(in response to this)
If it were in your power, would you feature a white cis male character as a lead, or do you think that that would be putting too much on the writing team’s shoulders? As someone who is highly involved in the game industry, do you think there would be a backlash from the industry or fans if a white cis male character was a lead? Is video game culture ready for a white cis male companion? — venak-hol
No, I don’t think video game culture is ready for white cis male characters— not as major plot characters, and certainly not as a lead. It’s not ready for major characters that are middle or upper class, either. Heck, it’s barely ready for ones which are straight.
“This search will bring you down hard…on your two knees.
Face in the dirt.”
There are plenty of non-feminist reasons to watch Top of the Lake. The writing is great. The acting is excellent. It’s gorgeous, full of huge sweeping shots of New Zealand wilderness.
It feels at once realistic and weird, weird in the way real life is (media is often duller than real life because our definition of realism is boring, not real). Each scene is so dense with atmosphere and meaning that watching a single episode almost feels like finishing a film.
It’s also a deliberately feminist show about rape culture and patriarchy and strong female characters.
(I’d honestly recommend just watching it with no prior knowledge like I did, although the following doesn’t contain major spoilers if you still need to be sold. Should be on Netflix.)
The main character is Robin (played by Elisabeth Moss), a detective. She’s in search of Tui, a 12 year old girl who got pregnant then disappeared somewhere into the wild.
This search takes place in her old home town, where she leads an investigation by the local police (they needed someone trained to deal with child sexual assault). This town is dwarfed by nature–houses scattered like pebbles along the rim of vast Lake Wakatipu, everything in the shadow of mountains.
Over the course of the first episode, we realize she’s descended into a hive of patriarchy.
This shot is highly representative of the show’s dynamics.
Top of the Lake emphasizes the tenuous patience of men with women. In life, when a woman speaks plainly with men, I cringe, wondering when they’re going to invoke their lazy power and make her shut up.
Robin speaks with the focus of a tightrope walker. If she falters the men will walk all over her, and she will lose her voice. She has to actively maintain her surroundings or things fall apart. She leaves a meeting for a minute to correct a racist police officer and everyone slowly trickles from the room.
She sees men. She clocks them. We are held to her steely gaze that never falters even when her lips are smiling.
Chilled light orb resting on silk cushion in misty chamber
Glazed fire orb grasped by ink wet hands, steam of language
Citrus vanilla sorbet with holy orb sprinkles and curse syrup
Empyrean portal nectar in acorn cups
Mermaid flesh chilled with rice vinegar and wasabi
Salamander tongue dipped in creamy sriracha sauce, basilisk egg brushed with aioli, medusa sprouts splashed with ranch
finch kay interviewed me for the New Inquiry which is a really great magazine. fatima al qadiri and leigh alexander are in there as well! if you dont know fatima, shes a versatile musician/artist who survived the gulf war and made an alternate soundtrack for a game about the gulf war and i like her music!!
i think i repeat myself in some places for the benefit of a non-games audience, but im real happy to be in a non-games space, id love more bleed between zones. i did the interview in a state of vomit-weakened delirium, sitting in my backyard under the grapefruit tree as a recorder recorded my voice, which sounded like death.
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