Flip Through

Friday, October 29, 2010

Film Fantasy Friday: Heroes for Hire

This week's edition of Movies That Should Be Made By Me is the badass cast of Heroes for Hire. Created by Ed Hannigan and Lee Elias, HfH was originally just Power Man and Iron Fist, kicking ass. The team that this film will be using is COMPLETELY ONE OF MY OWN MAKING. The current team has some people I love and some people I hate; also, the plot will be a mash-up of origin story and current Marvel-u occurrences (chiefly Shadowland), so this time, my opinions are really shining through. Behold, the future-cast of Heroes for Hire.

Luke Cage/Power Man: played by Terry Crews (sorry, Old Spice Dude), Luke has superhuman strength, near-inpenetrable skin, and a sweet chain. A skilled street fighter, Luke teams up with Danny Rand to form a team called Heroes for Hire in response to the apparently out-of-control Daredevil.

Danny Rand/Iron Fist: played by Cam Gigandet, Danny is a rich boy with serious kung fu skills. The head of the Rand Corporation, his legacy from his father, Danny and Luke sometimes clash over their backgrounds and respective amounts of $$$. Danny is in an on-again, off-again relationship with Misty Knight.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow: played by Rebecca Romijn, Natasha is a turncoat (...) Russian spy, martial artist, assassin, and sniper, among other things. Initially she is allied with Daredevil, since they're sleeping together and all, but once he goes nutso she teams up with the HfH.

Misty Knight: played by Erykah Badu, Misty is an expert martial artist, uses big guns, is an excellent detective, and has a cybernetic arm which can punch through adamantium. She and Colleen are the first heroes sought out by Luke and Danny for their new team-up.

Colleen Wing: played by Rinko Kikuchi, Colleen is a trained samurai and has control over her chi in a way similar to Danny; using this control she can enhance her speed and strength, though she is not a superhuman. Colleen and Misty are partners; their duo is called "Daughters of the Dragon".

Marc Spector/Moon Knight: played by Jason Statham, Marc is a former CIA operative and a mercenary. After a vision of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, Marc took on the persona of Moon Knight, whose powers wane and wax with the moon. He is a bit of a nutbar, but fights with the HfH after Daredevil tries to have him killed.

Matt Murdock/Daredevil/the Beast: played by Aaron Eckhart, Daredevil is currently in control of the Hand, a ninja force, and the power's going to his head. It doesn't help matters that he's being possessed by a demonic spirit known as the Beast.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia. Have a great Halloween, everyone. I just got into work wielding a sonic screwdriver and a pair of white high-top Chucks...the rest of the Who-drobe awaits at home. Pics to come, perhaps.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sin is treating people like things

One of my favorite Terry Pratchett characters said that, and it remains the best definition for "sin" that I've seen.

So who's sinning today, Diana? you ask. Why, Marie Claire, of course! Presumably you've all heard about the horrific goings-on over there today, but in case you haven't...well, I ain't linking to that article. I refuse to give them the page hits. Instead, read Cleolinda's takedown.

I stand by my comment to her entry: articles in this manner, no matter who they're about, ARE TERRORISM. They are bigoted and hateful and mean (in both senses). They are about putting people down and keeping them down. Insert "gay" or "black" or "elderly" or ANYTHING in place of "fat" and the message remains the same: hate.

I am not fat. I am not even overweight. I'm a skinny white able-bodied cisgendered heterosexual young woman. I have every fucking privilege in the world. This article is not about me, right? WRONG. IT IS ABOUT ME. It's about me, you, five of my close friends and scores of other people whom I admire, my teachers, my colleagues, my students, people on the Internet I've never met. It's about everyone, because guess what? the bell tolls for you. There is no excusing writing like this, no matter what the topic or who the hate is aimed at. It's hate and it needs to end.

So fuck you, Marie Claire, for allowing this piece of garbage to be published. I hope your magazine goes belly-up. Dear readers, would you like to help that happen? Read one of these instead!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Touching, really

Here it is, peeps--the evidence you've been waiting for. BEHOLD THE DORKINESS!
This gem is a bookmark my best friend made which showcased her vision of each Animorph's handwriting.
Here we have the legendary sketch of our Andalite Halloween costume. Please note the rollerblading feet.
This is a themed postcard (the other side has an encoded message).

And here is a relic from my Redwall loving past. I wish I had some of the awesome drawings I did as a wee nerd, but this "Redwall: Friend and Foe" map will have to suffice.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Film Fantasy Friday: Black Orchid

This week's edition of Film Fantasy Friday features the comic-to-film casting of Black Orchid, one of Neil Gaiman's contributions to the DC canon in the form of a miniseries about the first Black Orchid, Susan Linden-Thorne. The main characters of this ensemble cast are listed below. Note: this film would have substantial differences from the major plot of Gaiman's graphic novel; likely it would be akin to a combination of Black Orchid and Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run.

Black Orchid/Flora Black: played by Melanie Laurent, Flora is a human-plant hybrid with ties to the Green. Created in the wake of Susan Linden-Thorne's death and imbued with her memories, Flora's new body and world are so baffling that she spends the bulk of the film trying to figure out who she is.

Poison Ivy/Pamela Isley: played by Rachel Hurd-Wood, Pamela is in Arkham Asylum at the outset of the film. A former student and lover of Jason Woodrue, Pamela became Poison Ivy after Woodrue injected her with various plant toxins.

Swamp Thing/Alec Holland: played by Viggo Mortensen, Alec studied with Pamela and Philip under Jason Woodrue. On his death, the Swamp Thing is created after feeding on his corpse. He is Flora's link to the Parliament of Trees and the Green.

Floronic Man/Jason Woodrue: played by Steve Buscemi, Jason is a crazed botanist. He breaks Pamela out of Arkham as part of a plot to take over Gotham City.

Lex Luthor: played by Boris Kodjoe, Luthor is obsessed with possessing Flora--for reasons of sex or dissection, we're not sure.

Suzy Black: played by Lina Leandersson, Suzy is another human-plant hybrid and effectively Flora and Susan's "sister".

And that's how Diana casts it! All images from Google and Wikipedia. Also--can I get a hey-ya from the people who grew up convinced that Lex Luthor was black based on the Bruce Timm cartoons? I can't be the ONLY one...Can I?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Early onset-geekdom, or, A love letter to K.A. Applegate

SO. I will be conferencing this weekend and oh I know you're going to PINE and BALSAM whilst I'm away.

Probably not. But, in the event that you'll be all, Why hasn't Diana posted in three days? I HAVE NOTHING TO READ, maybe this will tide you over. I am about to get raw here, people. I am about to reveal deep dark secrets about my deep dark past. It goes something like, "Cuppa tea cuppa tea almost got shagged cuppa tea."

My point is this: Topless Robot's weekly contest. For those not in the know, TR is my go-to site for nerdy news; Transformers, Japanese perversions, STAR WARS, horrific fan fiction, comic book movies, etc. Rob Bricken's got it all. He also does a weekly contest, the prize being a TR t-shirt, and this week the topic was...What is the geekiest thing you created in your childhood? I entered, as I usually do, and did not win, as I always do. SOMEDAY ROB SOMEDAY. Anyhoo, as I was pressing "Enter" on my dear netbook for the entry I used (which, if you scroll down to user Menshevixen you will be able to read my embarrassment), I suddenly remembered AN EVEN BETTER MEMORY.

Let me tell you, if I had posted that one, it would've won. I even have pictorial evidence. See, when I was a wee person, my BFF and I were super-time Animorphs fans. We were heavy into that Applegate--we wrote coded notes to each other and used the title font style, we played at being members of the team and, as I recall, totally warped the use of the morphing power to where we could change into inanimate objects. We also drew a schematic for a costume for Halloween which, if I do say so, was awesome. It was an Andalite. Whose hooves would be portrayed by rollerskates. Green glittery eyeballs on a headband for the second set of eyes.

I do not recall which of us was supposed to be the back half.

Obviously, this never came to pass. BUT. This image exists to the present...I think. DR SHE BLOGGO, if I dig through my closet and come up with it, can I post it here? For posterity?

Yes, dear readers, I was an elementary school nerd. God looked down on me and said, Yea, I knew thee as a nerd before I formed thee in the womb, or something. Something important happened in my childhood--a bizarrely long-running series about children who could transform into animals and fight alien slugs--and the course of my life was set. From Animorphs it was an easy leap to STAR WARS, to fantasy series, to comic books. K.A., I owe you a lot. It could be argued that you are the reason I eventually got laid (as well as being the reason why it took so long). You are a big part of the reason why I'm a writer now, and a librarian. It is certainly your fault that most of my party tricks revolve around one-upping dudes about classical mythology and SW EU trivia.

And now as an adult nerd, I get the opportunity to shape the future of my dear smallest cousin, who is actually not that small. She's 12, and about eight feet tall. According to her mother, she reads even more than I did at that age. Well, you can guess what I did with that information--I started sending her books! Sorry about the state of her room, Aunt Maureen. She loves fantasy like I do, and so I keep grilling her parentals about this title and that, has she read X, does she have Y? and then send her things I think she'll like at Christmas and birthdays. Last birthday I sent the whole set of The Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce, as well as a Robin McKinley and a Karen Healey and a Neil Gaiman--my go-tos. And in the mail today I got a thank-you card:

Dear Diana, Thank you so much for the books you sent! I love them all (underlined twice), especially the Protector of the Small series.

THE COCKLES OF MY HEART, THEY ARE WARM. That is why I am a librarian, peeps. That right there. Is there anything more joyous than providing a person with something they will love?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Love, love, love

It ain't all gloom and doom around here, peeps! The weather is gorgeous here and I am tired of thinking about Grave Topics. Let's have another edition of Ten Things I Love, shall we?

1~ My new tattoo: Yep, here it is, in all its literary-snob glory! For those who aren't lifelong fans of T.H. White, the text says "rex quondam rexque futurus" which is the epitaph on Arthur's tomb and says "the once and future king". I luffs it so. And yes, what you have heard is true--tattoos are addictive in the extreme! I am already planning more. :)

2~ Rereading favorite books. Relatedly, introducing them to other people: In this case, American Gods is the book. I am reading it for about the 8th time with my boyfriend, who has never read ANY Gaiman. I know, I know, why do I keep him around? See the next point for the answer.

3~ My man: Partner, boyfriend, lover, whatever you want to call him. I am actually getting a bit sick of "boyfriend" seeing as we've been together for five years and have no plans to split. Anyway, he's awesome. Evidence: he brought me Boston Market when I was working late last week. Ah, young love.

4~ Dr Who: A dear friend recently made me start watching Dr Who and o, I am grateful. Awesome-bad villains (o hai Daleks!) or just awesome villains (small boy with gas mask, I am looking at you. Actually I'm hiding my eyes in fear), spunky ladies, dashingly dorky Doctors, dashingly omnisexual spaceship captains, long-dead literary heroes, wrenching parting scenes--Who has it all! It also had this fellow, who I am dressing up as for Halloween:


5~ Halloween movies: I love Halloween, period, but man are horror movies one of the best aspects of this holiday. I like straight-up thrillers, such as The Shining, Let the Right One In, and all of Hitchcock's ouvre; I like over-the-top gore like The Descent and Hellraiser; and I like films that swerve between scary and fun, particularly The Craft and Practical Magic.

6~ Autumn: As stated before (...somewhere), I love autumn. Though it's probably more accurate to say that I love "Florida winter", because let's face it, FL doesn't have autumn and its winter is closer to other states' autumn than Real Ultimate Winter. In any case, whatever you want to call that bite in the air and the way everything smells clean and ancient, even in smog-choked Tampa...that's my season.

7~ My job: Guess what I'm doing today at work? Creating genre spine labels! OMG so much fun; there's a unicorn for fantasy, and a speech bubble for graphic novels, and a Trojan helmet for classics. I also just ordered a ton of new materials and can't wait to catalogue them! Haters please note: I am not being sarcastic. I really love my job.

8~ Naptime: Someday when I rule the world, naptime will be mandatory. You won't necessarily have to SLEEP, but there will be an hour around lunchtime during which quiet will be enforced. Read, measure out a Tarot deck, snooze, have a margarita, whatever--just do it quietly so us nappers can get some Zzzzzs.

9~ My furry bastards: Yes they are furry and yes they are bastardly, but I love them. Life is not complete without cats.

10~ Blow 'em up movies: ORLY DIANA? you say. We would never have guessed! But really. I saw RED last night and laughed my head off. Sometimes the only cure for urban malaise is a lot of gratuitous gunfights and car chases.

(What has two thumbs and can't resist Dame Mirren and John Crazyface Malkovich?)

Friday, October 15, 2010

New feature: Film Fantasy Friday

So, lots of blogs have weekly features--thematic postings which happen on the same day every week. I have decided to add my dear Picaresque to the ranks of these blogs with the all-new, singing, dancing Film Fantasy Friday, during which I will cast a book-to-movie film of my choosing. As a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and comics, I have to deal with lots of movies being made out of reading material that I enjoy. Generally I have lots of opinions on how these are created and, of course, who is in them. Mostly it ends up that I should've cast them. Duh.

So, without further blather, I present the first Film Fantasy Friday: the cast of Lioness Rampant. Based on the last book of the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce, Lioness Rampant will feature a broad ensemble cast. The major players are listed below.

Alanna "the Lioness" of Trebond and Olau: played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Alanna is the King's Champion, the first lady knight in a hundred years, and an all-around badass.

Prince Jonathan of Conte: played by Milo Ventimiglia, Jonathan was formerly Alanna's lover. He is next in line for Tortall's throne, but does not yet have the support of his people, and is being undermined by his crazy risen-from-the-dead cousin. Alanna intends to help by finding the fabled Dominion Jewel and gifting it to Jonathan at his coronation.

Lady Delia of Eldorne: played by Emma Stone, Delia is one bad bitch. Jonathan's former and Roger's current mistress, she is ultimately imprisoned for treason.

Duke Roger of Conte: played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Roger was killed by Alanna but raised from the dead by her twin brother, Thom. This is bad news for everyone involved, since Roger was deadly before but is now also nuts and hell-bent on destroying the kingdom of Tortall!

Lord Thom of Trebond: played by Paul Bettany, Thom is Alanna's twin brother and a powerful sorcerer--powerful enough to perform necromancy. As you may imagine, things don't end well for him.

George Cooper, the Rogue: played by Eric Bana, George is Alanna's beloved (ultimately; she has a few, as we will see), as well as being the king of the thieves of Tortall's capital. His title is the Rogue. He is, in a word, awesome.

Princess Josiane Rittevon of the Copper Isles: played by Evan Rachel Wood, Josiane is in league with Delia and Roger. She is also a foreign princess from a notably batshit family (of whom we may see more in future films).

Liam Ironarm, the Shang Dragon: played by Zack Ward, Liam is arguably the most dangerous fighter in the Eastern and Southern Lands, barehanded or with weapons. He travels with Alanna on her quest to find the Dominion Jewel and they briefly become lovers. He embodies the adage about living by the sword.

Thayet jian Wilima: played by Catherine Zeta-Jones Salma Hayek, Thayet is the daughter of a hated warlord and is halfblood, her mother being a native (K'miri) princess of her land. She is so beautiful that eventually her nickname will be "The Peerless". She and her bodyguard and best friend (see below) escape with Alanna into Tortall, where Thayet is introduced to Jonathan.

Burirarm Tourakom: played by Zuleikha Robinson, Buri is Thayet's bodyguard and oldest friend. She is a full-blooded K'miri warrior and a ferocious fighter.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The travails of the librarian

So, something I have noticed since setting out on my career quest is that whenever I speak to someone who doesn't know me well or someone who is a stranger--so, people who work in my college but are in different departments, friends of friends, etc.--once they find out that I am and am going to be forevermore a librarian, they will then say something along the lines of, Cool! I hear you can make a lot of money in library administration/law librarianship/as the Librarian of Congress.

Ok, not really that last, but the upshot is that when people find that they are talking to someone who is or wants to be a librarian, they immediately try to think of a way in which that career would be lucrative. I suppose this happens to teachers, postal workers, and other civil servants too, but my experience is my own. And that is that the person I'm talking to then seems to be nonplussed and/or embarrassed when I say, Well actually, I'm planning to work as a public librarian. With teenagers.

PEOPLE: YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT. I am not in this for the moola. I don't know anyone who is. People who are in librarianship for the dolla dolla bills are probably a little deluded (I mean, as far as I know, the current Librarian of Congress isn't actually a librarian. I think he is a historian, but predictably, the Wikipedia entry doesn't STATE HIS DEGREE. This is because most of America is shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED that one must have at least a master's degree to claim the title "librarian". I hate you all).

Frankly I think it is a little sad that people feel they must pander to me upon hearing of my modest career goals. It does not speak well to the common health of our society. Also, look at this bitch and tell me YOU don't want to be a librarian now:
(Babs will fuck you up with her LIS skillz)

Unrelatedly, tomorrow I am introducing a new weekly thingamajigger on this here blog. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Notes from the field: oodles and oodles of oodles

So, we've decided that the furry bastards that we keep as pets, were they Dr. Seuss creatures, would be called in the common parlance "oodles". Given that, here are some facts about the oodle:

+Found only in the northern wastes of Udlmark, the wild oodle (known in the Latin as Felis taxideinae) is caged and domesticated by rural farmers for the purpose of bed-warming.

+The oodle comes in two varieties: the common oodle, a short-haired beast, and the hirsute oodle, which boasts a thick, luxurious coat. Both types generally display shades of brown, tawny, black, and grey.

(both common and hirsute oodles photographed here)

+The ability to keep and breed hirsute oodles is considered a status signifier, since this variety demands vast quantities of food to replenish its hefty coat and is an expensive animal to maintain. Attendant to this, the hirsute oodle is also given to producing loud, prolonged cries if not fed according to its whimsical schedule. Despite these factors, the hirsute oodle is in high demand due to its bed-warming capabilities.

+The common oodle has but one idiosyncrasy: it lusts after the fabric typically termed "chenille" and will chew and knead any object, be it pillow or blanket, of this material until the object disintegrates.

+Oodles may occasionally display the vulgar habit of suckling one another's bellies; this occurs most often in the male oodle.

Monday, October 11, 2010

National Coming Out Day

Happy National Coming Out Day, dear readers! I am not gay, though I do fall around a 3 on the Kinsey Scale (for what it's worth), and I am mos def a straight ally and the world needs to know it (HI MOM I LOVE GAY PEOPLE)!

Interested in working with or donating to the gay rights movement? Check out these links:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Thank you, grilled cheesus!

Upon further reflection and reading, I'm suspecting that the "Grilled Cheesus" episode of Glee over which I was (and still am, sort of) rather het up is actually a prank on mainstream Christianity.

Here's why: the Finn plotline, which, lest we forget, ONLY the audience sees, is basically a Christian's wet dream--he's getting exactly what he wants with minimal effort. Finn gets to be quarterback and feel up his girlfriend, all via praying to a grilled cheese sandwich! Since none of the other clubbers see Finn's plotline, the audience gets to watch him act like an asshole: privileged, narcissistic, and looking out for himself. His plotline oozes prosperity gospel.

(why am I crossing myself to a sandwich? Because I don't know fuck-all about the various sects of Christianity, perhaps?)

If this is the case and Falchuck meant to make fun of people like Quinn's parents (who seem to embody the very worst of ANY stripe of Christianity), I still don't think it was done very well. But at least now I can have a giggle . Laughing is good for blood pressure.

Friday, October 08, 2010

It ain't hard to define

Well, it's been kinda bleak around these parts lately. Time for some fun! And what's more fun than blaming Rick Springfield for things?

My point: the word "moot".

I don't know who to blame for the degeneration of this word's meaning in the English language, so I am blaming its most visible user. In the inimitable (unless you're Cory Monteith) "Jessie's Girl" (the title of that being a WHOLE nother post), Springfield sings the line "I wanna tell her that I love her/But the point is probably moot".

And linguists everywhere cringed. In all likelihood, the origin of this meaning of the term is much older than the 1980s, but I hate this line of "Jessie's Girl" so much that I just can't stand it. THAT ISN'T WHAT IT MEANS, RICK. I understand that there are not many rhymes for "cute", and that the 90s-popular pronunciation of "slut" as "sloot" hadn't happened yet, but come on. "Moot" stems from the Old English (or Old Frankish, depending on who you're talking to) mot and its related term gemot, meaning "meeting". You can see this word in its real function in the term "witenagemot" and J.K. Rowling's awesome appropriation, Wizengamot!

(you can trust me. I read Beowulf in the Old English!)

So when did the word "moot" stop meaning "a point to be discussed" and start meaning "a point not worth discussion"? You are welcome to chase after its etymology. Per usual, I am content to just blame a poofy 80s pop singer.

In the event that this wasn't QUITE fun enough for you, check out DR SHE BLOGGO's awesome and very scientific infographic and have an excellent weekend.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Spiritual envy? Not really

So, whilst reading Will Unwound's 'Sunday Meditations' post, I was very appreciative of most of the comments--nearly all of them, up until someone named Wayne Hanway decided to spit on atheists and agnostics everywhere. I didn't want to bring any arguments to Will's thread, so I decided to hash it out here. Anyway, this is what he said:

"With God, creation is a marvellous place, and not the least of the marvels is the powerful love and goodness that can be found even in the midst of strife and natural disasters.

Without God, creation is a fearsome place, and life in it is lonely, mean-spirited, and ultimately pointless."

Well, Mr. Hanway, I'm sorry you have such a narrow view of things. I am sorry that the human spirit isn't enough for you; that you must seek companionship, love, and security in otherworldly things which may or may not exist. We who are sans "God", you must forgive us for enjoying our time on the planet and indeed, marveling in the whole of the world, artwork and food and music and sex and ugly-cute dogs and travel and napping and and and--and not giving a shit whether some demiurge is wandering about the firmament, whether that Bearded Sky Daddy made this for humans, whether he is watching us masturbate and eat curly fries and talk about Adorno.

Mr. Hanway seems to be the quintessential embodiment of a Regina Spektor lyric that I have always found rather bleak: "He stumbled into faith and thought, God, this is all there is."

I rephrase Mr. Hanway's comments--

"With God, creation is a hideous place, and not the least of that hideousness is the powerful hate and terror that can be found in every country on the planet and which is often excused by statements of "we are doing God's work".

Without God, creation is a truer place, and life in it is full and meaningful, with limitless thought and expression, ultimately free."

I do not believe in a god. I was raised to believe in God, who made the world and its creatures, who created the laws of the universe, who now seems to me to be a damned lunatic and a bullying asshole to boot. In my journey away from the religion of my youth I have discovered many kinder deities and many beautiful religions, but at this time I do not feel an urge to "join" any of them, though I do worship in my own way (which mostly involves not-quite-successful cooking experiments and desperate attempts to keep my houseplants alive). I can't say who Mr. Hanway's god is, since he didn't elaborate; perhaps his is a gentle god, but demiurges are not often of this type. Perhaps his god loves everyone, those pesky gays and blacks and Hispanics included. Perhaps his god is really a goddess. Perhaps his god is himself. But any way you slice it, his remarks are condescending and narrow-minded, and my experience has been that those who look so snottily on atheists do not look any more kindly on people who worship deities other than the Bearded Sky Daddy. My dearest mate is fond of saying that the truest civilization is one without religion--by which he means, I think, not that religions should be forcibly eradicated, but that a continual state of spiritual and mental evolution will eventually lead to a society in which either all forms of religious belief are TOTALLY accepted or a society in which the people have literally outgrown religion.

Either society sounds good to me. Far be it from me to tell people how to worship or whether to worship, and it is always worth noting that some religious paths allow for worship without belief. But I must be afforded the same respect. You may keep your god, Mr. Hanway, and I will keep my enjoyment and appreciation of human endeavors and creations. God didn't write The Return of the Native or compose "Temples of Gold" or paint Guernica. Humans did and I will laud them for it until I pass into oblivion.

Now for the television portion of my commentary! So, everyone knows I love Glee. Mostly I care about the music--like last week's "Brittany/Britney" episode, I was willing and able to set aside the monstrous plot machinations and character weaving to enjoy the bombass musical numbers. Usually my ability to suspend belief and just listen to the tunes is pretty solid. This week, not so much. For the non-Gleeful types out there, "Grilled Cheesus" was the Very Special Religion episode! Just kill me now. Network TV just needs to stop trying to be socially responsible or whatever and make entertaining viewing. Was anyone out there really jonesing for an after-school special about how atheists and religious people can be friends? ANYONE?

So basically, Kurt the gay kid's dad has a heart attack (or something) and slips into a coma and of course Kurt is broken up about it, but instead of sitting with him in the hospital or taking him to a movie or buying him ice cream or letting him cry on their shoulders, most of his fellow glee clubbers try to make him go to church and shame him for not believing in god. Like literally, one of them says, after Kurt states that he doesn't believe in god, "We shouldn't be talking like this. It isn't right" (and please do keep in mind that this character is one who, had it been revealed that SHE is an atheist, I am pretty sure no one in the audience would've said boo. Her character arc WAS heading in interesting directions...).


The upshot of the episode was that atheists and agnostics are bitter and jealous of those who have faith. SURE RYAN MURPHY BRAD FALCHUCK THAT'S IT EXACTLY. Also, apparently everyone who doesn't believe in god go that way after praying really hard and then not getting any answers. SURE RYAN MURPHY BRAD FALCHUCK THAT'S IT EXACTLY. Sweet hofucking Darwin. Here's my weirdo confession--after I ditched my religion, I went around with the idea that everyone around me, unless they indicated otherwise, was at the least agnostic. I thought that the default was NOT believing in anything in particular. Maybe that's so and maybe it isn't, but I have yet to meet someone who's really broken up about their lack of belief. And if such people do exist, all I can say to them is: find a god who doesn't hate you. Find a deity who loves everyone, who stands for what you believe. THEY ARE OUT THERE. Create your own if you have to, if you have such a burning need for belief. I am pretty sure that there is a god out there for everyone who feels the need for one. Just look a little harder. Hint: it's probably not Jehovah.

I guess it could've been worse; Kurt could've had a marvelous inspiring conversion by the ending number, but he didn't. Still, that doesn't make up for his friends treating him like his feelings don't matter. My major bone to pick with stringent, usually Christian religious people is that in times of crisis, what their religion tells them to do supersedes what you and your family want. They're like Prince, they will pray 4 u no matter how much you ask them not to. Kurt says at the end to his father (after three of his friends have snuck into his dad's hospital room...to pray), "Them praying wasn't about me. It was about you." Kurt, I love you and you're the nicest person on the show and the best singer and your rendition of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" knocked me dead, but you are wrong. It is not about you OR your dad. It is about making the person praying feel better. They say their prayers, they've done their Christian duty, they can feel good and holy and get a gold star next to their names and not have to actually DO anything at all--not donate money for cancer research, not hold your hand and shut up, not drive you to a park so you can meditate, nothing. Kurt's friends aren't on his side in this episode, and for some reason they're lionized for it. Know what else is FUCKED UP? The only member of the club who does seem to be on Kurt's side is Artie...who happens to be in a wheelchair. Yes, Ryan Murphy Brad Falchuck. That's it. The only people who are atheists are gays and cripples and everyone else who got fucked by the Almighty.

Furthermore, what if Kurt had said, "Well, I'm a member of the local Santeria congregation and we're going to do a ritual animal sacrifice for my father's health tonight. Would you guys like to come?" WHAT THEN RYAN MURPHY BRAD FALCHUCK WHAT THEN. You can pretend to be hip with your socially responsible discussion of atheism, Glee, but you're not. Currently, you're no different from any other dramcom on the air. Was this episode supposed to be heartwarming? It wasn't; it was grating and superior and at times literally made my teeth grind. Was this episode supposed to be socially aware? Well, just like that damned Pew questionnaire, it wasn't. As ever, the Big Serious Religion Discussion boils down to "people who worship Jesus" and "people who tried to worship Jesus but he never showed up and they got pissed off and took their toys and went home".

This apatheist is here to tell you that not all atheists are sad that they can't worship god like everyone else. I am willing to bet that most people who don't attend a church DON'T THINK ABOUT IT. It's not like I wake up in the morning and go out on my porch and say, WOW that sunrise is awesome. If only I could appreciate it, but I can't because I DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD. It's more like, WOW that sunrise is awesome. It's going to be a beautiful day.

Late author's note: as DR SHE BLOGGO has informed me, Brad Falchuck, not Ryan Murphy, wrote this episode. You're taking leaves from the wrong book, Brad.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

On rebellion

So, one of my favorite bloggers on the topic of the LDS church is Eliza R. Snitch (Lisa, you are badass too). Isn't that just the best name ever? Anyway, her experience with Mormonsim was and is far different from mine; thankfully I never ended up at BYU. But there are some experiences that are universal, particularly for people who have withdrawn from the church.

One of these is rebellion. Some people, like D. Michael Quinn and Margaret Toscano, go out with a big bang (har). Some people never officially have their names removed, but simply remove themselves instead. Some people actively rebel against the small fries in their area--bishop, stake president, parents. Some people leave at 16 and promptly dye their hair purple and gauge their ears; some leave when they're forty and become Lutherans. However, no matter the style or timing of the exit, I venture that most ex/post/whatever-Mormons flirt with some sort of rebellion, even unintentionally. After all, for good church members, going to see a movie on Sunday instead of heading to sacrament meeting is rebelling against God's word.

Ms Snitch talked in a blog entry a few days ago about upping her earring count to four pairs (which, HARLOT). The comments to that entry were a resounding YES--many commenters had gotten more piercings after "falling away", some had gotten tattoos, etc. One commenter mentioned that if he didn't know better, the post itself+comments would read like a bunch of teenagers doing things their parents don't want them to do. I found his comment a bit condescending, but I am not very bothered by it because really, this is what we're doing. And there is nothing wrong with that. Most of us didn't have the opportunity to rebel when we were teens, the age when rebellion usually happens, and so we're doing it now. When I was in high school, the worst thing I ever did was drink a Cherry Coke at my job at the movie theatre. ONCE. A Cherry Coke, ONCE. No boyfriends, no drugs, no beer, no heavy metal concerts, no piercings, no cutting school. Cherry Motherfucking Coke.

And oh lawdy, you better believe I repented. Like fifteen times. Lots of tears, plenty of remorse.

I am betting that lots of former Mormons were of this mode in high school. Scared of committing even the smallest transgression, overwrought guilt over accidentally seeing part of The Godfather on TV one night. Normal teen rebellion was, like everything else "carnal" in the LDS sphere, repressed. And once you get out of that world, what comes bubbling up? Sexy feelings, curse words, a penchant for Cherry Coke (still my favorite caffeinated beverage). It's human nature to want to do things that you are told you can't/won't/shouldn't do. So here we are, a bunch of adults, acting like teens trying to piss their parents off.

The difference is intent. In some cases, pissing your parents off may be the goal. Presumably there are people who still live to annoy their APs. In other cases, the annoyed parents/relations/spouses/friends are a by-product of someone living the life they find to be good. I am getting a tattoo soon, and I fully expect that if my mother finds out, she'll have a coronary (haven't quiiiiiiite decided whether to tell her yet. Maybe she reads my blog! HI MOM I SWEAR IT'LL BE TASTEFUL). Likewise, if I got a nose piercing or an eyebrow stud or that second pair of earrings, she would disapprove and mourn for my soul. It's not that I WANT to hurt her or make her concerned for my eternal soul; it's that my life is my own now and there are things that I want that are not what she wants. Like moving to Canada. Canada is the land of the heathen, second only to Europe in terms of Places You Should Not Want To Live.

In the end, outward signs of rebellion, tattoos and piercings and listening to the Devil's music, become significant, become more than an angsty teen acting out--because of what they signify to THEM. Considering people with tattoos to be immoral is a sign of deep personal weakness, as Sue Sylvester would say. Believing that two sets of earrings in one ear is the sure path to hell is the problem of the person who believes that, not the person with two sets of earrings. Perhaps it is the yoga working its pagan devilry on me, but I am considering the ramifications of my future-tattoo with serenity. Its effects on my parents will be dire, but that is neither my intention nor my fault--my future-tattoo will be a symbol of something I cherish deeply and getting it is something I've thought long and hard about, for nigh on three years. The process of apostasy from the LDS church (and oh yes, I claim that title with truly evil glee) is the awakening understanding that your life is your own; that humans can't live for others without withering themselves. We apostates accept that our actions will hurt somebody's feelings, but again--DEEP PERSONAL WEAKNESS.

So rebel away, former Mormons! There's good reason for it, all the reason in the world.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Rocktober, and the end of BBW

Happy October, dear readers! I love October. "Fall" is my favorite season, although here in Florida we really just have summer and winter--candy corn, cider, sweaters and boots, being able to walk outside without breaking into a sweat. Excellent! Halloween is great too; this year, if my hunt for a pinstriped suit of clothing fails, I'll be dressing up as Delirium of the Endless.

Speaking of my favorite comic book author, Neil Gaiman is as good a place as any to wind down Banned Books Week. His Sandman tops Huffington Post's list of the most frequently challenged graphic novels (no I am not going to link it; I don't really like the Huffington Post. If you want to read it, seek Lord Google's aid), for reasons of sexuality, violence, and blah blah blah. Most of the entries on the list have the same reasoning (including Maus, for crying out loud. For those not familiar with Art Spiegelman, Maus being challenged is akin to Huckleberry Finn or The Upstairs Room being challenged. Remember where Americans don't like thinking about the icky parts of history?)--including the very funny "not suitable for age group".

Oh, you infernal morons. This right here is proof beyond proof that the people placing challenges against books never bother to actually read them. Every one of the titles on HuffPo's list is NOT suitable for children, but GUESS WHAT? Comics =/= children's material, fuckaducks. Something having pictures and less text than the average short novel doesn't mean it's for KIDS. Watchmen IS NOT FOR KIDS. Sandman IS NOT FOR KIDS. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen IS NOT FOR KIDS. GODDAMMIT. Yeah, if you catch your 10-year-old reading Watchmen, you may have a problem--but it's YOUR problem. YOUR issue for not having read the spine label, 'cause guess what? No librarian in her right mind is going to put a Juvenile sticker on the spine of Sandman, Watchmen, Maus, or most other graphic novels.

(In what universe is this for children?)

Say it with me, folks: comic books are not always for children. In fact, comic books are not USUALLY for children. This erroneous association needs to stop. Comics aren't cartoons. Graphic novels aren't always comics. Superheroes are not typically good role models, and superheroines wear tight clothing. Blankets is about sex--what did the title make you think it was about? The Watchmen film was rated R, people. Didn't that tip anyone off? But, as ever, it's the library's fault. Librarians are supposed to be babysitters and keep every brat in the building from seeing things Mommy doesn't want them to see. Librarians are supposed to be eagle-eyed policepeople who look at every book as it's checked out to make sure it's suitable for the person checking it out. Guess what, clearly-not-reading-public? Many, soon to be most, public libraries no longer HAVE people checking the books out for you. Self-check-out with machines is the way of the future. Guess you're going to have to police your kid's books your own self now. This parenting thing is hard, isn't it?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...