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1. Watching an old episode of The Great British Bake-Off as I write this. It's the season with Ruby, Kimberly, Francis, Glenn, Christine, and Becca. Kimberly states at one point that she must have issues with authority because she doesn't like to be told what to do and can't seem to follow a recipe without changing or fiddling with it. Completely identify, I am exactly the same way.

After this will go back to streaming Wynona Earp which is a Syfy series adapted from a comic book. The setup: When Wynona turns 27 she inherits her family's curse. Apparently her great great great great granddad, the original Wyatt Earp, killed 77 men. When his heir or the eldest Earp turns 27, the 77 men he killed return from hell, and his heir has to kill them all off. Only Wyatt's Winchester 77 aka Peacemaker can kill the demons. Wynona's sister Waverly has done a lot of research on this and insists on aiding her. Wynona would prefer to escape back to Greece. But alas, she can't.
Stuck in the town of Purgatory and cornered by US Marshal working for a covert government agency assigned to curtail the demon threat...she must fulfill her calling. Meanwhile, a mysterious man in old Western get-up has popped up, who happens to be Doc Holliday. Not a descendant but the original.
And not a demon. (I'm watching it because of Doc Holliday, who I have a life-long fascination with. And well, the reluctant tough as nails heroine Wynona...). The series casts the male roles better than the female ones...the women, with just one exception, are twenty-something white eye-candy model types, who look a bit alike. But I'm only two episodes in, so this may change. And I like the sister dynamic, also the actress playing Wynona, not to mention Doc Holliday, who is intriguing, both the actor and the character. Wynona doesn't seem to know who he is, and it's not clear whether he's on her side or against her. Also Waverly apparently had an imaginary friend when she was younger, named Bobo, who happens to be one of the revenants or demons.

2. My mother discovered what was causing the chronic UTIs. Apparently there was a kidney stone or stone about marble size in her bladder of all places, and it was rolling around and causing irritation and bacteria to colonize in the urinary tract. I mention this because I looked up UTI's and they mention literally every single cause imaginable EXCEPT that one. LOL! Very relieved, because it can be resolved.

3. Cool Glow-in-the-Dark Bug Puppet

4. Uhm okay, just what we need, another streaming channel/service, this one is called Passion Flix and until midnight August 31, you purchase a founding member subscription for just $100 - lasts for two years aka $4.75 a month, and steam romance flicks (B list romance flicks), and
C list television adaptations cast with pretty model actor wannabees. I watched the trailers, and it really does remind me of what the Lifetime Channel and Hallmark Channels once were, particularly at Christmas time. About 99% of the novels being adapted are contemporary romance novels, the 1% are YA paranormal romance novels. So, I'll pass. Although it was tempting for a nanosecond, because I'd read one of the books being adapted and was admittedly a tad curious. Also it would feature shows concentrating on romance, no violence, and happy endings. But I tend to prefer to read this to watching it, mainly because for some reason the story works better in my head than on the screen, partly because the characters are more interesting in my head than when they are portrayed by wannabee model actors.

I think there are too many streaming channels. I'm starting to lose track of them. I'm sticking with Amazon, HBO and Netflix for now, and flirting with CBS All Access (The Good Fight, Star Trek: Discovery) and Starz ( Black Sails, American Gods).

5. While I agree that we should critique Whedon's work, and I've certainly done it, I think this is going a bit overboard.

When Whedon’s ex-wife Kai Cole wrote about the breakdown of their marriage, dozens of think pieces were published examining his most recent works and the too common trend of famous male feminists revealing themselves as manipulative and insincere. Long running fansite Whedonesque shuttered and hundreds of fans saw their affection for his work die. For many, Cole’s letter came as a shock. But not for all of us.

We Told You will look at the decades of intersectional feminist critique, and just plain disbelieving anger, that has existed alongside the narrative of Joss Whedon, perfect male feminist. Essays will include close examinations of particular works and recurring trends (waifish, emotionally vulnerable heroines; misogynistic nerds as author avatars; the racist underpinnings of Firefly), as well as his legacy as a producer and celebrity male feminist.

Uhm...a word of advice? (Whether you want it or not). If you want to persuade people to see things from a different perspective, this is NOT the way to go about it. I agree with them and this turned me off. It comes across as self-righteous, sanctimonious, and self-congragulatory all at the same time. Not to mention insanely preachy. They are going to turn off people.

Why not just ask for submissions to a zine that explores decades of intersectional feminist critique and reactions to Whedon's body of work, without all the finger-pointing?

I think this is a problem we currently have online...there's a lot of finger-pointing, name-calling, and righteous rage. But not a lot of thought. It's rather easy to condemn and judge someone you don't know, never met, and never will. But it's not exactly constructive. Also there are ways of doing this in which you open channels of communication to the other side, and keep them open, and possibly persuade people to change behavior. It's actually easier to get people to change how they behave than to change their minds. I know you wouldn't think so, but it is. But the above is NOT the way to do it. They pissed me off, and I agree with a lot of what they said.

Ironically, this reminds me a lot of why I began to have serious issues with Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, and David E. Kelly's writing...they jumped up on a soap box and got preachy. And began to "talk down" to their audience. David E. Kelly's Big Little Lies was very preachy, like all of his television series. Joss Whedon's latest efforts felt preachy to me as well, and unsettling. Both writers seem to have issues with women. Actually all three writers have issues with women. No wait, Hollywood has issues with wait, who am I kidding? Our ENTIRE society on a global level has serious issues with gender. Both genders. No one is immune. I see it everywhere, all the frigging time.

Anyhow...entitling a zine ..."We Told You"...sort of is akin to thumbing your nose at fellow fans, and saying "nyah, nyah, nyah, I told you so! You nitwit!" First off, you are assuming people are agreeing with your take on this? What if they aren't? I mean I hate to tell you this, but not everyone is going to come to same conclusions. What may be obvious to one person won't be too another. (I mean hello, people voted for Donald Trump. And he's done far worse things than Whedon.)
Second, even if they suddenly agree, why in the hell would they want to read a zine that kicks them in the face with it?

It may, however, do well based on the curiousity factor. It sparked mine. Although their self-congragulatory and somewhat sanctimonious attitude turned me off.
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1. Not sure what I think about THIS.

The exact behavior differs, but the basic tenets sound awfully familiar. From Joss to Bill Cosby to the accusations lodged against Louis C.K. that no one seems to want to talk about, women come up against men whose behavior contradicts their reputations, at the expense of women’s bodies. If you don’t want to hear about it, or you just want to “separate the man from his work,” that’s your choice. But not everyone is willing to dismiss stories like these with justifications of “not my marriage, not my business.” In Whedon’s case, the exploitation of young women over whom he had a great deal of power, as well as the alleged emotional abuse of his partner, is our business, in that it fits into a system that favors abusers and silences women. By saying these things are not worth talking about, or that they’re “personal matters,” we become complicit in those same systems.

One man’s infidelity is gossip. A Hollywood powerhouse enjoying a reputation as an industry’s great feminist proponent who allegedly uses that position to exploit the very societal ills he is meant to be fighting–that is news. Joss Whedon helped make feminism a mainstream talking point, and we paid close attention as he did so. So you’re going to be damn sure we’ll do the same when his behavior undermines those same values on a huge scale.

I honestly don't care who people sleep with, as long as it is consentual and no coercion is involved. The difficulty with power-imbalance scenarios, ie. boss/employee, show-runner/actor, showrunner/writer, director/actor, president/intern, teacher/student person has the power, the other doesn't. Which means, it isn't always clear whether coercion of some sort, overt or non-overt, was actually involved. And in regards to have unfortunately persuaded women that they'll get ahead if they have sex with them. The old cliche..sleep your way to the top didn't just pop up out of nowhere. And that's even if they aren't married. If they're's well worse.

And I've had friends who have slept with married men in power. Known women who got ahead by sleeping with their bosses. So, it's not like this isn't prevalent, it is. Every organization I've been, it's happened. I remember taking a course on Human Resources at NYU once, and they asked if anyone in the class had seen a situation where people were having sex in the workplace, slept with their bosses..And well, I rose my hand.

In some workplaces, it's grounds for dismissal. And in mine, people have gotten fired over it. The issue, to be clear, is not cheating on your wife or husband. The only people who should care about that are the people being cheated on. No, the issue is...sleeping with someone that you can fire, dismiss, suspend, get kicked out of school, fail, or financially hurt in some manner. Sleeping with people in the workplace to begin with is a bit hazardous for multiple reasons...add that layer to it, and well...Also it effects others work not to mention your customers and end product. So, in short, it's unethical.

The other problem is that men can do this easier than women in some respects, because a)they don't have quite the same physical repercussions (women can get HPV aka cancer from sex, urinary track infections, pregnant, STDs (although so can men, apparently there's been a rise in syphillus cases of late...) b)they are often the one's in power. Note, 75-80% of television show-runners are male. That's beginning to change, but slowly. In the 1990s and early 00's it was 90-99% male show-runners. Also, most directors in Hollywood are male.

In the power dynamic of the Whedon/Kai Cole marriage, Whedon clearly held the power. In the power dynamic of the Bill Cosby household, Bill held the power. As Whedon would state it's not really about the sex folks, it's about the power.

And that takes it outside the realm of celebrity gossip and puts a bit of different spin on things. Particularly in this day and age, when we have President who has had numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against him, yet was elected in spite of them. Sort of makes people twitchy.

Do I think Whedon did it? Yes. It tracks. Do I think Whedon is feminist? Yes. Do I think both are possible? Yes. People tend to be complicated things, whose actions often contradict each other. We shouldn't necessarily be defined entirely by one set of actions or one action. Which to be fair was one of the major themes of Whedon's iconic series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (along with all his other series, except for Marvel Agents of Shield -- which he wasn't closely involved with) -- he was constantly questioning demonizing people based on their actions. And whether people could do horrible things, yet still do heroic ones, and be redeemed. He was also constantly questioning abuses of power, specifically sexual abuses of power. And even stated that part of the reason he wrote about these things so much is he felt he'd abused his own power and was curious if he could be redeemed.

So this brings up yet another we dismiss the creator's work out of hand, based solely on the creator's actions? Does Whedon's affairs with actresses on Buffy undermine his work on Buffy? Or contradict it? I don't think so. I think if anything it may shed a new light on the work.

But should we condemn the work? Should we condemn the actor? Or just the actions? Whedon seemed to state in his series that the actions needed to be condemned not the actors.

Still not sure. I see many sides. I'm trying not to be sanctimonious/self-righteous or judgemental or even preachy here. Which I think is very easy to do and the Mary Sue falls into the trap of...a bit too often for its own good.

2. THIS article about James Cameron's remarks on Wonder Woman reminded me a great deal of a conversation I'd had ages ago with a friend regarding Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The friend was explaining why she had issues with the book. She felt that the lead or title female character was how men thought women should be in order to be tough or strong.

What she said was that the character in Dragon Tattoo irritated her the same way many representations of women in this fashion do, because it takes away from women what makes us women. Her statement haunted me, because, well, I'm not girly. I am a woman, but I do not like to wear dresses, skirts, makeup, jewelry, hate heels, and painting my nails is NOT my thing. I find it uncomfortable to wear nail polish. Breeds fungus on toe-nails, and I tend to chip it away on my fingernail. I tend to be tough at times. Not overly athletic. Not really into sports at all, sports bore me. Don't like to garden (ugh, never understood the appeal of crouching in the dirt with the ants, spiders, worms and dirt...), not into sewing/knitting/embrodiery, but I like to cook, am deft hand at making a cocktail, love to draw, write, and hike.

So...I took issue with the pigeon-holing.

This is what the writer of the article states in reaction to James Cameron's negative dismissal of Wonder Woman as back-tracking.

For Cameron, it seems to be all about touting stereotypically male qualities as “strong.” He talks about how Sarah “earned the respect of the audience through pure grit.” Grit=strong. Guns=strong. Wearing pants=strong. When Cameron talks about “male Hollywood doing the same old thing,” this placement of higher value on stereotypically masculine energy is part of that, and he’s doing it himself!

Wonder Woman resonated with women because it allowed for a wider range of women to see themselves as strong. The ass-kickers are covered in Diana’s fight scenes. The determined and ambitious women are covered in Diana’s determination to stay and fight at No Man’s Land rather than sneak around the side to complete the initial mission. The softer, more nurturing women are covered in Diana’s desire to help a hungry village, her relationships with the Amazons, and her relationship with Steve Trevor, which was as balanced a film romance as I’ve ever seen.

Sarah Connor represents one way to be a strong woman. Diana of Themyscira represents the complexities and nuances that can be found in all women. Sarah’s great, but to me, Diana is better, as she’s a more versatile symbol of female strength.

I think both men and women need multiple representations. Not just one. In multiple roles. We should see male nurses, seamstresses, gardners, care-givers, teachers, or rather men in what seem to be traditional female roles, and vice versa.

I agree with the writer, what I found interesting about Wonder Woman, was she was in the traditional hero role, while Steve Trevor was in the traditional sidekick doomed romance role. And no one batted a lash. (Granted unrealistic, but oddly reassuring.) I felt Wonder Woman did a good job of bridging both my friend and Cameron's views.

The difficulty with Cameron's take on the female she is always very macho. Or in the case of Sara Connor in his Terminator films, she starts out in the traditional role of a waitress, then bulks up and becomes a macho gal, stoic, little emotion, and tough as nails. As if that's the only way we can show strength? Yet, in the first film, she's the opposite, and just as maybe not?

Don't get me wrong, I tend to identify more with and like the tough as nails macho heroine. But I also loved Wonder Woman. I think we need and should demand both.
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1. How Germany Deals With Neo-Nazis

Interesting for this bit:
Read more... )

2. Ohhh, Jay Thomas died...I liked him. (So too did a coworker, who I barely knew but was in the hospital. Again, Universe? Evil politicians??? Still here? What is this? The Rapture?)

3. Hmmm...they actually did a Ted Talk on this, and the history of it...apparently the US borrowed the process from their British forebears...

4. What Amber Benson has been up to...which is apparently continuing the 1990s Clueless film as a comic

5. Uhmmm...okay... apparently a theater is holding an all clown pre-screening of the horror film "IT" based on the Stephen King novel about an evil monster posing as clown torturing kiddies. I rest my case, last years evil clown sightings were publicity for the movie.

6. First time a hurricane has hit Texas, specifically this area of Texas in ages...

video about Texas being hit by Harvey )

Thanks to petz for the link.

7. 15 Times America and Brits Went Head to Head on Tumblr

(Thanks to or rather blame elisi for the link, that I can snark at.)

* I rest my case, Tumblr is impossible to follow and crazy.
* My personal favorite is the Lifesavers vs. Polos battle. No, that was before I read the whole thing...I think it's the battle over who has the bigger cities or fortnight. Oh, as an aside, the hashtag is next to the $ on the American keyboards. (And yes, I've had these crazy-ass arguments with Brits online. Which is why I found it so hilarious, been there done that. Also, why I find myself saying and writing Britishisms...too many years corresponding with Brits online.)
* There's nothing more hilarious than the British and Americans fighting over stuff -- mainly because we're both arrogant assholes that threw our weight around and were governed by white entitled men (well for the most part, the Brits had a few bratty entitled women, the US is behind in that department.)
* It's like watching a pissing contest.
* And apparently the two countries have very different views regarding how to make and drink tea. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure I drank iced tea in Britain and they have it. And yes, I've heated up and made tea from a microwave, even though I own a kettle. And at work from the hot water heater on the water cooler.

8. Why you'll never win an argument on social media EVER!
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1. Last night was spent cleaning out shelves, watching super fix shelves (so they don't fall on my head), cleaning again, and putting things back into shelves.

2. Haven't really read anything of note of late. Oh, I've read some books, I just didn't like them that much.

* Hate to Want You by Alisha Cole - highly rec'd by SmartBitches, plot did not work for me. An issue I have with contemporary or modern romance novels. Also the gender imbalance in modern romance novels irritates me. And, this is odd, I know, but I feel the writers don't know how to write male characters effectively? They either romanticize them or demonize them. I've seen male writers do it with female characters in noir mystery novels and spy novels, and female contemporary and historical writers do it with male characters. I think the writer forgets to treat the person like a person and not as some idealized or demonized take on their gender?

It's less of a problem, oddly enough, in historical romance novels. You'd think it would be the opposite, but, alas no. I don't know why this is.

Nor do I know why the roles are more stereotypical in modern romance than historical.


I was gifted with a brother, so I've seen the romantic conflict from the male perspective. He is apparently a very attractive guy, and women, to say the least, throw themselves at him. Always have.
It irritates him. They've also used him. I watched them do it when he was in Elementary through High School.

And, I've heard the male side of bad divorces and breakups from various male friends and co-workers over the years. Our society, I think puts an undo amount of pressure on men being well...a certain thing. My brother stated it once, how there's this view that you have to be the macho guy..the guy that pops up in so many contemporary romance novels -- that alpha male character, who frankly does not exist in reality. Aka James Bond.

It's also one of the issues I've had with reading female written male/male fiction...the men are written oddly at times. I don't quite know how to explain it. Seen this with male written female/female slash as well. I think people have a tendency to write their fantasy versions and not the reality? Which is okay of course. But it is interesting.

* Book that I can't remember the name of, but just finished today, which I guess is saying something isn't it? Oh well, at least I can remember the names of the characters - Genieve and Archie, usually it's the exact opposite. And the plot. Then again, it's not that surprising I can't remember the name of it...all these books appear to have variations on the same title. Innovative in relation to titles these writers aren't.

Anyhow...the book is interesting in this one respect, the writer got curious about what would happen if a woman inherited the Duke or rather Duchess title upon her father's death along with his estates, during Victorian times. Apparently the writer had read about this happening...a family, I think Ledbester? Had requested a special dispensation from the Crown to permit the eldest daughter to inherit. The Duke's two sons had died and he was left with seven daughters, so he requested one of the daughters inherit upon his death, and Victoria granted it. So, the book is about Genieve inheriting the title and falling in love with a Steward (third son of a Viscount, who is a retired army Captain), that her godmother sent her to help her learn how to become a Duchess.

Interesting premise. And it worked. But...the book is poorly executed. Instead of exploring the premise or even the family interactions, or giving us more on why the hero is estranged from his family and working as a steward...we get a lot of "does he love me, he shouldn't love me, we can't be together, blah, blah, blah" and vice versa. I started skimming halfway through. Also the sex scenes don't quite work and feel clumsy. (Note: less is more with sex scenes. We do not need to know that he put his tongue in her mouth or licked it. It suffices to say, he kissed her deeply. Or with devotion.
You do not need to provide graphic anatomical details...not only is it rather dull, it's also a bit jarring. This is not a how to manual on how to have sex, after all.)

Also, at one point, and I thought this rather interesting, the heroine proposes that the hero become her mistress. Which he's put out about and states, he'd thought she wanted to marry him. And this breaks them up for a bit. (I'm not sure a man would be quite that insulted by such a proposition. But this one might. Particularly since his father had a mistress and he despised it.) At the end, she proposes to him, asking him to marry her. He turns her down. Until they have sex and he thoroughly ruins her, then he proposes marriage to her, and she accepts...and they have sex on the ground, naked, in a place anyone could just happen by...seemed rather uncomfortable, not to mention awkward and a bit odd.

The book ends with her announcing their marriage to their friends. I felt sort of let down by it, since at that point I was only reading to find out what his estranged brother had written him and how they reconciled. But the writer wasn't interested in exploring it further, and it was summed up in a brief sentence. "He read his brother's letter aloud to her, expressed, and they reconciled." Seriously? We get graphic details of an awkward sex scene, but nothing on this? Ugh.
(This is the problem with a lot of romance novels.)

3. Was going to discuss world-building in books but no time. So will leave you with this...
I've realized that books that have a lot of world-building but not a good or clear plot or clear character arcs, seem to lend themselves to television and film adaptations rather well.
GRRM Game of Thrones is great with the world-building and the character vignettes, but bad on plot and cohesive character arcs. Same is true with most of Neil Gaiman's books, great world-building, not great character or plot development.

Also apparently most sci-fantasy readers don't really care about character arcs or plot that much, as long as there is an intricate world and mythology in place. It does help to have interesting or likable characters...but they can be sketchy, the world building can't. They get very upset if the writer screws up on the world-building. I've never understood this.
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Well, uhm, there are times that I'm not crazy about the internet or a society that provides a bit too much information.

For example? I could live without knowing the inner personal lives of television actors and writers. And I'm not quite sure what to make of Kai Cole's blog post about her marriage to Joss Whedon and subsequent break-up. Goes to show you, it's apparently really hard to stay married in Hollywood or faithful.

Whedon is in his fifties. According to the post, he allegedly had an affair with many of the actresses on the set of Buffy and various other series during his marriage. (I wondering right about now if that would explain his relationship with Eliza Dusku?) I already know that Boreanze did the same thing. In fact Charisma Carpenter once let it slip that the set was like the love boat, with everyone hooking up with each other. But I didn't realize Whedon had. Whedon had power, so that is sort of...unethical. It's also not surprising, because people in Hollywood have always done that.
[SMG has been smart about this, not said anything about what happened on the set or backstage. David Boreanze has been tightlipped as well. CC and Marsters not so much.]

It does blow the lid off of the happy marriage they appeared to have, and their ideal life.

Also, if true, it puts an interesting...twist on a lot of things...that I've picked up on over the years. But I am skeptical, mainly due to how it came out. It seems odd to just blog about it. I'm thinking this was not a pleasant divorce, and there's a bit of bitterness there?

I honestly don't know. Don't really care. I never worshipped Whedon. I don't worship writers. Nor did I see him as a feminist. And I've been, as you know, highly critical of his work.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Already irritated for various reasons not worth going into, a shelf fell on my head, while I was attempting to get my grill out from the lower shelf. Luckily only plastic ware was on the shelf. The little plastic thingamigs that held said shelf in place broke off or came undone for no discernible reason and the shelf fell. This is worrying me, because its the second shelf that's fallen. And I don't know if the shelves holding my glasses will follow suit. I complained to the super but the prior shelf, but nothing.

So, am sending an email to management company tomorrow to advise that the shelves keep falling and it's dangerous. And I need someone to fix the shelves that they clearly constructed in a poor and faulty manner.

2. I have eclipse glasses, whether I'll use them or not, no clue. I will be working at the time. And the eclipse is around 2:45 PM. I've set my television to record the news specials on it, where they are showing it live around the country.

Also there aren't really that many trees around my building or places to see it. I work in a city.

Apparently there are people out there who have no idea what an eclipse is. One wonders about our educational system.

Actually, I've been wondering about it since the Doofus got elected.

3. Here's a nifty Trailer for a Television Anthology Series Based Solely on Philip K. Dick stories entitled Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams. It's apparently Australian produced, with Bryan Cranston and Ronald Moore at the executive producing, show-running, etc helm. Amazon has rights in the US, Channel 4 has rights in Great Britain.

4. Bloody tired of the seemingly endless debate on the ugly confederate statues and monuments.

Anyhow, I got irritated enough to waste time doing a bit of research on the topic.

The NY Times has a good article about the bloody statues, which were erected by, the Daughters of the Confederacy, along with various other white supremacists over time. Confederate Statues and Our History"

And Where and When they Were Erected -- although not sure how accurate that is.
Read more... )
From: Confederate Monuments History..

* From the Atlantic The Stubborn Persistence of Confederate Monuments
Read more... )
* Aha, found the article stating that the silly statues were mass produced from pre-fabricated parts and as artistic as well the wrought iron molding on your gate, although some people see that as art, I guess.

Read more... )
Why Those Confederate Soldier Statues Look a Lot Alike

* List of Hate Speech Cases From the US Supreme Court Note, Hate Speech is NOT protected under the First Amendment. But, most people don't know what it is.
Read more... )
shadowkat: (Default)
Decided to take a break from the world today and binge-watched The Defenders. It's only eight episodes, so not that long.

In a nutshell? Unfortunately, it's not very good. Quite disappointing in fact. I agree with the reviews I've seen to date. They made a huge mistake in regards to Iron Fist being the centering focus. He's the least interesting and charismatic of the team. Although, will state, that the last three-four episodes weren't bad, and I quite enjoyed the last two episodes.

what I didn't like, spoilers )

What I did like, spoilers )
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Mary Queen of Scots - film based on the 2004 biography The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

Stage director Josie Rourke is directing the title, which is written by House Of Cards creator Beau Willimon and based on the 2004 biography by John Guy, The True Life Of Mary Stuart. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward are producing. Pic is expected to begin shooting this summer.

Crowned the queen of Scotland before she was a year old, Mary added to that pedigree when her first husband became France’s king and she became queen consort in 1559. Despite that auspicious start, things didn’t go well form there. She later married her first cousin, Lord Darnley, a bad match that ended with his murder.

When she quickly married Bothwell, who was suspected of orchestrating the killing, an uprising against the couple resulted in her being imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. Forced to abdicate her throne to her year-old son, she failed in an attempt to wrest back the throne and fled for the protection of her cousin, England’s Queen Elizabeth I. Mary had once claimed to be the rightful Queen of England, a view embraced by Catholics. Perceived as a threat by her cousin, she was confined and ultimately executed for complicity in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth.


2. From EW Magazine, some interesting fall flicks:

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women --basically a film about the psychologist, William Moulton Marston, who created Wonder Woman and his psychologist wife and their mutual romantic partner Olivia Byrne.

Goodbye Christopher Robin -- this isn't what I thought it was going to be about. Domhnall Gleeson portrays AA Milne who returns from WWI, damaged and downtrodden, and is struggling to adjust to life after war, he does so by reconnecting to his son, Christopher Robin. It also depicts what happens after Winnie the Pooh becomes a worldwide phenomenon and Christopher Robin the most famous kid in the world and the toll that takes on the family.

3. Hee Hee Hee... or rather omg, LMAOOOO!But you do have to be patient and get to the midway part, when they actually perform the musical in the middle of a California Intersection Cross Walk in LA.

shadowkat: (Default)
Woke up in a good mood, then alas I went to work and my mood slowly drifted downhill from there. Not helped by the weather. Whenever I went outside, I felt as if I was treading through water. The air was thick with perspiration and electricity...

1. This week, Sci-Fi fan Co-worker, the one who loans me books...which would be cool, except he likes to loan me books that have tiny print and he'd bought in the 1960s, so they make me sneeze...

Sci-Fi Co-worker aka RZ (short for Roger Zelzany fan): I saw the worst science fiction/fantasy series on television ever this weekend. And I do mean the worse of anything I've ever seen in my entire life.
(I take a breath and brace myself...just in case it's one I happen to like, there's so many to choose from. Also this is rare, because he pretty much likes all sci-fi/fantasy shows, even shows like Midnight, Texas. )
Me: Okay...what was it?
RZ: Twin Peaks.
(I burst out laughing.)
Me: Okay, do you mean the current one? Or the original?
RZ: Yes, the most recent..
Me: Did you watch the original?
RZ: No -
Me: Because the sequel won't make a lick of sense without watching the original, or so I've been told.
RZ: My wife saw the original...
Me: Did she like the sequel?
RZ: Really not. It made no sense. Everything about it was horrible...
Me: Well, you got to understand it's David Lynch. After the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, he sort of went off the rails...and decided to be surreal. So if you don't like pure surrealism, you probably won't like it...
RZ: Maybe. Except this was just awful.
Me: David Lynch is often an acquired taste. For me he's hit or miss. I liked the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, Mullohound Drive, and Blue Velvet. Not so much the other stuff. Dune was a disappointment.
RZ: Skip this.

Considering everyone online including my mother's cousin adores the sequel to Twin Peaks, I find this conversation rather amusing and somewhat informative.

2. Discussion with freshman roommate, who happens to be African-American, lives in Boston, and works as financial planner about that Racism chart that I posted the other day. This also includes my aunt, who had to pipe in her two cents. The national debate on necessary but extremely painful.

Ex-Roommate: I have a problem with us trying to define racism. What about people who march, make space, "put themselves in harms way" for other motives? Defy parents, low self-esteem, trying to prove something? What about POC who are racist against other POC? It's fine when people are obvious about racism, but you can't get into the minds and hearts of people, look at surface behavior and yell racism. I think this chart is fine, but its so much deeper then this.

Me: Thank you. I've been wondering about this as well. Can we define it so neatly? And is there a relationship between racism and "privilege", which should be emphasized? I think you are right -- it's much more complicated than this.

Ex-Roommate: I know plus size white women who say they can only date black men because white men aren't attracted to them. Is that racist? I know a woman who adopted a little girl from China, and she would constantly say racist things towards Asian people at work. When we called her out on it she said, "I'm not racist my little girl is from China." And I constantly have black people telling me, "You should have financial education classes just for black people as we don't know how to manage our money like white people." Racist?

Me: I think it's prejudice and racism but it is socialized racism. But not necessarily discrimination in all cases? There's a huge difference between racial prejudice and racial discrimination and profiling. I mean everyone is prejudiced in some way, right? I think we all make generalizations based on physical traits and develop prejudices many of which we are socialized to believe. But, that doesn't justify racist or prejudicial behavior that hurts another. So I think it depends on the action? I.e. The woman who prefers dating black men because they see her as beautiful is a bit different than the coworker who thinks it is okay to say abusive and derogatory comments about the Chinese even though she has an adopted Chinese daughter. If anything what she's doing is worse because she's reinforcing negative racial views regarding her own daughter. Just as it is different for black people to use the "N'' word and for a white person to use it. Or a white guy to say blacks can't manage their money as opposed to the black woman stating it -- however in both cases it's not true. My white grandparents and many family members are horrific at it and I work with a lot of black financial whites.

Aunt: The chart is not diagnosing your racism. It's a tool to open your eyes as to where you stand and then hopefully, you strive to improve yourself. It's not a judgement tool. It's a self help tool.

Aunt to Ex-Roommate: No. Mentally maladjusted. I've worked in the public sector and, let's face it, there are some out there who are just plain nuts! (Whoops, I hope I wasn't being offensive to the mentally ill).

I don't know. Racism is admittedly a trigger for me. I have strong opinions regarding it. I think in part because I've seen up close and personal the consequences of it. I've met and talked and become close to people who were severely hurt by it. And I've listened to and sat with the bigots. I think I told you about my Uncle Earl, he died several years ago. The man would talk about "Nigger Ball" that's what he called Basketball. And he disowned his daughter for marrying a person of color. And at one point, he pointed out to my parents that they might want to worry about my brother marrying his wife, who was part Cherokee (and Jewish) because they tend be quite dark and will have...dark kids.
My father had to leave the room and could barely stand him. He called him "Lonseome Dove", half in jest.

I'm trying to listen. And not say too much. I think sometimes I say too much. I've been criticized a lot in my life for saying too much.

3. On a brighter note...Voyage to the Other World: A New Eulogy for Ray Bradbury by Margaret Atwood Okay, it's an eulogy, so maybe not brighter?

4. I don't know, I think several episodes of Great British Bake-Off need to be binged this weekend. I need a palate cleanser. Either that or the Defenders...although I think Great British Bake-Off would be better.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. States Remove Confederate Monuments

Following in the footsteps of Baltimore, many other cities across the United States have taken preliminary steps to remove their own Confederate monuments. This includes statues and plaques and the like, as well as schools, highways, and other facilities named for Confederate soldiers, even holidays. All told, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified about 1,503 items as of 2016. Moreover, the vast majority of statues and physical markers are located in what can be considered southern states; of the 718 monuments and statues, about 300 are located in Georgia, Virginia, or North Carolina.

As you already know, Charlottesville’s city council voted to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the newly-minted Emancipation Park. It was this decision that led to the violence that occurred over the weekend. As of right now, the statue’s removal is on hold as the city tries to figure out how to move forward after the protests and tragedy of the weekend. Gainesville, Florida has already moved one statue, and is in the process of raising funds to remove a second. One North Carolina statue was knocked over by protesters in response to what happened in Charlottesville.

This is actually a big deal. A historic event. Keep in mind these monuments have been around since the 1800s. So they are over 100 years old. The removal of the monuments to the Confederacy has opened up a nation wide debate on the topic. A debate that everyone from Condoleeza Rice, former Secretary of State to Robert E. Lee Jr, V, descendant of the Confederate General have participated. Interestingly enough, Rice thinks the monuments should stay where they are and Robert E. Lee's descendant thinks they should be put in a history museum depicting the horror of the times.

You'd think it would be the opposite, it's not.

Asked about the value of preserving statues that honor slaveowners in a May interview on Fox News, Condoleezza Rice argued against what she called the "sanitizing" of history. "I am a firm believer in 'keep your history before you' and so I don't actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners," she said. "I want us to have to look at those names and recognize what they did and to be able to tell our kids what they did, and for them to have a sense of their own history."

"When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it's a bad thing," the former secretary of state added.

Rice's defense in favor of preservation is rooted in an argument that is the basic opposite of the reason white nationalists are rallying for Lee. They believe it to be a persistent reminder of a positive history. Rice, on the other hand, believes preserving monuments to the darker moments of our past ensures future generations are acquainted with history and charge forward rather than backward, away from the mistakes of their ancestors, rather than into their fading bronze arms.

To be clear, Rice has not yet voiced her opinion on this particular statue. But hers is an interesting perspective to consider at a time when a small but vocal group of racist bigots is drawing attention to one of the darkest times in our nation's history.

I am curious to see what she'd have said after the events in Charlottsville.


Lee, a great-great-grandson of the Confederate hero, and his sister, Tracy Lee Crittenberger, issued a written statement on Tuesday condemning the "hateful words and violent actions of white supremacists, the KKK or neo-Nazis."

Then, Lee spoke with Newsweek by phone.

"We don't believe in that whatsoever," Lee says. He is quick to defend his ancestor's name: "Our belief is that General Lee would not tolerate that sort of behavior either. His first thing to do after the Civil War was to bring the Union back together, so we could become a more unified country."

The general was a slave owner who led the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War and who remains a folk hero throughout much of the South.

"We don't want people to think that they can hide behind Robert E. Lee's name and his life for these senseless acts of violence that occurred on Saturday," Lee says.

The Lee heir says it would make sense to remove the embattled statue from public display and put it in a museum—a view shared by the great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis.

"I think that is absolutely an option, to move it to a museum and put it in the proper historical context," Lee says. "Times were very different then. We look at the institution of slavery, and it's absolutely horrendous. Back then, times were just extremely different. We understand that it's complicated in 2017, when you look back at that period of time... If you want to put statues of General Lee or other Confederate people in museums, that makes good sense."

Then there's this statement from the Mayor of New Orleans...

But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.

America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.

So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.

So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission.

There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it. For America and New Orleans, it has been a long, winding road, marked by great tragedy and great triumph. But we cannot be afraid of our truth.

As President George W. Bush said at the dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”

So today I want to speak about why we chose to remove these four monuments to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, but also how and why this process can move us towards healing and understanding of each other.

So, let’s start with the facts.

The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

He's not wrong. You should really read the whole thing. After listening to the Mayor's speech, I re-affirmed my view that yes, those frigging monuments need to come down. They should have been torn down in the 1960s. No, wait. They should never have been erected in the first place. Apparently there's a memorial to a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator in NYC, why it's there, I've no clue. Particularly in NYC of all places. Although changing place and street names may be a bit more problematic from a logistical perspective. (Yes, I know, I'm possibly the only person on the planet that obsesses over logistical matters... But, say you are looking for a post office located on Robert E. Lee Avenue and suddenly it has become Forest Hill Avenue. You're GPS can't find it and neither can you. Granted, if I were African-American I would not want to be living on Robert E Lee Avenue or passing down it every day to work. So, yes it should be changed. It's just a bit problematic. I bring this up because Governor Cumo wants to change the place and street names in New York. Now, why New York of all places had places and streets named after Confederate Generals is beyond me.

2. North Carolina Protest Arrest

In the days since Charlottesville, cities across the country have taken steps to remove Confederate monuments. Baltimore removed all of theirs in the middle of the night earlier this week. And if you haven’t yet watched the video of protesters in Durham, North Carolina, who refused to wait on their city and toppled a Confederate statue themselves, I recommend doing so. It’s highly catharticOne woman, Takiyah Thompson (you can see her coming out from behind the statue in the GIF), was arrested for her part in the protest. She’s currently out on bail, but this morning, a group of about 200 people gathered outside the Durham courthouse to oppose her arrest. And many of them (about 50 by some accounts) also went full Spartacus and lined up to turn themselves in to authorities.

3. How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends

There's a nifty chart, see if you can identify where you fall on it.

Racism Scale Chart.

I can't reproduce the chart, sorry, I tried. You'll have to follow the above link.

If you fall below “awareness”, then this is a red flag that racism is a problem for you. If it is not a problem for you, but find that it is a problem for your family members and/or friends, then it’s time to address it or it will continue to spread throughout America.

Like alcoholism, an alcoholic cannot thrive without their enablers. It is the same white Americans who enable their relatives and friends who are racist. It is important to identify and recognize that racism is a mental illness and recommend that individual to a psychotherapist as needed.

There is no easy way to contain a disease, but if we can identify the symptoms, then we can put a stop to it through education and awareness.

This is why it is very important to talk to a diverse group of people constantly. I remember ages ago being challenged by my friends, when I muttered that if only I can be around people who agreed with me all of the time. They said, a)that would be boring, and b) how would you know when you are wrong?
shadowkat: (tv slut)
All caught up on Game of Thrones now..just a few things or questions/answers really...

major spoilers )

TV Meme...

Aug. 13th, 2017 06:44 pm
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Eh, television friending meme from tv talk.

Name (see above)
Location Brooklyn, NY (USA)

Favorite currently airing shows: Great British Bake-Off, Game of Thrones, Nashville, (by current, I'm guessing during the summer which I'm watching now? Because not up to figuring out all together.)
Pilots you're most looking forward to: The Defenders, The Gifted, Star Trek Discovery, The Orville,
Other shows you maybe haven't mentioned yet: The Doctor Who Christmas Special, Sense8 Two Hour Movie Wrap Up premiering in 2018, Lucifer S3, The Expanse (which is taking up space on DVR), The 100 (ditto), Legion S2,
Top Five finished/canceled shows: Buffy, The Wire, Sense8, Farscape, The Good Wife (Oh wait, did you mean this year? Vampire Diaries, The Great British Bake-Off, Sense8, can't think of anything else.)

Other Hobbies; Writing novels, reading books, movies, cooking, sometimes I hike, long walks, sometimes I water-color and draw, yoga, listening to music,
What sort of posts do you post in your DW? Pretty much whatever I feel like at the time - see title of journal, although I am trying to pull back from discussing politics because it makes me unhappy and stressed out. I keep deleting political posts due to a tendency to ...well...pontificate, rant, and beat people over the head with my opinions. Apparently when it comes to politics at the moment, I've zero patience for the other perspective. (Trump getting elected pretty much crossed that line in the sand.)
Anything else interesting: I published a novel, it's called Doing Time on Planet Earth and available via Amazon. I'm technically challenged, so couldn't get it on the other electronic platforms.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Uhm...whoa? A demonstration of what happens when a country's democracy implodes.

What’s it like to watch a country implode? To see a democracy destroyed and an economy crater?

Since 2014, American journalist Hannah Dreier has documented just that in Venezuela, once one of the world’s wealthiest nations and still home to what are believed to be the planet’s largest oil reserves. She wrote for the Associated Press about what it was like to live in a place with the world’s highest murder rate—and the world’s highest rate of inflation. About the breakdown of hospitals and schools, and how the obesity epidemic that plagued a rich country was quickly replaced with people so hungry they were rooting through the garbage on her doorstep.

Most of the time, few paid attention, at least in part because Dreier was the last U.S. journalist even to get a work visa to live in Venezuela; when she moved there to cover the story, she says, “I felt like I had walked across a bridge as it was burning behind me.”

2. Ugh.

Rise of the Valkyries

sure to rise the hackles of any nice kind good person on the planet )

Ugh, and here I thought it was going to be a cool article about Norse Mythology. Not so much. Instead it's an article about demonic female nazis.

3. And just in case the above article wasn't bad's more fodder.

Read more... )

This is the Science Fiction and Fantasy community's response.

Yes, these examples are fictional. And yes, it’s far more important that we fight white supremacy in the real world, by donating to organizations like the NAACP, having tough conversations with our family members and friends, showing up to protests, calling our representatives – or just refusing to shut up when we see bigotry. However, fiction can make us feel less helpless, and it can remind us what we stand for. With science fiction, fantasy, and comics in particular, these imagined worlds and heroes can remind us what kind of person we want to be, and what kind of future we want to create. We need those reminders, and those inspirations, on days when it’s easy to despair at humanity.

As Jemisin tweeted before she signed off to do some work, “Ideas can change the world.”

Hmmm...this is another answer to a previous post that I wrote pondering the artist and writer's responsibility to inspire change and to write about this things in a constructive manner. (As opposed to a destructive one.)

4. 2019 - two women superhero films in a 30 day span

Hmmm...they are making a movie with Silver Sable and Black Cat, two lesser known female superheroes in the Spiderman books.

The movie is set to hit theaters on February 8, 2019 – four months after Sony’s Venom, and exactly one month before Captain Marvel arrives on March 8, 2019.

This release date means Silver and Black comes out only 28 days before Captain Marvel (thanks, February!), so we get two women-led superhero movies in less than 30 days. Yessss.

Aside from that, though, I’m not sure what to make of this choice. On the one hand, February is traditionally a cinematic “dump month,” when studios release their films with lower box office expectations. I don’t love the idea of Sony dropping this film – with its two female leads, helmed by the first black woman to direct a big-budget superhero movie – in a cinematic graveyard. After D.C.’s lackluster marketing for Wonder Woman, I’m out of tolerance for studios constant underestimating and underselling of women-led and women-created films. Prince-Blythewood, who’s doing a rewrite of Thor: The Dark World scribe Christopher Yost’s script for Silver and Black, wrote and directed an honest-to-goodness modern classic with Love & Basketball. Maybe have a little faith in her?

5. New NASA Space Training Video Featuring Gina Torres Makes me wish I was a whole lot younger and could train to be an astronaut. Well almost. I'm claustropic and 6 feet tall, not conducive to astronaut training.

6. Hollywood Summer Blockbuster Films Flopped at the Box Office via the Guardian. (Hmm, should tell Hollywood, they don't think they flopped.)

The defining lesson of this year’s flop crop: there’s no such thing as a sure thing. We’ve watched studios incrementally move away from original, creator-driven projects seen as “risky” (meanwhile, the first-time director Jordan Peele’s Get Out is the most profitable film of the year, with a $175m payday on a measly $4.5m budget) towards franchises and other projects ostensibly boasting built-in audiences through brand recognition. But this summer, audiences drew a line under what they’ll buy into on simple merit of nostalgia or the sunk-time fallacy, and now the chickens of failure have come home to roost.

2017 was the year that moviegoers finally rejected presumption. This year saw a crop of films boldly positing themselves as franchise-starters crash and burn on arrival, learning the hard way that audiences don’t want to spend 90 minutes on what feels like setup for something they’ll get in two years. The Dark Tower condensed seven novels of knotty Stephen King prose into one incomprehensible package that then positioned itself as Act I in a grander, dumber vision with its final minutes.


While public discourse continues to rage over the position and utility of identity politics – the championing of marginalized groups along lines of gender, race and sexuality – executives have found that the topic isn’t so embattled in cineplexes. Girls Trip, Wonder Woman and Get Out all earned public goodwill by offering someone other than a white man their moment in the spotlight, and proved that audiences aren’t afraid of diversity. Quite the opposite, in fact; white men have been calling their bankability into question left and right. Once upon a time, the mention of Will Ferrell, Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp would have been enough to sell The House, a Mummy revival or another lackluster Pirates of the Caribbean flick. But with no wattage to hide behind, The House face-planted and the latter pair failed to meet earnings expectations, despite objectively large sums.

Which leaves the confounding case of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. On paper, it should have been huge: an unfamiliar story in a time when audiences grumble over Hollywood’s lack of creativity, a ravishing sci-fi spectacle with enough CGI to make Avatar look like a student film, a cast featuring a supermodel and a pop star bringing their huge followings to the table. Perhaps in practice, it was all too outré to sell to the American people, an incoherent mishmash when compressed into ad form.

Maybe critics wield more power than conventionally assumed, as the majority of reviews warned that the complete bafflement of the ad campaign carried over to the film itself. Either way, the most expensive independent production of all time had to rely on overseas markets to make its money back, settling for a $37m haul in the US. (Things are just peachy in China, Hollywood’s twin to the east; its entertainment economy keeps growing as US films develop a foothold, with Wolf Warrior II’s nearly $600m take setting the national record for highest-grossing film of all time.)

Hmm...rather interesting. I admittedly have only seen one film in theaters this summer, and that was Wonder Woman. Nothing else really appealed to me. And movies cost $20 bucks, without treats. Cheaper to rent on demand or subscribe to HBO monthly.

7. The Hugos Awards are Announced

Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
Best Novella: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
Best Novelette: “The Tomato Thief” by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
Best Short Story: “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
Best Related Work: Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form: Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form: The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes,” written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
Best Editor – Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Editor – Long Form: Liz Gorinsky
Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon
Best Semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
Best Fanzine: “Lady Business,” edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
Best Fancast: Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman
Best Fan Writer: Abigail Nussbaum
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)
Best Series: The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)

Hmmm...for once, I'm actually intrigued by the winners. (I don't really care that much about awards, highly subjective things, but this years slate of winners is rather intriguing.) Best fan writer surprised, it's the blogger I'd been following for a while on LJ, but stopped once I hopped over to DW, because I couldn't figure out how to add her blog to my reading list on DW. Abigail Nussbaum of "Asking the Wrong Questions", she does a lot of insightful reviews of sci-fi and fantasy, and meta on the above. She also edits a OnZine with sci-fi stuff, and is an Isralie programmer/coder.

I also tend to agree with the winners for dramatic presentation, best series, and they left off the one who won non-fiction memoir category -- it was Ursula Le Quinn, whose book I'm considering purchasing.

So for once, I'm intrigued. And most of the winners were women. Take that you white supremacist male asswipes. (For those not in the know? The Hugos have been plagued the last few years by a lot whingy white male supremacist types who think they can aspire to their heroes of yesteryear, but alas do not and are rather unreadable.)
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Hmmm..this article sort of comments on what I was talking about in my previous post but in a different way...

Caitlin is not Groot: Finding Proper Communication Adaptations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Read more... )

So do writers have a responsibility to do this?

2. Reading Between the Lines Church -- wow, just, wow.

3. Five Mythic Eclipse Monsters Believed to Have Messed with the Sun and Moon -- hee. The US is in full eclipse mode.
My brother is journeying to Kansas to see it with an old high school friend.

I really don't care that much. But bought glasses at a cheap price in case I end up being in a situation where I'm looking at the sky.

[Above three links are courtesy of conuly.]

4. Sigh. The political stuff in the US ranges from the frighteningly comically absurd to the just plain old frightening. And it's completely divisive and triggering no matter how you look at it. The country is even more divided than it was last year at this time, the two sides HATE each other. The only way to remain sane is either to avoid completely, or to poke fun. group has decided that maybe sharing a meal with the other side will help...

Sharing Dinners with the Opposing Side for peaceful and uniting political discourse.

5. View on Nudity Grin and Bare it

The veteran German leftist politician Gregor Gysi wants his compatriots to take off more of their clothes. He is angry that the long German tradition of therapeutic nudity in the open air is being undermined. Only this summer the nudist portion of one of the beaches in Berlin was brutally shortened by the authorities, and the mostly elderly users are furious. They are right. Mr Gysi argues that public nudity can be much less erotic than a bikini and that the beaches he remembers his mother taking him to in his East German youth were places where women of all shapes and ages could enjoy their bodies for their own sake.

It was, he says, the “pornographic gaze” of westerners after reunification that destroyed the pleasure of nude bathing, which had always been more widespread in East Germany and – he claims – something promoted more by women than by men. Of course the east was then a tyranny in which there was little frivolity or choice on offer. For all but the most confidently young and gorgeous it is more fun to choose a bathing costume than to make do with what nature has provided, so in a consumer culture this is now what people do.

But there is a useful lesson in humility and in the appreciation of life as it is when you let it all hang out, even in some cases flop out. It is neither concealment nor display but simple acceptance of who and how we are; something valuable has been lost with the sexualisation of nudity, and you do not need to be German to see this.

I did notice this when my family briefly visited Berlin (east and west) in the 1980s, before the wall came down and during the Cold War years. The Germans seemed to have no issues with nudity, while the British and Americans, really do. Also noticed that the French had no issues with it -- women bathed topless on beaches in France, but in the US you receive a fine. (I personally blame the Puritans...)

Also neither German nor French films have issues with explicit sex, at least they didn't use to as far as I could tell, while US and British did. This may have changed, overseas, not certain.

But as a teen visiting France in the 1980s, I picked up science fiction mags covered with nude photos. And many of my French girlfriends went topless.

Thanks to oursin for the link.

6. I apparently can't metabolize sugar well. Had a bowl of ice cream, okay two bowls, and a cookie and my nerves feel frazzled, I've broken out in hives, and felt a bit sick. Seriously?

7. The Great British Bake-Off As We Know it is Over

And apparently PBS isn't picking it up. Damn. Just, damn. Also PBS has no plans to show more than one more season of the series. It's shown four of the seven seasons. The last four. It may pick up one of the first three.

Oh well, we do have the Great American Baking Show spun off of it...

Thanks to petz for the link.

8. Norwegian Site That Makes Readers Take a Quiz Before's an update on how it is working

When my former colleague Joseph Lichterman wrote about a Norwegian news organization that makes readers pass a quiz on the article before they can comment on it (one of the most-trafficked stories in Nieman Lab history, by the way) the site — NRKbeta, the tech vertical of Norway’s public broadcaster — was lauded for its creativity. But NRKbeta’s editors and journalists said it was too early to tell if the program was a success.

But now, five months in? NRKbeta’s team says readers may have treated the quizzes on 14 articles more like reading comprehension games than as a gateway to the comments section.

Hmmm...sort of wish we employed that on fanboards.

(Thanks to yourlibraian for the link)

9. Most Watched Television Series Around the World in 2017 according to Parrot Analytics

Actually wasn't that surprised by the results if I think about it -- since all of them have been mentioned by people on social media sites. Vikings is amazingly popular with people online as is Suits. I honestly don't know why. The other ones, I sort of get, for the most part.

[Thanks to yourlibrarian for the link)
shadowkat: (Default)
I don't know what to call this entry, nor am I even sure how to address this or what I think in regards to it. bothered me and it's clearly been bothering me since I started reading reviews and interacting with folks online as far back as 2002. So it's not by any means a new issue.

I read two reviews over at Smartbitches that were deliberately posted back to back in order to show how an incident or issue in a book can completely ruin a book for the reader. Now that in of itself doesn't niggle at me, there are things that just throw people out of books. OR bug them. But in this instance, both reviewers got up on their soap-boxes, did a bit of a rant, and gave the book a D or F, regardless of how well written or entertaining it was. They even went so far as to get upset at the writers for not commenting on or examining in more depth this horrible thing in their story, not being social activists with their storytelling or at the very least being aware enough not to do it, and just mentioning the thing in an off-the-cuff, blase fashion.

The reviews can be found:

1. Wedded Bliss by Celeste Bradley, Review done by Carrie

Wedded Bliss is an incredibly enjoyable story with one horrible problem that ruined the whole book for me. I’m going to start off by describing the plot and why I liked it, and then I’m going to get into the problem. There will be a history lesson and ranting. Prepare yourself.

Unfortunately this book has one terrible problem for me, and as I said, it ruined everything.

Katarina is repeatedly stated to be rich because her mother owns a sugar plantation in Barbados.

[The writer goes on to provide a history on the horrible slave conditions on sugar plantations on Barbados.]

2. Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long

Confession: I spent a long time thinking about how to grade this book. Here are the three grades I swung back and forth on. Let’s call them Without Incident, With Incident, and But is the Incident Equivalent to an Entire Book. (I’ll address the Incident later.)

Without Incident: B minus

Lengthy depiction of the plot.

With Incident: F minus

This was the Incident:

“You know nothing of farming,” Colin said. It sounded like a warning. She wanted to say, How do you know? But he was right, so she simply waved a disdainful hand. “I learn quickly. I can certainly fire a musket, and I daresay I should hold my own against an Indian or a bear. And I thank you for your concern.”

…he smiled a little, no doubt picturing her in battle with an Indian or a bear.

The first time I read that, I definitely smelled a musk in the air. When I read it again, in disbelief, it felt a bit like falling on a knife.

I actually stopped reading the book after that for a few days. I thought about that line quite a bit. It followed me around like a big toxic miasma, probably more noxious than bad gunpowder. My main question was, “why?” Why drop that in there? What was it for, what does it achieve? Why couldn’t Madeleine just “hold her own”, full stop? Plus – the conversation was about farming. Why would Madeleine be needing to shoot Indians and bears in the course of farming? Was her farm on their reservation? Does she mention Indians in the same breath as bear because both are supposed to be equally savage animals?

Okay from my perspective these are relatively accurate historical items, those characters would say and think that way back then. The historical novels take place in the early 1800s. In the early 1800s, Native Americans were called Indians (blame Columbus and the Europeans Explorers for that misnomer) and people were afraid of them - it may not be nice, but it is history, they were the equivalent of today's view of Syrians. And yes, upper crust, classy ladies obtained money from nasty plantations they never visited. And lived off the profits of horrible things. That's still happening today. There are actually other things in both books that reviewers mention that would have bugged me more to be honest.

And I do understand having issues with something...politically incorrect? I'm not sure politically incorrect is the right word? That just turns you off, and throws you out of a book. Or makes you angry. I've had that happen to me. (notably with the contemporary best-selling novel Me About You).
Anyhow, despite how it may appear this post is not about issues people have with romance novels or historical accuracy...but well, in the second review...the reviewer goes on to state the following:

Perhaps it is historically accurate for someone like Madeleine to speak of shooting Indians as par for the course. But I somehow feel that writers of historicals are uniquely placed to help retell histories from the perspectives of those whose voices have been suppressed or stories misrepresented. Every time a person of colour appears in historical with his/her own agency, motivations and fully-fleshed individualism, it is a push-back against the dominant narratives that we’ve lived with for centuries. I shall not say more, as this topic has been covered at length by far more eloquent and insightful commenters, which I am grateful to encounter regularly in this community.

I've seen the comment in bold mentioned in various venues and in regards to various television series etc and it brings up a series of questions that I've been pondering for a long time and don't really have any answers to.

1. What responsibility does a fictional writer truly have in regards to the reader? Outside of telling their story the best way they know how?

2. Are stories supposed to have an altruistic or socially just purpose? Are they meant to morality plays? Can they just entertain? Is there a responsibility in ensuring the story doesn't reinforce stereotypes or unjust tropes?

3. Are stories in essence merely reflections of our society, our culture? Do they hold up a mirror of sorts to us? Showing both the nasty with the good? And what responsibility does the reader or viewer have to the story they are watching, reading or listening too? Are we meant to passive onlookers? OR are we meant to interact and question what is being told?

4. What would happen if we avoided all the stories that made us uncomfortable? Or uneasy? Or censored them? What if we cut out or edited out the offensive bits? Would that make what the story is in essence commenting on go away?

On the other hand, does white-washing or telling the story in a way that reinforces certain stereotypes and excessive damage? Does the writer have a responsibility to use the proverbial soap box they've been provided for better ends? To promote better understanding?
Does the reader have a responsibility to avoid books that...may not do that?

I don't know. I know in the US right now there's a bit of a push-back against the edict of telling more socially aware stories, and not reinforcing negative stereotypes. That's actually, at least in part, what the battle over the Hugos and now Dragon Awards was about. In genre, you see it more than in literary fiction. Because literary fiction tends to address and contemplate these issues more.

I also have seen this push-back in Britain in regards to the whole Doctor Who casting, along with other things.

And on the Buffy fandom, there was some push-back in the other direction, in regards to how the writers handled the death of a lesbian character, along with that relationship, which previously had been handled well. Not to mention considerable rage and push-back regarding a sexual assault, and how it been handled. In Buffy, I thought the push-back made sense, but at the same time...from the writer's perspective they were challenging their audience, and perhpas showing a reflection of the culture that we were in at the time. The writers didn't want the viewers to be comfortable.

Also, years ago, there was a massive kerfuffle on live journal in the sci-fi fandom in regards to how a female white science-fiction writer was writing POC and homosexual characters in her novels. Many critics felt that she was not handling the characters with care and reinforcing negative stereotypes.
Of course at that time, someone, can't remember who, posed the argument that maybe it was up to the reader to question this, not the writer. The reader to see something that didn't work, see a reflection of that also in their own life, and deal with it. Which...I'm sort of on the fence about.

I keep wondering as readers and viewers what are our responsibilities to the content that we interact with daily? How critically do we interact with? Are just passive viewers who...let it fly by. Or do we question it? And to what degree should we? Also, should we be critical of creators of content that are merely reflecting the world and our culture back to us? Should we not be critical of the world and culture it is reflective of? I mean, wouldn't it be more pro-active and for more useful, to try
to change a discriminatory ban against immigration than rail about a book that depicts immigrants in a negative light? On the other hand, does the book make things worse? And if it the best response to write and publish a book or series that counter-acts its message? That actually appears to be what Amazon is doing in response to HBO's Confederacy, creating their own AU series that questions HBO's.

I don't know the answers. Just that it's not quite as clear cut as I'd like it to be. When it comes to human beings, few things are.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Christopher Eccleston Interview highlights diversity of casting in the arts and disadvantages of working class roots

Worth reading for this great little quote.

Life imitates art, and art imitates life. Eccleston brings up the point that inclusion and diversity in the arts is important to look at as a barometer for how everything else is going. Stories generally serve one of two purposes. They either show us what we are, or they show us what we can be. When we think critically about pop culture, it’s important to examine it from both those perspectives in order to move forward.

I admittedly tried Doctor Who because of Eccleston, and he remains my favorite Doctor.

2. Rally Cat at Cardinals Game - thanks to cactuswatcher for the link. It made me laugh, although I fell in love with the cat and wanted it.

Note to grounds crew man: "A cat is not a football. It doesn't even look like a football. Nor it is a dog. If you treat a cat like a football, do not be surprised if you get clawed and bit repeatedly. Just saying."

3. David Tennant talks about the new Doctor Who, takes pot shots at Brexit, and at Trump..making me adore David Tennant. Who is my second favorite Doctor, although I've loved him in other things. He's amazingly versatile actor. It also helps that I agree with his politics and think he's a lovely person.

David Tennant Gets Political...and rather humorous )

I loved his joke about Brexit. Particularly after reading in Reuters this week that New York City is apparently going to be the big winner, after brokers flee the London markets. Not sure how I feel about that.

Read more... )
shadowkat: (Default)
1. The only drawback of binging the Great British Baking Show is ...I start to crave the things they are baking or to bake myself...which isn't something I can do at all for various reasons. But I keep having fantasies of doing gluten free, grain free versions of all the items. LOL!

2. This youtube video about Sense8 cheered me up considerably, thanks to shapinglight for the link.

3. Ava Duvernay is bringing Octavia Butler's sci-fi novel Dawn to the small screen

“[A]fter war has culminated in a nuclear apocalypse and the near extermination of the human race, the survivors are rescued by an alien species and kept in suspended animation on an Earth-like spaceship. Lilith Iyapo, a black woman, is the first to be awakened and is chosen to lead her people into an uncertain future. She is faced with a choice: adapt or die. But, what good is survival if it comes at the cost of humanity?”

4. The Best Tweet on Our Impending Doom

No comment.

5. Disney ends Netflix Deal in 2019 in order to start its own streaming service

Disney CEO Bob Iger just announced that the media giant will be ending its deal with Netflix, pulling its programming from the streaming platform when their deal comes to a conclusion in 2019. The ultimate goal is to host the shows and movies on Disney’s own streaming service, which will launch around the same time. It’s incredibly disappointing news that could potentially pose some small upside—and make no mistake, the upside is small.

Netflix not only loses out on Disney features like Moana, Lilo & Stitch, The Emperor’s New Groove, and more direct Disney properties, but will likely also lose its Star Wars offerings (e.g., Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). But the biggest potential loss of all is Netflix’s current lineup of Marvel shows: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. Remember: Disney owns both Lucasfilm and Marvel. There aren’t exactly too many details out yet about the deal’s end, but it would be safe to guess that Disney wants all those major, award-winning properties on their own streaming platform.

There’s an interesting conversation that’s popping up as well regarding the proliferation of streaming services. For many people who are trying to cut off their dependence on cable television (either as a cost-cutting measure or otherwise), the competing streaming services represent a potential higher overall cost. After all, Netflix isn’t quite the one-stop-shop anymore for streaming movies or shows. But one company having less of a monopoly is supposed to be a good thing, right? We’ll see, I guess.

I think it may backfire on Disney. Because I can't afford to be on that many streaming services. Nor do I need to be. And Disney isn't broad enough for me. I'm only really watching the Marvel series from Disney.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Went online, read briefly about politics, got pissed, decided to drink chamomile tea and watch the end of the continental cake episode of S5 (S1 in the US) Great British Bake Off and episode one of S7 Game of Thrones instead. Comforting and oddly cathartic.

Horrible sinus tension head-ache all day long. Possibly due to lack of sleep the night before due to horrible gas pains, in turn due to, god knows what. Frustrated at work, so been working on my mystery sci-fi novel about a society controlled by competing corporations.

So..Game of Thrones at least in Season 7 is weirdly comforting.

It's so far off book at this stage that I'm beginning to wonder if GRR Martin has chosen to just let the television series finish the story, and give up entirely. Can't say I'd blame him. The television series is a lot better in some respects. (Less meandering, more cathartic action.) I think Martin wrote himself into a corner, not that he'll ever admit it.

Anyhow, not sure anyone else is still watching it or saw the first episode yet? My co-workers and the folks on FB are all ahead of me. So, I'm being careful not to get spoiled.

spoilers for episode one, Dragonstone, Game of Thrones S7 )
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Halfway through Season 1 of the Great British Bake-Off, I ran across a rather painful bit in the third or fourth episode. Possibly the only time I almost had to quite watching. I can't watch people being humiliated on television or anywhere. It's why I can't watch most reality shows and most situation comedies.

What happened, was on a very hot day, with 80-90 degree heat, the contestants are requested to create a baked Alaska. (I have no idea how 25 degrees C translates to F. I'm guessing it's at least 85 degrees.) The night before, two of the five freezers had broken down. So there was limited freezer space. Two of the freezers were full. So Ian put his ice cream in the freezer containing Diana, Chetna and Kate's ice cream. It had enough space for his. Diana, with about twenty minutes remaining, took his ice cream out and put something hers in, assuming he was taking up space in her freezer and everyone had their own. Leaving it to melt. When Ian completed his meringue and went to get his ice cream...he discovered it melting on the counter top, so it turn out to be blotchy mess. He felt there was no way to salvage it and threw it in the bin and left the tent furious. Diana said, well didn't you have your own freezer?

Ian was booted out. And I was not happy with Diana. The next episode, it is announced that Diana has fallen ill. And that's the only on-air explanation provided.

Now, a lot of people had gloppy and melting ice cream, so yes, he could have provided something. But I think he probably would have reacted differently if he hadn't discovered it sitting on the counter when he'd put in the freezer. I'd have gotten upset too. I think the judges were put in a difficult position...because a lot of the bakers had gloppy ice cream that week.

I went online to see what really happened... Ian Watters baking controversy.

Apparently there isn't much agreement on what happened. But Watters doesn't blame Beard, so much as the producers and editors. He's actually fairly laid-back over it.

It does explain why the show has gone out of its way to avoid a re-occurrence of friction among contestants. And when there's ice cream involved, each person has their own freezer. Also, Sue, Mel and sometimes another contestant will go out of their way to help someone. Unlike most reality television, Bake-Off goes out of its way to avoid friction and humiliation. Which is why I love it, except of course for that episode.

2. Big Little Lies - HBO Limited Series, written by David E Kelley, directed by Jean De Vallee, starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shaliene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Alexander Skarsgard. Adapted from Australian writer, Lian Moriarity's best selling novel Big Little Lies, which is a satirical mystery set in an upper-class suburb of Australia. Here, it is an upper class suburb of Monteraye, California.

Quite good. It was filmed in an interesting manner. The series starts with a murder at the elementary school's big fund-raising benefit. We aren't told who was killed, why, or by whom, just that a murder happened. Then interspersed with various parental interviews, people who not part of the cast and just happen to know the leads by reputation or as acquaintances, we watch how it all came about.
Half-way through, I figured out the why, and finally the who, the only surprise was the murderer. Although it wasn't really a murder, so much as voluntary manslaughter.

The murder is the least interesting part, and it's less about that...then it is about women struggling in suburban lifestyle in a ...male dominated narcissistic competition driven society.
It's not a nice picture of suburban life. Or rather it has a Lynchian take on it, ie, the dark waters beneath the surface.

I can see why it got a lot of nominations. But, it the mystery is rather obvious and almost too neat.
Also there's three-four subplots, including the mystery, that get connected in an almost too easy fashion.

The performances are spot-on for the most part. Particularly Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alex Skarsgard, and Shaileen Woodley.

And overall, I loved the direction. But the writing and preachy at times, and a bit obvious or heavy handed.

The series is biting criticism of a specific contemporary romance sub-genre, a la the 50 Shades of Grey subgenre. With the powerful beautiful troubled man, and smart pretty woman, and the wild sex -- not quite being what you think.

It's also a biting critique of our ego-driven society. And it contains somewhat graphic depictions of rape and domestic violence.

So, if any of that are triggers for you? You might want to avoid.

3. I decided to get the 30 day trial on HBO am streaming HBO series. I don't know if I'll continue after the 30 days or not. Plan on streaming S7 GOT this week.

Right now, hearing it blaring in the apartment over my head. Seriously.
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