Winter Is Coming: Climate, Morality, and Whiteness

I recently started re-reading A Game of Thrones, which means I’ve had the Stark words lodged in my head more than usual. Winter is coming. Also, I looked outside, and as frost starts to coat the grass in the morning, Ned might have a point.

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A Song of Ice and Fire is always heavy-handed with its climate metaphors, but it is not alone in ascribing certain moral values to different weather patterns. H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe placed their monstrous horrors beneath the ice, and C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien show a preference for temperate climes while fearing the tropics.

While superficially harmless, there begins to be a clear pattern that uses climate, particularly this kind of temperate climate marked by warm summers and cold winters, as a shorthand to remind the reader of certain parts of the United States and Europe. By continually centering this one ecological structure, authors, intentionally or otherwise, privilege a kind of Anglo-American whiteness, culturally as well as physically. The underlying message, therefore, is one of white supremacy, particularly Anglo supremacy.

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Throwback Thursdays: Oliver & Company

Oliver and CompanyFun fact that I just learned: if Oliver & Company had been released one day later than it was, it would have come out the same day I was born. Like My Neighbor Totoro, this is yet another movie that’s been there my entire life, and as a result, I have an immense soft spot for it in my heart. Unlike Totoro, however, Oliver & Company doesn’t hold up nearly as well when viewed through a feminist lens. The movie has a lot of problematic material, and really, if it weren’t for the nostalgia factor, I doubt I’d like it as much as I do.

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Fuck: A Suicide Squad Review

Lady Geek Girl: Recently Blackout (one of our former writers), Ace, and I all went to see Suicide Squad, a movie that had already received some of the worst reviews ever even before it hit theaters. This was a movie that the three of us were very much looking forward to. We loved all the characters and wanted nothing more than to see this movie reignite the DC Extended Universe. So how do we feel about this movie now that we’ve seen it?

…It didn’t exactly go as we had hoped. DC Comics seems to continually want to let us down these days. Each time we get excited and think that maybe this time we will get something good, something worthy of the characters we love—and each time thus far we have been colossally disappointed. But this movie takes the cake when it comes to bad DC movies. Not only does the movie’s plot make little to no sense, it also succeeds in being both racist and sexist.

Oh, and Jared Leto was fucking terrible!

Spoilers below!

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Trailer Tuesdays: The Great Wall

Man, I just… I don’t know anymore.

I hadn’t seen the trailer for this movie before writing this post. I didn’t want to give it the views, as it seemed like just another nonsense example of oblivious Hollywood whitewashing. After doing some research into the movie, the situation is slightly more complex than usual, but… it doesn’t make Hollywood any less racist. Let’s dig in.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

We’re going a little deeper into the archives of science fiction this week, to pull out the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The black-and-white visuals and Cold War imagery give the movie a dated effect, but I’m realizing how distressingly relevant the underlying message still is.

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At the top level, the movie is a satire of mutually assured destruction and nuclear war. A rogue American general named Jack D. Ripper, consumed with paranoia, orders an unprovoked nuclear strike against the Soviet Union, and a fleet of bombers take to the air.

When news of the strike reaches President Merkin Muffley, he descends to the underground War Room, joined by the maniacal General Buck Turgidson, the Soviet ambassador Alexei de Sadeski, and the title character, a nuclear scientist from Nazi Germany now serving the United States. De Sadeski reveals the existence of a Soviet Doomsday Device, which will automatically destroy all life on Earth with a cloud of radioactive gas if an atomic strike on the USSR is detected. The Americans and the Russians work together to recall the bombers, but one, piloted by Major T.J. “King” Kong, has been damaged and cannot receive the radio signal, and prepares to deliver its payload.

Earth’s last hope is the failure of Kong’s bomb, spray-painted with the name “Hi There!”—which jams in the bay. But the dedicated pilot climbs on top of it, and jumps up and down on it until it deploys. Kong rides the bomb to the end of the world, gleefully whooping and waving a cowboy hat in the film’s most famous scene.

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Anonymous submission to MakeAGIF.com

The Americans pause for a moment of silence, before planning to resume the Cold War after the apocalypse when they emerge from their bunkers. The credits roll with a montage of mushroom clouds set to Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”.

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Ramsay Might Be Dead, but Game of Thrones Is Still Awful

Game of Thrones Daenerys sitting on chairGame of Thrones’s sixth season ended up being a vast improvement on the series after the abysmal catastrophe that was Season 5. However, being better is not the same thing as being good, and if Season 6 is any indication, the show still has a long way to go. While many of the scenes throughout the season were fun to watch, the plotlines that we get fall apart the second you really start to think about them. Thankfully, the silver lining to all this is that the misogyny is less apparent. The downside to that, however, is now there’s review after review proclaiming Game of Thrones to be a feminist masterpiece, and I find myself once again questioning: are the other reviewers watching the same show I am?

Spoilers and a trigger warning for suicide and discussions of rape and sexual assault up ahead.

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Throwback Thursdays: Bedknobs and Broomsticks

EglantineDuring my recent Disney marathon, I came across several of my favorite Disney movies that are not as well known. At least, I don’t think they are. While my husband seemed to only vaguely remember watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks with his grandmother, I had very vivid memories of the movie and was excited to watch it again. I remember my mother had recorded it on a VHS that I watched frequently, and it is one of the movies that made me obsessed with witches as a kid long before Harry Potter came around. While re-watching it, I was extremely nervous that the movie would be nowhere near as good as I remembered, but thankfully, while it had a lot more problematic elements than I noticed as a kid, it definitely has held up over time.

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