Citations for the FitzSimmons Special

Hey guys! I finally recorded a 100% FitzSimmons episode of the podcast I started with my friend. You can listen to it here.

And behold my mighty list of citations if you want to delve into any of this in more detail:

  • Barwich, Ann-Sophie. “Science and Fiction: Analysing the Concept of Fiction in Science and Its Limits.” J Gen Philos Sci 44 (2013): 357-73. Web.
  • Dempsey, Paul. “Science Friction.” Engineering and Technology (2013): 33-35. Web.
  • Dill-Shackleford, Karen E. How Fantasy Becomes Reality. New York: Oxford UP, 2016. Print.
  • Francis, Becky. “Re/theorising Gender: Female Masculinity and Male Femininity in the Classroom?” Gender and Education5 (2010): 477-90. Web.
  • Gelernter, David. “The Closing of the Scientific Mind.” American Jewish Committee (2014): 17-25. Web.
  • Hearn, Jeff, and Liisa Husu. “Understanding Gender: Some Implications for Science and Technology.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews2 (2011): 103-13. Web.
  • Hills, Rachel. The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015. Print.
  • Hurley, Kameron. The Geek Feminist Revolution. New York: Tor, 2016. Print.
  • Larbalestier, Justine. The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 2002. Print.
  • Mendick, Heather, and Marie-Pierre Moreau. “New Media, Old Images: Constructing Online Representations of Women and Men in Science, Engineering and Technology.” Gender and Education3 (2013): 325-39. Web.
  • Millward, Liz, and Janice G. Dodd. “Feminist Science Fiction Utopia and Stargate: SG-1: “I Doubt Very Much Colonel Carter Has Even Scratched the Surface of What Is Possible”” Women’s Studies 41 (2012): 18-35. Web.
  • Moore, Bryan L. “”Evidences of Decadent Humanity” Antianthropocentrism in Early Science Fiction.” Nature and Culture1 (2014): 46-64. Web.
  • O’Reilly, Julie D. “The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super)Heroism on Trial.” The Journal of American Culture3 (2005): 273-83. Web.
  • Pettersson, Helena. “Making Masculinity in Plasma Physics: Machines, Labor and Experiments.” Science Studies1 (2011): 47-65. Web.
  • Pollack, Eileen. The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club. Boston: Beacon, 2015. Print.
  • Rubin, Lawrence. “Superheroes on the Couch.” The Journal of Popular Culture2 (2012): 410-31. Web.
  • Schummer, Joachim. “Historical Roots of the ‘Mad Scientist’: Chemists in Nineteenth-century Literature.” Ambix2 (2006): 99-127. Web.
  • Stiles, Anne. “Literature in Mind: H.G. Wells and the Evolution of the Mad Scientist.” Journal of the History of Ideas2 (2009): 317-39. Web.
  • Szalavitz, Maia, and Bruce D. Perry. Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential–and Endangered. New York: William Morrow, 2009. Print.
  • Taber, Nancy, Vera Woloshyn, Caitlin Munn, and Laura Lane. “Exploring Representations of Super Women in Popular Culture.” Adult Learning4 (2014): 142-49. Web.
  • Toomey, Chris. “Does Nanotech Have a Gender.” Nature Nanotechnology 7 (2012): 412. Web.
  • Toumey, Christopher P. “The Moral Character of Mad Scientists: A Cultural Critique of Science.” Science, Technology, and Human Values4 (1992): 411-37. Web.
  • Weart, Spencer. “The Physicist as Mad Scientist.” Physics Today (1988): 28-37. Web.
  • White, Michael. Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997. Print.

Fun fact, I recorded this for like two hours in a very hot car \o/

4,722 Hours and 6,741

Estimated Reading Time: 13 minutes

Tonight is the finale of this disaster of a season on Agents of SHIELD (and yes I’ll do a postmortem) but what I want to talk about right now is character integrity and the way both Agents of SHIELD and Person of Interest handled disappearances/returns of major characters. Agents of SHIELD‘s “4,722 Hours” was like the epitome of what not to do while Person of Interest‘s “6,741” was ideal.

The premises here are largely the same. A stolid lady is taken from her friends and allies and is presumed to be in grave peril. In both cases, said lady is tentatively engaged in an unconventional romance which enhances but in no way defines her character. Both Simmons and Shaw express to their respective lovers that they reciprocate their feelings just as they are separated. Person of Interest allows Shaw to retain her agency, inhabit her space, and reaffirm her character. Agents of SHIELD, by contrast, robs Simmons of her agency, papers over her character, and forces her to emotionally contort exclusively for the sake of manufactured romantic conflict. 1 More than that, AoS takes a fully-realized character who rejects traditional gender roles and defines her exclusively by her womanhood and normative expectation where PoI eschews normativity altogether.

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“That’s Almost Romantic!”: FitzSimmons, Romance, and the Observer Effect

Estimated Reading Time: 14 minutes

(This essay is #9 of 9 in a series on Agents of SHIELD.)

I have a long-standing vendetta against romance. The majority of romances in visual-based media are absurd, offensive, unrealistic annoyances that utilize narrative shorthand in place of actual character development and thus never make sense as more than some kind of male fantasy sequence. Media is predominantly an extended make-believe of straight male wish fulfillment. As such, its rare that women are anything aside from hetero sex objects and queer romance is taboo or a punchline. Even romances that aren’t gross masculine indulgence are usually some tumorous plot point included to appease the “lady demographic.” The irony is inescapable: women are perceived as obsessed with romance, but most “romances” in mainstream media are included for male audiences.

Even when relationships are given space to develop, time to breathe, and are a reasonable progression for the characters involved, I still tend to feel generally indifferent towards them. Take, for example, Roslin and Adama on Battlestar Galactica. Their romantic arc is perfectly lovely. I don’t care about it at all. It takes some serious shit for me to fall for a relationship and after every foiled investment it gets that much harder to sway me.

Fitz and Simmons are my actual downfall. Not only are they positive representations of scientists with no superpowers and some fascinating gender politics—the nuances of their relationship feel like they were calculated to eviscerate me. What I used to say was “I have issues and these two stick their fingers right into every single one of them and wiggle them around.” That’s still accurate. Frankly, this did not come out of my brain very well, so I’m sure I’ll return to the topic in the future.

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“I Am Every Bit the SHIELD Agent You Are”: Fitz, Simmons, and Gendered Expectation

Estimated Reading Time: 19 minutes

(This essay is #8 of 9 in a series on Agents of SHIELD.)

By all rights, this should probably be three or four completely different essays. But they’re related, and interrelated. The first few are legit enough that I have research to back them up. The last few are just me kind of ranting. Here’s a brief outline of what you’re in for:

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“It’s Like Magic”: Science, Superpowers, and Narrative Utility in Cult TV

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

(This essay is #7 of 9 in a series on Agents of SHIELD)

Genre cult television tends to have two character types: action heroes and brainy exposition characters. Oftentimes, the brainy characters develop some kind of physical or metaphysical power of their own because generating ways to keep them narratively relevant over time becomes difficult. In the MCU in particular, science is used by the majority of scientist heroes to level themselves up and give themselves superpowers. Yet Fitz and Simmons don’t use science as a personal enhancement, their intelligence is something like a superpower, keeping them relevant while still allowing them to remain mundane.

Additional Spoiler Warnings for: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly/Serenity, Supernatural, Angel

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FitzSimmons, Science, and Scientists in the MCU

Estimated Reading Time: 13 minutes

(This essay is #6 of 9 in a series on Agents of SHIELD. The final four essays in this series can best be summarized as “Blubbering and Screams Interspersed With Big Words.”)

LET’S TALK ABOUT SCIENCE AND SCIENTISTS IN THE MCU, AKA MY LITERAL ACTUAL FAVORITE THING. Let me take you on a journey through the cultural historical traditions of scientists’ representations in the media, the necessity of carefully constructed science to the MCU, and how all this context helps me explain why Fitz and Simmons make me weak at the knees.

Please consider this more of an exuberant outline. I have so much research on this topic that I could literally fill a book with it and technically it covers the entire MCU.

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