Alphas Rewatch: Episode 1

Series: Alphas Rewatch

Spoilers: Alphas season 1, episode 1

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Image Description: Poster divided into six pictures, each a close up of one character’s face. All seem active and engaged in something, and only Nina is looking directly at the camera. Top left is Cameron Hicks (Warren Christie), a white man in his thirties. Top center: Nina Theroux (Laura Menell), a (white?) woman of a similar age. Top right is Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn), an older white man. Bottom left shows Rachel Pirzad (Azita Ghanizada),a young woman of Middle Eastern descent, bottom center Bill Harken (Malik Yoba), a middle aged black man. In the bottom right is Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright), a young white man. Below the pictures is the name of the show, “Alphas”, and the tagline “Super, but human.”
(picture from IMDB.com)

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Dear Doctor Who Writers: You’ve Got Some Work to Do

Warning: Discussion of ableism, use of some ableist words (quoted for purposes of clarity)
Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for the first three episodes of Doctor Who season 9, as well as the title of the fourth.

First off, I really enjoyed Doctor Who’s two part season opener–mostly.

That said, there were some things that really bothered me. Some were continuations of behaviors from season eight, others were escalations which took things far beyond what I was expecting, to the point that I actually managed to block them from my memory until someone else’s comment reminded me of them.

Now get ready, because spoilers are coming.

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Blogging Against Disablism Day: Doctor Who and Disability

Spoilers: Spoilers for some events and characters through Series Four of the rebooted Doctor Who. No significant spoilers after that.

Warnings: This review discusses ableism and references certain events during the Holocaust.

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Image Description: Alan Judd as Dortman, a freedom fighter in the First Doctor serial “The Dalek Invasion of the Earth”. He is one of the few physically disabled characters in the series.

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Things That Aren’t Actually Satire (And Why it Maybe Doesn’t Matter, Anyway)

I have always been a fan of satire. For quite a while in high school Gulliver’s Travels was one of my favorite books, despite the horrid third section that people sometimes pretend doesn’t exist (this may be because the first time I read it all the way through I was reading Asimov’s annotation, and the fact that he spent most of that section making snarky comments in the margins made the whole thing much more bearable). I also grew up watching Dinosaurs, a television show from the nineties that I only recently realized is actually a fantastic example of modern satire.

There is a trend, however, whether recent or not I don’t know, for people to make offensive jokes and perpetuate stereotypes under the guise of being satirical. There are a few problems with this.

First, what they are doing is often not actually satire.

Second, if it is satire, then that doesn’t make it less offensive or harmful. Satire is used as a criticism; if what you are criticizing is marginalized groups, it can still technically be satire, but that doesn’t make your criticism valid. Calling your hatred satire also doesn’t make it criticism. If you are targeting marginalized groups, calling your hate (or your hate-infused “criticism”) “satire” doesn’t make you anti-establishment or anti-majority (and of course, you can be anti-establishment without being particularly progressive). South Park is maybe one of the strongest examples of “satire” being used to excuse bigotry, in my opinion. A recent episode targeted trans individuals. I will admit I did not watch it, but I do know that it resulted in a lot of anxiety and an increase in bullying for some trans people I know.

Similarly, people will often excuse slurs and other types of speech attacking marginalized groups with phrases like “not bowing to political correctness”. The idea is the same: that somehow they are the ones defying oppressors, that they are being somehow fresh and progressive by regurgitating the same hate speech that people have heard a thousand times before. That they are opposing an oppressive status quo, when in fact they are supporting the oppressive systems that are in place. But the part in Gulliver’s Travels where Gulliver visits Japan isn’t magically better because Swift was writing a satire, and no matter how many times you say that you are being satirical or fighting censorship, your bigotry is still bigotry, and it is still hurting people. If you want an example of this phenomenon, go read just about any comments section–it’ll come up eventually. Over, and over, and over again.

Satire is a useful tool for political and societal criticism. But it is only satire if it is actually criticizing something, and being criticism does not somehow protect something from being wrong or offensive.

So, with all of this in mind, on December 8th I will be posting “Things that Are Actually Satire: Dinosaurs”.

 

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

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Disability in Animation: My Little Pony

Series: Disability in Children’s Animation Spoiler Warnings: In this post, I’ll be looking at the fourth season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, specifically at the following episodes:

  • S.4 Ep 5: Flight to the Finish
  • S.4 Ep 18: Trade Ya
  • S.4 Ep 22: Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Trigger Warnings: None I can think of

I am a big fan of MLP: FiM. I haven’t watched much of the old series–I believe it missed me by a few years–but I have become a huge fan of Friendship is Magic. In general, I’m really happy with the kind of messages they send, and I find the character growth very impressive. Also, a lot of the music is very catchy. Sometimes annoyingly catchy.

Watching My Little Pony, I see a show that I wish had been around when I was little, and that I am glad is around for kids like me now. And that’s pretty much my metric for a good kids’ show, to be honest.

For those of you that aren’t aware of the latest iteration of My Little Pony, here’s a quick explanation: Continue reading