Why I Think “Ghost in the Shell” Is Racist As F*ck, But I’m Still Planning To See It

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Since I heard about the extremely controversial casting of Scarlett Johansson in “Ghost in the Shell,” I’ve been about as enraged by it as anyone. At first, I resolved not to see the film in protest. As a woman, I understand how meaningful it can be to see yourself represented in mainstream media. It makes you feel seen and accepted by your society, your people. It makes you feel like an equal and someone who matters. And as a lover of women in general, I don’t want to see any kind of woman shut out of our culture’s media. Every kind of woman, no matter what she looks like or how old she is or where she comes from or who she’s attracted to or what she believes in, deserves recognition and acceptance.

The film is nauseatingly racist. In addition to the blatant racism of casting a white woman in an originally Asian female role, it reportedly attempted to yellow face some of its extras, and possibly even Johansson herself.

I had a friend once who was half Chinese and half Scottish. She was outgoing, excitable, charming, feminine, and beautiful. We took ballroom dance classes together, and that was where I first realized how marginalized Asian women are. The men looked at her like she was a sex toy – old, often married men and this 14 year old girl. They flirted with her and ogled her. She was their favorite dance partner, and it had nothing to do with her dancing ability. Her personality had quite a bit to do with it, but I’m also quite certain that her race made them feel much more confident in treating her like she existed purely for their pleasure.

I often get ads for Asian women from dating sites. I get those more than any other dating site ad. I’ve seen statistics that Asian women are the most fetishized women in America. What comes with that fetishization? Viewing them as non-human.

Which is why it was so deeply offensive for this film’s producers to take an iconic, inspiring female character like Major Motoko Kusanagi and make her the default woman that we always see on our screens, rather than an underrepresented minority who deserve to see themselves as these inspiring people.

But despite feeling so strongly about that, I also couldn’t ignore that it was a female lead, who is meant to carry the film. Now, I don’t mean to say that it is REMOTELY okay that they whitewashed this character. But I kept thinking, how often do we have a female lead in a big-budget, mainstream cyberpunk film? A woman starring in an action film is unusual enough, but what’s even more unusual is a story that focuses on the humanity, or lack thereof, of a female cyborg. The cyborg trope and the question of whether cyborgs and human-like robots should be treated as equal humans has been so deeply explored within the science fiction genre that I’m sick of contemplating those questions. (I’m a sci fi baby.) It’s a very unique way to explore the human condition, and relevant to our modern world.

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#Oscars So Sexist

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That’s the hashtag that’s everywhere today, right? No, I didn’t think so. I mean, Patricia Arquette didn’t say anything to offend people by suggesting that women’s rights are as important as other causes, and the wrong movie was originally given the big award, so, as far as I can tell, virtually no one noticed that approximately THREE women gave acceptance speeches last night, and not many more won awards, even as part of a group. It was wonderful to see the diversity in the audience, as far as race and country of origin were concerned. But the women in the audience were either actresses, or plus ones. Very few were nominees for anything other than an acting award, and even fewer won. Among those who won as part of a group, almost none gave the acceptance speech. The speeches were given by the men.

Under the cut, the actual statistics on the gender of the winners and nominees.

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Watch Newsies Movie Event 2nd Trailer, Making of Videos and More

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Fathom Events Will Show the Newsies Movie Event in Cinemas Nationwide February 16, 18, and 22

The touring version of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical Newsies was filmed last September during its Los Angeles run. Several members of the original Broadway cast returned for the filming, including, Jeremy Jordan (Jack), Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Crutchie), Kara Lindsay (Katherine), and Ben Fankhauser (Davey). The score, by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, includes the songs “Santa Fe,” “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York” and “Once and for All.”

This week Disney released a 2nd official trailer, which we have posted below, along with The Making of The Newsies Movie Event Episode 1: Return to Rehearsals, The Making of the Newsies Movie Event Episode 2: Return to the Stage, and the 1st official trailer.

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A Brief History of Romantic StuckyNat Part 5: Captain America: Civil War from Berlin to Wakanda

This is the fifth and final part in my five part series about romantic StuckyNat, the story of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Natasha Romanoff falling in love with and wanting to be with each other. This part picks up in the middle of Captain America: Civil War, as Zemo is evaluating Bucky in his cell. It ends with the end of the movie. I’ve worked hard to keep the series canon compliant, so there’s no speculation about anything beyond the tags at the end of the film. ( I’d be happy to speculate in another post, just ask in the comments!)

Bucky couldn’t believe his ears as he heard the things this psychiatrist was saying to him. He’d known something was wrong even before the fake doctor had pulled out the red book and started reading his code words. Bucky panicked and started pounding his way out of the cell, as he felt himself disappearing inside his own mind again. He was left to watch helplessly as he hurt the two people he loved most in the world, again, nearly killed Howard’s son, and dozens of others. This nightmare would never be over. Even buried deep inside himself, barely aware, he was devastated. It didn’t matter how long he ran, or hid, or tried to avoid anything or anyone that could control him. He’d always be found and used. It was a relief when Steve finally knocked him out. He wanted to stay that way forever.
When he woke up, Bucky wasn’t sure where he was, only that his arm was restrained in an awkward position and he wasn’t back in a cell. Once again, he didn’t even try to get free. If the red book was back in play, it was better for everyone if he was contained. Steve looked like he didn’t know who Bucky was any more. Like Bucky had already used up all of his chances to prove that he was still Steve’s Bucky. Bucky himself wasn’t sure if he was Steve’s Bucky anymore.
Then they started talking. Bucky realized that the combination of Steve and Natasha’s presence, and that last cognitive recalibration, had restored a flood of memories he hadn’t had access to before. There was no time to sift through them all now, but he felt a rush of warmth at how much more familiar Steve felt to him. He’d known all along that he loved Steve, but he hadn’t had all of the memories to help him realize why, or to read Steve’s body language. Now much of that had come back to him, and it was like finally coming home. Even though he also realized that Steve didn’t quite love him back in the same way, Bucky still knew he’d lay down his life for Steve all over again.

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Newsies Starring Jeremy Jordan and Original Broadway Cast Members to be Shown in Cinemas Nationwide February 16, 18 & 22

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Fathom Events filmed Disney’s hit Broadway musical Newsies last September during its Los Angeles tour stop. The show will be screened in movie theaters across the country on three different dates, giving fans multiple chances to see their favorite show. Screenings will be held on Thursday, February 16 at 7:00 PM, Saturday, February 18 at 12:55 PM, and Wednesday, February 22 at 7:00 PM. All times are local.

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A Brief History of Romantic StuckyNat Part 4: Captain America: Civil War from Lagos to Berlin

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Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Five

This is the fourth part of a five part series on romantic StuckyNat. It tells the story of the MCU versions of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Natasha Romanoff from the point of view of all three characters as if they were in love with each other. This part covers the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, from the mission in Lagos, Nigeria to Bucky’s arrival and imprisonment in Berlin, Germany. Part five will cover the rest of the movie. The series is canon-compliant.


Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff had worked with their new recruits, Sam Wilson and Wanda Maximoff, intensively for the last year. They’d become a cohesive team. Wanda and Sam had earned the right to call themselves Avengers. With the rest of the Avengers busy with other projects or semiretired, the four of them had begun going out on missions together.

They’d been tracking Brock Rumlow for a few months when they became aware of the Lagos op. Steve and his team gathered what intel they could, then continued surveillance at the probable site. Once Rumlow’s vehicles had been spotted, the team pursued and intercepted the terrorists Rumlow was working with. Everyone remembered and used their training, working together and taking down an organized attack force. But then Rumlow caught Steve off guard, and manipulated him into overlooking a goddamn bomb strapped to Rumlow’s chest. Steve might not ever forgive himself for putting Wanda in the position of having to clean up after him. A position she wasn’t ready for yet, and which had terrible consequences.

The Lagos mission wasn’t a complete disaster, though the rest of the world acted like it was. Steve tried to remind himself of how much of the mission went right, before Rumlow played him so easily by invoking Bucky’s name. They’d worked well as a team, they’d stopped the theft of a bioweapon, and the new maneuvers that combined each person’s unique talents went off without a hitch. If only he hadn’t allowed himself to become distracted at the thought of new information about Bucky, grasping at any possibility, after so long without leads. Now Wanda, and all of the casualties in Lagos, were paying the price for his mistake. As a soldier Steve knew that mistakes were going to happen, you just had to keep going, and try to do the best you could with the situation. It was so much harder to cope with failure as an Avenger in the 21st century than it had been in his time. Now there were cameras everywhere and 24 hour news waiting to pounce and place blame. Somehow the Avengers never really got to tell their side of the story.

 Wanda had become like a daughter to him. They had so much in common, with them both being science experiments who had lost their soulmates, homes and families. Training her was a joy that finally brought some of the meaning back to his life that had been missing since Bucky fell. He was damned if he was going to let one accident, something that happened during the course of saving countless lives, be used as an excuse to put her under government control. She was a person first. It was time the world stopped thinking of human beings as weapons. That was no better than thinking of them as property. Wanda, Steve, Bucky, Thor, Bruce, and all of the other enhanced individuals belonged to themselves, not to any government. Bucky had already spent 70 years as property. Enough was enough.
That was his real problem with the Accords. He didn’t like that a government agency was taking control over their activities again, either, but they could negotiate on that. It was Ross’ attitude toward the enhanced, and the way he slanted and twisted his arguments to hide his real motivations, that made up Steve’s mind.
He saw how the sides were falling. The regular humans, and Tony’s creation Vision, on the side of government control. Steve and Wanda, the two enhanced, and Steve’s close, loyal friend Sam on the side of freedom. He was sad to see Natasha side with Tony. Steve understood and agreed with some of her reasoning, but he couldn’t risk what he knew the accords meant for people like himself, Bucky, and Wanda. He’d seen the concentration camps in Germany, and the Japanese internment camps in his own country. He’d seen what had been done to Bucky. Steve just couldn’t allow the potential for that type of abuse of power to become legal again. People’s fear of someone more powerful than them was not a just reason for imprisoning or owning others.
Then Steve got the call that Peggy had died, and every other thought left his head. He knew this was coming, but still, he was devastated. God, he missed Bucky so much. He was desperate to have Bucky by his side to say goodbye to Peg. She was almost his last link to the past. Bucky was the only other person he knew who would remember her, if Bucky even did remember her.
For the 3rd time in his life, he cried until there was nothing left in him. He cried for Peggy, for Bucky, for the future together they’d all lost. Peggy had told him, after he’d woken up in the 21st century to find attitudes about sex and sexualities very different from what he remembered, that she’d always known that he was in love with Bucky, too, and that Bucky was in love with him. She said she knew Steve loved her, and realized that he was probably bisexual. Peggy confessed to being bisexual as well, and having been in love with a woman before she settled down and married her husband. Steve was relieved to hear that Peggy was so accepting of the truth about him and Bucky, and grateful she was willing to share the truth about herself. Then she dropped the biggest bomb of all. Peggy told Steve that she hadn’t wanted to take him away from Bucky. Instead, she had a solution that might have worked for all of them. She and Steve could’ve gotten married, and Bucky could’ve been a 3rd person in their relationship, living with them equally, but appearing to be a roommate who’d never married as far as the rest of the world knew. She hadn’t said anything during the war because it didn’t seem like their relationship was at that point yet. She was waiting for the end of the war, when they could all actually get serious.
This, of course, floored Steve, since he hadn’t even realized he was in love with Bucky at that time. He had no idea how he would have reacted to the idea at first, or what would have happened in the long run, but it sounded like absolute heaven to him now. He was keeping it in the back of his head, should more miracles occur. Maybe he would get Bucky back, and wouldn’t lose Natasha in the argument over the Accords. Having a relationship with both Bucky and Nat would be his dream, if they were both open to it. He didn’t know how he’d even begin to bring it up, but he’d worry about that after those miracles occurred.

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Mean Girls Musical Written by Tina Fey Will Premiere in 2017

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Scheduled for a Fall Run in Washington DC

According to the NY Times, The 2004 Lindsay Lohan film Mean Girls will be turned into a musical, as has been rumored for a while now. The show is being written by Tina Fey, the film’s original screenwriter, her husband, composer Jeff Richmond, and Neil Benjamin, who wrote the music and lyrics for Legally Blonde. The musical will be produced by Lorne Michaels (SNL), who produced the movie, and Stuart Thompson, who produced the Broadway version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Casey Nicholaw, of Aladdin and The Book of Mormon, will direct the musical and the April developmental lab in NYC. Auditions for the developmental lab were held earlier this month. We’ll keep our ears open for casting news.

Aside from the fact that Tina Fey appears to be the only woman currently on the creative team, this musical has a stellar group of people working on it! We’re hoping that this makes it to Broadway! The musical will have its world premiere at the National Theater in Washington, DC in Fall 2017.

HBO Announces Air Date for Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

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HBO will Debut the Film Saturday, January 7 at 8PM ET/7PM CT

TCM to Run Debbie Reynolds Movie Marathon Friday, January 27

HBO announced this morning that they will broadcast the Carrie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds documentary film Bright Lights: Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds on Saturday, January 7, at 8:00 PM ET, instead of in March, as originally planned, in response to the deaths of both women this week. The documentary was filmed and completed in 2016, and has already been screened at the Cannes and New York Film Festivals.

HBO will air the 2010 documentary film of Carrie Fisher’s one-woman Broadway show Wishful Drinking Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 9 PM ET.

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HBO Will ReAir Carrie Fisher’s One-Woman Show Wishful Drinking on New Year’s Day

HBO Will Also Show New Documentary “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds” in the First Half of 2017 [Updated]

In the wake of the tragic loss of both Carrie Fisher on December 27, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, just one day later on December 28, HBO is changing its schedule to honor the two women. Both women were multi-talented performers with decades long careers. Their accomplishments are too long to list here, so I’ll just link to their Wiki pages and try not to start crying again. I grew up watching Debbie in Singin’ in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, then enjoyed her later turn from spunky ingenue to crotchedy maternal type as she aged. I saw Star Wars: A New Hope as a teenager in theaters during its original run. Carrie was the same age as my sister. I cheered for her success as she broke out of her Princess Leia buns to avoid type-casting and  become a bestselling author as well. In a culture where so many female artists are benched by the time they are 40, these two kept going long afterwards.

After the cut, trailers for both films, and a 2011 Oprah interview with Carrie and Debbie.

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Watch Highlights from Amelie, A New Musical with Philipa Soo and Adam Chanler-Berat

Amelie Ends It’s LA Run on January 15; Starts Previews on Broadway March 9, 2017

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The production has released highlight footage from Amelie ahead of its move to Broadway. It will open officially on April 3, 2017 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Tickets are already on sale.

The musical is based on the French film Amelie.

Click through to watch the highlights video.

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