Sunday, July 31, 2011

‪Eyrie‬‏

‪Eyrie‬‏ - YouTube:

rape and the righteous community

or, a little sympathy for Kynn and Sparkymonster, far more for Jack and Alexandra

ETA: I'm leaving the following post unchanged, but I was under a misunderstanding. I didn't know that Jack had invoked their safeword; see the comments. That makes the situation unambiguous: No means no. Jack was raped. —WS
__________________

Kynn has been charged with rape—not legally, but morally. If you want to track the story, start here:

Tales of MU » Blog Archive » An Important and Personal Note

Unfunny Fandom: Heartbreak & Heroines

Heartbreak & Heroines Kickstarter campaign - Geek Feminism Wiki

My take, which is worth no more than any of the many offered by people who are not Jack, Alexandra, or Kynn, is that Jack is entirely right to feel horribly abused, Alexandra is right to support Jack unconditionally, and Kynn needs help, but Kynn is not guilty of rape—at least, if I'm correct in understanding that consent was given and never explicitly withdrawn.

This is not to excuse Kynn. A sensitive partner in any affair will watch constantly for signs that they're going too far, because too often, people will be led where they do not want to go because they trust someone they should not.

Of all people, Sparkymonster was right when she tried for a nuanced response: "I do believe what Jack says. I also know that Kynn disagrees about what happened. I believe one can support Jack without condemning Kynn."

But Julia has very little practice with nuance. I think she's being condemned by many people in her community for adding, "More hypothetically, can Jean Doe have raped someone and still be involved with social justice movements? Yes they can as long as they take responsibility for what they did, and have done work to make sure they won't do it again."

I agree with her there, too, so far as she goes. But what she omits is that rapists and sexual abusers who try to take part in restorative justice must constantly be aware that their presence will always be controversial, and their presence must always be approved in advance by people who have been raped or abused.

Here's what makes me pity Julia. In the hope of ending the attacks on her, she wrote, "I have been friends with Kynn in the past. After a lot of consideration, I decided to sever that friendship. I sincerely hope that Kynn is able to access the support & assistance she may need. That is not something I am able to do." When a friend does something wrong, you don't sever the friendship. If you do, you're engaging in opportunism, not morality, and what you called a friendship was never one.

I salute Jack and Alexandra for speaking up, and I'm glad they're not being attacked for it. But spare a little pity for Kynn and those who say she should not be ostracized, too. As Alexandra says, "...the therapy Caoimhe is seeking sounds like a really good idea. I hope that she gets it, and I hope it's productive for her. I hope it leads her to better places."

ETA: The question of consent is addressed by Alexandra: "I told myself I didn't know what was going on between them, even though I'd heard the pleading earlier and had known that wasn't part of a negotiated dynamic." And "Their relationship had a safeword, but of course the presence of a safeword in a relationship doesn't make consent universal in its absence." What makes the legal call of rape impossible to make is that the safeword was absent. Yes, a responsible partner would not require the use of the safeword. But the law, like the failfan community, is not good with ambiguity. That said, the judgment call of abuse is easy: Jack was horribly abused.

ETA 2: Why am I keeping this journal? if the Klan didn't silence me, why do you think you will?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

jesters—even more annoying than mimes



image via http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.com/

If I rebooted Sgt. Rock

I would make him the black leader of a black company. Popular culture has forgotten that the US Army was not integrated until the 1950s.

I was reminded of that by My Very Own Captain America - NYTimes.com

the bankster and the debt crisis is old, old news

Karl Marx, in The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850 - Part I:
After the July Revolution [of 1830], when the liberal banker Laffitte led his compère, the Duke of Orléans, in triumph to the Hôtel de Ville, he let fall the words: “From now on the bankers will rule”. Laffitte had betrayed the secret of the revolution.
It was not the French bourgeoisie that ruled under Louis Philippe, but one faction of it: bankers, stock-exchange kings, railway kings, owners of coal and iron mines and forests, a part of the landed proprietors associated with them – the so-called financial aristocracy. It sat on the throne, it dictated laws in the Chambers, it distributed public offices, from cabinet portfolios to tobacco bureau posts.
...Owing to its financial straits, the July Monarchy was dependent from the beginning on the big bourgeoisie, and its dependence on the big bourgeoisie was the inexhaustible source of increasing financial straits. It was impossible to subordinate the administration of the state to the interests of national production without balancing the budget, without establishing a balance between state expenditures and revenues. And how was this balance to be established without limiting state expenditures – that is, without encroaching on interests which were so many props of the ruling system – and without redistributing taxes – that is, without shifting a considerable share of the burden of taxation onto the shoulders of the big bourgeoisie itself?
On the contrary, the faction of the bourgeoisie that ruled and legislated through the Chambers had a direct interest in the indebtedness of the state. The state deficit was really the main object of its speculation and the chief source of its enrichment. At the end of each year a new deficit. After the lapse of four or five years a new loan. And every new loan offered new opportunities to the finance aristocracy for defrauding the state, which was kept artificially on the verge of bankruptcy – it had to negotiate with the bankers under the most unfavorable conditions. Each new loan gave a further opportunity, that of plundering the public which invested its capital in state bonds by means of stock-exchange manipulations, the secrets of which the government and the majority in the Chambers were privy to. In general, the instability of state credit and the possession of state secrets gave the bankers and their associates in the Chambers and on the throne the possibility of evoking sudden, extraordinary fluctuations in the quotations of government securities, the result of which was always bound to be the ruin of a mass of smaller capitalists and the fabulously rapid enrichment of the big gamblers.

hypocrisy update: Julia Starkey and K. Tempest Bradford

Now that Kynn Bradford has become a bit of a pariah in their circles, ktempest and sparkymonster have unsubscribed from Kynn's FakeWillShttrly tweets. It's amusing that they didn't do this when Kynn was joking about the Klan, something they loudly condemned when Amanda Palmer did it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why Aquaman is the greatest superhero ever (or, rebooting Aquaman, part 2)

Aquaman has a bad rep for one reason: Superfriends didn't know what to do with him. And to be fair to the show, he doesn't fit as a regular member of a team that operates primarily on land divided into nations.

Here's why:

1. Aquaman is the ultimate anarchist superhero. His father (or, in some versions of his origin, step-father) was an American and his mother was an illegal alien, an Atlantean. He grew up an outcast, a citizen of no nation.

2. Aquaman works for justice on the whole planet, but especially on the three-fourths where human law is weak. Every other superhero has a home beat, the city they live in. Even Superman, who should be international, is seen by the world as an American because he operates out of Metropolis. Only Aquaman roams the world.

3. Aquaman is strong enough to survive at the bottom of the sea. How many other heroes can keep him company there? Only Kryptonians, the Marvel Family, Green Lantern, and a few magical folks.

4. The creatures of the sea obey Aquaman because he's just that awesome.

5. Aquaman has a strong enough sense of self-worth to marry someone who is objectively more powerful than he is.

So, what mistakes have been made with Aquaman?

1. Originally, he didn't have any limit on how long he could be out of water. A limit makes sense for Atlanteans, but Aquaman should be unique, half-human and half-Atlantean, incorporating both group's strengths and neither's weaknesses.

2. He should never have become King of Atlantis. The job should've been offered and rejected.

How would I write Aquaman?

He and Mera are kids in their early '20s, cruising the world and looking for adventure. She has the power to shape solid things out of water and he does not, but she can't stay out of the water for more than an hour or two, while he can survive anywhere a human or an Atlantean could.

If I rebooted Aquaman

For at least a summer, Aquaman was my favorite comic. It was the only comic I subscribed to, and the only reason I stopped subscribing was because as I was such a fanboy that I wanted to be able to pick out the best copy of each issue from the spinner.

I loved everything about Aquaman. I loved his weird underwater world. I loved his relationship with Mera, his girlfriend and then wife who could do everything he could, and could manipulate water as well. I loved his orange and green costume with the scales. I loved his conflict with his half-brother.

Okay, I didn't love his sidekick, Aquaboy in his stupid shorts. But annoying teen sidekicks were the price of DC superheroics.

So, what would I change?

Make him Polynesian.



Aquaman and Green Arrow appeared at the same time, iMore Fun Comics #73 (Nov.1941). Like DC's Big Three, they slid from the Golden Age into the Silver with few physical changes: Green Arrow was briefly a brunet; Aquaman's gloves were often yellow before they settled on green.

This is the Aquaman DC is rebooting:


I don't mind the neckline, though I prefer the boatneck collar of the '40s and '50s. But the trident is just a stupid thing to have to carry around. If you want to give Aquaman a gimmick, give him a harpoon gun.

Also, ditch the gloves. He doesn't have a secret identity or any reason to protect his hands.

Here's an early appearance of Mera:


I wouldn't change a thing about her. Superhero comics could use an interracial marriage. If you have to give someone a trident, let it be hers.

Aquaboy? Aquagirl? Heroes should be unique. Forget them, and Topo the Octopus too.

PS. I don't know how many Aryan heroes DC needs, but really, they can spare a few blond guys.

Grandma's Superhero Therapy

Grandma's Superhero Therapy (18 photos) - My Modern Metropolis: "A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations. Grandma reluctantly agreed, but once they got rolling, she couldn't stop smiling."

If I rebooted Atom and Green Arrow

On the list of simple comic book truths: Superhero comics need major female superheroes. I like the idea that the Flash should be a woman. A speedster called Jesse Quick briefly took over the role:


It'd be great if The Fastest Man On Earth was a woman.

But DC is conservative with the characters it considers its most valuable properties, so I doubt they would go with a female Flash, even though that's the best way to get a second woman into DC's Big Five of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash.

That argument doesn't apply to the Atom and Green Arrow.

There've been several male Atoms over the years, including an Asian, Ryan Choi. I'm a big fan of the Earth-D Atom:


And the female Atom on Earth-15:


So I would make the female Atom a black or Asian-American scientist, then give her a jet pack and ray guns. That would be an Atom who'd be a lot of fun to write.

Then there's Green Arrow, one of DC's most durable characters, probably because he's usually a supporting character. He's Batman if Bruce Wayne was inspired by Robin Hood crashing through his window instead of a bat.

So let Batman be Batman, and let a woman be Green Arrow. An American Indian woman could work nicely if you avoided the obvious cliches, or you could use the character who has been called Arrowette and Miss Arrowette:


She was updated for Young Justice:


Put her in a hooded costume:



And that's my Green Arrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Unplanned babies aren't a problem – social class is

Short Sharp Science: Unplanned babies aren't a problem – social class is: "New research shows that children born after unplanned pregnancies develop more slowly than children whose parents had planned their pregnancy. However, once the results are adjusted to take into account socioeconomic factors, these differences disappear."

Superman supports health care and welfare!

ComicMix - Superman supports health care and welfare!

quote of the day

"Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example." —Justice Louis D. Brandeis

ways Smashwords drives me mad #2

If your font is, for example, Georgia Italic, Smashwords won't recognize that the text is meant to be in italics. Eventually, you may realize that Smashwords wants you to use Georgia Regular, with italics applied.

Yes, this so make a person's head hurt.

I managed to change the font using NeoOffice, an OpenOffice clone for the Mac. Basically, I searched for "Georgia Italic" and replaced it with "Georgia, Italic."

I dunno if posting this will help anyone, but it might help me the next time I run into this problem.

Dear Smashwords, please start accepting epub files soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

is this blog just going to be about stupid comics from now on?

No, it'll also be about smart comics. *rimshot!* The serious answer: I dunno, but probably not. I want to do short posts on a few more DC characters, and then I'll have this out of my system until DC does another reboot.

I am working on a comics Secret Project. It's something original, so don't play a guessing game. Unless it's fun.

As for my fellow critics of capitalism, here are two political links that I shared on G+ to tide you over:

Michael Hudson: Obama's Ambush on Entitlements

The 51% Zombie Lie | Mother Jones

If I rebooted the Justice League: Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkwoman, Martian Manhunter

According to a friend I trust, when the trailers for the Green Lantern movie appeared, kids asked, "Why did they make Green Lantern a white guy?"

That's not a joke like "Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?" It's because, to folks under thirty, this is the Justice League:


But this is DC's reboot:


How many ways is it awful? The short list:

1. Instead of being a team of individuals, they look like they went to the same tailor.

2. Aquaman is one of my favorite characters, but he shouldn't be part of the core League. He should only appear when a case involves the seas.

3. Cyborg is great in the Titans, but he doesn't have a distinct role in the League unless they turn him into a brilliant scientist. Also, his name is generic—it's like calling a character Robot. Give him back to the Titans.

4. One woman? Are you kidding me? Humanity is 51% female, and there's one woman in the core team?

So, what would my reboot look like?

1. Green Lantern is John Stewart, a black man who is the one and only Green Lantern of Earth. In the reboot, he's the guy Abin Sur Katma Tui* chose to wield the ring. (Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner would make cameos as people who might've been picked, if things had gone differently.)

2. The Flash, in the iconic uniform, is Ricky Estrada, a Mexican-American man with the personality of Wally West.

3. Hawkwoman is Shayera Hol, a Thanagarian cop who comes to Earth in pursuit of an alien crook. Her partner, Katar Hol, is killed, and their ship is destroyed, so she stays on Earth for longer than was planned, and comes to love the planet.

4. The Martian Manhunter always seemed goofy to me: a green version of Superman who can change shape and gets weak in the presence of fire? Use Miss Martian instead:

Miss Martian photo

5. This Wonder Woman.

6. This Batman.

7. This Superman.

A fundamental principle should apply to characters like Green Lantern and Hawkwoman: Heroes should be unique—unless someone offers a lot of money to make a movie or TV show about a variant like Supergirl or Batgirl.

* Using Katma Tui instead of Abin Sur to make it clear that the ring can go to anyone who is worthy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

19th century slash comics

The personifications of their nations, Italia and Germania, like what they see in each other.

File:Friedrich Overbeck 008.jpg

Here's Germania in a martial mood:

File:F A von Kaulbach Germania 1914.jpg

If I rebooted Superman

For background on Superman's look, try SupermanPage and Superman's Symbol, Shield, Emblem, Logo and Its History!. Part of what I like about them is they disagree. For example, was the original Superman meant to have red boots, and the printer or the colorist screwed up? No one seems to know. Blue boots are plausible:


So are red:


What's clear is that Superman was meant to resemble a circus strongman. And that's what's wrong with DC's current attempts:


Is he supposed to look like a kid playing superhero by tying a towel around his neck?


The amount of blue and the high neckline makes it look like a he's wearing a uniform, and the hints of armor make it worse: a superman doesn't need armor.

The fact is that the basic Superman costume is surprisingly delicately balanced. Get rid of the cape? It works too nicely in flight. Get rid of the panties? He becomes too streamlined. I considered giving him red pants and blue boots:


But that does odd things to the icon, too. Much as I hate taking the conservative choice, on Superman, this can't be improved:


Make fun of his panties. I do. It doesn't matter. Superman is perfectly comfortable with his sexuality, thank you very much. I hear men mocking his look, but I can't remember ever hearing a woman saying there's something wrong with calling attention to his crotch.

As for powers, he should be able to fly into space, but he shouldn't be able to move planets and he shouldn't be faster than the Flash.

Clark Kent works for the Daily Planet as an investigative reporter. He doesn't worry about the deadlines that come with TV or radio reporting. The Planet has a web presence that's giving the New York Times a run for its money.

Romance? Complicated. Lois Lane is simultaneously a best friend, love interest, collaborator, and, on some stories, competition. Clark and Lois should see other people while they're working that out.

Best friend? Jimmy Olsen, the only reporter with less experience than Clark, and the only reporter who is as gutsy as Lois.

Boss? Penny White, a black woman.

Completely new character? A Korean-American male reporter and former Marine who works with Lois and Jimmy, and is Lois's current romantic interest.

Clark's current romance? His relationship with Lana Lang is getting rocky. His work has taken him to Metropolis, and she's on an archeological dig in South America, where she's falling for a local.

Do other countries have their own Uncle Sams?

A good list of national icons: Do other countries have their own Uncle Sams? - By Christopher Beam.

If I rebooted Batman and Robin




This is a light modification of a panel in  Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. I could go either way on making Batman's costume black and gray or blue and gray, but for a creature of the night, the yellow belt made no sense, and the panties were just too 1940s.

The Batman's personality is inspired by the 1960s "New Look" Batman: he's a detective who has mostly made peace with the fact that he can't bring his parents back from the dead. He doesn't like putting Robin in danger, so Robin would be a supporting character, someone who goes undercover in places where Batman can't and who usually has adventures on his own or with the Titans. Their styles are so different that they shouldn't team up often: Batman's inspiration is the creature of the night; Robin's inspiration is the people's hero, Robin Hood. The only reason Batman trains Robin is because he realizes that the kid will fight crime no matter what Batman does, so he might as well do what he can as mentor and friend.

The Bruce Wayne playboy is not a "cover". Batman thinks of himself as a soldier or a spy who works hard and parties hard. He knows he needs R&R to keep doing his duty, and he wants fun that won't result in anyone becoming too fond of him. He's an adrenaline junkie, and sometimes, late at night, he wonders if he has a bit of a death wish. If so, so long as it helps him do his job, he's fine with that.

ETA: The capes can become rigid and serve as gliders. Otherwise, why are acrobats wearing capes? Other than they look cool? Which, I grant, in a comic book is never automatically the wrong answer.

ETA 2: The trick to making the original Robin cape work is to use the collar. Perez understood that:


ETA 3: I would be tempted to make Robin's cape green.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

If I rebooted Wonder Woman

This is the Wonder Woman I would choose:


She's from a one-shot, Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. The designer solved a problem that's defeated every other attempt I've seen to fix her costume: he turned the original bird insignia into something that both holds up her costume and suggests armor.

I dunno who suggested the costume, but I strongly suspect the writer, Marv Wolfman, suggested that she look Middle-Eastern. It makes sense. In classical literature, the island of the Amazons has been located in Libya and Asia Minor.

Yeah, I'm on a comics jag now. If you want politics, check out my G+ page.

ETA: While I like the skirt, I would be tempted to give her pants.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear DC, Please Keep Captain Marvel Black!

If you're not a comics fan, skip this post, 'cause I'm indulging my inner fanboy:


Dear DC,

You’re about to reboot your universe, and I approve. Comic books should be rebooted every decade to keep them vital. Having a younger Superman who was never married makes sense. I only have one plea: please, keep Captain Marvel black.

I’m old enough to remember the early ‘70s when DC had the best female superheroes, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl, and Marvel had the best black superheroes, the Black Panther, the Falcon, and Luke Cage.

But everything changed in 1973 when DC expanded its universe with characters that had been published by other companies. Justice League #107 introduced the Quality Comics superheroes. Here’s that groundbreaking cover:



With one stroke, DC accomplished two things. The obvious one: it leapt ahead of Marvel on diversity, creating four African-American heroes, a Mexican-American Black Condor and a Japanese-American Human Bomb (which seems simplistic now, but was a daring commentary on nuclear weapons then).

Sure, DC got flak from racists who said Uncle Sam had to be white. DC bravely answered that the spirit of America could manifest in any of its citizens, and all the major media news media agreed, giving DC publicity that no amount of money could buy. Until then, Marvel Comics had threatened to surpass DC, but DC's bold integration of its world pushed Marvel back into second place.

DC's other accomplishment is easy to overlook now. When independent comic book companies were competing, they had slots to fill. Among them:

  • The white supernatural guy.
  • The white woman in a skimpy costume.
  • The white guy who flies.
  • The white guy who shrinks.
  • The white guy who is super-fast.
  • The white guy whose power makes him a tragic freak.

Imagine if DC had left the Quality characters white. They would’ve been redundant: the Spectre, Wonder Woman, Adam Strange, the Atom, the Flash, and Robotman had those roles covered. But with a simple change, DC made the DCU look more like the world of its readers.

When DC saw that sales didn't suffer from having characters who weren’t white, they did it again with the Fawcett characters in Justice League #136 and #137:



Can you imagine what those covers would've looked like with all-white characters? You would think you were in an alternate universe where Hitler won.

Superman, Supergirl, Batman, Robin, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern had already taken these slots in the DCU:

  • The white guy with demi-god powers.
  • The white woman with demi-god powers.
  • The rich white athlete guy with gimmicks.
  • The rich white guy's boy sidekick.
  • The white guy who flies.
  • The white woman who flies thanks to her boyfriend.
  • The white detective guy.
  • The white guy with a supernatural doohickey.

By making the Fawcett characters black, DC told its readers that anyone could be a superhero, regardless of race or gender. Who was stronger, the white Superman and Supergirl or the black Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel? No one knew whether a Kryptonian could defeat the magic of Shazam, but one thing was very clear: the people at the top of the power spectrum could be of any hue or gender.

Comics could sell a million copies in those days. Did the black Captain Marvel and Isis make it a little easier for Jesse Jackson to be elected president in 1988?



Probably not. Comics can’t change the world, even if they change the discussion for a few people. If DC had stuck with a white Captain Marvel, I'm sure capitalism would still be in crisis today and the Republicans would've still given us a moderate like Barack Obama to cope with our changing world.

But it’s nice to imagine that things would be a little better because DC saw a need and acted on it.

So, DC, when you revamp your universe, don't make the most powerful men and women white again. Keep the Marvel Family black.

ETA: In the comments, RAB reminded me of this panel from Animal Man, which features characters this fanboy would love to see again:

Sunshine Superman

ETA 2: And Walaka reminded me of the alternate Justice League in Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, with Earth-D's black Superman and Superwoman. For pics of the rest, see his post, Earth D-lightful.

    

3 Missteps in the Captain America movie

Halfway through the new Captain America movie, I leaned over and whispered to Emma, "This is the best movie ever."

I was eight when Captain America was brought into the Marvel Age in Avengers #4. I imprinted immediately. Captain America was and is my favorite superhero. There are a lot of reasons I love him, but as an adult, my best explanation is this: Captain America is the perfect socialist superhero. He wanted to do good, and the government helped him achieve his dreams.

Loving the character makes me either the movie’s easiest or hardest critic. Either way, I caught three missteps that weakened the second half. If you don’t know the Captain’s history, be warned: there are spoilers in what follows. If you know it, relax. For this fanboy, the movie’s greatest strength is that it follows the outline that Lee and Kirby provided and improves on nearly every detail.

  • Bucky dies too soon.
I can’t help but wonder if the director was seduced by having Tommy Lee Jones and therefore put him in a scene that should’ve been Bucky’s.

How it should’ve gone: In the capture of Zola, Bucky should almost fall to his death, and Cap saves him. Then, at the end, the three people in the car pursuing the Red Skull’s airship are Peggy, Bucky, and Cap. Cap makes the leap. Bucky jumps, is shot in midair by the Red Skull, and falls to his death.

  • Peggy does not appear at the end.
How it should’ve gone: In her home or nursing home, the 90-something-year-old Peggy should see Cap, then, after a long beat, say, “You’re late.” He says something self-deprecating and gently takes her into his arms. As the closing music plays, they dance.

Done right, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. Yes, that's an unusual ending for an adventure movie, but on the long list of things people forget is that great adventure movies have emotionally complex resolutions. Casablanca, anyone?

  • When the credits roll, the propaganda posters are a mistake.
What Cap lost by being frozen for 70 years wasn’t propaganda. He states early on that he doesn’t want to kill Nazis, he wants to stop bullies. The images should’ve been the things he loved about life in the 1940s, the milk man on his route, the dance clubs, the children playing in the streets, etc.

Captain America is a smarter movie than it needs to be. I knew that when I heard this tossed-off line: “The first country the Nazis invaded was their own.” It could’ve been even better, but this fanboy is content.

My advice: If you're tempted, go. If superheroes just seem silly to you, don't.

quote of the day

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." —Mark Twain

Thursday, July 21, 2011

if you like superhero comics

I've pimped this before, but I haven't in a while and it seems like it just gets better and better, so today I'm giving it more love:

Magellan

That link will take you to the beginning. The art improves as the story goes on, but part of what I like about it is that the creator never tries for flashy DC/Marvel superheroics. The visual influences seem much more European. If you like superheroes, try it.

a very kind piece about Elsewhere

“We get so strange across the Border”: Elsewhere | Tor.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Consistency

It's Redundancy Tuesday. That's why I'm posting a few things at G+ and my main blog.

Not buying that? Okay, it's whim. I know there are people following one who aren't following the other, and I wanted these to go to everyone. Now I'll resume posting "shorter to G+, longer to Blogger".

Why am I so willing to be inconsistant?

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." —Oscar Wilde

‪The Toasters : Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down‬‏ - YouTube

‪The Toasters : Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down‬‏ - YouTube:

‪Lesbian Couple Sues Vermont's Wildflower Inn for Discrimination‬‏ - YouTube

‪Lesbian Couple Sues Vermont's Wildflower Inn for Discrimination‬‏ - YouTube:

No reception for lesbian marriage?

ACLU : Wildflower Inn: "The Wildflower Inn was all too happy to host Kate & Ming's wedding reception — until they found out that the reception would be for two brides! Despite the fact that the resort's web site claims they are the 'Four Seasons for Everyone,' apparently 'everyone' does not include same-sex couples.

This case is about discrimination, plain and simple. While Kate & Ming will celebrate their wedding elsewhere, the ACLU is filing a lawsuit on their behalf to make sure that no same-sex couple ever faces this kind of illegal discrimination at the Wildflower Inn again. Send Kate & Ming your well wishes for a happy marriage!"

World Without Hate

worldwithouthate: "I forgave Mark Stroman many years ago. I believe he was ignorant, and not capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, otherwise he wouldn’t have done what he did. I am requesting that Mark Stroman’s death penalty be commuted to life in prison with no parole. Please help me educate and raise consciousness by signing a petition to the Chair of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, asking for Mr. Stroman’s death penalty to be commuted to life in prison without parole."

‪Early days of a better nation‬‏ - Oyster Band

‪Early days of a better nation‬‏ - YouTube:

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Myth of “Racist Pornography”

I hesitated to link to The Myth of “Racist Pornography” because I'm not entirely convinced by the argument, but I got to admit, it's a much more plausible one than I would hope to hear from people who rant about racist porn. My theory: A lot of what looks like racism, in porn and elsewhere, is play-acting with a racial subtext that has more to do with the way images change in pop culture than with the history of racism. Concluding that interracial porn is racist is as simplistic and as wrong as concluding that women who have rape fantasies want to be raped.

(Thanks, DSD!)

‪Buddy Miller "Wide River To Cross"‬‏ - YouTube

‪Buddy Miller "Wide River To Cross"‬‏ - YouTube:

(Thanks, Stu Jenks!)

sharing sacrificial meat with the poor

Bill Colsher wrote me:
Google it! Evidently the distribution of sacrificIal meat to the poor is alive and well in the Islamic world.
http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/3967 :
‘I had forbidden you to eat from the sacrificial meat for more than three days so that those who could afford it could give to those who are poor, but now you can eat as you wish, feed others from it, and preserve some.’”
and a news item from last fall:
http://www.a1saudiarabia.com/Al-Islam-Group-to-distribute-sacrificial-meat-in-three-countries/ :
"Udhiyah or Qurbani is an Islamic practice in which the affluent share their good fortune with the less fortunate. On the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, by sacrificing animals, wealthy Muslims all over the world perform this Islamic duty in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's (peace be upon him) readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail (may God be pleased with him)."
-bc
I'm sure vegetarian Muslims find an alternative. Makes me wonder if the original word is properly translated "meat" in the modern sense or "meat" in the older English sense of "food".

Failfandom 101 cheat sheet

Failfans have difficulty reading and leap to odd conclusions. Some say I'm prejudiced against upper and middle class people or against people who went to expensive private schools. I'm not. Many of my favorite thinkers, like Marx and Engels and Martin Luther King, were middle-class. Though I graduated from an inner-city public school that was about 90% black, I've attended expensive private schools and met people there who I still love.

But failfans tend to come from schools of privilege, which may be why their concept of privilege focuses on race and gender, not class.


what is a failfan?

A failfan is a fan of whatever failfans decide is a fail. Examples: Racefail 09, Mammothfail, Moonfail, Fishboobfail, etc. Their favorite tactics include censorship and blacklisting.

common terms in failspeak
  • ableist, bully, liar, racist, sexist, "special snowflake", transphobic = person who disagrees with a failfan
  • to appropriate = to use or be inspired by
  • to out = to note that a failfan used their legal name in public posts on their LJ
  • to stalk or cyber-stalk = to google or research
  • to threaten = to consider or ask
  • to whine = to say
  • "tone argument" = "I don't have to be polite; you do", an idea that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Fannie Lou Hamer would have rejected instantly
  • "Want a cookie?", "show your ass" = "I can't refute that."
rich white people that failfans cite
  • Judith Katz, who coined "racism = privilege + power"
  • Peggy McIntosh, author of "White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack" 
  • Tim Wise, frequent lecturer on Anti-Racism Theory at the USA's most expensive private schools
common traits of failfans
  • compile histories of fails
  • have liberal to neoliberal politics
  • claim to oppose privilege
  • hate to talk about class privilege
  • attend the expensive private schools of the US's ruling class
a few prominent failfans
Liz Henry, aka badgerbag
Kynn Bartlett, aka Caoimhe Ora Snow, aka kynn
Micole *******, aka coffeeandink
Kimberley Tempest Bradford, aka ktempest , aka the Angry Black Woman
  • boosted the signal to out Rachel Moss. "What I really want is for someone to find the real names behind some of these people and post that somewhere." "if Rachel Moss feels scared, hurt, embattled, and like she can’t walk down the street without someone having something nasty to say about her, all I can say is: good. She deserves it."
  • boosted the signal to out Luke Jackson
  • attacked Jay Lake while he was dealing the return of his cancer because he expressed doubts about returning to Wiscon
  • promoted censoring Elizabeth Moon
  • quote: "I rarely mention class because it’s not an issue I’m particularly familiar with. ... I come from a pretty comfortable middle class upbringing."
  • cites Martin Luther King without mentioning his criticism of "middle-class Negroes" with "a degree of academic and economic security".
  • cites El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, aka Malcolm X, without mentioning his criticism of capitalism or his belief that non-racist whites tend to be Muslims or socialists
  • expensive private school: New York University
Julia sparkymonster
N. K. Jemisin, aka nojojojo
favorite convention of failfans
  • Wiscon
  • honorable mention: Readercon
quotes for failfans
  • "Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know." —Michel de Montaigne
  • "Arguing with people who have lost all sense of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." —Thomas Paine
  • "Any cause that requires mockery and abuse to advance itself isn't one I need to engage with, regardless of my basic beliefs or agreement with the underlying goals." —Jay Lake
useful criticisms of the beliefs of failfans:
more information about failfandom
ETA: Does this list need more prominent failfans? james_nicoll  seems to be feeling neglected, but I think that's his white privilege talking; he's been a follower, not a leader, so far as I have noticed. yeloson  and sinboy could be added if the list needs men, but in most of these fails, women tend to lead because the fails come from neoliberal feminist circles. rydra_wong  and Ann Somerville might be included, since they've been diligent recorders of fail, boldly banning alternative interpretations from their accounts, but they've added little or nothing to fail discussions that seems original.

ETA 2: Kynn tweeted:

@FakeWillShttrly Fake Will Sh*tt*rlyDid I tell you about the time I got beat up by the KKK's kids? Oh, you heard that one too. Shit. ... I got nothin'.

Kynn apparently forgot that it's wrong to joke about the Klan. Julia sparkymonster  is subscribed to @FakeWillShttrly. Apparently, she forgot it was wrong, too.

So did ktempest Bradford, who is also subscribed.

See my extreme lack of surprise.

Kynn had said she was dropping this. See the paragraph before this one.

ETA 3: An anonymous commenter left this link about Kynn on my main blog: Trigger Warning: Rape (But important to read if you can.)