Mary Grace has a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She likes fun fiction and bright colors, and yes, she can crochet a Wonder Woman tiara. Also, she loves trivia and she appeared on Jeopardy! in October 2017. Finally, she is a proud Hufflepuff.
Alternate Title: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Police Brutality
Note: I did not write this blog. This is a guest blog written by my sister, JoJo. She has lots of thoughts about this show and this topic, so I encouraged her to blog about it.
In the months since the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by American police officers, TV shows featuring cops have come under much scrutiny. Much of this scrutiny pertains to the glorification of police brutality as a means to solve the mystery and serve justice. More specifically, those against this type of representation argue that these shows glorify cops who go rogue and break the law in the name of justice. This then normalizes the real-life actions of cops who kill unarmed black people and are not held accountable for their actions. For a fuller explanation of this phenomenon, I suggest this Daily Show clip.
Since this criticism has arisen, many wonder what we should do with cop shows. Some even wonder if we should get rid of them altogether. While I agree that the American portrayal of police brutality is harmful and wrong, I don’t agree that we need to get rid of police shows altogether (although, we could maybe use a few fewer CSIs and Law and Orders). What many don’t realize is that Britain has provided us with a template for how to represent the police without glorifying them or police brutality. One of the best, though not perfect, examples of this is Grantchester.
MAJOR SPOILERS for Seasons 1 and 2 of The Umbrella Academy.
So Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy dropped last week, and my sister and I blew through all ten episodes pretty quickly. IT’S SO GOOD. I love The Umbrella Academy because it’s a family drama disguised as a superhero show. Yes, there are superpowers and explosions and time travel and a few apocalypses, but these things all serve the purpose of bringing the Hargreeves siblings back together after years of estrangement. These things also make it possible for them to work through their traumas and rebuild their relationships with each other. Though this show has great special effects, flashy visuals, and fantastic music montages, it’s a character-driven show, not a plot- or effects-driven show. The plot and the effects help further the characters’ journeys, which is why The Umbrella Academy is such an amazing show.
In the wake of all the recent social unrest and the pandemic and everything, I’ve had trouble thinking of topics for this blog. I don’t want to be silent on important issues, but I wasn’t sure I should dig into racism in the U.S. and/or the effects of the pandemic, since I’m a goofy white lady who hasn’t been directly affected by racism or the pandemic. However, there is one current controversy I feel semi-qualified to comment is this: J.K. Rowling being a big, transphobic Death Eater.
It has come to my attention that everyone is buying yarn during the quarantine. I found this out when I talked to an eight-year-old girl I know, who said her mom went looking for yarn to make more crocheted Baby Yodas, but she couldn’t find any. Then I Googled “quarantine crochet” and found out that yes, crocheting and knitting have grown in popularity since the beginning of the quarantine/social distancing. So now that everybody has a ton of yarn to work with, I want share some crocheting tips I have.
(All Crochet Baby Yoda images come from Google Images. I haven’t made one yet, though I want to.)
I started crocheting in late 2006 or early 2007, when I was 17 years old. My mom taught me how to chain and create the basic stitches (single crochet, double crochet, and treble crochet), and then I began learning on my own. These tips are not comprehensive, nor should they be used in place of crochet tutorials. Think of them as supplemental advice as you follow crochet tutorials. These tips are meant to encourage you as you begin your crochet journey.
For the unititiated, “Mary Sue” is a fandom term for original female characters that pop up in fan fiction and who are too ridiculously perfect to be believable. A Mary Sue is often incredibly beautiful and talented, with an incredible singing voice, and back when I started out in online fandom (circa 2005), she often seduced Legolas or the Phantom of the Opera. Mary Sues are reviled in fandom because they are signs of bad writing. However, I have recently realized that this hatred for the Mary Sue character type is sexist, especially since I’ve seen the term applied to two mainstream aspirational heroines: Rey and Captain Marvel.
SPOILERS for Star Wars – Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. ALL OF THE SPOILERS.
I really enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker. In fact, I loved it. However, I know that the Star Wars fanbase won’t like it because not all of their questions were answered, and because it won’t make sense with the continuity and backstory laid out in various tie-in materials that only the most hardcore fans care about. It also doesn’t give logical explanations for certain things that I’ll mention below the cut because SPOILERS.
But you know what? I think that’s completely acceptable because Star Wars doesn’t need to make sense to be an effectively told story. Why? Because Star Wars is a modern mythos.
Okay, we’ll get into the spoilers after the cut, and just so I don’t spoil anyone before the cut with images, here’s Baby Yoda:
Anyway, I want to talk about why Star Wars has stayed culturally relevant for the past 40 years. It’s not because of any internal logic or strict adherence to continuity. Only a vocal minority of Star Wars fans care about those qualities and judge the stories by them. No, Star Wars has stayed relevant because it taps into both universal storytelling strengths and cultural anxieties, which is what all good myths do.
Today I read Alison Herman “As Disney+ Looms, ‘The Boys’ Is Sweet Relief”, and I have a few issues with the points she tries to make. Her article falls into some of the common critical pitfalls that I have covered in other posts: mainly the idea that you’re somehow superior (and even kind of oppressed) if you don’t like the big, inescapable mainstream thing that’s really popular for whatever reason. She also tries to narrow the satire of Amazon’s The Boys into being just a critique of Disney’s acquisition of massive franchises in recent years, and she also makes brief generalizations about Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman without taking into account what their adaptations mean for female representation in blockbuster film.
SPOILERS for the Game of Thrones series finale, “The Iron Throne.”
Well, after eight seasons and a whole lot of shocking deaths, Game of Thrones has ended. Naturally, the entire internet has opinions about it, and publications are flurrying to write think pieces about it. Lots ofthinkpieces. I kind of love how the writer of the Vox GoT piece says it feels like “a slap in the face.” Really, Zack Beauchamp? You didn’t like a TV series’s finale, so it feels like the show hit you? Okay, then. That’s not melodramatic at all.