Pixel Scroll 2/11/18 ’The Scroll of Doctor Pixel And Other Stories’ And Other Stories

1) EXTENDING LIFE FOR ISS? TechCrunch says: “The Trump administration is reportedly moving to privatize the International Space Station”. (“I’m sorry, Dave, but it will cost you $2.5 million to open the pod bay doors.”)

The Trump administration is planning to privatize the international space station instead of simply decommissioning the orbiting international experiment in 2024, according to a report in The Washington Post

According to a document obtained by the Post, the current administration is mulling handing the International Space Station off to private industry instead of de-orbiting it as NASA “will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”

The Post also reported that the administration was looking to request $150 million in fiscal year 2019 “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS — potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed.”

(2) PALEYFEST. PaleyFest LA puts fans in the same room with over a hundred TV stars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood from March 16-25. This almost throws Comic-Con in the shade. Deaadline reports: “PaleyFest LA Sets Talent From ‘Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Queen Sugar’, ‘Riverdale’ For TV Event”.

In addition to the previously announced opening night tribute to Barbra Streisand, the lineup at this year’s fest includes over 100 stars from some of the best shows making waves on television  including Seth MacFarlane, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Iain Armitage, Zoe Perry, Freddie Highmore, Rutina Wesley, Ava DuVernay, KJ Apa, and Lili Reinhart.

PaleyFest LA 2018 gives fans access to special screenings, exclusive conversations, and behind-the-scenes scoops and breaking news from the stars and creative minds behind their favorite shows. This years shows include The Orville, Will & Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale, Silicon Valley, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, The Good Doctor, Mom, Queen Sugar, Riverdale, and Stranger Things….

Click the link to see all the stars who will be appearing for these shows —

Friday, March 16: Opening Night Presentation: PaleyFest Icon: An Evening with Barbra Streisand (7:30 pm):

Saturday, March 17: FOX’s The Orville (2:00 pm):

Saturday, March 17: NBC’s Will & Grace (7:00 pm): 

Sunday, March 18: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (2:00 pm):

Tuesday, March 20: CW’s Supernatural (6:45 pm):

Wednesday, March 21: CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon (7:30 pm) 

Thursday, March 22: ABC’s The Good Doctor (7:30 pm):

Saturday, March 24: CBS’s Mom (2:00 pm):

Saturday, March 24: OWN’s Queen Sugar (7:00 pm):

Sunday, March 25: CW’s Riverdale (2:00 pm):

Sunday, March 25: Netflix’s Stranger Things (7:00 pm):

(3) CHANGING THE CHANNEL. Abigail Nussbaum covers new TV shows in “Winter Crop, 2018 Edition”.

…I don’t know if I’m going to stay in love with all of these shows (three episodes in, I’m starting to lose patience with Counterpart, for example), but they have a hook that the fall’s carefully samey procedurals don’t even try for.

  • Black Lightning – There’s a scene about halfway through the premiere episode of the CW’s latest DC superhero show that really made me sit up, and think that maybe we were about to get a genuinely revolutionary take on this increasingly problematic concept.  Retired superhero turned school principal Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) has just rescued his daughter from the clutches of a gang boss, in the process causing panic at a nightclub.  Wandering outside the club in a daze, he’s discovered by some cops, who immediately train their guns on him and order him to “get [his] black ass on the ground”.  Jefferson could comply–as he did earlier in the day when he was pulled over for “fitting the description” of a liquor store robber–and his powers mean that he isn’t in any immediate danger.  Nevertheless, a long litany of frustration, including from the earlier run-in with the police, takes its toll, and he clenches his fists and lets fly with his electric powers, leaving the cops alive but on the ground as he power-walks away.It’s a scene that feels important for two reasons.  First, because of how rarely black heroes–and black superheroes in particular–are allowed to express anger, much less allow themselves to be overcome by it.  Think, for example, of the MCU’s black heroes–Falcon, War Machine, Luke Cage, and Black Panther–and how often they’re positioned as the level-headed, or cheerful, counterpoint to a hotheaded or angsty white hero.  Even as heroes of their own stories, these characters are expected to proceed with calm deliberation, and are rarely allowed to express rage or frustration–in Civil War, T’challa is seeking justice for the recent murder of his father, and yet he spends the film acting cool and collected, while Captain America and Iron Man’s every temper tantrum is indulged and excused.  For Black Lightning to allow its titular hero to feel rage–to make that expression of rage our introduction to him as a person with powers–feels like a thesis statement, as well as a deliberate rebuke to the stereotype of the angry black man.

(4) LOST AND NOT FOUND. An interview with a student of manuscripts in The Guardian: “‘I really want to find it before I die’: why are we so fascinated by lost books? “

Does the Book of Kells lose any of its allure when a mass-produced paperback version is available to buy just feet away, in Trinity College Dublin’s gift shop? No, says de Hamel: “There are things you’ll see in an original manuscript that even a microfilm or digitised surrogate cannot convey – drypoint glosses, erasures, sewing holes, underdrawing, changes of parchment, subtleties of colour, loss of leaves, patina of handling – even smell and touch and sound, which can transform knowledge and understanding of the text when its scribes made it and first readers saw it.” So, when we mourn lost manuscripts, it’s not just over the disappearance of words, we are also losing an understanding of the process of their creation – the author’s scribbles, their hasty additions, their fraught deletions.

There are many lost books that de Hamel hopes to one day see: “The Book of Kells had more leaves in the 17th century than it does now. Are they somewhere in someone’s scrapbook? The 12th-century Winchester Bible, perhaps the greatest English medieval work of art, had a number of miniatures cut out, possibly as recently as the 20th century: some, at least, probably do exist. I really, really want to find one before I die.”

(5) HEFTY TOME. If you want a hardcover of Rosarium’s massive Sunspot Jungle, pledge the fundraiser – see details at “Sunspot Jungle: Kickstarter Exclusive Hardcover Edition”.

 On June 17, 2018, Rosarium Publishing will be turning five years old. So, we’ve decided to throw a little party. Since we like to say we “introduce the world to itself,” we just knew it had to be a global party!

Like any good party, we’ve invited some friends, acquaintances, associates, people we’ve heard good things about, and some complete strangers.

The end result is Sunspot Jungle!

A two-volume, spec fic anthology filled with stories from over 100 writers from around the world!!!

This campaign is for special hardcover editions of the anthology only available to you Kickstarter supporters.

(The paperback for Vol. 1 will be out in December while the one for Vol. 2 will be released in spring of 2019.)

(6) GAVIN OBIT. John Gavin (1931-2018): US actor who later became a diplomat, died February 9, aged 86. Screen appearances include the horror classic Psycho, the psychological drama Midnight Lace (both 1960), two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1963/65). Reportedly signed up to play James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever until Sean Connery agreed to return to the role, but this apparent setback allowed him to fulfil a lifelong dream to become the US ambassador to Mexico.

(7) CATHEY OBIT. Reg E Cathey (1958-2018): US actor, died February 9, aged 59. Genre appearances include Star Trek: The Next Generation (one episode, 1993), The Mask (1994), Tank Girl (1995), Grimm (three episodes, 2013), Banshee (two episodes, 2014), Banshee Origins (three episodes, 2014), Fantastic Four (2015). He also provided a voice for the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic – Rise of the Hutt Cartel (2013).

(8) JONES OBIT. Mickey Jones (1941-2018): US musician and actor, died February 7, aged 76. Genre appearances include The Incredible Hulk (three episodes, 1978-81), Galactica 1980 (one episode, 1980), Starman (1984), Misfits of Science (one episode, 1985), ALF (one episode, 1986), Probe (one episode, 1988), Something Is Out There (six episodes, 1988), Total Recall (1990), It Came From Outer Space II (1996), Penny Dreadful (2006), Necrosis (2009), Deadtime Stories (one episode, 2013).

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

(10) WOODEN YOU LIKE TO KNOW? Another case where a gang of facts dismantle a wonderful story: “Did Abraham Lincoln sleep here?”

Visitors to a small log cabin in Kentucky are right to ask: Is it true that Abraham Lincoln slept here? On the eve of Lincoln’s 209th birthday tomorrow, Brook Silva-Braga has the answer:

Professor Henri Grissino-Mayer has come to Hodgenville, Kentucky to solve a mystery almost as old as Abraham Lincoln himself.

Silva-Braga asked, “So, someone pulls off the highway, sees you guys drilling into this cabin and says, ‘What are you doing here?’ what do you say to them?”

“What we’re trying to do is authenticate when this cabin was made by using the tree rings in the logs,” he replied.

(11) VESTED INTERESTS. In the past five years Disneyland has experienced growth in these social groups, and now two are in court — “They’re Disneyland superfans. Why a lawsuit is alleging gangster-like tactics against one social club”.

They stroll through Disneyland in packs of 20 or more, motley crews that resemble a cross between the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and a grown-up Mickey Mouse Club with their Disney-themed tattoos and their matching denim vests strewn with trading pins and logos.

Disneyland social clubs, by most accounts, are harmless alliances of friends and family who meet up at the park to share a nerdy obsession for all things Disney. With club names such as Tigger Army and Neverland Mermaids, how threatening can they be?

… But a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court has revealed a dark undercurrent to the pastime. The head of one club has accused another of using gangster-like tactics to try to collect “protection” money for a charity fundraiser at the park.

The lawsuit reads like mob movie set in a theme park. The plot revolves around the Main Street Fire Station 55 Social Club, whose leaders claim they have been bullied and terrorized by the head of the White Rabbits Social Club.

(12) LOOKBACK. The British Science Fiction Association’s Vector does a science roundup in “Vector’s pick of science news in 2017”.

First of all, water. Two new inventions for increasing the supply of drinking water caught our eye:

In other exciting news regarding fluids, albeit less immediately applicable: scientists have made a fluid with negative mass. But then, the usefulness of inventions is often hard to judge….

(13) I’VE BEEN TO OKLAHOMA, BUT I’VE NEVER BEEN TO KLINGON. Even people in Tulsa have heard about it now — the Tulsa World ran a story about the Swedish production Hampus Eckerman brought to our attention last month — “Brush up on your Klingon for a new vacation hotspot”.

In search of a new and different vacation spot, with great food and cultural delights? Look no further.

A theater in Stockholm is playing host to a Klingon delegation seeking to promote tourism to Qo’nos (pronounced “Kronos”), the home planet of the ruthless yet honorable race of warriors from the cult TV franchise “Star Trek.”

(14) DOESN’T LEAVE MUCH TO WATCH. At Superversive SF, Anthony M tells about the unrewarding experience of trying to “retake the culture” — “The Problem of the Scold” [Internet Archive page].

Right now those of us on the cutting edge of the coming revolution in the entertainment field face a very thorny problem: We are scolds.

Brian Neimeier has – correctly, in my view – pointed out that we should simply be refusing to see films and shows written by people who hate us and that direct their hate at us.

So no Star Wars. No Star Trek. It is looking increasingly likely that Marvel movies are just about done. Television? Forget it, pretty much. Netflix, the exceptions are few and far between. Should we be supporting Netflix anyway?

… They get annoyed at me. I’m a killjoy. I’m a wet blanket. I see politics in everything. I’m ruining their fun. And of course, in a sense, they are exactly right. Nobody wants to hear me bash “Frozen”, because it will ruin the movie for them. And they like the movie!

I have turned myself into a scold. Many of us have. Nobody likes scolds. We’re negative and we annoy people. And scolding so far has not worked outside of getting people who already agree to clap their hands.

(15) PRECEDENT. NPR looks at influences on the world of the new movie — “Black Panther’s Mythical Home May Not Be So Mythical After All” – and finds a similarity to a historic African empire built on trade instead of military might.

There are different theories about the real-life inspiration for Wakanda. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who authored a reboot of the Black Panther comic series, explained his in this post for The Atlantic’s website. But the actor Chadwick Boseman, who plays Black Panther on screen, told The New York Times that Wakanda is a fictional version of “the Mutapa empire of 15th-century Zimbabwe.”

So how does the mythical Wakanda compare to the real-life Mutapa?

Stretching from modern-day South Africa into Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia, the kingdom of Mutapa thrived from the early 1400s to about 1760.

“Mutapa operated on three basic levels: they had a capital city, provinces and little villages,” says Professor Angelo Nicolaides of the University of South Africa. Chiefs ruled at each of these levels under the supreme authority of the king, known as the Munhumutapa.

Like so many other kingdoms that believed in the divine right of kings, “the Mutapan people believed that their leaders were placed in positions of authority by the creator,” says Nicolaides. “The oral tradition tells us that they were involved in ancestral worship to a large extent, and the people believed that the kings had a very good relationship with the spirit world.”

(16) CONFERENCE OVERLOAD IN DC. T.M. Shine has a piece in Washington Post Magazine about how many conventions he could go to in Washington in a week.  Among the events he went to were Fortfest 2017, the International Fortean Organization convention, and Blerdcon, which started off as a con for “black nerds” and evolved into a con for people who like to wear superhero costumes — “Net neutrality, sex, falconry: In one week, I crashed as many D.C. conferences as possible”.

I’m romping around this convention, mingling with those dressed in costume, which is basically everybody. Blerdcon started as a celebration of black nerds, and then all minority nerds, but now it seems to be simply all of us — white, black, Hispanic, Asian. My costume is weak, I admit — just me with my various conference badges — but I begin to imagine everything from laser beams to android shrapnel bouncing off them. But what would my superhero name be? Evolution Man sounds too grand. I kind of like Symposium Man, but what would his powers be? Powerful personal anecdotes that freeze listeners in their tracks? The ability to spot a raised hand from 100 yards?

(17) WHAT DRONES CAN DO. The PyeongChang Olympics opened with 1218 drones filling the sky in the formation of the Olympic flag.

Good Morning America talks about how it was done.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Steve Green, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Will R., Carl Slaughter, Jeffrey Smith, ULTRAGOTHA, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

135 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/11/18 ’The Scroll of Doctor Pixel And Other Stories’ And Other Stories

  1. I have turned myself into a scold. Many of us have. Nobody likes scolds. We’re negative and we annoy people.

    I’m guessing this is a bad time to wish them a happy Darwin Day.

  2. I don’t see it.. the fathers in The Road, Signs, Interstellar, 2005 War of the Worlds, the Thor movies, Arrival, The Force Awakens, even Guardians of the Galaxy II were not useless buffoons. They were villains, or heroes, or men doing their best and making mistakes, or various other character concepts, but genre movies of the last 20 years can’t be said to “usually” have fathers in general portrayed as “useless buffoons.”

  3. @Dann:

    Valid criticisms notwithstanding, commercial interests have been the single greatest motivation for the advancement of humanity and the human condition. So neither should be much of a surprise.

    This is a common delusion. Was Fleming being commercial (to take a concrete example)? In larger scale, what about Einstein, or Newton, or …? And if you’re going to talk about the wins of commercial interests, you also need to talk about their losses.
    And wrt Frozen, you need to watch the last few minutes.

  4. Perhaps related, but one reason why I watch a lot less of what comes out of Hollywood is that they are openly hostile towards me and some of my values. For most of the last 20 years, fathers have been portrayed as useless buffoons.

    I think it requires some tunnel vision to believe that fathers are all being portrayed in a way that’s “openly hostile” to your values. There are fathers of all kinds in movies — good, bad, indifferent, absent.

  5. @Dann

    Perhaps related, but one reason why I watch a lot less of what comes out of Hollywood is that they are openly hostile towards me and some of my values. For most of the last 20 years, fathers have been portrayed as useless buffoons. Films like “American Sniper” are rare. Films that are critical of the U.S. are frequent.

    The problem with sweeping generalizations is that they completely undercut any validity of your point. There have been hundreds of examples of movies with non-bumbling fathers and zero critical elements in the portrayal of the US in the last 20 years. The sheer volume of media that is generated every year and the scope of content makes any argument that there is a specific, committed message agreed on and pushed industry-wide almost conspiracy level thinking.

    The bumbling father thing is a trope that goes back thousands of years. Claiming that it is some kind of liberal messaging to undermine traditional families or anything recent is vastly incorrect. Just off the top of my head, I can think of examples from back when Rome was still a republic. Claiming it was any different twenty years ago is your own perception bias, not truth.

    Criticism is a fine thing. But they seem to shy away from stories that focus on what the US gets right as well as movies that are critical of left of center ideals.

    Man, as a non-American, the sheer amount of pro-American propaganda and flag-waving that Hollywood puts out is staggering. It is rare that any American media fundamentally questions the core of American values, or shows transgressions by America to other nationalities as anything other than a rogue, individual actor which the ‘goodness’ of the US heals in the end. American entertainment is still slavishly devoted to the idea of America the Good.

    Basically, I’m tired of a subculture that shelters people like Weinstein/Polanski/Woody Allen all while lecturing and hectoring middle America about being awful people.

    I’m tired of a subculture that shelters people like Roy Moore/Joel Osteen/Richard Spencer all while lecturing and hectoring Americans about being awful people.

    Hollywood, like everything else, isn’t a homogeneous entity with a single culture and lockstep philosophy. It’s a convenient and frankly lazy assertion of the Right to give themselves an easy punching bag.

  6. More examples of modern fathers who are not portrayed as bumblers or buffoons: John Winchester in Supernatural; the sheriff in Stranger Things (complicated, but was a good father, and took on fathering 11); Eddard in GoT; Ned Flanders in The Simpsons (a complete dork, and warped by his religious beliefs, but ultimately a loving father and stark contrast to Homer); Stabler in L&O: SVU; Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) in Brooklyn 99… there are others, but I’m terrible at remembering things.

  7. I see annoying numbers of Bumbling Dads in tv ads. Or maybe I just used to, and the annoyance over it is a lingering effect.

    But there are also good dads in ads, solid dads in solid relationships raising good kids, or single dads also raising good kids.

    And very often, their existence is highlighted by the outrage from the right wing, that they are part of mixed race families, or same sex couples (very rarely, but you’d never know that from the bellowing), or doing chores, like cooking, that da wimmins should be doing.

    It’s not 1950, anymore, and never will be again. Even here in 622 A.D., we know that much.

  8. I sympathize with someone else not wanting to watch or read, or pay for, movies, books, etc. that hate them, because I feel much the same way myself. But there’s a huge difference between “this movie doesn’t treat me and my values sympathetically” and “no movies treat me and my values sympathetically.”

    How much would most women have left to read, or watch, if we avoided any publisher or movie company that produced some works that treated women as inferior or laughable?

    This seems like an appropriate time to mention the Bechdel test: the character om Dykes to Watch Out For wasn’t asking for movies whose main characters were women, or movies that treated all their female characters respectfully: she was asking for movies that had any two women characters talking to each other about anything other than a man. Their careers, a missing puppy, one character’s cancer biopsy, an approaching asteroid…

  9. @Dann

    For most of the last 20 years, fathers have been portrayed as useless buffoons.

    That seemed more like a heavy trope used in most 80’s and 90’s sitcoms. More modern sitcoms have tried to veer away from every father being a Homer or a Al Bundy (or a Fred Flinstone), heck the actor for Al is now a character in Modern Family that there are jokes of but he’s portrayed as a successful guy who has nothing but love and is there for his children, step child and grandchildren. Bob’s Burgers the father is a goofball but always as a loving father and dedicated husband. The Middle certainly tried to portray middle class families and the father as a hard worker who loved but didn’t always understand his kids. Fresh Off the Boat’s father figure is great.

    Then again sitcoms have veered away from family humor and is more centered around work places or mid-twenties character situational humor. Or the newer trend (going back to Al Bundy) of characters that are supposed to be jerks and part of the humor is laughing at what happens to them (Always Sunny).

    But there’ve been a lot of great dad’s in media. The father from Psych, in Finding Nemo, in Juno, etc. Hell It Comes At Night certainly is about the horrors of a father making tough decisions. Micro is a concerned father in the Punisher from a weird perspective. On a more uplifting note, Wonder and Gifted. (Edit: Oh! Can’t forget SAGA!)

    From a SFF point one of my favorite books tackles the issue in a weird way in Tigerman by Nick Harkaway.

  10. I’m surprised to see rhetoric about 100% bumbling TV dads when This Is Us and Jack the Most Wonderful Dad Ever are front and center. His son Randall is also shown as a fantastic dad. Also on TV dramas, Deacon on Nashville is a pretty darn good dad and Avery is a much better dad than his wife Juliette is a mother. If we’re only talking comedy, yes, the four fathers on Modern Family are goofy, but also shown as loving and caring parents. And they’re no goofier than the mothers, of whom there two (as compared to four dads).

  11. @Lis Carey

    I see annoying numbers of Bumbling Dads in tv ads. Or maybe I just used to, and the annoyance over it is a lingering effect.

    Advertising is part of it as well. Maybe the trend has shifted some. There was a time when I watched more TV. Now I watch less of it. The “dad factor” is one of many reasons why I watch less.

    @Vicki Rosenzweig

    “no movies treat me and my values sympathetically.”

    Permit me to amend my comments away from giving the impression that no movies/TV shows treat my values sympathetically. I find the trend to be that media treats my values in a hostile manner more frequently than it treats them sympathetically. The difference is enough to motivate me away from consuming their product on a regular basis.

    @Dex

    Love your avatar, BTW. That’s one of my favorite Heinlein works.

    American entertainment is still slavishly devoted to the idea of America the Good.

    On balance we are “good”, IMHO. Not perfect. But good.

    Your thoughts about sweeping generalizations are appropriate as I indicated/modified above. From my perspective, the trend is away from my interests.

    ————-

    In general, a lot of what motivates my disinterest did come from the 80s and 90s. I’m glad to hear that things may have changed for the better in that area.

    Regards,
    Dann
    ‘There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.’ Ray Bradbury

  12. While I enjoyed (and still enjoy from time to time) “Frozen” quite a bit, some of the criticism is valid. Elsa never really learns to control her power. She is told to keep it under wraps (not good) or she “lets it go” (also not good). We never see her learning moderation within the context of the movie.

    I thought the whole point was that Elsa learns that the power of love — not romantic love; familial love — is what lets her moderate her powers. She loves her sister; her sister loves her, and boosh! the frozen heart unfreezes; the frozen city can be thawed as well.

    It’s a bit sudden, but it’s all about the power of love.

  13. Heck, even Homer Simpson, at least in the first several seasons, was often trying to be a good & loving father, and you got the feeling that the family as a whole did care for each other; as opposed to, say, Married With Children, where everybody’s distaste for each other was palpable.

  14. @Peer:

    The same plot, but with Sven as the hero who safes everyone and nobody would care about plotholes.

    The movie contributes to the confusion, but Sven is the reindeer. (Which might well have been your point. And why not have the reindeer save the day?)

    Sven’s human is named Kristoff, FWIW

  15. I can confirm that fatherhood definitely results in not always getting to watch the TV shows you want to.

  16. … the actor for Al is now a character in Modern Family …

    That show is a great counter-example to the idea all dads are bumbling. Every father in the show is a dedicated parent. They all are used as comic foils sometimes but are also shown to be skilled and accomplished. Phil Dunphy is one of my favorite TV deads ever.

    However, Modern Family also has two gay dads, so it probably passes a scold’s “this show hates my values” test anyway.

  17. There is a TV trope involving dads I grew to dislike because of overuse: the non-existent dad. From Toy Story on there was a string of Disney and Disney-like fare for children in which the dad wasn’t around at all.

    I’m a child of divorce and can relate to the stories centered on a heroic single mother, but as a married dad raising kids at the time I wanted to see some laudable fathers.

  18. @rcade

    However, Modern Family also has two gay dads, so it probably passes the “this show hates my values” test anyway.

    Perhaps for some folks. I’m not sure when I gave the impression that it was true for me.

    Regards,
    Dann
    This Tagline is OFF TOPIC! (as if the rest of the message wasn’t)

  19. rcade

    However, Modern Family also has two gay dads, so it probably passes a scold’s “this show hates my values” test anyway.

    Pffft only two Dads? Captain James Holden of the Rocinate has 4.

  20. For most of the last 20 years, fathers have been portrayed as useless buffoons. Films like “American Sniper” are rare. Films that are critical of the U.S. are frequent.

    *blink blink* We are living on the same planet, right? third out from the sun?

  21. One of my favorite scenes in Avengers 2? When Hawkeye takes the team home and we get to see him as a loving father and husband. Up to that point, we had no idea of this side of him, and it really illuminated him as a character, and it was really touching to see it.

  22. Nemo anybody? The Incredibles? Moana? Jeez, Blade Runner 2049? The Force Awakens? Useless fathers, everybody, eh?

  23. @Dann-‘

    Growing up female meant growing up with almost no positive, active, role models of my gender at all. There were exceptions, but mostly, if I wanted to invest in an interesting and positive character, it was going to be male. I think it’s better for Millennials. That change may have started while Gen-X was growing up. But us Boomers? We were mostly stuck.

    So there are a few too many bumbling dads in tv and movies. It’s unfortunate. But not every male character is a flailing, bumbling dad. Most aren’t. Until relatively recently, it was hard to find any strong, capable, lead characters who weren’t white males.

    Trust me when I say you can enjoy tv and movies anyway, if you want to.

    And it’s okay not to want to, too.

    @BigelowT–
    I am vaguely aware that This Is Us might be a tv show in which something bad happened to a crockpot recently. First I ever heard of the show! For real.

    Here in 3900, even though the tech is better than in 622, it’s still hard to keep up with everything.

  24. Perhaps for some folks. I’m not sure when I gave the impression that it was true for me.

    My comment wasn’t about you specifically. It was a general observation that people who say that Hollywood is hostile to their values are often conservative Christians like John C. Wright who regard the existence of a gay character as an attack on their values.

  25. @Dann

    On balance we are “good”, IMHO. Not perfect. But good.

    Hollywood has been your ally in that position for a very long time and, by and large, still is. However, one factor of marginalized voices and non-American creatives rising in media of all types is the emergence of work from the perspectives of the people for whom America has not been good or depictions of history that are not distorted to fit a pro-American viewpoint. The fact that there still isn’t a lot of this work makes it stand out against the background of normal cinema and possibly amplifies them in your perspective, making it seem more significant and common than it actually is.

    JOB is one of my favourite Heinlein books. And the Michael Whalen cover is genius.

  26. Dann: I hope it’s a second case of “tweaked on the edit” that has you misquoting someone again. In the text I read, rcade specifies “a scold’s” values.

    Rcade: Disney is notorious for having absent/dead parents in general, male and female. It was one of the tjings I liked anout Moana: two live parents with good intentions and good motivation; even when Moana actively disagrees with Dad, he’s not Triton who never listens.

  27. I have turned myself into a scold. Many of us have. Nobody likes scolds. We’re negative and we annoy people.

    What strikes me about this statement is that I have heard it several times on the leftist side. Why can’t you just enjoy the movie without focusing on the lack of diversity/ gratuitous violence etc?

  28. Heh! I am occasionally guilty of killing off fathers (and parents in general) or otherwise strategically removing them from storylines, because certainly in kid books, it’s frankly a helluva lot easier to get the parents out of the way. Otherwise you have to deal with the fact that no adult in their right mind would let kids get into the kind of dangers that they get into, and you can’t have them fall through a portal to Narnia EVERY time.

    (My current series does in fact have both parents around, but they’re both comic relief. Dad at least is always supportive–“I don’t care if you turn into a weasel during the full moon, you’re still my daughter and I love you!”–often somewhat past the point of helpfulness.)

    Mind you, I think there’s something of a lack of books for adults, at least in SFF that model parenting well–but I also think I’m not the person who’s going to write those books, nor the audience to read them, so I’m not equipped to say much beyond that.

  29. WRT “Frozen”
    I’m very active in the Frozen fandom on tumblr and have written 20 fanfics in that universe. I hadn’t realized that VD hated Elsa, or that the movie had engendered such animosity from The Usual Suspects.

    However, to circle back to female empowerent: one ongoing controversy in the fandom is the role of Hans. There is one group that loves him and yearns for his ‘redemption’. Then there are folks like myself who see him as the devil, a murderous psychopath who left a dying woman with a sneer.

    The two groups seem to be divided by age: I am older, and have seen too many women succumb to the charms of Hans-like men. Rob Porter seems to be the latest exemplar of the type: handsome, charming, accomplished … and a serial wife-beater.

    The younger crowd hasn’t seen as many of their friends in emergency rooms or morgues due to Hans-like men.

    In any case, Elsa struck a chord, somehow. She had very little screen time compared to Anna, and even with “Let It Go”, her popularity is still somewhat puzzling.

    I personally love her because she is flawed, sexy, powerful, competent and self-contained. She doesn’t need any romantic interest to be complete. She loves her family and is a responsible ruler. What’s not to like?

  30. bookworm1398 on February 12, 2018 at 2:43 pm said

    What strikes me about this statement is that I have heard it several times on the leftist side. Why can’t you just enjoy the movie without focusing on the lack of diversity/ gratuitous violence etc?

    Personally I can enjoy a movie and also can criticize things I would consider problematic without it being an either/or situation, though in some cases the treatment of different types of characters can leave a bad taste in my mouth or sour the experience for me. Much like Dann with how father characters are treated a person gets tired of seeing X treated the same in every movie, whether that’s always an antagonist, or comic relief, a thug, a sidepiece to the main character or an object to win. It’s like jeez, again?

    And how a person is affected by that varies person to person, as what makes something difficult to enjoy for you may not be for me.

    Like gratuitous violence. I watch horror movies and graphic action movies and a lot of kung fu movies. I don’t have a problem with it however I can understand those that do. Especially since fictional murder has become rather routine, I mean goddamn John Wick on TV had more curse words censored than graphic headshots and I thought they’d cut that movie down to 20 minutes.

  31. My now grown children say that the only fictional parents that resemble their own were Linda Hamilton in Terminator II and Liam Neeson in Taken. Nicest thing anyone’s ever said about us!

  32. Man, as a non-American, the sheer amount of pro-American propaganda and flag-waving that Hollywood puts out is staggering. It is rare that any American media fundamentally questions the core of American values, or shows transgressions by America to other nationalities as anything other than a rogue, individual actor which the ‘goodness’ of the US heals in the end. American entertainment is still slavishly devoted to the idea of America the Good.

    WORD!

  33. Dann: one reason why I watch a lot less of what comes out of Hollywood is that they are openly hostile towards me and some of my values. For most of the last 20 years, fathers have been portrayed as useless buffoons. Films like “American Sniper” are rare. Films that are critical of the U.S. are frequent.

    Oh, this is just baloney. As other people have pointed out, there are many, many films and TV shows which portray fathers in a positive light. Likewise, there are many, many films and TV shows which portray the U.S. in a positive light:
    Zero Dark Thirty, World Trade Center, United 93, Charlie Wilson’s War, Saving Private Ryan, Taking Chance, Unbroken, We Were Soldiers, The Patriot, Miracle, The Blind Side, The Martian, Armageddon, The Majestic, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and on and on and on.

    Hell, in Argo they even took the heroic role played by the Canadians in real life and gave it to the Americans in the movie.

    It seems to me that you are suffering from the white American male version of the “women speaking” misperception. Now that less than 100% of movies feature positive father figures and portray the U.S. in a positive light, you feel as though hardly any of them do — when in reality, probably around 80% or 90% of them still do.

    As Lis Carey points out, everyone who is not a white American male has spent their lives reading books and watching TV shows and films where their values were either barely reflected, or not reflected at all.

    You don’t have to read or watch anything you don’t want to, but for pete’s sake, stop whining like a spoiled little baby about the fact that now not 100% of everything is about white American males being the hero.

  34. Now that less than 100% of movies feature positive father figures

    Others have pointed this out, but that’s inaccurate. Bumbling dads have long been a cultural staple. Nor am I sure criticism of America has increased. In particular, I feel we’re often a lot less critical of our military than we used to be.

    (ETA: we’re probably more critical of racism and sexism, but even so Baldwin’s The Devil Finds Work is still timely.)

  35. Dann:

    ”Films like “American Sniper” are rare. Films that are critical of the U.S. are frequent.”

    Thank god for this. Pure military propaganda where genocidal murderers are displayed as heroes. With all their defects carefully removed. Like when Black Hawk Down carefully removed the convicted pedophile from the script and skipped out on US bombing the giant peace meeting right before the events of the film (the book is very different).

    Chris Kyle, aka the American Sniper, bragged about how it was fun to kill people, talked about the iraqis as ”savages” and said he didn’t ”give a flying fuck” about them. He bragged about murdering looters during Katrina. And still he himself looter the apartmentd of Fallujah, stealing from the iraqi inhabitants.

    The movie should have been called ”American Psycho”.

  36. With regards to ”bumbling dads” (a trope in Sweden too), I think the problem is that women aren’t allowed to be ”bumbling mothers”. Their job is to always be the voce of common sense, nagging about what is right, taking the children and leaving (disappearing from the movie as a whole) and then come back and forgive everything at the end. If they are shown as bumbling, it is always about being bad mothers which they can never be forgiven for.

  37. Man, as a non-American, the sheer amount of pro-American propaganda and flag-waving that Hollywood puts out is staggering. It is rare that any American media fundamentally questions the core of American values, or shows transgressions by America to other nationalities as anything other than a rogue, individual actor which the ‘goodness’ of the US heals in the end. American entertainment is still slavishly devoted to the idea of America the Good.

    Totally agree with this. The vast majority of Hollywood movies still portray the US as unambiguously positive. Hell, Hollywood even made a propaganda picture about someone like Chris Kyle and nominated it for several Oscars. If you’re troubled by the way the US is portrayed in Hollywood movies, try being Russian or German or Serbian or Muslim some time.

    Regarding the bumbling dad trope, as others have said, it goes back a long time and I don’t actually see all that many bumbling dads outside advertising these days. Maybe they are more common in sitcoms, which I don’t watch. And I find the nagging and unlikeable mother that Hampus mentioned a far more problematic trope than the bumbling dad.

    Coincidentally, the one father trope I really dislike is the controlling dad who has a freakout every time his teenaged daughter as much as looks at a boy (and would have a nervous breakdown, if the daughter looked at a girl, except that everybody in those stories is inevitably straight).

  38. (14)

    Brian Neimeier has – correctly, in my view – pointed out that we should simply be refusing to see films and shows written by people who hate us and that direct their hate at us.

    So no Star Wars. No Star Trek. It is looking increasingly likely that Marvel movies are just about done. Television? Forget it, pretty much. Netflix, the exceptions are few and far between. Should we be supporting Netflix anyway?

    So the creators of Star Wars, the creators of Star Trek, the creators of the Marvel movies, the creators of all (most?) television programs, and the creators of most Netflix shows… hate Brian Neimeier, Anthony M, and their clique? Not only hate them, but are invested enough in hating them to direct their hate at them?

    How did Mr. Neimeier, Mr. M, and their cronies even meet so many busy people (the creators of three major movie franchises, everyone producing TV shows, and almost everyone producing Netflix shows), let alone make enemies with them–such important enemies that those busy people now direct their hate at these guys?

    Or… or.... now bear with me and my crazy theory here…. Is it possible that Mr. N, Mr. M, and their friends are ludicrously personalizing the productions of huge swathes of creators who don’t think about them at all? Is it just barely possible that when they see a Star Wars production they don’t like, instead of saying, “I don’t like that movie” (or “that whole franchise”), which is what rational people do… they are instead fabricating the self-absorbed claim out of thin air that, “The things I don’t like about that movie were all put in there specifically to target hate at me, me, ME, meeeeeeeeee!”

  39. Hampus – That’s a good point, for every bumbling idiot dad there’s a trope for the nagging wife that inexplicably takes him back despite it all over and over and over again. Neither one is a good look

  40. @Dann, in multiple comments:

    one reason why I watch a lot less of what comes out of Hollywood is that they are openly hostile towards me and some of my values.

    If you ever find yourself moved to gripe about a book or movie on the basis that it centers/is about/promotes women, people of color, gays, or basically any other minority… I want you to imagine yourself as a member of that minority and read what you just said from that perspective.

    Imagine yourself as a black man, ask how that “you” might feel about the state of the movie industry, and as if by magic, the black community’s reaction to the Black Panther movie becomes not merely understandable, but obvious to the point of inevitability.

    Picture yourself as a woman, and ask yourself what message the TV/movie industry sends by literally treating women as second-class people at every level – from interns and writers, directors and producers, to actors and characters. Consider how much of a breath of fresh air the occasional exceptions must be, and ask yourself how betrayed you might feel when the fan communities you identify with rail about how awful it is that even those scraps exist to get thrown your way.

    Imagine yourself as a Mexican-American, or a Puerto Rican, or basically any group “with an accent,” and try not to vomit as you take a good, long look at the Republican Party’s discussion of your family, friends, and community. After you flush, search the TV/movie landscape for anything that shows the existence of people like yourself. If you find any, don’t forget to discard the ones that reduce your community’s entire existence to a single token stereotype character or family, secondary or even tertiary to the main characters’ arc.

    As one white American dude to another – brother, if you think we’re the ones getting the short end of the stick from “Hollywood,” it’s time to yank your head out of your ass and look the fuck around for a change. Hollywood fucking celebrates us, and yet a few insufficiently worshipful portrayals are enough to make you take up arms and declare them The Enemy?

    That’s just sick, dude.

    Basically, I’m tired of a subculture that shelters people like Weinstein/Polanski/Woody Allen all while lecturing and hectoring middle America about being awful people.

    Imagine that. Despite their absolutely despicable behavior, those three rich old white guys got deferential treatment in an industry that is run by and caters to… rich old white guys. Whodathunkit? And yet, you see this pattern of Covering Up For White Guys as a symptom of OMG THE LEFTIES RULE from an industry that you deem hostile to “middle America” (aka “the white working class,” aka “white people like Dann”)? Man, what color is the sky on your planet?

    Permit me to amend my comments away from giving the impression that no movies/TV shows treat my values sympathetically. I find the trend to be that media treats my values in a hostile manner more frequently than it treats them sympathetically.

    What colossal bullshit!

    If you, as a straight white Christian American male, are seriously having a hard time finding positive portrayals of your values and your community in the media, I suggest consulting either an optometrist or a proctologist… because you’re either blind or suffering from a severe case of rectocranial inversion.

    Tell ya what. Surveying the entire television landscape would be a huge task, even if we limited it to prime time programming and major channels… but the world of movies is much more manageable. I challenge you to list every movie playing in your area – by which I mean “in a theater close enough to comfortably drive to” by your own standards – and seeing where each one falls on the Dann Scale of Hostility to Values. You have asserted a position; let’s test your thesis with verifiable data. Piece of cake, right?

    BTW, if you feel particularly bold, follow that up by rating the same set of movies on a similar scale where “Dann” is replaced by “gay Puerto Rican” and see how they compare. Your thesis predicts that the latter scale will turn out much more favorably, right? Let’s find out.

    Regards,
    Dann
    ‘There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.’ Ray Bradbury

    I find your choice of tagline hilariously appropriate. (If it’s random – what software are you using to insert them?)

  41. @Cora: “Coincidentally, the one father trope I really dislike is the controlling dad who has a freakout every time his teenaged daughter as much as looks at a boy (and would have a nervous breakdown, if the daughter looked at a girl, except that everybody in those stories is inevitably straight).”

    Have you seen how Black Lightning has treated this? If not, mild spoilers:

    Gur byqre qnhtugre yvxrf tveyf. Ure pbzvat-bhg unccrarq orsber gur svefg rcvfbqr, fb jr bayl urne nobhg vg va n pbairefngvba, ohg gur qrcvpgrq qnq-ernpgvba jnf n srj zvahgrf bs fghaarq fvyrapr, sbyybjrq ol hajnirevat fhccbeg. Gur lbhatre qnhtugre yvxrf oblf, naq jura fur pnfhnyyl naabhaprf (ng qvaare) ure qrpvfvba gb qvfpneq ure ivetvavgl, gur cneragny ernpgvba frrzf (gb zr, naljnl; LZZI) zber yvxr “jr’er pbaprearq orpnhfr fur’f lbhat” guna “uryy, ab.” Jr qb trg n fprar bs Qnq Yvtugavat vagvzvqngvat gur cebfcrpgvir cnegare, ohg vg qbrfa’g tb gur jnl V rkcrpgrq vg gb. (Vg’f n yrffba va ultrvar gung gur xvq nccneragyl arrqrq gb yrnea.)

    I was really happy to see all of that. It would have been So Much Easier to fall back on the clichés, and instead we got solid character moments.

    @Laura: “and the creators of most Netflix shows… hate Brian Neimeier, Anthony M, and their clique?”

    Pretty sure that piece’s author meant “us” in the same sense the so-called Moral Majority did, but your version’s a lot funnier. 😀

  42. It’s not just America the Good, it’s the America *must* be the Good. In U-571 it was Americans who captured the Enigma machine that helped win WW2. That wasn’t how it played out in this timeline.

  43. @Peer Sylvester: Thanks, I’d been holding my breath about the comma! 😉

    @Kip W: Thanks for making me suddenly LOL!

    @Rose Embolism: ISWYDT and I liked it. 🙂

    @Dann: Thanks for linking to your in-process Hugo nom list. I love/hate reading things like that; they remind me how much I want to read! [ETA: …that I don’t have time for]

    @JJ: The artwork is okay, but I don’t care for the colors all that much and the typography almost leaves no room for the art (psniff!). I suspect if I saw the artwork by itself, I’d like it better.

    ::checking the box timidly::

  44. +++Because if you boycot all other SFF, you will obviously want to read that latest JCW book. It’s typical zero sum game thinking.+++

    This reminds me of Alexei Sayle talking about his parents, who were committed Communists in Britain in the… 50s, 60s this would have been? He said they kept trying to work out how they could get the football leagues shut down, on the premise that if football could be abolished all the working-class folks would immediately switch their time and energy to Marxist book groups.

  45. @Rev. Bob: My issues with BL not being in the Arrowverse mainly stem from the hoops they jumped through in order for the first Supergirl/Flash crossover to actually happen cross-network, so if they can include Aryan Postergirl despite real-world obstacles as well as in-universe lore (easily circumvented by Cisco these days admittedly) then they can damn well admit that their first show based around a black superhero, starring mainly black people, is part of that same universe instead of segregating it off into its own little bubble. The optics of that aren’t exactly amazing, given that they want to be perceived as pro-diversity.

  46. Also @Rev. Bob: I have to say that I’m enjoying BL as much or more than the Arrowverse shows currently though, precisely because of moments like the one you ROT13’d above.

    I’d still very much like an admission from the showrunners that yes, BL is *obviously* in the arrowverse because why not? It doesn’t meant they have to crossover immediately, though I will admit that it does put a timer on how long they can put it off simply because of the audience’s expectations. Luckily, the crossovers basically don’t seem to affect the continuity of the shows in any major way and are very easily skippable as a general rule.

    But rather than the full-blown crossover, why not a mini one where Joe and John (and maybe even J’onn? And why are all the black guys given names that begin with J?!) head over to BL’s town for ~reasons while Oliver, Barry et al are busy doing white people things over in *their* shows.

  47. To take up Rev. Bob’s challenge, here are the movies playing right now in my local cinema, capsule reviews:

    Coco: Latino
    Ferdinand: Bull
    50 Shades: Smut
    Jumanji: Coloured folks, gender swapping
    Greatest Showman: Wolverine singing, clearly gay
    The Post: Anti-republican

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