I am become the eater of worlds: Bray Wyatt, Undertaker and the American Nightmare

Tonight, one of the world’s theatrical highlights will grace the screens of millions across the globe. It’s Wrestlemania. And in the spirit, even we at Hollywood Hegemony are having a #ManiaMoment – first of all with a gloriously fake feud between two of our contributors…

And then with the article that our own Jack Brindelli submitted to The Norwich Radical – a sample of which you can find, along with a link to the full article, below. 

Wrestlemania is here – and I have a challenge for you. I dare you to watch. I literally dare you. Yes, that’s right, WWE, ‘make-believe fighting’ if you really must label it that, where grown men and women play-fight on television for the entertainment of billions worldwide. “But Jack,” I hear you cry, “You’re a culture writer for the Norwich Radical! Surely you know better than to revel in suchuncultured pastimes?!” Continue reading

One last mad trip to Jo-burg: The flawed brilliance of Chappie

After mixed results after the explosive District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s latest effort Chappie arrives on the scene once again to lukewarm reviews. Jack Brindelli, looks beneath the film’s ungainly outer shell, to reveal a beautiful message within it’s circuitry.

I make no secret of the fact I am unconditionally a Neill Blomkamp fan. His detractors often cite a lack of lacking subtlety and finesse as his work’s major downfall, with his somewhat black and white allegory of class-based inequality Elysium (2013) taking the brunt of the criticism. But even in the supposedly unfinessed haphazard film there are flashes of brilliance (the literally inhuman Job Centre for one) that show for all Blomkamp’s faults, he is a world-class sci-fi satirist. That is not something that restraint or understatement is necessary for, as you can see from his explosive début District 9 (2009); it’s about blowing up the contradictions in society between the promises of mainstream ideology and the reality it actually delivers, it is about taking dominant ideology to its logically absurd conclusion.   Continue reading

Fifty Shades of… Huh?

It’s been two weeks since the release of Fifty shades of Grey gave the topic of abusive relationships a rather troubling Valentines Day gloss. Complaints have ranged from accusations it romanticises violence against women, to the somewhat moot point that the acting, writing and direction are all to put it bluntly, “flaccid”. Weeks later, in the cold light of day, away from the saccharine veneer of it’s Valentines weekend release, Ruth Grahame outlines why Fifty shades wins Hollywood Hegemony’s “most confusing sexual politics” award.

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Trigger warnings:  Abusive relationships. Fifty shades of Grey. BDSM*. Psychological abuse. Rape culture. *warning because many individuals have damaging experiences with it, not because its inherently damaging

As a  queer, kinky feminist, I read most of the first book and got very, very angry. The Christian Grey of the books has no consideration of boundaries, constantly pushes Ana to do more when she has explicitly made her discomfort unclear (Which she shouldn’t even have to do, he can read hints, he just doesn’t care about them), and literally rapes her in more than one scene across the trilogy.  In a society where, in England and Wales 2 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners every week, only a third of convicted rapists get jail-time, and “why did she go home with him?” is a more common question than “why didn’t he stop?”, the defending of abusers because “they were in love” or “its just a book and therefore has no social context or influence” is such strong bullshit I almost cried on several occasions. Continue reading