Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What Is Your Damage, Heathers?

Look, I want to love the “Heathers” reboot. I really, really do. Because, of course, I loved the movie “Heathers.” Who doesn’t love when teen angst bullshit has a body count? But I’m struggling to embrace the “Heathers” television reboot. One, because it doesn’t make enormous sense as a TV series. And two, because the “twist” of turning the teenage social hierarchy’s longtime outcasts (the queers, the people of colors, the plus-size) into its ultimate “mean girls” is – well, it’s a tad problematic.

Look, I get it – anyone can be horrible. Being awful and unkind and terrible is not the sole purview of, say, straight white males. Hell is other people, after all. But, as you’ve no doubt heard me as countless times, the point of representation is to show the humanity of groups of people who far too often have it denied to them. So when we fight for more queer visibility, we’re fighting to be seen as complete people – not stereotypes or scapegoats or whathaveyou.

That means, in theory, showing us queers (or POC or any other marginalized group) as villains shouldn’t be a problem because some of us are villains. Because we’re people – and some people are villains. But – and this is an important but – that first requires that the full and broad spectrum of our selves is shown and acknowledged. In other words we have to be shown as the triumphant heroes and the romantic leads and the fierce fighters and the extraordinary geniuses and the conflicted geniuses and the tragic figures and the average Joes and the mediocre Janes and, yes, even the bad guys. But we have to have enough representation for all of that to happen multiple times so it seems ordinary. You know, like straight white characters are shown every single day in the media.

But when there is still an imbalance, when say we’re shown as tragic (Dead Lesbian Syndrome says what) or one-dimensional (sassy best friend says hey) or barely there period – well, singling us out as the new mean kids – yeah, that’s a tad problematic.

Here’s the thing, queers and POC and plus-sized kids are still marginalized, every single day, in high schools across the country. They’re still terrorized, they’re still harassed, they’re still bullied. So then does anyone really relish the idea of watching this new blonde Veronica Sawyer and her new toxic masculinity poster child boyfriend JD killing these kids? I would kinda rather be fucked gently with a chainsaw, if you get my drift.

Monday, January 22, 2018

This Even Matters

Kittens, we did it. We made it through one entire year of the Trump administration. Sure, we’re all exhausted and demoralized and enraged and frightened and have I mentioned exhausted already? But, yes, we made it through one single year. Still, this weekend on the anniversary of the Hate Pumpkin’s inauguration, two amazing things happened. One, millions of women and men and descent human beings marched in protest of everything our Shithole President stands for. And two, that moron had to miss his own anniversary party because he is so inept as a president he couldn’t keep the government open despite his party, the GOP, controlling the House, Senate and the White House. Way to go, Very Stable Genius. Anyway, only 287 days until the midterm elections. Then we finally get to grab ‘em by the ballot box.

Friday, January 19, 2018

My Weekend Crush

[If you want to watch the very worth watching video, please click this link. Embed was removed because autoplay is the devil.]

Last year was, unquestionably, bleak in ways large and small (and in the case of Trump’s hands, tiny). But in an effort to force 2018 to our will (and the will of the people who, by some 3 million votes – and one would suspect counting now – did not want this) here is a ray of joy. It comes in the form of Gitanjali Rao, a 12-year-old student from Colorado who in late 2017 was named America’s Top Young Scientist. Her invention (which she created when she was 11 just to make you feel like even more of an underachiever) is a portable, fast and cheap water testing system for lead. She was inspired by the ongoing and disgraceful crisis in Flint, Michigan. And, in turn, Gitanjali is an inspiration for all of us. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

It's Getting Cate In Here

Oh, hai. Did you need a pick-me-up on this January Thursday? Here you go. Hope that gets you through the remainder of the week. And possibly your life.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Out of the Woods

At long last, is it finally Woody Allen’s moment in The Reckoning? A tiny trickle has become a steady stream of actors who have worked with the filmmaker in the past and are now denouncing, and apologizing, for their involvement with him.

They include Ellen Page, wonderful and brave Ellen Page, who posted in November about her own experiences with sexual harassment and called working with Allen “the biggest regret of my career.” Then this week alone there was Greta Gerwig, Mira Sorvino and Rebecca Hall. Lest you think it’s only ladies, two men have also stepped up – actors Griffin Newman, David Krumholtz, and Timothée Chalamet.

This matters, this really does, and I truly hope more actors and actresses who I admire and respect greatly, but have worked with Allen in the past step up. (Please, Cate, please please please, Cate.) We need them. Plus we need a lot more dudes to start stepping up, too.

If you want to familiarize yourself with why we need all their voices please refer to the two open letters Allen’s daughter, Dylan Farrow, has written about her father’s sexual abuse of her as a child. The first was in 2014, which brought the long-simmering allegations of abuse back to the vivid and horrifying forefront. Then she wrote an op-ed just last month wondering aloud why The Reckoning had not touched her abuser yet.

Her accounts of what he did to her have not changed. Not for decades. What has appeared to have changed is the public acceptance of the industry’s lame excuse that this was a purely “family dispute” not to be waded into out of a false sense of decorum.

I hope the full force of The Reckoning finally sweeps Allen, and all of his ilk, into the murky depths where they belong – never to heard from or lauded again. And if, by chance, you don’t think speakingout after the fact means much, please refer to Dylan’s own heartfelt response. It matters. We need them, we need more of them. It matters.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Goodnight, Sweet Dolores

Like many of you, the Cranberries were the soundtrack to a very specific time of my life. A time filled with intense change and emotion, love and heartbreak. You know, the usual. But through it all Dolores O’Riordan’s voice, this beautiful, powerful, haunting, unmistakable, unforgettable wail. Gosh, how I’ll miss that wail. We all will. Rest in peace, sweet Dolores. Thanks for the music.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Flame On

Welcome to your Monday. May you all enter this week with the kind of ferocity as Sigourney Weaver test firing a flamethrower for the filming of “Alien.”

p.s. Also, this means every time you see Ripley wielding a flamethrower in “Alien,” that fucker is the real fucking deal. Have a badass week, all.

Friday, January 12, 2018

My Weekend Oprah

Look, I don’t necessarily thing America should go elect another billionaire celebrity as its president anytime soon. One would hope the petulant orange C-Lister we have in there now would scare us away from ever again letting a famous person without a single iota of governing experience (and even less compassion or intellectual curiosity) be Leader of the Free World. But, all that said, if we were to allow another star near the White House, I can honestly think of no person more temperamentally and inspirationally perfect for the role than Oprah. She has the compassion and intelligence and hope part down pat. And her Golden Globe speech was 300 million times better than anything Donald Fucking Trump has ever said in his life. And that’s probably low-balling it. I listen to it again, days later, and still, goosebumps. So, yeah, Oprah 2020. Or someone with the compassion and intelligence of Oprah who is deeply qualified for the position 2020. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. May that speech also forever bury Dave Letterman’s “Oprah-Uma” joke. RIP.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Streep Throat

Look, it’s been an infinitesimally less terrific and no less economically advantageous time to be a straight white male recently. I know, cry them a river, they have to try to stop being such blatant garbage sex monsters. But in an effort to show you I am not your stereotypical man-hating lesbian (I’m your completely unique man-hating lesbian, thank you very much), I will allow one to share the screen with the goddess that is Meryl Streep. Here is Meryl and her loud-mouth, wise-cracking guy friend on Ellen. The Great Panted One has the two actors read lines from each other’s iconic roles in character. Naturally, Meryl does it better. Naturally. But Tom is, you know, OK. Please may nothing terrible come out ever about Tom Hanks (and by that I mean, obviously, please let Tom Hanks not be a garbage sex monster like the rest of them…)

p.s. Yes, there’s a discussion to be had about Meryl and Harvey Weinstein, but centering criticisms on what women may or may not have known about the terrible things men have done is once again blaming women for the terrible things men have done. Period.

p.s. If you’re looking for some solo Streep, here she is being delightful about Mariah Carey stealing her seat at the Golden Globes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Low Ryder

Because this is the Fuck the Patriarchy Golden Globes week here at Surrenders, I thought we’d discuss that insane L’Oreal commercial that aired during the ceremony. You know the one, where a dark-haired actress prepares nervously for her big moment in a dressing room while inspirational music swells. And then, ever so slowly, she turns to reveal it is WINONA FREAKING RYDER. And then the tagline is, “Everyone loves a comeback. Damaged hair deserves one too.”

Holy fucking shitballs, did L’Oreal just compare Winona Ryder’s career to damaged hair?

Look, it’s true, everyone loves a comeback. And, yes, it would be nice if all our hair could be lustrous and beautifully conditioned. But JFC on a cracker, is this an awkwardly juxtaposed message.

As well constructed (seriously, I’m sorry they chose that particular keyframe for the video – not to mention the title – because the whole and entire drama not to mention impact of the thing was the reveal of Winona Freaking Ryder at the end) as this ad was an strangely emotional, it’s also one of those things they would never, ever, ever ever ever ever do to a man.

Has Robert Downey Jr. ever been in an ad that compared his comeback to nice hair? Has Rob Lowe been in a commercial comparing his career renaissance to deeply conditioned roots? Was Mel Gibson subjected to hair styling product metaphors? Nope, nope and fuck that guy.

My point is, it’s a terribly superficial comparison and our beloved Winona’s career arch deserves more than allegories about shiny hair.