Images from “Uncanny X-Men #7,” “Uncanny X-Men #52,” and “All-New X-Men #40” found at “Bounding into Comics.”
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I received quite a bit of feedback on my last blog post, mainly in social media. So when insomnia seized me by the throat tonight, I re-read some other “controversial” material I’d sampled earlier and figured, why not? I need to kill some time and let being sleepy overwhelm my anxiety (long story).
I follow the blog Bounding into Comics and yes it does come from a somewhat conservative place socially. While I periodically complain that the entertainment industry has forgotten how to entertain, they/it does have other characteristics. One can be found in the “Bounding” article Every Single Comic Book Character That Has Been Retconned To LGBTQ+.
No, I’m not going to rant about LGBTQ representation in comic books or anything else. The world is a diverse place and that will naturally be reflected in what we watch, read, and listen to. Any form of entertainment is a product of its times which is why making and then remaking a movie or TV show decades apart will yield two different products. Compare the original 1960s Lost in Space with the much more recent Netflix remake (which admittedly I’ve never watched, but I’m convinced the two shows must be very different from each other). It’s also why it’s reasonable to have gay characters in comic books today when you would never have found even one when I was growing up.
Getting back to the article, there are only six DC and Marvel characters listed out of hundreds or perhaps thousands of superheroes, so it’s not like it is a big deal. The complaint that author John F. Trent makes is that each and every one of these fictional people started out as totally straight characters. Every single one.
And every one was retconned to become bi or gay.
Promotional photo from the 2019 film “Charlie’s Angels”
First of all, I haven’t seen the 2019 version of the movie Charlie’s Angels in theaters now, so this isn’t a review. I might have seen the 2000 movie, or some part of it, starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, but I don’t have a clear memory. I definitely saw multiple episodes of the television series in the 1970s and 80s, originally starring Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors), and Jaclyn Smith. I don’t remember the show being terrifically good, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen an episode.
The current incarnation stars “angels” Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinksa along side a plethora of “Bosleys” including Patrick Stewart.
The main reason I’m writing this is that I came across a scathing review called Why ‘feminist’ films flop on what appears to be a pretty conservative news outlet. I mean the author Maren Thom really pulled out all the stops. That made me curious about the movie (I wasn’t before and in fact, I didn’t even know it was in the theaters until I looked it up), so I started doing some reading.
© James Pyles
My 3 1/2 (closer to 4 actually) year old granddaughter loves books and she loves being read to. She knows her alphabet really well and can spell her first and last name. She’s a smart kid.
I love reading to her and my wife often takes our granddaughter to the local public library to check out books, lots and lots of books. The other day, I came home from work, and after my granddaughter woke up from her nap, she wanted me to read to her. Two of the library books she chose were Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by Jacky Davis and Red Riding Hood Superhero: A Graphic Novel by Otis Frampton.
Promotional image for the movie “Captain Marvel” (2019).
I didn’t want to do this. I still don’t have to, but then again, there’s more hype about this movie than even last year’s Black Panther. When I was anticipating watching and reviewing that film, I was “irrationally” afraid that if I didn’t like something about it, I’d be forever labeled a “racist.” Fortunately I thought it was one of the better Marvel films, and that although it told a story of significant meaning to African-Americans, it also transcended race as the epic tale of a Prince confronting the realities of becoming a King.
However, Captain Marvel (2019) which will have its general release to theaters this coming Friday (March 8th), seems to be getting a lot more press than Black Panther, at least to the best of my recollection.
First of all, according to The Mary Sue (which leans pretty far to the left), the movie is getting tons of bad reviews pre-release, but it’s only being reviewed by misogynistic white males who hate the idea not only of powerful women, but of Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) being the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe, even more so than Thor or the Hulk (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly).
From the teaser/trailer to “Ghostbusters 3”
Apparently, the whole “Ghostbusters” thing, the next movie in the franchise scheduled to hit the theaters in 2020 isn’t over yet. In fact, the controversy seems to be just warming up.
As you may recall, a little over a month ago, I wrote about the upcoming sequel to be directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, director of the original 1984 film starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Sigourney Weaver.
Screen capture from twitter
But the announcement that the 2020 film would be a direct sequel to the original, essentially bypassing the very badly received 2016 remake, made a few people angry, as if the younger Reitman’s vision was somehow a slight to that movie’s all-female cast in particular and feminism in general. In fact, actress Leslie Jones, who played Patty Tolan in the 2016 film, got on twitter to express her extreme displeasure (to put it mildly).
Cover art for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s novel “The Mists of Avalon
I’m aware of the name Marion Zimmer Bradley because, if you read science fiction and fantasy at all, that name comes up quite a bit. That said, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe I’ve read any of her works, including her arguably best known novel The Mists of Avalon. Although rumors of her being a perpetrator of child sexual abuse in one manner or another have come into my awareness over the past year or two, I never paid much attention to them.
Then I found an interview published at Life Site News with Bradley’s daughter Moira Greyland titled INTERVIEW: Daughter of famed sci-fi author explains mother’s gay pedophile worldview published last May 2018, which discussed Greyland’s book The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon.
This is the book’s description at Amazon:
I follow the blog of African-American author Steven Barnes, largely because his commentaries on writing were recommended by another author. Mr. Barnes has an an impressive set of credentials and has written novels with such Science Fiction luminaries as Larry Niven (look right) and the late Jerry Pournelle. But while I find some of what Barnes presents on his blog interesting and useful, I can’t say I agree with him about everything (although to be fair, I’m sure he wouldn’t agree with me on a lot of things as well).
However, in a recent blog post of his called What Are You Offering the World?, he made two seemingly unrelated points that I found highly useful. I’ll present them over two blog posts here because each topic deserves individual attention.
The first is about masculinity. Now, given many of the topics upon which Barnes writes, I can reasonably assume he leans more left on the social and political scale than I do, probably quite a bit more, but here’s the important part. The important part is that we shouldn’t stereotype (and I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone) and here’s why.
Image found at CNN – Photo credit unavailable
I’m about two-thirds through my read of the Superversive Press anthology To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity, which I plan to review both on my blog and on Amazon. I’ve already written about my anticipation of this volume and authored a review of The Last Hunt, which was Richard Paolinelli’s contribution.
Last night before going to bed, I read the Campus Reform article, Researchers say masculinity training ‘ignores human nature’ written by Toni Airaksinen, and I was amazed at how the themes of her missive and the anthology converged.
Apparently, there’s something on university campuses today called “masculinity training,” which is designed to purge male students of their ‘toxic’ masculinity. In fact, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is calling for ‘toxic masculinity’ training in kindergarten.
However, as cited in Airaksinen’s article:
“Ban Men” image found at Campus Reform website
I find myself writing more frequently about social issues on this blog for whatever reason. I probably shouldn’t, especially since I’m white, male, straight, cisgender, old, conservative (relative to liberal states – in relation to Idaho, I’m probably a moderate), and religious.
In other words, based on that collection of labels, I’m a pretty terrible human being, at least among a certain set of demographics.
I’ll say at the outset that the closest article I’ve written to this one in terms of theme is Injured and Dangerous about a group of hostile, aggressive, and potentially lethal men called Incels. Click the link I provided if you haven’t heard of them and prepare to be terrified.
Earlier today, I read an article from Campus Reform called Feminist prof doubles-down on call to ‘hate men’ written by Toni Airaksinen. She was referencing an opinion piece written by Suzanna Danuta Walters for the Washington Post titled Why Can’t We Hate Men?.
Cover image of the soon to be published book “To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity.”
I’ve become aware of a book soon to be made available through Superversive Press called To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity. It’s an anthology and actually the sort of project I’d have loved to contribute to. The theme is based on a premise currently popular in speculative fiction and in certain social perspectives, that traditional masculinity is considered toxic or otherwise undesirable or harmful.
Actually, the issues are more complicated than they seem on the surface, but they are also very polarizing (like so many social issues are these days).
I came across the term Beta Male in relation to this, and depending on your perspective, it’s either highly denigrated or highly celebrated. If traditional masculinity is “toxic,” then “beta maleness” seems to be the goal in some circles.
In response to Disney’s current “take” on the “Star Wars” franchise, I’ve decided to “take back” Star Wars by re-watching the original trilogy (“Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi”). To me, those are the only three films that truly embrace “StarWars-ness”), even though “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” (the latter film I have yet to see) feature some of the original actors.