Combating Dystopia.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Speaking of Senator. Forrester...

Speaking on the originator of the impending anti-gay legislation in our fine state Sen.. Forrester , there's been an interesting development relating to his credentials*.

Senator Forrester claims to be a "a Fellow with the esteemed American College of Preventive Medicine". According to the ACPM itself (in a response to an inquiry by Scott Rose) has ...politely...claimed that he not now, nor never was a member of their association, and by far never a fellow (which they made sure to inform was their highest distinction). The link below explores the list of inquires that bares this truth out. It makes for an interesting read. More as it develops?

*By "interesting" I mean amusing with more egg on face.

Joe. My. God.: NORTH CAROLINA: Anti-Gay State Sen. James Forrester BUSTED On Credentials:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Proving It.- Talking Race and all the other Isms

A casual glance around the interweb over the past few days has evidinced a staggering ammount of oblivious privlidge regarding race, gender, sexual orientation and all the lovely ways people who happen to have the outsider status (or "less desirable" status) are told these statuses REALLY matter in that society is structured to treat you differently based on it. Except when it makes the dominant culture feel or look bad... then the onus of responsibilty for all them "differences"? They're all a fabrication of reality you'll have to provide evidence for.

Trip Ups- North Carolina Politics and the Thinly Veiled Biases That Drive Anti-Gay Legislation

The Gist: NC Senator: "You're trying to trip me up":

'via Blog this'

Two things come to mind when watching the above...utterly infuriating clip: 1.) Signorile doesn't have to TRY very hard to "trip up" Senator Forrester at all, 2.) The misconceptions and loaded rhetoric behind his reasons- "gay as unhealthy lifestyle", "the preservation of marriage" arguments just don't hold up over the slightest scrutiny.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where's that Support of "the Troops" Again?

Joe. My. God.: PATRIOTS: Tea Party Audience Boos Only U.S. Soldier To Speak At GOP Debate:

'via Blog this'

Given the vile and groupthink addled tone of the past few GOP debates, I'm going to make a prediction: This election is going to be very, very ugly. Expect the far far right to do everything in their power to debase, defame, divide and make a mockery of everything our nation and culture has in common.

The disconnect about gay soldiers, and booing them, when any OTHER time they use the "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" as a Bush Era bullwhip into making sure everyone seems sufficiently "American". Its okay to be Anti-American and NOT support our troops...provided they happen to be filthy queers.

On the one hand, these primary debates have been INCREDIBLY informative about the tenor and the toxicity in present in the Tea Party base. On the one hand, the truly sadistic- shouting to let the uninsured die, and cheering the death penalty (even when the prospect of innocence is dubious) are doing an amazing job of making these people look monsterous. I wonder where the PR and Republican spin doctors are on the subject...the proverbial inmates running the assylum and nary a word is uttered to speak to the massive, and unpalatable derail.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Life of Omission: The Face of DADT (It gets better?)

Joe. My. God.: DADT Repeal Forces Bigots Into Closet:

'via Blog this'

I watched this youtube clip before I found out about the recent, saddening suicide of a sweet boy from upstate NY , and was filled with a great deal of hope about who DADT was repealed for and frankly, its nice to see such a human (and let's be honest, adorable) face to such an institutional and cultural impediment to equality. One imagines many people who have on the whole been forced to live a sequestered life, a social life of omission, that forces one to keep friends and family at arms length might be emboldened by no longer having to. Its a process of liberation, this step of being candid, honest with the people who ought to know you best. Suffice it to say our patriot in question may have gone about it in the most ... instantaneous way, as the story has in as many days garnered a shit ton of views and a fair amount of mainstream press.

All with good reason. We're watching people who've been forced to live with a gag order looming over their ability to casually mention their personal lives in any meaningful way lest it destroy their professional one. It was a particularly inelegant band-aid to have been applied to prevent a "worse outcome". It remains to be seen if the number of wrongful discharges were in fact worse outcomes to the persons who've been ceremoniously fired for aspects of their lives that occur off duty. It was an interesting bit of institutional discrimination that was meant to be less of a discriminatory measure than it happened to be. Good intentions don't neatly absolve one of robbing otherwise good soldiers of their ability to serve their country, mind, but those of us interested in genuine equality ought to celebrate the demise this bizarre period of policy history and call it a day.(Big kudos to Senator Gilibrand among many others for making this come to fruition)

Some uplifting from the pretty keen British Sea Power- Waving Flags
"We're only here for a while, and its all joke." (but don't be scared)

People Hide Behind Masks For A Reason, Sir.

Joe. My. God.: DADT Repeal Forces Bigots Into Closet:

'via Blog this'

Busy day, so just one thought on the angsting of figurehead bigot Mr. Sprigg;

If bigotry wasn't something to be ashamed of and keep behind closed doors...Klansmen wouldn't hide behind sheets and hoods. If they didn't know there was something to lose from their true selves being made public, they wouldn't conseal themselves. Could it be that the institutionalized discrimination you used to validate your view point with doesn't provide as much cover as it used to?

When those who have long sought to use their own personal biases to keep others in their "places" percieve that they have less of a leg to stand on, I'm putting it in the win column. It is of course a terrible pity that Sprigg and the like feel pressured to keep their bigotry to themselves. Now if you're wondering what to buy the closeted bigot that has everything, a suggestion: Hoods are very much in season this time of year, you'll fit right in.

Below is one of the most gorgeous songs I've heard in a long while-( natch for Caribou Coffee's playlist). Enjoy life.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Why Ult. Spider-Man is Far More Than Amazing.

The Ultimate Comics version of Spider-Man has been much maligned (though little of it justifiable non-tebagger histrionic reasons), Seen as a "stunt" and a "gimmick" and railed against before the readership had even gotten the opportunity to read anything about the character in question, I was admittedly curious about who this young Miles Morales would be, and how his road to great power and responsibility would begin.

Finally getting the opportunity to sit down with the issue and, leveling with you here, its far and away a brilliant origin story. Miles comes off as sweet, sensitive and self aware in a way that makes him instantly endearing, and Sara Pichelli's pencils are both refined and dynamic, its a real pleasure to see such a(female) talent display her craft with such aplomb. I fully expect (and hope and pray) we see Pichelli carve quite a career for herself based on this.

Regarding Brian Micheal Bendis, the pacing and the characters are pretty inviting all at once, and given the white knuckle rage so many seemed to have regarding the passing of the guard, given the first issue is doing so well out of the gate, I'm hopeful that this tea partyesque freakout is unfounded. Seriously, look at issue #1's letters column for the tiniest of doses of thinly veiled racist stupidity. Its indication enough that this series succeeding is going to have to do so in the face of ignorance and biases about who can legitimately claim the mantle of "hero", and who we are comfortable reading stories about.

Luckily, Miles and his new cast seems to be in incredibly capable hands, between Bendis and Pichelli we have what looks to be on the verge of a great new era for the Ultimate comic (which frankly, I hadn't touched since issue #1). The moment where I felt that this comic was going to speak to the audience in profound ways was when Miles and his parents were crowded in an auditorium anxiously awaiting the opportunity to attend a prestigious charter school. Its a scene so reminiscent of "Waiting for Superman", and so brilliantly telegraphed by both writer and artist that its almost painful to watch. As one student is granted this luck of the draw, and given a genuine chance at a future, others are denied and left behind regardless of whatever phraseology Dubya would care to use. Miles father watches and reacts with the sort of cynicism and horror rational people do at how much is riding on educational emancipation from the inner city and underfunded school systems and how skewed it seems. The scene only lasted a few pages but carried a tremendously impressive weight.

The commentary is only one of the reasons why Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is exemplary. In many ways its a benchmark on how to write/create new characters and make them meaningful in a world full of comic story hegemony. Young Miles is so new and so full of potential, his version of New York is such a vivid, unexplored one, that anyone'd be remiss to not tune in to explore both the character and the world with as he develops in it. I don't think I've read a better number one in quite a long while. Hands down, its how comic book characters ought to be done.

Easy listening= The Pass- Colors

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Market Skeptics: Gay characters in mainstream publishing.

Wrote this in reaction to this article on the amusingly named Unicorn Booty about a writer that alleges that a publisher interested in her teen sci-fi novel wanted her to
excise the gay point of view character from the novel entirely before a deal was made.
As a pop culture nerd and social thinker of a sort, this confirms a trend I've long wondered about regarding fiction, character diversity and writers autonomy.
Its a common occurrence in pop culture and fiction, writers tending to write stories that speak to their lifeworlds and cultural experiences. Its one of the primary reasons that comic books and sci-fi have been so culturally insular for the past 50 years, especially when it relates to gender and sexuality. This is changing, as the world and our understanding of it is not rooted in 1950s psychobable anymore, but the publishing industry still has a fair ammount of control over what is published and what is stifled.
Marvel comics for example, had a longstanding ban on use of the word gay or overt references to homosexual relationships or persons in the 1980s ( so writers had to be much more subtle about relationships). Today there are at least 5 openly gay (Several of them as a long term "power couple") characters in popular comic books being published by Marvel off the top of my head. One of the things that drove this change? If Marvel wants to recruit a good, diverse talent pool, its going to encourage its writers to write stories that aren't editorially butchered into submission (No gay policies don't encourage writers who happen to not want to segregate the world). The repressive, market skittish angle the writer suggests from the publisher that approached them does not speak to creative or intellectual honesty. The market in this case does perpetuate the trends that gay characters, and by extension gay teenagers are to be neither seen nor heard, and are barely existent in fiction. It might be "reality" that the mainstream culture may be more likely to shunt such a book off into the gay ghetto of publications for fear of a mainstream base , but you'd be dishonest suggesting that it wasn't a reality that wasn't carefully managed and perpetuated by this evidenced lack of spine.