Central Cortex

Thoughts on the arts, society, politics, and various geeky topics.

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Welcome to Central Cortex

This is the blog of Janice Dawley. Why is it called “Central Cortex”? Well, the Cortex was the interplanetary equivalent of the internet in Firefly, a show I was totally into back in 2003 when I first created this blog, and I’ve never changed the name since then. Strangely enough, I’ve barely written anything about Firefly here, but I’ve written a LOT about other TV shows and movies, as well as literature, politics, various cultural topics, and my own life.

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Jeremy Renner on Film: The Flawed But Worth Watching

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Neo Ned 2005. Not Rated. Director: Van Fischer. Renner plays Ned, a neo-Nazi criminal who has been committed to a mental institution The concept is eyebrow-raising: a white supremacist falls in love with a black woman who claims she’s the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler. How can they pull this off without offending the majority of the audience and/or trivializing the subject matter? The...

Jeremy Renner on Film: The B List

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12 and Holding 2005. Rated R. Director: Michael Cuesta. Renner plays Gus Maitland, a construction worker who is seeing a therapist. Dealing as it does with the aftermath of a child’s tragic death, this could easily have been a depressing film. Instead, it takes an eccentric and sometimes humorous approach in its portrayal of the ensuing months in the lives of the dead child’s twin...

Jeremy Renner on Film: The A List

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Dahmer 2002. Rated R. Director: David Jacobson. Renner plays Jeffrey Dahmer, notorious rapist, serial killer, and cannibal. I admit I was reluctant to watch this movie. I have no particular interest in serial killers and do not enjoy the suspense of waiting for horrible things to happen. It was a relief to discover that, rather than being a gorefest, Dahmer is more of an arty psychological film...

2011 in the arts: a retrospective

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Over a year since my last blog post – yikes! As a sort of catch-up, it seems appropriate to look back on what captured my attention in 2011. Looming like Mount Fuji over all other entertainments this past year was the HBO-produced TV show Game of Thrones and the book series that inspired it, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. I had not read the books prior to watching the show, so I...

Thoughts on Inception

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I originally saw Inception in theaters and was impressed by its intricate and imaginative visual look and layers of narrative. Leonardo DiCaprio was kind of stiff and boring, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy made up for him. The dreams were more like virtual reality constructs than what actually goes on in people’s minds while they sleep, but they were still involving, so I was fine with it...

WisCon 34 Panel: Race & Gender in Avatar

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Panel Description: While James Cameron’s film Avatar contains a strong anti–imperialist message, it is yet another movie where a white character joins an indigenous people (the Na’vi) and then becomes the “most awesome” member of that group. Adding to this dynamic, most of the Na’vi are portrayed by actors of color, and much of the Na’vi culture seems to be...

WisCon 34 Panel: Dollhouse: Made of Win or Epic Fail?

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Panel Description: Love it, hate it, love/hate it, Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse definitely has feminist and racial issues worth talking about. What were its good points? Its bad points? Does the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa? Was it canceled too soon or not soon enough? Panelists: Kater Cheek, Sigrid Ellis, Anastasia Salter, Charlie Jane Anders (moderator), K. Tempest Bradford Rundown of...

WisCon 34 Panel: Increasing Diversity in Games & Gaming

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Panel Description: In some ways, the gaming industry is the last glass ceiling of geekdom; in spite of its increasing diversity, gaming culture has largely assumed white, male, able–bodied, and heterosexual biases. Gaming communities like XBox Live, MMORPGs, D&D groups, and even retail stores can be noninclusive or even hostile environments to women, people of color, gay people, or the...

WisCon 34 Panel: Revenge of Not Another F*cking Race Panel

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Panel Description: Back for a second go–round, by popular demand! Writers of color working in F/SF face unique challenges, it’s true. But, at the end of the day, being a “person of color” is only one aspect of what makes up our identities as writers and, while it’s very flattering to asked to be on panels, most of these panels never crack the ceiling of Race 101. With that...

WisCon 34 Panel: Chicks Dig Time Lords

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Panel Description: There is a perception that there weren’t many women in Doctor Who fandom before the New Series was launched. This is patently false. Women have had a major role in Doctor Who fandom since the inception of the show. Do women approach and experience their Doctor Who fandom (or other media fandoms) differently than men? This panel explores different approaches to media...

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