Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Recap Wednesday: Supergirl 1.7 "Human for a Day"

Welp, true to its name, this episode begins with Supergirl having lost her powers due to the intense energy she spent fighting Red Tornado. Rest assured, she will gain her powers back once she absorbs sufficient radiation from the sun.

Humangirl promptly catches her first cold and then goes to CatCo with it. Two things: It's awful that so many workplaces have such shitty time-off policies that people often go to work sick and it's also awful being in workplaces being near people who have contagious colds/flu. Cat concurs, this is her upon hearing Kara's sniffles:

"You're sick? But that means we can't make out later."

Later, an earthquake strikes while Kara is walking down the street with James. Kara falls, "breaking her arm." Kara's "injury" results in James stripping off his shirt and making a sling for her. Scare quotes intended because it is in the realm of possibility that the arm thing was a ploy to get James to take his shirt off. Just kidding, her arm is probably broken. But still:

Kara and James make their way back to CatCo and, lo and behold, the world's second-most-egotistical man in the world, Max Lord, is on screen yammering about Supergirl being "the world's most unreliable hero" for not helping with the earthquake recovery. Here is my screenshot of him:
*fart noise*
Cat agrees with my analysis. Of particular note, she also calls Supergirl "my girl' not once but twice during this scene. She is also not having Max's public denigration of Supergirl. And, before she can take off her shirt, Cat Grant is on a mission to restore Supergirl's image.

Meanwhile, the DEO is on lockdown. An alien named Jem(?) got loose during the earthquake. Hank goes off with two other agents to try to track him down while Alex observes from a monitor. There is an encounter and some vague scuffling, but Alex loses visual with Hank. It's all very suspicious when he comes back minus the two other agents.

Alex is already suspicious of Hank because he hasn't been honest about serving in the DEO with her father. So, when Hank leaves again to track down Jem, she follows him against his orders. When she finds Hank, she pulls a gun on him and has him handcuff himself to the wall while she goes after Jem. And, you know I adore Alex, but I just want to put it out there that she could have maybe handled her distrust of Hank at a more opportune time. Like when there wasn't an awful mind-controlling alien on the loose:

This seems.... fine?
Anyway, Kara and James come across an injured man while walking around National City. Because she doesn't have her powers, she's unable to save him. She's devastated, and James tells her, "No hero can save everyone. But a hero never stops trying." And, I just want to add that I really have come to like James and I hope he and Clark Kent (or Lucy Lane, but probs Clark) can live happily ever after one day.

Kara and James then see some men break into a convenience store and start looting. Even though she still doesn't have her powers back, Kara changes into her Supergirl outfit to try to stop the crime. Her approach will be to use Reverse Imposter Syndrome, I guess? If you wear the superhero outfit and people think you're a superhero, you can get away with anything? (This is also called "privilege," maybe?)

Cat believes in her girl.
Simultaneously, Cat is giving a live on-air monologue intended to counter Max Lord's negativity. Her message is that while it's true that Supergirl hasn't been helping with the earthquake recovery, we should listen to Supergirl's call to "heed our better angels." Cat further says she has confidence that Supergirl will return when we need her most (sigh, if only) and until then we should work together. (sigh, Stronger.... Together). On screen, we see Supergirl talking down the robber, ultimately getting him to hand over his gun.

Here I'll add that someone should make an app of Cat Grant giving us wise, tough love, and uplifting speeches as we go about our daily lives, inspiring us to perform feats of courage.

Speaking of speeches, Winn has a Xander moment and gives Kara a pissy little lecture about how she'll never have a normal romantic life, so she shouldn't go after James. He had walked in on Kara and James hugging (literally just platonically hugging) and he had a nerd-rage meltdown about it. (Unduly harsh of me? Read THIS re: white male nerds in film.)

Moving on to more pleasant topics, Supergirl's powers come back and she starts saving people all over the city. Because that's what she does.

AND ALSO, we learn Hank's big secret. He reveals to Alex that he's not actually Hank Henshaw, but a Martian shape-shifter named J'onn J'onzz (it deserves bold text, because of the way he says it). The reveal is oh-so-dramatic and wonderful and I love him. He seems so proud of his real identity and I feel sad that he has to hide it.

J'onn J'onzz
Hank/J'onn had apparently made a promise to Alex's father, before he died, that he would watch over Alex. That's the reason he recruited her into the DEO (she gets to stay because she's a badass though). Love love love this plot twist.

Deep Thought of the Week: So, say you're Supergirl or Superman. You have extraordinary powers compared to everyone else. What exactly is the process like where you learn to regulate your strength? Are your first interactions with physical objects on Earth a Goldilocks Scenario where you're constantly breaking Baby Bear's stuff? And is it so annoying to your adoptive family?

How many people do you hurt? Do you always have x-ray vision or do you have to concentrate in a special way to use it? Do you tell people if you see tumors?  If you get road rage, do you "accidentally" laser people into piles of dust?

What I am saying is that I would watch the hell out of an episode of nothing but super-power mishaps happening.

 [Note: In November 2017, CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.]

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Part 8: On Internet Culture and Privacy

(8) On Internet Culture and Privacy.

Today I consider how Trump's Electoral College win was a victory for the very worst of Internet Culture.

First, we have the man's social media presence itself. He was (is) notorious for taking to Twitter at all hours to peck out insults, demeaning nicknames he's bestowed upon people, and counter-attacks to any real or perceived slight against his eggshell-thin ego.

About a year ago, The New York Times ran a profile of how Trump had "mastered" Twitter. Twitter was (is) the means by which he tapped into many people's basest, cruelest selves, as the Internet is wont to do. Through the expression of aggression, braggadocio, and misinformation, he constantly made (makes) headlines.

People who've been in contact with Trump suggest that he craves attention. And, a characteristic of retweets and Twitter trends is that they are attention, no matter whether people are agreeing or not (He grabs them by the what? Wait, now David Duke is applauding him? Wait, what happened at Hamilton?). In fact, it's almost better for Trump if something is "controversial." Clickbait, as we know, pays in Internetland (both financially, to the media that support it - and to Trump's hunger for attention). What seems to matter to Trump is that Trump never stops trending.

We have to develop better strategies for covering Trump in the Internet age.

His Twitter feed, especially during the election, was a constant stream of content for us to be outraged by, distracting from the previous outrage of five minutes ago, so nobody seemed to notice that he is never, ultimately, held accountable. We stay in a constant state of outrage, with no relief.

Trump is not one to apologize, even in that mealy-mouthed non-apology way that's so common for deplorables. In true "alpha" form, at least as the "manosphere" understands these things, he doesn't correct misstatements. He flounces from one outrage to the next, and the press (and his followers) follow him because everything's about his ego and displays of dominance.

That needs to stop. We, and people with platforms in the media especially, need to disrupt the outrage-outrage-outrage cycle.  I'm not sure how, but awareness seems to be a critical component here, because it seems many people are lacking even that.

Example strategy I use in blogging: From time to time, a Trump-like commenter will venture here to engage in outrage-outrage-outrage agendas of their own. One time many years ago, an anti-gay man was promoting at his own blog false anti-gay propaganda published by a hate group. He then began commenting here. So, I wrote a blog post (probably too earnestly, given who I was dealing with) addressing the falsehoods in the propaganda piece and invited him to address my commentary. He never did.

I then articulated a specific condition for him: If he wanted our conversations to continue at my blog, he had to first answer for his complicity in spreading anti-gay propaganda.  Instead of doing so, he kept trying to comment here, jumping from one outrageous anti-gay tirade to another, hoping I'd be so offended-distracted that I wouldn't notice he was violating a boundary I had set for him and hoping people wouldn't notice that he never answered for his role in spreading anti-gay propaganda. (I didn't ban him. When I set the boundary and he violated it, I would simply delete his comments that didn't address the propaganda. He eventually slunk away.)

Trump needs to be treated in a similar way, I think, however the fuck we do that to a President.

Who or what will be the voice that repeatedly says, "Wait, let's back up to this pussy-grabbing, shall we?" or "Please clarify this Muslim registry plan." A major media outlet or website should keep a tally of his lies and offenses, as well as what, if anything, he has done to apologize or atone for them. We cannot stay in this cycle of escalating, continual outrage.

Secondly, on the misinformation front, a Buzzfeed analysis showed that fake news generated more engagement on Facebook than did news from mainstream sources. And, look, I get it. We're in "anti-Establishment" times. People distrust the mainstream press, and often for legitimate reasons. When that happens, they turn to alternate sources, no matter their political beliefs. People get "had" by both conservative- and left-leaning articles.

Here are my strategies for dealing with this issue (which Facebook claims to be addressing): (a) If I notice someone posting fake news, I will let them know (sometimes with a link to Snopes, if available); (b) I check Snopes or Politifact; (c) I check other news sources by doing a "Google News" search for the topic at hand; and (d) if I'm reading what is clearly clickbait (and you can often tell from the title and/or content) I don't share it, because sharing monetizes it.  As Internet users, many of us can take active roles in confronting fake news and propaganda when we see it in our social networks.

Third, we saw the proliferation of white nationalist, racist, xenophobic, anti-feminist, and misogynistic online communities, serving as outlets for white male aggrievement regarding their perceived loss of status in a "PC world gone mad." Now commonly (euphemistically) called the "alt-right," Echidne (are you reading her? you should) documents the alternate set of "facts" under which denizens of these forums operate.

One of the alt-right's leaders, Steve Bannon, is a right-hand man to Trump. I will discuss this in a forthcoming post, but remember: many of these misogynistic white supremacists do not live the same reality as liberals and progressives and they are beholden to no rules of civility that are purported to exist in civil society. When they go low and we go high, they count on that and exploit it.

They harass and threaten women and minorities online. They "troll for the lulz." They largely aren't ashamed if they're called bigots, even if their "cuck" allies might be. They'll leave flaming piles of dog shit in your comment sections and, if you ban them, call you a liberal coward who "can't handle dissenting views."

These are also, likely, people who seem "normal" in their everyday lives. They wear the Internet like a white robe to spread hatred, intimidation, and threats of violence toward women and minorities. These are the people who are now even more emboldened. Be aware of who and what we're dealing with and give them your "empathy" with caution. Their goal is rarely, if ever, civil debate with us, even if they fake it at first. Most often, the goal is dominance posturing through harassment and intimidation.

But also know this: the weak point, like Trump's, are their delicate egos. In the way that Trump will pick Twitter fights with Rosie O'Donnell instead of domestic and international terrorists, know that "Social Justice Warriors" get under their thin skin like almost nothing else, precisely because we seek to marginalize their views as unacceptable in society.

Lastly, Wikileaks. In acts also cheered on and condoned by some on the left and right, we learned via hacked and shared non-public emails that Hillary Clinton likes The Good Wife and creme brulee. I hope that learning this information was worth the erosion of public/private boundaries.

Curiously, thousands of non-public Trump emails did not surface and were not posted. Which, seems fine. He seems like he'd have super good judgment about email security and also like he's really easy to work with, so I'm sure nothing embarrassing would have surfaced anyway.

On a serious note, going forward, I guess we will see for whom this standard for such invasions of privacy applies with Trump in charge. Perhaps the security of his private information will be safe. At least until he pisses off the wrong hacktivist.

Perhaps his seeming-ally Assange will provide a check on Trump's power, should he abuse it. That is, if we trust that Wikileaks is actually a non-partisan group. Which I don't.

What I think more likely is that it will primarily be Trump's political opponents and unempowered, marginalized folks who experience an increase in invasions of privacy.

AND ALSO, IS IT WEIRD THAT THE HACKED EMAILS AND WIKILEAKS INVOLVEMENT IN OUR ELECTION ARE NOT BIGGER STORIES?  The media wrote 50,000 articles a day about the security of Hillary Clinton's emails so I thought they were super interested in the topic of information security BUT I GUESS I WAS WRONG.

(See above, re: cycle of outrage)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Part 7: On the Non-Pragmatic Left

(7) On the "non-pragmatic" left.

First things first, this post was originally going to be about what I was calling "the far left." But, I'm not sure the people I'm talking about are actually more "left" or more progressive than Clinton supporters. Then, in light of the various rounds of "Hillary Clinton's pandering to identity politics lost her the election" think pieces, I was going to call them "the non-identity left," but of course that movement, too, is about identity, even if invisibly so (implicitly white, male, cis, hetero).

After more thought, the group I think I'm more accurately talking about is the non-pragmatic left. That is, people who do not seem to comprehend that in reality:
(a) people enter into positions of power while inheriting a set of circumstances that they usually are not responsible for creating - such as foreign entanglements, human rights crises, budget deficits -  but nonetheless must respond to; and
(b) being in a position of power necessarily means making some decisions that will hurt people and, yes, perhaps even lead to some people's deaths no matter what decision is ultimately made.
In the real world, one cannot simply say, "Wait, I don't like these circumstances or possible outcomes so I'm just going to go back to a previous save point and do things differently so I arrive at a different present set of circumstances so I can make a decision that corresponds with my political purity test."

Example from pop culture: In the re-imagined mini-series Battlestar Galactica, Laura Roslin is faced with an immediate moral dilemma soon after she is sworn in as President.  Various human survivors are floating around in spaceships after the Cylons launched a massive surprise attack. The Cylons have found the human fleet and could very well wipe them out with their superior technology. Only some of the human ships have technology that would allow them to flee, and the human military doesn't have the capacity to defend all of the human ships. Nor can the ships with better technology take on and support all the people from the older ships.

And so, Roslin is presented with the choice: Does she order all of the human ships to stay and fight together, possibly resulting in all of the remaining humans dying? Or, does she order the ships capable of leaving to do so, while leaving the other ships behind?

Neither option is "perfect." They both actually suck. People will die either way and people could also have valid critiques no matter which option is chosen. That's the tragedy inherent in the situation. There's no ideal outcome. When history gets re-told on the BSG equivalent of Fox News or US Uncut, Roslin could come out looking like a heartless monster either way (unless she were a white nationalist, then she'd be called "dapper." Ha ha, fuck you very much): "Reckless Roslin decides to stay, mass casualties ensue!" or "Cowardly Laura flees, innocents die!"

I think we must always render valid critiques of political leaders' choices when merited. But, I say that with the recognition that political leaders are oftentimes, in the real world, faced with "no good solution" problems.

With this recognition, it is evident to me how a long history of public service can, with framing, become a massive liability in our political climate. Anti-establishment sentiments run high, and I'm not sure this sentiment is particularly new or unique to our times. Perhaps every generation needs to see for itself that being "an outsider" (ha!) doesn't render leaders capable of contriving perfect solutions to problems that have no perfect solutions.

I'm not claiming Clinton should not ever be validly critiqued or that every situation she was in was as tragic as the one President Roslin experienced. (And, I'm realllllly not here to re-litigate all the Clinton conspiracies and grievances.) My larger points are that situations are usually more complicated than people give leaders credit for and the vast majority of us are operating from an information deficit about the full range of facts anyway.

And, in case this post sounds particularly harsh to people I might be naturally allied with otherwise, here too is a larger context.

During the past 18 months, I've probably blocked more Bernie Sanders supporters than Trump supporters on Twitter. I've been called a "Hillbot." A "shill." I was called "salty af" for critiquing Sanders' Pope-visit during the Democratic Primary. Because it's really cool how some on the far left can overlook how the Pope is the leader of one of the most sexist, anti-trans, anti-gay Establishments in the world, but could forgive Hillary Clinton for literally nothing.

I've had teenage Bernie fans practically cry in rage-disbelief at me, "But how could you support HER?" taking it for granted that Bernie is 100% a saint and Hillary is 100% corrupt. Many seemed ignorant of decades of unfair smears against her. I've been told I was condescending for expressing fear that third party voters would serve as spoilers this year, as in 2000, when I discussed my regrettable Ralph Nader vote.

Over the months, I had run-ins with people on the far left who wanted to see Trump defeated but who wouldn't support Hillary Clinton, the only person with a realistic chance to do so. I watched in disbelief as even some major feminist sites played the "both sides are just as bad" game or refused to take sides. Someone at a popular feminist site even took Clinton's win for granted, predicting that fifty years from now, "We’ll hang our heads and think, 'we were there when' we elected a candidate who killed thousands, and called her a feminist to boot."

Jill Stein and Susan Sarandon suggested that Clinton would actually be worse than Trump.

And.... here we fucking are.

Melissa Batchelor Warnke recently noted in the LA Times:
"I am deeply sorry that Hillary Clinton lost. The left made many mistakes; among them was not having the gall to stand up to the far left. The far left was so rigid in its orthodoxy that it repeatedly punished those trying to strategize about electing the Democratic candidate with self-serving accusations that those who disagreed with their tactics were racists, sexists or sellouts. We let the left of the left have its way.

And the far left wanted to be morally superior more than it wanted to stop Donald Trump."
She further writes that "lefty politics" have become a "claustrophobic minefield." And, it's hard for me to disagree, being in the blogging game for about 10 years.

For instance, I've seen this happen too many times to count: a popular feminist makes a mistake on Twitter or in pop culture or in a blogpost and, instead of just critiquing her, it's like BAM we have a half dozen lefty articles saying "ugh, aren't we all so done with her?" and then.... whether or not you're "done" with her becomes a lefty purity test/virtue pose.

I can't. I just fucking can't.

Forget having empathy or compassion for bigots and conservatives. We don't even have it for each other on the left, let alone for a flawed woman like Hillary Clinton who worked her fucking ass off her entire life and who had the temerity to run for President while not being a politically-pure snowflake. I don't even exonerate myself from this compassion-lacking group, because goddamn, this shit is hard and frustrating.

I mean, it pisses me right off that, heavens to Betsy, the thought of dirtying one's pristine hands by voting for a competent woman who who had made mistakes, over a garbage nightmare candidate gave some on the left too bad a case of the ickies. It's not just that some people couldn't privately vote for Clinton, they had to not vote for her and then virtue pose about it all over social media. Or, they wrote in Bernie. Voted 3rd Party. Didn't vote at all. Voted for a giant meteor strike to kill us all instead (ha ha, fuck you).

Like, if there was ever a time for the left to unite..... this was it, folks! But no.

Now, many of these same leftists seem to be largely horrified. They're "in shock." Some didn't actually vote for Clinton but now want the Electoral College to make Clinton President because ... ummmm?

It's also said that the perfect is the enemy of the good. I believe that, but by the gods you will never convince me that either Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein were ever "the perfect" in this conversation. And even if they had never made mistakes in their immaculate lives, had they become President they too would have been confronted with difficult choices and would then likely be lambasted by non-pragmatists for being "sell-outs," as well.

Politics is compromise, politics is compromise, politics is fucking hard-ass compromise.  We can and should debate all day about what should be compromised, but to ever get anything accomplished we have to compromise.

Non-pragmatists critique those of us who acknowledge the role of compromise in politics and vote for the "lesser evil." They decry what "lesser evilism politics" have wrought. What these people overlook is that every politician ever will always be "a lesser evil" because, NEWSFLASH, no human is perfect and, repeat after me, politics. is. compromise.

What I can say is that the non-pragmatic left will likely now get none of what they wanted instead of some of what they wanted. So, that was productive.

CORRECTION. They will get two things they wanted: a complete unwillingness to compromise and extremism. So, there's your fuckin' silver lining.

My preferred method of virtue posturing

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and Blog Note

Hi all.

Blog readership is usually pretty light around Thanksgiving, so I'll resume the Election Fallout and Supergirl posts next Monday.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a good one. If you're traveling, stay safe. And if you have to be around Trump-supporting family members, best wishes in navigating.... that.

For now, I am thankful that I found a Xena fan video set to Rihanna's "Te Amo."

By the way, has anyone ever counted how many hot tubs scenes are in the Xena series? I'm betting about 13. And also, I may or may not have watched the episode "Heart of Darkness," prominently featured in this vid, eleventymillion times.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Parts 5 and 6: On Misogny and White Women

(5) On misogyny.

It is true that more people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, which gives me hope. But hoo-boy the poetic (in)justice of the system not protecting us from a predatory man governing us without the consent of the governed.

The misogyny of Trump and many of his supporters could fill volumes. I will grieve for what Hillary Clinton (and we, vicariously) had to endure, probably for the rest of my life.  And to lose, in the electoral college anyway, to this man?

Donald Trump is a privileged, predatory, incompetent man who fell up. His vastly-more-qualified female opponent was pushed down while doing everything in high heels, backwards, and over towers of double-standards.

When you see enlightened dudebros in your lives doing their hot takes about how Clinton was the wrong choice because she was "the establishment candidate" you can tell them that when Rape Culture and Patriarchy are two of this county's most enduring establishments, electing Hillary Clinton was never "the status quo" option.

(6) On white women.

Jeeeeesus, the intersections on this one.

This loss is largely on white people, who disproportionately supported Trump while minority groups rejected him. We also saw white women voting against their own interests for a racist misogynist candidate.

Despite that, I also refuse to demonize white women more than white men.

I mean, really, the pieces that instantly came out about white women "selling out the sisterhood"? Yeah, they did. And people are surprised by this why, again? Oh, right, because nobody fucking listens to feminists, that's why. EVEN THOUGH it's the sad lesson from The Handmaid's Tale (1985): The very worst, most patriarchal, racist dystopia would not exist without the complicity of privileged classes of women.

Men alone cannot make racism and sexism "work." It is always a tangled knot. Forgive the circularity here, but many women hate women because women are hated. White women have a long history of benefiting via their kinship and marriages to racist, misogynist white men. It pays to be a cool non-feminist girl, for a time anyway. ("Trump can grab my pussy," boasted one Trump supporter, who both completely misunderstands the consent element of things and perhaps thinks her offering will insulate her from even worse misogyny than what she sees around her, inflicted on "other" women).

And this sweet, fresh hell in The Nation? In it, the author argues that white working class women in particular rejected Clinton because Clinton spent too much time cozying up to Lena Dunham and Big Feminism, whatever the fuck that is, when she should have been promoting:
"...[A] robust economic agenda focused on women’s needs: a $15 minimum wage, universal child care and pre-K, paid family leave, free college, and tough laws that crack down on wage theft and guarantee fair scheduling and equal pay for women."
You know, the very policies Clinton supported, to varying degrees, had anyone in the media stopped talking about her emails for 10,000 straight days and actually fucking covered them.

Sure, everyone has their theories about whose fault this is.

What seems clear is that white men are almost completely being given up on as people who can contribute to the electorate as anything other than angry beings who must be coddled and centered lest they elect nightmare authoritarians to make life hell for everyone else.

Example: An actual think piece in The New York Times, which I won't link to but is titled "The End of Identity Liberalism," sneers at the "failure" of liberalism's "narcissistic" "identity politics." Here's my summary of this piece and the dozens like them I've seen: As Trump fills his cabinet with KKK-supported white guys, white guys everywhere think liberalism has failed them because liberals talk too much about race and gender.

And so, the twin narratives about white people are that we ought to empathize with white male feelings of aggrievement while being disgusted at white female complicity. That, my friends, is just another fucked-up misogynistic fallout from this shit-show of an election that I refuse to indulge.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Part 4: Normalization

(4) On normalizing Trump.

Here is a reminder that the normalization of Trump started during the primaries, continued during the general, and will escalate in the coming days, weeks, and months. Never forget:

We must resist this normalization, always.

That upchuck you taste in your mouth every time you hear the phrase "President-elect Trump"? Never take antacid for that. Your reaction is what it is for a reason and that reason is self-preservation.

Which brings me to the Huffington Post, that stalwart establishment of new media.

During general election season, HuffPo correctly added an editorial note to articles featuring Trump, highlighting his racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. On Nov. 9, 2016, they announced they would stop doing so, suggesting that to call a spade a spade would taint the legitimacy of the Presidency in a way similar to how birtherism tainted Obama's tenure. Yes, seriously, they found it appropriate to make a most deplorable moral equivalence:
"....[T]hroughout the entire administration of Barack Obama, a segment of the Republican coalition, led by Trump, questioned the very legitimacy of his presidency, breaking from a long-held American tradition. 
We’re not going to do the same. Whether we like it or not ― and let’s continue to be honest, we don’t ― he won the election. It was a win that was at once foreseeable ― yet one we failed badly to see.

Where we find fault in how Trump governs, we won’t hesitate to call it out. If he encroaches on the norms of our democracy, if he targets minority groups or other vulnerable elements of the population, we won’t hesitate to say so loudly and clearly. If he follows his worst instincts and caters to the klatch of white supremacists who endorsed him, we won’t flinch from calling him racist. But we have hope that the man we saw on the trail at his worst moments is not the man who will enter the White House.

If Trump can reverse the economic inequality he decried during his campaign, bring back manufacturing jobs, find a way to give people better healthcare for less money, invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy and otherwise make the country great, we’ll cheer him on. We’ll find out."
Nope to the nope nope nope-ity fucking nope.

Even if Trump does some good while President, that does not negate the harm he has done during the 18 months of his deplorable campaign, the fear he has instilled, and the bigots who have mobilized in his name. He has done nothing to atone for that. He has not owned the pain he has caused. He has not apologized for anything. He is stacking his cabinet with unrepetant racists and xenophobes, just like we knew he would. Trump is a predator dumpster fire of a person who is 70 and will not now magically become a better, classy guy.

And god, the cruelty.

"For all her faults" was Hillary Clinton's middle name for the past 18 months because we could forgive her for nothing. But, for a man - this man- all is instantly forgiven, erased, white-washed so we can "give him a chance." Wouldn't want to ruin a promising young man's career, after all. Can't we all just get along and see what happens?

No. I reject this narrative. I cannot stress enough how profoundly I want to be excluded from this narrative.

(Also, FML if Trump starts rounding up critics. Nice knowing ya'll!)

Lastly, remember that this normalization of Trump will make other Republicans who are no less deplorable, yet who are more subtle in their bigotries, seem normal, decent, and better by comparison.

Remember that they are not.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Flashback Friday: The Bush Years and The L Word

The L Word (2004-2009) was popular, at least among many bi/lesbian women, smack in the middle of the Bush years.

Queer women's culture, at least some iterations of it, has struck me as ....disappearing. Have we seen a complacency, perhaps? A taking for granted that progress will always be linear? Our bars and independent, feminist, queer-friendly bookstores are going away. Blogs and websites I used to read on the regular no longer exist, or are unrecognizable. Bi/lesbian characters on TV still, too often, end up buried.

It makes me sad, sometimes, when younger queers ironically (and god, I'm getting old) ungratefully mock The L Word.  Critique is appropriate, but I don't know, is it only acceptable to mock things if you lived through them within the oppressive historical context in which they were rendered?

Back then, I had never seen anything like The L Word. Many of us were desperate for representation; and many still are. It was pre-marriage-equality. DADT was in effect. NOM and its ilk were obsessive in their quest to keep equality out of our reach. State after state were passing amendments or laws against equality. George W. Bush and his administration were explicitly hostile to our community.

But then, we got a whole show in all its imperfect glory about at least a part of the community. It tackled (sometimes too earnestly?) political issues. It was about women, lots of women, who talked to each other about pretty much everything but men. It showed female friendships and rivalries. It showed women fucking. It was sometimes feminist. And, unpopular opinion alert, but I don't actually think Jenny Schecter was The Worst. (Except, that stuff with Sounder was fucked up).

During The L Word years, I remember the weekly huddling into people's living rooms on Sundays to watch (those who had Showtime were high status friends). Bars would have viewings and, if you can believe it, the rooms would be completely silent because if you dared to even whisper, a hundred angry lesbians and bisexuals would glare, shush, and make you leave and then everyone would demand that the bartender rewind it and so the actual viewing would take like two hours instead of just one.

It was pop culture as solace, however imperfectly (too white, too cis, weird on bisexuality) and corporate (women fucking, but not for the male gaze, but also looking very Traditional Standards of Femininity). But, it was ours. And when it was good, it was fucking good.

Friday fan video, below (NSFW).

[content note: loss of pregnancy, anti-gay bigotry]

The video is set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." You might remember this song being played in the Season 1 episode, "Liberally." In it, Bette agrees to a televised debate with anti-gay bigot Fae Buckley, a Phyllis Schlafly type of woman. During the debate, Buckley says that god condemns homosexuality, which is why god made Bette's "lesbian lover" have a miscarriage. And god, it's so unbelievably cruel and I remember it so capturing the zeitgeist of what living with a bigot President, one who enabled hate groups, was like.

Sorry to end on a negative note. I feel tired, ya'll. I'm down for the resistance. But goddamn. To go through this shit again. And, by the fucking way, I will never get over Dana Fairbanks. So could whoever makes the Trump-years L Word reboot please not kill the new version of her, thanks.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Election Fallout Part 3: On the White Working Class

3) On the white working class.

I recognize two related truths: (A) Money is power, and (B) Improvement of economic conditions, by itself, does not make bigoted people stop being bigots.

Example: one of the most wealthy people I know, someone with a literal vault of gold bars, is still sending chain emails about Obama being a secret Muslim terrorist who isn't even a US citizen.  Why? Because she's been surrounded by white Republicans for decades who don't want to hurt her feelings by calling her or her views racist. We, probably all of us to varying degrees, value relationships with people more than the risk of alienating them, offending them, pissing them off, or "causing a scene," by calling them on their shit. (See also, The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck)

Disclaimer, because I think it's important: I like much of what Bernie Sanders stands for. Economic inequality is one of the great injustices of our day.

One, of the.

That said, let's take Bernie Sanders' recent New York Times op-ed. As if written fresh off the Democratic Primary campaign trail, he offered us essentially the same oft-repeated, re-purposed stump speech he gave at rally after rally:
"I am saddened, but not surprised, by the outcome. It is no shock to me that millions of people who voted for Mr. Trump did so because they are sick and tired of the economic, political and media status quo."
Okay, but guess what, Bernie? I'm sick of the status quo too, but I didn't vote for a nightmare candidate. So why do I feel like you don't have empathy for me or the millions of other people who rejected your message?  Why did many black voters, who consistently backed Clinton over you, reject your message?

Speaking for myself, I didn't see myself reflected in his message. I never know quite what he means by working people, regular people, or ordinary Americans, but I always come away thinking he's talking about white blue collar workers, probably male.

Take a recent Tweet:

I come from the white working class too and (a) Hillary Clinton spoke to me just fine, and (b) it would at this juncture be helpful for Bernie to consider that many of us fled the white working class because of abuse inflicted upon us for, in some way, being different.

It is a tricky, nuanced take. Of course not all white working class people are bigots, but it is irresponsible for a popular politician to try to capture the argument on Twitter. It came off to me as, intentional or not, stoking the embers of white populist rage.

The Democratic Establishment is to blame for all your problems, white people, but Bernie alone understands and can fix it!  Which, sounds familiar doesn't it?

His goal seems to be to reach out to people who didn't vote, who voted for a 3rd party, or voted for Trump. Or, to people who are politically apathetic. Or, to people who rejected or feel alienated by "elite" Democrats. Or, to people who, if they are politically engaged, are pissed off for vague reasons they don't, can't, or won't fully articulate.

Consider Bernie's anti-Democratic Party message in light of recent advice on the best ways we, the populace, can reach out to our Congresspeople. We must be respectful, professional, brief, and prepared. We should email or call under some very specific guidelines. The bottom line: we as citizens must make our voices heard by reaching out to the people who ostensibly serve us.

Nowhere in this guide do I see the advice: "Elect an authoritarian nightmare who will wreak destruction upon women, immigrants, and people of color." But goddamn what a white thing to do and what a goddamn white rage-privilege thing to excuse it.

And so, I offer two final propositions:
A) Many people view the Democratic Party, especially now, as a firewall between ourselves and horrific misogynistic, white nationalist nightmare politicians.
B) That firewall should therefore not now be destroyed for the sake of making the Democratic Party more compelling to white people.
People are hurting across the nation. This hurt includes, but is not limited to, working class white people. But, because white nationalism is one of the most enduring US Establishments, Bernie Sanders seems to want to tear down the Democratic Party and build it up as a white-working-class-centric institution and if that's not his aim he has a lot of work to do to make that more explicit.

The subtext to all of the white working class fetishism, and not just limited to Sanders, is that we should put implicit good faith trust in white working class people that they are not bigots or that, if they are, better jobs will make them not be.

But, and here's what I think scares people like me: You know what's more dangerous than a poor bigot, probably? A bigot with more money and a better job.

Yes, let's lift all boats economically. But, I reject the notion that we should put kid gloves on and coddle the white working class because it hurts their feelings when they're called bigots. It is not "elite" to call out bigotry. It's self-defense. White working class Trump supporters alone did not put Trump in the White House, but many of them specifically voted for a man who boasted about getting rid of "political correctness," a man who said telling the truth was more important than people's feelings, as he enabled neo-nazis throughout the country.

If white liberals and progressives want to abandon marginalized people and our complicated "identity politics" in favor of walking on eggshells around the delicate sensibilities of fragile-yet-abusive white people, we will most certainly lose in 2020, as well, because you can deal me (and likely millions of others) out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Recap Wednesday: Supergirl 1.6 "Red Faced"

Oh, this episode was good.

Big picture, it's about anger and who is entitled to express it.

Soooo, it opens with two white guys road raging at each other. They're just about to mow down a group of kids when Supergirl jumps in front of them, stopping them. One of the dudes gets out of his car pissed and takes a swing at Supergirl. She catches his fist and starts twisting it. To be honest, it's oh-so-satisfying because the guy is such a jerk and I am not enlightened enough. Not now.

However, bystanders look on in horror:

Now who's the Tough Guy?
Instantly, stories break out about "Supergirl's" road rage incident, because of course. Two white dudes almost killed a bunch of kids because they couldn't control their anger, but she's the asshole. Jerky Max Lord even chimes in that maybe she should wear a body camera so she can be monitored.

Moving on, we meet Cat Grant's mom. She seems like a ....piece of work. Sample quote about Supergirl: "So interesting, isn't it? A woman hero. I can't help but feel safer in Metropolis. Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer a male doctor." Just in case you were looking for a female fictional character in your life to hate who is complicit in propping up patriarchy.

Speaking of the patriarchy, in DEO-land, General Lane (Lucy's father) is in town and wants to test a robot-weapon on Supergirl. Hank and Alex don't like the idea, but Lucy shows up (looking badass in her Army JAG uniform) with an executive order forcing Supergirl to do it. Supergirl/Lucy tension ensues and at this point I just want to chime in and say I'm of the opinion that Supergirl has more chemistry with women so far than with any male character on the show.

I like ... uniforms.
Later that night, Kara hosts a game night featuring James, Lucy, and Winn. It is as awkward a love quadrangle as you can imagine. James and Lucy have all of these in-jokes and knowledge of each other and do really well as a team. Winn and Kara... do not (see above re: chemistry, lack thereof).  What's important is that at one point, Lucy refers to Superman as "Jimmy Olsen's special boyfriend" and... I knew it. And, I'm 100% on board that ship. She also casually mentions that she met Supergirl and "wasn't that impressed." Ouch.

The next day, Supergirl fights the robot. The scene is amusing in a campy way. For one, the robot's name is Red Tornado. Two, it looks like a Power Ranger. It's supposed to be a remote-controlled robot, but it's clearly just a guy with his face painted red and wearing craft foam. Not surprisingly, Supergirl whoops its ass. She is actually all of us for a moment and completely rages out on it. It then becomes sentient, escapes to wreak havoc on National City, and gee that sounds SO FAMILIAR (fuck our lives).

It's Morphin Time!
Back at the office, Cat and Kara have an altercation in which Kara ends up yelling, "Why are you SO MEAN?" to her (which.... is a fair question). Kara is instantly horrified and apologizes, but Cat seems somewhat amused. They leave the office to go drink martinis. I like where this is going.

Two important things happen next. One, I don't want to read too much into this (ha ha, just kidding, of course I do), but listen, the Kara/Cat bar scene opens with a Fleetwood Mac remix in the background right at the phrase, "Loving you, isn't the right thing to do." (Then why does it feel so right?) And two, Cat gives Kara a lecture about how she cannot get angry at work, especially when one is a girl. She also suggests that Kara figure out what's really making her angry and that she find a proper release. (Ahem, no comment).

In all honesty (and subtext aside), I know that Cat can be a harsh boss, but Cat mentoring Kara is where I think Supergirl really shines. I have worked with many "alpha" type of women in life and I'll just say this: never be the woman who pulls the ladder up behind herself.

[Here thar be a scene which I will not discuss that contains romantic subtext between Alex and Max Lord blah blah argle bargle I miss Astra]

Later, in what is a great scene, Kara and James find appropriate release for their anger. Not that kind of release, you dirty birdies. Kara has strung up a car like a punching bag (for herself) next to an actual punching bag (for James). Kara notes that, unlike Clark/Superman, she has to contain her rage and so punching stuff might help her channel it better. James notes that it's not exactly safe for black men to show their anger either. Punching and venting ensues and it is amazing.

In the scene, Kara finds "the anger behind her anger." We learn that she has the same central conflict as in Buffy: the duty to be a hero versus the wish for a normal life. (I warned you, all things come back to Buffy for me).

The final Red Tornado showdown happens, it's a Danvers Sisters Extravaganza, and I needed this in my life right now. It turns out that the scientist who built Red Tornado has been controlling him(*?), so Alex goes after the scientist while Supergirl fights Red Tornado. I'm usually kind of blah about fight scenes in general, but the ending to this fight is pretty great. Alex kills the evil scientist and Supergirl uses her heat vision to destroy Red Tornado once and for all and, you know, I just feel like the image below encompasses our full rage during Election 2016 and what the next four years will be like:

Supergirl, you complete me.
So, props to Melissa Benoist on this one.

In seriousness, I think the election stuff has been varying levels of traumatic for many different populations, including women. Watching and writing about Supergirl has been, I suppose, a release from my own angst. For me, that is the power of superhero shows and science fiction. So, thank you readers, for indulging me.

Deep Thought of the Week: *I'm still confused by the way robots, who typically do not have hormones, brains, secondary sex characteristics, or sex organs, get gendered.

[Note: In November 2017, CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Part 2: On Gaslighting

(2)  On gaslighting.

Goddamn the gaslighting going on right now. It has come from all corners but here's where it hurts. If you're looking for insight into many minorities' and feminists' lack of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders and socialist movements in general, look no further than his comment three days before the general election:

Alright, because I know it's coming and is related to the gaslighting, let's get one notion out of the way: I know some Berners believe he would have beaten Trump handily in a general election. I have serious doubts.

So you can cite the early polls showing that Sanders would have beaten Trump (as they showed Clinton beating Trump). And then let's all remember how inaccurate the polls proved to be once real life happened.  Professional pollsters are currently stumped as to explanations. I really doubt a Bernie Bro who can't let go of the fact that his guy other than attributing it entirely to rigging has it All Figured Out (oh right, Bernie Math).

Two, Bernie was barely vetted by the media during the primaries, certainly as compared to Clinton, who has been vetted on the national stage for decades. Clinton herself barely went after him in the primaries so as to not alienate his fans. To think that Trump would have kept the kid gloves on when he was already throwing out a "Crazy Bernie" moniker is not reality-based.

Then there's that pesky fact that the literal KKK, neo-nazis, and even less explicitly-racist and anti-semitic whites support Trump. I suppose when a candidate doesn't believe bigotry is a big problem among the white working class, it's easy for him to discount the impact that bigotry might have on his chances.

Yet, Trump voters support him in part because they loathe the notion of "their" tax dollars going to, what they deem, "lazy minorities." So, if you tell me that significant numbers of the white working class would have voted for a Jewish socialist to make America great through the redistribution of (their) wealth ("to minorities") I would tell you that you probably haven't spent significant amounts of time among the white working class.

And I would say the same if you tried to tell me that white working class Trump voters would be on board with Black Lives Matter, pro-choice activism, equal pay for women, military opposition, anti-prison, pro-immigration, and tolerance of non-Christian religions if we just make these white people feel heard.

So, which issues get prioritized?

With the advice coming from the left and right that we all just need to empathize more with (white, male, aggrieved) working class folks, I think we know the answer to that.

And so I contend, if Sanders can't or won't acknowledge the racism and sexism among Trump supporters, he was never the right person for the job. People didn't vote for Trump in spite of his racism and sexism. Many voted for him because of it.

Why do I think this? Because we all have bigotries and biases and it takes continual work to examine that. I think that is especially true when people live in mostly-white enclaves who have little contact with people different from themselves. The solution is not to pretend that these bigotries don't exist. It's to acknowledge and confront these bigotries.

To quote Flavia: "The revolution will be intersectional or it will be bullshit." And in under no circumstances will it be had via socialist "class is the real struggle" gaslighting.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Part 1: On Bullying

Part 1 in a series of 9.

(1) On bullying.

I've seen a lot of white Trump voters on social media who are shocked, angered, and saddened that "intolerant liberals" are "bullying" them by calling them, or suggesting they are, bigots.

But, it's not limited to the right. Over the course of the election season, we saw various levels of even liberal hand-wringing about how Clinton supporters need to have more "empathy" for Trump supporters, largely coded as the (white, male, aggrieved) working class. The white working class, we are told, has "economic anxiety" and we mustn't judge them with our "elite liberal" sensibilities by calling them bigots.

Well, I'll talk more about that economic anxiety claim later this week. But, on the empathy/bullying front, I still contend, as I've contended for years, that the empathy must work both ways. For, we also have to remember that Trump is a bully-in-chief who ran a campaign premised upon name-calling, taunting, and aggression, which he has neither atoned nor apologized for. Indeed, he's already back on Twitter sounding off his grievances about the anti-Trump protests and media. People are so mean to him. So unfair.

So, while it is nice, I guess, that Trump supporters are taking a stand against bullying now that they feel they are being bullied, where were they for the past 18 months when their top guy was impulsively pecking out insults on his Twitter? Oh, right. They were celebrating his "tell it like it is" persona because they purportedly believe telling the "truth" is more important than coddling people's feelings.


What a concept. Imagine if more people understood that a critical distinction exists between saying what one thinks the truth is versus what the truth actually is. Trump, for instance, might be "honest" in the sense that he says whatever is on his mind at the moment; but what's on his mind is not necessarily truth in any objective sense of the word.

Which leads to the hypocrisy of it all, via garbage fire Joe Walsh:

The "joke" within the first post is that liberals have overly-delicate feelings and can't handle the truth.

The argument within the second post is the threat: you damn well better not call us names, or we'll never vote for you again! That this also might be construed as a request to coddle the delicate feelings of bigots, who literally argue for safe spaces within the public discourse, does not seem to cross the bigot mind.

All of this is to say I'm suspicious of any demands to re-center the feelings of white people who have unexamined, defensive bigotry, whether these demands come from the left, right, center, media, or purportedly neutral parties. The Tolerance Trap of "you must tolerate my intolerance of you" is a real, fucked-up thing.  But, listen, we actually don't have to be tolerant of all things all the time, particularly of opinions and people that degrade our dignity, just because people call us "intolerant" or mock our safe spaces or think we're mean when we express fear, hurt, or anger at injustice against us.

Drawing boundaries is, actually, a key point to being a feminist progressive.

I humbly offer this post as a resource, particularly for those who navigate conversations in which people request that you not call out bigotry when you see it.  You might have noticed the Gaslight Extravaganza that's going on everywhere lately.

Name what is happening, if only to yourself, and know when you need to walk away for your own well-being. Note the hypocrisy. Note the double-standard. If Trump supporters and their liberal enablers are imploring to you that bigotry wasn't a factor in Trump's election, know that this claim can only be made with a straight face in communities with toxic, fucked-up power dynamics.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Feeling

[content note: anti-LGBT bigotry]

Feeling nostalgic?

Well, hey hey, the National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) is back in action, having released a plan to implement their predictable, reprehensible anti-LGBT agenda under a new Administration. Even though NOM was too cowardly to endorse Trump in the general, they just wrote an ass-kissy announcment "heartily" congratulating Trump on his "incredible win."

[insert jack-off motion]

Oh, why hello readers. Gee, I hate to talk about myself in the third person, but the unthinkable happened on 11/8/16 and it appears Zero Fucks Fannie rose from the ashes.

But also, regarding Anti-LGBT Inc. Bring it, assholes.

Beginning next week, I will be posting a series of take-aways from Election 2016, which will sandwich the regular Supergirl recaps. Yeah, yeah, I know. All dozen of you come here exclusively for the rando political/pop culture crossover talk.

Speaking of which, the new Mass Effect game will allegedly be released in about four months, so:


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Recap: Supergirl 1.5 "How Does She Do It?"

In this episode, we first see Supergirl flying around and being tailed by a drone thingy. We're not sure what that's all about, but she punches it and brings it in to the DEO for inspection.

We also learn that Cat has won a writing award and has to go to a ceremony in Metropolis. However, she has no one to watch her young son, Carter. Naturally, Kara offers to babysit. FYI, I did a quick tabulation and "busy parent(s) leaving their children with unqualified babysitting figures" is the plot of 72% of 1980s movies involving kids. I'm glad to see its revival here and I hope at one point gigantic pancakes get made.

Somebody write this crossover/reboot fic.
Anyway, a bomb goes off in National City and Supergirl subsequently swoops in to stop a skyscraper from collapsing from the blast. From a distance, we see another drone flying nearby. Gleep glorp. At the DEO, Alex figures out that whoever made the bomb used the same technology that was in the drone. Maxwell Lord is her suspect.

While at the DEO, Kara vents to Alex that James' ex-girlfriend is in town and Alex gives her a lecture about how she needs to be careful about ending up in the friendzone with James. So, two things: (A) I didn't realize people other than MRA-types used the phrase "friendzone," but here we are. And (B) Are male-female pair bonds truly dependent upon the operation of such inauthentic mating/friendship categorizations?  I am out of my depth here. *shrug*

Cat then calls Kara and asks how Carter is doing. Uh-oh! Kara has forgotten to pick him up from school, so GREAT START THERE, SUPERGIRL! Why don't you also let him venture into a Chicago blue's club, get in the middle of a gang fight on the subway, and dangle off the roof of the Crain Communications Building? Luckily, before he can do any of that, Supergirl flies super fast and gets to Carter's school in no time. When Supergirl arrives, she flies into a shrub, quickly changes into normal clothes, and picks him up. Just like a 100% normal, non-sketchy person would do.

Nothing to see here, folks.
Carter is a shy, sort-of awkward, cute little guy.  When a news clip of Supergirl plays, we find out that he thinks Supergirl is "so cool," plus he says this:

Carter: Last week, [Supergirl] stopped Reactron. Superman never did that. And, earlier she caught an entire building. And she can shoot lasers out of her eyes.
Kara: Wow, she does sounds pretty cool.
Carter: (annoyed) I didn't say she was pretty. 
Kara: But, do you think she's pretty?
Carter: I don't know. I guess.
LOL. But seriously, we often talk about how it's inspiring for girls to see depictions of women as heroes and protagonists, as opposed to objects and supporting roles for male characters. It's also important for boys, too, for many reasons, just a few of which are that (a) maybe then they won't grow up to be men who nerd-rage over female superhero movies and shows, (b) they will ostensibly one day have careers in which they will have to work side-by-side with women as peers, and (c) maybe they will one day choose not to elect literally the worst man ever over a competent woman for President. (Bitter, party of 59 million).

Anyway, Hank, Alex, and Alex's big gay belt buckle have ventured to Maxwell Lord's to try to get more information about the bomb.

Someone's looking very "Olivia Benson" today.
Hank leaves Alex alone with Max and it pains me to say this but I believe we then witness some subtextual flirting between Alex and Max and let us never speak of it again. Last week, when I said the hetero romance lines could afford to be more subdued I wasn't suggesting that Alex should be subtly paired with the worst dude on the show. Alex is entirely too good for Max and if the love interest has to be a man, it should at least be Hank.

Anyway, Max is also apparently building a monorail thing, because of course he is. I theorize that this is an allusion to that Simpson's episode where Springfield bought a faulty monorail from a Trump-like conman, so I know nothing good can come of it. If you introduce a monorail in Act I, it has to derail by Act III.

On the Carter front, Supergirl has once again Kevin McAllister'd him, which allows him to sneak away to the mono's grand opening. The "Alex's Ex" DEO agent lets Supergirl know that a bomb is at the airport. But, complicating matters, we see that there's also a bomb on the mono! This one is strapped to a disgruntled former employee of Max Lord's. Like, this guy is literally sitting on the train with a bomb sticking out of his coat, but I guess because he's white and not reading Arabic text no one says anything. Just making National City Great, folks!

Alert: This seems fine.
Supergirl can only be in one place at a time, so who does she save, the airport people or the monorail people? She picks the people on the monorail, leaving the DEO to try to stop the bomb at the airport. At the airport, we see that Hank secretly uses some sort of superpower he has to defuse the bomb, but to cover his tracks he tells people that the bomb was "a dud." Hmm. On the mono, Supergirl runs into Carter, calms him down, and saves the people on the train.

Cat then returns from her award ceremony and we find out that she (who else?) is the person responsible for Carter's proper feminist indoctrination. Carter tells her how excited he is about getting to meet Supergirl and then this happens:
Cat:What do you think makes her a hero?
Carter: I'd say her legs. Definitely her legs.
Cat: (looks appalled)
Carter: Her heart, mom.
Cat: Oh! That was a joke. That was a joke! Carter, you made a joke!
Yeah, yeah, say what you will, but I think it's cute.

At the end of the episode, Supergirl confronts Max about the bombs and drones. He admits that they were all his doing, his purpose being to collect data points about Supergirl.  Seeee, I told you he was the creepiest Gaius Baltar-y worst. Fuckin' nobody leaves Lord Technologies without singing the blues.

Deep Thought of the Day: Speaking of Gaius Baltar and recent political events, I feel like we are now living in the scenario where Gaius ran a presidential campaign encouraging the humans to settle on New Caprica, nobody listened to Laura Roslin's warnings, the people elected Gaius, and then the Cylons basically enslaved the humans.

What I'm saying is that I'm going to start a Battlestar Galactica re-watch. That show has some serious lessons about power, resistance, and leadership.

 [Note: In November 2017, CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.]

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blog Update

In case you're wondering, I will post this week's Supergirl recap tomorrow. I couldn't post it today, acting like everything was normal. It's not.

"Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around." - Stephen King

The Patriarchy

Shall still be smashed, my dears.

But first:

And then, I remember:

"Mourn the losses, because they are many. But celebrate the victories, because they are few."

I watched last night's General Election returns with the same cautiously-optimistic outlook that gradually turned to a similar despair I felt in 2000 and 2004, when the US elected George W. Bush. In 2004, I remember watching in horror as, to add to the pain, 11 out of 11 states passed state amendments banning same-sex marriage. In 2008, we made history electing President Obama, but California passed the anti-gay Proposition 8.

Then, seven years later, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. That took work, advocacy, difficult conversations, lawsuits, organizing. These are the ups and downs inherent in the nature of our political system. And when we're on a downswing, it's downright horrific.

I am at a loss to find a silver lining and I won't insult you to even try. All I can offer is that I've (we've) felt this despair before. We've also come out on the other side, somehow.

My deepest gratitude to Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has endured so much, for us. And, it all breaks my heart.

Today, we mourn.

Tomorrow, next week, next year. We fight.

Please take care of yourselves.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Clandestine Glove Lunch Tuesday

Everything's fine.

It's Election Day. You know what sounds great? Kate McKinnon doing a Carol parody. If anybody wants me, I'll be at Lezzie's drinking martinis until Wednesday morning.

But seriously, what are people's election-return-watching plans? I'm sure be switching between news channels, scrolling Twitter, and browsing between 10 open tabs on my computer. I'll check in here periodically too, if anyone feels like randomly talking about stuff. (BYOB)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Quote of the Day

On Wikileaks, via The New York Times:
"Demanding transparency from the powerful is not a right to see every single private email anyone in a position of power ever sent or received. Wikileaks, for example, gleefully tweeted to its millions of followers that a Clinton Foundation employee had attempted suicide; news outlets repeated the report.
....Data dumps by Wikileaks have outed rape victims and gay people in Saudi Arabia, private citizens' emails and personal information in Turkey, and the voice mail messages of the Democratic National Committee staff members. Dissent requires the right to privacy: to be let alone in our vulnerabilities and the ability to form our thoughts and share them when we choose. These hacks undermine that crucial right."

One of the many fallouts of Election 2016 will be, I fear, the casual acceptance of the further, total erosion of privacy for "the elite." You can guarantee that shit will trickle down. For many, particularly women and marginalized people on the Internet who have been hacked and doxxed, it already has.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Fun: An OITNB Battle

Samira Wiley and Laverne Cox in a lip-sync battle?

Yes, please.

I mean, could Samira Wiley be any cuter? And, Laverne with those splits at the end? Super impressive.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

In Which Both Sides-ism Makes Me Want to Vomit

And here's another hot take of Election 2016 that can eat a sack of tits.

So says Barbara Ehrenreich in The Guardian:
"On the liberal left, tragically, we do not have Bernie Sanders, who would have dispatched Trump’s populist pretensions with a wrist flick. But no, representing the side of tolerance, good government and cosmopolitanism, we have the very epitome of Democratic party elitism, a woman who labeled half of Trump’s supporters 'deplorables', a politician who is so robotic that any efforts to analyze her motives risk the charge of anthropomorphism. Consider her statement on the Standing Rock occupation in North Dakota, which could have been issued by an unmanned typewriter. As soldiers and police bore down on the protesters, she urged all parties – tribal peoples and the pipeline company that threatens their culture and habitat –'to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.'
....With either Clinton or Trump, we will be left to choke on our mutual revulsion."
You gotta love the Bernie left.

I mean, sure, Donald Trump might be a racist, authoritarian sexual predator who incites violence against his opponent, but Hillary Clinton just gave a boring, diplomatic statement about DAPL. So, both sides are just as bad, yo!

Researcher: "Empathy" Needed for Conservative White Feelings

What sweet fresh navel-gazing hell did I just read at The Washington Post?

Title: "What is this election missing? Empathy for Trump voters."

In it a liberal Berkeley professor assumes the role of explaining to us(?) the white working class conservative in its natural habitat. She strove to understand, to really understand, this population, ultimately arguing that our (liberal? elite?) lack of empathy is driving us apart.  And further, if we liberals want to re-capture this population as political allies, the onus is more on us to understand them, then vice versa. Even if they are extremely hateful to us.

A few things.

One, yes, understanding is good. I've written a similar argument about the importance of understanding those with whom we disagree politically. The context of this piece was my, I guess I'd call it, attempted civil "mixed-company" conversations about marriage equality with people opposed to my full legal equality, some of whom devoted their professional lives to my inequality.

Which brings me to two. For civility to occur, I think that the empathy has to be multi-directional.

This piece isn't the first I've seen seeking to humanize, empathize with, and understand Trump supporters. Perhaps I've missed them, but have there been many conservative-written or mainstream-published think-pieces urging Trump supporters to extend their empathy to Clinton supporters or, say, to Black Lives Matters activists?

If the onus is "more" on liberal to to be the empathetic understanders, as this particular researcher suggests, my life lesson with such things is that many conservatives will take and take and take from us, just like the emotional-vampire MRA who comes to a feminist blog to talk about nothing but men, without reciprocating the empathy. That hardly seems fair, sustainable, or healthy.

Three, and also related, nearly all of these let's-empathize-with-Trump supporters pieces have elided the very real bigotries displayed by many Trump supporters. They litter rallies and social media sites with "Trump that bitch" messaging. They call for the imprisonment and/or execution of Hillary Clinton. They think Black Lives Matters activists are violent radicals. They hate-fear Muslims. They're set on electing a sexual predator, a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe, and someone who said he'd elect anti-choice Supreme Court justices who would limit reproductive rights for generations.

It is explained to us, non-academics who actually have interactions with the white working class (who might even be part of or have come from the white working class), that these white working folks "just" feel left behind. They have economic anxiety. How these anxieties explain, let alone justify, say calling for Hillary Clinton's execution isn't explained quite as much.

And, because the empathy only works in one direction, because we are implored to center white working class fee-fees, their bigotries remain unchallenged. How we're supposed to co-exist with people who we fear and who deny our full humanity, dignity, and equality, while maintaining our own preservation and well-being, goes unaddressed.

In a bizarro way, these humanizing narratives of Trump supporters offer their own soft bigotry of low expectations for conservative whites: the belief that they can never be better than what they are and that it's up to we enlightened liberal elites to tolerate them.

On the upside, Election 2016 is really helping define my own personal boundaries of progressivism. We really aren't a monolith! Take that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Recap Wednesday: Supergirl 1.4 "Livewire"

Episode four begins with Alex prepping for a visit from her mom for Thanksgiving. There is some angst in this relationship, it seems, and it's making me experience vicarious anxiety. Alex thinks her mom is going to be upset at her that Kara "came out" as Supergirl and it all feels so very gay.

Anyhoo, this week's villain is Leslie Willis, a shock jock Mean Girl type of radio personality. We see her reciting an on-air monologue against Supergirl that could have been ripped straight from Internet comment sections. She sneeringly calls Supergirl "adorkable" (ex-squeeze me, that's a bad thing how?), says she wears an "Olympic figure skating outfit" (harsh, Leslie, harsh), and jokes that Supergirl gives off a "Sapphic vibe" (yes please).

Cat Grant is not amused at this harassment, and for that I love her even more. She calls Leslie into her office and demands that she stop. You see, Cat wants to have a relationship with Supergirl. Er, I mean, wants CatCo to have a business relationship with Supergirl and she can't have Leslie demeaning her. Yes, ahem. So, Cat cancels Leslie's show and puts her on the traffic beat instead. That night, while Leslie is covering traffic in a helicopter (because this change would obvs happen immediately), there's a bad storm and Leslie's helicopter is in peril. Supergirl tries to save her, but Leslie gets struck by lightning.

As a result, Leslie sort of turns into Dark Willow:

"I'm so evil.... and I think I'm kinda gay"
Kara then hosts Thanksgiving dinner for her foster mom, Alex, and Winn.  Alex is drinking a lot of wine (as one does) and Kara invites everyone to go around and (ugh) "share their feelings."

I'm with her.
After a few glasses of wine, Alex "comes out" to her mom that she's actually a DEO agent and her mom gets really upset (more wine, more wine).

Before that can be fully explored, Cat calls Kara back to the office. On Thanksgiving. To help solve a technical issue. Because of course she does. While there, two things happen. First, Kara suggests they call Winn to help and Cat says, "What's a Winn?" and I can't help but laugh (sorry not sorry). And, two, the power goes out and Leslie (now calling herself "Livewire") shows up. Kerpow!

Kara disappears to "go get security," and then a few seconds later Supergirl swoops in. As Supergirl does. Livewire and Supergirl cross the streams with their electricity bolts and heat vision, respectively, and Livewire ends up fleeing. As villains often do in this show. This auspicious fleeing allows Supergirl and the DEO to contemplate what Livewire's specific strengths and weaknesses might be.

Hank indeed figures out that some of Supergirl's powers got transferred to Leslie when she got hit by lightning. (*shrug* I can go with it). So, he gives Supergirl what seems to be the equivalent of a ghost trap in which to catch Livewire. Then, later that night, Cat and Supergirl team up (#SuperCat) to defeat her. I'm not sure why the the ghost trap idea is abandoned, or why Cat and Supergirl don't make out at some point, but Supergirl sees a hose lying on the ground and sprays water onto Livewire. It turns out electricity and water are not a good combo, and Livewire is defeated.

Speaking of fizzles, the next day at work Kara and Winn are talking and he leans in and kisses her on the cheek. (As.... one....does.... in the workplace?)  And, welp, this is what Kara looks like when Winn kisses her:

Everything's fine. This is fine.
Now, he either knows Kara has a crush on James and doesn't care or he's completely oblivious to the fact that Kara doesn't like him like that. Yikes. There was also some James/Kara flirting, but I will have more to say about that at a later recap I think. For now, the relationship/chemistry there seems a little.... forced? Like, I can 100% buy them being into each other.  But, every scene they're in together doesn't have to include dramatic, longing interactions, right? Take a cue from the queer gaze: romance can be subtle and people, even straight people, might still pick up on it I think?

The episode then ends with Alex's mom revealing that Alex's father worked for the DEO as well, that he was killed while serving, and he was recruited by Hank Henshaw. *dun dun dun*

Deep Thought of the Week: As mentioned, the Thanksgiving dinner scene was tense because, to me, it had the emotional resonance of coming out to one's family. In the show, Alex's mom had put a burden on her to watch over Kara starting when they took Kara in.  So, when Kara came out as Supergirl, Alex was blamed for it. It felt very uncomfortable because I know queer people who have actually been blamed for "turning" other people gay. So, it happens.

And, to top things off, she found out that her dad was secretly in the DEO (gay) too and suddenly it's like the superhero version of Fun Home. Or not at all, really. Too far. I've taken the metaphor too far.

Whatever. I'm going to drink some wine now.

 [Note: In November 2017, CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.]