Tag Archives: book

The Evolving Feminism of Game of Thrones: Evidence that Viewers Can Change Problematic Television

There are spoilers below, so very many spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I’ve often felt conflicted about Game of Thrones. 

From the beginning, I’ve been irritated with the gratuitous sex and nudity. I understand that this can sometimes be used to move the plot in an effective way (i.e. Cersei’s walk of shame). But, generally speaking, GOT has used naked ladies as window dressing to keep straight male viewers watching. HBO has been notorious for finding any and every opportunity to throw a couple of boobs into any given scene in all of its shows. However, as CollegeHumor points out in their NSFW video below, HBO’s gratuitous nudity only goes one way.

Unfortunately, Game of Thrones’ sex scenes have not only been irritating, some have also been majorly problematic. In the first season Daenerys Targaryen is sold into marriage with warlord Khal Drogo, who rapes her on their wedding night. While their relationship eventually progresses into “love,” this first scene made it impossible for me to ever really view their relationship as a loving one. It made me even more angry when I learned that, in the books, this scene between Daenerys and Drogo was actually consensual. Continue reading

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Trump Temptation: The Billionaire & The Bellboy: A Book Review

trumptemptationsIn spite of my nationality there’s very little I’ve been able to do to avoid news about the presidential nominees in our neighbour to the south. While Donald Trump hasn’t yet risen to the absurd heights of celebrity that Obama did shortly after his inauguration, it’s more than fair to say that he’s been creating an indelible mark on pop culture for far longer, for better or for worse.

Given his general notoriety, especially of late, it’s not particularly surprising that comedian Elijah Daniel was compelled to pen what I’m going to generously dub a novella about the businessman. While he was originally inspired by a Huffington Post article surmising that Trump had paid off a secret gay lover [unavailable at the time of this writing], the truth is that there are sex scandals announced all of the time. No, there’s something particularly special about Donald John Trump. Something special enough to skyrocket Daniel’s ten page tale to the top of a handful of Amazon charts.

Now I don’t want to go too deeply into exactly how Trump Temptation was written, especially when you can see for yourself by checking out the author’s very own explanation on Twitter. Feel free to check that out before coming back to this review, because I’m about to dive headfirst into some LGBT erotica. Continue reading

The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space: A Book Review

wolvesthatliveThe Wolves that Live in Skin and Space is Christopher Zeischegg’s, better known as adult performer Danny Wylde, second novel. It’s also a deeply personal one that he described as “an autobiography horror hybrid” in an interview I conducted with him last month.

Given the first person point of view used throughout and the idea that the events taking place were based on, or were actually, “things that were happening in [his] life at the time” it became impossible for this reader and reviewer not to make his way through the book without mentally hearing the words in Zeischegg’s voice. Upon finishing the final, chilling page I was forced to ask myself the question: Does this novel only succeed given a reader’s connection with Chris himself?

While knowing the author, either as a performer or otherwise, may add another dimension to reading it I ultimately decided that it wasn’t necessary, and may even be unadvised as far as fully experiencing The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space is concerned.
Continue reading

3 Reasons Why I Will Be Watching Ronda Rousey Fight Bethe Correia

I enjoy fighting. I’ve even taken a couple classes in a few different martial arts (although never for long enough to learn anything more than the basics). Occasionally, I enjoy watching a match of MMA or boxing. Watching these matches always makes me feel conflicted. On the one hand, I enjoy the skill and level of physicality involved in fighting; on the other hand, as a Special Ed Aide, I feel terrible supporting sports that could cause long term brain damage. Despite this internal conflict, and despite the fact that I’m not an avid sports watcher, I know I will be watching Ronda Rousey fight Bethe Correia on August 1st. Below, I’ve explained a few reasons why.

1) Rousey is a bad-ass chick

This post went up late because I made myself go to kickboxing last night and then crashed when I got home. The main reason I convinced myself to go (trust me, I love finding an excuse when I can), is because of all the Rousey clips I’ve been watching. When I thought about skipping, I couldn’t help but remind myself, “what would Ronda Do?”

She would do a bad-ass ninja flip and then get herself to kickboxing practice, that’s what.

Continue reading

Language as a Product of Cultural Evolution [Or Why Chimpanzees Can’t Talk and We Can]

thedomesticationoflanguagecoverThis week I finished The Domestication of Language: Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal, a book whose subject matter should be self-evident. Shortly afterwards I was given the opportunity to talk to Daniel Cloud, the author of said work and professor of philosophy at Princeton University.

To summarize it very briefly the book is a thorough and eye-opening examination of language as a piece of culture that has been grown and thus evolved due to choices and actions we’ve made as human beings. While our discussion of his work was incredibly thorough and actually exceeded an hour I’ve managed to cut it down to something that closely approximates a conversation, and one that I hope will convince you to pick up a copy for yourselves.

Evan: Now I will of course be putting together some form of introduction to preface this interview, but I thought it would be good for our readers to hear you describe yourself in your own words-

Cloud: I would say that I am an American philosopher carrying on the American philosophical tradition. I worked in science for a while in Russia and China which gave me some some experience with socioeconomic change; I was in those places during a period of upheaval. Research as a philosopher most interested me when I decided to quit and go back to school. Biology and evolution in particular stood out as I already knew a lot about the social sciences.

Evan: As far as The Domestication of Language: Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal is concerned I would describe your primary goal as breaking down the origin of human language. Would you agree with that?

Cloud: My goal was and is to explain where language comes from, yes, but specifically the theory of cultural evolution and if it works relative to language. Language is one type of culture, and the specific type of culture I chose to focus on in this book was words as they’re discrete identities that are easy to identify and track throughout history.

The larger project is actually to track humans as being distinct from other types of living things. To return to language I present it as a tool for exploring the way cultural evolution works. It’s the application of the word “domestication” as seen in the title, the theory that just like animals and plants what we have in the present day is very different from how it began. Words are only the first thing I’ve tried to identify in this way. I could just as easily have turned to fashion or clothes or any other kind of culture. Continue reading

Writing Issues

Well readers, I bring the joyous news that you can now, at long last, read the scribblings of yours truly on two internet sites. Primer magazine, which I reviewed in the past, was kind enough to publish an article of mine which I’ll be shamelessly plugging here. In addition, it got me thinking about writing in general, leading to our topic for today.

How can we make writing viable?

See, for the vast majority of would-be authors (myself included), writing simply isn’t a viable career, (excluding TV and movies, which are arguably a very different process). Yes, you’ve got such career novelists like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but these people represent the rare exception to the rule that writing is something you do when you’re not at your real job.

We could probably talk all day about the role of the publisher and the marketing team and everyone else involved in the process of getting the work out there, but today let’s just focus on the consumption of the product. I think there are a few factors that really contribute to the situation as it stands today. Continue reading

World War Z Doesn’t Take Place In A World I Live In

Newer readers may not know this, but this is actually the third post about World War Z on this blog. I first wrote about the way the film was to deviate from the book back in 2011, while former CWR writer [who I dearly miss] Elisa briefly explored their prevalence in pop culture the year after.

So two days ago I saw the movie, and I’m not going to write the logical continuation of my first post, complaining about how the movie could have been “so much better if only. . .”

What I’m going to write about how I wasn’t in the movie.

I drew this over two years ago for an all-comics weekly publication I used to run.

And no, I don’t mean why wasn’t there a zombified version of me in the movie, because seriously if you guys didn’t know I am deathly terrified of any sort of biting reanimated corpse. What I mean is why, when I watched this movie, weren’t there any dang Asians.

Spoilers follow. Kind mild, kinda not. Continue reading