The following is a story using my characters of Shani Wennemein, Pania Alow, Wren Wennemein, Abisayo Temi Lilu and Unia Wennemein, who appear in the book The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider. That book, set in the 1860s of the American Civil War, showcases two elves who can tap into magic, and how they face the gunslinger culture of the American Mid West. They’ve also appeared in the video games Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, but had to be made as human. This story examines what if elves did cross the planar gates and find Tyria.
Okay, it’s not often I will point people in the direction of a Cracked article, but this one is on point.
Just avoid the comments section with all the people griping and complaining as is often found in many Cracked articles.
I wrote a thing, an urban fantasy kind of thing. I may keep writing this thing. Please read and tell me what you think of this thing. It’s probably best to listen to the Tragically Hip’s Phantom Power and/or Trouble At The Hen House while reading this.
1233 words in length.
In 1861, several of the states that made up the Union which was called the United States of America seceded and formed their own Confederacy. This Confederacy was made possible for one reason and one reason only. This is made very clear in what has become called the Cornerstone Speech. Written by Alexander H. Stephens and presented on March 21, 1861 in Savanah, Georgia, the most telling aspect is laid to bare as to what the Confederate States uphold the greatest.
The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.
One simple line gives it all in perspective; upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man. The Confederacy was formed boldly stating that blacks were inferior to whites. A racist view that many in the Confederacy felt was true. The speech in it’s entirety can be viewed here.
Fast forward 70 years. The world is going through the Great Depression, and somewhere in Europe a man is declaring that Germany and her allies lost the Great War thanks to the number of Jews in the German Military. Adolph Hitler saw the Jews not based on their religion, but based on their race and the stereotypes regarding that. From there, it was only a few steps and Hitler saw anyone who did not resemble the Aryan aspect as inferior. A collection of Hitler’s views on Jews as written in Mein Kampf can be found here.
Separated by 80 years, the Confederate States of America and Nazi Germany held similar ideals. That whites or Aryans were superior to all other races. One cannot ignore the fact that many of those who would have supported the Confederacy would have also supported the Anti-Chinese Leagues that cropped up as settlements pushed further west in the United States.
Meanwhile, in Germany today as with many nations in Europe, the Nazi Flag is illegal, only put on display in museums as a reminder of the horrors of such things. Let’s not forget, that because of this any white supremest groups in Europe do not fly the Nazi Flag or any flag that has the double lightning bolts of the SS. Instead, they turn to the only other flag in the world which is based on racism which is not outlawed anywhere. That being the Confederate Flag.
The Confederate Flag was raised in South Carolina in 1961 as a “celebration” of the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, to honour the soldiers who fought and lost their lives. Let me ask this; do we celebrate Hitler’s birthday, or the anniversary of the formation of the Nazi Party? Not with the fervor that is shown in the southern United States. And in 1961, another event was just beginning to take place that the Confederate Flag spit on. That being the Civil Rights Movement, when black Americans demanded equality. Something they are still sorely lacking even to this day. The flag was risen not so much as a way “celebrate heritage” as much as it was a warning to black Americans to “keep in your place”.
The Confederate Flag is a racist symbol, and it’s time to be taken down and recognized as a flag no better than the one that flew over Nazi Germany.
It’s been a thing to make animals into human type characters, or as it’s called, anthropomorphized. An early representation of this is in Kenneth Graham’s Wind In The Willows, with the characters of Ratty, Mole, Badger, and Mr. Toad. While Wind In The Willows had animals living in holes but also wearing suits and rowing row boats and talking about cars (as Mr. Toad did), Richard Adams’ Watership Down gave a colony of rabbits more socialized human characteristics while keeping them looking like rabbits.
Naturally, Star Trek has their own anthropomorphized creatures with the Gorn, the Caitians, the Ferasan, and even the primate, acquatic, insectoid and reptilian Xindi. The Xindi as a combined force felt threatened by Earth and attempted to destroy the planet. This plan to destroy humans was pushed primarily by the insectoid and reptilian Xindi, while the primate, humanoid and acquatic Xindi were hesitant to use the weapon.
The interesting thing about Caitians and Ferasan (which is a Trek name used because they weren’t allowed to use Kzinti) is their origins don’t begin in Star Trek at all. They began in the Known Space series by Larry Niven. There, mankind battled against the war like Kzinti, a feline race who were the size and strength of Mountain Gorillas. Niven rewrote one of his own short stories to use in the Star Trek Animated Series, adding in Catians and the rest is history. Of course, Trek isn’t the only place you’ll find feline friends who are their own species within a universe.
The Charr, first appearing in Guild Wars Prophecies, are a war like feline species of the realm of Tyria. Driving the humans out of Ascalon, the Charr claimed that region was their own until the humans drove them out. In Guild Wars 2, the Charr have become a playable race, and according to the lore, they are finally calling for a truce with the humans. Mostly because they still have three other fronts to deal with in the Ghosts of Ascalon, the Flame Legion and the Branded (corrupted dragon minions). They are a technologically advanced race, as they seem to have harnessed the ability drill for oil, refine into petroleum and use for massive tanks and other machines. In Guild Wars Prophecies and Eye of the North (where the player meets Pyre Fierceshot), the only Charr that are encountered are males.
Naturally, video games and television aren’t the only place where felines show up. They even appear in the fantasy and science fiction of collectible trading card games. One of the biggest being Magic The Gathering.
In Magic The Gathering there are many different tribes of cat people. Mirri the Cat Warrior came from an unknown tribe and was banished for having two different eye colours which was seen as a taboo among her people. Mirri herself went of alone and eventually became a student among the Multani, and eventually finding that she grew an incredible attachment and attraction to a human named Gerrard. While she never found a chance to tell Gerrard, she did accompany him on many adventures. Throughout the lore of Magic the Gathering there are many references to cat like people, many of whom live a warrior’s life.
So where exactly did our fascination with feline, or even canine, humanoids come from. I’m not talking about were creatures, I’m talking about intelligent species that are felinoid. Naturally cats are seen as important in many different cultures. In the Mesoamerican Olmec culture, jaguars were revered. Shamans and warriors alike would wear the skins of jaguars, and many shamans would claim they could shapeshift into a jaguar. Even the Mayans and Aztecs found favour with the jaguar, though for the Mayans it was more material as the jaguar pelt was highly sought after. In Ancient Egypt, cats were sacred. Egyptians had been domesticating wildcats from the Middle East for thousands of years, and cats were seen as graceful and poised, especially with their ability to control vermin and kill cobras. Mafdet, Sehkmet and of course, Bastet were all Egyptian deities who were depicted with feline heads. All of them were lions at one time, though Bastet’s features softened over time to reflect the domesticated cat. Because of this, many felt cats were sacred to Bastet, so when they died they were mummified and laid to rest so their souls may reside with Bastet for all eternity.
Among many First Nations Peoples, cats were seen as independent, yet enjoying social situations.
Even today, many believe that humans didn’t domesticate cats, but cats domesticated themselves. They saw humans in a non threatening light, among them they could get food, water, and shelter. In exchange, they need only destroy vermin and keep the humans company. Fair enough trade. And over the years, the existence of cats with humans has meant all kinds of folklore from even culture imaginable. Many of which are carried down either verbally or through artwork or through written word until they make it to our minds in the 21st Century. And we change things up for fantasy, fiction, and science fiction.
I had planned to do my own editorial on Trek, which I may still do, but this one is an excellent article.
While the world was shocked yesterday to hear news of a young white man who pulled a gun on the EMA Church in Charleston, South Carolina, another shooting took place in Memphis, Tennessee. The good news is, no one was hurt. But the sentiment of fear is still there.
Back in Charleston, Dylann Storm Roof was set for bond after admitting to killing nine people at the EMA Church. And the media even began portraying him as a sick, lone wolf. Or, displayed innocent pictures of him to ensure that there would be some form of sympathy toward him.
Facebook and twitter feeds even tried very hard to distance themselves from Roof, claiming that he looked more of a “mixed race” than purely white. Let’s face it, Roof was white. He was whiter than me, and I’m pretty damned white. White supremest groups also attempted to distance themselves from this act of terror, knowing that this action only hurts their twisted sense of morality.
Roof had claimed, as a roommate and close friend had said, that he wanted to start a civil war. A race war. And yet, the media and right wing politicians are trying desperately to play this down. That this isn’t something that is a wide spread concern. Because look, there’s brown people in the Middle East that are threatening the security in the United States and Canada. We’re not that stupid.
Unmanned drone attacks against unsuspecting civilians won’t help protect any security when you have white supremacists who walk into a church to shoot the black people within. Oh, and sexist. I forgot to mention that, because Roof claimed that black men are raping white women, and he has to protect the white women. Which is telling that Roof has no respect for women either. Because when you use the white knight trope with regard to women, you’re basically saying that women can’t protect themselves, can’t make decisions for themselves, and can’t take care of themselves. Which is all 100% not true.
So yes, America. You have a gun problem. You have a race problem. You breed domestic, white terrorists on a daily basis, and that kind of right wing thinking is even affecting us north of the border. Did you know that our current Prime Minister supported South African apartheid? This is the thoughts of right wing conservatives (both small c and big C). Strip away rights, dehumanize everyone not white, and force everyone into poverty.