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Skateboarding while naked

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My latest doll, Dorothy, an Elfdoll tiny Dodo, poses in a characteristically inimitable way. Her cute little outfit of T-shirt and denim overalls is too small, sniff sniff, so I have to get a replacement. I also want to redo her eyebrows to make her happier looking. And I already broke one of the fingers on her "peace" hand. Ah, the joys of doll ownership!Continue reading Skateboarding while naked

Thoughts on The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Thoughts on The Wizard of Oz (1939) published on 2 Comments on Thoughts on The Wizard of Oz (1939)

1. The Cowardly Lion is so gay in this interpretation. All his mannerisms are stereotypically swishy.

2. Despite Dorothy’s fervent proclamation that "There’s no place like home," her home pales in comparison to Oz. Let’s see — at home, Miss Gulch tries to kill Toto; her guardians, Em and Henry, dismiss her constantly and talk over her; even the hired hands pay no real attention to her. To top it all off, the place is in boring sepia and infested with tornadoes. No fun at all. By contrast, Oz contains Technicolor glory, magic and Dorothy’s acclamation as a hero just for being the rather nice, forthright, polite, unassuming girl that she is. No one in Kansas accepts Dorothy for who she is, but, in Oz, everyone valorizes her character. Why does she wish to return to a place that’s so actively hostile toward her?

3. Wow, that movie version is looooong. Takes about 50 minutes to collect all 4 companions together. I’m sure it could have been done in half the time, but many of the songs, if not all, would have to be cut.

Araminthe enjoying the springlike weather

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Araminthe was hanging out in the sunlight today; she’s not the kind of vampire who shrivels in the day. In fact, she revels in the coming spring! See?
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Die Hard and Tin Man: a movie and a miniseries

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I had never watched Die Hard (1988), with Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman [yay!], before, so I watched it streaming last night. ‘Tis a silly film – are we really supposed to believe that Willis’ character, John McClane, routs the baddies while not wearing any shoes? Come on now!

I also noticed that Die Hard seems to share with Fatal Attraction a reactive misogynist hatred of the independent woman. The specter of independence raised by Holly, John’s estranged wife, who dares to use her maiden name and separate from her husband for her career, is ultimately subsumed into the patriarchal family mode. In fact, the whole movie sets up a situation wherein the wealth and success of the Nakitomi Company, where Holly works, brings the terrorist attack upon itself. Therefore, we can see Hans Gruber [Alan Rickman, yay!] and co. as narrative punishment for Holly’s proto-feminist attitude. She’s so uppity, being a successful career woman and having a Rolex, that she deserves to be smote with the degradation of victimhood at the hands of the terrorists. But she learns her lesson; by the end, she’s using her married name again, happily signifying that she belongs to the manly-man action hero of John McClane. What a load of sexist crap.

Also this weekend I watched a weird three-part miniseries, Tin Man, the SyFy Channel’s story inspired by The Wizard of Oz. I really liked looking at the world, a combination of majestic Vancouver forests and glitzy, vaguely 1930s cities where everyone wears weird hats. Grey machinery mixed with verdant landscape in a cross between steampunky dystopia and wildlands utopia. However, I felt that the pace was rather draggy, especially in the middle episode [middle episodes of trilogies almost always suffer from sluggishness]. I liked the fact that a sisterly bond between the Dorothy equivalent and the Wicked Witch equivalent redeemed the Witch equivalent’s character, but I disliked the fact that monkey bats came out of the Witch equivalent’s heaving cleavage. That was just SILLY.

‘Tis a silly movie: Daybreakers

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The concept of Daybreakers is: When everyone’s a vampire, who’s the lunch? In the near future, humans are becoming extinct as more and more of them are turning into vampires. Hematologist Ethan Hawke pairs up with humans Claudia Karvan and Willem Dafoe to find and propagate a cure. Many car chases, scenes with evil businessvampires, dramatic washed-out shots in mostly colorless tones and scenes with portentous music result, but I find it hard to be sympathetic, even if Ethan Hawke can’t stand to drink human blood and feels pity for humans. Something about these vampires, indeed, this whole movie, is remarkably bloodless. Entertaining time-passer, though.

P.S. Also the slow-mo gore is unintentionally hilarious. Oh the humanity vampirity!

BBC’s Masterpiece Mystery Sherlock: Holmes and Watson in the ‘10s

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Watched the first two eps of the BBC’s Sherlock the other night, starring Benedict Cumberbatch’s lips and cheekbones as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson. The three-ep first season transplants the crime-solving duo from Victorian/Edwardian London to present-day London, where the two act as “consulting detectives” to Detective Inspector Lestrade and the rest of the new Scotland Yard.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes really reminds me of David Tennant and Matt Smith as the Doctor. With a spectacular intellect that moves much faster than the brains of mere mortals, Cumberbatch’s Holmes astounds people with his rapid-fire deductions in the same way that Tennant’s and Smith’s Doctors shock people with their free-associating intelligence. Additionally, both this Holmes and those Doctors take a self-conscious, performative glee in their superiority, enjoying the way that they befuddle people. Just as Smith’s Doctor is an adventure junkie, gleefully shouting “Geronimo!” as the TARDIS speeds toward a crash, so Cumberbatch’s Holmes enjoys living on the edge, dancing near suicide in the first ep just so he can get the buzz of adrenaline. I attribute some of this similarity to the fact that Sherlock was co-written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, both writers of eps for the New Who. Also interesting to note is that Cumberbatch has something of the Doctor – or at least the Doctor’s potential in him – as evidenced by the fact that he discussed taking over for Tennant, but never did. 

Needless to say, I love Sherlock for its strong characters, its Doctor-like Holmes and its stellar lead actors. I dislike it for its pointless exoticization of Chinese people as demonstrated in the ep The Blind Baker. From the minute the eerie stereotypical bamboo flutes start playing in the first scene as a clay tea set is ceremonially laid out, we know we’re in for Chinese stereotypes. The stereotypes continue throughout the ep, including a scene in which the Chinese tea set-laying-out character speaks to her brother in unsubtitled Chinese, reinforcing the idea of foreign characters as strange and incomprehensible.  This ep’s main villain, General Shan, leader of a gang called the Black Lotus, even delivers, as her first line, a supposed Chinese proverb in halting English [something about a book being a magic world in your pocket]! [I also noticed that General Shan’s English started out broken in her first scene and markedly improved throughout the rest of her scenes, making me think that she was directed to speak in stereotypical stilted English.] I condemn such lazy, thoughtless characterization as racist.

Law and Order: SVU hates people with disabilities, part III!

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After reading my analysis of season 7, ep 15, “Manipulated,” of Law and Order: SVU, my sister Jill, who uses a wheelchair, added another stereotype to my list of those that the ep perpetrates:

1. Disabilities are horrible things. Linus obviously thinks so; as I pointed out in a previous entry, he calls his wife Tessa, who uses a wheelchair, a “victim,” that is, a contemptible object of pity. Jill points out that Tessa also uses negative language to describe her disability. She claims that Walter is persecuting her, saying, “If I weren’t stuck in this chair, I would kill him myself.” Tessa clearly adheres to the stereotype of a wheelchair user as someone who is “wheelchair-bound,” that is, limited and restricted by the chair, rather than enabled to move around.

Jill also notes that there is a long tradition of characters in various media faking disabilities, which only causes able-bodied people to regard people with disabilities with suspicion and hostility.

Today’s word: gravamen

Today’s word: gravamen published on 1 Comment on Today’s word: gravamen

I learned a new word today. It is “gravamen.” It is from the Latin “gravare,” “to weigh down,” so literally it means “that which is heaviest.” It is a legal term that refers to the most serious part of a suit against someone and/or the basis of a lawsuit. Its extended, non-judicial meaning is “the essence of an objection,” as in, “My gravamen against your character is that you are flagitious!!”

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