2. I've been thinking about something that I read in The Mary Sue, which also skips back to a discussion in a friends FB. It's about identifying as a gender. Or a better way of saying it -- identifying a character as "male" or "female", and that being an identifying characteristic that cannot be changed. I'm struggling to wrap my head around it. Because I wonder sometimes what traits we consider to be typically male or female.
Star Trek Deep Space Nine actually handled gender identity in an interesting manner. One of their aliens Jadzia Dax was symbiot. The symbiot jumped from body to body, merging with a new one and becoming reborn. The Captain of the Space Station, Benjamin Sisko had issues with Jadzia at first, because he'd known Dax as male in Dax's prior incarnation.
Jadzia Dax is a joined Trill. Though she appears to be a young woman, Jadzia lives in symbiosis with a wise and long-lived creature, known as a symbiont, named Dax. The two share a single, conscious mind, and her personality is a blending of the characteristics of both the host and the symbiont. As such, Jadzia has access to all the skills and memories of the symbiont's seven previous hosts. Jadzia holds academic degrees in exobiology, zoology, astrophysics and exoarchaeology, all of which she earned before being joined with the symbiont Dax. (DS9 Season 1 Episode Dax)
Jadzia Dax is the station's chief science officer, and is close friends with commander Benjamin Sisko and Bajoran first officer Kira Nerys. Later in the series, she becomes involved with the Klingon character Worf, and they marry during the sixth season of the show. Her character is killed by Gul Dukat during the sixth-season finale (due to Terry Farrell's desire to pursue a role on the then upcoming TV show Becker with Ted Danson). The character of Dax re-emerges in the seventh-season premiere in the form of Ezri Dax.
It's difficult to handle. Particularly when we are socialized to put a great deal of importance on gender roles. Everything in our culture impresses this upon us. It's ingrained in us as babies. Even down to clothing. My niece stated once that she was happy she was born a girl because she could wear skirts and dresses. Which struck me as interesting because I've met men who wore dresses in NYC. Even went contra-dancing with one of them. I wore pants, he was wearing a skirt. Her statement even more amusing when I consider that my brother refused to tell anyone the gender of his child prior to her birth, so they would not get her gender specific items. He wanted blue, not just pink or vice versa.
At work, I once discussed Mad Men with a male coworker, who felt Elizabeth Moss' character was too masculine. That she clearly wanted to wear the pants. And wasn't willing to be female. And wanted to be a man. (I had to take three steps back, swallow hard, and remember he's not aware he's being sexist here. And he's not sexist in other ways.)
Remember being on a fanboard when it was announced that Starbuck in BattleStar Galatica reboot was being recast as a woman. Fans of the previous series went nuts. Dirk Benedict who'd portrayed the role was deeply offended. (Sort of makes me rather proud of Colin Baker who portrayed Doctor Who and adores the idea of a female Who, of course Who is a bit different...in some respects, but still.).
One woman on the board went ballistic. She felt it was an insult. How dare they! The more people complained about it, and they did through the entire course of the series, the more excited the writers became. Starbuck was interesting to me, because in some respects Katee Sackoff played the character more masculine than Benedict, more tough. She was high adrenaline. A Boxer. Took Apollo down in the ring. An ace pilot. Smoked those cigars with glee. Took no prisoners. A complete subversion of gender stereotypes. The writers through the recast challenged viewers and their own concept of gender. And identity. It was a brilliant move, but also a risky one.
Years ago, I wrote a Fanged Four fic with various members of a board. And a fight broke out while writing the fic. One of the writers had come up with the idea of having Angel and Spike dress up as women to infilterate a dance hall and fool a villain. But at least two people in the group, it was a collaborative writing effort, got really upset about the idea of "Angel" wearing a dress. They felt it demeaned the character somehow or was OTT. We compromised, most of the Spike fans had no problems with Spike wearing a dress. And I agreed to write the Spike in dress sequences along with the two other people.
And...I will always remember a fascinating discussion I had once with my brother and father regarding male writers. My brother despises Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway, he hates machismo and he's never really been a fan of James Bond. He said...that he feels it's limiting, that men are being pressured into falling into some sort of ideal -- the idea of a macho man, alpha, strong, and sort of cruel. My father, a fan of these writers and characters, was bewildered and felt too many books were geared towards women not men. He also had the odd view that women were more nuturing, caring, natural gardners, caregivers, and domestic, while men were more protective, less good with kids, and more pragmatic. My brother and I sort of threw that theory out the window. Since we are sort of the opposite or a hodge podge of both. We, my brother and I, both strongly believe that gender is immaterial and a spectrum. That it doesn't matter. When I mentioned once to him that women navel gaze more than men and are more into emotion and analyzing it, he blew my theory out of the water by telling one of his male friends did this sort of thing all the frigging time.
I'm talking about all this... because several things, not just one, have happened that brought it to the surface. The book I'm reading at the moment is driving me nuts, it's a fantasy novel and it is so...boilerplate on gender. Reinforcing stereotypes. Makes me miss Captive Prince. One of the reasons a lot of women like male/male romances is that a lot of gender stereotypes get exploded, also you don't have to deal with the ingrained sexism that is in the female/male romances. Did you know that a lot of reviewers on Amazon and Good Reads actually capitalize the word "Hero" and lowercase the word "heroine", with H/h? It blew my mind when I first noticed it. I started responding, please stop this, then gave up.
And of course the election from hell...resulting in the President from hell. I guess you could say the Europeans are more advanced in that respect. Except the Europeans don't elect candidates necessarily so much as parties. And it is the party that elects the candidate. So just that district elected Margaret Thatcher or Theresa May. I wonder if the entire country had to vote for them, if the result would have been the same? (Not sure about Germany.) And to be fair, Hillary did get the popular vote. But it's disconcerting that a lot of people chose to vote for a man who had not one but several allegations of sexual harrassment and sexual violence against him, various civil suits, and said derogatory things about women over a woman who apparently had no clue how to use email. Yet, they tell me they aren't sexist or misogynistic. And they aren't. Not in their day to day pursuits.
So why? Why chose to believe the horror stories about Hillary over Trump? Was it about gender? Hard to say...it appears to be. They say it wasn't. Yet. Same deal with Bernie vs. Hillary. They say it's not, and maybe not, yet...so many of the ads screamed it. Hillary was too masculine, too hard, not friendly enough, didn't wear the right clothing.
And now, the ruckus over Doctor Who. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter. Doctor Who in a perfect world would have been black, blue, a woman, an man, old, young, and something in between. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter that Barack Obama is black, or that Hillary is female. But alas, we don't live in a perfect world. We live a flawed one. From an objective pov, such as my mother's or various others...this seems rather silly. Just as getting upset over making James Bond female or casting a female version of Bond might. (Which they did, by the way.) But not as James Bond. Not that they can. James Bond is after all human and he doesn't regenerate. And the movies don't necessarily follow a serialized format. I don't why they couldn't cast a female Bond, anymore than they couldn't cast a female Starbuck or female Wolverine. Or, Spike or Angel female. I'd actually like to see someone reboot Angel the Series but with a gender flip. Less so, Buffy, because been there done that.
(There was a British show a while back about a boy who was chosen to fight monsters...) And to be fair, the whole point of Buffy was to challenge a gender trope. (To give you a little back story on Buffy? Whedon studied film in school, and almost all horror films killed the Buffy character off, she was staked, slayed, and often in an alley. With the guy being the hero. Also up to Buffy, all vampire stories had the girl killed, and they guy be the vampire slayer. In short, we've had 100 years of Buster the Vampire Slayer. Whedon was flipping the trope. If you recast Buffy with a guy, it wouldn't be interesting. Actually that's why Supernatural isn't very interesting ...because been there, done that. It doesn't challenge any established tropes. It doesn't do anything interesting. At the end of the day, it's mindless tv. Which is okay. I like mindless tv. But it's not great. Buffy was great because it changed television. And it did it by challenging established gender tropes and archetypes.)
I think the problem with challenging these tropes in culture is two-fold. One, people have a tendency to watch things with their genitalia or as masturbation fodder. I know, I know, insane, but there it is. They won't admit it. But if someone is posting pictures of a hot character...
Two...there's this thing about archetypes and that's psychological. Role models. Needing a strong male hero to fantasize about or love or look up to. And...whether we want to admit it or not, a need to reinforce traditional views and comforting categories that we were taught.
I don't this is speculation for the most part. Because I like flipping the gender roles. I get off on it. I'm doing it myself to an extent, in my writing. I like subvert established tropes. And it irritates me when artists don't. Like with the book I'm reading now. For me, art is more interesting when they aren't playing it safe. It's hard for me to understand why you want it to be safe?
Or maybe I do...I do watch and read things for comfort. Although they aren't necessarily conventional.
Again, I don't know. I don't know why the guy on my friend's FB page can't handle a female Doctor Who. He's rational is that Who is from his perspective identified as male. That the proof of that is how he loved, that he loved in a heterosexual male way. As if there is such a thing. Maybe there is?
I don't know there was never any sex on Doctor Who. It was implied but rather coyly. My friend was as bewildered by this as I was. He suggested that she'd be upset if Wonder Woman was cast as a male.
But that already happened, with Wonder Man. The US has less problems with this sort of thing in its cultural experiments than the Brits apparently. We do it all the time. So part of my bewilderment may be that I'm used to it. Example? Starbuck.
And I don't know why Hillary couldn't become President. Or why we insist on reinforcing these things.
I don't understand my own views on it. But I think we need to ask the questions. Ask why. I don't think it is something as simple as misogyny or sexism ...I think it is more about how we link gender and identity in our heads, giving gender perhaps more importance then we should? Another way of looking at it...a lot of people I've met online...I've no idea from their names what gender they are. I guess. But I've been wrong. They've guessed about me and been wrong. Although I always thought shadowkat was rather obvious. I remember one individual being pissed that we felt the need to out their gender. They preferred to be genderless online. To be without a gender. I think it was interesting that I felt the need to identify it.
Ah, my dear friends, I have a terrible dilemma before me. Both Olga and Natalia wish to be my wife; each has written several times to me of their passion. They are equally attractive; both are looking for love, but neither appears to be able to do laundry.
Well. That's really not a dilemma at all, is it?
So, today was an odd day. One of those days where Things Got Done, but they were Entirely the Wrong Things. On the other hand, a day that includes a milkshake and an unexpected ride in the country can't be too far awry.
At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I did make it to gym and waked for miles. My "gym book" this go is a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, and a buncha other awards, soon, I'm told to be Major Motion Picture. Again.
AWIT was published when I was 10 years old. Despite this, I didn't read it (the first time) until I was an adult. It was sitting on a table in EJ Korvette's in...damned if I remember -- Towson, probably. Anyhow, remainder table, one among many of its own kind, and many others, not necessary of its kind. I was waiting for my then-boyfriend to finish up doing something or another, and started to read AWIT, as the most interesting looking book on the table, and by the time he re-appeared, I'd tessered once already and wasn't about to miss the rest of the story. It was a buck I never regretted spending.
I read AWIT a couple times since then, but not for 20 years or so -- found the sequels, but none of them held my interest beyond the first two pages. . . So, yanno, life goes on; so many books, so little time; and all like that.
But AWIT is going to be coming out as a movie next year; this time, so the hype goes, done right, which means that lots of people who read it as kids, and who imprinted on it, are re-reading. And some are being disappointed, and blogging about their disappointment (one more time from the choir: What an age we live in). Now, by the time I'd read AWIT, I'd read. . .a buncha books, many of them science fiction/fantasy (Back when I started reading sf/f, you could easily read the monthly titles, and still have room left over for others kinds of books. It just wasn't possible, if you were any shakes of a reader at all, to read only science fiction.). I thought AWIT was a good enough book. Certainly, the Mrs. Whatsit, Who, and Which have pleasantly improved my inner life. Meg irritated me -- but Meg was supposed to irritate me. Partly, after all, this was a story about Meg coming to terms with Meg, and if she could stand it, so could I.
I did have some reservations about the sudden appearance and utter acceptance of Calvin, especially the part where he liked Meg straight off. Otherwise, he seemed like good enough kid.
Charles Wallace was being set up either as John the Baptist, or the new Christ figure, but I'd already read Perelandra, and Out of the Silent Planet and whassis -- That Hideous Strength. Plus, I'd been raised Roman Catholic. All of which meant I was pretty good at ignoring the God-stuff and following the story along.
So, anyhow. I read it back then; liked it well enough. Read it a couple times more and liked it on rereads.
This time, I'm still liking it. Meg perhaps annoys me less, but, then I know how the story goes, more or less. I find that I misplaced a couple things on the timeline, but no big surprises so far. . .The Happy Medium, surprisingly or not, irritates me more than Meg does this time. Hmm.
One of the reviewers I read was saddened by the fact that AWIT didn't sing for them anymore, and blamed -- the 60s (given a 1962 pub date, and its long history of rejection, AWIT was probably written in the late 50s). The 60s, said the reviewer are just too unbelievable to a person of modern sensibility, and the story therefore suffers from its setting.
I will go on record here as saying that the 60s setting doesn't detract from the story at all, for this reviewer. OTOH, I lived through the 60s.
After gym, I ran the rest of the errands on my list -- sadly, neither CVS nor Agway had any of the bug repellents I had pinned my hopes upon, so I wound up ordering from the internet, rather than shopping locally.
Agway did provide me with a ginormous lacy yellow day lily, a hug pot of bee balm and a
Jimmy hosta with white bells (the hosta on the other end of the property have blue/purple bells). I have probably under-bought, but the wallet gets a vote, and this will at least start a Cat Garden Renaissance.
For those keeping score at home, I remain Utterly Delighted with my new fountain pen, which has scarcely been out of my hand since I bought it. So delighted am I, that I have purchased another Pilot Metropolitan, this is the formal White Tiger color scheme, and blue ink, so I will have a fine signing pen at Confluence.
And that? Really is all the news that's fit to print.
Everybody stay cool, or warm, as appropriate.
Having looked through his filmography, I see that he was in two episodes of Mystery And Imagination*--The Body Snatcher and Feet Foremost; I believe those are in the portion that are sadly lost. He was also in Jack The Ripper (1988) in the role of Lanyon--that one also starred Michael Caine, Lysette Anthony (Angelique from Dark Shadows 1991), and Susan George (Lucy in Dracula 1968). I have always meant to watch that one, so I’ll track it down. I think I spotted it at DailyMotion earlier, divided into parts.
*Come to think of it, that's two from Mystery And Imagination that have died in the last two months. Peter Sallis was the other one.
1. A friend of mine on her FB page is having multiple heated discussions with various Doctor Who fans about well, a female Doctor Who. She's for it, of course, they aren't. Her discussions are reminiscent of the debates she had regarding Hillary and Trump.
She's a great debater. But people are...stubborn. Her best point was this Original Creator told BBC to cast Woman as Doctor in 1986.
Here's a link to an interesting article in The Mary Sue about negative female reactions to Doctor Who. And how ingrained misogyny is in our culture. I know it is, I've read a lot of romance novels and literary novels by female writers...and oh dear. Also, notably, I know a lot of men who are happy with Doctor Who being a Woman, voted for Hillary, and loved Wonder Woman, and a lot of women who need well a strong male lead and can't handle powerful women. I saw it in the Buffy fandom, Doctor Who fandom in regards to River Song, and Battle Star Galatica fandom in regards to Starbuck.
2. What I just finished reading?
King's Rising - The Captive Prince Part III and The Summer Palace by CS Pascat. Both were okay. Kings Rising was better. Summer Palace sort of works as a fanservice epilogue. Lots of boring sex, not a lot of story. I'd skip Summer Palace and just end with King's Rising.
What I'm reading now?
Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson -- hmmm, apparently I'm on an initial kick.
This is fantasy, told in a fairy-tale style, with a romance at the center of it, at least for the first two books. The later three in the series apparently focus more on the battles and conflict apparently.
Not sure I'll make it that far. The writing style is not exactly captivating me. I'm having issues with how the writer perceives gender. Also she's very conventional, as is her story. It follows the established tropes.
That said, she says some interesting things about our culture, via fantasy, and is an excellent world-builder. From a thematic, world-building, and plot perspective, she's pretty good, somewhere in line with CS Lewis. And her style is in some respects similar to Anne McCaffrey. (I don't like Anne McCaffrey's writing style now, which is odd. I recently tried to re-read her Dragon Rider's of Pern series and gave up mid-way through. I have a feeling that I'd react the same way to CS Lewis. I loved both as a child, but now certain aspects of their writing and how they viewed gender, get on my nerves.)
I'm admittedly a little obsessed with gender issues at the moment. There's a reason for that -- points at current President, and last year's election.
Made it through five episodes of this series on "On Demand". (Adam Ruins the World -- almost ruined the episodes. He kept popping up in the commercial breaks -- which is every fifteen minutes for On Demand. And I kept muting him, because I cannot abide that man's voice. It's the human equivalent of nails on chalk board. Seriously, people, watch Bill Nye Science Guy instead of Adam. His show is on TruTV. The US has more television networks than it requires. I don't know, I think 1000 is a bit much, don't you?) BTW, the later episodes (of CLAWS not Adam) are really good. You sort of have to get past the introductory stuff...or I did. Actually this is true of most television shows. I rarely get hooked with the first episode. And when I do, the show tends to lose me after the third one.
I loved the fifth episode. Although, I feel a little guilty for loving it. It's hilarious in places.
There's this scene where ...you sort of have to see it for yourself. Too hard to explain. Oh and a great dance sequence to Lady Marmalade.
It also has a lovely twist, that had me giggling.
The series reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad -- except with a John Waters flair.
4. Struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I think I may have to go off fruit. Broke out in hives after having a dish of berries, truwhip cream and a little ice cream. Had the same thing last night, no issues. Not sure why I had a reaction tonight.
Super promises he'll paint the living room soon. Just hasn't happened yet. I'm waiting for it to get painted prior to doing anything else with it. I want a table so I can paint. I miss painting. I watercolor, not oil paint or not with acrylics. Although I have painted with acrylics in the past. Taught myself in my twenties. Just have had more watercolor courses and I'm more comfortable with the medium.
Considering taking another class -- but it meets on the upper East Side, and is at 6PM after work, and I just don't know if I can get there in time and if it's doable.
At loose ends. Want to do something, just not sure what. I want to paint, but do I really want to take a class? I need a table. I can't paint on my lap or the floor effectively. And I tend to spill things, so... Also, I have a bad back.
Also struggling with my novel. I don't really know why.
*There were two occasions as I started the import where it accidentally made it post to today's date, but it was eventually fixed. I learned that trying to import from Teaspoon does that for whatever reason, while importing from Dreamwidth does not, and gives the original date without me needing to change it.
It's Christopher Eccleston (9) and Jodie Whittaker (13) in Antigone. And interestingly, her lines could be summed up as 'I do what I do because it's right!' Oh aye, she'll be a grand Doctor. In short - if you're wondering why she was cast, watch this. Big, angry righteous monologue, as if born to it. She'll be fantastic.
(Also, SO NORTHERN OMG. The Doctor is a Northern lass, I'm chuffed to bits. <3)
So, the husband and I were talking, yet again, about the fact that he likes Sam Seaborn and I don't. And I referred to Sam as "the Riley Finn of West Wing".
He pointed out that Sam's character was supposed to be the interesting one, until the interesting role got taken over by Josh - and that "Josh is probably the Spike". To which my instant reaction was "Of course not! CJ Cregg is the Spike!"
...much discussion ensued.
( a summary )
I would be interested to hear how very wrong I am, and why clearly it should be arranged in a different order...
BUFFY: What do you know about this? You're never gonna die!
ANGEL: You think I want anything to happen to you? Do you think I could stand it? We just gotta figure out a way...
BUFFY: I already did. I quit, remember? Pay attention!
GILES: Buffy, if the Master rises...
BUFFY: I don't care! (calms down) I don't care. Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't wanna die.
~~rophecy Girl (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 1, Episode 12)~~
[Drabbles & Short Fiction]
- Buffy and her two boys (General Audiences) by BabygirlandFin
- The Cyrano Factor (Spike/Buffy, Teen) by Medievalchic
- Knight Errant (Spike/Buffy, Mature) by Medievalchic
- Episode 7.21: End of Days by Once More With Extreme Prejudice
Reminds me of something James Marsters stated that haunted me. How he unraveled after being forced to do the attempted rape scene in Buffy. And how he'd had a nervous breakdown...in part because of it.
Yet, 46.7% of the scripts that the writer of the article has read, contained rape scenes. I have to admit, I stopped watching criminal procedurals and series like Supernatural after a bit, because I got tired of the sexual violence. They all have it. Every singled one. It's ...exhausting.
There's a very interesting section in the article concerning Ned Beatty, who states:
In the spring of 1989, actor Ned Beatty penned an op-ed column for The New York Times, writing, "If [men] felt we could truly be victims of rape, that fear would be a better deterrent [for committing rape] than the death penalty."
Beatty most famously played Bobby, a character who is brutally raped by a hillbilly in John Boorman's tense thriller Deliverance (1972). They rehearsed for days and finally completed the scene in a four-minute shot that would forever change Beatty's life. After the film's release, wherever the actor went, strangers would guffaw and yell, "Squeal like a pig," a line uttered by Bobby's rapist. Beatty was continually struck by these cold displays from fans. They seemed to expect him to smile and chat after they'd gleefully demeaned him in reference to a sexual assault.
"He felt like a rape victim," Boorman said later in commentary for the DVD of the film. It had never crossed Beatty's mind that he would become a public spokesman for sexual-assault awareness, but the experience reshaped his psyche, and he was forced to confront what we now call rape culture.
Some day, I'll have to watch Deliverance, never been able to get myself to see it all the way through. Just seen sections of it.
Fascinating article, recommend reading it all the way through, particularly if you are at all interested in film.
2) The Casual Vacancy was also on the list. ( Read more... )
3) We also watched Westworld. In fact, I'd started watching it on my own but Mike got so interested in the bits he caught that we rewatched the episodes I'd already seen so he could catch up.( Read more... )
4) As one could say this about more shows than not, the L.A. Weekly had a really interesting (if disturbing) story about the history of portraying sexual assault in film and TV and how poorly it's been approached for the sake of actors and crew.
"Still, that a director would brag about raping his co-star to publicize a film is mind-boggling. That critics don't seem to care is worse."
5) HT to Petzi for this link about TV cliffhangers. To this I would argue that TV programming is not movies -- it is by definition open ended, serialized. Even when hardly any shows had seriality there was still a certain continuity to it in terms of characters, certain past events, the premise. There was always the sense that something was not the end. ( Read more... )