Woman Problems

It’s been an unfortunate couple days for me as far as the depictions of women in my SFF television consumption. Not all of it surprising, mind. I’m human. I will probably always like problematic things. That doesn’t make it less disappointing.

Spoilers for the season finales of Fear the Walking Dead and The Strain, as well as a pretty late-season reveal in Dark Matter. You’ve been warned.

Regressive sexual politics in the Walking Dead franchise aren’t exactly new to me. Laurie Holden’s Andrea was constantly berated for not sticking around to do what amounted to housework while the men used the guns, for goodness’ sake. But after killing off all but one of the original female characters, oddly enough, the parent franchise seems at least mildly better with women going forward.

It was especially disappointing, then, that prequel / spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead fell right back into the same hole. For a while, I could squint and make it work:

Yes, Madison (Kim Dickens) has more experience directly working with troubled people as a guidance counselor than her boyfriend Travis (Cliff Curtis), but the hyper-macho military commander would never pick a woman to liaise with civilians.1

But the further the show went, the clearer it became that the primary characters who were meant to be learning and growing were the men. And over and over again, the lessons they learn are taught to them by hurting the women they care about.

Travis in particular seems to have a lot of “don’t touch my stuff” motivations. He has to learn that sympathy leads to pain and suffering, by having a young woman shot when he lets a soldier live. It’s that event which finally spurs his rage and fury and beating-people’s-heads-in.

And, of course, when his ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) winds up with a zombie bite, guess who, after being completely incapable of shooting a full-on zombie previously, has to pull the trigger while she’s still fully human to keep her from turning?

As Travis collapses on the beach, the ocean washing over him and his more-competent-in-this-world girlfriend clinging to his side, it comes clear that the women in this show exist in service to the character arcs of the men.

But if Fear wound up a disappointment for backsliding, The Strain has been doubling down on the “don’t touch my stuff” plots.

In the first season, Cory Stoll’s Ephram is subject to round one, where his ex-wife (Natalie Brown) is turned in a bid to manipulate him. This season, antagonist Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) is similarly punished by having his assistant / lover turned after he and she make a bid for more control. And for extra redundancy, Ephram’s current love interest, Nora (Mia Maestro) is also killed — by that vampire ex-wife.

And that’s not even looking in the direction of the nearly-realized tentacle rape of the show’s other female protagonist (Ruta Gedmintas) in a bid to motivate her boyfriend and / or send her running off screen and out of the narrative.

My response to all that is probably best summed up on Twitter:

The only bright side to this is that such overt, tone-deaf writing is easy to spot and easier to dismiss. Slightly more insidious was a recent turn near the end of Dark Matter, a new SyFy series I’ve been binging via Netflix.

By and large, there’s a reasonable spread of capable women on the show. I had a minor kneejerk when I realized how often “away mission” stuff involved the guys while the women stayed on board, but it seemed pretty clear that had more to do with the men being expendable than valuable.

This is especially true of Melissa O’Neil’s Two (The conceit of the show is that the characters are named for the order they woke up from stasis, as they have no memory of life before), who takes instant leadership, facing only token resistance from spoiler Three (Anthony Lemke). She’s just as kick-ass a fighter as “sword guy” Four (Alex Mallari, Jr.), as good a shot as “gun guy” Three, and as capable a pilot as Six (Roger R. Cross, refreshingly getting to play someone who isn’t eternally dour).

Then, late in the season, we discover Two’s abilities come from Macguffin tech: she’s a manufactured human being. To be sure, this lets her be even more kick ass. But it also means two out of three of the very capable women in this crew (the other is Zoie Palmer’s Android) are artificial beings. The men get to kick ass because they kick ass. The women kick ass because they were Built That Way.

On the one hand, so far all the women here are alive. I mean, your female characters can’t accomplish anything if they’re already dead just to motivate your men. On the other, the narrative being (I can’t avoid this pun) constructed here doesn’t exactly lend itself to inherent female capability and agency, either. The metaphorical takeaway from having women be your embodiment of the “I’m more than what I was born as” themes certainly doesn’t help matters.

1. If I’m choosing, I want to spend extra time with Cliff Curtis, too, though my motivations are a bit more prurient. ;)

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Blunt Weapons Don’t Have Points

Spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones, just in case you need them.

I’ve not really said much about the HBO Game of Thrones so far for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve not read the books, which I don’t think is any kind of requirement for criticism so much as I think it speaks to my being a more casual fan. Second, those elements which I do find problematic are, largely, being critiqued by people far better at it than I am.

I’m not even sure I’m about to launch into a critique of GoT even now so much as I am this article Eric Deggans posted over at NPR. The title itself probably tells you most of what you need to know: “Do Critics Of Violence And Sex In HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Miss The Point?”

Also, this is your last spoiler warning.

It’s an especially messy op-ed piece not least of all because it conflates criticism of GoT’s growing-infamous tendency to have its female protagonists raped with a scene wherein a young girl is murdered by her father. Which, really, seem like incredibly different arguments to me.

Whether it’s too far to kill a child character more-or-less on camera (and / or arguing that it’s a step Stannis Baratheon would never take) is a very different thing than pointing out how often GoT goes to the Rape Well when they need Something Horrible to motivate their female protagonists. About the only thing they have in common is that they’re both criticisms of the show, and they both seem to be sticking points for an irrate fandom.

That’s not nearly enough for me to buy in that the same argument works for both situations. It’s a rhetorical tactic somewhere akin to adding anti-marriage amendments to a federal budget. I’m not letting you graft them together in an effort to strong arm my support.

So, the Baratheon child has nothing to do with this, okay? Leave the girl and her father in whatever horrific version of peace they can manage.

Now we’re left with just the one charge. And its defense, at least in the most recent case:

From my perspective, the journey of Sansa Stark’s character has been completely about seeing her romantic and unrealistic vision of her world hardened by adversity – including her father’s beheading, her own kidnapping, the murder of her mother and other family members, and her forced marriage to two different men, including the sadist who now tortures her regularly.

Is that the point I was supposed to be missing? Because I didn’t miss it. Not after the beheading, not during the murders or the kidnappings, not even with the forced marriages. It’s very hard to miss that point. It’s fairly obvious, honestly. I think, rather, that apologists and counter-arguments are more missing the point of the critics.

As Deggans’ own list shows us, Sansa’s journey thus far has been dour and horrific and traumatizing in all the ways this grimdark fantasy most enjoys, and no one screamed and hollered and said “but Sansa should live in a world of butterflies and pretty flowers!” This isn’t about life in this world being awful and ruinous for just about anyone who enters it. It’s about the fact that, for female characters, the writers seem to consistently shortcut everything by adding in rape scenes.

As I said above, I think others are in a better position and possessed of more eloquence than I in discussing a lot of the inherent sexism and triggering that rape scenes evoke. What I feel entirely qualified to say about such repetitive narrative shorthand, though, is this:

It. Is. Lazy.

This is a world with ice zombies and dragon queens. Where shadow babies murder wannabe kings and the seasons don’t play fair and predictable. I’m not asking for a utopia where only pleasant things happen. I’m asking that, if you’re going to go for this grimdark worldview, if you’re going to drag me through despair and horror, the least you can do is be more imaginative than “Our female character needs horrific hardship to overcome. I know: rape! Because that’s the thing about women, they get raped, right?”

Pointed enough?

Newsroom: If One Innocent Man…

The December 7 episode of The Newsroom was probably meant to have everyone talking about its shocking final scenes. While one or two sites seem to have bit on that score, they weren’t the thing I found most (or particularly) shocking. The event(s) seem to have become something of a trope in Sorkin’s series. I was, however, moved to a lot of conflicting brain jibbering by Don Keefer’s (Thomas Sadoski) subplot in the episode.

Spoilers ahead for anyone who’s avoiding that kind of thing.

The basic theme of scenes within ACN this week was, essentially, how Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) seems to have finally capitulated after the network’s recent sale. He pushes stories on everyone which, to a soul, they have issues with for reasons that boil down to variations on This Isn’t What News Is.

Don’s issue is with a story he’s been handed on a website created for giving women a safe, anonymous place to warn others about their attackers. The new network owner wants him to put the site’s creator, a rape victim (Sarah Sutherland), on air with one of the men she’s accused of rape via the website. Don’s not comfortable with the story. In typical Sorkin fashion, there’s a lot of Don half-saying why for a while, until he gets in a room with the college rape victim who built the website, where he encourages her not to participate in the show.

I’ll admit that the story certainly fits with the clear theme of this final season: that the Internet, by virtue of its lack of accreditation, is a troublesome source for anything resembling fairness or facts. It’s not like he pulled “the internet punishes people via mob mentality” out of thin air just for his campus rape story.

And it feels like there’s an effort being made not to turn rape victims into straw women. The arguments coming from Sutherland’s Mary are both strong and strongly acted. And while Don has plenty to say in response, I found it exceptionally telling just how quiet Sadoski plays his half of the back and forth. This argument, on just about any other topic, would usually have both parties similarly animated in their responses to one another.

I don’t know if it was Sadoski’s choice, or Paul Lieberstein’s (the director), but the stillness and lower volume of Keefer’s responses, the measured way he spoke, at least gave me the impression that people involved knew just how (justifiably) uncomfortable and possibly tenuous Don’s position was. This wasn’t Don as he usually is (as, honestly, many of these characters usually are), snapping back his rejoinders with an unshakable sense of his rightness.

All that said, whatever argument you put in a principal’s mouth has a tendency to automatically lend extra credence to that argument over any made by a guest star. When said principal’s argument is intertwined with a season-long case you’ve been making, it gets even stronger. When the final decision your principal makes falls in line with that argument at the “y’see, Timmy” moment in the episode… you get my point.

And that argument is, essentially, “A man might be falsely accused of rape via this website, and we’d be helping that happen if we brought you on our show.”

I get that this is about taking sensationalizing out of news. I get that it’s about not letting people like Nancy Grace call themselves journalists as they pronounce judgement on criminal suspects with little to no facts (or just ignoring facts altogether).

Still.

I just don’t know if this particular scenario is one that works. It is possible that some man some where might be accused of rape maliciously. But pretty much every statistic on this suggests that the opposite is true: men who rape are far more likely to get the benefit of the doubt that they just “misinterpreted signals.” That in matters of “he said, she said,” he said–especially Caucasian he said–holds extra weight just by virtue of not starting with that feminizing “s.” That a swath of rape victims continue to have their integrity called into question, and thus wind up double-victimized. That, as a result, another swath of rape victims never say a thing, because they’re trying to avoid having their lives ruined by the aspersions cast by their own attacker.

No, a website isn’t a court of law. But we’ve seen time and time again that the more likely response to exactly the scenario Sorkin posits (public naming of a rape suspect), especially on the Internet, is far more often to be a raging pile of flame war at best, and death threats at worst.

When women can’t even suggest that video games have a tendency toward objectifying women without receiving death threats, and when those threats are, like accusations of rape, dismissed as attempts to vilify men, I just have a really hard time listening to an argument to silence debate and visibility as regards rape culture. Which, no matter how carefully they tried, still hit me as an undercurrent of that storyline.

It certainly helps no one whatsoever that the “but what about false accusations” argument comes from a straight, Caucasian male character. Especially when stood next to said character’s girlfriend, Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn), who in the same episode grinds another ACN employee to dust, on air, over the stalker potential of his smartphone app.

Maybe those two storylines were meant to be a contrast, to provide some kind of give and take. But the fact of the matter is, I feel like this is the same kind of balance / equal time philosophy that suggests we should teach Evolution and Creationism as two kinds of science, rather than a science and a theological doctrine; or that you should put climate change denial groups in a one-to-one pairing with scientists in a newscast.

In the end, though, however hard they tried, this storyline just feels like a Caucasian male character (with an argument constructed by a Caucasian male writer) essentially telling a female character–who is clearly meant as a stand in for the frightening number of women in similar situations–that she needs to behave better Because The System.

From a show whose mission statement has so very often been to flip off the status quo because it’s more important to be better than to behave, I can’t help but be disappointed.

ETA: I’m slow at this kind of response writing, so by the time I’d done this, it seems a metric ton of folks had already responded faster and better than I had. Abigail Nussbaum links to a wide selection of some of the best, as well as taking on Sorkin’s own response to the fallout from the episode. Click through and have a read.

Once Upon a Bait-and-Switch

I want to point to this recent Peter David post only to acknowledge it as sparking inspiration. Before that goes anywhere, though: this isn’t a response to David’s point, but I didn’t want to pretend this particular post sprang out of thin air. David is largely discussing slashfic writers who seem to be insisting on the wholesale rewriting of Once Upon a Time characters–in directions that don’t really make much sense for them–under the auspices of diversity. I agree, I find insisting that two heterosexual female characters suddenly fall in love with each other is stretching, to put it mildly.

That said, the mention of diversity in general with regards to Once Upon a Time does bring up an old itch I’ve had with the show. Setting aside fan pairings, this little series about fairy tales come to life does have what strikes me as a fairly problematic relationship with diversity. Insofar as I can spoil events which are several seasons from having happened, consider this a warning.

There’s really not much to tell when it comes to LGBTQ characters in OUaT. There’s exactly one: Mulan (Jamie Chung). In terms of characters, she’s not a bad one to have. The show positions her as a warrior. Much more of one than the prince and then princess with whom she travels. Mulan isn’t anyone’s sidekick; she’s hanging around to Get Things Done.

So, thumbs up for agency. Mulan originally develops a pretty clear crush on Prince Phillip (Julian Morris), with whom she’s been questing following the events of a curse. Mind you, a good 80% of the plots on this show involve characters of both sexes pining after other characters who may or may not reciprocate those feelings, so I’m not making a “defined by the man she loves” complaint here. That Mulan is quickly thrown into the position of having to protect Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger, whom Phillip really loves) after unpleasantness temporarily befalls Phillip twists things well enough to keep them interesting.

Then Phillip wakes back up, and there is still pining and moping, but, we eventually discover, it’s not for Phillip anymore. It’s for Aurora. I might be persuaded to believe that she really loves both members of that fairy tale duo, but given how cagey the writers were in revealing Mulan’s bisexuality,1 I’m not inclined to think they were also positioning her as polyamorous.

Though you can think what you like, since the scene revealing Mulan’s LGBTQ status is also the last scene she’s appeared in since. The series has a bisexual character just long enough for someone to notice, then she’s gone to make room for the heteronormative couple.

Some searching online suggests that part of this may be due to problems with Jamie Chung’s other commitments, but the problem is, Once Upon a Time sort of has a history of this kind of replacement of minority characters. By my count, there’s been a grand total of four other POC on the show who have had a significant impact,2 so let’s just take a look at all of them. It won’t take long:

Cinderella’s fairy godmother: In a flashback to the Enchanted Forest, the story of Cinderella starts out just like you remember it, as a young girl meets her fairy godmother. Said godmother, in a pleasant surprise, is played by an African-American actress (Catherine Lough Haggquist). But before the two women can even have a full conversation, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) destroys her with a flick of his finger and takes both her wand and her place in the rest of the story.

Lancelot: African American actor Sinqua Walls shows up in the second season to portray the classic, valorous knight in a flashback. The good news: he makes it to the end of the flashback alive. The bad news: in the present, he’s been murdered off-screen by Cora (Barbara Hershey), who’s taken his place using an illusion spell.

Tamara: Sonequa Martin-Green’s character lasts longer than the two above, but given that her spy mission essentially turns her into a prostitute (she’s the fiancee of her mark at the behest of her employer) and said employer–Peter Pan (Robbie Kay)–only keeps her alive long enough to get him the little Caucasian boy he’s actually interested in, I’m not sure it’s an especially impressive run.

The only POC other than Mulan who manages to live through a run on Once Upon a Time, in fact, is Sidney Glass (Giancarlo Esposito). In the context of how disposable most other POC characters have been, however, it’s especially troubling that Glass’s fairy tale counterparts are not one, but two slave selves: first, he’s “Genie,” who is freed not by Aladdin, who then would have been the show’s first Middle Eastern character, but by yet another Caucasian male character. “Genie” is free just long enough to be manipulated into committing murder and subsequently re-enslaved by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), this time as her magic mirror.

Look, I don’t think that every character who falls into some kind of minority must instantly become The Most Important Awesome Flawless Character Ever. That’s not my intent here at all. I want real, human characters as much as anyone else–even in my fairy tale-inspired fiction.

And I don’t think that the writers and producers of Once Upon a Time are secretly a gaggle of racist homophobes. I’m not trying to ascribe malicious intent to the examples above any more than I’m trying to insist on paragon status for minority characters.

What I am saying, or trying to say, is that the smaller the nod to diversity, the more impact the event surrounding that diversity are likely to be. Killing off an African-American character doesn’t in and of itself send a message. Killing off three out of four (two of them in their first appearance) for the sake of developing your Caucasian characters, then making the fourth a double slave…. I should hope it’s clear that this starts to generate a pattern for the place of POC in your narrative which is, at the very least, problematic.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that when the details of the first nod toward LGBTQ inclusion seem to fit that same pattern of bait-and-switch which has plagued the inclusion of POC (and when the disappearance of Mulan not-incidentally marks yet another POC stepping aside for the sake of Caucasian character arcs), folks might be inclined to make some negative assumptions.

Yes, people like to see folks like themselves in their entertainment. But I think, sometimes, being repeatedly teased with that representation can have a far more negative impact than not seeing it at all.

ETA / Related: As fate would have it, Abigail Nussbaum just posted a far more in depth look at racial issues in another ABC/Disney property: Agents of SHIELD. Take a look.

1.Mulan never quite comes out and says she loves anyone, though I think the intention’s clear

2. There’s an African-American vet in Storybrooke who serves as an expository device in one episode. And one of the dwarves is played by a Phillipino actor, but given that the writers largely use the dwarves as “Grumpy and sometimes six other guys,” I’m not inclined to call him a full-fledged character at this point.

You Have to Stick the Landing

You can blame Laura for this one. She egged me on.

Until a few months ago, the sum total of what I knew about Switched at Birth was what channel it was on and that two girls discover the eponymous event as an inciting action to the series. I’ve certainly followed my share of high school / college dramas, but I tend to need them to hook on some of my other interests (usually sci-fi / fantasy elements), so I never really thought much about it.

Then Max Adler announced he had a recurring role for the then-upcoming (now finished) season1. I’ve had a giant soft spot for him since his turn as Karofsky on Glee, a high school show which for several seasons bypassed my usual spec fic requirements by appealing to my musical theatre geekery instead. So, I took a shot on the latest season. As an added bonus, I discovered that half the characters in the show are Deaf, and nearly everyone in the cast signs to some degree, so I was hitting two of my geek fascinations at once2.

Here’s the thing: I like a lot of the performances on this show. And the plots are actually ambitious in more than your standard “our teenagers think about and have sex” kinds of ways. It’s just that I feel like there’s a lot missing in the execution of those plots and / or the fleshing out of characters, so much so that I often found myself wanting to shake the show by the shoulders and yell “stop short-cutting this and wasting your potential!”

Spoilers for the just-completed season, by the by. If you watch on DVD, or you’re backed the heck up on your DVR, you may want to turn away. There’s just no way for me to talk about what I want to talk about without spoiling.

Also, This is likely to go on a bit

Morituri Blog: Bloom on the Rose

Strikeforce: Morituri is largely concerned with its younger cast, and most of its Big Ideas are kind of couched in the ways in which they interact with young people, which makes sense. Everything often seems so much more intense at that age, as the entire world of Big Ideas seems to be settling on you. But none of those ideas is particularly exclusive to youth. And making it past that brash age and into what one might think of as “experienced” doesn’t save us from any of them.

Beth Luis Nion wasn’t meant to be a Morituri. She was their commander, meant to stand at a reserve and move the pawns. She had the skill. The experience. And she was just as vulnerable to the overwhelming nature of idealism as anyone.

Nion fell in love with one of “The Black Watch,” those experienced soldiers who were the first to undergo the Morituri process. In her exuberance, Nion made a brash choice, undergoing the Morituri process in order to share something unique and special with the man she loved. If I had a dollar for every time I underwent life-threatening scientific experimentation for a guy, amiright?

In any case, the age of The Black Watch soldiers meant that they lasted nearly no time at all before the energies within them consumed their bodies. Nion, however, their contemporary, lasted much longer. In-story, the theory is that her low-level ability (the power to make flowers bloom) kept the consuming energies from burning too quickly.

But if we look at her power outside the story, I think there’s plenty of useful metaphor to go around here, as well. It seems small, but, come on, there’s a reason the expression is “stop and smell the roses.” Nion is the commander. She’s meant to watch. To observe. Of course her power is about the little things, which of course aren’t little at all.

I’ve said before that this is a series that manages to find hope in the midst of so much darkness. I think Commander Nion points us to some of the how. Big, crashing war and death and despair and ugliness are all around, but even here, if you look, there’s something wonderful to find. It might be glory, or faith, or art, or a painfully-brief romance. It might be a flower. But they’re all of them worth whatever joy you can eke from them.

I think Brent Anderson and Scott Williams actually sum up all of it in a really amazing page that ends the book’s first year. Click it for full size, because oh my god, this page, people.

It’s a combination of the deaths of both Robert (Marathon) and Commander Nion. At the top is the raucous explosion which marks Robert finding his moment of glory. At the bottom is the far quieter passing of Nion. And both of them cast off ripples which are just as large and just as important and just as heartbreaking and beautiful. And in between is … well … just about everything.

Which, I think, makes my point far better (and certainly more breathtakingly) than I ever can.

Morituri Blog: Find Your Moment

It’s kind of impossible to have a story with so much imminent death and not explore the idea of finding one’s purpose. Mortality in general pushes us to find a meaning in our existence, of course, but the hyper-condensed lifespan of the Morituri heightens this drive. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the person of Robert Greenbaum – Marathon.

In most other books, Robert would have been the lovable, big, protective lug. Even in Strikeforce: Morituri he plays that role as the series begins. In that fairly brief period, he’s content to be The Big Guy who lets other folks do the thinking and tries to keep everyone safe. But after first Lorna, then Harold, fall to the ravages of the process these young folks have undergone, it becomes clear that there is no more time to be complacent. With so very little time left to live, Marathon begins in earnest to seek out his purpose, to find that moment which might give his life and his sacrifices meaning.

Like a lot of young people, he falters in that quest. He tries to go out in a fighting blaze of glory, but while there is much blazing, Robert’s clumsy attempts send him quite literally plummeting back to Earth. To be sure, it’s an epic fall.

And, unlike those normal humans who were subject to the “Highdive” previously, Robert miraculously survives. But in surviving, he finds himself faltering even further. He was the big one. The strong one. Surely he was meant to die in bloody battle? And yet, here he is, largely unscathed. Having no scars, or rather showing none, Robert seems to feel the need to make it clear exactly what he is. This, I think, is what leads to the rather unique method by which Robert marks himself. It’s as if he believes that what he needs to finally be a hero is a scar, a mark that screams “I matter.”


From Strikeforce: Morituri #11
Art by Brent Anderson and Scott Williams
Words by Peter B. Gillis

Here’s the thing: Robert’s struggle with purpose isn’t exclusive to him any more than genius is only Harold’s, or faith belongs solely to Jelene. It’s just that I think Robert provides a really focused example of the exploration of this particular theme in the series.

The nature of Robert’s powers is one of the things that I think makes him such a good candidate for exploring this notion of purpose. He’s strong and tough like all the Morituri, but Robert’s own physical might is far in excess of that of his teammates. Indeed, as Gillis clarifies a few issues in, Robert’s strength actually builds, but only for as long as he chooses not to use that strength.

It’s one of the odd things about that bridge from childhood to adulthood, when you wander into the middle ground, when you can see there might be an endgame, and it becomes dreadfully hard not to rush toward it. I don’t think Gillis is by any means suggesting that people sit on their backsides and wait for the world to serve up their destinies. This is a story about people who are living with the constant reality of their mortality; time is precious, and shouldn’t be squandered.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all a race, either.

It’s precarious, to be sure, and Robert’s up-and-down attempts to find the right time, to prepare himself to seize his moment, make that clear. But when Robert holds back, when he finally, fully steps back and not only waits, but watches1, he gathers the power he’s been after. Fulfills his purpose. Finds his moment.

And finally, finally, has that painful, bittersweet piece of meaning he’s been chasing for so very long.


From Strikeforce: Morituri #11. Art by Brent Anderson and Scott Williams, Words by Peter B. Gillis

1. I think this is another reason for Robert’s tattoo. Yes, he wants to be seen, but also — whether consciously or not — he’s discovering that finding one’s moment requires a special level of vision, as well.[back]