Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Girl Has Got it Rough: "Agent Carter" season 2


In episode 4 of "Agent Carter" season 2, "Smoke and Mirrors", the scene flashes back to Broxton Oklahoma, 1920. Dusty sunshine, a cute kid, frowning intently as she dissects the radio, making notes, solving problems. She fixes the radio--clearly a budding genius--and upbeat jazz fills the room. It's a classic Marvel scene; the comics are full of young geniuses. We could imagine Howard Stark or his son Tony, Peter Parker, or, more recently, Lunella Lafayette in that same position. When the girl's mother comes in and tells her to clean up the mess she made fixing the radio, the feeling doesn't change.
But this little girl isn't going to grow up to be a hero. Little Agnes is this season's villain, Whitney Frost, A.K.A. Madame Masque. The reasons why she's destined for trouble quickly become apparent. Her mother gets along by being nice to men. She wants little Agnes to be nice also. But Agnes already knows that if you give a man a smile, he'll think you want to be on your back. "I bet you're pretty when you smile. Why won't you smile for your uncle Bud?" her mother's boyfriend asks. Agnes is too smart to be groomed by a randy pedo. She's busy thinking. She wants to think her way out, not live her life on her back.
In a post-"Jessica Jones" world, telling a girl "Smile," is simple shorthand for "I'm an asshole." "I think all you're good for is pretty scenery." "There's nothing going on in your head that isn't about me." Agnes Cully never gets told anything but "smile." If I were her, I'd go batshit crazy too.
The best thing about "Agent Carter" season 2 is Whitney Frost, under-appreciated genius, who uses the only currency her world lets her have--her pretty face--to put herself in a position where she can finally exploit her god-given brain. Surrounded by men who use her and betray her, the touch of real, concrete power that Zero Matter allows her is like finally reaching land after swimming through an endless buffeting sea.
She's not the only under-appreciated genius. Jason Wilkes, an African-American WWII veteran, tells his story of struggling to find employment after the war. Luckily Whitney Frost's company is there to take him in. And after that goes boom, quite literally, our favorite charming womanizer Howard Stark picks up the baton, tidying Wilkes away into a research facility where Stark, as he blatantly admits, will take credit for his work and become even more rich and famous by the theft.
In a universe where the events of Truth: Red, White and Black--the Marvel comics series by Robert Morales which explores the preliminary tests of the super-serum that created Captain America on involuntarily recruited black soldiers (most successfully Isaiah Bradley, the first Captain America), written to resonate with the horrors of the Tuskegee Experiments--has not been actively denied, Wilkes's backstory feels soft and Disnified. Our token moments in Black LA only highlight the odd lack of Latinx or Asian characters in a location that if Philip K. Dick was right, would belong to the Japanese Empire had things gone the other way during the war.
All of this, of course, is "Agent Carter"'s writers' flustered attempt to combat the criticism that pointed out that it was odd that the first season failed to have any main characters of color considering it was set in post war NYC. Somehow, it seems that they must also have been incisively criticized for focusing too much on the relationships between female characters. The quiet and yet resonant building of trust between Carter and her now-roommate, Angie Martinelli, has no parallel in season 2, and Martinelli herself is utterly forgotten in the script, save for an appearance as a figment of Carter's imagination in the musical interlude and one reference as "my roommate" in the final episode.
In spite of this valiant effort, "Agent Carter" season 2 suffers by comparison with season 1. Wilkes, though pleasant enough, is continually attacked by the script: shot at, insulted, exploded, disembodied, kidnapped, manipulated, led on, rejected, and ultimately tidied away. The female characters are given uncomfortably short shrift. Whitney Frost, the most developed of the group, loses agency halfway through the season, her behavior attributed to madness and megalomania rather than the reasoned chess-moves of a woman pushed to the brink. Ana Jarvis, sassy and charming, is simply there to be a concerned wife and then a victim, pushing her husband to man up and express his emotions through violence. Rose is given the occasional sidekick moment, but must share it with another (how many are there now?) gormless male scientist, and Violet, the fiancée, has a moment of personality and then is never heard from again. Everyone's favorite villainess, Dottie Underwood, is a force of chaos. Disconnected from her Russian handlers, she has no clear motives beyond a moderate and possibly unfounded respect for Carter. Carter herself is the real casualty of season 2. Her backstory, given as a parallel with Frost's, relies upon a supportive brother pushing her beyond her dreams for herself, which are 'normal' female dreams, reinforced by all of the women in her life.
It is unfortunate that the writers of Season 2 seem to have missed the BBC miniseries "the Bletchley Circle." The use of the women code-breakers of Bletchley Park as nothing more than wedding obsessed traditionalists seems unfairly reductive when compared with the stories of these same women straining against the strictures of the post-war world after testing their mettle at Bletchley. In season 1 we knew that Peggy Carter was making her way in a man's world, but she was not waiting for a man to hand her the prize. In season 2, even her identity as the Peggy Carter we know is a gift of a man--her boss, her brother--and though in this world women might be friends there is no power nor meaning derived from their mutual support.
I am aware that there is often disproportionate pressure applied to the one primetime female-led Marvel superhero show, encouraging it to be groundbreaking on issues of gender and race. Some might say it is unfair to only criticize "Agent Carter" season 2 along these lines. I can accept that. I can put aside my issues with the inadvertent messages it is sending. And, in truth, I would be able to forgive "Agent Carter" season 2 all of these gaffes and missteps if the main plot weren't so unutterably boring.
The first two-parter is a miracle of poor pacing. The inciting incident, an iced over lake in the baking heat of Los Angeles, brings a pleasing touch of the superheroic. (Let's just put aside the unfortunate knowledge that a dead woman is inside it, in fact, a female scientist who was having an affair with a powerful man. Is it surprising that television death is the fate of women who are too smart and too sexual for their own good? No. Of course not. It would have been nice if that weren't the case in "Agent Carter" though.) But as Carter and the Hawaiian-shirted-Sousa along with Detective Henry, a vaguely entertaining sneezy policeman who could have been culled from any Hollywood detective movie of the depicted era, very slowly follow the leads toward a political cabal in a gentleman's club (sadly one without the exuberant licentiousness of the Hellfire Club), the show drags. In the fissure between seasons, the one-sided admiration Sousa had for Carter became an amorphous 'something' quickly followed by Sousa ghosting his way out of the relationship when he is transferred to LA. This banal occurrence required multiple sideways discussions between otherwise interesting characters about 'what might have been.' Then the momentum of Carter's investigation is derailed again by a brief flirtation with a scientist, Wilkes, and the awkwardness of a one-sided exchange of phone numbers. The pacing is not improved by cutting back to New York, where Agent Thompson ineffectually interrogates Underwood. The actual narrative of Detective Henry's poor decision making skills is so buried under this detritus that when his life ends in shattered ice, it has utterly no impact.
Lack of impact is a theme of "Agent Carter" season 2. Suspenseful stakes? Only the fate of the world. But, unfortunately, it is only the fate of the world. When one of the characters is in immediate danger it is usually due to an unforeseen consequence of their own poorly thought out plan of attack. Twice they attack a vortex of doom with a magical machine. Twice they fall into one of Frost's casually laid traps. Twice, perhaps three times, they scrounge for nuclear material. Repetition and lack of escalation keep this season plodding along. The moments of brightness--Frost's complex motivations, Underwood's sly grin--fade away, leaving only a beige blandness in the last act.
The subtle hypocrisy of Carter and her team's actions do not improve the situation. They are the good guys, so when they gleefully cause brain damage to someone in their way, (of course, he's a sleazebag), or steal hard won research (the researcher is the villain), or hit a woman with a car (she's resilient, it's no big deal), it is automatically forgiven by the narrative. There is no nuance here, no understanding that being a good guy means doing it the hard way, or, at the very least, acknowledging the ugliness of the easy way. In spite of Frost's compelling backstory, after episode 4 there is no suggestion that she might struggle with her choices also. Carter's team plots and schemes and steals, all in order to punish a sad and lonely woman for doing what Carter did not do in this season--take what she deserved instead of waiting for it to be given to her.
Fans of the season 1 relationship between Carter and her now-roommate Martinelli wondered if the lack of Martinelli in season 2 was their punishment for daring to read the friendship as romantic. Was this love triangle nonsense a panicked 'no-homo' move by the writers? Worse, it seems that it was a 'I don't know what to do with a woman main character besides put her into a love triangle' move. When even Twilight fans are tired of the love triangle, that shows a sad lack of imagination. But the truth is, the fans of Carter and Martinelli as a couple saw something real: a well written relationship between two very different characters. It developed slowly. Trust was earned. Romantic or not, there was a relationship there. In season 2, all we were given was forced sexual tension. The most charming human moment was when Sousa botches the proposal to his girlfriend Violet. They laugh together. They'd be a good fit. Instead, of course, Violet discovers Sousa's lingering feelings for Carter, sets him free, and never appears again.
Perhaps the moment that leaves the bitterest taste of all is Jarvis's halting description of the motion picture he is pretending to cast Whitney Frost in. She will play a spy, a female Agent. "Any love interest?" Frost asks. "We haven't found the right actor yet," he temporizes, suggesting, unintentionally perhaps, that this might turn out to be a different sort of movie, one where the lady spy can carry the plot without a romance. In a world where that movie existed, Frost would never have had to become a villainess. And in that world, season 2 of "Agent Carter" wouldn't be bogged down in unconvincing romantic subplots. The writers might have thought hard about the characters, discovered what their motives were, where to hit them where it hurt, and season 2 could have been a romp and a thrill ride.
I do not expect miracles from television, but the abandonment of basic principles of storytelling, the cavalierly treated characterization, the forced and unconvincing romance, and the betrayal of the solidly and carefully built first season left me doing little but sighing, wandering away from the screen, and yelling at each missed opportunity and unsupported character moment.
Peggy Carter may not actually be a telephone operator, but I'm sure she can tell when someone is phoning it in. She knows her value. And she deserves better.

###

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to Write Fictional Languages

And then, Amashra, High Priestess of Bouurain said, "Oh, foolish one, don't you know that the the soul is Sol!"

WAIT. Hold up there. Is this lady saying that we know the soul and the sun are related because the words sound the same? Does that mean she’s speaking English? Why would they speak English in Bouurain? Maybe they just mean that the Bouurainian words for soul and Sol sound the same? That would be fine, okay, keeping going.

Only I’ve already been tossed out of the story. 

So, one thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how to deal with language in fiction. Because worldbuilding is a language problem and language is a worldbuilding problem.

Worldbuilding is a Language problem. And Language is a Worldbuilding problem.


A blog post at The Hunting of the Snark  really helped my thinking on this. This post introduces four terms that really help me think about how to deal with languages in fiction, in particular, made up languages.

conlang: “a functional language with all the requisite parts,”  enough information about sounds, grammar, and vocabulary for eager fans to learn it and communicate more or less intelligibly.

Think: Dothaki, Klingon, Na’vi, Sindarin and Quenya (elvish)
burrogue: Words and phrases that suggest the existence of a complete language. Personal and place names and invented concepts often get ‘burrows’ (an individual invented term), which give a sense of the world as a whole, and reminds the reader that this is Not Home.

Think: Edgar Rice Burrough’s language of Barsoom (the origin of the term ‘Burrogue’), which heavily influenced the Star Wars Burrogue with word parrallels like ‘sith/sith,’ ‘jedi/jeddak),’ and ‘padawan/padawar.’

barbar: An impressionistic representation of the sounds of a foreign language. These utterances don’t break down into meaningful words or grammatical structures.

Think: Thermian from Galaxy Quest, or the Droids’ beeps and boops in Star Wars.

masque: When a work of fiction is written entirely in English (or whichever real language is used as the means of communication between the writer and the reader), but it is signaled that English is only a stand-in for the actual language the characters are speaking, translated for the convenience of the readers.

Think: any ‘Common’ type language: Gallactic Basic Standard, Westron; or the more nuanced Suomic, etc.

One point that the Snark makes is that these terms are for fictional languages. But, of course, the portrayal of fictional languages is derived from the portrayal of real languages. I find books which occasionally drop into different tongues to be very surprising, but also very cool. They also often represent the way real people live their lives. Not all of us live in monoglot cultures, and some times we use multiple languages in a single conversation. Conlangs can be used to evoke those feelings too.

Some of my favorites are Diary of a Provincial Lady, by E.M. Delafield, where the narrator drops into French whenever she has something ‘too shocking’ to say in English, Random Deaths and Custard, where the main character lives in the Welsh Cwms, and has a reputation for being pretty good at speaking Welsh, but actually isn’t. People do actually speak Welsh in Wales! And it’s great to see that bilingual world represented. And, on TV, I’m loving Jane the Virgin, where the realities of code-switching in a multilingual, multigenerational family are shown.

Other books (Travel narratives, I’m looking at you), use terms from the foreign culture that our narrator is investigating, because the point is to maintain that sense of foreign. Using ‘congee’ rather than ‘Tamil rice porridge’  is a choice. An interesting one, to be sure. The decision to use a burrow in a similar context might have a similar alienating effect.

Finding a real-world parallel with barbar might be dangerous, but a brief youtube search for "Catherine Tate Interpreter" can both exemplify the concept of barbar as it relates to real languages, and remind you how offensive it is! Luckily, when used with fictional languages, it is often shorthand, or used for non-human entities whose mode of communication might differ enough to not be parseable by the human language faculty at all.

One thing I’ve considered is using barbars to express the confusion of a non-speaker in a foreign context. But I decided that it would be more interesting to try and express the incomprehensibility by writing down what a non-speaker would hear. Speakers of a language hear things like word boundaries and allomorphs which are completely inaudible to non-speakers. So writing down the actual pronunciation with no spaces between words would respect the language without making it easy to understand.

dhaetsizitundrstaen

(That’s easy to understand.)

Masques are obviously the fictional version of translation. Reading Russian lit or Japanese slice-of-life comics in English, you still know that the communication is not happening in English unless it’s explicitly stated that it is happening in English. But for fantasy there aren’t any external cues that the base language is not English, so the author needs to signal that within the text.


It’s really exciting to have words to be able to think about the use of language in fiction, especially fantasy and scifi. The implications and effects of ‘oh, I’ll just make up a word for that’ are easier to think about, when you know what you’ve done is create a burrow, which implies a burrogue. ‘Do all the words I made up sound like they come from the same language? Should they?’ If you’re using a masque, that doesn’t mean anything goes. Translations often commit the sin (imho) of replacing jokes that only work in the origin language with a joke that works in the target language. But if the joke doesn’t work in the target language that means that it’s probably a joke about the language itself (try translating puns, just try it). So if you have a pun-style joke in your masque, that can break the veil, making the reader think about the fact that you’re only pretending that another language exists. I’d love to see more of the French New Wave style of subtitle translation used in a masque, [[Untranslatable French Pun]].



Saturday, January 9, 2016

Talking about Language

Here is a repost of my guest blog at Heroines of Fantasy. Here are some places where my Linguist training and my novel writing begin to combine.

Talking about Language


Let’s talk about space. You know, the final frontier, with alien populations and cultures cropping up on every planet. A band of intrepid explorers arrives on this planet, on a Starfleet vessel, through a Stargate, by some means of something beginning with Star, and lo, the aliens all welcome them, or the aliens all try to kill them...and very handily they do this all in English.


Have we noticed the problem?

Language and culture are two things that can make a place come alive. They are highly related ideas. In this blog I want to talk about some of the really interesting ways you can look at language in fantasy and use it to bring the world to life.

Is this scary? It shouldn’t be. This is NOT about Conlanging.
(Conlanging – the act of building a CONstructed LANGuage, i.e. a conlang.)

Now, conlangs have a rich history in the world of fantasy, thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien and his obsession with Finnish and Welsh, but I know, from personal experience, that for some people constructing a language is possibly the most painfully boring and frustrating thing anyone can do. ConNaming, however, every writer has to do at some point, so it’s worth thinking about. But not now.
Instead, let’s imagine some worlds. 
A vast empire, spanning mountains and seas. But a traveler from the capital has no difficulty communicating with the peoples of the hinterlands, perhaps they have a slight rustic accent, but nothing that impedes his path.

Languages change over time, and physical separation can create mutual unintelligibility. It’s very likely that an empire would span over cultures with differing native languages. But is this world then deeply flawed? No! This is an opportunity. A powerful and well-organized Empire would likely have a policy of everyone learning the language of the conquerors. Rebels might still speak their local tongues, and suffer punishment if they were caught. An emperor who brought prosperity might also bring a sense of pride and prestige in speaking his language. Young people who intend to go to the cities to look for work would learn the metropolitan language, while their elders grumble in the corners in the old tongue. Rather than having an unbelievable world, we now have more depth and complexity, and a way of showing whether the empire is cruel or benevolent, just by the locals’ attitudes towards language.
A world of many diverse cultures, a traveler visiting each one, and though being thrown by local customs, having little trouble buying his dinner.
First question to ask: is the traveler likely to know many languages? This is where being an American skews one’s ideas a bit. In most places, it’s totally reasonable to grow up speaking and understanding multiple languages. Although this can happen through formal education, usually it happens because the languages are all around. Did the traveler grow up in court society with ambassador’s children? Did he have a nurse from one place and a cook from another? Did his family speak a different language from the town? Does the village a mile into the wood speak the language of their homeland? Did he grow up on the docks or in a trading outpost where people from all over came together to interact?

If not, perhaps his interpreter did. Or, even, if not, perhaps there’s a lingua franca, a language used for trade and communication of ideas on a supra-national level. Knowing the trade language means there are always a few people he’ll be able to speak to. He’ll have a way of functioning, even if no one is using their native language.
A foreign land with complex systems of kowtowing before royalty, appreciating your elders, and never asking directly for anything, in which your rustic hero enters, and with his cheerful good-naturedness wins over the local populace who are secretly sick of all this stiffness.
Problems! The ways people use language is an intrinsic part of a community. Methods of politeness can vary from context to context inside a society. But if someone violates those norms, it’s very unlikely that people are going to just smile and like him the better for it. If someone came up to you and violated your politeness norms, you’d probably think he was pretty rude, right? This is the same.

Now there are a couple of ways to think about being polite. Two common ones are negative face vs. positive face. When you think about negative face, think about a courtier, someone who needs to get people to do things for him without making them feel like he’s imposing. He does not expect people to like him, in fact, he doesn’t even always expect them to be able to figure out who he is. Although he could try to jolly everyone along, make them think that they want what he wants, that isn’t usually the way of things in court society. Usually, he tries to make the imposition as small as possible. He says, “Well, if you wouldn’t mind,” or “If it isn’t any trouble,” to people more powerful than he is. He never talks about how important it is to him, just because it would reveal that they have power over him.

Positive face is the opposite, where you try your best to be charming and friendly, and tell people just how much you need their help, and make them feel good and connected with you, so that your wants become their wants. Now, it’s obvious to do something like having the court be all negative face, long sentences, hiding your personal interests, and having the pub be positive face, all about making friends and getting them to take your side. But what if you switched them? What if there was a court that ran entirely on positive face mechanisms, with a surrounding town where negative face was the way to go? How could that happen? What would it be like?
Your rustic hero becomes king. Perhaps he slays a dragon, or has the royal birthmark on his behind. And then he’s king, right? He can suddenly talk the talk of the king and walk the walk of the king, no problem.

Oh there’s definitely a problem. What happens after your farm boy becomes monarch? How does he learn to speak like a king? Does he have tutors training him in court language and city accents? Is he powerful enough so people try and speak like him, and suddenly the rural hickish accent is stylish and popular and everyone is trying to adopt it? Does he try and fail to change his accent? Do people mock him behind his back for how he says his Vs? Do his supporters pick up his accent and his rivals reject it? What about a suspicious sycophant? How would he try to ingratiate himself with the king by adopting his accent? Would the king find that humiliating? There are a thousand possibilities, each one more interesting than the last.

Essentially, here’s the truth of it: questioning your expectations about language and playing with them can put life into your characters. Women/Men/Workers/Hicks, we all think we know how they speak. But those expectations are derived from our own culture. If we are building a new world, we need to break out of our own expectations, surprise ourselves and our readers. Or just really think it through!

Language: a danger and an opportunity. What’s that, now? You want to try ConLanging?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Road Trip Wednesday # 171



Quarterly Check In!

I had plans... once.  And perhaps they were silly plans.  Especially for Winter Break which involves not only travel, but Christmas, and birthdays and Memorial services and sundry other events that are full of crazy.  But I had hope!

I have two novels that are currently: UNDER CONSTRUCTION: HARD HATS ONLY.

And I was planning, I suppose, to finish both.  One just needed to be finished, and the other needed to be refinished, since I had to cut the last 7 chapters and reformulate them.

I managed to get neither goals accomplished... during break.

But just last weekend I scribbled down the final scene for novel #2, and wrote a short epilogue.  DONE!  (Then, of course, I looked back at the beginning and was like - oh god.  This needs a lot of work.  As well as needing to be cut by 1/3.)

Novel #1 is still not quite complete, but I'm hoping that Friday/Saturday this week will give me a few solid hours to bang out some words.  I have been progressing, and I really think there's only a few more scenes before I hit the end, less than 10k even.

And then CPs!  Be ready!


(And at some point I need to find the time to sort out my thesis, but one thing at a time, eh?)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Road Trip Wednesday #168: What Do You Love About Writing?

What do I love about writing?

The power.

It's really as simple as that.  When I'm writing I have complete control - over the world, the events, the characters' destinies, and I can create a world that is thrilling and wild and absurd and beautiful if I want.  And I can live there.  Maybe it's only for an hour at a time, but I can live and feel and experience so many things, just by using my brain.

And it's not just the power over myself and my characters, but the power over my readers.  This isn't a vicious, vindictive sort of power, it's just love.  I want to take them and shake them up and make them laugh and make them feel, and then, in the end, make them feel satisfied, whether it's a happy satisfied or a sad one.

So, yeah, if I didn't have writing I'd probably be a megalomaniac of some kind.  :D

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Troubles...

Here's the thing.  I've forgotten how my book should end.

Usually, when I'm getting so close that I can SEE it, caltrops couldn't stop me from finishing this thing. But this has been a LONG SLOG.  And I let myself get distracted with a side project.  And then there's the project that I should actually be working on.  (And school - but forget school).  So, essentially... I've got problems.  But this book, now THIS BOOK.  It should be beautiful, and it's a mess.
I went and found my love list for this book - or my list of themes or something:

Gothic
Romantic
Erotic
Bloody
Cruel

Think Howl, by Florence + the Machine.  Think dark fairies and werewolves and evil science.  Think Cinderella + Little Red Riding Hood all smashed together, where the prince is actually the wolf.
Only that's the problem, you see.  Because my wolf-prince is being PATHETIC.
Cinderella's doing well.  Her life's falling apart.  She's nearly dying for like the sixteenth time.  She is completely miserable.

Wolf-prince, however, she's not so desperate.  Technically, her brother/father/lover figure has just told her that he was planning on using her body and sticking someone else's mind in there.  She's lost her home, has decided to challenge someone way more powerful than her for lordship of the fief.  Her brother is burning everything of hers that he can find.  So she's upset and scared and off balance and angry - and then goes and drinks tea with a nice lady.

WRONG!  WRONG I SAY!

This isn't good enough.  I keep on making sure she has baths and enough to eat when she should be RUNNING FOR HER LIFE.  She should go get Cinderella because there's no one else - even though it's drawing her brother to them.  

THIS IS THE LAST PART OF THE BOOK.

If wolf-prince isn't miserable now, when is she going to be?  If she's chirpy and happy, meeting her mom, making out with people, being kind of annoyed - it isn't good enough!  And the thing is, Cinderella NEVER CATCHES A BREAK.  She's always losing people, upsetting her dad, breaking her ex-boyfriend's heart. Wolf-prince doesn't have a lot to lose, except her life, and yet her life is never in danger.  Where is evil brother?  Why hasn't he tried to attack her directly?

She needs to get hurt.  She needs to escape by the skin of her teeth.  She needs to KNOW DESPAIR.

So that when she says, "No," to Cinderella, "I'm not using you.  You need to go and stay gone.  Stay out of here.  I might die, but I won't drag you down with me." and lets her go, saying 'don't bring me that one thing that might actually let me defeat my brother' it rings true.  And then when she turns around and says, to her evil brother, "No, I'm ready now.  Take me and put your dead girlfriend in my mind, take me and don't go after her.  You win." it sounds right - and sad.  But like something she would do.  "I've nearly lost you enough times, you need your own life, that doesn't involve people who are after me trying to kill you."

Wolf-prince - you need to be there.  And I know your girl is a woobie, but you don't have enough woobie cred.  You get angry.  But you've been a victim your whole life, and now the people you had just started to trust are turning on you - not just turning on you, hunting you.  What are you going to do about that?

Cry?

Go for it.

Then get scared, bleed, and run.