Dave Chappelle, Netflix, and the hypocrisy of his hurt

Dave Chappelle

David Dennis, Jr. wrote a fantastic piece for LEVEL called The Hypocrisy of Dave Chappelle’s Power Play. It discusses Netflix’s decision to pull his old sketch show, Chappelle’s Show, and the irony of Chappelle’s reasoning for the request and how he felt afterwards.

The situation stems from a standup performance he did called “Unforgiven”. Here’s Chappelle himself discussing the situation:

I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn’t even exist. And when I found out they were streaming Chappelle’s Show, I was furious. How could they not know?

So you know what I did? I called them, and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better. That’s why I fuck with Netflix. Because they paid me my money, they do what they say they’re going to do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a businessman. They did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong.

Prior to this quote in his article, Dennis Jr. noted Chappelle’s transphobic jokes since his comeback and his defiance against those who criticised him for them. After the quote, Dennis Jr. rightfully pointed out the hypocrisy.

Read that again. Chappelle does words for a living. He didn’t say he called and asked for Netflix to remove the show because of money. He said he called to say ‘this makes me feel bad.’ And Netflix responded by pulling the show ‘just so I could feel better.’ […] Suddenly Chappelle understands the value of an entity ceasing doing a harmful thing simply because they want to honor someone’s feelings.

I’ve seen the criticism of Chappelle’s transphobic comedy and his pallying up with fellow comedians who think “cancel culture” is the worst thing to happen to the arts (spoiler alert: it’s not). But I’ve not seen a critique so succinctly put. And, as Dennis Jr. said, Chappelle had no right to complain about who aired his show when he signed a contract saying anyone could if they had the rights. But apparently Chappelle did and people like Mo’Nique didn’t (remember when she got flamed before winning her lawsuit?).

The history of Toonami according to Toy Galaxy

The history of Toonami according to Toy Galaxy

Last September, Toy Galaxy discussed the history of Toonami and how a block of cartoons became an evening staple for children and adults alike to enjoy anime.

Toonami—a portmanteau of the words “cartoon” and “tsunami”—started in 1997 as a weekday afternoon cartoon block hosted by Space Ghost villain Moltar. From there, it took on many iterations, eras, new hosts, cancellations, revivals, and programming changes.

It also helped to popularise shows such as Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, and Samurai Jack, and influenced a slew of artists and gamers.

Today, in its current form, it lives as a late-night block on Adult Swim, airing mostly mature Japanese animation.

Stream the episode below.

The Packed Story of Toonami & How It Helped Make Anime Mainstream

The best of Dick and Dom playing "Bogies"

Dick and Dom

I grew up with Dick and Dom on TV and while their brand of comedy wasn’t my thing, I loved when they played Bogies.

Bogies involved Dick and Dom taking turns to shout the word “bogies” at louder volumes with each turn. But the best part was the locations they played in—usually public places like libraries, cinemas, and supermarkets. The loser was the person who gave up. It was controversial but funny to see the reactions of both Dick and Dom and the bystanders watching the chaos unfold.

The game courted controversy (amongst a list of complaints that show received) but I guess it would in a repressed country like the UK.

Stream the best of Bogies below.

Dick & Dom - The Best of Bogies

Appreciating Joel Schumacher's Batman

Joel Schumacher

A year before Joel Schumacher passed away, Patrick Willems made a video retrospective on his movies and why we should learn to appreciate them for their attention to campness.

For 20 years, Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies have been considered cinematic travesties—”abominations” in the words of George Clooney—the movies that killed the Batman franchise. But what if I told you that they’re not actually that bad, that they’ve gotten better with time? What if I told you that it’s time to give them another shot?

I’ll admit, I enjoyed Batman Forever when I was a kid (I went to see it at the cinema and even owned the sticker book which I loved). I also loved Batman & Robin as a 7 year old. But then I grew up and found out everyone hated it and seemed to join in with it?

Patrick Willems reminded me why I enjoyed Forever and & Robin so much. They were fun, camp, and unlocked another piece of the Batman lore I adored as a child: Adam West’s Batman. I watched it religiously and Schumacher’s Batman movies were the stylistic bridge between that series and the darker version of the Caped Crusader that Tim Burton gave us with his two adaptations.

Anyway, stream the video below and make up your own mind.

Learning to Appreciate Joel Schumacher's Batman

Stalker: the fatal movie of Andrei Tarkovsky

Last July, CinemaTyler uploaded a video essay about “Stalker”, Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 movie about a person known as the “Stalker” who takes two clients to a restricted site known as the “Zone”, where a rumoured room grants a person’s innermost desires.

Seven years before filming his final masterpiece, The Sacrifice, Andrei Tarkovsky sacrificed his sanity to make Stalker. Stalker had one of the most difficult productions in cinema history and possibly even caused Tarkovsky’s death. So let’s see why one crew member described the production of Stalker as “a mirror of a hellish trip.”

Tarkovsky left Russia the same year Stalker was released and made two more films—Nostalghia in 1983 and The Sacrifice in 1986, before passing away later that year.

Support Tyler on Patreon.

Stalker (1979): The Sci-Fi Masterpiece That Killed Its Director

The sustainability of Christmas gifts

Lemon slices hung up

We’re 31 days away from Christmas, folks! The dreaded virus—alongside changing consumer behaviour—means we’re buying more and more online but that comes at a cost to your bank balance and the environment.

Shop Like You Give A Damn wrote an interesting piece on the sustainability of Christmas gifts. In the article, they looked at the impact of some of the most commonly given Christmas gifts in the UK including socks, shampoo, candles, and wrapping paper.

Here’s a brief look at the environmental impact of a pyjama set:

When examining a cotton pyjama set, we need to talk about water consumption first. A shockingly high amount of 20 000 litres of water is used to produce one cotton pyjama set. This is the same amount of water a UK household of two would use in about 2 and a half months!

Yikes!

Of course, this isn’t to shame people for giving or receiving presents but it’s helpful to know how items are made and how they affect the planet.

So if you’re interested in more eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas, check out Shop Like You Give A Damn’s gifts sets as well as Mrs Slee Jones’s eco-friendly Christmas post.

Daughters, milking cows, and etymological debates

An Indian woman milking a cow

Victor Mair wrote a very in-depth piece on the etymological origins of the word “daughter” and its connection to milking cows.

I was just thinking how important cows (and their milk) are for Indian people and was surprised that’s reflected in such a fundamental word for a family relationship as “daughter” — at least in the popular imagination.

The etymology of ‘daughter’

Upon further investigation, Mair traced “daughter” back to its roots, via Middle English, Old English, Proto-West Germanic, Proto-Germanic, Proto-Indo-European, and finally Vedic Sanskrit—duhitṛ (“one who milks”).

But rather than take Wikitionary’s word for it, Mair posed two questions to a host of linguists:

  1. Is that analysis reliable?
  2. Is duhitṛ cognate with “daughter”?

Enter a mixed bag of responses for and against the cognate connection. I won’t list them all here but if the answers were on a spectrum, every part of it would be covered but here are two extremes:

duhitṛ is indeed cognate with Eng. daughter. While I’m no kind of Indo-Europeanist, I do recall hearing that connecting it with √duh, dogdhi, etc. is spurious. But I don’t have any references to hand.

Whitney Cox—Associate Professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago

Vedic duhitár- does NOT mean ‘one who milks’! That’s a 19th-c. myth that was exploded generations ago.

Don Ringer—American linguist, Indo-Europeanist, and Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania

Read the article over at Language Log and choose your own etymological adventure. And if you’d prefer articles on milk from other animals, check out pule, made from donkey milk, and cheese made from moose milk.

Farside: the Toronto bar turning into a VHS rental store

Farside in East Chinatown, Toronto, is known for its love of VHS and now the Toronto bar is taking it to the next level—by offering VHS rentals.

“We’ve managed to accrue 5,000-plus tapes from donations and thrifting. We’re always playing something on the bar’s projector, and used to have movie screenings on Monday nights. Essentially, we had more than enough stock to start renting tapes, so it felt natural.”

Co-owner Mike Reynolds talking to blogTO

Besides films you’d find on Netflix, you can also grab Wrestlemania box sets, rare Star Wars videos, and cult classics like Troll II and Encino Man.

According to photographs from Farside, the pricing is as follows (in Canadian dollars):

  • Membership: $10
  • One tape, one night: $5
  • One tape, two nights: $8
  • Three tapes + VCR for two nights: $40
  • One tapes + VCR for one night: $20

If you had to read those last two offers twice, I don’t blame you. Farside does offer a VCR (HDMI-compatible) and free popcorn.

Head to Farside and grab a piece of nostalgia with a pint or two (if it’s safe to do so). And if you like VHS, check out the last video rental shop in the world although I’m not sure if it can retain that name now.

Contact details

Black Archivist: a project for Black artists to tell their stories

Black Archivist

Black Archivist is a project created by Paul Octavious, a Black queer photographer based in Chicago. In 2005, he got into photography and his life changed from there.

This project provide the tools and resources for other Black people to document their lives:

Black Archivist believes in the power of the Black narrative and that Black artists are best suited to tell the stories of our community. We provide the tools and resources for Black people to document the life around them, both triumphs and tribulations. We believe access to equipment should not be a barrier to entry for documentation or compensation.

If you want to help, you can donate a camera or apply for one yourself. And if you want to see more Black photography, check out the photography of Kennedi Carter.

Follow Black Archivist on Instagram.

Angela Davis: Revolution today

angela davis

In a lecture for CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), Angela Davis discussed the meaning of revolution today.

She called on her audience to continue to fight for progress and criticised “the mainstream feminist movement”.

“The mainstream feminist movement has made serious, serious mistakes. You know, I often point out that when I wrote a book that was published in 1981 called Women, Race, & Class, everybody started referring to me as a feminist and my response was ‘I’m not a feminist, you know, I’m a black revolutionary’ because I didn’t see how the two had anything to do with each other. But I realized that I was talking about a certain kind of feminism, a bourgeois feminism, a feminism that is still unfortunately […] white bourgeois feminism which is unfortunately the most represented feminism today and most people think that as feminism.”

Stream the full lecture below with subtitles available in English, Spanish, and Catalan.

Angela Davis. Revolution Today

Proper Gnar: a skate brand for and by Black girls

3 femme models for Proper Gnar: 1 crouching, 1 standing with their skateboard, and one on their standing on their skateboard

I’ve been seeing a lot of stories and brands about women in skateboarding and Proper Gnar is another one to add to the list.

Proper Gnar is a woman-owned skateboarding and streetwear brand, created by Latosha Stone. She set out to draw her own designs not only for clothes and skateboards but as standalone art.

Talking to Skateism, she talked about sizing and the struggles she has faced when trying to get clothes in plus sizes:

The size thing is something that really bothers me as well. And it’s an issue with the apparel industry as a whole. I’d love to carry all sizes but it’s almost impossible to find suppliers that go past a 3X, sometimes 5X on tee’s, and on crop tops I haven’t found larger than an XL. I always feel so bad when someone asks if I carry their size and I can’t because my suppliers don’t.

And her views on a connection between skateboarding and “femme power”:

I don’t think there’s a direct connection, I’m just a feminist in general. And I just feel like there’s something badass and powerful about taking something and putting your own twist on it, making it your own.

Follow Proper Gnar on Instagram.

Christopher Reeve on the media and being Superman

christopher reeve in speechless

While looking for clips of Rear Window (1998) a few years ago, I stumbled upon this 1994 interview with Christopher Reeve. It was one of his last interviews before his tragic horse-riding accident which left him paralysed from the shoulders down.

At the start of the interview, where he was promoting his new film “Speechless”, he remarked how he’d played so many news reporters in his career—and said that Clark Kent was a good reporter (alongside his primary job as Superman).

He then delved into the media, media consumption by the masses, and how the press invaded people’s lives and sold sleazy stories. On tabloid news shows, he said:

“When I see those things, I want to break my TV, I really do […] you can feed all kinds of stuff down to the public’s throat because things will sink to the lowest common denominator. We are not particularly noble as human beings; we like trash, we like gossip, we like snooping around […] but should we cater to it? No culture before ours has ever gone to this length to make a dollar off appealing to people’s print (sic?) interest as much as we do now.”

When asked if he still got spotted by the public for being Superman, he replied: “you know, I go many, many days at a time without hearing anything about it”.

Christopher Reeve and Jimmy Carter talk about Speechless

FlyGirl: a community and safe space for womxn

FlyGirl

(Note: the words women and womxn will be used throughout the article. The former should apply to all women but unfortunately doesn’t to some who use it, as you’ll see, so womxn will be used where applicable.)

It’s funny how my Twitter timeline works. Within minutes of seeing a questionable article title from the BBC—“Women and women of colour continue to change the face of Congress”—I found a community that didn’t separate women of colour from the perceived default. It’s called FlyGirl.

In their own words, FlyGirl is “a community of like minded womxn who understand and appreciate the value of working together to achieve great things.” It was created by Avarni Bilan, who initially wanted to create a comfortable and safe space for womxn to support one another. But as the idea grew, her intentions shifted slightly:

“[…] as the idea was developing it then became really clear to me that the only way I would ever be able to do it authentically would be if it works to represent womxn of colour. I wanted to create a very practical response to the clear lack of representation that womxn of colour experience on a daily basis and be able to unapologetically address topics that may largely only apply to these womxn.”

Excerpt from Avarni’s LeftLion interview

​Based in Nottingham, FlyGirl offers local events to support womxn of colour in the Arts, as well as providing financial and practical advice so they can fully realise their dreams.

According to the website, FlyGirl is inclusive of the following groups:

  • Cisgender women
  • Queer women
  • Trans women
  • Non-binary people
  • Intersex people of colour

Other services include:

  • D&I workshops
  • Bespoke HR training
  • Company-wide training days
  • Unconscious bias training
  • Interview skills
  • Business evaluation and feedback

There’s also a FlyGirl Directory (similar to Rememory) for businesses to find WOC and make practical changes to diversify their workplaces (hopefully after some unconscious bias training).​

EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that there is discourse around the term “womxn” and its intentions and impacts for trans women and non-binary people, as addressed in this Instagram post. I apologise if the terminology has offended or excluded anyone in this manner.

What if Clark Kent was a cartoonist?

Soft Lead Clark Kent

2020 sucks hard. I feel like I’ve said or written that a hundred times but it bears repeating. So finding any glimmer of light or hope means more than usual and I found one on Sunday night.

Chan Chau (they/them) is a cartoonist from in Minnesota and they tweeted one of their comics about Soft Lead Clark Kent, in a world where he’s a cartoonist for the Daily Planet rather than the reporter we know on this earth. He visited his Bruce Wayne at his home for breakfast and expressed his fear that his work was “pointless”.

[…] You know drawing cartoons. Well, making comic strips about my cat for the Daily Planet, to be precise. It seems so… ugh, silly.

Bruce offers his opinion and it reminded me that sometimes you need something for you rather than what you think other people want or need and I felt that. Hopefully it can offer some respite and clarity for anyone who reads it.

You can either read the full thread of panels on Twitter or Tumblr.

Salt Bae: the King of Steaks

Salt Bae

I always thought Salt Bae was an overrated gimmick thing but I’ve watched this compilation and I’m more of a fan and incredibly hungry.

Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gökçe, is a Turkish butcher, chef, and owner of Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses. In 2017, his famous Ottoman Steak video went viral and he became known as Salt Bae, due to the way he sprinkled salt on his meat.

His unorthodox style of cutting and cooking meat is almost mesmerising, if not poor kitchen etiquette. But it’s all for the ‘Gram and he’s served for the likes of David Beckham, Karim Benzema, and even posed with Fidel Castro before he died.

But amongst the salt sprinkling and weird meat slicing, are his steak houses any good? No said critics of his New York branch describing it as “overpriced”, “Public Rip-off No. 1”, “mundane” and the hamburgers “overcooked”. But rich people aren’t known for good taste and, given Salt Bae’s penchant for entertainment, that’s probably why they frequent his establishments.

Backhanded compliments aside, stream the video below, and if you get wasted at Nusr-Et, make some İşkembe Çorbası, an authentic Turkish hangover cure.