Tumblr Weekend Discussions

Here are some posts and articles about film and tlevision that I couldn’t fit into the last post. These are just things I found interesting in my internet travels, some old, some new:

On Television

Samurai Jack has long been one of my all-time favorite cartoons. First, its simply a gorgeous looking cartoon, and and much deeper, philosophically, than it ever needed to be to entertain teenagers. This article is almost like an ode to the series:

A lone samurai clad in white stares up in horrified awe at a gargantuan future city, constructed with neon bright colors, clashing machinery, and aliens speaking in a tongue foreign to his ear. This samurai travels through lands of the mythic and mundane, the natural and the supernatural. Here he is again, alone, in a dense forest. The only sounds are chirping crickets and the fire that crackles before him — until a vision of his long-deceased father rips through the tranquility, admonishing him for his failure. These moments aren’t from a prestige TV series with A-list talent or a long-lost Akira Kurosawa film. They’re from Samurai Jack, the animated series created by Genndy Tartakovsky that premiered in 2001, ran for four seasons, and was revived for a fifth and final season that ended this past weekend.

http://www.vulture.com/2017/05/samurai-jack-was-tvs-most-poignant-depiction-of-loneliness.html

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Note: This is a 13 page paper studying Whiteness in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Image result for buffy the vampire slayer  and race

The Caucasian Persuasion of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Ewan Kirkland

This paper explores Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a particularly white
text. By this I mean, the series is both populated by archetypal white characters, and informed by various structures, tropes and perspectives Dyer identifies as characterising
whiteness.

http://www.whedonstudies.tv/uploads/2/6/2/8/26288593/kirkland_slayage_5.1.pdf

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There are simply not enough WoC in genre fiction, certainly not as primary characters. Shows like Superstition, The Walking Dead, Z Nation, and Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper Series, make a specia leffort to be diverse, but we need more, and better depictions of  fantastical WoC on screen, and in genre literature. We need more Black female witches, vampires and werewolves, and stories that are not alwyas about us dealing with the modern world in the same old way. (We need WoC power fantasies, too.)

Laveau encapsulates better than any other historical figure the narrow position black witches hold in the public imagination. (It’s important to note that, to examine this trend, I am using “witches” as a catch-all term for these characters, including rootworkers and voodoo priestesses.) While their practices — whether Haitian voodou or rootwork — are appropriated to add a flash of exoticism, they often remain thinly drawn figures, pushed to the margins of their respective stories. They are used to incite fear or curiosity in the white imagination, which remains deeply suspicious of black ancestral practices that don’t allow for easy translation. In pop culture, the historical underpinnings of these practices — which were brought to America by slaves trying to fiercely hold onto their own belief systems, even as colonialism tried to beat it out of them — are traded for a simpler, highly exoticized portrayal.

http://www.vulture.com/2017/10/black-witches-why-cant-they-get-respect-in-pop-culture.html

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I’m always up for some Iron Fist bashing. Not exactly because I hate him (although I certianly hate that show) but more because I think I’m really mad about what we culd have had, had we listened to Asian-Americans, and simply cast Lewis Tan, for example.

It’s hard to not imagine what could have been. For years, Asian-Americans had hoped that Marvel would cast an Asian-American actor as the lead of its Netflix series Iron Fist, only for the role to go to Game of Thrones alum Finn Jones. The decision wasn’t exactly surprising — after all, the character Danny Rand is white in the original comics — but a casting reversal would have turned a stereotypical narrative into a fresh story about an Asian-American reclaiming his roots. Now, we know that Marvel had seriously considered the possibility: Actor Lewis Tan was on hold for Danny Rand before he was offered the role of the one-off villain Zhou Cheng, who appears in episode eight of Iron Fist.

http://www.vulture.com/2017/03/lewis-tan-marvel-iron-fist-interview.html

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Ben Wasserman clarifies exactly why Iron Fist failed as a series. 

 

And finally, this brings us to IRON FIST, Marvel Studio’s first true narrative flop. Even with all the problems regarding the series’ dialogue, editing and stunt choreography, I believe these problems could have been lessened to an extent had the story been worth caring about. Yet throughout his narrative, Danny Rand is presented as an entitled child whose actions never fit his status, constantly failing to prove his fighting abilities during numerous action sequences while simultaneously being praised as K’un Lun’s greatest fighter by one too many characters. Granted, one could equate this factor to poor choreography, but considering the praise given to DAREDEVIL’s hallway fight, there really is no excuse for sloppiness in a show centered on mystical kung-fu. And yet, underneath this convoluted mess of a narrative lies a theme that could very well have tied in with the other DEFENDERS shows: the rejection of one’s identity.

https://comicsverse.com/defenders-and-identity-why-iron-fist-failed-where-other-marvel-netflix-shows-succeeded/

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A discussion of “The New Yellow Peril” plotlines of Marvel TV series , Daredevil and Iron FIst.

THE FISTS OF WHITE MEN

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With a cast of heroes that includes a woman and a Black man, diversity should be The Defenders’s strong suit, but the show positions a nebulous Asian organization as the villain; considers white saviors, including Iron Fist and Daredevil, as the only people capable of keeping New York City from crumbling; and relies on Orientalism as a plot device.

https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/yellow-peril-in-the-defenders

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Malec and the Burden of Representation

Too much of this article is written from Alec’s point of view, but this is otherwise a solid examination of why LGBTQ representation matters, especially when it comes to Magnus Bane.

MATTHEW DADDARIO, HARRY SHUM JR.

Alec, one of the series main shadowhunters, is in the closet and the reasons for it are almost too many to count. From his society’s aggressive homophobia and an unquestionable loyalty to his family’s legacy to a fear of rejection and an emotionally confusing parabatai bond with fellow shadowhunter Jace, it’s easy to understand why he’d want to keep his sexuality a secret. Especially when it comes to Jace, with whom he shares an ambiguous bond complicated by the fact that one-half is gay and the other is not, in a culture that prohibits romance between them.

http://www.screenspy.com/articles/tv/shadowhunters-malec-burden-representation/

 

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This article discusses why race was such an important feature in Shadow Moon’s story.

Image result for american gods shadow

American Gods and the Realities of Race

…However, Sava’s words only work first to mirror the majority of Americans who are still living in this country with heads in the sand concerning race. They then dismiss a vital component of Shadow’s purpose in the story as both a dark-skinned character in modern America and as a bearer of an important Norse tradition. Sava mostly tries to whitewash the importance of the scene, which is worse than a Texas school board on an American history book.

https://blackgirlnerds.com/american-gods-realities-race/

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Ep. 2 Hannibal Season Three: Primavera

In the last episode, we got caught up with Hannibal’s activities since the night of the Red Dinner. In this episode, we find out what Will Graham has been doing, as one of the survivors of that night.

All throughout season two, we’ve been getting strong “hints and allegations” that Hannibal and Will have an intense (and dangerous) attraction to each other. This season the subtext has definitely become text, as it’s flat-out stated by both of them, what feelings they have for each other, and exactly how far into the abyss Will Graham fell, in his efforts to bring Hannibal to justice. At the beginning of this season, Will sets out to find and re-engage with Hannibal again, seemingly not having learned his lesson from that night.

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We open almost immediately after the Red Dinner, with Will in the hospital recovering from his wounds, reliving the events of that night, and  imagining that Abigail has survived. Actually this imagining of her isn’t any different from his previous thoughts about Abigail. Will has an idealized view of Abigail, as the perfect daughter and companion, an image that Hannibal well knew, and used against him. In the real world,  he and Abigail weren’t  that close, and she certainly didn’t feel about him the way he felt about her, although since this Abigail argues with, and castigates him for his actions last season, this is probably a much truer version of her than we’ve seen from Will before.

This is something a lot of fans of the show forget. That Will and Abigail didn’t interact that much in the real world, beyond season one, and on those occasions when they were together, she was just as unforthcoming, duplicitous, and manipulative with Will, as she was with everyone else, so I was immediately suspect of this image of her. And the show  plays coy with the idea that she survived that night, until near the end of the episode.

One of the  clues, that maybe she didn’t survive, is that Abigail asks Will questions about things she couldn’t possibly know about, unless Hannibal discussed these things with her, and  I don’t believe he did. Also notice that Abigail wears the same hunting jacket that Will has imagined her wearing before, but in a dried blood color,  we’ve never seen. Her body language, and attitude, are the same as when he imagined talking with her, when he was in prison last season.

So keep in mind that Abigail did not survive that night, and Will’s discussions with her, are just Will castigating himself for being stupid.

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Will also has an image of the stag, for the last time, as it dies on Hannibal’s kitchen floor.  The Stag doesn’t represent Hannibal, (as he knows Hannibal isn’t dead), and when Will is hunting for Hannibal in Europe, the Stag  is reborn. There has been a lot of discussion about what the Stag means, but my theory is that this is an avatar of  Will. This isn’t the RavenStag, which is an avatar of Hannibal the Killer. This is just The Stag that Will imagines whenever the darker side of his nature begins to assert itself.

Will  has an image of himself, and Abigail, drowning in a lake of blood. I’ve written before, that images of drowning represent  someone’s belief that they have gotten in over the heads, or into a situation that has overwhelmed them, or that they can’t control. Bedelia has such dreams in the last episode. These dreams of drowning are Will’s though, and are tied to the knowledge that he totally underestimated Hannibal’s will to survive, and his spiteful nature.

Will’s hallucinations and images are jumbled with Hannibal’s images of the breaking teacup, that reverses itself, and becomes un-shattered. I think  this represents Will, and the reversal of its breakage represents the turning back of time, and the resurrection of their previous relationship, which is something Hannibal deeply misses, even in his anger at Will’s betrayal. It’s something that Will longs for too, as he deeply regrets the decisions he made leading up to the night Abigail died. So both men are in the same place emotionally, saddened. missing each other, and regretting what they did to each other.

Will sets out in his boat to look for Hannibal in Europe, based on conversations had during Will’s therapy sessions. On arrival, eight months later, still accompanied by the ghost of Abigail, he goes to the Norman Chapel in Palermo, Italy that Hannibal mentioned, and finds a murder investigation in progress.

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The Norman Chapel  is an actual place, which is also part of Hannibal’s Memory Palace. It’s  real, although, the skeleton on the floor isn’t actually there. That was placed in post-production by Fuller, and i think it indicates indicates Hannibal’s placation to Will. It is an image of Hannibal’s forgiveness, or perhaps, he is praying to Will for forgiveness..



One of the images of Hannibal’s forgiveness is the Vetruvian Man origami from the first episode, and the mutilation sculpture of Dimmond’s body by Hannibal. He folded Dimmond’s body into the shape of a heart, pierced it with upside down swords, and placed it in the Chapel’s foyer. Will doesn’t actually get to see the body, though. He is met at the Chapel by a Rinaldo Pazzi, a detective in the city, who has been reading of Will’s attempts to capture The Chesapeake Ripper. Pazzi shows WIll a photograph of the crime scene, and believes it is linked to Will’s arrival in the city.

Image result for the body heart/hannibals

Pazzi believes that Dimmond was killed by a serial killer that he calls Il Mostro, who managed to escape capture many years ago, by framing another man for his murders. He believes Il mostro, and The Chesapeake Ripper, are one and  the same, and that Il Mostro left Dimmond’s body as a message for Will, which it is. After learning from Bedelia that Will is still alive, and has traveled to Italy to find him, Will is much on his mind. Even if Hannibal may not recognize his feelings as a form of love, Bedelia does. (I mentioned in season one, that every show needs a truth-teller, a person who sees things more clearly than the main character/s around whom the story revolves. Bedelia’s role is to say what the outsider (us, the viewer) has observed.)

https://www.keen.com/articles/tarot/3-of-swords-tarot-card

Pazzi recalls the case that set him against Il Mostro. He found the bodies of two people designed to emulate the 1482 painting, La Primavera by Boticelli, which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Primavera or Allegory of Spring by Sandro Botticelli

http://www.uffizi.org/artworks/la-primavera-allegory-of-spring-by-sandro-botticelli/

Hannibal was obsessed with the painting. Sitting for hours, and drawing the painting over and over, and his last murder in Italy was a reenactment of Zephyrus chasing Flora (to the right in the painting). Pazzi recognizes Hannibal’s style in the killings of the Chesapeake Ripper and believes Hannibal has returned to Italy. He thinks Will may have some insight into Il Mostro’s nature.

https://hannibalfannibals.com/2015/06/17/hannibal-the-history-of-il-mostro-fact-vs-fiction/

But Will is not helpful, as he grapples with his darker self. Will is torn between wanting to join Hannibal, and wanting to capture him. Whenever he feels he is getting too emotionally involved, too close to Hannibal, he becomes afraid that he will lose himself, (hence his dreams about drowning), and feeling a need to reassert his better self (as an agent of the law), he  tries to capture him instead. He seems to go through this cycle of longing and destruction at least twice a season.

Image result for hannibal primavera/abigail gifs

Observe that while contemplating Hannibal’s crime scene, Will doesn’t use his pendulum system to ease into the killer’s mindset. He knows Hannibal so well that he doesn’t need it, and he seamlessly moves back and forth between his own mind, and Hannibal’s. He hallucinates (or dreams) of the Dimmond heart, and in one of this series most grotesque scenes, it comes to life, unfolds itself into the shape of the Stag, and stalks him across the chapel floor. My theory is that this is the rebirth of Will’s murderous avatar. Just being in a place Hannibal has been, has awakened the darker parts of his nature, a part of himself he thought was destroyed that night in Hannibal’s kitchen, when Abigail died.

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Will and Pazzi descend into the catacombs underneath the Chapel. Will is searching for Hannibal, believing he can feel him nearby. Will warns Pazzi to not be so trusting, because he may harm him. Will knows that his distress will attract Hannibal and killing Pazzi might bring draw him for sure. And Hannibal is there, so he hears Will’s quiet assertion that he is forgiven. But what is Will forgiving him for? Running away and leaving him? Trying to kill him? Killing Abigail? All three? Does it matter?

 

Of Note:

Will’s mention of the church ceiling falling in is something mentioned by Hannibal, in the movie Silence of the Lambs, where he says he likes to collect church collapses.

Abigail stares at one of the priests in the chapel, and he stares back as if he can see her, as if he can see this dark spectre following Will around.

 

Posts & Articles

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/10/the-moral-universe-of-hannibal

http://www.vulture.com/2013/06/seitz-on-hannibal-its-a-dream-and-it-hurts.html

http://www.vulture.com/2015/08/hannibal-redefined-how-we-tell-stories-on-tv.html

Tumblr Weekend Reading

Its been a whole minute since I made a Tumblr post, so here, have some interesting thoughts, memes, and photos, that came across my  dashboard:

Yes, I am lactose intolerant, although I am to understand that I have a fairly mild case. I can eat some dairy items like yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, without  wishing I would die, but a glass of chocolate milk would probably send me to the hospital, with excruciating abdominal pain.  But for real though, most cases of lactose intolerance just end in lots of farting.

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This is funny because this was sort of my thoughts while watching this movie. Earth, and the aliens, are basically a bunch of drama queens.

dragon-in-a-fez

I know we’re always talking about how Pacific Rim embraces the ridiculousness of the human race because “just build a giant robot to punch them in the face” is probably the most full-on human bullshit response we could have thought of to an invasion of giant aliens, but can we pause and also consider that the aliens are basically doing the same thing

like they wanted to invade us and their first thought about how to do so was “let’s genetically engineer giant fucking monsters that will crawl out of the depths of the ocean and trample cities”

Pacific Rim is just the story of two species that on a scale from 1 to 10 respond to every problem with a 17

 

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Image result for cat fighting gifs

The mildly annoying fighting styles of female action characters. I think Charlize Theron, and a couple of others, are leading this charge to make female fight scenes more realistic to how a woman might actually kick some ass. Most filmmakers try to give women pretty, ballet -like, fighting styles, and I don’t mind that a whole lot, but they need to know it’s okay to show women getting down and dirty, when they fight, too. This is why I loved the movie Kill Bill, because it showcased a variety of women vs. women fighting styles.

rainbow-femme

So whenever i would watch movies and see The Badass Female Character fighting in various ways, something about it always bugged me. I just assumed it was internalized misogyny that made me dislike characters like black widow and Tauriel and tried to make myself like them.

Then I was rewatching Mad Max Fury Road the other day and I noticed that nothing bothered me about watching Furiosa fight and I realized the problem wasn’t watching women fight in movies that got on my nerves.

Watching the stereotypical Badass Female Character she always has these effortless moves and a cocky, sexy smirk on her face as everything is easy. Watching Furiosa, she grunted and bared her teeth. Her fighting was hard and it took effort and it hurt like fighting is supposed to. For once her fighting style wasn’t supposed to seduce the audience it was to be effective.

I wasn’t disliking these characters because they were women I was disliking that their fighting was meant to remind me they were women. High heels and shapely outfits and not showing effort or discomfort because it’s more attractive to effortlessly lift a long leather clad leg over your head rather than rugby tackle someone.

It’s the same with the Wonder Woman movie too. Fighting is hard and it takes effort, blocking bombs and bullets with a shield makes her grimace and bare her teeth with the effort it takes. She’s not flip kicking bombs she’s yelling and straining, not because she’s weak or bad at fighting but because that’s what it would be like.

I really hope we’re moving into an era of women having fighting styles designed for realism and not how hot it looks for the men in the audience.

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I’d say the answer to this is yes. America has long been obsessed with the Black female body, while trying to pretend it’s not, and here’s why:

Is Society Fascinated with Black Women’s Body Types?

blackfeminisms

Colonialism introduced Europe as the cultural/aesthetic authority on values including beauty. While doctors in ancient times warned against obesity, diet culture began in the 1800s. Weight turned into a cultural status marker that considered fat to be negative. Whiteness as the epitome of beauty imposes a standard that devalues body types by race, gender, shape, size, and color. Society teaches women to deal with fatness through exercise. Nevertheless, Black feminists see Blackness as the site of resistance to the standards.

Society interprets Blackness as indicative of moral, sexual, and racial pollution. For example, a society threatened by Black women’s reproductive capabilities, 19th century Europe likened Black women to prostitutes through the controlling image of the Black Venus, which characterized her as the perpetual prostitute. Society discouraged coupling between Black women and White men through “blood discourses”  that projected the fear of Blackness onto mixed-race children. Some sociologists remarked on this phenomena with  Meghan Markle.

Society treats Black women’s bodies as a danger to social order. On the one hand, they might displace white women as the archetypical love and sex object. On the other, they threatened the patriarchal order of worker by having the status of worker and woman.

Society robs fat Black women of their sexual agency 

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Sociologist Shirley Anne Tatediscusses how we can read the iconic Venus statue as a fat Black woman. This perspective reveals which Black women’s’ bodies society reads as fat and how they represent them. Tate embraces an ‘alter/native’ view of Black women to highlight the multiplicity of body politics around Black womanhood. Society treats Black women’s bodies as other to white women’s and does so by making their forms hypervisible. This process simultaneously renders the whiteness of other women’s bodies invisible. As a result, Shirley Anne Tate argues this perspective: “enable[s] us to see that there is a corporeality of white class (Bourdieu, 1988) and gender with thinness as its epitome” (Tate 2015: 80).

The Mammy portrays Black women as undesirable sexually and desirable for service work. The Mammy symbolizes the status of a domestic servant to a white woman through her girth and dark skin. This controlling image reinforces the perception that white women were superior.  For example, Hattie McDaniel played a Mammy figure in Gone With the Wind. The UK has a similar portrayal Black women as “Big Mama. Fat Black women live in a society that paints them as undesirable and worthy of disgust. These beliefs divided fat Black women into domestic and care workers and thin white women into the domestic and care overseers.

Society ridicules Black women for their fatness

In the UK racist humor often revolves around fat Black women. In the 19th century White men dressed in drag to mimic Black women for racist ridicule, making fun of the notion of a desire for this body through minstrelsy. Far from being just a joke, racist humor has more sinister implications:

“Humour is not a harmless or benign form of communication. Rather, ‘racist humour, jokes may act as a type of coping mechanism for the racist, in the form of a palliative because the effects of joking allow for the expression, reinforcement and denial of racism’ (Weaver, 2011: 12). “ (Tate 2015: 91).

Additionally, Some White women performed minstrels too. Originally, minstrels arose from white racial fear of Black men. Minstrelsy thus demonstrates simultaneous racial aversion and desire.  Fatness and Blackness place Black women outside of beauty.Rhetoric in the U.S. frames Black women in terms of discipline, relegation, marginalization, imprisonment, and segregation away from white life, comfort, embodiment, and being. Treating Black women’s body as inferior meant colonial labor and gender roles placed Black women in the lowest rung of the social order.

Society treats muscular Black women with dark skin with fear

Whenever the former First Lady chose to wear a sleeveless outfit, some members of White society reacted to Michelle Obama’s muscular arms:

The struggle over Michelle Obama’s ‘right to (bear) bare arms’ shows that the USA is far from being post-race as the respectable femininity of the First Lady is judged by white, middle/upper-class privilege which insists on lack of musculature on women (Tate 2012:93).

Shirley Anne Tate argues Michelle Obama’s body defines norms of white upper/middle-class respectability. Her very presence creates a space of resistance that represents a deviation from the somatic norms of the U.S. First Lady. As a result, she endured a constant surveillance of her body, viewed as an outsider. Therefore, this fascination transforms her into the Black First Lady.

Why do people fetishize muscular Black women?

Image result for serena williams gif

Black women’s muscle as a spectacle dates back to racist pseudoscience of the 18th/19th  century. Shirley Anne Tate describes Black women’s bodies as a site of fascination.  A person compares themselves and others to a norm. As a viewer, a person extends their own bodies through their gaze. They interpret others through points on their body like their face, muscles, or skin. Comparison of one’s body parts to another leads a person to determine how close or different one’s body is to others:

Inassimilability or extension into the other does not mean that fasci- nation ceases. Fascination continues in the desire to find out the why of assimilation and the untranslatability of the body. Why can’t I be like her? Why do I want to be like her? What have I become? Is my becoming accompanied by fear, disgust, contempt? Fascination makes us look at ourselves first and foremost, at our very lives, to find out why we are fascinated by bodies/body parts. It is in the exchange between bodies, in the matching and untranslatability that we can begin to know ourselves, begin to understand our fascination as a pull to knowing the other, to get behind the façade that is the skin to ‘the real them’ beneath (Tate 2012: 94).

Fascination leads to a desire to find out why a woman’s body does not conform to the norm. However, narcissism motivates this fascination. Hence, people recenter themselves as they gaze upon others’ bodies to construct a sense of self. Therefore, the incorporeality of fascination makes it a fluid, simultaneous process of becoming and unbecoming through comparison to others.

How does fascination with Black women turn into fear?

Fascination is a multisensory experience that has varying degrees of effect and affect, motivated thus making the gaze a result of both desire and disgust. Therefore, fascination compels a response on the part of a viewer as it occurs not only through the senses but also through imaginings.

As a result, people pursue a means to satisfy their fascination. For example, this fascination extends to dark-skinned Black women who have muscular bodies. This affects interpersonal interactions across racial lines. Stereotypes about Black women motivate people to approach them with a feeling of insecurity or a desire to avoid her at all costs. So when Black woman’s bodies get policed in this manner, they are cast as evil and transgressive to indicate they fall outside the norms of appropriate ways of life.

Tate writes that “once it is set outside the norm it remains as it is cast, an unknowable hyper-known, knowledge of which remains within the colonial stereotype.”  White people project their fear of getting displaced in society’s racial hierarchy onto Black women through a racialization process that involves creating zones of containment by labeling her a source of fear.

How is fearing Black women racist?

Groups use fear to maintain racial regimes through the restriction of the movement of others’ bodies. Additionally, they expand their own movement. However, this involves a “racial regime of visible whiteness [that] must be kept in place to ensure that the borders of whiteness are kept firm.”Furthermore, this produces a fear of racial mixing. Rather than mix interracial, they develop resemblances through what Tate names racialized aesthetic profiling:

So expert surveillance is set up of Black women’s bodies, noses, lips, hair, skin colour, breasts, bottoms and muscles so as to mark difference and develop racialized aesthetic profiling. Racialized aesthetic profiling means that fear can be materialized in all Black women’s bodies irre- spective of who they are. This ensures the continuation, circulation and amplification of fear of the Black woman’s body as she begins to move outside of the borders established through the phenotype and stereotype (Tate 2012: 98).

One such Black woman who suffers this fascination is Serena Williams.  Serena, in particular, embraced a “girly” sports aesthetic, which contradicted social norms about appropriate muscularity for women. Yet, society characterizes women with darker skin as undesirable. Serena faces derogatory comments for posing as feminine. Nevertheless, muscular Black women experience fetishization just as fat and slim women experience hypersexualization.

Race and the sociology of emotions

The white affective matrix confers and questions womanhood as the view Black women’s bodies with varying degrees of adoration and disgust. As a result, Black women experience different treatment based on their body type.

The post Is Society Fascinated with Black Women’s Body Types?appeared first on Blackfeminisms.com.
from Is Society Fascinated with Black Women’s Body Types?

 

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These affirmations of allyship are exactly my sentiments too. I want LGBTQ people, Non-Black PoC, people with disabilities, everyone to experience all the same emotions I experience when I think of the movie Black Panther. I am deeply, and profoundly happy for Jewish female representation in Wonder Woman, Black gay men in Moonlight, Queer Latinas in Brooklyn 99, and Asians in Crazy Rich Asians, even though I’m none of those things. Everyone deserves to see themselves beautifully represented on a movie screen.

 deadletterpoets

Maybe I’m not the right person to say this as a black man but,

I hope the success of Wonder Woman doesn’t just mean more women are directing superhero movies, but are given the chance to direct/write movies from the many other franchises that exist like Mission Impossible, Transformers, Star Wars, Anything in this Dark Universe Universal is doing, a big budget Monster movie with Godzilla and King Kong, James Bond, I heard they are rebooting Resident Evil let’s let a talent woman director like Jennifer Kent with her horror background tackle that, Terminator (cause they just won’t ever let that go), Alien, Fast and Furious, and so many other I can’t even name them all. Or you know give them a big budget to adapt a popular book like Ava DuVernay is currently doing with A Wrinkle in Time, or let them have their own stories we need more original voices, or let them build their own unique franchises. And if they fail, let them try again cause lord knows even the best male directors and writers fail at times and they are still given multiple chances. We all should celebrate Wonder Woman’s success, but know it’s not the end of a long journey to true equality for women in Hollywood.

yumearashi

Maybe I’m not the right person to say this as a white woman but,

I hope that Black Panther is a *smashing* success and that it leads to not only more POC directing superhero movies, but also being given the chance to direct/write movies from the many other existing franchises and adaptations.  Plus, let them have their own stories and build their own unique franchises, we need their voices. And if they fail, let them try again cause lord knows even the best white directors and writers fail at times and they are still given multiple chances. Hopefully we’ll all be able to celebrate Black Panther’s success, but even if it breaks every box office record, it won’t be the end of a long journey to true equality for POC in Hollywood.

@deadletterpoets – thank you for being an amazing ally)

 

daughter-of-rowan

Maybe I’m not the right person to say this as a black woman, but

I hope that Crazy, Rich Asians is a roaring success. I hope it leads to doing away with the whitewashing of Asians in Asian properties (I’m talking to you, Netflix: White Light in Death Note? NO!). I would love to see Asians being able to break out of the “smart Asian friend” and “inspiring immigrant story” roles. I want to see Asian representation in CBMs. I want to see more than Japanese, Chinese, and Indian people as doctors, lawyers, shop owners, and financiers on the way up. And while we’re at it: Pacific Islanders are not replacements for Asians, and they don’t just play football and dance. Representation matters, and it has to be more than what makes Hollywood comfortable.

 

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From the comments on this one, I’d say the answer is a resounding YES!!!! Yes, White people, do indeed, get tired of looking at White people onscreen sometimes, and are just as hungry for new perspectives on old stories, as PoC.

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This pretty much was the permanent oven setting in our house. Hell, it was a major source of anxiety for me to turn the oven to 375 degrees, that first time.

luvyourmane: “The perfect temperature for everything! 🤣😂 .. . . . #sundaydinner #cooking #blackpeople #baking ”

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This conversation started out talking about how terrifying angels are, and then went in the direction of the  running commentary, on Tumblr, about how murderously dangerous is the wildlife in Australia.

Anonymous asked:

What do angels actually look like per the bible?

revelation19 answered:

Well, according to Ezekiel 1 they might look something like this…

According to Daniel 10 something like this…

According to Isaiah 6…

In Ezekiel 10…

Again in Ezekiel 10…

 

Basically, when the people writing Scripture tried to describe what they saw when they saw an angel… they run into the end of their imagination… they can never quite seem to fully explain it because they had trouble even comprehending what they saw, let alone being able to describe it to someone else.

 

musiqchild007

revelation19

Yeah, that’s usually how people responded to seeing them in the Bible…

 

the-unreadable-book

There’s a good reason why angels’ standard greeting is ‘Do not be afraid’.

 

glitterbomb-goblinking

I used to listen to this radio show and one thing I remember because it was so funny was a Christmas special where an angel showed up to tell the shepherds about the birth of Christ.  The conversations went:

Angel: “FEAR NOT.”

Shepherds: *screaming*

Angel: “I SAID FEAR NOT.”

Shepherds: *screaming LOUDER*

Angel: “WHAT PART OF FEAR NOT ARE YOU NOT UNDERSTANDING?”

 

 cameoamalthea

So demons are fallen angels but they don’t look scary because they’re fallen, that’s just what all angels look like…

Maybe that’s why so many Christians see visions of Saints or the Virgin Mary instead…like Jesus is all…no, no see being human made me realize sending Angels might not be the best idea. I don’t know if humans can handle this. So I’m gonna just send mom

 

mathblr

I’M GONNA JUST SEND MOM

 

veronica-rich

God: The humans are scared.

Mary: Fine. I’m on it.

 

 upallnightogetloki

Jesus: It’s either Mom or the thousand eyed flaming wheel, Dad, do you really think the humans are gonna be chill with that when they’re terrified of spiders already?

God: Hey now, some of those spiders eat birds.

Jesus: …Dad…

God: …To be fair, Australian wildlife was my dark creation phase.

 

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Image result for funny cartoon  nazi gifs

I touched on this in an earlier post, about Hollywood treating Nazis like a story prompt for the past fifty years, in everything from comedies, to action movies, has led to Americans seriously diminishing their influence, obscuring their crimes, and complacency, with their ideas. 

 kendrasaunders

never forget that narratives that follow “what if the nazis won” are never for those of us who faced their terror- they are for tourists to our suffering, people who wish to be saviors. no jew every gets to succeed alone in a story where nazis win- we, rromas, lgbt people, and disabled people are shunted to the sidelines, in an eternal genocide from which we cannot escape. they forget the persecution that we still face- to them, to the tourists, this is clever. to them, we are helpless. we cannot fight nazis, that’s why they won.

this is a false retelling of history, and YES, in ALL CASES, it is a glorification of nazis. they DIDN’T win because they COULDN’T. and to my jewish, rroma, lgbt, and disabled followers, they lost because WE FOUGHT. We closed camps with our riots. We killed nazis. We scalped them. Our stories aren’t told because every tourist wants to act like they would Stop The Nazis- WE were doing it LONG before anyone came to our aid.

Don’t let people fool you into thinking you are helpless. Don’t let narratives that put white, straight, able-bodied and able-minded characters at the forefront make you think you need them.

Superman was originally created as a gollum- A character of jewish magic who protects us. He is not Christ, he is not Goy, he is not Theirs. We are our own protectors. We are a community, a family, and a riot.  You don’t not have to accept the idea that the Nazis could’ve won. Because the only thing Nazis are good at is dying. And the only thing a person who writes this storyline is good at is violence.

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A call out post on fandoms faux-progressivism. I think I wrote about how fandom isn’t nearly as imaginative, in its treatment of characters, as they like to believe they are, and that the vast majority merely reproduce the same racist and stereotypical narratives they’ve seen in popular media, since its inception. They just don’t have enough imagination to create anything outside of the boxes that have been created for them to play in.

Many of them are in the business of upholding the status quo, too. And far too many think being progressive is just writing about two white men, having sex, or holding hands, and that’s as far as they need to go to be considered woke. Anytime fandom ignores canon gay relationships of PoC, in a show or movie,  my argument is that their insistence on slashing every white man who merely wanders into the orbit of another for longer than a minute or two, amounts to nothing more than a straight girl fetish, which parallels the straight male  obsession with lesbians.

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

We who…

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

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

They’re not.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s been a while, but since this post just got a bunch of notes recently, I figure this is as good a time as any to add on some more thoughts.

Comparative Progressivism

Historically speaking, fandom has been progressive when compared to mainstream media. What most people don’t realize is just how little that’s really saying. When mainstream media is built on white male heteronormative power fantasy, it’s easy for any “alternative” depiction to come off as progressive.

A world where most of the women are fag-hags is certainly progressive compared to a world where most of the women are walking sex toys. That does not mean we should settle for this as a good depiction of women, or the marginalization of female characters.

Same goes for race. A character of color who is not a stereotype while supporting a white character is certainly better than a world where characters of color are stereotypes who are subsumed by white characters. That does not mean we should accept these as good representation of POC, or settle for their marginalization – or ignore their demonization as racism rears its ugly head, anew, in fandom.

And quite frankly, for a community where the overwhelming majority of our stories are based on mlm relationships, it speaks a lot to our internal attitudes and beliefs that we still, even after decades of existence, continue to write gay relationships as straight relationships with different genitals. The subtle heteronormativity that permeates the gay relationship tropes of fandom are astounding, and sometimes reek of internalized misogyny.

We Are All Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon was once considered tremendously feminist, and hailed as a paragon and idol of feminism in mainstream media. But contemporary analysis of his works shows that feminism was often a shroud covering some serious fetishization and occasional bursts of downright misogyny – and somewhat more disconcerting is the fact that more and more, his current works demonstrate that he hasn’t progressed forward from this much, if at all.

Fandom is the same.

We have long prided ourselves upon a history of progressivism and being transformative. It certainly was, back in era of Star Trek slash in an era where homosexuality was still illegal in many parts of America and the world. Fandom was truly transgressive when it wrote content that challenged such a deeply entrenched status quo. Even the most misogynistic and heteronormative portrayal of a gay relationship was transgressive against the staunch heteronormativity of mid-20th century mainstream media.

“Was.”

Because we’re still writing a lot of our fics on that model. Take a look at how many people debate hotly on who in a gay pairing is “the top” and “the bottom”. They are rarely ever discussing the hypotheticals of which male finds a certain sex position/act physically pleasurable. They’re asking, which one is the penetrative and active partner, and which is the receptive and passive partner. They’re asking which one is the “dominant” and which one is the “submissive” partner (with terms like ‘power bottom’ still relying on those baselines). They’re asking, “which one is the man and which one is the woman”. *( And often engaging in racialized transphobia and homophobia, by casting any people of color in inter-racial relationships, as the “top”, who is often described as bigger, and more muscular looking, than their slighter, more feminine/ effeminate same sex partner. This goes for both mlm, and wlw, relationships.

Meanwhile, actual female characters are rarely more than props to the men’s emotional health and personal narrative. A lot of them are written as little more than a fag hag or a “Straight BFF”.

We’ve gone from characters of color being walking stereotypes in the white characters’ narrative, to characters of color being either obstacles or non-existent in the white characters’ narratives. We don’t expect characters of color to literally serve the white characters while saying “yes, massa” all the time, now – but we still expect characters of color to to subsume themselves to white characters, with white characters’ feelings coming ahead of their own mental and physical health, their safety, and sometimes even their lives. Characters of color who have the audacity to act with a fraction of the self-absorption that is routine for white characters are castigated for being irresponsible and selfish.

This is if they’re even included at all. Ranging from marginalization to outright demonization, fandom constantly sidelines characters of color. Some fandoms have the unique anti-honor of being more racist – more sociall conservative, more prejudiced, and sometimes even more bigoted – than the mainstream media source material. Think about that for a minute. Mainstream media is finally moving forward and fandom is staying right where it is.

Fandom Wants the 1960s Back

Fandom can talk about feminism and progressivism all it wants. The reality of the true desires of fandom as a collective and as a community are expressed in its fanworks – not only in what is created in the first place, but which works become popular and get attention…and which ones don’t.

Fandom wants a world where white men are still front and center of everyone’s attention, where women are kickass but their stories aren’t that interesting, and where POC don’t need any care or attention.

Peel back the white mlm fetishization, and fandom hasn’t budged more than an inch since the first slashy Star Trek zines. Joss Whedon’s got nothing on us.

Things I Watched – More Mini Reviews

Image result for legends of tomorrow firestorm gif

Legends of Tomorrow Mid-season Finale

I’ve not been paying really close attention to this show. Just sort of watching it off and on, and enough to know who the main characters are, and the general plot-line. The show just came off of a four-way combination plot, involving Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, Nazi versions of the main characters, the death of one of my favorite characters, and the cameo of another.

I didn’t care too much for all the Nazi shit, though. For some reason, now that there are real, actual, Nazis having parades in the streets, media content providers (who are primarily White and male) have decided that now is the proper time to tell alternative timeline stories about them. I can’t help but feel that treating Nazis as little more than action movie villains helped fuel Americans laissez-faire attitude towards seeing real life ones, in that nobody takes them seriously. The refusal to take 45 seriously is part of what lead to him winning the last election, so I don’t want to think about what the refusal to take these pseudo Nazis seriously will cause to happen here. (Treating Nazis as little more than story prompts also serves to humanize and normalize them as well.)

I am going to miss Jax and Stein as Firestorm. I read the Firestorm comic books when I was a teenager, and I’ve always liked him, so I was heartsick to see half that team get killed in the last episode, and to see Jax’s heartbroken demeanor for much of this one. Although the plot was fairly ridiculous, involving a time-misplaced, plush toy, that causes the Vikings to invade America. There was a more serious parallel story of Jax dealing with his grief at Stein’s loss. I was also happy to see Snart again, although this is not the same version who starred at the beginning of the series, but a softer, more emotional Snart,, who spend his time trying to get his old partner to stop drinking, and open up his feelings.

On an up note,  the end of the season saw the introduction of Constantine to the ship’s roster. I don’t now how long he’s going to hang around, but even though I hated the series about Constantine, (and the movie wasn’t all that great either), I still loved the actor who played him in the series, and I’m glad to see him.

 

Sleight

Image result for sleight movie gifs

I watched this movie this weekend, and found myself enjoying this a lot. Now, if only it were made into a TV series. It certainly presents an uncommon superhero origin story in Bo, a former engineering student who implants an anti-gravity device, he invented, into his bicep. This device allows him to levitate objects and do magic tricks, which helps him make money to raise his little sister.

Bo also has a job as a low-level drug dealer, working for Angelo, played by one of  my favorite cinnamon rolls, Dule Hill from Psych. Angelo wants Bo to move up in his operation by moving more product, but Bo makes a critical mistake when he tries to shortchange Angelo, who goes ballistic, demands an exorbitant amount of money as payback, and  kidnaps Bo’s  sister, when he can’t make the deadline. If he wants to rescue her, Bo is going to have to up his game.

This was a much quieter movie than I expected. There are long character moments where Bo is just talking to his girlfriend, or his sister, and a scene where he meets with his former engineering teacher, who helps him make a stronger device. (Bo’s little sister is being played by the upcoming star, Storm Reid, who will be starring in Ava Duverney’s A Wrinkle in Time. ) These scenes serve to make the action scenes a lot more suspenseful, especially at the end, in the final confrontation between Angelo and Bo, that you know has to happen, sooner or later.

There’s some child endangerment issues, but it all ends okay, with stability restored, and Bo, his sister, and his girlfriend, Holly, starting their family life together in a new city. I could’ve done without the drug dealing angle, because I really wish that writers could do some other type of story, based on current Black lives, that didn’t involve crime. When writers do this it just serves to, once again, associate Black people and crime together. Luke Cage and Black Lightning are both guilty of this, (despite that I like them.)

It’s a predictable film, which is saved by the performances of  Jacob Latimore who plays Bo, and Dule Hill. It’s also really weird seeing Dule play a bad guy, especially when his most famous role is Shawn Spencer’s best friend Gus, on the show Psych, which just released its new movie. So I had the pleasure of watching his two performances side by side. Dule needs more work.

This is a good comedown from the bombast of the  Justice League  and Thor movies. Bo isn’t trying to save the world. He just wants to save his sister, and movie on with his life, and that’s okay. The action scenes are still pretty thrilling, too. The movie was directed by J.D. Dillard, who is also the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

 

The Problem with Apu

I watched this one idle Sunday evening. It’s a documentary hosted by Hari Kondabolu, an Asian American comedian. His argument is that the character of Apu should be done away with on the Simpsons show because its nothing more than a collection of the worst Indian stereotypes, which is offensive.

Now, I had stopped watching The Simpsons years ago, and I didn’t know this was even happening, but apparently there has been a big push by Indian Americans to have Hank Azaria answer for this offensive character he created in the show. And rightfully so.

Not being Asian, I didn’t really get it at first. I didn’t like Apu all that much, but also didn’t see anything wrong with his depiction. Once again, it’s not for me to say what’s offensive to other people. If Asian Americans find it offensive, then that’s all that needs to be said. It should e fairly easy to get rid of the character, as he isn’t one of the primary characters on the show. The documentary appears to have been effective because the show runners have given this some amount of thought and addressed its issues.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/simpsons-hank-azaria-addresses-the-problem-with-apu-documentary_us_5a26f57fe4b0ee6f9637dbee

 

Happy

Image result for syfy happy tv show gif

This show is every bit as batshit as I thought it was going to be. Normally I don’t watch so much gore, since so much of it it’s just gore for the sake of having it, but I actually enjoyed this show, and it turned out to actually be funny. It’s so over the top, I couldn’t possibly take any of it seriously. Not to say it doesn’t have some truly dark aspects.There’s a child endangerment angle some people might not be too comfortable with.

Christopher Meloni is absolutely perfect as a down on his luck detective named Nick Sax, who used to be famous, but now works as  an addled and drunken hit man. He has a heart attack in the middle of one of his hits and loses consciousness right next to the dead body of his last victim. When he wakes up in the ambulance he coerces the paramedics into giving him lots of nitroglycerin, but he is also being harassed by a blue, cartoon, flying horse, named Happy.

Apparently, Happy is real, I guess. He’s the imaginary playmate of the endangered little girl I mentioned earlier, and since Nick is the only other human being who can see him (Why? Is it a near death thing? A genetic thing?), Happy needs his help to rescue her. This is complicated by Nick being pursued by cops who want some information they think he has, and some mobsters.

This is very much a niche type of show and is not for everyone, says the woman who is too delicate to watch cop shows. I suppose technically this is a cop show, but apparently, I like cop shows that have a great deal of humor in them, like Reno 911, and Brooklyn 99 (I know you’re noticing a theme here. The show must have a location or number in its title, and be a batshit comedy).

The humor is very adult, involving shootings, hookers, and corrupt cops, and I found it all to be deeply funny, but can’t explain why. I think this is meant to take the place of the pulp show, Blood Drive, which I didn’t particularly care for, even though it was just as insane. (Maybe I didn’t like it because there were no cops in it.) It’s also a very energetic and loud show. I will probably keep watching it, but for jeebus’ sake, despite the presence of Happy, do not let your kids watch this show.

It is totally not for kids!!!!

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

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Like The Void, this is one of those horror movies that flew just underneath everyone’s radar. It’s genuinely spooky, mostly because you have no idea what the Hell is going on, or why things are happening for most of the movie. The plot sounds pretty simple on the surface but becomes increasingly complex until finally you’re left with the final idea that none of it is accidental and that everything that happens is, very malevolently, on purpose.

A father and son coroner team receive a female body in their morgue, that presents some bizarre mysteries, most notably that they can’t tell what killed her. After they start her autopsy, a number of strange events occur, like the death of their cat, sounds, footsteps, and voices, are heard in empty rooms of the facility, a strange fire, and a mysterious fog, all of which culminate in the deaths of both of them, leading to an even further mystery for the emergency workers who find them.

The body of the Jane Doe they had been examining is moved on to another morgue, and I had the distinct impression that it had been moved on  from several other morgues, after the deaths of the examiners, and after the ambulances that transported it,  met with accidents themselves. This same body (which is probably possessed by a demon or a witch) just moves from morgue to morgue, with no name, and no identity beyond looking female and dead. You think at first that this is a simple ghost story, but I suspect this is something much more subtle, and sinister, than a ghost story, in that this body had probably never been alive.

If you liked the movie The Witch, this movie has the same deeply creepy feel. I was most appreciative of the minimal jump scares, and the absence of any scenes where people get dragged along floors by mysterious entities, cuz I’m getting especially tired of that one.

 

Strange Empire

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I saw the trailer for Strange Empire a few weeks before the release of Godless, so when I saw the trailer for Godless, I was reminded of the first. Strange Empire has much the same plot as Godless, and it has more prominent WoC in it, so I decided to skip Godless, which didnt appear to have any WoC at all, watch this instead.

I’m about halfway through the season, and I like it, but its tough watching because most of it consists of the women trying to avoid prostitution. Unlike Godless which boasted of its all female cast, Strange Empire actually bothers to have the women front and center, and its a really interesting group of women. The show takes place in Alberta Canada, during the same time frame, so I don’t know if that has much parallel to Godless.

In both shows a group of women have been left to fend for themselves against some ruthless male foe. In Godless, all the men have died in a mining incident, but in Empire, the men are massacred by a local brothel owner, named Aaron Slotter, whose wife just lost a child.. There  are two  feral young women who are to be sold to a brothel, and a half Indigenous woman named Kat, who adopts them, to save them from that life. When she hides the girls, the caravan of men they were traveling with are massacred by the brothel owner, and he tries to coerce the women into working for him.

In the meantime, Aaron’s wife, a bi-racial Black woman, named Isabelle, schemes to get money from  father, by substituting the child of one of their whores , for their dead son, and she works with Kat to rescue the two young girls her husband wants to sell to the highest bidder.

There’s also a neurodivergent female doctor, named Rebecca, who forms a friendship and alliance with Kat, even though her husband was one of the few men that survived the massacre. It took me a moment to figure out that this young lady had autism, but she also happens to be a surgical genius being held back by her husband’s fears of her being insane, which is the only understanding anyone had of autism back then.

Outside of the main plot involving the women trying not to be sold into prostitution, it’s not a bad show. Unlike with Godless, the women (mostly Kat) get most of the screen-time and dialogue. There are men in the cast, but it most definitely isn’t about any of them, although they are important to keeping the plot moving, most of their time is spent fighting with Kat, or killing each other.

So if you’re looking for a good Western, but checked out of Godless because of its overwhelming whiteness,  and its prioritization of men or some other reason, than check out Strange Empire.

 

Most shows are heading into the winter hiatus right now, which should give me time to post some mid-season reviews of Supernatural and  The Walking Dead and a couple more movie reviews, along with that character review of Star Trek Discovery that I promised.

Forthcoming TV In January

3rd

9-1-1 (Fox)

I normally don’t watch these types of shows because they’re too stressful, but the Divine Angela Bassett is starring in this show, and I’ve never seen her play a cop before, so I will watch the premiere episode, and get back to you on what I think. One of the co-runners of the show is Ryan Murphy who does the American Horror Story Series, and I’m curious about what he’s done with this subject.Those of you, who can handle higher levels of stress than me, may enjoy to watch it on the regular. If so, let me know how you like it in the comments. Just because I’m not watching something doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t want other people to enjoy it.

 

The X-Files (Fox)

I’m sort of looking forward to the return of this show. I was never a fan of the Mythology stuff, although I followed along so I didn’t get any more lost in the plot than usual. This looks like a continuation of the six episode mini season we got last year, which I sort of enjoyed. I’m not wildly enthusiastic but I’m not un-excited. Imma check it out, see if I like it, and get back to y’all later.

 

7th

Star Trek Discovery (CBS All Access)

I’m thoroughly hooked on this show. I’m still not remotely interested in the Klingons, but I’m into the human characters and whats going to happen next. See my upcoming review of the first half of the season before the second half airs.

 

10th

The Magicians – Season Three (Syfy)

I had mixed emotions about the last season. On the one hand I loved the humorous part of the narrative, and Quentin’s mystery solving capabilities. I’m especially enjoying Dean Foggs larger role in the story. On the other hand, I hated Julia’s storyline because it’s so horrifying and tragic. I just don’t like watching this character be abused every season, and it’s a storyline that doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the show. There was also the issue of killing off two gay characters last season, one white and male and the other, a disabled black woman, and that really put me off the show. But I will watch the premiere and see if there will be more of the same. If so, then I can’t make this regular viewing, although those who are less delicate than me, about such things, might have a grand ol’ time.

 

12th

Philip K Dick’s Science Fiction Anthology: Electric Dreams (Amazon)

I know nothing about what kind of stories will be on this show, but I think it’s meant to be Amazon’s rival to the critically acclaimed Black Mirror, which airs on Netflix.

 

Taken – Season Two (NBC)

I didn’t watch the first season of this show because I wasn’t interested, but now in the second season the creators have decided to try to save it by giving the plot and cast a complete overhaul. I personally feel that this is the kind of storyline that should ge remade every season with an entirely new cast and details. It also has a new showrunner, the guy who ran the show Person of Interest. POI was another show that I never meant to start watching, but the plot and performances drew me in, and I stayed watching to the end. Maybe the same will happen with this show.

 

Proud Mary (In Theaters)

I’ve been a fan of Taraji P. Hensen since her Person of Interest days, so I’m very excited about this movie., and so is my Mom. I think it reminds her of those Blaxploitation movies starring Pam Grier. (And she just likes Taraji, too.) This is notable becasue it’s a Black woman carrying a major action film. No, Taraji’s not the first, but it is rare enough to take notice. We keep  getting all these female versions of John Wick, and I guess this is the Black version. (We already have some Asian guy versions which are basically any movies by John Woo.)

 

16th

Black Lightning (CW)

I’m looking forward to this. One of Black Lightning’s daughters is a superhero in her own right, and it’ll be nice to see a Black woman hero on TV. Maybe if we’re really lucky, the show won’t suck, and we can get a spin-off.

 

22nd

The Alienist (TNT)

I read the book by Caleb Carr that this show is based on. I’m a sucker for Historical mysteries set at the turn of the century. I have no idea why. And since I liked Ripper Street, I thought maybe this would capture me too. It looks good, but once again you’ve got a really really White NY city. (Why does Hollywood keep forgetting people of color have existed in both London and New York City since their inception?) But it stars Luke Evans, and he has an epic jawline and I need to support that while it’s on TV. Dakota Fanning, I can either take or leave.

Coming Soon To A TV Near You

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Here’s a list of various upcoming TV programs and series, that I might watch, or am excited about, this month. Some of these will available for streaming on Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.

For the rest of December:

 

Happy:

Starring Christopher Meloni, and Patton Oswalt, this has already aired, and I haven’t yet watched the episode. As soon as I do I’ll let you know what I think. I was kind of excited about this mostly because I’m a Christopher Meloni fan, who will watch him in just about anything, and Patton Oswalt’s not a bad comedian. This looks almost as zany as Legion, but probably less confusing, and maybe it will be funny. It’s definitely very graphic, so if you have trouble watching lots of gore, maybe take a rain-check on this one. Believe it or not, its actually based on a comic book, and does not star a superhero, so it will be interesting to see other things besides superhero shows from comics in the next couple of years.

Meloni’s character is some kind of cop, or hitman, I’m not sure which, who starts to hallucinate a tiny blue horse that is the polar opposite of his demeanor, in that its named Happy, and tries to get him to see the bright side of living.

 

Knightrfall

This has also just aired after the new episodes of Vikings. I wasn’t impressed, not because its a bad show, but because I’m not interested in this particular era of history, or this area of the world. I checked out after the anti-semitic sentiment (which was common for the time period) started to work on my nerves, a bit. So if you’re Jewish, and were planning to watch it, maybe you can skip it, and that’s okay. I can say it’s an extremely pretty show, but the dialogue needs some help. I don’t think this show is going to blow up the same way Vikings did, though.

 

7th: Psych :The Movie

I was an on again off again fan of the series, so I’m mildly excited about this, even though Tim Omundsen isn’t making an appearance, (or so I’ve been lead to believe). Tonight, we get to find out what Gus and Shawn have gotten up to since the series ended. One of the biggest draws of the show was their friendship, and I’d like to immerse myself in their silliness for a while, and I’ll let you know what happened.

 

13th: The Librarians

I’m not a fan of this show, and have never seen a single episode, which is really weird, because I’m a librarian and, I believe I’m required, by some law, to watch it. Maybe I will.

 

15th: Jean Claude Van Johnson

I saw the first episode of this and was shocked to see Phylicia Rashad in it, as Jean Claude Van Damme and Phylicia Rashad are not two names I ever associated with one another. Here, he plays a government agent whose secret identity is being the famous Jean Claude. I sort of liked it. I thought his self-deprecation was pretty funny, but the humor is uneven and  doesn’t fit well with some of the violence in the show, even if some of that violence is played for laughs. It’s worth a watch if you like Kung Fu, and comedy.The show airs on Amazon Prime.

 

18th: Gunpowder

I’m  looking forward to this, even though it airs on HBO, and I don’t have that network anymore. It’s  about the events leading up to Guy Fawkes Day in England and star Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones..

 

19th: The Indian Detective

I like the idea of this. I enjoy watching detectives of other cultures, as they attempt to solve crimes within their respective cultures, or attempt to navigate someone else’s. Also, Russell Peters is the star, and I think he’s pretty funny. This airs on Netflix, too.

 

21st: Peaky Blinders

This also airs on Netflix. I only partially watched the first couple of  seasons of this show, which stars Cillian Murphy, about a criminal gang from Birmingham England called, what else, Peaky Blinders. I’m excited for this new season which also stars Tom Hardy.

 

22nd: Bright

This is being touted as one of the most expensive original  shows on Netflix, and we know why. Will Smith costs money! I’m very excited about this because I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Will Smith smartin’ off at strange creatures any time soon, and who can resist the mashup of Elves, Orcs, and the gangbangers of LA. This is the very definition of “Urban” Fantasy, and I’m here for it. It also has music videos.

 

25th: Dr. Who Xmas Special: Twice Upon A Time

As usual, every year there’s a Xmas special that introduces the old Doctor Who to the new Doctor Who, or to the viewers. Since the new Doctor is now a woman, I might actually watch it this year. It’s also my last chance to see Pearl Mackie and Peter Capaldi together, again. What happens is, rather than recording the show like a normal human being, I usually end up skipping it, going to bed, and then forgetting that it ever aired.Well, maybe this year I may remain awake (if the day hasn’t been too strenuous), and get to watch it this time.

 

29th: Black Mirror

I’m not a huge Black Mirror fan. I watched bits and pieces of the last season, and my attitude was “It’s okay.”, but I like the new trailer for this season, which looks fun rather than gloomy, or tragic, so I guess I’m going to be watching a lot, (and I mean, a lot), of Netflix this December.

 

31st: Dave Chappelle 

I didn’t care for Chappelle’s last show on \Netflix. I just didn’t think it was as funny as I expected it to be, but I’m glad to see he’s working again, and I’ve always been a huge fan, so I’ll check this out, instead of partying on New Year’s Eve.

 

Next Up: What’s coming in January

We have a lot to look forward to next month, not just on TV but in theaters.

Also: a list of forthcoming TV shows for the next year, and which movie remakes are in the works, or being discussed for 2018

 

Superstition & Stuff I’m Not Doing

Well apparently, I’m not reviewing any TV shows, which I probably should be doing. Actually, all it is is that I’ve been busy and tired to review the shows, and movies, I’ve been watching, and I’ve been watching a lot of stuff.

What have I been watching?  I have been watching The Walking Dead. So far I’m really liking this season. It’s very action packed, and full of feels, and I like that. All of my favorite characters are doing some next level shit as  the war between The Alexandrians, Hilltoppers, The  Kingdom, and The Saviors  heats up. I haven’t been feeling any urges to write about any of these episodes though, although I find  Morgan’s storyline the most compelling. I just learned that my precious tigress is dead. Shiva got taken out by a pack of zombies, while defending the life of her king. (RIP Shiva! You badass!)

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I’m so tired!

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Part of the reason I’m not reviewing so much is that I’m tired, but part of it is that I don’t actually know what to say about it yet.. There’s not a lot to be said about the plot, other than to recap it, and if you’re watching the show, you already know what happened. Morgan and Jesus came to “fisticuffs’ over the treatment of prisoners of war, and Carol got her kill on for a while, and Gregory kept it real by being an asshole. I do have thoughts about the characters, and major themes, but I think I’ll wait until after the first part of the season is done to comment on those. We’ve got three episodes left, so I think I’ll just do a summation of my thoughts at the end.

I always get fatigued in November and December, and not because I’m celebrating the  holidays. I’m not celebrating, or hosting or anything. It’s a combination of insomnia, sleep apnea, and finding human beings exhausting, even when they’re not jitterbugging with overexcitement  about the  holidays. (Also, some of it is just a change in the weather and age. Feeling cold all the time is just tiring. Y’all yunguns just don’t know!)

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And I don’t get any respite from the weather while at work. The PTB keep it freezing here, so all the women are wearing sweaters, and carrying around tiny electric heaters, while many of the  men walk around in shirtsleeves, and poke fun at us for being cold all the time. I can’t stand them!

 

Supernatural

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Where was I? Oh yeah, I’ve been watching episodes of Supernatural, but not reviewing those either. I have liked the episodes I’ve seen, but that one particular standout episode, that occurs every season, hasn’t happened yet. I’m waiting for that one. There’s only so many times I can say this episode deserves a B-. So far the show appears to be in a kind of holding pattern except for the return of Castiel from The Empty, but it’s still early in the season, so we have plenty of time to establish where the plot is going, but our theme is, as always, is family.

 

Ghost Wars

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I’ve been watching Ghost Wars, which is still chugging along on the Syfy channel. I’m liking this show, with one of my favorite characters being played by Meatloaf. He is doing an exemplary job on this show. I hadn’t paid too much attention to his acting before, but I love him in this show. He is tearing it up! The show is actually proving to be kinda scary. I’m not normally into ghosts. I don’t usually find them particularly scary, but the show is pretty good at establishing mood, and I find most of the characters likable. There’s a token Black woman,  a scientist from the local research center. No, I would not be surprised to find that some physics experiments were behind the influx and hostility of the ghosts.

 

The Exorcist

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The Exorcist has kicked it into high gear. The first few episodes were spent establishing the information about where, and who, the characters are going to be, and then trying to figure out who is possessed. So we’ve figured out  its John Cho’s character, who is possessed by a demon that’s masquerading as his late-wife, and this is really groundbreaking for American television because Asians don’t often get to be possessed by demons, and the show is actually proving to be compelling. There also an added gay subplot, as one of the priests is engaged in some flirtation with a local silver-fox, who looks like Anderson Cooper, (if he was a fisherman). There’s also a secondary plot about some type of holy order of assassins hunting down a cabal of demons, which is only of mild interest to me. I’ll have more to say about the treatment of the show’s traumatized children, and their disabilities, later.

I am working on some long form essays. I can still knock those out, it seems. And I have a bunch of ideas, that I’m not gonna tell you about, because I wanna surprise you. I’m going to  concentrate on those for a while, along with a few long form movie reviews, and eventually I’ll have something to say about The Walking Dead, and Supernatural.

 

Superstition

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What I have been enjoying is the show Superstition. I mentioned it before, and said I wasn’t greatly impressed with the acting,in the pilot,  and I thought the drama was a bit much, considering I didn’t know any of the characters, but I’ve kept up watching it, and it’s maturing into a compelling show.

Superstition has an all Black cast, about a family, The Hastings, who have a history of fighting monsters. It’s their calling, and their base of operations is a small-town funeral home in Georgia. It stars Mario Van Peebles, and while I was a bit dubious about the quality at first, I’m  glad  the show is here. Even if it doesn’t become a breakout hit, it’s still a good foot in the door, paving the way for other genre vehicles starring PoC casts, (so is The Exorcist).

That said, this show has greatly improved since the pilot. The acting has gotten much better, too. I’ve got a good bead on people’s relationships to each other, and the show can, and does sometimes surprise me, by overturning certain tropes, or not going in an expected direction, and it keeps me asking questions, on the basis of those relationships, which is proving to be the show’s strong point.

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Isaac Hastings & May, Chief of Police

The show stars Mario Van Peebles as Isaac Hastings, who taught his son Calvin the ins and outs of monster killing, and his wife Bea, who runs the day to day operations of the funeral home and, I think, is one of the keepers of the family lore, along with a woman of mixed parentage named Tilley. I’m not certain if Tilly is a member of the family or not, but she’s very smart and nerdy, and I like her. The local police chief is May (above), and she has a daughter by Calvin, named Garvey. Garvey is the least likable character on the show but only because, as is  typically written, she’s an obnoxious teenager. There’s nothing wrong with her acting. The character is just annoying.

The show has a lot of Black women, and all of them have complicated, and occasionally mysterious, relationships with each other, which Calvin has to try to navigate, along with getting to know the daughter he never knew he had, reacquainting himself with her mother, and his childhood sweetheart, May, who is now the Chief of Police. He has already been through a bout of people fighting, as he has returned from the Iraq war, after having left town many years ago, and not had any contact with his family, after a falling out with his father.

The show is notable for its depiction of a stable Black family, depictions of Black love and loyalty and Black women actually holding conversations with each other, instead of screaming at each other. Its also important for PoC to be shown being heroes, saving themselves and each other, and being total badasses, in general. Calvin is obviously meant to be the everyman hero of the show. I like how the writers allow him to be human, complex, tragic, and also have a sense of humor. I love the female friendships (and mild enmities) on the show. I like what I see between Garvey and her Mom, Bea and May, and them and Tilly, who seems to be some kind of archivist or researcher. She’s the one who most often explains whats going on to everyone else.

What’s interesting  for me is Calvin’s flirtation with his old girlfriend, May. He was taken aback at the idea of having a daughter he didn’t know about but he’s taken it in stride and wants to get to know her better (though Garvey is having none of it. She’s used to not having a Dad.) I like that May and Calvin are trying to get back together, and making some effort at getting to know each other again. The show could’ve taken the easy way out, and had the two of them hating on each other, and I’m glad it didn’t go in that direction.

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I made the mistake of reading the reviews on IMDb, which truly indeed was a mistake, because some of the reviews seriously pissed me off. The show is being roundly hated on , while being compared to Supernatural. Superstition is everything that Supernatural isn’t, and it really isn’t fair to compare the two. For one thing, Superstition has a cast of WoC, who are well written and treated better by the script. None of the Black characters are there to make White characters lives better or happy, or sacrifice themselves for them. (And I am unlikely to be subjected to the image of an innocent Black woman being held at gunpoint, by a deranged stalker, because the Black writers  have at least some sensitivity to their audience.)

Other than a family fighting monsters, I don’t see  much resemblance. Half the shows on TV have the same premise as Supernatural, so I don’t understand exactly why that’s the comparison being made, unless of course the reviewers are Supernatural stans who just hate any shows about the supernatural, or are too young to remember that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a thing. There’s also a third reason, but I don’t wanna get my blood pressure up by talking about the Klandom today.

 

The Hastings aren’t travelling the country, evading demons, fighting angels, and developing superpowers. Their base of operations is a funeral parlour,  which they’ve been at for a long time, and everybody in the family knows what it is they do, and appear to be on board with it, including Garvey. They also have a society or person (I’m not sure which) which rivals them, called The Drudge. There are other mythologies and belief systems being represented besides European ones. For example, one of my favorite actors, Jasmine Guy, is doing a great cameo as a representative of  Anansi, named, of course, Aunt Nancy, and I love her already, and all she had to do was show up, and be intriguing.

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Isaac and Calvin Hastings

 

For the Hastings this is all just a job. The show tries to make what they do seem as normal as possible, as just a family profession. This show doesn’t talk down to its audience, or browbeat a point, because that’s not Peebles style.  Superstition doesn’t give you a whole lot of setup, which I had a moment getting used to. It throws you right in the deep end with Calvin. You learn what he learns as he learns it. You get one explanation and then it’s  on you to keep up. If you don’t pay attention to the dialogue and you miss something, you betta rewind, because it probably won’t be mentioned again, but still may be an important plot point later.

The atmosphere is one of normalcy, with routine answers to supernatural  puzzles, like trying to retrieve May when she gets trapped in a “mirror world” by an evil witch. There’s no oohing and ahhing about the paranormal in this show. It’s the bizarreness of the situations people  are put in, and the relationships between the characters, that is the source of most of the drama. Supernatural started as a show for teenagers, and still has much of that flavor. This is a show about grownups for grownups. The audience is expected to pay attention and keep up. I reminded more of the show Leverage, crossed with the X-Files, more than anything else.

Not that the there aren’t legitimate criticisms of the show. The pacing needs some smoothing, some of the acting is  still a little dodgy, but not enough to make me stop watching. It could use some memorable music. I don’t care so much about the special effects, as I don’t think that’s what makes a good show, and some of the acting could be tightened up a bit, but its far from being the worst show on TV, and shows real promise of future greatness, and I’m here for it.

 

So, I’m off for the next couple of days, and will get back to you, for some weekend reading, later this week.

TTFN

Pop Culture Talks About Race

I read an interesting article that stated, one of the reasons that the Civil Rights Movement was successful, was because of the progression of technology. Basically, the invention of portable hand held cameras, in the 50s, which allowed the media to be on the scene, up front and center, when riots, marches, or any type of civil unrest was occurring, instead of photographers who showed up after the fact.  It allowed the media to film, in real time, exactly how Black people were being treated in America by the police, and it provoked a global response. Some of the global response to such images is what helped to  promote the passing of the Civil Rights Bill. I don’t know if this is true but it was an interesting thought.

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With the invention of camera phones, and apps that record our deaths in real time, one would expect an equal progression on racial issues, along with the technology, and there is some. Certainly there’s a greater degree of awareness about how we’re treated, that media news cameras were unable, and in some cases, unwilling to capture. Now, images of Black death and brutality are everywhere in social media, but there has been no corresponding progress in empathy from White people.

In some cases, watching some of these videos, has become for some White people, little more than pain porn, or virtue signalling. In some instances, the prominence, and easily availability of such images, has had the side effect of producing a defensive White-lash from some people, who don’t want to admit that they don’t care about Black lives (or any lives but their own, really), are content with the status quo, yet are too ashamed to admit that they are callous, soulless, individuals, because they still want others to see them as “good” people.

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Black pain and degradation has always been on display. It has always made great spectacle for a certain class of people. High visibility does not mean that Black Americans have power. There are those who use the spectacles of of our brutality to try to make themselves look good to others, and those who are certainly willing to watch Black pain, can sympathize with  it, and yet, are content to do nothing but  emote about it on Facebook, because it’s not something that  directly affects them.

And then, there are those non-Black people of color who mistake attention and visibility, for power, and think we should also do the free labor of speaking out on their behalf, while never having spoken on ours.

This is from one of the more mature discussions about race I’ve seen on Tumblr. (It’s been my observation that most of the people there are too young, and lack enough nuance, to be able to hold deep discussions on the topic, but sometimes there are exceptions.)

Anonymous  asked:

People are still burning over how we got “too much attention in Charlottesville,” and I’m like, …? What people don’t realize is that attention is fruitless. Our suffering makes good clickbait, but nothing’s really being done about it unless we do it. And all that attention just gets us the envy and bitterness of other groups who insist there’s a checklist of things we not only have to fight for, but things we have to put *before* our own lives.

phoenix-ace  answered:

Exactly.

I think that part of the problem is that there is a lack of education about black people, a lot of people really don’t see us as people they’re willing to learn about. I think there is a problem with people conflating Imperialism with “American” and they take it out on minorities that are based in the U.S. because we’re an easier target. And I also think a lot of non-black people internalized that racism against us  because it is so engrained all over the world so that informs their opinions of us.  So they only  go off of the little bit they’re taught about us in school or see in the media.  I feel like they they believe that anti-black racism is something we deserve, and the point is to avoid being tread like us more than it is to stop white supremacy all together.  However, I think things go a little deeper than that.

I believe that they don’t know (or don’t care) about the way anti-black voyeurism has been an instrumental part of white supremacy in the U.S.  So they see a bunch of pictures of our dead bodies and some crying people and think “oh folks care about *them*.”  They don’t realize that people were passing around images of our lynched bodies for hundreds of years and people still didn’t care, there still weren’t consequences, no one stood up for us.  It was an acceptable part of our existence in this society.  They don’t realize that the way that they talk to us and react to us is directly affected by the idea that violence and hostility are our lot in life and the only way we can relate to people.

So they get envious because their histories are different than ours.  They forget that we live in this strange dichotomy where we are both visible and invisible at the same time.  We’re visible as targets, and invisible as victims.  We are everywhere when folks want to make ahistorical claims of oppression we “inflicted” on others but we don’t exist when they want to erase our contributions to their communities or when they want to appropriate our history to a more “deserving” minority group.  People will spread pictures of dead black children but won’t show up to support us when we want justice, worse, they’ll argue how we deserved to be victimized.  They want us loud and visible to fight battles, but refuse to give us the credit (only the blame if the activism isn’t perfect or something goes wrong). They want us to know everything about their cultures but they don’t know a thing about us beyond what racist media tells them.

Heck, the only time I’ve seen people really focus on black people is when they want to tell us we’re doing something wrong or leaving someone out.  I’ve never seen non-black people focus on black people in a way that has helped us.  People who have never overtly supported black people a day in their life have this misconception of our privilege and obligations, because they honestly don’t relate to us as suffering *people* with priorities as much as they see us as a social justice customer service line they can call and rant at.  Case in point: Look at how many people will talk about how *others feel* but will never examine how we feel or what we’re facing.

But its not just their fault: They weren’t property so they don’t get how our race gets us attention because we were primary targets, not because people wanted to help us.  Black skin was equated with whatever negative qualities they could project on to us to justify our enslavement.   When we were enslaved, our race meant that anyone who was black could be kidnapped and sold into slavery even if they were free.  We were criminalized by laws just for being black and not working for the same people who owned us after slavery was made “illegal” after the Civil War.  We’ve always had “attention”. We could never “assimilate”.  We had to be visible to survive, because the moment we were silent they could destroy all of us and the world wouldn’t bat an eye.  We had a precarious existence here, and a lot of people don’t realize that because they were never in our position.  They might have been oppressed in other ways, but they were never *property*.  The U.S. didn’t base the countries prosperity on their enslavement so they don’t get how visibility works here.

They don’t realize that our visibility has never been a privilege, because they experience racism in different ways than we do, and that they don’t have to act hostile towards us, and erase our history just to bring visibility to other people.

tl;dr: I think that people let their anti-black bias inform how they relate to us, but I also feel like they don’t understand that visibility doesn’t work as a privilege for us like it might for others who have a different history here in the U.S.  A lack of education is definitely to blame and they need to take the initiative to practice what they preach when it comes to solidarity (and intersectionality) and learn how our visibility informs our reality as black people in the U.S. and that needs to be a central part of anti-racism discourse.

Source:
And I’m warning you now, the charge will be lead by  young White women, who lack knowledge of intersectional politics, or a nuanced understanding of feminism, who are  pretending to be progressive, and concerned. You can argue with them if you want to, but remember, the Block button is always available, when the bullshit gets out of hand. When you feel your mind start to unravel from the nonsense, don’t argue. Just block!
The “White Feminist” bullshit has already  started regarding Valkyrie from Thor Ragnarok. I apologise in advance for subjecting your eyeballs  to the following  argument. (Feel free to check out at any point after the second paragraph, cuz its a shitshow of several isms.) This topic was already addressed by Stitch’s Media Mix (on her blog,) so I’ll follow her lead, and not link to the author’s name, but here is the original post and some of the other responses:
I finally realized what bothered me so much about about Thor: Ragnarok. Well, aside for all Thor’s characterization that went out the window in favour of him being a blumbering idiot who has no idea how to respectfully speak to a woman. Or the poor language choices, but I hope that was a problem with the Italian adaptation and Thor didn’t actually speak like a dumb teenager.

Anyway, my problem was with Valkyrie, more specifically with the fact she’s male coded. Heavily so.

Let me explain: there is this war veteran, who is drunk in the very first scene, whose fight buddy, who was supposedly its female love interest, died in the last war and said veteran became a rogue, violent drunkard lost in an empty life polar opposite to the past of gretness and honour of before, a past said fighter doesn’t want to be reminded of.

How many male characters are there in cinematography with this same, boring, pathethic story?

The only difference between them and Valkyrie is that she has a female body. But only that, her body, because nothing in her behaviour, gestures, way of speech or anything at all shows the slightest hint of female feelings or qualities. Loki is more feminine than she is (which is arguably intended by both writing and acting, but that’s another matter).  Gosh, even Thor has feminine bits and pieces!

My point is, Valkyrie’s character was written exactly like a “tragic male character”, then they took a female actress for the role because they realized they didn’t have enough female speaking characters (read: none other than Hela) to pass the Bechedel test. Spoiler alert! They still don’t.

 

theravennest

 This whole post is pretty anti-Black, specifically anti-Black women.

I’m gonna need you to examine why you felt like Valkyrie, a Black woman, was “too masculine” and lacked femininity to the point of seeming more masculine than both Loki and Thor.

Valkyrie was so wonderfully female in pretty much everything she did, I just can’t with this.

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steverogersorbust

Look, the Bechdel test needs to stop being invoked as the end-all be-all marker of well-written female interaction. Not that Thor gets off the hook for this, because no two female characters ever really interact with substance (though it’s notable that the two female characters who did interactTopaz and Val—are women of color) but that’s not really your point, OP, is it?

So back to Valkyrie being a male character in a female body, I….yikes. So much wrong with this statement. Reading Valkyrie as heavily male-coded means we’re assuming that women can’t have alcohol dependencies, that they can’t be powerful and flawed, that tragedy and fear and trauma as a result of war are sole domains of men, that women can’t or shouldn’t have the same complicated and flawed existences as many male characters do. Do we need a woman onscreen to, idk, nurture someone or reference her inferior upper body strength in order to be classified “feminine”? Did we need her to make a boob joke like Bruce did for Nat in AoU? Did we need her to use her ~wiles~ to trick someone or be a sexpot? I think you’re ascribing to a very binary understanding of gender qualities, and perpetuating some harmful stereotypes with this idea…after all, Valkyries are referenced by Thor as an elite force of female warriors—that they’re women is a significant factor. She is a Valkyrie. She is a woman. She gets a moment where we see her brush her hand over the Grandmaster’s cheek and he blushes in satisfaction. We see Thor try and preen for her as a show of attraction. We see Bruce call her “so beautiful.” We see her femininity in other people’s reactions to her, and that’s enough. Everything else is gravy because the story doesn’t need or doesn’t rely on any tired tropes of femininity to move forward.

 

scottmccute

 No matter what black women do y’all racists will always see us as “too masculine” lmao. And you vision of what is or is not “feminine” seems pretty sexist op. Not to mention, since when are tragic soldier backstories only meant for men? It’s actually refreshing that for once, a woman gets the “turns rogue after being traumatized by the war and the fact that she’s the only survivor of her faction, but eventually joins the hero to fight the villain” storyline.

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 *Valkyrie  sounds very like the character Jessica Jones, who is also  a flawed, complex woman, who has been through  severe trauma, and copes by drinking. Jessica  is  also stronger than most men, is unsympathetic to other people’s emotions (too busy dealing with her own), doesn’t act in a traditionally feminine manner, and yet, not once did I ever hear her being called “unfeminine” or “male-coded”. In fact, she was lauded as the epitome  of feminism by White women fans. (I personally can’t stand the character but I get why she’s important to others.)
Then there’s Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde, and Fury Road’s Furiosa, all hailed as feminist highpoints in cinema. Not once did I find any essays declaring that Charlize Theron lacks femininity, or that her story was too masculine coded. So, in light of the reception of Theron to the ranks of movie action heroines, it will be interesting to see what White female fans will think of the Dora Milaje, Taraji P Henson’s character, Proud Mary, which will be released in January, and Deadpool II’s Domino character, played by Zazie  Beetz.
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Never mind that plenty of Black girls and women will look up to Valkyrie, played by a Black  woman (of Cuban descent), that  they’re arguing has no use, because her character doesn’t fit their standard of White European femininity, (which is an utterly ridiculous admonishment, because her character is an alien from another planet. What the hell does masculine coded even mean in that context?)

One of the primary reasons, (among many), that that critique is so horribly wrong, is because it falls right in line with the Masculine Black woman stereotype, (which, ironically, seems to be something that both Black men, and White men and  women, can all get together to agree on). This is an insult that has followed any Black women who White people perceive as  even the slightest bit threatening, from Venus Williams (my idol) to Michelle Obama. Woven into the accusations of being too masculine are threads of transphobia, and misogyny, as well as racism.

Excerpt from:    https://blavity.com/how-serena-williams-and-viola-davis-taught-me-to-be-an-unapologetic-black-woman

“The type of body-shaming in Tarpishchev’s comment, while subtle, comes gift-wrapped in a triad from hell: misogyny, racism and transphobia. By referring to the Williams sisters as “brothers,” Tarpishchev resurrected the tired notion that black women are unattractive because we are more “masculine” than other women and are “indistinguishable” from men. These types of jokes are used to say that black women aren’t “real women,” that there’s something just not right about our bodies, not feminine enough, too muscular, too “scary” and that we’re worth less because of it. Look at radio host Sid Rosenberg, who called Serena an “animal.” Imagine how many black women are internalizing these messages. There’s little difference between Tarpishchev’s words and the transphobic slur the late Joan Rivers used to slam First Lady Michelle Obama, calling her a “tr*nny.” Both use black women and trans people as the butt of a body-policing joke.

*(While searching for articles on the topic above, I had to scroll through all manner of racist garbage, that so pissed me off… well, basically, do NOT do that shit, if you value having low blood pressure.)

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https://www.salon.com/2017/08/25/despite-declarations-to-the-contrary-black-people-watch-game-of-thrones/

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The Black Person’s Guide to Game of Thrones

My response is a little off topic, but I wanted to address the two twitter hashtags for Game of Thrones referenced in this post. You have to check them out. They are hilarious, and totally from a Black American perspective.

I initially resisted watching the show. I just wasn’t interested, which is weird because yeah, I am a geek, and required, by some type of natural law, to automatically like such shows. I only started watching it at the behest of, ironically, a White girl-friend from work. It wasn’t until after I started regularly watching the show, that I discovered there was this huge Black component of the fandom, who really, really loved this show! And I only found that out because I was looking for reviews by Black critics and stumbled across one by accident.

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Other people  would be puzzled by Black fans love of the show, but I’m not. GoT is kinda like a White mashup of Scandal and Empire, with ice zombies, and dragons. Now if we could only transport Cookie Lyons to that world, she would have things whipped into shape, by the end of the season. (Cookie is more terrifying than any dragon!)

 Why Is Society Intent on Erasing Black People in Fantasy and Sci-fi’s Imaginary Worlds?

Over the weekend I binge-watched 3%, a dystopian sci-fi Netflix original set in Brazil. The plot was rife with quirks and unexpected turns, but the biggest surprise of all was that the diversity in the show reflected the diversity in Brazil. The cast featured myriad shades and races, absent the stereotypical casting, such as the confinement of black and brown actors and actresses to supporting characters with botched, surface-level backstories.
*And oh yeah, according to actual  Historians, the term “Historical Accuracy” can no longer be used as an excuse for not adding Black and Brown people to fantasy narratives. It’s  past time to retire that fucking term! If your mind can wrap around orcs, dragons, elves and ice zombies, then you should have absolutely no problem dealing with the idea that PoC also exist in a fantasy world.

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*I always love reading about Black people’s excitement for this movie. I have often referred to the release date of this movie as “The Ascension”, so you can see I have already lost my everlovin-mind about this movie.

…Come Feb. 16, 2018, black people across the African Diaspora will pack the theaters with our ceiling-touching geles, our brightly colored dashikis, and our sharpest black-and-white attire, and lose our collective black minds.

All for the purpose of celebrating the blackity blackness that will be the premiere of Black Panther.

 http://www.theroot.com/wakanda-forever-on-the-importance-of-black-panther-1820459283

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If You’re a Black Woman Who’s Tired of White People Touching Your Hair, There’s a Game for That

* I just finished playing this, and it’s a helluva lot of fun. (Its also hilarious.) It’s a very simple game, that requires you to “throw some hands”, to protect whatever updo you’ve chosen, from a selection of hairstyles, while you travel to diferent parts ofthe world. You can choose your skin tone, a hairstyle, and the area of the world you’re attempting to travel to, while dodging pale hands that are trying to invade your personal space. You lose energy if the hands make contact for too long. The sheer level of “Bitch, please!”, on that woman’s face, is priceless, (although I suspect this is an expression that most people, of any color, wear at the airport.)
There’s a link at the end of the article:
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 And from the irrepressible Terry Crews:
 https://youtu.be/2jNFymV3J-M
There are still some people who want to victim blame this man for what he’s been through, saying he should’ve hit the man, or hurt him, somehow. People like that are not taking into account that Terry’s situation isn’t any different from the situation of the White women who have been assaulted. He was powerless at the time it happened, and his wife was ready for it. Many blessings upon her for being the level headed woman she is. Sometimes “keepin’ it real” isn’t the smartest response to a situation.
Some of the less smart among us don’t understand that not everything in the world can be solved by hitting someone, and Terry would only have destroyed himself, and his career, by responding with a suckerpunch, and his assailant knew that. In fact, as a Black woman, his wife would probably be intimately familiar with such a dynamic. 
Terry is no dumb jock. He clearly states why the optics of race also come into play. A large Black man, hitting a small, (but powerful) White man, who just assaulted him, would not look good in the media. He would’ve lost everything.
For those questioning why he chose now to come out about his assault, he addresses that in the interview, as well.

Racism in SciFi

*I just wanted to elaborate on this article, that I posted earlier in the year, on the topic of how race is depicted in SFF genre films and shows. No matter how well meaning the filmmakers may be, their blind spot is almost always racial in nature, and it is impossible to completely and fully tell certain narratives, if the creators refuse to even look in the direction of race. I don’t know if it’s intentional, or deliberate, but one of the failures of modern SFF cinema is an inability to approach the subject of racism  from an honest perspective, when these creators are White.   This is why creators like Jordan Peele, Ava Duverney, John Cho, and even Rod Serling are so important. They did not (do not) ignore race as a factor in the stories they are (were) trying to tell.

Why Don’t Dystopias Know How to Talk About Race?

————Fantasy novelist Daniel José Older sees the problem as a failure of imagination and craft. “I find it very telling how little these worlds that are so much about power and oppression and ways of resistance also magically somehow have solved race,” he said. “On the one hand it’s a truth failure in the sense of it doesn’t feel real to anyone who knows about the lasting power of racism and to anyone who is paying attention to the world today. And it’s a craft failure in that it is a tremendous missed opportunity to develop the world more deeply.”

http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/why-dont-dystopias-know-how-to-talk-about-race.html

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* I’ve been seeing an increasing number of SciFi shows where Blacks, and other minorities, are being cast as the oppressors of White protagonists. We’re not arguing that PoC can’t work for oppressive systems, because plenty of them do. And we’re not arguing that PoC cannot discriminate against White people.Yes, we know PoC can be bigots (towards other PoC, mostly) but that’s not what is being discussed here.

We’re talking about the casting of Black people, particularly, dark skinned, Black women, as virulently racist bigots, which  is starting to become a trope. From Teen Wolf, to The Gifted, to Heroes Reborn, I think the White male writers who create these shows are starting to get a little too comfortable with this idea.

They don’t seem comfortable with depicting actual racism towards PoC by White people, and they continue to cast White actors as the oppressed minorities in these racial allegories (like The Handmaid’s Tale). It’s especially galling in a racism/slavery allegory, to not only erase the existence of  PoC, who are actually experiencing what is being depicted onscreen, in the real world, but to cast them in the roles of the oppressors, and I’m not here for it. I’m also not here for White Writers stealing the narratives of oppressed people of color, but then NOT including any of those oppressed people in the story. (I touched on this briefly in my review of The Gifted.)

One of the major reasons I stopped watching Heroes Reborn wasn’t just because of its lackluster, badly written plot, but because  a Black woman was cast as a virulently nasty, hardline racist, who was willing to kill children, and the children they showed her killing, were White. This is the same plotline used in the final season of Teen Wolf, where a Black woman is seen killing and sometimes torturing White teens, and again, in the show The Gifted, you have a brown-skin man, of indeterminate race, spouting racist jargon against the White protagonists of the show, and hunting and arresting White kids. All of these shows steal the narrative of Black and Brown people being killed (shot, tortured, and abused) by people in positions of authority, but does not include any of these Brown people in the story that’s being told. Instead, casting White actors in roles that real PoC actually live out.

The Gifted is even more annoying because there are PoC on the show who are members of the oppressed minority, but we don’t get to see their stories, sympathize with them, or understand what their lives were like. We do get to see them be bravely tortured by the government, which sends the message that not only are our stories available for consumption, but the pain and degradation of PoC is as well.

Just Like A Caucasian

How Sci-Fi and Fantasy Television Shows Always Get Racism Wrong.

                                                     ————Shabazz Malikali
On Medium.com

 

 

**Reprinting my review of The Gifted, (which I wrote before I saw this article)

I’m simply not in the mood for this show, and I’m fed up with this type of plot, now. It’s loosely based on some of the X-Men and New Mutants comic books, in that it has some Sentinel plotline, and some of the characters from those groups. Stephen Moyer stars as a lawyer who used to prosecute mutant criminals, and  the father of two young mutants, now on the run from the government, which is rounding up mutants and imprisoning them in scientific camps.

I tried watching the first episodes, and while I like a couple of the characters, the show is simply not compelling enough to keep me watching it every week. The characters have the usual teenage angst, with superpowers, that made me dislike the First X-Men movie. Blink is a teenager who can teleport by creating portals, and Thunderbird, who is Native American, is a kind of tracker of people and things. I’m dismayed that the show used the Native American tracker stereotype, as that’s nothing like Thunderbird’s actual powers in the books, which consists of speed and strength.

And I’m just not here for yet another plotline of people with superpowers being rounded up and used by the government. This seems to be the only plotline they can come up with for superpowered characters, especially on TV, and once again, there is only the focus on how this affects White, suburban, middle-class families.

Just like with the show Heroes, there is no focus on how the discovery of superpowers would affect any marginalized communities, something I would consider much more entertaining, and which the show Cleverman handled with a certain amount of depth. As I complained about before, we keep getting stories about middle-class White characters being subjected to the same oppressions that have been visited on marginalized communities. This show would have had far more depth and been much more interesting if it had been set in the G/L community,  or the Black and Latinx communities, in which this type of interment is already occurring.

In the forties, the Japanese were rounded up in internment camps because they were considered a danger to the US, and later, authorities used to raid the gay and lesbian communities and lock them in jails with the full force of legal authority behind them. Today, its immigration officials grabbing random Brown people out of their homes, and locking them up on suspicion of being illegal immigrants. What do you want to bet that none of these things will be addressed in yet another show where we see average White people being treated in the same manner?

 

*For further reading check out Malikali’s article on The Ellison Test. It’s great reading, and available on Medium.com, (which I can’t link to here.)

 

The Ellison Test: The litmus test for diversity.

 

 

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Another way that TV and movies get racism wrong is the constant message, and I’m not certain this is intentional, is the idea that the people being oppressed actually are powerful and dangerous and need to be controlled. So, while Hollywood steals the narratives of PoC to sell their oppression stories of White people, they paradoxically send the message that the oppression is also deserved. This is what went wrong with the movie Zootopia. Zootopia made some excellent points about discrimination, but the animals being discriminated against are all powerful animals that traditionally eat other animals. There’s also the setup that in the past these animals did indeed eat the lesser animals, and so deserve persecution and fear. So Zootopia is trying to tell a story condemning the discrimination and persecution of others is wrong, it reinforces the idea that the ones being persecuted deserved to be feared and hated.

This is also the same problem I ran into with the X-Men and Mutant hysteria plotlines of The Gifted.  The persecuted minority are actually exceptionally powerful beings, and actually can destroy human life, and even the entire world, which goes against the racism metaphor the stories are trying to establish, and defeats the anti-discrimination message that’s being touted.

One story that does get the themes mostly correct is the graphic novel called Maus by Art Spiegelman, in which the Jewish people are represented as helpless prey animals being harmed by cats. The cats are depicted as Nazis.

How Zootopia Gets Its Own Point Exactly Backwards

———–The movie starts with a history of the world, explaining that while predators used to be uncontrollably violent, they have since been civilized and can now live among prey animals, which also means behaving like prey animals (prey animals aren’t asked to accommodate their behavior for predators at all). Because in Zootopia there’s a right way to live and a wrong way to live, and some animals are — in the context of this movie — biologically programmed to live wrong. They have to be corrected in order to fit in with proper, civilized society.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/why-talking-animals-are-bad-way-to-talk-about-racism/

 

Zootopia wants to teach kids about prejudice. Is it accidentally sending the wrong message?

————–The most natural line to draw between the two is that Zootopia‘s predators stand in for black men in our world, and one needs only look at the resurfacing of Hillary Clinton’s “superpredators” clip from the ’90s to know why that’s potentially inflammatory territory.

But all of this pales in comparison to the fact that when you scrutinize Zootopia‘s core metaphor for even a second, it struggles to make sense on a literal level. Yes, the film’s message is that Judy learns to trust Nick, even though he’s predator and she’s prey. But on some other level, we all know that an actual rabbit is right to be afraid of an actual fox — and that muddies the movie’s message considerably.

https://www.vox.com/2016/3/7/11173620/zootopia-review-racism

 

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Yes, even Bladerunner manages to fall into this same trap of presenting a persecuted minority as being incredibly physically powerful and smarter than the humans hunting them.

Blade Runner’s source material says more about modern politics than the movie does

It was written for an age of overreaching policing and sociopathic lack of empathy

———-The police in Do Androids Dream…? are merciless, unstoppable android killers. Their victims, in contrast, are remarkably vulnerable and weak. In the film, the replicants have enhanced reflexes, super-strength, and tremendous intelligence. Part of the reason Deckard evokes sympathy is that he’s clearly overmatched. Replicants may not deserve to be murdered, but they are terrifyingly powerful and dangerous. Roy, howling his shirtless way through an abandoned building at the end of the film, is an atavistic, gothic terror. The androids in Blade Runner are dangerous and threatening when provoked — which is how Darren Wilson saw Michael Brown, and the excuse most often given by police who kill unarmed black civilians.

————–https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/5/16428544/blade-runner-philip-k-dick-do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep-analysis-adaptation

 

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*The next  3 articles are essays on how the new Bladerunner movie tackles the narratives of racism, assimilation, inclusion, and persecution. Or  how they actually don’t.

‘Blade Runner 2049’: The Deckard Question Matters More Than You Think

Whether Harison Ford’s character is a replicant has far-reaching implications for the film series — and for what it says about our own society.

———-http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/blade-runner-2049-why-it-matters-deckard-is-a-replicant-1046963

 

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Race and Blade Runner 2049

The only black people in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner are extras. The replicants are all white, and the city of Los Angeles is basically an unmixed population of whites and Asians. The Asians live on the streets or work in small shops. Whites rule the LAPD (all that’s left of the city’s government) and biotech corporations. Whites are also the slaves manufactured by Tyrell Corporation. There are no black, Mexican, or Asian replicants. And the leader of the rebel replicants is a very Aryan Roy Batty. Replicants, however, are, according to Rick Deckard’s voiceover, called “skin jobs,” which is equivalent to calling black people “niggers.” So, Blade Runner is about a slave revolt. And what do the slaves want? Freedom? No. They want more life, which, to be fair, is another kind of freedom. As the 20th century British philosopher Alfred Whitehead put it: “Life is a bid for freedom.”

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/10/06/25457531/race-and-blade-runner-2049

 

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This Future Looks Familiar: WatchingBlade Runner in 2017

————-I watched Blade Runner for the first time this week. Since I have apparently been living in a cave for the past few decades, I thought that Blade Runner was kind of like Tron but with more Harrison Ford, and less neon, and maybe a few more tricky questions about What Is The Nature Of Man.

That is the movie I was expecting.

That is not the movie I saw.

 

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*It is far easier for White audiences to watch allegories about racism, than it is for them to actually tackle the subject head-on in their daily lives. Just as it seems easier for White filmmakers to propose the idea that persecution of minorities is wrong, while engaging in erasure and whitewashing in their films on the subject.

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*There has been some discussion on Tumblr of The Empathy Gap, to explain the woobification of White villains in fandom, vs the vilification of Black and Brown villains, and even characters of color that are the stars and protagonists in the narrative. Want to know more, then read on:

Why White People Don’t Like Black Movies

Why White People Don’t Like Black Movies

http://www.indiewire.com/2014/01/why-white-people-dont-like-black-movies-162548

 

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*This is a perfect example of what we mean by implicit bias in filmmaking. I know the director of this movie, James Mangold, is not some die-hard ,card carrying, member of the alt-right, or KKK. Nevertheless a critical look at his films reveals his own blindspot when it comes to the subject of race.  Because the directors are White males, living in America, they have a tendency to reproduce narratives of race that have always prevailed in films, without much examination. I’m sure it never occurred to Mangold that it would be difficult for PoC to watch a movie in which am entire Black family is brutally murdered by vigilante members of the state. It certainly did not occur to him how such images would impact our watching of the film, given the status of American race relations today. (The same blindspot is evident in the Netflix show, Daredevil, and Mangold’s last Wolverine film, which was set in Japan.)

The Thoughtless Diversity of Logan

————–   Let’s linger on that last point for a second. In Logan, an entire black family gets slaughtered onscreen. This is a black family who we already see terrorized by racist hicks for refusing to move off their farmland. We are shown that they are at the mercy of these white folks to maintain basic amenities like running water. We also see that they are often terrorized by these men WITH GUNS on what seems to be a daily basis.

——https://fishnetcinema.com/2017/03/07/the-thoughtless-diversity-in-logan/

 

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*I liked this rather tongue-in-cheek essay on why Black people don’t attract ghosts or hauntings.

White Fright; Or, Why Are There No Black People in Haunted House Movies?


http://www.blackhorrormovies.com/white-fright-no-black-people-haunted-house-movies/

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*And another tongue in cheek piece on the expectations that Black people should  die in Horror movies, because that’s the tradition, and how hard it can be getting used to watching them survive these movies sometimes.

The Black Die Young: The Internal Struggle of a Black Horror Movie Fan

——–I have a secret passion; the less addicted of you might call it an addiction. I like to watch. I rent base, filthy movies and slip them into brown paper bags so no one can tell. I sit alone in seedy, near-empty theaters, pleasuring myself with this trash. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about my weakness, although my wife has caught me watching a time or two (“It’s a documentary!” is my standard excuse; she’s since cancelled the Discovery Channel.). But now I’m ready to step out of the shadows and proclaim loudly, I am a black man… and I love horror movies.

http://www.blackhorrormovies.com/black-die-young/

 

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*Yeah, we’re looking at you Star Wars! 

Every Galaxy Needs More Than Three People of Color

———When people of color do appear in science fiction, it’s often as sidekicks or advisers. Black characters are likely to die quickly and are unlikely to ever interact with any other black characters, since many galaxies seem to contain only about three black people. That lack of representation makes it hard for people of color to imagine that their writing will ever find a home in the genre.

https://www.wired.com/2016/02/geeks-guide-diversity-destroy-scifi/

 

 

*I was going to finish up my review of Bladerunner 2049 with a critique of the films technical and philosophical aspects, but I think I’ll post a list of other critical apporaches to the movie, and post my viewpoint as a followup. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thangs I Been Looking At (Mini – Reviews)

Ghost Wars

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I’m  impressed with this show, ,not just for its good production, but because it’s actually scary. I don’t normally pay much attention to literary ghost stories, but movies and TV shows seem to work for me a bit, although I still prefer monster movies, where normalcy has been upheaved by something that’s blatantly malicious, and then order is restored after the creature is defeated. Ghost stories are too open ended for me to really get into them, and sometimes they’re just not very scary to me.

The ghost stories that actually scared me were The Sixth Sense, Ju-On, and, The Ring. In my mind, everything made since those movies have been nothing but ripoffs of the originals. But I actually like this show. There’s just enough uncanny shit happening to keep me off balance. I like the characters and their issues. The acting is better than I expected (because Vincent D’onofrio is present as a town preacher.) and there’s also just enough social subtext to make it compelling.

 

 

Roman Mercer is the town outcast because he can see ghosts, especially the ghosts of regular townspeople, so he has a reputation. In the pilot, he was attempting to leave town, but there was some type of explosive paranormal event that prevented that, and killed the bus full of people he’d been on. (His best friend is a young lady who is also a ghost, and she warned him about the bus crash in advance.)

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So now this remote Alaskan town is being overrun by ghosts, who are definitely malevolent. What event awakened them all, and what the ghosts want, is still a delicious mystery, that I’m here for. The ghosts can possess people, cause nasty hallucinations, like when the town preacher, while giving a wake in the town bar, sees blood pouring from his drinking glass, and they cause people to believe the town bridge  is still intact, when its been destroyed. The only thing that saves everyone is that Roman can see through the hallucination, and prevent people from trying to drive across.

There have also been some interesting character changes as the townsfolk who didn’t believe in Roman’s abilities, now have no choice but to believe, as they are being attacked by ghosts, and those who did believe in Roman’s powers, and hated him for it, have since realized his usefulness, and stopped bullying him.

 

Kim Coates and Meatloaf also star in the show. I’ve liked Coates ever since I first saw him in Waterworld, although he’s been around since the late 80s. In the show he plays either a lovable rogue, who is responsible for his little brother’s death, or the town ne’er do well. I wasn’t sure of Meatloaf’s acting abilities until I saw him in Fight Club, although I’d also seen him in other projects. He plays one of the town bullies.

I think I’m going to stick with this show for a while. The Syfy Channel is slowly starting to build back its reputation for interesting shows, and I’m glad. The Expanse, Dark Matters, Killjoys, Z Nation, Superstition, Ghost Wars. By focusing on character, paying close attention to diversity, (lots of women in these shows, lots of PoC, and most importantly lots of different WoC), and coupling these things with interesting  concepts, Syfy is slowly getting back its street cred as a network that geeks are not ashamed to admit to watching.

 

Superstition

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I really like the idea of this Black family that fights supernatural creatures in this small town, and I have tremendous respect for Van Peebles for breaking new ground, just by adding racial diversity to genre shows. He’s done Westerns (Posse), and werewolves, (Full Eclipse), and now he’s taking a crack at the Supernatural/Buffy style show, involving family dynamics with monster killing.  I don’t know how long this show is going to last because I haven’t seen many people talking about it anywhere, but I hope it at least finishes out one season.

The problem I have is with the execution of the ideas on the show. The acting could be better, (its a little dodgy) and the plot needs to be beefier. I feel like it should’ve lead with the demons/monster plot, and then worked in the soap opera aspects, once we got to really know the characters. I  think the plot leans a little too heavy on the drama, and we just met all these characters, so we have no incentive to care about their emotional issues.

The Hastings are basically a bunch of badasses who use deadly weapons and magic to battle the forces of evil. The eldest son was estranged from the family, but has come back home, and been welcomed back into the family business of monster killing, so we learn about what’s going on just as he does, as he needs to be taught the ropes.

Sadly, not much was known about this show before it aired and the only place I saw any promos was on the Syfy network itself. The network does not appear to be as invested in this show as it seems to be in other shows, like The Expanse, and Z Nation, and that’s why I don’t think this show is going to last very long. But I’m here for it while it airs.

 

Stranger Things Season Two

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I get why people like this show. There’s a definite nostalgia factor, and those kids are cute as all heck, but My feeling about the show was kinda meh. its not a bad show, and it has excellent production values, but I just wasn’t deeply invested. I wasn’t carried away, I guess.

Maybe part of the reason I didn’t find this especially compelling is because I didn’t watch the entire first season. I saw bits and pieces of it. Enough to get a general idea of what was happening, but not all the tiny details, like names. I liked all the little 80s callbacks, and I liked quite a few of the characters. Wynona Ryder plays Michael’s Mom, and she was her usual excellent self. Sean Astin plays her love interest, and he is a goofily cheerful character that I sort of liked. The most interesting two characters were Lucas, and his seeming love interest, a ginger haired skater- girl ,who just moved into town. Lucas’ friendship with her causes a minor riff between the four friends.

Eleven escapes from her overprotective adoptive father, but after the two of them have a falling out,  she finds herself having adventures in the city, where she falls in with a group of thieves led by another girl with tattoos, and the ability to cause illusions. She eventually leaves them when she receives a premonition that Mike is in danger. Eleven’s activities are the most interesting part of the show.

Michael, the boy who befriended Eleven in the first season keeps having visions of a massive creature that has infested (infected) the entire town. He develops a connection to it, and eventually becomes possessed by the creature. When the rest of his family and friends realize what’s happening they spring into action to prevent the creature’s release, into the town, from the local  medical facility, but its already too late, as one of Michael’s friends has befriended a small  frog-like creature that turns out to be a juvenile form of the monster.

I didn’t dislike the show, and I bingewatched all ten episodes, but I wasn’t wildly enthused either. I can recommend it if you don’t have anything more pressing to watch, or if you just really love 80s nostalgia. Really, the most compelling thing in the entire show was the monster, and I want to see season three because I’d like to know what’s going to happen to it, and Eleven.

 

Jeepers Creepers 3

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Don’t worry. I didn’t pay money to see this movie. At any rate I couldn’t have even if I wanted to. Sensing that people wouldn’t want to associate too much with the cinematic output of a convicted pedophile, the movie’s creators sought only a limited, one day, release, before sending it directly to video, or rather the Syfy Channel where I saw it the weekend before Halloween.

I did not care for this movie because it’s a confusing mess. It takes place between the first and second films, but that isn’t immediately apparent, as only two of the characters from the first film appear in it, and only one of the characters from the second. Ridiculous things happen in the movie that I couldn’t make sense of, and even though there’s a lot of exposition, (I mean a LOT! People talk and talk and talk.) all the talking didn’t make anything about this movie any clearer.

Most of that talking is is from a brand new character, a cop named Tashtego, who is constantly stressing to the other characters how evil The Creeper is and that he must be killed. There’s lots of shots of he Creeper being his usual weird and nasty self, terrorizing teenagers, eating people, etc. For some reason, someone thought it would be a grand idea to prominently feature the creature’s truck, which is tricked out with various booby traps, which is what the police find out when they try to investigate the dead bodies lying in it, and a pack of obnoxious teenagers find this out too before they’re promptly caught and killed by The Creeper. He still likes to hunt  pretty young men, but occasionally takes time out of his busy schedule to terrify a woman or two.

One ofthe most baffling scenes is the discovery of a disembodied hand of The Creeper that gives people visions when they touch it. This isn’t something that was even hinted at in the first movie, although in every film, there’s the one character who seems to mystically know shit about The Creeper, so as to give more exposition on him. Exposition that illuminates not at all.

Since The Creeper can’t actually be killed, and we saw him in the second movie that was released we pretty much know how this one ends. He doesn’t get caught. At any rate, it matters not one bit, because I don’t believe Salva will be making any more of these. I sense that the makers of this movie just wanted to release it quietly, and get it off their books, and get Salva out of their hair, so I don’t think he’ll be making another Creeper movie any time soon. It’s very possible that he won’t ever be making any more movies again, since no one wants to be associated with him, especially in this new climate of awareness involving past sex scandals.

 

Seoul Station

Image result for seoul station

I was really excited to get to see this, the moment I heard of it, especially after watching Train to Busan. Seoul Station is an animated pre-quel to the live action Train to Busan, and its every bit as harrowing, nerve wracking, and action packed as the movie, despite the medium. It takes its time getting started but like the live action movie, once it gets going it doesn’t let up, doesn’t let you have a rest, and you get attached to the primary character just as in the other film.

In Seoul Sta. we see the beginning of the zombie infestation, and how it managed to escape notice until it got out of hand. This happens the way it always does by affecting the poor and underclass first. We meet a young woman who just escaped prostitution with  an abusive pimp, but the man she’s currently  living with isn’t much better. He’s having money issues and keeps trying to convince her to sell herself so they can pay the rent. At one point he hits her, and she;s so used to being treated that way she doesn’t even fight back.. (I wasn’t expecting that scene and it kind of threw me for a bit, so here’s my warning in advance. If you have trouble watching such things,s know the movie contains scenes of stalking and domestic abuse.)

We follow this young woman for the rest of the movie, after she breaks up with her current boyfriend. She barely manages to stay one step ahead of the zombie infestation, running from one seemingly safe place to another, only for those places to be overrun by the dead. From a police station, to the subway, to an alley that’s been cordoned off by the police (who think its all some type of insurrection), she has to use all her strength, and wits to stay ahead of the zombies, while wearing nothing more than a little pink dress and bare feet. She’s not an entirely sympathetic character either, as one of her most annoying traits is a complete inability to close doors behind her, thereby exacerbating her zombie issues.

In the meantime she’s also being pursued by her current boyfriend and her former pimp, both of whom have try to make their way through the zombie infested streets of Seoul. I was a little confused at first, because I thought her former pimp was her father, but it turns out he’s just lying to enlist her boyfriend’s aid in finding her.

A funny observation  about this movie (and I don’t know if this is just something that’s done in the movie, or if people in Seoul actually behave this way) are the many people who are  willing to verbally harangue strangers in public. From her landlady screaming at her about her late rent, to when she screams at her boyfriend at a cyber cafe, to random disturbed people on the street, characters are forever running up to others and screaming at them. Needless to say you cannot do that shit in America, where you just run up on somebody and start yelling, especially during a Zombie apocalypse. (You will get your ass beat for that just on a regular Tuesday.) Sometimes they just scream gibberish, but sometimes the rants are very specific. At any rate, some of this behavior serves too illustrate the lives of the rather downtrodden, and in some cases, criminal individuals.

Unlike the live action film, none of the characters are your typical salaried workers, which is a refreshing change from American made films, in which we watch your standard  American family endure some kind of crisis. Some of them are not the least bit nice, or innocent, either. There are homeless people bullying each other, and salaried workers, who treat the homeless characters with disdain and contempt. I don’t know if the creator is trying to make some kind of social argument about life in Seoul, or not, though.

Seoul Station is available right now for free on Amazon Prime, (or for rent). This is an absolutely excellent double bill, with its sequel, but you’re going to have to rest between films, because neither will give you a moment.

The Mummy

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I was not impressed by this movie. In fact, I think I hated it. Tom Cruise looks worn and tired, the plot is rather lackluster, and I was not expecting Russell Crowe to be shamelessly overacting in this movie. Its not a bad film, in the sense that the people who cared about it, tried their best, to make it look good, but the movie is simply uninspired. The first Mummy movie in the last trilogy at least had a feeling of freshness in its lead female character, Evie. Here the only female character we are meant to pay attention to is boring and flat, and the other one is the villain.

Essentially, The Mummy tells the origin story of how a modern man gets chosen by an ancient priestess, Ahmanet, to be the avatar of the Egyptian god, Set. It would’ve been a much more interesting movie, if they had just stuck to the portion dealing with Ahmanet, but you know Hollywood hates WoC, because its unthinkable to them that one of them (namely Sofia Boutella, who is actually Egyptian) would ever be the head of her own franchise. Franchises must be led by your standard white guy named Chris, or Tom in this case. One of these days Miss Boutella will be treated with respect and won’t have to kiss tired looking men, twice her age, to be in a movie.

Tom should  stick with those Mission Impossible, and Jack Reacher movies, which I actually like. He looks as if he’s enjoying himself in those, and I like a Tom Cruise film in which he appears to at least be having some fun. Here, he  looks like he can’t wait for the movie to be over, and seems like he’s just going through the motions until it ends.

I was only mildly excited to see this in the theater, and I’m glad I didn’t waste my money. My advice is to skip this and watch the 1999 version again.

Weekend Reading Roundup (October 2017)

Some interesting articles and news items from the past week.

Race and News Media

http://fair.org/article/racism-and-mainstream-media/

http://www.stopracism.ca/content/racism-and-media

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_bias_in_criminal_news_in_the_United_States

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/culturebox/2017/10/playing_devil_s_advocate_in_conversations_about_race_is_dangerous_and_counterproductive.html

 

Race at the Movies

*I’m a person who studies these subjects, and while I did know about some of these issues, I still managed to miss some of the others:

https://shadowandact.com/hyper-tokenism-ii-othering-the-black-female-body-in-star-wars-the-force-awakens/

*http://www.racebending.com/v4/blog/aliens-looking-white-extraterrestrial-skin-color-in-sci-fi/

https://www.wired.com/2016/02/geeks-guide-diversity-destroy-scifi/

 

On Harvey Weinstein

*Sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood is an industry wide phenomenon.

 

http://www.shakesville.com/2017/10/men-who-are-bullies-hurt-women.html

https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/why-the-weinstein-sexual-harassment-allegations-came-out-now.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/10/06/harvey-weinstein-and-that-different-time-when-hostile-workplaces-were-totally-okay/?utm_term=.daf14ea32517

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/how-men-like-harvey-weinstein-implicate-their-victims-in-their-acts

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories/amp

*The fallout from Rose McGowan being banned from Twitter was White women’s allyship being called into question by WoC, when White women decided to boycott Twitter in support of McGowan.

http://www.newsweek.com/women-color-wonder-why-it-took-until-now-white-women-boycott-twitter-684198

 

*An unexpected Tweet from Terry Crews on his own brush with sexual assault, and why, as a Black man, he never told anyone:

 

 

Black Movie Critic List

*Earlier I did a post on finding Black critics of Black media like Luke Cage and came across several, including an organization developed specifically to support such critics.

http://www.aafca.com/

https://splinternews.com/theres-a-huge-divide-between-how-black-and-white-critic-1797478105

https://kinja.com/danielleyoungproducer

https://www.theringer.com/authors/k-austin-collins

http://www.rogerebert.com/contributors/angelica-jade-bastien

http://www.aafca.com/carlas-corner

 

On White Men With Guns

*I feel some kind of way about watching this show, especially after what happened in Las Vegas..

The Punisher

Let’s talk about The Punisher, for a second. You know, the guy with the massive guns, chip on his shoulder, and penchant for killing people?

Are we gonna talk about how his whiteness plays into people’s acceptance of him?

Are we gonna talk about how his use of violence is pretty much accepted and lauded because of the fact that he’s a white dude?

Are we gonna talk about how Jon Bernthal had to fight to make Frank Castle unheroic on set, and how fans are still going to talk about him like he’s the greatest thing since Iron Man?

Are we gonna talk about how Frank’s whiteness allows him the space to be violent, gory and still sympathetic?  While Black heroes (like David Walker’s Nighthawk) do the exact same thing, but aren’t supported?

 

https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/taxi-driver-and-the-culture-of-violence

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/10/02/when-white-men-turn-into-lone-wolves/?utm_term=.d13d79b39238

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/02/lone-wolf-white-privlege-las-vegas-stephen-paddock/

 

 

On Rick and Morty Fans

I’m not a fan of this show. I just don’t have the patience for any of the character’s shenanigans at this time, but I’m thoroughly and completely appalled at what most fandoms have come to, at this point. Geek fandom was never a healthy place for me, to be honest, but fandom today seems to be especially toxic, with an influx of the kinds of people who have no idea how to be fans of pop culture, (although to be fair this has been happening in sports for decades.)

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/rick-and-morty-szechuan-sauce-breaking-bad-pizza-fandom-gone-bad-1201886904/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danidiplacido/2017/10/08/rick-and-morty-fans-take-obnoxiousness-to-a-whole-new-dimension/#1e71038676ac

https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/9/16447460/rick-and-morty-szechuan-sauce-mcdonalds-fans-anger

 

 

Free PDF Book List On Race

Found from various places online:

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Angela Y. Davis – Are Prisons Obsolete?

Angela Y. Davis – Race, Women, and Class

The Communist Manifesto – Marx and Engels

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America- Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki

Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism – bell hooks

Feminism is for Everybody – bell hooks

outlaw culture – bell hooks

Faces at the Bottom of the Well – Derrick Bell

Sex, Power, and Consent – Anastasia Powell

I am Your Sister – Audre Lorde

Patricia Hill Collins – Black Feminist Thought

Gender Trouble – Judith Butler

Four books by Frantz Fanon

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

Medical Apartheid – Harriet Washington

Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory  – edited by Michael Warner

Colonialism/Postcolonialism – Ania Loomba

Discipline and Punish – Michel Foucault

The Gloria Anzaldua Reader

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by Mark Fisher

This Bridge Called by Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa

What is Cultural Studies? – John Storey 

Cultural Theory and Popular Culture – John Storey

The Disability Studies Reader 

Michel Foucault – Interviews and Other Writings 

Michel Foucault – The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1Vol. 2Vol. 3 

Michel Foucault – The Archeology of Knowledge 

 

Things I’ve Been Watching (October 2017)

Here are some of the shows I’ve been looking at this month. There’s a lot of releases, and I can’t keep up with a lot of them, but I’ll watch what I can and get back to you on what I thought about them.

The Gifted Season Premiere

Image result for the gifted

I’m simply not in the mood for this show, and I’m fed up with this type of plot, now. It’s loosely based on some of the X-Men and New Mutants comic books, in that it has some Sentinel plotline, and some of the characters from those groups. Stephen Moyer stars as a lawyer who used to prosecute mutant criminals, and  the father of two young mutants, now on the run from the government, which is rounding up mutants and imprisoning them in scientific camps.

I tried watching the first episodes, and while I like a couple of the characters, the show is simply not compelling enough to keep me watching it every week. The characters have the usual teenage angst, with superpowers, that made me dislike the First X-Men movie. Blink is a teenager who can teleport by creating portals, and Thunderbird, who is Native American, is a kind of tracker of people and things. I’m dismayed that the show used the Native American tracker stereotype, as that’s nothing like Thunderbird’s actual powers in the books, which consists of speed and strength.

And I’m just not here for yet another plotline of people with superpowers being rounded up and used by the government. This seems to be the only plotline they can come up with for superpowered characters, especially on TV, and once again, there is only the focus on how this affects White, suburban, middle-class families.

Just like with the show Heroes, there is no focus on how the discovery of superpowers would affect any marginalized communities, something I would consider much more entertaining, and which the show Cleverman handled with a certain amount of depth. As I complained about before, we keep getting stories about middle-class White characters being subjected to the same oppressions that have been visited on marginalized communities. This show would have had far more depth and been much more interesting if it had been set in the G/L community,  or the Black and Latinx communities, in which this type of interment is already occurring.

In the forties, the Japanese were rounded up in internment camps because they were considered a danger to the US, and later, authorities used to raid the gay and lesbian communities and lock them in jails with the full force of legal authority behind them. Today, its immigration officials grabbing random Brown people out of their homes, and locking them up on suspicion of being illegal immigrants. What do you want to bet that none of these things will be addressed in yet another show where we see average White people being treated in the same manner?

 

Legends of Tomorrow

Image result for Legends of tomorrow

I’m looking forward to this new season. I really enjoyed the season premiere, which was a lot of fun and addressed a couple of cliffhangers from last season. This season will also introduce one of my favorite characters. Constantine.

Constantine’s show was something of a bust, but I think he’ll fit right in on this ensemble show, because he just works better when interacting with other super powered, snarky,  characters, and yes, the writers have promised to keep his canonical bi-sexuality intact, something which was never addressed in his own show.

Also, returning this season is Captain Cold, played by the very candilicious, Wentworth Miller.I always loved his dynamic with Heatwave (yeah, I totally ship those two) and I’m looking forward to the two of them meeting again, especially after Cold sacrificed his life to save the team, in a previous season.

I generally like all the characters on this show. My top favorite is Firestorm. I remember reading those comics as a kid, and briefly again in the 90s. He’s an interesting binary character of an older White man named Stein, and a Black teenager named Jackson, and I love the friendship that has developed between the two of them. The show has managed to carefully avoid the stereotype of the Black brute, who is nothing but the muscle in their relationship, by making Jackson an engineering genius, with Stein as his mentor. so naturally, Stein will be leaving the show later this season. I wonder who Jackson’s new partner will be.

I least like Black Canary, but I think that has more to do with the actress, because I like the version from the comic books just fine.

In the last season, the Legends broke the world by causing a set of time anomalies, which caused them to get kicked out of their spaceship. We open the episode with them leading normal lives on Earth. Black Canary is working, unhappily, in a department store, and Jackson is attending college. Stein appears to be the only happy one, spending time with the daughter he never knew he had, from another timeline. Heatwave, played by Dominic Purcell, is also having the time of his life, vacationing on the beaches of Aruba, before he is attacked by Julius Caesar, another time anomaly.

The team gets called back together to fix the problems they caused with all their time travelling last season. This show airs after The Flash, which is absolutely perfect, since I’m really starting to like The Flash a lot more, and have started regularly watching that.

 

 

Brooklyn 99

Image result for brooklyn 99

When we last left The 99 last season, Jake and Rosa were sent to prison, for a crime they didn’t commit, by a corrupt cop. When we meet up with them at the beginning of the new season, the two of them are not adjusting well to their situation. Jake’s roommate is a cannibal, played by Tim Meadows, (he is extremely funny), but we don’t get much insight into Rosa’s situation. We spend most of our time with Jake, as he tries not to get outed as a cop by the Warden, who is trying to capture a drug smuggling ring, run by Lou Diamond-Phillips. I liked the guest stars more than I liked Jake in these episodes, and I hope to see more of Lou Diamond’s character in the future. He so rarely gets to do comedies, and I think he’s hilarious here.

Amy and Charles are working hard to find proof that Jake and Rosa were set up and come up with zany schemes to do this, even though Charles thinks his podcast about Jake should be enough to free him. One of the funnier running gags is that he invited Terry on the podcast, but the interview wasn’t successful, and Terry is confused about why.

By the end of the second episode, all is well in the Kingdom of 99, Jake and Amy have been reunited, Charles can give up his podcast, and well, Rosa remains very much Rosa. I normally do not watch shows about cops, (as I consider all of them to be thinly veiled propaganda about the inherent goodness of law enforcement), but I will make an exception for a really great, or funny show, and Brooklyn 99, along with the very politically incorrect Reno 911, are worth the watch.

 

The Exorcist Season Two

Image result for exorcist season two

Well, I think its too much to say this is an enjoyable show, because its supposed to be scary, but it does star John Cho as one of the shows leads. The show does have some issues though. I’m not at all interested in the storyline of the two priests who have made off with the possession victim from last season, and the gruff speaking victim gets on my nerves after about thirty seconds, but fortunately her onscreen time can be easily ignored. I just pretend I’m really engrossed in my knitting when she’s on the screen.

John Cho’s storyline is far more interesting, as he stars as the father figure for a home of orphans with severe trauma issues. The home is being visited and assessed for its level of care by an old flame of John’s, so the show is killing it in the Asian representation column, as this role is being played by an actress named Li Jun Li, and I’ve become very invested in their relationship, although I do fear for the life of the young lady, because TV loves to kill off  Asian characters, and that actress isn’t especially well known. The last time we saw Jun Li, she was the coroner from the show Minority Report, and was dressed like a Rave victim.

Well, inconveniently there’s some spooky happenings at the house and the kids are acting up and misbehaving in ways they didn’t before she came there, which increases the tension between her and John’s character as he wonders if she can be fair to him, especially taking into account their dramatic past together.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this season because its so rare to see Asian Americans as stars in a horror show. Actually, this show is pretty good about diversity, and a sensitive portrayal of children with various disabilities. The disabilities are not the source of any of the horror (some outside force is) so that’s another stereotype that’s been upended.  Its not as hysterically over the top as American Horror Story, so I’m able to get caught up in the mystery without getting a headache, and the characters are all mostly likable.

 

The Flash

Image result for the flash season four iris

I’m just really starting to get into this show. I watched most of last season and understood maybe half of what was happening, but I did like the characters, which is what mostly draws me into a show. My favorite characters are Iris, and Cisco, and I got to see a lot of both of them in the season premiere, although I like all of the characters on the show except Caitlin Snow. That actress acts like she’s in a different show altogether, but she has good chemistry with the other characters, so I can tolerate her.

Can I just say how much I genuinely love Iris. She is by every definition of the term, a  rare flower. She’s gorgeous, graceful, intelligent, and heavily reminds me of Nichelle Nichols version of Uhura, an example of the kind of woman I wanted to be as a child. I hate to say this, because I really like Barry, but she is waaaay too good for him. I also love that Iris is a Black woman, because it’s so rare that Black women get to be loved, sacrificed for, or  damseled in mainstream media, and I am here for it. She also gets some really nice speeches during the episode.

Last season, Barry sacrificed himself to save the love of his every existence, and entered what is known as The Speed Force. I think its the source of his powers or something. I’m not too clear on that. Anyway Cisco comes up with a way to save him, but the Barry that comes back to Earth is deeply confused and unintelligible. The entire situation is complicated by a supposed new enemy, come to challenge Barry, a Samurai with a sword that causes earthquakes. The entire crew needs to save Barry, so he can save the city.

I’m looking forward to this new season as I’ve heard that Ralph Dibney’s Elongated Man will be featured on the show. I used to read  his comics as a kid.  Harrison Wells will be making another appearance, too, along with a character played by Danny Trejo. Katee Sackoff is also supposed to show up as a supervillain, I think. Killer Frost has already put in an appearance in this first episode, and this season is supposed to have a lighter tone than the last, which I think all superhero shows could use a dose of.

So, I’m in, I guess.

 

The Orville

Image result for the orville

I’ve been watching this off and on.. Its still rather uneven n tone, but hopefully it will settle down into what it wants to be by the end of the season. Its not a bad show but it wavers between wanting to be a comedy, with some rather juvenile humor, a drama relationship, and a space opera, and these three things while done effectively, are not meshing well with each other. The switches between styles can be jarring and obvious.

Seth McFarlane’s presence does bring in the guest stars, though. We got a Charlize Theron guest shot, and a cameo from Liam Neeson, which was pretty cool. I kinda like most of the characters, but the surprise for me was the ex-wife and  First Officer, played by Adrianne Palicki. Her, and most of the other women, are the  smartest people on the show. Most of the guys are well… kinda weird, and not too bright, but I like them anyway. There’s a metal robot, and an alien with a same sex husband, and so far the show has been very respectful of the two of them, treating them just like any other couple on the ship. I’m not sure this counts as gay representation though, since they’re both aliens from a mono-gendered  planet.

Its not a bad show. Or rather, not as bad as I thought it was going to be because I was a little dubious about McFarlane being on the show and he and I don’t share the same humor. We still don’t, but so far he hasn’t done anything to actually upset me, so I’m inclined to keep watching.

 

American Horror Story

I’ve pretty much stopped watching this. I’m just not in the frame of mind to consider it entertaining right now, even though it may well be for some people.

 

Outlander

Image result for outlander season 3

I’m a lot less interested in Claire’s life in the fifties and sixties then I am in her life in the past, which is how this season has begun. In order to raise their chid in safety Claire has gone back to her own time period to raise her little girl. Her current husband has issues with this of course but is willing to wrap his head around the fact that his wife has two very different lives, and that her child is not his. That’s a lot to ask of a man, but he seems to be down for all this.

There’s slightly less Jaime in the opening episodes of this season, so I’m not really as invested as I normally would be. I generally do not like romances, and I haven’t read any of the books this show is based on, but I actually like the show for the romance between Claire and Jaime. Go figure! I guess I’m just a sucker for a period romance, I guess.

 

Forthcoming

This weekend is the debut of the show Mindhunter by David Fincher on Netflix. I’ll definitely be watching it, as its based on one of John Douglas’ non-fiction books on serial killer profiling. I’ve read all of his books as he makes the topic very accessible. Also I like David Fincher. The Atlantic review is here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/mindhunter-review-netflix/542781/

 

My review for the first few episodes will be next week along with my long form review of Bladerunner 2049.

I was supposed to see The Mountain Between Us with Mum, but she changed her mind, the night before, and kicked me out of the house to go see what I wanted, all by myself. I really enjoyed Bladerunner, and have a lot of feelings, and thinky-thoughts about it. My review is in two parts, covering the plot and characters, in comparison to the first film and the book, and then, in part two, some of the technical stuff, like the cinematography, music, and themes.

 

Amended to add: The Supernatural Fox Sisters have a thread up on Twitter listing 31 Horror movies that feature Black women, and rather than review The Thing vs The Thing, I think I’m going to review a few of these movies instead, as some of them are my favorites exactly because there are Black women in them as the main characters.

http://www.graveyardshiftsisters.com/2017/09/watch-31-horror-movies-starring-black.html

I chose five of these movies from the list to review. I’ll surprise you with which ones.

Discussions and Linkspam (October 2017)

So it is officially October, which means its time for me to start watching and reviewing horror movies. Its also the start of Pilot season, with new and old shows premiering on network TV. I’ve already watched the new season premiere of The Exorcist and I liked that, along with episodes of The Orville. I have not yet watched The Gifted, and I simply skipped The Inhumans. I may check out the second episode of it though. There are also a few movies I’ll be reviewing this month, too.

 

Image result for fury Road gifs

Mad Max: Fury Road and Disability

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-louis-armstrong-to-the-nfl-ungrateful-as-the-new-uppity/amp

View story at Medium.com

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2015/06/mad-max-fury-road-makes-rape-arguments-invalid/

http://www.popmatters.com/feature/194573-power-and-disability-in-mad-max-fury-road1/

@@

 

Image result for black people gifs

Black Issues:

When I was watching American Gods, we got to see penises all over the place. The show did not shy away from depicting them, but one thing that was absent was any sign of Ricky Whittle’s (as he is the only Black man in the show. ) I do recall a full frontal Black male in Westworld, and I was kinda shocked. Not because of what it was, but because it’s so rare.

Don’t laugh! This is important. #Allblackpenisesmatter!

Yeah, this is a pretty good reason why I don’t, and have never watched almost anything on CBS. (I used to watch the Big Bang Theory until I began to really, really, hate every single one of the main characters on that show.) Nevertheless CBS is very possibly one of the Whitest networks.

https://www.salon.com/2016/05/22/cbs_is_the_gop_of_tv_the_networks_year_of_white_men_coincides_all_too_well_with_the_rise_of_donald_trump/

 

“Ungrateful” is the new Uppity: I don’t think there are enough words to unpack all of the meaning in the word ungrateful. It says far too much about the person using it.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-louis-armstrong-to-the-nfl-ungrateful-as-the-new-uppity/amp

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From VerySmartBrothers/The Root

These are some of the funniest articles I read last week:

This is an all important discussion on grits. I guess I must be pretty boujie because I will eat grits with sugar and lot and lots of butter, but  I don’t actually care all that much because I will eat grits with anything in them really. Bacon, sugar, cheese, butter, I don’t really care. For me, grits is the main meal.

http://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/sugar-on-grits-are-the-white-people-of-breakfast-grains-1818998656

 

I think the author of this piece left out the all-important body language portion of this discussion, because “clapping” is key here. If any portion of these phrases is accompanied by measured clapping, especially during the phrasing, then you best just start planning your funeral,  cuz its already too late.

http://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/threatening-black-phrases-ranked-1818770473

 

It turns out I have quite a bit of Black Privilege, especially #s 18, 16, and 15. Hell, I can’t fight worth a darn, but apparently I look like I can, and have two sisters (and a brother) who love to throw down.

http://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/types-of-black-privilege-ranked-1818633495

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Everything Wrong with The Big Bang Theory

 

I started watching this show as a favor to a friend who was really into it, and I enjoyed it for a while. When it first aired, I avoided it because I did not like Penny, and after I started watching it regularly, there were a whole host of things I began to actively hate about the show. One of the first things that worked my last nerve was my ideas about  Penny were correct. Penny is a dumb, incurious, basic Becky, with a certain amount of snark, a that snark is only used in service of making fun of the male nerds of the show. 

But my greatest issues were the show’s depiction of  women, and its treatment of  Raj. To a one, every single woman on the show has nothing but disdain, and contempt, for the nerdy pursuits of the primary characters, and I found it very telling that the show’s writers could not imagine any women who were nerds in the same way the male characters were nerds.

That most of these women are in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields is not a good substitute for their complete lack of appreciation (and even hatred) for nerd culture. Outside of wanting to be princesses at Disney world, the women are shown as humorless, cultureless, unimaginative nags, who only seem to want sex and marriage. This is a white male nerd’s idea of what women are like and it is wholly inaccurate. Also there are absolutely no women of color on the show (beyond Raj’s sister in the earlier seasons, who seemed to be the template for this.) The showrunners simply could not envision a world where women could be, pretty,  involved in STEM, and actually like and appreciate Star Trek, and Disney princesses too (which is impossible, because every woman I’ve ever known in, also STEM loves Star Trek.)

As for the main characters though:

 

*Here are essays on how the masculinity in Fight Club has a direct bearing on the philosophies of the Alt-Right and Charlottesville. This also ties into my theories of how pop cultural depictions of anti-heroes are often adopted by fringe elements, of White male society, to represent their ideas. Characters like Tyler Durden, and The Joker, get to be the public icons of their philosophies, in the same way that Black gangsta rap culture adopted the mafia figures from movies like The Godfather, and 1980s Scarface.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/dec/13/fight-clubs-dark-fantasies-reality-chuck-palahniuk

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fight-club-2-chuck-palahniuk_us_5845c35ae4b028b32338a632

http://thefederalist.com/2017/03/30/why-fight-club-still-matters/

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

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*Recently on Tumblr there was a discussion of the difference in reception of the movies Rough Night, about a group of White women who get into a night of adventures while partying in the city, and Girl’s Trip, which is about a group of Black women doing the same thing while on a trip to New Orleans. Rough Night was a complete flop, while Girl’s Trip went on to make millions and was a huge hit. Both films have nearly identical premises. Leaving aside the racial aspects, the discussion evolved into the depiction of sex workers in both movie’s narratives, and how sex workers are often mistreated in film and TV. Real world sex workers are often subjects of disdain, contempt, abuse and murder, and it was considered irresponsible for Rough Night to show the death, and humiliation of a male sex worker, as a source of comedy.

“First thing’s first: Strippers are people, and sex workers unfortunately have to tirelessly remind people of this over and over. ‘Sex workers are very marginalized groups of people who don’t have the same workplace safety and rights as other workers—and we get murdered a lot,’” says Arabelle Raphael, a porn performer and sex worker in Los Angeles. ‘Our lives are seen as disposable.’ A long-term mortality study on sex workers found that active sex workers have a mortality rate of 459 per 100,000 people—to put that in perspective, the general public mortality rate is around 1.9 per every 100,000 people.”

http://www.vocativ.com/409744/rough-night-film-trailer-draws-ire-of-sex-workers-and-allies/

https://ww2.kqed.org/pop/2017/06/20/does-rough-nights-box-office-flop-indicate-a-cultural-shift-in-how-we-see-sex-workers/

http://affinitymagazine.us/2017/03/09/rough-night-a-comedy-about-murder-and-abuse-of-male-sex-workers/

Star Trek Discovery S01E03 Review: Context Is for Kings — The Supernatural Fox Sisters

In “Context Is For Kings,” we finally get to meet the namesake of Star Trek: Discovery. The U.S.S. Discovery is a brand new ship on a mysterious mission. It’s a scientific vessel, but with locked lab doors and black alerts. And it may hold the secret to winning the war against the Klingons.

via Star Trek Discovery S01E03 Review: Context Is for Kings — The Supernatural Fox Sisters

 

I did not watch this particular episode except in a couple of snippets online. It was very uncomfortable viewing, but I guess that was meant to be like that. I didn’t expect Michael to receive warm welcomes on the Discovery, but I was dismayed at the shitty behavior displayed by the rest of the crew towards her and wanted to “Force Choke” every single one of them, including her roommate. I understand their feelings about her, but it still felt and looked bad, and I’m not used to that level of sneering contempt from a Star Trek crew, (although the STNG crew was occasionally pretty snobbish.)

On the other hand, it does make for great drama, so I guess that was the point. I liked this review though, which gives a great overview of the episode, without any spoilers, which is totally unlike my overly-detailed ramblings. I can’t watch the show, but I ‘ll watch the snippets, and forward these lovely reviews from the Supernatural Fox Sisters.

Hannibal Kills

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I was asked recently, by one of my readers, (The Laughable Cheese) to elaborate on my thoughts  about the whys and wherefores of Hannibal’s murderous motivations on the show. Now, I’m no psychologist, so what I’m about to write is sheer speculation on my part, based mainly on my thoughts about the series version of Hannibal.

Throughout the series we’ve seen him kill to aid Will Graham, out of spite and anger, to satisfy his curiosity, out of a sense of whimsy, to protect himself from being captured, or manipulate others, but it is not until season two that we get any deeper reason for his murders.

Acc­ording to Holmes typology, serial killers can be act-focused (who kill quickly), or process-focused (who kill slowly). For act-focused killers, killing is simply about the act itself. Within this group, there are two different types: the visionary and the missionary. The visionary murders because he hears voices or has visions that direct him to do so. The missionary murders because he believes that he is meant to get rid of a particular group of people.

Process-focused serial killers get enjoyment from torture and the slow death of their victims. These include three different types of hedonists — lust, thrill and gain — and power-seeking killers. Lust killers derive sexual pleasure from killing. Thrill killers get a “kick” from it. Gain killers murder because they believe they will profit in some way. Power killers wish to “play God” or be in charge of life and death.

— http://people.howstuffworks.com/serial-killer1.htm

I think Hannibal kills for a multitude of reasons, but seems to fit the model of being a process killer. The act is drawn often a long drawn out event, which has a lot of meaning for him. We can see that in his killing and eating of Abel Gideon, in season two and three.

A lot of fans speculate that Hannibal kills because he can, and that’s as good a reason as any other, but I don’t feel that goes deep enough. Hannibal’s reasons are complex. Why does he feel he can? Because Hannibal likens himself to God. Why does he want to assert himself as God’s equal? For the same reason that many others seek to assert their power. Because, on some level,  he knows how it feels to be powerless.

In season one, Hannibal mostly kills the rude (for food), or to protect his identity. He kills Georgia Madchen because he believes she saw him killing Will’s doctor. He killed Will’s doctor because that man knew too much about his unethical manipulations of Will Graham, and could blackmail him for it.

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The first time we encounter one of Hannibal’s kills,  is when the body of Cassie Boyle is found in an open field. Hannibal has impaled her on a rack of antlers, (and removed her lungs, so that he can eat them.) Crawford and his forensic team discover her body after Will is confounded  about  the murder  of another young woman, named Elise.

Hannibal kills Cassie to provide what Will calls “a negative” to the body of Elise. Will thinks Cassie Boyle was killed to aid him in his search for Elise’s killer, and he’s not wrong. That is one of Hannibal’s motivations for killing the young woman, but another motivation, and this is just my speculation, is that he was also inspired by Elise’s killer, to create a more elaborate death. The way Cassie Boyle was killed was simply a way he hadn’t tried before.

In fact, no mention is made of how the Chesapeake Ripper (also Hannibal) killed or displayed his victims prior to the show’s opening, although the Chesapeake Ripper is mentioned as someone Jack has been hunting for many years. His killing and display of Cassie Boyle is the first mention of what Will calls “Field Kabuki”, which stands in direct contrast to how Elise was killed by Garret Jacob Hobbes. That contrast is what helps Will develop a picture of Hobbes, but also has the side effect of  bringing Hannibal to Will’s attention.

Now remember at this point, Hannibal has only  just met Will, after being given the task by Jack Crawford, of being the caretaker of Will’s sanity, while Will helps the FBI catch serial killers. Already we can see that he is fascinated by Will, and wants to get closer to him. He wants to be friends. So he was willing to take that risk to aid Will. He would get to see how Will’s mind works and better understand him. So one could argue that Cassie’s death was an overture of friendship to Will (although Will does not know that.).

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The very first meal that Will and Hannibal eat together is Cassie’s breakfast scramble. Prior to that we are shown Hannibal eating this alone in his house. He doesn’t appear to have any friends until he meets Will. After feeding Cassie to Will, he seems to have developed a sense of satisfaction from feeding the remains of his victims to his acquaintances, because he continues to do this throughout the entire series run, feeding his victims to Jack, Will, Alana Bloom, and various dinner guests. In the movies, Hannibal is shown feeding his victims to dinner guests, so there is precedent for it, but that’s  only shown in the TV show once, and only after he meets Will Graham. After that he mostly feeds his victims to his “friends”.

Hannibal kills for multiple reasons in season two. He also manipulates people into attempting to kill others. He manipulates Abel Gideon into  killing Alana Bloom, so that Will Graham will be forced to kill Abel to protect her. He does the same to Miriam Lass, using her PTSD against her, to get her to kill Frederick Chilton, who he has framed as the Chesapeake Ripper. He and Will attempt to orchestrate the killing of Mason Verger, and Lecter  successfully manipulates Will Graham into killing Randall Tier, by sending Tier after him at his home.

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Hannibal kills others for  a dinner party. One is a doctor who was rude to him, and Sheldon Isley, a land dealer who opposed the salvage of some wetlands. Lecter kills him out of spite and plants his body within a tree. It is the clues from Sheldon’s body that lead to the discovery that Miriam Lass, (a detective whose disappearance had been attributed to The Chesapeake Ripper), is actually alive.

However, his most notable and memorable killing, in season two, is the judge in Will’s case. Having framed Will as The Chesapeake Ripper in season one, Lecter now regrets his actions, and misses Will. The judge dismissed the testimony he gave in his attempt to free Will. In a fit of spite, Lecter simply removes the judge, which has the added side benefit of freeing Will, as his case gets thrown out.

Most of his reasons for killing in season three are pragmatic.  In season three he kills to protect his identity, as when he kills Reynaldo Pazzi, a detective who recognizes him from a previous case, and Anthony Dimmond, a man who tried to blackmail him. He kills to establish a new identity when he kills and eats Roman Fell and his wife.

But the most notable killing in season three are the flashbacks to the  killing and eating of Abel Gideon, the man who tried to steal his name and reputation as the Chespaeake Ripper, and knew too much about his manipulations of Will Graham. It’s especially horrifying as he spends most of that time talking with Gideon about what he’s doing to him, and forcing Gideon to partake of his own flesh.

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Note that what Hannibal does with his victims bodies afterwards is not the reason he kills them. He is not necessarily killing them to help Will, or send messages, or be artistic. He is making art out of something he already feels compelled to do. For example, he didn’t kill Dimmond to make the origami heart for Will. He just took advantage of a death he caused to leave Will a message. He killed Dimmond to protect his identity as Norman Fell.

Lecter has also talked, at length, about ethical killing, claiming to Bella Crawford that he employs an ethical butcher, who doesn’t make the food suffer before killing and eating it, and in season two he chides Will for terrifying Freddie Lounds too much before killing her, saying that it makes her flesh taste acidic. What he is saying is that the method (the process) by which he kills is important to him.

Miriam Lass, in her testimony to the FBI, also claimed that the Ripper never tried to cause unnecessary pain, informed her of his actions beforehand, and taking care to see that she didn’t experience undo anguish. So one could make the argument that Hannibal is definitely a “Process” type killer.

One of the theories for why Hannibal kills goes back to his childhood and the loss of his little sister Mischa. In the book version of his back story, (Hannibal Rising) he lost his sister during the war, when a group of enemy soldiers took his family prisoner, killed his family, and ate his sister, which he witnessed. Subsequently he hunted, killed,  and ate each of  them in turn, and this is a habit he simply developed and continued. Killing and eating people he thinks were rude to him.

In the show, this has been changed to;  witnessing his sister’s death, and then eating her himself, after he had pledged to always protect her. But Hannibal’s motivations on the show parallels his motivations from the books. He says to both Will Graham, and Margot Verger, that killing bad people feels good. Of course Hannibal’s criteria for “bad” is fairly loose, in that almost everyone can meet it. Hannibal likens their behavior to disrespecting God (himself).

Of course Will is allowed to be as rude to Hannibal as he likes. His motivation for trying to kill and eat Will, in season three, is not because Will is rude, but because Bedelia suggested it to him, as the only way to relieve his heartache over Will.

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Because Hannibal doesn’t see his victims as people, he sees them as creatures far beneath him (a theme that will more heavily come into play late in the second season, after Mason Verger is introduced). A much truer version of his thoughts is heard in season two when he says that God kills with impunity, and so should he. When killing the “Eye of God” killer, he explains that he is God’s equal and uses that argument to persuade the Eye of God killer to sacrifice himself for his art.

This thirst for power over people, to be godlike in his killing of them, may have derived from the vigilante killing of his sister’s killers. Having helplessly stood by and watched her be killed would be excellent motivation for taking back his power by killing her killers. In a sense, Hannibal is a kind of vigilante killer, only killing and eating those people who his cellkeeper Barney, in the movie Hannibal, referred to as  “Free Range Rude”. And what may have started as a form of vigilantism, to avenge his sister’s death, or to right the wrongs of the world, has simply evolved into a lust for power. Put all these reasons together and Hannibal definitely comes across as a Power type of Killer.

 

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