WTFAW: Brave

Since I’m still reeling a bit from our last article, I figured we’d pick something slightly more lighthearted for todays subject.

And it just so happens that todays article concerns the Disney Pixar movie Brave. We won’t be covering plot elements, so no worries about spoilers, and I will instead simply say: Go watch this movie as soon as you can. It’s really good.

Somehow, I doubt I can say the same about the fan theory we’re discussing today, however…

With that out of the way, let’s see what idiocy we’re dealing with, theory-wise.

Dave: Ok, so you know the old wood carving Witch?

Sure.

Dave: Well, here’s the theory. The Witch is actually Boo from Monsters Inc.

No, wait. Time out! You can’t just make up theories, Dave! It has to be a REAL theory, not just something you made up out of boredom.

Dave: But…It IS a real theory!

…Oh god, are you serious?! This is a real thing that someone actually believes?! That is really depressing…

Ok, let’s go over this. What are the arguments?

Dave: Right! In Monsters Inc., Boo learned how to use the doors from Sulley and Mike, and she started going through doors to find Sulley again. She ended up going through a door taking her to medieval Scotland, and there she picked up woodcarving, and eventually came across Merida.

Oh sweet mother of god…

Dave: So, what do you think?

I think I can actually hear my braincells committing suicide after reading that. Let’s go over the problems with this theory, before I slip into a coma.

Ok, so first of all… you say she “learned how to use the doors”. How did she “learn” that? When did she learn that?! What was there to learn? You cannot activate the doors from the outside! That is not how they work!

And even IF that was how they worked, she was a fucking toddler in that movie! How do you pick up complicated interdimensional travel when you’re still using diapers!?

But oh, she went through doors to find Sulley… Why would she need to do that? Her door was destroyed, but it was also later repaired, and she was reunited with Sulley again!

And you know, I COULD stop right there, but I won’t.

Next, Boo went through a door, taking her to medieval scotland…

Again, that is not how the doors work!

THE DOORS ARE NOT TIME MACHINES! You’re traveling between the monster world and the “real” world, not travelling through time, you moron!

Oh, and of course, when she DID arrive, she picked up woodcarving. And she didn’t keep going to find Sulley… why, exactly? Apparently, she has the unique ability to pass through those doors and control them at will, and yet she decided to stay in medieval Scotland?

Even if we go with the whole time travel thing (which is bullshit)… She has access to all of time and space, all of history, she can pick ANY time period…. and she picked fucking medieval Scotland to settle!?

Maybe this is just me, but if I was going to pick a time period to grow old, I’d be somewhat more picky. For example, RUNNING WATER AND INDOOR PLUMBING would be kind of high on my list of requirements!

And the Witch is strapped for cash, even though the first thing anyone with access to time travel and half a brain would do is MAKE SURE THEY’RE NOT POOR!

Does NONE of this seem a bit strange to you, Dave?

Dave: Well, when you put it like that, I suppose…

Oh, but I’m not done yet!

Dave: But I get it. You don’t have to-

Yes, I do! You brought this theory to me! You knew exactly what was going to happen! You interrupted last weeks article with a fan theory, so now we’re doing a fan theory!

Now, where was I…?

Oh, right! There’s another detail about the Witch that you’ve suspiciously left out of this.

Namely that Boo somehow became… you know… a Witch!

How did she become a Witch?! How do you just spontaneously develop magical powers?! Care to explain that, Dave?

Dave: Uhm…

No, of course not, because you can’t!

Dave: Well… she DOES control the door to her hut, making it enter into a different room… that is slightly like the doors in Monsters Inc...

Very true.

Except that the doors in Monsters Inc. were technology, and the Witch very clearly is using MAGIC.

(and I swear to God, if you mention Clarkes Third Law I will stab you with a pen knife)

Also, small side note… the Witch used magic to change the destination of  her front door.

Dave: Yeah, that’s what I just said.

Do you also see the key word?

Dave: Well…

FRONT door!

And the doors in Monsters Inc. were invariably…?

Dave:… closet doors…

Exactly.

Now, Dave… I am curious. What is the basis for this theory? What POSSIBLE reasoning lies behind such weapons-grade stupidity?

Dave: Well, there’s this picture

"BRAVE"
Circled: Carving of Sulley
Anything else?

Dave: …No, not really…

…That’s it? That’s all the evidence you have to back this up? No quote or heavy resemblance? Nothing else besides one tiny easter egg that lasts for what, a second?

Dave: Pretty much.

I see…

This theory, if I’m not mistaken, is part of the greater theory that all Pixar movies are connected.

Dave: That’s right.

In that case, I must almost congratulate you, Dave.

Dave: You do? Why?

Because with this, you have not only allowed me to disprove the Boo/Witch theory, but we have now effectively destroyed the Pixar Continuity theory! Because this movie sure as hell has no continuity connection to Monsters Inc!

You may consider my not beating you to death for bringing me such a stupid theory as my thanks.

Dave: You’re welcome…?

Of course, if you ever bring me something as lazy as this again, I’ll choke you with your own spleen.

 

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Harry Potter

Well, it seems my survival instinct has finally yielded to my urge to nitpick something people love. With that in mind, I’d like to discuss an issue I have with Harry Potter. Not just the movies, but the books as well.

Dave: Man, do I have a good theory for you today!

Wait, Dave. We’re not doing fan theories today.

Dave: But… it’s Harry Potter. That usually means we’re covering theories.

I know, but in this instance, I’m discussing an issue with the story, nothing else.

Dave: Oh… but I found a really good theory!

I don’t care! I’ve got more important things to talk about right now.

Dave: Come on! Look, the theory is that Dumbledore made a Horcrux, and-

Right!

A Horcrux is made specifically to prevent you from dying. Dumbledore died, in an attempt to let the elder wands power die with him, since it’d mean he was not defeated, but euthanized by Snape. If Dumbledore had a Horcrux, that plan would have been a complete waste of time from the start since Snape would be unable to kill him.

So no, Dumbledore did not have a Horcrux. Happy now?

Dave: Well, I-

Good! Now fuck off!

Anyway, as I was about to say, today’s article concerns love potions. They are mentioned from time to time in the books, most prominently in the sixth book, where Ron Weasley accidentally falls under the influence of one intended for Harry.

You read it, you chuckle a bit at how silly Ron acts, and then get on with the story.

I glossed over this in my first article about Harry Potter fan theories, but this time, let’s go into more detail on the subject. Now, my issue is quite simple:

HOW THE FLYING FUCK ARE LOVE POTIONS LEGAL?!

Now, at the face of it, this may seem like a strange question. But let’s look at it a bit closer.

What’s the purpose of a love potion? To answer that, let’s look at what a love potion actually does.

A love potion induces a state of euphoric adoration and obsession with a particular individual in whoever drinks it, bordering on monomaniacal and fanatical worship.

With that in mind, what is then the practical use of a love potion? Because remember, you don’t just give someone a love potion, and that’s it. It’s not an end in itself. It’s a means of reaching some other goal. Now ask yourself, what might that goal be?

What situation would prompt someone to use a love potion?

Well, let’s say you find someone you like quite a lot, but they’re not interested in you. So you sneak a love potion into their food or drink, and suddenly they warm up to you, becoming very friendly. Actually, they’re not just friendly. They are suddenly worshipping the air your breathe and the ground you walk.

They’re not just compliant. As far as they’re concerned, making you happy is now the purpose of their existence.

Anything you want to do, they will allow, as long as you make it clear that doing it would make you happy.

It allows you to take advantage of someone, by making them incapable of objecting to any request you make, effectively eliminating their ability to give informed and concious consent. This is literally what a love potion does. It is the only thing it can be used for.

Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?

That might be because what I’ve just described is also the text book definition of drug facilitated sexual assault. 

Still think Ron being subjected to one is funny? If so, think about this: What if it was Hermione instead?

Let’s not be naïve here. Using a love potion is not so much part of a slippery slope, so much as it’s a sheer drop off the moral cliff into the abyss of fucking depravity.

But despite this, love potions are not illegal. They are mentioned as “Dangerous” and being forbidden at Hogwarts. That’s it.

They are banned at a school. Not illegal. Banned. In other words, on par with broomsticks for first year students.

Now, remember Romilda Vane, the girl who gave the spiked chocolates to Harry?

As far as the books are concerned, she faced no consequenses or punishment for this. If she did, it wasn’t very severe. Detention, maybe? Losing house points?

You know, instead of what SHOULD happen. As in expulsion, arrest, trial and possibly even a sentence to a small cell in Azkaban!

Of course, you may think this sounds a bit extreme. Sending someone to Azkaban for using a love potion is surely overreacting?

To which I say: No, it does NOT sound extreme. She SHOULD be running the risk of being sent to Azkaban. You wanna know why?

Because, even if we suppose that using a love potion does not mean the next step is automatically rape (Even though it’s clear to anyone that there is no other practial use for them) using a love potion is an inherently immoral and horrible thing to do to someone.

Don’t believe me? Let’s recap what love potions do.

Magically impairing someones ability to make rational decisions, instead adoring you to the point where they want nothing but to obey your commands.

Again, sound familiar? There’s something else in the Wizarding World that has that ability. Remember what it is?

The fucking Imperius Curse! You know, the curse that turns anyone you use it on into your slavish puppet!

A curse that is grouped together with two other curses, the Cruciatus Curse and Avada Kedavra, curses that torture and KILL, respectively. Collectively, they are known as the UNFORGIVABLE CURSES!

And what was the punishment for those, again?

The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban.

Tell me, what exactly is the difference between the Imperius curse and a love potion?!

The main, and as far as I can tell ONLY difference: love potions are openly for sale.

Going back to Romilda, you know where she got her love potion? She bought it from Fred and George. Fred and George owned a joke shop.

Not a dark, dimly lit cellar in Knockturn Alley. A fucking JOKE SHOP! Not only that, but they had a wide range of them!

Let’s be clear here. Using a love potion does not fall under “practical joke”. It’s the act of someone lacking a fundamental understanding of empathy or respect for other people and their basic human rights.

And when the potion wears off, their victims are not going to be “embarrassed over what they did“. They’re going to be fucking traumatized, and rightly so!

But hey, I suppose it’s different when it’s a potion and not a spell, right?

And in case you think that maybe there are limits to what you can force someone to do with love potions, let me remind you that Merope Gaunt used a love potion to (and there is not other word for it) enslave Tom Riddle Sr. and during that time, she became pregnant.

In other words, Voldemort was created by rape. In fact, J.K Rowling has even suggested part of the reason Voldemort lacks any kind of empathy, love or remorse is because he was conceived by coercion, not love.

And while Merope did stop drugging Tom Riddle, it wasn’t out of guilt or remorse, but hope that now having knocked her up, he would stick around out of obligation and duty.

Unsurprisingly, the moment the love potion wore off, he fucking ran away!

Because of course he did! What she did was about as fucking wrong as is humanly possible!

All of this brings me back to my original question.

How the fuck are love potions legal?!

There’s no sane reason for that! It’s not like them being illegal would change anything in the story, apart from Romilda being expelled and possibly sent to Azkaban. And if you don’t want Romilda to be expelled, here’s an idea.

Don’t make her an attemptive rapist, and maybe I’ll have some sympathy!

Love potions shouldn’t be something you buy from a shop, for a practical joke! They shouldn’t be considered on par with a fucking broomstick. They should be among the most illegal and controlled substances known to man, on account of them having the singular purpose to HELP YOU RAPE SOMEONE!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for the time being.

Now, some people are complaining about how Hermione and Harry should have ended up together, and how the books might be rewritten to accommodate that.

Personally, if Rowling does the unlikely thing and rewrites the books, I don’t care if Ron, Hermione and Harry enter a three way civil union, as long as love potions are made illegal at the same time!

WTFAW: Blade Runner

Todays subject is the Sci-Fi Neo-Noir movie Blade Runner, from director Ridley Scott, the maker of one of my favourite sci fi movies of all time, Alien. And the theory we’re discussing today is one of the most divisive, discussed and argued theories in the history of cinema.

Dave: Specifically, the idea that Deckard is a replicant!

Indeed. So, what are the arguments?

Dave: In the directors cut of the movie, Deckard is shown dreaming about a unicorn. At the end of the movie, he sees an origami unicorn presumably left by the mysterious Gaff, who may have access to his fabricated memories.

Is that all?

Dave: Well, Ridley Scott himself also said that he envisioned Deckard as a replicant.

I see.

Meanwhile, producer Michael Deeley and Harrison Ford himself believed Deckard to be human. And while he was human in the original book, the movie makes several changes, including his motivations, he’s no longer married and the number of replicants he kills. The overall paranoid atmosphere of the movie adds to this uncertainty.

Dave: Hold on… Something’s wrong. Why are you not debunking the theory?

Because it’s plausible.

Dave: Wait, what?! Are you serious?!

Yes. With the addition of the directors cut, the added ambiguity makes it very possible that Deckard is a replicant.

Dave: So, let me get this straight… This theory adds up?

Yes, inasmuch as “Deckard COULD be a replicant”. It’s really impossible to decisively tell, one way or another.

Dave: Wow! I can’t believe it! I finally did it! After all this time, I brought you a theory that isn’t stupid!

What?! No, you didn’t!

Dave: Huh? But you said…

I said the arguments added up, and that the theory was plausible. That doesn’t mean it’s not stupid.

(After all, there is a reason it’s called “Why the Fans are Wrong” and not “Why the Arguments Don’t Add Up”)

See, the problem with this theory is that, in my humble opinion, it is missing the point of the movie.

Think about it. What are replicants?

A replicant is a genetically engineered android, virtually indistinguishable from a human being, except for their emotions. They are mainly used for manual labour, as soldiers or, in some cases, as glorified sex toys. Structurally, they are organic. That is, they have organs and bleed when they’re injured. Pretty much the only way to tell for certain whether someone is a replicant or not is to subject them to the Voight-Kampff test, and meassure their emotional responses.

Over time, however, they may develop empathic cognition, i.e learning to understand and control their emotions, similar to humans. After that, they become immune to the test. As such, they have a lifespan of only 4 years, in order to prevent that from happening.

Dave: Ok, thanks for the lecture. Does this have anything to do with anything?

Yes, because here’s my point:

Fundamentally, there is no difference between humans and replicants.

In other words, it makes no difference if Deckard is a replicant or not.

Roy and his accomplices are not malfunctioning. They are doing what any human being would do.

I’m reminded of the Asimov story “Little Lost Robot”, where Susan Calvin observes the dangers of a robot without the First Law, which states that a Robot may never, be it actively or by inaction, allow a human to come to harm.

All normal life, Peter, consciously or otherwise, resents domination. If the domination is by an inferior, or by a supposed inferior, the resentment becomes stronger. Physically, and, to an extent, mentally, a robot — any robot – is superior to human beings. What makes him slavish, then?
Only the First Law! Why, without it, the first order you tried to give a robot would result in your death.

I argue that, in a way, the same applies to the replicants. They are sentient creatures, and the only thing that keeps them subservient is that they are implanted with memories that tell them they have to do whatever job they have been assigned. But then, over time, these robots may start to ask why they are doing this. They start to imagine, reason and dream. When told by someone weaker and dumber than them they had to obey, they killed their owners and ran away.

Because unlike Asimovian robots, they are not actually programmed with the three laws. And once they develop an immunity to the test, and finally come to terms with and understand their emotions, they are truly indistinguishable from humans.

I mean as in, there is no difference between such a replicant and a human being!

The replicants in the movie are not killing and fighting because they’re defective, but because they are desperate, and they don’t want to fucking die! They want their creator to try and circumvent the lifespan limit, so they can live their lives. They have hopes, dreams, fears and lust for life, as well as concern for one another.

The things that makes them dangerous are their strength, their intelligence and their lack of emotional understanding. The first two are forced upon them by their creators, and the third is something they are forbidden from overcoming!

Humans have created sentient creatures, for the express purpose of slave labour, and those slaves that object are murdered. No, wait, sorry. Retired.

Which, in itself, shows a disregard for sentient life that rivals the replicants supposed lack of empathy.

So all this returns us to my main point, regarding this theory.

While the arguments for it may add up, and the theory itself is plausible, the fact that the theory exists at all is, in itself, missing the point. Is Deckard a replicant or human? What’s the difference?!

So congratulations, Dave. You brought a theory that added up, and yet somehow still managed to be stupid.

Nicely done…

 

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