While not placing it in the pantheon of truly great television, I’ve been a fan of Game of Thrones since the show debuted in 2011. I normally like my drama pessimistic, with a hard edge, and even downright cruel on occasion. I like even more that a show in the fantasy realm cares as much about its tonal execution, as it does costumes and wacky names.
And yet, I’ve never been able to relax in the presence of the programme, never allowed myself to be fully swept up in the world of Westeros. The reason why? This is best encapsulated by the conclusion of Season 3 – which Sky were so helpful to remind us of during their promotion for the upcoming Season 4.
The character of Daenerys Targaryen is emblematic of “Game of Thrones” continuous problem with race. Beyond the emetic “white saviour“ scene to close Season 3, we are first introduced to her during a forced marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki people (who are non-white). At the wedding, the Dothraki are painted as little more than savages, with the men literally killing each other to force themselves on the women; hypersexual and hyperviolent, two big racist boxes are ticked.
– From “Daenerys Targaryen Is Back To ‘Save The Coloureds’ Tour De #GameOfThrones 2014,” by Shane Thomas
By Arturo R. García
So after watching the trailer a couple of times Wednesday night, I came away feeling not totally worried about the forthcoming Annie remake. Quvenzhané Wallis looks like she’ll inhabit the title role more than capably — showing her ask “What’s the hustle?” was a nice touch to include this early — and Jamie Foxx (as Michael Bloomberg stand-in Benjamin Stacks) and Rose Byrne (as his girl Friday, uh, Grace) came off well in this trailer.
Cameron Diaz’s take on Miss Hannigan, here reimagined as a foster mother for Annie and her friends, looks less steady, shading further toward Carrie Bradshaw than Carol Burnett. The film’s IMDB page also reveals another potential setback for the character: there’s no listing for Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan, depriving Diaz’s Hannigan — at least thus far — of someone with whom to banter beyond Annie and Stacks. The music and choreography, from the brief glimpses we get in this trailer, don’t look bad.
The story also looks like a simplified version of the original, which you can either take or leave, considering that the 1982 vehicle featured “Bolsheviks,” assassination attempts, bodyguards named “Punjab” and “The Asp,” and Daddy Warbucks hanging around with Franklin D. Roosevelt. And while sites like ScreenRant and Jezebel also liked the trailer, it’s a long jump from a good two-minute clipshow to a coherent final product. (Remember, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen had a pretty well-liked trailer, and … well.)
In other words, there’s plenty of good discussion to be had about this movie; for starters, you might be surprised to see Emma Thompson — yes, that Emma Thompson — is one of the three writers. (In truth, it’s her 13th writing effort.)
But as you might imagine, some Internet Racists just couldn’t stop themselves from catching feelings. So, for anybody wondering why our comments policy is tight, we picked some real “winners” to show you under the cut.
Editor’s Note: Sometimes, it’s a good thing to give people room to express their own pop-culture crushes. So, I’m going to give the floor this Friday to guest contributor Crunkista, who has a postful of love for the iconic Wonder Woman. –AP
By Guest Contributor Crunkista, cross-posted from Crunk Feminist Collective
Dear privileged Hollywood women,
We need you. It’s time. You can no longer remain silent. You must act. You must step up. White men alone cannot decide the fate of the Wonder Woman movie.
As I write this, I understand the sad truth that many people (ie too many of our young) today do not know Wonder Woman: her power, strength, ideals or her significance to women’s empowerment and history. So, strap up. I’m about to blow you away with some knowledge.
In 1941, a psychologist named William Moulton Marston began writing comic books under a pseudonym. Marston, a respected Harvard-trained lawyer and Ph.D. was one of the few men of his era that believed in the untapped potential of comic books to teach children right from wrong and elicit positive change. He asked, “If children will read comics, why isn’t it advisable to give them some constructive comics to read?”[i] Marston, known as a flamboyant opportunist/marketing guru, also had very controversial beliefs about human psychology and was utterly obsessed with the ability to determine when a subject was not telling the truth. He was convinced that one could test for deception by studying subject’s physiological reactions (primarily changes in blood pressure) and is credited with the invention of one of the first lie detector tests.
Along with this obsession for the truth, Marston loved Greek mythology and believed in women’s overall higher moral compass. He alleged that women were innately “less susceptible than men to the negative traits of aggression and acquisitiveness, and could come to control the comparatively unruly male sex by alluring them.”[ii] This controversial ‘girls run the world’ prediction was very much ahead of his time. In a 1937 interview with The New York Times he claimed –
“The next one hundred years will see the beginning of an American matriarchy–a nation of Amazons in the psychological rather than physical sense,” adding that, “women would take over the rule of the country, politically and economically.”[iii]
Marston, a complicated man, was very much interested in bondage and the relationship between dominance and submission. He believed that the fairer sex would basically be able to control men through sexual governance. In his wildly sexist and heterosexist worldview, the world would be a better place if women ran it — mostly through the use of their sexuality of course. Sexually satisfied men would then happily submit to women’s power and we would all live in peace. (Side note: I don’t really hang with many white men, but this one definitely would have been invited to some of my parties. Did I mention he was poly? In 1941?)
By Andrea Plaid
The Feminist Wire, helmed by the ever-fierce Tamura Lomax, is fast becoming the go-to joint for some incredible posts on feminism from newest generation of academics-cum-public thinkers–and I’m not just saying that because I’m part of its editorial collective.
This week is one of the reasons why: they’re running a weeklong forum on race, racism, and anti-racism within feminism. Like, check out this post from Dr. Duchess Harris on what’s at stake for straight Black women when we embrace motherhood and feminism:
In 1895, Wells married Ferdinand L. Barnett. She set an early precedent as one of the first married American women to keep her own last name along with her husband’s. The couple had four children: Charles, Herman, Ida, and Alfreda. In her autobiography, A Divided Duty, Wells-Barnett describes the difficulty she had splitting her time between her family and her work. She continued to work after the birth of her first child, traveling and bringing the infant Charles with her. Instead of supporting her, Susan B. Anthony said she seemed “distracted.”
Like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, my experience as a Black woman in the academy has been that my choice to be committed to supporting my Black husband and raising Black children has been interpreted as a “divided duty,” more than 100 years after Wells-Barnett blazed the trail. I entered the tenure-track 15 years ago when I was five months pregnant. I have taken three parental leaves, which were all met with resentment. This is not unusual, but what I am confident of is that if I had chosen to stay home, I would have faced as much hostility, if not more. America is comfortable with Black women raising white children (TheHelp, To Kill A Mockingbird, Clara’s Heart, I’ll Fly Away…need I go on?), but the minute we try to take care of our own, we’re reduced to “letting down the team,” which is what white feminist Linda Hirshman is claiming about Lady “O.” I’m confused. Just because I have five letters behind my name (Ph.D. and JD) and a substantive career does not mean I am, ever have been, or ever will be on their team.
Why? Because I am raising a daughter the same age as Quvenzhané Wallis, and it’s not the same as raising Dakota Fanning. After receiving an Oscar nomination for her role in Beastsof the Southern Wild, Wallis, the youngest Best Actress nominee ever, landed the leading role in Sony Pictures/Overbrook Entertainment’s upcoming Annie. Despite this, as many people know, The Onion degraded her childhood by calling her a “cunt.” This is where there is a divide between white Moms and “Mocha Moms.” Leslie Morgan Steiner is not raising Quvenzhané, but we are.
I highly recommend going over to the Feminist Wire for more thought-provoking goodness, and check out what else is good on the R’s Tumblr!
- Beck To Review Ex-LAPD Officers’ Wrongful Termination Claims After Reopening Of Dorner Case (KPCC-FM)
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Tuesday pledged to review disciplinary cases of fired cops who believe they’ve been wrongfully terminated, so long as their claims “appear to have substance.”
The pledge was inspired by at least six ex-LAPD officers who asked the officer’s union to urge the chief to relook at their cases in wake of his reopening accused murderer Christopher Dorner’s case.
Dorner blamed the LAPD for ruining his life after the department fired him in 2008 for falsely accusing a superior officer of misconduct. In a now-famous online manifesto, Dorner said he was treated unfairly during LAPD’s disciplinary process. He later allegedly murdered Monica Quan, the daughter of the attorney who represented him during the process, as well as her fiance, Keith Lawrence in Irvine.
After Dorner’s death during a standoff with San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies in a mountain cabin, Beck pledged to continue his review of Dorner’s case, hoping to prove that the system is fair.
- Black Girls Deserve So Much More (The Hotness)
The thing is I feel like Black women spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook & Twitter rebuffing ignorant acts of racism & sexism. I’ve grown weary of venting and posting and retweeting dumbasses to put them on blast. It’s time to take a different approach. I feel like action is necessary for me to survive in a society that cares less and less about me. I mean who in their right mind could call a child such a heinous and monstrously dehumanizing, not to mention sexualized word? Who!
The Onion has since apologized, but believe me that is not enough! The time has come for us to stop getting mad and get smart. This kind of anger rooted in smarts and strategy is rooted in Audre Lorde’s fantastic essay: “Uses of Anger.” Before social media I wrote letters, made phone calls and would fax the press & politicians. Recently I was reminded of the potency found in that agency by fellow writer dream hampton who went to DC to do this. Tweets are cool and they are effective to a certain extent, but it seems if we want more than an apology (and we do) it’s time to start writing letters again. It’s time to call folks out, point fingers and make a ruckus and that especially goes for women who may look like us.
So it broke my heart when I saw The Onion’s “joke” calling Quvenzhané Wallis one of the most hateful words you can call a girl or a woman in the English language. On top of being sad and appalled for Wallis and her family, I also couldn’t help but think of my daughter and the inevitable day that she will hear that word directed at her for the first time.
I obviously don’t speak for everyone, but it’s safe to say that I’m not the only black person who feels a particular affection for Wallis. She’s charmed many with her lively and precocious personality. For black audiences specifically, there’s a sense of connection and identification with her, even feeling protective towards her. People baffled by the vehemence of the reactions to The Onion’s tweet perhaps don’t get this context, or the particular implications of the slur for young black girls. For many, seeing Quvenzhané Wallis succeed and thrive in an industry that is especially hostile to women of color is deeply personal.
We all get that this was meant as a joke, that the writer doesn’t actually revile Quvenzhané Wallis. I can see thatthe intent was perhaps to send a message about the vicious scrutiny of girls and women in the public eye. What he or she (let’s be real, probably a he) was really thinking, however, is entirely beside the point. What they did was call a girl a gendered and sexualized slur. What they did was send the message, yet again, that girls and women are open game when it comes to sexual jokes and jokes about our bodies, and that it’s extra funny if the target is a very young girl.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The next link carries a TRIGGER WARNING
- Rape On The Reservation (The New York Times)
TWO Republicans running for Congressional seats last year offered opinions on “legitimate rape” or God-approved conceptions during rape, tainting their party with misogyny. Their candidacies tanked. Words matter.
Having lost the votes of many women, Republicans now have the chance to recover some trust. The Senate last week voted resoundingly to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law that recognized crimes like rape, domestic abuse and stalking as matters of human rights.
But House Republicans, who are scheduled to take up the bill today and vote on it Thursday, have objected to provisions that would enhance protections for American Indians, undocumented immigrants and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, among other vulnerable populations.
Here in Minneapolis, a growing number of Native American women wear red shawls to powwows to honor survivors of sexual violence. The shawls, a traditional symbol of nurturing, flow toward the earth. The women seem cloaked in blood. People hush. Everyone rises, not only in respect, for we are jolted into personal memories and griefs. Men and children hold hands, acknowledging the outward spiral of the violations women suffer.
By Andrea Plaid
After Hollywood and the press unapologetically–and The Onion apologetically–showed their asses to actor Quvenzhané Wallis on her big night at the Oscars, even more people showed their love and support for the young one. PostBourgie’s Brokey McPoverty says this about Hollywood’s refusal to even pronounce Wallis’ name:
Refusing to learn how to pronounce Quvenzhané’s name says, pointedly, you are not worth the effort. The problem is not that she has an unpronounceable name, because she doesn’t. The problem is that white Hollywood, from Ryan Seacrest and his homies to the AP reporter who decided to call her “Annie” rather than her real name, doesn’t deem her as important as, say, Renee Zellwegger, or Zach Galifinakis, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, all of whom have names that are difficult to pronounce–but they manage. The message sent is this: you, young, black, female child, are not worth the time and energy it will take me to learn to spell and pronounce your name. You will be who and what I want you to be; you be be who and what makes me more comfortable. I will allow you to exist and acknowledge that existence, but only on my terms.
By Arturo R. García
We are not running The Onion’s tweet involving the misogynist slur about Quvenzhané Wallis here. Because she’s a nine-year-old girl and we’re not reprinting that language. (A screencap of the tweet can be found here.)
But for many fans and supporters of the Best Actress nominee, Sunday’s Academy Awards turned into a horror show.
Update: The Onion has posted an apology for its actions Sunday night. A transcript is available under the cut.
by Arturo Garcia and Joseph Lamour
(Note: NSFW language in the clip above)
R.I.P. Robert F. Chew: Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of Mr. Chew, best known for playing Proposition Joe on The Wire. But in the wake of his passing, his work off-camera training young actors in Baltimore is also coming to light:
Born in Baltimore, Mr. Chew graduated from Patterson High School and attended Morgan State University where he sang in the school’s world-renown choir. He was working full time in Baltimore area theater since the early 1980s. He continued to teach in the Arena Players Youth Theatre after “The Wire” ended production here in 2007.
“He was a triple threat,” said Catherine Orange, director of Baltimore’s Arena Players youth theater. “He could act, he could dance and he could sing. He was an extraordinary teacher and director for us. He believed in our kids and was a task master.”
In 2006, Mr. Chew helped 22 of his students land parts in Simon’s landmark series.
“Whenever I had to dig deep and find kids who not only had the talent but the reality and the belief, kids who didn’t look like the ones in a Jell-O commercial, I called Robert,” Moran said Friday.
Also recommended is Kevin Van Valkenburg’s tribute to Chew:
He was a teacher who worked really hard to give kids growing up in the inner city exposure to the arts, which no an easy task, especially when you consider that art is always first on the chopping block when people criticize the school system and insist we need to trim the budget to get rid of “waste.”