Quotes: How There’s Still Any Hesitancy to Front Women Characters in [Movie] Franchises

Among John Scalzi’s thoughts on the Wonder Woman movie are these observations:

“[…] it’s worth noting that only one other film has outgrossed Wonder Woman domestically so far this year, and that’s Beauty and the Beast, another woman-focused film, and the one film remaining on the theatrical schedule this year that will outgross it will be The Last Jedi, which also has a woman as the protagonist […]

”The real issue here, to my mind, is how there’s still any hesitancy to front women characters in franchises, superhero or otherwise. There’s pretty clearly no significant financial penalty for doing so if your franchise is already up and running and your marketing is focused; honestly, at this point there’s only upside, if you manage to make the film better than its male-focused franchise siblings. That upside is perceptual in the short run, as it largely was here with Wonder Woman. But in the long run it’s likely going to add to your franchise financial bottom line. [original emphasis]”

– John Scalzi

Hear, hear. Although, I find I’m absent-mindedly wondering whether Scalzi’s conclusion would hold over the past few years’ worth of movies as well as for 2017. In the end, though, I’m much more interested in the movies themselves.

Scalzi, John. “Wonder Woman: A Smash, Possibly in Different Ways Than You Think.” Whatever, August 03, 2017.

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Quotes: A Question that Pretty Much No One Actually Asked to Be Answered

Aaron Pound at Dreaming About Other Worlds reviews the Star Wars movie Rogue One and includes this delicious bit of analysis:

“The obvious slicing and dicing of the intrigue and adventure in the early parts of the movie would be forgivable is [sic] one were able to think that it was done simply to try to cram as much of that as possible into the story, but instead the movie keeps shifting away from Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO and the rest of the intrepid rebels to focus on what can only be described as the deadly dull office politics of the Imperial Officer class. In large part, all these scenes really do is provide a really long-winded answer for the question ‘How did Grand Moff Tarkin become the commander of the Death Star’, which is a question that pretty much no one actually asked to be answered.”

– Aaron Pound

Reader, I LOLed. 🙂

Pound, Aaron. “Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Dreaming About Other Worlds, June 01, 2017.

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Quotes: My dear admiral, that post!

Admiral and Mrs. Croft, out driving in their one-horse chaise have come across a group of their acquaintances walking and offered to give a ride to one of them. Anne Elliot joins them.

“Very good-humoured, unaffected girls, indeed,” said Mrs. Croft… “and a very respectable family. One could not be connected with better people.—My dear admiral, that post!—we shall certainly take that post!”

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself, they happily passed the danger; and by once after judiciously putting out her hand, they neither fell into a rut nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined not a bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the cottage.

– Jane Austen, Persuasion

 

One of the loveliest descriptions of marriage I have ever read: we make up for one another’s eccentricities and, however strange we may look to anyone else, we get where we’re going in the end.

Austen may be famous for her romantic pairings like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, or Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon, but I think Admiral and Mrs. Croft are one of her best images of real marital happiness.

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Quotes: When Stories Clashed, One Had to Be Eliminated

“One way or another the story was always about one story moving against another. When stories clashed, one had to be eliminated. That was the story of people. The government moved against the people. The military needed to take over a land or another resource because people only had limited value as a resource. The authorities burned down villages, separated families, forced them into labor or battle or sex. Men, women, children faced elimination so they ran away, ran away, ran away.”

– “The Volunteer” by Maurice Broaddus

This excerpt comes from a speculative short story, but it’s all too realistic. Sadly it seems that the current trend of whitewashing western history is nothing but the latest round of history-shaping through the shaping of people’s stories.

Doctor Who Thin Ice Gif 3of3

Doctor Who: “History is a whitewash.”

(From the Doctor Who episode “Thin Ice,” s. 10, ep. 3, written by Sarah Dollard.)

And when I say current, I mean roughly the last 100-150 years, because we’re presently dealing with not just the attitudes immediately surrounding us, but also with those of the latest two or three generations—history handed down to us by our parents and grandparents.

Nonetheless, pretty much as long as there’s been written history, we have references to various groups (re)framing other peoples‘ stories to legitimize conquest, enslavement, or other kind of dominance, or sometimes as propaganda against current (or past) adversaries.

Broaddus, Maurice. “The Volunteer.” In The Voice of Martyrs. Greenbelt, MD: Rosarium, 2017, p. 107.

Image via Ninon / amanitacaplan on Tumblr

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Quotes: Women’s Emotional Lives Do Not Revolve around Men

“It strikes me as unusual and as noteworthy that we should see two such dissimilar films [Moana and Arrival] foreground so strongly connection between women across generations within a family. To acknowledge that women’s emotional lives do not revolve around men, and also acknowledge a strong family component, without reducing the female characters to people who have no emotional lives outside their family concerns.

“These films are also really good speculative fiction. So I recommend them.”

– Liz Bourke

ALL. OF. THIS!

SO. MUCH!

Bourke, Liz. “Sleeps with Monsters: Intergenerational Female Influences in Arrival and Moana.” Tor.com, May 23, 2017.

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Quotes: Sometimes Silence Is the Greatest Wisdom

“’I think I’m supposed to say something, but I don’t know what,’ he said.

“’Then don’t say anything. Sometimes silence is the greatest wisdom.’”

– The volunteer and N’Kya in “The Volunteer” by Maurice Broaddus

Oh, so much this. Not only because I think it’s true, but because it reminds me of a cultural difference that’s highly personal to me. In my culture, silence is definitely seen differently than in the U.S. Over the years, I’ve struggled to explain it. This is the closest I’ve come so far:

For a Finn to be silent isn’t an indication of inattention or rudeness; far from it. Silently listening is a sign of interest, i.e., not interrupting before the other speaker has had a chance to finish. Silence means attention to the topic and respect towards another person’s life and space. (Finns need a larger bubble of personal space than other Europeans.) And silence can also be an indication of deep camaraderie.

In essece, then, silence means space, and space means respect.

Broaddus, Maurice. “The Volunteer.” In The Voice of Martyrs. Greenbelt, MD: Rosarium, 2017, p. 103.

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Quotes: First-Name Basis with Your Information Professional

“If you are on a first-name basis with your information professional, you are one of the smartest people in your company.

“If you are on a first-name basis with your information professional, you value your time.

“If you are on a first-name basis with your information professional, you are saving your company money.

“If you are on a first-name basis with your information professional, you value accurate, timely information.

“If you are on a first-name basis with your information professional, you know the importance of information and where to get the most bang for your buck.”

– Gloria Zamora

Gloria Zamora, past President for the Special Libraries Association, counterargues the claim that knowing your librarian by name means spending too much time in the library. Humbug, I say, to that erroneous argument! Not to mention balderdash, baloney, bunk, drivel, hogwash, malarkey, and poppycock. 🙂

Zamora, Gloria. “On a First-Name Basis with Value.” Information Outlook, vol. 13, no. 07 (October/November 2009), p. 3.

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Quotes: In the Hopes that They Will Be Able to Pass for One of the Glintelligentsia

“The Merita hotel chain offers rooms at a steep discount to people whose Information shows that they are interesting: as cocktail-chatter counterparts, as connections for enterpreneurs, as potential romantic partners. It’s a strategy to convince wealthier, duller clientele to pay a premium in order to share some sparkling conversation, or in the hopes that they will be able to pass for one of the glintelligentsia themselves.”

– Malka Older, Infomocracy

I just love the word glintelligentsia! It should be in mainstream use already. 🙂

Older, Malka. Infomocracy. New York, NY: Tor.com, 2016, p. 77.

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Quotes: Art Does More than Repackage Reality with a Fun-House Twist

Author Becky Chambers argues the case for optimism in art and twines it with history:

“Optimism is important not just for the future as a whole, but for the individuals heading toward it. Again, a duality comes into play: Acting in the interest of individual need without considering the greater good breeds carelessness and greed. Acting in the interest of the greater good without considering individual need invites tragedy and injustice. You have to work with both considerations in mind. So it matters little whether an optimistic story is intended for the purpose of grand, ambitious change or simply to make a person feel better than they did before they sat down to read (or watch, or play). Those are two sides of the same coin.

“History tells us that art is—and has always been—a mirror. It shows us who we are, where we’re at, what’s at stake. But art does more than repackage reality with a fun-house twist. There’s nothing passive about a reflection. If you aim it right, it shines light back. In the times we’re in, there are few things we need more.”

– Becky Chambers

Chambers wrote this as an opinion piece for The Book Smugglers (“SFF in Conversation with Becky Chambers: The Case for Optimism”) who were kind enough to publish it free online, too.

I’ve read her first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and loved its humanity, positivity, and empathy. It’s been in my mind recently as a great counterexample to the bleakness of Logan (the latest Wolverine movie).

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Quotes: Stereotypes … Sometimes Bear Truth’s Imprint

“Stereotypes are untrue. Sometimes, though, they bear truth’s imprint. Sometimes they spring up from what truth has crushed down. As they manifest they can co-opt and mispurpose inescapable realities.”

– Nisi Shawl in the introduction to Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam

I’ve been thinking of reductivism lately and, serendipitously, found more food for thought in my fiction reading.

Shawl, Nisi. “Annunciation” (introduction). In Ancient, Ancient by Salaam, Kiini Ibura. Seattle, WA: Aqueduct Press, 2012.

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