Category Archives: recommendations

Oh Conan Yes!: Defending the new movie

Went and saw the new Conan movie last night and it was amazing!

Okay so number one a lot of people have been calling the Schwarzenegger movie a classic and “How could they redo it?” and on and on and on. So let me just say I own the first movie on DVD along with Red Sonja. So don’t try to bullshit me into this world where the original Conan is some amazing bit of film. It is camp, high camp (as if any movie with Arnold could be anything but) and not even James Earl Jones turns it into some amazing bit of art. And if I’m remembering correctly everyone dies in that version, Conan comes out the other side but not many other allies survive. Nostalgia can be a powerful thing and I like the original film but come on.

Now on to the new film. Will contain spoilers:

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Comics – Vote For Genius!

So Top Cow Comics is having their pilot season where they release 6 one-shot comics and people vote. The top two vote-getters get picked up as series. I’m really hoping Genius is one of the two. The story…well –

Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Patton. What if the greatest military mind of OUR generation was born in strife, surrounded by violence and combat since birth? When the gauntlet is dropped, the question isn’t “How did 17-year-old Destiny Ajaye unite the gangs of South Central into a killer army and declare war on the LAPD?” No, the question is, “Can anyone stop her?”

I think the question is – Should anyone stop her?

Already a lot of folks are saying how hateful the comic is and how horrible it is that Destiny has organized the gangs into a force to attack the police. How most of the police are really good people and this doesn’t make sense. I’m willing to bet all my possessions that 99.9% of those folks have never lived in the ghetto. To them the black-and-white in the rear view, the flashing red-and-blue is indicative of safety and protection.

To me and most other brown folks – well we know the score, the police are just as likely to fill us full of 40 bullets, say we had a gun afterwards and get off when they go to trial as to save our lives. We’re told over and over that our lives don’t matter,  that the police can snuff out our breath in a matter of seconds and have absolutely no repercussions. It is a war, a cold war at times, an undeclared war all the time but a war none the less and we (brown folks) are all – whether we acknowledge it or not – potential victims.

Amadou Diallo, Johnny Gammage, Abner Louima, Sean Bell, Rodney King, Ousmane Zongo, Patrick Dorimund, Kathryn Johnston, Steve Biko, Robert Davis, and those are just the ones that received national attention and not even all of those. I’d like to point out that in most of these cases the police themselves were not punished at all. Sure the county or city might have paid millions to the family but the killers were just allowed to return to work – what message does that send both to the terrorists and the community they’re terrorizing? 

If you live with that constant fear you don’t need to see the cops act bad and evil to know the justification for this war, you live the justification every damn day. And this is nothing new, we’ve tried to bring this up many times – remember Fuck Tha Police (1988) & Cop Killer (1992)? This is far from the first time we’ve brought it up and far from the first time we’ve been placated by a bunch of nice words and no real change has happened.   

Also the hypocrisy of folks that will read horrible graphic comic that slaughter women and brown folks like pigs – “Wanted” comes to mind – but somehow this comic is too violent or too angry? These are the same folks that are ready to pick up the whole Grand Theft Auto series and slaughter minorites, women and police with equal abandon and for no reason at all! Just because they’re there.  But this comic with it’s societal critique and political message is somehow too offensive or violent?

What you really mean is this you’re scared. That you realize the inequity in our society, you see it and do nothing about it and the fact that brown folks themselves might take action – violence in response to violence “By Any Means Necessary” kind of violence – scares the pants off of you. It’s why society always talks about MLK jr. instead of Malcom X (despite the fact that later in life their positions flip-flopped). You acknowledge the inequity by the constant fear that brown folks will riot, you acknowledge that they might have a reason to riot and that scares you more than anything.

Go Here To Check Out The Preview Of “Genius” And To Vote For It.  Vote now and often – I think you can vote once a day.

Other Discussions Happening About Genius:

White People Can’t Understand Police Corruption @ Seeking Avalon (Has some of the odius comments in the post itself, pay special attention to the ‘Special Notes’ Avalon’s Willow adds to a couple)

Frustration…thy name is LJ conversations @ Karnythia’s LJ

Tangentially – LAPD Looking For Andrea Wilson-Smith – Missing 14-Year-Old Girl @ And We Shall March

(links via delux_vivens)

Post-Script: I don’t think I have to point out how awesome it is that the military genius of our generation is a black woman.

E.T.A. – I’m really glad it’s getting good reviews.

Story Recommedation

SF/F author Vonda N. McIntyre  (some may remember the not exactly  complimentary review of her book The Moon & The Sun which I linked to in the 13th Carnival of Feminist SF/F Fans) is offering some of her short fiction for free on her website. I just finished reading Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand, an amazing short piece about Snake, a young healer who uses the biochemistry of snakes to do her work. She’s helping a small desert tribe with a young boy, a tribe who doesn’t trust her and is truly desperate. To see how she heals and what happens you’ll have to read the story but I personally found it very sad and gorgeous and I loved the idea of the work and the character of Snake so much that I’m contemplating buying the book Dreamsnake (the aformentioned review makes me a little wary but I’m gonna give it a try) that McIntyre expanded from the short.

I won’t lie the possibility of skanky race issues rear their head a little bit in how the tribe is depicted but it didn’t bother me for two reasons.

#1 I don’t believe McIntyre actually intended to make the tribe POC, because she keeps using sun-browned so I assume since they are browned from the sun and not actually inherently brown she just meant a tan

#2 Even if they were meant to represent POC they are not all uniformly ignorant or reactionary, there are those among the tribe who do not fear Snake and who actually talk with her.

So though I wish the commentary on the tribe’s customs didn’t have such a judgemental edge to it I still liked the story a whole lot and will definitely look into picking up the book. There’s also a Writer’s Appreciation button at the bottom of the story where you can donate a little cash if you really liked the story. I would have but I haven’t yet received my first check from this job so yes, if you can afford to give a little do so.



Recently went to see Persepolis with a friend and I cannot recommend this film enough. It is based on two graphic novels (in it’s native french it is 4 volumes but they were combined for the english translation) by Marjane Satrapi detailing her childhood in Iran during the revolution and during the war between Iran & Iraq, her high school experiences in Austria and finally her return to Iran and subsequent re-departure this time for France.

I read the first volume in 2003 when it came out and was amazed by this book. The simple black and white style added to the starkness of the dark points and the simplicity of the happy moments in her life. I sadly never read the second volume and did not even know it was being made into a film, until my friend mentioned that she wanted to go see it.

The film is all in French with American subtitles and the art is done in the same artistic style as the book. The emotional impact was not dulled at all and I really enjoyed following Marjane on her journey through the revolution, to Austria and the complications of being Iranian there during the Iran/Iraq conflict and finally her return to Iran later. There’s humor even during the dark times and the shadow of death hangs over a lot of the good times. There is nothing easy or uncomplicated in this work because it details true life and true life is very rarely easy or without complications. Though there were certain things that I vaguely recall that I wish had made it into the film (so I’m going buy both volumes of the graphic novel so I can reread the first volume and read the second volume as soon as I have money to spare) the film’s story flowed well and left me in awe in my uncomfortable theatre seat.

The voice acting was terrific, the revolutionary sentiment real and absorbing and Marjane one of the most human protagonists I’ve seen in some time (this is probably cause she is a real person). I really cannot recommend this film enough. If it’s not playing in your area then buy the graphic novels and enjoy the story in its original format until the movie comes out on DVD, then buy that too. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.

Story Recommendations: Urchins, While Swimming & Blood of Virgins

Both of these stories were interesting in different ways. Both are fantastical things set in modern times but Urchins… has a  darker feel, a more individual story that focuses on the conflict one person has and the discovery and change she has to go through. Set in post-war Russia the atmosphere of the story is dark and mysterious and unrelenting. Urchins…, has the benefit of being written by one of my favorite authors, Catherynne M. Valente who wrote the amazing Orphan’s Tales duology and her way with words and her love of them is in full display in the story.

In Blood… the conflict is more of a constant worry for some people in that world, it also has political leanings, by which I mean there’s political activism focused around the conflict. I also found it interesting that the story was focused on a male, it was interesting because we as a part of Western society don’t really think of men in those terms without judgment. Virgin for men is an insult and for women a virtue according to the dominant paradigm and it was and interesting to see this  represented in the work. I could deconstruct this more but I don’t want to ruin the story. Blood… is by David Barr Kirtley, who I’ve never read before but the idea and execution of the story really kept me interested which is a feat when there’s a male protagonist (usually the only things I read have a female main character, but that’s an essay for another time).

Anyway, check them both out and let me know what you think.

Urchins, While Swimming by Catherynne M. Valente

Blood of Virgins by David Barr Kirtley