Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

Iron Man 3 May 6, 2013

Filed under: Movies — Micah Griffin @ 08:38
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I don’t have time to do a bigger review of it and if I wait I’ll forget too much stuff. So here we go.

So, this movie does this really gross thing where it uses physically disabled people as literal weapons. The plot of the movie centers around a series of explosions that no one can explain or stop.

We find out that these explosions are people who are missing limbs. The program can grow limbs back but it might explode you if you can’t figure it out. They also turn you into a super soldier. But if you can’t accept the treatment or get fixed you will explode in a way that leaves nuclear shadows like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seriously. They did that.

None of these bomb people are characters. They are literally all nameless thugs (except for the end boss). Who wasn’t missing any limbs, just couldn’t walk well.

Oh. Quick side note. Tony Stark exhibits signs of PTSD centering around the events of the warp hole in the Avengers. Did they do anything cool with that? No. Not at all. He just freaks out twice. That’s it. He fixes his social anxiety by blowing up all of his iron man suits. So now he’s fine. I’m taking bets on whether or not when he becomes iron man again if he’ll have his anxiety back. I’ll give you my Ultimate Iron Man toy if he does.

Okay. So the next thing is that Tony makes everyone in his life dependent on him. No one can do anything without Tony. Pepper is totally dependent on tony, Rhodes is to a lesser extent dependent on tony to be a super hero near the end of the movie. He refers to her as an object. She’s the thing that’s most important to him. He also refers to fixing her. Like he fixes other stuff in his life. But she isn’t a thing, she’s a person, and you don’t fix people. Pepper gets to wear the iron man suit only to save tony and then tony just kind of takes it from her without knowing if she’s safe or not. It’s a little thing, but annoying. The other female character is really confusing and ends up being shot for absolutely no reason. She’s just not well fleshed out.

So this brings us to the thing that so many people like and I just do not understand in the slightest. Ra’s Al Ghul.

Or the Mandarin. Similar issue. Much worse here though. So they set up Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, a vaguely ethnic bin laden esque character. He’s a brown terrorist taking pictures with loving brown people and small brown kids talking about how evil america is and how it’s going to have justice done upon it. This, of course, causes America to send Don Chedle to attack a bunch of poor brown people (at least he doesn’t actually attack anyone. He just kind of talks to people awkwardly). Anyway, turns out to no one’s surprise that The Mandarin is an actor.

People are applauding this. It just makes me sick. So they movie spends all this time building up this Islamaphobia situation and then, as it turns out, it’s just a rich white dude pulling the strings of people of color (as tends to happen in these super hero movies). So here we are where brown people have no agency and get to take the blame for the evil actions of white men, and this is in no way examined. They just leave it out there. I’m just so confused as to why people are so excited, like “I’m so happy that the brown people were just pawns and there’s going to be no end of political fallout from this and inside this country there aren’t going to be untold number of brown people who are harassed and killed as a response to this bogey man brown person! YAY!”

Remember just a few weeks back when Reddit falsely identified random brown person as the dude who planted bombs at the marathon? Remember what happened? Remember the brown dude who was running away from the bomb and the white people tackled him and detained him until the police could detain and interrogate him even though he had nothing to do with anything because we just assumed because he was brown that he had something to do with it? Remember when that white dude shot up a Sikh temple last year? Remember all the rhetoric spouted about how we have to take away rights from any Muslims and spy in their mosques and tap their phones and all that? How easily we forget. So when, in Iron Man 3, they set up fake brown terrorist as the fall guy for their weapons (which let’s not forget, are people. Not people with bombs strapped to them. But they are people, who were previously missing limbs, and then they explode. They’re objects) misfiring.  That’s it. It’s not smart commentary. It’s trafficking in the same racism people claim they’re satirizing or whatever. They didn’t flip anything on any heads anywhere.

They turn physically disabled people into bombs with no agency of their own. Pepper Potts needs to be locked in stark’s place to be protected. She gets weak kneed at white guy villain being totally creepy and going sexual harassment at her. Then when she doesn’t need protection any more Tony has to fix her. And fictional brown terrorist just shows that brown people can really only get roles as terrorist. Oh, I love the scene where all the girls in the generic middle eastern clothes plant are soo greatful to the american robot for freeing them. The fact that the person in charge was blonde explodey girl doesn’t make anything better at all, because recycling the image of poor brown girls being thankful for american militaries coming in to destroy their worlds is still disgusting.

So yeah, I hated Iron Man 3. A lot. And I’m not fighting with you about this.


Ableism in the dissemination of information on Deaf music cultures April 21, 2012

Filed under: Social Commentary — Micah Griffin @ 19:33
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1. My apologies if this comes off as some privileged idiot figuring out something disadvantaged people have known about forever now that it’s inconveniencing me. Feel free to yell at me if I make you angry. Or reply politely. Either way is cool with me. Or do something completely different. Don’t let me box you in.

Okay. So I’m working on a short story that sort of revolves around music and also revolves around a deaf character. I was just looking up general information about working deaf musicians and schools and a bunch of other information and, there’s not a whole lot out there. It goes from angelfire sites to yahoo answers to academic papers that I have to pay for. I was looking for information by deaf people or hard of hearing people and wasn’t getting a whole bunch. There are so many first hand accounts of hearing people talking about music and music education and meaningful impact and stuff, why so hard to find deaf musician information. Shoot, even just finding modern deaf musicians is difficult. (then I found a bunch of white people and two black rappers). The few schools I found info on were totally all white, which brings up other issues entirely.

This got me thinking about the networks and avenues of finding information. We know there’s a problem with representation of disabled people in general in our society, but it just kind of stuck me how far reaching the impact of that is. People pay lip service to Beethoven, and it ends there. It’s kind of a joke. Not kind of. It’s actually really awful. I get a little sad in my gut (actually near the kidney area) when I think about all the people who don’t have good opportunities because they can’t hear. Like, if I decided to right now go cut an album I could. All the tools are free and available and designed for my working ears to use. If you didn’t have a background in music and also couldn’t hear you have to put in that much more work in order to be able to accomplish the same things. I know it’s like that with everything for deaf people, but that’s stupid and wrong.

Back to me. Being someone who really enjoys speculative fiction and is loving how there are more and more good books around people of color and LBGTQQIA+ characters and all that. But now that I started looking into this whole disabled thing I’m unsettled again. Yeah, there are often blind characters but they’re often old or troped all the way the hell out. They’re probably an awesome assassin or they’re only daredevil blind (y’know, blind but actually able to see everything through awesome sensory powers that give him sight). [Note: Shoutout to N.K. Jemisin for being super awesome.] I can’t think of the last deaf character I read in a fantasy/sci-fi book. There are some physical handicapped people like Peeta after the first Hunger Games book. Still, not a lot of those. Closest we get are old people who need a walking stick and can’t walk fast. I got up in a huff last year when DC comics decided to take Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair and make her Batgirl again leaving the total number of physically disabled characters at DC at the incredibly high number of zero (0).

So I don’t even know what this post is about anymore. I think it’s about how I’m sure deaf people get along just fine, because they do. I know they do for a fact. I know them in my life. But I also know that there should be a bunch of information and tools and stuff to even out the playing field and such, and there isn’t. And that’s stupid. And there should be more representation, and there isn’t so that’s dumb. And I need more deaf musician blogs to make my life easier, cause this is seriously so about me.


DC COMICS REBOOT: Culture Crisis. June 6, 2011

Much ado has already been made about the DC Universe reboot that is coming in September.  I’m not going to drag on forever and ever about this, but I will say that I don’t care. I wish Marvel would do this too, because it ultimately is good press for the industry and doesn’t matter even a little bit. There is a universe changing event in DC almost every year now, this is no different.The one thing that always happens with these events is that the changes only last as long as either sales or creative teams do. A new writer comes in and wants to put their stamp, or work with the old status quo and it is allowed. If the sales go down those changes disappear as well.

They’ve annouced a few handful of books so far and some little to no info on each of them. Some of the stuff is sending fans into a frenzy. I will admit to being caught up with that as well, but now upon further reflection I feel a little stupid. There are certain messages being sent here whether DC wants them to be sent or not. These things are awful. DC needs someone better in their PR department than anyone they currently have. They need to think deeply about the decisions they make and the ramifications of them. It is clear that they often don’t.

The two things that get me most angry could be changed or explained away very quickly and easily. Barbara could become oracle in the first issue of the new Batgirl. She could be shot down at the very beginning and be put right back in the wheelchair. They may choose to do that and then be all like “See! we didn’t change that aspect of the character!” The problem with that is they would have spent the three to four months prior to this saying that there is no need for strong physically disabled characters for people to identify with. That is just not well thought out.

The next one is quite literally a bigger problem. Batwing, a character making his first appearance in the pages of Batman, Inc., is dubbed “The Batman of Africa.” Before we get started, yes, Bruce Wayne would be the “Batman of the United States of America.” That’s all well and good but the USA has four billion super heroes in it (99% of which are white) and really spends all of his time in Gotham City. When not in Gotham there is a Robin, the Birds of Prey, and other less popular heroes to stay in Gotham and keep the streets only slightly grimy. While our buddy batwing may only serve in one city in Africa when the book starts there is the problem of spending four months (and maybe more) calling this dude the freaking Batman of Africa! OF AFRICA! The whole damned continent. It’s HUGE. It’s bigger than the United States. It’s bigger than Europe and Canada and South America. How Big Is Africa?! So this is something that needs fixed. Africa is not one country, it is a Continent, with many different countries in it, and many different people.  It’s not just where all the Negroes of the world came from and need to go back to, and people need to stop acting like that’s what it is. This shit is just insulting.

Later on I’m going to go through all of the titles DC announced and say something about each of them, but for now I’ll just say that DC is doing a crap job with how they’re marketing this. If you want to be mad about this stuff, then go ahead and be mad. Just don’t get mired down in the fake discussions of how important resetting the universe is on a continuity level, because DC has proved how unimportant it is time and time again. This is just another Crisis with social problems all of it’s own.