Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Blogaround

Because it's always easier to catch up on blog reading and writing during a three-day weekend:

• I misspoke yesterday when I said I was personally affected by only one recent death, Linda Gold's. Both Heidi MacDonald and Mike Gold remember Alan Coil, who was always very supportive of my ComicMix columns.

• Other people were touched by passings as well. Phil Austin remembers the lovely Ginger, a bit before my time. And Collen Doran has a very thoughtful post on the difference between the product consumed so avidly by comic book fanatics and the real people behind that product. I've agreed with her sentiment since long before I married one of those real people. There but for the grace of my job and some savings go Robin and I...

• A few days of significance have also passed since last I blogged-around, including May the Fourth, celebrated appropriately by Carrie Fisher. And speaking of fanfic inspiration, get a load of the contest by John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton. I love the painting.

• Have I mentioned Carolyn Ibis' new blog, all about bike trips and such? How about Megan Austin's News Updations? Both are now on my sidebar. It's been awhile since I've updated the sidebar; all the inactive Liberal Coalition people have now been temporarily deleted, and eventually (maybe by July 4?) I'll go through the rest of the links to see which ones still apply. (I don't use most of them any more, as I read blogs through bloglines and can't even get to my own blog from work.)

• Speaking of biker bloggers, David Byrne has a nice one up about new urbanism, as well as why he's suing the Governor of Florida for infringement, as if we needed to ask.

• Congratulations to Ruben Bolling on his BoingBoing gig! Hope it pays.

• Keith Olbermann passes along the announcement of Ken Burns Baseball documentary update. I'm definitely psyched, although I have to wonder how much steroids are going to enter into it.

• Apparently Roger Ebert ignited a minor controversy by opining that video games can never be art. Frankly, as someone who both enjoys the occasional game and is married to an artist, I wholeheartedly agree - particularly with "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome." Video games can certainly be wonderfully artistic, you can experience art within them while playing (just like with baseball or figure skating), but that doesn't make video games or baseball an art form. Anyway, Dr. Myers says it better than I could.

• Between the First Lady's push to rid the country of fat people behind the guise of "health" and the apparent success of Jamie Oliver's new fat-shaming show (which I'm sure has lived down to all of Jill Friedman's fears about it), it's been gratifying to see such eloquent backlash of common sense. Melissa McEwan points out that Oliver seems to have done more harm than good; and Barry sarcastically notes that it's great to have skinny people in charge of an anti-obesity movement since they have so much personal experience with anti-fat prejudice. Other good fat positive posts from Barry including a musing on the thinning of the comic book character Amanda Waller in an upcoming movie (I can assure you that Robin has never drawn her thin, I wouldn't have let him) and his two cents in the argument over Health At Any Size, where thin people are never grilled about their health the way fat folks are. Seriously, that's the worst part of the current "health" movement for me, the assumption that all fat people are unhealthy (and eat unhealthy food) and all thin people are healthy (and eat healthy food) solely on the basis of outward appearance, and particularly when all internal health indicators (blood tests, etc.) say otherwise. And Jennifer at the Hathor Legacy decries the stupid excuses given by some networks for not showing a recent Lane Bryant ad. Guess that gorgeous model isn't enough of a biggest loser for them.

• So what did happen to manga's popularity in this country? Rich at Heidi's blog has some cogent analysis.

• Oh, this is wonderful - Ragnell (aka Lisa Fortuner) doing what she does best, a fascinating analysis of the female characters in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. And hands down, Melissa Silverstein has my favorite review of Sex and the City 2, a movie I've no interest in seeing because it doesn't happen to be my favorite form of escapism.

• I'm totally jealous that Chloe from Feministing attended the Women in Late Night Comedy panel, but I'm also disappointed that the panelists seem to give the same exact responses that I've heard from women in comics (and that I'm sure Melissa S has heard from many women in film), that the dearth of women in x-profession isn't due to a history of institutionalized sexism but other nebulous factors because, hey, they got theirs, Jack. How can you work to achieve better parity if you can't even admit to yourself the main reason inequality exists? Talk about internalizing the patriarchal culture!

• Meanwhile, on her eponymous blog, Val D'Orazio is fed up with others pulling the victim-blaming card regarding her experiences at DC. Also, apparently Val has suspended Occasional Superheroine for the time being, which brings her down to, what, only 15 blogs? :) One of them, The Daily 23, talks about weird stuff in our culture, which I adore; two of my recent favorites there have been an examination of the sign of the horns hand gesture (I forgot that was part of Pat Robertson's schtick, can someone mention that to the Phelps idiots?) and a collection of end-of-the-world dates (spoiler alert, the world didn't end on those dates).

• Bully's on an Elektro kick, here and here. I'd love to send these posts to Dave Ossman, he loves everything about the 1939 World's Fair.

• Remember Sue Lowden? Of course you do. Some Lowden-related posts I liked include this from Melissa McEwan, who pretty much echoes my sentiments about bartering and its prevalence in low-income communities. Surely we can mock the way in which Ms. Lowden suggests we employ the barter system, rather than the benefits of that system itself. I also liked what Lance Mannion had to say, because he used it as a jumping-off point to discuss one of my favorite subjects, the impersistence of memory.

• The BP oil disaster? Not Obama's Katrina, as Lance explains. Not even about Obama's rep, Kevin Drum reminds us. (Besides, as the Rude Pundit notes, Bush Sr. had far more oil on his hands through inaction and covering up on the Exxon Valdez disaster. RP has been especially eloquent on this environmental catastrophe.) Also, what Digby said about the President being far too trusting.

• Aaron Sorkin hits it out of the park regarding gays playing it straight (which is what most gay actors have had to do for decades anyway).

• Frank Rich thinks it's bad when the news media didn't even bother to cover the Times Square bomber the day the incident occurred because they were too busy with their heads up their posteriors doing the annual self-congratulatory round-ups of the White House Correspondents dinner. I think it's bad that nobody except me (I mean, not even local news) has yet to mention the car that caught fire on Broadway a couple hours earlier than the Times Square incident - but heck, that was Broadway slightly north of the Manhattan/Bronx border so I guess it didn't count.

• Amanda Marcotte isn't all that surprised by the survey that found many members of the tea party movement are well educated and well off. It's a media trick that represents the entire movement (which is run by the same selfish rich people who've always run these faux-populist uprisings) by the somewhat duped and angry have-nots with badly spelled signage.

• Well, what to say about Rand Paul that hasn't been said better by Dave Johnson (re the "statism" dog-whistle)? How about this paraphrase from Robin: Libertarianism (as it's practiced and publicized today) is the antithesis of civilization. I presume it would work peachy if we didn't have to do what we were, you know, put on this Earth to do - care about each other.

• Frank Luntz is at it again, setting right-wing talking points that they parrot verbatim. It's almost like they can't think for themselves! And they will spew Luntz' propoaganda no matter what the other side does, as Dave Johnson points out. So why not ignore them already?

• Speaking of propaganda, it started to get to me in earnest when certain nefarious soulless ones decided to turn Reagan's presidency from the beginning of America's current downfall into some sort of triumph. Lance sorts things out, and promises more.

• What Digby Said, about the Sestak non-issue: "The idea is to create an atmosphere of corruption and illegality (and not incidentally keep the press overstimulated and frenzied at all times) by constantly insinuating that there is something illegal or unethical about completely normal political behaviors -- and then accuse the target of 'covering up' when they attempt to contain the political damage. They do it by an almost comical overreaction to an accumulation of charges that don't 'pass the smell test' thus creating a 'where there's smoke there's fire' impression over time."

Susie demonstrates that, yet again, critical analysis of Israel is better in that country's media than in ours.

• Also via Digby, telling the truth can lead to the end of your political career. Good thing Greg Palast doesn't have a political career.

• Sara says the "s" word and backs it up. Again, it's worth remembering that everything the right-wingers tend to accuse the "other side" of doing is probably something they're doing themselves, because that's how they think and they can't conceive that others would think or behave any differently. Sara's co-blogger Dave Niewert has a good example of sedition today on Crooks & Liars.

• For some lighter fare, be sure to read this mice-- er, nice anecdote from Mark Evanier; this then-and-now comparison by Wil Wheaton of his life so far; Ken Jennings' anatomy of a Wiki-hoax; Lance at the coffee counter with a bad-day barista; and Miles Klee's analysis of the Untergang meme (and the history of using Hitler as a cultural touchstone). Also on The Awl: The very model of a modern website weatherman.

• Lastly, Mark Fiore thanks his readers/viewers for his Pulitzer.

And I probably say this on every Memorial Day or Veterans Day or whatever - to me this is not a time to respect "sacrifices to preserve our freedom." People don't "sacrifice their lives" in war, they get killed (both military and civilians). There's no causal relationship between the propaganda any country's military (and citizenry) buys into and the amount of "freedom" that country actually enjoys. Oh, and "freedom" is not the same as capitalism; in fact, capitalism often works contrary to it (just look at BP's unfettered capitalism, aided by the US government, and how detrimental that is to our freedom to enjoy pristine nature and have our waters be safe). For me (as well as for eloquent writers like Susie), days like this are a time to reflect on and regret the absolute futility of war, to rail against the stupidity that keeps driving it, and to grieve for the utter waste of life that it continues to encourage. And lest anyone forget, the two reasons we're "at war" now? We started those wars by invading. The US may have been the aggrieved victims of non-state terrorism nine years ago, but we chose the wrong way to deal with it, and have used the "we're at war" mantra ever since as an excuse to silence and curtail freedom, not to preserve it.

I am also keeping Guatemala in my thoughts.


Carolyn said...

Thanks for posting link to my blog.

Hope you enjoyed your long weekend, we had ours last weekend.