Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Fun: That Sparring Session

My favorite Game of Thrones characters are as follows, in order:

1) Arya Stark
2) AshaYara Greyjoy
3) Brienne of Tarth

You can imagine my delight at the recent sparring sesh between Brienne and Arya:


Brienne can hold her own against The Hound and Jamie Lannister, but can barely keep up with a much-smaller, much-less-experienced teenager? I don't see it as that far-fetched, actually, and certainly not in the grand scheme of things in Westeros about which we're asked to suspend our disbelief.

In a Big v. Little fight, Arya shows that sometimes, counter-intuitively, it's safer to be in close. There, at least, she isn't at the wrong end of a large sword. It also puts her within striking distance with Needle.

Brienne, for her part, is slower, less flexible, and, at first, flustered. But, she aptly shows that a good way to deal with a smaller, quicker person is by not playing on the smaller person's terms. That is, don't let them inside in the first place. Get rid of the person in one fell swoop: a boot to the chest.

All things considered, I'm glad to see Arya somewhat has a mentor again. Now work together and do something about Littlefinger, yeah?

Also, Very Important Info:

One time, Gwendoline Christie* "liked" one of my Tweets.


*Or her social media person, but please don't ruin this for me.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday To When We Were Gaslit About Bigotry

Has it only been four months since Bernie Sanders said this at an Our Revolution rally:

"Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and just deplorable folks. I don't agree. I don't agree, 'cause I've been there. Let me tell you something else some of you may not agree with, and that is: It wasn't that Donald Trump won the election; it was that the Democratic Party lost the election!"
In light of the white supremacists decked out in Trump cosplay who marched in Charlottesville this past weekend, I'd like to revisit Sanders' claim.

Read the whole thing, over at Shakesville.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.20 "City of Lost Children"

Guardian re-enters the picture this episode, having a bout of superhero angst. And, I don't blame him. What is this show even doing with James/Guardian? Supergirl is reaching Arrow-levels of "make every character a hero."

Anyway, James apparently feels as though the people he saves are scared of him, while people are in awe of Superman and Supergirl. When an apparently evil telepathic alien comes into town, Guardian also seems to feel insecure about his lack of superpowers. Which, yeah, I suspect it is hard for humans to compete with flying, heat vision, ice breath, and super-strength.

However, James' human skills are needed when the evil telepathic alien's son, Marcus, needs to be interrogated. James takes the boy to his office at CatCo (ie, Cat Grant's old office, *cries*) and hangs out with him, hoping to get intel on the mom.


Meanwhile, Lena lets Kara know she's seeing another lady and I feel like Kara pretends to be okay with it but isn't, really. That is to say, things between Lena and Rhea (Mom-El) are going swimmingly, as they continue to have candlelight dinners and work together on developing the stargate thingy. I predict that Kara's going to flip her shit when she finds out that it's Rhea who has been cupping Lena's chin and giving her evil, motherly pep talks.


The Lena plot converges with the James plot when Lena finally gets the stargate up and running. When the stargate activates, something in Marcus also seems to activate, making him go all Carrie in CatCo.


When Lena powers down the stargate, the kid goes back to normal. After that, James doesn't want to interrogate the kid any longer, because Supergirl had to swoop in and save them all, once again. But, Daddy Hank gives James a pep talk, convincing him that connecting with Marcus and getting information from him can be just as heroic.

(I think a theme of this episode is positive v. negative role models)

Right on cue, Kara calls Lena, but Rhea sees Lena's cell phone ringing and answers it for her. Apparently, the CEO of L Corp doesn't password protect her phone, or she and Rhea are so U-hauled they're sharing passwords already. ANYway, Kara quickly figures out that Rhea and Lena have been working together on this secret project.

Marcus ends up opening up to James and says he can track down his mom. Simultaneously, the DEO pinpoints Lena and Rhea's location. So, the challenge is to keep Marcus and his mom from going Carrie if Rhea activates the stargate thingy.

James signs up for the mission, and Winn brings along some sort of force field generator that will keep the telepathic abilities at bay. However, when Marcus takes James and Winn to his mom, there are a bunch more telepaths there. Zoinks! Rhea, of course, activates the stargate, which causes all the telepaths to activate.

Winn's little force field generator isn't strong enough to protect all the telepaths, so James gives an Inspiring Speech to Marcus, which breaks the effect the stargate has on all the telepaths. While that is the good news, the bad news is that Rhea's little stargate endeavor was actually a plot to teleport the surviving Daxamites to Earth. Wheeee!

Those slave-holding monarchists from Daxam seem like real assholes, so I take it National City's in deep shit when Rhea starts calling it "New Daxam."
 



Deep Thought of the Week: For whatever reason (I think it's the stargate/wormhole concept), this episode reminded me of that Jodie Foster movie, Contact. Does watching a brilliant female scientist be gaslit for two and a half hours sound fun? Then you should definitely watch Contact!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Let's Not Downplay "Identity Politics"

As white supremacists continue to unabashedly rally in Trump's America, I remember the spate of liberal/left-authored articles scolding those of us with identities to ditch "identity politics."

Seven months into this current Republican administration, Democrat leadership under Chuck Schumer has been strategizing to downplay identity politics

Oddly (or not), the Politico article I link to says that "identity politics" are being downplayed to appeal to more center-right Democrats, yet in my experience, many so-called Bernie Democrats simultaneously see themselves as the far left and also want to downplay identity politics in favor of "universal' economic messaging. If the far left, the center, and the right want us to ditch "identity politics," I guess that leaves those of us with identities outside of the political spectrum altogether.

The current absurdity of today's political labels aside, I'd like to link to a previous piece I wrote about this demand to downplay identity politics, back in December 2016.  It's still relevant, and I still believe that it's a mistake to ditch identity politics, particularly when neo-nazis are emboldened enough to rally on our public streets, without hoods, because they know they have the support of the Republican Administration behind them.

Thus, my plea to our white male allies:
"....[P]lease do not ask marginalized people to endure the hostility of the Trump regime on your terms or on anyone's terms but their/our own. The white walkers are here and we are doing our best to hold the door. My question to you is, which side of it are you on?"




Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Tale of Two Memos

In his workplace, Donald Trump is reported to demand a twice-daily folder of content confirming his greatness. Via Vice:
"These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful."
In another workplace, a white man sent his colleagues a manifesto purportedly confirming the inherent superiority of white men in the industry in which he works, and lamenting reverse sexist hiring pratices. Example:
"Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence."
That probably gives you a gist of the whole thing which, yes, is 10 pages of dullard, condescending MRA-ism and lay evo-psych "analysis" presented as the courageous truth-telling of a genius.

That is to say, we have two workplace memos converging into one image:

A mediocre white man perched on a throne of presumed objectivity. The throne is in a room full of mirrors, which are being held up by women and people of color - the hoi polloi in his self-indulgent, egotistical universe. As he contemplates his innate superiority and supreme station in life, it is beyond his grasp to fathom that this reality-distorting fun house has been built precisely per his delicate specifications, and not - as he whinges every chance he gets - everyone else's.