When Heroes Fall

Several years ago, I dated someone who my friend adored. She told me what a great friend he was and a funny and interesting person. He was one of the most immature and self-centered men I’d ever dated. Who someone is in a relationship can be radically different from who they are in the rest of their life. Reading Joss Whedon’s ex-wife’s recent essay made me think of that moment.

What stood out to me is “It’s not just like I killed you, but that I’d done it subtly, over years. That I’d been poisoning you. Chipping away at you.” Maybe Whedon is realizing his mistakes and hates himself for it. Maybe he said this matter-of-factly with no remorse. He’s not talking so we’ll probably never know.

Whedon says his silence is because of concern for his kids and respect for his ex-wife. Maybe Whedon is letting Cole have her truth after years of terrible treatment or maybe he doesn’t want to admit all the wrong he’s done and is sitting quietly. When an ex of mine took to social media for validation, doing nothing made me look great and him look incredibly petty.

The difference here is that very few seem to doubt Cole’s claims. Whedon’s performative feminism makes sense even before reading Laura Browning’s critique of Whedon’s feminism. A man playing at gender equality becomes the hero the world tells him he is and we get so few powerful women in sci-fi we don’t look too hard at the flaws when we do.

I believe Whedon had these affairs and deceived his wife. I believe Cole let herself get lost in that relationship. What is true beyond that isn’t certain. I am incredibly disappointed in Joss Whedon and I will let my dollars talk when it comes to his future projects.  However, I refuse to ignore the things he’s created that meant something to me. I still love Firefly and Dr. Horrible and always will. We should never forget Whedon’s quote:

“Why do you write these strong female characters?”

“Because you’re still asking me that question.”

It still applies and it’s still an important point. Whedon is another fallen hero because he is a deeply flawed man but he still managed to create great content. He showed that women can and should be heroes in our media.

Women should continue to demand similar content and characters and hold artists accountable. Don’t let sci-fi fall back to being a boy’s club. Demand more female heroes, more diverse writers and content, demand representation. Whedon opened the door and we need to keep it from shutting.

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Music Monday: RPGs

I’ve been playing in a D&D campaign for a few months now and I thought I’d dedicate a music Monday to RPGs

The Battle Hymn of Murder Hobos by Mikey Mason
Never Split the Party by Emerald Rose
I Gotta Feeling by Tiger and Rose
Dungeon Master Gurls by The Second City
Run This Game by Insane Ian
Roll a D6 by Assorted Intricacies
Dungeon Master by Jumpsteady
The RPG Song by Professor Shyguy
Dungeons and Dragons by Arthur Maddox
Just Give Me a d6 by Saving Throw
Playing D&D by SJ Tucker
Best Game Ever by Mikey Mason

Strong Female Characters

One of my casual challenges involves a work with a strong female character. This term has become problematic in recent years because so many creators misinterpret what it’s supposed to mean. Too many see it as:

Strong Female Character – A character who is physically or emotionally strong (tough/badass) that happens to be female. Generally underwritten AF with minimal development over the course of the story. See Halle Berry’s Catwoman or any woman who is the mediocre hero’s ‘prize.’

This has become the new ‘Nice Guy’ or ‘Good Christian.’ Pro-Tip: If you have to tell people you are a ‘NG’ or ‘GC,’ you’re probably not. If you feel compelled to tell people you wrote a ‘SFC’ and expect praise for it, you probably failed. Hard.

What it used to mean and should mean is a female character who is well written, well developed, experiences change in as her story goes on, and exists separately from the male hero. Badassery is entirely optional. Think Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight. Her character is an intelligent and capable lawyer who is doing her best to take down the mob on her own terms. Any of the women on Firefly have their own personalities, skills, and motivations. They aren’t there to further someone else’s story or be someone’s prize.

Gamora toes a very fine line on which type of SFC she is. She has her own relationship with her sister and her own motivations but she’s also Quill’s love interest. It wasn’t until the second movie we also got more women on screen in the GotG franchise so it’s easy for her to feel a bit like a token. We get Quill’s backstory but don’t know details about what Gamora went through or where she came from. She’s a badass but needs more development and history for her character to be strongly written.

I just finished The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. There are three strong female characters in this book: Melanie, Ms. Justineau, and Dr. Caldwell. All of these women get POV time, have a mission, are well written, and are disinterested in other people’s bullshit. This is one of many reasons this book is fantastic and deserves a read (4.5/5). All female characters should be so well-written. Carey has some great SFC and gets it right in every sense of the word.

When looking at women in fiction, don’t just ask if she’s strong or a badass. Ask what her story is and does it matter in the context of main story line. Is she a person or a plot device? It’s not enough to just get representation; we need to get it right.

Insta Ads

Inspired by Safiya Nygaard’s latest haul, I decided to see what Instagram is trying to sell me. I mainly follow dogs, bookish accounts, and nature photographers (emphasis on underwater). I follow a couple of makeup accounts and nerd fashion designers. I post almost exclusively bookish photos with the odd selfie.

REI ENO hammock – I’m skipping Firefly this year. I have no practical purpose for a hammock otherwise. Big miss.

SunFrog Shirts – Decent size selection but very generic content. I’d go for Redbubble or Society6 in a heartbeat over this. Good effort but a miss.

Shut Up & Take My Money – A Chewbacca seatbelt cover. I post nothing about Star Wars and follow nothing about Star Wars but apparently I like enough geeky stuff that I am being urged to buy this. Another miss.

Third Eye Comics – Not sure if this is a fluke or not but I consider this place ‘my’ comic book store. I don’t follow them since I’m not especially into comics and only buy bind-ups. This one is a hit but I like this place before Insta got lucky. .75 instead of a full point.

Country Acres Resort and Rescue – A pet boarding and rescue place. It seems like a lovely facility. I’d enjoy working there if I wasn’t over 1,000 miles away on the east coast. That’s another miss.

That’s .75 out of 5. I kind of like having advertisers not be able to pin me down too easily. I like geeky stuff but I’m honestly not that into Star Wars. I’m being much choosier about what retailers get my money. The last 2 locations my account has are Washington, D.C. and New York City. I have less than no idea where they got the Missouri based pet resort.

Pokémon No

While I’ve really enjoyed playing Pokémon Go, the game is starting to become repetitive. It’s constantly the same crap roulette: pidgey, spearow, weedle, rattata, and caterpie. It doesn’t matter if people drop lures or more people are playing. In order to get good mons, the user increase in the area has to be astronomical. In my area, most people don’t like being outside for another month.

The nearby list is a taunt on a good day. “We’ll pretend there’s a vulpix nearby but only deliver a pidgey.” 9 times out of 10, any good mons that I get are as surprising to me as the nearby list. I try to ignore it but it’s hard to ignore the picture of a mon you want staring at you from the corner of your screen. It’s more frustrating than anything.

I’m looking forward to doing MeetUps once the weather cools off and I can be outside without melting. Enough people plus enough pokéstops should finally equal some new mons in my pokédex.

Music Monday: Pokémon Go

Since Pokémon Go has taken over the world, I thought I’d dedicate this Monday’s playlist to it. Some are songs I think go with the new game and others are from the soundtrack from the first movie. Yes, I had the CD. I was young and like bubblegum pop.

Pokémon Theme by Lindsey Stirling
I Know Places by Taylor Swift
Running with the Wolves by Aurora
Born to be Wild by J2
Catch Me If You Can by Angela Via
Jellyhead by Crush
Lullaby by Mandah
Victorious by Panic! at the Disco
Bug Hunt (Noisia Remix) by Skrillex
Ready Aim Fire by Imagine Dragons
Pokémon Theme by Daniel Tidwell

Scooby-Doo: What Did You Do?

From a friend on Facebook: “How’s this for a Scooby Doo theory? That gang were all reformed criminals, and mystery solving was their community service. Just a group of misfits with nothing in common, paying their debt to society. Can I get some ideas as to what each of their crimes were?”

Velma was a hacker or the past equivalent thereof. She was attempting to liberate the wrong information and got busted. Shaggy was a stoner so possession and possible distribution. Either he was a first time offender or his dad knew somebody. Fred was some type of white collar or theft from rich people. His dad got it plead down. Daphne dated a bad boy to piss off her parents and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again, her rich parents were able to bargain her out of her accessory to a major crime.

Originally they were supposed to be a band and find mysteries in each town on their tour. This premise makes more sense than just scrapping it (which is what happened) and gets mocked a bit in the latest reboot. Either way, it’s fun to think about.