I’ve been pretty out of it this week, dear readers, due to illness. So if this edition of IRtI seems sparse, or less thoroughly-commentated on than usual, that’d be why. Usually, I spend many hours each evening alternately writing and surfing the internets in search of interesting links! But this week, I have been unfit for anything more rigorous than watching lots and lots of Horatio Hornblower (yes, yes – article forthcoming) and playing with Barbie dolls. You think I’m joking about that second thing, but I assure you – I am in deadly earnest.
But I did do some internets reading. And here are the results!
Our own Patrick posted in his LiveJournal about that whole “MJ killed by radioactive Spidey semen” thing. Disturbed discussion in our forums ensued. Meanwhile, Kalinara over at Pretty, Fizzy Paradise wrote this week about why superhero comics are worth the effort:
when it comes to racism, sexism, homophobia, religious/cultural intolerance and misrepresentation, and other such injustices, there is nothing that isn’t “worth the effort”. Nothing.
Well put. I’ve been seeing a lot of dismissive “that’s just the way (genre) is!” commentary all over the pop-culture-crit blogosphere lately (not that I ever don’t see that”¦), and I’m heartened to see other bloggers responding so intelligently and firmly to it.
I’m also heartened to see my favorite bloggers relaxing and having fun with their favorite media in between their battles with the patriarchy. Amy Reads has a Wii – and she’s making me wish I had one – it does seem to be a good system for inexperienced console gamers (I can roll dice with the best of “˜em, but I’m useless with a controller in my hands):
I’m still rather unskilled when it comes to video games. I’ve terrible hand-eye coordination, and while I’m rather good at puzzle games on the computer, the move from mouse to controller confuses me, just a bit. That is to say, I’m still finding my comfort zone with the Wii controller. Again, let me stress my joy from last week’s blog entry that I find the versatility of the Wii controller wonderful. As a left-handed person, I rejoice over its ease and ambidexterity. But it does take a little time to get used to the new controller, and when skirmishes happen as fast as they do in Ultimate Alliance, I find myself as Thor, slamming into a corner, trying to turn around and help my team.
But see, here’s where the fun really begins: you have a *team*. More importantly, you can’t hurt your own team. That’s fantastic for someone like me just learning how to use the controllers (and really, just learning to play a game like this for the first time). Even if I-as-Thor keep bumping into the wall, Cap, Wolverine, and Spidey have all got my back.
I think I’d find Thor bumping into the wall pretty entertaining all by itself, but maybe that’s just me.
We’ve had a recent spate of interesting posts about media aimed at children here at THL, courtesy of C.L. Hanson (btw, did you know she wrote a book? She did! And she’s posting chapters online). Her latest post here, “Girls Will Be Girls,” seems to me to tie in with an encyclopedic definition that Ide Cyan wrote this week at Feminist SF – The Blog! about exceptionalism:
Exceptionalism in fiction provides well-worn narrative tropes for female characters.
The one female character who escapes her destined gender role recurs again and again, since the conditions that require her exceptionalism to allow her to perform heroic deeds endure. That is: for as long as the rule is that women don’t perform the actions that drive the story, then you must make exceptions to allow women’s actions to drive the story.
Or, as Ide Cyan concludes:
Conformity is not the only alternative to exceptionalism. The other alternative to exceptionalism is to change the rules. To destroy the norm, rather than to try to escape it.
Sounds pretty good to me.
The disregard for individuality is represented visually in all of the cheap clip art they use to promote the collection. Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine were created within a few years of one another and under a very strong house style (although there are distinct artistic differences in style that even the slightest consideration would pick up), but Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora had approximately ten years between each debut (1937, 1950, and 1959, respectively) and it shows. Aurora in particular is highly stylized, and Snow White is basically a ten-year-old flapper. But does that show in the Princess Collection? Of course not. Their features are all smoothed over into seamless house style; visual interest is forsaken.
Thus Disney forgoes their own carefully-constructed characters in favor of telling little girls “It doesn’t matter who you are inside, as long as you’re pretty on the outside.” Which, correct me if I’m wrong, directly contradicts at least one of the morals of the movies in question!
Changing tack completely – those of you who, like me, enjoy both geek media and classic lit will surely get a charge out of therem’s post comparing Jean Grey and Jane Eyre at Feminist SF – The Blog!. And those who are interested in pop-sci literature and the ways in which science is communicated (or, isn’t) to a wide audience should read “the people that science forgot“ over at Cocktail Party Physics.
Ending with some silliness – probably the funniest thing I’ve seen all week has been the series of Horatio Hornblower fanvids I’ve watched over at YouTube. This one is my favorite, mostly because I get a kick out of that song. I’ve got fond memories of dancing on a coffee table to it at a slumber party, back when it first came out. Yep, I was one wild and crazy pre-teen!