Viewing posts tagged hegemony

Koba the Ape

Post-Spoilerocalyptic.


I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Banalities first:  A well-crafted film.  Cogent and coherent in terms of aesthetics and plot (though there is a pleasingly bathetic moment when, following lots of atmospheric shots of apes engaged in social interaction, one ape suddenly addresses another in sign language as "Maurice").  Nicely acted by the principles. 

Now.

In The Dark Ape Rises, the 'good' ape leader is Caesar and the 'bad' ape leader is Koba.

Caesar is the reasonable one, the compromiser, who wants peace with the humans.  Koba is the nasty one who can't let go of his resentment of humans, who doesn't trust them, who betrays Caesar and launches an all-out war against the humans.

Thing is, Koba is fucking awesome.  Because, unlike Caesar, he understands that when you have the oppressor on the floor, you don't help him up and dust him down.  No.  You stand on his neck.

Here's Koba, riding straight at the enemy (who are armed with rocket launchers by this point) while simultaneously holding (and firing) two machine guns instead of the reins of his horse ...

Déjà bloody vu

I was going to do this post all over again... (this is what we do with Palestine: say the same bloody things over and over again, because the same bloody things keep happening over and over again)... but Richard Seymour has already done it for me, very succintly.


(EDIT: I originally posted a screencap of Seymour's tweet of a screencap.  But Seymour has now posted the original screencap itself on his blog.  So it seems only fair to remove my screencap of his tweet and just link to him.  Not that he needs hits from me.)

14

"I've known many times," says the Doctor, "some of them much more pleasant than others."

"Well, I quite like it here, I must say," interjects Jo to cover the awkward moment, "Everyone's been most kind."

The Controller (what a giveaway that title is) nods in appreciation of her remark.

The Doctor, however, is unimpressed.  He swills more wine.  He looks like an sozzled, opinionated guy at an unsuccessful party, spoiling for a fight.

"Well, I met some people today who were far from kind," he says.  He spent the earlier part of the day taking a forced tour of the Controller's utopia, being subjected to the tender mercies of a surprisingly well-sketched terror state.

"That was a simple mistake, Doctor, I assure you," says the Controller, his voice as smooth and silvery as his strange, quasi-robotic face, "You must not jump to conclusions."

"Better than jumping from the crack of a whip from some security guard," snaps the Doctor, "Do you run all your factories like that, Controller?"

We have been granted an unusual thing earlier in this episode: a glimpse into the productive centres of a Dalek-ruled regime.  It looked like a ...

17

Ms. Kizlet is using the wi-fi signal to control people in the coffee shop.

 “I do love showing off,” she says through a waitress she has made her puppet. “Just let me show you what control of the wi-fi can do for you,” she adds through the mouth of a young girl.

It’s a tech demo. Here’s what this latest version of the operating system can do. Upgrade now. The iconography is all ruthlessly current. Particularly fitting: Kizlet and her crew are playing around on iPads as they do their little Steve Jobs routine. You almost expect her to reveal that they’ve captured Clara with an “oh, and one more thing.”

Kizlet explains that they’ve “released thousands” of base stations into the world, blanketing the whole of humanity in their Worldwide Web of Fear.

Meanwhile, Clara’s on her laptop. She recognizes the vulnerability in every grand system: people. With just a bit of clicking around she’s figured out where Kizlet is transmitting from. The most obvious spot in London, really. Kizlet's client loves using grand projects for his own purposes. It’s what he did in the Underground, and it’s what ...

20

For March Against the Mainstream Media Day


The Editor (apparently he edits the whole of human society) has uncovered Suki's true identity.  Instead of being just another inoffensive wannabe employee, she's actually...

"Eva Saint Julienne, last surviving member of the Freedom Fifteen. Hmm, self declared anarchist, is that right?"  His tone is patronising.  Non-mainstream political principles are a quaint and amusing affectation.

"The Freedom Foundation has been monitoring Satellite Five's transmissions," says Suki, pulling a gun on the smug bastard, "We have absolute proof that the facts are being manipulated. You are lying to the people."

"Ooo, I love it," he giggles, still in the same tone of amusement, as though he's listening to hilariously naff dialogue in a period drama, "Say it again."

"This whole system is corrupt. Who do you represent?"

The Editor is self-aware enough to know that, for all his power, he's a slave himself.

"I answer to the Editor in Chief.... If you don't mind, I'm going to have to refer this upwards."

Suki looks up, to see what the Editor is referring to.

"What is that?" she asks.

"Your boss. This has always been ...

27

TW


Adelaide screams at the sight of Palmerdale's dead body.

Leela slaps her across the face, silencing her.

This is horrible.  It's one of the relatively few examples of serious, realistic, non-Fantastic, gendered violence in the show.  Companions are captured by monsters, etc., but this kind of thing happens rarely.  It is better in some places.  Worse in others.  In 'The Time Meddler', Edith's implied-rape is in there simply to tick a box of genre tropes.  Yeurch.  In 'Vengeance on Varos', Maldak slaps Peri across the face to assuage his bruised ego.  It's utterly gratuitous and revolting.

But this is a woman slapping another woman.  (That's not worse... except in the sense that the representation, authored by a man, alibis male involvement in violence against women by ostensibly disappearing its gendered dimension.)

More than that - it's Leela slapping another woman.  Wonderful Leela, who has never done anything like this before.  Okay, she's a ruthless killer in battle... but slapping a 'hysteric' like she's James Bond or something?  Normally, though she dreads weakness in herself because of her self-identification as a ...

It Came From Uranus

I finished reading Stephen Baxter's Doctor Who novel The Wheel of Ice today.  The novel had its moments.  There is one description of an attack upon Zoe by a group of 'blue dolls' - fabricated avatars of an ancient artificial intelligence - that is rather well done.  The blank black eyes and needle teeth are fairly routine but there is something oddly disturbing about the descriptions of their paddle-like hands.

On the whole, however, I found the book rather uninspired.  The phrase I just used - "ancient artificial intelligence" - says a lot about the book's use of somewhat familiar tropes.  There seems to have been an attempt to evoke the 'base under siege' / 'humans in the future' formula so often said to be typical of the Troughton era... but with the 'siege' coming from within the colony.  However, Baxter is perhaps a little too interested in the technical details of the solar system.  We get an awful lot of scenes where the action stops dead so the characters can explain neutrinos to each other, or describe the chemical composition of Titan's atmosphere.  There's also a lot of stuff about how a ...

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