Haberdasheries and Hemoglobins On Youtube

Today, I have decided to laugh.

Okay, maybe its not all sweetness and light, but I find Youtube amusing and interesting, as I carefully curate the things on my dashboard, to minimize bullshit. Here’s a list of ridiculousness that I stumbled across, and a short list of Youtubers I subscribe to. This is maybe half of them, but its a pretty good snapshot of the subjects that most interest me.

 

Tony Baker Voiceovers

From now on, I’m going to use the word “The Skibbity Pap”,  every time I love smack one of my nieces or nephews on the back of the head. These Tony Baker videos have been around for years, but they’re new to me, and I just love them. Whenever I need a quick pick me up, I just put on one of these, and I’m soon crying for a completely different reason!

Also “skibbity pap” just sounds like the kind of thing that cats would call those love smacks they enjoy giving to anyone, or anything, that wanders into their orbit.

 

 

Two things that are  deeply funny to me, are how the animals love to sing R&B songs to themselves, when they’re alone, and continuing adventures of Rudy, and his dogs.

 

 

The Patriot Act

ASMR: signifies the subjective experience of “low-grade euphoria” characterized by “a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin”. It is most commonly triggered by specific auditory or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control.

This is one of the weirdest/funniest videos on Youtube, as Hasan Minhaj, from Patriot Act, gets in on that whole ASMR experience, by helping you relax while you’re doing your taxes. Watch the whole thing!

 

 

Beau of the Fifth Column

The first time I stumbled across one of Beau’s videos, I did what maybe a lot of people did, and skipped past it, because I really didn’t want to be bothered by yet another opinion video, from a straight white guy, about social issues that didn’t affect him. I’ve had my absolute fill of white men, “objectively” playing devil’s advocate on  social issues.

But his videos kept being recommended to me, so I gave one a try, and was pleasantly surprised by how open and level headed he is. I don’t always agree with the things he says, but he always clearly, and honestly explains what, and why, he believes it, in a way that doesn’t talk down to the viewer, or occlude the issues with erasure and lies.

The titles of the videos are often misleading, but once you start watching, you realize that he is someone who thinks very differently from most people (even me) about a thing.

 

 

 

CinemaWins

I am more than a little tired of this idea, that more than a few people deeply believe, that criticism must be negative. I keep trying to tell people that any opinion, whether its positive or negative, is actually a critique of whatever  you just consumed, because that’s what “criticize” means. Yes, loving something, and stating why, is a perfectly valid critique.

This critic says he originally started this channel as a rebuke to the Cinema Sins Channel, (which I hate). I chose this particular video because I love this movie as much as he does, and for all the same reasons.

 

 

Jesse Dollamore

I knew what I was getting into when I stumbled across Dollamore’s videos, because I started watching him back in the days when he was taking down the low hanging fruit that is Tomimo Laurencias stupid ass. At least part of the reason I like his videos are the incredible insults he levels at trump and his cronies, because they’re almost poetic. Feckless moron, and googly-eyed nitiwt, are what come to mind. I love a good, and well delivered, insult.

 

 

La Guardia Cross

Papa La Guardia says:

New Father Chronicles began in November of 2014 when my daughter Amalah was 1-week-old. I had no idea what I was doing, so I decided to chronicle my journey on YouTube and make fun of myself along the way. Our 2nd daughter, Nayely, was born in April of 2017.

My channel is filled with the silly adventures I have with my girls, infant and toddler interviews, my interpretations of their babble, silly skits, and the things I’ve learned or unlearned as a parent. Sometimes Leah and I mix it up a bit and share some pretty personal moments as well. Why? Well, we’re far from perfect and we’ve learned a lot from our mistakes.

This was one of the first videos I ever saw, and its at least a couple of years old as his baby girls are about three and five now, and I’m not sure where I heard of it, or what I’d watched, that this was recommended to me.

 

 

 

Renegade Cut

Okay, these are just really good reviews, and the critic makes an effort to make his critiques relevant to real world events, like this one about how Black peopel have always been talking about police brutality, which has permeated almost all of our tele-visual arts.

 

 

 

Sir Stevo Timothy

I’m not sure how this video got recommended to me. I thought it was funny, but still  wasn’t quite  sure what to think, when I saw the first one, so I did a little research to figure out who the hell this guy was. it turns out that this character is a parody of a certain type of racist, loud, old, ignorant, Irish uncle. He manages to make the things he says so stupidly ridiculous that you cannot possible take his opinions seriously, and even manages to slip in  some progressive thoughts, if you pay attention.

This video is one of my favorites because no matter how hard he tries, he is simply incapable of ignoring that his passenger is a Black man (from Dublin).

 

I’m probably not supposed to laugh this damn hard at these videos.

 

 

 

The Fish Locker

This video doesn’t seem like it fits anything else on this list, but  its surprisingly soothing to watch this guy combing the rocky beaches of Scotland for seafood, with his wife and son.

This is like ASMR beach combing.

 

 

 

Tkviper

And here are the real ASMR videos of Tkviper just walking the many different streets of Japan, while its raining different types of rain.

 

 

 

Aeon Flux

Does anybody remember these cartons from MTV’s Liquid Television, in the 9os? I remember watching hte hell out of these at the time. I think I still have the full DVD set.

My Favorite Memes of the Past Ten Years

What is a Meme?

meme is a virally-transmitted photograph that is embellished with text that pokes fun at a cultural symbol or social idea. The majority of modern memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. Other memes can be videos and verbal expressions.

I spend a lot of time on Tumblr, which, much like Twitter, is meme central. Here’s a list of some of my all time favorite memes from the past ten years. I generally do not have a strong meme game, but I try.

******

I love this one because this perfectly describes me and my mother’s relationship, when it comes to me talking about things like superheroes, and some of the movies I like. Of course, that’s me, on the right, when Mom is enthusiastically describing whatever happened on her soap operas that day…

I’ve seen this meme all over Tumblr, and quite frankly, it describes a lot of people’s relationships with any one of  their enthusiastically geeky family members. You just know that poor woman has no idea what the hell that girl is crying about, just like I have no idea of this meme’s origin story.

 

 

This is one of the many faces you simply cannot get away with making at your White co-workers because you will probably get written up or something. You can only do this face, when you’re discussing whatever nonsense you endured, to your Black friends, at some later date.

Here’s the thing, I have no idea what show this is from. I think it might be Parks & Rec, or The Office, but I’m not sure. I only know this guy’s face from this meme becasue I never watched either show. Its like that sometimes on Tumblr. I only know what has happened on a show I don’t watch through the gifs that appear on my dash.

 

 

Sometimes I do know a memes origins, and that’s why this is one of my favorites.This is from Quinta B’s short lived video series, about being an awkward Black girl, titled “Don’t Tell Me To Relax”. Quinta B is currently starring in The Black Lady Sketch Show on HBO, and she  is one of the funniest Black women in comedy.

I love this image because her facial expression is absolutely perfect. That is the expression you wear when you know you’re right, the other person has acknowledged that you are right, and  you  want to just be a smug asshole…

…or this is twelve year old me winning a game of Uno!

 

 

 

This is Linnethia Monique “NeNe” Leakes from the show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which I have never watched. I only know her from her gifs and memes. In fact, I never did find out what she “said” she said, but Nene is the meme of every emphatically correct Black woman on the internet. “Don’t explain back  to me what I just said. I know what I said!”

 

 

 

This one is called calculating woman. I have no idea where this is from, so I probably could use this meme, to explain my confusion, about who the hell this woman is.

I do know why I find this one funny.This is the look Black people wear when seeing White people do something inexplicable, like walking on the sidewalk in their bare feet.

 

 

I know these are two separate memes, but I have only ever seen the two of them paired together. I only like this because my mind is very literal when it comes to this set of images, although its pretty much used everywhere on Tumblr. I would be outraged if a smug little cat sat itself down at my dinner table, too. I also know that any cat would be completely unperturbed by me screaming at them.

 

 

 

The woman in this meme spoke about what it was like to actually become a meme. She says that although how its been used is pretty funny, it wasn’t about her squinting incredulously at anything. She said she made that face because, before this pose, she’d been in a kneeling position, and when she stood up, her knees hurt!

Either way, I can understand both of those moods.

 

 

 

I’ve only ever seen both these  memes used in conjunction with people complaining about  colonizing, or appropriation. They’re both so very different, but are almost always used to mean the same thing, often used in conjunction with the term Wypipo!

 

Bonus!

The “Some of You Have Never …And it Shows” Meme

Some Of You Have Never…

 

 

 

 

My Favorite MadTV Characters

Now for something a little more fun.

MadTV was one of my all-time favorite comedy sketch shows, and it was definitely for the characters, who were often as nerve-wracking as they were funny. You wanted to punch them just as much as laugh at them, which certainly makes for memorable characters.

I was, and still am, a huge fan of Mad Magazine, which this show was loosely based on. It aired for 12 seasons on the Fox Network, with a brief revival for its 20th anniversary, in 2015. From the beginning, the show was inclusive, with a number of Black female comedians, something which SNL, a show I genuinely liked, had never done. Some of the most notable comedians were Keegan Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Orlando Jones, Phil Lamarr, Nicole Sullivan, Debra Wilson, Will Sasso, and  Michael McDonald.

The Vancome Lady – Nicole Sullivan

The character most people remember, and the woman voted most likely to get the shit slapped out of her at a party, she was just mean for no fucking reason. She  had an evil, snide, or  sarcastic, comment for everyone she met. It wasn’t just her sarcasm that endeared her,  watching her occasionally get her comeuppance was always fun, too.

 

Ms. Swann – Alex Borstein

For all the clueless characters created for this show Ms. Swann was the most. Or was she? Every now and then, she would show a sly sense of humor, as if to say she knew what she was saying, or doing, was ridiculous, and why are you even paying attention to her.

 

Bunifa  Latifah Halifah Sharifah Jackson – Debra Wilson

What was so funny about this character, wasn’t just the multiple names, but that I actually knew women like this.  They were funny as hell, great to have as friends, horrible enemies, great at parties, and habitual liars.

 

The UPS Man – Phil Lamarr

This was one of the first characters I remember seeing on the show, and he was so weird, that I was intrigued enough to keep watching, week after week. I was just awed by the physicality of the actor. Incidentally, the actor who plays this character is Phil Lamarr, the voice of Samurai Jack, and  John Stewart/Green Lantern.

 

 

Java Man – Mr. McNer – Pat Kilbane

Java Man was not as easily remembered as some other characters, but he was one of the first characters I looked forward to seeing in each show. This man put other coffee addicts to shame. He was a coffee junkie, and it showed in all his twitchy glory. A lot of the comedians for the show were wonderful at physical comedy.

 

Leona Campbell – Stephanie Weir

Not a lot of people remember Leona, but she was one of my favorites. She seemed like she didn’t know what was going on,  but often questioned the ridiculousness of the American lifestyle, and always  managed to be entirely on point. Leona visiting the movie theater is one of my favorites. Stephanie Weir also played a lovely and imaginative little 8 year old girl named Dot, who loved tiny mittens and gum, and who was hated by her parents for not being a genius, like her twin sister.

 

Lorraine Swanson – Mo Collins

Lorraine is another one of my favorite characters. MadTV had a knack for creating some of the funniest, most annoying, characters that ever appeared on television, and Lorraine was at the top. She had some kind of throat clearing issue, that was constantly making her cough,usually in someone’s face, and was an indecisive know-nothing, know-it-all, that her foils always had to explain everything to.

 

 

Stewart Larkin – Michael James McDonald

Wow! This was very probably MadTV’s most famous character. The comedians of MadTV were utterly fearless, and they had no problems thoroughly humiliating themselves for a joke. If you remember nothing else about this show, you remember Stewart, and his hapless Mother, lamenting the fact that she was single, because his father left them on Tuesday. I just recently saw Mr. McDonald in the Ghostbusters reboot as a hysterical theater owner, so yeah, he’s still up and about..

 

Yvonne Criddle – Daniele Gaither

Yvonne was very possibly one of the most vindictive women on the planet and she was proud of it. Be careful if you slighted this woman, because her revenge would be totally disproportionate to anything you’d done. Accidentally throw leaves in her front yard, and you might find Child Services called to take away your children. Take her parking space at the Home Depot, and she would try to run you off a cliff afterwards.

Thoughts for the Weekend

 

The Media

This article talks about why one of the reasons people think the world is  going to hell. It is the prevalence of negative news. The very nature of the news, the tagline being, “If it bleeds, it leads.” accounts for the greater and greater amounts of negativity we see in the news. Each story has to be sensational, outrageous, and/or gory.

A couple of years ago, my habit, like thousands of other people, was to get up each morning, and turn on the news. I stopped doing that. When I get up in the morning now, I watch something light and fun, that doesn’t require too much thought, like a comedy I recorded the night before, or favorite episodes of old shows. I’ve found that I feel more positive throughout the day, I’m less angry, I’m nicer to my co-workers, and generally more cheerful, at the start of the day, than when I watched the news.

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The media exaggerates negative news.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/17/steven-pinker-media-negative-news

Whether or not the world really is getting worse, the nature of news will interact with the nature of cognition to make us think that it is.

News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a journalist saying to the camera, “I’m reporting live from a country where a war has not broken out”— or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. 

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Game of Thrones

If you do nothing else this season of Game of Thrones, you have to read the weekly rundown of the show, by the fans at The Root. Even if you hate the show, don’t watch the show, or know nothing about the show, you should read them anyway because they are, hands down, some of the funniest reviews of anything on the internet. At this point, reading the weekly review becomes part of the show. For those of you with real stamina, you can try reading the show’s live tweet on Black Twitter.

I am always amazed that so many Black people love this show, including many non-geeks. It took me years to really get into it, because I just wasn’t interested. I followed the show off and on for the first three seasons, but didn’t become any kind of fan until season five, after the episode Hardhome, which I understand was the turning point for a lot of people.  Last weekend was the culmination of that particular episode, so there are plenty of spoilers in the post.

I want to point out that Arya Stark is one of my all-time favorite characters on the show, and has been my go-to Baby Badass since season five.

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Arya Stark Forces Night King to Drop Out of Presidential Race

Although he has not issued a formal statement, representatives for Walker—also known as the Night King—confirmed that the blue-eyed devil will not take part in the upcoming primaries, citing the fact that he had lost support among a key group of supporters—namely, the Arya Stark demographic.

 

#NotToday: The Night King nor Kim Kardashian Could Stop Us From Keeping Up With The Battle of Winterfell

With five or six tea lights lighting the battle scene on our screens, The Red Woman came and did what the fuck she had to do and said let there be light and lit the field with fire. Too bad the fire didn’t do shit for our screens our Daenerys’ vision from the sky.

 

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 Robot Fear

This is a very interesting article about how Western nations view robots vs. how cultures in the East view them. The Japanese, for example, have a very different attitude towards robots than Americans. The article credits part of that to the Western attitudes towards systems of chattel slavery. The East had slaves, but the systems there were not set up the same here, or perpetuated throughout that country’s other institutions, either.

I also think part of the issue is not just our attitudes about the treatment of slaves, but the Western religious ideas behind them, and the idea of karmic retribution that has attached itself to those ideas. We need to add decades of movie and TV narratives in which robot slaves turned on their owners. I wrote before about how a lot of futuristic fiction involves imagining what White people have done to other cultures, happening to White people, usually by beings once held in bondage, like robots. The term “robot” was invented in the West, and violent retribution by them, is one of its earliest Pop culture themes, as in the 1927 Metropolis.

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WHY WESTERNERS FEAR ROBOTS AND THE JAPANESE DO NOT

https://www.wired.com/story/ideas-joi-ito-robot-overlords/

It’s not that Westerners haven’t had their fair share of friendly robots like R2-D2 and Rosie, the Jetsons’ robot maid. But compared to the Japanese, the Western world is warier of robots. I think the difference has something to do with our different religious contexts, as well as historical differences with respect to industrial-scale slavery.

 

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Yarn Industry Diversity

Here’s a short list of Knitting designers, and Dyers of Color in the industry.

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Black Yarn Dyers and the case for Purposeful Support

https://theyarnmission.com/black-yarn-dyers-and-the-case-for-purposeful-support/

It’s not about tokenism.” Rather, we insist that folks support artists simply because they are Black. Especially for their Blackness we recognize that for so many it would mean “in spite of their Blackness.” This is what pro-Black looks like to us since we are working towards a liberation in the face of rampant, engrained, and internalized anti-Blackness. 

 

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Comedy

I’m still not over Nanette, which is still airing on Netflix. It just floored me. I’m guessing it floored a lot of people, since so many wrote think pieces about it. I do believe Hannah Gadsby is the future of comedy, while people like Bill Maher, Jerry Seinfeld, and Louis C K, are comedy’s past. I noticed that when women do comedy, (any marginalized people, really), they are as as liable to cause tears as much as laughter. The only male comedian I’ve ever seen who captures that particular vibe is Patton Oswalt, in his stand-up, Annihilation, )where he talks about the death of his wife).

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Bill Maher Is Stand-up Comedy’s Past. Hannah Gadsby Represents Its Future.

https://www.vulture.com/2018/07/bill-maher-hannah-gadsby-stand-up-comedy.html

Nanette is also a deconstruction of stand-up specials, as well as several generations’ worth of straight male–crafted opinions on what “good comedy” is and what “great art” is. Gadsby poses a question which, if answered affirmatively, would validate her stated wish to quit doing stand-up: What if “funny” is the enemy of “honest,” or at least at cross-purposes with it?

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Reverse Racism Claims

Recently Jordan Peele came into the cross hairs of the White Bigot League, when he stated that he wasn’t looking to hire White men for any of his lead roles, as that had all been done before, and he wants to try something different. I think this article perfectly captures all my thoughts on this issue.

For the record, he never said he wouldn’t  cast any White people in his movies. What he said was he wasn’t going to cast them in the lead roles.

Image result for i said what i said

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Jordan Peele Not Wanting to Cast White Male Leads

https://www.thewrap.com/jordan-peele-no-white-male-leads-nothing-wrong/

But racism becomes a social disease when it systematically and systemically places one race at the top of a hierarchy at the expense of other races. That is why the N-word stings so much more than any word blacks ever coined to denigrate white people. It’s why blackface hurts in a way that whiteface doesn’t. There are centuries of brutal history to back up the sting.

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Black Romance

I thought this article was especially interesting. I do not read Romance novels, as a general rule but I used to have a disdain for them. At some point, I realized my disdain was contributing to an atmosphere in Pop culture that devalues the interests of women, and if the hobbies and interests of women aren’t considered important, then imagine how denigrated Black women’s interests must be.

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Fifty shades of white: the long fight against racism in romance novels

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/04/fifty-shades-of-white-romance-novels-racism-ritas-rwa?src=longreads

Some booksellers continued to shelve black romances separately from white romances, on special African American shelves. Accepted industry wisdom told black authors that putting black couples on their covers could hurt sales, and that they should replace them with images of jewellery, or lawn chairs, or flowers. Other authors of colour had struggled to get representation within the genre at all.

 

 

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US

I promise this is the last article I’m going to post about this movie. Its just fascinating how much (and how many) meanings people are finding in this movie.

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https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/us-movies-hidden-meaning-black-identity-explained-1196687

Jordan Peele may have crafted the first horror movie to truly dismantle the MAGA era and how African Americans fit into it.

 

 

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Poverty

Hollywood has crafted a lot about how we think of the world, its situations, and the people around us. I think many of us would be surprised at how much of our “knowledge” of the world comes from movies.

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Perpetuating the poverty myth: How Hollywood gives us the wrong ideas about poor people

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/perpetuating-poverty-myth-hollywood-gives-us-wrong-ideas-poor-people-210440365.html

Pimpare believes that at this time of deep divisions in America, movies that accurately portray modern-day poverty are more important than ever. “We are geographically so segregated, racially segregated, and we are very much economically segregated — so it may be that for growing numbers of people, the only opportunities they have to gain insight into lives of poor and low-income people are through mass media,” 

 

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Representation Matters

Yahp!

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https://the-orbit.net/progpub/2018/12/26/representation-matters/

For myself and many African-American moviegoers, one film has stood out from the rest. Not because the others listed (or those absent) are sub-par movies, but rather, because the Black Panther was the kind of movie we have long thirsted for. The first Black superhero of Marvel Comics got to headline the first Black superhero movie from Marvel Studios, with a Black director, a predominately Black cast, diverse presentation of Black bodies, an Afrofuturist aesthetic, complex nuanced characters largely devoid of stereotypes, a rich backstory, and a massive budget. A monumental box office hit, the movie shattered record after record on its way to a final global tally of roughly $1.3 billion. 

 

Talk Amongst Yourselves: Here’s A Topic

Here’s some reading for your weekend. Some of these articles are not new, but they were new to me when I read them, and I thought they were interesting enough to share:

 

 

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*For those of you outside the US, this topic may be puzzling to you. The reason there are so many stories about this recently is because of the progress of technology. We can now clearly document the racism that Black people (and other marginalized groups) are on the receiving end of in this country. (This article lists several.)

Sadly, the only takeaway that a lot of White people get from the widely publicized police shootings of unarmed Black men, is that they can call the police, who will then come and punish us, or remove us, and there is a very clear reason that  many of these incidents have been instigated by White women. In a few of these cases, it is made  clear by the participants, that the reason they’re calling the police, is that they hope we will be killed. 

The bottom line is that White supremacy is not the sole province of White men. White women are not innocent, and have been willing, sometimes eager, participants in its practice.

https://www.damemagazine.com/2018/07/30/white-women-arent-afraid-of-black-people-they-want-pretty-power/

There’s a long history of white women harassing Black people and getting cops to arrest them. The only danger they feel is of losing their place within the white patriarchy.

 

 

 

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*This is an analysis of the types of gender roles played in superhero movies:

https://adanewmedia.org/2016/10/issue10-miller-rauch-kaplan/

This study examined full-length superhero movies to determine if there are gender differences in characters’ roles, appearances, and violence.

 

 

Image result for black superheroes

*A lot of Black superheroes are strictly small time. Its interesting that superheroes written by White men are only ever tasked with taking care of their immediate environment, which is almost always a crime- ridden neighborhood in the inner city. This is not to negate the existence of Cosmic and Planetary  superheroes, but that there are so many of them willing to forgo protecting the planet, or the galaxy, in favor of just hanging out in the ‘hood, is something I hadn’t noticed before.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/11/black-superheros/383042/

Traditionally, movies have done a curious thing with black heroes: Charge them not with saving the world, but rather with protecting their immediate, ethno-specific domains, or, in many cases, to put it bluntly, the ghetto.

 

 

 

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*This has been an issue since the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Before that, Asian people had largely been vilified in the media, and by politicians, as a menace, or as not really being American. After the passing of the CRA there was a concerted effort to use the achievements of certain ethnicity of Asian Americans to make backhanded slaps at Black people, in an attempt to negate the effects of White supremacist policies on both groups.

https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/04/19/524571669/model-minority-myth-again-used-as-a-racial-wedge-between-asians-and-blacks

Since the end of World War II, many white people have used Asian-Americans and their perceived collective success as a racial wedge. The effect? Minimizing the role racism plays in the persistent struggles of other racial/ethnic minority groups — especially black Americans.

 

 

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*I had a long rant ready about the whininess of comedians who claim political correctness has destroyed their careers, but this article states what I wanted to say clearly enough. What they are complaining about is simply what happens to older comedians who can’t adapt to the times.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0616-rabin-seinfeld-pc-20150616-story.html

Comedy increasingly is taking the form of a conversation rather than a one-way expression of ideas and information, and cranky older comedians who opt out of this dialogue risk becoming relics of an earlier era.

 

 

 

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*This made me think about a lot of the art created by marginalized groups in hte US ,and how so much of it is created to uplift the self- esteem of the group. What Gadsby says she was doing in her stand-up is the exact opposite of rap music, for example. There is no such thing as self- deprecating rap music. I thought of this because I had been listening to Django Jane ,and how that is an anthem for QPoC, and the things Janelle Monae says about herself in that song, are a celebration of her strength, and identity, and it makes me wonder if Gadsby’s approach to stand-up, has more to do with being Tanzanian rather than American. or if its just her own introverted personality at work.

 Here, you have two very different women, both of them somewhere along the LGBTQ spectrum, one White and Non- American, and the other American born, and you have two very different philosophical approaches to their performances. Gadsby claims her self- deprecation was the price she paid for speaking, as if she needed permission to talk about her life, and could only do so by making herself smaller. This does not seem to be the case with Janelle, who creates art that celebrates herself. Janelle doesn’t ask permission. She is  telling the listener how wonderful she is, which is  one of the major components of a form of music that was created by an often denigrated, and marginalized group of people. Such a form of humility may have served Gadsby in the environment that produced it,  but Black Americans can’t afford to be humble.

http://observer.com/2018/08/film-crit-hulk-hannah-gadsby-rejects-the-premise/

“Do you understand what self-depreciation means when it comes from someone who already exists in the margins?” She asks, “it’s not humility, it’s humiliation.” And Gadsby was done having her very identity being a source of tension. She was done cutting herself down. She was done humiliating herself.

 

 

 

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*I’ve watched a lot of Science Fiction and its interesting how many or how few  characters with disabilities are present, and how little accommodation is made for them. I cannot recall any stairs on Star Trek, but I also didn’t notice if other accommodations had been made for hearing, height, or sight disabilities. I’m going to have to re-watch a lot of my favorites, and make  notes.

http://www.scifipulse.net/turning-a-blind-eye-physical-disabilities-in-sci-fi-fantasy-entertainment/

https://io9.gizmodo.com/staircases-in-space-why-are-places-in-science-fiction-1827966642

Our real world is a remarkably inaccessible place. I haven’t made it to a movie theater on opening night in years without running into a plethora of issues, from broken captioning devices to nondisabled people sitting in seats for wheelchair users and their companions, to theaters that are physically inaccessible to me because of those dang steps and staircases.

 

 

*Thandie Newton, from Westworld, has a lot to say about diversity in SciFi:

 

Your character Maeve in HBO’s “Westworld” is an android or “host” in a theme park. What do you think it means to have characters of color in genre work? A lot of what’s in the mainstream doesn’t have people of color. What irritates me is that science fiction is the place where you could have us. Science fiction is a projection of a time that hasn’t even happened, so if you don’t populate that place with people of different skin tones, shame on you.

Weekly Tumblr Shenanigans

Well, its time for our favorite game show, Tumblr Hoopla, or things we’re making fun of on Tumblr this week. I hope this will lift at least a few of your Monday doldrums.

*The website Psych2Go is full of all these helpful little blurbs. I used to do this first one to my friends, but it probably wont work anymore, if they’re reading this. The second one used to work on my little brother until he got hip to  what I was doing.

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*This about sums up the Conservative Republican approach to women’s right to choose, I guess. They’re gonna force women to have kids nobody wants, and then let the kids starve to death, just like in the slums of Victorian England.

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*I still can’t quite pinpoint why this is so funny.
If you’re an introvert, follow @introvertunites.

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*Uhm-hm! If I have to see this on my dashboard, then everyone on WordPress should  be forced to look at this, too. Enjoy!
nabyss: “counterftnoire: “ antimana: “ karnythia: “ cakeandrevolution: “ khealywu: “ hotcommunist: “I saw these shoes last week and since that moment I have not know peace. My crops are failing, my animals are sick, snakes have manifested physically...

nabyss:

counterftnoire:

antimana:

karnythia:

cakeandrevolution:

khealywu:

hotcommunist:

I saw these shoes last week and since that moment I have not know peace. My crops are failing, my animals are sick, snakes have manifested physically in my home-

This is Trump’s America

If i had to see this with my own two eyes then so do the rest of you…

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?

THAT is what the rest of the world pictures when they’re asked about America, I’m fucking sure of it.

My EYES ARE BLEEDING!!!

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*When I was a kid, I asked my Mom this question, about some scifi movie we were watching, and her answer was that we had left the planet. I will accept that as a perfectly legitimate answer to why there ain’t no PoC in that movie. That answer doesn’t seem to work for movies set in the past, tho’.

summerchasingmermaids:

kaylapocalypse:

kaylapocalypse:

kaylapocalypse:

Anyway, if the new Harry Potter movie that is set in NEW YORK IN THE 1920s doesn’t have any black people in it (like the trailer suggests) I am legit going to throw my Harry Potter books in the trash and never look back.

I don’t care whose fault it is. The casting directors, the producers, j.k. herself. I don’t care. That level of disrespect, historical revisionism via white supremacist fantasy is not to be tolerated.

The Jazz Age.

With no black people.

The JAZZ AGE.

Do they have ANY idea how creepy it is that every single fantasy is a world without brown people?

That every magical wondrous place they can imagine, a dominant feature is that we have been scrubbed from every corner?

And where did we go? We’re we driven out? Did they kill us all? When one type of person is overwhelmingly missing there is always a reason.

And what reason will small children of color make up in their heads to answer such a question?

What little cloud will enter their mental sky?

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*Go on Instagram and count how many of these photos show up before Xmas! We know Instagram gays are very clumsy people. I guess lesbians are a lot more graceful, so let them hang your  Xmas lights.

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*I’ve been reading a lot about how Baby Its Cold Outside is a date rape song, but guys! sometimes historical context has to be taken into account. Maybe its not an appropriate song for the modern world, but when it was written, it was pretty risque.

livinginthequestion:

bigbutterandeggman:

teachingwithcoffee:

It’s time to bring an end to the Rape Anthem Masquerading As Christmas Carol

Hi there! Former English nerd/teacher here. Also a big fan of jazz of the 30s and 40s.

So. Here’s the thing. Given a cursory glance and applying today’s worldview to the song, yes, you’re right, it absolutely *sounds* like a rape anthem.

BUT! Let’s look closer!

“Hey what’s in this drink” was a stock joke at the time, and the punchline was invariably that there’s actually pretty much nothing in the drink, not even a significant amount of alcohol.

See, this woman is staying late, unchaperoned, at a dude’s house. In the 1940’s, that’s the kind of thing Good Girls aren’t supposed to do — and she wants people to think she’s a good girl. The woman in the song says outright, multiple times, that what other people will think of her staying is what she’s really concerned about: “the neighbors might think,” “my maiden aunt’s mind is vicious,” “there’s bound to be talk tomorrow.” But she’s having a really good time, and she wants to stay, and so she is excusing her uncharacteristically bold behavior (either to the guy or to herself) by blaming it on the drink — unaware that the drink is actually really weak, maybe not even alcoholic at all. That’s the joke. That is the standard joke that’s going on when a woman in media from the early-to-mid 20th century says “hey, what’s in this drink?” It is not a joke about how she’s drunk and about to be raped. It’s a joke about how she’s perfectly sober and about to have awesome consensual sex and use the drink for plausible deniability because she’s living in a society where women aren’t supposed to have sexual agency.

Basically, the song only makes sense in the context of a society in which women are expected to reject men’s advances whether they actually want to or not, and therefore it’s normal and expected for a lady’s gentleman companion to pressure her despite her protests, because he knows she would have to say that whether or not she meant it, and if she really wants to stay she won’t be able to justify doing so unless he offers her an excuse other than “I’m staying because I want to.” (That’s the main theme of the man’s lines in the song, suggesting excuses she can use when people ask later why she spent the night at his house: it was so cold out, there were no cabs available, he simply insisted because he was concerned about my safety in such awful weather, it was perfectly innocent and definitely not about sex at all!) In this particular case, he’s pretty clearly right, because the woman has a voice, and she’s using it to give all the culturally-understood signals that she actually does want to stay but can’t say so. She states explicitly that she’s resisting because she’s supposed to, not because she wants to: “I ought to say no no no…” She states explicitly that she’s just putting up a token resistance so she’ll be able to claim later that she did what’s expected of a decent woman in this situation: “at least I’m gonna say that I tried.” And at the end of the song they’re singing together, in harmony, because they’re both on the same page and they have been all along.

So it’s not actually a song about rape – in fact it’s a song about a woman finding a way to exercise sexual agency in a patriarchal society designed to stop her from doing so. But it’s also, at the same time, one of the best illustrations of rape culture that pop culture has ever produced. It’s a song about a society where women aren’t allowed to say yes…which happens to mean it’s also a society where women don’t have a clear and unambiguous way to say no.

Best explanation of where this song came from I’ve heard, and it illustrates how much things have changed since then.

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  • I love chocolate cake but even I could only eat one piece of this. Yeah, this cake will be even more moist, after you’ve upchucked the whole thing, into your local toilet bowl. 

For more funny posts click HERE!

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*Yeah, that’s definitely Uncle Darryl! Eats  three plates of food, takes an extra two plates home, didn’t even bring chips.
For more funny posts click HERE!

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*The soothing, delightful sounds of: Songs of the Cosmos, by five time Grammy watcher, Neil D.

With partially lovable hits like: 

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Milky Way

I Left my Heart in the Cabrini System

Fly Me to the Moon

Starman

The Spiders from Mars (Ziggy Left Some Time Ago)

Goodbye Yellow Dwarf Star

And many, many, (too damn many) more

He Never Died (2015)

He Never Died (2015)

Oh, did I mention I was a Henry Rollins fan, and that I liked him long before he starting showing up in some very interesting (and  occasionally pretty bad) films.  I’ve  been a fan since he was the lead singer in, naturally, The Rollins Band, and then he had a show called, naturally, the Henry Rollins show. He would say things I thought were pretty subversive for TV. Things that appealed to the…

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He Never Died (2015)

Oh, did I mention I was a Henry Rollins fan, and that I liked him long before he starting showing up in some very interesting (and  occasionally pretty bad) films.  I’ve  been a fan since he was the lead singer in, naturally, The Rollins Band, and then he had a show called, naturally, the Henry Rollins show. He would say things I thought were pretty subversive for TV. Things that appealed to the young radical in me and I liked him for that.

You may remember him from bad movies like Jack Frost or Johnny Mnemonic. Some of his better roles were in movies like Bad Boys II, Feast, Lost Highway, and a minor role in Heat (with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino.)

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But now he’s doing  slightly subversive movies like He Never Died (and Gotterdamerung with, of all people, Grace Jones and Iggy Pop). Some of you Hannibal fans will like this movie.  Its about a cannibal  whose been trying to suppress the impulse to feed on people, unlike Hannibal, Rollin’s character is the total opposite of Lecter. He’s not upper-crust at all. He’s not refined,  rich, or looking for love.

Actually, he’s a pretty unhappy, mopey person. I guess you would be too if you lived forever, and had a craving for human flesh. He plays a man named Jack who has a very regular routine of visiting the local diner, and playing Bingo, at the local church. Jack doesn’t wander too far from his lane. If he sticks to this rigid routine he can avoid giving in to his craving for people. But its not to last because Jack’s life is about to be up-heaved, in the form of his daughter, Andrea, and some amateur mobsters named Steve and Short, who are looking for his “blood-dealer”,  Jerry, a nurse who owes the mob some money. There’s also  a waitress named Cara, who has a crush on him, but so far he’s been able  to ignore her.

He finds Andrea at the behest of one of his ex-girlfriends, and the two of them do some light bonding. Jack is still a gloomy-gus, but starts to come out of his shell a bit more after interacting with her. She’s no Manic Pixie Girl, though, and I like her for that. She’s snarky and pragmatic, and just her presence alone makes Jack start deviating from his set routines. They both start seeing an old man in a hat, hanging around near Jack’s routine places, though, where previously only Jack could see this person.

Thanks to Jerry though, Steve and Short are now on his trail and  trying to kill him. During one attack, Andrea witnesses him kill Short and eat his flesh. They’re both horrified but for different reasons. He’s scared he will hurt her, because the craving is back full force, and she’s just squicked out by what he’s done. Jack kicks Andrea out of his apartment, but when her mother is killed, and she gets kidnapped by the neighborhood mob boss, named Alex, Jack has to go rescue her.

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After a series of adventures where he keeps trying to start fights  with people who turn out to be good guys, he stumbles across a small gang and kills and eats them when they attack. He also manages to enlist the aid of Cara, the waitress, to find Andrea, by offering her a million dollars. He and Cara manage to find and save Andrea. Alex confesses to having kidnapped her because he remembers that Jack is the same man who killed his father many years ago. Jack is about to kill Alex and eat him too, when he is interrupted by the old man in the hat, who reveals that Jack is actually the Biblical Cain, and that he’s been cursed to walk the world as a man-eating monster for having killed Abel.

 

Jack curses the old man out but ultimately decides not to kill Alex. Jack doesn’t tell Alex who the old man is ( or even that he’s there) but when he leaves with Cara and Andrea, the man in the hat approaches Alex with an offer, revealing himself to be Satan.(A good sequel would be if Alex made a deal with the devil to get revenge on Cain.)

I had some clear expectations when I saw the trailer for this movie. It looked fun and funny and I enjoy watching Rollins’ nonchalant style of acting, which goes a long way towards making the movie as funny as it is. The actors are pretty good at matching his style, especially  the two amateur gangsters, who act like they’re extras from Boyz in Tha Hood, and Alex, who thinks he’s in The Godfather.I knew going in that the movie would be about Cain because I’d heard the phrase  “he never died”, in reference to to his name before, and Rollins just looks like I picture Cain might actually appear, if he were a real person. I also thought it was going to be about vampires. It’s not, but I was close enough.

The plot is not excessively complicated, and most of the humor, like the movie “What We Do In The Shadows”, comes from the characters attitudes towards what’s happening, and not the actual plot. One of my favorite moments is when Andrea asks Jack what he does for fun and he takes her to Bingo session, and she seems to find it a pleasant activity. Another is when Steve and Short try to pick one of several fights with him, and he keeps warning them not to do that.

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I liked the depiction of the two women, who are at first incredulous, but then very matter-of- fact about Jack’s invulnerability, as they start to take it in stride. There’s a kidnapping, but no beatings or rapes. Yeah, sure the daughter is the damsel in distress, but she’s atypical just in general. In fact, the women are never treated as sexy floor lamps, even thought the movie isn’t about them. They’re just regular women caught up in something very, very weird. Henry Rollins is the star of the movie and he fills most of its screentime.

 

The movie is not especially gory or even very talky, as Jack has almost nothing to say to anyone and is out of practice at being sociable. There are lots of action scenes, which the creators managed to  make pretty funny, as Jack shrugs off various attacks on his person. What I especially liked is that the Biblical storyline wasn’t offensive to me. If you’re not a believer, you won’t be offended by the plot, as you are not asked to believe anything in it, and if you are, the plot isn’t asking you to believe anything that goes against your Christian tenets, which is a thin tightrope to walk.

On the other hand if you are offended by light gore and cussing, its best to miss this one.

 

ETA:

Correction, Andrea does get hurt pretty badly in the film. I remember she’s mostly unable to walk, by the end of it, as Cara helps her to their car. I can’t exactly remember how she gets hurt though, only that it happens after her kidnapping, so if watching characters hurt women is of especial concern for you, please exercise caution at that point in the movie. I know watching women get beaten can be triggering, or bothersome, for some people, so I wanted to give fair warning that the film may have such scenes.

He Never Died is now available on Netflix.

Why We Love: Attack the Block (2011)

Have you ever watched a movie and just knew that the lead character would be going on to bigger and better things. That person had so much charisma and force of personality, you just knew they were going to blow up in Hollywood. I’ve had that feeling only a few  times.

The first time was watching Jim Carrey on In Living Color. If you remember that show, he was truly one of the standout actors and just kept hogging more and more of the scenery, the longer he was in it. The second time was when Jamie Foxx appeared on that show.

The third time was when I saw John Boyega in Attack the Block. I wouldn’t have known anything about this movie if my local library didn’t subscribe to Empire magazine, which is where I read the first review. Since it wasn’t being released in America, I had to wait some time to buy the DVD.

I loved that movie. I loved the characters, the plot, the personal and social messages. It was fun and  funny, had some great monsters, just enough gore, an evil villain, and a wonderful hero, played by Boyega, named Moses. Every person I’ve recc’d this movie, regardless of race, age, or culture, has fallen in love with it. There’s just something about this film and its lead character that  resonates with people.

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I probably don’t need to tell you which character my niece fell in love with right away, because hey! Who didn’t fall in love with him?

This isnt the first black scifi movie, (that would probably be Brother From Another Planet, maybe) but it is notable for having a nearly all black cast, all unknowns at the time, a cameo by Nick Frost from Shaun of the Dead, and a plot where not only do most of the all black cast live to the end of the movie,they get to be the heroes, saving themselves and their community from outer space wolfdoggorilla thingies.

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Its a typical night in the British projects and Samantha gets mugged by a gang of teenage hoodlums and you think this is going to be one of those typical films where the black characters are all bad, she’s the damsel in distress and everyone will be saved by some fine upstanding white guy. What happens instead is a meteor strike, that interrupts their juvenile mugging attempt and all the young boys, Pest, Biggz, Dennis, Jerome and their leader, Moses, decide to check it out, while Samantha escapes. Investigating, they find an alien and kill it, but not before Moses gets covered in goop, while transporting it’s body to the local weed dealer’s flat.

Its these rash actions that end in all of them being heavily pursued by voracious aliens, that look sort of like the monsters from the movie Critters, except larger and with glowing teeth, and result in the deaths of several members of their gang. Although , I don’t see that it would have made much difference, because the aliens would’ve arrived on their block regardless of their actions, and would probably have killed more people.

Running away from a meteor shower of  more aliens, the boys run into the police and Moses is arrested because Samantha, who reported the mugging,  points him out. After taking both of them into custody and locking them in a van, the police are attacked by the new fallen aliens, which look different from the hairless monstrosity the gang discovered earlier, but Moses and Samantha are spirited away by the gang, who steal the police van.

In a panic, Dennis  crashes the van into  the car of the local gang leader, Hi Hatz, who angrily threatens to shoot them, but once again, they are interrupted by the aliens and Hi Hatz henchmen are killed. Everyone runs into the apartment complex,  except for Biggz, who gets trapped in a dumpster.

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They eventually find their way to Samantha’s flat, where they plead with her to nurse Dennis leg, where he has been bitten by one of the creatures. Still in pursuit of the gang, the aliens crash into the apartment and Moses takes down one of them with a Samurai sword, which he decides is his for the rest of the evening. Apparently, when you want to make a black character cool in a movie, just give them a sword, because that shit is always awesome, and never seems to get old. We also get to see John Boyega’s sword-fu, which will come in handy for swinging a light saber in Star Wars.

The gang are pursued from apartment to apartment, barely one step ahead of the aliens, and Hi Hatz, who is still mad about his car and  dead  groupies, or whatever they were. I suspect that someone as unlikeable as Hi Hatz doesn’t actually have friends. He eventually meets his end in the apartment of the one of the local drug dealers, where he has cornered the gang, where the aliens eat him.

Biggz, whose been hiding in the dumpster all evening, is saved by a couple of  little neighborhood hooligans, who set his pursuing alien on fire, using petrol, a water gun and some matches. One of the most touching moments is Biggz calling his family to say goodbye, before risking his life, by prematurely leaving the dumpster.

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It’s moments such as that which humanize the gang members and help you sympathize for their situation. You start to care about them, root for them to win, and it really hurts when they die. But above all else, you realize they are still children, trying to handle this situation as best they can because they haven’t built up enough trust with the adults around them, to count on them to come to their aid. In some cases, the adults simply are  not trustworthy.

The surviving members of Moses’ gang end up in the specialized “weed room” of the local drug dealer, where Moses discovers that he is the reason the aliens have been pursuing them all night. Killing the first alien  interrupted the creature’s mating ritual, and covered Moses in alien pheromones, which the others have been following.

It is then, in true heroic fashion, that Moses steps up, accepts responsibility for killing the alien female and getting his friends eaten, and makes the sacrifice play. Aided by Samantha and  carrying the body of the alien he killed, he leads the creatures to his empty apartment, which he and Sam have rigged to explode.

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He survives the explosion only to be arrested by the police again when he reaches the ground, having climbed down the side of the building. His friends, witnessing his arrest, rally in support of him, letting the police know that Moses probably saved the world.

I liked the messages in this film and liked that the movie captured something of what it’s like to live in a very close-knit neighborhood, where everyone knows everyone, bad and good. I love the characterization of the various boys. They’re not actually bad kids. You have Hi Hatz, as a villain, for comparison.

Samantha starts the movie pissed off at the gang, for the  mugging, which is completely understandable, but she eventually gets to know them and sticks by their side during the ordeal. After a while, you realize she’s not just hanging with them for her own safety, but because she’s starting to like and admire them, and so is the viewer.

Moses and the others start the movie as frightening stereotypes  but during the events of the night, show themselves to be more than just some neighborhood thugs. They show bravery, perseverance, and love for their friends. They even have a sense of humor as Pest has the nerve to  chastise Samantha for holding a grudge against them for mugging her.

One of the more interesting moments is when Moses and the others go to the apartment of some female friends. The girls come off  as obnoxious, at first, but they prove to be brave and fearless fighters, when the aliens break into their apartment. They  have enough fire left over from that to chastise Moses for mugging Samantha, after which they kick him out of their flat, because he’s a danger to them. These are not wilting wallflowers, waiting to be saved. They save themselves.

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In fact, that’s a recurring theme throughout the movie, the self sufficiency of the members of this community, which has been written off as a lost cause by the rest of the city. They’re used to taking care of their own problems. They don’t hunker down and simply wait to be saved by the local authorities. They’re pro-active, which is exactly what it’s like to grow up in such an environment.

And what can I say about Boyega? He tears it up as Moses, in his first onscreen role, and you can see the intensity of this actor.  He totally sells his character, in all his moments, bad and good. You can see that one day, like Moses, the world will know his name.

Moses himself is a great character, although you don’t know it at first. He may start the movie as a stereotypical thug, but he’s much deeper than that. When called upon to do the right thing, he does it. All of the gang members show honor,  bravery, and dedication and loyalty to their friends. It hurts Moses that his friends are dead, (signified by his “single man tear”), and that he is the one responsible. The least he can do is sacrifice his life to save the ones who are left.

By the end of the movie, you’ll be cheering for him too.

You’ll be cheering for all of them.

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(This review is dedicated to Finn.)

Geeking Out About: What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

This is, hands down, one of the funniest vampire movies I have ever seen. Just the way Shaun of the Dead is the pinnacle of Zombie Rom-Coms, (by which all other zombie comedies will be measured and found wanting), What We Do In The Shadows will do the same for vampire movies.

Its okay if you don’t like scary movies. This is more comedy than horror. There’s very little gore and it takes all of the various tropes of the vampire film, turns them upside down, and shakes  the lunch money out of its pockets.

It’s filmed mockumentary style. Now I know a lot of people are tired of the whole  shaky cam thing, but that’s kept to a minimum, so you spend more time concentrating on the story and the minimal plot. I say minimal because  its just a series of adventures, of the main characters, in their day to day lives.

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A quartet of vampires have decided to share a house in modern new Zealand. I think they’re in Wellington and there are various kinds of people they meet and situations they get themselves into. All of the types of vampires are represented, as they all hail from different eras of human history, (and as a result, different eras of vampire history.)

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There’s the 8,000 year old Petyr ,who looks like Count Orlock from Nosferatu. He’s the oldest of them and hence the least civilized.The other three, Vadislav (862 yrs. old) is from 16th century Russia, and reminds me of the old school Dracula films,  Viago (379 yrs. old) looks like he’s from the Hammer film era, and Deacon (183 yrs. old) is very much in the mold of the Anne Rice; Interview with the Vampire style.

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They still mostly dress in the eras in which they were born and you would think they would look out of place, wandering the streets of Wellington at night, except they don’t, really. They look a little pimpish, but that’s about it.

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They spend their time trying to interact and adapt to the modern world, although they still can’t go out in daylight and they still kill people. One of the vampires, Deacon, has a  human servant named  Jackie, who runs any errands they need  during the day, but she’s becoming very upset that her master won’t turn her and keeps avoiding the subject.

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She also procures victims for them and in a hilarious scene sends her ex-boyfriend, Nick, to them to be eaten. She is, of course, very put out when he gets turned by Petyr and gets accepted by the other vampires.

Nick, new to the whole vampire-thing, keeps telling everyone he meets, that he’s a vampire, including his friend Stu. Stu is just some regular schmo, hanging out with these very strangely dressed, and behaving, characters, while wearing khakis, and getting the vampires their computer hook up.

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Because Nick can’t keep his mouth shut, it attracts a vampire hunter, who kills Petyr by exposing him to sunlight. The police get called and Viago has to hypnotize them into not noticing anything weird in the house, which includes dead bodies and flying roommates. After this, a meeting is held and Nick gets kicked out of the house, but Stu is still welcome to hang out.

They keep running into a werewolf gang while walking the streets, (they really don’t  do much beyond exchanging hilariously lame insults), get invited to a masquerade ball, where Vadislav sees his ex-girlfriend, Pauline, whom he has nicknamed The Beast, discover that Nick has turned Jackie into a vampire, and when the other party-goers find out that there are humans at the party, they must try to escape, when  the other vampires plan to kill and eat them.

Everyone escapes the party, but Stu and the cameraman  get attacked by werewolves in the forest, afterwards. Later, the vampires find out that Stu is now a werewolf. He eventually facilitates a reconciliation between the vamps and weres, and finishes teaching the vampires how to adapt to the twenty first century.

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Its not just the adventures they get into that makes this movie so funny. Its full of plenty of sight gags, two vampires air-fighting in the house, Deacon’s Skype reunion with a very old human servant, and the youngest vampire’s inability to tap the right blood vessel in his victims necks, so that they bleed out all over the room, before he can get to drink.

This was not what I expected when I started watching this movie, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I expected more intellectual humor, and there’s plenty of that, but there’s many different types of humor in the movie.

This is more along the lines of a love-letter to many of the silly tropes of  vampire movies. You really do care about these vampires, who turn out to be very sweet and endearing, despite that they do kill people. The characters are never dumbed-down or made fun of, nor is the genre from which they were created.

This one  is definitely going on my favorites list.

 

 

Part Three : Legend of Drunken Master/Drunken Master II

Did I mention that  I was a huge Jackie Chan fan? I  love this actor because he’s so talented, dedicated and positive. (He really is kind of like Snoopy, only more lethal.) He’s worked very hard at presenting the idea that Martial Arts isn’t just meant to be scary or violent.

No, I haven’t watched everything in which he’s starred,  but I definitely put some effort into that. Still, there are some movies I just keep coming back to, no matter what else Jackie does and Legend of  Drunken Master is one of them.

Legend of Drunken Master is a sequel to the original 1978 movie, titled Drunken master, so in some circles,the more current movie, from 1994, is referred to as Drunken master II. I’m pretty sure that the sequel is the movie I saw first. Later I backtracked and saw the original, but was not impressed. its not a bad film, its just not as good as the remix. Outside of Thunderleg (what a great name!)  and Lau Kar leung,  I don’t know any of the original cast, but the 1994 version has a great pool of actors I’ve seen before.

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Lau Kar Leung, the director of the  Shaw Brothers film, 36th Chamber of Shaolin, makes a cameo appearance, along with Anita Mui, who I remember from The Heroic Trio, one of the very first action films I ever watched, that had all female leads, and  which also starred Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh.

Actually, Drunken Master is one of a whole genre of films featuring  the legendary Wong Fei Hung, who is a revered figure in China. Nearly every big name star out of Hong Kong, has done at least one film about Fei Hung and there’s  a bajllion movies starring this character .For more on on the real life Wong Fei Hung, visit:

http://www.wongfeihung.com/

This is a Wong Fei Hung movie with Jackie as the lead, Lung Ti, as his father, (he’s excellent, btw) and Anita Mui, who doesn’t look nearly old enough to play his mother, but has  great comedic timing, so I loved her conniving character. Also, Andy Lau makes a short cameo, as well.

The plot is surprisingly complicated, involving some stolen artifacts, the English Ambasssador?, The Wong’s martial arts school, and a factory that’s  being used as a fence for the stolen artifacts. All of this is sort of loosely strung together to make one giant plot with some fight scenes thrown in. The dialogue is occasionally awful but the music is fun and engaging.

 

The film has some tragic  moments but its okay to laugh too, as the movie is meant to be  funny. From Fei Hung trying to sneak some ginseng through customs and then having to try to get it back but snagging one of the stolen artifacts instead,  to Ling (Anita Mui) gambling away her wedding ring playing Mah Jongg, the movie starts on a high note.

The first fight scene, between Lau Kar Leung (as Fu Wen Chi) and Fei Hung, underneath a train, is a wonder to behold, as  they duke it out with  staves in this tiny, enclosed space. The funniest moments occur when Fei Hung gives names to all the drunken fighting techniques he’s pulling out of his ass, right there on the spot, like:  “Turtle Holding Wine Barrel” and Drunken Maid Flirting with the Master”.

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Later, we see Fei Hung demonstrating Drunken Boxing techniques, in the town square, with his friends. He is cautioned by his father against practicing this particular skill, as  he says, “Its difficult to control one’s drinking, and that many drunken boxers become little more than drunken fools.” Fei Hung’s father  drops little bits of knowledge like this throughout the movie, which made an impression on my 25 yr. old self. Another one, regarding drinking, “Boats can float in water, but they can sink in it,too.”

Fei Hung and his father have a fight about this later, and it totally  brings all the feels, as Fei Hung makes the awful mistake of actually hitting his father. If you know anything about Chinese culture that’s an unforgivable breach of  behavior.

But Fei Hung’s father does eventually forgive him, because Fei Hung was drunk at the time, and not his proper self. It also doesn’t hurt that the bad guys humiliate Fei Hung in the town square, where he retreated to , of course, get drunk after the fight with his father.

Anita Mui gets into the action, when she gets to throw down with Wen Chi, using her Skirt Style. I don’t know if that’s an actual style of Martial Arts, (I suspect it isn’t), but it makes sense for women to have learned a style where  their moves are unpredictable because their skirts are so big, you can’t see what their legs are doing. Anita looks great doing it, at any rate. (If it’s not a real style , someone should invent it.)

While all of this is going on, Ling confesses to her husband that she’s pregnant, the factory workers have revolted, and get beat up by the smugglers, who  are running around trying to find a lost Imperial Stamp, (now in Fei Hung’s possession), Wen Chi is also trying to find the stamp, and pays for it with his life, when they are all attacked by the smuggler’s henchmen.

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The final showdown takes place in the factory, where Fei Hung can use the maximum amount of props in his fight against the semi-talented henchmen of the smugglers, and the supremely talented Ken Lo, who  gets in some serious foot action and almost defeats him. There’s also some Fire-Fu,  as Fei Hung falls into a bed of hot coals.

Fei Hung has to rely on his Drunken Boxing techniques  to defeat Lo and even that is not enough. No! He’s going to have to actually get drunk, even though he promised his father he would never do it again. This fight  goes on for what seems like a long time but is actually only a few minute s long. it doesn’t matter because by the end of it you’re almost as exhausted as if you had participated in it yourself, and that counts for some great movie watching, in my experience

Legend of Drunken Master is available on Netflix, Crackle and Youtube.

 

Geeking Out About : Slither

If you are a fan of what I like to call Slime-Horror, then you will love Slither. Slither is an awesome amalgamation of all the best horror movies of the 80s. It has everything. Slime from the 1988 version of The Blob,  slugs from  the 1986 Night of the Creeps, possession from 1988s Night of the Demon, zombies from Reurn of the Living Dead, aliens from Aliens. The creators threw in everything but the kitchen sink.

Starring Malcolm Reyn… err, I mean Nathan Fillion, fresh off his stint on Firefly; the gorgeous Elizabeth Banks, who is a surprisingly fearless comedian; and Michael Rooker, (from anything), the movie is in the best 80s tradition of comedic Horror. Gregg Henry, as Mayor Jack McCready, (recognize the name?), provides much of the comic relief as, what is quite possibly, the most profanity spewing character ever seen in a movie. Seriously, the guy can’t say even the most innocuous things without cussing.

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This movie is James Gunn’s love letter to the Comedy Horror genre and secured entry into my pantheon of great film directors. The movie is disgustingly fun and funny, and if you’re not bothered by profanity spewing rednecks, you will love it.

Grant Grant is totally in love with his wife, Starla, who he rescued from a life of poverty, and he’s surprisingly loyal to her.  (I felt sure he was the kind of abusive character who would not be averse to a little side action), until the night he’s possessed by an alien from space, in the form of a needle to the back of the neck. After that his behavior becomes erratic, sneaky, ravenous and  neighborhood pets start disappearing.

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When he attacks Starla and kidnaps a local girl, (the same girl who witnessed his possession, the night she was hoping to get a little love action from Grant), Sheriff Pardy and Starla craft a scheme to capture him, but the plan goes horribly awry when they stumble across the bloated body of his kidnap victim.  Complaining that she’s terribly hungry, her body bursts open, releasing a flood of slugs that take possession of their human hosts, make the victim’s dead bodies extensions of Grants will, and force them to at lots of meat. As Starla calls it, “It’s a concious disease.”

Sheriff Pardy must rescue his town, Starla, (who he’s been crushing on since they were children), himself and possibly the entire world, as that’s Grants endgame. Along the way there’s some bukkakke action, zombie killing, a lot of profanity, slug swallowing, deer punching, drama. meat eating and did I mention lots of goo, glop, and slime. It’s a gloriously disgusting film.

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Nathan Fillion has wonderful comedic timing, while Elizabeth Banks is even funnier as she mostly approaches the movie with a completely straight face. Her character seems to think she’s in a Soap  Opera, which is a great foil for Gregg Henry’s character, who seems to know he’s in a Horror movie and is totally not having any of this shit.

Some of the funnier moments are the reactions of all the characters to the situation they’re experiencing. They have exactly the sort of reactions, and make exactly the kind of comments, you’d expect people, who believe they’re in a seriously fucked up situation, to make. Their facial reactions, to the disgusting shenanigans we see, exactly  mirror the audience reactions.

I’m sure you’re starting to notice that my Horror movie tastes have a definite theme. For me, humor is an integral part of horror, alleviating the stress of watching difficult images or feeling scared. Humor and horror are two sides of the same coin and deeply connected. Its the reason why some people’s reaction to fear is laughter or jokes.  I’m not a fan of torture-porn, for example, because there’s little humor to make the gore watchable.

For me, watching horror movies is often a cathartic experience, and the ability to laugh at the over the top ridiculousness on screen, is a part of that experience. Movies with lots of gore, but without the humorous component, only make me feel worse, and there are times when I can appreciate that feeling, but not very often. Its not that I won’t watch such movies, at all. I do enjoy some movies that are straight horror, but usually such movies have a limited amount of blood (it Follows, Cloverfield), social messages (Dawn of the Dead), or  romance as in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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There’s also the nostalgia factor. I grew up during the great Horror Movie Glut of the 1980s, and the vast majority of those movies were often Horror Comedies. Some of my best memories are of sitting in a movie theater, laughing my ass off at the antics of a possessed hand, or a scaly gremlin. Comedic moments will allow me to sit and watch films I would normally be too frightened to look at, (like Arachnophobia), especially since I suffer from the disorder. I have an exceptionally difficult time watching any version of The Blob or any of the Saw films. The comedic elements of these films are kept at an absolute minimum. As a result, since I’m unable to depressurize from the gore with laughter, I just become more stressed.

It would be near impossible for me to watch Grant Grant the Alien, in the scene where he is choking  Starla with his arm tentacles, as domestic abuse is never funny to me. I can even appreciate,  that its not the abuse, itself, that’s being made fun of,(its played completely straight), but the  reactions of the other characters to the sight of Grant’s tentacles, that makes the scene funny. Or the scene where Bill Pardy, witnessing some astonishing level of gore, says exactly what I’m thinking,

“That is some seriously fucked up shit!”

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Slither is available on DVD and for rent on Amazon.