What’s important for many of us isn’t transition, but what comes after — and young readers too need to see that life goes on after transition.
Alex Gino’s George is hitting the shelves of US bookstores at a time when transgender issues are everywhere — high-profile trans women are occupying an important part of the media conversation, trans characters are cropping up in fiction more and more, and the media is beginning to confront the way it handles transgender reporting. The book, published by Scholastic, edited by David Levithan, and aimed at middle grade readers, aims to be part of that canon, but it’s important to have a larger conversation about who is included in trans media.
What a pity we can’t leave the cinema thinking that last line, “damn, that shit was dope.”
“Straight Outta Compton” explodes with a blank screen, helicopter blades and media chatter. We could be starting another zombie apocalypse or alternatively listening to a multi-layered, cinematic section of an NWA or Ice Cube track. The living dead or gangsta rapper, it doesn’t matter which as both are interchangeable. Both are American folk devils that rattle the white establishment to its core who then respond with a series of increasingly inept moves to halt the threat to the capitalist status quo. What’s worryingly similar is that despite the zombie hordes being fictional, dead husks of human beings and gangsta rappers being the living, breathing embodiment of young black resistance in the late 80s and early 90s, both are treated with equal levels of violence by the world’s premier democracy.
The Chimes is a skilful, gripping, and very enjoyable book, and deserves to be read widely.
New Zealander Anna Smaill’s debut novel is an interesting choice for the Man Booker longlist. It crosses at least one, and I suspect, two, general Booker taboos – it’s genre fiction, and it also reads to me like a YA book. I’m not sure if that was Smaill’s intention, but I think it’s a book that could be read and enjoyed by good readers from 12 or so upwards, which is certainly not the case for most longlistees in the Booker over time. It’s not just the language – it’s that this is a book that mixes danger, personal agency, ideas, and hope, without a trace of the realist grimness that seems mandatory in serious literary fiction.
Despite paper-thin characterisations, “Attack On Titan” has a surprisingly strong sense of social commentary.
In the live action adaptation of the popular manga series “Attack On Titan” the scraps of flesh that make up the last surviving members of humanity have been cowering in fear behind three 100-foot concentric walls for more than a century. Terrified, they wait for the gigantic, cannibalistic Titans to rear their ugly stitched heads again and strike. Mankind has forsaken technology returning to a quasi-feudal system with one eye perpetually watching the wall for the Titans and the other terrified of what might happen should humans rediscover their flare for technological advancement.
The Wire’s David Simon is one of the most important auteurs of his time.
It’s hard to image that a television series about urban planning would be that interesting — one might as well subscribe to a channel allowing people to watch paint dry, or Norway’s infamous seasonal burning log, which resulted in vicious controversy one year when viewers contacted the network to express fury over how the logs were stacked. Yet, David Simon (The Wire, Treme) aims to do just that with the six hour miniseries Show Me A Hero, and against all odds, he’s succeeded, as the series isn’t about urban planning as much as it is about segregated housing — an issue that still dogs the United States — and the personalities involved in the fight for fair housing. The result is a hauntingly complicated and intriguing look at Yonkers in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Indian Summers is loaded with many of the same heavy social implications that made Downton Abbey a more complicated text than met the eye.
Indian Summers, the latest UK telly import, will be hitting US screens via PBS this September. The show appears tipped to be a Downton Abbey successor, building on what made the smash hit such a runaway success, but along the way, it’s loaded with many of the same heavy social implications that made Downton a more complicated text than met the eye. Handled well, those issues could be intriguing, but handled poorly, they could snowball into a mess — and no matter how they’re treated by producers, viewers may miss the point.
As buzz builds up around the episode and the casting, there will be pushback on the decision to cast a trans actress in a cis role.
The countdown to a new season of Doctor Who has begun with the announcement of a 19 September premiere, and while we’ll be seeing the usual suspects, Moffat has once again recruited some famous faces as guest stars. One of the privileges of working with a beloved and famous franchise is the ability to recruit incredible talent — like Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones — to dress up the stage. This season, however, there’s a particularly interesting casting decision for a Mark Gatniss-penned episode: Trans actress Bethany Black has been cast…in a cis role.
Perhaps this is a chocolate-chip cookie version of American life, but if so, it’s a rough, home-made, gritty, grainy cookie.
Baltimore is a city that I have never visited, despite frequent trips to the US (from my Australian home) in the 1990s. Yet, of all the places in the US I have never been, it sits alongside New Orleans as somewhere that lives in my subconscious, or at least a particularised version of it. The reason? Well, there are two – one is The Wire, and the other is Anne Tyler.
Wet Hot American Summer joins an army of Netflix reboots of absurdist crowd favourites, and it’s surprisingly delightful.
One of the most hotly-anticipated offerings on Netflix this month is Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, a prequel to 2001’s bizarre cult hit, Wet Hot American Summer. It joins an army of Netflix reboots of absurdist crowd favourites, and the question for many of us was whether this one would hold up while still being accessible to new viewers. After the lacklustre performance of Arrested Development, there was ample evidence that perhaps some sleeping dogs are best allowed to lie.
Overall, this is a more diverse and interesting list than the safe ground of 2014’s longlist.
The longlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize was announced Wednesday at midday London time. It’s a 13-book list with some interesting omissions, and possibly (although this is arguable) some emerging themes of interest to the judges.
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