Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Quote of the Day


Hillary Clinton warned us, before the election, and was largely met with derision while Trump's "no puppet, no puppet" line was amplified and joked about.

Hillary Clinton was correct.

It is now July 2018, and Donald Trump continues to hold rallies for himself at which his supporters chant "lock her up," referring to Hillary Clinton, the woman who won the 2016 popular vote in spite of Putin's assist to his buddy Trump.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Whedon Gets Another Female-Centric Show

I know there's a lot going on in the world right now, politically speaking, but I also believe pop culture, and who produces it for the masses, is inherently political. Pop culture is often a reflection of larger political trends, creator biases, and power dynamics. It can also normalize and replicate them.

Netflix has granted Joss Whedon the opportunity to write, direct, executive produce, and showrun a new series about a group of Victorian women with unusual abilities.

Whedon, in my opinion, now occupies an awkward, at best, place within he sphere of feminist and woman-centered pop culture. For one, as Karen Osborne reminded folks on Twitter, Whedon's ex-wife has contended that he has used his power and influence to have affairs with women in the TV/film industry, including on shows which he has produced.

Two, he is still widely hailed as a feminist hero, largely for his work on Buffy. But, the role of white male leaders within feminist pop culture must always be, I believe, examined within a context in which systemic discrimination has stifled the potential of women since the industry's dawn.

Virginia Woolf, of course, wrote of Shakespear's Sister, the equally-brilliant sister of William who, because of opportunities denied to her, never shared her gift with the world. When we keep tapping into the same pool of talent, it's the world's loss. What stories, narratives, and characters' voices are we not hearing because white men so often hoard the best gigs for themselves?  And, while I won't say that all men should be excluded from telling stories about women, I will say I harbor a certain distrust of men who think it's their place to do so, knowing that so many women lack the same opportunity to tell these stories from our perspectives.

Three, and finally, I had forgotten that when he killed Tara off, it was the first episode in which Amber Benson was credited as a series regular. What an unbelievably jerkish and privileged way to treat queer fans of a believed show.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Vital Programming in the Trump Era

I have learned that the male point of view is so dearly under-represented nowadays that men need their own special "no women allowed" show, barftastically titled, "Real Men Watch Bravo" and hosted by Jerry O'Connell.

From The Guardian (emphasis added):
"In a press release, the network described O’Connell as 'a walking encyclopedia of Bravo history', stating that the actor will appear 'alongside a panel of male celebrities, comics and tastemakers, discussing the buzziest Bravo moments'. The panelists, the release assures us, will be 'unapologetic Bravoholics' who will provide 'the male point of view pertaining to all things Bravo'.

In other words, Real Men Watch Bravo is meant to be a bit of meta-counter-programming, featuring men talking about Bravo’s TV shows in a presumably manly way. The question of why women will be excluded from the opportunity to provide commentary on Bravo’s programming went unaddressed in the press release."
With respect to the unaddressed question, I guess it's just one of life's enduring mysteries, the answer to which we'll never know.

But, I'll take a gander. With the article noting that two-thirds of Bravo viewers are women, is the idea that men are needed to come talk about these "feminine" TV shows and validate them with their authoritarian manly presences? Is the show really actually for women, so they can learn what "real men" think about their girly TV shows? Or, is ..... is the idea here really that male opinions don't already have super-sized influence on pop culture - even "feminine"-coded pop culture - and thus this show fills a vital gap in that respect?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

America the Broken: We Carry On

I don't have as much optimism and faith as President Obama does in our political system, given that it was designed, rigged, and established from the get-go as by and for white male supremacy.

I grieve, in advance, for what Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's impending retirement means for the USA, the people in it, and the rest of the world. If you're scared and angry, I'm with you.

Three years ago, I sat in my office crying tears of joy that the US Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Now, of course, we know that rightwing groups like NOM are rarin' to have Obergefell overturned. Plus Roe, and more.

What does it mean that a historically-unpopular man who lost the 2016 popular vote, who is under investigation for colluding with a foreign entity in that election, has already picked not one but now two members of the nation's highest court that, in theory, is a check on executive power?

It means the legitimacy of our democracy and political system further erodes.

Previously, I've written:
"Donald Trump is the inevitable Republican politician for a rotten-to-the-core Republican Party that has condoned the use of any means necessary to win. To enact their regressive, cruel agenda, they have enabled a man to become President who is not only temperamentally-unsuited and unqualified for the office he holds, but whose very presence there is a daily, stark reminder of their contempt for both democracy and the people of this nation."
Republicans, operating by a different set of rules altogether, will win by any means they can with whatever power they can amass even if via foreign entities, while Democrats will wag their fingers at each other about opposing Republicans in an appropriately civil manner.

In 2017, Melissa McEwan aptly described the 2016 election as "a catastrophic failure to listen to women." When you think about it, that's actually a pretty good encapsulation of our nation's history, as well.  Women, and marginalized people, speak. And white men simply don't listen. Over and over and over again.

That doesn't strike me as very "civil," but that system of assumed white male superiority has long been the standard of "civility" in the USA.

I don't know what else to say that doesn't sound completely cynical or fatalistic. But, the way forward absolutely must involve (a) a clear understanding of the circumstances in which we've found ourselves and (b) a validation of our fears, anger, and anxieties.

Because, goddess knows, the maintsream media, still giving daily handjobs to Trump voters, isn't going to do either a or b very well.

That is to say, no one else is going to save us.


As a related point, achieving justice is never a "one and done" thing. Yes, I mourn for the legacy that the US Supreme Court and the Trump/Pence Republican Administration are going to leave for future generations. But, we also didn't start this dumpster fire. The system was broken and rigged when we got here. We are where we are because of the mistakes, struggles, terrors, misdeeds, and victories of previous generations.

As I tweeted not too long ago, simply waiting for the old bigots to "die out" or "the children to grow up and save us" isn't an actual strategy. Remember, rightwing Trump advisor Stephen Miller is just 32. Young white men aggrieved by feminists, women, people of color, and Muslims flock to alt-right and MRA message boards, with the worst of them shooting up public places.

The struggle for justice is a lifelong one in which every generation is going to have stay engaged. With hope, they will read about our struggles (from the perspectives of the marginalized) and learn from our mistakes and victories.

I'm not here to tell you everything's going to be okay. For many people, it won't be. But, I'll never stop trying.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Zero Fucks Friday

Between Hillary's "But my emails" tweet regarding James Comey's use of a private email account to conduct FBI business and Amy Poehler's responses to a recent interview I hereby declare today Zero Fucks Friday.



Zero fucks refers, of course,to an abiding disgust at the white heteropatriachy, not to a lack of concern about the shithole world it has created.