BadSciFilm: Kong: Skull Island

Let’s take a fun and sociological look at the representation of scientists on Kong: Skull Island. How is race, gender and science portrayed? With little substance, I’m afraid! This is part of my Twitter series, #BadSciFilm, where I take a satirical look at horror and sci-fi films that feature scientists as central protagonists. Spoiler alert for the film. Continue reading BadSciFilm: Kong: Skull Island

BadSciFilm: Prometheus

On Twitter, I host satiric discussions of science fiction films on Twitter, using the hashtag #BadSciFilm, with a focus on the sociology of science representation. I watch the movie, making comments in real time. This post is about the divisive movie Prometheus, a reboot of the Aliens franchise. I love the film, despite its many flaws – and gooddess help us – it has many flaws. This post archives my tweets focusing on the ways in which research processes are reflected and how the stereotypical characters reflect gendered notions of scientists.

In Prometheus, scientists are obsessed with colonisation, but, in usual science fiction fashion, colonial expansion is not ever reflected in its cultural connections to genocide of Indigenous people and the enslavement of African diasporic people on Earth. Scientists take their safety gear off with abandon, they touch alien life forms without protection, and their monologes about scientific discovery are inflated by hubris. The aliens (known as trilobites) mutate rapidly and kill not simply to reproduce, but seemingly just to wreck havoc on the humans.

The Aliens films perpetuate a stark duality about cisgender women and birthing, steeped in patriarchy. On the one hand, women in the stories are presented as conveniently “unencumbered” by motherhood, because their children have died (Ripley in the original films), or they are secretly cyborgs (Annalee Call in Alien Resurrection). In the case of Prometheus, women have trouble conceiving (Shaw) or they are overly ambitious (Vickers). On the other hand, women also suffer due to their motherhood urges. In the second film, Aliens, Ripley is put in danger in order to rescue the young stoway survivor Newt. In Prometheus, Shaw is terrorised after she was inadvertently impregnated by her partner, who was infected with an alien virus. We are treated to an over-the-top abortion of sorts, where Shaw’s alien-baby tries to tear her to shreds, and ultimately consumes another alien by the end of the film.

The fact that the aliens burst out of human chests for horrific effect is a simulation of birth as a violent event.

Prometheus is also deeply impressed with phallic symbolism, as aliens repeatedly force their way into both human and alien male’s mouths in visceral confrontations.

Enjoy my Twitter interactions with other scientists below! Continue reading BadSciFilm: Prometheus

Sociology of the Mundane

My Tumblr series on The Sociology of the Mundane will pick up where the wonderful Journal of Mundane Behaviour left off. This journal took its name from sociologist Wayne Brekhus, who argued that sociologists were overly concerned with deeply political issues, but that we spend little effort on the everyday matters that are often dismissed as trivial, such as humour, friendship, watching TV, and even the boring aspects of everyday sex. Brekhus writes: ‘The unmarked generally remains unnamed and unaccented even in social research.’


Image: [Tree with text from Dr Wayne Brekhus, Sociologist] Continue reading Sociology of the Mundane

What NOT to do During the Zombie Apocalypse

In a flurry of double negatives, here’s a list of do-not-dos during the Zombie Apocalypse:

Do not get locked in a Big-Brother-style house with a bunch of vapid fools…

but DO WATCH Dead Set just in case you do. And then hope you never have to live through the harrowing scenario played out in the show’s ending! Love it so much!

Do not get locked in a department store.

But if you do – stay there! Am I right, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead? Also you should aim to have Sarah Polley with you, because she’s awesome. Continue reading What NOT to do During the Zombie Apocalypse

Resources to Help you Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse:

In this follow up to the Sociology of Zombies, I have compiled a list of sociological data to assist you in surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, which may or may not be on the 21st of December 2012.

Strategise your escape journey by watching the prophetic 28 Days Later. Also happens to be my favourite Zombie movie ever. Quintessential viewing for those of you wishing to survive a wide-scale zombie attack. Continue reading Resources to Help you Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse:

Sociology of the Zombie Apocalypse

Although I don’t note this on my CV, I am, in fact, somewhat of a Zombie Sociologist (that’s a sociologist who studies zombie artefacts and accumulates zombie knowledge for public education – not a zombie who is also a sociologist). As such, I have collated some pertinent social facts* about zombies. I feel it is imperative that I share these with you. Continue reading Sociology of the Zombie Apocalypse