Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is the executive editor of Pandagon.net and the author of the book, It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Recent Articles

Blood and Guts and Fluff

How torture scenes are dumbing down TV

(Flickr/Creative Commons)
One of the reasons Game of Thrones quickly overcame my aversion to medieval fantasy stories was its fresh approach to storytelling. From the diversity of characters to the emphasis on the voices of those of diminished status, the show lays waste to some clichés of television. Which is all the more reason that I was disappointed this past Sunday when the show resorted to what has become the most tiresome trope on television: the use of torture scenes to create tension. I’ve really hit a limit this time, and would like to ask the world of TV writers to try to go a year---longer, if possible---without raising the stakes by chaining one character down as another comes up with elaborately sophisticated ways to inflict pain. It’s a shame, too, because one show that has a right to plenty of torture scenes is Game of Thrones . It has a medieval setting, after all, so torture makes as much sense as heads on stakes and a lack of electricity. Indeed, the writers’ truly inventive torture---...

Don't Blame Feminism for Your Bad Sex Life

Why is the new HBO show Girls treated as symbolic of its generation and not other shows?

Courtesy of HBO
I didn’t get to watch the premiere of HBO’s new series Girls before witnessing the amazing amount of hype that managed to create a backlash before the show even aired. Having now watched it, I really wish I could have gone back in time and done so without reading so much about what the show says about TV, women, Brooklyn, education, the economy, and sex. I think I would have liked it more being free to watch it as I do shows about a group of male characters—a show about unique people doing stuff and being relatable because they are individuals. This is not to say that the pressure put on Girls as an emissary of single women has been all bad. It’s opened up discussions about the lack of racial diversity on television in a way that shows about white men seem to resist. But overall, the burden placed on this single show has been frustrating, especially when it comes to representations of sex. That one character has soulless, delusional sex with a guy who doesn’t share her expectations...

"Hillz" Clinton Was Always Cool

What's behind the former First Lady and current Secretary of State's image rehabilitation?

(Texts from Hillary/Adam Smith)
Texts From Hillary Clinton , a Tumblr that imagined the Secretary of State smacking down fools by way of smartphone, may have set a new speed record for the lifecycle an internet meme. The Tumblr went up, went viral, went big media, and then ended within a week after Clinton herself entered a submission, making it literally impossible for the blog to top itself any longer. Unless the internet changes its ways in the near future, this record will likely be topped by the end of the year, but at least one legacy of the whole experiment will live on. The whole thing neatly demonstrated how much Clinton’s reputation has morphed in the past four years, turning her from the frumpy mom figure to an icon of D.C. cool. The Tumblr founders can’t really take credit for Clinton’s image rehabilitation, since the joke doesn’t work unless the audience already has an image of the Secretary as the badass boss lady. No, this process has been going on for years, and really, there’s no reason to believe...

Peter Dinklage Is a Baller

The producers of Game of Thrones succeed in writing a disabled character who is more than his disability.

(AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
Confession: I only recently started watching Game of Thrones . Despite all the hype from people whose taste I trust, the swords-and-dragons thing just doesn’t appeal to me, even as much as horror or sci-fi. I must now admit I was wrong in my prejudice. The show’s deft characterization and careful plotting have overcome my native hostility to anything with a Ren Faire vibe. Of particular interest is the character of Tyrion Lannister, brother of the deceitful queen and a Renaissance man stuck in a medieval world. He’s also one of those rare characters in Hollywood: someone who has a disability but is not defined by it. Thus is the way of our new Golden Age of television, that a seemingly old-fashioned fantasy series would take a progressive approach to portraying disability that activists have been demanding for decades. Disabled actors struggle to find work in an environment that prizes the able-bodied, the young, the beautiful, and the impossibly thin. There are disabled characters to...

The '90s Are Back!

At the South by Southwest music festival, Millennials and Gen X unite.

(Flickr/Stan D. Payne)
(Flickr/PaddyMurphy) I’m still recovering from my week and a half stay in Austin, Texas, where I attended South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual mega-conference covering film, online life, and music, of which music is easily my favorite portion. Observers might mistake attendees like myself for people on a music-snob vacation, indulging ourselves with free beer and rocking out to some of the hottest bands in the country. Rest assured, many of us are hard-working cultural critics, imitating the rock-star lifestyle for four long, music-filled days so that we can come back and report on the latest trends, and what’s about to move from the margins to the mainstream. This year, the conclusion is unavoidable: The ’90s are back, in a big way. Of course, attendees at last year’s festival saw this coming. Last year marked the smashing return of no-nonsense rock with performances by the likes of Le Butcherettes, Ty Segall, and Wild Flag. This year removed all doubt that the genre that ruled the...

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