You know those stop lights that honestly just last forever and a day? Like, you’re on your way to work (or worse, on your way home), and you’re sitting there and it just will not change? Everyone else has gone, but you and your poor lane? Stuck there, forever. I hate those. But I guess if you’re going to be stuck at a stop light, it may as well be one where you’re being entertained by James Corden, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a wonderful musical cast as they perform Hair.
In case you weren’t aware, Hair is about the hippie countercultural movement that sprung up in the 1960s and 70s. What most people remember about it is the fact that its nude scene sparked a controversy that impacted theater going forward. So, you know, you can totally go from that to Corden and Miranda dancing around in hippie gear at a live Los Angeles intersection.
They performed just about all of the hits from the musical, singing, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Hair,” and “Where Do I Go?” which is the song to which the nude scene is set. Their re-enactment of the scene is about as surreal as it gets for your every day driver, I suppose, as they come out in coats and strip down to show that they’re ostensibly wearing nothing at all (nothing at all). Obviously the important bits are blurred out, but everything else? Flying high and fancy free, my friend.
It’s especially funny when during this scene, Miranda jumps on the hood of a car at the stop light and just really … goes at it, you know what I mean? I have to wonder, like, did he know this person? Was this person really as frustrated as the video made him seem? I mean, I know I’d be very much in a “what the hell is going on here” mindset, but in the end, I can’t really fault the guy. Did they apologize afterwards? Did they have a plan if this guy might have had a problem with road rage?
Anyway, it’s a bit funny to me that just about everyone watching looked more confused or bored than anything. There were a few laughs, but nobody was dancing or getting into it. Folks just really wanted to get to where they’re going, I suppose. Maybe that’ll teach you to not drive past CBS’ lot ever again.
So, basically, they’re privately arguing over who broke up with who, but the public face of it is that it was a mutual agreement, according to a White House statement. But with Donald Trump, these things never stay private for long, so expect it to very publicly be hashed out soon, especially as the pro-Bannon wing of Trump support grows restless with Trump not quite being awful enough for their standards on his own. It already seems like some pro-Trump media, unsurprisingly starting with Breitbart, is poised to turn on him.
I think this is where the “moderate” Republicans truly learn the meaning of The Scorpion and the Frog. Trump is likely to find that particularly backstabby, as the only way I can make sense of the purported timeline:
So…the whole time all this alt-right bullshit was going down, they could have deflected at any moment with this news…but didn’t? pic.twitter.com/4TB50Ylrpb
As well as Trump’s public statement earlier this week that Bannon is not racist, is that his goal was to part with Bannon on terms that wouldn’t make it appear as though he blamed Bannon for the white supremacist part of his support. I hope he can be baited into explaining as much publicly, since baiting him into firing Bannon in the first place seems to have worked:
Meanwhile, there’s also legitimate concern that Bannon’s removal won’t result in a huge rift, and he’ll instead take to propaganda operations outside the White House while freeing Trump from the optical nightmare of actually employing him. It’s also worth noting that Bannon’s departure is good, but the White House doesn’t deserve any credit—which they’re no doubt hoping for—for removing him while Trump’s own bigotry remains.
Whatever the case, we’re going to take this moment to savor his removal.
While Saturday Night Live is still on hiatus, Weekend Update is back with special weekly installments, because what SNL apparently thinks we need to get us through the summer is news delivered as smugly as possible. Last night, Tina Fey dropped by, which I’m sure I wasn’t alone in hoping would balance out the Jost and Che. I was wrong.
A lot of the positive reactions to Fey’s segment have been along the lines of “It was hilarious! She spoke truth and ate cake!” Which … yes, she did both of those things. There were some really great classic Fey lines, going off on Nazis, the theft of this entire country from Native Americans, “Yard Sale Barbie” Ann Coulter, and the danger of independent militias. And the entire rant revolved around eating about half a sheet cake.
Talking of the upcoming planned white supremacist rallies, Fey said, “I would urge people this Saturday, instead of participating in these screaming matches and potential violence, find a local business that you support, maybe a Jewish-run bakery, or an African-American-run … bakery. Order a cake with the American flag on it like this one, and just eat it.” Which she proceeds to do. That part alone was at least physically impressive.
There’s a lot of debate of debate over whether it’s best to counter-protest Nazi rallies, or if they’re specifically trying to bait the left into violent photo ops. Either way, the idea of “sheet caking,” of staying home and yelling your fears and anger “into the cake,” is not a helpful suggestion. And sure, I know it’s “just a joke,” and that Fey is a comedian, not an activist. But that justification just feels lazy when the comedian in question is talking about actual Nazis on an ostensibly political show. And most definitely not when that comedian is someone a lot of women look up to–specifically a lot of white women, who, as a group, have consistently and historically been given endless permission for complacency.
Tina Fey’s suggestion to eat cake and ignore neo-Nazis forgets that plenty of people are already doing that https://t.co/AtbhOaWz10
There are aliens among us, but Torchwood is ready…ish.
Ending its television run back in 2011 after its fourth series ‘Miracle Day’, Torchwood entered a strange limbo. Though the BBC teased us with the occasional radio play or tie-in novel, no details were forthcoming on the possibility of a fifth series.
But there have been hints that the story of Torchwood is not yet finished. An ongoing subplot in several stories saw Gwen and Rhys working to rebuild the now-defunct institute. Even an MIA Captain Jack got in on the act briefly, though he was there more in spirit than body. In ‘Aliens Among Us’, Torchwood finally gets the fifth series it was denied on TV and we get to see what happens next.
Changes Everything by James Goss
Ace reporter Tyler Steele (yes, really) is on the hunt of a conspiracy to target refugees. Instead he finds a Welsh woman with road rage, drones with flamethrowers and a spacetime rift with indigestion. And that’s just the first 15 minutes! It’s fair to say that the fabled fifth series puts its best foot forward. With most of the focus on Tyler, I was expecting him to slot into Gwen’s rookie role from the original show. But the story takes him a different direction. Whereas Gwen came in and helped the team rediscover their humanity, Tyler is a disgraced journalist. His past was not one of trying to help people, he’s in it for the fame and the money. Teaming him up with Jack, who we’ve seen grow from an amoral con artist to world-weary hero, was a great way to establish their contrast. Meanwhile, we meet Mr. Colchester (who we technically first met in ‘The Torchwood Archive‘) with his dry wit. Torchwood has achequered past with civil servants, but Colchester avoids the bumptious bureaucrat cliché. In fact, he’s quickly become my favourite character!
All this is set against a very timely story about hate crimes and immigration. A homespun terrorist group is emerging and targeted refugee centres. And with Torchwood not around to monitor the rift, who knows what galactic riff-raff have entered Cardiff! It’s a great first outing for this new Torchwood dynamic, capped off with a wonderfully executed twist at the end. One that totally changes how you listen to the other stories.
Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy by James Goss
The Torchwood team attend the hen night from hell. After a mix-up with some man-meat, they end up towing a boozy alien bride-to-be across the city. It must be said that Paul Clayton and Alexandria Riley have some great chemistry and really sell their team dynamic. As a story, it’s reminiscent of Torchwood’s earlier TV outings with an added sense of comedy unique to Big Finish. Goss blends humour and horror in a really entertaining way, each one enhancing the other at just the right moments. Remarkably, it avoids ever becoming farcical, which it so easily could have. It’s a chilling romp of a story.
However, this story gets incredibly busy and a lot of stuff has to be told rather than shown. At one point, Gwen is robbing an office with an alien bride while Mr. Colchester catches up on the news. He then has to explain to Gwen (and the audience) things that have happened off-screen. This wouldn’t be a problem except they’re things that tie directly into the overall series arc. I think it may have helped to give Red Doors a figurehead character so we could see these events taking place for ourselves. Nevertheless, it’s a non-stop thriller with the unlikeliest likable antagonist.
Orr by Juno Dawson
Juno Dawson takes over writing duties for the third story of the series. We meet the eponymous Orr, a genetically-engineered sexual psycho-morph. Beings like Orr instinctively shapeshift to best suit whatever the person they’re with desires most. So you can guess what a weird time Orr has with the Captain. When Orr ends up absconding from Sorvix bigwigs, Torchwood steps in to help. But time is short and the whole of Cardiff risks being caught in the crossfire. I can’t go into too much detail on the story without giving the best bits away.
This is an excellent story to both introduce a compelling new character and expand on the series arc. Up to this point, our encounters with the Sorvix have been spoilt brats and their human enablers. Now we see first-hand just how ruthless and calculating they are. Dawson really dives into Orr’s personality and quickly establishes a firm bond with Captain Jack. Meanwhile, Gwen is having a difficult time (again, spoilers!) and we see more of how she’s changed since the TV days. In the midst of this action-packed release, a slower story to deal with the character-driven subplots was a great move.
Superiority Complex by AK Benedict
Having overseen the demolition of a large chunk of Cardiff, the Sorvix open a high-tech, alien-only hotel on the rubble. Naturally, the ousted citizens of Cardiff are none too pleased and a series of murders means that Torchwood isn’t far behind. Benedict has taken the opportunity to really let her imagination run wild with the innards of an alien hotel. It’s the perfect setting for a Torchwood story as our incognito heroes must blend in with the weirdness. The resolution gives Paul Clayton another great moment that delves into Mr. Colchester’s snarky friendship with Jack. Orr and Gwen also share some really great scenes together which strike an impressive balance between comedy and drama. Again, a balance is struck that plays a potentially farcical moment with absolute sincerity.
As with the previous stories, this script makes incisive points about economic disparity and class. But this one probably tackles it head-on, contrasting the opulent smart-hotel with the dispossessed masses divided only by a fence. It’s an interesting subversion when a lot of modern sci-fi depicts humans as the barrier to intergalactic integration. I’m intrigued to see how this theme develops in future episodes!
Series 5: Part 1
Just as Gwen and Rhys rebuilt Torchwood the Institute, Big Finish has rebuilt Torchwood the series. In only four stories, Goss, Dawson and Benedict create a rich set of characters to lead the new team. The friendships, frictions, and dynamics among them develop quickly but naturally. I was pleased to hear that Torchwood is not yet up to its full strength, with an unstable rift to look after, as it makes the whole situation feel more fragile.
The format is an interesting mix of episodic adventures but with a distinct ongoing arc that progresses with each story. In that regard, it’s reminiscent of the Russell T Davies era but with more focus than the monster-of-the-week approach. I think it’s a really nice balance for those who are fans of early Torchwood and those who prefer the later years. That said, it felt like Jack was a bit sidelined in these four stories so I hope he gets a little more focus later on.
As the opening gambit to the continuing adventures of Torchwood, it’s a very strong start! I’m just glad that we only have to wait until October and February to get the next chapters (hey, it’s better than the six years since ‘Miracle Day’!). But from just what we’ve heard so far, fans of Torchwood will agree that this is the treatment it deserves in its fifth series.
Blogtor Rating – 9/10
We do our best to keep these reviews as spoiler-free as possible. But if we want to really dig in to a topic, it helps to be specific. So scroll to the bottom of this page or click here to read our super secret spoiler talk!
This title was released in August 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until October 31st 2017, and on general sale after this date.
Big Finish picks up the events after Miracle Day with Torchwood: Aliens AmongUs…
Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper have restarted Torchwood. But it’s in a very different Cardiff. Something terrible’s happened to the city. With every day getting darker, will Torchwood need to adopt a whole new approach?
5.1 Changes Everything by James Goss
Tyler Steele has washed up in Cardiff looking for a fresh start. A disgraced journalist, he’s looking into the Red Doors movement – are they really behind the terrorist attacks on immigrants? Who is stirring up the racism and hatred in the city, and what does outsourcing contractor 3Sol have to do with it? Tyler finds out that Torchwood – a secret organisation that everyone thought long gone – is back in business. Tyler realises that this is the second chance he’s been looking for, and he’ll do anything to be a part of it.
5.2 Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy by James Goss
Has Cardiff really been invaded by aliens? Tyler thinks he’s found a lead – the daughter of the mysterious Ro-Jedda is getting married and has booked a private party. If Torchwood can infiltrate it, there’s a chance they’ll end up closer to the truth. Free bar, canapes, and the chance to find out what’s really going on. What could possibly go wrong? Soon Torchwood are on the run for their lives, and learning more than they ever wanted to about alien life.
5.3 Orr by Juno Dawson
Vincent Parry is the most successful property developer in Cardiff. A while ago he made an agreement with the mysterious Ro-Jedda, and it is an arrangement he has come to bitterly regret. Something has to be done – but it’s going to cost him everything he loves. With time running out for Cardiff, Torchwood encounter an alien who knows them only too well.
5.4 Superiority Complex by AK Benedict
Poverty and homelessness are on the rise in Cardiff. The streets are full of the desperate and the dispossessed. So, of course, it’s the right time to open a 7-star luxury, all-inclusive hotel. And, naturally, the hotel is for aliens only. As the humans stand outside the gates and look hungrily in, there’s one thing that makes them smile. Someone is murdering the guests.
Written By: James Goss, Juno Dawson, AK Benedict Directed By: Scott Handcock
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Tom Price (Sgt Andy Davidson), Paul Clayton (Mr Colchester), Alexandria Riley (Ng), Jonny Green (Tyler Steele), and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper)
Stephen Critchlow (The Mayor), Rachel Atkins (Ro-Jedda), Ruth Lloyd (Vorsun), Sophie Colquhoun (Madrigal), Rhian Marston-Jones (Quenel), Lu Corfield (Brongwyn), Rhys Whomsley (Osian), Sharon Morgan (Mary Cooper), David Sibley (Vincent Parry), Sam Béart (Catrin Parry), Anthony Boyle (Hotel Manager), Sam Jones (Toobert Jailert), Wilf Scolding (Personal Trainer)
Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners
Produced by James Goss
Script edited by Scott Handcock
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Hey! You made it! Now, as we said before, this section contains spoilers so if you’ve stumbled here by accident, then run!
While the ongoing subplot between Gwen and Alexandria Riley’s character is a dramatic one, the execution left me a little confused. The first episode sets up the reveal that Riley is playing Gwen to be a surprise. And it is. Mainly because, other than being Welsh, Riley sounds nothing like Eve Myles. This has nothing to do with Riley’s performance, she’s a fine actor and does a terrific job. But nobody could mistake the two for one another in voice.
Since Riley’s on the cover art, mimicking Gwen’s stance, I assumed that she looked and sounded different. But had somehow hypnotised those around her not to notice. Since Not-Gwen and Jack don’t come face-to-face with until the final story, I was under the impression she was avoiding him as he could see through the ruse. But later scenes make it clear that Not-Gwen is inhabiting Gwen’s body, and Jack sees nothing amiss when they meet up over cherry bakewells. So why is the voice different?
It’s an exciting subplot and I can’t wait to find out how this happened and where it’s going. Especially in light of Mary being killed by her daughter’s hand. But, having heard Eve Myles play Gwen for years, the change is a bit distracting and the story seems to have no interest in reconciling it. Though, with eight more episodes to go, there’s probably more to it.
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s autobiographical rom-com The Big Sick starring Zoe Kazan and Kumail as the couple was a delightful and moving love story, but it was also a great treat for stand-up comedy fans. With the story centering around Nanjiani during his earlier days of comedy (and the New York scenes featuring lines from his actual stand-up routine) and guest stars like Aidy Bryant, Bo Burnham, and Kurt Braunohler, the film is full of great banter and short clips of stand-up.
It makes you wonder, then, how many jokes didn’t make it into the final cut. Well, Nerdist shared an exclusive video titled “The Other Stuff” from Amazon Studios which is four minutes of unseen material from The Big Sick, mainly comedian bits and dad jokes. Awesome.
Funny enough, my favorite bits here come from Ray Romano’s Terry whose terrible humor is a running joke in the film as Nanjiani tries to react with a straight face.
Terry: Here’s my favorite joke. Two hippos in the middle of a swamp. Nothing’s going on, it’s just quiet. They’re just up to their nose in the swamp. And then one just looks at the other and says, “I just can’t get it through my head it’s Thursday.”
And then there’s this one:
Terry: Here’s a joke. Ask me the secret to comedy.
Kumail: What’s the secret to com-
Kumail: [laughing] What did you say?
Also, Anupam Kher as Kumail’s dad Azmat has some great comedic instruction for his son and it is golden. Just, more dad jokes in everything please. What did you think of “The Other Stuff”?
If anyone can watch this documentary from the events in Charlottesville and still walk away talking about the sins of “both sides,” we’re in big trouble.
The whole goal of the white supremacist gathering was, as described by one interviewee, to show off the power and scale of their movement. Frankly, if we only let it serve as that kind of demonstration to their sympathizers and not everyone else, things are only going to get worse. Everyone who opposes these ideas needs to wake up, right now, and realize that ignoring this is not an option. It never has been, really, and a collective ignorance of the racism still alive and well in our society is what has allowed it to thrive and resurface like this.
Around these events, there’s no benefit to a “both sides” argument for anyone but the white supremacists. That’s what the white supremacists want. You can see them in the video, rattling off talking points that you’ve probably heard from their allies who claim that they don’t go in for the full-on KKK/neo-Nazi aspect of this set of politics, before dropping in the some full-blown, explicit racism that underlies their rationale. There is no way of siding with those beliefs without accepting the bigotry they’re based on.
Only one side drove into a crowd with a car and killed someone. Only one side is fighting in favor of hatred. (For the millionth time, being against hate isn’t a form of hate to anyone who’s not being pointlessly obtuse.) We have to be clear about why that’s not OK. Whether or not the white supremacist rally was legal is entirely beside the point. Does anyone really want to be the character in a period piece who’s like, “Well I’m not racist personally, but it’s the way things are, you see”? Because we sure seem to have a lot of “both sides” apologists signing up for the role.
We all know that’s the wrong side of history to be on, and yet when it’s the present, too many people seem to suddenly lose perspective. Hopefully, this documentary can help restore that perspective.
I was a huge fan of Daredevil S1, but the best part of a much weaker S2 was the introduction of Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), A.K.A. The Punisher. While Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) was being a whiny hypocrite about how killing people is wrong while basically leaving people for dead all over town, The Punisher provided a refreshing, handling of mother-effing business. Now, more than ever, we need a Punisher series.
The teaser above doesn’t give us very much in terms of actual plot or other characters in the upcoming Netflix series. What it does give us is a glimpse into the journey of the character. “All the things that I’d done,” he begins in voiceover. “Memories, they never hurt me. But the past…is more than memories. It’s the devil you sold your soul to. He’s comin’. He’s comin’ to collect.”
Watching this trailer, I couldn’t help but think that this is exactly the kind of hero we need right now. A regular person with special training, but no superpowers. Someone who looks at the horror and injustice of the world and rages with very human fury and takes action when others won’t.
We live in a world where the high road feels like a luxury none of us can afford, and while we might individually work within ourselves to be true to higher ideals, it can be really cathartic to have a hero to watch who has completely run out of fucks to give, and just wants to kill bad guys with zero reservations about it.
What do you think? Are you excited for The Punisher on Netflix?
Today’s my last day of work and it’s going to be very bittersweet, because while I’m excited about my new job, I’m also sad to be leaving where I am right now. When I started working there, I thought I would only be there for about two months, because I assumed I would get a teaching job right away. But I ended up being there for two years instead and I ended up getting really close to a lot of the kids and the people I work with, so it’s going to be really sad to leave.
Members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities are taking a strong stance against Trump for his hate-mongering, with a mass resignation issued in a joint letter this morning. “We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” it writes.
The committee, established in 1982, advises the White House on cultural issues. The letter explains, “We were hopeful that continuing to serve in the PCAH would allow us to focus on the important work the committee does with your federal partners and the private sector to address, initiate, and support key policies and programs in the arts and humanities for all Americans.”
However, in light of Trump’s inaction and lack of condemnation for the hate that drove the white nationalists in Charlottesville, they group issued the letter “[effective] immediately.” “Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” it states.
Members include artist Chuck Close, actor Kal Penn, writer Jhumpa Lahiri, and others dedicated to promoting arts and culture. The 17 members were appointed by President Obama, and Politico points out that they haven’t yet met under Trump. The letter is truly a thing of beauty, and waking up feeling like I was screaming into the void of an apathetic, uncaring universe tearing apart my nation, it provided a small bit of hope and solace to hear an official agency condemn Trump in such powerful and true rhetoric.
Please read the whole thing, as it speaks to everything we feel when we see his terrible news conferences and goes into strong detail about ways that Trump has undone and actively gone against the important work the committee promotes. The PCAH cites their patriotic oath, and in their resignation they uphold it. This passage, especially, really says it all:
Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President. But it is our role as commissioners on the PCAH to do so. Art is about inclusion. The Humanities include a vibrant free press. You have attacked both. You released a budget which eliminates arts and culture agencies. You have threatened nuclear war while gutting diplomacy funding. The administration pulled out of the Paris agreement, filed an amicus brief undermining the Civil Rights Act and attacked our brave trans service members. You have subverted equal protections, and are committed to banning Muslims and refugee women & children from our great country. This does not unify the nation we all love.
It ends: We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”
[UPDATE 8/18/17 12:09 PM] If you didn’t think this could be any better, the first letter of each paragraph spells out “RESIST.” How did we miss that the first time around?
Wonder Woman was, by all accounts, a massive hit, which has had us closely following whether or not its director, Patty Jenkins, would return for the sequel that Warner Bros. is suddenly very eager to get off the ground. As you’d expect, that level of success gives Jenkins a powerful negotiation tool, and she’s now reportedly close to closing a deal to bring us the next installment in the franchise.
That would see Diana coming to the United States in the 1980s for some Cold War action when the sequel debuts on December 12, 2019, which sounds pretty great to us. Either way, we’re also just happy for Jenkins, who absolutely deserves the “historic” payout that Deadline is reporting. While there are no hard details, they’ve learned that the deal she’s about to land is in line with that of any other director who’s hit success of this level, and it’ll leave her as the highest-paid female director around.
From the start, we’ve been critical of the idea of considering Jenkins a “gamble,” compared to how readily male directors are handed blockbusters like this. That’s what makes it so great to see her finally get her due, and we can only hope that it helps pave the way for a change in who’s perceived as a “gamble” in the first place.
Your childhood is vanishing, one animatronic at a time.
Chuck E. Cheese’s, the restaurant/arcade/ball pit of horrors that where you just had to have your 7th birthday, is starting to phase out the animatronic band that’s installed at just about every one of their franchises. For now, the company is looking to break up Munch’s Make Believe band (née The Rock-afire Explosion) in a few select locations. Eventually, though, depending on response, it’s likely that they’ll all be gone in the not-too-distant future.
CEO Tom Leverton commented on the change, telling reporters, “It’s the biggest thing we’ve done for the look and feel of Chuck E. Cheese for two decades. The kids stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago, and they would wait for the live Chuck E. to come out.” Frankly, I’m surprised that attendance at Chuck E. Cheese’s is still going steady. Then again, I’m not really their target demographic, so maybe that’s not too surprising after all.
Jury’s out on whether someone will make a Behind the Music-style documentary (yes, I’ve seen the Rock-afire Explosion documentary, thank you very much) as a goodbye to these stately, quaint, and woefully outdated animatronic bands.
It’ll be interesting to see how Five Nights at Freddie’s—a survival horror game based on the animatronics at play places like these—will respond. Moreover, that makes me wonder: what the hell are they going to do with all those old robots? I mean … it’s not like they can just dump them, can they? You just know somebody’s going to be installing these guys into a haunted house this year. Oh, man, I just had an idea: a Chuck E. Cheese-themed (okay, Chuck E.-adjacent) haunt! It really would be kind of like Five Nights at Freddie’s except you’re stuck walking around a freaky arcade waiting for morning for the doors to unlock.
I’d never go into the haunt, no way, but man, wouldn’t that be cool?
Collecting Doctor Who DVDs remains an affordable hobby, given that the price of most of them has now fallen to well below the £10 mark. But every now and then, a special collectors’ edition pops up that still somehow attracts an eye-watering price.
That’s the case for a special black rubber limited edition Doctor Who: The Daleks boxset. The black rubber appears to be the big selling point here, as in terms of classic Dalek stories, it’s not even complete!
The set was a limited edition run, featuring Dalek Invasion Of Earth, Genesis Of The Daleks, Resurrection Of The Daleks, Revelation Of The Daleks and Remembrance Of The Daleks. Straight away, the absence of William Hartnell’s first Dalek adventure The Daleks, along with Tom Baker in Destiny Of The Daleks, is hard to overlook. There’s no Frontier In Space, Planet Of The Daleks or Death To The Daleks either. Some mitigation is offered by the fact that the set itself was released back in 2007.
And maybe it’s that that’s contributed to its worth. Right now, save for the collection of seven series of Who, and US imports, it’s the most expensive second hand Doctor Who set to buy at Amazon UK. The asking price is a cool £119.99. The actual discs within it can be found at half the price. But here’s the link if you’re inclined: http://amzn.to/2ibAsm1
Have you seen an over the top priced Doctor Who collectable? Let us know in the comments…
Title: Unconventional Countess Author: meridian_rose Fandom: Black Sails Pairing/Characters: Max/John Silver, Billy Bones, other characters appear Rating: Teen Length: 16,179 Summary: John Silver, the fraudulent Earl of Poole, awakes to find a beauty berating him - but he cannot recall the last three months of his life, nor having a wife. Max is clearly a most unsuitable consort, but then he's known as being an unconventional earl. Suspicious of Max's presence in his life, Silver struggles to regain his memories but it seems his heart remembers things his head does not.
The reason Steven Moffat oversaw Doctor Who series 10 was down to his replacement as showrunner, Chris Chibnall, having commitments to finish his Broadchurch series. S
eries three of the show wrapped up earlier this year, and it’s just finished its US run too. And in the aftermath of that, Chris Chibnall has been chatting to Entertainment Weekly about its future.
“I don’t have any other series for this world”, he said of the show, and the chances of a fourth series. “There were these three stories. I wouldn’t want to do repeated versions of these crimes. I don’t think that would ring true to me. So, at the moment, I don’t think I have another story for this world and I’m not sure that will change, really. So, I think it’s probably goodbye for good”.
For the next few years, Chibnall’s commitments to making Doctor Who are going to dominate his schedule anyway. Chibnall did admit that there have been suggestions of taking Broadchurch overseas, but there seems little real temptation to do so.
For the past few years, the role that Peter Capaldi is best known for has switched to the Doctor, courtesy of his three series of Doctor Who. But to many, of course, he’s still the swearing magician Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It and In The Loop.
Those were the creation of Armando Ianucci, who himself has been busy with Veep in the US and the new film The Death Of Stalin.
Now, though? It seems there may be space in Capaldi and Ianucci’s respective diaries for a reunion.
Chatting to TV Guide, Capaldi admitted as much. He joked that “I haven’t been able to swear for four years”, but then dropped into the conversation that “I think I’m going to be working with Armando next year”.
But what on? There’s no sign of The Thick Of It coming back, and an In The Loop 2 seems a far-fetched idea. Stranger things, though. We look forward to finding out more in due course…
Fandom: Bandom (MCR) Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Frank Iero & Gerard Way Content Notes/Warnings: none Medium: digital drawing with embedded tweets Artist on DW/LJ: N/A Artist Website/Gallery:witchboyiero
Why this piece is awesome: Expert cartoon-style drawing in this series of illustrations for a twitter account about MCR badfic. I also like how the inspirational tweets are placed to balance out the drawn portion. Any day now I'll stop reccing Frank/Gerard fancomics, but this one is hilarious. Features circa-2005 Revenge-era Gerard and Frank and Gerard's snake tongue going in one of Frank's ears and out the other.
Something we definitely have to look forward to is the premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther, which is set to arrive in theaters in February of next year. Yesterday, Black Panther co-creator and Marvel legend, Stan Lee, gave the actor playing the iconic character, Chadwick Boseman, his blessing. Lee said, “In 1966 we brought Black Panther to the pages of Marvel … Now this talented young man brings him to the silver screen! You have my respect!” Not a bad day for Boseman, huh? (via CBR.com)
Lady Gaga is being roped into Dr. Luke’s suit against Kesha. She was subpoenaed earlier this year, and will be deposed sometime in September. When initially subpoenaed, she said, that Dr. Luke was “attempting to manipulate the truth and draw press attention to their case by exaggerating Lady Gaga’s role and falsely accusing her of dodging reasonable requests.” UGH. (via The A.V. Club)
N.K. Jemisin’s novel, The Fifth Season, is being developed for television over at TNT! (via Twitter)
also today I kept finding clothes that would be great for one of my characters, cause the colors have changed to their sort of thing now, and I was just looking for a jacket like that, and... since I am not my character this was not entirely helpful.
But time agents in green gold black could do some good shopping at Sainsburys right now.
In the midst of all the horrible things happening in our country right now, there was a Twitter thread I came across a couple of days ago that not only made me sad, but made me very afraid of the ways in which we are all complicit in a culture of male violence. Especially since that male violence seems to be manifesting itself right now in the form of white nationalism.
Hey everyone I’m a clown and I just got back from facepainting at a picnic and here’s my take on male violence in America:
In a thread that started with the above tweet, a woman who goes by @boguspress on Twitter, who apparently makes a living as a clown and facepainter at children’s parties and events, talked about a heartbreaking moment in which a mother kept her little boy from getting the facepaint he wanted.
You can check out the full thread by clicking on the above tweet, but she recounts the story of a little boy who asked her to paint a butterfly on his face because he likes butterflies, but then his mother chimed in with, “No, he doesn’t want that.” The rest of the conversation went down like this:
@boguspress: “Butterflies are beautiful, he said that’s what he wants, shouldn’t I paint what he wants?”
Mother: “No give him something for boys”
The mother then turns to the dad and asks: “Do you want your son to have a butterfly on his face?”
The mother made @boguspress paint a skull and crossbones on her son’s cheek instead. @boguspress complied, but when she was done, she asked the little boy if he’d also like a little blue butterfly, the boy said yes, but the mother screamed at the facepainter, “You didn’t ask ME.”
@boguspress replied, “Oh I’m sorry, I thought this was for HIM.” But the mom yelled at her that she’s his mother, and so she’s the one that needs to be asked. The facepainter apologized to the kid.
In the thread, @boguspress then connects the incident to bigger issues:
We are teaching them that anger & violence r the only things they are allowed to experience. That to value beauty & elegance is shameful
This Twitter thread reminds me of my time as a nanny in NYC. I was caring for a pair of brothers, one was seven, the other four.
We went to McDonald’s, and they both wanted Happy Meals. At the time, there was a Transformers Happy Meal in connection to whichever movie had just come out, and there was an alternative Happy Meal that had cute, pastel-colored animals as toys. I think it might have been a Littlest Pet Shop Happy Meal, but I’m not 100% sure. Let’s just go with that for the sake of the story.
The four year old loved animals, and so he asked me to get him the Happy Meal with the animals in it. The older boy wanted Transformers. Cool, cool. When I ordered, I said to the young woman behind the counter, “I’d like one Transformers Happy Meal, and one Littlest Pet Shop Happy Meal.” She looked at the kids I had with me and said, “Oh, that pet shop one is the girls’ Happy Meal. I can give you two Transformers ones, though!”
As if she were cheerfully saving me from making a huge mistake.
I said, “I didn’t ask for a ‘boys Happy Meal’ or a ‘girls Happy Meal.’ I asked for one Transformers Happy Meal, and one Littlest Pet Shop.”
She repeated again that the Littlest Pet Shop one was the girls’ Happy Meal. We went back and forth several times, including one time where I threatened to talk to a manager, before she finally just gave me the damn Happy Meals I asked for with a look on her face that said that she still thought I was completely bonkers for getting one of each for the two boys I was with.
So, boys not only have their parents to worry about when it comes to blocking their ability to love beautiful things, or feel the full breadth of their emotions, they have the general population to worry about, too. Just as girls are constantly talked to about their looks, or told that they can’t do this or that because it’s a “boy” activity, boys are policed about what they enjoy, too, lest they *gasp* appear too feminine. Because that would be the worst.
Thankfully, the boys in my story have parents who counteract the world’s ignorance with regard to gender. At home, the boys played with their Wonder Woman, Live Wire, or Harley Quinn figures just as easily as they played with Superman, Batman, or Aquaman once I gently informed them that they could. The world had told them that only girls could play with the female heroes (which their parents had bought for them), but all it took were some grown-ups they trusted telling them it was okay for them to play Wonder Woman for them to do it.
They already wanted to. They’d just been told it was wrong.
We also traded off on who got to be Ahsoka Tano whenever we’d play Clone Wars.
We do our boys a huge disservice every single time we force “strength,” “power,” and other hallmarks of stereotypically male gender expression upon them, and in doing so, we do the world a disservice.
Girls and women are obviously getting the short end of the stick with regard to patriarchy, what with not being the patriarchs and all, but our boys and men are so deeply repressed about their wants and needs and feelings that there’s nothing left for them but rage and hurt.
And those things, left unchecked over time, can be dangerous. They turn to things like domestic violence and racist/homophobic/transphobic violence. We teach boys to see anything remotely feminine or soft as a weakness, and are then “surprised” when so many of them do violent things.
We shouldn’t be surprised. As a society, we impose the language of violence and rage upon them. What else can they be expected to use?
Individual boys are as different as snowflakes. Some love action and adventure, others love butterflies and female heroes. It’s time we gave boys the space to like either, or both, so that they can be better balanced as human beings, and be truer to themselves. If you have a child who identifies as a boy, consider letting him express his maleness however he sees fit and try to keep your opinion of what that should look like to yourself. If you’re with someone else’s child who identifies as a boy, don’t take it on as your responsibility to correct his interests or his appearance to “save” him from being “too feminine.”
First, because it’s not your child, so mind your business. Second, because when you police someone’s behavior based on gender, you’re doing the world more harm than good. Stop trying to help.
There’s been a lot of Nazi news this week—in fact, the only reason I hesitate to say there’s been too much is that if there are Nazis, ignoring them is not the way to make them go away. There’s also been a lot of talk lately over the relative morality of punching them, and it looks like Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch is coming down firmly on the pro-punching side.
As Cartoon Brew reported, Hirsch isn’t the first person involved with a Disney property to use it to weigh in on current events, but Hirsch’s method is a bit more indirect, probably to avoid the kind of trouble it seems like We Bare Bears artist Louie Zong got into. On Tuesday, Hirsch tweeted a non-request request: “If anyone felt so inclined to do a drawing of Grunkle Stan punching a Nazi I’d be very cool with that.”
Unsurprisingly, the talented Gravity Falls fans/Nazi opponents on the internet were more than happy to comply:
One woman, Takiyah Thompson (you can see her coming out from behind the statue in the GIF), was arrested for her part in the protest. She’s currently out on bail, but this morning, a group of about 200 people gathered outside the Durham courthouse to oppose her arrest. And many of them (about 50 by some accounts) also went full Spartacus and lined up to turn themselves in to authorities.
The discrepancies in how Thompson’s “crimes” (which include one charge of “inciting a riot”) are approached by law enforcement, versus those that preceded them in Charlottesville, are obvious and disgusting.
She put a strap around the neck of a white statue. Arrested in 24 hours.
I know there are a lot of people out there who are feeling helpless and don’t know what they can do about all the violence and injustice they see spreading like racist wildfire. Durham has just set itself up as a strong model for action. And you don’t even have to risk arrest if you’re not willing or able. Listen to these protesters chanting “Thank you, we love you” to those offering themselves up.
Walking in to sheriffs office to collectively turn ourselves to say: targeting racial justice organizers? arrest me too! pic.twitter.com/YtTTDEQv20
and I am super tired now because that's two expeditions in a day and that is ambitious.
I got a bit stuck at Sainsburys because there was water like I wanted but wrapped up in sets. and it's right next to the multipack section. so I had to find a human employee and ask if it was a multipack. but it was not, they just had not put it on the shelf yet, so they got me two out.
also i had to choose which sort of dishwasher stuff i wanted, but it dont even say dishwasher on the packet, so that was harder than necessary.
but now i am home, my food is in the microwave, and i have good apple things to eat later.
We all remember the first time we played a video game and thought “This character is me!” For me, that video game was Heroes of the Storm, and that character was Chromie. On the day she was released, my friend watched me play as her and remarked, “She is so you.”
This kind of identification is very important. It’s what makes the difference between liking a game and loving it. It’s what makes us go to conventions, write up our own strategy guides, draw fanart, and pour countless hours into immaculate cosplays. In short, it’s what makes us go from merely playing a game, to having it become a part of our lives.
But for transgender individuals like myself, identification like this can be very hard to come by. You might argue that trans people aren’t a big enough market to warrant pandering to and that we should “keep politics out of video games,” but my existence is factual, not political. It also turns out that actually quite a lot of trans women play video games; we’re a demographic who are very likely to be gamers, and for that economic potential alone (even putting aside humanitarian reasons), we shouldn’t be ignored.
With Chromie, Blizzard has an opportunity to bring a trans character into the mainstream. They already broke ground last Christmas with a comic confirming that Tracer, one of the main characters of their wildly successful first-person-shooter game Overwatch, is a lesbian. Nothing would make me happier than to take it one step further by confirming that Chromie is trans.
It’s already in the lore! You see, Chromie’s full name is Chronormu. She’s a bronze dragon who chooses to take the form of a female gnome. But for bronze dragons, -ormu is a suffix used exclusively for male dragons, while -ormi is used for female dragons. So Chromie’s name is certainly unusual! Unfortunately, Blizzard has never issued a statement addressing this discrepancy—they’ve simply left it up to the players to reconcile.
I’m also not the only trans woman who loves Chromie. I spoke with FerociouslySteph, a popular Heroes of the Storm streamerwho mains Chromie and happens to be a trans woman, what it is about the character she loves so much. She said: “Chromie is a ferocious character that chooses to embody cuteness … It kind of echoes what I want to be … What I want to represent most in esports is femininity … as something that is strong … Like, you can be feminine AND powerful. And Chromie kind of echoes that.” She went on to lament about how while “men and women are approaching equality in our society … in general, femininity is seen as less strong than masculinity. We’re praising masculine women and we’re still shunning feminine men.” Chromie, for her, stood outside of that paradigm, and for that, she found her inspiring. She concluded by saying: “I want to be strong and feminine just like Chromie is cute and fierce!” (Faye, the only trans woman in the professional Heroes of the Storm scene, also mains Chromie.)
For me, Chromie is the perfect candidate for bringing a trans character into the gaming world. Not only is it already supported by the existing lore, but she is also beloved by trans women the world over. Making her trans identity official would help humanize trans people in the eyes of cis gamers.
The first time we meet Chromie was in the original version of World of Warcraft. Despite her dragonflight’s rules forbidding the changing of the past, she agrees to help you alter history so that the spirit of a young girl can be reunited with her father. Unfortunately, as mere humans, we cannot change the past. But with Chromie (and Blizzard’s) help, by making her trans, maybe we can change the future.
We finally know what the next Star Wars anthology movie will be after Han Solo gets his turn, and it turns out that Disney has been listening to all of our/Ewan McGregor’s pleas; they’re making an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news today that the project is still early in the works, with Stephen Daldry in talks to head up the project. At such an early stage, there’s not really a lot of solid information to go on, including whether or not McGregor will reprise the role that was one of the bright spots of the prequel trilogy. He’s certainly said he’s open to it enough in the past, though, so we can only hope Disney wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity.
The only way it’d make sense to pass that up would be if the movie focuses on a younger Obi-Wan, but count me among the fans who are more interested in seeing what life was like for the Jedi master in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. He’s already popped up in Star Wars Rebels during that time period, which is considered canon due to Disney’s approach to the franchise, so there’s at least a bit of groundwork there, as well as in the comics.
THR also reports that there are still Yoda and Boba Fett movies under consideration, but I’d take this one over Boba Fett any day.
Christopher Cantwell talked a big talk in the VICE News footage before Charlottesville, but in the aftermath he’s sniffling and weepy, playing a full hand of victim cards. Videos of him crying and declaring himself “terrified” went viral, but when I watched it I couldn’t find any satisfaction in mocking Cantwell’s tough guy about-face, because of the vicious way he speaks about Chelsea Manning.
First, for context, here’s the pre-Charlottesville protests Cantwell swaggering around, thrilled to be at the gathering of white supremacists and Nazis, and showing off the arsenal of deadly firepower he brought with him to Virginia. The VICE footage is intercut with Cantwell’s later personal video where he cries like a toddler who has had their lollypop taken away. Like so:
“I carry a pistol. I go to the gym. I’m trying to make myself more capable of violence,” says Cantwell the First in VICE’s Charlottesville: Race and Terror, before breaking out the more than four guns he is wearing on his person. He says awful things about black men who have been murdered recently in America.
Cut to: “We have done everything in our power to keep this peaceful,” he whines, days after Charlottesville. Then he openly confesses to having engaged in violence, “in defense of myself and others.”
I had seen supercuts like the one above that highlight Cantwell’s hypocrisy. But it wasn’t until I watched Cantwell’s video in its entirety today that I heard his hateful rhetoric towards Chelsea Manning. Cantwell refers to a tweet Manning sent out during the Charlottesville events, and uses transphobic language and misgendering in discussing her.
(It’s worth noting that Chelsea Manning maintains one of the most relentlessly positive twitter feeds I’ve ever seen, responding to hate with happy, colorful emojis and every day reminding her followers that “we got this.”)
stop asking stop demanding we dont need leaders, we need each other we have numbers ✊✊✊✊✊✊ we can fix it ourselves #WeGotThis
“Chelsea Manning, this tranny fanatic,” Cantwell says in the video, while his face twists in anger. “Has a picture of himself —” Now his expression turns grossly derisive, “—herself—talking about curb-stomping Nazis, with a picture of his boot coming down on somebody.”
This is the tweet that has Cantwell slurring in fury and fear:
I hope that going forward, Christopher Cantwell’s life looks like it does in this video—choking on his own self-righteousness and assumed victimhood, wondering if he’s about to be arrested, despised by people of conscience, and utterly alone.
Chelsea Manning should have the last word here.
Apparently grown Nazi men with guns are terrified of yoy Chelsea.
When one thinks about Dark Shadows, you quickly come to realise that it isn’t horror in the conventional sense, sure, there are Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, and Ghosts but there is something else about it, almost something romantic. It has the feel of an old dusty book with stories more concerned about the loss of potential or lost souls rather than ghosts and ghoulies.
And Dark Shadows is everything, it is the empty, dark school at night, the creepy house on the hill, the OAP who the kids think is a witch. But it is also about love, the loss of a love, the gain of the love, the love that never was. This is what Love Lives On grabs with both hands and runs with.
Tuesdays and Thursdays
Kicking off this new anthology release is Tuesdays and Thursdays which concerns Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes who seems to continuously encounter the local psychic, Janet Findly, over and over again…
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric from Doctor Who) is quickly becoming a main fixture in the world of Dark Shadows. Having listened to a couple of his previous outings, you really know he has finally found his niche and he gives a brilliant performance, painting vivid images with real ease. You could quite cheerfully sit there and listen to him read the phonebook.
At first, the meetings between Stokes and Findly seem like nothing more than pure coincidence, but as Waterhouse and author, Cody Schell tells us, there is no such thing as coincidences in Collinsport.
Tuesdays and Thursdays kicks this new anthology off on a high and is a charming beginning as well as being great fun to listen too as we hear Stokes becoming more and more enamoured with Findly. While this isn’t the big, rip-roaring summer rom-com that we might expect from something with a summer release date, it delights in its more autumnal somber tone and certainly feels more in keeping with the traditions of Dark Shadows.
The Velvet Room
The second story takes us quickly from charm to sheer terror. The Velvet Room is obviously the opposite of the previous story and has a much more claustrophobic and intense feel about it.
This tale concerns Gerard Stiles and Hallie Stokes, who find themselves with the offer of their hearts desire at a club mysteriously called the Velvet Room. It all seems simple enough. All they must do is visit three times and tell us the stories of their strange lives before they are given what they really want.
The Velvet Room has the feel of a real old Hollywood horror movie. The denizens of the Velvet Room are particularly interesting and the setting is suitably macabre. It is a story that certainly ticks all the horror boxes.
And this already strong story is made even better by the narration from James Storm, whose brilliant performance gives us an even stronger look at the life of the anguished and desperate undead Gerard Stiles.
Behind Closed Doors
This is a story that is designed to remind us that the most appalling of horror stories never really concerns Vampires or Witches but those horrors which surround us in the very real world. It is that of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.
This is used to transport Dark Shadows into a new dimension of sheer terror to the subject of domestic abuse. Narrator, Marie Wallace, gives us a tour de force of a performance as Jessica Griffin, a woman on the cusp of pure happiness with husband-to-be, Willie Loomis. But she is still haunted by the memory of her dead and abusive ex-husband.
Being Dark Shadows, death doesn’t really mean a lot and following a particularly hard day in her bar, Jessica receives a terrifying visit from the man who tried to control her with an iron fist.
This tale is a tense half-hour, as we relive the awful life that Jessica had lived before the death of her first husband.
Behind Closed Doors is easily the strongest tale of this set and is a really unsettling piece to listen to but is a story that deserves the time devoted to it and needs to be heard to really be appreciated.
This anthology set is drawn to a close with the story of Cyrus and Sabrina Longworth, owners of the local Collinport Inn, where a mysterious guest arrives claiming to be a traveling cosmetics seller. But of course, the suitcase is something else entirely and is much deadlier than it first appears.
The story works as a cautionary one, concerning the idea that one should be careful what you wish for as Sabrina’s deepest, innermost desires seem to be being granted.
But is there a steep price?
Surely there must be a price?
The Suitcase continues the theme of love, relationships, loss and longing that permeates this release and we end the set on a touch of melancholy.
And what is Dark Shadows without a touch of melancholy…
Blogtor Rating: 9/10
Four tales of horror, romance, and intrigue…
Tuesdays and Thursdays by Cody Schell
Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes lives a quiet, ordered life. But that order is about to be shattered as he finds himself encountering psychic medium Janet Findley over and over and over again…
The Velvet Room by Antonio Rastelli
Gerard Stiles has returned from the dead and, together with Hallie Stokes, is traveling the world attempting to defeat all manner of supernatural forces. But on a night in New Orleans, they are about to receive an invitation to gain their hearts’ desires…
Behind Closed Doors by Paul Phipps
Jessica Griffin buried her past a long time ago. But in Collinsport, secrets don’t stay buried for long. On the longest night of her life, Jessica will discover the cruel truth behind the lie that is “’til death do us part…”
The Suitcase by Alan Flanagan
Sabrina and Cyrus Longworth seem to have everything they could wish for – happily married, running the Collinsport Inn, and about to start a family. But when mysterious woman checks in they’ll discover that not all guests should be welcomed, and not all wishes should come true…
Written By: Cody Schell, Antoni Rastelli, Paul Phipps, Alan Flanagan Directed By: Darren Gross, Joseph Lidster, Jim Pierson Starring: Matthew Waterhouse, James Storm, Marie Wallace, Lisa Richards
The ACLU’s California chapters have officially broken ranks from the rest of the ACLU National organization, announcing in a statement that they condemn groups who hide behind the First Amendment as an excuse to incite or engage in violence. They write:
“Our country’s greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in our state in the coming weeks. This is an incredibly painful and difficult time for millions of Californians. For those who are wondering where we stand – the ACLU of California fully supports the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the freedom to peacefully assemble. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence. If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution. The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.”
This move is especially notable as the ACLU’s recent actions have garnered much notoriety for the longstanding organization.
Most recently, the ACLU represented Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where tensions exploded as white supremacist Nazi demonstrators lashed out at counter-protesters. One such incident resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a counter-protester who died after James Alex Fields Jr., a white supremacist and supporter of the “alt-right” (i.e., Nazi) movement drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in a narrow city street. Critics have levied some of the blame upon the ACLU for defending Kessler, saying that if Kessler’s permit to demonstrate was revoked (i.e., if the ACLU chose not to defend him), the violence never would have happened and Heyer might still be alive.
ACLU executive director Anthony Romero has come out against such accusations, writing in a statement, “The violence of this weekend was not caused by our defense of the First Amendment.”
Before that, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in defense of Milo Yiannopoulos, whose actions have incited harassment against marginalized people. Earlier this year, Yiannopoulos’ recent scheduled appearances at college campuses was met with fierce resistance from numerous student organizations, which many of his supporters labelled censorship and a restriction on free speech—you know, never mind the fact that Yiannopoulos doxed and outed a trans woman at his University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee talk.
ACLU National doesn’t necessarily support or condone Yiannopoulos’ actions, but somehow they fail to see how their defense of such speech leads to such harassment and violence. In a stunning post on their blog, the ACLU equated defending Yiannopoulos’ actions with other cases in which LGBTQIA people have been discriminated against with regards to their presentation or speech, referring to a 2010 case in which a teenager wanted to take her girlfriend to the prom in a tuxedo. The difference between these cases is that one results in a teenager getting to go to prom while the other resulted in a trans woman being forced to withdraw from school or risk harassment from being doxed. That is the kind of “free speech” that ACLU National seeks to protect.
And let’s not fool ourselves here: the ACLU has a long history of defending Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacist provocateurs.
Seeing at least a few chapters of the ACLU break ranks from the rest of the organization and condemn hate speech is heartening, for sure. Moreover, this spotty history doesn’t necessarily undo or eliminate the work they’ve done to actually protect civil rights. But equating hate speech with free speech is a mistake—I’m glad that the ACLU of California recognizes that, at least.
We’ve seen a lot of noteworthy rebukes of the Charlottesville white nationalist rally, but there’s a special kind of power when the people you think are on your side denounce your racism. For instance, one white supremacist Johnny Cash fan who decided to dress for his angry chanting with a shirt bearing the musician’s name was in for a rude awakening when Cash’s children took to social media to call him and the other nationalists “poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in the second world war.”
It’s a especially powerful thing, then, when the children of the Confederate “heroes” whom the white nationalists idolize and were hell-bent on preserving in statue form go on to publicly criticize their hate speech.
William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian, great-great-grandsons of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson published an open letter addressed to Richmond Mayer Levar Stoney and members of the Monument Avenue Commission on Slate titled “The Monuments Must Go.” In it, the two native Richmonders write about their disagreement with Stoney’s claim that “removal of symbols does [nothing],” beginning:
“[We] are writing today to ask for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. They are overt symbols of racism and white supremacy, and the time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. Overnight, Baltimore has seen fit to take this action. Richmond should, too.”
The two write about the extensive knowledge about their ancestor—his relationship with his family, his teachings, and most striking, “his decision to own slaves, his decision to go to war for the Confederacy, and, ultimately, the fact that he was a white man fighting on the side of white supremacy.” The letter speaks candidly about the violence their great-great-grandfather inflicted, the legacy of that violence, and the ways these statues aim to try and justify that violence. “Jackson, who faces north, supposedly as if to continue the fight,” they state. The entire letter is a great read about two men who’ve decided to confront their racist family history and use that position to try and bring about positive change.
I especially want to highlight this bit of history I was unaware of, and nominate that we replace Jackson’s Richmond monument with something of Laura Jackson Arnold.
In fact, instead of lauding Jackson’s violence, we choose to celebrate Stonewall’s sister—our great-great-grandaunt—Laura Jackson Arnold. As an adult Laura became a staunch Unionist and abolitionist. Though she and Stonewall were incredibly close through childhood, she never spoke to Stonewall after his decision to support the Confederacy. We choose to stand on the right side of history with Laura Jackson Arnold.
Of course, the two point to the ways in which figures like their ancestor and Robert E. Lee have become a “symbol of hate ideology” for white supremacists like the ones the nation saw in Charlottesville. They ask that “other descendants of Confederate generals will stand with us.” It’s significant then, that yesterday, descendants of Lee similarly criticized white nationalism and supported the removal of Confederate statues.
The great-great-grandchildren of the general, Robert E. Lee V and Tracy Lee Crittenberger , said “There’s no place for that hate,” and supported moving these monuments to a museum. While their statement notably doesn’t take the unflinching look at Lee’s own slave ownership and violence that way that the Jackson statement does, it’s still a significant rebuke of the white supremacist movement from those they believed are on their side.
While the debate about how we memorialize figures from our past continues, we the descendants of Robert E. Lee decry in the strongest terms the misuse of his memory by those advancing a message of intolerance and hate. We urge the nation’s leaders as well as local citizens to engage in a civil, respectful and non-hateful conversation.
Like Jessica said, it’s a kind of great irony that a protest against the removal of one statue has lead to the removal of many more.
You remember Malala Yousafzai, right? The young Pakistani woman who, when she was 14 years old was shot by a Taliban gunman because she dared be a girl who wanted an education? Well, one high school diploma, a documentary, a Nobel Prize, and an eponymous foundation later, Yousafzai is continuing her education at one of the most prestigious universities in the world!
So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students – the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead! pic.twitter.com/miIwK6fNSf
Yousafzai revealed on Twitter that she has accepted a place at Oxford for the coming school year to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. In making the announcement, the 20-year-old shouted out all the other students who completed their A-levels, saying “So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students – the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead!”
It’s so amazing to see that she’s still this enthusiastic about school in a life that has already been filled with tons of adventure. In the five years since the shooting, Yousafzai has done more than most people do in their whole lives. The most inspiring thing about her story is that, rather than be cowed by a horrific event, she was able to find the strength not only to come back harder and live life on her terms (including continuing to pursue the education she wanted), but to help other girls do the same, becoming a globally-acclaimed education activist.
Her Malala Fund, which she co-founded with her father in 2014, works with local education experts and advocates in developing countries to create culture-specific plans that will allow more girls to pursue educations without fear. That same year, she became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate when it was announced that she was a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi, for her struggle for the right of all children to an education.
In 2015, a documentary about her story called He Named Me Malala was shortlisted for an Oscar, further raising her profile, and she’s spent the past few years speaking and advocating all over the world. So it’s understandable that the Internet is thrilled that Yousafzai is continuing to do great things while sticking it to the Taliban by becoming educated af:
You’ll master all of the tools pro developers use every day. Work with iOS 11, Swift 4, ARKit, MLKit, MusicKit, and the new Depth Photo API. You’ll build games and apps with SpirteKit, including Uber, Instagram, and Tinder clones. And because this course focuses on the process from beginning to end, you’ll also get guidance submitting your app to the App Store and creating a website for your app. Translation: get rich off your app. Or just a little richer.
Following Donald Trump’s bewildering press conference Tuesday, Jimmy Kimmel opened his show with a message for Trump voters. He starts by telling them that he gets why they supported Trump. He understands the desire to break out of the existing political status quo, to “shake this Etch-a-Sketch hard and start over.” But he doesn’t believe that those voters aren’t at least starting to know, deep down, that they made a huge mistake. Now they have a choice: dig in and double down on their support, or admit their mistake.
Last night, Kimmel read some of the “thoughtful responses” his video accrued on Facebook and Twitter. Now, if you’ve ever read a Trump supporter’s response to facts presented on Facebook or Twitter, “thoughtful” is probably not the word you would use to describe them. “Ignorant,” “hateful,” or maybe “poorly spelled and constructed” all come to mind as more accurate descriptions, all of which apply to these.
Kimmel laughs through the comments, and they deserve to be laughed at. But they’re also incredibly sad, as well as worrisome. Because they represent the feelings of so many very real people. The most troubling, perhaps, is from “James” on Facebook, who pulled out the “[Kimmel] is a racist promoting racism” argument. This argument isn’t new, the “you’re intolerant for not tolerating my intolerance” defense, but after the goddamn president spouted from that playbook in his press conference, it’s become an even faster, or at least more public go-to response for racists. They’re not even just talking about the Antifa movement or anyone proposing meeting violence with violence (a separate, but still bullshit argument), but insisting that any opposition to racism is itself racism against white people*. All white people should be 100% offended by that suggestion.
I’m glad Jimmy Kimmel can laugh at these people. Someone should be able to.
Following in the footsteps of Baltimore, many other cities across the United States have taken preliminary steps to remove their own Confederate monuments. This includes statues and plaques and the like, as well as schools, highways, and other facilities named for Confederate soldiers, even holidays. All told, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified about 1,503 items as of 2016. Moreover, the vast majority of statues and physical markers are located in what can be considered southern states; of the 718 monuments and statues, about 300 are located in Georgia, Virginia, or North Carolina.
As you already know, Charlottesville’s city council voted to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the newly-minted Emancipation Park. It was this decision that led to the violence that occurred over the weekend. As of right now, the statue’s removal is on hold as the city tries to figure out how to move forward after the protests and tragedy of the weekend. Gainesville, Florida has already moved one statue, and is in the process of raising funds to remove a second. One North Carolina statue was knocked over by protesters in response to what happened in Charlottesville.
Following the Charlottesville attack as well, Lexington, Kentucky mayor tweeted that they would be removing two Confederate monuments, writing, “I am taking action to relocate the Confederate statues. We have thoroughly examined the issue, and heard from many of our citizens.” In Los Angeles, California, a Confederate monument was removed from the historic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where 30 Confederate veterans and their families are buried. New York’s Hall of Fame for Great Americans will also lose their busts of Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Donald Trump tweeted about the removal of all of these monuments this morning, in a tweetstorm that I’m sure his aides wish they could have stopped. In his tweets, he calls the statues “beautiful” and says that such beauty will “never be replaced.” He then goes on to repeat a lot of the talking points (read: incoherent babbling) he gave in his now-infamous “Both Sides” speech at Trump Tower, where he took questions from reporters against the advice of his aides and team.
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You…..
These monuments should have been taken down ages ago, but it’s good to see that something’s finally being done about them across the country. But even with these ones moving or going down soon, there are still loads strewn all about the U.S., and there’s an even longer journey ahead to get those removed.
It’s funny (and a bit ironic, in the best way) to see that even though the “Unite the Right” rally may have delayed the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park, many more statues are being taken down everywhere else. That’s what happens when you rally together in the names of hate, intolerance, and prejudice—people see you for how you really are, and in some small way, the world responds to that. I’m happy to see these monuments go, but as always, it’s important to remember that while these statues of iron, lead, steel, and stone vanish, we must make sure we do the same to the hideous ideologies their defenders stand for. We still have a long journey to look forward to, but at the very least, that journey will look a little brighter without these monuments blotting out the road ahead.
The beautiful thing about free speech is that everybody gets it, and no individual or private company owes anyone a platform. Spotify is the latest company that is exercising its free speech by not giving the hate music of white supremacy a safe haven.
Spotify has a lot of major-label players when it comes to the music it offers, but it also provides a platform for more independent artists to sell their music, which is great 99% of the time. Sometimes, some heinous stuff slips through the cracks and it’s difficult to keep track of. However, it’s good to know that when this happens, and Spotify comes to know about it, they take swift action to shut it down.
Three years ago, in response to iTunes’ music catalog, the Southern Poverty Law Center published an article on all the white supremacist bands that were selling music on iTunes—54 total—and were examining the fact that just when these bands were starting to die along with traditional music release and flagging concert sales, a service like iTunes provided a lifeline by allowing these bands a platform through which they could sell their music, making money that directly supports the white power movement.
Spotify was not immune then. In this Pando article from the same year, writer David Holmes also checked out Spotify to see what the hate music situation was over there. Of the 54 bands that the SPLC identified at iTunes, 33 of them were found at Spotify. When asked about it, Holmes was relieved to learn that, at the very least, the Swedish company had a metric in place for banning hate music. Spotify said in a statement then:
“We take this very seriously. Content (artists and music) listed by the BPjM in Germany (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien/Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons) is proactively removed from our service. We’re a global company, so we use the BPjM index as a global standard for these issues. Other potentially hateful or objectionable content that is flagged by uses or others but not on the BPjM list is handled on a case by case basis.”
“Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention. We are glad to have been alerted to this content — and have already removed many of the bands identified today, whilst urgently reviewing the remainder.”
Music streaming service Deezer also reached out to DMN to assert its commitment to fighting white supremacy, saying:
“Deezer does not condone any type of discrimination or form of hate against individuals or groups because of their race, religion, gender or sexuality. We are in the process of swiftly and actively reviewing the content on our platform and have begun and will continue to remove any material that is in any way connected to any white supremacist movement or belief system.”
White supremacy is getting more bold, but this does not mean that they should ever be legitimized, artistically or otherwise. It’s certainly difficult to provide a platform for both mainstream and independent artists without questionable independent artists sneaking in through the cracks. What matters is that these platforms take quick action once they know about them and quash them as if they’re playing some kinda Racist Whack-a-Mole.
SPLC’s list of 54 racist hate bands from their 2014 article.
You know what else matters? All of us. Consumers of pop culture. Spotify took action because websites in their industry wrote about finding hate music there. Companies might be unaware of what’s going on, so it’s up to us to be vigilant, speak up and, to use NYC subway parlance, if you see something, say something.
White supremacy will only be destroyed if all of us do our part to say Not here. Not in my house.
In our round-up of late night responses to Charlottesville, I included a short clip from Full Frontal With Samantha Bee talking about Life After Hate, “the only organization dedicated to bringing people out of the white supremacist movement.” While the full segment on Life After Hate doesn’t air on Full Frontal until September, Bee and the show’s team shared the segment, recognizing resonance with the current moment and an urgency for the work Life After Hate does.
“Is there literally anyone doing anything?” asks Bee after a clip of the white nationalist chanting in Charlottesville. The host points to helplessness that many people might’ve felt watching the rally, and how anyone with the means to do so can donate to Life After Hate, as the organization is currently in dire need of funding.
The reason, mainly, is that Life After hate was promised a $400,000 federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration as a recipient of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program. However, on Friday, June 23, 2017 they “received notification of its removal from the approved list of funded organizations, without mentioning the specific criteria as to why their grant was rescinded.” It’s a clear example of how Trump’s weakest condemnation of white supremacist extremism (if you can even call it a condemnation and not a disgusting love letter to his fan base), isn’t only completely empty, but contradicted by his policies and actions.
Sammy Rangel, executive director of Life After Hate, says:
“The funding is for the crisis intervention initiatives that help pull violent extremists out of their lifestyles across the United States. This direct service assists people in resisting violent urges, and provides resources to anyone questioning racist ideologies. Our actions are saving lives.”
Bee, who explains to Entertainment Weekly that the group first came to their attention “during a field piece because we learned about the imminent loss of that grant,” says of Trump’s statement:
“We have heard his message. We see who he is. He reveals himself in his actions — and particularly in his inaction. He doesn’t understand how to demonstrate leadership on any level. It’s pathetic. It’s so embarrassing.”
If you have the means, you can support Life After Hate’s efforts here.
We’re only a day away from the superheroic team-up of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Iron Fist. Defenders has been a long time in the making, and it’s hard to believe it’s almost here.
The spotlight in this action-packed trailer is on the glorious Sigourney Weaver, who plays the villainous Alexandra Reid. The jury’s still out as to who Alexandra Reid might “really” be in terms of comicsverse—back in January, Den of Geek speculated that perhaps she could be Mephisto or The Beast of the Hand—and of course, it’s possible that she could be a brand-new character who just scared the hell out of me.
Weaver is the embodiment of refined elegance here, but she also projects an air of menace so thick it’s not hard to see why Den of Geek guessed that she might be playing one of Marvel’s versions of the Devil. As her voiceover threatens both New York City and everyone that our heroes personally love, I legit shivered. Honestly, I haven’t been sure how to feel about The Defenders, but I’m going to go on the record here and say that even if somehow the show isn’t great, it will be worth it just to watch Sigourney Weaver burn everything down.
Despite all the dark plots and danger we see in the trailer, there’s also hints of the humor that can grace each of the Defenders’ stand-alone shows. And really, I could watch Jessica Jones smirk and call Danny Rand “Ironclad” on repeat for a while. I think I’m gonna.
What did you think about the trailer? What’s up with Sigourney Weaver’s character? And most importantly, will you be watching Defenders on August 18th? (It looks like it’s out the 18th at 3am, so if you’re planning to stay up all night and binge-watch it, we’ll have coffee waiting for you in the morning.)
It’s 1973 all over again as the third Doctor and Jo Grant return once again for a brand new double-bill of adventures. In this third volume, the pair have their work cut out for them – not only dealing with yet another Earth invasion but also finding themselves on a world subjugated by the Doctor’s deadliest enemy.
Even though we’re now three volumes into these new Third Doctor Adventures, there are still bound to be many out there sceptical of the decision to recast Jon Pertwee (I myself will freely admit I was once among those people). And while initially, Tim Treloar’s voice does take some adjusting to, the further you proceed into these stories the more it becomes clear that Big Finish definitely found the best man for the job. There may be the odd moment where you’re reminding this isn’t Jon Pertwee you’re listening to, but Treloar’s imitations of his speech patterns and mannerisms are so perfect that those moments are few and far between.
THE CONQUEST OF FAR
Kicking the set off is a direct sequel to the classic Planet of the Daleks, comfortably opening the doors for future adventures to be set between its conclusion and Jo’s subsequent departure in The Green Death. Directly following a Dalek story with another one means that the episode has plenty of callbacks to Planet, and as well a few other references to other prominent parts of Dalek history – particularly a clever twist on the robomen of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. The Conquest of Far is a classic Dalek story through and through – no big schemes, no clever traps for the Doctor, just a good old fashioned Dalek invasion story where the Doctor and Jo just have to put a stop to their plans.
The Doctor and the Daleks aren’t the only ones that spend some time apart either – this story makes the bold move to split the Doctor and Jo up for most of its runtime, giving each character a chance to shine on their own in two separately running plot lines. This really works to both characters’ benefit, as not only does it give Katy Manning the opportunity to take charge but also lets Treloar show off his Pertwee impression without having Jo there as an anchor.
STORM OF THE HOROFAX
Meanwhile, The Storm of Horofax takes the action back to where this particular TARDIS duo are always the most comfortable – 1970s Earth (Or maybe it was the 80s? The UNIT dating controversy lives on!). As such it doesn’t take very long without the story to find its footing and once again both characters are in top form. It’s another big spotlight piece for Manning, who gets a lot of great dialogue with Arianda – the Horofax Provost played fantastically by Robin Weaver.
The story plays heavily on the concept of time, doing a lot of interesting things with it but thankfully never making the story too difficult to follow because of it. It’s an adventure with lots of interesting twists and turns, building the Arianda and the Horofax army up as a credible threat that you genuinely wonder how the Doctor is going to defeat.
The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 03 is another pair of fantastic adventures, with the dynamic between Treloar and Manning continuing to develop and blossom in the same way Katy’s did with Pertwee himself. A Big Finish Dalek story is always a treat, while Storm of the Horofax adds another memorable villain to the franchise’s ever growing roster. The Third Doctor’s legacy lives on in wonderful fashion, and the memory of Jon Pertwee couldn’t be more alive.
Blogtor Rating – 9/10
The Conquest of Far, by Nicholas Briggs
Earth Alliance, the future… Fleet commanders receive their orders from the President of Earth. Operation Far is ‘go’. As soon as the planets are suitably aligned, the attack will go ahead.
The Doctor and Jo arrive on the planet Far. The Doctor wants to attend the grand opening of one of the human race’s greatest achievements. A huge Hyper Gateway built to make travel around Earth’s great empire more convenient, bringing relief to many starving outer colonies.
But they land in the wrong time period, long after the Gateway has been in service, and the Daleks have conquered Far! It’s the middle of a war and a deadly game is underway. When everyone has an agenda, betrayal can happen at any time, from any side. The endgame is approaching and maybe this time no one will survive.
Storm of the Horofax, by Andrew Smith
During a North Sea military exercise, the crew of the destroyer HMS Nemesis detect what they suspect is a submarine following them. But it’s actually a futuristic ship with an alien occupant, Arianda.
The Doctor and UNIT are called in, but things are already running out of control. The damaged craft is leaking particles and contaminating the Nemesis with time disruption.
But that’s not the biggest problem. For Arianda is being followed by the warships of the Horofax, who have picked precisely this moment to invade. Soon the destruction of humanity’s future will begin.
Written By: Nicholas Briggs, Andrew Smith Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tim Treloar (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), George Watkins (Delralis), John Banks (Jickster), Amy Newton (Elaquon), Robin Weaver (Arianda), Iain Batchelor (Adam Rigg), Robert Hands (Major Hardy / Crewman), Richard Derrington (Commander Burton), Ian Cunningham (Sinko / Ronson / Lieutenant), Jake Dudman (UNIT Radio Operator) and Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks)
Producer David Richardson Script Editor John Dorney Executive Producers Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery