The Week in Review: December 1, 2013

Goodwill: Green Knight Shoes

I hope all my fellow Americans had a lovely Thanksgiving this week! My roommate’s family kindly invited me to their festivities, and I spent the rest of the day watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon online. It was lovely. My groove is a little thrown off with the extra day off, so I’ll be catching up for a little while. My reading is still suffering, but I’m working on it.


In the comments for Christopher Bird’s take on “The Day of the Doctor,” one commentator rolls their eyes at fans speculating over how the show will handle the regeneration cap—after all, they can’t really think the show will end, right? SpaceSquid takes them on with a brilliant comment:

People are free to find that discussion as boring and pointless and dusty as they wish. But in the context of a program that the mainstream derided as naff and embarrassing when it bothered to remember it at all, it bothers me when one group of fans tells another group there is something wrong with how they extract enjoyment from their shared love of the show.

(Unless said fans are, explicitly or otherwise, failing to deal with genuine problems, like the white male privilege the show still hasn’t divorced itself from. Personally, my greatest hope is that the Doctor gets a whole new set of thirteen regenerations and comes back as a non-white woman. “Yes, the blue flame can have that effect”, some random Time Lord says, and voila. Thousands of “I’m not racist, but…” fans suddenly face their worst nightmare: a show that has finally left them behind.)

Irene Gallo at walks us through how a printer (Quad Graphics, in this case) puts together an enormous fantasy novel—A Memory of Light, to be specific.

io9 asks its readers what their favorite debunked fan theory is, starting with a The Revenge of the Jedi featuring Leia as an avenging Jedi out to rescue her brother from the dark side. The comments are full of awesome theories, from Doctor Who’s Rory becoming a villainous Time Lord (The Centurion, naturally) who fights the Doctor by saving the people he can’t due to timey-wimey, That reminds me, I should probably write up my now-debunked fan theories for Doctor Who now that [REDACTED] is [REDACTED].


Two LEGO builders have created a LEGO model of Erebor. Holy crow!

To promote The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Google has created a Chrome Experience map of Middle-Earth. It covers characters, locations, important information, and minigames. There’s only three locations available right now, but it’s wonderful. The Rivendell minigame in particular is really odd and lovely.

Autostraddle’s Miriam reflects on the Trans Day of Remembrance and her issues with its politics.

Last week, The PBS Ideas Channel examines the characterization of the Doctor. If, after all, the Doctor is defined by his unstable nature, how do we define him? Mike Rugnetta offers an answer based on symbols, which is really fascinating! reveals that the forgotten 1984 Supergirl film is the reason Thanksgiving has become a huge movie weekend in the United States.

Via Feministing, a statement from the leaders of the United American Indians of New England about Thanksgiving, genocide, and mourning.

I’m reading Feminism is for Everybody at the moment, and hooks points out that abortion is not the end-all, be-all of reproductive rights. But it is one of the most stigmatized, despite the fact that one in three American women will have one before the age of 45. New York Magazine shares the stories of twenty-six women who chose—and often fought for—their abortions. The multi-faceted picture it makes reveals just how hard a choice this can be—but also that this choice is theirs to make.

I always thought my first big celebrity death was going to be one of the Pythons, but it’s actually Roger Ebert, because he was so clearly, enthusiastically, and calmly a fan after my own heart. Hoop Dreams director Steve James is directing a documentary inspired by Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself, and is hosting an Indiegogo campaign to fund the post-production process. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

My interests in pop culture ephemera, Christopher Eccleston, and Doctor Who combine in this trailer for the reboot. It’s aughts-tastic.

Anne Helen Petersen is my current writing idol, so I’ve been using the slow holiday weekend to binge on her blog. “The Parameters of Indie Stardom” is a good introduction for those new to Petersen or star studies, since she defines stardom and then goes on to dissect the rigidity of what it means to be an indie star. She also taught me the world “polysemic,” which indicates that something can have contradictory meanings. But her reading of Revenge as a postfeminist dystopia is just brilliant:

Postfeminism is a loaded term. Here’s my simplified and contentious definition:

Postfeminism is, most explicitly, the idea that feminism is no longer necessary. Feminism accomplished its goals in the ’70s and ’80s, and we’re ready to move on and just “be” women, whatever that means. (Suggestions that we live in a “post-race” society often hinge on the idea that a black president means that racism is no longer an issue in our society, let alone a defining issue). We don’t need feminism, we just need “girl power” – a very different concept than the “grrl power” that undergirded the Riot Grrl movement of the early ’90s (which was, itself, a response to the rise of postfeminism). Postfeminism is forgoing freedoms or equal rights in the name of prettier dresses, more expensive make-up, and other sartorial “freedoms” to consume. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman is postfeminism manifest — a self-sustaining (sex worker) who meets her prince, who will allow her to consume (and become her “true” self). Sex & the City is postfeminist. Bridget Jones is postfeminist. 27 Dresses is postfeminist.

In short, the idea that consumption and self-objectification (which usually leads to romantic monogamy) = equal rights and equal treatment is postfeminist.

(Between this and Feminism is for Everybody, I’m going to have a good think on my next days off about consumerism.)

That said, I am glad I live in a world where I can purchase Mountain Dew-scented Space Invader soaps from a small business owner. (The NES controller soap is prettier, but is also sold out. Ennui!)

Jam of the week: HAIM’s “The Wire.” This blew me away last Monday, which is when I watch Saturday Night Live. I’m posting that performance instead of the music video. The music video is pretty funny, but tries to be a small sketch about the boys the sisters are breaking up with. They’re musicians, not actresses, so it’s a delight to see them perform entirely in their element. I mean, Este Haim’s bass face is marvelous. And then the strings kicked in and I swooned so very hard.

Sarah Blackwood talks Bella Swan, asking why we would want our young adult heroines to be fully actualized instead of having mistakes, flaws, and experiences we don’t want them to have.

At Tea Leaves and Dog Ears, Sarah Siegel questions Steven Moffat’s reliance on circumventing or ignoring circumstances that should have a lot of emotional fallout on Doctor Who (and, to an extent, Sherlock.)

Comedian Aamer Rahman destroys the idea of reverse racism.


Purchased: None
Added: My Education by Susan Choi (via Ana)

4 thoughts on “The Week in Review: December 1, 2013

  1. Interesting article on Bella Swan! I couldn’t disagree more, though. Bella isn’t a representation of femininity that we’re not used to — she’s a representation of femininity (passive and waiting patiently for her gentleman lover to come take her away from all this, and then he does and she is happy and they live happily ever after, gag) that we’ve been bashed over the head with umpty-trillion times, starting from childhood, and now we are over it.

    Ugh I am so over it. I am the over-it-est. The more I think about it, the more over it I am.

    • While I think you’re largely right, there are some aspects of the story that do complicate it, like Bella being very open about her sexual desires for a young adult heroine. (It is tied up in the fantasy of having a male lover who would never, ever, ever take advantage of you, but it is something you don’t see everyday.) In the ideal world of all the ladies all the time, Bella could be as she is in that article. But when she’s part of that larger pattern, she’s as you say.

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