I want to wish a Happy New Year and send belated holiday wishes to all of you who are winter holiday inclined in any type of way. I trust that many exciting mini vacations were had all around. I know that I enjoyed some time away from the snowy tundra that I currently call home.
That’s not my dog, but that is my bowtie
Given much our tireless staff have been giving you some pretty amazing year-end lists, I only felt it appropriate to comment on the New Year myself, albeit in my own way (no top 10 list here!). Before this though, I wanted to thank you all for being wonderful readers of this column, but more importantly, supporters of The Monolith in general. It’s been great getting your comments and seeing the community grow with each passing week. I’m definitely looking forward to interacting with our new members as well as existing ones here and in other places on the site.
As I write this inaugural article of 2013, I wanted to give a little preview of things that I will be preparing for you in the coming months as well as give you some of my thoughts about some of 2012’s best gender and sexuality events (that are cinematically relevant, of course) while recapping what I was up to in the Monolith’s first few months.
I started out my posts with an exploration of my favourite threesome of all time, which hails from American Psycho. I took us on a journey that included Juno, my top 5 sex scenes (parts one and two), and American Horror Story. Teens were having sex all over the place in this column…awesome.
I then devoted a few articles to feminism and why taking a critical eye to media consumption is extremely important. This will be an ongoing project over here at Fraud or Freud, but I am hoping to use the theoretical framework I’ve been outlining to launch us into some thought provoking case studies of some amazing films, both recent and historical; mainstream and independent. I’ve been drawing up articles on Prometheus and Hostel as well as a few others, so look for those soon. I am especially excited to give you a careful analysis of the abortion scene in Prometheus. I found it to be one of the most horrific moments that I have ever seen in any cinema, both in Ridley Scott’s direction of Noomi Rapace and the actual storyline itself, which I’ll admit has replaced Lord of the Rings as my most nightmare inducing film. So no, I did not spend my winter vacation going to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I would rather be water boarded than have to sit through another piece of the LOTR franchise.
I don’t deny Peter Jackson’s ability to bring that elfin magic, but that elfin magic is not for me. Legolas is pretty, but not exactly my type, if you catch my drift. Who knows? Perhaps I will devote some future space to that whole issue…genderqueer elves. Ha.
Bottom line: look for a piece on Prometheus in the very near future. I’m hoping we can have a great discussion about it because I know when I saw it the night of the midnight opening there were some pretty intense reactions coming from my fellow theatre-goers, who were mostly high school and college age males. I’m also hoping to touch on that too this year, how different genders experience different cinemas.
For example, how do we market to an 18 year-old boy and his girlfriend at the same time? How do we get a non-target audience to sit through a film? What exactly is mainstream cinema? There are the established answers to these questions, like putting beautiful men in action films so the girlfriends in the audience have some eye candy, but we know there is more to it than that. Let’s see where this year takes us in terms of answering some of these burning questions. I know I am looking forward to working with you, Dear Readers, to become a better observer.
What did we get this (last) year on screen? A brief (and way too small) list:
2012 brought us a lot of interesting and groundbreaking cinema and television, not just in terms of special effects and technology, but also on the gender and sexuality front. We saw the triumphant return of Team Wachowski, more notably the first public appearances of Lana Wachowski, who had been spending the past years transitioning from male to female, a journey that I fully admire and respect. Look for a future piece from me about her and what her coming out can mean for cinema and media in general.
2012 also brought us new seasons of American Horror Story and Mad Men, two of the most gender and sexuality driven shows on television. Even though I’ve written on both before, I’ll be doing a special piece on Mad Men when it returns again to the small screen and how sexuality defines the fan culture surrounding the show. I’m really looking forward to exploring Mad Men more and what affect is achieved by putting that type of vintage throwback sexism on mainstream television. I argue that both good and bad comes from it, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets so you all will have to wait to see what thought I’m tossing about in my crazy head.
This year we also got more and more openly gay characters in cinema as well as more public figures coming out in solidarity for the queer community. Hopefully this is a trend that continues in 2013. I’d love to see a mainstream Hollywood film with queer main characters, but I know that this is a tall order. For now I’ll be patient with past seasons of Queer as Folk and The L Word.
I’ll definitely be giving a running commentary on this topic as the year progresses as well as any other big cinematic events that deal specifically with gender and sexuality (for example, if we got a new Sex and the City movie, I’d be on that faster than my hands get on bow ties at a Brooks Brothers after-holiday sale).
Lastly, 2012 also brought us news of a Kim Kardashian/ Kanye West baby, and if that’s not a major event in gender, sexuality, and media, I don’t know what is. I actually got the news on my iPhone notifications at 7am the morning mere hours after Kanye announced the news at his concert in Atlantic City. I frantically woke my girlfriend (who was sleeping next to me like an innocent bystander) to tell her this IMMENSELY influential news item. She was not pleased; I still maintain that if I were in the same position, I would have loved to be woken up with the biggest celebrity news of the past 6 months. Watch for me commenting on the Kimye baby and how the cult of celebrity crafts sexuality, masculinity, and femininity as well as race. I refuse to believe this is just another dumb celebrity couple baby. This is going to be a major fashion, music, and media storm. I’m half convinced that this is not an infant, but a brand cyborg. We can fight about this for the next 9 months, but even we who are into alternative music and media cannot escape the draw and influence of mainstream popular culture. Just wait and see how big this story gets. I’ll keep you posted in a way that will limit the amount of knives you’d like to throw at me from afar, I promise.
Amici, there you have it. A teeny look back and a small preview of what your friend JF will be up to in 2013. I’m also taking requests if anyone would like me to write on any specific film or topic. I’m committed to giving you content we can both we passionate about, so do not hesitate to use the comment boxes to tell me what you’d like to see here. Unless it involves Orson Welles, fuck that! Sorry.
Oh, and finally some of my Monolith-related New Year’s resolutions (couldn’t resist the urge to better myself or at least indulge in the fantasy I can keep a resolution):
1) Keep bringing you guys fresh content every week in an entertaining, yet informative way
2) See 3 new films a week and integrate that here in the form of articles
3) Find a better favorite sex scene to talk about constantly apart from Wild Things
4) Reply to my comments with better replies than “thanks” and “yessss” so we can get more of a conversation going on here
5) Comment on my colleagues’ pieces more too
What big “sexuality and media” stories did you notice from 2012? I noticed a ton, but only mentioned a few. Give me yours! Also, what are some of your media New Year’s resolutions? Don’t leave me alone in the cold!