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Roxane Gay reviews Taken 2 and some other stuff

(she is my favourite person on the internet).

1. Last night I changed my sheets which was very needed. I love fresh linens. I smooth them out. I spray them down with linen spray, right now lavender. I take a shower before I get into a bed with clean sheets. Out of respect. I am loathe to allow boy cooties into fresh sheets. I will straight up say, “You should come tomorrow instead.” I won’t do that when I marry, but I will think it. My mom irons her sheets, so I’m not completely out there.

2. Do truckers pee in bottles during long hauls? Do doctors wear adult diapers during long surgeries?

3. I have this bizarre fascination with the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  The host is an odd fellow named Guy Fieri. He eats all kinds of food and I don’t know how he doesn’t weigh a ton. Guy is very annoying. He talks like he’s yelling all the time. His hair dye job is just tragic. He uses a lot of gel to spike his hair. He often wears his sunglasses backwards on the back of his head. He dresses like he’s going bowling after re-enacting the worst parts of the movie Swingers. I hate when Guy opens his mouth, I do. He goes to all these interesting restaurants across the country and the chefs there cook things and he’ll interject, “So you’re going to bake that at, say, 325, for 3 hours?” He’ll say, “Mmmm, that’s a little cumin in there.” It’s so annoying. I think, “Guy, please shut it.” He has terminology for how he holds a sandwich or hamburger. He grunts a lot. He doesn’t like eggs. He does like sloppy joes, which, ugh, of course he does. I will literally watch a marathon of this show for ten hours even if I’ve seen all the episodes a hundred times. It’s so hypnotic and I am both hate and love watching the show so it makes me conflicted. Most of the time, the shows are about restaurants cooking food I will never eat! And I don’t care! Homemade bacon? Sure! Exotic hamburgers? Why not! Haddock? Okay! Will these foods pass my lips? Nope! But it looks very delicious. I only waver when I see hotdogs because hotdogs are delicious.  I know I will eat a hotdog again in my lifetime and it’s going to be great. I am grateful we live in a world where hotdogs exist. 

4. The UPS guy no longer wears shorts because it is crisp fall weather. This is pretty sad. He has fantastic legs and the thigh area is particularly noteworthy.

5. Today I am finishing up an essay you will likely read tomorrow, about things. It is meandering but touches on Junot Diaz, The Week the Women Went, The End of Men, Heroines, and other things.

6. I have two new writing projects! Why not? One is a novel and one is nonfiction. I can’t wait for summer when I can write without the looming threat of grading. Maybe nothing will come of these things but that’s okay. If writing was dictated by results, there would be very little writing in the world. 

7. Sometimes, I’m just going about my business and I think, “I wonder what Oprah is up to.”

8. I saw Taken 2, also known as So Long as the White Women Live. This was a really stupid movie. It was also racist. And sexist. I enjoyed it. Liam Neeson’s obsession with his daughter’s virtue was really repulsive. He literally drove to her boyfriend’s house because she forgot they had a driving lesson. Cock blocker.  But that hymen must be protected for a woman’s worth is in a useless membrane in her vagina.

This movie, like Hangover II, simply replicated the formula that was so successful the first time. A white woman was imperiled but only so much. That is to say, you always knew she was going to live. In this movie, the family of all the men Neeson killed in Taken 1: Daughter Got Took, they want revenge. They want his blood to spill on their land. That’s basically taken directly from the movie lest you think I’m exaggerating. Quality script. Conveniently enough, the wife, Famke Janseen is splitting up with Second Husband. Liam is in Ees-TAHN-bull as he pronounces it, all sexy like, on business. The motherfucker is hot. Always will be and we just need to deal with that. Daughter and Ex-Wife show up. They do some sight seeing and some hasty reconciliation. Then Liam and Famke are driving around when he realizes they are being followed. There’s a convoluted chase and she is grabbed. He calls daughter Maggie Grace and says, “Your mother and I are about to be taken.” Yup, it worked the first time. Let’s just recycle. She’s lounging by the hotel pool, Skyping with her boyfriend on her iPad. She panics then pulls it together but she leaves her iPad. I could not stop obsessing about this. I practically shouted at the screen, “GIRL, YOU LEFT YOUR $800 iPAD! GO BACK AND GET IT.” I’m still worried about the iPad. 

She hides in a closet and then the most amazing thing happens. Liam has a tiny secret phone neatly tucked in his sock. He does some limb acrobatics and gets the phone in his handcuffed hands and calls Maggie. He CONVENIENTLY has a case of spy weapons and tools in his hotel room and he instructs her on opening the case and then he gets McGyver on the situation with a pencil, a map, a shoelace, and a grenade. I am not making any of this up. She then uses the shoelace and the pencil as a compass to try and triangulate where Liam is. Now, he further locates himself by telling Maggie to throw a grenade out the window in a really crowded city. So she does! Then there’s more McGyver stuff and the way they find each other involves her throwing two more grenades in a residential area. I was just dead with laughter at this point. I couldn’t hold it in.  And Grace is not the best actor. 

At one point, Famke’s neck is cut and she’s suspended upside down to bleed to death. Just sick stuff. And Liam keeps cooing, “You’re going to be okay.” By what standard of okay is he measuring the situation, right?

Later in the movie, he and Grace barrel through the entrance of the US embassy. And no one shoots! LOLOLOL. Movies, never ever change. 

What’s remarkable about this movie, and others of its ilk is how the white hero is exceedingly competent while the brown men, there can be ten of them, pointing a gun at him, unarmed, and he will persevere. It’s so blatant and terrible. It’s like white skin endows the hero with superpowers.

Actually, that’s not just in movies.

9. I’m going to hate watch Alex Cross this weekend. I am SO READY. I hate Tyler Perry. I even wrote a story about it. I respect he’s running the first and only (I think) black studio, but he’s…. kind of the devil.

10. I am going to tweet the hell out of the debate tonight.


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