matociquala: (criminal minds garcia plan b)
[personal profile] matociquala
So last night, I lay awake in bed for hours, feeling a bit brutalized because of a very funny, very apt, very smart deconstruction of The Phantom Menace that had a lot of smart clever things to say about constructing a narrative.

It was also, not incidentally, misogynist.

In small ways, and in great. Mentioning that a character complains like a girl. Calling C-3p0 "effeminate" as if that were a bad thing. Illustrating and adding violence against women as a running gag.

You know what?

I do not actually think those jokes were intended to hurt me. I think they were intended to be funny.

And yet, they left me feeling like a bad person. They left me lying awake at night, wondering why people hated me because I happen to be female.

And I realized, they don't. The people who make these jokes do not realize that they make me feel bad, or wrong, or toxic simply for having been born female, or queer. They don't actually mean to make black or Asian or Latino or Middle Eastern people feel less human. They are just... made a little uncomfortable by difference.

And so they alienate it.

And they don't realize that they are alienating me. A human being. Somebody who will lie awake at night wondering why they hate her.

Tonight, I am watching the Oscars.

I have watched Seth MacFarlane make jokes about women and blacks as if we are not people with hearts.

I have watched Ang Lee and Samuel Jackson and Halle Berry and Shirley Bassey and Salma Hayek and a dozen others be beautiful and gracious, and I have to think--

--as Ang Lee said--




I still want to punch Seth MacFarlane in the face. A song about Meryl Streep's boobs? Really Seth? Where's the song about Ewan McGregor's dick?


I know you do not mean to hurt me. I know you do not mean to make me feel less than human.

But sometimes you do.

Oh, you do.

And you, Seth, are not the first one.

Date: 2013-02-25 04:50 am (UTC)
ext_12542: My default bat icon (Default)
From: [identity profile]
This has been an amazingly unfunny presentation and it seems to be exactly the style of humor that has made him popular. :(

Date: 2013-02-25 04:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is an indication of how tuned out to popular culture I am that it was surprising tome to feel so reviled.

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Date: 2013-02-25 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They are just... made a little uncomfortable by difference.

And so they alienate it.

Yes. This.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Exactly. I'd leave out the diminutive qualifier.

Date: 2013-02-25 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are a very generous Bear. They don't mean to hurt, they just refuse to recognize that they have any obligation to care if they hurt us or not. they dont think about us at all, except as material. And, honestly, at this stage in history, there's no excuse to not know better.

Date: 2013-02-25 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hm. "Didn't mean it," is striking me as increasingly problematic.

Over the last couple of years, I've had a number of interactions - all, as it happens, with white men - where they said something I found really hurtful. Look, okay, people make mistakes all the time, things happen. If you say something offensive, and someone points out that yeah, that was offensive, if you did so by accident, you stop, apologise, and express your embarrassment and horror at being so thoughtless... or whatever the situation merits. It's not always embarrassment and horror. But these things happen, we work them out, mistakes aren't a huge problem, and life goes on.

So, I told them that they found it really hurt... and their responses were to tell me that it wasn't hurtful, and that there was something wrong with me if I found it hurtful and that I was making too big a deal of it.

In one of the cases, it was a person who has been increasingly behaving like an asshole to me (while being proprietary about my time) and after he threw a fit about how I was being mean and hurting him by telling him that something he'd said to me was hurtful (no really)... I just stopped spending time with him. Done. (Later to be followed up by trying to pick fights with me in my blog and hate-o-grams. Yeah, he's got the big boy pants.) The other... it was several really difficult months in there, but eventually we got to a mutual understand that when I express concern about something, ducking responding to my point by dismissing, devaluing and belittling what I said is not okay. Recently he encouraged me to remind him, if this sort of thing comes up, that it's not about what he meant, but what he did.

(BTW, as frustrating as the experience has been, I'm really impressed by the changes he's made.)

Anyhow, the whole thing has left me a lot more cynical about the idea that they didn't mean it. When pointed out, do they immediately say "OMG, that didn't occur to me, I'm so sorry"? If not... well, I kind of think they meant it. Or at least, they think their right to do and say whatever they want is a lot more important than anyone else.

"Didn't mean it." means "My intention is more important than your experience (even if I didn't think about it at all)."

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Date: 2013-02-25 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Is that why I feel vaguely depressed after watching?

Date: 2013-02-25 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You feel vaguely depressed because somebody has just been paid a whole fucking lot of money to hate you on television, and some people don't think there's anything wrong with it.

And many other people will busily tell you that if you had a sense of humor, you could appreciate being the butt of the joke.

Date: 2013-02-25 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
After spending the day celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim, his anti-Semitic comments were particularly stomach-churning for me. I wish I could tell my girls that this pathology is old-fashioned, but bigots like McFarlane keep it alive.

Date: 2013-02-25 05:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am just so sad right now.

I know this kind of ignorance is not the majority.

But ow.

(I missed the anti-Semitic comments. I may have been fetching more alcohol. :-P What did he say?)

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Date: 2013-02-25 05:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He was right down there with David Letterman, vying for the Razzie for Worst Academy Awards Host Ever (or at least in the forty-plus years I've been watching the show). I hope they get enough complaints that he never gets to come back.

Date: 2013-02-25 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The boobs song was a very bizarre attempt to have one's cake and eat it. Because with the conceit of how they did it (with Capt. Kirk and Time Travel), they presented it as, "This is a terrible, bad, horrible tasteless joke that should not be done"... but yet, there it was, actually still done.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah. If you know the joke is awful and unfunny, don't make it.

Date: 2013-02-25 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
... Isn't Bruce Vilanch still head writer for the Oscars? o_O

I haven't been watching. I keep thinking of Coldheart Canyon, and wish I hadn't gotten rid of my copy so I could open it to the relevant pages about the Oscars... "the Night of Nights, the Show of Shows... the circus..." (Beginning of Chapter One of Part Four)

I didn't even change channels to take a look this year (if I had any horses in this race, it's not like they'd win anyway). I figure next year around this time I might have me a Terry Gilliam marathon.

As I've gotten older, I wonder whether Threepio was meant to be an ethnic caricature. He's fussy and subservient and British-sounding, yes, but at some point I had the notion he was a caricature (intentional or not, and no idea if it's the writing or the performance or both) of an Indian, not, I dunno, someone English and/or gay?

Date: 2013-02-25 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not really into Star Wars, you've now made me wonder whether Threepio was a caricatured allegory about stereotypes and the connection/lack of connection between "gender-appropriate behaviour" and sexual preference.

Some of "his" characteristics could be labelled effeminate - but then "he" isn't a male.

Threepio is very like a parody of the character-type that the British used to label "A bit of an old maid" - but he's not an aging spinster or "confirmed batchelor" either. He's an It.

Do the films ever show other robots of that type? I'm wondering if they are all the same - and whether the films ever show the designer?

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Date: 2013-02-25 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the wol (from
That kind of "humor" smacks of the cult of "machismo" and that whole "good ol' boy" thing that will put my back up quicker than quick. It's obnoxious, sophomoric, brutish and moronic. (I would add "tasteless," but that's a bit much to expect from that crowd). They must have pitched the Oscars to the Honey BooBoo and Duck Dynasty crowd. I knew there was a reason I didn't watch it.


Date: 2013-02-25 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I am of the XX genre and I think "effeminate" is a very, very bad thing to be, first for women, and the more so for men, though it doesn't bother me from men (amuses me a lot actually) while I feel it extremely annoying from women (probably because I expect better behavior from them). To be clear, I deem the conventional "male' values to be in fact universal values, which are commonly practiced by women and much more rarely by men.


Date: 2013-02-25 02:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I disagree. People have the right to determine their own gender performance, and it's not up to the rest of us to dictate to them how they should present themselves, or ot pass any judgment on their performance.

People have sovereignty over themselves. Full stop.

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Date: 2013-02-25 10:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't seen the Oscars, but I know enough of McFarlane's work (he's the Family Guy one, isn't he?) that I suspect if he were called on it he'd say it was "ironic." Possibly with air quotes, which would also be "ironic." And so on.

I think that "ironic" has become an excuse for quite a lot of old-fashioned douchebaggery, if that's the word I'm groping for, and I'm very much afraid we started it, with the egregious Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part. I don't believe for a moment that the writers and producers of that show did not know--did not factor into their deliberations--that a vast sector of the population of Britain would hear Garnett's vile racism and sexism and take him to their hearts as "one of us," "telling it like it is." I think they expected that and were happy to get the increased viewing figures. I think Peter Griffin in Family Guy, like Homer in The Simpsons, is a direct descendant of Garnett, and that his writers cynically play both ends against the middle, making the unregenerate laugh with hate-based humour and then turning round to the rest of us with a broad grin (and fingers crossed behind the back) and saying "Hey, come on, it's ironic! Can't you take a joke?"

Personally, I never could take that kind of joke. Or that kind of duplicity.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hipster racism is still racism. Yeah.

The thing is, you can use humor to illustrate douchebaggery--All In The Family style--but that works because you show the douchebaggery and undermine it.

*sigh* This that ain't.

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Date: 2013-02-25 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Blogging this. Thanx.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. Namaste.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's a reason why I don't watch the Oscars (or most other award shows). Crassness, stupidity, and being stuck in a past I remember all too well is a large part of it.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seth McFarlane is a dick and I hate his animated work. It's ugly, vicious, and tears people down. I dislike Adam Sandler for much of the same reason, and go out of my way to avoid both of them.

Date: 2013-02-25 03:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-02-25 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmm. I don't recognize Seth McFarlane's name. I recognize all those other people you mentioned, though.

I kinda think that's the justice of the universe.

Date: 2013-02-25 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't watched the Oscars in years. I generally check the lists of winners and the pictures of the clothes. Possibly some highlight videos. They sure seem to have made some very poor host choices. Eww. I'm glad I didn't watch that.

I think about the only thing they could do that would get me to watch the awards would be to have George Takei host!

Date: 2013-02-25 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am not supporting what Seth MacFarlane says, but I think it was plain that his 'comedy' was precisely what was wanted--because he has been 100% consistently misogynistic in all his animated programs. One viewing of "The Family Guy" will prove it.

It's hard to fault him for putting out the product he's established and known for. It makes more sense to condemn the programmers at The Oscars who HIRED him, letting them know this sort of humour is not appreciated by at least 50% of their audience.

Men are often oblivious to what they're saying as being 'hurtful' or 'offensive'--I don't know how many times I've had to specify to MALE FRIENDS who claim they were "just kidding" how very inappropriate it is to make jokes about the sex or the bodies of women who have been assaulted/raped/attacked by other men.

One of these same guys one night pointed out a bumper sticker that was about having an Autistic child...and he said, "Shouldn't the letters in that sticker be jumbled around?" Turns out he thought it was about DYSLEXIA and when I told him that was a hateful joke either way, HE was offended I said so.

Grey :}

Date: 2013-02-25 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My theory -- people, especially inadequate people, want to feel more powerful. So they steal other people's power, by making them feel ashamed and Outside and less powerful.

My theory in a brief nutshell.

Date: 2013-02-25 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah. I was eager to see it because macFarlane is a big favorite of my niece. Jordin and I kept looking at each other going, "Really?"

I recently explained to someone that simply because he hadn't intended a remark to be offensive didn't mean it wasn't.


Date: 2013-02-26 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Really quite glad I missed this. (Got an email from a friend about the anti-semitism, signed on to the Internet after an extended absence, and everything snowballed from there.)

It makes me feel rather ill.

Date: 2013-02-26 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ill is a good word.

I dunno why I even watched it; I usually don't.

Bias confirmed.

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Date: 2013-02-26 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I can't really urge you to aspire to a state which is still a distant goal for myself, but I aspire to be compassionate and dispassionate enough to see through all that to the terrible fear(s) underneath. I'm affected differently when I can see it like that.

Date: 2013-02-28 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
:: listens ::

Date: 2013-02-28 03:05 pm (UTC)

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