zelempa: zelempa classic (Default)
 MBTI in Fiction classifies fictional characters by MBTI personality type and Hogwarts house. This is objectively awesome. It's made me think once again about how woefully inadequate the Hogwarts house system is as a classification system. 

I'll go on record anytime as saying that I love, love, love the MBTI. I don't care that it has no scientific support. It's an elegant system. Its categories mix and match and interlock in organized, revealing, interesting ways. Each letter describes something important and bedrock about a person; each option describes a choice that makes sense and isn't judgmental (it's not good to be an extrovert or bad to be an introvert, or vice versa; it is what it is). Four letters are never going to be enough to describe every aspect of a person's personality, but the MBTI categories describe some of the most important things, and describe them well.
J.K. Rowling may have intended the Hogwarts Houses to be another amusing if unscientific way to describe personality, and people like to treat it that way. The Sorting Hat ideas begs to be turned into a web test, "Which Hogwarts House Are YOU?" ANd I know it's been done. But the categories are just so useless. It's not even fun to think about, and I love to think about how to categorize people in various ways. 

When you get down to it, the categories boil down to Brave (Gryffindor), Nice but Stupid also Plump with a Love of Plants (Hufflepuff), Smart but Untrustworthy (Ravenclaw), and Pure Evil (Slytherin). 

These "categories" are not exclusive enough (you could have more than one of the qualities at the same time), not inclusive enough (lots of people don't fall into any of the categories), judgmental (some are clearly better than others), and on top of that, just completely bizarre.

If I were going to design a fictional magical boarding school personality test, I would probably end up making it a loose map of the MBTI in some way, but there are plenty of simple ways to sort people that are way, way, way better. Just off the top of my head:

What drives you? In this hypothetical scenario, students would be sorted by their main motivation for learning magic (and their general internal win conditions for life). 

Gryffindor: Changing the world. Gryffindors want to have an effect on the world. It doesn't matter if they are recognized for it (see Slytherin), but they want to do something meaningful. Often, this translates into humanitarian work, but remember: the Unabomber was also a Gryffindor. 

Hufflepuff: Love. Nurturing others. Hufflepuffs tend to see it as their happy duty to raise children. They are also the sons and daughters who will care for their parents as they age. Hufflepuffs prefer a simple life and tend to stay out of the limelight, but they are the ones who do most of the quiet, hard work of keeping wizard society going. 

Ravenclaw: Creation. Ravenclaws want to leave something tangible behind when they die, such as a great work of art or scholarship. Famous Ravenclaws include Shakespeare and Euclid. 

Slytherin: Fame and recognition. Slytherins want to make it into history books, by name. Slytherins make good politicians, actors, and pop stars. Famous Slytherins include most famous people, including Lady Gaga and Thomas Jefferson (though Benjamin Franklin was actually a Ravenclaw). 
What is your primary virtue? One of the main problems with the Hogwarts houses is that some are good and some are evil. People tend to think of themselves as good, even if they aren't. By aligning each house to a virtue, we can eliminate the judgment, while allowing students to end up doing good or evil work in practice (because their devotion to their house's virtues still leaves room for a lack of development in other virtues). With help from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_virtues: 

Gryffindor: Virtues of self-efficacy: Courage, perseverance, patience, grit. Motto: "Do the right thing." Opposing vices (Gryffindors don't have this, but other houses might): Spinelessness, apathy. Gryffindors are not deterred by years or decades of failure and opposition. Gryffindors make excellent scientists, social workers, and pioneers.

Hufflepuff: Virtues of kindness: Generosity, compassion, forgiveness. Motto: "Be excellent to each other and party on." Opposing vice (Hufflepuffs don't have this, but other houses might): Cruelty, insensitivity, grudge-holding. Hufflepuffs are acutely aware of suffering and do their best to ease it. Hufflepuffs make excellent nurses, parents, and zookeepers.

Ravenclaw:  Virtues of regard: Honesty, fair-mindedness, tolerance. Motto: "Keep an open mind." Opposing vices (Ravenclaws don't have this, but other houses might): Bigotry, duplicity. Ravenclaws are driven to find truth and are willing to consider radical new ideas. Ravenclaws make excellent philosophers, revolutionaries, and cult leaders.

Virtues of self-control: Temperance, ambition, frugality, industry. Motto: "Work before reward." Opposing vices (Slytherins don't have this, but other houses might): Anger, sluttiness, wastefulness, procrastination. Slytherins are driven, organized, and generally immune to temptation. Slytherins make excellent stockbrokers, farmers, and fascists. 

What's your Hippocratic humor? 

Gryffindor: Sanguine, an excess of blood

Hufflepuff: Phelgmatic, an excess of phlegm

Ravenclaw: Melancholic, an excess of black bile

Slytherin: Choleric, an excess of yellow bile

zelempa: Blair Sandburg looking hopeful (blair hopeful)
[livejournal.com profile] alex51324: The Loft is weird
alex: I can't imagine what Blair's bedroom is supposed to be. There's no good reason for it to have windows looking out on the rest of the apartment
alex: Although the Complete Lack of Privacy does have interesting implications
me: yeah, it's like a weird office or storage area or something
me: he doesn't even have a door
alex: what effect did the set designers hope to create by having Blair's room be a fishbowl?
me: i think part of it is just to imply that it's not really supposed to be a bedroom
alex: I guess that sort of makes sense--if it is actually a loft conversion, rather than a purpose-built loft, then Blair's room could have been the foreman's office or something, and it would make sense for there to be windows so he could see what was going on on the floor
alex: but why leave them in when the conversion was done?
me: jim's room isn't exactly private either
me: it's upstairs with no walls
alex: it's this obviously jury-rigged arrangement that somehow kept going for three/four years for no apparent reason
me: right, they never go to any effort to make it any better because it's never supposed to be permanent
alex: although apparently blair gets doors at some point
alex: I haven't seen them, but the link you sent me says they are there french doors, with glass in them
me: come to think of it, yah
me: that's even funnier
me: they go to the effort of giving blair a door...
me: what kind of door do you want blair? A TRANSPARENT ONE
alex: Yeah, both in-show and on a set-design level, they made a conscious choice to put in a type of door that woud provide the absolute minimum of increased privacy
alex: I mean, I suppose with the sentinel thing, there isn't much privacy anyway
me: maybe they wanted to emphasize that? but yeah, even with the sentinel thing, plausible deniability is key. a real door being closed at least symbolically says "I don't want to be disturbed / disturb you"
alex: whereas the curtain and french door suggest, "We have absolutely no sense of boundaries."
alex: it just seems odd to me that the showrunners would want to play that up
alex: although I suppose that they intended it to be exactly as slashy as it is is really the more parsimonious explanation.
me: ha. ha.
zelempa: zelempa classic (Default)
In school, did they ever try to teach you that all literature can be divided according to a few basic types of conflict: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Society, Man vs. Self (I may be missing some)?

I was trying to apply this to slashfic and I'm not sure it works. I don't know if the system is flawed or if we just need our own types. I propose Man vs. Man, Man vs. Gay, Man vs. Injury on other Man, Men vs. Forces of Evil, Men vs. Supermarket, Men vs. Tentacle, Men (no vs.)
zelempa: zelempa classic (Default)
I've been weirdly silent lately. Getting nothing done, I assure you. I will not make the fabricated fic deadline of February 1 which I told [livejournal.com profile] maxinemeyer to arbitrarily assign me. My ability to believe in fake deadlines is deteriorating with age.

Despite having people on my flist with extremely strong views on both sides of the latest [livejournal.com profile] mckay_sheppard kerfluffle, I can't muster an opinion. I've tried! I've got nothing! I am undecided about spots.

A few minor updates to the TS info page: Jim's ATM PIN, speculations on Blair's place of origin, stints in the monastery and Malaysia added to Blair's timeline, and a new feature I'm totally not prepared to follow up on, Likes & Dislikes. I have some kind of placeholdery stuff in there for now. I might continue or expand it if I can think of more specific, citeable affinities and phobias, or I might scrap it. Any suggestions? And *is* WonderBurger a fannish invention?
zelempa: zelempa classic (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] sara_merry99 posted an interesting question recently. We're all familiar with the tired old "why slash?" but she asked about the experience of women who, once they go over to slash, lose their interest in het to the point where it's icky. I totally identify with that experience (dude, het is so icky! hee hee!)

Still, it's difficult to answer without getting into "why slash?" and a lot of the commenters did go there, including me. I can't really focus on anything without creating a bulleted list, and as long as I'm thinking about it, here goes.

The Tired Old "Why Slash?": The Complete* List of Reasons M/M Slash Fans Say We Love M/M Slash
* Not complete.

Bullet points ahoy! )

Really, none of the explanations I've heard, surmised by people in or out of fandom, totally work for me. I mean, they all seem like side-benefits, varying from fan to fan, rather than any core, unifying reason. And yet, for all the infinite variation in slashfandom, there is a strange sort of unity. (Isn't there?) I guess when it comes down to it, it's just a sexual/emotional kink like any other, defying any real explanation.
zelempa: zelempa classic (Default)
It doesn't feel like I haven't posted here in ages, because I have been working on fannish stuff--it just cannot be revealed at the present moment. (Cue foreboding music.) In the meantime, here's something I've never understood about the buddy breathing scene in the "Mountie on the Bounty" episode of Due South.

paraphrased, from memory )

My question is, why does Fraser correct himself? What's he about to say--"in a jam"? Why does he rephrase?
zelempa: zelempa classic (Default)
Forward from a non-slashy friend, but since it's fannish, and I picked all (mostly) slashy shows, I'll post it here.

Pick five series and then answer the questions. Don't look at the questions before you choose!

1. Stargate: Atlantis
2. The Sentinel
3. Xena
4. Due South
5. Scrubs

Q&A )


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