- Did you miss last month’s episode about When Black Lives Matter, But Black Opinions Don’t? Go listen to it now because it’s still relevant.
- The “Justice for Jacob Blake” fundraiser
- One of my favorite interviews with Christopher Reeve
- The opening theme song for Gundam Wing
- Arguably the best scene in Teen Wolf
Hello, Darlings, this is our first Stitch Talks Ish issue episode, my bad, since May or June. If you missed that episode, it was an episode about the way that non-black people — not just white people, this also includes non-black people of color — were utilizing the phrase “Black Lives Matter” while also being incredibly anti black in practice, and to specific black people, like myself. And it’s been several months since the start of widespread conversations about police brutality, fatal anti blackness, systemic oppression, and the universality of anti blackness; and the important thing to note is that it hasn’t gotten any better.
As I record this right now. There’s another… There are two black men who have been shot by police officers one, I don’t know where he’s from, I don’t think his hashtag is currently trending. But one was shot seven times in front of his children after getting into his car following breaking up a fight. Like dude was completely unarmed. He was basically shot for being a good samaritan and trying to stop shit. And as I write this, as I, as I talk to you guys, I’m very much aware of the fact that we are hurtling towards a time when the United States is not going to be safe at any level for any of us, and kind of especially black people. And the same people who have plastered Black Lives Matter across their… their social media, while publicly and privately slandering black people, who will accuse black people, like myself, of using Black Lives Matter to gain some sort of clout in a world that hates us, and does not care about us, are currently pretending they care about Black Lives Matter, Black people our very, very fucked up future that is looming or speeding towards us.
And so I suggest if you haven’t listened to that episode already, please listen to it; and please be better about who you, are what you do in fandom spaces in, your social spaces, if you have them. But this episode is supposed to be a lighter episode. So no more talk of that, I guess.
During this apocalypse, at this moment, one thing has been very comforting to me and it is nostalgia. I’m talking about rewatching the first three seasons of Teen Wolf, watching Smallville, reading books I read when I was a child, and listening to anime theme songs that, when I was a teenaged weeb, I couldn’t get enough of.
Nostalgia fuels fandom.
That’s the thing a lot of people don’t necessarily think of, but we gravitate to the things that have always moved us, and have always shaped us. So in a time of stress and a time of great trauma It’s easiest go back and just look at the things that made our lives better when we were like teenagers. For me, I’ve been doing a lot of bouncing across different shows on Hulu. I think the first thing that I’ve watched that I never watched before, like this was completely new to me, was Haikyuu!!, the volleyball anime on Netflix, (because the first two seasons are there,) but part of that everything I’d watch was something that I’d been mildly to majorly obsessed with as a teenager.
Smallville is the reigning champion for things I’ve watched very far, because I watched Smallville as a middle schooler, I think. And it’s not that it still holds up. Because to this day, no one can explain why Lex Luthor’s friends were all teenagers and how he ended up with Lana— I know the show literally does explain that, but it’s still icky to me. But Smallville, I guess is my gateway to superhero fandomming.
I think I… I’d gotten into to some of my favorite writers like Teland [Pronounced Tea-land], or Teland [Pronounced Tay-land], and Meyari, who primarily wrote in the DC fandom when I was a teenager, because of their Smallville content. Which always is really interesting to me, because, like, sometimes I’ll go back and read their work and I’m still capable of capturing, or they’re still capable of capturing that, like, childish wonder I had in their work —Before we get to like the not safe for work stuff where it’s just like, haha, I probably shouldn’t have been reading that when I was that age.
I tried watching the adventures of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, because I have all of that series on DVD, as well. (Because I have all of Smallville on DVD.) When I got my first job, I like my first adult job at the high school, in 2013, I had a bad week and I bought all of the DVDs, like two months into working there. Um, but yeah, so I trying to watch that across across my… my nostalgia journey.
That’s a little bit harder because so far, as far as I can tell, the main cast of Smallville seems to be made up of pretty decent people, Tom Welling is both attractive and very nice, two things that I require from actors playing Superman, because Christopher Reeve— formative, formative, and so whatever Dean Cain is insisting on going through just really doesn’t work for me. So that’s been the only thing that I’ve started watching that I had to go “this isn’t gonna work,” because everybody else is still kind of, for the live action stuff, is still embodying what it means to be the character they’re playing, you know? They’re still doing relative good if that’s what they were doing. Like, Tyler Posey is still the same dude he was when he was playing the titular Teen Wolf. And, it just super so jarring to see Dean Cain just wallow in the muck, essentially.
So that, I’m gonna have to figure out what I want to do with that DVD set because it is very tough to even try to rewatch.
But when it comes to… when it comes to nostalgia, it is very interesting rewatching these series, not necessarily with a more critical lens, because very often it’s while I’m working, or writing, so it’s very head empty eyes on the prize. So I don’t actually have as much time as I would have to like think my way through like some of the choices people make. Like, if you see me having a critical thought while I’m doing nostalgia day, it’s because it’s like a Sunday or Saturday. And I’m not doing day job. I’m not doing deadlines. I’m just watching TV.
But one of the things is that it’s so comforting to rewatch stuff. I always know how something’s gonna end (even though my memory’s terrible,) I still know like vaguely how this is gonna end, which couples get together, who dies. And comparing it to like the uncertainty of all of this that we’re going through, it’s pretty nice to have a path lined up, essentially.
I also have been watching a lot of older anime. I got Crunchyroll for for my 16 year old niece because she is fully using the timeline we’re on to get into anime, and that’s just really funny to me; that this is how she is coping. She’s watching anime to cope y’all. It’s really funny. And so because I’m paying for Crunchyroll I was like “Well, I guess I should watch some anime again.” And it is really interesting, returning to things,
So I’ve been rewatching Cowboy Bebop, which… it’s one of those anime series, like, so talking about other people, like the part of the appeal that maybe I didn’t register when I was like, an 11 year old watching it when it was on Adult Swim, that I do now, is that part of the appeal to Western audiences is is the nostalgia. Because Cowboy Bebop is very much, like, this homage to, to like three different genres of a film. Like, you have western… The western influences really obvious. Oh gosh, so obvious!
And if you remember, if you follow me anywhere, I’ve talked about growing up with my dad watching a lot of westerns, like, John Wayne was unfortunately a household name in our little house in the Virgin Islands. And, oh, Cowboy Bebop was one of the first, like, moments where I had to, like, unlearn internalized misogyny (which is a whole hilarious thing,) because I remember hating Julia. Oh my God, I hated her. I remember, like, the way that dude bros talk about, like Captain Marvel, is how I would talk about Julia when I was like a teenager. I just could not stand her, and it took tough love from a friend when I was in college, and growing up to realize like, mmmm perhaps this like unending hatred is abnormal.
Kind of the same thing happened with Relena Peacecraft on Gundam Wing, which I’ve also been rewatching. And I’ve gotten super far with that too. I think I have a third of the series left in my current rewatch, because it is on Hulu. And every so often all I do is: I get political ads, and campaign ads, and I hate those, so I stopped watching Hulu for like two weeks.
But with… with Gundam Wing, one of the things is that they’re all babies. the Gundam series, that’s kind of their thing. The primary characters are young adults, usually no older than 21 or 22, who are placing these situations where they are resistance fighters, or soldiers, working on either side of a war. And I… I’ve watched most of the series between when I was introduced to them in the late ’90s to now.
My favorite series are Gundam Wing, of course, G Gundam, which is set in a distant-ish, future Earth. It’s hilarious, because all the countries have gundams. And they fight to, like, prove which one is better, and they’ll have really stereotypical gundams, like, it’s a whole thing.
And then Gundam 00, which is the Gundam series, that really, definitely, if I could write a mecha anime or mecha inspired series, I would say plainly, like, this is because I was obsessed with this. Like it’s not gonna have anything to do with Gundam 00, but if you’d watch it, (in my hypothetical world where I wrote a series like this,) you’d be able to be like, “yeah, that’s obvious,” because I loved the characters and I thought the politics were really interesting, even if I didn’t necessarily understand or agree with them.
But yes, back to Gundam Wing; when I started the series as a… as a tween, back in the late 90s, early 2000s, I immediately (and I guess wrongfully) like really clicked with OZ characters (which, OZ are the bad guys,) so: Treize Khushrenada, Dorothy Catalonia, I think, and Zechs Merquise— who is Relena’s older brother Milliardo Peacecraft. They were kind of like, staples for me in middle school. And while I liked the Gundam pilots, (Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Winner, and Wufei Chang) I didn’t necessarily be like “oh yeah, this is, these are who I only care about.” I was more invested in the OZ characters because of the visuals.
And I hated (Ah!) Relena Peacecraft because at age, what, nine to 13 seeing a female character who is wearing pink, who is this like girly girl, super hopeful, super peaceful, like, juxtaposed against even my least favorite (relatively) of the Gundam pilots, it was like, “eh, I don’t really care. I don’t really have time for this.” And I wasn’t, it wasn’t as bad as Julia because I remember at one time with Julia and Cowboy Bebop, I was like, “Uh, I feel like I… I feel like Julia got spike killed,” and it was like I went off on this whole tear.
I’ve never had that with Relena. Relena has literally never done anything wrong even, to majorly internally misogynistic me. But rewatching (it because this is the second or third time I’m rewatching it since 2011) I really like Relena now, because she is entirely herself all the time. This… she’s written to be a character who is passionate about her people, passionate about her friends and unwilling to bend in the face of crisis. And she does this all while being a teenage girl who’s just lost her father, who has never known her brother. And Relena now inspires like “oh no baby” feelings in me.
Another character who I found myself like coming back to, and going… and rethinking was Wufei Chang who, I guess, I kinda like because he is… awful. He’s a little misogynistic piece of crap in the series, and he’s written kind of [as] this very stereotypically Chinese character—and I know that there are people who have written about how Chinese characters are portrayed in anime, like in Full Metal Alchemist. So if I can find some of those links, I will bring them up. But yeah, Wufei Chang, he grows on you.
I remember there’s a scene in the… in the anime, where Noin, who’s working for OZ, is like, he gets out of his gun or something, And she’s like “Ah, that’s a baby.” And like, every time I think about it, I lose it because that’s the reaction I tend to have to Wufei as well. Like, he’s a baby. Sure he’s piloting tons of metal and has killed lots of people. (Actually I think this was just before like, or either just before or after, Wufei wiped out a base of trainees… which is messed up even in the context of war.)
Um but I… I really… it’s been really good having having this backlog of stuff to watch and I started I have HBO Max. Which is very useful for wallowing in the nostalgia that fandom inspires, or that fandom is fueled by, because they have the Turner Classic Movies, you have DC, they have the Superman movies on HBO Max, and you could sit there and watch decades of old content, including a really large amount of the Looney Tunes back catalogue.
Which is what I was doing Sunday, and tweeting about, because those are really interesting cartoons to rewatch in 2020. I purposefully chose not to rewatch any of the ones I knew were racist, from when they used to air on Cartoon Network (for some reason,) but I did watch some of the ones, like, I knew they were misogynistic, or like, the violence was like, next level over the top.
And, in a weird way, it was like coming home, and you know, you can see why people continue to be attached to these aspects of their childhood, even if it’s like second or third hand. Like I got into a lot of the stuff that I’m into now, like the old timey TV shows and cartoons, because of my parents, because they are… old. And so they’re their interests became my interest because they would watch this stuff on the couch. Like, I was like five, what am I going to do change the channel? And it went from something that I just watched because my parents were watching something I cared about.
And my dad’s interest in superheroes: when I was a small child, he would pick me up from school because my mom worked at a high school on the other side of the island. So he’d pick me up and we’d watch… We would watch the 1960s Batman show, we would watch that on, I guess, what is now the sci fi channel, if I remember correctly. We would watch the hell out of it. And that sparked a flame that led to me being a pretty prolific writer in the DC fandom for three years. Like, I wrote almost a million words of content for that fandom, (including my longest story ever, that I never finished, so no one will ever know how… how that ends. No one!) But it is really important to me that I have these memories, and right now things are tough worldwide, but, like especially for me. Just kidding. It’s hard for all of us.
But yes, things are difficult. It’s hard to start new things because what do you do when the new thing has a bad ending? Like I’ve been when I when I go to watch dramas on Viki or… or Netflix, it’s stuff I’ve already watched. It’s Romance is a Bonus Book, on Netflix.
It’s strong, is it… Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, things that cannot suprise me.
I have watched Love O2O from start to finish about six times in this… across this apocalypse alone, because I know that Weiwei and… I just want to call him Lord Nai, her… (because that’s his in game character.) I just know that they will meet each other through this game. They will fall in love this game and live happily ever after.
There are no surprises.
And maybe if things have calmed down, or if I and my family are in a better position, I’ll be like, okay, I can want something new. But even reading new things is hard, which is terrible because I have books to review. But maybe in the future, I’ll be able to read new content and I’ll be able to be surprised again. Courtney Milan has her first new novel out in year or two. I’m going to buy it. Lord knows when I’ll read it, but I’m going to buy it. Because I need that sunshine on my Kindle, even if it’s not directly in my eyeballs.
I guess… What are you guys listening to? What are you guys watching? What’s been your nostalgia factor? What’s been your comfort, rewatch or reread across all of this? Maybe I’ll start that. Whatever that is that you guys are watching. Who knows?
Up next, our next episode is going to be another bonus one because I promised a BTS kind of mini review covering their original tracks on the… their newest Japanese release which is Map of the Soul 7: the Journey. And they just had their latest single in English, “Dynamite”, which is actually their first single in English, which is breaking a lot of records and I’ll talk about that video and how it feels to get into disco again, again, at the grand age of almost 30.
So if you like my review episodes, and you really like BTS, stick around for that. It’ll be out in a week, or so, after some of the hype from the releases die down, and I’m not taking airplay away from other people with stronger thoughts on it, or from the group themselves.
Yes, I’m excited for all of this. I don’t know if anybody’s been rating my podcasts but if you have, please give it good ratings wherever you can give podcasts good ratings. All right.
Stay safe. Stay inside. Bye!