• art,  film

    Ninja Assassin: Five Lessons for Girl Ninjas

    Last Thursday night, I sat down with my little family and watched Ninja Assassin, which was precisely as good as you’d imagine it to be.  (A coworker wonders why they cast a Korean pop star as the awesomest ninja of all; I wonder why we cast American actors as South Africans.  But neither here nor there.)

    But this movie drew on so many How Not to Make a Feminist Film tropes that I just couldn’t stop laughing.  So, young women, if you want to know what it’s really like to be a professional (ninja or otherwise), let’s watch this movie for some lessons.

    Lesson One: You might have good ideas, but your boss will only listen to them if he’s attracted to you.  He’ll even tell you so, at which point you will blush and lower your head, while prettily thinking about how much you’d like to stick a knife in his guts for belittling you, if only you didn’t need to pay your mortgage.  Except in real life, your boss probably won’t look like a movie star.  Sorry.

    Lesson Two: Even if you are kidnapped as a child and raised in the super secret ninja assassin school, you will be the one person not hardened by years of psychological abuse.  Girls are made of sugar and spice.

    Lesson Three: Even though you’re an okay ninja (for a girl), having been raised to be one from birth and all, you’re going to be the one who just can’t hack it.  So you’ll run away, get caught and be murdered.  This is absolutely critical so that you can be avenged by our hero, who we know is worth cheering for because he didn’t just like, forget you existed after watching you get murdered, because he’s a super special dude.  You’ve served your purposes…and with about six lines of dialogue!

    Lesson Four: If you’re an extra and you have boobs, you’re also going to be murdered.  Because only real big jerks murder women, children or kittens.  So it helps prove that the baddie is a real baddie with an absolute minimum of creativity.  Next time, bring kittens.

    Lesson Five: Women are inherently good.  Of the two, count ’em, two women in Ninja Assassin that actually get to speak, both are recognized for being “different” and “special”.  That’s what happens when you can only hire two women for the fifty roles in your movie.  Being average is something that can only be achieved by people in greater numbers.

    On one hand, Ninja Assassin was awesome in fulfilling the ketchup blood spewing quotient– so don’t accuse me of having a dislike for the genre.  I like watching the human body being pushed to extremes and doing it gracefully and beautifully.  Martial arts films tend to be pretty awesome that way.  But for the love of all that’s badass and ninja, give me a little original plot, would you?

  • art,  geek

    Geek Art

    In the last two days, I’ve been doing some coding and clean-up of my computer. In ways that I could describe but would be long and boring, I got the two random bits of text that I found particularly meaningful.

    The first, output from a Perl script gone wrong:

    They need to be tested and
    need to be tested and
    to be tested and
    be tested and
    tested and
    until they finally get the love they seek.

    And second, sad and weird:

    cleopatra:Scripts cmoliver$ ls
    Crafts Finance Legal Mom Writing

    cleopatra:Scripts cmoliver$ rm -rf ./Mom/

    Uhm, yeah.

  • art,  feminism,  film

    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

    Warning: I will spoil the plot. You may not want to read further.

    I watched Perfume: The Story of a Murderer the other night, after renting it because Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman are in it and it looked like it would have an interesting plot.

    And, well, yes, if horrific means interesting, it certainly does. I am a little dismayed because, on top of having such talent in the cast, it won a whole bunch of awards.

    I think I was just unable to discount the fact that murdering women for beauty is really never okay. You have to buy into that concept to understand the main character of the movie, which was just too hard for me to do. I couldn’t understand him or relate to him and as a result, the movie bored the heck out of me. I also was really, really disturbed that the response of a crowd to the fact that the main character had a perfume made out of the essence of twelve beautiful women was to have a massive orgy.

    Really?!? And this movie won awards? I really don’t grok the world.

  • art,  feminism,  new york,  ocean,  relationships,  travel

    Patton Oswalt, Stomp and the Opening Comedian

    red-wineThis weekend was very busy, since I was entertaining a friend that was visiting from out of town. The highlight was seeing Patton Oswalt who is an absolutely brilliant comedian from Sterling, Virginia (Virginia pride, whoo!). You probably wouldn’t like him if crude language offends you, but he has some very smart things to say. It was cool to see him live.

    Less cool was the opening comedian, who referred to all the women in his jokes as bitches, which was particularly depressing since most of the audience responded well to it. Apparently jokes about how completely stupid and useless women are are still in. I’m prefer smart comedy, not just meanness, so he was kind of a boring boor. But a boor with a very happy audience, which made me want to hide my head in the sand for the rest of my life. It made me drink far too much Shiraz, too.

    Fortunately, we went to see Stomp before my hangover, which was pretty cool. The idea behind it is that you can make rhythm from the most ordinary objects. Once you have enough people involved, this becomes really cool. Rhythm is such an essential part of being alive and is absolutely everywhere when you stop to listen for it – in language, in the sounds of our vehicles, in the waves of the ocean. Being able to hear and respond to rhythm is so intrinsic to what makes us such amazing creatures — when we can manage to treat each other with respect, that is.

  • art,  books,  politics,  racism

    Zadie Smith and Multiracial Identity

    A very worthwhile article by Zadie Smith on multiracial identities, Barack Obama, William Shakespeare and My Fair Lady.

    An excerpt:
    A few minutes later, I was in a taxi and heading uptown with my Northern Irish husband and our half-Indian, half-English friend, but that initial hesitation was ominous; the first step on a typical British journey. A hesitation in the face of difference, which leads to caution before difference and ends in fear of it. Before long, the only voice you recognize, the only life you can empathize with, is your own.

    Zadie Smith is the author of the truly excellent White Teeth, which I recommend reading. Much like Shakespeare, you can never tell exactly whose side Smith is on, which makes her a fascinating novelist. I think, perhaps, she is on everybody’s.