Friday, October 9, 2015

Blogging Around: Pop Culture Edition

Uncle Orson Reviews Everything: The Martian

... the American characters are, well, American. Without any tokenism, Americans of many ethnicities play vital roles, and nobody makes a big deal about it. Chiwetel Ejiofor doesn’t play “the black guy,” he plays Vincent Kapoor, a top exec at NASA who argues his case with full authority. Eddy Ko (playing Guo Ming) has Chinese heritage, but it’s not about the stereotype of extra-smart Asians; he’s one smart guy among many, doing the jobs that happen to be his.
Orson Scott Card loved the book (me too) and now he tells why he loved the movie (we'll see it Sunday). As always, in doing so he has some interesting observations about everything else, such as hard science fiction movies, the casting, and how skillfully the story had to be adapted to a different medium. All without spoilers.

Cyber Attack

And how can a simple little old woman keep her herself and her information secure? Well, says the book, “You could cancel your Internet service, ditch your cell phone, close your bank account, throw away your debit card, and turn off your electricity. You could quit school and never take a job, vote in an election, get a driver’s license, or fly on an airplane. Of course, such a solution is completely unrealistic.”
Sherry at Semicolon reviews Cyber Attack. It's for young adults but sounds as if it is a good primer for anyone who wants to know more about the basics than the media headlines tell us.

Disney's Aladdin: A Diamond but not in the Rough

What makes the emphasis on Aladdin’s moral failure is all the more remarkable is how rare this motif is in American animation—outside of Pixar. Where Pixar films feature flawed protagonists whose errant decisions have real consequences that must be faced up to, in most Hollywood animation, including Disney, the hero’s choices are always fundamentally vindicated in the end. Aladdin isn’t the only hero of the Disney renaissance to utter the words “It’s all my fault,” but it’s the only time the words have moral weight.
Steven D. Greydanus takes a look at Aladdin from a Catholic point of view. I admit I watched this when we took the kids, long ago, but it never grabbed me the way some others did. It was interesting to revisit it via Greydanus's commentary.

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