Fall TV is set to kick off in days, and we’ve got exclusive looks at two returning series. HAVEN starts season three on SyFy and the cast talks about why this is the biggest yet. And the red hot SONS OF ANARCHY roars back to FX, but after that explosive season last year, where can they go from here? Will anybody get out alive? Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal and the rest of the cast weigh in.
My Twitter feed informed me today that my current obsession, the music video to “Gangnam Style” by Korean pop singer Psy, has passed 100 million hits on YouTube. The cool kids love it. The masses love it.
So I was taken aback when a friend of mine went on a Facebook rant complaining about it. He’s Korean-American, and he not only hated the video, but everyone who liked it. If I’m understanding him correctly, he thought it was over-produced, hook-heavy, and reflected badly on the Korean music scene.
I felt as if I was being inadvertently racist. The things he slammed were the things I loved. Too many cuts? Impossible. Ridiculous imagery? That’s my favorite part. I have no idea what they’re saying, but I love the way they’re saying it.
Also, I love the guy in the yellow suit.
Is my affection for this video a sign of racism? In my experience, the easiest way to spot a racist is to listen for the phrase “I am not a racist.” I’m not going to fall into that trap. And I’ve had an interest in Asian culture at least since college, when a class in Chinese Literature in translation introduced me to a new way of thinking and a new way to see the world.
I’ve loved Japanese comics since before they were cool (or at least, the beginning of when they were cool). They displayed a depth and breadth of subject matter and passion that was missing from American comics at the time, whether focusing on politics, adventure or cats.
Still, I’m not very knowledgeable about Korea. And it’s certainly racist to lump together all Asian societies as if they are the same.
I’ve struggled with this conundrum before. In the 1990s, the film Bamboozled made me question whether my love of tap dancing was racist. I remember talking to Dwayne McDuffie about it, and he said, “I think Spike Lee likes tap dancing, too.”
Does that let me off the hook?
If you think I’m being too politically correct, consider how it must feel to be on the receiving end. I had that experience when I saw the fantastic French animated film, The Triplets of Belleville. There is a part of the film when the main characters get to the United States, and everyone here is incredibly obese. I wanted to raise my hand and say “We’re not all like that.”
I imagine that my friend feels the same way when he watches Psy. I wouldn’t enjoy it if all of American pop music was judged by Taylor Swift. And I don’t even hate Taylor Swift.
It would help if there was, generally, more diversity in our popular culture. If straight white male was not the default assumption, the exceptions to straight white male wouldn’t be startling. And the people who make these assumptions know they have a problem.
Those of us in comics are among the worst offenders. It’s still front-page news when a flagship character is African-American.
Let’s work together to fix this. But first, I have to work on my pony moves.
This past weekend, DOCTOR WHO got off to an amazing start. Now we sit down with Show Runner Steven Moffat to talk about the thrill ride that lies ahead over the next few weeks. Plus more with NBC’s GUYS WITH KIDS, and Ellen Barkin talks about censorship and her new series, THE NEW NORMAL. Oh yeah – like the BBC’s SHERLOCK? Are you ready for a manga version?
Back in March, I was asked to put together video clips for this year’s Hugo Awards ceremony, which took place during Worldcon in Chicago on Sunday. Simple assignment— find short clips of the nominated works to introduce them to the audience.
Well, it didn’t quite happen that smoothly. As you may have heard by now, in the middle of the Hugo Awards ceremony at Worldcon, with thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, from the people in the overflow room at the convention to people viewing it live at DragonCon to people all over the world, the feed cut off just as Neil Gaiman was giving his acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctor’s Wife”, replaced with the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.”
Here’s the video in question, the clip reel for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:
Do you see anything in there that violates Fair Use? Of course not. But then, you’re not an automated copyright violation monitoring service, which is what UStream is blaming the problem on. (You’ll note that this video is currently hosted on YouTube, and they don’t seem to be having any problems with it.) I happen to strongly disagree: this service worked almost exactly as UStream intended it to, with the exception that they couldn’t do anything when it was discovered that, whoopsie! The automated service has no intelligence and no off switch, and we’ve just pissed off people with millions of twitter followers. I also note that UStream has been taking down comments on their own site, which of course has not stopped people from commenting on Slashdot, TechCrunch, io9, and CNN stories.
I’m also marveling at the irony of cutting of Neil in mid-speech, as Neil is one of the foremost anti-censorship people in the comics industry, as a board member and major backer of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and a supporter of anti-censorship actions on the web going back to the 90s.
We’re still waiting for the full awards ceremony to be rebroadcast. In the meantime, we hope that you were following our Twitter feed, as we were covering the awards live. Universal Geek has posted audio of Neil Gaiman’s Hugo acceptance speech. And here is the clip reel for the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:
We preview two new comedies from NBC – starting with Jimmy Fallon‘s GUYS WITH KIDS, featuring Anthony Anderson who is loving his return to comedy from LAW AND ORDER and THE SHIELD. Then there’s THE NEW NORMAL, a show that has already made headlines with one NBC affiliate refusing to carry it. Series regular Ellen Barkin has made her position clear on social media, but we gave her a little more space than 140 characters to explain why this show is important to us all. Plus more trouble with The Turtles reboot and DC’s ZERO issues look to be big, really big.
Fresh from TWILIGHT:BREAKING DAWN, Ashley Greene has stepped into a new type of role in THE APPARITION, but she tells us that she is determined NOT to be the usual “scream queen”. We’ve got more with Greg Daniels from THE OFFICE and the answer to the question everyone wants to know, is Steve Carrel coming back one more time – and fans are in mourning as Ed Brubaker says goodbye to Marvel.
Today marks the 95th birthday of the all-time king of comics, Jack Kirby. In the comics racket, that makes today a national holiday. The influence of superhero comics on our popular culture has never been greater, and, therefore, Jack’s impact upon our society has never been stronger.
To help celebrate, Jack’s 16 year old granddaughter Jillian has teamed up with our friends at The Hero Initiative on the Kirby4Heroes initiative.
To quote The Hero Initiative press release:
The Hero Initiative, the charitable organization dedicated to helping veteran comic creators in medical or financial need, is celebrating the birthday of Jack “King” Kirby on August 28 with a little help from The King’s family.
Hero has recruited 100 artists to get up on the morning of August 28, 2012 to simply “Wake Up and Draw.” This new event is a way for artists to limber up, get the creative juices flowing, and celebrate the day by drawing and sending a “birthday card to Jack.” All 100 drawings will be featured in a special gallery at ComicArtFans.com, and fans can follow the action through the day on Twitter searching hashtag: #WakeUpAndDraw. All drawings will be auctioned to benefit Hero Initiative at a later date! Neal Kirby, son of Jack, and artist Tim Seeley are featured in a special YouTube video on the event here.
And Jillian Kirby, Jack’s granddaughter, has spearheaded the “Kirby4Heroes” campaign. Jillian has recruited a number of comic stores to donate a percentage of their sales to Hero on August 28, and encourage their customers to make donations as well. Fans can donate via the PayPal link at www.HeroInitiative.org, and type in “Kirby4Heroes” in the special instructions box. Jillian has teamed up with Seth Laderman, head of production from the Nerdist Channel, to produce a video spotlighting the campaign. Check out Jillian’s YouTube video on the event here.
“Though my grandfather Jack unfortunately died the year before I was born, I am surrounded by books, artwork, and of course family stories and anecdotes so much that I feel like I’ve known him my whole life,” said Jillian Kirby. “Even though I never had the opportunity to know him personally, I have learned my grandfather was a very giving and charitable man. I know my grandfather would have been the first to lend the Hero Initiative his support.”
Neal Kirby adds, “By supporting the Hero Initiative through the ‘Kirby4Heroes’ campaign and ‘Wake Up and Draw,’ comic book fans can honor my father on his 95th birthday in the same manner that he would have.”
This week, former show runner for THE OFFICEGreg Daniels returned and dropped the bomb that the upcoming ninth season would be the last. We cornered Greg with all the questions that came up at once – and he answers them all right here. Plus more on the second season of GRIMM, and SyFy brings back a beloved Brit TV legend.
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Banking off the momentum of The Olympics, NBC has already kicked off the second season of GRIMM. Wr jump right in with a look at what lies ahead for this cult favorite, straight from show runners David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf. Plus more with Travel Channel TOY HUNTER Jordan Hembrough and news on just why the DARK TOWER film may have tanked.
We cover BOTH sides of the collecting coin with first a look at a new Travel Channel show, TOY HUNTER. Meet Jordan Hembrough whop spends his life digging for rare & cool old toys, then we have more with Elyse Luray and COLLECTION INTERVENTION, on just what to do when the “stuff” takes over your life!