I finally have a superpower!

When I was a child, I wanted to be Spider-Man so much. I would run around the house with my fingers in the same shape the wall-crawler formed his when he THWIP’d his webs. I would pretend to stick to walls and be super-strong too. One time, I even injured myself, bc I was pretending I was swinging on a web. I had taken a rope and flung it around one of the prongs on those old standing metallic coat racks and actually put my weight on it, and of course the thing fell and hit me. On the head. I would have been fine, with perhaps nothing more than a bruise, if I hadn’t been in the habit of removing the plastic caps that go over the metal hooks. As a result, the metal hook hit my forehead with enough force to make me bleed. I recall walking into the bathroom telling my mom that my head hurt. If I recall correctly, I was 5 or 6. So yeah, you can imagine what it’s like for a parent to see their child bleeding from a head wound (it wasn’t terribly bad, once all was said and done, but that instinct of “OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS BLEEDING” is pretty intense). Needless to say, after that, I stopped trying to swing from things, and i learned my lesson about taking the plastic caps off metallic rods.

As I got older, I stopped wanting to be like Spidey. Not bc he wasn’t cool anymore, but bc I began wanting to fly. And that’s a feeling that has remained with me since I was a teenager. While I don’t remember my dreams in any significant detail, I *do* recall many nights (one even relatively recently) of dreaming of flying. Though vague, the details I do recall that my dreams involved flying all around the world. About the only joy I got out of the 2013 movie, Man of Steel, was watching Superman fly around the world, bc it reminded me-viscerally-of my dreams. The vicarious thrill I got out of watching that scene was *almost* enough to make up for the dreariness of the rest of the movie.

Unfortunately, we humans aren’t gifted with superhuman (or supernatural, whatever the case may be) abilities. We can’t manipulate the weather. We aren’t masters of magnetism. We don’t transform into half-ton jolly green balls of unbridled rage. Yeah, we’re pretty much powerless.

Or so I thought until today.

Today is a landmark day in human history. It has been discovered that we humans do indeed have superpowers. But #NotAllHumans. Unfortunately the majority of our species will have to muddle through life without experiencing the fantastic power that some of us possess. Apparently I am one of the recipients of this power. So too are all my fellow Orbit bloggers and anyone else who fights for the cause of queer rights. What power do we have?

We have the power to kill God.

Continue reading “I finally have a superpower!”

I finally have a superpower!
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Can I borrow a match? I need to light this article on fire.

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It’s funny. My interest in USAmerican politics is fairly new. For most of my adult life, I did not care about anything political. My knowledge of the political world extended to successfully answering the question “Who is the current President” and, during presidential elections, “Who are you going to vote for”. The answer to the latter question was always “whoever is running as a Democrat”. That’s because I, like many people, unthinkingly followed in the political footsteps of my parents. But for all that I knew next to nothing about politics, I did know about the Log Cabin Republicans. I didn’t know much about them, but I knew they were an organization of gay people who were Republicans. And even though I didn’t know much about Republican politics, I knew the leaders of that party typically opposed rights for gay people. So I couldn’t understand why any gay person would claim Republican Party membership. Why would members of an oppressed class belong to a political party that exacerbates the oppression of that class?

Fast forward a couple of decades and my understanding of politics has deepened quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in the world of politics, but I know quite a bit more now than I did when I was younger. And  I recognize the negative impact of Republican ideas on people in this country. I see the way the people are made to suffer bc of conservative ideology. And that sickens me. No, this realization doesn’t mean I embrace the Democratic Party. In fat, I think the Democrats are all too happy to maintain the status quo. And that status quo is sexist, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, ableist, neurotypical, and classist. Yes, Democrats occasionally support measures that would improve the quality of life of USAmericans, but by and large, I get the impression most Dems don’t want things to change, whether for the better or for the worse. Contrast that against the Republicans, who aren’t content to retain the status quo. No, they want things to regress to an earlier time. Donald Trump’s mantra of “Make America great again” is almost the unspoken mantra of the GOP. This notion that the country would be better off if things could return to an earlier unstated, yet ostensibly glorious time, is part and parcel in the beliefs of a great many Republicans. An earlier time, like the good old days when LGBT people could be arrested for simply existing. When blacks and white had to use separate water fountains. When women could not legally obtain an abortion. Too many Republicans see those days as the glory days of this country, and they are fighting to return to those times. And because of that, I view the GOP and their supporters (hey there Log Cabin Republicans) as a greater destructive force than the Democrats. That includes LGBT people like Pride writer Basil Soper who elide the harms caused by the GOP bc he feels unity is more important than criticizing harmful beliefs.

Continue reading “Can I borrow a match? I need to light this article on fire.”

Can I borrow a match? I need to light this article on fire.

A trip down memory lane

“If you could be straight, would you?”

LGBT-Rights

I was asked that question many years ago. I was in my 20s, I think. I don’t remember who asked me, but I think it was a co-worker. How was I to answer that? At the time, I had been out of the closet for several years. Anyone who knew me to any degree knew I was gay. To the outside world, I was an out, proud gay man. And yet. And yet. My answer was ‘yes’. If could have chosen right then and there to be a heterosexual man, I would have switched my sexuality. Or if I could have reached back into my mother’s womb while I was developing, I’d have altered something to ensure I came out heterosexual. This was almost two decades before I knew anything about heterosexual privilege. Even with that, I was aware that straight people had it easier in life than gay people. I knew that if I were straight, I wouldn’t have grown up feeling so isolated and so alone. And I wouldn’t have had to experience one of the most upsetting events of my life.

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A trip down memory lane

Woo-hoo! Home runs for both Marvel Netflix shows

They say it is best to arrive to a party fashionably late. How late that is can vary from person to person, but I’ve often heard 15-20 minutes is a reasonable time. If that’s the case, then I arrived UNfashionably late to the Marvel Cinematic Netflix series Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Over the last 5 days, I’ve binge-watched all 26 episodes of each series (in-between catching up on Season 1 of Flash, a few episodes of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the first three episodes of Young Justice Season 2, and a couple of episodes from Season 1 of Arrow), and I’ve got to say those 26 hours were some of the best television I’ve ever seen and definitely in the ranks of “best cinematic adaptations of comic book properties”. From the characters, to the stories, to the atmosphere, Daredevil and Jessica Jones hit near-perfect notes. If you haven’t seen either (and plan to at some point), I’ll be discussing plot points of both shows ahead. So read on only if you don’t mind spoilers:

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Woo-hoo! Home runs for both Marvel Netflix shows

I’m not seeing anything fabulous here

I hope my gay card doesn’t get revoked, but I know nothing about Absolutely Fabulous, other than the fact that it’s a highly regarded television series in the gay community. When I heard of this trailer, I thought I’d check it out. Having done so, I’m thoroughly underwhelmed. This trailer contained absolutely nothing that makes me want to see the movie. Meh. Maybe it’s not for me. Heeeeeeey, maybe we gay people don’t share the same tastes and aren’t interchangeable after all!

I’m not seeing anything fabulous here

Such fragile egos these fanboys have

The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is ‘doomed,’ because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries – they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival. The time is five minutes to twelve, midnight. There is no more darkness. The place is New York City and this is the eve of the end, because even at midnight it’s high noon, the hottest day in history, and you’re about to spend it in the Twilight Zone.

 

That’s the opening narration to the ‘The Midnight Sun‘, the 75th episode of the Twilight Zone, by host Rod Serling. The Twilight Zone was a popular USAmerican science fiction television show that ran from 1959 to 1964 (and saw several attempts at revivals over the decades, as well as a movie). This particular episode is one of my favorites as it involves an apocalyptic scenario in which humanity is helpless. All our intellect, our wits, our technology, our weapons-all of it is useless in the face of a catastrophe of global proportions. The episode served as a reminder that for all our power and accomplishments, for all our money and wealth, we are fragile creatures.

 

This episode came to mind today as I was giving thought to the ongoing culture wars in society. Progressives have been fighting for decades (longer than that, really) for marginalized people to be treated with fairness and equity. They have fought to extend the rights enjoyed by the majority-white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied men-to everyone else. From the battle for women’s reproductive rights to the fight for LGBT equality to the ongoing crusade by the Black Lives Matter movement to dismantle systemic and structural racism, the culture wars have been fought on multiple fronts. And while some successes have been achieved (yay, LGB people can marry and oh look, some police departments are getting body cameras), there still continue to be setbacks (the reduction in abortion providers across the country and the lack of accountability of police officers around the nation). But not all such cultural battles occur on a national scale, nor do they all occur in meatspace. Some occur on a smaller, more private scale-the Internet. One such conflict-the push for greater diversity and inclusivity in the comic book industry (specifically at Marvel and DC)-has been brewing for a while now. Funny thing though, for all the pushback, it’s clear that just as Hollywood is making progressive strides, so too is the comic book industry. Of course, along with that progression comes the howling and screaming of those opposed to progress.

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Such fragile egos these fanboys have

The progressive march of pop culture

Hollywood, aka Tinsel Town, is home to the entertainment industry of the United States. Viewed as the land of the rich and famous, Hollywood has long been the destination for many people seeking to make a name for themselves, whether on the small-screen, the big-screen, or in the music industry. Unfortunately, with so many people looking for fame and fortune, Hollywood is a difficult industry to break into, let alone succeed in. Some groups of people have an advantage in the industry, due to a bias in their favor. This bias-which favors white, heterosexual, cisgender men-has resulted in a Hollywood that is not reflective of our culture at large. Because of this bias, members of marginalized communities-LGBT people, women, and People of Color-have greater difficulty making it in the entertainment industry. Whether in front of the cameras or behind them, on the big screens or the small ones, these groups have long been plagued by unequal treatment in Hollywood. The second annual Hollywood Diversity Report (available for download here) examined more than 1,000 broadcast, cable, and digital tv programs from the 2012-2013 season and its results were not encouraging.
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The progressive march of pop culture

Black Lives Matter, all of them (Content Note: Transphobia)

In response to the 2012 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi created the Black Lives Matter movement. Their goal was to address the multiple forms of systemic racism within the United States and to protest the injustices African-Americans continue to feel living within a racist system. They sought an inclusive movement-one that spoke to the needs of all black people:

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Black Lives Matter, all of them (Content Note: Transphobia)

Marvel's all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

I began reading comic books around the age of 7 or 8, and began to seriously collect them when I was old enough to get a job. Some of the earliest comics I had were Marvel’s Avengers. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was (and still is) the tagline. Captain America, Thor, Wasp, Hercules, Sub-Mariner, She-Hulk, Black Knight-they were awesome. But there was someone else I really liked reading about. Someone who I appreciated for different reasons-Monica Rambeau-Captain Marvel at the time. She was special to me because she was unique among the Avengers: she was black. Like me.

The second hero to bear the name Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau debuted in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.

Continue reading “Marvel's all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity”

Marvel's all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

Marvel’s all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity

I began reading comic books around the age of 7 or 8, and began to seriously collect them when I was old enough to get a job. Some of the earliest comics I had were Marvel’s Avengers. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was (and still is) the tagline. Captain America, Thor, Wasp, Hercules, Sub-Mariner, She-Hulk, Black Knight-they were awesome. But there was someone else I really liked reading about. Someone who I appreciated for different reasons-Monica Rambeau-Captain Marvel at the time. She was special to me because she was unique among the Avengers: she was black. Like me.

The second hero to bear the name Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau debuted in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.

Continue reading “Marvel’s all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity”

Marvel’s all-new Giant-Man is another win for diversity