Just a little nervous....

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karen
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Just a little nervous....

Post by karen » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:48 pm

I'd love to start a new topic....but being new here....I don't want to offend anyone.....but....here goes:

The real reason Vincent and Catherine won't...don't have sex....untill.....of course...... there is no other option for ending the story....!

It seems to me that noone wants to discuss this in an open and objective manner.....the little "b" word....beastiality.

Vincent after all is part lion....not just part animal...we could over look that because we are after all the "human animal"...no I mean he is really half lion. And...thankfully....beastiality is stlll frowned upon in most circles. So I can see the writers and producers dancing around the subject even in the writers room! I know how desperatly I wanted Vincent and Catherine to be together....and reading the fanfiction out there...a lot of other people wanted that also! I would have like to see that part of "them" more clearly...more defined....but...how do you get around that?....you play pretty music and make a montage of roses and vapor! They didn't even want them kissing.....because we all know what happens after "kissing"! :wink: :wink:

Even Father and Jessica are in seperate beds....only Joe gets to be "in bed" with Erika! So...the restrictions....the morals....oh wait....even Laura gets to sleep with the young cop! But how would the writers put a lion with a human?...and how would the censors allow it?....and not outrage the public? And then...also....you take that sexuall tension out of the equation and all the fire goes out of the story! So....

I'm just rambling on thoughts I've had for the last..oh...say...20 years! And then reading everybody here...it seems that it is all a given and noone wants to discuss it....so I'm laying out the topic....what do all of you think of Vincent..."the animal"....with Catherine..."the human"...

Do we speak of it as "beastiality"?.....and all that beautiful story telling in the fan-fic.....oh my!....

Just some thoughts...no intention to ofend anybody!

Stay shiny!

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Zara
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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by Zara » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:34 am

Fear not. I don't believe anyone here is offended. We just haven't gotten around to discussing the topic. So thank you for breaking the ice! Now we have the opportunity! *grateful hugs!*

Inter-species romance. Ah, what a conundrum. What a powerful taboo.

I think one of the most clarifying conversations in the series appears in the episode "Orphans," when Vincent and Catherine talk about the nature of their relationship in the Chamber of the Falls.

CATHERINE: Do you think that someday…. Will we ever be together? Truly together?

VINCENT: Only if and when we understand how great the sacrifice, and how large the fears, and are able to move through them.

CATHERINE: I’m not scared.

VINCENT: Catherine, we are something that has never been, and our journey is one that none have ever taken. We are just now setting out. We must go with courage, and we must go with care.


If I understand the history of the show correctly, the bestiality issue was a big problem at the level of the television executives and producers (a.k.a. the patrons and publishers of the humble storytellers, the storytellers who were simply trying to tell a story about a Beauty and a Beast who loved each other). I don't know how true-to-life the executive fears really were, regarding possible cultural condemnation or censure for broadcasting a "bestiality show" on network television. Anyone else want to hazard a guess or an explanation?

I do know that by choosing to retell "Beauty and the Beast" in the first place, and by creating a Beast who could never physically transform into a non-Beast human, the storytellers themselves showed they were perfectly willing to broach the subject and play with it. I also know the characters themselves had to struggle with the very real, very physical, very biological differences (not merely racial or spiritual or mental/emotional or economic differences) between the two of them. "Being together" required them to understand the mutual sacrifice involved, and the magnitude of their fears, and it required them to enable one another to proceed with courage and care toward whatever form of unity they might agree upon.

They both struggled with the requirements of their relationship.

karen
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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by karen » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:07 pm

Zara....you write so well.....I find myself looking forward to what you think and have to say.....your insights are full and complete and so well written! I think I'll start posing questions and statements just to hear your thoughts on things....! Do you teach or write as a profession? I am inspired and humbled!

I don't know if I have anything more pertinent or relevant to add to your answer...except that I agree with the first statements of consent...poor Vincent!...he had no memory of the most important event to have ever happen to him!

Thank you, Zara......I will read and re-read your responses.....ponder and muse....and search my mind to try and add something as deep!

Karen

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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by cindyrae77 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:42 pm

Hi, Karen!

You couldn't possibly be in more erudite hands than Zara's. She's a marvel, not just intellectually but creatively. Her fan fiction is heart stoppingly good and her reasoning is often detailed, well thought out, and extremely valid. It also has the marvelous quality of being clearly stated. Sometimes, we all agree that the answer is 'we just don't know,' but we're consistently in there swinging! So glad you found your way to us!

As Zara said, the issue of Bestiality was (apparently) a big deal for the networks to grapple with. (And of course, with the show, we're always stuck in something of a time warp. Interracial relationships were still uncommon outside certain areas/cities (New York being one of them from what I gather) so inter-species was WAY off the map.

I think one of the interesting things about the show is that when Vincent describes being attracted to Lisa Campbell in Arabesque, he describes a huge maelstrom of emotions ("She danced for herself, for me...I felt a pull... I couldn't stop...and I hurt her..." etcetera) and he does not openly say "I am a Beast, therefore this happened." We definitely get the idea he's thinking it, (or at least we know he's thinking something; he's heart sick,) but while we know we (and he) registers that he's different, the words 'bestial to her human' don't get said. (When Jacob stops him, he simply says "No, Vincent. Just... no." - not "No, you're part animal, how could you think of such a thing?"

And yet we DO understand that this is at least part of Jacob's (and probably Vincent's) logic. Two of the most heart breaking lines in the show get uttered by Jacob to/about Vincent, (I think.) The first one when Vincent asks Jacob "Father... am I a man?" And Jacob (very gently) replies "Part of you is." -To this day, I'm not sure if it's sadder that Jacob had to give that response, or that Vincent had to ask the question at his age, but either way...

And the second (similar) time, in "Song of Orpheus," Catherine springs Jacob from jail and tries to reassure him that she wouldn't hurt Vincent because she loves him. Jacob replies that Catherine can only bring him unhappiness, and when Catherine asks why he thinks so, Jacob's response is the achingly sad "Because part of him... is a man."

Always clearly implying -and openly stating- the obvious. That part of him isn't.

I'll give any union between them a definition more along the lines of an 'interspecies romance' however, rather than a STRICTLY 'bestiality' label, however, simply because 'bestiality' is sex between a person and an animal (a dog, horse, lion, etc) and whatever Vincent is, we know that along with his lion like qualities, he has the soul of a poet, in there, so there's a human side to him that won't let traditional labels stick.

Shoot, at the point in S2 where his Dark Part comes out to play, it's tough to decide just who (and how many) different entities are in bed there, with Catherine. (GrinD) - Might not be the 'Bestial' thing so much as the Alternate Personality thing that has the world up in arms. - Smile.

At any rate, please know that I'm so glad to read you, Karen, and Welcome to this little corner of the Batbland universe!

Huge, welcoming hugs, and that was a great question, by the way!

Cindy

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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by Zara » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:45 pm

Ladies,

Goodness gracious. I blush to read your comments. Thank you so much for your kind words!

Karen, I almost flunked out of high school and it took me eight years to complete an undergraduate college degree. If my words and thoughts are coming across as insightful and well-written...then I am thrilled. I have always been reading and writing for my own pleasure, but I only began trying to teach myself to write professionally in 2008 or so. I would like to get my own material published eventually. In the meantime, the B&B universe has become my workshop and playground, and I'm learning the writing and thinking skills as I go. I do teach, but I have chosen not to make a traditional profession of teaching. I find paraprofessional jobs and volunteer opportunities, and I work with all ages, although I most enjoy teaching (and learning from) 10- to 15-year-olds, and I adore the "difficult" kids, the ones who are disenfranchised or disabled or just plain dissed by life. So, profession: no. But passion: yes.

And just so you know, your insights are excellent in their own right. Vincent *is* part lion. There are indeed two beds in the apartment bedroom Father and Jessica share. Single beds at that! And sexual tension was absolutely the crux of the tale.

So here's a question for everyone. Did the bestiality issue affect Catherine's approach to her relationship with Vincent? If so, how much of an effect did it have? If not, why not?

Cindy, many thanks for delineating between inter-species romance and bestiality. Great insight there. Yes, whatever Vincent is, he is a person. He shakes up our definitions of personhood, drawing us out of our own narrow categorizations about who is and is not a moral agent of equal status with ourselves. That is one of the many powerful and beneficial messages of Koslow's fairy tale. Humanity is not limited to our finite expectations of humanity.

Blessings,

Zara

cindyrae77
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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by cindyrae77 » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:58 am

Dear Zara,

I completely agree with your assessment of Vincent's 'personhood.' And I do love that the show explored that particular theme not just with Vincent, (so we wouldn't be beating that drum with just one person,) but with other characters as well. Laura, the deaf girl trying to make her way, Rollie the addict with the talent of a genius, Charles the Elephant man, Devin the person who is many people, but none of them 'real.' (Or at least most of them aren't.) Kids get some spotlight too, in the 'personhood' category. The little heroes in "A Children's Story" who come to save the day, and Tony Ramos, who fights to remain a 'person' among his 'people.' Jamie shows up with a crossbow and sticks a shaft in Erlik (thus saving Vincent) just to remind us that adolescents are people (and heroic ones, at that) too. Mouse is. In "Labyrinths" one of the characters (who never comes back) tells Brian "My sin was getting old." Yet he's a person, too, down in those tunnels. We're just sure of it.

And then, of course, there's Vincent. (And my oh my, what to do with THAT problem, and 'personhood?')

Father things part of him is a man. But you ask a great question. What does Catherine think? (And maybe also an interesting question, what does Vincent think? Is he mostly taking his cues from others? We often do that.)

Is part of Vincent, (Pinnochio-like) just waiting for someone to tell him he's a real boy? Will Cathy's love (slooooowwwlly) do this for him?

Yet, that sounds 'off' to us, because we know the Beast in him is real, and must be contended with. (Or in Vincent's description, 'held.' "I'm losing my hold." is a quote of his, to Jacob, when he feels himself slipping.)

We all define ourselves to ourselves. (It's just a thing we do. We can be wrong or we can be right, or - likely - somewhere way in between, but to a certain extent, we can't not do it.) I may think I'm a creative rebel with a shy streak, while others see me as a staid conformist with a big mouth, but their perception may not dent MY perception of me very much, if you get me.

Having said that, what does Vincent think of himself?

Can he convince Catherine their love is worth the effort it's going to take? Can he convince himself of it? Does he even believe it, truly? Him asking Father "Am I a man" is sort of telling here, I think, because it lets us know that if he doesn't have doubts, at the very least, he has questions.

If I make that a logic problem, (something I'm apt to do), it shakes out like this:

A)Either they are questions he really can't answer, (about his personhood, his humanity, and his manhood, or B) He does know. He just hates the answers he's getting. So he keeps asking, trying to find out more.

In "Outsiders" Jacob is rabidly against Vincent being sent in as the killing soldier. (So, yeah, he'd doomed to go. Sorry, Vincent. We needed the climactic big fight scene.) I'm not sure if Vincent 'knows' he's doomed to that role. But he surely knows he has more to lose, here, than everybody else.

Jacob seems like he's trying to protect Vincent from his less humane (less human?) side. When he can't, all is darkness, for his special son, where even Catherine saying "I love you," can't budge him out of the chair, at the end. It's almost as if they're having a silent, implied argument. From Cathy's side "I promise you are a person, one whom I love." From Vincent: "I promise you I am not."

It's wonderful stuff.

Hugs as ever,

Cindy

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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by Zara » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:20 am

Father thinks that part of Vincent is a man...and that part of Vincent is not. To be specific. :)

Is Vincent mostly taking his cues from others? No. Vincent consistently sifts the cues that others try to give him, and defies many cues from many people, Father included, Catherine included, outsiders definitely included. Vincent listens carefully to what others believe about him, but he is highly aware and accepting of himself, even protective of himself, and confident about the reality of his own nature. He makes his own decisions about his own identity. Notice that whenever Vincent loses confidence in his own perceptions of himself, he is also simultaneously losing confidence in his perceptions of reality in general. Vincent most doubts himself when his sanity is in danger.

Is part of Vincent just waiting for someone to tell him he's a real boy? No. All of Vincent is waiting for someone to see him for who (and what) he is and to love him for being exactly who (and what) he is. He is waiting for a woman he can feel completely safe with, who feels completely safe with him. I think of Vincent's "Terrible Savior" Letter to Catherine, to name only one of many examples in the canonical material, in which Vincent laments that Catherine did not know or trust him, although he believed for a while that she did. He so wanted to believe. He kept wanting to believe. But there came a point (I suspect that point comes at the end of "The Outsiders") when the possibility that she was capable of knowing or trusting him, as he exists in the world, stopped being believable.

Will Catherine's love slowly tell Vincent he's a real boy? Well, that's what Catherine and her way of relating to Vincent do indeed try to say to him throughout the series. But since that's not what Vincent is asking for, her message completely fails to meet Vincent's needs, and thus does not meet the requirements for mutual respect and love in their relationship.

Can Vincent convince Catherine their love is worth the effort it's going to take? I cannot answer this question because the question does not apply to Vincent's priorities. He never tries to convince Catherine their love is worth the effort; he only tries to help her understand what the actual cost will be, and then leaves her to decide for herself whether or not she is willing to pay the price. He has already "convinced" himself, that is, decided for himself that he will pay the price, make whatever sacrifice he must make, for their love. Yes, he believes the effort is worth the price, truly. Or he would never have come to Catherine's balcony in the first place, he would never have stayed when she asked him to, and he would never have kept coming back.

Vincent and Catherine have always been having a silent, implied argument. Sometimes, it's not even silent. Sometimes, it's quite explicit. But the argument is never about whether Vincent is a person. Vincent knows he is a person. Not a human person, but still a person. Vincent also knows that Catherine knows he is a person. Rather, the argument ever since "Terrible Savior" has been, "Within my personhood, I have a nonhuman aspect of myself that is extremely dangerous and terrifying, and I understand some of the reasons why you feel afraid, and I understand some of the reasons why I feel afraid, but I would like to understand more, so can we talk about it?" versus, "No, you don't have such an aspect of yourself, and no, I'm not afraid, and you don't need to be afraid either, and I already know everything I need to know about you, so we don't need to talk about it, ever."

Catherine consistently closes the subject. Vincent does not like her choice, but he abides by it, until the next time the issue arises in their relationship, and then he tries again to open the subject for discussion. But if she won't acknowledge Vincent's self-definitions, there's really nothing to talk about. If she won't talk about it, they can't talk about it.

I think your logic might be setting up a false dichotomy. Throughout the series, Vincent acts according to a set of practical "working answers" that allows him to navigate many questions about his identity. At times, he will also ask more theoretical questions about himself that result in more tentative conclusions, or that simply raise more questions that no one has been able to answer yet. There are some questions that don't really have objective answers, and there are some questions that yield answers that are helpful to Vincent's concept of himself. Some answers he likes, some answers he does not like, but he accepts as plausible whichever answers best fit the available facts. For a romantic character, Vincent is also an admirably rational one.

But to return to the original bestiality question.

Vincent to Catherine in "Once Upon a Time in the City of New York": "I know what I am."

Vincent to Catherine in "The Outsiders": "You don't know me."

Perhaps Catherine deals with the bestiality problem by denying, ignoring, or rejecting the bare fact that Vincent is not the same species as she is. She pretends that what she wants to believe about him is what is real. Catherine in essence says, "You're not a Beast. You're a human. You're the most human being that I've ever met. And I love you." And Vincent replies, "I am a Beast. I'm not entirely human, although I want to live as humanely as I can. And you can't possibly love me, Vincent-as-I-am, if you are loving only a non-Bestial figment of your imagination."

I'm also thinking also of what Vincent says to Charles in "Brothers" about being a mirror, "Where frightened me see the shape of their own fears, and small men see only ugliness..."

And frightened and/or small women? What do they see?

Finally, what does Vincent think of himself?

I'm never comfortable with plugging my fictions into conversations, but...in some cases, I don't know how else to proceed. So...

All of the stories I write address in some way the question of what Vincent thinks about himself. I've learned that it's impossible for me to try to answer that question outside of the in-world context of the fantasy. I relate deeply to Vincent's character. When I enter the fantasy, I *am* Vincent, first and foremost. And, just like Vincent, I cannot explain Vincentself very well because there comes a point when concrete communication simply fails.

So I offer snippets from one of my stories, Nor Iron Bars a Cage:

In 'Nor Iron Bars a Cage' Zara wrote:
Their prisoner was not wholly Animal, and he was not wholly Man....

In truth, he was a beast-bodied self who had from birth endured the special mystery surrounding the number of hours, days, months, years, wherein he could expect to draw breath in health and comfort....

I am my body and I am more than my body, thought Vincent, working to reassemble his own definitions of himself. I am both my Darkness and my Light. For you, I am nothing but a murky mirror of yourselves. In me you see the best and the worst of your own natures unmasked. I feed your vanity. I challenge your faith that nightmares cannot touch you in the waking world. So few—

(if anyone at all)

—so very few people—can look into my face and see ME there. This is the burden I must carry, this my solitary fate. To be a person in my world, and not to be a person in yours—and to know that I am so. To know that my beginning is unknowable—

(unthinkable)

—and my ending a finality with no reprise beyond it.


...I am not what they believe I am, he insisted....

He wanted to know himself as his family knew him. To the Tunnelfolk and their Helpers he was protector and councilman, friend and scholar, stonemason and chess master, artist and architectural engineer, brother and teacher. And with Father, he was son.

...

“Vincent—” he began, and he stopped. How should he ask this? There was no polite way, really. So Hughes simply said it. “What are you?”

Vincent took a little while to think about the question. Then he answered, “I am only what I am.”

Hughes said nothing. Vincent continued very softly, speaking one phrase at a time.

“If you cut me, I will bleed. If you strike me, I will strike back.”

Hughes, stunned anew, recognized the essence of Shylock’s most famous soliloquy. Intelligent? Beyond all expectation! Exulting, Hughes thought, Not quoting Shakespeare, Mr. Gould, but certainly paraphrasing him!

“And. If you keep me in chains,” Vincent was saying now with slow emphasis, “I will die.”


I think failing or refusing to respect Vincent's understanding of himself is a way of keeping him in chains. A way of telling a disabled and disenfranchised person that what he knows about himself doesn't "count." That people who have never been considered a "freak" know better than he does who and what he is, what he thinks, how he feels, what his life means. Chaining him to someone else's expectations is, in fact, the very act that disables and disempowers him. And thus misunderstood, trapped and isolated, starved for the love only a true soulmate can give to him or receive from him, he dies of his aloneness.

The fairy tale's inter-species romance was supposed to offer a path of mutual liberation, love, and life for Beast and Beauty both.

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Cosi
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Re: Just a little nervous....

Post by Cosi » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:45 am

We don't know that he's half or even ten percent lion. His differences just point in that general direction.
And what is beastiality? Some very human, now largely (though not universally) accepted sexual practices have been termed as such in certain ages, places, and groups.
What if he were half-Vulcan, or a werewolf? (I'm thinking of Remus Lupin here, lol). Oh, right, this is still fantasy. Then let me be blunt, what if he had some serious real-life condition or disability? Sometimes the potential mate is brave enough to go ahead with their eyes and hearts open, for others the foreseen difficulties seem insurmountable, a greater sacrifice than the happiness the union might bring. I think this is a tale in which we want both parts to find their utmost courage and faith within themselves (beyond the courage both already display from the start).
I'm not saying the answer in Vincent's and Catherine's case is so darn easy and obvious that it shouldn't take so long for them to "truly be together", I'm whispering to them that the possibilities are worth exploring :) At least safely, rationally and... inquiringly... for a start.
--
Claire ~ Cosi ~ NYC Utopia ~ L'Icare ~ la Grive

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