borealgrove: Dionysus fulfills his promise to Prosymnus (Rite of Spring)
[personal profile] borealgrove
My god, it's been a long while since I last posted--I've been trying to catch up on emails and messages, as well as writing up a small but steady storm. So this is just going to be a lazy mish-mash of interesting tidbits about what's been going on.

I'll start with a concise write-up of the con I attended: it was fun. Alright, I'll give a little more than that.

I got to attend the following celebrity Q&As: Matthew Lewis (heartwarming -- my best friends and I played an HP trivia game while we waited for the show to start), John Barrowman (hilarious--not to mention I did a dorky photo op with him), John Cusack (enjoyable--I haven't seen him in many movies, myself, but he was really personable and had some interesting ideas about the future of movie-making), and the absolutely amazing Doctor Who panel, made up of Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Alex Kingston (plenty of fun questions and responses, and we went to see an Alex Kingston-only Q&A afterwards which was, if possible, even more fun). Just to give you a taste of John Barrowman's: he came out in TARDIS-print drag (dress and leggings), did several pirouettes and high-kicks on the stage, changed into his casual clothes while hiding behind the couch (he called this "nipple theatre"), and then proceeded to give us some of the most hilarious answers to our questions we would get all weekend. Among them, one of my favourites was the story about coming home after a trip to find that his husband had decided to get braces in his absence... think about it. Also, there were several people that stepped up to the podium to tell him that he had helped them come out, or that seeing his DW character on-screen (and knowing he is an openly gay actor) gives them confidence, or asking him what advice he could give to a young LGBTQ person. Loved it all.

His response, by the way, to that last question, was to bring the girl, who had started crying during her question, up on stage, wrap an arm around her shoulders, look her in the eye, and say, "how old are you? Sixteen? Okay. We can talk for real: Never cry when you tell someone who you are. Being gay is a good thing, and you should be happy about it. Never cry when you tell someone who you are. Okay? Celebrate it."

(I'm paraphrasing a tiny bit because my memory isn't great, but Never cry when you tell someone who you are is verbatim. Anyway, we were #blessed with his presence.)

I was glad someone got up to tell him that they helped him come out, because his character Jack Harkness, specifically on Torchwood, kind of did the same for me, or at least was a comfort to me. I know that Jack is 'omnisexual', if anything and that he rejects labels, but to me, that looked a lot more like bisexuality than gayness, and there are so few (more now, but even less at that time) bisexual characters on-screen, that have relationships (not just sex) on-screen with both same and different-sex partners that it was just... amazing. I began watching it with my parents right around the time that I was definitively labeling myself as bisexual, as my crushing and then dating habits were making it clear that I wasn't straight, and seeing an onscreen representation of that was very affirming. Not to mention it was kind of mindblowing to watch it with my parents and have them not be repulsed, just sort of take it in with a shrug (no idea if we were still watching the series when I officially came out to my parents, but I like to think that the series was a tiny help in normalizing things).

Good times.

Last weekend, I went axe-throwing at our local axe-throwing place (as you do), and it was fun. I wasn't very into the competitive, scoring aspect of the practice, mostly because all I cared about was seeing whether or not I could hit the board in the first place (took a while), but I might go back again in the future just to get some aggression out.

After that, I finally finished and posted the next chapter in FS, and since then have been hard at work on the next. The writing notebook I bring everywhere is practically falling apart with all the extra paper scraps I've shoved into it. I may soon have to retire it and start on the next one. It's just so much more practical for me to jot down notes by hand during my breaks at work, and I like being able to line scraps up side by side, circle things, highlight, underline, draw cat faces... yeah, I do that. Ooops.

This week has been mostly an effort to catch up on the messages and emails and things I mentioned above, but I've also spent a little time relaxing after work (the writing-intensive week extended into this one, and will continue on to the next, which I'm certainly not complaining about!), which meant watching more of season 4 of The 100 (nearly ragequit after a certain character death, but have pressed on and there have been some interesting themes, to say the least). I've also been catching up on the seasons of Shameless (US) that I missed, a series that I easily become obsessed with because of all the dark humour, difficult topics, and extensive character study. Haven't been able to bring myself to get into the original, UK version though... I watched too much of the US version beforehand and so those versions of the characters became too entrenched in my mind.

Now on to some reading material recs:

Freshly Remember'd: Kirk Drift, by Erin Horakova
A thorough and wonderfully snarky essay on how pop culture has a completely wrong and fucked up conception of what Jim Kirk was actually like in TOS; it also touches on misconceptions about sexism and TOS. There are so many cutting passages, and I'm not going to attempt to pick the best. I'll just include four that are still sticking in my mind:

Heterosexuality has been through the fucking ringer in cultural productions in the last decades due to backlashes against feminism and queer visibility that have transformed portrayals and interpretations alike into dumbshows—crude pantomimes, as before the play. These frantic defenses have done more to render the proposition of men and women loving one another a piece of one-note unsustainable ridiculousness than women’s lib and LGBTQ rights ever could.

We all live within a matrix of interests governed by a sexist, racist imperial mechanism of capital. To be sure, there is no ethical production under capitalism and no expression of gender under kyriarchy is pure and uninfluenced by patriarchy. Given this reality, in what ways is ST:TOS sexist? How do we understand its sexism differently than that of our own moment? How does its sexism illuminate that of current productions? What is better now, and what is worse? For it is certainly not all better now, either in the sense of being entirely mended or even of being somewhat improved in every capacity.

My patience for things that are “just jokes” is now reserved for shit that’s, I don’t know, funny.

Thus it becomes a matter of reclaiming texts via attentive reading. In the post-truth world, attention is a skill. Reading is a skill. We must vigilantly listen to the hum of the currents of power running through texts and their interpretations, to actions and their spin. We must insist upon reality in order to meaningfully and morally do the work of relativistic interpretation: there are four lights, for fuck’s sake. We do have to have stories, and so we need to be able to see them. It’s important both to add marginal voices to canons and conversations and to protect the marginal elements already there from conservative erosion, for the sake of accuracy, artistic quality, and politics.

...and the entirety of part 7, the conclusion. Just, a great essay.

The Problem with False Feminism, by Dani Colman
I read this one because of the Kirk Drift essay, and it was a pretty satisfying takedown of the idea that Frozen is a feminist movie (or that it is better than the Disney Princess movies that came before it), addressing all the popular arguments in favour. I fully admit that I have not yet seen Frozen, but I have seen virtually every other movie referenced in the list and so the hullabaloo over it (including having known what the basic plot was, along with the twist), and given the fact that I grew up reading and re-reading The Snow Queen, I was just like, pass. If I want to watch a Disney movie about sisterly love, I'll watch Lilo and Stitch.

Bitch Media
I finally decided to get myself a subscription to their magazine, something I'd been wanting to do for quite a while; I used to listen to their podcasts at work (when I was doing a job that used to allow it), and they were a good (and sort of lazy) way to keep up to date with feminist-slanted news. Now I've got myself a subscription to the digital magazine, I'm looking forward to reading the perspective that such a wide range of writers will give the publication. So far I've got the latest issue, Invisibility, and two back issues, Blue, and Noir... plus a hard copy of the back issue Make-Believe because a long time ago, when I had wanted to buy that back issue, it had been out of stock, and the unicorn on the cover, plus the interview with Ursula K. LeGuin was enough to tempt me to get the hard copy not to mention all the other interesting looking topics it covers.

I'm going to have some very interesting reading material for my commutes for at least the next week (or two)!

Umm... what else? I've got a ticket to go see Wonder Woman on opening night with my best friends, so the energy for that showing should be awesome. I am currently making pancakes (and found a little beetle in the flour when I was preparing the batter... lil scamp), and I intend to spend the next hour or two slowly eating my pancakes and watching more Shameless. Then I'll write.
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