I’m really not at all interested in reviewing or analyzing Sense8 again, but I would like to get mah nerds into a discussion about the ENORMOUS plot holes, and the weird turns this in-spite-of-it-all-compelling show has taken. So let’s just launch in, shall we? In no particular, but very SPOILERY, order:
The “Whitelash” theory of Trump’s super-embarrassing slide into the presidency (well, we never claimed the U.S. wasn’t anti-intellectual, did we?) has the still-ascendant, but demographically shrinking and culturally stagnating white/cis-het/male contingent (helped substantially by their female counterparts) striking back at the diversity of Obama’s America by electing a crypto-white-supremacist in response to his racist and xenophobic dog whistles. Although not the only compelling narrative of the last year and a half, Trump’s Whitelash has enough truth to it to make it into at least a Ronald-Takaki-authored history book, if not a textbook from Texas.
Meanwhile, pop culture may be lashing in the opposite direction — and, in fact, contributing to the panic. Whereas the last Academy Awards shows of Obama’s presidency featured a field of winners that rivaled a wedding-dress-clad polar bear fainting on an iceberg for whiteness, it is President Trump’s first Oscars that saw the Academy — now led by a black woman — crowning its first African-American-made Best Picture. The last season of tv was the most diverse in history, and we don’t need numbers or stats to know this. And even the debate around diversity failures points to how far we’ve come, and how aware of the changing nature of American culture the mainstream has become.
So it’s not much of a stretch to see Logan, clearly the end of a franchise, as the gentle, mournful and mourning, Hollywood-sanctioned version of conservative white panic.
Okay, we, as nerds of color (TM), especially now that a white supremacist nightmare is about to become our president, need to get our collective shit together. Bigly.
So I’m gonna — periodically — post some links and actions and ideas (under the heading “What Can A Nerd Do?”) about what a nerd can do, politicalwise, to combat the eeebil is is come upon us. And I will edit-to-add any legit links/ideas left in comments about the topic at hand as well, so jump in mah nurds!
Spoiler warning: spoilers throughout. Best to read this after watching the whole season! Which I recommend!
It was during a small, nearly throwaway scene deep in episode 10 that it hit me like Jessica Jones’ fist: Luke Cage is the most feminist show I’ve ever seen.
The scene, captured in the screen grab above, features four women characters — four black women, not a one of them under the age of 30 (and none of the actresses under 35) — each of whom is in fundamental conflict with the others, but who come together in two temporary alliances to fight a multi-level battle. Yes, it’s complicated.
Let’s say you’re a Martian. Let’s say you’ve been sent to Earth to study human society and culture. Let’s say you have a universal translator.
Let’s say you landed on Earth, randomly, a week or so ago in Brisbane, Australia, and followed the crowds to the Brisbane Writers Festival (culture! perfect!) just in time to hear Lionel Shriver’s keynote address about how cultural appropriation isn’t a thing and fiction writers get to have all the freedom. How is this going to sound to you?
Four of these people are gone-zo. Can you guess which?
Okay. Here be much spoilerage.
Now that season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and that’s the last time I type that out) is over, I gots some identity-politickin’, pot-stirrin’, white-people-genocidin’ things to say.
I wasn’t gonna do this, but in a conversation on twitter, @BlackGirlNerds asked me to expand on what I recently called “Daredevil‘s White Virgin/Whore of Color Complex” and I would hate to disappoint. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not just trying to dump on Daredevs. I still love the first season, and the second season, despite serious problems, is still great television in a lot of ways.
But I hope — on this site especially — I don’t need to go over again why/how problematic representations of POC and women spread like mayonnaise over a beloved television property can be like an all-day, all-you-can-take, face-slapping machine. And Arthur Chu has already shown you the wasabi-infused mayo currently salmonellizing on Daredevil‘s bread.
I’m here to show you the ketchup.
I can’t say what I would have to say about the orientalism in Daredevil Season Two any better than Arthur Chu, so I will leave you to read that and bristle at will.
My thought process upon reading about Daredevil killing Nobu and not counting it as killing a person went as follows:
Okay, the second season of Marvel’s Agent Carter is over and it’s time to tally up the score!
We’ll be using a tried and true scoring system I just made up and will be applying with liberal bias. Agent Carter will be assigned a grade based upon a 100 point grading scale in which we begin at 0 and add or subtract points as appropriate. This system is based mainly on Hogwarts’ house points system, because we are nerds, after all.
Marvel’s Agent Carter had its season premiere Tuesday night with a double episode, and all sorts of things are new.
For one, the somber, immediate-post-WWII-New-York-values tones have been replaced by a lighter, sunnier, Californian color that suits the show’s inevitable slide into the fifties. For another, Agent Daniel Sousa’s childish crush on Peggy Carter seems to have deepened into a reciprocal — if ambiguous — relationship. (On this, more later.)
Welp. We’re down seven episodes on CBS’ new Supergirl series, and I can now definitively say that not only does it suck, but it’s also a drag.
Let me clarify: TV shows can suck and still be worth watching. They can feature horrible dialogue, break characterization for cheap plotlines, deploy so many reversals that situations and relationships become meaningless, flub the acting, swell the dime-store music, and commit any number of fundamental visual storytelling sins… while still being hella fun to watch.
How do you imagine a life you could never live? Though not really a theme, this problem is at the heart of Netflix’s new original series Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, and heavily influenced by Tom Tykwer. Like many fantastical or science fictional premises, Sense8’s premise is a wish fulfillment: not — as is typical of this genre and the Wachowskis’ earlier work — the wish fulfillment of the disempowered middle school nerd stuffed into a locker, but rather the Mary Sue desire of a mature, white American writer/auteur who has discovered that an entire world is “out there,” one that the maker doesn’t know how to imagine.Continue reading “‘Sense8’ and the Failure of Global Imagination”
Over at Tempest’s blog, she asks why people really disliked Captains Sisko and Janeway. (If you don’t know why this is a loaded question, don’t bother reading this post, because it means you don’t know jill about Star Trek.)
I started to respond in a comment, but then it got really long, so I thought I’d just take it over here.
Okay, folks. Just to start NOC off on the right foot (i.e. to NOT give you the impression that Nerds of Color are all in agreement), I have to say that I totally disagreed with Jenn’s analysis of The Wolverine.
Well, I disagreed with 75% of it (and I’m not the only one.)
The part I agreed with is that it sucked: The Wolverine was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad movie … but not for political reasons. I think it was horribly badly written by someone who did not know how to write. Or else horribly hacked up by a director who did not know how to make a movie make sense. Or some of both.
I think what Jenn was doing was filling in the blanks with the products of her own intelligence because the movie was all blanks. And nerds abhor a vacuum.
Here’s what I saw (spoilers ensue):
As a grad student in the United States, my mother accidentally fell into a vat of white dude while trying to do social work. As a result, I was born with the power to make total strangers harass me with impertinent questions, and professors, employers, and blind dates dismiss my bizarre notions of the world out of hand.