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It's not that bad -- Hardison mentions that Livingston hosts chess tournaments all over the world but this is the first time *this* tournament has been held, and Livingston later comments about hoping it puts Dubai on the map for chess. They can't have had very long to get attached to the idea.
Guerr dhvgr arneyl nygreangrf tbbq rcvfbqr/onq rcvfbqr sbe zr -- fb fvapr V jngpurq rirelguvat juvyr vg jnf nvevat V sbhaq guvf frnfba qvfnccbvagvatyl reengvp: "Wnvyubhfr" - tbbq, "Erhavba" - whfg ab, "Vafvqr" - tbbq, "Fpururenmnqr" - svar, "Qbhoyr-Oyvaq" - svar, "Fghqvb" - abcr, "Tbar Svfuva'" - ybir, "Obbfg" - bxnl, "Guerr-Pneq" - ab gunax lbh. "Haqretebhaq" guebhtu "Fna Yberamb" - ybir cerggl zhpu rirelguvat ohg "Zbeavat Nsgre" juvpu V qvfyvxr va fhpu n jnl gung V pbzcyrgryl sbetrg vg rkvfgf. V raqrq hc ovatr-jngpuvat gur frevrf ntnva jura Znex fgnegrq hc, naq jura V tbg gurer V jnf tbvat '... bxnl, V erzrzore gur ubpxrl wrefrl cubgb guvat fb V xabj V'ir frra guvf, ohg bgure guna gung jurer gur uryy qvq guvf rcvfbqr pbzr sebz?' juvpu V fhfcrpg V qb rirel gvzr nf rira abj V pna'g erzrzore gur erfg bs vg.
Actual conversation I had with my mother a few years back:
~watches commercial for Green Lantern~
"Didn't this movie come out like 6 months ago?"
"No, that was The Green Hornet. Was a tv show back in the olden days when you were a teenager, had Bruce Lee on it? Ringing any bells?"
"Oh. Wait, isn't Green Hornet the bad guy from the Spiderman movies?"
"No, that's the Green Goblin."
"Okay, now you're just fucking with me, right?"
"So you're saying I shouldn't bring up Green Arrow*?"
Really drove home how obscure geek culture can be to the unfamiliar sometimes, because even with only a passing familiarity with GL and next to no knowledge about GH, it wouldn't occur to me to conflate those. Also provides a reason why Hornet is the name Eliot would vaguely remember -- the Bruce Lee connection.
* I got to tease her about this all over again when Arrow started! (She doesn't really watch superhero stuff, but she'd heard about it.) That was fun.
(It occurs to me I may have mentioned this at some point on MR/MW and am repeating myself, but I really enjoyed that conversation so... )
"Oh, and those weren't her parents who lived in that house she blew up. Now whether those nasty abusive people were still in there or not ... choose the answer that you like. "
I think I'm holding onto it just for headcannon purposes as well. Like you said, it doesn't help the damage caused by the other option, but at least it means I don't have to be horrified at Hardison.
I think this is where we differ the most. (In this case. There are situations where I'd be on the 'why would you say that in front of anyone?' train.) Like I said, I don't care for the comment itself (on first viewing, I'm pretty sure the eyeroll from this redhead was epic) but personally I put more weight on how the comment would affect the person than on the comment in isolation. (Which is a matter of preference and I see where you're coming from, I'm just trying to explain why I'm coming from somewhere else.)
Plenty of people, regardless of gender/orientation/etc. of the speaker, have a momentary reaction to someone they find attractive and make an offhand comment to a friend that they wouldn't say to the person or in a less private conversation because it's inappropriate with a stranger. Eliot was talking to Nate, someone he knew well enough to talk to about Nate's son in the pilot, and the person who directed his attention to her in the first place. For me, that has a different standard than saying it in a more public conversation. It's more relevant to me that he didn't belittle her anger like the Tara situation, and far more important that Cora is never affected by any of this.
I also don't think the audience is intended to be as okay with it as I think I'm getting from your comment. We've had time to get attached to Cora and know how bad her situation is, and Nate's response sets her up as basically family. I think it was supposed to be an eyeroll moment, one that's quickly repudiated with sympathy and an offer to start breaking knees.
Saying something that patronizing to Parker in front of her friends and coworkers (and possibly ableist depending on your view of Parker's issues) is not acceptable. Tara deliberately caused the situation -- laughing at someone for failing to process that as quickly/in the same way you would is a Grade A Asshole move.