Not much to report this week, other than that I’ve been reblonded and feel pretty at peace with the world.
In a guest post about artist biopics at Confessions of an Aca-Fan, film scholar John C. Tibbetts recalls Roger Ebert talking about the worst impulses of the artistic biopic:
Not everybody shares my abiding interest in biopics of artists. For example, years ago, back in during an interview in 1991 with the late Roger Ebert, I broached the subject. Now, Roger knew a thing or two about painters and painting, was an amateur collector of British watercolors, and even wrote about it in A Perfect London Walk (1985). Hence, I was eager for his opinion. “Well, the problem is,” he said, “movies like this are almost always based on potted Freudianism, where two or three childhood, or adolescent, episodes are trotted out to explain the artist’s work. I think great art is kind of inexplicable. What the movies do is cater to kind of a vulgar impulse in all of us to know or to want to understand how an artist is great and why. And so if we can find out that his mother didn’t love him or he was abandoned by a cruel girlfriend or he didn’t perform very well in the Army or something, then we can nod and say, ‘Oh, that’s why he was so good!’ Nobody would be satisfied, I think, with an artist’s biography that told the truth, which is that apart from any human attributes of this person, he simply happened to be able to do what he did as well as he did.”
I now spend my downtime laugh-crying at Saturday Night Live friendships.
Those Fawcett Society “This is what a feminist looks like?” t-shirts that made the rounds last week? Made by sweatshop labor, although the society says that they were promised they would be made ethically.
Here’s a new trailer for Agent Carter, featuring everything that is good (Hayley Atwell, Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter, Hayley Atwell destroying stunt men, Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark) and a hilariously out of his depth Jarvis. I’m so happy this is happening.
Fellow genre queers! Lightspeed Magazine is taking submissions for a “Queers Destroy Science Fiction” issue, and the only requirement is that the author is queer. (Although it would be rather nice if the submission was too.) Submit away!
German journalist Patrick Spaet talks about productivity morality (which he calls a work fetish). Sarah Burnside takes it one step further with “So, What Else Do You Do?”:
The growth of bespoke selves may also be part of something broader: a kind of fracturing and splintering of the ways we conceptualize ourselves. If we’re purchasing and inhabiting new identities, it’s merely a continuation of our packaging and repackaging of curated versions of ourselves, such as in that minor absurdity of modern life: the Twitter bio. Consider also the admittedly banal phenomenon of linkbait listicles that encourage us to define ourselves through a series of arbitrary criteria, and then to share the results with like-minded souls in our online communities. They are endless: 30 Problems That Only Introverts Will Understand; 23 Things Only People Who Hate People Will Understand; 8 Things Only People Who Hate Confrontation Understand; and perhaps, one glorious day, 17 Things Only Utterly Self-Absorbed People Will Ever Truly Get.
This is, then, an age of many, many responses to the question: what kind of person are you? And if the answer isn’t to someone’s liking, you can rush out and put together a new self, one which emphasizes different pastimes, exercise habits, likes, or dislikes. The eternal party-conversation-filler Spaet wrote of (“So, what do you do?”) is unlikely to disappear any time soon, but the possible answers are almost limitless–and they’re all for sale.
NPR’s Linda Holmes went on vacation and has come back with a piece about the joy of solitude. She zeroes directly in on the reason why I glory in selfish solitude all the time: you never have to compromise if the party is composed of only one person.
At Overland, Brendan Keogh neatly dissects how gamer became an identity not associated with playing video games, but with a specific demographic, and how that fed into Gamergate:
Thus the ‘gamer’ was born. Not just a person who plays videogames, but someone who lives and breathes videogames. Someone who can bond with other gamers over their shared appreciation of gameplay. Someone who will boast about how quickly they can finish Super Mario or how much better this game is from that game. Someone who will, most important of all, continue to purchase a certain kind of game.
From the mid-80s onwards, the ‘gamer’ identity was created and cultivated as a particular target consumer base through gaming magazines and marketing. For the nerdy kids that could self-identify as gamers, it was something to embrace, something to be, and, for the videogame publishers, it was a known, homogenous group that can easily be marketed to. They were sold an identity, they took it, and it persists today: ‘I’ve been a gamer my whole life.’ Or, alternatively, think of how many people feel the need to caveat any comment on videogames with, ‘I’m not a gamer, but…’ The imprinting of a ‘gamer’ identity was so complete that those who aren’t gamers felt unable to comment on games.
Katee Sackhoff is Carol Danvers, we can all agree, but Panels has make a non-Sackhoff casting list for Danvers just in case. Samira Wiley as Carol Danvers? I swoon.
Adam Bellotto at Film School Rejects reminds us that Marvel’s diversity does include Jessica Jones and Luke Cage—and also that diversity in superhero films is devastatingly poor.
In response to fans’ dissatisfaction with Marvel treating Black Widow as an impossibility now that Captain Marvel is in production, comics writer Nathan Edmonson has written a six page sample of a Black Widow movie. I’m not crying, we’re all crying.
Kevin Wada’s fashionization of Sailor Jupiter is everything I want. In all ways. To wear, in a woman, to put on my wall, etc.
Geeks OUT! is Kickstarting Flame Con, New York City’s first queer comic con! This needs to happen. Where’s my wallet.
Here’s the trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Man, I used to be so excited for these movies, and then they came out.
An Into the Woods trailer with actual singing? My heart! And Emily Blunt and James Cordon are kind of perfect together. (I refuse to accept that Johnny Depp’s bizarre wolf is in this film, however.)
The Society for the Furtherance & Study of Fantasy & Science Fiction has published the complete Janus/Aurora, an acclaimed feminist sf fanzine that ran from 1975 to 1990, in .pdfs and made them available for free. SCREAM.
Holli Mintzer’s short story “Tomorrow is Waiting” is a really sweet take on artificial intelligence involving the Muppets. Strange Horizons is so awesome. (I’m one of their first readers, FYI.)