World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

It’s only because of my Facebook Timeline that I found out today was World Suicide Prevention day. It’s been over two years since I’ve been so blissfully ignorant of that fact, and I’m not sure whether to be happy or ashamed of that. I’ve been way too busy living to think about dying, and of course that’s great; it’s amazing. 

On the other hand, I don’t want to forget. I don’t ever want to fully leave behind the things I went through in 2015. I don’t want to forget how fragile and precious my mental health is, I don’t ever want to take it for granted, and I think you shouldn’t either. So I decided to turn to my blog.

Once again it’s time for me to get on social media and fundraise. I’ve said it before, I’ll no doubt say it again, but someone, somewhere in the world, dies of suicide every 40 seconds. That’s way too many people, every single minute.

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Happy International Kissing Day

Oscar Wilde: “the curve of  your lips rewrites history”

You got that right. Today, July 6th 2017, is International Kissing Day. The perfect time for Frenzied Fangirl to list some of her favorite kisses in pop culture. Why? Well why the hell not?

For a fuller experience, check out the playlist I made of all my favorite songs about kissing.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS MY BEST FRIEND LILA TO ENTER THIS BLOG POST. IT HAS MANY WONDERFUL SCENES IN IT THAT SHE STILL NEEDS TO EXPERIENCE IN THEIR FULL GLORY, NOT CHOPPED UP INTO GIFS.

Lila, love, the first one is Dean & Rory – Gilmore Girls. You know it already. Do not click the “Read more” link!

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Sense8…… CANCELLED!?

For almost a year, I’ve had a blogpost in my drafts folder titled 80 Reasons To Love Sense8. It was originally going to be titled 8 Reasons, and the setup was that I’d link each of the main characters to one of my favorite aspects of the show. The reason it didn’t work was because I had TOO MANY THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SENSE8and so, after the New Year’s special and the equally stellar second season, I started working on the 80 Reasons. It’s a moot point now: the show has been cancelled.

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The first stage of grief, as you know, is denial. Is this a hoax? Is Netflix on some sick power-trip? Are they going to up their monthly rates and is this an attempt to show us how reliant we’ve become on them? Because if so, it’s working. I’m biting my nails to the quick and tearing my hair out and one wrong comment away from crying. No kidding. They don’t call me Frenzied Fangirl for nothing.

And the reason I’m sad isn’t even primarily that I won’t get to see any more of my favorite cluster, although, after last seasons cliffhanger that breaks my heart. I’m dying to see how Nomi and Neets organize their wedding. I’m dying to see what Kala’s shady husband is up to. I’m dying to know how we’re going to rescue Wolfgang, and what we’re going to do with Whispers now we’ve got his sneaky ass caught. I want justice of Sun Bak. I want Capheus to be elected president and I want to see Lito achieve commercial success as an openly gay man. Is that too much to ask?!

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But that’s not the main reason I’m sad. I’m sad because this television show was a game-changer for the entertainment industry and I’m afraid its cancellation has brought us back to square one. I’m sad because of what Sense8 means to me, and to countless other people who have felt like they were other for most of their lives. I’m sad because Nomi was shoved under boiling hot water for being trans, and I’m sad because Lito’s career has somehow become threatened by his sexual orientation, and I’m sad because Nigerian politics are corrupt and because the world is full of sexism and racism and homophobia. I’m sad because sometimes, sometimes, just for a little while, Sense8 made me believe that a strong sense of community, empathy and mutual understanding could overcome these hateful phenomena. Tonight I mourn a show that gave me a sense of empowerment and agency and belonging.

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Nomi: Your life is either defined by the system or the way you defy the system.

Sense8 was cancelled tonight, but in a thousand ways it’s only just beginning. For me, this show was the opening salvo in a long-lasting war against bigotry and hatred, which will be battled in terms of television and books and songs and comics and any type of media we deem useful. I will miss Sense8 because it reminded me of the political power of stories, and that power is not something Netflix can cancel.

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Trigger Warning: Broccoli

(The first anniversary of this blog reminded me I’ve been neglecting it a little. Forgive me. The end of the school year is approaching and the weather is much too nice to stay inside and write. Okay, okay. I’ll write outside more. Be patient with me.)

Trigger warning for discussion of suicide and anxiety attacks

Recently, I was triggered by something I saw in a seminar. This occurrence made me aware of the misunderstandings surrounding the words ‘trigger’ and ‘trigger warning.’ I’ll endeavor to shed some light on them for you today.  What happened was this:

For a module on affect studies we examined some examples of shame in popular culture. An obvious example was the 2011 film Shame directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. There was a scene towards the end of the movie that triggered an anxiety attack in me.

From here on out, this blog post contains spoilers for the film Shame Continue reading

Slash

You sigh. You roll your eyes. “Hasn’t Frenzied frickin’ Fangirl written enough about slash by now?” you ask. Maybe I have. But this time Slash is the title of a film I’ve just seen, and I’m here to tell all y’all that it rocks. As always, I have a few critical notes, but they’re not many.

So here’s the gist: Neil, the protagonist of Slash, writes slash for the fictional fandom of Vanguard. When his composition notebook is stolen (this is why we never take our attempts at writing erotica with us to school, children!) he accidentally befriends Julia, also a slash writer. Sidenote to people that know me IRL: There is a Julia in this film who writes gay fanfic, wears lots of t-shirts with cats on them and is an avid feminist. Sound familiar? I thought so. Julia encourages Neil to put his fic online, and when he does it soon becomes so successful that Neil is asked to do a reading at Comic Con. Then some other stuff happens that I won’t tell you for the sake of spoilers.

What I loved about this film: it’s about fandom, and more specifically: fanfic. It beautifully portrays the tensions within fandom that arise when old school fans are confronted with newcomers. Its full of in-jokes from RPF to curtain fic. It’s super open and honest about non-hetero sexual orientations.

What I didn’t love so much: Why is the protagonist a white guy? (SPOILER ALERT: Continue reading

The Elephant In The Room Or: The End Of Writer’s Block

Just over a week ago I blogged a complaint to my Muse: she had deserted me. Writer’s block had set in and I WAS NOT WRITING. It was a nightmare. Almost as soon as I published the post, a solution presented itself. A short story of mine got shortlisted for the Fantastic Story Competition organized by Dutch Comic Con. Voting ends March 12th. VOTE NOW!

I was surprised by the effect this seemingly insignificant event had on my creativity. I felt validated, I felt wanted, I felt cool. Simultaneously, I felt like a bit of an idiot. It’s a little  childish to only write when you get positive feedback on your work, and then, when you feel as though you’re not getting enough positive feedback, to just…quit.

I want to be a writer. I mean to say: I want to make writing into a career. I want to be a person who makes a living by writing stuff. That doesn’t just mean blogging on topics I feel passionate about on moments I feel passionate about them. Sometimes it means just sitting down to do the work, which is why I’m pledging to do at least one blogpost a week from now on. Wish me luck.

There are, however, two sides to every problem, and sometimes there’s an infinite number of sides. Continue reading

What’s Next?

I know y’all are waiting for an in-depth analysis of The Final Problem and I promise that’s coming up really soon. For now, suffice it to say that I was, overall, really happy, in spite of some blatant queerbaiting. But, surprisingly, Sherlock is not what I’m blogging about today.

Today might be the pinnacle of my career as a Frenzied Fangirl. I threw a Disney-themed birthday party this weekend and people turned up en masse in costumes. It was lovely. Then, last night, I was more anxious than I remember ever being before about Sherlock. This morning I purchased two tickets for Hamilton on the West End. Next weekend I’m going to see Harry Potter And The Cursed Child and today….

Lin-Manuel Miranda published this video.

 

It is the catalyst for a blogpost that has been a long time coming: one about how great it is when people you are a fan of are fans of other people you are a fan of. Kind of like Lin-Manuel Miranda recording a West Wing fanvideo.

New Year’s Resolution: No More Spotify

Here is my New Year’s Resolution: I will no longer use Spotify. I have uninstalled the software from my computer and my phone and I’m about to tell you why.

Of course, we live in modern times. Never before has there been such free traffic of information, and by and large I think that’s a wonderful development. Nevertheless, there are downsides to the age of technology: use of social media has been linked to mental health problems (source), online shopping makes small-scale bookshops, my favorite places in the world, obsolete, and there’s an ever-growing privacy concern around technology. Watch some Black Mirror and see what I mean.

But there’s something else that really bugs me. With information becoming available globally for free, it has become devalued. Why would I buy a book if I can download a free epub? Why would I buy a CD when Spotify is right there in my hand? Why would I go hang out at a friend’s house if WhatsApp is so much quicker?

Of course, technology is convenient. It also leads us to believe that we are not responsible for our individual actions. Cyberbullying is a lot easier to do than putting someone down face-to-face, simply because it’s more anonymous. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t steal a book or CD from a shop where a shopkeeper was keeping an eye on you behind the counter, but you have no problem downloading the same content illegally.

I’m here to argue that you should have a problem with it. Now, I’m not telling you to travel back in time. I love CD’s, I love their glistening covers and the booklets full of lyrics and the whirring sound they make when the disc starts spinning, but I understand if you find CDs outdated and inconvenient.

But please consider the following: an artist receives one dollar per album sold on hardcopy through their label. When you listen to an album through a (legal) streaming service like Spotify, the artist makes 0,00029 dollarcent. That means that in order to make an American living wage (5 euros and 36 cents an hour, what the actual fuck??)  an artist needs to be listened to on Spotify 4,5 million times a month (source.) Obviously, illegal downloads earn the artist nothing. Of course, artists can supplement their income by doing live shows and selling merchandise, but my guess is you don’t want those things to be crazy expensive, either. Furthermore, the pressure to tour keeps these artists from having families. Additionally, life on the road can be a huge drain on an artist’s mental health. Artist’s don’t just exist to entertain you. They are also people with personal lives and needs.

Do you want to live in a world where the only music available is the music 4,5 million people listen to? Because that’s the ultimate consequence of using Spotify: our choices in music will become less and less diverse. “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Please be aware that if you’re getting something cheaply (through Spotify) or getting it for free, that means somebody else somewhere is paying the price. That person might be Beyonce, and I can already hear you argue that she can afford it. I don’t disagree. But it might also be Jens Lekman, and I am more than willing to put in a little cash to save his career.

Illegal downloading and legal streaming services such as Spotify have another downside: local businesses get in trouble because no one buys CD’s anymore. There’s Spotify users that use the service to browse, then go out and buy CD’s anyway. I just happen to think there’s a lot more people out there who don’t do that. don’t do that. But I will stop using Spotify and start buying CD’s this year. I promise you that.

 

A Reminder, A Rant & A Recap

This post consists of three parts: a reminder, a rant and a recap. Or, if you want to look at it that way, a reminder and two rants. Let’s get down to business.

Warning for some bad language in the rants. Also, some spoilers for all of Sherlock so far.

1. Reminder: the Mental Health Reading Challenge starts tomorrow. I’m very excited. More info + signups here.

2. Rant: This rant is about queer baiting.

“What is queer baiting?” you ask, a quizzical expression on your face.

The term refers to what happens “when people in the media (usually television/movies) add homoerotic tension between two characters to attract more liberal and queer viewers with the indication of them not ever getting together for real in the show/book/movie”. says Wikipedia.

You shrug. “So what?”

It can even add up to the point where it hurts the queer audience. Queer baiting often plays potentially queer hints and references as mere jokes, but “if the representations in question utilize humour, are queer people in on the joke or are they the joke?”[4]  (a

Is representation a joke? I think not. If you do, that’s your opinion but I’m going to take a wild guess and say you probably don’t feel very marginalized in your daily life. I see way too few characters with disabilities on television. I see way too few women and when I see them they are often portrayed as erratic or superficial. That fucking hurts me.

Storylines where a character can’t be fulfilled until they have overcome a disability fucking hurt me. Representation like that makes me feel as though I’m not enough. I was very angry when John Watson’s limp on Sherlock turned out to be psychosomatic, because it looked as though he only became a competent and interesting character when the disability was cured. That fucking hurts me.

Now, I’m personally not gay. I am, however, a student of cultural analysis and a vocal advocate for equality. I believe in the importance of equal representation in media such as television, and that’s why I’m really kind of angry at the creators of Sherlock: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Here comes part 3: a recap of the relationship between John & Sherlock so far. Alternative title: a second rant: John & Sherlock LOVE each other.

When they first met in A Study In Pink, John and Sherlock had the following conversation in a candlelit Italian restaurant:

 

Dr John Watson: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: Girlfriend? No, not really my area.

Dr John Watson: Oh, right. Do you have a boyfriend?… Which is fine, by the way.

Sherlock Holmes: I know it’s fine.

Dr John Watson: So you’ve got a boyfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: No.

Dr John Watson: Right. Okay. You’re unattached, just like me. Right. Good.

Sherlock Holmes: [pause] John, um… I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work and while I’m flattered, by your interest…

 (Source: IMDB)

 

Please keep in mind that the gentlemen knew each other for less than a day at that point. Keep in mind that Sherlock has some serious issues about opening up emotionally, and that Sherlock, the most observant man in the whole wide world, had somehow gotten the idea that John was romantically attracted to him. A few scenes later, they looked at each other like this.

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