Announcements

Unfortunately due to health things packing has taken longer than I thought, so the Lucy review will be my last post before I go on hiatus.

Feel free to send me suggestions of things to talk about at eliora.smith@gmail.com.

I will update with an official return date, but when I return (most likely early October), you can expect, I hope, a minimum of one post a week.

During the hiatus I will be getting settled in at school and putting together a backlog of posts to try to ensure steady posting when I get back.

Some of the things I plan to write about:

  • Doctor Who and its history
  • Jewish children’s and YA books
  • Adventure Time
  • My Little Pony
  • Steven Universe
  • Octavia Butler (in particular, her short stories)
  • In October, I will be talking about horror movies and their use of mental illness

One final note: It is possible that some of these plans will change once I actually get back to school and figure out how I need to schedule things in order to maintain my grades and health. Some of the classes I am taking this semester are very time intensive (modern physics), and I will not know exactly how much time I have until things have gotten started. There could also be unexpected hiatuses, because my priority will be my health and my schoolwork, in that order.

Lucy Review

Spoiler Warning: Lucy

Trigger Warning: Discussion of fictional racialized violence. I would add a pretty huge consent and body autonomy tw, too, if you watch the movie. I talk about it some here, but don’t go into much detail.

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Image: Lucy poster, from IMDB.com

When Lucy was first announced and the trailers started coming out, I heard a lot of different opinions from people. Some people were excited, even saw the fact that the protagonist is female, rather than male, as a wonderful move for feminism. Some were decrying it for racism. Some were just excited about Scarlet Johansen and the fact that this could lead to a Black Widow movie from Marvel.

And some pointed out that the movie has exactly zero basis in actual science.

As the release date drew near, I had to make a decision: should I go see it in theaters, and give money to a movie that I was pretty sure would be racist, in order to talk about its content, or should I avoid it. I decided to go for the first option, so that I could either recommend the movie or not.

I have a lot of things to say, but let me sum them up:

I didn’t like it. I can see how it would be a fun popcorn movie, but between the racism, sexism, and crappy science, I didn’t really enjoy it. It had a few entertaining lines, and some very pretty scenes, but to be honest I found the whole movie pretty terrible–even without the problematic content.

More depth (and spoilers) below:

Continue reading

On Ferguson

I have spent the last three days watching social media and mainstream media talk about Ferguson. Recently reports have surfaced that Mike Brown may have been responsible for a robbery, although it seems that the police officer who shot him did not know this.

Because I am not black, I should be deferring to black people on this tragedy and the racial issues surrounding it. I am trying to do that, and there are many things that have been written by black people about this, many of them very good.

I have a few things that I really want to say however, and I am going to say them.

This is no longer just about Mike Brown.

I do not mean to minimize the tragedy of his death or suggest that it is irrelevant or that justice should not be sought. I also do not mean that the police brutality that occurred was not racially based; it most certainly was.

What I mean is this:

The circumstances of Mike Brown’s death are no longer the only issue here. Even if everything the Ferguson Police Department was saying about him was true, and he attacked the cops and took their guns–and I do not believe that it is–that does not excuse what followed. Neither do the riots that apparently occurred early on.

Peaceful protesters, acting off of what they knew, were shot and teargassed by police using military grade equipment. The lack of information from mainstream media that these protesters and those of us outside Ferguson had was due to Ferguson police department shutting out the media. They assaulted reporters. They shot a pastor while she was praying.

There are no circumstances which can excuse what was done.

I realize that I am not providing sources in this post. To be honest, I am too tired. I have been watching this all week and I do not have the mental energy to go back through everything I reblogged, but my previous post does contain some good information.

I apologize if I have stepped over the line as an ally with this post. I have tried to keep the focus off of myself as a non-black person and to follow the sentiments and tone I have seen from many black people. Let me close with this:

Do not let this die. Examine the media and how it reported this. Why is the reaction of the media to focus on assassinating the character of the victim? Why do we worry more about this victim’s character than the circumstances of his death? (You know why.)

And do not forget that this has grown far beyond that now. Do not forget Ferguson. Do not stop fighting. 

Remember that when one person is killed, we are all diminished. That injustice effects us all. That actions like this that infringe upon basic rights like free speech will not stop with black people. Remember also, however, that white people are not the ones who will suffer for any violence we commit. Be careful in how you address these things, because if white people make them violent, black people will suffer.

Short List of Ferguson Links

There are unconscionable things happening in Ferguson, Mo. right now. These are the same things that happened fifty years ago, and they are happening right now, here in the US, and you need to pay attention.

The media is, for the most part, not reporting on it, and reporters are being blocked. It is a no fly zone, so no news helicopters–but there is, apparently, a helicopter spreading tear gas.

Reddit’s live feed

Livestream

LA Times

Ferguson Hashtag on Twitter

Some information on tear gas first aid

Someone with a much better list than me

Another twitter feed

I will try to add more links later.

A note on mental health:

These things are very important, but of you have the luxury if turning off your computer and not looking at them, and that is something that you need to do, do not feel bad about doing it. The world does not need more pain right now, and it certainly doesn’t need more death, so if you’re mental health and safety are at risk from hearing and reading about this, take care of yourself.

Some Relevant Quotes:

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

-Elie Wiesel

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

-Elie Wiesel

Representation in Orange is the New Black

It’s likely that you’ve heard of Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original show which recently put up its second season. There are some exciting storytelling possibilities with shows like this, which I may look at in the future, but for now let’s look at the diversity in this particular show, because diversity is one of the things which makes it so popular.

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Image: Orange is the New Black poster

Continue reading

Recommendation: Zero

One of the great things about the internet is that it makes it possible for people to share short films with a much wider audience than they would otherwise. Zero is one example of this.

Zero is a beautiful short film about discrimination (particularly race-based discrimination, although I also read ableism), in which the characters are adorable yarn dolls. Has a yarn doll ever made you cry? No?

Well, here’s your opportunity.

The animation is really lovely, and the message, while not subtle, is meaningful. And, while very sad, it ends hopefully. It’s 12 minutes of your time, and it’s definitely worth it.