PARIS IS BURNING!

What do I love more than learning about a time that existed before I did, the olden golden days if you please? What do I love more than entering people’s lives for an hour or so, absorbing all the details; the culture, the atmosphere, the vibe, the passion, the fear?

Cinnamon buns that’s what.

Oh but I love documentaries, books, films, letters; really anything that allows me a glimpse into another life. I particularly like how they expose me to other things. Whenever I watch or read something I jot down interesting names and details that I would like to read up on later. So often I find myself in a twenty tab rabbit hole wondering how I got there.

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Mr. Fox

When I think of Helen Oyeyemi, imaginative, unconventional and confusing are the first things to come to mind.

My introduction to Ms. Oyeyemi was through her first book Icarus Girl. I do not remember much about the book except that it was quite imaginative and deeply confusing to me. I remember there was a girl who travelled back home to Nigeria, and maybe her name was TITI (I just checked, it’s Jess) and there was a character called Tilly Tilly who I assume was a ghost/figment of her imagination but never really understood.

So when I came across another book from her-Mr. Fox- I debated for a while whether to buy it or not. I expected it to be just as confusing as Icarus Girl. I was wrong about that; it was much more disjointed and unusual.

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Get out…

…leave! right now. It’s the end of you and me….

I just saw Get Out a few hours ago and it is a good film. (I started writing this almost a week ago)

My interest was piqued by the comments I kept seeing about this film. People talked a lot about how the film opened their eyes to the dangers of Black-White interracial dating; oh after watching the film they would never date White girls anymore. People spoke of sightings of interracial couples in the theatre and how awkward that must have been. Even interracial couples wrote about how the film made them feel. There was a girl who joked that black men had stopped hitting on her since the movie came out, and some people took offense to this tweet, accusing the girl of taking racism lightly.

Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to seeing this film. When I found out it had finally come out to a cinema near me, I immediately booked a ticket and went to see it.

I had seen tweets about how the film is best watched in a theatre full of black people. Well the theatre that played it was a small one, we were probably just 20 (or less) people there and most of the people there were white. Still I was so excited to watch it. When an interracial couple walked in-Black man, White woman-I chuckled and thought ooooh it’s lit (or whatever it is young’uns say).

The film was good and I did not feel as if I wasted my money, which is always a good thing. It was however a bit different from what I expected, possibly because I did not watch the trailer. Due to all the discussions about race, I expected it to be more along the lines of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. In short, I expected it to be more awkward. When people said they would not want to go to a White person’s house after seeing the film, I assumed there were lots of awkward, in depth, soul searching conversations about race. When it was said that the film highlights problematic moderate white people, I expected to the white characters to be one of those “I am colour-blind and I don’t see colour it don’t matter if you’re orange or green” kind of people. I expected the white people to be those white allies who truly believe in their hearts that they are good people, who really try to uphold principles of fairness and equality but who still have vestiges of hate and discrimination buried deep within. I expected them to be one of those “I am so sorry you had to go through that ❤️'” people; one of those who ruthlessly attack others for even thinking politically incorrect thoughts; liberals who take offense to everything and seem to be even more outraged than Black people. In short, I expected the characters in the film to be forced to confront their own racism; racism that they may not even have been aware of.I expected them to truly believe they are liberal and then realise that they are not all that better than the alt-right people they condemn.

Or something like that.

But the White people in Get Out aren’t problematic moderate white allies, they know that they are evil and that they are using black bodies for their own advantage. They are not problematic moderate Whites, they are Whites who say cliche things in an attempt to deceive their victims long enough to steal their bodies.

This is not a criticism of the film by the way, just a statement of my expectations prior to seeing the film. Now I know that the film is in the horror-comedy genre, the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner concept does not really work.

Parts of it may hit close to home for some couples. They  may recollect the time they met the family and draw parallels between the two. When the father in the film said he would have voted for Obama three times if he could, the couple may remember when her father said that in real life and cringe.  The film could force them to relive several uncomfortable scenarios and cringe, or laugh. But once the film departs from reality and moves into the hypnosis/transplanting, I feel it becomes less awkward unless that has really happened to you/you fear that it could really happen/or you choose to see a deeper meaning.

Still I just cannot understand how/why this film would make people, who beforehand were okay with it, seriously stop going to white people’s houses or stop dating white women.  Get Out is being hailed as the keel of death for interracial relationships. Never ever would I date a white woman after seeing this film is the general consensus. It was opinions like this that made me expect so much more; if the movie can turn Black men of white women then it must be really deep. Brethren, it was not that deep. It may be uncomfortable to sit there and watch but the film is simply highlighting things we know not telling us anything new. So when you say the film has changed your mind about interracial relationships, are you saying you were unaware of the micro-agressions (first time using this term 💃🏻) beforehand or are you saying that this film has alerted you to the very real possibility of White people hypnotising you and implanting their soul into your body?

I don’t believe the film is serious enough to break a couple up, unless the couple were not really serious in the first place. The worst it could do is further dissuade an already wary person from interracial relationships. But I am a single, non-American woman who went to see the film alone on a Sunday afternoon.so it would be better to hear from those actually in IR relationships. Thankfully someone got the reactions of 11 interracial couples so we don’t have to wonder. Some excerpts:

I was so embarrassed the whole time! I just kept thinking about what other people in the theater were thinking about me and him and our relationship, and I felt uncomfortable…But after the movie, I could just feel eyes on us. You could just feel people looking at us and overhear someone saying, “Man, he has to leave her.”

I was surprised by his reaction. When we walked out of that movie, he probably talked about it for a good two hours and he still has not stopped talking about it.

And as the plot thickened—it was like, Wow, could this really happen to me? As crazy as it sounds, that’s what I thought…If anything starts happening like in these scenes, I will not be sticking around. I will be on the first whatever out of there. Hahaha

The movie just does a really good job of nailing those small indescribable things that make you feel like you’re outside of a group. I agree.

It felt like one of the most honest depictions of that kind of interracial relationship for people in our age group.

It could be that Americans see the film differently, and relate to it more intensely, which is understandable and completely expected. For me it was a nice film which showed snippets of how awkward it is meeting your partner’s family, particularly if they are of a different culture. For me the transplanting is a departure from reality (which it is), however this may affect someone else on a deeper level; a person may look beyond the surface and see that as reality: the exploitation of black people.

 

A teeny part of me suspects that Jordan Peele did not start off with the intention of making a film with a powerful racial message. He probably just wanted a few laughs off of interracial dating and when people said “oh my this is a powerful movie“, he thought oh well let’s play along.

Speculations.

I came home after watching the film and read the articles I had been avoiding for fear of spoilers. I particularly liked this buzzfeed article about the hidden symbolism in the film. The article had me like:

 

The film was not side splitting hilarious, or hair raising terrifying, but it was a good film and I enjoyed every scene. Judging by the smiles and laughter, there was very little awkwardness for the interracial couple, or for any White person in the audience.

Notable mention to actress Betty Gabriel, who plays Georgina; she gave a good performance and I enjoyed watching her.

I don’t know what exactly this post is about. All I know is that I started writing this a week ago and I am tired.

Fun Fact: The writer/director is infact married to a White woman. This fact raised some eyebrows (never mind that his mother is also white) but doesn’t that make it more realistic?

 

 

 

 

 

Mindless rants

What on earth am I doing here?

I was seated in the cinema, watching the highly acclaimed Captain America: Civil War, and that was the only thought running through my mind.

What am I doing here?

I have never been a huge fan of action films, but somewhere along the line of Fast Five and Xmen First Class, I began to think maybe I could actually get into action films. I had never admitted to myself that I hated action films, I don’t think I ever realised. It did not bother me that I often left the cinema rather underwhelmed after watching an action film. I watched Vin Diesel’s Babylon and did not know what on earth the film was about. 2 minutes after watching Denzel’s Safe House and I could not write a one line summary about the film. I only remember lots of shooting and boredom on my end.

Still I thought it’s not the films, it’s me. I am constantly daydreaming and my attention span is oooh a red flowerrrrrr. Besides, they are action films, they are all the same and are meant to be enjoyed not remembered.You watch one action film, you’ve watched three quarters of them all.

Then I went to watch Mission Impossible and it started to occur to me that maybe these movies aren’t for me. It all seemed so terribly hackneyed to me; man gets mission, we all know he is going to succeed on said mission, main does lots of acrobatics; lots of shooting and jumping from tall buildings, insert romance here, insert ticking bomb that will go off in ten seconds unless man is able to detonate it, will he or will he not? will the world be forever destroyed,  insert thirty minute shooting scene here, oh yes he stopped the bomb with 0.002 seconds to spare yaaayyyy.

In all this a few buildings are destroyed, innocent people minding their own business are shot indiscriminately, and all round chaos prevails. Perhaps I am just becoming elderly; old age does have a way of creeping on to you and making everything seem unnecessary.

I simply cannot stand the violence in action films. Every time a security guard is gunned down in the Kremlin, I think that is an innocent man with a family; he probably had dreams and aspirations, he may have just added a new show to his list on Netflix and now he will never get to watch it because Vin Cruise Statham simply had prove that he can sneak in/out of a heavily guarded building.

Violence in action films is so banal. It is normal and entertaining to destroy cities and shoot as many people as possible. On the other side of the spectrum love and sexuality is much more provocative than violence. Fifty babies could be boiled to death in a film and the main topic will be the topless actress.

Aside: I remember an article on the dailymail about a celebrity’s nip slip at the beach. This celebrity’s tiny nipples were covered with huge heavy duty black bars so no one could even glimpse these offending brown dots on her chests. On the same day, there was another article about a bombing I think it was, and the bodies of the victims were displayed in all of their goryness. Here’s a dismembered limb, here’s a burnt torso, here’s a foot, a thigh, a finger. It is so strange that violence and goryness are more palatable than nudity. Something is seriously wrong with us.

Where was I?

Yeah violence in movie, bad.

But everyone was talking about how good Logan was and I was tempted. People said they expected a nice action film but whoa this blew their minds. I thought oh goodie I have to go see this then. After all I do like the Xmen movies and most importantly, in fact the only point here: Boyd Holdbrook is in it. Yummy scrummy Boyd who caught my lustful eye as Steve Murphy in Narcos. I want to watch everything he is in, every interview, every film, every snapchat video, I want to watch the home videos his parents made of him growing up.

I digress once more.

Yeah I convinced myself to go see Logan. Oooh I was so excited……..

Six yawns later…

How did I find myself here once again?

Boyd was sublime of course, but action films are just not for me. The violence in Logan was…a lot. That is to be expected from a man with knives in his knuckles, but goodness mio. Every stab was watched through squinted eyes. I must have squinted too deeply because I fell into a deep slumber and when I roused I quietly rejoined the film, counting the minutes till the film was over.

Logan made me realise another thing I do not care for in action films: they are too loud. All one hears is noise: grunting, shooting, stabbing, groaning, screaming, noise. Give me a nice drama with a storyline, a funny comedy, a funny romance flick, a good horror film (hush your mouths about violence in horror films), a nice silent film, anything but another noisy violent action film.

Xmen is still on my watchlist just off the strength of First Class. Fast and Furious has been out of it every since they started disregarding the laws of nature even by action film standards. In Fast 30, Vin Diesel will stop a Tsunami by drinking all the water, thus saving the world and ooh look it’s a race-car.

 

Let’s talk shameless (A mindless rant about nothing)

I recently started watching this show named Shameless. I had seen a couple tweets about the show but never paid it any mind. I had also seen a few tweets about Frank Gallagher but for some strange reason I just assumed they were referring to the father from The OC (who is named Sandy Cohen which of course is easy to mistake for Frank Gallagher).

This is a long rambling about Shameless. There will be spoilers and lots of whining. Be warned.

I had just finished The Crown, was not getting the satisfaction I desired from Black Mirror, and had completely lost interest in Community after just a few episodes when I came across Shameless. Oh I love Netflix;so many shows and films just there waiting for me to watch. It was on Netflix that I discovered Arrested Development, and for that I will forever be grateful.

The whole point of this post is to discuss the show. As the show was already in its fifth season when I started watching it (I am already in season four), I do not have anyone to discuss it with, and boy o boy I have so much I want to say.

What the fuck is going on in this show?

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To An Athlete Dying Young

On the many occasions that I bemoan the fact that we all have to give up our youth someday in exchange for grey hair and weary bones, I console myself with the thought that old age is preferable to its only other alternative-dying young.

On the surface there might be nothing desirable about dying young-I for one do not want to die ever- but there are situations where it may not be the absolute worst thing. For some people, it is better to die young than to live out old age in ignominy, feebleness and complete dependence on others.

Dying in one’s prime also immortalises a person’s  legacy before the person has a chance to tarnish it or before the person fades out into irrelevance and is forgotten.Many people achieve a lot and then manage to live long enough to ruin these achievements. Life is so fickle; one day you are the most celebrated sportsperson/artist in the world; the next day nobody but the IRS remembers your name. A person who has died in the middle of a standing ovation never has to worry about becoming a has-been.

Thinking of this made me remember one of the first poems I was introduced to in literature class: To An Athlete Dying Young by A.E Housman. The poem is about an athlete who died when the ovation was loudest. It is a beautiful poem and it so aptly describes what it is I am trying to say.

To an athlete dying young

The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the marketplace

Man and boy stood cheering by,

and home we brought you shoulder high

 

Today the road all the runners come

Shoulder-high we bring you home,

and set you at your threshold down

Townsman of a stiller town

 

Smart lad to slip betimes away

From fields where glory does not stay

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose

 

Eyes the shady night has shut

Cannot see the record cut

And silence sounds no worse than cheers

After earth has stopped the ears.

 

Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man

 

So set, before its echoes fade

The fleet foot on the sill of shade

And hold to the low lintel up

The still-defended challenge-cup

 

And round that early laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girls.

 

A. E. HOUSMAN