Friday, December 31, 2010

Red vs. Blue 1x07 - Review


The following is a review of Red vs. Blue season 1, episode 7, “Check Out The Treads on That Tank”.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Red vs. Blue 1x06 - Review

The following is a review of Red vs. Blue season 1, episode 6, “1.21 Giga-Whats??”.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Red vs. Blue 1x05 - Review

The following is a review of Red vs. Blue season 1, episode 5, “The Package is in the Open”.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Red vs. Blue 1x04 - Review

The following is a review of Red vs. Blue season 1, episode 4, “Head Noob in Charge”.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mac King's Transphobic Joke

Every year, my family goes to Las Vegas because it's my father's favorite city. I suffer through the rampant sexual objectification, swearing I'm going to write a ranty blog post and never getting to it. One highlight of the trip, though, is the Mac King Comedy Magic Show. Though there are a few innuendo-laden jokes, the show is very family-friendly and enjoyable--even if it's easy to figure out how the tricks might work. One point that always makes me uncomfortable, though, is a throwaway line that uses the idea of being transgender as a joke in itself.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monty Python and the Divine Right of Kings

(This little bit was written for a Political Science class)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail depicts the concept of the divine right of kings in a very satirical way. King Arthur is in general seen as a romantic view of the British monarchy, to have claimed the throne because he was meant to do so. This is challenged through his discussion with Dennis. Arthur describes the lady of the lake, a magical being who gave him Excalibur, which signifies his rule. The myth makes it seem like it’s perfectly natural for he to be king, but Dennis might come from modern times and has no respect for myths. To him, myths don’t exist; only people exist. To him, Arthur is only a person asserting rule in such a way that differs from Dennis’ anarcho-syndicalist ideology that has people ruling collectively. The myth is further satirized when God shows up. While God is supposed to be respected in our society, Monty Python depicts him in a disrespectful fashion using obvious cardboard cutouts and a negative portrayal of God’s authority. God sends the knights on a quest for the grail for no apparent reason, it’s unclear where the grail is (it may be at Castle Anthrax or Castle Arrrrg or somewhere else entirely), and the knights are unable to complete their quest. The whole thing looks like a colossal waste of time, prompting the question of whether God had any greater purpose or just wanted to mess with his underlings. God’s servants, the monks, are also portrayed as fantastically stupid. This disrespect of religion and religious authority shows up in their other movie Life of Brian.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Omega Glory (Star Trek)

(This was written for a political science class.)

The Star Trek episode “The Omega Glory” begins with the shocking discovery of a Starfleet ship whose crew has been almost entirely killed by an unknown contagion. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, infected by the contagion, beam down to the planet Omega in the hopes of becoming well and to keep the rest of the Enterprise safe. Kirk cares for his people, which is a contrast to fellow Starfleet captain Tracey, who is shown to be a corrupt ruler.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Thoughts on the Men's Rights Movement

I think the idea of a movement composed of politically active males seeking to eliminate the effects of sexism as they negatively impact males is a good thing, and I want to like the Men’s Rights Movement. I’ve gone to various MRM sites, and I’ve tried to give them a fair shot. However, though they make a good point here and there, the vast majority of what I’ve seen is paranoid sexist garbage coming from whiners who have no idea of the greater social structure that disproportionately benefits men at the expense of women. The whole thing tends to read like rich people yelling that charities only benefit the poor (and isn’t it horrible that society endorses these classist institutions?). If I was in control of the thing, I’d have the movement completely bulldozed and rebuilt from the ground up to work as a sister movement (oh look, a sign the feminists have corrupted our language; women must love that the traditional gender to describe objects is female) to the feminist movement.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Google

Dear Google,

It seems that every time I make a search that includes the word "sexist", you come up with "sexiest" for the majority of the results. While the two words are similarly spelled, they have quite different meanings. In fact, the "sexiest" pages tend to glorify the objectification of women, being in themselves sexist. It is therefore the exact opposite of the kind of thing I'm looking for. Do fix this.

Dragonclaws

Monday, November 29, 2010

What SG-1 Really Thinks

In the episode “Divide and Conquer” of the fourth season of Stargate SG-1, Tok’ra scientist Anise warns SG-1 about Zatarcs, people brainwashed by the Goa’uld. She’s also dressed like this:


While no one comments on the outrageous outfit, you can be sure they’re all thinking about it…

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Red vs. Blue 1x02 - Review

Summary

“Red Gets a Delivery” continues from where we left off. Grif and Simmons join Sarge as he introduces the M12-LRV, which he likes to call the Warthog. Grif, however, questions the name. He thinks the car looks more like a puma. Sarge doesn’t know what a puma is, though, and he accuses Grif of making it up. Sarge points out that the M12-LRV has tow hooks that look like tusks “and what kind o’ animal has tusks?”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Red vs. Blue 1x01 - Review

For a while now I’ve wanted to make collections of episode reviews for various series. Not exactly what I’ve been doing here with the opinion articles, but more of a summary and trivia kind of deal. I decided to start this off with Red vs. Blue, mainly because its episodes are short and the idea is less intimidating than, say, Heroes. This will give me some time to work the kinks out of the format and such. So, here goes:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Star Trek Paradox


I love the new Star Trek reboot. It’s really fun. It does mess some things up time-travel-wise, though. Specifically, how does it fit in to Star Trek canon given the presence of the original Enterprise team in the past? While there is a lot of time travel, for simplicity’s sake I’m going to focus on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Gender Identity

While I’ve tried to keep mentions of my gender minimal on this blog for purposes of keeping things neutral, I have stated here and there that I’m a cisgender male. I have been wondering about that, though, questioning gender identity. I think at this point that it’s likely I’m transgender. I’ve really wanted to be a girl for a long time. I think that qualifies.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Affirmative Action Bake-Sale

So, I caught an episode of Stossel, a libertarian talk show on Fox News. I’m not a big fan of John Stossel, but sometimes he presents interesting ideas. In this episode he had a racist bake-sale to challenge Affirmative Action. He was selling (or pretending to sell) cupcakes at different prices for people of different races, higher-prices working as punishment for being successful in society. Asians were charged $1.50, whites $1.00, and Latinos/blacks $0.50. He was doing it as sort of a double protest, of Affirmative Action as well as of anti-hate-speech policies of some universities after some students trying to do the bake-sale idea were shut down themselves.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Edward is Abusive and Hot (Twilight)


(Crossposted from the Twilight community at Fanpop)

Okay, I’m a big Twilight fan. I’ve got all the books. I’ve got all the movies. I’ve been to Forks and La Push for Twilight tourism. I have two Twilight T-shirts, one with the Cullen family crest and one with a werewolf presumably supposed to be Jacob. I’m planning to redo my room in a Gothic vampire theme based on a Twilight room in a motel in Forks. On the other hand, I’ve gotten into the subject of feminism and feminist analysis, and I’ve been reading all these anti-Twilight articles at C.A.T. talking about how abusive Edward and Jacob are, and I’ve had a bit of a conflict between my appreciation for both subjects. At this point, I’ve arrived at a compromise between them. Twilight is at its heart a sexual fantasy with two pretty boys to objectify. The boys behave in a way that is hot to fantasize about (for some people’s tastes), but would be bad if done in real life. This is fine as long as it is kept at the level of an unrealistic fantasy, but it is a problem when Edward and/or Jacob are perceived as perfect boyfriends because they technically are abusive.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Surprise! She's Not Hysterical!


Something I’ve noticed on TV is a plot sometimes used where there’s a lesser-privileged (i.e. female or black) character acting irrational, and the audience is sympathetic to the more-privileged (i.e. male or white) character who points out all the flaws in the less-privileged character’s rationale, only to have the plot twist where the less-privileged character turns out to have actually been right! The revelation doesn’t lead to more respect for the less-privileged character, however, because they are still portrayed as irrational. It’s more like ‘hey, isn’t weird how they turned out to be correct despite being entirely silly?’. While possibly an attempt to be respectful toward less-privileged demographics, it ends up just reinforcing stereotypes about their purportedly irrational mindsets. The female version was on last night’s Dexter episode “Everything is Illumenated” as well as the Lost season 1 episode “Raised by Another”, and the black version was on the ‘Til Death episode “Raisinette in the Sun”.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Challenge to the Men's Rights Movement

Alright, listen up, men’s rights people. You say you want to improve the lives of all men, to protect their rights. Well, I have a challenge for you: Can you stand up for the male individuals who act feminine?

It’s no secret that men who show signs of anything associated with femininity are looked down upon. Effeminate men are made the butt of jokes all the time in the media and in real life. Just tonight I watched Date Night, where the male lead is described as androgynous and hilarity ensues as he is forced to agree with that. More than jokes, such men and boys are frequently the victims of violence because their femininity is seen as such a horrible offense to manhood. This is misogyny manifesting itself in violence against men. Can you denounce this misogyny as wrong?

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Open Letter to Game Show Ad Writers

Dear game show ad writers,

Please stop making ads for individual episodes that contain clips from beyond the contestants’ first round. It totally ruins the suspense because anyone watching it knows that the contestant must go on to a later round until they encounter the problem featured in the ad. This is especially problematic for karaoke shows with memorable music being played. If I’ve heard Elvis in the ad, I know she isn’t going to be stumped by CCR. Maybe the first two rounds are acceptable, but in no way should the last round be featured in the ad for the above reason.

This issue is making me skip commercials, and I know that's not intended. Please amend the template for making these ads accordingly. I suggest playing old footage or footage specifically of the host welcoming the contestant.

That is all.

Dragonclaws

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halopedia: Anti-Vandal Coalition


(Okay, this was made for Halopedia on February 21, 2010. It’s a humorous comic created to explain an important lesson for how the wiki shouldn’t be run, in a way engaging enough for people to actually get the messge. Normally, I don’t crosspost items that are just about the wiki, but as Wikia is overhauling the site, I want to have this on my blogspot where I can trust it won’t vanish into the abyss or just look really hard to read.)

A few years ago, we had a Halopedian group called the Anti-Vandal Coalition, which was supposed to fight vandals. Vandals were reported on a page, and those who actively opposed vandals got ranked in a hierarchal system. It was a mess because vandals were only encouraged by the AVC. They saw it as a chance to play the villain in an epic game or something. Jack Phoenix put a stop to this with a forum post explaining how we were feeding the trolls.

This was back in 2007. Because it was a while ago, a lot of our current users don’t remember the events surrounding the AVC. Occasionally there will be an enthusiastic push for a neo-AVC from users who don’t get the reasons why the admins ardently oppose such vandal-fighting groups. In order to help people understand this important part of Halopedian culture, I’m posting the (hopefully) humorous comic below: 

Halopedia: Please, Stop Being Human

(Okay, this was written for Halopedia on November 6, 2009. It deals with issues pertinent to the wiki at the time, which may not be relevant at this time. Normally, I don’t crosspost articles that are just about the wiki, but as Wikia is overhauling the site, I want to have this article on my blogspot where I can trust it won’t vanish into the abyss or just look really hard to read.)

Over a year ago, I wrote the blog YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. NOT YET., in which I ranted about various problems throughout Halopedia and suggested ways it could improve. Halopedia has improved, but it hasn’t succeeded in all the ways I described. In some cases this is a good thing, as I now realize I was wrong to make such proposals, but in others Halopedia just needs more improvement. As we move into Halopedia’s sixth year of existence, now is the time to seriously focus on fixing our problems and become a more respected fansite. Why now? So we can be the definitive source for Halo information in time for year seven, of course.

Halopedia: There Is No Cabal


(Okay, this was written for Halopedia on June 14, 2008. It describes a meme going around the site in order to catch up the newbies. Normally, I don’t crosspost articles that are just about the wiki, but as Wikia is overhauling the site, I want to have this article on my blogspot where I can trust it won’t vanish into the abyss or just look really hard to read.)

Halopedia is in general a pretty open and trustworthy community. However, a few users may notice a certain unsavory topic that may come up every now and again, only to be quickly hushed by the veteran users. Halopedia:Administrators outlines the nature of Halopedia’s governing forces as far as they would have the online population believe; however, there are some who would claim that this is not quite the whole story. These people who would dare to speak out will whisper quietly of a secretive and nefarious group composed of several users who lead Halopedia from the shadows, operating (CENSORED) in attempts to suppress and eventually enslave every Halopedian, a group known only as… the Cabal.

*thunder booms* *lightning flashes* (Yes, in that order!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halopedia: YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. NOT YET.

(Okay, this was written for Halopedia on August 25, 2008. It deals with issues pertinent to the wiki at the time, which may not be relevant at this time. Normally, I don’t crosspost articles that are just about the wiki, but as Wikia is overhauling the site, I want to have this article on my blogspot where I can trust it won’t vanish into the abyss or just look really hard to read.)

Halopedia hails itself as being the definitive source for Halo information; however, despite having the massive article count of 5,000 some, I don’t believe the wiki to be of high quality. Good quality, sure, but not enough to be the definitive source. As I’ve used the wiki for research (for my fanfiction), I often find myself bewildered by the state of an article and declare at my screen, “Oh, good God!” as was done by William Daniels as John Adams in 1776 when his colleagues failed his expectations. Halopedia needs a lot of work; it needs better references, better definition of terms like “Easter egg”, more uniform standards, stricter control over what stays in the articles, and better policy pages so what we decide can be preserved for the new users, among other things.

Dr. Horrible is a Creepy Stalker


I’m a fan of Dr. Horrible and have attempted to make conversation analyzing the story, during which I’ve casually referenced the doctor as a creepy stalker and then been forced to argue my position. I think it’s obvious that Billy is intended to come off as a creepy stalker, which is done humorously at times but still is a personality flaw. I suspect the opposition to this idea to be based in the idea of feminists constantly misunderstanding innocent men to be wicked misogynists, at least in the case of the person to whom I was speaking, so let me make it clear that I’m saying Joss Whedon intentionally wrote this guy as a creepy stalker. Below, I’ve collected evidence of this portrayal:

Everyone is the Same (Stargate)

So, I’ve been watching a lot of Stargate. I’ve seen most of SG-1 and a little of Atlantis, and you know what I’ve noticed about the characters? “Every damn one of them is the same!” That’s a line from the SG-1 episode “The Other Side” in reference to racial characteristics of a genocidal faction of white supremacist alien humans. While not quite that bad, the show Stargate SG-1 has displayed a consistent lack of racial diversity in its characters, often showing preference for white characters unrealistically given the fictional context.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Kissed a Vampire - Review

I downloaded the iTunes-only vampire rock musical I Kissed a Vampire… and I liked it. Yeah, I had to make that joke. Seriously, though, I found it mildly entertaining and worth a watch every now and then. It’s basically like a cross between High School Musical, which it pays tribute to, and just a generic corny vampire film. One thing I like is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s more humorous because of it. It’s not that good, but it’s cute enough for what it is. My full review follows:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comparison of After the Quake and Hotel World

(This was written for an English class.)

The books After the Quake and Hotel World each consist of disjointed segments based around an underlying setting. After the Quake is a collection of short stories taking place after the Kobe earthquake, while Hotel World has the semblance of a plot that is played out through separate chapters each focusing on the story of a specific character related to the Global Hotel. Both books use a setting that exists separate from the main plot of the story, and yet that affects the characters’ psyches to drive the plot forward.

Comparison of Into the Wild and Hotel World

(This is an essay I wrote for an English class.)

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, is a historical account of the life of Chris McCandless and others similar to him. Author Krakauer presents the events of Into the Wild in a nonlinear manner, forgoing chronological recreation of history in favor of a literary style more befitting of a fictional work. This nonlinear style is similar to that featured in the fictional novel Hotel World, by Ali Smith, which is about a cast of women living around the Global Hotel. While the two books differ greatly in their depicted content, they share similar literary organization.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

No Crashing Planes!

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed the way Americans look at airplanes. It was just an average Tuesday, and then all of a sudden everyone was watching the news and seeing two planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers in an obvious attack pattern. Suddenly, ordinary commercial planes entered the public consciousness as terror threats. Every plane that passes overhead seems a potential danger (ironically1, I can hear airplane engines as I type this). I have to wonder if a similar thing happened back in World War II when the Japanese employed the kamikaze planes against the American navy, but I suspect there wasn’t the same effect because of the fact that the fight was out in the Pacific instead of in the country itself. After 9/11, the entertainment industry took a hit in what it could depict as certain things relating to the attack were now taboo or at least limited as to how they can effectively be depicted.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

In the Beginning, There Was Joss (Buffy)


Okay, I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I’ve had a hard time understanding what the world was supposed to have been like in prehistoric times. Sometimes it seems to be going off of biblical myth, sometimes scientific data, and sometimes its own mythology entirely. Here are the facts they offer, my interpretations, and my fannish compromise in visualizing Buffyverse prehistory.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slayer Pride Parade (Buffy)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer is overall very gay-friendly with its lesbian romances between Willow and Tara, and later Willow and Kennedy, as well as the minor Larry character in the earlier seasons. Before Willow met Tara, though, the show was gay-friendly but mostly in metaphor. There are various allusions to how being a Slayer is like being gay, as well as a minor character (Michael) whose witchcraft seems also a metaphor for being gay.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A (Dr.) Horrible Play


So, I got to see a stage adaptation of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog last night. It was horribly amusing. Seriously though, it was a fun show and nice to see the Joss Whedon fans collaborating to make something creative in tribute. They changed some things in the adaptation process, some for the better and others… not so much. The Balagan Theatre, where it took place, is a really tiny basement in Seattle. The place is pretty uncomfortable, being old, hot, and with poor seating. One really depends on the performance to be thoroughly entertaining, and it fortunately was.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Transphobia in Halopedia


(This was written for Halopedia, but I think it's an important message regardless.)

I’d like to talk about the transphobia present in the Halo and Halopedia community. Transphobia is prejudice against transgender, or transsexual, folks. Transgender as I use it here refers to people whose gender identity (i.e. who they are as a person inside their head) is different from their sex (i.e. how the body forms beyond the brain). (Still confused? See here.) Halopedians, who should be friendly to everyone who’s not a troll, have made some seriously messed up comments in reference to trans people. My purpose here is to bring attention to this issue, so that further transphobia can be actively discouraged.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How I Became a Fan of Alien and Predator


I am a fan of the two linked series Alien and Predator, which have expanded into their own Aliens vs. Predator franchise. I got into both of the series, funnily enough, from other people’s takes on them. I was a fan of the Animorphs series before them, and was introduced to them through a series of fanfiction (by author Scorpion) crossing over Animorphs, Predator, and Aliens. My interest grew when I became aware of the homages present in the cartoon series ReBoot, which led me to check them out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Be a Man (Mulan, Halo)


So, HBO (that’s halo.bungie.org) linked to a music video made by Cortana4ever, who put the Mulan song “Be a Man” to Halo clips. I like Mulan too. I like the song, and I like Halo, so this should be a good mix; however, I think taking the song out of the context of the movie makes the video come across as sexist.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Real Momentum - Review


Okay, so, I have a bit of a problem. I have two computers: the desktop computer visible in my videos and a laptop computer on a desk on the other side of the room, which I incidentally don’t film at because it doesn’t have nearly as interesting a backdrop. My desktop computer seems to be at the end of its run, being torturously hard to use, so I put all my video downloads (including those bought from iTunes) on a My Book external hard drive so that I could use access them from my laptop. Only now my My Book doesn’t work, and I can’t access the data. So, I’m afraid to sync my iPod out of fear that I’ll never be able to access my videos again. :( As such, I’ve decided to write blog entries about all the content before I even think about syncing. So, first up: Real Momentum.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Of Ageist Feminists


There’s a meme I’ve seen online where feminists say that the word “females” shouldn’t be used because of its dehumanizing connotations. The idea is that “female” relates to the sex of a biological organism, and when one is using that kind of terminology they tend to be discussing nonhuman animals in a scientific fashion. So, when men talk about “females” when they mean “women”, it comes off as dehumanizing. While I agree to an extent, as I believe some men do use this to purposefully distance themselves from women, I also think this decree that female humans should be referred to as “women” is worryingly ageist because it entirely removes girls from the subject.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thanks

Thanks to "Bisexuality Examiner" Mike Szymanski at Examiner.com for linking to my Biphobia video. I do want to clarify that my comment about clips being used under fair use pertained to the clips from copyrighted shows, which are illegal to reproduce except under certain circumstances (i.e. "fair use"). It's just legal stuff I need to include for the YouTube staff. Also, part one is just under 9 minutes long and part two is about 10 and a half minutes, not 28 and 18 minutes as is stated.

Monday, August 9, 2010

On the Atomic Bombings


So, I sometimes check out the blog Tokyo Mango to see all the wacky stuff people make in Japan. Today I came across an entry made for August 6th, which had a high-quality photograph of devastation following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima done 65 years ago. It’s awfully somber and really makes you think about the horrific nature of war and the bomb in particular. I was talking to someone fairly recently about the atomic bombings, and I’ll repeat my sentiments here. The United States should never have atomic bombed Japan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Now in Video

So, I decided to make a series of Going Rampant videos alongside the articles. This is because a lot of people express a "too long; didn't read", so I figured a video blog would help me communicate. If you want to read a well-composed argument, keep reading the blog. If you want to watch me ramble on about a subject, check out the Going Rampant YouTube channel here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buffy is Not Anti-Male


Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and to a lesser extent its spin-off Angel) is a feminist show intended to have an inspirational message about young women being strong, but I sometimes see male netizens claiming the show is hatefully anti-male. They say that Joss is a misandrist who uses the show to make women hate men to the point of enacting violence against them. This, however, is a complete misunderstanding of Buffy, Joss, and feminism in general. While there are some individual feminists who are misandrists, feminism is not misandristic in and of itself, and mainstream feminism strives only for gender equality. Joss is not a misandrist, and Buffy represents mainstream feminism’s goal of gender equality by honoring its male protagonists just as much as its female protagonists. Claims about the Buffyverse’s supposed misandry include that there is a double standard with the misandrist character Anya, the Angel episode “Billy” says all men are misogynists, Buffy has a matriarchal message, and that Buffy’s execution of Caleb is a call to violence against men.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pink Iron Girl


I was recently at the movies. At one of the theaters I like to go to (Regal Cinemas?), there are these series of cartoon shorts about kids going on a mission to get junk food from the concession stand by becoming characters from hit movies such as Harry Potter or Spider-Man. The one that I saw this time was about a girl who becomes Iron Man, the suit appearing around her, and she blasts off. For a quick short about something relatively pointless, it had a period of cool action and some homages to the movie like her falling through the ceiling. It was cute and it was entertaining, and I thought it was cool that they were able to let a girl take the role of action star; however, I was also disappointed by the fact that they felt the need to make her Iron Man suit pink.
The color pink is used in contemporary Western society to separate female items from mainstream (male) items. By making all girls necessarily pink, whereas boys can be any color but pink, it contributes to the separation of femininity from mainstream culture. When things are separate, they are encouraged to be valued differently, and this coupled with latent cultural misogyny leads to femininity to continue to be devalued. In order for there to be gender equality, we need to stop gendering colors and let anyone represent themselves in any color.
My feelings regarding this issue were not helped when I then watched Toy Story 3 and saw a male character (Ken) mocked for writing effeminately in pink ink. Gendering colors contributes to sexism. Stop it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Honesty is a Privilege (LGBT)


(This is something I wrote for a philosophy class. I was supposed to recall an instance of lying, cheating, or stealing and then try to justify it, the implication from the text being that these are always bad and we’re just kidding ourselves when we tell ‘white lies’ because all lies cause damage, and no one deserves to be lied to, etc. The only moral use of lying was in a situation like where a violent racist asks you where the black people live, and you’re obliged to lie to save people from obvious physical harm. This sentiment annoyed me, and the textbook author seemed a bit heterosexist, so I wrote a small paper against it when I only needed about a paragraph.)
Honesty is a privilege of heterosexual individuals, those who are well-liked by society. For gay, lesbian, or bisexual people, lying is a way of life. It is true that one lie begets another, but it is not true that all people start out at the same level of honesty because of the presence of homophobia and heterosexism (the prejudice that occurs from the perception of everyone as heterosexual). Everyone in our society does just assume that everyone else is heterosexual, and a person who does not conform to this must “come out of the closet”, meaning to directly tell people that he or she is not straight after having lived in secrecy. Our society is just not friendly to gay people, so if you aren’t straight you have to be very careful who you tell and under what circumstances.

Midwives’ Connie Danforth Showcases Act Utilitarianism


(This is an essay written for a philosophy class. I’m not quite sure the textbook taught accurate definitions of terms, so take my analysis with a grain of salt. I also had some trouble meeting the minimum limit, so there are a lot of quoted portions.)
The book Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian, is a fictional novel about the ethical dilemma posed to the midwife character Sibyl Danforth and the ensuing legal investigation regarding the morality of her decision, as narrated by the character’s daughter Connie. Believing one of her clients, Charlotte Bedford, to have died mid-delivery, Sibyl performs a cesarean section to save the infant at the expense of the mother, who may not have actually been dead. In order to keep her mother from facing penalties delivered by the justice system, Connie deliberately tampers with evidence, her justification that the woman is already dead and there is no point in having her mother suffer for actions that cannot be changed, which is a form of act utilitarianism. While highly illegal, Connie’s actions are moral in this specific context.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A World Without Feminism (Childhood's End)


Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke, was written in 1953 and it shows its age in more ways than its attitude toward racism. The book also displays a fair amount of sexism, not hatefully, but just in the way Clarke presents the role of women in his futuristic utopian society. For all his great speculation of the latter half of the twentieth century, Clarke was unable to predict the rise of feminism or even imagine a society that is not a patriarchy even when gender makes very little sense as in the case of the Overlords.

Flawed 1950s Anti-Racism (Childhood's End)


Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke is a science-fiction novel about aliens known as the Overlords taking over humanity to prepare us for the next stage of evolution. Prior to the book’s story, the author places the disclaimer “The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author” to keep people from thinking that he had changed his mind about being optimistic about space travel, which readers might infer from the Overlords declaring that “the stars are not for Man”. Despite this, I believe the author’s own opinions snuck in there as pertains to how the Overlords saw fit to run Earth, such as condemning animal cruelty and racism. The attempt to challenge racism is an interesting part of the book, specifically how Clarke tries to do it as a white man writing a book in 1953. It is a hopeful, idealistic cry for a post-racial utopian society, and is in itself a message meant specifically for other white people.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Examination of Female Characters - Part 5 (Halo)


(Crossposted from Halopedia)
So, here I am with my fifth article examining Halo’s treatment of female characters (see also parts one, two, three, and four). This time, I’m looking at the first Halo novel: Halo: The Fall of Reach, by Eric Nylund. This is actually one of my least favorite of the novels. I know a lot of people think Halo: The Flood is unquestionably the worst, but aside from the slight boringness of parts that go over Master Chief shooting his way through rooms, I think it’s enjoyable military science-fiction. In Fall of Reach, I think the characterization is weak all around and has protagonists of such dubious morality I find myself rooting for the Insurrection. Nevertheless, it has several female characters. These include Dr. Catherine Halsey, Déjà, Kelly-087, Linda-058, Hall, Hikowa, an unknown UNSC leader, and Cortana.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Anti-BDSM Stuff on Bones


I’ve been continuing to watch the series Bones, and have come across more annoying anti-BDSM sentiment. The eighteenth episode of the first season, “The Man with the Bone”, is an entertaining take on an old Canadian folk legend about pirate treasure. Unfortunately, the episode also features a creepy and perverted coroner, Harry Tepper, who, it progressively becomes obvious, is a masochist and bisexual. This is problematic because it is implied that his sexual preferences are a part of what makes him perverted.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sexist Content in Timecrimes


Timecrimes (originally Los Cronocrímenes), written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, is an intriguing time travel strange loop movie. In the style of a classic science-fiction short story, the protagonist Hector is an average guy (actually kind of a doofus) who winds up in strange circumstances, rather than a scientist or someone who knows what he’s doing. The film has some elements of sexism, though I’m not sure how much was unintentional. The two female characters, Hector’s wife Clara and The Girl in the Forest (La Chica en el Bosque), are disrespected by Hector within the story and are treated more like objects as he tries to manipulate the timeline.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Superwoman Is His Mom (Boy Meets World)


I love the sitcom Boy Meets World, its characters, jokes, and sometimes quite wacky storylines. I do have to note, however, that its moral messages can be a bit immoral by my standards. One example is the sexism in the first season episode “On the Fence”, about 11-year-old Cory coming to appreciate the work his father, Alan, does to take care of the family. While a nice sentiment, it blatantly ignores the equal work put in by his mother, Amy, whose contributions are accepted as the default of housewives and therefore not as special as the breadwinning father.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Poor BDSM Portrayal on Bones


So, I’ve started to watch the crime drama series Bones from the beginning via Netflix, and have been enjoying it so far. The protagonist Temperance Brennan is a strong female character who is both an atheist and has high-functioning autism. She’s great, I love her, and she makes a great role model. And then comes the inevitable episode featuring BDSM. Other crime dramas like CSI and Castle have flawed but reasonably positive portrayals of BDSM, but Bones’ episode “The Girl in the Fridge” goes the negative route with murderous practitioners whose lifestyles are evidence of a crumbling romance.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ramblings About Heroes


So, I was thinking about Heroes in my standard overly-analytical geek way. I came up with some interesting (to me) ideas about the scope of Sylar’s powers as well as some troubling thoughts about Micah’s ability to manipulate machinery. At this point, Sylar might very well be able to take powers with only a touch and sweet little Micah might actually be a domineering overlord of an oppressed people.

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Not Really Racist


I recently watched the movie The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I thought the animation was very disturbing and hard to get into, but the story was positive and it had its own charm based in surreal humor. People on the net seem to think that the movie is racist because of a scene involving a wolf and because of a villainous rat character, but I think this is misunderstanding innocuous elements.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Everybody Drew Muhammad Today

So, yeah, as a follow-up to the previous post on Everybody Draw Muhammad Day, here actually is my crappy artistic interpretation of the Islamic prophet. This is expressing solidarity for the movement seeking to make it hard for terrorists to bully people around. Nick Gillespie has a good post about it here. Because I'm a little polite, the image will be under the cut.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Breathe the Nish'ta (Stargate)


In the Stargate SG-1 season one episode “Hathor”, the titular character appears as a Goa’uld “goddess” who attacks the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The one who formed the basis for the Egyptian goddess of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”, to quote Jack O’Neill, Hathor is essentially a serial rapist who contributes to the System Lords by breeding Goa’uld through mating with humans. Hathor is an evil female presence capable of being defeated only by the women of SGC. While I suspect “Hathor” was written with the intention of being feminist, it flopped in its message and came out with a very poor portrayal of rape.