Weekend Link Roundup

Here’s some interesting reading from around the web, for the weekend. Some of the articles are older, but no less relevant:

 

Asian Erasure

*From Firefly and Star Wars, and from Bladerunner to The Matrix. What do these movies have in common? They’re all about the future, and they all have a certain Asian aesthetic. Unfortunately they also have no Asians in them. Hollywood loves seeing an Asian future, as long as there are no actual Asian people in that future. The Chinese population is some 1.3 billion people.  People classifying themselves as White make up only 11% of the world’s population and are set to be even less than that in the future as their population continues to decline, yet, there’s no evidence of that in any of the most popular movies about the future.

https://boingboing.net/2017/10/11/cyberpunks-asian-representat.html

https://moviepilot.com/p/what-is-cyberpunks-obsession-asian-imagery/4379249

https://www.avclub.com/read-this-why-does-cyberpunk-keep-making-asian-cities-1819366143

http://www.slashfilm.com/blade-runner-2049-asian-culture/

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mb7yqx/cyberpunk-cities-fetishize-asian-culture-but-have-no-asians-blade-runner

 

Hollywood’s “Little” Problem

Image result for corey feldman

https://www.thedailybeast.com/hollywoods-other-open-secret-besides-harvey-weinstein-preying-on-young-boys?via=newsletter&source=Entertainment

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/corey-feldman-elijah-wood-hollywood-897403

https://www.thedailybeast.com/elijah-wood-calls-out-hollywoods-pedophile-problem

 

Toxic Masculinity in Pop Culture

Image result for toxic masculinity

http://www.vulture.com/2017/04/nice-guys-in-movies-arent-nice-anymore.html

https://www.themarysue.com/toxic-masculinity-in-jessica-jones-kilgrave-as-a-nice-guy-and-will-simpson-as-misogynistic-hero/

https://www.themarysue.com/wolverine-toxic-masculinity/

https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/how-fargo-captures-sad-realities-toxic-masculinity

http://www.ebony.com/news-views/toxic-masculinity#axzz4w4vfOIGI

https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/this-isnt-toxic-masculinity-its-sociopathic-baby-men.html

 

Neo Yokio Review

 

  1. Lord help the poor souls for whom Neo Yokio is their first introduction to anime — and let that same Lord (whatever benevolent nerd deity presides over these sorts of things) bless the brave souls who watched this inane attempt at entertainment knowing that so much greater anime exists in the world.

    Neo Yokio, a Netflix original series created by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and starring the vocal talents of Jaden Smith, Jude Law, Susan Sarandon, Jason Schwartzman, and Steve Buscemi, among many others, takes place in a futuristic New York City that’s underwater south of 14th Street. In this version of New York, which is randomly and inexplicably peppered with elements of Japanese culture, one’s social standing — showcased on the all-knowing “Bachelor Board” in Times Square — is of the utmost importance, and those with old money look down upon the “magistocrats,” demon-slaying members of the elite who have worked their way up, through exorcisms and social engagements, into the class of nouveau riche (aka “Neo Riche” ::queue eyeroll::).

    Our hero (a term I’ll use with the same degree of irony that Neo Yokio overuses to no end) is Kaz Kaan, a young magistocrat who spends his time exorcising some demons but even more time complaining about his social status, shopping, and bemoaning his relationship status to his friends and mecha British butler, Charles. And what’s the plot, you may ask — a fitting question, but one for which Neo Yokio has no answer. The show literally follows Kaz as he mopes around, goes on errands, and tries to figure out how to become the most eligible bachelor in Neo Yokio. If there’s a reason why we should care about Kaz’s problems, it’s unclear. After all, with its fixation on brand names, fashion, and the superficial minutiae of Kaz’s upper-class life, Neo Yokio presents itself solely as a satire of classism and commercialism in our culture, right? Maybe.

    That’s just the problem — it’s unclear. For all its posturing about class, Neo Yokio never actually commits itself to saying anything about it. We see the characters bask in their privilege and throw around their money carelessly but the only instance of real contrast is when we see how Kaz treats Charles and the few characters he briefly encounters in the service industry (including the sales clerk at Bergdorf’s, whom he only refers to as “sales clerk”) with utter disregard. The characters — and the show in general — exist in a kind of vacuum, making it impossible to determine whether the show is taking itself seriously or not at all — and if it’s satirizing a group of people or an idea, who or what exactly that is. None of the characters are written with any depth and none of them reveal the show’s true aim. Sure, fashion blogger Helena St. Tessero awakens to the superficiality of Neo Yokio and initially seems like she’ll be the lens through which we may see the satirized world (think the smart, incisive gaze of Daria, who reveals the stupidity of those around her), but she too is exaggerated to the point of no return (read: is turned into a terrorist-recluse), leaving us with equally fatuous celebrations and dismissals of this upper-class life.

     

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Writing With Color

 

*Here’s some basic writing advice, for writing just about any marginalized group, (and eve nsome very common, not so marginalized groups) so you don’t come off looking like a racist twat! Now this is not to say you can do none of these things. Some of them can be done without offense, if you have a damn good reason for doing it. Some of the others…not so much.

 

Common Micro-aggressions: African Americans and/or
Black People

Anonymous said: What are some common micro-aggressions that a black american will regularly have to deal with?

Behold this masterpost of common micro-aggressions towards African Americans and/or people in the African Diaspora, several of which may be applicable to other PoC. Micro-aggressions can be perpetuated by White people as well as fellow Black people and People of Color.

This is just to give a thorough understanding of some of the things a Black person (often in America) deals with. Don’t run forward and jam-pack your Black character with every one of these experiences, though I can say I’ve personally experienced every one of these or know someone who has.

General Micro-aggressions

  • People excusing blackface.
  • Having our grammar and annunciation corrected.
  • “I don’t see you as a Black person/ I don’t see colour.”
  • Calling Black people ghetto, thugs, rachet, sassy, urban…
  • People debating why they should be allowed to say the n-word.
  • Then saying the n-word anyway.
  • Whispering, spitting, or stumbling over the word “Black” as if it’s a curse.
  • Refusing to pronounce your name right, or just calling you by a different name that’s easier.
  • Alternatively, “jokingly” calling you a “ghetto” name.
  • Constantly mixing up unrelated and not even resembling Black people, because you know.. ‘Black people all look the same’.
  • Dismissing our experiences as “just overreacting,” defending the wronging party, or using our plight to talk about one’s own experience (e.g. “well as a gay man i’ve got it rough…”).
  • Telling racist jokes and calling you sensitive when you don’t find it funny.
  • “______  is the new civil rights movement!” Black folks are still fighting for their rights so…

Media

  • Fox news (xD)
  • Caricatured depictions of Black people on TV.
  • Casting calls for Black people only tailored for “race roles.”
  • Media treating white criminals and killers better than Black victims (see these headlines).

Stereotypes

  • Assuming you only listen to rap/hip-hop/r&b.
  • Assuming you love chicken, Kool-aid, and/or smoke weed.
  • Assuming you’re good at sports.
  • Assuming there’s no father in the picture in Black families.
  • Assuming all Black people (see: young girls) have children.
  • Calling Black people who don’t conform to one’s image of Blackness, “less black,” acting white or “oreo.”

AAVE

  • Non-Black People mimicking/imitating AAVE.
  • People falling into AAVE when talking to Black People.
  • “Why don’t Black people speak real English instead of ‘ebonics’?”

Insults/doubting intelligence:

  • You’re so articulate!”
  • You take advanced classes?!”
  • “How did she get into that [prestigious school and/or program]?”
  • “They only got x because they’re Black/Affirmative action.”
  • Assuming a Black person (usually male) attends college because of a sports scholarship.
  • Counselors discouraging Black students to take prestigious coursework, assuming it’s too difficult for them.

 Respectability politics:

  • “You’re a credit to your race.”
  • “I’m glad you’re not like those other Black people. You’re not ghetto or listen to that rap stuff..”
  • Tone policing: dismissing someone’s reaction/argument/etc. because they are too “emotional.” Thinking that we need to be calm in order to be taken seriously.
  • Pitting African immigrants against African Americans, especially those coming to America for education, aka “Good Blacks.”

Beauty Standards and Dating

Fetishization/Othering

  • People asking you what you are or where you’re really from.
  • Referring to Black people or our features as “exotic.”
  • Referring to Black people’s skin as chocolate or other foods.

Black Women/Misogynoir

  • Saying Black women are ”strong, independent and don’t need no man.“
  • Calling Black women ”sassy“ or angry if she shows passion/emotion.
  • Referring to white and non-black women as “girls” and “women” while calling Black women “Females.”
  • [White] males who apply courtesy to white women (holding doors, giving up seat) but don’t apply the same to Black women.
  • Referring to Black women on government assistance as “welfare queens” (While ignoring that white people get more government assistance than Black people in the USA).
  • “Black women All woman are beautiful.” (StopThatPlease.)

Hair.

  • People touching/petting your hair without consent.
  • “So is that your real hair? Are those extensions?”
  • Calling natural black hair unprofessional.
  • White people appropriating Black hair styles (dreads, twists, etc) and being praised as edgy, while it’s “ghetto, unprofessional, and unclean” on our own heads.

Poverty Assumptions:

  • “Do you live in the ghetto?”
  • “Can you afford that?”
  • “Here are the value prices of this product…”

Racial Profiling + Criminalization:

  • Crossing the street to avoid passing Black men/people.
  • Following in stores, assuming Black people are stealing.
  • Moving aside when we pass, clutching purse, locking doors.
  • Asking Black people for I.D. when paying with card (while white people are not asked).
  • Being pulled over + arrested at astonishingly higher rates than white people.

For a fuller understanding of micro aggressions and the effects it has on individuals overtime, please see this: “These incidents may appear small…”

~Mods: Colette and Alice

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Stereotyping Tropes List (TVTropes)

A masterpost of the Stereotyping Tropes from TVtropes.org. This list is identical to the one linked above, save the addition of Indigenous peoples, which was added. Check for the titles with links, as it leads to more pages of tropes. 
For an assortment of other related tropes, some not mentioned here, see “Race Tropes” as well as “Prejudice Tropes.” Advice on handling characters that lean towards harmful portrayals can be found in the tropes & stereotypes tags at writingwithcolor.


General

Africans

African Americans/Black

Americans

Arabs

Asians

Australians

Brits

Canadians

Chinese

Dutch

Eastern Europeans

Europeans

French

Germans

Indians

Indigenous

Irish

Israel

Italians

Japanese

Jewish

Latin Americans

Nordic Countries

Russians

Scots

Spaniards

 

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Related image

*Okay, I had to put this up. This is, hands down, the funniest story I read on the internet all week, and this is next to The 15 Blackest Things About The New Black Panther Trailer , that I posted earlier.

Now while you’re reading this, continue to picture giant koi bloop blooping in a pond. They have no idea they’re the partial cause of all the chaos. They just wanna get fed.

I’m like,”Guys, ain’t nobody thinkin’ about y’all right now!”

The Great Flamingo Uprising

(Edited after additional information was obtained from zookeeping cousin)

I told this story to a few guildies a while back and decided to archive it in a longer format; so here is the story of The Great Flamingo Uprising of 2010 as told to me by my favorite cousin who was a keeper at the time.

In addition to the aviary/jungle exhibit, our zoo has several species of birds that pretty much have the run of the place.  They started with a small flock of flamingos and some free-range peacocks that I’m almost certain came from my old piano teacher’s farm.  She preferred them to chickens.  At some point in time they also acquired a pair of white swans (“hellbirds”) and some ornamental asian duckies to decorate the pond next to the picnic area.  Pigeons, crows, assorted ducks and a large number of opportunistic Canada geese moved in on their own.

Now; the ponds that dot the zoo property (I don’t remember how many there are but the one by the picnic area is the only one with swans) were also full of ginormous koi fish, some of whom by now are at least three feet long.  Sensing an opportunity to cash in on the koi, the zoo put up little vending machines all over the place that dispense handfuls of food pellets.  I swear to god the fish can hear the crank turning, and will show up at the nearest railing, blooping expectantly at whoever happens to be standing there and doing their best to appear starving and desperate.

Like this.^  And they weren’t the only ones who learned to associate the sound with the imminent arrival of food.  The Canada geese knew a good deal when they saw one, and had long since ceased to migrate anyway.  They formed roving gangs of thug-geese and staked out their turf around the vending machines, ready to mug anyone with pocket change.  Picture yourself as a small child squaring off with a bird as big as you are fully prepared to strip search you while standing on your feet and yelling “HWAAAAAKK!!” in your face.  It’s deeply traumatizing to you and incredibly hilarious to your parents.

Anyway.

The flamingos had their spot near the zoo entrance and never seemed to mind the presence of the other birds, as they kept themselves to themselves and didn’t really like the taste of fish pellets.  The problem lay in that their shrimp pond was close to a vending machine.  Ordinarily that wouldn’t have been an issue at all, but eventually the goose population grew large enough that one of the gangs decided to annex it.  Being territorial little shits, they would harass the poor flamingos any time they strayed within ten feet of it.  The flamingos tolerated this for years until one day they snapped collectively.  Here’s a summary of the incident in chronological order.

1.) It was a hot day, so everyone in question both human and avian, were cranky by the time the zoo even opened.
2.) A few flamingos (let’s call them The Jets) strayed into the radius of the vending machine and were immediately confronted by the indignant hissing geese (The Sharks)
3.) Possibly due to heat and the simple fact that the geese had been giant douchebags for far too long, the flamingos decided fuck it, this time they were going to FIGHT BACK DAMMIT, and swarmed the geese en masse.
4.) Chaos ensued.  The geese were outnumbered 4 to 1 but had the advantage of being able to scream for back-up.
5.) Hearing the shrieking Canada geese and the bellowing of the enraged flamingos, the peacocks came to the conclusion that the apocalypse had come upon them and began to gather in the surrounding trees in droves and wail in despair.  Or cheer them on, whichever.
6.) NOISE
7.) Apparently one of the siege tactics employed by geese is to shit explosively all over everything.
8.) The geese, having secured reinforcements from all over the zoo, went berserk and proceeded to attack EVERYBODY who had come to watch be they human or otherwise.
9.) The flamingos were chasing/being chased by the geese through the crowd accompanied by cheers/wails from the peacocks in the box seats.
10.) Complete pandemonium when the zoo tram became stalled by the flamingo pond due to battling birds.  The Jets, sensing these were somehow reinforcements on the side of the Sharks, charged the tram.  Adults were doing the duck and cover.  Small children were screaming, adding to the noise.  People were slipping on goose shit and hitting the ground in the fetal position, only to be stampeded by the rampaging flamingos.
11.) The koi continued to bloop hopefully for food.
12.) Two of the geese were cornered by a rival gang of their own and were chased into the swan pond.  Cue slow-motion.
13.) The swans detected an enemy presence in their territory and by god, SOMEBODY was going to PAY.
14.) The staff were having no luck in breaking up the fight and on the verge of giving up and just building another zoo elsewhere when the hellbirds stormed the battlefield, trumpeting battle-cries, to dispense feathered justice.  The staff promptly dropped their brooms and fled.
15.) Birds scattered in all directions.  Up, down, sideways.  Some people not present in the park circle swear a couple of geese flat out teleported into the petting zoo. A few ducks vanished in the chaos, presumably eaten by the swans.
16.) Two of the zookeepers barricaded themselves in the snack bar and refused to come out.
17.) The uprising was squashed in less than two minutes.  Number of casualties was unknown, feathers were flying everywhere and there was enough goose shit to build another bird.  One staff member had been knocked to the ground and was left with a melon sized bruise courtesy of one of the hellbirds.  Several children were traumatized, probably for life.  The zoo eventually removed the vending machine by the flamingos.

The geese went back to being giant douchebags. Because geese*.

Addendum:  Somehow, my aunt D got hold of this story and posted a link along with the comment: “This sounds exactly like our zoo!”
Zookeeping cousin replied: “This was exactly our zoo.”

*I’m really not kidding.  This is a photo, taken at our zoo, of a gorilla being chased by one of the thug geese.

 

*Yeah, the hellbirds came in and broke that whole shit up in two minutes!

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*I’m in agreement with this, really. It would make for some very intersting names:

I think we should make Puritan naming customs cool again, but like, updated to reflect Millenial values. So we can have names like Resistance Jones, Self-Care Williams, and I-Am-Not-Throwing-Away-My-Shot Anderson.

  • I-Will-Face-God-and-Walk-Backwards-Into-Hell Watson
  • Hydrate Mather
  • Healthcare-Is-A-Right-Not-A-Privilege Bradford
  • Body Positivity Watts
  • WTF-the-Fuck Preston
  • Cinnamon Roll Milton
  • Y’all-Need-Jesus Henderson
  • Snape-Was-Not-a-Hero Whitaker
  • Battery Life Wiggins
  • Reblog-If-You-Agree Bolton
  • @Horse_ebooks Humphrey
  • Renewable Moore
  • I-Came-Out-to-Have-a-Good-Time-and-I’m-Honestly-Feeling-So-Attacked-Right-Now Rutherford
  • Representation Hopkins
  • Organic Hurst
  • Money Cat Wallington
  • Fuck-It Wentworth
  • Impeachment Shepard
  • Don’t-Forget-To-Like-And-Subscribe Simpson
  • Consent Pimple
  • I-Bless-the-Rains-Down-in-Africa Woodford
  • Green Hoyle
  • Social Anxiety Travers
  • Kinkshame-Not Bailey

 

Tomorrow: A rare weekend posting. I finished the first part of my Bladerunner review.

Tumblr Discussions on Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Tumblr: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s where I find fault in this argument:

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

Lord, sometimes I wish it got shows cancelled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

Here’s what actually causes diverse shows to fail:

1) Old white men in power.

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to the next item on the list:

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

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

The same is true of a lot of diverse television.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or Brooklyn 99 – similar kinda deal.

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

.

Discourse is not killing diversity.

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

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

Fuck that noise.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WHITE SUPERHERO FAD STARTED, CRAZY ENOUGH, WITH BLADE

[1]

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

 

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

blackfemalescientist

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

By J. Clara Chan

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

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

 

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And on Historical Anti-Semitism in Art:

thegetty

Dialogue: Exposing the Rhetoric of Exclusion through Medieval Manuscripts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Black Cowboys/Girls & Black Westerns

 

I recently had a discussion with one of my regular readers (Hi!) about Westerns starring PoC, some of which they hadn’t seen, which inspired me to make a list of some of my favorites.

I love Westerns. If you’ve been reading the Favorite Movies of My Life posts then you know I have a lot of nostalgia for TV Westerns. I used to watch Big Valley, with my Mom, because she loved Barbara Stanwyck, and Bonanza because she liked Lorne Green. Later, we discussed, and watched, shows like Rawhide, which starred Clint Eastwood, and The Rifleman because she was a big Clint Walker fan. From there, she introduced me to Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns, and inspired by her, I went on to watch movies like The Magnificent Seven, because I fell in love with Yul Brynner.

But my biggest joy was watching Black people in Westerns. The existence of Black people in the West has been all but erased by Hollywood, like so much of History has been erased, and supplanted, with images of only White people getting to have adventures, or make History.

Image result for black cowboys

 

*The cowboy is an iconic American figure and in popular mythology almost always a white one. For every Django or Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman’s character in Unforgiven) there are hundreds of white gunslingers. But of the “estimated thirty-five thousand cowboys that worked the ranches and rode the trails between 1866 and 1895, researchers have calculated that the number of black cowboys ranged from five thousand to nine thousand, with the high number representing 25 percent,” wrote Tricia Martineau Wagner, an author of several books about the West, in Black Cowboys of the Old West.

https://theundefeated.com/features/fred-whitfield-and-the-black-cowboys-of-rodeo/

 

 

*How Hollywood Whitewashed the Old West

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

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*The Other Pioneers: African-Americans on the Frontier

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4807

 

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*Black Outlaws, Cowboys, and Lawmen of the Old Wild West

https://owlcation.com/humanities/Black-Outlaws-Cowboys-And-Lawmen-Of-The-Old-West

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*AFRICAN AMERICAN COWBOYS

http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.afam.002

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*10 African-American Cowboys Who Shaped The Old West

http://listverse.com/2016/04/04/10-african-american-cowboys-who-shaped-the-old-west/

Even modern day cowboys are simply not being acknowledged. Lets face it, if you’re a Black person, who lives anywhere in the Southern United States, you know there are Black cowboys. Its unfortunate that Hollywood and television don’t ever seem to remember that. My family is from deep Mississippi, so I know about this, but hardly anyone outside of the Southern states seems to know.

Image result for modern black cowboysImage result for african american cowgirlsRelated imageImage result for african american cowgirls

Image result for modern black cowboysOnly one member of the Cowgirls of Color competed in rodeo events as a teenager. “I was the only black person there,” she says. Photograph: M Holden WarrenKB works to control Yankee Girl during the barrel relay Photograph: M Holden Warren

*They’re Cowboys And They’re Coming Straight Outta Compton

 

 

And Philly:

 

Whitewashing of the term Cowboy:

They’re Cowboys And They’re Coming Straight Outta Compton

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/30/403353200/comptons-cowboys-keep-the-old-west-alive-and-kids-off-the-streets

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Image result for black cowboys/will smith

As for Westerns featuring Black actors, here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites:

Gang of Roses (2003)

Reviewed here: https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/gang-of-roses/

Posse (1993)

I remember this movie was a huge deal in the Black community when it was released. A lot of my friends were crowing about how good it was. While it’s not my absolute favorite Black cowboy movie, its in the top ten, because at the time, it was kind of mind-blowing, since the last movie, that was anything like, it had been released in the seventies. And I got mad respect for Mario Van Peebles, who was  trying hard to make Black genre films a thing.

 

Blazing Saddles (1974)

I saw this one when I was in college, as a double bill with Raising Arizona, and laughed my ass off the entire evening. Two of the funniest Westerns ever. This movie was not afraid to go there. My favorite scene is when some racist cowboys bully the the Black railworkers into singing for them, and they burst into a piano-lounge tune called,  “I Get No Kick from Champagne”. The White cowboy’s reactons are  priceless. That scene never gets old!

 

Unforgiven (1992)

Unforgiven has some deep themes. While I’m not a fan of Clint Eastwood, the person,  his films have always been first-rate. Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman are awesome in this movie.

 

Silverado (1985)

I saw this around the time of its release. Starring Danny Glover, and Kevin Costner, it was the  first time I’d ever seen either of these two actors, and the first time I’d ever seen a Black cowboy in a movie.

 

Buffalo Soldiers (1997)

I don’t remember a whole lot about this one. I watched it on cable late one night and remember enjoying it somewhat, so I’m not sure if this classes as a favorite, but I did watch it in its entirety, so felt I should put it here. It stars Danny Glover again, so that may have been my initial impetus for watching it in the first place, since I enjoyed Silverado.

 

Wild Wild West (1999)

I will watch Will Smith in anything, so I was overjoyed to see him in a Western, even if the movie royally sucked. The music video, on the other hand, was the shit. Yes! I know ALL the lyrics!

 

Django Unchained (2012)

Reviewed here: https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/in-defense-of-django-unchained/

 

The Hateful 8 (2015)

Reviewed here: https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/geeking-out-about-the-hateful-eight/

 

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Yeah, I liked this movie!

https://tvgeekingout.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/stuff-im-watching/

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Incomparable Differences between Whitewashing and Racebending

Whitewashing vs. Racebending: Yes, There is a Difference

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

nyxelestia

We who…

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

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

They’re not.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

And Danae Guriria lays it out:


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

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

 

black-to-the-bones

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

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

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

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

And black cowboys are still here, they do exist.

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

Source

 

They Gon’ Learn!

Oh, didnt I tell you guys that since the elction, my job on Earth now, is to be a “Petty MF”? Now, I don’t have a whole lot of practice being petty. I’m one of those people who usually takes the high road,

But not today White Jeebus! Not today!

Just leaving these receipts here:

Image result for iron fist season

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Death Note
Next up on Hollywood’s list of series to mess with: Death Note.Netflix

 

 

 

*Hollywood’s whitewashed version of anime never sells

https://www.polygon.com/2017/4/3/15142608/hollywood-anime-live-action-adaptations-ghost-in-the-shell

*And just in case Hollywood has not learned anything from the previous fuck ups:

 ‘Whitewashing’ Accusations Fly as Zach McGowan Cast as Hawaiian WWII Hero

‘Whitewashing’ Accusations Fly as Zach McGowan Cast as Hawaiian WWII Hero

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/05/whitewashing-zach-mcgowan-hawaiian-niihau-wwii-controversy-1201814715/

*Now contrast that with financially successful and/or Oscar nominated movies prominently featuring PoC:

Image result for moonlightImage result for beasts of no nationImage result for moanaImage result for hidden figuresImage result for lion movieImage result for creedRelated imageImage result for straight outta compton

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Weekend Reading Assignments

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

 

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

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

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

Continue reading “Weekend Reading Assignments”

Racism in Pop Culture

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

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

Race. Power. Westworld.

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

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


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

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

  • August 20th, 2015

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

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


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

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

Racist Hunger Games Fans Are Very Disappointed


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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


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

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

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

View at Medium.com

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

Ghost in the Shell Thoughts & LinkSpam

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

Orientalism and the Ghost in Hollywood’s Shell

The Incomparable Differences between Whitewashing and Racebending

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

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

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

Exorcising Ghost in the Shell

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

And also check out  the site:

http://blog.angryasianman.com/

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

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

Asian American Month begins in May.

 

Ghost in the Shell/Iron Fist Backfire

Fed-up fans turn ‘Ghost in the Shell’ meme generator against itself

The Major may be a cutting-edge cyborg capable of taking down even the most dangerous criminals, but even she’s no match for the withering disdain of the internet.

Ever since Paramount shared the first image of Scarlett Johansson as the Major in Ghost in the Shell, the film’s been under fire for its decision to whitewash the lead role, who is Japanese in the source material. So when the studio launched a viral campaign encouraging people to upload their own images and captions into a meme generator, some fed-up fans seized the opportunity to make their displeasure known.

And not only did Ghost in the Shell get a thorough roast, a few people made sure that Hollywood didn’t forget about Emma Stone and Iron Fist.

View image on Twitter

And then there’s the recent media implosion over Iron Fist, which got totally trashed by critics who were allowed to watch the first six episodes of the series.The actor Finn Jones, who plays Danny Rand, put his foot in his mouth both before and after the show’s debut and has now left Twitter after being dragged by the public.

‘Iron Fist’s Finn Jones Says He Left Twitter After Diversity Dust-Up To “Stay Focused” On Filming ‘The Defenders’

 

The Implosion of “Marvel’s Iron Fist” and Finn Jones Continues

Marvel’s Iron Fist Cultural Appropriation Casting Crisis Drives Finn Jones Off Twitter — What’s Going On?

Iron Fist actor leaves Twitter after confronting racial issues in series (update)

Yeah, I think someone needs to close their Twitter account and shut the Hell up before they dig a deeper hole.

Here’s the thing, if the public can’t get Hollywood casting agents, or moviemakers, to understand that we want more and better diversity and inclusion, then I guess the public is just going to shame the actors who contribute to the problem. Especially when those clueless actors go on social media to make excuses for what they just did.

Both Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansen have both made remarks about supporting diversity, and both of them were subsequently  roasted on Twitter, and Facebook. The bottom line is that actors are no longer getting a pass about their ignorance of these issues.

In the past, Hollywood actors have managed to get by by just speaking on some issue, without actually doing any of the real work, or being informed, and sometimes actually contributing to the perpetuation of said issue. Well, not anymore. From now on if an actor is going to talk about a social issue, they had better know what they’re talking about, and have put in the work on that issue. Its  simply not enough now to simply appear progressive and get points.

Unfortunately, the irony is that Hollywood is a conservative industry, and actors who speak out too much, or are too bold with their actions regarding social issues, can sometimes find themselves with the reputation for being troublemakers, and damaging their careers. I’m not saying they can’t have opinions, but they’re caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of the film industry and public opinion, and if they’re not A listers, they can’t serve both. They work in an industry that will allow them to be bold enough to speak out on things, if they have some amount of cache, but they can’t be too bold in their actions, or their careers will suffer.

This is the hole that people like ScarJo , and Finn Jones have fallen into. They’ve done something that genre fans do not approve of and have let them know it. At the same time, the actors can’t be too bold in their support of the issue by doing things like, trashing their own productions, or turning down roles.

As for Finn Jones, I don’t know what’s going to happen here. People are strongly objecting to his presence in this role, yet he is what we have. He’s what we’re going to be looking at in The Defenders, too, as don’t think he is going to be replaced.

As for one of the major arguments against casting an AA as Danny Rand:

Marvel did not seem to have any problem finding plenty of Asian Martial Artists to play villains in its productions. Casting Asians as Martial Artists because it might be stereotypical isn’t the problem. The problem is Marvel not wanting any of those Asian Martial Artists to be  heroic.

bigskydreaming:

LOL please skip that ‘Marvel just didn’t want to do the stereotypical Asian martial artist’ argument in regards to casting Danny Rand as white.

Like, if that were true….why would the rest of the cast be full of characters who are….Asian….martial artists???

Also, member that time Daredevil was filled with evil Asian ninjas?? Cuz I member.

And you’ll notice nobody was remotely concerned about casting a Cambodian actress to play Elektra, who has always been Greek in the comics. If not stereotyping Asians was such a concern for Marvel, why’d they go out of their way to make one of their only non-Asian ninja characters Asian? LOL.

And Elodie was AMAZING as Elektra, and there was nothing remotely stereotypical about her character at all, because shocking – that’s what happens when you don’t reduce or limit a character to one specific character trait. THAT’S the danger of stereotyping, and you don’t address that by denying characters access to something that’s actually legitimately a part of their cultural heritage and something they’d have every reason to pursue should they so desire. You just make sure they’re nuanced, three dimensional characters who have a lot more elements to them besides just the one stereotypical element. And Elektra was so much more than just her martial arts skills in Daredevil.

Like, Daredevil the show is heavily racist in a lot of ways, and a lot of that is tied up in their use of the Hand, Madame Gao and Nobu…..and that’s not because they’re mystical Asian ninjas. It’s because that’s ALL they are in Daredevil, that everything we know about those characters revolves around stereotypical characteristics with not much else besides that. And before people go ‘oh well they’re the villains, what do you expect’…..lmao pleeeeeeeeeeeeease. Compare what Marvel did with the Kingpin’s character in Season One to how they used Nobu in Season Two, not to mention Killgrave over in Jessica Jones. Marvel LOVES their nuanced, complicated villains, and yet for some reason, Nobu and Madame Gao remain just secretive Asian martial artists with vaguely defined mystical connections and whose motivations seem confined to uttering cryptic pronouncements but also drugs and taking over the world, we guess.

With Elektra, they actually bothered to breathe some life into her character and flesh her out beyond a two dimensional secretive ninja, and voila….suddenly, shockingly….she’s a full fledged character instead of a stereotype. Imagine that!

Asian American Danny Rand would only have been a stereotype if his characterization began and ended with ‘zen martial artist who barely talks because did we mention how zen he is’.

Of course, its not like this particular bullshit argument is new for Marvel. Remember how when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Ancient One instead of a Tibetan man, Marvel and the director both claimed it was because they were trying to stay away from Asian stereotypes?

And yet, in every still I ever saw from the movie, Tilda Swinton’s character (despite supposedly being Celtic, I heard?) has her head shaved and is wearing brightly colored garments traditionally associated with Tibetan monks in Western perceptions.

Like….umm….again….if you’re worried enough about stereotypes that you cast a white woman instead of the elder Tibetan monk seen in the comics….THEN WHY DID YOU GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO EVOKE EVERY SINGLE STEREOTYPE ABOUT ASIAN MONKS WITH THE VISUALS YOU CHOSE FOR HER?

 

Tumblr Discussion – Fandom

And the discussions about racism in the various fandoms and how it manifests continues. A lot of people want to be insulted by these criticisms, but I look on it as an attempt to make a person’s writing better. These are valid criticisms. That they’re being given by individuals who are completely exhausted at having to explain, “Yet Again”, why its not right to make slave AUs of Finn and Black Panther, or write the deaths of Black characters,so as to remove them so you can ship two White characters, is beside the point.

But first, a bit of humor. This is only something you’ll get if you’ve watched Hannibal the Series mutliple times, though.

hannibalsbattlebot abigailhobbssghost

avegetariancannibal:

Imagine everything that sheep in Su-Zukana saw, from the guy in the horse to Hannibal and Will’s near-murder cuddles in the stables.

Imagine if she wrote a tell-all book about that night.

Pshaw. This book was a self serving work of FICTION. Beulah Jean totally glosses over the fact that she RECEIVED HEAD SCRITCHES from HANNIBAL LECTER ON THR NIGHT IN QUESTION! Wake up, sheeple. This is far from the unbiased account we deserve! Don’t let her pull the wool over your eyes!

Source: avegetariancannibal

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I have nothing to add to some of these critiques. Some things just are wrong.

theprettyfeminist adorablecresta

adorablecresta:

cyber-rich:

adorablecresta:

The interesting thing about discussing unpopular black female characters with certain fans is that many of them will openly acknowledge that fandom racism and racism in the media is a real thing, but will then go on to argue why a certain black female character should be written off the show, or sidelined, or killed off or be kept away from the white male lead. These fans know that fandom racism is a problem, but in their minds, their hatred for the character is completely justified. They know the trends. They know the pattern of black female characters repeatedly being abused by the fandom, but will still go on to list dozens of relatively benign reasons why a black female character should be written off the show. They like to argue that this time it’s different. This time it isn’t racial bias that’s driving their hatred of the character. This time it’s completely justified! So, next time when we’re listing all the black female characters that have been completely destroyed by the fandom, be sure to put a little asterisk next to so-and-so’s name, because that time was totally different.

Well, guess what? That whole list would be full of asterisks because to you, there’s always a perfectly valid reason for wanting the death of a black female character. There’s always a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the black female lead of a show should be sidelined and stripped of her status as leading lady. Whether it be Martha Jones, Iris West, Bonnie Bennett, Tulip O’Hare, Michonne, Gwen, Annie Sawyer, Braeden or any other intensely disliked black female character, the response is always the same. You may think you have perfectly valid reasons for disliking these women, but the fact is that they create a pattern. And whether you like it or not, your hatred is feeding into that pattern.

This is why no-one wants to break from the norm of creating white characters because no-one will say ‘racism’ or ‘sexism’.

However when creating a character who is not a male or a white person, people tend to complain like this and call racism or sexism if something bad happens to that character.

At the end of the day it’s the writer’s call what happens to character or not. If you want a black female character that doesn’t die, write a story yourself.

Um, did you even read my original post? I wasn’t talking about the lack of representation, I was talking about the racist response from audience members during the rare moments when we actually do get representation. I literally gave you a list of black female characters that this has happened to. And while I agree that we should have more prominent writers of color, you have to realize that there are already legions of poc writers out there, but they either can’t get their stuff published (because of racism) or their material isn’t given the proper amount of publicity it deserves (also because of racism).

Also, one more thing. When people of color complain about the lack of representation in the media, please do not tell them to simply “do it yourself.” First of all, as I listed above, people are already doing it themselves, but aren’t being recognized for it. And second, telling people to simply do it themselves is a not-so-veiled attempt at letting white writers who promote racist material off the hook. White writers should be held to a certain standard. It shouldn’t always be up to us to tell them to stop being racist. They should know this themselves.

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People are still arguing about Finn with people who absolutely refuse to see him as a viable candidate for being shipped with Rey, and craft any and all manner of bullshit as to why they won’t ship the two main characters in the movie. Finn has the most screen time of any male character in the entire movie. He is, unquestionably, one of the leading good guys, but some people would rather craft elaborate fantasies about how wrong he is for Rey, rather than acknowledge that they just don’t want to ship a Black man with a White woman.

This writer brings up another point not often made by critics. Black men do not get “woobified” in fandom. There’s not a single man of color, anywhere in fandom that gets the “woobie” treatment. This is something reserved exclusively for white male characters (many of them are often villains). When you consider that most of the people who are writing fandom consists of White women, from middle class backgrounds, most of them under thirty, then you need to ask  why that is.

diversehighfantasy onelonecandle

onelonecandle:

receiptsyall:

This post is the terrible gift that keeps on giving.

@onelonecandle“Finn is an emotionally relatable character, but not in the same ways that Kylo Ren is. Even when Finn is displaying fear and stress in the film, it is frequently made out to be funny (and that’s a great example of differences in character representation between black and white actors based on racial stereotyping).”

Even the opening shot, before we ever seen FN-2187′s face, the camera work is giving us a sympathetic POV on him. The dizzying whirl is meant to evoke a panic attack. Just because Finn gets to smile more in his giddy (and terrifying) new life doesn’t mean he’s not written or portrayed sympathetically.

I think you’re overlooking how carefully we’re taught to give sympathy to white men in fiction. Even when that white man is acting reprehensibly.

(Quick example with misogyny rather than racism: how many fans of Breaking Bad thought that Skyler White was an absolute bitch for protecting her family from her drug-dealing husband, and that Walter was being held back by her terrible bitchiness? Answer: far too many.)

Fandom has the same racial empathy gap that exists in the rest of our culture(s). Add in the echo chamber effect of fandom (enough people say that Driver made Kylo sympathetic and Boyega/the writers didn’t do the same for Finn), and suddenly a nuanced performance by Boyega is viewed as anything but.

In my opinion, Adam Driver, with less than 20 minutes of screen time, did not manage to portray Kylo Ren with more sympathy than Boyega with his 40+ minutes of screen time. That’s mostly on the audience.

@contains-the-force“…Imagine John with golden/yellow eyes and that cocky/cute grin of his!”

Or let him keep his natural dark eyes, which are lovely?

In context, this was related to sad, brooding male characters with certain feminine emotive traits made popular by anime.

In fairness, almost every one of those sympathetic prettyboy anime characters that my generation swooned over in high school was represented as white or asian.

You make good points and my argument was a little scattered there.

I’m sorry but that… wasn’t the context. It wasn’t about anime at all. The context was that the quote above followed a comparison between Black villians and white villains – that Black villains are “hard” and “self-contained,” while white villains are “soft, emotionally raw, feminine white boys.” And because of internalized racism on the part of the writers and directors, Kylo Ren was a more well-written, well-acted character, while Finn was a stereotype because he had funny moments. If John had been given the superior Kylo role and pulled it off as well as Adam, everyone would love him.

But this follow-up confirms what I’d already gleaned from the conversation – that it was more about liking brooding white guys than villains, since sympathetic Black villains like The Operative are not seen as sympathetic. Which is exactly what @receiptsyall is talking about. The empathy gap is real, and while media certainly contributes to that, when a Black character is sympathetic but the audience can’t see it, there is a problem with the audience as well.

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You really need to go to the Tumblr page and read the entire post. Its very enlightening.

eazzy–pink

Fandom culture posts that overwhelmingly describe how the state of fandom is worse now than it was before always put me to sleep because one of the most prevalent differences between what we have now to what we had then is that people started becoming more vocal about the kinds of negative and problematic things going on in fiction and fandom culture as a whole.

Like. I just saw a post talking about how if a person grew up in today’s fandom culture, they would be terrified and unable to enjoy things. Simultaneously, this person used two caps to emphasize this point: “EW GROSS YOU’RE A PEDOPHILE” for liking one ship or “OMG THAT SHIP IS ABUSIVE” to describe another.

I remember growing up in fandom and the kinds of things that I liked. For example: I fucked heavy with Twilight back when it came out. I passed the threshold for caring about Harry Potter and didn’t really have a vested interest in the series, but Twilight was the shit to me. It had a darker element to it than the books I was reading and the characters were compelling, blah blah blah, that whole shebang. I had been writing some stories prior to this, but Twilight was the one thing that saw me actually put work into grooming my writing abilities. I got involved in a writer’s club at my school, my friends and I geeked out about the characters and would come up with our own terrible knock-offstories that were centered around the supernatural, vampires and werewolves because it was really cool.

Fast forward to me discovering this blue hellsite called “Tumblr.”

Keep reading

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An analysis of how Blade sits within the MCU, and the superhero genre in general. (Another film I think deserves analysis within the superhero genre is Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan.)

 I also want to point out the whitewashing of the Blade franchise. As the films became more popular, and the budgets got slightly larger, the cast became whiter and whiter, until you have the complete WTF*ery going on in that last film. You went from a movie that was set in a black neighborhood, with a WoC as the co-lead, and its full representation of both humans and vampires, to token representation in the second film, with an Asian man,  Hispanic woman, and a Black guy, to no representation at all in the third film, (although the third film did wonders for White feminists, though.) 

Whitewashing doesn’t just mean exchanging characters of color with White people, in movies. Whitewashing is also about increasing the number of White characters in a show, or movie franchise, to the detriment of characters of color. This even extends to whole networks. Remember when Fox began as a network? Networks usually get a foot in the door by appealing to minorities. As the network strives to become more mainstream, shows that appealed to minorities are expunged, in favor of whiter casts and series, until PoC are all but absent from that network. Fox is a perfect example of whitewashing, and so is Teen Wolf.

fandomshatepeopleofcolor madmaudlingoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WHITE SUPERHERO FAD STARTED, CRAZY ENOUGH, WITH BLADE

[1]

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

(via dakotacityukuleleorchestra)

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More on how White villains get “woobified” in fandom narratives, and PoC, who are sometimes not even the villains, don’t get sympathy or empathy. Really, check out the whole article. Its  all well stated.

diversehighfantasy

The Sympathetic Black Villain (Or How Loving the Bad Guy is Racially Conditional)

image

(Something Rukmini Pande said in the @fansplaining Race and Fandom podcast reminded me of this old meta I never got around to posting, so here it is, updated for 2016. Contains spoilers for In the Flesh series 2 (you can watch the whole series on Hulu). Thanks to @psmith73 for input and feedback!)

The Bad Guy of Color

In movies and on TV, we’re used to seeing people of color – especially men of color – as bad guys. You’ve got your drug lords, your terrorists, and your gang leaders (but not the “cool” white-friendly kind like mafia kingpins or bikers), all in a variety of shades of brown and black. As a rule, Bad Guys of Color have a few things in common: They’re scary (like, white folks’ worst nightmare scary), they’re The Other against white protagonists, and they’re not sympathetic characters.

Most of the time, there is no attempt to make us sympathize with the BGOC, because it might make it hard for us to watch them die, sometimes by the dozen. Usually, they don’t even give us a reason to hate them (exceptions, like Victor Sweet in John Singleton’s Four Brothers, who is shown as fully unsympathetic when he treats another Black man like a dog, are usually Black-written characters).

These are not the captivating villains. They’re not the Negan, The Governor, the Walter White, let alone the Loki, Joker, or Kylo Ren. They’re undeveloped, nondimensional, and more than a little racist.

When a person of color is written as a sympathetic villain, a developed character, they should be sympathized with, right? Especially if the character isn’t, as they say, defined by race?

Well… no.

Meet Maxine Martin, played by Wunmi Mosaku.

Keep reading

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Okay, that’s it! I’m going to start watching The Flash in support of Candice Patton, cause seriously, people! What kind of fu***ry is this?

White feminism is a hell of a drug…

theprettyfeminist darlingwestallen

braveheartannie:

You know what I don’t understand? Certain fans who are intent on proving that Candice and Danielle hate each other. I’ve come across 2 or 3 blogs this week that have been spreading nasty rumors about Candice bullying Danielle and doing things behind her back in order to decrease her screentime on the show. Like…what is this, the Twilight fandom? Grow the fuck up. These assholes like to pretend to be supportive of women, but when one of those women is black, all of a sudden, that support is thrown right out the window. There is zero evidence that Candice or Danielle have any ill will towards each other. Each and every time they’ve been out together in public, they’ve been nothing but gracious and kind. The reason certain fans want to stir up trouble is because they need a reason to hate Candice. They know they’ve lost the battle of trying to sideline Iris West as a character, so they’ve resorted to making up racist and sexist rumors accusing her of bullying her co-starts and even sleeping with the producers. Yes, you heard me right. There are blogs here on Tumblr accusing Candice of sleeping with the producers. Instead of believing that a gorgeous talented black actress used her charm, talent and intellect to get the job, these assholes are spreading rumors that the only reason why she was cast as Iris West is because she slept with Grant Gustin and the producers. Like, could you be any more transparent? You’re not racist, but you spend all day spreading rumors about how the only black girl on set is fucking everyone in sight and bullying her co-stars?

Donald Trump’s candidacy got ya’ll feeling braver than a motherfucker, I swear…

@reverseracism

@
@

Honestly, I just wanted to put this here for posterity. I loved this answer. Now this is professional level snark.

fandomshatepeopleofcolor localpsychoticplant

Anonymous asked:

Why do you hate whites so much like wtf

taint3edcakes answered:

I don’t hate ya’ll. I think ya’ll are cute, honestly. It’s like I’m your mentor and you are all my mentees. And so you all look up to me and think I’m an amazing role model so you want to dress just like me, talk like me, have what I have. You want my boyfriend, you want my family, my culture, you want to say what I say. And at first it’s like aw haha that’s so cute they want to be just like me but then you’re ALWAYS there and you’re ALWAYS talking like me and it starts to get annoying and I’m like HEY BE YOURSELF PLEASE I don’t want to teach you to be a copycat, or a follower. BE A LEADER BE YOU. DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE? And I mean you love me so much that you’ll go under the knife of SURGERY to be like me. You love me so much that you’ll get beat up just so you can say the N word. It’s flattering, but annoying. That’s how it feels to be black. It feels like mentoring a little ass kid that goes too far and starts looking cool doing what I’m doing, that steals my ideas and profits off them to the point where I dislike them and I’m like

I

MADE

YOU.

AND

I

CAN

END

WHAT

I

MADE

@
@

I think I mentioned something on this issue before, about how the only thing White fans have to work with when it comes to PoC, are decades of stereotypes. Writers who are less talented, less aware, unwilling to examine, or just plain lazy, will only reproduce the stereotypes they’ve been given about PoC all their lives. (Yeah, okay sometimes they’re just straight out racists.)

Real writers, people who care about, and want to hone, their craft, will pay attention to these types of critiques. These critiques are not an indictment against the writer. They are made to suggest improvements. If your’e not willing to use these critiques to  learn or improve your craft, and make bullshit excuses for  writing these stereotypes, than either your talents simply aren’t up to snuff, or you’re just a bigot.

Also there’s more on  the Strong Black Woman stereotype,  where it came from, how damaging it is, and why its okay not to be one. This is details how the stereotypes for White women are different from the stereotypes for Black women. White feminism doesn’t take into account how there are stereotypes for different groups of women. Asian, Muslim, Latinas, all have different stereotypes from each other, and Black women, all of which are designed to shut all women up and keep them subservient. Mikki Kendall also addresses this in her tweets about Strong Black Women.

Examples of the SBW are: Queenie, from season 5 of American Horror Story, taken to extremes in her case, and Gina Torres character from Suits. Actually Gina has made a career out of the Black character who feels no pain. Don’t believe me? Remember how she reacted all through all of the show Firefly and in Serenity after her husband dies? And how her character Bella planned to go through stage four lung cancer without any help from her husband, Jack? All of Gina’s characters are always tough as nails.

theprettyfeminist

thejollyswangirl asked:

In regards to you post about progressive white fangirls and the representation of black women, I think it’s important to remember that we are dealing with socially ingrained racism that stretches back to the days of slavery. Back then, slave owners routinely raped their black slave women. Their wives didn’t have the power to stop this behavior so they ignored it, often shifting the blame for their husband’s actions to the slave women. They created two categories for black women. (Part 1)

(Part 2) 1) Evil/seductress out to steal your man or 2) the much less threatening motherly (often overweight and/or ignorant) maime. This has carried over from centuries worth of literature into movies and tv shows. Progressivism is no antidote for racism. Neither, is liberalism or conservatism. Racism is a heart condition not simply a worldview. If you don’t believe that, study the writings of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger (a progressive white woman) and “The Negro Project”.

^All very good points! The relationship between black women and white women has been poisonous from the the very start.

nerdsagainstfandomracism diversehighfantasy

legendofcerberus-deactivated201 asked:

The only thing I don’t agree with you in your disney-is-racist explanation in Tiana. I prefer black women (including myself) to be seen as strong, someone who can do it without help. Its a better imagine to us and younger black women than someone soft, sub servant and helpless. I think that trope needs to be applied to every woman of color since we seem to be struggling with that in the media. IDK, that is how I feel as a black woman.

disneyforprincesses answered:

and that’s totally your right!! I’m not here to tell anybody how they should feel about how their own people are represented. All I can tell you is that a lot of black women have written about how the strong, independent black woman trope is damaging and I take them at their word!

blogs like lookatthewords and jhenne-bean are both blogs ran by black women who have talked about Tiana in length before if you feel like talking about it with someone who has a foot in the door, so to speak 🙂

-Lauren

jhenne-bean:

lookatthewords:

Well it’s pretty damn damaging trope considering the “strong, independent black woman” who don’t need no man, nor help, apparently is so imbedded in society that white people literally believe black people feel less pain and therefore are administered less pain medicine in need and are given less sympathy when experiencing pain because it’s assumed we’ve been hardened by this life and can “just take it.”

There’s a reason these tropes like “angry black woman” and “strong independent black women” exist, and it isn’t in our favor. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being independent and I think it is a result of the life we’ve for the most part been forced to lead, but ya gotta realize if we’re subjected to just an independent black woman trope, always tough and always in control, then we’re the joke. We have no femininity. In fact, we’re interchangeable with Black men.

Plus I don’t see why being soft, which shouldn’t even be synonym to sub servant and helpless, is a regressive trait. Needing and relying on help does not make you weak; it makes you human. The fact that society likes to push us into this singular story of the strong and independent black woman with few other facades should make you wary as it perpetuates this idea that we’re in no need of sympathy. Empathy,

Therefore you can be a 19-year old teenage girl in need of help after a car accident, but i’m going to shot you in the back of the head because the idea of a Black woman actually needing help as opposed to being the Help is such a bizarre concept that my life feels threatened, right?

More resources:

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.

And I’d like to add this link, as it specifically regards young Black children and fantastical stories. The focus is on sci-fi, but the moral works here too, primarily the takeaway of:

Realism has become a trap for black children and they realize it.

Clutch.com had a thinkpiece on the phrase (+ the internalization of “strong” being the superior and only way for us to operate) stripping away our humanity. BuzzFeed (bear with me) has onethat dissects a few current Black women on television, which might help. Mikki Kendall (Karnythia) also has a Storify page housing some great tweets on the subject.

Lookatthewords already hit on the dangers of perpetuating the strong don’t-need-no-help Black woman as a trope, and it certainly helps no one to insist that it is the only portrayal of Black women illustrated in the media.

There is nothing wrong with being soft, or being the princess, or needing help: you can be all those things and still recognized as a Black woman— as a person. Still be a good example.

Imo, it is better to imagine (and write, and portray) black women of all ages in multifaceted and rounded ways.

Source: disneyforprincesses black women representation Media RepresentationWOC Representation Disney Princesses Princess Tiana Intersectional FeminismIntersectionality Meta Reblog Mod P.
Now, go read Mikki Kendall’s beautiful Twittter takedown of Strong Black Woman syndrome.
I, too, have suffered from Strong Black Woman, but I’ve since learned, in the past few years, to recognize when I’m suffering from a bout of this, and take myself off somewhere for some  self care.
 @
@

karnythia annlarimer

sourcedumal:

kyssthis16:

countessnoir:

daji-ruhu:

hellanahmean:

miss-jailbait:

dendritic-trees:

laterinthecaveoflesbians:

daji-ruhu:

The reason I label white women who are feminists as ‘white feminists’ is because womanhood has a very distinctive definition for Black women than it does for white women.

That whole edgy, dye-your-armpit-hair, shave your head, be aggressively non-feminine shit works for white/white-passing women because for centuries white women have been regulated to overtly feminine roles, stereotypes, tropes, etc.

Black women have always been made into mammy tropes/stereotypes, masculine and desexualized figures, or super strong she-beasts who can’t be hurt and therefore can never be associated with terms like ‘feminine’ or ‘delicate’ or ‘dainty’ or deigned worthy of protection.

So when I see posts railing against these ultra-feminine tropes I roll my eyes because it’s usually a white feminist behind them.

I really need white women to understand that being dainty and feminine and soft is just as radical for me as your punk, head shaving stuff.

Thank you so much.  This is such a great explanation.

I looooove this

This post is so…. Terrible? Like mammy figures are extremely feminine. And Black women have been regulated to these feminine roles just as much.

I don’t get how being feminine can remotely be radical.

Shut the fuck up, blockhead.

ROFL, how fucking dense do you have to be to let yourself even type mammy figures are extremely feminine and it be completely serious?

Mammy figures may be feminine but they are never delicate and that’s a bit of nuance that gets lost when ppl only rely on a thesaurus and no real-life application.

Mammy was a maid, fam. She did the “woman’s work” but womanhood was never ascribed to her in a way that would let her be a part of the protected class. And that’s the point. Even the ideas of femininity are different for Black women. To ignore that is to ignore history. That’s not at all cute. Get it together.

LMFAOOOOO Mammy was absolutely NOT a fucking feminine figure AT ALL

I will direct you to the Jim Crow Museum where they break down the bullshit:

AND I FUCKING QUOTE:

Abolitionists claimed that one of the many brutal aspects of slavery was that slave owners sexually exploited their female slaves, especially light-skinned ones who approximated  the mainstream definition of female sexual attractiveness. The mammy caricature was  deliberately constructed to suggest ugliness. Mammy was portrayed as dark-skinned, often pitch black, in a society that regarded black skin as ugly, tainted. She was obese, sometimes morbidly overweight. Moreover, she was often portrayed as old, or at least middle-aged. The attempt was to desexualize mammy. The implicit assumption  was this: No reasonable white man would choose a fat, elderly black woman instead of the idealized white woman. The black mammy was portrayed as lacking all sexual and sensual qualities. The de-eroticism of mammy meant that the white wife – and by extension, the white family, was safe.

The sexual exploitation of black women by white men was unfortunately common during  the antebellum period, and this was true irrespective of the economic relationship  involved; in other words, black women were sexually exploited by rich whites, middle  class whites, and poor whites. Sexual relations between blacks and whites – whether   consensual or rapes – were taboo; yet they occurred often. All black women and girls,      regardless of their physical appearances, were vulnerable to being sexually assaulted   by white men. The mammy caricature tells many lies; in this case, the lie is that    white men did not find black women sexually desirable.  The mammy caricature implied that black women were only fit to be domestic workers;    thus, the stereotype became a rationalization for economic discrimination. During   the Jim Crow period, approximately 1877 to 1966, America’s race-based, race-segregated   job economy limited most blacks to menial, low paying, low status jobs. Black women  found themselves forced into one job category, house servant.

Read that seven or eight fucking times until you get the goddamn message.

Mammy was NOT A WOMAN. Mammy was a PACK MULE FOR WORK that was deemed fundamentally ASEXUAL so white men could excuse raping them. Because it wasn’t REAL, since she wasn’t really a woman, you see?

Dark skinned Black women shown as feminine, fragile and dainty is revolutionary in a society that explicitly puts us in the position of MONSTROUS, UGLY AND UNLOVED.

Black women as damsels in distress is RADICAL in a society that purports Black women as only WORK MULES

Daji said what she mothafuckin SAID in the damn OP.

*”I am a human being. I am not a robot. I am not a punching bag. I am not a doormat. I am not an animal. I am not a Slinky that immediately bounces back into original shape no matter how many times it is thrown down some stairs. I am flesh and blood. I am a living organism. I am alive. I weep, mourn, ache, rage, chill, giggle, smile, radiate and plenty of other emotions. People, both White and Black, have internalized the message that Black women are simultaneously deified as superheros and disrespected as never needing love and care (and both deification and disrespect are dehumanization). I will always reject this.”

 

 

 

 

Hollywood’s Problems

This is just another problem in a long list of issues Hollywood has with depicting PoC. For those of you who don’t remember the movie No Escape starring Owen Wilson, here’s some  reviews to refresh you.

Review: ‘No Escape’ is a suspenseful but borderline racist thriller

‘No Escape’ Reviews: Critics Call Owen Wilson’s Actioner ‘Racist,’ ‘Cliche-Ridden,’ ‘Monotonous’

6 Reasons There’s No Escape From Hollywood Racism

And the Impossible, starring Naomi Watts:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/jan/02/attempting-the-impossible-asian-roles

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING: WHITENESS KNOWS NO LIMITS

 

And this is a review of Hollywood’s latest debacle starring Blake Lively. I do notice these types of films seems to star Hollywood’s best second raters.

Yet another white lady in jeopardy: “The Shallows” and Hollywood’s empathy gap

In movies like this, the suffering of local people of color takes a back seat to the plight of Caucasian outsiders

 

 

Ghost in the Shell #whitewashing

Every week,  Hollywood does something to make me giddy, and then they counteract that, with something that makes me wanna smack a bish! I guess they don’t want me gettin complacent.

Hollywood just refuses to learn. In their defense though, Hollywood is like the  Titanic, compared to the tugboat of TV. Think of it this way: you’re driving a Ford escort which can stop on a dime, and turn on a knife. Hollywood, the behemoth of modern media, can’t do anything quickly. Its going to take some time for the the ideas of inclusion and diversity to  trickle up to the white men who run these companies (and their investors). But that is the only (and I mean THE ONLY) excuse I’ll give them.

One of the reasons for Hollywoods inertia on these issues is also the overseas markets. The PTB continue to hold onto lots of myths about what the global market wants to see in American films. (That’s not an excuse. That’s  just lazy.) Hollywood is still being run by white men, and women, who are too old, and too out of touch with current socio-political beliefs for them to make coherent decisions about those beliefs. The problem isn’t the Oscars. The problem is the Hollywood machinery.

Well, let’s just say, I hope that’s what it is, rather than sheer, stupid, meanheaded, truculence. I proposed an idea that every time casting choices get made, that whoever made them, should be required to write a several thousand word essay, to the public and fans, on the history of whitewashing in Hollywood, and explain in detail, why they made their choice, with bibliographical references, to show they did the reading. Because they have to know what fans are asking them for, and the only reason they’re being so obtuse about it is, they really don’t get it, or they’re deliberately thumbing their nose at fans, out of sheer contempt, and as a generally positive person, I don’t want to assume malevolence, where there is none.

That said, I will not be going to see Ghost in the Shell. I love the anime and I love Scarlet Johansen, but I don’t want to see Scarlet in vehicles where she is clearly not wanted or even needed. They had at least a  dozen Asian women who would be more than happy to have played Motoko Kusanagi in this movie, but chose to give the first four primary roles listed in the credits to white people, with Japanese actors as  auxiliaries in their own movie. If you could get that many Japanese people to star in the movie, in the first place, why couldn’t you get a Japanese lead? So, in solidarity with other PoC who keep getting their nose tweaked by “The Machine”, I’m opting out.

I don’t blame Scarlet for this, any more than I blame Zoe Saldana for the Nina Simone disaster. I blame the PTB that made such awful choices, and if there was more diversity within the machinery of Hollywood, some of the long held myths Hollywood believes about the public, would be questioned and/or  debunked by those people, because this is what happens when too many people within an organization, all think alike because they all have the exact same backgrounds.

This is why we need the Star Trek ideology: IDIC -Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. We need all kinds of people behind the scenes. ALL KINDS! Not just middle class, suburban, straight, cis-gender, white men and women, who are pathologically incapable, it seems, of seeing anything beyond their own personal experiences and fantasies, or just don’t want to. I mean just count, in the past ten years alone, how many movies have been made about some guy’s all American boyhood, or his teen years looking for sex, or lusting after his hot neighbor. (Now count how many of those movies had a black, Latinx or Asian lead character. )

PoC want to be able to tell those same boring ass stories about our lives. We don’t just want to see movies about slavery and Civil Rights. Latinos don’t just want to watch movies only about immigration, or surviving gangs, and Asian people don’t want to see only movies about them knowing martial arts. (That’s what the Chinese action movie industry is for, and even they break that shit up sometimes, with romances and police procedurals.) Many Asian people are seriously pissed at the erasure in this movie and in Dr. Strange. (I feel like Dr. strange is something much more complicated than GitS, though and I’ll discuss that at a later date.)

Nobody is boycotting GitS.  Nobody has said that word. I have heard from a lot of people, that though they are fans of the original anime, they won’t be seeing this movie. I know I won’t be seeing it. I like the actress and know she will do a good job but I would’ve preferred someone else. I cannot in good conscience give them my money, as that would be encouraging Hollywood to keep doing shit like this, and they gon’ learn.

If any of my readers wish to see it, its up to you. Some people, who are unaware of the controversy, will enjoy it very much, but I would feel like I was sitting in a theatre full of the ghosts of what this movie could’ve been.

http://mic.com/articles/140911/scarlett-johansson-and-tilda-swinton-got-cast-in-asian-roles-and-people-are-pissed?utm_source=policymicTBLR&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social#.84C98tFNF

 

Addendum:

Okay, I feel like I’ve just been going on and on about Hollywood disappointments all week, and even I’m g thing tired of it, so as we don’t dwell too much in melancholia, here’s some fangirling, about shit they gettin’ right:

 

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Okay, one more for the road…no. Oh, alright!

 

 

<yaaahhhhhhhh!>

 

 

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