Episode 248 : A Bear

It’s a media-heavy episode this week, Hatlings! A lot of movies and TV shows. But some insightful analysis, in my opinion. Also some crap analysis. I’ll let you figure out which of us says which. Enjoy!


What is your Battle Song? –Cawfee


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9 Responses to Episode 248 : A Bear

  1. jas says:

    Kingsman: I watched that on a plane and if I hadn’t been on a plane I might have walked out. I really should have stopped watching at the Church scene. I think I just had high hopes for it. I also like the genre and this seemed like it was going to be light and parodic in the way the Sean Connery ones were–maybe even more so. But the violence was awful–not just that it was over the top but what caused it. It’s kind of like if they took the super-power that David Tennant’s character has on Jessica Jones, showed it to lead to incredible and graphic violence, and then said, hah, isn’t this a hoot.

    Jessica Jones: To me it doesn’t even fall into the Superhero genre. It’s a very noir-ish detective story, and the detective having a power is pretty much inconsequential, much less so than say, Daredevil, which I’d say it’s probably closest to. The way a superpower is primarily being used narratively on the show is with the villain. I agree with what the article from Cracked says about the theme of abuse, but I’d also generalize it and say the show uses Kilgrave’s power as a stand-in for white male privilege. And so it shows up not just in the interaction between Kilgrave and Jessica, but in small ways with the side characters that are really illuminating–like the woman who Kilgrave kept telling to smile (the way men on the street tell women, “Smile honey”), or his use of several of the the black characters who then wind up doing things that prejudice usually attributes to either some genetic or cultural inferiority.

    Also, I get the criticism about the rape motivation trope, but I somewhat disagree that that’s what’s going on here. That trope bothers me because they’ve just lifted it from the standard male narrative hero story (Braveheart!–my woman got violated, killed, or whatever–I must have revenge) which treats the woman’s body as possession. But Jessica’s abuse/rape by Kilgrave doesn’t motivate her to seek revenge or justice–it makes her a mess, and when she knows he’s back, she wants to get as far away as possible. What motivates her is the conversation she has with her friend Trish. That conversation, and the rekindling of the friendship with Trish, and her desire to save Hope–all of those things make it not so much about vengeance for property violation, and more about not being able to just live (in a drunken and broken way) with the white male privilege system any more.

    All of which doesn’t mean that I’d necessarily recommend this show to everyone. It is really tough to watch. Not at all a binge watch experience.

    Interesting article about how the show inverts the Bechdel Test: http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9784398/jessica-jones-feminism

    • William says:

      Yeah, that’s an important distinction to make, Jas… the abuse isn’t part of the hero’s “origin story” or something, and the abuse didn’t motivate her to do heroic things, and I intended to be clearer about that if I talked about it. (But I failed… what else is new?)

      What I meant to convey was that my wife and I are weary of hero stories where trauma is a significant part of the hero’s narrative, generally. Not just in the origin story or otherwise in the hero’s motivations. Because the story isn’t really a superhero story then (as you point out), but a story about how a person deals with trauma (whether or not it’s part of the hero’s narrative motivation). Which, we’re fine with those kinds of stories when that’s what we want to see. But it’s not what we wanted to see from Jessica Jones. And, in general, we’re kind of weary of seeing “dealing with trauma” stories with “strong female leads”… such stories seem to us to be disproportionately represented in the culture. And I’m not suggesting there should be fewer of these stories, especially if some of them can be therapeutic like Jessica Jones seems to be. I’m just saying it’s not what my wife and I want to see right now, especially from something we did think was going to be a female-led superhero movie.

      • William says:

        Ugh… I keep calling it a movie when it’s a TV show… *sigh*

      • jas says:

        Yes, I can definitely see how it is not a show for everyone, especially if what you are looking for is a female-led superhero story.

        You might have meant this as well–but when I see it as therapeutic, I see it as therapeutic in a larger cultural sense because of what I was saying about the villain’s power as a stand-n for white male privilege. That to me makes it a quite different show than one about an individual person dealing with trauma. It’s not about how bad guys abuse people and people become heroic in the face of that abuse. It’s about the fact that our culture is abusive, and that we then turn around and point to the people who are abused and say–well it’s your fault, you’re lazy, sexually-provocative, irresponsible, single-parent welfare queens, yada yada yada. I think maybe that’s why this show makes more sense as a detective story–because that detective narrative voice is about getting to define oneself rather than accept the definitions of others.

    • jas says:

      I was playing some tape of arias in the car one day when my son was really little (3? 4?) and after he heard “E lucevan le stelle” he said, that’s a song about a man who knows he’s going to die–which is exactly what the song is, it’s sung by a character who sees the sun coming up on the day he’s going to be executed. I know…I know…bad parenting exposing my kid to these traumatic things! But I had no idea one could pick that up just from the music.

      Not exactly “Battle Songs” but there’s music I used to play as kind of a confidence booster before a job interview or something–usually some Erich Korngold (Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood) and some Star Wars. Cheesy but it worked. 🙂

  2. Mark says:

    Ursine: It is really pronounced “ur-seen”? I always thought it was “ur-sign”.

    The Force Awakens: We got extremely lucky when we went to see TFA. We saw it the Saturday after it was released; just walked in, bought our tickets and walked straight into the theater. We had to sit down in the front section of theater, but we didn’t have to wait in any lines at all. Which was a much nicer experience than a co-worker who got talked into doing the Star Wars in-theater marathon on opening day.

    Broken Mediacom: BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Kingsman: Spy/Action/Parody movie. It was a great/fun idea, but lord it was awful.

    Repetitive Ads: Yup, Hulu is terrible about this. Usually there’s 1 – 3 ads for every day or two of shows we watch. *ugh*

    James Bond: Definitely needs some updating but I still find them better films than Kingsman was.

    Kingsman/Swedish Princess: Yup, that was one of the biggest problems I had with this film.

    Jessica Jones: I’ve watched a little of this and find it amazing; but it’s so dark/disturbing that I can only one episode at a time and even have to spread those out (currently seen 2 episodes).

    Audio issues: Tony were you randomly moving away from your mic or something? Your voice kept fading in and out.

    Watching shows that make you feel bad: I’ve found that watching something that makes me cry; makes the next “happy” show have that more impact.

    Battle Song: I don’t think I’ve got one. Even when I play games with battles; I tend to turn off the music to focus more on the battle. If I must pick something; I’d certainly go with something instrumental and likely classical (e.g. Ride of the Valkyries).

    Ladyhawke: Wow, there’s a flashback. I too loved that movie.

    Orig Trig? Hell no, we do not say that.

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