The Avengers Movies or What Scares you about the American Military?

The opening salvo of the Avengers series features Tony Stark, an irreverent playboy genius who, having spent his life training that genius on the making of money, weapons and clever quips, is suddenly forced to reap what he’s sown. During a trip to showcase his most recent brainchild and the movie’s first pyrotechnics display, Tony is kidnapped and told to make this weapon for the enemy. Bluster and prowess have taken him off American soil, where they brought him so much success, and landed him in a violent reality he helped create. The course of the story — the story that launched now over a decade of marvelous Marvel movies (to be clear, I also think the X-Men series is wonderful, and we’re on decade three of that) — tracks Tony’s change of heart, initiated because his literal heart is threatened and forced to evolve.

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Stealing Bechdels

The Bechdel Test is laid out very simply. For those of you who don’t know it, there’s a whole website that explains, but basically it’s three rules that actually fit into one sentence: There are two or more female characters with names (1), who talk to each other (2), about something other than a man (3). That doesn’t seem that hard. That happens to me every day, even if just me calling my mom to talk about myself. But, as any explanation quickly makes clear, precious few movies make it into this category.

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A Star Wars Manifesto or A Belated Thank You to my 6th Grade Teacher

Cue music.

In 6th grade, Ms. Russell taught us how to read. I don’t mean the phonics, Dick and Jane kind of reading. I had made it to 12 years old with successful elementary school basics, though my penmanship stopped improving at age 10. I mean read in a way that treats the text as more than the lazy river of plot. Continue reading “A Star Wars Manifesto or A Belated Thank You to my 6th Grade Teacher”

Accusing Blonde

Warning: This post contains extreme spoilers for the movie Atomic Blonde (which, let’s be honest, you weren’t seeing for the plot anyway).

A friend of mine recently taught a short course called “Accusing Women,” which he was kind enough to ask me to TA.  The theme of the class was the recurring literary trope of Potiphar’s wife, the woman who falsely accuses biblical hero Joseph of raping her when in fact she is the villain who came on to him and, after being rebuffed, decides to make him pay for it. (Oh the guile of women!)

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