Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Because I keep "finishing the internet" and saving all these links, and I may as well try to close a few out:

• Some very nice reminiscences to start off, from Keith Olbermann about Bob Sheppard (that's the first of a few stories from Keith's baseball blog), from Mark Evanier about George Burns, and from the Rude Pundit about an influential and much-beloved teacher. Also, Susie writes a love letter to Philadelphia, and Roger Ebert remembers the Class of 1960.

• So I hear Wonder Woman is getting a new outfit, just in time for the buzz at San Diego. Heidi has lots of links about it, Ragnell sees other problems with the character, and Vinnie reminds us that we've seen this all before and it won't be long before things are back to status quo. After all, DC has too much merchandising riding on the iconic costume. Me, I'm not sure whether I'm looking forward to JMS' run or not. Besides it being hard for me to get enthusiastic in general about reading comics during a time when Robin's still between assignments, I must confess I never wholly subscribed to the Cult of JMS. I think Joe can be a fine writer, particularly of two-person conversations, but I'm not that blown away by his plotting, and I never did believe Babylon 5 had a "5-year plan" worked out in detail from the very beginning. I also tend to find that he, like Joss Whedon, tends to get more credit for writing "strong female characters" than he may merit. It still feels to me like he writes women from an outside perspective, as The Other rather than just people. That said, the (temporary) costume change doesn't bother me in the least, it's certainly attractive and practical enough and would seem to suit the story JMS wants to tell. I'm just not sure I'd be very enthusiastic about that story he wants to tell. But hey, I learned a long time ago I'm not the target audience for these comics anyway.

• What I am the target audience for is essays like this one by Heidi examining DC's response to observations about sexism and racism in its comics, and this one by Barry Crimmons containing remarks suitable for a July 4 speech.

• Happy belated birthday to my favorite little stuffed bull, who could have sworn he saw the A-Team movie for his birthday. Whereas Lance Mannion definitely saw that movie and shares his thoughts on it.

• Amanda Marcotte describes exactly how I feel about catcalls, and Sarah at Feministe examines the Hey Baby consciousness-raising video game. (Speaking of video games, yes, Roger Ebert goes there again.)

• C.L. Minou at Tiger Beatdown is disappointed with Hot in Cleveland. I think it's getting better by increments, and of course its mediocre quality thus far is no fault of the superb acting (I'd forgotten how much I love Bertinelli's delivery) but of the tepid writing.

• Val D'Orazio points out that the Tea Party folks are a lot smarter and meaner than many of their followers. And Sady and Amanda Hess are being hilariously mean girls to Ayn Rand; nobody deserves it more.

• What Digby Said, reminding us that, as bad as things are with Democrats who haven't followed through on promises to reverse Republican madness, it could be far worse if those Republicans regained political power. Also see Digby on faith-based economics, which bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the days of leeches.

• Speaking of barbaric medicine, I guess I can understand the medical impulse to want to help prevent congenital adrenal hyperplasia, but to use dexamethosone 'cause you think intersex babies might grow up a bit butch? (Nice satire by PZ Myers.) Or because you think being intersex in and of itself is teh ick? What are they teaching these people in medical school nowadays?

• What Jill Said, about Olbermann having enough of blind worship, and about the (dis)connection between fat hatred and the availability of decent clothing for fat people, and about a very memorable Mets game, and lastly about an item I've not yet seen detailed anywhere else, our men in Costa Rica.

• What Melissa Said, on the occasion of her eighth wedding anniversary, and on the Male World Cup (I really hope the Women's World Cup is televised next year, I can pretty much guarantee there'll be better sportswomanship than the travesty we saw of the Dutch men), and on MANCATIONS! Which are, you know, guy getaways.

• And What Lance Said about the difference between saving the economy and saving the economically corrupt system.

• Mazel tov to Mikhaela and Makesha on the birth of their adorable one! And I must not have noticed previously but Natalie Bennett seems to have a new gig as the editor of the Guardian Weekly website; her profile of Egyptian feminist Nawal el Saadawi is well worth a read.

• Can I get an amen on Cruella's prayer to the NSS Facebook site?

• Okay, so Cory at BoingBoing thinks this old sugar ad is ridiculous because Everybody Knows that sugar causes obesity. I actually think the ad is pretty sensible - sugar does give a short-term energy boost, and there's nothing wrong with "a balanced diet in moderation." Sugar isn't the culprit in the so-called "obesity epidemic"-that-really-isn't; if you want to point fingers, why not start with the empty chemical calories of high-fructose corn syrup, which the human body isn't made to process? And Amanda Marcotte recommends a cooking method that doesn't follow a recipe model, which I think comes with its own set of problems, chief among them that it relies a lot on instincts that many people have never honed. Which is rather like recommending an untrained artist just pick up a brush and paint, because studying art is so restrictive!

Lastly, RIP Harvey Pekar; even though I never met him nor wanted to meet him, I can appreciate the role he's played in modern comics.