What's next for the geniuses behind the "lady-folks and jocks" model of human interest?
When I learned that Game of Thrones alum David Benioff co-wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine–the movie that portrayed the 4th-wall-breaking antihero Deadpool as a skinhead with his mouth sewn shut–it made a lot of sense.
After all, Benioff and his GOT co-showrunner D.B. Weiss have a proven knack for treating beloved franchises like sh*t.
Finally breaking their silence after the overwhelmingly negative fan reception to the Game of Thrones series finale, Benioff & Weiss participated in a, quite frankly, baffling panel at Austin Film Festival. One Twitter user live-tweeted the discussion, wherein Benioff & Weiss almost seemed to brag about how inexperienced they were going into the project and how little respect they showed to the source material.
Highlights include Benioff & Weiss removing fantasy elements from the...you know...fantasy series in order to better appeal to "mothers" and "NFL players."
Dan wanted to remove as many fantasy elements as possible bc “we didn’t just want to appeal to that type of fan.” T… https://t.co/pHFQ8GmMIk— Needle & Pen (@Needle & Pen)1572122516.0
Then, right after revealing their ingenious "lady-folks and jocks" model of human interest, Benioff and Weiss abandoned the massive Star Wars project they were planning to helm in favor of their massive two million dollar deal at Netflix. But while this is certainly a boon for Star Wars fans, whose beloved franchise is now safe from the dull-blade hands of the two biggest hacks in Hollywood, it begs the question: What other franchises are now at risk of being destroyed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss?
The Legend of Zelda
There have long been rumors that beloved Nintendo franchise, The Legend of Zelda, will be adapted for Netflix by Castlevania producer Adi Shankar. And while not everyone loves the idea of Zelda getting turned into a TV show by anyone, Castlevania is an incredibly promising example of a great animated adaptation of a great video game franchise.
But the problem with rumors is that they're unconfirmed, so here's a worst case scenario that still exists within the distinct realm of possibility:
Netflix really is putting out a show based on The Legend of Zelda, but it's being run by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Worst of all, Benioff and Weiss subscribe to a particularly venomous brand of awful whereby their work initially seems great and competent, only to sh*t all over itself halfway through once you're already invested. In other words, Benioff and Weiss aim to truly waste your time, getting you excited and then crushing all your hopes and dreams with terrible writing and ridiculous plotting.
Their Zelda adaptation would probably follow Link and Zelda as they wage battle against the evil Ganondorf in order to save Hyrule. We'd spend the first half of the story experiencing Link and Zelda's growth as characters, juxtaposed with Ganondorf's descent into madness as he's built up into an unstoppable foe. Then, halfway through, Ganondorf would get anticlimactically murdered by Tingle, who would then become the God-Emperor of Hyrule, much to everyone's chagrin. The next four seasons would follow Tingle as he romances Epona the horse and opens a pie shop. Benioff and Weiss would probably think this was a good idea, because there are too many Zelda games for them to properly draw themes from, and "a man in spandex having sex with a horse" would probably really speak to them on a visceral level.
In a lot of ways, the beloved anime/manga series Naruto is right up Benioff and Weiss' alley: It's an epic saga spanning many years (and even generations), it has a rich lore full of deep characters and tactical battles, and best of all, Naruto is full of things that, if done incorrectly, could turn the story into an absolute trainwreck––the ol' Benioff and Weiss specialty.
In their version of Naruto, just like in the original, we would meet our plucky ninja hero as a young boy. The first season would follow him through Ninja school and his first few missions, his rivalry with Sasuke, his unrequited love for Sakura, and finally his confrontation with the mysterious killer assassin Zabuza and the real world of ninjas––a world full of violence and bloodshed.
Except in the Benioff and Weiss telling, subsequent seasons would shift perspective to a singing ninja (a bard, if you will) played by Ed Sheeran, who travels the ninja world showing his genitals to townsfolk and sometimes using ninjutsu to molest the women. That would be it. No more Naruto becoming a ninja; this isn't about Naruto. What, the fans wanted Naruto? Sorry, this is meant to appeal to a more general audience, namely "sexual predators." Benioff and Weiss won't be reading the Internet comments either, because what the fans want doesn't matter and they'd rather not have their feelings hurt.
20th Century Fox
What if: PSYCHE! Benioff and Weiss really are coming back to Star Wars; they just made you think they weren't, so you wouldn't be mad.
Imagine it's time for the new Star Wars movie, and oh boy, you nerds better be prepared for some crazy lightsaber action. Benioff and Weiss' Star Wars introduces us to a brand new Sith Lord, Darth Phallus, who uses his evil force powers to forcibly have sex with Stormtroopers during every exposition scene. This is because Benioff and Weiss aren't very good writers, and they hope that watching Darth Phallus assault Stormtroopers will make their shoddy dialogue seem edgy or something. But it's not, and there are no battles. This is just three 2-hour movies dedicated to an unhinged man raping Stormtroppers. Eat your hearts out, Star Wars fans, Benioff and Weiss are back!
But for now, the pair have wisely stepped away to focus on their deal with Netflix. Beware.
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Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.