Today's link is to I Blame The Patriarchy. I have no idea whether everyone already knows about it or not, but it's a feminist blog which I have found very helpful in untangling my own troubled relationship with sexism. Like a fish trying to describe water, or whatever the saying is, I find it hard to think clearly about the issues which are actually affecting me. But Aunt Twisty has such a clear view on it all. It doesn't really matter whether I always agree, although I usually do, it's just a really helpful reference point.
But as far as I understand it, they are both shows about privileged white people who feel under pressure to get hold of some money fast after a major life event, and turn to the drug trade for that purpose. Both shows start out sympathising with the main character and then show the impact of their actions on their family and the gradual triumphing of their own worse nature as difficult decisions lead to bad decisions lead to worse ones.
Weeds which I have watched up to mid-season 6 so far, definitely seems to be oriented towards women, not only in having a lead female but in that generally the women, even when being brutalised, threatened, down on their luck etc. always seem to stop short of being completely degraded to the point that I would see on a show oriented towards the male POV. To some extent they hand-wave the impact such events might actually have on a person in real life, but the point is, I think, that they know women audiences don't necessarily want to see that on screen yet again. Similarly BB seems to be oriented towards men I think.
Anyway I might be talking nonsense so maybe anyone who's seen both shows can enlighten me on the reasons why Breaking Bad is such a major TV event in a way that Weeds (as far as I can tell) was not?
*even though I personally found watching that show injurious to my mental health.
I'll start by linking this blog, which is ostensibly a cooking blog in main part and which does have some lovely recipes but is mainly attractive for the quality of the writing. The writer is Russian, living in Amsterdam, and writes wonderful English but in the distinctive style of a non-EFL speaker. That gives rise to some of the charm of her prose but my guess is that an interesting and talented writer probably betrays herself as such in any language.
It's funny how emotions catch you by surprise and the joy at drawing two actual live fans together and saying "Here, let me show you my fandom" was intense. Meeting your people, ay ay.
Seen it three times and still haven't had enough. I can't remember any other film I've enjoyed this uncomplicatedly - just sat there grinning like a fool. The flaws in the plot do unfortunately become more apparent with repeated viewing as well. I'm sort of hoping that there might be an extended cut released which will fix some of the issues. But that said, I'm not complaining - given all the givens it was an amazing achievement.
Loki. Unfortunately although I saw Thor and enjoyed it, I don't really remember it very well so I only have AA to draw on. I enjoyed Loki as the villain, loved his costume and thought he pulled off the helmet very well. The sceptre sometimes seemed a little unwieldy but ay, that shot in the museum where he so elegantly flips it and cracks that guy on the head like he's spiking a volleyball...well. I didn't get very much emotion off Loki throughout, for the most part he seemed no more than mildly aggravated when things weren't going his way, and no more than mildly amused when they were. That meant that Coulson's remarks about him lacking conviction and it being in his nature to lose rang very true. If he had one defining characteristic it seemed to be that of grace in defeat.
Given that, I struggled a little to read his motivations and some of this might be my own extrapolations, but. On the one hand I think he probably does have himself on a fairly tight rein. On the other hand I actually think he doesn't really care too much about any of it, really, as long as he continues to be the focus of Thor's attention, and crucially, as long as he continues to cause Thor pain. Thor has held out an olive branch, but I think, to Loki's mind, if he accepts that then Thor gets to move past this and think that everything is alright again with his world. But I don't think Loki ever wants everything to be alright for Thor ever again, no matter what he has to go through to keep being the grit in the ointment. And although obviously the events of the previous film are causal to that...my feeling is that it's possibly not so much about him not being an Asgardian, or not having a throne of his own, but about how that discovery caused a paradigm shift in how he sees Thor's perspective.
I feel like it just flipped a switch in him where he realised that for Thor, life is basically *always* going to be easy in crucial respects, and for Loki it *never* is, and that crucially, Thor is never going to understand that or be able to acknowledge it. Thor is the oldest, Odin's son, an Asguardian, and an uncomplicated soul who finds pleasure in life pretty much everywhere. He even lucked into a girlfriend the second he entered his banishment. And because he has all that, he doesn't really get where Loki's coming from. Thor just wants to say, look, you're still my brother, can't we just make as if nothing's changed and, can't everybody just get along? And quaff something, probably. So Loki's mission now is to take Thor down to a place from which he can get a new perspective. And he wants to do that up close and personally. I guess it's the difference between Loki being motivated by what he isn't, which would mean he could prioritise amassing his own power and building his own future, and if he could put one over on Thor that would be a nice benefit, vs. (still with me?) being motivated by how Thor is, which means that all the power stuff is just a means to an end.
Now, how to reconcile that with all the speeches about liberation through slavery? I guess I read that as an aspect of Loki's intrinsic personality. He's on Earth to annoy Thor, but as he's here anyway, he'll do things according to his own personal style. The only time we really saw Loki get riled up about anything during the film was in his 1-1 with Natasha. On the one hand that shows how skilled she is, to get under his skin, and it does show that yes, there are emotions roiling in there. But also, it's when he's talking about devising exquisite tortures for her and Clint. Humans to him seem to be essentially livestock who make a nice visual effect when corralled and addressed in large groups. But we also have enough intelligence to really understand when we are being headfucked, and the emotions to get excitingly upset about that, which he clearly gets a charge off. Those 80 people who were presumably crushed in the sinkhole, I don't think they would even register with him, I don't think he'd get any pleasure from that at all. Except if he could use it to cause intimate pain to someone he's with at the time.
Something I struggled with was Bruce Banner's line that 'you can smell the crazy on that one'. As much as I find it an evocative line and I enjoyed the delivery, it didn't land for me at all because I just didn't get that from the performance. Loki may be hugely selfish and cruel, may be doing evil things with no regard for anyone else's feelings, but. Unless, like my mother, you think that anyone who deliberately hurts other people *must* be mentally ill or they couldn't do it, then I'd argue that there really was no evidence for it.
Phew. I'm sure I could have said all that more efficiently.
Black Widow. Ohhh so much love. Didn't see Iron Man 2 so again, just drawing on this film. And I was completely unspoiled and hadn't even seen any trailers so I got to sit open-mouthed through the initial chair fight sequence. Bam, what an opener, establishing three things: first, her competence, which I would say was unbelievable except that the thing I loved about it was that for possibly the first time (except maybe in Haywire) I genuinely believed that a petite action heroine could, in real life, beat the guys she was up against. Second, her normal human frailty and appropriate fear in the face of danger (not knowing the character I was really psyched when I realised that she wasn't superpowered beyond being basically an Olympian). And third, that she isn't a dress-up doll (she carried the shoes!). I felt like a little girl again watching her, like I would have felt if I'd had someone like that to watch when I was little, and would have pretended to be her every playtime. I think I mainly loved the same things that everyone else did - fighting Hawkeye, trying to gentle Banner and then fleeing Hulk, commandeering the flying bike thing, facing Loki down (and so many things to love! So much time on screen leading the film!). The part I keep holding my breath for every time though, is when she decides to make a run for the Tesseract. And oh, she's tired and she's scared and Cap gives her an out and her voice shakes, but she's doing what has to be done and she is SO BRAVE. And there's my inner child again, with eyes wide, just blown away and awed and inspired.
Having seen the film a few more times there's a part which slightly falls flat which is after she's got Loki's game plan and she goes to the lab (?I think it's the lab) to see Banner. She has these great social smarts but she doesn't play it well, at all. She goes straight to telling him he needs to isolate himself which, no, is not going to produce a good result. In order to make this make sense to me, I have thought of the following. First, nobody's perfect. And as much as I love that the film does espouse that philosophy, I'm not sure that's what they are going for here. Second, she does seem to be a bit wary of Banner/Hulk in general and maybe that throws her off. But, at the same time she does theoretically know that she can reason with Banner, because that's what she tries after they fall through the floor together. But perhaps without much conviction and only as a last resort. So I think that one probably carries some weight. And third, that the Sceptre is affecting them. And while I agree with others that wasn't made particularly explicit in the film, I do think that was happening. And although she had only just come into the room, the lab didn't seem to be far from where she was with Loki. Ooh interesting sidebar - I wonder if Loki was affected too, and that's why we got his outburst of emotion?
This post is a continuation of a conversation between myself andsebastian over in the comments ofcereta’s post about men and rape. I was saying that it seemed sort of inevitable that sebastian and I would end up disagreeing on certain things. Like a Marxist discussing with a Freemarketer, we just frame things differently. And I was going to try to say a bit more about the perspective I am coming from, and what the implications of that are.
I probably first really became aware of the conceptual framework around privilege about two or three years ago. I think I’d had hints the argument was out there, but this time when I heard it, I was receptive, I got it. And since then I have found it a very useful way to conceptualise issues around the power structures in society. In the context of this framework, I do not have male privilege, but I do have e.g. white privilege and straight privilege.
Things to know about privilege:
1) If I have it, I have it, whether I want it, or acknowledge it, or not. It is something that comes with e.g. being white, or being male. So, for example, imagine June (a white racist) Freddy (a white antiracist ally) and Tony (a man of colour) all trying to get a taxi in New York. June and Freddy are more likely to get picked up. Freddy may hate that this is the situation, but he will still benefit from it. June may be unaware that it is the case but will still benefit from it.
2) The benefits of privilege are often quite practical. It may be that my privileged soul is shrivelling on the vine, but it is not right for me to expect people of colour to put up with their shitty end of the daily stick, on the basis that it will make them better and more spiritual people.
3) If I am privileged, that fact may often be very invisible to me and glaringly, embarrassingly visible to anyone who’s on the reverse of that particular coin.
4) Privilege operates at a group level (as in the group Men or Whites). Therefore there will be lots of individuals whose personal experience does not match the picture for the group. That doesn’t invalidate the model as a whole.
5) If I (a woman) have white privilege and he (a person of colour) has male privilege, they don’t cancel each other out. They are different. Each of us will be privileged over the other more or less in different scenarios or even in different ways at the same time.
6) Having privilege does not make me a bad person. It does mean the balance is weighted in my favour and I may need to put some work in to redress it, if I’m someone who’s in favour of fairness and equality. When I think of this work as ‘extra work’ I need to remember that the reason the balance is in my favour is because the unprivileged group has to do a bunch of work on this all, the time, every day, which I may well be largely unaware of.
7) When I am told that I have privilege, my first reaction is likely to think of all the hardships I face in my daily life, or have faced in my personal history, and to feel hurt or angry that someone is labelling me as privileged. I therefore don’t stop to listen and think before jumping on all the really obvious flaws in their argument. Sadly I am not as original as I might like to think which is why people have written guides to avoiding the same false arguments which everyone else made before me.
And I have found that this perspective is really helpful. Before I found it, I would probably have said that everyone should try their best to be a decent human etc. and that would have been my plan for ending racism. But this framework kicks my arse and shows me why that isn’t enough. It reminds me how when I talk about treating people equally, I’m actually overlooking the burden which people of colour are already carrying, and so my ‘equally’ is actually intrinsically unequal. It also reminds me that when I wait for someone to ask me to make a choice between homophobia and the better thing, I may be waiting many days because I am privileged to address the issue when it takes my interest and pretty much disregard it at other times, rather than having to confront it all the time, every day.
Before I found this framework I would always, always have avoided a confrontation, and if someone got angry with me, I would have pretty much thought they were an arse. By having a conversation with people who are all speaking with this perspective in mind, suddenly I can see why those people were so angry. I always knew in theory that anger can be healthy, but I could never see how that could ever work in practice – it seemed as though it was always destructive. Suddenly now I can see the way in which the expression of anger can be healthy and positive, and in particular, I am starting to understand when my own anger is legitimate to a particular argument, and when I’m defending my own hurt feelings.
The only downside so far? That if some people are speaking from within this framework and others aren’t? Pretty much a recipe for disagreement, although there will also be some people who are (like I was) ready and will get it right there and then.
In other news, our front door has magical powers. People come to visit houses all along our block, and somehow...they can't...help themselves...they all knock on our door. We get constant mistaken door knocks, although usually by the time I've got to opening the door the mistaken knocker has figured out they made a big mistake having heard the hounds of hell throwing themselves against the inside, and is trembling somewhere at the end of the path.
The ultimate example of which just occurred when I opened the door to find a man standing (at the end of the path, natch) saying, "Sorry it says here I'm looking for [not our number] and I thought this was [not our number]". Despite the fact that the number is in five inch high figures in black on a white door at eye level. Yeah he looked a bit embarrassed. But I knew that he couldn't help himself.
These videos are just ones I enjoy rather than collected for any particular technique reasons (although that doesn't mean they're not good) - these are my comfort videos if you will.
This Kiss by wesleysgirl
Multi-fandom. Song: 'This kiss' by Faith Hill. Does exactly what it says on the tin. I have it downloaded and must have watched it every day for about a month afterwards to cheer me up.
Love Lockdown by obsessive24
BSG. Cain/Gina. Song: 'Love lockdown' by Kanye West. Cain loses, Gina loses, the humans lose, the Cylons, well...who knows, exactly, yet? Stunning.
You make me wanna by obsessive24
Skins. Tony/Maxxie. Song: 'You make me wanna' by Usher. I know the canon text gives a lot to work with but the precision and perfection of this vid is just incredible - the pefect match of visuals, rhythm and music. o24 is the best vidder I have come across, without question.
Kamikaze by thandie
Equilibrium. Cleric John Preston. Song: 'Kamikaze' by P.J. Harvey. Looks amazing, sounds amazing. What's not to like.
Fight Club: Circus by genrocks
Fight Club. Gen. Song: 'Circus' by Britney Spears. Great source material, of course, and despite what seems like a silly song choice, there's a detailed attention to the lyrics here. I guess it probably only works if you have seen the film though, and can pick up the references. Lots of nice changing of pace in the vid to match the music.
Beverly Hills by Gianduja Kiss
Merlin. Gen. Song: 'Beverly Hills' by Weezer. He might complain, but Merlin digs his new life. Silly, but perfect.
Persuasion - Other side of the World by AnneDarcy
Persuasion (1995 film). Anne Elliott / Captain Wentworth. Song: 'Other Side of the World' by KT Tunstall. My Amanda Root has the biggest eyes in the world doesn't she? This is a very simple film, but sweet. Yearning, loss, and fulfilment.
If I was your girl by Danegen
Merlin (BBC). Merlin/Arthur. Song: 'If I was your girl' by Janet Jackson. I guess I am just a sucker for pacy songs. The thing I like about this is the way it is put together very much like a music video. It's like mainlining sex, romance and slash right out of the screen. The GREAT feature of this vid is the dance break omg.
Lost trailer by The TV company
Lost. Gen. Not a fanvid - made by the TV company. Song: 'Numb' by Portishead. It's a shame it's not available in higher quality format.
Supernatural: Fun With Real Audio Parts One, Two, Three and Four by maichan2
I don't quite know how to explain the greatness of these vids in human language. I have never loled so much and so repeatedly at a fanvid. Very clever splicing of chosen audio and added text into clips from SPN, as well as J2 in outtakes, other appearances etc. The editing is unassuming but excellent. Run and see. Also this.
Leaving aside the inordinate amount of sleep I always need except in high summer. 6.15am? Too early. 6.45am? No problem. A minor inconvenience, really, but given that I have to get up at 5.45, that extra hour makes the difference. Right before lunch, I suddenly get an amazing burst of speedy wakefulness and productivity - just as I get too hungry to work anymore. By 7 in the evening I could go to sleep right then and there. Woe betide me if I'm not asleep by 11pm though, because suddenly? I have loads of energy and a need to work out to pumping dance music. Since that option isn't available to me right now, well here I am. *Sigh*
David Foster Wallace has died. I am confident that in years to come I will still be looking back in frustration and wondering what he might have written, the same way I wonder what Kirsty MacColl might have sung, or Bill Hicks might have said.
When people I know have died, thankfully not many of them young, I'v missed the person and my relationship with them. Their wasted promise is just a pale also-ran in the grief stakes. But I didn't know these people and so, without the immediacy of personal loss, it's the work that I regret.