Confusing Smugness for Intelligence

So, I woke up today and went on Twitter, liked and retweeted a few things, and then came across this particular entry in the category of Obvious Things We Knew Already And Didn’t Need To Be Told About:

And it got me to thinking about how, in the past ten years or so, with the proliferation of social media, that the desire to appear intelligent is nothing more than a thinly-veiled excuse for being a smug asshole.


This sort of article does not exist in a vacuum but comes about from a culture where appearing intelligent and talking down to others is seen as a moral imperative spurred by shows that mock caring about anything, such as South Park and the more recent Rick & Morty.

There’s also Youtube channels such as the infamous Cinema Sins, which came about from older websites like That Guy With The Glasses and The Spoony Experiment where mocking bad movies became synonymous with critical thinking. CinemaSins in particular often hides behind the lie of being critical and being satire, sometimes both at the same time, in order to avoid answering people who point out the litany of mistakes they make with their Sins Counter. The Youtube channel Shawn has numerous good videos about it, such as this one:

What really gets me is that the writer of this Times post (which you can find here but is behind a paywall, so I can’t get the full context of the article nor do I feel like paying for it) thought this was a necessary thing to write, and in the process wasted the time of several scientists to back the article up. Were people actually believing in the existence of these titan creatures and creating a new religion around it? Did Rhys Blakely fear the onset of people abandoning their critical thinking skills and getting their education solely from a science fiction film?

Or did he just not like that people enjoyed a good film between two giant monsters who are pop culture icons and haven’t been seen on screen together since the original in 1962?

To be honest, I don’t know. In browsing the other kinds of articles he writes (only the titles as, again, they’re behind a paywall with a free trial), he does write about important stuff such as booster shots protecting against variants of Covid, how harmful articles go viral much faster than others, and the development of new jet fuel that could cut down on pollution. So it seems strange that such an article finger waving at others over how giant monsters can’t exist could be written in the first place.

Going back to what I said earlier, about how such a piece came about from a landscape of people who enjoy, and profit off of, decrying the joy that others have over a piece of fiction. Cinema Sins is a top contender for this, and shows like Rick & Morty seem to take vicious delight in cutting into anything that people enjoy. And of course, South Park has made a career of making fun of everyone while sowing the message that caring about something is stupid and not cool at all.

With regards to social media, and what we’ve seen highlighted by the ongoing pandemic, it’s that much more frustrating because science deniers and anti-vaxxers have grown in popularity and reach, with little to nothing being done by the platforms they propagate upon. Many had large audiences on Facebook and it’s only been in the last 6 months or so that Facebook has actually done anything about it. Twitter has shown time and time again how they only care about interaction, regardless of how many Nazis, FARTs (Feminist Appropriating Reactionary Transphobes) are spreading a campaign of hate and backed by JK Rowling and American Far Right Money against Transgender people (because that IS where the LGB Alliance is getting their money), using arguments that were weaponized against gay people back in the 80s.

Their main goal is money and they just don’t care whose blood is shed to get it.

I suppose what I’m getting at here is that this article is superfluous and a waste of time. We know King Kong and Godzilla aren’t real, we know that being that size would kill them (much like how the size of the spiders in the Resident Evil games would crush under their own weight), and we don’t need a finger-waving smug person getting high on his own farts to tell us this.

Yes, being critical of the media we enjoy is important. It’s a saying from Feminist Frequency I believe wholeheartedly, and my critical thinking with regards to representation on screen never goes away, even with media I am head over heels in love with, such as Pacific Rim, the webcomics I read, and the video games I play. Part of that criticism comes from a genuine love of those mediums of entertainment because I want them to be better, I want more people to be able to see themselves in them and enjoy themselves and feel uplifted and celebrated. To know that this is something that includes them, from D&D to superheroes and sci-fi.

It doesn’t include acting like a smug asshole stating the obvious and holding aloft their “I’m intelligent!” trophies.

And if this is satire? Then guess what, you’re doing it wrong.

Forgetting Black Lightning

After the wild success of Marvel’s Netflix season of Luke cage, Greg Berlanti of the CW immediately started looking around in DC Comics for a Black superhero to bring to the small and mobile screen. After all, both Marvel and DC have Black characters that they can draw upon in order to show a greater diversity in their shows, and to have one of them be the titular character be Black would do a lot to address the overall whiteness of what fans call either the Arrowverse or the Berlantiverse.

And for that, we got Black Lightning, easily one of the best superhero shows on TV currently.

Continue reading “Forgetting Black Lightning”

The Real Definition of Real Cinema. Hint: It’s More Gatekeeping.

When I first saw the after-credit scene of Iron Man way back in 2008, where Samuel L Jackson talks to Robert Downey Jr about ‘the Avengers initiative’, my eyes widened. After all, Marvel Studios was a new face on the scene, not yet owned and supported by Disney, and going up against what seemed like the unstoppable Juggernaut that was DC Comics and Warner Bros, having just finished the Nolan- directed Batman trilogy to high acclaim.

“This is a huge gamble,” I thought, because Marvel Studios did not have, and wouldn’t have for many years, the rights to their more successful characters of Spider-Man and the X-Men from the comics. And arguably, it hasn’t been Captain America, Thor and Iron Man that were Marvel Comics’ flagship, but Spider-Man and X-Men.

11 years and many, MANY films later, the MCU is a thing that now exists, a huge, financially successful franchise with its penultimate film, Endgame, having knocked James Cameron’s Avatar from its place of largest blockbuster ever. Needless to say, the genre of superhero films is very much no longer a niche thing anymore, but a viable, powerfully successful film genre in and of itself.

But that’s not to stop certain detractors from rearing their heads, turning up their noses, and sniffing as though they smelled something bad their dog did.

I know I raised an eyebrow when I saw a clip of Comedian Marc Maron saying that superhero movies were for grown men who live in their mother’s basements. Now, to be honest, as someone who’d been bullied and picked on for liking superhero comics in the 90s, I felt a bit defensive over this. And to this day, I still feel a bit defensive, because some of that stuff from high school sure as hell sticks with you for years.

However, I found Marc Maron’s comments dismissive because it ignores the scores of people from across the gender spectrum that enjoy superhero movies and contribute to the fandom in terms of cosplay, fanart, fanfiction, creating panels at conventions, and even being critical of the media. After all, as Feminist Frequency puts it, we should be critical of the media we enjoy.

What I didn’t know, and only found out prior to writing this article when I went looking for the clip in question, was that Marc Maron continued to open his mouth, aim his foot carefully, and then wedge it firmly between his teeth. Much of his commentary about how the Joker is a REAL film minus all the capes and tights runs parallel to what Joker director Todd Phillips and, more recently, Martin Scorcese have said, denigrating the genre as something not to be taken seriously, or at least as seriously as other ‘real’ cinema.

Of course, Todd Phillip’s comments on the matter (as per my last article), as well as his personal opinion on how SJWs are ruining comedy these days, are well known at this point, but it’s been Academy Award Winner Martin Scorsese’s added commentary about how they’re also not real cinema that’s pushed this sentiment from just a couple grumpy old dudes into gatekeeping, in my opinion.

Why? Well, it comes from the very fact that they are straight, white old men who have enjoyed success over the years and are now poo-pooing over something relatively new that’s become incredibly successful. It’s also amazingly dismissive of the acting and hard work that’s gone into the films, starting with an actor who had all but ruined his career due to a terrible bout of addiction to drugs and alcohol, who then went on to push for his fellow Avenger actors in receiving higher pay.

It’s also a telling sign of gatekeeping when a member of the old order starts to wag his finger and dictate what is and is not a ‘real’ part of whatever entertainment industry they’re a part of. Martin Scorsese saying that superhero films are more theme parks than cinema carries with it an edge of discrimination when one considers the successes of Black Panther and Captain Marvel, as well as being wholly ignorant of the themes that they explore.

Black Panther? Colonialism.

Captain Marvel? Sexism.

Captain America – Winter Soldier? Security vs freedom in an ever increasing police state.

Avengers Endgame? How people cope and deal with loss (even if it fudged up pretty bad in its treatment of Thor).

I also couldn’t help but agree whole-heartedly with this thread on Twitter:

And it’s not like something that women love has been dismissed as not being real before. If women enjoy it, and enjoy it a lot, then it’s ripe for dismissal by men. Example? The romance genre of fiction, or even young adult novels for that matter.

What Marc Maron, Martin Scorsese, and Todd Phillips all share in their digs against superhero movies is a hatred, or at least a dislike, against something they see as frivolous and shallow. Now, that’s their opinion and they’re more than welcome to it, but dictating what is and isn’t a real film?

You can bet they’re going to be called out on it, and rightly so.

I’m 41 years old, and been online for just over half that time, so I’ve come to see and recognize what gatekeeping is, both in and outside various fandoms. So it comes across as telling that these three have said, so far as I can see, nothing about superhero movies in all the time that they’ve starred and been directed by white dudes, but suddenly have something to say once the people making and starring in them have started to diversify, if only a little.

Trust me, guys, you’re not looking the best right now.

Fatphobia & Trauma – An Avengers Endgame Problem

Avengers Endgame is the culmination of 21 films spread out over 10 years and a TV series, and acts as a swan song for some characters, their final bow as Phase 3 of this grand experiment comes to an end.

Endgame did many things right, but also stumbled on others, and it came to mind when I saw the following tweet from pop culture commentator Clarkisha Kent:

Warning, from here on out, there be spoilers, as well as trigger warning for fat shaming jokes, and discussion of depression.

Spoilers Sweetie...

Continue reading “Fatphobia & Trauma – An Avengers Endgame Problem”

Godzilla – Planet Eater – A Narcissistic Display of Nihilism

 

A few days ago, the final entry in the Netflix animated movie Godzilla trilogy, Planet Eater, was released, and to say it has disappointed more than impressed would be an understatement.

Quite frankly, the previous two entries in this film series were quite a slog for me to get through, mostly on account of the large amount of time spent on characters that had little to no depth and not entirely enough spent on Godzilla. Heck, the second movie, City on the Edge of Battle, didn’t even have Mecha Godzilla, a classic in the line of Godzilla foes. Just his head.

When Mecha G heard about this role, it was really excited… you could say it got ‘ahead’ of itself…

But what I truly disliked about the series come to fruition in the third movie, as me and a fellow fan of Godzilla came to realize: it is an absolute exercise in Nihilism, self entered in its own intelligence that humanity will kill itself off.

Warning, here there be spoilers.

Continue reading “Godzilla – Planet Eater – A Narcissistic Display of Nihilism”

No, JonTron Getting Dropped From a Game Is NOT Bigotry

So, SidAlpha, a game reviewer on Youtube I followed because I liked some of his reviews and because he was hit with DMCA takedowns unfairly like Jim Sterling was, made this video after JonTron was dropped from a game by Playtonic.

And my immediate response was… unsubscribe. Makes me wonder what kinda comments I’m going to get to the comment I left, if it’s going to be as toxic as any other Gamergater loving youtuber out there who thinks people calling them bigoted are the REAL bigots…

But I digress… and once again, from the top:

Continue reading “No, JonTron Getting Dropped From a Game Is NOT Bigotry”

Horizon Zero Dawn & The Dismissal of Cultural Appropriation

When I first saw the trailer for Horizon Zero Dawn, the amazing landscape, the robotic wildlife, and the cool gameplay took an immediate backseat to my first thought, which was:

“Why is a white woman playing at Cherokee princess?”

(Seriously, Aloy as a kid has fucking feathers stuck in her hair, what the hell…)

Continue reading “Horizon Zero Dawn & The Dismissal of Cultural Appropriation”

Orisa and Efi!

Hello everyone, here’s a video I made on the newest characters on Blizzard’s online multiplayer FPS game, Overwatch and just what makes them so good.

Here’s the original video of Overwatch Developer Jeff Kaplan talking about Orisa and how she came to be.

And you can find the Overwatch Victory Theme remix by IncredFX Music.

And hey, check out this cool article I came across while doing some googling from Paste Magazine on just why Orisa is accidentally an Afrofuturist Icon.

Finger Waving & Tone Policing – A Nick Spencer Story

Hello everyone, in this video I take a look at Captain America: Sam Wilson Issue #17, and the complete and utter failure to understand what social justice activism that Nick Spencer satirizes.

Since, you know, satire is supposed to punch up, not down.

I’d also recommend people check out this article by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw on the comic as it has some additional insights into just how badly Nick Spencer screwed up and why.

Enjoy!