The Week in Review: December 7th, 2014

New York City: Chrysler Building

Is the Chrysler Building my favorite building in New York, or am I simply an Art Deco fiend finally in a place where she can be dazzled by it 24/7? It’s probably both.

Links

Eric Garner protesters have been all over New York City this week making their voices heard. As well they should.

Artist Claire Hummel talks about why Jurassic World choosing to be faithful to the original film over being faithful to new paleontology research the way the original film was faithful to then-new paleontology research. She touches on how films influence mass scientific thought, right down to how she gets teased for “buying into” the whole feathered dinosaur thing, when that’s what most paleontologists believe.

Everybody involved in Exodus: Gods and Kings: please shut up. You are not helping yourselves when you try to defend how the film isn’t whitewashing, because it is. And Christian Bale saying that his being white shouldn’t have any impact on whether or not he can play Moses? Cry me a river, Batmans.

A woman in Germany was murdered after protecting two teenage girls from harassment. As Carolyn Cox at The Mary Sue says, how can anyone say that harassment is just harmless when things like this happen?

Did you notice that the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens features exactly zero white dudes? (I mean, we don’t know about that Sith, but maybe it’s Gwendolyn Christie and a really good reason for having such a dumb lightsaber!) Well, there’s already criticism about a science fantasy film having exactly zero white dudes in its trailer (despite white dudes being confirmed for many roles), and John Boyega, Prince of Hearts, has shut them down in his charming fashion. This is the part where I clutch my face and groan about what a fantastic actor he is.

Juliet Kahn at Comics Alliance takes a look at Sam Wilson as Captain America and the new female Thor and dares comic book companies to do better:

It’s not that I think straight white dudes can never convincingly portray experiences that they do not personally share. Renee Montoya, a Dominican-American lesbian, was depicted with honor and compassion by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark in Gotham Central. Terry Moore has made a career of illuminating the complicated interior lives of women, often in love with other women. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have, in Avatar: The Last Airbender, created a massive fictional universe without a single white person in it. But this sort of work is not the norm. Straight white dudes’ attempts to portray othered experiences are by no means uniformly terrible, but they’re rarely great, and even more rarely do they feel true.

I find that truth in Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s portrayals of female adolescence, and the ways Los Bros Hernandez capture Spanglish. It’s in the stories that creators from othered backgrounds think to tell at all, the nuance they capture, the risks they take that others wouldn’t. We need to care about real people, dealing with real experiences of difference, gaining a voice in this industry. It isn’t just hypocritical to pat yourself on the back for throwing a black guy and a woman onto a few covers as you keep them out of your offices — it’s an outrage. That is the first thing that should change.

Creating an industry and a community that is open to, interested in, and actively seeks out a diversity of experiences and lives should be the first priority. It should be the ideal everyone is striving towards, and it should never be a topic that anyone feels comfortable setting aside, putting off, or otherwise dismissing. This will help the industry tell better stories — but it is also, simply, the right thing to do. And doing the right thing should be present in the minds of everyone who works in such an idealistic genre.

(She also proposes a Dazzler solo series, which I would buy one million copies of if it was set in the eighties. Or just existed, you know, whatever.)

Steve Kandell at BuzzFeed, while talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, talks about the symbolic power of the franchise:

Rather, the teaser is a dog whistle in more subtle ways: the orange of the desert, the dirt and rust on an X-wing, and more crucially, the howl of the TIE fighters and the swelling of the John Williams score, which apparently can raise goose bumps by merely typing a reference to it. The final moment of the trailer is not an image, but the distinctive hum of a lightsaber.

These are more powerful cues than faces, and they’re hopelessly embedded in the DNA of people of a certain age who maybe think they should know better. The ease of these cues’ effectiveness is nothing short of embarrassing; Abrams knows the power of what he’s holding and knows to only dole out a drop of it for now. Making two Star Trek movies prepared him for navigating a fully mobilized geek gauntlet, but that may not have brought the same baggage that this does. We can grow up and grow old and think ourselves past certain things, then the whoosh of a fake laser sword pulls us inescapably back, like some sort of giant totemic emotional — oh fuck it, it’s like a tractor beam.

I find this really interesting in the context of long-running franchises. Every Legend of Zelda game will be able to do this to me, even though I no longer have the time or money to invest in video games anymore. Bond is starting to be able to do this to me. It ties in very neatly with my totemic approach towards materialism.

The Scorpio Races is being adapted into a film? SCREAM!

Lauren Graham has been cast as the titular character in Kate On Later, an NBC show about late night television and its lack of ladies, produced by Ellen DeGeneres. I am fascinated by NBC as a television channel with its own identity, and since it’s a major contributor to that lack of ladies (with the recent promotions of Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon, both of whom I love!), I find it interesting that NBC is considering a show about that.

Caity Weaver at Gawker tests the limits of human sanity, butt stamina, and TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers. This may be the greatest thing I read all week.

This article introduced me to Kelly’s 22 Colours of Maximum Contrast, a descending list of colors that contrast highly with each other. This is really useful for calendars and anything else you want to color code.

Mark Harris at Grantland talks about Best Actress awards in a year with very few lead female performances:

It’s not the quality of these performances that’s frustrating; it’s the default nature of the selections. These six women are not just the usual suspects; they’re the only suspects. And without at least six other women whose work is just as strong, the Best Actress discussion becomes about necessity rather than merit. Nominations shouldn’t ever be a self-fulfilling prophecy or the result of months of an insistent drumbeat that there really are no alternatives. A healthy field is one that has been culled from a large list, an indisputably high-quality roster of five that still allows you to mourn those who had to be left out.

DJ Earworm’s United States of Pop 2014 is here. It’s one of the best—the way “Let It Go” is utilized is amazing and he does something with “All About That Bass” that makes it even more catchy.

Consider celebrating the holidays by making your money count with donations. BuzzFeed has a list of worthy causes, from dog shelters to Ferguson’s library to Janet Mock’s trans book drive.

Warner Brothers is making a film based on the life of DJ Tatiana, an EDM DJ who broke into the scene by posing as a male DJ named DJ Musikillz. THIS SOUNDS AMAZING.

The Church of Bowie woke early to watch the live Bond 24 announcement, which was quick and a little lackluster. But Spectre has an amazing cast, even though you don’t spell Blofeld Oberhauser. (Unless Stephen Hawking isn’t just teasing about wanting to play a Bond villain…) Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema will also be working on the film, which fills my heart with joy.

Australian parents place a “retraction” in the paper to their son’s birth announcement after he comes out as transgendered to show their support.

Terry Crews criticizes rape culture and Frieda Pinto defends feminism. Yessss.

The Agent Carter premiere will be two hours long, as if that could possibly sate the nation’s need for Peggy Carter. But keep trying!

Margot Robbie is confirmed as Harley Quinn for Suicide Squad, as is Jared Leto as her Joker. And they’re looking into Oprah as Amanda Waller? Which would mean I would have to go see this in theaters. I really wish I was more excited about Harley’s first crack at the silver screen, but, you know, it’s DC Studios.

Find Your Fit is a website that lets you put in your measurements to show you which brands’ sizing match those numbers. Useful and reinforces the fact that sizing is completely arbitrary.

Monica Heisley’s adventures of A Cool Hip Writer are hilarious, but I think his adventures in NaNoWriMo are the best so far:

All great artists have their imitators, or as they say in Latin, vulgus imitemur. But November marks the ne plus ultra of a growing coterie of my impostors. From laptop computers to my signature sparse moustache, to the adoption of thick knitted sweaters (a style of clothing I invented for fall), I can take it no more. After all, what are these infants playing at? Rome was not built in a day, The Rise and Fall Of the Roman Empire not writ in a month. One cannot simply pull on the vocation of “writer” as one might pull on a vaguely androgynous vintage silk shirt that you stole from your girlfriend because honestly, you’re post-gender and don’t care who that scares. A true artist participates in National Novel Writing Life. I once literally killed a mockingbird. I consider all of my jests infinite.

The University of Iowa Libraries is undertaking a project to digitize 10,000 fanzines, largely taken from the collection of James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Collection. You can follow along on their tumblr!

Dwayne Johnson is voicing Maui in Disney’s Moana! Yes, perfect, thank you.

Much like Wonder Woman, Batwoman is in poorer hands now that management has been turned over, but Alan Kistler wonders why DC thinks that a story about Kate being raped by a vampire is more interesting than a story about Kate getting married:

Marriage does not need to be the end of a story. It does not automatically limit a story. Marriage is still a relationship and relationships are abundant with dramatic possibilities. “Superhero” is not a strict genre and placing everyone under the same marital/love status quo is far more limiting than saying “some heroes get to have love, some get married, some don’t, some don’t choose it.” When you know that a story that would’ve really made Batwoman stand out from so many American superhero titles was sacrificed for something we’ve seen time and time again, (quite possibly to continued detriment of how society views and defines rape) it makes me angry at the comic instead of the villain.

That’s the wrong thing to feel.

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones for real? I’m up for it!

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange for real? FAAAAAAUTE. Boring. Asleep.

This GQ profile of Tilda Swinton is basically every joke Gavia Baker-Whitelaw has ever made about her come true. What a fascinating person!

This tumblr post of hijabi cosplayers is adorable. The Link and the Minion are my favorites.

Roberto Orci, insulter of Star Trek fans, is no longer directing Star Trek 3. Hope is rekindled in my heart.

Chris Rock is out promoting Top Five at the moment, and all of his interviews have been amazing. His New York interview is the most deep, touching on Ferguson and politics; his The Hollywood Reporter interview tackles race in Hollywood; and his NPR interview talks about his personal definition of success.

Anne Helen Petersen talks about the celebrity narrative currently being ascribed to Reese Witherspoon in her usual brilliant fashion:

Of course, there aren’t two Reese Witherspoons — there’s just society’s generalized incapacity to allow a woman to contain multitudes, especially if they’re seemingly at odds. The problem with the virgin/whore dichotomy, after all, isn’t virgins, or whores, but the idea that a woman couldn’t possibly contain vestiges of both, and embrace them equally. After all, that’s what makes a text like Wild so exquisite: its ability to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable or, as Strayed puts it in the passage that ends both the memoir and the film, “What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently that I had done?”

Acquisitions

Books
Purchased: None
Added: None

Films
Purchased:
Added: The Adventures of Prince Achmed (via tumblr)

2 thoughts on “The Week in Review: December 7th, 2014

  1. I believe that any time Christian Bale whitesplains anything, that is a perfect opportunity for us to revisit the remix of him screaming at the lighting guy. Remember that? I do! And I listen to it at least a few times a year. And any time someone I know leaves their job, I urge them to say when giving notice “You and me, man, we’re fucking done professionally.” Cause Christian Bale. He’s a source of wisdom.

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