Monday, October 28, 2013

A Word

I finished Julia Serano's new book yesterday. It is good. It is very good. I can't really talk about it because I'm not sure I can do it justice, but I do want to digress from a certain part of it.

At one point, she briefly talks about cis resistance to the terms 'cis' and 'cissexism'. She attributes this resistance to the idea that accepting those as legitimate terms means accepting her and her ideas as also legitimate- that cissexism is predicated on trans* being fake.

I can't disagree, but I feel like it also stems from a more generalized place than the cis/trans relationship.

When I first encountered the term 'cissexual' as the opposite of 'transsexual', I immediately rejected it in my mind. This didn't have anything to do with any opposition to transsexuality- that made some sense to me, but cissexual was such a nonsense word. Then I learned the etymology of it (cis has always meant the opposite of trans) and that this dichotomy is found in the sciences (specifically in organic chemistry.) At which point I embraced it fully- the word has etymological validity as so it's a great word.

Etymological validity is fundamental to the natural progress of language, to people understanding what you're talking about. You can blog because you understand what a web log might be because you understand what the World Wide Web is. Etymological validity is continuity. Etymological validity is the preservation of the core of language. Etymological validity is utter bullshit.

Because I understand that a Jedi fights the Sith. I understand that a Blorgon is the Inspector Spacetime equivalent of a Dalek. I understand that this dren is a load of smeg and frak the people who say otherwise. I understand that a Vulcan has a katra and a Klingon wields a bat'leth. I understand that I am a muggle and that every single word in this paragraph, despite having no etymological validity, is perfectly cromulent because those words were necessary to define something and someone made that word.

Appealing to etymological validity is a generic privilege of gatekeepers. The entire course of language is dominated by the flow of the majority over the minority. History is written by the victors and it is written in the words they want.

So we can recognize that English lacks a third-person, genderless pronoun to refer to people. We stress over "should we use 'they'? it's not okay to use 'it' right?" when people have already made those pronouns. But those pronouns don't have etymological validity, i.e. those pronouns were made up by people who we don't want to give the position of power that lets them change our language.

We can recognize that English lacks a second-person plural, and we don't how the hell you're supposed to refer to a group of people without confusing the issue. Except for that we have y'all, yinz, youse, and you guys. But those are unacceptable- they come from lower classes and dammit we need a word that we can imagine people with power saying. The Queen is not going to say 'yinz,' can you imagine?

And these are things that are trying to correct deep, fundamental flaws of the language itself- this doesn't even go into something like cissexual which is necessary, but its necessity is utterly invisible to the vast majority of people. Allowing everyone to contribute to a conversation means allowing everyone to say it in their own words- no matter where the words come from.

Friday, October 25, 2013

One, Two Sitcoms Stand Before You

The Mindy Project

I was pretty excited for the Mindy Project. I like Mindy Kaling a lot and giving her a show seemed like a really fantastic idea. The show has always had some structural problems (too many completely undeveloped characters, not enough time) but this season, I've got a grump.

As the last season progressed, it tried to fix the too many characters problem by slowly bleeding out some of the extraneous ones. For example, Mindy's best friend Gwen (Anna Camp) who gradually went away in favor of oh I guess Mindy doesn't have any female friends anymore or the uncommented on exit of the other administrative assistant Shauna (Amanda Setton). Okay, fine. It's not so bad, there's still Betsy and Beverly and they added Tamra to sort of take Shauna's place, but funnier.

Then this season, they decided they needed another male doctor on top of the two who had always been there and Morgan, the nurse. Also, all of the female characters who aren't Mindy? You'd be lucky to notice more than one of them in the background. Suddenly, the show became Mindy and a bunch of dudes. And then the last episode was basically about how Mindy needs to just learn to deal with the fact that there are a bunch of dudebros around her, constantly giving her crap about being female, and you know what, they're just guys, let them be guys who cares.

So I'm grump there.

But then

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I'm not so grump! New show from the creators of Parks and Recreation, starring another SNL alum, Andy Samberg. In general, I don't like Samberg. His comedy is too big and too obnoxious, like so many SNL performers before him (Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, etc.) but he's been expertly constraned to "big enough to be funny" in this show. Then there's the rest of the cast: it actually looks like what you'd expect from a New York police precinct in terms of diversity. It's legitimately an entire sitcom cast without a single WASP member in casting or in character and the show doesn't even play it off as a big deal. The requisite no-nonsense police captain is that way because he spent 20 years being pushed around as an openly gay man in the NYPD and now that he's been given a command, he refuses to let anyone screw it up. Loving it.

Which is almost secondary to the fact that it's actually really enjoyable from the word go. P&R took a while to reach its stride, but B99 is pretty funny to begin with, with tons of obvious potential moving forward. The characters are immediately identifiable and memorable and they play off each other so well that literally any combination is fun to watch. Easily my favorite new show of the season.

Which means it will be cancelled.

TVTVTV

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Negative Positivity

Last week, Liss at Shakesville posted a really good analysis of the "sex is natural" trope and how it's harmful to both certain peoples but also has harmful implications for sexual interaction. She said everything about that very well and you can just read that right there while I go off on a different tangent which is:

How useless is that statement? Seriously. "Sex is natural"? Well, yes. Nature has a lot of sex. It also has a lot of not-sex. Nature is having not-sex right now. Look down. Look left and right. Look around you. Is there nature having sex? Are you having sex? NO! (Probably. If yes, I am intrigued by your choice of erotic reading material.) That is also perfectly natural! Not-sex is natural. Either state of being is pretty much natural, so why even bother making the distinction.

And furthermore, there are plenty of sex acts that can be considered unnatural. Nature doesn't generally use contraceptives, for instance. But that doesn't mean they're bad. There's no correlation between something being natural and good or unnatural and bad. The only distinction that needs to be made is if something is harmful or not (which includes if there's been a meaningful level of communication and consent to anything taking place).

Which brings me to another issue I have with the sex-positive movement, or at least, how it exists in context.


The only time I've seen a feminist post get put on /r/bestof on Reddit was a sex-positive feminist who was yelling about other feminists. The patriarchy eats that crap up. They can be 'feminist' in a way that means 'these women want to have sex with me' AND they get to talk about how much the other feminists suck. Wooooo.

On the one hand, yes, this is somewhat correct. A lot of third wave feminism is sex-positive in contrast to second wave feminism which rejected porn out of hand. And a lot of that rejection was both offensive and harmful to porn actresses and made a lot of assumptions about them that were and are very wrong.

That does not mean "porn is good!" People having sex for the entertainment of people who want to watch? Nothing wrong with that action. People watching other people have sex for their own sexual gratification? Still nothing wrong with that! But in the context that it's produced in society, there is something wrong. There's something wrong with the industry that is controlled by men and uses women are a commodity. There's something wrong with fetishization of different body types. There's something wrong with the reduction of a person to sex parts.

In the same way that you can say "GMO crops could possibly provide better nutrition or hardiness in more hostile climates" and "Monsanto is an evil multinational corporation who uses GMO to control the world's food supply", you can say "watching or performing in porn can be a healthy and fun experience" and "the porn industry is potentially harmful to society and people's sex lives." You can say both and mean both. And you should! You should have that kind of nuance to your worldview!

The takeaway is not "don't be sex-positive." Sex-positivity, when considered with nuance, when considered with context and empathy, is good. It's an attempt to make everyone's sex lives better, safer, and healthier. But that greater consideration is required in any movement, no matter how good the intentions.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trans- Post

1) Listening to a podcast I'd never listened to today, Sklarbro Country, they had a comedian, Will Weldon, and asked him what his current favorite joke is in his set. His response is that he has a bit about movies and their treatment of transgender people and how much he hates when a straight male character finds out someone they were interested in used to be a man and they you get the smash cut to them vomiting (see also: the entire climax of Ace Ventura). His fantastic comment: "you know, every girl you've been with used to be a child. Are you gonna freak out that you're a pedophile now?" I was just super surprised to hear about this comedian's perspective on that and that it was his current favorite thing to rant about on stage. Love it. Need to find more of his work.

2) I watched Kinky Boots last night. It's a somewhat-true story of a dude who inherits a failing men's shoes business and, after attempting to save a drag queen being attacked in an alley, is inspired to refocus his factory into making shoes for drag queens. It's pretty decent and actually reasonably respectful of trans people, though perhaps oversexualized as the treatment often is. Still, I have to talk about Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Lola, which was just...really amazingly good. A lot of movies about transvestite or transgender people try to make the person in question look uncomfortable or awkward in their chosen gender performance, but Ejiofor just does the exact opposite. He looks so comfortable and at ease as Lola and doesn't miss a beat when dressed as her. It's when Lola is forced to dress down into a man that he does a great job looking very uncomfortable and off somehow. She is Lola, not Simon, and being forced to be Simon is not okay to her. It's really great.

Also, just small bonus points to the movie for having the characters refer to her in the feminine even when she's not dressed up. Just seems right.

And I just learned that it's now a Tony winning Broadway musical and how the hell did I miss that this year? Do want.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Also, kittens.

Kittens
Kittens.

The Importance of Being Alton

Once upon a time in America, there was food and there was cuisine. Food was what everyone ate. You ate whatever your mother made or whatever your wife's mother taught her to make. It was generations of knowledge dedicated to making whatever you had palatable, refined over countless mealtimes and the hushed swapping of information in social circles. It was informed by your heritage and the slow degradation of your ancestral home's food culture into whatever fit into the American lifestyle and culture. Cuisine, though- cuisine was what you found in the restaurants. What you spent the big bucks on. And cuisine, quite literally, came from France. It was the result of decades of tinkering and thinking about food, the passionate pursuit of men who did nothing but cook, turning ingredients into something bigger and better through some magic sorcery you had to go to France to learn. It was cooking in its purest form.

Then World War 2 happened. We sent our men away, halfway across the world, and all we gave them was something not quite food in little tins. So when they had the opportunity to eat something that didn't come from a little tin, they took it. And suddenly, they realized what else was food. The Italians, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Germans, the Spanish, the Turks...all of those minorities back home? They also had food. And it tasted good. Here, outside of America, that food was still pure and delicious. It wasn't cuisine, either. You didn't need black magic to make it. So they came back, much to everyone's surprise, with those memories of different food lingering. American food could be more and they demanded more. Sure, they molded it back to fit America- no food survives the trip to the New World. But it was different. Things were changing.

Then, enter The Woman. Quite literally a giant in American culinary history, someone every American cook speaks of with fondness and reverence- Julia Child. Smart and curious, she looked at cuisine and said- "Why, this is just food. Anyone can make this, right?" Pan in one hand, wine in the other, she tried to prove it. And with a book and a TV show, she came into American homes and said "You can cast the secret spells of the French. You can make cuisine." And America believed her and begin to do real French cooking in their own homes. You didn't need restaurants- you just needed tenacity and a will to cook. But still, there was magic in that cooking. After all, Julia could put a turkey in the oven, then pull it out fully cooked!

And that's how it stayed for decades. Slowly, the rest of the world seeped into America's kitchens and restaurants and we watched Julia and a handful of other people cook on TV, learning the secret recipes to make better food at home. They were the gatekeepers and translators of those secrets and only those willing to be lectured to and figure it out as they went could really access it.

So, a guy from Georgia with a film degree and a culinary school degree thought it would be fun, maybe, to make a cooking show with more interesting angles. Maybe throw some history and science into the mix. Do a bit more than just give a recipe and prepare it while a fully cooked version is sitting in the oven.

Maybe Alton Brown understood what he was doing, maybe he didn't, but it had one major effect: he killed the magic and the mystification. There was science behind making a roux. There's a reason you cook it for a particular time and you prepare it in the order you do. There was no magic in that sludge to thicken your sauce. There was no French god deciding you had done the ritual correctly. It was learnable and even something easy to intuit. And with a gift for entertainment and a desire to actually teach people, Alton recreated America's kitchens. He gave America the vocabulary and knowledge to understand the reality of food- that cuisine might require more finesse, patience, and knowledge, but that's not inaccessible to you. You can use not just the same recipes, but the same techniques in your own kitchen. You can not just cook- you can create. Have fun.

Good Eats might be one of the single most important pieces of American culture in the last 20 years. Before Good Eats, there were food critics, the people who spent their lives learning about food and flavor and telling other people what to think, but now everyone is a foodie- loving to eat, loving to explore a culinary landscape that's been blown wide open. Before Good Eats, the Food Network was a ridiculous concept- who wants to watch people make recipes for 24 hours a day? After Good Eats, there are culinary shows on even the broadcast networks- on top of Food Network being so successful that they had to create a spinoff network just to have the people standing around cooking again.

So, when I listen to his podcast, I realize that Alton hasn't really stopped there with Good Eats. Each episode, he talks to celebrity chefs and cooking show contestants and he's once again doing something vital and unprecedented: he's giving access to the major figures of a culture he was instrumental in creating and breaking down the barriers of even the new food world. Talking one-on-one with Bobby Flay or Geoffery Zakarian, not in the context of "let's have a serious interview, please tell me about your new show," but as a real conversation to bring them to the levels of humans whose profession you love to watch on TV and whose skills you want to mimic in your home. They're fascinating, yes, but again...they're not magicians. And he's having these conversations about the impact of food and food culture not in edited sound bites, but in real, interesting discussions. And maybe it's an accident or design, but roughly half of each episode of the Alton Browncast is devoted to a major figure of the food world, while the other half is devoted to talking to his audience directly via phone or email, and Alton has once again positioned himself as a willing and eager bridge between the two. Maybe he's legitimately that brilliant in being a force of shaping the food culture of America or maybe he's just a dude with good ideas and some luck in being in the right place at the right time, but he has been, continues to be, and possible will be into the future, a driver of the culinary awakening that happened during this century.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Even More Star Trek

So, in TNG, Data is male. People constantly refer to him in the masculine and even as "Mr. Data." In fact, we even know he is "fully functional" thanks to Tasha Yar. This is, of course, despite him having no genetic masculinity at all: he is a robot. He has no Y chromosome- or any alien equivalent thereof. However, we can just accept that Data, despite having no genetic masculinity or capability of sexual reproduction, is male. The earliest and most fundamental episode dealing with his personhood, after all, is called "Measure of a Man". Why is it so fundamentally hard to accept this with people? No idea.

Random questions to ponder: would TNG have been any different if Data had remained agender and asexual? His maleness feels utterly default. It rarely comes into play, so I posit that if he had had no gender at all, the show would've been the same.

On the other hand, if he had been female, how different would the show have been? I feel like the female characters were done a rather large disservice on TNG as compared to other Star Trek shows (especially DS9) and that might've been helpful. But would a female Data be as heavily sexualized as, say, Seven of Nine, who had a very similar thematic journey to Data, but had to do it in a shiny catsuit with various crewmembers ogling her? Probably.

Just musings.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Star Trek: TNG - Imzadi

In a fit of "oh my god, I love Star Trek and everything about Star Trek I'm so obsessed with Star Trek," I've started reading Star Trek novels. I've begun my quest with the one I found on the free book shelf at my library and immediately snatched up: Imzadi.

This is what the back of the book says the narrative is:

Years before they served together on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Commander William T. Riker and ship's counselor Deanna Troi had a tempestuous love affair on her home planet of Betazed. Now, their passions have cooled and they serve together as friends. Yet the memories of that time linger and Riker and Troi remain Imzadi - a powerful Betazoid term that describes the enduring bond they still share.

During delicate negotiations with an aggressive race called the Sindareen, Deanna Troi mysterious falls ill...and dies. But her death is only the beginning of the adventure for Commander Riker - an adventure that will take him across time, pit him against one of his closest friends, and force him to choose between Starfleet's strictest rule and the one he calls Imzadi.

Sounds pretty decent, but, so far, it's wrong. Yeah, that's the plot of the bookends of the story, but really the main plot takes place during that "tempestuous love affair." Here's a bit more accurate description:

Years before he served on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Commander William Teabag Riker was a dudebro Starfleet lieutenant stuck serving on Betazed. Within a day of being there, he saw a girl naked at a wedding and immediately began to harass her incessantly, refusing to take no for an answer because he is So Alpha. Unable to get rid of him, Deanna Troi is forced to educate his dumb ass on empathy and mindfulness because every time he's around her all he does is stare at her butt and grin like a moron.

...I actually really love this book. It's great, because for once, I like Deanna Troi. She was such a non-entity on the TV show, inexplicably on the bridge because she had magic powers of uselessness and, as a character, was only created because Roddenberry demanded more tits- and only got half as many as he wanted. The only episode about her that was even good was "Face of the Enemy" which was done even better with Major Kira on DS9 in "Second Skin." But she's given so much more life and intelligence and character in this book...loving it. Also really enjoying the fact that it fleshes out Betazoid culture, since they basically had two major characteristics in TNG: they have magic powers and naked weddings. Way better in this book. This is basically the kind of thing I want to see more of as I undertake my nerd quest deep into Star Trek apocrypha: not fantasy stories, but pushing out the universe of Star Trek. It's something TNG did really terribly and DS9 did pretty well.

Reading about the Enterprise defeating some Borg or something is cool, but I want to know more history, more culture, more personality. Please don't fail me now, random authors who couldn't think of their own universe and just got to publish glorified fanfics.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Podspell

Sex Nerd Sandra

Sandra Daugherty is a sex-positive, super funny, super energetic podcaster who work(s/ed?) at the Pleasure Chest, an adult store in LA. There's over a hundred episodes, so I started about 7 episodes in with a roundtable discussion podcast with her coworkers at the Pleasure Chest, talking about their job, the people who come in, toy safety, and all manner of interesting discussion. Sandra takes great care in making sure the show stays entirely non-judgmental and safe but keeps the conversation really interesting and funny. Definitely putting it on tap for future commuting.

Mike Detective

A sort of spin-off of Comedy Bang! Bang!, Mike Detective (Unlicensed and Uninsured Private Eye) is a fantastic send-up of old school noir and radio dramas. His quest to save his client, Stephanie Client(voiced by the single best voice actor ever goddammit, Grey DeLisle), and her sister from the evil clutches of Kelsey Grammer is maybe the funniest thing I've ever listened to. The humor slides somewhere between the super-referential Community and the satirical absurdism of Police Squad or The Naked Gun. Unfortunately, there's only one 'season' of it, but it's a great, quick listen.

Welcome to Night Vale

Imagine, if you will, a quiet, unassuming town full of mystery, magic, and horror. This town, of course, has public access radio where the news is reported. This town is Night Vale. The premise is basically NPR meets the Twilight Zone and it's pretty funny. A calm, relaxing voice reports on the goings-on of the town of Night Vale, with the arrival of the handsome scientist Carlos whom we love and hate in equal measure as he turns his eye to the mysteries of the town. Basically, everything is done perfectly, both to its benefit and its detriment. The announcer, voiced by Cecil Baldwin, hits the public radio voice so perfectly that it becomes remarkably easy to tune out and ignore even if you really want to listen (which you do). It's hard to listen to while commuting because I just want to fall asleep, as I move into a sine wave of paying attention and cracking up and then zoning out and ignoring it entirely.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today in Rape Culture Not Existing

CNN guest jokes Chelsea Manning will get ‘good practice’ being a woman in prison

Hahaha. Ha.

There's so much terrible here, let's go ahead and dissect it.

  1. Joking about rape! That's the easiest terrible. Fun fact about joking about rape: context doesn't matter! It's never okay! Yes, even that most hilarious of topics, prison rape, is not okay to joke about. Shocking.
  2. The idea that you get good practice being a woman by being raped. Holy crap, guy. That's your concept of what women are for, huh? I can't even.
  3. The pervasive transphobic attitude that this is an action that should be particularly applied to a transgender woman (who, of course, is never referred to as a woman in this awful piece).
The truth is this: he's not wrong. Unfortunately, LGBT inmates are 15 times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted in prison. 67% of LGBT inmates are raped or assaulted. 67%! That's not fucking funny. That's a symptom of a larger problem.

So here's a link to Just Detention International, an organization dedicated to fighting prison rape in all its forms. It's not an acceptable threat. It's not corrective behavior. It's terrible and it needs to stop.

 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Only Post About Big Bang Theory I Will Ever Make

I've never enjoyed Big Bang Theory a whole lot. It has its moments, and when it actually does real nerd humor, not just humor about nerds, it does it pretty well. The premise just never held any promise, though. Four nerd stereotypes, broadly drawn and with very little real personality beyond NEEEERD and the ditzy blonde neighbor have adventures + a will they/won't they between lead nerd and ditzy neighbor. I don't think it was ever gonna work for me.

However, as it's been encroaching on my periphery, I've found that as the show has gone on, it has actually gotten quite a bit better. The core nerds haven't really evolved at all, they're still the same broad nerd caricatures. But what they did do was kind of ditch the "nerds can't get laid" part and added real female characters who, incredibly, are way better written than the core cast.  In particular, Amy Farrah Fowler, as a character, provides such a great humanizing romantic foil for the ever-obnoxious Sheldon Cooper and manages to hit a lot of the same notes as Sheldon while genuinely seeming like a real person. I'm thoroughly impressed by it actually. Their subplot provides a much better hook to the show than the Leonard/Penny cliche stuff, in much the same way that Robin and Barney recentered How I Met Your Mother and made it a much more interesting show.

Basically, Big Bang Theory was saved, in my mind, by decently written female characters. Holy crap.

Also, it amuses the hell out of me that the only person on the show who is a real scientist who does real science with a real PhD is Dr. Mayim Bialik.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Re: Skyler White

A while back I posted my own little defense of Skyler White from Breaking Bad, which happens to be the most popular post I've ever made in terms of pageviews on account of terrible people searching terrible search terms.

Anyhow, at the end I asserted that the perception of Skyler isn't necessarily the fault of Vince Gilligan but rather the viewing audience being terrible and that she's actually pretty darn sympathetic from an objective POV. At the time, I wasn't sure if I should say that. Maybe I just wanted to be sympathetic to her and the show actually treats her as terrible as its audience and that Vince Gilligan is complicit in making her the villian.

Well, I recently found a quote from him saying this:

We’ve been at events and had all our actors up onstage, and people ask Anna Gunn, “Why is your character such a bitch?” And with the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I think the people who have these issues with the wives being too bitchy on Breaking Bad are misogynists, plain and simple. I like Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations, but in the early days she was the voice of morality on the show. She was the one telling him, “You can’t cook crystal meth.” She’s got a tough job being married to this asshole. And this, by the way, is why I should avoid the Internet at all costs. People are griping about Skyler White being too much of a killjoy to her meth-cooking, murdering husband? She’s telling him not to be a murderer and a guy who cooks drugs for kids. How could you have a problem with that?

So, uh...basically, Vince Gilligan, fuck yeah. I love you man. I love your show. Thank you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I hate you, Sigmund.

Last night I had a dream. In this dream, I was sitting in a classroom, I believe taking a history class. The professor sprung a test upon us- the topic? Battlestar Galactica. I knew I was ready and prepared to answer the questions. They were easy and one by one I scribbled down my answers. But the more I answered, the sloppier my writing got and he was going faster and faster, finally, he finished, but my page looked like nonsense. So I decided to get a fresh sheet of paper and recopy my answers more legibly. As I flipped past page after page of filled paper, I finally found some black pages. My pencil was dull, so I went to a sharpener- the badass superpowerful electric kind, and proceeded to sharpen the pencil. Naturally, as the pencil got sharper and sharper, it turned into a penis. Armed with the turgid instrument, I returned to the task at hand, only to end up with my papers covered in pee. I grew despondent and gave up on ever turning in the test. Fin.

Obviously Correct Analysis:

My subconscious placed me in this setting to highlight my frustration of never leaving school. It chose the test subject of TV(TVTV) as something I find effortless and interesting to only increase my frustration over the course of the dream. My inability to complete the test, even though I knew the answers, demonstrates a constant struggle to finish what is actually extremely easy to me. The transformation of the pencil into a penis suggests a subconscious connection between maleness and knowledge had once been formed, but the ultimate uselessness of this object in the pursuit of it suggests that all penises do is pee on things.

The pee represents pee. Don't pee on your coursework.

The fact that I just corrected a typo of pencil- 'mencil'- is hilarious.

Podsmack

With my long commutes twice a week, I've started listening to podcasts to fill the time. So every so often I'm gonna do an update of what I listen to and a bit of critique of them.

Comedy Bang! Bang!

This is the first podcast I really tried and...I can't say enough good things about it. I could gush for hours on end about how funny it is. The premise is simply that Scott Aukerman hosts a podcast, regularly having B-list celebrities come in to talk and have fun, but often a cast of wacky characters barges in and interrupts the podcast. It's full character improv at that point with Scott and the guest dealing with the character and the show spiraling off into bizarre areas. It is, almost without exception, absurdly hilarious. And, thanks to Scott's sensibilities in trying to be the straight man and keep the show on course without becoming vulgar or terrible, it very rarely strays into problematic areas or, at the very least, rarely strays unchecked. I always love it. It's always great.

Nerd Poker

And then on the other end, we have Nerd Poker.  I was pretty interested in it. Comedians? Playing D&D? In convenient podcast form? Yes please! The first episode was mildly annoying, with constantly having to stop and explain the rules, but it had some good laughs. The (lone) female member of the podcast kept getting talked over but...but maybe it gets better?

Nope. Second episode. There was like pretty much a solid 10 minutes of rape jokes. Nope. NOPE. Unlistenable. Even setting that aside(which is, uh, not really good to set aside) it's just not worth the effort. There are better ways I can use my driving time. Like counting roadkill.

The Alton Browncast


Oh my god. Alton Brown started doing a podcast. I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it. And you know? You know. I think I like it.

I went ahead and skipped to episode 4 so I could hopefully move past the awkward getting used to doing a podcast phase. The guest? Alex Guarnaschelli. I love Alex Guarnaschelli. She's one of my favorite Food Network personalities. Alton starts off with food world news, which is interesting and he comes off as way more opinionated than I'm used to, but I like it. I like having his opinions out there. He talks a little too fast, but I imagine he'll even it out. Then Guarnaschelli comes on and it's just an interesting interview about food and cooking and her aspirations and doing the Iron Chef thing and it's really nice to listen to. I'm not sure there's anywhere else that has good, honest sit-down conversations with the people who do food shows and Alex and Alton have such a great passion for it that I want to listen forever. So happy Alton decided to start doing a podcast. Gonna listen to so much more.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Miserable Life of Earl Murchad of Dublin

Not too long ago, I was gifted a copy of Crusader Kings II. This is a ridiculously in-depth game where you play as a ruler of Europe in the Middle Ages. As a ruler, you can be as small as a little Earl in a tiny, crappy part of Finland, or the King of France. You have to deal with court intrigue, war, trade, the Pope, feuding vassals, all the stuff a real ruler of the era would've had to have messed with. You build up your ruler and his dynasty, going through several generation of just trying to improve your family's name and make some mark on history. It's really hard to play and get into. I've barely tried. But it can run really easily on many computers so, hey, I've got nothing better to do. Let's try this. I chose to be Earl Murchad of Dublin, on the eve of the Battle of Hastings, 1066. With just the one county to my name, so begins my quest...


Monday, August 19, 2013

I have issues.

Last night, I sat on the couch, deep in internal turmoil. Sipping a glass of Tang, a stray thought had sent me down a rabbit hole that I couldn't leave until I had exhausted a complete internal audit of every important factor.

For a solid 15 minutes I sat there, growing angrier and angrier at myself for not finding an answer, and more and more exhausted as my mind raced for one.

The stray thought? There has to be a way to connect Leonardo DiCaprio to Kevin Bacon in only two steps.

Oh, three was easy. I found tons of ways to get three! But two! Surely there's a way to get two! There's so many ways to Kevin Bacon and DiCaprio has touched so many people.

15 minutes, sitting in darkness, and finally, with disgust and regret at how long it took me, I happened upon the link. Tom Hanks. Catch Me If You Can and Apollo 13. There was no joy in that revelation, as it was too easy. Too basic.

And that's what it's like to live the emotional trivia roller coaster that is me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Meditation on the Cultures of Star Trek and Homosexuality

In a fit of boredom last night, I started thinking about A) how there's no characters of non-hetero sexuality in all of Star Trek and how annoyed that makes me which then made me start thinking about B) how would homosexuality be received in the weirdly uniform cultures of the various alien races that inhabit the alpha quadrant.

Humans: It's the goddamned 23rd-24th century in Star Trek. I think we've gotten to the point where it's normal and perfectly accepted by then. We've got 150 years, we can live up to that standard.

Vulcans: This is the one that really started me thinking. Socially, Vulcans seem like they'd be perfectly cool with it. They love deeply and, logically, it doesn't matter what gender the person you love is. Thus, the logical conclusion is that homosexuality would be perfectly acceptable in Vulcan society. BUT. Does pon farr require two people of opposite sex? Otherwise, there's gonna be some difficulty what with the whole going insane and trying to murder people if you can't get laid. IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.

Klingons: Klingons are extremely warlike, but also very egalitarian. Women are not subservient in Klingon culture, they are glorious warriors like their male counterparts. As such, in a culture that treats its women as equals, I see no reason why that same bond of violence and love can't happen between people of the same gender. Also, I mean, a bunch of Klingons drunk on blood wine and the victory of a glorious bloody battle seem like they'd be pretty likely to engage in victory sex and not really care too much about who is who anymore because they're all equally honorable in their victory.

Romulans: Oh my gosh, I have no idea. Have we even seen a heterosexual relationship between Romulans in Star Trek? Are they even capable of having relationships or do they just manipulate each other into having children? I don't even know. The concept of any sort of Romulan relationship is blowing my mind. That said, Romulan uniforms suggest a distinct lack of fashion designers in Romulan culture so uh maybe it's not a thing.

Trill: The only race to have a homosexual pairing in the history of Star Trek, albeit for only one episode. Joined Trills are two species: the host and the symbiote. The host is whatever sex and gender, but the symbiote is ungendered but has the memories of many people of many genders. Thus, joined Trills have no real problem with it: who cares? They've been all the genders. And if it's find with joined Trills, I'm sure it's cool with the unjoined ones too.

Ferengi: Ferengi are extremely non-egalitarian. Women are strictly subservient and it's all really pretty terrible. I'm having a hard time imagining a homosexual relationship in Ferengi culture as a result. It seems like men in Ferengi culture are constantly supposed to be competing with each other and, as such, a homosexual union would be looked down upon. Quark is the only character in Star Trek to have had some gay panic and I can see why. Ferengi are awful. Worst culture.

Cardassians: Hmm. Like Romulans, Cardassians are very manipulative and militaristic. But, unlike Romulans, there's a really big emphasis on family in Cardassian culture. Caring for your children and continuing your family line is paramount in Cardassian relationships, it seems. As such, I find it possible that unions that don't produce children would be frowned upon in Cardassian culture- homosexual or heterosexual. But it is a future society so maybe they're also fine with finding alternate means to do so?

Changlings/Founders: They don't have sexes. They seem to have some sort of gender but, as with everything they do, it's pretty fluid. They usually exist in a constant state of being in the galaxy's biggest space orgy. Not an issue.

Q: Uh. Yeah. Totally. I imagine the Q invent entirely new sexes and genders just to try to reinvent sex. I'm reasonably sure there has to be at least one Q whose entire life mission is to have sex with every single entity in the universe. They are the Q. They're like the Greek gods times 1000.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sherlocked



So this week I went from having seen a couple of episodes of Elementary and thought "hey, pretty good" to now I'm done with 2/3 of the first season and anticipate being completely done by the end of the week.

Smarter people than I have already started to analyze how and why this show is really interestingly feminist. Not in a Buffy or Xena "girl power" kind of way that simply takes masculine aspects of power and glues them to a female character, then steps back and says "Look! Feminism! I want cookies!" but in a remarkable, organic way that reflects that the writers of this show think that this is genuinely how gender relations should work, in balanced, usually non-problematic ways.

So I'm not gonna talk about that much. What I also love is how distanced it is from the terrible trappings of other detective/mystery procedurals. Bones, CSI, Law and Order, Castle, Criminal Minds, etc. etc. etc. This is a well-mined genre and somehow this show has already found its place in the world by being so much the same just...better.

Treatment of Gender and Relationships thereof: My very first reaction upon hearing the premise of this show was dread. They were just taking the names of the most famous detective/assistant duo in history and adding a nice little heteronormative will they/won't they subplot like Moonlighting/X-Files/Bones/Castle by genderswapping Watson. They did not. Joan and Sherlock's relationship is organically fleshed out throughout this season, slowly transforming from one of hired companion/recovering addict to one of genuine friendship- and not an inch further. There's not even the slightest hint of sexual tension or romantic interest between the two of them. It's terrible that it's remarkable that two people of opposite gender can be the major leads on the TV show and NOT end up in a romantic relationship.

Treatment of Death and Gore:  CSI and especially Bones revel in the shock value of having explicit gore and mutilated corpses. They love it. Bones begins pretty much every episode with the following scene:

Two people we won't see again in the episode are doing something (going on a hike, riding bikes, volunteering to clean up a beach, whatever). They're having an argument which causes one of them to do something without really paying attention to what they're doing. This causes them to uncover a mutilated, decayed corpse which explodes or falls on them or gets flung in every direction so that they're covered in viscera. Hahahaha gore.

Elementary doesn't linger on corpses. It rarely explicitly shows the injury and the people who are murdered are generally shown briefly and then never again. There is no morgue scene where we get their naked body laid out so we can watch them cut it open: we get Joan looking over the autopsy report a bit later if it's relevant. It acknowledges the violence, then is respectful and moves away from it.

Treatment of Criminals and the Accused: Part of the core premise of Criminal Minds is "Ooh. Serial killers! Sexy interesting stories!" Elementary does not glamorize crime. Sherlock himself has a great quote when faced with a serial killer who became a major media sensation because of a profiling detective's book: “You’ve met serial murderers, they’re duller than the queen’s
jubilee.  Mouth-breathers and chronic onanists, the lot of them.” With the exception of the obvious archvillain, this is not a show interesting the mythologizing criminals and crime and often (and intelligently) takes large, convoluted cases that suggest some genius master villain and demonstrates that they're more easily explained by other means, often just by the fact that several different crimes are being incorrectly conflated into one big one.

That said, it also takes a different approach from dealing with the accused than Bones does, which is the show that I hate so much for it. People who are accused or feel like they're going to be accused get lawyers in this show. Because that's what you do. The police are confrontational, as would be natural because they're trying to get evidence, but they are not violent or cruel. Booth on Bones is often an angry, violent man who has tortured innocent people to get evidence (sometimes when they didn't even have it) and the show gives him a pass every time because he's the good guy. No one gets a free pass on Elementary- actions have consequences- but the 'good guys' rarely need it. That's why they're they good guys.

Treatment of Science and Technology: It's a minor point, but CSI and Bones have such a troubled relationship with reality that it hurts me. Elementary doesn't wrap its detective work in gadgets and terrible science. It doesn't get security footage and then "zoom, enhance, enhance, zoom, enhance". It doesn't create a GUI interface in Visual Basic, see if it can track an IP address. It respects that there are depths of science that someone like Sherlock doesn't know and that those depths? Probably really really goddamn irrelevant to solving a murder. There's a scene where Sherlock is comparing shell casings visually and the detective asks him why he's doing that, that the ballistics computers were working on it, and Sherlock just replies that the computers will take a while and the eye it a precision instrument unto itself and dammit he's completely right. A computer can do ballistics analysis, but a trained eye will be even faster. 

Now, I'm not saying Elementary is perfect. But it is so good. I'm glad it's been actually successful, because I would've been very sad if this was the procedural that died when so many other terrible ones have succeeded.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Men Boldly Going



So Felicia Day made a(spoilery) post about the lack of strong women in Star Trek Into Darkness and, oh happy coincidence, I just saw it yesterday so I can take a stand and say.

She’s totally right. Shocking. So I’m just gonna springboard that into my mostly non-spoilery take.

There are two prominent, named female characters in the movie, Uhura and Alice Eve’s character (who shall remain nameless because minor spoilers). If you guessed that they never even meet each other throughout the movie, you just win every prize ever. That’s hardly the tip of the problem though.

In the first movie, we got Uhura and Spock’s relationship thrust into the narrative. Mr. Plinkett (a reviewer who is really on target with his criticisms, but his framing device is just godawful indefensibly terrible) called this a case of the “Not Gays” pointing out that every single male character in the movie made some reference to women. The “Not Gays” were significantly reduced in this movie to just Kirk (because Kirk) and Spock, because Uhura, and I hope that’s because maybe it’s pretty inappropriate to make everyone on board the Enterprise heterosexual when you’ve got two prominent Star Trek cast members who are gay, including George Fucking Takei? Maybe that’s not cool?

Anyway, whatever. The new issue is that, if you didn’t know, Uhura never needed to have a relationship with a man to be an interesting and sympathetic character in the original series or movies. She flirted on occasion but it was not a defining characteristic of her character. In this movie? She’s all about the Spock relationship. She gets maybe one pretty decent scene divorced from the relationship, otherwise? Nope. Spock. Spock Spock Spock.

Meanwhile, in the original universe, Alice Eve’s character was a brilliant scientist, one of the best in the Federation, who stood up to Starfleet. In this one, she’s eye candy and victim. She is there to be tortured and saved and occasionally half-naked.

When you’re moving backwards from the 1970s, you really need to re-evaluate your writing.

There was one helms officer that I noticed, played by Aisha Hinds, and I thought that was fairly interesting. She was mostly relegated to the sides of the screen and had one line. The weird android guy got a close-up and more lines, while she didn’t. Bleh.

So yeah, I mean. Star Trek was created in the 1960s. It was prominently about men, especially the core trio of Spock, Kirk, and Bones. But it’s 2013 and it’s a rebooted franchise. It’s not wrong to expect more and expect better.

Anyway, as a summer blockbuster, it wasn’t a bad movie. It was better than the first movie, I think, a bit more Star Trek-y, and I did genuinely enjoy it. Just…eh. Eh.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Oh hey guys what's going on over here in Texas

Oh what's that, a judge ordered a woman to stop living with her partner or she'll lose her child because he disapproved of her "lifestyle?"

Oh okay. Thanks, Texas. Thanks for contributing.

If you're wondering how a judge could have this power, it's a morality clause as part of divorce proceedings. The intended effect of morality clause is that, if the divorce had cause that might endanger the children, the judge can put limitations on the parents' behavior in order to protect the children, e.g. one parent was an alcoholic and the judge orders that parent to stay away from alcohol and attend an AA program. Or, in this case, one parent was not terrible interested in the other's gender and clearly this is a massive danger to the wellbeing of her children.

Wooooooooooooooooooo........

Skyler White is a Bitch



Heck of Breaking Bad spoilers up in here, through season 4.

If you type "Skyler White" into Google, Google will immediately suggest "Skyler White hate". If you actually do the search, it comes up with a Facebook page called "I Hate Skyler White" as one of the first possible links. If you go to QuickMeme and look up Skyler White memes, they are all talking about how she's basically the worst person ever.

Why?

Because Skyler White, as the internet so lovingly asserts, is a bitch.

Skyler White didn't accept her husband's resignation toward death as acceptable because she wanted him to live. As a result, he actually overcame his lung cancer. Skyler White felt like her husband was hiding things from her. She didn't trust his mysterious 'fugue state' or that he didn't have a second cell phone. It turns out he was hiding that he was a meth cook and a murderer. She kicked him out of the house because she didn't feel safe with him around her or her family. She was ostracized by her family because they felt she was acting crazy, when they didn't know the truth. She figured out a brilliant cover story to keep Walter safe in his lies. She created the 'legitimate' side of his business to keep everyone safe.

Total bitch.

Breaking Bad is a show about men. Men who do horrible things, in the pursuit of power, of money, of pride, of revenge. Men who are irrational, violent, and murderous. And it's enormously entertaining to watch them fall into this madness, to watch them became these horrible people as they attempt to outsmart each other.

The problem with Skyler is that she's the rational antagonist. A roadblock for the entertaining men. A logical, good person in the midst of the terrible things going on around her. And that's unacceptable. She's smarter than practically everyone else on the show. She's a masterful liar and phenomenal with numbers. She sees through bullshit like no one else on the show. And unlike the men, she's willing to sacrifice her happiness, her dignity, and her pride in order to keep her family safe. She is not the protagonist of Breaking Bad, but she may well be the hero.

Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder how people would react if the roles were reversed. Skyler doing everything Walt does, Walt doing everything Skyler does. Would Walt be as universally hated on the internet? Would Skyler be a beloved anti-hero? I doubt it. Because then Skyler would be a crazy bitch all over again and Walter would be the rational man trying to fix her messes.

I don't think the reaction to Skyler is Vince Gilligan or anyone's fault involved on the show, because I actually seem perfectly capable of watching the show and finding Skyler sympathetic and fantastic 95% of the time. The show never seems to assert that she is a problem. It's the viewers, the internet, the public who are judging her and deeming her a terrible woman.

We should be so lucky to live in a world full of Skylers.

Monday, May 13, 2013

TVTVTV - Week of May 5

I just now figured I might as well write about the various TV shows I watch each week, usually in one big mass of "Gosh I have some opinions" at the end of the week when I play catch up on the TV week. And what better week to do it than...the end of a week where there was practically nothing on TV because it's the end of the season. Yaaaaaaaaay!

Community - "Advanced Introduction to Finality"



When I think about this season of Community, a show I genuinely loved and considered to be one of the smartest sitcoms in ages, I think about Men in Black. The scene near the beginning when J and K are investigating the crashed Roach ship, and the farmer's wife talks about how Edgar went out to investigate it and when he came back, he wasn't the same, like there was a thing wearing an Edgar suit.

This show is now something wearing a Community suit. And just like in the movie, the suit is gradually decaying and looking worse and worse. The season finale just highlights it so much. Paintball fight. Darkest timeline. Movie reference. Jeff Winger speech. And finally, the four season character arc of Jeff, ended with a dream sequence and an unearned attempt at emotional payoff, even though a year ago it would've been fantastic.

And somehow, it got a fifth season. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe something new and great can pop out of the Community suit's mouth and give the show a better sendoff than what was written. Maybe it'll just be a big bug and the writers will have to step on little cockroaches of references to distract viewers from what they really wanted. No wait, hold on. The show was the big roach in this metaphor. Maybe viewers are Will Smith? I don't know what the little roaches are then. Who was Tommy Lee Jones? Maybe viewers are Tommy Lee Jones and we've been eaten by the show! That sounds right. Let's go with that metaphor.

The Mindy Project - "Frat Party"



I continue to really, really want to like this show and this show continues to be...eh. I like Mindy Kaling! I think there's a good show here somewhere. I think it's amusing enough to watch every week and not hate myself for watching (unlike some terrible, awful shows about forensic anthropologists that will not be named, but the name refers to a part of the body that forms the hard structure and okay it's Bones goddammit I hate you Bones). But every episode tends to follow a formula of: there's the Mindy plot, where she is awkward but weirdly witty and insightful and has some situation with a guy she is dating or wants to date but then it goes back and they break up or almost break up. Then there's the other doctors plot, where Morgan is wacky and the other doctors are kinda grumpy and sardonic. And then at the end someone gets in a fight.

It's always progressing in the sense that Mindy's relationships at least get to come and go and be different each time which is good, but I feel like I've waited a season for this show to progress past the stage where it can't figure out what kind of show it wants to be. I've yet to feel invested in any damn thing going on at all. I think if this show felt more like it had more of Mindy (the real person) and her perspective it'd be better, but the other characters seem to want to demand screen time when they haven't earned it. Or heck, go the other way and just have wacky Morgan hijinks and stuff. But figure it out, man.

Modern Family - "My Hero"

A decent episode of Modern Family. I'm actually struggling to come up with anything to hate or praise about it. The show is four seasons in and I don't feel like it's progressed anywhere, but I do feel like it's at least as good as it was 2 years ago. Next season might be going somewhere decent with the Claire has a job storyline that seemed to pop out of nowhere and the Haley is going to college for realz this time thing. Maybe. But we'll see. Anyhow, I can't even seem to care enough to google a picture for it. Oh well!

Bob's Burgers - Season 2 Episodes 1-5



Season 2 of Bob's Burgers got put on Netflix this week. I'm not going to individually talk about each episode while I pop the top of delicious streaming on-demand media and shotgun hours of a prime-time cartoon, but I do want to say:

This show is freaking great. I watched the first season out of boredom a few months ago and, while it was slow to get going, the second season hits the ground running and it is just brutally hilarious. I feel really bad for this show, which genuinely loves the line between absurdity and an actual touching family sitcom, because it has to air every week nestled deep in the disgusting clutches of the Seth MacFarlane crap monster. It's probably the only prime-time cartoon in a long time to honestly challenge early Simpsons in its greatness.

Also, I love Tina and Louise on this show, but Gene has been killing it so far. "Channel Six news! They'll finger anything with a pulse!"

Oh no, wait. Bob telling his kids to act like they're his kids at the security guard who wouldn't let him in the arcade without children.

"We are your kids."
"Yeah, but...really rub his face in it."

then Louise

"He had sex and then we happened. DEAL WITH IT."

Okay.

Yes.

Done now.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dude, Science is Cool

Malaria. It's a jerk. And so widespread that trying to cure the infected human population is a monumental task.

So why not just cure the vector for it?

Scientists created a malaria-blocking bacterium and infected mosquitoes with it, creating a malaria-immune population of mosquitoes in 8 generations.

No need to hunt down every at-risk human population and cure or inoculate them. Just stop it at the source and let evolution and a new microflora in the vector population handle it. Science is so cool.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My favorite MRA quote of the week

As much as we talk about patriarchy theory in here, one of the things I rarely see mentioned is how it wrecks the minds of the men who believe it. I was a good little feminist boy, and as a result I had an essential part of my identity taken away for years because I bought into an ideology that demonized every aspect of my being. All I can say is God damn it feels good to finally be a man.
-some moron on Reddit why would I bother linking this

 TL;DR: Patriarchy is bullshit; it feels so good to be a man.

I wonder why it feels so good to be man. I can't begin to imagine why that would be. If only there were some logical connections to be made here, informed by nuanced analysis of society.

Oh well!

For the record, I am not ashamed to be male. I'm pretty happy to be so! That doesn't mean I can't also rage against the entrenched societal structures that give me so, so many invisible advantages because I genuinely want to be on an equal playing field with everyone else (no exceptions) in society.

I am a happy man. I am a grumpy feminist. These things are not exclusive and don't conflict with me at all.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Internet and Free Speech

In my webcomic post, I mentioned that the webcomic world has somewhat fulfilled the promise of the internet. People have been given voices and those voices have found an audience. However, I also mention that quite a lot of the internet has not really met this goal.

In specific, I'm gonna talk about (*siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*) Reddit. The community and its admins claim to uphold a strong ideal of free speech ont he internet. They are often the first and most vocal opponents of stuff like CISPA or SOPA, etc. They try so so very hard to defend their creepy sections like /r/jailbait and /r/creepshots under the banner of free speech.

The core problem is: Reddit doesn't have free speech by its very design. It has democratized speech. That's not free. That's called tyranny of the majority. There's a firm reason why the first amendment to the Constitution was about free speech and gives absolutely no limitations to it. There is no clause stating that you cannot be heard if the majority disagrees with you. The writers of the US Constitution understood that even in a democracy, democratized speech isn't good enough. It's still a limitation and one that should not be allowed.

Now, I'm not saying there's absolutely no good to Reddit's system. If it really existed such that straight up lies were consistently ignored, buried, and destroyed, that sounds amazing. A world where people only have to encounter things that are true? Magical. But that's not what happens. People vote based on their opinion. So the net effect is things that are true can end up buried and falsehoods end up voted higher than them. I saw an incident this last week where a dude went on a rant about how people want to bury history because they don't agree with it, citing that of course Jews have always be associated with money and profit, look the word jewel comes from Jew. Got 30 upvotes.

Yeah, every bit of it was completely wrong and utter nonsense. The root of jewel comes from the same root as joy. But enough people saw it and said "Yeah, that sounds about right." So misinformation rises to the top because of opinions.

Meanwhile, just today, someone made the statement that "Real woman have vaginas." Subsequent posts responding that "Uh, what about trans women?" not even attacking this guy, just politely pointing out that that's not a cool thing to say? Ended up about -10. Bury what you disagree with so you don't have to deal with it. That's the philosophy of democratized speech. That's the philosophy of Reddit.

These are the ideals of the internet at large. The gatekeepers promoting free speech, as long as it agrees with what the majority want to see.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Missed an Awesome Lady Webcomicist

Erika Moen. Bunch of good comics. Often veers into NSFW though doesn't enter with that intent. Also reviews sex toys.

Okay I'm done.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Most Fundamental Contribution to Society by a Gay Man

There's certain a lot of things that can be nominated to fit the title. Computers. Bohemian Rhapsody. Neil Patrick Harris in general.

Second guessing on whether the following is more important actually.
But there's something much, much more important. On one fateful day in early October 1977, Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers had watched his teammate, Dusty Baker, set a record as he hit a home run. And in celebration, he held out his palm, high up in the air, as his teammate approached. And, upon seeing this, Baker did the most natural thing in this history of the world, something eons of evolution had been working towards: he slapped that hand. In that moment, resonating louder than the Big Bang, the high five was created. And the initiator of that high five, Glenn Burke? Totally gay.

And so,

I made the right choice.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Bisexual Dude: The Privilege and the Persecution

Okay, so, bisexuality. In women, society's pretty cool with it (to an extent). There's a few reasons for this:

  1. It makes sense from the patriarchal view. Women's bodies are not necessarily the bodies of human beings, they are objects of sexual desire. You are 'supposed' to see a woman's body and think "Yes. Sex should be done to that." Thus, if a woman thinks that, well that's fine. That just makes sense.
  2. Two women being together is 'super hot'. A woman's sexuality is, of course, a performance for the men. I mean, that's the only reason women have orgasms, right, just to let a dude know they're doing something right? And if a lady is doing it to another lady, well holy crap that's just the best thing.
  3. There's the Victorian view that hey, who cares, it doesn't count anyway. Sex without a penis isn't sex. It's basically the same thing as having a knitting circle. Those silly women can go do whatever the heck they like together in (or out of) their frippery, in the end they need penises, duh.
Pictured: Deviant Frippery


(Note: This is totally overlooking the challenges of being bisexual and female. It's not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. A bisexual woman is likely to be accused of just faking to get attention, for instance, among a billion other things involving the intersectionality of just being a woman or being bisexual and...yeah okay moving on.)

But you're not supposed to sexualize men. It's just not done. So a man looking at a dude cannot appreciate him as a sexual thing. And if he does, there's only one conclusion to make: dude, you're super gay. The bisexual man, then is just a dude who is kidding himself about being gay and, the even worse part is, he gets it from both sides(phrasing!). So the bisexual man is persecuted in this sense because he's not allowed to express attraction to dudes.

But then, he gets the privilege of: hey! He doesn't have to! He can live his entire life ignoring sexy sexy manbodies and just be with women because that's fine too. He gets the privilege of living in the closet, unchallenged. Which makes it even harder because, man, there's probably so many bi dudes out there who just don't bother to be visible because why bother. Which means the ones who are visible look like an even smaller group. And so one and so forth and everything is terrible.

Terrible!