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(1) I have issues with technology. So, to be clear: I am on my ten-year-old computer because my four-year-old one, the one that works....doesn't work. Not right now. And this one? It's a bit...sensitive. And prejudiced against new stuff like YouTube and sending e-mails. It actually turned itself off when I told my roommate that I missed the newer one.

(2) Doctor Who stole my heart, dipped it in rainbows and essence-of-adorbs, squashed it under a unicorn hoof, and gave it back to me.
Learn more about my smushed heart under the cut )

(3) Hawaii Five-0, we need to have some words about that finale.
As Jon Stewart would say, meet me at Camera 3. )

(4) I have seen. so. many. films. in the past week.
Super brief run-down:
Hesher: JGL and Rainn Wilson are some sort of magic. I'm also not a Natalie Portman fan by nature--I am by practice, not nature--and she was fantastic also. I loved especially the way cliches of sentiment were raised and then twisted. If you watch the film, you'll see what I mean.
Everything Must Go: If you've seen one of the (thousaaaaands) of trailers on TV recently or read the short story, you don't need to bother with the film. The film is good but uninspiring. It's a fine way to spend an afternoon but nothing to feel compelled to see.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Honest to god, this is the best use I have ever seen for 3-D technology. It's like the damn thing has been suffering through children's films and schlock action movies for the past half-dozen years just to refine it for this purpose. That being said, I could have done with a lot less sentimental philosophizing. These are the images of a prehistoric civilization inventing art: it doesn't need sentimentalizing or philosophizing. It just is.
Something Borrowed: Ginnifer Goodwin seems to have made a career of smiling through her tears. I am Not A Fan of victimhood-as-virtue for women, guys...or the assumption that women who think they are physically attractive or worth other people's time and respect are whores and villains. Not so fond of that either. I will say this for this film, though: unlike Sex and the City 2, which was so fundamentally badly constructed that it insulted the intelligence of us all, this movie was at least constructed. It had plot. It had characters. It had arch. It had no fart jokes.
Thor: I LOVED IT. It is so nice to watch an action movie that passes to Bechdel test, for one thing. And Loki was doing a lot of acting. I love to see theater actors tear up a film like that--it was so apparent that Tom Hiddleston was an all-or-nothing kind of actor. No middle gears for that guy--and Hollywood doesn't always have room for actors like that. (Also--my sister said my younger-sibling issues were showing.)

I'm going to see Bridesmaids within the next couple of days. Feministing has declared that it is every good feminist's responsibility to prove to Hollywood that clever, mature, independent women exist and are legion and we will be the market for films if you just give us the credit we deserve. I can't give my two cents until I've seen it.

(5) Another year, another novel. :)
So I haven't been at liberty for the past two Novembers--grad school, my love, you do eat me up during the school year--so I have organized a small group of people to do our own Nanowrimo (or "Lo"nowrimo for "Local") in June. We did it last year--weeelll, I say "we." Only I finished. But we're trying again this year. If anyone wants to join, let me know!

That's all for me! My ancient computer hasn't shut down on me for a whole thirty minutes now, so I feel lucky. Peace!
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I've had my students watch the 1939 film The Women for tomorrowtoday. I did a lot of prep work before hand--I had them read an essay about how to watch these old female friendship films from the 30s and 40s "against the grain" as well as "with the grain" to try to preemptively defeat sexism. I always have a voluntary screening when I assign a film--just to be fair--and the two boys who have been a roller coaster of almost-sexist thought throughout the semester came. It's usually a very small group, maybe four or five students. So it was the two of them and two girls I have developed pretty particular relationships--especially one who I had to have a quasi-intervention with to try to give her more confidence in speaking in class and thinking of her own opinions as worthwhile.

I suppose I should also note here that my teaching style fits easily with the kind of clever female student who's been quiet in other classes because she felt weird AND, paradoxically, boyish boys who like to show off. I don't know how this happens but it really is a pattern. So the two boys are problems but they have both made some significant intellectual strides in the class and occasionally quite surprise me by being suddenly (temporarily) open-minded. So.

But during the screening of this film...honestly, I think the best lesson I could possibly do would be if I could have recorded them watching and then de-constructed their comments (read "shred to pieces") in front of the class tomorrow. Today. Whatever. But I can't quite do that, I think. It would be (a) mean and (b) impractical. But, guys, they literally left like this:
Guy A: I have to go watch an action film after this.
Guy B: Yeah, we should watch the scene from [fill in random action movie] where [whoever] blows up the [whatever]--
And so on as they walked out the door. Trying to get rid of the girly germs basically.

I'm thinking I'll begin the class tomorrow by doing a list on the board of qualities in "manly" films and "chick" films. And I'll bet that there will be some de-valuing of overly complex plots, of women placing too much importance on gossip and things that will be classed as "silly," of fashion in general. And I will make the case that the same happens in the "manly" films--because it does, obviously, no one is more concerned with clothes than Ah-nold in Terminator--and they will walk away staunch feminists. All of them.

But, yeah. This class tomorrowtoday could either go really well or really badly.
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Top 10 Strong Female Characters of Television

Because I am--apparently--still doing this.

Don't interrupt me. You see, I'm gonna dazzle you with my poor human brain. )

I went scrolling through the wikipedia lists of television shows to make this list and, now that I've finished, I've realized how infrequently women are portrayed with any kind of depth or strength in non-sci-fi/action shows. There are some notable exceptions (see list above) but it is still more than a little disconcerting. Especially since sci-fi and action are traditionally aimed at men, not women. And its women who need to see stronger depictions of femininity on television, not men.


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August 2012

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