Considering Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Or: Just Another Drop in The Bucket]

As I plainly state in the alternate title to this post, everyone and their [tenuously and amusingly connected other person] has been raving about the trailer that dropped about a week ago for the latest upcoming film in the Star Wars franchise. If, for some reason, you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Since April 16th we have had eight days for the internet to collectively lose their minds over it. Generally in the positive way one does such a thing. I don’t typically like to follow up one YouTube video with another, but this very clever mashup that went viral soon afterwards sums it up a little too well:

Long story short, people are excited. Not even just excited, but actually and honestly emotional about this upcoming film. My Facebook feed was awash with friends raising the hype to what looked like unsustainable levels, yet I can see it only building in fervour the closer we get to December 18th of this year. Don’t get me wrong, I am also looking forward to it, but I’m tempering my enthusiasm for a number of reasons. Continue reading

Is “Feminism” a Self-Defeating Label?

I’m a pretty slow learner when it comes to social media. I feel like I just mastered Facebook when it started going out of style. Unfortunately for me, social media sites are important tools when it comes to blogging. I’ve been making an effort to expand my horizons, starting with Twitter. So far, my favourite thing about Twitter is the hashtags.

Even before I started posting on Twitter, I would check to see what was trending and to follow conversations about race and gender that unfolded around hashtags like #WhyIStayed, #BringBackOurGirls, #GamerGate, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, etc. Recently, when I went to tag a comment with “#feminist”, I noticed that the first two tags to show up were “#FeminismIsAwful” and “#FeministsAreUgly”. When I decided to make a comment about it, it wasn’t long before I got a response.

I’d like to consider what Jacob is saying. First, let’s set aside the long history of smearing feminism by calling feminists ugly for a second here.

Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E18 “And the Taste Test”: A TV Review

uglydresses

Just to start, I’d like to offer a brief apology for my review of last week’s episode. For the most part I try to keep a pretty even keel and take each episode as it comes, especially since I try to judge 2 Broke Girls on its own merits. That means acknowledging that it is very far from high art or what I consider to be good TV, lauding it for when it is funny and appropriately criticizing it for when it’s racist or needlessly crude or very poorly written.

I still don’t think it was a good episode by any means, but I could’ve handled it better. Here’s to me getting through to the end of this season, guys and girls and everyone else. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About (Peaceful) Protest

Readers, the reason this post is coming to you so late is largely due to the fact that yours truly, in a rare moment of weakness, opted to keep working on his latest installment of “Explaining American Politics To Americans”. The subject was going to be Democrats, and as the post stands currently, it’s just too…

…well, mean.

Even by my standards.

And this is coming from a guy who has likened certain social groups the human equivalent of cancer…

Now that’s left me with the question of what to cover instead, and as I was browsing the internet, I came across these two images:

Old, definitely, but it reminded me of a topic that I’ve touched on a lot without ever actually covering.

Peaceful Protest

…or is that even a fair thing to call it?

I mean, we praise peaceful dissent practically to the exclusion of all other forms of protest. We idolize figures like Martin Luther King Jr. while reviling folks like Malcolm X or Huey P. Newton, largely on the grounds that they advocated self defense.

Continue reading

In Defence of Han and Gisele’s Relationship in Fast Five [And Other Thoughts About Hollywood and The Asian Male]

Congratulations Are In Order

First thing’s first, I’d like to extend all the congratulations in the world to Em Liu of Fiction Diversity for having one of her articles hosted on The Hooded Utilitarian. This is thrilling to me for a number of reasons, listed in no particular order: she’s someone I follow and who I’ve had conversations with between our two blogs , The Hooded Utilitarian is one of my go-to places for pop culture critique on the internet, and the topic she wrote on is one that is very near and dear to my own heart, namely: “Hollywood’s (Real) Problem with the Asian Male”.

-1I very, very strongly recommend that you read it in its entirety, because with the sole exception of one small portion I’ll be addressing I believe it to be the gospel truth. If you still absolutely refuse to for some absurd reason, and I’m going to ask you to check it out again before moving on . . . the post catalogues the portrayal of Asian men in American cinema, specifically in terms of their desirability. It was particularly eye-opening to me in that one of the earliest examples goes back to the late 1950s with The Crimson Kimono [poster on the right, obviously].

After elaborating on how things have mostly been downhill from there, Liu takes care not to shy away from the fact that one of the cultural reactions to this trend has been “a troubling emphasis on the need for the Asian male to simply ‘get the girl‘ onscreen.” Allow me to take a brief, and very relevant segue to discuss how strongly that idea resounds with me, and how badly I once wanted [and oftentimes still do want] this.

The Thirst Is Real [Leonard Nam Should Be In More Stuff]

I very vividly remember being in my early teens and watching a trailer for 2004’s The Perfect Score-

To stop you before you get there, yes, it is funny that Chris Evans [aka Captain America] and Scarlett Johansson [aka Black Widow] appear together years before their stints in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yes, in her dream sequence she does imagine becoming a leatherclad ass-kicker, life is weird, isn’t it? Carrying on- Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #14: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel14Before we really delve into this review, can we please pause for a moment and gush over its cover? Jake Wyatt returns after providing art duties for issues 6 and 7 last year, reminding us that if he wasn’t doing his own thing with his creator-owned Necropolis we would fully welcome him back with open arms. No offence to Alphona, of course, but Wyatt’s about as great a fill-in artist as you can get for whenever the Canadian needs to take a break.

Which of course isn’t to deride current artist Takeshi Miyazawa, because he is likewise killing it. We’ll get there when we get there, though, because this latest arc, “Crushed” is a ride.

Yes, the very handsome Kamran is very much still a factor, and yes, he is also an Inhuman. Just in case it wasn’t a big enough deal that he is also a nerdy Pakistani-American it just so happens that he too was given powers by the Terrigen Mist that gave Kamala the ability to embiggen, etc. How his story intersects with our heroine’s and proceeds is fairly straightforward, so I thought I would draw your attention to two parts of the narrative that can be told given who Ms. Marvel is, specifically. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E17 “And the High Hook-Up”: A TV Review

highhookup

This is a bad episode.

In all seriousness, though, this episode is awful. I honestly don’t think I’ve been as unsatisfied with an installment of 2 Broke Girls since “And Just Plane Magic”, where I listed off what happened in bullet points to avoid actually writing out what happened in multiple paragraphs. A bunch of stuff took place this week, sure, but to seemingly no end whatsoever. It says a lot that the writers were able to introduce a new recurring character [who will be reappearing in three more episodes] in such a thoroughly unforgettable fashion.

Anyway, I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself. The new character in question is Nashit, a handsome young man played by Austin Falk whose name is attributed to his being half-Indian and half-Irish [he very clearly isn’t]. Joedth, the joy which I get out of typing her name being the only saving grace of this review, hires him as a new waiter at The High. His stunning good looks create a ruckus and also causes Max to lust after him with a tenacity and passion she only ever devotes to . . . being snarky, I guess. Continue reading