Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I'm in this! Witness the shame of stand-up comedy's original sin!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fuck Curt Schilling

  1. Curt Schilling is a person I dislike because he's a revered member of the Red Sox, he's generally a douche to people, he loves Boston, he LIED TO CONGRESS, then threw Barry Bonds under the bus for doing the exact same shit he did...
  2. That is irrelevant to the fact that social media harassment is wrong, and he is absolutely right and justified to take whatever steps are in his power to rectify the situation. I have no problem with that or him protecting his family
  3. That being said, what I do have a problem with, way more so than Schilling himself, is the reaction of the media, especially the sports media to this event. Their sudden shock and outrage to something that has been happening to the rest of us further shows what kind of bubbles people live in in this world. No one gets more threats of violence online than women, as a group, regardless of race. The women targeted by GamerGate folks have gotten little to no protection from the people threatening them, further proving that the only people who can really get something done in this world are rich White men
  4. There is no greater sign of White privilege than shock that people can be fucking horrible to you for no real reason, because it literally happens to the rest of us all the goddamned time
  5. The reactions of White sports reporters is priceless “who are these people, where do they come from?” Uh they fuckin come from you; middle and upper class white males. They are your kids. It's safe to say they're mostly white kids because internet trolls are as racist as they are misogynist. They hate “diversity”
  6. Long story short, the only reason this was even a story was because of who it happened to. It's just another reminder that rich White men can lie to congress, get away with it, take PED's get away with it, and get justice for those they care about when no one else could. They couldn't find Darren Wilson for months but this guy finds people off of Twitter when Twitter won't even protect people from online harassment? Yeah, fuck Schilling. But I hope his daughter is OK.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why I Don't Want a Black Spider-Man

 Before I start, I feel that I should recognize that what I am about to write, were I reading it, and were it written by a White person, I would probably find racist. But since I am writing it and, despite reports to the contrary, I am not White, I know that this isn't racist. The truth of this discrepancy is something I should not ignore, but cannot account for. So I'll ignore it.

A few days ago (February 10th) it was announced that Sony would be partnering with Marvel to include Spider-Man in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe.) There was much rejoicing, as Spider-Man is integral to the story that Marvel seems to want to adapt from the comic books (Civil War.) This is also wonderful news. Spidey is kind of the center of the Marvel Universe. He lives by the motto “with great power comes great responsibility.” Not only does he live by that model, he tries his best to make sure that people around him own up to the responsibility their power confers, so by default he is the moral compass of the Marvel U. He is the everyman-superhero which is an oxymoron, but is also what makes him so compelling. I'm a fan.

Being a fan I was greatly distressed to see a bunch of articles posted mere hours after the announcement with titles such as “Enough Peter Parker”, “It'sTime for Donald Glove”, and, most horrifying of all, “Kill Peter Parker!” It seems that the internet hates Peter Parker! Why! I truly felt the need to #WellActually all these bloggers and inform them of the errors of their opinions (yes I know that opinions can't be wrong, but these guys are wrong.)

I saw several people on Twitter responding in a similar fashion, and as we all know, every one tweet represents 5,000 actual opinions* A virtual lynch mob has formed to get rid of Peter and replace him with Miles Morales. Let me say this; I hate the Ultimates Universe. Ultimates was a new line of comics Marvel started to tell what I guess were supposed to be “hip” and “edgy” versions of the existing heroes. I hate hip. I hate edgy. I like the things that I like, and I want the things I like to be like the thing I like. I am very consistent on this point; Transformers, Battlestar Galactica, GI JOE, you name it. All these reboots and hip, edgy versions of things I like that are almost entirely unlike the source material, I ignore. Dozens of people have tried to get me to watch BSG, or told me how great Ultimate Spider Man is; I don't care. It could all be the most amazing fiction ever, but it's not what I came for. Every effort to sell me on this new Fantastic Four movie has the opposite effect, mostly because their main selling point seems to be “It's entirely different from the FF you know!” Well... I like the thing I like... why would I like something entirely unlike the thing I like? I like Peter Parker, I like Spider Man. Making some cheap knockoff Spider Man isn't going to excite me just because he's Brown. If I am going to see a movie adaptation of something I like, it better be the thing I like, not some warped, twisted, approximation of the thing I like (I'm looking at you Michael Bay.)

One reason people use to justify changing Spiders is that his origin story has been done to death; on this point I agree. We get it, we know, no need to beat that particular horse again. In fact I've seen various reports that Marvel will jump right into a new Spider story sans origins, similar to what they did switching Bruce Banners. Bam, problem solved, and quite easily at that. No need to freaking murder the guy because of that. I know he's fictional. He's important to me. You will deal.

The second, and more emotionally charged reason people are pushing for the change is that we, as PoC (Persons of Color), would like to see a major superhero who looks like us to further the cause of diversity in fiction. Great. Wonderful. I'm all-in on that. But why do you have to sacrifice Peter Parker for this agenda?

The prevailing feeling I have received from reading these blogs and seeing the reactions on Twitter is that people want a Black Character, and Spider-Man is as good as anyone, because it will make a “statement.” I can tell that people who feel this way were never fans of the comic books. If you read Spidey like I did you would never want to just casually toss him aside in the name of diversity. Yes I sound like That Nerd because I am That Nerd. I am going to proudly and unashamedly be That Guy. I don't want Black Spidey because I grew up with Peter Parker. It is entirely possible that many of the White fans who are unhappy with these changes feel the same way. I mean, they can't statistically all be racist. Maybe some of us just want the thing we like to be the thing we like. People who have never been invested in the source material (a large portion of current movie fandom, for good or ill) are fine with making sweeping changes to characters that make no sense contextually. I don't want Black Johnny Storm. I want Luke Cage. Why in the blazes was Heimdall Black in the Thor movies? To shoehorn Idris Elba in there somewhere? Why couldn't he have been the scientist who befriends Thor, Dr Selvig? Why have him as a NORSE GOD. You know, I think I can deal with a lack of diversity in the NORSE GOD PANTHEON. It made no sense, and is the prime example of pointless pandering changes. (Please don't come at me with that “they're aliens” thing. Just... don't.)

The current trend is to cast PoC as existing heroes, which I am totally against. Don't get me wrong I do of course want to see more PoC in movies, but not like this. In fact this trend annoys and angers me. Making an existing character a PoC is not a victory and it is not progress; it is the laziest kind of pandering I can imagine. It is never and will never be permanent. If you think Falcon is going to stay Captain America then you don't read comics. No matter how PC people want to be he will never be Captain America, he will always be Black Captain America to the populace. Morales will never be Spider-Man, he will always be Black Spider-Man. Debbie will always be Black Debbie (OK, obscure reference there) but you get the point. No matter how good the intentions of the creative team, changing an existing character's race or gender does not achieve the intended goal. Marvel needs to learn from DC, specifically from Dwayne McDuffie (rest his soul.) He was a huge influence on DC's properties, and encouraged them to use DC's existing character's whenever possible. He was why the Green Lantern in Justice League was John Stewart instead of Hal Jordan.

I'm a big fan of this tactic. Creating new characters that are People of Color in important roles IS progress. They inhabit their own space and own their own story. Unlike a palette-swap character, there is none of the danger of them being retcon-ed away. This is the strategy Marvel should employ, and the strategy that we as PoC and women fans should encourage. Why insist on a Donald Glover as Spider Man when you're sitting on Don-Freaking-Cheadle as War Machine. He's ALREADY THERE. And he's a great character played by a legendary actor. They could tell some gripping, dark stories with War Machine. I'm fine with a War Machine movie with a similar mood and tone to Captain America 2. I mean, he's called War Machine.

The biggest reason why I'm against Ultimates Spider-Man and Fantastic Four is that they apply the dark, gritty, realistic crap onto movies that don't fit it. Spidey and FF should not be dark and gritty. They can feature those elements, especially with villains such as Venom and Dr Doom, but the titular characters should not be that way. I read about Miles Morales; that story's f***ing depressing. Spidey has been through some crap, but he doesn't let that define him. Morales back story sounds like an episode of The Wire. I'm good, thanks. There is also the fact that if they did introduce Spidey as Miles THEY WOULD HAVE TO DO AN ORIGIN STORY AGAIN. I could go on. Peter needs to stay Peter for the good of everyone. Miles will always be alternate universe Miles, which is fine. Marvel proved that it's the story that matters, and if they made Guardians profitable what do you think they could do with Peter? Diversity will happen, it just can't be shoehorned into places where it doesn't make sense in continuity or context.

AND why aren't people demanding Ms Marvel be portrayed by Kamala Khan!?!?!?

*May not be an actual fact.

Monday, January 5, 2015

#WellActually issue 02 - Myers-Briggs edition

This issue of #WellActually doesn't focus on an Internet article, it focuses on the subject of the article. I have to switch it up on you now and then to keep you on your toes.

You should probably read this before we begin. It's an article about how the Myers-Briggs test is total and utter bullshit. It is so because it is based off of what I can only assume were the results of a long, relaxing day of Carl Jung smoking the finest marijuana he could find. Carl, who frequently hooked up with Freud in the early, heady, drug-fueled days of psychology, was influential in laying the groundwork for psychology. He and Freud had many, many great and interesting ideas that no one takes seriously anymore. The Id, the Ego, the Super-ego, the universal subconscious, the archetype; these are all crazy ideas that sound cool, but are completely unscientific. I believe in them because 1. it's fun and 2. if you really dig deep into their theories, you know, really roll around in them, you can see the possible truths that lie within. This is fine, this is America and we are all allowed to believe in anything we want. That's what Abraham Lincoln fought that Bear on the top of Mt. Rushmore for (note: I have an incomplete understanding of American History.) Freud and Jung's teachings are to me what Astrology is to others; they make sense in respect to how I view reality, both consensual and personal. Does this make it true? Of course not. Does this greatly influence what I'd tell someone who is going through psychological turmoil? Of course not. But as a psych nerd it's still fun to think about.

Which brings me to the reason I've gathered you all here; the Myers-BriggsTest. It's incredibly popular, and you see people everywhere using its results to define themselves. People often ask if I've taken it or what letters I am, and I have nothing to tell them. I also judge the hell out of them, but that's to be expected. I thought I'd never taken the test because I'm lazy and it's a long damn test but in reading the article above I realized that I've had nagging doubts about the test from when I first heard about it that I never put into words. I went to school for Psychology (twice) and as hard as I apparently tried not to, I did learn some things. As an undergrad at Rutgers I had several professors repeatedly beat me about the head with lectures on what is and is not science. I had to take several classes about quantitative methods, statistics and other utterly horrifying numerical crap. The upside to all of this is I now have a very highly tuned and sensitive bullshit detector. The MB Test sets it off on all levels.
Also, I'm a Sagittarius

The first thing that bothered me was the unnerving lack of statistical data backing up the tests results. Nothing about validity or reliability, no research method, none of that. I thought the thing was a BuzzFeed internet quiz along the same lines as “Which Horsemen of the Apocalypse is Your Mother-in-Law (mine is Plague.) I didn't know it was a thing that people were basing important life decisions on. I was shocked (Shocked!) to learn that corporations are using this test to weed out prospective employees. It's neither reliable in that it does not give the same results with repeated testings, nor is it valid. The number one problem with any self-report test is that we as humans are unwilling and unable to report negatively about ourselves. It's called the Social Desirability Bias and it colors all self reports to some degree. At times people will give more accurate answers under the protection of anonymity, but even then there is no guarantee of transparency. Humans operate under a number of cognitive biases that color how we see ourselves and the world around us. In psychology it is recognized that, whether by design or self-delusion, we are horrible at giving accurate representations of ourselves and equally terrible at accepting representations of ourselves that don't match what we want to believe. That creates Cognitive Dissonance, and we hate dissonance. So right there the MB Test is fucked up, and everything that springs from it thereafter is similarly fucked up.

Why do people believe in this test so much with absolutely no evidence to back it up? Because the people who take this test WANT it to be true. As the article points out, there are no negative outcomes to this test. Look at the comments on the MB Test link I put above; everyone is happy with their results. As a bonus the site shows them which famous people share their type. Everyone likes to be told they have something in common with a famous person they have nothing in common with. Who wants to take a statistically sound personality test that may tell you that you're an antisocial narcissist with sadomasochistic tendencies and a vicious Hentai addiction (this doesn't exist yet, so calm your fears Hentai lovers.) We are far more likely to take a test that tells us that we are what we want to be, which is exactly what the MB Test is; it excels at telling us what we want to hear. Like pop psychologists, talk show doctors, fortune tellers and astrologists, there is plenty of wiggle room in the conclusions these tests make to make us feel better about the decisions we make and the personality traits we display. Not only does having a test tell you that you're an introvert (for example) excuse you from trying harder to interact in social situations, but it also gives you a sense of belonging. Belonging is a basic human need, right after Physiological Needs and Safety (See Maslow's Hierarchy of needs for more details.) If you want to become rich and famous, find a new way to tell people that they belong to a misunderstood group, and that all of their problems are related to being a part of this misunderstood group. Bonus points if you can also make people feel like they are victimized and oppressed by belonging to this group. If you can find a way to make straight White males not seem like the most privileged group in America, you can retire and sleep on a bed made of solid gold helicopters, which is the embodiment of the American Dream.
I'm an Introvert

If you know me you know that I hold Life Coaches and the like in pretty low esteem. As a person who is drowning in student debt in order to give people professional advice, I don't have time for people who one day decide that they're fucking great at fixing people. That would be like me deciding that I'm great at spinal surgery and taking a knife to someone's spinal cord. The results would be just as damaging. That being said, I really can't be mad at people who figured out how to charge exorbitant amounts of money to tell a bunch of high strung executives how to “relax” and be more productive. 

Life Coaches are an extension of the “Everybody Wins” mindset that has taken over child rearing practices. I'm not a “spare the rod spoil the child” type, but I do believe that people need to experience e real disappointment and defeat in order to become stronger individuals. Always being told you're good enough, you're smart enough, and people like you creates a society where everyone feels entitled to more than they've worked for. This is why all of us think our opinions are valid when in reality 90% of people who believe strongly in something need to keep their opinions to their self. They're human Rorschach tests, becoming what the viewer wants to see but not actually providing real direction or intent. It's therapy for those who really don't have problems; what we call First World problems. You never see people in the hood employing life coaches, and not just because of the exorbitant prices they charge for their services. A life coach has no answers for institutionalized racism and inter-generational poverty. No, these people excel at selling people what they want to hear. The Myers-Briggs Test is a personality assessment form of the Life Coach. Pretty, but ultimately meaningless.
As well.

People are putting faith in a test that it's creator said was basically spitballing some new ideas. Briggs and Myers were basically life coaches who hooked up with an HR Manager to make a predictive test with none of the tools one would need to create a predictive test. The results change according to what mood you're in. Pseudoscience is the greatest way to describe this test; sounds good enough to be science so people run with it. Also you can take it on your lunch break at work. 

Pseudoscience works well because it has great promotion by people who have an air of authority. Real science is promoted by people who are so bad at interacting with the general populace that they became scientists. It's fine to take this test and tell everyone the results as if they're the truth; people do it with astrology all the time, and it's more or less harmless. It may be a good way of explaining yourself to others, which is also fine. When people use this test to make employment or relationship decisions, that's when the crazy hits the fan. There are plenty of more reliable ways to create order out of the chaos of human behavior.