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Saturday, July 31, 2010

True Blood. season 3 - the halfway point

Ok, a few quick thoughts after last week's episode (3.6).

I'm glad to see Tara getting it done, despite the fact that they've already opened the strong/survivor can of stereotypes, but I'm annoyed that she somehow doesn't know that "smashing in" is not the same as "cutting off." Or maybe we're supposed to believe that how to kill vampires is not common knowledge? And there aren't even myths about it? Despite the fact that everyone seems to know about garlic?

I feel like this junk about Lorena and her maker is going to annoy me. I was trying to think of it as making her more sympathetic, but I feel like it's too late for that (and I'm not sure why they would want to do that, given how much humiliation of and violence towards her we've been asked to endorse). They have done everything they can to make her both hateful and pathetic (but not in the sympathetic or pitiable sense). And, maybe because of my annoyance with the direction they've taken other female characters in, I feel like this is just another way of taking away a female character's agency. I mean...what the hell have they done to Sophie Anne?

And, yes - I foresee lots of pro-Bill mental acrobatics on the horizon. I'm sure there will be lots of Debbie hate, without any attempt to justify her actions, right alongside finding a way to ignore both the impending rape and the whole "I'm actually supposed to be studying you" thing.

And I don't think they realized they've basically ruined Eric right now. As hot as I think Skarsgard is, I have no desire to see this version of Eric get with Sookie.

So I think TB is trying hard to get dumped, but we'll probably linger for a bit in that stage of the relationship where it's terrible and I keep hanging in there because we used to be so great together.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thor

So, I was never into the Thor comics - don't know anything about them, actually. In fact, the last time I really thought about Thor, Elisabeth Shue was having a hell of a time keeping up with the kids she was supposed to be watching, and somehow they ended up at some mechanic's place...


OK, and the interwebs just told me that that guy was Vincent D'Onofrio. Wow.

OK, but as we've discussed here, Thor now looks like this:

I wasn't sold, but I was intrigued.

So now there's this really long trailer:


Uh oh. Should I be worried about the fact that this Thor movie looks like a lot of fun to me? I mean, it looks cheesy, but also potentially awesome. And I feel like a guy whose superpower is being the god of thunder has potential, right? And, well...Hemsworth *is* looking pretty fine, in a super blond Norse god kind of way...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

tidbits

I want to see this movie right now. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist. (from Pajiba's Storytellers series)

Oooh, pretty music-making thing.

And, this horoscope from The Onion was for Pisces, but it's sort of perfect.
Remember: It's all a matter of perspective. See how your crippling finances look from atop that hill.

Finally:


So much going on in this picture. I was on my way home from seeing Wicked, so maybe the post-show haze is what kept me from noticing sooner that we were surrounded on this Bart ride by a bunch of girls on their way from a Justin Beiber concert. It did not, however, keep me from noticing those horrendous shoes. But the best part was the guy with the name tag. You can't see it in this picture, but it said:





HELLO!
My name is:
Inigo Montoya. You killed my father - prepare to die.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

True Blood season 3: Trouble(d)

True Blood is highly problematic right now, but there are a few interesting things happening.

All kinds of spoilers if you're not caught up.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I had to try it.

Yeah, I've been playing with I Write Like.

Based on a sample of my dissertation:

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
This post about a bunch of random stuff also got that result. I'm reminded that I have not read Infinite Jest, some some of his essays.


Based on this post about tasing old ladies:

I write like
William Gibson
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
Which reminds me that I've only ever read a few pages of Neuromancer.


This thought for the day got:

I write like
Isaac Asimov
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
(though it says you should enter at least a few paragraphs for "reliable" results). Which reminds me that I've never read the Foundation books (I've only read a few of his short stories).


And my rant about Dollhouse got:

I write like
Arthur C. Clarke
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
Ah, 2001. Again, I am reminded that I have not read things it seems like I should have read (I've also never seen the film).


I'm just glad none of them came up Stephanie Meyer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Racialicious reads my mind

Once again, the folks at Racialicious do a much better job of saying what I'm thinking than I do.
Thea: I have to say I felt more out of breath and queasy at the end of this episode than I usually do…Season 3, while better on the storylines than Season 2, sure is heavy on the violence against women. First Lorena gets punched so hard in the face that she flies across the room (of course this follows having her head twisted around last ep, so that Bill wouldn’t have to see her face while he had sex with her…which in this ep, she tells us she thoroughly enjoyed) then Franklin imprisons, assaults and then ties Tara to a toilet. And we end with the gory, violent, sexualised murder of a stripper.
     The violence against Lorena puzzles me. It is plain and simple, extreme violence, but it is complicated by the fact that she is a vampire i.e. has superhuman strength. But just in terms of optics, it is shocking to see.
     And I have to say it was extremely disturbing to see Pam tortured…even tough bitches are ultimately vulnerable to male violence. (And I would argue that it was male violence – even if was by rule of vampire law.)
--From Tough Black Women & Women in Refrigerators: The Roundtable for True Blood S03E04


Given my own misgivings about the season so far (and the books in general), I'm glad to see that it's not just me. The racial ping is very much there with Tara and family, but I am, as I've mentioned before, much more disturbed right now by the fact that the show seems more and more to be using rape and graphic violence (often sexualized) against women as the primary narrative force (this is also my main complaint with the books). Not cool, True Blood. So very not cool. I keep hoping it'll get turned around, but I'm not really sure how they'd manage that.

Also?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book review: Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology

by Jennifer Stuller



Stuller traces the appearance of superwomen (a designation for which she gives criteria at the outset) in the modern mythologies of popular media (TV, film, and comics), starting with Wonder Woman's 1941 debut. Not just a trip down memory lane, Ink-Stained Amazons critiques as well as cataloging, using figures from Buffy to Pam Grier to Lois Lane and, of course, my favorite Amazon to tell a story of the ebb flow of feminist ideals in popular culture, suggesting (not always explicitly) an overarching understanding of the role of myth in self-making and the formation of ideals and calling for an evolution in our understanding and representation of heroism. A good, fun, read that gives lots to think about.

And, if you're anything like me, leaves you with the Wonder Woman theme stuck in your head for a long time.

Cops continue to misuse their power; citizens continue to make poor choices in dealing with people known to misuse their power.

2 officers out of jobs in wake of repeated tasering of woman

Ok, really, people? A woman calls to report a potential intruder. She also calls a nearby friend to come sit with her while she waits for the cops. The cops show up...well, here's where all hell breaks loose. The cops show up and, for unspecified reasons, assume this is a domestic violence case (because, obviously, all black folks sit around beating each other up at night). They ask the friend a few questions, but not his name, then let him go. Then they ask the woman who called them about an intruder for her friend's name and, not surprisingly, she doesn't think it's relevant to the matter at hand. So, of course, the cops try to arrest her and, in the process, Tase her. Repeatedly. Her friend was a) not the reason she called the police and b) not there anymore because the officers let him go. But suddenly it's crucial to get his name, and worth arresting her over? And they're surprised that, faced with getting arrested for calling the police because she thought there was an intruder, she doesn't seem on board with that plan? And they feel like repeated tasing of a 57 year old woman is a necessary response here?!

Now, as some of you have heard me say, I feel like it's just a good call to tell the cops what they want to know, largely because I think it's obvious by now that a lot of cops CANNOT WAIT to shoot you, tase you, or beat your ass. And I, for one, have no interest in any of those activities. I feel like you tell tell the cops the guy's name, because it reduces the chances of getting tased. In theory, I feel like you get in the squad car for the same reason, but I suspect that, in practice, I'd at least ask politely why I was being arrested, given the circumstances. And then I'd get my ass tased for "resisting arrest." And, even if the cop did get fired, he'd just get a job in a neighboring county within days.

But, hey, on the upside, at least this asshole knew his taser from his handgun, right?

What kind of pathetic fear-state do we live in where *that's* the good news? One where, as TNC points out, "citizens are forced to take on the onus of de-escalation--because the people trained and theoretically paid to understand de-escalation refuse to."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thought for the day

Instead of becoming a “clear” community with no indications of race, wouldn’t a more proper definition of post-racial be the acknowledgment of ethnic identity sans the bias behind those associations?
From The Race to “Post”: Can We Handle Current Business First? by Regina Bartlett

Some of you have heard me rant about the whole "I don't see color" thing. If you haven't, let me give you the short version:

1. That's bullshit.
2. If it weren't bullshit, that would not be a good thing. I don't want you to "not see" that I'm Black. I just don't want you to hate/fear/refuse to hire me based solely on that fact.


Bartlett's article touches on the post-ism craze sweeping America, focusing on post-racialism.

True Blood season 3: bad things all around

"Aw, hell - how am I supposed to deal with this fuckedupness?"

--Lafayette, after Eric first saves him from getting his ass beat by sketchy guys in Hotshot, then flies out of his car window with no preamble. (In Eric's defense, he was off to try to help Pam, who was getting tortured by The Magister, who had raided Fangtasia and found all the V.)

That does seem to be the question everyone on the show should be asking right now, doesn't it?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

SHE'S ALIVE!!!

Woke up this morning with a head full of things that wanted to be written down. It's a jumbled mess of thoughts, but it's a whole page's worth of them. So there's got to be at least a sentence in there that'll lead to some other sentences  :)

Mostly, it was just nice to have things I wanted to write down. I was beginning to fear that I really wouldn't. And I apologize in advance to the folks who're going to have to hear me talk about this until I articulate what it is I'm trying to say. If it's any consolation, at least it'll be shorter than my dissertation.

Thought for the day

"What genre do I want to write in? What kind of words will let me say what I want to say? Lucid but elliptical, authoritative in a non-tyrannical way, interesting, to the point (but not dry). Since I'm not sold on the boundaries as they are (literature, philosophy, religion, ethics, etc.), I'd like to run roughshod over them and have it work. I want my work to be pointedly exploratory."

A long overdue, though perhaps ill-timed productivity surge

 Why, you might wonder, am I up at 3am? No, no - nothing that exciting. Quite the opposite, actually. I'm organizing. Yes, right now. Of course I should be sleeping. But I kind of have to go with the productivity when it's happening. And this was a seriously productive organizing binge! On Thursday, I went to the library empty-handed and left with a large bag of books (there might have been a hand truck involved). On Friday, I received a bunch of the books I've ordered online recently (more coming on Monday). To make room for all those books, I needed to do some cleaning and reorganizing. What started as a simple displaement soon became real, live sorting and, in the process, I uncovered several things to read that will be helpful for the research projects I've finally started thinking about, imposed order on various stacks of paper (getting rid of much of it in the process), and, perhaps most shockingly, found a whole bunch of things (notes, etc) written by yours truly that are not stupid and that totally relate to what I'm supposed to be thinking about. Who knew all those scraps of paper I'd been hoarding actually had thoughts on them, some of which I'm excited to think about some more?! I mean, besides me...because that's why I was hoarding them in the first place. But they weren't helping me. They were pretty just an overwhelming mass of paperandbooksandjumbledOMGICANNOTDEALWITHTHISRIGHTNOW! And now they're thoughts and lists and syllabi and poems and articles. They're categorized in useful ways, easily accessible, grouped with other relevant things of their kind, just begging to make themselves useful!
So, I should probably be sleeping, but I think it was worth it. I'm actually excited to do some of that thinking that needs doing, and am even beginning to think I might have something to write about (eventually). Lord knows I've got enough notes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Eww.

Why are you walking around barefoot? You seem to have perfectly good shoes in your hands.

Eww.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Adam Serwer on the Mehserle verdict


Times change, but the radioactive fear of black people, black men in particular, has proven to have a longer half-life than any science could have discerned. 
--Adam Serwer, "Oscar Grant, A Victim of American Fear."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lilith Fair


Went to Lilith Fair yesterday, thanks to K., who was sweet enough to treat me to lawn seats. It was so much fun! I love Sarah McLachlan, so know I'd enjoy her set. I was also excited to see who else was on the bill. I spent most of my time at the main stage, but did check out A Fine Frenzy's set on one of the side stages. I've actually just started listening to her (them?) recently. She was energetic, and I enjoyed most of what she did, which I presume was from her new album (except Almost Lover, which I know is on the older one that I've been listening to).



 Back at the main stage, Colbie Caillat, who I haven't been impressed with when I heard her on the radio, has a good voice (I'm still not terribly impressed with her songs, though). And then The Bangles performed, which was awesome. Even when they were a little off, they were still good. Miranda Lambert, who I have heard of but have not listened to, came next. She's got a good, really powerful voice, and I might check her stuff out, but I think it's a little too redneck-country for me. (And you know I like country sometimes.) And then Heart performed, and they were FANTASTIC. Ann Wilson is amazing. And then Sarah McLachlan closed out the night. She was great (though I noticed she avoided some of the high notes), and it was fun to see her again (I saw her once in concert and she was crazy good). I think Heart was really the highlight for me, though.





HEART!



Saturday, July 3, 2010

OMGTREATSPLAYTIMETREATSSCRATCHESTREATS!!!

I wish I had a video camera and had caught the full-on explosion of cute puppy-ness that happened earlier. I'd been sitting and reading for a bit, and thought it was probably time to scratch behind the puppy's ear (as you do). She obviously agreed, and there was much tail wagging and nuzzling and hand-licking and general crazy puppyness.

The aftermath:














































In the closet with Johnny Weir

I don’t like the idea of that look — I think it’s not quite right. But there are those situations where you’re performing or doing a shoot where, you know, there’s nothing wrong with a little heel. I think more men should walk in heels and run in heels and see what women have to deal with every day.
--Weir on man heels
The man uses one of the bedrooms as a closet. I can only dream of being that fabulous. (Full article here.)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Movie stuff

A couple of people have asked if I was going to see The Last Airbender. I'm not, and had been meaning to write a little something about why - it was basically going to say, "Why are they all White? Also? It looks like it's going to suck." Roger Ebert says I was right.
"The Last Airbender" is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here.
Ouch.


In other movie news:

I reviewed The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in my movie post. Roger Ebert reviewed it much more amusingly here. Pajiba reviewed it much more vitriolically here.

Also at Pajiba, the international trailer for Let Me In, the American remake of Let the Right One In, yesterday. Not surprisingly, it does not look like it will be anywhere as good as the original. Surprisingly, at least to me, the trailer for the original one involved more quick cut "HOLYCRAPWHAT'SHAPPENINGGETEXCITEDRIGHTNOW!" than I expected.

I haven't seen a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio since that one on the boat, but I think I want to see Inception.

I do not, however, want to see that terrible looking Zac Efron movie I keep having sit through the trailer for. In fact, each time I see the trailer, I'm just that much more sure that I don't want to see it. But, I'm interested in who they think their audience is. I was not surprised to see it edvertised at Eclipse, but I first saw it ahead of The A-Team.

Not having seen a DiCaprio flick in the last decade means I haven't seen any of Scorsese's recent stuff (actually, I haven't seen a Scorsese movie since Cape Fear, which is really a shame - I keep meaning to watch Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ, but have just never gotten around to them). I'm intrigued to hear that he's directing Hugo Cabret, the film version of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which I just read (and reviewed). Intrigued, but mostly hoping that the article's mention of 3-D is a speculation that does not come true. Cinematical suggests that the fact that the book won a Caldecott Medal for Illustrations means it lends itself to 3-D, but those illustrations (which are fantastic) are most definitely in 2-D. So, unless it's going to be not only really well done 3-D, but 3-D that actually adds something to, and seems an integral part of, the movie, I'm not sure it's worthwhile, and I'm sure it's not necessary.

Finally, in the wake of Amanda Bynes' retirement announcement, I had a realization: Amanda Seyfried and Amanda Bynes are not the same person! I mean, obviously they're not, because they have different names. But, honestly, I think I'd really been thinking of them as one entity (That Amanda Whatshername, You Know, the One Who's in Those Previews for Those Movies I Don't Want to See).

Okay, this is just ridiculous.

Did you really bring up Eclipse at Kagan's confirmation hearings? Really?!