Charlottesville Links & Discussion

I don’t know what to say about what happened in the US last weekend. My faith in White people to even try to be their better selves is at its absolute lowest point. I’ve gotten to where I don’t want to read anything about racism on the internet, if a White man wrote it. (But I still do.)

I don’t have the words, but plenty of other people do, and I’ve decided to link to them here. Normally, I do not directly discuss politics here, because I want this blog to be a place where people can escape the constant worry about such things, and just decompress. For those of you outside the states, me and mine are fine. The protests and rioting occurred nowhere near us, and I live in a kind of protective bubble of a Midwestern inner city. I just watched it all on TV like everyone else.

It is extremely difficult to be unaware of what’s happening in the US, no matter how much you try to avoid it (for self-care, or anxiety issues, or whatever.) But I thought a linkspam might help people outside the US figure out what the Hell is going on over here.

 

About Charlottesville Virginia:

Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death

<A Timeline of Events in 24 Hours from The Washington Post>

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/local/charlottesville-timeline/?utm_term=.a00b0596960d

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Here’s What Really Happened In Charlottesville

https://www.buzzfeed.com/blakemontgomery/heres-what-really-happened-in-charlottesville?utm_term=.sl461znwB#.vwz24J8WO

About White Nationalism and the Alt-Right:

The Right-Wing propaganda machine is working overtime, trying to equate BLM, and the White Nationalist movement, as being flip sides of the same coin. Be very aware that there is a concentrated, and planned effort, to obfuscate, and to derail, any and all discussion on the topic of White racism, onto the topic of Black people’s culpability. (They are, essentially, trying to argue that everything that has happened is the fault of Black Americans, which is yet another attempt to demonize BLM. The exact same tactic that was used to smear MLK during the Civil Rights Era.)

If the person is making claims, without any reputable links to sources for those claims, then beware of their intentions. 

Here’s a link to BLM’s actual website, so you can read about it for yourself, in their own words, rather than toxic people’s interpretations of those words:

http://blacklivesmatter.com/

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Most of these links are from Tumblr, Twitter, and various Op-Ed news sources, as people try to explain and understand what happened. As I always warn, do not go into the comment sections of the articles, because the apologists and racists are out in full force, and have infested most of the comments sections on any articles dealing with this subject, mostly offering misinformation, and false equivalencies.  If your tolerance for White Gibberish is at zero, then don’t read them.

THE ALT-RIGHT CAN’T DISOWN CHARLOTTESVILLE

https://www.wired.com/story/alt-right-charlottesville-reddit-4chan/

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Yes, there are Medieval Historians who are pushing back against narratives of this kind.

Racism, Medievalism, and the White Supremacists of Charlottesville

https://newrepublic.com/article/144320/racism-medievalism-white-supremacists-charlottesville

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The Truth About Women and White Supremacy

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/charlottesville-attack-women-white-supremacy.html

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A Guide to the Different Levels of White Supremacist

http://www.notsorryfeminism.com/2017/08/a-guide-to-different-levels-of-white-supremacist.html

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View story at Medium.com

To the white male supremacists who feel ‘oppressed’ in America: you’re nothing more than venomous crybabies

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/charlottesville-white-male-supremacist-attack-killing-oppressed-venomous-crybabies-a7893011.html

On What You Can Do

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Image result for black power

phoenix-ace

I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again:

You cannot challenge racism, on this level, by being nice to and reaching out to white supremacists.  Their entire ideology revolves around dehumanizing us.  It just does. not. work.

You cannot fight fascism by prioritizing the feelings of fascists and letting them think they’re safe around you.  You don’t “get them on your side”.  Because treating them kindly and respecting them, gives them your silent approval and access to those of you who are way more vulnerable than you are and who cannot afford to feel safe enough to “debate” with these monsters.

Our humanity is not a question or a debate topic, and by giving these people a platform you legitimize their views and help spread them to a larger audience.

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We Aren’t At The Healing Stage With Racism

A lot of people want to heal our communities in the aftermath of the events in Charlottesville. I am here to counter such narratives. This is not the time for healing. Now is the time to double down on admittedly painful efforts for change instead of feelings.

https://scottwoodsmakeslists.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/we-arent-at-the-healing-stage-with-racism/

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 vaspider

Okay, friends, let’s talk about going to protests and weaponizing our whiteness, if in fact we are white.

You know what the protesters who marched with Dr. King wore? Their best. Their clergy stoles, their suits. If you’re a doctor or a nurse? Wear your scrubs. If you’re a parent? Wear your PTA shirt if it’s too hot for a suit. If you’re a student? Dress like you’re going to go volunteer somewhere nice, or wear a t-shirt that proclaims you a member of your high school band, your drama group, your church youth group. Whatever it is, make sure it’s right there with your white face.

This is literally the tactic of the people who marched with King in the 60s, and we need to bring it back, and bring it back HARD.

I do this all the time when I go to marches. I wear my cutest, least-offensive geeky t-shirt, crocs and black pants, or I wear my t-shirt that mentions my kid’s school district, or now I’ll wear the pink t-shirt that says I’m part of the Sisterhood at my shul. If it’s cold enough, I wear a cardigan and jeans and sit my ass in my wheelchair. (I need to anyway.) I put signs on my wheelchair that say things like ‘I love my trans daughter’ and ‘love for all trans children’ or something else that applies to the event. Dress like you are going to an interview if you can, or make yourself look like a parent going to pick up a gallon of milk at the corner store. Make yourself “respectable.” Use respectability politics and whiteness AS A WEAPON.

Fuck yes I will weaponize the fact that I look like a white soccer mom. And you should do this too if you can. Weaponize the fuck out of your whiteness. If you are disabled and comfortable with doing so, turn ableism on its head and weaponize it. Make it so that the cameras that WILL be pointed at you see your whiteness, see your status as a parent, see your status as a community member. See you in your wheelchair or with your cane. If you have privilege or a status that allows you to use it as a weapon or a shield, use it as a shield to defend others or a weapon to break through the bullshit.

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DEAR WHITE AMERICA: THIS IS YOUR MESS.

I don’t think you understand how serious I am.

This is your mess.

Every single time you barked about how BLM protested, you supported go fund me campaigns for racists and cops that killed unarmed Black (minority) people.  Every time you shouted freedom of speech when someone called a Black person a nigger you created this mess.

Dear White America: This is Your Mess.

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Image result for anti racism

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Ju-Hyun Park

llleighsmith: “Ju-Hyun Park ”

Tumblr Discussions on Race

Just putting these numbers out here. Actually, I think this is may be from 2014, but really, it doesn’t make much difference. Hollywood talks a good game but is really, really slow to change. I think it takes so long because Hollywood is this big unwieldy ocean liner, and most of the power players on it consider themselves to be above using social media, and interacting  with the public. I think most of them consider that to be the actor’s job, and disdain listening to the public themselves. I think if the ones calling the shots in Hollywood do hear about social issues regarding their movies, it’s probably  second hand/hearsay. (and the ones who do hear about it, just make excuses for their laziness.)

“You’ve just very bravely cast a white person in a role and people are being very critical of it. Here’s how to handle that backlash as poorly as possible.”

http://www.gq.com/story/the-whitewashing-playbook

I’ve noticed that the television creators are much more likely to interact with audiences at Cons, and on social media, than the film/casting directors, and money lenders of Hollywood. The creators of television are just much more intertwined with their audiences, and can know what their audiences think about their product, almost in real time.

For example, the creators of Arrow were on social media that first season, probably just gauging reactions to the show. But I noticed a marked change in the show from the beginning to the end of that first season. The show improved tremendously, and I think many of those improvements were based on the critiques they saw in social media. That’s how fast the creators were able to react to audience reactions. Unlike with movies, the creators for TV don’t have to wait until a show’s run is over before finding out what an audience thinks about it.

I’m not saying that television content creators don’t fuck up, (HBO we’re looking at you!) or that there isn’t an element of racism involved in Hollywood’s decision making process. Just that, in Hollywood, change takes a hell of a lot longer to be implemented because so many of these factors seem to work well enough together to delay progress. To the rest of us it just looks like a truculent inability to move forward.

From the Tumblr: 

Hollywood sticks to the script: Films aren’t more inclusive, despite a decade of advocacy 

The report “Inequality in 900 Popular Films,” released today, from Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC Annenberg, reveals how little top movies have changed when it comes to the on-screen prevalence and portrayal of females, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, the LGBT community and individuals with disabilities.

“The deficits we see on screen are worse behind the camera,” said Smith. Out of the 1,006 directors hired on the 900 films studied, just 4.1% were females. Only 5.6% of the directors were Black or African American and 3% were Asian or Asian American. Three Black or African-American women and two Asian women worked as directors across the 900 movies. “When we look intersectionally at directors, that’s where we see just how exclusionary Hollywood is when it comes to the hiring process,” said Smith. “The image of a female director seems to be that of a White woman.”

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And riding on the point of that last essay, there’s this one,  in response to  another essay/rant that, basically, blames identity politics, and call-out- culture, for why certain TV shows fail.  Essentially, that person was trying to blame the fans of color for the failure of certain shows. Yeah, that’s not it!

This essay sure sounds like it’s making a lot of sense, but it’s predicated on a bunch of false presumptions.

I agree that hypercritical dogpiling call-out culture is bad. It makes fandom a toxic environment.

Here’s where I find fault in this argument:

Violent fandom backlash/hypercriticism/dogpiling does not actually get shows cancelled, nor does it discourage the creation of future diverse media.

Lord, sometimes I wish it got shows cancelled.

But in reality, when you run the numbers, angry scary fans have a negligible effect on the success or failure of a diverse show.

Shows with a ton of discourse are usually quite successful. Supernatural’s been embroiled in fandom backlash/outcry its entire run and I’ve lost count of how many seasons it has.

Okay but SPN’s not especially diverse, so let’s go to my next example. Speaking of shows I can’t believe are still on the air, Teen Wolf (a show with a non-white lead and numerous LGBT characters) is SIX MOTHERFUCKING SEASONS LONG and fans have been ranting and raving about how shitty and problematic it is since the beginning of season 3 (I myself was one of its loudest and most savage critics back in the day).

Sleepy Hollow was a diverse show that suffered a lot of fandom backlash prior to cancellation. I suppose one might argue that the cancellation was a result of the backlash.

But consider – Sleepy Hollow’s fridged it’s black female lead, Abbie Mills, at the end of its 2nd season, shortly after, The 100 fridged it’s wlw female lead’s primary love interest mid season 3.

There was a shitte tonne of *intense* fandom drama surrounding Lexa’s fridging in season 3 of The 100. Every vaguely liberal entertainment news outlet had something to say about “Hollywood’s dead lesbian problem.” A lot of wlw fans wrote scathing rants and swore off the show.

In comparison, fandom was downright quiet about Abby’s fridging. In fact, the very small handful of posts I read criticizing the writers of Sleepy Hollow made a point of also criticizing fandom’s white feminists for their ‘deafening silence’ with regard to Abbie’s death.

Consequently The 100 just got renewed for season 5. Meanwhile,  Sleepy Hollow is as dead as a doornail.

Seems to me that silence does a better job of killing shows than any amount of screaming and ranting.

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Here’s what actually causes diverse shows to fail:

1) Old white men in power.

@temporaldecay you want to talk revenue? Perhaps you’d be surprised to learn capitalism is not the be all/end all of a tv show/film’s success as people often assume.

For example, we know that movies with diverse casts are more lucrative, yet the industry continues to churn out all-white media. Why? Nepotism. White execs bring in white producers who find white directors to tell white stories and cast white actors.

They keep doing this, even though financially speaking, it’s self-sabotage.

Teen Titans was the most popular show on Cartoon Network when it was canceled because it appealed to an audience (of girls) that wasn’t the intended target audience (boys) and the marketing team didn’t like how this messed up their gendered merchandising strategy. You can read all the details [here]

Which brings me to the next item on the list:

2) Bad marketing (combined with the aforementioned institutionalized bigotry)

There’s a great essay called Shut The Fuck up Marvel that explains in detail the problematic economics of the comics industry – TL&DR, diverse comics are failing not because of fickle and hypercritical fans, but rather because Marvel’s entire marketing strategy is so flawed that fans don’t even find out about diverse comics until they’ve already been axed.

The same is true of a lot of diverse television.

Wonder Woman got hardly any marketing. I didn’t see trailers for the movie. It managed to go viral anyway through word of mouth, and through the inherent publicity of being the first big blockbuster superhero film revolving around a female lead, but it’s the exception that proves the rule.

Still Star-Crossed, a Shondaland period romance/drama based on pro-fanfiction for Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet was recently canceled due to low viewership. The show got next to no marketing. The few people who managed to hear about it from tumblr couldn’t even figure out when it was airing due to the network changing the time slot twice within the first 4 episodes.

Similarly, Sense8 season 2 was under-marketed, as was The Get Down. I must have seen about 8 million ads for that garbage suicide apologia show Netflix has been hawking.

Networks don’t want to market diverse shows. They assume diverse shows will magically sell themselves, and then blame fans when they don’t.

3) Appealing to too small of a niche – Novelty vs. Variety

Consider Agent Carter – this show catered to a niche within a niche within a niche – a period noir drama, that was also a science fiction. Lack of POC meant it had trouble attracting POC as audience members. Lack of LGBTQ rep (queerbaiting doesn’t count) meant it had trouble holding on to LGBTQ fans.

The only audience Agent Carter seemed to want to actively market itself to was ‘straight white feminist-identifying women who like retro noir sci-fi’ – that’s so specific. Too niche of an audience to attract the kind of audience a network like ABC expects for its prime time shows.

Compare that to How to Get Away With Murder – which has a little something for everyone. Ensemble cast, multiple sexual orientations, multiple cultural backgrounds and ethnicities, people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds – Shonda Rhimes knows how to cast a big net.

Or Brooklyn 99 – similar kinda deal.

Having a one member of a marginalized demographic in a lead role is a novelty. And novelty’s good for getting people to watch your pilot, but it wears off quickly. People come for novelty, but they stay for representation. I don’t mean representation as an abstract concept. I mean people continue watching a show when they find a character that they personally identify with and relate to. The more character variety, the greater the number of audience members who feel consistently well-represented.

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Discourse is not killing diversity.

This is a lie networks and showrunners tell fans to scare us into silence. They sabotage their own shows and then blame fans for being “too critical” or “too entitled.”

And we buy this bullshit. We buy it and we sell it to other fans. We write big long essays telling fellow fans to count their blessings and stfu.

Fuck that noise.

 

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This one is about how Blade began this whole superhero movie nonsense, that we all love so much. Yes, I blame Blade too. Frankly, even though I was a big Marvel Comic book reader, I had never even heard of this character before the movie was released, but I’m always gonna stan for that first movie, which still holds up very well to this day, and despite that Wesley Snipes is something of an asshole.

I personally consider Blade, and The Crow, to be two of the Blackest superhero movies of the 90s. (I will fight ‘chu!)

And that’s the real difference between Blade and the superhero franchises that have followed. Blade was never a big-name character in the first place. So there wasn’t a whole lot of retro-geek enthusiasm associated with the character. But more than that, Blade, the film, simply isn’t backwards-looking.

There’s none of the Greatest Generation boosterism that clings to the Captain America franchise, for example. Nor do we get from Blade the home front 50s stay-at-home mom-with-kids meme that pops up incongruously in Age of Ultron when we get to meet Hawkeye’s secret, perfect family.

Instead, Blade is deliberately, defiantly hip. Motherhood isn’t idealized; on the contrary, one of the queasier moments of the film involves Blade ruthlessly offing his feral, incestuously sexual, evil vampire mom. If there is nostalgia, it’s for blaxploitation’s up-to-the-minute cool.

The movie’s first grinding, sweaty, sex-and-blood drenched night club scene hasn’t dated at all. Nor has the Afrocentric incense store where Blade buys his formula fix, nor the black, brotherhood embrace between that store’s owner and the hero. There’s a notable lack of cell phones, of course, and the computer graphics prophesying the coming of the blood god look rather dated. But there’s little question that, as much as it’s able, the film is looking forward not back.

And part of the reason it’s looking forward, I think, is race. Blade—unlike most superhero films—is set in a meaningfully integrated world. That Afrocentric shop suggests, quietly but definitely, that Blade is part of a black community and that that community matters to him. One of his two crime-fighting companions Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright), is also black.

The diverse cast, and the acknowledgement of diverse communities, is part of why the film still feels and looks relevant. Here, after all, is a narrative that was fulfilling the call for more diverse superhero movies before superhero movies were even a thing.

But beyond that, Blade makes clear the extent to which nostalgia and whiteness are inextricably bound together in so much of the superhero genre. Retooling old, old pop-culture heroes[1] means, inevitably, dreaming about white saviors and about a time when white people were the only ones who were allowed to be heroes.

THE WHITE SUPERHERO FAD STARTED, CRAZY ENOUGH, WITH BLADE

[1]

A lot of us have talked a lot about how Blade started the current superhero domination in Hollywood and how current films forget that; and though it’s important to ask what kinds of behind-the-scenes decisions have caused that, I like this analysis about how Blade is fundamentally different from what we’re getting today and how that film is, in many ways, incompatible with today’s Ant-Men and Men of Steel.

 

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Another argument for why HBO’s new idea for a show, Confederate, (about an alternative world in which the South won the Civil War), is a truly bad idea:

blackfemalescientist

I’ve been thinking a lot about Confederate, the upcoming project by the creators of game of thrones. I’m not alone in actively hating the idea for this, but it took me a while to figure out why the idea for this show bothers me so much. Part of it is the current political climate, part of it is the idea being not nearly as new or interesting as the creators think it is (sci fi and fantasy is full of stories about chattel slavery in more modern/technologically advanced societies), and part of it is just me not trusting these two guys with this kind of story.

But what it really comes down to for me is this: even if I could buy that the south won the war, I do not buy that black people, in a majority black country, would be content to live in the only slave-holding society in the world for another 150 years. And the fact that the creators of this show can imagine that says a lot about how they feel about black people and their agency.

Like to put that idea in perspective, black people waged a successful national campaign to end jim crow in a majority white country and it didn’t take them 150 years. Haiti rebelled in 1804, and while we can talk current economic conditions (and how frace is primarily to blame for that), what you can’t say is that chattel slavery exists there now. Like what world are you living in where black people aren’t resourceful, smart or motivated enough to end chattel slavery 150 years after the entire world decided that maybe chattel slavery was doing too much.

The entire premise doesn’t work as alternative history because its not an alternate world, its a complete fantasy – a fantasy where black people are not only subjugated but incapable of taking steps to end that subjugation. And that leads to all the “who is this for” and “why would you do this” questions that smarter people than me have talked a lot about.

 

And here’s my man, Ta Nehisi Coates, laying it out, in his own very eloquent way, why the writers of Game of Thrones, and HBO, need to catch some hands:

HBO’s Confederate takes as its premise an ugly truth that black Americans are forced to live every day: What if the Confederacy wasn’t wholly defeated?

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/08/no-confederate/535512/

Of course, any time Black people hold discourse on a subject that directly affects our lives, you’ve got those white people crawling out from under the baseboards, to defend this wtf*ery, because for them Black life is  no more than an intellectual exercise, and we should  get over it, because it’s messing up their ability to be entertained by our misery.

 

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This is one of the most cogent arguments I’ve ever read against financial inequality. I also had no idea of the history of the game of Monopoly.

We played this game all the time in our house. My Mom was, naturally, the Banker, and we always played it Socialist style,  I guess, with everyone getting the same amount of money, and being treated the same, following the same rules. Of course she always won, up until we were teenagers, and started learning more about how to handle money,  like how to plan ahead, and how to delay gratification. 

Monopoly isn’t maybe the best way to learn about money, but it does teach you something about how financial systems work.

So let me get this straight, in Monopoly if you give one player more money to start out it’s “unfair” but if you do it in real life it’s “capitalism”?

 

You know what, I’m going to tell you guys a story.

In my Sociology class a few semesters ago, our prof had us break off into groups and, much to our naive joy, began distributing Monopoly boards! We had no idea what was going on but yay! Games! Of course, once our group, and a number of others, got the board we began to work at setting up and distributing the money…

until suddenly our prof told us to put the money down and pick up the dice.

“Roll the dice and sort yourselves from highest to lowest,” our teacher commanded.  “Now, the highest number is the upper class. The next one is upper middle class.  The next two or three are middle class. The last person is in poverty.“

Well, as the person who rolled a two this was startling and not wholly welcome news.

From that point the game changed entirely. We had to hand out the money so that the “upper class” had this fucking mountain, and then less for upper middle, even less for middle, and I didn’t get any triple digit bills. We would all collect different amounts from passing go as well.

The biggest change though? Going to jail. Upper class didn’t. Period. Upper middle class could go but they only had to stay for one turn or they could immediately pay their way out. Middle class had some pretty easy guidelines for when they could pay to get out. As lower class, it was really easy for me to wind up in jail and REALLY hard to get out. But since I was working with so little money when everyone else had so much I was in jail all the time because there was no “game over”.  If I couldn’t pay I had to go to jail for a certain period of time. I had to take out loans with interest I could never pay back just to get out only to wind up back in it again, rolling dice turn after turn hoping to be able to get out.

It was simultaneously the most enlightening and most awful game I had ever played. I was bored and frustrated and a little terrified about it all. And it wasn’t only me. I would never win, I sort of accepted this, but it was amazing how the middle classes reacted as well.  They were stressed. Because they were always that close to either being able to one-up the upper class or from crashing into poverty with me. They had to fight constantly just to stay in the middle.

(I should also mention that the upper class player in one group felt so bad for the lower income players that they ended up overhauling their entire game and creating a “socialist” society instead. I’m not sure how our teacher felt about that one.)

 

Worth stressing this is entirely in the spirit of the original designer’s aims for Monopoly.

Monopoly’s  original form of The Landlord Game which was explicitly designed to teach people about the unfairness of rent systems. To quote from the wikipedia entry, just as it’s the easiest source to hand…

Magie designed the game to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences”.[2]She based the game on the economic principles of Georgism, a system proposed byHenry George, with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants. She knew that some people could find it hard to understand why this happened and what might be done about it, and she thought that if Georgist ideas were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate.

When the usual suspects start making “don’t bring politics into games” noises, I roll my eyes pretty hard. They have no idea of the history of the form.

 

 

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This final topic speaks to the idea of accurate Representation from a Historical perspective. One of my biggest pet peeves is the bigoted argument against diversity and inclusion, in Fantasy media, coupled with the erasure of PoC from  Historical narratives, and not just because such an argument is irrelevant to a discussion of Fantasy based world-building. 

As an amateur Historian, I’m sick and  tired of seeing the argument about Historical accuracy, from the mouths of lazy, sometimes bigoted, individuals, who have done no research, who have only ever gotten their ideas about what History was like, from various movies and TV shows, trying to uphold the pop culture status quo, by saying we don’t belong in Fantasy environments.

I have found that even the  most well intentioned people are deeply, deeply, ignorant of History, having gotten most of their ideas about it, from whitewashed movies, television shows, and History classes, in which the contributions (sometimes even the presence) of PoC  are erased. When you consider that the vast majority of the world is made up of PoC (Chinese, for example) and that those who are most definitely considered to be “White”  Europeans (whatever that may mean) made up only about 11% of the world’s population in 2010, and by 2060 are set to become less than 10% of the world’s population, I find it more than a little hinky that such  people would argue for Historical accuracy. 

And now we have the Alt-Right attempting to lay claim to this same argument  in an attempt to bolster their racist  beliefs that PoC contributed nothing to Historical narratives, and that all of the humanity’s  major contributions to Literature, Science, and Art, were only done by White men.

Part of the problem is that Historians need to make clear that PoC were History. We were everywhere, not just invented in certain eras, and trotted out when White men needed to conquer somebody. History is far more nuanced and complicated than most people know.

Medievalists, Recoiling From White Supremacy, Try to Diversify the Field

By J. Clara Chan

—-The criticisms of the conference’s diversity stems from problems in medieval studies for decades — that it is still too Eurocentric, male-dominated, and resistant to change. But as the medieval era has become increasingly prevalent in rhetoric used by white supremacists to advocate for a return to racial, ethnic, and religious purity, many nonwhite medievalists are feeling a new urgency to combat the stereotypes that accompany the field.

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Medievalists-Recoiling-From/240666/

 

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And on Historical Anti-Semitism in Art:

thegetty

Dialogue: Exposing the Rhetoric of Exclusion through Medieval Manuscripts

By Kristen Collins and Bryan Keene, originally published on the Getty Iris

We invite your thoughts on an exhibition-in-progress at the Getty that addresses the persistence of prejudice as seen through lingering stereotypes from the Middle Ages.

As curators in the Getty Museum’s department of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, we are interested in how books, and museum collections more broadly, can spark dialogues about inclusivity and diversity. Our manuscripts collection at the Getty consists primarily of objects from Western Europe, which can present challenges when trying to connect with a multicultural and increasingly international audience.

We are striving to make connections between the Middle Ages and the contemporary world—connections that may not be immediately evident, but are powerful nonetheless. Museums are inherently political organizations, in terms of the ways that collections are assembled, displayed, and interpreted. This year’s meeting of the Association of Art Museum Curators addressed how institutional narratives and implicit bias can skew ideas of history and culture in ways that exclude minorities and gloss over the shameful aspects of our past. Groups such as the Medievalists of Color, the Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages, the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, and the Society for the Study of Homosexuality in the Middle Ages, among others, are applying similar lines of inquiry, seeking to decolonize and diversify the field of medieval studies. We stand with these groups.

We were also inspired by Holland Cotter’s call to arms, as he exhorted museums to tell the truth about art, “about who made objects, and how they work in the world, and how they got to the museum, and what they mean, what values they advertise, good and bad. Go for truth (which, like the telling of history, is always changing), and connect art to life.”

Here is our description of the exhibition, still in draft form:

Medieval manuscripts preserve stories of romance, faith, and knowledge, but their luxurious illuminations can reveal more sinister narratives as well. Typically created for the privileged classes, such books nevertheless provide glimpses of the marginalized and powerless and reflect their tenuous places in society. Attitudes toward Jews and Muslims, the poor, those perceived as sexual or gender deviants, and the foreign peoples beyond European borders can be discerned through caricature and polemical imagery, as well as through marks of erasure and censorship.

As repositories of history and memory, museums reveal much about our shared past, but all too often the stories told from luxury art objects focus on the elite. Through case studies of objects in the Getty’s collection, this exhibition examines the “out groups” living within western Europe. Medieval society was far more diverse than is commonly understood, but diversity did not necessarily engender tolerance. Life contained significant obstacles for those who were not fully abled, wealthy, Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual, cisgendered males. For today’s viewer, the vivid images and pervasive narratives in illuminated manuscripts can serve as a stark reminder of the power of rhetoric and the danger of prejudice.

 

“If you don’t know you have a history, it can be hard to believe you have a future.” —-National Museum of Stockholm

James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” 

 

What’s the 411? LinkSpam

Hey! I got some great reading material for your weekend. 

History of Dance Music

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*Actually pretty much all of the Popular musical styles originated in marginalized communities. I was inspired by someone asking a question on Tumblr on why Disco died. The answer is that Disco didn’t actually die, it simply went back underground, and morphed into something else.

http://gawker.com/frankie-knuckles-discos-revenge-and-gay-black-music-1556413442

https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/aeqxwz/dance-pride-the-gay-origins-of-dance-music

https://djmag.com/content/special-feature-gay-dna-house-music

http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/35892/1/chicago-house-lgbtq-history-documentary

View story at Medium.com

https://www.univie.ac.at/Anglistik/webprojects/LiveMiss/Chicago-House/house-text.htm

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*This is about the White male backlash against Disco. There are a number of reasons why there was such a backlash, but what I’ve noticed is that its a pattern that keeps repeating itself through US history. A marginalized community creates a musical style that becomes very popular, which is then followed by an urge to contain and control that music, by the preceding generation, when its adopted by their children.

https://aeon.co/ideas/the-night-when-straight-white-males-tried-to-kill-disco

http://www.thedailybeast.com/of-gamers-gates-and-disco-demolition-the-roots-of-reactionary-rage

*This article chronicles how the backlash against Disco was tied into homophobia and racism:

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/224099

*This video by Sut Jhally, which lasts about an hour, discusses the misogyny of  behind so many poplar musical styles, but pays particualr attention to Rock N Roll. Warning this is NSFW:

https://thoughtmaybe.com/dreamworlds-desire-sex-and-power-in-music-videos/

 

At the Movies

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-panther-costume-designer_us_593ff13ee4b02402687cd1d2

<em>The Magnificent Seven</em> vs. The Historical Negationism of Westerns

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/10/how-the-west-was-lost/502850/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/predator-oral-history-arnold-schwarzenegger-film-1014132

http://www.theroot.com/sophia-coppolas-blatant-erasure-of-black-women-in-the-b-1796386121

https://www.villagevoice.com/2016/10/13/the-men-who-were-the-thing-look-back-on-a-modern-horror-classic/

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/05/alien-xenomorph-actor

 

Sex and Gender

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Articles on Gender and Sexual expression will always get a read from me. I just find the topic fascinating. Apparently, so do a lot of other people.

*An article about the “Berdache” gender among American Plains Natives Cultures:

http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.gen.004

*This one is about how  much freer men were in the past, to express affection for one another.  The most distracting thing in these photos for me was the smoking of cigars. I found the cigar smoking to be kinda weird. We hardly ever see that kind of thing now.

https://truewestmagazine.com/homos-on-the-range/

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/07/29/bosom-buddies-a-photo-history-of-male-affection/

*I found this great article on Gender expression in other cultures throughout history:

Image result for gender variation in native americans

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/gender-variance-around-the-world?mbid=social_facebook

 

And the obligatory Fandom Racism post:

http://beatrice-otter.dreamwidth.org/343325.html

“What if a white guy played Black Panther?: The Fake Concern of Fake Geek Guys — Stitch’s Media Mix

Whenever I talk about racebending as a concept when it comes to comics and comics-related properties, smartasses always show up to say something snarky like “what if Black Panther or some other Black hero were a white guy”. They crowd into my mentions or any comment field they can get a hold of, trying to […]

via “What if a white guy played Black Panther?: The Fake Concern of Fake Geek Guys — Stitch’s Media Mix

 

**And for further reading, the distinction is that Whitewashing is bad and Racebending is okay, and here is why:

Dear Comic Fans: We Get it. You’re racist and racebending scares you.

The Incomparable Differences between Whitewashing and Racebending

Whitewashing vs. Racebending: Yes, There is a Difference

https://moviepilot.com/p/how-whitewashing-does-and-doesnt-affect-movies/4112605

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/whitewashing-racebending

 

**And further readings on Race and Media for the weekend include a description of harassment in the Art world,  for speaking the truth, which is important to me because I’m an artist.

This ties into America’s general belief that History was all White, and that PoC played no part in European History at all. As Dr. Who said, “History has been whitewashed!” And yes, I blame Hollywood, and America’s  general historical ignorance. It’s this ignorance of the part PoC played throughout every era of human history that leads to cries of “Historical Accuracy” every time a Black person wanders into the orbit of, not just historical films, but any Fantasy films that have a foundation in European folklore.

https://hyperallergic.com/383776/why-we-need-to-start-seeing-the-classical-world-in-color/

https://www.artforum.com/news/id=68963

 

**And on Race and Fandom Wankery…Stop It! Fandom is every bit as racist as non-geek culture, but Klandom thinks it’s better at disguising it. There has also been some confusion about patterns of implicit racism vs calling individuals racist.

Thinking that you are personally being called out on your racism is basically the Racism 101 approach to this topic,  because we’re not talking about individual people, although individuals may be used as examples of what were drawing attention to.

The discussion that PoC and LGBT people are having is from the 401 Class, and seems to be over quite a few people’s heads. We’re discussing patterns of behavior across multiple platforms. We’re not talking about a handful of bigots, writing stories we don’t like, but  about hundreds of people across fandom engaging in the same behavior, and then making the exact same excuses for their behavior, over and over again.

We are supposed to be the most progressive and transformative community in pop-culture.

nyxelestia

We who…

  • Hyper-focus on white, male characters
  • Contort these male characters into heteronormativity
  • Marginalize and erase characters of color
  • Write out women and replace them with men, especially in shipping
  • Attack women for “getting in the way” of our preferred ships
  • Hold female characters to higher standards than male characters
  • Hold characters of color to higher standards than white characters
  • Latch onto any single excuse to marginalize female characters
  • Utilize any single excuse to demonize characters of color
  • Put women on pedestals and act as if we’re doing them a favor
  • Justify white and male abuses or dismiss them as “mistakes”
  • Use actual mistakes to denigrate female and non-white characters
  • Romanticize white, male pain and mental illness
  • Expect female characters to perform all the emotional labor
  • Expect characters of color to be perfectly mentally healthy forever
  • Expect everyone to subsume their own mental health for the white males’
  • Dismiss the traumas and experiences of characters of color
  • Minimize the achievements of female characters

And then we wonder why mainstream media is so regressive, especially compared to us. We all talk as if mainstream media creators are behind the times.

They’re not.

Fandom likes to imagine itself as being progressive because of all the slash – a mechanism of progress which conveniently boils down to extra attention on overwhelmingly male (and overwhelmingly white) characters. This form of progress is one which takes a minor deviation from the social norm (homosexuality), only to end up ultimately supporting or even amplifying the status quo, by virtue of over-focusing on male characters (and over-representing white ones in the process).

Strip back that gay window dressing, though, and you’ll see that at best, fandom is just as socially stagnant as mainstream media and mainstream culture – or even worse, by virtue of engaging in media that overwhelmingly sidelines several other marginalized groups in order to prop up one.

Professional women have long known the old adage, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought of half as good.” What no one seems to realize is that fandom is still doing exactly the same thing.

We expect female characters to be twice as good for half the acclaim, we expect characters of color to be three times as good for a third of the acclaim, and we let white, male characters be only a quarter as good for four times the acclaim.

Mainstream media is keeping up with the times and with social progress just fine, it’s us who’ve deluded ourselves into believing that we, as a community, are more progressive than we actually are.

 

 

And Danae Guriria lays it out:


**And on Hollywood Erasure. This topic is especially interesting to me becasue I know there were Black cowboys. When Slavery ended, a lot of Black people fled West, rather than North, which is how and why there are so many black people in places like Minnesota, Oklahoma, California and a huge Black population in Texas. I know there were Black Cowboys (and many many Mexican ones) but this is something most Americans don’t no about due once again to Hollywood Whitewashing. The remake of the Magnificent Seven is a lot more historically  accurate than the original.

Although the reception of that movie proves one more thing to me, that Denzel Washington can make whatever the Hell movie he wants, and no one will criticize him for historical accuracy. Apparently, he belongs in any era he wants.

 

black-to-the-bones

The LIT History Series is for the Legends, Innovators and Trailblazers that have shaped our culture.

It is widely believed that the “Lone Ranger”, the famous cowboy of the TV show and the movie, was inspired by a Black man named Bass Reeves.

Reeves was born a slave, but he escaped to the West where he eventually became a Deputy U.S. Marshal, an expert marksman, and a master of disguise with his Native American sidekick. Blacks were a huge part of the Western frontier despite what’s told to us in pop culture or taught to us in the classroom. “The kids who are learning history in our schools are not being told the truth about the way the West was,” says Jim Austin, founder of the National Multicultural Heritage Museum. “I bet you nine out of 10 people in this country think that cowboys were all white – as I did.” (x)

Cherokee Bill, born Crawford Goldsby, was a notorious outlaw whose father was a Buffalo Soldier. His reputation and career as an outlaw rivals the reputation of Billy the Kid. Bill Picket was a “famous” Black cowboy who toured the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and England, and he was inducted into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame 40 years after his death. (x)

And black cowboys are still here, they do exist.

That’s a huge part of history that was also erased from the history of America. We need to bring attention to this, because it’s unfair that black people along with other people of color have been erased from this narrative.

Source

 

Representation Matters (Pt. 2)

*It’s not enough for PoC to be included in the narrative. They also have to have character, not just be a character. Also, the more people of color in the narrative the less likely the writers (who are almost always NOT PoC) will resort to stereotypes, or rather the number of PoC in the narrative will help to ameliorate any stereotypes that are present.

It’s also important for PoC to be behind the scenes. It’s hard to create action stars  when there aren’t enough PoC as stunt doubles. It’s difficult to have authentic environments of PoC when seen through the lens of white male writers who are too lazy to do the proper research (We’re looking at you Scott Buck!), and even if they did, would never be able to capture all the details and nuances of being a recent Chinese immigrant, a transgender Latina, or a gay Black man. I’m not saying that white people can’t write these characters, but a lot  of them either don’t know, or care enough, to get their shit right.

When white women began writing more movies and TV shows, we started to getting more nuanced,  authentic, portrayals of white women in movies, and the same thing happens when PoC write and star in their own stories. For example, what makes the Luke Cage series stand out as an iconic depiction of Black life, is that the creators are Black themselves, and are aware of all the tiny details, of Black life, that would be missed by white writers, to whom none of those details would even occur.

One of the reasons Into the Badlands looks as rich as it does is because Asian men are the showrunners and the stunt crew. Now compare this show to Iron Fist, where the white writers didn’t seem to kgive a damn that a show (and character) so steeped in Orientalist culture, about a white man who learns Kung Fu, doesn’t actually feature the Kung Fu very well, or any of the Asian culture on which the character is based, and a showrunner who  seemed indifferent to what fight scenes there were. Scott Buck cared  so little about the show’s action scenes, that he didn’t give  his star, Finn Jones, enough time to practice so he could shine in those scenes. If you have a Martial Arts character named Iron Fist, and you don’t showcase the action, youre gonna get booed. I’m just sayin’.

Even White people ( as much as we hear about the racist ones who seem to hate diversity in media) actually crave different types of stories. I’ve come across the occasional essay by White people lamenting  the lack of variety in movies, and TV shows. They want something different from the “bland white guy gets the call to adventure” type of  story. They too want to see stories like Hidden Figures, and Moonlight, rather than yet another story of a white man’s growing pains in the Midwest, or another romantic comedy where the spunky, young, white actress of the moment, eventually hooks up with the bland, white guy, she initially hated.

We understand that Hollywood is a business and will keep trying  to give us the same product they have successfully sold us many times, but with the studios bottom lines beginning to suffer, it’s time for them to be less conservative, and much more daring. Yes, movies cost a lot of money, and people are loathe to risk not getting a return on their investment, but they’re losing money now, and need to try some new things.

Well, they could at least try making the same old movies, just without the same twenty five White actors we’ve been seeing.

 

reblogged

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results…

I’m not celebrating or sad.  This is emblematic of a huge shift in entertainment media that will progress with or without those who stubbornly adhere to old myopic ways.

They happened upon that wave early and let it wash past them instead of surfing it out of pure hubris, color-blindness, and stubbornness.

Sleepy Hollow came before Hamilton, Queen Sugar, Underground, Insecure, Atlanta, American Gods, Luke Cage, Get Out, Moonlight, and the upcoming, A Wrinkle in Time…  Black people and other marginalized groups are increasingly occupying genres and spaces they’ve rare-to-never been leads in, where they are having their perspectives and feelings served, instead of serving a white man’s story, as so many fans have been starved to see.

Such is business that if there is a need that will make money, it will eventually be filled by someone(s) if you choose not to.

That’s what I got out of this debacle.

That and, when you cater to a singular perspective for a long, long, time, no matter how new or “fresh” a spin you think you have on it, it’s probably been done and is trite, boring, and even offensive in its refusal to treat anyone who isn’t a white guy like they matter.

In other words, the exclusion of the other being central to these narratives for so long created this condition where those very narrow white boy dreams are getting staler and staler to audiences.

They aren’t the first white male writers and producers left dumbstruck and scratching their heads wondering what the hell happened after treating everything who isn’t the central white dude like shit and they won’t be the last.

You either evolve or get left behind.

(The show being referenced above is Sleepy Hollow, a show which had been lauded in its first and second seasons, but has just been canceled after its fourth season, after fans learned how the showrunners had been mistreating its female lead, and then unceremoniously, and without  warning, killed off her character. All I have left  to say about that is: They gon’ learn!)

 

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13 Times Hollywood Made Totally Racist Casting Decisions

In the 2015 box office bomb, Stone’s character Captian Allison Ng is written as being one quarter Chinese and one quarter Hawaiian. Many viewers of the film accused the filmmakers of whitewashing the cast, as Stone doesn’t belong to either heritage. The director of the film, Cameron Crowe, released the following as a statement: “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you …
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*I laughed at this waaay too hard:
Chris Pine’s SNL monologue reminds us how bad Hollywood’s superhero diversity problem is:
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Alright, this was just hilarious for me:
What diversity actually is:
How Hollywood sees diversity:
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*That’s it! The next time I see some fan whinging about Historical accuracy, in a movie that casts any POC, I’m gonna have to (digitally) punch ’em in the side of the neck. 
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  • White actors cast as ancient Egyptian kings: “I know they weren’t white but it doesn’t have to be historically accurate to be a good movie. They should just hire the best person for the job!”
  • Black actor suggested to play fictional white character:“James Bond has always been white! I don’t care how good of an actor he is, you can’t just change history!!!”
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*I think I mentioned this one on somebody’s comments section, that the vast media machine that exists in the US is pretty much geared towards one group of people and that is middle-class, White, cis-gender, and straight, but without any religious connotations. I really only noticed this while watching TV commercials. 
Now remember, the reason why we have television shows at all, is to make us watch ads for the sponsors of those shows. Television can exist without ads (otherwise there’s be no HBO, or Netflix) but you have to pay for it out of your own pocket (subscriptions). The companies that sponsor these showsaim their ads specifically at White middle class people because that’s who, or so they believe, has all the money. Its pretty much been like this since the invvention of the TV. Middle class people were the only ones who could afford TVs anyway. In order to catch those White, middle-class, eyeballs, they created shows geared towards reflecting their lifestyles, which is why the vast majority of television shows feature White, middle-class, often urban professionals. Those are the people that advertisers want, have always wanted.
Several things not taken into account; as TVs became more affordable to the working class, and then the poor, people who are not members of the prevailing socio-economic class would see those lifestyles as something they wanted to attain. Advertisers were quick to grasp that idea and started sponsoring shows geared towards working class whites, but only a few, and mostly comedies. The vast majority of shows featured White men, in some lucrative, but  unspecified city job (Quick! What did Leave it Beaver’s Dad do for a living?), doctors, lawyers, and the occasional detective. The shows reflected the lifestyles people lived, were trying to attain, or power fantasy stories for White men, like Westerns and Police stories. 
Image result for john wayne gif
Case in point!
Since the eighties though, television programmers decided that the most lucrative dollar to chase, was the White male, aged 18-35. Just about every form of media, outside of magazines, in the eighties and well into the nineties, was geared towards this specific demographic. Most, if not all of TV, movies, and most forms of music, was aimed at getting these young, white men to spend their money. These young men liked sex and violence, or so it was determined by programmers, so they made movies, and TV shows, about people having sex, and committing acts of violence. Just look at any of the comedies that were released during the eighties. Anybody else who happened to be ewatching these programs were mostly disregarded. (This was not a hard and fast rule.  
There were some things geared towards non-White people, whenever White programmers and Ad-men remembered that  the rest of us had money, they would sponsor a comedy, or made for TV movie, which explains Roots and The Jeffersons.) When it was discovered that these same young white men liked Rap music, advertisers began sponsoring more shows and movies with those themes, although initially, these things were aimed at Black people, (which is how we ended up with movies like Friday, and Boyz in the Hood.)
This is not to say that nothing was aimed at non-Whites. There were a few shows and movies aimed at women, Blacks, and the occasional Latinx,  but they were rare. Occasionally some “Actor of Color” would blow up in the media and manage to get a film career out of it, which explains Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. And the entire time, everyone of every color, was inundated with racist stereotypes of everyone who wasn’t White, sexist lies and tropes about women, and lots and lots of jokes, at gay and transgender people’s expense. 
*And in a not-unrelated post on the racial dynamics of Hollywood movies, Teej lays it all bare, but without my polite indoor voice.

It’s time to kill the idea of white women as leads in movies as “baby steps! :)” toward inclusion of women of color and that WoC and PoC generally need to pay to see these films otherwise Hollywood will never include WoC/more PoC because “Hollywood only listens to money.”

People proffering this argument are either gullible, not paying attention, have no understanding of how racism works in Hollywood, or all three.

Hollywood knows that Black movies and shows make money (I’m focusing on Blackness because it’s what I know and antiblackness exists in all communities). Straight Out of Compton made money, Selma made money, 12 Years a Slave made money, Tyler Perry’s movies make money (much to my chagrin), and those are just some recent ones. There is a history of Black cinema and films that made money. Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder are led by Black women and Empire has a predominately Black cast, and they’re wildly popular shows.

Black people and other PoC have money and we have and will continue to spend it in theaters to see films that feature us. HOLLYWOOD IS WELL AWARE OF THIS. Stop believing and proliferating their tired excuses and lies.

The issue is that Hollywood only cares about a specific type of money: white money.  

When Hollywood refuses to put Black women and men and other PoC in lead roles in upcoming Blockbusters it’s because they don’t think white people will relate to or be comfortable with the idea of PoC as heroes. It’s not just about money (because Black people and other PoC will definitely spend money to see those films), it’s about whiteness. It’s the WHITE DOLLAR and the white audience that these studios are after and are worried about losing. They know that white people have difficulty empathizing with Black people and other PoC. They know that white people only find Black led films palatable if there’s a BLATANT NEED OR REASON that the lead/cast is Black.

That is why, due to white racism, Hollywood is only comfortable telling one kind of story of Blackness (and stereotypical stories about other PoC). So they’ll acknowledge films about slavery (usually as long as there’s one white savior), they’ll allow comedic films about Black folks, they’ll allow films about Black sports legends, etc. because they know that these kinds of images are largely palatable to white people. Occasionally, when a Black actor like Will Smith reaches mainstream appeal (read: white people no longer see them as “just Black”),  they’ll let him be the hero in a Blockbuster or two (Independence Day, Men in Black, etc) as long as he’s accompanied by enough white people to make the white audience feel comfortable.

White women have lead movies in all genres because they are white, not because Hollywood is taking “baby steps! :)” to becoming more racially inclusive. It is in furtherance of whiteness and white supremacy that white women are chosen to lead instead of PoC. Implicit in the argument that white women “need to go first” is the reality that whiteness is privileged. Continuing to privilege that whiteness is never going to lead to acceptance of PoC, especially not WoC, because widening the scope of which white people can access the privileges usually afforded to cishet white men will never lead to inclusion of WoC, least of all, Black women. Hierarchies need someone at the bottom.

This is especially obvious when white women are given roles based on characters or real women who are not white (Katniss, Tiger Lily, Angelina Jolie in blackface as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart, etc).

Hollywood is built on continuing to sell white people the fantasy of them being heroic protagonists with sidekicks of color, and if they can’t be the protagonist, they must be the white savior. These stories are the ones white people time and time again will pay to see.

When you understand all of this, it is clear that progress isn’t going to come because Black people and other PoC support white lady led films. That idea is frankly laughable. Hollywood has been making lily white films since the dawn of film without any concern as to whether Black people and other PoC will pay to see them.

Change will only come when white folks show that they will support films led by WoC and other PoC as more than tokens following/supporting the white dude/lady protagonist. And these WoC need to visibly be of color–these white passing women getting leading roles are just further example of how whiteness is what is truly at work here, not just money.

There’s a reason why Black folks have a whole host of Black led movies we can reference and laugh about together that we saw in theaters and that made money that white people don’t know the first thing about: because white people by and large do not support films with black/other poc leads/casts.

So, instead of all these White Feminists ™ telling Black women and other WoC that we need to hand over our cash to support yet another white lady lead in hopes that we might one day get a WoC lead, white people need to demonstrate that they will support a WoC lead.  Get on Twitter and Facebook and ask these studios why they cast yet another white lady. Spend your white money on a film with a Black/other PoC lead/cast. Stop spending your money on these typical white male hero movies. Stop patting Hollywood on the back for doing the most basic shit and stop praising them for only spotlighting white women as if it’s opening the door for anything other than more white women.

In short, Black women and other PoC not supporting white lady led films is not the problem. The problem is white people not supporting WoC and other PoC led films. We are not the problem. You are.

Yeah, this is all bumming me out, so I know its probably bumming you out too. So here, have a Spidercat!
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Weekend Reading Assignments

Here I am, providing you guys with some enjoyable, and enlightening, reading material for the weekend. This should tide you over, until I make a post about something a little more substantial, Monday.

 

*This post is about one of my favorite action series, John Wick, and how it compares to the action films of the 80s.

At one point or another, every major movie site gets around to detailing  the collapse of the modern action movie star. Gone are the bulked up action stars of the eighties who could sell a fight sequence just by looking the part of a demi-god. Gone too are the slow-motion gunfights and myriad of squibs that contemporized the gunfight. In an era where the studio is the star and special effects are limited only by the imagination of those coding them, there isn’t a lot of room for standouts and signature styles.

From: https://wordpress.com/post/tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/57342

Continue reading “Weekend Reading Assignments”

Born Sexy Yesterday

This video showed up on my Tumblr dashboard and I just had to share it. I love the way this blogger’s mind works. It’s something that’s been bothering me about romantic comedies, some of which are dressed up as sci-fi and fantasy movies,  for a long time, but I wasn’t able to clearly articulate the concept.

This trope is also called by another name: the  “infantilization” of female characters, and it also encompasses the tropes of the “dumb blonde”, and the “sexy schoolgirl”.

Well, the Pop Culture Detective (this is a series) has thoroughly articulated this problem for me. He basically breaks down the trope of the sexy, but naively innocent female character that the primary male character always falls in love with, lists the films that follow the trope, the films that turn it on its head, and briefly discusses its origins in colonialism. The video is some 18 minutes long, and I’m warning you, some of the imagery from past movies is astonishingly cringeworthy!


Now the Pop Culture Detective is a white man, so I don’t expect him to go into details on issues of race, although he is aware enough to briefly mention  the tropes racist origins.  One of the things you will notice in the images is the overwhelming whiteness of this trope. The trope may have been birthed in the racist stereotypes of Indigenous women, but for the past fifty, sixty years white women have embodied it. During that time period, when Europe was trying to collect as many countries as possible, this particular trope came  from stereotypes of Native women being innocent and/or subservient, but sexy,  savages.

https://lookinginthepopularculturemirror.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/the-portrayal-of-indigenous-women-in-popular-culture/

These are tropes that continue to this day, (and a few of those tropes  find their way into the primal black person stereotype with terms like “jungle fever”). The article below by Mediasmarts, has  managed to connect these  sexualized stereotypes to media tropes such as “Missing White Woman Syndrome”, to explain why the lives of missing, raped, or murdered Brown , Black  and Indigenous women, are ignored by news reports.


http://mediasmarts.ca/diversity-media/aboriginal-people/media-portrayals-missing-and-murdered-aboriginal-women

You may also recognize, if you’ve ever visited the website We Hunted the Mammoth, most of the talking points of MRAs and other misogynists. Many of their beliefs about women, (that they are like children who need a firm guidance from men, that their “hypergamous” sluts, whose sexuality needs to be tightly reined in, that women are stupid, and shouldn’t be allowed to engage in society they way men do) are little more than wish fulfillments, aimed squarely at white women,  and it’s not difficult to believe that a lot of their beliefs have been informed by seventy years of media depicting white women in this manner.

One of the arguments being had, across social media, is marginalized people trying to convince White people that everything we see in the media is representative of the real world.  Media stereotypes not only mirror real world beliefs and activities, but actually aided and abetted the formation of such beliefs.

When the stories of PoC are told through a White male lens (as so much of Hollywood is), these types of issues are ignored, because the creators neither know, nor care, and  illustrates why it’s so important for PoC to also work behind the scenes, not just in front of the cameras, to tell our  own stories, from our own perspectives.

 

Racism in Pop Culture

And here’s my monthly series of articles discussing  the intersection of race and pop culture.

First up, an essay about Westworld from the point of view of a Black man. I touched on some issues earlier with the depiction of Black and White women in Westworld’s dynamic, and its been one of my most popular essays,  but this article is a  discussion of the real world racial dynamics of Westworld, most specifically between Arnold/Bernard, and Robert Ford.

Race. Power. Westworld.

HBO’s sci-fi drama Westworld was a psychological mind f*ck of a show revolving around issues of control, power, violence and love. But there wasn’t a single moment in the show that focused on race despite the fact there are a multitude of racial politics in play. I don’t know if this is because the script was written without race in mind and the casting choices informed the racial dynamics or not. But I came away from the show a bit disappointed that the writers never chose to tackle racial motivations as the show evolved. The interaction between Arnold/Bernard and Ford is ripe with implications of power and race while the park itself seems to be no more than a #MAGA fever dream.

https://stillcrew.com/race-power-westworld-fd97c8a2a6b4


In this article, Zoe Kravitz, the daughter of Lenny Kravitz, and Lisa Bonet, brings the fire, about the roles available for Black women in Hollywood. The irony is that this article came from a British newspaper. 

Zoë Kravitz: ‘Why do stories happen to white people and everyone else is a punchline?’

  • August 20th, 2015

The actor has been stranded on the edges of blockbusters such as Mad Max: Fury Road and the Divergent series, but ahead of new film Dope she’s taking on Hollywood’s stereotypes and making a name for herself

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/aug/20/zoe-kravitz-why-do-stories-happen-to-white-people-and-everyone-else-is-a-punchline


This is a very interesting article about how Hunger Games fans ignored the descriptions of race in the books, while being racist towards the characters in the movies.  Although, I am inclined to believe that a certain section of the Hunger Games fandom never  read the books, saw some racism on display, and decided they wanted to jump on that lovely bandwagon. I have found there’s a subset of White people that will take any and every opportunity to bash a black person, whether they know anything about the situation, or not.

Warning: There’s some seriously nasty shit on display in this article. If you don’t feel like dealing with this level of White nonsense today, or just don’t want to get your blood pressure up, my suggestion is to skip it. Come back to it after you’ve maybe had some weed, or a good strong drink. (I recommend some Henny.)

Racist Hunger Games Fans Are Very Disappointed


These articles area set. They’re  discussions of how social justice crusades on social media has changed the way critics do their jobs. There are certain words that have just become part of mainstream dialogue about movies, and I think we owe that to the critics and fans on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.

The American media has no idea how to talk about race on-screen

But they’re (slowly) learning, thanks to social media campaigns that are forcing difficult conversations

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/05/the_american_media_has_no_idea_how_to_talk_about_race_on_screen/

Hot takes and “problematic faves”: the rise of socially conscious criticism

Modern criticism’s affinity for discussing social issues has changed pop culture, for creators and audiences alike.

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/4/20/15179232/socially-conscious-criticism

For example, the term whitewashing has entered everyday language. Ten years ago, no one was saying this, or critiquing movies with this word. Hell, three years ago the mainstream media wasn’t even socially conscious enough to  be able to spot it, when it happened. But thanks to “woke” fans of Pop Culture, putting it out there, along with other terms like racebending,  appropriation, and erasure, it’s almost impossible for a movie starring white actors (in lieu of actors of color) to not mention any of these terms. 

I do have to thank the Internet for this. If it wasn’t for people like us, arguing vociferously in the comment sections,  and writing our own reviews, meta, and articles about the shows we love and hate, the mainstream media wouldn’t  be aware of these things as problems.

Whitewashing Hollywood movies isn’t just offensive—it’s also bad business

Apparently, ScarJo and Tilda Swinton  have not had enough of getting their edges snatched, all  across social media, by Asian- Americans. They are now starring in a movie together, titled Isle of Dogs, and people are not pleased.

@tsengputterman @ubeempress We get not ONE actress who’s proven her skills at playing Asians, but TWO! Ain’t we lucky! I feel so fucking blessed.

@FilmFatale_NYC New Wes Anderson film set in Japan starring ScarJo and Tilda Swinton. We’re getting trolled.

They really placed Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton in Isle of Dogs to reaffirm their Asian ethnicity? Hollywood killin Asians… STILL!


And finally, more articles about the movie Get Out, which blew up the movie theaters two months ago. February is turning out to be the ” Absolute!Shit” month for African Americans.  Beyonce’s Lemonade dropped in February of last year, and this year we got the unexpected pleasure of Get Out. Next year, it’s the much anticipated arrival of Black Panther, due in (when else?) February.
In the meantime Get out has been one of the most written about movies in the past year. This includes a comparison between Get Out and The Handmaids Tale.  (Later I’ll do a post on the racial implications behind the news show, and the book.)



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These two misplaced fellows below are about Whitewashing. (Bear with me here, it’s morning, and I’m on a tablet!)


And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that reprehensible Heineken ad, that gave me goosebumps just thinking about it. It’s as cringe-worthy as the Pepsi ad that aired earlier this month. Once again, you’ve got a corporation trying to get those Millennial dollars, and getting shit wrong. And here’s why its wrong, as DiDi Delgado perfectly articulates:

The Heineken Ad Is Worse Than The Pepsi Ad, You’re Just Too Stupid To Know It

(On Medium. com. You have to sign in to Medium to view the article. Follow DiDi, if you liked this particular article, and want to read all her stuff.)

View story at Medium.com

ETA: The Links for the Get Out articles have been added. I’ll have a part two of this post later this week, after my review of American Gods.

The Racism in Fandom (Do I Really Need to Number This One?) Chronicles

This is PoC at this point.

Crowded Gif

Fantasy Writer N.K. Jemisin Explains the Rise of Racism in Fandom

I’m going to start this off with a quote from Chip Delany, writing in the essay “Racism and Science Fiction” which was published in NYRSF in 1998. It’s online, you can look it up.

“Since I began to publish in 1962, I have often been asked, by people of all colors, what my experience of racial prejudice in the science fiction field has been. Has it been nonexistent? By no means: It was definitely there. A child of the political protests of the ’50s and ’60s, I’ve frequently said to people who asked that question: As long as there are only one, two, or a handful of us, however, I presume in a field such as science fiction, where many of its writers come out of the liberal-Jewish tradition, prejudice will most likely remain a slight force—until, say, black writers start to number thirteen, fifteen, twenty percent of the total. At that point, where the competition might be perceived as having some economic heft, chances are we will have as much racism and prejudice here as in any other field.

We are still a long way away from such statistics.

But we are certainly moving closer.”

 

N.K.Jemisen, Leslie Jones, John Boyega, Candice Patton

Danai Gurira, Nicole Beharie, Lucy Liu

http://observationdeck.kinja.com/pop-discourse-the-state-of-black-female-characters-in-1725969028/1725979051

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*We’re going to be hearing a lot about this topic, as next month is Asian American ,and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The Model Minority Myth has often been used as a way to silence Black Americans from speaking out on their own oppression, as it was invented as a way for White racists to escape culpability for their behavior, and ignore systemic racism, by “pretending” to elevate another racial group to favored status. I say “pretending” because White people don’t actually care about Asian Americans either. The MMM has been used as an excuse to ignore social issues within Asian American communities.

The real fallout from the Model Minority Myth for Asian Americans:

Zack isn’t a new breed of Asian-American. It’s just that Zack and the millions of others like him are rarely seen in Hollywood movies. It was 1987 when TIME ran its cover story, “Those Asian American Whiz Kids,” which chronicled the academic prowess and affluence of American-born children of Asian immigrants. It was a flashpoint for Asian-Americans at the time, who became aware of their image as the “model minority” (a term which first appeared in the New York Times in 1966). A follow-up in 2014 revealed things hadn’t changed: “The belief in a blanket Asian-American culture is so thick that it has resulted in confusion when Asian-Americans deviate from the model minority myth,” wrote journalist Jack Linshi. “[T]hose who display that diversity are often perceived as exceptions.”

This misperception that Asian-Americans are naturally gifted and succeed more has been devastating for the psyche; the Counseling and Mental Health Center of the University of Texas at Austin purports Asian-American students are “more likely to seek medical leave, more likely to go on academic probation, and are less likely to graduate in four years.” The university has statistics to illustrate the crippling pressure: 33 percent of Asian-American students drop out of high school. Asian-American students were likely to report stress, loss of sleep, and “feelings of hopelessness” but “were less likely to seek counseling.”

And not all of them have the resources to seek help: 11.8 percent of Asian-Americans live below the poverty line. The model minority monolith ignores Asian-Americans from less-prosperous regions. A national report in 2015 revealed that those of Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong heritage “earned bachelor’s degrees at a lower rate than the national average.” In 2013, The Myth of the Model Minority author Rosalind Chou told NPR “there are consequences to living in a country with a racial hierarchy,” to which Sharon H. Chang argued in ThinkProgress results in complete and total invisibility, even within one’s own minority group.

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*This one was a topic that I’d both noticed and didn’t notice. I’m one of those women who are somewhere in the medium brown category, so the only time I ever noticed colorism, was when I noticed how I was treated when I was around girls with lighter skin. I kind of knew, but didn’t,  that girls who were darker than me got treated shabbily, but it didn’t really register until I saw the movie Dark Girls a few years ago. I couldn’t imagine how horribly the women in that movie had been treated, and I’m sorry to say I’d remained largely oblivious to it. I’m taking steps to correct my woefully ignorant stance on this issue:

The “Angry Dark Skin Friend”

There’s a common pattern in many forms of black media where there are 2 black female characters who are friends or sisters, one being lighter in skintone, while the other is darker. Even though darkskin and lightskin women form friendships all the time, the way they’re commonly depicted in Black Media is what stands out and perpetuates certain stereotypes:

1. in the film/show/etc, the main character/focus of the 2 is typical the lighter skin woman

2. this makes the darker skin woman the “sidekick”

3. the lighter skin woman is portrayed as prettier, nicer, “classier”, more reserved, and/or overall more likeable and desirable

4. the darker skin woman is portrayed as shady, mean, loud, desperate, abrasive, aggressive, and/or overall less attractive (many would say “ghetto”)

These photos show just a few examples that came to mind…

Coming to America (1988) – The darker skin sister was more desperate for a man, chasing after Prince Akeem, Simi, and even her sister’s ex-fiancé. In the frame of society’s norms, this would be seen as “fast”, “tacky” or lacking in morals, which would therefore, make her less fitting to be a wife.

House Party (1990) – The darker skin friend (AJ Johnson) was the louder, more outgoing friend who was ready to date both Kid & Play, whereas Tisha Campbell’s character was more timid, and ended up being Kid’s “better suited” love interest.

Martin (1992-1997) – Once again, Tisha Campbell is playing the main female character, Gina Waters, and love interest to the main character, Martin Payne. While Gina is depicted as a kinder, classier, professional, “wifey” type, her best friend/assistant Pamela James, played by Tichina Arnold, is depicted as a loud, angry, man-less, berating black woman with “buckshots” and “beedeebees” in her “horse” hair, who was constantly butting heads with Martin.

Proud Family (2001-2005) – Penny, the lighter skin girl, was the main character with Dijonay, the darker skin girl, as the friend/sidekick. Dijonay had a less “traditional” name, as did her many siblings, was portrayed as louder, having more attitude, and was constantly chasing after Sticky, a boy who not only didn’t want her, but preferred the lighter skin friend, Penny.

Rick Ross’ Music Video for “Aston Martin Music” (2010) – In the early portion of the video, we see a young Ricky out on the block with other neighborhood kids, dreaming about owning a luxury car one day. Among the kids there’s 2 young girls, one darker skin and the other lighter skin. While the darker skin girl is quick to berate him and tear down his dreams of ever being that successful, raising her voice and waving her finger in his face, the lighter skin girl is quick to reassure him and support his dream. Once again, this display reaffirms the stereotype of darker skin women being mean, bitter, and angry, while lighter skin women are kinder, sweeter, and happier.

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*This person is reminding us all that at the intersection of race and sexual expression, there is a helluva lot of anti-Black racism, in the fandoms. As a straight, cis-gender, woman of color, who is supportive of these issues, I really do have to stay on top of of what these communities are saying if I want to be a good ally.  One of the ways I do that is by constantly reading, keeping informed on the subject, through the writings and speeches of those who are are actually experiencing it.

sapphicwocsource:

I’m really tired of white LGBT people sanctimoniously preaching to LGBT people of color what constitutes “good” vs “bad” LGBT representation. You expect us to put up with heavily white-dominated, often toxic and racist representation that harms us, in the name of progressiveness, but at the same time you turn around and make fun of our sources of representation and tell us that they aren’t “good” enough or don’t hold up to your racist, exclusive standards.

You’ll tell us to endure racist writing and racist white characters but then mock LGBT characters of color using all sorts of absurd reasons – “there wasn’t enough time for them!” or “they just aren’t realistic!” or “I’m going to rant about how a children’s cartoon is reinforcing bourgeois, imperialist conceptualizations of class”. You never give LGBT people of color a chance to celebrate the few sources of representation they have. You rant endlessly about white LGBT characters being tokenized or killed off, but when the same things happen tenfold to LGBT characters of color, who are also brutalized, fetishized, and sexualized by both their creators and their fandoms, you use all sorts of justifications to whisk away any criticisms LGBT fans of color have.

Stop telling us what to prioritize and what not to like. Stop making us feel bad for finding representation in sources that you might decry as not “good” or “intellectual” or “radical” enough for you. Stop condescendingly informing us that the shows we love are bad but that the shows you love are good using x circular logic.

You’ll celebrate 0.2 seconds of a same-gender couple’s appearance in a children’s movie (like Finding Dory) but if a show begins to flesh out a storyline for LGBT characters of color (as in The Get Down), you’ll say “lol Dizzee only kissed another boy for a couple seconds so it’s terrible representation and you’re an idiot for liking it”. You’ll lament Commander Lexa’s death but justify Poussey Washington’s death. You’ll fawn over Clarke Griffin but claim that Asami Sato is a “bourgeois light-skinned imperialist”. You’ll drool over Connor Walsh but call Magnus Bane “predatory”. You’ll say “lol Barb from Stranger Things is clearly a lesbian because she died” but remain silent when lesbians of color are brutalized or killed off. You’ll claim needing LGBT representation and use that as a reason not to watch shows with people of color in them but when The Get Down and Queen Sugar both have LGBT representation, you won’t say anything about them or give them the time of day. You’ll glorify Carol, which had sex scenes, but claim that The Handmaiden, which also had sex scenes, involved “the male gaze”. You’ll get angry at cishets for expecting us to put up with heternormative media but tell LGBT people of color to shut up when they criticize how white and racist LGBT shows are and how they alienate LGBT people of color.

And I am completely exhausted by this. It is not “divisive” or “whiny” of me to bring this up because guess what? White LGBT people use the exact same arguments against cishets when they talk about how “LGBT representation is unrealistic and blah blah blah”. Yet you turn around and pull the same line of rhetoric when LGBT people of color try and express themselves. You’ll either use our media (all the “foreign” LGBT movies that you watch and consume, all the iconic LGBT characters of color who broke boundaries and stereotypes, all the LGBT celebrities of color who are outspoken and compassionate, etc) without giving credit where credit is due, or you’ll tokenize our media, stamp it as not good enough, and glorify your often racist, exclusive, and frankly bad media and demand that we put up with it. It is immensely hypocritical, not to mention self-righteous.

And as a corollary, to the above, is a reminder that some shows and movies are engaging in little more than performative diversity. They don’t actually care about representation, but they do want the brownie points that come with doing the absolute bare minimum required to support inclusion. (We’re looking at you MCU, Disney, and DCEU!)

andhumanslovedstories:

There’s such a weird fixation in media about “firsts”. Beauty and the Beast boasting disney’s “first gay scene” is the one I’m thinking about in particular, and Power Rangers with the “first gay superhero”, and in both cases it’s a blink and you’ll miss it thing, something that maintains plausible deniability of queerness within the film itself, but establishing explicit queerness in everything outside the film. We know Lefou is gay because the interview told us he was in disney’s first gay scene.

And most of these discussions of firsts devolve into which first is first. Bill gets announced as the first gay companion on doctor who, and then follows the argument of whether Jack counts as companion, whether he was the first pansexual companion while Bill is the first gay companion, whether Amy or Clara was ever canonically bisexual and should that be a factoring in calculating firsts as well. (I remember a similar argument going on when Martha was announced as the first black companion, and people were like “but Mickey?” And there’s definitely commentary waiting about contentious Firsts and characters of color, but my white ass has nothing incisive to offer on that front except the hope we are kinder and better towards Bill than we were towards Martha.) And meanwhile, here is Bill, a black gay female companion, and while that fact has definitely not gotten lost, it is still very very cool and good that she is the companion even if she is not the Absolute First.

The language of Firsts is everywhere when you start looking for it, the idea that this show/movie/video game is doing something New Never Before Done Whoa Look At The Unprecedented Gay. And when this trend worries me, it’s because:

1) it gives off a strong whiff of performative representation, where the representation isn’t as important as people knowing you’re doing it

1a) the corollary being that the emphasis on First First First makes me worried that creators are not interested in Second Third Fourth. That having had the First *spins wheel, throws dart* Lesbian Asian Marvel character (a guest star in three episodes of the Defenders, maybe fifteen minutes, every gif set celebrating her has the same three quotes because that’s all there is), they are now exempted from every having to write a Second Lesbian Asian Marvel character. Because they already did that. Didn’t you see the article in Entertainment Weekly? It was a very big deal.

2) the trend of press on the First Gay Thing tends to vastly outscale the actually gayness, which traps us in an endless loop of hype and disappointment (versus Dumbledoring where the gayness is revealed retroactively for a previously ambiguous character or relationship, and it’s a weird combination of vindication because you thought they might be gay, surprise because you didn’t expect them to be gay, and disappointment because why didn’t the work just say they were gay)

And this, even more than the rest of this post, is a personal grievance but 3) queer fandom has spent decades finding representation in subtext, in coding, in wishful thinking and disciplined literary analysis of the text. This whole First thing seems come with a subtext that every other character who had significant ambiguous relationships, was flamboyant or butch, was in anyway queercoded? Not queer. This here is the first gay thing, and we’re very brave for being the first to have done it. Gay characters must formally come out to count.

Putting aside explicitly queer characters (which exist! Which have a history that creators and fans are welcome to build upon instead of thinking they have to invent gay representation every time they launch a franchise), queer history and queer art has always entailed writing and reading in between the lines. Which requires there be lines. If the new trend is unwritten in text, out and proud in press, what does that offer? I’m happy that Explicitly Confirmed Queer is a thing that’s happening, I very much am, but if a gay child who has never read a think-piece cannot recognize themself in your Brave Unprecedented Gay Character because they didn’t read your interview with the av club, then what use is that character? What was the point? What have you actually contributed to us?

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And finally, a clear illustration of the difference between racebending and whitewashing, since some o’y’all seem confused on the issues. (Also, I thought this article was really cute! Tag me! I’m the raisin in the bottom left corner.)

This is a jar full of major characters

Actually it is a jar full of chocolate covered raisins on top of a dirty TV tray. But pretend the raisins are interesting and well rounded fictional characters with significant roles in their stories.

We’re sharing these raisins at a party for Western Storytelling, so we get out two bowls.

Then we start filling the bowls. And at first we only fill the one on the left.

This doesn’t last forever though. Eventually we do start putting raisins in the bowl on the right. But for every raisin we put in the bowl on the right, we just keep adding to the bowl on the left.

And the thing about these bowls is, they don’t ever reset. We don’t get to empty them and start over. While we might lose some raisins to lost records or the stories becoming unpopular, but we never get to just restart. So even when we start putting raisins in the bowl on the right, we’re still way behind from the bowl on the left.

And time goes on and the bowl on the left gets raisins much faster than the bowl on the right.

Until these are the bowls.

Now you get to move and distribute more raisins. You can add raisins or take away raisins entirely, or you can move them from one bowl to the other.

This is the bowl on the left. I might have changed the number of raisins from one picture to the next. Can you tell me, did I add or remove raisins? How many? Did I leave the number the same?

You can’t tell for certain, can you? Adding or removing a raisin over here doesn’t seem to make much of a change to this bowl.

This is the bowl on the right. I might have changed the number of raisins from one picture to the next. Can you tell me, did I add or remove raisins? How many? Did I leave the number the same?

When there are so few raisins to start, any change made is really easy to spot, and makes a really significant difference.

This is why it is bad, even despicable, to take a character who was originally a character of color and make them white. But why it can be positive to take a character who was originally white and make them a character of color.

The white characters bowl is already so full that any change in number is almost meaningless (and is bound to be undone in mere minutes anyway, with the amount of new story creation going on), while the characters of color bowl changes hugely with each addition or subtraction, and any subtraction is a major loss.

This is also something to take in consideration when creating new characters. When you create a white character you have already, by the context of the larger culture, created a character with at least one feature that is not going to make a difference to the narratives at large. But every time you create a new character of color, you are changing something in our world.

I mean, imagine your party guests arrive

Oh my god they are adorable!

And they see their bowls

But before you hand them out you look right into the little black girls’s eyes and take two of her seven raisins and put them in the little white girl’s bowl.

I think she’d be totally justified in crying or leaving and yelling at you. Because how could you do that to a little girl? You were already giving the white girl so much more, and her so little, why would you do that? How could you justify yourself?

But on the other hand if you took two raisins from the white girl’s bowl and moved them over to the black girl’s bowl and the white girl looked at her bowl still full to the brim and decided your moving those raisins was unfair and she stomped and cried and yelled, well then she is a spoiled and entitled brat. 

And if you are adding new raisins, it seems more important to add them to the bowl on the right. I mean, even if we added the both bowls at the same speed from now on (and we don’t) it would still take a long time before the numbers got big enough to make the difference we’ve already established insignificant.

And that’s the difference between whitewashing POC characters and making previously white characters POC. And that’s why every time a character’s race is ambiguous and we make them white, we’ve lost an opportunity.

*goes off to eat her chocolate covered raisins, which are no longer metaphors just snacks*

Source: timemachineyeah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost in the Shell Thoughts & LinkSpam

Here’s a roundup of thoughts and feelings  from Asian Americans (and a few others) on Ghost in the Shell, Hollywood, and Whitewashing:

Orientalism and the Ghost in Hollywood’s Shell

The Incomparable Differences between Whitewashing and Racebending

https://thirdtwinmusings.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/stolen-brilliance-whitewashing-and-the-white-mind-as-perfection/

https://screenalicious.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/how-to-end-hollywood-whitewash-in-10-easy-steps/

https://amazingrace350.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/how-get-out-proved-that-minority-actors-are-marketable-hollywood-just-refuses-to-make-it-work/

Exorcising Ghost in the Shell

https://haleyjb.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/entertainment-media-a-white-world/

http://www.gq.com/story/the-whitewashing-playbook

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2017/02/history-whitewashing-asian-american-hollywood

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/03/24/filmmakers_and_actors_keep_defending_casting_controversies_but_here_s_why.html

https://theringer.com/ghost-in-the-shell-scarlett-johansson-63bd6503af72

http://www.tor.com/2016/04/20/why-are-we-still-white-washing-characters/

 

 

And also check out  the site:

http://blog.angryasianman.com/

For intelligent discourse on issues pertaining to Asian Americans in Popular media, and a list of similar blogs:.

http://blog.angryasianman.com/2017/04/read-these-blogs_9.html

Asian American Month begins in May.

 

Not So United Airlines

If you live in the US you’ve probably heard much about what happened on United Airlines earlier this week, when an Asian man was forcibly removed from one of their planes.

I dont normally link to social justice issues here but I felt this was relevant in light of what happened with Ghost in the Shell, and the fact that Asian American History month starts in May. I’m an African American woman and I know a racial incident when I see one. I refuse to be gaslighted on this, and neither will Asian people. China has already responded to  this incident by calling for a boycott of United, and the CEO of United has issued a less than satisfactory apology, and gone so far as to blame the victim.

There are numerous videos of the event and I have to admit I was just a little bit surprised at my reaction to this incident myself. I wasn’t expecting to be as strongly affected by this, as I am by videos of Black Americans being brutalized on film. I saw the photos and I just couldn’t bring myself to watch any of the videos. I wont link to them here.

What I thought I’d do, to alleviate some of my own distress, is signal boost the voices of Asian Americans who are speaking out on this, and provide some  links to think-pieces that are  relevant to this case.

I think, now more than ever before, its time for PoC to set aside our complaints, with one another, and join together to fight against what we see happening in Trump’s America. I hear complaints about anti-Black racism from other PoC, when I think we should keep in mind, that this is America, and absolutely no one is immune to anti-Black racism, not even Black people. Also not every group of marginalized people is going to be in the same place in the racial game as we are, with the same level of experience and awareness.

We need to keep in mind, that no one will be immune to this kind terrorism in a corporate state. We can stand together, or be destroyed separately. (When the dust settles, we’ll all still be here, and  can go back to petty infighting later.)

People have thoughts:

http://verysmartbrothas.com/the-chinese-doctor-dragged-off-a-united-airlines-flight-is-the-blackest-thing-that-ever-happened-this-week/

PR Has Been Grounded (Sorry, “Re-Accommodated”)

The Defenses Of United Airlines’ Behavior Reveal Some Uncomfortable Truths

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/united-video-scandal-law/522552/

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/04/youre-not-mad-at-united-airlines-youre-mad-at-amer.html

 

The trolling of United:

Now other airlines are brutally trolling United Airlines, and it’s hilarious

“A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

 

Tumblr had some choice words too:

Vietnamese doctor gets roughed up and hauled out of a plane by cops at United: I’m Vietnamese-American myself and naturally my community’s in an uproar over this. But where was this outrage for the brutality against black people? They’ve been suffering this kind of treatment for years. The general attitude I perceive in my community, especially among the older 1st gen immigrants, is judgment, victim blaming, or indifference. All of a sudden we care because “one of our own” got attacked. I’m sick of the double standards we’re perpetrating. The Asian diaspora population has maintained a content and compliant attitude, so when something like the United incident happens, it jolts us out of our happy little bubble and scares us to the core, and it should. We’re scared because the model minority myth does not exempt or protect us (that’s exactly what it is: a myth, not a fact, and it hurts us more than it helps us). We need to stop assuming that we’re an exception. That is very dangerous thinking. We need to hold ourselves accountable and do better.

Tumblr Funnies

*Tumblr is great for story prompts about alien contact, and hair dye:

lady-of-greenwood:

patternofdefiance:

just-a-kind-of-magic:

Imagine being a human in an alien crew in space and leaving with bright blue or pink hair and the color fades and everybody on board wonders WHY you are losing your colors??? Is it the lack of greens? Are you sad? Angry? They just don’t know??

“Human-Kelly may we have a moment of your time?”

Kelly pauses in her inventorying of the photo-synth plates she’ll be installing after today’s cycle ends. “It’s just Kelly, hellot-Halzar, you don’t have to acknowledge my species every time we talk.” She smiles. “That’s not considered rude for us.”

“Very well hu—Kelly. Erm. May we have a moment of your time?” Many eyes blink earnestly at her.

“Sure. What’s up?”

hellot-Halzar considers. “May we discuss the structural nature of the ship interior and gravity-derived reference values at a later date? At this moment we would like to inquire as to the nature of your corporeal change.”

“Yeah sure—wait my what?”

“There is a mess hall wager.”

“About my –?”

“Concerning your strands,” hellot-Halzar says, gesturing.

“My….hair.” Kelly runs a hand through it. It’s purple as of two ship days ago. “Ok?”

“We wish to know whether the colour change signifies mood, nutritional intake variance, or ….erm….whether your mating season status has changed.”

“My mating season status, huh?” Kelly lifts an eyebrow.

“Yes.”

“Did Jerry put you up to this?”

“Human-Jerry refused to answer our questions about your strands, citing some phenomenon known to your homeworld as ‘famine in missed eek’.”

Kelly snorted. “Tell Jerry he can shove his archaic ideas about ‘feminine mystique’ where M-series stars don’t shine. As for your bet: sorry, it’s none of the above. I changed my hair because my last box of dye was about to expire and because I felt like it.”

hellot-Halzar considers. “chinret-Zer wins then, by technicality: that reason falls within acceptable parameters for ‘mood’.”

“I suppose it does.” Kelly pauses. “Who bet on the ‘mating season’ one?”

“Hmm?” hellot-Halzar had already turned to go and deliver the verdict. They turn one set of eyes back. “Oh that would be Drannuc. He said he smelled a difference in you.”

“Delightful,” Kelly says, instead of explaining menstruation and how that can affect mood, diet, and that technically it correlates to what most of the species on the ship would consider a mating season.
“Next time, instead of betting, maybe just ask questions? And not Jerry. He’s a jerk.”

“Reclassifying human-Jerry as jerk-Jerry. We will approach you with all human queries from now on,” hellot-Halzar says and then continues on their way.

Probably for the best, she thinks with a lopsided grin, and then continues sorting the photo-synth plates to install on her space walk tomorrow.

“Reclassifying human-Jerry as jerk-Jerry”

Pure. There is no other word.

Source: just-a-kind-of-magic

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*Tumblr is great for story prompts about ghostly roommates:

tygermama:

agwitow:

just-shower-thoughts:

If a ghost can open cupboards and break things, why not just take a pencil, find paper, write exactly why it’s unhappy, and tape the message on the fridge.

It just became second nature to close all the cupboards first thing in the morning (even though they’d been closed the night before). Which was when things escalated from banging cupboard doors to actually breaking things.

Faucets, door handles, curtain rods ripped from the wall… all the repairs started to add up.

“Look, I didn’t mind having an ethereal roommate, but I can’t afford to keep fixing all this shit. Here’s a pencil and some paper. Just write what’s bothering you–I doubt you could put anything that would be more expensive than having a plumber come out to replace all the faucets again.”

The next morning there’s a scrawl line at the top of the page that devolved into an angry scribbling mess that tore through the page. Two cupboard doors were entirely ripped off.

“I don’t want to get someone in to banish you, but this is ridiculous. Just tell me what you want.”

The second piece of paper is ripped into shreds and several knives are embedded in the wall.

A careful examination of the paper scraps show that it had the same scribbles as the first piece.

A quick trip to the library and a stop at a store later, there are kindergarten workbooks on learning to write spread across the counter.

“Look, I don’t know if you’re just being difficult, but I hope not. So I got an audiobook on learning to read and write, and here are some workbooks for kids–don’t get mad–to teach them their letters. Just press play on the stereo, and work through the books at your own pace. I’ll get more when you finish.”

The first workbook is half-completed before being ripped to pieces, but at least there was no other damage. Replacing it is significantly cheaper than replacing cupboard doors.

It takes awhile, but eventually the workbooks progress to a fifth grade level. These ones are starting to be more costly (they’re bigger, for one thing), but it’s not even the money anymore. Little notes scrawled in a shaky hand appear on the steamy bathroom mirror

Have A gooD dy

Or written in ketchup on the counter (that was a frightening sight the first time)

You R out of MLK

And then one day there’s a message taped to the fridge. The spelling and penmanship isn’t the best, but it’s legible and even signed.

Dear Occupente,

I have haunted this spot for ovr three huner hudre 300 years. My bones are dust and I am fergotN. I do not have wants to trap me. I am here 4 ever.

I am bord. Lonly.

I am sorrY 4 breaking things.

We be frends?

Syncerly Eloise

I love you, Eloise

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*I feel like this may be  Paul Ryan’s life goal:

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*Dog refuses to stay on pillow, is about how I’d describe the people in my life right now. Annoying but lovable inconveniences:

IF YOUR DOG SLEEPS WITH YOU THEN YOU UNDERSTAND THE STRUGGLE

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*Someone needs to invent this:

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*This pretty much sums up America’s politics at this time, yeah:

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*Other than just a general reason to be happy, I’m posting this here, because some troll in the comments, got his ass handed to him, when he stated that these weren’t the best actors.

wisdomandlogicareking:

Angela Basset: Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, with enough award nominations/wins to necessitate her own wikipedia page for awards alone.
Lupita Nyong’o: Academy Award winner.
Chadwick Boseman: Joseph Jefferson Award nominee; already showed his stripes as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War.
Sterling K. Brown: Emmy Award Winner for The People Vs. OJ Simpson and actor in the Golden Globe nominated television show This Is Us
Florence Kasumba: Already had a bit part in Captain America: Civil War; was praised by many critics for her one scene being a scene-stealer
Forest Whitaker:  Academy Award for Best Actor
African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BET Award for Best Actor
Black Reel Award for Best Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Hollywood Film Award for Actor of the Year
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Actor of the Year
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actor
Nominated – BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film
Nominated – Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
2nd Place – Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role

^ that’s all from a single movie.
Danai Gurira: Tony-award winning writer, plays Michonne on The Walking Dead, one of the most popular series out there today
Michael J. Jordan: Featured actor in popular shows like Friday Night Lights, The Wire, and Parenthood in addition to frequent appearances on film.
Daniel Kaluuya: The star of Get Out, which currently boasts a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been in the press pretty much constantly upon release.  He was also featured in an episode of the acclaimed series Black Mirror.
John Kani: An actor, playwright and director; while he hasn’t had as much work in America, he’s prolific enough to have a theatre in Newtown Johannesberg named after him.

Winston Duke and Letitia Wright have fewer credits to their names (the former has a consistent role in the well-received Person of Interest; the latter has been cast in Black Panther and Ready Player One in what is hopefully the beginnings of a bright career), but I don’t mean to belittle their successes by leaving them out, and those who aren’t as well known SHOULD be given a chance by big franchises.  Lesser known names tend to get big after starring in Marvel movies.  I sure as hell didn’t know who Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth were prior to their flagship titles.

But even putting aside how important it is that this film is led by black creators, just because you don’t know these people doesn’t mean that they’re not critically acclaimed in their field, who haven’t put in the work.  They have, and they’ve been recognized for it.  Consider checking out some of their work before you decide whether or not only two of them are great actors.

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blckrapunzel

I sure your feelings are hurt and you’re a little confused by a movie that’s not made with several boxes of assorted crackers and a token black guy 😂😂😂😂😂

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cloama

1. I love this post and seeing this person get flamed and have their activity page all fucked up because of it makes me so happy. 2. This is where non-black people misunderstand anti-black microagression. This person was willing to trade their sense of logic just to shit on Black people because to them, it’s worth it. That’s a big part of how y’all talk about us. Watch yourself.3. That person forgot that every black actor in Hollywood has to have twice as much classical training and work…

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problematticusfinch

Hm, gee, I wonder which 2 are meant as the great actors. Which two…. which two stand out for the person hung up on the small number of white people… hmmm…..

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Imagine being that racist that you think only white actors can be awesome…Imagine being that racist that you look at the black ones and just go “who?” despite their loooooong list of accomplishments and popularity…

Imagine being so racist, that people are excited for a cast of actors, and you are just itching to tell them not to be excited because the cast happens to be black (and you dont like that)….but a white cast, sure you can be excited.

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@wisdomandlogicareking

I never heard of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, or Chris Evans before their debut in a Marvel film…But unlike some cocks on here, I am not so self centered as to believe that MY personal history of viewing an actor dictates whom is good or not….I also bet similar racists (ppl like wisdomandlogicareking) never said shit about the announced cast of relatively unknown actors of Thor or Cap America, or future films like wtf is the new guy playing young Han Solo?…but just gotta put their two cents in on Black Panther…..because “reason

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*Oh, and introducing the Land of Introverts!

 

Miscellanea LinkSpam

*I know I said I wasnt going to say anything more about Iron Fist but hey! I’m not saying all of  this! Someone else is saying it so…

Basically Iron Fist was always a problem, and always gonna be a problem, even in the comic books. I love the character that was created in the comics but that doesn’t preclude me from acknowledging that its still the Mighty Whitey Trope. So are a host of other characters I love, from Dr. Strange, to Tarzan, to The Last Samurai. But just because I really like these characters doesn’t make them right, or that we should keep doing it. There are other stories to be told that don’t feature White men in the middle of them. And if you do use the Mighty Whitey trope, you need to at least acknowledge it or say something new about it.

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/03/145908/iron-fist-netflix-danny-white-male-privilege

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/mar/27/iron-fist-netflix-show-finn-jones-marvel-danny-rand

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/iron-fist-gets-better-once-it-admits-danny-rand-wo-252719

https://theringer.com/iron-fist-marvel-netflix-review-485aaabd959c#.p4ymg0c0p

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/iron-fist-canon-versus-culture/

*And from Tumbr:

sanssouciavecmoi

Ir0n F*st: Eh, what? (with background Asian count)

Spoilers follow:

Episode 1: Enter the White Dude

Hi, I am Singaporean Chinese. Yes, Netflix is available here and yes, they are trying to sell this to us.

Secondly: I do read comics, but the whole “he was white in the comics” thing does not fly–see article for context. This is 2017, not 1974. 

Thirdly: the creators of Iron Fist were fetishising the heck out of kung-fu movies when they wrote the comic back in 1974. And they are crusty old relics that use the word “Orientals” even though it’s 2017 and they know it’s not the right word (but use it anyway in interviews).

Fourthly: Iron Fist is not one person–it’s a power that is passed onto people that subsequently bear the title. Only two of them have been white. However this is is not important, because they changed almost everything about Danny Rand (and 90% of his backstory and even what the Iron Fist is for) except the bit about him being white. So the less deliberately obtuse understand that this was the most important thing to the writers, directors and producers. Lewis Tan also auditioned for the same role, so most people know that they did not pick the best actor for the job–unless you think white actor = default best lead actor.

Fifth point: this show had awful writing. And that’s even without the Orientalism and pseudo Buddhism. However, this dissection will be focused on this point.

Warning(s): Death, drug overdose, needles, guns, violence (kinda slow violence but still), Orientalism, lazy writing, car crashes, mangling of Mandarin, drugging someone against their will, forced institutionalisation, ableism, plane crashes.

Opening is … eh, kung fu in slow-mo. On a mountain top. With stuff like black ink. Like Chinese calligraphy. Only without any calligraphy. Just the vague aesthetics of calligraphy. *sighs* This is going to be painful.

In the first bit, Danny Rand returns to New York and tries to get into his parents’ company’s building. It goes as well as expected. His ex-childhood buddies treat him like shit. (He doesn’t get shot for assaulting security officers–this article explains why.) He also does not know that people think he’s dead–after 15 years, who would have thought, eh? Action scene was kinda slow. His ex-childhood buddies are also greedy cynical capitalists, so they have no reason to believe him.

I have to stop to ask: Can someone please tell me why this guy is barefoot? Other than bad writing (bad characterisation and bad worldbuilding)? Shoes were invented a long time ago and while a lot of Asians take shoes off when they enter a dwelling, we understand the need to wear shoes outdoors. Someone will no doubt write a fic where Danny gives his shoes up to some other homeless person. But there is no reason why he should be barefoot in that scene.

(How did this guy get to New York anyway?)

Back to Danny Rand, trying to get back into his old place. Ah, his other skill is animal communications or something??? His ex-childhood buddy Ward was a douche way back when. Still is. It gets creepy because Joy lives in this house now, so DR looks like a stalker.

Homeless in the park with DR. Time for him to use his iPod and read a book written in … I can’t make out what language that is but I know what they want me to think it is. (Stereotyping: your mind fills in the blanks with pre-existing scripts. Lazy writing.) Unless someone can tell me that this book is significant in some way later on, I’m going to call it unnecessary window dressing for that “Asian flavour”.

image

Translation: the original comic creators were crusty old relics that wanked over the aesthetics of 70s kung fu movies and the producers and writers of this show are not much better. I kid–it could be line of poop emojis and we would never know.

In a scene that would have been much nicer without the extra window dressing, DR makes a friend. Big Al shows him Google search on an iPhone so that DR knows that people think he’s dead. His uncle is also apparently dead. The only person to be nice to him the whole day is another homeless person. Maybe we can focus on the plight of the–nope, not going that way.

The next morning, DR is very persistent. Joy feels (rightfully) harassed and calls people. That car-jumping scene was … um. Really extra. Let me try to articulate this, okay? This is 2017, people have access to decades of martial arts movies. (The Matrix was 18 years ago.) The action sequences in this show will compare very badly to those movies. So even people watching this for fight scenes will not be entertained.

First meeting with Colleen Wing, she gives him money and he mangles Mandarin without subtitles (for subtitles please look at gif set exhibit A under the link: white man polices biracial woman’s identity) and she says she hasn’t spoken it since she was a kid (rather than punching him for that). Man, if you wanted a job, you could have said so in English. Why do you suppose Colleen would know how to speak Mandarin?

image

This is so uncomfortable on so many levels. If magical K’un Lun is not of this world, then why would they speak Mandarin? If it was truly isolated in another dimension, then K’un Lun would have its own distinct dialect, like most regions in China and most countries. So DR speaking (mangling) Mandarin is also BS. (Not even talking about the yoga-like poses in the park.) This would mean so much more if it was Chinese American DR, who was never very good in Mandarin class, and Colleen Wing, who might be able to relate.

Back to the more douchy sibling and DR. Apparently DNA tests cannot be done because Danny has no living relatives. (That’s BS too, btw.) Way to be ableist, Ward. (The only thing I like is that major douches in MCU are named Ward.) However, Danny is not as peaceful as his initial appearance suggests. We get it, he’s traumatised by the deaths of his parents–why does it get expressed as him being rather violent in a car? Apparently he’s not out of touch enough to not know how guns work (or maybe all kids know how to use guns in the US or K’un Lun–I dunno).

More job-hunting in vain. It’s not like it isn’t obvious that a) she practices a totally different school of martial arts in her dojo and b) she doesn’t have the money to pay another instructor. Yes, kick him out, Colleen. That’s what he gets for trying to police a biracial woman’s identity–is he trying to flirt with her? Ew. (Colleen Wing obviously cannot afford to pay DR–her dojo is sharing space with AA meetings. But she gives him shoes. It’s almost as if everyone who is nice to DR in this show are not very well off and–yeah, it’s very unsubtle.)

Then DR gets attacked and chased into Chinatown (while Colleen Wing watches from above). Where a parade is happening. With lion dancers, dragon dancers and fire crackers and everything. But why? Is it Chinese New Year? What is the context for this? Can someone tell me why this is necessary? Or is this a way to claim that this show is diverse because there were something like 100 Asian extras in that scene? Way to endanger the lives of all the people in the parade, DR. Fight scenes are a yawn. Even though the mask DR is wearing in no way hides his curly mop of blond hair in this parade of Asian people–who do not notice the fighting at all.

image

(I feel that this scene is a metaphor for the whole show.)

On one hand, I hope the extras were paid a reasonable rate and had a good experience. On the other hand, I have a feeling that when it comes to telling the kids about how Mum/Dad/Second Aunt/your Cousin were extras on this show, it would come with the caveat that they shouldn’t try to be actors–because they’ll probably wind up as extras in a show (with not very good fight scenes) that needed a parade of Asian faces for reasons unknown. Representation matters.

(Story time: there were Chinese actors from my tiny state that tried to make it to Hollywood. Shanghai Knights was back in 2003 and Fann Wong is still mostly known as a local actress. Lau in The Dark Knight might still be Ng Chin Han’s biggest role to date in a major movie right after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Currently, he’s got a part in Gh0st in the *hell–not sure if he gets more or less lines than in Captain America. Most parents here still don’t encourage kids to become actors because there’s so little room for them.)

Back to Ward, the more evil sibling who sends people to assassinate homeless dudes–he has reasons for being a terrible person. Reason number one being his dad (supposedly dead but still alive???)–who is probably why Ward is the nice cuddly guy he is. Wow, every baddie has a backstory. Probably affects plot in future. But is anyone interested? (I loved the art deco style building this scene supposedly took place in. Anyone know where it is?)

Remember DR’s one friend? His one friend is now dead of a drug overdose. Why? Maybe Big Al was around for for one Google search, some food and to allow DR to mouth some platitudes over his body? Or to highlight the plight of the homeless by ki–that’s really … really not good storytelling.

Security at Rand Enterprises is dreadful–DR has no problem sneaking in again. (Or maybe it’s that other thing.) Cut to Joy, the nicer sibling. Who is very calm for a woman that’s just found a strange guy in her office (again). Maybe it’s because she might believe him. Or is being swayed by his rhetoric. (”It’s a Zen saying” … gag me with a spoon.) His backstory is taking way too long … So Joy drugs him. I take everything back, she’s just as bad.

DR wakes to … a very troubling scene of forced institutionalisation at the end. As if everything else had not been bad enough.

Plot: It’s all over the place … Not sure if the writers know what DR is supposed to be. He has trauma, tries to be a pacifist but is really angry inside? What is the message here? Wall Street is evil? Problematic portrayals all over the place? The plight of the homeless and people with mental health issues? Not enough women with lines? Colleen Wing needs her own show with Misty Knight!

Orientalism: Check, aesthetics over substance, mangling of Mandarin despite the fact that DR has no reason to be speaking Mandarin, Zen sayings, yoga poses, a huge Chinese New Year-style parade in the background for reasons unknown (oooooooor they just wanted a certain type of backdrop for a not very good fight scene). One East Asian character with lines.

Asians in the background: around 100 of them perhaps, no lines, much firecrackers. Not sure if they were Chinese-American, Korean-American, Japanese American, Hmong-American … because they have no lines.

spoilers iron fist for the sensitive it has the potential to be very triggering i actually watched thisit was dreadful worse than anything the reviews prepared me for i struggled through one episodenearly yelled at the screen for colleen to just fucking punch this guy already orientalism

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*The conservative Christian boycott of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is Hypocritical

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/03/07/the-conservative-christian-boycott-of-disneys-beauty-and-the-beast-is-the-height-of-hypocrisy/

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*Tomato Lacochran just got fired from The Blaze. I had written about this no-nothing twenty something, who had the gall to wag her finger at Black people, about  subjects on which she hadn’t done her homework.

Naw! I’m still not calling her empty headed ass by her actual name.

 I also kind of thought of her as tofu. She’s the kind of person who has no real thoughts of her own, like an intellectual mimic, she just takes on the flavor of the strongest brain, in her orbit.

http://www.papermag.com/tomi-lahren-just-got-banned-from-the-blaze-and-the-internet-is-living–2331280605.html

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*On  representation in fandom:

http://uncannymagazine.com/finding-yourself-in-fandom/

*I am loving this analysis of The Hobbits from Lord of the Rings:

6) Tolkien’s hero was average, and needed help, and failed.

This is the place where most fantasy authors, who love to simultaneously call themselves Tolkien’s heirs and blame him for a lot of what’s wrong with modern fantasy, err the worst. It’s hard to look at Frodo and see him as someone extra-special. The hints in the books that a higher power did choose him are so quiet as to be unnoticeable. And he wouldn’t have made it as far as he did without his companions. And he doesn’t keep from falling into temptation.

A lot of modern fantasy heroes are completely opposite from this. They start out extraordinary, and they stay that way. Other characters are there to train them, or be shallow antagonists and love interests and worshippers, not actually help them. And they don’t fail. (Damn it, I want to see more corrupted fantasy heroes.) It’s not fair to blame Tolkien for the disease that fantasy writers have inflicted on themselves. […]

Fantasy could use more ordinary people who are afraid and don’t know what the hell they’re doing, but volunteer for the Quest anyway.

It’s misinterpretation of Tolkien that’s the problem, not Tolkien himself.

“Tolkien Cliches,” Limyaael

(via mithtransdir)

The whole point of The Lord Of The Rings… like, the WHOLE POINT… is that it is ultimately the hobbits who save the world. The small, vulnerable, ordinary people who aren’t great warriors or heroes.

Specifically, Sam. Sam saves the world. All of it. The ultimate success of the great quest is 100% due to a fat little gardener who likes to cook and never wanted to go on an adventure but who did it because he wasn’t going to let his beloved Frodo go off alone. Frodo is the only one truly able to handle the ring long enough to get it into Mordor – and it nearly kills him and permanently emotionally damages him – but Sam is the one who takes care of Frodo that whole time. Who makes him eat. Who finds him water. Who watches over him while he sleeps.

Sam is the one who fights off Shelob.

Sam is the one who takes the Ring when he thinks Frodo is dead.

Sam is the one who strolls into Orc Central and saves Frodo by sheer determination and killing any orc who crosses him. (SAM THE GARDENER GOES AND KILLS AN ACTUAL ORC TO GET FRODO SOME CLOTHES LET’S JUST THINK ABOUT THAT). And then Sam just takes off the Ring and gives it back which is supposed to be freaking impossible and he barely even hesitates.

Sam literally carries Frodo on the last leg of the journey. On his back. He’s half-starved, dying slowly of dehydration, but he carries Frodo up the goddamn mountain and Gollum may get credit for accidentally destroying the ring but Sam was the one who got them all there.

Sam saved the world.

And let’s not forget Pippin and Merry, who get damselled out of the story (the orcs have carried them off! We must make a Heroic Run To Save Them!) and then rescue themselves, recruit the Terrifying Ancient Powers through being genuinely nice and sincere, and overthrow Saruman before the ‘real’ heroes even get there.

Let’s not forget Pippin single-handedly saving what’s left of Gondor – and Faramir – by understanding that there is a time for obeying orders and a time for realizing that the boss is bugfuck nuts and we need to get help right now.

Let’s not forget Merry sticking his sword into the terrifying, profoundly evil horror that has chased him all over his world because his friend is fighting it and he’s gonna help, dammit and that’s how the most powerful Ringwraith goes down to a suicidally depressed woman and a scared little hobbit.

Everything the others do, the kings and princes and great heroes and all? They buy time.  They distract the bad guys. They keep the armies occupied. That is what kings and great leaders are for – they do the big picture stuff.

But it is ultimately the hobbits who bring down every villain. Every one. And I believe that that is 100% on purpose. Tolkien was a soldier in WWI. His son fought in WWII. (And a lot of The Lord Of The Rings was written in letters to him while he did it.)

And hey, look, The Lord Of The Rings is about ordinary people – farmers, scholars, and so on – who get pulled into a war not of their making but who have to fight not only because their own home is in danger but so is everyone’s. And they’re small and scared but they do the best they can for as long as they can and that is what actually saves the world. Not great heroes and pre-destined kings. Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things because they want the world to be safe for ordinary people, the ones they know and the ones they don’t.

Ordinary people matter. They can save the world without being great heroes or kings or whatever. And that is really important and I get so upset when people miss that because Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli and Gandalf and all the others are great characters and all but they are ultimately a hobbit delivery system.

It is ordinary people doing their best who really change the world, and continue doing so after the war is over because they have to go home and rebuild and they do.

If nothing else, I have to reblog this for the phrase “hobbit delivery system.” So accurate it hurts.

(via elenilote)

What I love too is how even the foretold king and the assorted great heroes themselves all come to recognize that their main (and by the end, only) role is to distract Sauron. To the point that by the end they’re all gathered up before the black gates of Mordor in order to keep his attention focused on them, with only the hope – not the certainty – that they can buy Frodo whatever remaining time he needs, if he’s even still alive.

One thing the movies left out but has always been such a key part of the books for me was how when the hobbits returned home, they found that home had been changed too. The war touched everywhere. Even with all they did in far-off lands to protect the Shire, the Shire had still been damaged, both property and lives destroyed, and it wasn’t an easy or simplistically happy homecoming. They had to fight yet another battle (granted a much smaller one) to save their neighbours, and then spent years in rebuilding.

(via garrusscars)

In many ways, the entire POINT is that homecoming.

A quest, an adventure, is defined by the return home, and the realization that not only have YOU changed, so has your home.

(via mymyriadmusings)

“My friends, you bow to no one.”

(via sorrelchestnut)

Even more relevant today.

notanecromancer)

lotr

 

*And on a lighter note:

We have a twitter here too: https://twitter.com/IntrovertUnite. See some of you there?

We have a twitter here too: https://twitter.com/IntrovertUnite. See some of you there?

Next up : Some amusing stories from Tumblr

Iron Fist Season One

I’m a long time martial arts movie fan. I have clocked a lot of hours watching people fake punching and kicking each other. If you’re that level of fan of martial arts, it’s okay. You can skip this show. There is waaaay too damn much talking in this show.

On the other hand, it’s not an awful show. It’s not half as awful as the critics would have everybody believe. It certainly could be a better show, and it doesn’t live up to any of the expectations of the trailers, as bad as they were. Let’s just say all the action you saw in the trailers, is most of the action in the show. My guess is they knew they couldn’t hook us in by showing the many, many hours of people snarking at each other in offices,and  wearing nice clothes, so decided to go with inelegant fight scenes. Think the show Suits, but with worst dialogue, and sometimes somebody gets punched.

The plot is as stated. Danny Rand flees a mystical Asian land called Kun Lun, where he is the legendary Iron Fist.He comes to NY and gets involved with Colleen, Claire Temple, and the Hand. We spend most of the show running around with this trio, from place to place, jostling with Ms. Gao, and the Hand, macking on Colleen like a creepy stalker, and trying  to avenge his parents deaths, which involves the corporation his father used to run, his father’s old partner, and that man’s children, the Meachums.

My special advice is to watch the show on your tablet or phone ,and every time you see people talking in an office, fast forward through that. I fast forwarded through almost all of that part and was still able to keep up with most of the details of the plot. I would also advise you not to listen too hard to the dialogue because you will go to sleep. Unless Claire’s on screen. She’s awesome. As always.

I was going to give some type of in depth review, but I’m not interested enough to invest that much work into the characters and plots and shit. So here. Have some links and articles that carefully explain what went wrong with this show.

Iron Fist was inspired by 1970s kung fu movies, but no one seriously expected Finn Jones to become the next Bruce Lee. The show focuses on plot over action, so it makes more sense to compare it to Daredevil. And that comparison makes Iron Fist look like total garbage.

Daredevil‘s hallway fight was praised for its stylish choreography and camera work. There’s a real weight and brutality to Daredevil’s blows, and the scene uses a long tracking shot so you can see all the necessary action.

Iron Fist paid tribute with its own hallway fight scene, utilizing a very different style of filmmaking.

 

In Iron Fist, the camera constantly cuts away before the blows connect. The editor chopped Danny’s choreography into two or three shots per move, so you don’t catch the full impact of his actions. It’s like trying to follow a ballet performance through a dozen tiny windows around the stage.

Once the fight reaches the elevator, we get a completely unnecessary split-screen view of Danny disarming an opponent. At 1:35 in the above video, the split screen actually makes it harder to see what he’s doing.

[READ MORE]

*I’m going to go one step further here. This weekend was the second season premiere of Into the Badlands. This show is everything that Iron Fist should have been. Into the Badlands is full of action and every one of its fight scenes is given the love and dedication that it should receive for an action show. Contrast this fight scene with the one from Iron Fist:

 

Oh, and here is the fight scene between Zhou Cheng and Iron Fist. Zhou Cheng is being played by Lewis Tan, an actor and model  who is half White, and was one of the most prominent contenders for AA Iron Fist.Btw, this is one of the best fights in the entire series.

 

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/20/14988036/lewis-tan-iron-fist-casting-marvel-netflix-asian-representation

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*This critique lays out the five major criticisms of the show:

 Monday, March 20, 2017

Five Comments on Iron Fist

Marvel and Netflix’s latest series dropped this past weekend, a week and a half after the pre-air reviews pretty much savaged it, calling it the partnership’s (if not the MCU’s) first complete dud.  What I found particularly damning about Iron Fist‘s reviews was their uniformity.  When one reviewer gives you a pan, you can blame the reviewer.  When a dozen reviewers give you pans that all make exactly the same criticisms–a dull and unsympathetic lead performance, an increasing emphasis on an unappealing villain, storylines that focus too much on boardroom shenanigans, lousy fight scenes–you’ve probably got a turkey on your hands.  Having watched the entire first season of Iron Fist, my only quibble with the reviewers is that most of the flaws they ascribe to the show were also present in the second season of Daredevil, which received generally favorable notices.  In fact, it’s not so much that Iron Fist is worse than Daredevil‘s second season, as that it is more boring (it lacks, for example, a magnetic central performance in the vein of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher), and this makes it easier to notice flaws that have been present in all of the Defenders shows, albeit taken to far greater extremes here.  The boring part means that the show doesn’t really deserve a full review, but there are a few points about it that I thought were worth discussing.
http://wrongquestions.blogspot.com/2017/03/five-comments-on-iron-fist.html

Continue reading “Iron Fist Season One”

About Those Iron Fist Reviews

I’m still on the fence about this one. I’m just really dubious about watching this. It’s not that I hate the idea. It’s the awful reviews this show has gotten, along with the distinctly lackluster trailers I’ve been seeing.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be watching Iron Fist, as I don’t have to work this weekend, so I’m  free, but when I think about watching it, I  cringe. Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention to what critics feel about something. I like to make up my own mind and critics have hated plenty of things I absolutely adored, like Suicide Squad, and the current movies of M. Night Shyamalan, but then again, they sometimes get things right. I was bored out of my head with Batman vs Superman, for example.

I think I may skip over some episodes though, and start with the third or fourth one. I don’t think I want to  binge the show straight through. Nevertheless, I do promise to try really hard not to hate-watch this show, and lay out its good and bad points. I do not however promise not to be snarky. It’s one of my skillz. I’m also going to try really hard not to compare it to my favorite Martial Arts show, Into the Badlands, which is airing this weekend, right after The Walking Dead. I’m not promising anything. I’m just gonna try.

<It does not help matters that Finn Jones is just as much of a clueless dick as his character is rumored to be.>

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/iron-fist-review-marvel-netlfix-dud-luke-cage-daredevil-jessica-jones-a7634361.html

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2017/03/iron-fist-marketing-issues

http://www.gq.com/story/netflix-iron-fist-review

 

*And IGN is reviewing each episode as they watch. There are plenty of spoilers and the reviews are pretty evenhanded.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/03/17/marvels-iron-fist-season-1-review

 

*And in the spirit of hte occasion,  here’s a hilarious  video  of Tony Jaa kicking and punching everyday objects!

http://video.gq.com/watch/tony-jaa-kicks-and-punches-everyday-objects

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