Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend Reads

I'm bringing this back: on weekends (preferably Saturday, I'm posting this a day late) I'll link to some of my favorite blogs I discovered this week. Some might be silly, some might be serious, but they're all things I think are worth reading.

This week it all seems to fall into two categories: About Media and Not About Media. So that's how we're separating them out today.

About Media

Nobody Wants Community, But a Select Few Need It by Rebecca Tucker at National Post

In real life, and to many of the Community fans who show up in Harmontown, Community is a stand-in for the study room at Greendale: it’s a no-judgment zone for people whose idea of too cool for school involves a monkey living in the air ducts (and if that’s not your idea, you probably went to City College).

"Cinderella" and the Disruption of Consumption by Travis McClain at Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

I'm not admonishing Disney for making a little girl cry. On the contrary, I am acknowledging that their film, directed by Kenneth Branaugh, had such a visceral impact.

There is admonishment to be had, though, and it is leveled at the several adult members of the audience who made no allowance for how watching our protagonist - with whom we are meant to identify - endure the heartache of grieving for both of her parents. Surely, that is one of the most universally profound life experiences we must face as human beings. This child, her life experiences unknown to any of us, was forced to watch Cinderella go through that twice in the span of half an hour.

Ranking: Community's Musical Moments from Worst to Best by Killian Young at Consequence of Sound

In its first five seasons, the embattled show boasted cameos from Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles, and Sophie B. Hawkins, a co-writing spot from Adam Levine, and a huge group of great sampled and original tracks, including an entire episode dedicated to spoofing Glee. This list takes a broad interpretation of what constitutes musical moments, so you’ll see clips ranging from Britta’s pizza dance in “Remedial Chaos Theory” to Ludwig Göransson’s compositions and songs performed by cast members.

Directors Who Dominate: Billy Wilder by Jandy Hardesty at Flickchart

I’ve mentioned two or three times that Ace in the Hole was a tremendous box office failure – Billy’s eighth film would be his first unsuccessful one, with critics as well as with audiences. However, as you can tell by its ranking on Flickchart, Ace in the Hole has undergone an incredible resurgence in critical acclaim and popularity. His first film after breaking up with the more conservative and genteel Charles Brackett, Wilder took the opportunity to made a truly mean and deeply cynical picture. . . . Wilder had always been a cynical filmmaker, shining a light on the dark side of humanity, but here he spun the light around on the audience – YOU are the reason media circuses exist, he says. Ace in the Hole was ahead of its time in 1951. It seems utterly prescient today.

Chandler and Monica didn’t want to tell him about their relationship because they were afraid he’d freak out – and they were right.

This alone should be a bright red flag – if you’re afraid to tell someone about something that makes you happy because you think they’ll freak out all over it and make you feel bad … Well, you’ve got a pretty terrible friend in your life.

The brilliance and great, lasting gift of Freaks and Geeks is that neither of the girls is wrong. They’re both judgmental at times, they’re both incredible, supportive friends at other times, and they’re both disappointed by the people they thought they knew. Paul Feig, who notes that he’s “not religious at all,” wrote about how he didn’t want the show to run away from questions of faith and rebellion, because religious beliefs are “two more keys to the souls of humans, especially developing ones.” Of Lindsay, he wrote: “it’s the knowledge that she’s been forced by the world and herself to start her quest for the truth earlier and more intensely than most of the population ever will…that makes her search all the more consuming.”

Token Problems of a Token Marriage: Fireproof In Discussion by Joshua Gibbs and Kanaan Trotter at FilmFisher

The characters are threadbare because, as you said, they’re only caricature. To put it differently they’re not real people because they’re descriptions of problems, not people. This is part of the overarching issue with Christian literature— with modern, evangelical, mainstream Christian art. It is no secret that Christian movies, books, rock music are sub-par. This is, I think, due to a failure to portray real people or real issues. Rather than depictions of real people, this art portrays problems as people.

Not About Media

Consent: Not Actually That Complicated by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess

If you say “hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they um and ahh and say, “I’m not really sure…” then you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it then – this is the important bit –  don’t make them drink it. You can’t blame them for you going to the effort of making the tea on the off-chance they wanted it; you just have to deal with them not drinking it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you are entitled to watch them drink it.

If they say “No thank you” then don’t make them tea. At all. Don’t make them tea, don’t make them drink tea, don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, ok?

The Critical Part of Orphan Care That Adoption Culture Totally Missed by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie

A key example was when I adopted my girls from Peru: they were in an orphanage of approximately 74 girls, yet only five or so were actually eligible for adoption. The rest? They had relatives or a parent, but not relatives or parents with the means to care for them. Not able to live at home, not able to be adopted, many of these kids just get absorbed into institutions.

If we’re truly going to honor the calling to defend the cause of the fatherless and encourage the oppressed, we need to move beyond an adoption culture that is short sighted in its approach. Yes, adoption is both necessary and beautiful, but adoption alone is failing to actually address the problem. The key issue that needs to be addressed is, “how do we help to keep children with their biological families when at all possible?”

When we assume that our own positions are both right and self-evident, it is easy to demonize even the slightest dissent, and I find that unfortunate. I grew up in an environment where questioning the party line meant immediately getting the side eye, and disagreeing in even small areas meant being ostracized. I’d really rather not repeat that.

A Watch, Not a Read, But Still Worth It

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