Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It May Not Be Cold Enough to Freeze Your Winebago

But I still hope all five of my readers are somewhere safe, warm and loving today.

This year I was quite excited to find out that A Muppet Family Christmas, the special that pretty much makes Christmas Christmas for me, is on youtube in five parts. If you've never seen it, you are missing out. Here's part the first:


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Double Shot at Love: I Feel a Rant Coming On

Ok, so I was really excited today, because I found out that a person I used to work with is on Double Shot at Love, which gives me a legitimate excuse to both watch the trash and blog about it! But as it turns out, I can't stomach blogging about this shit. I'll still root for the guy I know and all, but the first episode seriously made me physically ill. During the "big reveal" in which Rikki tells the contestants they've been meeting both her and her twin Vikki, Rikki leads with "I was born with another part." Cut to shocked contestants, guys saying things like "I can't believe I kissed her!" and "Please don't have a penis!" and girls saying things like "This happened to me before... twice in a lifetime is too much."

Most of the negative stereotypes this show plays with, I can take because I naively imagine that people, you know, KNOW better. They know that this is MTV and if a bisexual woman is slutty and petty and fake, well, that's not saying much because everyone is slutty and petty and fake on MTV. But using severe and apparent transphobia for drama and laughs is nothing short of appalling. Because one month ago, there was little known day called the Transgender Day of Rememberence. Because for some people, and I want to stress that world - we are talking about people, not a concept, people with families and friends and lovers and jobs and childhoods and hopes - for some people, "twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they found out someone they cared for was disgusted by their body. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they were harassed for trying to use a restroom. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they've had to face discrimination from teachers, employers, doctors and other officials that made life more difficult to navigate. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they felt threatened just for existing. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they were a victim of violence. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they read about a person like them being killed for being a person like them. But probably not, you know. It was probably a lot more than twice.

Don't tell me I'm overreacting when I say: according to MTV, transgender people don't deserve a shot at love.

You see, sometimes things are said or done, and I can hear the average person twenty years from now saying sternly, "I would have never let something like that happen." You know, how we say now, "If I was around when the Native Americans were being slaughtered, I wouldn't have contributed," or "If I was alive during segregation, I wouldn't have just sat back". But here's the thing: you most likely would, and that doesn't mean you're evil. Everything around you would encourage you to be oppressive or apathetic. This retroactive denouncement bothers me to no end. It accomplishes nothing except covering one's ass from being called prejudiced. Listen: it's much more impressive to own up to your prejudice and privilege, to acknowledge that the world around us still encourages us to treat some people as "normal" and others as deviations from that norm, and therefore less worthwhile. White does not mean normal, male does not mean normal, able-bodied does not mean normal, straight does not mean normal and cis-gendered (born with a biological sex that matches one's identity) does not mean normal. When a kid asks you twenty years from now if you tolerated prejudice, fear and violence, what are you going to be able to say to them?


Friday, December 12, 2008

Reason to Love Jeffrey Rowland #46

So, I've expressed Overcompensating love here before, but my admiration reached new heights tonight. This just showed up on my friend list:

First glance, no big reaction. I knew he was mocking the internet's penchant for thinking rape jokes are the most edgy hilarity evar, not embracing the notion, but still. Then I read the accompanying blurb, and had one of those oh-so-satisfying "THANK YOU" moments:

"Let's talk about rape for a moment. Rape is not what George Lucas did to your childhood. Rape is not what happens when a sports team beats another sports team by a wide margin. Rape is not what happens when your electric bill is higher this month than it was last month. Rape is when a person violates another person in the most despicable, degrading way imaginable and among the myriad of terrible things humans can do to one another, rape is among the worst. I think the casual misappropriation of the concept of rape extending all the way to its widespread comical usage is disgusting even by Internet standards. Off my chest."



Monday, December 08, 2008

Shocker: Frank Miller Sexist

I admittedly know little about Frank Miller's work. I cracked the graphic novel versions of Sin City and 300 in the bookstore, was not charmed, and moved on. I saw 300, and I saw the sped-up no-special-effects version of Sin City on the DVD (then decided that was all I wanted to see). That's all.

Yet, I'm entirely confident in saying: I don't like Frank Miller. I could tell you my full thoughts about 300, which I was coerced to attend, which I laughed through, which is in fact The Second Least Enjoyable Movie I Have Ever Seen (the first, for the curious, is Urban Legend, either because of or despite the fact that I ate up books about urban legends as a kid), but I'll spare you, because 300 sucking is old news. I don't know much about Alan Moore, either, but I do like him, mostly because he called 300 "racist, homophobic and sublimely stupid", which about sums it up. If you saw 300 and don't see how I could get political shudders out of a harmless action movie, maybe you should watch it again keeping in mind that the creator once said of those we're at war with (linking 9/11 to Iraq, of course, and treating other cultures as monolithic and savage):
"For some reason, nobody seems to be talking about who we’re up against, and the sixth century barbarism that they actually represent. These people saw people’s heads off. They enslave women, they genitally mutilate their daughters, they do not behave by any cultural norms that are sensible to us. I’m speaking into a microphone that never could have been a product of their culture, and I’m living in a city where three thousand of my neighbors were killed by thieves of airplanes they never could have built."
So, yes, I saw some symbolism in 300.

Anyway! I've written more than I intended.
I'm posting because, via io9, turns out the women in the new movie based on Miller's The Spirit are stupid stereotypes that completely revolve around the male character.

Not surprised. A woman with whom I work was telling me about how she saw Sin City, and how it's a feminist movie because there's Good Guy Heroes saving poor women for Bad Guy Rapists, and I gently explained that this idea wasn't quite empowering.
I'm thinking this one will fail the Bechdel test.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Which person do you think of when you read that name? Hillary, Bill or both? Apparently we can't think about Sen. Clinton without thinking about her husband, too, as evidenced by every political cartoon I've seen since Hillary Clinton was rumored to be the next Secretary of State. If that link stops working, here's just a few examples:

(Ok, I do kind of like that last one, but...)
I seriously sometimes forget that they're married. During the primaries, Sen. Clinton became such a huge public personality in her own right that when people brought up Bill without referencing his wife's campaign specifically, I took pause to remember how he might fit in. Not joking, an anchor would say "Bill Clinton is on the road" and my brain at least once reacted "I wonder why?"
Maybe I'm young or naive, but it can't just be me that is at least a little bothered like this. A very successful and famous woman is married to a very successful and famous man, so he must have some part to play in every professional happening of her life. Excuse the weak metaphor, but it's like... if Angelina was working on a new project, and all anyone could write about was what it's like having Brad on the set. That actually might be more apt than I give it credit for, as part of the problem is that we treat political news like gossip column material - Hillary's Hubby's Hijinks, and of course The Clinton-Obama Faux-Rivalry Drama.