Posts Tagged ‘Women in Refrigerators’
* This is not an SF postdoc per se, but Liverpool has a tremendous SF archive and it would be a great opportunity for an SF scholar.
* Some impressive student journalism from Marquette undergrads: “Marquette’s reporting to the federal government misses just less than half of sexual assaults on campus.”
* Really interesting piece on how not to build a Star Wars MMORG. MetaFilter mostly hated it, but I thought the idea of limiting the Jedi to a minigame where you inevitably get hunted down and murdered by Darth Vader was brilliant.
* I mean, the LSU thing is so terrible I can barely even be bothered to get upset about the ASU MOOCs.
* One of the Original X-Men Is Gay, And It Matters More Than You Think. It’s a nice piece by Rachel Eddidin and a bummer that it’s at playboy.com. I’m amazed that they don’t maintain a SFW skin of their site for prose writing that goes viral.
* Clickhole’s Oral History of Mad Men.
* Star Trek 3 is apparently Star Trek Beyond, and Idris Elba is the villain. I’m okay with the title — I like the ethos if not the continued insistence on reading “trek” as a verb –but wish they could do one that doesn’t have a “villain” for a change.
* The good news is: this civilization is over. And everybody knows it. And the good news is: we can all start building another one, here in the ruins, and out of pieces of the old one.
* DC is going to try to attract girl readers of comics with a special Super Hero Universe Designed Just For Girls, where, I presume, sex and sexual violence are somewhat less of an overriding focus.
* DID YOU KNOW that academic departments use curricular requirements to encourage enrollment in courses that don’t just automatically fill by themselves? It’s true!
* And from the genius behind the art in Braid and one of my absolute favorite web comics of all time, A Lesson Is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible, comes Zelda pastiche Second Quest. Man I miss that web comic.
They couldn’t possibly, or they’d have never put an important Walking Dead backstory in Playboy.
* Today Occupy Wall Street occupied foreclosed homes nationwide.
* It’s long been surmised that the Mayan empire fell largely because of a 200-year drought that struck the region in 800 AD, but now it appears that the drought may have been amplified by Mayan agricultural practices.
* Weird ecology: The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Florida has been so good to the American crocodile that the reptile was recently taken off the endangered species list. But the croc’s newly thriving condition has nothing to do with nuclear power itself; rather the species has cottoned to the 168 miles of manmade cooling canals that surround the plant, adopting the system as a new natural breeding ground. (Thanks, Lindsey!)
In the tight, little world of Scrabble, Nigel Richards stories are legendary. Nigel read the 1,953-page Chambers Dictionary five times and memorized all the words. Nigel bicycled fourteen hours overnight to a weekend tournament, won it, then biked home and straight to work on Monday morning. With a rack of CDHLNR?, Nigel played CHLORODyNE# through three disconnected tiles (the two O’s and the E). Nigel played SAPROZOIC through ZO#. Nigel played GOOSEFISH$. Nigel averaged 584 points per games in a tournament. Nigel’s word knowledge was so deep, his point-scoring ability so profound, his manner so unflappable, that a competitor once made a T-shirt reading: I BEAT NIGEL RICHARDS.
Dollhouse, on the other hand, really was pretty decent. Definitely the best episode of the series so far. If I have complaints—which I do—it’s with:
1) The Echo reprogramming / mole bit, which drew a little too bright a line around the silliness of the show’s premise. How did the mole accomplish the insertion of such a detailed, uh, parameter, in the fifteen seconds Topher happened to be away from his desk? It reminded me of a classic bit from Family Guy:
Brian: Hola! Um…me, me llamo es Brian. Ahh, uh, um lets see, uh, nosotros queremos ir con ustedes.
Mexican: Hey that was pretty good. But actually when you said, “Me llamo es Brian,” you don’t need the “es.” Just, “Me llamo Brian.”
Brian: Oh, you speak English.
Mexican: No, just that first speech and this one explaining it.
Brian: You…you’re kidding right?
2) The attempted rape and murder of Mellie is an illustrative example of how hard it can be to separate commentary on misogyny from misogyny itself. (See Joss’s interview at NPR for more on Joss’s self-awareness about this problem.) The violence in the scene is exceptionally brutal, and the way it is shot is a deliberate quotation of the Jenny Calendar scene from Buffy Season 2. The audience is primed first to think of the usualness of this sort of filmic violence, in other words, so that the subversion of the woman-in-refrigerator trope has more salience.
On the other hand, the scene can only be described as pornographic in its composition, from the way the characters are dressed and blocked to the camera’s fixation on Mellie’s body. It’s the same sort of problem that arises when Dollhouse (which is at its essence as show about misogyny and rape culture) uses Eliza Dushku in short skirts speaking in a breathy voice to promote itself. Joss has a lot of feminist cred and you certainly want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I’m sure we’re all cognizant of the realities of the television marketplace and corporate interference—but this remains a needle that Joss will have to be very careful in trying to thread.
On the more global level of mythology, Dollhouse 1.6 works very hard to expand the show past the tight hermeticism of the first few episodes. Through the Wolfram-and-Hartization of the Dollhouse and the urban legend trope this world has suddenly grown a lot larger and a lot more interesting. Now this is a show that’s as much about global capitalism as it is about sexual violence, and really about the intersection of the two—which seems very promising. I’m excited to see where Joss takes these ideas now that he has a freer hand.
Sci-Fi has a trailer up for the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, while Joss Whedon is frantically running around trying to reassure everyone that the shooting of a new Dollhouse pilot doesn’t mean that Dollhouse is the new Firefly.
Also in Joss Whedon News, there’s been some pushback on Dr. Horrible over the fact that he’s once again killed over a female love interest in order to provide character development for male characters. I guess not even the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer can escape the siren song of a woman in a refrigerator.