Saturday, March 12, 2011

Charlie Sheen's managers are two of the producers of the Saw films

I'm sorry, I'm sure this makes me a bad person, but the truth is I'm enjoying the Sheen meltdown just so much more since I realized that. Now it makes sense. This whole thing is just karmic payback for Saw 3D sucking so bad and so loud.

Especially since one of the manager/producers in question is the one generally blamed by obssessive fans like me for killing the series-rightly or wrongly; I don't want to get into that and you don't want me to either.

(That manager is also the one about whom Sheen allegedly made anti-semitic comments. Which I in no way condone, of course. Fucking up my most-loved recent film franchise is one thing, but I see no reason to bring a man's ancestry or culture into it).

Friday, March 11, 2011

So it's come to this


Oh, fuck

Robert Reich on why Barack Obama is going to lose the election in 2012:

Shortly after the Democrats' "shellacking" last November, I phoned a friend in the White House who had served in the Clinton administration. "It's 1994 all over again," he said. "Now we move to the center."

As someone mentions in the comments on HuffPo: That's great--as long as he remembers that "the center" is somewhere to the left of where he is now.

...many in the Obama White House have concluded that the president should follow Clinton's campaign script -- distancing himself from congressional Democrats, embracing further deficit reduction, and seeking guidance from big business. If it worked for Clinton, it must work for Obama -- or so it's supposed.

If you remember, this is exactly what I was afraid of.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Say, in case you've been wondering what Keith Olbermann thinks about the doings in Wisconsin...

...when you accomplish all this by parliamentary trick – after your national party has spent two years and more decrying Congressional reconciliation – when you deny the minority the right to participate in the outcome whether by compromise or protest, you cut through the cacophony of political-speak in this country and you transmit your sneering indifference towards democracy to ordinary citizens who do not normally pay attention.

...the Republicans have overplayed their hand in a way that seems startling even for them, and they shall inherit the proverbial wind.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I'm sure Steve Ditko and Stan Lee will be glad to hear that

Julie Taymor has been removed as director of the troubled Spider-Man musical. I have nothing to say about that, not having seen it. However, this paragraph in an NYT article (linked above) on the subject did catch my eye:

“Julie’s an extremely sensitive person, and she has always felt like a mother to her plays, a mother to her characters,” Jeffrey Horowitz, a friend and artistic director of New York’s Theater for a New Audience, said Wednesday. “This is like a mother being taken away from her family. She loves that family. She wants that family.”

Mr. Horowitz, repeat 3,000 times:

They're not her characters.

They're not her characters.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Geena Davis is wrong.

Davis, the actress perhaps best known for "Thelma & Louise" and the failed TV series "Commander in Chief" in which she played the president of the US) gave a speech last month in which she criticized the stereotyping of female characters in films and television.

"Gender stereotypes remain deeply entrenched in today's entertainment and there has been no significant progress over the last 20 years," Davis was quoted as saying at the gala held at UN Headquarters by the Agence France Presse.

I wasn't sure if I agreed with that, so I went to look at a list of popular films of 20 years ago, in order to compare them with those of today. What I found saddened and surprised me. Turns out, it's not merely that there's been no progress.

There's actually been a decline in the presentation of non-stereotyped female characters in films and television over the past 20 years. Check this out. In 1991, these were some of the most popular films of the year:

"Silence of the Lambs," with Jodie Foster as the FBI trainee matching wits with Dr. Lecter.

"Terminator 2: Judgment Day," with Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, one hell of a female role model as far as I can see (as was Lena Headey, in the same role, in the much-missed-at-least-by-me TV version).

Then there's Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," in which care was taken to make Belle more than just the beauty of the title, but well-read and outspoken as well.

This brings me to “The Addams Family." Well, that whole movie is about people who behave in ways which the mass of their culture find unusual or odd (and don't care that they do).

The women certainly aren't left out of this. Morticia (Angelica Huston) may be, as she defines herself in the sequel, "...just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family..." But the way in which she tries to have it all is, shall we say, outside the realm of what is considered normal.

And Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) is a deeply weird child; I mean that in a good way.

So that's movies. And who were women television watchers finding on their sets 20 years ago?

Women like Roseanne, Clair Huxtable, Murphy Brown, Jessica Fletcher, The Golden Girls, Lisa Simpson. Even the female students on "Head of the Class" (who were, by virtue of the show's premise, by definition exceptional young women).

Powerful woman characters all--whose shows may or may not have ever explicitly invoked feminism--I'm honestly not sure--but were feminist all the same. And check out that demographic spread!

Before I go on, I wanna go back to Davis' speech for a second.

"What message are we sending to girls if there are so few female characters. If the characters are devalued, stereotyped, sidelined or simply not there at all," Davis said.

Remember that, as I move onto looking at the most popular films of today: Now I have to admit upfront that I haven't seen any of the current top five. If you have, and I'm wrong about what I'm about to say, please write in.

But I see a lot there that evidently either have no female leads, or limit them to girlfriend/romantic interest/wife parts. "...devalued, stereotyped, sidelined or simply not there at all."

As for popular contemporary TV?

I see shows that are willing to showcase talented women...but only if they sing. Not if they are committed to an ideal, even if that ideal is their own intelligence. I see shows with admittedly popular female characters...that nevertheless are subservient to men in their jobs. I see a show whose whole premise, as I understand it, was about two men raising a child without a woman. I see a show about "Desperate Housewives." I see the show "IJust Wanna Man!" excuse me, "The Bachelor."

But mostly, I see I see shows with women who are mostly young, white; white-collar, and successful. As compared to the variety in the 90-91 batch cited above (with the possible exception of "Mike & Molly").

(Even "House," which I think used to have some pretty good images for women, has either driven those women away or drained them of their strength.)

So what's the answer?

Darned if I know. I just saddens and surprises me.