weber_dubois22 posting in disney_pocs
- I don’t want to see what they do to emphasize being “native” because it will probably be offensive.
- I don’t want to see how they either (mis)handle or eliminate religion from her story, because as is, FTL’s polytheism exists solely to heighten the (implicitly Judeo-Christian) audience’s sense of ‘barbarity’. I’m not here for being called a heathen, a barbarian, rudimentary, unevolved, or primitive. Or any of the other words that seem inevitably to crop up when talking about polytheism, regardless of if it’s my heritage or not.*
- I really don’t want to watch her die.
- I don’t want to watch the fandom-at-large immediately hate on her for whatever reason they come up with.
- I don’t want her story—which matters—to be dealt with in a half-assed forty-three minutes which will really only be a fraction of that, because everybody knows Snowing will have to fucking find each other.
- I’m not about to tolerate another WOC’s story being hijacked to tell a white chick’s story of self-actualization. I was so unprepared for what they did to Mulan; I cannot tolerate it again.
*Whenever people make a point of writing in a difference, I have to ask why it’s different. What purpose does establishing a polytheistic world serve?
A lot of my initial thoughts on this were spawned by this post from eshusplayground about the importance of sacred stories in creating any individual’s schemas of the world. With that in mind, I started wondering what stories we could possibly expect the FTL crew to have absorbed, at which point I realized that there is absolutely no detail given to this form of polytheism. All we know is that there’s more than one god. If that’s all the difference that can be established, why bother establishing the difference?
One of the things that religion helps to establish in a society is a sense of right and wrong, sin versus virtue, good versus evil. So for a show that’s constantly throwing Good and Evil in our faces—what are they suggesting with FTL’s polytheism?
I spent a while talking all of this over with a friend, and one of the things that she pointed out after about a week of going back and forth failing to come up with reasonable whys, is that regardless of how many times Snow White says “Oh my gods,” she, Charming and co. operate from the “very strictest of Christian tradition”. People far more articulate than I have actually done a great deal of expounding on this over at Once Upon A Meta, so—yeah. The top three reasons for making FTL polytheistic, at least in my mind, would be:
- shifting the relationship between good and evil
- subverting conceptions of ethics
- making room for powers besides God, i.e. magic
We all know that 1 is just not what’s happening. 2 is a maybe, but at this point the entire concept of ethics on the show is just riddled with holes, so that’s out. And magic and God co-exist happily already; King Arthur had Merlin and the Holy Grail, and, well, FTL had Lancelot so I think it’s safe to say the writing team is aware of Arthurian legend. If anybody can point out other reasons, please, let me know!
But seriously, we were picking away at this idea for a while, and it ultimately came down to: the only reason to write the difference is to up the overall “difference,” i.e. heighten the Otherness of FTL. And because the extent of the difference is actually a single letter, s, at the end of a fairly common phrase, I cannot believe that any serious thought was given to establishing Otherness.
We see no temples, no rituals, no moments of prayer; there are no holidays, statues, idols, anything. We know nothing about possible myths, conceptions of death or afterlife. Seriously: all they did was add an ‘s’.
So what is the point? In a country like the US where you actually can’t go anywhere without hearing or seeing reference to God, singular, what do you accomplish by establishing gods in a fictional world?
(My additional conclusion is that such ‘paganization’ served the S1 storyline well in that it also helped make the co-presented FTL stories extra-archaic, keeping the mass of emotional investment in present-day Storybrooke. But that’s intertwined with a lot of personal experience in navigating a polytheistic/monotheistic divide, so I’ll put it out there, but not as any type of concrete assertion.)
FTL’s polytheism therefore becomes a negligible detail—an erasable detail, actually, because if you change all the references from gods to God, not a single aspect of the story has to change. If gods are erasable, then they are irrelevant, and if they are irrelevant they are disrespected.
In a way, I guess, you could draw a parallel between gods and Regina being Latina. They can say it all they want, but until they start actually writing about how that detail impacts a person’s conceptions of the world and how said person is treated in that world, they’re perpetuating damage and privilege.
SOURCE: 1, 2
SOURCE: 1, 2