Giving ‘Dark Angel’ Another Look

Okay, I was in middle school when Dark Angel started airing. The admission, I’m sure, makes me look like an infant or incomprehensibly ancient to most of the people reading this (that’s how people outside of their mid-twenties seem to me as soon as I get context (“You were already in college on 9/11? Were you born in the Great Depression?”). It was the first time that I ever saw Jessica Alba (who is/was super gorgeous, of course—a a super cute classmate in eighth grade had a picture of her on the inside of his locker), and it was apparently created, in part, by James Cameron.

Whose name now gets the James Cameron Song in my head. Thank you, South Park, for being brilliant.

Anyway, at the time, while I was an intelligent middle school student, I was, well, a middle school student. Certain things totally went over my head (which can happen at many ages—when I was eight years old, I did not recognize the gay men or the prostitutes on Batman: The Animated Series). I appreciated some aspects of Dark Angel, but others, well, either did not seem like as big of a deal at the time or escaped my notice.

As an adult, I’ve gone back and watched a few things that I enjoyed when I was much younger. In some cases, things that I treasured when I was younger have turned out to be comically bad. In other cases, they were even better than I had thought. On a whim, I decided to watch Dark Angel (probably just an episode or two) about a month ago, to see what it was like, though I was fairly certain that it would turn out to be just a pretty-lead-actress-beats-up-men-and-shows-some-skin show.

My prediction was incorrect. Like, hot damn, it was incorrect. I ended up watching the entire first season in a fairly short amount of time.

And I’m not going to give you a summary of the show. It’s good. Watch it. If you need to know more than this, read the Wikipedia entry or something.

Dark Angel was surprisingly feminist. Even now, it’s unusual to hear a straight male character on television referred to as a “slut.” It’s accurate about plenty of male heterosexual characters, but a straight guy who sleeps around is still typically referred to as a “stud,” if anything at all. In the pilot, the protagonist casually refers to her straight male friend as a slut—it’s no big deal. Like it should always be in real life.

Dark Angel is filled with feminism, racial diversity, and a kind of awareness that is still unusual now—and was pretty unusual for a show that aired when Clinton was President (not that any of that was President Clinton’s fault, obviously). One of the main characters is a lesbian, and not only is she not characterized as man-hating or butch, she is also not treated—at all—as a sexual object for male viewers. The protagonist, Max (Jessica Alba) is a bit reserved about her sexuality (or, rather, she is hesitant to have meaningless sex), which may be some internalized stigmatization about sex, but this is a character with an awful background. I do not think that she is supposed to be the “role model” for viewers, with her two best female friends (a lesbian and a heterosexual slut) as the “bad examples.” I think that her disposition makes sense for her character and fits into an “it takes all types” world-view.

Which is awesome.

Max (again, the protagonist, played by Jessica Alba) does kick ass. Which is fun to watch. Seriously. I could watch her beat up soldiers and one-handedly choke pedophiles all. Day. Long.

Her male costar is way handsomer on this show than he is on NCIS (Michael Weatherly), and he is wheelchair-bound for most of the first season. He is also a ten-years-early prediction of Anonymous—in the form of someone who hacks television feeds under the pseudonym “Eyes Only.”

And that’s not the end of the predictions (of a show that aired in 2000 but is set in 2019). Law-enforcement (in this sort of post-apocalyptic setting, which is the result of a major terrorist attack) is assisted by “hoverdrones,” which are unmanned aerial surveillance drones. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Look, watch the show. It’s not perfect, but it is brilliant. There are two seasons. Plus, you get to have fun identifying actors on it who are much better known now (Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester on Supernatural, is on an episode, and so is the actress who plays his mother. Also, Pam from True Blood gets dangled off of a balcony by her ankle in the first episode).

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Anonymous In 2013: Expect Them

Anonymous is not an organization. It is a hacktivist movement. Anonymous is an idea—or, more accurately, a group of ideas—and anyone on the internet can be a part of the movement and a part of that idea. In some ways, most people who use the internet are a part of that idea. And there’s more to it than Guy Fawkes masks (which, by the way, are a reference to V For Vendetta and not directly to Guy Fawkes, who was actually a lunatic).

Different spokespeople within Anonymous talk about different things. There’s no hierarchy or chain of command or leaders—just people and ideas and group efforts. I do not agree with all of those ideas. Sometimes, there are statements against capitalism, arguments against the existence of government, or statements against the use of predator drones overseas or the domestic use of surveillance drones (I’m fine with surveillance drones so long as they are used within certain ethical parameters—just like wiretaps). I love capitalism. I think that anyone willing to submit to anarchy is merely romanticizing what would actually be a deplorable abandonment of all moral and social responsibility—particularly towards those who cannot protect themselves and their property. Some members of Anonymous are anti-police. I am so not anti-police. Sometimes police officers do terrible things, yes. Sometimes teachers or electricians do terrible things.

Every now and then, there’s even a crazy statement about secret societies and the Illuminati (the kind of nonsense that I just live for when it shows up in comments on Evil Beet Gossip. I mean, have you read those comments? People analyze music videos and Madonna’s half-time show and find little things and then make up the most outlandish theories about Illuminati ritual, which apparently encompasses anything and everything). Again, Anonymous has no one official mouthpiece. There are going to be a few crazies in any group—but it just stands out more when that group is a minority or otherwise cloaked in mystery.

But, you know what? Anonymous gives hell to “White Power” and Neo-Nazi groups. Anonymous reminds powerful government organizations (not just in the US and Europe, by the way) that they are not all-powerful when those governments and organizations do something bad. Anonymous members work to protect ecosystems. Anonymous did an awesome job as one of the many, many groups that worked tirelessly to make the Westboro Baptist Church hate-group’s attempts to protest at the Sandy Hook funerals into a miserable and unrewarding venture. Anonymous is a collection of global …

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The Sandy Hook Discussion: “But I Think The Gun Helps”

photo of president obama talking about the sandy hook massacre pictures
This post is, perhaps, a bit more of a rant than most. So . . . enjoy.

The horrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut was a national tragedy.

I think that that is one thing on which most of us can agree. I will not regurgitate the upsetting details here. Because I want to talk about the response to the shooting—the things on which we do not all agree.

A lot of people are blaming the lack of access to mental health services in many places in the US.

A lot of people are blaming the easy access to guns throughout the US.

There are some loony people who are blaming outlandish things. I mean, for one thing, the idea that prayer being “banned” from schools is responsible for the shooting would be an absurd and, frankly, insulting concept even if prayer were banned in schools. But, I mean, it is not. I went to public school. Some students pray before they eat their food at lunch. My high school did not, to my knowledge, have an Abstinence Club, but there was a Fellowship Of Christian Athletes and they certainly prayed. I know that students might pray fervently and silently before, during, and after taking particularly important tests. Some students pray during the raising of the flag in the morning, though for the life of me I have no idea which school club or what is responsible for doing that.

What people complain about being banned is mandatory prayer in schools. And people complain about exclusive prayer in schools. When you go to a friend’s house and his or her family prays before a meal, it is polite to remain silent as it happens and to wait before you eat and perhaps to hold hands—depending upon the customs of your friend’s family. That’s called being polite, and you are at a friend’s house of your own volition. School is a very different situation. No mandatory, teacher-led, or student-let classroom prayer could ever be “non-denominational” enough to not exclude at least some of the religious students. And, oh by the way, not all students are religious at all. There is no need to bully students of minorities (or majorities) by excluding them. Formal and informal student-groups and afterschool clubs are more than sufficient for any student religious group.

I have even heard some proponents of “bringing prayer back to our schools” speak as if those students (and parents) who object to institutional prayer in schools are invading parties. That is not the case. Even if that mattered, I know that my family has been in this particular county of this particular state since before the Civil War. We have not invaded anywhere recently.

Interestingly, Mike Huckabee and the Westboro Baptist Church (that’s the “God Hates Fags” group) seem to have similar views on the shooting. Mike Huckabee has blamed “taxpayer-funded abortion pills” (his concept of reality is a little shaky) and other signs of the US having laws differing from those of conservative Christianity for the shooting. The Westboro Baptist Church (that’s Fred Phelps’ thing and, oh by the way, he is …

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Hanky Panky Allegations Catching Up With Herman Cain?

Photo of Herman Cain with Hands Spread

It kind of goes without saying that, whenever a politician starts to gain celebrity status, the skeletons start rattling out of the closets.  Sometimes it makes a difference, other times it doesn’t seem to matter much at all (Bill Clinton pops up in my mind here).

Allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of a Republican presidential candidate, particularly given the current political climate, are problematic, though.

Okay, I get really pissed off on a personal level when accusations of sexual hanky panky running the gamut from verbal harassment to rape are ignored.  That being said, though, I realize that there are some truly horrible women that play that card for all it’s worth (which, in my opinion, makes them almost as bad as sexual predators since they’ve in large part caused the automatic assumption of lies on the part of actual victims).

But back to Herman Cain, who’s the latest to fall under the almost par-for-the-course accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior …

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