Flip Through

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy birthday, Gail Simone!

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite comic book creators, Gail Simone. Simone has written all of my favorite characters at one time or another, including Wonder Woman, Renee Montoya as the Question, Deadpool, and of course the superteams Birds of Prey and Secret Six...and she recently got to use Batwoman in the Batgirl title, an issue I'm very much looking forward to!

She's one of the best DC Comics has got and I wish her many happy returns. Have a great birthday, Gail!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Godspeed, Dr. Ride

In case you missed the news, Dr. Sally Ride passed away on Monday. She was sixty-one years old.

Being that Ride was the first American woman to travel in outer space (as well as the youngest astronaut, aged 32 at her first flight), I heard a lot about her growing up on the Space Coast. She was a staple of Florida history classes and science lessons. As an adult, I have even more admiration for this remarkable woman and her legacy. She did much to break barriers for women in the sciences and provides a wonderful example for youth to look up to.

If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Ride, check out Sally Ride Science.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Talking about it

In the interest of continuing to think about that blasted Hairpin thread/giving myself an ulcer, happy Friday!...having lived on the Internet since I was fourteen and begun unpacking my spiritual knapsack about five years ago, it really seems to me that it's very difficult for people to have a useful discussion about a religion they aren't and have never been part of. 

I don't mean that only people who have directly experienced a religion are the ones who can talk about it.

Or maybe I do. Because really, what useful things do I have to say about Catholicism or Judaism or Islam? All my knowledge of those religions is strictly academic and must ever remain. Any opinion I have about the Catholic church has little to do with personal experience, and religion is all about personal experience. As we can see in the Pin thread, there are people who have poor opinions of the church and its followers, and there are people defending the church and its followers who largely draw from the pool of "all the Mormons I've met are nice people." Yes, it's true, most LDS folk will not tell you to your face that you are going to Outer Darkness--unless you used to be part of the church. Like, those arguments just do not work on apostates. I can say the same thing about Catholics; I have never met a Catholic who told me point-blank that I was a heathen sinner. But my ex-Catholic gentleman heard plenty of that ilk when he was a teenager. What exactly are we trying to prove with these statements of "but all the [blank] I know are nice"? Your lack of experience does not cancel out my lived experience. 

This Pin thread was really disheartening to me. At the most basic level, I was disappointed to see the comments devolve into name-calling. As I said in the previous post, I had a genuine critique of the article, one which was barely mentioned in the comment thread and which, for my money, is the only viable critique (other than maybe you just aren't into cute travel writing, which is pretty valid. I think the market for that is sort of over-saturated, myself). I have no idea how or if the site editors will address yesterday's mess. But I really am beginning to think that I Just Don't Care about your opinions of my former religion unless the conversation is purely academic, as in, Let us discuss how Jewish temples and Mormon temples are similar! or something of the kind. This thread was not academic in the slightest; it could have been, if anyone had been interested in talking about why and how missionary work is problematic, but that didn't happen. This thread was a case in which I just wanted to scream at everyone on both sides of the argument to do their homework before opening their mouths.

...so yeah, I'm pretty glad it's Friday. I need a stiff drink after this week.

No Mormons allowed?

So this was posted on the Hairpin, one of my favorite websites, yesterday. As you can see if you skim the comments, there were some posters who were displeased with the article and others who weren't. Honestly the comments are a pretty big mess and I don't agree with most of the dissenting ones, despite being a bitter apostate. The bulk of the dissenting comments were in the mode of "Mormonism is toxic, we should not have articles about LDS culture/belief here," a few veering into "Mormons should not be writing for the Hairpin, period" territory.

I'm not chill with either of those statements. It might seem, reading Ye Olde Blogge here, that I am angry at the church and by extension anyone involved with it. That's largely true, but it doesn't mean that I'm uninterested in the church and its people. I spend a good chunk of my time online reading LDS-related blogs, and not just the ones written by the disaffected. If I thought there was the skinniest chance that I would never encounter another LDS member or have to hear about the church again, I might be able to just let it all slip away. But having been very devout for fifteen years and with LDS parents and a Mormon running for president, there's just no way. It's always going to be there, tendriling into my life, and trying to force it out completely is more tiresome and less rewarding for me than trying to continue engaging with it in non-toxic ways. For me this means thinking about who I was when I was LDS, considering the aspects of the church that most influenced who I became, considering how the church relates to the world at large, and keeping abreast of news and changes. Because I would like very much to see changes occur in the church. I can't think of a change that would make me want to return to it, but it would give me joy to think that all members could be married in the temple, for instance. If that happens, I want to hear about it and think about it and talk about it. Just because I'm no longer part of the membership doesn't mean I'm no longer affected by its workings. 

I don't often defend the church or its members. Everyone knows nice Mormons,  indeed most Mormons are nice Mormons. But within the context of the article presented, there was an issue for me and that issue is missionary work. I have no good feelings about missionary work, any missionary work. That is my problem with the Hairpin piece; not that it was written by an LDS church member, not that it concerns a facet of the LDS belief system, but that it concerns the imperialist-based act of going into a country with the set goal of converting the inhabitants. Missionary work is not neutral to me. This was why I looked at the article askance, but based on the rest of the comments, there are few interested in presenting a critique that isn't "Mormons are bad, we don't want Mormons here." That's a bullshit criticism and I was glad to see a few commenters say that Hey, I am a Mormon actually and I am allowed to comment here.

I hope that the Pin editors maybe think about inviting a few LDS bloggers to talk about other aspects of church belief and culture which aren't quite so rooted in privilege and colonialism. There are so many interesting Mormon topic blogs, so many conversations going on that are relevant to topics that the Hairpin talks about frequently--gardening and canning and baking, parenting, and of course, feminism. I don't think barring Mormon writers from the website is a good idea, but I also don't think that a missionary travelogue couched (somewhat oddly) in "weight loss tips" is a necessary item.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the good of humanity

Not much to report other than that cookie butter exists, and it is delicious. My gentleman is out of town for three weeks and so I'm slowly falling into a state of natural Dianitude: endless Netflix queue of brooding period pieces, spending hours at a time reading, never cooking dinner.

Cookie butter. Go get you some

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In which I use more exclamation points than usual, all very warranted

Today in the mail I received a book I won in a giveaway on Rue's blog: Jude's Herbal Home Remedies (by Jude C. Todd). Also included was a package of celandine seeds! Must find a pot and get planting. I'll be reviewing the book here once I've finished it. Many thanks to Rue!

Something else arrived in the mail today too...a signed George Perez sketch of my favorite superpowered lady, Wonder Woman herself! My cousin commissioned it at a recent convention and sent it as an early birthday present. What a guy!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Thing relevant to my interests #82: Tampa

So, Magic Mike. Here were the things I knew about Magic Mike prior to seeing it:

  • Channing Tatum is in it
  • So is Matt Bomer, otherwise known as Dick Grayson
  • Channing Tatum used to actually be a stripper
  • Matt Bomer AKA Dick Grayson wasn't (except in various fics where Dick is TOTALLY a stripper, and, you know, if you want to read those I will link them)
  • Strippers
  • Lots of junk flying around presumably
  • Ew, Matthew McConaughey, please keep your clothes on please please please
  • Made by Steven Soderbergh
These things are all true (there is a lot of junk flying around. Also ass). Here is a thing that is also true, which I was not aware of until right before seeing Magic Mike, and which makes me unfathomably happy: Magic Mike is set in Tampa, Florida. This makes a lot of sense, if you think about it; Tampa is known for having oodles of strip joints, and not all of them are geared toward straight men. When I found out this film's setting (it shot there too, AND CHANNING TATUM IS FROM TAMPA WHAT THE HELL) and told some of my fellow Tampa expat ladyfriends, they all made the same expression: confusion, followed by delight. I will be honest; the thought of seeing Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello shake their stuff in very little clothing is nice, but the thought of another movie paying attention to my fair former city is even nicer. I have my priorities.

image via Just Jared

Anyway, "confusion followed by delight" is a pretty accurate tag for my general thoughts about this movie. I think most people were expecting it to be Showgirls except with dudes, which would have been fine. But Soderbergh wants you to think about the human condition of male strippers. And this movie is actually good. WEIRD RIGHT. The general plot is a tale as old as time--party boy is getting older, trying to figure out what he's going to do with his life--but the acting carries it through. I think I'm turning into a Channing Tatum apologist, but I have great love for She's the Man and I think he's gotten quite a bit better as his career has progressed. Alex Pettyfer was convincing as Adam, the skeezy and irresponsible douchewaffle baby stripper Tatum's character takes under his wing. And Cody Horn, well, haters can hate but I really liked her character, Brooke (Adam's sister). I'm sort of a buzzkill myself and I don't think there are enough characters like Brooke: responsible to a fault, totally aware of what it takes to be an adult without any help, unwilling to put up with shit, sort of stiff and rigid. Let's get a beer and bitch about work and horrible family members, Brooke! All things considered, the three major female characters in the film don't come off too badly despite the strip club owner's belief that audiences of ladies are cash cows and nothing else (though don't be fooled by the marketing--the movie is still largely a male fantasy): Brooke is responsible, controlled, and caring; Joanna, Mike's hook-up partner, is  ultimately sort of villainous but more for not telling him she had a fiance, rather than for being voraciously sexual; and Nora is a person you stay away from because she's into drugs and carries around a piglet, not because she has casual sex. I'm sorry to report that Matthew McConaughey keeps his clothes on for 95% of the film and then you see all the way up his colon. Nas-ty. The rest of the dancing is pretty impressive, though...any excuse to whip out "Pony." All told, Magic Mike is a good choice of film for a goofy night out with friends; the theater I went to was sold out (literally sold out) on a Tuesday night, we smuggled in some hard lemonade (topical!), and had an uproarious good time. My friend was intrigued and amused by my muttered outbursts of "I've been there!" at various points throughout.

Basically, once Magic Mike is on DVD, it will be purchased by me and watched in conjunction with The Punisher on days when I really miss the Bay environs. Maybe that's sort of sad, but everybody gets homesick. Sometimes I like to be reminded of Dale Mabry, drunkass Greek parties, St Pete Beach, the Amphitheatre. And if I was tearing up at the end, it's Steven Soderbergh's fault for sticking "Feels Like the First Time" over the credits.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Can you tell I'm still thinking about Brave?

I've been seeing a lot of beautiful fan art for Brave since the film came out. Here are a few of my favorites:

Merida and Rapunzel admire each other's hair (from skyneverthelimit)

Merida and Angus (from islandinthesun

Merida and her brothers (from Osato-kun)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

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