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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 05:19pm on 06/08/2017
Having finished Dance of the Vampires, I have to say it's terribly rape-y. It's not just all the male gaze-y stuff about Sarah, constantly being observed naked in her bathtub by a succession of men (and, of course, the audience), or Chagal's controlling attitude to her sexuality, or even her being bitten by Krolock (which at least is consensual, even if she appears to regret it immediately afterwards). I don't like any of that, but it's harmless compared with what happens to poor Magda, who actually SINGS about how she doesn't like being raped by Chagal (kind of a bleak topic for a comic musical, as nobody involved in the productions ever appears to have said), and then when she tries to turn the tables on him, by saying to his corpse "Who's the one with the power now?" gets non-consensually bitten and discovers she just loves having sex with her rapist after all (she literally sings that - I'm not reading between the lines here). Even if I hadn't known the story was by Polanksi, I would not have been totally surprised to learn that the author went on to violently rape a thirteen year old girl. As I said, it's a very rape-y text.

Also, the make-up and body language makes Chagal look as if he's playing Shylock in a Nazi production of the Merchant of Venice and I am more than slightly surprised that no one on the creative team questioned this, given that it is, after all, an Austrian production. This, unlike the rapiness, is not Polanksi's fault - the film Chagal is much less stereotypically Jewish (and yet, weirdly, in the film the audience is assumed to be able to make the connection when Chagal scoffs at Magda's cross, saying "Have you got the wrong vampire!", while in the musical he carefully explains "That trick won't work - I'm a Jewish vampire!" Unsurprisingly, I have changed this back.)
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 09:42pm on 30/07/2017
For the record, my two favourite Herberts.

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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 01:00pm on 12/01/2015
This is a very good, nuanced, left-wing French perspective on Charlie Hebdo and the rise of fundamentalism in France:
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 05:34pm on 10/01/2015
Let me open with a quote:

"I'd argue that Charlie Hebdo was already shooting at French Muslims. The editor has been saying things like "Newspapers aren't weapons of war" and "Pencils aren't weapons", which is incredibly disingenuous; words have been constructed as weapons for thousands of years. 'The pen is mightier than the sword' recognises that words are weapons; Napoleon said "Newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets"; Abraham Lincoln said Harriet Beecher Stowe started the Civil War with her book. Inciting race hatred against a group is attacking them, it is creating an environment that wants to kill them. I do think responding to paper bullets with lead bullets is Bad, but the construction where the newspaper was sitting haplessly around until some deranged gunmen burst in ignores that Charlie Hebdo was working to kill French Muslims. "
( Italics mine)

All over the internet, this sort of "thoughtful" article is popping up to explain why je ne suis pas charlie and attempting to articulate why the fact that a group of cartoonists were murdered for satirising Islam doesn't mean that we should approve of their racist, offensive cartoons, which were deliberately published in order to cause harm to the already marginalised Muslim community. That they were, in fact, a bunch of privileged racist white guys who were "punching down" at "brown people", shooting at them with "paper bullets", actively "killing brown people" by increasing Islamophobia, and therefore that, though they shouldn't have been murdered, they also shouldn't have published those cartoons in the first place. This is undoubtedly a debate worth having - how far free speech should be allowed to go is, and will always be, a contentious issue, and as one person on metafilter observed, publications like Charlie Hebdo are the canary in the coalmine that show how far we can actually exercise the freedoms of speech we supposedly have.

But what is getting me increasingly het-up about these oh-so-well-intentioned occupying-the-moral-high-ground articles is that they are coming from a place of complete ignorance. The question of how far racist cartoons should or should not be published is not, in fact, a point that's even at at issue here because Charlie Hebdo was an anti-racist publication. For crying out loud, when those people were shot, they were sitting in a meeting organising an anti-racist conference. They had been dedicated anti-racists for so long that one of the murdered cartoonists, Cabu, actually gave mainstream French culture the word that is used to skewer small-minded racists (boeuf, short for beau-frère). Another, Georges Wolinksi, supported EU membership for Turkey and was described thus by Turkish journalist Ertuğrul Özkök: "He was never the enemy of any Muslim. On the contrary, he was one of the loudest voices supporting Muslim immigrants in France." Their cartoons, about whose racism so many non-Francophone commenters are busily pontificating, are not satirising Muslim immigrants, they are satirising appalling right-wing prejudices about immigrants. If Charlie Hebdo was racist, Stephen Colbert is a Republican.

Take the "infamous" Boku Haram cartoon (one of "Charlie Hebdo’s many inarguably racist caricatures of Muslims[...] depicting the schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram as welfare queens" according to Feministing. Italics mine):

Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 12:01pm on 26/11/2011
Is it just me, or is LJ a bit fucked today?
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 08:02pm on 04/10/2011
Wolfgang and I had our first Swedish lesson last night. We are attending a series of 11 beginners' lessons at night school in Vienna in the hope that this will enable us to consult our guide to all the best natural anchor spots in the Stockholm archipelago (apparently it is the bible of archipelago sailors, but of course it is in Swedish, though I suppose there might conceivably be a Finnish edition available, not that that helps) without worrying whether our translation, achieved with the help of the fickordbok on the boat (it means "pocket dictionary", so get your filthy minds out of the gutter, all you German speakers) has accurately distinguished between "great place to anchor when the wind's from the west" and "terrible place to anchor when the wind's from the west". The teacher started out by asking us all if we knew any Swedish words. We knew the least in the class, but the ones we did know were all things like "north", "south", "island" and "halyard", which at least no one else knew. We have now learned how to say things like "What is your name?" and "Where are you from?", none of which will be any use at all, because all Swedes speak perfect English, and even the ancient fisherman we met out in the wilds of the outer archipelago, who clutched his head in horror when he heard we only spoke English, managed to tell us that his family had always been fishermen and that he lived in the most beautiful place in the world and that we had a beautiful boat, which is more than I will be able to do in Swedish after my eleven lessons. However, I went into kindergarten this morning and said to one little boy whose mother is Swedish "Vat hetter Du?" and he looked at me in astonishment and said, "Philip" so something must have stuck.

Swedish grammar and vocabulary seem reasonably simple so far, but Swedish spelling is a mystery. "Det" is pronounced "de" and "de" is pronounced "dom" and every third letter is pronounced sh (k is sh and sh is sh and sj is sh and j is sh and s is sh). Or not. Depending on where in the word it crops up. I can see, given my passing acquaintance with phonology, that Swedish has a thing about palatalisation before front vowels and after liquids, but this sh obsession goes far beyond that.
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 12:07pm on 26/07/2011
I know quite a lot of Pico peole also have DW accounts, so if the LJ outage continues past today, I could host Pico here until LJ is restored. Pass the word...
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 07:00am on 25/04/2011
We're a bit behind the times cinematically here in Austria, so last night we went to see Four Lions, which the internet informs me was released in the UK in 2010 and won a BAFTA and things. I'm glad it's finally made it here, because I haven't laughed in a cinema so much since - well, I can't remember when. It's one of these films where the entire conversation afterwards goes "And that bit when... And that bit when... and when he...." and everyone bursts into fresh gales of laughter at each memory. Riz Ahmed was fantastic as Omar, managing to give the film an emotional layer that made it more than just a black comedy, and handling the emotional moments with a delicacy of touch that stopped them tipping into sentiment (his "Simba's jihad" version of the Lion King that he tells his son as a bedtime story is both hilarious and moving). But all the actors were terrific. And there is bonus surprise!Benedict Cumberbatch.
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 05:42am on 14/04/2011 under
My eldest daughter had her Latin exam yesterday. She has been complaining for a while that the passages they currently have to translate are all from the bible, and that this puts her at a disadvantage because she doesn't know any bible stories*. When I asked her how the exam had gone, she said, "Dreadful. We got that passage where Petrus sings a song about a chicken three times. What's that all about anyway?"

I can only hope the teacher is sufficiently entertained to give her a pass mark.

*This is what happens when you don't raise your child in any particular religious tradition, and then send them to a Catholic private school at the age of 15. Apart from smuggling passages from the bible into Latin classes, it's not an overtly religious education, and the children can opt to be given religious instruction in any faith. They are not, however, allowed to choose not to attend RE classes at all.**

**Unlike the European School that my daughter went to when we were living in England, where we were told by the po-faced RE teacher at the parents' information evening, "The children have the choice between Religion and Morality." We opted for Morality.
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posted by [personal profile] azdak at 10:00am on 19/02/2011
If you like Sherlock, and especially if you like Sherlock and Harry Potter, give The Almost Empty House a try. It's very good.


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