Category Archives: Uncategorized

#NotMyFacebook, or: Is Facebook For Political Discourse?

If you Google the question “What is Facebook for?” you come up with a short article by Mike Bantick for iTWire that bears the same name. Although it was published back in 2013 the basis for it is particularly topical, with the first paragraph relating the reason for it was written.

“Recently my brother told me he defriended a close friend of the family because of his overtly political posts on the social media website Facebook.  ‘That’s not what Facebook is for,’ he said, that got me thinking.”

Bantick then proceeds to list off a number of different answers gathered from friends and family, ultimately settling on a handful that he considers “the most truthful”:

“‘Referrals for products and services from people you trust, or know the value you place on the referrer’s knowledge of the requirements. Eg, games references, plumbers, mechanics, travel…. So useful and more personal than googling. You also then have wonderful reasons to catch up with people you may not otherwise.’

‘Stalking people and pictures of cats’

‘Annoying people with puns’

And, the one that resonated with me the most ‘Sharing sh&% for giggles…'”

The list has him implicitly agreeing with his brother. Facebook is for recommendations and, as the latter three state in various ways, for personal enjoyment. Not included among the social networking service’s uses? The dissemination of strongly held political beliefs or stances. Could’ve fooled me.
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2 Broke Girls, S6E12 “And the Riverboat Runs Through It”: A TV Review

riverboat

Context is always important. As far as the television landscape in the past two decades we have an expectation as viewers that the midseason finale, which typically airs right before the holidays, marks a significant moment ideally meant to draw the audience back in the new year. The problem with 2 Broke Girls, at least recently, is that being pushed around in the fall TV schedule has resulted in that episode not landing with the weight that it should.

Take Season 5 where the episode at the halfway mark, “And the Storytelling Show”, ends with the two girls heading out to Hollywood to sell the film rights to Caroline’s life story. That would have been a phenomenal way to wrap things up in late November or early December, but instead aired mid-February.

While likewise plagued with scheduling issues, Season 6’s 12th episode actually opens up with another “Previously on 2 Broke Girls“, establishing that the titular duo is in the middle of their quest to get Max and Randy back together. To be fair the last episode of 2015 did end with them plummeting towards the ground in a single engine aircraft, but it’s not like we ever thought they wouldn’t survive the experience. It’s difficult to blame the showrunners for just trying to roll with the punches, but decent pacing is a good way to keep people watching and hopefully buoy flagging ratings. Continue reading

Asian Comic Book Fan Watches Doctor Strange with Low Expectations of Racial Representation, Is Unsurprised but Writes Blog Post Anyway

This is the second part of a series I began almost exactly three years ago with “Asian Comic Book Fan Watches Thor: The Dark World Expecting Racial Representation, Deals with Crushing Disappointment by Writing Blog Post“. The Marvel sequel in question sidelined Hogun, played by Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, almost completely, and as the title of the blog post would suggest I had been very excited to see him again.

sir

I can’t not use this image again, it’s just too perfect. Source: platoapproved.tumblr.com

With Doctor Strange, on the other hand, that anticipation was not present at all. Last June I covered the news that Tilda Swinton was in talks to play the Ancient One, the title character’s mentor, in “Celebrity Blind Spots and Fixing Racist Narratives [By Making Everyone White]“. The gist of that post was how, in an effort to be more “progressive” filmmakers have been choosing to “fix” problematic minority characters by simply casting them with White talent. That’s as opposed to simply amending what made them so racist and stereotypical to begin with.

At that point in 2015 Swinton starring in the film had not yet been confirmed, and absolutely nothing had been mentioned about the character of Wong, Doctor Strange’s manservant in the source material. With Benedict Cumberbatch already locked into the role it was a magical time in which there was still the possibility of Marvel releasing a movie with two prominent Asian characters.

Look, my hopes were never particularly high that Swinton wouldn’t land the part. As soon as it was announced she was in talks for the role support began pouring in. That she was a woman in her 50s in a genre that has helped shine a spotlight on men of all ages and women of a very particular age was laudable to many. The thing is, the optics are so bad.

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Will You Really Be Afraid This Halloween?

‘Tis the season to be afraid.

That’s the whole point of the tail end of October, isn’t it?

Just last night I went to Canada’s Wonderland to experience their Halloween Haunt event for the first time ever. As one might assume from its name, the amusement park sets up a number of “Haunted Attractions” which feature such individuals as-

-this lovely couple-

-who stand just out of sight waiting to step out of the shadows and shriek inches from behind your head. Their co-workers also stalk the areas outside, lunging at unsuspecting attendees just trying to get to the next thing before the park closes at midnight. Also included in the event are the rides, which likewise draw crowds looking to be terrified, though in this case by great heights and breathtaking falls [I’m looking at you, Drop Zone {I know it was renamed, but you don’t see me calling the Skydome the Rogers Centre}].

What I’m sure reads very much like an ad for Halloween Haunt 2016 at Canada’s Wonderland aside, that entire evening had me thinking long and hard about fear.  Continue reading

What Happened to Comic Book Resources?

“Change is good.” That’s a slogan I very vividly remember from a McDonald’s commercial around the turn of the century. A classroom full of kindergartners is shocked to find out that the Golden Arches are now serving white meat chicken nuggets, and are silent as one of their members takes the first tentative bite. Once she speaks those three words they break out into cheers, ecstatic that their beloved nuggets are just as delicious as before. Change is good. Or, more accurately, it can be.

This past Tuesday I was going through my handful of comic book news sites only to find that Comic Book Resources [also known as CBR], the fourth and last on the list, was borderline unrecognizable. Instead of seeing-

oldcbr2014

-like I was used to, I was greeted with-

newcbr2016

While I was taken aback by the seemingly sudden redesign, the truth is that if I’d been more observant I would have seen this coming from a long way off. Continue reading

In With the Old [And In With the New]: The Silver Lining of Intertextuality

Last Friday I asked you all to watch a short video on the concept of intertextuality, which provides the basis for this week’s post.

While Nerdwriter1, the YouTuber responsible, initially describes the device as “something in a text, in this case a movie, that is shaped by another text” he later goes a step further in making the term distinct from mere allusion. Contemporary intertextuality, which he refers to as being “weaponized”, is defined as:

“objects, people or situations explicitly meant to trigger an emotional response”

To use my own visual example, successful intertextuality results in a combination of:

and

Being able to recognize and understand the reference is important, but equally essential is having that recognization elicit feelings, whether they be of awe, or joy, or pleasant surprise. Simply identifying a shot in a film as the replication of a comic book panel matters most if you care[d] about that original work. Continue reading

“Hymn for the Weekend”: Appreciation, Appropriation, and the Exotic Black Woman

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop listening to “Hymn for the Weekend” on repeat.

However, before I had even listened to Chris Martin and Queen Bey meld their voices in a divine mesh of harmonies, I was reading about it on Tumblr.

Cultural Appreciation vs. Appropriation

The first thing I heard about the video was that it had some pretty rampant cultural appropriation. Since there have been a number of music videos and performances accused of cultural appropriation over the last few years, I wasn’t too surprised to hear about “Hymn for the Weekend” being added to the list.

The video quickly split viewers into two groups, those who considered it cultural appropriation, and those who appreciated the video’s focus on Indian culture. The clip below highlights a few of the key elements that have been discussed and criticized.

This discussion is tricky for a variety of reasons. For example, there is a time and place when a white person can wear Indian clothing and accessories without coming off as disrespectful. In some cases, it’s actually much more respectful to embrace local dress customs than to ignore them.

There are even music videos where diverse customs and styles have been featured without any backlash about appropriation.

This debate can also seem confusing when Indian fans, or fans with Indian heritage, don’t seem to be bothered by the video’s representation of their culture.

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