Skip to main content

Arjun's Kind of Pissing Me Off

 
Really, Arjun? Since when do you not know this is the woman you married?

Warning - Spoilers - vague ones, but still spoilers.
NOTE: I have not read the all the books yet and I have no idea if the show stays true to how the situation plays out in the books. So I'm only addressing the show.
Species (Movie, 1995):
Xavier Fitch: We decided to make it female so it would be more docile and controllable.
Preston Lennox : More docile and controllable, eh? You guys don't get out much.

Killing Eve:
Eve Polastri: [after rudely demanding the room key from the reception desk and being handed it quickly]  God it makes me rage how efficient things are when you're a dick to people.

I've been reading some very mixed reactions about Chrisjen Avasarala's actions/decisions in Season 4 of The Expanse, and I have some strong feelings of my own. But I have a couple of questions to ask readers first:

1. Do you feel Chrisjen made the right choices "taking control of the narrative" the way she did?
2. If you feel she was wrong, why? Because it made her, as I've read in my socials, "cold-blooded", "heartless", "calculating", "manipulative"? Or some other reason?
3. If you answered yes to the above - would it bother you as much if it had been a man making those decisions? More specifically, would it have been more expected if a man had behaved that way? (For example, no one seemed especially surprised or outraged when Fred Johnson was calculating and manipulative to get what he needed for the Belters.)

Here are my answers:

1. Yes, I think she did what she had to do given the options available. And she's going to pay a very heavy price personally and professionally for it. She did exactly what she was told to do. She did it masterfully in a total shit storm of a situation. And now she is living that old question - would you rather be right, or be happy. I think she's going to be unhappy for awhile.

2. Do I think she can absolutely be cold-blooded, manipulative, and calculating to get shit done. Yep. And I have zero problem with that. I don't think she's just acting out of spite, pride or hubris.

3. To my thinking, it is because she is a woman, a mother and a grandmother, in a position of great power (at least in the beginning) that she feels the absolute necessity to do what she does. And I think it's that very role that sits so uncomfortably with a lot of people.

This push-back on Chrisjen, particularly from Arjun, makes me think we really will be having this same kind of dissonance in the future. We (humans) need women, particularly mothers, to project this image of gentle, nurturing kindness and warmth. Mothers and grandmothers need to feel safe. When they don't, when they break from that role, even temporarily, it's an almost visceral discomfort - especially, I've noticed, from men.

The animal kingdom has no such expectations from mothers or from females of the species. Any hunter will tell you, you mess with those cubs, that mother bear is going to end you. And then go right back to feeding, bathing, playing with, and protecting her cubs. And so will Chrisjen Avasarala. 
She may get this wrong. She may end up on the wrong side of history - but she's protecting what's dear to her with every tool available. She is the only one in the position to do what needs to be done and she does it because no one else can. She takes shit for it, which I think she expects - but that it comes from Arjun, who I think should know better, really irks me.

Some of the friction might be made more obvious by the recasting of Arjun, who is now played by Michael Benyaer rather than Brian George. Benyaer doesn't have the softer, grandfatherly demeanor that George had. Benyaer's intensity might be making him come across more angry and judgmental of Chrisjen's motivations than intended. It's hard for me to tell. I've enjoyed Michael Benyaer in many other roles, but in this dynamic I find myself really missing Brian George.

It might be that I just miss the look and demeanor of Brian George who always managed to offset his criticism of Chrisjen with the way he could still look at her with warmth and gentleness.

A Little Backstory

It may be that I have strong feelings about this because I watched a similar dynamic (though with far lower stakes) play out between my grandmother, grandfather and our teams at the business they ran for several decades.

Grandma was always the one who had to make sure people paid when they were supposed to pay for the equipment they'd bought or leased from us. Grandpa didn't like to be the bad guy - he liked to make the deals. Our crews didn't like to find themselves in the uncomfortable situation of pulling our equipment out of businesses that couldn't or wouldn't pay. Customers were given 90 days. Grandma didn't report to credit agencies or threaten lawyers or small claims court. She'd just send the crew to take out the equipment and put everything back the way they found it before we installed it. (We sold industrial air purifiers for bars and restaurants before smoking was banned - not that it makes much difference what the equipment was.)

Grandpa hated fielding the calls asking for more time to pay. The crews hated pulling out equipment - even when she went with them, it was still uncomfortable of course. But Grandpa, and our crews, definitely enjoyed getting paid on time, getting an actual living wage, with full benefits whether they were full or part time. She helped them pay medical bills, school fees, sudden unexpected home repairs. She could do that because our business was always in the black. Our employee turnover was almost zero. People stayed with business for decades.

Even with the sound arguments presented, Grandma was always cast as the heavy, the bitch, the cold-hearted "bad cop".  She resented it then, and I think it still bothers her that Grandpa often avoided conflict by failing to back her up. I know it bothered me as a kid to watch it play out. Thankfully, my husband fully appreciates my nurturing side, and my "let's just get this shit done" side so I don't feel the pressure my grandma did.

That's it for my soap box. What do you think? What do you think the fall out will be from Chrisjen's actions? Do you think Arjun was right to be so harsh in his judgment? If so, why?





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Glory of The Expanse Rewatch

WARNING - Spoilers ahead, probably. Especially if you haven't seen seasons 1-3 of The Expanse. I don't remember enjoying a rewatch of any series as much as The Expanse! (Season 4, as well as the previous seasons, are now available to watch on Amazon Prime.)  As soon as I finished Season 4, I started the entire series again. It's like the series was designed to be watched again and again, just in the sheer density of goodies left for fans. Here are my top reasons to watch the whole again and how to get the most out of the experience. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.) 1. The Soundtrack Get the soundtrack if you haven't already. There are Belter versions of pop songs, beautiful instrumentals from Clinton Shorter, all that country music Alex is always listening to and so much more. It's an outstanding soundtrack at a time when most soundtracks I hear just haven't been that inspiring. The quote below (with link following) really gets at why the sco

Star Trek Artists: Tips for Getting Your Fan Art Approved by the Brand

One of the abstract Obsidian Order (commissioned) pieces CBS approved on RedBubble.   Another commissioned set of designs approved by CBS this week.   I finally have a handful of artwork that's been approved by CBS for sale on RedBubble! It only took 6 months, but at least now I have a better understanding of what they're looking for, and what they're rejecting. What follows is only slightly above hearsay but it's what I've learned from other Star Trek artists and from representatives at RedBubble and TeePublic (which have now merged.)   I only recently found out a lot of this stuff when RedBubble and TeePublic joined forces. TeePublic reached out to me upload my fanart over there and I asked them what the brands, particularly CBS/Star Trek was looking for. The rep actually gave me some really helpful info that isn't on the Brand Partnership page. Here's the TL;DR if you don't want to read the whole thing: Avoid actors' face

Update and Massive Art Theft

I've been a bit quiet lately trying to handle a bit of an art business crisis. Every month I have a process where I search for my artworks across platforms to see if anyone is uploading art images stolen from my social media pages or worse, from the stores my artwork is sold on. And every month I have a handful - usually between 5 and 10. Sadly, that's the nature of the business. On February 28th, I found 52 of my artworks taken from Teepublic (I format specifically for that store, so they were easy to identify) and loaded onto Redbubble stores. On March 1st, I found 11 more. On March 5th, 13 more. On March 9th, 32 more. This time with artwork I had only uploaded in the last 2 days. Every few days I find between 10-20 more. I notified Teepublic that it looked like their site had been scraped (bots ripping images from the site - images that had no watermark but still had signatures still intact.) I told them whatever the exposure was, it was still exposed two days previously.