Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

So I'm a feminist, left-wing, pro-BLM, pro-LGBT, etc. Proud SJW, is what I'm saying. And I love film criticism that thoughtfully examines how representation falls short. But God, I fucking hate "woke" criticism and internet culture when it becomes a brainless exercise in generating clicks through manufactured outrage.

For instance, this English professor recently attempted to make the case that Lady Bird plagiarizes an earlier movie about a Latina woman called Real Women Have Curves (article here). And all she does is regurgitate tropes common to both regardless of context and say this proves that Lady Bird is a white woman ripping off a piece of Latinx art, claiming that anyone who says otherwise is hysterically defending their white idol. This woman very charitably went through and gave a point-by-point rebuttal, thank God.

This shit is ludicrous, and you see it more and more often. Some of the examples of "plaigarism" cited by the initial article are:

- Both movies feature a young woman who wants to go to college on the East Coast in contrast to her mother's wishes
- Both movies take place in a distinctive city
- Both movies feature a boy with whom the protagonist has a sexual relationship

Examples that are more specific than that are either misread or outright incorrectly remembered by the author. It's this horrendously sloppy piece of criticism that mistakes tropes for theft, and anyone who criticizes it can be dismissed by the author as trying to prop up their white hero.

I just worry that we're heading into an era of online discourse where it doesn't matter how closely one actually reads a film or how well they actually understand the nature of what they're talking about—all that matters is who has the most woke take, and anyone who attacks that take is guilty of bigotry. That makes me sound like a paranoid white guy, and I'm really not—so many of the people who are hysterical about "SJWs ruining my media!" are just infantile children, and they've definitely had a more damaging impact on discourse to this point. But I just can't express how frustrating it is when someone doesn't do their homework but is able to rebuff all critiques as stemming from hidden bigotry rather than addressing the possibility that maybe they're just not that good at this watching-movies thing.

The same thing happened with Noah Berlatsky recently—he published a hastily-written piece, in Playboy, of all places, accusing Phantom Thread of misogyny and Paul Thomas Anderson in general of being obsessed with worshiping white male geniuses. When a bunch of women pointed out he'd completely misread the movie's portrayal of a toxic relationship and that they loved it, he had the gall to dismiss them as being apologists for the patriarchy. A white guy pulling this sort of shit when women are the ones arguing with him is just indescribably infuriating.

Failure to recognize that the presence of tropes does not constitute banality/theft is bad enough in and of itself, as are flagrant misreadings of works of art. Couple that with this attitude that if what I'm saying is "woke" enough it's beyond criticism, you have a recipe for shrill, sloppy film analysis that is useful to precisely no one.

(Just to make up for the whiney harshness of this post, here are some links to a few of my favorite genuinely fantastic feminist online critiques of movies.)

Last edited by DarthPraxus (2018-01-25 20:31:24)

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

It does seem that the extreme left are more than happy to attack anyone on the left whilst making no comment whilst the right run amuck...

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Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

To a lesser impact I'm rather "over" alternative interpretations of common media. You see this with Disney a lot, since it's such a touchstone.

Beauty and the Beast: Haha, Stockholm Syndrome, am I right?!

That was amusing when I was in college. Here we are ten years later and everybody has edgy interpretations of everything and every piece of work has some reason that you should feel terrible for enjoying it (Idiocracy supports eugenics!).

Then again, just because I'm ten years out of college doesn't mean that people ten years my junior aren't in college, and some of it's being written for them. But it's still exhausting and annoying.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

^ Matt Zoller Seitz had a great Twitter thread on this issue a while back—so many online film critics are just completely devoid of any sort of historical context, and when they "discover" an idea they think it must be new even when it stretches back generations.

There's also just a point where it crosses the line from well-intentioned but uncharitable into straight disingenuousness. Like, Gone with the Wind deserves to be called out and reevaluated vocally because its racism and pro-Confederate revision of history were horrendous and ahistorical even at the time of its release. Ditto Lovecraft's absolutely vile racial bigotry. You'll never hear me saying otherwise.

But then you get people who decide to do something like shit on The Rocky Horror Picture Show because it's no longer up to code in how it treats terminology for trans individuals, which just willfully disregards how historically important a film it was for the LGBT community. Or, to name an example that's more personally irritating to me, people will criticize Malick's The New World, which is among other things a devastating critique of imperialism and white incursion on Native Americans, because it doesn't depict the rape of Pocahontas at the hands of the Jamestown settlers and thus isn't "woke" enough. Which disregards the fact that a.) oral tradition regarding the rape of Pocahontas wasn't widely known until 2007, two years after the film came out, and b.) A FICTIONAL MOVIE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A HISTORY TEXT IN EVERY PARTICULAR.

It's vitally important that we critique art from political and social-justice perspectives, but it's just as important that we do it the courtesy of taking it on in its own terms.

EDIT: That MZS thread, for the curious.

Last edited by DarthPraxus (2018-01-25 21:49:33)

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

Faldor wrote:

It does seem that the extreme left are more than happy to attack anyone on the left whilst making no comment whilst the right run amuck...

...what the hell are you talking about? What a baffling claim to make.

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

I think he means uber-progressives make meals of each other more than uber-conservatives do.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

I am so. very. tired. But here are some feelings.

DarthPraxus wrote:

so many online film critics are just completely devoid of any sort of historical context, and when they "discover" an idea they think it must be new even when it stretches back generations.

"Deeply worn out" definitely describes how I feel about so called "woke" criticism and I would like to wave and say yes, hello, woman of colour here, DarthPraxus is not being paranoid, this really does suck.

Context is so fucking important, and in short supply on the internet, as is nuance.
Look, when people criticize Tumblr SJWs for jumping down someone's throat because they are behind on the "right" language or whatever, I get it. But I also remember that a lot of Tumblr peeps are still teenagers and they're discovering issues for the first time. You're supposed to grow out of that shit. You're supposed to learn some history, learn how to argue, learn how to listen to other people. Learn to take criticism.

You can have nuanced and conflicting feelings about A Thing (see Stephen Fry's Wagner & Me; see also me watching Gone With the Wind). But that's not quite as catchy as a hot take on the latest movies.
Meaningful criticism should enlighten us. I think it should encourage questions, and it definitely should not be presented as the definitive interpretation of what it criticizes.

Long sigh.

The other thing that makes me tired is people trying to tell me how all millennials are _______. People seem to have lots of opinions about my "generation" and my future.

If it's not about musicals, I probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

Alice! Wonderful to see you pop in again.

LatinAlice wrote:

The other thing that makes me tired is people trying to tell me how all millennials are _______. People seem to have lots of opinions about my "generation" and my future.

I don't know what you're talking about. *munches avocado toast*

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

At this point I just like ridiculing millennial criticism. "I don't know guys, I'm really feeling like Applebee's tonight but we're supposed to be killing casual dining. If word gets out I'm breaking our boycott I won't get my participation trophy."

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

^related, this is my favorite thing.

https://imgix.bustle.com/uploads/image/2017/7/5/2530711e-3de0-4070-b7bd-8ad74997d59e-screen-shot-2017-07-05-at-84513-am.png?w=614&fit=max&auto=format&q=70

Re: Thread for Being Non-Fatalistically Deeply-Worn-Out About Something

smile Glad to be here!

When it comes to avocado toast and ridiculing millennial criticism, I must direct you to my girl Katie and this very special episode of Millennial Meals (Of course, every episode of Millennial Meals is special)*.

  Show
Yes, I blatantly stole her joke.

If it's not about musicals, I probably don't know what I'm talking about.