I'm not quite ready to deliver ye olde righteous smackdown onto The Good Mother yet, because I'm re-reading another book I had to read in high school for comparison (and -- while I still don't believe in its conclusions, it's a WHOLE lot better this time around). But I don't feel quite like going to work on job searching or therapist-hunting after the unemployment debacle today, I'm going to write about a book I read while also reading Kushiel's Chosen.

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*"Mac" instead of "Mc" because she's Scottish, you know?
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quietprofanity: (Lum - Happy)
( Apr. 7th, 2009 10:21 pm)
My Review of Monsters vs. Aliens by [livejournal.com profile] quietprofanity's inner child.
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quietprofanity: (Default)
( Apr. 6th, 2009 11:08 pm)
Okay, I suspect this review may have the worst fucking timing ever considering what I just unleashed upon the Watchmen fandom but ... you know what, I'm going to go with it.

Tonight was the first time I ever saw this or indeed, any Judd Apatow movie. Why did I wait so long? Well, when the first stream of movies came out I was in a real anti-movie funk, and that sort of continued over a long period of time. I feel kind of like I'm the last person in the universe to see Knocked Up. When these movies first came out I had the sense I may like them, but as the reports about the movies' sexism came in, my enthusiasm kind of dampened. One of the big buzzkillers were the members of the feminist blogosphere that called Superbad pro-rape because of a subplot where one of the guys tries to get a girl drunk to have sex with her. (See examples here and here.)

Normally this would put me off straight out, and while I do believe those who actually take the "Don't like it, don't read it" option should have their wishes respected when they say "I don't think I'll like this because of X" and not be snottily told they can't have an opinion until they see it, part of me really did want to form my own opinion on this one. Especially since reasons to see it started cropping up again: Seth Rogan's performance in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, the really funny Pineapple Express skit and my brother. Okay, mostly it's all my brother, who has started talking about how he and I and my father are all going to watch Pineapple Express together like it would be the holy grail of family-bonding experiences.

So the other day, Mark found Superbad on TV and TiVo'd it, saying we would watch it together. When I told him about the "pro-rape" argument, he was initially irate, and said that was ridiculous, the movie refutes it. I felt a little assured. Then a little while Mark came back and said, "Actually, I could see where it would bother people" and I felt less assured. But I soldiered on.

Spoilers for a movie I'm sure you've already seen. )
quietprofanity: (Konata - Twincest)
( Apr. 4th, 2009 07:37 pm)
So Mom has Internet control and, because the books I'm currently reading offer me a choice between consistent irritation (in the case of Kushiel's Chosen) and OH MY GOD SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP (Universe X Vol. 1) I started writing more of my fanfic and was like, "Dudes, I totally need a cameo by a 1970s feminist." So I dusted off my old History of Feminism textbook (While I'm thinking of it, why didn't I keep the one about feminisms in other countries? I'm so stupid ...) and was scanning through the excerpts of the works of Robin Morgan and Susan Brownmiller (one of whom will be in the fic ... I sort of WANT it to be Morgan, because her writing is like the left-wing, feminist version of "The New Frontiersmen" and that makes me inappropriately gleeful, but Brownmiller is more popular and probably makes more sense in the long run ...).

Then I decided that required too much thought and I picked up my copy of Female Chauvinist Pigs and read my favorite parts while I was at the laundromat cleaning my comforter. (And just realized that Morgan blurbed the book. w00t!) This didn't really help with anything but that book always energizes me even as it makes me re-assess myself as a feminist and a woman.

I tried to look for clips of Morgan and Brownmiller on YouTube. Didn't find much of anything, but I found some of Ariel Levy. Then I found that she was put on a playlist of a person's "Favorite Women" and one of them included Motherfucking Camille Paglia.

And I'm like, "Rebecca, don't watch. Don't watch, you're just going to get upset." But then I was like, "Aw, it can't possibly be any stupider than what she said about date rape," which are quite possibly THE WORST LAST WORDS IN THE UNIVERSE but I clicked anyway.

Paglia: "I think students have sex with their teachers because there is far too much of a friendly atmosphere between teachers and students. I think this is a part of the therapy culture."
Me: "AAAAAAHHH NO FUCKING WAY AAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! STUPID! You're so STUPID!"

These days I react to Camille Paglia with a sort of fascinated embarrassment. She's like that person who you used to be really into and now that you're broken up you're like, "What did I see in you? Why did I like you? WHY?" Her and Christina Hoff Summers. Although Summers is more like that person who seemed really nice until you learned she liked to shill for conservative fake feminism steal cars on the weekend.

... Those metaphors suck. Sorry.

Anyway, dissident/conservative/backlash feminism was an embarrassing time of my life and I'm glad I'm mostly past that ... at least I hope.

I should probably read some more feminism books, but um ... er ... well, I just have to take a picture of my book piles soon, because that shit is just SAD. Anyway, I think I only have Vindication of the Rights of Women in there, but maybe I should bust it out and read it soon.
quietprofanity: (Sabra - Pissed (or Jewish))
( Jan. 15th, 2009 08:27 pm)
So, one of my friends just linked to this horrible misogynistic and racist bullshit about how men naturally want to rape women and women actually want it that I'm not going to re-link. And at first I was like, "Eh, I am jaded" because I was thinking about Dave Sim yesterday and stuff.

And then the fear set in ...

And then Chris was like, "self-defense!" And it was a good idea.

Tell me these don't make you feel a little better about yourself:



More links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-75VcCVVHw (Shirt hold escape)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy0qWq4osbo (Elbow escape)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZELN27qB7qc (Front choke escape)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk5hNdKt1l8 (Bear hug escape)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyW7KqqBZ-E (Hair grab escape)

In a life-or-death emergency:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYvFjjP1uGc (How to poke someone's eye out)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO8KqkukpLE (How to tear off someone's ear)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-0FsfMvY9w (How to tear out someone's mouth)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrDbvEQg95Q (How to strike someone's throat)
So, um, anyone who has known me for a long time (a few of you on my friendslist) knows one of my fannish philosophies is "Slash can be feminist, but isn't INHERENTLY feminist." I've said it so often that I haven't felt the need to say it for a really long time. Plus, I hadn't written any fanfics since 2006. But now I am writing again, and some of the comments of geek blogosphere feminists got me thinking about it once more.

I'd thought about it first when I read one wanky feminist (from the radical side of the spectrum, I say this as a qualifier -- not as a judgment on radical feminism) whose name I don't want to repeat saying that slash wasn't feminist because the female writers repeated the violence often seen in mainstream pornography, and that they were turning men into sex objects. Another, more mainstream feminist also repeated the violence complaint.

I thought of addressing their arguments, but decided eventually to let it go and forget about it. Mostly because of this. But then I read this, which is about Twilight but reminded me of some of the more annoying "slash is feminist" arguments.

This last part is one of my favorite things about the books. They’re all about female desire. Teenage female desire. Yes, there’s an underlying message that abstinence is the only safe way to handle sexuality–vampirism and werewolf-ism both being metaphors, mostly, in these books, for male sexuality–but Bella is the one who pushes for premarital sex, both literally and in the metaphoric sense, premarital vampirism.

These may sound like two divergent topics, but they tie together, I swear.

Blah blah blah ... )
One of my grand reading "plans" that I always seem to have but rarely goes anywhere is my "Read the Things I Studied in College" plan. (The other is my "Read the Books Mentioned in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.") It's not that I wouldn't have wanted to read these books during college, but we were usually assigned them in excerpted form in an anthology. Classes like Survey of Western Political Theory and History of Feminism were big on this, and both of them have interesting enough books that I've wanted to discover them in their unexpunged version.

Recently, I read one of the History of Feminism books: Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. Written by Susan Faludi in the early 1990s, the book's central premise is that after the women's rights successes of the 1970s, various cultural forces congealed to form a "backlash" against women that succeeded in stopping their success, beginning a slow chip away at women's rights and blaming all of women's problems on feminism. I really like the title of the book, and its subtitle, although while reading the book I would sometimes amuse myself by thinking up alternate but still appropriate subtitles, like Backlash: I DON'T Love the '80s or Backlash: You Think Dubya Was Bad? REAGAN, Bitches! Although I don't know if Faludi would approve of my use of the word "Bitches!"
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I think feminism is like any other political issue: you can be a hawk or a dove about it.

I ... don't know into which category I fall. I think in years past I would have described myself as a dove. I used to think you really could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, that an argument for feminism that acquiesced to the concerns of men would be inherently better, that if you just explained yourself well enough people would listen. I thought that I could be the "good" feminist and automatically change people's minds by showing myself to be good.

I don't think that way anymore. I think working from the mindset that you have to prove yourself a "good" feminist and people will listen to you has hurt me in some ways. I think some of my old friends from college treated my beliefs on this subject as an, "Aw, that's cute" manner. Like they tolerated me when it came to them because I was nice otherwise. It didn't matter. When I disagreed with them, they were still willing to throw them in my face as a negative. An ex-friend did it to great effect when we had our split, too.

So I don't know if I can be "Feminist by example" all the time. I'm a bit of a wuss, anyway. I'd like feminism to look out for all women, including cowards like me. And lately, things have been making me mad. I notice a lot more things than I used to, and what I'm willing to dismiss has grown shorter, although I'm always trying to check myself and look at it from all angles.

I feel like a hawk lately, though. When I went home for Thanksgiving a few days ago, my brother and I got into a fight about fucking Katy Perry of all things. And I just felt BAD about it afterward, and a little nasty. Then my brother played this song about a guy raping a woman and then killing her and burying her in the back of the yard I went to his girlfriend and was like, "Hey, would you listen to a song about a girl who hacks off a guy's penis and feeds it to him?" She said yes, but my brother called me petty and full of negative energy. And of course later I go home and think about that stupid song for days and then I'm like, "Well, murder ballads have a long history in music/You're making excuses/Why the fuck would anyone write a song like that?"

Like I said, I don't like fighting. I'm a wuss. And it's exhausting.

But I can't stop, you know? I see all these double standards everywhere and in response the rest of the world tells me I'm being TOO SENSITIVE and I tried to be the good person and it didn't work and I'm like RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGH!!!

On the other hand, there's parts of the feminist community I don't really like. Anger doesn't come into it, although I don't like how sometimes the idea that you can have (often justified) anger and that a lot of people who disagree with that anger can be asshats = "Let us automatically twist the arm of anyone who disagrees!" I just hate that sort of crap. And the type of feminism that offers simplistic solutions that often only apply to one type of woman. (Hallo Feministing!)

I don't want to snap at everyone; it's not in my nature. Although that's not true. I've said some nasty things about some women in the feminist comics community. (Although looking back, I don't always feel bad. OK, this one time I think I overreacted to my disagreement with Karen Healey, but the other two I was still right about.)

So maybe I'm just in the great middle like everyone and I have to deal with it.

I guess that works.

I bet Ragnell thinks this post is stupid. Oh well, I'll try to be more insightful next time. I'm hungry and trying to tell myself to go to the gym.
I'm getting feelings like I should unplug myself from the feminist/anti-feminist blogosphere. Or maybe just the blogosphere in general. Not that it should be really hard, since I don't think my stuff gets a lot of circulation, but I've gotten to the point where I decided I'm not going to comment on anything. I don't actually like Internet fighting. It's frustrating, rarely ends in one party convincing the other of anything, and draws out rage far longer than I prefer. Plus, messageboards/chatrooms/LJ comms are one thing, but blogs/personal LJs give me the feeling like I'm barging into someone's house.

And then I think about making a post and then I decide no, that's bitchy and grudgewanky, and if they actually respond then I'm sinking MY time and energy into something I hate. But if I DON'T respond, then I go throughout most of the day going, "I can't believe those shits online said that where I happened to SURF BY AND READ IT! Good God I hate EVERYTHING!" And it's not even just the anti-feminists who are getting to me now. It's some of the feminists, too. But I know that's unreasonable because, like, I could stop reading.

Everything? Sometimes just because some people I don't like show up in the comments. I mean, I like (in a sense) going to these places like WFA and Shakesville. It's just a few people who ruin it.

DO THEY HAVE TO TAKE MY DAY ALONG WITH IT?

[sigh] I need to do something else with my life, I guess.

BTW, I actually like "When I Grow Up" by The Pussycat Dolls. But every time I listen to it, I think I hate myself a little more.
There have been a few linguists out there who claim that politicians can sometimes create a "story" that sticks in the public mind so well it ends up framing the entire debate around an issue, whether that issue be the war on terror, poverty, abortion or whatever. While the degree to which they succeed is debatable, I think it's impossible to deny that the story of the "ugly, hairy, lesbian, man-hating feminist" has been one that sticks, even among women and even among feminist women.

Right-wing commentator Rush Limbaugh contributed one of the most egregious tools in the perpetration of this story when he popularized the term "Femnazi" in his book The Way Things Ought To Be (wikipedia has a quote). In the quote, he labels feminists "femnazis" because they perpetuate the Holocaust of abortion. However, Rush Limbaugh has used it to mean far more than that. Even if you do believe that abortion is murder, it's impossible to deny that Rush says some crappy, anti-feminist, bullshit.

If you believe any of what he says is reasonable, then fuck off, because this article isn't for you, but I digress.

Feminists, for one reason or another, have sometimes appropriated the word "femnazi." I've seen maybe one occasion where the woman in question genuinely hated men, but more often I see feminists using the word "femnazi" to refer to themselves, as a way of taking back what would normally be a slur. For the most part, I'm cool with this.

However, I have ALSO seen it being used by self-proclaimed feminists use it to refer to ... well, THOSE feminists. Who "those" feminists are depends on the woman using the word. "Those" feminists can range from misandrists to lesbian separatists to radical feminists to pro-abortion feminists to someone who just doesn't like your favorite TV show. The point of the word is to make a distinction. The user of the word is one of the "good guys," not like "those" feminists.

I do not advocate censorship, but in my life I've found it necessary to strike words from my vocabulary, and "femnazi" is one of them. I agree that there are no bad words, but bad intentions, but if you use some words in certain ways, like using "gay" to mean "stupid" or "pussy" to mean "weak," you ARE using the word with a bad intention. ("Gay" to mean "homosexual" and "pussy" to mean "vagina" I'm fine with, though.) In a similar vein, if you consider yourself a feminist, and use the word "femnazi" to mean "those" feminists, you are using the word with a bad intention, one that hurts the cause of feminism far more than any perceived help.

There are many reasons why )

And for those of you who think this issue isn't important 1.) BLAH! and 2.) give a hand to those low-income women of color left behind as Hurricane Gustav approaches (got from [livejournal.com profile] morchades who got from [livejournal.com profile] badgerbag who got from [livejournal.com profile] lavendertook who got from La Chola although I can't find where wait here it is). (my father bought for two zuzim, chad gadyaaaaa ...).
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quietprofanity: (Kagami - Books)
( Jul. 25th, 2008 06:11 pm)
I've always integrated feminism into my writing and my approach to fandom. ALWAYS. I may not have made the best choices, but I've always done it. Some of my early SP fics had a kind of a very mainstream feminist message. When I wrote slash, I made an effort to be accurate, sensitive and non-stereotypical to homosexual men. When I wrote about male-on-male rape, I researched it first and didn't use it for "hot, sexy fun" yay! I made a whole LJ community (semi-successful) dedicated to taking a stand against slash's misogyny. I don't think I was perfect. I think I used to unironically use the word "femnazi" and for that I sincerely apologize. I also think my original story featuring a transperson could be up for criticism under scrutiny.

But I do want to say that never did I feel that this integration of feminism and politics distracted from any "fun" I was having. Nor did I feel that I was forcing myself to do this, and this was cramping my creativity. Feminism is a part of me. That does not mean any act I do is feminist. (Like the "Women writing slash is good because it's women writing!" fallacy. And yes, I have heard the "equal opportunity objectifying" argument. It's still bullshit and will remain bullshit as long as slashers insist that only male/male relationships have true equality and how female characters are inherently inferior to main characters. So don't repeat it.) But I feel that my conscientiousness of these issues made for a better story and a better environment in fandom life overall.

Yes, online fan feminism has taken an angry turn lately. I think there's a few reasons why, and I think that some criticisms made have more merit than others. BUT I'm ... not talking about them right now. I'm talking about me.

I am perhaps a bit angrier than I used to be. Maybe a bit crankier. But I am still a fan. I still LOVE comics and anime and BOOKS and everything I did before. Even when I WANT to be skeptical. I was cranky about the Watchmen trailer. Now I'm bouncing around with possibilities. After the latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen came out, I had trouble shutting up about it. I went to Iron Man with my face all scrunched up, but ended up cheering on the surprise stinger despite myself.

I like lots of things. I SQUEE over lots of things. But feminism is part of my worldview, and I squee through my worldview the same as I criticize through my worldview.

Thanks for your attention.
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Buuut, I read Ragnell's entry on both the "Touching random hot chicks boobs makes me feminist" and "It's okay to be a plagiarizing racist if I'm a feminist" debates and so I can't say much more.

Although, I will say that if anyone is totally turned off by cons because of the first issue, please don't be. I've been to a few comic and anime conventions. I've been to Wizard World East (twice), Wizard World Texas, the Small Press Expo, Anime Expo and Otakon. I'm not going to make out like they were all like utopian societies (Well, the Small Press Expo came pretty close, but I know that's not everyone's thing). Wizard World's booth babes don't exactly make my stomach feel good, but I have to say I haven't really had anything bad happen to me anywhere. I've met a lot of nice people, eaten a lot of nice food and gotten some good stuff at every convention. The only outright bad experience I've ever had was my second time at Wizard World East, and that was because I went alone, not even meeting anyone there, and the overall experience just felt like a letdown. But anyway, I've never been groped or insulted or anything. I have gotten a couple of compliments (from creators!) but both of them weren't skeevy or crude or anything. Just nice things.

So, if you are comfortable, go to cons and bring a friend/lover/sibling. It doesn't matter which one. I've done all three and it has worked great. And you get the triple package of strength in numbers, starting the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project at home, and somebody to elbow in the ribs when a teenager does something stupid. Which, if you go to an anime convention, will be all the time.

As for the second, it would be easy for me, as a single white feminist, to beg the WoCs to come back but ... I couldn't make a convincing argument. The truth is *I* don't always like the feminist community very much. But I will try, and I think we white feminists should ALL try, to be better about this.

I don't quite know how to do that yet. Complaining about the imagery in the It's a Jungle Out There book is a good start. (And leads me into something I want to mention about camp, which I find pertinent since my boyfriend and I were just the other day watching some cartoons which we enjoyed but had racial caricatures. I think we white people can enjoy a work with racist/sexist/etc elements if it has other good qualities. I don't feel comfortable censoring the past. But let's not, y'know ... make NEW stuff that just takes the racist/sexist/etc. elements en masse and then be like, "BUT IT'S CAMP!" No, it's not. And it's not cool. (Unless you're like, doing it to be ironic or making some greater statement. But in this case it really, really wasn't.)) (Um, nevermind. I read she used an excuse like that somewhere. My idiot self just wants to give some leeway to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the Venture Bros. Ignore me.) But we need to do more. I don't know how. I'm bad at this leader thing. Maybe by shutting up and listening. That might be cool.

----

Something I'd like to share with you. Remember those cartoons I talked about? Well, I found one I had been looking for for a long time. No racism in this one, BTW. Just a white boy who changes into a chicken.
quietprofanity: (Sabra - Pissed (or Jewish))
( Mar. 26th, 2008 10:02 am)
You know, I used to be kind of a feminist asshole.

Once, I thought the only true living feminists were Christina Hoff Summers and Camille Paglia. Once I belonged to a LJ community called "female misogyny," which professed to be just a place for those against mainstream feminism to meet but eventually ... wasn't. Or probably wasn't all along. I tended to latch onto the stuff I agreed with ("Who cares if Paglia says men can't help rape women because they're so sexy? Women being sexually dominant is cool!"), accepted without question dismissal of theorists I'd never read ("They say Dworkin is bad so she MUST be"), and ignored when they were lumped in with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.

And then I ... actually took a feminism class.

Sometimes I look back on my old opinions with a sad sigh. A sigh which has grown even louder when I've seen how outright awful some of the misogyny and bigotry in the world can be. "Why?" I told myself. "Why did I ever think that way? Why did I accept those women's masculine worship disguised as feminism? WHY?"

And then yesterday I read this:

Zoe, of course, is meant to be our empowered, ass-kicking sidechick. Like all sidechicks she is objectified from the get go. Her husband, Wash, talking about how he likes to watch her bathe. Let me just say now that I have never personally known of a healthy relationship between a white man and a woman of colour. I have known a black woman whose white husband would strangle and bash her while her young children watched. My white grandfather liked black women because they were ‘exotic’, and he did not, could not treat women, especially women of colour, like human beings. I grew up watching my great aunts, my aunty and my mother all treated like shit by their white husbands, the men they loved. So you will forgive me for believing that the character, Wash, is a rapist and an abuser, particularly considering that he treats Zoe like an object and possession.

Because he likes to wash her bathe. His wife. Bathing. Doesn't even seem like it's in a voyeuristic manner. Still rape. Bathing.

Here's more.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Joss uses his own wife in this way. Expects her to clean up his emotional messes. Expects her to be there, eternally supportive, eternally subservient and grateful to him in all his manly glory. I hope the money is worth it, Mrs. Whedon. But somehow I doubt that it is. No amount of money can buy back wasted emotional resources.

And more.

I feel awful for Joss Whedon's wife. From what I've read about him and the interviews I've watched, I'm fairly certain that he rapes his wife and abuses her in various other ways. I honestly can't think of anything worse than living with a man like Joss who thinks of women like the way he portrays in his tv shows. How awful. The comment about the money was meant to be about how I personally could see no benefit from being with a man like Joss OTHER than money. Joss uses and abuses her. Probably rapes her and thinks of women as whores etc, etc. Obviously, Ms Whedon has her own reasons for staying. Fear, patriarchal concepts of love, etc. But I would argue that she gives everything and gets nothing. Money is the only concrete thing that she could possibly gain. But as I said money is worth nothing compared with self-integrity, self-esteem, love (sister/lesbian/gynaffectionate love) etc. So she still loses out. Poor woman.

And more.

I believe in the radical feminist definition of rape. That is that men who pressure women into sex are rapists. That women who are pressured are not freely consenting and are therefore being raped. There have been a few discussions recently in the rad fem blogosphere debating whether all male initiated sex is rape, given that women are politically, socially and economically subordinate to men. So, in my understanding of Joss Whedon as a rapist is hinges on my definition of rape. I would argue that most 'sex' between men and women, in the contemporary 'sex-positive', pornographic, male-supremacist culture, is rape.

So, I think Joss Whedon is a rapist because it is impossible for me to believe that a man who produces a show like Firefly, a man who openly objectifies women in his interviews, a man who based the character of Xander Harris (a pro-porn, sex-obsessed teenage male in Buffy) it is imposible for me to believe that this man does not pressure his wife for sex. If he has pressured his wife for sex even if she eventually consented [emphasis in the original] he is still a rapist. I know far too many women who have been, and are being, forced, coerced, manipulated, pressured into sex that they do not want with their male partners. I'd bet anything that Joss is one of these men. And if he is then he is a rapist in my books.


Male-initiated sex is rape, huh?

How very interesting. Do you know what I think rape is?

RAPE



And now why I fell into the Paglia/Summers bullshit suddenly becomes clear ... offensive garbage masquerading as social justice like this was staring me in the face.

I feel sorry for the problems in her family, for certain. But I still think views like these are absolutely abominable. I doubt she'll see this, but in case she does, I'll offer up my own story.

There have been two people I've had sexual contact with. One was a black girl. One has been a white male. Without getting into details, the black girl pressured me into "pretending to have sex" with her. She told me she sought me out of our classmates because she knew I wouldn't say anything and said she would be really disappointed in me if I didn't. I said "yes" but I don't feel I really consented.

The white male pursued me through flirting and other means. Eventually (after I realized he meant the things he said) I started returning them. I actually initiated the first sexual contact. After that it's been, and continues to be, a trade-off.

I wouldn't call either situation rape, but I know which one comes a hell of a lot closer.
quietprofanity: (Konata - Twincest)
( Mar. 7th, 2008 07:29 pm)
AAARGH! NO, NOT THE BEES!

Also, for extra credit: this and this.



...

Oh, hell. Still not as funny.

AAARGH! NO, NOT THE BEES!

Who knew Nicholas Cage could be funnier screaming about bees than Jhonen Vasquez? I couldn't.
Some people say (or once said) I let Japan off too easy when it comes to sexism. So let me say I really, really, really wish Japan would get with the times i.e. girls defending themselves from rape/sexual harassment and not make it seem comedic/reckless when they do. Midori Days did this too and I REALLY freaking hate it.

I like watching this stuff for goofiness and the occasional superheroine fantasy. This bullshit totally ruins it and throws me out of having fun. This stuff is far more offensive than robot maids (who I've always thought have a worse reputation than they deserve) and unrealistic sexualized costumes, IMO.

Other than that, the show has been just dandy so far. I love the twins.

---

Here's another piece of happiness, lest you think I'm turning into Bitchy McBallbuster. I finished reading Cathedral by Raymond Carver, which is a group of short stories. They're overall very good. Depressing, but not as much as his reputation would say. Some of his characters (usually alcoholic, white working class dudes) are unsympathetic, but others are sympathetic. Anyway one of his stories was, believe it or not, a FANFIC! A fanfic of "The Five Forty-Eight" by John Cheever, a story which I had ALSO read. This got me hyped up and excited when I realized it even if the story was ... kind of a letdown. But when I re-thought about it the basic theme was the notion of someone nearly doing a horrible thing and then slowly integrating back into real life. I was sort of interested in that when I wrote a short story of my own. So it turned out to be good when I thought about it.
Yanno, Lovecraft was a racist, but I've yet to see Mythos fans try to convince people to read his work by hitting them with On the Creation of N--ggers.* I've certainly never seen them go to a forum dedicated to civil rights in sci-fi or horror literature. Usually the pitch goes, "Hey, check out these super-creepy books about fish creatures ... but watch for the cats with the racist names."

To clarify, other than the Spawn #10 issue with Cerebus as a guest star and bits of Reads before the urge to throw up set in, I haven't read Sim's work. To clarify further, I PLAN to read Sim's work sometime in the future. Not this year. Maybe next year. At least until I've read some Conan and Elric novels so I can get some of the jokes in the first volume.

I approach reading this series with trepidation, like I approached reading Lovecraft with trepidation and I'm also steeling myself to read R. Crumb's stuff. But I have to say, posts from people who DON'T agree with his views on women but talk about his artistic talent? Those make the idea of reading the series actually kind of interesting and exciting.

The posts about how RIGHT his views are and how despite how Sim labels women subhuman void-leeches who should be ashamed of himself he's not really a misogynist because he acts polite to women in real life. Um ... NOT HELPING. You are not bringing deserved publicity to a misunderstood creator. You are being a dilweed. You are being a very LOUD dilweed and if you think you're inciting me to read the work by pitching "More dilweed-ness but now you have to pay for it!" you're dead wrong and you're making it worse for both yourself AND your hero.

Yes, you have the right to your views, as feminists have the right to theirs. But just because you re-state those views ad nauseum does not mean you will change their minds on this. They want to read it, they'll do it on their own terms, and you're probably just going to have to live with that.

Also, please to stop berating the people who say the views would impact their enjoyment of the work so that when they do read it you can then beat them up for not "understanding" it.

And, no, you can't comment here. Go talk about how this is ignorant Feminist-Marxist hate speech and how I'm just a "Simogynist" (which seems like it would technically mean Sim-womanist etymologically or something) on your own blog.

*(Although, when I went looking for that poem somebody put it up on the Stormfront forums. Still that's a for racists-by-racists thing.)
quietprofanity: (Chii - Thoughtful)
( Jan. 4th, 2008 06:00 pm)
1.) Marvel, in the interest of you getting constantly beat up and screamed at and wanting to seem like a good person, I must say this: please for the love of God find better PR. Referring to your customer base as anonymous nerds is really not a very nice thing to do.

2.) I'm happy for all the people who are pleased with the preview pages of Brand New Day. But despite Dan Slott ... taking a look at them, I'm really not. I don't see a lot of originality and the "Oooh, isn't it fun how retro we are" feels forced and not genuine fun, like the Spider-Man/Human Torch mini was fun. And Harry Osborn really acts nothing like the Harry Osborn I read ever. The guy was never Rico-Suave-the-chick-magnet, and you're never going to be able to explain the nonexistance of Normie to me as anything other than I-Killed-My-Best-Friend's-Baby-For-My-Old-Aunt-Yay! Also, OMD looks like they really didn't care. Based on these two factors, I think Marvel is putting out a faulty product and refuse to buy it. Also, to me, my Spider-Man is officially over. I say that as a statement of fact; I'm not screaming at Marvel or anyone who likes the new changes. You can take that as you will.

3.) While I do think attitudes of unconscious sexism prevail at Marvel, the BND preview pages and the OMD scans really seemed like a swipe at fanboys more than anything else. People who don't become superheroes become bitter basement dwellers or loveless billionaires ... or they live in their mother's house until they're 30 like slugs ... Marvel is totally misandrist, yo. :-P

4.) I've been reading back issues of the Gerry Conway/Len Wein on Marvel Team-Up compulsively since the news of this broke. Peter was a total jerkwad to Gwen. Poor girl threw herself over him and he basically abandoned her constantly and up until she died he believed she was having an affair with Flash Thompson because they talked a lot. Peter's lame. :-( Mary Jane totally made him deal with his shit. But now Mary Jane is gone. That's also lame. :-(

5.) And it makes me wonder ... what the hell do we REALLY want out of girl/boyfriends of superheroes? It's an odd balance. If they're wimpy and/or treated like dirt (like most girlfriends), their presence is a drag. If they're jealous of their beau being stronger than them (like most boyfriends), it sends a crappy message. If they get caught all the time, it sucks. If they can fight back all the time, it makes the villains look like less of a threat.

I don't know ... if I started my own superhero, I'd almost want them to be a- or presexual by this point. (Kid superheroes ARE fun ...).

6.) I wish I could have had a "Whatever Happened to Your Friendly Neighborhood Webslinger?" instead of "One More Day." But then they would have gotten Kaare Andrews to write it, because he's inexplicably the guy you go to when you want to reinvent Spider-Man. And Kaare Andrews has always sucked.

7.) I have a nuns calendar at work despite being Jewish. ... Calendars kind of sucked this year. Oddly enough, the calendar has some Jewish holidays on it. But not Hannukah. Or Passover. Rosh Hoshannah and Yom Kippur. Odd.

8.) I finished watching Otome wa Boku Ni Koishiteru. Odd for a harem anime based on a dating sim game where you tried to screw the girls that the transgender lead actually does not seem to harbor a romantic interest for anybody. I liked this show, though; it was compulsively watchable.

I also liked how even though the guy (dressed as a girl) had to save the fellow girl from sexual assault, the other woman was there running around and calling for help so as to alert people to their presence. Good example of what to do!

I liked most of the cast. Takako was my favorite character. She was the prettiest and surprised me by not being a total witch. I like when an anime hints toward a stereotypical characterization and turns it around. I was surprised at Seion's small role -- the advertising pics seemed to hint that she was the love interest. She had an interesting backstory, though; hearing that was what really engaged me in the story. If I was in the game, though, I would bang Ichiko the ghost, just for the bragging rights. Plus, she's got a toe-over to annoying but manages to stay on the endearing side. Mariya is kind of a bland tsundere. Kana and Yukari are quasi-Loli DO NOT WANT!!!!

As for the lead himself ... eh. But he was more interesting than 99% of male harem anime leads. I think he makes a really plain girl, though. I don't see why everyone was so impressed with him ... or why he used to wear a one-piece bathing suit as a wee lad. Sometimes people don't think. (See: Marvel.)

9.) Noir, which I also watched recently, was probably a better anime, but it didn't become compulsively watchable until the sixth disc. That's kind of lame. Oh well, I had lots of fun watching the sixth disc.

Feminist blogging made me more conscious of the crap that show got away with, though. I don't think they consciously thought about going for hotness over practicality. (They sometimes DID wear sensible outfits, like when they went to places with a harsh climate. And their outfits weren't exactly fanservice-y. Also, the naked lesbian kiss was between two flat-chested girls (not Mireille, who has a much more womanly figure).) I just think they ... didn't think about it at all.

Also, women in refrigerator warning. But I don't really care because it has the best line ever in a series: "If love can kill people, surely hatred can save people." The actress who originally says it said, "It's my favorite line because I don't believe it at all."

10.) I loved The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell to little tiny pieces. It's patriotism without the rage and with lots of fun about being nerdy. GET IT!!

11.) The Iorek Byrnison/Aslan Shortpacked! strip was funny, but kind of unfair, considering that His Dark Materials is basically the anti-Chronicles of Narnia. To then complain that Aslan never gets attacked is kind of disingenuous. Yes, people are hypocrites, but it's on both sides. Like the Colbert Report reference, though.

Okay, bye.
So, I was thinking about this one former plot I had. I maybe got a good four pages into the fanfic but then life got in the way.

I wanted to put to rest the story of the Gwen clone in Spider-Man, and in the process kill Gabriel Stacy, who -- even though I liked the first four parts of Sins Past -- I consider maybe J.M.S.'s worst contribution to the Spider-mythos. We had evil Son of Osborn before, and he at least had a personality. Plus, father-switcheroo in the editorial room aside, I hate how he's an Osborn but looks like Peter.

As a little bit of background, the Gwen clone has been around since the 70s, and in that time has served no function other than getting pulled out of obscurity so that writers can fuck with the canon, usually because some bastard has fucked with her brain. She was first the clone slave of Miles Warren, then she went away, then she came back and it was revealed that due to the High Evolutionary she was actually some other lady named Joyce Delaney, and then she was Gwen again and got married to clone-Warren and then he melted and but ...

Anyway, the short version of this is that she's had her memory fucked with by evil middle-aged white guys pulling her strings to suit their own weird purposes ever since her creation.

So my story was the reason that Gwen-clone never remembered that she had children is actually not due to the fact that Sins Past doesn't really make sense at all in continuity, but because Warren couldn't bear that she would do something so irresponsible and kept the whole matter super-repressed. Her memories come back when she meets up with Sarah Stacy in the present.

After the initial shock Gwen-clone decides that all of the crap being done to her over the years is JUST. NOT. ON. and decides to fuck the "I-never-really-could-have-killed-the-mutated-Joker-clone-Jackal" moral code. It is time for VENGEANCE, specifically against Norman Osborn, for all the obvious reasons. But, knowing she probably couldn't kill him herself, and at this point wanting him to feel equal pain, she decides to kill those close to him. She manages to off Kolina (the nurse Osborn fell in love with) by poisoning her, and tries to kill little Normie in some tense scene but for whatever reason (either Peter or Liz would stop her) it doesn't work out. Eventually this leads to TENSE situation somewhere ... at any rate not on the bridge. And before Sarah and Norman can make it, Gwen-clone kills Gabriel. Gwen-clone then tries to go for Sarah, but for whatever reason it doesn't work. Norman tries to kill Gwen-clone but she's not going to let him do that again, and she shoots herself. After this Sarah goes evil ... at least temporarily.

I liked the idea for this story for a few reasons:
1.) End to Gwen-clone story once and for all. Plus, I'm tired of all the not-Gwens in the Spider-verse. They basically exist so Peter can go all "No, my lost love!" and Mary Jane can have a kind-of friend but also feel bad and they never actually end up contributing to the story for themselves. And they've done this THREE TIMES if you consider the Gwen-clone, Sarah and Gwen's cousin Jill. So it narrows the field.
2.) No Gabriel. Haaaallelujah!
3.) Like the revenge-fantasy aspect. Gwen-clone is wrong and evil, but she has also been wronged. So there's the nice "We can sympathize her ... but fuck, she tried to kill a three-year-old!" aspect.
4.) Sarah as evil villainess. Spider-Man needs good villainesses. He hasn't had one since the Black Cat and I've always wanted a girl goblin. Yeah, there's Fury in MC2 but ... more girl-goblins are good! Plus, I never really liked how she got shoved off to Interpol. You make a decent new character, you might as well use her.

But I do see the problems:
1.) Getting Gwen-clone to actually be a threat. Sudden ninja training or whatever isn't very plausible. I thought of having her just (or attempt to poison) all her victims through use of coercion, but her being able to stay alive during the confrontation with Norman as an average person would have been really stretching the suspension of disbelief. Another thing I thought of was hiring hitmen, but that kind of lessens the personal impact.
2.) More deaths on Spider-Man's conscience, blah. Tired of this.
3.) Spider-Man just doesn't have much to DO throughout this story. That's also kind of lame.
4.) I think at this point the Jean Loring story has sort of really soured people off the otherwise-good-characters have gone crazy plot. Or at least I feel like it now. And actually, considering that Deb Whitman and Black Cat both went crazy when they learned Peter Parker was Spider-Man, and how I often hate to see women-will-only-go-bad-because-they're-fucked-in-the-head. (Like how EVERY girl had to have a mental breakdown before she died in the Battle Royale manga). I just ... I don't know if it's a good idea.

But what do any of you think? And what would you do with the Gwen clone? Or is it best to just leave her in comic book purgatory?
.

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