Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wonder the Woman: Identity Politics + Wonder Woman = A Problematic Post.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Somehow, Wonder Woman keeps ending up atop the plinth of misdirected SJW outrage.  Apparently, this time it's because a distinct lack of visible armpit hair is an affront to everything in the universe and you're a misogynist agent of the patriarchy if you don't get out in-front of DC's offices right the hell now with a protest sign and 3 different whistles.  It is amazing how identity politics wielded as a cudgel by out-of-touch people just ruins everything it encounters.  Actually that's not amazing. What is amazing is that this is working its way into pop-culture via a most agonizing exploitation of ridiculous minutia.

The above sentiment is what brings an added degree of frustration to this mess.  The people doing all the bellyaching, moaning, whining, kvetching, shouting, ranting, back-turning, and finger waving or whatever various other unproductive disruptive activities they do, know exactly nothing about Wonder Woman other than "something something The Patriarchy!"  They also will never bother to learn.  To many people critical of these things, pop-culture is still something for the "nerds" or "basement dwellers" out there and they themselves with their oh so mighty opinions of what is and isn't appropriate are just so much more sophisticated.  It's understandable that people thought that way in 1987, but not 2017.  Seriously, ask one of them what Wonder Woman's real name is and they'll have no idea, but they'll have plenty to say about her outfit and what books/art you should be able to read or buy.  These social pontifications serve only to damage an existing brand and prevent people from accessing it who wish to do so.  Therein lies the problem.  The "I think it's bad!  So no one can have access to it no matter what" mentality is simply censorship under the guise of socially progressive propositions.  But this does not build anything, nor does it offer alternatives to something they believe is deficient in terms of being "woke" or whatever the comic book equivalent of that is.  It just destroys what it deems as antithetical to its own sensibilities and moves on to a new target. Or just comes back to bashing Wonder Woman again because these people are insane.

Yes that's a school punishing a student for bringing "violent imagery" into the classroom in the form of those above images.  This is most likely a case of not only hostility to Wonder Woman, but also the broader problem that schools have devolved into Zimbardian nightmares of out of control administrators and teaching staff, seeking to dehumanize every student to the point where they can exercise absolute control over them.  There is really not much difference between punishing a student for something so innocuous as the instance above, and that scene in Cool Hand Luke where the prison guards make him dig a hole and then fill it back in just for the hell of it, so they can show him who's boss.  It doesn't end well in either situation.

Returning to the armpit hair issue, Wonder Woman is Greek, and has been alive for a long time.  Regarding specific tastes, you ever see Ancient Greek statues?  You know what's not there on the ones of both women and men?  Armpit hair.  So maybe we can get historical accuracy in on this and say that it is period specific.  Actually, she's basically half Goddess, so she probably has the ability to straight up will her hair right the fuck off any part of her whenever the fuck she feels like it. 

Hell, the Ancient Egyptians hated body hair so much they all shaved and waxed every inch of themselves (that's both the havers of XX and XY chromosomes), so if an Ancient Egyptian character had no armpit hair and a bikini wax, would that be sexist?  Of course not, it would be straight up historically accurate, but some people would call it sexist anyway by incorrectly applying modern social norms to areas outside their effective purview.

Something something, PH balanced, something something, punchline.


Oh but that isn't the only bone of picking that the SJWs have with Wonder Woman.  In late 2016, she was "fired" from being an Honorary U.N.  Ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls, because... sexism I guess.  Like maybe she is sexist, or represents sexism or is the result of sexism ...something stupid, the reasons don't make a lot of sense.  This kind of thing is so ridiculous.  Sure there are legitimate issues of sexism and imperialism you could bring up when talking about an affiliation of Wonder Woman with the U.N., however the action was intended to be positive, and helpful by the U.N.  Then, rather than offer a replacement role-model, these protest people seem only concerned with tearing her down.   A fictional character getting removed from a semi-fictional position at the non-fictional U.N., is something that is apparently worthy of major SJW action, because nothing says gender equality and female empowerment like firing a woman because of her looks. 

This guy knows what I'm talkin' about...
Yes that should worry you, it's terrible.

The armpit-police and people cheering Wonder Woman's removal from the U.N. are some of the same people out there who will insist that the 2016 Ghostbusters is the best movie ever and you're a total misogynist agent of the patriarchy rapist if you didn't go see it 17 times in the theater when it came out.  The thing is, they really are wasting everyone's time.  Their efforts might better serve women's issues if directed at other situations, such as;
Saudi Arabia is on the UN Human Rights Council.  You know, this place:

She's dead now.  Seriously.

Yes you heard right, Saudi fucking Arabia is (somehow) on the U.N. Human Rights Council.  Saudi Arabia should not be on the U.N. Human Rights Council.  They behead people for "witchcraft" there.  So yay, you got Wonder Woman fired, because what kind of message is the U.N. sending by associating with a fictional character who has been portrayed battling sexism herself but has the wrong outfit on while doing it and was "too sexy" or something...  she should cover up I guess! Doesn't Saudi Arabia have something she can use

It's a good thing the U.N. isn't doing anything else that might send out an even worse message to the world... like letting the country where this shit happens (very disturbing image) have a say in how the world approaches human rights. 

You probably forgot, but...

Most of these girls (and lots of others as well) are still missing, but that hashtag you put on your twitter 3 years ago is definitely totally helping, they should be getting rescued by Instagram any minute now.   You know Vine was actually killed for getting too close.  

Wouldn't it be great if there were perhaps a League out there, which dedicated itself to Justice, made up of people with powers beyond that of average people, they could rescue these kidnapped children by using those powers for good...  perhaps rescued by a Wondrous Woman if you will, who would fight for the safety of other women and girls throughout the world? 

You're about to open up Google Maps right now...

There is still a violent war and terrifying rape epidemic in the Central African Republic.  I am guessing you don't know where that is.  But hey, you wrote an angry Facebook post when Harambe got shot so it totally evens out (I am guessing you can't remember what the date was when that happened either). 

Hey look, a little closer to home...

People are still starving to death in Venezuela.  Yeah it's starting to get close to Raft of the Medusa levels of terrible over there.

Too depressing?  Here's a First World problem for you...

The art instillation in New York City known as Fearless Girl is a temporary one and is scheduled for removal at a later date.  There is vocal support for making it permanent.  All you have to do is contact the office of the Mayor and if you live in NYC you should also contact your City Council Representative.  If you don't live in NYC, you are still a potential visitor/tourist/student/whatever so you should write in anyway.  If you have 5 minutes and a stamp, this shouldn't be a hard decision to make.
So easy even an Angry Otaku can do it.

There, I just listed a bunch of stuff that you really should be concerned about, and might be able to actually do something that resembles helping, depending on the resources you have available to you.  You're not helping anyone involved by "checking" your "privilege" help by using it to improve situations for others.

Maybe just stick to TV?

Coming back to super-hero movies, I would like to add the disclaimer that I hate hero movies.  Marvel/DC cinematic tripe is something I actively avoid.  With the exception of 30 minutes of Iron Man I saw on an airplane, I have not, nor do I intend to see any of this garbage (this includes GI Joe and Transformers).  So I already know I don't like this movie, but it's because I think the movie is going to be crap (DC couldn't even make Harley Quinn: The Movie without fucking it the hell up).  It's not because of some sort of warped notion of social values that I am avoiding this thing.

Another disclaimer I should make is that it seems apparent that the notion of armpit hair on Wonder Woman to be but a cause du jour with a relatively limited number of people and is most likely getting CNN-ed way out of proportion by the media machine.  Since Trump's tweets don't bring in the viewers like they used to, they have to come up with something.  My writing this is most likely in no way helping the situation either.  Actually since only 4 people are going to read this I don't think it's going to make any difference.

Comic book stories as TV have definitely contributed to our new golden age of television that we are currently enjoying.  Walking Dead, Lucifer, Preacher, DareDevil, Arrow, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, ...and The Flash I guess?  Is The Punisher still a show?  Also Iron Fist exists.  I know there's more and I'm not even going to go into animated shows but there's now so many all at once that it becomes possible to start doing actual scatter-plots with this stuff. Television actually removes the three main components that usually combine and conspire to kill major movies and make them utterly shitty.  So what specifically is it that makes TV better?

Hey, Maze, you got... a little something... on your... um... never-mind.

#1: No MPAA.  TV Ratings turned into a joke the day VOD became widespread.  With entire streaming services out there now making original content, the notion of making a solidified TV rating system akin to the draconian MPAA a reality, is reduced to a complete fallacy.  I have previously mentioned how damaging MPAA ratings are and most moviegoers who aren't 100 years old have recognized them as mostly useless relics of time when interracial marriage was illegal.  

As long as movies mutilate themselves in some sort of manic episode of body-dismorphia, cutting off their own fingers to fit within the glove of the "commercially viable" PG-13 rating, we will get nothing but equally mutilated works of cinema.  Like a super-model with anorexia, it is abhorrent to look at, no matter what designer rag you drape around it and how much "confidence" it has.  Hey parents, if you're not convinced yet, then go watch 007: Casino Royale then go watch The King's Speech. Now come back and tell me which rating should be on which movie. 

#2: China hasn't ruined TV yet like it has ruined movies.  China controls Hollywood.  No there are not people sitting in some dark room, wearing sunglasses, calling the shots and slowly smoking cigarettes while ominous music plays.  However, in financial planning, China as a market is now a significant fixture in earning projections for any project.  Producers, writers, and studio executives now have to take this into account when they decide what projects to finance and how they want them to be made.  So because of that, if you don't think that every major movie made by Hollywood studios has entire teams around them which have the sole function of making sure the final product will meet Chinese government censorship standards and resonate with Chinese audiences, then you haven't been paying attention over the past decade. So, low context stories and simple dialogue, jokes that are more "universal" and therefore more pedestrian, and a style that favors slapstick and visual effects over depth and intensity, those are what you will see a lot of, and those qualities are usually what makes a movie a stinking pile of shit.  That's why Ghostbsters 2016 sucked, it was counting on China and desperately tried to make it appealing to that audience as well... didn't really work out for them.

So to recap, Movies are multi-million dollar investments, the investors are going to want to earn as much as possible on them, and that means doing the China thing. That's how investing works.  Unfortunately, this leads to un-funny, one-dimensional, rubber-stamp stories with dialogue so simple you can't tell if the entire cast has brain damage.  Since TV doesn't need to kowtow to China, they can get very deep into the high-context type of narrative that domestic audiences can appreciate.  They also not only are able to freely ignore Chinese censorship laws but American ones as well.

As awesome as this looks, it would probably end up as a shit movie unless you involve Rule 34.

#3:  Technology... technology everywhere.  This is a broad one, but technology has allowed for productions the level of which would have been unthinkable even as recently as 10 years ago. Higher production values with less equipment.  Post production and effects that can be done in a single home-studio by a creative professional.  And a pool of talent that is able to get more done remotely than ever before.  These things help make the mega-hits possible. 

But wait there's more!  It's not just RED cameras and production technology that is helping, but media delivery and storage technology as well.  When you have a delivery system that frees the audience from an appointed airtime, you have fundamentally changed how people can consume media.  For example, although the last episode of Breaking Bad aired years ago, if I wanted to get into the show, I could still just fire up the Netflix and watch every episode on my own time without having to purchase packaged media which takes up space and has no exit for me to bail in case I end up not liking the show.  No more rushing home to catch whatever episode of anything because you can watch it on your tablet tomorrow on your way to work.  While this can lead to an overwhelming feeling when you realize how much is out there, it is ultimately helpful in building bases which have strong loyalty and follow-through.  It lets people integrate this entertainment into their lives and schedules like never before, which will lead to increased commitment when it comes to following a series.

Netflix is your friend.  Who could not like this show?

So in terms of Wonder Woman, though I don't like Marvel/DC dreck, I actually hope the movie does well, because there is a notion out there about a crossover between the DC and the Power Rangers universes.  I don't know why, but that actually sounds like it would be cool.  I am sure people will complain about something being sexist and all kinds of other -ists and so on, but if both Wonder Woman and Power Rangers are successful, then a tidal wave of investment capital is going to push right through any opposition, whatever it may be, and that movie is gonna get made.

Please line up for the armpit sexism check.  Armpit sex is ok though, it's just armpit sexism that's banned.  Not gonna google "armpit-sex" because I don't want to find out if it means what I think it means.

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