I’m Watchin’ Thangs

Hi there!

Have some mini reviews:



The Expanse:

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This is an extremely mini review, as I’ve not actually sat down to watch an entire episode, even as they keep accumulating on my DVR. As I said before, I don’t usually watch Space Operas, not because I consider them uninteresting, but because I usually don’t have time, and just end up missing the entire series. The same thing happened here, with The Expanse. I also haven’t read any of the books in the series by James Corey, so I don’t know how close a resemblance the show has to those. I have to confess I’ve only watched the trailers and a few snippets. I certainly like what I see and the show is blowing it up on the diversity front. The show has not neglected to round out the cast with Latinxs, Black people, and different Asians. So if that’s  important for you, then check it out.

The character in the photo above is the six foot tall, New Zealander, Frankie Adams who plays the bad ass Bobbie Draper, and already she’s my favorite character, even though I’ve seen nothing more than snippets of her scenes. If you liked Vasquez from the movie Aliens, you will love Bobbie, who is continuing that grand tradition of having bad ass, WoC warriors in space.

The show appears to have improved quite a bit since that first season. At some point I going to need to sit down and binge the Hell out of this show, and give a more in depth review.

The Magicians:

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This is the first episode of the second season and I remain mostly unimpressed. It’s not that it’s a bad show, because there’s plenty in it for the discerning viewer, it’s just that it has several competing tones, which can be kind of jarring if that’s not something you’re used to. On the one hand the show wants to have a lighthearted, jokey, bantering feel, most especially in the scenes where Elliot, Margot, Penny, Quentin and Alice are in Fillory, a fairytale world mentioned prominently in season one, and the real world travails of Quentin’s friend Julia, who got kicked out of Brakebills last season, and had been fumbling to get back into the magical community, ever since.

Julia’s storyline is dark, depressing ,and unnerving, as she seems to spend the majority of her time being sexually, and emotionally abused, and belittled by various characters. Last season, she was emotionally manipulated by a Hedge witch named Marina, and raped by a creature she thought was a god, after she joined a cult. This season, the person trying to both sexually, and emotionally abuse her, is named The Beast. With a name like that you would have to be a complete jackass to trust him, nevertheless, I wish we got to see a lot less of him. (As with all TV villains, he thinks he’s pretty charming, and talks too damned much.)

There’s also a third thread where we keep flipping back and forth, from Fillory to Brakebills, as Quentin, Margot, and Alice, investigate what’s happening in Fillory with Dean Fogg, and that’s confusing and  doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the episode.

You cannot have this rather casual and jokey attitude sitting side by side with the constant degradation of this other character. It just makes the whole show feel bad.  Julia seems like she’s in another show entirely. I’m not sure where they’re going with her storyline, but I wish it wasn’t. Its distracting from what is otherwise a mildly entertaining show about magic.

In the first season, we spent our time establishing various characters, and setting up for season two. This second season is going to be more like the second book in the series, called The Magician’s Land, where the four major characters become the Kings and Queens of Fillory,  except for Penny who doesn’t get a crown. I was mildly peeved by this. Even though Penny is still an asshole, I feel he deserves a crown too, and why was the lone character of color left out of it.

The show gets LGBT representation right in Elliot, but gets a  black hashmark for killing off all the other gay characters (including the lone Black woman, this show has ever had, in season one). It also gets a demerit for making the one  PoC a complete arsehole (Penny), and the other PoC is the Dean of the school. Putting the lone Black person in charge of giving orders, is a trope a show adds when it wants to have diversity, but has no clue how to write characters of color.

There were some things I enjoyed, though. I liked some of the humor. The idea that they could only win their crowns by passing some elaborate tests, only for the tests to turn about to be 90’s pop culture trivia questions, was pretty funny. And of course, I love Elliot, who is always saying the absolutely correct things, at the correct times. He’s the best written character on the show. Snarky and intelligent, but vulnerable, when he needs to be.  Quentin has improved since last season, becoming more sure of himself, but I credit the actor for that, not the writers.

Like I said, its not a bad show, and there’s something in it worth watching for the casual viewer, but the tone of the show is wildly uneven, as it swings between humor, and sexual violence, and I don’t like that.

Legion:

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Well, I watched two episodes of this show and I think I understand whats going on, or at least what the creators are trying to do, while also trying to have a plot. The first episode may appear to be plot free, but it does have one. The title character has been institutionalized for attempting to commit suicide. While there, he’s diagnosed with schizophrenia and paranoia. I don’t know how accurate the depiction of 1960’s  mental institutions is, but I didn’t have a problem with the depiction, outside of the usual tropes of “crazy patients”, in the background.

While David is  there, he meets a pretty blond girl, that he falls in love with, while he’s being hunted by some type of clandestine Federal organization that wants to study him, because they believe he’s a powerful mutant. This entire plot takes two episodes to resolve because we keep taking detours into David’s mind, as he hallucinates, imagines scenarios, or just remembers things. We spend a lot of time in David’s mind and I think the purpose is to make the audience feel as disoriented about the things happening to him, as David feels. It certainly is a different approach to a Marvel character.

Now, in the comic books, David is the son of Charles Xavier and Moira McTaggert(?) and is the most powerful telepathic being on Earth, more powerful than his father, which is why he spent the early part of his life in a vegetative state, unable to cope with his abilities. In all fairness, I haven’t read about this character in a very long time, so I’m sure he’s gone through a bunch of reiterations since the 9os.

I was reluctant to approach this show. I generally avoid shows that involve blatant displays of mental illness, especially after my own bout with mental illness in my twenties (which has since been in a kind of remission), but the fear that that state of mind could reoccur, is always present, especially when watching shows where mental illness is heavily featured. I went through some very, very rough times , and don’t like to be reminded of one of the worse periods of my life.

The closer the TV depiction of mental illness is to reality, the more I dislike it, and I was expecting to dislike this show, but it turned out to be not that bad. At least not for me, but if you’re a person currently going through some mental shit, you might want to use caution, when watching this. A lot of the show’s visuals are very disorienting. I don’t know that I’ll make  regular viewing of it, but I don’t dislike the show. The best thing I can say about it is that it’s visually spectacular.

 

Humans: 

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Actually this is a very interesting show, in its second season. Yes, it’s about sentient robots, but that’s where the  comparison, between it and Westworld, end. This  British show takes place in the real world, and recounts how humans and robots interact, as robots begin to displace human beings from working life, and how that interaction is unsettled, when some of the robots start to become self aware.

In the first season, we followed a group of self aware robots (Niska, Mia, Leo, and Max) who’d been split up and were trying to find each other. They’d all been created by the same man, now long dead. This season, one of the robots (Niska) uploads their self-awareness code into a system that all of the robots (called Synths) have to occasionally link to, and more of them become aware. Now they have to deal with not just this new awareness, but what kind of relationships do they want to have with humans.

The show also deals with the fallout for the Hawkins family’s interaction with Leo and his family, last season. How does this affect them? What do the children think? How does their interaction with self aware robots affect their future, and will the government find out they were involved? Added to that, the Hawkins parents are still in therapy, dealing with the husband’s brief infidelity with Mia, something I found to be deeply interesting. Did he or did he not cheat on his wife, and how does she process what he did, when he says it didn’t mean anything.?

There are several threads we follow through the episode.  We follow Niska, who is investigating human love, as she picks up a girl at a nightclub, and goes on trial for killing a man. I still don’t see how she can get away with appearing human  because she doesn’t talk or move like one. Why the humans don’t see it, is one of the show’s bigger mysteries.

There’s a secondary story involving a Dr. Morrow played by Carrie-Ann Moss (from Daredevil). She’s investigating how and why the Synths have become aware, and what they want. At some point during the season she will meet up with the more militant Niska.

There’s a third storyline involving Detective Karen Voss, who is also a Synth married to, and masquerading as a human. Its interesting because her husband knows what she is and still loves her anyway. She in turn appears to be very much in love with him, too. There’s also Hester, a newly sentient Synth, who is still discovering who and what she is.

This show is a lot less action packed than Westworld, and asks different types of questions on the nature of sentience. Its more thoughtful, and philosophical, and states its ideas much more blatantly. There are certainly fewer shootouts. There are also more PoC, but the narrative doesn’t explore that particular angle, in depth. Its mostly left for the viewer to suss out how race relations work in a society where robot servants look like any race of people. Do the robots of color get abused, or exploited more, I wonder?  I’m still trying to figure out whose idea was it to make them so human-looking, and why. The Synths don’t behave like humans, though. They speak and behave smoothly, stiffly, and slowly, so its fairly easy to tell they’re not human.

Taboo:

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I don’t even know how to describe this show anymore, as it has gone completely off the deep end, with wild things happening in every episode. But this week’s episode was actually refreshing in that James Delaney’s enemies have finally caught up with him and brought him low. From the jump, James has been three steps ahead of everyone but this episode proves he’s at least not invulnerable or omniscient.

There’s also the added factor that he seems deeply fascinating to many of the women in the narrative. From the little mulatto girl who thinks he’s going to take her to America, to the actress that lives with him and pines for his attention, to his own half-sister Zilpha who, in a fit of cold rage, just killed her boozy, abusive husband.

Zilpha arrives at James house, in the middle of the night, and says she did just as he asked her to do. Since we’ve never heard James express any such sentiment, its no wonder he begins to question her sanity, and if so, is it his fault, although this doesn’t stop the two of them from getting their freak on, after her husband’s funeral. Its not meant to last however, as James, hallucinating that his mother is drowning him, tries to choke Zilpha.

There’s a new player in town, an African man named Chichester, and he’s asking questions about the ship that sank with all hands,  but from  which James conveniently escaped. This is a character who pulls no punches, as he blatantly  taunts the Company men, reminding them at every opportunity that he was once a slave. His investigations into the East India Company’s illegal slave trade prompts them to attack James by burning his newly bought boat. There’s also the matter of some stolen gunpowder that James is attempting to sell to the Americans. So now James has plenty of goods to sell but no way to reach America to sell it.

Brace, James’ houseman, tries to tell him that James’ mother was no saint, but James ain’t hearing none of that, although he does keep having flashbacks to images of his mother trying to drown him. As the tension between all these characters ratchets up, James is starting to lose it, too. He becomes even darker and more violent, biting out a man’s tongue for betraying him, which is saying something, when you consider that, in an earlier episode, he ate part of a guy and cut off another man’s finger. He’s having more hallucinations, too. Is he succumbing to the madness that claimed his father, and that he thinks is claiming his sister?

Later, after recovering from a drunken stupor, he discovers the drowned body of Winter. Did he do this? Is it a setup? We’ll find out. We’ve got two more episodes left and I’ll have a full rundown on the finale when it airs.

 

On a more personal note:

I’m still very fatigued, although a lot less fatigued than I was at the start of the year. Its become my habit to go to bed as early as possible now, which means that a lot of these shows sit on my DVR until the weekend, and that’s what happened with The Expanse and Ash Vs. The Evil Dead. Also, there have been so many new shows, and season premieres, that its just hard to keep up with all of them. I’ve limited myself to reviewing the pilots and premieres only, except for those shows I’ve already been reviewing, like Supernatural, and The Walking Dead.

In March I’ll be reviewing the return of Samurai Jack, in its fifth season; Iron Fist, which I’m not especially enthused about, but hey!, I managed to sit thorough half of Jessica Jones, so how bad could it be; and the return of Into the Badlands, which I will review in the entirety of its second season.

So, TTFN!

The Walking Dead Season 7: Rock in the Road; New Best Friends 

So, I’m back and cautiously attending the show. I was looking forward to this episode, as it’s mostly Negan-free, and it’s nice to see Rick getting his mojo back. Plus, I’m partial to Jesus, and he’s just really pretty, and he got to say some lines during this episode, so…

We open this episode with Rick and the Gang, walking with new pep in their steps, into Hilltop to confront Gregory about joining them in taking down Negan. Greg is at his infuriating worst, calling everybody out of their names, until Rick starts to lose his shit. My favorite moment is when Michonne, realizing her bae is about to lose it and slap Greg into the next episode, pulls her man back from the brink with a single touch, stepping in to save Greg’s sorry life. She grounds Rick in a way absolutely no one else can. Watch her face as Rick starts to get more and more agitated in discussion with Gregory, after Greg calls him Ricky. Incidentally, why is Greg in charge? He is a total trash coward!

Negotiations with Hilltop are a bust, so Jesus takes the crew to The Kingdom, where they meet up again with Morgan, who lies about Carol’s whereabouts, even though he sees Daryl standing right there, and knows the two had a connection. The funniest moment is when Rick and the others meet King Ezekiel for the first time, and are staring, rather goggle eyed, at Shiva, when Jesus apologizes for not remembering  to tell them there was gonna be a tiger. The look on Jesus’ face is priceless.

They strike out at The Kingdom. King  Zeke is reluctant to get involved in a war, but he  needs to understand that his relationship with The Saviors, is already tentative. They are bullies who can decide, on a whim, to change the dynamic of their relationship with him at any time, (and I’m certain they will, because that’s what sadistic people do.) The King’s people are always in danger from them, no matter what he does.

The group is on a time stamp, because Daryl’s escape has been discovered, and Rick knows The Saviors will come directly to Alexandria to look for him, and terrorize his people. (They know this because Jesus managed to steal one of the Saviors walkie -talkies.) They need to get to Alexandria before the Saviors do. On their way back home they meet a roadblock of cars and bombs, and make plans to take the bombs with Rosita’s help. Can I just say that Rosita is seriously getting on my nerves. I know why she’s acting the way she is but it’s still irksome. Nevertheless, I hope she doesn’t bring harm to herself. She’s in a kind of fatalistic depression that is going to get her, or someone else, killed. Again.

While  stealing the bombs, a horde of Walkers appears, and the Richonne team take most of them out with a couple of cars and some wires. Can I just point out how batshit this show has become this season? I loved this scene. (I won’t even mention the scene, a few episodes back, where Jesus backkicks some zombies, at Hilltop.) Afterwards, Michonne has to talk Rick down when he has a panic attack, at the realization, of just how much danger he just put his bae through. Rick has always had to consider others, but there was a power differential, with Carl and the others, that could create some control for their safety. The same isn’t true in his relationship with Michonne. She has a level of autonomy that the other characters lack, and she’s not like his late-wife, who would stay put when he told her. He needs to start considering the kind of danger he used to just walk into, with an understanding that the others would stay behind. Michonne isn’t going to stay behind. I think he’s just starting to realize that this woman would walk through the Gates of Hell for him, so  he may have to rethink doing that kind of stuff.

Father Gabriel makes off with Alexandria’s supplies, before Rick and the others can get back, but  Rick is just in time to meet The Saviors, and assure them that Daryl isn’t there, although The Saviors wonder at why they don’t have anything. Why do nasty people, when searching for stuff, always break things and topple things over? This is a trope I’ve seen in every TV show and movie, with the villains toppling over chairs, tables, and picture frames, as if whatever they’re looking for can be found in that bottle of orange juice they just smashed on the floor. Incidentally, this  also shows the viewer what type of villains they are, and how important, and/or meaningful, their search is. The Saviors issue  some threats and leave. Rick investigates Gabriel’s disappearance. He trusts Gabe wouldn’t do what he did without a reason, and finds a note from Gabe to go the boat, from which came  their last batch of supplies.

When they arrive, they’re attacked by a new group of people, who live on heaps of garbage. Right now fans are calling them the Scavengers. Rick however is unbowed. He smiles because what he sees is an opportunity to make new allies.

Now:

And that’s sort of what happens, after some very rough negotiating techniques, where Rick has to fight a spike covered zombie, in a garbage-dome, while Michonne yells out helpful hints, like “Use your environment, dude!” Well, I’m kind of paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it. I like how the writers are showing the dynamics of their relationship, since they got together. The creators said the two of them were long destined to be a couple, so we’ve seen some of this dynamic the entire time, but this season we get the full outlook, and it’s interesting to watch Rick have these epiphanies, brought about by his relationship with her. Michonne, is an anchor, she’s a sea of calm. Like I said, she emotionally grounds him, and he is her emotional safety, where she can freely express herself, without judgment.(For example, notice who receives most of her smiles.) They keep each other from spinning out of control, as we saw that first few months in Alexandria.

This new group of people are really weird, though, as the show just seems to be throwing all manner of craziness into the plot. They dress like extras from Star Trek, and the leader, Jadis, talks like a constipated Vulcan, and has a low concept of personal space. If the Hilltoppers are the Hippies, I guess these are the Goths of the Apocalypse, (which is a great name for an Industrial Rock band.)

Rick makes a deal with Jadis, to take down the Saviors, for a third of the spoils, and there you have it. This is Rick’s first step in the war, I guess. Now he needs to get Hilltop and The Kingdom on board. King Ezekiel is still surreptitiously checking on Carol even though she is vehement that no one bother her. He manages to weasel around her decrees very nicely, while still managing to give her stuff he knows she likes, like Cobbler. On a more humorous note, Jerry, Zeke’s second, is my new boyfriend. He is exactly my physical type, and I think I’m falling in love with his happy ass.

In the meantime, Daryl comes across Carol and there’s a happy-sad reunion. I like the relationship these two abuse survivors have built. Daryl still tries really hard to be stoic and manly around her, but she’s one of the few people who can see right through it. Of course, Carol wasn’t there for Glenn’s death, and when she asks if everyone is okay, Daryl lies to her, saying they are. I have mixed feelings about that, though. I don’t like that he lied. I disagree with him lying to her, but I’m also glad he did because I understand why. Carol is going through some kinda shit and needs to decompress. The Alexandrians are just going to have to opt out of nuking the Saviors from orbit, which is what Carol would do, were she available. She and Daryl sit down to have a quiet dinner.

I did enjoy seeing Daryl bonding with Shiva afterwards. Apparently, he can identify with her, in a way no one else can. Not even Jerry gets close to her, but Shiva likes Daryl, it seems.

Later, Daryl confronts Morgan, about why he lied about Carol’s whereabouts. Morgan is once again trying to talk someone else into taking the peaceful way out. I understand his point of view, but its extremely impractical in a world with such being as the Saviors. He’s starting to work my last damn nerve, too. He and Rosita. Rosita is flailing wildly at anyone that wanders into her orbit, on one extreme, and on the other extreme, you have Morgan, who thinks people can just talk their way through everything. Hey Morgan, guess what? There’s such a thing as the middle path.

I think I saw this same argument on Tumblr. You cannot reason with the unreasonable. You certainly cannot reason with people who mean you gross bodily harm, and only understand that they shouldn’t hurt you, when they have some skin in the game. In other words, some people only stop being violent when they realize how much that shit is gonna cost them. When we were kids my mother used to say this about bullies,” You got to bring some ass, to get some ass!” If a person wants to hurt you, make that mf pay for it, if you can, or rethink their actions, if you can’t. (In other words, there’s no such thing as a fair fight.) Morgan, in his zeal to salvage his conscience, can only get other people killed. This is a philosophy that only works in a world filled with honorable people, who don’t enjoy violence, for its own sake.

Also, I’m getting a little tired of the writers creating these useless Black men for the show. Black men who are cowards, or liabilities, who can’t, or won’t fight back. It’s interesting when you consider the show is written by White men who think they’re being nuanced and are trying not to stereotype them, and that’s all well and good, but in my life I’ve not met a single Black man that won’t, at least, attempt to put his foot in your ass, if you step to him. As a Black woman, I think I know a lot more Black men than the writers. They’ve written some wonderful Black women into the show, and I wish they could do the same for the Black men, and they could, if they weren’t being hampered by this idea of trying  to avoid stereotypes of Black men, I think.
Okay, I’m skipping next week’s episode, because I have a special intolerance for Negan, who is  prominently featured. But I will read the recaps and reviews, and maybe reblog one or two of those, instead. I hate the Negan centered episodes, even though sometimes they’re important, but I mostly don’t want to see Eugene being tortured, as he’s such a precious cinnamon roll, and really, I can’t watch that.

So TTFN!

Finn Meta Linkspam

Here are some discourses on my favorite character from Star Wars:

Star Wars, Finn, and Fandom Racism

 

We start with an admonishment to not be “That Person”.

thesovereignempress:

the-bi-writer:

this is a post for my fellow white star wars fans: we gotta do better. the treatment of Finn in the fandom at large has been dismal, both in obvious and insidious ways. so let’s talk about this.

quick note before we start: if you’re only here to argue, move on. if you’re already typing out a response beginning with, “not all white people,” don’t. however, if you’re interested in challenging your own biases, welcome aboard.

here are some harmful things white fans do, in regards to Finn:

1. we ignore him in fan works.

a quick check of ao3 stats shows that Hux (who has approx. 3 min of screen time) shows up in two thousand more works than Finn.

before you get defensive: no one’s telling you what you can and can’t write. however, as white fans we need to consider why we’re willing to go to the effort to imagine a rich backstory for a minor character we know almost nothing about, while ignoring the *actual* protagonist who already has a rich backstory of his own. (that protagonist is Finn, in case i was being unclear. Finn is a protagonist of Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens. Finn is a main character and co-lead. it’s Finn.)

2. when we do include Finn in fan works, we treat him poorly.

i’m going to stay in my lane on this one, and refer you to Writing with Color for more specifics on how *not* to treat black characters in harmful and/or stereotypical ways.

briefly: Finn is often hyper-sexualized (BBC, etc.) or pushed to the side by the narrative. additionally, very few fics, even ones with Finn in the main pairing, truly treat Finn as the protagonist of their fic.

i’m guilty of this myself, and i’m working on it. which is all i’m asking you to do: educate yourself, be willing to change, and then do it.

3. we underestimate his role in cannon

go read this post, and then tell me you haven’t been underestimating Finn from the moment he stepped on screen. i’d noticed almost everything the post points out, but chalked it up to plot holes, instead of considering that Finn (again, a protagonist) had been awake in the force since the beginning of the film.

that, right there friends, is racism.

tl;dr fellow white fans, we gotta do better. let’s take the energy we spend trying to convince people we aren’t racist…and actually be less racist. it’s our responsibility to examine our attitudes and change our actions. now is the time.

further reading:

here’s some excellent finn meta

here’s 5 tips for being an ally (video) by chescaleigh (Franchesca Ramsey) – her channel has a ton of other videos about race too.

here are a whole bunch of resources from Writing with Color, a tumblr “dedicated to writing and resources centered on racial & ethnic diversity.”

(feel free to add links + resources)

The thing is, if Reylo is your pairing and that’s the characters you choose to focus on – since that is how shipping works and as a reader I’m definitely going in for Reylo and other characters are secondary – what qualifies as “ignoring” or “pushing to the side”? That’s my issue with these talks about erasure and sidelining around Finn.

Lest it be misunderstood, I totally agree that we can be better at treating Finn in our fan works. I’ve seen him used in some uncomfortable ways. But there are some contradictions in this endeavor that tend to get glossed over.

I mean, no one is saying Finn should be the focus of fanfics about Reylo or other non-Finn ships. That doesn’t make sense. When we talk about Finn erasure, we’re talking about the bigger picture.

For example, if I go to the main TFA tag or the Star Wars tag, Finn is often nowhere to be seen. If I look for Finn (or even Finnrey or Stormpilot) fics, few that come up in the search are actually about Finn, making it difficult to find actual Finn content where he’s not a background character. When the title for Ep 8 dropped, There was a lot of speculation that The Last Jedi might be Ren and Rey as if Finn doesn’t exist. It’s not just in individual ship fics, if you look at many fan spaces, you would think Finn was a very minor character, not a main character. And that’s a problem.

We have to ask why Reylo and Kylux are the dominant ships while fics about Finn are the least popular. The question is not why aren’t Reylo and Kylux fics about Finn, it’s why are these ships exponentially more popular than ships including Finn and fics where Finn is actually a main character.

After a year’s worth of justifications that historically ONLY apply to white characters (fandom loves villains, the blank slate, etc) plus the fact that white heroes/protags are shipped like crazy, it’s clear that Finn’s blackness contributes heavily to his minimization.

Source: the-bi-writer fandom racism star wars finn
jawnbaeyega luminousfinn

skywalkerapologist:

luminousfinn:

The narrative arc The Force Awakens create between Finn and Kylo Ren is an interesting one. Visually it begins in the very first scene they appear on screen together at the assault of Tuanul village after the execution of the villagers that FN-2187 refused to participate in. When Kylo Ren is returning to his shuttle, he stops and stares at Finn for, at the time, no discernible reason.

In doing this the movie draws a visual line between the two men, connecting them in the audience’s mind and in-universe. One is dressed in black, the other in white, both are helmeted and faceless, but already we have witnessed the distinction between them and the movie spends the rest of its time emphasizing it: Kylo Ren will murder on a whim, while FN-2187 refuses to kill unarmed civilians.

After this “meeting” Kylo Ren maintains a distinct interest in FN-2187. So much that he not only knows that it was the same trooper which aided Poe in escaping, but that when he learns that Finn has got away with BB-8 he throws one of his two destructive rampages.

The other he has when Rey escapes captivity.

After this their stories part for a time, but only to be rejoined on Starkiller Base after Kylo Ren murders Han Solo.

After Chewie shoots Kylo, blows up the oscillator and everyone including Finn and Rey starts shooting, we see Kylo Ren kneeling on the bridge looking up. .

The camera cuts to an angle behind Kylo Ren’s head so we now also have Finn and Rey in the shot, both standing on a balcony in the background

Another cut, closing up on our two leads. This shows them both standing, looking down on Kylo Ren. Both look shocked and Finn is stepping forward on the balcony, towards the audience and more importantly, towards Kylo.

Once again the movie cuts and again it zooms in so that now Finn is in focus. His face merges from the shock and fear he has so far displayed, into grief, anger and determination. And throughout the shot he steps further and further forward while the camera zooms in on him, visually emphasizing him stepping into the conflict with Kylo Ren.

Rey is barely in the frame here and by the end of the shot she’s entirely gone, leaving her literally out of the picture.

Next cut is back to Kylo Ren, who is staring up at Finn. The way this sequence is cut together makes it startlingly clear that this is where he is looking and who he is looking at. Kylo’s face merges from surprise into unmitigated fury and hatred at the sight of FN-2187, the Stormtrooper who defected, who is everything he is not.

The whole sequence mirrors their first encounter with the two men staring at each other, though they’re now unmasked and we can see the mutual enmity clear on their faces. Finn is no longer running away, he’s stepping forward and the camera zooms in on Kylo’s face drawing him into conflict with Finn as well.

The movie sets up this conflict not just for the coming battle in the forest, but also for the next two Episodes as the battle between the two men is a draw. Finn is defeated by Kylo, but the Dark Sider does not obtain the lightsaber and is in turn defeated by Rey. Neither of them emerges a victor and the narrative conflict between them remains unresolved.

So whatever Episode VIII and IX brings, it is clear that Finn and Kylo will cross paths again and Kylo had better beware. To borrow John’s words: “Finn ain’t playing no more”, that much is clear from the scene in the oscillator.

Next cut is back to Kylo Ren, who is staring up at Finn. The way this sequence is cut together makes it startlingly clear that this is where he is looking and who he is looking at. 

This part is so important and yet flew over like 90% of the fandom’s heads in favor of focusing on Rey (gee I wonder why).

The shift in Finn’s expression from shocked grief to quiet rage reminds me of Luke’s reaction to seeing his aunt and uncle’s burnt corpses in ANH. Obviously Rey and Kylo will be squaring off again in VIII but TFA also made it clear that there’s some serious bad blood between Finn and Kylo that’s entirely separate from wanting to protect or recruit Rey. Which is why I roll my eyes when I see people claim that Finn is going to be shunted off to a B-plot opposite Hux (a character he never interacted with in TFA) and Phasma (who he literally threw in the trash).

Also, it’s worth noting that for the first time, Rey has to take Finn by the arm and pull him away.

image

Kylo was stumbling up towards them and I’m not convinced that Finn wouldn’t have tried to take him down right then and there.

finn meta to read
rebelfinn

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*Look, as far as I’m concerned Finn is Force Sensitive, and that’s that. He will be a  Jedi. I will wrestle you out of of your underwear, with your pants still on, if you disagree. Here, have some receipts:

Also, I just love this gorgeous essay on the parallels between Finn’s narrative and Arthurian legend.

jawnbaeyega adagalore

luminousfinn:

Maz giving Finn the lightsaber is noticeable for many reasons, not least of which because it happens twice and for all the Arthurian parallels surrounding the scenes.

 

The first time takes place just after the destruction of the Hosnia system which is what makes Finn return to Han (and implicitly to the fight against the Dark Side). At this point none of them knows that they’re about to be attacked themselves by the First Order, not even Maz.

Despite this she immediately upon Finn’s return  takes him, Han and Chewie into the cellar where she keeps the lightsaber. When she takes it out of the chest Han recognizes it and asks where she got it, she brushes him off and focuses on Finn.

Why Finn? Last she saw him Finn made it clear that he was leaving. Hosnia’s destruction marked a tentative return, but so far it is tentative. And wouldn’t Han a man who might not be a paragon, but someone she’s know for years, make more sense?

Her words as she passes it are ambiguous. “Take it. Find your friend.” And do what exactly? Give it to her? Use it to protect her? What? Recall, no one but Maz and Rey herself knows that Rey can use the Force at this point. In fact Finn is never told this in TFA.

In assorted other things the fact that Han’s attention shifts off Maz and onto Finn the moment she tells him to take it, but before she stops talking is interesting. His intent gaze on Finn as he makes the choice to take the weapon is mirrored in the second “giving” by Maz.

Maz too is looking rather expectantly as Finn reaches out and takes the lightsaber from her. The music that has so far been playing softly in the background swells dramatically the moment Finn’s hand touches the saber and mixes with the diegetic sound of an approaching TIE fighter as Finn raises the lightsaber as a young Arthur might Excalibur. The scene ends in a dramatic boom as the castle is struck just as we see Finn look at the saber with a serious face.

It is noticeable that Finn is so entranced by the lightsaber that he doesn’t seem to hear the incoming TIE. Not long before at Niima Outpost he jumped at the first sound of it, but here he’s oblivious to the noise.

 

Now before I go on to the second “giving” I’m going to make a small detour around Arthurian myth.

Much have been made of the Arthurian parallels in TFA. Kylo Ren as a Mordred like figure. Luke as either a Merlin or a fallen Arthur himself and of course Rey pulling the Skywalker lightsaber out of the metaphorical stone. But the Arthurian parallels have been ignored where Finn is concerned, especially when it comes to the giving of the lightsaber/Excalibur, because in Arthurian myths there are two kinds of givings of that sword. One is Arthur pulling it out of the stone which declares himself the true king of Britain, in the other it is given to him by The Lady of the Lake.

In both versions Arthur starts out as a youth of unknown parentage grown up fostered by strangers, just as Finn is. In the second versions Arthur runs into Merlin, often portrayed as an older, wiser man. Depending on the version Arthur either asks Merlin for help or about his future, in either case Merlin takes him to The Lady of the Lake.

The Lady depending on the version of the tale is either a powerful magical being or a High Priestess of Avalon. She proceeds to ask the young Arthur several question and put him through a test which he fails, but she sees that though he is not perfect he has a good heart and a true spirit. Realizing this she bequeath him Excalibur, the sword of the true king and the mark of a hero.

Maz is in a quite literal sense The Lady of the Lake. She a powerful alien, strong in the Force who has made her home on a lake.

Her initial interactions with Finn runs parallel with The Lady’s testing of Arthur, complete with Finn “failing the test” by choosing to leave. But in deciding to return to the fight Finn proves to The Lady of the Lake that he’s heart and spirit is true and so she gives him Excalibur (the Skywalker lightsaber) to wield.

 

That she means for him to wield it and not just as a caretaker becomes clear in the second “giving”.

When they exit the now ruined castle the dark forces are upon them and battle is joined. Maz once more tells Finn to go find his friends.

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.

As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

At first we see doubt on Finn’s face, it’s an unfamiliar weapon and a Jedi’s weapon to boot. How can he wield this? But Maz believes he can and Finn is nothing if not up for whatever challenge life throws at him so he ignites it. The blade flashes to life in his hand, accepting him as a worthy wielder, and the moment it does Finn’s decision is also made. He may not be a Jedi (yet), but the sword is his.

 

tl;dr. There is a lot of Arthurian coding around Han (Merlin) bringing Finn (a young Arthur) to Maz (The Lady of the Lake), Maz testing him and in finding that he has a good and pure heart gives him the Skywalker lightsaber (Excalibur). The sword allowing itself to be ignited (drawn from the sheath) confirms Finn’s worthiness as its wielder.

Source: luminousfinnLISTENTHIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OKfinn factsfinn metafinn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi okchoke on THAT
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*I have a friend who insists that Finn was nothing more than comedy relief and refuses to move from the position that he is a “coon”, no matter how many valid points I bring up. I just don’t get it. Its obvious that she and I were not watching the same movie at all. But then, she and I aren’t in the same place on the idea of representation, either, which might be some type of generational thing. Also part of the problem is that a lot of Black people were expecting Shaft in Space. We already got all that with Mace Windu’s  purple lightsaber, so why copy that?
lj-writes

Finn’s subversive decency

Choosing to be kind is not choosing to be passive. It’s choosing to end the cycle of abuse… . It’s a courageous act in itself.

-Melissa Grey on Cinderella

It’s amazing to me how some parts of the Star Wars fandom have no sense of nuance when it comes to Finn’s character, seeing him as either a naive child who can hardly function in the real world or a ruthless killer who showed no regrets or conflicts whatsoever about killing his former comrades.

Both extremes are fairly dehumanizing and distorted portrayals of the actual character, because the core of Finn’s character is that he is innocent when he has no business being so. He’s a character whose innocence and purity are not oblivious naïvete but qualities he had to fight to keep and attain. His morality is not based on an ignorance of life’s harsh realities, but rather on an intimate knowledge of brutality and the will to break free of it.

Keep reading

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Oooh! More theory!

https://youtu.be/YByg2UoncBs

Tumblr Politics: Laugh-In Edition

 Image result for kermit laughing gif

Yeah, there’s not much to laugh about these days politically, but what we can do is mock politicians and here’s a list of public mockings that occurred in the last few weeks.

*Yep, Tumblr and Twitter still can’t stand this woman, and we refuse to call her by her real name. Thanks Wale! You’ve given America no end of amusement.

Here Are (Most of) the Names Tomi Lahren Has Been ‘Mistakenly’ Called on Twitter

By

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*The Twitter responses to 45’s response to his court decision. I could make this up but then y’all would be mad at me.

Update: Trump, Clinton and more respond to decision 

  • Since Trump’s victory, Hillary Clinton has mostly kept her opinions private. But after tonight’s decision she tweeted the following:
  • “3-0″ marks the ruling of the three federal judges that made the decision.
  • Clinton’s simple message of support for the court’s decision stood in stark contrast to Trump’s own reaction to the news.
  • Twitter users didn’t hesitate to point out the irony of Trump’s message: After all, he had, in essence, just been in court. And lost.

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*I’m pretty sure Netflix doesn’t give a flying shit about butt-hurt racists boycotting their streaming network because they don’t like some of their programming. I don’t know why they think this would even work. When there’s shit on Netflix that I don’t like, you know what I do? I don’t watch it. Why? Because there’s about a bajillion other things on Netflix to look at.

At any rate I’m always up for trolls getting trolled on Twitter.

delamind:

bellygangstaboo:

bellygangstaboo:

I am deceased

minor update:

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*Okay, this one made me laugh and cry. It really does feel like a break-up, doesn’t it?

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*When I first heard about this, I was just Wow! She just straight the fuck lying to our faces at this point. I have no more evens left. I just can’t. Twitter needs to drag this woman more often than it does. Well, in this political climate, people are definitely honing their Twitter skills.

 

Coded Blackness

 

Happy Black History Month, dear readers! This month has always meant a lot to me on a personal level. Being a Black person, I’ve witnessed erasure of our achievements, dismissal of our problems, and omissions of us from opportunities. These types of slights often expand into nerd media, where representation is already sort of scant. […]

via Black Features Shouldn’t Mean “Other” — Lady Geek Girl and Friends

Into the Badlands Season 2: Video Roundup

Yaaayyy!!! Season two of Into the Badlands will be airing on March 19th, on AMC. And I’m really excited about this, if only because the trailers look super exciting, going in directions I didn’t expect and this season stars one of my favorite actors:

That hefty fella back there is Nick Frost. You may remember him from Shaun of the Dead, Attack the Block, and one my few favorite cop movies, Hot Fuzz. So, I’m totally geeking out about it!

There’s also a new trailer and a featurette focusing on the women of the Badlands. The first season turned out to be surprisingly feminist in aspect ,with lots of smart, deadly women, who have agency, affect the plot, and are integral to the development of this world, but that’s par for the course in the Chinese Action films on which this show is heavily based. The Chinese cinema has a long history of prominently showcasing women in the plots.

 

I hope this season we get to see more of the worldbuilding, as I had a lot of questions about this particular ‘verse. We will get to see some new sets and locations, which is cool. The show appears to have a slightly larger budget than last year, too. I hope to see more Woc, but my end all and be all, would be seeing at least one black woman kicking some ass in this show. We almost never get that in these kinds of movies or shows (but I wont be disappointed if I don’t get it.) Iron Fist has a lot to live up to as that’s going to be released at the same time.  I’m gonna be watching a lot of Kung Fu that weekend.

 

Into the Badlands Season 2 finds Sunny (Daniel Wu) and M.K. (Aramis Knight) separated and scattered to the wind, each imprisoned in unlikely places.  While M.K. struggles to control his powers, Sunny is determined to fight his way back into the Badlands to find his family or die trying.  On their journey, Clipper and Colt are assisted by mysterious, new allies whose motivations may be anything but pure.Meanwhile, The Widow (Emily Beecham) continues to consolidate power against the other Barons, while a dark and mysterious threat prepares to exact revenge on them all.Alliances are struck, friendships betrayed, and by season’s end, Sunny and M.K.’s lives will be forever altered with devastating consequences.

 

 

 

 

The Demonization of Welfare

 

*I just want to introduce my followers to Tim Wise. He has a website at Timwise.org where all of his interviews and videos are archived. If you have seen the movie 13th, by Ava Duvernay, and thought it made valid points, then you would perhaps benefit from understanding of how the welfare system works in this country.

 

 

*And here I’d like to introduce you to Serenn, who lays out exactly what false equivalency actually means, how its used in arguments to discredit people, and how to counter it. I see this all over Tumbr, all the time. Now part of this is becasue the membership of Tumblr skews very young, and they spend a lot of time arguing the ethics of things, among themselves. Many of them can be dazzled by such logical fallacies, if they haven’t had a lot of experience with them.

Sensei Aishitemasu is very passionate about it, but that does not make what she says wrong.

 

Women of Color in Videogames

Here, Anita Sarkeesian touches on some of the worst stereotypes of women of color in videogames.

And I thought the women’s tropes videos were vile. I had a hard time stomaching some of the images in those, but these… I don’t play any of the games listed in her video essay, so I had no idea  the racism in these games was so horrible, and that’s just in the first three minutes.

There are always a certain number of people who want to try to defend these games, but no intelligent excuses can possibly be made for some of these images. The creators of these games are grown ass men, who should damn well know better than to have ever created  any of  them.

 

As an addendum:

The Curse of the Scruffy White Male: Why Representation Matters in …

Brown hair and stubble: The new face of modern videogames

Same Face Syndrome or Why Scruffy-White-Dude Protagonists Don’t …

Why Are Game Developers Obsessed With ‘Average’ Heroes?

Racism Link Roundup

Here’s a selection of readings from last week. The articels themeselves may not be new but they are worth reading if you have an interest in the subject.

*Racism and Toxic Masculinity in Pop Cullture:

blackgirlfly asked: Given what we know from Finn in the various canon novelizations, do you think his depiction in the film serviced him well? Finn is clearly an intelligent, strong, brave, skilled individual, however that doesn’t seem to be what many took away with. They’ve simply written him off as a sanitation worker or the “new Jar Jar”. Is this purely fandom racism or poor character development and do you think there’s room for improvement?

jawnbaeyega:

I think by and large the film serviced him well. We know that he’s intelligent, strong, brave, and skilled because we were shown that in the film. I think there are two major things going into people’s inability to see that Finn is an incredible hero: racism and hyper/toxic masculinity.

As to the racism, it’s been scientifically proven over and over again that white people have significant difficulty empathizing with Black people in real life and on screen. Also given rampant media stereotyping, it’s difficult for people to see Black people outside of basic stereotypical boxes. So even when confronted with a multidimensional and incredible character like Finn, all they see is “comic relief” or “sidekick.”

This is why it’s really important that writers understand that you can’t just write a Black character in the same way as you would a white character. More work has to be done to play up their goodness, heroism, and complexity otherwise people will rely on stereotypes or throw away lines (i.e. how Finn once worked in sanitation when he was a trooper in training and stationed on Starkiller base) to erase all of that. For example, this is why the slow burn relationship build up with Black female characters isn’t successful…folks will just see her as the “strong friend/sidekick who don’t need no man” and won’t see the build up and then will act surprised when it happens. The media needs to spend time just showing Black women being loved and valued and romantic interests and after that settles in the mass consciousness, then we can do the slow burn (or at least both at the same time…bc the will they or won’t they thing alone just isn’t working).

As to the hyper/toxic masculinity, folks aren’t used to male heroes like Finn. Finn is vulnerable, acknowledges his feelings and fears, and is compassionate and empathetic. A lot of men (of all races) I’ve talked to who didn’t like Finn and claimed he was useless kept bringing up “he never won a fight” and “he was unconscious at the end” as “reasons” why he was “useless and weak.” They also always make mention of how Rey, “the girl,” defeated Kylo when Finn “couldn’t” (not taking into account Kylo’s injury, Rey tapping into the Force, and the fact that Finn wielding the saber and injuring Kylo at all w/o consciously using the force is huge). All of that is rooted in the idea that male heroes need to be invulnerable and kill and win all the time and “be better than the girl” by whatever metric they set (note: Finn & Rey are obviously equals and anybody insinuating otherwise has a problem). Finn’s subversion of hyper/toxic masculinity is so important. But that kinda adherence to toxic masculinity keeps people from seeing that Finn is literally the catalyst for the entire film, the reason the plot keeps moving forward, the emotional center of TFA, and obviously on his own hero’s journey.

I mean, it’s a trilogy ffs. Neither Finn nor Rey have reached their full potential. John already told us “Finn ain’t playing no more.” But somehow people think that because Rey’s force sensitivity was made more obvious in the first film that somehow Finn is less important or not a lead or whatever nonsense and it’s all truly ridiculous and rooted in problematic shit that people need to work through.

tl;dr: racism and toxic masculinity are a hellavu drug and white writers don’t understand the extra work they have to do with Black characters to mitigate the effects of those isms on how Black characters are interpreted.

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A Hero, Just Not The Hero: Masculinity in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

http://www.kissmywonderwoman.com/2016/02/masculinity-monday-star-wars-finn-is.html

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Racism in General:

http://www.timwise.org/2016/08/patriotism-is-for-black-people-colin-kaepernick-donald-trump-and-the-selectivity-of-white-rage/

http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2017/01/blacks_should_leave_forgivenes.html

View story at Medium.com

https://bullshit.ist/white-genocide-really-6007e1e4192e#.491vr6h10

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Chris Kluwe is always going to be one of my favorite people. If you haven’t read his book yet, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, then please find a copy, and settle in for the evening.

Fuck You, Donald Trump

Fuck you, Donald Trump.

Fuck you for being a hypersensitive, grossly plump caricature of a human being; a squirming mass of cockroaches lurking under a skinsuit veneer.

Fuck your wanton plundering of our social fabric, your willingness to tear down the structure that allows you to exist, your glorification of the worst parts of humanity, all in the name of your own insatiable greed and depravity.

Fuck your racebaiting, fearmongering, Nazi-enabling rhetoric that allows the darkest and most destructive corners of our collective zeitgeist free reign to terrorize the rest.

Fuck your ignorant paucity of intellect, your narcissistic belief in your own ego, your inability to recognize your own descent into fascism.

Fuck your promotions of white supremacists to positions of power, of science denying crackpots to oversee our future, of bootlicking toadies to oversee your transition.

Fuck your misogynistic views on women’s rights, fuck your archaic beliefs on the freedom of press and religion, and fuck your idiotic venality when it comes to the destruction of a country that, while not always achieving freedom for all of its citizens, has done the best to get there in the entirety of recorded human history.

Fuck you, Melania Trump.

Fuck you for being willing to support this disgusting slime mold because it means you can live a life of privilege and luxury, never mind the hardships that will befall women across this nation due to your husband’s philistinic views.

Fuck you for posing for puff pieces in entertainment magazines while the cabal of shitgoblins your partner is assembling gets ready to reverse everything that has allowed you to possess even the most moderate amount of power.

Fuck you for taking the easy choice, the choice to suck the dick of a loathsome troll in order to wear Hugo Boss dresses, instead of taking a stand in order to protect the fifty percent of our population who shares your gender.

Fuck you for smiling and waving at the cameras when your husband is on record as saying, “Grab them (women) by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Fuck your betrayal of everything Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes fought for, fuck your tacit acceptance that a woman should be an accessory to a man, fuck your self-centered interest in insuring your own well-being over the well-being of the country that allows you such a lifestyle.

Fuck you, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Trump Jr.

Fuck you for being willing lackeys of this pusillanimous ape, for carrying his water on television and in media interviews.

Fuck you for clinging to his hairy teat, for not finding the courage to strike out on your own, for not recognizing that even though you can’t choose your parents, you can certainly choose your own path in life.

Fuck you for normalizing this piece of shit wannabe-Hitler, for treating his wretched series of business enterprises as anything other than the fraudulent snake-oil jobs that they are, for bowing beneath the lash instead of standing tall and making your own way, despite the loss it might incur.

Fuck you for the hate and pain you will inflict on hundreds of thousands of American citizens because you couldn’t muster the courage to say, “No, this isn’t right, and even though I’m related to you by blood, I refuse to proceed with this abhorrent state of affairs.”

Fuck your greasy, slimy, frat-house words and beliefs, your ideals that would tear us apart, your craven unworthiness to occupy a public space that you achieved through no merit of your own, one which you have no idea what to do with other than to cause hurt.

Fuck you, Jared Kushner.

Fuck your anti-Semitism.

Fuck your quisling compliance, your willingness to see those like you tortured and degraded in order to further your own lot in life.

Fuck your manipulation of our media through your financial control of the Observer, fuck your sheltered life of wanton privilege, fuck your inability to understand the arc of history.

Fuck everything you do to uphold a wretched lout who would suffer no qualms in ordering you in front of the firing squad if it meant he might live another day.

Fuck you, Republicans who refuse to disown this bloated leech.

Fuck your cowardice, your disavowal of the solemn duties of your office — keeping this country safe from tyrants and demagogues.

Fuck you for meekly bending the knee in compliance, instead of speaking truth to power.

Fuck you for choosing political expediency over courage, fuck you for sacrificing the poor and the sick, fuck you for dragging our government into a hole from which it may never recover.

Fuck you, members of the media.

Fuck your constant pursuit of ratings, of quarterly profits, of giving this tinpot cumdumpster a platform with which he can influence a large part of our country

Fuck you for buying into the idea that racism should be afforded an equal platform with equality, for calling a Nazi anything other than a Nazi.

Fuck your smarmy thinkpieces attempting to normalize a new hegemony, fuck your cowardice in the face of totalitarianism, fuck your CEOs and VPs and executive producers who are willing to feed the innocent to the depraved in order to forestall their own demise.

Fuck you for not doing your job.

Fuck you, Trump supporters.

Fuck you for your willing ignorance, your inability to understand that a fascist is telling you exactly what he wants to do to you.

Fuck you for tearing apart the rule of law, and bringing back the rule of force.

Fuck you for not caring, for believing the easy lies you read instead of using your brain to find the truth.

Fuck you for putting your petty hatreds and squabbles ahead of everything that once made this country great, and fuck you for unwittingly causing it to fall.

Fuck you everyone who refuses to take a stand against this man.

Fuck your inability to understand history.

Fuck your selfish interests that ignore the fact that if one of us isn’t free, none of us is free.

Fuck your willingness to normalize this dictator, your filthy desire for more lucre, your inability to fight for your fellow citizens and everything this country once stood for. The Founders would be ashamed of you.

Fuck your blind optimism that things will somehow magically turn out okay, fuck your American exceptionalism draped in the corpses of communities of color, fuck your overwhelming ignorance that could be solved if you simply wished to learn and ask ‘why.’

Above all, fuck your cowardice, your self-loathing hypocrisy, your myopic blinders keeping you from identifying the single greatest threat our republic has faced since we took up arms against the British, because if someone other than you suffers, somehow that makes it just fine.

Fuck you, Donald Trump, for turning my country into something that it never should have become, for turning it into something no country should ever become.

Fuck you, Donald Trump, for driving us into conflict, one that will most likely end in violence.

Fuck you, Donald Trump.

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Feminism:

https://psmag.com/female-superheroes-are-not-necessarily-feminist-heroes-6397caf2293b#.hpojr9wgs

https://howwegettonext.com/its-time-for-a-new-kind-of-power-fantasy-a5ff23b2237f#.8b75ns1sg

https://ww2.kqed.org/pop/2016/02/04/nipplegate-revisited-why-america-owes-janet-jackson-a-huge-apology

*This Indigenous woman chronicles her experiences at the one of the Women’s Marches that occurred this weekend. There are a number of criticisms I had about the Women’s March but overall I think its a positive thing. I had no plans to participate in it, but  I support those who wanted to and did so, as long as this isn’t the end of their activism..

  1. This is very important.

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*The Normalization of White Criminality:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-do-we-humanize-white-guys-who-kill-people-1121727335

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-problem-with-romanticizing-white-male-criminals-on-tv_us_5632598ae4b06317991166a6

*This article has been making the rounds of Tumblr again:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Wilson: To Be Rescued

This is my love letter to the MCU Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon:

One of my all-time favorite Sam Wilson moments is in The Winter Soldier, when Sam experiences the love of flying again, in his fight with the Helicarrier, and he lets out a huge war whoop:

Image result for sam wilson winter soldier gif

This makes what he said earlier to Steve, about being glad to be out of the military, a complete lie. He may be glad no one is giving him orders but he’s glad to be back in the air doing what he does best.

First introduced in Captain America: The  Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson has been in three MCU films (The Winter Soldier, Antman,  and Captain America: Civil War) and  he just doesn’t get enough love. He’s one of my favorite characters. He’s also the most underrated, and one of the most consistently written, characters across the MCU. I think that has more to do with Anthony Mackie’s portrayal than it does the writers. Its obvious that Mackie loves this character, and he has the freedom to make this character what he wants him to be, because unlike Evans, he doesn’t have the weight of the entire plot hanging on him.

The Falcon, as he’s called in the comic books , was the first African American superhero to debut in Marvel Comics (in 1969) so its entirely correct that he should appear in the MCU. Not just because of that, but also  because he’s one of the contenders for Captain America’s mantle, now that Chris Evans has dropped the shield. (In the books, Sam  has taken up the title of Captain America.) He has been changed from his original comic book character though. In the books, Sam had limited telepathic/empathic control over birds, and is accompanied by an actual falcon named Redwing. The only nod we get to this, in the movies, is Sam being teased about his “bird costume”, and his little personal drone, named Redwing, in Civil War.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/inside-combat-rescue/

In the movies Sam is a former Pararescue officer, and like Tony Stark’s friend, Iron Patriot, (Rhodey), he’s a member of the US Air Force.

*Pararescuemen (also known as PJs) are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operators tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments.

– United States Air Force Pararescue – Wikipedia

We’re first introduced to Sam in The Winter Soldier, where he’s still rescuing his fellow soldiers, only instead of going into hostile environments, he’s rescuing them from their own inner demons, as a VA Counselor. At first he tries to do the same for Steve ,sensing that the Icon of American Patriotism may require some emotional assistance, after being displaced in time. In fact that’s Sam’s first question to Steve. Not can he have his autograph, or a  confirmation  of some rumor he read in a history book. Sam’s very first statement to Steve is an offer of assistance, if  Steve would like to talk, because that’s what he does, its what he is, and has spent his entire career doing.

Image result for sam wilson gifs

There is criticism of Sam online, about his role as Steve’s  Black sidekick, but I choose not to see it that way, because of  Sam’s character, and how its established and presented within the narrative, and because I myself choose to live a life of service to others and find  a degree of satisfaction in doing so. Sam isn’t presented as some sort of Angel who can do no wrong, though.  He’s snarky and doesn’t easily forgive transgressions against himself, or those he’s adopted as his friends. He’s competent, pragmatic, and probably not quite as idealistic as Steve, as he occasionally plays Devil’s Advocate to some of Steve’s decisions. He is nuanced enough within the story for me to identify with his motivations, so no I don’t consider Sam to be a stereotype, although as I said, I think much of his character comes from Mackie’s depiction, rather than the writers.

One of the reasons I don’t see Sam as being Steve’s flunky is he’s not the only Black man in the movie. The other Black man is Nick Fury, whose relationship to Steve is much grayer than Sam’s. Nick Fury, because of the nature of his position in Shield, cannot commit to being Steve’s friend, but Sam can, and Steve does need a friend. Sam also serves the purpose in the narrative of anchoring Steve in the modern world to which he must adapt.Sam is also more of a civilian than Natasha, who like Fury, is too much a part of the lifestyle of espionage, to be trusted in the same manner.

Also, it is Sam who makes the first overture of friendship to Steve, not the other way around. He makes the offer, and then leaves it up to Steve whether or not he will respond to the overture, leaving an open space for Steve to step into, and trust him. I think this tactic works because Steve really is looking for someone to talk to. He’s looking for something, or someone, to tie him to a world he barely recognizes. He’s looking for someone to trust, and Natasha is just not a good candidate at the time, no matter how well meaning she is. He chooses to take Sam up on his offer.

I believe that Steve and Sam  bond because Sam has a tragic backstory too, that closely mirrors Steve’s, in that he lost a  brother in a very similar manner to how Steve lost Bucky, helplessly watching his friend fall to his death, during combat. I think that’s something that resonates with Steve. Although we never see Sam and Steve discuss it, there’s an understanding between them of each other’s pain and grief, and within much the same time period. For Sam its only been a year since he lost Riley. For Steve it feels like only a couple of years.

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Since he lost Riley, Sam’s been out running in the early hours of the morning, like Steve, he’s probably trying to cope with sleeplessness. We don’t know much about his day to day life but we do know he lives alone. And although we’ve seen how easily he makes friends with Steve, we get the distinct impression, that just like Steve, he doesn’t have many close friends.

I like to think that Steve rescued Sam, too.

When the call to adventure comes, in the form of Steve and Natasha showing up on his doorstep because he’s the only person they’re willing to trust, he doesn’t hesitate to answer it. Despite his grief, he hasn’t lost some of his childlike playfulness. He knows that if Captain America comes calling, its going to be the adventure of a lifetime, and he’d be crazy to turn it down, despite his earlier statements that he was glad to be out of the military. Nowhere is this attitude more evident than when he’s flying against the Shield Helicarrier, in full battle gear.

Sam is our Everyman character. He’s the regular human being through whose eyes we’re meant to see the plot. This is important because normally this type of character is often played by a scruffy White dude, with whom the audience is supposed to identify, here played by a handsome Black man.Sam is a bit of a Captain America fanboy, and we’re meant to put ourselves in Sam’s shoes, and imagine ourselves racing Steve around the reflecting pond, or fixing breakfast, or going on a mission with him. He says the things we want to say and expresses the excitement we have at that moment. And he looks cool doing all of this.

Image result for sam wilson gifs

Another of my favorite moments in Winter Soldier is the lowkey way Sam goes about taking care of business during the bridge scene. He’s not as flashy as Steve and Natasha, but watching Sam quietly kick ass during the scene on the bridge is a quiet joy as we can imagine ourselves doing that. He walks into that situation armed with nothing but a K-Bar knife, and smoothly, competently, with very little effort,  walks out of it with a machine gun. Sam makes the movie fun, but he is not the comic relief. He takes what he does very seriously and brings all his skills to the game without the toxic masculinity we see in Rumlow, for example. It is a testament to the Russo Brothers directing skills, and Mackie’s acting, that we manage to maintain our  identification with him,  as Sam’s abilities are gradually depicted as more, and more superheroic, in  subsequent movies.

Sam is competitive, but in a good way. His ego doesn’t seem to hinge on being the better man, but on just  being the best Sam Wilson. He initially races Steve when they first meet, but he knows who he’s up against, and he’s not there to try to prove his manhood. He’ knows who he is, and what his talents are, and he’s not threatened by Steve, being sensitive enough to see that Steve is in pain, comfortable enough  with himself to acknowledge that they both are, and willing to share his confidences with him.

Sam is thoughtful to his friends and  I like the movie’s honest depiction of  male friendship, with Sam waiting for  Steve to wake up in the hospital, playing the Marvin Gaye they’d discussed earlier, because that’s what friends do, and Sam remembered that. I liked that Steve was just a tiny bit surprised to see Sam  there because I think Steve was expecting to be alone. In a nice callback to Steve’s past, it may have reminded him of how many times Bucky sat by his side, when he was sick as a child. And who knows, he’s 90 years old, but he still might have missed being cared for like that.

In Antman, Sam goes up against Scott, who manages to best him. While he’s initially frustrated (and mildly embarrassed) he doesn’t hold a grudge about it, and in Civil War,  he good-naturedly seeks out Scott’s help,  while genially reminding him, that it’ll never happen again.

The nature of his job as a Pararescue, and as a counselor, sort of preclude  him being overly aggressive, yet he’s not passive. Like any good soldier, he  knows when to take the initiative, whether on the bridge, or in his fight with Rumlow.  He also has no patience for grandstanding,  so when Rumlow wants to talk smack during their fight,  Sam  tells him to  shut the hell up. He’s got no time for nonsense.

And then there’s his relationship to Bucky, which is complicated.

This is perfect:

If you’ve ever see the movie The Color Purple, Steven Spielberg depicts the kind of  relationship in the movie between Celie and Shugg, (two women who are both sleeping with the same man, who are meant to be rivals, but eventually become lovers), that’s depicted between Sam and Bucky. When they first met ,Shugg referred to Celie as ugly, and when Celie asks why, she tells her, “Its just Salt n’ the Sugah”.

That’s basically Sam and Bucky.

Salt n’ the Sugah.

I don’t think Sam actually hates Bucky, but Bucky did try to kill him several times, after which the two of them were forced to work together because they’re both Steve’s friends. Sam doesn’t hate him, but he doesn’t like Bucky either, seeing Bucky as someone that Steve keeps getting into trouble for, like that ex-girlfriend who keeps calling your buddy up every time her car needs a jump. Yet, he’s willing to work with Bucky and save his life because he loves Steve, Steve loves Bucky, and Sam is loyal to his friends. Bucky for his part barely knows Sam. I think, for him, Sam is just some guy hanging out with Steve, but he’s willing to like him if Sam will let him. Sam is willing to put aside his grudges, but not let go of them altogether, because he likes Steve.

In Civil War, we get another glimpse of Sam’s trauma. Just as Steve gets to relive that moment of terror when he lost Bucky (in The Winter Soldier), Sam gets the unpleasant experience of watching another friend get shot out of the sky, while he helplessly watches (and the added indignation of Tony’s overreaction in shooting him.) Sam, who really does rise to sainthood after that, as far as I’m concerned, manages to refrain from force choking the shit out of Tony when he comes begging for help, later in the movie. In fact Sam’s first words to Tony are to ask after Rhodey’s health and (having probably worked through most of his issues about Riley, and put in place coping mechanisms) that’s the only indication we get of how shaken he must have been at reliving that trauma.

And finally , I just love this scene. You can see how Sam never had any doubt that Steve would come for him, just as Steve came for Bucky.

After all Steve is loyal to his friends, and in many ways just like Steve, just like Bucky, Sam needed saving, too.

 

Favorited:

Sam and Natasha – Each movie gives Sam and a Natasha a couple of moments to banter with each other which basically ends up fueling lots of shipping meta between these two. In The Winter Soldier, Sam’s slightly suggestive “How  you doin?”, just tickled the heck out of  me.

Sam’s signature move is what I like to call the Kick Out. He usually does this  mid-flight, where he likes to kick people and things into another time zone. He did it to Bucky in Winter Soldier, and a helicopter in Civil War.

Sam Wilson’s Greatest Hits:

 

 

Victor Salva: “Problematic” Filmmaker

*I’m always writing these huge ambitious metas about stuff, but this is the kind of stuff that sits in my brain until I can get it out. So here goes:

I  don’t really like the word “problematic”, as I feel its overused, but its entirely accurate when it comes to this particular director. In 1988, Victor Salva was convicted of sexual misconduct, with the  then 12 year old star of his movie, Clownhouse. He pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct and spent 3 years in prison. He was registered as a sex offender and is no longer allowed to be alone with children on his film sets.

Victor Salva, more than any other director, is the one of the poster children, not just for White male privilege, but the issue of separating the artist from their art. One of the things that makes it so difficult to to do this with Salva, is that his sordid past keeps intruding into his art, which once you know about it, is impossible to unknow.

*(This Vice article, written back in 2012, lets me know I’m not the only person who has noticed this about Salva’s films.)

Victor Salva Loves Terrorizing Semi-Naked Youths

CHARLIE GRAHAM-DIXON

After Salva was released from prison, he was offered a movie to direct by Disney, in 1995, called Powder, starring Jeff Goldblum, Sean Patrick Flannery,  Lance Henriksen, and Mary Steenbergen, about a young albino genius, named Jeremy “Powder” Reed, who has electrical powers. At the movie’s release, Salva’s former victim came forward to protest the release of the film. Salva has not worked with Disney since that time.

All this would just be a footnote, and Powder would be just another of those movies lost to history, except Salva went on to make several more films, and is now, with the help of Francis Ford Coppola, about to direct another Jeepers Creepers sequel. And when watching any of Salva’s movies r you  start to notice a disturbing tendency to focus on his young male stars in ways that remind the viewer of his past transgressions.

Salva’s films, The Nature of the Beast (1995), starring Lance Henriksen again, Powder (1996), Jeepers Creepers (2001), and its sequel (2003), contain scenes that, while we might find them not  worth remarking about any other time, in light of Salva’s history, these moments are…disturbing. Now, he’s set to produce and direct Jeepers Creepers 3, and I’m debating whether or not I should see this movie. I watched these movies, the first time,  wholly unaware of Salva’s background.

For example, in one of the more controversial scenes in Powder, Jeff Goldblum’s character, Donald Ripley, finds Jeremy alone in a room, and tries to form an emotional connection to him. In any other movie, this would be a beautiful moment, and an example of non-toxic masculinity, between an empathetic older man, and a young man who is starved for affection. At least that’s how I watched it the first time, but with knowledge of Salva’s background, the scene becomes distinctly creepy.  Ripley  slowly caresses Jeremy’s face and head. Jeremy, who has never been shown any form of physical affection, nearly breaks down in tears.

“You touched me and I’ve had better sex than I’ve had in ten years… I want to be a friend.”- Jeff Goldblum’s character actually says this in the movie.

There’s another scene where Jeremy, unable to participate himself, (he doesn’t know how), watches a group of teenage boys play touch football. This entire scene is shot in the most romanticized, slow motion manner, very obviously making these teenage boys the subject of the viewer’s gaze, in a style that’s usually reserve for nubile young women (think the opening scene of the 1977 movie, Carrie). One of the young men is filmed in loving slow motion, taking off his shirt, as Jeremy surreptitiously peers at him through a doorway. His manner is curious and secretive. When the young man catches Jeremy watching, he attacks him with homophobic slurs, and beats him up.

There’s something about this scene that’s less disturbing than the previous one. This scene at least serves the purpose of allegory, as Jeremy has already been positioned, within the narrative, as a hated outsider, who must be destroyed. The idea that he might  be gay (or Bi) is set up in advance. The indictment of this scene is not in Jeremy’s actions, but in the reactions of the other characters. It also feels somewhat autobiographical on Salva’s part as something very like this scene makes its way into all of Salva’s movies.

Actually, the plot of Powder features repeated attempts by Jeremy to reach out and form emotional connections with the other teenagers around him, and he is violently rebuffed every time. Earlier, he tried to form an attachment with one of the young local ladies, but is physically threatened and assaulted by the girl’s father. Jeremy, who is telepathic, desperately craves emotional connection, having lived in isolation his whole life, but finds it impossible throughout the course of the film. On the other hand, you are constantly distracted from the plot by seeing Jeremy’s naked chest filmed in loving closeup for much of the movie.

This is something that also plays out in some of Salva’s other films, with at least one  character trying to form a connection to another, and getting violently  rejected, which makes me wonder if this is some personal incident that Salva relates to. Is the reliving of this,  over and over, in his movies, the fallout of his stint in prison? Are these bullying scenes Salva’s   manner of saying that he was bullied by the state for his predilections?

In The Nature of The Beast (1995)  Lance Hendrickson (Jack) and Eric Roberts (Adrian) play two men of the road. One claims to be a salesman, the other is a no account drifter who decides, for his own amusement, and to his misfortune, to play a Cat and Mouse game with Lance’s character. Adrian tries to form a connection to Jack, but Jack has nothing but disdain for him, and will have nothing to do with the shiftless fellow because Adrian is nothing but trouble. Adrian teases Jack about knowing  his deep dark secret, and it is implied that Jack’s secret is that he is gay, though he says he’s not. Actually, his deep dark secret is that he is a serial killer. (And no, I don’t care for the conflation between serial killing and homosexuality, either.)

 

In 1999 Salva directed a movie titled Rites of Passage, which I’d never heard of until this post, so I had to Google it. I came across this trailer:

I’m actually intrigued by the subject of this movie, and plan to watch this, if I can find a free copy somewhere. This movie seems like a psycho-sexual thriller,  in the vein of Basic Instinct, with more than a hint of The Nature of the Beast. (The term Rites of Passage means an event marking a change in status, most specifically it’s a ceremony or event applied to young boys  to mark their transition to manhood.) The entire cast is male and, once again, has a scene where a closeted character is challenged by a straight character about his sexuality, according to the trailer.There is always a no-homo scene in Salva’s movies. Someone is suspected, or accused,  of being gay and they have to assert that they’re not.

Rites of Passage seems to be a little more straightforward in its depiction of homosexuality, (even though it’s love scenes are filmed in the Calgon Bubble Bath style of filmmaking.) The interesting thing about Salva’s films is its depictions of toxic masculinity in the form of identity shaming. The actual homoerotic moments are filmed in a frank and open manner, with no shame attached to them, and the characters who are accused of being gay are often not ashamed of their behavior, until made to feel that way by some other character.

Its difficult to separate the art from the artist, or know how much of the plot can even be attributed to Salva. Divorced from any background knowledge of the director, the movies actually send a lowkey positive message about homosexuality, and being different.

The very first time I paid any attention to this director, was after I saw Jeepers Creepers in 2001. I took my youngest sister to see it at the theater, and the homoerotic nudging and winking went entirely over both our heads, at the time. Although in this film, the nudging and winking is less blatant, so its easier to miss. It is only upon repeated viewing that I came to understand that the lead character, Darry,played by Justin Long, is heavily coded as  a gay man.

While traveling home for the holidays, Darry and Trish run afoul of The Creeper, who sets his sights on acquiring Darry. I remember being surprised at the ending of the movie when Trish, realizing her brother is the monster’s target, offers herself in exchange, but The Creeper rejects her, and takes Darry. I missed a lot of things about Darry because the movie does have another issue that bothered me more  and that was the addition of a “Magical Negro”, played by Patricia Belcher.

The Magical Negro in Jeepers Creepers was like, Hmmm some total white strangers need my help? To the Blackmobile! Brilz

Jezelle swans into the narrative to provide what some needed exposition. Every 23 years, for 23 days, The Creeper, is released from his stasis, so that he can eat people. The people he eats seem to consist entirely of  pretty, young, White boys, and his modus operandi is to get the scent of some boy he fancies, and pursue them until he can devour what parts of them he needs to reconstitute his decaying body. Since The Creeper is  identified as a male, it’s understandable he’d just chase after other males, but nevertheless, we have yet another plot where you have an older male, pursuing young men, which is another staple of Salva’s movies.

I have no idea if Salva is doing this on purpose, or if he’s even aware  what he’s doing. Is he teasing the audience with his backstory? Is he trying to work out his personal dilemmas in his movies? Has he changed as a person at all, or is he just trying to normalize pedophilia? I don’t know the man, so I can’t say what’s going on in his head, but it’s clear he’s obsessed with the idea of pretty, young, White men, being chased by  older men.

At one point in the movie, The Creeper is caught sniffing Darry’s laundry, after he’s broken into his car. Darry holds up a pair of pink jockey shorts and says that now the monster knows his name. Why his shorts are pink is explained in the movie, but not why his name is on them. This  scene is somewhat gratuitous because there’s no payoff for it. The monster never speaks, and we’re  certain he doesn’t care what Darry’s name is, since he already has his scent, so why are we informed that Darry’s name is on his shorts?

At the time I saw this movie, I was unaware that “sniffing” was even a sexual activity. Like I said, most of the sexual coding went  over our heads, but not all of it. Even I thought that scene was odd when I first saw the movie. Part of the reason why this is, is the reaction of the other characters. A waitress witnesses the laundry sniffing and is outraged, but one gets the sense that she’s not upset about the activity, so much as the monster did it in a public place.  Earlier, Trish teased Darry about his pink Jockey shorts, but she doesn’t say anything about the sniffing, other than to say she’s surprised the smell didn’t knock him out. She does not react to the idea of a stranger sniffing someone’s laundry. No one in the story finds the idea of laundry sniffing  odd or repugnant. ( Not to kinkshame, but if you mentioned such a thing to the real life versions of the small town people in this movie, you’d get that reaction.)

When Trish gently implies that he may be gay, Darry just shrugs, and when he finds out the monster has been sniffing his laundry, he seems more upset that The Creeper knows his name, than at the idea that this strange man (at this point they don’t know it’s a monster) has been sniffing his shorts.
Then finally there’s Jeepers Creepers II (2003)

If you didn’t think anything untoward about all of the scenes I just listed and don’t think they  mean anything, than how about the sequel to Jeepers Creepers.  All of the most questionable  moments of Salva’s movies, are amplified in this movie. In fact his movie continues to make the lists of most unintentionally gay horror movies, but its not  at all unintentional if it’s a pattern in all his movies.

It’s been three days since Darry’s kidnapping and The Creeper, disguised as a scarecrow, snatches a young pre-teen boy right from under his father’s ,and older brother’s noses. Later that day, The Creeper attacks a bus load of  boys returning from a basketball game.  He kills the coaches, and the heavily coded as lesbian bus driver, before spending most of that day and night, terrorizing the stranded teens.

Most of the plot takes place aboard the bus, giving the teenage boys lots of opportunity to engage in:  racist discussions, gay rumormongering, kinkshaming, sunbathing together on the roof of the bus, ignoring the cheerleaders, and strangest of all, peeing in groups. In the first movie, there is a scene of Darry peeing, and another one in Powder.

At one point, The Creeper terrorizes the teenagers by singling out which ones he’s interested in by licking the windows, so some of his behavior is blatantly sexually predatory, and the teammates argue about his interest in them for some time after this.  The issue with these movies is that many of the things,the viewer notices, can be explained away in the moment, and look unintentional. Its only after repeated viewing of all Salva’s movies, and knowledge of Salva’s sordid history,  that one realizes that young men, as a rule,  do not engage in group sunbathing and peeing sessions, and none of these things are unintended.

Scott, one of the team leaders is basically the poster child for entitled, angry White boys.  He’s racist, homophobic, sullen, and petty, and spends most of his time attacking the Black players, and the one team member suspected of being gay, named Izzy. At no point in the narrative is Scott set up as a sympathetic character, though, which is also in line with Salva’s other movies. Like all the other bullies in Salva’s movies, he is a cartoon villain, entitled, opinionated, and a massive coward. The hero turns out to be Izzy and his Black teammate, named Double D. They both work  hard to save their team mates, and live to the end of the movie. Complicating matters is the arrival of the father of the little boy who was kidnapped at the beginning of the movie.

Salva isn’t a bad filmmaker. He manages to pack some subtle messages about social justice into some effective, action packed movies,  and the movies are well directed, and written. But that sordid past, though…

Are we meant to forgive Salva? After all, he’s paid his dues, spent his jail time. He has, as far as the public knows, engaged in no recidivism. Can’t we all forget about it, and move on, as long as he’s following the rules? Is he just working through his issues in his films? Normally we would give the benefit of the doubt, but Salva’s focus on the young male body,  and the attendant homo-eroticism in his movies, makes that difficult.

*To read what Salva himself has to say about his past:

http://welcome-to-monster-land.blogspot.com/2009/07/directors-dungeon-victor-salva.html

Tumblr Discussions # 192

 

*Nick Spencer is the current writer for the Captain America series, which I have not read. Earlier this year, he got into some fandom trouble for revealing Captain America to secretly be a Nazi. Then he put his foot in it again with Sam Wilson. Now I am a huge Sam Wilson fan, although I have not read the Sam Wilson version of Captain America. Apparently, he wrote a scene where a Black man apologizes to a White man for being socially active. And Spencer keeps up this trend of being an old White guy yelling at clouds, by mocking and deriding Social justice activists by  creating nasty caricatures of them:

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

steviemcfly:

aka14kgold:

wetwareproblem:

lierdumoa:

hellotailor:

‘Captain America’ comic under fire for mocking social justice activism

Captain America writer Nick Spencer is no stranger to controversy, making headlines last year with the infamous “Steve Rogers is secretly a Nazi” plot twist. Now, he’s facing backlash for a satirical depiction of social justice activists.

During a standoff between the Falcon and a racist pundit, the comic introduces a stereotypical parody of young activists: a Z-list supervillain team of college students demanding a “safe space” on campus.

image

Spencer described the team as a lighthearted satire, but if so, that satire isn’t very effective. In a rather preachy tone, the comic presents a judgmental divide between two versions of anti-racist activism: wholesome heroes like Sam Wilson, and laughable weirdos who use words like “patriarchy” and try to blow people up.

It echoes the common misconception that social justice terminology belongs to a realm of Tumblr teens who get “outraged” as a kind of hobby, while reasonable adults provide practical solutions in the real world.

[READ MORE]

When a white guy, draws a black man apologizing to white man for possibly ever using the language of activism. That’s racist masturbation. pic.twitter.com/OTHHVWyrWw

Good article.

TL&DR: Comic artist draws comic equating criticism with terrorism. When met with further criticism, complains that “kids these days are so sensitive.”

Rule one of satire: Punch up.

Rule two: HOLY FUCKING SHIT do not write a PoC apologizing to a white dude for daring to have maybe possibly been an activist. Like. Holy FUCK.

(Rule three: don’t make a character created by a Jew a Nazi)

Seriously, this dude needs to be boycotted or something.

Dude needs to be fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun.

It’s a pathetic example of some clueless imbecile playing “Respectability Politics” and trying to claim that there’s a “Wrong” way to be progressive or liberal

Or that there’s any such thing as going “too far” when it comes to opposing bigotry and fascism or that we should all just “Play Nice” and “Don’t fight hate with hate” and other such spineless garbage that pathetic cowardly moderates love to spout as they shout their cowardice and weakness to the world

This is the equivalent of Seth McFarlane or South Parks garbage excuse for “Comedy” that celebrates the status quo and acts like progressives and people who want positive social change are either laughable and stupid or else dangerous freaks who are “Just as bad” as actual fascists and bigots through some bizzaro troll logic that only some pathetic old white straight man could apply to a situation

And here we see Nick Spencer combine the worst of both approaches and give us THIS garbage that portrays activists and people who care about human rigths and social justice and oppose bigotry and fascism as being both ridiculous and to be mocked and also as dangerous weirdoes who toss grenades at superheroes

This is GARBAGE

It’s the right wing gutter trash that do shit like this. It’s right wing pieces of shit who commit hate crimes, bomb planned parenthood clinics and carry out atrocities like the shooting at the Pulse nightclub last year…but in the upside down world of Nick Spencer, spineless moderate douchebag, anyone who passionately and vocally opposes the bigotry and fascism of scumbags like that are apparently “Just as bad” and deserve to be mocked

And of course he uses a black character as a mouth piece for his anti-SJW bullshit to try and make it seem less blatantly like a boring old white straight man whining about “Kids today” and how awful it is that we don’t want to play nice with bigots

Playing nice gets you JACK SHIT, Spencer

The civil rights movement, stonewall, women getting the vote…none of these things happened because of us playing nice with the bigots and the fascists of this world.

Spencers writing is pathetic, unfunny and clearly an example of someone playing “Respectability politics” bullshit…you just know he’s the kind of pitiful twat who tries to win arguements with tired “Martin Luther King wouldn’t approve of this you guys” arguements whenever it comes to how to respond to social injustices

And holy shit having Sam Wilson apologise to some old white man if he ever sounded passionate and angry about civil rights (Because lol CARING about things is stupid right) is quite possibly the most disgusting and insulting cherry to put atop this shit sundae

Source: hellotailor
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*One of the more popular critiques of people who argue for representation, is the idea that they should make their own, which ignores that we do in fact make our own, but when the means of distribution is controlled by Straight White men, its extremely difficult to do this. From Bigskydreaming again, this is  a gorgeous essay on how difficult it is to make your own representation, hampered as he is  by the gatekeepers of various  popular media.
bigskydreaming

This shit makes me so mad, not just as a bisexual man, but as a bisexual creator.

Because it wasn’t even a week ago that I talked about a fantasy pilot I’m shopping around town about supernatural teens where the main character was a gay teen boy.

And I got a very well intentioned message about it and how I was likely going to have to make the lead straight if I ever wanted it to have a chance to get picked up by a major network like the CW. And they follow me and know I’m referencing them lol and please know I’m not trying to call you out or anything, because their message was never the problem.

The problem was they’re not wrong. Like, I’m well aware of how this town works, and the limitations it puts on creative content including marginalized characters, let alone REVOLVING around such characters. I’m well aware of how every creative industry is about that, and how audiences and readers are about that.

Even in industries that are supposedly actively seeking out diverse works by marginalized creators, there are still limitations, still quotas. Yeah, the YA publishing industry wants books about teens of color and various sexual orientations, but not TOO many. Trust me, I know. For every book that gets accepted for having a gay lead character, there’s another book that gets rejected because that publishing imprint already has a ‘big’ book coming out with a gay lead character and there’s such a thing as too many of those as far as publishing is concerned. And so every time I see a book getting published by a major imprint about gay characters that isn’t written by a gay author? It fucking hurts, because I know damn well just HOW MANY talented gay writers there are out there desperate to get their stories boosted to wider audiences, marketed by a major publisher….they just got there too late, their spot had already been given away.

I’ve shopped scripts in Hollywood. I’ve had pitch meetings, I’ve sat with people who have the power to buy my scripts and boost them to the next level. And you wanna know what note I get over and over? Too many LGBT+ characters. There’s just too many in my stuff.

There’s something so deeply fucked up and insidious about industries and atmospheres that don’t even bat an eye or show the slightest bit of awareness while telling marginalized creators to limit how much of themselves they pour into their work.

These people, to my face, have made it perfectly clear – they WANT my stories, they WANT my imagination, they WANT my writing….they just don’t want it to look or sound too much like ME, the person behind the story, the person who dreamed it up…..because apparently that just makes it too damn hard to market it to anyone who isn’t just like me.

Since I was a kid, I’ve heard it over and over – you want better representation, make it yourself. And its like yo, fuckwads, we’re fucking TRYING over here. But even when we do, you keep putting limits on it, or telling us you only had the budget to give one or two stories about marginalized characters a chance and oh wait, you already spent that money on straight white men telling these stories for us.

Except those stories? Not written by us? That’s how you end up with the homophobic version of MISERY, with tons of visibility and all the things actual LGBT+ creators would kill to have for their stories about LGBT+ characters….and its not just that the story exists. Its not just the knowledge that something that fucking eroticizes homophobic torture porn has thousands of fans. It’s the awareness that the visibility of THAT piece of work actually detracts from the visibility of actual LGBT+ creators’ work, because hate to say it, but marginalized works ARE still very much a zero sum game.

And to be perfectly clear, its not that you have to be of a specific identity to write a realistic representation of that identity. No, that’s an excuse that people who don’t want to put in the work to do just that love to fall back on, but like. Research. Educate yourself. Put in the time. Put in the effort. You can absolutely represent anyone realistically.

The problem with marginalized works being created primarily by people of non-marginalized identities isn’t in their ABILITY to represent non straight white male identities realistically. The problem is with PRIORITIES.

Because guess what? I’m greedy. I don’t just want to see more bisexual characters on TV. I don’t just want to see a realistic depiction of someone like me, if that means they’re just as likely to get hurt or abused or killed off like the straight characters there just so happen to be twenty replacements for, already to go, just waiting in the wings.

If that was all that mattered, like, I’d sink my money into making a Where’s Waldo book with a gay or bi character on every page and just print those up and hand them out on street corners.

But realistic representation is great and all, but its still not the only thing. There’s nothing realistic about decades and decades of stories where it just so happens that coincidentally, the straight white male character always gets what he wants out of the story even as the black character dies first, the gay character sleeps around but never finds true love, and the disabled character is inspirational, but not much else.

No, representation isn’t just about being able to point at the screen and go, there I am, that’s me, he’s just like me. It’s about getting to see characters like you get everything the other characters get.

It’s about seeing the gay and bi characters get to be the heroes, to save the universe. To be put in life-threatening situations and ESCAPE in spite of the odds, to live to fight another day. To have love triangles and options instead of being paired up with the only other gay character onscreen by default. THAT is what true representation is. Anything less than what straight white audiences take for granted is still just half-assing it.

And as for marginalized works still being a zero sum game, well, you can tell me they’re not, that there’s plenty of room for everyone. The internet is a big place. Yup, yup. It is. Its so big, in fact, that shockingly enough, things like funding and budgets and marketing departments and publisher backing and corporate sponsorship and name recognition all make a difference between you producing content that people can find and enjoy and boost and you just shouting into the void.

Don’t tell me that marginalized works aren’t a zero sum game when I have literally sat in meetings with people who are perfectly conciliatory when explaining that sorry, this is just the way the world/industry/game works.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. This is just me ranting, this isn’t me saying anything that any and all marginalized creators don’t already know for themselves and its certainly not going to do anything to change the minds or priorities of the people who have the most power to do something about this in the shortest span of time.

I know this is essentially me shouting sour grapes into the void. And yeah, I’m perfectly aware that the grapes here are very sour, that I am absolutely 100% bitter about seeing works with shit or even actively harmful marginalized representation get prioritized over the works of actual marginalized creators when it comes to resources, visibility, acclaim.

But just cuz I’m bitter while I’m saying it, doesn’t make what I’m saying untrue.

 

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*There is a huge argument on Twitter involving those who revere Kylo Ren from the Star Wars movies and people calling them out on this. It also involves shipping, and the idea that Kylo Ren fans engage in racism against Finn, to prop up their White male villain:

fandomshatepeopleofcolor

Re: the woobification of Kylo Ren

(Sorry if this submitted twice. For some reason it showed up on my own blog and I was confused.)

I think a huge problem is the lack of diversity in the casting of characters I call “the delicious villain.” When I was little, I used to watch soap operas with my mom, and there were always those “bad boy” characters who were absolutely the villains of the shows, but who were also absolutely known for their sex appeal.

We see these characters in mainstream cinema in the likes of Loki, the Joker, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, Jack Ripner (Red Eye), Spike (Buffy), etc. Is there some internalized misogyny at play that attracts us to these characters? Probably. But we have to acknowledge the popularity of these characters nevertheless, and we can’t ignore the fact the that they are all white.

We have to question why POC aren’t cast as “the delicious villain.”

We have to question whether we would woobify Kylo Ren if he were played by a POC.

Characters like Kylo Ren can actually be fascinating because they are villains that are written with a touch of humanity (Kylo Ren still feels a pull to the light) unlike the Darth Vader-type villains who are there simply to evoke fear. There is no reason not to cast POC in these roles except for the inherent racism that blinds white audiences to the humanity of anyone who isn’t white.

Submitted by a-world-without-shrimp

And I feel this is in line with this essay:

The Glorification of White Crime

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I’m posting this for the excellent clapback against critics of what used to be called “Political Correctness”, but now, in an effort to try insulting Black people in  a different way, is now called “Identity Politics”.

thisiseverydayracism:

The other day on Twitter, a man posted a picture of my coloring book he’d given his daughter for Christmas. He was excited to give her a coloring book full of badass intersectional feminists. He wanted to thank me for creating it.

“I don’t know,” chimed in a random stranger (because Twitter), “Sounds like identity politics to me.”

Hell yeah it does.

“Identity Politics” is now thrown about as an insult at many progressive activists. Critics say that Identity Politics make everything about gender, everything about sexuality, and everything about race. And to this I say: yes, yes, and hell yes.

Call it what you want. I don’t care. Complain that we’re making shit about race — you know what? We are. Complain that we’re keeping the left from focusing only on class — yup, and proudly so. Complain all you want because I am not and will never be ashamed of focusing on the politics of identity. I will not feel a moment’s guilt for slowing this whole train down to make sure that everyone can get on and we’re on the right track. I will proudly own up to making shit hard for you.

Thank god for Identity Politics.

You know why? Because you know what we had before Identity Politics? I’ll tell you.

We had White Dudes.

We had white dudes as the pinnacles of power. We had white dudes on all our TV screens, we had white dudes reporting all our news, we had white dudes writing all our books. Sometimes they were accompanied by attractive white ladies (as all the white dudes were straight). But mostly, we had white dudes.

And if you were not a white dude? You didn’t exist. Laws were not written for you, infrastructure was not built for you, history was not written about you. You did not exist in film, television, or novels. You were not a part of the American dream.

And do you know what has been changing all of that? Do you know what has been saving this country from the monotony and tyranny of white, cis, heterosexual dudes? Identity Politics.

Identity Politics are everything that its critics fear. Identity Politics are decentralizing whiteness, straightness, cis-ness, and maleness. Identity Politics brought you equal marriage, the voting rights act, and abortion access. Identity Politics has got people believing that black is beautiful, that disability is nothing to be ashamed of, that fat people deserve respect, that a woman can say no. Identity politics are forcing the world to consider what it has spent hundreds of years ignoring — everyone else.

Without Identity Politics, we wouldn’t all get along better, we’d just cease to exist. And know, that is primarily what those who decry Identity Politics want. They want the world of the past, where we existed in the shadows, where they never had to consider race or gender, because everything was only about their race and gender. They want a world where nobody raised a hand and said “what about me,” because the only people allowed in the room were those whose needs had already been meet. They want the simplicity and power that comes with being the default.

So yes, Identity Politics are the threat to both the right and the left that its enemies are making it out to be. Because our system is still mostly white dudes, on both sides of the aisle. Their fear isn’t wrong; Identity Politics do threaten their way of life and their idea of progress and unity. Identity Politics will tear down everything they have built because everything they have built is oppressive and exclusionary and wrong.

We are not going back to a time where we were overlooked, dismissed, invalidated, and discounted. We are not going back to not existing. Our Identity Politics are here to stay.

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And some Introvert stuff:

If you’re an introvert, follow @introvertunites.

 

Just some of my various readings around the Internet last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tumblr Discussions #62

*I love the character Finn, (from Star Wars 7), and I’m always here for some Finn love, in the form of Meta-analysis on this character. There are so many people out there ready to dump on the only Black lead character in a Star Wars movie. There are White people harshing on Finn because he’s too Black and Black people hatin’ on him because he’s not Black enough. This analysis gets it just right.

lj-writes

Finn’s subversive decency

Choosing to be kind is not choosing to be passive. It’s choosing to end the cycle of abuse… . It’s a courageous act in itself.

-Melissa Grey on Cinderella

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*Of all the arguments occurring on Tumblr, the ones I find most intriguing, are the ones about Fandom. There are a lot of those. It seems to be very young people’s way of ironing out all the rules and regulations involved in being  “real fans”. This one is a discussion of exactly what slash fanfiction is, and what purpose it serves.

stitchmediamix organafinn

i can’t believe y’all made me write this

halfhardtorock:

steflovessamwilson:

arkynn:

markdoesstuff:

poseysprostate:

There’s a piece of meta going around that’s basically saying that mlm should have greater authority on what kinds of content should be produced from the slash community and I think that’s such a huge load of bullshit?  Slash isn’t, and was never about mlm.  Mlm are not the subjects of slash and yaoi works, they’ve always been proxies for the expression of women’s sexual/romantic fantasies.

This is not a bad thing and isn’t a thing that should be changed.

Yes, increasing amounts of men are becoming content creators for slash and yes, there are more stories about healthy and realistic relationships between men but there will always be works that contain tropes that appeal to women?  The failings of individual women to make a distinction between a fictional mlm as a sexual proxy and a real mlm is not the responsibility of the slash fandom?

Take the case of male pornographers producing lesbian porn for straight male consumers.  Does the idea of wlw arguing that these works do not depict realistic wlw relationships make sense?  Clearly not because that genre is not about depicting actual wlw and actual wlw culture.  If wlw create pornography for wlw then they’re really shifting into a different genre.  Although the subjects are technically the same (as in women are portraying these proxies) they are participating in conceptually distinct genres with different audiences.

And with increasing amounts of women consuming works relating to mlm sex, there’s been financial incentive for gay pornography studios to produce more naturalistic, relationship focused movies.  Certain JGV works and Western studios like Cockyboys have increasing numbers of female fans.  If you imagine a progression on this theme and we eventually have a pornography studio produced by women, producing content for women, using men having m-m sex, would and should women be given authority over the content and themes of all gay pornography?

In the fantasy industry, there are creators, there are consumers, and there are the characters and entities that mediate the fantasy – the subjects.  In BL, yaoi, and most slash, these aren’t mlm.  They’re proxies.  There is no genre requirement that they know anything about a mlm lifestyle or mlm culture or anything like that.  In bara, gay interest films, and in an increasing amount of general works, yeah they’re mlm.  They’re created for mlm to identify with.  That’s great!  There is no reasonable need to demand for the former genres to change because they aren’t about mlm.  A misunderstanding of this point only serves to further demonize women in their own spaces.

I pretty much ignore all the ridiculous discourse I see on this hellhole of a site these days but this is so Bad that I had to comment

This is supremely creepy, and viewing queer or gay or mlm as “proxies” is dehumanizing and weird and I can’t believe there is discourse defending this terrible idea. This is Bad, you should feel Bad, and no. You cannot absolve yourself of harmful representation just because it’s a different genre or because the intent of said genre is not for the consumption of mlm. Also: plenty of us queer and gay men write and read slash for our own purposes and this ignores that. And fetishization. And a million other things!!!

Also: COCKYBOYS. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS. THAT IS THE SITE YOU REFERENCED???? Oh my god.

“The failings of individual women to make a distinction between a fictional mlm as a sexual proxy and a real mlm is not the responsibility of the slash fandom?”

This is on the same level as folks arguing about how they can “separate fiction from reality” whenever someone critiques a popular show and/or ship that depicts abuse or bigotry.

Also, “Mlm are not the subjects of slash and yaoi works” – the word you may be looking for is “audience”. Mlm are the literal subjects of the fanfiction. They are the focus, they are the characters driving the story. That makes them the subjects.

“Slash isn’t, and was never about mlm. Mlm are not the subject of slash and yaoi works, they’ve always been proxies for the expression of women’s sexual/romantic fantasies.”

THIS IS LITERALLY THE DEFINITION OF FETISHISING. Viewing members of a marginalized group as proxies for your sexual fantasies is WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. This is VERY MUCH SO a bad thing and this post is disgusting.

“Take the case of male pornographers producing lesbian porn for straight male consumers. Does the idea of wlw arguing that these works do not depict realistic wlw relationships make sense?”

Yes?

When lesbians have such few accessible products of their own and are highly fetishized by straight male-produced lesbian porn, this critique is valid.

When wlw can’t even find their own products because 98% of lesbian porn is made for the straight male gaze, thats a problem.

When some of the states where wlw have the least rights and experience the most violence have the highest number of lesbian porn searches on pornhub, this criticism matters.

The overwhelming amount of fetishistic lesbian porn made for the straight male gaze is a problem and critiquing this fetish, the way it dehumanizes wlw and asking for actual, inoffensive, non-fetishistic portrayals of wlw sexuality is valid.

Also this was a shit comparison in a lot of ways because wlw deal with objectification in a way white cis dudes do not.

OP needs to step back and just rethink all the crap they just spewed under the guise of wanting to be all about/exploring women’s sexuality.

Fetishizing queer people is never okay (and there’s a difference between writing about/being invested queer male characters and fetishizing them and fandom largely hasn’t figured out how to find that difference…)

*Finally someone did make a list of the rules and regulations of writing fanfiction:

thespoonslobeliastole:

glumshoe:

glumshoe:

Everyone’s familiar with “Rule 34 of the Internet: there is porn of any conceivable subject”.

Is there also a rule that states that fandom abhors a vacuum of sexually available slim white men to ship with each other, and any piece of media that doesn’t include at least two will invent them?

Should a piece of popular media include one (1) thin white boy, failure to include another thin white boy to ship him with will result in the most popular ships in a particular fandom…

1.) importing another thin white boy from an unrelated piece of media to pair him with, regardless of reciprocated canon relationships with female characters…

2.) interpreting a non-human character as a thin white boy, even a much, much older antagonist…

3.) shipping the thin white character with himself…

Related: if a fandom DOES include at least two thin white boys, but neither of them are lead characters, they will become the most popular ship in that fandom, preferred over non-white lead male characters who display affection towards one another….

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*This is an interesting little meta on White people’s peculiar ideas about PoC and  European history. I am reminded that most people’s ideas about History come largely from TV shows and movies, and that even if they do read History books, those rarely mention race. Even so, most White people consider Whiteness the default, so the assumption is that there were no PoC present, and that apparently we did not come into existence until slavery.

abbiehollowdays dangercupcakemurdericing

On performing race and performing authenticity

dangercupcakemurdericing:

There are two important things to know before I begin this post. I am a black person with white parents and I belong to a medieval reenactment organization.

I suppose the other thing you need to know is that within this organization, which is mainly white, even more so than the general US population, there is a subset of white people who try to re-create the culture and costume of predominantly nonwhite cultures, even though the organization is technically focused on Western Europe.

Simultaneously there is another subset of people who feel that people of color who are involved in the organization, such as myself, should only portray ourselves as foreign visitors to Western cultures because anything else would be unrealistic. This is laughably untrue of course, but it certainly is a thought process some people have, to the point where they find my portrayal which actually is more plausible than most of the “I was kidnapped by Rromani people, sold to a sultan’s harem and then I ended up in Japan which is why I can wear a kimono” kind of back stories you hear.

But regardless if you dig deep enough on the Internet you find people complaining about how people color participating is ruining their immersion. Which I would’ve thought something that would’ve ruined their immersion would be people from completely different centuries spread across large geographic regions interacting with each other, but you can’t really expect logic from racists.

Anyway because of this I try to be as scrupulous with my research as possible, but honestly I like the subversion of taking this whitewashed history and smearing my blackness across it. Because I’m not making up a fiction actually, any more than any of the rest of the people involved in the organization are, the woman I portray is very much a person who could have existed and if that’s disquieting I want people to think about why that is disquieting to them.

Why is the myth of the lily white Europe only recently invaded by foreign barbarians so popular? Why is it impossible to imagine intercultural exchange that didn’t rest on a system of modern racial domination? I want my presence to make them question what they think they know and how they have to envision history to be comfortable with the present.

I know that some of the people of color involved envision that the person portraying as a white person, but I spent enough of my life being paved over with white bricks that I didn’t feel the need to do that and something I do for fun and I think it is disingenuous anyway, given all the sidestepping we do from the exactness of history.

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*Okay, there isn’t anything I needed to add to this, I just wanted to preserve this because of Bigskydreaming’s EPIC clapback on the laziness, and lack of imagination, of writers who use shitty excuses for not writing PoC into any of their narratives. 

bigskydreaming:

solvola:

bizarrolord:

hijadepavlov:

When will racists stop crying “censorship” every time audiences demand that creators produce better content if we’re expected to buy it?

We are not the fucking government, we aren’t throwing anyone in jail for being a talentless racist shitstain. We are exercising our right to free speech by calling a racist creator “racist”, just like the racist creator is exercising their right to free speech by publishing their shitty ass work.

Unfortunately, many times a creator’s work is personal first and what sells later.

And I think that unfairly smearing someone as “racist” when there’s a decent reason they might not be writing characters of color (such as the “write what you know” maxim applied to a white author who may not want to give offense when writing a non-white character because they don’t know enough about the experiences of being non-white to write a character like that well).

I personally always thought that this wasn’t about diversity and representation at all. It was about fannish entitlement hidden behind a cloak of progressiveness. (Further confirmed by people who keep asking for diverse characters constantly nitpicking the ones they do get because they’re essentially not Mary Sues/Gary Stus/wish-fulfillment characters.)

Well, judging from the trends, it looks like bigotry sells, so that’s not it. We just don’t want to give our money to someone who’s insufferably insensitive and clearly hasn’t read a single article on any social issue (other than conservative conspiracy theories about the next liberal boogeyman and the dooms of socialism, I guess), and if anti-SJW tripe isn’t censorship, then neither is this.

Your point in the second paragraph seems to be incomplete, but if you were going to say that “unfairly smearing someone as racist” is akin to censorship (maybe because it might affect sales, I dunno), once more with feeling, that’s not what censorship is – and I even dare you to give me a single example of someone or something being “unfairly smeared as racist”, because chances are that accusation is wholly pertinent, but people just don’t understand enough about the subject of racism to get why it’s pertinent – thus being more a problem of lack of research done (a very common ailment these days) than unfair accusations of racism with no base or substance.

Whenever someone or their work is accused of bigotry, the knee-jerk reaction is always to go on the defensive, on the denial, and bring up intent, when none of those things matter for what’s in question. Someone or something is racist when it aligns with white supremacist or nationalist beliefs, when it validates or is conducive to unjust racial dynamics or stereotypes against non-white people, when it instigates or nurtures negative beliefs and attitudes, hostile sentiment and normalized or even desirable violence towards non-white people – and all of this will happen if something is set up to do so regardless of intent. That’s why there’s that expression “intent isn’t magic”, because intent will not prevent the consequences of unintentional bigotry no matter how clear it might’ve been.

Lastly, as for your two more fandom and creativity-oriented points: I don’t think “writing what you know” is a good excuse, quite frankly, because it discourages people from doing their research and from getting out of their bubble, leading to precisely the kind of unfair and unrealistic homogeneous lack of diversity that media in general is well known for, from stories to characters to casting. It’s lazy, it’s unoriginal, it’s overdone, and it’s entirely unhelpful to various sizeable chunks of people in your audience. If you’re a white, cis, straight, non-disabled male author, “writing what you know” will alienate non-white people, women, LGBT people, and disabled people in your audience from your work entirely, at least as far as identification and relatability go. If that’s what’s desirable, then I think I must have missed the memo, because the artistic paradigm of reaching audiences as far and wide as possible must have changed while I was sleeping.

If you use that excuse to justify not writing diversity, then people will hold you accountability for being lazy and backwards, and under free speech, people have every right to do so, just as you are allowed to retort or not even listen.

Regarding fandom entitlement, to keep it short, I think fandom entitlement looks like fans harassing actors and producers because their abusive ship wasn’t made canon. I think it looks like fans sending death or rape threats to actors of color and female actors (or both at the same time) because they weren’t happy to see an interracial canon couple on screen. I think it looks like fandom being in uproar every time someone dares say something remotely critical even when it’s pertinent. I think “only positivity always, no criticism/“hate” ever” looks like fandom entitlement, too. I think harboring abusers, violent bigots, rapists, and pedophiles in the name of “fandom positivity” looks quite like it also.

To me, fandom entitlement definitely doesn’t look like fans expecting media created last year or this year to be sufficiently diverse and progressive, it doesn’t look like fans expecting their existence to be acknowledged and portrayed respectfully and in a constructive manner, and it also doesn’t look like fans being critical of any attempts at diversity that end up doing more harm than good, or no good at all, because they were written by someone who “wrote what they knew” and didn’t go and do their damn research.

To add on real quick, falling back on the ‘write what you know’ maxim is bullshit, because since time immemorial, audiences, publishers and Hollywood have been perfectly comfortable expecting black writers to write white characters. Its not actually about writing what you want first, and what sells later, because for marginalized writers, the issue before them has ALWAYS been when sitting down to begin a book or a screenplay, they have to ask themselves – are they going to write what they know, are they going to represent themselves in their own work, or are the chances of such a work getting published so slim that they’re better off writing about white characters whose experiences don’t reflect theirs at all, etc.

Death to the write what you know misinterpretation, because it is bullshit and it has always been bullshit. First off, that quote has NEVER been justification for confining your creative output to the narrow margin of what you have personally experienced in life. It is about building your story or your characters around a core foundation of something that resonates with you and your experiences, something you have intimate knowledge of and can build from in terms of mood, its about passion and forming a connection with your work and through it laying down a road for readers to connect with you and your underlying reasons for writing something. It is THEMATIC, not SUPERFICIAL.

If write what you know were as sacrosanct as people would like to pretend in conversations like this, entire genres of fiction would not exist. Fantasy would not exist. Science fiction would not exist. Mystery novels would solely be the province of retired cops and detectives. Only veterans would write military adventures. Medical and political thrillers? Only doctors and politicians, thanks. You would need two masters degrees and a doctorate in historical fields of study to even be able to pitch something set a thousand years ago. And forget about including characters of a different gender, class, or educational background than your own!

Fuck off. That has never been what write what you know means, AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. Write what you know means when penning a story about a boy wizard discovering magic and adventure and an impossible destiny no one can relate to, ground it in emotions people CAN identify with, imbue him with feelings of loneliness and neglect and a desperate yearning to be wanted and loved and appreciated that you can channel directly from your own soul onto the paper for people to pick up on and use as their grounding rod while venturing into your imagined world that holds very little similarity to anything anyone knows from the real world, other than the emotions that underpin everything in it.

Write what you know means when writing a script about a boy on a distant desert planet beneath two sons discovering his inner power as he sets off on a quest to destroy an imperialistic tyrant, center that story around archetypal narrative structures and themes that have resonated with audiences since the beginning of time – the simple farmboy who rises to greatness, fathers and sons, family honor, redemption and sins of the father, etc, etc.

Write what you know is a guideline, unless you are writing a goddamn autobiography you are expected and even encouraged to use what you know as a baseline template you step outside of to pull other experiences that AREN’T yours closer to, using your actual experiences to connect audiences to the parts of the story that neither you or them can automatically connect to because they are FICTIONAL EXPERIENCES.

If you’re not actually writing a goddamn autobiography, write what you know is not actually a computer function that copies and pastes your life directly onto the page and punishes any deviation from that material with a slap on the wrist and career ruination. No reader in the history of reading has ever put down a science fiction adventure with a disappointed frown and a ‘whoa whoa whoa, I thought I was buying a book by an actual intergalactic space captain who know what the hell he was talking about when repelling pirates trying to take his ship but this dude is just a fucking librarian from Sacramento? Hell no, I am addressing this in my one star review and telling all my friends not to try this author, he is a FRAUD.’

Write what you know didn’t stop Tolkien from reinventing the fantasy genre with the adventures of four foot tall hairy barefoot badasses trekking across a landscape of walking trees and talking eagles to throw a magic ring into a volcano. Yet somehow, it seems to bar stories about black Chosen Ones slaying dragons in medieval inspired settings because that’s unrealistic, black kids don’t fit in fictional settings like that.

Write what you know doesn’t stop fans from becoming ‘fluent’ in made up languages like Elvish and Klingon, but three lines of Spanish in a story somehow pulls them right out of it.

Write what you know doesn’t stop schoolteachers from googling espionage and military jargon and researching the most obscure factoids of crimes and serial killers and the lives of famous spies or historical military figures and going on to write bestselling crime or spy or political thrillers. Yet somehow it seems to block any attempts to put similar work and research and attention to detail into anything related to non-white characters, lives or experiences like the second google realizes they’re asking about something non-white it clutches its pearls and refuses to divulge anything but a 404 Error Not Found screen.

Okay, so I lied, I didn’t add on anything real quick, but let me just sum up real fast.

In conclusion: fuck your write what you know. It has never stopped white writers from writing beyond the boundaries of their experiences, researching the crap out of shit they know nothing about, or kept white readers from identifying with characters they can not possibly have anything in common with other than underlying thematic connections, on account of, y’know, NOT BEING FOUR FOOT TALL HAIRY BAREFOOT HOBBITS FROM MIDDLE FUCKING EARTH.

Writers have always been able to write characters who have different life experiences than them.

Readers have always been able to connect with characters who have different life experiences than them.

Refusing to write about non-white characters? Refusing to read about non-white characters?

It’s not because you can’t. It’s not because it wouldn’t be authentic. It’s not because some magical rule of writing prohibits you and you’ll lose your writing card for daring to venture outside your margin of personal life experiences.

It’s for one reason and one reason only.

YOU. JUST. DON’T. WANT. TO.

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*I just liked this:

What “Ghetto” Names Really Mean

robregal:

feministsmadefromfire:

“Tinashe” –  Means “God is with us” in Shona ( An African language spoken by nearly 80 percent of people in Zimbabwe.)

“Lakeisha” – A Swahili name meaning “favorite one.”

“Ashanti” –  Name of a powerful African empire in West Africa.

“Tanisha” – Hausa of West Africa name meaning “born on Monday.”

“Zola” – Means “quiet, tranquil” in Zulu.

“Amandla” –  Zulu and Xhosa word meaning “power”. The word was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against Apartheid.

“Zendaya” – Means “ To Give Thanks” in Shona

“Latonia”  A Latin name. Latonia was the mother of Diana in Roman mythology.

“Lulu” – Swahili and Muslim name meaning “pearl” or “precious.”

“Ciara” –  Means “dark-haired” in Irish Gaelic

“Lateefah” – A North African name meaning “gentle and pleasant.”

“Mercedes” – Means “Gracious gifts/Benefits) in Spanish

“Kaya” –  Ghanaian name meaning “stay and don’t go back.”

“Amara” –  The Swahili word amara, meaning “urgent business.” Also the Hindu name meaning “immortal.”

“Shanika” – African Bantu name, meaning “young one from the wilderness.

“Zuri” – Means “beautiful” in Swahili.

“Onika” – Word of African origin meaning “warrior.”

JUST BECAUSE A NAME SOUNDS DIFFERENT DOES NOT MEAN IT’S “RATCHET” OR “GHETTO” THEY HAVE BEAUTIFUL MEANINGS.

DON’T BE IGNORANT, LEARN.

Reblog every time it hits the dash.

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*I hope this is a real movie, and not people just trolling me. If so, I’m here for it!

entertainingtheidea:

Watch the official trailer for J.D. Dillard’s sci-fi drama Sleight, out in U.S. theaters on April 7th.

The story follows a young street magician (played by Collateral Beauty’s Jacob Latimore) who is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.

Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill, SNL’s Sasheer Zamata, and Storm Reid (who will soon lead the cast of Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time) are co-starring.

 

And some Introvert thoughts:

introvertunites: “ If you’re an introvert, follow @introvertunites. ”

Taboo : Episode One: Well Yeah, Its Racist! Ableist! And Sexist!

Image result for taboo

I have a lot to say about this show, so let’s get started.

This show has been hyped to within an inch of its life, so naturally, I was really excited to see it. It stars Tom Hardy, and a host of other British people I didn’t bother to learn the names of because…ITS FUCKING TOM HARDY!!! And Tom Hardy is one of the few actors that I will  watch read a listicle, naked, while he sits in an empty room.

Now, let me get  this out of the way before I get started reviewing. There was a nasty rumor started about this show before it aired. It basically accused Hardy of racism because, as this one person (and once I researched it, I realized it’s really only been that one person, under a pseudonym, on a gossip website), says that he cast himself in the role of a bi-racial character, and that  the show is full of racist slurs against that character (which is true), and Africans in general.

Now, once this rumor hit Tumblr, it grew legs, and some of the more hysterical members of Tumblr immediately went on about how Hardy should be cancelled, how the posters will hate him forever and ever, and how much they hate the show.  My attitude was they should first research where the rumor came from (because at this point, two days before the show aired, that’s all it was, and a little too convenient for my tastes), wait until the show actually aired to formulate an opinion, and well, the show is set in 1800s England, so yeah there’s gonna be some Africa hatred occurring on the show.

Now, if you’re offended at hearing racial slurs, no matter the time period, I understand, and you should, by all means, not watch shows that will upset you. But just so you know, having racial slurs in a period piece is really just historical verisimilitude, and is no different than watching 12 Years a Slave, or Django Unchained. That is exactly the sort of thing White, English, citizens did very casually in 1814.  If you refuse to watch any period film because you’re sick of hearing racial slurs in movies, then I understand that.

I did watch the episode and here’s what I came away with. None of the racist slurs are aimed at Hardy’s character, but they are said ABOUT him, usually behind his back, and as far as I know, he isn’t a Black bi-racial. His mother’s race is not mentioned, although it is mentioned that his father bought his wife. (Buying a wife was not uncommon in that time period. All women, and not just Black ones, were considered commodities then, and white women were routinely swapped around, for all manner of reasons, like securing business ventures, or gaining someone’s inheritance.

At no point in the narrative is he ever shown as a victim of racism, or as any kind of victim at all, other than of his past and own conscience. This is a character with a lot of power over the people he meets because he’s unpredictable, and no one has any idea what his agenda is. This is also a character who realizes this during the course of the episode.

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The people around him are upset because they thought he was dead, having been killed in Africa. When he returns, he is a very different sort of person, who speaks several Native languages, and talks in obscure metaphors. Also, his father suffered a bout of insanity just before his return, and people think he inherited that, not knowing that the insanity was caused by arsenic poisoning. There are more than a few sexist, and ableist slurs in the dialogue, but that one outraged person, who started the racism rumors, didn’t seem to catch any of those, which are also entirely in keeping with the time period. That was  how people talked and treated those with mental illness at that time. So, I’m gonna warn you, if you don’t want to hear that kind of stuff either, you need to skip this particular show.

I noticed that instead of condemning the show, they condemned the actor for writing  it. There has been  a long argument on Tumblr about how much culpability White actors should bear for  starring in vehicles with racist  narratives, or taking roles that could have gone to PoC. I try to take that on a case by case basis. This is not a defense of Tom Hardy, though. This is a defense of the show. If it turns out to actually be problematic in ways I can’t bear, then I’ll will stop watching it.

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So far, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of it, and   will be watching it, on the regular. It’s a gorgeous, dark, gritty show, but not as bad as Game of Thrones, although there is what I thought of as a gratuitous sex worker scene. I was expecting to really get into the characters, but was surprised to find the political intrigue very compelling.

Hardy plays a man named James Delaney, who returns after a long sojourn in Africa and being thought dead.  In the meantime, his sister and her husband, have  inherited everything, including a parcel of land their father owned in America. It’s a huge surprise when James shows up at his father’s funeral. In competition for the parcel of land is one of the most evil corporations to ever exist out of England: The East India Company.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/04/east-india-company-original-corporate-raiders

One of the former members of The East India Company, now haggling for his plot of land,  used to be in charge of a military regiment in which James was also a cadet, before he began acting strangely. Like Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, he had an exemplary career. He was the perfect soldier, until he had an attack of conscience, after finding out exactly  what he was working for. He spent the next two years whoring, drinking, attacking his own officers, and generally corrupting his brother cadets, until getting lost in Africa. I had the impression he was more haunted by his past actions, as a soldier for the East India Company, than anything that happened to him in Africa.

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The first episode is mostly spent in establishing exactly what James’ relationship is to various people. His sister is really his half sister, and they used to have an intimate relationship. It’s strongly suspected that she had a son by him, that neither of them  can acknowledge. James’ father went insane just before his return and embarrassed the family. James has his father’s body exhumed, by a Resurrectionist, and discovers his father was poisoned with arsenic. His sister’s husband hates him and is plotting his death because he stands in the way of the land inheritance, that he and his wife desperately need for the money. The English government desperately wants that plot of land as the British/ French/American war comes to a close, the land is strategically viable, and James refuses to sell it.

James appears to have superpowers, of some kind, as he keeps knowing stuff he’s not supposed to know, like his father dying. When one character says his father kept calling for him before he died, James says he knows because he heard him, which is creepy, no matter what he means by that phrase. Does he employ spies or is he psychic?  Everybody in the cast has secrets. Even their secrets have secrets and there’s just enough information parceled out to keep the viewer strung along.

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The cinematography is gorgeous. The skies are cloudy all the time, everything is dark and gloomy and covered in dirt, including the people, which is exactly how I like my stereotypes of Historical England. James wears a giant Beaver Hat for the entirety of the episode. Its almost like another character on the show. I wonder if the hat will get some lines of dialogue. he talks in a dark gravelly voice, sort of like a Victorian Batman, and everything is just dark, and grim, and darkgrim. Even that Mad Max movie had sunshine and people occasionally laughed at something. Nobody looks as if they’re enjoying themselves, but all this does is remind me that the past was waaay more horrible then the modern world, which actually makes me feel a little bit better.

So far, I’m in!

Oh, and here’s the review that sparked the rumor on Tumblr! (Out of all the possible reviews about this show!) I dont agree with a lot of it, and parts of the review were hilarious, but you can decide for yourself. Is the show racist? Is Tom Hardy?

TV Review: Tom Hardy’s ‘Taboo’ on FX

Critique Roundup

Here’s a selection of Pop Culture readings for the week of January 9th. Not all of these were written this month, or even this year. They’re just a selection of posts I’ve come across while researching my favorite topics.

*Tarantino Speaks Out: Police Brutality vs. Cinematic Violence

POSTED ON JAN 5 BY

 

*Horror Movies, Why We Love [Some of] Them

POSTED ON JAN 2 BY

 

*Here are some ads that make me irrationally angry

Amanda Rosenberg

*White Feminist Critiques of Rogue One and the Erasure of Race

*Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Where Are The Women Of Color?: On Marvel’s Problems With Race

Melanin Monroe

*The Dragnet Effect: How TV Has Obscured Police Brutality

In the most influential police procedural ever, even Joe Friday, America’s archetypal “good cop,” was blind to the problem.

CONOR FRIEDERSDORF

*What to do when you’re not the hero any more

BYLAURIE PENNY

TV and City

Television and New York

The Blerdy Report

Black+Nerdy=Blerdy!!! Black Nerds Unite

Dave Chrisp Comedy

Same Shit, different Dave

The Peanut Gallery

or, a supposedly clever thing I really wish I'd thought of earlier

AfroSapiophile

Intelligent Black Thought.

spokenblackgirl.wordpress.com/

Mental Health & Black Womanhood

UNRAVELING THE KNOT

ALLAN G. JOHNSON'S BLOG

Welcome to HORRORLAND

Horror News, Reviews, Interviews, Art, Trailers, Fashion, Collectibles

Monster Legacy

For Monster Movie Maniacs

Negra With Tumbao

Life Beauty Culture

TheWarner

Your Source for Honest Commentary and Reviews

The Middle Spaces

Comics. Music. Culture.

afros-and-opinions

a blog for the socially conscious

Abagond

500 words a day on whatever I want

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