by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou What is his name?!? There is too much to…
by Carmen Van Kerckhove Check out this great Boston Globe article about bloggers of color…
by guest contributor Manish, originally published at Ultrabrown
In Blade Runner: The Final Cut, the 25th anniversary edition of that seminal film, little-known indie director Ridley Scott (A Good Year, Black Rain) uses yellow panic to convey a dystopian future. Impenetrable Chinese and kanji ideographs and Arabic vocals from the Brian Eno track ‘Quran’ signify a future where Earth is crumbling, most have moved off-world, and the seedy neighborhoods left behind are non-European. In Blade Runner, white flight means leaving for the sub-orbs.
In one scene, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) chases a replicant down a crowded street, pushing his way through a group of Hare Krishnas. The world may be run by spinners, androids, implants and megacorps, but like cockroaches, Krishnas and Chinese noodles survive. Make way, make way; Deckard locates and blasts Joanna Cassidy, in a scene reshot with the aging actress specifically for the final cut.
Deckard later tracks down a clue, decorative scales from an artificial snake. The music switches to tabla and desi vocals as he shakes down the Muslim proprietor. Paul Oakenfold sampled other parts of the soundtrack in ‘Goa Mix’ (’94). Artless though it is, Blade Runner’s multiculti melange is even today far ahead of ultrawhite sci-fi/fantasy films like E.T. (which crushed Blade Runner on their head-to-head opening weekend), Star Wars, and the modern-day Lord of the Rings. The only sci-fi films I’ve seen recently which were as multiculti were Serenity and Sunshine.
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Blade Runner has held up remarkably well over time. It’s still gripping and panoramic and ambitious in a way not often attempted in sci-fi these days. Its atmospherics were remarkable. It was the Half-Life 2 of its time in terms of immersive, spooky audio and visuals; today, PC games are the new Blade Runner. The film’s models look great, non-CGI-fakey. With physical models, getting the lighting and physics right is pretty much automatic.
Later movies freely pinched from key scenes in Blade Runner. Silas in The Da Vinci Code was ripped from Rutger Hauer’s white-haired Jesus figure, complete with crucifixion reference. Daryl Hannah’s leotarded replicant crushes Ford’s neck between her thighs. The scene was gleefully echoed by Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye.
The ghostly, omnipresent advertising blimp showed up later as the floating zeppelin in Æon Flux. Hide-and-seek with living toys and assassins with calling cards have become fright flick staples. ‘Time to die,’ uttered twice in different contexts, is now a survival horror catchphrase. Blade Runner’s even got its very own ‘Han shot first‘ fanböi squabble, the unicorn scene. Read the Post ‘Blade Runner’ and race
by guest contributor Seattle Slim, originally published at Happy Nappy Head This is the cover…
by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou Yes. It finally happened. Hiro Nakamura got some action…
by Racialicious guest contributor Elton
One consequence of the sheer number of separate storylines in Heroes is that it feels as if the story is only being advanced a fraction of an inch each week. It’s becoming impossible to squeeze the entire cast into each episode. Last week, Hiro was absent for the first time, and this week was Claire’s first duck out of the spotlight. There’s nothing wrong with omitting a few main cast members from a few episodes now and then, but the show still feels disjointed. Yes, everything that happens in Heroes is connected (eventually). Last season, many of the Heroes were more or less united in a mission from Future Hiro: “Save the cheerleader, save the world”. And they did – in a spectacular battle at the end of Season 1, the “good guys” united to prevent “the bomb” from destroying New York City, and villains Linderman and Sylar were (apparently) killed by DL and Hiro, respectively.
One might hope that the Heroes, finally being in the same place at the same time, would at least Facebook friend each other. Alas, Season 2 began with a reshuffling of the deck and they each went their separate ways, even more distant than before. DL is dead, Niki, upon finally getting their son Micah back, has decided to leave him behind once again, Hiro and Ando are separated by hundreds of years, and Nathan and Peter have no idea where the other is.
Well, not everyone is dazed and confused – a few of the Heroes (Noah Bennet, Mohinder Suresh, Matt Parkman, Molly Walker, Nathan Petrelli, and The Haitian) have formed a sort of confederacy in order to investigate and destroy The Company, an organization apparently founded by a mysterious group of 12 people from the previous generation of Heroes in order to find and control people with special abilities. So perhaps that will be this season’s uniting mission: take down The Company.
But another consequence of there being so many separate stories to tell is that no single character’s story is being developed thoroughly. This may result in characters of color being presented as stereotypes. As David mentioned last week, now that Issac is dead, Maya and Alejandro are left to represent Latinos, and it doesn’t help that they’re on the run from the police and trying to enter America illegally.
Then there’s the issue of Hiro Nakamura. He seems to fit the nerdy foreigner stereotype to a tee. And now that he’s running around trying to serve his hero Takezo Kensei, who happens to be a white Englishman trying to find his fortune in feudal Japan by “fighting dirty” and exploiting the natives, the image of Hiro as a subservient and cowardly Asian male stereotype might be complete. He’s even letting Kensei take credit for his bravery in battle and steal the heart of his love interest, Yaeko!
But I think it’s possible to fight stereotypes even in Hiro’s situation. One response to the Asian nerd stereotype has been to counter with guys like the Yul Kwons and Daniel Dae Kims of the world, and show that Asian men can be tall, strong, and sexy, too. However, I think that Hiro represents a different way to subvert the stereotype. A lot of Asian-American guys identify more with Peter Parker than James Bond. It’s true that many of us are short, wear glasses, and love comic books. Instead of denying this fact, Hiro seems to be saying, “So what?” He’s always been the Hero who most completely embraces his powers, no matter what. While other Heroes are ashamed of their powers, or using them for ill gain, Hiro goes on and on about how important it is to protect the weak and fight for justice. Let’s not forget how he won the heart of the beautiful Texan waitress, Charlie. Tragically, she was killed by Sylar before they even kissed, but instead of despairing, Hiro became even more resolute in his mission. He represents a different kind of masculinity that transcends stereotypes in its own way, with intelligence, sensitivity, and conviction. While Hiro may geek out about his powers from time to time, he’s also courageous, determined, and loyal. He can also be a badass – he did stab Sylar, and at some point in the future he will speak fluent English, wear a soul patch and ponytail, and carry Kensei’s sword as his own. So let’s not worry too much about him. Read the Post Heroes recap of episode 205: Fight or Flight
by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou
The introduction this season of new characters of color has become increasingly of interest in the discussion about race on Heroes. In this Monday’s episode, we have learned more about the Honduran siblings trying to immigrate illegally into the States. As strikingly, we see in this episode for the first time a family of hurricane survivors in New Orleans. All of these characters continue to carry the burdens of expectation and typecasting in their roles. Here is just a taste of this week’s racial undertones.
Siblings Alejandro and Maya are still trying to escape the apparent lawlessness of Central America-slash-Mexico, as portrayed oh-so-accurately with palm trees, sand, and run-down neighborhoods. Throughout much of the hour, the siblings drive up to the border in a very standout, product-placed Nissan Rogue, intended to be visually discordant against the backdrop of the depicted third-world. As they drive, they meet a stranger (the baddest villain of last season, but that’s not important here). Maya translates as Alejandro warns her in Spanish.
When we talk about stereotypes on television, all accusations can be legitimate if there are no other characters to defy the claims portrayed. Here, Maya and Alejandro are the only Hispanic characters on the show, (the one last season suffered a bad heroin addiction and was killed off) and, hence, qualities embedded in their characters can become statements about entire groups of people. So in this episode, some things were clear: Maya’s constant references to God and miracles, presumably as a Catholic and their constant struggle to illegally cross the border into the States… well, what does that say about Hispanics?
There were many questionable parts to this episode other than this ride through Mexico. We see for the first time this week a family in post-Katrina New Orleans, relatives with whom a mixed-race child named Micah from last season is staying. As the child adapts to his evidently strange, new cultural surroundings, he has to put up with a hostile boy who splashes water on his face and mocks him for his different, “whiter” accent. Along with the du-rag-wearing criminal that attempts to rob a store at the end of the episode, it’s hard to miss the obvious stereotypes of confrontational black males. Read the Post Heroes recap of episode 204: The Kindness of Strangers