I still need to watch Steven Universe but I've heard great things. Thank you for this excellent pop culture analysis.

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Oct 3, 2023·edited Oct 3, 2023Liked by Noah Berlatsky

I don't want to make this about me, but learning about Sugar's oppression makes me think about how people's lives (including mine) get redacted for the convenience of the system.

I'm not queer and had little interest in the show, in spite of reading good reactions online. (Five seasons of anything consumes a lot of time and mental energy, even if the installments are short. )

This news of Sugar's oppression, however, makes my head throb. I have bipolar disorder (and show characteristics of autism, though not formally diagnosed). For much of my life, the message from the system has been "You know how you are? Please don't be that way" because "that way" inconveniences others.

To be told to deny the point of something she created, into which she'd put her identity, because it would cost someone a slice of their profits or make them acknowledge an uncomfortable truth? No wonder she broke for a while. How, in the 21st century, can powerful people justify forcing us into standardized boxes? If Greg Abbott can use a wheelchair and still sell his "Boss Sunglasses from 'Cool Hand Luke'" image to the public, why is another type of difference so marginalized?

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Oh my goodness, please watch Steven Universe Future! It's really powerful, and gives us closure in an unexpected but satisfying way. It hit me the same way Toy Story 4 did: at first it's like, why do we need more?? The original was perfectly complete! But then you see it and realize oh no, there was a whole nother layer I didn't consider, this is so much more mature than I thought.

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I've now watch Steven Universe Future! There was a lot I liked about it, though I thought they didn't quite figure out how to end it? Steven going on the road to find himself was an option they already rejected when he fought with his dad...felt like they weren't quite sure how to wind it up...

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That's a good point, I'd forgotten about the fight... I just liked how they approached trauma and memory and all that in this series. Felt good to see they didn't stop with Spinel and the movie. And yeah I would've liked a glimpse into a wider world at the end. Those horizon-bending choices are few and far btwn.

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