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Saturday, September 24, 2016

On boobs and booth babes

Sorry for the long delay, kids. Turns out going to school and working full time is way harder without the benefit of mania. 
So I just had my first big assignment, and man, grad school is weird - I finished the thing, and if I'd had time, I would have scrapped everything and started all over. It's not that I hate what I wrote, it's just that I'm much better qualified to write the thing now that I've already written it. 
So the piece was about misogyny in the comics community, a subject I've got a hard time getting my brain around because first, I've personally never once felt anything but embraced by the geek community. And second, most of us geeks have been bullied and excluded for being weird; we should damn well have some empathy.
One of the most mind-boggling things i found in my research was all the men, including writers and industry insiders, bitching about female cosplayers. I read this CNN article where some wanker called Joe Peacock complained about fake geek women prancing around in sexy costumes to "satisfy their hollow egos." He's not objecting to real geek girls dressing sexy, he says, "I'm talking about an attention addict trying to satisfy her ego and feel pretty by infiltrating a community to seek the attention of guys she wouldn't give the time of day on the street."
This guy, and the many, many guys who agree with him, are so the center of their own universes that they believe that women who aren't interested in geek culture would spend hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars crafting a dreadfully uncomfortable costume, then pay to get into a con and be surrounded by men they don't like, all for some attention. Even the picture that accompanies Peacock's article demonstrates his complete lack of logic. The woman on the right dressed as a gender swapped Loki? Check out her helmet. Loki's horned helmet was clearly designed with a total disregard for physics - it's way too front-heavy to exist in real life. I literally don't know how that woman is keeping that thing on her head. But I can tell you this - no woman makes or buys a two-foot tall migraine-inducing, physics-defying big ass helmet just to get some attention from dudes they're not actually interested in.
Peacock refers to these supposed fake geek girls as "6 of 9s" - in the real world they'd be sixes, but at cons they seem like nines. Here's the thing, Cock. Do you mind if I call you Cock? You don't need a multi-hundred dollar costume to get male attention. You just need to put on a short skirt and walk into a bar. If you think the ladies in your picture are sixes, then you'd probably consider me a three on my best day. And I have never wanted for male attention. The attention might not come from the kind of men from whom I'd ever want attention (once when I was 15 some old guy told me that if I came to his house he'd let me drink wine as long as I promised not to tell my mother), but Cock says himself that these fake geek girls don't actually want to date convention geeks. According to him, they're just dressing sexy to satisfy their hollow egos. (In related news, what the holy hell does "hollow ego" even mean?)
Anyway, it just depresses the crap out of me that some men in the community that has always shown me so much love have such a disdain for women that they complain bitterly, and at length, about being forced to be in the presence of attractive, scantily clad women. I just... I grew up believing that the end of racism and sexism were inexorable. I grew up believing that all the bigots I met were an endangered species bound for extinction, that society was now on the right track. And now geek women who speak their minds are victims of literal terror campaigns. A comics editor named Janelle Asselin wrote a review of a Teen Titans cover and pointed out that maybe having a teenage character with barely covered boobs the size of her head was inappropriate. And she was literally driven from her home by very graphic and specific rape threats. 
  And now half the damn country is rallying behind an openly bigoted misogynist because they're sick of "political correctness." Half the country. Half of the state I live in. Half of my neighbors and half of the people I meet each day and half of my coworkers. And a significant number of members of the community that taught me I wasn't alone, that women could be strong.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mea culpa

Lots of folks are saying the world has gotten "too PC." Lots of folks are saying that you can't say anything at all these days without being accused of racism. Lots of folks are saying that the pendulum has swung too far and lots of folks are saying that accusing white people of racism is "reverse racism," whatever that means.
Well I've got a long and storied history of saying stupid, hurtful things without even thinking about it. I've got a long history of hurting people's feelings and doubling down, or weaseling, or getting mad when confronted about it. And it took me a long time, but I have learned some things.
It's okay to apologize for saying something stupid.
No one will be impressed by my excuses or my denials.
It's okay to say something dumb, realize that was a dumb thing to say, and then admit that it was a dumb thing to say.
It's okay to apologize even if I think someone's being oversensitive.
It's even okay to apologize for hurting someone's feelings, even if I don't think what I said was wrong. 
It's not up to me to decide whether someone else's feelings are hurt.  
It doesn't make sense for me to assert my right to say something by telling others that they're wrong for asserting their right to disagree with what I've said. 
I'm not gonna convince anyone I'm not being insensitive by insisting I'm not insensitive. 
If I get accused of being insensitive, I'm not a persecuted victim of the PC police; I'm a person who got accused of being insensitive.
It's better to ask what's wrong with what I said than to argue that nothing's wrong with what I said; sometimes I don't know I've said something dumb because I didn't know the whole story.

It's okay to have an opinion and keep it to myself.
It's okay to have an opinion and not blast social media with it 9 times a day.

It's okay to shut up and listen.

Look, I recognize that policing language for political correctness can stymie the flow of constructive dialogue. And I do acknowledge that it really sucks to be called racist even when you know you're not. But someone once said "when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression." 
And if none of that flies for you, chew on this. White people have spent centuries taking away the voices of people of color, often using whips and knives and nooses. And that's not my fault and that's not your fault, but I think it's time we made peace with the fact that we don't always get to have the floor. 


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Damages

Answer

  • The amount of time Ice Ice Baby remained on the charts.
  • Every one of Elizabeth Taylor's 8 marriages.
  • William Hung's music career.
  • The amount of time Joanie Loves Chachi remained on the air.
  • The amount of time Home Alone remained #1 at the box office.
  • Theatrical run of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
  • Lifespan of Mike the Headless Chicken - after his head was removed. 

Question
What are some things that go on longer than Brock Turner's jail stay?

Question:
What crimes are worse, in the eyes of the justice system, than dragging an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and digitally raping her?

Answer:



Question

What's the difference between the following three folks and Brock Turner?
  • On the other hand, there's Frank Lee Smith. One woman's eye-witness testimony put him in jail for a rape he didn't commit. DNA evidence exonerated him 15 years later, but it was too late; he was dead. The eyewitness later stated that she'd told police she wasn't sure he was the right guy, but she'd been pressured not to mention that at trial.
  • There's also Habib Wahir Abdal. In the 1980s, a woman was raped by a black man about 5'9" with a gap between his teeth. Habib Wahir Abdal was 6'2" with no gap, but he was convicted of the crime after a forensic analyst gave inaccurate testimony on the stand. Abdal served 16 years before being exonerated.
  • Paula Gray made a false confession under duress when she was accused of being involved in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a young couple in 1978. She recanted her confession, but still spent 24 years in prison for the crime before DNA exonerated her.

Answer:

They were probably lousy swimmers. 
Just kidding. Race. It's race. 

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