You look at the capture of power in the right wing, the ascent of white nationalism, the concentration of wealth. You cannot really animate or concentrate a movement like that—you can’t coalesce it into functional political power—without a sense of persecution or victimhood. And that’s the role of this concept of cancel culture. It’s the speck of dust around which the raindrop must form in order to precipitate takeovers of school boards, pushing actual discourse out of the acceptable norms, like in terms of the 1619 Project or getting books banned from schools. They need the concept of cancel culture, of persecution, in order to justify, animate, and pursue a political program of takeover, or at least a constant further concentration of their own power.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez an Insider Now?”
Worrying about this [white, Euro-centrisim in Physics] reminds me of the opening sequence of Cameron Crowe’s English-language adaptation of Alejandro Amenábar’s Abre los Ojos, Vanilla Sky. In the scene, Tom Cruise’s lead character David Shelby is driving down a familiar New York City street against the backdrop of Radiohead’s opening track to Kid A, “Everything in Its Right Place.” The song, which Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke has explained is about depression, is an ominous foreshadowing of the dystopian direction that the film goes in. My experience with particle physics has something in common with this juxtaposition. I feel comfortable, extremely comfortable in fact, with how the Standard Model tends to locate particles in their correct mathematical structure, in their right place. But I am also low-key worried, on the regular, that finding comfort in this makes it difficult for me to see the larger physical picture, or perhaps is a refusal to see the larger picture. When I think about this, I too have Radiohead playing in the background.
In my heart, I fight with the history of the Standard Model of particle physics and the motivation behind it, but also every time I think I can’t deal with physics or physicists anymore, it is the Standard Model that makes me stop in my tracks and think, “Wow.” I get lost, in the best possible way, in the math—every single time. I will never get bored of picking up a particle physics textbook and starting from page one. […] I have no love for how my professional community is structured. But it’s also the case that when I think about quarks, I experience the kind of loving hope that is best set to Def Jef’s “Black to the Future”: “We know where we’re goin, because we know where we came from.” Maybe, then, I’m not just a hack for colonial science, but more like Princess Shuri from Black Panther, giving particle physics a new spin and rhythm. This is not to say that the laws of the universe are not universal—but it may be that what we think we know is incomplete and will not be complete until we are able to think beyond how white men are trained to think in a Western educational setting.
— Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, The Disordered Cosmos.
Usually I’m, at best, ambivalent about the monarchy. I think that, from a political point of view, they have no purpose, but they make people feel good, and that’s an important function.
I was surprised, therefore, to realize how quickly I was willing to go all “abolish the monarchy” on learning of Blair’s knighthood.
I really like the portrayal of the many different types of romantic relationships on The Expanse: Chrisjen and Arjun, Naomi and Drummer, Drummer and her polyam belter fam, Bobbie and her power armour, and even the (mostly just sexual) relationship between Amos and Wei.
I still have a bunch of apprehensions about Star Trek: Discovery.
Most of the things that I complained about before still annoy me. But the new thing is that I feel like the show is asking me to believe in relationships that they haven’t put in the work on. I continue to be baffled that people are so loyal to Michael Burnham, the woman who started the Federation-Klingon War and caused how many deaths? I remember how shunned she was at the beginning of her time on Discovery. And while I could accept that folks didn’t actively distrust her any more, somehow they grew to care about her so much (in two years?) that they decided to abandon their lives and jump into the future with her?
But they did that because of the demands of running a show. They had an end point: “we want to send the Discovery to the future so the fans will stop complaining at us about continuity” and a practical consideration: “we want to keep this pool of characters that we’ve already invested in because our audience expects the same characters and also contracts are a thing” and so they leap to the story beat: “the crew loves Michael so much that they decide to jump to the future with her and we can keep the crew together.” Except, they haven’t done the legwork, in my opinion. I don’t believe that the crew likes Michael that much.
Other minor beefs: new uniforms are ho-hum. I don’t understand why Detmer isn’t wearing red. The hallways of the USS Credence have the same design language as the Discovery — a 900-year-old ship (again, the practicalities of making a TV show: you reuse the section of corridor that you’ve already built to film the scene that takes place on the Credence). Also: the exterior of the Credence is ugly. Really, most of what we’ve seen of 32nd-century ships are ugly.
This season looks like it might give Tilly something to do; I think that she was underused last season (please give me all the Tilly). Same with Stamets. I don’t really understand how the showrunners decide on “main cast”: I like Adira (and Grey), but I don’t really understand why they’re a main character when Owo and Rhys are just recurring faces we see on the bridge. Similarly, I’m less interested in Book than I am in Bryce or Detmer (I get that having a non-Starfleet love interest for Michael removes some complication for the character: I just don’t know why Book is a main character. I don’t find his storylines that interesting). And I would be totally down for an episode about the Osnullus crew member(s?). And I’ll take all the Jett Reno you have on offer.
I hate my dislike: there are so many who want the show to fail because it’s too queer, or too diverse, or doesn’t centre enough white men. I want to love the show. I just don’t.
The Suicide Squad was everything I wanted in a fun action comic movie.
Do you stream / record video / do YouTube stuff?
Would you be willing to tell me about your sound and video set up? What about editing? Something else?
The Space Babe Sorting Helmet has sorted me into House Pfizer.
The choice seemed clear to me: A life of drag queens, safe spaces, and sharing booths with Aubrey Plaza, or a lifetime of straight bars, creepy white families, and code-switching with Mackenzie Davis — who is usually very hot but was done dirty with a poorly-fitted wig (sorry!! She was!!!).
— Jill Gutowitz, “Why Abby Absolutely Should’ve Ended Up With Riley In Happiest Season“
I’m not gonna lie: I was surprised by how hurty this Christmas movie was.