Alien and pregnancy


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Looking at Alien through the gender prism.

Alien has some mixed signals to send about women. On the one hand, signs of the female dominate in the film: the operating system of the ship is called Mother and the men in the crew aren’t macho at all. Nor are the women particularly feminine. The sole survivor is a woman called Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, who is tall, striking and very capable. She’s often cited as one of the first female action heroes in twentieth century cinema. ((The proof? Even when she is struck still by the horror of the alien, she keeps on strategizing. Her dash for the ship at the end is panic-stricken, but also calculated.) Ripley’s gender is such an exception that that Alien is often understood as upending the casual misogyny and gender dynamics in many horror and action films. And yet Weaver’s casting was a last minute choice; writers, producers and Scott had all thought she would be male. The aliens’ physiology was also a decision after the fact; the Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger had been drawing their eroticized shapes for years before filming began, and Scott’s genius was in importing Giger’s creepy grace rather than creating it from scratch.

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Jenni Quilter — Avidly

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What Netflix doesn’t want you to know about how its synopses are written


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Have you ever written a synopsis of something you never watched or read?

From Haas’s description, the job sounded pretty straightforward. Why, I wondered during our conversation, would they want to hide that? Then Haas dropped a bomb: “As I’m sure you have noticed those don’t always actually match the content of the film very well which is because they did not pay us well enough for us to actually watch the movies,” Haas said. “So we would write the synopsis based on what we found online. That could be kind of challenging.” Bingo, I thought. That’s what Netflix doesn’t want us to know. No, not the possibility that they pay their writers poorly, but the possibility that SYNOPSES WRITERS DO NOT WATCH THE FILMS These synopses are based off other synopses, a feedback loop that would’ve given Baudrillard fits.

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Ann-Derrick Gaillot — The Outline

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#DemocracyDefeated: How Indian Right-Wing Groups Stalled A Bollywood Period Drama


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A big budget Bollywood movie’s release was stalled recently. A detailed article on the same.

The current objection to the film is taken by Shri Rajput Karni Sena, a Rajput caste group at the forefront of those who condemn the content of the movie. Their argument against the film is that Padmavati, who was considered to be a Rajput queen, would be portrayed in a bad light and that would mean deferring from the historical account of her description. Additionally, this would distort the culture and religious practices and could possibly indicate a romantic relationship between the Rajput queen and Sultan Alauddin Khalji. Ironically, after the release of the trailer of the movie, only the Rajput and the Hindu have taken to the streets to contest the release of the movie while the Rajputs in the movie have been shown as regal and royal, and Sultan Alauddin Khalji has been portrayed as somewhat barbaric in nature. If the extreme criticism is to be believed, then it should be a reflection on the overall content of the period drama and not just certain aspects of it.

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Global VoicesVishal Manve & Devika Sakhadeo

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Why We All Need It’s A Wonderful Life


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The writer believes that the protagonist of this much loved American movie is quite anti-American. And that is a good thing.

As we watch this movie we are tempted to see ourselves and to feel validated. But this story is not about how wonderful we are, but how wonderful life is—it is not about us, it is about life. It is about how we should give thanks, even if the knobs on our staircases always fall off, and how, in the midst of giving thanks, we should give everything away, even to the point of seeming foolish. This is not a story about Christmas; it is a story about life. Life lived in connection with other people, giving, giving, giving to them of our time, our dreams, our money. It is also about receiving love and friendship, the richness of community, and, more than that, how wonderful it is to give your life away for the sake of the people in that community. We all need a little more of this story around Christmas, spring, mid-July and the rest of the year. We need a little less of the American dream and little more George Bailey.

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Rachel Crum — The Curator

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Fighting ‘the Gawker effect’ in the wake of Weinstein


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Is it getting difficult for journalist to come up with damning stories on rich people?

Perhaps the Weinstein story will prove to be the dam-breaker, and indeed women are already coming forward to tell stories they hadn’t previously felt emboldened to tell—and news organizations are standing with them. But I fear the Weinstein story may be an outlier; after all, Weinstein was no longer at the peak of his game, and his power had ebbed. In the wake of Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit against Gawker, a case that essentially bankrupted the company, we seem to be at a point when the wealthy feel emboldened to try to silence reporters by threatening litigation even if they stand virtually no chance of winning. Some of the lawyers vetting my story expressed fears that even the weakest of legal claims could wind up being heard by a dangerously hostile judge or jury. Their usual caution seemed to have turned into very real fear.

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Kim Masters — Columbia Journalism Review

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Bastards and Game of Thrones


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Now that we are all waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones which will only air next year, here is an article on the categories of bastards in medieval Europe.

Much as in Medieval Europe, there are several different kinds of bastards in Game of Thrones, falling into sometimes overlapping categories. The first and most obvious type of bastard is one born to a known “highborn” father who recognizes the child as his but whose mother is either unknown or known to be low status. Here the most memorable example is Jon Snow, Snow being the surname for Northern bastards of this type (though of course — spoiler alert — Jon’s parentage turns out to be more complicated, and extremely throneworthy regardless of any niceties of marriage law), or Sand, Sand being the surname for bastards from the south. It is quite clearly better to be a Sand than a Snow, with the warm sunny climate of the south both more openly licentious than the restrained north, and more tolerant of children born to extramarital sex.

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Sara McDougall — OUPblog

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The secret life of airports


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Uncovering the secret life of airports through movies. This needull is for frequent travelers who have are spending disproportionate time at airports.

So next time you find yourself trudging down a dank tunnel that seems to lead to nowhere, in the nether regions of an airport, suddenly alone and perhaps feeling a bit of existential dread, or maybe just exhaustion and boredom—remember that you are taking part in the secret life of airports. These non-simple spaces are indices for our broader culture, sites to interact with and interpret—sites that can make us feel exhilarated or stranded, by turns. This is what I call airportness, and it spreads out into all sorts of surprising things, and seeps into unexpected places. Airports can be used to propel entire stories, from Home Alone 2 to Make America Great Again. But with their narrative potential comes all the other parts of textuality, as well: the ambiguities, the uncertainties, and the tensions. The secret life of airports is brimming with these things, and there’s no escaping them. It’s one thing to imagine effortless transitions from one place to another; it’s quite another thing to fully inhabit these spaces, these awkward times on earth, and be conscious of them—aware that this is us, this is the pinnacle of mobility, human progress in the making, at least for now.

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Christopher Schaberg — 3:AM Magazine

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