Christian Lacroix Haute Couture
Have some fashion || Yves Saint Laurent s/s 2013 RTW
Quartz on Rhodochrosite with Pyrite - Cassandra Mines, Chalkidiki Prefecture, Macedonia Dept, Greece
— Catherynne M. Valente, In the Night Garden
‘THE LEGEND OF KORRA’ BOOK FOUR: KUVIRA AND THE RISE OF FASCISM
By Juliet Kahn
In his 1998 essay, “The Five Stages of Fascism,” political scientist Robert Paxton defines the titular phenomenon as, broadly speaking, progressing through five stages of development and escalation. They are:
- “The initial creation of fascist movements,” wherein discussion of national decline and the failure of the existing order manifest.
- “Their rooting as parties in a political system,” wherein the fascist movement gains power and prominence.
- “The acquisition of power,” wherein the ruling elites, threatened by fascist momentum, invite the movement to share power.
- “The exercise of power,” wherein the fascist movement controls the state, in varying degrees of cooperation with traditional powers.
- “Radicalization or entropy,” wherein the fascist movement settles into authoritarianism or, as happened in Nazi Germany, veers into extremism.
The premiere episode of The Legend of Korra’s fourth and final season finds the Earth Kingdom navigating the choppy waters of the second stage. In the three years since season 3’s finale, Kuvira has gone from the seemingly content captain of Su Yin’s guard to the “Great Uniter” of a fractured world. She has 90% of the Earth Kingdom under her thumb and, as we learn over the course of the episode, has accomplished this through a campaign of forced labor, manipulation of resources, and a burgeoning cult of personality.
We watch as the governor of Yi, initially committed to independence, is brought to heel by the lawless reality of his state and the temptations of Kuvira’s “generous proposal” of takeover. Idealists like Bolin and Baatar Jr. have joined her cause, as have opportunists like Varrick. Figures of murkily extrajudicial power, like Kai and Opal, urge caution in the face of her might, but by the end of the episode, that’s all they can do—urge caution.
Kuvira, in contrast, can feed the hungry, roust the bandits, and bring order to forsaken states. Children scramble merrily over her mecha-tanks, mothers return to their homes with boxes full of fruit and grain, and Bolin smiles blissfully at the difference he has made. All is well. All is Kuvira’s.
I finally got to use my degree in writing this! Enjoy.
BATGIRL #35 REVIEW: MAKING OUT, DRESSING UP, AND DEFEATING THE FORCES OF MISOGYNY
By Juliet Kahn
Barbara Gordon is for girls. This truth has been obscured over the years, most notably in the Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the classic Batgirl was shot, sexually abused and paralyzed by the Joker and taken out of costume for decades. But just as Superman stands for unimpeachable hope and Batman for rigid justice, Batgirl stands for girls doing what the hell they want. From the moment she debuted as part of the classic BatmanTV show of the 1960s, this was clear: she was a librarian, she rode a motorcycle decorated with chiffon ruffles, and she did not give a damn that Batman wanted her to hang up the glittery puple cape and cowl. She was no sweet-tempered Kyptonian cousin, no kid sister, and no swooning girlfriend. As Mike Madrid detailed in The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, “Batgirl is a female Batman can actually regard as a brilliant peer and a partner in the war on crime, the same way he would a male.”
In her best adventures, this ember at the core of her character is stoked to a roaring flame—her time as Oracle, the fan-favorite super-hacker and enduringly powerful symbol for disabled persons in superhero comics; her portrayal as part of the Gotham Girls webseries and Batman: The Animated Series; and Scott Beatty & Chuck Dixon and Marcos Martin’s Batgirl: Year One come to mind. But these moments are brief, because as we all know, girls don’t read comics. Mostly, Barbara—the true Barbara, as all our favorite interpretations of these imprecise characters are the “true” ones—has lain in wait, a winking promise in the hands of a good-enough creative team. I’ve waited too. I’ve waited through mediocre art and ill-chosen storylines and a reboot I’m still not unequivocally behind. Today, as vibrantly portrayed by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher. Babs Tarr andMaris Wicks, she has arrived in DC’s Batgirl #35.
From the Vault: End of the Day
Starting work on putting together the SuperMutant Magic Academy compilation book for D&Q. Aiee.