Sick, Sad World

It’s been a month since the Pulse massacre. I haven’t been right since.

Well, to be honest, I haven’t been right all year. Or even since last summer.

If I’m going to be technical about it, it goes back well beyond then, but as far as the most recent dive into the abyss, it does date back about a year.

A fair amount of this is personal-life stuff, primarily related to our three-year-old son more or less getting kicked out of day care and subsequently diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Working through that and trying to find qualified, reliable child care has been, to be frank, a bit of a horror show. I love him dearly, and 85% of the time he’s one of the most wonderful kids I’ve ever met, but he is definitely a handful, and takes an incredible amount of physical and emotional energy to manage some days. That’s left me with very little gumption to do much of anything else, especially writing, which takes a great deal of mental focus that I just don’t have these days.

There’s also been some other personal stuff: physical problems (among them, a fucked-up back that’s made it hard to sit at my desk for more than an hour or two at a time), the financial pyrotechnics necessary to afford child care and treatment; our beloved roomie finally moving out (no drama, just a lot of hassle to do the domestic Tetrising necessary); and some odd friend-circle nebulousness that’s made me feel a bit less grounded than I need to be. Plus all the usual family drama, which is far too complicated to get into here.

All this of course is enough to stress out anyone. Then add in the fact that the world seems to have graduated from an ever-burning dumpster fire to a landfill inferno. Yikes. Continue reading

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Romney/Ryan 2.0? Nope.

Over on HuffPo, that bastion of We Refuse to Pay Our Writers Because Something Something Ethics, some dude has decided this year’s POTUS election, already a spectacular mess, is going to get even messier because Mitt’s going to come back like a bad casserole and spoil the whole thing for both Hillary and Trump. How this will work, he argues, is that Mitt will steal independents from Hillary, denying her the 270 electoral votes that qualify as a win, and thus kicking the election over to Congress, where Speaker Paul Ryan will supposedly swoop in like Dudebro Superman and make everything right again.

While this scenario is of course possible, as is the ghost of Eisenhower appearing at the GOP convention and raining ectoplasm and stern glares on everyone there, it’s incredibly unlikely, and here’s why:

  • Running Mitt again would be a defacto admission that the GOP in its current state has been bombed into its component molecules by the Tea Party and their modern Messiah, Beavis Hitler. While yes, that IS the current state of that party, I don’t think they’re willing to admit that just yet.
  • Sure, Mitt might take some votes from Hillary just because some people, for reasons of Not Paying Attention, think she’s evil incarnate or just deeply uncool. But will he take enough to deny her that 270? No.
  • Hillary is billing herself as Obama’s natural successor, and in many ways, she is exactly that: An economic and foreign-policy centrist with a fair amount of well-established progressive social-policy cred. Undoubtedly, some people, particularly the wannabe anarchists in the Bernie or Bust crowd, will vote against her or sit things out no matter who else is running, so she’ll maybe lose some people who once supported Obama. However, she’s going to gain some people, too.
  • Obama won over Mitt in 2012 with 332 electoral votes. Even without counting the continuing demographic shift of the past four years–old white folks are an ever-shrinking percentage of the population, and young voters are pretty darned politically engaged–it’s preposterous to think that Hillary could lose more than a state or two off of that total. People of Color and queer folks already know how awful both Mitt and Trump would be for them. They’re not going to vote for either one of those guys under any circumstances. Those votes are already sewn up, no matter what.
  • And guess who else is going to vote for her? White women. Romney won them in 2012, but in the 2008 Dem primaries, they broke for Hillary over Obama as much as 2-1 in some cases. Obviously that tally doesn’t count Republican and Independent white women, but chances are pretty good Hillary’s going to pick up quite a few more of them than Obama did four years ago.
  • To recap, this means Hillary will get virtually every queer and PoC voter, and will probably break about even, or at least improve on the 2012 results, with cishet white women. It’s also even possible she’ll pick up some working-class white men, given her strength with unions and veterans.
  • Who, therefore, will be left to vote for Trump OR Romney? That’s right, the same people who would be voting for a single right-wing candidate anyway: Jerkass cishet white dudes and their racist wives and girlfriends. They will split that vote–the slightly-less-racist crowd going for Mitt–and end up handing Hillary even more states than she’d have gotten otherwise.

While they’re still annoyingly in control of big chunks of Congress (thanks mostly to gerrymandering), demographically, it’s more or less impossible for the asshat-white-folks voting bloc to win any POTUS election from now on, unless voter-suppression and ballot-tampering efforts pay off. Though they’re being replenished somewhat on the younger side by baby Randians, G*mergaters and a handful of young women who don’t yet realize the Libertarian party wants to outlaw abortion, by and large, the TP demographic skews very old. Baby Boomers have always been a big voting bloc since they came of age, but they’re now starting to die off and are being supplanted by Millennials, the second-largest voting generation. TPers also, of course, skew very white, and that percentage of the population continues to shrink, losing more than five percentage points between the 2000 and 2010 Census, to now sit at about 63%. Assuming at least 10% of that number is queer or loves someone who is, and at least a third of it is liberal-leaning cishet women, that means only 35-40% of the population is left to vote for the racist, sexist shitwits who now run the GOP. That’s simply not enough to win elections unless everyone else simply doesn’t show up. There’s a reason racists are terrified right now, enough to back Trump’s horrific immigration ideas. They know they’re nearly outnumbered, and they’re looking to regain their unearned dominance by any means necessary.

Bottom line: Running Mitt isn’t going to change the overall demographics of the voting population, and Hillary isn’t hated enough by people who would otherwise vote D to lose enough states to go below 270. The only way that would happen is if she was challenged from the left, not the right, and I honestly can’t see Bernie doing that, even if some of his supporters would want him to. November’s vote will undoubtedly be closer than any of us non-awful people would want, and I admit to being downright petrified by the thought of what these gun-humping racists are going to do when their dude loses, but unless there’s enough underhandedness with the vote count to cause the UN to step in and clean things up, a Mitt candidacy–or even a brokered convention leading to Trump going indie–is not going to change who will be inaugurated next January.

Posted in Ethics, Human Nature, Intarweebz Drama, Politics | Tagged | 4 Comments

Listening

Something interesting is going on today on the Tumblr of TV writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Most recently, Javi was one of the lead writers on The 100, but he has a healthy list of well-known shows to his credit, including the underrated cult series The Middleman. He’s also just been given a big job: He’s now the showrunner on the (somewhat controversial) reboot of Xena.

Javi is a fairly socially conscious guy, as TV writers go. It helps that he himself is a person of color (he’s originally from Puerto Rico.) One might expect, therefore, that he’d be aware of the stereotypes and tropes that plague characters from marginalized groups, and work to avoid those when possible. Unfortunately, it looks like The 100 just committed one of the worst: They killed off a lesbian character, right after hooking her up with one of the female leads. Ouch. Continue reading

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Girl Jedis and Pink Widow

Ever since The Force Awakens’ release, many smart people of the intarweebs have been asking the same question: Where’s Rey? Why is this film’s protagonist not represented in more of its tie-in toys and other merch? She’s on a few things, especially items aimed at adult customers, but, she’s conspicuously absent from most of the things meant to be taken out of the box and played with, rather than gathering dust on a collector’s shelf. What gives?

Disney, which now owns the Star Wars brand, doesn’t produce this stuff themselves—they license other manufacturers to do it—and the most glaring fail on the Rey merch count has been in items produced by Hasbro. (Interestingly, this company is also Disney’s new partner for products based on their princess line, which does raise the question of whether their lack of Rey merch is in any way deliberate on that count: Could it be they’re not supposed to be marketing anything to girls, because that’s what the princess division is for, and they’re not supposed to poach those customers?) The uproar about this has been loud enough, however, that Hasbro’s been forced to issue some statements explaining themselves, and promising more merch to come. Their excuse—that including her would’ve been a spoiler—is pretty ridiculous. It could be argued that some of the pre-release marketing was designed as a red herring—leading us to believe that Finn would be the one in whom the Force awakens—and thus a reveal of Rey holding Luke’s lightsaber would’ve been too revealing, but let’s be honest: That’s ridiculous. There was no reason at all for them to make stuff with her that included the lightsaber. There’s a ton of promo images and even a fair amount of other merch that has her with the staff she uses on Jakku, so they could have done it that way instead of holding back. Indeed, they could have actually made more money by making Rey-with-staff stuff, and then issuing new Rey-with-lightsaber stuff, so people would buy both.

This absence definitely isn’t because of spoilers or sales, then, so what’s the real reason? Well, the short answer is sexism. So’s the long answer. Especially when one considers that Hasbro is also the company that seemed to forget that Black Widow is a member of the Avengers (in fact, she’s been in more MCU titles than any other team member except Iron Man) and that Gamora was one of the leads in Guardians of the Galaxy. So yeah. Sexism. But how? Exactly what kind of sexism is at play here? Continue reading

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About those guys in Oregon

I admit that my first response to this news was basically Picardfacepalm.jpg. It still kind of is. But since a lot of well-meaning people have been coming at this from a race/media coverage angle, I feel like I need to get into this a little more. Basic gist: Yes, these guys are terrorists, but what they are at heart is a bunch of playground bullies showing off to try to prove how manly they are. We of course need to take them seriously, but not so seriously that we feed their fantasy that they’re noble soldiers fighting a large-scale war.

First, let’s understand who these people are, what they want, and why they took that building. Continue reading

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SWTFA and Box Office Records

First off: Hi! Long time, no blog. More on that in another post. For now, I want to talk about something that’s gone around the intarweebs in the past few weeks, as The Force Awakens has become a pretty big box office, critical, and fandom juggernaut since its release. (Note that the below contains some spoilers!)

Folks on the side of inclusiveness in SFF have been pointing to the record-shattering monetary take of this film as evidence that yes, people WILL go see a movie whose three main characters are a woman, a black man, and a Latino. (Not to discount the presence of the old-favorite characters; I’ll address that further below.)

Meanwhile, the tooth-gnashing on the “SFF IS, TOO A (cishet, white) BOYS’ CLUB, YOU EVUL INTERLOPERS” has been largely aimed toward discounting this film’s box office performance because, as they argue, there’s an enormous built-in fanbase for this franchise, and the presence of characters from the original trilogy makes it even more appealing to folks who have been fans for decades. People are going to see old friends Han and Chewie again; naturally that’s going to mean more ticket sales, and even more than the prequel trilogy, because it didn’t really have any of our original characters (save Yoda, Baby-Wan, and baby C3P0; the less said about baby Anakin the better.)

Both sides are right, to a degree, but both sides are also operating from a set of inherently flawed data: The idea that current-dollars box-office records have any real value in measuring audience. Let’s therefore get that out of the way before we go analyzing why this movie is making bank, and whether that has anything to do with the race and/or gender of its most-prominent characters. Continue reading

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Oh, hey, I have a blog!

This summer has been a whirlwind of meatspace-life chaos, and I’ve barely had time to keep up with Twitter, much less any media that takes a longer time to consume/create.

I haven’t been completely idle, however! In July, I released Bryn’s Folly, a short story set in Harper’s Mythic universe.

At the end of that month, I also managed to get away from the domestic hurricane long enough for a writing retreat. The net result of that was another ~6,300 words on Harper’s sequel, bringing the total to about 12,800 so far. Haven’t been able to do much writing (except in my head!) since then, but I’m hoping to get back to it within the next month or two. Either way, I expect to release that one sometime next year, with Worlds Away, the sequel to Tesserae, to follow soon after.

Will attempt to post more here soon (oh goodness, do I have a lot of political commentary to make!) but for now, I hope folks enjoy what I already have out.

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