Category Archives: Entertainment

#MuslimGirlArmy: angry white nerds and Star Wars diversity

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So I realized I don’t really post on my blog when one of my articles goes up on MuslimGirl.net. It’s a great site started by a dear friend, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, that has become the 3rd largest blog for Muslims (last I heard) and is one of the biggest Muslim startups to keep an eye out for.

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My latest post was on the #BoycottStarWarsVII movement on Twitter, dubbing the slightly more diverse main cast as an act of “white genocide”. Yep, you read that right.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the world of science fiction and fantasy, many have made the point that racial diversity being unrealistic is ridiculous. But that’s the point. These white boys turn to Star Wars for fantasy. With people of color in the background, if even existent, and women serving to please rather than fight is their fantasy. How dare anyone disrupt that?

Check out the full article at the link above. You can check out more of my articles on MuslimGirl here. I’ll be sure to keep updating as I write more there.

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Our secret’s out: us American wizards don’t use the word ‘Muggle’

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While my mother always bemoaned my unseemly (by her standards) obsession with Harry Potter growing up, my dad absolutely enabled it. I still remember when he first bought me my copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I truly delighted in the hilarious annotations by Harry and Ron, and I read it so much that my copy is currently quite tattered. (It’s lying somewhere in my basement among a bunch of boxes, safe from me, but I must dig it out again.) For anyone who doesn’t know, 1) where the hell have you been?? 2) Fantastic Beasts is a required textbook at Hogwarts, which J.K. Rowling took the time to write and publish for a charity back in 2001. It’s now being made into a film, much to the delight of Potterheads everywhere.

Just tried digging through my basement and library, and my copy is nowhere to be found... but it's about as old and shabby as this copy of Sorcerer's Stone-- the book in Harry is first assigned the text.

Just tried digging through my basement and library, and my copy is nowhere to be found… but it’s about as old and shabby as this copy of Sorcerer’s Stone– the book in which Harry is first assigned the text.

Yesterday, I managed a glimpse of a poster for the upcoming film and noticed that in the corner it read, “Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours…”

What?!?!

What I hadn’t realized, as I’ve been in a bit of a shell and not really keeping up with all of my obsessions the way I used to, is that the story is set in New York City. Apparently, Jo had sent out a cryptic tweet last year (which I saw) and a fan eventually managed to decipher that it was an anagram for this exact tag line (that update I missed.)

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a nut I am for Manhattan. It’s a city that’s been one of the few constants in my life, and it’s the world hub of media and everything a Karachi-born girl could hope for this side of the globe. My mother believes I make excuses to go to the city to see my fiancé, when it’s really quite the other way around. The fact that we’re going to see a Wizarding World story set in 1920s New York has me positively jittering.

But of course, Jo has to do it to us all over again.

In her typical wonderful way of seriously fleshing out the worlds she creates, Ms. Rowling has dropped the knowledge on the world that Americans don’t use the word Muggle, as we have our own slang for non-magical folks, thank you very much. We say No-Maj.

It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The British and American lexicons are so different in the non-magical world, why wouldn’t it be the same for wizards and witches? Of course, a lot of fans are a bit upset about this revelation. To be honest, I think some of them just want to use “muggle” because it’s the cool, British term. Either way, I’m seriously excited to see what else will be revealed about the Yanks of the Wizarding World! What do you all think?

Extra Thoughts:

  • Fun fact: (SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t read the books!) Newt Scamander later has a grandson, Rolf Scamander. A magizoologist in his own right, Rolf goes on to marry our very own Luna Lovegood! (Sorry Luna/Neville shippers!)
  • Doesn’t no-maj sound a bit derogatory? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s meant to be– muggle-borns and muggles are probably treated a lot worse in the U.S. Perhaps there’s a movement to get rid of its use, like with other slurs.
  • What’s the word for “muggle/no-maj” in other languages?
  • Colin Farrell and Jon Voight have reportedly signed on. What other big actors are we going to get? Would love to see some big U.S. names going forward!
  • Why’s the cast of Fantastic Beasts so white? I mean… it’s in New York.
  • When will Jo Rowling come around on the Palestine BDS issue? (I haven’t forgotten… Still wrapping my head around it/crying about it, so I haven’t written anything.)
  • Can I convince my dad to take me to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
  • What are some classy ways to do a Harry Potter-themed wedding? I’m asking for a friend.

Oy with the poodles already!

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Is it unprofessional to write an entire blog post in all-caps? If so, I DON’T CARE BECAUSE THEY’RE THINKING ABOUT BRINGING GILMORE GIRLS BACK!

One of the biggest crimes in TV was The CW letting go of Amy Sherman-Palladino as a writer for Gilmore Girls. GG was her baby. GG sucked without her, as evidenced by the klaüsterfökken that was season 7. Could it be that we can retcon that entire debacle?

The revival will be on Netflix (I swear, the good that Netflix has done in this world… it’s like the cotton gin or J.K. Rowling or the iPhone), and it will be four 90-minute movies, rather than a series, according to Variety. Of course, these rumors have always gone around, but this sounds more serious than before.

Gilmore Girls is my all-time favorite TV show. However, lately I’ve been reflecting on how damn white it was. I mean, the color representation was the kind of racist and just-plain-not-accurate story line of Lane and her mother Mrs. Kim… Oh, and Michel, who was more French than anything.

Maybe Gilmore Girls will come back 9 years later with more color? Maybe it’ll come back with more Jess? (I still think he was end game, and Milo Ventimiglia screwed it up by not taking the 8-year contract). Maybe April will never have existed? What do you guys think? (Crickets as no one reads this anymore…)

We’ll see. Copper boom, Netflix!

Tell me a story; HIMYM’s season 7 finale

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I’m three days late, but give me a break. Procrastination. It’s happened to you too.

How I Met Your Mother‘s 7th season ended Monday night, and if you haven’t watched every single episode up until then do not read past this paragraph. Get off my blog, get off whatever else you’re doing and go watch all of it and then come back. Seasons 1-6 are on Netflix. Yes, even if you don’t want to.  This show is hands down my all-time favorite.  The writing is absolute genius and it’s a comedy with a purpose, with an actual story to which we seek an end (even though part of us never wants to see that day come).  Everyone I know who’s watched it, getting past the first half of Season 1 without missing an episode, has not been able to resist, falling in love harder and faster than Ted Mosby with anyone of his countless girlfriends. Well, almost.

Alright, as for those of you who watched Monday night’s two-part finale (because the rest of you should be off watching), I loved it.  I personally didn’t get to watch until the next day, but as they say, worth the wait.  So much was going on, I’m kind of having difficulty organizing my thoughts, so bear with me and add your own in the comments at the bottom!

The Baby Erikson storyline:

  • Immediately after the episode in which the gang attended Marshall’s father’s funeral, I said that they would end up naming their son after him. Or maybe I said that in the Season 6 finale when Lily found out she was pregnant. Either way, called it. Bragging rights.  Although, for some reason, when Ted and Robin kept making fun of the “old man” name, I half-expected Lily to change her mind. But then again these are the same guys who are naming their kid Marvin Waitforit Erikson.
  • The middle name. Was that great or what? You totally expected at least Lily, if not Marshall, to say “Barney, that’s stupid”. Figures that the one time they listen to one of Barney’s ideas, it’s when they’re naming their KID.
  • Marshall getting there just in time was so perfect and so him.  You just can’t see him ever letting any of his loved ones down, let alone Lily.  And it was sweet to see Barney talk about how much he appreciates that in his friend to the bus driver. Anyone else love that all the old people faked heart attacks for him? What goes around comes around.
  • Lily’s dad is starting to grow on me.  Her relationship with him is still pretty dysfunctional, but you can see him growing up (finally) and starting to be there in his own inappropriate but well-meaning way.  He may be Marv’s only grandpa, but I don’t think he’ll be so bad.
  • LAME’s reaction upon realizing that their baby’s first outing was to a pub.  Interesting and clever way to introduce an issue they’ll be facing next season: what’s going to happen to them hanging and drinking with their friends now that they’re parents?

The Barman/Robin/Harley Quinn storyline:

  • Once again, bragging rights.  While everyone was discussing once we met Quinn whether it would be Robin or her that Barney marries (no one I know really thought it’d be Nora or some mystery girl), I threw my theory to a few people.  I said that in the season finale we’d see Barney proposing to Quinn and then at the end, we’d see that he’s marrying Robin. Boom. Dramatic effect. We’d all be like BUT HE’S ENGAGED TO QUINN?!?! I’m so good. I think it’s the writer in me; I tend to predict twists in movies, books and shows before they happen, because that’s what I’d do.  Not that I’m saying I’m as good as Carter & Craig. No way. But that just would have been good writing, and it was.  Those guys never fail to deliver.
  • It was also quite obvious, and I’m sure it was to most, as soon as they took hold of Barney’s suitcase at the airport that he was going to propose. And as things got more crazy, it became more obvious for two reasons. 1) A lot of the stuff Barney does would have any airport security shoot him or tackle him to the ground, and while HIMYM fans are often asked to suspend disbelief, it’s never in such a ‘okay, seriously?’ kind of way. 2) Barney isn’t stupid, and he’s a businessman.  He’s traveled a lot, and as far as we know, he could have gone to MIT. As very subtly hinted thus far, he’s a lot smarter than he acts, and so I just knew he was up to something.
  • Barney and Robin are not a horrible couple.  A significant amount of people think so.  They were just both horrible at being in couples at the time they were together.  I personally feel that’s why the writers broke them up and put them with other people.  Barney needed to date Nora to finally figure out how to have a functional, healthy relationship.  Ditto for Robin with Don.  Barney also needed to be with Quinn to finally learn to want to commit for life.  Ditto for Robin with Kevin.  Since Season 1, these two have been the most dysfunctional and immature of the group, and they’ve had a lot of growing up to do.  Craig & Carter don’t let any of these guys get where they need to be until they’re ready.  Robin and Barney, it seems, are closer to being ready to becoming Robin & the Barman than ever before.

The Ted and the One That Got Away storyline:

  • I’m furious with Ted.  He’s getting desperate and, as always, it isn’t pretty.  This is even more upsetting than his declaration of love for Robin this season.  The most infuriating thing about all of it is, of course, that it’s happened to him before. Victoria is doing to Klaus exactly what Stella did to him, and he’s doing to Klaus exactly what Tony did to him.  Ted even said to Tony that he was over Stella because what kind of person would do what she did to him…. leading Tony to leave Stella temporarily because, well, it’s a solid point.  And yet, Ted, it looks like Victoria is also that kind of person.  What are you thinking?!
  • Another thing I can’t help but point out is that Ted only dated Victoria for two months whereas she’s been with Klaus for six years.  She’s just having wedding jitters, and neither of them is in a state to be able to see that.  They don’t really know each other as much as they think they do, especially since it’s been six years.  Once again, Ted takes the leap he shouldn’t be.
  • It should also be noted that Ted is doing this on the advice of Robin. Robin. Who can’t even get her own love life right, let alone be qualified to advise anyone else. The girl’s a train wreck and she feels guilty for breaking his heart, she’ll say anything to get something to happen that will make her feel better.
  • I also disagree with Robin when she says he keeps going for girls that he knows he has no chance with.  He honestly thought he did.  With Robin, he was young, stupid, and probably felt he could change her mind.  With Stella, she lied to him and herself, so what chance did he have?  And as for Zoey, every guy has that one b*tch he goes after that he just can’t see through unlike everyone else around him… They had a lot in common, and I believe that she really was already distancing herself from her husband when she met Ted, and he felt that too.
  • According to Craig Thomas, the first episode of Season 8 will bring us back to the car ride with Ted and Victoria, and Ted’s gonna ask her if she left Klaus a note like Stella did for him.  Upon discovering that Klaus was not left any such note, he turns the car back around.  I can see where that’s going.  Most likely something along the lines of her writing the note and either her or Ted realizing how much she truly loves Klaus, leading her to run back into the German’s arms. And I kind of suspect we’re gonna get a big hint right after in regards to the Mother or something’s gonna happen bringing him closer to meeting her. I mean, after all, they gotta give us something after putting us through this Robin/Victoria torture, right?
  • As annoying as it is, I get the Victoria storyline.  It needs to happen, just as it did with Robin.  Victoria is his “what if”, and he needs to let that go in order to be ready to become what he will with the Mother.  I believe in true love and there being only one person who’s really truly made for you.  The writers are having Ted let everything else go and proving to him that it is in no way Robin or Victoria or anyone else.  There’s only one girl out there who’s truly his soulmate, and she’s getting here as fast as she can.

The Mother:

  • We haven’t met the Mother.  It isn’t Robin, and that fact has been established since the very first episode.  It will not be Victoria, because we know he meets her at a wedding… And yes, Barney and Robin’s wedding.  A significant amount of people believe it’s Robin and some believe it’s Victoria. They aren’t giving the writer’s credit: they’re good.  They don’t pull switches and red herrings on us unless it’s really well done, and doing that with Robin or Victoria would be in really bad taste.
  • I’m in the party that thinks it’s Barney’s half sister, Carly. The only thing that tells it might not be is back when Ted pulled that joke on his kids that he met their mother while she was a stripper at the Lusty Leopard, in which, he said her name was Tracey.  But the Mother being Barney’s sister would give it more of an OMG factor. Plus, why would the writers even have Barney’s dad mention that he has a sister if we don’t meet her?  He said “college” but he could have easily meant post-grad, and how great would it be for Ted to get back at Barney for life over all the I’m-gonna-bang-your-sister jokes?
  • Craig Thomas has stated that there’s a reason the pilot episode was the story of how the gang met Robin.  Keep in mind that the show is, in fact, called How I Met Your Mother.  Robin is key.  If Ted had never met and dated Robin, he would never have broken up with her, gotten jealous of her and Enrique Iglesias, and gotten drunk with Mandy Moore, ending up with the butterfly tattoo on his lower back.  If he’d never gotten the tattoo, he would have never met Stella.  If he had never met and nearly married Stella, Tony would have never felt guilty for breaking up the wedding and never offered to help him get the job at Columbia.  If Ted never got the job at Columbia, he would have never accidentally been in that Economics class where the Mother was nor would he have met and dated Rachel Bilson, the mother’s roommate, and seen the mother’s ankle or returned her yellow umbrella.  That yellow umbrella is it, my friends.  Ted even said it’s the short version, the version his kids already know.  I don’t know if anyone else remembers, but the day of Barney and Robin’s wedding it starts to rain, and Ted tells Marshall he forgot an umbrella….

Extra Thoughts:

  • This show kicks ass at continuity and cohesiveness.  At the end of Season 5, episode 11 “The Last Cigarette Ever”, Ted told his kids the dates of every single one of the gang’s actual last cigarettes ever, and said that Marshall’s was on the day his son was born.  Sure enough and without mention, you see Marshall smoking in Atlantic City in this episode.  Even more subtle, when Robin keeps talking about all the deliveries she’s done, she mentions she even delivered a human baby once.  Anyone else remember the episode where Ted finds out Lily’s been sabotaging all of his past relationships and you can see Robin having a really eventful day at her broadcast job in the background, delivering a baby on live television?  She comes home with placenta on her jacket.  I could come up with a hundred examples of this throughout the seasons and extremely subtle ones between and within episodes. This is writing at its genius best, folks.
  • Marshall’s two steps while drunk. Simply great comedy.
  • Marshall and Lily are very respectfully too busy for Ted’s love life BS at this point.  Their request for “nothing below an 8” was hilarious.
  • “That guy’s a dad!”
  • Robin: “That was not cool, Ted.”
    Lily (in labor): “CONTRACTION!”
    Robin: “That wasn’t cool, Ted?”
  • Dr. Sonya:  “Lily, if you don’t push, I will shove this baby up your throat and pull it out of your mouth!” This season’s really been paying off perfectly on all the flash forwards we’ve seen.
  • lilysinlabor.com Yes, it’s real.  Every time they feature any kind of website on this show, it’s real. And it’s glorious.
  • I’m coming to absolutely adore Jason Segel.  I saw The Five-Year Engagement a couple weeks back and realized it then, but it really hit me when Marshall and Ted were standing outside the bride’s room and his acting in this simple exchange turns out to be superb:
    Ted: “The road to this day has had a few twists and turns, hasn’t it?”
    Marshall: “In a way, it all makes sense, doesn’t it?”
  • And yes, of course, the stories Ted and Robin tell Lily to distract her from the pains of labor.  Even the smallest things in HIMYM, although they seem like they’re just filler, they show us a lot about the characters and subtly get us to know them better… They’re the reason we feel like these guys are our good friends seven seasons later.  My personal favorites were I Wonder Where That Door Goes? and The Halloween We Decided to Go as the Breakfast Club, But Failed to Coordinate Our Costumes.  God, I want to be as good of a writer as the guys that work on this show.

Season Eight:

  • We’ll meet her.  We know it.  And I’m thinking/hoping we’ll see her sooner than later… Maybe during November sweeps?
  • Farewell, Bob Saget.  This was the last episode with his voice as narrator.  Next season we’ll be awkwardly transitioning into hearing Josh Radnor’s voice, as we’re getting closer to meeting the mother and will eventually have to see 2030 Ted talking to his kids.
  • Apparently there’s going to be a significant story arc with Robin and another guy… Maybe someone she needs to be with in order to realize she’s supposed to be with Barney?  Something I read somewhere made me think it’s someone we’ve already seen her with.  Don, maybe?  She didn’t exactly get total closure on that one.
  • How exactly are the writers going to get rid of Quinn?  They really have to spin this story right or it’ll just be horrible and heart-breaking. Maybe she finds someone else and leaves him?
  • Robin should propose to Barney.  It seems fitting because she’s “her own daddy” and she did kind of screw things up last time.
  • Less filler episodes, please.  There were too many this season, and it became unbearable at some points.
  • We’re moving into the house! Ted’s house! I just know we are!
  • I miss Robin Sparkles.
  • theslapbetcountdown.com I calculated. This should be happening end of Season 8, maybe the finale.  Can’t wait.

Alright well, I’ve ranted far too long and too much.  Comments, questions, rebuttals, ideas are all welcome so post below and help me get through the summer!  I’ll be spending mine speculating and trying to convince my best friend to change his middle name to Waitforit upon receiving his citizenship in a couple of years.

 
Ab imo pectore,
Syjil

Elmo’s dunya

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Why hello lovelies,

It’s been a pleasant week, apart from an article in the Targum that was published on Monday and which has lead me to really want to do some damage to one of the editors… I’d rather not even address it.  I might later, though.

I’m just keeping it short and simple… I posted this on Facebook (and my Twitter, I think) right when they released the info that they had this idea, and they’re finally going to run with it.

Sesame Street hits Lahore.

I love this. I’m from a family and area in Karachi where I really haven’t been exposed to the illiteracy and extreme conservatism of Pakistan, but I do know that, as my mother often says, what Pakistan needs more than anything is education. And the main Pakistani character is a girl. Love, love, love it.

Kind of wondering why Big Bird isn’t there though. Would have been nice to see him spit some Urdu.

Ab imo pectore,

Syjil.

The link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16078217

Ten thousand thundering typhoons!

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Now, some oldies may be surprised at my mentioning this, and most– if not all– readers my age will be wondering what the hell I’m talking about, but I have been waiting for this for a few years now… Since whenever it was that Spielberg announced he would be doing it.

Tintin is hitting the big-screen.

For those of you who have NO IDEA what I’m talking about… Tintin is a series of comic books by Belgian artist Georges Rémi that ran from 1907 to 1983. Tintin is a young reporter with a cute, white terrier named Snowy and sometimes accompanied by his good, grumpy friend Captain Haddock (my favorite character) and the nearly-deaf Professor Calculus… and often times having to deal with the moronic detective twins Thomson and Thompson (with a ‘p’ as in ‘Philadelphia’).

The comics are GREAT. Back when I used to spend summers with my dad, I hit up Zebulon Library in North Carolina with him a lot, and he was the one who spotted them and was immediately immersed into his childhood back in Nigeria.  And so, he passed it onto me.  I was around 8 or 9, and my dad was in his late 30s and ten years later we’d both still enjoy it (if we had the time).

But it gets better.

The movie’s in 3D. Why? Apparently so that this comic icon, this character that has lived on through the ages, can be introduced to the kids of this generation– particularly in the U.S., where Tintin hasn’t made as much of a lasting impact– in a way they’ll understand, a way they’ll be able to connect.

I think the new, younger generation is not being given enough credit.  Part of being a CHILD is using your imagination… No matter how you tell the story, as long as it’s a good one, kids will eat it up.  But hey, 3D is awesome, so I’m interested.

I highly recommend to those who haven’t read Tintin to find a copy and delve into his many hilarious and intriguing adventures.  My favorites were The Castafiore Emerald and Tintin in Tibet. And come December 21, when it hits US cinemas (come on, really, that’s so unfair… Spielberg is one of us!), join me in ranting about how the movie just didn’t compare.

Ab imo pectore,

Syjil

P.S. In case the link doesn’t work: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15371733