A gent by the name of Malcolm X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
When it comes to the media, the Original X-Man, First Class, Brother Malcolm said it best:
Like most children of the 80s, He-Man was not simply a cartoon but a way of life. From him I learned morals and values—such as telling the truth, taking responsibility, bigotry is wrong, respect the environment—and what it truly meant to be a Master Of The Universe.
From He-Man’s relationship with his twin sister She-Ra (most notably how they always worked together as a team and the writers portrayed them as equals), I learned that girls are just as awesome as boys and can easily kick just as much butt.
Since Donald Trump’s presidential election victory last week, there’s been much discussion and preparation in regards to the fates of minorities given the Presidential Elect[?]’s bigoted platform.
Whether it’s the election, Ferguson, Flint, Orlando, or DAPL, one of the most infuriating things I hear from people, and by people I mean white people is that there needs to be more dialogue, more education, more love.
If only there were more people out there teaching and educating then tragedies like #Orlando or #Ferguson or #Baltimore wouldn’t be a reality.
Why is that infuriating? Because there are people who have dedicated their lives, doing that very work. In fact you’re reading one of their pieces right now.
Color Commentary returns and this time we’re taking on the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage.
This commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes only. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.
So let’s talk about Suicide Squad, one of the most highly anticipated films of the year.
Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.
The verdict? There was some pacing issues and the worldbuilding/mythos was a bit rushed, especially considering this is only the third movie in the DCEU universe. Definitely some areas of opportunity in terms of the editing. It made the one scene with Amanda Waller handing out pinkslips gangsta style a bit on the nose.
Thankfully we get bare minimum Jared Leto. Because seriously, fuck that guy.
Suicide Squad is a fun popcorn movie that’s got heart, strong characters and a pretty solid story. It proves to be far superior to 95 percent of the crap Marvel has produced. Anyone have any objections to that? What about you Billy Jean? Oh okay then.
But I now understand why Rotten Tomatoes and early reviews trashed this film.
DC just gave Marvel/Disney and fandom the middle finger in proving that diversity and artistry are not mutually exclusive.
They say necessity is the mother of all invention. One thing was certain, I found myself in desperate need a few years back.
As a speculative fiction author and a queer person of color (QPoC), I’m constantly frustrated not only with the lack of diversity, but the nonstop misogyny, racism, and queerphobia that continues to be the status quo in media.
More than that, as someone who suffers from depression, high anxiety and ptsd, I found the subliminal bigotry taking a toll on my mental health. Not only was I having trouble writing and creating, but some days I found myself physically ill and under the weather.
Not one to sit around and do nothing, I decided to take action.
I always appreciated the idea behind the Bechdel test. Designed to call attention to gender equality and combat sexism, the Bechdel test must satisfy three requirements:
- The movie has to have at least two women in it
- who talk to each other
- about something besides a man
As wonderful a tool the Bechdel test is in combatting misogyny, unfortunately, it doesn’t address the racism and homophobia. Similar racial criteria have also come up short for me. This was certainly an opportunity to fill a void for QPoCs such as myself.
The Upkins Media Litmus Test is a set of questions I’ll pose before I even entertain watching a television series, movie, reading a novel, a comic book or any other form of media.
At 8 years old, I would wake up early every Saturday morning to tune in and watch Superboy. Over the years, I’ve been a faithful viewer of the original George Reeves Superman series, Lois & Clark, the Bruce Timm animated series, the live action films, and of course the comics. I’m a comic book guy through and through. For me, Superman isn’t just a superhero. He is THE superhero. I’m very protective of the Man of Steel’s mythos and legacy. Suffice it to say, I had my concerns when the CBS series Supergirl was announced.
Somehow when I wasn’t paying attention, my reaction evolved from, “The pilot was cute, I guess I’ll tune in,” to “Jesus Christ is it Monday night yet? I need my Maiden of Might!!!!”
As a queer person of color, I can say firsthand that it’s rare my existence is acknowledged in the media, much less portrayed with any modicum of respect.
This is one of the many reasons that I’ve taken it upon myself to pass a personal edict that with the exception of an elite few works, I only consume media that has PoCs and LGBTQs as the central and lead characters. If it doesn’t, I’m generally not interested.
I recently rewatched a miniseries that featured one of my favorite gay pairings; Barca and Auctus from Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
Overall Spartacus wasn’t perfect, but more often than not, it made some progressive moves surprisingly on the feminist, racial, and LGBTQ fronts.
Which brings me to another point. Pro-tip: if a story set in Ancient Rome is more progressive and diverse than your 21st century narrative, that should be a clue for you to examine your failures as an artist and a person.
With Gods of the Arena being a prequel to Blood and Sand, I knew Barca and Auctus’s fates were sealed by your Bury The Gay trope. Nevertheless they were a groundbreaking gay pairing to watch.
I swore I wouldn’t write a review for the film. Primarily because any review I penned would pale in comparison to the excellent piece penned by my buddy and fellow N.O.C. colleague, Valerie Complex.
Seriously if you haven’t read it, go do so now. Val snatched so many wigs and edges, you would’ve thought Director Bryan Singer and Fox were members of the Charles Xavier Cosplay Appreciation Society.
The following events are true. The following events are not a joke. I really wish the following events were a punchline and not a sad reflection of our culture. You’ll see what I mean.
So in honor of tonight’s season finale of the Coulson/May Power Hour (known to some of you as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), I thought I’d do a special edition Throwback Tuesday.