The Hudsucker Negro

I saw The Hudsucker Proxy over the weekend. It’s a pretty fun film and I rather liked how it was an homage to old time movies. What was jarring was the literal Magic Negro, which felt peculiarly of its time (that time being 1994). Portraying a sympathetic black character would have probably gotten the director arrested as a Bolshevik agitator in the era the film is paying an homage to, whereas crypto-racism is at least more subtle in the 21st century. Therefore this character could only have existed at a time when white people know they shouldn’t be racist but are ignorant enough that their attempts at equal representation still come across as condescending.

The 90’s: Politically Correct enough to be ashamed of racism yet ignorant enough to perpetuate it anyway.

Past is President

Odd fact No. 2,596,322 about the United States of America: Should George Washington return as a zombie, mummy, lich, revenant, poltergeist, or other type of undead, the armies of the United States are required to follow his orders. 

Whereas Lieutenant General George Washington of Virginia commanded our armies throughout and to the successful termination of our Revolutionary War; Whereas Lieutenant General George Washington presided over the convention that formulated our Constitution; Whereas Lieutenant General George Washington twice served as President of the United States of America; and Whereas it is considered fitting and proper that no officer of the United States Army should outrank Lieutenant General George Washington on the Army list; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That (a) for purposes of subsection (b) of this section only, the grade of General of the Armies of the United States is established, such grade to have rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present.

(b) The President is authorized and requested to appoint George Washington posthumously to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States, such appointment to take effect on July 4, 1976.

Approved October 11, 1976.

Public Law 94-479

‘Nuff Said

A line from an online customer review on a manga I was looking at:

Someone is nearly gang raped or implied to have been gang raped in every volume.

I guess that answers the question of whether I want to read this series. And in case you were wondering, the manga is called Arachnid.

Princess Powerful

Another day, another anime. I don’t mean to make this blog entirely about what Japanese cartoons I’ve been watching but I just keep discovering neat series out there.

This time the show is called Princess Jellyfish, about the friendship between a female geek and a fabulous transvestite university student. The thing that I particularly like about this series is that it’s one of the few comedies I know of that doesn’t make jokes at the expense of the transgender character – you know, of the “ha ha she-male” type. In fact, the show presents the straight cisgender characters as being the maladjusted freaks because, well, they are.

I’ve only seen two episodes but I’m optimistic that the show won’t eventually have some conservative “change your appearance to become a worthwhile person” moral. You know, like in Beauty and the Beast. The ad copy is right, it really is a sweet story about learning to look beyond the surface. And the message doesn’t feel hackneyed and programmatic like it could easily have been.

Also, I like the opening. For the benefit of all and sundry, RehAdventures of Youtube provides a breakdown of each movie being referenced:

0:20 – Sex in the City
0:34 – Star Wars, with a dash of Gundam Wing at 0:44
0:48 – Singing [sic] in the Rain
0:55 – Mary Poppins
1:00 – Emperor of the North
1:03 – God of Gamblers
1:08 – James Bond
1:12 – Game of Death or for the newbies Kill Bill
1:18 – The Graduate
1:27 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Harem Manga Maker

Crunchyroll, a streaming service for anime and live action Japanese drama, is now tentatively branching out into manga. The selection is very small right now and I don’t see anything there I must absolutely read. Plus, I already took out a 12 month anime membership anyway.

Curiously, though, Crunchyroll is also offering for sale a program called ComiPo!, which claims to be something for non-artists to make their own manga with. You create 3D models of your own characters by picking their bodies, hair styles, clothes, and so on, then placing them picking the environment and the camera angle for each panel in your manga. Of course, you’ll have to supply your own story.

All this is well and good, but apparently most of the stock characters are female and most of the settings are in school, meaning the program is mostly for creating high school stories. I’d like to think there might be some good female-oriented stories being made with this system but I rather suspect there are a lot more insipid male fantasy harem series. You know, where the male protagonist has the personality of a formless blob who girls find inexplicably attractive.

But hey, plop down $50 and you can be making your own brand of shitty manga right in your own home.