Eighty years ago the Turkish government forced Hollywood to drop a movie project based on The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, then a best-selling novel on the Armenian Genocide by German-language author, Jew and outspoken Hitler opponent Franz Werfel. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, originally written as a warning against Hitler through the prism of the Armenian Genocide, never saw the silver screen. Such a movie could have also raised awareness of the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany at the time and later of the ongoing Holocaust. It could have shaped the “narrative” of the struggle against Hitler. Many have since been interested to finally turn the novel into a major production, but Turkish opposition and obstruction seemed insurmountable.
It had taken years — and the passionate support of Armenian activist Kirk Kerkorian, who financed the film’s $100 million budget without expecting to ever make a profit — for The Promise, a historical romance set against the backdrop of the Armenian genocide and starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, to reach the screen. Producers always knew it would be controversial: Descendants of the 1.5 million Armenians killed by the Ottoman Empire shortly after the onset of World War I have long pressed for the episode to be recognized as a genocide despite the Turkish government’s insistence the deaths were not a premeditated extermination.
The Promise, which opens April 21, finally would bring the untold saga to a mass audience. But at the Toronto Film Festival premiere in September, producer Mike Medavoy watched the late billionaire’s carefully laid plans upended by a digital swarm that appeared out of nowhere.
Before the critics in attendance even had the chance to exit Roy Thompson Hall, let alone write their reviews, The Promise’s IMDb page was flooded with tens of thousands of one-star ratings. “All I know is that we were in about a 900-seat house with a real ovation at the end, and then you see almost 100,000 people who claim the movie isn’t any good,” says Medavoy. Panicked calls were placed to IMDb, but there was nothing the site could do. “One thing that they can track is where the votes come from,” says Eric Esrailian, who also produced the film, and “the vast majority of people voting were not from Canada. So I know they weren’t in Toronto.”
The online campaign against The Promise appears to have originated on sites like Incisozluk, a Turkish version of 4chan, where there were calls for users to “downvote” the film’s ratings on IMDb and YouTube. A rough translation of one post: “Guys, Hollywood is filming a big movie about the so-called Armenian genocide and the trailer has already been watched 700k times. We need to do something urgently.” Soon afterward, the user gleefully noted The Promise’s average IMDb rating had reached a dismaying 1.8 stars. “They know that the IMDb rating will stay with the film forever,” says Esrailian. “It’s a kind of censorship, really.”
JJBA Part 1-2: Vampires are everywhere. They’re in your home, snacking on your family. At your job, refusing you a promotion. Around every corner, watching. Everywhere. Jojo’s can use the power of the sun to fight them.
JJBA After Part 1-2: What are vampires? Hamon users who? Wanna see the cool powers the space rock gave me???
“Queens County Assistant District Attorney Rodney McKay is abrasive, burnt-out, and has long ago dropped any pretenses of wanting anything more than to put the scum of the earth behind bars. Detective John Sheppard of the Brooklyn 83 is not too far behind, branded a slacker-cop who chases haphazardly after thugs and murders in a never-ending stream of violence and crime. The two men know of each other through reputation and the rare cross-borough cases that have come their way, but find themselves too busy cleaning up their respective counties to look much closer.
That all changes when the elusive Augustus Kolya and The Gen Family appear to slip up on cross county charges and land McKay and Sheppard working on the same case from two different angles, desperate to take down the corrupt organization and end a decade of mob rule in the outer boroughs. But nothing is ever as easy (or as safe) as it looks and when you start to mess with organized crime, you’re bound to be hurt.
Will the two jaded public servants be able to get along (or get together) long enough to formulate a solid case against vast public corruption and bring justice to the long-standing mob? And will the conniving Chief Kolya let them both get out of this case with their lives?”
the last time- it was NOT a walk of shame.
1. You didn’t walk, you- like- jumped home or whatever. Super-hero style!
Number 2. Walk of shames happen after a hook-up and we literally fell asleep
and nothing else. Number 3. Even if we did do *that*- it wouldn’t be anything
to be ashamed of.
Adrien: Ok you
have a point. No way could I ever be ashamed of you. But I still think it was a
walk of shame! I left your house in the same clothes I wore the day before!
<3 <3 <3
you take them off though? Xx
IT WASN’T A WALK OF SHAME! Why do you even want it to be?
I know why…how many puns have you come up with about this?
Adrien: I don’t
know what you’re talking about. I just want to live up to the slutty blonde
model stereotype ;) a slutty blonde model who sleeps with superheroes lolololol.
Adrien: But only
superheroes they love of course. XxXxXx
Adrien: Ok eight
puns. Nine! Nine! I just thought of a ninth!
it! Alsoyou thought the birds and
the bees was a literal fairy tale until you were sixteen years old so you
aren’t living up to any slutty model stereotypes any time soon I hope! Also-also
you already sleep with superheroes. You ARE a superhero, silly alley cat, you sleep
with yourself every night ;) Xx
Adrien: T^T I
don’t like what you’re implying and Plagg is sitting right behind me cackling.
You two are mean! XxXx
Marinette giggled, accidentally bumping against the wall as
she typed her response, making sure to delete all the texts referring to their
secret identities (as a necessary precaution).
Adrien was on the way to her place, having luckily avoided
any confrontations with his carers or father. The pair had been playfully
arguing since they’d miraculously gotten away with their accidental sleepover
and, as Marinette had predicted, she hadn’t been able to sleep a wink since
Chat Noir left.
They call him Prosper, a measure of mockery for each measure of
You know the road to the laboratory blind, could walk it in your
sleep—have, because sleepwalking is telltale of the godborn, so your mother
says and touches your ankle in rare
affection where it rests on the porch rail, one foot on the earth and
one in the realm of spirits.
“Spirits,” she repeats, gesturing to the road below, the spindly
pine woods and the yellow haze of heat and pollution that makes up your
horizon. “He controls the spirits.”
There are no spirits, only neighbors: Men and women and half-made
machines given to rust, the detritus of civilization. A plot of bloodless jackdaws, midway between flophouse and refugee
camp. You know that part of her statement, at least, is true. The weak and
weak-willed, the dying, the once-dead, the discarded and useless, the flagrant
all require direction. Seek strength. Are used by those stronger.
Sicaria laughs and makes her crooked cross, murmurs her oblique
“Get out,” she tells you in sudden rage, “go to your master. Get
out of my sight, you unworthy and unclean thing, you who have forsaken the ways
of God, you who cleave to the machines. Your eyes see only falsehood.”
It is fifteen years since your mother was cast out. It is your
lifetime that has been spent in wasteland, the between-place, the unplace
beyond the pale. It is a pine island that shelters you, a fanatic who raises
you, a scientist who uses your hands and your back and his daughter who
considers your mind.
Your mind. You know you have one. All creatures do, born or made.
It is the First Law of Being.
Your name. If Sicaria gave you one it has been lost. It was only
after Prosper’s carelessness that anyone else tried—his accident in the lab,
though he would never call it that, surely you were at fault, your clumsy hands
too broad for fine work and your elbows always in the way. Acid scattered from
a flask, droplets caught in sun. You did not scream; it wasn’t the worst pain
you had felt. In the washroom Miranda’s hands were gentle, washing, salving.
They slowed after the initial motions and your pulse followed. You examine your
two faces in the mirror. If you had ever displayed beauty it was gone now,
Miranda’s heightened by your face now scarred. Her luminosity beyond the human
and your coarseness, a sun and its shadow.
Her hand stayed on your cheek after its necessity had lapsed. She
traced the remnants of acid, specks and splotches, long fingers black and
velvet like the touch of night. You
believe her grasp could shift moons from their orbit.
“Calvaluna,” she said, a cantrip
reshaping your vision of yourself. “I read it somewhere—where? I have
never read a book. I don’t need to, Father put his knowledge into my head
before he activated me. But I hear it.” She tapped her forehead, then yours. “I
hear it. It means you. It suits you. Calvaluna.”
It was prettier than you, you knew that, a beautiful name.
Prettier than most things. Not prettier than her.
When Prosper leaves the laboratory it is less a retirement for the
evening and more retreat. He would never call it that but you believe him
fearful, after all. The powerful always are. He swings himself like a cudgel
upon exit, he shouts for Miranda to attend him and cuffs you, a passing blow,
thoughtless. Brutality is his lever,
You know his laboratory better than he does, you think, wiping
down counters. You know his daughter, made in his own image but ultimately
fathomless. There’s a phrase in Sicaria’s Bible that makes you quiver when you
apply it to Miranda.
It is full dark when Miranda comes for you. Your laboratory is
Prosper’s in miniature, piecemeal and theft-built, squirreled away in a shed in
the woods south of the pine island on which the best of the unplace’s hovels
“It was a citrus packing house,” Miranda says as she always does. Touches
the frame of the door right and then left, stretches to her full height to
brush its top. It’s a ritual the way your mother’s prayers are, her
prostrations, her rages. “Before the Laws took effect there was an industry
here. Fruit. Citrus fruit.” She looks at you, a delight on her face that would fire the darkness. “Can you
imagine it, Calvaluna? Whole stands of trees with fruit on them. Wild fruit,
just growing. Imagine taking fruit off a tree and eating it.”
Your imagination is not that good.
She goes to the single table in the laboratory and stands before
it in a manner you’ve thought must be like that of the Israelites in the Holy
of Holies. You are not supposed to know what that means. You are not supposed
to have holiness in your life. She looks at you briefly, with mischief, and
draws down the shroud you have
used to protect the R.E.L.’s shell from rain.
“I think we’re close,” she says. Her eyes are fascinated,
distracted; her hand reaches for you. “Come here, Calvaluna, tell me if this is
“You have your father’s knowledge,” you say. But you go and look
at the R.E.L. with her. You’re proud of the effort, the work of your joined
hands. You are not supposed to have pride, either. There is no pride in being
raised beyond the pale. In being the offspring of a hanged woman, a witch they
would have called her in days past, a lawbreaker too iconoclastic to be allowed
in the city and too ineffectual to be executed, spared for her belly to the tune of mockery. Certainly there is no
pride in your form or your face.
“I think he’s almost ready to revive,” Miranda says. Her joy is
the only light in these woods. The sun exists, you know, in theory. Miranda’s
face is your only evidence thus far, fifteen years alive and far from those
spaces left which thrive in natural sunlight. She links her fingers in yours,
her thumb rubs the calluses on your palm; she points with your hands to the
R.E.L.’s blank and staring eyes, his half-human head, his chest with its
missing heart and its new core of wires. “Oh, Calvaluna! I’m nervous. Are you
Nervous is not the right word for what you are.
“Calvaluna,” Sicaria repeated the day you told her of Miranda’s
gift. She scraped the tip of her ritual knife between her teeth, grinning. “An
appropriate name for you, my aborted dream. I should have exposed you as a
sacrifice to God.”
There is no god but human will. This is the Second Law of Being.
Your fellow-spirits are all will-bound to Prosper’s caprice. He
makes the cogs of the community turn, greases the paths of food and potable
water and herbs plucked at the witching
hour that make life slightly less… life-like. Thus he is
“Daughter,” Sicaria echoes. She spits at the trash heap beside the
back gate. “Blasphemy. Blasphemy. Such words I hear from your lips, my burden. Who was it gave you speech, that you fling
curses in my face? I think maybe you’re the worse for your time spent in
that man’s house. I see you confuse craft for birth.” She broods, her fingers
twitching at the strand of beads beneath her wrapper. “But there’s no more to
be done. How else are we to live?”
Once, and only once, you suggested that perhaps her god might see
to living arrangements, if she did not like how you were turning out under
“Go.” She waves to the wood path. “I heard tell there was meat
If there was meat to be had, you suspect it’s long gone now. Your
fellow-spirits are avaricious. What have they but base pleasures?
“He’s in a gloom,” Miranda says, her face round and open as a
poinciana pod. “He’s made me clean the laboratory twice over, and asked me to
cook… something. I didn’t recognize it, Calvaluna. Lentil soup? What is a
lentil, do you know?”
You know of lentils.
“You can’t make lentil soup,” you tell her. “He shouldn’t ask you
to do things he knows are impossible.”
“He believes anything is possible,” she says. You love and hate to
see her countenance. You remember a time when she would have spoken the same
words in hope and affection. You know it is your fault, the way she is
changing, her will a canker on the face
of beauty. You wonder what Prosper will do when he realizes it. You ponder in the night, sometimes, this
scholar whose eyes perceive all but the truth.
Perhaps you will be gone before he awakens.
“Race me,” Miranda says, but she takes your hand.
“How am I to race if you keep me beside you?”
“A race doesn’t have to have a winner,” she says, and begins to
She times these things impeccably. She runs so that you can almost
believe the light follows her footsteps, that she leaves no mark on the earth. Dusk springs up behind you.
You prefer night, its honesty; you prefer the real dark that would cover most
of your world if not for artificial day. The unplace is a hive of night
creatures. Your fellow-spirits are easiest perceived in dimness, their
proclivities hidden and their countenances smoothed.
Miranda keeps your hand in hers and runs, runs, fearless and
laughing. She runs like a dart flung toward the center of the south woods, the
pine cloven by lightning looming over your laboratory. The pine grows despite
the wound at its heart. It is where you found the R.E.L.—one of Prosper’s
cast-offs, what he termed a failed experiment—half-dead and crumbling piecemeal to rust in dank
She drops to the base of the pine and pulls you down and points
“I know of stars,” she says, her eyes searching as though Heaven
might reveal itself. “The Southern Cross, the Swan. The Pleiades. Many more
names my father gave me.” She touches her forehead, as she does when she speaks
of Prosper’s knowledge, planted in her like seed corn. She is godborn more
surely than you can ever be, gleaming
divinity. She touches your forehead, your cheeks, the tip of your nose.
“I think they must look like you. The stars beyond our sky.”
She traces the scars and specks and splotches. She draws new
constellations and names them, her fingers a warm trail on your skin, her
breath a promise.
Just once you asked your mother if you would ever leave the
unplace. You did not then understand that no one came to the salt-strewn plots of land on the
city’s outskirts by choice—no one laid eyes on the pine island and thought, I
am home. It is far more difficult to leave a place you have not happened
upon by choice.
“He’ll be a protector,” you say, pliers in one hand and cording in
the other. “His new code will require defense. Otherwise…”
You look at Miranda and think of what might happen to her if the
R.E.L.’s defensive code does not run as planned. You picture yourself and
remember Sicaria’s dark jibes, her reminiscences of city life. You rub your upper
arm where the contraceptive block had been implanted. It only prevents some
things, can halt neither the heady mix
of desire and aspiration nor flat violence.
“Defense,” Miranda says, her face solemn in its thinking pose,
unaware of your thoughts. “Defense, financials, new birth records and
Her voice skips along, almost merry, a fertile stream in which to seed possibility.
The Third Law of Being is the inviolability of life. No one has
ever explained to you whether the Law covers all life.
Light explodes behind your eyes when Prosper’s hand meets your
skull. Or, you realize a little belatedly, it is the fault of the lab table,
the edge of it kissing your temple. Air rushes from your lungs. You stare at
the vault above the shed in the woods, its ceiling gaping in sections to reveal
leaves, the white sky of noon.
Miranda flies at him, her face dressed
in horror. You
have never kissed her, you think. You would prefer not to die unkissed; you’d
prefer not to die at all.
“Ungrateful wretch,” Prosper says. “Twisted ape-child, spawn of—how
thought you?” He smashes his hand across the table. “How thought you to betray
my kindness? To turn my own blood against me?” He lifts one of the R.E.L.’s
arms, almost delicately. “Whore and daughter of whores. Thief.”
Small comfort to think his rage stems from fear, but it’s enough.
Prosper would not be angry if he didn’t believe the R.E.L. was sound.
“You.” He points to Sicaria in the doorway. One of your
fellow-spirits has fetched her at his command and she is in a state, white-eyed and gagging on anger. “Take
your mooncalf in hand, I never
want to see her again. Corruptor.”
He catches Miranda and
snares her arms, wrenches her close, covers her head with his hands as
though she is innocent. As though healing and reviving the R.E.L. were not her
idea. As though a child can be born of only one parent. The R.E.L. is your inheritance, legacy of unnatural issue, a being
greater than the sum of its creators.
“This abomination will be destroyed,” Prosper says. Sicaria prays
in the doorway, her eyes not on you nor on the R.E.L. but searching, seeking.
She hates the sight of machines. Had the city not cast her out for improper
worship she would have repudiated them anyway.
“He is an R.E.L.,” Miranda says. You stare despite the throb in
your head, the blood in your eyes. Her voice remains soft, wondering, a caress
on the cyborg’s clinical name. Aerial,
a creature of movement and possibility. “Robotically Enhanced Lifeform. Give
him his name, Father, lend some pity, even
if you thought nothing of flinging him into the trash when he failed to serve
“Abomination,” he repeats. “Homunculus, deformity—daughter.
Listen. Calvaluna has done wrong in her ignorance but you… you are not
You marvel at the blindness of the learned man, the man cast out
for his learned ways, the man who has made the wilderness blossom in decay. Lord of chaos, king of the misruled.
“God be with me in this hour,” Sicaria prays, her hands on either
side of the doorframe. “God be with me in my pain, God give me strength for the
task before me, God grant me…”
Me, you mouth. God be with Sicaria, and science with Prosper, and
neither passionate belief nor dispassionate prowess sustain them. Miranda looks
at you from beneath her father’s hands. Her smile is your signpost, her trust
your life raft. Your fellow-spirits are like unto you only in substance: Crude
matter, blunt usefulness. Miranda is your true equal, beloved of your soul. Her
eyes remain open.
Your eyes must remain open. You must get up. There are but two
steps between you and the table, one step in the scientific process, a bare
nudge of your fingers at the master switch. Miranda’s being is in your hands.
On the table, the R.E.L. casts
off slumber and rattles to life.