Tag Archives: Definitions

The Xena Reboot and Bisexual Erasure

Author’s Note 3-25-16: This is my personal reaction to the speculation surrounding the news that a Xena pilot has been ordered for a reboot. Obviously the world of TV is ever-changing, and this is all very early conjecture.

It’s funny that this news came out last week because I’ve recently been trying to re-watch the original Xena these last few weeks on Netflix. So far it’s been slow going; I have to watch it in bits and pieces because otherwise I feel overwhelmed by the ’90s and nostalgia for my childhood. I felt conflicted at first when I heard the news about the Xena reboot, but probably not for the reason a lot of other people are.

The producers have revealed that in the reboot, Xena will be an out and proud lesbian. This is huge and wonderful news, because a key relationship that was only ever sub-textually hinted at in the original will now be a main focus of the reboot. For a mainstream network (rumors are saying the pilot is being put on by NBC) this is a huge leap forward. I’m happy, and definitely want to see what a 2016 Xena show could look like. Better graphics, better writing, there’s so many possibilities for improvement.

But I’m also a little disappointed. In re-watching the show, my honest opinion is that Xena is bisexual. I’m sure a lot of that comes from the fact that they had to show relationships with men to draw a more mainstream crowd in the ’90s, and they couldn’t do more than hint at a relationship with Gabrielle. The fact that they felt that they had to choose only between two options for the reboot, though, is part of a bigger problem with bisexual erasure in our culture.

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Was there anything good from the Big Game commercials?

So, we were at a party for the recent sports bowl, but it was multigenerational and they decided that some commercials might be inappropriate for the young ones… so they skipped the commercials and just watched the game. If we were hosting the party, might have been the reverse…

We have in the past given lists of commercials from the game, especially trailers, after the game. They have been poorly received, because people catch them at the time or soon after. Others compile them. It’s not something we need to do.

Meaning I didn’t do it this year… but maybe should have. I’ve seen a couple of trailers, but that’s it. So… was there anything you would recommend from this year’s game’s commercials? Let us know or drop a YouTube link in the comments below! And after the drop, one of the few commercials that we saw during the game… and that I did not care for.

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I Can’t Even With Today

So today is one of those days that I just look at the world and go “really, I mean really!!” Early in the morning I got to see all the Facebook posts about the CDC deciding that they needed to make new policies to combat fetal alcohol syndrome. I fully appreciate that this is a serious health issue that can happen to a baby and can be prevented, at the same time there is taking things too far. In a lot of ways the policy reduces every woman down to whether she could potentially get pregnant or not.

Now that is just one ridiculous moment brought to us by a government agency. Then on top of that I got to hear about the most ridiculous men’s rights group and how they are either trying to legitimately argue or satirically writing about how rape should become legal as a way to keep rape from happening. I mean, who could even begin to think that would work or that it is even something to write satire about? Thus: why I am just having a day where I can’t even.

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Genre and Medium and the “Popcorn Movie” and Age of Ultron

So, back when Avengers: Age of Ultron first came out, I read the following review on Wired:

I felt that I wanted to see the movie more than once to really know what I thought of it. Because of the Geek Baby, that second viewing only happened recently. I’ve been mulling over the movie, with posts like this one and like this one.

To sum up reviews of the movie, I think that it was alright but nowhere near as good as the first Avengers. It’s not doing something new and different like the first one did (bringing together how many individual movie franchises), it’s not as excellent a dark trilogy sequel as some of the classics (Empire Strikes Back), and it has Too Much Going On And Being Set Up syndrome (but not as badly as, say, Amazing Spider-Man 2). Do these statements seem fair?

I talked about the first couple of things in my prior posts, so let me just say something here about Too Much Going On And Being Set Up. Some of the most hotly debated scenes from the movie – Thor’s vision quest, the Banner/Natasha “monster” discussion – had extended, deleted scenes. That was really interesting to find on the disc. These scenes that the fans saw as particularly troubling were ones that, apparently, Joss Whedon had trouble with too.

Was it because he was trying to succumb to the all-powerful Marvel plan? Yeah, maybe some. But the two versions of scenes like this show me that Joss did his best to work them into the movie in its final form. Successfully? Eh. Clearly debatable. But the theatrical versions were the ones that he meant for us to see… the scenes of lesser evil?

However, my main purpose here is the review from Wired. It says it was picked up from another site, so it was opinionated enough for syndication. It got me fired up before, but rather than a point-by-point rebuttal or some other Nerd Rage, I want to just address the main point of the article.

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What Does it Mean to be Smart?

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This is a topic that has been coming to mind for a while. There are a number of reasons, and it’s a post that could go really long. However, instead of exploring each alternative, I’ll just try to touch on them and let you weigh in.

It ties in with questions of Geek versus Nerd. Geeks are defined by their passions and engagement, while the only main difference I can see for the use of the term “Nerd” is there is some assumption then of being “smart.” It’s the nerds who get forced to do others’ homework in the media. Although again, I feel there’s a lot of overlap between these two groups and definitions thereof, if not total overlap.

However, I’ve also been thinking about this a lot with the Geek Baby. There’s so much talk of all these things you can and should do to help with a baby’s development, from breastfeeding to tummy time to reading and music. And so, preoccupied with doing these things, we’re preoccupied with wanting to make sure our baby is smart.

Still – what is smart? Intelligence, with the IQ test behind it and all, has a much more precise sort of meaning. Intelligence is about “getting” things. However, at points just about anyone can be smart. Often it just takes making a “right” decision or observation. And it can be really relative, depending on others and on the situation. And hindsight. So what is smart?

Being right seems like a good starting answer, but it also requires hindsight in general to judge. So generally, in decision-making moments, it’s an educated or intuitive guess being made, which time will show as good or bad. Is the person who is good at decision making the smart person?

Of course, educated guesses open up another possible definition. Knowing things. Being smart might be knowing things, maybe about a specific thing, maybe about everything. In this way, we can all be smart by specializing. By knowing about our specialties. And really, anyone can, with enough time and dedication, learn and know things. So are we smart after we do so?

Or are we smart by making the decision to study and learn in the first place?

Of course, with studying and learning comes remembering. With memory, with recall of the things we do know, we are being smart in the moment. We can sound smart by memorizing and remembering really sophisticated things. We can probably be smart by remembering really pertinent or important things. But memory is a fickle thing: does it really define being smart?

There are other alternatives as well, being intuitive, or being persuasive, or being good at things… Surely other definitions that you could supply. In fact, please do so in the comments below!