles and an arc in volume 3 made her much more like a protagonist than Ruby has ever been, fight me.

A paragon can also become a protagonist over time, it’s usually very satisfying to see that actually.

But the starting point has to be them working together, or it just doesn’t feel right, at least to me, it feels fake.

We are all protagonists in our own lives, but we all should want to be paragons, and if we find people looking up to us like ones, we should never forget to be protagonists also, always able to learn from others.

But when you divorce these two characters from helping each other, your story falls apart, because that’s not real life.

And with that, I think I’ll end this post, until next time–Natasha.

Leave Will Smith Alone, gosh!

Look, I think this whole thing around Will is none of my business, so I’m not going to bother talking about what he did and how he did it.

In fact, I don’t want to dedicate a lot of time to this at all. I just have a few things to point out:

However he did it, the fact that a man defended his wife is being made into a public spectacle.

Can you imagine this happening 100 years ago? I can’t. Probably no one would have thought twice about it. And if there was a little hot temper involved, oh well, people knew you didn’t say things about other people’s wives in front of them. In fact, you didn’t make personal remarks at all, you know why? Because even if it seems like a joke, some people are going to use it to mock them, and it’s not funny then. IT was just a rule of polite society not to open people up to public mockery, and I frankly miss that rule. I have never seen it end well when it’s discarded at churches, schools, or anywhere else.

2. Whatever happened, how is it any of our business?

Think about it, are we going to make Will Smith regret his actions? Probably not. Are we making what the guy on stage said okay? No one’s talking about that?

What exactly are we getting so worked up about anyway? That our peer pressure can’t micromanage every actor in the world into the small little bubble of acceptable behavior that one of us can agree on anyway?

Yeah, so much for freedom of expression. I guess not if you’re a celebrity.

I mean, no one’s asking if the dude who said the thing should have the freedom to make such jokes about people just because he’s a comedian. I’ve never found it funny anyway. Maybe because I got made fun of for things I couldn’t help about my appearance when I was younger. Or maybe because…it’s just not funny. What exactly is so funny about people’s looks, unless they are deliberately trying to look silly? Think about it.

3. Are we all qualified to pass judgement?

How many of us are going to be in Will’s position, where our SO is being humiliated in front of other people and we have to make a judgment call about it?

Would we have the guts to defend them in any way, let alone the right way?And how many men would have kept it chill at that point?

Is Will Smith above being human, now? Is he somehow not subject to anger or embarrassment or guilt?

I’m not saying it was good or bad, again, just asking why we all think we should just say this?

Because, slapping someone is not a crime. Sorry. Maybe it’s not good…but there’s not exactly a rule book for it, is there?

4. People think it was unprofessional.

I totally agree, it’s better to be real classy and ignore your wife’s feelings being hurt so that the dude talking about it has the green light to do it again.

Again, maybe there’s another way to handle things, but we can’t always pick and choose our spotlight. Would it be right if it was in private?

And maybe the comedian just shouldn’t be allowed to say things like that, again. Isn’t that inappropriate also?

So yeah, I guess that sums up my thoughts on it.

It’s true, maybe no one cares about my opinion either. But then why should any of us care about theirs? And why should Will Smith?

I’m making a better case for leaving it alone than anyone is making for gossiping about it, which, by the way, if you are a Christian, gossiping is unbibilical. And so is publicly harming people in this manner.

I’m not standing up for Will Smith so much as decrying the whole cultural concept that thinks this is okay, it’s disgusting. And he’s just one instance of it. It bothers me in politics as well as with other public figures. Ew.

Of course I open myself up to the same treatment by putting myself on line, but that’s kind of lie the argument that women open themselves up to being assaulted by stepping outside their doors without a man.

They both have to do this to do their jobs, usually, and, just because we have to take the risk doesn’t make the jerks who take advantage of it not guilty. That sounds like something guilty people would say.

So yeah, anyone who uses the excuse that Will is a celebrity and so has opened himself up to public scrutiny as an excuse to publicly flog him for this…you’re basically using the same loci as those jerks who say women’s clothes make it okay to harass them. Hope you’re proud of yourselves.

And if that offends you…

Uh…why should I care? I’m not a celebrity.

And that’s about all I have to say about it. My biggest hope from this post is just that I got someone to think twice about why we do this, and if it’s really okay, I’m not expecting to get a whole movement going here.

After all, I’m not ABC news.

Signing off, and stay honest– Natasha Queen.

So I watched Encanto…

One of the unsung perks of babysitting in this country is that you get to use people’s streaming accounts even if you don’t have them. I’ve watched a crap ton of Netflix and Disney Plus because of babysitting.

That’s how I watched Vivo…which is a better movie than Encanto, bite me.

Funny because Lin Manuel Miranda worked on both, I just think Vivo’s plot and themes suited his talents better than a Disney Girl musical (since now we aren’t even pretending they’re princesses…although this movie might as well have been about a princess.)

I’m not going to hate on Encanto, it was an enjoyable ride, but after watching it, I do think it is inferior to its predecessors.

I’m sure all of you are too nice to hate on me for saying that, but if I went on a different platform, I think I’d start a riot. Everyone seems to love this movie.

Well, it’s mediocre, sorry, not sorry.

I won’t deny the animation was gorgeous, a joy to watch. The songs were…predictable. The only one I thought really stood out as creative lyrically was the “Pressure” one. Then, Imperfect was okay, and “WE Don’t talk about Bruno” was impressive editing-wise, but lyrics were a little weird, I thought.

But I’m not much for modern musical movies, to be fair. I like old ones better.

i have before unashamedly said that I like Disney movies–some of them–and that Frozen is actually my favorite movie, for personal reasons. See: Why a DP movie is my favorite. Why a DP movie is my favorite part 2. I don’t think it’s the most amazing movie ever made, but it stands out form other Disney films, I’m not the only one who thought it has a different vibe, wrapped up in a Disney package, it still somehow felt unique. Thought he haters will never admit it.

Encanto is a beautiful mess, that is my honest opinion. I was interested in the plot while watching it, and the 3 year old I was watching it with loved the music. But I kept waiting for the movie to make its point…and by the end I was just…non plussed.

Encanto basically has two or three over arching themes, and it tries to bring all of them together at the end, but it doesn’t finish any of them. The ending was one of the most rushed I’ve seen in a Disney film, and the characters were not well flushed out. We only get depth on Luisa and Isabel, and it’s dropped after one song.

Abuela’s character being the cause of the magic disappearing was predictable, I called it form the beginning. But that wouldn’t have been bad. I thought it actually added to the idea that families often miss the obvious when it comes to their problems. It’s true in my family, for sure.

I actually thought they were going to do a Brave thing, and make it both the older and younger women had pride and selfishness, and that was the cause of the rift. And the magic of the family was tied to their unity.

The movie implies this, but doesn’t say it.

I could put that down to a wish for subtlety, except every other theme in this movie is blatant and shoved in your face, as with most kids’ movies, so why they would hesitated to spell it out for us, if they actually intended it, I don’t know.

I don’t necessarily mind blatant messages, I think kids need things to be spelled out for them, and adults who watch kid content should be prepared for that. But I think you can do it tastefully and creatively. Just singing it to save time is not tasteful.

The imagery in this movie is probably its best feature. The lights, the candle, the sand, the cracks.

I kind of thought Bruno’s character was less impressive than he could have been, he was exactly what I expected, and the goofy, kooky character seeing the future and then hiding…well, it’s a little old. But it’s not bad, so it’s more of a personal wish than a criticism.

What actually made me mad about this movie was the ending. The first half was quite good, but it was like they ran out of run time. Isabel and Mirabel get over 20 years of disagreeing, (or 18, or whatever it was) and it takes 2 minute of one song for them to suddenly understand each other?

I was the scapegoat and my sister was the golden child, it took us months of disagreeing, and years of tension before that, to work out our differences. Especially when our dad poured gasoline on the fire.

And another thing, I found it stupid that only Mirabel was yelling at Abuela at the end. If Luisa and Isabel were really that miserable, seeing Mirabel do that should have just burst the dam. Especially for Isabel.

Also the magic was so poorly explained.

I know that magic does not always need to be explained in a story, I actually don’t like it when it is, like, We didn’t need an explanation for Elsa’s magic–and the one we got made no sense.

But in this movie, the magic disappearing is the whole point, so that is the time to explain how it works, the entire point of most of the film is Mirabel trying to understand the magic, so explaining it was totally necessary.

And what is explained…nothing!

I mean, I guess the magic relies on the family’s…bond? But then why doesn’t it crack every time one of them fights? The one lady with the weather powers should be having cracks every 10 minutes. Isabel and Mirabel should have been causing issues all along. Then Abuela’s obsession with perfection might actually make more sense.

Or how about this, make the fact that Abuela herself actually has no gift, and just guards the candle and house the reason she doesn’t like Mirabel. Mirabel reminds her of her own mortality, and humanness, and we tend to project our insecurities onto other people. So when she’s yelling at Mirabel, she’s really upset at herself. And Mirabel annoys her by not being as stressed about it as she is. I’ve known that to happen to many people in real life, myself included. Misery loves company.

This is almost implied in the movie…but never enough to be sure it’s actually what it’s saying.

Also, the conflict of this movie is set up poorly.

We’re supposed to be wonder why Mirabel has no gift, right? Well that question is never answered. Ever.

Then we’re supposed to wonder if the gift is becoming a curse…

But the thing is, Mirabel’s mom is a really nice lady, and supportive of all her daughters, and so is their father. Isabel is so driven to be perfect…why?

I can’t recall her ever actually being told she was doing something wrong. Maybe she just wanted to avoid it ever happening, but most people aren’t afraid to fail until they have failed in a painful way, and we never see her do that. Perfectionism comes from not being able to control things when you were a kid, but we get no such story with Isabel.

We never see Luisa told it would be selfish to take a break. She just assumes it.

We’re meant to think Abuela made them think this way just by her example…but even if that is true, no one ever questioned it before? And why do none of the men feel this way? They seem carefree, and happy-go-lucky. No pressure there.

And while the townspeople take advantage of the family’s gifts, they aren’t ever pushy about it.

So why are these two girls so driven? Isabel says she was going to marry the guy for the family…but they never push her to do it, they just assume she wants to marry him. If she’d ever spoken up about it, I’m sure they’d have been happy to push Dolores forward instead. Why does it need to be Isabel?

And by the way, Dolores character had the potential to be so much more compelling. Imagine if you could hear everything? Everything anyone ever said about you? That sounds like a curse to me. Maybe that’s why she tries to be invisible, so people won’t talk bad about her.

Would make relationships difficult, and relaxing. She’s shown to be jumpy, but she doesn’t get her own song, and she doesn’t ever get a moment to explain it. A total waste of potential. I’d say her life is way harder than Isabel’s.

I mean, when the main conflict of your story is your MC just isn’t special enough….what the heck movie? Is that what counts as drama these days? Her family loves her, and the one person who actually is hostile to her, Isabel, is not even in most of the movie, and resolves the conflict in 3 minutes…yay!

Mirabel is all like “I can’t embrace Isabel!” and then 5 minutes later “Oh my gosh, I was so wrong about her!”

Uh…you weren’t really, you just didn’t know why she acted that way, she still acted like a b-word. And perfectionism is no excuse to bully your sister, Isabel. How about an apology?

Nope…nothing.

I mean Isabel could have said she envied Mirabel her freedom to do whatever she wants. Built on the trapped by your gift thing…but nope.

And another thing, if Isabel is so stuck…why doesn’t she want to try something other than growing flowers? Her whole rebellion is spraying herself with colors and growing cacti…who in the heck said she couldn’t grow cacti? Cacti are useful, heck her mom could use aloe to cure people, everyone would be all over that. And she has a whole room to experience with crazy flowers in, and no one else seems to care…what exactly is holding her back?

I mean, Abuela only cares when it becomes convenient for the plot, she never reprimands Isabel before then.

Movie, stop expecting me to assume domestic abuse, actually show it if you want to use it, you coward!

You now that just ticks me off about this film, and every other kids’ media I watch these days. Domestic problems are assumed. No on’es family is actually good, no one is actually happy, it all hast o be fake. You can bet if I see a nice character, I’m going to find out they have skeletons in their closet later in the story.

And while no human is perfect, not all of us are as royally fricked up as the movies imply. Sometimes we just get frustrated once in a while, and guess what, we move on! Some of us actually deal with it in a healthy way. Geez! What is the problem Hollywood?

I think it’s on purpose, the idea of contentment just doesn’t sell, so every character has to have a dark side.

Frozen kicked off this trend–but you know how Frozen made it work?

Because we actually see Elsa’s powers backfire, we see her parents tell her bad advice, we see her fear of herself grow–the movie accomplishes this in 10 minutes. We all perfectly understand why Elsa is afraid, how it affects her, and that Anna is unaware of it.

Then when Elsa goes berserk, we know why. It’s not random, we see the causes.

And her problems instead of being over in 5 minutes, take a whole movie to work through. And are revisited in the shorts and the sequel–which are not great, but at least they aren’t delusional enough to say Elsa is never going to doubt again. Of course she will, but she now lets herself be helped, that was the difference.

Where is this in Encanto? Or should I say Donde esta en la cinema Encanto? (Pretty sure I said that wrong, but my Spanish is not great, and the constant switch in the movie was not as charming as they thought it was. I was just left feeling like the whole thing should have been in Spanish, or English, pick one.)

Nada! Nunca! It’s not there. You won’t find any deepening, or further introspection of any of these characters. One song, that’s it.

That’s one of my problems with the movie.

The other one is the Magic itself, and the Miracle. It’s never explained.

And why Mirabel does not have a gift. She wanted to know.

I think the movie’s biggest mistake here was that when Mirabel went to get her gift, the door began to form…but then it stopped.

If she was truly just not meant to have one, fine. But then why did she start to get it and then it stopped? The candle changed its mind? Hmm?

Sure seems like something went wrong, not looking at Bruno’s excommunication or anything.

And if the family splitting is what lead to the magic cracking, than it would have made perfect sense that Mirabel’s lack of gift was because it weakened after they sent Bruno packing. Like, it literally seems like that’s what they are implying.

Mirabel even sees the same cracks as Bruno. Which could have been taken as maybe she was going to have the same gift as him, because he wasn’t around, but because he still is, she couldn’t get it, and it broke.

Then restoring Bruno the family, and fixing the house should have fixed her problem. But she still has no gift at the end…even though she restore the magic, so she has magic, but no gift….because logic….

You have all the set up to make this make sense…but no pay off? Nothing.

Because oh she’s just special enough without a gift…

(How can not being special be what makes you special? It’s a logical fallacy.)

Well if that’s true, why restore the gifts at all. If it really had become a burden, then just let it go, accept change.

Wasn’t that the message? If you hold onto the past too tightly it crushes the very people you were trying to protect…I thought that’s what they were saying.

But I mean, i’s Disney, so of course the Magic shouldn’t have disappeared at the end…but Mirabel still can’t have a gift because reasons.

Even though it clearly show she didn’t get a gift because something went wrong, setting it right doesn’t give her one…why? She doesn’t want one anymore?

I fail to understand you movie.

I thought they all should have either lost their gifts for good, or never lost them at all. Maybe they just could have corrupted, been twisted, like in Frozen. Because they were used wrong. That’s more true to real life anyway. We don’t lose our talents because of stress, but they do become less pure.

So in the end, this movie has two messages. Or three really. 1. You don’t need a gift to be special, because not being special is what makes you special. (Cure the Incredibles rant about celebrating mediocrity) 2. If you put yourself into one box, it will crush your spirit, it’s okay to have more than one interest and to take a break. 3. Holding onto the past is bad. Embrace the future. (As long as you do it by not forgetting what made your family special in the past and reigniting that flame….get it? Because it’s a candle, we’re so clever).

How did anyone like this movie’s ending? I get liking the songs and story, but the ending? It makes no sense. None few these three messages is finished. Nothing is explained, and there is no truth. Everything goes back to being exactly how it was, except that Isabel goes disco tech, Luisa takes naps, and Dolores gets with the guy who’s about as deep as a kiddie pool.

Mirabel is not a different person than before. And the town is the same…so yeah…

I really thought there could have been something really good there. Heck, even all three of those message together would have been okay, if they were finished. But they aren’t. There is no point of resolution.

An apology is not a resolution if the problem is that complex. That worked in Brave because the mother -daughter conflict is present in the whole movie, shown to be the core of its problems, and is explained as the way to resolve them. Merida humbling herself makes sense, because Pride was her problem.

But the whole family conflict in this movie is so shaky. Not everyone is unhappy. The problem are so minor that literally two conversations fixed them, and Bruno comes back with no fanfare whatsoever, and Mirabel isn’t even the reason.

Mirabel was actually mostly useless, she spends most of the movie making the problem worse, and in the end is the reason the magic goes out…so way to defy negative expectations there, movie.

Guess she really was the bug in the system…and maybe it deserved to crash and burn…so show that. Don’t just make it all go away because apologies!

Ugh…

Perhaps I am oversimplifying. But it was still poorly done.

Encanto is, in my opinion, a product of our culture.

Fewer and fewer movies and show have any definite meaning now. And fewer and fewer people seem to notice it. We are becoming incapable of discerning structure and payoff in a story.

As long as the label diversity is stamped on something, we swallow any amount of lazy writing, and Hollywood knows we will.

Encanto is a badly written movie that would not have stacked up to a 90s Disney Movie, and they have very weak conflicts usually, but at least hey are clear. Ariel may be kind of a bratty teen, but at least I know why. I know why Aladdin wants to be a prince, even if he’s a liar. I know why Mulan is going to war ( and that is one of the best Disney movies there is).

I don’t know that with Encanto. It would have taken like 1 extra song, and 5 minutes to explain, but it’s not there. They could have cut the unnecessary songs and put in actual story, they could have not rehashed the begging like 3 times for padding. It was fixable. How did someone not say “Uh guys, we didn’t answer any of our own questions in this script…can we like…fix that?”

But no one cars, becuase diversity!

I can’t say I see what a magic house really has to do with Columbian culture. Or how themes that are so clearly modern are really representing what makes it special. Kind of the running joke of representation in Disney is that it’s…you know, based in fictional countries, so you can’t really represent real ethnic groups…

I mean, people complain about how all the old movies had white characters…but they were stories form Europe, of course they could have white characters. Whenever the movie were set in other countries, they changed the ethnicity…I never really saw the issue. People just like to complain.

And I don’t mind if a movie is set in a Mexican, or Colombian culture, if it’s good. I enjoy movies like that.

But I won’t approve bad writing just because it was packaged in a nice look, and fun songs.

I’m sure it would be fun to watch Encanto, but it has no meaning. It is gutless, it doesn’t commit to any one message, because it doesn’t have to to be liked, and the creators knew that.

But I think this in underminding our chilrend’s abilty to tell when there even is a emssage in osmeitng.

Implied messages that are not stated are usually called propaganda. Subtle, but propaganda. When a message is boldly stated, it opens itself up to criticism.

But if it’s vague, you can’t really criticize it. So it is gutless, but the implicates are enough to squeeze it by the virtue signalling SJWS, so they think it has meaning.

If you still think I’m being too harsh, I challenge you to take Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Moana, take a pen, and write down each main element of those movies. each character’s conflict…and then how the movie resolved it.

I defy you to find a way it really was fleshed out. It’s implied, that’s all. Implications don’t help us in real life. People need actual ideas if they will change.

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned.

Encanto is not evil or bad in of itself, so much as it is just lazy, but what scare me is it never would have been praise so much a few decades ago, and now it’s haled as top tier.

A Goofy Movie did family conflict better, sue me.

Well, I think I have ranted enough, this movie is not horrible to watch, but I can’t endorse anything it says, as it says nothing whatsoever. That’s my verdict. Watch it for a good time, but don’t expect any substance, and you’ll be fine.

Try Brave or Frozen if you want the exact same message but with an actual message. Or any of the renaissance era movies.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why I hate YA novels…but still read them.

Okay, this isn’t the most serious topic, but sometimes you just gotta blow off steam.

I don’t know if the people who read this blog are really the type to read Young Adult or Teen novels, but some of you watch anime, and that’s kind of the same crowd, so…

When I was younger, I didn’t really read these books, I actually hardly read any teen novels till I was already almost an adult. My mother wouldn’t have let me, to be honest.

I barely got to read Christian Romance novels. And those were mostly horrid.

I couldn’t even tell you the first teen novel I read now, that’s how little it stuck with me, they are more my sister’s thing anyway.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s usually some type of romance, coupled wither with fantasy, action, or horror like plots, but they are more vanilla than the adult counterparts…but usually still pretty bad.

For whatever reasons, Twilight made vampires and werewolves a popular part of teen fiction, and so are witches, and fantasy things.

Or you have your typical high school story about popularity and being yourself.

A lot of YA novels are set around adult characters, but they still act like teenagers.

And most romance stories, even for older women, follow the exact same tropes as teen novels…but with more sex.

The whole hting disgusts me.

The only ones I generally read are fantasy ones that sound interesting plot wise until you actually read them, and it’s just more tropes and angst.

When I was still a teenager, I got a good look at how teens write because I joined this online forum called the Young Writer’s Workshop.

The stories I read there were total garbage for the most part, a few might have had potential.

What I found disappointing was that they were all exactly the same. I could understand bad writing from inexperienced writers, if it was in every genre, and had some diversity…but all the books had the same style, themes, and ideas in them.

I was shocked. My own writing had never resembled anything like this at all, even at its worst. I had more originally when I was 8 than these stories usually had.

And I’m not saying that just to brag. My early attempts at writing were not good, but I was at least trying to come up with my own story.

I’m aware that these young author probably did come up with the ideas themselves, they just executed them in the same way.

And I think I know why, most of what teens read now is either fan fiction, romance , or teen novels. They don’t read classics, or philosophy, or non fiction.

I grew up reading all of that, I was homeschooled. I knew C. S. Lewis’s writing better than I knew J. K. Rollings. And that’s not even a teen novel.

I have attempted to write some of these tee story plots in the past, I find them kind of interesting as a premise. A lot of the ideas have potential, if you don’t take them too seriously.

A lot of stories, for example, try to use fairy tale races to explore racial problems in our own world. The Hunger Games famously tried to reflect back our society’s superficial obsession with entertainment, no matter how morally bankrupt it is.

But the Hunger Games annoyed fans most when it became the most like a teen novel, and focused on a love triangle and teen drama when it could have focused on the more important elements.

There’s this assumption in teen or YA fiction that teenagers are not going to care about a story unless there’s some drama in it. That they are incapable of higher thought,, and higher aspirations, we just want to date and dress up and play games, and maybe save the world on the side.

A lot of teens buy into this.

When I was 12-13, my mom was encouraging me to read books like “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, and “A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” by Shannon Brookes. Books that told me that the teen years are a time to prepare for bigger things. That I could still take them seriously.

That had me trying to start my own ministry and teach people while I was still in high-school.

I didn’t succeed, but I learned a lot form trying and failing. I learned how hard it is to inspire people, and how hard it is to make them believe in something. And that coordination is difficult, and so is organizing something.

I also learned that people rarely take teenagers seriously when they say they want to do something serious.

I’m now in my 20s, and still getting disrespected by older people for being young. My generation is not looked highly upon…but then when are young people ever looked highly upon by older people? You’ll find accounts of older people knocking the younger generation in every part of history books.

I like what the Bible says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,” I live by that.

Anyway, to get back to my point, books aimed at people my age or a little younger, are really, really insulting.

To be fair, a lot of teens I knew in high-school were just about as basic as these books made them out to be, a lot were angry too. And would get mad at me if I said that things should be different.

I think I wasn’t that good at delivery back then, I was young and immature too. And while I’m not old enough yet to have all the perception of old age, I’m old enough to know better than I used to. I can now present myself much more clearly and politely.

However, I don’t think my lack of social grace was the real problem back then, teens don’t really notice that as much as adults do. You have to be old enough to expect to be treated with some amount of respect, before you get offended over it (think about that for a second.)

I think it was just I was raised a different way. And they couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand the pressures of their lives. Now that I’ve been to college and gotten a taste of it…I frankly still don’t see the appeal, but I do understand the social pressure to blend in more. People are vicious when you don’t agree with them, and the younger they are the less they have empathy about it.

I’m so glad I was homeschooled, to be honest. I see what my public schooled cousins go through and I’m relieved I didn’t have to deal with it till I was an adult.

But even with those problems, the stories we feed kids are not helping anything.

I mean if all we give them to think about are superficial, light stories, that is all they will think about.

You know while I’ve been fasting this month, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we distract ourselves in the West.

What makes us different from other parts of the world–though not completely different– is how many ways we can distract ourselves.

We all can afford it, subscriptions, splurges, junk food. all of it. Even the poorest people in our society still have phones, often enough. And TV.

Despite what critics of our country like to say, we don’t really have it so much better than everyone else. I mean, as a whole we do, but within that framework, a lot of us don’t have easy lives. For personal as well as community reasons. You don’t have to be poor to suffer, and wealth doesn’t get your happiness. Just makes you run out of excuses for being unhappy faster.

Teens in the West don’t have easy lives, but they do have over-saturated ones. Over saturated with corruption, propaganda and lust, and vanity.

Every prosperous nation has turned into a corrupted one, in history. People get cocky whey they don’t have to live day by day to survive.

I know that I’m a part of all this, but at least I’m aware of it.

And the books we write, and read, and make movies out of, they feed this.

Our entertainment quality is plunging every year. “Representation” has replaced original, deep plots and the message of personal fulfillment has replaced any other message of meaning in life.

There are a few gems here and there that defy this, but they are getting fewer all the time. When I find them I want to re-watch and reread them over and over.

One thing I thought while I was viewing the 90s X-Men show was just how different they wrote heroes back then. It’s only been about 30 years since the first season dropped.

In 30 years, most of these characters would have just been angsty, morally grey individuals. Who would all question if what they were dong was worth it, and be mildly or heavily depressed. Even the live action movies veered more that way, and most of them weren’t made that much later than the show, until the reboots, which are somehow less depressing than the old ones, but also less well acted, so…

( I still like them better, but I like happy stuff.)

Watching that show was like going back in time, I can just barely remember from when I was a kid, shows and movies that used to try to make character real. They had emotions that weren’t all angst and sadness and anger and doubt. They had diversity of worldview’s, and unlike now, they could explain why they did.

I’ve written before about the lack of strong ideology in movies now, how good characters can’t defend goodness as well as evil characters defend evil.

I may be nuts, but I think it’s deliberate, it happens too often to not be on purpose. I think that Hollywood wants us to see goodness and hope as emotional, weak position that people hold just because they refuse to give up. And all of us root for because we prefer it to the alternative.

But the evil position is what really makes sense, and has factual evidence to back it up, and we just prefer no to face reality.

Movies and anime tell you that you don’t want reality, you want entertainment. You want sexualized content, and fluffy feelings, and drama. You don’t want something real.

You’re weird, in fact, if you don’t like that.

Funny, all the Youtubers I watch express disgust with this very aspect of media when they review movies and shows. They yearn for meaning. Even the ones who make fun of it the most.

Even Nux Taku, a rather famous anime YouTuber who likes hentai, openly, will get into the deeper themes of something, even when, in my opinion, they aren’t really there.

We like to find meaning.

Hollywood knows how to get people to watch things that are garbage just because it checks the right boxes for them, and book novelists know how to get teens and young adults to read their material by luring them in with superficial appeal.

But I for one get tried of the lack of depth. What’s the point of this stuff?

I know, someone is going to say “But it’s just for fun, to relax.”

And, I get it. I want that sometimes too, just a dumb movie or book to read.

That’s okay once in a whle.

But I’m talking about all the time, like, kids who never read anything else, or watch anythig else.

I was surprised entering highschool not only by what people did watch or read, but what they didn’t.

I had a huge library of books and movies I liked that no one else had ever heard of except other homeschoolers. And I was flabbergasted. Why would you only read one kind of thing?

But that’s how it was. The brainwashing worked.

I don’t think it worlds completely though. Some people still want depth, and if introduced to better things, will learn to like them. I have hope.

My concern is those people are fewer and fewer the more saturated we are in the bad stuff. We don’t foster that trait in people, it makes them harder to please, and for such a commercialized culture, we need people to be convinced to buy things, not think about them.

Because of how I was raised, I actually avoid products I see advertised. I have an aversion to commercials and ads, they make me not want to buy something. I prefer to read reviews by real people. The few times I’ve broken that streak, I didn’t like the result.

I won’t say it’s wrong to listen to ads, a few are probably true, I’m saying it’s unwise to be so pliable.

Once you learn how to see when people are buying and selling you something, you become a lot harder to fool.

I think I got off topic.

But all this is really on topic. Teen novels are just a product of what I’m describing. Buying and selling a lifestyle and moral standard to teens that is so much less than what they are capable of.

Teens have shaped history many times, most important historical figures started what they did in their teens. There are exceptions, but it’s not the rule.

We are capable of high thought, and high achievements…and yet we soak up this superficiality, like as sponge, and we thing that’s what we re.

It makes me sad.

I take every chance I get to introduce people younger than me, or my age, to deeper ideas. Sometimes I think I’m getting somewhere, other times I think I’m not.

But we have to try, adults. It’s a worse sin not to try, than to try and fail. Some of them are bound to get it, they are still human.

That one thing to remember too, teens and young adults may be exposed to a lot of crap, and dumbed down by society, but they are still human beings. Humans can change, grow, and adapt, that’s what makes us human.

You can be brought down to the level of a slug, but the same person can be elevated to a prince or princess. Our state of mind is not set in stone at any point in our lives.

Some people may just be dumb, but I think most of us are just untrained. I’ve seen little glimpses of depth even in the people I thought were mostly shallow in my social circles.

I think it’s getting people to believe that about themselves that’s the trick, and to care about it. WE all want meaning, deep down, but most of us hide from that desire and pretend it’s not there.

I’m not writing this to put down teens or young people, by any means, I still am a young person. I just know I’ve been blessed to have the chance to see all this at an early age. I started this blog for that exact reason, to inspire younger people to look for depth and truth in whatever areas we can.

You see embracing that is the key to wisdom in life. A wise person learns from everything around them, whatever is available, they can even learn form total trash, if they try. A foolish person avoids learning as much as they can. And they accomplish very little in life.

I know I am fighting an uphill battle, that people often don’t really want to be wise…but this is what I’ve got. This is what I do. I pray it resonates with someone out there.

Maybe that’s why I keep reading these books, I’m looking for signs of hope. That other people are trying, and looking, and succeeding.

One author I could recommend is Megan Morrison. She’s modern, but I have found all her books to have depth that shocks me, considering what I usually see in that genre. They hold up. The best one is “Grounded” which is just a better version of Tangled, if you ask me. (I like Tangled too, but this book is so full of imagination and depth that a short movie just can’t capture.)

I guess all this sounds a bit sentimental, but I don’t know, why do any of us teach or inspire if not to try to raise people up to a higher level? It’s frustrating, but the most rewarding when you succeed.

They say being an artist is hard, but being a teacher has to be the hardest job in the world just about for high risks and low rewards. Along with being a pastor, probably.

So in summary:

  1. I hate these books because they are shallow
  2. I read them to find hidden gems
  3. I think we need to expect more of young people
  4. I think we need to expect more of ourselves

I guess that wraps it up, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Lyrics
Well I was young
Well I was young and naive
Because I was told
Because I was told, so I believed
I was told there’s only one road that leads me home
And the truth was a cave, on the mountain side
And I’d seek it out ’til the day I die
I was bound
I was bound and determined
To be the child
To be the child that you wanted
And I was blind to every sign that you left for me to find
And the truth became a tool, that I held in my hand
And I wielded it but did not understand
I was tired of giving more than you gave to me
And I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to seek
But in the silence I heard you calling out to me

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A gamble–analysis of Gambit’s character in X-Men

Someone actually requested I write this, that’s a first.

And I’m happy to oblige.

Like I said in my post about Rogue, check it out here if you haven’t: When you know you’ll hurt people who love you…, I hadn’t heard of Gambit before watching this show.

At first I didn’t think I’d like him, I’ve seen the flirty, player boy character one too many times on shows and movies to really be into it anymore.

But as with the other characters, this show surprised me by making him seem real, and likable, and he’s actually my second favorite male character.

I’d have to rank the characters as:

Rogue

Wolverine

Gambit

Storm

Beast

And of course, Nightcrawler holds a special place in my heart as the two time side character. It’s impressive how characters that show up only twice in the whole show were still iconic to fans, that’s some good writing.

Suck it Avatar. We don’t need to make them almost die to be relevant.

(Kidding, I like Avatar too, guys. I just don’t like Jet…)

Anyway, so about Gambit.

Full disclose, I’ve never read any X-men comics, I honestly probably won’t just because there’s so many comics, I wouldn’t know where to start to get the really good versions of them and I can’t spend that kind of money hunting through it all. Spiderman was my peak comic book experience. Nothing else has really felt as cool since.

So I have only the show’s limited focus on Gambit to go by.

But the show does a good job with the other characters, so I’m going to assume he’s depicted pretty accurately and analyze him.

I was asked specifically to talk about his hang ups.

Now that be a tricky question, no?

Forgive my poor Cajun accent in writing.

The fact is, like many characters, Gambit is not much for talking about his issues. I think he thinks he’s the strong, silent type.

I actually like that it’s not exactly true, and his idea of himself is probably not actually his character.

Gambit turned out to have a surprisingly soft, compassionate side, even from episode one where he takes it upon himself to protect Jubilee after only just meeting her. He can be a bit too flirty and rude at times to Logan and the others, but he’s always there when they need him.

Ironically, Logan complains about Gambit’s attitude, but acts the same way, must be one of those like forces repel things.

The show doesn’t hint at any thing between Gambit and Rogue until the episode “The Cure” where Logan drops the bomb that Rogue kind of likes him.

Could have fooled me up till then…the show kind of just threw ships at us, but luckily, they were usually likable…usually *cough, JeanxScott is the worst ship *cough.

Well, naturally, Gambit takes that as an invitation to start flirting with Rogue every single scene they’re in together.

Of course she finds it annoying, but secretly charming, because he’s not afraid of her.

I mean, sure, she wants to slap him in that over-confident face sometimes, but, it’s refreshing.

And of course, it leaves us more mature audience members asking ourselves “But why isn’t he afraid?”

It’s not even that Gambit is impervious to the dangers of Rogue’s power, he gets zapped one episode and is kind of mad about it, but it doesn’t stop him from hitting on her afterward.

Oddly enough, he seems to drop the whole issue of being able to touch her at all, and just keeps pushing for a relationship of some sort.

I don’t know if this was stupid or genius on the show’s part, sticking the flirty ladie’s man with the untouchable woman, and saying “hey, this is a great idea!”

My sister says they are kind of a thing in the comics too…I’d say the same irony is there.

I think that some of the appeal to Gambit, might very well be the danger. He seems like that type of guy. Other girls are too easy for him to get, Rogue’s a challenge, both with her power, and with her constant rebuttal, but not quite refusal.

And some men like a challenge, right?

(Wish I could find one)

I think I said this before, but how funny is it that his name is Gambit, and it’s a gambit to try to be close to someone like Rogue.

She’s got a lot of baggage, even if her power wasn’t an issue.

They do get one kiss one time when her power has been neutralized by some device, (it doesn’t last), and Gambit says he loves her, something he never told anyone before, according to him.

This is an interesting detail.

In his backstory episode, some blond b-word claims that Gambit has been with a lot of women

(To which we all say “we know!”)

But “loves only her”…which is not true, but okay, they were engaged once…given that Gambit left her at the alter and ran away, I guess it wasn’t that real.

Maybe he did lover her in a way, but in his words, they were both young, and he was scared.

Well, he sure stepped it up, huh? Went form crazy blond woman to country girl who’s not able to touch people…don’t know if that’s brave or delusional.

I do ship it, for the record, but I mean, anyone ever wonder how in real life this stuff would work?

Gambit at least seems to think that whatever he’s got with Rogue is special.

Rogue however, doesn’t really seem to trust his words. As she continually rebuffs any attempt to get closer to her. She’s willing to sort of date at a distance, but not to commit.

You’d think Gambit would be the one who could commit, but honestly, he seems pretty devoted, all things considered, she’s the one who can’t settle down with the idea.

Gambit lets Rogue have her space, because being a stalker wasn’t cool in the 90s, I take it. But he’s still persistent.

So the question for all of us is, how serious is this guy?

That’ the question about Gambit at all times though. No one in the X-Men really seems to trust his intentions. They all turn on him as soon as Bishop accuse him of assassinating someone. Though Gambit clearly had no plans to do so, and was framed. But the others seem to feel their suspicion was justified, even so, since he never tells them anything about himself.

I mean, if my life history was being part of a gang war/cult that worshiped some forest goddess and paid a weird tithe to her, and almost married the opposition gang’s nut job…I might hesitate to explain that to the X-Men, too.

Though Storm would probably get it, she was worshiped once. Actually, she says she knows Gambit the best, maybe that’s the reason. She feels normal to him.

Rogue stands up for Gambit, but is not especially confident in him.

Gambit is kind of hurt by this, but doesn’t seem to hold it against her so much as he just accepts no one will trust him and he’s on his own.

Actually, Gambit believes in no one and nothing, and doesn’t trust people, as Logan says, or Scott, I forget who was being the biggest prick in that episode.

In the episode with Nightcrawler (which is by far one of the best in the series, I unbiasedly think), Gambit professes that there’s no God and nothing out there for anyone.

I find that funny since he used to pay tribute to a goddess, but then again, maybe he thinks God is indifferent because of that weirdness. That spirit kept them warring against each other, and hurting each other, maybe they’re better off on their own, in his mind.

It’s kind of sad really. Gambit has been burned by his family, as his brother betrayed him and jumped him into the gang. His ex was nuts and tried to off his friends and his brother, and their deity was kind of vindictive…

And then the X-men are suspicious of him too.

Maybe his perspective that he’s a loner makes sense.

So why does he pursue Rogue? Is it because he knows it won’t happen, so he’s essentially alone still?

My theory is that at first, yeah, that probably was it. It was exciting, and there was low emotional risk in his mind because of her “issues” with being close to someone.

I’m trying to think of a PG way to say that they can’t have sex…and I can’t, because I know everyone is thinking it even if I don’t say it.

It is kind of a roadblock though, what is marriage without sex right? And romance for most people has to involve it at some point.

However…

I think Gambit actually fell for Rogue for real along the way.

She is pretty easy to love, even as a fan. I mean, she’s sweet, feisty, and caring, what’s not to like about Rogue. Her crippling insecurity is her biggest problem, but it is understandable, and she’s not what I’d called Toxic over it. Just confused and scared and sad.

I’m surprised Gambit was the only one, honestly, but I guess the show thought Jean was the one who’d have multiple men after her…because she’s got the personality of your average pick me girl in a Wattpad fic…or nay other rom-com…

Go figure.

Actually, it is harder to write a triangle around a girl who’s actually got a personality, because it’s easier to see who’d be a bad match for her, people won’t get behind a ship so easily if the chemistry is in questions. Look at Avatar. The only thing fans complain about is how that show did ships. (For good reason, not a single one has chemistry except possibly Sokka’s.)

Gambit probably just flirted with Rogue at first because, well, that’s what he does. But sometimes you pretend something long enough, you do it for real. Rogue is just easy to like…and then before he knew it, it was real.

That’s my guess as to why he didn’t get bored of it.

I mean think about it, she’s fun to tease, but any man who didn’t really like her would get tired of teasing a girl who he’s never going to be able to get in the you-know-whats of.

But no, it just goes on forever, apparently.

And one has to wonder what point Gambit sees in it, honestly.

I’m not sure he really thinks that hard about it, actually. He seems like a guy who acts more on impulse most of the time, and habit. I get the feeling that in his mind, he likes who he likes, and it don’t matter really what the obstacle or realistic expectations of it are.

But there are moments where he shows a bit more real emotion about Rogue, that indicate he’s not just kidding.

He’s quick to worry about her, quick to notice if anything is bothering her, and quick to get jealous.

Jealous of what, really, what can she do? She can’t cheat on him.

But he seems actually jealous of her affections and attention.

I think it’s interesting.

Rogue raises all kinds of issues about our own insecurity, if we pay attention to her character. And that’s cool, I really like that.

But Gambit raises the question of what really is and isn’t love. What are we really in a relationship for?

You know, the Bible doesn’t give sex as the first reason to institute marriage. That sounds kind of wrong, actually.

I mean, who gets married just so they can have sex.

I really hope no one reading this answered that in the affirmative…

Sure, sex is nice, and important…but it’d be a stupid thing to base your relationship off of.

Honestly, I think it’s great being a virgin and just not having the whole sexual compatibility thing on the table, I get to focus on what really matters, not just hormones.

I’m sure none of us believe Gambit is in that exact position.

But who knows, maybe he’s had enough of superficial relationships, and is realizing they just don’t make you happy, they aren’t real, they don’t satisfy.

Rogue is too much of a challenge to have it not be real, if your’e going to keep pursuing her. Maybe that’s the appeal.

Maybe he likes the idea that someone has his back. It’s rare to find any friends as devoted as the X-men, and Rogue in particular never would abandon a friend. Sometimes to her own detriment, but there it is.

We all like to feel special, Gambit may also find it flattering to be preferred by someone who has no reason to impress anyone. I mean, I can’t lie, it would make me feel pretty special too.

To be honest, I think what makes the ship so interesting is simply that’s it’s not that easy to figure out.

I think that it’s more real, because there’s probably so many factors that could go into it.

The thrill seeking aspect of it is balanced out by there also being a trust aspect.

One line Gambit does say to Rogue that’s interesting is early on when she reminds him, none too politely, that she put someone in a coma the last time she kissed them:

“Maybe it’s worth it, no?” He says, with a very punch-able face, I have to say.

I can’t really blame Rogue for going off in a huff after that.

Still, if you unpack it, isn’t that the question?

Rogue has no self worth whatsoever when it comes to love. She believes she’s not worth anything, no risk, nothing.

I have to wonder, even if she lost her power, would she accept herself? I think she’d still push people away. She’d find some new reason.

I did the same thing. Without my father around to bully me, I found other ways to look down on myself.

Gambit seems like the last person to take love seriously out of the team, but maybe, just maybe, he’s kind of hit on something.

Maybe it is worth it.

He might be cocky, arrogant at times, and often stubborn…but, love isn’t really about being perfect.

It’s not always the most innocent people who actually understand love the best, sometimes if you’re too nice, you can’t accept other people have flaws, and you don’t know how to love them.

Church people know this struggle.

But on the other hand, if you’ve hit the branches on the tree of poor life decisions…then maybe you’re a little easier on people.

I think the show raises the same question to the fans as Rogue has.

Can we really trust Gambit? Is he for real? Or is it just some joke.

Rogue seems convinced she’ll wake up from it one day, and will look foolish for ever trusting it.

Sure she likes him, but she doesn’t want to love him, because she gets hurt then.

But it also hurts to be strung along. Gambit is not one to complain, but…

Come on, it would bother anyone.

It’s sort of like Rogue is saying that just love is not good enough, she won’t be satisfied without the touch aspect being resolved. Though she claims to be okay wither herself, we all know it’s not true.

Like I said in her post, how important is touch to a romantic relationship?

After I wrote it, I was reminded of the stories I know about people who are paraplegic, some all over their body, and who are still married.

People who have cerebral palsy, or some other disease, often can’t move normally.

There was that famous guy who had no legs and no arms, but got married and had a kid.

I’ve heard that Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife weren’t able to be intimate after a point because of his disease, and Eleanor said that there was still love even without that.

Hormone driven fans are often obsessed with sex and kissing and touching in shipping. Rogues’ a real challenge, most people probably just prefer to fix her problem, in fan fiction, and not deal with it.

I think that her problem is probably fixable, based on the show’s logistics.

But I think that’s not really the point.

Rogue is not going to get love just because she can be touched. If someone can’t love you without that, they don’t really love you. That’s the hard truth.

Sure, they might like you and want to get with you, but that’s not love.

In our over-sexualized, lonely culture, it’s hard to imagine any love without sex.

Or some form of touch.

Anime kind of has this stigma both about kissing and being intimate until the relationship is further along, and also about even using the words “love” and showing care for someone.

We’re left starved both emotionally and physically from watching it. I think that’s why fans rush to the perverted side of it so quickly.

Where you have no emotional connection, the sexual seems like an appealing substitute…but it’s empty too.

Love is not about sex, and it’s not about giddy feelings. That’s a nice part of it, sure.

But I kind of like that with Gambit and Rogue, it really can’t be about that. Even if, someday, her problem was resolved, it still couldn’t have been about that.

If Gambit showed hesitancy, we’d all have to hate him, even if we understood it. Not many men, or women, would want a part of that.

And it is sad…but, as I said, real life couples have to forego physical intimacy sometimes.

It’s almost a crime in people’s eyes now to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it’d be okay not to have that.

I mean, if you met the love of your life, they suited your personality, they were loyal, caring, and funny…but they just couldn’t have sex…or touch you…would you abandon them?

I remember story I heard on reddit of a guy who married a woman who was asexual…that is, she could have sex, but didn’t enjoy it the way other people do.

He said it was almost a deal-breaker, but he was glad he stuck with her. They had a great relationship, and she’s a loving wife…that aspect is just not as prevalent, but he’s learned to live with it. She has to make sacrifices too.

I’m not saying I’d choose it on purpose, but you know, maybe it’s is worth it.

It would be weird to want that, upfront, but it’s not weird to accept it, if you love them.

I’m not sure I can say for sure if Gambit is deep enough to think that out, but he does hint at it.

The guy who does’t trust anyone is still willing to gamble with love.

I feel like he’d be the most shocked if it ever worked out.

In the end, Gambit and Rogue are too similar. They are drawn to each other because they both think no one will love them.

What keeps them hooked is that the other person never quite ruins it. They rebuff, and argue, but they stick together, and drop hints, and there’s something deeper there.

It’s not really the tease of romance so much as it’s the draw of being loved itself that has these two caught.

It’s like “what if they did love me?”

It seems like a 10 to 1 chance against it, that it would end well.

But Gambit is willing to roll those dice, because really, what does he have to lose? The X-men only get a few chances in life for some things, you’d better take them.

Rogue maybe doesn’t see it that clearly, but she’s still pulled in by it.

They are also opposites, Gambit is willing to risk it all because he sets little value in his own safety, Rogue is not wiling to risk anything because she exaggerates the importance of her own danger to others, and thinks she’s worse than other people.

Sticking them together was a crazy idea because they repel with their hangups, but they also attract.

And, it’s a gamble, really, trying to see how it would end.

I tend to always think erring on the side of love is better. If we don’t have love, our lives are empty anyway. Love is risk, but it’s more of risk not to have it.

But some people don’t feel that way.

I think the show itself couldn’t commit for that reason, and I don’t know if the comics ever did.

Superhero fiction tends to be afraid of committed love, something about it seems alien to superheroes, their lives are dual, masked in deception, usually.

The X-Men were always an oddity in Marvel, because they didn’t hide their identities, and live regular lives managing their powers. I don’t think there’s a DC parallel to it.

The X-Men could have relationships because they acted more human. Superman needs no one, Batman refuses to need anyone, and many others just have too many issues and bad luck.

X-men can have diversity in how tragic their stories are and how hopeless they seem, so you can root for them with more hope.

But in the end, it’s still a superhero show.

The main thing is how we’d answer the question ourselves.

What part of love do we value the most? Why do we want companionship?

How we answer that is what makes for a good foundation for romance.

Less of a buzz maybe, if you pick true companionship, but it lasts longer. And it helps more.

And with that thought, I think I’ll end this, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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When you know you’ll hurt people who love you…

Hello peeps,

I was going to post sooner and I got sidetracked by getting the new Covid variant.

Frist time I got one, and I get the one with mild cold symptoms, go figure.

I felt worse honestly for not eating a few days afterward than I did while I had a fever, the fatigue and aches were the worst of it.

But I’m recovered now.

Anyway, to fill up my time while I’m fasting certain things, and taking a break from anime, my sisters and I have been binging the old X-Men animated show.

If you’ve never seen it, you should watch it, it’s really good. It’s on Amazon Prime.

It was a different time, man.

It’s not a perfect show, but it’s so much better than the movies. And the dialogue is refreshingly not boring for an old show. Superhero shows can be disappointing in the long run because they just don’t ever go anywhere.

X- Men does suffer from that, but the continuity is good for the most part, the characters get well flushed out, and I like at least some of them. I can’t stand Scott…there is no version of Cyclops I’ve ever liked, old movies, new movies, or this how. Jean always bored me too. Though the Dark Phoenix movie was better than people gave it credit for, acting-wise anyway.

But anyway, this isn’t a review of the show.

As always, the shipping caught my eye. It’s not the best I’ve seen, the older shows usually are very non-committal about shipping, you were lucky if they even kissed.

This show handles it way better than most of its genre, so I got interested, even thought they don’t put a lot of effort into chemistry.

But what they do well is show people’s hang ups about getting into relationships.

The one they spend the most time on, with that, is Rogue x Gambit.

Being only a fan of the X-Men movies until now, and a distant fan at that, not die hard, I had not idea who Gambit even was, and Rogue was always just kind of a sad, scared little girl.

Well, I don’t know what those directors were thinking. Rogue’s character on tis show is the best part of it, along with Wolverine.

Gambit wasn’t as funny, in my opinion, at first, but he grew on me, and mellowed over the course of the show too, like Wolverine.

Anyway, the ship is not the best ship I’ve ever seen, but compared to the level I expected on an old 80s cartoon, it far surpassed it.

I mean, the shows of my generation were Kim Possilbe, the Animated Justice League, and old Spiderman and Batman and Superman. And while I liked all of those, and they have a few good ships in them, most of them don’t commit.

Gambit and Rogue, so far at least, don’t either. But no other show outside Justice League (once) really bothered to explore why, but this show does, and I think it’s interesting.

The romance is old fashioned for our time now, but Rogues’s character is well done, and her hang ups ring pretty true even today with what a lot of people express, so I thought it was worth using as an example.

Man, back then, characters could be interested in each other without shacking up, and it was just normal. Maybe not on every show, but one like this, made for kids, it was.

And unlike anime, which is so sexually repressed, yet bloated at the same time that they will devote multiple shots to grotesque fan service in every season yet act gun shy of having two healthy, normal characters kiss–these old American shows aren’t afraid to show kissing, and other physical forms of affection, without crossing over into the sexual.

I think it was more balance back then. Because they had standards to uphold they didn’t do stripping and naked women, and men showing their abs all the time, but because of that, they had no inherent shame implied if they kissed. They knew what we, the audience, would expect.

The pervy side of comics is a more recent evolution from the old stuff. There’s always been some pervs who would enjoy comic books (or any illustrated book) for the wrong reason, but the old art wasn’t that oversexualized, I’ve seen it. the new stuff is so gross. Ugly too, in my opinion.

Anime may not be ugly, but it has the same disproportionate, overdone factor to it, sorry, to sorry.

So it’s been nice to watch a romance that doesn’t shove fan service in my face. And is mature enough to at least acknowledge the problems.

Rogue’s obvious problem, if you know her power set and story, is that she can’t touch anyone.

There’s a few loopholes to this that the show ignores, like most superhero shows do. Such as the myriad of appearance of mutation blocking technology, which had the X-men chosen to keep any of it, Rogue could have used to manage her power when necessary.

So while the problem would easily be resolved if the rules of superhero shows didn’t dictate the heroes can’t be pragmatic (because there goes the drama then, right?) it isn’t so prevalent that her struggle doesn’t seem real.

Rogue does not wallow in angsty self pity, which I really appreciate. Anime emos get old after a while, they’re okay in moderation, but after a while you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. We get it, you’re sad…get a life.

Instead the writer made Rogue a strong person, who more takes a wry sense of humor about her inhibitions, though at some moments she shows how deeply it bothers her. It’s far more realistic, most of us don’t go through life pitying ourselves every minute of the day, and acting sad all the time, we take that wry point of view about our problems.

I think it’s healthier to do that than to purposefully be depressed. Enough sadness in life without dwelling on even more of it on purpose.

But it may be a better option still to try to heal.

The show does stop short of that. I think maybe they just didn’t know how to write it.

Rogue and Gambit’s ship actually serves to show Rogues’ issues more, which is how I think a ship should be used if it’s gong to be reoccurring, nothing like a romance to drive your true nature out.

The interesting ting about Rogue, and what makes her so much like us, is that she yearns for normal things, enjoys normal things, and want the kind of love she sees other people have–but she believes she can never have it.

So far it’s not been said, though i think it might be eventually, but her logic, we see, has to be no man is ever gong to commit to a girl he can’t touch. It’s just not gonna happen.

I find that intriguing.

I mean, the cynical person in me does kind of want to agree.

This is a world where we value sex above all else often enough in relationships. At least we do now. People will ship characters in fiction and in real life just because they want to see them have sex.

I do enjoy a good kiss scene myself in fiction.

And sex is a good thing, between married people. I’m 100% for that. I actually hate stories where married couples never have sex, for some stupid, contrived reason, to create drama. It’s a necessary part of marriage, if both people are capable of having sex, and don’t have sexual traumatic that might prevent them from engaging in it with ease. It’s selfish to deny your partner sex because you don’t feel like it, I think. We don’t not cook because we don’t feel like it, someone has to cook, even if you buy food. But that’s another story.

However, the idea that sex is the most important thing about marriage has been disputed.

Many couples, for health reasons, can’t have sex for many years of their marriage. Age can be one reason. But they can still feel fulfilled. It’s probably like eating sweets, sure you’d like to, but if you can’t, that’s not the end of your life. You can live without it.

Personally, I’m a 23 year old virgin. I’d like to have sex at some point in my life, I believe it’s a God given gift. BUT, I would, at least now, prefer a man who’d be the right emotional match for me more.

I mean, if you gave me the choice, great sex for the rest of my life, or, being with someone who would day in and day out try their hardest to make me happy, and would let me make them happy…someone I could always turn to, who would not lie to me, and who would make the best of whatever situation we fell into…I think I could abstain from sex for that. I hear the older you get, the less sex seems like it’s so important. C. S. Lewis said that he’d choose affection and loyalty over sexual excitement, now that he was older.

I might be young but I’m not stupid, guys. Trust is more important. Sex is icing on the cake of love, not the main ingredient.

Of course, Rogue can’t even hold hands or kiss. She can embrace a bit with gloves and clothes on, but not as much as she wants to.

I imagine, if the show were allowed to discuss this, she’d probably verbalize the thought that it’s just not fair to ask any man to put up with that kind of restriction.

What’s funny is that, for all her longing, she is the one who shoves Gambit away in their quasi, flirtatious relationship. Gambit never seems bothered by her mutant power, and is very outgoing about how he flirts, he even is the one to say “I love you” first–and so far, the only one.

Rogue is very insecure.

Funny how she’s confident most of the time, but anytime he’s open about it, she pushes him away, sometime literally. And walks away herself, and acts irritated.

But also gets jealous and begs for attention.

None of it is to the extent where she’s Toxic, I can’t imagine Rogue being toxic, she’s too sweet, but she’s so clearly at war with herself, and it’s shown really well.

The heartbreaking thing to think about is that Rogue is really just a dramatization of a very real feeling many of us have.

Rogue was rejected by her Daddy, as she tells us, and then abused by her surrogate mother, in a way, mystique.

After such experiences, it makes sense she has trust issues. But really, she has self worth issues.

It’s all too familiar to me.

I’m taken back to my emotional abusive household as a kid.

Both my parents, though more my father, would use me being upset as a reason to act like I was attacking them.

I loved my parents, even in my most angsty years, and I don’t recall ever saying I hated them, or saying anything particularly cruel, though I maybe have just forgotten. But I always knew words had power, that’s what they taught me.

The message my father gave me, sometimes to my face, was that he had enough stress in his life without dealing with me also.

This led to me feeling like I was just a bad reminder to him of this gaping issues, which was our relationship. A relationship he sabotaged himself from the time I was born, and all through my formative years. Then he destroyed it openly when I was a teenager. Always it was he who would reject, he who would say the most hurtful things, he who would judge me.

If I fought back, or tried to complain, I was told I was the problem, and it wasn’t my place to correct him. Then he would tell us to correct him, and that we were right, and the next time we did, it was the same thing, it wasn’t our place. He’d even threaten me if I tried.

I learned to just keep my mouth shut, and when I learned that, he began picking fights with me on purpose. He couldn’t go more than a few days without some toxic outburst, I think he was addicted to it, personally.

All this lined up with what I learned about abusive behavior once he was gone.

But what it stamped on me, perhaps permanently, is that the people closest to you are the ones you will hurt the most.

I knew I had hurt my parents even if it was mostly their own fault, and I knew I hurt my sisters too, the people who I later came to rely on more for support.

And the fact is, if you love someone, you will still hurt them, because you are a flawed, imperfect human.

I’ve said things to friends, not thinking how they sounded, and meaning it to be funny that hurt them badly, and I never knew till later. Some people realized that and brushed it off, others never forget.

I’ve found that people from emotionally abusive homes often share this belief that I have, which is that when you love someone, you hurt them.

Oddly, I don’t find that attitude in accounts by people with happy families, who kept their trust.

People who rebel against their good parents may come to think that way, but that’s not everyone.

And those of us who’ve been let down the most by people we love, believe it the most.

To us, love is associated with pain.

A lot of us abused kids don’t want to give up on love, we know we’re meant to love, so we accept the pain of it, but we have a harder time accepting that we will cause people pain.

In our minds, since the love we were shown was conditional, and we took on the brunt of forgiving the other person, but never get their forgiveness in return, then every wound we cause is far worse than the ones they give us.

You see, we normally don’t struggle with our half of it. They hurt us, we shake it off, we don’t think it’s that important.

But we hurt them at all, and we feel horrible. We feel unworthy of love, and we think it’d be better if we just stayed away from them–but we know that will hurt too, and we feel stuck.

Rogue is such a perfect type of this kind of person. I think it’s fitting she was written to have abusive parental figures.

Though the show frames it as being about her mutation, it could have been about anything. That was the genius of the X-men, they used mutation as a metaphor for anything that makes people seem a little different.

And Rogue is like if that attitude was to take physical form in your body. If the fact that you can’t get close to someone without hurting them sometimes was made a trait in your DNA.

Because, in a way, it is.

Since the fall of man, we humans have turned on each other.

We make such a big deal out of racism and bigotry now, like it’s the worst sin of all, but, if you’re not hurting someone one way, you’d just do it another way. Racism can be less giant int he long run than many other human evils, depends on the kind of racism.

I just think it’s like we expect perfection out of humans. Looking down on each other for stupid reason has been a part of us for millennium, it’s not any one group of people’s exclusive fault, we just hate each other, because we fear each other.

We fear what’s different, because we know we’re not prepared for it. We cannot understand, so we don’t try. That’s what we think.

If it doesn’t lead to racism, it leads to something else, like the fear of intimacy.

When we damaged people hit this flaw in ourselves, it’s easy to get depressed.

It has depressed me many times to realize I can’t get away from not being perfect.

As a Christian, I am promised that one day I will be perfect as Christ it perfect.

But Jesus was still hurt by people, probably more than anyone else ever has been, because he truly was innocent. but no doubt his followers took his honesty the wrong way at times, and were hurt. Jesus must have known people will be hurt, even if you are in the right. Sometimes that hurts worse than being wrong. You ever had your parents say they hate punishing you?

My dad used to say that, I wish it extended to his abuse. He never liked to spank us much when we deserved it, but would be forceful over minor, stupid stuff that wasn’t even bad. I never understood that.

I doubt it would make Rogue feel better to hear that it’s not her fault. She’s in our position, she can’t help it, and she knows it, and that’s what hurts. We’re most ashamed of what we can’t help, as C. S. Lewis observed.

She’s kind of like Shigaraki from MHA, in a way. Though he can control his quirk now, he seems to shy away form touching people because, subconsciously, he remembers what happened when he did and lost control.

Rogue hasn’t killed anyone, but she’s hurt them pretty badly.

There’s a lot of characters like that in superhero fiction, I think it’s because people play out their insecurities in superhero writing. It’s when we most want to portray ourselves as heroes that we find ourselves seeing weaknesses and reasons why we can’t be. We tend to project that onto some characters, and then project our fantasy of a savoir onto others. Hence MHA has Deku and All Might, and the X- Men have professor X.

But the X-Men is a bit more honest about it than MHA, they know that Prof X can’t really fix these problems.

While there may be a solution, people often accept their circumstances. Don’t I know that feeling?

I’ve never been able to fully accept suffering as normal, but I have been tempted. Who hasn’t?

Like Rogue, and so many other victims, I yearn for more, but when I get it, I push it away.

I’m at least catching onto to this habit, and learning to stop doing it, but Rogue probably hasn’t noticed it, because like so many real people, she has no one around her to reflect it back at her. Al lot of us never realize this on our own, that’s they therapy can be beneficial. If it’s good therapy.

When we feel like we’re wrong, deeply, something inside us is, it’s hard to open up.

And what’s sad is that some of us, like Rogue, do have people around us who accept us.

Gambit never shows any fear of Rogue, as I said. And pushes more for the relationship than she does, but Rogue seldom acknowledges it. She’s scared, he’s not.

Gambit of course has to be well aware of the reasons, she’s quite vocal about it.

But while he says he doesn’t care, Rogue isn’t willing to risk it, even if he is.

And of course, realistically, Gambit knows that there’s only so far they could go. How could they ever have kids?

Metaphorically, one could see it as one realizing that all human intimacy is never going to be enough to satisfy us. Not fully.

Of course, we Christians say that’s because we need God. When you have God, you can let man be man.

Rogue does actually express the wish to know more about God on the old show, because you could do that back then and not get cancelled by social media, but the show didn’t take it farther than that.

I wonder if she would find peace in believing that God loves her, and is the One person she can’t hurt.

That was one thought that kept me sane in some of my more self hating moments, knowing I can’t hurt God. Sometimes I want to, it’s horrible, but I want to take out my anger on someone, and I know He will not hurt me, not like my dad would. It’s a sad truth.

God usually doesn’t answer when I do that, and then I feel alone, but I’ve started to realize it is me who’s pulling away, not him.

So yeah, Rogue’s actions hit home in that way too.

I know that God values me, I just don’t accept it when I should. I find it hard to believe.

I think Rogue reflects the way victims feel that even if others are willing to be hurt by them, they don’t deserve that kind of grace.

It’s hard to hear, but it’s not like Rogue is the only one with this problem. Scott can never look anyone in the eyes without glasses on, Beast is…a beast. There are other mutants who can hurt people easily with their powers. Rogue can at least cover hers up.

And she sees no issues without other people getting their happiness, but can’t see it for herself.

I think she believes Gambit would never commit anyway, though he seems more than wiling to do so, though he can also be a bit of a flirt, but then so can she…the real issue both of them have is they won’t be honest about what they want.

Many victims just don’t know. I don’t know what I want, often.

I know it a little better now. Other than I don’t want someone like my dad, I have begun to learn what positive traits I want.

But we can swing the other way and look for perfection. We are drawn to the familiar, but repulsed by it when it lets us down.

I think I am at least not drawn to my dad’s cruelty anymore.

I may always like banter, as a permanent mark of growing up with him, but banter doesn’t have to be cruel.

I recently had an annoying time with a guy at my school who liked to say snide things to me, not sure he really knew they were snide, I could never tell if he was rude on purpose, or just stupid, but either way, it reminded me to much of how my dad would mock me.

This guy was hot, not gonna lie, but I couldn’t be attracted to his personality enough for that to be a plus. It’s like gilding a bitter pill, really.

I don’t hate this guy, I don’t even think he’s the worse sort of person, but he’s not my type. Maybe some women could put up with him, I don’t know I they should, I think it’s up to them, but for me, it’s not a good idea to get close to someone like that. I’m already on the defensive, and I barely know him, that’s never a good sign.

But victim flock to it, to people who put them on the defensive, because we think that’s showing interest.

And perpetrators flock to people like that because they think that’s the kind of person who will support them.

But the trouble is, even if you take steps to become better, you could still miss what’s right in front of you.

To go back to Rogue and Gambit’s example, let’s look at it more seriously.

So, Rogue is right, it would never be easy or simple for her to be with someone. And Gambit might need to acknowledge that a bit more.

I mean, if the love each other, they may still never be together, just because she thinks it’s not fair.

The question is, is that a valid reason?

I’ve read of people deciding not to marry because of health reasons, just because it wouldn’t be possible for them to have children. In Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, there’s a woman who won’t marry a man because she has a stain on her ancestry and doesn’t want to drag him down with her, it’s no fault of her own, but she feels like it would be irresponsible.

Heck, even goofy movies like Mad Monster Party hold out the idea that you can refuse to marry someone because you think you’re no good for them.

And many people in real life self foil because they think they are the wrong person emotionally for someone else. And they feel selfish if they do get involved with someone.

I hope one day I will stop feeling guilty for asking for help. And for people making sacrifices for me. I wish I didn’t have to ask. But I have to tell myself now that it’s okay for me to have my needs met. Not to the exclusive of everyone else’s, but that it won’t hurt them if I do. And even if someone does get hurt, it can be mended.

The magic thing about love is that it makes pain seem unimportant compared to the love.

There are difficulties to any relationship. Some people decide to be together despite that, because they figure the love is more important. That was the story of many interracial couples, and still is, interracial marriage is still looked down on even in America…and it’s not always the white side of it, either. I heard a comedian who was black talking about how black men asked her why she married a white guy. Couldn’t a black brother lover her better?

I can’t even begin to explain how disgusting that is, and yet it’s seen as normal to have that reaction.

But there are difficulties, we can’t pretend there aren’t.

While it’s minimal now, there were health risks in the past when interracial couples had children, the blood type could be a problem.

So in that case, a situation like Rogue’s becomes a reality. A mother can hurt her own child by having different blood from them. They can fix it now, but back when they couldn’t, it was a gamble.

I thought it was poetic they made Gambit the other half of this ship. What is love but a gambit? Even if you marry someone who you know is good and honorable, you risk them hurting you by accident, even physically, accidents happen. Things you don’t expect happen. There are other problems that arise.

One of you can get sick, or die. There is always risk.

But the way couples have answered this since Eden, has always been the same.

It’s better to have love, while you can, and to cherish it, then to live without it. Love is worth the risk. Love is, or nothing is.

And it seems to me that’s how God meant it to be. He chose to create us, knowing full well we’d break His heart a million times a year with our problems, but He is Love. He cannot be anything else, and to Him, Love is what matters, pain is not what He’s afraid of. God is never afraid, that’s His advantage over us.

But what God values form us, is that even though we are human, and cannot help feeling fear, we still choose to love. Our faith is precious to Him because we can do it in spite of being imperfect, something He could not do, as God, except through becoming a man.

That’s why I still want to marry, and have children.

I’ve seen it go wrong, I know how much it hurts. It has hurt me more than anything else in my life.

I can think my parents for many of my emotional problems, and health problems too. That hurts.

And I know I will likely repeat at least some of their mistakes until I learn better.

But, I still want love. Because I think Love matters more than pain. I am afraid to love, of course, it’s a risk. But I still want to try. God help me to do it right.

Some have said that if love doesn’t hurt, it’s not real.

I don’t think love has to hurt all the time, but if it doesn’t sometimes, I think you’re delusional, even God suffers for love. It’s normal.

It’s not easy but it’s normal.

And I pray I find a man who shares my view of it. They are rare, but there’s a few out there. Heck, I don’t want a perfect man, that would be freaky, I just want one who shares my idea of love.

It’s easier to find a perfectionist than a real Lover in the old sense of the word, but one has to try.

I doubt the X-Men show ever went that far, but it’s interesting that the set up at least was there. If people would just be honest with themselves and each other about what they are willing to risk.

Well, this ran long, I do get on a roll about love.

Until Next time, stay honest–Natasha.