Link Lineup – November 2020

I’ve been extremely online across October and I’m happy to say that the internet has not let me down. So I bring y’all some of the best content I’ve found across the internet between October and now!


the return of the pleasure activist

in every single aspect of life, seeking the pleasure in it makes it so much more possible for me to be deeply present in the world and sense what is needed.

now, it has become a politic for me…living not just to the point of survival, but to the point of pleasure. i am certain that pleasure is the missing piece in our movement(s) for a new world.

The first time I heard of someone calling themselves a “pleasure activist”, they were a Rey/Kylo shipper claiming that being a pleasure activist is why they’re so invested in Kylo (“if i center my pleasure on characters who i believe can and should be redeemed then that’s a manifestation of how i hope our world can heal thru pleasure”). So of course, I was kind of a dick about it because I am… kind of a dick about so many things related to Rey/Kylo shippers.

Thankfully, one of my darling social media buddies set me on the right path and showed me what pleasure activism was actually all about. Beyond what that moomoo up there said, the idea of pleasure activism actually does work for me. It’s more aligned with the theorists and thinkers I’ve been consumed by since college than anything else.

And it does not actually support focusing on the redemption of a white man as pleasure activism. That’s not how that works. (But then, that day was when someone compared not wanting a Kylo redemption arc to supporting the carceral state so… that fandom is NOT okay.)

Consider the Snapewife

Maybe it was much easier to empathize and even excuse Snape’s behavior—and his seduction by the dark—in the 2000s, when the trope of monstrous jocks and vicious It Girls reigned supreme. But fandom has changed significantly in the last decade, and so has the world and politics that influence it. Instead of the echo chambers of Livejournal and forums, today’s platforms allow a diversity of voices and ideas. Fandom chatter isn’t exclusive to shut-ins spending too much time online, and white women are no longer the sole gatekeepers.

If I could make y’all read one thing, it would be this article.

A hilariously illuminating piece of fandom history in a tidy package, Ashley Reese’s piece on the Snapewives that populated a dense little corner of it, is fascinating not just for what is on the page… but from what it inspired from racists across multiple fandoms except… the Harry Potter one. As far as I can tell, not a single Snapewife pretended to be harmed by this article. Plenty of Rey/Kylo shippers and uh… Hannibal/Will shippers did though.

Read the article that got writer Ashley Reese 48 hours of harassment (including people trying to get her disciplined by Jezebel!) from people who turn off their reading comprehension skills and go on the path to proper victimhood when a Black person with a platform (any platform) dares to be critical of fandom.

Why We Actually Need ~More~ Slavery Movies (That Are Not Antebellum) by MelinaPendulum

Princess Weekes is one of my favorite cultural critics. She does stellar work over at The Mary Sue, of course, but where she shines brightest is on her YouTube channel! In this video, Princess talks about slavery movies and what we actually need (namely… better ones that aren’t obsessed with Black pain for a white audience).

Lovecraft County has a problem with dark-skinned people. And queer people. And trans people.

There are aspects of Lovecraft Country I appreciated, such as the acting and costuming. And I did enjoy seeing beautiful Black people on my screen on a weekly basis. But in my view, Lovecraft Country ended up doing more harm than good. The show could’ve never been the revolutionary take on sci-fi/horror many touted it to be as long as it used dangerous rhetoric to craft marginalized characters.

There’s no magic to be found in Lovecraft Country at the end of the day. It’s just more of the same old mess.

I didn’t finish watching Lovecraft Country. Unfortunately, despite my deep desire to stick it to Lovecraft by consuming content that’d make him vibrate with rage because people that look like me were front and center, I just… didn’t vibe with it. For me, the show quickly lost momentum about halfway through. Love the look, like some of the characters more than others… just didn’t click with the show itself.

And I think that I’m glad I did because this review makes me think that the rest of the show would’ve filled me with frustration. I know there are people that the show worked for and I won’t begrudge them that (like my sister loved it) but the amount of people I’ve seen across my timeline actually upset because of the way representation played out in this show… I do feel bad for them. I feel bad and I find myself wondering why this show couldn’t have been better.

Megan Thee Stallion: Why I Speak Up for Black Women

The issue is even more intense for Black women, who struggle against stereotypes and are seen as angry or threatening when we try to stand up for ourselves and our sisters. There’s not much room for passionate advocacy if you are a Black woman.

[…]

But you know what? I’m not afraid of criticism. We live in a country where we have the freedom to criticize elected officials. And it’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase “Protect Black women” is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings. And we are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.

Megan Thee Stallion is my baby. No, she doesn’t know I exist and she never will. But she’s my baby. A big ass weeb with knees and ankles of steel, Megan has been in the spotlight for more than just her banging music. She’s also shown up to talk about the way misogynoir has impacted her life following the shooting incident with Tory Lanez that left her injured. I loved this piece from Megan because she comes through with clear insight about double standards, the way women are treated in hip hop, and how Black women are not treated with respect by anyone. I’m happy to share her op-ed and I hope y’all go read it.

Tony Todd on the Joy of ‘Candyman,’ and the Role of Black Horror

DaCosta is one of very few Black female horror filmmakers right now. Coming up at a time when that was almost inconceivable —

No, it was almost nonexistent. When I started in this business, I would show up on set and not only would I be the only Black actor, I would be the only Black person in jobs that anybody should have the opportunity to do if it wasn’t for nepotism. Now it’s changed. I would go on set and the entire transportation department and hair and makeup were people that looked like me and knew how to apply makeup to me. [Laughs] And light me, OK? Just the joy that occurred, finally being allowed to the dance.

Tony Todd is iconic. His role in Candyman pretty much ruined me for horror movies and like I still do not know what that movie looks like in chronological order as I can’t watch it from start to finish… While Candyman isn’t perfect – and Tananarive Due’s comments on the film in Horror Noire help clarify – Todd’s Candyman is a gothic hero right out of your darkest nightmares and now, in his old(er) age, he’s still just as charming and just as insightful. I think this is a great interview and it’ll make you feel positive about the past and future of Black Horror as we wait patiently for the follow-up to Candyman next year!

Going Sohla

As we talk about Bon Appétit, El-Waylly’s mood darkens. She’s still processing what happened, because it raised existential questions of value — who deserves what and how much. Sometimes she wishes she had never taken the job. “This stuff really gets in your soul,” she says. “My husband, he’s half Bolivian and half Egyptian, and we’ve been talking about how we’ve internalized these things. That we really think we are worthless, so you don’t want to ask for more.”

I used to watch the hell out of Bon Appétit’s Test Kitchen videos early on in this ongoing apocalypse. I was fascinated by how half of the team didn’t seem to know how to do basic tasks while the other half was uh… really good at cooking. And then there was Sohla, with those arms, that laugh, and such a great sense of skill in the kitchen. Other people have said it before, but let’s say it again: Sohla could cook circles around her beige peers at the BA Test Kitchen and it should be a crime that she wasn’t treated with the same respect that they were. The only reason for them to resist giving her her flowers – and the paycheck she deserved – was a combo of racism and misogyny.

After all, did y’all see all the stuff Sohla had to do for Claire… because Claire was too incompetent in the end? Sohla deserves the world and hopefully, she’ll get it from now on.

This Author Infiltrated Racists Spaces Online. Then Wrote a Book About It.

You write, “the process of far-right radicalism rarely starts with overt Nazism.” Can you talk more about what the process looks like in reality?

Most people don’t start out waving swastikas. They are being led to this place by “launderers,” people who seem reasonable and who introduce racist ideas subtly, and give people permission to engage in hate that is more socially acceptable. The launderers can be YouTubers and right-wing influencers. They may start out saying there are too many women in Star Wars movies, or that lady Ghostbusters have ruined their childhood. It soon becomes easier and easier for them to say that feminism is harmful garbage that has caused them to be unhappy. From there it’s not a long journey. The slope is greased by people with high production values and a lot of money behind them.

I’ve been thinking about how resistant fandom and fandom studies are to talking about how these spaces are ripe for infiltration from fash elements. Fandom and fan studies alike are oriented around this belief that “fandom fueled by females and femmes”* is so much nicer and kinder than like… the dudes who attacked Leslie Jones over the Ghostbusters reboot. The belief hinges on this mistaken belief that because the racism (and other forms of bigotry) isn’t as overt as racial slur slinging dudebro fandom spaces, that they’re not happening.

That’s how you get all of these posts about how bad dudebro fandoms like half of the Star Wars fandom, the My Little Pony fandom, or sports –

But none about how the other half of the Star Wars fandom is full of militant aggressive shippers who’ve gone after John Boyega CONSTANTLY. Or about how aggressive idol group fandoms are on the regular – okay, well we don’t get more of them especially about the antiblackness. And we’re definitely not talking about or researching how there are gateways to fascism and far right radicalization within these fandom spaces.

But god do we need to…

(* where there’s an acknowledgement that there are queer dudes and masc folks and all sorts of hard to box in gender stuff going on BUT the focus is primarily on women and lady aligned folks until it’s time to talk poorly about “mlm fetishization” from any position.)

The White Male Celeb Must Be a Sensitive Lot

The fact that they can act like it’s just politics and principles as though the greatest monsters in this world didn’t have those two is just mind-boggling.

And hurtful. The way they trivialize concerns because they will never feel the effects of his “integrity” and “principles”. Because they are white men. Politics are something to debate online, or with friends and family but never to take seriously.

I can’t get over how Chris Pratt and a bunch of other white male celebrities in the MCU embodied the chorus of my favorite Flo Milli track the other day. On the surface, it really does look like they rolled out the PR machine to soothe Chris Pratt’s weak ass ego after everyone on twitter reminded him that he was in fact The Worst Chris for like the fifth time in a year.

But it also could’ve been about this expose (I guess) about whether or not Pratt was a super conservative (he sure does follow a lot of them on social media…) or maybe it was related to how the pastor of his super sketchy celeb superchurch just got fired for cheating on his wife. Who the hell knows.

What I – and many other people online – do know is that watching white men and Zoe Saldana (who seems to think they’ll defend her if the tables turned) basically go fully fragile over Chris Pratt getting less ribbing than most Black people EVER get online… was pathetic.

I hope he understands that he is the worst Chris and he should feel ashamed of that forever.

And he sucks as Starlord.

Just saying.

About Zeenah

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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1 Response to Link Lineup – November 2020

  1. lkeke35 says:

    This is true for the most part. I think I may need to be more nuanced in my arguments about what type of slavery movies get made, because you are right, in that there really are not as many of these types of movies as there need to be, and young Black people should watch them as stepping off stones to learning about our history.

    What I should be arguing, I guess, is no more movies where we are inundated with images of Black women’s ) pain and suffering, in an effort to teach white people how horrible slavery was. There are other, more heroic stories, to be told, which is why I don’t object to series like Good Lord Bird,or movies like Harriet. (To be fair Antebellum was very very badly written, while Harriet was a little bit better.)

    I’m know I’m getting tired of watching Black people getting whipped and raped, though.

    One of the arguments I have made (and stand by) is against the unintended side effect of Blackness being constantly associated with pain and suffering, and acting as entertainment for white people, because that’s what I believe has happened. I think such movies serve the same purpose as the recent Black snuff videos involving the police, of re-traumatizing Black people, and entertaining white people, as titillation. I don’t think white people connect with these movies. I think too many of them are just watching Black people suffer in movies because its thrilling for them, in the same way Horror movies are, and from now on I’m going to make my objection to such films a little more clear.

    Do we need them? Yes.
    Should they be based on images of suffering? I don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

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