Baze Malbus is so important to me, you guys. Specifically the actor that portrays him. I need to talk about Jiang Wen.
He is my favourite director and actor from Mainland China. And he’s just… so cool. And so brilliant. Man is a genius. I didn’t even know he could speak English until I saw Rogue One.
And now that he’s been in Rogue One, I can reblog fan art of Baze Malbus. I can buy a toy of Baze Malbus and have a tiny Jiang Wen to put on my desk and admire. There is currently nothing I want more in my life than a tiny Jiang Wen.
If you don’t know anything about him as an actor, imagine something like a Chinese Clint Eastwood with a hidden soft side, and you’re basically on your way to understanding the wonder of this man. For Western audiences right now, his appearance on the mainstream film stage is a chance to get to know another facet of Asian masculinities. Asian men in film can be stone-cold badasses without having to be martial-arts masters, without having to be made to seem asexual, without having to be set up as supervillains. They hit that on the head with Baze, who is super cool, genuinely heroic, and probably getting it on with Chirrut. And I am so, so happy that people in the West can get to know him now.
To look at an actor like Jiang Wen from the perspective of Chinese history is fascinating. He was an unsupervised army brat in Beijing when the Cultural Revolution was going on. That was a ripe time and place for youth gang activity, since everyone was either busy with revolution, or at labour camp. He’d likely have been part of/peripheral to that 1970s hooligan culture that romanticised heroism and bonds of sworn brotherhood like in Chinese kung-fu epics, and spent weekends clashing violently in the streets with bicycles and meat cleavers.
When the revolution was over, prominent male intellectuals were taking to the media to discuss how they felt ‘emasculated’ by Maoism, since gender roles (especially femininities) had been kind of in chaotic flux for ten years; now there were voices in the media calling for basically a return to gender essentialism. During that trend Jiang Wen sort of emerged as one of the faces of this ultra-macho post-Maoist masculinity, kind of a return to something essential and primal, something “natural” after all the political artifice of the Cultural Revolution. See Red Sorghum, a film that literally has him running around a stark yet idyllic rugged Northern backdrop, sweating and half-naked, getting drunk and engaging in ritual singing with his fellow male wine distillers. Of course, gender essentialism and machismo are problematic. Machismo in Chinese culture and history in particular has had and is still having tragic effects. But I’m inclined to believe that it’s the homosocial camaraderie that is the most important part of the work in this early part of Jiang’s career (from the 80s to about 2000), that offers space for exploration of a host of different Chinese masculinities, and that it’s important for Western audiences to be exposed to it. Plus, there’s that soft side I mentioned. The man brings his mum and dad on his shoots, for chrissakes.
All that is not even to say anything of his crazy talent as a director, which I’m way less qualified to talk about and I’ll probably vomit up a lot of meaningless words. Just go watch In the Heat of the Sun and Devils on the Doorstep right now, if you can handle gross images of war, violence and dubious sexual situations.
Anyway, tumblr, please keep the Baze art coming. I may or may not paper my office in it.
After what Bitty has been referring to in his own head as “The Incident” (with capital letters and all), things between the lax team and the hockey team are… Better? Naturally, Bitty couldn’t tell his team about what had happened, and in fact hadn’t even been pressured to; the teammates who’d been in the house at the time hadn’t even realized he was gone until he was strolling back through the door. So much for having each other’s backs, Bitty had mumbled to himself as he rolled out his pie crust.
But that had been nearly a month ago, and since then, the hockey team hadn’t been over even once to bang at the door with complaints– not even when the house had hosted a party two weeks ago and their music had been loud enough for the bass to be felt a full block away. It’s unusual behavior, and Bitty would be lying if he ever tried to say he isn’t curious about it. The way he sees it, they’re probably just feeling guilty over the whole kidnapping thing. Which is probably fair, all things considered, and Bitty appreciates their consideration. For the most part.
Despite the hockey team’s apparent peace with the lacrosse team, they do still seem a little spiteful. Either that, or Bitty is projecting his own spite onto them; he’s been sitting at the house’s kitchen table for a full two hours now, picking at a now cold tray of bagel bites as he tries to finish an essay. It’s not due until the next Monday, a fact that has Bitty thanking any and all gods who may exist, because there is no way in hell he can finish it tonight with the loud music blaring from across the street. Bitty keeps finding himself bouncing a leg to the beat and staring blankly at his laptop instead of actually writing, and after the fourth time, he finally sighs and slams the thing shut, sliding it perhaps too roughly into his backpack. He deposits the entire bag safely by the stairs before he heads out.
This theory was dominant in the US and UK between the 30s and 70s.
A formalist, decontextualised approach to literature where the text is examined independently of other influences.
Explores the essential elements of language, imagery, symbolism, figures of speech, ambiguity, irony, paradox.
Pretty huge span of approaches - for example, within Shakespearean new criticism you had A.C. Bradley’s character-based critique, Harley Granville-Barker’s study of stagecraft, G. Wilson Knight’s exploration of image and theme, and L.C. Knights’ suggestion that Bradley is a douche and Shakespeare was a poet, not a dramatist. (Yeah, fuck you, Knights.)
HISTORICIST CRITICISM, or: “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, DUH”
Funnily enough, this approach believes that historical
context influences interpretation.
Stuff like: religion, political idealism of the time, cultural shifts, social attitudes, war, colonialism (although that’s a whole other bag of cats, see below),
pop culture references and in-jokes,
and anything that might have influenced the text during the era in which it was written.
Within historicist criticism there should be a distinction between text and context; history is the background that the text
Buuuut often this approach reveals more about the critic’s political/social/personal values than the period they are studying. Natch.
LIBERAL HUMANISM, or: “STORIES ARE JUST A REFLECTION OF THE AUTHOR, DUDE”
Popular at the beginning of the 1900s - literature and art are timeless, revealing a universal truth about humanity.
Like, writers are totally free agents whose intentions shape the meaning of their writing, man.
Like, human consciousness shapes language, culture and society, NOT the other way around.
MARXISM, or “WE’RE ALL SLAVES TO THE ECONOMY”
A criticial theory systemised in the 20s, based on the materialist philosophy of Karl Marx (1818-83) and
Friedrich Engels (1820-95) whereby the material circumstances
of life are determining factors in the individual’s experience.
So, like, the economic organisation of society shapes culture,
politics, philosophy, religion, education, law and art.
So, like, fuck liberal humanism; people are shaped by their environment, NOT the other way around. Authors and their works are basically products of society.
These guys believe that art reflects changing economic conditions and class values. There’s a little cross-over with historicist criticism in the approach that literature should be interpreted within the context of the period and its political inflections - often with a focus on the lower classes.
Get yourself familiar with the Marxist concept of ‘ideology’ - a function which ‘naturalises’ the inequalities of power through a complex structure of social perceptions which renders class division invisible.
Yeah. It’s heavy, dude.
STRUCTURALISM, or: “LANGUAGE IS EVERYTHIIIING!”
Based on the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de
The belief that language
shapes humanity, culture, communication, and the way we perceive the world. Yay, go language.
Structuralism was a radical theory during the second half of the 20th
Century whose central argument opposed liberal humanist ideas (Recap: lib-humans reckoned that human consciousness creates language and culture - structuralists reckoned the complete opposite. At this point everyone is basically being completely contrary for the sake of it.)
POST STRUCTURALISM, or “WE’RE SORT OF ON THE FENCE ABOUT LANGUAGE SO JUST GO WITH IT”
A critical theory prominent in France in the 1960s, primarily associated with philosopher Jacques Derrida and critic Roland Barthes - a reaction against structuralism as well as a
development of it. <sigh>
Ok, so this language thing? How about we agree that reality is constituted through language BUT language itself is unstable and beyond our control. Like, language is an unreliable narrator, yeah? Yeahhh.
Essentially, it’s language that speaks, not the author. So let’s call it THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR because we are needlessly dramatic.
So, like, literary texts don’t present a single or
unified view and the author cannot claim authority on interpretation. (The curtains are blue…)
You can trace a whole thread of critical development here from formalist criticism to structuralism to post-structuralism and later to deconstruction - all of which are concerned with the ambiguity and contradictions within text and language. To make it even more confusing, new historicism (see below) can also be seen as post-structuralist since it places stress on a text’s connection to culture rather than relying on the autonomy of the text itself.
Time for a stiff drink.
NEW HISTORICISM, or “IT’S THE CIIIIRCLE OF LIIIIIIFE - ART AND HISTORY ARE STUCK IN AN INFINITY LOOP”
A term coined by Stephen Greenblatt (Shakespeare-critic-extraordinaire) in the 80s - a reaction against old historicism (where text is a reflection of historical background) and a move away from Marxist and post-structural theories.
New historicism asserts that the text is an active participant in historical development.
So, like, art and literature help to create the cultural values of the period in which they are produced. BUT, we are also formed and tied to cultural ideologies, so it ain’t all about the text.
Involves close reading of the text, taking into account political ideology, social practice, religion, class division and conflict within society.
A pessimistic take on Foucault: the belief that we are ‘remarkably unfree’ of the influence of society and socio-political power operates through the language of major institutions to determine what’s normal and demonise ‘otherness’.
Seriously. Fuck society.
CULTURAL MATERIALISM, or “WE NEED A BRITISH VERSION OF NEW HISTORICISM”
We can’t let the Americans monopolise this kind of criticism.
So consider this: how much freedom of thought do we actually have? Does culture shape our identities or can we think independently of dominant ideologies? Huh? Huh? Are we saying anything new yet?
Basically, a historicist approach to political criticism with a revised conception of the connection between literature and culture.
Culture is a complex, unstable and dynamic creature which offers an opportunity for the radical subversion of power and society.
Unlike historicism or Marxism, cultural materialists believe the author is able to achieve a degree of independence from prevailing structures of power and discourse.
Often demonstrates optimism for political change - once again, critical theory reflects the critic’s personal opinions and hopes for change in present day society. Literary criticism can change the world, man.
Some crossover into feminist/queer/post-colonial theory, because FUCK ALL THOSE OLD WHITE GUYS.
FEMINIST THEORY, or: “LET’S RECONSIDER 100 YEARS OF CRITICISM FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT ISN’T CIS/MALE”
Following the women’s movement of the 1960s, feminist theory was established in the 70s and 80s and founded on texts Le Deuxieme Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and Sexual Politics by Kate Millett.
Explicitly political – similarities to new historicism and
cultural materialism - challenging the subordinate position of women in society and deconstructing/contesting the concept of essentialism, whereby men and women have intrinsically separate qualities and natures.
Often seen as an attack on the Western literary canon and the exclusion of female writers throughout history. Focuses on female characters and authors, exploring the influence and restrictions of patriarchy, and constructions of gender, femininity and sexuality (both in text and culture).
Feminists influenced by post-structuralism tend to disregard the positive discrimination of women writers, claiming “it is language that
speaks, not the author.”
Feminism and psychoanalytical theories (esp
Freud and Lacan) contributed to the erosion of liberal humanist ideas, redefining human nature and the concept of child development, and exploring the psychology of patriarchy and male-dominated culture.
GAY/LESBIAN CRITICISM AND QUEER THEORY, or: “LET’S RECONSIDER 100 YEARS OF CRITICISM FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT ISN’T CIS/MALE/STRAIGHT”
During the 80s, queer theory was influenced by post-structuralist ideas of identity as being fluid and unstable, and investigates the role of sexual orientation within literary criticism from a social and political viewpoint.
An opposition to homophobia and the privilege of heterosexual culture and an exploration of themes that have been suppressed by conservative critical theory.
A look at LGBQTA, non-binary characters and authors and their influence within a historical, political, religious and social context.
The end of ‘gal-pals’ and ‘no-homo’, fuckboys.
POST COLONIAL THEORY, or: “LET’S RECONSIDER 100 YEARS OF CRITICAL THEORY FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT ISN’T WHITE”
A critique on the English canon and colonial rule with a focus on canonical texts written during periods of colonisation.
An exploration of cultural displacement/appropriation and the language and cultural values thrust upon/developed by colonised people.
Post-colonial theory gives voices to colonial ‘subjects’ and looks at the impact on individual and collective identity, as well as the complexity of colonial relationships and interaction.
Gonna have a lot to do with politics, history, social ideology, religion and international/race relations, obvs. Stay woke.
I’m on mobile rn so I can’t find the comment in my notes but I’ve been getting some concerning commentary on my post about how lesbians do not need to date men and shouldn’t be pressured or guilted into dating men.
The comments are highlighting the part where I say that lesbians don’t need to date cis men OR trans men, and are essentially calling any lesbian who breaks up with a trans man gross and transphobic under the assumption that they’d be breaking up with their partner because they were trans.
That is extremely disingenuous. This is *not* a discussion of breaking up with a partner due to their trans status, which *would* be transphobic. This is a discussion of lesbians being allowed to leave relationships with men.
If, for example, a lesbian was dating someone and that person came out as a trans WOMAN and revealed that they are not cis, leaving them just for their trans status would be indicative of transphobia. But a partner who a lesbian believed to be a woman coming out and revealing themselves to be a MAN and the lesbian in question deciding to leave because of his *gender* (NOT his trans status) is not transphobic. It’s respecting that he is a man and as a lesbian you can’t sustain attraction to a man.
There is literally nothing wrong or gross about lesbians not wanting to enter or stay in relationships with men. It’s not okay to shame lesbians for not being attracted to men. It’s not okay to call lesbians gross for leaving relationships with men.
The idea that trans men are a different gender than cis men just because of their trans status is transphobic. The idea that lesbians need to stay with men just because they thought that man was a woman initially is lesbophobic.
Respect trans men’s identities. Respect lesbian’s right to not date men. That’s all I have to say on that.
The domestic labour that women provide is essential for men do perform their job effectively. The role of the housewife was socially constructed after industrialization as women were excluded from the ‘dangerous’ workplace, in order to look after the children, who were also excluded at the same time. Even though women are more likely to work in contemporary society, they are still expected to perform the domestic labour duties. This is supported by Ann Oakley (1976) who claimed that women have a ‘dual burden’ of employment and domestic labour when they come home. Duncombe & Marsden (1995) go further by stating that women now perform a ‘triple shift’ as they also have to perform emotional labour as well as employment and domestic chores. Fran Ansley (1976) would support this claim as women are expected to soak up the frustration of the man’s working day in order for them to return to work in a productive mindset. All domestic and emotional labour is done for free and therefore benefits the ruling class without costing them any money.
Trivia: This portrait is one of the leading examples of why we need feminism.
Me: yo your sister probably has daddy kink ,
Or likes older men if she a hard core Lana fan.
Friend : hmm her boyfriend is a whole year older than her tbh. You think that means anything ??? .
Me : where’s the nearest cliff?