Sunday, December 31, 2017

A 2017 Fan Video Send-Off

Why yes, I do want the last post of the year to be a fan video set to the tune of "Fight Song."


Friday, December 29, 2017

The 2017 Roundup

Welp, 2017 was a year, wasn't it?

I usually do an annual roundup post around the New Year, but I expressed a lot of my thoughts already, in relation to the Apocaversery, over at Shakesville.

There, I outlined what I see as three important tasks for the resistance, going forward: acknowledging that many people in the US are motivated by bigotry, which is as to be expected, given that bigotry was built into our political system from the get-go; we must support candidates who understand and can speak to both economic and "identity politics" grievances; and we must resist the normalization of Trump's, and the Republican Party's, ongoing cruelties and danger to democracy.

To my first point, I've begun a personal project of reading at least one biography, in order, of every US president, as well as biographies of those adjacent to the president such as their wives and the people they enslaved.  It's slow going, mostly because I'm also reading other books in-between, but stay tuned and I'll post any insights I have as I make further progress. (I'm about to begin James Monroe).

In terms of my writing, 2017 was the most prolific year I've had since 2012. I wouldn't say I've had more free time to write, but rather, I've carved out time in my life to write due to ongoing political and current events.

The top five Fannie's Room posts during 2017, in terms of page views, were:
These number do not include my pieces published over at Shakesville, which has a higher readership than this ol' blog-a-roo.

Looking toward 2018, I continue to believe that we are living in a moment of profound feminist resurgence that is also coupled with a harsh Republican-led backlash - though I hasten to add that this backlash has collaborators across the political spectrum. Indeed, a large barrier to a leftist "revolution," at least as envisioned by many of Bernie Sanders' vocal superfans, continues to be that shitty white people, particularly men, think they're at the vanguard of radical progress when, in reality, their opinions on women are as establishment rape culture as they come.

But, more to come. Onward to 2018. The only way out is through, my friends.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Quote of the Day - Hard Times Are Coming

I've been on an Ursula LeGuin kick lately.

This one's via her latest collection of essays, Words Are My Matter:
"Hard times are coming, when we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We'll need writers who can remember freedom - poets, visionaries - realists of a larger reality."
She wrote those particular words in 2014. Prophetic.

(If you're curious, I liked Words Are My Matter, on the whole. In it, she includes many of her previous reviews of other works of science fiction. She is a generous reviewer. I also wish she would have included more of her reviews of books written by women. She had a lot of praise to give to male writers, and I think they get a lot of that elsewhere that women don't).

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thoughts on Didion and Grief

I've been thinking a lot about it means to grieve as a non-believer.

I find it unfortunate that so many Christians, in our culture that is dominated by Christians, seem to care more about whether or not they have to bake cakes for gay people, and so forth, than connecting with others, even queers, around these shared human experiences. (That being said, there is more to Christianity that I am unable to believe in or connect with than these anti-LGBT interpretations).

Joan Didion, in The Year of Magical Thinking, called grief, "the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself." That seems about right.

Didion ends the book with no apparent resolution of her grief at the death of her husband John. Instead, the book simply finishes:
"I think about swimming with [John] into the cave at Portuguese Bend, about the swell of the clear water, the way it changed, the swiftness and power it gained as it narrowed through the rocks at the base of the point. The tide had to be just right. We had to be in the water at the very moment the tide was right. We could only have done this a half dozen times at most during the two years we lived there but it is what I remember. Each time we did it I was afraid of missing the swell, hanging back, timing it wrong. John never was. You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that."
Is the lesson that, in the absence of belief in a supreme deity, we non-believers go forward by going with the changes, even the horrible ones, without expectation of someone/something coming along and fixing it all for us, in the end?  Is it that, we find meaning in our lives through the indents we make on other people's lives and that they, in turn, make on ours?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 3.8 "Crisis on Earth-X, Part I"

Prepare yourselves.

First of all, here is Earth-X.

That's all we know at first. Things have seem to gone horribly awry in another dimension. Second of all, here is Sara Lance, catching an arrow mid-flight:

Preliminaries out of the way, and as you might know, "Crisis on Earth" is a four-part crossover with Supergirl, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash. To get everyone together, the shows use Barry and Iris's (The Flash) upcoming wedding. Accordingly, Kara and Alex pop over to Central City for the event.

Ahem. The first Alex/Sara Lance encounter occurs at the bar, during the rehearsal dinner. As they drink scotch together (as one does), Alex immediately tells Sarah that she has recently called off her engagement. Sara perks up when she finds out Alex's ex is a woman. (We all know where this is going).

During a speech at the rehearsal dinner, and this is not germane to the plot in any way, Felicity Smoak and Kara stand next to each other and I still can't get over how much they look alike. I mean:

More to the point, we're halfway into the episode and we still don't know what's going on with the Nazi Earth. And, that's fine with me. I don't need Nazis in my pop culture. What I do need more of is this, our second encounter with Alex and Sara Lance:

Boom shakalaka.

The next morning, Alex stumbles out of (Sara's) bed and goes to the wedding hungover. She tries to hide her late night shenanigans from Kara, but fails miserably.

At the wedding itself, things start nicely. Kara sings a lovely song as Iris walks down the aisle. But then, a Nazi Supergirl shows up, ruining everything. Well, it looks like Supergirl under there. I suppose for all we know it could be Kellyanne Conway or Ann Coulter.

This Nazi Supergirl thing brings an army of Nazis, including what seems to be a Nazi version of Oliver/Arrow. So, do all the heroes have Nazi doppelgangers on Earth-X? Yikes.

Anyway, the superhero/meta-human gang kick into gear and start defending the wedding guests. Not to brag but the queer women make a good Nazi-punching team:

Not a lot is resolved at the end of this episode. The heroes have one of the Nazis in a holding cell, but they the head Nazis are still at large. Dammit, now I have to watch the remaining three episodes in this series, don't I? OH OKAY FINE.

Deep Thought of the Week: So, this episode included a bunch of spoilers (to me) for the other shows, which I'm not caught up on yet. Barry and Iris getting married being a big one. But also, Caitlin Snow lets herself be Killer Frost? And, Martin doesn't want to be Firestorm anymore?

Note: CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg has been fired after a sexual harassment investigation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

You Are Doing Emotional and Human Labor For Your Fave Social Media Sites

[Content note: Internet abuse/harassment]

Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic ran a piece on a recent conference at UCLA on the topic of content moderation on the Internet.

I recommend reading it in its entirety, but here are a few important takeaways that correspond with observations on this topic I've made over the years.

First, content moderation is labor. Many people who run websites know this from experience, even if they don't consciously articulate it as such. It's also labor that is not (yet) able to be done well by automation because a lot of abuse can be very context-driven.

Secondly, that this labor is done by humans means that the people doing it are regularly exposed to content that is traumatic. Per Madrigal's piece, "reviewing violent, sexual, and disturbing content for a living takes a serious psychological toll on the people who do it." A consistent theme in pieces I've read on this topic is that those who do this work for many years often develop PTSD-like symptoms.

A former Myspace content moderator said, in Madrigal's piece:
“When I left Myspace, I didn’t shake hands for like three years because I figured out that people were disgusting. And I just could not touch people. Most normal people in the world are just fucking weirdos. I was disgusted by humanity when I left there. So many of my peers, same thing. We all left with horrible views of humanity.”
Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly writing at The Verge, and Adrian Chen at Wired, have also referenced this toll and the corresponding high rates of burnout among people who do content moderation for a living. For instance, via Chen's piece, a former YouTube moderator who was exposed videos that included animal torture, decapitations, and horrific traffic accidents, noted:
“Everybody hits the wall, generally between three and five months. You just think, ‘Holy shit, what am I spending my day doing? This is awful.’” 
If you read enough accounts of how content moderation happens (or doesn't) at large tech companies, and to my third point, you also begin to see a pattern: the creators of many user-generated content platform have historically put very little resources into content moderation before introducing new platforms to the public. This pattern corresponds, I believe, with the volumes that have already been written about the toxic culture of libertarian techbros who think their platforms will, or should be, entirely self-regulated among users.

Not helping matters, oftentimes the conversation gets simplified to an absurdly stupid level of, "On one side, we have people who believe in free speech. On the other, are people who can't handle tough conversations." This false dichotomous framing happens both within tech culture itself and mainstream media reporting on this topic. That much of this work is done by contractors, off-site and abroad, helps further invisibilize, at least to many commentators in the US, what this work actually entails.

Meanwhile, content moderators and users of these platforms are left floundering when, whooops, people end up using these platforms in ways that are far darker than anyone (ostensibly) anticipated. Madrigal's piece, for instance, describes a former Myspace content moderator recounting her experiences (emphasis added):
"Bowden described the early days of Myspace’s popularity when suddenly, the company was overwhelmed with inappropriate images, or at least images they thought might be inappropriate. It was hard to say what should be on the platform because there were no actual rules. Bowden helped create those rules and she held up a notebook to the crowd, which was where those guidelines were stored.

'I went flipping through it yesterday and there was a question of whether dental-floss-sized bikini straps really make you not nude. Is it okay if it is dental-floss-size or spaghetti strap? What exactly made you not nude? And what if it’s clear? We were coming up with these things on the fly in the middle of the night,' Bowden said. '[We were arguing] ‘Well, her butt is really bigger, so she shouldn’t be wearing that. So should we delete her but not the girl with the little butt?’ These were the decisions. It did feel like we were making it up as we were going along.'”
Consider more of the context in which a woman was developing moderation rules, on the fly, in a notebook: During its heyday in 2005, Myspace was the top social media site in the world and was bought for $580 million.

Which brings me to my final point.

When tech platforms don't put sufficient resources into content moderation, or if existing moderation rules and practices are arbitrary and ineffective, you - the users of these platforms - are doing the emotional and human labor of content moderation for these companies. For writers, content moderation and the psychological fallout of when it doesn't exist or is extremely flawed, becomes labor that is added to the work of writing when we publish or promote our work on platforms that are not well-moderated.

In a way it's ironic. Folks across the political spectrum can't stop talking about the abundance of purportedly-oversensitive "snowflakes" in society these days. And yet, I think it's reasonable to say that most Internet users are actually exposed to traumatic content somewhat regularly. We've also largely accepted exposure to this content as "normal," without having begun to really grapple with the effects of it as a society.

In a popular piece at Medium, James Bridle wrote recently of frightening videos posted on YouTube to scare children, ultimately saying:
"What concerns me is that this is just one aspect of a kind of infrastructural violence being done to all of us, all of the time, and we’re still struggling to find a way to even talk about it, to describe its mechanisms and its actions and its effects."
Bridle concludes that "responsibility is impossible to assign."

But, I'll go there: Libertarian techbro culture has long posited that user generated-content platforms would simply work themselves out as self-regulated communities. Yet, we see over and over again that these communities, in practice, privilege bullies and/or those who can, somehow, inure themselves to the worst effects of the toxic cultures embedded within them.

In my own experience, people on the Internet have been telling me to kill myself for as long as I've been writing online - so, for more than 10 years. This message has come, most often, in the form of Twitter replies and comments at my blog. Sure, I can block a Twitter user. But usually, when I report such Tweets to Twitter, I receive no reply or follow-up regarding whether that user is banned.

From a bigger picture standpoint, I don't know a single person who has been running a website or blog, particularly if they're women, who hasn't had repeated run-ins with traumatic content or targeted harassment.

I think often about the voices we've lost over the years, and there have been many, because of the toxic cultures that thrive on platforms where the performance of content moderation labor falls on us, as users and writers.These harms are not something people in my generation (Gen X, if you're curious) really grew up learning how to deal with, or that, in my experience, many mental health professionals are even equipped to understand. I think many people have simply adapted to living with at least a low-grade state of anxiety about what they might encounter today on the Internet, particularly if they do a large portion of work on the Internet as part of their jobs.

I deal with a lot of it by telling myself, "It's not real. It's not real. It's not real. If this person really knew me, they wouldn't say that."  That is a coping mechanism, sure. But, the people I know who have been doing this work for a long time have developed a variety of informal tools when platforms fail to put adequate resources into moderating content: gallows humor, desensitization, creating intentional communities not centered around the usual sociopathic norms of Internet culture, and so forth.

I don't offer a clear answer here other than a plea to shift our thinking, as users of the Internet. Twitter, Facebook, whatever "free" social media sites you use - these aren't really free. In many cases, you are performing labor for them that they, for whatever myriad reasons, have absconded. The impact that might be having on you is very, very real.

Monday, December 18, 2017

In Which I Search For Good Reasons To Repeal Net Neutrality

I've found it:The worst take on the FCC's decision to repeal net neutrality.

Over at The Week, Matthew Walther is celebrating the repeal (ie, his big win!).

First, he suggests that liberals are hysterically over-reacting about the FCC's decision. Yet, rather than delving into the harm, or lack thereof, of the repeal, he tells us that we're being dum-dums for caring about a boring issue:
"Having strong feelings about net neutrality — which essentially mandates that your internet service provider treats all internet traffic and data equally — is like getting upset over a public-access TV debate on the generic ballot or the proceedings of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs."
Secondly, he's mad at the Internet for disrupting the economy, so therefore everyone must pay.
"In the last decade the internet has changed every aspect of our lives in ways that we have largely accepted without a moment's hesitation. As but one example: Was it a good thing — for people, commerce, or art — that Netflix destroyed the video store industry?"
Oh, and one more thing. It's a bit of a buried lede:
"I rather like that 'throttle,' a good old-fashioned strong verb that meant 'strangle or kill' before it was an engineering term, has become the word we use to refer to the practice of internet service providers hindering the transmission of pornographic videos, online shoot-em-up games, and HBO reruns. These are all things that deserve to be throttled. Throttle away."
Walther disapproves of people accessing certain content on the Internet, therefore he's glad Internet Service Providers might limit people's access to that particular content.

When we put it that way, the topic doesn't sound so boring anymore, does it? 

Whatever. Just don't touch my motherfucking Xena vids.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Brandi Friday

As just one instance of everything not being hopeless bullshit in the world, Brandi Carlile is coming out with a new album in February.

I watched this video of one of her new songs, "The Mother," and it hit me hard. Carlile and her wife had a baby in 2014. I'll just say that the lines below are relatable:

You were not an accident where no one thought it through
The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you
And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power, too


What are y'all reading, watching, playing, or listening to?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Boston Globe Details Harassment Complaints at LGBT Health Center

Via The Boston Globe:
"Fenway Community Health Center permitted a doctor accused of sexually harassing and bullying employees to continue working there for four years after the first serious complaint was filed in 2013, according to interviews with current and former employees and documents reviewed by the Globe."
The article goes on to report how the organization hired outside lawyers to investigate the allegations made against the doctor, with the CEO both ignoring the lawyers' recommendation to fire the doctor and failing to report the matter to the board of directors. Fenway, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, also is reported to have paid $75,000 to a male employee to settle related sexual harassment and bullying allegations.

The board chair and the CEO of Fenway have since resigned in the wake of these reports. The current senior management is comprised of 5 men and 1 woman.

Meanwhile, the doctor, who had previously resigned, has denied the allegations. Per the Globe:
"He said Fenway has a culture where people sometimes hug or have casual contact, and that his behavior was not outside the norm."
Of the many reports we're seeing of harassment in the workplace, notice that this argument is a consistent theme: this particular workplace just has a cool, sexually libertine milieu that is different than other, more buttoned-up, workplaces.

Yet, if the recent spate of allegations have shown us anything, it's that the workplaces in which powerful men do not regularly hug, kiss, and/or rub their dicks against their subordinates all in the name of "we just have a quirky culture like that" actually seem quite few and far between. That is, powerful men in the workplace seem to experience this norm "confusion" quite frequently about what is and isn't appropriate behavior, as they "struggle" to understand why people report them.

 The life lesson, as always, is to never mistake a sexual revolution for a feminist one.

*I use scare quotes for "confusion" and "struggle" because I think a lot of powerful people know exactly what they're doing and these aren't mix-ups at all. They actually "struggle" is not with understanding that their behavior is wrong, but that people would actually report them for it and that they might therefore experience negative consequences from it. Of course, another possibility is that some of them are complete sociopaths.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 3.7 "Wake Up"

He's baaaaack.

Mon-El, I mean. Well, sort of. Supergirl, Winn, and J'onn find him in a ship that had been buried underground. He had been put in a pod, with a bunch of other beings, and he now has a beard and speaks "Saturnian."

A Mass Effect: Andromeda crossover? (j/k)

Anyway, somehow Mon-El is alive, even though all the lead in the atmosphere is supposed to be toxic to him. Hmmm, that's suspicious. Stay on guard, DEO people! Is it really him?

Meanwhile, J'onn's dad, who now lives at the DEO, is having some trouble adjusting to living on Earth. First, he asks Winn for permission to use the bathroom, because he hasn't gone in like three weeks. It's unclear if Martians only have to go every few weeks, or if J'onn's dad has been holding it this whole time? Either way, that sounds.... painful.

J'onn subsequently decides to spend a little time with his dad. They take a walk outside, drinking "brown water" (coffee) and watching people play a "duel of intellects" (chess), but J'onn is mostly distracted by his smart device. (Related: I like plots in which aliens/outsiders make observations about human phenomena.) Later, J'onn gets an apartment for he and his dad to live in together.

Also, the new character, Sam, finds out she's an alien. Apparently, her adoptive mother found her in a little spaceship, all alone, and then raised her. She also kept the spaceship in the garage, under a sheet, where no one could find it. I guess Sam never played in the garage when she was a kid.

She then takes a trip into the desert to find herself, and this structure appears before. It's her Fortress of Sanctuary:

There, she finds out that it's her destiny to destroy Earth, and she transforms into Reign. Well, okay then. That was unexpected. What about Ruby?? Oh no, is this character going in the direction of "ruthless villainess becomes human again via motherhood"?

Back on the Mon-El front, Kara catches him trying to steal a device from the DEO. So, she puts him in lockup.

The confusion here is that Mon-El has a history of being a liar, but there's a chance this person also isn't really him. In the cell, he doesn't really defend himself, which is annoying. But later, he convinces Winn to free him, so he can go back to the ship. Mon-El says people will get hurt if he doesn't get back to the ship. So, of course Winn lets him out, because Winn is the biggest pushover in the history of the DEO.

Supergirl follows them to the ship, and Mon-El finally explains that although, to Kara, he's been gone for 7 months, for him it's been 7 years. He's been living in the future on Earth. Also, one of the pod people wakes up and, whoooooooops, it's Mon-El's wife, Imra.

I'd like to say that Kara gives Imra a look that says, "Damn, even I'd like to date her," but mostly, Kara looks heartbroken. So, I'm sad for our hero.

Deep Thought of the Week: "Crisis on Earth," and most importantly featuring Agent Canary, is the next episode.


Note: CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg has been fired after a sexual harassment investigation.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Place To Go Towards

An entire city can have any utopia it desires, on one condition. A neglected, malnourished child must sit alone in a dank basement, forever.

That is, of course, the premise of Ursula Le Guin's short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas."  In it, she writes of the citizens of Omelas:
"They all know [the child] is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery."
If the child were ever to be comforted in any way, the utopia of Omelas would vanish. When first confronted with this reality, young people of the city feel troubled. Yet, over time, they become inured to, and begin to justify, the child's suffering. The child would never be happy anyway, they think, the child is too stupid.

Besides, the child's trauma enables the artistes of Omelas to make great art. And, they don't want to lose their art. More broadly, to ignore the child's suffering enables everyone else to have their ideal society.

Sometimes, however, people leave. Silently, one by one:
"They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas."
Everybody in Omelas knows the horrible truth that one person's pain is powerful enough to prop up an entire society. It's part of the deal. Or, rather, it's part of the deal they have made with each other. The child in the basement had no say.

Le Guin says that those who walk away from Omelas walk "into the darkness." I've thought a lot about that line over the years. Why would they walk "into the darkness" when they're making a decision that ostensibly shows them taking an act of moral courage? Is the darkness the unknown of what a society might look like that didn't ask some people to suffer so that others could be happy? Or, is the darkness the (ostensible) chaos of a wilderness not ordered by human suffering?

I had long thought the story of Omelas to be about bravey. Yet, I see now that I was thinking about Omelas primarily from the perspective of what was lost to those who walked away.

Yet, I now see the story as one of complicity. Why didn't they take the child with them?

And, as Le Guin invites the reader, throughout the story, to imagine what our own utopias might look like, is she inviting us to interrogate the deals we strike in navigating our political lives? Whose lives do we allow to be stifled so that others might prosper?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Columbia Journalism Review on the 2016 Election Media Coverage

It's not just that the political narratives in the 2016 election that were most amplified were those written by prominent media men (including prominent harassers, predators, and rapists), it's that the mainstream media overwhelmingly covered Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, as well as the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta hacks, far more than they covered her (or Trump's) policy positions.

I'm guessing for many readers, that is not a startling revelation. 

However, a recent Columbia Journalism Review article argues that this flawed coverage by the mainstream media, and professional journalists, had far more influence on the election than "fake news." I suspect that's probably correct, mostly given the reach of the mainstream media compared to "fake news," although I do think "fake news" helped tip the scales toward Trump.

Here's a snippet of the article, referring to just The New York Times' coverage from September 1, 2016 up to the election day, November 8, 2016 (emphasis added):
"Of the 150 front-page articles that discussed the campaign in some way, we classified slightly over half (80) as Campaign Miscellaneous. Slightly over a third (54) were Personal/Scandal, with 29 focused on Trump and 25 on Clinton. Finally, just over 10 percent (16) of articles discussed Policy, of which six had no details, four provided details on Trump’s policy only, one on Clinton’s policy only, and five made some comparison between the two candidates’ policies."
1% of front-page articles in The New York Times covered Hillary Clinton's policies.

If you followed Clinton's campaign, read her website, listened to her speeches, and read What Happened, as I did, you would know that she had many policy positions. She had also prepared policy binders, ready to go, so she could get right to work had she won.

It's been a popular talking point for those across the political spectrum to say that Clinton had "no policies," or that all she offered was that she "wasn't Trump." That has always been inaccurate. Hillary Clinton had policies, the media just liked to talk about everything but those policies.

Where is the accountability and what would that even look like here?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Femslash Friday: Agent Canary

I know there's a lot of important and troubling stuff going on in the world right now, but I'd like to take a step back from all that and admit that I don't know the most logical way to watch the various DC show multi-episode crossovers.

There's one arc, but it spans across multiple shows? Whyyyyyyyy? (I know, to get us watching all the other shows, but still).

Are we really expected to keep up with the current seasons of Supergirl, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow simultaneously? That seems like it would be the best way for the multi-episode crossovers to make sense. But, I don't have cable, which means I would have to buy season passes for each show, which I'm really only willing to do for my top tier shows. In addition, if I have to stay current on all these shows, how would I have time for anything else in life? My free time is limited!

Now, another approach could be to stay current on Supergirl and, even though I'm not up to speed on the rest of the shows, watch only the related crossover episodes of the other shows. But, would I then be exposed to spoilers?

This is a predicament.


If you can believe it, this is a ship that I had not, until this crossover, considered. To be honest, I haven't even watched "Crisis on Earth" yet, because I'm two episodes behind on Supergirl! But, it's hard to avoid spoilers on Twitter. So, when I found out, I immediately began further investigations. All I can say is, yes please, this ship should be a whole entire TV series.

The "Crisis on Earth" Supergirl recap will be forthcoming. But, for now, enjoy today's Agent Canary fan vid (NSFW):

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Bigot-Coddling Populism of Bernie

I would love to never write about Bernie Sanders again, but Bernie Sanders appears to be gearing up for a 2020 run or doing whatever it is he's doing at the rallies he continues to hold.

To me, one of his biggest flaws is that he doesn't appear to listen.

To me, it appears as though he has, for at least the past two years, been traveling the country speaking at people, over and over again, about what he thinks ails the nation.

It is now December 2017, and Bernie Sanders, the most progressive of progressives to ever progress, is still repeating the falsehood that "the vast majority of Trump supporters" are motivated more by economic anxiety than by bigotry, with an added dose of: "Trump said things that made sense."

To me, Bernie Sanders is engaging in some craven, pandering bullshit.

To me, living in 2017 has meant being in an important cultural moment in which those who previously have not been listened to are now being heard. I'm referring to, of course, those who speak out against rape culture and, more broadly, the abuse of power.

Bernie Sanders is a populist who is hoping to leverage the power of the people for his movement.

And yet, while I think he thinks he's speaking for the downtrodden, forgotten man who is oppressed by The Establishment, Bernie Sanders demonstrates to me primarily that populism in a nation that has been rigged for racists and misogynists from the get-go means that the coddling of racists and misogynists is usually required in order for a populist politician to be popular.

Bernie Sanders' populism is not premised upon listening to the diverse, lived experiences of the the many people of this nation. It is premised upon talking to the aggrieved white people who get upset when people point out their various bigotries. If Bernie's populism were more than a crusty socialist version of Trump's, he would heed the call of his critics to do a better job balancing the perspectives of those who enabled the rise of Trump with those who are now disproportionately harmed by the Trump regime. He would also stop gaslighting the people of this nation about the prevalence of bigotry in our nation.

Bernie Sanders wants to lead the revolution. But what, exactly, is he tapping into, here?

Per Bernie, in the Vice profile on him:
"[Trump] said he was going to take on the establishment, and he was going to provide healthcare to everybody. You know what, it's pretty much what I said."
There's your 2020 slogan.

I guess I'll leave it at that.

Throwback Thursday To When We Were Gaslit About Bigotry

The Nationalist's Delusion - by Adam Serwer

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 3.6 "Midvale"

So, Kara takes Alex back home to Eliza, in Midvale. I think Kara's thinking is that being back home will help Alex heal. But, meanwhile, Kara continues to not really deal with her pain about Mon-El.

Also, I'm not sure where Midvale is exactly, but the Danvers house is pretty sweet:

While there, we get a flashback of Alex and Kara 10 years prior. First and foremost, they apparently have similar haircuts as they do now, which is so unrealistic, omg. (Just kidding, I totally have had the same haircut for like 20 years)

Also, the two girls used to be competitive with one another. We know this because  for some reason they are in the same history class, even though I believe Alex is supposed to be at least a few years older than Kara.

We also see Young Kara in gym class, kicking ass at the rope climb. Okay, is it just me or does climbing the rope in gym class only ever happen on TV shows? I have been a sporty person my entire life and have literally never done this. Related: Eliza and Dean Cain should have put Kara in all the sports. For real. College is expensive. She would have been a shoo-in for an athletic scholarship. Track? Volleyball? Football? Softball? All of the above?

Anyway, the point of the flashback is that Alex and Kara used to not get along. Or, more specifically, angsty Alex resented Kara's intrusion into her life and family. So, I guess we're going to see what changed that dynamic between them. I love episodes about the Danvers Sisters, in general, so buckle in.

It turns out that Young Kara used to be a big nerd in high school, and she had a best friend named Kenny Lee, also a nerd, who died. We then see Young Alex and Kara doing some investigating. They find Kenny's laptop and retrieve a bunch of files from it that could incriminate other people.

Young Kara then gets a visit from an FBI agent, who she at first mistakes for her mother. And, I'm confused. Does a new actor now play Kara's mom? Is this person Astra?  Oh wait, no, we find it's J'onn, who had shape-shifted into a Kara's mom look-alike. Whew. Okay then.

Young Kara tells this person that all she wants is to use her powers to help people. But, J'onn/FBI agent says that she has to promise not to use her powers. I still don't get why it's okay for Superman to use his powers, but not Kara. Is it because she's too young? Too female? I mean, even when Kara had become an adult, she was still expected to stifle her powers, so I'm guessing it's the latter.

HOWever, it turns out that the town sheriff is the bad guy and he captures Young Alex. In response, Kara decides to break the rules and use her powers. She saves Alex and, after that, they basically become BFFs.

And, that's pretty much the episode.

After the flashback, the Danvers Sisters reiterate that they're there for each other, because of course they are. Then they hop a car that is slightly reminiscent of the car from Thelma & Louise and, at this point, I hope this doesn't mean they're going to drive off a cliff in desperation and/or begin stumping for Jill Stein. For starters, they could take the week off of work, drive up the coast, and pick up Sara Lance and Lena Luthor.

El mayarah.

Deep Thought of the Week: I know this is Supergirl-adjacent, but one of my secret pleasures in pop culture is when Ray in Legends of Tomorrow gets stuck being tiny.

Note: CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg has been fired after a sexual harassment investigation.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dispatches From the Queer Resistance (No. 5)

Over at Shakesville, I have a roundup of recent queer/LGBT news, including the Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case, on which oral arguments are being heard today.

Check it out!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Drunk Lesbian Friday

So, I just watched the Pitch Perfect 3 trailer and it looks like a superfluous hetero romance has, once again, been added.*

If anyone needs me for the next 3 years or so, I'll be interspersing my re-watches of Carol with the Drunk Lesbians Watch [insert queer women's movies] bits on YouTube. Looks like we were on the same page re: Jenny's Wedding (my review, here).

I'm ded:

Regarding the lack of chemistry between the two heterosexual actresses playing gay: "There's been more turtlenecks than kisses." LOL.

What are y'all reading, watching, doing, listening to, and/or playing lately?

*Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to watch PP3.