Subashini writes about Les Miserables and whiteness.
But Red Lights didn’t need De Niro. Maybe it would have been less of a smug mess without him. He plays the character of Simon Silver, a charismatic superstar psychic, with absolutely zero charisma. One imagines that De Niro might have possessed some charisma at some point—so many people seem to love him—but that charisma is gone and you’re left with De Niro and his superstar-psychic soliloquies. With De Niro now you get a superstar playing an actor playing a superstar psychic. Something was lost along the way, and I think the something is Feelings. What happens to male actors who are great (or considered great?) They ossify and become spectres of themselves. This is what awards shows like the Golden Globes “honour” year after year. Ghosts. While real people like black women and women of colour try to find roles that don’t demean them too much.
Check out a strong female character.
White People HQ brings you many pearls of wisdom. For example, on being a straight ally:
Gay people are the in thing right now. They are all over TV and the movies. Every summer they have a huge parade which, if you ignore the first half being filled with uniformed colonizers and harassment agents (the military and the police respectively), is really fun. To get to the parade you will need your ally card. Here is how you get it.
The most important thing about being a straight ally is reminding everyone that you are straight. Never let anyone think you are gay. Letting people think you are gay might mean you get a gay card which comes with so much more responsibility than the ally card. You want access to the parade and maybe some services (decorating and the like) you stereotypically associate with gay folk you don’t want the real struggle. That is draining. If you are really lucky you might be able to use some gay folk to brighten up your dull racist assertions about a particular elsewhere being full of evil people.
Or empathy and whiteness!
A recent TV advert by Unicef offers parents a chance to purchase a card system allowing them to discuss difficult concepts with their children. Although the concept of parenting-by-card is unusual in most cultures one is expected to jump on the opportunity to have your parenting automated should you present yourself as white. The final card in the Unicef deck deals with something every white person struggles with: empathy.
Empathy was largely inbred out of white leadership in order for them to succeed as colonial overlords over a century ago. Nevertheless a combination of training and drugging (mainly privilege and experimental pharmaceuticals) keeps non-elite whites from developing empathy during puberty. This results in strange result when white people encounter others who display the trait.
It’s okay white people, the person who wrote this is white. Calm down. Don’t be a sensitive crybaby. Grow up. Get some skin. Punch yourself in the face.
More on whiteness at Spectra Speaks: When Doing Good Goes Wrong: One Woman’s Story about White Saviorism in Africa. See?
Jaymee Goh lays down some truth, again on white people: Racist Things Steampunks Are Not Immune To: Looking for Other People’s Hurt To be Offended By.
Chiusse goes after misogyny in neckbeard favorite Waste of Time: A Misogyny of Light.
Claire Light has a few things to say about urban fantasy.
Outsider status: although all these conflicts and anxieties and desires are common and mainstream, there’s still the desire to stand outside of the mainstream, to be special and also be to be a bit oppressed. This is partly adolescent, partly American (wherein our entire identity hinges on overcoming challenges and being individual), and partly guilty-white-girl. The last one is why so many urban fantasy heroines are mixed race (never just poc, though.) In this post-civil-rights-movement era, outsider status is most quickly vouchsafed by being a person of color. But, of course, no white woman REALLY dreams of being black, so it’s always American Indian or Asian (although the half-Asians are usually the sidekicks.)
This is why white authors who throw in biracial status for their characters can’t be trusted. Trust them even less if they toot their “inclusion” horn. For more, see Assassin’s Creed 3: Mighty Whitey Fantasy Recast as Biracial Dude.
Ronan Wills gives some thoughts on Djoango Unchained in The Caucasian Escape Hatch.