The Cliffs of Insanity: The Oscars, Selma, & Agent Carter

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Promotional poster for Selma. No white saviors.
Promotional poster for Selma. No white saviors.

Welcome to another installment of climbing the cliffs of insanity in pop culture. This week, I want to take on some criticism of Marvel’s Agent Carter, and how its only so-so ratings are related to criticism being tossed at the Oscar-nominated film, Selma.

First, a little personal blatant self-promotion and, later, a geek parenting level unlocked.

I’ve just received print copies of book three in my superhero series, Ghost Phoenix, and to celebrate, I’m hosting a giveaway on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ghost Phoenix by Corrina Lawson

Ghost Phoenix

by Corrina Lawson

Giveaway ends March 13, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

It’s been an excellent month for the whole Phoenix Institute series, as it was named “Best Superhero Origin Series” in the SF Romance Galaxy Awards, an honor that resulted in mentions on USA TODAY and in an article at Barnes & Noble’s website.

I’m equally thrilled to see Science Fiction Romance receive this attention, especially as a counter to all the debate going on over 50 Shades of Gray, with which, despite my parody post earlier this week, I’m so done with right now.

I’d rather talk about Selma and how it fits in with the so-so ratings of the awesome Marvel’s Agent Carter, the best geek show on television right now.

Marvel’s Agent Carter: Yes, The Men, Even the Good Guys, Are Sexist

Selma: No White Saviors

I was struck by this statement from Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, when discussing Selma and why the film is unlikely to win an Oscar:

“It’s hard not to think that at least some of the attacks on this movie stem from the fact that it’s a black female filmmaker who turned that white president of the United States into the help.”

The quote reminded me of some male criticism of Agent Carter’s SSR work colleagues, at Den of Geek:

Up until “The Iron Ceiling,” most of the featured members of the SSR have been caricatures and different levels of male foils for Peggy Carter.

The objection is fascinating because the SSR men haven’t been caricatures at all. They have been shown as consistently sexist, leading them to underestimate Peggy, but even from the beginning, it was clear Dooley was no fool, that Thompson held inner demons inside, and that Sousa wanted to prove himself still able to contribute despite his injury.

But their sexism has been at the forefront of their interactions with Peggy.

We’re used to seeing good guys, our heroes, be admirable. I suspect it makes some men deeply uncomfortable to see the good guys be such sexist jerks to their heroine, Peggy. What’s more, the SSR men are the supporting cast in Peggy’s story. Like Dargis, I wonder how much criticism focused on the SSR men stem from the fact that in any other story, they’d be the heroes and Peggy’s story would be in support of them.

My guess is this uncomfortable feeling is partially responsible for the show not setting the ratings on fire. It’s been tremendously entertaining, well-acted all around, tightly plotted, suspenseful, emotional, and basically everything that I hoped Gotham (a hot mess) or the slow first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be.

All six of my family members, including my husband (who points to Flash and Arrow as ridiculous) love Agent Carter.

If Peggy doesn’t get a second season, while Gotham does, I throw in the towel on ever getting a great superhero show that treats women as equal characters to the men.

At least my family has good taste. Speaking of which…

cover via DC Comics
Read the series before the show airs! Cover via DC Comics

Preacher: Geek Parenting Highest Level Achieved

My eldest son (19) wanted graphic novels for Christmas. He likes horror and several Vertigo series, so I bought him the first paperback collection of Garth Ennis‘ classic Preacher.

His reaction:

“Mom, I cannot believe you bought me this for Christmas. This is a sick, twisted comic.”

A day later. “Damn, this is good.”

Two days after that, he ordered all Preacher volumes.

With his own money.

My work is clearly done.

And now he’ll be ahead of all his friend when Preacher comes to television this fall.


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2 thoughts on “The Cliffs of Insanity: The Oscars, Selma, & Agent Carter

  1. Good parenting job. And congrats on the Phoenix Institute success.

    Interesting analysis on the reception of Selma and Agent Carter. I shall have to ponder further.

    1. Both theories are somewhat unprovable but I’ve read enough male geek reactions to Agent Carter’s co-workers that it makes me believe that some men are deeply uncomfortable with the setup.

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