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Original working title: “Charlize Theron Farts Ravens.”

I write this piece with James Newton Howard’s score reverberating in my head and the afterimages of angsty White people seared into my retinas.

Despite its 48% “rotten” rating on RottenTomatoes.com, I actually found Snow White & the Huntsman rather enjoyable. The script was rather lacking, as I expected, but the visuals more than made up for that. Warriors that shatter into obsidian shards, a gong-like mirror that spawns a liquid gold seer, and a majestic white hart (that bears an eerie resemblance to the one in Princess Mononoke) are only three of the divine cinematographical elements that surround the orgasm-worthy Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Oh, and Kristen Stewart of the Single Facial Expression—her, too.

But there was something more about the movie that I found perplexing. As the movie went on, a drawing of a gender-reversed Star Wars started popping into my head. And then I realized: SW&H is essentially a retelling of every story that pits two male (usually related) characters against each other in a battle over territory, prestige, and power—that is, to say, every story. The only difference here is that the two male adversaries were strong women instead. How’s that for quasi-feminism?

Granted, SW&H only barely passes the Bechdel test and relies heavily on the clichés inherent in the Snow White tale, but it does, in its own little ways, inadvertently expand the very antiquated genre of female conflict in a male-dominated world.

“Lucia” rolls off the tongue so much more easily than “Lukasia,” FYI.

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A transcript, if you will, of the above:

ANDERSON COOPER. Pastor Worley obviously has strong support within the community; there are some 1200 seats in this church, Gary said there’s a service going on right now. Stacey Pritchard is one of the church members. She joins us tonight. Now, Stacey, I know you’re—you’re a defender of Pastor Worley and I appreciate you coming on the program. Do you agree with his—his statements that he said on the pulpit that gays and lesbians should be put in—un—…behind electrified fences until they die out?

STACEY PRITCHARD. Um, I believe that that was said, yeah. I mean, yes, he said that, but of course, he would never want that to be done. Um, of course people are going to take it and make it their own way and make it into what they want to, but I agree with what the sermon was and what it was about.

COOPER. But you’re saying he doesn’t want it done, but he said he wanted it done on the…he said it from the pulpit. How do you—why do you interpret that’s not what he’d want?

PRITCHARD. I—let’s see, okay, let me try to say it a different way. Maybe, um…maybe, uh, that’s what he felt like should be done. I mean, it could be said either way, okay; just to make the short of it, yes, I agree with him. If they can’t get the message that that’s wrong, then, um, you know, um, they can’t reproduce, and eventually they would die.

COOPER. So you believe only that gay people are only born of other gay people?

PRITCHARD. I’m sorry—what?

COOPER. You’re saying they can’t—you’re saying they can’t reproduce, so, therefore, they would all die off.

PRITCHARD. Uh, if they—if they—man and man…

COOPER. But aren’t gay people born—? Gay people get born to straight parents all the time, though.

PRITCHARD. No, that’s not what I meant. If man and man were in the same fence, and women were in the same fence, they can’t reproduce together—that’s what I meant.

COOPER. Right, but that wouldn’t eliminate all gay people. There would be more gay people born outside the fence to straight people, wouldn’t there?

PRITCHARD. Exactly, but we were meaning the ones in there. See, it’s all taken out of context, it’s been twisted. The main point is always the same.

COOPER. So what is it about gay people that are—are worse than adulterers, who Leviticus points out, um, and people who curse their mothers and fathers, who should be put to death, and promiscuous girls, who should be put to death, in Deuteronomy. What makes gay people worse than those people?

PRITCHARD. From the Bible, there is—there’s no difference, but that is what he was talking about.

COOPER. So you believe people who—you believe that adulterers should be put to death, ’cause that’s in the Bible?

PRITCHARD. …Like you said, like it was said, um, you know, just not really, whatever happened, but yeah, okay, I’m not gonna, you know, keep at you in the same question over and over. Yes.

COOPER. So is it—does it seem Christian to you, though, to—to talk about putting people behind electrified fences and watching them die? Because I’ve talked to a number of pastors in the last couple of days who say, that just doesn’t Christian, that doesn’t sound like the message of love that they hear in the Bible.

PRITCHARD. People can—once again, harping, harping, harping on the electric fence, this and that. It’s about the homosexuals and it’s wrong. That’s what it’s about.

COOPER. But you would understand why some people would be—would feel this is—this is wrong to say. I mean, you say people are harping on it. Do you understand why some people might be concerned? I mean, if some people were talking about putting Jews behind electrified fences, I imagine that would be of concern to you.

PRITCHARD. …Well, you know, um, it’s not…here we go again. You know, nobody’s gonna put them behind an electric fence—

COOPER. Well, actually, that has happened. It’s called the Holocaust. It has happened. You say nobody’s going to kill homosexuals; homosexuals are killed all around the world. It’s happening right now in Iraq, it’s happening right now in Iran.

PRITCHARD. Yeah, and this is 2012.

COOPER. Yeah, and it’s happening right now in 2012 in Iraq and Iran.

PRITCHARD. And the main thing is—yes. And you know—and you know what? This is a pastor that speaks the word of God. Anybody could take it any way they want to, and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to. They can turn—turn around and go on.

COOPER. Stacey Pritchard, I appreciate you coming on the program. I know it’s a difficult topic, so thank you.

PRITCHARD. Sure, yeah, thank you so much.

 

This special category celebrates the powerful intersection of music and social activism, and highlights artists who created music videos with positive messages of self-empowerment or raised awareness of key social issues facing today’s youth. With an outpouring of support from across the pop culture spectrum the last year, artists mobilized to support bullied youth, reject LGBT discrimination and emphasize self worth—issues MTV has been addressing through A Thin Line, its anti-cyberbullying and digital abuse campaign, launched in December of 2009—and now via this special 2011 MTV Video Music Award Category.

The press release above details the addition of the “Best Video with a Message Category” to MTV’s Video Music Awards, which airs August 28.

Option A ⤴ ; Option B ⤵

While I support the fact that MTV execs were so touched by the response to last autumn’s legion of suicides of perceived and actual LGBT youth, I cannot help but feel that MTV—which does not exactly have a clear-cut track record in terms of the messages it sends*—is merely trying to drum up publicity for itself.

A or B. Not both.

*The same network that airs programs that glorify interminable consumption and inanity (i.e., Jersey Shore and Laguna Beach) tries to inspire its viewers to progressive social activism (e.g., through True Life and think MTV). Come on; pick a side, here.

Regardless of the network’s intentions, I sincerely do appreciate the effort.
Here are the nominees in this category:

  • Eminem, featuring Rihanna: “Love the Way You Lie”
  • Katy Perry: “Firework”
  • Lady Gaga: “Born This Way”
  • P!nk: “Fuckin’ Perfect”
  • Rise Against: “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”
  • Taylor Swift: “Mean”

But just because these videos were nominated does not necessarily mean that they deserve their respective nominations. In this post, I’ll analyze all six videos and grade them on a rubric according to how effective the songs and videos are. Continue Reading »

This is the symbol of the Human Rights Campaign, the U.S.’s largest LGBT lobbying organization. The meaning of the equal sign is clear; the Human Rights Campaign’s mission statement details its goal to allow LGBT U.S. Americans rights equal to those of heterosexual U.S. Americans, as well as to have them be “embraced as full members of the American family.”

This is one of the logos of the American Family Association (formerly known as the National Federation for Decency), one of the U.S.’s largest conservative Christian groups. Their mission statement is rather vague, but it is stated in their philosophical statement that “all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times.” To clear up any ambiguity in that phrase, the statement further asserts:

AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture.

The fact that there’s still half a Jesus fish in the logo renders me unsurprised. How do I know that’s a Jesus fish? Well, here’s an earlier logo.

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These two organizations epitomize the two sides of the gay rights conflict. The pro-rights side, above represented by the Human Rights Campaign, seeks to lobby politicians to introduce and ratify laws and other measures that would grant rights, such as that of marriage, and obstruct the deluge of discrimination that LGBT individuals face nationwide. The anti-rights side, above typified by the American Family Association, seeks to lobby politicians to introduce and ratify laws and other measures that they consider in accordance with the laws outlined in their scripture, the Old and New Testaments, and their personal interpretations of it.

But why must there be sides in this debate? Why must there be a debate at all? The answer lies in one word: power. Both sides have the overall goal of successful imposition of their beliefs. The only difference between the two is that the former side seeks to create and bestow, while the latter’s goal is to deny and rescind.

For the first half of this article, I’m going to analyze this debate in as unbiased a manner as possible; this means that my analysis will be from a secular, neutral standpoint. In the second half…

…I’m-a let the floodgates open. Stay tuned.

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I have spent the majority of my previous twenty-seven entries commenting on minutia of the entertainment industry, inefficaciously musing about fantasies, and rambling about myself. While that was all nice and fun, I feel like something’s been missing. Something…deep.

As such, I now plan to rededicate this blog. Originally destined to be an outlet for my ruminations and quixotry, I vow to now use this blog to post about the following:

  1. Political issues, in as unbiased a manner as I can. (Category: Vaguely Furious Drivel)
  2. Socially progressive (or retrogressive) elements in film, television, art, and literature. (Category: Vehement Filmic Dissections)
  3. The underlying forces, powers, and ideals that shape our society. (Category: Vigorous Fundamental Disquisitions)

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NOTE: Yes, the title is a reference to the song “My President is Black.” No, I don’t feel good about the fact that I’m referencing a song that is rife with the N-word in a post about ethnicity. But in all honesty, one would be hard-pressed to find a popular rap or hip-hop song by an African American artist that doesn’t contain the N-word in it somewhere—a fact that I find abominable.

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Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new Spiderman!

What’s that? He’s not white? That’s right! Comic books are finally post-racial! This is a watershed moment! This is fantastic! This is amazing! This is…

…really misguided.

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Ah, the MTV Video Music Awards. It’s like the Oscars for music videos. Except, no. Not really. Not at all.

The nominees were announced two weeks ago, and I’d thus like to take the opportunity to snark about the three biggest categories. Prepare for unparalleled amounts of invective. Continue Reading »

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