It’s Time for Fandom to Die

I used to go to fan sites for Zelda and Final Fantasy and all kinds of things that I watched and read. I hung around on those fandom based Live Journals back in the day, when people still had Live Journals, and hunted for the best little three frame gif animation to support the characters that I liked.

Fandom has always had some problems: for instance there’s a clear dislike of characters of color in a lot of fandoms. The characters that do exist aren’t represented through art or in fan fiction. It’s not that they’re written badly or mistreated, but that they are usually ignored.

As a black kid you get used to this and you make sure to support the characters who are out there for you when they’re well written and handled.

Lately fandom has been showing another ugly side and this one is more deliberate and less of an omission. Movies about things that used to be niche have become mainstream. Marvel movies about second tier comic book heroes make a billion dollars. The average person can tell you who Chewbacca is and we’re all carrying around a computer more powerful than the ones that took us to the moon.

Tech and nerd hobbies aren’t so out of the ordinary anymore and it’s pissed off the people who think that these things belong to them. That’s my take on what’s going on with the latest Star Wars movie (which I loved and actually would love to see again). The movie was good, better than Force Awakens and Rogue One I think. My theater walked out seemingly happy.

But when I go online to check sites like Rotten Tomatoes the scores for critics and audience members are wildly varied. Let me start by saying: I didn’t even vote in that poll and I don’t think most people bother to vote on RT. But it still struck me as ridiculous.

What nerds see as the invasion of their space and their stuff being “dumbed down” (it’s not) is what I think is partially responsible.

The other part is the fans who want things to go exactly like they or some YouTuber they love predicted. These are the ass clowns who do a 45 minute analysis on a one minute teaser trailer frame-by-frame to try and predict a two hour movie. And then they are the ones who cry when the predictions they made weren’t right.

We saw this same thing happen with the Harry Potter series after fans sat and wrote out all of these complex theories for a book that really hadn’t ever been full of complex theories.

And all of this serves to remind me why I’m largely done with fandom. I don’t go to the Rick and Morty subreddit or join Doctor Who groups because I find the people in those places insufferable. I never really tried too hard to get in with Star Wars fans because they wanted you to read a ton of books and comics (some of which contradicted one another) just to know the stuff they were talking about.

I’m hugely anti-gatekeeping when it comes to “what someone must do to be a fan of X”. I’ve played every Final Fantasy one through fifteen. Owned the first twelve of them and beat all of those but twelve and eleven. I’ve seen various tie-ins and movies and the like. But I’m not going to scream at some girl that she doesn’t know shit about the games because she’s only played thirteen.

And with all of this stuff being so mainstream now, I don’t really see the point of fandom groups.


Crisis At Warner Brothers

For the last two nights the CW Arrowverse  shows have engaged in a cathartic game of “Bash the Fash” in a four-part crossover event that sees characters from Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow teamed up to stop an invasion of Nazis from another dimension that includes Nazi doppelgängers of some of the primary cast.

The episode clearly has a political message, albeit one that should have stopped being controversial in the late 1930s, as the cast utters the words “I hate Nazis” no less than three times and character who usually take measures to not kill lose the kid-gloves while characters who usually care about those things watch like it’s not a big deal.

It really is a sight to behold and I would suggest that even if you don’t watch the shows is might be the kind of thing that an outsider can get into. It’s not that hard to tell what’s happening and what people can do. I mean, who doesn’t know who the Flash or Supergirl is at this point?

But the timing of this miniseries is of particular interest to me given that just a few weeks ago Warner Brothers proper, who owns the CW Network, released the follow up to their 2016 team up movie Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice in the form of Justice League. The Justice League movie had several problems going in and it turned out to be a movie made from a mix of audience responses to the last several films and executive meddling–two things that don’t work out so well.

And that brings us back to the reason why the timing of this crossover versus those movies is such a big deal. The DC Extended Universe has been suffering from a failure to launch for years now and it’s biggest credit at this point is the movie in the bunch no one believed in: a female superhero movie with a female director lead by an actress whose previous biggest credit includes a couple of Fast and the Furious movies.

Honestly, those all sound like positives about Jenkins and Gadot, but they’re one of the few bright spots in this whole mess and the CW Network with it’s lower budget version of a DC universe is making all the bad parts look worse. How come when Kara (Supergirl) is flying around over Central city it doesn’t look fake as fuck? How come the villains on the TV show seem awesome and not run of the mill at all? How come these shows can manage to do comedy and drama intertwined without making things feel jarring (this is actually the case across the three shows out of the four I watch–I can’t remember a joke being out of place in any of them)? How come I saw shit cooler in the first forty minutes of a TV show (and done by Kid Flash no less) than in the entire two hour run time of your major blockbuster movie featuring three of the biggest heroes ever? How come I care about most of these characters, not because of meta-knowledge and their iconic status, but because I’ve been made to care?


Warner Brothers needs to take a hint. Stop trying to live in the darkness of the Nolan era while throwing together a rushed extended universe and look to these shows for examples of how to do it. Do you know the same mistake that we keep seeing with these attempts to copy Marvel’s MCU? People seem to have forgotten that the MCU was very slow to start and built up to everything. Sure that’s not the only way to do things, but the way not to do it is to throw every plan for your next six movies into you second outing like it’s a three hour long trailer.

Until then I guess we have a DC Universe to be proud of: the one that’s on the television every week. Hey Warner Brothers, maybe you could just give Gadot a TV show and spread that three hundred million around between the group of Arrowverse shows and her. It’d be better spent.

My Issue With Bernie Sanders


When it came time to cast vote in the Texas primary I made it no secret that I was voting for Bernie Sanders. This wasn’t out of some attempt to say Hillary wasn’t good enough, in fact she was easily more qualified on paper and I was pretty sure she would be our next president or, at the very least, that she would win the nomination.

We expected a run between Jeb and Hillary. Those were the people that the parties wanted to support going in and I can’t really remember if Jeb was still in the race by the time it came our turn to send the conventions our pick for candidates.

But I liked what I heard about Sanders and what he was saying. I thought that his ideas deserved some looking at and I thought that, maybe without the racist sentiment that haunted Obama we could sustain some of the policies that had managed to come out of the last presidency and build on to them. We had fought pretty hard for healthcare and equal rights over the last eight years, after all.

Looking back over the nine months since the inauguration of Trump and seeing the split in the Democratic Party, I’m willing to admit that I was wrong. The different things about Sanders that keep piling up at best make him out to be someone who kind of wants to fight some of the good fight, but that’s okay with those who support him engaging in terrible stuff to get there. At worst he’s actually a sheep in wolf’s clothing that attempted to use the Democratic Party as a stepping stone to build his own party with a platform of some progressive policies. I say “some” like that because his calling Planned Parenthood part of the “establishment” and his endorsement of an anti-abortion candidate paint him as a little less on the progressive end of the spectrum when it comes to women’s issues. Which is what brought this whole thing up because he is the opening speaker at the Women’s March and people are asking why.

Back in late November he also slammed what he called “identity politics” (which is a phrase I take a bit of issue with — more on that later). On Twitter and Facebook whenever there is a discussion about politics there’s no shortage of people popping up to tell you how Sanders speaks for them, even when they claim to fall under the umbrella of policies that he seems to be willing to shed in order to look more appealing.

There in-fighting that plagues the Democratic Party right now boils down to a fight about what happened. Hillary Clinton, a woman who has been in the political spotlight almost all my life, lost an election that she shouldn’t have. Some people think Bernie would have stood a better chance, even though Bernie didn’t win the primaries, even if he was pulling votes from people on the fence about Trump. The fact of the matter is that if you asked me who Bernie Sanders was in 2014 I wouldn’t know who the Hell you were talking about. Clinton has put in the work over the years trying to get healthcare reform, working at the national and state levels of government and more often than not pushing for policies that I agree with and that a lot of people seem to agree with in the Democratic Party. Most of the hate for her extends from leftover ammunition that was loaded into the gun of the Right Wing political machine that has only grown more nefarious with the rise of Breitbart and the proliferation of Fox News.

Bernie Sanders might not have loaded that gun himself, but he used it as cover fire where he could. He drew from their playbook in criticizing Clinton and when things didn’t go his way he attempted to march on Washington. He’s even attempted to hijack the party itself, a party that he really isn’t part of. He’s stolen the spotlight from Randall Woodfin, a black mayoral candidate that won an election in the Deep South who was a Hillary supporter and who ran a pretty successful campaign before Sanders’ group’s involvement. Overall Sanders backed candidates are losing, but you wouldn’t know that from the sound of things in the media. It’s like Sanders can do no wrong.

Another part of my problem with Sanders is the tone of some of the support he gets. It seems like some of it comes from alt-right types that just couldn’t get behind the blatant idiocy of Trump. You see a bit of that Gamer-Gate-Intellectual-Atheist crowd showing up to debate about free speech without seeming to realize that free speech doesn’t mean what they think. People who punch actual Nazis in the face aren’t violating the first amendment. And angry that people protest “anti-identity politics” speakers on college campuses aren’t either no matter what fucking Bill Maher says.

Well, there’s the problem. Identity politics is a conservative issue too. When you look at the fight over Confederate statues that’s tied to a racial identity in the South that has huge roots reaching back to slavery, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights era. The Christian identity of the country is another hot button issue for conservatives. So this idea that it’s impossible to win elections when drawing praise from these things just doesn’t hold water. One entire political party does it and the parts of that party that don’t identify with those things ignore the parts they don’t like.

I don’t think Sanders deserved the nomination and I don’t think that he could have won. I don’t have any solid proof of that, but neither do the people claiming he would have coasted to victory. This country is racist enough against Jews that even we denied them Visas during WWII and it’s still racist enough that there’s never been a Jewish president and you can still find countless people peddling bullshit theories about the Jews doing evil things. A guy at Starbucks came up and started talking to me about Jewish mind control. That’s not even a rare thing.

And I don’t blame Sanders for the entire election loss. There is a lot things that went wrong including voter suppression, Russian intervention in the process and propaganda, and Hillary’s own decisions to campaign in certain places over others. But I do believe that Sanders being slow to back her and his march on Washington during the DNC had some affect and I think that now his attempt to gain popularity runs the risk of costing Democrats the 2018 mid-term and the possibility of Trump getting elected to a second term.


All About Agenda

There’s a feature on the iPhone, I don’t know if it’s new with this update or not, that allows a user to designate an emergency contact be sent a message when the lock button is pressed five times. The idea behind this is to give people a sort of defense if they are attacked or need medical help. There is a lot you could use it for, but a Twitter user tweeted out a message that showed a screenshot of how to use it and asked that all women set it up in case their attacked. She was just passing on what she thought would be friendly advice.
Nothing controversial there.

But she got jumped on and a few hours later (now) the account is protected and the tweet can no longer reach people that are not on her approved list of readers.

This isn’t surprising and is kind of the pattern of things. Men who claim they’re not sexist and there’s not a problem turning right around and creating a problem by being the thing they say they’re not. A lot of the question was “why didn’t she send the message out to everyone?”

Which would be a fair point if we weren’t looking at problems like sexual assault on campuses and really just anywhere else. It’s not that men might not need it, but perhaps in her particular group those topics are more relevant. And it’s not like men can’t see the message just because she addressed women directly. It’s not like anyone is stopping them from using the tip.

I read an article yesterday where Dan Harmon, one of the creators of the show RIck and Morty is pretty pissed that some of his show’s fans have been going on Twitter and other social media. He had A LOT to say about his feelings:

“These knobs, that want to protect the content they think they own—and somehow combine that with their need to be proud of something they have, which is often only their race or gender. It’s offensive to me as someone who was born male and white, and still works way harder than them, that there’s some white male fan out there trying to further some creepy agenda by ‘protecting’ my work.”

The important thing here to focus on is the “creepy agenda” bit because that’s where all of this stems from. These people aren’t upset that this girl didn’t share the details of some iOS feature with them or that Rick and Morty has seen a drop in quality due to women being on staff. They’re just out to nitpick women and attack the for anything that they find that seems like a target and though many of them aren’t necessary the exact same people that we would refer to as the Alt-Right, they benefit from the behavior the Alt-Right displays as well as partake in a bit of those same behaviors.

It’s of note that when you look at someone like Dan Harmon who has created things that adored in female and male geek circles like Community, Harmonquest, and Rick and Morty and you look at these people who do these kinds of things and the talking heads that drive them forward there doesn’t seem to actually be much in the way of creativity between them. They create controversy and make online videos or write books just to drive their platform and agenda while their fans ignore what most of the entertainment world is basically screaming at them at this point.



I’m old enough to remember a time when Microsoft Word wasn’t the dominate word processor out there. I vaguely remember seeing Word for the first time and being blown away by the fact that it wasn’t just a deep blue screen with a line of words across the top like File, Edit, etc.

Word Perfect was what I first typed on, though it was mostly in school or just playing around. We would occasionally have to use the computer lab to do some small assignment or I would just open different applications on our old Windows 3.1 machine and pound at random keys to pretend I was a reporter or something.

Word Perfect was the go to word processor back in the day. It was extremely plain, mostly made up of a blue field where you typed and the bar across the top that held picture-less menu items. If you made something bold the shade of white of the lettering changed to be brighter to reflect that. Looking back it was very primitive, but so were most other things ad the time. So, when Microsoft Word showed up and had a genuine interface that showed you what your typeface would look like when it was printed with whatever shitty, loud dot-matrix printer you had hooked up to your computer.

I’ve genuinely been a Microsoft Office person since it was available to me. I’ve use it as my primary suite of applications except for brief periods where I wasn’t using a compatible OS (like Linux) or where I tried out some other office software (like Google Docs, LibreOffice, etc).

I had come to a place where I didn’t expect to find something that worked better for me than Microsoft’s setup. Then I got a Mac and there was an option to try Ulysses for fourteen days free and the first thing I notice about it is that it’s not flashy. The interface is simplistic and mostly cloud based. But it’s really good at organizing ideas and being able to let you quickly jump from one set of ideas to the next .

I’m actually typing this in Ulysses.

One thing that I think kind of endears me to it is that it lets me export to different file types or even html. More than likely I won’t get rid of Word and Office, but I might start using this as my primary way to work on my writing since t’s very geared toward distraction free work.


Writing Woes II

I feel like my writing is getting stagnant. I used to write seventy thousand words in a week and, though they weren’t perfect, they felt brilliant. The story I was telling was one that I was so invested in that it carried me forward. And the editing can wait. 
I’m critical now. I pick over every word that I put down until nothing seems right—the same way you just look at numbers in a sequence sometimes and could swear that three didn’t always come after two. 

The only way to remedy it is to write more. That would be my guess. When I wasn’t as anxious about the everyday world and when I didn’t have much free time I was always making time to write. I’d carry notebooks and a laptop into IHOP or Starbucks and just stay there on a day off or skip work and write. 

I miss writing on a damp porch when it rains and feeling like if I didn’t have to worry about a cafe closing or some obligation that I could have kept writing for hours. I think I’ve prioritized other things over my writing. Photography became a huge one, but it’s not something I even do every day or even every week. I’ve gotten good at planning and plotting out where stories need to go and how I want things to happen. 

But the only way that any of these novel ideas I have are going to get written is if I write them myself. No one is going to wade through notebooks and random docx files of planning to piece together awesome ideas that were never committed to the page. 

I think the biggest difference now is that I’m never alone the way I used to be. Being alone cultivated a need to spend time doing something when I was tired of sitting in front of the TV. Now I have people to talk to and I’m going places in the middle of the day, sometimes just to be out of the house because I feel like that’s the thing I’m supposed to do. 

Nd what I really need to do is write. 


A Defense of Game of Thrones: AKA Would You Kindly Shut the Fuck Up.

There are a lot of people who will make the argument that a creator doesn’t owe their audience anything. An audience continues to show up because a creator is producing quality content. It’s a pretty damn good argument and one of the main points of it seems to be that when a creator panders to an audience it can weaken their work’s vision.

Game of Thrones ended its seventh season last night and if you’re expecting me to lambaste the show’s direction, pacing, and overall “happy” tone then you’re in the wrong place. I have seen a lot of people complaining that the show is wish fulfillment now, that since it’s gone past book that it’s just them giving the audience what they want to see.

I don’t really think that I get that argument. The audience wants to see the show and they keep watching it. If the show’s creators were to stop giving the audience what they wanted to see how would that make the show better?

This isn’t a spoiler laden review and I’m not here to discuss the fine plot details, but I’m just curious what these people want a show to be? Are they wanting it to be 100% dark all of the time with no hope or anything cool. Well, even the real world isn’t like that. Awesome things happen in the real world and this idea that awesome things happening or seeing your favorite characters strike out together on a dangerous mission isn’t realistic enough, then I have news for you…

You’ve spent the last six years of your life watching a fantasy show. I’m sorry if you never cracked open a Tolkien novel or rolled a twenty-sider with friends to see if your rogue would hit, but you’re participating in the endorsement of fantasy novel based nerd shit written by a real life neckbeard and adapted by fanboys.

The fantastical is going to happen. Sometimes it even happens in real life.

And if you’re hating the last two seasons and you think this is the worst the show has ever been quit. I stopped watching after the awful dick torture porn that season three turned out to be seemed to show no sign of stopping and I only picked it back up when I saw hope in season six that they were finally doing something interesting.

If you can’t stand the show anymore that’s your power. Do something else. Stop wasting your Sunday nights watching it so you can bitch to everyone else about how far it’s fallen. People enjoying it don’t give a shit. I know I don’t.


The Vicious Cycle of Minority Representation

This might not be my longest, most drawn out entry, but I came to a realization today when I was out talking with a woman. The whole crux of what I’m saying rests on an understanding of what the movie “Get Out” means to me, but not necessarily the specific plot points of the movie.

What made the movie such a huge deal for me was the way that it seemed so different from other movies, namely in that it chronicled experiences that I felt were things that only I had felt. It got into a personal space for me and put those things up on the screen for audiences of millions of people who might not have the same life experience.

And people loved it.

That’s the problem with Hollywood character representation. We have your “Get Outs” and your “Atlantas” and these things show a side of minority life that we don’t often see. A lot of film execs say things to the affect of “white audiences just don’t like to see minority characters” and that puts unfair blame on white audiences at large.

The real issue is that a lot of minority characters are stock types and they don’t seem genuine. Sure, there are going to be some bigots who don’t accept characters like them, but the writers are writing them and using other media they’ve been exposed to as a template and since there’s always been poor minority representation in movies it comes off as a parody of a parody of a parody. The real person there gets distilled down to a set of tropes that people are tired of seeing. White audiences are tired of it and so are audiences of color.

But the problem isn’t the white audiences don’t know how to accept those unlike them, the problem is that writers aren’t writing characters that should be accepted.




I went to Austin for the first time in years the other day and one of the things that really shocked me is that it’s a different city than I remember it. Something must have changed about me or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t go downtown, but the city had a different life.

I’ve decided that, as part of my journey to become a better photographer, I need to make more trips to Austin.


In Which I Make a Text Based Rube Goldberg Machine to Blame Space Ghost Coast to Coast for a Problem I Have with a Trend in Comedy

Comedy has an intertextuality problem and it’s all the fault of “Space Ghost Coast to Coast”.

Okay, that’s a hell of an opener and it might not really make sense because there’s a lot to walk back and unpack there. Intertextuality is the relationship between texts, usually it is a term reserved for actual written texts. In the sense that I’m using it we’re just talking about a text as being any kind of media.

Every text or piece of media is influenced by something, hell, even if something is looking to actively ignore other texts that as a conscious decision is still a choice made because of the relationship to other texts. It’s not a bad thing by itself, but the way it’s come into comedy seems to mostly not work.

Back to the point about why this is all Space Ghost’s fault. Space Ghost was a shitty cartoon made in 1966 Hannah Barbera (I swear the word Barbera didn’t have an ‘e’ in it before I wrote this) and in 1994 Cartoon Network used old footage of the original show to make a late night talk show. This show was what started what we have come to know as Adult Swim (the late night programming block on Cartoon Network most nights of the week).

Adult Swim was pretty experimental at first and it wasn’t like anything else that we’ve ever seen on television. After Fox canceled “Family Guy” in 2002 Adult Swim stepped in to run the show in syndication and that along with huge DVD sales helped to cause Fox to take the show back, but pre-2003 Family Guy and later Family Guy became different shows. Audiences in 2003 were using online forums to talk about shows more than ever and audience reaction to some things changed parts of the show. Meg was kind of ignored before, but now she was outright hated by others in the cast and the cut-aways and references to other media and history and just anything got far more intrusive.

The show doubled down on the shock humor and just referencing other things. Not even referencing them in a way that informs the scene or the rest of the story. You see this kind of comedy used in other shows, not so much the cut ways, but the references. Some of them care enough to fit the reference into what’s actually happening. When Archer says “I hate surprises, well except surprise fellatio, unless it’s the Midnight Cowboy kind” that references another piece of media, but it’s also not stopping the action of the plot and even if the reference were removed it would be funny.

Family Guy just throws any old reference up into a space to waste time in an episode. Twenty-one minutes turns into thirteen when you find a way to waste the other eight on bullshit. And the huge problem with it all is that it’s become a way that people will talk to others. I can remember a time when just pointing out that you and someone else remembered something wasn’t in and of itself comedy.

Especially considering that a lot of people don’t even remember the things that are being referenced on Family Guy (seriously, does anyone really remember the DuMont Television network? It ran from ten years, from 1946 until 1956 when it was dissolved).

I’ve seen it creep into real life to a small degree with some of my friends. They’re not even referring to things from media some of the time, they’re just referencing unfunny, unremarkable bits from our actual lives. It’s usually used as a kind of exclusion of a party who is there that didn’t share in the moment. Can’t see any other purpose for it.

As I pointed out earlier with the Archer example this kind of thing can work. When enough people are in on the joke and the joke holds some relevance and doesn’t distract or when it’s just really smart, but not in a condescending way. Your average writing team on television isn’t crafty enough to pull it off, especially not on a weekly basis.

Maybe you can point out that it is a small thing or that it’s not really having any effect that wouldn’t have happened, but that’s just not how intertextuality works. Other works are going to be affected by what’s happened, even if they are affected because they resist the change.