On Quitting

We need to take a step back and look at why we love the things we love.

 

This past weekend, I watched Hannah Gadsby’s comedy special, “Nanette,” on Netflix. It was a revelation. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say her words confirmed and shaped some things that had been percolating at the edges of my subconscious for the last several years. In the special, which you should absolutely watch if you have not yet, Gadsby talks about why she is quitting comedy, how jokes are only two parts — setup and punchline — and not a whole story. Essentially, she says comedians create tensions through their setups so that the punchlines can break it, and she no longer wants to create tension. She wishes to instead create connection. Rather than use comedy to obfuscate her painful past, she tells the rest of the stories that inspired her funniest bits, and the humor goes away, but something so much deeper remains.

 

This week, I had meant to write about why I have quit consuming and engaging with so much of nerd culture in recent years. And while I cannot make quite so eloquent a connection as Hannah Gadsby with the two parts versus a whole story metaphor, I can say that I think it’s to do with how mistaking engaging with pop culture the same as engaging with and influencing our communities.

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It’s Time To Bury Our Firsts

We have a hard time letting go of our childhood favorites, and we’re worse off for it.

 

My geek and nerd history is filled with some wonderful firsts. The first time I saw Star Wars, sitting in front of a small TV watching the trilogy back to back on cable. Seeing Indiana Jones get chased by the boulder through the decrepit ruins for the first time. Witnessing The Delorean’s maiden voyage into the past. Seeing how far down the rabbit hole went in The Matrix. Experiencing Middle Earth for the first time, and then seeing it adapted for the screen. Discovering that Cowboy Bebop was merely the tip of the Anime iceberg. Playing my first tabletop RPG. Saving the galaxy from Reapers and breaking hearts as Commander Shepard. And yet, when I sit down and contemplate these firsts, I find myself wrestling with a desire to relive and repackage the greatest hits of my youth versus putting them to rest and moving on.

 

Today the media landscape has become a veritable King’s Feast of nostalgic geek and nerd content. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the multiplexes since Iron Man in 2008, and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. We’ve had a Star Wars film come out every year since 2015, as well as comics and cartoons to fill in the blanks. We got a Blade Runner sequel, two more Jurassic Park sequels, a Ghostbusters remake, a Trainspotting sequel, a Beauty and the Beast remake, two Alien prequels, A Mummy remake, and so on. Stranger Things has even tapped into our collective nostalgia for the 80s, giving us familiar synth strings and exceptional set design to transport us back in time. What a wonderful buffet of memory! Grab another plate, stay awhile.

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1.06: Tag Sale – You’re It!

This week on the podcast Bryan, Nick, and Graham talk what is easily a lot of people’s favorite episode of the series – “Tag Sale – You’re It!” If you’ve never seen the show before, this would be a great place to start.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

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Yes, Women Can Be Friends!

Women can be friends.

It’s true! Women can even be amazing friends who support each other. I’ve worked on all-female crews, and the environment is a lovely, supportive safe place where teamwork is paramount, and nobody has to worry about getting sexually harassed or made to feel insignificant. Conflicts still happen and enemies still exist, but when women work together, they can get a lot done and have a good time.

 

Ocean’s 8 did a great job of embracing this. In fact, the teamwork was almost TOO good. There wasn’t enough drama for my taste, and maybe that’s because it was realistic. In real life, an all-female team of thieves would just get shit done and solve problems and not try to dick measure.

 

 

We’re taught that women are catty bitches who see each other as competition, but that doesn’t match what I see in my world.

 

On film, female friendships are often adversarial. For every 9 to 5, you get 10 Working Girls, where women compete for the same job or the same man or both. At some point action directors realized that when you put a woman in a black leather bodysuit and make her fight another woman in a white leather body suit, that turns other men on. As I’ve written before, in any large group, there can be only one woman, which automatically makes other women competition. We’re constantly barraged in pop culture with this idea that women cannot be friends.

 

But the times, they are a’changin’.

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1.05: The Incredible Mr. Brisby

This week on the podcast Bryan, Nick, and Graham come together to talk about “The Incredible Mr. Brisby,” the next episode in the series. We’ve also begun splitting this podcast out into its own feed, so keep an eye out for updates on that. Special shout out to Brok Holliday who did the research for this episode and who will be providing the research going forward.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

RESEARCH COURTESY
Brok Holliday

 

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Violence and Hypermasculinity in Film

“But it’s just so unrealistic. It doesn’t work that way in real life.”

 

As an avid fan of romances, romantic comedies, and other chick flicks, this is a constant refrain from my friends. The thing is, I am an adult woman with a couple LTRs (Long Term Relationships) under my belt and a string of less-than-glamorous personal and romantic mistakes. I am fully aware. What is maddening for me, a grown human with a functioning brain who can separate fantasy from reality, is that I never hear this same criticism lobbied at action films. Romantic comedies are all but dead and buried, largely in part because of this constant asinine chorus designed to question my and other fans’ credibility. But in a world where women fight for their voices to be heard, for bodily autonomy, for equal pay, I’d say we’re doing a lot better at separating our fantasy lives from our real ones than we’re given credit.

 

We live in a world where a man can rape a woman and leave her unconscious behind a dumpster and engender sympathy from a judge. I, and many of you readers, live in a country where mass shootings happen at an alarming rate — all at the hands of men. Boys are discouraged from showing emotion, and even women, in their quest for equality, aspire to be “badass” and “tough” and, ultimately, more like men. Perhaps romance is not the fantasy we should have killed. Instead, we should look at the violence and hypermasculine themes so pervasive in every blockbuster and consider how that impacts us.

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1.04: Eeny Meeny Miny Magic

This week on the show Bryan and Nick “Freed The Man” discuss the next episode of the show – “Eeny Meeny Miny Magic,” which introduces the character of Dr. Orpheus.

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

 

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Episode #241 – Hostiles

This week we’re joined by friend of the show Jackie Trudel as we take a long and hard look at the downer Western that is Hostiles. It packs quite a punch but undercuts itself at every turn by focusing on perhaps the least important character of the story. There’s a lot here and you won’t want to miss a moment of it.

 

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1.03: Midlife Chrysalis

This week on Venture Bros Bryan and Nick spend some time straightening up the episode timeline before diving right into their review of “Midlife Chrysalis,” or as Nick refers to it, “a second season episode that’s in the first season.”

 


INTRO MUSIC COURTESY
Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell

 

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Continue reading 1.03: Midlife Chrysalis