Posts Tagged ‘film

20
May
13

Star Trek Into Darkness: Able-Bodied Angst and Abrams’ Anti-Intellectualism

Warning: this post contains discussion of genocide and spoilers for Star Trek Into Darkness.

Compared to most popular film franchises, the Star Trek fandom has waited a long time to see the Enterprise take to open skies again. In an industry where popularity and success are capitalized on as quickly as possible, four years was an unusually long gap between a blockbuster summer film and its sequel. During the four year wait, some fans (especially those of the Prime universe) grew increasingly cynical about the second reboot film’s ability to move beyond the flashy origin story of its predecessor and mature into a more contemplative series about the intragalactic, ethical repercussions of one ship’s actions. This subset of fans grew ever more disheartened each time the director, writers, and producers opened their mouths, typically to comment on how they weren’t making a movie for Star Trek fans, why a female character needed to be shown in her undies while an accidental shot of Chris Pine’s clothed butt needed to be edited out in post-production, or how the Captain Kirk of TOS was a womanizer uninterested in love.

I have to admit, I was one of those fans. I tried to be optimistic, but once the details of Benedict Cumberbatch’s role were spoiled, I became a Trekkie fatalist. I may have spent an evening listening to “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis on repeat while cursing J.J. Abrams’ name for killing the dream I dreamed of a faithful reinvigoration of the Star Trek franchise.

Yet, even before my descent “into darkness” caused by casting spoilers, I knew that the film was going to fail me from disability perspective. I knew it would fall into one of the most egregious ableist tropes in film and television. As soon I saw the promo stills, I knew what was going to happen.

Continue reading ‘Star Trek Into Darkness: Able-Bodied Angst and Abrams’ Anti-Intellectualism’

23
Jul
12

Twin Peaks: Manufacturing Quirkiness… and Danger

Warning: this post contains discussions of rape, child sexual abuse, and incest. Spoilers for Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me.

For those of you who don’t know, Twin Peaks is a cult drama that ran for two seasons from 1990-1991. In simple terms, the show is about the ripples created in a small Washington town after homecoming queen Laura Palmer is found dead. FBI agents come to town, secrets are revealed, new secrets are created, and everyone gets involved in at least one or two love triangles. Despite being a crime drama/primetime soap opera, Twin Peaks featured a lot of spiritual or supernatural elements and mysteries that would lay the groundwork for series like LOSTCarnivàle, and even Fringe (in which “science” becomes its own type of spirituality that allows people to share consciousness, speak to the dead, and transport souls). However, Twin Peaks will probably be remembered most for being weird, popularizing the Quirky Town trope through the town of Twin Peaks, and delving into some pretty weird shit in the spiritual realm (i.e., the Black Lodge, the Red Room). How the series creates this aura of quirkiness and weirdness is suspect.

Let’s start with the Quirky Town trope. As anyone knows, Quirky Towns are made up of Eccentric Townsfolk. On Gilmore Girls, Stars Hollow, the quirkiness capital of Connecticut, is home to Kirk (who holds a different job each episode), a troubadour, and Miss Patty (grand dame of dance and frequent name-dropper) just to name a few. Watching Twin Peaks, the purported mecca of Eccentric Townsfolk, I was struck by how very few residents were quirky compared to other Quirky Towns. I admit this is my own perception of the show colored by my own personal experiences. So why did I read Twin Peaks residents as less eccentric than I expected given the show’s hype? I can think of three possible reasons: 1. I grew up watching shows inspired by Twin Peaks‘ Quirky Town-ness that turned the trope up to 11 (e.g., Gilmore Girls). 2. I am weirder than the people of Twin Peaks and therefore find them normal. 3. I don’t find people with disabilities quirky or eccentric just for having disabilities. In my opinion, Twin Peaks tries to create of an aura of quirkiness by having a lot of characters with disabilities. How many? Let’s break it down.

Continue reading ‘Twin Peaks: Manufacturing Quirkiness… and Danger’

20
Feb
12

Disability in my sci-fi?

Hyperbole and a Half meme

Image: Background: a cartoon of a blonde woman punching the air with her fist and holding a broom in her other hand. "CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!" is handwritten above her head. Foreground: the caption: "LIST ALL THE SPACE CRIPS!"

Over Christmas dinner, I was telling my family that I wanted to write about disability in science fiction. My future brother-in-law, who is a big sci-fi fan, was doubtful that disability was covered often enough in sf for me to study it. (He had previously asked me if there was enough material to warrant doctoral programs in women’s studies. Apparently, he hadn’t heard that women and girls make up a little over half of the world’s population.) After that, I got to thinking about it and started to compile a mental list of characters with disabilities and disability themes in sci-fi/fantasy. In the interest of appealing to my fairly concrete minded brother-in-law, this list is limited to characters who would be read as having a disability in the US in 2012 rather than characters who demonstrate that disability is on a spectrum and culturally relative. The latter will come later. Without any further ado, I give you my rudimentary rundown of disability in sci-fi/fantasy.* You are forewarned: here be spoilers. Continue reading ‘Disability in my sci-fi?’




Space Crip

People with disabilities? In my sci-fi? It's more likely than you think.