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The Unofficial Scramble The Unofficial Scramble

Are we laughing at the people in 2018's Death of Stalin or with them? It feels at first like an irrelevant question; hardly anyone laughs in the movie. And when they do, it’s provoked by a commonplace sadism or arrogance. But do we see them as our fellow humans or as grotesque exaggerations? Despite the film being…

Absolutely Intense Signifiers Absolutely Intense Signifiers

Whether it’s Archie Bunker or Gul Dukat, no matter how despicable a character might be, if they’re well written or performed, sooner or later you’re going to start to like them. Because people are people, not villains, and if you want to write people properly you can’t keep them in that box. The problem is, if you…

The Odour of Transgression   The Odour of Transgression  

On life’s path, something offensive or obscene threatens to accost us at every step. Throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s, under the guidance of the Hays Code, deeply moral films endeavoured to show us the way through by demonstrating how easy it was to fall prey to adultery, alcoholism, and other depravities. But none…

Heaven's Zany Magic Heaven's Zany Magic

If the Marx Brothers had made a politically conscious film in the late 1960s it might have looked something like 1969’s The Magic Christian. You might call it a Marxist Marx Brothers movie, actually, the main point of focus through its chaotic narrative is the corrupting influence of money. Starring Peter Sellers and…

The Forest of Clothing The Forest of Clothing

One useful concept to be familiar with when discussing people who are transgender is the distinction between biological sex and gender, the word “gender” over the past sixty years coming to refer to how an individual perceives him or herself and the role he or she inhabits in society. To understand the distinction, it…

The Butt Post The Butt Post

Here's famous cartoonist R. Crumb's response to the Charlie Hebdo murders (I found it via Billy Martin on Facebook). It's a little disappointingly timid, actually, as Crumb covers his own ass a little while baring that of "Muhamid". Though referring to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as martyrs is certainly spot on,…

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