>Well, if it ... helps?... it's very likely the reasons I was thinking
>better of the development during my bout of flu last week were not the
>same as yours for objecting to it in the first place anyway, so we
>probably wouldn't have a consensus anyway.
Well... staying as much as I can to the narrative logic/character development part of it (as opposed to the parts that have to do with social theory), here are a couple of reasons it bothers me:
- Despite the relatively small age difference between Corwin and Utena when they first meet (especially in the context of a setting where people who measure their lifespans in centuries, if not millenia, are not uncommon -- even non-Detian, essentially baseline humans live substantially longer lives in the UF's equivalent of the developed world, IIRC), they're standing on opposite sides of a very substantial experience gap. Yes, Corwin's an exceptional person on a number of levels, even by the rather atypical standards of his parents' (all three of them, if you will) cohort, but ... she's been through a crucible that even his Trial doesn't really hold a candle to before they've even met. Thus, while his crush on her is something I can totally buy, her developing feelings for him never felt like a natural, organic part of her character growth, but something that happened for meta reasons. Even given the time it takes for these things to unfold, and the experiences they go through, it just doesn't feel like it fits the dynamic they establish early on, in my opinion.
- Related to the above: around the time that he and Utena first meet, as I recall, he gets in trouble at school for fighting. And that particular incident was actually one of my favorites Corwin stories, because it showed that being a supernaturally intelligent and competent demigod, trained to use both mind and body with divine competence, does not exempt one from the stupidities of adolescence.
- Corwin goes through a lot of maturation between when he meets Utena and when they become an item, but ... in getting into a relationship with his boyhood crush, it feels like all of that growth was short-circuited. He grows up, goes on with his life, maintaining a deep friendship and unique bond with Utena, sure, but in that bond becoming romantic, it just feels like it veers back into adolescent wish fulfillment.
- Corwin/Anthy feels downright contrived to me. I'm sorry -- I don't know any other way to put it. When she refuses ovifusion (i.e. a child of her and Utena, biologically) in favor of, well, natural insemination, it was downright unsettling on several levels.
>It's just as well you've opted not to, mainly because I didn't design
>it - or indeed anything - with reference to any of those five things.
>I don't approach the writing of fiction as an exercise in social
>science, and people who approach the reading of my work expecting that
>I did are basically always going to be disappointed...
Sure, I realize and respect that, but I can't look at a piece of creative output and not see the ways it's problematic anymore. I've enjoyed some deeply problematic stuff since becoming aware of these things, and enjoying any sort of pop culture does require being able to enjoy things despite what are sometimes glaring flaws in that light. (If I refused to engage with anything problematic, my world would be a very, very tiny place indeed.)
Understand I'm not condemning you or your work because there are things in it which reflect on the many unexamined assumptions and ideas you may hold as a cisgender, heterosexual, white male in your late 30s/early 40s (I know you're a few years older than me, but I don't recall exactly how much). Everyone has these sorts of blinders; being trans and female- and lesbian-identified has certainly made me aware of a lot of things I just didn't see before (and that's only going to get more true as I move ahead with my transition -- I'm still presenting as male at work for the moment, as I've not yet started HRT), but that doesn't change me being white and a natural-born US citizen and having all those blind spots (my better half is Singaporean Chinese, and thus picks up on many, many things that still sometimes go right by me).
But that's getting a bit farther afield into that social theory stuff I'd rather keep largely out of the picture.
>>I'm not sure I'll be partaking of that particular
>>corner of the EPU output in any event.
>... thus. (sigh)
Oh, it's not because of the social issues -- it's more that I was so disappointed with where Symphony went that I can't really even reread the bits I used to love. There's lots and lots of EPU output I still read (I'm digging the Korra stuff so far, though I've not yet read the latest bits.)
>Mm. You would, at the very least, be suspected of overthinking the
It'd be overthinking if I sat there with the Symphony oeuvre in one window, a pile of textbooks open on my desk to various passages, and my own work (edited in LaTeX, so I can format it properly) in another window (possibly a separate monitor). The stuff I'm alluding to? I don't really have to think about it as such; I just see it, I guess.
>(And possibly also overphrasing it. Surely there's a word of
>fewer than six syllables that would do there.)
Honestly? There's not another word that'd take the place of "heteronormative" in the way I'd be using it. It's much like having had to create the term cisgender, meaning someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, as opposed to transgender, which is identifying with a different gender than that assigned at birth.
>must've been a pretty dismaying experience
Dismaying in the sense of the hills it meant I'd have to climb, yeah. That's a big part of why I spent so many decades in denial even once I had a name I could put to what was going on inside me. In many other ways? Liberating.
"Mathematics brought rigor to economics. Unfortunately, it also brought mortis."
- Kenneth Boulding