Fandom is nothing if not predictable. I know I’m late, but I just saw the casting announcements for the upcoming Netflix/BBC series Troy: Fall of a City. One thing that immediately stood out to me was the way that the casting immediately flipped the script when it came to Achilles and Patroclus, casting two dark […]
Back in October, a few days before New York Comic-Con, Warner Bros. announced that somewhere during 2018 they would be bringing us a new Batman animated film, besides Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, in the form of an anime film, titled Batman Ninja. In the statement, Warner announced that Takashi Okazaki, Afro Samurai creator, was the man in charge of […]
The latest Last Jedi trailer was incredible – apart from the hype it caused over Rey and Kylo Ren.
Rey and Kylo Ren are magnificent characters in their own right. One fascinating and one brilliant in his loathsome and brooding way. It would be understandable for fans to ship them together, if they weren’t such a toxic pairing. Reylo represents the worst of heteronormative and mononormative society.
People do get over things very quickly in any drama and in sci-fi that’s especially true. It’s how we end up with completely random friendship/ally pairings which can make TV and film so glorious. It only works though if there’s real exploration of the issues the characters face, and if it doesn’t romanticise horrible behaviour. For Rey and Kylo Ren within one film, that ship should have sunk. To recap, Kylo kidnapped Rey, watched her while she was unconscious, tried to use the…
Months ago, thousands of people got to see the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer at Disney’s D23 convention. Though the footage eventually leaked online, it remained the type of thing spoken of in hushed, reverent tones or simply a source of fan cred for anyone who could legitimately claim, “I’ve seen the trailer, and you haven’t.”
That all changes today. Because today marks the worldwide debut of…actually, a largely new version of that Infinity War trailer. So, yeah, the D23 people still have some bragging rights as they saw certain shots which aren’t in this new trailer, but can’t we all just get along and geek out over the first footage of Thanos finally getting up off his ass and doing something for a change in this damn little cinematic universe! Mo-capped Josh Brolin is going to powerglove his way through our heroes and this trailer already spoils the apparent…
I think I started knitting about a year and a half ago. I am a crocheter, so knitting wasn’t too far from my wheelhouse, if you catch my meaning. Since then, I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time to learning new stitches, because I wanted to produce the beautiful knitwear I saw online. I was so jealous that I couldn’t do that stuff.
Since then, I consider myself an intermediate knitter, having mastered a variety of different stitches, and a few I’m still working on, like the brioche.
I hadn’t given much thought to stranded knitting before, because I was too intimidated, although when I first started knitting I did try to make a stranded knitting style hat. Not knowing what I was doing, it came out a confusing mess, but not a complete one, so I wasn’t discouraged. I just assumed it was beyond my skill level at that time. I frogged it, and didn’t think about it again. Recently though, I saw some very nice fair isle hats, and I thought to myself, “I can do that.” Because none of the other things I’d tried to do were especially difficult, and the books I read kept telling me, “Hey! Give it try. It’s not hard!” So I took the bait, and the result is my first fair isle hat pattern, a baby hat from Purl Soho:
Its not perfect. It’s a tony bit bubbly, because I’m not in full command of all my floats in the back, but it’s my first one, so give me time. It’s also just a practice hat for my next one, which will be done in wool. This one is in acrylic, mostly. I used some donated fingering yarns, doubled up, in red-orange, green-blue tweed, lite pink, and white, and didn’t bother to check gauge. I didn’t feel the need to because the hat is for charity. Someone will find it and love it.
My goal is to knit a shawl this summer, and in 2019, I hope to knit an actual article of clothing to wear, like a sweater. (Oddly enough, I still haven’t done socks, because gussets are intimidating, no matter how much people try to explain them. Once I can fully visualize it, I feel confident enough to do it, and I’m not there yet.)
And while we’re at it let’s celebrate with some of my favorite knitting memes. And how hilarious is it that Ryan (Officer K) Gosling is in these.
Normally this would be a comparison between The Mist film, and the TV show, but I didn’t watch the TV show beyond the first couple of episodes, because I got bored. Let’s just say that the TV show ain’t got nothing on the movie, probably because Frank Darabont had nothing to do with it, and the two people who were involved with it had a very different vision of what the Mist was about.
The series was a hot mess, that was slow and mostly incoherent, and was finally canceled. I was hopeful that it would be good, (I’m always hopeful that a show will be good), but I was a bit dubious when I heard there wouldn’t be any monsters in the show, and I think part of the reason for its failure, is fans of the movie had one idea of how it should be, and the creators had a completely different, and incompatible, idea
And of course, it’s really hard to top the original movie that it was based on. Frank Darabont has proven to be something of a genius when it comes to adapting Stephen King’s stories, having directed not just The Mist, but The Shawshank Redemption (which I loved), and The Green Mile, (which I hated for different reasons.)
Except for the controversial ending, The Mist is faithful to the novella on which it’s based, and that’s part of its success, because the story is a very effective study of human nature under extreme conditions, and you can’t get more extreme than being trapped in an enclosed space, while being menaced by giant hungry monsters.
I wrote an essay on how to write the apocalypse novel, and I used The Mist as the type of framework that many writers could try to hang such a story on, but really I have to credit Agatha Christie with making the premise famous, (although its much, much older than her) of a small group of people, trapped in a space they can’t leave, who start mysteriously dying. So many books and movies have been based on this idea that you can’t count them, and it’s an idea that seems to work especially well with horror movies, in everything from Alien (outer space), to Friday the 13th (the woods), to Night of the Living Dead (the apocalypse). The only thing that you can truly change about such stories is the size, and nature, of the space, (jungles, warehouses, summer camps, and spaceships) the type of people dying (probably White), and why (probably monsters). Along the way, the survivors have to navigate the very human monsters of greed, stupidity, callousness, cowardice, insanity…
In The Mist, David Drayton, his son Billy, and neighbor, Brent Norton get trapped inside a local grocery when a mysterious mist descends, a mist that contains some very hungry creatures. Also trapped with them is a small contingent of local people, along with Mrs. Carmody, a woman with the reputation of being a kind of hedge witch, who is also a religious fanatic.The two standout performances are from Andre Braugher as Norton , and Marcia Gay Harden, as Mrs. Carmody, with Melissa Mcbride (aka Carol from The Walking Dead) in her big film debut, making this a grand trifecta of awesome. Bringing up the rear, but never slouching, is Toby Jones, William Sadler, Sam Witwer, and Laurie Holden as Amanda Dunfrey, a woman David has an attraction to.
The Stephen King Multiverse
Near the small town of Bridgton Maine is a military facility that’s believed to be responsible for the descent of the Mist, after a huge thunderstorm knocks out the power in the town. The book suggests it was some experimental physics event created by something called The Arrowhead Project, that triggered the Mist, and Stephen King (and many fans ) have made this story part of the Stephen King Universe by suggesting that the Project opened what’s known in other King books, as a “thinny”, a portal between the worlds.
My personal assumption was that the portal opened into what King calls “todash” space, the dark void between the different worlds, which is inhabited by different types of monsters, like Tak , from The Regulators, and the creatures in this story. Todash Space is also something heavily referenced in The Dark Tower books, and at the opening of the movie, we can see David Drayton painting a picture of Roland Deschain, from The Gunslinger.
Thomas Jane, as David Drayton, just manages to just hold his own in this movie, which is impressive, as I never credited him as a particularly fine actor, although he has had a long career in film. Here, he’s supposed to be our everyman character, with whom the audience is meant to identify, and through which we’re meant to get into the story. His most direct nemesis’ is not the mist, but Edward Norton, a representative of disbelief, and Mrs. Carmody, who represents too much belief.
David tries to navigate these two approaches to their extreme circumstances, without falling into either the camp of delusion and denial, called The Flat Earth Society, in the book, or hysterical religious ideation, like Mrs. Carmody. In the novel, David has an affair with Amanda Dunfrey, as a form of solace over the loss of his wife, but in the film, Darabont stated that the two of them having an affair would make David’s character less sympathetic, so that was removed from the script. It would also have had the unintended side effect of the audience supposing that David was being punished for his adultery with her, especially if that was coupled with Darabont’s ending.
The ending sparked some controversy, because it’s completely at odds from what happened in the book, and some viewers claim that it defeats the purpose of everything David Drayton survived beforehand. The story itself is open-ended, David and the others never find their way out of the mist, although it ends on a hopeful note. In the movie, David and his friends elect to kill themselves, rather than be eaten by the monsters,, when their car runs out of gas. This made some people angry because they felt he went through so much to survive Mrs. Carmody, only to give up at the end.
But I felt this was an entirely reasonable response, if looked at along a continuum of the kinds of behavior we’d seen from everyone caught in the mist. In the book, some of the characters retreat from their circumstances by getting drunk, and a number of people who David says “went over”, simply go insane. People commit suicide, and retreat into religious hysteria, and denial. But the bottom line is that most of these people (except for a handful) do not want to face their situation head on. In the movie, David does, but even he and his friends are eventually defeated by the mist, and take their own lives.
Eventually, the only survivor is David, and he realizes the futility of what they’ve done after he steps out of his vehicle, intending to just give up and be eaten by whatever monster finds him first, only to encounter the retreat of the mist, and the American military destroying any monsters left over. That was something that infuriated a lot of people. David and the others having given up too soon. Had they waited just another hour or two, they would have all survived. But many people don’t understand that this is all an illustration of how hopelessness works. It’s immediate and intense, and must be taken care of right away. Hopelessness has no patience, and believes there is no time.
At any rate, staying in the store wouldn’t have saved them. They would have had to leave because of Mrs. Carmody anyway, as the military would never have arrived before she started killing more people.
Andre Braugher is incredible as Edward Norton. Heperfectly captures Norton’s officious resentment, from the book, and even manages to add an uncomfortable racial component, to his discussion with David in the market. So watch that scene again where he insinuates that people are racist, wtihout actually saying people are racist towards him.. In the book, he becomes the leader of the Flat Earth Society ,a faction of people withing the store who simply refuse to believe that the mist is dangerous., or that there are monsters.
It’s never made exactly clear what Norton does for a living, but I suspect he’s a lawyer. He approaches the entire event from an argumentative stance, as if his clinging to a rational approach to their circumstances should be enough to survive it. He and his crew represent just one approach to what has happened, and they (and the bagboy, who also didn’t believe the mist was dangerous.) are the first of the store’s customers to die. After those people are dead, we are left with the those who believe their circumstances are real, and that the monsters exist.
In the book, David states that there are so many different ways that the mind can approach what’s happened, but really there aren’t that many. People can only respond in about three ways to extreme fear: flight (whether it’s physical (suicide), mental (insanity)) from their circumstances, confrontating the situation head on, in an attempt to get around it, which is what David does, and negotiation, which is what Mrs. Carmody does. Edward Norton, and Norm the bagboy, tried disbelief and confrontation, and that promptly got them killed. In the novel, several people choose flight from their circumstances. They just mentally check out, (they go insane), still others use alcohol, or suicide to escape. This is somewhat less evident in the movie than in the story. We don’t see any of the characters getting drunk as a way of coping with the situation, for example.
And then there’s Mrs. Carmody. I think, in the movie, she’s meant to represent insanity, but I don’t believe she is insane, and I’ll explain why in a moment.
In the book, Mrs. Carmody is a caricature of religious insanity, screaming about the abominations in the mist, in a bright yellow pantsuit. She starts off the story as a joke, a figure of mockery. Over the years King has become better at writing radically religious people, but Mrs. Carmody is one of the weakest characters in the novel, as she is very one-note, and over the top. When we first meet her in the novel, she only has one setting and that is “crazy”, and she remains that way for the rest of the story. There’s no background or depth given to her. She’s little better than the monsters in the mist.
This is where Darabont’s talent for adapting King’s films comes into play. Under his creative control, Mrs. Carmody is considerably deepened as a character. We don’t learn anything new about her backstory, but we do learn that she is not as sure of herself as she would like everyone to believe. In the movie, she begins as a simple curmudgeon, complaining about the smallest thing. Like Norton, she sees her response to what’s happening as entirely reasonable, calmly and quietly explaining to the imprisoned crowd what will happen to everyone, if they don’t do as she says, which is one of the best changes from the book. As the movie progresses, you get a much better grasp of her character, especially in the scene with Amanda.
Amanda Dunfrey comes across Carmody in the lady’s restroom, and finds her in tears, as she prays to God to give her the strength to commit to His will. Amanda offers her comfort, but Mrs. Carmody’s response lets you know that she is aware of what contempt she is held in the town, and she rejects her. She speaks from the perspective of someone who sees herself as an underdog, a figure of mockery and disdain. She doesn’t accept Amanda’s overture of friendship because she knows Amanda doesn’t care about her, and that none of the people in the market are worthy.
That scenes lends a new perspective to her actions in the market. She is not as certain of her strength as she seems, not as sure she’s doing the right thing but she forges ahead anyway, and since you get the subtle impression she has just as much contempt for the townsfolk ( they are all horrible sinners) as they do for her (as the town crazy), we have to question her motivations for calling for more and more extreme ends to deal with the mist. Her way of dealing with the mist is to try to appease the deity, from whom she beleives the mist comes, but she goes about it the wrong way.
Carmody’s belief, that she is doing God’s will, is abetted by surviving an attack by one of the mist creatures. A large dragonfly creature, with a venomous stinger lands on her, while she prays that it won’t kill her. When it doesn’t harm her, I think she sees that as a sign of God’s approval, that she is indeed doing the right thing, (after which she starts to show a certain degree of pride, and certainty, in knowing what God wants). She also shows pride in believing that she can save these people from certain damnation. But I don’t believe she is insane, as that’s too easy. (I think her motivations are a lot darker than insanity, and some of it may be revenge against the townspeople, she feels hate her, although that’s something that’s not immediately clear, and is just my supposition.) In other words, her motivations are not pure.
If Norton, and David, represent forms of confrontation, then Mrs. Carmody represents negotiation, which also doesn’t work in their circumstances either. Norton tries confrontation and dies, Carmody’s approach is appeasement and negotiation, and she dies, and this is why Darabont’s ending doesn’t upset me overmuch, as its entirely in keeping with the theme of the movie, that there’s only one response that saved anyone from the mist.
David’s confrontational approach doesn’t work because it is self-serving, and he ends up losing everything, his wife, son, friends, and endangering his sanity. Everyone around David dies, every time he goes into the mist. But he miraculously survives, because his reasons for going into the mist, while altruistic, are not completely pure. One can even make the argument that only the impure, the sinners, die, and that the reason David survives while others do not, is because, although he is tainted, he is still never directly responsible for anyone’s death, and does make efforts to save people, like Norm the bagboy, and Edward Norton. But he is the one who talks the others into going to the pharmacy, and talks them into escaping the market. And those actions could be considered a form of hubris, as Mrs. Carmody says.
One can make a comparison between David and Mrs Carmody, in that it is their pride and hubris that get other people killed, as they are both guilty of these things. Norton’s pride and disbelief got him killed, and David’s pride lets him believe he can somehow defeat the mist by confronting it head on. Carmody’s prideful belief that she knows God’s will results in her death, too.
It’s interesting to note that Ollie Weeks dies just after he kills Mrs Carmody. He is not a prideful character, and seemed to genuinely regret killing her, and even though he had a very good reason for doing so, murder is still a sin. In the novel, the soldiers commit suicide, but in the movie Carmody is directly responsible for the death of at least one of them, when she talks the crowd into sacrificing him to the mist, which is still murder. Their situation can be likened to a form of purgatory, in which there is nothing they can do to escape their fate,except for the one character who actually does.
Melissa McBride’s character is one of the few people who actually survives walking out onto the mist, and I suspect it’s because she doesn’t negotiate with it, or try to run from it. She surrenders to it with faith, and humility, that she will be safe to save her children. She is also one of the purest people to do so, as she has harmed no one, unlike Mrs. Carmody. She believes the mist is dangerous, but leaves the market anyway, to save her kids, and hers is one of the few motivations which is pure and not entirely self serving, the love for her children. At the end of the movie, we see her riding with the soldiers, both her children with her. It is interesting that David survives only after he does what she did, which is knowingly surrender himself to the will of the mist, and simply walk out into it.
All that said, I don’t believe Darabont (or Stephen King) set out to tell a religious allegory, but the presence of Mr.s Carmody allows one to see it in that light.
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!)
I’m so tired!
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!)
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From CBS News: Della Reese, best known for her work on “Touched by an Angel,” has died at age 86. The actress and gospel-influenced singer found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama, when she was in her 60s. Reese’s co-star on the series, Roma Downey, said in a […]
So I would like to point out that Charles Manson never: poisoned Indian lands with a leaky oil pipeline; invited and enabled the slaughter of elephants; built cheesy gilded hotels and casinos; ripped off the contractors who built his hotels; voted for tax breaks for the obscenely rich; conspired with the Russians to subvert elections;…
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
*Okay, I just want everyone to prepare themselves for the influx of assholes, who will be in your tags and inboxes, on the exact date of February 17th, (the day after the release of the movie Black Panther) just to declare how unfeminine, and masculine coded, the Dora Milaje are, or how they love and admire them, because they are so strong and independent, and don’t need romance. Or paradoxically, how the Dora Milaje isn’t feminist, because they willingly serve a patriarchal kingship. People, with only the most rudimentary understanding of feminism, will be writing treatise long essays,about how the Black women in the movie are so badly written, and how Lupita’s character and Chadwick Boseman have no chemistry..
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.
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 interact—Topaz 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.
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.
*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.
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.
“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.)
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.
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!)
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.
*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.
* 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 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.
Wednesday, a federal judge placed restrictions on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, claiming their conduct during recent protests has violated demonstrators’ constitutional rights.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ruled that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against St. Louis police “are likely to prevail on the merits of their claims” that their First and Fourth Amendment rights had been violated.
The case stems from protests which took place in September, following the “not guilty” verdict in the murder trial of Jason Stockley, a white police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, in 2011.
Perry found sufficient evidence that although there was no violence, police declared an assembly without taking the protesters’ rights and opinions into consideration. She also ruled that there was “no credible threat of force or violence to officers or property” when police rounded…
Hey there! Have some weekend reading on one of my current favorite films: Bladerunner 2049. Yes, I have read all of these, but there are quite a few out there that I haven’t had a chance to read, so if you have a link that’s not listed here, please feel free to post it in the comments! And just a word of warning, since so many of the articles deal with social issues, you should probably avoid reading the comment sections, if you want to keep your blood pressure at a manageable level. The White Nonsense Faction was out in full force for a lot of them.
*One of the primary plot points in the new Bladerunner is Ryan gosling’s character, Officer K believes he’s the special child born of a replicant from the first movie, Rachael. He believes tihs because of an uploaded real memory, something forbidden to replicants. He finds he’s not as special as he seems, when he discovers other replicants also hold the same memory. He becomes more human when he moves past this need to feel special. And so would we:
Bladerunner has been criticised for doing a lot of borrowing, mostly of Asian aesthetics, and Black American cultural narratives.
As critic Angelica Jade Bastién recently noted at Vulture, mainstream dystopian sci-fi has always been obsessed with oppression narratives. While it returns over and over again to the downtrodden-rises-up-against-the-subjugator model, the genre has always had a remarkable ability to overlook the persecuted groups—people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities—whose experiences it mines for drama. White creators, men in particular, tend instead to whitewash their casts, imagining themselves as both villain and hero. Rather than simply putting the real thing in the story, their tales become metaphorsfor the real thing. Blade Runner 2049 falls into this trap: Even as Wallace grandstands about “great societies” being “built on the backs of a disposable workforce,” everyone the movie deems powerful or worth exploring is still white and almost 100 percent male, relegating those disposable workforces’ descendants to the story’s incidental margins.
By contrast, in both Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, the notion of white-skinned replicants as escaped slaves does not fit the historical and representational iconography that we associate with slaves as being both black and engaged in menial labor. Neither film gives us a glimpse of the ‘slave labor’ that the replicants were engaged in on the off-world colonies. Therefore, the written preamble in both films about replicants being used as slave labor in off-world colonies does not become a significant theme in either film. From the perspective of dispassionate black spectators, all we see are white people killing other white people for somehow not being authentic white people. The replicants are near perfect reproductions of white people that even the authentic white people in pursuit are unsure about until after they have been killed. It is in this way that one might consider both Blade Runner films as mediations about white-on-white crime. “Do white people kill other white people for not acting like authentic white people,” might be an alternative title for both films. Furthermore, does being a slave for the benefit of white people automatically revoke one’s status as human?
One of the themes in Bladerunner 2049, is the commodification, of not just labor, (which has always been so), but women . Of their bodies, their sexuality, and in the case of Niander Wallace, the commodification of reproduction.
There are also all the issues surrounding the character of Joi and her relationship to Officer K, what she is, what she thinks, and does any of it matter if she’s not real.
There are also issues stemming from the films excessive use of the male gaze and how that impacts the film’s message.
I disagred with a lot of this article. The author completely dismisses the role of of the holographic Joi, in K’s existence, and her projection of a certain type of mindset onto Robin Wright’s Lt. Joshi, but otherwise, this is a nice solid article on how well Gosling captures K’s quiet inner life.
*This new movie seems set to duplicate the box office results of the first Bladeruner. In this article, the author of Robopocalypse, Daniel H. Wilson, wonders why that is, and ponders the new film’s thematic content.
Every time a nerdy piece of media dares to center a Black woman in some way, White Feminists in fandom show up to show how much they don’t care about Black women.
You can go through my archives for the past three years to see the different ways that White Feminism has failed Black female characters and the fans that love them. I don’t need to go through how Black women are constantly desexualized or ignored or mistreated by fandom in the name of (White) Feminism.
In the wake of Thor: Ragnarok, I had the… unwelcome opportunity to see such dismissive content play out in the form of an Italian viewer whose attempt at tackling the film (and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie) showed the most basic grasp of gender performance and doesn’t bother to bring intersectionality to the table.
I’m not going to link to the original post or her blog…
Today we got the second teaser trailer for Deadpool 2, and while it was funny -and featured the introduction of Deadpool Ross- it didn’t really give a hint about what the film is about. Check out the first trailer for ‘Deadpool 2’! 🔥🙌🏾. #Deadpool2 pic.twitter.com/HvU9NTSsg4 — Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) November 15, 2017 Now, hours after […]