the zodiac as IPA symbols

Thread originally posted on Twitter.

A NEW ZODIAC BASED ON IPA SYMBOLS: because I am procrastinating on an essay

ARIES
March 21–April 19

ejective velar stop
/kʼ/

  • aggressively audible
  • often happens in english when people are speaking enthusiastically, especially in valley girls
  • so h*ckin pushy with ur airstream that you made a sound most anglophones don’t know exist

TAURUS
April 20–May 20

schwa
/ə/

  • literally the sound that happens when you put the least effort into articulating a vowel
  • also what happens in english when a vowel isn’t stressed
  • curled up cozily in the vowel space
  • goes up to the drive-thru and says “can I get uhhhhhhh”

GEMINI
May 21–June 20

labial–velar approximant
/w/

  • is it a vowel? is it a consonant? is it labial? is it velar? We Just Don’t Know™
  • is perceived as an Intellectual when /ʍ/
  • is happy to be whatever the environment needs, including morphing into /v/ or /ʋ/ or even /ʔ/

CANCER
June 21–July 22

high back rounded vowel
/u/

  • adaptable to many moods
  • can express delight (“ooh!”), schadenfreude, (“ooooooOOOOO”), sadness (“boohoo”), dismay (“oof”), and so much more
  • closest to a klaxon call when emotional

LEO
July 23–August 22

voiceless alveolar affricate
/ts/

  • being the fricative with the highest-frequency formant wasn’t enough for you; u had to become an even louder affricate
  • couldn’t just be one sound, had to have two
  • goes around saying “uhn-tiss-uhn-tiss”

VIRGO
August 23–September 22

alveolar stop
/t/

  • somehow manages to show up everywhere
  • forgiving, but absolutely WILL change meaning if you move your tongue tip a millimeter and make it dental or dental–alveolar
  • excellent for research

LIBRA
September 23–October 22

velarized alveolar lateral approximant
/ɫ/

  • tries to go for airflow from both sides of the tongue, but sometimes goes with only one side
  • somehow manages to balance being at the front AND back of the mouth
  • so harmonious it can become a vowel

SCORPIO
October 23–November 21

voiced uvular fricative
/ʁ/

  • perceived as difficult despite existing in several major languages
  • challenging for many people to master
  • but oh-so-rewarding when it is indeed tamed
  • shows off ability to articulate /ʁ/ as a sexy party trick

SAGITTARIUS
November 22–December 21

voiceless labiodental fricative
/f/

  • super chill
  • is cool with it if you turn it into a /p/ or /b/ or /v/ or /ʋ/ or /ɸ/ or /β/
  • willing to let others be louder than them
  • says the word “fuck” excessively

CAPRICORN
December 22–January 19

voiced alveolar lateral affricate
/d͡ɮ/

  • how tf are you actually four symbols crammed into one IPA symbol????
  • impossible edge case
  • complex but also fussy
  • is exactly the type to take mastering pronunciation of /d͡ɮ/ as a challenge

AQUARIUS
January 20–February 18

nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill

  • not supported by the official IPA
  • ABSURDLY quirky
  • willing to debate you in total good faith over a completely made-up premise
  • waiting for someone to get the joke

PISCES
February 19–March 20

closing diphthong (low to high)
/aj/

  • not technically an IPA symbol
  • will not stop reminding you that it’s a diphthong
  • has emotions so big they have to shout about it (“¡ay!”, “aiyah!”, “ai-yai-yai”…)
  • can be codependent or symbiotic

thank you, thank you, if you enjoyed this thread, please find your local linguist and tell them you don’t judge them for making strange sounds while sitting alone with their brow furrowed. it means a lot.

on the Doctor as Empire, illustrated through 4×10 “Midnight”

Thread originally posted on Twitter.

The Doctor as Empire: “the doctor always comes” :: “the sun never sets on the british empire”; “harbinger of death” as the genuine belief of the colonized; The Doctor as the White Man’s Burden; the trauma of Companions as the trauma of assimilation & coloniality;

the power of the Empire to keep Companions dependent on it; the reliance of the Companion on the Empire even though the Companion is disposable to the Empire; the utter INSISTENCE that the doctor be white;

donna noble as the colonized who has learned the secrets of the colonizer; donna noble’s fate as punishment for daring to ascend;

this weird thing about time lords and humans not being able to have viable children; how that has darker implications for the idea of the Doctor as the last of his kind; how the Doctor is perhaps a manifestation of anxieties over the end of the Empire;

hoo boy, unpacking my favorite doctor who episode, 4×10 “midnight”, through the lens of the Doctor as Empire: the Doctor’s worst fear is being outsmarted, having someone *anticipate* him before he articulates himself—the silent, the marginalized, beating him at his own game;

the funny thing is that they try to lampshade this by having dee dee & the professor be ABSURDLY racist, but the metaphor is still there, if not even stronger: the manifestation of “individual bigotry” contrasts against the institutional bigotry that’s never called out

ooh, and now the doctor shuts everyone up and demands that they all listen to dee dee. what a generous gesture from the Empire, to uplift Diverse voices while maintaining the status quo;

fascinating how the narrative implies that the Doctor is doing her a favor, building her confidence even by asking her to speak publicly and Overcome the image others have of her of being incompetent—but of course, it’s the Doctor who saves everyone

FASCINATING how they lampshade the fact that no one asks the hostess’s name despite the fact that she saves them. is it a coincidence that she’s black? at this point, I’mma say No; it’s a Symbol of sacrifices for the Empire, so noble, these nameless masses & their loyalty

I cannot believe donna noble is the companion and there is STILL a flash of rose on the TV. I’m going to interpret rose as the nobility of white womanhood that is to be protected and desired, and I’m gonna go so far as to say donna “noble” lampshades that she’s NOT “womanly”

donna as a companion is defined by her “incompetence,” which isn’t actually incompetence, it’s the fact that the status quo does not value her skills and labor. her whole character arc is “I AM good enough, aren’t I,” and when she transcends her position in life, she’s punished

it’s quite fascinating that she’s absent from this episode, actually; the whole uncanny thing about sky is that she has knowledge that only the doctor should have. sky has to be destroyed as a “monster” despite, objectively, only being a sentient force that wants physicality

when ANYONE gets knowledge that’s supposedly privileged to the Empire, that person is targeted and destroyed. cf. organizers, activists

the whole episode is supposedly an exercise in mob mentality—nothing more than LORD OF THE FLIES set in the doctor who universe—and the most telling thing of all is that the “monster” is even perceived as a monster at all—it is *the doctor’s* panic that incites violence

the crowd only says “let’s throw her out” after the doctor gets nervous about sky. and he gets to play the white knight saying “no one will be killing anyone”—he lampshades that they get to decide whether or not they’ll, functionally, commit a hate crime on a new life

everyone turns on the Doctor after realizing that he’s suspicious; they start realizing he’s not human. when he’s cornered, he replies, “because I’m clever!” “you’ve been looking down on us since the moment we walked in.” here is an actual uprising against the Empire

and the narrative paints it as the unreasonable thing to do. even though, quite honestly, the Doctor *is* the most suspicious one on board

“we all have to calm down and cool off and think”—the Empire using “rational debate” as a tool—emotions are considered “weak”, ESPECIALLY when an emotionally driven argument is against the Empire, even though the experiences of the subjugated COME with fear & anger

“you need MY voice in particular, the cleverest voice in the room. why? because I’m the only one who can help. oh, I’d love that to be true, but your eyes, I can tell you want something else. … you don’t have to steal it. you can find it without hurting anyone. & I’ll help you”

this is STRAIGHT UP projection from the Empire, particularly when the doctor says “do we have a deal.” exchanging power with the Empire requires a covenant (cf. BENEATH THE RISING by premee mohamed)

decolonization is taking the colonial framework of the Empire and subverting it to give full agency to the marginalized. “look at me, I can move, and now he can’t move. help me, professor. get me away from him”

“It was so cold. I couldn’t breathe. I’m sorry. I must have scared you so much”

why is this perceived as deception instead of the genuine confession of the marginalized?

the whole conceit is that the Doctor “can’t move,” i.e., his agency has been taken from him. at this point, sky is the only voice speaking, and the Doctor is literally voiceless. this is the nightmare of the Empire: having its discourse taken to “turn the tables”

of course, this is another manifestation of the Empire’s zero sum perception of the world. why did sky “steal” his voice? why isn’t the doctor simply frozen with fear, and sky simply growing to fuller sentience?

“that’s how he works. creeps into your head, and whispers. just listen. that’s him, inside.”

sky is straight up calling out the Empire’s coloniality as a mimetic perpetuation of itself (i.e., you learn the logic of coloniality that subjugates you)

when sky says “allons-y,” the hostess claims that she has “stolen the doctor’s voice,” simply because she used a catchphrase that’s “his.” why couldn’t she have been quoting him? mocking him? no, the use of language privileged to the Empire is a transgression in itself

the Empire can now breathe, knowing that the loyal sidekick has sacrificed herself, taking away the threat to the Empire’s status as exceptional (“because I’m clever”). the last note of the episode is donna imitating the Doctor, which severely unsettles him

yes, the narrative contextualizes it as evidence of the Doctor’s traumatic experience, but the overall effect is: this moment foreshadows Donna’s downfall, as she has uttered the Doctor’s catchphrase and “taken” his voice. he quickly puts her back in her place.

anyway. now I can’t ever watch doctor who again, thanks self

on m/m and the female gaze

Thread originally posted on Twitter.

*pinches bridge of nose* the male gaze on f/f content is not the same as the female gaze on m/m content, can we stop pretending they’re completely equivalent

yes, both can be fetishistic, but that’s… a part of sexual and romantic gaze in general? patriarchy and misogyny really unbalance the scales here

the more interesting question to me is why m/m content occupies a niche where it can be safe entertainment for straight women and safe sandboxes for queer people. why doesn’t f/f have the same status? maybe they’re born with it, maybe it’s Misogyny™

and when it comes to queer women, why is it that m/m offers a safer sandbox than m/f, even? to me, the question is not “is this practice fetishistic,” but rather, “why does m/m, but not m/f or f/f, offer a blank slate of power equality on which fantasies can be built?”

I’ve seen a fair amount of input on how straight men : f/f :: straight women : m/m erases nonbinary & trans people, and how it suppresses the fact that many queer people discover their queerness through such exploration. but I’d also like to add another dimension: race

in western media, OVERWATCH is literally THE only fandom I’ve encountered where the main m/m pairing includes at least one man of color (hanzo/mccree, mccree is often interpreted as a moc but afaik it hasn’t been canonically confirmed). I have been in fandom for 18 years.

go to any of the top western fandoms on ao3—marvel, harry potter, star wars, star trek, sherlock, doctor who, supernatural, to name just a few I’ve personally been in!—and I will guarantee you that the most popular pairing is two white men.

as a queer poc who isn’t a cis man, I’m left with a deep impression on the psyche that, when we explore media to escape, we still can’t escape the power structures that we’re embedded in. yet the beauty of fandom is that all these characters & symbols can comment on anything

so you’ve got this other dimension, not only of m/m being a blank slate of power equality based on gender, but also of popular m/m being a blank slate of power equality based on *race*. it’s also a place where you can subvert racism in the source material.

I’d literally just commented on this earlier when it comes to OCs:

@icedcitruss
poc artists if a majority of your ocs started off as white when you were incredibly younger raise your hands.

@sqiouyilu
idk if they were white per se, but they were so fuckin anime and light-skinned that they entered this liminal unmarked state anyway. but the first and only nanowrimo I completed originally started as a white dude (final short story version centers on an asian girl)

I am not actually joking when I say that my entire career comes from dissatisfaction with how others handle concepts. and about 80% of that is driven by my origins in fandom and specifically fanfic.

I was forced to paint on m/m canvas primed with white. but now that I’m able to get my voice out more, I’ve scrapped that canvas entirely for the tapestry that is my actual background.

and by the way, if anyone’s opening the argument with equating f/f porn made for the male gaze with m/m porn for the female gaze, I’d just like them to show their work and send me a list of f/f fic written by straight men. I’ll wait. please, I’m desperate for femslash

(sidebar: the former is often visual production with actual people. the latter is usually written solo with the intent to explore a psychological aspect or imaginary situation. let’s talk differences in production value and agency for women involved too, hmm?)