06 March 2011 @ 05:09 pm
The Adjustment Bureau  
I really enjoyed this movie (not gonna lie, in large part because of its critique of the U.S. political system, and in large other part because Matt Damon is awesome). But now my mind is picking apart the ramifications of the world-building the movie does and whoa. Spoilers for everything in the movie under this cut )
27 December 2009 @ 12:19 pm
[ profile] rivkat has made a wonderful post about Yuletides past: [Yuletide Retrospective], a fascinating read (with links!)

As someone who doesn't participate in Yuletide, I've been fantastically bemused by the complaints about AO3 this year - since I think of the end of December not only as the time when everyone compiles their Yuletide recs, but as the time of year everyone bemoans server issues and uploading glitches and slow access speeds and the like. From out here in the Yuletide hinterlands, this year looks pretty much like all the years past. (Perhaps this is the Yuletide version of Festivus, complete with the traditional airing of grievances?) As [ profile] rivkat's post demonstrates, Yuletide exists despite the servers always experiencing problems, and there being glitches (even hacks!) and all manner of other problems that the administrators tackle with gumption and dedication at an incredibly busy time of year. No matter what, it's a fan-run festival in which thousands of people participate, and which - at root - is held together not by coding, but by goodwill and energy and generosity and time. As a reader - thank you to the writers, the coders, the tag-wranglers, the administrators, the mods; to everyone who makes Yuletide a success year after year despite the challenges it faces. It's truly fandom at its best.
17 December 2009 @ 10:19 am
The Stories We Tell  
Yesterday I read a story at the [ profile] sga_santa community called [Bound to Heart, Bound to Home]. The story is an AU set in the American Midwest after the War of 1812, and follows the fortunes of Sheppard, McKay, Weir, and Lorne as they travel west to lands granted to them, or bought, in northern Illinois. There they meet Teyla and the Athosian people who are, in this story, Native American.

The story modifies the real historical record in several key ways, the most troubling of which was, to me, the erasure of the region's actual Native communities from the narrative. Through the mods of [ profile] sga_santa I approached the author about this issue – we engaged in fairly lengthy conversation about the topic yesterday afternoon and evening.

[ profile] sga_santa, as a gift exchange, operates on the basis of authorial anonymity until after all stories are posted, and both the author and I wish to respect that. The author has, however, given me permission to post my thoughts here, and to reference our email conversation, in the hopes of promoting a larger discussion about historical AUs and the challenges and responsibilities inherent in writing about diverse cultures. What's below the cut necessarily contains spoilers for the story in question – if you'd prefer to read the fic before the analysis below, the title in the first paragraph of this post will take you to the relevant story in the [ profile] sga_santa community.

On Galena, the Ho Chunk, and the Sac and Fox )
06 October 2009 @ 08:45 am
The -Psychological Science- article  
Thanks to [ profile] kayloulee for noticing the article on absorbing historical inaccuracies from films has already been published! I'm mirroring the link she provided; change xx to tt [here].

eta: and let's debunk another common myth while we're here. Reading about a given subject - doing research into the historical authenticity of a film - is fairly easy for everyone reading this, by virtue of the fact that you're . . . reading. Not everyone is similarly equipped to find the relevant information in books or other textual sources. In the U.S., for example, the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (the most recent comprehensive study of adult literacy at the national level) found that at least seven million people, whose first language was English, were completely illiterate. (4 million more couldn't take the test because English was not their first language - while those people may be able to analyze texts in another language, it's not guaranteed that they would have access to texts in their first language here in the U.S.) 30 million Americans had 'below basic' literary skills (meaning they could handle "simple and concrete" texts); 63 million Americans had 'basic' skills (meaning they could "perform simple and everyday literacy activities.") That's an awful lot of people for whom reading is not a remedy for what they've seen in a film.

Results of the literacy study are [here]
05 October 2009 @ 09:37 am
"it's just a TV show!" . . . um, no  
From [ profile] deadbrowalking - A study out of Washington University in St Louis has found that students who watch historical movies in history classes will remember the inaccuracies in those movies as fact, unless they are warned about specific inaccuracies before the movie begins. [There's an overview of the study here] - the full report will be published in Psychological Science later this year.

Let's think about that - for the majority of people to understand that what they're seeing in a fictionalized, historical movie is not fact, they need someone to stand in front of them before the movie and explain, instance by instance, what is untrue, exaggerated, or muddied.

Forget the classroom - how many people have that person standing in front of them before they see Dances with Wolves, or Glory, or Saving Private Ryan, or The Patriot? And how many folks have that person standing in front of them before they see any of the hundreds of television shows that rely on old, gnarly tropes about gender, sexuality, disability, race, and religion?

The next time anyone says anything's "just a TV show!" or "just a movie!" I'm going to bean them in the head with a copy of Psychological Science.
15 February 2009 @ 01:51 pm
SCC 2x14: The Good Wound  
Spoilers ahoy! )
06 October 2008 @ 07:59 pm
The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the wonder of Gender Fuckery  
This wasn't even my favorite episode of the season, and yet - why aren't more people watching this show?! )