Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Lindsay Ellis takes on the Hobbit movies

One of my coworkers made me aware of Lindsay Ellis, YouTube-based film critic, writer, and, from what I gather, aspiring filmmaker. My coworker, who has an English degree, initially said that Ellis tends to do her criticism from a critical-theory perspective, which made me dislike her immediately. But after actually watching her takedown of "Game of Thrones," in which she uttered not a single postmodernist buzzword, I decided that Ms. Ellis was intelligent, intelligible, and witty enough to be fun to listen to. When I told my coworker that I had watched some Ellis and ended up liking her, he suggested I watch her three-part video series on Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. I've seen two of the three parts thus far; I'm slapping all three parts up on the blog for those of you who have time to watch. Ellis makes many of the same points made by the Canuck over at Just Write, but her perspective is interesting and complex. She of course throws some feminism in,* but she doesn't beat you over the head with it, and the things she has to say about women in fantasy, and about the manufactured character of Tauriel in particular, are all reasonable points that I agree with. Lindsay kind of reminds me of a plump Janeane Garofalo. Maybe it's the glasses.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Part 3 of 2 [sic]

ADDENDUM: I've watched the third video, now, and it quickly degenerates into an anti-capitalist diatribe about how large studio-corporations fuck over the little guy—in this case: noble, hard-working actors and crew who only want to be paid according to the same labor standards found in the US and the UK. I'm sympathetic to the actors and crew because I'm fairly anti-corporatist myself, but I part ways with Ellis on the question of whether this sort of corporate fuckery justifies a broad indictment of capitalism as a whole. Ellis is always welcome to put her money where her mouth is and move to a country that utterly rejects capitalism, like Venezuela, but I'm pretty sure she won't because of all the benefits that come with capitalism—benefits to which she's unwilling to give any air time. Ellis is free to be as biased as she wants in her videos, but I'm free to call her out on her bullshit.

*Because if you're not white and male, it will forever be impossible for you to see past your own aggrieved demographic. African-American studies classes are taken mostly by African Americans who end up seeing the world only through a narrowly African-American perspective; women's and feminist studies classes are taken mostly by women who end up seeing the world only through a narrowly feminine perspective, etc. Academe encourages balkanized echo chambers defined by identity politics, and postmodernism won't let us recognize a trite notion like common humanity because it's all about how Whitey uses various "power structures" to keep Non-whitey down. The one-world/one-race liberalism of John Lennon has been raped to death by PoMo academe. Behold the new liberalism.

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