The Monthly Read – May 7th

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Selecting interesting articles, exciting news from the world of comics and pop culture, important editorials, or unique perspective pieces; LGN presents a monthly round up of links to read.

This month we have modern words in Lakota, the subtle racism of orientalism, comics culture wars, learning about the male glance, and Cherry Picks.

Have you all read your Free Comic Book Day freebies yet?

1. How do you say “smartphone” in Lakota? | The Outline
“Over the past six years, Hill and other Lakota speakers have hashed original phrases to encompass newly English concepts such as “smartphone,” “methamphetamines” and “same-sex marriage.”

For Hill, the effort to craft neologisms is key to revitalizing a marginalized language — a tongue the federal government took pains to suppress. Today, the words developed by Hill and other native speakers provide a look into how languages evolve and shape themselves. At Hill’s immersion school, everyone — from teachers to students — tries to speak Lakota 100 percent of the time. Children ages 1 to 5 run through classrooms, and play in areas filled with Lakota picture books. Hill opened the school in 2012 via online fundraising with the mission of reviving the Lakota language, which had only about 2000 speakers left as of 2016, according to the nonprofit Lakota Language Consortium.”

Updating a language, one word at a time.

2. This Oscar-Nominated Film Asks Viewers a Question: ‘What Are You Seeing in Me?’ | Time
“Director Sebastián Lelio met his muse outside a beauty salon in Chile, where the burgeoning actress and singer was doing makeup and hair for brides to help pay the bills. He had traveled there to ask Daniela Vega, who would become the star of his of Oscar-nominated film, a question: What is it like to be a transgender woman in Santiago these days?”

A beautiful film that transcends gender, watch A Fantastic Woman now.

3. The male glance: how we fail to take women’s stories seriously | The Guardian
In spring 2013, HBO conducted a sly experiment on the “elite” TV-viewing public. It aired two new shows – both buddy dramas – back to back. Each was conceived as a short, self-contained season. Each had a single talented and idiosyncratic director for the entire season, and each dispensed with the convention of having a large team of writers in favour of a unified authorial vision. Both shows appeared to belong to one genre, but gestured at several others. Both used excellent actors to anchor a meandering, semi-disciplined style. And both ended by reasserting the romantic bonds of friendship. Those shows were True Detective, and Doll and Em.

Their critical reception was drastically different. One was analysed and investigated to the point of parody. The other show – a much tighter work of art – was breezily and inaccurately labeled a “satire” and forgotten. To be explicit, the show about boys got way too much credit, and the show about girls got way too little.”

It’s a long read but an important one in regards to viewpoint and influence.

4. Orientalism Is Alive And Well In American Cinema | Buzzfeed
“When Edward Said wrote the book Orientalism in 1978, he focused on the long arc of Europe’s paternalistic conceptions of the Middle East. The term has since been expanded in scope into a broadly useful one for the West’s selective seeing of the East — especially, for the purposes of this piece of writing, East Asia — with many sins included under its umbrella: exotification, condescension, appropriation, othering, and general treatment of Asianness as a cultural buffet from which people feel welcome to help themselves to whatever they’re inclined to take and reject what they aren’t interested in.”

A nuanced look at why racism is more than hate.

5. 15 Latinas who are changing the world as we know it | Univision
“From music to sports and everything in between, these passionate women are reshaping the narrative. On International Women’s Day 2018, get to know them and spread the word.”

Quotes and article links paired with lovely paintings of each woman.

6. The culture wars come to comic books | MacLean’s
“Social justice has long been at the core of many beloved Marvel works. In 1963, Marvel scribe Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby co-created the X-Men, using discrimination against mutants as a racism allegory with Professor X and Magneto as philosophical stand-ins for Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. (Jewish, LGBTQ and other marginalized readers also saw their own struggles in the storylines.) And indeed, in 2008, Lee was awarded the National Medal of Arts partly because “these new stories provided a medium for social commentary” and how his Stan’s Soapbox editorials “[spoke] to the comic book reader about social justice issues such as discrimination, intolerance, and prejudice.””

Things might get loud again but stand tall, read, and keep putting those dollars to work for you.

7. In Thailand, Buddhist Monks Grapple with the Meaning of Video Games | Waypoint
“The zombie is just one part of a poster at the One Pillar Pavilion, a Buddhist temple in Hanoi. Broken into panels like a comic book, the banner depicts the karmic consequences of various actions. People who mock the Buddha go insane. Those that work diligently are reborn in better circumstances.

And the zombie? He’s paired with a group of gamers at an internet café, yelling at computer screens.

“Waste Time in Playing Games,” the poster warns, “Barely Reborn Into Human Life.””

Finding perspective on why people play video games is something that should be thought upon more often.

8. Why Film Criticism is Still Split by Gender Lines | RealClear
“…[t]ake the reviews for Maudie, Aisling Walsh’s moving biopic about Nova Scotia outsider artist Maud Lewis. It stars Sally Hawkins in an Oscar-caliber role ultimately overshadowed by her lonely love-struck custodian in The Shape of Water. That it was directed by a woman with a female-driven narration appealed to my biases, and it became a movie I championed. In the film, Maudie does fight off the abuse of Ethan Hawke’s gruff orphaned fisherman in a hand-to-hand tussle – but no skyscrapers topple and, really, the violence ends swift as a slap.”

Gender perspective is important in a review, POC perspective is important to a review. These things are integral to deciphering the real experience of a film. Remember to look up your reviewer

9. The Rise of Subscription Boxes: What Makes Us Sign Up? | The Fashion Law
“Think of the excitement of opening a present or the anticipation of discovering what a package in the mail contains. The rush of positive emotions – and the underlying psychological effect – associated with these acts is, according to researchers, very similar to what gamblers, video game enthusiasts, and runners experience. It is also one of the key reasons why subscription boxes have proven a wildly successful market phenomenon.”

Something to chew on when signing up for a monthly box or even online ordering.

10. A Puerto Rican Hero Joins With Wonder Woman and Others for Hurricane Relief | New York Times
“The comic book community is teaming up again to raise money for Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico with the release of the anthology “Ricanstruction: Reminiscing and Rebuilding Puerto Rico” on May 23. It is being produced by the graphic designer Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. “I wanted to inspire people, to share stories about the island and to help rebuild,” he said. All profits from the book will benefit relief efforts.”

Another comic anthology project coming out for Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Relief. Much of the island is still without electricity.

11. Nine upcoming indigenous films to look out for | ScreenDaily
“As part of Screen’s focus on indigenous film, we profile the hot projects from Greenland, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Australia.”

Great list with Indigenous films to watch for from all around the world. Extended reading on the film ‘Indian Horse‘, it is Indigenous but with an asterisk.

12. Miranda Bailey, The Woman Who Created a Rotten Tomatoes with All-Female Critics | Broadly
“”For a long time, I’ve noticed that audiences don’t go out to see certain films marketed towards women, or even just films that women would like in general, because they were panned by critics on Rotten Tomatoes,” she said.

Bailey believes that Rotten Tomatoes’ male critics—73% of the review site’s “top critics” in 2016 were men—have a double standard for women filmmakers. “When I read some of the reviews, I was shocked at how cruel and oddly derogatory they were about Lake Bell, with male reviewers being upset that she made this movie instead of what they wanted or expected her to do. That really reinforced my belief that there’s a real double standard for female filmmakers and the movies that they create.””

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