Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dog Day Blogaround

One reason I don't do blogarounds more often is because I keep thinking "I need to finish reading all my unread items before I comment on them," which is silly because I'm never really done. I mean seriously, I have bookmarked blog posts going back to January, and eight months is way too long to keep links (unless they're Silly Sites but that's a different story). On the other hand, maybe this can serve as a good guideline to essays which readers might wish to nominate for this year's Koufax Awards, if those still exist. So, on with it, more or less chronologically from the beginning of 2011:

• I know it was long ago and far away but Amanda Marcotte's musings about people who believe appearances are everything, and why they go for the gold, and wingnut urban legends, are still relevant.

• And I still like what the Rude Pundit had to say about the bowdlerization of Huck Finn, all these months later.

• And how Heidi MacDonald celebrated International Women's Day, and how (via The Mary Sue) NASA celebrated Women's History Month.

• With all the post-San Diego Comic Con hoopla about diversifying comics more in terms of creating stories and characters to appeal to demographics outside the current narrow post-adolescent-white-male-superhero-loving one (which I have nothing against, I've married two of those!), it's always worth looking back to see how we got into this mess. Vinnie Bartilucci posted a good summary. Hard to plan for where you're going if you don't have a clear idea where you've been and why. Also highly recommended: When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege (via Ladies Making Comics); and Women in Comics by Heidi MacDonald (with a follow-up at, where else, Ladies Making Comics).

• I love this examination of trochees from Randall Munro:

It's my theory that just about any two or three trochees put together would make a good idea for a comic, or at least for a limited-edition poster at Robin's table at this year's New York Comic Con.

• For those friends of yours wondering what was so bad about "Saint Ronnie," over at Jill's place Mike Flannigan has a pretty comprehensive list. It's worth remembering, as I've often said, that Reagan's election and Lennon's assassination were the two markers of the beginning of the end for this country; the downward spiral we're still on didn't start in 2008, but has been going on for 30+ years, just as the current problems in England didn't start with the recent austerity measures but have been handed down from the days of Thatcher). (Michael Moore pinpoints the turning point as the day that Reagan fired the air traffic controllers.) A bit more recently, Jill has another great "rant" about how we got to where we are now. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to, well, become Tea Partiers, I suppose.

• Bully grits his teeth in the winter, tools about London in the spring, and picks on the Partridge Family . Careful, little bull, that's my teen obsession you're mocking there. (Speaking of which, I had no idea I would feel any sort of nostalgia whatsoever for The Impossibles until this essay by Vinnie.)

• Speaking of obsessions, my favorite current one is Words with Friends. I agree totally with Reeves Wiedeman at The Awl when he talks about words you can play in that game that I could never have gotten away with playing old-fashioned Scrabble. By the way, ignore the byline wherein Wiedeman claims he "welcomes all honorable competitors" - he rejected my invite to play a game. Fortunately, now that Words with Friends is on Facebook (yeah, that's my home page, what of it?), I have plenty of opponents!

• Wow, I never knew April "Regretsy" Winchell used to write for Roseanne! Here she tells a great story also featuring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

• The Mary Sue looks at "dumb men" commercials, a terrific example of how Patriarchy Hurts Men Too, and how advertisers like to make women feel needed only when traditional gender roles are rigidly enforced. Also, something I've long believed, Joss Whedon is feminist up to a point.

• Roger Ebert travels through time and space.

• Check out this chart that Kevin Drum found:

Perception is everything!  Most of us are in quite a different income level relative to where we think we are, which is why, while objectively the numbers prove the middle class is disappearing, subjectively most people still consider themselves middle class.

• Money matters, of course. Particularly in the freelance field. The recent well-quoted Google+ article by Meredith Gran about the need for comics publishers and readers to pay female freelancers for their efforts put me in mind of this post from Mark Evanier about the importance of getting paid and not undervaluing yourself.

• And now we're up to May, and Jill's observation that the late Osama bin Laden achieved pretty much everything he set out to do in terms of "bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy." The bastard should never have been allowed that kind of legacy, and had common sense secularists won the day he wouldn't have been. Kids, this is your government on religious fanaticism. Meanwhile, Ted Rall was less than thrilled with the way things went down to begin with.

• Ted also sounded a fairly early clarion regarding President Obama being Not That Into his base, and Melissa opines he's just Not the Right Guy for these particular times.

• Ooh, I'd forgotten this nifty essay by Heidi rounding up internet reaction to the question of whether "hot" women can be nerds. If "hot" guys can, then why not "hot" gals? Now I've never been "hot" so I wouldn't know for sure, but to me being nerdy has always felt like a consolation prize for the less pretty and popular. They get adulation and social acceptance, we get to play nifty games and read cool stuff. It reminds me a bit of what used to happen way back when in the days when a comic book was turned into a movie and suddenly non-fans came into a shop and fans reacted like "their" world was being usurped by outsiders. Or, you know, like Twilight fans at the San Diego Comic Con. Speaking of which, here's Heidi's eyewitness account of the infamous DiDio "hire more women" panel at this year's con; and some good observations about whether comics not geared towards, or featuring, white males can actually sell.

• I love Mark's theory about why the birther movement seemed to peter out so quickly once Obama produced his long-form certificate.

Michelle Dean's review of Bridesmaids at The Awl was food for lots of thought - essentially, she says the movie was kind of a Hollywood-ized idea of radical and feminist.

• Until Lance Mannion's essay about ladies' men, I never realized the whole picking-up-chicks thing was actually not about trying to attract women, but about male bonding. Wow, that was a real "click" moment for me. Thanks Lance!

• I was shocked when I heard the news via Jill that Gary Carter (on whom I had quite the crush back in the day) had inoperable brain cancer, but I'm heartened by last week's news of the tumors having shrunk by 80%.

• Amanda loves her some smartphone. I do too. I've owned a smartphone for only nine months now, and already I can't imagine my life without one. Heck, my life is ON that little hand-held computer - everything from my to-do and shopping lists to my medical info to blog-reading to retrieving anything I need to know immediately when I'm away from my desktop. I love Amanda's list of how smartphones have changed our society! Along the same lines, Amanda talks about how our brains' memory storage is changing with the advent of the 'net.

• Martha Thomases makes some great points about how nobody ought to have been surprised or shocked over Anthony Weiner's fairly human behavior.

• Roger Ebert takes a look at Rupert Murdoch, with a great deal of personal satisfaction; and the unseemly nature of political prayer pep rallies.

• Hear hear, Susie: "whenever voters understand what Republicans really want, they reject it."

• Amanda resents culture snob hacks who hate stuff simply because it's trendy. Me too!

• Via Melissa, a terrific essay by Sady Doyle about reading the Hermoine Granger series in my preferred alternate universe.

• Ken Jennings asks the musical question, Why are game show champions better with their money than lottery winners?

• Kath David has a great list of Things I Have Learned. Someday I'll make my own list; I might even put it on my smartphone!

Lastly, I'm sorry to report that, as upyernoz notes, the Liberal Coalition, to all intents and purposes, has gone by the wayside. It doesn't surprise me, in this era where newer forms of social networking are replacing older forms, it seems, every few years or so. Who even reads blogs any more? I mean, besides me. And you, bless you all. Have I mentioned that in a few weeks, on September 7, Pen-Elayne will be marking our NINTH blogiversary? I may not post stuff besides Silly Sites and photos all that often, but when I do write I still enjoy the heck out of it. So I'll be rejiggering parts of my sidebar soon, breaking up the Lib Coalition into its component parts, putting individual bloggers among the men and women who still link to me, and maybe doing a bit more cleanup in the process. But hey, it took me eight months to finally get to this blogaround, so no promises!


Jill said...

I'll see if I can find you on WWF.