I feel bad that I don’t pay that good of attention. I was just talking about that Lady Gaga quote: “I’m not a feminist…I hail men, I love men…” That depresses me. I don’t give a shit if you want to call yourself “Martha Washington.” If you’re out there in the world and doing a non-traditional job or if you’re expanding the definition of what it means to be saying it’s OK that I have traits that are traditionally masculine and it doesn’t make me any less of a person. You can be doing feminism out in the world and not call yourself that. I don’t care. What bothers me is when people refute it using a stereotype. Lady Gaga didn’t say, “Feminists hate men,” but that’s what she means. To me, feminism is also about liberating men from the stereotypes that they have to be the breadwinners, that they have to be a certain way, and they can’t explore their feminine sides. That’s crippling men. That’s crippling how fully men can experience their emotional lives and everything. They have to bond with each other by putting women down? That’s sad. What about having real friendships? Wouldn’t that be great?
I feel like feminism is something that can change the world. It’s not just white women climbing the corporate ladder. It’s about challenging all the binaries, ending racism, ending classism. It’s not about hating men! That’s not even part of the conversation in my mind. But that’s kind of great to hear a little freak like Miley Cyrus say that she’s a feminist. She’s such a weirdo. I think that anything that opens a discussion is positive, but I want to find a way that we can go beyond talking about twerking to actually working on change.
The Capitol are the enemy: its citizens are vapid, selfish, exploitative, narcissistic and worst of all apathetic; they don’t care about where their new dress comes from or who is making their dinner or how many children died making their new emerald necklace; they live in such excess that they purge between meals at parties while the people who sourced that food are starving in the fields; they literally place bets on the deaths of children! We really feel like we can’t drive that one home enough. Like, they just make kids kill each other on live TV and then the kids who survive grow up to be sold into sex slavery or to abuse alcohol as a coping mechanism or to be so PTSD-stricken that they can’t even talk anymore. We know what you’re thinking right now: “damn, that sounds sweet, I want to be just like the people in the Captiol.” Right? No? Yeah, us either. But that’s what CoverGirl and Lionsgate seem to think.
At its core, The Hunger Games is a book about the trauma of hyper-consumption–but when it comes to traumatizer vs. traumatized, CoverGirl’s Capitol Collection falls squarely on the side of “traumatizer.” The makeup line comes with a lookbook that will help you “get the looks of the Districts” and is so unaware and self-absorbed that it kind of feels like it has to be a joke. The only time anyone from the Districts looks anything like something in that lookbook is when children are brought to the Capitol and dolled up to be paraded around on live TV as though they were props instead of humans (because of course, to the Capitol, they are props). Then two days later they take the makeup off and kill each other and probably die themselves while their families look on, horrified and defeated. FASHION!!!
But of course, the reason that this line even exists is because we, as a culture, are actually pretty close (metaphorically anyway) to the Capitol. Consumption at any expense is pretty par for the course here, and the people who grow our food and make our clothes aren’t really in much better shape than the people of the Districts. Our culture really, really values outward appearance and it insists that girls about Katniss’s age should be less into leading a revolution and more into getting the right look. The Capitol Collection encourages girls to identify not with rebellion and justice, but with superficiality and self-interest. We think that is not only ridiculous, but scary and super dangerous.
Seconded. Of the many whackadoo merchandising tie-ins associated with Catching Fire (Subway comes to mind), the CoverGirl campaign may be the worst. There were plenty of ways to create cosmetic tie-ins that didn’t fetishize poverty or so thoroughly embrace and sanitize the barbarity of the Capitol. (via lbardugo)
I mean, naturally, you have a book series that indicts American culture (specifically the military industrial complex, see also: the author was watching footage of US soldiers’ bodies coming home from Iraq to be buried when she thought of the idea) and excess at the expense of underlings, so OF COURSE when they make it into a movie, there’s going to be a painfully un-self-aware merch tie-in. I actually find the Subway ad campaign a bit more sinister: “Where the victors eat.” It’s a book about people who are going hungry needlessly and a fast-food sandwich chain is making money off of it, because obviously.
We - our culture - we are the Capitol. (You too, Canada and most of Europe and every other industrialized nation who emulates Westernness.) To me, the books weren’t about the trauma of hyperconsumption so much as they were a mirror in which we can look at ourselves and go, wow, we have poor kids fighting our wars as their only means of economic advancement for the amusement and financial gain of the upper upper class, and we have enough homes and food to feed and house everyone but we still have hunger and homelessness, and we have enough money in the government to fix that, but it has to go toward those wars we’re still fighting, OH SHIT, THE CAPITOL IS US.
Most of the people in the Capitol weren’t evil. They’re just complacent. Their lives are great and they don’t have to fight anyone for food, and they purposefully look away when confronted with the ugly reality of where their wealth comes from. The system of government works well enough for them so they go with it. Sound familiar? A makeup tie-in to a movie franchise is the least of our concerns.
I was reminded by a boatload of tweets and emails that today is the 25th anniversary of the first showing of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on TV23 KTMA in Minneapolis. And then I ran across this cast and crew shot at Tom Noel’s quite chockablock MST3K Temple site. It made me very happy.
These are the folks who gave it its start, but really, it’s the viewers, the fans, the MSTies, that have kept it alive for so damn long.
So thank you. Thank you all. Thank you Chris Cornell and Brian Henry at MST3KInfo.com for maintaining a fantastic, totally fan-made, fan-supported, fan-driven web site. Thanks to all of you who discovered MST through Rifftrax, and discovered Rifftrax through MST. I continue to have a very strange and wonderful job, and I have you to thank for it.
I am grateful beyond words. -kwm
"Take my word for it. You’re awesome."
November 20th. On this day a year ago at 6:57 PM, Zack Below e-mailed me with a simple pitch:
"Pro gaming deserves a viral dynamic documentary. We are modeling our team brand and storyline around explosions, championships, beer and eternal glory (amongst other things)."
As I oft do, ask anyone I work with, I wrote him back an epic five paragraph response. But I was sure to include the following last line:
TL;DR - Let’s make a goddamn movie.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I had just picked up a Panasonic GH2, hacked it and was excited to see what it could do in the field after reading about how it dominated the Tribeca Film Festival. Three short months later, we had two of them and were meeting with Super Bowl Champion Tom Crabtree to do our first weekend of shooting.
It is safe to say Die Noobs has become the seminal work in my career. It is also probably in the top 5 top things I’ve done in my life. Period. What’s amazing about Die Noobs is that we’ve invited everyone with an internet connection to join us on this top 5 all time journey.
Ever since we started shooting we’ve been uploading major web-releases on a near monthly basis. Behind the scenes photos fly up and are available for anyone to see. This is filmmaking in web 2.0: the audience comes on the journey of the film long before the film even really starts getting edited. It’s organic and real, not polished, plastic and corporate.
And tomorrow, I’m getting on a plane for Europe to do one of our biggest shoots of the whole production. We’ll be in Sweden for Dreamhack, the world’s largest LAN party. We want to show people that may only be familiar with playmates, rockstars or NFL players that there’s a bigger world than any of that they all belong to: gaming.
Thanks for joining us. I’m excited to show you all the final result.