So, this morning I logged on to find this piece of art
(and its artist) under fire for misogyny and even racism
And, having looked at it, and looked into it, I feel that I really do have to raise an opposing voice. I don't think that this picture is misogynist or racist, and I even think it communicates a positive message.
So, why is this?
First, context: according to the artist's DeviantArt page, this was drawn for a client as part of a fetish called "transformation" (an example of this fetish played straight up by the same artist can be found here
). So, right on the surface, we have a deliberate subversion of a fetish revolving around intelligent women being transformed into empty-headed sex objects. One can certainly argue that the fetish itself is sexist or misogynist, but this picture is turning that fetish on its head.
Digging deeper, the picture starts with a woman where everything about her is fake. Her hair colour is fake, her tan is fake (it's orange instead of a natural brown), her height is fake (she's wearing shoes that specifically make her look taller), her smile is fake, and there's even an implication that her breasts are fake. Even her walk is an affectation, pushing her breasts and hindquarters out on display. As the picture progresses, each image of her drops the affectations. She loses the fake tan, the dyed hair, stops wearing shoes that make her look taller than she is, and the final image is just her
- who she really is, in comfortable clothes, with no affectations.
And, most importantly of all, the catalyst for this change is a book - it's knowledge
. One can't really say where she's going in the final transformation (it could be to a coffee shop to meet some friends), but the book and the backpack suggest that she is on her way to class to better herself. And, in the final image, she is smiling - not the fake teeth-bearing smile as she walks that suggests a performance for others, but a small, natural smile suggesting true happiness.
The interpretation of art is subjective by nature, and I suppose that one can see racism in the change in her skin colour as she loses the tan, or misogyny in the shrinking of the breasts, but that really looks to me like people twisting themselves into a pretzel to be offended. Instead, there's a clear message here (even if the artist did, as he said
in the comments section on DeviantArt, just consider it a run-of-the-mill porn art commission) that in gaining knowledge lies learning that you can drop affectations and just be yourself - and that this is the path to true happiness.
I don't think that's offensive in the slightest.
So, I found this
in my morning woolgathering over the Internet, and it needed immediate comment. For those who don't want to follow the link, a Playmobil toy of Martin Luther, put out to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, has come under fire for being antisemetic. Now, for those who haven't followed my column on the Escapist, I am a Russian Jew, and my family has no shortage of horror stories from the old country of murderous antisemitism...and I really think this is the stupidest
thing I have read all week.
Some comments about points in the article:( Read more...Collapse )
Back when I was in my first year of university, I took a political science course as one of my electives. The content was split between two terms: the United States, and Africa. I came out of the course amazed that the United States could govern itself at all – it was a system designed around preventing abuses of government power at all costs. Any of the three branches of government – the Executive (the President), the Legislative (Congress and the Senate), and the Judicial (the higher courts) – could strike down the work of any of the others. So if, for example, somebody manages to strong-man their way into the Presidency and corrupt one of the other branches, the third could serve as effective damage control.
This provides a lot of checks and balances, but it also (quite deliberately) makes the U.S. Government difficult to manage. The idea was that the difficulty in getting anything done would force people to compromise, which in theory leads to a more just system built upon consensus. As an unintended consequence, however, this also means that should any single branch of government become obstructionist, it could hold back the other two, and bring the business of governance to a screeching halt
Flash forward to today, and the United States seems to be something of a mess right now when it comes to their most recent election. Depending on where you stand, you could be looking at it as anything from a general breakdown in sanity to the impending doom of the Republican party to a desperate battle against socialist liberals. Either way, as the election is being reported right now, the American system is looking badly broken.
In a lot of ways, this has come about because of over two centuries of people trying to find workarounds to get things done and otherwise game the system for their own ends. Suggestions on how to fix it are not in small supply – even my little brother has thrown his own into the ring
. But all too many of them are dealing with the symptoms of the problem, while leaving the underlying issues untreated. The American political system as it stands is
fixable. What follows are my suggestions, as a Canadian and an outsider, as to what might work.( Read more...Collapse )
So, right after my wife and I watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
(she hadn’t seen it), I came across this
Wow. It’s official: one of the next gender-flipped remakes is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
, which has got to be one of the stupidest things I’ve heard in entertainment in a while.
So, here’s the thing – this is one case where the producers in question REALLY didn’t think this one through. There is next to no way that this story can be gender flipped without coming across as misogynist.( Read more...Collapse )
So, first off, I’m not planning to watch the Hugo Awards tonight. I’ve got a few reasons for it – for one thing, I don’t have to cover it for anybody, so there’s no professional need or desire to watch it as it happens. And, after last time, let’s just say that when the “will they or won’t they?” is “burn down the Hugo Awards again,” pain avoidance becomes a worthwhile thing.
(But, do you know what IS on tonight? LoadingReadyLive! Seriously, it’s great comedy, and it’s happy, fun stuff, and they do it live on Twitch! I’m going to watch that...we should all go and watch LoadingReadyLive...why are you looking at me like that?)
But...I haven’t sealed myself off in a bubble. Every now and then I check in on it. And today, just to check in and see what is happening, I did a Google search on “Hugo Awards,” and came across this article
in The Guardian.
And I saw RED.( Read more...Collapse )
Update: Just took a deep breath, decided "what the hell," and read the list of winners
Oh, thank God, they didn't blow it up this year.
There's a long way to go to undo the damage, but not throwing authors under the bus left, right, and centre is a good place to start.
“Money isn’t as important to our organization as knowing who to trust.”
– Mr. White, Casino Royale
I’ve been using your operating systems for a long time. My first was MS DOS 3.2, back when I was a teenager. I remember Windows 3.1, and even Windows 3.0. While the rest of the world was using Windows 95 and 98, I was running my critical applications on Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0 (my father owning a computer company at the time had its benefits).
And, we really need to talk about Windows 10.
Over the last year, both my desktop – on which I run my business and do my professional work – and my laptop have needed to be replaced. They were showing their age, and they were both due. But whereas a couple of years ago, replacing them would be easy, today it is considerably less so.
You see, today I have to find a way to avoid Windows 10.
I managed it – the new desktop runs Windows 8.1, while the new laptop runs Windows 7 Professional Edition – but it wasn’t easy. Staples, one of my usual office electronics sources, even lost a sale from it – they had a Windows 10 machine that met my needs, but the more I learned about Windows 10, the less I liked it, and they had no Windows 7 or 8.1 machines.
So let’s talk about why I’m avoiding Windows 10 like the Black Death.( Read more...Collapse )
I don’t usually do this – in fact, this may be my first time – but in this case, I can’t resist. For those who are unaware, Peeple is an app supposedly launching in November that allows users to rate other people they know...and before they supposedly changed it, without the consent of the person being reviewed. In the wake of the massive (and well-deserved) backlash, the CEO posted an update at the top of the company’s webpage
Well, I generally won’t join laying on the hate, but this message was too damn much. I’m fisking it. In fact, this is the first time I have EVER felt the need to fisk anything!
So here we go...( Read more...Collapse )
The penultimate installment of Fooling Garwulf
is now up at the Escapist! This week, we review last night's episode, and take a look at the long and fascinating history between magicians and card sharps...
Dear Matt and Trey,
I have been a Canadian fan of your show since its first season, but I cannot remain silent after this most recent episode’s blatant misrepresentation of our great country and culture.
First, Canada does not have a President. It has a Prime Minister, who is not elected but appointed by the Prince of Canada, and anointed with the sacred maple syrup upon his inauguration.
Second, Canadians do not play music at a designated time every day. Instead, we engage in an interpretive dance recalling the founding of our great country and the awesomeness of our glorious Inuit, and the wonders of their laser eyes.
Third, no Canadian could ever bring him or herself to live in a simple house. Our culture forbids the use of dwellings that do not at least bear a resemblance to an igloo. Any Canadian family in the United States would be required by our cultural heritage to have their house rebuilt into the shape of an igloo.
Fourth, Canadians would never build a concrete wall preventing Americans from entering our great country. We would make it out of ice, with igloo decorations.
Fifth, for all your talk of the really cool things in Canada, you have shown none of them throughout the entire run of your series. How can you not show our annual Running of the Polar Bears? Yes, it has been condemned by the United Nations as being inhumane to every living thing involved, but Canada could not truly be Canada without it. How can you present our glorious Inuit without their laser eyes? And how can you, in good conscience, continue to depict our cities as boring and dull – like your American cities – and without their many igloo skyscrapers, igloo shopping malls, and igloo cathedrals?
Shame on you, Matt and Trey. Shame. If you must continue to present Canada on screen to your viewers, please make at least some effort to be accurate.
And the new Fooling Garwulf
is now up at The Escapist
. This week, we review last night's episode and take a look at the holy grail of magic...