It’s almost the Fourth of July, and for those of us here in the United States, we’ll soon be celebrating our nation’s founding. For me, that often meant watching 1776 with my parents, and I have to say that I adored this musical. The film version of the musical 1776 came out in 1972, and the musical itself came out in 1969. It follows John Adams as he tries to get a difficult, cantankerous, and often divided Congress to agree on American independence.
However, if you are a Hamilton fan, this musical might be a disappointment for you. This movie is very white and almost entirely male, with the exception of two female cast members, only one of whom plays a significant role. Regretfully, while there are some great moments in this musical, as far as representation goes, it definitely falls short.
There are many dystopian novels that are considered classics of literature. 1984 obviously springs to mind, as does The Handmaid’s Tale. Another book that’s constantly numbered among these titans of type is Fahrenheit 451. If 1984 is about government oversight, and The Handmaid’s Tale is about (white) women’s bodily autonomy, Fahrenheit 451 takes its stand against the evils of censorship. And while I always knew that was what it was about in a vague intellectual sense—the titular temperature is that at which author Ray Bradbury believed books burn—I’d never actually read the book to learn what story inside was.
Earlier this week, I finally did that. And now I’m kind of pissed off to discover that Bradbury’s idea of censorship is about as sensitive and compelling as a 4chan forum.
We’ve called out the Harry Potter series before for using magic and various conditions in the wizarding world as a metaphor for different kinds of oppression in the real world, such as lycanthropy as a metaphor for AIDs and discrimination against non-purebloods as a metaphor for racism. The problem with these metaphors is that readers might not make the connection to the real-world problem, so in order for them to really have impact, there should be examples of the real-world issue too. For instance, the series could have featured more prominent characters of color who experienced racism in the Muggle world in addition to discussions of blood “purity”. Instead we got a cast of all white protagonists, with characters of color getting very little development.
J. K. Rowling makes no secret of her support for social justice causes (just look at her Twitter feed!). In fact, she’s totally fine with headcanoning Hermione as Black and applauded the casting of Noma Dumezweni, a Black woman, as Hermione in the Cursed Child play, and racebending Hermione helps to relieve some issues about her Muggleborn blood status acting as a stand-in for discrimination rather than discussing any real-life discrimination. But real-life discrimination is still not discussed in canon. You would think that maybe Rowling would have listened graciously to some of these criticisms about hiding real-world issues behind metaphors that not everyone is going to get, and would have worked harder to avoid them in her next work. What is that next work? Fantastic Beasts. Did she listen? Nope. Instead the movie gave us a new metaphor to grapple with: obscurials as coded LGBTQ+ children repressed by overzealous religious families, in this case represented by the Second Salemers. And it isn’t pretty.
Spoilers for many aspects of Fantastic Beasts below the jump!
If you haven’t already heard, Blizzard Entertainment revealed to the world last month in their holiday comic Reflections that Lena “Tracer” Oxton, the mascot character for itsacclaimed multiplayer game Overwatch, was a lesbian. Given how omnipresent she is in the game’s marketing, it was awesome to see this first step for queer representation within the game’s universe.
Within the statement that followed the comic’s release, in which they clarified that Tracer’s particular flavor of LGBTQ-ness was the L, Blizzard also confirmed that Tracer would not be the only character in Overwatch who identified somewhere within the alphabet soup of non-hetero sexualities. This, of course, led to immediate speculation about who else in Overwatch was queer.
My guess? All of them. We flock together. It is known. (via visitantlit)
In these discussions, Aleksandra “Zarya” Zaryanova is a frequently heard name. Indeed, Zarya’s bulky build, pink hair, and overall aesthetic seem to fit the common idea of what a butch lesbian looks like. That, however, is exactly where the discussion becomes tricky.
I adore Welcome to Night Vale and love Alice Isn’t Dead, and… well, I was really disinterested in the first episode of Within the Wires, and never listened past that. However, the moment I heard the name of Night Vale Presents‘s latest podcast, The Orbiting Human Circus of the Air, I was intrigued. So one day on my way to work I downloaded the podcast and proceeded to give it a listen. While itis as wondrous, strange, and enchanting as many of the Night Vale Presents podcasts are, I felt like it was really lacking comparatively. The biggest issue was sadly something that Night Vale Presents has otherwise really been knownfor—diversity.
Spoilers for The Orbiting Human Circus of the Air after the jump.
As we Americans slog on toward Thanksgiving, it sometimes feels like there isn’t a whole lot to be thankful for this year, what with politics, celebrity deaths, and natural disasters coming one after the other in one big avalanche of awful. Even though Tumblr is often not great as well, I tend to use my malfunctioning blue hellscape of a dashboard as a handy mental escape, particularly this month. So today, I’d like to rec a site I’ve followed on Tumblr for a long time called Superheroes in Full Color.
Though we often bemoan the lack of characters of color and works created by people of color in our mainstream media, the fact remains that the content we seek is likely out there somewhere, just sorely under-hyped. Our major franchises are things like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, all universes created by white people and all of which feature few, if any, characters of color. So if you’re the type of person who wants to read a more diverse, inclusive story, where should you start looking for this type of content? Today’s web crush is going to be a handy resource for you.