Spoiled Eggs: on spoilers and easter eggs:

Emily Edwards: You know how white women love true crime? True crime to white men is easter egg media…True crime instills in white women […] the myth that hypervigilance can save you. That if you’re always on the lookout for, like, the murderer who is [going to] bring you into his van […] that if you notice him, you won’t be that person. But easter egg media to white dudes also instills hypervigilance but the worst thing you have to worry about is someone thinking you don’t get a Star Wars reference […] I think that’s one of the reasons people hate spoilers so much now on like twitter and things like that. I don’t care. I love spoilers. Personally, because I was not allowed to read comic books, watch Star Wars, like anything when I was a kid […] just flat out anything that’s referenced in [Ready Player One] I was not allowed to experience, so I love spoilers because I don’t know what is f*cking happening in a movie unless someone tells me what is happening. And also, I love spoilers because I’m a writer and I like to see how things build on top of one another. So, I enjoy watching how writers put together a story in order to build to this huge climax like End Game-level sh*t, where, like, these huge catastrophic things are happening. I never would have known and I like watching how it gets built to be there. It’s awesome.

Thom Dunn: I love watching all those pieces come together. […] If a story is completely contingent upon the surprise of the spoiler and if it’s just a surprise that’s just a surprise or a just a twist that’s just a twist, then it’s f*cking meaningless anyway. There’s no value in that. [So if] I go into something knowing, like, ‘I know that this is how it ends,’ I [still] don’t know how we’re gonna get there, [that actually] helps me almost turn my brain off […and] know what to focus on.”

[…]

EE: But I also feel like there’s a purity aspect to it too where, like, there’s a large chunk of geek media people who want to be ‘the first’ to experience something and also if there’s spoilers and you’re not also the first person to discover the easter egg it gets into this really weird MRA aspect…

18:27 Fuckbois of Literature podcast, 40: Ready Player One – Thom Dunn

Films Watched in 2022 – Mini Reviews

Films I watched in 2022, not just films that came out this year. Will update this list as I watch more. See my 2021 reviews here.

  • Nightmare Alley (1947 version). – I watched this because of the Marc Maron interview with del Toro. After Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water, I had kind of written off del Toro as “all aesthetics, no substance” but hearing him talk about the book this was based off of intrigued me. The author’s ex-wife married C.S. Lewis. It seems like she married two men at opposite ends of the/a spectrum. I wanted to watch the first film and will probably read the book now too to get some context. I’m a bit mad that NA now has 2 adaptations while Geek Love by Kathrine Dunn still has zero.
  • The Eternals – Was better than everyone was saying it was going to be, and I think it does better what The Old Guard tried to do.
  • Vacation Friends* – if you’re wanting a dumb movie this is actually pretty funny.

UPDATE: I’m on letterboxd now so I’m stopping this crap. 1/22/22. Will continue for the TV Shows though.

2022 TV Mini Reviews

TV shows I watched in ’22. Ongoing. If it has an * by it, it was a favorite this year.

  • Station Eleven – Started in 2021. So, I didn’t really know what the book was about before starting this but I’m amazed that no one is calling out the similarities in this story (book is 2014) with the 2013 BBC show UTOPIA (now a US show as well). Both stories have a graphic novel at the heart of the plot during a pandemic. UPDATE: I stopped watching. It was not good enough to make it to the last episode.
  • Inside Job* – first show I binged in 2022. Very Rick & Morty-esque except instead of aliens, it’s conspiracy theories. Glad to see Brett Gelman getting voice actor work.
  • Yellowjackets*- Started in 2021. Continually gripped each episode.
  • How to with John Wilson* – continued over from 2021. Season 2. Not as mind blowing as season 1, but still interesting and weird and heartwarming. I love it.
  • SNL – carried over from 2021. Should this even be on the list? IDK.
  • Search Party – Surreal. Anything with Julio Torres is gonna be, tho. Will always love this show and it did match my expectations, but this season did not transform me.
  • A Discovery of Witches – Season 3. Why did I watch this? It was so bad. I blame the script and director(s?), not the actors, although they did not try. Let me save you some time. Spoilers: she has twins this season and saves all creature kind with a discovery that they need to be nicer to demons because all creatures depend on demon DNA if the other creatures aren’t to be inbred or die off. Also, it is a bit on the nose that all demons seem to be people of color (?). Woke witches or whatever. I’ll not take up more of your time.
  • Hit-Monkey – I can’t get past the first episode. Probably. Change my mind.
  • Wolf Like Me* – was over too soon, but really cute and sad.
  • Euphoria – season 2. Finally. I am obsessed.
  • Pam and Tommy – I stopped watching as soon as I realized I would have to wait weekly for the episodes. It’s not that good of a show. Also, Pamela Anderson didn’t approve of this so I’m conflicted.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole – Wtf am I watching. WHY tf am I watching?
  • Peacemaker* – Here for the eagle. I have mixed feelings about liking this show as much as I did. Am I a John Cena fan? I think I’m a John Cena fan?
  • Claws – the last season! I am waiting for fashion YouTubers to finally cover all the lewks of this show!!! (Mina, can you hear me?)
  • Killing Eve – I’m going to write my own ending where it left off, like, two season ago and pretend this pile of crap didn’t happen. I feel so baited.
  • Abbott Elementary*  – I am loving this show so much. It’s like the new Parks n Rec for me. Hilarious.
  • Dollface – this show is going through growing pains, but I sure liked the characters more this season.
  • Inventing Anna – stopped watching after I found out the real Anna got paid for her life story. I dew nowt have tyme fore yew.
  • King of the Hill – I forget what episode I ended on, but this is really only something I would have on in the background. Much respect though for being better than I thought it was going to be.
  • Pam & Tommy – stopped watching after I found out that Pam didn’t endorse the show. Talking penis was weird anyway.
  • WeCrashed – ICouldn’t after the first episode. Nothing about it convinced me to continue watching.
  • The Gilded Age – fine first few episodes but…  (sighs heavily). I’m not looking for another Downton Abbey.  Not the way I want to learn about history right now.
  • Our Flag Means Death* – I’m just glad it’s cool to like pirates again.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – I think I’m in love with Lenny Bruce? But that’s about all I’m in love with in this show.
  • The Dropout* – The best of all con shows out right now?
  • Somebody Somewhere – Stopped at second episode. The small-town + religious folk just are really triggering for me regardless of the positive message. See next.
  • Life and Beth – the set up feels very similar to Somebody Somewhere but somehow I am more attached and attracted to this. Same vibes but this one lands better for me.
  • Minx – I couldn’t keep watching after episode 1. I was bored. Is this really the conversations we’re still having today?
  • Bridgerton – season 2. Every plot point was so contrived. I probably will not watch season 3. However, WILL watch any YouTube video Mina Le makes of the fashion.
  • Starstruck* – I loved this show so much. A good palate cleanser. Romantic comedy but the main thing you need to notice is their tiny fireplace (was it some sort of oven???).
  • The Flight Attendant – season 2. Pretty good follow up but I was not surprised at the twists. Worth watching for Zosia Mamet’s hand tattoo.
  • Russian Doll – season 2. Not as good as season 1 and made even less sense and less use of their male protagonist. And there tried to be a trans narrative in there maybe? I’m not sure it worked and I still do not understand why these things keep happening to them.
  • Made for Love* – Filling the gap left by Silicon Valley now. 2 season in and I’m just now learning it’s based on a novel by the same name???
  • Moonknight – more like goodnight, am I right? That’s it?
  • I love that for you – I found myself cringing too much after the first episode so I’m not sure I will continue because I don’t want my face to stay that way.
  • Undone* – season 2. This season undid me. Literally balling at the screen.
  • Outer range* – they risked a lot, expecting me to be patient enough for that ending. But without risk comes no reward so yeah, it’s worth a gamble on this show. Ante up your magic dust because I’m in.
  • Hacks* – season 2. This show is getting SO GOOD.
  • Barry – Season 3. Consistently good. Laughing and rooting for a murderer is such a thrill.
  • Shorsey – why did I watch this whole thing? Why is this what they would rather be working on than improving the sh!tshow that is Letterkenny?
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth – a bit melodramatic. I tried to watch the film first and couldn’t get through that either though, so this may be an aesthetic problem?
  • Conversations with Friends – I found the relationships very boring but kept watching for Jemima. I don’t know if I’ll continue on to season 2.
  • Under the Banner of Heaven – Well, I liked the juxtaposition of the past acted out to help explain the reasoning of the present. But Andrew, please, stop taking these roles where you have to play a Christian. It’s becoming a type.
  • Stranger Things* – season 4 pt. 1 is running up that hill. I can’t help but like this show and you will never get a better opening credits. Pt. 2. Screaming “kiss!” at the screen is appropriate 99% of the time with this show. Brett Gelman is my favorite and I would like to know what happened to him.
  • The Boys* – season 3. So, like, are d!ldo scenes the “it” plot point of 2022? I think so.
  • Roar – I watched to the Betty Gilpin episode. It was all metaphor with no meaning.
  • The White Lotus – So, this show did get better but I stopped watching for a while after the first episode. I get what it was trying to say and I definitely think the conversations it has likely started for some people were necessary (ie don’t go on vacation to Hawaii) but I think a show with a similar vibe that was more interesting was Nine Perfect Strangers. This one had more to say about the toxicness of whiteness but it held up a mirror and that was all. It had nothing to recommend.
  • Severance* – this show is amazing. There are no words to describe how good it is.
  • The Old Man – These dogs better be OK.
  • Rutherford Falls* – Season 2. This show deserves a Peabody.
  • LOOT – Watchable.
  • Only Murders in the Building – I’m not so sure I’m digging this season? The writing and character development are so shallow.
  • Westworld – Season 4. Meh, let me guess. Dolores is the game designer now and all the robots and humans are in it. // Update at season 5: this season did better at making the Matrix come into real life without virtual reality than season 4 did, I’ll give them that. Also, you could tell the world was “wrong” by the fact Dolores was a writer who, like, got paid. This seson went full on _The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya_.
  • Umbrella Academy – So, like, they’re just making Klaus a Nathan from Misfits? This show is so dumb now. Still an improvement from the graphic novels.
  • What we do in the shadows – season 4. So, Colin Robinson isn’t a baby in a nightclub? He’s a pre-teen in a nightclub?
  • Righteous Gemstones – season 1 & 2. So, this show is ridiculous but I also can’t stop watching.
  • The Resort – I’m having issues with understanding some of the character’s motivations or really understanding who they are except for a “couple bored with each other.”
  • Los Espookys
  • Papergirls –
  • Solar Opposites – OK, now I’m tired of the people in The Wall. But I love the “healthier” alien relationship.
  • The Sandman -I, like, don’t understand why Neil Gaiman is so popular.

Book Review: Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler, Sonia Paoloni, Thibault Balahy (Illustrations)

Graphic novel…nonfiction.

Didn’t know much about this band before reading. Was a quick read and good for historical contexts. Probably would get more out of it if you’re into music. Content warning, though: graphic violence, depictions of genocide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQtXyNkDUf2XZg9XIFwypmKEo0h52Cy9Z_DERo0/

Book Review: The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death & the Ecstatic by Joanna Ebenstein

The sexual politics of…anatomy. Fascinating stuff but I wish the book had delved into the racism and bias of these works that it didn’t even really touch on. Like, in one racist depiction it describes it as a “tableau” but doesn’t address that the demonic figure has been replaced by a black person/racist stereotype (see screenshot). Call it out at least. What’s more the book doesn’t even mention figures like Sarah Baartmaan (called the “Black Venus”) whose literal body was on display. A couple of white women whose bodies were preserved like dolls are mentioned though.

 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSVPtFfDTuVMiNjdxxleFq_ZezK4jXaXiHZvQM0/

Book Review: Bad Girls, Honey: Poems About Lana Del Rey by Megan Falley

Will we still love her when she is no longer young and beautiful?

This book is the size of a CD case, I just realized. An album.

This was referenced in a YouTube video essay on (I think?) Lolita and I just had to read it. Only one library in the country claimed to own it (I think?) and it looked like it was signed by the author (I think?). Should have snapped a pic of that because I’ve already forgotten. Anyway, these poems will make you throwup your summertime sadness for seconds.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CS71-MOjp9aPdZZ9wxVAjYt-Z9_wiFlakg25i80/

Book Review: Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy by Savannah Knoop

The conversations around JT LeRoy are yet to call out Albert as the Rachael Dolezal for trans people, and that’s why I think this story continues to baffle me. Perhaps Albert is trans, in the umbrella sense of the word, if she feels like LeRoy is part of her, and that (perhaps?) complicates the issue even more for criticism. But that’s why I read this book — to get a better thought process about her “avatar” (what Albert still calls JT) from Knoop’s perspective. An “avatar” is not a character in a book, though, or even a pen name. “Avatar” is still not the right word. In some respects, JT LeRoy feels ghostwritten, which I have a negative view on. It’s inauthentic, at the end of the day. But those who are ghostwritten for tend to exist where JT did not, so that’s where the comparison ends. To be nitpicky, JT LeRoy was not the avatar, Knoop was. The rest is all persona and acting and claiming an identity that really doesn’t feel like it was Albert’s to do in the way she did.

Knoop, on the other hand, was forced to embody what Albert created. If you know about the story, the embodying did not fit. Reading this made me feel like Knoop is still exploring their identity at the time of writing it — that this book was an exercise in recording who they were and who they are at a moment in time so they can have solid ground to stand on going forward. Before going into this, I knew that Knoop’s pronoun was now “they” and had read from the BBC that:

‘…”one interesting point of similarity between Knoop as LeRoy and Knoop now, aside from an eclectic taste in fashion, is that Knoop has gravitated towards LeRoy’s gender fluidity – stopping using the pronoun ‘she’ and now going by the gender neutral ‘they’. “They is a made-up word, and I like how confusing and uncomfortable it is,” says Knoop. “I went to grad school and there were all these young kids who in some way were post-gender and they all go by ‘they’.”’


So this renders the title a bit irrelevant or at least slightly awkward, since Knoop might again no longer identify as (or embody?) a “girl.” It seems their identity exploration is not over yet, and I wish Knoop would have included that fact more outright but I did not get a good sense of it. Otherwise, you assume Knoop is OK with “she” or being gendered as a “girl.” I was hoping for a little bit more retroactive analyzing on Knoop’s part for how JT LeRoy was still called “He” during the events recounted here despite JT “identifying” as trans. Like, maybe more talk about how, if this stunt was done today, more care or definition might go to XYZ like in pronoun usage and etc. Yet again, maybe “trans” is for the umbrella sense of the word, which would include non-binary and gender neutral identities as well, so I accept it either way. I’ve not read any of Albert’s books so I don’t know if that’s addressed there. Plus, there are a few specific examples where “genderfluid” is mentioned up as what JT is shooting for (yet it doesn’t seem to be THE identity like “trans” is) so maybe Knoop did not feel the need to address it further. I of course realize that at the time our definitions were (and are still) evolving but today those terms are not so interchangeable. However, there are also other examples where it’s as if there’s a very exact definition of “trans-ness” they were trying to project. It’s a projection where, today, we do have better language to describe what was (possibly?) going on but Knoop simply does not address it even though they have access to said language. Going off that BBC quote, it feels like Knoop missed an opportunity to look back and claim their “interpretation” or “embodiment” of LeRoy as really having/deserving a gender neutral pronoun. I think my confusion highlights this lack of clarification and exploration enough.
This book should be in conversations with ones like, for example, #OwnVoices. The lines in the sand for what you can and can’t do were blurred with this stunt and I think we’re missing opportunities to define (if we even need to define? maybe reinforce, rather?) who and what an “author” is. What Laura Albert did was most wrong, in my view. What Knoop went through was not OK. Yet, like Knoop, I still don’t think we have the precise language to talk about it. But we need to continue to try.