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Writings of Mssr. Padfoot
I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good
This is my How's My Driving post for Sirius Black. If you have any crit or comments about him, feel free to post them here; anon commenting is on. :)
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2011-04-13 03:43 pm (UTC)
You don't have an HMD up for Karofsky, and I hope this is okay. I want to begin by saying that Karofsky is a very challenging character, and part of the reason I was eager to join DDD with Blaine was for their interactions and potential. And I still always hope for more CR between them. However I'd like to address something that has been bothering me, and I hope you understand that it comes from a place of caring as your castmate-- but also, that this subject is very close to home for me and I can only hope you respect that.
I don't know anything about your orientation or background, and that's entirely your business, but I'm a lesbian and I experienced and witnessed homosexual bullying all through school. Middle school through college, and even out into the adult world. The kids who harass other kids for being gay are, as Karofsky is, often closeted themselves. They often target others out of a self-loathing constructed by their parents or other setting in which they've seen gays be outcast. They lash out out of fear for themselves and how the people they care about might perceive them were they to be true to themselves; and open and honest with others. This fear is so crippling it transcends rationality.
I'm not sure you treat this inner turmoil with enough sensitivity, but more than that I'd like to call something to your attention that personally makes me uncomfortable. I know that everyone is welcome to their own interpretations of a character and their motives, and you can choose to discount my opinion for one you clearly favor. Karofsky is your character and I respect how you might prefer to play him, but in my opinion there isn't any evidence to support him having distinct romantic feelings for Kurt.
The reason I mention adults is even in a mature workplace setting where sexual harassment might occur, say, between a man and a woman. This attention is not bestowed out of romantic interest, but rather an objectification of the harassed party as a purely sexual representation. Because harassment is not about the victim, but rather the perpetrator, I think it's presumptive to assume some sort of genuine feelings on Karofsky's part. It would be much more likely that he merely projects his negative feelings about himself onto Kurt, and this better explains his volatile emotions where Kurt is concerned.
The kiss scene to me, was not a profession of Karofsky's feelings for Kurt, but rather a cathartic moment within himself in which he admitted who he was. Kurt provided the catalyst for his actions, being the only person in a sea of peers who could possibly understand Karofsky's pain. I was the only "out" gay kid through high school, and it made me a target a few times. This was because of the insecurity of other kids at my school, as is the case with Karofsky. People say nasty things to build themselves up, and this bears little or no reflection on the people they put down.
To give you a more specific example, I have been harassed by someone in the workplace. A male who perceived me as a conquest who could earn him "points" (either with himself or his friends) by sleeping with a lesbian. This had nothing to do with my attractiveness or his own feelings on the matter, but rather a way for him to feel like a big man who was in control of [women]. This is a chauvinistic and womanizing exercise and I certainly wouldn't ever brave to say he had actual romantic intent.
I hope that you take my opinions into account, but by all means if you still disagree or have evidence I haven't addressed bring it to my attention. I don't want this to feel like a lecture, but an interactive discussion between people who respect each other. I say these things to help you be a better player and comes from a place of respect and personal concern. ♥
2011-04-13 03:43 pm (UTC)
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2011-04-13 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I totally forgot to add an HMD portion to his permissions post. Oops ._. Will remedy that once I'm home, especially since someone left similar concerns on my Dumbles HMD.
Anyway, don't worry, I'm always cool with concrit <3 And I understand it's meant from a place of concern and not out of any sort of meanness.
Admittedly, what Karofsky is going through is not something I've gone through, or have come close to -- as far as RL experience goes, the closest thing I can compare it to is what some of my friends dealt in high school/college (including one who did go through a long period of denial). So I admit, I'm not an expert on what it's like to be gay in high school (or gay, period), or what it's like to live so in denial. That said, I wonder what you mean by not treating it with not enough sensitivity? I promise I haven't tried to be blase or over-simplified with Dave (except maybe on plurk, but that's just me joking around with Lylith).
As far as him having romantic feelings or not for Kurt: if Dave were an actual gay teen who had kissed another gay teen, I would absolutely concede that I don't know what's going through his head and that it could be just that Kurt is the sexual representation of a gay teen and that's why Karofsky lets out his feelings that way.
But since Glee is a TV show (and a network comedy, no less), I feel as though they wouldn't have had him kiss Kurt if there was not the intention ofsome sort of feelings (beyond harassment) behind it. Maybe I will be proven wrong, but I feel like the writers would not have outed Karofsky via kissing Kurt if they weren't trying to hint/imply some sort of emotions for Kurt with that. In a fictional universe, for a mass network audience, I don't think they're really shooting for the subtlety of him kissing Kurt because Kurt is a sexual representation of his negative emotions; I don't think Glee is really as nuanced as all that most of the time. And I'd be willing to bet that there will be more discussion of him having feelings for Kurt in him upcoming episode (though, I could be terribly, horribly wrong, but that's just my hunch).
I also feel as though he wouldn't have actually kissed Kurt if it was just that Kurt represented being a gay man to him. Harassed, yes. But considering how deep his self-loathing seems to be (and how much he seems to want to deny that the kiss even happened), it would make more sense to me that he had some sort of feelings for him as well (though, again, I've never been in this situation and am certainly not the expert).
I definitely agree that harassment isn't about the victim or anything the victim does, and I'm certainly not trying to make it seem that way with Dave (and definitely trying not to romanticize anything he does). I've been on the receiving end of harassment as well (though obviously not for the same reasons or of the same type as you have) and I know how awful it can be, and am definitely not trying to justify what Dave does or make it seem like
harassers are acting out of some misguided crush. That said, I do think it's possible in Dave's case that that's part of his motivation (though certainly not a justification for it, or makes his actions any less repugnant).
I think I may have to just agree to disagree on this, and I do appreciate the input. The only way we'll know for sure one way or another is to see how things progress in the show itself (and since there is an upcoming Karofsky ep, hopefully some light will be shed on it). I hope my reasons at least make some sense -- I'm definitely not trying to portray Kurt as being ~the love of Dave's life~ or that Kurt and Dave are some sort of epic romantic couple, because that's definitely what I want to portray.
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2011-04-15 04:15 am (UTC)
While I will be curious to see how Karofsky is handled in future episodes, Ryan Murphy has
(http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/teenage-dreams-and-nightmares-talking-never-been-kissed-with-ryan-murphy-of-glee/) (second and last questions especially) that he was trying to bring bullying to attention with Karofsky's story arc. Especially gay bullying, but bullying and assault in schools in general. With the Trevor Project circulating, something Chris Colfer supports as well, gay bullying in high schools is extremely visible in the media right now. I don't feel as though it's subtle or nuanced at all that Glee would address it, as they do claim to be a show about the regular high school experience +music.
I think that taking on a character like Karofsky means taking on a certain amount of responsibility for how that bullying is portrayed. A lot of people have experienced harassment and hate in their lives, and it's really a rather volatile and sensitive subject. While you may see the crush he has on Kurt as 'harmless,' from a reader's perspective it does feel like a romanticization, or even victim-blaming. I don't have to tell you this is a real and present issue IRL, and handling it, even in RP, is something that requires a certain amount of delicacy.
Karofsky hasn't mentioned Kurt or seemed interested in him in any way since leaving McKinley. I, personally, would be extremely jarred [and offended] if Ryan Murphy were to address it as a crush in the upcoming episodes. To an audience, either yours or the shows, the mere allusion of Karofsky having a romantic interest in Kurt feels like a justification. I'm not saying you actually feel anything he does is right. I genuinely believe you when you say it isn't your intention to come across that way, but I think you should know that it does.
To portray someone who sexually assaults another person as acting out of some deranged caring place is offensive. We aren't meant to sympathize with Karofsky for what he does to Kurt. Perhaps we can relate to him, and what he feels, but I do think you aren't treating the situation with enough delicacy. While it may be your decision to play Karofsky as having those feelings, I would suggest you do more research into the subject - especially having no experience in the area yourself. Being in the closet is an awful, binding feeling, and I still hold to my opinion that Karofsky was continuing the theme of lashing out rather than committing an act inspired by romantic feelings. The kiss itself was violent, and Kurt actually looks as if he's been hit when he pulls away. To me, to imply that Karofsky cares about Kurt is along the same vein as claiming a rapist cares about his victims.
I want nothing more than for us to be able to resolve this. As your castmate and gamemate, I want to be able to continue writing with you and building David and Blaine's CR. Thank you for reading my concerns, and I hope that you take them to heart.
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2011-04-15 03:07 pm (UTC)
Okay, I...kinda of think you're putting words into my mouth that I didn't actually say, namely: I am not trying to say that anything Karofsky does/says is harmless. Clearly it isn't, and clearly what he's done is creepy and awful and wrong. I've never claimed otherwise.
I'm also not saying that Glee isn't trying to address bullying, or that Dave isn't a bully, or that what he's done isn't harassment. But just because they're addressing the subject does not mean they're going to do it 100% in line with how you're thinking it should be, or how you would want it to be. (Not that it necessarily means it's going to play out how I'm predicting, either, but as I said in my earlier reply: we'll only know for sure as more episodes play out). Having one character kiss another (without some sort of external force forcing it)on TV is going to be read as doing it out of feelings (not necessarily good/
feelings, but I'll get into that next paragraph), and if they were to back off from that I think people would feel misled.
That said, I think you may have misunderstood what I'm trying to come across with when I say he has feelings for Kurt. I'm not trying to say he has a fluffy/cutesy crush and this is just a case of pulling the pigtails of whoever you have a crush on, and I'm certainly not trying to characterize Karofsky as a
person, even a misguided one. The guy clearly has a boatload of issues and needs help. When I say he has feelings, I do not mean that they are healthy ones or that what he's doing is normal.
And I really don't think most people are reading this as a justification (or if they are, they're being remarkably silent on the subject). Have I tried to
Dave? Yes, I admit that. But I've also tried to humanize Jezebel and Pegasus as well, and show them as more than one note villains, but I don't think anyone would assume that meant I was trying to justify kidnapping or murder. I agree that Dave isn't supposed to be sympathetic when he harasses Kurt, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a human motivation that isn't just harassment out of anger. Giving Dave a
for what he does is not meant to be a signal that it's clearly okay, same as with any other character that does terrible things, and I think you might be misjudging the people at DDD (and the Glee audience) if you think that people can't tell the difference. I've never seen anyone, on Plurk or ICly or online say that if he's doing it out of feelings to Kurt, that that makes it okay. If someone on DDD
saying that, let me know because I haven't seen it crop up.
As for comparing his feelings to a rapist...look, what Karofsky did was sexual assault, I am not saying it isn't. But there is a
steep degree of severity between kissing someone against their will and raping someone, and I feel like making that comparison is going to be inviting way too much heated feelings into this. Both actions are awful, and you're right, the kiss was violent and Kurt did look like he took a punch to the face. But Dave also backed off right after he saw how Kurt looked. He did not
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2011-04-15 03:07 pm (UTC)
I do read up on gay bullying, and I do pay attention to the topic in the news whenever I see it come up (and I do read the news in some form or another pretty much every day). So while I do know and will never know what it truly is like to be gay in any form, yes, I have read on the subject and still do, though admittedly most coverage is straight-on-gay bullying and not closeted-gay-on-gay. And I really am trying to play him with sensitivity (which is why he doesn't go after every gay member of the comm even if he would ICly, or use the same severity of slurs as he would probably use ICly).
That being said, when you say things like I have to take responsibility for how bullying is portrayed, and that I have to consider my "audience", I feel like you're placing a lot more weight on my RPing than is justified. I am not trying to be some sort of advocate by playing him (especially since, again, I don't have the life experience to ever justify such a thing); this is a game, not a social/political treatise. I picked up Dave because I like Glee and I wanted to play more with Lylith's Kurt and Lylith liked the idea. That's really all there is to it. I'm not trying to put him on a pedestal as an example for anyone (and I honestly don't think most people are assuming that from him). Saying I have some moral responsibility to play him a certain specific way seems like blowing things way out of proportion.
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