Thursday, May 25, 2017

On Cool Girl Politics

On the nauseating topic of the mainstream media's intense interest in running humanizing profiles of Trump supporters, the profile of the person featured in this Cosmo article, about a former Bernie supporter who is now a Trump superfan, is a good example of two things:

(a) The disjointed way the mainstream media buries ledes about those on the left and right who were had by, or complicit in, the spread of Russian propaganda regarding the 2016 eletcion; and

(b) The confluence of how the Cool Girl Left meets the Cool Girl Right.

Today, I'm focusing on the latter, although this particular Cool Girl's ties to Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik, briefly referenced in the Cosmo article, are certainly worth delving into further as well.

The Cool Girl featured talks about how "punk rock" it is to support the (scare quotes mine) "counter-cultural" Trump and, before that, Bernie Sanders. It might seem odd to some that a person would go from Bernie to Donald, but it's not odd to me. The men have important policy distinctions to be sure, but they are also two sides of the same white-man-privileging-masquerading-as-anti-establishment-populism coin.

Now, when I talk about Cool Girl Politics and, specifically, where the Cool Girl Left meets the Cool Girl Right, what I'm talking about is the following.

First, on a general note, we see the adoption of antisocial "just in it for the lulz" Internet behavior. Being "politically correct," that is kind and sympathetic, is largely coded in Internet culture as feminine and weak. Here's the Trump/Bernie superfan opining on her Internet behavior:
“I'll definitely tweet things just to be a jerk and rile people up. I think it's funny. And I think that it's important to push the limits sometimes and force people to have uncomfortable conversations.”
Cool Girls make a point of not just rejecting "political correctness," but bragging about how they reject "political correctness." And, they certainly don't need no stinkin' trigger warnings!

Second, and more narrowly, the Cosmo narrative of this Trump/Bernie superfan is the story of a woman who - like many - gives man after man after man, and even the worst of men like Trump and M1lo, all the benefits of the doubt, while giving none to other women - especially Hillary Clinton.

We saw that disparate treatment repeatedly when Clinton faced Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and then, later, when she faced Trump in the general election. Even though Clinton was rated as more honest than both Trump and Sanders, people consistently believed that both men were more honest than her. It was simply taken as a given by many along the political spectrum that Clinton was History's Greatest Monster.

For instance, even though Trump has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without their consent, the woman profiled in Cosmo is suspicious of the women who have accused Trump of sexual assault. She also carries a "Free Assange" tote bag and is now allied with a notorious anti-feminist man who has said "misogyny gets you laid."

White men are innocent until proven guilty in the court of public opinion. Women are guilty even if hearing after testimony after investigation proves they're innocent.

Three, and related, this disparate treatment of men and women is not examined or questioned.  Instead, we often see a very stupid, yet enduring, narrative in US political discourse that if a woman trashes another woman then it can't possibly be grounded in misogyny.

What I've noticed when I've been targeted by Political Cool Girls is that these women often serve as gateway misogynists. Their own intentional or unexamined misogyny gives cover to male misogynists on the left and right to cheer on the misogyny and engage in it themselves. After all, many people think, if a woman starts it, it's fair game!

Finally let's examine the contention that supporting unqualified and less-qualified men over a vastly more-qualified woman is "counter-cultural." Spoiler alert: It's not.

Since our nation's founding, we've had an unbroken line of (mostly white) male presidents. Refusing to seriously examine why that is, or acknowledge the role that misogyny continues to play in that, is less "punk rock" and more your standard, shitty Ted Nugent concert.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.10 "We Can Be Heroes"

In wanna-be superhero news, Mon-El has decided he wants to be a hero and James has decided he wants Kara to know that he's Guardian.

James and Mon-El are an interesting juxtaposition this season. In Mon-El's case, his superpowers are handed to him, by virtue of him being an alien, but he fluctuates between being a reluctant hero to having questionable motives for wanting to be one. When he does want to be a hero, he seems to be doing it mostly to impress Kara. At one point, James gives an assessment of Mon-El that I, as of now, agree with: "He's a fun guy, he's just not a hero." I guess we'll see.

James, meanwhile, has limited powers by virtue of him being human, but is eager to be a hero and his motives are more pure, fluctuating between him wanting to do good in the world and wanting to be more than just a sidekick. While it's still odd to me that nearly every recurring male character in Supergirl also has to be a hero or wanna-be hero, it will be interesting to see how their superhero journeys shake out. 

In villain of the week news, Livewire is back! Since we last saw her, she's been behind bars nursing thoughts of vengeance against her arch-nemesis Supergirl. Also, she's in a regular-person prison (because, um?), which she breaks out of:


Supergirl and Mon-El get into an early brawl with Livewire where Mon-El's hero traits are tested. Two items of note here. One, his hero "costume" consists of black street clothes and red-tinted sunglasses and I'm not sure why. As far as I know, he doesn't have Supergirl's laser or x-ray vision, so why the shades? And two, Supergirl gives him an order to protect the humans while she takes care of Livewire, but he immediately disobeys her, going after Livewire and leaving the humans unprotected.


Guardian swoops in, however, saves the humans, and ends up getting injured. In a Dramatic Moment, Supergirl removes the unconscious Guardian's helmet and discovers James Olsen underneath all that armor. She's 100% not happy about it. She tells him that if he keeps trying to be a hero, she will stop him, because he's going to get killed. James says Supergirl doesn't get to decide who gets to be a hero. Which, while I agree with that philosophical point, I do think James is squarely in vigilante territory and I'm not sure why the local cops or the DEO are rolling with that.


Anyhoo, the wannabe-superhero duo of Guardian and Mon-El (and their sidekick Winn) then go rogue and track down Livewire behind Supergirl's back. It turns out that Livewire had actually been abducted - she didn't escape - and a mad scientist was harnessing her power for evil. At one point, the scientist calls Livewire "such a nasty woman." LOLSOB.

At one point, Mon-El boasts to Livewire that he's "the other Superman" (as if), and Livewire responds, "Your cosplay sucks." LOL. The scientist guy then swiftly captures Guardian and Mon-El, and things suddenly take an Adventures in Babysitting turn, as they're now dependent on Supergirl to bail them out, which she does (natch).

M'gann has an interesting story arc this episode in the context of what constitutes heroism. J'onn does a mind-meld with her and we see her flashbacks. Although she is a White Martian, she had killed her own genocidal people on Mars and helped Green Martians escape. When J'onn sees her memories, he forgives her for being a White Martian and they become friends again.


I guess the overarching point of this episode was to question the concept of heroism itself. Specifically, what are its essential traits, if any? Supergirl seems to be the full package in that she has both the ability and the will, while Guardian and Mon-El arguably lack one or the other. And then, what is M'gann, anti-hero?

Deep Thought of the Week: Have I mentioned that I miss Cat Grant? Yes, I believe I have. Welp, I'll say it again. I miss Cat Grant. Specifically, the SuperCat balcony scenes. More specifically, the way that Cat looks at Supergirl during the balcony scenes. Never forget:
"To me, you are perfect"

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mashup Monday

Did I miss anything while I was gone?

Ha ha, just kidding. Of course I did.  Let's take it back to San Junipero for one more day then. Or, better yet, to this Taystee/Poussey Orange is the New Black Mirror mashup, which I'm 100% here for.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blogging Update

Dear readers - I'm a bit busy at the moment with usual life things, but will resume blogging (and Supergirl recaps!) the week of 5/22.


Friday, May 12, 2017

The Fosters Femslash Friday

I can't ever entirely figure out if The Fosters is a kids show or a grown-ups show. Maybe it's both.

Either way, I'm primarily there for the Stef/Lena maintext. And yes, also for the representation of a non-traditional family in all its complexity,glory, and wonder.

I'm also here for this fan vid set to "She's Like the Wind." Let's be real, don't we all need more '80s sax in our lives? And also, a queer reboot of Dirty Dancing? Nobody puts Baby (starring Melissa Benoist, with KStew playing Johnny) in a corner.  Wait what?


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.9 "Supergirl Lives"

The episode begins with Supergirl chasing down a some villains who have a vaguely "Nerd Trio from Buffy" vibe. They get away from her (because ummm?), and The Guardian finishes them off.

Guardian
Okay, we've gotta talk about Guardian. I like James. But, maybe every dude in a female-led superhero show doesn't also have to be a superhero? Like, men can be regular guys - even in the midst of an amazing woman - and still retain their masculinity, right?

And secondly, when exactly does James train for any of this bad-assery?  What I like about Arrow, for instance, is that the guy is shown at least once every episode doing body weight training or doing archery while his bodyguard homoerotically observes. So, there we see how his practice translates to his abilities. But with James, all we get is that he has a black belt in an unspecified martial art. But, which art? When/where does he train? Who does he train with? How does this training translate to vigilantism?

In very important news, however, Alex and Maggie are officially girlfriends. #Sanvers is happening. There is "spending the night at each other's apartments." Let's .... just take a moment to appreciate Maggie Sawyer:


The mystery of the week is that Roulette is back and her minions have been kidnapping strapping young people. Kara tracks a lead to a wacky scientist's lab, where young people are being recruited, supposedly, for clinical research.  Kara and Mon-El pose as research subjects, the wacky scientist turns into a lizard-being, and Kara and Mon-El are transported through a stargate to a world where their powers don't work. Whew!


With Kara missing, Alex has a mini-freakout. She tells Maggie that their relationship is a mistake, because her brief moment of happiness distracted her and led to Kara going missing.  Nononononono.

Back through the stargate, it turns out that this planet is Slaver's Moon. With Roulette's fight club having been shut down, she has apparently been kidnapping young humans and trafficking them to aliens.

Roulette
Now, regarding season two arch-villains, I'm not sure how or if Roulette and Cadmus are related or who the ultimate Big Bad is. I'm thinking it's Cadmus, but who knows, maybe it's Roulette. Or Snapper Carr. Yeah, let's go with Snapper Carr.

Anyway, Alex and the DEO go through the stargate and rescue Kara, Mon-El, and the humans. Alex shows off some smooth fighting moves, which makes sense, because we've actually seen her training before.

To end, Alex apologizes to Maggie and they make up. And then make out. Probs. (Also, Maggie has figured out that Kara is Supergirl. "The glasses don't help." LOL) AND, Mon-El goes over to Kara's and there is awkward flirting. Mon-El says he wants to be a superhero. So, I guess he's going to be Supergirl's apprentice or whatever. Ho-hum where is Lena, anyway?


Deep Thought of the Week: Okay, today's recap was maybe a little skimpy. Really, I'm just excited to have a maintext F/F relationship to root for again on TV.  Please enjoy this episode 2x9-themed Sanvers fan vid.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Complicit NYT Scolds Clinton and Supporters To Get Over It

Today, over at Shakesville, I've written about a recent admonishment The New York Times Editorial Board gave to Hillary Clinton and her supporters to stop talking about the election so the nation can purportedly heal.

I place this remarkable scold into a larger context of how the newspaper of record was complicit, along with other mainstream media publications, in framing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as equally-bad candidates.

Check it out!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Best Friend Friday

Did you know that Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion came out 20 years ago?

I know! I can't believe it either!

In honor, I recently gave the film a re-watch and made my spouse watch it, finally, for the first time ever.  Now, I've decided that we're maybe supposed to think of Romy and Michelle as "dim-witted," as the IMBD summary describes them. But, the movie's deeper message is that most, if not all of us, are actually smart about things that many other people are not, even if society doesn't define our smart things as smart.

For Romy and Michelle, their thing is fashion.

The larger takeaway is this:

If you're not a businesswoman, don't go for some lackluster businesswomen's special when you could instead be dancing to Cyndi Lauper in fab outfits whilst having mild threeway vibes with a millionaire and your BFF.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Deep Thought on The Handmaid's Tale

I will write a serious post about this show at some point, but for now I just want to observe that Alexis Bledel is a more believable lesbian in The Handmaid's Tale than she was in Jenny's Wedding.
 



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.8 "Medusa"

It's a Jolly Thanksgiving in the Super-verse.

Kara is hosting the whole gang for the holiday while both Alex and James contemplate coming out during dinner, as a lesbian and a vigilante, respectively. More importantly, and just because I love sneaky background moments in film and TV, at one point Alex surreptitiously snags some Wild Turkey from the freezer while Kara and her mom are talking and then tip-toes away like a cartoon character.

Liquid "coming out" courage?
However, Alex and James don't get the chance to come out. On the other hand, it seems that Kara and Mon-El have mutual crushes, because they keep making googly eyes at each other.

Kara then goes on an undercover DEO assignment to interview Lena for a "puff piece," while secretly trying to gather intel on Lena's evil mom. Sadly, the interview is too short for any meaningful flirting to occur and Kara isn't able to get much info. When Kara leaves, Lena knows something is up, so she calls her evil mom. Hmmm.

In villain news, Cadmus launches a terror attack at Close Encounters by releasing a gas that kills only aliens. Mon-El is exposed to the gas and gets sick. From this, Supergirl figures out (somehow?) that Cadmus used her blood to get into the Fortress of Solitude. She flies to Greenland or Antarctica or wherever and her hologram dad tells her that he created a bio-weapon called Medusa to be used against non-Kryptonian aliens. Supergirl does not approve.


Kara's mom stays in town to help study the virus. While she and Alex are working in the lab together, Alex ends up coming out to her, and it goes about as well as such things can go. It's very non-dramatic, which is nice.

Alex and her mom also deduce that L Corp has developed an isotope that could spread the Medusa virus throughout the city. Supergirl zooms off to L Corp, where she encounters Cyborg Superman (aka - original evil Hank). There is a moment in the fight where Supergirl heroically saves Lena by jumping in front of a beam that Cyborg throws her way. (YES now kiss!)


But then, ALERT, we have a TV Lesbian In Peril moment. I repeat, we have a TV Lesbian in Peril: The police show up with Maggie leading the charge. Cyborg shoots a laser at her and she falls down. Back at the DEO, Alex stitches her up. Cancel Alert. Maggie seems to be okay. Tragic Lesbian Trope averted. But, I have my eyes on you, Supergirl.

At the L Word, I mean L Corp, Supergirl informs Lena that her mom is the head of Cadmus. Lena gets upset and says she doesn't believe it. Supergirl says it's true, but that it doesn't make Lena evil. But then, the plot thickens. When Lena later confronts her mom, Lena gives her mom the isotope needed to unleash the Medusa virus. What NO! Supergirl believed in you, Lena! She BELIEVED IN YOU!

Lena and her mom then unleash a missile that contains the virus. But, unbeknownst to her mom, Lena switched isotopes. So, the virus is ineffective. AND, she called the police on her mom.Oh good. I'm glad Supergirl won't be disappointed in Lena.


While all of that was going on, apparently Alex's mom Eliza had been working to create an antidote to the virus, thus saving Mon-El's life. She also apparently created a cure that stops J'onn from turning into a White Martian. All of that happened in about 30 minutes because science.  Relatedly, I have no idea why Dr. Eliza Danvers is not the head of science at the DEO. This woman works miracles.


FINALLY, Maggie goes to Alex's place and confesses that she likes Alex and says that life is short so we should "kiss the girls that we want to kiss." And so then they kiss and my work here is done, goodbye.


Deep Thought of the Week: The episode ends by teasing the four-way Supergirl crossover with Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. I'm not typically all that excited about DC-verse male-led/dominated superhero shows. In my opinion, male-led Marvel TV/film like Luke Cage and X-Men are more interesting, often because they are about heroes who seem more subversive, reluctant, or outcast than the alpha-hero prototype.

However, I recently started Arrow. I'm reserving judgment about it until I watch a few more episodes. But, do any of you watch these other shows. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trump Supporters Still Chant "Lock Her Up"

In case you were wondering if some Trump supporters are still deplorable bigots, a crowd of 7,000 resumed their fave chant, about a woman who no longer holds public office, at a Donald Trump rally over the weekend.

Oh, and they still want their fucking wall, even though Trump's proposed budget plan would cut domestic spending - including medical research that they would ostensibly benefit from - in order to pay for it.

Via the Washington Post:
"They’ve been watching Fox News and reading Facebook, and they’ve concluded that the Washington machine is blocking him at every turn. They blame the conservative Republicans, and they blame the Democrats, and they blame the news media, and they blame, even now, Hillary Clinton.

'Lock her up!' the crowd chanted spontaneously, again and again. They were families and young couples and old folks, lifelong Republicans and people who’d never voted for a Republican before, an almost entirely white audience, and they danced to Trump’s trademark soundtrack of ’60s and ’70s pop hits, and they chanted 'Build that wall.'"
Here is my summary of Donald Trump's entire term: He will pass the buck for every loss and take credit for every win. His fans will believe it all because he frames anything counter to that narrative as "fake news."

Monday, May 1, 2017

Praise Lavished on Powerful, Incompetent Man's "Brain Dumps"

Today, over at Shakesville, I wrote about some establishment press responses to Trump's first 100 days:
"100 days in office and Donald Trump's second biggest accomplishment appears to be that the establishment press continually grades him on the lowest imaginable curve. (If you're wondering what the single biggest accomplishment is, I contend it's that we haven't yet endured nuclear holocaust under his watch).

Journalists with some of the largest media platforms can rightly find so little to praise about his foray into "being a President" that they've taken to fawning over his Twitter usage. Yes, it was only mere months ago that Donald's Twitter habit used to be widely recognized as a trait that shed light on his unsuitable, disqualifying temperament. But my oh my, it's incredible what gets legitimized in the US when a rich white man is inaugurated."
 Read it all, over at Shakesville.