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Hate emails I get

My blog is not a popular one, and not many people know about this website. So I don’t have much of a reason to complain about hate emails and comments, or even spam.

But I do get some hate emails from time to time, and I notice they are either about song or a movie I “trashed” or about race/interracial relationships.

This is a bit confusing, because I don’t remember trashing many songs, films or novels apart from “Twilight”- and nobody complained about that. Even people who like “Twilight” like Twilight spittings, or at least don’t complain about them.

But I got one angry email concerning my not-so-favorable review of Avatar, and some people complained about my reviews of other movies, albums and novels- even if I stated I liked them. That’s right. An angry Pearl Jam fan, for example, advised me to “get back to Britney Spears” if I “can’t stand Eddie Vedder and his band”, despite the fact a) Pearl Jam is one of my favourite bands b) I like Eddie’s voice, lyrics and songs, c) it’s not really “his” band- it’s disrespectful to call it like that.

Also, some people thought I had problem with Toni Morrison (even though I said she’s one of my favourite authors), or “House M.D.” series (because I “dislike British actors (wtf?!?) or white women/black men interracial relationships”).

Which brings us to another issue: race. Race is often an issue, but the thing is, I don’t write about it. I simply don’t know much about race dynamics or have any experience with it to write about it. I did state my opinions here and there, but I never wrote about it. Yet, there are people who think I’m “siding with the enemy” (whatever that means), who think I should mind my own business, those who dislike my support for interracial relationships (or those who are angry because they think I’m against interracial relationships), and, most often, those who believe nobody should write about racism because it’s a no-issue anymore.

What is interesting about hate mail of this sort is that these people often get my gender and race wrong (which makes any of their arguments pointless), but they also often remind me I should STFU because I have no experience with race relations (well guess what- I don’t blog about it!) So I guess it has a lot to do with my involvement on other blogs that deal with race relations and racism.

What is interesting to note here is that these trolls are different than people you regularly meet online, so I guess they make a small percentage of Internet users. Still, I don’t understand why they bother, or how they (like those who think I’m trashing movies I actually like) always manage to miss the point. Completely.

Another interesting thing about authors of angry mails is that they often use contact form or find my email address without a problem, while my other visitors ignore them and post comments instead. Haters rarely comment (not that I complain), and general visitors don’t use contact form or emails. So I do find that interesting.

Oscars: Boring and Predictable

Ben Stiller as Na'viThis year’s Oscars were boring and predictable. Simple as that. Also, the ceremony looked less glamorous than usual. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I was definitely surprised to see that.

In fact, I am surprised to hear good TV ratings and overall satisfaction with the Oscars night (the show as well as the winners). People actually liked it! They think it was the best show in years. Definitely not the way I saw it.

The show didn’t look like Oscars

The show itself was… nothing special. Sure, there were stupid host jokes, pointless show songs and the red carpet madness- but for some reason, it all looked plainer, uglier and much less glamorous than usual. The whole place simply looked so… small. With less people. It looked like many nominees were also presenters. I don’t remember this from the previous years.

Once again, the lack of glamour is not what generally bothers me, but it simply didn’t look like Oscars. Did they have a small budget this year? Or was there another reason behind it? Not sure. In any case, it didn’t look and feel like Oscars night. Which basically means it didn’t look important. (Now when I think about it, it’s actually ok, because Oscars aren’t- or should not be- that important anyway. And given the fact all the snubs and the way winners are chosen, especially in the recent years, I don’t think Oscars mean anything anymore). Still, it is considered THE most important movie award, so I expected it to look more important. On the other hand, I guess everybody just wanted to get to the parties and didn’t care about the show itself that much. Except for the winners. Maybe.

Oh, an another thing. Young stars. Yes, they actually decided to include many young stars as presenters (because we all know Zak Efron’s “talent” will effectively prevent him from ever being nominated). I don’t get this. It did look and feel a bit like MTV awards, or even teen choice awards. Yes, I know they wanted young people to watch the Oscars, but this was a cheap and degrading strategy, if you ask me.

The changes

There were some changes in this year’s show, that obviously worked for many people, but not for me. 10 nominated movies, for example. I simply don’t see any point behind this decision. Ok, we all know they decided to do this because of last year’s “Dark Knight” snub. But frankly, does this system really change anything? SF, fantasy, comedies, adventures, animated movies are still not going to win. All they will get is a nomination. If it’s all about being nominated, then fine, I have nothing against more nominees. But I don’t think these “additional 5″ will ever have much chance of winning. After all, we all know what an Oscar bait movie looks like, and it’s rarely a comedy or a SF film.

Another change I dislike is a new system of voting. If I understood it correctly, from now on it’s possible a movie to win for a best picture even if nobody thought it was the best . I mean WTF?

And one more thing I hated and everybody else seem to like: the new way of presenting best actor and actress awards. The system of 5 colleagues on stage, talking about the nominees might seem like a good way to personalize the presentation. But in reality, it sucks. Way too many cheesy compliments, way too many pointless anecdotes. What’s wrong with the good old clips of the nominated roles? After all, that’s why these people are nominated, not because they had fun on set with a presenter 15 years ago. I must admit I miss the clips. At least we got to see clips for supporting actors and actresses.

The winners!

Finally, the most important thing. Or, is it? I must admit it was predictable and I don’t actually have anything important to say here. I did like the fact Jeff Bridges won, and I disliked the fact Sandra Bullock won. I liked “Avatar” not winning, but I hated “The Hurt Locker” winning. That might be a great movie (artistically), but I must admit I loathe the subject (and propaganda) behind it so I can’t be happy about it being voted the best movie of the year. I am glad “Up” won for the best animated movie. And that would be about all, really.

All in all, just like I said in the title: the whole show was boring and predictable. We didn’t get any surprises, and I fail to see how the changes make the ceremony better. Oh, and please, bring back the live performances of songs and clips of nominated actors, if nothing else.

Avatar. One word: Blah.

In 900+ words:

If you want to make a film completely based on visual effects and decide the story isn’t important, don’t take yourself too seriously.

I watched “Avatar” in 2D, so maybe I wasn’t able to get all of its beauty. But if the movie is completely ruined for you if you don’t watch it in 3D… Then, it’s the movie’s fault, not yours.

I was never overly impressed by Cameron’s work. Sure, “Terminator” was good, but “Titanic” was… Well, “Titanic”. “Avatar” suffers heavily from the Titanic-like problems, but it takes them to different levels. Just for the record, my main problem with “Titanic” wasn’t cheap story, Leo DiCaprio or even (even!) Seline Dion. It’s the fact a tragedy- a real life tragedy- was used for romantic intentions and cheesy emotions. Making Titanic tragedy into a date movie was a bit disrespectful, to say the least.

“Avatar” suffers from the same problems, with a few additional ones. It doesn’t treat its (supposedly deep and profound) message with respect. Is it wrong to invade other cultures, kill people and take their land? Is it wrong to destroy environment? Is it wrong to spread military terror on others? Yes, yes and yes. The mere idea we need James Cameron, of all people, to inform us about it is insulting.

A very Noble Savage problem

But even more, the way he treats all these issues is offensive. The guy obviously never heard of Noble Savage stereotype, or the fact is a harmful one. Sure, it does show you criticize wrongdoings of your culture, but you are still unable to understand other cultures or really respect them. Seeing them as “exotic others” doesn’t change your superiority complex, nor the belief those cultures need you in some way (true, problems on Pandora started only after humans Americans came, but Na’vi were also unable to defend and free themselves- they needed a help of a person coming from our western culture).

Competent marine that he is, Jack Sully learns all there is to know about Na’vi in 3 months and becomes not only a skilled warrior, but one of the best in their history. He becomes their leader and gets the hottest chick as a bonus. In other words: natives are pure and close to nature, but the good guy of our (western) culture is still better than them and they need his help to survive. Not a good message.

History for dummies

The other huge problem is Cameron’s need to dumb everything down to the point one wonders if “Avatar” is actually aimed at 8 year old kids. New flash, kids!: destroying nature is wrong. Invading other cultures is wrong. But if there are other cultures in danger, it is OUR job to help them, because we are superior and they are unable to defend themselves. They need us, kids.

In this aspect, “Avatar” reads way too much like Paulo Coelho, Dan Brown or good ol’ Stephenie Meyer. Just like Coelho is good for those who never understood philosophy, Stephenie Meyer for those who don’t like vampire stories and Dan Brown for those who don’t have any education in art history/history/anything at all (example: people who didn’t find blatantly obvious that “an ancient word of wisdom, 5 letters” is Sofia)- “Avatar” is for those who never thought about colonization and history (not even on Disney “Pocahontas” level). To the rest of us, it’s simply insulting to watch such a predictable story.

But it’s not about the story!

No shit?!? So, what is it about, then? Visual effects? If it’s really about it, then fine. Honestly, if Cameron meant this to be Pocahontas/Dancing with Wolves in space, I am fine with it. But “Avatar” simply takes itself way too seriously.

I don’t personally have anything against people who believe they are great and responsible for major achievements. If you’re good, be aware of it all you like- nobody likes false modesty anyway. But you have to have something actually great to back up your feeling of self importance. “Avatar” isn’t that great, James Cameron. In fact, apart from visual effects, it’s not great at all- it’s below mediocre. It’s predictable, it’s childlike in a bad way, it’s insulting both to non-western cultures AND your audience (for estimating their intelligence and education as pretty low).

Random annoying things

  • Even with all the beautiful visual effects, the world building itself is weak. Humans still look like humans, horses like horses and wolves like wolves- only blue. And there isn’t any hint that it’s intentional analogy.
  • Pandora is Jupiter painted blue. Just take a look: here. It even has the Great Red (well, in this case Blue) spot. I mean, WTF?!?!? They couldn’t even make an original planet design?
  • It’s so predictable that is insulting.
  • Those poor noble savages wouldn’t be able to do anything without the compassionate marine Jack.
  • This wasn’t aimed at kids. If it were, it would, perhaps, make some sense.
  • It’s a box office hit and got so many Oscar nominations. And it deserves only one.
  • People like it. People actually like it! They like it so much that I really wonder if I was giving humans way too much credit when it comes to education, intelligence or a taste.
  • And the good things…

    • Visual effects. Convincing, almost realistic. CGI will (hopefully) never be the same again.
    • USB hair.
    • Sam Worthington’s voice. He does have such a beautiful, deep voice. Too bad he can’t act.

    Interesting links

What to do when you have 2 days off

Some useful advice:

  • Sleep in.
  • Don’t do anything in particular. Because you can.
  • Go to movies. Watch something profound or entertaining, but not obviously crappy (no romantic comedies, action films or parodies).
  • Listen to the music that was popular when you were 14 and that you considered crappy at the time. It’s still crappy, but at least you get to remember your early teens.
  • Visit blogs, comment, update your own website.
  • Make love to your loved one.
  • Eat popcorn. Lots of it.
  • Think about your novel. Plan it. Research. Daydream. Then plan and research again. Then daydream. And daydream a little more. It’s good for writing. It’s necessary.
  • Go to bed at 4 AM. Because you can.
  • Relax, take it easy. Don’t try to do way too many things.

Well, it looks like I did follow those tips this weekend (well, most of it). My husband and I are going to cinema tonight (to get a proper watching of “Sherlock Holmes”, because we decided watching a fun film again is better than giving more money to something we are sure it’s not really our thing (“Avatar”). But I will watch “Avatar” and talk about it- just not at the moment. For now, I want to relax, have fun, do nothing and don’t think about anything really profound… Except my novel.

Bonus track: 25 things I learned reading “Twilight”

This is a long overdue, last (?) installment of “Twilight” spitttings. So I realized it’s best to post them here first, then move them to their appropriate page in the spittings section.

  1. Sex with a vampire can kill you, but only if it’s premarital.
  2. Abusive, controlling behaviour is ok as long as it’s “true love”.
  3. So is pedophilia.
  4. Women are inferior to men.
  5. If they’re not, they’re infertile.
  6. Bad people are ugly, good people are beautiful (even if they don’t find themselves pretty and bitch about that all the time).
  7. Kids treat their parents as crap.
  8. It’s possible to be non-white and attractive (in a wild, uncivilized way), but it’s not nearly as attractive as being pale and white.
  9. In order to know anything about cars and sports, you must posses Y chromosome.
  10. If your boyfriend of 6 months leaves you, it’s perfectly ok to become suicidal.
  11. Blond females are stupid, bitchy and mean. All of them.
  12. Using swear words is bad, but stalking someone isn’t.
  13. Desire to have sex is a good enough reason to get married.
  14. Girls don’t need any skills apart from cooking, and no ambition apart of finding a man.
  15. Clumsiness is attractive. Safety helmets are sexy.
  16. People with bad complexion are not worth your attention.
  17. In order to feel smart, you should read classics such as Jane Austin and Shakespeare. You don’t have to understand a word of what you’ve read, though.
  18. Being forced into a relationship is romantic.
  19. Obsession and lust are easily confused for a true love.
  20. It’s perfectly ok for a father to hate his own child.
  21. Policemen are cowards.
  22. Being older than your boyfriend is a major disaster.
  23. It’s perfectly ok to neglect your child if you want to have sex.
  24. Logic is highly overrated.
  25. In order to sell a book, you don’t need any talent, writing skills or an editor.