Monday, January 30, 2017

Things Trump Has Had Time For Other Than Political Correctness

For posterity:
"I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either." -Donald Trump, 2016
Today I offer a sample of some of the important items the pressed-for-time Trump has had time to talk and think about.

Calling established, if imperfect, news organizations "FAKE NEWS":

Mocking the largest protest in US history, which was waged in response to his Electoral College win:

 Participating in Important Golf Matters:

Mocking Meryl Streep, who used her platform upon receipt of a Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award, to speak against Trump:

Monitoring the ratings of a TV show and comparing its current ratings to when he was on that TV show:

I see.

Coupled with his atrocious Cabinet picks and recent Executive Orders, it's not clear what, exactly, Trump is making "great," let alone "safe" again. Other than, I suppose, his own thin-skinned ego and life of 100% unexamined privilege.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Femslash Friday: Saving Face

You know how with some movies featuring lesbian, bisexual, trans, or queer women you have to stop them before the tragic ending hits? (Is that just me who does this?)

For instance, in the Xenaverse, I pretend that the final episode, in which Xena dies, is not canon. In High Art, which features Ally Sheedy as a lesbian artist (yes please) I stop the movie when it has about 10 minutes left so as to avoid the tragic ending. I'm still not caught up on The 100, and am not sure I'll ever finish the series given Lexa's infamous fate. I've watched every episode of Buffy numerous times, with the exception of "Seeing Red," in which Tara is killed, which I don't ever need to see again.

I recently gave Saving Face a re-watch. It's really a gem, from 2004, if you've not seen it! And, it has, refreshingly in this genre, a great ending. We need more romantic comedies like this - I would throw money at more movies like this - especially featuring more women of color.

Some randos tried to tell me on Twitter late last year that pop culture is not political,because made-up stories have no impact on "real life." This argument is often made in the context of people with certain privileges telling other people that sexism, racism, or homophobia in TV doesn't matter because it's "not real."

I suppose these unexamined arguments are easy to say with a straight face if one is used to seeing representations of oneself everywhere in pop culture: books, games, TV, film. I mean, straight people get a billion and a half romantic comedies riffing off of every conceivable "Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" gender stereotype featuring clueless privileged white hetero characters. (That many of these are bad and sexist also matters, I argue).

Queer women, meanwhile, have about a good dozen to re-watch over and over again. Women of color and trans women, even fewer. All of this matters. The conservatives who call for banning books and pop culture that show affirming representations of same-sex love know this. Why don't some on the left seem to get it?

Anyway, if you need a teaser, somebody made a fan music video of the romance between the two main characters, Wil and Vivian, because of course they did [NSFW]:

P.S. - Both lead actresses are great. Michelle Krusiec is divine. That is all, HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Clinton and 2008 Misogyny

This post is a sort of meta, but I'm old enough to remember that the misogyny thrown at Hillary Clinton in Election 2016 was similar to when she ran in 2008.

Hop in the DeLorean and let's take a trip back in time, shall we?

First, The Feminist Law Professors' Ann Bartow, in her 2008 piece "The Sexism in the Democratic Primary," has a rundown of the misogyny Clinton experienced that year. Reading through it, geeeez, the misogyny was (ironically) so shrill, so overt, and so very emotionally fragile. This was before phrases like "SJW," "alt-right," and "cuck" entered the Internet lexicon. It was a simpler, kinder time.

Ha ha, just kidding. George W. Bush had just been President for 8 years. It was awful!

For instance, I had forgotten that Hillary Clinton was made to publicly deny that she was a lesbian and that one of her 2008 version of "email server" controversies was that she teared up during a speech (lock her up!). In Bartow's piece, Echidne was quoted with an observation:
"But if you read widely on this topic on blogs you will find that even many feminists have this view that the sexism is not really deplorable, because Hillary Clinton really is a monster bitch."
(Props to predicting "deplorable" 8 years ago!)

Sadly, I recognize some of that buying-into of the "monster bitch" caricature in my 8-years-ago self. My feminist consciousness was less developed then. I was less critical of what I was hearing. I wrote several posts back then noting instances of sexism aimed at Clinton but did not come out strongly supporting her over Barack Obama.

To quote Sarah Paulson's famous Emmy speech about having unfairly judged Marcia Clark, "...I, along with the rest of the world, had been superficial and careless in my judgment." I'm ashamed and sorry I didn't or say enough to counter it back then. Looking back, I can say that watching what Clinton experienced did, I believe, turn out to be formative to my ongoing development as a feminist.

I recognized much of this uncritical acceptance of the Hillary "the monster bitch" meme in many young women in 2016, particularly some I interacted with or saw on Twitter who uncritically bought in the notion that Bernie Sanders was something of a saint compared to Clinton.

Some of these people truly believed that Trump and Clinton were both just as bad as one another. And now? They sure are gonna see. We're all gonna see. That's, perhaps, the tragedy of it. How could this happen, but for some seriously-unexamined misogyny?

I try not too think too much about the alternative universe where Madam President is diligently working for us - protecting reproductive rights, not cutting violence against women programs, celebrating diversity, some people on the left still calling her a neolib and telling us Trump would have been better (ha ha).....lord, where do you even stop?

But, hopping back in our DeLorean, Historiann also wrote a 2008 piece that's interesting to read today, entitled, "Hark! A Voice From the Future, Today:"
"In many ways, the misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton this year–the blowback of which will probably be felt by women in all walks of life for years to come in thousands of discouraging ways–is part of an old story best documented by Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler.  Somerby has been on the case of the insular corporate media since 1999, when he noticed the power of the preferred media narrative about Al Gore’s candidacy for the Presidency, and its curious imperviousness to the facts.  And as Somerby points out regularly–you’ll never see or hear the media tell the truth about its own role in shaping our political and cultural discourses."
She notes that many people, including liberals and Democrats, were bystanders to or active participants in the spreading and acceptance of vicious lies about Clinton. (+ note the mansplainy condescending comments following the post - how familiar those look!).

In 2016, the media certainly had a preferred narrative about Clinton: She's hiding Serious Wrongdoing in the Emails, with the implication that Trump is right to call her Crooked Hillary. Both sides are therefore Just The Same.

What I believe helped lead to her primary and general popular vote win, however, are two factors:

(1) Social media usage for candidates, pundits, and voters was likely much greater in Election 2016 than 2008, meaning more people were exposed to messaging other than that of mainstream media sources; and (2) Many Clinton supporters, and feminists in particular, used social media, blogs, and larger media platforms to confront misogynistic tropes leveled at Clinton, probably to a greater degree than what we saw in 2008.

In a dark way, I suppose it is progress that, this time, it took misogyny, racism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant fear-mongering, Russian interference, hacking, Wikileaks, the media obsessively reporting on Hillary's email server, and assists from James Comey and Jill Stein to obtain a small electoral college win over the woman.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 1.15 "Solitude"

Buckle up, 'cuz this is a big episode. "Solitude" begins with Kara still upset because she thinks Hank killed Astra. Knowing this, Alex shows up one morning to Kara's apartment with a box of donuts. I guess the thinking is that if she showers Kara with donuts, Kara won't be upset when she finds out the truth?

I just want to put it out there that Alex Danvers could shower me with all the donuts all the mornings and I would not have an iota of crankiness. But, I can see how with Kara and Alex being sisters things might be different. And also, Kara has cool lights in her apartment:

Despite the donuts, Kara insists she doesn't want to go back to work for the DEO because she can't forgive Hank. She'll do things on her own now!

At CatCo, an anonymous person sends Cat a thumb drive with data from some adultery hookup website. Cat refuses to run a story on it, saying no one cares about adultery anymore and, as a victim of hacking herself, she doesn't want to condone that behavior. (Phew, for a minute, I thought she was just going to stick a random thumb drive into her computer. Free Wednesday Tip of the Day: Don't put rando thumb drives  in your computer if you're trying to avoid malware).

Later in the day, a woman appears on all the TV screens in the office claiming she's the hacker and that all information systems are about to be shut down. Also, "the age of chaos is here." (Tell me about it, sister). Traffic lights go out. The banking and Internet go down. The market starts to crash. Grab your prepper supplies and get to your bunkers people! (No, like, for real).

In response to this impending apocalypse, Cat turns to Winn and says,"Fix this." (LOL)

To his credit, Winn grabs some M&Ms and gets to work on his three computers. While he's working, the mysterious hacker villain woman pops up on one his screens:

And THEN, the hacker woman jumps out of the screen and morphs into a physical being bearing more than a slight resemblance to Liara T'Soni and Mystique. Her name is actually Indigo and she is somehow in cahoots with Non. By "in cahoots with Non" I mean that it seems like they are both plotting something very evil together AND they maybe used to canoodle together:

Indigo knows that Kara is Supergirl and starts attacking her. However, Alex and Hank burst in and scare Indigo away. Kara still refuses to work with the DEO, however, and leaves, insisting that she can deal with villains on her own. But can she though? I feel like there is a lesson coming!

(And, what about all that Stronger Together talk? Does it mean nothing, NOTHING AT ALL??)

Back at CatCo, Siobhan has been acting cranky. I mean, like, more than usual, ever since the thumb drive arrived at CatCo. She tells Winn that she found out that her father was like a platinum member in the adultery club. So, there's a brief moment of vulnerability and then two seconds later she's back to her snotty self.

Alex then comes to CatCo and says that the DEO needs Winn's expertise to defeat Indigo. He's hesitant to go, because he knows Kara is no longer working with the DEO. But, Kara reluctantly tells him that they're all on the same team and they need to work together if they're going to defeat Donald Trump. I mean this villain. Indigo. So, he goes.

Supergirl then flies (with James on her back, or?) to the Fortress of Solitude (in Antarctica? the North Pole? Russia?), where they try to find out more about Indigo:

There, a robot similar to the little Claptrap robot in Borderlands is for some reason just hanging out. It helpfully explains that Indigo belongs to a race of supercomputer aliens and she wants to destroy the entire human population.

Accordingly, Indigo has gotten hold of the nuclear launch protocol. To launch the nukes, two separate keys need to be turned on opposite sides of the room. That would pose a problem to a mere mortal. But then, Indigo makes this terrifying thing happen:

No tiny hands here.
Yes, she has stretched her arms so as to reach each key slot. Awesome. This might be the scariest Super-verse computer-gone-bad thing to happen since this computer-gone-bad thing happened in Superman III:

Indigo launches a nuke at National City and Supergirl goes after it, but isn't sure how to change its course. (Um, use your super strength to push it over the ocean?). So, she calls Hank for help on shutting down the on-board computer. I still haven't figured out if she's able to randomly call Hank and Alex via secret earpiece or what, but in any case, Hank helps Supergirl thwart the nuke attack and then Winn injects Indigo with a virus.

Stronger Together! The Scoobies are back in action!

In other Winn news, he and Siobhan make out. So, that's odd, but whatever floats your boat. In Lucy-James-Kara love triangle news, Lucy breaks up with James.

In sister news, Alex finally tells Kara that she's the one who killed Astra - and I find this moment to be the best so far in the series. It wasn't clear at first how Kara would respond - it could have turned into this Big Thing that divided the sisters. Instead, Kara forgives Alex, and acknowledges what Hank tried to do for them, to keep them together:

The fam is back together, folks.

Deep Thought of the Week: This happened at the Women's March on Washington. Note that her shirt says "FEMINIST." YES!

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Quote of the Day: Angela Davis at the Women's March

The Guardian has posted a transcript of Angela Davis' speech at the Women's March on Washington. Here's a snippet:

 "Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out.
The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.

This is just the beginning and in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker: ‘We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.’ Thank you."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's Marches Prove Historic

The Women's Marches this past weekend are said to be the largest protests in US history. I wrote about it at Shakesville:

That we are living in a historic moment cannot be overstated. Trump continues to fill his Cabinet with unqualified extremists as though he has the strongest of mandates, even though by key measures he has no mandate to do so.

His electoral college win, temperament, lack of competence, lack of knowledge, and bigotry have inspired the largest protest in US history. He lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. And, via Media Matters, he is "the least popular president-elect since modern polling was invented."

For posterity, I note some reactions to this historic weekend.
Check out the whole piece!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Feeling: Political Music

Via Curve:
“'Quiet,' the second debut single for Chinese-American singer/songwriter MILCK, born Connie Lim, will be released in conjunction with the Women’s March this Saturday.

MILCK will perform 'Quiet' in multiple guerrilla-style a cappella performances at the Women’s March, joined by a full choir from the George Washington University Sirens and the D.C. Capital Blends, who will lend their voices as well.

The song and video attempt to shed light on the struggles women around the world how feel they don’t have a voice in this political climate."
It always boggles me when people, of any political leaning, tell musicians to "shut up and sing." To stick to music and not be political.

Do..... do such people know about music, at all?  Bob Dylan, Madonna, Ray Charles, Bikini Kill, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Pink. The list of artists who have, to varying degrees, used their music to make political statements is nearly endless. Isn't, perhaps, all music political to an extent, even if the statement is that the musician has chosen to focus on something frivolous in spite of life's tragedies?

Remember when the Dixie Chicks were vilified for criticizing George W. Bush circa 2003? The same people who sang along to, say, Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" (which I guess we're to believe is politically neutral?) were outraged at Natalie Maines for injecting politics into a concert (ps - FUTK). I suspect it's not so much that people object to musicians expressing political opinions, but rather, to musicians expressions political opinions that are disagreeable.

(I support Ted Nugent saying whatever diprod things he wants to say at his concerts. I'm 100% certain I'll never be there to listen or give him money).

Anyway, my dear Nasty Women, Brother-Sestras, and those who identify outside this binary, have a watch/listen to "Quiet," if you're able:

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, and 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.

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

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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 1.13 "For the Girl Who has Everything"

To begin, we see Kara waking up on Krypton. Her mom explains that she had the Argo Fever, but she's better now (Fun Fact: Argo is the name of Xena's horse). Back on Earth, we see that Kara's really in some sort of coma and oh sweet Jesus WHAT IS HAPPENING:

I don't know why there are a dozen long-clitted red roses on Kara's chest, I just know that there are. Alex, Winn, and James find her like this and evacuate her to the DEO. The DEO can't figure out what it is or why it has put Kara in a coma, and when they try to pull it off of her, it starts to kill her.

The first suspect here is Max Lord (obvs), but he claims not to know anything about it. We then see Non and Astra talking about a master plan they have called Myriad, which involves a solar storm and taking Supergirl down. So, the good news is that Astra is back. The bad news is that the rose-thingy is Non's doing and it's called a Black Mercy, which sounds horrific.

Astra and Non revealing their master plan
At CatCo, Winn and James try to cover for Kara's absence. And here, I feel like it needs to be said. I love Cat, but as a media executive does she really have enough free time in the day to go around asking, "Where's Kiera?" every five minutes? Just wondering! However, this storyline leads to one of the funniest Supergirl moments so far: the gruff J'onn J'onnz shapeshifting into Kara and working at CatCo so Kara doesn't get fired.

At Alex's apartment, Astra shows up and says she wants to help Kara. Astra sure seems to know her way around Alex's apartment. Hmmm, I wonder why. Astra explains what the Black Mercy is and how it's making the fantasy "Krypton" world more and more real to Kara the longer she's in it. To get out, Kara has to reject the fake reality. Also, for some reason, most of Alex and Astra's conversation happens with their faces mere inches apart:

I do not reject this fantasy
At the DEO,  Max helps them inject Alex into the fake "Krypton" fantasy so she can help Kara realize it's fake. When Alex gets to "Krypton," Kara doesn't recognize her and Alex is put in handcuffs. Alex the Badass attacks the guards, however, and gives a rousing speech about how pain is a normal part of life. This seems to plant seeds of doubt in Kara's head about the reality of her perfect "Krypton" fantasy life. Kara then rejects the fantasy and gets out of the Black Mercy's grip.

Once she wakes up, Supergirl then goes after Non, while Alex and J'onn go after Astra. Just as Astra is about to kill J'onn, Alex stabs Astra through the heart with kryponite (nooooooo!). Supergirl gets to Astra just before Astra dies. Seeing that Supergirl is upset, J'onn tells her that he, rather than Alex, was the one who killed Astra (blub). He tells Alex later that he didn't want Supergirl to stop seeing Alex as her hero (double blub). And now, there's this angsty secret between the sisters.

Deep Thought of the Week: For Buffy fans, this episode might have reminded you of the episode "Normal Again." There, Buffy was stung by a demon that made her believe her life as a slayer wasn't real and that she was actually a patient in a psychiatric hospital.

A recurring theme in Buffy was that life on Earth was hellish (remember "Bargaining" in Season Six, after her friends brought her back from the dead, she asked, "Is this hell?"). In "Normal Again," it was in Buffy remembering her ties to her friends - her chosen family - that drew her out of the comforts of escapism and back to reality, however hellish it was. We saw a similar theme with today's Supergirl episode.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Do Trump's Promises Even Matter to Fans?

Writing at The Week, Paul Waldman has a theory as to why many Trump fans may not care if he breaks his campaign promises. The theory is that we have to understand Trump through a lens of dominance.

He writes:
 "When Trump talked about this during the campaign, liberals like me would say in exasperation, 'Don't you all realize this is fake? He's a con man!' His most ardent fans would have responded just like pro wrestling fans do: Of course we know it's fake. The point is the show, the drama, the way it makes us feel.

But on this particular pledge [to build the wall], it was about more than being bold. Consider the line about the wall getting 10 feet higher when the Mexicans say no. It was about dominance — something deeply important to Trump personally, and which his fans could experience through him. It's about making those foreigners kneel before us, where their resistance only increases our power. It was the equivalent of Michael Corleone telling Senator Geary, 'My offer is this — nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.' That's how you show someone who's boss, by making them pay for their own humiliation.

That was what thrilled Trump's audiences: the idea that through Trump they could feel dominant, potent, admired, and feared. People who complained that the world had conspired to make them impotent and leave them behind saw in Trump a force of empowerment. Mexico paying for the wall isn't about money, it's about power."
I think about some of the taunting I see in response to Trump's Electoral College win. The conservatives saying "Seeeeee, this is why Trump won" each time we stand up for ourselves.

How abusive is that? The more we stand up for ourselves, the more some people tell us we're pissing off Trump supporters who, in turn, will only vote even harder for him next time around. (Also, Alternate Take: That Meryl Streep speech is why Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump.)

Trump and his fans have a hard time handling resistance without resorting to this dominator/abuser mindset. He himself appears to want meek subservience, as he shows an entitlement to people not fighting back. Think of how he plays the victim each time someone calls him out publicly. The press, critics, people on Twitter - all of them so unfair!  Don't they know he's the Big Swinging Dick Alpha Dog? Why isn't everyone bowing down!?

His fans and enablers are just as bad.

Trump being President won't make the lives of his fans better in a material sense. And, he may break most promises he made to them. But through him, some people can live out their fantasies of dominance over liberals, progressives, immigrants, people of color, the disabled, women, and feminists.

And, that's something, I guess?

Monday, January 9, 2017

On Recognizing Everday Authoritarianism

I have a new post up at Shakesville. Here's a snippet:

"Would most Americans who are not explicitly targeted for oppression and violence know, for instance, if we were living through a time comparable to the Holocaust? Undoubtedly, the particulars would differ and so, wouldn't many people make distinctions that would gaslight the present-day horrors inflicted on others? (Don't many people already do this, with respect to state-sanctioned violence today?)

These questions are partly why I'm finding the endless calls for liberals to empathize with Trump voters, but so rarely the reverse, so vile right now. Where is the pressure on Trump voters - particularly angry, violent white men - to understand literally anyone else in society?"
Head to Shakesville to read it all!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Fan Friday: Hannah Hart

Bonus Friday Insight Into My Life: I sometimes ask my wife what she thinks the Femslash Friday/pop culture post of the week should be. Let's just say that if she had her way, 100% of these posts would be about But I'm a Cheerleader.

I personally think that would be a bit redundant, but I will nonetheless pause to appreciate a good and angsty Clea Duvall character.


Anyway, because I'm currently reading her memoir Buffering, I will also confess that Hannah Hart's YouTube show My Drunk Kitchen amuses me. When I was in college many years ago, a friend and I had a special bond over coming up with, and devouring, the best drunk food creations with whatever college food we had in our cupboard at the moment. Sliced pickles smothered with Thousand Island dressing, snuggled between two heels of white bread? Why not! Scrambled eggs on top of ramen noodles with a dusting of curry powder on top? Yum! Peanut butter spread on Saltines, with molasses drizzled on top? Sure!

Wait. Where are you going, dear readers? Come back!

On a serious note, I relate to quite a bit in Hart's book. Some day, perhaps I'll be able to write more about that. Hart is completely adorbz and, despite some of the experiences she writes about, seems to be not entirely jaded - which is something I struggle with.

Stay awhile and enjoy the vid:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 1.12 "Bizarro"

So, "Bizarro" opens in Max Lord's lab. He has assumed a Frankensteinian role of having turned a comatose woman into a Supergirl body double to wreak havoc on National City. And, he programs the double into wanting to kill Supergirl.

Supergirl not bad?
On the Kara love life front, she has a date planned with Adam. Winn is also now speaking to her again, after giving her a one-episode silent treatment, so I'm glad that's all worked out. Anyway, the eventual date with Adam starts well enough, but Kara has to leave in the middle of it because there's an emergency she has to attend to as Supergirl. At the emergency, the Supergirl body double shows up and Supergirl realizes the double is real person and not a Buffybot. Er, I mean, a robot. Winn, James, and Kara figure out that someone (Max?) has been kidnapping comatose women and experimenting on them for this purpose.

At CatCo the next day, Adam is at the office with Cat. Kara walks in and they plan a make-up date for later that night. They then proceed to awkwardly hug, and Cat's like:

I'm with her.
It's not that I don't like Adam, I just see him as the Riley Finn of Supergirl - nice, pretty, but not very interesting. But, my Cat/Kara shipping biases me, probs.

Alex then goes to Max's office and confronts him. Like all true villains, he then goes into a detailed monologue about how he brilliantly created the doppleganger (whom Cat has now named Bizarro) and that he used DNA samples from Supergirl to do so. Max says that he sees Supergirl as a threat to humanity and Bizarro as humanity's defense. This rightly pisses Alex off. So, on the bright side, subtextual things seem to be over between Max and Alex.

Later, Kara and Adam go on another date. It's going well, but right when they're smooching, Bizarro swoops in and kidnaps Kara. They then get into a doppleganger fight:

Alex and the DEO cavalry ride in and start shooting kryptonite bullets at Bizarro, but instead of weakening her, it makes her stronger. So, she gets away. Kara sees this all as a sign that she shouldn't date Adam, so she breaks up with him. *sad trombone* The central conflict strikes again. She will never have a normal life or romance.

Bizarro then kidnaps James. FYI, the kryptonite has now transformed Bizarro into this:

Holy shit.
Supergirl and the DEO figure out where Bizarro has taken James, and Alex shoots Bizarro with reverse kryptonite, capturing her. They take her back to the DEO and like a true Frankenstein monster, we see that she's actually a tragic figure. She says she's sorry and scared. She can't help how Max made her. Meanwhile, Alex has arrested Max and he's being held in the DEO's bad human jail. So, that's a fun development.

The episode ends with Supergirl going home and finding a structure that - how shall I put this delicately? - bears a slight resemblance to a Georgia O'Keefe flower gone alien?

The end.

Deep Thought of the Day: New realization. I love doppleganger tropes. I think it has to do with seeing established characters act off-character through a shadow self, yet in a way that still somewhat rings true to that character. Bizarro was a bad version of Supergirl, but having been made from Supergirl's DNA, still had that resonance of puppy pureness. Basically, I like seeing good characters "turn" bad. (Why yes, I do want to see more Vampire Willow, thank you for asking.)

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Yes, It Was Misogyny

I have a post up Shakesville today. A snippet:
"Perhaps you can relate, but I found Election 2016 to be deeply painful, especially to me as a woman, in ways I've not seen widely acknowledged by those with some of the largest media platforms. It is true that Hillary Clinton won almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump, but it shouldn't have even been close. If objective measures - competence, experience, temperament, and qualifications relative to his - mattered more than other measures, she should have won in a landslide.

The truth I find in this situation has been difficult to think about. Harder to write about.

But, Donald Trump's electoral college win has reinforced, to me, that women, as a class, are widely hated in the US. This is not to say that misogyny is the only explanation for her loss, but that it is, in fact, one of many explanations. Women are hated. Even by many women. Even by many liberals and progressives. And, more to the point, it's like many feminists have been saying for decades:

Women in the United States exist in a state of subordination to men and rape culture is an enforcer of this subordination."
 Head on over to Shakesville to read the whole thing!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Wrap-Up

Well, 2016 has been ....a year.

The popular consensus seems to have been that 2016 was a particularly bad year, for a host of reasons. I was on the fence about whether I agreed with that. I've had some personal ups and downs as well, but after all, aren't all years a mix of bad and good?  Shouldn't we give poor 2016 a fair chance?

The events of November 8th firmed up my opinion on this matter: 2016 was a bad year.

2017 marks my 10th(!) year of blogging, having started during the Bush years. Time flies when you're having fun, ranting, observing political things, getting into fights, and posting fan vids, so I thought I'd take some time to reflect. (Are there any readers left from the good ol' days? Reveal yourselves! ....*crickets*).

1) Twitter

Earlier in the year, I decided to re-active my Twitter account. I had opened one circa 2009 but didn't really connect with the user experience (aka - I didn't really understand how to use it). It's thus far been a mixed bag. Being a wordy writer, I'm not sure I'll ever be comfortable with the 140 character take, but I appreciate using Twitter to follow fast-moving developments and my latest celebrity crushes. Ahem.

Connect with me if you want: @fanniesroom

2) Pop Culture/Femslash Fridays

On the blogging front, it's been mostly good getting back into blogging more regularly. The last year I wrote more than 100 posts was 2013, but in 2016 I wrote 185. Much of this uptick was due to the 2016 presidential election, but also the integration of pop culture posts and femslash fridays.

I hope people have liked these posts and am open to suggestions - maybe a new show to recap once I'm done with Supergirl? (I may not necessarily be able to heed suggestions)

3) Where Are The Feminist Blogs?

In 10 years, I've seen a lot of feminist blogs come and go and just recently realized my daily feminist blog-reading list has dwindled. I haven't looked at data on this, but it also seems like the blogosphere is changing, with more people moving to micro-blogging on Twitter and/or writing at sites like Medium and Patreon.

I'm still satisfied with the Blogger platform and will stay here for the foreseeable future (while also guest posting at Shakesville). But, what other feminist blogs are people reading? I'd love to put new ones in my Feedly! Self-promote away, as well!

4) Donald Trump Reading List

After Trump won on November 8, I began pulling some of my feminist classics from the shelves: Margaret Atwood, Angela Davis, Catherine MacKinnon, and Michelle Tea, as well as political texts that seem particularly relevant right now: Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Eric Wolf's Ideologies of Dominance and Crisis.

Like many, I've felt compelled to arm myself with knowledge of both how to recognize, and resist, features of oppressive regimes, because we know many mainstream media voices will not do this for us.

For escapism and enjoyment, I'm set to read various memoirs (mostly of women) and some Jacqueline Carey and NK Jemisin books I haven't yet read.

Share any and all recommendations!

And, thanks for reading - here's to 2017 being.... another year.