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Weekly Reads: A Wrinkle in Time, YouTube Issues, and Teach Your Girls to Hit People

Howdy Readers! We’re back from the Thanksgiving break. I made THE BEST TURKEY EVAR!!! Splurged on a local, responsibly raised bird and will never go back to Butterball. Worth the extra expense if you can afford it.

 

Moviegoers this holiday season have already seen the spectacular Afrofuturist Wakanda in the trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther. But that’s not the only big step forward in minority representation in Hollywood coming to the big screen. As  argues at We Geeks of Color, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time is just as important a step forward. 

If you don’t support A Wrinkle in Time, you are failing to support a woman of color who, frankly, deserves it. Ava has paid her dues to the industry many times over, proving again and again that she’s far more talented than her more successful male white counterparts. She dazzles and excels with character, visuals and writing, and from the looks of the Wrinkle in Time trailer she looks to do the same there. If we want diverse directors to be hired, we have to support their work – particularly when the cast of said work is diverse as well.

Which brings me to my next point: Ava has racebended a considerable amount of characters in the novel. Meg Murry, the lead, is being played by Storm Reid, a mixed-race actress. Her mother is portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Her principal is portrayed by Andre Holland, and two of the witches who take her on her journey are portrayed by women of color – one Oprah Winfrey, one Mindy Kaling. The diversity of her cast is unusual to say the least, and it’s something we almost never see in fantasy films, particularly ones made by Disney.

Black Panther is a special situation, because it’s Black characters from the comic books. They couldn’t exactly change the race of T’Challa and his cast; they would be fundamentally changing the story, and the point of it. T’Challa’s Blackness is something special, something that adds to his royalty. But with A Wrinkle in Time, these characters could have been any race. They could have been white. But Ava chose to make a majority of them people of color – which is tremendously important.

There’s also a disturbing story from NPR on how YouTube’s complex algorithms are being exploited for ad dollars in ways that might disturb or even endanger young users.  

Two days after the Times story, the writer James Bridle posted an essay on Mediumabout the epidemic of violent and disturbing content on YouTube: cheaply-made videos purporting to teach colors or nursery rhymes, but instead something more sinister takes place.

Videos such as those showing the character Peppa Pig drinking bleach or eating her father, Bridle writes, are so widespread they “make up an entire YouTube subculture.”

He says these videos are the product of an algorithm-powered system that only cares about clicks and ad revenue: “What we’re talking about is very young children, effectively from birth, being deliberately targeted with content which will traumatise and disturb them, via networks which are extremely vulnerable to exactly this form of abuse.”

And, he argues, YouTube and Google are complicit: “The architecture they have built to extract the maximum revenue from online video is being hacked by persons unknown to abuse children, perhaps not even deliberately, but at a massive scale.

Jef Rouner is a veteran of Rocky Horror Picture Show live performances. He draws on that experience to show Al Franken How Consent in Performance Works. 

And another from Jef… Teach Your Daughters to Hit People Who Touch Them.

Lately, though, I have been wondering. Is it right to teach our daughters that authority is the answer to problems that afflict them, particularly ones that are sexual in nature? Let’s review.

A woman is currently suing the City of Houston over a rape kit that sat untested for five years. More than 6,000 women are in a position to join her suit. Meanwhile, oh, the rapin’ does a-continue.

How much rape is going on in the United States? No one really knows. Our recording methods are highly flawed, and rape and sexual assault remain some of the most unreported crimes in the nation.

Why? Because many victims find the justice system unhelpful at best and a type of re-victimization at worst. Contrary to popular belief among the meatheaded part of the population, rape survivors are not automatically showered with riches and praise in this country. Mostly they’re disbelieved, ignored, scrutinized and punished. There is no magical rape fairy dropping rape points onto the women who speak out. Or the men, for that matter. If you want to start naming people who have parlayed a rape accusation into fame and fortune, and have me start naming accused rapists who suffered nothing harsher than a few angry tweets, we can play that game. I’m going to win, though.

This is why I’ve started telling my daughter that if someone touches her chest, her ass or between her legs without her permission, to punch them in the goddamn face. Aim for the nose, Sweetheart. You don’t want to catch their teeth and get a cut. That’s a good way to get an infection. You want nose or eyes, and maybe use that front choke Daddy taught you. Turn your forearms so the bone goes against their carotid and jugular. That’s what makes them pass out.

Not fucking around…

Here’s the trailer for Madeleine L’Engle’s classic tale brought to the big screen. It looks awesome.

 

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Lou Doench

Lou Doench

Lou Doench is a 48 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at www.flickr.com/photos/blotz/

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