Thursday, 28 September 2017

Links 28/09/17


An often overlooked aspect in midst of stories about refugees coming to Europe is the fact that LGBTQI* refugees sometimes require protection from other refugees and staff at reception centres: "But in reality asylum authorities are often unable to effectively protect those fleeing such persecution from further harm."

The Cincinatti Enquirer traces the horrifying effects of the opiate crisis in the community through one week. 

In light of a US President lashing out at the national sport and athletes speaking up against institutional racism, here's a historic summary of how dissent became treason during WW1 (or, as S-K put it on Combat Rock, "Dissent’s not treason, but they talk like it’s the same"). 

An investigation into how obesity has replaced hunger in Brazil, and the massive stake that multi-national junk-food companies have in people having no alternative to eating poorly. 

I'm very fascinated by the idea of working out the trolley problem when it comes to self-driving cars (like, would you purchase a car that was programmed to kill you in case it caused the least harm?) - how do you program ethics, and do you trust a machine to make the choice of who to kill? How do you assign specific value to people's lives and teach that to a machine? Endlessly fascinating.

This is a by-the-way thought, but the fact that Sean Spicer was "ironically" invited to the Emmys is such a good demonstration of the evil that pop culture can do - reclaiming people who were instrumental in spreading toxic ideologies after they were fired because in someone's head it looks like an act of rebellion to pose them that way after. There really is a very dangerous way in which irony always just plays into the hands of the powerful and how repressive tolerance just helps to entrench power even more. 

Pop Culture: 

So many things have happened: Halt and Catch Fire is ending it glorious run with a beautiful season that circles around the broken friendship between Donna and Cameron (and somewhere in there is the conclusion that innovation only happens when these two work together, because their individual projects remain stunted without each other's input). Also, it's set in the 90s, and so far has played early PJ Harvey and name-dropped both Heavens to Betsy and Bratmobile. 

Star Trek Discovery (recapped by Mallory Ortberg at Vulture) has begun, and I have many feelings about it - it's a complete switch to previous series, which were centered around a crew, as it looks like this season will focus on the individual experiences of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), a human who was raised by Vulcans (arguing beautifully that her emotions inform her logic), navigating the politics of the Federation and Starfleet. There are many reasons (among them, so many good faces) why I am excited about Star Trek for the first time since DS9 ended. 

While Transparent has a new season out, I want to highly, highly recommend Tig Notaro's One Mississippi

Also, a new season of Broad City (with a stellar first episode that pays hommage to Sliding Doors), and both Swerve and Twenty are two excellent webseries to follow. 

(and more, because I haven't been around much: Wynonna Earp had an outstanding second season that was perhaps the greatest antithesis to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the shit that went down with Joss Whedon being revealed as a misogynist hiding behind a feminist facade, The Bold Type took every single cliche you could think of when it comes to three women working for a driven, ambituous boss running a fashion magazine and completely turned them upside-down, becoming a show about mutual support and unrelenting, unconditional friendship

Two great essays on David Lynch in the wake of the third season of Twin Peaks being different from what everyone wanted and therefore peak Lynch: on his humanity and worldview based on empathy, which is often overlooked, and avoiding falling into following a simple interpretation of his masterpiece Mulholland Drive. 

Books: Mallory Ortberg has published a collection of short stories titled The Merry Spinster, Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death will be turned into a television series by HBO, N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, the first part of the now-finished multiple Hugo-award winning Broken Earth series, will be adapted for television as well (and I'm excited to find out who will be cast as Damaya/Syenite/Essun). Runaways is finally back and written by Rainbow Rowell. Excited about Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, and this interview by Annabelle Sicari with Jenny Zheng (Sour Hearts)
It’s not what people want out of immigrant stories, because they’re not really about a repressed woman, the woman who can’t emote or be angry. I wasn’t fitting in. So I doubled down. “I’ll be more disgusting, more gross, never write a novel, I’m going to make all my protagonists Chinese American girls because you said they limited me, so I will write every single kind of story and always use the exact same protagonist.” 
A list of various films that I am looking forward to: 

With some casting reservations (slightly buffered by the fact that Mackenzie Davis was obviously always meant to be in Blade Runner), Blade Runner 2049, Annihilation by Alex Garland, based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez co-star with Oscar Isaac and Natalie Portman), Thelma by Joachim Trier (Oslo, 31 August).

And music: new The National, War on Drugs and Gang of Youths in same few weeks, and a new track by Burial.

In Australia (or at least in Adelaide), I've gotten by very well by just saying No Worries all the time, to everyone, in any situation, but I feel very sorry for anyone who has to explain to Boomers what No Problem means. 

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