Watched Recently–quick rundown

I started reading books again, mostly romance. Mostly disappointments. Luckily, I’m not paying for most of them. Watched a lot of movies, some of which might not be listed. Any of this will be revisited for further details in the future. Thinking of getting an account at The Artifice to write about things I watch and meander over.

Anime:

  • Dimension W— Liked this one quite a bit.
  • Dantalian no Shoka
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Anne Happy (Did I mention that I watched this a few months ago?? Revisited it when I wanted something cute to watch.)
  • I’m not sure I wrote a post about D. Gray-Man but I liked that enough to write a three fan fictions about it.

Movies:

  • Deadpool, despite my better judgement. It had its moments. Negasonic Teenage Warhead was a plus.
  • The Last Witch Hunter (I like seeing Vin Diesel in this kind of role *shrug*. Though his character was patronizing to witches though, in that kind of “Let me tell you who you are after I’ve been slaughtering your kind for centuries” way.).
  • Central Intelligence (I want to call this movie everything but what it’s called–National Security, Redacted–I keep forgetting what this movie’s title and had to go to Dwayne Johnson’s wiki and look at his filmography to get it. I liked Dwayne Johnson’s character. Overall, for a movie I walked in on, I thought it was pretty funny, thank you, Kevin Hart.).
  • I saw Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Tim Burton might be the reason I didn’t hate it. Loved the ending credits song by Florence + The Machine, “Wish That You Were Here”–even if the chorus had too much “lift” and noise for the rest of the song to me.
  • Solace, starring Anthony Hopkins
  • I revisited Phantasm, which I think either earned its cult following or I’m deluded because I saw this when I was a kid and thought it was pretty good. I didn’t know there were so many sequels. I think I watched four them.

TV/Shows:

  • Couldn’t watch Hand of God. It felt too much watching Sons of Anarchy all over again, and not just because of the leading actor.
  • Caught up on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and watched Slingshot.
  • I tried to watch The Leftovers, it was uncomfortable and took too long to get to the point.
  • Rotted my brain with such pop media gems as Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Once Upon a Time.
  • Some Jessica Jones, and a little Luke Cage, some of which was appreciated but too dark and graphic and I’m sick of 100% contrived for entertainment, dark and graphic “gritty” pretenses in my life.

‘Sleepy Hallow’–they lost me at Thomas Jefferson

So I avoided and swore off Fox Network’s Sleepy Hallow, starring Nicole Beharie. Why? Because her co-star is a white man from a time period where Black women are enslaved. Nothing good can come out of that.

Then I watched Sleepy Hollow this week anyway to see if I was right to avoid it. Yes, I gave it a chance.

Tim Mison’s portrayal of Ichabod Crane has similar characterization to Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the character in Tim Burton’s 1999 film, which I appreciated and thought was adorable. Awkward, clever, and well-mannered.

Other than that, its occult themes, and the fact that there is a Black woman as a main character, I am not feeling the show and stopped watching at Episode 7 “The Midnight Ride”.

Why?

The show includes an assortment of actual historical figures such as U.S. presidents rendered in its fictionalized occultist story line. Which is probably the problem. Most of American history is an especially messed up time for First Peoples, Black people, other non-whites, and women. Whenever white writers (and their friends) in a white dominated media get some deluded idea in their head and want to jump in the literary DeLorean or TARDIS and present the world with some “clever” re-write of American history that includes vampires, demons, zombies, and aliens, that oppressive, violent history is still the same messed up history for everyone who isn’t white or white and male. It can’t be rewritten, revised, or dusted off. It remains the same for me as a Black woman and a Black writer. What was a fun or romanticized time in history for whites was not the same for us, it is a trauma and a scar on the face of our race.

This is where Sleepy Hollow lost me instantly: They started talking about Sally Hemings. Casually, too.

I refuse to entertain a romance with a (white) slave owner in an era where Black women were enslaved. And that’s most of American history where Black people were in chains and treated like a lesser life form by whites and those who shared their views, traded, and allied with them. I refuse to entertain the idea that it was “love” between a slaver owner and a Black woman who had no rights and no freedom in this country. I WILL NOT romanticize the situation. I don’t care even if there was some way to know that Hemings loved Jefferson even in such a twisted reality under those circumstances. I DO NOT accept revisionist or apologist versions of history, fictional or otherwise.

In Episode 6 “The Sin Eater”, there’s an entire scene that reeks of Ichabod Crane being absolved of sins against freed slave, Arthur Bernard. Because we all need to take a moment to make white people feel better for helping enslave and oppress people who aren’t white. Bernard wasn’t just being detained, beaten, and interrogated because the British suspected he was Cicero. Just being Black in those days was enough for whites to somehow uphold practices of extreme violence and cruelty and even murder.

Let’s not forget Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) spouting all that American melting pot bullshit over baseball. Behind her badge and inflated, totally contrived sense of American patriotism, Abigail Mills is a white-washed, white-owned, white-inspired character parading around in brown skin. End of story.

And that’s why I told myself never to watch Sleepy Hollow. I saw it coming. That’s American television for you.

Recently Seen

I have watched several anime and movies recently. The anime may need its own post. The movies, I won’t waste too much time discussing.

I tried to watch Iron Man 2. While I think Robert Downey, Jr. is a little handsome and I like his character’s facial hair, I have the same problem with his portrayal of Tony Stark that I have with his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. I don’t like arrogant privileged assholes. Meh. I got bored with him, turned off the TV, and went to bed.

Watched Ant Man. Even with Hope van Dyne  (portrayed by Evangeline Lilly) painted as having antagonistic daddy issues and being unreasonably angry and abrasive like most female characters who aren’t completely passive, it gets a few points because it had its funny moments and I really enjoyed Michael Pena’s character, Luis.

Anime: Little Witch Academia. Shiki. Angel’s Egg. Suki Ii na yo. Magic Knight Rayearth. Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Noblesse.

I’ll comment on Shiki. It is morbid, depressing, gory,  and a little creepy at times. Originally by Fuyumi Ono, it is a pretty good vampire story about a small town where people start dying off one by one when new and mysterious neighbors move in there. I like the whole score of characters; a lot of viewers would likely complain but as long as I can figure out who’s who and the producers/artists/writers are making an effort to make it clear, I’m good and I find it interesting to follow. I like all the opening and closing theme songs–“Kuchizuke” by Buck-Tick is my favorite. Once I got over some of the characters’, er, interesting bed hair, I honestly got into this anime enough to watch some it again.

I thought less of other things such as Little Witch Academia. It has some potential but falls short of its magical school and magical girl ideas.

Angel’s Egg was so weird that I liked it. Its something you have to watch for yourself. Besides, I’m not exactly even sure what I just saw. BUT I like it!

The Suki Ii na yo manga rubbed me wrong after a few chapters but I watched the anime anyway. The issues I have carry over into the anime: I can’t figure out whether Yamato is just trying to fix the broken antisocial girl or not. Which I don’t like. But I love his hair.What kind of message is the mangaka, Kanae Hazuki, trying to deliver to girls who might be like Mei Tachibana? I find it suspect. I get the fantasy of an unpopular girl magically falling in love with the most popular boy in school. But is Mei only a social pet project to Yamato?

There isn’t enough of Noblesse for me to watch in order to comment though I like the artwork, style, and animation.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica  hurt my feelings, it made me feel so many emotions. Sort of a departure from Sailor Moon’s brand of magical girl. I think it was worth watching. Maybe I’ll write more later.

Magic Knight Rayearth–I haven’t gotten the chance to finish but I believe its intentions are pure. Thank you, CLAMP!

Season finales that sucked–Walking Dead, Magicians

*Spoilers, of course*

Two shows I can walk away from this season with no regrets are The Walking Dead and The Magicians.

I’m not a fan of Walking Dead. I just watch it with my sister. All the conveniently interracial relationships are fetishistic and racist, like the show itself. Rick and Michonne was the last straw,  I could throw up. Out of all the things Michonne could’ve wanted in the brutal zombie apocalypse world, a crazy white man (who locked her up and held her prisoner the first time they met) happens to be is it? But there’s something I hate more than all the people hooking up at every turn:

Wasting an hour and thirty minutes of my life watching a season finale that literally did not live up to its boasts. Take note: The point of telling an audience that a main character is going to die means you tell them who it is. Don’t hype it up then purposefully fail to deliver like a snickering schoolboy that thinks he’s being clever with some ridiculous prank. Everything the producers did in the Walking Dead season finale could’ve been done in an hour with the extra thirty minutes focusing on Negan’s b.s.

Moving on to Magicians. Which was distasteful for different reasons.

Everybody’s life is horrible, no one is happy at all, the world is all crappy, no one is safe–typical contrived, pumped up on drama-driven style, Magicians is. No surprise there. But what bothered me the most was the violent attack on Julia and the disgusting semen situation. The first time Quentin got a jar from Umber didn’t bother me as much, but then its revealed that Julia was raped, its Alice who drinks the stuff…and the episode ends quickly with a rape hotline number flashing on the screen. They use a Black actor as a false god then have a woman viciously assaulted after giving herself to what she believes is an act of faith.

That said, I’ve been watching SyFy for years. No show that they produce ever lives up to its concepts. This leads me to believe that Syfy is run by a bunch of immature boys appealing to misogynist male audiences and your average graceless boy geek slowly being cut from the same cloth. Like Twilight, like Fifty Shades of Grey, if The Magician books by Lev Grossman are anything like the show, it can’t be worth reading.

*dusting off my hands*

Done with both shows. No need to go any further.

Where ‘Legend of Korra’ fails

There’s a million things I could be talking about but I’m choosing to spare a few words to The Legend of Korra. A few things bother me about this show, beginning with how Korra is almost completely a hotheaded dudebro girl, like a sexist boy who is portrayed as super tough and powerful in a girl’s body. They even snuck in a princess trope: Korra’s father was supposed to be chief of the Northern Water Tribe which would’ve not only made her the Avatar but a princess as well. Perhaps arguably, Korra is constantly made into a damsel in distress, or rather yet another female character who needs to be saved or mentored by male characters, in addition to the fact that not even one episode into the first season she’s getting set up with male love interest AND A FREAKING LOVE QUADRANGLE (Mako-Bolin-Asami-Korra)–because the show couldn’t have possibly done without that, right? *rolls eyes* There’s very little that’s original about her character archetype for me right now.

I could talk about how Katara, Kya, Eska, and Beifong are basically downplayed and stereotyped, the casual sexism, how most of the villains so far are brown people from the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom (all of whom appear to have been beyond redemption and dead now), the frequent use of ableist slurs and situations (sometimes actually used as ableist slurs or in casually ableist ways), and this obnoxious attempt at multiculturalism/mixed heritage theme that’s going on. No matter who’s in the wrong, there is a sea of apologies going on when maybe people do just need to butt heads. Let’s not forget how the show seems to be ladled in drama meant for viewers who are so privileged that they find the suffering of others to be entertainment and not a pause for thought and action. Another thing that’s totally bothering me–the title of the first episode of Season Three: “Rebirth of a Nation”. Reallly? I don’t think its a coincidence that its called that. Do the producers even know what Birth of a Nation is???

But what’s really getting to me right now is how none of the characters have actual character development. They are characters that seem only to carry and play out ideas that the producers think are cool and will get boys (and maybe girls and everybody else) to watch the show. I have yet to see any substantial character development. And the three year time skip, which is exaggerated as such a long amount of time in the latest episode, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me because of the story’s lack of of focus on cohesive and unrushed, uncrammed character development.

The characters play roles to present perspectives, ideas. In Book of Air, Amon and Tarrlok are both victims of abuse who end up going down extreme paths, but both are villainous and of course they have to die to wrap up that bit of the show and end their “sad story”. Korra gets angry about Tenzin and her father trying to run her life, only to find out later in Book of Change (in the interest of the plot) that its to protect her from the Red Lotus, so their hiding things is justified. In Book of Spirits, Korra wants to go over the President’s head to help the Southern Water Tribe, what do the producers do? Put Mako in her way by having him suddenly become a Republic City police officer who snitches on her and then they use a greedy eccentric capitalist, Varrick, to justify the story by scripting that he was using everyone as pawns to start the war in the first place. While wise, infinitely skilled, and sharing a unique connection with the spirits, Unalaq is portrayed as a stick in the mud who seems to pointlessly desire to destroy the world by becoming a dark Avatar. In Book of Change, instead of having someone like Zaheer on the side of good, he is constantly referred to as a mad man bent on destroying the world by killing world leaders and inducing a state of chaos. Do I even want to know why such a badass metalbender like Kuvira is doing what she’s doing right now in Book of Balance? The producers are either attempting to create complex villains or making stuff up for want of a villain. “We need actors for “good cop, bad cop,” who do we have here?”, basically. I’m simply wondering how some of the choices of plot influencing character instead of character influencing plot were made. The characters are used as mere plot pawns, puppets, defying their established flow of character; their actions and thoughts are dictated by the plot using mere convenience but the plot’s dictates on the characters thoughts and actions don’t always make any sense and don’t flow well with how the character would likely behave. The plots themselves seem totally contrived and arbitrary.

I hope the producers of The Legend of Korra are getting around to a point that will help me feel like spending time watching this show wasn’t mostly a waste of time but I won’t hold my breath. That’s enough, I might come back to this topic later.

Why ‘The Great Divide’ episode bothers me

The gang arrives at the Great Divide, the world’s largest canyon. Two Earth Kingdom tribes bicker with each other about how to cross the canyon, having been enemies for a century. Aang helps them cross the canyon together and is able to end the feud by fabricating a story about their ancestors.

The Great Divide episode overview, Avatar Wiki, the Avatar the Last Airbender resource page

This episode overview speaks for itself, claiming that Avatar Aang ended a feud by telling a lie. Aang is made out to be the mischievous prankster who found a clever solution to solve a problem that was escalating towards violence. Nothing more is ever said in the show about the Zhang and Gan Jin, the two groups that Aang “helped”.

Even if what the Zhang and the Gan Jin were feuding about sounded ridiculous and impossible to resolve while trying respect the contradicting histories between the two, Aang’s lie wasn’t the way to handle it. As the Avatar, I think that Aang could have found out what happened between the ancestors of these two groups instead of creating a peace that is built on his lie.

In reality. telling a lie like that usually only makes tensions worse later, especially when the lie is told from someone in a position of power and influence like Aang, and I wonder if the producers of Avatar will bring up the Zhang and Gan Jin again, or a group like them, in The Legend of Korra. Not that I trust them, looking at all the issues I see and suspect in both series so far.

Like white people do to Black people throughout history and even at this moment, spreading misinformation and disinformation between conflicting groups is not only immoral, its an injustice to both groups in and of itself, especially when its clear one group is lying and clearly the oppressor/aggressor.

How I Read Stuff [Permanent Sticky/Guide for Almost Everything You Will Read on This Blog]

I am quite weary of living in a society where the erasure, commodification, caricaturization, absence, and general dehumanization of my race is a normal thing. Being aware of it is hard to live with because once you know, you can never unknow.

One of the chief reasons I am unhappy and critical with most of what I see in the media is because of how my race is continuously reduced to fodder for white supremacy/white hero worship and the agenda of anti-Blackness, even by members of my own race itself. I want to see and read more work where this is not the case.

I am not a sponge, just indiscriminately soaking up any liquid I come into contact with.

I concern myself particularly with the portrayals and conditions of Black women and characters, or female/genderqueer characters of Color or non-white characters.

As I watch things or read things, I am constantly considering what I think and feel about it. That’s just how I am. When evaluating my issues or non-issues, ratio of love/hate, and like or dislike of many forms of media and entertainment, my mind searches for the answers to these questions:

  • What is the position of Black women? Are there even any present?

  • Are Black women main characters or side characters?

  • Are Black women three dimensional or poorly constructed caricatures, mammies to whiteness/oppressors, and antagonists?

  • How many racist cliches/stereotypes are tacked onto her?

  • Are there white people there? Why? What role do they play? What do they have to do with the sista (who should be the main character)?

  • Again, vital, what role do the whites play and what is their relationship to the Black characters? Are they in a position of power over them?

  • Is the Black female character reliant on or worshiping in any way shape or form a white, male, or non-Black character? Does her character hold up without these others or is her existence made to dependent upon them?

  • What is the Black woman’s characterization? How is she portrayed? Who is she? What kind of person is she? What role is she playing?

  • What type of people are around her? What type of decisions does she make? What is her background?

  • Does her situation seem realistic to me from the root of my subjectivities?

  • Is this Black woman character’s story only about the struggle?

  • Is the story restricted to stereotypical genres like urban fiction, slavery, and chick lit?

  • How does her story end? How does she grow? Does she achieve her goals or desires?

–Queens

The Eleventh Doctor, Geronimo, and Why whites Suddenly Like Pacifism

I can’t quite put my finger on why the Eleventh Doctor using “Geronimo!” as his catch phrase rubs me the wrong way.

Oh, wait, maybe I can.

It has something to do with him being white, British, and not Apache. It has to do with the whole white appropriating and co-opting of non-white culture and bodies, including names, language, and representation for fun and entertainment. White people are infamous for using non-white people’s own language against them, to villainize, oppress, justify acts of violence and racism, and malign them. Let’s not even talk about how they think they’re doing the First Peoples a favor and an honor by naming stuff they stole, colonized, use for destruction and war, sports teams, and commodify after them. Hella racist.

Why does the Eleventh Doctor have to have an American west theme? The theme is sexist, white supremacist, and its racist all at the same time.

I can’t help but think of the SUPPPERRR racist role and usage of “Indians” in Peter Pan and The Neverending Story. And American westerns? The whole time period– Oh my f**king goodness, don’t even get me started. So I’m not okay with special white time lord fairies from Gallifrey yelling “GERONIMO!” every time he’s about to do something stupid or something the producers think is supposed to amuse me. Him yelling “Geronimo” is like yelling “Red Skins” with white appropriation just slapped together like a poisonous jammie dodger.

Shoulda stuck with “Allons-y!”

allons-y__
Image from Tumblr (gif)

Raining down injustice and suffering on non-white people for centuries, they have now contrived a very popular fictional world with a dude called the Doctor talking ‘bout some pacifism, which I view as a representation of their agenda whether its purposeful or not. Oh, so, now y’all want to be pacifist, you’re trying to present the pacifist patriarchal alien superhero. A world where they start the problem then end the problem , too, without really changing a damn thing. We don’t get to say when its over, they do. And that’s how they continue to assert their power over non-whites everyday and in fiction. By using manipulation and everyone’s desire for peace to commit an even greater crime—putting a big white band aid on a gaping wound, by ignoring the root of the problem and the impacts.

There won’t be peace until whites acknowledge and pay for their continued crimes. Why won’t they produce a show that’s about that? White people stop being racist oppressive douches—THE END.

Because no time lord fairy can “fix” the human race without placing himself as Earth’s god and becoming the ultimate oppressor himself.

That is where my suspension of disbelief, if I ever had it to begin with, ultimately ends.

As intelligent as the show may seem or try to present itself, the Doctor Who universe is yet another place where whites can pretend that the long history of injustices and crimes against humanity they have committed against non-whites (and continue to commit) don’t exist, with lots of interracial couples and timey-wimey science–and starting with the fact that the main protagonist, for all intents and purposes, is white and uses pacifism to ignore the root of conflicts or uses his power to manipulate everything around him when he can’t see himself as everyone’s hero  in the end or just because he can. A very white supremacist tactic.

So now allow me, a white man who has helped and continues to help oppress and destroy your culture and people (and that of many others for decades), to use your now historical name as my catch phrase.

tumblr_llybr2stcv1qb84lwo1_500
Image from Tumblr (gif)

‘Doctor Who’, atheism, two-way meta-crisis god complex with theism*

Of course its okay to portray a man as god and worship him especially if he’s white and has scientific imperialism to back him.

Lets count the many times the Doctor gets practically prayed and bowed down to in his last two incarnations

Dear writers and atheists producing Doctor Who, you’re not doing anything revolutionary or new by removing one patriarchal god’s religion (crosses and cock) and replacing it with another (science and cock).

In the hands of man’s interpretation and limited understanding, both are flawed. And certainly nothing to be worshiped.

 The chief issue I take with atheism — that is, “atheism” here meaning the most common patterns of atheist discourse, not all the individuals themselves (although straight, White, and male atheists are particularly susceptible) — is that it does not oppose oppression.  It opposes theism, and in doing so, it uses oppression and the suffering of others as a rhetorical tool for a smear campaign without actually showing real compassion or support for the targets of violence.

acetheist, Atheist Heterosexism

 

*This was meant to be a much longer post on a list of Doctor Who cons, but I thought I’d cut to the point for this one.

Regeneration, the perfect representation of white privilege

I was reading River Song’s article on the TARDIS wikia and came across a mention of Mels’ regeneration into River Song.  Even with all of the problematic allusions, sexism, and references surrounding River Song’s character, she’s actually one of my favorites.

Even so, there’s something about her turning from a white child into a Black woman into a white woman that just rubs me the wrong way.

You have to look at Doctor Who not only as fictional story but as a production. Who’s producing Doctor Who? Who is starring and who has starred in Doctor Who? Who controls who appears in Doctor Who?

Who. is. WRITING. this. show??? Okay?

The show appears to be written by outright racist whites and colorblind racist whites, like most of everything on television. I can’t speak for people of the Black/African Diaspora in Britain, or anyone else but myself, and this is how I see it:

The idea that Time Lords (especially the ones sticking their noses in Earth affairs like the Doctor) have some control over their regeneration and can be any “color” they want is a sickening and dreadful idea to me as a Black woman. One minute, Black–the next minute white, like changing your shoes. White people think being Black is convenient as long as you don’t have to stay Black or experience what it means to be Black, like grow up Black and stay that way. That’s the problem with fictions like Cloud Atlas, Doctor Who and Avatar–the narrative itself automatically decentralizes and derails any connection to heritages of Color/non-white heritage that defies and threatens the unjustly established supremacy of whiteness , aside from outward appearance. That means its okay to appear to be Black, or non-white, as long as whiteness remains unchallenged as the dominant narrative and worldview.

To the white viewer, its probably all shits and giggles to pretend you can be a different race, one that you continue to unapologetically mocked, commoditized, and committed every crime against humanity possible as long as you can again be white or Asian or whatever you think will suit your purposes.

My race and ethnicity is not a costume. And that’s the problem with white people who want to be anything but white as long as they can go back to being white at the end of the day. That’s the problem with these “racial chameleon” characters.

And when has the Doctor ever not been white??? Never, right. Out of all eleven (and, soon, twelve) of his regenerations, he has always been white. Why is that? If its all just a matter of  “color”, like a t-shirt or a pair of pants. If color is that easy.  The Doctor stays just as white as a table cloth.

There’s always going to be some trumped up, pathetic reason for why this is, because racism is so rationalized people don’t want to see it for what it is. Its the next best thing to blackface, only they get real brown people to be the stand-ins. And as long as you can rationalize it to right people, no one questions it, no one says ‘no. just no’.

As a conscious Black female viewer, that just doesn’t make any sense to me. Yet I understand it and see it for what it is. And that’s why I’m writing this.

Post-racial science fiction white fuckery.