I just wrote a letter of recommendation for a woman interested in both economics and science, the sort of woman we need more of. Or at least I do, especially if she doesn’t want children (perhaps they will flock to tonight’s Story Collider, which I plan to attend). About half of this entry, though, will be about fictional women (some would argue this paragraph was as well) – science-fictional women, that is (and tonight’s theme at Story Collider is sci-fi, too – be there, 8pm, at the bar Pacific Standard in Brooklyn).
But first a note on a woman who merely dabbles in sci-fi-like imagery once in a while:
1. I don’t want to be the lone Lady Gaga-hater, but (A) she’s obviously terrible, (B) her oddly-numerous supporters should now be at least slightly troubled by the creeping realization that her single “Born This Way” is just a lawsuit-worthy mash-up of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and “Vogue” (covers of Rebecca Black while wearing a Darth Vader mask next, perhaps?), and (C) now she’s even stealing Madonna's Catholic-tweaking shtick with the song “Judas.” Maybe for an encore, she can invent sadomasochism or bisexuality.
I don't much care for Gaga or Catholicism, obviously, but if there's someone out there stupid enough to like both, I hope that person feels horribly conflicted right now. (If I believed there were a God, by the way, I'd have to suspect he has something against North Carolina after the storms of the past few days. I hope my friends in that state are well.)
2. It was fun to see a site about comics lambast the New York Times for doing such shallow reporting on the question of whether women like sci-fi. You see how arrogant the Times seems when training its ignorant sights on your subculture, nerds? Now imagine being a conservative.
3. Too, let’s take a moment to remember how awful the arrogant, smirking, relentlessly oversimplifying Rachel Maddow is as well – by reading this response, brought to my attention by Bretigne Shaffer, to Maddow’s attack on federalism. I don’t think there’s much hope of teaching most people economics, so I’m really banking on Americans warming to the idea of just shrinking DC’s role and letting the states go their own ways, which would at least allow some diversity and experiment.
4. Speaking of central authorities, happy eighty-fifth birthday (tomorrow) to QE2 (the Queen of England). By my pro-market, pro-technology standards, she’s nowhere near as cool as the QE2 (the boat) but is cooler than QE2 (a second round of Quantitative Easing by the Fed).
5. On a sadder British note, R.I.P. actress Elisabeth Sladen, lost too soon at sixty-three to cancer while still playing the role of Sarah Jane from Doctor Who, as she had been for forty years, still looking pretty damn cute and acting much more convincingly than a lot of the monsters and aliens surrounding her. Somewhere, her robot dog K9 howls mournfully. And listening to this dirge-like song for forty seconds might be appropriate.
6. Sarah Jane was many fans’ favorite Doctor sidekick, but the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, clearly liked Romana (or rather, actress Lalla Ward) best, since he married her, and although their Timelord characters were never lovers on the show, if you ever wanted to know what it would have been like if they had been (you sick freak), look no farther than these TV commercials featuring the two of them – in character yet being openly flirty in a very fun and obviously sincere way – advertising a 1980s computer.
Nothing against the recent Doctors, but these three minutes of TV ads are more entertaining than whole seasons of other people playing the Doctor. Tom Baker is just that good – and was frankly sort of my childhood role model for “whimsy” (and was a former Catholic monk who lost his faith, incidentally).
Lalla Ward, as I’ve noted before, has had one of the most delightfully nerdy lovelives in all of history, and after divorcing Tom Baker, she met her next husband– biologist Richard Dawkins – at the fortieth birthday party of her close friend Douglas Adams. That’s an awful lot of nerd in one sentence.
7. Disturbingly, as I’ve also noted before, another early influence on my development may have been the brutal villainess Ursa from Superman II, who seemed awfully impressive to me when I was ten. No one had ever thrown a manhole cover directly into my heart the way she did, and it’s no surprise I had a soft spot for tough dames such as Linda Fiorentino thereafter (an attitude made easier by my naive assumption I’d never have to deal with bad people in real life once I was an adult).
In next year’s Superman: The Man of Steel, it appears Faora, essentially a prototype of the Ursa character, will be used. If they could create a hybrid Faora-tino, I might have to consider siding with her against Kal-El.
8. Speaking of tough dames, here’s hoping we don’t all end living like Sarah Connor, given that recent Drudge-linked article on increasingly robotic warfare.
And as I've said before: since it'll be something like 2015 before they make another Terminator movie anyway, can we just drop all the time travel stuff and have them fight robots in the present next time, even if it’s an apocalyptic-looking “alternate” near-present? (The last Terminator film was set in 2018 anyway, which is practically tomorrow now.)
Oh, and Chuck Blake points out that coincidentally tomorrow is Judgment Day according to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
9. Jeri Ryan, the babe who played Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager (and without whom there’d be no President Obama, since her ex-husband Rep. Jack Ryan dropped out of the Senate race in which he was to be pitted against Obama, after the divorce court revelations of their sex club activities), is slated to play Sonya in the next Mortal Kombat movie (and already did briefly online).
Speaking of Trek vets, though, wouldn’t fans love it if they defrosted someone from the twenty-first century in the next Trek film, someone who looked like Kirk but turned out to be an actor named William Shatner? Why not? We’ve come to love him even more than Kirk, I think. And despite being a mere actor, he should have to take command at some point. The crowd goes wild.
10. If I really wanted to enlarge the field of available women, of course, I would agree to have children (note: never), and if I were the sort of person who liked kids, I’d probably not only enjoy that excruciatingly annoying video clip of bickering twins that was inexplicably popular recently but would look forward to spending years going to school musicals like this adaptation of Star Wars pointed out to me by (father and pillar of his community) Dave Whitney.
11. Here’s a very nerdy mental dilemma – and unquestionably an important one: I find myself completely uncertain about how to rank the hotness of the three main female actresses in May’s Thor movie: Natalie Portman (playing Thor’s earthbound nurse friend, Jane Foster), Kat Dennings (Jane’s nerdy pal), and Jaimie Alexander (well-cast as Thor’s Asgardian mate, the warrior Sif).
Any film in which Renee Russo is the dog has a pretty high hotness quotient, but I simply cannot decide how to hierarchize the others. Verily, ’tis a riddle of madness!
12. On an even more shallow note, Diana Fleischman points out this array of action figures being sold on eBay with the help of a woman’s action-ready figure.
13. Baz Luhrmann, who I’ve always considered tacky and absurd, is doing damage to The Great Gatsby next, casting Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Carey Mulligan, and now Isla Fisher – in 3D. But then, everything, including the two upcoming Hobbit movies, is in 3D nowadays – and amusingly, the recent cult hit Piranha 3D will take advantage of the trend – and the audience’s love of boobies – with a sequel to the sequel, this time wittily tittily titled Piranha 3DD. Maybe they should call one of the Hobbit movies Hobbit 3D&D.
In related news, I was a bit disappointed to hear that they finally gave an upcoming horror film the title Shark Night 3D, since the director (David R. Ellis of Final Destination) had been lobbying to just release it as Untitled 3D Shark Thriller. Those are the sorts of working titles they use on these soulless things in Hollywood. Why not let the rough edges show?