February 2004 Archives

Have we all been blind?

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I can't believe I didn't see this earlier. As if we needed more proof.
Evil Bert on set with pal Gibson.

The worst intentions

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Jaded Ju's blog, which has had a recent redesign--I think of its style as Depressive Baroque--tipped me off to the existence of The International Jewish Conspiracy web site. I don't actually qualify as a member, but I feel obliged to point out that if I did, I certainly would not tell you.

Speaking of conspiracies, I've been rather stunned by the degree of pussy-footing around the issue of anti-semitism as it relates to Mel Gibson and his hateful movie. But then again, as a lesbian, I already know Gibson is no stranger to hate. Gays and lesbians have long tousled with Mel Gibson over the anti-gay sentiments he's espoused both on and off screen. It's no accident that Satan appears to be androgynous in his film, nor that things go seriously wrong after one man kisses another. So is it really surprising that Mel felt compelled to make a film zealously focused on punishing a nearly naked male body? Methinks the lady doth whip too much.

Oh, look what I made:
A Church sign reads: Mel Gibson Sucks

L is for Loving this TV Series

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Recently, the Cute-Little-Red-Headed Girlfriend and I faced a household crisis around the new show The L Word. We've known it was coming for some time, but because the history of pro-lesbian shows is not stellar, we were torn about investing in a cable or satellite system just to get it.

After the series premiere, which we caught on a videotape provided by an obliging friend, we were so sold on the show that getting access through our own TV set-up became a pressing concern. So after many years of abstaining from pay TV, I took advantage of the free-installation-in-time-for-the-Superbowl offer and got DirectTV installed with ShowTime.

The Cute-Little-Red-Headed Girlfriend is now totally obsessed with this show, and I'm fairly involved as well. I was sad to see that Television Without Pity was not offering episode recaps, however, a post on decaf venti tipped me off to the blow-by-blow coverage on After Ellen, a fantastic resource. Plus, there are multiple fan sites for the show with active message boards and a few sites have also cropped up dedicated to the various actors/characters.

It's a great ensemble show, and does a very good job at capturing some typical aspects of lesbian life. The drama and the trauma, as I like to call it. I know people have complained that the lesbian characters aren't really representative of the community, but how can you ask any group of characters living in Los Angeles--gay or straight--to represent "reality"? This ain't Kansas, Dorothy. To me, the most unrealistic part of the show has nothing to do with lesbianism. It's the sheer size of the character's houses relative to their probable incomes. But I'm picking nits.

I was interested to hear the skepticism voiced about the lesbian tennis pro character at Almost There, brand new to my blogroll. I also found this character, who is supposed to be in the closet and unable to get a date, less than believable. The idea that a female tennis pro could be sitting in a lesbian cafe and not have panties thrown at her feet by all-too-willing dykes is a ridiculous fancy.

Now that I have DirectTV I can make good use of Queery, a gay and lesbian TV guide that I happened upon somewhere. That is, when I'm not watching the cartoon network.

Rise of the mini-series

Last week, the New York Times ran a story on changes coming to network series television. (I haven't linked to it, since New York Times links expire in a few days.) The gist was that we may be seeing the end of the 20+ episodes a year TV series in favor of shorter series runs and one-shot mini-series.

It looks as though this affects both dramatic and comedic series. The Times article appeared to be prompted by NBC's decision to run a reality show on Thursday night instead of back-to-back sitcoms. Reality shows in general seem tied to the demise of series TV, because they allow networks to dispense with scripts, and thus, writer payrolls.

I'm happy to see shorter series appear, but I hope that long-run TV series continue. There are both short and long-run series in the comics world, and although I was initially unhappy with the growth of 4-6 issue comics series, I've come to appreciate them over time. Sometimes, a story can seem truncated by the short series format. For example, I felt the ending to the Vertigo series Cinnamon, which I praised when it first appeared, was rushed. It might have been the fault of the writing, but it might also have been that the story required a longer run to develop.

The network TV series that have my eye these days include Alias; Enterprise, which has finally become consistent amidst rumors that it may be axed; Line of Fire, for its psycho mob boss and butch FBI chief; and on the comedy side, Whoopi, for its city humor and cheeky celebration of drinking, smoking and other anti-family values.

Second thoughts

After a few days of thinking on the subject, I've decided to be a bit more direct than I was on Monday regarding the flap between Dirk Deppey and Neilalien. The fact that I was reluctant to say anything about this to begin with points to part of the problem. Because of his insider status and the semi-professional status of his weblog, Dirk Deppey is not like other bloggers. He is a demi-celebrity in the comics blogosphere, an A-lister among us. He does a great job covering things that no one else is touching, and for that he deserves attention. But his ability to focus a large audience makes it intimidating for a blogger like myself to contradict him.

Nonetheless, part of what blogging means to me is having the freedom to speak from a position outside of industry or traditional publishing. Blogging is a personal exercise, in that it has also allowed me to create alliances and friendships I would not have formed otherwise. So, partly because I disagree with his actions, and partly because Neilalien is my friend, I want to say: for Dirk to have used his spotlight and the platform of an interview to attack Neilalien was fucked up. The fact that Neilalien felt he was misrepresented by the attack makes the act that much uglier. Since then, Dirk has written, "I believe Neilalien is taking this shit way too personally," asserting that "I believe that nothing I've said recently has involved anything which a reasonable adult would consider 'much to Neilalien's insult.'" You're wrong, Dirk. This reasonable adult finds it insulting.

Into the fray

Holy Cow. I can't believe I missed this dogfight. It gave me flashbacks to every other microcultural struggle I've witnessed during my lifetime: hardcore Hollywood punks vs. hardcore OC punks, lesbian separatists versus pro-sex lesbians, deconstructionists versus postmarxists, grey matter bloggers versus movable type bloggers, etc., etc., etc. It reminds me of a quote I once heard attributed to Rita Mae Brown's mother regarding lesbian disputes over whether it's feminist to shave: "People who are seriously engaged in fighting over armpit hair obviously don't care about power" (paraphrase).

Of course, some may not agree that this is argument is microcultural. As Dirk Deppey says, speaking of Neilalien's reputed position:

The big problem I have with this theory is that it sacrifices long-term growth and stability for short-term satisfaction and self-absorption.

Long-term growth and stability are industry values, while satisfaction--short term or otherwise--and self-absorption are goods that refer to the individual consumer or reader. I don't think the set-up is fair, exactly. But then again, I am a reader, not a publisher. As such, I am not particularly concerned with the economic health of the comics industry, or the book industry, or the record industry, or any of the other industries that provide me with "satisfaction." It may be "self-absorbed," but propping up capitalism is not on my short-list of to-dos.

Mysterious Orb does not lie

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I have been disgustingly sick. Just a cold, but a lingering one, the cold that would not leave! I knew things were not going well for me when I consulted Neilalien's Mysterious Orb on the subject last weekend. When the sound of the orb's shrieking demons died down, the answer was distinctly unpromising.

So I'm catching up on my blog reading today, having mostly slept, worked, and sneezed for too long. I find myself agreeing with Tegan that the Sea Monkey action figures are incredibly desirable. Would I be wrong in thinking they are just the thing to kick this cold in the pants?

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