Every writer needs a little writer fuel, whether it’s fueling your body, or your mind. Every week, staffers at Camp NaNoWriMo HQ will be telling you about the food and the music that inspires them. Today, our office captain, Shelby Gibbs, shares why “good enough” can be perfect right now:
In my second year of college, I hit several walls. The most startling of these were the sudden ruts of what to eat and, yes, what to write. My peanut butter and banana sandwiches lacked their normal salty-sweet satisfaction; my words had become decidedly lackluster. And me? I was at a loss. Cue a lot of empty take-out boxes, blank pages, and a barely begun John Dunne essay due on Friday.
It was also around this time I discovered an apt, if misinterpreted, song called “Leftovers” by a British artist named Johnny Flynn. He croons:
I’ve been drooling at some mangy scraps of bread/
And these hungry voices make a lot of noise inside my head/
Show me the way to the rubbish dump or the bins at closing time/
I’d walk a mile just to catch a smile from a fish without its brine.
For those who spend time thinking about the role of women in film, conventional wisdom has it that Natasha Romanoff, the character played by Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel movies — most recently in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but also in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers — is a significant step forward for the cause of gender equality amongst superheroes. A female action hero who can really hang with the boys, Romanoff (aka Black Widow) fights alongside Iron Man and Captain America, and better yet, she is not a romantic love interest for either of them (well, not yet, anyway). She is pretty close to their equal, and even in 2014 that’s kind of a big deal.
But let’s not break that glass ceiling quite yet. It’s true that the prominence of Black Widow in the Marvel film universe is a sign of progress. For years, Hollywood has resisted depictions of strong, independent women in lead roles, despite the fact that the strong female protagonist is rapidly becoming a reliable box-office draw (see Gravity, Frozen, and The Hunger Games for recent examples), but they have not quite cracked the superhero movie genre in a meaningful way; Black Widow, for example, takes a clear backseat to her male counterpart. More importantly, those female superheroes who have of late anchored a film or played a prominent role in one, all have something in common: They don’t have superpowers.
Black Widow is an assassin who has worked for the KGB and S.H.I.E.L.D., but she’s just a woman who knows how to fight. The same goes for Jennifer Garner’s Elektra or Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) in The Dark Knight Rises, both of whom are fierce fighters and smart as a whip but still are bound by the laws of nature. In some ways, these films paint a progressive picture of gender relations, and they could provide important role models for the next generation of women; but without superpowers, these strong, independent women will always be second-class citizens to the male superheroes. Despite Black Widow’s ability to kick ass and take names, she is never really a formidable threat. She never fights anyone with superpowers because if she did, she would lose.
With the Conchords and Phirman in Vancouver ‘05. Todd Barry just wasn’t feeling the Klondike that day. #tbt
I CONTROL LIGHTNING. ARE YOU?