pop culture

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Adult children.

Just as a society in general we really need to stop getting grown-ass adults to play children in media because I’m starting to think it’s fucking us the hell up…

Also: Because I am Ancient™ I remember what a huge drama this was when shows like 90210 started doing it back in the 90s. Like… there are definitely examples that predated that, but that stable of Aaron Spelling shows seemed to be the main primetime drivers of the whole “just cast a 30-year-old to play a 15-year-old it’s fine” shtick, pretty blatantly to get the crossover audience appeal (i.e. when I was a kid I didn’t notice adults-cast-as-kids so much, but now I am Ancient™ and everyone under the age of like 20 looks like a tiny baby it is an extremely noticeable flag that a show is Not For Me, whereas shows with “adult teens” are more like “this show will probably have sex and/or violence in it and is not actually intended for a young audience despite the supposed ages of the cast”).

2019-09-03T13:23:50+10:0030th December, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture|

Man more than man.

So apparently the original English translation for R.U.R. is available to read online, and it’s kinda… fascinating to see what has and hasn’t changed in the whole “robot uprising” sci-fi genre.

The play also contains what is possibly the Most Relatable Woman-in-STEM conversation ever seen on stage:

Section from Act I of R.U.R. that's basically just a dude constantly interrupting a lady, who finally, exasperatedly, calls him on it.

2019-08-28T15:51:31+10:0021st December, 2019|Tags: books, pop culture, sff|

Commercial media: Explosion! Fight scene! Car chase! Character X and Character Y Let’s You And Him Fight! Now they team up! More explosions! The whole galaxy explodes! Nothing will ever be the same!!!!!

Fanfic: Old friends, Character X and Z, retire to a remote cabin because of Reasons. Thing are tense because of That Incident! Can they spend 200,000 words slowly re-learning to love themselves, and each other? Now they’re hugging. I’m not crying, you are.

2020-01-06T07:31:36+11:0020th December, 2019|Tags: fandom, fanfic, pop culture|

Voidstars.

I never learnt how to make these things as a kid and always regretted it.

And because it’s Never Too Late, I decided being stuck all day in a boring totally engaging planning meeting was a great opportunity to tear up an agenda print out, do some Googling, and learn. And then color in the results with a black Collaboration Sharpie because, y’know. Goth.

Anyway I am super-pleased with how these came out and will definitely be wasting time in this way in the future. A++ do recommend.

2019-12-12T11:25:26+11:0011th December, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

They’re more of a species, really.

Long-but-interesting look at the racist-ass history of orcs, specifically their Original Flavor Tolkien coding as being pretty specifically referencing western European fears and stereotypes of the Mongols and other west/central Asian nomadic peoples.

Also, as someone who is of literal Caucasian descent, i.e. my ancestors came from the Caucasus Mountains, I am always here for even the tiniest bit of deconstruction of how the term “Caucasian” still gets used as a term for “white people” when the people of the literal Caucasus are, at best, “provisionally” white—as is is the case of my own ancestors, who are largely ethnic slavs who’ve really only been considered “white”, both legally and socially,1 within at-most my parents’ lifetimes—and, mostly, not “white” at all.

  1. And where that “promotion” was, in itself, racist. []
2019-08-07T11:02:28+10:009th December, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture, sff|

Bait.

So on one hand, I agree that it’s exhausting for creators to constantly have to make pronouncements about What They Meant, and at some point we should be death-of-the-author about it and get on with our own interpretations. On the other hand, it’s much more exhausting to witness creators perpetually burying queerness in subtext and then acting surprised when people inquire what, exactly, the subtext was meant to convey.

Jenny on queerbaiting.

This is about Good Omens, which is topical at the time of posting but will have hopefully died down enough by the time that this de-queues that I can finally let out a huge, relieved (and not too squee-harshing) uuuuurrrrggggghhhh because uuuuurrrrggggghhhh yes, this. All of this.

Gaiman has been doing this faux-woke1 thing with regards to queer rep for decades and it’s just tiring. It’s like Joss Whedon v2.0, in that you’ve got this animate slice of white bread who did a kind-of-maybe woke-ish thing once like in the 90s—Gaiman did include marginally more queer characters in his comics than was standard at the time, which is to say a non-zero amount—and has been riding that wave ever since. But then the world moved on and The Wheman did not.

But, y’know. Please. Give us yet another retread of, say, the whole gender-ambiguousness-as-shorthand-for-moral-corruption trope to try and pass off as “rep”. Because people—I assume so starved for decent representation in mainstream media they’ll clutch at anything—keep falling for it! Ugh.

Thirty years of this shit.

(Also, completely petty complaint about the TV adaptation, but… why oh why would you hire, like, such Extreme Power DILF actors and then make them look like that? Sheen especially. Yikes no.)

  1. … fauke? []
2019-07-23T14:27:11+10:0029th November, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture, quiltbag|

Blood and cum.

All this is the fruit of sexual repression, of the belief that non-normative sexuality belongs behind closed doors or even lock and key. Any sex worker could have told you the same. Many did. Tumblr’s porn ban, Facebook’s rules about soliciting or offering sex, it all contributes to a world where sexual knowledge and experience exist in a kind of lawless hinterland. And for what? So kids don’t see pictures of the brothers from Supernatural kissing? Children walk in on their parents during sex, endure the constant bombardment of pop culture’s sexual elements, and get their hands on sexual art regardless. The decision culture has isn’t whether or not they learn about sex, but how safe and loved they are while doing so.

Gretchen Felker-Martin on the queer grotesque.

2019-07-17T10:11:59+10:0021st November, 2019|Tags: culture, fandom, pop culture|

Commodified.

We live in the age of the franchise, of fiction as a brand. The most dominant stories in our cultural consciousness are designed to go on forever, and the law of averages states that at some point those stories are going to be bad.

Susana Polo on the endless.

So this is actually from a kind of milquetoast article about toxic fandom feeling that they “own” brands and, like, how maybe people should do that… but I want to call this line out specifically because, uh. It’s… kind of fucking horrifying? And in a way that the article it’s from never addresses.

So, like. Let’s do that here.

It is absolutely horrifying that we live in an age not just where our predominant popular culture can be referred to as an “endless franchise” but also that the vast majority of these are owned and leveraged, for profit, by a single-digit number of multinational multibillion-dollar capitalist enterprises. That… really, really sucks. It sucks creatively and it sucks culturally, and we should absolutely be suspicious of it.

And this is where I think Polo is correct; you can’t change media but you can change how you engage with media. Which is why I no longer go and see most “event” franchise films, for example—I’ve historically made exceptions for Star Wars though even that’s being reconsidered—or watch “watercooler” shows just because every media outlet is talking about them. But I also tend not to mention that unless directly asked about it. Because more and more and more I’m coming to the realization that it’s not just the individual media that matters; it’s also the money and the systems behind those media and, well, a hundred articles calling out Game of Thrones for racism or sexism or whatever are effectively still a hundred ads for Game of Thrones, so…

Maybe sometimes it really is better to say nothing at all.

2019-07-10T10:05:32+10:0014th November, 2019|Tags: pop culture|