Proof I’m Not A Deadbeat

May 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

There.

Never seen a happier man with a Dresden before

Proof. Not only that I deliver on said promises (usually!) but also that I remain financially solvent! I am the liquid within with this system that we know as capitalism dissolves into its constituent parts: that is, money. Money that is used to buy books. And I only have to work all day, every day, to do it.

Yes, every day I’m shelving, sung to this tune.

There is one slight problem, however. That problem being that I’ve already read Death Masks, and read it some time ago. I’ll give you my short-hand review then: read it. If you’re a fan of sharp dialogue, cool stories, and a kick-ass wizard in a unique urban fantasy setting, then read this book. Make that these books.

Second, and though you’ve probably already heard it, there is some unfortunate news to report:

Let the wild rumpus…end

Maurice Sendak has died. It’s not that sad a tale, all things considered (he was 83), but it is still unfortunate when someone as brilliant as that bites it. “As brilliant?” Why yes, yes he was. Read Where The Wild Things Are as an allegory for the feelings you experienced when you were mad as a child. It’s Max’s Odyssey. It’s capital-B Brilliant.

Third, I’ve taken in some of your advice and decided to alternate stories, essays, and cool stuff. Don’t worry, I won’t try and challenge reddit for domination of the “cool stuff I found on the internet” market, but I figure I can find some interesting things to talk about. Today, it’s going to be about violence vs gender in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

This is a huge topic, and I’m not going to get to say everything I wanted to, but something caught my eye and I feel it’s worth talking about. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you’re not missing much. I watched about half of it and just got bored. It was an action movie that didn’t really click with me. I can’t say it was bad because I can’t really point to anything that I didn’t like, but it was, at best, alright.

This man, however, is sex in a can

What I did notice, however, was that the movie is hilariously misogynistic in its depiction of violence. I’m not going to say that “Hollywood needs to beat up women and men equally!” But when they are beating up men and women, they shouldn’t treat one gender like they’re made of cardboard.

Case in point, there’s a scene where Sherlock, some Gypsy woman that I didn’t watch long enough to see why she mattered, and a random Cossack (I won’t even bother to get into racialized depictions of ethnic groups, but for the love of Cthulu the Cossack was wearing his fur hat in England in the summer!) are fighting to the death in a night club. The Gypsy has some important information, so Sherlock tries to fend off the Cossack assassin (Cossassin? Assasscok? I’m going to go with Assasscok) who is going to do his best to kill the other two.

By my reckoning, Sherlock is punched, slammed into a wall, launched out of a window and falls at least a story, and has to run constantly for about two minutes, while the Assasscok is beaten up just as badly, if not worse, without visible damage to either of them. They fight on, quite unperturbed by the physical pain they should be in. The Gypsy girl, played by Noomi Rapace who also played the hacker girl in the Swedish versions of the Millennium Trilogy, gets punched once in the nose and she is out. She stumbles and tries to stand, but then she collapses in the corner.

Sherlock then launches the Assasscok out of a window with the force and speed of a cannonball.

This man is the most feared pugilist in all of Britain? No wonder they needed us to bail them out of BOTH World Wars. CAN-A-DA! CAN-A-DA!

Now, in defense of the movie, I was genuinely pleased to see someone respond appropriately to being punched in the face by a raging Assasscok. If a large man from the Caucasus clocked me in the nose, I would be hurting in a bad way. I’ve been punched in the face before (chin, rather than nose), and it hurts. It’s not enough to take you out unless it’s a really good hit, but I’ve been nailed in the nose from other things and that hurts like heck. Realistically, I would at least have trouble breathing for a minute or two, even if the adrenalin takes away the worst of it. And for that, kudos to Game of Shadows. I like movies that realistically depict violence (hell, it’s the only reason Ironclad is worth watching) and that definitely counts as “realistic”.

The realistic violence, and Paul Giamatti’s haircut

What is not realistic, however, is showing the men take an insane amount of punishment and keep going like it’s nothing. Now back up a second: you are totally allowed to do that. I do that in some of the stories I write. Sometimes, you really need to keep the action moving and nothing does that like a punch to the face. Of course, there’s always some truth to that which we write, but for the most part, movie-star action heroics are fun and cool. You are totally allowed to make fun and cool things.

What you are not allowed to do, however, is show men to be these invincible titans of combat and then show women, side-by-side who literally cannot take a punch. I’m not saying that every heroine has to be action woman, but this is an action movie. You, the viewer, can reasonably assume that characters in an action movie are meant to be better, harder, and faster than normal mortals. God knows they’re better looking, so we might as well give them the whole she-bang and assume they’re minor deities.

Putting aside the fact it was a woman, it just looks bad for the character. Any character would look like a wimp if they get taken out of a fight with one punch. They would look like, as I’m told the vernacular term is, a pussy.

And we all know who has those.

John is going to go watch other Guy Ritchie movies that feature sweaty, muscular men wrestling and showing how not-gay they are.

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