Jason Isaacs and Free Speech

I have previously discussed the phenomenon of people who don’t believe that celebrities are allowed to have opinions. Any political comment, whether it is in an interview or on social media, is derided as inappropriate and a breach of some supposed social contract.

I don’t despite this mindset simply because it has resulted in some actors I like being vehemently criticized. I despise this mindset because of the inherent hypocrisy in it.

The most recent example I will use is a tweet I came across from Jason Isaacs, who expertly called out a Star Trek fan who said his political views are alienating the Star Trek Fan base.

 

So here we see a fan who feels like Jason Isaac’s political views are affecting “the fan base”, which we can translate to “me”. This fan is not speaking out on behalf of others, he is speaking out on behalf of himself. Isaacs previously criticized Trump via tweets and retweets of anti-Trump videos, so this *whitegenocide believer felt the need to call Isaacs out. It is obvious that someone who repeatedly uses the hashtag #whitegenocide doesn’t believe in the value of diversity and is likely to support the President who said Mexico “doesn’t send its best” to America and who also wants to keep Muslims out. So, instead of saying that he disagrees with Isaac’s political views, this twitter user simply tries to say that entertainers as a whole are not allowed to express political opinions.

It looks like @Eye_of_Empire has deleted some of the tweets in the thread since, but his original response to Isaacs appealed to the principle of free speech. So after criticizing someone for exercising their free speech, this user says his comment is appropriate because it was his legal right. Isaacs has that legal right too. Fine, maybe you want to argue that Isaacs is an actor so it is different. It shouldn’t be. Actors are real people too, with their own fears, values and political beliefs.

The real question here is if @Eye_of_Empire would be as upset with Jason Isaacs if Isaacs repeatedly proclaimed his love for Trump and his belief in White Genocide. I doubt that would bother @Eye_of_Empire as much. The idea that actors shouldn’t have opinions is a smokescreen for “actors shouldn’t express views different from mine”. If I disagree with an actor’s political views I say that I disagree, I don’t pretend like my anger is about the principle of actors discussing politics.

I was tempted to pursue another topic for this post but I decided to continue with this one because the irony is a godsend. Diversity and acceptance have always been themes of Star Trek, where people of different races (human and alien) look past their differences and work together. Star Trek even has the distinction of having tv’s first interracial kiss between Uhura and Captain Kirk in 1968. So we have this apparent longtime fan of the show who is disgusted by an actor who speaks out against the bigot in Chief. Welcome to America.

Taboo: Episode One Thoughts

Tom Hardy first came to my attention from his performance in Inception, where he nearly stole the show from Leonardo DiCaprio with far fewer lines and less screen time. Inception was followed by Warrior, Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, The Drop, Legend and The Revenant. I didn’t like Hardy’s performance in The Revenant as much as the critics did, mainly due to the accent he used in that film, but it hasn’t tainted my perception of Hardy as a whole.

Although I don’t watch television shows on television that much (mostly online through kodi or Netflix) I often get some exposure through my uncle’s religious television watching. Back in December, I caught the tv spots for Taboo and decided that I would watch it as soon as I saw Tom Hardy. Ridley Scott co- producing is only icing on the cake. The tv spots didn’t give away much of the plot, instead only offering cryptic lines and haunting imagery.

Some online chatter speculated that Tom Hardy’s venture into television was a step down in his acting career. These people have obviously missed out on the fact that respected and talented actors such as Kevin Spacey, Matthew McConaughey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have all starred in television. Aside from starring in Taboo, Hardy is also co-producing, which will give him valuable experience in a different department of film-making.

Taboo follows James Delaney (Tom Hardy), who returns to England after his father’s death. Presumed dead, James is the sole heir listed in his father’s will. Chief among these possessions is a highly coveted island that the East India Trading Company and the American government want for their own profit. Unwilling to acquiesce, Delaney begins his mission to establish his own shipping empire.

I know the show has been described as a slow build, but I did not find the first episode to be as slow as the first episode of  True Detective. My patience was well rewarded with the first season of that show and the first episode of Taboo left me eager for more. The show does a great job with establishing a captivating atmosphere, with dark cinematography and visuals that are sometimes reminiscent of Hannibal.

Delaney initially comes across as a man of few words, but Hardy still manages to exude a powerful presence on screen. He is enigmatic and intimidating. He has was in Africa for years before he returned to England and rumours follow him. Our introduction to the character is especially intriguing because the show has not revealed much about Delaney’s past at this point. The tv spots gave us glimpses of a supernatural element in the show, which could be hallucinations for all we know. The first episode already gave us a scene where Delaney is confronted by his involvement in slavery, personified by a hulking black figure that he has to verbally subdue. Or maybe some of these rumours circulating about witchcraft are true. Especially since Delaney gives us hints that he “knows about the dead”.

Delaney is also confronted by the past, in the form of his half-sister (Oona Chaplin). It is implied that their relationship may extend beyond typical family boundaries, and online articles appear to confirm what I expected. It seems that this show, co-written by Hardy’s dad, is not afraid of approaching its namesake.

Although Delaney is the most captivating character at this point, he is also supported ably by the rest of the cast. Most notable among them is Jonathan Pryce as Sir Stuart Strange, Chairman of the East India Company.  Pryce is no longer The High Sparrow, motivated by a desire for moral purity. Strange seeks power and wealth, and views Delaney as another pawn that needs to be eliminated to obtain more of it.

I could delve further into what this first episode offers, but I feel like if you want to know more, you should just watch the show.

 

Updates

Hello everyone,

Likely won’t be posting again until Monday so I thought I would wrap up this week with some updates.

Firstly, analytics are now installed and they reveal that my instagram accounts and other social media have barely helped to increase readership. I got caught in the trap of assuming that vanity metrics (followers, retweets etc.) equaled engagement. If you are a reader or a user who has joined through social media, it is much appreciated.

There are times when I have tweeted a link to an article and assumed that everyone who liked the post must have read it. Checking the amount of “link clicks” then makes it clear that some people just liked the tweet and ignored the link. Maybe a certain word caught their attention. I had one post that criticized girls who “like hockey players“. It seems like a bunch of girls just saw the words “hockey players” and thought “I like hockey players!” before liking the tweet.

Although my dream is to make a living writing full-time my more practical career goal is to become involved in public relations. PR emphasizes the importance of social media for increasing visits to a website and increased engagement. Although there are many successful examples of this, it appears that I need to take my own website as an object lesson of a social media campaign that has yielded poor results. I’m going to have to look into the steps I need to take to convert more twitter followers and Instagram users into readers of the website. It is great to have an audience on other platforms, but my original goal was to create one large audience instead of multiple, splintered ones.

On to less depressing material… I finished reading 100 Bullets and will be writing a short review for comicommand over the weekend.  I am currently reading Preacher and the first five issues already have me hooked. I might check out the tv show afterwards.

For those reading this, have a great weekend.

Def Jam Poetry- My First Great Inspiration

Yesterday, I reposted a small excerpt from Gemini’s “Penny For Your Thoughts” on my writing instagram, @wmoviegrapevine. Since I am currently occupied trying to get an academic journal article published, I have been doing less writing for my second novel. However, I am also at a roadblock for my second novel, in terms of where to continue with the story. I have about 50,000 words at the moment but need another 30,000 for the novel to be an acceptable length for science-fiction. As I tried to brainstorm and dig myself out of this rut, my mind drifted back to what motivated me to write initially. I have been writing fiction since I was ten (not saying it was good, or is good), but I started taking writing much more seriously during Grade 12 in my writer’s craft class.

By this time I had finished a rough draft of my first novel, Elseworld, but had it sitting for years: not editing, or trying to get it published. My teacher shared def jam poetry with us and I began working on Elseworld again the next day.

 

This is the first piece I can remember seeing, and many more came after that. We were seeing people share brilliant work in front of an audience, but not for any real fame or glamour. Their lyrics aren’t in a song playing on 106& Park. They did it for the love of the craft. This is one of the most important lessons I keep coming back to. Sometimes it is discouraging to keep writing. After years of trying I have no published work and for all I know, 0 people read my average blog post. However, I realize I have to keep writing for myself. To maintain and sharpen my skills. To keep creative juices flowing and maybe even to show a prospective publisher that I am not just another person who wants to be a writer but doesn’t want to put the work in.

That was my attitude when I convinced my mom to buy me a guitar when I was in grade eight. I started listening to rock music religiously that year, Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Kaiser Chiefs etc. I wanted to be like the people on my ipod (2005, I’m getting old). Once I got the guitar I had no patience to learn slowly. I thought I’d pick it up and be playing solos in a few weeks. Frankly, I was a stupid kid seeking glory without hard work. Now, I have picked up the guitar again and still struggle to practice sometimes. Lessons are probably one of the only things pushing me to practice at the moment, since I want to show improvement when I go in week after week. Of course, my mom does not want me to sell the guitar, and I feel like that would be a betrayal at this point. I made my bed and I must now lie in it, pushing myself to tackle a chore.

I may be struggling to finish my second book now, but I know I’ll never struggle like I have with the guitar. Writing can be a lot to manage at times, but I do love the thrill of creating my characters, my world and pulling the strings. I do hope that I can one day make a living doing this, and I will work towards that goal. If not, I’ll keep doing it anyway. I might be the person in the retirement home telling nurses about his dreams, but I know I will never regret the pursuit of my dream.