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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Carry On, Simon

I first read Carry On before I even had a blog. Had I had one at the time, I would have written about it as once, but it was not to be. However, this book is so brilliant and fluffy and reassuring that I felt a strong urge to re-read it 0ver Christmas break (if you’re not reading about British wizards and/or detectives and speculating where they fall on the Kinsey scale, is it even really Christmas???) So I’ve re-read it, and here is my review. Contains Spoilers

Five stars. Brilliant book. Amazing. Such lovable characters. Give me more of the magnificent world of Mages, please. Carry On tells the story of Simon Snow’s final year at his wizarding school Watford. It addresses the difficulty of being the “Chosen One” and criticizes the Harry Potter universe in a way that is so respectful yet so accurate.

I’m going to oversimplify a little for the sake of making my point, but you’re going to have to deal with it. Continue reading

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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LGBTQIA Challenge

The LGBTQIA Reading Challenge

Books I read this year with LGBTQIA main characters:

  1. Crush – Richard Siken
  2. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  3. Maurice – E.M Forster
  4. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
  5. The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  6. I read 11 essays in August on the topic of Gender for the Summer School I’m taking at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
  7. Swing Time – Zadie Smith
  8. Edit: before the end of the year but after this post was published I also read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I was aiming for level Yellow, which means I wanted to read between 13 and 20 LGBTQIA books. As you can see, I never got that far. I read eight, which means I made it to level orange. Furthermore, part of the challenge was to write a review for each book, so I’m doing that now and making it into a game. There is only one rule: each review must be exactly ten words long. Here goes nothing. Continue reading

Bisexual Erasure: It’s A Thing

If you’re not doing this yet, please take my advice and go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s my favorite TV show currently running, with hardly any competition (okay, Westworld is pretty great, but Crazy Ex-GF is more my jam) and a new episode is added to Netflix every week.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend chronicles the tale of Rebecca Bunch, a hot-shot New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California, essentially to stalk her teenage sweetheart. I hear you thinking it already: that’s not an innovative plot. Furthermore, there’s something sexist about having your main character move cross-country for a man. That doesn’t sound like a cool show at all.

But hear me out. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that debunks stereotypes at a heart-stopping rate. Even within the intro, the sexist nature of the show’s title is called out. Rachel Bloom, the writer, songwriter, producer and leading lady of the show, is incredibly self-aware, self-reflexive, funny and politically aware. Continue reading

Pride

This year, the city of Amsterdam hosted the Canal Pride. I live in Amsterdam, and in honor of the occasion I would like to list some of my favorite LGBTQIA+ characters.

Please note that all of those are canonically not-straight, and I’m not just speculating that Dean is gay for Castiel or anything because queerbaiting is disgusting. I will dedicate a blogpost to that in the future, but today is Pride Day: let’s be proud.

Pride (2014) characters are gay or bi

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Pride is one of my favorite films ever. It was released in 2014 and tells the story of a group of British lesbians and gays who come out in support of the miners during their strike in the 80’s. It is a wonderful film: funny, fast-paced and smart. Pride is a film that celebrates diversity, without ever forgetting that There Is Power In A Union. Continue reading