A Journal of the Plague Year Day 96

Tuesday 23rd June 2020

Was trapped watching Sense8 on Netflix by J; the show a product of the Wachowski Sisters, the gothy minds behind The Matrix trilogy. This time round it appears the siblings have been given carte blanche and the equivalent of a bottomless credit card in terms of creative license, that worked so well back in the day, to the tune of $1.6 billion in takings for their franchise. So the premise this time is a bunch of strangers across the globe who are able to telepathically connect -they feel, talk to and see each other in real time -while stalked by a hellbent organisation trying to kill em off.

The Wachowskis are a pretty left wing, inclusive bunch, having themselves transitioned in gender and being staunch advocates of LGBTQIA rights and free lovin’, which inhabits this storyline with gay and transgender characters throughout. They also bring together disparate personalities representing multiple forgotten countries outside the North American bubble -Kenya, India, South Korea, Iceland, Germany, Mexico. Well so far, so diverse.

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However, look closer and it starts to jar, notably the storylines. The Indian woman is of course caught in an arranged marriage, and battling local corruption, with a sideline in her family curry restaurant. The Kenyan man lives in a vast slum of local corruption, gang crime and HIV infection -killers at every corner. The South Korean woman is a martial arts master with a Masters in Economics, sacrificing all for family honour (wrongly imprisoned, battling -you guessed it -local corruption plus honour-bound chauvinism, to the extent her family lets her take the fall and her brother’s trying to kill her). The Mexican guy -a telenovella star (perhaps the closest the Wachowskis got to a Mexican experience) is in the closet, battling machismo stereotype, the church, wifebeating, blackmail and the vapidness of fame.

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It can be tough sell for those non-White or non-Western, try as you might. At first I made myself believe this was a wonderful cherry-picking take on every major social problem in each territory; that the Wachowski’s had done their research and were consciously raising awareness. But by the second episode it was pretty obvious they’d done quick Google searches or just put down a veneer of what’d rubbed off some passing media trope. To make it more obvious if a Black American character was up for the stand, and his raison d’etre was ghetto gangs, police brutality, drugs and trying to win back his disowned son, while aiming to be the new rap/ hoop star of the ages, it’d be cringe level 10, especially coming from the usual rich, White penmanship.

In contrast the White characters are multi-layered, do not perform to stereotype, and do not have long, lingering sidelines in their tale to prove they’re more than just a number. Laugh for hours as you discover the Korean woman likes beans on toast, or the Kenyan guy drives a homemade bus in ode of Jean-Claude Van Damme! By comparison the Icelandic woman is a DJ and living in London (not a Viking helmet or geyser in sight), the German guy’s a safecracker for organised crime (not what you’d equate with Germania), while the Americans are safely disparate as bloggers and policemen and hackers and ecologists.

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The script is derisory to say the least, although the valiant acting helps to blunt the edges, despite dooming their careers. The long, lingering shots of nookie at every turn is another seller, albeit it becomes quite an obsession. At several points throughout any given episode the characters will down tools (maybe take up new ones) to have a transcontinental fumble, often swapping bedpartners or becoming embroiled in one big orgiastic flexihump, that makes one reckon it’s wish fulfilment on the directors’ behalf (remember the weird, fluid-spraying rave in Matrix?). I see these characters -at every opportunity away from the henchmen -prowling the alleys, peeking through windows, looking for jizz.

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One character, the fellow actress/beard/fag hag/PR/PA/agent/secretary/housemaid/manager/fan vetter/letter opener/rooftiler of the Mexican couple is so laughably, vicariously infatuated with her housemates, and devoid of any life of her own she openly friggs herself off from the corner of the bed as they get manmansex-time. This seems to mirror the veritable well of navel gazing stupor the Wachowskis may be immersed in, in how blinkered they are to anyone’s experience other than their own. When Nomi (Know Me) makes the Maid of Honour speech at her sisters already compromised wedding, she hijacks the entire loveletter to make a diatribe on her transrights. One feels like yelling at her, Nomi it’s not all about you, all of the time.

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But then again, am I not wallowing in the selfsame mire? Were I long-suffering of trans abuse would this not be a revelation of a series, and a breath of fresh air for an ignorant world? While overlooking the corny national stereotypes, suddenly unimportant or forgivable. Would I be publicly standing up and voicing this diatribe to override their struggle?

ANYHOO, enough bitching. The world is stupid and so am I. Back to life.

Went out for a breath of fresh air and a touch back to reality, the real version not the utterly, ludicrously fantastical. Life sometimes is too much lived vicariously or not at all, even if it is to brandish fists at the skies.

The sun was high today, the weather cool and the fields a riot of wildflowers, even for urban, unkempt commons. And leaving it all behind.

To end the day:

btybtybtybty

Yesterday

Tomorrow

Rules of Hollywood Part III

Gender

Women

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1. You are slightly underweight, have long hair and wear tight clothes that highlight your cleavage, no matter the weather, occasion or your age.

2. She who runs, falls.

3. If you’re a teenage cheerleader you are vapid, bullying, cliquey, mean, calculating, incipient, evil and pant-wettingly hot. And likely blonde. Since the noughties you have token ethnic cheerleader besties, or may just as likely be brunette to you know, mix things up all crazy! You will likely fail in later life.

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4. Older females no matter how isolated, incipient and characterless always have a sassy, straight-talking, popular, younger-than-her-years and ever-loyal bestie. -In short everything the other lacks, who will fathomlessly and unfathomably prove the main character worthy of screentime by dint of association. Who will die to protect them, usually via dangerous scenarios for getting information, that only gets uncovered after their sacrifice.

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6. All aunties are cool.

7. Never age. You will always be a decorative object of sexual desire no matter what age, what standing or who you’re married to. Even billionaire CEO’s who also happen to be young and former supermodels, like Amber Valetta, will be game for bumblingly fat tax accountants like Kevin James. Or obese, myopic, animal-talking professors.

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7. You scream and cry when frightened.

8. Strongly investigative of strange noises and dark situations in the house/ woods/ haunted castle littered with body parts, while loudly announcing your presence. You can pinpoint your location at all times by repetitively croaking for Frank? FRANKKK??  Fr-aa-nk? while still in the same room. Or waveringly: ‘Quit it Frank, this ain’t funny’ and ‘Cmawn guys’ ten minutes after several glimpses of hairy claws, unearthly skittering and the timbre of sharpened bench tools. You never say ‘Fuck it’ and just walk out. Unhappy face.

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9. Liable to trip, slide, break ankles, drop torches or walk loudly into inanimate objects at the most inopportune times. Easily kidnapped, ransomed and leading the man into a trap – either that or killed off entirely.

10. Your mothers are nightmares, and the main source of income for psychodopediatrists the nation over. They love you and hate you. You love them and hate them. And their mothers were loving and hating to them. And you will be equally loving and hating to your daughter. And your daughter will be the same to her step-daughter. And her step-daughter will be loving and hating and loving again to her stepmother’s mother in turn, which is you.

And all you want to do is to stop eating ice cream and get a man. And all your mother wants to do is for you to stop eating ice cream and get a man. And all her mother wanted to do oh just fuck it fuck everything that moves bitch.

11. You cry a lot. In heavy make up. And drink. Even when not frightened. You have bad days and good days. Mostly bad days. It all gets too much behind the smile.

histrionic pd

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10. You take slow, langorous sexy showers with your eyes closed. You never wait for it to heat up,  just step in and turn the water on, facing the nozzle with your fake lashes clamped the entire time. You do not fart or burp, or douche away; no one does this. Me time is still sexy time.

11. You only ever talk about men. You only ever talk to other women about men. If ever you talk about another woman, it’s about your passive aggressive Super narcissto-mum who talks about men. Unless you’re in Sweden.

12. You being in any field of vision alone, in any room, at any moment is a sad, poignant moment. Unless you’re in the car or kitchen (well cmawn, someone’s gotta buy the food, make the food, taxi the kids, clothe the kids, garden the garden, make picnic doilies, dress the church, keep young and fit and work the local social expectation spectrum!). Sad-poignant-moment makes you stare off into the distance with blue skies and steely spirit. That’s where Blue Steel came from.

13. You cry a lot.

Men

  1. Liable to be divorced.
  2. Strong, misunderstood. Brooding.
  3. Good looking women follow you around.
  4. You like plaid.

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5. If you play American football you are vapid, bullying, cliquey, mean and incipient.  You are not intelligent enough to be calculating but substitute with brute force and whooping air fists. Will likely fail in later life. Become the baseball cap wearing, stubbly wifebeater, who drinks beer in front of tvs and has a thick Southern drawl.

5.  If you find yourself the Police Commissioner/ boss you become very shouty, chain smoking and ball breaking, actively obstructing any vital investigation due to the rule-book but can often come through in the end, despite your psychopathic hissy fits. You cater to the Mayor, who is corrupt and a bastard.

6. If you find yourself a corrupt official, or someone with very very powerful government links, make sure you pass all confidential, highly sensitive information in dossiers or identical briefcases. Just make sure you do it in crowded public places where there are endless opportunities for extreme zoom and black & white camera angles, preferably open air  – a park bench in New York, a ceremonial axis in Washington DC, or seated right by the big plate glass windows in any restaurant.

Do the same whenever meeting your incriminating long time lover you are cheating on your wife of thirty years with (make sure you kiss publicly at some Parisian style cafe, tickle each other’s faces and run laughingly into taxis). Always wear a trench coat.

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6. If you are gay you’re loud, sassy and endearingly obnoxious. And highly strung. Mmmhmmm. You tells it how it is, with humour and sparkling eye movements. You pepper sentences with ‘girlfriend’ and ‘bitch’and can be found perched on stools in tight suits or jeans. You only ever go out to banging bars and nightclubs for cocktails. If you are big you wear it tight. Gay women do not exist.

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7. All teenage men – no , in fact all men- are obsessed with sex and how to get it. You are in awe of beautiful, skimpily dressed women constantly surrounding you, who may foray into giving you a cuddle in all shapes, forms and situations, possibly leading to a pitying hand-job. You think and talk loudly about this in a totally  obsessive, stalkerish but socially acceptable kinda way. It is your underlying raison d’etre to everything.

8. All men, no matter what age, class, social standing or looks is able to attract stunning, intelligent, kind, loyal women. Cuddles!  Nudity! Eyes Wide Shut handjobs! She will likely be working at a city hospital, usually a top surgeon or doting doctor who specialises in gunshot wounds for ethnic minority children who she’ll get emotionally involved with. See Women.

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9. Your bestie isn’t good looking and may not be rich or powerful but is just BRIMMING with personality – exuding humour, intelligence (or at least kookiness), charm, loyalty and heart with every step and one-liner sentence. Like Ted without the fur. Your bestie can even be the President (I mean how kookie would that be! Yeah!!!). Or Black (OMG yeah! Yeah!!!) Your every dream come true. He may even cuddle you in a dark moment.

10. All American men say ‘I love you, man’ all the time to their friends, especially at the end of every convo , meet or night out, in a completely, non-homo, non gay, unthreatening, definitely no, not gay , not schoolyard circle jerk, not wet biscuit, not drunken night at the lake, not prison system, not watching porn then having your magic moment just as it switches shot to the guy, not trapped together in a lift with Madonna music playing and it’s gettin hot in here so hot so hot I wanna take my clothes off way, no.

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Te recap:

Gender appropriate(d) roles

Women: Secretaries, receptionists, assistants, nurses, retail staff, pool babes, beach babes, frat house party babes, teenage party babes, bar babes, Goth bar babes, ski-season-I’m-out-of-my-figure-hiding-ski-suit-now-and-drunk-at-the-bar-in-tight-knits babes, NYC-is-like-so-cool cafe babes, waiting in line at the laundrette babes, line dancing babes, seal wrangling babes, scientist babes, the globally recognised authority on Childhood Neural and Hypothalamic disorder babes, protagonist’s middle aged wife babes, mother babes, undiscovered tribe babes, dead body babes, strippers. Waiting staff in any bar or diner, cooks. Love interest roles.

Men: CEO’s, firefighters, police chiefs, army chiefs, billionaires, stock brokers, techie start-up wizards, writers, hipsters, spies, henchmen, bouncers, truckers, ranchers, cowboys, construction crew, builders, electricians, washing machine repairmen, surgeons (unless you specialise in the Ethnic Child Gunshot Wounds Dept), skateboarders, parkour enthusiasts – pretty much any urban sports enthusiast, the person at the head of any table, chefs. Gays. Serial Killers.

The Rules of Hollywoods Episode IV: End of Days

The Rules of Hollywood II

Race

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1. All Black folk be talkin like they from the ghetto. Even if they’re a stockbroker, an office manager, cop, priest, mayor or judge. Man, whatchoosayin?

2. If you’re a Black man you shoot the hoop on your time off. You are kool n the gang with your White buddy. In a family friendly, Neighbourhood Watch friendly, approachably middle class yet gangsterly kinda way. Like LL Cool Jay in Deep Blue Sea.

You’re funny, likely musical.

3. If you’re a Black  woman, you’re sassy. Empowered. Endearingly obnoxious – you tells it how it is. You are the salt o’ the earth easy to anger, easy to laugh. You are big but you wear it tight. You take no prisoners and do not shy from anything Heeelll No!

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4. Every Black church is the heart of the working class community, evangelical and full of shafts of morning light, uplifting music, and clapping. The preacher will be fiery and impassioned, as will be the be-hatted congregation who will sing, shout or nod their exhortations throughout the service. There will be several middle aged women fanning themselves and mhhhmmming.

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5. If you’re an older Black woman with a serious expression, there are many, many opportunities to become a High Court judge. Approximately 85% of all judges in America are made up of older, Black women with serious expressions. You will be firm  but fair, and liable to call all lawyers up to the bench to give stern admonishments to over your serious glasses.

6. If you’re British there are many, many opportunities to become an evil, globally dominating villain of the highest order. Or a butler. If you’re not insufferably posh (first choice), you can settle for being Cockney. This is the closest to foreign you will ever see.

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7. All spies are White, 30 something, fit and 99% male with a token female who is a real ballbreaker, STRIKINGLY good looking, made up, manicured and well dressed the entire time she’s jumping rooftops, like a supermodel striding around on a corporate shoot. For some reason they blend seamlessly into any crowd, however foreign, and will not be looked at by anyone ever. All spies spend most of their time running around shooting stuff (East European shaven headed thugs mostly, which most men from that part of the world are), attending gala events (transformed!), getting involved in spectacular car chases, with minimal office work, shopping, going to the loo, queueing for a latte, getting their cat de-wormed, or dayjobs. They do not keep a low profile at all.

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8. All muggers are stupid, pale Wasp men in their late Twenties who bear striking resemblances to LA waiting staff, but with dark leather jackets/ hoody, hobo hat and needing a shave. They will often have the tables turned on them.

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9. All people with dark hair, at some later stage in the story, will reveal themselves to actually be Jewish, usually by namedropping Bar Mitzvahs, bagels, schmucks, or their super Jewish parents. Chances are they are also loud, sassy and endearingly obnoxious as Black women. But more highly strung. -They are people too. Like if they didn’t announce their religion you woulda carried on thinking how lovely they were haa!

10. Ethnic minorities do not cry. Given the opportunity, they are stoic. Though really it’s just they never reach that stage of character development in their lives and loves (unless you’re single in NYC, ridiculously skyscraper-owningly rich, powerful, handsome, well groomed, funny, inventive, kind, educated, strong, rich, did I mention rich? like billionaire rich, ripped, fatherly and heart-rendingly widowed enough to court Waspy new secretary in town, Dakota Johnson).

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11. All maids are lovely Mexican women who can barely string a sentence together in English. They work hard and look after several impoverished families back in Latin America, for which their low paid job is a lifeline for the entire favela, and 75% of the Mexican economy that’s not drug related. As a loving, kind and surrogate mother they brought up generations of neglected yet sweet rich kids who dumped them on gaining their inheritance. They are all resoundingly, frailly illegal. Live in a cupboard (or possibly the stairs at night) with a crucifix on the wall.

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12. LA is riven with Latino gang members who wear slick hair, 90s plaid, do their top buttons up, and sport bandanas like Notorious B.I.G. Their quasi-Mexican accents are as thick as yo mamacita’s guacamole. They prefer knives to guns. Those are for Black people. Statistically they are the least represented on-screen race per capita to their real time population, more so than even the semi-mythical East Asians.

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https://www.tumblr.com/search/latino%20gangs

13. Italian Americans have lovely, huge nouveaux riches families and are adoring to their kids, despite their murderous mafia links. One of these ‘family friends’ will be obese and thuggish; and they will all talk with the Italian East coast accent ( not to be confused with the pan Jewish East coast accent, or New Jerseyitians). The long suffering wives wear a lot of gold, peroxide and have big hair, and can be just as ruthless despite their feminine charms. Not to be confused with Jewish princesses.

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Actually fuck, it Jews, Italians and New Jerseyudlians are one and the same. They just change surnames on set.

14. Native Americans are middle aged, wise, long haired and monosyllabic. They live on reservations or national parks and often sport cowboy hats paired with clinking jewelry, beads and totems as constant reminders of their timeless, majestic, pre-modern culture that collective forefathers truly fucked to the tune of 98.7% of their missing gene pool. They tend to drive vintage trucks and have guns they use for manly stuff, especially when they switch to horseridin’ (they’re all hunters and trackers). They do not catch trains or hang out in cyberspace, schools, libraries, malls, cities, gyms, Chinese restaurants, nail bars, playgrounds, hair salons, comedy clubs, theatres, sports clubs or bars. They prefer to buy their alcohol and drink it copiously at the trailer park or on the range. They are all male.

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15. East Europeans. Women are pale, blonde, blue-eyed gun-toting Slavs, cold, beautiful and casually evil. They will sleep with you for money, perhaps sell their child.  Men are dark, shaven-headed, chain-smoking, gun-toting Gipsies, whether you’re a henchman or an oligarch you’re the same side of Dodge city.  They have yet to register a personality among them, being sociopaths yet lacking the narcissism. Children are on an autism spectrum.

It’s always cold. There is no music where the sun does not shine.  And Vodka, lots of it.

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16. Asians don’t really exist. Except as news reporters; or waiting staff.

16b. South Asians, despite being the world’s biggest ethnicity, really don’t exist.

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To recap:

Race appropriate(d) roleplay.

White folk:  Spies, office workers, bartenders, truckers, pilots, captains, muggers, parking attendants, waiting staff, shop assistants, artists, art students, subjects of art, ballerinas,  ex-pats (not to be confused with ‘immigrants’), travelers, firefighters, surgeons, mountaineers (not to be confused with Sherpas, ‘locals’, or guides who do the same thing), ice skaters, ice hockey players, skiers, snowboarders- pretty much anything cold related

…swimmers, lifeguards, divers, pool babes – pretty much anything water related,  farmers/ ranchers, cowboys, Mounties, line-dancers, woodcutters, hunters, hippies, eco-warriors, extreme sports enthusiasts, – hell, pretty much anything outdoors related.

 

…Europeans, American tourists, academia, hipsters, nerds, rock enthusiasts, Goths/ emos, toll booth operators, Icelandic fishermen. Serial killers. Vampires. Ghosts. Werewolves. Dinner party guests involving pent up, over-the-hill upper middle class people, in melodramas with endless discussion, trying hard to be funny and blasé by talking about sex.

 

 

East Europeans: henchmen, oligarchs, thugs, prostitutes, sociopaths, spies, cruel women.

Black folk: Hip hop/ rap, R n B artists, musicians, gang members, basketballers, anything else just so long it’s not academic/ science / tech / finance/ rural / outdoors / er, water / or art related. Judges (see 5. Black women).

Mixed race: Hip hop/ rap, R n B artists, gang members, techs, nerds, occasional hipsters.

Latinos: Maids, gang members, policemen (California only). US/Mexican border control, border crossers, cross dressers. Mexican prostitutes. Drug lords. Token cowboys.

East Asians: You are not in the army, you are not in the arts, you are not in academia, you are not in entertainment, you are not outdoorsy. You are not bar staff, surf instructing, cheer leading, basketball playin’ or any sport in general. You like business school, medicine, tech or nerdy stuff and news presenting. You do not hang out in bars, have family picnics, wait in post office queues, operate toll booths or any random activity that you do (but don’t – I mean do). You are peripheral.

Arabs and Middle Easterners: Terrorists. Misunderstood terrorists. Understandable terrorists. Innocent civilians terrifically terrorised by terrorists. You do not hang out in bars, have family picnics, wait in post office queues, operate toll booths, or any random activity that you do (but don’t – I mean do). Terrorists.

South Asians: Sorry, who are you again?

South East Asians: Sandra! Can you show these nice people where the coffee machine and cookies are?

450 million Burmese/ Indonesians/ Malays/ Filipinos – Wait, no. What???

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Native Americans: Outdoorsy shit. Seal/ bear/ sasquatch hunters. Chiefs. Majestic eagle wranglers. Canoeists. Guides. Spirit Guides.

Torres Straits Islanders: Thank you SO much! We’ll let you know!

The Rules of Hollywood Part III: Gender Reassignment