Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday Feeling

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 1.14 "Truth, Justice, and The American Way"

"Truth, Justice, and The American Way" begins with Kara dealing with the aftermath of Astra's death. Non comes to her and asks if she'll give Astra her funeral rites, which she does. Afterwards, she has an undercurrent of tension with Hank, who she thinks killed Astra. Alex also seems angsty, clearly uncomfortable with letting Kara believe this lie.

Speaking of Alex angst, the "Alex's Ex" DEO agent is back. I recently learned that her name is Agent Vasquez and now she is sporting a sharp new haircut:

Hey girl!
Hank explains that a Fort Rozz prisoner has escaped and so he sends the agents to retrieve him. When they reach the warehouse where the prisoner is hiding, I notice something important. All of the agents except for Alex are wearing helmets, because ...... um?  Is this like the human version of how Supergirl wears her hair down, instead of in a ponytail, while fighting because complying with conventional standards of femininity trumps safety and practicality?

Why oh why?? Alex is a badass and she has a very nice face. I don't want anything to happen to her. In fact, I want Supergirl's writers, showrunners, producers, and fans in general to form a protective circle around Alex Danvers because for the love of all that is Tara if they even bury this gay I just can't even.

No helmet!
However, things end okay for Alex. For the alien, not so much. He is mysteriously abducted by another alien before the DEO can retrieve him. Hmmmm.

Moving on, we later meet the Cordelia of Supergirl - Siobhan Smythe. Cat hired Siobhan to be another assistant and, immediately, Kara and Siobhan begin a Devil Wears Prada showdown in which they compete for Cat's affections. I mean, to be Cat's number one assistant. Here, I love how Kara is falling down on her job but instead of getting fired, Cat just hires another assistant. That seems fine. (Actually, this fits into my theory that Cat secretly knows that Kara is Supergirl, and she hires Siobhan so Kara can keep her CatCo job while still doing the hero side-gig. Yes? Yes. That settles it.)

Siobhan also gives Kara a hard time about how she's so obviously into James Olson. Kara gets annoyed, and geeeez, ladies. Kiss it out, already (Sorry not sorry, I had two margaritas at lunch before writing this over the weekend). Inhibitions officially lowered.

Women who long, love, lust
At CatCo, James accidentally lets Lucy know that he's close to Supergirl. We catch a brief moment of Superman/James subtext when Lucy asks James, "Are you as close to her as you are with him?" When he doesn't answer, she responds, "Fool me once," and then storms out of the room. Mmm-hmmm, just as I suspected. Go get your man, James!

Meanwhile, James lets Kara know that he disagrees with the DEO holding Max Lord in the bad human jail without due process. And, as much as I dislike Max, I agree with James. Even the DEO, even Supergirl, have to be accountable to something - in this case the justice system. It is a scary thing to just trust that people with enormous power will just do their right thing on their own.

Speaking of vigilantism, the DEO figures out that a former Fort Rozz guard has been abducting aliens and executing them on his own. There is a brief moment where Alex is shot and oh god it's happening! But wait no! She was wearing a bulletproof vest. Phew! BUT, this guy has captured Supergirl, ostensibly to kill her (and another rando alien). Without due process. So, it all comes full circle. Nothing makes a person appreciate the value of due process when your own ass is on the line.

Alex the Badass ultimately rescues Supergirl. Then, convinced that it's immoral to hold Max without due process, she and the DEO release Max from jail. To end, Supergirl is still upset that Hank killed Astra and says she doesn't know how she can continue to work alongside him. So, that throws a wrench into the Daddy J'onn/Kara relationship. Will this secret come between the Danvers sisters? Time will tell, my friends. Time. will. tell.

Deep Thought of the Day: Every so often, we get references to Kara and Alex binge watching TV together. I sometimes wish I could join them. They have good taste, as here are some of the shows they've referenced: The Wire, Call the Midwife, and Homeland.

It also turns out that I'm suddenly longing for a Supergirl/SVU crossover featuring Olivia Benson and Alex Danvers. Ahem.  It is the Trump era and we deserve this, TV People.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On the Marches

I have some more thoughts on the upcoming Women's March on Washington and the Sister Marches to take place on January 21, 2017, the day after Trump's inauguration.

Check out the full piece, over at Shakesville!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Funny Femslash Friday

I love a good multi-fandom femslash fan vid.

The one below features Grey's Anatomy, The L Word, Lost Girl, Glee, Imagine Me and You, and I Can't Think Straight.... and I think I'm missing a couple? Anyway, it's funny.

I love the coming out moment featured from I Can't Think Straight:
[Leyla's father arrives home, sees Leyla and her mother in the kitchen]
Leyla (to her parents): I'm gay!
Leyla's Father: But I've only been gone two hours!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Cynical Populists

The New York Times ran a series this week on the upcoming Women's March on Washington. The idea behind the series was for different women to discuss their opinions on whether such a march is useful.

I'm of the opinion that it will be useful for at least four reasons: (1) to communicate that, regardless of any electoral outcome, we are worth fighting for, (2) to be a symbol of mass resistance against the incoming Trump administration, (3) to send a message that the incoming administration is of questionable legitimacy given the yet-to-be resolved questions about Trump's ties to Russia, and (4) to go in solidarity with other marchers and like-minded individuals who are not able to attend.

In contrast, I find the following opinion, of a former Bernie Sanders delegate, featured in the Times to be mostly depressing:
"Protesting is good for awareness of a cause but if we think we are going to change anything with a march we are wrong. The Democracy Spring demonstrations against the power of money in politics brought little attention and no results. Any success by protests against the Dakota Access pipeline are likely to be short-lived. Thousands flooding Philly last June didn't change one super delegate vote. These were the best organized and most attended protests in years and they had absolutely no affect on their causes. We need to change our tactics.

If there is a march, it will be widely reported, and relatively no one will show up because we all know this is a fruitless exercise that will make us feel better but will have no effect on anything else. We already all know there is a problem with women's equality, yet we do nothing significant about it. It's because we all know legislation really isn't going to change it, only a societal shift in sexism will."
My point here isn't to harp on this particular woman too much. Rather, today I note a divide I see among the pragmatic and (what I call) the non-pragmatic left. One of the dangers I see in populist politicians like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is that what they seem to best at is stoking the embers of rage against a clearly-defined enemy - the Establishment, in both cases - and making grand promises of sweeping change that, when pressed for logistics and details, turn out to be not grounded in pragmatic realities.

Think: Candidate Trump leading his fans in chants about how Mexico would pay for his wall. Now, it turns out it's not going to happen like that. Or, Bernie's disastrous New York Daily News interview. When pressed for details on some of his signature talking points during the primary, he was unable to articulate nuanced details for implementation.

Both men consistently led huge emotion-laden rallies, tapping into people's real anxieties and desires for Big Change. Anger is not a bad thing. There is a lot to be angry about. Yet, sweeping change does not typically quickly or easily happen in the US (which is something that also gives me small hope in the years to come. We must pressure the media and all branches of government to resist - we do not, yet, live in a dictatorship). Yet, when Big Change doesn't immediately happen like their leaders said it would, angry people end up cynical. Notice how it takes about two "failed" rallies for the above-quoted woman to give up on protesting.

Rallies and protests don't always immediately result in the desired outcome. When we march January 21, 2017, Trump will not be impeached January 22. But, that's not really the point. We aren't living in a movie, or playing a video game, where Things Will Be Resolved if we undertake a sufficiently-dramatic action. In real life, political change often occurs because of the actions of many people using a variety of tactics, some who get credit and most who do not.

Consider: the woman quoted above rightly says that we need a "societal shift in sexism" to change attitudes, but she doesn't think marching or legislation is the way to go. Yet, pragmatically, how do these "societal shifts in sexism" occur? Is it elves in trees who plant feminist consciousness in people's minds while we're asleep? (She also says that Bernie taught her that we spend too much time on identity politics, so that's another mode she's given up on. In which case, good luck addressing sexism if we must take a "I don't even see gender" approach about it!)

Change occurs through a variety of modes. For a first necessary step, related to the populism we saw in 2016, we must eradicate from our minds the notion that big change can only happen if a Great Person (usually a man) leads the true believers to it. Secondly, big change happens through many people taking many small actions in their daily lives: conversations, writing, reading, marching, voting, lobbying, advocating. This is what I think President Obama was referring to this week in his Farewell Address. These are actions many of us have the capacity to undertake to some degree.

Teaspoon by teaspoon, we empty the sea.