Novel soundtracks aren't unique. Most authors write to music. So, I'm not unusual when I say that music is a big part of my creative process. Music inspires my story-brain. So, often specific songs tell the story from the perspective of a specific character. Sometimes it's more general--like the mood of a place or outlook of a group of imaginary people. Anyway, y'all can blame Fran Wilde for today's post. She asked for a soundtrack mix from me. I figured I might as well give you all of them at once. Because I'm thorough that way. [cough] Okay. I love this shit. That's the truth.
Good morning, my furies. How are you today? Shall we get started with the Monday morning rage?
Today's activism checklist from Jen Hofmann. And today's video:
Literary/Entertainment: I wasn't sure under which category to place this link. Since I recently wrote an article on the subject for Skiffy and Fanty (it should be up soon) and it's a story near and dear to the heart of SF, I'm going to place it here. Study: We're Teaching Artificial Intelligence to Be Just as Racist and Sexist as Humans. From the article, "Caliskan insists that these sorts of problems are a fact of life for the way that machine learning works currently, but that there are solutions that can be implemented in the future. For one, it would be beneficial to hire more AI developers who are people of color and/or women and have a more acute awareness of these biases from the jump. But also, Caliskan said, there’s a need for transparency as to how these machines are being taught." Cons Need to Stop Using the “We’re Just Fans” Defense When Things Go Terribly Wrong. In general, cons should stop blaming outside factors when they're called out on biases. They should also do something about accessibility, rather than blaming the hotel. It's time to be inclusive, or die the slow death of not having a new audience. Is it difficult to change? Speaking as a white woman who writes professionally--IT IS. It can be quite painful at times. But you know what? I view inclusion as part of my job. It is not my job to decide who belongs in SF/F and who doesn't. It's not the job of cons to do so either. Here are a couple more articles on the same subject: OdysseyCon and Why Serial Harassers Are Safe In Our Community by K. Tempest Bradford and ODYSSEY CON FUCKS UP BUT GOOD by Natalie Luhrs. See also Five Geek Social Fallacies. Next up: White Privilege, Explained in One Simple Comic. Great article by Emily Asher-Perrin over at Tor.com: The Peril of Being Disbelieved: Horror and the Intuition of Women. And Sculptor of Wall Street's bull wants 'Fearless Girl' moved. One of my favorite things about that article is the statement by the artist that the bull stands for "freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love" because nothing says "Peace, Love, Dove, and Peter Frampton!" like an angry bull pawing the ground. ROFL. John Scalzi talks about Punching Nazi's. And on the fun side: Custom Women's Armor Is Practical, But Also Cool.
General: Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men. Holy shit, we should not be okay with this. Concentration camps are not a good thing. And that's just another reason why Russia isn't the US's friend, GOP. Elizabeth Warren on the Persistent Wage Gap: "That Has to Stop". The Woman Who Saved New York City from Superhighway Hell. I'd venture to say that she'd not be terribly happy about the new wave of real estate moguls making their way through cities now--both in the US and outside of it. On Easter, Mary Magdalene will be maligned as a prostitute. Except she wasn’t. That one has bothered me for most of my life. And the lack of representation in Christianity is the biggest reason why I quit Christianity. I have to put up with second class citizenship every day of my life. Why should I do the same in the afterlife? Spirituality's purpose is to uplift, comfort, and inspire. Being told I'm not as worthy as a white male is not something I find calming. The opposite, really. Trump privately signs anti-Planned Parenthood law. Historically whenever states rights are touted in the US, it has been to enact or protect a bigoted law. In fact, its first proponents in America were racist southerners interested in keeping slaves. (Yes. That's before the Civil War, y'all.) And that's why I roll my eyes every time I hear that stance. The next link contains references to abuse. Trigger Warning: Out of Reach. No. It's not okay to be racist and run a business. No. It's not part of your constitutional rights. Yes, you should have your license removed if you engage in bigotry. If you can't handle having Americans of all races in your home then perhaps you shouldn't operate a hotel. ‘One word says it all. Asian’: Airbnb host reportedly leaves guest stranded because of her race. Next: The Deadliest Shootings In 2016 You Didn’t Hear About. Saffiyah Khan, Woman In Birmingham EDL March Photo, Tells Story Behind Viral Picture. Another Trigger Warning for abuse: About Uber.
I'm on season three of The Fall, and I'm loving it. It's the most Feminist perspective on crime fiction I've ever seen. Every time I think it's going to turn back to the usual sexist perspective, it teaches me about my own assumptions. The writers are deeply knowledgeable about Feminism. They also seem to know a great deal about psychology--that's important when your show is about serial killers. The psychological aspect of crime is one of the reasons why I enjoy stories like this. (Psychology was one of my majors, after all.) Now that I've hit season three of the The Fall, the reason why I bounced so hard when I hit Hannibal became clear.
I'm going to attempt to discuss this without spoilers.
Throughout, The Fall has always made the non-standard choice with its POV character Stella Gibson. When she sleeps with men she treats them as men have historically treated women. She limits the intimacy. She keeps well-defined boundaries. When men cross lines, she calls them out on it. (And if they ignore the warning, she breaks their nose.) She points out that rape is rape and so is attempted rape. She doesn't let men fool themselves into thinking that just because they're not wearing a black mask and lurking in the shadows doesn't mean it's not assault. Over and over, when the men around her exhibit sexism she calls it out. Her consistency is amazing and brilliant. We've all internalized misogyny. It can't be helped. So, Stella even surprises me from time to time. For example, when one of her sexual partners tries to imply that she's sexually attracted to the killer, Paul Spector--because, You know, powerful men are hot. Am I right? [wink, wink, nudge, nudge] Her response is perfect. She talks about the study where men were asked why they hate women so much? What do they fear? The answer was: they were afraid women would laugh at them. When women were asked the same question the answer was: they were afraid men would kill them. The bed partner blinks, not understanding what this has to do with his question. She then says, "I'm not attracted to Spector. I hate him with every fiber of my being." Hearing that story trope (Beauty and the Beast) juxtaposed with that interview data made something click in my brain. And that's why during the last episode of The Fall's season two I wasn't fooled. Stella is very clear about sexism. She's also very clear about herself and her own motives--too clear to be easily sucked in by the very thing that her bed partner implied.
Whenever women are placed in scenes with men for an extended period of time it's assumed they will become romantically involved no matter how inappropriate the match. It's a trope.
And that's the reason why I hated Hannibal suddenly clicked into place. I'd read Silence of the Lambs. It's brilliant. In fact, it's one of my favorite novels. It's one of the few times a female protagonist is matched against such an intelligent and horrific antagonist, and not only does she come out on top--they never fuck. Clarice Starling is not a man in a woman suit, nor is she a Fighting Fuck Toy™. She's a complex character. She's real. And when she falls hopelessly in love with Hannibal in the next novel it rang false. It felt like a betrayal of the character. She was never in love with Hannibal. He scared the shit out of her. I believe Hannibal could fall for her. Sure. He's every bit arrogant enough to assume that. But Clarice would never fall for Hannibal--he's everything she stands against--everything she worked her whole life to fight. There is no way in hell. There just isn't. The assumption that power is what attracts women and trumps (pun intended) every other repugnant quality is a sexist myth. It's one that is internalized by women, certainly. (see Beauty and the Beast) However, that doesn't mean it's okay or even that it's truth. It needs to die.
Many thanks to the writers of The Fall for doing their part in that effort.
I don't remember who recommended this series to me. I want to say it was my friend Ben. We've had a number of conversations about strong female characters--as opposed to Fighting Fucktoys™ and he's got a good eye for such things. Gillian Anderson's Stella Gibson definitely qualifies. I bounced hard the first time I tried to watch it. But I came back to it because I'd forgotten that I'd watched bits of it before. It wasn't long before I remembered, mind, but The Fall is set in Belfast. I enjoy watching films, tv, and such set in places I've visited. It's fun.
What sold me: shortly after I reached the point where I'd bailed before, Stella reams out her superior for slut-shaming one of the victims. "All victims [of serial killers] are innocent, including prostitutes." The discussion about anthropology. 'walking marriages' and 'sweet nights' just sounded like thinly veiled excuses to be abusive to men. Also, just yet another portrayal of Feminists as man-haters and ball-busters. It didn't convince me. However, the speech about slut-shaming? That hooked me enough to continue. I'm glad I did.
Possible spoilers ahead. The rest of this post is behind the cut. Scroll down.
 I've a thing about infidelity--I hate it as a story element, and will automatically ditch in most cases. I don't find it remotely sympathetic, and it takes a great deal of work to come back from that one. Particularly when the character isn't remorseful about it. It's a button I have.
 And I'd just bailed on The Killing--I grow frustrated and bored with murder mysteries that drag on and on without any kind resolution. And let's face it, no political figure would last 15 seconds with that shit hanging over him. [pause] Yes, there's Trump proving otherwise, but frankly, if I wanted to watch that I'd just turn on the news.
 My trust issues and past do, in fact, color my view of open relationships. That doesn't mean I'm right. It just means there's no way in hell I could be in a relationship like that.
Good morning y'all. Ready for those links? Okay. First up, today's video. It's about Brixton and music in the 1970s which is sadly, still pertinent. Oh, and this is some context for you for the next time you hear The Clash's Guns of Brixton.
Next, here's this week's action items. Jen Hofmann's Activism Checklist.
Literary/Entertainment: “Stop turning superheros into social justice warriors.” They’ve always been sjw. An essay by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry Act Up, Rise Up. And hello hot mess: Marvel Releases Statement On Controversial X-Men Gold Art. (Skip the video. It's not relevant. Go straight to the text.) And gaming company Green Ronin is searching for a few great writers who identify as women. This naturally angered a certain sector of the internet. [eyeroll] I say, sock those assholes in the eye. APPLY. :) Kate Elliot talks about The narrative of women in fear and pain. For the record, her points are exactly why I didn't use Liam's abuse to titillate the reader. I told his suffering in terms of its psychological ramifications. I detailed his emotional state and the physical aftermath. That's why so many find that scene so difficult. It tells the truth about sexual abuse. Another article: Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF. And MARVEL'S DIVERSITY PROBLEM says things I agree with and things that I don't. McSweeney's Gender Bias Riddles. Mr. Tingle strikes again. Or should I say Dr. Tingle? :)
General: And racism rears its ugly head big time with How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs. If you don't understand why the "war on drugs" is/was racist you need to do some homework. Read the whole article. Rhetoric/spin is nothing--particularly when the bullshit about higher murder and crime rates is a giant LIE. The results are telling, and when a majority of those in prison and a major of those serving long terms for first time offenses are persons of color: the policy is racist. Trump asked African Americans what they had to lose. For this rural Kentucky community, the answer is tangible. Applying to College as a Wheelchair User. Shonda Rhimes, creator of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal’, joins Planned Parenthood board. And if you're an active Trump supporter, statistically YES YOU ARE A RACIST. If you're a quiet Trump supporter, you're still a racist. You're just not aware of it. MARINE CORPS UPDATE ON ADDRESSING GENDER BIAS, ONLINE MISCONDUCT. Advertisers flee ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ amid sexual-harassment claims against host.
And personal story about boat stuff under cut.
Today is Friday, and we're about to launch off into the weekend. I thought it'd be a good day to share some of the films I've enjoyed. Maybe you can find something you haven't seen and then I'll have contributed in a small way to your having a good weekend. (I vote yes.) So, here we go.
Animation: Frankly, if you haven't seen any of Hayao Miyazaki's films you should drop everything and rent all of them now. Speaking as a person with an animation degree, they're absolutely gorgeous. My current favorite is Kiki's Delivery Service.
Yes, it's a kid's movie. Watch it anyway. It's beautiful, heart-warming, and perfect for when you're stuck in bed with a virus or have simply had a bad day. Mind you, some would jump on my case for not opening with My Neighbor Totoro or Princess Mononoke. They wouldn't be wrong in doing so (I love both of those too), but I did say watch all of the movies, right? :) Miyazaki is my favorite animator, and I adore just about everything his studio does. So if it's time to get in touch with your inner kid, you can't go wrong with a Studio Ghibli film this weekend.
Science Fiction: My favorite SF films are kind of old, I admit, but you may not have seen them. So, I'll mention them anyway. First on the list is always Bladerunner.
Much like Feminist Monday, I've been collecting a number of news articles about the current US political landscape in order to get a bigger picture of what's happening. I think it's a valuable perspective, one that gets lost in the day to day firehose of data. Today I'm pulling together some stories about the current presidential administration. Here goes.
First, some context. A short video about Watergate and the film that Robert Redford made about it. For even more context, here's a timeline of the events. No. It didn't happen overnight. Stories came out in the press overtime much like they're doing now.
Here's a good general article: THE TRUMP-RUSSIA SCANDAL IS BEGINNING TO SNOWBALL. Early in March, Trump accused Obama of a felony via Twitter. Ever since, the Republicans have been scrambling to prove the accusation. (The recent attempt at blaming Susan Rice is the 3rd fail.) I assume they're doing this because if they don't, Trump has opened himself up for a slander lawsuit. Obama hasn't acted upon it because, I assume, he's aware there are more important fish to fry. Obama is far more intelligent and has played the long game more often than not. Trump has the intellectual stamina of a mayfly. It's also an attempt to shift the American people's focus away from the ever increasing evidence of Trump's ties to Putin: The Trump White House is in deep legal trouble, according to Trump’s own standards. Who is ‘Source D’? The man said to be behind the Trump-Russia dossier’s most salacious claim. And here's a thoroughly documented series of tweets on the subject by Seth Abramson: The plot to sell America's foreign policy for foreign oil _and_ steal an election in the bargain began at the Mayflower Hotel. (The thread is at least 40 tweets long and has a long list of documented sources.) According to Abramson, the whole thing boils down to a lucrative oil deal for Russia. Since a large piece of Russia's economy depends upon the sale of oil, it makes sense. Also, Russian Elite Invested Nearly $100 Million In Trump Buildings, Records Show which leads us to Ethics Watchdogs Want U.S. Attorney To Investigate Trump's Business Interests. Also this: FBI investigation continues into 'odd' computer link between Russian bank and Trump Organization.
Personally, I feel the reason this is taking so long is because the issue is being taken seriously. The DC establishment isn't messing around. They want to put a serious dent in Trump's administration. When even Trump's Secretary of Education apparently has a connection to Russia I can see why.
Good morning, y'all. Hope you're Monday is going well. Ready for those links? Okay. Let's do this thing.
Another reason why Bill O'Reilly may shut the fuck up? Fox have paid $13M to settle multiple sexual harassment complaints. That doesn't say positive things about Fox either since this is the second time they've had to deal with sexual harassment issues. Clean up your act, Fox.
Today's call for activism: Jen Hofmann's Action Checklist.
I finally caught Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last night. I never read the novel, sorry. (Rowling lost me back when Harry Potter became the moody, self-involved teenager. Some characters can hold up against that, but not when the entire universe warps around them. It's just too much for me. Not that I feel she's a bad writer. She isn't. Just not my thing.) Anyway, it was every bit as gorgeous as I hoped it would be. The costumes were incredible. The sets were stunning. And my favorite characters were Queenie and the Baker character. The two of them couldn't have been cuter. I loved that. (In fact, at one point I told the screen, "He'd better mysteriously get the money for his bakery, and that shop had better be the most mysteriously successful bakery in New York." If you've seen the movie, you know exactly when I said it.) I'm normally not fond of the "fat, ugly dude gets the gorgeous gal" trope. It sends awful messages. However, there was actual chemistry between the two. It was very clear that Queenie fell for him for real. You could see how she lit up when he was in the room. It was like no one else existed. Plus, he, in turn, let her shine. He never once showed discomfort about her powers. He accepted her as she was and didn't try to mash her down to make himself bigger. They were like this matched set of bookends that wandered into the same room looking for some books to hold up.
Instead of books, they held up the whole movie.
Well...not a live one. Maybe a plastic one. I may be visiting Terra Toys today. Maybe. Or the Leggo Store. Maybe. I don't know. I should go see some Art, but I want to finish a short story. So, I should work. I can't make up my mind. Heh. Anyway, it's going to be a good day. It is already. I've got a girly make-over scheduled. I thought I'd give that a try. And birthday cake is on the agenda as well as DnD. (Sadly, I'm playing the thief tonight, not my paladin.) The largest part of my birthday already happened--in that Dane bought tickets to Stevie Nicks for me, but Dane being Dane, he produced birthday roses last night and a card with some iTunes points. (He knows how much I love music.) So, if nothing else materializes in the way of Happy Things, I'm way covered.
Anyway, shenanigans shall ensue shortly. Will report later for those with nothing much better to do. ;)
I hope your Wednesday is a great one.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.