For what it’s worth (quite a lot, actually), there were moments of solace and triumph in the largely fetid swamp of 2017. For my money, 99% of those moments were born from the work, passion, and creativity of trans folks, the disabled community,* and people of color. I learned more and laughed harder this year than I had any right to expect by just ear-hustling on the conversations of brilliant folks around me because all of us are, quite literally, whistling in the darkness. We’re not going quietly into that good night. We do not have the luxury of sitting back and hoping for the best; we are fighting for our lives. But we are also fighting for the right to find joy. So here are the things that kept me going in 2017.
Now, as you know, I cover the Doctor Who and Scandinavian crime beat here at FemFreq…
…and that typically limits the amount of time I can spend consuming other types of media. It’s a tough job but we have to give the people what they are clamoring for. It does mean, however, that unless I’m physically hauled into my neighborhood movie theater (or threatened with unemployment), I only see about 6 movies a year. Does that stop me from dishing out my half-baked opinions on our new podcast like some kind of Dollar General cineaste? No, it does not.
But Coco. Coco! It’s been a long time since a movie left me feeling so completely in love with…art and music and family. What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? The smile on my face as I left the theater threatened to engulf my entire head. I can’t remember the last time I felt enveloped in so much warm, inviting, exuberant color. Every aspect of the film delighted me, from the depictions of Miguel’s loving-but-stifling family to the Art Deco deliciousness of the backdrops from Mexico’s golden age of cinema. I will probably crawl out from under my pillow fort to see this movie 47 more times before the year is over, and I might even deign to take an actual child on one of those visits.
Who knows why I started watching Holby City this year? I couldn’t retrace the genesis of my obsession with this show if I tried. If you care (which you don’t): Holby City is an hour-long BBC hospital drama that appears to have been running since 673 BCE. There are approximately four million characters and I am deeply invested in the well-being and happiness of each one. The cast is largely white but, pace Issa Rae, I root for all the black people. Guy Henry (Holby CEO Henrik Hanssen) is not black, but he’s getting a provisional cook-out invite because he reminds me of my uncles who don’t take no shit.
Listen: no one pretends that this show is The Wire or Breaking Bad. Nevertheless, 52 weeks out of the year, I put on my comfiest unicorn onesie and pull up to the couch for more of this show’s shenanigans.
This show has been my #1 comfort food of 2017. Get into it. If you’re outside the UK, get in on that Britbox hustle.
I am using the term “disabled community” rather than “people with disabilities” largely because of the education I have been receiving daily from disabled activists like Vilissa Thompson, the black female creator of #RampYourVoice. Her emphatic and determined calls for everyone to actually just LISTEN TO THE COMMUNITY and pay attention to what they call themselves — versus deciding for them what’s best — have been a clarion call for me to broaden my reading list; expand my film queue; and check my assumptions. Thompson’s callout of the disabled community for the way it silences people of color is absolutely vital, and you should check into the hashtag #DisabilitySoWhite. Ditto her dismissal of disability “inspiration porn,” which is still overwhelmingly the paradigm by which non-disabled folks feel most comfortable consuming stories about people with physical limitations, mental health issues, or any range of disabilities. I’m nowhere near where I need to be with my understanding of the spectrum of issues facing the disabled community, but thanks to activists and writers like Thompson, I am slowly learning. Why is that comforting to me? Because it reminds me that we can all do better. You can’t hit the snooze alarm on your “wokeness” forever.
White House Correspondent April Ryan
One boop a day keeps the darkness away.
So there you have it: my 2017 coping mechanisms. What does the new year have in store? Well, a new Doctor and the fourth season of The Bridge. But until those rays of light shine on our benighted shores, get into those bodega cats.
Check out all of our 2017 year-end retrospectives!
Carolyn’s Favorite TV of 2017
Carolyn’s Favorite Movies of 2017
Ashley’s Happy Distractions of 2017
Carolyn’s Favorite Games of 2017
Anita’s Most Memorable Media of 2017