Bit of a down week before back at it again.
Alright, catching up on a bit of a backlog in addition to some current items, but let’s see what we have today. First up, a favorite web comic/series, Surviving the World is returning with classic reposts! Here’s where he ended it. Class Dismissed.
Science news you can use: don’t drink your whiskey ‘neat’:
The United Methodist Church is splitting over gay issues. As someone who has come out of that on the other side, hey welcome, it’s a bumpy ride. Sorry you have to do this, it’s painful.
This fight (is still going on all across the country) happened in September in Arizona. Their GOP governor said they don’t need to extend non-discrimination protections to gay people, and their supreme court said businesses can deny service to gay people. The fight continues, and is seemingly never ending.
In other disturbing news, the Interior Department cut sexual orientation from their internal discrimination policies as well.
I wrote earlier about my displeasure at Marvel (and Star Wars) for LGBT erasure. The upcoming film, The Eternals, will, for the first time, feature a gay superhero (and kiss). Yes, it’s progress. Should it have taken 11 years? No.
In other movie news, the trailer for the new Wes Anderson film looks amazing:
If you haven’t, check out Eastsiders on Netflix. It was an amazing series, and here’s an interview with the creator.
Stranger Things 4 gives us a present from Russia (with love).
In good news, a New York state park will be named for Marsha P. Johnson!
Firefighters who got angry comments when they showed their support for the queer community hit back in an awesome video.
NASA is adding a luxury hotel to the ISS. Spoiler, if you’re reading this, you will not be able to afford visiting.
An awesome video from a favorite creator that I’ve been mulling over: death and minimialism:
The Utah Governor pulled the campaign that put AMAZING art on condoms to prevent STIs. They’re all great, and it’s a shame he pulled them.
Speaking of, the UK has seen a massive decline in HIV infections due to PrEP. No surprise there.
The Catholic bishops in Texas have blasted their governor (who is Catholic)over his rule to not accept refugees. I’m highly, highly critical of the Catholic Church, so I have to give them points when it’s appropriate. Good for them.
Disney is announcing more details of their immersive Star Wars hotel for their resorts, and it looks amazing and I can’t wait to go!
Google pretty much hit it out of the park with their Superbowl ad:
And another great ad, this time from Microsoft:
The Gay Male Journal has a really good series of articles (two, so I guess technically a series, maybe it’s more of a two-part post?) about gay male safe spaces, what they are, why they’re needed, and why we shouldn’t apologize for them.
The beginning of the article even says to read it through the lense of a person of a color, and why it’s so important for us to move past the stereotype of gay men being white and rich.
There is also a large discussion in both parts about some legal issues, I don’t pretend to have any real insight or knowledge on them (I try to armchair lawyer with the best of them, but this is beyond my scope).
[These venues] are called safe spaces, because we have always and still need places where we feel safe as gay males.
Gay male safe spaces are not a want, but rather a need to protect us from the daily acts of verbal, physical and emotional violence we experience just for being who we are.
Setting up a safe space is an act of self-defense against discrimination, not discrimination itself.
We will admit that our safe spaces are still not safe for everyone within our gay male community. As gay males of colour, we have first hand experience with these issues, but these are our internal struggles and not up for debate from an outsider that cannot even respect the fact that these spaces are needed to begin with.
Gay males have no need to explain to anyone why we need safe spaces. if every minority group had to ask for permission from the majority to create these venues, the answer would always be a resounding no.
Give them a read, they’re great, and in their writing, make the case for the need for other minority-only spaces. We’re all in this together, and there’s always a need to have our own spaces.
Back from Sarasota and back to the grind!
I almost titled this ‘nerd culture’ instead of pop, but I’m writing about Star Wars and Marvel movies, they’ve long ago crossed over from being in the domain of just the fringe to powerhouse pop culture institutions. And that’s the issue.
By the time of Avengers: Endgame, there had been 23 major motion pictures (I may be off by one or two), eight TV series between ABC and Netflix (plus the ones on CW, but they weren’t really connected, but neither were the ABC/Netflix ones, but that’s a different issue even before you throw Disney+ into the mix….I’m getting off track) and billions of dollars in revenue made.
I still have not seen all of those movies, and I’m probably forgetting lots of small details, but I can count off the top of my head, less than five queer characters. If I’m remembering correctly, the first gay male character we got was on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC), and was in two episodes before being written off.
So it was such big news that Joe Russo, one of Endgame’s directors, would play the first-ever gay character in a Marvel movie (I’m not sure about Valkeyrie here, I haven’t seen Thor: Ragnarok yet).
It was hyped. It was set to be a huge moment.
The character didn’t even have a name.
Likewise, J.J. Abrams touted the first ever LGBT representation in a Star Wars movie (other media such as comics, books, video games, etc. have had representation before).
Again, it was a huge flop. Two characters, one of which did not have a name, the other was a minor, background character in the sequel trilogy are seen kissing in celebration.
To quote the wonderful article by Rosie Knight:
Queer people’s loves, lives, and partnerships aren’t accidental and don’t only exist when other queer people know them, though in the entire galaxy of the cinematic Star Wars universe we’re yet to see any true queer representation.
The brief and tacked-on moment was a slight that felt pointed after the choice to not pursue the natural chemistry between Poe and Finn, and it also reminded this writer of the Russos’ terrible attempt at “representation” in Avengers: Endgame. So why is there this sudden push to get brownie points for doing the bare minimum? Why don’t these directors just not promise anything and be honest about the fact they’re willing to ignore marginalized audiences?
We’ve seen time and time again the representation matters. It really, really matters.
When young people can see themselves in the franchise they love (and in politics and in sports, the list goes on and on), we have a sense of belonging. A sense that there is a place for us in a world that often feels like it rejects us.
We’re not just some box to be checked, but actual human beings. Including us should not be something that is huge news, especially in 2019 (when these movies came out), but it is because there is such a terrible track record at this point.
I enjoy the Marvel films, and I’ve always loved Star Wars, but it’s hard to see myself in these universes that very clearly have no room for me.
All my best,
Finally got my down week! Flew down to Florida to see my aunt and uncle and run the Sarasota Music Half Marathon, race report to follow! My legs feel pretty beat up, but I’m back up to high mileage, so I need to see about just taking it slow and recovering this week as I can.
This was my last week before a lower mileage week and I’m very much looking forward to the break. I’m off to Florida to run the Sarasota Metro Diner Music Half Marathon, race report to follow!
Week 4 was supposed to be a step down week, but due to going to Florida to run the Sarasota Half, I’m delaying that two weeks. I’ll be anxiously awaiting that lower mileage week!
My friend and PRorER teammate Ryan put together this awesome video about his normal warm up for racing events. Embedding it here for easy future reference. If you get a chance, subscribe to his channel!