Dear Hollywood: fix your damn race problem

Dear Hollywood,

You have a problem with racial diversity, and you’ve had it for a long time (pretty much your entire existence, to be frank). Sadly, it has become apparent that you seem bound and determined to do exactly fuck-all about this problem. It’s as if you’re perfectly fine with excluding People of Color at all levels by perpetuating the co-narratives of white dominance and superiority that pervade the industry. While these issues manifest in a variety of ways (see the 2015 Diversity Report for many of the dismal details), a key one that is currently weighing on my mind is whitewashing:

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Dear Hollywood: fix your damn race problem
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Speakeasy #11

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Welcome to the Speakeasy. I’m your host-the bartender with the mostest. Kick your feet up and relax with the gang. Have a drink (with or without alcohol). Hang out. Socialize. Vent. Share recipes or favorite books. Whatever you feel like doing. You’re not intruding on anyone, so feel free to drop a line. Just keep it civil and kind. Disagreements are fine, but I don’t want any fights (and of course bigotry of any sort is not welcome).

Speakeasy #11

Italians had quite the appetite for the ‘Weekend’

Russell (left; played by Tom Cullen) and Glenn (right; played by Chris New) having one of the many conversations about gay issues they have throughout the movie.

Readers may recall my recent Pub post where I discussed gay romance film the ‘Weekend’, which was slated for release in theaters across Italy. Directed by Andrew Haigh, the character based drama revolves around the brief but intense weekend relationship between an art student (Glenn) and a part-time lifeguard (Russell). Unfortunately for those wishing to see the film, the Catholic Church owns the vast majority of theaters in Italy and their film evaluation committee deemed the film indecent and did not approve of its message. As a result, it was limited to only 10 screens.

Contrary to the claims made by the Catholic Church in their attempt to justify censoring the movie, the ‘Weekend’ was not about gay sex and drugs. Yes, there were scenes of drug use. Yes, there were scenes of sex. But if the Bishops thought sex and drugs were the themes of the movie, I really have to question their skills at evaluating what a film is about. An honest appraisal of the film would lead to the recognition that it involves two complex, multi-faceted gay characters (who happen to have sex and do drugs) struggling with their identities. Instead, the committee viewed the movie as a film about gay men having sex and doing drugs, and I suspect they treated those actions as defining traits of the characters. That does a disservice to all those involved in making this film because there was more to the film and the characters than sex and drugs.

To be sure, yes, many gay people enjoy sex and many gay people partake of drugs. But that’s not unique to members of the gay community. Heterosexual people like both as well, but they don’t find themselves defined by either. No, heterosexual people still get to be loving family members, productive members of society, people with intellect and skills, and more. They are viewed as people with a range of emotions and desires. In short, they are viewed with complexity. Meanwhile, gay people have our humanity stripped away by reducing us down to a collection of stereotypes. We’ve been told that we’re sexual deviants who are concerned only with the pleasures of the flesh. We’re not viewed as loving family members (indeed, we’re often viewed as if we aren’t part of families) or contributors to society. That contributes to the demonization and marginalization we face across the world. Characterizing us as deviant, abnormal or “the other” makes it all the easier to deny us the basic rights all humans are entitled to. Such efforts have been occurring for some time now, and the Catholic Church has been responsible for much of it, fighting a culture war against acceptance of gay people. You know, because god hates fags (oops, I’m mixing up my hate-filled religious organizations). Thankfully, in various parts of the world-the best efforts of the Catholic Church and other religious institutions aside-the perception of gay people has seen a progressive (if uneven) evolution. Many who previously saw us in a negative light, have come around to view us more favorably. While far stronger than I and many others would like, the cultural influence of the Church seems to be diminishing. And though the power of the Church in Italy was strong enough to almost completely censor ‘Weekend‘, it wasn’t enough to stifle interest in the movie. In fact, despite being banned in most of Italy’s theaters, the Nottingham-set film proved to be a surprise hit on the 10 screens it was shown on.

Continue reading “Italians had quite the appetite for the ‘Weekend’”

Italians had quite the appetite for the ‘Weekend’

The Orbit welcomes you!

Welcome to The Orbit, a brand spanking new collective of social justice advocating, atheist writers from across the blogosphere! Have you seen the names on the front page? We have some amazing talent onboard. Some of the them are people whom I’ve read many times over the years. Others are people who, I’m sad to say,  were not on my radar until recently (that’s changing though). And then there’s me.

I began my blog (then known as The Shoop’s Roost) just under two years ago as a place to talk about a range of topics, from issues of concern to me to subjects I find entertaining. I didn’t have any aspirations for the blog, aside from the hope that anyone who stumbled across it found something interesting or worth their time. And what do you know-that’s what happened! I’ve been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive responses from readers of the blog. Until a few short months ago, I figured I’d remain in my little corner of the internet doing my own thing.

And then the invite came.

“How would you feel about joining a new online collective of atheist social justice activists?”

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The Orbit welcomes you!

I could use some help

I hate doing this again dear readers, but I’m in dire straits. As many of you know, I’ve been house sitting for a relative for the last few months and I’ll be moving from Pensacola to this place in the near future. I still have to pay water, utilities, and rent for my place in Pensacola and I’ve come up short this month. My roommate just text me and said that our rental agency is demanding this months rent, plus late fees in the next three days or we risk eviction. My portion of the rent plus late fees is $500, of which I currently have $150. If anyone has funds to donate, I would be extremely appreciative.  Thank you. I also have a GoFundMe campaign set up, so if you are not in the position to donate, please spread the word.

Edit: 2/18/16

Thank you to everyone who was able to donate. With your help, I have been able to pay rent this month.  If anyone is still willing and able to assist, I have a few small bills to take care of-utilities and water (totaling $150).  Thanks again to everyone.

I could use some help

Irresponsible Gun Owners of America 12.28.15

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On a regular basis, individuals across the U.S. demonstrate that they are not responsible gun owners. Oh, theymay have passed a background check (or not, bc there are flaws in the federal background check requirement) and obtained a license and/or a permit, but have they demonstrated-prior to owning a gun-that they aren’t an aggressive individual with a hair-trigger temper? Have they shown knowledge of how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence? Do they know how to properly clean a gun or that firearms and alcohol are a bad mix? Do they know how to correctly store a gun (especially in a home with children)? Sadly, a great many people don’t (or if they do, they disregard this knowledge). Which is a shame because there are many people who should never be allowed to own a gun. Like these people:

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Irresponsible Gun Owners of America 12.28.15

The Roost will be down for the next 24 hours or so

Just like the title says. These ridiculous wait times for loading a page on my blog are, well, ridiculous. The Wizard is going to spend the next day tinkering with stuff behind the scenes, so the blog won’t be available, nor will commenting. As soon as this problem is fixed, things will be back up and running, which I need, bc I have an Eclectic Eats waiting to be posted and a new Police Behaving Badly and a few other things.

The Roost will be down for the next 24 hours or so

Pop Culture Link Round Up: Star Wars Edition

 

So there’s this movie coming out later this year. You might have heard of it. It’s part VII in the Star Wars saga and it is set to roll out in theaters on 12/18/15 (two days after my big ’40’). I’m not the world’s biggest Star Wars fan, but I do still enjoy the mythology. I agree with many fans that Episode V is the best of the bunch, I despise Jar Jar Binks with the fiery passion of three exploding stars, I’m not a fan of the Ewoks, I love me some Darth Maul, I think Han shot first, and I liked Episode III. I’ve noticed more and more Star Wars articles and pop culture merchandise lately. I’m not sure if that’s bc there actually is more Star Wars stuff out there, or if it’s observational selection bias on my part (honestly, I think the latter is the case)*. In any case, I wanted to highlight some of the interesting Star Wars related material I’ve seen around the net:

Continue reading “Pop Culture Link Round Up: Star Wars Edition”

Pop Culture Link Round Up: Star Wars Edition