On Black Panther and Symbols

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M’Baku. My favorite character.

 

Warning: there are a few spoilers ahead. Marked out for your easy identification.

Black Panther, as the rest of the world already knows, was brilliant. I had the good fortune of seeing it in the theater last night, and while it wasn’t a perfect movie (does every superhero movie require a BvS-style “Martha” moment? T’challa could have just said, Nope. I don’t recognize Killmonger as having a stake to the throne. Lock him up as an outsider.), it had so much awesome going for it, I’ll put it in my top two Marvel superhero movies EVER, and within the top five superhero movies ever (Behind Dark Knight, Batman v Superman, Blade, and Hellboy).

I feel a portion of what made Black Panther so successful was the importance of symbol-use, symbol-sets, and individual identity, and I’m going to talk a little about that in this post. Also, Claw had one of the greatest laugh moments in super villain history, and it was perfect.

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On Jessica Jones Seasons 1 and 2 (Spoilers)

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The intro is super sexy. Now Streaming on Netflix!

 

Hey everyone.

I jumped on here to discuss Season 2 of JJ, and realized I never wrote about S1. I finished the first season directly before watching the second, but the time between the the first ten episodes and the last three might be around two years. So S1 will be short and to the point.

Besides Heath Ledger’s Joker performance, David Tennant’s Kilgrave was easily the most unsettling and complex character I have ever seen. He commanded the story, and sold me in his manipulation. Everyone, especially JJ, had every right to be terrified, and this elevated JJ’s performance in a way that I fell in love with. It was so unsettling I couldn’t watch the rest of it for two years. Season 1 was beautiful in its gritty trauma, in its cast, in everything. It was so, so good. At least the last three episodes.

In my defense, this post really wasn’t going to be about S1; it’s about how S2 wrote itself into corners, and how it shifted the characters’ actions and personalities to fit plot, instead of the other way around. Continue reading

Cultural Appropriation: When the Chicken Doesn’t Hatch from the Egg

I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class that had a heavy emphasis on feminism, equality, and the removal of appropriative stereotypes (not the story; the class). Throughout this class, I’ve felt more and more dour about my place in it: every day we meet, I am told how I have flouted my power to oppress and dehumanize everyone not me. I am aware of this. I work hard to remove the bias in my life. I work hard to use my privilege for good, if possible. I watch preference given to others who have had to work twice as hard as me to get where they are, and I respect the preference. I don’t know how to write about what I want to write anymore because of all the boundaries and expectations. This gives me a whole new twist on “write what you know.”

But this short story has me confused and bewildered. A long while back, I wrote a story about the most fierce and independent women I had ever met: my ex wife. She was a warrior, a fighter, broken and not, flawed and abusive and everything complex about a person you could possibly want. And exotic. And powerful. Given this class is about the empowering of women, and minorities, and those traditionally without voice, and she’s as untraditional a person I had ever met, I revived it, revised it, reviewed it, revised it again, and handed it in.

If I had problems with the insane amount of, “you can’t write effectively about this because you’re white,” and, “you can’t write about this because you’re male,” restrictions–and then being told I must write it in a social justice vein, where I’m expected to write about an issue I have no business writing about–surely I found a way around it by telling a fairy tale story based strongly on a real life, honest-to-god person.

Not so much. Continue reading

I Tiptoe Around (Some) Empowered Women in Literature and TV

This semester, I’ve been studying American Indian Survivance Discourse. I’ve been studying code-switching and the importance of diversity in voice through minority writing. I’ve been studying transgender literature. Fairy tale literature. LGBQ literature. It’s beautiful.

Most recently, I’ve been studying the poet Adrienne Rich. While all the subjects I put in my head this semester has had an impact on me, to varying degrees, Rich never ceases to explode my thought. Boom. And the kicker is, I studied her seven years ago with similar effect. Her insights are mind-curling, deep and twisting and nearly self-aware. And she made sense, on Thursday, in a way that fit something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

She said that for her to be a truly independent woman writer, she had to stop using men’s sensibilities and styles while writing.

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Sex (and my) Fantasy (novel)

Intimate relationships catalyze stories in ways other actions do not. I believe that if I could write all the emotions that go into a really satisfying poop, I’d approach a similar feeling. But then, unless the character involved was a part of a really intimate relationship, this character would be alone after the poop as well.

Person-to-person connection is a fundamental part of life. The past few novels I have worked on has seen little of the sexual side. A novel I essentially finished in 2009 has the few sexy scenes of a budding relationship. It’s great. I got hot writing it. I get hot reading it.

I want more of it. Continue reading

My Nine Year Novel, and Why It Isn’t Published

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Warmest winter day ever.

Spring break is almost over! Yaaay (boo)! I still don’t have all my homework done. Exactly what I expected to happen this break, despite spending over 15 hours on courses already.

Between paper research that may or may not include multiple watchings of Idiocracy and This Film is Not Yet Rated, I’ve also been tackling professional representation/improvement on my writing work. My journey with this, the greatest failure and success of a novel, is a long and sordid one: one I wish to talk about for others in a similar field.

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Prompt: Request

Good afternoon, WordPress friends!

For anyone interested in assisting me: if the world ended, and you had a way of cataloguing important people who died, and where, who would you include? I’m gathering a list to add to my novel Corpus Paradisum.

This is an homage to Ezra Pound’s Cantos, and how he catalogued all the artistic potential lost in World War I. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Chris