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.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.19 "Alex"

So, Mom-El (Rhea) is back in town, this time wooing Lena. She's proposing some sort of tech collaboration with L Corp on a "trans-matter portal" and/or is hitting on Lena. On Lena's part, she doesn't yet seem to know that Mom-El is an evil space alien, because they have a romantic candlelight dinner and bond over having attended MIT.

Lena acts flustered when Mom-El makes it known that she's newly-single.  Lena says, "Regardless of what happens with business, I have a feeling we're going to be friends." Mmm-hmmm.

I'm not here to judge, folks. I'm just here to report the facts.


Later, Lena is examining Mom-El's tech designs and realizes it includes a component not found on Earth. She gets suspicious and then tricks Mom-El into taking her alien detection test, which confirms that Mom-El is, in fact, an alien. Lena kicks her out of her office and refuses to collaborate. Oh, that crafty, virtuous Lena! But then, later, Lena changes her mind. For ... reasons?

In Danvers Sisters news, Maggie and Kara bicker about the pros and cons of vigilantism v. law and order, putting Alex in the awkward position of not wanting to take sides with either her girlfriend or her sister. But then, Alex gets kidnapped, forcing Maggie and Kara to Work Together. The kidnapper wants his dad released from prison or else he'll kill Alex. Hmm, I sense an impending lesson here.


The DEO's position is that they don't negotiate with terrorists. So, they won't release the prisoner just for the sake of freeing Alex. Uh-oh. But will everyone abide by that principle? We shall see.

Supergirl first wants to kick the kidnapper's ass, but Maggie keeps a cool head. Her suggestion is to have J'onn act like the prisoner, so they can pretend they've freed him. But, the kidnapper doesn't buy it. They try other assorted measures, none of which work.

For instance, in her cell, Alex uses her credit card to MacGyver the security camera with her tracking implant (wut, where did this come from?), which sends a signal to Winn that includes the IP address of her location.


Supergirl wants to immediately swoop in and rescue Alex, as is her style, but Maggie's thinks the kidnapper is acting a little too cocky for someone who just "lost." So, she urges restraint.

Annnd, Maggie's right, because when Supergirl does swoop in, it's a trick. The IP address had been "re-routed." I guess the kidnapper did that while in DEO custody, since the DEO is apparently letting him keep his computer handy. Seriously.

The upshot is that Alex's cell begins to fill up with water, which is one of my most anxiety-provoking "character in peril" scenarios.

Now it's up to Maggie to save the gay. Desperate, she ends up ditching the "we don't negotiate with terrorist" principles and breaks the kidnapper's dad out of prison. All of this seems to happen in a matter of minutes and it's not clear how far places are from one another in National City or whether Maggie has access to trans-matter portal or something. But, let's just roll with it.

Supergirl finds Maggie and the prisoner, trying to stop Maggie from letting him go. She then gives an Inspiring Monologue, which leads the prisoner to revealing where the kidnapper might be holding Alex. Why Supergirl didn't give this speech 12 hours ago isn't entirely clear, since this is also one of her apparent super powers.


Supergirl swoops in and rescues Alex just as her cell has filled up with water.

And, I get the reversal here in that Supergirl is the one who mostly remained calm and stuck to the DEO's "we don't negotiate with terrorist" principles, but it didn't ring especially true to her character to me. At least in the instance of protecting her sister, I feel fairly certain she'd be on board with Maggie in doing whatever it took to get her back, including "negotiating with terrorists."


Deep Thought of the Week: As I continue to watch superhero shows, how does every character not have PTSD from all of the killing, violence, and near-death situations? For instance, at the end of this episode, Alex "deals with" almost dying by punching her kidnapper in the nose while he's handcuffed, which the other characters kind of chuckle at in a "he got what was coming to him" sort of way. It's not clear if that's supposed to signify that Alex's trauma has now been resolved, or whether it's more that the tone of Supergirl doesn't really allow its heroic characters to go to dark places beyond more than these superficial outbursts.

Is there any show that has effectively acknowledged the psychological impact of trauma on its characters? Jessica Jones comes to mind. And, particular episodes of Buffy stand out to me as acknowledging the full humanity of their characters, particularly the aftermath of Tara, Joyce, and Buffy's deaths. While I retain critiques of Joss Whedon's work, I think one of his great strengths in Buffy was allowing shifts in tone, from lighthearted to serious and dark, that still rang true to the series as a whole.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

America: The Broken

I have a new piece at Shakesville today, examining the degradation of our democracy:

A lesson from George W. Bush's presidency, then, is that a security crisis can confer legitimacy to a President who begins his term lacking it. And, the people will hunker down and rally behind an undeserving leader during a scary time, out of a sense of fear, loyalty, and nationalism. History shows that bad leaders will squander this trust, rather than accepting it with responsibility and grace.

For these reasons, my first point today is that we ought to be gravely concerned that the man who holds this office today is historically unpopular, obsessed with his popularity, and is widely seen as illegitimate.

My second point is that by virtue of his office, Donald Trump is now entrusted to preserve the legitimacy of the electoral system, something which, I argue, for him is an impossibility. His very ascension to that office reveals a fundamental brokenness of our democracy, the supreme rule of which his rise has confirmed to be not "the law of the land" but "win by any means."
 Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 1.18 "Ace Reporter"

This episode begins with it being a slow crime day, meaning the DEO gives Supergirl a gay off. I mean, a day off.  I mean, what I'm trying to say is that Kara's at home one day and Lena comes over for a visit.

Apparently, Lena's ex-boyfriend Jack is in town and he's invited her to his company's press conference. Lena doesn't want to go solo, so she asks Kara to accompany her. There's nothing like showing your ex that you've leveled up in the significant other department, I suppose.


Jack, it turns out is CEO of a fancy company called Spheerical that's just invented a medial nanobot thingy that helps people heal really quickly. Let me guess: there's a catch.

Yep. At the press conference, a whistleblower approaches Kara and says he has secret information about this technology. Kara later meets this person at an abandoned lot and learns that the nanobot clinical trials were faked, so the tech may be unsafe. On cue, a swarm of nanobots attack the car and kill the whistleblower.

Snapper makes a reappearance this episode and snarks at "Ponytail" about her blog whenever he sees her. Kara doesn't let it get to her. Instead, she uses her super hearing to find out he's meeting with a nanobot test subject and then, she uses her levitation and x-ray vision skills to eavesdrop on Snapper's interview. HA HA.

During the interview, a nanobot swarm comes to attack the test subject. Supergirl stops the swarm with her freezing breath:


Supergirl saves Snarky Snapper, but the swarm breaks free. Whatever Spheerical has unleashed upon the world doesn't look good. (This looks like a job for Alex and Eliza Danvers but they're not around I guess!)

Meanwhile, Jack is really persistent with Lena and they go to dinner together. Kara wants to interrogate Jack in light of recent events (and check on her girl), so she and Mon-El 100% non-creepily crash the dinner date.

*Interlude for a brief moment of appreciation for Lena Luthor's expressive eyebrows, which deserve their own panel at comic-con*


Jack and Lena then go back to Lena's place and kiss. Whyyyyyyy. But, Mon-El and Kara had snatched Jack's security badge, and later that night they break into his office. Kara sits down at the computer in his office and immediately guesses his password on the first try (LOL). Apparently, it was "Starling." I don't get it. What am I missing? Is it a reference to how Kara looks like computer-geek Felicity Smoak on Arrow, which is based in Starling City? (please say yes):

Felicity
It gets better because Kara then easily finds the folders for the clinical trial data because the folder was probably named Super Sekret Stuff and was sitting on the desktop. In the folder, she opens up a video of Jack transcribing his research notes. It turns out there were no human trials and he injected the nanobots into himself. So, Jack basically IS the nanobot swarm.

The next day, Kara shows Lena the video. Kara makes Lena promise she won't see Jack anymore, and Lena promises. Hmmmm. I have a bad feeling here. And true enough, Lena confronts Jack at his office. It turns out the real villain is Beth, Spheerical's CFO, and she's actually controlling Jack through the nanobots. In true DC Villain form, Beth then reveals her master plan of using the nanobots to take over the world. Now that she's revealed her plan, she's sure to die or land in prison, I'm sure. These narrative revelations serve the purpose of telling us how bad things would be if the villain were to get away with, replacing arcs where we're actually shown how bad things are at a later date.

Supergirl swoops in, because of course she does, but the nanobots attack her. While they're doing that, Lena gets into "the mainframe." I feel like whenever non-techy people write about computer stuff on TV shows, they always reference "the mainframe." It's basically become a synonym for "the thing that stops the villain." Thus, Lena uses "the mainframe" to shut down the nanobots, killing Jack in the process.

Kara also turns over her reporting notes to Snapper, I guess because she wants the story to go through a legit news source, rather than her blog. Snapper then writes a story and gives her a byline on it. She also gets her job back at CatCo.

Oh, the other notable event of this episode is that James, Winn, and Lyra seem to be in a poly relationship.


Deep Thought of the Week: The nanobot swarm in this episode reminds me of the swarm in Black Mirror episode "Hated In the Nation."  Hmm, a new TV series to recap, after Supergirl?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today in the Low Bar For White Men

I was mostly struck by Dianne Feinstein's recent tweet because I realized when I saw it how rare it's been for politicians to stand up for 2016 popular vote winner Hillary Clinton:



White male Democrats especially have been throwing Clinton under the bus, repeating Trump/Republican talking points about how Clinton supposedly "was not a great candidate," that she should take sole responsibility for the electoral college loss, and that she was incorrect when she said some Trump voters were deplorable.

Meanwhile, on the day Republican John McCain, and Trump yes-man, returned from his taxpayer-funded surgery to vote to take healthcare away from millions of people, right after politicians across the political spectrum spent the previous week singing his praises and expressing well-wishes for his health:


Friday, July 28, 2017

GLOW Friday

Who is watching GLOW on Netflix?

I just finished Season 1 and found it pretty entertaining, but I'm a sucker for women's sports entertainment and TV/Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead.  What a strong opening scene in the pilot, critiquing the roles available for women in Hollywood.

My only complaint at the moment is that there's like, what, 15 women in the cast? So, why does it seem like approximately 50% of the lines and screen-time go to the male director guy? That might be an exaggeration, but we could have delved more into the other characters' back stories. Although, perhaps Season 2 will head in that direction.

More importantly, I guess the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling did an opening rap before their matches. Now, if you ask me why so many white people rapped in the '80s, I have no answer. I was just a kid. But yes, that was some weird shit.

See for yourself (and the rapping is only like the 10th weirdest thing about this):

Thursday, July 27, 2017

TBT: The Actual World We Live In

My oh my has it really been just one year since I hollered out this friendly reminder:
"SO SORRY TO YELL BUT IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE JILL STEIN WERE ELECTED PRESIDENT HERE IS A REMINDER THAT THE ABILITY TO IMPLEMENT HER LOFTY, PURE PLATFORM WOULD BE SEVERELY IMPEDED BY NOT HAVING GREEN PARTY MEMBERS IN CONGRESS THAT'S ALL THANKS BYEEEEE!"
Update!

Earlier this week, Republicans approved a motion to begin debating the various ways they want to dismantle Obamacare. Every single Democrat in the Senate opposed this motion. This outcome should underscore two facts about the world in which we live:

(1) Democrats and Republicans are not, in fact, "just the same" or "just as bad as one another." (And, as I wrote last year, Jill Stein herself was a 91% "on the issues" match with Hillary Clinton, but *incoherent mumbling about neoliberals*);

and

(2) It is the height of absurdity to think that Jill Stein, or let's be real Bernie Sanders, could have waltzed in as President, having inherited this Republican-controlled Congress, and implemented single-payer healthcare. Although, I have to admit, it would be entertaining to watch Stein interact with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans, if only because she'd have to actually acknowledge their existence and obstructionism in the real world.

The larger point here is that presidents are not dictators in the US, at least not yet, although Donald seems to be trying his damndest.

So, every four years when the Green Party or whoever-the-fuck candidate with zero allies in Congress comes around promising some non-violent political revolution, particularly to the politically uninformed, it's worth pointing out that their platforms likely could never be implemented during their term in office without a major influx of allies in both Congress and the Judiciary.

Could they lay the groundwork for future progress? Sure. But that's something else entirely than the revolution these charlatans so often promise.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.17 "Distant Sun"

So, apparently Kara and Mon-El are back together. I guess that happened in the crossover episode with the Flash or something? I don't know, but at least he cooks now and makes her breakfast in the morning. His parents are still in the picture, too, hovering in orbit in their spaceship.

In queer news, Maggie and Alex are also now "that couple" who do yoga together. AND, Maggie's ex is also in town and I have to say, she bears a resemblance to Alex. This is her, being "that person" who is wielding a ginormous umbrella even though it has stopped raining:


They make plans to have dinner, the three of them. Whyyyyyyy.  But alas, the ex stands them up. Alex later finds the ex, confronts her, and 100% non-creepily demands to know why she was a no-show. It turns out, Maggie had cheated on the ex back in the day, and seeing Maggie brought up too many bad memories. Oh. Well then. This revelation was news to Alex.

Meanwhile, the bad aliens of the week are some bounty hunters who have arrived to kill Supergirl. One of the aliens gives Mon-El the Vex mind-control treatment, forcing him to attack Supergirl. So, now Mon-El and Supergirl are fighting, confirming that no couple on this show can ever be happy for longer than brief 2-minute breakfast interludes.


The gang stops the alien, however, and he tells them that some Daxamites have paid him to kill Supergirl. Presumably, these Daxamites are Mon-El's parents. Mon-El then suggests that he and Kara run away to another planet. And sorry, but um, no. We need her here on Earth, thanks.

Instead, Mon-El and Supergirl decide to talk to Mama Mon-El (Mom-El?) at the Fortress of Solitude.


They plead with her to call off the bounty out of the kindness of her heart. LOL, oh Supergirl you sweet summer child.

It turns out, however, that Mom-El had brought some kryptonite with her and she begins attacking Supergirl with it. Mon-El then says he'll go back to Daxam with his parents if they'll just leave Supergirl alone. And poof, just like that, he's gone.

Defying the President's orders to not go after the Daxamites, Winn helps Supergirl get on board the Daxam ship by building her a portal thingy. I love how Winn's position at CatCo was "IT Guy," but he's now apparently the DEO's top computer, hacking, astrophysics, and weapons expert. It's like if the writers give him a witty retort each and every time he introduces whatever techno-ma-bob will save the day, viewers maybe won't notice the absurdity. I mean, there was at least a time when the Alex's Ex Agent fulfilled some of these duties.

ANYWAY, the larger point is that Supergirl uses the portal to get to the Daxamite ship and begins fighting Mom-El and her sais of kryptonite:


But wait, we learn that it was actually J'onn (who had shape-shifted into Supergirl) who boarded the ship! That's always a fun trick. Mon-El's dad stops the fight and seems to finally accept that Mon-El belongs on Earth with his new family.

Back at Alex's place, Alex pours herself a stiff drink and confronts Maggie about her pattern of keeping secrets. However, it takes a nice unexpected turn when, instead of being judgmental, Alex is mostly understanding. She gets that when Maggie's parents rejected her, she began having trouble trusting that people would accept her even though she's not perfect.

In conclusion, it turns out the President (played by Lynda Carter, whooop!) is actually a White Martian, and Mom-El kills Dad-El for letting Mon-El stay on Earth. That was a mouthful. BYEEEE!


Deep Thought of the Week: Lost Girl fans might have picked up the reference to Vex one of the anti-heroes of the show, and whose fae trait was mind-control. I miss that show, is it time for a reboot yet? Too soon?  Also, preferred manslash ship and video: Vex/Mark). Do people ship m/m pairings from Supergirl? Who would that be? I mean, Winn, obviously. But who else?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Important Lesbian Sports News

Via ESPN, pro basketball player Sue Bird has revealed that she's been dating pro soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

I think the lede is buried, however:
"Bird might be in the fourth quarter of her basketball career -- at 36, she is the oldest player in the WNBA and is in her 15th season with the Seattle Storm -- but she is expertly managing the clock. She has never been in better shape and isn't talking about retirement anytime soon."
That is kind of amazing.

But seriously, congratulations, ladies.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Twitter Response to Abuse Slow and Inconsistent

Earlier this week, Buzzfeed ran an article on Twitter's response to abuse that occurs on its platform.

For those unfamiliar with the process for reporting abuse on Twitter, the platform does allow users to report other users and tweets for abusive content. Once a report is filed and before Twitter makes a determination about the abuse report, Twitter suggests tips for making "your Twitter experience safer," including not further engaging with the abusive user, using the block function, using the mute function, and contacting law enforcement.

These are all tips that most users, particularly those who receive heavy amounts of abuse, are already aware of. Indeed, I would think that most people who file abuse reports do so because these tips are actually not helpful in resolving the types of abuse they might be experiencing on Twitter, particularly because people continually devise ways to game the few tools Twitter does give people to help deal with abuse.

For instance, many abusers create alternate accounts on Twitter specifically so they can view, screenshot, and re-tweet content posted by other users who have blocked them. In that way, the block function is rendered less effective, as a blocked user can still direct harassment and abuse to other users.

The Buzzfeed article, linked above, highlights an example in which a woman, named Maggie, blocked someone on Twitter and yet that person had, ostensibly by logging in with a different account, taken a screenshot of her Twitter profile picture and photoshopped her face into the crosshairs of a gunsight. This image was then retweeted by another user who found her on Facebook and tweeted her location. Twitter did not deem this behavior to be a violation of its rules.

However, Twitter then later suspended the offending account, after having been contacted by Buzzfeed:
"Though the suspension ultimately granted Maggie some peace of mind, her process of getting justice is one of many examples that show a frustrating pattern for victims — one in which Twitter is slow or unresponsive to harassment reports until they’re picked up by the media."
So, I have two bigger-picture points to make.

One, Twitter was extremely quick to monetize and grow its platform. It's been much slower to put adequate resources into helping its users deal with abuse perpetuated on the platform. Anecdotally, in speaking with other Twitter users, the response to reports is pretty inconsistent - with the same type of behavior sometimes being found abusive, and other times not, seemingly dependent upon who reviews the report.

Two, as Twitter does roll out new tools to help users deal with abuse, it's clear that abusers will likewise adapt to these tools. Twitter, and the people hired to handle abuse reports, need to have a nuanced and evolving understanding of the ways people use its platform to inflict abuse on others.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.16 "Star-Crossed"

There's trouble in rom-com paradise for the Scooby gang.

First, some aliens have come to Earth under the belief that Mon-El is being held captive, and they're demanding his release. It's odd, because Mon-El isn't being held captive and, supposedly, he's the last survivor from his home planet Daxam.

Supergirl is confused. But, when they beam her and Mon-El up to their ship, she finds out that, whoops, Mon-El was not actually a palace guard on his home planet, as he had claimed. He was the prince. And, the aliens who have arrived are his parents.


They all have dinner together and it's tense. For one, Mon-El had lied about his past. Two, Mon-El's parents are pro-slavery. And three, the only reason he survived his home planet's explosion was because of his privileged status as prince. As people were dying around him, he was ushered to an escape pod. Supergirl leaves the dinner, disgusted with all of them.

Then, Lyra convinces Winn to break into a museum so they can supposedly have "hot museum sex." Okay.

The next day, Winn is in a good mood because he got laid or whatever and is proceeding to be the most annoying co-worker imaginable. The DEO, it seems, has an open floor plan and he's loudly singing "Celebrate good times, come on." His co-workers do a bemused eye-roll instead of telling him to STFU. Then, when his cell phone rings, he takes a personal call and has a loud cellphone convo.


Well, on the call, Winn finds out that someone stole Van Gogh's "Starry Night" from the museum the previous night, and the security footage shows him there, but not Lyra. Maggie interviews him at the police station and is convinced that Lyra framed him. She gives the Scoobies some time to track down Lyra.

Also, Lyra is the type of alien who apparently doesn't appear in photographs or videos, which is why only Winn showed up in the security video. Hmm, now that you mention it, Lyra does bear a resemblance to Buffy-verse vampires:
 

Winn, Alex, and The Guardian then track down Lyra and she confesses to Winn that she duped him. It's sort of sad because Winn seemed really happy in a relationship for once.

The DEO ends up capturing her, but Winn helps her escape so she can sell the painting to the art dealer. There's a story she concocts about having a brother who is being held hostage or something, which is why she had to steal the painting. Winn, The Guardian, and the DEO help get the brother back, and it turns out she was at least honest about that. Winn forgives her.

Later, Mon-El's mom has a talk with Kara. She implies that Kryptonians are sort of snobby and judgemental toward Daxamites. I guess because Kryptonians disapprove of slavery? It also seems odd that a literal member of a royal family would call someone snobby, but hey, we live in weird times my friends.

Mon-El and Kara then talk. Mon-El gives a monologue about how he used to be a rich, spoiled brat but that changed when Kara made him a better man or whatever. Kara says she can't trust Mon-El anymore, however, and breaks up with him. He then tells his parents that Kara broke up with him, but that he's going to stay on Earth anyway.

To end, there is then some weird crossover shit with the Flash series, which I haven't seen. There are so many DC-verse shows on right now that it's impossible to keep up BYE.
  

Deep Thought of the Week: I worry about James. I like that he questions Mon-El's heroism, because that's on point, but what are they doing with him this season, really? Like, what is the larger story arc for The Guardian? At some point is he just going to get hurt really bad, confirming Kara's belief that he shouldn't try to be a hero? Does he have a love life? What happened to Lucy Lane?

Friday, July 14, 2017

It's Happening! L Word Reboot.

The L Word is coming back. Supposedly. I'll believe it when I see it (And I hope I do):
"Based on the original series, the reboot of 'The L Word' would center around a new ensemble of women, following their lives, loves and tribulations. However, if the project is greenlit, stars Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig and Leisha Hailey are expected to serve as executive producers and appear in the series with their characters as a point of connection from the prior series to the new one. Other characters from the original series may also appear in the new version."
I know queer women are already making wish lists with respect to the reboot. So, here's mine: more ensemble scenes and more sportzball playing.

Never forget the scene that best captures each character's unique persona: The Basketball Game.

There's Shane not giving a fuck; Jenny drinking coffee, smoking a cig, and screaming when a ball comes her way; Bette being ultra-competitive; Papi dunking (LOL sure); Tina whining that Bette's "fouling" her; Alice being a spaz when she gets the ball; Dana being.... oh wait not there because she was killed off and I'm still not over it thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Donald Trump: Christian Culture Warrior

I have a piece up today at Shakesville regarding the massive support Donald Trump has among white Evangelical Christians:

"Hey everyone, there's sure a lot going on! Don't forget that 81% of white Evangelical Christian voters chose Trump in the 2016 election.

Now, to imagine Donald as a religious being is to conceive of an absurdity. Not because bad people can't be religious, in fact they often are, but rather because by many accounts he simply is not a contemplative person and doesn't read. Well, I guess there's one topic he reads about:

"Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk."
Yet, during presidential campaign rallies, he began claiming that the Bible was his favorite book. In an interview, when pressed, he had the following to say in response to a question about his favorite verse:
"'I wouldn't want to get into it. Because to me, that's very personal,' Trump said in the Wednesday sit-down.

'The Bible means a lot to me, but I don't want to get into specifics,' he said.

When asked whether he prefers the Old Testament or the New Testament, Trump said, 'probably equal.'

'I think it's just … incredible, the whole Bible…' he said."
I'll bet."

Read the whole thing!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Quote of the Day: The Cyber-Troll Profile

In my ongoing series on Internet culture, Australian researchers have examined the personality profiles of cyber-trolls. Although the study uses the term "troll," I don't like the term as it sort of minimizes what the abuser is doing - inflicting abuse and harm, deliberately.

Via the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers first note that those on the receiving end of anti-social Internet behavior experience similar negative outcomes as though who receive face-to-face abuse. That is, what happens on the Internet is, actually, real, despite what current sociopathic narratives and memes posit.

Also:
"Both affective empathy and cognitive empathy (but not social skills) significantly predicted trolling behaviours. Affective empathy was a significant negative predictor of trolling behaviour, corroborating previous research that individuals lower on affective empathy measures are more likely to engage in antisocial behaviour (Warden & MacKinnon, 2003). This negative relationship between affective empathy and trolling suggests that trolls may not experience or internalise the emotional experience of their victims. This is likely a crucial aspect to trolling – if trolls empathised with their victim, perhaps they would be more likely to reduce or refrain from engaging in the behaviour.
....Based on the results of the current study, the prototypical troll is male, high in trait psychopathy and sadism, and has low affective empathy. The interaction of trait psychopathy and high cognitive empathy suggests trolls really are the master online manipulators – they cognitive understand the emotional distress they cause through their trolling behaviour without empathising with their victim's emotional suffering."
I think that final line is important to remember. Many "trolls" understand that their targets might be feeling upset, sad, angry, or hurt - they just don't care.

When people don't give a fuck about the harm they inflict on other people, that will almost always give them the upper hand in online interactions because they are playing by a different, anti-social set of rules than you are.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Amazing Coincidences In Troll Behavior!

It remains a real mystery as to why heavy troll, bot, and harassment often occurs around the same time big news is about to break regarding Donald Trump's potential collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, in which he lost the popular vote.

Meanwhile, the "Hot Take Appreciator" harassment account has, once again, directed their leftist wanking fanboys my way over the weekend.

Needless to say, I blocked more Twitter users in one day than I usually do in a matter of months. I do sometimes wonder why this sad troll-person spends time even stalking my timeline. I have her blocked, but she follows me through an alt-account to monitor my posts, so she can then misinterpret anything conceivably "problematic" to screenshot and tweet out to her "leftist" followers.

I usually know she's tweeted about me again when white man after white man busts into my mentions like the Kool-Aid Man, raging about some weeks- or months-old Tweet of mine, mansplaining to me what a "centrist" I am for not Feeling The Bern.

Yes, it's true that I'm far from a Big Influencer in the Twitterverse or elsewhere. I didn't even make the Bernista "Corporate Shill" hit list of shame. But, some people just need other sociopathic Internet hobbies, I guess?

More to the point of today's post, it appears I'm not the only one who sees regular trolling upticks from time to time.


Melissa McEwan has aptly pointed out that Donald's collusion has been happening in plain sight,  mostly notably by him publicly inviting Russia to hack the State Department. Neither that nor the increasing evidence of collusion stops many on the left and right from gaslighting us about this issue.

I suspect that this post, too, will be screenshot and tweeted to "Hot Take's" followers, so they can have a good guffaw at the loony, hysterical woman who believes all of this Russia mumbo-jumbo.

What's sad is how easily leftist purity trolls, particularly frothing white men, allow their misogyny to be weaponized, leading them into the role of "useful idiot." As Aphra Behn at Shakesville aptly noted, the left fell hook, line, and sinker for Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. It would be foolish to think that has stopped.

All some people, like "Hot Take," have to do is render the worst faith reading of a progressive woman's Tweet and my oh my how quickly the leftist hating begins.

Shill! Neolib! Dem! Centrist! Harry Potter!

(Leftist men hate Harry Potter. Or rather, they hate that "lib women" like Harry Potter. More generally they hate when women like non-Bernie things, things that aren't about the One True Revolution! Liking pop culture is a sign of vapidity, to them. That they too might play video games or listen to music or like pop culture is of no consequence, you see, because they have "roses" in their Twitter bios, which is how they signal to others that they are Oh Wise Enlightened Ones.)

I've been monitoring and documenting the aggregate data in Fannie's Room and, you should know, from time to time I see upticks in hits from Russia. These upticks often correspond with increases in both "leftist" trolling and Big News on the Russia/Trump front, like this weekend's news that Donald Jr. met with a Russian who promised damaging info on his dad's election opponent, Hillary Clinton.

I suspect that one day those of us who care about treason will be vindicated by posterity. Perhaps not anytime soon. But one day.

In the meantime, block early. Block often. Don't spend your weekends arguing with bad faith Internet "socialists" on Twitter. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Furiosa Friday

Welp, I've finally gotten around to watching Mad Max: Fury Road.

During our current political era, it can be chilling to partake in dystopian stories. Fury Road does not explore in great depth precisely how or why the planet became a post-nuclear hellscape. But, as our belligerent, incompetent, and predominately white-male-led Republican Administration seems to flirt with nuclear holocaust on the daily, it is not difficult to imagine Fury Road's wasteland largely having been caused by a dominant class of men.

I was, thus, delighted to find out that it was largely Furiosa's tale. The domination of toxic masculinity has gotten the world into a great many quagmires. It will not get us out.

That is not to say that only women are or should be the future of leadership, or that women cannot also engage in toxic masculinity, but that ongoing requests to center aggrieved white men in politics (coming from the left and right these days) should be soundly rejected in favor of a politics wherein other people's anger, pain, hurt, humanity, and fear also matter. Because right now, they do not. Millions of people voted Trump into office precisely because they resent "political correctness" towards, also known as "having empathy for," anyone other than straight white cisgender people.

What I liked about Fury Road, then, was Furiosa and Max working together, even if reluctantly at first.

As embodied by "the wives," women were uniquely oppressed in this hellscape society, used, abused, and valued by "high-status men" solely for their fertility. Furiosa saw the injustice in this and, on her own, sought to free them. Max, too, had been abused in the hellscape, valued for his blood. Yet, by joining with Furiosa, he eventually gained his freedom, while also helping the women gain theirs. A victim himself, he wasn't an all-powerful hero come to save the weak women. And, neither were the women marginal figures to his freedom story. They weren't asked to put their freedom on hold until he got his freedom, after which he maybe would come back for them.

(It's almost like *cough* stronger *cough* together)

Then, their mission of defeating the belligerent male leader having been accomplished, Max simply left. He didn't rise to be the new leader of society, as would often happen in this genre. Male savior models, both in pop culture and politics, don't often grant that a man can help lead himself and oppressed people to freedom without also being or becoming their Big Leader. So Max, in this sense, was a revolutionary figure of sorts.

In a final scene, he simply blended in with the masses, leaving society in the hands of Furiosa, the wives, and the matriarchs.

(This is the future feminists want if we ever find ourselves in a nuclear hellscape; n=1)



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Low-Class Donald Worse Than Internet Troll

What strikes me most about the article CNN ran about the man-troll who created the Trump/wrestling video, which showed Trump body-slamming a wrestler with a CNN logo imposed on his face, are two points of interest:

(1) The man-troll (Reddit username "HanAssholeSolo) had a history of self-acknowledged racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic posts. After Trump tweeted the video, the man-troll wrote on Reddit:
"Holy s—!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my s—post but the MAGA EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!"
However, the celebration didn't last.

After his identity was ascertained, the man-troll expressed remorse and apologized. Per the CNN article, he said he feared for his safety and for the embarrassment it would bring himself and his family if his identity were published. After all, he said, he was merely "posting things to get a reaction." He also said he didn't think Trump's team should have posted the video. In his apology he wrote:
"To people who troll on the Internet for fun, consider your words and actions conveyed in your message and who it might upset or anger. Put yourself in their shoes before you post it. If you have a problem with trolling it is an addiction just like any other addiction someone can have to something and don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Trolling is nothing more than bullying a wide audience. Don't feed your own self-worth based upon inflicting suffering upon others online just because you are behind a keyboard."
This apology, I think, is a good summary as to how what is commonly called "trolling" is actually incredibly sociopathic behavior, behavior that has been normalized and now, even more so, by the Republican leader.

In 10 years of blogging, I see a somewhat common attitude, particularly among people in their early 20s (who have only come of age during the Internet era), that "what happens on the Internet isn't real, so you can just do or say whatever to anyone without consequence." Well, online speech does have consequences and it is real, despite how easy it is to "utter" in this medium, so to speak. It can cause harm. I suspect many people at least intuitively know this, which is why they "troll" in the first place. It makes them feel powerful to cause other people pain so easily.

(2) This man-troll has apologized.

Donald Trump, the Republican leader, has not. It is not likely he ever will, because Donald does not apologize for things.

Let this sink in. Donald Trump has shittier morals than a self-proclaimed Internet troll.

And still, how long must we wait until there we see some man telling , yet again, how "presidential" Trump is after he gives another speech or whatever after some catastrophe of his own making.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.15 "Exodus"

So, the big news this episode is that Cadmus has "the alien registry." Given Cadmus' anti-alien agenda, this is concerning.

Cadmus immediately begins abducting aliens and, during a raid at Close Encounters, they even abduct Winn's alien girlfriend, Anya. I mean, Lyra. As a tangential side note, I feel like during the raid scene, Winn is wearing the same flannel as Adam in the movie Beetlejuice. Is it a sign? But what could it mean? And hey remember that little scale model of the city that Adam built in Beetlejuice? I always thought that was cute.


ANYway, Winn is very upset about Lyra having been abducted. Alex is also in a bad place, after learning that her dad has been working for Cadmus. She even goes all Dark Willow, as I guess she's wont to do from time to time, this time on a Cadmus agent the DEO is holding as prisoner. There is, however, no flaying involved.

We then get some scenes at CatCo with Snapper Trapper. I think the point is that we're supposed to see Snapper as a hard-hitting, old-school journalist who busts Kara "Ponytail" Danvers' chops whilst nonetheless teaching her how to be a Real Journalist. But these scenes make me miss Cat Grant, mostly, because I think she could have been a better mentor (plus, subtext). Or, does the Oh Wise Master always have to be an older/middle-aged white guy?


J'onn then tests Alex's loyalty by shape-shifting into Jeremiah and asking her to help him break into the DEO. Spoiler alert: Alex fails the test and is suspended from duty. Whooooops.

The Danvers Sisters' bond is then tested. Alex begs Kara to talk to J'onn, but Kara says that she agrees with J'onn that Alex shouldn't be on the Cadmus case. So now they're in a fight. Maggie, however, stands by her woman and agrees to help Alex investigate Cadmus. Together, they go rogue and find where Cadmus has taken the aliens and that Cadmus is sending the aliens "home," away from Earth, in a giant spaceship. (Are all the aliens from the same place, or would it operate like a schoolbus situation?)

In other queer news, Lena is back! Hi hi hi (sung to the tune of "Bi bi bi").


Since Trapper won't run Kara's story about Cadmus stealing the alien regisry, Lena encourages Kara to start a blog about it. Kara then writes the "blob" (as Mon-El calls it), and Mon-El convinces Kara to publish it. I hope she names her blob Ponytail Pontifications just to piss off Snapper even more.

Back at her office, Lena is attacked by Cadmus goons and tossed over a balcony. AND THEN THIS RANDOMLY HAPPENS which can clearly only be explained as a deliberate subtextual bonus:


(angel choir singing)

Let's take a closer look, shall we? Mon-who again?


Meanwhile, at Cadmus, Alex has boarded the spaceship that's going to be deporting the aliens to another galaxy (or whatever), but it launches while she's in it, sort of like that movie Space Camp.  It will imminently reach the speed of light - unless it can be stopped.

Supergirl flies in and tries to stop the ship whilst making meaningful eye contact with Alex, who is onboard, so I guess this is the scene where the sisters also make up. Supergirl does successfully stop this gazillion-ton spaceship from jumping, so I never want to see her struggle again with a mere caboose.


At CatCo, Snapper fires Kara for publishing her blob, giving her a lecture about how the lack of journalistic integrity could put a fascist in the White House. So, suddenly, Trump is the lady hero's fault? Sounds about right. BYE, SNAPPER - YOUR LOSS.

Kara isn't sure what she'll do next, career-wise, but Mon-Who comes over with potstickers, and then we see a final scene with Teri Hatcher (from the old Lois & Clark series) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), and they're up to something. Hopefully it involves Lucy Lawless also re-appearing, but I somehow doubt it. I guess Lucy can't be in all the things I like, although I don't see why not.


Deep Thought of the Week: I probably spend way too much time watching SuperCorps crack fan vids. Self care, my friends, self care.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Femslash Friday: Arrow

Had anyone told me about Sara Lance I would have started watching Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow much sooner. Bisexual badass hero? Yes please.

Enjoy the fan vid below (Felicity/Sara).

Also, this is like the third fan video in the past week that I've seen that uses this "Hey Na Na" tune. I've actually heard this song sung live by singer/songwriter Katie Herzig, when she was opening for Brandi Carlile. She said that she had pitched it to Sex and the City (hence the references to "Mr. Big"), although I don't think they used it.

Don't say you never learned anything here in Fannie's Room!

What's everyone else reading, watching, listening to, or playing these days?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Movies I Will Never Watch Based Soley on the Netflix Summary

Part One, in a series.

Cashback:

Description:
"Plague by insomnia after a romantic breakup, artist Ben Willis starts working nights in a supermarket, where he discovers he can freeze time. His strange new powers lead to Ben's undressing attractive customers and using them as sketch models."
Men are are given money for the representation and promotion of virtually any and all of their sex fantasies and perversions. Meanwhile, massive tantrums must be thrown when other viewpoints, lives, and perspectives are portrayed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.14 "Homecoming"

This episode begins with Mon-El having slept over at Kara's the night before. And, before Mon-El wakes up, she has gone around the city doing various Supergirl good deeds, only to return home with some flowers and coffee. It's a cute reversal.


Mon-El and Kara then kiss, even though Mon-El hasn't brushed his teeth yet, because no one in TV or movies ever has morning breath.

Importantly, Kara also tells Mon-El that she wants to keep their relationship a secret. In the very next scene, we see Mon-El making a general announcement to the DEO that he and Kara are dating. So, that's shitty in general to do something your partner just said she didn't want done. It's also a relationship red flag.

Later that day, Alex's dad Jeremiah is freed from Cadmus. He tells the gang that Cadmus has built a nuclear bomb, which they're going to detonate and blame on aliens. Mon-El is skeptical of why Cadmus has let Jeremiah go. He's pretty blunt about his distrust of Jeremiah, expressed doubt right in front of Jeremiah, Kara, and Alex. Kara and Mon-El then get in a fight.

Mon-El has a point, but I guess there are couple of weird parts about this:
  • Previously, Mon-El was a slacker, reluctant hero and now he's all in and gives a shit about solving the mystery of the week? I'm praying this plot is not a "Kara, you make me a better man" character development arc.
  • Relatedly, I find it difficult to believe that Mon-El would be right about something that the whole rest of the DEO gang would be completely oblivious to. I know their personal feelings could be clouding some judgment, but after Jeremiah being gone for 14 years or whatever, I think Alex, Hank, and the gang could have believably been more objective about Jeremiah being a Cadmus spy.
Nonetheness, Mon-El then ropes Winn into spying on Jeremiah, because Winn can literally be roped into doing anything for anyone. Then, because Jeremiah is probably the least sneaky spy in the history of TV spies, he tries to break into the "DEO mainframe" while Winn is standing like ten feet away. Jeremiah doesn't even notice or look around while he's doing it:


Winn and Mon-El tell Kara what Winn saw, and then they confront Jeremiah. He claims he was just looking at case files so he could see what Kara and Alex had been up to while he was away. Winn then confirms that Jeremiah's telling the truth (I guess he and Mon-El didn't think to do that first).  Alex gets pissed at all of them, but especially Kara.

Later, though, Jeremiah does steal some DEO files and then the gang figures out he actually is a Cadmus spy. And a cyborg. Or something. It seems complicated. Anyway, he takes the stolen data - which it turns out is the national alien registry - to Lena's mom. When Supergirl gets there to stop them from getting away, Lena's mom pulls the old "put innocent people in peril" move so she can escape whilst Supergirl saves the innocent people.

Alex then has to pull a gun on her dad.


She ends up not being able to pull the trigger. And, both she and Kara are a mess afterwards, knowing their dad is a traitor. I think the moral here is that in TV shows, unlike in real life, people still care when important people are traitors.

Deep Thought of the Week: I seriously miss Cat Grant this season. In addition to SuperCat subtext, I miss the levity and her low-key feminist "Drunk at 9 am. That's the last time I have breakfast with Ruth Bader Ginsburg" lines.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happy Fannie's Room Blogiversary

Welp, I started Fannie's Room 10 years ago this month!

Can you even believe it? It's like I always say, time flies when you're playing your part in the homosexualist socialist neoliberal shill feminazi hivemind agenda.

Seriously, thank you for reading, commenting, and sending me kind emails every once in awhile. Is anyone still here from the good old days of the mid-aughts? Or the Obama era, roughly 10,000 years ago?

Back in 2007, the blogosphere seemed different. It was before Twitter really took off, so literally everyone had a Blogger or Wordpress weblog. Now, I get the impression that having a blog, let alone a Blogger blog is kind of dorky.  Commenting, too, has decreased over the years, although the readership numbers have stayed about the same or slightly increased each year. (By the way, can people see comments/DISQUS, or are they not viewable in certain browsers?)

Over the years, I've seen many blogs abandoned or deleted due to writer boredom, busy-ness, harassment, or unknown mystery reasons. As such, I'm always looking for new progressive, feminist, LGBT, political, or pop culture blogs to read, so feel free to drop some recommendations in the comments or my email, even if it's your own.

Although I read multiple other blogs throughout the week, my daily blog reads these days remain (although I comment less these days as well):
I also have no immediate plans to stop blogging. I've written most days for most of my life and I really, really wish I had some of my old journals, because I'd post some entries for entertainment. Hmm, maybe I'll do some digging.

But anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. My point is that writing is something I've always done, for better or worse. Many of my paid writing jobs have been for uncredited content where I've been hired to develop and detail someone else's half-formed thoughts: speeches, letters, various appeals. So, it is a treat to get to write whatever I want, here at least. That some people are interested in it, too, is an added bonus.

Some of my favorite times in Fannie's Room have been:
  • Doing and writing about my (creatively-named) Book Experiment of 2014, where I read only books written by women for the whole year
  • Lightening up the political posts with TV recaps and femslash posts. Although, I do get the impression that writing about politics and pop culture/LGBT stuff lessens my credibility in both worlds. Leftbros mock women who care or write about pop culture as being unserious shills. And, perhaps some pop culture fans are put off by political writing. A plus about this space being non-commercial is that it can exist within this niche. Dozens of people are waiting to read Supergirl recaps followed by me complaining about BernieBros!
  • Writing this post: So You Want To Teach the Lady Feminists
  • Getting in blog and commenting wars with various bigots. Ha ha, just kidding. That's actually a terrible way to spend time usually.  
  • Participating in blog carnivals, adding blogs to my blogroll, getting a post linked to in the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup, and reading Pam's House Blend every day. Boo-hoo-hoo.
  • Being called a "leftist gender warrior"/socialist in 2008 and being called a neoliberal shill, by Internet Leftists, in 2017. Go figure. 
  • Learning that, although exceptions to this rule exist, nothing good comes from conversations about gender or politics from people who use "females" as a noun or who spell it "Hilary" with one "l."
  • Writing a somewhat off-the-cuff Election 2016 Fallout series, shortly after the election.
  • The Great Google Reader Conversation/Mourning of 2013. I mostly just thought it was funny that I posted about MRA shit, casually referencing the demise of Google Reader, and like 20 people started talking about blog readers. I really never know what content will resonate with people or what they'll want to talk about.
Related, here are the most-read blogposts at Fannie's Room (it is true that some of my writing might now make me cringe, but I'm not Hillary Clinton or ever running for President, so I hope it's not used against me too badly):
Anyway, thanks again for reading. I know there are several of you who comment somewhat regularly (Hi Sarah, Aeryl, Jarred, and Howard!). The rest of you: de-lurk, de-lurk wherever you are (if you want).

Should we all drink margs and live-tweet at each other?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Since Donald Brought Election Rigging Up: It Was

I have a new piece up over at Shakesville about the narrative that Hillary Clinton and/or "the DNC" rigged the 2016 election against both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump:
"In light of some of the ongoing narratives about the 2016 election, it has dawned on me that what Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and many of their die-hard fans have in common with MRAs appears to be an entitled sense that if the system isn't rigged for them, then it's rigged against them."
Read the whole thing!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Femslash Friday: L Word

Entertainment Weekly got (some of) The L Word cast back together for a reunion chat and photo shoot.

I miss that show so much.

From the chat:
[Erin] Daniels: We all went to sing karaoke together once.
Sarah Shahi (Carmen): What did you sing?
[Jennifer] Beals: Oh, I had to do “What a Feeling.” They poured water on me with a Perrier bottle. [Beals starred in the iconic 1983 film Flashdance.]
Daniels: Then the three of us got up and sang “Maniac.” We clearly got over our intimidation factor at that point.
Also, the conversation references the Sunday night viewings that were held at (primarily) lesbian bars across the country during the 2004-2009 period the show ran. You know, back when we still had lesbian bars. Anyway, ladies, brother-sestras, and non-binary individuals, I'm here to tell you that you haven't truly known fear until you've been angrily shushed by 75 queer women trying desperately to hear what's happening this week on The L Word.

Enjoy this fan vid of funny moments:



Preferred Pairing: Dana/Lara (the soup chef)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

#Winning

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) held its annual anti-equality "March for Marriage" in Washington, DC over the weekend.

Per Right Wing Watch, about 50 people attended what seemed to be an awkward display:
"Fifteen minutes before the event was scheduled to begin, about 20 adults were milling around an empty stage while several children worked to unfurl large red and blue banners to carry during the march. One passerby wondered whether they were going to a kite festival. Gradually, a few more participants arrived, including five men wearing the signature capes of the group Tradition, Family and Property and carrying a 'Honk for Traditional Marriage' sign."
Despite this sad showing, NOM activists are reported to be looking forward to the opportunity for the US Supreme Court's composition to change and, accordingly, for the Obergefell decision to be reversed.

It's tempting at this juncture to scoff at their chances, but I advise against overconfidence.

Anti-LGBT activists talk a lot about "the will of the people," but they don't seem all that interested, actually, in the will of the people.

As I noted recently, Donald Trump is a deeply-unpopular politician who lost the popular vote in the 2016 election. In addition to these factors, that he is also under investigation for having ties to a country that tampered with the election in which he lost severely undermines his legitimacy.

The day after his Inauguration, the largest protest in US history took place, with approximately 2-4 million attendees - vastly outnumbering NOM's little event.

Same-sex marriage, in contrast to Trump's unpopularity, is now accepted by 64% of Americans.

To think that Trump, with his questionable legitimacy and historic unpopularity, could appoint another fringe conservative to the Supreme Court who would potentially overturn a popular decision .... well, that's a lot of things - chief among them a constitutional crisis, perhaps. What it definitively would not be is "the will of the people."

NOM and the far right have forever lost that argument in the United States.

Of course, we've known all along that the "will of the people" argument was usually a mask that covered more unsavory opinions about queers.

Again, via Right Wing News, a quote from one of the speakers at the NOM march:
“We left God,” she said, “then we allowed ourselves to be aligned with ungodly movements. This gay rights movement is ungodly, it’s from the pit of hell.”
If a Trump-stacked Supreme Court ultimately strips same-sex couples of marriage rights, make no mistake that bigotry like this will have enabled it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.13 "Mr. & Mrs. Mxyptlk"

Okay, this one was odd.

It's Valentine's Day and a fifth-dimensional being, Mxyptlk, visits Kara and tells her that he's going to marry her. Fifth-dimensional beings have the ability to warp our reality and bend it to their whims. Except, they can't make people in our dimension fall in love with them. For reasons.The physics of it aren't clear.

Kara says no, multiple times, but Mxy doesn't take no for an answer. He snaps his fingers and Kara appears in Vera Wang and Mxy vows to get her to change her mind. And then he disappears. Charming (not charming).


Anyway, the way to get Mxy to go away for good is to get him to say his name backwards. I don't understand the physics of that either, but that's fine, I guess.

There's then some general Mon-El/Mxy rivalry and pissing-contests. Yawn yawn yawn shrug.  Kara doesn't want to deal with the Mon-El/Mxy macho swordfighting, on top of getting Mxy off of Earth, so she tells Mon-El that she'll deal with Mxy in her own way. Mon-El blabbers something about "defending her honor" and he implies that Kara likes the attention of Mxy, and at this point I start to understand some of the Mon-El hate within fandom.

Moving on to the Alex/Maggie front, Maggie shares with Alex that she HATES Valentine's Day. Alex is like, "Me too." But, she doesn't mean it because she makes this face.


Alex goes to Kara for advice and Kara says that Alex should create a "tailor-made" Valentine's Day for Maggie.

At Close Encounters, Winn is enjoying a lager when he meets Lyra, an alien whose spirit animal seems to be Anya Jenkins. She's very brash, I mean. Winn and Lyra then start hooking up. I told you Winn was the Xander of Supergirl.


Interlude: I haven't sufficiently appreciated Supergirl's prowess in the Season 2 recaps. So, here's an image of her catching a bullet. Woof!


Back to Maggie and Alex, Alex prepares a surprise Valentine's Day thing for Maggie, with scotch and tiramisu. But, Maggie gets really upset and explains that she had a really bad coming out experience with her family and that's why she hates Valentine's Day. Then, she leaves.

Speaking of which, Mon-El steals a weapon from the DEO and challenges Mxy to a duel to the death. It doesn't go so well for Mon-El and Supergirls swoops in and says she'll marry Mxy. Mon-El begs her not to, but she says her mind is made up. I feel like this is a trick, but neither Mxy nor Mon-El realize it.

It turns out, Supergirl is tricking Mxy because of course she is. What about her would make anyone think she'd randomly agree to marry some rando dude? She has Mxy meet her at the Fortress of Solitude and then tells him that love isn't about making demands on people. She then sets the atomic core of the Fortress to explode, effectively threatening to kill herself, and has set the cancellation code to Mxy's name spelled backwards. He types in the code and then realizes his huge mistake.


Mxy then calls Supergirl "a nasty woman" and disappears into the fifth dimension.

(Pause.)

Hold on, just .... just let me just try something:
PMURT
(Pause.)

Damn.

ANYway, later on, Maggie and Alex make up and Mon-El apologizes to Kara for being "an ass." I guess the theme of this episode is "Listen To Your Partner and Respect Their Decisions."


Deep Thought of the Week: Speaking of protagonists randomly (or not) falling in love with a Brand New Male Character, remember in Lost Girl when Bo randomly announced she was in love with Rainer?  That was some weird shit.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Toast to the Toast

Since The Toast stopped publishing about a year ago, I've missed the feminist site at least once per week. Particularly the "If X were your girlfriend/boyfriend" series, the civil quirky discourse, and the unapologetic deletion of troll comments.

Sarah Scoles at Motherboard ran a profile on The Toast and co-founder Mallory Ortberg today, if you're interested.

Monday, June 12, 2017

BernieCon 2017

So, Bernie Sanders and his fans held an exclusive "People's Summit" in Chicago over the weekend.

Per the website, attendance was limited, so people had to "apply to register" and wait 7-10 days to see if they were approved to register.

Per the site's "Diversity and Inclusion" page, the aim with this process was to select for diversity and for attendees who reflected their "political vision," which a first come, first serve registration process would not achieve.

My observation about this process isn't a criticism. Event organizers can select attendees in any lawful manner they choose.

It's more an observation that an event purportedly for The People also seemed to have a political test, and one that at least from the website wasn't all that transparent. Judging by the hashtag on Twitter over the weekend, it looked like a predominately pro-Bernie/anti-Democrat space. In my experience interacting with very pro-Bernie people, they often present themselves as the vanguard of progressivism in the United States, yet use "support for Bernie" as a litmus test, rather than the issues themselves, as to whether someone else is truly a progressive.

I have serious disagreements with this approach.

In all likelihood, I agree with many Bernie fans on the issues probably, I'd say, 75-95% of the time.  Yet, I also believe that Bernie legitimately lost the Democratic Primary to Hillary Clinton. She simply had more votes than him.

I also believe that he never had a real plan for implementing his vision within the constraints and realities of Republican power and obstruction within our political system, as indicated by his disastrous New York Daily News interview over a year ago.

Simply put, his campaign also had flaws, flaws that are often not talked about because of his fans' intense need to continue believing that "the DNC" "rigged" the contest against him. Bernie Sanders could do a lot to unite the left right now, but the fact that he chooses to not shut this myth down or address the flaws of his campaign are probably within the top five impediments to progressive unity going forward.

Many progressives supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders and yet are consistently erased or dismissed as uninformed shills. Many people, meanwhile, view Bernie as the leader of the leftist revolution, despite him having accomplished as of yet very little in his political career. Because he holds this place of prominence for some people, he could shut down some of the abuse that Clinton supporters continue to receive.

But, he chooses not to. And, because he chooses not to, as long as Bernie Sanders is hailed as the leader of "the revolution," the left will never be united. Indeed, from my perspective, he and his fans care more about trying to change the hearts of bigoted Trump supporters than they do about giving Hillary Clinton supporters any assumption of good faith or intelligence with respect to politics.

And holy shit, I can't believe I still have to talk about Bernie Sanders in June 2017 when an authoritarian shitlord is in power.

In conclusion, I storified my tweets about the Bernie convention over the weekend:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.12 "Luthors"

Lena's back. FINALLY!

But first, there's a group scene at Close Encounters. Specifically, Winn and James are stoked to meet Alex's new "mystery guy" and are shocked when the "guy" turns out to be Maggie Sawyer. Here, I want to mostly point out that Papa Hank knew the truth all along. Sure, he's psychic, but still, I'm sure he would have picked up on it anyway.


In Luthor news, Lena's mom, Lillian, is on trial. I forget what she did so let's just call it Evil Luthor Businiess. I think the point is that we're supposed to wonder whether Lena, too, is an Evil Luthor or if she can rise above her familial disposition.

Kara has faith in Lena, for some reason, and we're supposed to wonder if her faith is misplaced gullibility. Kara believes in Lena and visits Lena and they sit on the couch together tearing their donuts apart. I don't even mean that in a dirty way. Kara brings Lena a bag of donuts, I guess to engage in "sinful eating" together, but literally zero actual bites are taken. I watched. What is the point even? Just make out already, ladies. The sexual tension is obvious.


Lena also visits her mom in jail and her mom tells her she really is a Luthor, by blood. I guess there was some confusion about that. Her mom also tries to vaguely recruit Lena into Cadmus.

At the trial, I then remember that Lillian is head of Cadmus and they want to eradicate aliens from Earth. Oh yeah. That. One of the key witnesses during the trial, Metallo, sort of hulks out on kryptonite and frees Lillian. To escape, they put Supergirl in a classic "You can capture me or you can save the humans" situation, knowing that Supergirl, being Supergirl, will save the innocent humans every time.

Supergirl, Alex, and Maggie then wonder who gave Metallo the kryptonite that he used to help free Lillian. It turns out..... Lena was the only person who visited the jail the previous night. While Kara goes to question Lena, Maggie shows up and puts Lena in 'cuffs and takes her down to the station.


Oh dear. I wonder how many fanfics this scene has launched. But I digress. Kara is NOT happy with Maggie. And, to make things worse, Snapper Trapper wants the story of Lena's arrest on the front page of the paper.

However, it turns out that while Lena is in jail, Metallo kidnaps her. James and everyone at the DEO think Metallo broke her out of jail and that this proves that Lena is actually evil. Despite all the evidence, Kara still believes that Lena is innocent. People don't understand why Kara keeps believing in Lena. But we know. We all know.

Metallo then takes Lena to meet up with Lillian and they go to some sort of vault that has some super weapons or something. Lillian tries to convince Lena to commit to joining Cadmus. They also need her blood to open the vault. So they're basically just using her. Lena refuses to open the vault, but Lillian's Cadmus goons make her. Lillian is mean.


At the DEO, Winn does his computer magic and realizes that Lena actually is innocent. Miraculously, at the exact same time, the DEO finds out that Lena is at the vault with Cadmus and ascertains their exact location. So, Supergirl and J'onn fly there in a jiffy and rescue Lena.

Lena is vindicated. And, Kara writes a story about it, leading Lena to send her a bunch of flowers and say that she's never had a friend like Kara before. Just a couple of 100% heterosexual women hanging out, you know.

In the final scene, however, we see a flashback of Lena beating her brother Lex at chess and saying, "I really like this game." So now Lena's morality is questionable. But, I want to believe.

Oh, there's also some Kara/Mon-El flirting. (Shrug)


Deep Thought of the Week: This might sound greedy, but I'm ready for a Supergirl/Wonder Woman crossover.