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  Alternate Universes

Smallville: Random "Nocturne" Musings

Just the Fangrrlz watched, again: self, the 8th-grade Future of Fandom, and the 1st-grade Distant Future of Fandom. Though we really have to arrange for Our Guy to see this one, because he thinks Martha is a Red Hot Mama.

1. When Lex started speaking poetry to Lana, FoF said, "Lex! That's just wrong! Don't tease the poor girl . . . even if she is an inanimate object."

As many people have pointed out, the poem Lex quotes from is not a conventional love sonnet. I first encountered it in raku's extraordinary hypertext Star Trek novel, "The Learning Curve".

< pimp>which is archived on my site: you can either start at "Start Up" or look at the overall structure < /pimp>

Donne's poem is not written as from one (human) lover to another, but as from the soul to God. And what the soul wants is for God to stop being nice, but to pursue, assault, enslave, and rape her, to force his love upon her despite her incomplete consent.

Frankly, I think Lex *is* teasing Lana, or trying to tell her something in an indirect, Lexian way. Just think of what kind of guys she's been interested in:

There was Whitney, Mr. Anger Managment Issues.

There's Clark, who last week was transformed by RedK into an asshole of a kind not unknown to dating science. As I explained to FoF, guys like him are why there is the institution of Mad Money (which she'd never heard of, but thinks is a great idea -- SV as Family Learning Opportunity). Now, why is Lana still clearly willing to consider going out with Clark? When a guy takes you on a date and treats you like that, a sensible girl figures this was nature's way of showing you who not to get involved with, *duh*.

And then there's Byron. All her friends say, "Lana, he's a stalker," but she thinks it's kind of cute to be stalked. When Lana finally met Byron in the graveyard, FoF yelped, "look at her body language! It says 'stalk me'!" And she's right.

I don't know if I agree with those who feel that Lana is Future Trailer Trash, but she certainly seems to be in the market for an abusive relationship. And I think it looks as though Lex, when he reads Byron's poem, quotes the Donne, and says poetry is "all about seduction" (the line that launched a thousand .wavs, purrrrr) is warning Lana that she's heading for trouble.

2. Speaking of abuse, Lionel warning Lex not to be Prometheus has fascinating implications. I wonder if the writers mean any of them, or if they just picked a mythological reference almost at random. Lionel's version, you see, is highly revisionist (=wrong). Prometheus was not Zeus' son, adopted or otherwise -- I don't actually think Zeus adopted anyone, he got his kids the old-fashioned way: rape and/or incest. Prometheus was Zeus' cousin, one of his fellow Titans, who strategically took Zeus' side in the Titan Civil War aka The War Between the Gods and the Titans. In some versions of the mythology Prometheus is the creator of humankind.

One of Prometheus' brothers was Epimetheus (another was Atlas, who ended up holding up the sky). Zeus made a beautiful but stupid robot woman, Pandora, and offered her to Epimetheus. Prometheus warned Epimetheus not to take any gift from Zeus, but his brother took Pandora as his wife anyway (stories differ on when & how). The box that Pandora opened had been made by Prometheus, to lock up all the ills of the world. In some versions of the story, Prometheus had also locked Hope in the box because it is a delusion. (Robert Graves' analyses in The Greek Myths are always entertaining, thought-provoking, and erudite, but should be taken with whole pillars of salt.) From the start, Lex's lead box with Lana's necklace in it has always reminded me of Pandora's box.

Back to Prometheus. He's a fire-god, and has some of the trickster character of his Norse counterpart Loki -- you should feel free to include tricksy red hair.*g* Part of his rivalry with Zeus comes because Zeus is the god of lightning, fire from heaven, while Prometheus is specifically the god of human-made fire. His symbol was the swastika, which represented the fire-drill. I can't find a picture of exactly how this kind fire-drill looked: people sometimes say it was like a churn, but I wonder if it was more like large version of a bow-drill (Here's an ancient Egyptian model at a *way* cool site.)

There is a possible additional non-randomness in putting a reference to Prometheus in this particular episode. Having the MotW be a long-haired good-looking poet named "Byron" immediately calls to mind the historic Byron, and his friendship with the Shelleys. Percy Bysshe S. wrote "Prometheus Bound" and "Prometheus Unbound," while Mary S. wrote "Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus." All these works could have fascinating plays off or against SV. Not to mention the Highlander crossovers.*g*

The oddest thing about Lionel picking Prometheus as an example, of course, is that Prometheus is a *hero*, a good guy who is punished unmercifully for siding with oppressed humanity against the unjust gods. In the end, Prometheus doesn't suffer forever: he is rescued . . . by Hercules. And who would the equivalent be in SV, eh? *forms romantic mooshball*

3. Speaking of romantic mooshballs, *I* think the reason Clark says Shakespeare's sonnets aren't for him is that he's still in shock. Shakespeare in Love had led him to expect that the sonnets were all written from a man to a *woman*, all about nice safe heterosexual romance. When he found out what they're really about, when he read them and heard Lex's voice in his head, saying these things to *him* -- naturally he had to deny, deny, deny. Because he could hardly tell Lana how he really reacted, now could he?

4. Speaking of Clark not telling people things, someone asked for FoF's take on Clark keeping secrets from Lana, versus keeping secrets from Pete.

They're not the same thing at all, she feels. Pete had a right to be mad because he had given Clark years, a lifetime so far, of friendship & loyalty. Lana is basically offering Clark a bargain: "tell me your secrets and maybe I'll have sex with you." Once again, FoF concludes that Pete is cute & lovable, while Lana needs to have her butt kicked.

5. Speaking of cute & lovable, <sing-song voice> Lionel has a cru-ush, Lionel has a cru-ush.</sing-song voice> During Lionel & Martha's first convo FoF paused the tape and said, "Martha's going to be his assistant, right? eeeek! *mumblemumbleinternmumble*" By the end, I regret to say, she was rooting for Martha to use the love of a good woman (and pie) to turn Lionel away from the Dark Side. Lionel *needs* a woman who will give him ice packs and tell him what he's going to do. And of course Lexy needs a Mommy.

I cultivate a theory that Martha is entering the Lionel's den because she knows that Lionel ran into SpecialK!Clark, and she fears that Lionel Knows Too Much. Keep your enemies closer, you know. It absolutely breaks my heart that RivkaT's "Incarnadine" will never be canon, that canonical Martha will never say to Lex:

"Family, real family, doesn't leave anyone behind. You're not going to sacrifice yourself for Clark, or for your father, or for anyone else. We are going to get through this, you understand me?"

I want Martha to save *everybody*. And then, they all have pie.

6. Speaking of saving, all that flying-through-the-air leading only to minor injuries to the arm (Pete, Lana, Lionel)? I think that's TPTB's way of poking fun at themselves, admitting that they are being *completely* absurd.

---- Next week, maybe I'll get these out sooner. I have determined to not surf the LJs so damn much, so I have more time to actually, you know, do stuff. Let's see if it lasts.

 

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by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"

     

 


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updated November 6, 2002

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