“There shouldn’t be tension between the party and the needs of people. That’s what party is supposed to represent. I think people are more than within their rights push their politicians even if it makes them uncomfortable, to do their jobs and to not shy away from protecting women’s access to abortions, among a host of other issues as well.” — Wendy Davis
A 13-year-old rape victim makes the long journey from McAllen, in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, to the closest open health clinic that provides abortions. At the time, it’s the Whole Women’s Health Clinic, 200 miles away in San Antonio. At 20 weeks and five days pregnant, she arrives just as the deadline for their services approaches.
Despite the willingness of the clinic workers to help, and the availability of an increasingly rare abortion doctor, the clinic is unable to obtain a nurse anesthetist. Nothing can be done, short of another expensive journey of hundreds of miles into New Mexico. The impoverished victim will never be able to make that journey in time.
“We sentenced her to motherhood,” declares a tearful Marva Sadler, director of clinical services at the clinic, in one of the most affecting scenes of the film Trapped.
“Be careful what you wish for,” declared Greg Poehler during the SXSW audience Q&A for “You Me Her,” the new “polyromantic” sitcom which premieres today on DirecTV’s Audience Network.
He was talking the reaction of Jack, the character he plays in the show, to discovering that his wife is bisexual. Jack’s confusion is far from the stereotypical “whoa! two hot chicks together!” response we’ve come to expect from straight guys in the media.
But he could also be describing my reaction to the news that a sitcom centered around polyamory was coming to the airwaves. My trepidation was compounded by the fact that there seemed to be very little information on the show online (it doesn’t help that The Hollywood Reporter called it “a sugar daddy comedy” in July) and even further when the show’s publicity team seemed reluctant to grant me access to their talent at SXSW.
I survived SXSW 2016 … but barely?
Unfortunately, I spent the last two days of the event recovering from a short-lived stomach bug that’s been virulently spreading through Austin over the last couple weeks, and apparently even got to at least one band, according to a music journalist friend of mine.
Now that I’m through the worst of both South by South West and my own immune system, it’s time to catch up on writing.
Here’s a recap of my recent features on SXSW:
Is education a right and a public good, or is it a commodity from which corporations can profit?
“Starving The Beast,” a documentary which premiered March 13 at the SXSW Film festival, reveals the struggle between these two paradigms for higher education taking place across the country at publicly funded universities.
From the University of Texas at Austin to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, decades of budget cuts have resulted in skyrocketing tuition alongside a simultaneous decline in the quality of education. Now Wall Street is moving into the gaps created by a largely Republican-created budget crisis, from the increasing reliance on private student loans as public funding falls to schemes to allow the accreditation of more for-profit universities, a move championed by Sen. Marco Rubio during his 2016 electoral campaign.
A supernatural serial killer stalks a teenage girl after she smokes pot, drinks beer, dances half-naked and has casual sex.
It’s an image that’s moved beyond cliché and into the realm of “meta-horror,” when the genre comments on its own obsessions with slut-shaming and male power fantasies. Meta-horror may have reached its ultimate expression in Joss Whedon’s “Cabin In The Woods” (2012), which reimagines the tropes of horror films as a dark, Lovecraftian ritual that also implicates the viewer, wagging a finger at us for enjoying the gore and the terror quite so much.
Shant Hamassian’s 2015 short film “Night Of The Slasher” (2015) is also meta-horror, but it takes place on a more personal, even intimate scale. Jenelle (Lily Berlina, expressing a great deal with almost no words) works through a literal checklist of horror tropes to deliberately attract the killer. The scar on her neck tells us she’s encountered him before, and we soon realize she’s out for vengeance.