To prove that we have lives outside of horror, here are our best-of-2014 choices:
Laibach’s Jesus Christ Superstar was released back in 1996, but it dominated my world in 2014 as the thing most listened to during my travels / commutes. Ever since watching Nymphomaniac and hearing Rammstein’s “Fuhre Miche,” I’ve had the Laibach itch and have clung to this particular piece of work. Maybe because I’m all too familiar with the broadway musical, but I guess more so just because I’m a perverted immature heathen.
And then as luck would have it, her tour brought her to Nashville! Regretting the time I skipped Grimes, I bought tickets 3 months in advance. It’s easily the best consumer decision I made in 2014.
This documentary about the breaking of the NSA surveillance story by the person who broke it, filmmaker Laura Poitras, is visceral cinema verite – as emotionally cutting as it is historically relevant. Facts about mass surveillance are well known (thanks to Poitras) but the dramatic arc of this story is the transformation of Glenn Greenwald from skeptic to believer. The final scene is a heart stab. When the credits rolled the theater was a blackhole of hopelessness, a communal emotional void-space. I hadn’t experienced anything like that in a theater since The Act of Killing. (Checkout last year’s Whorer Awards) Perhaps the only thing more hopeless is the apathy of the American public. Of specific interest to The Whorer is Poitras’ list of free software tools used in the making of the movie. At least one of those tools has since been compromised. This is of specific interest to The Whorer because without free software this website and all its content would not be possible. The tools Poitras mentions though are not creative tools but tools that protect users’ right to privacy. Without such tools, Poitras would have been unable to complete Citizenfour. She’s been on a government watchlist and her computers are routinely seized and searched since the release of her film My Country, My Country. This film was critical of the second Iraq War. Early in The Whorer, I asserted feminism and free software are part of the same project; i.e., peace and justice. Citizenfour is evidence of this. Now I feel guilty for using (abusing?) a movie that has genuine historical significance to put a feather in my Cap of Self-Righteousness. Sometimes you can see me on the street, wearing it, mansplaining things to people. – Meredith
- These awesome-ass social justice pins by @Chiparoo, one of which I’ve *sniffle* lost. Anyone got an extra “Social Justice Wizard” pin?!
- The plethora of magic wands at The Hungarian Wand Shop booth. The prices were great and I couldn’t resist purchasing one and carrying it around with me for the remainder of the weekend. My new Slytherin scarf is going to go great with it at future cons. – Fem
GGDD = Gilmore Girls Disorientation Disorder
I WANT TO ROB THESE PEOPLE. I come over to Fem’s apartment to record The Whorer, and Gilmore Girls is always on the TV. Previously, it was always Supernatural – a show I refer to in my head as Gay X-Files. I’m pretty sure she queue’s up Gilmore Girls just to piss me off. My first thought is, “I want to rob these people.” There are a lot of positive mother-daughter interactions in this show, but what I can’t get over is that the ideology permeating the show is the ultra rich are just like you and me. This is true except they’re ultra rich; therefore, Lorelei’s “I’m a struggling single mother!” routine is just that, a routine. This is a show about perfect, rich people in Connecticut acting perfect and by extension it is telling the audience “this is what perfect is.” Emblematic of the show’s diorama-like unreality is Rory not experiencing the problems of a teenager until she’s an adult and she goes to “Yale.” Though she is supposed to be college age, I keep waiting for the episode where she gets her first period. A topic, by the way, covered in Roseanne Season 1 Episode 15 “Nightmare on Oak Street” when a twelve year old Darlene gets her period when staying up late watching horror movies, air date February 14, 1989. The only thing that could possibly redeem Gilmore Girls is a reunion movie where Rory is teaching elementary school in Stars Hollow because of a wonderdrug combo of internalized guilt and false modesty. Then a disgruntled adolescent comes to the school with a machine gun and massacres everyone including Rory. The adolescent had a machine gun because his mother, a single white woman in Connecticut, was brainwashed by right wing media that she needed a high powered fully automatic assault rifle as protection from people that are different from her. Then an aging Luke and Lorelei become gun control advocates. Sorry, I digress with my amoral, trollesque tangents. Back on track: Gilmore Girls is kind of like Family Ties but written by Aaron Sorkin. Despite the bile it pumps into my throat, more often than any other show, I find myself in tears when the credits roll. Fuck you, Fem. Like I said, ze does this on purpose. I can’t decide if I want to rant against Gilmore Girls on the internet or give it as birthday presents to young family members. So far, I’ve only done the former, if that is any indication where my allegiance will ultimately fall. In the meantime, I’m made nauseous by the mix of disgust and fuzzy sentimentality the show invokes in me. This nausea can be diagnosed as a specific thing that many suffer from – probably you if you are reading this – Gilmore Girls Disorientation Disorder (GGDD). If you can’t decide if you love or hate Gilmore Girls and this makes you physically sick – then you have GGDD. GGDD can also be induced by Gilmore Girls related phenomena. For example, we were at a Gilmore Girls fan panel and a male audience member says he didn’t want to date when his daughter was young because he didn’t want to date anyone who wasn’t as good a mother as Lorelei Gilmore. Part of me was like, “a true fan that loves the show and loves his daughter.” Another part of me was like, “this clown is just pandering pussy in a room full of female fans.” This incident induced an acute bout of GGDD. It’s a sickly sensation. It’s way better than Gay X-Files. – Meredith
2014 brought me back to my board game roots with the rediscovery of more complex Euro-style board games. It started with the purchase of Agricola from The Game Keep. You don’t think a resource game about medieval farming will be fun, but I promise it is. The collection has expanded quite a bit over the past couple months, but some of my other favorites include Triassic Terror and Epic Spell Wars. Additionally, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to construct my own version of the 1979 Dune game. – Fem
Internet Exploding Dice
“Exploding” dice is a game mechanic where if you roll a certain number, usually the highest number on the die, you get to roll another die. Typically, the in-game results are cumulative, hence the possibility of creating an in-game chain reaction of re-rolls. In homage to Fem’s newly found board game habit, I will apply the concept to my Whorer Awards list. Since this is my third pick, I’ll explode my possibilities and list three more picks, all interweb goodies:
- The Daily Dot A lot of my shoutouts at the end of episodes have been to articles posted at The Daily Dot. (ICYMI – read the bizarro world piece about Benjanun Sriduangkaew.) I’ve never given a shout out specifically to the site itself so this is that shout out. Their tagline is that they are the internet’s hometown newspaper – an interesting assertion to be sure. They post horrible shit too. I fear they might just be a content farm that compensates their writers in de facto humiliation and insults via pittance rates.
- Leigh Alexander Alexander’s article about real ethical issues in video game journalism is enough to get her on this list. It was a small victory against gamergaters when she starting blogging for BoingBoing. That site probably is the closest thing the internet does have to a hometown newspaper, especially because of its male privilege, so seeing her byline there was a serious breath of fresh air.
- Graveyard Shift Sisters I’m breaking Whorer Awards editorial guidelines by picking something explicitly about horror movies, and since I don’t want get stuck doing an entire episode about the final season of Gilmore Girls as punishment, I’ll just say it’s been amazing to see Graveyard Shift Sisters flourish in 2014. A site like it is long overdue and every time I go there I learn something new. – Meredith
“Hogwarts holds mandatory sex education class with Ministry approved curriculum. Prof. McGonagall will teach the girls. Prof. Snape will teach the boys.”
As a fangirl who just got the Blu-ray box set and a Slytherin scarf for Yule I say, yea! Why the frak doesn’t Hogwarts have comprehensive sex education?! The kids obviously get their romantic on. It’s totally practical. Harry Potter sex ed. themed fanfic anyone? Oh, wait. It exists here and here and plenty of other places I’m sure. – Fem
Gilmore Girls on Netflix
So woman-centric! Such witty (but sometimes annoying) dialogue! Now I can rewatch the series anytime I want with the streaming availability of this quasi-guilty pleasure. If you want to read some analyses, just do a search of it on all the obvious sites, i.e. Bitch Flicks and Bitch. – Fem