pondering

May 20, 2015

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So many ideas buzzing around my brain today.  And it’s still raining here.  I’m sun activated, so this is really getting me down.  It’s not supposed to be gray and mucky on Memorial Day weekend.  I’m tired of being cold.

I keep running into other peoples’ posts that insist that Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t have a story and isn’t really feminist.  While I have an urge to argue with people over this. (How can any movie that has the Vuvalini, where the entire point is to overturn a patriarchal nightmare with a more egalitarian system where everyone has agency, not be feminist?  What?)  But I have decided for my own sanity not to engage in these arguments.  I should be writing instead.

Speaking of feminist, I’m one of those people who might be bailing on Game of Thrones after this last episode.  For me, it’s mostly that they were setting Sansa up to be one thing — she was figuring things out, she was conniving on her own, and telling people off.  But then the show just subjected her to the same old same old violence.  Overall, the show is exhibiting many of the same traits that are the reasons I don’t read multi-volumn, multi-p.o.v. epic fantasy.  How much longer am I going to have to wait for a Brienne episode?  And on a TV show I can’t skip chapters to get back to the characters I like.

And I think I’m coming down with a cold. WAAAAAAAAAAAH.

 

15 Responses to “pondering”

  1. Shara Says:

    But boo for the cold. I hope you feel better soon!

  2. WanabePBWriter Says:

    Given that we are talking about re-writes changing from the books, we can still hope that Sansa will be given the chance to rise to her new sensibilities and plan her revenge. Sadly there is also the aspect that I feel she should have seen through at least some of what was happening and then perhaps have made a run for the hills. I guess over all they are just still not letting her be a thinking being. We will see.

    Spoiler potential:
    Form the aspect of changes from the books perhaps Sansa could escape under her own power, and take Theon with her reversing the rescue. With a possible bonus of her killing Bolton, crazy people in the depths of their control issues are vulnerable to their victims courage. Here’s hoping.

  3. DMS Says:

    Re: Mad Max – have you read the post on Liz Bourke’s blog conversation about how wrong the “not feminist” criticism is?

    https://lizbourke.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/fury-road-feminism/

  4. carriev Says:

    My Sansa scene: Ramsey flips her around, she pulls out the hammer she had hidden under her corset, and bashes him in the head. Later, she after she’s dropped the hammer down the privy, she explains to his father, “I don’t know, he just fell down.”

    Great link! I need to go through it in more detail when I have more time. If I’m being very, very cynical, I wonder if the people who don’t see a story here *literally don’t see* stories about female agency/empowerment. Like, that story is literally invisible to them.

    But I only think that when I’m feeling *very* cynical.

  5. WanabePBWriter Says:

    I’ll go for that scene. I vote for the Lucerne Hammer.

    Sansa Line ” He tripped and fell on his hammer, boys and their toys.”

  6. Shara Says:

    I love that link! Thanks for sharing that, DMS. I’ve seen other bloggers say it’s not feminist and that the hose scene is all about the male gaze, and I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it.

    http://wrongquestions.blogspot.com/2015/05/mad-max-fury-road.html

  7. LupLun Says:

    I didn’t get to see Fury Road, but from what I’m hearing the naysayers might actually have a point. The film totally bait-and-switches the audience. And not like Iron Man 3. That film drops the switch late in the game, and lays down enough plot development beforehand that it seems obvious in retrospect. And the twist itself integrates well with the plot and themes of the movie and the Iron Man series as a whole. But what I’m hearing about Fury Road is that Max was shoehorned in- he’s a very minor character with no agency, and the feeling was that they basically took an unimportant bit player and named him Max so that they could put that on the posters. By all rights Mad Max: Fury Road should have been just Fury Road, a story of a group of women fleeing oppression in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The most probable reason why it wasn’t is that the producer didn’t trust a lady-led actioner to sell. They felt it necessary to trick the general public into seeing it, and while that doesn’t make the story un-feminist, it is certain a very disappointing and discouraging glimpse at Hollywood’s stance on gender roles and it’s own audience.


  8. LupLun, I just saw Fury Road, and without spoiling anything, Max didn’t feel shoehorned in, to me. I found his arc complemented Furiosa’s, rather than detracting from it, and was an important part of the story. I think any bait-and-switching was on a marketing level, not a storytelling one. Which, yeah, is maybe kind of sad, but I’m not necessarily opposed to tricking people into enjoying awesome things.

  9. DMS Says:

    As someone who has seen the movie, the idea that it was a bait and switch seems pretty ridiculous. Max is a main characters, as shown in the previews and seen on the poster – which also prominently displays Furiousa. Concluding this was a bait and switch requires ignoring the characters featured in the advertising.

    Honestly, the movie you’re describing with,
    ” a very minor character with no agency, and the feeling was that they basically took an unimportant bit player and named him [title character] so that they could put that on the posters.”

    sounds more like the most recent Godzilla movie than Mad Max.

  10. carriev Says:

    Max is a fully developed character with an arc. He’s dehumanized at the beginning, pretty much nonverbal after the abuse he’s received, and after he’s thrown in with Furiosa’s gang he has to learn to be human again. The climactic moment of the film is him telling her his name.

    And people are forgetting: Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome both had stories that didn’t revolve around Max — he’s this guy wandering this landscape and falling into the stories he encounters. This is the same.

    Shara, I actually would say the hose scene is about the male gaze — it’s the post apocalyptic equivalent of a gratuitous shower scene. And Max is really shocked and drawn into it. But then it’s completely upended because the next thing we see is them cutting off the chastity belts. And we realize they were sex slaves, and suddenly the scene looks different. So the scene draws in the male gaze for the purpose of undermining it, I’d say.

  11. Susan Says:

    On GoT, you might find John Scalzi’s post interesting on the use of rape as a plot device: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/05/19/a-useful-moment-from-a-mentor/

  12. Shara Says:

    Carrie, point taken.

    I didn’t see it that way, and when I read Liz and Jenny’s interpretation of the scene (I’ll paste it below), I was dancing in my chair because they articulated it so much better than I could. That said, I can see how that scene works on multiple levels, both for the gaze of the audience versus the gaze of Max in that moment. The trick is not assuming the male gaze is also Max’s.

    Liz:
    And when Max is staring at the women bathing
    we’re set up to think it’s the WOMEN he’s staring at
    but fuck me, he’s lusting after the water.

    Jenny:
    RIGHT
    and to a certain extent the decadence of it all
    SO MUCH WATER and people that look happy and healthy
    but yeah
    the dude was just covered BY A SANDSTORM THAT LOOKED TO BE MAYBE A MILE HIGH
    dude is not thinking about sexy times.
    I would also like to add, regarding the scene when Max wakes up and sees the wives
    that what you hear, very loudly, is the sound of water hitting the ground
    loud enough, and at the right frequency that this is clearly A LOT of water hitting the ground

    Liz:
    Right.
    It’s all about water. And life – Fade was mentioning how the camera lingers not on breasts or buttocks but on Splendid Angharad’s pregnant belly.
    This is a vision of life among death. Life out of death, out of the sandstorm, out of the dead lands.

  13. Shara Says:

    I finally got around to reading this great analysis of FURY ROAD, and it touches on some of the main points and criticisms, while also allotting a short comparison to GoT.

    http://www.tor.com/2015/05/20/mad-max-fury-road-action-genre-subversion/

  14. Robin Says:

    When Sansa was fiddling with her sleeve, her back to Ramsay, I was sure she had a knife in there. Disappointment!!


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