Mad Men takes responsibility for blackface episode

The key takeaway for me about Mad Men‘s global sale to various entities is that the blackface episode will not be edited out, unlike other shows. There will be a notification on screen that says that show is merely depicted an era in which such racism was commonplace. They feel it’s appropriate to do that because it’s a period series. Shame that the owners, producers, and actors on other recent series don’t have the same integrity to provide a very similar disclaimer themselves. The series may have been aired only in the past two decades, but it’s nonetheless true that such racism was still commonplace.

I’m learning along with everyone else that combatting racism isn’t about erasure. It’s about facing and admitting to the injustices that even you have committed. That’s antiracism. When series try to dodge the issue by pulling away, it’s failing being a good ally by not taking responsibility. I haven’t read the book bearing this title, but I’m pretty sure this is what white fragility is.

On letters, cancellations, and what everyone seems to get wrong

There will be no burying the lede here. People can’t cancel people; businesses cancel people. As it has always been and how I expect it to remain in my lifetime, those in power are the ones who truly determine the amplification of a voice or the silencing that may occur when it is determined that the person’s voice is of no value anymore. It’s cold and true. Blaming a supposed mob for using their own voices, especially when the grouping of people is largely composed of those who have historically been marginalized, is ultimately another exertion of dominance.

Continue reading “On letters, cancellations, and what everyone seems to get wrong”

An Argument for Why Distasteful 30 Rock, Scrubs, and W/ Bob & David Blackface Episodes Should Remain

Yes, this image of JD (Zach Braff) in blackface as he imagines himself as his best friend Turk is problematic. But we shouldn’t ignore that it happened either.

In the most current of decades (and decades) of social justice movements based on the realization that Black people are regarded quite differently than other Americans, creators and platforms in entertainment have decided that they should also have a reckoning. Last week it was announced that an episode of W/ Bob & David would be removed from Netflix because a sketch featured a character in blackface. This week show creators Tina Fey and Bill Lawrence requested that platforms remove episodes of their respective shows, 30 Rock and Scrubs, for also featuring scenes of characters in blackface. Now that these entire episodes are gone there are no longer issues, right?

Except the problem is those episodes did exist and all they’re trying to do is say they’re owning the problem by saying they don’t exist anymore. That’s not a solution.

Continue reading “An Argument for Why Distasteful 30 Rock, Scrubs, and W/ Bob & David Blackface Episodes Should Remain”

Censorship and Visibility in the Age of Trump

The executive order regarding social media is in part meant to serve as a flex at social media companies. It paves the way for legal recourse against any action perceived as negative toward conservatives – or the ruling party, really. Given that the president likes the ease with which he can communicate with his constituents over a service like Twitter as well as the following her commands on Facebook, nothing lethal will occur to either service. The threat is there, though. And money is the blood shed in a capitalist culture.

There’s a second meaning to the order, though.

Continue reading “Censorship and Visibility in the Age of Trump”

Reboots are all the rage, so why not blogs?

It’s been a while since my last post. According to the site, it’s been roughly 7 years. No coincidence, that’s about the length of time I’ve been a father. That’s the sort of thing that makes you reprioritize your life. Not necessarly by choice. It just happens. Your time ceases to be your own. Honestly, your time was never yours to begin with. Children just help you along with that realization bit more directly.

There has been less time for consuming media, which is kind of important for a so-called critic of multimedia. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been watching, though. Honestly, this feels like an important moment. As I write this, the United States is in quarantine due to a pandemic – and at the helm of the country is President Donald Trump. A sentence like that written 7 years ago would have been seen as a total farce. The reality we live in today is mirrors the bad writing that existed in the past.

So now that it’s all the same, pop culture and real world politics, I might as well get back in there. Older, wiser, etc. Am I wiser? I hope so.

In coming back to this, there’s a part of me that wants to go through all of my old entries and strike anything that doesn’t fit my current values and perspective. That doesn’t feel honest, though. Keeping it could show that I have indeed grown. Worst case scenario is that there is something there that comes back to cancel me if I ever become important. I’m not a spotlight kind of guy, so it might be nice for something to grant me an easy exit. Well, let’s cross that bridge when we get there. I’m keeping my archives.

Peter Capaldi: (12th) Doctor’s Choice

There is no doubt in my mind that Peter Capaldi will be an amazing Doctor. To say he is an amazing actor should mean nothing to a Doctor Who fan, since his character in Torchwood‘s Children of Earth series was so believable that his decisions, and final moments, made the series that much more devastating. And I have to admit, in somewhat of an ironic fashion, the fact that he is an older man is a breath of fresh air for the show.

But the news was somewhat underwhelming for me. Talk on various blogs about the possibility of a woman or a person of color (or both) portraying the Doctor got me more excited. The fact that the Doctor is another white male is just par for the course. I know that he will make an amazing addition to the series, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that a series about exploration and endless possibilities is stymied by its need to adhere to some silly status quo.

The Guy Who Likes Stuff

An official geek flag was made of this

I went to a life recording of The Nerdist Podcast in Royal Oak, Michigan the other night, and it was an eye opening experience for me. Not so much because of the stand-up acts and the podcast, which were incredibly funny, but because of the realization of who I was among the sea of strangers who were cosplaying as well as tweeting whatever they could to read it on the big screen before the show started. (It was a great interactive measure, actually. They projected the results of a live reader that finds any tweet with the Nerdist hashtag. The problem is that not everyone who thinks he is a comedian is actually funny… In fact, most aren’t.)

This isn’t a new realization but rather a deeper realization following my final 2010 post about Patton Oswalt’s defense of geek media from mainstream consumption. Back then I denounced the status of the labeled enthusiast. I was ready to move forward on the same path I had already been walking, sans the luggage of status-seeking. It hasn’t been the easiest path. It gets really hard when married to an Astronomy PhD grad student who surrounds you with people who constantly use the labels and think it’s cool to do so. More power to them, but then I get looks when they make a graph to plot everyone’s level of geekery and I lack enthusiasm about it. When the graph includes an area for “fake geeks”, how can I give them them a thumb up? They’re what I’ve been considering wrong about the labeled culture. Continue reading “The Guy Who Likes Stuff”

Reading between the lines

Dating Site Says Android Users Are More Likely to Give It Up on the First Date

Thanks go out to the Consumerist for bringing this article to my attention. It says that not only are Android users more likely to have sex on the first date, but they are also more likely to have one night stands and access dating websites than people who use iPhones or Blackberrys. Meanwhile, iPhone users are more likely to have office romances and call someone a day after the first date. Lastly, Blackberry users are most likely to drink on the first date and admit to having experienced love at first sight. But what does this all mean? Continue reading “Reading between the lines”

SOPA

Today is a blackout day for crowdsourced information site Wikipedia as well as crowdsourced time wasting site Reddit in order to inform people of and protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. These sites, and others, are doing what they can to keep the internet an ethereal place for free communication. There’s a lot to be said about SOPA, and it’s sister bill PIPA, but those sites and others will be much more informative than this blog. (EDIT: Consumerist is devoting the day to articles on SOPA.) The short of it is this: The acts would give the media companies the power to contact internet service providers and basically block any site that they see is violating their copyright in any way. An example of such would be Monster Cables’ attempt to shutdown Craigslist because someone used the site to try to sell his old Monster brand cables. If passed, SOPA would give Monster that power.

While the venom spewed at the bill is justified from my point of view, I want to take a moment to explain that some of the arguments people are expressing against SOPA don’t work. Mainly that our internet usage is a fundamental freedom. It’s not. The internet is privilege, and its remaining this free for so long has been an honest, amazing blessing. What people don’t get about the bill that makes it so frightening is that none of this was ever guaranteed to those of us on the user end, and the passage of the bill would only serve to define this chaotic world that we’ve taken for granted. And while we would see it as a horrible wrong, they would be within their rights. Unfortunately, to ensure that our usage becomes a fundamental freedom, we need to see this through. Only in the bill’s defeat can we have legislation that guarantees us anything at all.

But I don’t know how strong my faith is in things turning out well. Right now we can only hope for the best.