The Boston Globe: “Girls just wanna have guns”. Great article on the film’s recent crop of action girls (The Matrix, Charlie’s Angels, Tomb Raider, Terminator 3), noting that while they all kick ass, the focus seems to be more on how good they look while doing so, in contrast to some of the great female action past of the past like Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, and Buffy Summers. One way you can tell it isn’t an entertainment puff piece is the way it gives past examples of heroines, like Diana Rigg from The Avengers and Myrna Loy from The Thin Man
Of course, things are more complex than that. (My motto: Everything is more complicated.) As film historian Jeanine Basinger notes, “_Charlie’s Angels_ really tried to make it fun, make it tongue in cheek, make it equal. But it’s still the glamour, the pulchritude, the seeing Cameron Diaz dance around in her little undies. … Films have always been ambivalent. The gangster film: 90 minutes of the glamour of crime, five minutes at the end of ‘crime doesn’t pay.’ They’ve always been able to have it both ways.”
Incidentally, since it comes up in the article, I’ll note that the presence of Michelle Yaoh was the primary reason I went to see Tomorrow Never Dies, and on that level I have no complaints: she does appear in the film. (via Whedonesque)
- On a related subject, we have “How Female is this ‘Female Soldier’?”, a discussion about West Virginia’s controversial statue intended to honor the state’s female members of the armed forces, which some claim is insufficiently feminine.
Joe Conason at Salon: “Has she no shame?” Ann Coulter’s back! With a new book! In which she makes numerous shaky, misleading, or outright incorrect claims about liberalism! That’s right, the author of the bestselling Slander, in which she claimed that liberals everywhere were lying about conservatives (and in which she lied repeatedly about liberals), has followed up with Treason, in which she claims “Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America’s self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn’t slowed them down.”
Thank God we’ve had generations of conservative non-traitors like the Tories, the Confederacy, and Nazi-sympathizer Joe McCarthy to keep us straight. Didn’t know that about ol’ Joe? Neither did I actually, until I read Mr Conason’s column. Apparently, in 1949 he lead a campaign in defense of Nazi SS officers who were convicted of war crimes committed during the Battle of the Bulge, claiming that the confessions were obtained through torture. (Many modern conservative commentators appear to disagree about whether information obtained through torture is valid, but that’s another story.)
Postscript: Actually, it’s pretty hard to come up with a rational definition of “traitor” that includes the Confederates and the Tories. But no matter.
- Salon: “The presses must roll”. A look back at the court ruling that allowed The New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers, a decision fiercely opposed by the Nixon administration on the grounds that it compromised national security (and revealed embarrassing facts about the Vietnam War). Given our arguably similar circumstances today, Gary Kamiya asks whether the court would make the same decision if an analogous case came up.
- David Weinberger: “The Unspoken of Groups”. A look at how groups form, why so few adopt “constitutions”, and whether software intended to support groups is working with the right model.