Friday, August 24, 2012

That's News To Me: Idaho Republican Sez: "I Don't Think Women Even Know What Rape Is"

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/08/23/idaho-republican-%E2%80%98i-don%E2%80%99t-think-women-even-know-what-rape-is%E2%80%99

I don't know if you guys remember that ultrasound bill that they had floating around recently. The gist of it is that if a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy, she has to have a mandatory ultrasound where they insert an instrument into her vagina: whether she wants it or not. There's no medical reason for this. They just care so much about saving cell clumps that they will rape a whole slew of women to prove a point.

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.”

...is it just me, or is he saying "you can't really get raped if you're married, or if your husband does it that doesn't count?" Because that's what it sounds like.

*shakes head* This country sucks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

D52 Review - Pocahontas


This is probably the only film where I expected to go in hating it for the historical inaccuracies and ended up hating it for entirely different reasons.

It’s another visually beautiful film. However, the visuals aren’t enough to save it. It’s like how good graphics don’t make a good game; you have to have everything work together. The Daughters of the American Revolution (or the League of Women Voters, I forget which) have both tried to get this film banned because of its historical inaccuracies. I don’t think that it should be banned, but there are better reasons for women to hate this movie.

First off, Pocahontas really isn’t that great of a protagonist. I don’t like her for the same reason I don’t like Jasmine: they’re too picky! I mean, it’s one thing if you’re not ready to get married, but turning down a nice-sounding guy for a complete douchebag who thinks your entire race are savages? That’s pretty stupid.

John Smith (aptly played by Mel “You should just fuckin’ SMILE and BLOW ME!!!” Gibson) is also not the best catch. I seriously don’t get why he was supposed to be seen as a good romantic lead. He’s a douchebag! Forcefully holding Pocahontas so that she can’t leave? Calling her a savage and saying that she doesn’t know any better? What the hell?

Also, the whole “you can totally learn English if you listen with your heart” bullshit. Yes, that’s the obvious solution to all the guys at the grocery store bitching about illegal immigrants. “If they just listened with their hearts, they’d learn some goddamn English!”

Remember in my Lion King review I said it would’ve been great if not for the comic relief? This is the movie where I actually like the comic relief better. Maybe I like them better here because they don’t talk? Or are significantly more adorable? And don’t make dated pop culture references?

The songs are pretty meh. They’re not harsh on the ears but they’re kinda forgettable. Definitely not something I’d go back to listen to after the fact.

That’s pretty much all I can say about this movie. Racist? Possibly. Sexist? Absolutely. Mediocre? Definitely. Hopefully next week will step things up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

That's News To Me: Mike Huckabee to Todd Akin: "Horrible Rapes" Created Extraordinary People"

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-huckabee-horrible-rapes-created-some-extraordinary-people-20120820,0,7976008.story

And the foot-in-mouth disease just keeps spreading...

Okay, not everybody who is raped decides to abort. Some people decide to keep it, and that is a choice that should be left up to them. There ARE people who can lead happy, successful lives despite being raped or being the product of a rape. HOWEVER:

This really pisses me off because Huckabee is saying that all people who are raped should be forced to keep their child - not thinking of the psychological damage to the mother and the extremely possible hatred and abuse to the child once it is born and grows up - and thinking that if a few people he knew or has heard of can manage to deal with their rape or being produced by rape then ALL people will be just as okay with it.

Not everybody wants to have a lifetime reminder of what happened to them. Not everybody can handle the horrible ordeal of carrying a part of their rapist inside of them for nine months, then having that reminder stare them in the face for the rest of their lives. Not everybody who is produced by rape can handle the pressure and the guilt and the horror that they came into being with no love or affection in their procreation. A lot of people like that worry if they will become horrible monsters due to their genes.

This...is such a horribly, horribly stupid statement. And I am in my "tranquil fury" mode, because when I get so angry I get really quiet, you KNOW I'm pissed off.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

That's News To Me: Republican Senate Nominee: "Victims of 'Legitimate Rape' Don't Get Pregnant"

http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/todd-akin-legitimate-rape.php

I literally just read this all of a few moments ago and I am already so fucking angry I can barely talk. How can somebody be this fucking ignorant?! This fucking stupid?! This fucking horrible?! This fucking cruel and callous and SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS is this guy fucking AWFUL!!!

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy. 

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” 

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.
“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

FUCK ALL OF THIS GUY. FUCK A BAKER'S DOZEN OF THIS GUY. I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU WHY THE FUCK THIS IS FUCKING STUPID. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHY, YOU NEED TO START WHACKING YOURSELF IN THE HEAD WITH A CAR DOOR UNTIL YOU GET IT.

A 1996 by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency” and is “a cause of many unwanted pregnancies” — an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.” 

Akin is perhaps the boldest among a crop of conservative 2012 nominees who could hamper GOP efforts to take back the Senate in the fall. Akin has called for an end to the school-lunch program and a total ban on the morning after pill.

His claim about “legitimate” types of rape is not completely foreign to the current Republican Congress, however. In 2011, the House GOP was forced to drop language from a bill that would have limited federal help to pay for an abortion to only victims of "forcible rape."

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NON-FORCIBLE RAPE. THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT RAPE.

Nor is this Akin’s first time suggesting some types of rape are more worthy of protections than others. As a state legislator, Akin voted in 1991 for an anti-marital-rape law, but only after questioning whether it might be misused “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband,” according to a May 1 article that year in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

*incoherent screaming*

THIS GUY IS STILL A LEGIT CANDIDATE. HE'S LEADING BY EIGHT GODDAMN POINTS!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! HOW CAN PEOPLE EVEN THINK THIS WAY?! YOU ARE NOT A GODDAMN DOCTOR. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BODY FORCIBLY TAKEN FROM YOU AND THEN HAVE TO SIT BACK AND WATCH POLITICIANS SAY THAT YOU ARE LESS IMPORTANT THAN A CLUMP OF CELLS THAT MAY START GROWING INSIDE YOU AS A RESULT!!!

I am seriously so goddamn angry right now. This isn't just some rant, I am PISSED THE FUCK OFF. I already never want to get pregnant and this makes me wanna go out and get my tubes tied right the fuck now. Then move to Canada and never look back. Abortion and ESPECIALLY rape should NOT be dictated by male politicians who have no idea what they're talking about.

*sigh* I'm terrified to go outside now. Thanks, news. I really should not have to worry about going outside, being raped, getting pregnant, and then being told that I don't matter and ask if it counts as me being forced to have sex against my will. Fuck today.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

D52 Review - The Lion King

I'm gonna start off by saying this: if this movie had come after Beauty and the Beast instead of Aladdin, I would've been very happy. This would've been a very good follow up. I watched this movie a lot as a kid (mainly alone, since Dad would bawl his eyes out if he watched too) and I've grown to appreciate it more in recent viewings.

It's another beautifully animated film! I love the scenes of nature, especially in the beginning. The opening scene of the birth of Simba is an emotionally powerful one. Naturally, Simba grows up and does the wonderful things that kids do: pester you to wake up wake up wake up wake up dad dad dad dad dad wake up wake up wake up wake up dad dad dad dad dad and get into trouble with his childhood friend/arranged wife. (Another "perfect arranged marriage" story from Disney...)

Also, as Jesse pointed out to me, "Simba and Nala are a cute couple as long as you forget that they're technically brother and sister." Mufasa gets around!

There's a deleted song for the special edition, "The Morning Report." I...didn't like it. 

The comic relief in this film is similar to Aladdin: funny and enjoyable when I was a child, and no longer so now. Timon and Pumbaa simply existed to annoy me in this film (though Zazu is probably my winner for 'Most Annoying Character') and the flatulence jokes got old very, very fast.

The serious parts of this film? Perfection. I love the connections to Hamlet and I love the religious subtext of Mufasa (I almost like him better than Aslan as a pseudo lion god) it all works together to make a very philosophical film. The scene where Mufasa appears to Simba and where Rafiki shows Simba what to do are probably my favorites. "Do you see now? He lives in you." It's definitely a powerful movie.

The end scene with the rebirth of Pride Rock and the birth of Simba and Nala's child is a great book end to the film. I like this film, at least the serious parts of it! If Timon and Pumbaa were tuned down, it would probably be my second favorite Disney Renaissance film. But I'll wait and see how the others go.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

D52 Review - Aladdin

After the splendor that was Beauty and the Beast, you'd think it would just keep getting better and better, right?

Uh...about that...

Yeah, I'm surprised with how many issues I had with this film. I remember enjoying it as a kid, back when any fast-talking guy could make me laugh, but I would hope my tastes have matured a bit since then. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Robin Williams and I love his stand-up and I love his movies (well, most of them)...but here he was just kind of annoying. (Also, the kids aren't going to get your Ed Sullivan references, dude.)

It's not a bad film by any means. I love the songs in it! There were times when it got kinda exciting with action sequences! But the rest of it was just kinda....okay. So, we've got Princess Jasmine, who needs to be married off to a prince by her next birthday...which happens to be in three days. She hates every suitor who comes to her door and absolutely hates being a Princess. Well, let me clarify: she only hates being a princess when she actually has to do princessy stuff. When she gets to go "My father's the Sultan" or have a position of power, she's all over it.

Then there's Aladdin, who lives in the village just trying to eat and survive. He sees Jasmine and notices that her eyes are larger than most and that she looks like she isn't malnourished. True love! (He also goes on to categorize her as "fun." Yeah, she's a lot of things, but fun isn't one of them.)

The film goes on to explain how it's totally okay to lie to the person you love as long as it's for the best. Having Aladdin constantly pretend he's Prince Ali got really annoying after a while, and he's also blatantly lying to Jasmine's face when she can tell it's really him. What I feel would've worked better is maybe him confiding in her that he's not actually a prince, telling her about the genie and them working together to keep it from Jafar and/or the Sultan.

We get a ton of dated pop culture references, some really good songs, uncomfortable mind control and Princess Leia sex slave outfits (which somehow is more revealing than Jasmine's old outfit despite revealing the same amount of skin) and seeing a vertically stunted man in his underwear. Fun.

But of course, it all works out okay. Jafar gets sealed into the lamp until the sequel - er, we mean 10,000 years -  the genie is officially free from the binds of the lamp, the Sultan makes a radical change to the law and says that a woman can actually choose who she wants to marry, and of course she picks Aladdin.

They then fly into the moon and suffocate from lack of oxygen. The End!

All in all, this film was kind of a let down. Beauty and the Beast was a tough act to follow, but they could've made it more than a 90s media cash cow. Hopefully next week's movie is as good as I remember from before.

That's News To Me: Toddler Tantrum Gets Family Booted from JetBlue Flight

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/toddler-tantrum-gets-family-booted-jetblue-flight-flying-184600037.html

(Okay, this story is technically a few months old, but I just now got wind of it and wanted to comment on it.)

I'm siding with the airline on this one for a few reasons. Reason number one: if you, a fully-grown adult with proportional strength to your age, has to use all your might to hold down a two-year old, that has gone from "temper tantrum" to "safety risk." If you can't control your kid to the point where you have to practically sit on them to keep them from running through the aisles and biting people, that's a problem.

Reason number two: pilots don't just turn around planes for the hell of it. If they choose to turn the damn plane around and go back to where you were, they need a damn good reason to do so, e.g. the safety of the crew and passengers on board. If they could've safely made the flight with the kid on board, they would've done it and not fucked up their schedule.

Also, it wasn't just a "crying fit." I've been on 30+ planes in my lifetimes and there's almost always a screaming baby/toddler on board. It's annoying, it's frustrating, it's grating, but it's not worth turning the plane around for. If they had to go this far, you need to get your kid some sedatives.

Just my two cents.

The Soap Box: Women's Rights and The A Word

Even though this is technically a 'review' blog, ever since I abandoned my rotting LiveJournal account I thought "Why can't this be a personal blog too?" And so it shall be. And as a personal blog, naturally I use this kind of thing to rant and bitch about stuff. Because I know you all care about what opinions I have on things. :)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

D52 Review - Beauty and the Beast


I’ve been waiting to get to this film since the project got started.

Now, all of you know that this is my all-time favorite Disney film. I know I’ve never mentioned it before to any of you, since I tend not to talk at length about things I enjoy. And so, for the first time, I will mention that I love this film and exactly why I love it.

To begin looking at the film overall, the animation is gorgeous. It took three years to make this film, with over 3,000 people, and you can see a very beautiful result. Even just the opening scene makes you stare at it in wonder. It’s something amazing that hasn’t truly been seen before or since in a Disney film.

The story of how the Beast actually became a beast is one we all remember. The prince was undoubtedly spoiled and enchantresses are known for being rather vengeful. (Seriously, have you read about some of these women? They’ll curse you for looking at them funny. One of them even cursed a baby for not being invited to party! Isn’t that weird?)

Something else I noticed about that is that the rose will bloom until his twenty-first year, and Lumiere mentions in “Be Our Guest” that it’s been ten years since they were changed. That means the Beast got cursed when he was eleven. I realize he was spoiled and needed to be taught a lesson, but…don’t all children eventually learn that over time? And for that matter, where are his parents? Is he an orphan? Is that why he doesn’t have a good sense of morals?

But enough of that! We’re getting into my favorite song of the movie! I love this part, showing Belle going into town and hearing the rest of the town sing about what an outcast she is because she’s got that fancy book learnin’. I love the subtleties to the animation here. First of all, Belle is the only person in the town wearing blue, something done purposefully by the designers to signify how she’s apart from the rest. (I love the peasant dress she wears; I’ve always wanted to cosplay in it. I mean, her gold gown was nice, but this is much more appealing to me. But I digress.)

There’s also the subtle way they demonstrate how Belle is also seen as different because she chooses to read books and be a free spirit during a time where women were only expected to marry and have children. Especially when you see angry women with rolling pins or doing the washing and that unfortunate woman who looks like she was a uterus with a head. Some fans actually really got upset by the ending of this film, saying “Belle was a role model for me! Intelligent, independent, she inspired me to do more! Then she got married and settled down. I’ve never forgiven her!” Life doesn’t end at marriage kids. That’s just the next adventure. But I can see why that’s a nitpick for some. Brave did that a bit better.

It’s during this time that Belle really starts to cement herself as my favorite Disney heroine. She’s independent, smart, beautiful, knows how to stand up for herself, and definitely isn’t going to go into a relationship based on bullshit. So when someone like Gaston, the O.D. – Original Douchebag – sets his eye on her, she definitely sets him right and quick. (Personally, if anybody threw my book into the mud or put his muddy boots on it, that guy would’ve got broke.)

I love when we see her run out into the field after denying Gaston’s proposal; it’s such a breathtakingly beautiful image. She isn’t going to give herself to just anybody, she’s gonna go after what she wants. It never fails to inspire me, it gives me chills. Can you tell I adore this film?

After that, we see where she goes to find her father and begs for his freedom. My Dad and I are also really close, and he’s an emotional sort so he cries every time he watches this film, and while it was embarrassing when I was younger, I can see why now. It’s a very emotional choice, and it’s another reason I like Belle: she’s selfless and strong. She doesn’t let people walk on her, but she’s willing to do what she has to in order to protect the ones she loves. It’s a good balance.

So, naturally this is probably the only chance Beast has had to break the spell that’s cursed his castle. So his servants tell him “Be nice and for god’s sake, DON’T SCREW THIS UP!” This…doesn’t go according to plan. Belle’s still pissed about the Beast sending her father away and imprisoning her (seriously, women can be so touchy about things) and won’t come to dinner. Beast says she can starve if she doesn’t wanna come eat, but the servants decide to put on a song and dance number where she only eats a tiny bit of everything and it’s all okay!

Here’s where I start to have a bit of a beef with Belle. She’s been told that the west wing is forbidden and she can go anywhere in the castle but there. Naturally, there’s the good point of not being expected to stay away after not receiving any other information but “Don’t”, but still. She goes into the Beast’s room and almost touches the rose. If she had knocked some petals off, he could’ve lost whatever time he had left. That’s pretty scary. But he didn’t need to react like that, screaming and knocking shit over.

After Belle flees the castle, she and Philippe get attacked by wolves and the Beast arrives to save the day. She tends his wounds in the castle and it’s the first sign of a change in their relationship. Which leads to one of my favorite scenes, the library scene! It’s another one of those “hold your breath” moments. It’s just so beautiful and if any Beast ever offered me that, I’d never leave!

It just keeps going on like that, and the two get closer and closer. Now it’s time for me to address something that has plagued this movie for a while: the “Stockholm syndrome” theory. Personally, I don’t think this is Stockholm syndrome at all, and I’ll tell you why. Yes, Belle was originally a prisoner and she grew warm to her captor. But Stockholm syndrome typically crops up when captors make their prisoners attached to them through fear or force, by scaring them into staying, scaring them into loving them. It’s like the behavior found in abusive relationships, and that’s not what Belle and the Beast have.

Belle already showed that she would leave the castle regardless of her promise if the Beast got out of hand (which he did) and she wouldn’t have warmed up to him if he hadn’t made some effort to change for her. He made a vain attempt to use utensils for her; he gave her a library, he became gentler, more like a man. My darling Jesse made the good point of the Beast starting to lose his humanity, and he managed to turn those effects around, not just because of Belle, but also for Belle.

Also lastly, if Stockholm syndrome had been in place, Beast would not have allowed Belle to go, nor would Belle have gone. Beast would have prevented her from leaving, or Belle would’ve stubbornly refused to leave the Beast since she’s lost control over herself. This is love, not abuse, despite what some people say about it. And I know the difference between the two.

Naturally, Belle and the Beast have their dance and it’s a stunningly beautiful scene. Mrs. Potts’ singing does make me a bit misty-eyed, and just the visuals of it are astounding. Seeing the two get closer without them saying a word would normally be dismissed by me as silly or merely pretty in other Disney films, but here…it actually really works as a romantic gesture. Seeing them fall in love without having said a word to each other all scene. It works after seeing them work so hard for each other; especially since this dance isn’t the first contact the two have had the whole movie like other princesses and princes.

The scene where Beast lets Belle go is a scene that really says a lot to me. And I’m so glad they didn’t use the “romantic misunderstanding” trope! Its clear Belle loves the Beast and its clear the Beast loves Belle. Belle needed to leave the castle to tend to her father and the Beast let her go so she would be happy. She didn’t just run off after seeing her father in danger without telling the Beast she was leaving, or even why. She didn’t leave the Beast thinking that she didn’t love him, merely that he thought she’d never come back. That’s how you do it, movies!!!

What Gaston does next, of course, is fiendish. Threatening to send her father off to the loony bin unless she marries him? Most people know of course its wrong, but once you really think about it, the blackmail isn’t the worst part about that scene. Think to the time period this is supposedly set in. Mental institutions back then were like prisons but worse. Humans were kept in cages, they were beaten, barely fed, baths were buckets of cold water dumped on their heads, electric shock therapy, lobotomies with icepicks pounded into their skulls, all for things that can be explained, diagnosed and treated today, humanely. What Gaston was threatening to do could’ve killed Maurice or left him to years of physical and psychological torture. That’s immensely fucked up.

The castle battle scene is cartoonishly silly to me (even with the disturbing scenes of men actually being eaten and the sexual assault on a featherduster) and paves the way for the scene on top of the castle, one of the most emotionally charged scenes in any movie I’ve ever seen. There’s just so much to love about this scene. The Beast not wanting to fight back until he sees Belle has returned, then getting the newfound energy and will to actually defend himself and his castle.

When you see the Beast decide not to kill Gaston, that’s when you know he’s changed into a human in spirit, even if not a human in physical form. Then when he climbs the tower and marvels at how Belle came back for him…I always get really choked up at that part. That’s when the tears start at the ending for me, usually. Then the tears just get worse as Gaston gives him the dying blow and Belle tries to reassure him, saying it’ll be alright, they’re together now, everything’s fine, don’t die, I love you…

But of course, Belle said the magic words to break the spell in one of the best cases of timing ever in a movie. The Beast turns back into a human (yaaaaaay redheaded prince!) and Belle can see in his eyes that it’s the same Beast she fell in love with. The resulting kiss sets off a chain reaction of human transformation and the castle returning to its original beauty. (Something I always wondered: were all of the knick-knacks and teacups all out of the cupboard when they transformed back? Were they all crushed to death? For the sake of sanity, I’ll assume they didn’t die.)

The ending scene is one of my favorites ever, and it has lots of great touches to it. Seeing Belle and the Beast dancing, Lumiere and Babette holding hands, Maurice and Mrs. Potts watching the handsome couple, all the servants and castle dwellers finally human and happy and watching their master dance with the girl who made it all possible. And the stained glass window at the end is just the perfect picture ending. (I want a replica of that made and put in my house somewhere.)

So, to summarize, I love this movie!!! This is undoubtedly – of what I’ve seen – the greatest movie in the Disney mythos, and I don’t see it ever being dethroned in my eyes. I’m glad I got to share it with my own prince and it definitely won’t be the last time I watch it. A truly spectacular film.

And yes – he did get some.