Malinda Lo (via arcadiaego)
#yeah i think straight ppl sometimes assume the world can be sorted into homophobes and queer allies #which no it isn’t that fucking simple #and it’s a really dangerous assumption to make b/c you can support equal marriage and have queer friends and queer relatives #and yet still perpetuate heteronormative ideals on a daily fucking basis (via electricskeptic)
If there’s one thing that most fans of Star Trek will agree on, it’s the fact that Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the show — and, more optimistically, for human society — was predicated on the idea that all life is valuable, and that the worth of a person should not be judged by their appearance. Much of this was done through the old sci-fi trope of using aliens to stand in for oppressed groups, but Star Trek didn’t rely on the metaphor; it had characters who were part of the ensemble, important and beloved members of the Enterprise crew, who were people of colour. It had background characters who were people of colour. And, here and there, it had anti-heroes and villains who were people of colour … one of whom, Khan Noonian Singh, became well-nigh iconic.
Image 1: “Who is your favorite villain?” ; Actor John Cho (Lt Sulu) answers.
Image 2: TOS Khan looking at a watercolor of himself. Yes, he’s wearing a dastar (Sikh turban)
Image 3: Cumberbatch and Montalbán (as Khan)
And who is now being played by white actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the new JJ Abrams reboot movie, Star Trek: Into Darkness.
We’re all cynical and jaded enough to know the standard dismissal when it comes to matters of media representation: Paramount Pictures and most film studios are not interested in diversity or visibility, they only care about the bottom dollar. Star Trek as a franchise is too much of a juggernaut to affect with boycotts. There are too many people who love it, who love those characters and that world, and will go to see the movie. And for some of these people, this devotion to the idea of a future where even South and East Asian men get to pilot a starship and love swashbuckling, where Black women make Lieutenant on the Enterprise and actually get the boy, will be trivialized and eroded and whitewashed when the most formidable and complex Star Trek baddie becomes a white man named Khan.
It wasn’t perfect in the 60s when Ricardo Montalbán was cast to play Khan (a character explicitly described in the episode script of Space Seed as being Sikh, from the Northern regions of India). But considering all of the barriers to representation that Roddenberry faced from the television networks, having a brown-skinned man play a brown character was a hard-won victory. It’s disappointing and demoralizing that with the commercial power of Star Trek in his hands, JJ Abrams chose not to honour the original spirit of the show, or the symbolic heft of the Khan character, but to wield the whitewash brush for … what? The hopes that casting Benedict Cumberbatch would draw in a few more box office returns? It’s doubly disappointing when you consider that Abrams was a creator of the television show Lost, which had so many well-rounded and beloved characters of colour in it.
Add to this the secrecy prior to release around Cumberbatch’s role in the film, and what seems like a casting move that would typically be defended by cries of “best actor for the job, not racism” becomes something more cunning, more malicious. Yes, the obfuscation creates intrigue around and interest in the role, but it also prevents advocacy groups like Racebending.com from building campaigns to protest the whitewashing. This happened with the character of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, as well as ‘Miranda Tate’ in The Dark Knight Rises, who ended up being Talia al Ghul but played by French actress Marion Cotillard. This practice is well in effect in Hollywood; and after the negative press that was generated by angry anti-oppression activists and fans when Paramount had The Last Airbender in the works, studios are wising up. They don’t want their racist practices to be called out, pointed at, and exposed before their movies are released — Airbender proved that these protests create enough bad feeling to affect their bottom line.
So the studio has now found a way to keep it secret and underhanded. Racebending.com was there for most of the production of The Last Airbender, and were even able to correspond with Paramount Pictures about it. This time, for Star Trek: Into Darkness, their hiding and opaque practices has managed to silence media watchdogs until the movie’s premiere.
As I said, this racist whitewashing of the character of Khan won’t affect how much money this Trek movie makes. And I’m happy that the franchise is popular, still popular enough to warrant not only a big-budget reboot with fantastic actors but also a sequel with that cast. I’m happy that actors I enjoy like Zoë Saldaña and John Cho are playing characters who mean so much to me, and that they, in respect for the groundbreaking contributions by Nichelle Nichols and George Takei in these roles, have paid homage to that past.
But all of that will be marred by having my own skin edited out, rendered worthless and silent and invisible when a South Asian man is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch up on that screen. In the original Trek, Khan, with his brown skin, was an Übermensch, intellectually and physically perfect, possessed of such charisma and drive that despite his efforts to gain control of the Enterprise, Captain Kirk (and many of the other officers) felt admiration for him.
And that’s why the role has been taken away from actors of colour and given to a white man. Racebending.com has always pointed out that villains are generally played by people with darker skin, and that’s true … unless the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity. One who garners sympathy from the audience, or if not sympathy, then — as from Kirk — grudging admiration. What this new Trek movie tells us, what JJ Abrams is telling us, is that no brown-skinned man can accomplish all that. That only by having Khan played by a white actor can the audience engage with and feel for him, believe that he’s smart and capable and a match for our Enterprise crew.
What an enormous and horribly ironic step backwards. For Star Trek, for media representation, and for the vision of a future where we have transcended systemic, racist erasure.
Apologies for the terrible image quality - I’m lacking scanner access at the minute so I had to take these photos on my phone
I was reading hyperbole and a half’s blog entry explaining their experience of depression and decided to make another sketchy comic based on my experiences with anxiety, which is another mental illness I think people tend to misunderstand quite frequently
Hopefully this will be of use to some people - whether they suffer from anxiety themselves or if they just want to know more about it
This is so true its painful. Just wow. As someone who has only recently been diagnosed, I can say this is so accurate, and if you don’t know what’s wrong, its so so hard to deal with.
Well, it does kind of measure your socioeconomic status and your race though. Which is how it turns from just being a money scam to a racist and classist test that helps to exclude the poor/ POC from top ranked schools and programs.
Robot from Gunnerkrigg Court. Fanart… Saturday? Is it technically Sunday now?
Someone on the internet declared this week Gunnerkrigg Court Appreciation Week, and I had to comply. It’s a damned good comic, and Tom is a damned fine storyteller. Read it if you haven’t already!
Nearly drew Elgamore because of my oft-mentioned love of Stupidly Tall Dudes With Stupidly Broad Shoulders, but Robot won out in the end. I was immediately charmed by his new design when it was introduced; it’s simple and humanoid while remaining kind of alien and mechanical. I’m super interested in seeing his future incarnations, he’s emotionally becoming more human as he physically becomes more human.
[edit: dang, I left out the red stripe on his pants, that’s the coolest detail, how did I manage to leave that out >:( ]
[edit2: okay, fixed it]
Really good :]
Po Finds the Truth | Kung Fu Panda 2 OST
The scene with Po and his mama… T^T
Coinciding with his current exhibition at Fifty24SF, Barcelona-based street artist Aryz recently painted a mural in San Francisco in collaboration with public art organization WallspaceSF. Titled “The Style is the Limit,” Aryz’s solo show explores the idea of artists setting limitations on their own creativity in order to develop an individual style. The show features new paintings as well as studies and a sculpture. These small-scale works inform Aryz’s process in creating his enormous, surreal outdoor works. Take a look at the completed mural and some process shots below and check out some of Aryz’s other recent murals and photos from his studio below.