Meniminism // Tyson Bley [+ movie notes]

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Meniminism

How very anachronistic porn usernames reference Heinz ketchup, cereal like electric sick in a jar, the act of crying into a dark web’s underbelly, the act of a living room mimicking Street Fighter furniture-cluster, and modern weed photosynthesis. At the edges of eyes telling the Brunch Fib, Bruce Wayne spider dregs end; at the moldy edges of a hot air balloon, before gravitational antics swallow the hunter’s own dark microbes at walking speed, the smile of a continent’s sudden goatse ends. What makes zombies dumb is interesting; customizable snow tube kidnaps the rivers of philosophy, and buy my eBook, magic ash spreadsheet rub 80s gravestone trash glow, now.

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Notes for movie version

Hey bud, I’ve read the Bley piece you sent…not sure why you bought it or why you thought it was adaptable, but as per your instructions and generous cash donation, I’ve come up with a few ideas. If it gets too political, just scrap it and stick to the basics…

Here we go…

Title – keep it the same, it’s probably strange enough to work for the market we’re targeting.

Genre – Horror? Bizarro?

Running time – anything longer than 85 minutes is gonna be a stretch. The piece is short so it gives us lots of potential directions to go in, that’s a good thing. No one’s gonna slaughter us for ruining the author’s vision, I think.

Plot?

Tough to hang anything on. Really tough. I’ve picked out a few nouns we could morph into characters, but I’m not sure exactly what they’ll be doing.

Streetfighter – get Ken or Ryu, copyright willing…

The Hunter – possible bad guy? It’s ambiguous what happens to him…gravitational antics swallow his dark microbes…is that a death scene? Not sure/doesn’t matter. Get the right director and there’s some spectacular imagery ready to shoot.

Zombies – could play a part somewhere, though the rest of the piece focuses on spider metaphors…dark web underbelly, spider dregs etc…not sure what they’re metaphors for, but we could use them.

I suppose we could just stick zombies in and not explain why? Some people like that kind of thing.

Okay, plot details…

There’s a living room, a spider’s web, a hunter and either Ken or Ryu from Streetfighter, so…

Ken/Ryu wake up in the living room with the electric cereal jar and try to find a way out…they don’t know why they’re there, they just know they need to get out somehow…so they try to find a way out of that living room, and they manage it, but there’s a spider’s web and some spiders chasing them and it turns out the web is huge, like the maze from the Shining, and Ken/Ryu run around a bit and…

Man, I really don’t know if this is sustainable for 30 minutes, let alone 85…

Love interest – it would pep it up a lot, but I can’t find any female references in the piece…

Options?

There are three, far as I can tell:

1] No love interest

2] Add Chun Li or Cammy from Streetfighter

3] Use Ken and Ryu and get them to fuck each other

Oh, and another one:

4] The Hunter falls for Ryu/Ken

Not sure which one is best. No love interest is plot suicide as it reduces a lot of the runtime to Ken/Ryu walking around on their own.

Chun Li or Cammy would get more teenage boys watching, especially if there’s time for sex [might ruin the mood of the film if there’s a safe space for them to have sex…the idea of the spider’s web is that Ken/Ryu are in an alien environment, confused and anxious, not horny…maybe a sexless relationship would work?

The third one would piss off conservatives, as would the fourth, though we wouldn’t have to explicitly show them fucking, for the same reasons they wouldn’t fuck Chun Li or Cammy i.e. there’s no safe space to have sex

Ah, how about this…

5] Scrap Ken/Ryu and use Chun Li and Cammy…show two strong women working together to get out of the spider’s web.

Make the Hunter a woman too?

It could work. They wouldn’t need to have sex, and we’d pass the Bechdel Test, therefore getting some media bite…

Problems:

When you make women the main characters, no matter how noble your intentions, you’re entering a mine field. Too masculine like Black Widow and it’s a male fantasy, too weak and it’s a male fantasy as it’s implied they need a man to rescue them, too snarky or bitter or any other negative personality trait and it’s a misogynist view of women.

The only way through I can think of is the Ripley path.

No fuck that, I’ve got a better idea.

Just get a woman to write the screenplay. That way we get authenticity and less politicising [unless it’s a militant feminist]. Get a woman to direct too…

Yeah, I know you said you promised this gig to whatshisname, but seriously, man, if you go with female main characters then you can’t let them be written by a man. It’s the male hero fantasy then…it’s like a white guy going back in time to liberate black slaves, it defeats the point, gives the white guy/male control even when doing a good thing which is exactly what the problem is in the first place…and don’t give me examples of men writing strong female characters, that’s irrelevant…I forget why, but it is…

Okay, I might be wrong about men writing strong women, there may be some, but most of the ones I can think of are male fantasy women…the female version of Rambo, Joan McClane, Jane Bond etc…

I’m aware I’m arguing with my own typing here.

Moving on…

Problem 2: from a pure market POV, if it’s all done by women, men might not watch it.

Is this even a valid perspective? I don’t know. I watched Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes at the thingy café, so I’m probably not the best person to ask, but I think it should be okay. Who knows, it might even get a few guys to see women as actual people for once…

Actually, that’s probably not true. In my experience people just don’t change their minds that easily. Remember that New Orleans guy we used to know? The one who separated black people into ‘hardworking types’ and ‘lazy types’? I fear that men who hate women do the same thing. To them, there are ‘good’ women, like the ones they know, but the rest of them are all devils. What’s the word for that? Exceptionalism?

Okay, despite all this, I’m gonna stick with making the two main characters women because a] it’s different and a selling point, and b] some of my best friends are women.

Ha, not really…I mean, yes, some of my best friends are women, but…yeah, let’s make the two main characters female. Get a female screenwriter, tell her to write from experience, no archetypes…maybe get her to play up the spider’s web as patriarchal society thing…too political?

Actually, it’s probably better if we don’t. Patriarchal just over-broadens the topic, divides people in two where not everyone is divided the same and that kind of thing is ultimately self-defeating. I mean, there are rich women out there too…

It is relative, I suppose…rich or middle class men have a privilege that rich middle class women don’t…but it just seems a little patronising to anyone not rich or middle class, doesn’t it? Reminds me of that wealthy Indian guy who slagged off Danny Boyle for filming in slums when he wasn’t born in one…

Did you know Danny Boyle was working class? Not a slum in Mumbai, yeah, but not a mansion either…

Analogy: it’s like Martin Amis writing a book about a council estate in Bermondsey just because he’s British too. Fucking bullshit. I know I get worked up about this kind of thing, but I can’t help it, it’s true. The biggest privilege is and always has been money and class. Anyone who says otherwise is probably just self-promoting.

Reading all that back, it seems kinda like I’m contradicting the thing I wrote before, the part about only women writing women…not sure if I am or not…am I?

Women are marginalised in film – true

Only women can write women – not sure

There are rich women too – true

Danny Boyle was working class – true

Working class people can write about Indian slums – ??

So my point is…what? Women are marginalised in film but there are privileged women too so there’s no over-arching patriarchy? Working class is still shat on? Is any of that compatible?

Enough politics, back to plot:

In as short a version as I can possibly make it:

Chun Li and Cammy find their way out of the spider’s web around the 50 minute mark. They get in the hot air balloon and fly away, the hunter chases them in his own balloon, they crash in the river of philosophy [whatever that is], go down tide a bit then wash up in a cemetery. The piece says it’s an 80’s cemetery so we’ll put names of 80’s directors on the headstones as an injoke then get some zombies to walk around a bit, some mist too, then there’s a final battle with the hunter, who’s had half his face eaten by those dark microbes, and one of them, I don’t know who, has either an e-book or a magic ash spreadsheet and…

Ending – no idea. Glowing trash? The Hunter dies?

Or something weirder maybe…Chun Li wakes up on the living room couch, sees a spider in the corner of the room, and then goes to bed where the hunter is sleeping and lies down next to him, keeping to her side of the bed.

It’s either the story of an unhappy/abusive relationship or it’s the demonization of men.

I prefer the former for previously mentioned reasons but, either way, it’s distinctive.

There we go, mission complete.

Like I said, it’s your baby, you can scratch the political aspect if it’s too much hassle…but the way I figure, the original Bley piece is so vague and bizarro that you’re better off taking a risk instead of making it some bland male action quest thingy with Chun Li kicking zombies and getting her tits out.

Aim for the long innings, man, not teens with their pants round their ankles.

Love

GRRM

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