September has been… a lot. I’m putting this together at the halfway point of the month and I just… want to take a nap. I want to rest. But I already got a bunch of content consumption down for the month so I felt I could pop this in the schedule and keep it moving. Cool? Cool.
How Do We Criticize Our Own? (Also, Stop Calling Lizzo a Mammy)
I love Princess Weekes. I adore her insight, the nuance and brightness she brings to tough topics, and her really great POV on fandom. This is no exception.
Criticism is something I feel very strongly about. I cut my teeth on cultural and social criticism (which overlaps often) by Said, Baldwin, and hooks to say nothing of critics in the present. Criticism is like… opinion backed up by facts and explanation. You don’t have to agree all the time – and I know the joy of going full Mariah “Sorry I Don’t Know Her” Carey when I see criticism I dislike or disagree with. It’s valid. You’re valid.
But people can’t quite understand how you criticize media made by your community – or that we can. Criticizing Wynonna Earp or Lost Girls for their very beige queer representation (and fridged Black male characters) doesn’t mean the shows are bad. It just means that they can’t be 100% what I need as a fan. Talking about what a show like Killjoys – which Princess mentions and has queer characters of color in main, supporting, and villainous roles, as a show you wish people liked more… isn’t hating on either Emily Andras production (she was creator of WE and producer/showrunner of LG at one point).
We get to critique things on our own time and on our own dime. What’s important is making sure we’re creating and consuming criticism in good faith and for the right reasons. If I got into a show for spite just to write about it and piss off the fandom… that’s not a good reason. My critique would be bad and biased in a way that’s not helpful. If you engage with criticism, knowing you can’t stand having your worldview challenged or your interests criticized, whatever response you have in a heated media fan moment? It’s unlikely to be good… or in good faith.
If you’re on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen people show their support of Black Lives Matter as a movement while making it clear that they don’t give a damn about Black people in “their” spaces.
The folks in fandom with #BLM in their bios or in their display names who tweet snide and shitty things about Black people in their fandoms. The folks who use their – or their celebrity or political favorite’s – donation to charity to say that they care more about Black people than… Black people do. Fans, businesses, and celebrities known for literally making Black people stress out from how they talk about us all were performing anti-racism and professing to be ready to unlearn antiblackness.
Even SM Entertainment got into the swing of things when they released a statement in June about how they were “new to the conversation” (despite hiring Black people to dance, write, record demos, etc for them for decades).
First things first here is a list of charities that you can (and should) donate to in order to help people directly affected by the government shutdown here in the US. Many of these people aren’t going to get paid even once the government re-opens and right now they’re suffering greatly. If you can donate, you can help someone get a little bit of financial security in these trying times.
In October 2013, the US government was shut down for several days as a result of the Republican congress really hating the idea of letting the United States people get anything close to universal healthcare.
In response to the shutdown and ostensibly for her readers impacted by the shutdown as government workers, Laurell K. Hamilton posted “Shutdown”, a short story (or, more likely, a deleted scene from the novel that had come out in July of the same year, Affliction) about the werewolf alpha Richard Zeeman introducing his newest human lover to Anita Blake and her main-shapeshifter squeeze, the wereleopard alpha Micah Callahan. This 7200-word story is a quick and frustrating look into the life of one of Anita’s former main lovers.
As Hamilton posted this story with good intentions and reuploaded it with the threat – I mean, promise – to figure out a sequel or original short story if the shutdown continues – with good intentions as well, I am sporking it with the best intentiions at heart. I would appreciate it if my followers/readers donated to one of the charities or organizations I linked to at the beginning of this piece.
So, now that you’ve (hopefully) donated to an organization that’s going to help folks impacted by the government shutdown, let’s start the sporking (for a good cause). The usual trigger warnings for any conversation about the Anitaverse apply here as I’ll be talking about the consent issues in the short, internalized misogyny, kink/sex shaming, and sexual violence. So read carefully if you can!
Note: This post contains spoilers for Invincible Iron Man #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, and Marte Gracia.
Earlier today, Marvel Comics’ writer Brian Michael Bendis made a bad judgement call.
With people all over the world reeling from the fact of a Trump presidency, Bendis decided that there was no time but the present to do one thing: ply his comic, the upcoming Invincible Iron-Man #2, as a distant distraction.Read More »