Link

I am here for other women

phirephoenix:

I read this piece a few days ago and have been mulling it over since. It’s hard to read, but incredibly honest and powerful. If I had to choose one part of it to be its thesis, this would be it:

I am here for other women.
I am here for other women.
Can that be my new mantra?

There is…

Phire knocks one out of the park…yet again.

Source: phirephoenix
Text

Do you love films that feature an unlikely combination of disenfranchised groups, battling against a powerful foe, banding together to achieve great feats? How do you feel about Imelda Staunton stamping out bigotry as a badass social justice warrior, completely making you forget about her infamous turn as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films? What about Bill Nighy, a man who is becoming possibly the most beloved English actor, digging deep into his bag of tricks to give a tremendously endearing performance? And then there’s relative newcomer, Ben Schnetzer; who are you not to go see his inspiring portrayal of activist Mark Ashton? Do you like to see the good guys win? Do you want to have your heart warmed? Are you a monster?

Did you answer “yes” to all those questions except the last one, and “no” to the last one? Then you will enjoy Pride.

Pride tells the story of two groups; Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), and a miner’s support group in Neath, Dulais, Souther Wales. Upon discovering the numerous similarities between the battles of the LGBT community and the miners during the 1984-85 UK miners’ strike, Mark Ashton decides to begin raising money to support the striking coal-workers and their families. The LGBT community in the UK had been attacked continuously by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, assaulted physically by the Police throughout Great Britain, and bombarded by the Press, for years. On March 6, 1984, the government announced it would close twenty mines (and then a further seventy pits). The National Union of Mineworkers had called for a general strike by its members after this announcement, mass walkouts followed thereafter, including the Battle of Orgreave in June of that year.

Miners were beginning to experience the same crushing oppression the LGBT community had faced for years. With their funds sequestered by the Thatcher government, and no money to pay for even the most basic necessities, the miners and their families were in dire straits. And in comes the burgeoning LGSM, raising funds all over London and elsewhere, including the Pits and Perverts charity concert headlined by Bronski Beat. LGSM raised thousands of pounds for the miners and their families, and were often considered the most consistent and generous groups that supported the miners through their great struggle.

Of course the blossoming association doesn’t have an easy row to hoe. Some residents of the fictional town of Ollwyn are not so welcoming of LGSM and their charitable works. Many of the traditional and staunch villagers are converted eventually to the cause, but some are not so easy to convince. Here we see Lisa Palfrey as Maureen, doing her very best Nurse Ratched-esque impersonation of the banality of evil.

The aforementioned Billy Nighy is Cliff, a painfully shy, soft-spoken, [SPOILER ALERT] closeted gay man [/SPOILER ALERT] who you can’t help but love well before the film draws to a conclusion. Nighy is so tremendously understated, using but the barest facial expressions and body language to portray so very much, you often wonder if there’s some way he can be in the movie more. 

Paddy Considine gives us Dai Donovan, one of the leaders of the Miners’ Union, and yet another role leaving you screaming for more. He gives LGSM their entree into the small, Welsh town, and continues in what may be the most affable performance I’ve ever experienced.

George MacKay as Joe (a.k.a. Bromley), one of the few fictional characters in the film, should not be forgotten either. As an audience surrogate, he provides a somewhat outsiders point of view, while also depicting the great battle of a gay youth struggling to be happy and come out to his family.

UK parliamentarian, Siân James, long before her time in office, is characterized glowingly by Jessica Gunning. She goes from homemaker and mother to impressively staunch leader. In a stirring moment, Dominic West’s Jonathan urges her to do something more with her life, which she takes to heart.

There are so many more incredible performances in this film. There is no dead weight in Pride; not the characters, the dialogue, the score or soundtrack, or the cinematography. The Welsh countryside may seem bleak to some, but Director Matthew Warchus and DOP Tat Radcliffe turn it into an intensely pastoral setting. Christopher Nightingale’s score is married well with the soundtrack; featuring the best mid-1980’s British pop/electronic music and a soupçon of Motown and Disco. Stephen Beresford, in his screenwriting debut, knocks it out of the park, delivering some of the most touching, dazzling, and hilarious dialogue in cinema history. 

Some will say that Pride is a little too sentimental, perhaps not covering the immensity of this complicated situation. Obviously this was a very charged political atmosphere, and there have been some complaints that the antagonists are not treated fairly. However, if you are going to have a problem with Pride because of how it attacks Thatcher, or delivers a one-sided view of Union relations in 1980’s Great Britain, this was never going to be the film for you. Also, you should probably crawl back into the fascist cave where you reside. Seriously, stick it in your ear. 

Despite the great hurdles the protagonists face, and the eventual official dissolution of their union, the ending is a sweet and powerful one. Midway through the film, Considine’s Dai promises that the miners will be at the side of LGSM when the time comes for their struggles to take centre place. He and the Union are as good as their word, as buses of miners and their families arrive at the 1985 Pride parade in London. What follows is a tear-jerking scene where the two groups lead the parade and, as schmaltzy as it sounds, lead the story firmly into your memory.

In fact, there is only one reason why you want to stop crying while watching this film, and stop yourself from becoming a quivering, blubbering mass. It’s because the more you cry, the less of the movie you’ll see, and you don’t want to miss any of Pride.

I don’t often say that watching a film was completely pleasing, but Pride fits the bill. It is so completely and thoroughly pleasant, I can be sure it will find its way into the cycle of films I will watch again and again. If you love feeling good, love walking away from the movie theatre with a smile on your face and dried tears in your eyes, and you’re not some kind of ogre-like monster, you will adore Pride.

Text

Okay, the season is over. I’d like to really get into this, and write a full-fledged article, but there’s no time for it with the novel and all the other shenanigans. Please note this is who I think should win the awards, not who I think will actually be voted to win the awards. So here it is in brief:

AWARDS

NL MVP - Giancarlo Stanton - RF - MIA

AL MVP - Mike Trout - CF - LAA

NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw - SP - LAD

AL Cy Young - TIE - Felix Hernandez - SP - SEA
and
Cory Kluber - SP - CLE

NL ROY - Jacob deGrom - SP - NYM

AL ROY - Jose Abreu - 1B - CHW

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

AL WILD CARD - Oakland defeats Kansas City

NL WILD CARD - San Francisco defeats Pittsburgh

ALDS 1 - Anaheim defeats Oakland

ALDS 2 - Detroit defeats Baltimore

NLDS 1 - Washington defeats San Francisco

NLDS 2 - Los Angeles defeats St. Louis

ALCS - Detroit defeats Anaheim

NLCS - Los Angeles defeats Washington

WS - Los Angeles defeats Detroit

Photo

Can the Toronto Blue Jays sign Masahiro Tanaka?

HAVEN’T WE BEEN HERE BEFORE?

The date was December 19, 2011, and most of the baseball world waited…

View Post

Photo

Toronto Blue Jays see MLB Winter Meetings as key to team improvement

Executives and industry professionals from all over the league will begin arriving at the Walt…

View Post

Photo

Toronto Blue Jays could make Free Agent splash

While it’s true that a majority of the best free agents have already found homes for the 2014…

View Post

Photo

My personal weight loss venn diagram.

Text

Complaining about Miley Cyrus’ behaviour is akin to complaining about the earth continuing to move around the sun.

Is anyone surprised by this “behaviour?” This is no different than Christina Aguilera wearing panties with ass-less chaps, or Britney Spears making out with Madonna. It’s Led Zeppelin engaging in libidinous and unspeakable acts at the Chateau Marmont. It’s The Who destroying guitars and drum sets. It’s Elvis wriggling his hips way more than anyone had before.

Did Miley’s behaviour at the VMA’s really shock you? And be honest answering that question. Because if it did shock you then you’re either not paying attention, you’re making rationalizations, you’re delusional, or you’ve been hiding under a rock.

The slut shaming that accompanied Miley’s performance at the VMA’s was disgusting. She has the right to explore and display her sexuality as she sees fit, within the confines of the law. While I am not a fan of her musical endeavours, I have no interest in deriding her choice of wardrobe, phallic foam finger, or gyrations. Numerous scientific studies, proven time and again to be accurate, show us that sexual repression is rarely healthy for humans. If we want to live in a sexually permissive society, and I hope that we do, we can hardly blame Miley for her performance.

The only argument I’ve seen or heard that even comes close to heaping any relevant shame on Miley Cyrus is the idea that she is appropriating black culture. I don’t know how much this argument holds water, though. I have no idea what her intent was with her little dance number, her twerking, or her delving into ratchet culture. What is clear is that she has appropriated black culture. What’s unclear is whether or not this was malicious, or how it was planned. I don’t know who produced, choreographed, or planned her musical number with Robin Thicke. I have no idea how involved with the planning Miley Cyrus was, and, without knowing that, it’s hard to say just how much she is to be blamed for any cultural appropriation.

More importantly, I really, really don’t care. Complaining about Miley’s appropriation of black culture is like screaming at the driver of a brand new diesel train, because he’s hurting the environment. Can you not see the forest for the trees? The problems are much deeper than anything a 20-year-old pop star can possibly muster. Racism is so institutionalized, and so incredibly difficult a problem to solve, that screaming at Miley Cyrus is about as useful as complaining when a McDonald’s or Bass Pro Shop franchise only wants to hire white people. This problem is like the mythical Lernaean Hydra; many-headed, but stabbing away without precision is a waste of time. Until we, as a society, make a concerted effort to go after the beast’s one immortal head, racism will continue to terrorize us all.

And what’s worse, is that we have created this. We’ve made very few efforts to stop and think about what we truly want as a society. Collectively, in our rush to find the newest designer handbag, our efforts to put swag before intelligence, and our near complete inability to understand what a healthy role model is, this is what we have wrought. Individually we may not all be responsible for this, but, as a whole, there is no doubt that we are to be blamed.

When parents look toward popular culture, even the saccharin-based, vomit-inducing world of the Disney empire, to help their children find role models, what more can we expect? Like Britney and Christina before her, Miley Cyrus is just growing up. Even Annette Funicello received scorn for her role in the dreadful Beach Party movies of the 1960s. 

No, Miley Cyrus isn’t Hannah Montana anymore. In fact, she never was. And here’s a big shocker (though it shouldn’t be): the Miley Cyrus you see on TV and everywhere else isn’t Miley Cyrus either. Her new persona isn’t a good role model, and neither was Hannah Montana. It was, is, and always will be, an illusion. And we’ll probably never know if the real Ms. Cyrus is a good role model, let alone whom she actually is.

And that’s the biggest problem with the star system. It gives us the false sense that we can understand and know Miley Cyrus, Alex Rodriguez, and Oprah. How many times have you heard someone say that they just “know” that they would be great friends with Beyonce? How many conversations have you overheard where the participants talk about dramatic encounters between famous people they could not possibly know?

Famous people can rarely be role models. And when they are, it’s probably just an on-screen persona, or carefully polished image that you laud with praise. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on true heroes, but how do we not know which astronauts, research scientists, and Nobel Prize winners are not actually awful humans?

Maybe parents need to find role models amongst the people in their communities and families whom they know they can trust. Even better, maybe parents themselves can become better people, so their children can look up to them, and not a movie star, athlete, or musician.

Or maybe we can teach our children to find strength and moral fortitude inside themselves. External resources change, and they come and go, but you will always have yourself. Be your own role model. Be your own hero. The next time you see someone who needs help, do what you can to help them. But do it without judgement, without pretence, and the world cannot help but be a better place.

Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance is but an infinitesimal part of the problem, a fraction of a fraction. And it’s a problem we created, either through direct action, or omission, to one degree or another.

We created this beast, and only we can slay it.

Video

I don’t normally post stuff like this, as I believe one’s musical journey is very personal. However, this is one of my all time favourites.

Sharleen Spiteri is several kinds of awesome.

Photo

Jose Reyes to return, but what of Munenori Kawasaki?

In the throes of an 11-game winning streak, the Toronto Blue Jays have a tough decision on their…

View Post