50 years ago today, 22-year-old challenger Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) battered the heavily favored heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in a bout that shook the boxing world. The fight ignited the career of one of sports’ most charismatic and controversial figures, whose bouts often became social and political events rather than simply sports contests. (Neil Leifer/SI)
Nothing, and I really mean nothing, makes me as uncomfortable in game as the singing scenes. Which means that it was a brilliant addition in Inquisition, because hooooo boy was I crawling to Solas for protection from the madness.
In a multiple-exposure portrait, Muhammad Ali demonstrates his signature double-clutch shuffle during a photo shoot in Dec. 1966. He said he was “The Greatest” and, you know what? He was. Speed, grace, a transcendent ring intelligence and miraculous resilience made Ali a legend in the ring. “The People’s Champion” turned 74 on Jan. 17, 2016.
(but imagine tho, if nooroo partnered with someone with good intentions, what if we got to see the akumas, but in a “good guy” version???? and then also, the butterfly kwami makes people their champions, as a prince he would be a good leader and it would be fitting for him to have a champion worrier :0c??)
“I need to just say thank you to the Youtube community. You are as philosophers have put it.. Tits in the mouth. You guys are great. Okay, I’m gonna get sincere. Look here’s some sincere music to show how sincere I am right now. I had a sincere moment last night.. It just just hit me all of the support that the Youtube community [has given me]. All of the people that have sent me these gasp videos, all of the people that have mentioned the new channel, all of the people that are championing this new independent world that I’m trying to live in. You guys just voluntarily supported this whole thing and I couldn’t be more grateful.” - Grace Helbig
Just a few examples of why the Orphan Black cast and crew are so important when it comes to sexuality:
“We like to be reductive in life, sometimes. I don’t know why? It’s a social construct, social trend, whatever you want to call it? But we reduce people down to things like sexuality, their diseases like cancer, or MS, or their race, or their sex, or their gender, or whether or not…they like Game of Thrones? But that is not who people are. People are complex, as we say in the show, people are diverse and there are much more interesting things to you than your sexuality” - Jordan Gavaris.
“I did a lot of research and it’s a subject that’s really important to me…it just means a lot to me that we could tell that story. And you know, I’m not a trans actor so is there a political sort of situation there and it’s not the most ideal, but what our show does is it explores identity…the best thing for me was when we heard the response to Tony - which was very polarized. But the best thing about it is it opens up a debate, and it opens up a discussion, and it makes the subject relevant and important and present in people’s thoughts, regardless of how they felt about Tony, whether they felt represented, whether they didn’t understand—whatever it is, these stories need to be told and we need to talk about trans stories and we need to have them represented to the point where it’s just, it’s just a given and it’s not exceptional anymore and trans actors get to step up and play these parts as well in the same way cisgender people have been doing it for a while” - Tatiana Maslany.
“Delphine, a conflicted straight girl, gives our thesis on sexuality in episode eight, when she says ”… as a scientist I know that sexuality is a spectrum, but social biases codify sexual attraction, contrary to the biological facts.“ So, yes, the biological facts: People are definitely “born this way.” That’s the nature side, whether it’s genetic, or epigenetic, or whether womb chemistry plays a part. Okay, then how about the nurture side of things?…She [Cosima] learned to approach sexuality without shame, with curiosity. I think Cosima’s been “bisexual” (if you had to codify it), but maybe she’s ready to self-identify as gay. She would defend her freedom to choose, no matter where nature placed her in the spectrum. And Delphine too makes a choice to follow her heart for an individual, even though she’s always been “straight…So, sexuality is a spectrum of many factors, and even though we’re a show about clones, we celebrate individuality and the crazy contingencies of nature” - Graeme Manson.
“What I like about this duo is not the fact that they’re two ladies in love with each other - that’s not the problem and that’s so cool” - Evelyne Brochu.
“John and Graeme had mentioned to me early on that Cosima was bisexual, and I could feel it in the writing even when it wasn’t explicit. I feel like she identifies as bisexual, and very much understands her sexuality as a spectrum from a scientific viewpoint. I think Cosima just loves people. I think she feels love for a lot of different kinds of people” - Tatiana Maslany.
“As far as the same sex relationship goes, I don’t feel pressure from the fans…I feel a tremendous amount of support and I think that the awesome thing about the show, is that we speak to that community in a way that’s not like ‘this is what a gay relationship is like’. This is what any relationship is like and I think it makes it very normal and very, you know, ‘unspeacial’ in a way because I think sometimes we can - we try to get it right, we try to represent all of queer culture in one relationship or in one character…I think Jordan’s discussed that before - this sort of need to represent all of queer culture in one character but that’s not what we expect of straight characters, you know? We don’t expect them to be everything to everybody. We allow them to have their complexities, so why not the same of a gay relationship or a lesbian relationship? So, it’s super dear to my heart and makes me really proud of the show that we’ve spoke to that community and in a way that’s complex and in a way that allows for faults and allows for…you know, Cosima’s not necessarily the smartest person on the planet. She’s intellectually incredibly smart but emotionally and sort of socially, she…has the wool pulled over her eyes…but to give her that kind of complexity is really important. Yeah, it’s really important to me” - Tatiana Maslany.
“She’s not making a huge parade out of it she’s just, like being ‘yeah, this is what it is” - Evelyne Brochu.
“I think the two of them are…absolutely in love with each other. They stimulate each other emotionally, physically, mentally, intellectually, everything. And yet the only thing that separates them is the fact they’re on two different sides of the equation. And that grey area is where they exist and I think that’s what’s so exciting about their relationship and sort of relatable” - Tatiana Maslany.
“I’m really proud to play a gay character whose main problem is not that she’s gay - which it shouldn’t be for anyone. So, I’m really proud of that” - Evelyne Brochu.
“You cannot collectively as a society, decide that you are only going to represent one part of a minority. It’s like saying you’ve represented black people on television because you air an episode of The Cosby’s - that is not true. Just like you cannot put an episode of Modern Family on and say that you’ve represented the LGBT community. That’s unfair. That’s exclusionary. And it’s irresponsible” - Jordan Gavaris.
“Human sexuality, for example, is as much a biological characteristic as it is a political institution. It is a lighting rod for controversy, and the subject of an increasing number of contentious, yet politically efficacious, scientific studies. Civil liberties, human rights, access to health care, basic respect and human dignity, and freedom from prejudicial violence are at stake. But, insofar as sexuality has a genetic component (like all biological characteristics) it is not so simply explained by genetics alone. Moreover, it is not regulated by any one single gene. Despite how studies on the genetics of sexuality are represented in the popular press that either decry or redeem the genetic basis of sexual orientation, none of the research to date that espouses to have found the “gay-gene” (or, more recently the “male-loving gene”) are actually supported by a claim that one gene, and one gene alone, determines sexual orientation. Sexuality is complex, both as a biological component and a political identity. Our genes do not define who we are, and while certain genes may indeed be present, they may or may not be expressed depending on a whole spectrum of environmental and biological circumstances. The reductionism of either ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ is far from adequate to explain sexuality. The “Brief on Sexual Orientation and Genetic Determinism” published by the Council for Responsible Genetics offers a sensitive and cogent discussion of this issue: “The social urgency to answer questions regarding sexual orientation has pushed a greater interest in the “science” of it. Yet a narrow focus on the variability of sexual expression threatens to cloud the issue altogether. Without giving proper attention to the mutability of human sexual expression, questions regarding its origins and character cannot be answered.”  Neither genetics, nor sociological and psychological studies, alone can answer the questions we ask about the origins of human sexuality. By no means am I attempting to position myself as an authority on this subject. I sincerely do not know how much of a role my genetics, my familial, social, physical environment, or my choices play in the configuration of my sexuality. But it’s important not endow either genetic or social science with an epistemic reach into the truths about ourselves that they simply do not have (and that most geneticists would not grant themselves). All manner of factors affect the expression of genetically coded traits like height, hair color, and disease, just as much as they affect the expression of sexuality. Genes are no more the final arbiter of my sexual and romantic relationships than my moon and Venus in Aquarius” - Cosima Herter - The 'Real’ Cosima.
“Because I play this character in such a modern proposal, many young lesbians write to thank me…it gives them the courage to tell their parents, to assert themselves at school. If Delphine can inspire these young girls to have courage in their own lives [and] to be themselves, good! It brings me a great degree of pride to participate in something which is good for the world” - Evelyne Brochu
“The cool thing about our relationship is that the issue is not that we’re gay. It’s that we’re sitting on opposite sides of the science fence. I’m a scientist and so is she. But she’s also the experiment. She’s sick. That’s what we’re concerned with and that’s a super angle. I’m proud to be apart of a show that has these cool, modern, forward-thinking values” - Evelyne Brochu
“Yes, you can be born like that…[but] all of these things come together to shape your sexuality, and it’s vastly complicated, and why not allow it to be slightly mysterious?” - Graeme Manson
“It’s not about questioning your sexuality or not questioning your sexuality — it’s about finding your person.” - John Fawcett
"Here we are, creating fiction and I’m working and doing what I’m passionate about and I’m very blessed but I’m aware also that it’s not reality; that it’s created. But I think, when it does have an impact on somebody’s reality, then that makes it extra special. I’ve had a couple of letters from young lesbians that told me that seeing these characters that are gay but have, you know, many other issues to deal with, and being a lesbian is not one of them and finding that so refreshing and so helpful in their lives, that it gave them, perhaps, courage to come out at school or to their parents; knowing how in different contexts, different situations and places it can be a hard thing and it’s so hard to be yourself at any age and it’s even harder at a young age. So, when you have somebody in high school and sort of pouring their hearts out onto these letters an you get them at home and that comes out of you participating in a show, it’s just so…[chokes up], I’m sorry…it really moves me…It’s huge, it’s huge and I’m so proud to be apart of that. So proud.” - Evelyne Brochu
I thought I’d share one more picture from this extraordinary collection that will soon be featured in an exhibition in London. I think some of these fabulous vintage Black people, like boxing champion Peter Jackson, are worthy of their own movie. Where are you Idris Elba? Jamie Foxx? From The Guardian:
“Peter Jackson, December 2, 1889. Born in 1860 in St Croix, then the Danish West Indies, Jackson was a boxing champion who spent long periods of time touring Europe. In England, he staged the famous fight against Jem Smith at the Pelican Club in 1889. In 1888 he claimed the title of Australian heavyweight champion. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is also darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It’s something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist.