jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
I've been listening to an audiobook of Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider, and having a lot of feelings about a lot of things. a white person's thoughts on anti-black racism in America )
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
Okay so.

I love the Mission Impossible movies.

Look, you don't need to be with me on this, they are purest Velveeta, but I do, I love them dearly. With all sorts of varied caveats but frankly? they keep surprising me by not sucking as much as I was expecting on assorted social justice scales, and actually, that means someone involved is making an effort. Hollywood movies don't do better than average on accident.

These movies are really iffy on Bechdel. (Maybe 4 passes? I'll check when I go again tomorrow, it's possible that there's lines exchanged between the female Agent Carter and the female assassin Moreau that aren't regarding dude Hanaway. Lolnope, Carter and Moreau don't really actually talk at all, despite having screen time together, sigh. But if you toss out the subrule where the female characters have to be named, you could make an argument for MI3, where Julia is informed by a female guest that her sister has arrived, and then where she exchanges greetings with her sister before her sister is like "so you're marrying tom cruise?" And then she also tells her sister that "Mom's dying to see you." Clearly Tom Cruise is not the important part of that conversation for them.) However, there's always a female agent on the team, sometimes more than one, like in the first mission in the first Mission Impossible movie, which had Sarah Davies, Hannah Williams, and Claire Phelps. There's always at least one agent of color--Luther, who appears in all 4 films and is on team in 3 of them, is black, and Jane Carter in MI4 and Nyah Nordoff-Hall in MI2 are multiracial black/white; Zhen Lei in MI3 is multiracial Vietnamese/white.

And the primary villain is never a scary brown person or a woman. The first MI film has some problems declaring who, exactly, its villain is--I mean, you could argue for Max, since she's the criminal trying to buy the list of agent names and assignments, but they make it so hard to dislike her, when she's played by Vanessa Redgrave and helps Ethan out and everything. (And then there's the side issue about Claire which... okay, in my AU, Claire doesn't die. Also she killed Jim. Although it looked like a suicide. Murder? There was no murder here. Whatchutalkinbout. Let's just leave it like that, okay. My AU is an AU with less death, although obviously not no death. Also I saved Lindsey Farris.) But seriously. MI3 tried to fake us out with Laurence Fishburne, but no, actually, every time, the main villain is a white dude.

Right now we are at: way, way better than I ever thought they would be.

I mean, let's be real, the main character is is also a white dude, these things are unapologetic Tom Cruise vehicles, but do I watch them for Tom Cruise? I do not. (Okay, I do a little. I watch them for Tom Cruise getting the shit kicked out of him.) Fun fact about the Mission Impossible movie franchise: it basically exists because Tom Cruise fanboyed at Paramount until they let him have it. And you know, basically fund it out of his own pockets. Other fun fact: Tom Cruise loves stunts. Basically he gets cast and crew and funding together based on A LIST OF BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE WITH TALL THINGS FOR HIM TO JUMP OFF OF and then later on, sometimes as they are shooting, they write a script justifying why he needs to do so. You think I am exaggerating. I am not. Brad Bird, director of the last one, joined fairly late in preproduction, and kept bugging producer JJ Abrams for a script. After several times ducking out of it, Abrams admitted they didn't have a script, they had about six scripts, all different. There is a subplot of the film about a dude Ethan breaks out of prison that they didn't write in until they were shooting at the prison. The two set pieces they had set at the time Bird was bugging Abrams about the script were the Burj and the carpark. Oh Tom Cruise.

Back to not-Tom Cruise features of these films.

Have I mentioned how much I love Luther Stickell? Okay, so it's 1996. You're making an action thriller spy movie. Do you cast a big black dude as a) a demolitions expert b) a hand-to-hand fighter c) a hacker? It is totally against (limited, omg, Hollywood is so fucked up) type that Luther is the hacker. And, just, he's always the one to call Ethan on his bullshit. "That look in your eye is a pain in my ass, you know that, right?" So much heart for Luther.

The turning expectations on their head thing is a thing these movies do a lot. In the part that's strictly the universe, the world of Mission Impossible, that can suck, because it means they made the one carry-over character from the TV series, Jim Phelps, a traitor; in fact three of the four films revolve around someone internal to the agency fucking Ethan over (guys, guys it's not a surprise anymore, what are you dooooiiiing). HOWEVER, in terms of turning standard casting/writing/filmmaking tropes upside down, it's actually... sort of... awesome.

Let's talk about MI:3, and the woman in the refrigerator.

mostly cut for augh this is painful and not for plot spoilers for a 6 yr old movie, but the plot and film ending will be thoroughly dissected )

But I think this is worth pointing out: good guy characters, all women, most of them of color, in the Mission Impossible films who got kidnapped or shot or otherwise endangered, who I really, really expected to be dead by the end of the film, who got out alive:

--Nyah Nordoff-Hall
--Julia Meade/Hunt (twice, even)
--Zhen Lei
--Jane Carter

I winced, I swore, I said I know how movies work, this will not end well, I braced myself for them to kick it, and they all survived.

Baby steps. And still.

Lychee

Aug. 14th, 2011 03:26 pm
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
I went to the Asian market today, which is always an exciting adventure of "Oooh, I can't get that anywhere else!" and "Buns/samosas/mochi balls! What filling is in them? That sounds tasty" and "I would not have thought to combine those ingredients into a soup but I will assume this is a tested recipe and give it a try."

I've been enjoying lychee martinis at the froofy sushi restaurant recently (I especially enjoy telling unwitting companions when they ask "What's that" re the skinless, from-a-can lychee in the drink, "An eyeball." People of the approximately 147 countries represented by foodstuffs in this market, I apologize for exoticizing your cuisines.) Anyway, today at the market they had fresh lychees, and though I had earlier resisted the lure of a can of lychees--I should not make lychee martinis at home, I should not--I could not resist buying a bag of fresh lychees, because fresh fruit is this AMAZING thing and anyway this bag is huge. Like, it contains dozens of lychees. I don't even know.

Okay, I have never met a fresh lychee before in my life. Advise me, oh droll. At what color/texture have they achieved peak ripeness? Does one eat the skin, or remove it? (After all, canned peaches are usually skinless but that doesn't mean you can't eat their skin.) If it's advisable to remove the skin, what is the recommended methodology? How many of these fruits does one eat at once? Does one eat them with other things or totally on their own? And lastly, is the "y" pronounced long "I" or long "E"? I had a waiter correct me on that the other night but he was Anglo like me so I don't trust it necessarily.
jmtorres: (scream)
My lecture on movie musicals says they started with stories about African-Americans and Irish Americans and German Americans etc, leftover from Vaudeville. Then the lecture produces this:

Eventually, Hollywood and movie musicals in general would move away from this kind of ethnic-based narrative, as the heroes of most movie musicals are usually generic "American" types without any ethnic markers.


CAN ANYONE SPOT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SENTENCE?
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
[personal profile] happydork wrote an interesting entry examining why her own writing didn't reflect the diversity of characters she wants to read about. I thought both the entry and the conversation it sparked were fascinating and I encourage you to go look at it and post your own thoughts because I want to see what more people think!

I look back at the last dozen stories I've written and find I have a similar problem with focusing on the love lives of white dudes despite my broader interests. I think for me the socialized programming to accept the white dude perspective as normative in fiction is something I have to think about to overcome even though my intellectual beliefs concern greater representation of a variety of perspectives in fiction, both fan and media, to the end of normalizing being a not-white/not-dude/not-assorted-currently-normative-states.
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
Because I can't find significant portions of my stage make-up kit, I went to buy a basic Ben Nye kit from a costume shop today. I got them to whip out the board of foundation colors so I could do match test to my skin and what really struck me was:

All these dozens of variations of human skin tone, and Ben Nye is pretty good about having all kinds of races represented, and it's really a lot of shades of brown.

This is part visual arts training and part intentional self-deprogramming about race, but, whiteness is a social construction, nobody is actually #FFFFFF white, and when you look at skin colors as paint pots it becomes really obvious that pretty much all skin tones have more in common with raw umber (the color you mix into paint when you want the main hue to be less in-your-face) than anything else.

When I watch other students in my class think of those colors in Ben Nye pots as skin tones, it gets weirder for me: many of these (mostly white) girls thought they'd been given a a tone too dark for their skin, that the costume shop had run out of their color and they'd been poorly served. The girl next to me had a "tan rose" pot. I looked at it and looked at her and told her to put some on her hand and see how it blended. And it did. She was very startled at this development. Guess what, honey, you are not snow white. You wouldn't be no matter where you lived and you walk around in the sun in Valley of Hell so actually, you're pretty tan. A color called tan rose? I am shocked, shocked I say, that that matches you.

But even though white people know they are not actually literally white, they assume they are lighter than they are. And maybe even--subconsciously, I'm going to suggest, to give them the benefit of the doubt--want make-up a shade lighter than they think they are out of desire to meet our society's white beauty ideal.
jmtorres: Mom cups daughter's boobs in bra shop.  Text: MOTHER! (mom)
I was probably... late teens? before it occurred to me that surnames frequently suggest ethnic or racial or at least family histories.

Probably at least one reason why this took so long to hit was that I was aware married women took their husbands' surnames, so a married woman's surname didn't say anything about her background. (This says interesting things about my presumption that married couples don't come from similar backgrounds.)

My middle name is my mother's maiden name. For many years I assumed that was totally normal, that of course you would preserve family history by giving a child both parents' surnames. I would have been about seven when I found out that wasn't so (in my culture, in others it is): I was seven when my mother was pregnant with my brother and my parents were arguing about what to name the baby. Funnily, boy name suggestions came with a first and a middle name, but girl name suggestions, we only considered the first name. So I learned that girls carry that secret matrilineal history in our middle names and boys are their father's sons. It felt like something precious, that hidden gift of a middle name.

(Until I figured out, from novels, I think, that sometimes girls have ordinary given names for middle names too. It was baffling and something of a disappointment.)

b-i-n-g-o

Jun. 27th, 2010 03:00 pm
jmtorres: Rhade and Beka from Andromeda. One true universe. (AU)
My [livejournal.com profile] au_bingo card:

Read more... )

I used my vetoes on slaves, prostitutes and prison, so I didn't get to cut out any historical stuff I'm not going to be good with. So either a ton of research is going to happen or I'm going to throw my hands up on getting a blackout, or an envelope, or anything other than about four potential plain old lines.

If I do Historical: Western I'm going to have to do something about it. Tell a story from a Native American perspective instead of manifest destiny frontiersmen stuff. Or--something.

Other: Band was on a short list of things I was considering vetoing, but I decided it was less awful to me than Other: Actors, and eventually I found a way to make Other: Actors work in my head, which means I'm actually a little "aww, damn it" that I got Other: Band instead of Other: Actors.

Other: Evil Goateed Universe was on the short, short list of things I was considering vetoing, so that one's kind of meh too (especially because it's on a diagonal with no historicals! damn it!). I'm considering taking the DS9 route of "and also, they're all gay."

I feel like I have been super complainy so far. Um, it's strategizing? Things I am excited about: the Future: Post-Apocalyptic square. I was just talking the other night about post-crash technological rebuilding not coming up in an exact parallel, that people would find certain technologies extremely important or totally taboo depending on the cause of the crash. I was positing the post-Dollhouse world with telegrams and the internet deliberately cut off circa 1992, because they can program you with sound, and medical tech is decent except for anything with brains or nervous system is totally back alley. So I am looking forward to inventing my own apocalypse and worldbuilding the rebuilding.
jmtorres: (prejudice)
CVT at racialicious on the packaging and marketing of racism in our entertainment is self-perpetuating. The same could be argued of sexism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice.

blargh

May. 2nd, 2010 03:41 pm
jmtorres: animation: Supernatural 4.09, Ruby gasps as she wakes up Coma Girl. Text: COMA GIRL LIVES! (ruby)
This is about three and a half days I've lost to being sick and exhausted at this point, and right now in the semester I can't afford it. I keep wanting to turn my brain on enough to write fic and I can't do that so how the fuck am I supposed to do homework?

I want to do something nonstandard with Ruby's historical background (because honestly, "when the plague was big," not that fucking specific) and I need to bounce this off people and work out the kinks, because it's racially and religiously problematic ) I mean, this brings up the larger question of in the Supernatural universe, are (lingering ghosthood), [christian] heaven and [christian] hell the only afterlives available to humans, or are other beliefs valid? Can people be reincarnated? Is there a Hades, with Elysian fields and Tartarus? A Valhalla? Etc?

Maybe catching up on recent episodes later will kick me some new ideas on this. Damn it, I dislike defaulting Ruby to christian/euro background, it feels like invisibling the rest of the world not to explore other possibilities, but it's... problematic. yeah.

(At least I can get that much think on, even if I'm not writing actual narrative?)

What

Mar. 14th, 2010 03:59 am
jmtorres: Faith tortures Wesley. Text; Pretty when you bleed. (knife)
So I did hear that right, the themesong of the trashy teen show I'm watching for constructed vid source includes the line Your stars align in threesomes.

I. I.

To be fair, when I read the synopsis on the show I figured I probably would be solving the obvious love triangle with a threesome in my head? But then the show didn't so much build a love triangle as a skeevy, sexually coercive environment where two teenage boys fight over the right to a girl who has turned them both down repeatedly, both verbally and physically. I had figured if I was going to invest this much time watching a few dozen episodes of this, I'd probably acquire it as a yuletide fandom or something, especially since it has two actresses I like, but right now I am at no, no, and hell no. Five episodes in and she's beat up three different guys for three different sexual assault situations and there's been at least four five, knew I was forgetting one, other problematic situations that didn't escalate to violence and a marriage proposal attached to a shitload of money.

At this point I don't want any of the women on this show to hook up with any of the men who have shown interest in them, let alone align in threesomes. They should discover lesbianism or someone can have the sweet, funny Gramps character (one of the seventeen-year-olds flirting with the respectful old dude would be ten times less creepy than where the show's already gone), someone can call dibs on twelve-year-old boy for a couple of years down the line, and someone can discover that the ranch hand is ethical, devoted, and awesome, and seriously should not be ignored just because he's Latino. Yes, all of the sexually available men on the show are creepfaces, and the men who are treated as sexually off-limits are the old dude, the tiny dude, and the dude who's not white. So much wrong.

And this doesn't even cover the part where half the female characters are conniving and awful, too.

(I don't even want to say what it is, I feel like I shouldn't be remotely giving it press, but someone will ask and Wildfire, okay? It's Wildfire. It is not worth your time unless you're making a constructed reality vid about Ruby's host body or how Major Kira retired to raise horses on Earth after DS9.)

What

Jul. 25th, 2009 01:04 pm
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
I was in bed by midnight and slept for like, twelve hours. How am I still tired.

In other news: I told the pink-skin joke on eboard.
jmtorres: TOS Spock leans face on hand, has mild eyebrow raise. Text: seeking internally consistent logic since 1966 (spock)
So you all remember I posted requesting you send me images of you doing Vulcan salutes for this vid that's due, er, tonight? I've gotten some great images--but all from white fangirls. All white is not representative of fandom as I know it and it's not the representation of fandom I want to show, so if you're a non-white fan who opted not to send me a Vulcan salute before, would you reconsider?

Email: juliette dot torres at gmail dot com.

Peace and long life.
jmtorres: TOS Spock leans face on hand, has mild eyebrow raise. Text: seeking internally consistent logic since 1966 (fanhistory)
[personal profile] niqaeli informs me that me and her and uh, fandom are engaging in graduate-level criticism of our media. I had not thought I was in such a rarified atmosphere but considering my classmates in a 200-level undergraduate class can't differentiate between a racist film and a film about racism, I FUCKING GUESS WE ARE THAT FUCKING SMART.

Today I linked them to something that uses the fannish jargon OT3, OT4, slash, K/S, etc. I suspect they will figure out how much of a dorkface I am any day now.

At least I know I'll be participating sufficiently on the discussion boards in these courses. I'll be participating all night long.
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
Star Trek linkspam III: the search for more money! Wow, I am not mixing my references at all. I haven't been keeping tabs open as religiously since [personal profile] ysobel saw the movie. I think this is most of the meaty stuff?

[livejournal.com profile] liviapenn writes about how Uhura's role expanded in the new movie, and Kirk, Spock, Bones and Uhura is the new OT4.

[personal profile] niqaeli did some compare and contrast on characters in Prime and Reboot.

[personal profile] butterfly has some meta and some fic recs. And more fic recs here. And even more.

In general I am not linking to fic at this point because of the sheer volume (other than mine mine you should go read mine), but I want to point out [personal profile] bravecows's The First Time, which is totally world-building exploration of race meta in fiction form.

[personal profile] beatrice_otter wrote about how the Vulcans will likely proceed, based on their culture.

[personal profile] niqaeli wrote about some non-obvious changes in reboot, such as Vulcan society and when Kirk as born.

[personal profile] seperis analyzed a lot of Reboot changes.

[personal profile] ysobel pokes at plotholes and timeline issues.

Discover Magazine posted a tangentially related Rules For Time Travelers.

[profile] catalysticat picspammed about Captain Pike and has made several posts about enlisted ranks in Starfleet.

DW comms: [community profile] star_trek_flashfic, [community profile] vulcanreforged
LJ comm: [livejournal.com profile] startrek_crack

[personal profile] zvi posts recs, Spock characterization spec. Also she wants to know how Uhura could have been more awesome, as she was already awesome. She has more fic recs. She's pissed at K/S fic that makes Uhura disappear.

[personal profile] coffeeandink has a list of reactions ranging from self-advertised shallow to deeper criticisms.

[livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63 has a talky Spock muse.

Journey to Drabble is a Star Trek Reboot Drabble Challenge.

[personal profile] kate dissected the movie score vs previous trek theme songs at a level waaay above my head.

Vids: (some of these I like a lot, some I consider to be conversation pieces)
--Closer v2, a remake of [personal profile] killabeez and [personal profile] tjonesy's TOS vid with Reboot footage
--Steady as She Goes, TOS vid for which I believe the premise is: the crew of the Enterprise will never have a successful relationship with anyone else, because they're all doing each other.
--Stuck to You, upbeat Kirk/Uhura/Spock OT3 vid.
--We Go Together, team vid for Reboot (works better at a metatextual level than a contextual level, in my opinion)
--Kobayashi Maru, about how Kirk and Spock are defined by so much death in Reboot
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel is concerned about missing out on everyone's squee by the time she gets to watch Star Trek: Reboot. So I figured I'd collect some links as I catch up on everyone's squee.

[personal profile] mamadeb posts squee for the new movie interlaced with her fannish history with Trek.

[personal profile] verstehen feels the movie delivered all that was expected of it, plus frienemies.

[personal profile] cesperanza: seven things she loved, four she hated.

[personal profile] zorkian had to work at Star Trek. No spoilers.

[personal profile] anoel is squeeful about the slash.

[personal profile] copracat with a one-line indictment amidst an entry about other things.

[personal profile] azurelunatic has a line by line GLEECAPS fest. OH HI SPOCK YOU ARE SEXY.

[personal profile] puppetmaker's review is squee couched in more adult costuming/casting/performance/plot notes.

[personal profile] lizbee found it awesome, had some Doctor Who comparisons.

[personal profile] bethbethbeth opens with: I probably shouldn't have liked the new Star Trek film... but I loved it.

[personal profile] gelasius gleecaps at all the performances.

[personal profile] butterfly likes respect for the source and handling of the reboot.

[personal profile] butterfly pokes at the timeline.

[personal profile] butterfly goes back to watch it again.

[personal profile] ase's reactions combine glee and more critical meta.

[personal profile] mecurtin, not yet having seen the movie, expresses hopes and fears for it. Spoilers in comments.

[personal profile] zvi has squee and plotholes.

[personal profile] cedara has a brief "yay my pairing!" entry.

[personal profile] everysecondtuesday links to TOS vids.

[personal profile] kass has squee and mention of JJ Abramsiness.

[personal profile] lady_stiletto had squee at casting, respect for source, diversity, ships, etc; a couple of quibbles.

[personal profile] tzikeh is collecting links. I'm duplicating a lot of them, but there may be more by the time you go look!

[personal profile] lapislaz feels could have been worse, is unresolvable for hardcore trekkies. Spittake worthy final line.

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon feels it was totally, totally awesome.

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon went back for more.

[personal profile] fajrdrako wasn't expecting too much, liked it.

[personal profile] gchick has love for Kirk, Scotty, sets and women.

[personal profile] mara had flaily hands.

[profile] jooj has three lists: liked, ridiculous, want fanfic now.

[personal profile] kelliem loved it with 1.5 quibbles.

[livejournal.com profile] redscharlach has a bullet point list of glee.

[livejournal.com profile] ancalemon talks new ships and old ships.

[livejournal.com profile] brokenbacktango talks about the movie-going crowd. No spoilers, except for First Contact *G*

[livejournal.com profile] sineala has a thorough review.

[livejournal.com profile] slippery_fish has a few notes.

[livejournal.com profile] sandrine says this is not the squee you're looking for.

[livejournal.com profile] mimesere loves them all.

[livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon is apparently writing fic. No spoilers, just amusing problems. Oh, and here's the fic! Is about OC doctor on the Enterprise.

[livejournal.com profile] mustangsally78 has no spoilers, just pretty picture.

[livejournal.com profile] tarzanic has brief list of yay, family history of trekkiness.

[livejournal.com profile] matt_doyle didn't like the camerawork and skience, dug everything else.

[livejournal.com profile] settiai has a lot of love and contemplates differences in the reboot.

[livejournal.com profile] cofax7 has an enumerated list of yay and hmm.

[livejournal.com profile] sparky77 liked Kirk a lot! And you know, other people.

[livejournal.com profile] silviakundera feels this movie was made for her.

[livejournal.com profile] brokenbacktango found some hilarious parodies on youtube.

[livejournal.com profile] popfantastic tries to make sense of plot points, notes Enterprise canon of interest.

[livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63 on Uhura.

[livejournal.com profile] calligrafiti squees.

There's comms on DW:
[community profile] ncc_1701
[community profile] singularity

And uh, now from me: spoilers? probably? I have no idea what I'm going to say yet )

PS according to the GI Joe preview we saw, Ninth Doctor will be destroying the Earth. Will you all disown me if I go to that movie for him?

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jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
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