You know what bugs me about the Whateley Universe? The fact that 14 year olds apparently know what they want, sexually. Most real world 14 year olds don't know. It's not even explained if mutant powers increase libido or anything. I'm surprised that Poe Cottage actually HAS other freshman students apart from the transgender students. It seems to be implied that if you find out that, yes, you like the same gender as your own, you can be transferred to Poe.
What the hell? Are you on the dope to say that "most" (have you interviewed them all?) fourteen year olds full of raging hormones don't know their orientation? Most pubescents in every area I've ever lived in knew if they like girls or boys much earlier than that. Certainly at eleven or twelve I was caught in several very attractive headlights that had me walking into walls, having sexual dreams about girls, etc. It helped that I came of age during the Wonder Woman-Juggle TV era.
Not as easy for everyone! Besides, I think what the OP was going for was that people do tend to experiment later in life, and at 14 some people do repress their sexuality in order to fit in better. Hell, there's a fair number of 20 somethings I know that still have no idea what they want sexually.
I think the series would've been much better in many aspects if it was a college ala Tales of MU. Less Squick, and the characters act closer to twenty than 14 anyway.
I agree as well. It would be much more bearable if it had been set at a college.
It's not the sexuality thing that bothers me so much. It's just that they seem way, WAY too mature for their age.
There is that. I don't care how much smarter a given student's mutation is supposed to make them (and many don't even have that excuse), a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old should still have only fourteen to fifteen years of total life experience to draw on. Consequently, it's a bit hard to swallow them, say, plotting and scheming against each other in precisely the same ways that people ten or twenty years their seniors plausibly might... — The most likely explanation, of course, is that the authors are themselves a good bit older than teenagers these days. So is, presumably, their target audience. Whether or not that excuses the characters acting older than they are as well...
Additionally it does get rather creepy hearing about how gorgeous all of these 14 year old girls are and how much everyone wants to sleep with them.
In The Braeburn Report, the scientists do make a passing comment to the effect that mutants are much more sexually active than humans. But their findings are canonically questionable and their methods are suspect.
What bugs me more is kinda how often a TG girl just assumes that since they are a girl, all of a sudden it's taken for granted that naturally they will be into dudes, or doing all kinda girl stuff. I mean, yeah this is all supposed to be open-minded and progressive, but when nearly every guy who goes girl starts giggling and suddenly loves shopping, seems to be just... supporting old stereotypes, in a new way... I mean, usually the adults TELL them that they need to act girly, since 'obviously' all girls act that way.
Exceptions: Ayla Goodkind & Jobe Wilkins . While Ayla IS mostly a girl, he is definitely not into guys. He has a girlfriend and visibly ogles the girls in the morning in the bathroom. The female name thing was forced upon him and it is a common plot for him to somehow be forced into wearing female clothing. Jobe Wilkins has been turned into a girl thanks to a self-inflicted lab accident and not his mutation (He's a Mad Scientist of the biological kind). I'll admit that he is trying to bag the Nice Guy Thunderbird, but that is becuase of the nature of the lab accident. It was a serum that would turn a person into his ideal girl. One of the things that he included was that the first guy they have sex with, they will be dedicated to them body and soul. Since there are some very unsavory guys at the school, Jobe decides to pursue one of the few people that wouldn't take advantage of him.
The most noxious part of Ayla's story, IMO, was that as his big sister was transgender herself, she REALLY SHOULD HAVE (BLEEP)ING KNOWN BETTER than to force the gender roles associated with Ayla's new body on him.
Grace, Ayla's sister, does actually burst into tears multiple times and admits feeling awful... but apparently not enough to not trick Ayla into shopping sprees and makeovers
Actually, Zenith - while currently dealing with the fact that her exemplar trait DID force her gender identity to be female - is still, overall, very boyish in her attitudes, clothing, and so on. Most of the 'female' parts are society's norms being sic'd on her and not wanting to be, y'know, outed.
MID (Mutant ID) cards have border colors denoting heroes or villains. Say what?!
It's a stupid idea, really. I mean, who is going to voluntarily get a Villain card? Unless it is meant to be a play on the Card-Carrying Villain, I don't see the logic. Add to that the fact that each country deals with their mutants differently. What happens when one country deems a Mutant a hero and another a Villain? Add to that the fact that there seems to be no classification for mutants who don't hero/villain/merc.
Actually, it makes as much sense as most supervillainry, if you think about it. If you carry a Villain's card, it's not exactly hard to hide untill you get caught, at which point you can whip it out and say 'Look, I surrender. I'm a member of the Guild Of Super-Heroes & Supervillains!' Then they have to treat you nicer than a common criminal and all you need to do in return is obey a few rules. The benefit for the public? Well, those rules are: avoiding property damage, not taking hostages, not harming civilians intentionally (including other superheroes or supervillains in their secret IDs), etc. So the heroes get a clean battle that makes them look good, the public are safe from guys who shoot plasma out of their face, and the villains get a cushier sentence.
And when a threat to people's lives comes up, like an invasion of alien insects, the villains get first killing rights. The Heroes and Villains team up, if the threat is great enough. Because even people who want to rule the world don't want to kill the man who stopped them every time so far, if they are working together against some army that wants to destroy the world that he wants to rule!
Yeah, so they're just going to pigeonhole everyone into good or evil. This is going to cause a lot of mental anguish, especially since they're doing this to kids.
I believe they're allowed to pick Super-neutral. ~~ KiTA
I don't think they choose to get a villain card. I think that it goes something like this: When a mutant gets declared as a supervillain (they declare themselves as such, they have an active warrant for their arrest, etc. etc.) the MCO changes the card's border in their database - when they go in to update their MID, the new card will have the border. Or maybe the MCO has a system that can cause the cards to change color remotely, or something. The point being that I don't think that the mutant gets to choose their border.
The governments of the world do not look kindly on unregistered mutants, as their power level is completely unknown then, so the cards are more of a clerical thing than anything else. Being able to produce a card stops you from being executed on the spot or put serious jail, so it's just as much for the supervillains own safety as anything else. Why take the unnecessary risk?
It also doesn't help that some mutants are just Always Chaotic Evil and have no choice in the matter; so one can imagine as long as there are mutants there are some supervillains.
It may be a minor, nitpicky thing, but it just bugs me seeing this stuck in the literature section of so many examples. It is not Literature, it is Web Original! No amount of wishful thinking is going to change the fact that it is an internet fiction site and there is no publisher for hard copies.
Those listings probably predate the Web Original category. For lack of a more specific category, "Literature" (the definition of which refers to writings, not specifically printings) was the best fit. Now that there's another category, all you have to do when you come across one is move it, if it bothers you that much.
The Humiliation Conga at the end of the Shoulder Angel conspiracy. Two EXTREMELY minor villains (Who did, to be fair, try to kill one of the protagonists - Though they failed) end up being expelled from Whateley, having the authorities informed as to their actions, beaten up, lose every possession they have, and are then given to sadistic government officials to be tortured to death. Oh, and the people who used them as cats-paws got away with no or minimal punishment. I cheered when Don Sebastiano got what he deserved - but these guys are punks, and the 'heroes' just handed them over to the nastiest people to ever appear in this series. If they'd stopped after the third point (Expelled, no future prospects, injured) I would've called it justice. If they'd stopped after the fourth, well, can't say they didn't deserve it. But NOBODY deserves Doctor Hammond.
I saw it as the folks involved after step three and onwards having a collective "what the fuck" moment and lashing out at them and, at the same time, trying to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. If the school's grapevine has legends of students trying to off other students through means like this, and not only getting smacked down hard for it, but getting turned over to the MCO when they tried to run? Odds are that only the truly insane are going to try it ever again. Plus, the "minor villain" who was the driving force in this has been all but said to be a complete sociopath; Make is more likely to care about the consequences, but is too likely to let himself get talked into things like this - and they both openly admitted to their fellow students that they were trying to escape, and they said in their rooms and their secret lab that they were going to try and start over; if their fellow geeks could completely and totally trash their hard drives and then teleport them to the mutant's boogyman, how easy would it be to plant bugs in their rooms and the lab? It's entirely possible that if they'd seemed at all repentant, the mob of their peers would have been less extreme. Also, I'm not sure where you're getting the whole "the real powers behind this got off scot-free" from. I can understand it, since the Alphas hardly ever get more than a slap on the wrist, but I'm not sure where it's coming from in this specific case; yes, Tansy gets off with nothing at all - but only because it can't be proven that she was the one behind the Dragon in this instance. The Alpha team, however, doesn't get off scot-free; their best leader has been barred from participating (and outright kicked out of the class) after one last punishment holo-sim, which is to try and capture or contain an insane, violent Tennyo - while the sensory protocols are still turned up to eleven. Considering the kind of shape Phase and the rest were in when they finally escaped, the Dragon and his team are going to wish they were dead well before they get out of that sim. Mild, perhaps, in light of what happened to the other two, but it's about as awful as they can get short of expelling him - and they can't do that without proving that he knew what the pair were up to, which they can't.
You're focusing less on my main point, and more on the secondary ones. But what it comes down to is that I cannot accept that anyone deserves to be slowly tortured to death, and I do not believe that they should have been given that punishment if they didn't deserve it, even to discourage other people from doing what they did. Assuming he knew what he was doing, Jericho has crossed the Moral Event Horizon. If not, he has merely Kicked the Dog. Edit - It's worth noting that Diane Castle has at least Lampshaded the fact that she overdid it, in 'Ayla and the Birthday Brawl'.
The thing is, I don't believe that they would have been handed over to Hammond, or to Roswell, or whatever. The MCO probably would have had them prosecuted/imprisoned/whatever, but Overclock and Make do have families who would have kicked up a stink if they'd just vanished full stop.
More importantly, they have the administration of Whateley itself. Expelled or not, Headmistress Carson won't look kindly on her former students being "disappeared", and she knows for a fact that the MCO has them. No plausible deniability, no getting-away-with-torturing-them-to-death.
Keep in mind that it wasn't Team Kimba doing so, it was the devisors. They apparently found out through the grape vine, and they acted on their own initiative. Overclock and Make would have ended up in the MCO's clutches eventually- after all, two mutants guilty of assault and attempted murder wouldn't just vanish into the aether. And while they probably would have just been sent to prison, 'Ayla and the Mad Scientist' has shown that they broke out, and their whereabouts are now unknown. In addition, I highly doubt that the devisors would have intentionally sent them to Hammond; they probably just decided to send them to the organisation designed to handle such cases, and if said organisation has a reputation for brutality, then why not? After all, Overclock did decide to try destroying Tennyo's mind over cereal, for the love of God...
They take Adults Are Useless a bit far. Sure, there is some justification in the fact that the kids all have superpowers, but any school that makes Battle School look like a safe and wholesome learning environment is doing something seriously wrong.
Building on that, just the way things are handled during the whole "Bottle a Jinn" storyline. If I were a mutant, I'd taking my chances in the wide world with lynch mobs rather than attend a school where multiple accusations of kidnapping and attempted "mind obliteration" are met with a total response of NOTHING from the faculty, where there are shady dealings involving taking students "out of the picture" for a week at a time, and when a telepath is actually CAUGHT IN THE ACT of violating human rights ethics for mind control or whatever by staff (in "It's Good to be Don"), his punishment is not immediate jailtime, but... 3 weeks detention?!?!?! At least it's more than the 1 week of detention the earlier girl got for 'admitting' to kidnapping the soul of another student! I can't decide which is worse, that the staff all seem to care so little about Jade mentioning her SISTER KIDNAPPED and the like, or that so often Team Kimba just kinda try to do this all theirselves. However, given how 'helpful' adults usually are here...
Don't forget the Voodoo wolves. Or whatever is being sealed in the sewers. Or the fact that Whateley students apparently have access to high-grade military/sci-fi weapons. Did I miss anything?
Even the incompetence of the teachers and security is fickle. Half of the time they seem to have omniscient knowledge of where all students and intruders at the school are using sensors and trackers, and the other half they have no idea what is going on or completely miss entire altercations. Plus, to some victimized students the keep saying, "Hey, you need to stand up for yourself! Fight back!" But to Ayla, the only openly intersexed student at a school of largely ignorant students, they can't believe that kids are mean enough to pick on people who are different, and maintain "He must be causing trouble, or he wouldn't get into so many fights." and constantly berate him for barely defending himself.
Well, it certainly doesn't help that Ayla is from the local rich bigoted family on a crusade against mutantkind. Not excusing the plot hole, just pointing out that there are probably a good number of students and not a small number of teachers and administration staff that wouldn't be upset to see Ayla disappear one day and not come back. ~~ KiTA
Alternate Character Interpretation: Headmistress Carson is playing the role of Stealth Mentor to the Kimbas in general and Ayla in particular. There's a lot of foreshadowing that a crisis of Earth Shatterring Kaboom proportions coming in the not so distant future. If the Kimbas are going to be ready to handle it, they need to have practice handling lesser crises on their own.
Given how these things usually play out, Sink or Swim Mentor seems to be a better match for the school's current approach. There's been a hint in a conversation between Mrs. Carson and Ayla that the school used to police its students better, but has deliberately let the bullies run rampant of late in order to help expose some dangerous criminal plot...which in turn raises the interesting question whether the headmistress isn't just letting her old ingrained superhero catch-the-villain reflexes get the better of her and neglecting the actual responsibilities of her position. (She is, after all, over seventy years old at least mentally and still one of the bigger names and heavier hitters of the setting; she's had plenty of time and opportunity to get a little set in her ways.)
Folder's tale makes me want to kill things. A guy is turned into a girl, and is expected to just accept it. Because his former life is "old data" and no longer correct. NO. You have just created a new transsexual, and he is still a guy inside that new body! The gender-flip may be fine for the ones who were already transgender and are not what they feel they should be, but lets have some actual THOUGHT about making new ones who are apparently supposed to just accept their new sex. Some of the writers actually think on it. Some don't. You can practically tell which they are by which ones describe Phase as male or female. Phase thinks of himself as male, therefore he is male. The only pass in this regard is that characters can think differently, but you'd think Phase's friends would have realised by now.
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body. One of the things that's not mentioned very much (I think it's only spelled flat out in Fey1) is that most of Team Kimba are Exemplars, and as a setting rule, the Exemplar power enforces some form of acceptance with their new form. That is to say, if your BIT (mental picture of a perfect body) is female, after a short period of Angst your powers are going to warp your mind enough so that you'll identify with your new gender, no matter what. That's the explanation as to why there's less angst than to be expected about all this — either 1, the character was already TG and knew it; 2, the character was TG and unaware; or 3, the character's Exemplar-power forced a bit of Gender ID Disorder onto them. ~~ KiTA
No, the mind is not the plaything of the body! The whole point behind the Body Image Template is that the body takes on the form that the mind holds as 'What I would like to look like'. The people whose BIT is of a woman when they were born a man is either A) (as in most cases) a transgender person who is happy to switch their body's sex, or B) (as in Ayla's case) a 'regular' person who has been convinced that all mutants are "freaks" and so are all transgender people, (or words to that effect) so that when they manifested, their idea of "mutant" was genderswapping.
There is also a third type, people who cross-link elements in the abstract. For example, someone who pictures themselves as strong, but also associates strength with being tall, or being female, or having black hair. Since they believe they themselves are strong, or wish to be strong, the other traits are cross linked into their BIT subconsciously. ~~ KiTA
Boobah: It's hard to take any of the Body Image Template stuff very seriously when it moved from "mental image of perfect me" to "extra-dimensional blueprint."
Oh, come on. Good writing and development aside, it was built from a platform of TG-fetish fiction. What do you expect?
You can find incredibly erotic fiction amongst the canon works, in the section for non-Whateley stories on the site, and plenty of other stuff by the canon authors elsewhere. And everything about the works reeks of TG fetish fiction norms - the way they describe women, the emphasis on "Submission" in many stories, etc. You won't find these features in those comics (though The Wotch is a little boarderline.) You can dress up a cat all you like, but it's still a cat.
The fact that at least one of the authors has put enough thought into the subject of mutant sex to write a manual for it says it all, really.
Also kinda hypocritical is that for most of the people who undergo TG transformations, they tell them, "Oh you are a girl physically now, so learn to act like a girl and deal with it." But for people like Jade, who is a TG seeking a transformation, they don't say, "Oh you are a male physically, so act like a male and deal with it." Which would match how they treat other people, they actually are reasonable and let her decide for herself what her self-identity is. As if there is no option to say, "Yes, I have a girl's body, but I'm still me so I will act how I want to." Kinda uses lots of stereotypes and old fashioned gender roles...
Explained, sorta. As a rule in the setting, Male to Female transgender mutations are not curable. Granted, the explanation is kinda a Ass Pull / Hand Wave, but it almost, not quite justifies it: The Newly Ka-Girled have no choice but to get used to it, because they won't be changing back, ever. Jade's situation is different, she's not the victim of an Involuntary Transformation like the other ones, she's an honest to god transgender person hoping for an Applied Phlebotinum solution to gender bending. ~~ KiTA
Just more evidence of the thick glaze of Author Appeal that sinks its ugly teeth into every story. Also, just because they are unchangeable from girls physically doesn't mean they have to act like stereotypes. If the authors had done the research, they would know that many FtM transgender individuals never undergo anything physical. But instead, every "Sensible" character, as well as the will of the universe itself, seems to constantly steer them from keeping boyish traits. Either the authors are sexist, or it's all just fetish fuel.
Can't argue with that — the TransgenderAuthor Appeal is one of the major criticisms of the series. Some of the characters have excuses, though, of varying believability. Jade, for example, is a fairly normal TG that realized it due to her powers. Ditto Chaka, who mentions in her intro story that her Exemplar change made her realize she was TG (it "just felt right" or somesuch wording). Sara's the "daughter" of a demon and a half demon, so she has her own issues to deal with. The ones that handle it a bit better than I'd expect are Tennyo and Fey — Fey going right into realm of disbelief once it turns out she gets a gig as a fashion model. ~~ KiTA
Chaka was an MTF all along, who suddenly got "hellz yeah right body! woo!". Lancer was the one who 'just felt right'. Possibly suppressed FTM, with no heavy stress thanks to the hypermasculine environment of the army and no gender stereotypes being enforced. Anyway, Fey and Tennyo both have ANCIENT SUPERPOWERFUL BEINGS lodged in their heads that screwed with their gender identity. Zenith, Diamondback, and Razorback are all examples of the Exemplar trait changing gender identity. Phase is the odd one out, because he shouldn't have manifested in the first place (Not just no active metagene complex, but no metagene complex at ALL). Somehow, he has 8 BITs all spliced on top of each other, and most of them are female, hence both Destiny's Wave and Chaka finding it easier to go in the 'fully female' direction. As it is, his brain is completely unaltered by the change. It's kinda odd, though. Exemplars are - essentially - incapable of being transsexuals. Most of the time it gives an 'idealised body', as was the case with Chaka, Imperious, and so on, but occasionally it alters the body the wrong way (Slab, Zenith), and alters the mind to match. Phase - as mentioned - is unique in that his mind wasn't changed.
There's one thing that bugs me here in the Whateley Universe: Reading order. According to the FAQ on the site, you're supposed to read the stories in the order presented on the stories page there. But they're ridiculously out of order! For example, the event's of parents day are mentioned as early as Being Merry in Spite of it All, and is mentioned immediately in the next story in the list, To the Mountain, but the parents day story itself is not only FAR later in the listing, it's actually after several CHRISTMAS stories. What? I admit, the latest I've read so far is finishing Being Merry in Spite of it All, but that seems kind of ridiculous to me.
I had the same issue, I finally asked on the forums and was told the same thing, with one of the Canon authors saying that was a horrible idea cause Alya1 or Merry1 was never meant to be read with the other origin stories. Or something. There's an alternate reading order on the Wiki, as well. ~~ KiTA
Well, a cursory initial look (and noticing where the new stories are placed) points toward the 'official' order being more-or-less the order of publishing. Despite the regular references to events that were plotted out earlier, but for one reason or another the stories centered on those events weren't done. Both parents' day and Halloween (with the exception of a Lower Deck Episode) were noodle incidents with important plot buried in them for a long time. ~~ Boobah
Another common problem(/feature?) is the amount of pop culture references, both by the characters to each other, and 'cannon' references. It's a bit odd when adults are slinging in-jokes and obscure references to material that teenagers think are cool, and all of the 'get' it, all of the time. I mean, CIA agents and the like making jokes or references to blockbuster movies in day to day work, as if EVERYONE knows them and is constantly thinking about it? The other aspect, 'canon' references, is not TOO bad with the major influences of H.P. Lovecraft and X-men and such, but when Church members talk about the film 'Constantine' being partly accurate, or the whole thing with Tennyo's 'Tenchi Muyo' backstory, is a bit much.
Could be reading too much into it, but does it seem like in Renae's Merry stories (overlapping Dr. Bender's Sara stories), it gets annoying that practically EVERY conversation between them sounds like foreplay, even very serious or dangerous situations? Also, every other sentence seems to have someone giggling or chuckling at something(happens in some of the other stories too). I mean, at first glance it reads well, but when I play out a lot of these conversations in my head it just seems like nobody is ever taking anything seriously since they are all constantly laughing at each other, even when discussing traumatized children or life-and-death situations, or boring paperwork.
Ms. Carson not expelling Tansy/Solange from Whateley after her little incident of almost killing a fellow student. I mean, seriously, what the hell? She practically KILLED Greasy, and she gets off relatively free (I know that the task she was assigned will be far from comfortable, but still...). Seriously. What the hell, Carson?
Oddly the opposite bugs me, that Tansy got came down on so hard when there were so many other more vicious incidents. It seemed just a bit too blatantly karmic, when the ultraviolents have surely been caught doing worse.
'Came down on so hard'? She almost killed someone, and instead of being locked away like a good little attempted murderer, she gets saddled with baby-sitting. If there are other people who are attempted murderers, then they should be expelled, along with the other psychopaths at Whateley. Of course, that would probably involve expelling most of the antagonists and a few heroes, so it won't happen.
It's not the punishment so much as the inconsistency involved. Such as Nex who got off free for actual several actual murders due to a supposed lack of proof while enough was known to cause a through investigation.
Carson actually explains her reasons for this at a later point. She had three options: hand her over to the police, hand her over to the MCO, or what she did. The first means she gets off scot free because Daddy's lawyers would get her off the hook. The second would be a life (or death) sentence. So she picked the least bad option, and counted on the Three Little Pests and the Order of the Worn Wrench to see to it she won't be enjoying herself much from now on.
I just realised... How do ANY of the Poesies manage to stay in the closet while attending a school full of psychic espers (who could just read your mind to check your orientation/ fantasies) emotional empaths (who would notice you getting aroused by certain people) and magical scryers (who could "see" you doing weird stuff). Seriously! It's not like they aren't tons of morally bankrupt people with the means to do this (* cough* the Don)!
I actually specifically asked this question on the forums earlier this year. Basically, Whateley is staffed by some of the most powerful psychics, mages, empaths et all in the world, and they're helping cover for Poe. Poe is covered in a psychic and magical shield effect that extends, to a certain degree, to it's residents — and has a cover story about being the school's psych ward. No psychic or mage wants to go near them for fear of catching some psychic disease, breaking their brain against a helping dose of madness, or pissing off some demon that's possessed someone.
So, the cover story is that they are crazy and have psychic AIDS. How, exactly, is that preferable to being outed as gay/bi/trans? Really. People tend to treat mentally ill people worse than homosexuals and trans people, and since at least some of the Poes are supposed to be vaguely contagious, you'd expect the rest of the student body and their parents to complain about them being on campus.
And what about the kids that do have mental illnesses, psychic diseases, and demonic possession? Where do they stay?
Not Psychic AIDS, but rather, "They're all nuts." The cover story is that Poe the school loony bin, which works great cause they can explain away any oddities such as people with gender stereotype problems, and why Poe has such a high percentage of people visiting the school shrinks. The rest is all word of mouth fearmongering by the kids, but it's useful fearmongering. ~~ KiTA
As for if it's better or worse, well, from what I understand an important event in the backstory at Whateley was during one fight, a transgirl's powers failed her, leaving her looking like a weedy looking guy in front of everyone — including her somewhat shocked boyfriend, who violently murdered her in a rage (while everyone else looked on too shocked to respond). While being "nuts" might get you picked on at Whateley, being "gay" might get you killed. ~~ KiTA
But that doesn't actually make any sense whatsoever, in fact that line of reasoning is ludicrous beyond description. These kids aren't in more danger from being killed because of gay panic or whatever than kids in normal high schools. One isolated, extremely specific incident causing this is preposterous. They saw the thing happen and then went "Oh well, better segregate the gays and keep them hidden!" It gets even more ridiculous once you consider that a huge amount of students at the school have to deal with gender identity issues and whatnot that make homosexuality look like about as big a deal as whether someone prefers their eggs runny or hard-boiled. Plus, debilitating mental illness probably has an even bigger social stigma attached to it than homosexuality. It is complete nonsense.
If you think about it though, mental illnesses could be seen as a temporary trauma from manifestation. The fellow students could probably overlook that temporarily, especially as many viewpoint mutants have had rather traumatic backstories. Being "nuts" gets you sympathy in this case. Being "gay" however, is still not acceptable in their minds
Do you know what bugs me, the Cult of Kellith. There's no way they could get that many members so fast, and how the hell do they not get in trouble for the animal sacrifices. I mean, there has to be some laws there breaking, and if not, shouldn't animal rights activists and animal lovers in general be angry. And frankly I don't think any real pope or religious figure would recognize anything with Cult in the freaking name as a real religion.
The Cult of Kellith has been going for quite some time. Maybe some Gothmog-touched precog predicted that Gothmog would only have one child, the Mistress of Flesh, The Kellith. Even if this isn't true, the First Book of The Kellith does tell the story of how the Kellith travels through time, so it could be a stable time loop.
That still doesn't answer my other 2 points.
To the best of my understanding, the Cult of Kellith got its start branching off from the already-extant Cult of Gothmog. So, it's just Sara's demon-daddy planning ahead for his only daughter's future. As far as the 'real religion' argument goes, remember that the Whateleyverse is one in which both gods and demons (or at least entities that can reasonably pass for either) do observably exist; it's a surprise that the religious landscape is even as close to real life as it is usually portrayed! Regarding animal sacrifices...I could imagine people actually being grateful for a relatively harmless cult that doesn't go out of its way to sacrifice humans like so many of the others, and since Sara took over it's not even clear how many animals they're sacrificing in her name anymore at all. She is rather fond of kittens, after all.
I'm sure some people wold be grateful, same way I'm sure some people are grateful for racism, but just because it's better then a different cult doesn't mean it's good, and while some people may be okay with it , I think, or at least hope there would be a lot more people against it, and how would people know about human sacrifice and not stop that.
Getting hung up on the word 'cult' doesn't strike me as overly useful here — just about every faith in existence started out that way, after all, even the modern major-league players. Kellith's followers might just end up rather popular as well given time enough, especially with a certain scheming old high priest out of the picture... — As regards the human sacrifice angle, unlike real life (that we know of, anyway) the Whateleyverse does in fact feature entities willing to grant real, demonstrable benefits to people who send enough blood and souls their way. Of course they're going to find some people who think the perks are worth it! And that, in turn, probably means that between those cults and the Kellithists (is that a word?), the police are going to be much more concerned about the former than the latter — sacrificing animals for the benefit of humans, if that's even still going on, may be distasteful to some, but compared to the meat and leather industry any given cult is small potatoes.
Be: I've said my piece on the issue of Tennyo the God-Mode Sue before, but Tennyo still bugs me, although this time, it's a more meta complaint. I really dislike Starwolf's writing, and I find him/her just a plain bad author, so what immensely bugs me is that if I want to have a complete understanding of canon I'm basically forced to read his/her stuff. The fact "don't like it don't read" no longer applies is tremendously irritating
Agreed; reading through the tales of a God-Mode Sue isn't pleasant.
A God-Mode Sue, you must remember, whose powers are geared towards WHOLESALE SLAUGHTER. Where do you see the benefit in that? She has the power to kill everyone in the world- and only that power.
I -could- be a smartass and bring up all the times she's used her powers/asspulls to get out of situations without destroying the world, but- wait, I just did. No, the main thrust of the complaint (at least from me) is the bad writing that goes with the Tennyo stories.
IMHO, the Blade Dancer stories are worse, especially whenever Molly appears. The writing is even worse (unless you compare it to starwolf's summaries of events from other people's stories, which are physically painful), all the other characters suddenly become less intelligent and more unreasonable to showcase how clear and level-headed Chou is supposed to be, and the combat abilities of everyone in the setting simply disappear because the author can't figure out how to do an action sequence. Then Molly pops up, and becomes the very definition of a Mary Sue: everyone loves her instantly and completely for no reason whatsoever, she has no flaws, and the skilled and powerful team of superheroes we've been watching all this time suddenly get beaten up by a few random mooks in order to give her an opportunity to Deus ex Machina them all out. The whole thing reads like a bad self-insert fanfic.
I am sick of seeing how everything in the world relates this thing that I care nothing about.
It has sometimes been compared to Marvel Comics' X-Men. No shit. If you base your creation on something else, the comparisons are going to be made. :|
As far as I know, the only comment I've ever seen from one of the canon authors is that she intended it to be Riverdale High with transgender and superheros. I suppose comparisons with the X-Men are inevitable, but please don't make claims that the authors based it on that without evidence. The X-Men are superheros in training, Whateley is, by design, specifically not a superhero training school.
I find that there is a huge percentage of stories that follow an EXTREMELY tedious formula. This is frustrating since I actually enjoy the subject matter and (for the most part) the characterizations, but reading through every single five paragraph description of what Ayla is eating and how it's superior (followed by almost rote comments from the Kimba group) gets a little tiring. This is particularly bad in Diane Castle stories.
The dialogue between the Kimbas also tends to follow a pretty tedious formula: Subject is brought up; everyone comments on it as though they all took a number and have to reply in sequence; new subject is brought up; repeat. This is especially frustrating when these conversations are taking place as asides while some other character speaks, a la MST3K but ignoring the fact that clever asides actually do not happen instantaneously. This makes the dialogue feel forced and "clever" and formulaic.
"She-male" is not a technical term or a term that transgender people use to identify themselves. It is an insult, one that most people stop using by the time they hit puberty. No one would say, "I'm what is called a she-male," when she is trying to explain her transgender identity to someone close to them who is having difficulty accepting her as a woman, and the rest of the characters' use of the term to casually describe Ayla's condition is ridiculous.
Agreed. I think it's absolutely disgusting a lot of people are trying to legitimise their fetishes and kinks in this way. If you're so ignorant as to resort to pornographic terminology, don't bother trying to tackle the bloody issue.
As I understand it, ScramblerJ had planned out the story and all the others had finished the part in the group story where they all give their manifestation stories, and Phase distinctly mentioned "She-Males" and such. Since then, as far as I'm aware, he has NEVER used the word she-male or referred to Ayla's underwear fetish (which was unfortunately necessary to explain where Nikki got her silk underwear from).
Still doesn't change how flimsy the justification for this sort of thing is. Really, I wish people would stop trying to justify their transgender fetish and be blunt with it. Regardless of how you word it, characters who just 'happen' to have the genitalia of the opposite sex aren't written with depth in mind.
Well, I wouldn't say that's true for every work.
When in relation to Whateley I'd say it was.
In my mind, I think Ayla works as a character with the whole intersexed male-brain thing - among other things, it gives him something tangible to cling to and rationalise his still-male gender identity, while around him everyone else goes 'lol girlnow brb shopping'. Gracie, however, doesn't. Scrambler J doesn't deserve to be defended, but Diane did the best she could with it. The ONLY vague justification I've seen for Gracie even BEING intersexed is 'it means I can still be male legally and marry Janet'. Which is broken anyway, seeing as it's possible to still be classed as male after SRS... and it'd make more sense to just move. If you're in such a goddamn prejudiced area why don't you MOVE? I mean... just... ARGH.
Some of the authors take Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma to whole new levels. Underscores do not work like that! Sure, you can use them to indicate stressed words; you can also hammer nails in with a screwdriver, but that doesn't mean you should.
Toni. Everything about her personality bugs me. Everything.
Care to be just a tad more specific?
I can try to supply a few answers. She's a 'Chosen One' who has a power to instantly do almost anything almost perfectly, up to dodging bullets. She (and the rest of Team Kimba, but especially her) constantly attempts to snark about almost everything: I say attempts because much of it is just forgettable. Her personality can be described as a monkey on crack which can be grating, and the fact that nothing ever really slows her down is just annoying.
Not to mention the part where she declares herself the leader despite a complete lack of tactical or strategic ability, or even common sense. And the fact that she blatantly and maliciously screws over the majority of the people she meets, especially those she's supposedly in love with, at every opportunity. And the fact that she has the same emotional depth and character development as a small pebble. And the fact that she acts like a stereotyped "black girl" half the time, just enough to be offensive but not enough to even pretend that it's her real personality. And the fact that her portrayal of bisexuality is not only completely unrelated to the real thing, but a reinforcement of the exact stereotypes that bisexuals have been trying to get over for years. I really can't think of an aspect of her "character" that doesn't bug me.
You know what really bugs me? The obscene amount of Entry Pimping this series gets.
What really cooks your noodle is when you realize it's not the series that's getting the Entry Pimping... it's Tennyo and Fey. Nearly every entry on the TV Tropes wiki about this series mentions these two characters.
That's because they're the biggest Sues.
Not really, the pimping seems to be evenly distributed to me. Of course that doesn't make it any better
Maggie Finson actually said that she'd screwed over Fey and was planning to nerf her badly... but then she quit writing.
Yes, and most of the pimping isn't even well written. It just rambles on about something for a paragraph and barely gets its point across. (Of course, if it really was well written, it wouldn't be there in the first place.)
A-freaking-men. I get so sick of seeing this (and Survival of the Fittest) get shoe-horned into every single article. No, I don't care about your stupid website, please stop advertising it!
The irony is that since you've linked it, the site is shoe-horned into ANOTHER article. In all seriousness, this stuff is okay. If a work just happens to have a lot of tropes, then it's okay to have it pimped into a lot of articles. Just because you don't think it's a notable work, doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a spot on Tropes. Remember, There Is no Such Thing as Notability covers this.
Another big issue here is that the entry pimping is causing large amounts of Hype Aversion (Just look at the reviews, or even half of this page). People come here expecting a Trope Overdosed story about a superhero school. They get Transgender Fiction with a slight Author Appeal slash Fetish Fuel bent that definitely does not appeal to a wider audience. Hence the heavy criticism.
From Mimeo, the most recent story - the idea that this guy, who's 55 at the time the final events of the story take place, mentally refers to Tennyo as 'the Ryoko-chick'. Not 'the warper chick', not 'the chick with blue hair', 'the Ryoko-chick'. How does he even know who Ryoko IS? You're expecting me to believe that this supreme badass kicks back and spends his nights watching Tenchi bloody Muyo?
The author actually addressed that issue on the forums. Unfortunately, her comment has been lost along with everything else that was on the forums at the time. From the best of my memory though, this is roughly what she said:
This is something I considered at great length. That is, would Mimeo, in his decades of life, have come across Tenchi Muyo at some point? I decided that the answer was 'yes'. He's nothing if not Mr. Leisure Time, after all, and with an Exemplar 6 memory, he would remember it. In a similar vein, he would know what Hello Kitty was because he has boinked more than one girl who had Hello Kitty merchandise. That doesn't mean he knows anything about the anime, just that Ryoko is the name of the chick with the cyan hair who sometimes runs around bare-assed. He might even know that Tenchi is the guy.
Is it just me, or did anyone else find that Belle's actions in Toni and the Tiger were really nasty? It was pointed out in the beginning of the story that Riptide was OK with Chaka dating guys so she could find out more about her sexuality, and then Belle decides to fuck up Chaka's date because the whole 'I'm on a date with a guy' thing made Riptide upset. The thing was, Riptide said that she was OK with it, and if she wasn't, she shouldn't have said so- and even if she wasn't, how does that make it Belle's business, and how does Riptide being upset suddenly make it OK for Belle to fuck over Chaka's date?
You know what bugs me? From the Main article: "Lancer (Hank Declan), a classic super-strong invulnerable Flying Brick hero type. Military Brat. The only Team Kimba character that's gender bending the other way, and also the only Team Kimba character without his own series of stories." So... none of the canon authors are interested in telling the story of a girl turning into a guy, even though the whole universe was built around transgender issues/fandom? And they haven't gone out and found someone who is interested, despite the fact that Hank is one of their six main fucking characters? What. The. Crap.
This is an unfortunate side-effect of the series beginning as vanilla TG fiction - the genre is biased towards M 2 F transformations, as that's what most of the audience wants to read. M 2 F biased readers become M 2 F biased writers, and the cycle continues.
The obvious answer is that Hank will betray them elaborately at some point in the future, and if there were any stories from his perspective the fact that he's evil would have gotten out.
In The Secret Of The Forger's List, who wrote the blackmail note? And how the fuck did Tom, Lindsey and Peter get away with suddenly not having GSD anymore? There would be so many people interested in a cure- and even if there wasn't, becoming normal in appearance overnight wouldn't be overlooked/ignored by anyone.
I get the impression from other cases (Jobe, Tool, Reach...) that massive changes in appearance aren't treated as serious. Although how this relates to the school's current laissez-faire disciplinary policy, I'm not sure. But I do see your point - given that these three would be under heavy investigation over Shelley's death, I can't see people not caring.
That, and the point that in all of those cases, there was an explanation. The three of them were known GSD sufferers and people who, overnight, suddenly don't have GSD anymore with no explanation whatsoever would be incredibly suspicious.
What kind of bugs me about the Phase stories is the fact that everyone's always giving him flak and none of them seem to be really trying to understand him. I get the whole 'he's got an attitude worse than Dr. Diabolik' thing- hell, if one of my friends was walking around acting like the king of the world, I'd pay them out for it too- but there's a few things that just annoy me, like how in 'Ayla and the Birthday Brawl, Part Four', Fey, Chaka, Generator and Tennyo switch the shower controls on Phase so he gets hit in the balls with a hard blast of water. Their motives were 'We thought it'd be funny' and 'Ayla was so interested in it yesterday...' While a Groin Attack isn't funny at all, what makes it worse was that Phase bought them the new shower technology for thousands of dollars of his own money, and that's how they repay him? It's worse when you consider that they're on the same team and they're supposed to be great friends- if my friends did that to me, I wouldn't talk to any of them for at least a week. It's also a pretty stupid move given that Phase is the financial backer for the entire team and he's providing a huge amount of things for them- pissing him off is a really stupid idea. Another thing that annoys me is that often the other members of Team Kimba refer to Ayla as a girl and think of him as a girl- yes, he looks like a girl, but he's a boy, he thinks of himself as a boy, he's still got a dick, and wanting to be a boy again is one of the central features of his character. He angsts about it constantly and is looking up every way he can of fixing his physical state, and his team knows about his efforts- so why the hell do they keep thinking of him as a girl? It's no secret that he's a guy inside, it's not like with the shower scenes every morning they can forget it- it makes no sense. And then you get the rest of the team's constant angst that he keeps spending thousands on their equipment- it's not a 'I don't want you to spend so much on me' issue, they just don't want him to spend that much- but what they keep passing over is the fact that Phase is a Goodkind, he knows what he's doing financially, he's got the money to spare, he wouldn't spend money if he couldn't afford to- why protest when it's a win-win situation?
In real life, people generally don't like either taking advantage of their friends, or feeling indebted to them.
Minor nitpick, but almost every time a character gets a headache, it is referred to as a migraine. Migraine doesn't just mean "headache", or even "bad headache"; it's a very specific condition that has it's own set of problems and symptoms that never appears aside from a few incidents with Merry, and even in those stories the word is used improperly be everyone else. Including doctors.
The writers have obviously done their research about real-world firearms, and any stories where the characters go to the shooting range scrupulously observe all relevant safety standards. So why does the school let students whose natural powers are much more destructive blast away at each other with impunity?
The pragmatic reason is probably that unlike a firearm you can't just take a natural power away from a student. There's also the fact that these teens are at Whateley in part precisely to learn how to use their powers, and it'd be silly to expect them to 'practice' only under adult supervision. That said, the fact that the body count among the less-than-completely-indestructible members of the student body each year seems to remain commendably low does seem to owe more to the comic book nature of the setting than to any deliberate action or policy on the part of the school staff. (No, Whateley isn't a school I'd send my own mutant kid to if I had one and some inkling of what actually goes on there that they don't mention in their glossy school brochures. Barring said kid being one of the few chosen nigh-indestructible ones as well, I'd be too worried about him or her not actually living to see graduation.)
This one came as Fridge Logic, but here it is - Lancer has a pair of paper swords which he can surround with his PK field to make indestructible and an Absurdly Sharp Blade. Right now they're being taught how to use weapons, and he's been told to learn how to use sais. This is a sai. Note the part about it being blunt and used more to block, trap, and break blades, and only used offensively to prod people in sensitive areas and strike with the protected knuckles. This is the worst way possible to take advantage of an Absurdly Sharp Blade! And yet two supposed martial arts masters are reccomending he do this, and the two other supposed martial arts experts on his team have nothing to say about this!
So they're defensive weapons? What's wrong with that? He's going to need options other than "slicing people up".
He is a superstrong indestructible brick. He could break blades with his bare hands if he had to, and is fast enough to catch them. He doesn't need defensive weapons, and these don't make full use of his abilities (and aren't representative of the weapons he's already using). As for options other than slicing people up, see above under "superstrong indestructible brick".
So essentially, the only real case where he could use his sai for their intended effect is against a opponent close to his power level; other instances are redundant.
A Single Fold: Why the hell didn't they try to turn Folder back to a guy? It's not like the spellcaster died and they didn't have a clue what he did; Diaz was alive and could be coerced to help. They've got Ophelia Tenent, a Healer and Mage, they've got Fey, they've got all the Whateley staff. Folder sure as hell wanted to be a guy again. There's no mention of even a half-assed attempt to turn him bacl.
Okay, so the LGBT population in America today is about 5 to 7 percent. There are geniuses at Whateley. Why do they never put together "Where are all the gay people, oh my Poes keep to themselves and they certainly don't act mentally deficient and there are quite a few Exemplars here hmm". Seriously, is it just Transparent Closet or what. Even someone of average intelligence could figure that out in a week. Oh and on further remembering, the basic application has a check box for other orientations and genders. What does everyone think, that they instantly reject all LGBT people?
First, I doubt that there'd be many genii at Whateley who would wonder where the gay people are. Second, having mental problems doesn't automatically equal being mentally deficient. Third, part of their cover is that part of the Poe population are there because they're 'stabilising influences'. Fourth, people stereotype. People who don't know the truth about people like Fey and who don't know many Poesies might well believe things like 'They're all nuts, you know that Fey keeps telling people she's a Fairy Queen, and then you've got Delta Spike and Mega-Girl and all the others...' Fifth, there are Exemplars everywhere. Finally, sixth, there are LGBT people outside of Poe- look at Peril and Diamondback, for a couple.
There are plenty of geniuses at Whateley and many of them have the attention span of a gerbil. All it would take would be a few minutes of deduction. Second point: very few of Poesies act like they have mental problems at all, mental handicaps would simply be the most easily spotted. Third point is valid, Fourth isn't especially considering it's a dorm with people from all backgrounds and the like, unless they are lumping every single Poesie together which admittedly is possible, but unlikely given the circumstances. Fifth was a weak point, and Sixth just points out the ridiculousness of Poes in the first place. There are mind readers and people who can read ley lines. What if someone has the same ability as Fey and can see ley lines from guys in Poes and recognizes pink means gay. There is no logical way that with such a large student population and indeed some of the teachers and staff being in the dark could be keep a secret of this magnitude, unless they are actively mind wiping people who do discover it and that is much worse.
Pink does NOT mean gay. It's for the female gender, and this is why Fey mentions Caitlin, aka Eldritch, having a very dark blue ley line, because she was Erik Mahren first and had been male for several decades. Erik hadn't been Caitlin long enough at that point for the line to start changing, and it might take ages to change at all. Also, it HAS been said that there's protections on the Poe kids. It's not unlikely there's a mental/magical 'look elsewhere' effect attached to them. And, finally, these are stupid teenagers! If a cottage has a rep for being full of crazy people, then your average teen is going to steer clear of them all for fear of what they'll find. They could be depressed, or they could be a psycho on serious medication to control it. And one more thing! Yes, there are LGBT kids outside Poe. However, one of them is out and proud, so to speak. The other is Sandra, aka Diamondback, and the nature of her mutation (being a snake person) means she's put into Whitman with the other 'freakshow' girls. This means any girl who is obviously a mutant, can't change her appearance to hide that, but is no danger to other so long as you don't piss her off.
Pink emanates from the gay males at Poe's; Fey mentions this blatantly several times in her first story. Lesbians have a steely-blueish color. Pink in and of itself doesn't mean female. Assuming all teenagers are stupid is well, stupid.
Again, just because there's heaps of genii doesn't mean that they'd be inclined to make such deductions. Why would they? They have other things to do. Next, 'act like they have mental problems'? I wasn't aware that there's a set way to act if you have mental problems. About the Exemplars- being an Exemplar indicates nothing. Yes, the gender changers are Exemplars, but there are so many Exemplars and so few gender changers that nobody is going to think 'Exemplar = LGBT'. People who have anything to do with ley lines are rare- the only two, AFAIK, are Fey and Geomancer. Yes, there are mind-readers, but they're not meant to do it. I doubt that anyone would think the penalties for doing so would be worth it. And a note to the above- there's more than two LGBT kids outside Poe- Axel, Mule, Saladin, Mokele' and Diamondback are just some of them.
There isn't a set way, but oftentimes people can pick up that sufferers of mental problems act somewhat off or abnormal. Exemplars was a weak point in the first place, and people display their powers all the time so expecting the mind readers to not is kind of a stretch. And once again, that just points out the sheer ridiculousness of Poes in the first place. There is a checkbox for homosexuals and bisexuals and abnormal genders in the general admittance form; does everyone just think they send the gays to another school? And the few that are out don't fit with demographics, LGBT population liberally is 10% and there's no reason to imagine that there aren't gay mutants. There are simply far too many variables for a secret of this magnitude to be kept. Certainly some geniuses at Whateley have figured it out and realize the need for secrecy, but all it takes is one person out of thousands of students to go through Whateley over the years to figure out the secret and blab it to everyone and honestly there is simply too much. There's simply no logical way it could happen. Think of it this way; even entry level cops know about Whateley yet to the general public it's apparently a secret. That kind of fundamental flaw in realization that as the magnitude of people being concealed and being in on the secret grows the secret becomes infinitely harder to keep is the same with Poes, although on a smaller scale.
Jade's "I'm a devisor" act. First, it's totally, stupidly unnecessary. She would be in no danger, either physical or social, if she was honest about her actual powers. But kids do stupid things, I can except this. But there's no way in HELL that the teachers wouldn't see through her deceptions in a heart beat, and the way that the sims are described as working, there's no way she's fooling the computers either. So WHY do the authors have them fall for it?
She's not doing it because she's scared for her safety. She's doing it because she wants to create a false front as the weakest member of the team so that nobody thinks she's a threat. Besides, she's not trying to fool the teachers, she's trying to fool the students. And yes, the teachers know- Ito at least knows- but given that it's a good exercise in deception and that revealing her real powers would help nobody, they're going to stay quiet.
They never mention it in the story, but jade has a very good reason to keep her powers hidden. Tansy has shown that even a weak avatar can take one of her spirits and become more powerful. Consider Jade is an infinite supply of avatar spirits when it comes down to it she could be in greater danger of kidnapping then the girl that sweats mithral.
The way that Sara's fed by the kitchen staff. She can eat anything that is alive, yet the kitchen staff only feed her things that could be considered pets. You'd think that it would be easy to get a live chicken or something but that is apparently not the case. It's like the staff wants her to be bullied for eating puppies.
It could be that less sentient beings are less nutritious; I recall Sara eating a potted plant as a snack, presumably as it isn't self aware.
Yes, but why not a piglet, or a chicken. They are both sentient, and both are less sympathetic than a puppy. Chickens in particular could be sustainable and inexpensive. The point is that there are other options than puppies. Even if they need to feed her sympathetic animals, do they need her to do it publicly?
Elephant in the Living Room time: So, being an unregistered mutant is a felony. Moreover, your mutation manifesting generally comes with telltale physical changes (minimum new eye color — which should be a matter of public and medical record right there —, much more drastic stuff for people with a BIT or the GSD cases), and it does so at puberty, a time in your life when you're arguably really, really not ready yet to deal with all the implications. In lights of all that, how do "secret identities" for mutant superheroes and -villains even work? Do they work at all, or is the fact that they ultimately actually don't just another one of those little "gotchas" that (like having to apply for an MID or leave the school, or the existence of combat finals) the Whateley staff like to spring on their students only when it's already too late?
Okay, so I don't actually read this stuff, so I might be missing context, but one thing I've read about concerning Arya/Phase is that apparently he, unless I read it wrong, uses his vast business connections to go after the bullies by threatening to ruin them and their families unless they sign a contract and agree to play nice. There are kinda some problems with this… 1. That'd be extortion, which is illegal, 2. Even if it weren't extortion, it would certainly count as duress, making such a contract invalid, and 3. Minors can't be held to contracts. Sounds pretty sketchy for anyone who's taken so much as an entry-level course in business law that touches on contracts.
He does not. It is explicitly against school rules. He does have an elaborate fantasy about it once (in "Ayla and the New School") complete with an Evil Laugh at the end, which is probably where whatever you read came from.
How do characters seem to know the difference between words that are spelled different yet sound the same? I mean, how the fuck does Toni correct people when they call her Tony? Or between fay an fey?