Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Evidence grows to support the former theory - that I am, in fact, plain stupid sometimes. It's long enough after the event that I can say this without ruining it for anyone...
I tuned into the first episode of the new season of Heroes* just a bit late. And by that I mean I caught the last, say, 5 minutes. The scene - some sort of flying craft, many characters from the show in orange jumpsuits, strapped to their seats. The hull of said craft has just been accidentally breached, and air is rushing out at an alarming rate, we see inside the cockpit, the view out the front, they're about to crash horribly... roll credits.

My reaction? "Wow! Heroes in Space!"

I am politically blind, sometimes. Orange jumpsuits still say to me "astronauts" rather than "Guantanamo". I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.


In other news, Microsoft have delved to a new level of moral cowardice.
I was discussing this with a friend, and he pointed me towards this further example.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think this kind of attitude is absolutely abysmal. It comes down to Microsoft and Blizzard and similar organizations actively condoning homophobia. You just do not ban anyone from using your services because they're openly gay: that is called discrimination, and as far as I am aware that is illegal, never mind completely unethical. It's like saying "no, you can't eat at my restaurant, you're openly black" - you see how prejudiced this sounds now?

This kind of homophobic attitude seems to be endemic on the interwebs. I've even seen some dude on Youtube suggesting that being harassed online is the gamer's fault for self-identifying as gay, and she should expect that kind of prejudice. Oh, and that if you have to tell people you're gay, then you obviously have no personality. Most people seem to think that a blanket ban on all references to sexuality is ok online, because it avoids the issue entirely... well, no it doesn't. As Lambda say in the above mentioned article "although preventing harassment is an admirable goal, a requirement that LGBT people remain invisible and silent is not an acceptable means of reaching that goal."
And it doesn't seem to apply the other way at all, despite what Microsoft may claim. Seriously, go onto any online MMO like WOW or X box live or similar, and you will find people regularly using terms like "gay" or "fag" as perjoratives, and no-one's pulling them up for it. To use my previous metaphor - do you really think this would be ok if they were yelling stuff like "Shit! I lost a life! That is so Black!" or, "Dude, you killed me! You are such a nigger!"... Something tells me Microsoft wouldn't be quite so blase. And yet apparently it's ok to bash queers. Joy.

I find it really odd/cowardly/abysmal that when a woman complains that she is being harassed by other gamers for being a lesbian, she is the one who gets banned. They're effectively condoning the actions of the bigots. What Microsoft are doing is saying that this woman asked to be harassed because she told people she was gay. That's a lot like saying a woman asked to be raped because she was wearing a short skirt. It's exactly the same logic, and it's disgusting.

I can see how it must be easier for the big companies to do that - I mean, what's easier, tackling one lesbian, or a whole crowd of bigots? I've heard suggestions that it's almost impossible to effectively police harrassment online, that "considering that it's an environment in which almost all communication is over unmonitored and unmoderated voice channels, there is nothing they can to to prevent anonymous Nazis from being vocally offensive - you can report a player but with no proof they can't take any action." but that didn't seem to stop them when someone reported Theressa for identifying as gay. Or when Andrews was plugging her LGBT friendly guild in, again, an unmonitored chat channel. People reported them, and the companies took action. Obviously they have the ability to prevent harrassment, but the moral cowardice to tackle a prejudice that has become endemic on their systems.

As someone famously said: All it takes for evil to triumph is for good [people] to do nothing.


In happier news, chimps might be conscious.


Also went to see Watchmen at the weekend. It's good.

It's probably the most faithful adaptation of the Graphic Novel possible - a lot of the dialogue and shots are lifted almost verbatim. Obviously they had to change a few things, but that's understandable, and thankfully, what they did change wasn't too glaring - it was only in retrospect when we were all sitting around afterwards that we started to notice some of them.

As a film in and of itself, it's fab. Beautifully, beautifully shot, but then from the director of 300, you'd expect that. You can definitely tell he was behind it. He does like his slo-mo, but in context it does work, and the colours and the choice of shots show so much care and attention to detail, it's stunning. It really captures the look of the book, if anything even more gritty and dark, because you can do more with shades of dark colours on film than you can in print.

The actors are absolutely fantastic, some stunning performances - none that stand out above the others, but no weak links either. It really is an ensemble piece.

The only possible point where it lets itself down is in the music. It's all fantastic music (with the exception of the worst rendition of Hallelujah I have so far heard.) but it's just not always appropriate to the scene. It's not quite as bad as having Live and Let Die at a funeral (Shrek III... oh dear) but it's stuff like that Hallelujah over a rather gratuitous sex scene - a little distracting, and doesn't quite work. And All Along the Watchtower as Nite Owl and Rorschach are approching Veidt's Antarctic base. At the same time, there are a few moments where they get it spot on - The Times, They are a Changing over the opening credits, which are in themselves The most stunning montage I have ever seen on film. Ever. Without exception. And there are a few moments that I thought it worked, but I'm sure people would argue with me over - Mozart's Requiem near the end, and The Sound of Silence at Blake's funeral (much more appropriate than Live and Let Die...)

A couple of things bugged me - mainly to do with the Sally/Blake stuff, in that the film comes out much more apologistic than the book - I'm sure for some naffy PC reasons that suggest someone just didn't think it through - but I'll leave that for a later date. I'm actually quite happy, in some ways, that they did what they did - simply because it gives me more to put in my thesis :D

Also, I think the focus of the film has changed a little from the book. Whereas the book is very much about universal decay and collapse, because of time restrictions, and the fact that the film has to focus soley on the protagonsits (I want to say Heroes, but no...) it comes out a lot more about individual tragedies. Which makes the end feel a little tacked-on, but there you go. It still works as a film, and I'm still going to see it again (partly because the Thesis demands it) and will almost certainly get the DVD.

*First Episode of volume 4, which I think is something like the beginning of season 3, or half way through it, or something.... It's complicated. But it's the first one of the new lot they've just started showing in the UK

No comments:

Post a Comment