Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Enough! National School Walkout Held Today

Earlier today, I attended a rally in support of the students participating in the National School Walkout. This protest is being held in schools across the US today, on the one month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida.

Via the Women's March website:
"Women’s March Youth Empower is calling for a National School Walkout to protest Congress’ refusal to take action on the gun violence epidemic plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. Our elected officials must do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to this violence. Students and allies are organizing a National School Walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship. We view this work as part of an ongoing and decades-long movement for gun violence prevention, in honor of all victims of gun violence ㅡ from James Brady to Trayvon Martin to the 17 people killed in Parkland."
Student organizers and the nonprofit organization Everytown For Gun Safety are also planning a march for later this month, on March 24th, in Washington, DC and across the US, called the March For Our Lives.

For many years, it's been hard for me not to feel helpless about gun violence in the United States. I want to feel hopeful, particularly in light of the recent waves of activism, but feeling hopeful sometimes just feels naive because so often, nothing ever changes with respect to gun violence.

Still, I choose to show up, if only to stand in solidarity with those who are in mourning, those who are fearful, those who are angry, and those who have more hope than I do.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Radio Wednesday: "The Joke" - Brandi Carlile

If you've been reading this here blog for awhile, it's no secret that our current political situation is distressing to me. I want to be optimistic, but some days it's hard. I am sustained largely by family, friends, working out, eating well, writing, caffeine, vodka, satisfyingly resonant political pieces, pop culture, and music.

Brandi Carlile's latest album, By the Way, I Forgive You is a poignant work of art for this political moment. I was casually listening to the album in the car when I was struck by the lyrics to one of the stand-out songs, "The Joke":
You get discouraged, don't you, girl?
It's your brother's world for a while longer
We gotta dance with the devil on a river
To beat the stream
Call it living the dream, call it kicking the ladder
They come to kick dirt in your face
To call you weak and then displace you
After carrying your baby on your back across the desert
I saw your eyes behind your hair
And you're looking tired, but you don't look scared
The first two lines are almost certainly about the 2016 election and, as I was listening, I felt a sense of deep sadness, followed by a validation that I feel has largely been missing in mainstream punditry.

While the mainstream press has spent the last year and a half obsessing about Trump voters in general, and angry white men in particular, the meaning and impact of Hillary Clinton's loss to a misogynistic predator, for the girls living through this political moment has been explored much less. That is a failing, and it's one I think about often.

In my political writing, I think one of my biggest goals is to provide validation for posterity and anyone who may stumble across my posts, that we've been enduring some massive, fucked-up gaslighting about the pain many girls and women have experienced. Far too often, people like me are denigrated as "Hillary cultists" when the reality is that we simply, subversively refuse to hate women in a profoundly misogynistic society.

In the next verse, Carlile expresses an optimism that I don't always feel and that we, of course, are not assured.
Let 'em laugh while they can
Let 'em spin, let 'em scatter in the wind
I have been to the movies, I've seen how it ends
And the joke's on them
I will never stop hoping, at least.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

TV Corner: Everything Sucks! (and I Don't Care About McQuaid)

Over at Shakesville, I have shared a critique of Netflix original Everything Sucks!  

Specifically, I have strong opinions about male nerd intrusions during a specifically queer moment. Spoilers abound in the snippet below:

"Immediately after Kate and Emaline share their first kiss, the camera perspective widens and we see McQuaid storm into the auditorium. The camera then focuses on him watching the girls, while his face is fixed in agony over being confronted with the reality that Emaline is kissing someone else. After several seconds, he goes into the hallway, and we go with him, and he slumps back against a locker as if in visceral pain.

So, in what should be a triumphant moment for Kate, Emaline, and their respective self-discoveries, we are instead left watching a tangential heterosexual male nerd experience angst about what he has just watched the female characters do. We are implicitly invited to empathize with McQuaid.

It is a profoundly befuddling choice, although not surprising."
 Read the whole thing!

Friday, March 2, 2018

2018 Winter Olympics Roundup Friday

What kind of lesbian would I be if I didn't even mention the recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang?

The truth is, I don't understand many of the Winter Games. As an athlete, how do you just get into skeleton, for instance? The name alone is horrifying, and then you go headfirst at (checks Google) 90 miles per hour? NOPE. I also think it might help people appreciate the difficulty of each sport if regular non-Olympians did a run-through before each event, just for context. Just spit-ballin'.

Welp, now that I've really built up my expertise, here are my esteemed thoughts on the Winter Games:

1. Figure Skating

Given the degree to which women are hated, it is inherently subversive to be a femme guy. This is especially true in the Trump-Pence era, which politically has a been a big win for toxic, macho "I have the biggest nuke" masculinity.

Enter Adam Rippon, openly-gay, feminine US Olympic figure skater.

Rippon first came to my attention when he criticized the White House's decision to let the anti-LGBT Mike Pence lead the US delegation at the Olympic opening ceremonies. He was then later reported to have denied Mike Pence's request to meet for conversation (which Mike Pence publicly denied). The son of the sitting US President then, via Twitter, attacked the US Olympian during the Olympic games.

Despite the distractions, Rippon went on to help the US team win a bronze medal. Here's a great clip, from 2017, of him singing and then doing a routine to "Diamonds." As one does:

2. Hockey

Congratulations to the US Women's Hockey team for winning the gold medal! They beat Canada in a 3-2 shootout. I don't regularly watch hockey, but go team! YAY!

3. Curling

I watched the South Korea vs. Japan curling game at a bar with friends. We* were all big fans of the Korean team and, in particular, their leader - who seems quite skilled and has cool glasses (and is cute, but that's tangential):

The South Korean team seemed to be underdogs at the Olympics as, in an interview, the coach alluded to difficulties in obtaining resources for curling in South Korea. However, they ended up winning the silver medal. Congratulations!

As a fun fact, the team members each gave themselves English nicknames that were breakfast foods. The more you know, folks!

(*n = me)

That's pretty much my rundown. I'm sure a lot of other meaningful and cool things happened.What else happened? What else are people watching, playing, reading, or doing?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

I Can't Stop Thinking About This

Someone privately explained to me that "big mo" might a sportsball reference to signify "big momentum," but as a sporty lesbian I'm here to say that momentum is not what immediately crosses my mind when I hear the word "mo."