I am currently caught in a nostalgia loop of watching Stranger Things over and over. I've heard a lot of complaints about the third season which quite honestly, I completely agree with. But the strange (ha) thing about this how is how neurologically soothing it is while totally problematic - much like my childhood 80's favorites The Goonies. Or E.T. Or The Legend of Billie Jean. Which I someday plan to write about how much the male writers weirdly got right. I continue to be amazed. Or I'm just making excuses. Like, a lot of these complaints are coming from...uh...let's just say a new person whose wrath I do not wish to incur because they honestly frighten me. Which is step 1 down the dark path of becoming a libertarian. I am sort of kidding. Anyway. Aside from explaining to women why we should be offended (I would add that by making the entire sexist newspaper monsters, we sidestep the very real issue of sexism in the 80s altogether, not to mention their whole weird 'if you play by the rules of capitalism you can succeed no matter what your gender or race' manifesto via Erica's character) their favorite movie is one I feel is extremely questionable...basically, my point being we are ALL blinded by our own nostalgia and can excuse/ignore pretty much anything.
Stranger Things fixes something in my brain. It's probably partly the music. I've had people say to me, 'Marna, you are dumb. Why not just listen to the actual song/music on spotify or youtube or whatever?' to which I reply 'what r those things I have whatever music it is u r referring to on cassette.' Kidding. No, I think I like having songs or musical themes I love sort of distributed in very small amounts so their impact does not get used up. Because I need it. As like, medication or in place of options such as vitamin D or exercise. That being said, the music is pretty lame now...except, as a kid, I did not have access to things like Echo and the Bunnymen or whatever. I did, however, have access to an album which, at that point, was already pretty old, introduced to me by my mom's friend's kids who had spent much of their formative years in Australia, Madonna's Like a Virgin. I had never heard it because where would I have? The radio? See, my childhood was very much like that of the pre-Starlight kids in Hawkins, Indiana. Only imagine all the pop culture and produce having to be barged up. And there's one radio station (unless you count AM) and it plays top rock hits of the 70's and the cutoff is probably like 1985. And that's classic rock, mind you, not pop. I'm of the opinion that Max is right. A teenaged girl needs a little pop music...though I'm not sure why her character is suddenly drastically different. Well, I guess that's growing up, right?
Which brings us to the other camp: people who equate the show with growing up in the most general terms possible. I'm just throwing this in there, but it's not like most 80's movies ever had the good guys calling everyone fag every five minutes. Hubie calls Christian Slater's character fag like, twice, Christian Slater, in return, calls Hubie 'fart face' and 'dork.' It seems pretty consistent in 80's cinema that the bad guys use homophobic language...but I still don't like hearing it and like even less how Stranger Things does that to differentiate bullies from non bullies. Even though it's an homage, it can't be a replication of those movies and the show very often seems to try anyway. Sure, it's the bullies who use those words and you could use the defense of it being the times...but that excuse made by people like, say, Stephen King doesn't make me feel any better about adolescent girls reading It. I'm not really capable of making a judgement on how to handle those issues in a retro pastiche. I'm mainly just saying: I notice things.
But I often don't know how to address them - and it's often difficult when more outspoken people are constantly saying why I should find something sexist. You've already used up all the words to get a pat on the head, great. I'm really struggling to say any of these things at all. I'm making completely ridiculous mistakes in the last few query letters I've sent off. Like not including my contact info. Seriously? I don't know what's wrong with me. Well, I do. I've always struggled with issues that are probably some kind of adult adhd. It makes me fun and brilliant to talk to (for the five seconds a year I am not also dealing with crippling anxiety and depression) but it seriously fucks me over in a number of un fun ways. Re check your work you say? Yes. How super fucking helpful. Why didn't I think of that. The fact is, I could check something a million times then realize I was looking at a different day of the cruise ship calendar and oops, I put up the wrong flag, haha! Only it's not as cute when it's my one shot of getting my book out there and the person is looking for any excuse to delete my email and move on to the next. I can't bank off my occasionally winning personality.
Anyway, while we're on the subject of bullies (what, you say we aren't and that was actually the previous paragraph) I have noticed that a lot of the reviewers I admire were not crazy about the redemption of bullies in the movie It or Stranger It as I like to call It. Sorry. My brain is dumb. We've already established that, moving on! I can't help feeling like, what, are we supposed to NOT acknowledge how people who are abused DO often abuse others? A lot of times, I hear the argument: 'well, I was abused and you don't see me doing the thing.' Really? You don't maybe turn that shit against yourself? Are you less valuable then, and since you are sparing other people, hurting yourself is okay? I believe in negativity as energy, which can neither be created or destroyed. It goes somewhere and if you don't have the resources with which to deal with what's happening to you, it goes inside, or it goes outwards, and that you don't like redemption arcs does not negate that fact. Though maybe the problem is simply with creating a character simply as mindless antagonist so they can do ONE important thing later on. I'm not sure I'm upset by Billy's redemption so much as I don't see the point of his character at all.
I'm also like...weirdly suspicious the show got some like Illuminati style backer explaining why it's so blatantly 'don't criticize your own government, the Russians r clearly the bad guys here' in season three. I dunno. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd say money has exchanged hands there. Nostalgia as a weapon! Now that's a force of pure destruction. I'm wondering how many people are actually brain-affected by certain tones and shades found only in your John Hughes movie (I say yours because I can't stand John Hughes movies). Speaking of tones and shades, is anyone not liking this Mann-o-vision color spectrum as well as the original Speilberg autumn late 70's filter of the first season. Neon is fun but it's ultimately cold to me. Well, ok. I guess there's Mann neon and then there's the aforementioned Billie Jean which imo is much softer.
Also: I'm really susceptible to advertising and so now I really want a Coke really bad and it's irritating. Is anyone else looking forward to El getting bullied in jr high now that she's just another girl? Yeah. Me neither.
And it's not like I'm not aware of their 'fuck your female ghostbusters' target marketing. I don't like it. Yet, I can't seem to help myself. Sorry I haven't been watching real movies. Well, okay. So I watched Monster Shark. I watched it, I just don't have anything to say about it. Oh right and: my book is still a more complex and gayer that. And no, I'm not talking about Will and I refuse to weigh in. Though I will say, people develop at different rates which is why growing up is so painful because your friends often move off in different directions. This happens with girls, too. I'm actually talking about Robin whose character arc felt a bit shoehorned in, at the last minute, and it's not like she even gets to make out with anyone, she's basically stuck with The Hair all night. Actually, you're right. Maybe I should drop that entirely from my pitch because it's not like they're dumb, they'll find her a love interest. They just don't want to tackle any real life 80s issues because no one wants to buy myupsidownissueslittlepony or whatever. And it's not like those movies I loved ever really talked about Reganism or the AIDS epidemic, at least not directly...is it maybe that the old Stranger Things was at least willing to present possible metaphors for those things and now, well...
You have a heart-to-heart between Nancy and her mom where she basically says that because you are ambitious, sexism should be no problem for you. It's similar to how Erica's character is dealt with. Sexism isn't about an inherently flawed system, it's about you as a woman or as a black woman realizing your own worth. Maybe this is a loser's attitude, but I'm not sure confidence means anything if the system creates all kinds of assumptions and prejudices which constantly undermine that confidence. Like, it's totally your job to value yourself and not the system's.
Okay. So I guess I'm done now. It's just, these things were bothering me, and I can't bring myself to have an opinion on Instagram. I mean, I'm doing so well there. Also I've heard new person shame people for grieving and not having good relationships with their parents and the more people yell out making examples of how terrible other people are, the more it makes me feel less critical almost defensively? Or maybe I just save all this shit up and write about it, someday like a sneaky jerk. I guess I'm just suspicious of criticism which is all outward lens with zero self reflection. Almost Famous is kind of terrible. Look at how they treat the fact checker (the only female staff member of Rolling Stone, based on a real female fact checker but given a fake name) as a joke and Lester Bangs as a hero. But I have a very good friend who always uses the famous made up Lester Bangs quote from the movie with me and I don't want to hurt their feelings so I never say anything. I honestly worry more about hurting people's feelings than I do about anything else but it's not cause I'm such a great person. I just don't need someone with thousands of followers across multiple social media sites decimating me and I don't trust people not to automatically do that if I give them a hard time or disagree with them. Maybe someday. For now, I'll just talk about them behind their backs semi anonymously to you guys.