Archive | March 2013

On Geekery part 1.5 – Pride and Privilege

I know I’ve been posting a lot about geek culture lately, but a good friend of mine wrote this and it’s an excellent meditation on identity, both within geekdom and as a broader concept.

Archimedes' Fulcrum

Who the HELL do I think I am anyway? 

Where do I get off defining geekiness, and what makes me think I can get away with it?

Definitions are tyrannical. The ability to craft definitions is a great power and (say it with me, Spidey fans!) with great power comes great responsibility. So why should I, anarchistic deconstruction-fanatic that I am, build such an ontological border fence?

Part of it came as a reaction to the quotes that formed the first part of my last post. Some of it was intellectual hubris, but what really made me feel able to do it and get away with it was the fact that I have a very privileged existence. Being white and male in a culture where whiteness and maleness are both still unfairly coupled with better access to just about everything does tend to foster a sense of entitlement. In…

View original post 752 more words


Dungeoned Master

The dice must flow...

The dice must flow…

Today is International Table Top Day, a celebration of table top games, an umbrella term for board games, card games, and table top RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons. For more, google it or check out #TableTopDay on Twitter. Despite being a rather harmless and potentially educational pastime, Dungeons & Dragons has long been mistrusted, vilified, and scapegoated for everything from murder to suicide to general moral decay. Many have painted the game as Satanic or worried that those playing are too unstable to know the difference between reality and the fantasy they have crafted. Similar accusations have been made against World of Warcraft, which was also blamed for a teen’s suicide. D&D was even banned from the US prison systems after the high profile confiscation of a prisoner’s D&D paraphernalia. Officials explained the legitimacy of the ban by citing that the game promotes gang activity, violence, and is a public safety issue, though officials also admitted that there is no evidence of this. All fantasy games have now been banned behind bars.

Read More…

Portrait of the Vatican as a Young Church


So Dark the Con of Shan

THE DEFENDANT: The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown

THE VERDICT: The Da Vinci Code sparked a worldwide controversy, including book burnings and numerous protests of the subsequent film. The book is outright banned in Iran and Lebanon out of fear that it may spark sectarian violence.

THE CHARGES: The issues surrounding the book include its portrayal of the Roman Catholic Church, a number of assertions about early Christian beliefs and various Christian sects/orders, and the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children. Many have decried it as inaccurate, unflattering to Christianity, or downright heretical.

Read More…

Who Run the World?

Women in the media.

I cannot tell you how many discussions I’ve had about this. How many papers I’ve read or written, how many arguments I’ve had, how many panels or lectures I’ve been to, how many documentaries I’ve seen, and how many times I’ve died a little bit inside when someone tells me that this isn’t an issue or that there are plenty of female characters or “the whole strong female lead thing is really getting old” or “has been overdone.” It’s most depressing when women say this.

So, I’d like to take a moment to discuss some of the issues involved here and why there is a huge discrepancy as to whether or not there is a problem or just what that problem is. If I want to keep this blog post from turning into a 600 page analysis, I fear I won’t be able to get into anywhere the depth I would like. I apologize for this, but I welcome any discussion in the comments and encourage you to seek out more information elsewhere. I’ll be breaking this discussion into sections to better examine the many levels involved with this systemic problem that plagues the publishing, movie, television, and gaming industries. Read More…

We’re Dumbledore’s Army

I recently stumbled across this image. I don’t know where it’s from or even if it’s real. But this person is my hero.

Read More…

Dead Tongues Tell No Tales

IrishReadsToday is St. Patrick’s Day. For many around the world, especially here in America, that means shamrock Mardi Gras beads, pub crawling, and a drunken bacchanalia in the name of one’s Irish heritage. This is largely due to the fact that the Irish, whether because of famine, occupation, or genocide, are a diasporic people with descendants scattered worldwide. However, it is a pet peeve of many how little people claiming Irish heritage know about Ireland, its history, its politics, or its impact on the world. For example, while getting feedback on a story set in Ireland, hardly anyone in my college level writing workshop group knew the difference between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Read More…

Virginia School Isn’t For Lovers

All the single ladies.

All the single ladies.

In keeping with Women’s History Month, here is a review of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God. As interesting and enduring as this book is on its own, I find it most fascinating when analyzed alongside another classic piece of feminist literature, Herland. One is a coming of age and into one’s own story about a woman’s life amidst the backdrop of 20th century American race relations. One is a speculative fiction adventure story/political treatise about three male explorers who discover a thriving all-female society isolated from the rest of the world (think Themyscira from Wonder Woman).

Read More…

There Can Only Be One: gatekeeping in feminism and geek culture

I am a feminist. I am a geek. Both of these labels have been used to insult me. To invalidate me. To dismiss me. I’m used to that. I can take it. So, some people still think geeks are mouth-breathing shut-ins who will never have sex. So, the guy in my American Woman class in high school thought feminists were “ugly women”. I know these people for the ignorant and out of touch fools that they are. I will fight them, with my words, my actions, and the courage of my convictions.

But the ugly truth is that the greatest impediment to being a feminist or a geek is feminists and geeks.

I have considered myself a feminist pretty much since birth. See, I was raised on Star Trek. As Voyager happened to be on when I was a little girl, my first examples outside of my family of what adult women should be like were Captain Kathryn Janeway, B’Elanna Torres, and Seven of Nine (which may explain some things). Here were women holding positions of power, no questions asked. As a child, I did not realize that this was not how things actually were. I do not remember when it was that I first encountered the notion that girls and women were somehow less competent or better suited to different roles than men, but I have rejected it ever since.

Read More…

The Saga Begins


Offended yet?

THE DEFENDANT: Saga, Vol. 1, Brian K. Vaughan, artwork by Fiona Staples, Image Comics

THE VERDICT: This comic stirred up some controversy when illustrator Dave Dorman took the blogosphere and Twitter to share his outrage at Saga‘s cover, which features an interspecies humanoid couple, one of which is breastfeeding their baby. This strong reaction got Saga tangled up in the greater melee of controversy surrounding breastfeeding and caught artist Fiona Staples completely off guard. A friend of mine thought he had heard of some comic book stores not carrying the title due to the controversial cover, but I have not been able to verify this.

Read More…

When Tiger Eyes Are Smiling

Excellent news, my banned brethren! As some of you may know, Judy Blume’s banned classic, Tiger Eyes, was recently made into a movie. The film was directed by Judy Blume’s son, Lawrence Blume, co-written by Lawrence and Judy, and stars the swoon-worthy Tatanka Means and Willa Holland (who some of you might know as a gender-bending Speedy on Arrow). As Lawrence Blume is an alumnus of my alma mater, I had the good fortune to see an advanced screening of the movie and chat him up about it. It truly is an outstanding film. I laughed, I cried, and holy gods did I swoon. Don’t judge me. At least Wolf’s hair is real, unlike a certain pseudo-Native American heartthrob. *cough cough Jacob Black* Read More…