Tag Archives: art

For Your Consideration: Asian Doctor Strange, Courtesy of Kurt Busiek

Some weeks will prove busier than others, and on those occasions I’m choosing to present all of you with something worth thinking about.

As you may know just last week I covered both sides of the debate over Daniel Rand, AKA Iron Fist, being played by a person of Asian descent. Of particular concern to the writer in the “for” camp was that the narrative within the comics pushes the idea of a White man entering a foreign land, mastering their arts, and ultimately rising up to be one of the greatest among them. It’s a trope that belongs to Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange just as much as it does to The Living Weapon himself.

Kurt Busiek is a writer who has been in the industry for decades, with a four year stint on Avengers being his greatest claim to fame. With an extensive biography that spans the Marvel universe he’s widely regarded in comic book circles as a professional who knows what he’s talking about. Roughly a week ago he began sharing over Twitter about how Doctor Strange was very likely intended to be Asian from the very beginning, or at least depicted in such a fashion. I’ve compiled all relevant tweets below, for your consideration [all tweets not by Busiek were retweeted by him]:

Continue reading

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The Power of Twitter Showcased at the Oscars: #OscarsSoWhite, #YesAllWomen, and #AskHerMore

Twitter has changed the way news is reported. The Black Lives Matter movement has been particularly successful in raising awareness for cases of police brutality that generally would have been overlooked by mainstream news channels.

Arguably the second most important aspect of Twitter is its ability to connect celebrities to their fan base. With the prevalence of these two features, it’s hardly surprising that celebrities and celebrity events have become more politicized.

This year’s Academy Awards are a prime example of this overlap between the celebrity world and political struggles that have been highlighted via Twitter. Below, I’ve included a few notable examples of Twitter flexing its muscles at the Oscars

#OscarsSoWhite

I’m not going to dwell too much on the circumstances of the #OscarsSoWhite boycott, since Gordon and Evan have already thoroughly explained its context. However, I do want to talk a bit about how the controversy was handled by the Oscars host, Chris Rock.

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Overall, I thought Rock did a great job calling out the Academy without reducing his monologue to a humourless lecture. However, in his article for Salon, Arthur Chu points out that,

Acting like caring about day-to-day violence in the streets and the impact media and culture have on that violence are somehow mutually exclusive — a common, frustrating, tired argument anyone who talks about racism in media will inevitably see dozens of times in the comments section — ignores history.

It ignores the many, many arguments that have been made about how the excuses made for the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown frequently come verbatim from untrue stereotypes out of TV and movies, how the only way Darren Wilson’s description of Brown as a “demon” who was “bulking up to get through the bullets” could possibly make sense to anyone is after a lifetime of media portrayals of the scary superhuman black man. It ignores Martin Luther King going out of his way to call Nichelle Nichols and tell her not to quit “Star Trek” because having a black woman on TV who wasn’t a domestic servant mattered. It ignores the ongoing civil rights protests around the Oscars back in the 1960s and ’70s, including Marlon Brando making history as the first and only best actor winner to boycott the ceremony, sending American Indian Movement activist Sacheen Littlefeather to accept the award in his place.

Similarly, several activists have since pointed out the one-dimensionality of calling for more black representation only to appeal to Asian-American stereotypes for a laugh. Continue reading

Save Refugees, Save America

I believe in America.

I believe that the defining characteristic of this nation was its unerring sense of moral conviction- that all we did was in the advancement of some great work set into motion by ages past. That every undertaking stemmed from the deepest confidence in the simple rightness of our cause.

This faith led us, countless times, to commit terrible acts that damn the conscious of the nation. Slavery and Wounded Knee. Manzanar and Kandahar. McDonald’s and McCarthy. It’s led to the popular image abroad of Americans as fundamentally arrogant; loudly voicing their opinions without being asked, demanding where they have no right, interfering where they have no business.

And it was this same faith that has pulled this nation back every time. Yosemite and Normandy. Harlem and Harper’s Ferry. John Muir and Eugene Debs. The faith that sent millions to these shores from every corner of the world and the same unabashed confidence that sent American music, art, film, and literature back.

In spite of our divisions and our failings- and they are neither minor nor few- we are united by the common belief that our cause is not merely just but justice itself, and that its triumph needs only ingenuity, passion, and will to be secured.

For good or ill, it is this value that made America. Continue reading

Christopher Zeischegg [aka Danny Wylde] on Art, Horror, Racism, and, of course, Porn

wyldefisherEarlier this month LA-based artist Luka Fisher reached out to me through the site’s email, calling my attention to an art project that may be the first of its kind. Christopher Zeischegg, more commonly known online as porn star Danny Wylde “On The Moral Imperative To Commodify Sexual Suffering“. Accompanying the short story was a silkscreen print created by Fisher, which was in turn featured in a high-concept art commercial directed by Matthew Kaundart. Through this correspondence I was given the wonderful opportunity to discuss the story with Zeischegg, as well as pick his brain on a number of other topics.

Before proceeding onto the interview I would strongly encourage you to read his story, or at least watch the video, which I’ve embedded below. I would also like to warn you that both are decidedly not safe for work before proceeding.


So before we really get into things, Luka Fisher, the artist who emailed me and who collaborated with you on the release of your short story, described you as a “BuzzFeed sensation”. Would you say you live up to that title?

[laughs] Well, I would say I don’t live up to that title. I mean, Luka is a friend of mine and he’s an artist producer in LA. I think more than anything he was just trying to get press and attention for this thing we did; trying to get keywords. As far as being a “Buzzfeed sensation”, I’ve been in a few videos about porn stars, et cetera.

I didn’t participate in that press release. I would not call myself one.

I also noticed that in their [Buzzfeed’s] feature they describe you as a “porn star”, whereas most places I could find state that you’re no longer an active part of the industry. I was wondering if you could clear that up for both me and my readers.

I retired actually about two years ago from mainstream porn. Though I have been submitting videos to Make Love Not Porn. I also do some other sex work that I’m not going into for legality issues. I retired two years ago. But, y’know, stuff is out there forever on the internet, so people kind of associate that with you.

So the reason for this interview even existing is because of your short story, “On The Moral Imperative To Commodify Sexual Suffering” [which I’ve asked my readers to check out first], which of course presented alongside a piece of static visual art-

Some Such _Fisher1

-as well as a short film. On top of all that you’re also one half of a Chiildren, a metal band, so I think it probably goes without saying that you’re by most definitions an artist-

Yeah, I guess so, I would agree to that.

before we really dive into the story I thought it would be cool to hear your thoughts on pornography as art.

Well, in general I don’t think it is. I can say that there are some examples of people who are doing art within porn, and I guess one of them is even my current employer, or one of them, James Deen. I work for him a lot in production and last year we did some higher end art films [7 Sins, we made a porn version but there’s also a cut-down version going around].

But my interest in porn did not really participate in art, especially in the beginning. It was just something to get through school. And then continued doing that for some years after. Because it pays better in retail, you know what I mean.

I don’t think typically it is, though. It’s just entertainment to jerk off to. That’s what most porn is. I don’t have anything more to say about it. We’re not doing anything important with it, there’s no real higher cause. We’re just making stuff so people can jerk off to it.

Which I guess you could call art. It’s a nuanced conversation. It’s entertainment. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #19: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel19“Qiyamat ka din to nahin hain.” It’s not like it’s the end of the world, Mr. Khan muses aloud to his family in Urdu. But it is, at least until next month when the first issue of Ms. Marvel Volume 4 hits stands everywhere. This issue effectively marks the destruction of the universe for these characters, but it’s everything the finale could be and more.

It’s now that I’m forced to eat some of the words I published in my last review, those concerning the “meandering plot as it slowly reaches the end”. Yes, Issue #18 ended with the reveal that Kamala’s mother knew about her vigilantism, but there are so many other relationships that are fleshed out and given the closure they need as this chapter closes [in preparation for the next one beginning].

The first involves, as mentioned, our heroine and her parents of course. Kamala opts not to tell them about the impending apocalypse and simply enjoy their company. Following up with that are two female friends, one of which felt like a blindside but not in a bad way. We’ve seen so little of Nakia since Issue #1 that it’s easy to forget that she’s one of Kamala’s closest friends, and she voices her concerns that they might be drifting apart. It feels real because, as anyone in any kind of relationship can attest to, it can and has and will happen to all of us. And since we’re coming full circle back to the first issue we have Zoe-

zoepology Continue reading

Why Horror Movies Are Good For You

That’s right, boys and ghouls-

Good for you.

That’s not something you’d expect someone to say about the genre, is it?

Sure, you might hear about horror “classics”. There are plenty of fans out there who’ll talk about their personal favorites. You might even hear critics fondly contemplate how certain horror flicks were telling of their times. But morally edifying?

Well that’s the argument I’m going to be presenting to you today.

Be warned- spoilers may follow.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve tried to champion the macabre. I don’t expect it to be the last either- not considering the reaction folks give me when I say I enjoy the stuff.

And before we really dig in here- let me get the obvious out of the way.

Yes, a lot of horror movies are garbage. The slasher/”teen-scream” subgenres use cheap gore and excessive nudity as a crutch for plot. More serious attempts still rely on the same cliches that have been around for decades. Plenty are poorly acted and have production values that could be outstripped by a middle school enactment of Romeo & Juliet.

But that’s hardly unique to horror. Continue reading

We Need More Women in STEM, But I’m Not One Of Them

Hello everyone, my name is Emily and I am bad at math. Sometimes this makes me feel like a failure as a feminist.

See, I’m a nerd at heart (surprise!), and a lot of my favourite websites and blogs accrete STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) news alongside covert footage of the new Millenium Falcon. I certainly don’t mind after all, I follow NASA on Facebook. I really am truly interested in most of the science news that comes across my dash, but it’s like being a child with a crush on one of her parent’s friends: I think it’s so incredibly cool and it thinks I’m kind of silly. Left-brainers range from befuddled to downright arrogant when dealing with us right-brainers.  

At any rate I see a lot of news about how important it is to get more girls into STEM fields, and it leaves me feeling a little guilty.  I would consider myself both a nerd and a feminist, and yet my brain seems to be built like a sieve with number-shaped holes.  Seriously, when my husband was doing his engineering degree he would sometimes vent about the concepts he was learning and even when I was trying very hard to focus and follow what he was saying, my brain would go fuzzy and I’d entirely lose track of his words.  Numbers just make my brain congeal a little.

This, but with math.

I’m not exaggerating.  I can do the same problem four times and get four different answers.  The numbers swim and change places, and working through problems feels like pushing something heavy through something thick, only to find out you were moving the wrong heavy object once the job is done.  STEM types laud math for being so reliable and utterly logical, but it’s always felt rather arcane to me. Continue reading