Friday, May 26, 2017

Flashback Friday: Magic Mike

I can't explain it, but I watched Magic Mike on Netflix this week.

Okay, I can explain it. I wanted to determine if it was truly a bad movie or if it was only widely made fun of because it's something many women like (because women are hated, natch).

It turns out, I thought it was decent, and this is a lesbian talking. (Lesbian Addendum: since True Blood, my sexual orientation has been "lesbian + Joe Manganiello." Sookie Stackhouse really blew it there). ANYway, I'm more familiar with male strippers in the context of gay clubs, but we don't often see stories about women blatantly pining over men on the big screen like this. So, that's something. I wish it had been more queer, but I will always wish all the things are more queer.

Also, I have a new appreciation for Jenna Dewan Tatum's lip sync battle, which was modeled after one of her husband's scenes in the movie.  Never forget:


In conclusion, I would like to direct your attention to a recent Ruby Rose tweet, in which she's wearing a suit. You're welcome and good day.

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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.7 "The Darkest Places"

At the beginning of this episode, we see the superhero gang hanging out at Close Encounters. They're drinking some beers and speculating about The Guardian. Kara doesn't know that James is The Guardian and she's telling him how she doesn't trust vigilantes. Here I feel like anyone attuned to James' facial expressions for "defensiveness" would start to become suspicious, but I guess this is why things between James and Kara didn't work out.

Speaking of things not working out, That Maggie Person then shows up and wants to know why Alex has been avoiding her, as if it's not totally obvious. Sigh. Keep your head up, Danvers.

In Hank news, ever since he received a transfusion from M'gann, he's been having visions of his family and it clearly upsets him. Later, Supergirl finds him doing Tai-Chi at the DEO and it all has a very "Buffy walking in on Angel doing Tai-Chi to heal from trauma" vibe to it and, hmmm, that reminds me, I bet some people ship Kara and Hank.


Mon-El, meanwhile, has been kidnapped by Cadmus. Shrug. (No, I'm KIDDING. I think Mon-El is okay. For now.) Supergirl goes to Cadmus to rescue him and she encounters the real Hank Henshaw, who is now apparently "Cyborg Superman." Supergirl ends up captured and, oh hey how convenient, she also lands in a cell right next to Mon-El, where they can chat and plot their escape together!

On the dumbass villain scale, villains who put the protagonists in adjoining cells rank right next to villains who deliver, by monologue, the entirety of their evil schemes whilst fighting.

In vigilante news, there's a fake Guardian in town, one who kills people. So, Maggie issues an arrest warrant for The Guardian. Uh-oh. As a result, Winn tells Alex that she needs to get Maggie to back off. That makes Alex suspicious. Alex tells Winn that she knows six ways to get him to talk, using just her index finger. While this sounds not unpleasant (sorrynotsorry), Winn quickly confesses that James is The Guardian.


Alex then tells Maggie to leave The Guardian alone and she lets Maggie know that, actually, they can't be just "friends."

Winn is able to track down the fake Guardian. So, the James Guardian finds him and confronts him. Just as he's kicked fake Guardian's ass, Maggie happens to swing by and she sees that the James Guardian and the fake Guardian are two different people. Whew!

Back at the Cadmus ranch, Lena's villain mom asks who Supergirl is to her daughter. It's like she suspects they might be secret lovers (which they are, obvs). She then puts a helmet on Supergirl that captures and depletes her power and Cadmus shoot Mon-El with lead bullets, which he's allergic to.


However, before anything worse can happen, Jeremiah helps Supergirl and Mon-El escape. He also, weirdly, stays behind at Cadmus for some reason. I guess he works there or has been Stokholmed or something.

On the Martian front, it turns out M'gann is a White Martian! It seems she's one with a conscience, however, but J'onn is still angry. Not that you can blame him. And, because M'gann gave him her blood, J'onn is now turning into a White Martian himself. Like Saul Tigh, it dawns on him that he's the type of being that he has long hated and sought vengeance against.

To end, the gang is at Kara's apartment, eating exactly one bite of potstickers each, when Maggie stops by. She tells Alex that she hopes they can be friends, because she doesn't want to imagine her life without Alex in it. Alex agrees. And I'm glad, because if Alex had a clue she'd know that Maggie's little "you've become really important to me" speech is not one that one typically gives to people one doesn't have a crush on. But, I get it. Lesbian friendships can be complicated. Sanvers, I'm rooting for them!


Deep Thought of the Week: On the topic of The Guardian and vigilantes, what makes Supergirl not a vigilante? Is it that she's acting under the auspices of the DEO? But, if the DEO is a secret government agency, how does the populace know she's not a rogue alien vigiliante? Or, is she not a vigilante because she doesn't (typically) kill?

Friday, April 21, 2017

First Crush Friday

Elisabeth Shue was mine, circa her days in Karate Kid and Adventures in Babysitting

Now, if you're in your early 20s or younger, you might have no idea why Shue is dressed like a mom throughout the entire movie when she's supposed to be a teenager, complete with a long camel-colored felt coat with a brooch and shoulder pads. All I can say is that this is simply how many people dressed in the '80s SO BACK OFF.

Here she is, singing "Babysitting Blues."


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bernie's Bad Day

One of the most important tasks Democrats can accomplish between now and 2020 is rebutting the myth that Bernie Sanders is the one true progressive, indeed the ultimate arbiter as to what constitutes progressivism, in US politics.

This is a man who talked a big game after Trump's electoral college victory about being Trump's "worst nightmare" should Donald go after minorities. And yet, here we are, a mere few months later, and Bernie is criss-crossing the country holding rallies gaslighting minorities about the existence of bigotry among Trump's supporters.

This is also a man who gives the millions of people who voted for a bigoted sexual predator all the benefits of the doubt about their un-bigotedness, but who couldn't be bothered to learn about, or publicly support, a Democratic candidate in an important Georgia election this week.

This is a man who, however, can find it himself to support a male politician who would force women to view mandatory ultrasounds before having an abortion.

This is a man who sees a "silver lining" to the horrors that Trump is inflicting on the world, in that, hey, at least "millions of people are getting involved in politics to fight back." This view was also uttered before the election by Susan Sarandon, who is a big Bernie supporter and a big Hollywood star. When non-"Berniecrat" politicians are supported by Hollywood stars, however, it is explained to us that this is proof that they are elite and out of touch with Ordinary (White) (Male) People, as one commentator at The Guardian recently suggesed.

To put it quite bluntly, this is a man, as one Twitter user put it, whose "greatest accomplishment in life will be sabotaging a woman's chance to be president."

Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around, but Bernie Sanders' role in Trump's electoral college win cannot and should not be understated. Misogynistic double standards and white male privilege did a lot of fucking work for this guy in the Democratic Primary and we cannot and should not cede the label "progressive" to him, nor to those Internet Warriors who aggressively harass anyone who doesn't "feel the Bern."

The lesson, as always, is this: Never mistake a self-styled, white-man-centred leftist revolution for a feminist, anti-racist one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.6 "Changing"

So, here we are at Close Encounters gay-lien bar. Mon-El is getting Kara drunk, apparently for the first time ever, while Maggie is convincing Alex to embrace her newfound gayness and come out to her family. Well well, look at the Danvers Sisters rebelling.

Later, Alex takes Maggie's advice and comes out to Kara. Alex explains that she has feelings ("yeah, those feelings") for Maggie and that she thinks she's been pushing down similar feelings for a long time.


Kara seems a little confused throughout the whole conversation, which seems a little odd. Has she truly never wondered why her big sis hasn't dated much? Here I theorize that her not-100%-enthusiastic response to Alex coming out to he is mostly due to her own dawning realization that she has feelings for Lena. Yeah, those feelings.

Anyway, the villain of the week is some sort of alien-virus-slug that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for thousands of years (did this happen on X-Files once?). Some scientists were studying it, it infected one of them, and the scientist is now roaming around National City. He also starts talking about himself in the plural first person, like Gollum, and sucks people's life forces from them like a succubus.

In Important Gay News, Alex confronts Kara for acting weird about the whole coming-out thing.  Which is legit. Kara was acting weird when Alex came out to her. Kara insists she's "so okay with it." But is she though? (Come on, don't break my heart, Supergirl!) Alas:
Kara: I think I owe you an apology.
Alex: For what?
Kara: For not creating an environment where you could talk about this with me.
*cheers*

Straight people take note. This is a really thoughtful way to react if someone comes out to you "late" in your relationship. You likely have no idea, straight people, as to how many queers in your life center heterosexual comfort/discomfort constantly. Instead of centering your own comfort/discomfort when someone else comes out to you, here is a good way to center their experience: consider that they have maybe not felt safe to come out to you until this moment. And then consider why that might be.

In Mon-El news, he's apparently taken a new job beating up aliens who owe debt. He also says he has no innate desire to use his powers to help people. Kara strongly disapproves. Here is her disapproving face:


James, meanwhile, is busting his ass trying to be a superhero even though he doesn't have superpowers. Go figure.

J'onn and Supergirl then track down the alien-virus-succubus thingy, but it drains both of them and then mutates into this thing that looks like an extra-creepy version of one of The Gentlemen from Buffy:


Supergirl heals after some time under the heat lamp, but J'onn apparently needs a blood transfusion from M'gann.  M'gann is hesitant to help, for some reason, and before giving J'onn her blood says, "Forgive me." Hmmm.


With both Supergirl and J'onn out of commission, James' boyfriend Winn finishes James' superhero outfit. National City needs a hero right now, so James steps up, as ..... The Guardian.  Oh, Mon-El decides to help too. A little bit. Before they can both get themselves killed by the alien-virus-succubus thingy, Supergirl flies to the scene of the battle with some plutonium. Great Scott! I guess she can just take it from a power plant or something and nothing bad will happen there. Anyway, the bad guy drains the plutonium and explodes.

To end, Alex goes to Close Encouters, and this close encounter happens:


*angel choir singing*

HOWEVER, it gets awkward fast. Sadly.

That Maggie Person says that she and Alex are at really different places and she doesn't want to date someone who is "fresh off the boat." Which, I've never heard being newly-gay phrased that way before and I've been gay a long time, but hey, now I'm imagining Alex disembarking a boat full of heteros and arriving at Dinah Shore weekend, where she joins all my favorite femslash pairings.

*angel choir singing again*

Sorry. The point here is, poor Alex.  She put herself out there multiple times this episode and it wasn't smooth sailing. At the same time, you can't win them all. Give Maggie space. In fact, my advice to Alex is this: go home, pour yourself some wine, and watch some L Word episodes. There are always other boats in the sea. Scully. Tamsin. Melinda May....



Deep Thought of the Week: Lena wasn't in this episode. I hope that is rectified next week.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Femslash Food Fight Friday

A few items of note.

When searching for Fried Green Tomatoes Ruth/Idgie fan videos (or really, any femslash video in general) why is it that we so often encounter that YouTube commenter who feels compelled to piss all over the LGBT pride parade? They love to gaslight people, for instance, about the romantic nature of Ruth and Idgie's relationship, or any femslash pairing that people ship.


"Why do you people have to make everything sexual?" they say, after they have somehow arrived themselves at search results for "Ruth and Idgie fan videos," which we all know is a 100% heterosexual activity.

Alas, after Trump gets us all nuked, a possibility that seems likelier and likelier every passing day, I'm convinced that all that will be left in the world are Twinkies, cockroaches, one last holler of "but her emailllllls," and some prepper in a bunker still insisting that Ruth and Idgie - like Xena and Gabrielle - are good friends but definitely-not-lovers.

Now yes yes, it's true, I often do read subtext into film and TV. But, to be fair, I'm usually just following subtextual breadcumbs left by producers and writers. And, in this particular case, Ruth and Idgie's relationship actually was overtly romantic in the novel as written by Fannie Flagg (no relation).  It was the film that hid the romance in subtext, obscuring from the oblivious, un-discerning hetero gaze.

Two, speaking of subtext, isn't a food fight sometimes so much more than a food fight?

Three, I'm not sure why this fan video below is set to a French version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart," but I'm here for it.



I'm suddenly craving baked goods. Totinos anyone?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

NYT "Q&A" on Abortion and Democrats

Want to know what's perfect for the year 2017?

Two men posting a "Q&A" session at The New York Times about "How Democrats Can Stop Being Perceived as the Abortion Party," in which they highlighted and responded to reader comments on this topic.

AND

Out of 2,500 reader comments from which to choose, these men chose to highlight this contribution to the discourse first:


Hillary Clinton "lost because her campaign was horrible." Nevermind that she received more than votes than any white man in the history of the United States. Let's give this rando a platform, so we can likewise give two dudes the opportunity to respond, about abortion, and then proceed to dominate and frame a fauxbective conversation about a topic that disproportionately impacts women's bodily autonomy.

It is the year 2017.

Women's reproductive autonomy is still up for debate. Many times, women don't even get to participate as thought leaders in the debate on the world's biggest platforms. There's your liberal "fake news" media for ya.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.5 "Crossfire"

So, this episode begins with Kara serving as Mon-El's alien mentor. She and Winn have gotten him a fake ID and a job CatCo. Sort of assuming he'll be a superhero eventually, she also helps him come up with his "regular human identity." This identity is sort of like a male version of herself:


Mon-El makes questionable moral choices whilst at work, eating red vines while a woman does his work for him. Later, he hooks up with this woman in a CatCo closet. I think this is supposed to show how he's not used to human customs, but it seems pretty human-like behavior to me. /shrug

Meanwhile, Alex and Maggie hang out at the alien/gay bar. In my head, this bar is named Close Encounters, although it's possible it has an actual canon name. More importantly, Maggie lets the cat out of the bag that her girlfriend has broken up with her. Alex subsequently does not do a good job of hiding her delight about that.

Later, at the DEO, Alex and Winn are talking, but she's obviously distracted. Winn asks what's up and Alex tells him that Maggie's girlfriend has broken up with her. Then, this happens: 
Winn: I don't know, I try to stay out of other people's relationships. 
Alex: Mm-hmm, like you stayed out of Kara's? 
Winn: Okay, now that was different. I was into Kara. It's not like you're into this Maggie person.
Alex: ..... 
Mmm, Maggie
Ahem, "that Maggie person." How dare you, Winn!

This week's big bad is a group of bank robbers. Cadmus has secretly given them some alien weapons, so they rob a bank and attack Supergirl. Cadmus then puts out an anti-alien ad, their point being that alien technology is dangerous because, seeeee, it can fall into the wrong hands.

Lena then pays Kara a surprise visit at CatCo. Her purpose is to invite Kara to a gala, because Kara is supposedly her only friend in National City. I have two SuperCorp observations here: (1) Mon-El gets himself an invite to the gala as well, and Kara seems annoyed about that, and (2) Kara continues to act flustered/flirty around Lena.

Lena also invites Supergirl to this very same gala to protect them all from the bank robber gang! Uh-oh, what is a superhero-with-a-secret-identity to do? Should she yet Lena in on her little secret? (yesyesyeyesyesyes)


The Alex/Maggie saga continues when Alex somewhat-obliviously tells Maggie-the-newly-single-lesbian that it would be nice if they could keep each other company that night. Maggie reads it as an offer for a romantic interlude, and she says she didn't realize that Alex was "into girls." Alex quickly says she's not, but also seems confused in general by the turn the conversation has taken. Oh dear. Somebody come along and help poor Alex ease into feeling really excited about a woman for the first time. A mentor, maybe? Yes, that's it. She needs a queer mentor.

Next, in character development news, we turn to James. Now, I've been wondering what's up with James this season, other than him getting a promotion and a Dear John letter from Kara. Well, in this episode, we learn that he wants to be a superhero too. Oh. Well, okay then.

He apparently has a black belt in an unspecified martial art and he tries to get Winn to be his sidekick. Dare I say that I don't see this ending well?


Operation Doubtfire then commences, with Kara and Supergirl both attending the same gala. Kara arrives first and says hi to Lena. Kara then leaves the scene and, seconds later, Supergirl "arrives" and says hi. Golly, I hope no one starts choking on cayenne pepper.

*Brief Subtextual Interlude Alert* 

You know the "Alex's Ex" DEO Agent? I like to think of this gala saxophone player as her ex:


Moving along. The bank robber gang shows up to the gala and they start shooting their alien guns at Supergirl. However, Lena came prepared. She secretly has a machine that will absorb the alien weaponry hidden at the gala, and it works. So, the bad guys get arrested.

In conclusion, Winn agrees to help James be a superhero. Kara also accepts that the best way to mentor Mon-El is to let him be who he is, rather than how she wants him to be. He is not, it turns out, a clone of Kara's. *shrug* I'm just here for the flying and gay stuff. *looks around nervously* He he, just kidding.

And FINALLY, Alex meets Maggie at Close Encounters and *prepare yourselves* comes out to her. It's actually a really nice scene and realistic as to how sometimes it doesn't "click" for some people, that they're gay, until later in life.

Also, Lena's mom is the head of Cadmus. BYEEEE!


Deep Thought of the Week: Wasn't Mrs. Doubtfire a pretty fucked-up movie if you think about it?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Femslash Friday: Bend It Like Beckham Edition

You have to love women's sports movies that include zero lesbian or bisexual female characters. Especially if that sport is soccer, but I'm also looking at you A League Of Their Own. Bless Hollywood's heart.

Now, my main issue with Bend it Like Beckham isn't that it's devoid of queer characters, in fact it actually includes a gay male character(!), which for 2002 was still somewhat of a novelty. Perhaps the producers of Beckham believed that introducing a gay male character would distract audiences from any sapphic homoerotic undertones associated with women's sorts, relieving the tension so to speak.

Perhaps they thought wrong.

Never underestimate what audiences deprived of representation can read into a film. Thus, my main issue is that, like Pitch Perfect, Beckham includes a completely superfluous male-female romance even though it's clearly the two female leads who have the most chemistry with one another.

Quite simply, I am 100% unable to view the film without viewing Jess and Jules as the real romantic pairing of the movie. Also, BONUS FRIDAY FUN FACT OF FEMSLASH: For every femslash pairing that exists in fandom, somebody has made a video to it with "I Kissed A Girl" as the soundtrack. Bend It Like Beckham is no exception.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.4 "Survivors"

Okay, I'm going to be blunt. We have to talk about (ie, appreciate) this thing that appears to be ripening between Agent Alex Danvers and Detective Maggie Sawyer.

At the start of this episode, Alex meets Maggie to inspect a dead alien body. While discussing the matter, we see that, although they've just recently, met the two have nonetheless developed an instant, rapid-fire rapport. Together, they finish each other's sentences as they piece together the cause of the alien's death.

Supergirl arrives to help and watches in silence as Alex and Maggie come up with a plan together. Her face tells me that this subtext is starting to become a little maintext-y, and isn't it odd for her normally oh-so-buttoned-up, angsty sister Alex to get along so swimmingly with a member of the local police force?

Wait a minute....
Later, Alex and Maggie go undercover to investigate the alien abductions that have been occurring. This development basically seems to be an excuse to get Alex and Maggie in "going out" attire and Venetian masks and I am 100% okay with that. The undercover mission also requires that they walk into the club holding hands. I'm not sure why they have to be holding hands. I'm just here to report the facts as they happen, my friends! (But yes, please).


Meanwhile, Hank goes to the alien bar where M'gann works to connect with her. He says he never though he'd see another Martian again and golly, he says, it would sure be nice if they "took the bond." M'gann declines. Geez, Hank. U-haul much?

While on their undercover mission, Alex and Maggie discover that someone is running an underground alien fight club AND that M'gann is one of the fighters! Supergirl, of course, wants to shut it down, but the woman running the fight club, Roulette(?), says that she, unlike the DEO, offers aliens a way to make a living, instead of just putting them in cages. Roulette later kidnaps Hank so she can hold a Martian-Martian fight between J'onn and M'gann.

Speaking of aliens in cages, the DEO won't let Mon-El leave until they finish running tests on him. Mon-El, however, flirts with Winn, so Winn ends up sneaking him out on the town. They get drunk together and Mon-El ends up accidentally hurting a couple of guys in the bar. Mon-El is kind of a brat. Also, with James out of the picture, it seems he's going to potentially be a love interest for Kara. Shrug. That's fine, I guess.

BUT, later, Kara goes to visit the L Word, I mean the L Corp, to see if Lena has any idea where the J'onn/M'gann fight is going to take place. I guess the idea is that Lena is a rich person and rich people know where these underground fights are. More importantly, however, Lena tells her assistant that Kara is to be "be shown in right away whenever possible."  So, that's that. Lena then gives Kara the location of the fight, as well as this parting glance.


It's official, I ship SuperCorp. But I'm a neoliberal shill, what do you even expect from me?

At the fight club, Roulette says that J'onn and M'gann have to fight to the death. Roulette also has a big snake tattoo that covers her entire body. Well, it's either a snake, or it's a bunch of kinesiotape. It's hard to tell.


ANYway, M'gann and J'onn refuse to kill each other. And then, Alex, Maggie, and Supergirl swoop in to break up the fight club. Maggie arrests Roulette, but then some powerful person ultimately gets Roulette released.

Maggie then swiftly breaks Alex's heart by having a girlfriend and it is so hard to watch. Poor poor burgeoning-queer Alex. Oh, we also see that M'gann is secretly a white Martian, BYEEE!


Deep Thought of the Week: What's Max Lord been up to? Not that I'm complaining. Lena Luthor is a way better wealthy anti-hero/villain.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Just A Quick Question On Political Advocacy Work

Monday, April 3, 2017

Bernie Sanders, Please Stop Denying Bigotry

You might have heard that Bernie Sanders recently gave a speech saying he doesn't agree that "the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folk."

It turns out, I disagree with Senator Sanders and have some words to say about that.

Read it all, over at Shakesville.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Femslash Friday: Kyss Mig Edition

Have you seen the the movie Kiss Me (Kyss Mig)?  It is a Swedish delight of a film.

If you haven't, it is still on Netflix just in case you like good queer women's movies. Yes, it involves (spoiler alert) cheating which leads to the same-sex relationship, which is something of a trope I suppose. But, I've watched the movie a good half dozen times and each time pick up something new to appreciate: the portrayal of complicated sexual identity; the way dialogue sometimes fades out at key moments in the script - leaving us with suggestions of character development, rather than definitive answers; the way homophobia still exists in a country that often tops the charts in terms of social progress.

And, the vebabs, of course. Would I eat all the vebabs with Frida? Absolut! (That sounds dirty. But, it's not.)

Super cheesy fan vid below (NSFW).


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Supergirl 2.3 "Welcome to Earth"

So, have I mentioned yet that Season 2 has introduced a pod person? Well, it has. A pod like the one Kara arrived in has landed in National City, and a hostile alien has escaped from it and is on the lam in National City.

Also, the President is coming to town for a visit to talk about her alien amnesty plan. And, the President is a woman. Fun Fact: this episode originally aired before Election 2016, back when we were all hopeful and shitting our pants at the same time. BUT WHO'S EVEN KEEPING TRACK?

In happier news, the President is played by Lynda Carter, which is amazing:

You ought to see her other jet.
When she exits Air Force One, however, she's attacked. By what, you might ask? Obsessive reporting about an email server? Ridiculous "both sides are just as bad" moral equations between herself and a deplorable political opponent? Smears that she's unqualified and corrupt? Russian hackers?

None of the above. Here, it's just a fireball. A simple fireball. Luckily, Supergirl is there to intervene. She and Alex then speculate that the attack came from the escaped pod man.

In CatCo news, Cat is on her leave of absence, which I hate. But, James is filling in for her at CatCo. While he's leading a meeting, Snapper is being super obnoxious, "Well, actually-ing" everything James says and generally undermining his authority. I don't like this Snapper guy. For whatever reason, the name Snapper reminds me of that singing fish plaque ("As Seen On TV!" please tell me other people remember this) and I have the urge to refer to him as Trapper Keeper. I can't explain it.


Also, in addition to Lena Luthor, there's another new sheriff in town. Sawyer. Maggie Sawyer. Detective. NCPD.


She immediately flusters Alex with a local/federal jurisdictional dispute over the presidential attack crime scene. Well well.

Kara then goes to interview Lena, who reveals that her company is developing an actual gaydar device except that it detects aliens instead of sisters who don't know they're gay yet. Kara expresses concern that such a device will force aliens into the closet, which goes against the President's amnesty plan. Also, I just want to point out that Kara seems giggly and anxious in general around Lena. Now, it's true that could be due to Lena having asked Kara to test out the alien detection device, but I like to think it's due to other, gayer reasons.

"Look at us, acting 100% straight around each other!"
Anyway, Kara writes a story about the device and, as Trapper Keeper belts out, it's horribly slanted to her own pro-alien viewpoint, so she has to revise it to be more objective. After she revises it, Lena is super impressed by Kara's writing skills. Because they have a date or something to discuss such matters.

Important Update: Maggie takes Alex to "an alien bar." It even has a password you have to say to get in like at an old-timey gay bar. Maggie also reveals that she's gay, as in she's actually gay in maintext and not my over-zealous subtextual readings. Alex acts too-cool-to-make-a-big-deal-about-the-gay-thing which sometimes means one is freaking out for either a bad reason (homophobe) or a good reason (she thinks Maggie is hot). Let's hope for the latter.

In pod man news, Supergirl tracks him down and captures him. It turns out he's from Daxam, a rival planet of Krypton's, and his name is Mon-El. While he's in the DEO jail, a different alien attacks the President, so everyone realizes he's innocent. Also, his home planet is a wasteland so he, like Supergirl, is a refugee.

Finally, J'onn goes to the alien bar. When there, he learns that another Martian is alive: M'gann, "the last daughter of Mars."

Deep Thought of the Week: So, the Kryptonian language exists, but why are all the Kryptonians always speaking in English in flashbacks? Why doesn't Kara have an accent if she lived most of her childhood on Krypton? How does Mon-El know English if he's never been to Earth before?  There's a moment where Supergirl says the word "President" and Mon-El says something like, "What's a presibem?" Like, he understands all the other English words, but somehow doesn't know what a President is or how to say it?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

Via Jill Filipovic in the New York Times, on the oft-tweeted photo of Donald Trump and dozens of men sitting around a table making health policy decisions about women's bodies:
"Mr. Trump promised he would make America great again, a slogan that included the implicit pledge to return white men to their place of historic supremacy. And that is precisely what these photos show. The same kind of men who have been in charge of the United States since its founding, so very proud of themselves for trying to ax the rights that make it possible for women to chart their own futures — and to compete with men. If women can’t decide for themselves when and if to have children and are instead at the mercy of men and nature, there will simply never be 50 percent of us at that table, or in any halls of power. The men of the Republican Party know this just as well as women do."
That's why, Filipovic suggests, the all-male photos might have been intentional "red meat" to Trump's base of aggrieved, entitled white men.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tired of Winning Yet?

Via the New York Times, on the Republican failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act last week:
"....[I]t was the biggest defeat of Mr. Trump's young presidency, which has suffered many.  His travel ban has been blocked by the courts. Allegations of questionable ties to the Russian government forced out his national security advisor Michael T. Flynn. Tensions with key allies such as Germany, Britain and Australia are high, and Mr. Trump's approval ratings are at historic lows."
Stay engaged. Resist. Speak out. Write. Call. Email. Do what you can.

And remember to celebrate every goddamn win.

As another reminder, the actual world we live in still imposes constraints on the executive branch of the US government. I make this observation because politicians, from time to time, often make sweeping promises of revolution and other forms of really big anti-establishment change. Yet, in our political reality, the Affordable Care Act has not yet been repealed, even with a Republican-controlled executive and legislative branch.

Please please please, I beg of you (again): I would love for the US to have more than two major political parties. But, when Jill Stein or any third party candidate runs for President despite their party holding exactly zero seats in Congress, remember that there's close to zero chance of them being able to actually implement a radical platform given the constraints of our political system. If this candidate were somehow able to widely implement their platform without garnering legislative support and building political allies, it would likely mean we were, unfortunately, living in a dictatorship.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Femslash Friday: Mean Girls Edition

In more than a decade of watching Mean Girls, I never shipped Cady and Janis (I know, can you believe it?), but then, there's this fan video/mock trailer and everything has changed. 

HA HA JUST KIDDING, THIS MOVIE LOOKS SUPER ANGSTY.




PS - I've come to accept that as I get older I sympathize more and more with Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey) far more than any of the main characters.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

His Extremely Presidential Voice

I will never forget that, at 70 years of age, misogyny and imagined male supremacy are inextricably embedded within the fabric of Donald Trump's deplorable personality.  I have a short piece about this, a reminder of sorts, over at Shakesville today.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.2 "The Last Children of Krypton"

So, Superman decides to stick around National City for awhile and, lez be honest, he makes a pretty good wingman.


We're treated to an early-episode montage of the Supers teaming up to put out fires and stop robbers whilst engaging in witty banter. At one point, Superman tells a stunned bad guy, "I'm with her," and points to Supergirl. *wink wink*  Aren't we all, here in Fannie's Room?

In CatCo news, Kara is now a reporter and her new boss is a grumpy-ass dude named Snapper who bestows upon Kara the nickname "Ponytail."  I don't like where I think this is going. AND BY THAT I MEAN: *deep breaths, deep breaths* Cat is going on leave from CatCo (and, hence, the show) because "there are new seas to conquer." More on that later. Chop chop.

The villain of the week is Metallo, a guy who Cadmus revived specifically to kill the Supers. He can shoot kryptonite out of his chest. So, when the Supers get into an initial altercation with him, they almost die, resulting in this famous shot (which is a shout-out to Supergirl's DC comic book death):


Thankfully, our Supergirl doesn't die.

At the DEO, the Supers learn that a shipment of kryptonite had gone missing months ago. This predicament gets right to J'onn and Superman's ongoing argument about whether the DEO should stockpile kryptonite. But, they decide to put their differences aside to try to defeat Metallo together because, well, you know the drill: El marayah.

Kara learns that Clark will be going home to Metropolis soon and is upset about it. Here is my paraphrase of Kara telling Alex about it:
Kara: Clark is leaving soon. I thought I'd move to Metropolis so I could be near him.
Alex: Wut? Oh hell no you're not.
Kara: But-
Alex: Nope! Drop it, Ponytail.
Anyway, by this time there's another Metallo guy. (*shrug* Cadmus is evil blah blah blah I'm just here for the flying and subtext). Winn makes the Supers some shields that deflect kryptonite and then the Supers team up with J'onn and Alex to defeat the Metallos. Worth mentioning about this scene: Alex found an upgrade pack somewhere:


After that battle, Supergirl and Cat say their goodbyes. Sigh. Who among us hasn't been a queen-of-all-media power lesbian saying goodbye to her beautiful superhero secret lover?


To end, J'onn lets Superman dispose of the last remaining kryptonite on Earth and Superman goes back to Metropolis. I guess I'm gonna miss the guy. And so is Winn. Winn definitely wants to be Superman's boyfriend.

Deep Thought of the Week -  Re: My feelings on Cat's "leave of absence" from CatCo, please see this fan video, starting at 1:23.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Femslash Friday: Buffy Edition

You might have heard that the 20th anniversary of the airing of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot was last week.

First, how has it been 20 years already?

Secondly, BtVS remains one of the shows that serves as my point of reference for other TV shows (the other being Xena, obvs). By that I mean, once the baseline of "Does it pass The Bechdel Test?" is established, I consider: what kind of relationships exist among the characters, how do the women relate to one another (primarily as rivals or allies?), how do men relate to and respect (or not) women, are there queer relationships and/or subtext potential, is the dialogue smart and quirky?

But also, BtVS was very white. And, even Willow and Tara seemed to exist as queer islands in a sea of heterosexuality, which is true of  many queer TV characters in general who seem to exist completely disconnected from other LGBT people. If the show is re-booted, I hope a more diverse ensemble is included.

Oh, and also, I've watched the series several times through. I know some folks say that the show is timeless, and perhaps it is in a sense. But, with each viewing, I've felt further removed from the high school, and then college, realities of the characters. If there's a re-boot, maybe the Scoobies could be middle-aged versions of themselves (+Tara).

And yet. Here are the episodes I often return to: "Halloween," "The Wish," "Doppelgangland," "Fear, Itself," "Hush," "Restless," "The Gift," "Once More, With Feeling."  I don't remember much of Season 7, honestly. After "Seeing Red," things get blurry for me.

Anyway.

Fan vid of the week. Willow Rosenberg doing her veiny-dark-Willow-hiding-underneath-a-thick-veneer-of-adorkableness thing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.1 "The Adventures of Supergirl"

Season Two begins with a couple of changes. First, the DEO has moved to the city from the desert. Second, a pod like the one Kara arrived in has landed on Earth, and it has a man inside.

Well, okay then.

More importantly, the writing team spends little time dropping the first glorious nugget of SuperCat Subtext. Cat has offered Kara the promotion of her choice for being such a capable assistant. Here's how their first interaction of the season goes:
Kara: What job do I want? Well, I don't know, I haven't really decided yet.
Cat: Why not?
Kara: Well, it's only been twelve hours since you asked me to choose a new position and for most of those hours I was asleep.
Cat: Really? I offer you the keys to the kingdom and you just.... go to sleep?
Okay, that might be a reach. But, I contend not. Also, you've been previously warned that reading subtext into everything is my one and only superhero skill.

Anyway, Kara clearly hasn't put much thought into what sort of promotion she wants and Cat gives her some mentoring advice about how she really needs to look inward and figure out what she wants to do with her life.

In maintext romance news, Kara is finally having a date with James. He brings pizza and potstickers over to her place. (A man after my own heart). But, right as the date begins, they are watching TV and see that a commercial space shuttle is crashing to the Earth. Naturally, Supergirl swings into action:


Ahhh, it's good to have you back in action, Supergirl.

But wait! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Tyler Hoechlin, already looking like a solid Clark Kent:


Clark changes into his Superman outfit and both Supers then work together to help guide the space shuttle safely to Earth.

Small detail: During the Season One finale, Supergirl was able to carry the entire Fort Rozz prison into outer space. She probs could have handled this space shuttle on her own.

But whatever. Anyway, Supergirl brings Superman to the DEO and everyone sort of fangeeks out. Especially Winn, who apparently is crushing hard on the guy.

Humina humina humina
Hank, however, does not seem impressed. It sounds like there's a backstory there. Cat also meets Clark and she briefly and  not-very-subtly makes it known that the notion of a threeway with Superman and Clark pleases her.

In weekly villain news, the gang then comes to believe that the Luthors may have been behind the shuttle explosion. Kara and Clark go to Luthor Corp to interview Lena, who is a new character this season and Lex Luthor's sister. She tells them that, with Lex finally in prison, she's just an innocent woman trying to transform the Luthor company into a force for good in the world. Clark doesn't believe her, but Kara sort of does. Hmmmm.

However, Winn figures out that Lena wasn't responsible for the explosion. And, she's actually in peril. So, Lena was telling the truth. For now. Never trust a Luthor?

Back at the DEO, Alex has figured out the tension between Hank and Superman. It's due to an ongoing debate the two aliens have about whether or not kryptonite should be stored or destroyed. Superman believes it should be destroyed since it can kill himself and Supergirl, but Hank thinks they should keep it for defensive reasons.

Kara also breaks up with James before they ever finish a first date. I feel bad for them. But, it's also sort of okay with me, because there's a new sheriff in town.

Lena:


I look forward to seeing whether Ms. Luthor is one day granted the keys to the kingdom. And by that I mean I will 100% read subtext into her and Kara's every interaction no matter how mundane.

To end, Kara finally figures out that she wants to be a reporter, which makes Cat beam with pride. And, Winn begins working at the DEO as a computer expert (or something?).

Deep Thought of the Week: I had heard Superman was coming to Supergirl and have to admit to an initial skepticism. Is the idea that a show about a female superhero needs to be bolstered with the addition of a male superhero? Initially, Hoechlin's Superman is kind, humble-seeming, and respectful of Supergirl, so my first impression is to like him. We will see where the partnership goes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Atwood on Handmaid's Tale

Writers-on-writing pieces are my favorites. And, here's Margaret Atwood recently talking about The Handmaid's Tale, and its implications in the age of Trump, over at The New York Times.

Her responses to the three questions she's most frequently asked are classic, and rendered with her typical wit. In addition to answering whether the book is feminist and anti-religion, she's asked whether it's a prediction. She says no, and in her own words, adds:
"But there's a literary form I haven't mentioned yet: the literature of witness. Offred records her story as best she can; then she hides it, trusting that it may be discovered later, by someone who is free to understand it and share it. This is an act of hope: Every recorded story implies a future reader.
....In this divisive climate, in which hate for many groups seems on the rise and scorn for democratic institutions is being expressed by extremists of all stripes, it is a certainty that someone, somewhere - many, I would guess - are writing down what is happening as they themselves are experiencing it."
This so-called age of Trump has many awful aspects, one of which is that it seems we're rising toward an age of Peak Bully.

I have written before of placing Trump's electoral college win into a broader context of Internet harassment culture. Massive amounts of antisocial behavior are normalized in part because political, legal, and corporate responses to it are so severely lacking.

As we navigate these various abuses - not just online, but also the abuses marginalized people experience in physical space - resistance is also a witness, including the writing and documentation of it. Resistance will look different on different people, as we experience abuse in unique ways dependent upon our own life circumstances. Resistance exists in acts small and large, everyday and once-in-a-lifetime, seen and unseen.

We are here, and still we hope.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Reparative" Therapy Leader Dies

[CN: mention of suicidality]

Joseph Nicolosi, advocate and practitioner of "reparative" therapy that seeks to "change" gay, lesbian, and bisexual people's sexual orientation to "heterosexual" and to prevent trans people from affirming their gender identity, died last week.

Nicolosi founded the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization that grew widely discredited over the years for the promotion of, as Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documented, junk science. Still, he billed himself as the "foremost expert" on this form of "therapy."

If there is a way to quantitatively measure Nicolosi's responsibility for the culture of stigmatization and harm to individual LGBT lives, I don't know of it. And yet, his responsibility seems, in my opinion, undeniable.

I came of age as a lesbian in the 1990s and early aughts when Nicolosi published most of his works. Nicolosi had influenced, and/or collaborated with, notorious leaders of SPLC-identified anti-LGBT hate groups, including historical revisionist Scott Lively, who argued that gay men were responsible for the Holocaust. NARTH regularly submtted amicus briefs in court cases opposing gay rights, arguing that sexual orientation could be changed.

Even in the late aughts, nearly every anti-LGBT person I encountered at various anti-LGBT blogs and forums relied to varying degrees on NARTH and Nicolosi's work. I regularly engaged with anti-gay people who believed I was intrinsically mentally ill for being gay and, if they were Christian, also believed I was innately sinful (yeah yeah, "everybody is," blah blah).

Mainstream health organizations have now widely critiqued "reparative" and "conversion" therapies. And, back in 2009, I wrote about the American Psychological Association's review of the scientific literature examining "reparative" therapy. which summarized that: "efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm." This harm includes loss of sexual feeling, depression, suicidality, and anxiety.

Now, six states and fourteen cities ban "reparative" or "conversion" therapy for minors.

I have nothing kind to say about Joseph Nicolosi. To my knowledge, he died without ever having apologized to the LGBT community.

Instead, I will use his death as an opportunity to suggest that we should not become complacent with the progress we gained on LGBT issues during the Obama years.
We will not go backwards.