Sunday, August 31, 2008

Living In Infamy

Living In Infamy:

Y'know how one tends to hear often how people should get credit for trying when it comes to race relations? LII is a good damn example of why that's so much bullshit. The black character has a cosmic 'master', so his powers aren't even his own and the Comsic Whip Cracker never stops talking about how said character should feel special and stop allowing himself to be polluted by the small minded humans. There's so much mishmashed stereotypes and ignorance and racist bullshit involved in it I don't even know where to start.

It's much easier to focus on the female characters having no agency and all defined by the men in their lives; ex lover, current husband, potential adulterous conquest, ex lover who's a big bad, teenage best friend who is male and needs accidental info dump, son who's a potential uber something.

And then the bullshit about Gypsies and Gypsy superstition and Gypsy 'whores' and just - whoa. No cultural identity there either but a nice stereotype with visions, dreams and mind reading.

And I think there was possibly some closeted gay in there - I'm not sure. That was around the time the plot started jumping and leaping and disconnecting from the panels. The 'voice over' caption boxes only added to the dissonance.

Also, and this is just a personal gripe here. But if there are mind readers/ mind control agents in a stasis situation (Super Villain Witness Protection) and there's thought enough into getting the engineering/mech maker minded into helping protect the town and set some things up. Then why the hell is the Sheriff clueless about the strangeness? Why not have a Sheriff who could deal with teenagers coming into their powers or blowing off steam by shooting at bottles with their laser vision, or weird tech or whatever. The mayor's apparently powered, why not either a) fix the Sheriff or b) set up a town system where the position of head of police is appointed?

Aug 5th - That's when I started this and put it in drafts thinking I'd get back to it and add more. But truthfully I just want to forget I ever read this book/series. So there you have it.


  1. You want to know the fun part?

    Your review of LII could easily be mistaken for a review of "Hancock" - especially the first 2 paragraphs. The observations would essentially be the least for me.

  2. Heavyarmor:

    Really? I got a chance to see Hancock and I didn't get that.




    Possibly Spoilery Things Non HeavyArmor People.




    I went into viewing Hancock having heard a lot of things, but those things were mostly about the villain. So I was prepared for some story fall down in that department even though I didn't know how it'd come across.

    I was happily surprised to see one of my favourite personal philosophies up on screen.(ie - the superheroes of today in a universe are the modern myth making legends of yesterday). It definitely helped me enjoy the story as did the 'gimmick' which is another personal favourite and the resolution of the gimmick, being yet another character development kink. Hancock was never going to get the intense kind of scrutiny I give my beloved Batman. So for a summer movie that also starred Will Smith, and that hit three happy points for me, I was alright with it.

    Who would be the Cosmic Master in Hancock? Jason Bateman's character? In hindsight with your having brought this up, I can see an element of "Nice White Lady" to it, with Hancock standing in for an inner city school that no one's paying any attention to or even likes and JB's character as the teacher who shows up and 'saves a goodly portion'.

    And with the lack of agency for female characters, well there was one female character and I was reserving judgement on her storyline until I could sit home and watch the movie again on DVD. Was she scared of mortality and ran away? Was the seed of that fear and fleeing, love? Was her presence the only different thing to any other time someone made overtures to Hancock? And then there was the realization of Hancock's amnesia and how it affected how he saw himself and the world and her part in how that happened.

    To be honest I pegged her as someone running away from her destiny but then I was a bit confused that she ran right into a family - isn't that what she'd had previously? Or was the fact that it wasn't a 'fated pairing' what made it difference? The sense or illusion of free will?

    Hmm, maybe I like stories that leave me asking questions and thinking more about the universe. But it's also possible that there were things I sub/unconsciously chose to interpret in a way that wouldn't piss me off and thus ended up watching the show in my head because it was a live action black superhero in an actual drama.

  3. That could be the case. For me, I wanted to like the main concept behind Hancock, but the story wasn't right and too many elements left me asking the wrong questions.

    Charlize Theron's role in Hancock could almost be mistaken for Uma Thurman's role in My Super-Ex Girlfriend. However, while Thurman's G-Girl lacks agency because we never get to see why she became a "hero", Theron's Mary specifically lacks agency because she never seen (or even discusses) using her powers unless it is against Hancock. I realize that having a super-powered woman operating publicly in Los Angeles would probably trigger Hancock coming back (and this part of the story doesn't make sense at all), Mary never talks about her own "heroism." Instead, she settles down with some normal Joe Schlub, is apparently a stay-at-home wife, and has a kid (and does this kid have powers, ala Superman Returns?).

    Hancock doesn't really have a "Master Whip Cracker" directly, but notice how often Hancock uses powers and something not-so-great happens. Even for a comedy (which Hancock was supposed to be, regardless of the seismic shift that occurs after we find out about "My Super Ex-Wife"), it doesn't bode well.

    Obviously, this needs to be a post somewhere for a more in-depth look. I'm going to try to squeeze it in with my review of the original BSG series at my WordPress blog.

  4. "To be honest I pegged her as someone running away from her destiny but then I was a bit confused that she ran right into a family - isn't that what she'd had previously? Or was the fact that it wasn't a 'fated pairing' what made it difference? The sense or illusion of free will?"

    Totally different read from what I got. I read her as someone who left him because she loved him. Recall that she could tell him how he had gotten every single injury on his body, and that he only became vulnerable when they were together for extended periods. He was the quintessential hero. He was always looking out for the little people from all those many centuries ago. Every time they got together he still tried to be the hero that he was and would nearly get killed. The last time he got hurt he lost his memory and she thought he'd be better off without them. She figured he was heroic by nature so would go right back to saving people WITHOUT having her weighing him down. And he did. She just hadn't predicted the way the amnesia would effect him.

    I thought the way the end of the movie played out was the same story (more or less), just flipped. They definitely still loved each other, but they realized they weren't meant to be together (yet), destiny be damned.