Survivors

Survivors
Combating Dystopia.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Cloture: DADT, Social Conservatism and Civil Rights



Joe. My. God.: DADT Cloture Passes Senate 63-33!!!


This is pretty remarkable news, and I admit I was somewhat cynical that- given all the posturing and heel dragging of the likes of McCain and the naysay set- that the vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would come to pass anytime soon. I was hopeful, as institutional discrimination is a disgusting affront to what we're all supposed to hold dear as American citizens...but admittedly there seems to be the typical reaction of social conservatives to find less than clever rationalizations for maintaining a very biased status quo. Ever fueling the social closure hypothesis. I find myself wondering now, if in our recent histories, segregationists felt similarly in the face of imminent (and ethical) striking down of Jim Crow. Did the Jesse Helms shrug and retire to his library to brood? Did political lobbying groups threaten those in office that endorsed or propagated these social changes the way the Family Research Council has? Vow revenge and shake their fists in a disturbingly undignified fashion, claiming that Senators should and will be “held accountable”. I’ve never heard language from the Left that even approaches this sort of paternalistic condescension.

My question becomes, “Did segregationists vow revenge and go out of their way to punish those responsible for what they considered the ‘end of the world’?” Likely, but I haven’t pierced that proverbial veil enough to say outright. I find the language and tactics of these far right groups increasingly erratic and problematically aggressive, and their ability to project any pretense of civility towards the groups they actively seek to disenfranchise (i.e- the gay minority in this instance) rapidly evaporating. The “love the sinner, hate the sin” meme is greatly disingenuous as a lot of the rhetoric about homosexuality being a “perverse pathology that ought to be criminalized ” etc that doesn’t pass many, if any litmus tests of ethical consistency. The very reason several of these groups go from being covertly bigoted (which is still concerning, but a person’s belief system even when based on consistent falsehood and fabrication is still their own) to groups on the SPLC’s hate list is because they willfully push forward these fabrications and demonizing rhetoric as though it were true for the whole group. Evangelical Bryan Fisher seems convinced (based on flimsy logic, to put it nicely) that all gay men are pedophiles, in fact, he seems obsessed with the notion and publishes information to this effect constantly.(RightWing Watch has an amusing write up involving Fischer,here ) Anything to advance the glaring misconception that gay people, like black people, like Jews and agnostics are somehow less than and deserve nothing short of differential treatment for not adhering to the expected behavior set of the dominant group.

In the case of DADT it means that it is not only rational as far as the religious conservative is concerned, as gay men are mentally ill perverts who are likely to molest their fellows while they sleep, to hunt down otherwise functional and effective personnel for what they might do in their personal lives, rummage through their things and fire them for whom they happen to love or like, it’s a duty of any God fearing Christian to purge the sinners from their midst. This, in a time when the American military is involved in two wars and military retention is low. It reminds me of an excellent book I read about the McCarthy era called the Lavender Scare, which examined one of the most effective expulsions of gay (or perceived to be gay) employees from State and Federal employment in the nation’s capital and more importantly the socio-cultural mindsets behind them. Much of the ideology that advanced the firing of thousands of possibly gay employees exists part and parcel in DADT. A lot of this comes from the outdated concept that a.) ones sexual orientation, provided it is not heterosexual is something that should at all costs remain hidden, and therefore such an intense secret would be a “national security risk” if enemies discovered it. b.) the myth that being gay is a “lifestyle choice” that gay persons seek to spread to others. The American Psychological Association in its infancy bares some responsibility for furthering the social concept that homosexuality = mental illness, but has since been consistent in debunking this. Much like eugenics, and other pseudo-scientific attempts to justify bigotry in the early 1900s, the lion share of these ideas just do not hold up against scientific research. That said, its almost unthinkable for any fair minded American to put forth their own prejudices and expect them to dictate governmental policy (With the exception of anti-immigration law and, Islamaphobia…on second thought…I take that back.). My personal distaste for persons who wear too much perfume is a personal bias, should I win election and ban perfume in public places, it becomes institutional discrimination. We’ve established that much of the animus towards gay soldiers is based on irrational fears generated by the Cold War era and perpetuated over and over by social conservatives and those who have not given the issue any rigorous empirical consideration. No one is suggesting that one has to alter one’s belief system to serve in the military, but to suggest that one must be thrown out of service for belonging to any particular status in their private lives is the antithesis of American ideology. Fairness dictates that we do not institutionally enshrine bigotry in any form into law and it is with incredible, profound pleasure that I see our society coming to a point where this fairness is becoming more universally applicable. This is another step in the moving, noble journey towards human decency on the whole and I for one am quite pleased to be witnessing history unfold before us.

Bare in mind that the Cloture vote passing means that no more debate on the topic need be heard and that the actual vote can go forward. Our political system works in, at times, confounding ways, but the future of DADT should be decided by the end of the day. Hope springs eternal.

EDIT: As of today, the policy Dont Ask Don't Tell, which compells the military to discharge military personnel it discovers is gay is no longer the rule of law. You've just witnessed civil rights history folks. This was the doing of several brave and tireless activists and soldiers themselves (Lt. Dan Choi for example has worked fiercely and outspokenly with this end in mind and deserves credit for his determination), honorable politicians and the changing winds of American cultural reality. Its also important to note that President Obama and the political climate at present has a lot to do with this victory (as few GOP Senators voted in favor of the repeal and fewer still can discuss gay persons without the loaded rhetoric we've discussed above). This is a profound moment in which we break with antiquated notions of difference and condemnation and start acting as though egalitarian ideals actually mean more than the lipservice so often given. Its a good day for liberty.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bigots in Sheeps Clothing: the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-gay Lobbyists

Southern Poverty Law Center, Family Research Council: 'Hate group' label fits - latimes.com






As an undergraduate at East Carolina University, and later as a Grad Student in their Sociology department, many times I’d find myself at Southern Poverty Law Center’s website with both a stark admiration of the quality of the research they do, and the inkling that someday, in some way, I’d love nothing more than to work with an organization with the same sort of mission statement. The SPLC does invaluable work monitoring and providing legal opposition to hate groups, and their dedication to civil rights and the civically disenfranchised in our society is beyond commendable. The difficulty with being a steadfast proponent of positive social change is that there are often social and legal constructs long set in place against such progress. Quite similarly, scripture and (false) pseudo-scientific rationalizations were concocted to justify slavery and later segregation socio-culturally, just as Jim Crow was legislated to ensure that the social order/status quo was maintained.


Sociological thought assumes no different when it comes to homophobia. Attitudes towards those that seek to enshrine persons who happen to be gay in a separate and unequal career trajectory should their cloistered lives be brought to light. (I’m looking at you Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) Or are squeamish about anti-bullying legislation if it includes any language “endorsing” homosexuality whilst being draped in the guise of religious freedoms can still in fact be hateful. Discrimination of this nature is institutional, much the way slavery became institutional and anti-miscegenation laws became institutional. When the government adopts the prejudices of the overall society and then seeks to disempower an ethnic or cultural minority group based on these assumptions (i.e- Travel Bans on HIV Positive persons) we have no place pretending that we live in a democratic, egalitarian society where the rights of all are upheld and protected.


What is entirely valid and well said about the editorial I reference above, is that Tim Rutton on December 1, 2010 evidenced all the ways individual prejudices become institutionalized discrimination. He looks at the history of the SPLC and the contrasting organization the Family Research Council and comes away with the analysis that the verdict of the SPLC here is correct entirely because of the defamation and misinformation used to pursue their goals. If the Family Research Council has valid information about why homosexuality in their religious view is a sin, fine. But to present scientifically disproven information (numerous studies bare out that a lot of the rhetoric the Christian right presents about the evils of homosexuality are miguided at best) and/or to conflate an entire group of people with pedophiles hellbent on converting one’s children and destroying the foundation of the family is nothing more than pearl clutching histrionics, not the assertions of a credible research institution.


These paragraphs are key:



Other conservative commentators also have assailed listing the council as a hate group, calling it an affront to protected speech. That is a superficially compelling argument, but it won't withstand scrutiny. It is perfectly possible for a church or an organization associated with a denomination or religious tendency — as the Family Research Council is with evangelical Protestantism — to oppose, say, marriage equality as a departure from tradition and traditional notions of civic virtue without defaming gays and lesbians as a group.



But the council goes well beyond that. Over the years, it has published statistical compendiums purporting to quantify the "evils" of homosexuality. One of its pamphlets is entitled, "Dark Obsession: The Tragedy and Threat of the Homosexual Lifestyle." At various times, its spokesmen have spuriously alleged that the gay rights movement's goal "is to go after children" and that child molestation is more likely to occur in households with gay parents. Last week, one of its senior fellows, Peter Sprigg, told reporters on a conference call concerning repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that "homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are relative to their numbers."


Such rhetoric is eerily reminiscent of that with which religiously affiliated opponents of African American equality once defended segregation. It wasn't all that long ago that some of them argued against school integration because, they alleged, black adolescents were uniquely unable to control sexual impulses and, therefore, would assault white schoolgirls. Exhortations against "race mixing" were commonplace pulpit messages short decades ago, though we now recognize them as hate speech. It's past time to do the same with rhetoric that denigrates gays and lesbians.


And this is the eerily familiar aspect of this social conservatism. Society, especially those in more socially conservative periods of humankind, has been uniformly talented at maintaining the status quo, and incredibly creative about creating ways to perpetuate social control. Politicians and now unfortunately powerful lobbyist groups like the Family Research Center are quick in these instances to deem themselves as the arbiters of social propriety and dictate others act accordingly. As Rutten implies, this oversteps the bounds of religious freedom by a great deal, and encroaches on the rights of others to make any decisions outside of those prescribed by said arbiters. If these assertions are made within the confines of a religious institution, they are to be honored and protected, if they make their way into public discourse and policy, the assumption that they’re to be protected by religious freedoms becomes flimsier and flimsier still.


If you and your preacher agree that “the gays” are all the things those scant scriptures say they are, fine. But the day you seek to disempower the rights of other law abiding citizens because of it all pretense of civility and ethicality recedes from view.





Monday, November 22, 2010

Graeme Taylor: This is the Face of Modern Day Heroism.




Graeme Taylor: Role Model, Hero and Everyday Teen - Tonic

I do not begrudge the modern teen in any way, shape, or form. Not only do they have to endure the universal angst and tribulation of puberty in a world that seems to be on perpetual fastforward, but they have to do so while facebooking, updating their twitter pages and operating in an increasingly image conscious, self-obsessed environments. My niece, bless her, stays wired to either her DS, the Television, one of our borrowed laptops, or honing her infuriating Hannah Montana inspired sense of sarcasm-despite the fact that she has no idea what it is... (seriously, you should see her, everything is punctuated by an eyeroll.) Given how much press has been given to how self absorbed and antagonistic we’re being told the modern American tween is, I’m finding myself increasingly astounded by the poise, polish and remarkable self awareness of this little guy. He came upon the quasi-public radar thusly:

On Oct. 20, National Bullying Day, economics teacher Jay McDowell of Michigan's Howell High School was wearing a purple shirt to show his support. He noticed a student wearing a Confederate flag belt buckle and asked him to remove it. The student probed McDowell about what the difference was between a Confederate flag and the rainbow flag, the unity symbol for the gay community. McDowell tried to explain the difference, to which the student responded, "I don't accept gays. It's against my religion," according to On Top magazine.

McDowell suspended the student for one day. The school board, in turn, suspended McDowell (without pay) for violating the student's First Amendment rights and for wearing a "controversial" purple shirt. When school officials had a board meeting to discuss the issue, Taylor, from neighboring Ann Arbor, went to speak up on behalf of the teacher.

I had the privilege of watching Young Mr. Taylor speak (via the power of the interwebs) at this school board meeting on behalf of this teacher and will without hesitation say that the demeanor and eloquence of this youngster is, after years of public speaking by way of a pseudo-occupational hazard, far surpassed anything I could compare to at his age. The post has since been removed (Copyright infringement allegedly, I’m dubious however) but the content was what was so amazing. I’m actually quite curious about the outcome, the cause of young Graeme’s speech. It would be a loss if more contentious, well intentioned teachers are jettisoned (especially given how awful the need for teachers are in this economy) merely because they opt to try to do something “controversial” like confronting the growing social issue of bullying in schools. Just as Young Mr. Taylor felt it was right to speak on behalf of those of us keen to do the right thing in the face of conventional “propriety”, I believe its entirely necessary to do the same for the both of them. So rarely in life do we have people willing to step outside of themselves and their personal gain on behalf of others. Rarer still is the 14 year old that pries him or herself from his iPhone long enough to speak on behalf of someone they felt was doing the ethical and just thing. (For him to so aptly invoked Martin Luther King Jr and make a sweeping plea for any and all to denounce homophobic bullying? Above and beyond the call of brilliance) In this boy I see the courage and cleverness so many closet cases and apathetic self servers lack in spades. I see the future, and perhaps all of that poppycock about “it getting better” seems grounded in reality after all… perhaps there’s hope for the world yet.

Update: Young Mssr Graeme was on Ellen today and was awarded a scholarship for his ethicality and courage. Here's to positive reinforcement, feeling a little better about the universe now.

Malbec-America (heavy hearted, beautifully delivered)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sidelong Glances.

I found this entry in one of my journals and its set me to thinking. A neighbor I really value is prodding me to expand on some writings and experiences and see what happens, so this is what I'm devoting the majority of my weekend to. Steady as she goes. Could be something interesting to discover in the process...

Latent Effects 5/10/2009

Fragments of last night add together and make for a decent evening. Stogies, walks in the rain, and the briefest segment of Firefly. Wine garnered from the kindness of good friends, while I mourned the coming of my utter penilessness. Talked with Kenny and John about books and the sudden return of what I call "Jersey Hands". I tend to gesture wildly as a side effect of being back in PA for too long. I can't effect a british accent because remnants of a northeastern one has crept in in its place. Its really sort of funny. Jill showed up and we did the meaningful stare across the bar of two people who know each other too well. The group of us marveled at the increasingly younger crowd that elbowed their way into the uncomfortable warmth of the room. I shook my fist in (almost) jest. The storm churned all around, ozone and lightning, noize enough to dwarf the speakers. The roadtrip to Easton was eventful, a few interviews, one maxed out credit card and 500 plus mile drives and awkward reunions with obnoxiously good looking "friends" from the old neighborhood later...I'm back in Purgatory plotting my next course of action.
The interview I had just before I drove back seems interested, and a really good fit, so I'm jazzed they're caling me back for a second interview this week. Of course, I can't afford...well...anything...let alone travel, but I think I've got that worked out. Or at least I hope. Fingers crossed. The other thing I can't afford? Not recouping some of these awful monitary losses. Being THIS broke? All sorts of demoralizing.


And this one I like from a month or so earlier:
the Traveler 5/3/2009

Right now, I'm sitting in my sister's slightly cluttered dining room with a wee bit of time to kill. I've been in Easton a few odd, overcast days, and have felt a swell of the typical nostalgia (with the inevitable stings of dashed expectations) followed by the more humbling stumble back down to earth. That trip is shaped by reunions, both bittersweet and embarassing, and the ultimite realization that with coming full circle, there's that end of the line. The point of the ride where one can no longer afford coach nor carriage, and can no longer maintain that ruse. The traveler becomes disloged from his place in timeif ever such a place was truly secured for him at all) and finds himself a resident in a strange country. One where the landscape is unfamilar and uncertian and the customs unknowable. One pauses, uncertian of his step but fully aware that the next move is of incredible importance, the respite of considerable need. The stumble need not be a permanent fall, and one hopes for the ability to dust onself off quickly and properly enough to avoid lingering for too long a spell. One hopes to find a compass. One hopes the wind will change




Friday, November 19, 2010

Sidekicked.






Ahhh, the warm and slightly sleazy buzz of nostalgia. I'm not sure whats inspired me to wax absurdly reminiscent about my time as a comic book store clerk twice in one week, but watching the footage of the imminent "Justice League Jr." series has me retreading those dorktastic steps.

The ultimate perk of working at a comic book store? Unlimited reading material. I, for the first time ever, had hours to pour over the entire bodies of work of the major publishers and indie labels...and I made something of a study of it. And one of the books that stuck out the most in that somewhat bizarre period of the late 90s was Peter A David's
Young Justice. The first thing that jumped out at me was the art of Todd Nauck, which had this cartoonish vibrancy while at the same time conveying a lot of dynamic action and characterization. A club made up of sidekicks: Sure, Robin III was cool (Tim Drake was both confident and comfortably nerdy and studious and yet enjoyably different than Dick Grayson) and Impulse was something of a moppy haired, adorable, spastic idiot savant with superpowers and Superboy came off as the cocky big kid on campus. The first several issues came off as a super hero buddy comedy with all the bad jokes and goofy set ups to boot. ("Young. Just, us." ) But it also skirted some real darkness, Secret, a mysterious girl the trio liberates is a possibly dead-but-resurrected government lab experiment with no real memory of her former self (but she's cute as a button, minus the dead stuff) and she's being pursued by her possible brother who killed her as a bid to gain demonic powers through a cult ritual. See? Plenty dark. And somehow it managed to be fun and comical at the same time.

When I saw that the Cartoon Network was producing a show by the same name a few months back, I was immediately skeptical. Young Justice ran for quite a while, and was for much of this time the only DC comic I read. When the Teen Titans cartoon was near launch, the characters of use to the cartoon were hastily excised from Young Justice, the comic cancelled and a new Teen Titans book was thrown together to profit from the loose association of the show. Needless to say it didn't sit well. So now, ten years later we have a Young Justice cartoon that might possibly get most of the spirit of YJ right... It might be karmic. Who knows? But it looks pretty sodding sweet so far. No word on whether or not we can expect to see the likes of the Secret (or Wonder Girl), and the new Aqualad is completely made for tv (but looks cool) but ...feeling more optimistic than not about the potential. Color me temporarily stoked, and watch a 6 minute opener for the series which is looking more badass than I'd expected. This could be interesting, fanboys and girls.




Monday, November 15, 2010

Dateless Wonders and Hopeless Causes.

 

ovc_248

OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS

Many many moons ago, back when I was barely 18 and working at one of the areas Local Comic Book stores, I used to stroll casually into the store on Thursdays, make my requisite series of customer service related phone calls, flip open my Abnormal Psychology text …and have the hardest time diagnosing half of the more eccentric persons to ever walk through the place on a given day. It was actually quite the guilty pleasure of mine, manning the register and idly studying between customers. Easily one of the  most charmed retail experiences I’ll ever have by far. But the above “Our Valued Customers” is a site that takes real overheard comic book store customers’ and their left of reality perspectives and shines the embarrassing light of day on them; to hilarious, soul crushing effect. Most comic book fans are harmlessly nerdy, affable and despite being slightly socially awkward, charming. But there were always a few pervy, unwashed letches lurking around the hentai section to ruin that perception.

The LCS I went to while I was in Grad school was so full of awkward fanboys that whenever a girl would enter the dingy, dusty store the overly chatty clerk and nearly everyone else would fall into bashful silence until she left. I used to think that level of nerd-humor was the stuff of Simpsons parody, but there were points when they’d slide into a SERIOUS dissection of the week’s WWF plotlines that it became too surreal and even I would flee for my social life, go for a round or two, and have very long conversations about anything, everything other than WWF to compensate…

 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Marvel Brothel' Is the Least Exciting (And Most Actionable) Sex-Based Adventure Game Starring the X-Men You'll See Today - ComicsAlliance | Comics culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

 

I’d be more at a lossx-women_4 about how bafflingly wrong the existence of this home grown video game is, but it speaks to some glaringly awful misogany. Whomever concocts a game where heroines are pimped out by their well intentioned figureheads to “further their civil rights movement” (Professor X) as a plot device, has got some real and weighty issues to sift through. Never mind that the very point of being a human rights activist is to avoid subjugation and denigration of the disenfranchised. Also, Jubilee? Really? She’s under most continuity at BEST 16.There isn’t enough time to count how many ways the existence of this game is wrong. That said, I don’t think Martin Luther King funded his ambitions by pimping out the women who supported his message. And should there be evidence of this, I’ll gladly hang up my libral hat and cynical sociology coat and quit the world forever.

 

 

Scissor Sistors, for the win.

 

'Marvel Brothel' Is the Least Exciting (And Most Actionable) Sex-Based Adventure Game Starring the X-Men You'll See Today - ComicsAlliance | Comics culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

Boys on Film. (GleeCap)


Let's talk Glee. I've been riding high on the goofily optimistic and refreshingly groundbreaking promo clip between isolated, too "fabulous" to live Kurt, and the newly introduced painfully charming gay guru in the following clip.









As for "Never Been Kissed" itself? I for one adored it, though I think considering I watched the "Teenage Dream" promo clip a million times, its not possible for it to completely live up to the fantasy I created in my head. That said, I think what happens in "Never Been Kissed" is extremely important. The very fact that two openly gay teens can share an exchange, let alone sing a flirty, swoony crush song to one another is (sadly?) revolutionary. I've heard several older gay men remark that they'd never thought they'd see the like in their lifetime, and it strikes me as impossibly sad that generations of gay teenagers have never really seen themselves as represented and present in society. All the sappily sweet love songs in the universe, even if they're impossibly vapid, are geared towards people who aren't you, and reinforces the idea gayness is some sort of affliction only spoken about in dark rooms in hushed tones. I found a very well worded post from
Tom and Lorenzo that expresses that cultural isolation better than I:


"To the straight people reading us: remember high school? Remember your favorite songs and movies, TV shows and music videos from that period? Imagine if all of that media bombardment telling you what to like, what to wear, and how to be attractive, popular, and cool, imagine that all of that aimed for and addressed everyone else but you. Imagine what it's like when every sappy love song (or angry breakup song), every rom com, every trendy TV show and blockbuster movie, even every video game, imagine if they all depicted a form of romantic love that simply isn't available to you. Imagine going through high school without even so much as a hint of yourself reflected in any of the things you watch and listen to, any of the things that literally every other kid is talking about. Imagine the one thing you want more than anything in the world: to be kissed, please god, just to be kissed, imagine you have never seen that depicted anywhere or referred to in any way but as something to be mocked and shunned."


All fair and true points when considering the effects of mass media and minority culture. We take cues about who and what is important, and relevant by how its presented in the media and in this case, its an exercise in both overt and covert marginalization. The bloggers in the above underscore why something as simple as that scene carries enormous weight and frankly, sustaining and validating in ways youtube videos about waiting out suffering are not.

Outside of that glorious moment, the rest of the episode happened too:

As for Kurt, I find it impossible not to find his utter marginalization and torment soul shatteringly resonant. I know I've had a fairly benign high school experience in comparison, but college in a rural southern baptist town provided plenty of opportunities to get shunned and openly mocked. As an educator myself, it feels like Glee is a universe where the teachers and adults are present only when convenient. I find Shue's "You're losing it" speech to be tone deaf and wrongheaded only in that it would have been far more useful to approach the bully in question than it would to sit Kurt down and give him water. As important as this topic is to be considering and showcasing, I think the message is a bit muddled. Eventually a teacher might notice, but they'll ultimately reference it and do nothing. He's in a position where he could have at least made it known that there are repercussions for such behavior.Missed opportunity there.

Another thing I was irked by was how completely the Boys team dismissed Kurt. Granted it was to set up the reason for Kurt and Blaine meeting, but it also clearly underscores how little they appreciate and understand him. That scene makes his trip to the Dalton Academy all the more fantasy like. For Kurt, it was instantly gorgeous, enticing, warm and welcoming, and the pained expression of envy, relief and amazement on his face at regarding Blaine and this strange new habitat was amazing to watch. (Has anyone else actually ever seen Kurt beam the way he does here? I had to stop and think on it, but I've never seen him smile before at all) The scene is colorful and inviting and lavishly detailed in contrast to Kurt's school surroundings, and it serves as an indicator that life can in fact be substantively different, better, elsewhere. That not everyone is either willfully oblivious, openly hostile or indifferent about he or his sexuality. The vulnerability he displays when asking the prep school boys about their own orientations is noteworthy. The more I think about it beyond the expense, there's literally nothing at McKinley high that could convince Kurt realistically to stay. After watching that scene with the Warbelers' a few times even I wanted to go to that school, and my experiences weren't remotley as horrible. I find myself wanting to pause Glee in the Dalton Academy and stay there, as the reality of the "real" universe is grossly unpalatable in comparison.

Rachel can imply that he's loved and appreciated, but aside from that one moment in the end of Duets, its rarely noticeable otherwise. I'm not buying. The other students range from mocking him when convenient to basically ignoring his feelings, input or comments. and I'm not sure why he would either. There's little on screen interaction that indicates any open camaraderie with any character besides Mercedes, as his relationship with Finn was dashed by the "gay as sexual predator" defense, and any potential friendship with Sam was tainted by such as well.

the Puck/Artie storyline was marginally likable, and I know Puck's bluster is a defense mechanism but god, is it hard to sympathize with such an increasingly ridiculous caricature.

the Foe Yay between Kurt and his Nemesis, was a complete and enjoyable blindside. Misdirection is always nice, and yes, there are plenty of gay men that, later in life come out after years of fighting it and everyone else that could possibly remind them of it. Its a worthy story to mine, sure, but I do think its dangerous for Kurt to romantically involve himself with someone who basically brutalized him out of angst for so long. The parallels between this and Hollyoaks are well made in that regard. I'm inclined to think that helping Dave, while noble and understandable is NOT Kurts responsibility. Granted, he may be more evolved and further along on his emotional progression, but it cannot be healthy to yoke yourself to someone with a history of violence and that much self loathing.

Also? As much as I wanted to like Sam, the blonde ambition Prom scenario and Quinn's forced theatricality about the Beiste scenario was underwhelming. I think my shipping has sunk. On the whole I think this was a groundbreaking, incredibly cathartic episode that somewhat effectively peels back the human implications of both overt and subtle bullying. And yes, Chris Colfer is sodding brilliant for being able to convey the stinging, icy isolation and the sudden giddy making glimmers of hope and self awareness with the merest expression. This, ladies and gents is talent. And if anyone can take the struggles and trials of Kurt to heart and feel less alone or less inclined to look the other way, there might just be hope for the world yet.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fresh Meat: Hordes Arrive for Walking Dead Debut.



l4d2_cinematic"Walking Dead" A Ratings Smash - Comic Book Resources



With all the zombie themed material out there-from popular First Person Shooters with inexplicable zombie modes, to the demure sisters of the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice doing battle with the undead (No, I’m not making this up) , its safe to say that zombies have shambled into the public consumption in a major way. Its debatable that all of these depictions of the mindless undead are good, but the frequency of zombie lore in the mainstream entertainment media has notably increased recently.



Zombie lore can be traced back to Haiti and West African witchcraft conjuring up undead servants to do their bidding based on collective fears of the supernatural, but more Western portrayals- like George Romeo’s cult classic Night of the Living Dead preys upon other persistent phobias in Western culture: contagion, overpopulation and misuse of technology and science leading to the fall of civilization and eventual dystopia. And this dystopia resonates well in the modern world, where the population grows increasingly larger and the potential dangers from it (plague and outbreak, failure of government to meet these needs etc.) seem to lurk around every corner. Rid the public of their humanity and their ability for empathy and conscious thought and the teaming unchecked masses become credible and persistent dangers clamoring for the one commodity left. Fresh meat.



Its an easier thing to tell gory, one-liner heavy, high action stories about the humanity’s last stand in the face of outbreak and groupthink, than it is to tell the very human stories of isolation and loss that would likely surround such an unfortunate series of events.Why Kirkman’s the Walking Dead series works so well both in comic book and television formats is because it tells the very underscored stories of emotional fallout, grief and uncertainty surrounding the sudden caving of society, and mines that in incredibly interesting ways as the story progresses. What do we give up to ensure safety in a world where social conventions have forsaken us and what do we hold on to when culture no longer provides us with structure? The series also has some brilliant character beats from its diverse and disparate cast of characters. (Almost always the best of them come from the almost uncomfortably efficient zombie slayer Michonne), and how all of the characters seem painfully, failingly human in unthinkable circumstances. The father and son duo that meets Rick in the beginning of the story have become insular to the point of distrusting live humans more than their undead counterparts. The father Morgan grapples with the grim truth that his wife is outside among the horde and cannot bring himself to kill her or leave the neighborhood. The reason it works, and works so well is that the cycle of grief and erosion of humanity is so well played and so smartly depicted that its hard not to ponder the moral and logistical implications of it all.



Judging from the massive success of the Pilot, having been seen by 8.3 million viewers over the weekend, people have the chance to sink their teeth into the meaty, surprisingly thought provoking series and hopefully will continue to as it progresses. In the zombie glutted market over the past few years, it really is the freshest brain around.





Monday, November 1, 2010

Perkins "Explains" Gay Teen Suicides : Dispatches from the Culture Wars





http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2010/11/perkins_explains_gay_teen_suic.php





"These young people who identify as gay or lesbian, we know from the
social science that they have a higher propensity to depression or suicide
because of that internal conflict," he says.

Homosexuality is
"abnormal," he says, and kids know it, which leads them to despair.



Its such a convenient, utterly despicable argument that it almost is beneath my dignity to discuss outright. Except that Perkins and his ilk have been working overtime the past several weeks to counter the idea that LGBT young adults and teenagers are in any way deserving of human decency for their so called “lifestyle choice”.

Nevermind that there are in fact very
real correlations between suicide rates, depression and LBGT youth, but what Perkins willfully ignores in the above is that one of the reasons driving the problematic trend is the consistent fact that he and other evangelicals and social conservatives are ardently, and bitterly reinforcing the fact that gay kids are vile, evil abominations that do not in fact deserve to live. That they’re somehow pushing “an agenda” for wanting to live an unrepressed life. Or hell, according to recent polls out of Texas, that they may be inadvertently responsible for the freaking apocalypse just by proxy of existing. Perkins blithely goes about insisting that these “lifestyle choices” are monstrous and ungodly, is allowed to press this issue in “objective” news sources from the Washington Post to NPR, and has the gall to pretend to lament the loss of life when he’s perpetuating the conditions responsible for the “despair” these gay (or perceived as such an therefore persecuted) students face. Its like saying that a given racial or ethnic minority experiences depression at a higher frequency and then ignoring the socio-environmental factors like prejudice and discrimination that in many cases are socially created and culturally reinforced in our society that causes it. Its almost an insult to one’s intelligence to present this ruse of “compassion” when shunning, scorn and victim blaming are the very aims of the organizations Perkins helms and the movement he leads.

When otherwise “normal” children feel justified in taking this embedded message out in society about homosexuality being abhorrent and justifiable to persecute against, and thus become gatekeepers of so called morality, the results can be grim as we’ve learned recently. But make no mistake, we do not learn messages about stigmas and negative statuses in a vacuum. If status Y is somehow tainted, and vile and worthy of scorn, it is in every way because of the values attached to it by the societies we inhabit. LGBT youths can’t feel “despair” about their sexual identities without Perkins’ thinly veiled code about their sin, and the bully pulpit demagoguery others backing this anti-gay rhetoric have been pressing so consistently since the Cold War Era. One can point to studies about depression and suicide amongst gay teens and see a valid correlation, but one cannot remove the idea that social factors that drive those trends have much to do with the open hostility created by Perkins himself.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stripperiffic.


T-minus two days until costume party hijinks are to ensue...and I find myself still having persistent costume anxiety. I made the case for the angst that the lack of african-american superheroes and video game characters has caused my meager options...but after looking around the interweb and some costume shops at sexed up costumes the average woman is supposed to wear, I'm going to stop complaining.


http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/10/21/sexy-superhero-costumes-halloween/

In a world where most legitimate female superheroes are gender analogues of pre-existing male characters (which makes an interesting statement about the patriarchy in itself), and with the exception of Wonder Woman, many of the heroines of the X-Men, and the Invisible Woman (formerly the passive Invisible Girl whose power was to ...literally and metaphorically turn invisible) its only slightly annoying that so many costumes for women and girls are simply those male costumes in a mini-skirt and their tits out. Case in point: I've always been slightly amused at the sudden existence and popularity of jailbait Wolverine clone (literally) X-23. You know why X-23's so popular? Because it gives all the het-dudes who have jones for wolverine an underage, fetish gear wearing female to project that onto.

There are points where playing up sex appeal is entirely appropriate, but simply slashing parts of a costume, slapping on a skirt and high boots and glitter isn't as much about the costume as it is about the sexualization of the woman wearing it.


A lot of my friends who are women enjoy the gore of Halloween more than my male friends. Dressing up as puss oozing zombie people, sans-sexualization, is often their angle during Halloween, but when every other woman is a "sassy nun", or a "sexy bee" or... Sarah Palin, its conspicuous to be the woman in the giant furry costume, or the flesh eating zombie dripping blood. You can glance through a costume catalogue and glean a lot about gender expectations in our society. Male costumes paying homage to a particular character or person are a straight interpretation of said character whereas the female costume is not as much a feminization as it is a sexualization of the same costume.

One of the best aspects of Halloween (from someone who has always been somewhat leery of the holiday) is the irreverence, the subversion of "normal" societal expectations, and the ability-for just a night or a weekend- to turn convention on its ear. This assumption of mine seems to fail when we look at the staunch differences in presentation and expectation about gender in Halloween costumes. Whats the message when your 15 year old niece has being a "sexy bee" to look forward to, while her brother gets to actually BE a bumblebee. I'm dubious about whether or not focusing on the sexed up aspects of womanhood for even the most benign costumes is justified or even relevant. If a person wants to parade about in a corset for Halloween for the sake of it, it seems the spirit of the time...but to have the dearth of costumes aimed at women be these hypersexualized deviations of male costumes sends a very different, and not altogether encouraging message about gender differences when it comes to presentation. And as much as I like Sesame Street..."Sassy Elmo" makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall repeatedly...


And now? Super sweet clips from my new favorite band Geographer, a lovely, lilting "Original Sin", and a poppy-yet melancholy number from Prozakk below. Dig it.




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Professionalism is the new Persecution?


http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/10/slaggie-gilamonster-gay-marriage-will.html

The above, and you'll forgive me being frank, is a ridiculous argument. When a professional organization denies membership to someone it deems outside the ideological viewpoint of the profession its not out of line to reject them. Case in point;
Matt Hale, the founder of the Church of the Creator failed to pass the Bar for these reasons alone. His missives about racial superiority were (shockingly) opposed to those of the law board. And now he's doing time for trying to murder a federal judge... yes, its a shame he's not a big and powerful lawyer who had viewpoints would have debased the profession (further) as its against his "freedoms" for the professional body to reject people that don't adhere to their standards professionally. The idea that religious intolerance is somehow put on the line when a profession sets ideological standards for its patently ridiculous. Ethical and ideological standards are an important part of professions like law, medicine and science in order to maintain a level of quality and ensure uniformity amongst the profession. It in fact does harm to both the profession and persons they’ll potentially come into contact with to have, say, a therapist who goes against the school of organized thought regarding treatment regarding sexual orientation, or doctors who ignore standard procedure regarding common medical practice. None of this would work for the greater good.

Nevermind that the entirety of Galligher’s argument is based on conjecture and, thus cannot be empirically proven. Fearmongering and pear clutching at its most histrionic. Professional standards ensure the fair and ethical treatment of organizations providing important services to the public. If one cannot actually BE professional and apply their religious beliefs in their personal lives alone, then perhaps they’re being discouraged from these positions for exactly the right reasons.

Said the Professor to the Perky (possibly doomed) Student



Odd timing. Last night I was mulling over the prospect of dusting off my wide-eyed motivated graduate school persona and starting to apply to Phd Programs. Its a cause of much anxiety for me in this fugue state I (barely) exist in now. Teaching on a collegiate level is quite a lot fulfilling and a much of it, the application of my knowledge base towards broadening the horizons of the uninitiated, I find far more gratifying than I'd expected when this began. However, as the Professor above drones, managers at Costco make more...and get actual benefits. Also? Grad school was an interesting experience, but I always got the sense that my professors felt the similar soul crushing realities as the Monotone Professor above, and it was enough to give me something of a pause. "A life of the mind" is noble but at this date its sure as hell not paying the bills. The next question becomes, do I move towards more debt, possibly obscure locations, and scores of reading, analysis and hoop-jumping in order to possibly raise my pay scale... or continue bumbling through the tepid waters of the job market? Ah the joy of toss ups.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Moral of the Story is: Online Dating is for Smucks.





http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-real-stuff-white-people-like/

Back when I was devoted to OKCupid as something of a high minded “these are supposed to be my people” (nerdy atheist hipsters) social experiment on Internet dating I was really disenchanted by the data they presented on race and biases. It was a stark reminder of all the ways in which having all the commonalities in the world wouldn’t get you past the oh-so-enjoyable kneejerk that is casual racism. It was somewhat devastating at the time, because I was operating under the naive misconception that the people who frequented OKCupid were sexually unrepressed, progressives on the whole. And yes, I’ve recently been informed about a “bridge in Brooklyn”. I’m talking to my people about it...

This bit of data is more interesting…or at least more amusingly presented. But otherwise, it seems to show me how consistently socialization seems to program us to be very similar little lemmings. I’m choosing to attempt to defy that paradigm. (And I despise diet coke and generic “soul food”. And sushi).


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

(Not a) SuperJihad.




Another great post from ComicsAlliance underscoring the appauling trend of indignation about the inherent dangers of reading about the muslim faith (or characters who are possibly muslim or from middle eastern countries in this case)--->children converting to Islam----> America under sharia law!!! The terror! The panic! The McCarthy era scare tactic!



Its not the best leap of logic in the universe to object to the use of characters from a geographic region of the world loosely associated with a religion that is not uniformly associated with deplorable acts of terrorism (extremism occurs in any religion and culture). Its an even bigger facepalm when reactionary right wing media pundits are doing so BEFORE knowing anything about the actual stories, characters or plot of said story.


From what I can tell,
the 99 is a comic story about a group of super heroes that come from the Islamic cultures and vary broadly (as a lot of world cultures are influenced by Islam in some way) that intends to add nuance to a largely hegemonic comic book genre. Interchangeably bland silver age characters your thing? Stick with with the great American boyscout-Superman (though his is the ultimate immigration story, with the boy from another world being adopted and acculturated to "Truth, Justice and the American way"). The mere fact that stories about characters who are Muslim are accessible does not mean that anyone is forcing a particular culture on anyone. Should someone read it, and by proxy glean some residual understanding of cultures outside your own (arguably), all the better, but is a safe bet that learning about something or someone different from their own culture in a comic book or cartoon is not going to automatically make your children run off to join the Taliban. Is it troubling to anyone else that certain segments of society are treating information, awareness and diversity as though its some sort of contagious disease? The fearmongering and kneejerk angry mobbing this perhaps skewed idea of Islam is even more problematic when we stop to think that there are large numbers of Muslim Americans in this country who a.) do not practice Sharia Law and have no desire to and b.) moved to or live in the US of A for a REASON, and despite having a faith that differs in some ways from Christianity, are just as thankful for the freedoms bestowed on the American citizenry as any flag waving conservative. Its more likely that governments that enforce and codify sharia law are problematic, not the entirety of Islam itself. Any suggestion otherwise seems tone deaf and blithely oblivious to the world around us comics like this are attempting to diversify. Its entirely possible this is going to be a shoddy comic (as I'm not sure about the art or script so far) but its heart is 100% in the right place. While people from the Midwest travel to Manhattan to protest against "them terrorists" and "protect" a city they feel are decadent, sinful and elitist any other time, I think more knowledge and awareness is just what we need. And fast.

In other news: Wednesday =New Comic Book Day! Marvel Solicits for January 2011 are out. Some story lines like "the Age of X" are in the works that at the moment look pretty vague. Oliver Coipel is mentioned, so vague, but damn pretty. What's looking sweet?



UNCANNY X-MEN #532
Written by MATT FRACTION & KIERON GILLEN
Pencils & Cover by GREG LAND
“QUARANTINE”
When your very body is betraying you, and you see life leaking out of your friends drop by drop, what would you give up for the cure? Cyclops discovers what the Sublime Corporation wants. Can he afford to pay it? Meanwhile, Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw reminisce over old times VIA THE STRONG LANGUAGE OF PUGILISM. Part 3 (of 5)
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99



Emma. Sodding. Frost. and hell, any comic solicit that uses the word "pugilism" gets some love from me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Fight the Tide of the Sea of Douche (otherwise known as Xbox Live)






Xbox Live has a very odd subscription demographic and a particularly large problem (especially when compared to the skewed older Ps3). Granted, playing a challenging round of Hard Rain on Left 4 Dead 2 with a good group is nothing short of rewarding, and playing a good death match of the latest Halo iteration? Fun! But the added costs, not so much. Its almost impossible to log on Xbox Live and play 5 minutes of a multi player match without being called a N***** , a "Fag" or any number of juvenile slurs.

There are several factors to consider when it comes to what seems like an entire community of young(ish) "anonymous" gamers w/ voice mics shouting venom out into the openness of net-space, but the ones I'm most curious about is a.) the demographics b.) the administrative policy and c.) how to fight the tide of the sea of douche.




A.) The Age Demographics of Xbox Live:

A cursory google search qued up the following from
Gamer.Blorge:



Microsoft Xbox 360

The Xbox 360, currently sitting in a very
comfortable second place in terms of sales, appeals mainly to males aged between
12 and 17, and females aged between 25 and 34. This seems like a bizarre mix but
the younger age range for boys could explain the level of petty whining and
douchebaggery on display over Xbox Live

.


Now, this shouldn't come as much of a shock. Anyone who's played Xbox Live with their mics on for any reasonable period of time has been forced to endure the blatant perviness, over the top racism (often unprovoked nor topical), gay bating, cheating, and general purpose douchebagginess. Its an epidemic. Initially, I'd thought it was an isolated incident when goofing around with Halo, or Gears of War but conferring with a number of fellow gamers has proven that Xbox Live runs rampant with ignorant, vile little monsters.


What drives these trends? Well, the easiest one to put one's finger on is anonymity. Log onto any local newspaper's websites and you can see the power of the internet at work. People find it a lot easier to espouse their teabaggy rants about how Jews are secretly in control of the universe and how black people are all maundering thugs when hiding behind a computer screen. One can join a social environment where borderline antisocial behavior is neither kept in check nor discouraged. Its language lobbed as carelessly as a plasma grenade in Halo 3, and in minor doses arguably excusable, but what you have in large game matches with dozens kids trying to get attention by throwing out whatever words they've learned will spark the most fires, emboldened by their relative anonymity it becomes a really noxious environment. One it seems less and less fun and rational to operate in, let alone pay $8.99 per month to be a part of.


B.) The Administrative Policy- As per Xbox.com website, the company policy is



"Publish, distribute, or disseminate any content, topic, name, material, file,
or information that incites, advocates, promotes, depicts, constitutes, or
expresses child pornography, profanity, hatred, bigotry, racism, illegal drug
use, gratuitous or graphic violence, or criminal or fraudulent activity;
Create a Gamertag , avatar or use text in other profile fields that may
offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for,
hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate or relate to any of the following: profane
words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature, hate speech (including but
not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled
substances, or illegal activities"


Now, this seems straightforward enough. I've seen users banned for having namertags that are somewhat suggestive, or racially insensitive (One called "Jewkiller" was inexplicably untouched however) , and seen a gamer from Ft. Gay, West Virginia in some trouble over this putting this information in his profile. I've seen people who use modded systems (cheating/piracy) banned for life. But what I haven't been seeing is any direct recourse for the constant orgy of hate rants and its unfortunate. I know I'm not the only one questioning my sanity for paying for a product I have to endure this level of stupidity to "enjoy". If it is impossible to prevent this sea of douchey behavior, if its "just the nature of the beast that is the interweb" to be crude, bigoted and mean spirited then perhaps its best that I take my football and go home. From what I gather from discussing this issue with others, I'm not the only gamer in the universe who got rid of his Gold account because it was too distracting/aggravating to play online when 80% of the other players are on par with Leeroy Jenkins. But then, what can Xbox Moderators do when the majority of the problem is guys using psychological warfare (try listening to a 15 year old sing off key with his voice autotuned to sound like a robot in a really high pitch for a few minutes.), are throwing around slurs at the top of their lungs because they're a collective of sociopaths intent on conveying such, and individuals who mistake the above for what it is to be "cool". Add groupthink mix well and that about sums up the general vibe of an Xbox Live experience.


C.) Combating the Douche-tide. As offputting as coexist amid the din of pre-pubescent rants and general purpose douchiness, the idea of Xbox Live, of banding together with friends and strangers to team up and chat about the games we play in real time,stlll looks better on paper than it is in practice. Many of my friends only play exclusively with/against people they know and vouch for, or discontinue their accounts due to the absolutely irksome experience that Xbox Live has become. Its masochistic to pay to exist in hostile, unpleasant, belligerent environments and I wonder if in the next generation of Microsoft game products this could be more handily resolved. The easiest way to cut down on the blind item screeds on the online newspaper cites I referenced? Compell the individuals to register their names before posting. When it comes to online avatars and realtime dialouge, it becomes a harder thing to discern who's saying what when, but some game programs have indicaters that flash when a person is talking. When many persons are spewing incendiary speech concurrently, it becomes a more difficult thing to monitor, but seriously, NOT adressing the problem in some decisive way just makes the Xbox Live experience even less inviting to both new users and well...non-dicks. Its a bad business plan and it ruins the experience for those of us who like to play online with children not shouting obsenities at us. I'd love to get some feedback from Xbox Live moderators on this one.And now, some mood music. :)





Great Effing Pumpkin.




Its that time of year again. Summer gives us the big kiss off and I gladly find myself dusting off my favorite blazers and unpacking sweaters. I've been really growing to enjoy the drive into the Poconos every afternoon as the slopes and mountains become dotted with more vibrant hues each day. Granted, there's little in life that is perfect, but I find its near impossible to angst when kicking through a pile of newly fallen leaves and the wind picks up.

Halloween is coming, and I've always been crap at this holiday. I love Autumn and just about everything that comes with it, but my slightly rigid religious upbringing hand waved anything to do with All Hallows Eve. (Wickedness, idle greed you get the drift. ) My birthday is coming up and I had wanted to attempt this year to have some grand video-game and comic book themed costume party at a tiny venue a few blocks from here, but I'm not sure how well that'll work out. I'm spazzing too much about what to do for a costume to focus on that right now. I'm not even fully sure I want to go to to any big lengths. In years past I'd throw on a jacket, pick out my once and former Afro and wander around costume parties and keggers with friends, only to be interrupted by the occasional passerby and asked "Are you supposed to be Lenny Kravits?" I'd shrug briefly, roll my eyes and say, "Yeah, sure, go with that." At other times I'd just say I was a "Jaded Northerner" and call it a day. I feel like I should make a go at doing the dorky costumery angle properly...but I'm not sure where to start. Its not like
video games as a genre has a lot of African-American characters that aren't in sports or some glaring cliche (thanks Japan). And Comic books? I'm not sure if I want to be Luke Cage this year. The options?


  • I've been playing a lot of Valve's zombielicious co-op FPS Left 4 Dead, and really have come to love the original cast's straight laced token Louis. Pros- It would be an insanely easy costume to make. All I'd have to do is shave my head put on a tie and buy lots of fake blood and an submachine gun.
  • The other video game option I think might rock, is the surprisingly cool "team dad" of Final Fantasy XIII (despite being a slightly stereotypical royal ham in the game initially) Sazh. Loved the look, but I wonder how hard it'll be to reproduce the costume so late in the day. The jury's definitely still out here....a little help?

Speaking of zombie goodness, clever readers will have already heard of the horror comic the Walking Dead. AMC bought the rights a while back, and the impending series? Looking like gory gory goodness. Seriously, I'm looking forward.


It looks like its going to be another great day. I think I'm going to try to avoid the public house once I get back from class. The weekend was manic (went on a brilliant historic Halloween walking tour of Easton and much fun was had by all). I could stand to recover a bit. So check out this awesome song. Bloc Party. Nuff said. Later days.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

High School Loners, Pop-n-lockathons, and Unfortunate Implications.












If I were a betting man, I'd put money on it turning out to be a gorgeous day. I'm jamming out to Pandora (a freaking lush electropop and nerdcore station inspired by "Toro y Moi" , which I've posted a song to earlier) working on some copy editing, and smiling absently. I thought I'd take the liberty of sharing some of the "cooler" pop-culture trends (music, video games, comic books) I've snuck upon this week in this post:



  • Comicon. Nothing says nerdy like a comic book convention, and unsuprisingly I've always wanted to go (and if not for that abject poverty...). Comic book character cosplay, consorting with the creators, artist and writers of your favorite books, getting insider info on upcoming games and plots... yeah, there's nothing more nerd chic than NYC's Comicon. There's a lot of odd ball fun that goes on at these conventions. Just when you think there's nothing better than watching a drunk cosplay Thor vomit in a potted plant...you've got an X-Men Pop and Lock-athon. (Who knew Iceman was such a bitchin dancer?) The spectacle needs to be seen to be believed.

I admit with some trepidation that I've been watching Glee for some time, and am continually impressed with the level of irepressible spirit and unquestionable talent Ryan Murphy has managed to assemble in the telling of his absurd yet winning musical theatre dramaedy. Other nods? Its easily one of the most diverse television shows on network television, what with hispanic snarky head cheerleaders, out and over the top fabulous soprano gays, orientationally ambiguous jock comic fans, multi-racial primadonnas and asian goths. This weeks episode was both brilliant (Every single number was fantastic, the New Guy is really likeable, Other Asian actually has lines!) and subtextually frustrating.

What I found grating about the epsidoe after the fact revolves around interpetation of homophobia. Finn, our masculine ideal, basically insists that Kurt- the lone gay should "back off" any percieved interest in new kid Sam because "two guys singing a duet together would be social suicide", despite the fact that Sam is not at all bothered by the idea (and also comments about his insistance that Sam should see this as icky as homophobic). Instead Kurt backs off out of self-sacrificing guilt and sulkily decides he's destined for solitude. What drives me nuts is that the only reason he's being isolated is because his so called friend has gone out of his way to make this happen. If the moral of the story is suck it up queer boys because expressing interest in anyone who isn't openly gay is predatory, I'm going to go ahead and call unfortunate implications there. And I'll say it. Finn is a jerkass. And this show is full of mixed messages and mised opportunities...but its always fun to watch.






  • I've been having a great week with new music. I've already yammered about my current anthem Toro y Moi's "Low Shoulder", give a listen to Xiu Xiu's "Grey Death", Foals "This Orient" (outstanding track) , and a new find of mine Javelin "Moscow 1980". Later Days!

Xiu Xiu- Grey Death

Foals- This Orient.