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Samara Breger

Love and Piracy: On the Importance of Queer Romantic Fantasy

I learned early that television in general was inhospitable to my desires. To be a queer character on TV was to be in constant peril; a post-sweeps-week disappearance, a stray bullet, a snide joke that minimizes to the point of complete obliteration. Aside from some notable exceptions, which I would diligently watch despite a distinct lack of enjoyment (sorry, Bette and Tina), I learned that my desires were a media exception. An aberration. A fly in the soup of consumable content. This was in line with the pre-marriage equality world in which I grew up. I didn’t expect anything more from media or from the world because I didn’t have the right.

So I said “F*ck TV” and picked up a book.

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The Subversive Hotness of Shrek 2

Welcome to Close Reads! In this series, Leah Schnelbach and their guests dig into the tiny, weird moments of pop culture—from books to theme songs to viral internet hits—that have burrowed into our minds, found rent-stabilized apartments, started community gardens, and refused to be forced out by corporate interests. This time out, Samara Breger takes us for a stroll through a swamp to discuss the sensual power of animated ogres and subversive self-love.

The fourteenth-century poem the Grímnismál provides much of our modern understanding of the concept of Valhalla, the mythological resting place of heroes. According to this and other contemporaneous texts, the wise god Odin personally selects fallen warriors to populate this golden afterlife, sending Valkyries on winged horses to usher each of the slain to the glorious beyond. If this mythology is to be believed, then it is certain a Valkyrie was sent for Mongo, the giant gingerbread man, felled by steamed milk and a drawbridge as he battled palace guards in an effort to aid the hero Shrek in the film Shrek 2. There is no greater honor for this warrior, who lost his life in one of the best animated action sequences of all time.

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Series: Close Reads

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