You know I reblogged that Playboy article about Black Widow and as I lay here unable to sleep I thought here is the perfect example of why text is not all or nothing. Playboy is not a feminist publication. I suppose we can fight over it but I’m feeling pretty good about that statement. Playboy has, however, been a major player in Civil Rights activism and allowed a space for some excellent journalism. It also celebrates the objectification of women. So here is a text that both disrupts and upholds the patriarchy simultaneously. Not something all that unusual.
And I’ve seen a lot of love for The Kingsmen on my dash lately. That’s fine. I obviously support people loving what they like, but The Kingsmen was a massively problematic text. It was flashy sure. Enjoyable in places absolutely. But weirdly misogynistic at the end? Strangely classist? Almost stubbornly unaware of what it wanted to say? Also all of those things.
And I guess what I’m saying here (and keep in mind I have indigestion-induced insomnia) is that every time I see Tumblr or the internet or the world go apeshit over how “awful” something is I want to run a slideshow of stuff like this. There are easy things we can all agree on (blurred lines) but texts that obvious are few and far between. Most especially because songs exist in a much different space and way than books, movies, tv shows, video games, or comic books. So why is it we sometimes turn a blind eye and sometimes pass judgment–judge, jury, and executioner–from a trailer alone?
There are few things more dangerous than righteousness and I so strongly believe when I am so very sure I am right is when I have to be most critical of what I think. Passion doesn’t negate an argument but ideologies are not simple things. Critiquing society is not a simple thing. It’s complicated and dangerous and the moment you think you’ve figured it out is the moment you become what you hate. It’s easy to tell someone why they’re wrong. It’s much more difficult to understand what they mean and why or how they came to mean it.
It’s just curious to me, is all. The way we aren’t up in arms about the porn industry. Or Grand Theft Auto. Or so many other things. Instead, like some vicious flash mob we love and hate in an instant, so thrilled with our insight we never stopped to ask where it came from. And I think what really bothers me about it is that we love or hate *people.* Not texts. Not stories. Not characters (though to be fair we hate those too) but PEOPLE. Real people we don’t know and real people we intentionally refuse to understand. What is that but the very worst the internet has to make of us?
Anyway, even this mob power we’ve amassed is great most of the time. It’s spurred education and civil rights and social justice and critiques of capitalist globalization. It’s great. Until it’s not.