Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joss Whedon and the Nature of Equality

A few days ago Joss Whedon made a speech at an Equality Now event. And the internet’s reaction, much like mine, was that of admiration, followed quickly by criticism.

If you haven’t seen/heard the speech, here it is:

Before this, I hadn’t heard or seen much of Joss Whedon, and I knew more of his works, rather than about the man himself. So when I watched the video the first time, I had an oh-my-God-this-guy-is-a-genius moment. And can you really blame me? 

Whedon gave a well articulated, and what appears to be a fairly logical argument. So whats the big deal?

Whedon has a problem with the word “feminist”. He is of the opinion that the “ist” in feminist conveys the idea that men and women being equal is not a natural state. Take for example the word baptist. “You can’t be born a baptist”, he says, “You have to be baptised.” Makes sense, right?

Well, it turns out Whedon should have actually read up on some feminism. Cause feminism doesn’t believe equality is our natural state. If equality was in the nature of humanity, history would have been completely different from the oppression that has been and continues to be a constant to this point in time.

Noah Berlatsky, explains it further. He writes:

Feminists have been wary of the idea of naturalness because it is so often used against women. Sexism feels natural to lots of people.”

[Read the entire article here.]

So why were we all so easily impressed by Whedon’s speech? Maybe, for me, personally, it’s because I have rarely met a male feminists. And I have known many people, both male and female, who have laughed off the idea of “feminism” and/or have misunderstood it to be simply another term for “bitter women who hate men”. Which would also explain why I liked this guy.

Whatever the reason may be, its possible that Whedon’s speech does more harm than good.

Berlatsky makes a good point again:

“Whedon, then, delivers a speech on the term "feminist" without any reference to feminist history, without any apparent awareness of feminist theory, and without even any demonstrated knowledge of the most important objections or conflicts around the term "feminist," the use of which he is purportedly discussing. Instead, from his position as celebrity and writer, and, one fears, from his position as white man, he takes it upon himself to simply define feminism himself so that he can discard it. The result is what Tania Modleski acidly referred to as "feminism without women"—equality as erasure.”

But whether you agree with Whedon or not, I am glad that his speech has started up a lot of discussions on the subject, especially since it's something a lot of people are reluctant to be associated with

[Another brilliant article takes up the subject of rebranding feminism, and it’s one that everyone should read.]

If there is one thing you can take away from Whedon’s speech, it is that you either believe that men and women are equal, or you don’t. There is no “fuzzy middle ground”. But if you are one of those idiots who believes that women are undeserving of the equality that is their right, this one is for you:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wish list 2011

      Ah! A new year with new scandals to look forward to! Since making resolutions are pointless, I decided to make a list of what I wish for the new year, even though it's  past Christmas. One can always hope..

1.     Ryan Murphy realizes that the main reason Glee was so popular in the first place was because Sue Sylvester had wit dryer than a cat. And not because the audience was intrigued by the same old insecurities of Rachel Berry. Wasn’t Jane Lynch’s Emmy win big enough a clue?

2.     Katherine Heigl makes anything but a romantic comedy. If she does, don’t bother wasting your money on it. I can tell you the story: girl likes guy but guy doesn’t know it OR they both don’t realize how they are meant to be together. After about an hour and a half of watching guy and girl in various situations, exchanging their oh-so-witty comments, they realize nothing should be keeping them apart (even when it was their own stupidity) and they live happily ever after.

3.     Community continues to be the epitome of Barney Stintson’s definition of awesomeness. Even if Jeff and Annie don’t get together, no matter how much we wish it.

4.     Movies like 2012 never see the light of day. If they do, lets just say I can hardly wait for 2012 (the actual year).

5.     Lady Gaga decides to become a vegan and ends up at the Grammy’s in a dress made of soy. That way she’ll be sending a message out. Apart from the message that’s it okay be stuck in a bad romance. (I beg to differ; as I’m sure would half of Hollywood, as that’s probably the excuse they use in their divorce papers).

6.     Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson decide that they don’t want to get divorced after all. They get back together and live happily ever after (even if that seems to happen only in Disney/ Barbie princess movies and Katherine Heigl chick flicks). If they can't make it work in Hollywood, who can? (Apart from those who’re married to people outside the industry).  Definitely not Hugh Hefner. (If that happens, I swear I’ll move to the arctic and live in an igloo).

7.     We get to see more of Jesse Eisenberg, Carrey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Shia LaBeouf, and the likes.

8.     That bands like U2, Coldplay and Keane decide that maybe it’s time they paid a visit to India. But somehow I doubt that.

9.     Paris Hilton realizes that chewing gum and cocaine are very different things. If she has doubts she can always ask Lindsay Lohan, I’m sure.

10.  Every Disney star under the age of 20 gets their own personal shrink. It might cost a lot of money, but I’m sure it will save a lot of careers.

11.  Miley Cyrus comes to her senses and realizes that by trying so hard to change her image, no body takes her seriously anymore. There are way better ways of making a transformation. First step: take it slow. Step two: stop annoying all the parents of the little girls who worship the ground you walk on. Step three: if you don’t like pop music, don’t make it. Step four: don’t diss Radiohead ever again.

12.  Scientists prove what I have always known: too much is not always too bad. Especially if its chocolate.

PS- Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simple Is Beautiful

It’s amazing how the simplest of things can be appealing. And this can be seen in almost any art form, painting included.
The recent coke ad, as in the one that came out for Diwali, is a perfect example.

 It uses what is known as the Warli painting style. It is believed to have originated in 2500 or 3000 BCE by the Warli people of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

This manner of painting uses rudimentary shapes: circles, triangles, and squares. I found interesting facts regarding this on Wikipedia :-)
“The circle and triangle come from their observation of nature, the circle representing the sun and the moon, the triangle derived from mountains and pointed trees. Only the square seems to obey a different logic and seems to be a human invention, indicating a sacred enclosure or a piece of land.”
Warli paintings can be seen almost everywhere. Its probably because it can be used to give a traditional and/or modern feel.
It can add a rural feel as my parents and I found out when we painted some Warli designs around our doorway.

It adds a modern feel as can be seen in this painting:

What makes Warli paintings so beautiful is its simplicity. When clustered together, or containing too many details however, it can be displeasing to the eyes. Like in this one:

I would prefer something along the lines of this:

 After all, as da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In The Words Of Ron Weasley-"Bloody Brilliant!"

I was fortunate to have watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 last night. After returning home I quickly scribbled down every thought regarding the movie that passed through my head, in a 'Hannah Montana' notepad a friend of mine had given to me as a joke (now, now, don’t be judgmental).
Before you proceed reading this article I want you to know that this isn’t a review. Its just what I thought of the movie. You will perhaps understand it better after having watched the movie.
It is natural that any fan of the book would watch the Deathly Hallows movie with the book in mind. But I suggest that you watch it with an open mind and with the awareness of how lengthy and boring the movie would have been if the writers had adapted the book exactly as it is.
While keeping the book in mind, however, I think, this is perhaps the only movie that has stayed so faithful to the book. (Interesting fact: this is the first HP movie produced by JK Rowling.) Of course, its not like they had any choice, seeing as almost every chapter in the book is relevant, which is why they divided the movie into 2 parts. What I particularly liked was that the mood of the movie reflected the mood of the book. Unlike in the 6th movie, where prior to the death of Dumbledore there was a lot of humour (especially the part that deals with the Felix Felicitus).
Deathly Hallows begins well. It sets the mood and makes us realize, immediately, just how much the magical (and the muggle) world is changing.
Since most of The Deathly Hallows takes place outside of Hogwarts, the extent to which all evil has spread becomes more believable. The previous movies revealed the magical world, but only as it is at Hogwarts (and maybe Diagon Alley). The 7th  movie (or 7.1 as some call it) takes Harry and friends away from all that has been familiar to them, as well as the audience. To watch Harry and Hagrid ward off Death Eaters while maneuvering their way through traffic (of the muggle kind) somehow makes the magic more believable.
The movie has a good balance of humour and action. It was nice to see Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) portray the anger and jealousy of his character. The previous movies usually showed Ron simply joking around or being clumsy.
Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson were as good as ever (I mean that in the nicest way).
What I really loved was both Alan Rickman (Snape) and Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix). They had very little screen time but they did such an amazing job, you are unlikely to forget them anytime soon (I can still hear Bellatrix's cackle in my ear).
There are some scenes that are very memorable: (MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!)
1.   At the Ministry: the dementors swirling above, while Mary Cattermole’s on trial
2.    The part where the locket/ horcrux is opened
3.    The narration of the tale of the Three Brothers
The only problem with the movie is that a person who hasn’t read the book might have a bit of a hard time following the plot. They would either have to have a rough idea of what’s going to happen or have a very good memory of what happened in the previous movie.
Take, for example, my parents, with whom I saw the movie. I doubt they could understand everything that happened. But that could also be due to the loud and annoying people sitting around us. I mean I like kids, I really do, but they can be really annoying when they blurt out (loudly, I might add) what they know is going to happen next. And who brings an infant with them when going to watch a movie? Especially when they know they would be a huge, slithering serpent playing a major role in it? I mean, do they want to traumatize the child? I watched Jaws when I was 11 and I’m still scared of getting on a boat...
It’s a sign of how good the movie was when I say that the noisy audience couldn’t distract me for long. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 Reasons Chord Overstreet Should Be Made A 'Glee' Regular

1. His Hair. I know it isn't his natural colour. I also know it's way better than Beiber's.

2. He speaks Na'vi. He's not just a jock but a jock who likes Avatar! Way to break the stereotype!

3. He tries so hard.

4. "I'm Sam. Sam I am. And I don't like Green Eggs and Ham."

5. He's got a really good voice. Not surprising: he comes from a family of musicians.

6. He looks much better with Quinn (Diana Agron) than Finn or Puck. (Go ahead, call me superficial.)

7. I can't wait to see what Sue's got to say about him. (50 bucks says it'll be about his hair!)

8. He's got a perfectly appropriate name for a series regular.

9. Did I mention his hair?

10. He keeps his promises. Even if it means being slushied.

From what I've seen on Glee on Oprah, most Gleeks are girls. So I hope Ryan Murphy realizes that the sure-fire way to keep the ratings soaring is by keeping Chord.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Comic Con-versations

The trailer of the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds released 2 days ago. I haven’t read any of the comics and what little I know of the superhero(es) is courtesy of The Big Bang Theory (“I like Green Lantern, I'm just saying it's pretty lame that he can be defeated by the color yellow.”)
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.
Call me an idiot, but when it comes to movie trailers, it doesn’t take much to impress me. I love superhero movies (with the exception of a few. Spider-Man 3 for example. I mean did he have to dance??)
So the Green Lantern trailer seemed all right. I liked the part where he recites a bit of the oath, but then again that oath always gives me the goose bumps. But when I scrolled down to the comments, I read the opinions of some unimpressed viewers, and I realized that what some of them wrote is true. The animated bits do look fake… and the original black and green suit would have looked cooler than the plain green one.
So what do you think? Am I being judgmental or was I just sidetracked by Reynolds’s pretty face? (anybody looked at People magazine recently?)
Apart from getting me curious about the comic, the trailer reminded of all the previous superhero movies ever made. Unlike Batman, Spider-Man or the Hulk-- all of whom have at least 2 movies to their names-- this is the first Green Lantern movie to be made. With the fairly recent news that Andrew Garfield will be playing Peter Parker in the upcoming Spiderman reboot, I wonder if we will ever get tired of these superheroes.
There have been 7 Batman movies, 3 Spider-Man ones and 2 about the Hulk. The next Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises is set to release 2012, as is the untitled Spider-Man reboot. And any sane person who loves comics cant wait for The Avengers. (If the world is going to come to an end, lets hope it does after all these movies are out.)
So it doesn’t look like we will be getting tired of these incredible inhumanly humane heroes anytime soon. And I’m not complaining.

In other comic-to-movie related news, something that isn’t really new: Empire’s recent issue that gives us an exclusive look at Peter Jackson’s and Steven Spielberg’s Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
This I really do like, even though they haven’t stuck to Herge’s original art, which in my opinion is very brave.
You can have a look.