“The story of Cassandra, the woman who told the truth but was not believed, is not nearly as embedded in our culture as that of the Boy Who Cried Wolf—that is, the boy who was believed the first few times he told the same lie. Perhaps it should be.”—In her cover essay on silencing women in the October 2014 issue of Harper’s, Rebecca Solnit once again proves that she is one of our era’s greatest essayist – further evidence here and here. (via explore-blog)
A woman who was shot during the protests in Ferguson said police have still not contacted her
It has been a month since Mya Aaten-White was shot during a protest in Ferguson. It took her three 911 calls to get an ambulance, and they arrived with a police escort who showed up with guns drawn, making demands of the people who had rescued and tended to her before letting anyone get close to her. The hospital reports that cops showed up to retrieve the bullet that they removed from her head.
Mya Aaten-White awoke to news reports that she had been the victim of a drive-by shooting performed by 5-6 black people. She denies this report vehemently, saying it was 5-6 black people who saved her life and that there was no drive-by. Furthermore, neither she nor her lawyer were able to find out where the bullet that had been removed from her head had gone.
The police have not interviewed her. A month after her shooting, and with a lawyer trying to help the process along, the police still have not interviewed her.
A teenage girl dashed away from her BMW sedan and kicked a police officer in the head after running a red light and slamming into another vehicle in Bucks County Thursday morning.
Authorities arrested 19-year-old Sara Culhane of Princeton on charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, reckless driving and other related offenses after she allegedly fled from the scene of a hit and run accident only to crash into another car moments later.
Bensalem Township Police responded to reports of a hit and run on Blanche Road just after 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Responding officers spotted Culhane driving a blue BMW, which matched the description of the striking vehicle, near the intersection of Mechanicsville and Street roads.
Authorities began pursuing the suspect after she ignored their attempts to pull her over, police said. Police said they called off the chase once it became apparent that the driver refused to stop.
Culhane continued traveling north on Mechanicsville Road, running a red light and slamming into a Toyota Corolla that was traveling west on Street Road, according to investigators.
Culhane then exited her BMW and ran from the crash scene, police said.
The arresting officers tracked her down moments later and, as they got the teen under control, she kicked one of the officers in the head, authorities said.
Honestly, before DragonCon, I had no idea what the Carol Corps were, or what they stood for. wolvensnothere mentioned, on our first day, that he was going to attend the meet-up, and I figured I would go to see what it was all about.
What I found was the kind of thing that every form of popular culture fandom desperately needs: a safe, affirming, and inclusive space where everyone is welcome. And this is a message that is echoed in everyarticle that I pulled up in my post-meet-up googling. For me, the Carol Corps represents comics fandom as it should be.
The need for inclusivity and representation within comics fandom is something that I spoke on at last year’s DragonCon, and something that I didn’t think that I would see actualized. As someone who seems incapable of leaving his work at the office (see my philosophizing the apocalypse tag), this was a source of extreme disappointment: I could see the problems that I was dealing with in my theoretical work reproduced within the communities that I loved so much, and it exhausted me. Comics (and the fandom) were, in my view, supposed be places that showed us a world that could be, instead, they seemed to be reproducing the problems of the world as it is.
This is why the Carol Corps means so much to me as a philosopher, a person of color, and a feminist. If you’re not interested in, or view the intersection of philosophy/academia and comics as irrelevant, you should probably stop here. If you’re concerned with these things, read on!
Kelly-Sue, in her opening keynote of the DragonCon comics track, spoke of the myth of the “default human,” the assumption that the straight white male is the default mode of human existence. For me, this was not an unfamiliar notion: Sara Ahmed, in her book Queer Phenomenology, and her article “The Phenomenology of Whiteness,” speaks of the way in which the orientation and organization of the world is such that the straight white male body fades into the background. As such, this body does not call attention to itself as it moves through spaces, including that of fandom and popular media.
To take up both Ahmed and Kelly-Sue’s observations about the world in the context of comics, fandom, and popular culture, the vast majority of our media, including those forms that I love, are patterned upon the assumed default of the straight white male. Beyond the media itself, I would extend this to the fandom itself: fandom is organized around the assumption that straight white men are the default audience for comics, and therefore push against the articulation of experiences other than this assumed default through their media. They view this as a disruption of the “natural ordering” of the social world.
Further, there is the assumption that those who deviate from the default, Sara Ahmed might call this the line projected by fandom, are incapable of understanding and experiencing the media in the same way. The theorist in me wants to link this directly to the concept of the “fake geek girl,” and the assumption that “black people don’t like comics,” because comics are not for them in the same way that comics are for straight white men. This mis-match of embodied existence to the actuality of the media, as articulated by predominantly male fandom, is why girls “just don’t get it,” in spite of the existence of the Carol Corps and the Kamala Corps, and the hundreds of movie going women who contributed to the overwhelming success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disproving the tacit assumption of the “human default” in both fandom and the media itself, generates a backlash as the straight white male body is “unseated” from it’s comfortable position within the media and the fandom, and this is made manifest in myriad of ways. We need only recall fandom’s response to the casting of a black Johnny Storm, Donald Glover’s intention to play Spider-Man, the new Thor, and Iris west being cast as a black woman. Any deviation from the assumption of straight white male, or whiteness in general, within comics and fandom generates resistance from both groups as institutions as they seek to preserve their position as the status quo.
This is why the Carol Corps is so important to me as a philosopher and a fan. Not only does the Carol Corps provide what mainstream fandom does not, a safe space for fans of multiple intersecting identity, it actively unseats the assumed default by being so inclusive. If you look at the Carol Corps photos that I reblogged, you can see fans of every color and shape, gender identity and gender presentation. The Carol Corps, by simply being what it is, serves to indicate the direction that comics not only should go in but must go in.While the Corps is predominantly female, it’s openness towards all people’s experience (so long as they “don’t be a dick”) is what makes it so unique, as is it’s organization around Carol Danvers not only for who she is, but what she represents: characters as colorful and dynamic as the fandom that supports it.
Through its loose organization, the Carol Corps actively disrupts the “background” created by decades of the organization of comics around the straight white male by celebrating not only Carol Danvers, but fans and characters of all intersecting identities. It redefines what it means to be a fan of comics, it redefines how to be a fan of comics and media through its open acceptance of fans regardless of level of interest, experience with Carol, or embodied experience. If there’s a way to do “fandom” right, then the Carol Corps has done it.
Higher, Further, Faster, More.
Every single bit of this.
I’m really glad you got to see it actualized, ninjaruski. This is precisely the kind of motivation and realization I had hoped for, when we started planning this year’s events, and everything came out beyond my wildest of hopes.
Between the Carol Corps meetup and the Roundtable, everyone who needed to speak had a place to speak. Everyone who spoke was heard. Hard questions were grappled with, and safe, inclusive spaces for fans to engage, critique, and generate their fandom were cultivated.
Okay, so, I’m home and I’m beat, it’s the first day of school for Henry and a drop-in day for T and I have pages due so I have to make this brief, but I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone involved for a truly extraordinary 5 days.
To the volunteers — of whom there are literally HUNDREDS and they MAKE this show. Literally every single person I dealt with was not just extraordinarily polite, but also enthusiastically helpful. The CPAC organizers! Thank you. Damien, Ally, Torrey, Kyle, Jonathan, Daniel, Matthew, Vicki, Kari… THANK YOU. The gentlemen who picked us up at the airport (Adam!) and returned us safely (Dominic… I think?). My friend from Portland in the headset who ALWAYS spotted me when I was looking lost and pointed me in the right direction — thank you. The organizers in Artist’s Alley who moved me around to manage the lines and didn’t miss a beat, and were gracious to everyone in the midst of the chaos. My friends the Dragon*Con veterans — Judi, Chris, Tiffany, Janice, Betsy — thank you.
I had an amazing time, learned a lot, saw jaw-dropping cosplay, got to spend some quality time with my best friend, duck-faced like I have never duck-faced before, got my picture taken with the ENTIRE COSMIC MARVEL UNIVERSE, met James Gunn, participated in multiple standing-room-only events (including both the Carol Corps panel and — Comics & Feminism on MONDAY AFTERNOON?!!) but the high point, unquestionably, was attending the March: Book One panel and hearing Congressman John Lewis speak. He’s a gentle man, soft spoken, extraordinarily gracious and inspiring. He represents, I think, the best of us. What I want it to mean when i say, “I am an American” is everything that man stands for. John Lewis is a true American hero.
We ALL need to know his story — because it is OUR story. ALL OF US, regardless of skin tone. Go buy one for your family, then one for your school’s library too. Read it, teach it, look at what is going on around us today.
The Congressman talked about how we have to get out of our chairs, put our bodies on the line and LITERALLY stand for change.
"Make a little noise," he said. "Get in the way."
I’ve been thinking about it since. Trying to figure out how I can do more. Thinking about his call to activism both in terms of my personal life and in terms of my work.
I am so grateful.
And grateful too, to his cowriter, Andrew Aydin who had the love for and faith in our medium to carry this important message. I can’t wait to get to know Andrew better. I bet we have a lot of favorite books in common.
Oh, and this happened:
So, you know, my life has peaked.
(Extra special thanks to laurennmcc for her company and help this weekend, and for taking the photos above.)
1 - Everything Kel said - ditto. Thank you everyone for a great show.
2 - louobedlam, I TOLD you that she duck faced with Rep. John Lewis! PROOFS.
The bolded sections represent quotes from the criticism he received. All the z-snaps are in order.
Your characters are unrealistic stereotpyes of political correctness. Is it really necessary for the sake of popular sensibilities to have in a fantasy what we have in the real world? I read fantasy to get away from politically correct cliches.
God, yes! If there’s one thing fantasy is just crawling with these days it’s widowed black middle-aged pirate moms.
Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man’s world. It is unrealistic wish fulfilment for you and your readers to have so many female pirates, especially if you want to be politically correct about it!
First, I will pretend that your last sentence makes sense because it will save us all time. Second, now you’re pissing me off.
You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.
Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.
Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes “SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder.”
You don’t like it? Don’t buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears.
As for the “man’s world” thing, religious sentiments and gender prejudices flow differently in this fictional world. Women are regarded as luckier, better sailors than men. It’s regarded as folly for a ship to put to sea without at least one female officer; there are several all-female naval military traditions dating back centuries, and Drakasha comes from one of them. As for claims to “realism,” your complaint is of a kind with those from bigoted hand-wringers who whine that women can’t possibly fly combat aircraft, command naval vessels, serve in infantry actions, work as firefighters, police officers, etc. despite the fact that they do all of those things— and are, for a certainty, doing them all somewhere at this very minute. Tell me that a fit fortyish woman with 25+ years of experience at sea and several decades of live bladefighting practice under her belt isn’t a threat when she runs across the deck toward you, and I’ll tell you something in return— you’re gonna die of stab wounds.
What you’re really complaining about isn’t the fact that my fiction violates some objective “reality,” but rather that it impinges upon your sad, dull little conception of how the world works. I’m not beholden to the confirmation of your prejudices; to be perfectly frank, the prospect of confining the female characters in my story to placid, helpless secondary places in the narrative is so goddamn boring that I would rather not write at all. I’m not writing history, I’m writing speculative fiction. Nobody’s going to force you to buy it. Conversely, you’re cracked if you think you can persuade me not to write about what amuses and excites me in deference to your vision, because your vision fucking sucks.
I do not expect to change your mind but i hope that you will at least consider that I and others will not be buying your work because of these issues. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for years and i know that I speak for a great many people. I hope you might stop to think about the sales you will lose because you want to bring your political corectness and foul language into fantasy. if we wanted those things we could go to the movies. Think about this!
Thank you for your sentiments. I offer you in exchange this engraved invitation to go piss up a hill, suitable for framing.