Here I am, providing you guys with some enjoyable, and enlightening, reading material for the weekend. This should tide you over, until I make a post about something a little more substantial, Monday.
*This post is about one of my favorite action series, John Wick, and how it compares to the action films of the 80s.
At one point or another, every major movie site gets around to detailing the collapse of the modern action movie star. Gone are the bulked up action stars of the eighties who could sell a fight sequence just by looking the part of a demi-god. Gone too are the slow-motion gunfights and myriad of squibs that contemporized the gunfight. In an era where the studio is the star and special effects are limited only by the imagination of those coding them, there isn’t a lot of room for standouts and signature styles.
*This one is about Blackface, Whitewashing, and the White Savior Trope. Its a tiny bit pretentious, and I’m not sure I agree with all of its tenets, but I think the basic idea is sound, and I enjoyed it.
There is a difference between walking in someone else’s shoes and leading a march in an Other’s boots. The former is a figurative idea involving empathy, while the latter is a kind of domination through appropriation and well-intended salvation. In the movies, though, protagonists representing both concepts are the same. And even if the movies are meant to be positive on issues of race, gender, or otherness in general, they no longer have a place in pop culture. Really, they never had a place there to begin with.
*It turns out that the new Dark Tower movie IS NOT an adaptation of any of the Dark Tower books. It turns out its a continuation of the last book in the series. If you’ll remember, in the final chapter, Roland carried the Horn of Eld into the desert, after the Man in Black, (which is not how The Gunslinger begins.)
The basic premise is that Roland has made it to the Tower many times, and with each iteration of his journey he makes different decisions, that have an impact on how he makes the next one. So this movie is Roland, after he has procured the Horn, and supposedly this is the last journey. (If you watch the trailer closely you can see he is carrying the Horn in his pack.)
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
This is Stephen King’s best opening line. It’s one of the best opening lines in literature. However, it is not the opening line in the trailer for The Dark Tower that dropped this morning. That trailer instead opens with Idris Elba slinging guns, cuts to a shadowy Matthew McConaughey, then to New York, then back to Idris. This, Constant Viewer, is not the movie version of a Stephen King series—such a thing could open in no other way but with the man in black fleeing across the desert—but a very self-conscious adaptation, and you and I (and other fans) are going to have to learn to live with that. Reluctantly.
*Here are yet more articles about the movie Get Out. This is about the movie’s depiction of White people’s jealousy of Black people’s talents, as depicted in the film.
My brothers and I went to an all-white school when I was 12. My oldest brother was only a year older, but much more athletic than I was. In our first week, I found my way to the school library, and he discovered the basketball court.
*This one is about Chris’ inability to kill the White female antagonist at the end of the movie, and why:
And, for once, I am so glad that I did. Because the audience watching on this particular day was fascinating. It is one of very few movies I’ve seen where, based on the reactions of the various faces in the theater, Iknew that the black members of the audience—and the white members of the audience—were essentially seeing two different movies.
*This particular post explores the White Savior, and Mighty Whitey Tropes:
The Great Wall exemplifies a related Hollywood trend where white characters play a dominant role in a foreign situation, while nonwhite locals are reduced to sidekicks or people “to be killed or rescued — or to have sex with,” as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen put it recently.
*This isnt so much about Get Out, as its about the type of film Get Out represents. Compared with The Girl with All the Gifts, the messages that we would be getting in horror films, with an infusion of diversity, is going to be somewhat different than the kind we’ve been getting the last fifty years, and the results may be bleaker, and more unexpected, than we think.
Last October, The Ringer’s K. Austin Collins wrote a piece about Jordan Peele’s then-upcoming Get Out and the horror genre’s potential to do more than simply rehash the familiar anxieties of black characters in film. “The future of horror,” Collins wrote, “can and should be one in which race amounts to more than a historical past.”
*I thought this point needed to be made again:
This is stated so perfectly, that I don’t have anything to add, except this also ties into how fandom does the same thing, woobifying, and playing down, the criminality of White villains in the primary narrative, as preciously misunderstood, while vilifying PoC characters for committing the same actions.
This is what I mean when I say people need to critically assess the media they consume. We’ve been fed this particular narrative for decades, and most of us have never thought about it, or how this narrative plays out in the real world, with Black people being coded as hopeless thugs from birth, while White criminals get treated as “good guys gone bad”, by the Criminal Justice System.
On Friday, November 27, a 57-year-old white man named Robert Louis Dear allegedly injured nine people and killed three in a shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Among those shot were four police officers, one of whom died. As several media outlets and many on social media noted, Dear was given the opportunity to surrender peacefully, just like convicted mass shooter James Holmes, and alleged Charleston mass shooter Dylann Roof, both of whom are white, and very much unlike the black men, many of them unarmed and not engaged in criminal activity, who nonetheless have been shot and killed by law enforcement in just the past couple of years: Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Freddie Gray, Rumain Brisbon, Walter Scott, Eric Harris …
*This post is for every a**hole on social media who insists on arguing about historical accuracy, while not knowing one damn shred of history. If you haven’t visited the website Medeival PoC, then please do so. They are doing what my Momma likes to call ” The Lord’s Work”! of calling out racial bullshit wherever they see it, and one of the most prominent places its seen is in historical shows and movies, which bigots then use to argue why PoC can’t be in Fantasy movies, of all things. (Yeah, its not logicking correctly but really! What do y’all expect from perennial dumbassedness?!)
In February, 2017, The Public Medievalist inaugurated a new special series of essays on one of the thorniest issues surrounding the Middle Ages today: Race, Racism, and the Middle Ages. Issues of race lie at the heart of our understanding of the medieval world; racists—even within the ranks of the academic medievalist community—have, for far too long, warped our understanding of the past. And considering the recent uptick of overt prejudice, hate crimes, and politically sanctioned racism in the US and Europe, this series seems particularly timely and necessary.
MedievalPoC and their statement of purpose:
I have a confession to make.
I am a an E-Book Hoarder.
I have an E-Book problem.
I need help! Is there a E-nonymous I can go to or smething?
Book hoarding is a well-documented habit.
Anita Sarkeesian has a brand new series tackling movie and TV tropes, and I am here for it. This video is pretty comprehensive, covering all the major Ethnic groups in a short amount of time.
The only problem I have with any of it is that Anita has gotten pretty famous just for being hated, and there will be people out there making counter -videos, who aren’t so much interested in her arguments, as they are in trying to bring her down (which is deeply stupid, but hey! it’s their free time.)
I have to warn you that just like that Born Sexy Yesterday video though, the images are extremely cringeworthy, and so are most of the accents. While watching, pay close attention to the use of language across the various stereotypes. Its interesting.
Here’s a critique of the racial tropes that may, ormay not, end up in the apadptation of the new TV show, Cloak and Dagger, airing on the CW in 2018.
Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson were teen runaways who–individually–left their hometowns for the streets of New York. Encountering one another by chance, Bowen’s purse was stolen by a thief, and was recovered by Johnson. Bonding over this encounter, the two were captured soon after their arrival and subjected to your typical scientific experiment carried out by a morally deficient scientist. The experiment granted the pair “light” and “dark” powers, which I’ll get into in a minute. For much of their young career, the pair specifically fought drug dealers and worked to ensure the safety of other teen runaways.