Thursday, October 19, 2017

Marshall sexual politics

I went to see the movie about Thurgood Marshall. It's about an early case in 1940 in Bridgeport Connecticut, concerning a black man accused of raping a white woman. Because of the judge's ruling, Marshall is not allowed to try the case himself, and has to be second chair to a local lawyer named Sam Friedman. The movie portrays their defense of Joseph Spell, and the discrimination both lawyers face because Marshall is black and Friedman is Jewish. While I liked most of the movie, including the scene where Marshall dines with Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, I found some parts of the courtroom drama troubling and uncomfortable.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

I saw the Marston movie this weekend and loved it. Very warm, funny and well worth the wait, since I first read about the history. I'm not sure that the movie has all its historical facts correct, due to artistic license and the need to create dramatic conflict for plot, but it is a great portrayal of a polyamorous love story with an emphasis on consent and family. Elizabeth Holloway is frank and fabulous, railing against the sexism that keeps her from getting getting a degree from Harvard, and conscious of how society will judge and ostracize them for their relationships. Bill Marston meanwhile is very sincere and adamant about his psychological theories, idealistically believing that feminism will create a utopia without war. Olive is drawn to both Marstons, but seems to love the brilliant Elizabeth more.

The creation of Wonder Woman is slowly pieced together out of their lives, though the film portrays Marston's comic strip idea coming rather suddenly, omitting the part where he had a job as a psychological consultant on Hollywood films, then on comics, before he proposed creating and writing a comic himself. According to Jill Lepore, he had various odd jobs once his academic career went downhill. So the film makes it seem that Elizabeth is able to somehow support the entire family only on her secretarial job, and is also vague about Olive Byrne's career as a journalist.

Still, I enjoyed it immensely and wish it would do better at the box office. But then I like lots of critically acclaimed small movies like this. Before it, I also saw a trailer for The Current War about Thomas Edison vs George Westinghouse, with a little Nikola Tesla thrown in. It was rather weird/creepy seeing the Weinstein Company logo on it, and now I read that the movie's been delayed. I don't think I would have watched it anyway even before the scandal.

Friday, October 13, 2017

TV twists

I've enjoyed the last few episodes of The Orville, and tonight I thought I recognized the actress who played Nurse Ogawa on TNG, playing a Union admiral here, but I can't get confirmation anywhere yet. It's a good show, though they don't always stick the landings at the end of episodes. I thought opening the sunroof on the bioship was a bad idea, and last week I didn't quite get how closing the wormhole erased Pria yet didn't create a time paradox about how their ship survived the dark matter storm.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Worse and Worse

The news trickling out about Harvey Weinstein is horrific, and even Terry Crews confessed about being harassed (though by a different guy). Of course some misogynists want to criticize Hillary Clinton for not responding fast enough, and I like this snarky response.

Still, have to remember that there are other major crises at hand like the situation in Puerto Rico, the California wildfires, and Trump's threats against Obamacare, the Iran Deal, North Korea. It's like, where will it end? At least a lot of celebrities have organized a fundraiser for Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other forgotten places. It's sad that the news cycle seems to get myopically focused on one or two issues at a time, letting others disappear from view.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Te Ata

I saw this biopic about Te Ata, the Chickasaw storyteller who helped bridge cultural barriers. It's a lovely, moving story, and in contrast to the grim murder drama Wind River, this movie felt refreshingly uplifting and mystical. Though life on the reservation is indeed hard and oppressive, it's not totally bleak and hopeless, because people still have love and support from the community. It also revels in the beauty and wonder of nature.

The story begins when Mary Frances Thompson is a child, learning stories from her father and longing to be included in a ceremony of Elders. She grows up in the Chickasaw Nation, before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Mary's uncle is the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, and her father is the newly appointed Treasurer. The Governor journeys to Washington D.C. trying to get some money released, but the federal officials lecture him that his people need to assimilate and give up the "mumbo-jumbo" rituals and beliefs of their culture. This becomes a theme of the movie, how the Indian Offenses Act outlaws traditional songs and dances, denying the Indians the right to practice their heritage.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Meanwhile, the news and politics continues to be awful. The Las Vegas massacre, Puerto Rico's continued suffering, Tom Petty dying, federal budget fights, the continuing lack of a new DACA in Congress... It's hard to have any hope. Even Texas Governor Abbott was feuding with the Houston mayor about funds after Hurricane Harvey, but it seems he finally backed down and agreed to tap into the $10 billion Rainy Day fund.

There's been talk that some Republicans might finally get on board with a ban on bump stocks for guns, but we'll have to see if they actually do anything this time. In other news, a judge blocked Texas from giving info to that shitty Voter Fraud Commission. I hope that holds.