Apropos of Something

Jun. 28th, 2017 10:05 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

Very busy week, not had time to blog. Posting will resume at latest Friday. In the meantime, a reminder for certain people of part of the preamble to the Lib Dem constitution:

Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services. Setting aside national sovereignty when necessary, we will work with other countries towards an equitable and peaceful international order and a durable system of common security. Within the European Community we affirm the values of federalism and integration and work for unity based on these principles. We will contribute to the process of peace and disarmament, the elimination of world poverty and the collective safeguarding of democracy by playing a full and constructive role in international organisations which share similar aims and objectives.


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Posted by Bedwyr Gullidge

Let’s recap. Bill has been converted into a Cyberman. The Master has returned and been reunited with his latest incarnation. Peter Capaldi’s penultimate episode is an epic with an extended 1-hour running time. Two Masters. Cybermen. As series finales go this has all the ingredients for spectacle and it sure delivers.

Doctor Who - S10 - The Doctor Falls - The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI) - (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide - Photographer: Simon Ridgway
Doctor Who – S10 – The Doctor Falls – The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

It is difficult to know where to start with this one. Even trickier is discussing this dramatic final episode without revealing any crucial information regarding it. What can be said with absolute confidence and sincerity, however, is that Peter Capaldi is phenomenal. There are several moments during the episode where viewers will beg their television sets for him not to leave. In certain scenes, Peter Capaldi is nothing short of breathtaking. The Doctor finally reveals his motivation after all these years which only makes you cheer for him louder. As the era of the Twelfth Doctor draws to a close it is only fitting that Capaldi bows out on such a high.

Doctor Who - S10 - The Doctor Falls- The Master (JOHN SIMM), Mondasian Cyberman, Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ) - (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide - Photographer: Simon Ridgway
Doctor Who – S10 – The Doctor Falls- The Master (JOHN SIMM), Mondasian Cyberman, Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

Unsurprisingly John Simm and Michelle Gomez make for an utterly fabulous team. They devour their dialogue with the perfect combination of glee and deranged mania. Finally, viewers get the multi-Master story they deserve as this pairing proves to be the ideal combination. Their narcissistic relationship dynamic is a fantastic watch. Simm slots effortlessly back into the role even raising his game to meet the standards set in recent years by Michelle Gomez’s wicked Mary Poppins persona. After a series droning on about the Vault, Nardole also finally comes into his own as a crucial and valuable asset in the battle against the Cybermen.

The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI), The Master (JOHN SIMM), Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ) - (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide - Photographer: Simon Ridgway
The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI), The Master (JOHN SIMM), Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

In amongst all the chaos, it is the characters in the situation that drive the story forward. All of the players have their individual moments to shine proving to be a harrowing experience for all involved. Not least, the viewer. As with last week’s ‘World Enough and Time,’ there are twists and turns aplenty, in a thrilling climax worthy of the finale to Series 10.

Plus you will never believe who turns up!

Trivia

  • In addition to the Mondasian Cybermen from last week, the episode also features Pete’s World Cybermen, first seen in 2006, and Nightmare Cybermen, first seen in 2013.
  • Samantha Spiro, cast in the role of Hazran, will also be familiar to fans of Game of Thrones. Her character Melessa Tarly appeared in the Season 6 episode ‘Blood of my Blood’. Spiro has also played Barbara Windsor twice, most recently in the BBC’s docu-drama ‘Babs’.
  • Alit is played by child actress Briana Shann who recently appeared in the powerful Ken Loach movie ‘I, Daniel Blake’.

Quotes

Always read the comments because one day They’ll be an army.

We’re not going to get out of this one are we?

the ultimate apple upgrade.

Without hope. without witness. without reward.

Where there’s tears, there’s hope.

Videos

The post Spoiler Free Preview: Doctor Who S10 E12 ‘The Doctor Falls’ appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

A new fan campaign is asking Google to honor Jack Kirby, the “King of Comics,” with a Google Doodle on what would have been his 100th birthday. Under the hashtag #doodleforJack, fans are calling on Google to remember the artist and writer who co-created Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, the original X-Men, and more on August 28, 2017.

While white men are certainly well-represented on Google Doodles already, this has been a particularly painful and memorable year for one of Kirby’s most famous creations. Captain America, co-created by Kirby and Joe Simon as a superhero child of immigrants who literally punches Nazis, was revealed in Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire event to be an agent of the Nazi-esque organization Hydra. Fan outrage was swift, loud, and 300% justifiable.

While Marvel has since hinted that Cap may eventually be “redeemed,” fans are unlikely to forget the fact that Marvel turned a character created by two Jewish men, during World War II, into a pretty-much-Nazi. In addition, while the nature of corporate comics necessitates an eventual redemption arc, it will be almost impossible for many readers to ever really get over this change to the character’s core. The Secret Empire reveal changes who Steve Rogers is, and what he represents, in a real way that will make it hard for fans who loved the original vision of the character – the one based on Kirby and Simon’s creation – to reconnect with this new, anti-hero(?) version. The symbolic power of the character has been fundamentally – pardon my French – fucked with.

Given what Marvel has done to Kirby’s intellectual property – from robbing him of royalties to betraying the spirit of one of his most beloved characters – I totally think it’s time to highlight this remarkable artist on August 28. May the Doodle inspire more anti-fascist art, and may the creators of that art be treated with the respect that Kirby was denied.

(Via CBR; image via Marvel Comics)

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

Infamous Vancouver-area corvid Canuck is up to mischief again. This time, he attacked a postal worker and completely halted the delivery of mail to one neighborhood for months. Canuck has made headlines before for defying societal bird norms with acts like riding the SkyTrain and messing up crime scenes.

Without a doubt, Canuck is the coolest bird on the block. In May 2016 he gained notoriety for stealing a blade from a the scene of a crime, and is well-known to the police for grabbing a computer button straight out of a patrol car. When not living life on the edge of the law, Canuck hops on the Vancouver metro system and swoops down to grab anything shiny. We know that so much badassery has been perpetrated by a single bird because Canuck wears a red tag on one leg, which locals joke is his ankle monitor.

Mail service has finally resumed. But the man who runs the wonderful Facebook group Canuck and I, Shawn Bergman, reported that threats were made to Canuck’s safety because of the mail carrier incident, and that the Canada Post was unhelpful in response to suggestions on how to resolve the situation. Bergman also says that Canuck only attacked because it was nesting season, and the corvid—which are as territorial as they are crafty and brilliant—was protecting his next. Anyway, hopefully the most recent Canuck drama has been resolved, because this bird is my very favorite bird on earth. I’ve been laughing at the above picture for at least the last thirty minutes and I show no signs of stopping. (via Global News, image: Canuck and I on Facebook)

  • TMS Contributor Zack Budryk wrote a “dark book about revenge,” called Judith! That book got a write-up! You should go and read both of these things. (via StyleWeekly)
  • Call 911:

  • The Academy invited 744 new members to join their ranks, including the Chris trio of Evans, Hemsworth and Pratt. We freaked about about the seeming neglect of Pine until discovering that he joined back in 2015. I guess we know who’s the best Chris now.  (via THR)
  • LeVar Burton’s new Podcast is like Reading Rainbow for adults, so it must be essentially perfect. (via Nerdist)

VIVE CANUCK!


What you spot with your eyes, you murder of Mary Suevians?

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

BOYS, BYE. Wonder Woman is gearing up to lead the DCEU. Because, of course she is.

As reported by CBR.com, Wonder Woman made $3.9 million yesterday, bringing its domestic total to $325.1 million, allowing it to inch past Suicide Squad. By tomorrow, it’s likely that Wonder Woman will surpass Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330.4 million) making Diana of Themyscira the Queen of the DCEU.

At least, domestically.

Wonder Woman has been breaking records left and right here in the States. And yet, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is doing less well overseas. As of yesterday, Wonder Woman has made $657 Million globally, so “less well” needs to be defined.

As THR explains, “Revenue in the U.S. and Canada accounts for $322 million, or 49 percent of the bottom line, compared with roughly $336 million to date internationally, or 51 percent of total revenue (hardly a poor showing). Still, in many cases a Hollywood tentpole collects 60 to 65 percent of its total take from the international box office.”

So, in this case, “less well” means “compared to other tentpole movies of its type that generally make more of their money internationally than they do in North America.” For example, Captain America: The First Avenger made 52% of its profit internationally. Deadpool made 54% internationally. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman has, as THR puts it, “vastly overperformed in the U.S, which is great, but also makes the difference between its domestic earnings and its international earnings more stark.

Wonder Woman being about a female superhero is certainly a factor in why the film has been received differently overseas. Russia’s Exhibitor’s Bulletin reported that, “Superhero movies with a woman as the main character are rather untypical, which has had some impact on the box office performance of Wonder Woman.” There’s also the fact that overseas audiences place more value on big-name Hollywood actors, so casting Gal Gadot, who was relatively unknown before this role, could also be contributing to the box office.

And what of our largest overseas market, China? Box office analysts there report that Wonder Woman isn’t well known in China expect to hardcore geeks. That, and movies from DC Comics haven’t been able to match Marvel titles there.

This is all very interesting, but what I really appreciate about all this is that Wonder Woman isn’t doing much worse than her male-led DC movies overseas. AND, American audiences have demonstrated that they want more films like Wonder Woman, perhaps indicating that studios wouldn’t need to worry so much about making money overseas if they deliver more films like Wonder Woman for the American movie-going audience to throw its money toward.

Give us what we want, Hollywood, and we will give you all our money.

(image: Warner Bros./DC Entertainment)

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Posted by Suman Kanchan

World Enough and Time kicked this year’s two-part series finale off with the return of John Simm’s Master, Bill’s conversion into a Mondasian Cyberman and even a glimpse at the Twelfth Doctor’s regeneration – just your typical low-key episode of Doctor Who, then. Read on to find out what our team thought of it all…

Ben (Assistant Editor)

World Enough And Time had a lot to live up to. Mondasian Cybermen, the return of John Simm's Master and the start of Capaldi's finale. Fortunately, Moffat pulled it off.

The episode starts with a tease of Capaldi's Doctor starting to regenerate. After seeing teases of a regeneration in the trailers and the fake regeneration in The Lie Of The Land, this pre-titles sequence didn't really have much of an impact.

We then see Missy having a go at the Doctor. While this is a great concept, it doesn't really play out that well. The whole 'my name is Doctor Who' routine feels like Moffat having one last in joke, breaking the fourth wall unnecessary. Although I must admit I smiled at the description of Bill and Nardole as 'exposition' and 'comic relief'.

We then witness Bill's supposed death. Quite early on, this comes as a surprise, but as it's Moffat we know she won't stay dead for long. The flashbacks during Bill's 'death' did distract a little from the emotion of the scene, feeling thrown in to make up for a lack of build up beforehand. However, it is still a powerful scene. Bill later being turned into a Cyberman was a brilliant twist. I hope Moffat sticks to it and doesn't try to reverse it, as this would be an incredible exit for a companion.

The idea of time being slower at one end of the ship is a great idea that allows for some interesting back and forth. Whilst Bill takes over Amy's mantle of the girl who waited, we get to see more of Razor and explore the evolution of the Cybermen.

The Mondasian Cybermen have been one of the most talked about elements of Series 10 and for good reason. Their design is beautiful and the nostalgia is heavy. With the story being set near Mondas and covering the genesis of the Cybermen, there is an obvious parallel with the Big Finish audio drama Spare Parts. Whilst I enjoyed the audio, I felt it didn't really give much new insight into why the Cybermen came to be and the transition from human to Cyberman. However, World Enough and Time covers this perfectly. We learn that they need to upgrade in order to survive living conditions and we see the tragic initial effects it has on the converted, to the point where we end up feeling sorry for one of the most prominent and evil villains in the show. The outfit is explained - the handles masking the pain for example - and really gives us a proper origin story.

Then we come to the other major draw to this episode: The Master. I'll admit I didn't guess until about 5 minutes before the reveal and I'm glad about that, because Moffat and the team achieved their aim. The Master hiding in an actual disguise and then revealing himself was proper old school Master. Whilst John Simm isn't my favourite Master, I'm actually quite excited to see why he's there and how he will interact with Missy next week.

The whole feel of the episode was very impressive. Everything including direction, set design, lighting and music was spot on, adding tension to every scene and creating one of the strongest episodes in a long while.

Suman (News)

After seven years as showrunner – and even longer as a Doctor Who writer - it’s quite frankly inexplicable that Steven Moffat should still be turning out scripts as extraordinary as World Enough and Time. Ambitious, innovative and compelling throughout, it’s certainly the standout episode of the series so far, and is maybe even right up there as one of the finest episodes since the show’s 2005 return.

For World Enough and Time has it all, starting with the way it so skilfully plays with time. The time dilation experienced by the colony ship is a solid and engaging sci-fi premise, smooth scene cuts and Mr Razor’s little black-and-white monitor really hammering home the futility of Bill’s situation. Non-linear storytelling is also employed to great effect, with the conversation between Bill and the Doctor on the university roof adding to the pathos of the former’s ‘death’ in a way it simply wouldn’t if seen beforehand. And then there’s that startling flashforward pre-credits scene, leaving us in no doubt that the beginning of the end for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor starts here.

But that’s not the only thing that starts in World Enough and Time; we also get a televised origin story for the Mondasian Cybermen. The hospital scenes are some of the creepiest that Doctor Who has seen of late, successfully steering the perception of the Cybermen away from the robots of the modern era and starkly reminding us that these are converted humans. Some of it makes for genuinely disturbing viewing, such as the horrifying realisation that the ‘patients’ are not receiving anaesthetic in response to their cries of pain, but are instead being silenced with a volume control. Equally chilling is the introduction of the metal tubing around the Cybermen’s heads, used not to stop them feeling pain, but to stop them caring about it. It’s a level of body horror usually unseen in Doctor Who, and goes some way towards re-establishing the Cybermen as a uniquely macabre creation, supported by Nicholas Briggs’ impressive recreation of their eerie, singsong voices.

Emphasising the original nature of the Cybermen in this way also serves to makes Bill’s eventual fate in World Enough and Time that much more harrowing, as does the fact that it comes about due to someone she has grown to trust. Mr Razor is an oddly endearing character for most of the episode, with some of the funniest lines and an easy rapport with Bill. Such a shame, then, that the news of John Simm’s return was broken in advance. With some remarkably convincing prosthetics complementing a sterling performance from Simm, the eventual reveal had the potential to rival that of Professor Yana’s in terms of shock value. As it is, Razor’s true identity is surely guessable fairly early on by a section of the audience – I picked it up around the time he was complimenting Bill on her ‘shiny’ new heart – reducing the impact that the episode’s cliffhanger is no doubt supposed to have.

For, as all of Moffat’s penultimate episode cliffhangers are, it is sublimely executed. The separate story strands laid throughout World Enough and Time interweave effortlessly and build up to a breathtaking climax, with Peter Capaldi perfectly playing the Doctor’s shock as he is confronted not only by Cyber Bill, but by two Masters. World Enough and Time certainly does its job at raising expectations sky-high for the concluding part of this series finale, and if The Doctor Falls can stick the landing, this pair of episodes may go down as some of the most stunning of Capaldi's and Moffat's eras of Doctor Who.

Andrew (News)

My goodness, we got a remarkable shift in mood and feel from the rest of Series 10 in this penultimate episode. I think it should be noted just how much the background music set a truly morbid tone and accompanied the chillingly dark and twisted plot with some real ‘shiver down the spine’ moments and sound effects.

This episode had unique moments like the jumping back and forth in time to and from the shocking event, and indeed image, of Bill’s apparent death. We come to learn that The Doctor has hatched a plan to turn Missy - ‘the only person even remotely’ like himself - into a good being. His plan to allow her ‘off the leash’ backfires tremendously and by the end of the episode we are tested hard as to whether ‘The Master' has pulled a blinder on The Doctor and outwitted his long standing compassion in spectacular style. It would seem The Master has generated a plan so drawn out that his most up to date incarnation has forgotten its origins!

What I loved best about this episode (and there is so much to like!) is how real science plays a great part. The Doctor explains they are experiencing ‘Superman gravity’ so strong that the TARDIS cannot be piloted accurately. They are at the top of a 400 mile long space ship reversing from a black hole, and seconds translate as years from one end of the ship to the other - the nearer you are to gravity the slower time travels. The Doctor and Missy quickly collaborate to assess Bill’s plight as she descends to floor 1056.

Whilst this quick fire conversation is happening, Bill awakes to find herself ‘repaired’ with a Cyber heart. Whilst wired to a drip feed she painfully explores her desolate surroundings, realising she is in a secure medical facility. Despite the horror Bill feels at the fully bandaged patients permanently in a state of pain, Bill is led to believe she is being given special treatment by Razor, who says she is ‘dear to him’. He shows her glimpses of kindness and even helps her track the Doctor, but of course Razor will shockingly reveal his true self in a masterful twist (forgive the pun) during the final moments of the episode. The Doctor’s final subliminal words of ‘wait for me’ come back to Bill so this is what she knows she must do, although the stereotypical ‘cold’ Matron figure wastes no time in making Bill’s existence miserable as she awaits an unknown fate.

To me, the scariest ‘unknowns’ in this episode are the devilishly smooth talking human scientists who Razor betrays Bill to. The callousness and ruthlessness ooze from these ‘men in white coats’ as they prepare to convert Bill. Naturally terrified as those she has already seen modified are in terrible pain, Bill is shown a metallic device that won't take away the pain but will stop her noticing it. It really couldn’t be any worse for Bill, a character who I think it’s fair to say we have all become very endeared towards throughout Series 10. She thought she was en-route to be re-united with the only man who can save her, but instead has come to the end of the line.

Once Missy, Nardole and The Doctor arrive at Bill’s dimension, we are showered in shock and sorrow. Razor reveals himself to Missy as a prior incarnation of herself, at a time where it seems the genesis of the Cybermen is happening. The Doctor, more desperate than ever, finds Bill tragically bandaged and cyber converted, a single tear giving us all some human hope as Cyber Bill looks at the distraught Doctor and robotically utters ‘I waited for you’. At first glance it appears the two Masters hate each other, but what they have planned we just don’t know…!

Join us again next week for our final team review of the series, as we discuss The Doctor Falls!
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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump had fake Time magazine covers, with his face on them, hanging up around his various golf properties/weekend escapes from his current job that he didn’t want. None of us are altogether surprised by the king of shouting, “Fake News!” spreading his own around, but Time was caught a little off guard, and now they want the covers taken down.

That’s pretty understandable, as not only is Trump using them as marketing to puff up his own image at his businesses, but the covers themselves aren’t up to Time‘s standards. Notably, they use Trump’s favorite punctuation—the exclamation point—in more than one location (“Trump is hitting on all fronts … even TV!” and “The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!”), whereas Time‘s real covers are a bit more dignified than that, along with other design inconsistencies. Although, at least no more than one exclamation point appeared in a row, which probably took a lot of work on the part of whoever had to convince Trump to tone things down.

The Post reports that at least five of Trump’s clubs feature the fake covers on their walls, so we’ll have to wait and see if any comply with the request to remove them. Why hang fake Time covers, especially when you’ve actually been on the cover? (Though only one time before getting into politics.) It’s hard to say, but you might find a clue in the Post’s rundown of Trump’s actual Time covers, which don’t exactly offer flattering options.

Ever one to be unhappy about such unflattering coverage, Trump took to Twitter again today to blast the Post as “fake news” and complain about the paper’s connection to Amazon, through owner Jeff Bezos. He also complained that Amazon doesn’t pay “internet taxes,” which is basically gibberish. Amazon does charge sales tax, and there’s no such thing as “internet taxes,” unless Trump plans to hit them with some or thinks that’s part of net neutrality or … whatever else he thinks he’s talking about.

Yet again, the person most concerned with “fake news” is the person spreading most of it.

(image: Shutterstock/a katz)

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Posted by Charline Jao

Samantha Bee’s “Fantastic Words and Where Not to Find Them” segment is one of my favorite reactions to this administration’s bastardization of language and the weird, nonsensical stream-of-consciousness that come out of their lying mouths. One part meltdown, one part experimental film, and another part performance, it perfectly captures that weird Twilight Zone feeling I now get watching the news.

It’s an absurdist look at that surreal moment when you have to pause and go, “Di-…did the most powerful man in the nation just say that? Did she just disregard the meaning of that word? Did anyone else see that?” Well, Bee’s segment assures you, no you’re not alone or hallucinating. Those things are really happening and after the exhaustion of reacting with blinding rage, upsetting lament for our country, and stress eating (oh, so much stress eating), how else can you process it but with a terrifying montage and scrapbook of the worst sound-bites punctuated with coordinated statements and laughter?

Tag yourselves. I’m “man laughing with increasing concern.”

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

In her VidCon keynote, YouTube personality and Decoded host Franchesca Ramsey made a curious appeal to her audience of internet-video stars: “When it comes to issues that matter in making a real, measurable difference, you don’t always need an audience.”

While acknowledging that she “fucking love[s] receipts” and has “probably spilt more tea than a Starbucks barista during an earthquake,” Ramsey pointed out that some confrontations will produce better results if they take place one-on-one.

“Disagreements are bound to happen, and some people need to get called out,” she said. “But too often when these conversations happen online, a simple misunderstanding or even the most thoughtful critique turns into a performance. It’s no longer about the issue, or even the other person for that matter. It’s all of a sudden about retweets, and likes, and views, and shares – and things get really messy, really quickly. And this has sadly become the new normal, especially on YouTube.”

“Clickbait will build an audience,” she continued, “but it doesn’t necessarily build change. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wished I could go back and call someone, or send them an email, or slide up in their DMs in order to squash an issue rather than dragging it out on my timeline. Sure, it takes more work, and you probably won’t get any subscribers out of it, but if that relationship means anything to you, if that issue means something to you, I think it’s actually worth it.”

Ramsey then shared a story about an issue of Decoded, in which she used an ill-advised comparison between public discourse around the Holocaust and public discourse around American slavery. She explained how, while the on-Twitter dragging helped her realize she was wrong, a Skype conversation with one of her critics was ultimately far more illuminating.

I often feel like criticisms of call-out culture can serve as window dressing for the idea that “marginalized people should just shut up,” but I really appreciated Ramsey’s point here. When the relationship with a person is important, or when the issue is one where you really believe the person can come around, it can definitely be worth it to approach them personally, rather than solely on your Twitter feed.

Shaming definitely has its place, especially when it comes to corporations and elected representatives. You don’t owe these powerful entities your compassion and emotional labor. But it’s also true that changing people’s minds and hearts will often require a more personalized, offline effort. And as long as we save that effort for the people and the issues who are worth it, those Skype and DM conversations can be a great tool for change.

(Via Twitter; image via screengrab)

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Last week, we shared a video from Screen Crush’s #ProudtoBe series, in which trans actors (led by writer/actress Jen Richards) made the case for why casting trans actors is not only the “right” thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. This week, they’ve released another video in that series. This one is written and by Screen Crush’s Erin Oliver Whitney, who relates the history of cis actors playing trans roles.

What’s great about this video is that it’s thorough about the different permutations of the problem. There are separate segments for the history of cis men playing trans women, the history of cis women playing trans men, and lastly, a history of cis women playing trans women, which is only slightly more preferable, but not by much.

It does a great job of explaining the biggest problems with casting cis to play trans:

  • it denies trans actors opportunities and advancement
  • it reinforces harmful stereotypes
  • it directly contributes to real-world violence against the trans community

The bit about how actress Alexandra Billings was originally cast to play the lead in the 2005 indie film Transamerica was especially enlightening. Very shortly after she was cast, the part was rescinded because she wasn’t a big enough name to secure funding. Enter Felicity Huffman, who ended up winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for her performance in that role. No, Billings might not have been a “big enough name,” but she could have become one by making that film.

Ultimately, this is the problem. It’s a vicious cycle. Trans actors don’t get cast, so they don’t gain experience or build a name, so they don’t get cast, so they don’t gain experience and build a name. At some point Hollywood needs to take a chance on these people to build the stars of the future.

(via Screen Crush on YouTube, image: screencap)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has unveiled their “cartoonishly evil” health care bill, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a number-crunching federal agency, estimated will leave 22 million more Americans uninsured while providing massive tax cuts to the rich. Only 17% of Americans approve of the bill, and it’s been lambasted for its cruelty to the disabled, the elderly, and anyone who pays insurance premiums.

So how do you defend something so wildly unpopular? By reminding everyone of their mortality!

Over at Fox News, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery responded to Democrats’ well-backed-up claims that this bill will literally kill thousands of people by observing that, hey, “we’re all going to die”!

“You know what the crazy thing is?” she said. “We’re all gonna die! And they can’t predict … There’s no way, unless they’re absolutely psychic, and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who’s going to die, or when, or how many people. That is such a fool’s errand, trying to quantify something that serious and grave.”

What Montgomery calls a “fool’s errand” is actually a body of established science that links the lack of insurance to mortality rates. Just look at the 10-year difference in life expectancy between Canadians and Americans with cystic fibrosis.

But fear not, “to dust ye shall return” isn’t the only argument in favor of this bill. There’s also outright lies!

For example, over on Fox & Friends, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Report was actually just about choice. The CBO found that the Senate bill would kick 22 million people off insurance over the next ten years, including 15 million people who are enrolled in Medicaid. “What they’re basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is, if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something they don’t want, then they won’t buy it,” said Ryan. “So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan; it’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.”

Note: Ryan does not support my right to choose to get my health care from Planned Parenthood.

Here Ryan is just pretending that the bill’s changes to Medicaid don’t exist. The bill would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid by reducing the federal government’s share of the costs. Right now, the federal government pays its share no matter how many enrollees there are, and no matter how much their care costs. Under the new plan, federal spending would be capped, and states will choose between receiving funds as a per-capita cap or a block grant. Funding Medicaid this way will quickly become impossible – particularly for poorer (generally, redder) states. “If states wanted to keep the expansion,” explained the Washington Post, “they’d have to as much as quintuple their spending on those enrollees.” In short, as the Boomers get older, states will have to revoke the Medicaid expansion, or severely limit enrollee benefits, as a financial necessity. As an example, just look at what this bill would do to Maryland.

However, good ol’ Senator Cassidy (R-LA) argued on CBS News that kicking people off Medicaid will actually be great. “Now, I have concerns about the bill,” he said, “but let’s acknowledge that as folks would move off Medicaid, they would go on private insurance, coverage would continue, and in some cases that actually gives the patient more options for doctors that they can see than does Medicaid.”

This is simply not true, as the Senate bill provides smaller tax subsidies for individuals on the private market to purchase less comprehensive health insurance plans with higher deductibles. It’s a lose-lose-lose.

But what about taxes? Mitch McConnell tweeted that this bill lowers “middle-class taxes.”

However, the taxes that the bill eliminates applied to families with an income of $250,000 or more. For perspective, the real median household income in the U.S. in 2015 was $56,516. Anyone getting these tax cuts is not middle-class.

Over and over again, they’re trying to pretend that this bill doesn’t do what it quite explicitly does. To try and get this passed, our legislators are telling lie after lie. The only question now is whether they’ll get away with it.

So get calling.

(Via ThinkProgress, AOL, and CBS News; image via Shutterstock)

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Posted by Liz Jacobs

When my family and I all stepped onto our one-way flight from Moscow to New York and were stuck into the middle four-seat section in front of a blank wall for eight hours, I was already gay—I just didn’t know it.

I was eleven. The year was 1993. Coincidentally, the year that Russia finally—for the time being—decriminalized homosexuality.

So there I was—Jewish, scared, not speaking a word of English, clutching the one doll I could take with me, not knowing what lay ahead. When we went through customs, the woman at the counter looked at what we were declaring, then looked at my dad. “You know, you can bring more money with you.”

He knew. We just, you know, didn’t have it. What we did have was bedding, clothes, and my dad’s physics books. We also had a lotto ticket in the form of his invitation to work at an Ivy League school as a visiting scientist. That, above all, put us among some of the luckiest refugees on that plane to New York.

I wouldn’t begin to realize that I was gay for another two years, so I would come up with the wildest explanations for why I would sneak into my parents’ room while they were out grocery shopping to look at the Playboys that they—and I promise, this is true—subscribed to for the articles, and “feel things” while slowly unfolding the centerfold.

Then in eighth grade, we read an article that huffed, and puffed, and blew the walls off my carefully assembled veneer of normalcy. To this day, I cannot tell you why that particular article from YM magazine about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality above all else threw a light onto my own, but there I was—horrified at the dawning realization that, oh shit, dude. I think I’m gay.

Ensue the sort of panic I have never before experienced. As a kid, I could barely conceal a single fleeting feeling from anyone. I had all of the feelings, and I shared them with anyone who’d stand still long enough. But I couldn’t share this. I knew I couldn’t share this, because it would ruin absolutely everything and tear my future away from me. My family had very straightforward expectations of me—finish school, go to college, get married, have kids. That was what you did. It was expected that my sister would do this, and then I’d follow in her footsteps.

What it felt like was a trap. What it looked like was me waiting until I was in the shower to cry, so nobody would hear me sobbing from the panic of realizing I wasn’t normal. I could not bear the weight of it, and spent the whole summer before high school in quiet agony.

First day of high school, and I see this guy across a crowded hallway. Oh, he’s beautiful. It’s like a choir of angels descending and lifting me up—thank God. I’m not gay! I like a guy! What a relief, I think as I find myself zoning out on how cool this one girl is, or how much I want to be just like that other girl. She’s so pretty, I think as I relegate my (now totally mistaken, of course) summer realization to the very back of my mind. It’d be soooo cool to hang out with her all the time.

At the same time, I’m still learning the culture of my new country, and my English, while more or less passable, is far from perfect. I have an accent. I have gaps in my knowledge that I try to fill up with more Full House and VH1 than any reasonable human being should ingest. I’ve started to make friends—even been invited on my first sleepover!—but I’m still different. I’m still weird. I’m still taking my hat off as I walk out of the house in December and my mother yells after me that I’ll get meningitis and die if I don’t put it back on right now. No matter what I try, I don’t quite fit in here; I don’t belong. America doesn’t feel like home, not yet. It feels like a precarious refuge.

And then, in tenth grade, I develop a crush on one of my best friends for the second time in my life.

My older sister—my idol—says in passing that she can certainly understand gay men, but man, she doesn’t understand lesbians. I sink into a new level of despair, only to buoy myself up with a fresh layer of denial. Well, pffft, duh. Of course. Who can understand lesbians? Who would—my God, can you imagine?—want to kiss another woman?

One night, I catch a k.d. lang performance on TV. She’s wearing a suit, her shirt unbuttoned to the top of her chest. The next day, I walk up to my best friend as she’s putting books in her locker and casually tell her that, man, if k.d. lang were a guy, I’d totally have a crush on her.

It takes me another seven years and three straight relationships to gather up the courage to fully admit that I’m gay, begin dating a woman, and come out to my family. The entire time, I feel like I’m segregating parts of myself from everyone I love—my fear of coming out from my queer friends, and my being queer from my Russian immigrant family. I’m bisected, un-whole, and filled with the constant buzzing of fear. I go to Pride and then rifle through every town newspaper just to make sure my picture isn’t anywhere where my parents can find me.

“I don’t even know the words to say,” I complain to my girlfriend on the eve of coming out. She begins to offer suggestions, and I have to interrupt and say, “No, no, like. The actual words. Russian for ‘lesbian’ is too weird for me to say.”

My family doesn’t speak this language. They did not grow up with this, it isn’t a part of them. My sister, when I call and wail at her that I have no idea what to say, heartily sympathizes and says, “I don’t know, man. Good luck.”

As far as I know, nobody else in my family or family circle has ever been gay. As far as I know—I’m certain some have been so deeply in the closet that they have never come out.

That’s what being queer and Russian has meant to me—hiding and fear. All those who are still in Russia, still out, still fighting leave me awed. I cannot imagine that sort of courage.

To this day, whenever I meet another queer Russian in America, I feel breathless—we exist. We exist. And we got out. The realization is bittersweet, at best.

I always knew I wanted to write this story, but I had to find myself first. I had to plant my feet firmly on this soil, take a deep breath, and admit my truth.

I began writing Abroad in the fall of 2014. Four years after marrying the love of my life, seven years after coming out to my family. Until that moment, it had felt like too precarious a thing, too private and precious to share. Knowing that this book will come out in just a few weeks fills me with fear—a fear that feels different from the being unable to tell my truth. It’s fear of exposure, yes. There’s too much of me in this book not to feel vulnerable and frightened. But it is more than that—it feels like the final step out into a new reality. A reality where I felt all of my feelings and splashed them onto the page for anyone to read who stands still long enough.

I cannot claim it as a universal truth of all queer immigrants. I can’t claim it as a universal truth of all Russian queer immigrants. I can only claim it as my own.

Russia has gone without me. She has shifted dramatically, changed, reshaped the world in ways that I cannot begin to untangle. But the Russia I have known has left an indelible mark on me that I don’t think I will ever lose. The mark of having been different, having been frightened, and having survived to tell the tale.

(image: Brain Mill Press)

Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee. All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.

She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.

She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

All too often, online communities can be hotbeds of infighting and insults. That’s why it’s especially heartwarming to watch hundreds of strangers come together and open their wallets for a single cause: ensuring that Nur Huda el-Wahabi’s name finds its way into Golden Compass author Philip Pullman’s next book.

This pure outpouring of humanity feels like a balm to the soul after what seems like an endless cycle of sour news. Here’s what went down: Authors for Grenfell, an online auction set up to benefit victims of the horrific tower fire disaster, is comprised of “authors, editors, agents and publishing people who have generously donated items and time for auction” to raise money.

One donated “item” came from Philip Pullman, who offered the right to name a character in the second part of his upcoming highly anticipated The Book of Dust trilogy. This was the auction description: “This book will follow the first part of THE BOOK OF DUST, ‘La Belle Sauvage’, which will be published in October this year. The second part (not yet titled) will follow next year. The right to name a character doesn’t guarantee that he or she will be good, bad, beautiful or otherwise, but it will be a speaking role with a part to play in the plot.”

This was a tempting offer to many, to be sure! But then a man named James Clements posted his bid, and the auction became a coming-together of goodness and generosity.

“The real Nur Huda was an ex-pupil of mine who lived in Grenfell Tower and didn’t make it out of the building that night. A life that was so full of promise has been cut short in the most terrible way. … [t]his would mean her name would live on. Plus, Nur Huda is a pretty cool name for a character. Please outbid me by lots though—it’s an important cause,” Clements wrote.

Rather than have anyone outbid him, however, every single subsequent donation and post—amounting to hundreds of comments—were from people adding to Clements’ bid on behalf of Nur Huda. The current high bid is an incredible £32,138 raised in Nur’s name and memory. As no one else has suggested a name since Clements posted about his former pupil, we’ll be seeing Nur Huda el-Wahabi one day in The Book of Dust.

The goodwill on display here—and the groupthink mentality united on the side of celebrating a life cut short too soon—is just so, so lovely to see. Scrolling through the comments on the Authors for Grenfell auction will go a long way towards restoring your faith in humanity. Here’s just a handful:

James Widden
JUNE 27, 2017 AT 4:51 PM
Please add £100 to James Clements’ bid for Nur Huda el-Wahabi to be the named character. Also – I know this isn’t really on offer – but to mark this amazing ‘en masse’ bid, I’d like to suggest that ‘James Clements’ is also made a named character.

Suzanne
JUNE 27, 2017 AT 7:22 PM
Please add £10 for Nur Huda.
Beautiful, people, beautiful.

Lachlan
JUNE 27, 2017 AT 11:58 AM
I bought books from the school fair today. I want to see Nur Hada live as a character in a book I can buy one day in my school’s book fair. Please add 10 GBP to James’ bid. Would love to see other children post bids!

My heart, it hurts and also has grown about three sizes from reading these.

After his plea gained such attention and reaction, James Clements came back into the comments and wrote:

I know this space is meant to be for bids only, but as it after 8.00pm, perhaps I’ll be forgiven just this once.

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our shared bid for Nur Huda. Whether it was £5 or £5000, your contribution has become part of our whole team effort and I’ll be forever grateful to you. The money that you’ve donated will go to help people who have lost everything.

The world hasn’t always seemed like a very nice place in recent times, but this whole business has demonstrated how many wonderful people there are around and how much good can be achieved if we all work together. Thank you.

Great work, team. We did it.

Great work indeed, team Internet. While I’ve been excited for Pullman’s The Book of Dust, a trilogy that will “stand alongside” the original bestselling His Dark Materials and feature original heroine Lyra (and daemons!), there’s a whole new kind of anticipation now.

Clements described Nur, whom he taught when she was 9 and 11, as “wonderful. Joyful, hard-working, fun and always keen to help. Her family were delightful, too.” I look forward to reading Nur Huda el-Wahabi’s name in Pullman’s pages in the future, and being reminded of a bright life and the kindess of strangers.

(via The Independent, image: Knopf)

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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

In the middle of all the batshit-bananas stuff surrounding Donald Trump lately, including fake Time covers and regularly scheduled Twitter rants, you may have missed this interaction he had with an Irish journalist yesterday. And honestly, I’m a little sorry to point it out to you, because you would definitely have been happier—and had far less crawling skin—if you had never, ever known this had happened.

You see, Trump was on the phone with Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar to congratulate him for being appointed to the position. So, there was Irish press in the room, which you can hear Trump complimenting in the video above, despite his disdain for the American press. That’s where things went off the rails. “Beautiful” was already one of Trump’s favorite adjectives, but his use of the word in this instance seemed, more than usual, a little telling of what’s important to him.

He called Caitriona Perry, Washington Correspondent and US Bureau Chief for RTÉ News, over to his desk, and commented that the “nice smile” on her face must be an indication that she treats Varadkar well. To some, I’m sure this is “just how Trump normally talks,” but that’s the danger with normalization—he normally talks like a drunken harasser. Excusing that as OK because it’s normal for him is exactly how other men get away with repeated, similar inappropriate behavior.

Perry clearly found the interaction uncomfortable enough to post it on Twitter and call it bizarre, which elicited both support, apologies from embarrassed Americans, and of course, people insisting that they didn’t see anything wrong—which, again, is the problem. Trump just had no idea he was doing such a good job of demonstrating it.

(via Twitter, image: screengrab)

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Posted by Charline Jao

Giving Julian Dennison a warm 💀💩L welcome as we stare off into our beautiful future together. #RickyBakerPool #NZ

A post shared by Ryan Reynolds (@vancityreynolds) on

Julian Dennison, A.K.A. Ricky Baker for Taika Waititi’s masterpiece Hunt for the Wilderpeople, has joined the Deadpool 2 cast along with Zazie Beetz and Josh Brolin. In an Instagram referencing this Instagram of Daisy Ridley carrying Mark Hamill for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Beautiful future indeed.

To the news, Waititi who’s also in the superhero scene with Thor: Ragnarok, expressed his excitement on Twitter:

It’s unclear what role the New Zealand actor will play in the sequel, but his performance in Hunt for the Wilderpeople was nothing short of amazing. Reynolds himself had a lot of praise for the film when he saw it last year, and I can’t wait to see what their collaboration is going to look like. From the image, I want to believe that Deadpool will become some kind of begrudging mentor since Dennison has proven himself great in the role of the young son-like half of a weird road-trip duo.

Either way, Dennison clearly has a great amount of comedic talent, and it’s a great surprise to see the 14 year old on Reynold’s back staring into their bright future. Congrats, Ricky Baker.

(via Hollywood Reporter, image: The Orchard)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

“In a world of paint, canvas, and plaster of Paris, one woman dares to ask the question…what the hell is that?”

Abbi Jacobson of Broad City is partnering with the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and WNYC Studios to produce a 10-episode podcast on modern art, called A Piece of Work. While Jacobson is most famous for her role on Broad City, she started out her career as an artist. “I went to art school,” she explained, “and I’m actually also an illustrator. And while I love contemporary art – I love it – I have a ton of questions. So for this podcast, I’m going to MoMA, and I’ll get to look behind the scenes. I’m going to wander the galleries, and I’ll be talking to artists, curators, and friends – people like, Questlove, Hannibal Buress, Samantha Irby, Tavi Gevinson, RuPaul.”

Given how visual modern art can be, it’s a bit of a curious subject for a podcast. And yet, so much of contemporary art is based on larger ideas about the nature of art and representation itself, and so many its seminal works are built around provoking a particular viewer reaction. There’s actually something sort of genius about distilling a discussion of those works down to just those two things: an audio capture of the viewers’ reactions, and a disembodied discussion of the ideas behind them.

Plus, I love Broad City‘s weird, freewheeling take on modern city life, and there’s no topic better suited to “weird and freewheeling” than modern art.

Each episode will center on a specific topic, analyzing two or three representative artworks with special guests and curators from the MoMA.

  • Episode 1: Everyday Objects
  • Episode 2: Abstraction
  • Episode 3: Monochromes
  • Episode 4: Light
  • Episode 5: Minimalism
  • Episode 6: Performance
  • Episode 7: Video
  • Episode 8: Pop Art
  • Episode 9: Design
  • Episode 10: Text-Based Art

Entertainment Weekly has a full write-up of who’ll guest-star on which episode, and which specific works will be discussed for each topic, along with an audio sample of the podcast.

(Via Entertainment Weekly; image via The Met)

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Posted by Charline Jao

The Hamilton Mixtape was a great present for fans of the musical, bringing in the actual artists Lin-Manuel Miranda took inspiration from to performs songs and giving other artists an opportunity to put a different spin on familiar tunes. “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done )” by K’naan featuring Residente, Riz MC & Snow Tha Product was a particularly powerful take on lines spoken by Lafayette and Hamilton in “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” that often gets cheers from the theater audience. It’s one of the few Mixtape songs that isn’t a cover, and with the original verses it’s become increasingly relevant and resonates powerfully with the current moment.

You don’t have to look for to see the immense anti-immigration and anti-refugee sentiment that’s spreading within the United States and around the globe. Or maybe spreading is the wrong word here, as this sentiment has always existed—but now xenophobia has a voice in the White House and people feel more comfortable yelling at bystanders in their local towns. Everything from the travel ban, to Donald Trump’s early promise to build a wall, to the many U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stories we’re seeing now (this one about ICE at Human Trafficking Intervention Court is especially terrible), come to mind when watching this video directed by Tomas Whitmore.

The music video portrays all kinds of immigrant experiences, and the underpaid jobs they often take in the service industry. The sweat-shop like environment of laborers sewing American flags feels especially symbolic—this is a nation built on immigrants that depends on immigrants. This is far from 1781, but when we go in the subway where Riz MC is waiting, it’s a reminder that almost everyone’s history in America begins with immigration. The video also shows the extreme circumstances that can push an individual or family to come to the United States, and the horrifying violence of an ICE raid.

One of the great thing about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is the way that we saw resonance in this old story with our own current moment, and the way it illuminated a new part of American’s founding mythology. Miranda tweeted he was “so proud” to present this music video and Riz Ahmed called it “The music vid + track I always wished existed.” Seeing the musical continue to be a force for good, and provide space for a song like this that many, like Ahmed and myself, always wanted, is nothing short of wonderful.

What did you think of the video?

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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, Goop, depending on your level of gullibility, is known for hawking pleny of nonsense or some very valuable personal wellness products. It’s a little-known fact that Stephen Colbert has his own lifestyle brand full of nonsense, Covetton House, which makes it the perfect competitor for Goop.

Recently, Goop irritated NASA with some incredibly overpriced “smart stickers” from a company called Body Vibes, which claimed to use a material from space suits (that isn’t actually used in space suits) for healing vibrations. The company has since apologized for misleading people into believing their stickers had any connection to NASA, but pointedly didn’t apologize for misleading people in general about whether or not stickers can vibrate you to good health.

So, Colbert broke down the whole situation on The Late Show before getting into a brand new ad for Covetton House and some healing tape from the town of Duct. That will take care of all that ails you when used in combination with other products in Covetton’s new Glu-u line that are definitely not just batteries, post-it notes, and other everyday objects marketed to trick people into spending too much money on placebos.

(image: screengrab)

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Crunchyroll is single-handedly responsible for my anime education. So, when I heard that they had some big things in store this summer, I got really excited. Anime fans who are headed to Anime Expo this weekend are a very lucky bunch!

First up, Crunchyroll is gearing up for its biggest presence ever at Anime Expo, which will include:

  • Early access to several of summer’s hottest anime simulcast premieres, including The Ancient Magus’ Bride and Classroom of the Elite
  • Access to premier talent through panels and signings, including Kubo Mitsurou, creator of the original Yuri!!! On ICE manga along with the show’s director Yamamoto Sayo, and the directors of Classroom of the Elite Kishi Seiji and Hashimoto Hiroyuki
  • Fan activities, including The Ancient Magus’ Bride chalk art drawing, Yuri!!! On ICE photo opportunities, a cosplay gallery featuring costumes from Adam Savage, a game room, and more!
  • A booth store at the convention with brand new merchandise, including items that can only be found at Anime Expo
  • For premium Crunchyroll subscribers, they’ll have access to an exclusive party Saturday night (July 1) at Lounge 21 in the Los Angeles Convention Center in partnership with streaming platform partner VRV

In addition to all that, fans will get a sneak peek of the highly anticipated anime series The Ancient Magus’ Bride (from the same studio that brought blockbuster anime hit Attack on Titan) months before it airs in Japan or is made available on Crunchyroll. Plus, there will be an intimate Q&A with the series’ director Norihiro Naganuma and WIT STUDIO head George Wada following the screening.

If you can’t make the preview this weekend at Anime Expo, don’t worry…they’ve got you covered, too! Fans can catch the first three episodes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride across nearly 300 theaters nationwide at Crunchyroll’s second installment of its highly successful Anime Movie Night on July 26th. As an added bonus, attendees will see the premiere and behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Crunchyroll’s first-ever original short Children of Ether.

Fans can purchase tickets for this special one-day event BEGINNING TODAY at animemovienight.com.

Crunchyroll is here to make sure that you spend your summer vacation hopped up on anime—and you wouldn’t have it any other way! Who’s going to Anime Expo? Sound off in the comments!

(image: screencap, logo courtesy of Crunchyroll)

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My Best Comic is Out Today

Jun. 28th, 2017 11:58 am
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Posted by Paul Cornell

Today, Saucer State #2 is in comic stores and digitally on ComiXology (in the US and the UK).  Reading it back, I’m so hugely pleased with what the team has done.  It’s also the moment our story moves into high gear.  All in all, it’s the single issue I’ve been involved with that most pleases me.  I don’t think there’s anything I have second thoughts about.  Ryan Kelly is expressing his talent perfectly.  The colours by Adam Guzowski are incredibly subtle, the lettering of Simon Bowland is spot on (and both these guys are following patterns of meaning we laid down in the Vertigo prequel).  And even with this being #2, new readers will instantly get what’s going on.  Which is that, in the middle of our UFO mythology/politics plot, what everyone acknowledges as an enormous alien spacecraft has just shown up, signalling to the entire world.  It’s a year before it gets to Earth.  And for our heroes, that year is now a ticking clock.

You can see a preview of the first five pages here.  I love that last page of Arcadia doing crisis management.

I’m interviewed about the title at Dynamic Forces.

Saucer State 2 A

Ryan Kelly’s main cover.

Saucer State 2 B

Jeffrey Veregge variant.

I don’t normally post reviews, but I thought this one did a great job of summing up what we did in the first issue…

And there’s one thing about #2 that I want to highlight: it includes a cameo from a real person!  Dr. Marek Kukula is the Public Astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory.  He kindly agreed to appear as part of the worldwide reaction to alien contact.

As you can probably tell, I’m very excited about Saucer State, and if you pick it up, I hope you are too.

In other comics news, I did an interview about the forthcoming Vampirella #6, the first with Andy Bellanger as artist.

Caroline and I will both be appearing on panels at our favourite (non-Doctor Who) convention, CONvergence, in Bloomington MN on July 6th-9th.  (Tom gets to stay with his grandparents on the farm.)  I’ll be on:

July 6th, 3.30pm:  Ready, Steady, Flash!  (Lee Harris’s game of live flash fiction writing.)

July 7th, 3.30pm:  Thunderbirds are Go fan panel.  (I finally get to talk about a show I love.)  8.30pm :  Powerpoint Karaoke (I’m judging this hilarious contest of idiocy once again.)

July 8th, 11am: I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue.  (Like the radio game show.  Caroline and I are a team!)

For those who’ve asked, the cricket tutorial is taking a year off owing to the venue being redeveloped.  It’ll be back next time.  We’re both looking forward to our working holiday.

I’ve been loving the reactions that my very personal novel Chalk has been getting.  I’d like to point out two particular pieces.  Firstly, there’s Alasdair Stuart’s review of it alongside Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories, which I think is very insightful.  Then there’s Tobias Carroll’s piece, placing it in a new wave of politically-conscious horror, which is somewhere I’m very happy for it to be.

In Doctor Who news, Steven Moffat made a storming appearance at the Fairford Festival of Fiction (which I put together as part of our local festival), where he was interviewed by Simon Guerrier, and, with his permission, a transcript has been put up online.  It’s a great interview.  We’ll be back next year, on June 2nd, with, hopefully, another big Who writer guest.

Moffat interview

And finally, I just had my 50th birthday party (though my actual birthday isn’t until July), which was a lovely, sprawling weekend of fun, featuring several house guests, many of whom had to record podcasts.  So I ended up guesting on Radio Free Skaro, and Caroline ended up on Verity!

50th Pub

In the pub beforehand… (spot the podcasters!)

50th Cake

The cake, courtesy of The Coffee Post (that’s Wolsey the cat!)

50th Boogie Me

My favourite band, Boogie Me, played in the hall for us that evening.

Caroline 50th

And Caroline joined them for a number!

(All photos by Andrew Smith, except the last, by Al Cane.)

I had such a wonderful time, surrounded by so many friends.

And finally, I’d like to direct you toward the work of another friend, Si Spurrier, who has a glorious Image comic book coming out in September.  It’s an all-ages title about flying monkeys in a post-apocalyptic future.  It’s called Angelic, and, having taken a look, I can recommend it wholeheartedly.  Do check it out.

And that’s it for now!  I’m about to dig into some serious plotting, and preparation for both CONvergence and San Diego.  See you soon, sweet dorks.

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Posted by veritypodcast

It’s a rare on-location Verity! with an even-rarer special guest! Join Erika, Liz, and returning guest, Caroline Symcox as we discuss part one of the season finale story. It was some intense Doctor Who, and we have some intense reactions to it. We also have some wacky theorizing.

Warning: Wacky theorizing may cause disappointment when the show doesn’t do what the wacky theory said it might. Or, at least, it will if you’re Liz.

How did this part-one-of-two strike you? What are your theories? Tell us in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

Download or listen now (runtime 1:00:40) 


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Posted by Diane Malkin

Titan Comics have today released another stunning collection of Doctor Who comics.

This new 128-page set, Doctormania Vol 2 involves the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston accompanied by fan-favorites Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness in an exciting set of adventures.

Pick up your copy today in comic stores and in bookstores from July 25th.

Writer: Cavan Scott
Artists: Cris Bolson, Marco Lesko
Publisher: Titan Comics
SC – FC – 128pp – $16.99 

CHECK OUT THE PREVIEWS BELOW – BEWARE SPOILERS!

TITAN COMICS - Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS – Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS - Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS – Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS - Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS – Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS - Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS – Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS - Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
TITAN COMICS – Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania
 

The post Titan Comics Ninth Doctor Vol. 2: Doctormania Released Today appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by Mat Greenfield

As Queen Ileosa starts to lose allies and Merisiel embraces her destiny, the true power behind the throne is revealed.

Emboldened by success in acquiring the Sword of Serithtial, our heroes prepare to storm Ileosa’s palace. When a former enemy arrives to help, the champions must put past enmity aside to win peace for Korvosa. But who’s really the power behind the throne?

Curse of the Crimson Throne

‘Crown of Fangs’ is the sixth and final part of the third ‘Pathfinder Legends’ series, ‘Curse of the Crimson Throne’. Last month, we reviewed chapter five and found it surprisingly accessible for a fictional world with so much history. Big Finish have achieved the same magic again with a complicated plot but easily relatable characters and relationships.

In particular, knowing it’s the final chapter means that anything can happen. My experience with RPGs and fantasy stories in general is minimal, so I don’t really know the tropes. Nor do I know how the adventure path, upon which this series is based, plays out. Whereas my usual poisons, like ‘Doctor Who’, are bound up in continuity, this plot could go anywhere!

Game of Fangs

While Pathfinder Legends includes all the fantasy trappings of a world based on an RPG, the story is very rich. It has echoes of Game of Thrones for how the political intrigue is mixed into the action. In this chapter, especially, the main characters have to consider how Korvosa will be governed after they’ve deposed Ileosa. Nobody’s competing for the throne, admittedly, but that the characters have to consider the political future is a nice touch.

Routine Regicide

However, this does create a bit of an issue as far as tension goes. Half the characters leave the team to, in effect, win public approval for a transitional leader. This is a great plot point and the scenes between Merisiel and Vencarlo are my favourite part of the story. But it feels like the main villain is being diminished when her defeat is treated as a mere formality. Admittedly, their confidence is proven to be misplaced and bolstered by having the Sword of Serithtial. But I felt it undermined what should have been a really gripping couple of scenes.

Total War

But this is swiftly made up for in the second half, where an all-out battle of magic, swords and manipulations ensue. With so much going on and so many characters to keep track of, I was expecting to get lost. Instead, I found it was really easy to follow along thanks, once again, to careful direction and clever voice work. You could never confuse one character for another and that made all the difference. You can get more wrapped up in the events as they unfold instead of trying to remember who’s who. As a result, the climax was a gripping final battle. Even the wrap-up, addressing dangling plot threads, didn’t leave me confused since the intent of the dialogue is clear even if the words are a little lost on me.

Overall

‘Crown of Fangs’ has proven to be a stunning conclusion for the audio adaptation of ‘Curse of the Crimson Throne’. When the tension is good, it’s really good! The final battle and the subsequent fallout kept me gripped. I found myself rooting for the characters despite my relative unfamiliarity with them. With many more adventure paths to draw on, it’ll be tough for Big Finish to top the superb job they’ve done here.

‘Crown of Fangs’ is available to buy from the Big Finish website.

Synopsis

Korvosa withers in the grip of a mad monarch! Beaten down by riots, disease, and the ironclad enforcers of a cruel despot, the people shudder in their homes and pray for saviors. The time has come to rise up against the crazed Queen Ileosa Arabasti and put an end to her vicious rule.

Yet within the walls of Castle Korvosa waits an army of soldiers, bodyguards, and diabolical monstrosities – to say nothing of the seemingly invincible queen herself. Can Valeros, Merisiel, Ezren and Harsk put an end to the tyrant’s reign? Or will an ancient evil claim Korvosa once and for all?

Written By: David Bryher, based on a story by Tito Leati

Directed By: John Ainsworth

Cast

Stewart Alexander (Valeros), Trevor Littledale (Ezren), Ian Brooker (Harsk), Kerry Skinner (Merisiel), Evie Dawnay (Kyra), Sean Connolly (Vencarlo Orsini), Imogen Church (Sabina Merrin), Kate Brown (Queen Illeosa), Wraith Johnson (Neolandus), Ken Bradshaw (Sermignatto)

Producer John Ainsworth

Script Editor John Ainsworth

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

 

The post BIG FINISH: ‘Crown of Fangs’ is an intense ending for ‘Curse of the Crimson Throne’ appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by CultBox Editor

A stingier-than-usual set of images for Saturday’s Doctor Who finale – The Doctor Falls – has been released by the BBC. There’s plenty for Missy/Master fans, though.

Usually around this time of the week our interweb lines are creaking under the strain of a mahoosive BBC pic dump for the Doctor Who episode coming the following Saturday. Not this week, though.

As perhaps befits an eagerly awaited finale, however, WhoCorp. has been a little less forthcoming than usual with it’s preview images the time around.

Now the cat is well and truly out of the bag, the majority of the images show confrontations between the two incarnations of The Master and The Doctor. Frankly, we’re okay with that. It’s interesting that they largely seem confrontational, considering some of the other promo material hints that there may be some kind of detente between the trio to face off with the Cybermen.

Who knows, eh? Who nose? Well, we all will come 7.31pm Saturday…

Another notable image gives us a look at Samantha Spiro’s character, Hazran, details of which also made it out into the wild this week. following much speculation. Not least from us. Can’t be right all the time, eh?

Anyway. Here are the pics… Enjoy…

The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI), The Master (JOHN SIMM), Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ), The Master (JOHN SIMM) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide

Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ), The Master (JOHN SIMM) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide

Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ), The Master (JOHN SIMM) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide

The Master (JOHN SIMM), Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ)

The Master (JOHN SIMM), Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ)

The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI), Mondasian Cyberman, The Master (JOHN SIMM)

Mondasian Cyberman, The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide

The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide

The Master (JOHN SIMM), Mondasian Cyberman, Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ)

The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI), Missy (MICHELLE GOMEZ)

Hazran (SAMANTHA SPIRO) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide

The post New image gallery for ‘Doctor Who’ finale ‘The Doctor Falls’ appeared first on CultBox.

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Posted by Martin Prince

Please note: mild spoilers lie ahead for The Doctor Falls.

There’s been no shortage of speculation as to who Samantha Spiro is set to play in this weekend’s Doctor Who series 10 finale, The Doctor Falls. Since her casting was announced, the theories have ranged from her playing the next Doctor, through to an older version of his granddaughter, Susan.

But Spiro has now been chatting to the Radio Times, and has confirmed that her role is neither of those. Instead, her character is called Hazran, and as Spiro said, “as far as she’s concerned she lives on a farm, and it’s a very beautiful rural setting”.

The farmhouse where Hazran lives comes under attack from the Cybermen, putting the children she’s protecting there under threat.

“She’s the sort of person who’s trying to hold it all together and probably wouldn’t be successful if it wasn’t for a bit of help that we get from the Doctor”, Spiro admits.

But is she certain she’s not really the next Doctor? Absolutely. The rumour broke “after I’d already finished filming, so I knew I wasn’t going to be the next Doctor”, she said.

The Doctor Falls is on BBC One this Saturday night.

 

 

The post Doctor Who series 10 finale: Samantha Spiro confirms her mysterious role appeared first on CultBox.

Five of The Master’s Best Disguises

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:00 pm
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Posted by Bedwyr Gullidge

The Master has always been truly masterful at concealing his true idenity. Over the years he has employed masks, aliases and other means to disguise himself whilst he plots his dastardly plans. Here BlogtorWho presents five of the best disguises used by this most devious of renegade Time Lords.

Doctor Who: The Dæmons: Part One – Mister Magister (c) BBC

Mister Magister

The original Master, played by Roger Delgado, utilised a number of disguises and aliases. Some of these included Colonel Masters (Terror of the Autons), Dr Emil Keller (The Mind of Evil) and The Adjudicator (Colony in Space). One of his best however was as Mister Magister in The Dæmons. Wearing a pair of glasses, which were later discarded, he posed as a vicar in the rural English village of Devil’s End. Magister is also the Latin word for ‘master’ which of course The Doctor interpreted immediately. There is something particularly devilish about The Master posing as a clergyman and then summoning the Devil!

Doctor Who: Castrovalva -The Portreeve (c) BBC

The Portreeve

Shortly after The Doctor’s fourth regeneration, his new incarnation sought respite on a tranquil planet called ‘Castrovalva‘. The Portreeve was an elder in Castrovalva, a title indicating an individual with authority over a town. A kind man with great wisdom. However he was revealed to be The Master in disguise having set a trap for the newly regenerated Fifth Doctor. Amusingly The Portreeve was credited as being played by Neil Toynay, an anagram of Tony Ainley, to hide the character’s true identity.

Doctor Who: Time Flight (c) BBC

Kalid

In perhaps one of his more elaborate and striking changes of appearance The Master posed as Kalid in ‘Time Flight’. A strange mystic, with a hint of the Orient about his costume choice, he used psychokinetic power to attempt to control the Xeraphin. The character also provided us with another amusing anagram with the credited actor of Leon Ny Taiy concealing Anthony Ainley once again.

Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi

Professor Yana

On the planet Malcassairo at the end of the universe an old scientist attempted to help the remnants of humanity reach ‘Utopia’. Professor Yana enlists the help of the Tenth Doctor and his companions Martha Jones and Capt. Jack Harkness to overcome technical difficulties to launch the rocket. Dramatically we learn that the Professor is in fact a renegade Time Lord who used a chameleon arch to change his physiology and escape the Time War. Which Time Lord? The Master of course.

Doctor Who: World Enough and Time – Mr Razor (c) BBC

Mr Razor

Perhaps the most shocking reveal of all came just days ago. Mr Razor, a hospital assistant and maker of tea helped Bill in her recovery whilst trapped in a terrifying hospital. Shockingly he betrayed Bill and left her at the mercy of the hospital’s surgeon. It was only after that betrayal that viewers learned Mr Razor’s real identity. Not just The Master but an earlier regeneration of the character that we had not seen in years.

Now two incarnations of The Master unite to combat The Doctor this week in ‘The Doctor Falls’…

The post Five of The Master’s Best Disguises appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

Blessed are those who are creative with their time, and especially those who use that creativity in astonishing, unexpected ways. Like rendering the Last Jedi trailer shot-by-shot on a computer I thought long extinct.

TechCrunch has the deets: “Created by Twitter user Wahyu Ichwandardi, this was created using a vintage Apple IIc computer from 1984, using Dazzle Draw, a bitmap paint program from the same year. The project was stored on 48 floppy disks, and ended up at 6MB, which for the time was a crushing amount of data.”

48 floppy disks. The mind, it boggles. I cannot wrap my head around how much work this must have taken. And Poe still looks dashing. (via TechCrunch)

  • Here’s the first poster for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of Death Note. (via Syfy)
  • A new clip from Spider-Man: Homecoming. We’re getting close! (via IGN)
  • The Boston Public Library has a “car wash” for books and it will soothe the ragged pieces of your soul to watch it in action. (via Atlas Obscura)
  • This badass Logan street art:

  • Matt Furie has a new Kickstarter with a campaign called “Save Pepe” and plans for a new zine that will help redeem his hijacked cartoon frog, a favorite of memes and the alt-right. Furie notes that poor Pepe was created to be a “peaceful, chilled out frog.” Poor Pepe. Save him! (via CBR)
  • A woman led the changing of the Buckingham Palace Guard for the first time. Alas for my goals, it wasn’t me. (via Time)

So what’d you see today while guarding the Internet?

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Broken episode 5 review

Jun. 27th, 2017 04:03 pm
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Posted by louisamellor

Broken’s storytelling, writing and performances are first rate. Here’s our review of its penultimate series 1 episode…

Review
Jun 27, 2017
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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

http://kittypat-daily.tumblr.com/post/159377026536

Recently I was having a conversation with a guy friend about the importance of make-believe playtime when you’re a kid. When I started describing some of the shenanigans my girlfriends and I would subject our toys to, he just stared at me with widening eyes. I wish I could have shown him this comic at the time, because it pretty much depicts my childhood and maybe explains my life thereafter.

I spotted this on Tumblr, where the artist’s post has amassed nearly 70,000 notes and reblogs from ex-kids who get me on a personal level. The number of notes shows that my experience was definitely not limited to me or my circle or the circumstances of where we were raised. It was drawn by kittypat_daily, a 23-year-old art student who has a host of charming comics on their blog. I really can’t get over how much this just shows a scene straight out my youth. And apparently, it’s a recognizable sight for many of us.

I didn’t really have many Barbies or My Little Ponies growing up, but whenever I was at the house of a friend so blessed the stories we generated for our dolls were bananas. No “Barbie is so pretty!” chatter as we brushed their hair. No, our Barbies had wild sex lives (which for six-year-olds didn’t mean much except we knew pregnancy resulted thereafter and then Barbie had lots of babies, which upped the drama).

They were prostitutes and brawlers and royalty. They had babies in wedlock and out. They backstabbed and betrayed and stole each others’ babies. They were bound and tied to, say, a shark, as above, or maybe a stuffed bear. Enchanted rituals went down. More scheming and Ken-seducing and child-snatching. And don’t even get me started on the My Little Ponies.

[Ed: Charline just told me about this video. I knew I wasn’t alone! Anna Faris is Just Like Me]

It’s been a long time since I tried to remember what we got up to in those games, which never felt weird or unnatural but always thrilling. The takeaway in retrospect, I’d say, is that young children have a vast curiosity and capacity for outlandish expression and interest in pushing the boundaries they’re just starting to understand. Then you get older and learn to rein it in about certain topics, and then someday you stop playing make-believe entirely.

I don’t want to exclude little boys from this experience, only I wasn’t one so I can’t speak to it. And my friend in response to my bizarro Barbie tales was like, “I was obsessed with devising ways to lift objects with my programmable Lego crane, but that’s pretty much as deep as it got,” and you know, maybe that would have been my vibe too if I’d had a Lego crane.

But we’re given the toys we’re given and I know mine were baby-having witch-Queens who would steal both your man and your baby and ride off into the sunset on the back of a purple plastic unicorn.

So, uh, what was your playtime like?

(via Tumblr, image: kittypat-daily)

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Posted by Charline Jao

The upcoming Netflix film To the Bone is already experiencing pushback from viewers. The show has yet to premiere on Netflix, with the release date set to July 14th, but viewers are already cautious about the film and the fear it will romanticize mental illness and eating disorders.

For some context, here’s the trailer. Trigger Warning for portrayals of anorexia and eating disorders.

And here is the film’s synopsis:

“Ellen is an unruly, 20-year-old anorexic girl who spent the better part of her teenage years being shepherded through various recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time. Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor. Surprised by the unusual rules—and charmed by her fellow patients—Ellen has to discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance, in order to stand a chance against her demons.

Television veteran Marti Noxon brings her aptitude for storytelling to her remarkable debut feature, tackling the challenges of self-esteem with a refreshingly humorous—yet painstakingly honest—voice. Featuring a career-making performance by Lily Collins, and pitch-perfect supporting roles by Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, and Lili Taylor, To the Bone subverts expectations at every turn with its razor-sharp script, and its undiluted look at what young women face in living up to both society’s expectations of beauty, and their own.”

That fear isn’t unwarranted, as Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why was highly criticized for its portrayal of suicide and mental health. Many awareness groups pointed out how the series aimed at a teenage audience could potentially do more harm than good, and it sparked a huge conversation in schools. Much like 13 Reasons WhyTo the Bone approaches a topic that needs to be discussed and seen, but holds high stakes when done without sensitivity.

Doubt towards To the Bone is a completely understandable reaction, especially since the music and humor of the trailer can come across poorly, but it’s unclear from the information we have so far about whether the film will follow or defeat those expectations. One reason I’m not too eager to write off To the Bone is because it’s a deeply personal story. Both Collins and director Marti Noxon have been open about their own struggles with eating disorders, and noxon posted this message in response to the accusations of glamorization:

The statement, in full, reads:

“Having struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia well into my 20s, I know firsthand the struggle, isolation and shame a person feels when they are in the grips of this illness. In an effort to tell this story as responsibly as we could, we spoke with other survivors and worked with Project Heal throughout production in the hopes of being truthful in a way that wasn’t exploitive.

That said, it’s important to remember that each person’s battle with EDs is unique and To The Bone is just one of the millions of ED stories that could be told in the US at this very moment. My goal with the film was not to glamorize EDs, but to serve as a conversation started about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions. I hope that by casting a little light into the darkness of this disease we can achieve greater understanding and guide people to help if they need it.”

13 Reasons Why viewers had a wide array of criticism from viewers, advocacy groups, and mental health professionals behind that decision. Going through available reviews for Noxon’s film, I’m having difficulty finding the same kind of information. There’s no denying that To the Bone has a ton of responsibility on its shoulders, and we can only hope that it uses that platform to educate and empower. Hearing that Noxon worked closely with Project Heal and survivors, is definitely heartening.

That’s not to say that the “problematic” elements are binary, either, as if the movie can only be perfect or completely wrong in its storytelling. It’s very possible that as a personal story, the film will be compelling for some and completely unwatchable for others. As Noxon says in her statement, ED stories are diverse. Women of color stories, for example, are rarely brought up as EDs are seen as upper-class white problems, and EDs in men are also traditionally overlooked. The film, regardless of how it handles subject matter, likely has images that are incredibly triggering for some viewers and I hope Netflix includes a warning. I’m completely on the side of people who may choose to opt out of a film based on promotional material. If you don’t want to watch To the Bone, it’s no one’s place to tell you that you’re being close-minded and have to watch it.

It’s undeniable that To the Bone has already stated a conversation, but we’ll have to wait to see where it goes. What did you think about the trailer for To the Bone?

(via The Daily Dot, image: Netflix)

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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

Donald Trump has a habit of feeling vindicated by things that do not, in any way, vindicate him—from former FBI Director Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate to President Obama not having wiretapped him—and his team is at it again with a retracted CNN story on Trump officials and ties to Russia.

The story stated that a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials” was being investigated by the United States Congress. It has since been retracted, and the author, an editor, and a supervisor have all handed in their resignations to CNN. That’s … exactly what you’d expect to happen in a news organization that actually cares about reporting the truth. Not only that, but it doesn’t mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong, but that they hadn’t been vetted thoroughly enough to meet CNN’s standards, according to a CNN Money article.

That didn’t stop Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from trying to turn it into a positive for Trump, though, as she complained about the media and used the CNN story as an example:

That resulted in a rather heated exchange with reporter Brian J. Karem, who defended the press from attacks over a retraction from an administration that largely refuses to admit to getting things wrong despite very obvious facts (as Karem was more than happy to point out again on Twitter). The Trump administration would do well to learn from CNN that admitting and correcting mistakes, though your opponents may try to use it against you, is actually good for your credibility. Even Fox News’s Shepard Smith—whose own colleagues could stand to learn the same lesson—said the Trump team might do well to internalize that lesson.

They won’t, though, as Huckabee Sanders also suggested that literally everyone in the country should go watch a video of a CNN health editor, who has nothing to do with the subject, calling CNN’s Russia coverage “bullshit”—a video she openly admitted that “whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know.” There’s incredible irony in standing up and complaining about fake news only to push a video you cannot verify the accuracy of, produced by known producers of deceptively-edited videos (Project Veritas), and that, even if it’s real, is hardly even relevant to the conversation.

Lesson officially not learned, because no one is holding them accountable.

(image: Ildar vector / Shutterstock.com)

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Just because Sweet/Vicious was cancelled by MTV doesn’t mean its fans aren’t still making a difference. One fan in particular, Brittany Dailey, has taken her Sweet/Vicious fan art and translated it into real, concrete support for sexual assault survivors.

Earlier this month at the ATX Television Festival, Dailey became more well known thanks to Sweet/Vicious creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson picking her out at the show’s panel and asking her to stand, because Dailey’s shirt caught her attention. The shirt featured the above artwork, and thanks to the attention at the panel, people reached out to Dailey wondering if there was any way she was making the art available.

Well, she is! And for a great cause:

In an interview with Birth.Movies.Death, Dailey talked about the fact that the artwork was not only a way for her to honor this important show, but to honor a friend who had recently come to her and told her that she’d been assaulted.

Says Dailey, “I conceived of the art in light of the show getting cancelled. But more importantly, about a month ago, my friend shared with me that she was assaulted, just days before. I made the art as a testament to the show and the survivors, and how important it is for them to know that they are valid and believed. It really was an outlet for me in order to process this epidemic and support my friend. I didn’t expect it to be received as well as it did. I honestly couldn’t ignore the importance that it could have for other survivors, which is why I decided to make it available, as well as taking any profit and donating it to RAINN.”

If you’d like to help RAINN help survivors nationwide, while also spreading the important message that we should believe survivors, you can buy Dailey’s artwork as stickers or greeting cards over at Redbubble.

(image: Redbubble/Brittany Dailey)

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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

To say that we’re fans of Weird Al Yankovic and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda would be a bit of an understatement—so would be saying that we’re incredibly into this polka version of a bit of music from Hamilton by none other than Weird Al himself.

Throughout his career, Yankovic has made a point of asking creators for permission to use their songs for his parodies, even though he technically doesn’t have to. This time around, he probably skipped that part, because the unfortunately short (seriously, we need more of this) snippet from “What’d I Miss” was for Miranda’s #HamForAll charity challenge (supporting Immigrants: We Get the Job Done, if you’d like to donate), as Yankovic explained before breaking into song.

I don’t think Miranda will mind, though, not only because it’s for charity, but because for most of the artists Yankvic ever has asked for parody permission, it’s been seen as an honor, and this time is no different. Miranda retweeted Yankovic’s video and confirmed that, truly, he is living the dream:

Oh, please, gods of music, bless us with some kind of collaboration between these two—you know, when Miranda’s full schedule of doing-what-seems-like-the-work-of-ten-people clears up a bit.

(via The Humor Weakly, image: screengrab)

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Posted by Rebecca Kurson

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) is back in the TARDIS for more of his comic adventures in a remarkable new Titan adventure written by Nick Abadzis with artwork from Giorgia Sposito and Arianna Florean.

D​OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6​
DOCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6
Previously…

In the previous issues, Cindy had been captured and whisked away to a new destination in the Time Vortex. The Doctor and Gabby rescued Cindy from the Red Jade Doctor, and freed thousands of Cindy’s clones. But does Gabby really know the Doctor? Can any human truly understand the mind of an alien? Even though the two have battled enemies over the universe and travelled as close companions, Gabby doesn’t understand the Doctor at all – and in the end, Gabby is filled with butterflies in her stomach.

Also, Gabby begins to understand the language of the TARDIS.

The Conclusion of Cindy’s Capture

Cindy Wu, the real one, has returned to the Doctor and Gabby. She names all of her clones, and they spread across China. Gabby realises with a start that Cindy is now her own ancestor. The Doctor explains that Father Wu Wei and Li, the friends they made in China, are actually interdimensional dragons who protect the citizens of Earth.

D​OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6​
DOCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6
New Adventures

Gabby gives the reader a short, fantastic look at their travels. They leave China and see fake Cybermen fighting a fake war. There’s the world that uses fruit as currency, a world with a caterpillar so enlightened they have “evolved into smoke.” Then there’s the glorious Xenopsychology Library of Aramuko, where Anubis decides to stay.

Gabby’s journal barely covers what they did, but the ideas are delightful. She illustrates a dream she has of the TARDIS, and her understanding of the machine’s language has deepened past that of the Doctor.

The Encounter

In the last issue, the Doctor met up with Rose. This time, he meets someone even closer…and he gets some particularly good advice. The Doctor has left behind Gabby and Cindy in a safe house in London, and all is well until Gabby feels herself going through a transformation. In the end, Gabby is filled with butterflies in her stomach….

An absolutely brilliant issue, with gorgeous illustrations throughout, good humour, and a knockout story. At 30 pages, not even long enough.

Blogtor Rating 10/10

DOCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6 is available in comic book stores.

Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Giorgia Sposito, Arianna Florean

FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: June 21  

Cover A: Antonio Fuso
Cover B: PHOTO By Will Brooks
Cover C: Blair Shedd
Cover D: Andy Walker
D​OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6​ - ​​Cover A: Antonio Fuso
D OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6 – Cover A: Antonio Fuso
D​OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6​ - Cover C: ​Blair Shedd
D OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6 – Cover C: Blair Shedd
D​OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6​ - Cover D: ​Andy Walker
D OCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR YEAR 3 #6 – Cover D: Andy Walker

The post REVIEW: Titan Comic Tenth Doctor #3.6 – Vortex Butterflies appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by Diane Malkin

The shortlist for the 2017 TV Choice Awards have been announced today and Doctor Who is among the nominations.

Our favourite TV show receives the nod for Best Family Drama in a category alongside ‘Call the Midwife, ‘Casualty’ and ‘The Durrell’s’.

Some ex-Doctor Who stars are also in the running with ‘Broadchurch’s David Tennant (Tenth Doctor) nominated for Best Actor and the Jenna Coleman led series ‘Victoria’ receiving a mention in the Best New Drama category.

The winners will be announced at the TV Choice’s annual awards ceremony on September 4th at London’s Dorchester Hotel.

To cast your vote head over to the TV Choice website and don’t forget to tune into to BBC One and BBC America on Saturday, July 1st for the highly anticipated finale of series 10.

The post Doctor Who, Victoria & David Tennant Receive TV Choice Nominations appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by Charline Jao

Has the universe answered our wishes for a Star Wars series that’s just about the amazing women of the franchise? It appears so, as a sneak peak for Disney Youtube’s upcoming animated shorts Star Wars Forces of Destiny was released today, and the great heroines of Star Wars we all know and love are here.

“The choices we make, the actions we take, shape us into forces of destiny,” narrates the short clip. The series puts a spotlight on Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Jyn Erso, Sabine Wren, Princess Leia, Padmè Amidala, and more, and promises to “explore the untold stories” that helped shape their destinies. In the trailer, we can already see that there’ll be lots of great action and Stormtrooper-fighting. Some scenes are pretty familiar, like Rey meeting BB-8 for the first time and taking the little droid under her care. Some of them appear to be less so, and oh my god I thought about Rogue One again and I can’t stop crying at seeing Jyn. 

Forces of Destiny airs on Disney Youtube starting July 3rd and will go up each day at 10 AM PT, before moving onto broadcast on Disney Channel July 9th, according to Oh My Disney. Which stories are you most excited to see?

(image: screencap)

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Posted by The Mary Sue Staff

A real game development pro is a multi-platform game developer. And we’ve got all the tools to turn you into one. Pay what you want for the 2017 Master Game Development Bundle at the Mary Sue Shop.

Choose to pay less than the average price and you’ll get two great courses with $158: one in HTML5 game development using Construct 2, and another tutorial in creating a Flappy Bird clone using Java. Beat the average price and you’ll get all 10 courses worth $1,110. That means training in building game worlds in Unity 3D, designing game art, styling your apps with Bootstrap 3, creating game stores,  and more — for any platform. You get all of the training for life, which means you can work at your own pace and refer back to the material whenever you need to.

Launch your game development career right here. Pay what you want for the 2017 Master Game Development Bundle at the Mary Sue Shop.

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

Actress Betty Gilpin, a recent breakout for roles in GLOW and American Gods, has a personal essay about her body in Glamour magazine that had me alternately smiling, sighing, laughing, and wanting to applaud (I’m typing this instead).

Gilpin is hardly new to acting—you might recognize her first for playing Doctor Carrie Roman on Nurse Jackie (she’s also had guest spots on Fringe and Elementary)–but 2017 seems to be shaping up to be her year. From the moment on American Gods that Gilpin’s Audrey saw her dead best friend-turned-undead Laura Moon hanging around in her house, I became a Betty Gilpin devotee. Audrey’s terrified screaming meltdown that melts into angry grief and eventually the will to help Laura despite what passed between them was a masterpiece of a scene. This was Gilpin’s moment.

(image: Starz)

Now she has a starring role as Liberty Belle alongside Alison Brie in the lady-wrestling Netflix series GLOW. In an essay about the experience of landing and shooting the GLOW part, which was the first female-run show Gilpin worked on, she writes about her body and sense of self-worth with frank and hilarious honesty that made me frantically type “THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL OMG” in our Mary Sue chat. You really have to read the whole thing, but I can’t help myself from excerpting some of my favorite parts so that they can live here on our site forever.

On being an awkward, self-loathing adolescent:

“I don’t know when it was, but at some point I realized the obvious truth that I was a hideous goblin under a bridge, that the sound of my voice was like audible feces, and the presence of my body in a room was like bringing a moose carcass to brunch. I adopted the posture that Katie Holmes had as Joey in Dawson’s Creek: shoulders as high to one’s ears as possible, as if I could shrug my existence away. (To this day, I legitimately blame Dawson’s for my back problems.)”

On puberty and what comes with suddenly filling out a “Jessica Rabbit” body, including the experience of what it’s like to have large breasts, well, pretty much anywhere in the world:

“And then puberty was like, WA-BAM. Physically, I went from Justin Bieber to Jessica Rabbit. I gained 30 pounds of thigh, booty, and certified American jugs. And I quickly learned big boobs have the effect of announcing your presence in a room as if you’re cradling Gilbert Godfrey singing the opening to the ‘Circle of Life.'”

On “sorry,” which becomes a default for many women (I’ve said “sorry” when other people bump into me on the street; “sorry” when stepping out of an elevator; “sorry” when moving to take up nearly any space vacated by someone else; sorry, sorry, sorry)

“So in my 20s, I had to work doubly hard to disappear. The word “sorry” escaped my mouth a hundred times a day. I spent most of my time at parties trying to convince women that I hated myself, then had social hangovers about those conversations.”

On acting outside of herself.

“I became an actor who auditioned to play women who say things like, ‘Does this look like mauve to you?!’ Women who look in the mirror and see something beautiful. A nightmare for the terrified tiny person trapped beneath the blonde and boobs.”

Gilpin gives an incredible account of the intense process the GLOW actors underwent to appear as convincing wrestlers. This became a transformative and empowering experience:

“When my bicep I spent my entire twenties hating circled her neck, she screamed to the sky in faux-pain, as if I were the most powerful being who had ever touched her. I pressed my huge boobs into her back to “worsen” the pain, and she begged for mercy between death-gasps. For the first time in my life, I could feel my whole body listening. Go here. Come here. Be still. Take charge. Now one, two, three, fly. … We were all mermaids with muscle.”

Gilpin calls the experience of working and training with so many women “Studio 54 in 1600s Salem, Massachusetts, maybe,” which I adore. And then she describes what sounds like an enchanted on-set experience: “Glow was the first set I’d been on run by women. It was a magical never-never land run by type-A amazons. I saw power and care together for the first time. Seeing women possess those two things simultaneously was a huge lesson for me. …

[GLOW] Creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch commanded our set with a greater authority than any of the bro-gargoyles of yore, but with open arms, back rubs, and eye contact. This created the constant sense of: You are loved and celebrated—and now that you’re comfortable, please give us your goddamn guts and soul so we can make the best thing possible. Also, have this Philly cheesesteak for God’s sake.”

Do you love Betty Gilpin now as much as I love Betty Gilpin now? If so be sure to click and bask in the full, funny, and furious force of her Glamour article below. She’s as damn fine a writer as she is an actress, and I’d like to thank her for writing her truths so openly. We don’t often talk about what it’s like to both want to disappear and at the same time appearing so visible to the outside world. I also suddenly have a strong desire to take up women’s wrestling. Who wants to train with me?

(via Glamour, image: Netflix)

 

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Former Essex County College professor and political commentator Lisa Durden was fired from her professorship, because she went on a talk show and expressed a valid opinion in too loud and angry a voice.

Durden appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson earlier this month to defend Black Lives Matter holding a blacks-only Memorial Day event. Carlson, in his infuriating and purposely obtuse way, asked Durden to “explain” why an organization that is supposedly about not singling out people because of their race “thinks it’s okay” to single people out by race by holding a blacks-only event.

Woman after my own heart, she went right for the snark place, because snark is all this guy deserves. She said, “What I have to say to that is boo-hoo-hoo. You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration.”

Seriously. As if Tucker Carlson or his ilk would’ve set foot at a Black Lives Matter event even if it were open to all races. Please. It’s only upsetting because white people aren’t allowed to go, not because Carlson or Fox News actually care about going. Yet, Carlson continued to put on his show of mock offense, while at the same time trying to vilify this woman who was simply pointing out a glaring truth in a loud voice, calling her “hostile and separatist and crazy.”

He then had the nerve to say, “You’re demented actually. You’re sick and what you’re saying is disgusting and if you were a Nazi I would say the same thing to you.” Well THAT didn’t take long. When in doubt, compare someone to the Nazis, no matter how egregious the comparison might be.

I wonder if Carlson knows any of the guys who got all butthurt about the women-only screenings of Wonder Woman. Who am I kidding, he probably was one of those guys.

First, marginalized groups often need their own spaces in order to feel safe, thanks to the effects of institutionalized hatred. Men don’t need men-only spaces. White people don’t need white-only spaces. You know why? Because society is basically one giant “white men only” space. Having a whites-only or men-only anything is just redundant.

But second, (and this is something you’d think would make sense to Conservatives at Fox News), private organizations are free to limit their membership and events however they like. That’s why there can be a Boy Scouts and a Girl Scouts. That’s why a Ku Klux Klan is still allowed to exist. That’s why houses of worship don’t have to marry people they don’t want to marry. And all of this is why we need the law and public institutions to be on the side of  justice and equality.

Which is why what happened next is so disappointing. Bowing to pressure from skittish parents and students who couldn’t handle seeing a black, female professor getting snarky with a white man, Essex County College fired Durden shortly after her appearance. According to the Washington Post, “Anthony E. Munroe, Essex County College president, said the administration was ‘immediately inundated with feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a College employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus.

‘In consideration of the College’s mission, and the impact that this matter has had on the College’s fulfillment of its mission, we cannot maintain an employment relationship with the adjunct.'”

To quote Ms. Durden. Boo-hoo.

These are college students, not babies. If they can’t handle someone expressing a strong opinion, one that is based in actual facts about systemic racism in America, how are they functioning anywhere else in their lives? What’s hilarious is that it’s likely these same people who would complain about trigger warnings in schools, because the students who request them are being “overly-sensitive.” Never mind that trigger warnings are just that, a warning—not censorship, whereas this is a case of an institution firing an employee for voicing a loud fact about racism.

They claim to be worried about the students’ learning, but all they’ve taught students by doing this is that they have no spine. That sure, it’s all very well and good to talk about not being racist, but that when push comes to shove, it’s completely okay to throw a black, female employee under the bus, because she makes too many people uncomfortable by pointing out their privilegenot by actively hating white people, but simply pointing out the fact that they have privilege.

Apparently, this observation is too much for a lot of white people to hear.  Apparently, it’s up to women and people of color to make sure they say things in a palatable, polite way at all times, no matter how hurt they are or how infuriating the injustice, otherwise white people can’t be bothered to listen.

Or maybe that’s not what Essex County College has taught their students at all. Maybe what they’ve taught them is…that they don’t actually care much about racism to begin with. That white people don’t need to listen. Probably because of that privilege they have that they’re scared to talk about.

(via CNN.com, image: screencap/CNN)

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Posted by Saffron Alexander

As a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that the struggle for accurate representation in the media I so fervently consume is not one with an end in sight. Victorian soldiers hopping aboard an alien spacecraft to live on Mars amongst walking, talking lizards? A perfectly plausible scenario in the eyes of Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss. One of those Victorian soldiers just happening to be a black man? Hmm. Better send an email to your coworkers doubting the casting because, to quote Gatiss: “I don’t think we can do this … there weren’t any black soldiers in Victoria’s army.”

A year or two ago, this would have prompted a visceral reaction from me and would likely have resulted in several angry tweets and maybe even a rant or two on Tumblr. Nowadays, things like this are just par for the course. White creators would rather write about a race of war-hungry lizards living on Mars in harmony with Victorian soldiers than dare to imagine a black person included in their fantasy worlds.

“But Saffron,” I hear you cry. “What about Bill?” And to that I say: yes, let’s talk about Bill.

When I found out Pearl Mackie had been cast as the Doctor’s companion in the current series of Doctor Who, I was ridiculously excited and, after I discovered Mackie’s character, Bill, would be a lesbian, I think I may have actually shed a tear. A black lesbian with an afro in the TARDIS, saving the world and protecting humanity alongside the Doctor? I’m still afraid one day I’m going to wake up and discover this has all been a wonderful fever dream.

Mackie has done an absolutely fantastic job playing Bill—so fantastic that I have jokingly (except it’s not really a joke) renamed Who “The Bill Potts Show” in my head. Her chemistry with Capaldi’s Doctor is brilliant, and she brings a refreshing je ne sais quoi that I felt was desperately missing during the last season or two. In short, I adore Bill with all my heart. I actually think she might be the first character in a piece of science fiction media that I can truly see a part of myself in, which is why it hurts even more when I see how the writers treat her on occasion.

In her role as the Doctor’s companion, Bill is regularly thrown into situations where war-hungry lizards, dead monks, wooden women, and blue men are commonplace. For the most part, Bill reacts to the aliens around her like I imagine most people would in her situation. She’s shocked, surprised, awed, and maybe stares a little too much, but that is what we’ve come to expect from the Doctor’s companions. So why is it that Bill is the only companion branded a racist for her reaction to seeing an alien with entirely blue skin?

Before I can answer that question, I want to rewind back two episodes. In “Thin Ice,” an episode set in 1814 where an alien is found trapped under the frozen Thames, Bill makes a point to ask the Doctor whether it will be alright for her, as a black woman, to be wandering around England in the 1800s. The Doctor, rightfully, tells her history isn’t as white as everyone is led to believe, and the episode continues. Later on, we meet Lord Sutcliffe, the villain behind the nefarious plot to feed Londoners to the alien so it can poop out a powerful replacement for coal. (I still maintain that there were probably many, many ways to achieve that without murdering people, but I digress.) Upon seeing Bill, Sutcliffe begins to launch into a racist tirade, and the Doctor punches him in the face. Yay! My point here is that, in the canon of Doctor Who, it has already been addressed—right here—that Bill knows exactly what it feels like to be on the receiving end of  discriminatory behavior and prejudice because of her race.

And yet, that same Bill who was so wary about racist remarks upon landing in England in the 1800s reacts in a discriminatory way to a blue alien in “Oxygen”—or, at least, the narrative expects us to interpret her reaction in this way.

Upon seeing Dahh-Ren, the alien with entirely blue skin, Bill is visibly startled and manages to splutter out a “Sorry. I wasn’t expecting—” before she is cut off. At first glance there’s nothing wrong with this sentence, and it would be perfectly fine within the context of Bill being a naive human who hasn’t had much contact with aliens before. This sort of scenario has happened with pretty much all the companions as far as I know, and it’s to be expected. But instead of keeping this air of wonder and astonishment within the context of Bill simply being awed by Dahh-Ren, the writers take it a step further.

Dahh-Ren labels Bill “a racist” and Bill promptly responds with an indignant, “It’s just … I haven’t seen many, well, any of your people before.” To black people, this excuse will sound irritatingly familiar. It’s the go-to line for racists who insist they’re anything but, when they try to touch your hair, ask rude and invasive questions, or simply just treat you like some sort of circus attraction.

I understand that it was supposed to be a throwaway line written to inject a bit of lightheartedness to an otherwise fairly dire scene, but it was wholly unnecessary. People staring at you is irritating whatever the context, and Dahh-Ren could have reacted to Bill’s insensitivity in any number of ways without having to brand her a racist.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen what I’m tentatively labelling the “space racist” trope attached to black or black-coded characters in recent science fiction media.

In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Princess Allura is no longer a white, blonde woman, as she was in earlier iterations of the show, but a black-coded woman. (Since Allura isn’t a human, there’s an argument to be made that human racial coding doesn’t apply to her.) Allura’s people, the Alteans, are the victims of a brutal genocide by another race of aliens called the Galra. Allura and her aide, Coran, are thought to be only two surviving Alteans left in the universe. Given this backstory, I don’t think anyone would blame her for harboring a pretty big grudge against the Galra—especially when you factor in that, for Allura and Coran, the genocide of their people is painfully recent, as they’ve been in cryosleep for the last 10,000 years.

But let’s fast forward a bit. After fighting against the Galra for several days/weeks/months/years, (who knows—timing is not VLD’s strong point), they discover one of their teammates is actually half Galra and they’re actually going to have work with a splinter group of “good” Galra. Allura, understandably, doesn’t react well to this. She shuts out the half-Galra teammate and refuses to cooperate positively with the “good” Galra.

Most people would understand that Allura is currently wracked with grief from the deaths of her friends, family, and her entire planet, and would not hold this against her. Not the VLD writers.

Once again, we have a character, who would likely be on the receiving end of racist remarks and discrimination in a real life situation, portrayed as the ignorant aggressor, guilty of perpetrating this prejudice. VLD even goes so far as to have Allura apologize and forgive her oppressors with little to no consideration for her own feelings and trauma.

I also think it’s interesting to note that Coran, a white-coded male and the other sole Altean survivor, is not given the same treatment. He is portrayed as rational and doesn’t have any lingering prejudice towards the Galra, despite going through the exact same things as Allura.

Do you see the unpleasant trend emerging here? Because I do. The dearth of women of color in science fiction and fantasy is a well-documented struggle, and I am always ridiculously pleased when WOC (black women in particular) are given significant roles in shows, books, and films, but not like this.

It feels like we’ve been hounding creators to include us in their content for so long and now they’re finally starting to listen, but there’s a catch. They don’t truly want us in their fantasy worlds, where talking lizards and sentient robot lions can come and go as they please, so if we’re going to demand they include us, then they’re going to teach us a lesson while doing so.

When I see characters like Bill and Allura being branded as “racist” for actions their white counterparts are never chastised for, it feels like these creators are laughing at us—like they’re sneering at me and every other black person out there who so desperately want to see ourselves reflected in our favourite shows and characters, saying “See, you’d be racist, too, if given the chance.”

Of course, this isn’t to say creators can’t explore racism and other types of prejudice in their work, but when done like this, it ignores all the nuance that surrounds simply existing as a black woman in this world and attempts to flip the racism script back on us, almost like a punishment for daring to ask for representation in the media we love.

(image: BBC)

Saffron is a London-based writer who spends far too much time on Twitter (@safrasheri) ranting about fictional characters and explaining to the world why Shark Tale is clearly the superior animated fish movie. She’s a fan of all things fantasy, hates writing about herself in the third person, and is happiest with a book in one hand and a glass of cranberry juice in the other.

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Mark Millar’s 2003 limited series Superman: Red Son may find new life at Warner Bros, and news of these discussions is certainly popping up in interesting political times.

According to Den of Geeks, Warner Bros. has been talking to several top directors about the possibilities of directing a live-action film based on Millar’s Elseworlds series. For those who don’t know, Red Son is an alternate Superman story that explores what might have happened if Superman were born in Ukraine and raised under the Soviet Union, rather than crash landing in Kansas.

The chatter seems to have been confirmed on Twitter by Millar himself in a discussion with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island):

Vogt-Roberts then brought up a really great point: a movie like Red Son might be just the jolt the comic book movie genre needs right now, as opposed to continuing to expand an already bloated single cinematic universe. One-off, standalone stories, like Logan for example, would provide a nice counterbalance to the DCEU as it exists now.

There’s also the fact that a story about the relationship between Russia and the U.S. has suddenly become relevant again. Millar had begun nurturing the kernel of the idea for this story the last time a story like this would be this relevant. In an essay he wrote on the title back in 2003, he explained, “As a kid growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, the notion of what might have happened if the Soviets had reached him first just seemed fascinating to me.”

While Den of Geeks has confirmed that conversations are definitely happening, that’s the only definite thing about this project. It’s all just talk at the moment. Millar isn’t even sure how serious the planning is, saying:

“Is this something they’re genuinely planning? I have no idea. I’ve got pals at Warner Bros but never discussed it with them. I think they’re just going through their back catalogue of big books and hoping to lure in good directors as opposed to any particular interest in developing Red Son.

“There’s always 50 conversations for every comic book movie that gets made and as far as I know this is something that is very much just at conversation stage.”

And today, Vogt-Roberts commented on Twitter along the same lines:

What would Russia having a “Red Son” mean in today’s political landscape? It’s certainly an intriguing prospect. What do you think? Would you be down for a live-action Superman: Red Son movie? Would you want to see Henry Cavill play this alternate version of Superman, or are you more New Universe, New Rules and open to a new Superman? Let’s chat about the possibilities below!

(via io9, image: DC Comics)

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