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I has a question...
watchmen, who will watch the watchers
Recently I've stopped listening to my iPod. For two reasons.

Reason the first: music clogs my brain. While I delight in working smothered in sound, whether from radio or cassette tape or CD or mp3, find it easier to concentrate on the reading of readings and the writing of essays if there is a distinct lack of silent space around me, I can't think creatively in it - I become a blank slate or silent void. I also can't dream, which is a bad, bad thing for me; I like to think of my dreams as my superpower - absolutelybatshitcrazy and with no real world, crime-fightin' application, but then again all of my friends' superpowers are of the non-superhero variety. Anyway. The reduced cognitive functioning of my brain from musical cloggature extends beyond the period of listening, in much the same way that caffeine stays in your system beyond the last sip of coffee. Sure, I can function easily enough, but a lot of my more engaging personality traits are hard-wired into my crazy, which is itself hard-wired into my creativity, and that's what the music stifles. So to get my Write back on, I need to have less music.

Reason the second: I've listened to all the music on my iPod already. A lot.

That had very little to do with my question; I just felt like writing it. :D

So, the other day, while waiting for my bus, instead of pulling out my iPod and suffocating my brainspace for half an hour, I decided to exercise it. It was a productive half hour of travel in which I got some back-story rolling for Pixie, or more accurately: his wife. Long story short, I had them marry, have a happy year of childless marriage, and then killed her.

My question today is this: is it creepy, or does it push feminist buttons, if I have her die purely to inspire him to use his powers, at which point he takes her voice and uses it as a template for a vocal interface with his artificially intelligent home/office management system? Or does it rely too much on how I execute it (no pun intended) for an answer to that question? There is also be a visual/holographic interaction capability, which could further reduce (her/the memory of her) to a tool-like thing. However, the flip-side is that she sort of gets to keep on living... ish... kinda... ?

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(Deleted comment)
Ah, yes, but I question everything.

Apart from the fact that she's a woman, though, how does it differ to the Uncle Ben/Spider-man situation? Uncle Ben is like the only pop comic book character that doesn't get resurrected - his sole purpose in "life" is to die and thereby inspire Spider-man to heroism. If Pixie's wife was in fact Pixie's husband, would that change how you perceive the death? Does Pixie's gender in that scenario (i.e. whether the marriage is gay or straight) then further change your perception?

Also, I misspoke in the post - it's actually her brother who uses her, before she dies, as a template for the "skin" of the AI's voice/body. With her permission, I might add. He then gives AIMS to Pixie as a way of remembering her. All sorts of angsts etc then stem from those post-mortem interactions, so while it's technically true I've still only created her for her death, she's not a one trick pony - she does more than inspire Pixie with her death; her partial resurrection allows for further exploration of her, and their, past, as well as her character and even her accomplishments.

Also: follow-up question to the original button-pushing one - does it make any difference if I establish how accomplished she was as a scientist before she died, and show that that's why she gets killed?

(Deleted comment)
Apart from the fact that she's a woman, though, how does it differ to the Uncle Ben/Spider-man situation?

It differs because SHE'S A WOMAN, david. If you're talking about a man killed for these purposes you have a different story.

If Pixie's husband died, you might be treading on the all-the-gays-are-dead trope, which would also be problematic, but in different ways.

These are problems not because we're talking not about one individual, but about writing within massive narrative frameworks. Ones which mean that the main narrative roles of women are to be rewards for male heroism; to be inspiration for male heroism; to be victims of misused male strength.

does it make any difference if I establish how accomplished she was as a scientist before she died, and show that that's why she gets killed?

Uh... I'd say there's a very strong possibility that you would make it WORSE, David. On the one hand, yay, the killer's motive isn't solely boyfriend-linked. On the other hand, you just took an educated, independant, powerful woman; you deliberately created a woman who looks like she might be something other than the standard passive trope and then you killed her and reduced her to a voiceless automaton.

Seriously. Do not go there. It is creepy.

(Deleted comment)
See, I would have thought it'd be worse if I'd taken a completely useless, incompetent, fail of a person who happened to be female, and made her better (utility-wise at least) by killing her and mimicking her with a competently sentient computer program.

*shrug* You're looking at a game of terrible idea versus terrible idea, David.

Also, voice. Think about The Little Mermaid for a second, it's a really big obvious example of this cultural trope. Voice is really closely tied with sexuality, independence and autonomy in western literary tradition. Be very, very careful because you steal women's voices.

Can't you just balance it out? Maybe like kill off some guys as well?

Or maybe just add some more good female characters?

Sorry, I'm an engineer, we tend to solve terrible poisonous problems by dilution...

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