Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thinking About Stars

After every big movie comes out in theatres there will always be sensationalist articles critiquing the movie, pulling on one or two loose strands in hopes that the entire fabric of reality comes undone. I read one for Godzilla when I came out and I’m ashamed to say that for a few minutes while reading it I actually began to dislike the  movie, and then I remembered how I felt while I watched the movie: awestruck. Of course the movie wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t stop me from liking it. These troll articles are clever in their use of controversial subject matter to over-hype something and make the worst out of it. They like to throw the feminist card in there to get people riled up, and when read out of context, or if you haven’t seen the movie yourself, it might even make a lot of sense. They will complain when there aren’t enough female leads in the movie, and when it does live up to the gender equality standard they will complain that the women weren’t “well written”. Even if these women were three-dimensional, emotional characters there will always be something wrong with them, something wrong with the way they were portrayed. As if they were the authority on writing women. Other tactics include insulting the naming tactics for the characters, poking gently at possible racism and using a director’s past work to undermine him. Some of it can be reasonable (doesn’t mean that it is), but most of it is exaggerated way out of proportion.

When it comes to critiques I much prefer this: 

So I watched Interstellar yesterday with a couple of friends, and I thought it was a great movie. I thought what they tried to achieve with the plot did not warrant harsh scrutiny in terms of science, because this was not a space documentary. This is a fictional movie, and it might that mean I don’t have standards when it come to movies, but all I was looking for from this movie was to be entertained, not to be educated. And I was. To be honest, the trailer did not intrigue me at all, so I was pleasantly surprised. I walked out of the movie really wanting to play Mass Effect. The plot twist at the end was corny and familiar, and glorified human capabilities. I had the same wariness for the trust that the universe places in humanity as I did when I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)(which I did not like mainly for that reason), but that is understandable.

Of course when I read “The 7 biggest problems with Interstellar” I was immediately aware from past experiences that this was what I am going to coin as a “Troll Article”, which I guess could be classified under sensationalist journalism. It was not a real critique of the movie, it was shameless and desperate bashing. I was ready to write another post another article about how mad those posts make me, because apparently that is what this blog has become, but halfway through thinking about that I changed my mind. I realized that instead of watching the movie and never thinking about it again, this article impassioned me again into using my brain. Were the women poorly written? I didn’t think so, or at least I didn’t notice. Were there plot holes? Unfortunately. Did the dystopian world make sense? I didn’t see enough of it to form a conclusion, but it doesn’t matter because that’s not really what the movie is about. And ultimately, did I like the movie? Yes. It was intense, and I was stressed out through a lot of it, but I liked it. And I’m much more aware of my reasons for liking it now and can defend my position.

I’d like to say that this was a wonderful world where people look out for each other and Troll Articles are written to elicit critical thinking. That would be a glass-half-full type of assumption to make, and I’m not an optimist if I can help it. And even if these articles were written for that purpose there will always be people out there that will miss the point, unless clearly written out for them. I guess my point then, would be to think about troll articles even if they are infuriating. Like my rant last week, I had to actually stop and think about why the article was making me mad before I could put it into words and turn it into a post, and I didn’t write it in order to open the OP’s eyes. I didn’t want to change his mind, because I have come to understand that many people have closed their minds so firmly that they can’t even understand their own behaviour. I wrote it for my own benefit, to understand my own mind, and for the benefit for people who have kept their minds open, have yet to think about the issue.

So think about the issue.

-kwin

P.S. Interstellar 8.5/10

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BUT TROLL ARTICLES MAKE ME MAD

I always get mad at things I read or see on the internet, especially things made by trolls, and it makes me even angrier because I KNOW that they’re succeeding in their mission. That’s usually why I refuse to reply to obvious troll comments online, because 1) it’s a waste of time, 2) I don’t want to give them what they want 3) it’s common sense and 4) I get belatedly angry all the time. Sometimes I won’t even know I’m mad about something I read or was said to me until a day later when it’s too late to make a difference. Other times I’ll be spitting and red in the face but I won’t be able to put into words the reason behind my rage and I’ll have to sit down and write it all out and think about why I’m angry and why I think what was said or done was wrong and whether my anger is justified or not. Let’s face it people, ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Point is, when I’m angry, I rarely have the right words to say, and often come up with something better when it’s too late.

SO, why make the exception for this? This is one of those article that like to tease a sensitive topic (one man, singular, telling women, plural and universal, what to do) for attention from all across the internet. Whether intended or not by the author, it’s a troll article, because of many reasons: 1) It makes too many assumptions, 2) it is made up 90% of one person’s opinions and is under-researched and 3) it tries to pass off all these subjective variables as law, and dictates that certain behaviours are wrong or should not be done. There are many reasons why I should ignore posts like this, such as the fact that it is mostly made up of opinion, and that this guy is free to write whatever he wants on the internet, or that there are many people in the comments already voicing the same objects as me, or even the fact that I hate voicing my opinion because even though I know where I’m coming from and is confident in my own voice I can’t be bothered to defend myself against people who are obviously wrong (jk, no one is wrong on the internet, right???). What can I say, I’m just that lazy most of the time.

HOWEVER, recent events have changed my mind about being soft-spoken and with-holding with my words. I’m tired of letting passive-aggressive, narrow-minded, self-important people walk all over me all the time, so obviously I’m going to take it out on the internet. And this time I’m so horrified, maybe more horrified than this interview on CNN  that I had to stop reading the article several times to remind myself to breathe.

Ladies, Please Stop Doing This On Instagram
THIS IS THE ARTICLE IN QUESTION. I am so torn right now between telling you to go read the article, or telling you to boycott this one and others like this because they don’t deserve the clicks or views or comments or whatevers. BUT, I don’t have much of a following on this blog (thank you to those who do read this crap), so I don’t think any of those suggestions will be taken into consideration by many people anyway.

First off, I would like to point out that this article is extremely androcentric and therefore extremely biased. Why are men not mentioned in this article? Because I have seen my share of artistic, personal, pornographic male photos out there (thanks for that, Tumblr), but their self-esteem is not under attack here. Hmm. Sit on that for a bit, while I move on to other problematic issues.

Take your assumptions, for example. Do you know all of these young women on Instagram? Have you talk to them, sat down with them and gotten to know them? Probably not (since you think them so lowly and unworthy of your approval), so how do you know where they get their self-esteem? And during that non-existent conversation with them did you also ask them why they’re on Instagram too? Maybe they’re posting these pictures not because they think that’s how they will become happy with themselves, but because they’re happy with themselves? How would you know? You don’t! So shut the fuck up! You also don’t know what they do for a living! You don’t even know their age! They could be 25 and fucking successful, and just because they post pictures of themselves on Instagram you instantly assume they are unemployed and worthless. They could even be 15/16 and be working towards their future career. You. Don’t. Know.

Two can play at this game. If I were making assumptions I would assume that you, as a father of a 15 year old girl, feels guilty about how aroused you are by these photos and need to defend your ego by attacking others and displacing blame onto other people, telling them what they should or shouldn’t be doing so that you can feel like a good person. Not “contributing to rape culture”? You are part of it, because that’s the kind of logic behind victim blaming. Instead of teaching society not to rape, you punish women for getting raped. It’s okay for a pervert to be a pervert but not okay for people to post pictures sexy of themselves?

But I’m not going to do that (even though I just so totally did, in your face), because you could be a well-mannered guy and a good father except you have a medical condition where you come off as a jackass on the internet (that was a joke, not an assumption, if you missed that).

Also don’t you dare, as a man, talk to women about our self-esteem. In a male-dominated society, girls are taught growing up that our self-esteem needs to be defined by what other people see, so yes, in that case you are right in that “[women’s] self-esteems (or lack thereof) being fuelled by the wrong things”. This sentence implies that a woman’s self-esteem comes from beyond what she might be aware of, but instead of discussing the real issue of media’s tendency to objectify women (which you had SUCH a good lead into) you attack the women directly, who are surviving the only way we know how to, the way that society has taught them to. Again, victim blaming rears its ugly head. It’s not the media’s fault for teach our precious daughters wrong values, it’s our daughters’ fault for falling into that alluring commercial trap that you would never have fallen into yourself! Not in a million years because you’re so great and smart ermagerd.

In many cases it is difficult for women to feel comfortable in our own skin and love the self that we see in the mirror, and just when we feel confident enough to wear our own skin proudly you tell us that we can’t and it’s because our confident isn’t real? Guess what, you are also dictating what women should do in order to be “happy” or feel “beautiful”, and you are also dictating how women should define themselves. Just because a woman doesn’t get paid for taking a picture of herself doesn’t mean she’s not allowed to take these pictures and post them online. By your logic, if I don’t get paid to play games, then I shouldn’t touch a video game because I’m not a professional? You’ve GOT to be kidding me. Yeah, if you’re going to go into technicalities I guess she can’t be considered a “model” or whatever, but she can still do modelling. I’m not a professional gamer, but I can still play games.

Let me also give some advice. If all of this stems from your concern for your daughter, why don’t you get off the computer so you can be a parent and teach her values yourself instead of complaining about women on the Instagram? Society doesn’t have to be  something abstract and intangible. Society can begin with you.

P.S. And you’d better start soon because you are part of the problem.

-Kwin

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