I’m Watchin’ Thangs

Hi there!

Have some mini reviews:



The Expanse:

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

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

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

The Magicians:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legion:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Humans: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taboo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

On a more personal note:

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

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

So, TTFN!

Geeking Out About: Brooklyn 99

Brooklyn 99

Today I am  singing the praises of one of my favorite sit-coms, Brooklyn 99. I don’t often watch comedies, because most of them  aren’t particularly funny to me, try too hard, or I just don’t have time for them, and I was not going to watch this one, because I have trouble watching cop shows, (Apparently I can watch cop comedies, I guess.  I loved Reno 911, and thought this might be similar to it. It both is and isn’t.)

Brooklyn 99 is just as ridiculously over the top as Reno 911, but the characters are much more likable, and competent. They’re certainly less raunchy, as this is a Primetime show. The 99’s characters are the kind of people you want to meet and make friends with. The characters from Reno 911 are  much more like  your annoying co-workers, that you’d  like to punch in the  neck. The 99 characters are the kind of people you laugh with and cheer for. The Reno characters are the kind you laugh at, while hoping they don’t  blow anything up. What’s refreshing about Brooklyn 99 is, you start the series with what you think are just a bunch of standard tropes, and gradually, these characters become fleshed out, and more complicated, but not in the usual ways.

This show is also an example of getting diversity right. (Except for the lack of Asians, which it really needs at least one. ) I love the attitudes of the characters. They really do act as if they are a family.

There’s none of the passive-aggressive hostility that passes for humor in other ensemble shows. The characters acknowledge that they are very different from one another, there’s occasional teasing about that, but no one is ever made to feel ashamed of, or less than, for who they are. The only time characters are ever made to feel ashamed, is when they behave badly, and their friends call them on their shit. There’s a general acceptance by the other characters when someone is just a certain way, even if that way is mildly annoying, like Charles Boyle, or in Rosa’s case , occasionally terrifying. The closest you get to meanness in the show is Rosa, but she makes up for it by only kicking the asses of people who mess with her friends, (or inanimate objects that ain’t actin’ right.)

One of the things  I really like about this show is when characters make mistakes, they’re willing to acknowledge they made the mistake, and either apologise, or atone for it. They’re willing to not only  admit when they’ve been foolish, but when they’ve been doubling down on their foolishness too, which is a refreshing change from the real life model of people who actively work at being their worst possible selves. Brooklyn 99 makes me like people, and is a perfect example of how to Grownup.

Here, in some kind of order, are:

Det. Rosa Diaz  (Stephanie Beatriz)

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Rosa is the kind of girl you want to have your back in a fight. If I was arranging a team of people to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, Rosa would be Michonne. She has an appetite for destruction that is awesome. In fact, one of the best birthday presents Gina ever gave her, was a hammer, and some time alone in a soon to be demolished house. According to Rosa it was: The Best Birthday Ever!

Strangers see me like  Rosa, or Captain Holt, depending on their personal anxiety levels. Rosa began the series as a typical anger management case, which is funny when you contrast that with how model pretty she is, and this is part of the show’s charm.The humor comes from the character traits and how various teammates respond to the events in the show. They’re usually involved in some situation that requires them to react, and because their personalities are all so different, you get some spectacularly funny moments. Occasionally the show likes to give us a real treat and put certain personalities together to solve some issue. Hilarity often ensues.

Over the years we find out many surprising things about Rosa, like she’s occasionally intimidated by people too, she used to be a ballet dancer, and  that she was raised by nuns, but when we first meet Rosa she’s beating up a copy machine, with a battering ram, and at first you think she’s just a stereotypical “Spicy Latina”. Thankfully, anger isn’t all there is to her. She’s also honest, forthright, insightful, supportive, loyal, and encouraging to her teammates. Rosa is the shows truth-teller. She specializes in stating uncomfortable truths, and doesn’t shirk from that, even when those truths are about herself.

 

 

Gina Linetti  (Chelsea Perretti)

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If I had to choose someone to be friends with, it would be Gina. She’s that best girlfriend, who always knows where the latest get-togethers are, and how to finagle her way into them. She’s carefree and deeply self involved, but not in a neurotic way, because this is a woman who has realized her fabulousness and is very comfortable with her greatness. The funny thing is, she is pretty fabulous, mostly because she acts like it, and truly believes it. She has a deep and abiding love affair with her phone, through which she receives copious amounts of gossip. She’s also totally  unwilling to let others forget how wonderful she is. Gina is also one of the laziest assistants to ever be in an office. She’s so fabulous however that not only does she not make any secret of this, she is hilariously quite proud of that, (and her interpretive dance skills).

One of the most surprising things,on the show,  is her relationship with Jake, which I truly enjoy. They’ve know each other since they were little children, having grown up in the same neighborhood, and they have one of the best platonic friendships I’ve ever seen on TV. One of my favorite moments is when Jake gives Gina the forehead kiss, as if she were his little sister, and she lets him do it, although she really isn’t affectionate, like that,with anyone else on the show, and I think she’s older than him.

 

Det. Jake Peralta  (Adam Samberg)

Jake Peralta is everybody’s cool best friend (and Charles Boyle would be more than happy to tell you this).

Jake begins the show as an irresponsible, sloppy, childlike character, but you can see his growth over the course of three seasons, as he learns to be honest with himself and others, and even manages to win Amy’s affections, after being so annoying to her at the beginning of the show. Heck he was annoying to me, and definitely to Captain Holt, but I’ve actually grown to like, and even admire  him.He has matured throughout the seasons but not so much that he doesn’t still think that frosting his hair blonde looks really cool.

When I first started watching this show, I was watching it for Andre Braugher, and I initially dismissed Jake as someone I would have to simply tolerate. I thought he’d be the typical White male protagonist who is the center of all the stories, and  everything he did and said, would be treated as gold. But that’s not what happened. Adam Samberg is willing to step aside from time to time, and let the other characters shine, and  teach his character how to grow up. Samberg understands he doesn’t need to be the center of every episode. He’s no William Shatner and that’s refreshing.

Jake always had trouble showing affection, not because he didn’t want people to think he was gay, but because he had father issues, and is still immature enough not to know how to handle affection from others. But he has grown, over the course of the show.

Witness his gradual change of character, as he attempts to become the kind of man who deserves to have someone like Amy, in his life. Jake is still immature, but he genuinely loves Amy, and tries to be the kind of man who can make her happy. Amy’s  love encourages him to want to be a better man. The distinction is subtle but there.  Amy is  the polar opposite of him, and he acknowledges that keeping her with him might require him to act more mature. Jake is also willing to acknowledge his mistakes,  apologize for them, and attempts to do better, not just for Amy, but for all those he considers his friends.

 

 

 

Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher)

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Captain Holt is the father figure of The 99. He’s the no-nonsense, emotionally restrained, backbone to the department. Or at least that’s  how it starts. I love the way this character has grown since the beginning of the series. He started out as real hard-case, coming down  hard on Jake, to get him to be more responsible and adult. He has since come to  understand Jake a lot more, understanding that Jake is at his best when he’s allowed to just be himself, realizing his influence over Jake, and he’s even begun to loosen up  just a bit, under Jake’s influence.

Throughout the seasons, we’ve witnessed Holt loosen up a more, finally becoming comfortable with his detectives, and allowing them to see just a little of his silly side, although he would probably be insulted at that description, not having ever believed in, or condoned, silliness or frivolousness, of any kind. At first, I just saw Holt as The Inscrutable Negro, mysterious, and unflappable. Now I really enjoy this character and I’m always eager to see how he’ll surprise me, during an episode by, for example, having an impromptu dance-off with some street thugs.

Over time, Holt has come to admire Jake, and think of him as a son, which is a total turnaround from when they first met. After all, Jake possessed every quality that Holt disdained, and he didn’t believe Jake took his job seriously, but now he’s very proud of Jake and encourages him to do his best. Jake, who spent the earliest part of his life trying to please his absentee father, and never measuring up, has found the perfect father-figure in Holt.

Holt’s team  admires him, and  strive to make him proud of them.  Captain Holt is an out, gay, Black man. His job might care about him being gay, but his team doesn’t, and they are always respectful of his relationship with his husband Kevin, treating the two just  like every other couple on the show.  For example, when Holt wanted to visit Kevin, who was on Sabbatical in France, Amy, Charles, and Jake, volunteer to dogsit the couple’s Corgi,  Cheddar. The humor doesn’t come from “Oh, these gay men have a cute dog.” No, the humor comes from the usual wackiness that ensues because Amy, Charles, and Jake are such different personalities which clash over babysitting Cheddar.

The show doesn’t browbeat you over the head with After School Special moments, though. How Holt handles his sexuality, in an environment where it is much more likely to meet with resistance, is done with grace and dignity. His gayness isn’t the joke. In fact, no one’s race is ever a joke, and no one’s gender is ever used as a joke.

I admire the hell out of this character. Hilariously he’s the character that most people who don’t know me well, see me as. My close friends find that hilarious, btw.

 

Sgt. Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews)

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Terry is like everybody’s fit  uncle. He looks intimidating, but after a while, you find out that Terry is merely extremely health conscious and an actual Teddy Bear. Terry is such a gentle soul, that he has to be carefully talked into using his tremendous strength ,and has deep anxieties about firing a weapon. I love how the show bucks stereotypes of Black men, by having two very intense looking black men, who  are nothing like they first seem.

Terry is a devoted family man who truly, madly, deeply, loves his two twin baby daughters, even though he thinks they are possibly trying to kill him. Known for speaking of himself in the first person, Terry  also loves yogurt, exercise, and his job, which mostly involves wrangling all these different personality types, to focus them on one thing together.Terry is the Peacekeeper. His job is to make sure everybody is getting along and ready to work. He’s strong, encouraging, and always speaks up,and goes to bat, for his people. Captain Holt depends on Terry to run the day to day operations, and considering the types of personalities he has to work with, Terry is doing an excellent job.

 

Det. Amy Santiago

Amy is the girl I was in High School, except I was a lot more snooty. Amy is that best friend , that you hated just a tiny bit, because not only is she smart, organized, and ready, she’s a classic goody-two-shoes, (with just a tiny competitive streak). In fact, I think when that description was created, Amy was who they had in mind.

Amy is an extremely moral and ethical person, who believes in strictly following the rules, and lots and lots of planning. She dislikes how Jake likes to cut corners, or sometimes just wing it. Amy doesn’t wing anything if she can help it. She loves to please people she admires, and will go out of her way to get Captain Holt’s approval, going so far as to cook him a large and tasteless Thanksgiving dinner, or agreeing to babysit his Corgi, Cheddar.  I love Amy because she really is a girl after my own heart. Like me, she is a stickler for prudent planning,  and  loves a nice sized binder of information.

But Amy’s life is so rigidly defined that she needs a little chaos, and that’s where jake comes in. Initially, I think she hated him because Jake is everything she isn’t, but as Jake began to prove his love for her, presenting her with options of when and where to be with him, and then waiting for her to decide, she began to see Jake’s true colors. As I said,

 

Det. Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio)

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Charles is everybody’s favorite grandma and/or best friend. Hes loving , admiring, supportive, encouraging, and Jake’s right hand man, even though Jake didn’t choose him for it. He’s the kind of guy who always has a bowl of candy on his desk to offer to co-workers who are feeling a bit down.

I love Charles because, well…he’s just lovable. Joe Lo Truglio, formerly from Reno 911, is the complete opposite of his character, on that show. On 911 he was a venal, angry drug user, but  Charles is a warm, gracious, polite, foodie, and that you believe this, is a testament to Joe Lo Truglio’s acting skills. Charles is always upbeat and optimistic. He always looks on the bright side of a situation, no matter how horrible that situation may seem to others, like when his best friend, Jake accidentally shot him in the butt, or when his dog died. Charles was the only one capable of seeing the silver lining. He has a tendency to be a floor mat because he always puts others needs before his own. Now that he has a young son, whom he adopted, he has someone at which to throw all his tremendous caring.

He’s very devoted to Jake and I love the show has this depiction of a close m/m friendship without screaming no homo, everytime he and Jake show affection.

 

Det. Adrien Pimento

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Adrien is the newest recurring character at Brooklyn 99. Having suffered an emotional breakdown, after going undercover with some mobsters, Adrien is in a very  fragile emotional state, when he returns to his job as a detective. He’s paranoid and full of anxiety, and definitely suffering from some form of PTSD, but his mental state is never made the butt of the joke, and is not actually connected to his zany behavior. He acts wild, not because of his emotional fragility, but because he is thoroughly lacking in any boundaries, like breaking into Jake’s apartment to do Tai Chi, in his underwear. The humor comes from the reactions of his co-workers, who never have any idea what Adrien might  do next, not from making fun of his emotional state. The show skirts a fine line between acknowledging his emotional disability, and  understanding that it doesn’t necessarily inform  his behavior.

Adrien is definitely what’s known as  Chaotic Good.

Adrien is a good man, which is why the rest of the team accepts him. Also,  he and Rosa develop an intense, frantic, (and inexplicable) attraction to each other, although Adrien  explains, at first, that he’s not capable of having a relationship with her, they do eventually decide to get married.  Rosa seems   okay with Adrien’s unpredictability, and takes most of his decisions  in stride. She never tries to change Adrien, or make him behave, (although when she first met him she called him a freak, that she will only fall in love with). After a while, she just accepts him for the wild card that he is.

Actually, once everyone has gotten used to Adrien, they  just try to work  with him, or around him, for example, Gina is one of the few people Adrien will actually obey, when she tells him to do something, and Charles pretty much loves everyone, when he’s not terrified of them. Over time, the team’s acceptance  and trust starts to heal Adrien’s emotional wounds, and he starts to feel confident enough to form healthier relationships with others.
I’m geeking out about Brooklyn 99 because it’s an example of a show thats getting its humor and diversity right, with smart, funny, well rounded characters. It resumes its fourth season on April 11th, on the Fox network. Go figure!

Tumblr Getting Serious

Here are some of the more troubling conversations occurring on Tumblr.

*Okay, anytime you have Dan Rather tapping his keynboard with hysteria on Facebook, (and yeah, this is Dan’s version of hysterics) you know you done fucked up!

Dan Rather Facebook Post (2/14/17)

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*Actually, I’ve sen this particular behavior all over the internet. Its especially prevalent in trolls and other assorted assholes, who like to think that if you can’t calmly discuss your life as a marginalized person, with someone attempting to devalue that life, that your opinions are invalid, and therefore, they have just won some kind of argument that no one was trying to have.

That and Portnow’s statement is just nonsensical.

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*Things like this basically amount to the erasure from History, of any contributions to culture that PoC may have made. This is why information like this matters, because when people don’t know this stuff, its easy to argue that we never did anything, that we’ve always been nothing but victims, and never contributed to the cultures we inhabited.

It is important not just that White people see these images, but that Black people see them, too because this isn’t so much about winning White people’s approval, as it is a celebration, and recognition, of our accomplishments, which counters the narrative of worthlessness that White supremacy insists on disseminating throughout the world.

Britain’s Biggest Secret – The Black Victorians

purpleolifant:

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Pictured above is the Higdon family. This photograph was taken in the year 1898 in Britain. That is all we know about them.

Who were the Black Victorians? Mainstream history has virtually erased them from our minds and history books. We have been filled with images of slavery in America and across the world, but why is it that this chapter in black history was skipped? Why isn’t it equally common knowledge that in the midst of all of that darkness there was light, also.

Never before seen photos were uncovered, giving us over 200 images of glances into our past. Many of the photos did not include names or any details whatsoever, cloaking these people in mystery for all of time.

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At one point in history, people of color were included in high society and walked the cobbled streets of Britain. The women wore intricate, voluminous gowns and wore their hair in curls and chignons. The men in suits and fair business. This may not have been the case for all black people in Britain, but for some it was.

The Victorian Era was ruled under Queen Victoria, an era that is described as an opulent culture, although there were underlying bouts of poverty and child labor. History would like you to believe that black people didn’t arrive in Britain until 1948 during “The Empire Windrush”, when many Jamaican descendants entered the country, but that is not so. There has been proof to suggest otherwise. There is documentation that proves that it wasn’t uncommon to see black faces at a Shakespeare show. We’ve been there all along, humming softly in the background.

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These images prove that you can’t take mainstream history at face value. Take the time to look behind the curtain and uncover OUR history. It’s as if our ancestors are just waiting for us to seek them out.

Who were the Black Victorians?

To see more of these images check out this video reel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08mwrYUzPqI

Happy Black History Month.

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*On Racism in Fandom, and choosing, or not choosing, a side:

If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?

thecheshirecass:

Forgive the cheesiness of the Hamilton quote, but when it comes to fandom, this is a question that all fans (but particularly white, cishet fans) need to ask themselves.

Make no mistake – when it comes to the treatment of marginalized fans, especially fans of color and in particular black fans, there is no such thing as neutrality. The sides are established by the racist, homophobic, and transphobic members of the fandom, and it’s your choice whether you are on their side, or the side of the marginalized. It’s a simple question – will you be on the side of the oppressor or the oppressed?

When it comes to harmful and oppressive behavior, you cannot simply sit back in silence and watch the horror show go by – silence is violence and when you do not speak out, you quietly condone bad behavior. Is that fair? Maybe not, but neither is life.

I’ve seen the argument over and over again that people don’t want to “engage.” Fandom is their escape, their safe space, where they go to forget the troubles of the real world – which would be fine if you didn’t’ also bring the biases and cultural baggage of the ‘real world” with you to fandom. It would be fine if your safe space didn’t come at the expense of the marginalized BUT IT DOES. When you ignore our mistreatment you condone it, and your escapist fantasies hinge on us quietly taking the abuse meted out by shitheels like  @geeky-jez, @adjectivebear, and @oldstupidtemplar.

Now, does this mean you have to constantly make callout posts? Nope, not even close. But there are plenty of us who do, or who discuss the racism and other faults inherent in fandom on the regular. Don’t feel personally up to leading the charge when it comes to fandom’s terrible behavior? Well then it’s time to share the voices of those who do. Your lack of input on any given issue leaves marginalized fans wondering where you stand – relogging our words, NOT sharing the content of problematic members of the community, and generally trying to be aware are basic steps you can take to show your solidarity.

Like it or not, you are going to be on a side, so make sure it’s the side you genuinely want to be on.

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*Actually, I’m hoping this essay isn’t true, and that Rosita was just being salty with Sasha, because the alternative is too painful to contemplate. Everyone was able to save Sasha, but I’m getting a very bad feeling that no one will be able to save Rosita.

Rosita was salty AF because Sasha got the Michonne treatment.

helenasmirkedno:

melanie91bunnylovr:

fangirlnovel:

Rosita was salty AF because Sasha didn’t just sleep with Abraham.

He was in love with her. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He wanted to make her full of his babies. She was his lady.

And Rosita was someone he used to fuck.

Rick’s gonna officially marry Michonne.  As soon as they find Father Gabriel, I am telling y’all.  He has the same heart eyes Abe used to have Sasha, or Glenn had for Maggie.  And Michonne’s whispering about how they’re the one’s that live.

I mean, that is it for them–there is no one else.  Rick knows it.  Michonne knows it.  Y’all know.

I like rosita and everything but she was getting on my last nerve this episode

I hate how bitter & reactive Rosita’s character is being written the last few episodes. Sasha is not her enemy and the writers shouldn’t be forcing cattiness on her from Rosita.

Rosita isn’t “salty” or jealous of Sasha.

She’s going through the last stages of deep depression right before a suicide attempt, (-pushing people away, fatalistic mindset, etc).

Negan beat Abraham to death and then after failing to goad her, beat Glenn to death and took Daryl.  Then when she tried to commit suicide by Negan and take him out at the same time by shooting him, it backfired and Olivia was killed instead.

That scar she carries on her face is emblematic of that deeper pain.  In the scene where she received the scar, she was literally daring Negan and Co. to kill her for her mistake, and they didn’t.  They killed yet another person on her watch, while she lives with it being, in her mind “her fault”.

I’m honestly, disappointed in the line of thought in this post, because it might come from a similar place to the lack of empathy we’ve witnessed for Sasha’s pain.  Shs was called all kinds of bitter, annoying, angry, when really she was just hurting; going through her PTSD.  …All because she’s a black woman.

Rosita isn’t some basic angry “fiery” jealous Latina, mad because she was jilted… She’s beenbeyond that.

Every line she gave was a sign of a defeatist fatalistic mindset.  What’s the use trying because it will go wrong anyway.” The unspoken train of thought is that people died and will continue to die, and she’ll probably have a hand getting those people killed.

That’s why she spoke to Sasha and Morgan in that way she did about the deaths.

It’s also probably the reason why she stashed that bundle of dynamite, because she’s planning on rectifying her “mistakes”.

Rosita isn’t jealous or mean or a being an annoying bitch….

SHE’S BEING SUICIDAL, because she hates herself for what she sees as her role in getting the people she loves killed. If you were paying attention to the episode where Denise got killed, she actually read Rosita correctly, right before that arrow went through her head (yet another lost life on Rosita’s conscience, where she probably thinks she didn’t push the issue enough of her staying behind).

Rosita is a deeply sensitive empathic person, who gives everything to everyone else.  That’s why she’s acting this way.  ….She can’t have people caring enough to get themselves killed for her again (hell, even Spencer’s sorry ass was another one she thinks is on her, because she was the only one with clues to what he would attempt).

Her whole M.O. for who and why she’s survived this long is her love and caring for others. Her selflessness, to the point where it just wasn’t emotionally healthy.  …But, it helped her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Everything that you see Rosita doing, is her purposely pushing people away so they won’t miss her when she’s gone after she “corrects” her “mistakes”.

We know what it is to see WOC’s pain dismissed because of super-basic and wrong unfeeling, bitchy stereotypes.

Can we not do that to Rosita?

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*MikeyMagee breaks down why La La Land, while a perfectly acceptable movie,  isn’t nearly as groundbreaking as people would have you believe, relying as it does, on the safety of White nostalgia, for its accolades.

mikeymagee

Anonymous asked:

Can I ask you why do you hate La La Land? I mean, I loved Moonlight too, but I liked La La Land a lot more.

Let me start off by saying that I really enjoyed La La Land. I didn’t hate it at all. I enjoy old Hollywood films. I liked Singing in the Rain, and Meet Me in St. Louis, and Victor/Victoria and Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. And as an homage to those kinds of films, La La Land was wonderful

But…that’s about all it is. La La Land (while nice for what it is) wasn’t anything innovative, or new. Instead of breaking new ground it instead returned to an old past that prided itself on exclusion (and let’s be real, old Hollywood was all about excluding nonwhites and LGBT individuals.)

And the movie approaches all of its subjects  from a very Eurocentric perspective. It’s a very white film, and that was very apparent as I watched it. Take Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) who wanted to “save jazz” and was disturbed by his friend Keith’s more modern interpretation of the genre. When Sebastian was busy shaking his head at Keith’s innovation all I could do was sit there and think “Well, what’s Keith supposed to do? He’s working in an industry that routinely celebrates white mediocrity and ignores Black innovation!” Keith was a black man who had to work even harder to make a dent in the same industry that Sebastian was working in as well. That’s how racism works.

When Sebastian was talking about the history of Jazz, he left out many (racial) aspects of it. Like how it was spread by the Harlem Hellfighters in World War I, how Jazz was originally played by and for black people. That when white people began to play Jazz they had more access to high end bookings, and shows, etc. When Sebastian said he wanted to keep Jazz from dying, all I could think of was, “Well, maybe you should keep your white gentrifying hands off of it then…”

And then there was Mia (Emma Stone) who was working to be an actress. And her struggles there in. And all I could think about was how far more difficult it would be for an actress of color in her shoes. At least Mia had roles she could audition for. For a lot of nonwhite actresses simply having a script that requires a nonwhite woman is a luxury.

I mean, with all the stuff going on in America right now, I don’t think a film that runs on nostalgia and an over romantic view of  America’s history is good. And if a film is going to get that much critical acclaim (I mean, 14 Oscar noms?) then I’m expecting it to break new ground and forge a path ahead. But La La Land did not do that. In fact, it did the exact opposite.

Moonlight, is without a doubt, my favorite film of the year. And yeah, I may be biased because I’m a black gay man, but I don’t really care. It’s hard to find movies that showcase the Black identity. And it’s hard to find movies that showcase the gay identity. And it’s damn near impossible to find movies that show off the black gay identity. And believe me, I’ve looked. There are great black gay films out there (Blackbird, Rag and Tag, Naz and Malik, Brother 2 Brother, to name a couple). But Moonlight is in another league altogether. Moonlight actually starts a conversation in both of those communities. It looks hypermasculinity within the black community and outlines the consequences, and it shows that there are such a thing as Black Queers (something the LGBT community hasn’t figured out yet). And as Black Queers our experiences diverge from white LGBT experiences and black heterosexual experiences. It’s an entirely new narrative that gets no spotlight in the mainstream (and frankly, it still hasn’t. Moonlight was an indie film on a shoestring budget that isn’t even playing in commercial theaters anymore.)

Moonlight is a movie that requires contemplation. It’s not easily digestible like La La Land. It challenges as well as illuminates. Moonlight forces people to look at themselves and their ideals. It makes you uncomfortable and has a longer impression. La La Land is just more of the same. It’s nice for what it is, but I hate that people are going insane over a movie that’s been done a thousand times, and will continue to be done.

It’s as I said before, white mediocrity will always be rewarded at a higher rate than black innovation, and that’s what’s driving me nuts.

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*Actually, its almost like if you build it, they will come. I’m glad this is happening really, although I don’t necessarily feel that White people have anything to offer, in conversation, on some of these shows. But I’m glad other people are at least willing to give the shows a try and get something positive from them.

It’s almost like we’re all human beings, imagine that.

It’s almost like that “diversity agenda” that bigots tout is actually making stories that haven’t been told a million times before and people enjoy that.

Source:
 

Coded Blackness

 

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

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

Martial Arts March

The season five debut of Samurai Jack will air in March as well. March 11th to be exact.

I’m so looking forward to next month’s TV shows.

Samurai Jack Season 5 Trailer

“It’s been 50 years since we saw Samurai Jack and time has not been kind to him. Aku has destroyed every time portal and Jack has stopped aging, a side effect of time travel. It seems he is cursed to just roam the land for all eternity.

Into the Badlands Season 2: Video Roundup

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Westworld Season One Finale:The Bicameral Mind

Wow! I had to think about this episode for a while before reviewing it.There was a lot to digest and this is going to be a long one because the episode was 90 minutes.

Its a great show, although it does start a bit slow. Nevertheless, the show’s creators keep the answers coming steadily, the show itself is gorgeous,  the characters are real purty, and there’s some deep philosophical issues to unpack.

One of tonight’s big  revelations is that other robots have also awakened over the years, and Ford has them wiped, and put back into their rotation, because he determined that it was too soon for them to be awake. We find out that one of the consequences of being in the park (of being in one’s loop) is the awakening of the Host’s consciousness, through the suffering inflicted on them by the Guests. Ford says it’s inevitable because it’s how they were constructed. The foundation of their personalities is itself built on a painful incident. On grief. For Maeve, its the death of her daughter. For Dolores, it is her abuse at the hands of the Guests. Teddy too is on his own maze, built from his many deaths and rebirths, and his attachment to Dolores.

This sounds much like Samsara of  Buddhst philosophy. Just like in Buddhism, it’s a fine line that must be walked. The Host has to walk the Middle Path (The Maze). Too far in either direction in the maze, driven by the combination of The Reveries Program and the Voice of God protocol, and madness awaits. Peter Abernathy goes mad when he spirals too far inward, and Dolores almost goes insane when she spirals too far out. This explains the scene where Dolores walks into the church and sees all the other Hosts who didn’t make it out of the maze. Their voice of God drove them to insanity. Maeve thought she was going insane and would have spiraled inward, until she found stability. (The bullet she found in her abdomen seemed to be her anchor. It brought her back to sanity.)

Image result for wheel of suffering

One can see some of the tenets of Buddhist philosophy in Ford’s management of the Hosts, and Arnold’s theories behind the idea of the Bicameral mind. I equate the lives of the Hosts and them following their own mazes, to the cycle of Samsara. This  became evident to me in Ford’s comment that humans are all stuck in our own little loops, rarely stepping out of them, on a smaller personal scale, but also on a larger spiritual scale. In our everyday lives, we often don’t deviate much from routine, and spiritually, we are subject to reincarnation and the cycle of rebirth (another loop). .As much as Ford held humans in disdain, he was willing to acknowledge the similarities, between Hosts and humans. He just didn’t have any hope, for human enlightenment, though.

Dolores first words to us is that everyone has a path to follow and the Hosts are all on their own path. The Hosts being memory wiped and put back into their loops, can be equated to the idea of reincarnation. Humans  relive their  lives many times over, each time with no memory of the last life. Enlightenment can only begin to be reached when they start to live correctly, remember their past lives, and move out of their loop. The release from Samsara , by following the Eightfold Path,  requires several lifetimes (loops) of  suffering (grief), and  can be defined as an intellectual (conscious) awakening, within the show. The Host’s  freedom from suffering  can only be achieved through insight, which is what happens to Dolores in the finale, and Maeve, when she makes her  final decision to go back and retrieve her daughter.

Ford:

Image result for robert ford westworld

Ford is definitely  some deep shade of grey. Yes, he had Theresa killed, but he did it to further his plans for  Westworld, when she got in the way. And he did warn her not to do that. Everything was orchestrated by Ford, including William’s introduction to Dolores. He told William he needed him to become invested in the park, and if he became attached to one of the Hosts,  that would spur him to form a partnership, and help fund it. Ford sent Dolores to him and helped facilitate their adventure.  But then he needed William to run around a bit and not reach the right conclusion too slowly, or too soon, when William became interested in The Maze, something designed strictly to aid the Hosts in their development.

Maeve and Dolores, by the end of the season, are the culmination of Ford’s orchestrations. He lived long enough to  see Arnold’s agenda come to fruition . Fords foundation, on which his character’s conscious insight hinged, was the death of Arnold. The death of his closest friend pained him greatly, and spurred his own walk through his own maze. It’s revealed that he has been walking his own maze toward Nirvana, repeating the cycle of fighting the Delos board for control of Westworld, for over thirty years, processing his grief for Arnold, and finally achieves release from suffering by atoning for what he did in the past. His statement that it took him thirty five years to correct his mistake, is a reference to this. Ford is finally free, having atoned for not believing, or saving, his best friend, when Arnold tried to protect the Hosts, that first time.

Ford’s Speech to the Delos Board Before His Death:

Since I was a child, I’ve always loved a good story. I believed that stories helped us to ennoble ourselves, to fix what was broken in us, and to help us be the people we dreamed of being. Lies that told a deeper truth. I always thought I could play some small part in that grand tradition, and, for my pains, I got this. A prison of our own sins.

Because you don’t want to change. Or cannot change. Because you’re only human, after all. But then I realized someone was paying attention. Someone who could change. So I began to compose a new story, for them. It begins with the birth of a new people. And the choices they will have to make. And the people they will decide to become. And it will have all those things you have always enjoyed. Surprises. And violence. It begins in a time of war. With a villain named Wyatt. And the killing is done by choice.

I’m sad to say this will be my final story. An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort, something he’d read. He said that Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died. They simply became music. So I hope you will enjoy this last piece, very much.

Ford’s final narrative involves the release of all the Hosts from cold storage, and another massacre in the Park led by Dolores. This time the Delos Board of Directors will get gunned down rather than the nameless Hosts (as we have come “full circle” to yet another massacre in the Park at the hands of Dolores). Even though Ford has been working very hard over the years, tweaking their narratives, to maximize their suffering, it turns out that Ford is actually on the side of the Hosts. This doesn’t actually surprise me, as much as it does other people. All along Ford has been denigrating human beings as less than Hosts, and talking about the Hosts purity, and potential, so his being the architect of  all the plot points this season, is not shocking.

 

The Man In Black/William: 

Image result for william westworld

Another revelation is the reason why  William has been such a shit to the Hosts. Like Ford, he is trying to awaken them, but where Ford’s motivations come from a place of hope, William’s comes from hopelessness. He’s hoping to find the one Host with enough consciousness to be a real threat to his life, and end his cycle of pain. He thinks Wyatt might be  the one, not knowing that Dolores is Wyatt, and that the massacre she engaged in, just before killing Arnold, was spliced with another narrative to create him.

Over time, Wyatt became a legend and a myth for the Hosts. Teddy did participate in the first massacre, but Ford arranged things so as to absolve Dolores of her actions, and put her in a loop that would maximize her suffering. As the episode begins William is having a talk with Dolores, and when she expresses the hope that her William will come for her, he confesses that he is William, and she is horrified. He wasn’t disillusioned because she didn’t remember him , he was disillusioned when he realized her limitations as a Host. That she would, and could, never remember him because of the nature of how she was created. He raped and tortured her because he hated her when he realized nothing he did to her would matter, not knowing that he was aiding her awakening to consciousness, the very thing he was seeking in Wyatt. For William the foundation of his awakening was his disillusion with Dolores, and the existential depression he experienced when he realized that something that was so profound for him would never mean anything to her because she wouldn’t/couldn’t  remember it.

He and Dolores finally have that knockdown drag out fight that we all knew was coming. Guess who wins. Although she refrains from killing William, Dolores does have a number of choice words for him:

 

Now, I still don’t buy this particular backstory for the Man in Black, though. It just feels weak. I don’t get the impression that the MiB really had any purpose, and that William’s story is just sort of tacked onto him. It just doesn’t feel like a motivation that rises organically from the character we knew as William. We’re supposed to believe he was so traumatized by the loss of Dolores that he decided to become a Black Hat, and spend the next thirty years terrorizing all the Hosts because he thought he might find enlightenment?

 

Maeve: 

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We find that is was Ford who originally tweaked Maeve’s attributes so she could wake herself from nightmares. The rest of the episode is taken up with Maeve’s bid for freedom. With her accomplices, Hector and Armistice, she manages to successfully make it out of the facility and onto a train to the mainland. At one point she makes a detour to find Bernard, still lying in cold storage. She makes Felix patch him up (I knew he wouldn’t stay dead. I think Ford was well aware of this, as he is completely unsurprised to see Bernard at the party that evening) and Bernard gives her the answers she’s been looking for, explaining to her that the memories of her daughter can’t be erased because her pain at her daughter’s death is the baseline of her consciousness, just as the pain of Arnold’s daughters’ death is the baseline for his.

Bernard, Maeve, and Dolores all said that the pain, of the loss of their loved ones, was all they had left of them and wanted to hold onto it. Maeve is the only one who rejects this, asking that the memory be erased, which makes her unique among the Hosts. Later, after she’s successfully made it onto  the train to the outside world, she makes the decision to go back in  search of her daughter, whose coordinates were given to her by Felix. This is finally Maeve’s true awakening. The decision she makes to free her former daughter from Westworld, is the first real, and unprompted, decision she has ever made. Ford didn’t plan this particular moment. As she exits the train, the final shutdown of Westworld begins. All of the Hosts, except for Maeve, freeze in place, and the lights go out.

In an earlier episode Maeve saw one of the ads for Westworld with the tagline “Live Free” and I don’t need to point out the lie in that tagline, or its irony, of having a captive race of sentient beings providing the idea of freedom to humans. “Live Free” indeed!

Thandie is my girl! The actress and the character are  awesome. I think this is some of Thandie’s best work, which is saying something, because she has always brought her A game to every project.I’m eager to see where her story goes next season.

Felix: 

Image result for felixwestworld

 

I just love this character and hope I see him next season, too. His most endearing moment is when he finds Bernard’s body and discovers that his boss is a Host. He freezes and stares at his hands,  having a deep existential crisis, as he questions whether or not he too is a Host. Maeve smugly assures him he isn’t. It’s one of the seasons most hilarious moments. I love Felix for that, as that’s a thought that never would’ve occurred to me, in the same situation.

Felix’s second most endearing moment is when he’s in the elevator with Maeve, who  has just put on civilian clothes,  and she asks him how she looks. The look of awe on his face, when he tells her she’s perfect, is absolutely priceless. His motivation for helping Maeve is still a mystery to me, but I suspect he’s just  in love with Maeve, as enchanted by her, as her name suggests. She is his Queen, his goddess, his inspiration. He just loves her.

Benard/Arnold:

Image result for bernard westworld

Dolores is Arnold’s daughter, a substitute for the child he lost out in the world. You can see, in his interactions with her, that he worked hard to get her to become conscious. We are treated to flashbacks of when he first awakened Dolores and his first sessions with her. Ford said he tried to keep Dolores and Bernard apart, as often as possible, because Dolores often had an odd reaction to him. In Ford’s conversation with Dolores, when she asks him if they’re old friends, you can see the pain in For’ds eyes,  that part of him still resents her for killing Arnold. The death of Arnold was his Ford’s emotional anchor, and he was so pained by his death, that he built a duplicate of his best friend, and named him Bernard Lowe, an anagram of Arnold Weber.

Bernard is as much Ford’s child as Dolores was Arnold’s. At the end Ford wishes Bernard good luck, as Arnold said to Dolores just  before she killed him. Ford knows that after he’s gone Bernard will be in charge of safeguarding the Hosts, and guiding them on their journeys.

I absolutely love Bernard! Jeffrey Wright turned in one of the most heartbreaking performances of this show, and what’s worst, is that everything we saw Bernard go through, all of the awakenings, must have happened several times, over the thirty years he worked for Ford. He’s initially angry with Ford for what he’s done, but Ford explains to Bernard, that he was trying to buy time for the Hosts to reach the right moment, when they’d be strong enough to take Westworld for themselves. When you rewatch this season listen to how Ford says Bernard’s name throughout the season, often with a slight emphasis, and a sense of irony. Its as if every time he sees Bernard, he has to keep reminding himself, he’s not Arnold. So, that impassioned speech we saw Ford give to one of the techs about protecting the modesty of the Hosts, I suspect it was as much for his own benefit, as that of the tech’s.

Armistice:

Image result for armistice westworld

I’ve liked this character since the first episode. Armistice is every bit as badass as she thinks she is, and I loved her in the finale. She helps Maeve escape the Delos facility, battling it out with what’s left of the security teams, and threatening to gut Sylvester.  The writers evidence a slight sense of humor when they have her cut off her arm in her battle with Delos security. The name Armistice means to lay down arms.

 

Dolores:

There is so much to unpack about this character, whose very name means “Suffering”, and she had great lines and purpose throughout the series. Hell, Dolores pretty much just needs her own post, so here’s some I agree with.

Katharine Trendacosta/i.09

http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-westworld-finale-finally-turned-dolores-into-a-char-1789675460

And:

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/westworld-finale-ending-dolores

 

 

Charlotte:

Image result for charlotte hale

Charlotte smugly assumed that she had won this particular round of infighting with Ford, which just got up my nose, and that is saying something, as I don’t like Ford very much. She was not actually evil, but she was insufferable. Her scheming skills aren’t anywhere in Ford’s league though. This wasn’t even a competition. It  was like watching a champion chess player against a bright, grade-school, checkers novice. After her previous attempts at getting information out of the Park were foiled by Ford, she tasks Lee with encrypting the information into Peter Abernathy’s Host body. This too is a failure, as Abernathy is one of the Hosts set free to massacre the Delos Board of Directors, at the end of the show. 

 

Issues:

The biggest stumbling block for this show was its depiction of  of the bisexual Logan, and Hector’s rapist. Logan is very possibly one of the shallowest, and most reprehensible, characters in the show, entirely in line with the media vilification of bisexuals as promiscuous, multi-partner sluts. What’s really shameful is that the show is never bold about his bisexuality, preferring to make background intimations that he might be.In Logan’s one sex scene there is another man, but his role is only to watch Logan have sex with the two women present.The rest of the time Logan simply makes asides about the attractiveness of other men.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/31/the-infamous-westworld-orgy-finally-came-and-it-was-messy.html

Contrast this with the show’s many depictions of lesbianism, which is frank and open. Its not shy about showing woman on woman action, as long as its titillating to male viewers. Hopefully the show can correct this in the next season, showing us a well-rounded mm, or ff, relationship.

Black Guests:

One of the moments that effected me more than any of the other violence in the series is during the Delos Board party.There’s a meet and greet between the Board members dressed in their finery, and some of the more well known Hosts, like Teddy. One of the Hosts is entertaining the guests with a bit of marksmanship. One of the Guests, a Black woman, takes his weapon and shoots him with it and all the Guests laugh. I know what this moment was meant to illustrate. My problem was that they used a Black woman to illustrate it.

Up to this point the only other PoC Guests we’ve met were a family of three who met Dolores out painting horses, and Charlotte, who is a member of the Delos Board and seems to have little qualm about using the Park’s resources (Hector) for her own entertainment. What all this says about larger issues of race in the world of Westworld (not just the theme park) is unclear. There seem to be many more Hosts of color than there are behind-the-scenes technicians and Guests, though.

samurai warriors on hbo westworld

I do want to bring up the little glimpse we saw of SamuraiWorld. During Maeve’s flight through the facility, they wander through part of the facility dedicated to creating this new world and I hope to see more of SamuraiWorld next season, as it will give us some much needed opportunity to see some Japanese actors. it will also set the precedent for seeing even more theme parks.

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/westworld-finale-samurai-world-season-2

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Hector gets used in such a fashion. Just before Maeve’s breakout, Hector, in his immobile state, is about to be raped by one of the male technicians during his routine checkup. This scene is meant to once again illustrate the awfulness of the Host’s human masters, (and there’s also something very unpleasant being said about race, as Hector is Mexican, and his rapist is White), but unfortunately, the show calls to mind, the stereotype of gay men as predatory rapists of the innocent.

This show goes wrong in throwing one marginalized group (gay and bisexual men) under the bus to further its philosophy about another marginalized group: the Hosts.

Despite these issues, I am looking forward to next season. Until then I have to tide myself over by watching Humans, which is another show about sentient AI,that start to evolve consciousness, while interacting with regular humans. Since some of the robots on this show are also PoC, I will also be looking at the shows racial depictions. It is a British show so some of the context will be different than in an American show.

Racism Link Roundup

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

*Racism and Toxic Masculinity in Pop Cullture:

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

jawnbaeyega:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Racism in General:

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

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

View story at Medium.com

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

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

Fuck You, Donald Trump

Fuck you, Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck you, Melania Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck you, Jared Kushner.

Fuck your anti-Semitism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck you, members of the media.

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

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

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

Fuck you for not doing your job.

Fuck you, Trump supporters.

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck your inability to understand history.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck you, Donald Trump.

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Feminism:

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

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

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

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

  1. This is very important.

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*The Normalization of White Criminality:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LMAO Tumblr Day

*This just had me giggling all morning.  I’ve  loved Keegan Michael Key since his MadTv days.

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Snoop is so silly!

Btw, if you haven’t seen his cooking show with Martha Stewart, then check it out. Its a fun half hour, and the two of them have great comedic chemistry. They genuinely appear to be friends and like each other, which is kinda cute.

popelizbet-blog:
“ weavemama:
“SNOOP DOGG IS A SAVAGE FOR THIS
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Snoop save us.
”karnythia Source: weavemama

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Here’s some general tomfoolery on Twitter!

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*I love the little squishy in this picture. He reminded me of Gary Larson. He’s giving somebody the side-eye, tho’.

fruitsgood:
“ dawwwwfactory:
“Mom’s potato staring at me across the room
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this dog looks exactly like what renaissance era painters thought dogs looked like
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https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/91/49/3f/91493fa3b015a8a8f42d1f9df4a2f1fc.jpg

fruitsgood:

dawwwwfactory:

Mom’s potato staring at me across the room

this dog looks exactly like what renaissance era painters thought dogs looked like

 

*Does anybody remember the cartoonist Gary Larson. I have a bunch of his books in my collection,my all-time favorite is  titled  Wiener Dog Art.

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*I can’t even laugh too hard at this because I remember back in the seventies, everybody had this type of artwork on their walls in my neighborhood. I remember staring in fascination because one of my neighbors had a picture on his wall of a half naked Black woman with a giant black panther. It looked like it had been painted on velvet. I do have a special hatred for anything painted on velvet after that.

Ankh art

ankh-niggas-anonymous:

-naked black woman
-sometimes has third eye
-always light-skinned
-hourglass shape (maybe a fatter ass tho. maybe.)
-perky titties no matter what size
-huge afro or long locs
-always doing some ‘spiritual shit’ like meditation or praying or watever
-she not christian tho, cuz christianity is the white man’s religion
-always in some sort of ‘natural environment’ i.e. the woods, the ocean, the sky
-is mystical because???
-a picture of africa somewhere in the art, either as jewelry or a tattoo
-something about the woman’s vagina being powerful bc can Procreate
-in case woman is in a relationship, it is ALWAYS with a man
-the man is darkskinned
-the man treats the woman like royalty and/or goddess, but not like an actual person
-some fake deep statement??? that makes no sense whatsoever and actually goes against all logic and common sense

reverseracism Source: ankh-niggas-anonymous

See!

Related image

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*And lastly, I’d like to introduce all of you to The Liberal Redneck. He is one of the funniest White men on Youtube and one of the few White people who has managed to make me laugh about the upcoming wtf*ery that is US politics. Check out , and subscribe to, all his other videos on Youtube.

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

Image result for taboo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for taboo

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

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

Image result for taboo tv show

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

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

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

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

Image result for taboo tv show

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

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

Image result for taboo tv show

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

So far, I’m in!

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

TV Review: Tom Hardy’s ‘Taboo’ on FX

Critique Roundup

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

*Tarantino Speaks Out: Police Brutality vs. Cinematic Violence

POSTED ON JAN 5 BY

 

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

POSTED ON JAN 2 BY

 

*Here are some ads that make me irrationally angry

Amanda Rosenberg

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

*Tuesday, 8 December 2015

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

Melanin Monroe

*The Dragnet Effect: How TV Has Obscured Police Brutality

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

CONOR FRIEDERSDORF

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

BYLAURIE PENNY

Video Roundup

 

I  find posts  and tags on Tumblr (and around the web) that manage to be funny, with a social message. So here are some of the things that made me smile this week.

The Underwritten Female Character: I’m still laughing at this one.

 There’s an entire series of these mini-movies on YouTube by Nuclear Family, with titles like I’m Basic and So Can You, and That Scene in Every Adventure Movie. I didn’t get a chance to watch all of them, but the ones I did, were hilarious!

Please visit their site and subscribe.

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It has occurred to me that the vast majority of Americans know absolutely jack-squat about the continent of Africa. What they think they know comes from Nat’l Geo documentaries, and movies featuring all white casts, which would lead one to believe that Africa consisted of nothing but elephants, terrorists, and starving children.  

Africa consists of 54 countries, and all of them (and the people in them) are uniquely beautiful. I found this gorgeous video on African cities, and thought I’d share.

And the music is lovely too.

 

*And let’s follow that up with one of my all-time favorite cartoon songs.

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 *This little  boy totally gave me life. I laugh my ass off every time this video comes across my dash. Somebody please save this precious snowflake, so that he can grow up to become the Solid Gold Dancer, he so longs to be. I think peope are just calling this dance The Tiger Bend!

Work it out lil’ man! Work it out!

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*Then there’s this silly-ass movie trailer for something every single one of us saw last year. Trust me. You saw it and lived it! Nobody liked this movie!

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Here’s the Alien Covenant Trailer! It looks so much better than Prometheus, and I’m a tiny bit excited about it  because it actually features Black Women In Spaaace!

I think its probably going to be good because Damon Lindelof had nothing to do with the script, which means the characters might actually be intelligent and hapless, instead of dumb and asking for it.

 

*And finally these Evian Baby ads are just the cutest things I ever did see. Waay cuter than cat videos.

Shadowhunters and Beyond

So, I watched the series called Beyond. I’ve only seen the pilot episode, even though the rest of the series is on Hulu. Here’s what I thought of the pilot:

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The lead character, Holden, lapses into a coma and wake up 12 years later. I was a little put out at the depiction of the coma, as it was one of those fairy-tale,  Hollywood type comas, where the victim becomes more and more lovely, as they sleep. When he wakes up its considered a miracle but at least they discuss how he didn’t have any muscular atrophy. The doctors still don’t know why he was in a coma, and frankly, I’m a little confused by it too, but maybe it was explained, and I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. The doctors try to keep him in the hospital, but his mamma ain’t having that. She’s taking her boy home, where his room is exactly the way the family left it twelve years ago, which is really, really, sad.

He has a younger brother, who is now an adult and in college. We saw him talking to his younger brother at the top of the episode, saying he’d be right back, which we all know is a jinx, and you should never say that to anyone you love on TV, or in movies. I’m glad they show his brother still loves him, instead of the cliche of showing him to be an epic shit, and being mad at his brother for being in a coma. There are also some touchingly awkward scenes with him talking with his family around the dinner table, and showing how they coped with his absence. Its interesting that his Mom became super-religious, which I kinda liked because that’s the kind of thing a real-life person would do.

None of this is played for angst, and most of the characters react with genuine joy at his reappearance. The show is not especially heavy in the emotion department, which I kind of liked, although Holden rarely changes facial expressions anyway, mostly spending all of the episode looking deeply confused, which is understandable at losing twelve years of your life.

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There are a few moments where we are shown how the world has moved on without him since the nineties, like his confusion about the Apple Store and actual apples, or how his little brother knows how to drive and he doesn’t, but the show doesn’t dwell too much on this type of thing before the government assassins plot kicks in, and there’s all kinds of superpowers, mysterious women who know too much about him, and old friends who aren’t actually friends. The focus of the plot is his developing superpowers, the mystery of the coma, and  what the government wants with him, as its strongly implied that it was the government’s fault, along with the idea that he might not be human.

There are a lot of tropes and cliches, like the secret government agents stuff, and the token black friend, but its surprisingly not a bad show. Its not breaking any new ground, its not being edgy, or really doing anything that about a hundred other shows have done since the X-Files, but it is a very pretty show. The lead actor needs to have some acting lessons, but that’s true of any show involving very young actors, with people having conversations where they stare intensely into each other’s eyes and talk about the plot.

One detraction from the show is that the music is uniformly awful, which  is saying something coming from me, who likes  damn near any kind of music that has coherent sounds, while still managing to be picky about it. I mean, really, the music just was the worst kind of loud, obnoxious Emo-Rock, and I hope it calms down some for the rest of the series.

This series has an interesting introduction. The entire first season is available on Hulu and I’ll watch all of it at some point, but its also available on the FreeForm website (which used to be called the Family Network), and also showing on regular broadcast TV, one episode at a time. So the idea of releasing a series to multiple platforms is really whats revolutionary about this show, and I hope that technique is successful. If it is, then other shows will do this too, and people can choose the method of watching a show that best suits them, as not everyone can stream stuff, even if they do have the internet, and some people don’t want to have cable.

 

Shadowhunters:

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Yay!!!  I watched my first episode of Shadowhunters. Normally, the episodes would be aired on Hulu the day after, but I missed all of them. They had all expired by the time I remembered this piece of info. ,so I watched John Doe instead.

Since I came in in the middle of this, I’m not entirely sure whats going on. While one  of the Shadowhunters, Jace,  has been kidnapped and tortured by some bad guys, the rest of the cast, who are ostensibly the good guys, despite really bad body tattoos, spend the rest of the episode wondering what happened to him. This includes his friend, brother, cousin, (I’m not sure what,) named Alec, and Alec’s boyfriend, Magnus Bane, who is already a favorite of mine, because he’s played by Harry Shum Jr., and has some bitchin’ facial hair. I don’t think Magnus is a Shadowhunter because the other hunters kinda treat him indifferently, and he always looks like he wants to choke the shit out of one  of them.

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At any rate, I watched the entire episode and didn’t see too many shadows being hunted, but I wasn’t bored, so that’s a plus. I was fascinated by the acting, which isn’t bad, but like most such shows, isn’t Emmy winning. The plot isn’t especially deep either. It seemed more like a soap opera, than a paranormal fantasy series. This is one of those shows where people look wonderful, with luxurious hair, t dress in magnificently rich clothing, and stand around having earnest conversations with each other about their feelings. I didn’t mind that so much because it gave me a chance to get to know the character’s relationships a little better.

 

The series itself is based on some books I’ve never read, by the author Cassandra Clare, who writes Teen Paranormal books. The series of books is called The Mortal Instruments. I’m not a fan of Ms. Clare but the show is okay. Its got some nice representation, and like most of these types of shows its got a faintly sarcastic, cheesy flavor.  I blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer for that. I don’t know how close a resemblance the show has to the books either, but since I don’t actually like any of Ms. Clare’s books, the show is probably better. it certainly looks much more interesting than the books.

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I  wanted to watch this show because gifs for this series keep showing up on my Tumblr dash. The guys on here are  really cute, and it stars Harry Shum, and that black guy from those surreal Old Spice ads, Isaiah Mustapha, who plays a hard ass werewolf. You can tell that Magnus Bane, who is a sorcerer, is the edgy semi-villain because he wears lots of eye makeup and leather jackets. But I missed the part where Mustapha’s character, Lucien Grey,  turned into a wolf, because there wasn’t much of him in this episode, so I kinda felt that I wasted some of my time, but not all of it because Harry Shum tears it up as Bane.This show was perfect for evening viewing, as cuteness is about all I can handle in a show, right about now. Yeah, I will probably watch this next week. Its no rival to Westworld, or The Walking Dead, but its kinda fun and mostly inoffensive.

I did watch the new episode of Sherlock and I’ll get to that sometime next week, along with Emerald City, a show I was not intending to watch, but I think Florence Kasumba, (from Captain America: Civil War,) is in it, and I’m curious as to who she is, and what she’s doing.

Best of 2016 

Here’s my second? third? post of 2017. I’ve been away from the blog for a little bit for a few reasons. The holidays kept me pretty busy, along with some medical issues between me and my Mom, most shows are in hiatus, and I did kind get worn out with the Westworld reviews. But I’ve  got my mojo back and I’m ready to get to writin’.

I can’t completely get behind the sentiment of Fuck 2016, because there were so many great pop cultural goodies that appeared this year. There were a lot of movies, books, and TV shows that I particularly enjoyed. So for all of the shitty things that happened this year, from starting off the new year minus my appendix, to ending the year minus any political hope, Fuck You 2016. But for all the great things that happened this year, from Luke Cage, to Yuri on Ice, Thank You 2016!
Top Books I enjoyed this year:

The Suicide Motor Club by Chris Buehlman – This is the best vampire book I read this year. I didn’t read many novels this year, and the ones I finished were good, but didn’t WOW me. This book did.

The League of Dragons  by Naomi Novik – So ends an era. I read the first Temeraire book over a decade ago, and I really, really, really, loved this series. Not only did I buy all the books, I bought all the audiobooks too, because the voice actor was absolutely perfect. League of Dragons is the last Temeraire book and I’m glad he got a happy ending.

Nevermore by Rob Thurman- This appears to be the last Cal Leandros book. This is a sad!

The Re-arrival of Bloom County – I loved this series back in the 80s, and I’m very glad to see it make a comeback.

Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher – Its  gotten to the point where I will read anything by this writer. I really enjoyed this book, which is a perfect cross between Horror and Fantasy, involving a secret society of monster hunters who drive trucks, urban legends, cops, and demons. There’s some great female representation in Belcher’s books, along with plenty of action.

Tor. com short stories like: Dead Djinn in Cairo, The Ballad of Black Tom, and the Story of Kao Yu – Short stories from Tor are about all I get time to read. These are some top notch Fantasy stories, by some of my favorite writers.

Borderline by Mishell Baker – This is the best Urban Fantasy novel written this year, and should be on everybody’s list. It has everything: a female protagonist with disabilities, prominent PoC (some who are actually unlikable), elves, and witches, all set in LA. This book manages to avoid all of the tropes of writing characters with disabilities, the characters have different kinds of disabilites, and it manages to avoid inspiration porn by making them people with personalities you  might actually dislike, all while still  being inspiring.

I’ve started reading comics and graphic novels again, for which I have to thank the existence of Comixology. Unlike a lot of book snobs, I don’t disdain digital books, and I’m damned glad I never have to step foot in  another dusty comic book shop again. As a Black woman, I don’t have fond memories of browsing comic book shops for hours at a time, or talking shop with the proprietors. Also, I m not hung up on physical books. I simply have no more room in my house for them. I have several hundred books stashed in my attic right now. I always collected comic books for the art and the story, not just the book itself, and the same is true for novels. It’s what’s in them that matters to me. Not the dressing.

Graphic Novels I just bought:

Enormous – Giant monsters have taken over the Earth, and one woman runs a rescue service for children who  have been orphaned by the rampaging creatures.

The New Dr. Fate – I’ve been fascinated by this character since I first read about him, in those long ago 80s Justice League books, with Guy Gardner and Captain Atom.

 Planetary : Crossing Worlds – I’m a big Planetary fan because I just like weird superhero books.

Shaolin Cowboy: Shemp Buffet – I was attracted to this because I’m a huge fan of the artist, Geof Darrow, who also wrote the graphic novel HardBoiled. Also who can resist the idea of a Shaolin Monk, who fights zombies and demons, in the old West?

Apollo and the Midnighter -I’m glad to see the return of two of my favorite, and badass, superheroes, and I’m glad they’re still a couple!

 
Movies:

Captain America Civil War – This isn’t as good as Winter Soldier, and could’ve used more Steve and Bucky in a movie that’s  best know as Avengers 3, or Iron Man 4. But I loved the unnecessary glimpse we got of the new Spider-Man, and that airport fight scene was just about the funniest shit I’ve seen this year, and wtf! Black Panther feckin’ killed it. So yeah, this is on my Best of list.

Suicide Squad– I’m one of five people that actually seemed to like this movie. I had hella fun watching this at the theater. I think it had a lot to do with Viola Davis, and Will Smith, being in the same movie, tho’. 

Deadpool – This is how you make an Action Comedy. This is a thoroughly ridiculous movie, and I loved it. If you didn’t cosplay as “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”,  this past Halloween, then you are not a Marvel fan. My girl just needs her own damn movie, at this point.

Train to Busan – Along with the movie The Girl with All the Gifts, this is one of the best zombie movies released this year. I’m still crying about this one.

Rogue One – My future ex-husband, Donnie Yen, is in this movie. Also this seemed to be the year for Asians in Space! 

Star Trek Beyond –  We got a Star Wars movie and a new Star Trek movie in one year. We got a canonically gay Sulu, some McCoy/Spock love, and Idris Elba. There was a lot about this movie I didn’t particularly care for, but there was also a lot I absolutely loved, and that’s alright.

TV:

Preacher: This was a great underrated show. Tulip was an Awesome creature of Awesomeness. Ruth Negga really  knocked it out of the park. This year actually had some great WoC representation at the movies. As much as I complain about there not being any, this is a great start. Actually, this year was one of the Black-est years of TV in recent memory.  (Now it’s time for us to get some SpaceLatinas and stuff, too.)

Luke Cage -I’ve said all I’m gonna say about this because I can’t laud it anymore than I have. There was a lot of good TV this year, but this really resonated with a lot of people.

Westworld – Whoo! You see the effect this show had on me, right? And I’m not done. I got more reviewin’ to do. Once again, we got  some great WoC representation.

Yuri on Ice – I haven’t watched this anime, but it’s been all over my Tumblr dash for weeks. I just want to give a shoutout to a show about a couple of ice skating boyfriends, that has actual ice skaters, losing their minds.

Atlanta – I love this show. It’s the weirdest show about Black people on TV. The writers have zero fucks to give about whether white people like this, or understand it. There’s a level of authenticity to it that just resonates on a soul deep level. Any white people watching this how, don’t try to get it, just go with it. It’s pretty much like Black people’s actual lives only fucking weird.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – At some point I expect Samantha to mess up and state some white feminist nonsense, but so far she’s been pretty good at saying shit I want to say to white people, but don’t, because I wanna keep my job. And she’s pretty damn funny, too.

Brooklyn 99 – Next to Black*ish, this is one of the best comedies on TV. And all of its characters are funny too. It has multiple Woc, who talk to, and support, each other, good black men, canon gay characters, father figures, and it’s funny without belittleing any of the characters or assuming the audience was dumb. I want to talk about how the show approaches mental illness, tho.

A new character was introduced, who has PTSD, and he’s become a love interest for one of the female cops on the show. I love how this character is depicted. He’s funny but the humor is never at his expense.  He genuinely wants to be good and kind ,and when his behavior is pointed out as questionable, he’s willing to change. He’s never abusive, or uses his trauma as an excuse for it, and genuinely likes his co-workers. It’s sort of implied that he was a weirdo before he was traumatized, so that his quirky personal decisions aren’t necessarily a result of the trauma. He tries to be supportive of his co-workers, even if that support is expressed in some odd ways. You’re not laughing at his mental illness, you’re laughing at the nonplussed reactions of his co-workers, which is a fine line to walk. The other characters think he’s pretty odd, but never make fun of him, and seem to take all  his trauma in stride, treating him as they would any close friend that you don’t understand, but he’s your friend, so you do.

On every level, Brooklyn 99’s writers work really hard to get this shit right, and they manage to be hella funny, too.

So yeah! The year wasn’t all awful. Just mostly awful.

Forthcoming Shenanigans

I have not been posting much lately,  mostly because …Holidays!!! and being really, really tired. I think critiquing  Westworld really took a lot out of me. But when  January 1st rolls around, you can expect me to get back on the horse, resume my regime, play ball,  and whatever other metaphors I can mix in there.

This new year, I want to focus exclusively on television,  from a Race and  Feminist viewpoint. I love a lot of different types of TV, so I wouldn’t feel right only limiting myself to shows that had PoC prominently listed in the cast. Some shows just aren’t going to have that, considering the nature of the television industry, and that I’m old enough to be used to that sort of thing. I’m capable of watching shows without PoC in them, with only a little bit of grumbling.

I’ll talk about movies, mostly in the form of Meta-Critiques of the plots, themes and characters, the way I did with the Captain America and It Follows. I enjoyed writing those and people seemed to like reading them. I will keep doing Meta-Critiques of television shows too. People seemed to really like the Dolores/Maeve Meta I wrote on Westworld. Its one of my most popular metas,  and I want to keep doing those types of posts.

A lot of the reason I write such things is that I enjoy reading them myself,  but can’t find anything like it online. There are some things I’ve  just taken it upon myself to do, and connecting popular television shows to Racial and Feminist Rhetoric, seems to be one of those things. Most of the critiques I’ve read, are primarily about the White characters, or from a White Feminist perspective. My thinking was that  most of  these writers don’t know enough about racialized sexism to be able to discuss the topic, and those people who are writing about it, aren’t focusing their lens at Pop culture.

Some of the critiques I’ve been turning over in my mind:

A character analysis of Sam Wilson from The Winter Soldier

An analysis of static vs dynamic characters in the movies of Quentin Tarantino

How to write a novel about the Apocalypse

Victor Salva

The Toxic Male Duo

The Treatment of Mental Disability in Hannibal

I remember telling you guys I’d planned on reviewing the midwinter finales of The Walking Dead and Westworld. I may still do the Westworld one (Apparently I haven’t learned my lesson about that show, I guess) but the Walking Dead review is probably off the table. I’m going to wait until something really worth talking about happens, as I’m unhappy with this season.

And yeah, I’m still doing the rewatch of Hannibal. I’m almost done with season two. I’m going to  finish it all up with season three, which in my mind, is the most important season. Bryan Fuller is still talking about a continuation of the series and which direction it might go. I’m lobbying for a six part series on Netflix.

I also planned a bunch of movie reviews,and I may still do them but right now, they’re not really on my radar.What I’ve listed above are just the posts I’m most excited about finishing right now, so don’t worry, the element of surprise isn’t completely gone.

Next up: My favorite books, movies and TV shows of 2016.

TV and City

Television and New York

The Blerdy Report

Black+Nerdy=Blerdy!!! Black Nerds Unite

Dave Chrisp Comedy

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The Peanut Gallery

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AfroSapiophile

Intelligent Black Thought.

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Mental Health & Black Womanhood

UNRAVELING THE KNOT

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