Brain Food At The Movies

Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 4 of Brain Food, which has almost nothing to do with the book as Brad Pitt runs around the world to try and save it.

Apparently, only WHITE people did something to fight back against the zombie plague. Everyone else is nothing but victims. >_<

Norwescon 36

Hello everyone, I had the great honour of driving down to Seattle last weekend and meeting up with the super awesome Dennis Upkins!

And not only that, but I got an interview with him too!

And then I recorded a panel he was a part of called Next Gen Publishing.

Apologies for the shakiness of it, and the audio as well. This was literally a last minute arrangement so things were not the best, but as the questions were explained by the panel, hopefully, you’re not missing out on much.

Enjoy!

Brain Food – Episode 27!

Wow, it’s been a good while, hasn’t it? But here it finally is, episode 28 of Brain Food, wherein I review Daniel H Wilson’s book, Robopocolypse!

A special thank you goes out to Sparkindarkness for his contribution to this video, and I highly encourage you all to go and read his reviews over at Fangs For The Fantasy.

And especially check out his article on What Will You Do In A Dystopian?

[On a side note, please ignore the number at the start... this is episode 27, not 28... I just got a touch mixed up there. >_>]

“Just Don’t Watch It”

As I watch many many many programmes and critique them I inevitably get someone saying the same damn thing:

“Just don’t watch it!”

There are many replies to this, but irritation has worn me down until even I, who am not generally given to swearing, have to ask

“What the fuck do you expect me to watch?!”

Seriously. I’m a gay man who likes to watch the fantastic – primarily Urban fantasy, what do I watch? Because we’ve now reviewed 37 television series from start to finish (or current) and we’ve got two – TWO – with a GBLT protagonist. Lost Girl, headed by a bisexual woman and her true love/primary love interest is already underscored as being a man. And Sanctuary where Helen Magnus is a bisexual woman – you may have missed it though since it was one reference in one episode of 4 seasons – the rest of the time was focused on men. We don’t even have a GBLT person as part of an ensemble cast.

20 of those don’t have even a brief, token GBLT presence. Not for one second, not a bit actor, not a one off, not a thing. Completely and utterly straight from start to finish. Some of them have managed to reach their 5th season without any GBLT people.

4 of them have a GBLT character who appeared for one or two episodes – out of 8 seasons in some cases (yes, Supernatural, that’s you. Though your subtext means the slash fans love you and ignore your erasure) Of course that doesn’t stop these shows have a running commentary of bad gay jokes (Being Human US, Misfits – ye gods Misfits, the very poster child of a hot mess) or used these single episodes to push the horrible tropes (Being Human UK with the gay vampire killing his human lover).

2 of them have a recurring token. But, frankly, that’s generously deciding the Manscaping medieval prince who faints at the sight of blood (the dead Renly) and his lover, the knight of flowers count as tokens rather than one-offs on Game of Thrones. And despite Danny being nothing more than a token who only shows up in one episode in four whenever one of the straight characters needs something, Teen Wolf will always be loved by the slashers (If you want any greater evidence of how this damages us, both Racialicious and Kiss My Wonder Woman have actually praised Teen Wolf for their handling of sexuality while criticising it for its greater inclusion of other marginalised people. Yay for homophobic double standards!)

2 of them have recurring minor characters – but while I love Dark Angel’s Original Cindy, as the series progresses she just becomes more and more of a support character for Max. It’s pure desperation that has me include Bill Forbes 5 episodes on The Vampire Diaries a recurring character – and after his conversion therapy episode I could do without that as well.

So that leaves me with 7 shows with major GBL characters. With the protagonists that brings it to 9 out of 37

And these 7? We have American Horror Story with raped and murdered gay men, raped lesbian and graphic depictions of conversion therapy. Yay. I couldn’t even watch it in one sitting.

Almighty Johnsons has Sjofen, “the goddess who goes both ways” who has a one night, off-camera fling with Axel (a man) when he’s magically turned into woman and then focuses entirely on men from then on – but they make lots of jokes about her.

Hex and it’s many many many many, ye gods many, dead gay men and lesbians. Sometimes the same character died twice.

True Blood which I’ve already complained about.

Bedlam with a closeted character who was finally revealed as gay, had one kiss with a guy before vanishing without explanation.

So, that leaves Warehouse 13 (which, on day, will stop putting Jenks in the plot box and leave the gay jokes behind), Buffy (which wiser folks than I have complained about)

This is the genre I’m watching. This is what I get served up to me. So, again, what the fuck do I watch? What do I watch which doesn’t prompt me to criticise? And this is just criticising on grounds of sexuality – throw in race, gender and ability as well and the hot mess just gets hotter and messier.

There now follows a moment where everyone tells me to watch Glee or Modern Family or some other soap and sitcom, completely ignoring the genre that interests me. It’s ridiculous that when faced with an entire genre of erasure and shit – multiple genres of erasure and shit – the answer is to try different genres! I don’t like sitcoms, I hate soaps, I loathe high school dramas and I don’t remotely see the attraction of musicals. I don’t want to be bored to tears so I can cling to a show that actually realises we exist.

This is the same reason I rarely boycott shows, because I end up boycotting my entire genre and all the shows I have any chance of actually enjoying. Is that depressing? Yes, of course it is – but that’s reality but that’s also why I want to change things.

Which is why I won’t “stop watching it”. I will keep watching it. I will keep watching it and I will find the parts I enjoy and I will continue trying to be part of the genre I love. And I will continue banging on the window when they try to shut me out, continue shouting when I’m missed and demand that it be better, that it does better. For me to stop watching it would be for me to finally give up on the genre, for me to decide it can’t be fixed and needs to be rebuilt before I get involved again – I’ve already done that with some book genres, and it wounds me to feel driven to it.

This genre has a problem with marginalised people. MY genre has a problem with marginalised people. And it’s not going to be fixed by closing my eyes and pretending the problems don’t exist. Nor will it be solved by anyone who is hurt by these problems being driven away by people demanding our silence, demanding we “just don’t watch it.”

The POCs of the Vampire Diaries

Over At The Bar, my girl Ankhesen penned a most excellent series examining THE EPIC RACIST FUCKERY the treatment of the characters of color on the hit series The Vampire Diaries:

 
 
Also check out Fangs For The Fantasy’s comprehensive analysis on TVD which also swings the vervain-laden cluebat.
 
What’s astonishing is that two completely different reviews hit the same points almost verbatim on the consistent fail that TVD brings.

Web Media

I’ve come to the belief that web media is the future of entertainment. With each passing day television is getting more and more irrelevant, especially with the continued subpar storytelling and whitewashing which has alienated countless fans. Web media is also more efficient as you can get a full story in an episode or short film which on average runs between 3-10 minutes. That’s ideal if you’re at work and between meetings or waiting to pick up your kids from school.

While I don’t think televisions should be getting thrown out of windows just yet for being obsolete, web media has definitely put the entertainment industry on notice. We’ve witnessed this with many television shows now being shown on the web and more than a few web shows getting network deals.

Web media has also come a long way in such a short amount of time. In addition to Sanctuary and Web Therapy, I’ve also discovered some excellent gems such as Sorority Row, Pink the Series, and It’s A Mall World among others.

We’ve also seen the unprecedented success of shows such as the Guild and Doctor Horrible.

Now while most web shows are far from perfect, one has to give credit at what these storytellers have accomplished with virtually no budgets or resources in comparison to Hollywood media.

When my buddy Ankhesen Mie forwarded me this recent article from Racialicious, I was immensely excited to discover there was quite a number of POC-centric web series out there, many of them sci-fi/fantasy.

For the past few weeks I’ve researched many of these shows and upon doing so I learned about many others. I then learned about some LGBTQ web shows that also caught my attention.

Some of these shows I previously knew about, others I learned through research, others I just happened to hear about in unrelated paths in passing over the last week or so. Of course at this point in my life, I don’t believe in coincidence.

So why did I compile the seemingly never-ending POC/LGBTQ web media post?

  1. It’s fun.
  2. I’m a firm believer in supporting marginalized media.
  3. I want to create a library for others who are also searching for quality marginalized and progressive media as well.

And here we go:

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Round Table

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison

Recently a group of novelists decided to have a sit-down for a round table discussion.  For months they had been discussing some of the challenges that novelists of color face in both the publishing industry as well as the media in general. In addition to race, they also tackled the intersections of gender and orientation. The writers then realized that an honest conversations on these issues was something worth sharing.

Four authors, one powerful discussion.

And here we are.

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Black Heroines: A Tribute

So there’s a popular internet meme going around online entitled We Love The Women Fandom Hates. It celebrates female characters that aren’t usually well-received by fandom.It’s a nifty concept and I’m glad that so many have taken to it.
In the spirit of that, I wanted to also show some love and celebrate the women fandom hates.
One group in particular, black women.

It’s no secret that characters of color, well people of color in general (artists, authors, actors, etc.) are regularly on the receiving end of the worst kind of racist and misogynistic denigration.
One group in particular, black women.

Anyone who has participated in fandom knows the type of disgusting hatred that the characters and the actresses who portray Tara from True Blood, Guinevere from Merlin and Dr. Martha Jones from Doctor Who regularly receives.

And there’s a reason for that.

Beautiful, sexy, intelligent, extraordinary, these goddesses are feared and despised because of the power they wield. Society constantly hurls shade at black women because of the phenomenal light that they shine.

So this post is not only a celebration of the nubian heroines who made me proud to call them my sisters but black women, period. This post is a tribute featuring a few of my favorite black female characters and actresses who brought the awesome back to fandom. This is also my way of saying thank you to all of the phenomenal nubian goddesses who have blessed and enriched my life over the years.

To all of my black women, this one’s for you:

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