Thursday, May 26, 2016

Three Interesting Things

1. This article looked at some of the obstacles California pharmacies are finding as they move to comply with new legislation to allow some forms of contraception without prescription.
2. I confess I only dabble in some superheroes, but this storify of what recent changes in the comics to Captain America's character means and how it relates to fandom and copyright rules is very interesting.
3. With the warning that this article seems to be incompatible with some browsers, a Massachussets liquor store and fast food chain have been engaging in conversation via sign.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Guide to Being an Actor Cast to Play a Different Race

1. So, here's the thing, actors act.  In theory they play people who do things they would not necessarily do.  Their job is to make the audience believe they are that person.  Is it conceivable that an actor could do that across cultural and racial lines?  Yes, it is conceivable. 
2.  There is a long history of actors playing across racial and cultural lines.  Off the top of my head, Mickey Rooney played Japanese, Madonna played a Latina, a goodly number of white folks have played Middle Eastern Biblical folks, Emma Stone played a multi-racial white, Hawaiian, Asian, woman.  (There's also things where Pacific Islanders are cast as Asians, and vice versa.  Or as Middle Easterners.) 
3. Let's look at the realities. There is not a lack of actors who are Japanese, Latinix, Middle Eastern, and/or multi-racial.  If you want to argue that the casting was color-blind, and you just happened to only cast white people, oh, wait, don't. 
4. The reason it was considered acceptable to cast Mickey Rooney as Japanese for example is racism.  The character is a ridiculous caricature and I would love to believe that no Japanese actor wanted to play him, but let's face it. That's not what happened.
5. Now sure, some characters their racial and cultural background is particularly important to the story.  And sometimes, they might just happen to be so.  All of that is fine.  But if all your characters happen to be so, and all of the actors in your cast are white, um, hi, don't pretend that's all accidental.
6. We could argue that Madonna, for example, felt her experience as a figure who was both loved and hated was more important than her lack of experience as a Latina. We could argue that Emma Stone's character wasn't supposed to look mixed race. 
7. And look, in the end, I don't want to make a hard and fast rule, but...um, hi.  Let's look at how historically people of color have not even been allowed to play themselves in media.  Let's think about that. And say, that sure, someday we might be in a place where everyone is judged by the content of their acting, but we're not there.  And, let's face it, the implicit assumption in there is that there was no one of the correct racial and cultural makeup to play that part, which come on.  Give me a break. 
8. But "Hamilton" you say.  Sure, I love "Hamilton".  And sure, if you want to cast your entire cast color blindly, go for it.  But then, I refer you back to number 3, if you really went all color blind, your cast, especially your main cast, should not be all white.  If it is, I question your color blindness. 
9. And if you are the person who has been cast cross-culturally and/or cross-racially, the answer isn't, well, we look a lot alike, or it doesn't really matter, or skin color isn't the important part.  And that's super extra true if you are saying this as a white actor.  Because, come on. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Three Interesting Things

1. This article looks at what the female dominated list of Nebula winners means about changes in science fiction.
2. This storify of Daniel Jose Older's discusion of what it's like to visit a detention center is powerful.
3. Gene Demby at NPR Code Switch looked at how we talk around whiteness when we talk politics.

Monday, May 16, 2016

When is a Romance Not a Romance?

When it doesn't have a happy ending.  Full stop.  No exceptions.  I know plenty of people like and enjoy media that involves kissing but doesn't promise a happy ending. I have certainly been known to enjoy it myself.  But just as a mystery would not be a satisfying mystery without ever finding out who did it, a romance isn't a romance if they don't end up together.  It can be romantic, heartwarming, and generally enjoyable without being a romance.  Much like the folks attempting to hold back the deterioration of the core meaning of literally, people will show up and defend the appropriate use of the word romance, not because we or they are terrible sticklers, but because as a genre definition it has meaning.  There are many fans who come here seeking that specific resolution, and they are often willing to put up with the wildest of rides, because the ride has a specific endpoint.  It might rip their heart out along the way, but it will deliver them safely to the endpoint. 
And let's face it, it's super easy to come up with ways to describe a story that involves kissing or sex or longing looks or whatever combination of the above that doesn't involve the word romance.  So, if you use the word romance to describe a story that does not fit the genre definition either you have failed to do your research - which makes me concerned in other ways about your storytelling ability - or you are trying to lure romance fans in because you have heard they are large and mighty and you are intentionally trying to trick them - which also makes me concerned for your storytelling ability if you don't even trust it enough to describe it correctly. 
Edited for spelling.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thank You, Mr. Strahan

I've talked about my love for "Live With Kelly and Michael" before. The show in it's various iterations has been a staple of my morning for some time. There were some breaks for jobs with earlier start times, but when I could I watched it. I watched when Regis left.  I watched through the yearlong search for his replacement and had secretly rooted for Michael to get the job (assuming Anderson Cooper wasn't available) because their on air chemistry worked so well.  He was absolutely game during their incredible Halloween episodes.  I was happy to see him pop up on "Good Morning America" (when GMA lost some of their testosterone) and found his attempts to speak with an accent amusing (if terrible).
I noted the decision to move to GMA permanently with mixed feelings, I really liked his participation on Live, but also felt he fit with the GMA team well.  I am sure that the various media reports of the what and the wherefore of the change were slanted and not entirely the whole story, so I hesitate to comment too much (I mean, I have thought, if you want to email me) but in the end, I have seen both shows go through a lot of change and become different yet still interesting versions of themselves, so I am hopeful for more of the same. I do think this means I will get a little less focused Michael of a morning, and I have thoughts about who I hope will replace him on Live, but also am aware that prior to the last big search Michael would not have crossed my mind, so there are likely other great choices I haven't considered.