QSA (Queer Service Announcement) #1: 5 Rules for a Better Grindr Photo

Being on Grindr is, quite possibly, the most horrid experience most gay men can have. There are so many shallow, frankly awful people on there that it often makes me wonder why I (or anyone) bothers with it. And yet I keep returning to it, despite all the things I hate.

Chief among those hates are bad photos. Most of us aren’t professional photographers, but there are still a few things we can do (or don’t) that will help make our collective Grindr experience a little easier to bear.

Rule #1:  Show more than your abs. Yes, we get it. You work out a lot. You have a great body. You clearly want us to fetishize your body and fall over ourselves praising you for going to the gym so often. But some of us often want to see a face, as well, so please, do us a favour and show it. (Oh, and while I’m at it, knock of the pictures of legs. That’s just plain ridiculous).

Rule #2:  DON’T SHOOT A PHOTO FROM BELOW. Just don’t do it. NO ONE looks good shot from below. Even the finest, most chiseled jaw will look flabby and unappealing when shot with your head drawn in like a turtle (which is what almost inevitably happens). Always shoot from above, or have someone take it for you.

Rule #3:  Don’t show scenery. Yes, scenery is great to look at, BUT NOT WHEN WE’RE LOOKING TO ACTUALLY MEET SOMEONE. If, as is usually the case, people are on Grindr to get laid, do you really think they want to see some bullshit picture of a waterfall?  Of course not. What then happens is that we have to have this awkward exchange where I ask for your photo, so just cut out the middle part and post your damn face already.

Rule #4:  Don’t make a goofy face. I don’t know about most people, but I like to have a clear and accurate view of the person I’m trying to hook up with/chat with/go on a date with. Besides, making a goofy face just makes you look like an ass.

Rule #5:  TAKE A GOOD PHOTO. You’d think this would go without saying, but I see literally dozens of shitty photos anytime I pull up the app. People who are bowling, people who are standing so far away from the camera that you can’t see their face, people standing in dim lighting. It’s a selfie, people, not brain surgery. Get it together (or find someone to take the picture for you).

Love them or hate them (I don’t much care which), here are 5 fairly easy rules for making your Grindr photo a little better, both for yourself and those of us who have to look at it.

Happy grinding!

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “The Triangle”

After a long absence, I’m back (as often as the Dissertation allows, anyway). I’m resuming my blogging activities by picking up where I left off with the Great Golden Girls Marathon (which I hope to continue developing, albeit sporadically). Today’s episode is “The Triangle,” in which Blanche and Dorothy find themselves in the midst of a love triangle after Dorothy’s beau makes a pass at Blanche. Fortunately, Rose comes to the rescue

This episode actually features some of the harshest criticisms of any of the first season, as both Blanche and Dorothy have to reckon with the aspects of their personalities that are not entirely compatible with one another. While we are not encouraged to be on Dorothy’s side (especially since we know that Elliot was indeed the one who made the first move), we are also invited to recognize that Dorothy’s criticisms are at least in part well-founded. Both characters have to really take a look at themselves and what they believe to be true of one another. This episode is really the first true trial of the women’s friendship, and to some extent its a miracle that it survives at all.

Beneath all of this is an exploration of the tensions and frictions that inevitably emerge among even the closest of friends. It is almost inevitable (at least in the vision of the world typically offered by sitcoms), that will emerge a romantic competition among even the closest of friends. It is also worth pointing out that at this early stage Dorothy is still seen as eligible for romance in a way that would become increasingly rare as the series developed. However, it does illustrate that even at this early stage Rose is, to some extent, the glue that holds the group together, though the other three women do at times occupy that position. Just as importantly, it also shows that Rose has a particular kind of perceptive intelligence, though of course it often exists just beneath the surface.

Fortunately, the tension is resolved by the end of the episode, though this will not be the only time that Blanche’s promiscuous behaviour comes back to haunt (and strain) her relationship with her beloved friends. The show, despite its celebration of Blanche’s unrestrained sexuality, can’t seem to resist offering us the opportunity to judge her for her behaviour. As it so often does, The Golden Girls manages to straddle the line between progressive and regressive, just another reason to love and enjoy the series in all of its glorious complexity.

Next up, we encounter yet another family visitor:  Blanche’s obnoxious, juvenile-delinquent grandson David.

 

Adaptation Nation: Popular U.S. Film Originality 2010-2015 (26 February 2016)

Metathesis

Walking into a movie theater last week I noticed that nearly all of the films being advertised were for sequels or adaptions of already existing franchises. As I settled down with my popcorn to watch the film I had come to see (itself the 7th episode in a series called Star Wars—you might have heard of it), I tried to remember the last film I saw in theatres that wasn’t based on a pre-existing story. From adapted novels and comic books, to sequels, to films based on TV shows or even other films, pre-packaged narratives seem to dominate the contemporary film landscape. In this post I examine what originality looks like in popular US film.

By taking a short look at the most popular films of the last half-decade, the depth of US fascination with follow-ups and adaptations becomes clear. Out of the top 20 US grossing films…

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TV Review: “The Shannara Chronicles”: “Safehold”

So, here we are. The penultimate episode of The Shannara Chronicles has dawned, and it was definitely one of the finest episodes (if not the finest) that the series has produced so far. In this episode, the brave fellowship of young people finally make their way to Safehold and the Bloodfire, while Allanon ensures that Ander at last takes the throne that is rightfully his. And, of course, the last leaf at last falls from the Ellcrys, ensuring that the Dagda Mor is now free to march on Arborlon with his demon army at his back.

This episode had a lot of gems for those fans of Brooks’ novels. Those who have read the entirety of his oeuvre recognize in the rhetoric about the children of the armageddon (of which Eretria is a descendant) the Genesis of Shannara trilogy which revealed that the world of the Four Lands is indeed our world in the distant future. Furthermore, the emphasis on Eretria’s blood–it ultimately unlocks the Bloodfire–suggests that it may be her heritage, as much as Wil’s, that will influence the fate of her children and their many descendants.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This series has really done wonders bringing Eretria to magnificent life. While she was certainly a feisty and compelling character in the original novel, Ivana Banquero manages to convey both her phenomenal strength and her intimate vulnerability. Even now, as they near the end of the quest, she still feels the pangs of love for Wil (which she believes are not reciprocated), and it is this deep, and very human, need for love and acceptance that grants her character such depth.

And how amazing was it that we (we being Brooks’s faithful readers) finally have a solution to the mystery of Safehold’s location. We can now say with certainty that it is in the ruins of San Francisco/Oakland (Wil uses a stone to scratch in the missing letters on an old street sign). This is a bit of a mixed blessing, as it clears up one of the most enduring mysteries of Brooks’s world, and yet there is something a bit bittersweet about learning the exact location of this mysterious form. Fortunately, the series also leaves a great many questions unanswered (we still don’t know exactly what the Bloodfire is, for example, nor do we know why it’s located in the ruins of San Francisco).

If there was one thing I did not particularly like about this episode, ti was the way in which the witch sisters Morag and Mallenroh appeared. They were always one of my favourite parts about the novel, precisely because we knew so little about them and yet they seemed like such an integral part of the world Brooks had created. They were, according to the mythos, part of a coven, and they had long existed in a stalemate of hatred. None of that complex backstory made its way into the adaptation, alas, with the two witches appearing as straightforward guardians of the Bloodfire.

That minor quibble aside, this episode managed to bring out the very best that this series has to offer. We got some politics, the fulfillment (almost) of the quest, and the climactic death of the Ellcrys. This is the kind of storytelling that the series should have focused on all along. Indeed, I would argue that it really does best dramatically when it stays true to the epic roots from which it so clearly draws. With this kind of emphasis, it gives the characters, and their arcs, more depth and heft than they have gained (up until this episode, that is). Hopefully, this is a lesson that the writers will take into account if the series is granted another season by the powers that be.

Given the strength of this episode, I can say without a doubt that I am eagerly awaiting the conclusion of this first season. I will also admit that I am fervently hoping that it will be renewed for a second season. With the vast tapestry of Brooks’s work to draw on, especially the intergenerational component, the series could easily fit into the anthology model that has become increasingly popular and common in the cable media sphere.

Are you listening, MTV?