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Quentin's Weeknotes 6/29/19-7/05/19

This Week:

  • I watched "Bone Tomahawk" and I have mixed feelings about it. It was gorgeously shot, cleverly written and featured some masterful acting by Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins, and Matthew Fox (really!).At the same time, it's a grotesque film, revelling in scenes of violence and sadism. It's also not clear to me that the movie has moved beyond the common trope of Native people as Savages in Westerns.  There are some nods that villains are not Native, but it's hard not to see this as a horror movie where the good guys are cowboys and monsters are (not really, but actually they kind of are) Indians, and that doesn't strike me as very politically mature in the 21st century. And the fact that Matthew Fox's character, an unrepentant racist and Indian killer, ends up being heroic, makes me feel like the Writer/Director wasn't able to see himself as an Indigenous Person (to paraphrase Ta Nehisi Coates), despite his clear ability to write rich, interesting, and complicated characters.
  • I finsihed reading Zora Neale Hurston's early masterpiece "Barracoon". It was stunning.
  • Reading up on Hurston led me to "Real Gods Require Blood", a creepy short horror and ambiguous horror film set in impoverished northern England. Definitely NSFW but absolutely interesting:

    Real Gods Require Blood from Moin Hussain on Vimeo.

  • I read the short, fun, and entertaining Artificial Condition, the second novella in The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. The premise of the series is that a cyborg killing machine gets freed from its controlled programming and has to learn how to live among humans in a non-lethal way. The protagonist is funny and acerbic, but also anxious and nervous about trying to fit in with normal humans. This series explores the character's mysterious backstory a bit, while also adding some new meat. My favorite bit is a new character called ART, a cheerfully annoying but good-hearted sentient space-ship, but the whole of the technocratic, libertarian world that the characters inhabit is so richly realized that it's hard to pick just one thing about it. It's a great series and I'm excited to read more!

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