Judging the Past

Thomas Jefferson Birth of a Nation Gone with the Wind

“You can’t judge the past by the standards of the present! It’s not fair. We’ve advanced so much since then. People back then didn’t know better!”

I see the point. But also — no.

Of course we can judge the past by the standards of the present. That’s how we move forward.

We look back, at history or old movies or whatever — and we say, “Wow. That was messed-up. Let’s not do that again.” We read history about slavery and colonization; we watch old movies depicting queers as pitiful and disgusting; we hear old songs that romanticize sexual assault; we see old cowboy shows where Native Americans are shown as savage enemies. We cringe. We cringe so hard it makes our faces turn inside out.

And we say, “That was some fucked-up garbage.” We learn. We pay attention to patterns. We learn how to see bad patterns, in ourselves and our society. We learn how to prevent, how to interrupt, how to intervene, how to resist.

Judging the past is how we move into the future.

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Judging the Past

The Good Omens 2 Ending Makes Me Seriously Angry

MAJOR spoiler alerts for Good Omens, Seasons 1 and 2. Most of the ideas here were developed in conversation with Ingrid, and many of them are hers to begin with, including the core analysis.

The problem isn’t that it ends on a cliffhanger. Although it’s true that I don’t like that. Not when the next installment is probably years away and hasn’t even been nailed down yet. I think that’s bad writing, cynical and insecure, a breaking of the social contract between creator and audience. If you want people to watch your next installment, make your world and your characters compelling. Sure, leave some doors open, but provide enough closure to make your story feel like a story. As shitty as he is as a human being, Joss Whedon was really good at that with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: every season could have been the last, and it would have been satisfying. And Good Omens Season 1 did this beautifully. It was a lovely, perfect ending, leaving its audience basking in narrative afterglow — and leaving us in eager anticipation of the next round. Season 2 did the opposite of that, and it sucked.

But the cliffhanger thing isn’t a deal-breaker for me. I make exceptions. I cut slack. And even when I hate it, it doesn’t leave me shaking and seething.

And the problem isn’t that Crowley and Aziraphale don’t end up together. I’m okay with that. I adore them as a couple, and I like that this season brought their obvious coupledom out of the closet. But there are other queer love stories in the season that end more or less happily — Gabriel and Beelzebub (Beelzebub is non-binary), Maggie and Nina. I’d be fine if Crowley and Aziraphale’s story had some other creative, unexpected resolution. I don’t need the season to end with them walking off into the sunset. That’s not the problem.

The problem is that the ending is a betrayal.

It’s a deep betrayal of Aziraphale’s character.

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The Good Omens 2 Ending Makes Me Seriously Angry