My dear friend Rockclimber being in self-imposed exile in Georgia making knives, like someone in a Quentin Tarantino movie, I went to see “Ex Machina” by myself. It was pretty neat except that all the female androids had landing strips. Ha ha, seriously, it was deeply sexist in a way that can’t be defused by lampshading. But I still enjoyed it. Oscar Isaac’s upsetting beard reminded me of Bryan Cranston’s observation that “hair on the face and no hair on the head is the most intimidating look there can be.” As a weight-lifting, vodka-swilling Zuckerbergian Mephistopheles, Isaac was easily the scariest thing in the movie. Spoiler: the robots win. Read more
(Spoilers.) My friend Rockclimber and I splashed out on the IMAX showing of “Elysium” yesterday. RC doesn’t mind when I scribble notes during a film, fortunately. There was plenty to scribble about in this one. Bloggers younger and more energetic than I have already taken on the obvious white-savior theme of the movie; read Ari Laurel here at Be Young and Shut Up, and Theresa Johnson of The Horn here. Read more
When I was growing up in the seventies, it was pretty unusual for a married woman to use her “maiden” name. I knew my mother had gone to court in Houston to get hers back, and I was proud of her for resisting the status quo. One result of coming up this way is that I am totally dogmatic about women taking their husbands’ names. I don’t get it, I don’t believe in it and I’m not tolerant about it. I also believe that children should have a combination of their parents’ last names and that civil marriage should run on a time-limited contract system, but that’s another day.
On Sunday I went to see “Hugo,” which is getting hugely favorable reviews. It’s also hugely sexist. None of the female characters in the movie have any agency or creative power of their own. To a girl or woman, their role is to support the male protagonists. I was already angry when Kyle turned around at the credits (he was sitting in front of me, because the theater was packed) and informed me that several details had been changed from the original book to make Isabelle a much weaker character. Hey, I looked for a link but couldn’t find anything, because nobody seems to have noticed this.
Then this morning I was reading “Facing the Fear” (scroll down to click on the pdf), an article by Patti DeRosa about how white people respond to charges of racism, and I came across a list of knee-jerk reactions that seemed weirdly familiar. Read more