let's get the seven lines. (bookshop) wrote,
let's get the seven lines.
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Aja: HOW DO I INTRODUCE THIS POST? Cathy: AJA & CATHY TALK ABOUT CRASS MATERIALISM. AND WEATHERFRONT

Hello, lovely friends!

So, I said to two_if_by_sea, WE SHOULD DO THIS THING, and Cathy was like, NO. WHATEVER YOU ARE THINKING, *NO.* And then I explained my plan, and she said, OMG WE SHOULD! And thus we have.

As you may or may not know, Cathy and I are huge fans of weatherfront, and like all fangirls we like to expound upon the object of our affection. So, like a less-feminist Sadie & Amanda, we are going to bring you our thoughts on yaoi.

Er.


____________

Cathy: WHY DON'T WE START WITH AN INTRODUCTION
Aja: MAYBE WE COULD JUST FREESTYLE IT
Cathy: sounds good
Aja: OKAY

Cathy: the first thing i want to bring up is! Remember how we talk about fanfiction is just us manipulating characters over and over again! I mean granted when we brought this up last time it was really sad

Aja: yes, there is that element in inception canon itself, and the implications are potentially very sad!

Cathy: but i was recently rereading en haut et en bas and weatherfront makes that really explicit in her stories. It's something I think she has a lot of balls for doing? The recognition, however slyly, to the audience, that we are just manipulating.

Aja: well i think it's tied into the way that she uses call and response in her stories, because even within fics, you have these recurring lines of dialogue and images that are constantly shifting, they never mean the same thing twice

Cathy: Here is the line I was thinking about, from En Haut Et En Bas: "What we remember is only a sliver of what we know, and even the truth becomes a story in the telling of it."

Aja: and she's doing this thing where she's saying over and over again, it's okay for us to allow these characters to become different things over time, to remove them into different contexts

Cathy: Yes! And in her meta for You're Waiting For An Orgasm, she even says that. Like the idea of this being "one moment out of a whole possibility out of a thousand possibilities."

Aja: and like Desiderata i think is her first huge articulation of that and you're right, en haut et en bas is where she really lays it out there. i also love that she's so on the same page with the fundamental genius of inception itself - that you're given a choice about whether to accept the emotional catharsis or not. And her extension of that is to say, (half-jokingly but in a meta way), if it's not a happy ending then it just hasn't ended yet, because she's always extending you the choice to go further or to go in a different direction

Cathy: hmm, i actually feel differently about that. Well, no, I feel the same way as you, but rather what I think weatherfront is saying is like she has her own emotional catharsis, so what's really up to you is whether or not you want to accept hers?

Like okay, in It's Automatic, and i know we're jumping ahead because we'll probably talk about it in depth there, what she's really offering you is this emotional catharsis for Arthur and Eames, right? And it isn't like, for you, the reader - it's just whether or not you want to accept that catharsis and make it part of the story /you/ want to tell about these characters. I think a better way of looking at this is to compare her writing with traditional hurt/comfort stories, which force the emotional catharsis on you.

Cathy: And I think she definitely nails it in Deja Fucking Deja Vu, because she almost skips Nash's revelation of his catharsis, right? It's in between the sections. it's not written out.

Aja: oh, i see what you're saying. i am thinking more in terms of how she feels in terms of her writing as part of a collective. Like she has that meta-thread on the original kink meme thread for Desiderata where she says "So it feels like, everyone holding a piece of Arthur -- who then ends up being right for everyone -- is something close to what we're doing in fandom, or something like that. Like together we're building Arthur (most everyone, really) to be the right Arthur for all of us, and sometimes certain things shift when we contradict one another, and maybe those things are fundamental or just details around the edges"

Cathy: Right, yes.

Aja: my point is just that she's holding out one side of the gazillion-sided cube and saying "here's this interpretation of them" but she's always aware that she's writing within a larger collective; so like, her emotional catharsis at any given moment isn't the emotional catharsis. Because i think she's subtly implying that the act of being here and collectively creating all of this together is our real catharsis. But that's really pointing towards what you're saying about how she sidesteps Nash's catharsis. She doesn't have to show it to us because we're implicitly involved in creating it

Cathy: Yes! And if there's one thing we know about weatherfront, it's her insistence that we /are/ writing in a collective. like that's one thing that I really love about her, is that she accepts the group nature of fandom without making it a borg.

Aja: yes, and she's always personally in favor of allowing everyone to expand his/her definition without insisting on one single source of authenticity or something. Like, maybe in other fandoms that wouldn't work as well, but within inception we already know that we DON'T REALLY HAVE AUTHORIAL INTENT BECAUSE THE

Cathy: EXACTLY. THE CANON IS SO SHODDY

Aja: WELL - YES SHODDY BUT ALSO THE AUTHORIAL INTENT IS THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORIAL INTENT

Cathy: YES

Aja: and like. Weatherfront's insistence is on not lauding her own intent as an author because she's aware of how that undermines the overall point.
Cathy: Right - like when she writes that she thinks about the canon itself as merely a slice of their lives. So in Desiderata, it's very very very much about the impossibility of trying to pin down anything, as she herself says.

Aja: well and she also is way into structuralist theory, which I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT OKAY, but i grok enough to get that it has a lot to do with relativism and the way that perceived reality affects actual reality

Cathy: Right? i think that's something in a lot of her stories, it's very often about a character tryign to pin Arthur down.
YES. RELATIVISM.

Aja: so that's like her bread and butter

Cathy: And I think even in that Cobb/Arthur story, it's about Cobb not understanding Arthur and trying to grok him.

Aja: i wanted to talk about how there's a reason that she uses Cobb so often as the mode for bringing Arthur and Eames together! (and like in the cobb/arthur story she totally reverses it and has eames bringing cobb/arthur together :D which isn't really relevant but is awesome) - but i think it's because she has set arthur up as this mythical sort of reflecting pool

Cathy: YESSSSS

Aja: and in order to get past the mythos of him to be able to have a real meaningful relationship with him, you have to get past your, uh, your own projections of him, more or less

Cathy: Definitely. And who better than Cobb?

Aja: yes! Cobb, who is the character who's already had to learn this and who can act as a guide for everyone else's (mostly Eames') ways of understanding Arthur

Cathy: But I do find it interesting that she seems to rarely engage in the shapeshifting /identity/ of Eames. Like for me her Eames is always very transparent.

Aja: right, i think that her Arthur is the shapeshifter and Eames is the one who's paradoxically grounded. and Arthur even says as much to him in it's automatic - he's like, "nobody else knows themselves as well as you do, to be able to turn into everyone else", basically. so for her it's like the act of being able to really shift requires you to maintain a sense of stasis within yourself?

Cathy: Well I was thinking about that, but then I went second-level analysis on it, and I thought about this idea of the fandom collective, right?

Aja: you mean you HAD TO GO DEEPER?

Cathy: a;sdlfja;sfdkj SHUT UP. Like in a lot of ways we are always Eames, shapeshifting with our characters - we are always with Eames, forging characters who reflect ourselves only in mirrors. And so for us it's not a mystery. what is a mystery is the people we are forging. More than narrators normally are, Eames is the author stand in.

Aja: for how we produce and absorb characters

Cathy: So just as he forges identity in the dreamworld, we try on the identities of other characters as we write

Aja: Eames is the authorial stand-in and Arthur is the meta-object that represents how we feel about the characters, maybe?

Cathy: exactly! Like the mystery isn't how we write, right? like for us the mystery is why. Or why this story or why that story, or why we feel like this character is this way. Just like the mystery in her stories re: Eames and Arthur is why this time, or that time, or in this AU, or how they fall in love

Aja: i'm thinking about something my friend Al and i talked about like 6 months ago regarding RPF. She was basically making an academic case that we map our own fantasies and projections of ourselves onto the identities of these real people, who we can see making real mistakes and living real lives, because there's an element of the known and familiar as opposed to the unknown and the kind of vast scope of fantasy, and i think that's kind of similar to the way that in Inception, you have this dichotomy between the reality and the subconscious projection of your desire.

You have this idea that Eames as the authorial stand-in is also the one who's most aware of reality, and the most grounded and able to really tell the difference between fact and fiction. but we project through him onto Arthur who is probably the most fantastical of all of them. because he, you know, flies and shit. basically they occupy these extremes on a spectrum of our desire for reconciliation with our own fantasies.

Cathy: I think that is exactly my point. Like in her meta for fuck-or-die, she says that Eames is the one who actually tries to "reacharound" to Arthur, right? like in a lot of ways that's why I think she chooses him.

Aja: YES. like he is literally able to reacharound his own assumptions about who Arthur is to be able to see what is real

Cathy: Yes!

Aja: also i love as an aside that in all her fics Ariadne is just like PENROSE THINGS :D MAKE THEM ALL PENROSE!

Cathy: Well I think that's part of the reason why I wish weatherfront WROTE ALL THINGS, because I think there is a really interesting point in here about how to look at Ariadne. Like one thing I always wish she wrote more because I really, really really want her to tackle Ariadne, and in a non-joking manner. Because Ariadne doesn't shapeshift but there's always this possibility that she could.

Aja: well i think she said a LOT about Ariadne when she (uh) had her die. because it wasn't just that she died, it was that she WAS CAUGHT IN A PENROSE DEATH

Cathy: YES. but like see, it wasn't about /her/ - it was about this nature of death and remembrance (though that is like, what, the one fic from Arthur's point of view, SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT HER VIEW OF ARTHUR a;sdlkfj)

Aja: which, god, WE CAN TALK ABOUT SHIFTING POV TOO WHEN WE GET TO IT'S AUTOMATIC

Cathy: OH JESUS OKAY. can we talk about I Have Not Yet Forgot Myself. I think this story really exemplifies those other qualities of her writing but JUST SO SNEAKILY, re: the way she doesn't force emotional catharsis on you. the subtle way of talking about the meta of rearranging memories, rearranging stories.

I mean this wonderful image she has of eames explaining memories to Arthur -- how they can infect the rest of your brain: "They're all connected to each other, these memories. We've got to pull them out by the roots. We leave anything in there, it festers and starts to infect the surrounding areas of the brain. Phantom longings. You don't want that."

Aja: literally a DE-INCEPTION, in other words. For her it's not just an extraction, it's an uprooting

Cathy: Well and this excellent meta image of the ~journey~, right? Like Eames LITERALLY, this time, has to journey into Arthur's heart and extract Arthur

Aja: and there's also the kind of horrifying fact that arthur knows that eames is there but doesn't actually stop him from doing anything he's doing until the last time

Cathy: Yes, because he chooses to be a part of it!!!!!!

Aja: because arthur is sort of allowing him to - yes. he's allowing eames to take that journey and also allowing himself to be uprooted.

Cathy: Like this dual nature of wanting to forget, and regretting the forgetting. It's really the movie echoed, right? like Cobb in INception itself--I don't think he ever didn't know Mal was fake, but he didn't want to accept it so he made himself forget it. just like Mal makes herself forget Limbo. So in this story, arthur chooses to forget Cobb, but also doesn't want to, and has to choose again.

Aja: One thing i was thinking about today was that really, in order to move on, he could have simply stopped dreaming and still kept her memory

Cathy: YES. But he has to make that CHOICE.

Aja: and the choice necessitates choosing between preserving your memories of the past and allowing yourself to regret them a little, because if you didn't regret them you wouldn't be able to move on at all

Cathy: Well, because you wouldn't know how to move on :( or why :(

Aja: and that brings us back to en haut et en bas

Cathy: Yes :( but it's also the reason why I find I Have Not Yet Forget so insidious

Aja: well, i have not yet forgot myself to stone IMPLIES THAT YOU CAN ONLY FORGET YOURSELF TO STONE

Cathy: YES. like I think the other issue is that like a;sldfkajsf - and i know this is the HATES BEAUTIUFL THINGS in me coming out, but you know that if Arthur ever met Cobb again, why wouldn't he love him just like before? Like what you have to hope is that when Arthur is with Eames, they can have a relationship real enough to mask over the emptiness of Cobb in Arthur--real enough so that it justifies that emptiness.

Aja: whereas en haut et en bas implies that there's not so much a forgetting as a, dare i say it, a ~remixing~ - that you fanfic your own memories, in essence. but there is a lot of work that has to be done on the part of the reader in that story

Cathy: Oh yes, so much. It's one of the few, isn't it, where Arthur doesn't give Eames a ~crowning moment of emotion~ speech at the end

Aja: i think there is a sense that weatherfront is always navigating this path through to the end? and like she doesn't always expect it to be a smooth one. She always is after the emotional catharsis, but she always sets herself up for the full ride, so you feel often when you're reading her fics that she is deliberately re-treading similar themes in order to work out a new path around them, which is why there is this constant recurring meta-narrative and even constantly recurring images and etc.

Cathy: Yes-- like she wants to try new forks in the road but the destination is always the same. or, to use an Inception metaphor, You might take a different line this time, but you're still waiting for a train.

Aja: OR YOU'RE WAITING FOR A PALFREY :> BUT YOU'RE STILL WAITING

Cathy: :> SHOULD THAT SEGUE INTO EN ROUTE TO TRANSYLVANIA

Aja: :D CAN IT PLEASE

Cathy: We can't talk about this fic without talking about COBB'S SPEECH. THIS IS MY ONE SMART THING TO SAY ABOUT EN ROUTE TO TRANSYLVANIA. what i love about this fic THE MOST is the cobb/saito scene. not just because of that speech, but because

Aja: BUT BECAUSE EAMES IS LIKE, "UH, YUSUF, THESE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY, CAN I GET THOSE STEAKS?"

Cathy: it is SO MUCH what she says in her meta post, about slivers of a life, right? like what she has done with this story is to make the plot of Inception the sideplot - WELL THAT TOO - but YES, that's my point! She has Eames basically SHOVE OVER the plot of Inception to make room for this romcom, which is nothing if not the best metaphor ever for fanfic.

Aja: i think that is exactly why it works so well as a parody of inception itself, because she gives total golf claps to all the actual iconic things about inception the film, and it is like RECURSIVE RIDICULOUSNESS, basically

Cathy: YES. and the ridiculousness of Cobb, and Ariadne as this lovely blacksmith, right? WITH GUNS OF STEEL FOR ARMS. AND THE KISSING

Aja: and the fact that they're like, COM BACK RTHUR and there's this whole 28 days later thing

Cathy: just everything. it's really wonderful.

Aja: and how Mal is just this totally offstage bit player, and we never even see Robert

Cathy: And "I'M HOME" - RIGHT?

Aja: YES! WHICH -- RECURRING LINES. BUT ALSO WITHIN THAT, she's responding to fandom's need to make them all a team
at all costs REGARDLESS OF HOW IMPROBABLE AND RIDICULOUS IT IS. SHE IS LIKE, HERE, LET'S HAVE THEM ALL AGREE TO DRINK ARTHUR'S BLOOD SO HE CAN HAVE A REAL FAMILY, AND THEN THEY CAN MOVE TO TRANSYLVANIA! SOMEHOW THESE CRAZY KIDS WILL MAKE IT WORK!

Cathy: And what's wonderful about it is that she loves the source material and the fandom, so it isn't mean, it's just she's responding to that desire

Aja: right she is just responding and expounding on it

Cathy: and giving exactly what we want and we laugh with her

Aja: and then the part where arthur gets drunk :( and straddles eames :( and is like LET ME STAY :(
okay
i don't
really have anywhere
i was going with that

Cathy: a;lskdfj;asldfkj yeah i was about to say. i mean like i said, i had one smart thing to say about this fic! and the rest is just COM BACK RTHUR!

Aja: IS THE REDNESS YOU PERCEIVE

Cathy: PUMPKINS!!!!

Aja: THE SAME AS THE REDNESS I PERCEIVE?!?!?!?!

Cathy: CAN YOU REALLY SAY YOU ARE A BEAN FARMER IF IT WASN'T OUT OF FREE WILL

Aja: WE NEED TO HIDE YOUR TEETH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cathy: a;sfldk;ajsf

Me: OH OH OH CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW DAS VORBEWUSSTE IS BASICALLY EAMES FANFICCING HIMSELF FOR ARTHUR

Cathy: ohmygod yes

Aja: LIKE, HE'S LITERALLY ALLOWING ARTHUR TO COME INTO HIS OWN SELF-CREATED FANFIC AND WATCH IT PLAY OUT EXACTLY THE WAY ARTHUR WANTS, and the whole HERE, SIT ON MY KNEE :D bit akdjkljdaf

Cathy: ALSO WE LIED Das Vorbewusste is also from Arthur's perspective

Aja: oh yes :D of course :D because arthur is like, the spectator/mark basically! and like in a way she's doing the inverse of what she normally does, because the audience is really standing in this time with arthur, allowing eames to be the object of desire for once

Cathy: YES! and we also allow him to seduce us

Aja: and allowing us to project our own desire to hear eames say dirty things in german onto arthur :D

Cathy: YES! i think in a way it is the exact inverse of It's Automatic, right? Like It's Automatic is the inverse of Das Vorbewusste, it's Das Vorbewusste in a less ideal and less fluffy world. Like in It's Automatic, Eames tries to rewrite himself so hard. I think It's Automatic is what Das Vorbewusste would be, if Eames starts losing sight of the real Arthur. Like it works out in Das Vorbewusste because his read on Arthur is so spot on, and it's /Arthur's/ projections that are getting in the way of seeing the real Eames. and in It's Automatic it's the reverse, right? It's really Arthur's read on Eames that is spot on

Aja: okay, yes, i completely 100% agree with you about the way they read each other / see past the other's projections of them that is the true inverse in those fics. but like i think i am less - I FEEL LIKE ARTHUR IN DAS VORBEWUSSTE is deliberately obtuse? So I am like, Arthur, why!
Cathy: and i think this is when weatherfront herself would come in and yell at us for overidentifying, because i felt at the end of It's Automatic the same way with Eames! Like I just felt the whole story was so caught up in Eames runing away from Arthur because he thinks Arthur is trying to run away from himself that I got frustrated. Like the WHY IS IT ROMANTIC WITH EVERYONE BUT ME line was /exactly/ how i felt

Aja: oh my god okay see what i LOVE (as we seamlessly segue into talking about it's automatic) about that fic is how CLEANLY and easily she lays out that picture of arthur in eames' pov. like yes, he says over and over again "if it were anyone else but arthur, it would be (x positive thing)" but then when you lay out arthur's actual actions and his dialogue, it's like this perfectly veiled split betweeen the reality of how arthur feels and the projecting that eames is doing. Because for example when arthur's like "there is no this" and when he's ending the date early - just all these things that can so easily be read by the paranoid insecure person as tiny rejections!

Cathy: and that is why it's frustrating for me! I had this whole thing in here about, you know, your meta of Eames pining, and you know how I always complain that it makes Arthur an asshole? I think one thing that I noticed in It's Automatic is, like she said, a response to that meta-- which is that constant emotional state can make Eames seem kind of an asshole too. like in that story, he renders Arthur into this static object of desire. Like he sees Arthur as perpetually 26 and ruthless, because that is how he falls in love with him

Aja: and like, the joy of that fic for me is in not just the slow unfolding of arthur's pov, because i've heard so many people say they thought when they read it that it would end angstily and unhappily because they were basically sold on eames' pov--

Cathy: YES

Aja: but that when you reread it you see all the ways in which arthur is just so tired and frustrated and wearied by Eames' projecting. and when he says "you need to look again" basically, he's not saying "you're wrong" (because weatherfront is never going to say "you're wrong" about anyone's pov) - he's saying "i'm changing and you're missing out". ( and it's this perfect meta-summation of, well, the act of being engaged in the fandom, i think.)

Cathy: yessss. I love that scene where Arthur says "there's no this" for precisely that reason. because like, Arthur says "there's no this", and then proceeds to stay there reading the newspaper like they're a married couple

Aja: <3333333! well and he's just explained why "there is no this" and it's not "because you mean nothing to me", it's "because this aka the dreamheist world is in a constant state of flux", JUST LIKE ME

Cathy: YES. and i love that she uses the dreamheist world as a metaphor for Arthur

Aja: yes <3

Cathy: like I know she talks about change in her meta and in the fic itself, but literally it is RIGHT THERE in that conversation

Aja: well and that even when he's saying he doesn't know himself at all he knows himself SO WELL, and well enough to use it as a metaphor fo rhimself

Cathy: yes. and eames completely misses it

Aja: and when he's talking about how he loses himself and then finds himself again, i love how that echoes the nature of rewriting over your identity, and just - yessssss, when eames says "makes you think", like he just totally blanks

Cathy: YES, BUT HE'S NOT - HE'S NOT THINKING AT ALL about what Arthur is saying

Aja: it's this BY ROTE NON-COMMENT, A NONVERSATION

Cathy: and then a;skdlfj and then the best is that he ends with "where are you staying". like EAMES, ARTHUR IS NOT STAYING ANYWHERE! THAT IS THE POINT

Aja: yes! he does that twice whenever he wants to deflect! it's where are you staying instead of a real conversation then, and then instead of the "you're the first john i've ever loved", it's "when are you leaving" -- and they're BOTH ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTIONS

Cathy: YES EXACTLY

Aja: and that brings me to another huge point i wanted to make about how things function as stand-ins for emotional connection in this fic, which probably has something to do with utada hikaru sdkj;af

Cathy: Are we going to talk about modes of transport :D

Aja: ARE WE?

Cathy: i don't know, i wanted to ask

Aja: IDK I MADE A LITTLE CHART ON MY MOLESKINE

Cathy: a;lsdfkja;slfdj;aslkdj ohmygod

Aja: (SORRY WEATHERFRONT)

Cathy: a;sldfka;sldfkj;alskdj;falfkjds DEAR WEATHERFRONT, I DID NO SUCH THING

Aja: AND MY CHART IS LIKE. a THREE-TIERED LAYER. -- and yes, the airport and the metro station are at the center! because, obviously!

Aja: but like how they use the money - like the literal briefcases full of money-- they keep using it as an excuse

Cathy: YES, for their LOVE

Aja: to do what they really want to do which is BE TOGETHER

Cathy: i know that sounds cheesy

Aja: yes

Cathy: YES

Aja: no but it's true! like it's like (briefcases of money) --> literal connection --> emotional intimacy

Cathy: And the running from place to place - it's like, they keep wanting to be together but they keep pulling apart, in airports, in metro stations. like you had that whole bit about how eames is WAITING FOR A TRAIN

Aja: YES, which is why arthur is like WHY DO I HAVE TO CALL YOU

Cathy: YES, FROM AN AIRPORT BAR

Aja: which is another part of my tier, like, they both FAKE DETACHMENT. and there is this kind of contained narrative pov that keeps pushing us away right up until the rain, and then it's like after that they move from FAKED DETACHENT -> DRUNKEN CONFESSIONS VIA PHONE CALLS -> dklajfdl

Cathy: OKAY I HAVE A POINT ABOUT FAKING DETACHMENT, which is that there is this wonderful kabuki theatre nonsense going on here, right? like I think Eames is faking detachment because he thinks Arthur will freak out, and he doesn't want to be seen as vulnerable. but I think in a way Arthur, too, is faking detachment, because he thinks that's what Eames wants

Aja: no absolutely he is. like when he's in the dream sequence with his fake family it's so totally weary

Cathy: like he knows Eames is this person who thinks that he's running away, so he runs away, and then that proves Eames' assumption of him as this person who runs away a;sdlfj

Aja: and like when he gets drunk and he's like "why can't i talk to you?" it's not "because you push me away" it's "because i'm afraid of how hard you pull me towards you", so there is this giant missed connection between them for a long time symbolized by all the briefcase-dodging and the texting

Cathy: yes. i also love it because it's arthur who finally is like, we need to have a conversation about what we're not saying

Aja: yes, which again, ~the rain~ and how that allows them to have a literal outpouring of something or other, haha

Cathy: THE MEIYU THAT SYMBOLIZES COLD AND WARM FRONTS MEETING? :D

Aja: OH DOES IT? OKAY :D HOW PERFECT :D

Cathy: IT IS WHAT MEIYU IS :D

Aja: ALSO CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT HOW LIKE 'MEET ME AT THE HOTEL LOBBY' IS ANALOGOUS TO ARTHUR WANTING EAMES TO MEET HIM AT THE AIRPORT TERMINAL AND SEE HIM OFF AND HOW EAMES RUNS ALL THE WAY, SO LIKE EVEN THOUGH ARTHUR IS RUNNING AWAY, SUPPOSEDLY, THERE IS THIS IMMEDIATE IMPLICATION THAT EAMES IS READY AND WILLING TO RUN WITH HIM

Cathy: TO PAY FOR A REAL LIFE STORY? SORRY SORRY TOO MUCH UTADA HIKARu :D i think one interesting thing to me is that like, the use of this mode of transport metaphor? the waiting for a train thing that's in Inception itself and obviously in It's Automatic is that there's an element of trust, right? like the point is you don't know where you're going and you don't care

Aja: exactly, in that he says "can we wait together, can we be the heroes of our own story"

Cathy: and I think that's what Arthur grasps more readily than Eames. that he has no idea of where they're going, but he wants Eames to trust him

Aja: BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER, BECAUSE YOU'LL BE TOGETHER <3

Cathy: that's why he says I MAY NOT BE ANY GOOD FOR YOu, which is so paradoxical, because he wants eames to believe that he will be good for him. like that's the whole /point/

Aja: i think he says it too in part because he's wanting eames to relate not just to him but to their partnership, because paradoxically they are CAREER CRIMINALS but they also
love what they do

Cathy: VERY MUCH YES

Aja: which is the whole point which brings me to THE THIRD LEVEL OF MY THREE-TIERED SUBSTITUTION HIERARCHY IN MY CHART, WHICH IS HOW THE POKER CHIP STANDS IN FOR THE METRO TOKEN STANDS IN FOR THE ACTUAL TOTEM,

Cathy: ooooooh this is a great point

Aja: and how the poker chip which is an actual stand-in for money is being used as a leitmotif for this metaphor of modes of transport, and it has all those connotations of subterfuge and the seedy underworld they inhabit-- but it's being tied ultimately to the totem

Cathy: but is also about the purest exchange, really, of risk and trust! BECAUSE YOU TRUST THE HOUSE

Aja : which is literally standing in for - YES

Cathy: TO GIVE YOU YOUR MONEY. YOU TRUST THE GAME TO FOLLOW THE RULES

Aja: YES! and literally in this case, it's standing in for the moment eames started to trust arthur!

Cathy: YES

Aja: and how that actually ties in to WHAT THE TOTEM IS ABOUT

Cathy: YES, TRUSTING THE TOTEM TO TELL YOU REALITY FROM FICTION

Aja: YES

Cathy: and if you are disenchanted, it is all just a long con, but that is arthur's point--that it doesn't matter if the end result is a long con. he wants Eames to wait with him

Aja: because you went through it together! And it is really this ultimate symbol of human connection which all ties back into the link back to how EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE CAREER CRIMINALS THEY HAVE THIS REAL THING AND IT'S AMAZING

Cathy: well but see, that is what i wanted to say about It's Automatic! IS THAT THEY DON'T YET. what weatherfront is doing is writing us a check for this THING THEY WILL HAVE
IN THE FUTURE

Aja: yessssss

Cathy: LIKE, THE GREATNESS IS THAT SHE IS ASKING US TO TRUST HER TO DELIVER

Aja: just like arthur is asking eames to trust him--she is implicitly asking us as the narrator. and i think it's so interesting that almost literally from the point at which the rain breaks you can see arthur just opening up and opening up like A LOTUS FLOWER OR SOMETHING

Cathy: a;lsfkja;sldfkj; AJA I WANT TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT CONTAINED AND UNCONTAINED NARRATIVES. DO WE HAVE TO SUMMARIZE THAT CONVERSATION

Aja: skdjfa; probably

Cathy: PERHAPS WE SHOULD. OKAY HI AUDIENCE.

Aja: O HAI LIVEJOURNAL

Cathy: So AJA remember how we had this really long conversation about contained and uncontained narratives

Aja: yes, cathy, i do!

Cathy: EXCELLENT! and i think the takeaway from that is that there are some stories which have a contained narrative-- that is, it doesn't really require you to look at it from a meta level in order to really "get" it, right?

Aja: right, exactly.

Cathy: but there are stories that are "uncontained", which is that the narrative itself is incomplete

Me: but all of weatherfront's fics basically have an outer layer, yes

Cathy: but the wonderful thing about her stories is that they work on both levels. i think they are more strong as contained than uncontained narratives. The stories I really love of weatherfront's are the ones with really powerful uncontained narratives, and I think "It's Automatic" is really like, her ~ode~ to the uncontained narrative

Aja: hmmm, i feel like the point is that their strength as contained narratives is partially derived from the fact that she's also working to create them within this outer layer

Cathy: Really? I feel like with her AUs especially she operates in this really nice contained narrative - like okay

Aja: well but you just said you think her contained narratives are stronger than her uncontained, and i think the reverse because even her contained narratives are still a part of the powerful collective meta-narrative she has going

Cathy: well but! I think that is the danger of this conversation we are having? is that we both think a lot about the uncontained narrative

Aja: THE DANGER OF A SINGLE STORY?!?!

Cathy: as;fdlkajs;fd no, i mean this particular kind of conversation--because we uh read a lot of fanfic, and you in particular talk a lot about the fandom collective, and we also have the luxury of talking a lot to weatherfront about Her Thoughts on Writing (TM). so when we read her, we /are/ reading that uncontained narrative, right?

Aja: Well, we also, even without her, have the meta-experience of being involved in the fandom and seeing how it has rapidly developed and shifted between various tropes, so we understand how her fics are fitting into this larger fandom context, and responding to other people's fics and ideas, etc.

Cathy: What I'm trying to get at, though, is I think our experiences make us see the meta-experience more strongly, and you in particular--you are seeing this larger context, but not everyone is. so what i'm saying is that I don't think weatherfront always operates in the uncontained narrative. I think /you/ are picking out the uncontained narrative because weatherfront loves the fandom collective as an experience. Like I think You're Waiting for an Orgasm--when I first read it, I didn't at all think of it from the fandom collective, or tropes, or meta level, at all. I was like HAHAHAHA FUCK OR DIE. which is the ~contained narrative~. but it is, in fact, impossible to read En Haut Et En Bas without thinking of the uncontained narrative

Cathy: I HAD NO OTHER POINT, but I did have a note in here that "in and of itself "It's Automatic" is the ode to the uncontained narrative, that is, that Inception does not contain the entire narrative of Arthur or Eames". that is my note. which she makes explicit in her meta bout the fic: "And in a sense, the fic is also about what it means for fic writers to try to grasp characters; and how difficult it is for us to label some portrayal as being in character or out of character, when what we see of these characters in canon is only a very brief slice of an entire hypothetical life. " So I think even accessing that from a non-fandom perspective, a purely canonical perspective, it's so true. Like in Inception it is about how taking these little things and trying to form a huge picture of a person creates perversion--like with Cobb and shade!mal

Aja: well, inception is all about, literally, fanficcing the world

Cathy: AND about fanficcing people around you by building them yourself, right?

Aja: yes--and the difference is that inception implies that this is sketchy and skeevy-- that it does't always have to be! but that it can be!

Cathy: I think what Inception is telling us is that the danger is believing that those things are /real/ - that they are the COMPLETE PICTURE, right?

Aja: yes, exactly, right, which is when weatherfront comes in, because she GETS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT PROCESS OF BUILDING AND PERCEIVING

Cathy: a;lsdfja;sdlf SHUT UP STOP RIGHT NOW, I KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING - no you are right-- we come into her story and fill it with our projections and our secrets, and extract them ourselves

Aja: haha, yes, and she basically re-constructs that dream over and over again to new specifications. it's not limbo because it's ever-changing

Cathy: but it is built on top of other things

Aja but it is still a kind of ongoing metamorphosis - like the foundation is eternal

Cathy: WHICH IS WHY I ALSO WANTED TO TALK BOUT FANDOM TROPES IN "IT'S AUTOMATIC"? like she uses a lot of them without me even realizing them: text messages, getting drunk at bars and being honest

Aja the drunken confessions

Cathy: city skipping, Jewish ancestry

Aja: the veiled domestic parody, the TRAIN ITSELF

Cathy: also i wanted to point out that she subverts the domestic thing? like in a way what she's saying is, there is a level of intimacy that we always assume comes with domesticity, but there is nothing truly domestic about eames or arthur and their relationship. they are trying to access that same level of domesticity--

Aja: and failing:

Cathy: sure, they may never own a house and buy rugs and burn pots and pans

Aja: because they lack the initial ability to connect to each other, so all they really have is the hope that one day "this" will be something tangible, whatever "this" is

Cathy: yes! and i think she is arguing that that is JUST as intimate as anything else that domesticity can give us

Aja: and like, eames is open about that, because he doesn't want gold rings! and he doesn't know what he wants-- he just knows that he wants arthur to be the one to give it to him. which goes right back to, it doesn't matter where we are going because we'll be together! HOW DOES SHE DO THIS ALL THE TIME. like she does so much with just layer after layer of MEANING, it's SO BRILLIANT.

Cathy: and finally I wanted to talk about BAIT AND SWITCH :D because she said that was something she realized in her story was the bait and switch of how the story begins and how it ends-- which like, HOW FITTING, BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT CAREER CONMEN

Cathy: LIKE THE CON IS ON YOU, BUT ALSO ON EAMES

Aja: and the way that basically you start out with one fic and you end up with another

Cathy: BECAUSE HE, LIKE YOU, THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO BE IN A WORLD OF FUCKING IN MONEY

Aja: because SHE REALLY STARTS OUT PRIMING YOU (THE COLLECTIVE READER) FOR AN ANGST FIC WITH NO PROMISES

Cathy: YES, AND EAMES AS WELL

Aja: AND AMBIGUOUS ENDINGS

Cathy: Oh i forgot to add something. earlier when we were talking about uncontained narratives, and how weatherfront is the architect, WHICH IS-- oh aja you should do a little bit about the id vortex so i can talk about the id vortex without sounding ridiculous

Aja: oh! yes! the id vortex! OKAY THE ID VORTEX IS BASICALLY THE POINT AT WHICH YOUR RATIONAL DESIRES CONVERGE WITH YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS FANTASIES, AND IN TERMS OF FIC IT IMPLIES THAT YOU CAN HAVE CERTAIN THEMES AND UH TROPES that may not rationally appeal to most readers on a logical level

Cathy: IT IS OFTEN ABOUT SUDDENLY REALIZING THINGS THAT YOU RATIONALLY THOUGHT YOU WERE DISGUSTED WITH ARE ACTUALLY THINGS YOU REALLY WANT because they access your id :D

Aja: so enter inception canon, which deals primarily with this axis of the rational and the subconscious to begin with, and then enter the meta-layer of the way it is basically about people WRITING FANFIC in dreamspace, and then enter the inception fandom

Cathy: OH WAIT BEFORE WE DO THAT, the original author of the id vortex metaphor is like - WHAT WAS HER NAME AJA

Aja: wasn't it ellen fremedon?

Cathy: YES, IT WAS - she also has this extended point, which is that professional fiction doesn't always enter the id vortex, but more ofte than not fanfic is about the id vortex

Aja: voila

Cathy: but she has this bit, right, which is that in profic we channel the id vortex through a "toolbox", and we don't know what is in that toolbox. it is like beta readers and other people

Me: and like she has this point about how in profic, part of the reason it sucks is that you aren't necessarily writing in the same general open sphere of informed collective, uh, enthusiasm with regard to your id. And for inception fandom and for weatherfront's fics in particular, i think what that boils down to is that - i keep coming back to Desiderata because she's so obvious there - you have all these different articulations of the same general concepts that touch our collective id. So like in it's automatic she can touch on all these fan tropes and subtly subvert them, because she's pulling together all our assumptions about what we think "angstfic" looks like, what we think "domestic fic" looks like, what we think heistfic looks like and what we think fluff fic looks like, and she's weaving it all into this ultimate point that we don't KNOW.

Cathy: YES. and that's what i wanted to say about "it's automatic" --that I think it's neither the id vortex, nor pro fic. it's that process that the "toolbox" represents, right? Like at some point we transitioned OUT of the id vortex, and we have no fucking idea where that was

Aja: which GOES BACK TO what i was trying to say earlier about the audience using Eames as the stand-in and could not quite get to--because when we use Eames as the stand-in for the author we are directly dealing with the process of creation with the toolbox. So, like, EAMES AS THE FORGER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR GATHERING UP ALL OF THE DATA WE HAVE ON THE CHARACTERS AND COMPILING THOSE ASSUMPTIONS INTO SOMETHING THAT CREATES WORKING CHARACTERIZATION, AND CREATES A "REAL", "AUTHENTIC" TYPE OF PORTRAYAL. So where eames stands in juxtaposition to the dream is that he's within it but always enough outside it to be able to divide himself from the fantasy, which is how we come in to the role of author while still being able to participate in the articulation of our subconscious desires. And it's like the tools he uses to transform into those characters, of analysis and reiteration and practice and roleplay, etc, are essentially layered, because they translate as the same tools we use on collective levels.

Cathy: but see i think that's what so interesting about using Eames, because it is like, "real" and "fantasy" are such awkward terms to talk about. if he portrays you a certain way and other people react to that projection of you just as they react to you, does that mean you are "really" like that? THAT IS WHAT IS SO INTERESTING ABOUT USING THIS AS A METAPHOR FOR FANFIC

Aja: but that's the point, he's not really cloning you, he's just allowing other people to believe that they see you

Cathy: yes! but that's the thing, right? like there is no "absolute" you, so in a lot of ways-- AND THIS IS YOUR POINT ABOUT WEATHERFRONT NOT REJECTING POVS-- eames' Arthur is "real", as is anyone else's "Arthur"-- just as a projection of you that others react to as you is, in a way, how you "really" are. I don't know where this is going, except, yeah

Aja: THIS IS WHY SLEEPING WITH PROJECTIONS IS CREEPY?

Cathy: YES YES EXACTLY

Aja: also remember, re not having a real you, in it's automatic, arthur is aware of that himself, he's OKAY WITH NOT BEING THE REALEST ARTHUR HE CAN BE right now, and he wants Eames to be okay with that, too

Cathy: yes! or rather he is making that exact point-- that there is not really a "realest" arthur, there is just arthur and he is changing from moment to moment and there is no real way to be a "real" arthur. and eames' insistence of arthur as being "really" this way is ridiculous, because arthur at 26 is nothing like arthur at 27 and arthur at 26 was absolutely nothing like arthur at 19

Aja: you can't step into the same Arthur twice!

Cathy: a;sldfkj HAHAHAH.

Aja: ~modes of transport~

Cathy: can i talk about utada hikaru for a moment ._.

Aja: please do

Cathy: OKAY Aja you've already kind of heard this before, but for the audience: Weatherfront wrote up this whole bit about "it's automatic" which included a song by Utada Hikaru
entitled AUTOMATIC~~ which you can listen to and read the translation of the lyrics. I provide this link because the link weatherront herself gave is now dead. And as she herself analyzes, "automatic" is really a song about romance, and desire, and earnestness, which is something weatherfront really loves, EARNESTNESS :D - And she contrasted Automatic with Beautiful Dirty Rich, which is where the original prompt came from

Aja: which is such a subtle way of reiterating both the bait-and-switch and the deceptive pov

Cathy: BUT what is really really really interesting to me, and something I'm sure weatherfront herself already knew, is that utada hikaru herself wrote a follow up to automatic many years later entitled automatic part ii, which you can find here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aTrtxsL1og

Cathy: and the wonderful, wonderful thing about this is that Automatic Part II is basically Beautiful Dirty Rich. it's not really about love anymore--it's about materialism and technology and information. it's EXACTLY the transition of Arthur at 19 wanting to be a doctor to Arthur at 26 as a career criminal. but even Automatic Part II can't hide the fact that it's kind of about love, because it ends with things like:
    Indian, Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans / You can be my captain and I'll be your commander

Automatic Part II is so so so Arthur at 26. For instance:
    Philanthropic, diabolic, so melodic/ I can't help it —— it's automatic

And like this just goes back to my whole desire to write loads and loads of meta about Utada Hikaru, because I think she, like weatherfront, really understands change
and how change always gets us back to the same thing. Like we can talk about how different crass materialism looks now than it did in the early 90s, but certain things are the same, and desire often is one of them. BUT AUDIENCE, YOU SHOULD REALLY READ THE LYRICS OF THESE TWO SONGS SIDE BY SIDE.

The first Automatic says "on the seventh ring you answered the phone", and in automatic part II Utada sings "I'll add you but I won't give you my number"

Aja: UGH, ARTHUR, BREAK MY HEART SOME MORE WHY DON'T YOU. like, one thing that's so deceptive about arthur in it's automatic is that he's found a way to live through his dependence on this ugly brutal capitalist system that supports him even as he's subverting it, but eames doesn't get it. so when he fucks arthur in bathtubs full of money

Cathy: yessss

Aja: he doesn't get that arthur is saying FUCK THE MONEY

Cathy: YES! he thinks arthur WANTS to fuck in the money, but really what Arthur wants is this like two strange paradoxical fabrics of his life sliding together. He doesn't really fucking care about the money, which he says as much to Eames later

Aja: yes, exactly. like, he wants eames to be the one to take him on a pile of money because it's the power shift between what he could have and what he really wants that is the real turn on

Cathy: AND THAT'S THE SHIFT FROM ID VORTEX, RIGHT? like the id vortex says we want to fuck on money but outside the id vortex is what we realize we are saying

Aja: and like eames takes it at face value because he's been absorbed in this total capitalist mantra that he hasn't really - like, it's the metro token that symbolizes him breaking out of that i think. -- And also i think there is this idea that eames is still - like, if you laid the two songs side by side, eames would be it's automatic and arthur would be part ii

Cathy: yes exactly

Aja: i wonder if it's not really that eames is so much absorbed in the capitalist system as immune to it, whereas arthur has had to work through it and come out on the other side and is still trying to

Cathy: Yes. I think that implication is definitely there. Like something about what they are doing bothers Arthur in a way it doesn't bother Eames--like he has to justify to himself why he loves being a career criminal, especially since he realizes it's not about the money

Aja: right--whereas eames is more or less the trope of the trickster. it makes sense for his narrative to be self-contained until arthur cracks it open for us, because eames is self-contained. and when arthur says he's letting eames sink in, he means he's making a - well exactly like weatherfront said in her meta, he's leaving an eames-shaped hole in his life that is being made out of money and all these more or less meaningless things

Cathy: I also love that meta because normally what we hear is that we already /have/ a hole in our lives and for some reason someone fits in it, but what weatherfront is saying
is that arthur is /crafting/ that hole so that Eames can enter into his life and fit it perfectly. And what Eames is seeing is not Arthur trying to fill that emptiness in his life with other things, but rather Arthur trying to see what the context of that is.

Aja: Yes, and the irony is that it isn't automatic at all.

Cathy: yes!

Aja: which again gets back to the idea of substitution, because i think arthur is sort of working around this idea that he has to substitute other forms of communication
and intimacy for what he wants to have with eames, while eames is working around this assumption that he has to accept whatever he can get

Cathy: YES. as;dflkj i also think it's really interesting too that arthur is like "you spoil me", because he's arguing basically that this "take what i can get" mentality is what's making the relationship go sour

Aja: but then he says no one knows how to pull like you do and i think he's saying "i know you're trying not to pull but i want you to"

Cathy: well the point i wanted to make really was that other authors, me included, write the "take what i can get" mentality as the thread holding the story together? but weatherfront is arguing, implictly that that is what fucks up a relationship

Aja: absolutely, because it makes you fundamentally dependent on a lie of yourself to make the relationship work

Cathy: yes, that you are satisfied with what you are getting

Aja: and that's why the metaphor of arthur running just to run is so powerful, because it's eames' realization that arthur running is a part of who he is and that it's a positive thing. And it's not something that - like most stories would say COMPROMISE, CHANGE, and this story says ACCEPT, EMBRACE, SHIFT. like it's not about changing who you are, but accepting that who you are is in a constant state of flux.

Cathy: like ohmygod i am always about songas ;dlfkaj it's like in "sleep all summer", that line "i'd change for you but that doesn't mean i'll be a better man"

Aja: whereas this story says, let's change together and hold on

Cathy: yessss, or like, let's just realize this is who we are

Aja: it's so beautiful :( like, the idea that they're in transit while they're having this conversation

Cathy: WELL OR WILL BE IN TRANSIT

Aja: but also that eames is - right, AIRPORTS <3 I LOVE AIRPORTS AS NARRATIVE FUNCTIONS, CATHY, IT IS A WHOLE SECRET THING BUT ANYWAY - but like, that eames, when he's talking about not wanting arthur to change-- i think that really that's the moment we know that eames isn't in love with a projection of arthur. like i think she sets you up to almost be afraid--

Cathy: WELL I THINK IT'S WHEN YOU REALIZE HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE BUT HE /IS/? But the difference is that he loves ALL the projections of arthur

Aja: well i think it's that she allows us to see his inferiority complex, and when arthur sweeps his insecurities aside - like he thinks he is in love with athur at 26 and arthur is trying to tell him, no, i know you're in love with arthur at 27, and i trust you're going to be in love with arthur at 28, because that's how i feel about you right now

Cathy: yessss

Aja: and one hunch i have is that if arthur weren't the one to go in and leave all these eames-shaped holes in other people's lives he wouldn't be so sure of that, haha, because he has been literally making space for eames for a year

Cathy: well I think in a way that's why I think it's the inverse of Das Vorbewusste? like he /has/ been drawing Eames in, he just doesn't feel he has the same pull that eames does, so he has to let Eames pull himself into it--just like in Das Vorbewusste Eames lets Arthur pull himself into this elaborate con designed to show him how smart Eames is.

Aja: and in both cases the nature of the con is really about the nature of the person they're trying to leave space for, even though ostensibly they are about other marks, because in it's automatic you have arthur deliberately training the subconscious to let eames have ANYTHING HE WANTS, haha, and in das worbewusste you have, uh, eames treating arthur to a fantasy where he basically gets to be arm candy, and i'm not really sure how that..... plays out dskadsjflk;s but I'M SURE ARTHUR ENJOYS IT OKAY

Cathy: HAHAHAHAHAHA

Aja: CAN WE TALK ABOUT

Cathy: NO

Aja: the - what! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU sdkljfasdfj

Cathy: IDK GO

Aja: let us talk about THE THREAD THAT YOU GUYS HAD, BECAUSE OHMYGOD

Cathy: a;sldfkj;aslfkd AJA WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT

Aja: WELL, WE COULD TALK ABOUT MAL AS THE VORTEX FOR THE VIEWER'S ANGST OVER THE RESOLUTION BETWEEN ARTHUR/EAMES AND THE TENSION OF COBB'S UNREQUITED LOVE

Cathy: YES, I KNOW, IT IS WONDERFUL

Aja: AND HOW SHE BASICALLY BROUGHT MAL IN TO BRIDGE THAT GAP, AND IT WAS AMAZING

Cathy: IT WAS AMAZING. THOUGH ALSO HORRIFYING BECAUSE SHE HAD DOOMED COBB WITH A CRAZY WOMAN, I AM JUST SAYING. LIKE ON THE ONE HAND AS A FANDOM METAPHOR IT IS GREAT, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I JUST FEEL TERRIBLE FOR COBB

Aja: well i also felt terrible for mal watching him go away

Cathy: well and really that story is her extending en haus et en bas right? because mal turns eames' head- mal wants them to look, mal wants cobb to see that arthur is in love with eames, Mal makes cobb shiver

Aja: she wants them to - yes. BASICALLY THERE IS THIS IDEA THAT THIS IS HER MYTHICAL VACATION THAT SHE SHOULD HAVE HAD AND DIDN'T, and the implication is that she's trapping him in a prison of memories - which is pretty intense

Cathy: she is doing the reverse of what he does to her in that elevator dream

Aja: Yes.

Cathy: well and what is also great about that is we'd already established in the prior parts that arthur and eames fall in love with each other independent of mal, so like, what mal gives them, is the chance to see it, right? or at least for cobb to see it-- or to bring the outside observor into the romance. like it is not the love that is forced, it is the realization of it that she gives them. which is the same with En Haus.

Aja: There is also this idea that--I'm thinking about en haus et en bas and how there is the implied assumption that to move forward you have to let go of the past, and how that implicitly occupies a space of regret. and also of course in the eternal sunshine fic--

Cathy: I THINK I HAVE YET TO FORGET MYSELF IS A TERRIFYING STORY

Aja: WELL I DON'T THINK WEATHERFRONT INTENDED IT TO BE. No but in this thread, Mal literally occupies the space of regret in this fic and i think that also allows her to point the audience to a more hopeful resolution.

Aja: well, because the implicit regret in this case is all on cobb's part, right, but by focusing on the literal object of his real regret, weatherfront takes us away from the tension of his unrequited love for arthur and allows us to be re-righted, and ironically she rights us by POINTING US TOWARDS DEATH SKDLJ;LDF

Cathy: a;sldfkasklfd I HAVE LIKE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST HERE. i am trying to think about this fic as an outsider might read it. I don't think weatherfront is recontextualizing Cobb's real regret, mostly because I think Cobb's regret for not seeing what he had with Arthur is just as real as the regret he has for Mal. they are two sides of the same regret. what she is actually showing us is the nature of greed, again, right? of greed and desire. because remember, this isn't real mal, really, it's cobb's greed. which is what she says: Mal is not selfish/ Cobb is greedy. and it's really about the dangers of wanting too much-- it is the whole TAKE WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN etc, but turned on its head

Aja: well, or maybe wanting AT THE EXPENSE of what is real

Cathy: yes, that too! like I think how I read Mal's part is that it's not really Mal, right? It's Cobb, just echoed- so in a strange way, what she did was recontextualize his /acceptance/, which I had glossed over. and she too glosses it over by making Mal do it. so again, lack of emotional catharsis (on both our parts) (but in wildly different ways)

Aja: but very satisfying in the sense of re-establishing for the reader the sense of what is and isn't real.

Aja: ahhh, god this is so long ahaha, BUT LIKE SHOULD WE IDK CONCLUDE WITH FINAL THOUGHTS?

Cathy: FINAL THOUGHTS, OKAY

1. EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO UTADA HIKARU

Aja: 2. WE'RE ALL WAITING FOR A PALFREY

Cathy: 3. FANDOM COLLECTIVITY

Aja: 4. EAMES IS THE AUTHOR / ARTHUR IS THE OBJECT

Cathy: 5. EXCEPT FOR CASES WHEN HE ISN'T

Aja: 6. THE NARRATIVES ARE SIMULTANEOUSLY CONTAINED AND UNCONTAINED

7. EXCEPT WHEN THEY AREN'T

Cathy: 8. WE LOVE WEATHERFRONT
Tags: attempts to rule world, cathy is a horrible minion, fandom, inception, meta
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