Links Roundup: March 5th-March 24th

More links! More roundups! I should really get off my butt before this becomes my entire wordpress!


Logan: The End of Ol’ White Men

Yes, that Logan — Wolverine, of X-Men, Logan. I honestly had no idea they even went ahead and made yet another movie about Hugh Jackman Wolverine, and I highly doubt I’m ever going to watch it, but this review is so intelligent and on point. (And, yes, it contains spoilers, but the best reviews often do.)

And here’s where the real subconscious message of Logan starts to come out. Logan, Charles, and their albino helper Caliban, the last three naturally born mutants alive, are all white men — as are all the bad guys. In fact, all the important X-Men (X-Persons) in this entire franchise have been white (including Storm, because really, how important was she to any of the stories?) as have been all their villains and antagonists. The franchise revolves around Professor X and Magneto, with Mystique and Wolverine the twin stars that orbit their galaxies. Other standouts: Jean Grey, Cyclops, Deadpool, Rogue, Beast, Iceman, Quicksilver… white white white. In fact, name a single X-Person of color or villain of color who actually moved a plot forward even a step. Well… maybe

The diverse characters in Logan are in two places: the nurses and orderlies at the lab where the children were created, and the children themselves, who are a mini-Benetton of colors and abilities. This is essential. Because the rainbow children are constructs: created by white men to serve white men. And the lab staff are servants: brought in by white men to serve white men. And instead of serving and obeying, the lab staff and the rainbow kids band together, escape the white men’s control, and take over the world!!!!!! Well… no, actually they only band together and escape the white men’s control, with much loss of life among the lab staff. But the over-the-world-taking is implied because these are powerful children and what do children do? Grow up and take over the world, natch.

So much top-notch stuff here. Also: scary to see Trump generated fears of “white genocide” echoed so perfectly in a movie. (Or, in this case, a specific reading of a movie that one might or might not agree with, but since this is Hollywood, I’m more apt to agree with the reviewer than, well, Hollywood.)

And, my favorite lines:

In other news, Logan is shockingly violent and profane, because those are the markers of an “adult” movie. Violence, profanity, and a driving concern with the relevance and legacy of cis-het white men. Yeah.


‘It’s Because You’re Fat’ — And Other Lies My Doctors Told Me

Fat and body shaming is a human rights issue and should be taken seriously. It’s astonishing how that statement isn’t made more often, even in the social justice community.

Doctors are highly educated people, but they’re subject to the same biases as the rest of us, and many of them don’t stay up to date with the latest research. That’s not good enough. If obesity really is a major health concern, it’s essential that doctors stay educated on recent studies and metastudies that look at how to get the best outcomes for fat patients. If doctors really do care about their patients, they need to start looking at the overall picture of a person’s health, not simply the size of their body.


Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney on Writing the Original Source Material, Taking Inspiration From Myths, and Creating Heroes With Black Skin

Really excellent Moonlight interview. I don’t know if it’s because the thing has been trimmed/edited or what, but the way that the interviewer and Tarell McCraney interact and speak with one another rather than to is fantastic. It’s rare to read an interview like that.

Being seen is so important and when someone sees you through all of your bullshit or through all of your performances, good or bad … I think in some places, that little boy had to perform certain ways. He was in danger; his world was chaos. But at every avenue, Kevin was there like, I see who you are, I can see you. To me that’s why Moonlight, the title, makes so much sense. To be seen under this light, it’s like it doesn’t matter that it’s just a reflection of the sun. To be seen period is enough. It’s beautiful and it doesn’t matter that it’s in the dark. It doesn’t matter that everything else around you is dark. If you get that light on you, to bask in it, it may not be as warm as the sun, but it’s certainly feels so good.


BONUS: Old links, ahoy! This half-month wasn’t a slow news period by far, but it didn’t have a lot of articles that I felt were worthy of being preserved from now onto eternity. So, here, have some older links from back in the day when I left this wordpress to wallow and just dumped everything on my facebook.

Does America Deserve Malala? (Nov. 2015)

Really excellent critique of the way we Americans tend to valorize Malala but also miss the bigger picture, and our inadvertent complicity in it.

Media outside of Pakistan talk about Malala as a girl shot for wanting to go to school. Like the way clueless parents urge children to finish their vegetables because some kids somewhere in Africa are starving, Malala is often introduced with a reminder of how some American kids have the gall to complain about attending school. There is little curiosity about why she couldn’t—instead, we are led to assume that the barbaric attack on Malala is all that can be expected of a barbaric people. In the Western imagination, the Middle East and Pakistan exist in a state of crisis that assumes an ahistorical retardation of the so-called “Muslim world.”

In pop culture, there are no bad police shootings (Oct. 2016)

Slots nicely into my academic interests, and clearly delineates the haunting way in which our media condones police violence. This is why I’m not a fan of action movies.

The result is a cultural narrative that simultaneously whitewashes the behavior of police officers and sets a bar for competence and coolness under extreme pressure that real cops can’t possibly meet. Movies, television and novels have trained audiences to excuse almost any police shooting, including the deaths of children — until now, when the emergence and near-ubiquity of real-life videos have made the gap between fiction and reality undeniable.

“A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment (Aug. 2016)

An incredibly detailed look into the failures of Twitter to end harassment and hate speech. This is more words about Twitter than I ever expected I would want to read, but it is fascinating and on-point.

Talk to enough Twitter insiders and one thing becomes painfully evident: The company’s understanding of its platform hasn’t always been clear to employees, even at senior levels — a problem that has made it difficult to understand how to police harassment. One source recalls that, when asked, Jack Dorsey refused to answer exactly what kind of tool Twitter was. “He said, ‘Twitter brings you closer,’” the former employee recalled. “And I said, ‘To what?’ and he replied, ‘Our users always finish that sentence for us.’ And to me, I thought, Well, it’s going to be really difficult to set policy in place if we can’t define what this thing is.”

How Bernie Sanders lost black voters (July 2016)

Great article about Sanders that’s both sympathetic of his failures but critical of his shortcomings.

The problem for Oso was that Sanders failed to articulate what the “political revolution” he so often talked about would mean for black people.

“I don’t think what Bernie stands for is out of line with what a lot of black communities and black progressive movements prioritize,” she said. “It’s just that it comes from that dominant white male perspective on what’s really important. An over-emphasis on class struggle, absent racial analysis. And even if we’re talking about class struggle, why is his position on reparations that it’s unrealistic?”

You May Know Me from Such Roles as Terrorist #4 (July 2015)

Almost two years since I read this article, and it still sticks with me as one of the most detailed and heartfelt indictments of Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment in Hollywood. I was recently reminded of it again because of the excellent OP-ED that Amrou Al-Kadhi wrote in the Independent.

And so Ahmed read for the part. “My lines were ‘Sit down and obey or I will kill you in the name of Allah.’ And the director goes, ‘Brilliant! Do it again. But this time, can you give me more of that Middle Eastern, you know…’ I go, ‘Anger?’ He goes, ‘Yes! Yes! Angry!’ ”

Feeling a flash of actual anger, Ahmed decided to ridicule the process by going stupidly over-the-top.

“And the next day,” he says, “my agent calls me up: ‘You booked it.’ “

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