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Clone Wars Is Back to Finish What It Started [UPDATED]

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10 years ago, the Star Wars universe was forever changed with the arrival of the Clone Wars animated series. Now, for one final story, the animated show is making a beloved return.

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rgsunico
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Original She-Ra Co-Creator J. Michael Straczynski ‏Weighs in on Anger Over the New Design

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She-Ra Princess of Power on Netflix

J. Michael Straczynski has long been one of my genre heroes for creating shows like Babylon 5 and Sense8. An immensely talented writer as well as a creative powerhouse, Straczynski has written for TV, film, comics, and is the author of several novels.

I used to say that I wanted to be him when I grew up, and that has never been more the case than after Straczynski’s response to the squalling by some man-sized children on the Internet after the new design of an actual children’s cartoon character did not prove sexy enough for their liking.

Our Vivian Kane wrote about the grown men who were complaining and trolling Netflix’s reveal of its upcoming rebooted She-Ra character designs earlier this week. We’re hugely excited about Noelle Stevenson’s (Lumberjanes) modern-day take on the iconic ’80s cartoon character. We loved our first look at the youthful, dynamic, strong-armed, practically dressed new Princess of Power.

But a certain segment of the Internet took issue with the fact that this character intended for a cartoon no longer had the mile-long legs, shapely figure, and scant costume of their “ideal” woman, the original She-Ra. And of course, they kicked up a furious fuss about it.

Enter Straczynski, with a wise, sensitive, and illuminating Twitter thread. We talk a lot about the growing fan toxicity over all sorts of properties that dare update themselves from what these men imagine were the halcyon days of their early years, when women wore less just for their gaze or else were barely present at all, where people of color held token roles or were otherwise invisible.

There’s been a call, answered particularly after the sexist and racist harassment faced by Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran, for creatives to become involved themselves, and help push back against the angry noise. Thankfully, this is a growing trend—Tran had powerful defenders come out on her side, as well as legions of loving fans.

In a thread on Twitter, J. Michael Straczynski gave a masterclass in how a creative can best respond to manbaby furor. I hope that all of Hollywood and all fans everywhere are paying attention.

This incredible thread has everything: the intent of the original creators over audience perception; the original creators bent on creating a woman warrior of strengths, smarts, and wit; the shut-down of the “ideal woman” concept; the brilliant and patient explanation that “while male characters tend to be idealized in form and proportion; […] female characters tend to be objectified. There is a profound difference between those two, and failing to perceive that distinction is pernicious.”

Would it be too much to get that entire tweet tattooed on me so that I could stop having to talk about such things and could simply flash my Straczynski’d forearm in future conversations?

Those sentences may be a bit long for a tattoo, so maybe I’ll just go with “be aware that idealization does not equal objectification.” You know you want that on t-shirt. I’m printing up totebags as we speak.

Thank you for this thread, J. Michael Straczynski, for getting it, and for giving us so many female characters who were allowed to be ideal for reasons beyond their costuming. I still want to be you when I grow up.

(via Twitter, h/t @dreadravenanzu, images: Netflix/Filmation/Mattel)

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rgsunico
2 days ago
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Welp, here's a photo of a Putin impersonator riding a bronze bull covered in dildos

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A shirtless Vladimir Putin impersonator riding a bronze bull covered in dildos sounds like the beginning of a NSFW joke. In fact, it is a real thing that actually happened on Monday.

As an act of resistance, a Washington, D.C. ramen shop owner named Jeff Jetton pulled on a mask of the Russian prime minister's and mounted the famous Charging Bull statue located on Wall Street in New York City, which he plastered with 130 sex toys.

“Anybody who tells you sex toys aren’t good tools of resistance has never had a bag of dicks and a little bit of ingenuity,” Jetton told Mashable via Twitter DM. Read more...

More about Art, Russia, Protest, Putin, and Culture
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rgsunico
3 days ago
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Seriously, Stop Blaming Heroes for the Villains’ Actions

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thanos and kylo ren

There’s a curious trend among fans of major franchises that oftentimes feature enraged, genocidal villains hellbent on either crushing the universe under their fascist fist or who want to wipe out massive amounts of life: for some reason, it’s actually one of the heroes’ faults.

Take poor, poor Poe Dameron, who Nerdist claims is the real villain of The Last Jedi. Or Peter Quill, our beloved Star-Lord who gets blamed for Thanos’s victory in Avengers: Infinity War. Even Thor is not safe, as the directors of Infinity War say if we should blame anyone, blame Thor for not killing Thanos. Notice how the blame is not on Thanos, or Kylo Ren. Instead of calling out these baddies, we’re too busy ripping the heroes to shreds for decisions the writers gave them in order to move the plot along.

This is not a new trend. Since the dawn of Twitter, people have loved to write hot takes about how heroes showing a moment of narratively-mandated weakness means they’re the worst. Even when the characters do nothing wrong, they are oftentimes labelled the “real villains” of the movie or show just for opposing the protagonist or for making bad decisions in order to further the plot. Take any woman in an AMC television series—looking at you, Breaking Bad‘s Skyler White, who was called the real villain just for existing and not bowing to her husband’s every whim, or The Walking Dead‘s Andrea, who was forced to make bad decisions to ensure the Governor lived for another episode.

Let’s break down these latest three additions to the “really the villain” list and talk about why they really aren’t villains but more beholden to narrative necessity or, in Poe’s case, some somewhat bad writing.

Peter Quill did nothing wrong. Let me start with that, as well as the fact that I don’t even like Peter but find myself defending him on this lovely day. Peter Quill’s entire arc has been about finding a place to belong and people to care about, and above all else, he cares for Gamora. His arc is also marked by loss: he loses his mother at the start of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, loses both the romanticized idea of his biological father and his actual father who raised him in Vol. 2, and who knows what he’ll lose in Guardians 3. And now he’s faced with yet another loss. It probably reminded him of his father’s comments on how he had to kill Peter’s mother, as well, as Thanos tells Peter he had to kill Gamora for the good of the universe. So, Peter reacts out of anger and grief. He’s just lost yet another person he cared about and he reacts out of rage. It makes sense with his character, and also, they had to find a way to make sure Thanos won the day anyway.

Thor, Rocket, and Groot in 'Avengers: Infinity War'

The same goes for Thor not aiming for the head and taking a moment to tell Thanos that yes, he would die for all the murders he committed on the Asgardian refugee vessel. Thor is also a character marked by loss. He lost his entire family and his home, but had the hope that he could build again with his brother finally by his side. And now, he’s lost that. His best friend was stabbed in front of him, and perhaps worst of all, his last living family member, who he had just reconciled with, was murdered in front of his eyes. He’s lost more than perhaps any other Avenger and he takes a moment to gloat to the man who stripped away those last vestiges of a future … and suddenly he’s the villain?

Not to mention that Thor couldn’t kill him. There’s a sequel in the works. No matter how much the writers try to justify Thor’s action, they also needed him to fail so Thanos could win.

Poe is a little more difficult to talk about because people get touchy when you talk about The Last Jedi at all, and as a diehard Poe stan, I certainly have some thoughts on his portrayal, but we’re not here to debate whether Poe was in character or not. (Spoiler alert: If you actually read the myriad canon materials about Poe, you’ll discover he wasn’t, but I digress.) We’re here to discuss his portrayal and whether or not he’s a villain.

Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens

Poe’s character arc in The Last Jedi, whether you agree with it or not, is about learning that quick heroics aren’t always the answer. Holdo doesn’t tell him her plan, because he’s been demoted and he’s known to make quick, rash decisions. So, Poe reacts rather rashly, assuming she’s a traitor or that she’s up to no good. He starts a mutiny that’s quickly quashed, and when he comes to, after being stunned, Leia explains what was really going on. He’s not the real villain in any way, shape, or form, and his actions certainly don’t lead to more death than Kylo, Snoke, or Hux cause. The Nerdist article mentioned above does include an editor’s note that the point isn’t to discredit Poe or truly call him a villain but to call out his actions, which really don’t need to be called out when Kylo’s gaslighting Rey and taking over a fascist organization.

So why do we blame heroes for the writers making them make poor choices? Well, fiction inspires a lot of emotions, and it’s easier to react to characters than it is to the people behind the curtain, but when half the hot takes out there are about how heroic, good characters are the real villains of their narratives, it gets tiring. Maybe call out the monsters who are actually causing mayhem instead of finding ways to talk around their evil actions instead. It might be fun to call the heroes on their bad decisions, but when it becomes the accepted way to pass the blame from characters like Thanos and Kylo, then it stops being funny and just becomes another way to avoid giving the villains the callout they deserve.

(image: Marvel Entertainment/Lucasfilm)

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rgsunico
4 days ago
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Twins

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Wait, wait, what's your policy on supplying nutrients to offspring?


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rgsunico
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'Queer Eye's first trans participant speaks out about the episode

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For a show that features extraordinarily handsome cis gay men who do elaborate makeovers, Queer Eye has generated a shockingly low level of controversy. 

Still, exceptions exist. Some critics took issue with this show's handling of its first ever trans client, Skyler Jay. In a new interview with them., Jay defended the Fab Five and explained why the episode took the direction it did.

Specifically, Jay defended his interactions with Tan France, who admitted he hadn't really interacted with an trans person before. 

Jay explained to France that he may not have interacted with an openly trans person before — but they were so many of them out there. Read more...

More about Watercooler, Transgender, Queer Eye, Culture, and Movies Tv Shows
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rgsunico
12 days ago
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