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Discussions on difficult subjects

  • Peter the Bellboy
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So.

Hey everyone.

I wondered if any of you might want to engage in some discussion about things which are a little treacherous to navigate in normal conversations.
Having spent the last half an hour reading reviews of A Wrinkle In Time (and having seen it today), and following that Annihilation review I shared yesterday, I feel like I want to get stuck into some healthy discussion about things like representation and equality. I don't really have many people IRL I can just dive into a serious talk with, but I'm interested to get some opinions and thoughts.

If this sounds like a terrible idea, or not the place to have a discussion, I'll just use my magical moderator powers to trash this topic. But if not... Let me know and I'll get started with some thoughts I've had in the last few days.
dancesoitallkeepsspinning


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I think these forums can be a good place to discuss interests, current events, topics to find common bonds and share ideas/outlooks. I have not seen Wrinkle In Time yet and admittedly it has been decades since I’ve read the book, so erm... can’t really engage much there..

Then again, these days I tend to type less and do want to read more. Always find stuff said in our corner of the Internet, is of interest.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


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Sounds good, Enjoyed. You haven't followed up yet, but I think it's safe to say this community welcomes your thoughts.

For me, I find it amusing that the same audience that for years has enjoyed a male dominant white-washed Hollywood is suddenly speaking out against female directors, black casts, and general diversity in storytelling and production. I immediately think of films like Wonder Woman, Black Panther, and the Disney era of Star Wars and how these benchmark blockbusters are riddled with controversy and labeled as leftest agendas. I'm a long time fan of Star Wars but think a lot of the fans...especially older fans like myself...have been the worst. Guess they're not so much like me after all. I am a fan of equality and support diversity and creativity in the arts and for life in general. And for Star Wars specifically I've found almost all of the criticism regarding the female and non-white characters and executives to be comical.

It's not just the entertainment industry, either. From a U.S. perspective I thought we crossed several hurdles once Obama was elected president. However, 8 years of continual racist commentary coupled with partisan sabotage ended in the election of the current fool, and I can honestly say I am repulsed by the current regressive movements in America and worldwide. I believe the millennials and younger generation can fix this in ways that us gen-xers failed (and the boomers abandoned), but a true movement needs to happen soon before it is too late.

So speak up, even when your voice is alone or it's not considered polite. And even if it turns out you or others completely disagree with me, be it from cultural upbringing, negative experiences,  or simple closed-mindedness, I believe the only way people can work it out is to listen to each other.


  • Peter the Bellboy
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Dude, I completely agree.
Whether it was my upbringing specifically or some other outside factors (without sounding too mean, I do wonder if intelligence - or rather a more open way of exploring ideas in one's own head - is to blame), I do find myself leaning a lot to the left. And I understand that people who have had different experiences and different upbringings maybe can't even comprehend how 'the other side' might think. But for me, I feel like the most important aspect of equality comes down to - "who cares".
An actor is black, an actor is white, an actor is female, an actor is a kid. Who cares? Are they good? Yes? No? That's what the discussion should be about. If a Chinese actress and a black actor are really ruining your experience of the movie, then that sounds like a problem for you, not for the people making the movie. If your criticism is that Finn and Rose's storyline felt unnecessary to the plot and ultimately detracted from the flow of the movie - that's a different issue.

Interestingly, I just watched the new Ricky Gervais stand up yesterday. At the end he talks about people taking offence to things and he used a great analogy. Getting offended about something like a joke about religion or the inclusion of an actor from a different race, is like walking into a town square, seeing a poster for guitar lessons and then getting angry because you don't want guitar lessons. Who cares? You don't want guitar lessons? Don't have guitar lessons. It's not for you. You don't want to enjoy a movie franchise anymore because it has people of a different race in it? Don't go see anymore of the movies then. It was funny to begin with but at some point it just becomes stupid. What are they hoping to achieve by getting mad about the 'left wing' agenda? All you do is push it more by encouraging people to defend it.

This actually ties in with what my initial intention was when I started this topic.

Firstly, let me preface this by saying that:
1. I am a straight, white male from the UK (now living in the States) and I'm not going to pretend that my opinions or feelings on things are representative of all. I know they are warped in their way.
2. I understand this is a very complicated issue and that, arguably, some movement forward (no matter how strained) is better than no movement forward.

Here's the thing I was really struggling with...

Black Panther is a revelation because it stars a predominantly black cast. Annihilation, or the new Ghostbusters if you want, is a step forward because it's a female led movie.
That's great. I'm all for the opportunities of everyone. I really am. But what I don't understand, and can't see the benefit of, is drawing so much bloody attention to it. Does that not just end up being entirely detrimental to the cause?
You know what makes black people or women seem like they are different from white men? Talking about a movie that happens to star them as some big new different thing. How do we move towards equality if we're constantly pointing out the fact that they are different?
Annihilation is actually a really interesting one for me because, again - perhaps due to my upbringing and my position as a comfortable white male - I didn't care who was in it. It honestly, and I really mean this, honestly didn't occur to me that the cast was all women until I watched that Red Letter Media review. I just went to see a sci-fi movie by a director I like and experienced the movie as a movie. Isn't that the exact thing that feminism is striving towards? A time where anyone going to the movies can see anyone of any race or gender or sexual orientation and just enjoy the movie without seeing a difference?
Now, take Black Panther. So much publicity about the cast and how much of a giant step it is for black people to see themselves represented on screen. Now I'm going into a movie seeing something that I'm told is different from me. You know what didn't seem different to me as a kid? Blade. I saw that movie pretty young and instantly wanted to be a bad ass vampire hunter. It literally didn't occur to me that there was any difference between him and James Bond. It was a character I thought was cool and that was it.

Now. I had this discussion with my wife the other day (that's actually the reason I didn't post for a while. I had a really fulfilling talk with her about it and I actually felt way more satiated by the results than I was expecting and didn't feel the need to speak out about it as much as when I originally posted - Side note. I freaking LOVE my wife) and she very wisely said that I was not a black, and therefore I can't legitimately relate to what it was like growing up seeing white or black actors on screen. With the world essentially making minorities feel less included and feel like they aren't as equal, there's a good chance that seeing a black actor on screen as a kid had a much more positive effect. I can see that being true. And by no means am I trying to suggest that it's wrong for anyone to be positively affected by the recent inclusion of more types of people on screen. But. The idea that kids need to see themselves represented on screen, so that they can relate, seems fraught when you're suggesting they can only relate to people of their own race or gender.

(I will stop soon. I promise)

A Wrinkle in Time links to this too as a couple of reviews talk about how the film missed an opportunity to explore what it is like growing up as a mixed race child. And that kids seeing themselves on screen, dealing with those kind of issues, could be empowering. Here, I definitely agree. There are obviously issues that only specific types of people experience and seeing that dealt with on screen would be good for everyone. But that is to do with the characters more than simply what they look like. Kids should be able to watch any movie and relate to any kid no matter what race, because they should be being taught that it doesn't matter what you look like. Instead though, it feels like people are being directed towards the differences. Having them pointed out and spotlighted.

Eugh. I don't know. As I said. Incredibly tricky subject to which it really seems like there's no right answer or approach. There should absolutely be more movies with women and more with black actors and more with gay characters and all other representations of people on earth. But what's the point if the moment they are included they are made separate by focusing on how forward thinking it is to have them included?

Final thought.

The Oscars. There may be a very real and concerning reason that more female directors aren't given the opportunity to make movies in Hollywood - attention should definitely be brought to that. I don't think it should come in the form of shaming the male nominees of various categories though. Being 1 of 4 men nominated for best director doesn't stop Guillermo Del Toro from being a great one. The latter half of this article does a pretty good job of explaining what I mean.

To conclude. I love you all. I don't have the answers, just some thoughts. And I definitely appreciate any discussion on it because I know deep down I'm misunderstanding lots of things and I want to learn.
dancesoitallkeepsspinning


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I appreciate the topic and your thoughts. And in direct response, I agree that not EVERY thing needs to be SOMETHING. But I think your wife has some good insight and I agree sometimes these things ARE important. It's especially the case when those whom would hate for the sake of hate are drawing attention to the same logistics...it's almost as if these small milestones are indeed worth celebrating. It's when these milestones become commonplace that the discussion can end, and we're getting there.

But I will break down one small but interesting reason why Black Panther, with its 'minority majority cast and crew', has a significant cultural impact despite its being a film that goes beyond color. There is a toy commercial for role play Black Panther gear that features 3 kids, all non-white. It's being advertised like any Marvel product during any cartoon block. But it is distinctly unique and inspiring that kids are seeing themselves not only as President, and not only as STEM-based superhero kings, but also as regular kids on regular advertisements who are not just a minority, but are the focus in a positive light. The greatest form of equality is for no child to feel like a token, and I dig it.
« Last Edit: Mar 14, 2018, 20:42 by satur8 »  


  • Peter the Bellboy
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The greatest form of equality is for no child to feel like a token, and I dig it.

Agreed. Sort of celebrating the normalness of everyone, equally. That is cool.

I hadn't considered that those who would hate for hate's sake would potentially land the same arguments. I think what felt important for me was that Annihilation crept out without anyone talking about it as a feminist movie, despite it clearly being a great step in the right direction. In comparison to say, Wonder Woman, it felt refreshing to be able to experience a film with other members of the public that was simply an interesting sci-fi that happened to have all female characters. Black Panther also worked for the portrayal of women in cinema I thought. And more so than Wonder Woman, though I enjoyed that movie more.
I forget where I was going with this. But yes, I guess the point is less about the milestones and how they are celebrated, but with the ultimate destination - where these kinds of movies are just considered normal.
dancesoitallkeepsspinning


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I also didn't think twice about annihilation being an all female cast I just enjoyed the whole movie TBH. But also maybe symbolic to the nature of the subject and narrative with hidden meanings perhaps.

I'm all for anything as long as it seems it belongs in the film and not forced because its the latest trending thing to do.

To add another layer, should gay and trans characters be only played by gay and trans people? There are some good films/ TV series that are now in the mainstream that have these characters but played by mostly by straight white men still. Having said that these actors have done a good/convincing job but it does make you think.

I haven't watched Black Panther yet, will wait until on Netflix I guess now but am intrigued as it has split critics addressing exploitation and dilution of culture etc. but at the same time something so big on a big platform still could be a positive regardless without looking too deep into it and just taking it for what it is. A comic book movie for the masses where people just want to escape for a while.
« Last Edit: Mar 20, 2018, 11:33 by MIKL »  
...'cause I don't like whats going on in the world. I'm scared of that...


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I would just like to point out that Freedom of Speech in Europe is NOT the same as in USA.
European comes with certain restrictions. Now is that a good or bad thing, is another matter.
Quite a difficult one.
I can hit cheeky lizards if I want!


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I couldn't figure out the best place for this. Happy for it to be moved to a different thread if needs be.
Anyone seen this? I thought it was gutsy, and by the end it went for everybody. Lots of awkward silence in the room. Might not have been an approproate tone under Obama (or other presidents) but right for Trump I thought. I suspect fans of hard hitting comedians will look back on this as a touchstone in years to come.

Some people think Wolfe made overly personal comments about Huckabee Sanders. If you watch Sanders closely you'll see she's actually smiling at the "perfect smoky eye" comment. The smile falls away with Wolfe's paraphrased 'Mabelline' strapline, "Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's lies" (around 14 mins). I just wish Trump had been there.

DON'T. LOOK. DOWN.



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I noticed Netflix jumped straight on it and gave her own show which I'll be intrigued by. Theres some hit and misses comedy wise on Netflix hopefully thats a good one.

Continuing on from the Black Panther thing after watching the new Avengers, there was just one line that didn't sit well for me even after I accepted Black Panther was just some light entertainment in terms of cultural appropriation for it. It was when they were discussing opening up the country/city to outsiders and what would be good like the Olympics (which was fine) but Starbucks as well. Considering Starbucks aren't entirely innocent in terms of their work ethic in the past and the fact its coffee too.

Then the whole Kanye West thing thats going on...
...'cause I don't like whats going on in the world. I'm scared of that...


  • 2rbo Nutt37
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I found it hilarious how many in the media reacted to Michelle Wolf's gig. Instead of reading between lines, many of them were only looking at the surface of their jabs. Most of her lines, like the Sanders's burnt-facts-smokey-eyes (fyi Sanders is constantly tormenting or otherwise twisting truth and facts etc.) and that abortion part were not just simple jokes, they were meant to show the hypocrisy of those politcal actors and were direct references to recent news topics (e.g. that RNC guy who allegedly payed off a mistress who also had an abortion, or that Tim Murphy congress guy). Lots of Wolf's jokes didn't all fall into the burst-into-laughter category, but that's justifed given that truth isn't always that funny.
Funny, however, was the fact that Sanders didn't wear smokey eyes in her latest press briefings after that dinner.
You wanna know my biggest disappointment for the live sets 2019? You wanna know? I tell you what my biggest disappointment is: I AM FUCKING NOT THERE!


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The state of our nation:

The President is repeatedly caught in lies. Outrageous, conflicting lies.
His press secretary constantly perpetuates the lies, no matter how ridiculous she sounds.
The media enables or ignores the lying.
The people believe the lies, or become numb to the point of tolerance, apathy and inaction.
The 'liberal' comedian is loudly marginalized for bringing attention to all of this.

And it is so much worse living with the stupid people that buy into it, but this right here has become normalized in the United States of America.


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Many here aren’t FB friends with me, but I follow domestic politics pretty closely (and follow the world as well). For those of us here whom want change, there is a bigger issue. Yes, roughly 2/3 of the nation wants Trump out, but we continue to be manipulated on both sides. You may or may not know about the corruption regarding the DNC (Democratic National Convention) in relation to the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the opposition to Trump, but many forward thinking people…particularly, but not limited to, younger Americans…wanted a progressive candidate like Bernie Sanders. Democratic Socialism is rising in popularity here but is actively being throttled by the so-called ‘liberal’ party leaders and ignored by mainstream corporate media. A lot of Americans are looking for a mid-term Congressional swing in 2018 and a Presidential change in 2020. However, Democrats (the establishment party opposed to Trump policies) want those changes relegated to the old-school politics of corporate and banking sponsorship. Anyone that is opposed to this way of thinking…anyone that can bring true change…anyone that believes the rich should be taxed higher and the money spent on military should go to education and healthcare…is being squeezed out of the official process, just like Bernie was. Despite everything that went down in 2016 and 2017, few lessons were learned on our political stage and our best chance of beating Trump and men like him will be a party that is satisfied being “not Trump”. It’s disappointing.

Myself and others do what we can to get the right people in at local levels, but as was proven in 2016, and despite the American pride in our system of democracy,  we have surprisingly little control over the bigger stage. I know it’s very ‘American’ of me to assume the world is familiar with the ins and outs of our political system, but I also know that realistically the world does pay attention to the United States. I usually don’t make this type of commentary here, but it is important to me that you brothers and sisters here know that for us, it’s not just Trump that is the issue. It is an overwhelming system of corruption that is stifling progress from all sides…and most Americans don’t seem to understand this.



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Trump is a big deal. He's constantly in daily news headlines/reports in Australia as well. (the other side of the world) We (the country) have our own shit to deal with locally as well but because we are allies what he does, we will still feel the ripple effect of. Do you guys know about Pine Gap? its a not so secret now US military base out in the Australian desert. Netflix have commissioned an Australian produced series about it which is in the making even now.
...'cause I don't like whats going on in the world. I'm scared of that...


  • Galvanizer
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MIKL - I was not familiar with Pine Gap but have since looked it up. tnx...and I'm sure you guys know not all of us are fans of the US military complex...

Non-US brothers and sisters...Does your media generally report that Trump and his policies are unpopular in America, or does he simply fall under the perception of the American image? Does the world realize we are suffering major political polarization and partisan strife in our Congress (which enables and embolden's Trump), or is he simply the face of it all?

For instance, I personally follow BBC News and am far more informed on the workings of the UK, and even the middle east or North Korea, then I am of Australia whom is a quiet ally (relatively speaking). But I do try to pay attention.

I know our mess is center stage to the world, but I don't know how much of the world knows we are generally as unhappy with this mess as you are. The scariest part is there is very little we can do about it.

I'm sure others have thoughts, even if they are unfavorable. I know talking politics is generally frowned upon in society, but this is a great international group and private. We already respect our brothers...I say open up.


  • Galvanizer
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The Australian media does cover both sides of Trump and we do know (to an extent the mainstream media outlets reveal) on how America at the moment is more divided possibly than ever before in quite some time with what is happening over there. We know what America knows and feels basically generally but of course theres always more to it. And because Julian Assange is Australian he does get some coverage as well where he leaks international political information that gets reported on too.

Even just recently Hillary Clinton just did some talks this week here in Melbourne and Sydney and didn't hold back on anything. Even warning Australia about our increasing alliance with China and the propaganda coming from there threatening Democracy as a whole for the country.
...'cause I don't like whats going on in the world. I'm scared of that...


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Remember when America was all about the following: "Give me your tired, your poor,your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

What are we currently doing? We are punishing those coming here seeking asylum from violence. We are separating their children and putting them in concentration camps, and then prosecuting the parents in bullshit trials and sending them back to the violence or throwing them in federal prison, where the worst of the worst go. That's right, our government is stealing foreign children from their parents, placing them in compassion-less cells, and limiting press and inspections from government officials whom also find this abhorrent. And when we do get controlled information, it is worse than imagined, and this is after they have time to prepare for the visits.

Our power hungry President first blamed his political opponents for this, and now is using these kids as bargaining chips to build his wall. This is a Trump/Republican policy.

Some government officials cite this as law (it's not) and/or claim Biblical justification, which is both incorrect and also not part of our rule of law. This is a Trump/Republican policy.

Other government officials lie to our faces and deny this is happening. It IS happening, and it is a Trump/Republican policy.

Worst of all, a growing number of our citizens are apathetic or supportive of this...and it is all based on ignorance and racism.

International brothers and sisters...are you aware this is happening here? Are you as surprised as me that we cannot seem to immediately make this stop?

I know we come here for entertainment and release, so I apologize for my downer posts this year. But, I am ashamed of my nation and you are my only international friends. Perhaps sometimes much of the world may experience schadenfreude waiting for Americans to choke on their hubris, but this is different. These are human rights atrocities being committed by a world leader. This is unacceptable.


  • 2rbo Nutt37
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I'm fully aware of this and am infuriated too! Let's hope the bi-partisan approach that is set to be voted on this week can revoke that current inhumane practice. It's sad but not surprising that DJT and his enablers keep on lying about it being a Democratic issue and even trying to justify it with biblical references. It's a Trump policy (as you correctly said used as a bargaining tool) and Sessions's secret delight to enforce the hardest possible prosecution of illegal immigration.
The current state your country is in does remind me in parts of ours in the darkest of hours. Have you heard about these two flight school teachers that tried to deport a Chinese student privately? Or yesterday, where ICE officers tried to deport a Green Card holder who had been living in the US for 50 years because of a misdemeanor regarding a domestic violence issue that happened 18 years ago? Something's going really awry at the moment.
You wanna know my biggest disappointment for the live sets 2019? You wanna know? I tell you what my biggest disappointment is: I AM FUCKING NOT THERE!


 

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