What follows is a guest post by James B. Haile (University of Rhode Island). Critical responses to Marvel’s first black super hero movie have been quick, varied and numerous, ranging from the significance of an all-black cast for filmic representation (here and here), to the veneration of its depiction of strong, intelligent dark-skinned black women with natural hair as central and heroic characters (here and here), to the critique of the film for pursuing a cosmopolitan vision of “Africa” at the expense of both Africans themselves and for African Americans (here and here), to critiques of the film for promoting the ameliorative agenda of integrationist hopefulness of neo-liberalism dressed in “black excellence,” standing shoulder-to-shoulder with hegemonic power, eschewing pan-Africanist sentiments (here, here and here). And though on the surface these approaches appear diverse, they have, for the most part, a common or central focus that limits their analysis. That is, what unites these … Continue reading →
The following post appears as part of a partnership with the APA Blog. The original appears here. Steven Manicastri is a political theorist and labor organizer. Having recently viewed Sorry to Bother You and seeing its clear relevance to his own research he posed the following questions to Lewis Gordon because of his theoretical work on race, class, and politics in film.
What follows is a post in our ongoing collaborative series with the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. This is based on a new article by Adriana Clavel-Vazquez, “Sugar and spice, and everything nice: What rough heroines tell us about imaginative resistance.” After five seasons of House of Cards, it was finally Claire Underwood’s turn to be a proper rough heroine. In seasons one to four we find an interesting contrast between the moral transgressions that make Claire and Frank Underwood rough heroes: she is a ruthless, selfish, and drunk-with-power woman who is uninterested in motherhood; he is a ruthless, selfish, drunk-with-power man who has murdered several people. But in season five, Claire (finally!) murders Tom Yates, her journalist lover who had been given full access to the Underwood’s in previous seasons, and who was ready to publish an incriminating tell-all book. After poisoning him, Claire gives herself a couple … Continue reading →
February 20, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds 1 Comment
What follows is a guest post by Charles Peterson (Oberlin College) I. As Walter Mosley observes in his essay “Black to the Future,” the genre(s) of science fiction/fantasy neé Afro-futurism speak clearly to the dissatisfied through their power to imagine the first step in changing the world: Black people have been cut off from their African ancestry by the scythe of slavery and from an American heritage by being excluded from history. For us, science fiction offers an alternative where that which deviates from the norm is the norm. As such, African-descended people have long understood and utilized the power of narrative to generate the images and ideas that will spark the liberatory imaginings of the sufferers. Particularly in the realms of the fantastic have characters, scenarios, and worlds been constructed to expose the truths of the world as it is and reveal the possibilities of worlds that could be. … Continue reading →
January 17, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds 1 Comment
Bad art is bad. And bad things aren’t good. How can some art be so bad it’s good? John Dyck (CUNY Graduate Center) and Matt Johnson (Millersville University) have recently co-authored a paper for the Journal of Value Inquiry that answers this question.
December 25, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds 0 comments
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens today. I suspect many if not most of you will go see it. Hence, I constructed this little guide to some important aspects of the Star Wars saga. Obviously, given both the prevalence of words like “Force” and “Jedi” in the title of this film and the (narrative-wise) previous one, and what we know of the story so far, it seems safe to assume that the nature of the Force, and clashes between different aspects or interpretations of the Force, will be front-and-center in the new film. Hence, I’ve concentrated on some Force-errific trivia tidbits that might be useful in navigating that aspect of the story: Arguably, R2-D2 is the protagonist of the overall Star Wars story. In an interview conducted while filming Return of the Jedi, George Lucas stated that the Star Wars saga was being narrated by R2-D2 to the Keeper of … Continue reading →
The following is cross-posted here and at Matt Strohl’s blog, Strohltopia. There is wide chasm between the importance of Jacques Rivette’s work and the amount of attention it receives in the USA. My aim here is to promote Rivette awareness and provide information and guidance for those who are looking to get into his stuff but unsure of how to proceed. Intro 1. Why Care About Rivette? 2. Chronological Survey The Sixties The Seventies The Eighties The Nineties The Aughts Miscellaneous 3. The Viewing Guide Where to Start Recommended Viewing Itineraries, organized by degree of hardcore-ness Appendix: PAL speedup and what to do about it
October 9, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds 2 Comments
Descartes and Deckard. “I think, therefore I am.” Sophisticated artificial intelligence. Real memories and implanted memories. Humanity and personhood (and androidhood?). Philosophers can’t resist the bait Blade Runner lays out for them.