Hello and a happy new year to you all. 2013 has begun with a slightly inauspicious start but, I have plans folks. Plans that mainly involve posting here regularly. (It’s my one resolution, I’m aiming high.)
It is early morning on Christmas Eve and as I sit surrounded by reams of articles & chapters for an essay I have yet to start, my natural tendency for avoidance strikes again. I’m writing this from the cold exile of the spare room, the annual holiday tradition of handing over my room to visiting relatives for the Christmas period well and truly revived. As a result of all this festive nostalgia, it’s got me thinking about the past year and everything that’s come to pass. It’s maybe a week early for a retrospective but since I intend on being oblivious between the dates of the 30th and the 2nd of January, I feel this is my only shot. It’s been a long year 2012 and an odd one at that. But of all the post-2000s, I feel like finally I’ve had a really solid year.
You see, by comparison the latter half of 2011 was really difficult. When I moved back home after university pre-graduation, I wasn’t exactly in the best state. My anxiety was hitting critical mass, my self-esteem had taken various academic knocks (almost all entirely my own fault) and I was primarily existing in crisis mode. I’d like to think I put on a pretty good show of seeming on top of it but in reality I was ever so quietly freefalling. Would I ever get a job, would I ever figure out what I was going to do with my life, would my grandparents ever stop making pointed comments about my love life? Whilst the latter two still remain relatively unresolved, against all the odds, I got a job. And with that the tide began to change, little by little. By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around things were getting to an even keel. I also made myself an idle, unofficial promise: to love myself just a bit more.
At the risk of sounding vain or self-involved, I have always liked myself, both for my physical and personality attributes. I’ve always considered myself ‘alright’, nothing spectacular but generally positive. But I’ve never been hugely confident about any aspect of myself. For me, 2012 has really been about a good year for my confidence.
But for young women, the culture of slut shaming that the Kristen Stewart scandal represents won’t go away. I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for all the young women today who are tuned into this scandal, ones who are learning that it’s not okay to screw up, ever. Chris Brown can publicly beat the hell out of his girlfriend but still be played on the radio and win Grammys. However, if you ever cheat on your boyfriend, your life is over and no one will ever want to be associated with you. Almost no one will blame the much-older guy you cheated with, and it might actually make him more famous and help his career. Few will care that he was your boss and in a position of authority or that he may have have taken advantage of your youth and relative inexperience. Everything is your fault, and your life will be threatened over it. If you are a trampire, you will be publicly staked for it, even though cheater Ashton Kutcher recently emerged relatively unscathed by the media. No one asked for him to be fired from Two and a Half Men.
I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for my younger stepsister who has pictures of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on her walls, who idolizes and worships them, and who might grow up to hate Kristen Stewart for reasons she doesn’t understand. I’m worried she will be taught that it’s not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera. I’m worried that she’ll think its okay to harass and threaten women for their indiscretions, even if men get off scot-free. I’m worried she will think this culture of bullying, slut-shaming and rhetorical violence against women is the norm, because you get a t-shirt for it. I’m worried she will learn to internalize the shame brought on far too many women today, for having sexualities, for not being perfect, for not fitting into a box. I’m worried she’ll believe men like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee are right.
Because even if she doesn’t know who Akin, Ryan and Huckabee are, even if she doesn’t pay attention to politics or the radical right-wing GOP, she does pay attention to Twilight and Robsten. And if we want to empower her to be a strong, independently minded woman who knows that her body, sexuality and safety are legitimate and can stand up for her rights, we need to pay attention, too. This might seem ridiculous to us, and most people I know can’t wait to stop talking about it. But for her, having this conversation makes a difference. Although no young woman shouldn’t think it’s okay to cheat, what we are teaching them right now is so much worse."
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A discussion on faith, the lack of it and why I hate having this discussion with most other atheists.
So, earlier this evening I reblogged something on my personal Tumblr and added some tags about my feelings regarding atheism and faith.
My greatest mistake was probably a) putting it in the atheism tag but also b) capslock. I’ll admit, that was down to some vodka and tonic. But for the most part, I still think that’s pretty dead on. A couple of people reblogged it with tags and I’ve actually been talking to people about it and it’s fostered discussion that I love. As someone who has not had faith for a very, very long time but whose friends are 90% religious/of faith, I do talk about it a fair amount. Mainly because I am always anxious to prove that not every atheist is going to be militant or knee-jerk aggressive, but also because I find faith fascinating especially as someone who does not have it. Sadly however, some people just like to show me up.
A lovely interview about Sherlock wherein Steven Moffat says that asexuality is 'boring', that Sherlock is definitively not gay, and that Sherlock wouldn't be living with a man if men were interesting.
Look, I get that I have a lot of followers who are defenders of his, and I’m not saying that he’s consciously an asshole, but he’s shown a complete disregard for the opinions of others and refuses to step up when he’s called on issues he may be perpetuating. It’s like the man has no brain-to-mouth filter. I tweeted him and said that if he researched asexuality he would find it anything but boring, told him that he had likely hurt the feelings of many fans, and linked him to a glossary of the different facets of asexuality.
As for the ‘if men were interesting’ bit and completely disregarding the other bits about Sherlock’s sexuality because I honestly don’t know what to say - why would he be living with John if he wasn’t interesting? Does the man actually grasp the character he’s writing? I thought that his being interesting to Sherlock was why John was his roommate in the first place. Sherlock would never entertain the idea of having someone who was boring or ordinary in his home.
I’ve been reading through some of the responses to my post (which I’ll be honestly, I really didn’t expect many people to read but, I’ll take it) and there are a few people saying that what I’m essentially doing is making misogynistic mountains out of sexist molehills. I’ll note now that nowhere in my post did I call Moffat misogynistic - sexist probably because have we watched his work? But there is a difference between the two terms and I don’t like to use the former lightly, although to be honest I’m getting closer and closer to just settling Moffat down there.
As a fan of the last series of Sherlock (although not that second Orientalist mess of an episode, never that) the news of the second series reaching us on New Year’s Day was obviously exciting news. However, as someone who no longer trusts Steven Moffat with a television script, I approached it with some trepidation. I’d heard before watching that this adaptation’s Irene Adler has been updated from an opera singer who had dalliances with sundry members of nobility to the society set’s favourite dominatrix. I’d also heard, through various interviews and reviews, that this Irene was queer. Reader, my heart positively jumped at the prospect. Having watched the episode some hours ago, I can wholeheartedly say I really ought to have stuck with my trepidation.
Black Mirror is a trio of satirical dramas produced by the magnificently furious Charlie Brooker with the final part airing last Sunday (though I have yet to catch up). The first part, ‘The National Anthem’, was a brilliant whirlwind dealing with decisions leading up to (and consequences of) a peculiar ransom request asked of the Prime Minister. Whilst excellent and very well-acted I have to admit that it left me a little cold. I could understand the message and I loved the way it engaged with the internet in particular, the way it held up an ugly reflection of ourselves. But something about it left me disengaged. The second part however, was a whole other ballgame. Thus far it’s my favourite of the trio, which really surprised me. In the week of promotion before it aired, the focus was primarily on the X Factor satire side of the drama; as a non-X Factor viewer that sort of talent show spoof holds no real enjoyment for me. I should have known that Brooker and Kanak “Konnie” Huq (his co-writer) had something else up their sleeves. What was advertised as a satire on the worthless inane nature of televised talent shows and the ritual humiliation it involves proved to be an entirely different beast altogether.
‘15 Million Merits’ is set in a future where everyone, at the age of 21, is sorted into certain virtual facilities. Here, almost every facet of their lives is virtualised - from their surroundings, to the purchasing of their food, their currency and what they are able to spend it on. The currency in question is merits, earned by amounts of time spent on a pedal bike in the gym. As a fan of sci-fi and dystopian fiction in general, I was already intrigued. The basic plot is that Bing (Daniel Kaluuya) hears Abi (Jessica Brown Findlay) singing and offers to spend his accumulated credits on her entrance to Hot Shot, the talent competition du jour. The competition is judged by three judges: Judge Wraith (Ashley Thomas), Judge Charity (Julia Davis) and Judge Hope (Rupert Everett).