Category Archives: Opinion

Moving forward

So I’ve put a post or two behind me, because I’m trying to move forward. The past year has had a tendency to keep me paralysed, feeling isolated in a world I barely recognise. The more I look at it, the more I’m sure that I don’t recognise it because it doesn’t exist.

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An Open Letter to Stephen Fry

(and anyone else who thinks abuse victims need to ‘grow up’)

Stephen Fry, I neither want nor care about any part of your sympathy.

Nor that of your horde. I’ve lived just fine for most of my adult life not giving any part of a rat’s anatomy what you think. What I do care about, however, is the way you constantly target vulnerable people and attack them.

We can set aside the extreme hypocrisy of your wanting sympathy for your depression– a real illness that certainly does deserve compassion– yet completely dismissing the effects of trauma on a developing mind. You resent people telling you to ‘cheer up’, then go ’round telling people dealing with the aftermath of abuse to just ‘grow up’. It’s clear that you don’t comprehend that juxtaposition, as it has been pointed out to you many times by now. I don’t need you to comprehend it. I will just ask you, as have many others, to stop.

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Our own worst enemy.

Paranormal Activity is, as Honest Movie Trailers puts it, a movie featuring a hell of a lot of nothing. The entire movie contains fewer special effects than most chewing gum commercials these days. Yet it beat Saw VI into the ground, and effectively ended the (*mutter* sanctimonious torture-porn) series. People who are jaded with spilled guts and blood were fleeing the theater in terror, and seasoned movie veterans couldn’t watch it at night.

Why does a movie which is essentially a whole lot of nothing inspire so much terror? Because what we see is never as terrifying as what we imagine.

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Shakespeare is not the problem.

Last night I got into an idiotic discussion, and by that I mean I was an idiot trying to have a discussion with what were clearly just pronouncements. I wish there were a -dar for pretentiousness, because I am clearly lacking that particular means of detection. I mistake posturing for an audience for an actual attempt to open a topic far too often.

The topic in question is a perennial resentment for Shakespeare that crops up now and then from people who have this odd idea that there is some sort of parcelling out being done in which Shakespeare takes the lion’s share of resources, leaving all independent work out in the cold. This is such a backwards view of how theater works, honestly, and yet people buy it. Why? Because it’s become second nature for people these days to blame the successful and widely accepted for our own lack of success and acceptance.

Shakespeare doesn’t stifle theater, it revives it.

I grew up in the theater– when I was a child, I played faeries in Shakespeare and the Nutcracker, when I was older I had roles in Noh plays and independent works, and did backstage work for the university. I found I liked backstage far better, though I would still end up filling in roles when needed. Eventually I did some work as assistant to a producer in local theater. Never once in any of those years did I hear anyone say, “Well, we can either do this independent play or put on another Shakespeare.” It simply did not happen. The reason? The success of a well-worn title was WHY we got to put on the independent work.

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Learning to Let Go

Hope runs out. Someone dies. Someone else finally realizes how much they love them. They hold the dead loved one. They cry. They beg. All is lost, but then, a miracle. The lost loved one stirs. They wake, and all is OK.

Please stop with this trope. Seriously.

Perhaps you’re expecting me to tell you it’s tired, retread, or done to death. Honestly? If it were just a tired trope, I would be fine with it. There are plenty of retread things that are staples of family entertainment. Not every plot has to be brilliantly original to be worth watching. That’s not the problem here. The problem is the message it sends, the lesson it teaches children from such a painfully early age.

“If you lose someone, it’s because you didn’t love them enough.”

As entertainers, artists, people who might end up speaking to forming minds, or even formed and trusting ones, we should be mindful of the message we’re sending. We don’t just portray the world when we create, we interpret it, and that can become part of the perception our readers have towards their worlds. We’re not solely responsible for their worldviews, but we can do a lot of damage by reinforcing messages we know aren’t true. As you’ll find out eventually, there are a few of these messages I have a real problem with, but this one is amongst the worst. In books, comics, TV and movies we send the message over and over, if you try hard enough, if you love hard enough, if you beg hard enough, if you cry hard enough, people won’t really die.

That’s cruel.

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