July 28, 2013

printsun:

sweetshytea:

"POC can’t be in fantasy stories, they weren’t around in those areas back then. its just not accurate."

"POC aren’t in sci-fi stories because there probably won’t be a lot of them in the future yknow?"

image

THIISSSSSSSSSS.

Like white people expect to still be the majority in the future.

It’s sad that Ralph Bakshi, a white Jewish animator who’s kinda bad at writing women, still has more POC characters in his films than 99% of mainstream Hollywood cinema. Now I know they’re often drawn in a stereotypical way, nobody’s arguing he’s pre-Tumblr in every sense of the word. Yet I think “pulling a Bakshi” with putting a bunch of POC characters in your movie written by white people is still a good idea. Especially when it’s been 30 years since Heavy Traffic came out and the problematic elements of the Bakshi formula can be ironed out and made better. There is a way. I mean, I’m a white dude and I know I’m not gonna be an old man in a world where white people would be the majority, I just accepted this and sit back while the old white men that make people like me look bad ruin our reputation while I scream at them on Twitter hoping the asylum seekers of the future forgive my impotent generation for having no real power to stop these borderline despotic arsemanglers. And honestly I think the asylum seekers my Australian prime minister and his opposition leader keep tossing into a sea probably would be an improvement over what leaders we have. 2050 will come along, and the goat meat industry here’s gonna be rad. It’s probably gonna be easier to terraform the desert for farmland Halal butchers will build their fortunes on than it will be to transform Mars into a Space Gondola Planet like in that anime ARIA. We’ll get there. Especially when Australia might be a racist country but we have actual Indigenous people in our Aborigine character based movies. Beat that, Lone Ranger.

(Source: charycherub, via tsunime)

March 25, 2013
When horror movies demonise entire jobs

I take it some of you have never seen the movie Peeping Tom, but for those who haven’t, let’s just say it depicts the entire profession of photography in a bad light.

You know how I’ve been known to be shy of taking anyone’s picture at all because they don’t want to be photographed, so I end up with a barely used DSLR camera I’m terrified to pull out in public for fear of being labeled a creeper? This movie is why my creeper label fears are entirely inflamed.

Photographers get a real shafting in horror movies. They’re depicted as creepers or perverts that stalk you and or otherwise try to murder you somehow. If I was head of the Photographer’s Guild or whoever represents the photography industry I would have sued the pants off the guy who made this for defamation of the entire profession.

I didn’t spend the last four years of college learning a Photomedia degree so horror movies could trash talk people of my skill set by labelling them as serial killers and perverts. Part of why you go to college to learn photography isn’t just the glitz and glamour of a possible fashion career, you learn the ethics and legal stuff of the trade for the exact reasons this movie, Peeping Tom makes abundantly clear. In fact street photography privacy laws are set up so this kind of shit can be avoided.

March 22, 2013

So I’ve heard rumblings that indie music played on guitars is losing popularity to hip hop. Never fear, straight white males, don’t lose hope just yet. Straight white male art devoid of female influence is in no danger of going away. You could say it never has.

Video games, television, movies, comic books, even regular books, straight male art is alive and well. You may worry, straight white men, that this Twilight and Fifty Shades Of Grey thing is going to destroy the straight white male publishing industry, but really ask yourself, have you even read these books? If you answered “I haven’t read any books, sir”, would you kindly sit in the corner being thumped with a hardcover Complete Shakespeare until you think about what you did. Shakespeare worked long and hard to ensure straight white male plays and literature continue to be enjoyed. For shame, sir.

Just because hip hop is taking over the pop charts, doesn’t mean straight white male art is in crisis. I hear that Seth McFarlane fellow who makes the cartoons on the TV that make straight white men laugh even got to host the Oscars this year, and as we all know, the Oscars don’t stay the whitest, straightest, malest institution of Hollywood on its own. Thousands of straight white men are working hard each day to make the magic of bland lack of diversity happen.

Just because hip hop and K-pop have hit the hot 100, doesn’t mean straight white male art will suddenly go away. Good Lord no, not while straight white male ownership of media corporations and movie studios and businesses and even politics continues to be the order of the day.

At least I think it will. Get back to me on that one in a hundred years, I’d like to see how that one turns out.

March 20, 2013
Girls Season 2 redeemed this show

SPOILER WARNING: cause Tumblr hates spoilers as bad as they do triggers.

So this season finale happened. And it was glorious.

I am a member of what you could call the “Anti-New York Monopoly On The Arts” league, which as far as I know I’m the only card carrying member and I’m the only one who stopped caring about Lena Dunham’s nepotism to instead decry an entire American metropolis for making claims about itself that NYC is the only place to be if you’re a creative artist of any kind, of which I believe is the worst propaganda in recent times since Mission Accomplished during the middle of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. New York City has a lot to be proud of, but as a city it has no right to tell the rest of the world where the arts of any medium can and cannot prosper. This is my bugbear about shows like Sex And The City and Girls, and the New York City monopoly on the arts in media is without a doubt the most glaring blind spot in the last decade that the counter culture that remains has consistently failed to question.

But you didn’t come here to hear the Oceanic based anti-establishment rantings of an Australian art student. You came here to figure out what’s the deal with Girls Season 2’s finale.

And I loved it. My brother who’s actually in a romantic relationship with his girlfriend thought the parts where the guy were lambasted by his girlfriend for having a lack of ambition was brutal and real, I, the virginal not-girlfriend-having autistic twin brother he has was given a glimpse into an issue that happens to real people. And then the guy character destroys his girlfriend’s outright naive expectations of what she’s wanting from him, Hannah got rescued by her shirtless ex in a panic attack brought on by OCD and a pending publisher lawsuit I hope gets addressed next season, and this New York bubble of privileged white women finally got put in a position where they must prove their human worth to the world and the soul crushing bohemian myth city they thought would allow them to suffer no consequences for not addressing core problems much longer.

After two seasons of my non-US/NYC citizen brain being subjected to IKEA furniture catalog like fantasies, the drama of young people who don’t know how lucky they are to have friends and even lovers at all, the backstabbing of each other when they should know better… shit just got real, to quote Bad Boys II.

This series, if it gets as good as this and better next season, will justify the hours invested, all that hype, all that outrage by both genders, to the viewers and critics that didn’t know what to make of this at first.

I eagerly await where this is going. This went from New York City hipster fantasy to real life that made my cold heart care.

January 11, 2013

I don’t think I’m a philistine when I say a lot of the art I enjoy that speaks to me on multiple levels was popular art that was mass produced and made available to ordinary people, paperback novels, comic books, art house cinema DVDs, CDs of classic rock and hip hop albums… I love that I live in an age of digital distribution too on top of that, because I’ll live in a future where artists band together and say “Here, you may be a peasant who can’t afford to buy something from The Louvre but here’s my little thing I made which I don’t think you’re too poor, too dumb, or too white, black, retarded, gay or weird to enjoy.”

January 6, 2013

So I bit the bullet and bought the Girls’ Generation (2011) album off iTunes. Despite the fact that I was previously opposed to iTunes until I figured out I already had my Switch program to turn my music into FLAC backups. The prospect of Riz Ortolani’s back catalogue being digitally available instead of me having to hunt down scarce CDs and vinyl imports probably had something to do with it too.

Can we continue this vaguely related thought for a moment? I wasn’t keen on getting into J-Pop or K-Pop for the insane scarcity of some of their material. It’s hard to get hold of some of this stuff. Sure, UK-Pop as they call it now like One Direction is easy to get hold of on CD, because it’s intended for a mass Western audience, while K-Pop and J-Pop were originally intended for a very specific, language based audience. Because of the language barrier it’s easy to see how importing these CDs would be costly, and in J-Pop’s case downright isolationist since Japan has a long history of making CDs more expensive than they have any right to be.

That said I’ve read sociological works like Shutting Out The Sun which explain how Korea might understand the Internet better than Japan does, hence why it’s possible that Girls’ Generation and Psy with his Gangnam Style hit single got so popular on iTunes. As much as I hate to admit this, given that buying CDs/DVDs are my preferred methods of supporting film/music artists… in the next twenty or so years that might change. Not immediately of course. Until I’m convinced that there’s a way to permanently back up my content on a non cloud basis for all digital media forms, I’m not going all out just yet. And granted, I still buy art/photography books in hard copy cause they just feel more natural that way than eBooks do for novels which I’ve disturbingly become used to only reading in eBook form due to the heaviness of paper novel hardcovers and my not wanting to crease them. I might concede to iTunes for one aspect of what it offers though, it has a lot of the film soundtracks and obscure hip hop/grunge band albums that are hard to find in physical copies these days at sometimes reduced prices. I say sometimes reduced because Australia still gets the short end of the stick when it comes to iTunes pricing. Until that regional exploitation bullshit gets fixed I’m only mildly optimistic about the future of digital music. Unlike with eBooks which are somehow cheaper than books in hard copy by default in Australia, a lot of the time iTunes offers a music recording for a higher price than the CD would be in JB Hi Fi. Once that’s ironed out, by all means I’ll buy into the post-scarcity digital distribution future as long as DRM is outlawed and the customer is treated with some level of dignity. Americans are used to getting good service and low prices on a mass scale. Australians are so used to being shit on by music corporations that they until now assumed the higher prices were completely normal. And these higher prices somehow affect non-entertainment goods like clothing and IKEA furniture too. Bite me.

May 28, 2012
Just Post It

So if you have an idea you think is “re-inventing” how people think about something, or you’ve made something that you think is bold and fresh, I think the best caution to approach it with is to just post it and see what happens with the audience you intended it for, or sometimes, audiences you didn’t know you had.

I know you feel excited about your idea, I get really excited about fresh ideas after I’ve chugged two 600ml bottles of Double Expresso ice coffee too on a Monday or Wednesday afternoon.

But remember, hyping up the idea too much may disappoint your audience you don’t need to hype up to begin with, especially if your idea or blog post or YouTube mashup comes right the fuck out of nowhere. Some of my greatest successes came from unleashing an artwork on an unsuspecting public. I once made a performance artwork called Robert Van Winkle where I death metal growled Vanilla Ice’s stage name into a night vision camcorder for twenty minutes. Some of you guys may be baffled that this artwork exists. You may be shuddering in disbelief that it was even created by a human into reality you can see and touch.

Not many people know it exists but it’s certainly there on my Vimeo page. There’s a certain philosophy that you should aim to make something viral as soon as it hits the web, but if you have a backlog of completed artworks that a potential employer can look at as evidence of your credentials, your work will speak for itself and you don’t need to make everything social media viral as soon as your idea becomes real.

Your idea should be like a ninja that hides in the shadows and strikes your audience right the fuck outta nowhere. With your audience having no expectations of what they’re about to see, more honest and realistic reactions to your work can be had, and without overhyping your work has the freedom to exist on its own terms.

I’ve been reading a biography of Charles Bronson lately, and the tale of how such a media shy man became so successful is both informative and surprising. The tale of how I came across it despite it appearing seemingly out of nowhere is just as interesting, since at the precise moment that I thought to myself “What if there’s a Charles Bronson biography I haven’t heard about yet and what if it’s on Kindle?”. As it happened it turned out to not only be available, but for a price I could afford, so I ended up buying it and I have barely been able to put it down ever since.

If there’s a vacuum in a market that needs to be filled, the sort of thing people are looking for just might be the idea you’re selling them. Which is a bit like Charles Bronson himself, really, so I have read from this epic tome.

Charles Bronson worked in a coal mine for so long that his physical fitness made his military service a breeze and a holiday to him, his skills well earned and never boasted about much. He kept to himself and hated interviews, but his reclusive attitude allowed his true, sensitive offscreen personality to survive when most people only knew him as that guy in the Death Wish movies.

He didn’t see his acting as art, just a means out of poverty, and his shyness of the media allowed him to thrive as a parent to his kids and a painter in his private life. Bronson is a testament to how even in a media soaked marketplace, somebody can be themselves while being somebody completely different at work when needed.

Bronson didn’t sacrifice his true personality, and even in these social media soaked times neither should we. If an idea or product or artwork is to be loved by the public, allowing the public to make up their own minds about what they love about your work is useful to finding out what sells versus what you deliberately try to market as a hot item. If you have a big backlog of artworks and blog posts, suddenly posting an idea online will attract an audience who’s looking to buy what idea you ‘re selling, even if the idea is a free to access blog post like this one about a given topic.

Tell people about your idea if you notice somebody looking for the kind of ideas you’re posting and they’ll tell others without you forcing the idea down the wrong alley.

There’s a fine line between not promoting your ideas at all and going all out trying to make everything a viral meme, and I’ll admit I added a bunch of hashtags to promote the kind of post this is. What I’m talking about is if you’ve got a post that really means something, you let it sit there for a few weeks and don’t try and force it, if you pimp it at all, just look around for people asking for advice on Facebook or Twitter or internet forums about similar topics you’re talking about.

It’s a question of when to tell people about an idea you’ve already made, versus trying to pimp it as soon as it’s out of the gate. I don’t know how to make something an international sensation just yet, but I do know how to make things work for the intended audience it was originally made for, and after that I’ll share it around if I can or if people ask me about stuff I’ve worked on.

No approach works for everyone, but if Charles Bronson is any indication, the mysterious loner who suddenly emerges with some kind of idea has value still even if people think pimping the hell out of your idea straight away is the only way to succeed. I’m still learning how to grapple with the realities my generation was handed with social media as it is, but if you show the right people who regularly like the kind of ideas you post about your ideas that you like making, it can make a world of difference even if you share the ideas you thought were rubbish and people end up liking them.

Charles Bronson’s film career ended up a bit like that too. Make of that what you will.

May 15, 2012
A Test Of Character

So I just got linked to this article about Firefly, and since I haven’t seen the show I can only start to piece together why this show is so divisive. Me, I never grew up with Whedon, I grew up with Osamu Tezuka manga reprints and whatever Discworld books Angus and Robertson had when it was still open. Make of that what you will:

http://allecto.wordpress.com/2008/10/15/objects-in-space-black-masculinity-through-the-paradigm-of-whitemale-lust/

In all the discussions I see online about how mainstream media depicts gender, race, sexual orientation, whatever… because so many commenters are focused on defending themselves for being white males or females or non white or non straight… the goal of achieving discussions of real change everybody involved can take away and apply to their lives and works is somewhat lost in an argument over who is even allowed to discuss these ideas at all. When you discount a human of any stripe of providing what may be a well articulated point about something due to their minority or majority status, something’s really lost here. So when we see characters in media, why are we so focused, as a human species about who is feminist, who is sexist and who is allowed to write narrative fiction at all… instead of wondering what it is about the writing of characters who are characters rather than politically charged insults to whatever demographic the character supposedly depicts or doesn’t depict? I spent about two years trying to read posts online and Internet reviewer videos trying to discern how to write effective characters of all genders, and I noticed that the commentators who didn’t yell at their audiences for the crime of being one gender or race or not their gender or race or whatever… made me think far more about how I wrote characters than the bloggers who made worthy points but seemed really hostile to anybody who wasn’t already familiar with the idea being presented.

I’m so glad that female Internet critics like Lindsay Ellis and Sofie Liv can get their ideas out there about what makes effective characters that appeal to everybody to wide demographics beyond a boy or girl core audience.

A common misunderstanding about men watching these kinds of women based media review programs is that they’re “male feminists” who are trying to co-opt the small areas of discussion women have to discuss real problems and “silence” women, when really a lot of the time when I watch these programs, both me and other fans of these female Internet reviewers start to think less of these women as just pretty faces and start to pay attention to genuinely interesting ideas presented by women that give everybody involved to watch their show and take ideas seriously even while they laugh at satirical snark at nostalgic material.

That’s what makes me sad about discussions of media online. The feminism was never the problem with men listening to these arguments, the problem may have been as simple as “Hey, I like listening to these ideas but I’d like it if I didn’t feel as if I’m being yelled at for having a penis even though I’ve never even kissed a girl yet let alone contemplated raping anyone”.

Characters in fiction should really start from trying to create a character versus a strawman or woman to exposit some kind of political filibuster. To explain my point in how vast this problem in figuring out how to depict Africans in your narrative, it’s true that Morgan Freeman and the hero of Hotel Rwanda are great examples of black heroes, you still have to deal with the fact that Idi Amin from The Last King Of Scotland really existed, however loosely adapted from reality he was in that.

For every noble Bruce Lee there’s a heinous Mao Zedong, for every Machete who’s fighting for Mexico there’s still drug cartels that aren’t really representative of what the Mexican character is capable of in terms of achievements. These are historical, rather than outright blanket facts. Also note that in Mao Zedong’s example there is only one of Mao Zedong and millions of other Chinese who share his cultural race but not his supposed genetic evil you see in a lot of Godwin’s Law style arguments.

You can see why there’s a bit of a divide between history’s greatest monsters and people like Morgan Freeman and Bruce Lee. It’s often not that simple either. Often you get people who are just people. And I think regarding your characters as people with specific upbringings and backgrounds, genders… that’s a better approach to writing your characters than just blanket portraying all of them as insane maniacs hell bent on raping everything. See the movie City Of Life And Death for an example of modern Chinese cinema’s most recent great achievements, a Chinese director managed to give humanity back to what many Chinese would normally see as a two dimensional political enemy. And that’s the kind of storytelling that heals old wounds rather than re-opening them. It also has the honour of having a not-white guy save everybody instead of having a white guy in there by default so white people will watch it.

That’s not to say not everyone in the movie has to be not white. Especially when you’re dealing with that one German Nazi guy who considered in his witnessing the Rape of Nanjing that maybe Auschwitz was watered down compared to what he was in the middle of. That’s what’s great about historical adaptations done right.

If there wasn’t a Nazi guy turned rogue who tried to save Chinese people there in real history, it would be Quentin Tarantino level hack job storytelling. But history has this weird way of outdoing Tarantino every now and then in terms of absurdity.

What I’m essentially saying is this: great white hope movies like Driving Miss Daisy are kind of annoying to persons of colour because it involves the idea that the white guy saves everyone. But what if you have a situation where instead of Morgan Freeman driving around this rich old white lady, he is tasked to drive around this white, yet disabled in a wheelchair dude who is rejected by the other rich white guys as weak and useless even if his company’s inventions are helping him survive? What if Morgan Freeman and Guy With Wheelchair suddenly join forces against an ogliarchy driven capitalist system that hates them both, especially in the time a film like Driving Miss Daisy is set? Now your originally great white hope movie becomes a “two guys disadvantaged in different ways stand up to a system that is a dick to both of them for completely different reasons” movie. And I’d watch the shit outta that.

The most perfect example of a movie that features a white guy desperately trying to get the other white guys who are being a dick to an indigenous culture movie I can think of is Cannibal Holocaust. I’m not even kidding. Robert Kerman’s anthropology professor character not only works as the greatest advertisement for ethical social science I’ve ever seen, but he’s an entertaining character who doesn’t have to stand up against a vaguely orthodox system like in a cheap arse Robin Williams cliche movie. Nope.

In Cannibal Holocaust, the white professor dude is respected by the natives not because he’s white, but because he’s the only one in the jungle with his skin colour who remotely tried to empathise with trading and respecting these Amazon tribesmen after these racist fucktard film students raped and pillaged everything they held dear before poor Robert Kerman realises what a shitstorm he’s been drafted into trying to find what’s left of those imperialist shockumentary makers. He has to earn the respect of the villagers every step of the way, and we see this process of cultural exchange visually through the whole movie. This film is infamous for its animal cruelty but I’m sad to admit I love this movie for how it’s the first real portrayal of a white guy professor in the jungle movie that doesn’t end up feeling forced or not true to how people would really react. It is also the gold standard of inspirational teacher trying to reach “these kids” films in my personal regard.

It also shows you an example of how even if you do the whole “white guy first contact with outside tribespeople” plot, you don’t have to fuck it up and make it Pocahontas. You don’t even have to make it within the structure the MPAA typically allows either. You just have to make a good movie, with good characters, no matter what colour or gender they are.

April 25, 2012
The Geek Philosopher: So my last post didn't go so well

moritheil:

geekphilosopher:

And I’m not taking it down because I don’t believe in censoring an article that might have been well received had I not taken the approach of Vegeta from DragonBall Z in defeating the foes which seek to destroy our world. Bullet points, go:

1: My article wasn’t comparing men’s oppression by…

This is sort of the sinister, dark side to privilege theory (and why I get irritated any time says, “BUT YOU HAD A CHOICE TO DO X, we’re fighting for people who HAD NO CHOICE.”)

The thing about how it sucks to have conformity enforced on you?  That sucks for a broad swath of people.  No, it doesn’t suck for the few people who would have chosen to do exactly what the norm is anyway … but between “total, rigid cultural and sexual normativity” and “LGBTQ minority who is excluded by bigots for dozens of reasons” there is still “I don’t fit in and I’m being forced to conform.”

And if they, dear reader, do not have the basic human right to express their dismay about being forced to conform … why do the LGBTQ (or feminists, or other minorities)? Yes, their suffering is greater, but the point is that everyone has the right to express this frustration with being made to conform - not that by virtue of suffering (as if suffering needlessly is something we want to promote) some people get to complain and others don’t.  The point of the Stonewall Riots is, ideally, that there need not be further Stonewall Riots.

Or do we live in a world where “our voice must be heard” implies “everybody else shut the hell up”?

I wanted to start a discussion about this stuff in a language everybody could understand because I hope the approach of “What do I have to gain from being a dick? Not much really.” speaks to people so that they consider how little people benefit from discrimination and injustice, even if it seems like it sells well these days. It’s actually more expensive to oppress people than you might think, and changing value systems so each human has worth to their society so you don’t have to get everyone angry at a “ruling class” so people think regicide = change, you get better results because people feel they matter instead of being hated by bigots AND their world leaders.

April 25, 2012
The Geek Philosopher: So my last post didn't go so well

moritheil:

geekphilosopher:

And I’m not taking it down because I don’t believe in censoring an article that might have been well received had I not taken the approach of Vegeta from DragonBall Z in defeating the foes which seek to destroy our world. Bullet points, go:

1: My article wasn’t comparing men’s oppression by…

This is sort of the sinister, dark side to privilege theory (and why I get irritated any time says, “BUT YOU HAD A CHOICE TO DO X, we’re fighting for people who HAD NO CHOICE.”)

The thing about how it sucks to have conformity enforced on you?  That sucks for a broad swath of people.  No, it doesn’t suck for the few people who would have chosen to do exactly what the norm is anyway … but between “total, rigid cultural and sexual normativity” and “LGBTQ minority who is excluded by bigots for dozens of reasons” there is still “I don’t fit in and I’m being forced to conform.”

And if they, dear reader, do not have the basic human right to express their dismay about being forced to conform … why do the LGBTQ (or feminists, or other minorities)? Yes, their suffering is greater, but the point is that everyone has the right to express this frustration with being made to conform - not that by virtue of suffering (as if suffering needlessly is something we want to promote) some people get to complain and others don’t.  The point of the Stonewall Riots is, ideally, that there need not be further Stonewall Riots.

Or do we live in a world where “our voice must be heard” implies “everybody else shut the hell up”?

I wanted to start a discussion about this stuff in a language everybody could understand because I hope the approach of “What do I have to gain from being a dick? Not much really.” speaks to people so that they consider how little people benefit from discrimination and injustice, even if it seems like it sells well these days. It’s actually more expensive to oppress people than you might think, and changing value systems so each human has worth to their society so you don’t have to get everyone angry at a “ruling class” so people think regicide = change, you get better results because people feel they matter instead of being hated by bigots AND their world leaders.

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