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One last buzzing beehive for 2014

Surprisingly exactly no one, the right-wing contingent of SFdom have taken exception to the Legend of Korra finale. Jim Hines takes this to task right over here. And on cue, the individual with whom he takes exception has brought a coterie of followers to come take reciprocal exception in Mr. Hines’ comment thread.



Caveat: Dara and I both appear in this comment thread, Dara more often than I do, as she takes potshots at several of the typical anti-queer propaganda points as well as the specific objections that the ending came out of left field. (Note: It didn’t, as Dara points out, with quite a few high-profile sources noting how the setup for Korrasami was not remotely subtle.)

Me, I’m mostly there to celebrate the ending of the show. But there is one thing in there that I want to call attention to, and that is this: how the gentleman with whom Mr. Hines is disagreeing pronounces in the comments that he “did not call for the extermination of people, but ideas.”

This would be chilling coming out of anyone. But it’s particularly egregious coming out of an SF writer.

Science fiction is, after all, the literature of ideas. None of us in the genre, writers or readers, should be calling for their extermination–even the ideas we might personally find reprehensible. It is as treacherous a slippery slope as slopes of that ilk get, because all too often, advocating the extermination of an idea leads to advocating the extermination of people who have them.

You need look no further than Uganda or Russia, where being queer of any stripe is essentially a death sentence. Even right here in the United States, queer people of all kinds continue to be the targets of prejudice, hate crimes, and bullying. Certain states have taken it upon themselves to pass laws legalizing discrimination against queers on religious grounds.

Nor is this limited to queer people. As the entire GamerGate debacle this year demonstrated, any woman who dares speak up loudly enough on the Internet risks getting doxxed, getting rape threats, and getting death threats. Just because she spoke up.

And all of this boils down to “I don’t like your ideas so I’m going to make your life as miserable as I possibly can for having them.”

For the record, I’d just like to say that even though there are indeed ideas I find personally reprehensible–like, say, the idea that queer people should be discriminated against, bullied, or punished with death, or the idea that women should be shouted down off the Internet with doxxing, rape threats, or death threats–I’m not going to tell someone they can’t have those ideas. I defend their right to have them.

But at the same time, I defend my right to call them utter horseshit. And if those ideas are put into actions that harm me and my loved ones or others like us, I defend my right to stand against them.

And here’s another idea I find reprehensible–the idea that Legend of Korra, by ending with two women walking off into the sunset spirit world together hand in hand, is somehow Harming the Children. As if anything that might demonstrate to queer children–and queer adults!–that yes, there are role models in fiction for them too might somehow make straight kids’ heads explode. It’s the same destructive logic I see in the assertions that boys wouldn’t possibly be interested in girls as lead characters, an assertion which, I recall, was launched against Korra for even existing as a character long before she became interested in Asami.

I’m pretty damn sure kids’ brains can take it.

As we move into 2015, I hope this year to come will bring us fewer of these particularly toxic beehives. I’m not betting on it. I’m not going to be pulling off the gloves any time soon, since I’m no fan of my hands getting stung.

But for once, it’s a pleasure and a delight to know that Mr. Konietzko and Mr. DiMartino have our backs. It makes me proud to be on Team Avatar.

Merry Korrasamimas to all!


Korrasami: I ship it

My household was beyond delighted with the finale of Avatar: The Legend of Korra this weekend. Along with a great deal of the rest of the Internet, we were specifically delighted by the ending.

Dara’s been monitoring the Korrasami explosion on tumblr all weekend, which has been a delight to behold. Not so much of a delight is the fight Dara’s been having to wage on Wikipedia to get the Korrasami ending acknowledged–because while a lot of the fandom is in favor of it, there are those who are stridently against it as well.

Which makes me sad. It makes me sad as well that the creators couldn’t come right out and explicitly declare that Korra and Asami had feelings for each other. But it should surprise none of you that I’m in favor of it. Others all over the Net have called out how the show went as close to outright stating as they could.

For example, with the framing of Korra and Asami in a way that’s noticeably similar to various established het couples in this season.

Couples on Korra

Couples on Korra

Or how the music they played over that final scene is the same piece they used in Airbender when Aang and Katara declared their feelings for each other: a thing called, in fact, “The Avatar’s Love”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: representation matters. I grant you, I’m coming at this with a bisexual worldview, and so it seems pretty damned apparent to me that this storyline’s intent is that Korra and Asami became a couple. But what looks like representation to me unfortunately is not as obvious to people who aren’t specifically hoping for that kind of a resolution–and worse, those for whom same-sex relationships are outright objectionable are bound and determined to go LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. The fight Dara’s having on Wikipedia had the other person eventually state that they wouldn’t take anything short of a statement by the creators of the show as to what was intended.

A statement that, I note, would not be demanded if that final scene had involved Mako instead of Asami. I doubt anybody who saw the finale would have doubted for an instant that that was a romantic resolution if Mako had been involved.

As for me? I choose to believe that Asami and Korra are now going to have a delightful and romantic sojourn in the spirit world, and perhaps Uncle Iroh will officiate their marriage. Because I mean, honestly, people, how is this not a romantic scene?

Korra and Asami

Korra and Asami

Also, I’d just like to say that even aside from the Korrasami ending, the whole season has been a delight. I really appreciated the character development on Korra’s part, and even aside from the rough schedule imposed on the show by Nickelodeon, I feel that seasons 3 and 4 were both very strong storytelling. And the finale in particular was deeply satisfying, and a hell of a strong note to end on.

I really, really hope we’ll get to continue to visit Korra’s world courtesy of the Avatar comics Dark Horse has been putting out. They’ve been doing excellent stories featuring Aang’s cast, and I would buy stories featuring further adventures with the Korra cast in a heartbeat.

Here are further links to discussion elsewhere:

On io9: My Thoughts On Korra’s Schrodinger Relationship Status

On the Mary Sue: On That Legend of Korra Ending Scene & The Desire For Explicit Representation and MegaRecap of Our Favorite Moments from The Legend of Korra Finale!

ETA: Additional commentary from elsewhere!

On Legend of Korra’s Finale and the Problem With “Fan Service” and You Gotta Deal With It: The Legend of Korra is Over

ETA #2: THIS JUST IN, Kotaku reports that the show’s creators say YES, it is intentional. 😀

I have just informed Dara that we clearly need a GIF of Asami going “I’m the Avatar’s GIRLFRIEND! You gotta DEAL WITH IT!”

The creators have their own posts up here and here. Mr. Konietzko, Mr. DiMartino, thank you. <3

ETA #3: And OH YES, Dara has a new post up on the topic here, to go along with her earlier post here!