Eruditorum Press

Doxing gods

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

6 Comments

  1. Daru
    July 1, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

    Fascinating article. Thanks! Just catching up on this round of posts with The Dirty Pair and the inclusion of Tantra is another topic that fascinates me. I have not read the books yet, but it's really interesting what you are bringing up. Regarding the the Tantric sex subtext you brought up, obviously there is a lot more to Tantra than this, and the sexual aspect of some ancient Tantric practices and ceremonies has been rather highlighted in the West. Tara though is one figure who for me could really connect with the image of the Dirty Pair – as she is in some of her guises the holder of rather a sensual figure (there are also hundreds of her), but the aspect of her that really relates to our heroines is her breaking down of obstacles, which she can easily do with a flick of her wrist or a stamp of her foot.

    The obstacles are those in the way of our enlightenment, and in a way the mass destruction presented in the stories could be seen to represent the erosion of the ego-self, the rocks in our river that block the flow

    From another point of view (there's many in Tantra) everything was seen as being real and Tantra was not a path of renunciation, people practiced during their daily lives in their homes, seeking to experience the realisation that "nothing exists that is not divine". Interesting then that the two heroines were given the responsibility for holding the possibility of future enlightenment, as within Buddhist Tantra it is felt that as all is Divine, enlightenment is here now, as are all the tools needed – we just need only to see this.

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  2. Josh Marsfelder
    July 2, 2014 @ 7:57 am

    I think this is a terrific reading, and one that definitely gels with the one I see in the book.

    Certainly there's more to Tantra then what Westerners think of Tantric sex (hence why I dismissed that particular interpretation in what amounted to a throwaway mythology gag about slash fiction) and you're quite right to bring that up. I especially like your connection of Kei and Yuri with Tara: A figure with many contextual guises and facets who exudes a palpable sense of power and sensuality. Bang-on as well to point out the ego as a major obstacle on the path towards progress and enlightenment.

    Incidentally, aside from being an important figure in Tantra, I feel it worth mentioning that "Tara" is also the name of a Polynesian Goddess of the Ocean, which intrigues me for obvious reasons, and that there's a "Hill of Tara" in Ireland revered since the Neolithic Age that features a standing stone said to be once used by the ancient High Kings of the isle. It's also believed to have served as the capital of the Tuatha Dé Danann in prehistoric times.

    I also really like what you touch on in your last paragraph: It resonates very well with the animist worldview I'm slowly beginning to explore in these writings following both this story and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It would also make a great deal of sense considering Kei and Yuri's actual narrative role: They're responsible for helping move the universe forward, but they will never, ever be truly understood or appreciated for it on a diegetic level.

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  3. Daru
    July 2, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

    Cheers Josh. It's interesting to be thusly inspired by something that I have never read! Down to the quality of the writing. Yes the Tantra as slash bit is interesting – that sexual gloss could be read as the glamour that attracts i the readers, whilst then feeding them a deeper more spiritual subtext. Might be appropriate with the connections to the land of Faerie as glamour is used as a magical tool to draw in the unwary in those realms.

    So then the connection through name to the Hill of Tara is even more appropriate. The hill sits within a vast complex of ancient monuments, all which set the backdrop for many of the famous Irish myths and epics connected to the Land of Faerie, the Sidhe and the Tuatha Dé Danann. Not far away in the River Boyne, the valley of which is connected the the goddess Boann, and Newgrange another potent ancient site. Just like in the world of Kei and Yuri there are problems here though, as a motorway has been built through the valley (2010) despite great protests, and there are fears that this will lead to further development.

    These places are so important and we certainly need beings like Kei and Yuri to protect them.

    Thanks very much for enjoying my words – I feel very much in tune with the animist world view myself and I look forwards to seeing where you go with this. As you say above, Kei and Yuri just like all of the Buddhist and Irish deities can never be fully grasped and such beings like the land of Faerie have their own rules – but their stories and myths act as touchstones and guides in the cosmos to draw us hopefully towards our fuller, truer natures.

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  4. Daru
    August 12, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

    Hi Josh – just to let you know I found this book second hand as well recently so will set down to reading it very soon and share some more thoughts then. Also I have still to catch up with the current run of posts on their episodes too, as have been away running summer residentials. Look forwards to both!

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  5. Josh Marsfelder
    August 13, 2014 @ 10:45 am

    Oh cool! I hope you enjoy it. I think I might like this one even better than the first one: It clarifies and fleshes out the philosophical and spiritual core of the series to a huge extent.

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  6. Daru
    August 14, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

    Yeah reading it now and gripped by it (don't want it to end!) and I agree, the whole premise of the stories and characters feels broader and deeper.

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