Saturday, February 03, 2007

Well, that was Anti-Climatic

I'm sick, and on Saturday night there's not much to choose from with TV. There was a remake of an old movie (I liked the original) on television, so I turned it on. (Sadly, its been years since it was released so my reaction is a bit late).

About halfway through, I found myself wondering WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK HAVE THEY DONE TO THE STEPFORD WIVES?!!!

Full Spoilers for both versions of the movie below

Seriously, the first movie was fucking brilliant, subtle, and scary. I expected any remake to be bad because everyone already knows the twist, but I did not expect:

1) Joanna to be a REALITY TELEVISION EXECUTIVE. Dear gawd, in the 70s she was a normal sympathetic woman -- this movie starts with a show that details a marriage breaking up on her reality show (a show where the man and the woman get split up, spend wild weekends away from each other -- and the example shows a man who is faithful and a woman who leaves him).

2) Joanna's friend (played by Bette Midler) is a sloppy writer. Now, in the 70s she was a bit messy, but in this fucking movie she keeps the house like a disaster area. Another perfectly normal character from the 70s taken to an extreme.

3) The friend who'd been there the longest, the first to go. In this movie, that friend is a gay man who fits the gay yuppie stereotype to a tee. It really pissed me off that he got Stepford treatment and then put up for Senate, and nothing in the movie pointed out what a huge fucking injustice it was that the man getting redone was put up as a career guy and all of the women were remade to be housewives. Its like they consciously thought "Hey, gay men are too feminine, so let's have him redone to be really masculine and uptight" and just threw that in along with some joke about Republican candidates. It was flippant, and worthy of more examination than "that's the way it is."

4) The men in town were played up FUCKING SYMPATHETIC. What the HELL?! They're REPLACING THE WOMEN WITH ROBOTS and its somehow presented as OKAY?!!? They are cold-blooded bastards who care only about their own comfort. They are selfish as possible. They're a bunch of animals. These are fucking monsters and in the first movie they were played as the monsters they were.


So anyway, I make it as far as the grocery scene that ends the first movie, and the damned thing goes on. There's a twist. Joanna's not a robot, her husband Walter is not evil and together they join forces to take out the evil male mad scientist -- Only, the mad scientist is not the mastermind.

The mad scientist is a robot (everyone else was dealing with implanted brainchips, but this guy was a full robot), created to be his wife's perfect man. Glenn Close is the mastermind.

I'm not sure how to digest this movie. I mean, I spent most of the movie getting extremely pissed off at the entire thing. The five points outlined above do a lot to dilute the power of that poetic justice at the end. Especially since, even though none of the women were physically hurt (though they were all career women who have essentially had their lives slip away from them as they were under Stepford brain-whammy), all the men got off extremely easy in the end. Basically the moviemakers made a "whipped husband" joke.

Also, I have trouble forgiving any movie that gets me that pissed off just to end with fucking insane Glenn Close. Can she even play sane? Has anyone ever seen her play sane?

I think it would have worked as a parody of the first movie, if it had been presented that way. It was presented as a remake, so I got myself worked up over a movie that, in the end, turned out to be nothing of substance.

Certainly not worth the trouble. Hollywood can't even be competently misogynistic anymore.


I think Marionette sums up the situation best:
But somewhere up at DC, whoever was responsible for this villainisation got overruled and Teen Titans #43 gives us an explanation that allows Cass to return to the good guys' team. It's a bad explanation, which doesn't begin to cover the changes that were made to her in Robin, and it's all about abuse and mind control, but I see a lot of fans happy to accept it because it gives them Cass back.

This in turn has prompted a reaction to happy feminist fans of Batgirl that can be summed up as "Oh, so it's okay to have a story of abuse towards women when it suits you, is it?" To which the answer is "No, but this bad thing fixed something that was worse. We do not cheer the bad fix, we cheer that the worse thing is gone."

Technically speaking, Cain's occupying a refrigerator either way -- tossed off her own book and grabbed for Robin's storyline. But the TT#43 storyline gives the option to thaw which is a relief more than anything.

And Lo, the Seventh Book was Published...

Found this prophecy about the looming July non-comics-related pop culture mega-event. (Via)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Poetry for Brigid

Today's Imbolc on the pagan calender, and I stumbled across a cross-blog poetry meme.

One of my own, but I'm not sure civilians will understand the reference.

Military Girl
Ben's mother at the door.

He crosses the room to let her in.
I stand up, straighten my hair, and absently
rub the toe of my shoe against the
back of my nylons.

Another Director Bites the Dust

Whedon's off the Wonder Woman project (Via):
You (hopefully) heard it here first: I'm no longer slated to make Wonder Woman. What? But how? My chest... so tight! Okay, stay calm and I'll explain as best I can. It's pretty complicated, so bear with me. I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked. Hey, not that complicated.

Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views.

The worst thing that can happen in this scenario is that the studio just keeps hammering out changes and the writer falls into a horrible limbo of development. These guys had the clarity and grace to skip that part. So I'm a free man.

On one hand we won't have to suffer through Whedon-made villains. I cringed when I heard he didn't want to use the ones she already has. Plus I was dying for the WWII connection to remain (I do hope the rumor that the new script has a WWII setting is true).

On the other hand, its back to Development Hell for one of my favorite franchises.

10th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

The 10th Edition is up at Adventures in Lame. Check it out!

Hosting is lined up for the 11th Edition, but if anyone is up for the 12th and beyond email me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Pet Peeves

Okay, I'm not sure how this'll be recieved by the greater meming community as its probably not what they had in mind (but hey, you wanted to get to know bloggers better!), but I've had a hair trigger all week and this was all I could think of. (Yes, I picked the sweet little hearts code just because I'm ranting.)

Some of these will be political, US-centric, and contain profanity.

Thirteen Things about Ragnell the Foul

Thirteen Things That Greatly Annoy Me

1) Being treated like I'm stupid.

2) Oversimplifying a complicated argument so that everyone gets classified in extremes, with one position being "good" and the other "evil."

3) Barney Fife jokes about the police.

4) People who argue the meaning of "freedom of religion" without ever having read the Consitution.

5) People who argue what ideals the United States was founded upon without ever having read the Declaration of Independance.

6) Micromanagement.

7) Using the phrase "politically correct" to complain about being asked not to be a dick. You are not being a rebel with racist and sexist jokes. You are being a dick.

8) Nationalists who claim to be Patriots.

9) Calling any character trait I display "masculine" "manly" or "male." I'm a woman, dammit. Everything I am and do is feminine. The problems are your narrow definitions.

10) Characterizing the entire military as conservative hawks. Just because they're volunteers doesn't mean they're disposable OR that they have a particular political philosophy. Some people need money, some people need training, and some people actually do love the Constitution and the freedoms outlined.

11) And while I'm at it, the "she killed, isn't she a villain now?" meme that pops up occasionally in the comics community (usually whenever a hero kills somebody.) In actual life, policemen and military members are taught that killing is possible while in training, and take the job fully knowledgable that its necessary in some scenarios. Preparing to accept that does not automatically mean a person doesn't respect life, or that they look forward to the option, or even that they'll bring themselves to do it when the time comes. That "killing automatically makes you a bad guy" argument basically argues that the policemen and veterans who've killed during their duty are bad guys and no "But superheroes are different because of x" argument has ever or will ever lessen that.

12) Aircrew. By the very nature of your job, if you fly in an airplane for a living and break the shit I or my counterpart works on, I hate you. Nothing personal. I just hate you.

13) Perky, rebellious, blonde teenaged girl superheroes. There were been too damned many of them at DC (Arrowette, Wonder Girl, Spoiler, Secret, Supergirl, Stargirl, Speedy -- you couldn't fit a redhead or a brunette in there?) and with a bad artist you couldn't tell them apart in civvies. We need a moratorium on creating new ones for at least a decade. Try someone who's not white instead. If she must be white for being a blood relative of another character, try a redhead or a brunette instead. Really, its like there's a factory for superheroes and someone left the setting on "Blonde" "Teenaged" "Female" "Perky" and "Rebellious." Even when later writers flesh them out, they all start out the freaking same. They all look the fucking same. It must be stopped! I demand diversity, if only to be able to follow the fucking story without wondering who the hell's talking!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Geoff Johns, I could never stay mad at you...

Teen Titans spoilers.

He's getting mixed reactions, but I have to say that between that and the Batgirl revelation in that issue my anger at the POW storyline in Green Lantern has disappeared.

Which is weird because I'm a huge Green Lantern fan that's only marginally interested in the Gotham characters.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Teen Titans Creative Team Change

Geoff Johns is leaving to make room for Adam Beechen.

I dropped Teen Titans a long time ago because I didn't like Johns' Wonder Girl, and even though Beechen is the DC Hit Man for Batgirl I thought I might give it a shot. Because Marz was the DC Hit Man for Hal Jordan, and I still ended up liking some of his non-editorially driven stuff. Emerald Knights and Final Night were my first Hal Jordan stories.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why do I still care?

Lisa at Sequentially Speaking has some information about artist changes for DC books:

Please note that GREEN LANTERN #18 (JAN070293) and 19 (FEB070275) will be illustrated by Daniel Acuña (UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS), with covers by regular series artists Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert.
Not that I was planning on buying it (well, okay, I was planning to buy it if, miraculously, issue #18 shipped with all of the fleshy parts of Star Saphire's costume colored in black, blue, purple or white) but I couldn't buy it even if I was buying it with Daniel Acuña on the art.

He's responsible for this.

Yeesh, I don't know why fauxtorealistic artists get work.

Monday, January 29, 2007

He'll ruin this for everyone, won't he?

Stephen Colbert just launched another attack on Wikipedia.

Upcoming Deadline: Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans 10

Reb at Adventures in Lame put out the call back on the 12th. Deadline is Tuesday. Get your posts together.

Deadline: January 30th
Contact: allreb[AT]gmail[DOT]com or submission form
Carnival Date: February 1st

In other news, the mainstream Carnival of Feminists has issue #30 up at the Feminist Pulse and issue #31 will be at Truly Outrageous on February 7th.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Now I just need an envelope.

Wrote another letter to DC, this time over this. Feel free to pinch your nose and read aloud Comic Book Guy-style:
Dear Mr. Didio,

I saw Eddie Berganza's guest column in DC Nation last week. I had a mixed reaction, as a female reader

On one hand, its nice that you know we exist. I've been reading since I was 12 and over that time I've gotten the distinct impression that comic book companies only think guys read.

And I am casually interested in Supergirl. I pick it up from time to time to see if I like what's going on, but I'm not a big Kelly or Churchill fan and with Super-books I read for the creative team. (And implying the Power Girl is a "bimbo" by creating a "mimbo" equivalent doesn't endear them to me.)

Now Green Lantern books I'll read even when the writer and artists are unknowns. I love Green Lantern. I have the T-Shirt. I have the toys. I have the 'piggy' bank. I WANT to buy the entire series from the 40s until now because I ADORE the concept.
But I've dropped Green Lantern 3 times over the last 13 years. Twice because Jade was being treated like crap, and once for costumes. I never thought I had a problem with cheesecakey costumes before (love Wonder woman, love Power Girl) but Ivan Reis' interpretation of Arisia made me cringe. The shirtless Star Sapphire on the cover of GL#18 made me drop the book in the middle of a storyline. It looked like porn.

While its heartening to see an actual superhero book looking for female readers, its hard to stomach the sentiment when another book makes it crystal clear through exploitive art that female readers are not welcome.

Look, at DC you have an AWESOME product concept-wise. Superheroes can and do appeal greatly to women and you have the icons. And its wonderful (hint, hint) that you have pleasing female readers in mind.

Just don't stop at the 'girl' books. I'd read everything you put out if I felt welcome to.

Its obvious that column was because Supergirl's sales are declining and they know that women are reading due to the letter campaign, but I don't think they realize how stuff like this and Minx sound when contrasted to the mind-boggling sexism of the Green Lantern #18 cover. So I thought I'd bring that to their attention.