The Winter Solstice was officially yesterday, but this is the time of year where we like to drag out the celebration. It's drizzly and cool here. (Texas is not terribly great at winter, really.) There are so many holidays going on--I believe every major religion observes one at some point this month. (Which is why it pisses me off when 'practitioners' of a certain major religion attempt to erase the others. I thought sharing was a good thing?) This is, clearly, an important time of year for many. I hope that, whatever way you choose to celebrate it (or not), may you and yours have a joyous time and that the New Year brings you wonders and love.
I watched the first season of The Crown as a form of research. (I needed to see a woman in a leadership role badly. I still do. It's hard to imagine things you've never seen or experienced.) I've been watching Madam Secretary too. It's so rare that we see women in roles of power at that level. FYI: I'm not a fan of the Queen or the Royal family. Therefore, I resisted at first. But I was desperate. So, I relented. As it turns out, season 1 was great. I really enjoyed it. I didn't care for Philip--what a big baby! But it was fun for the most part. So, I signed on for season 2. And here's where it got really interesting.
For a start, it turns out that yes, even if a woman were to have all the money and power in the world--she'd still have to put up with bullshit from the Patriarchy. In this case, in the form of her husband. It is at this point where I'll put the rest behind a 'Read More' tag because Spoilers Abound.
Good morning, y'all. Ready for those links? I know I am. Here we go.
I read a really great essay on Tor.com the other day. It's called Fear of the Female Voice and it's by Sarah Gailey. It's a wonderful, powerful piece. If you haven't read it yet, you should. Go ahead. The rest of us will wait here while you read it. We're not going anywhere. I promise. Go on.
There? Done? Good. So, I just finished watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which is a new series written by Amy Sherman-Palladino. I'm a huge fan of Ms. Sherman-Palladino. Gilmore Girls (the entire library was on Netflix--it might still be. If it is, GO WATCH IT.) got me through the terrible time after the 2017 election. Seriously. I was so depressed, but watching those two get through the ups and downs with a smile (and a more than a few tears) made me think back on the days when I could pretend that there was a time when a woman running for office wasn't an automatic trip to the 1950s time loop we're in now. It made me think back to that glorious fantasy of a reality when women's voices weren't "too shrill" for public office. (Let's fact it, ladies. It was a fantasy. Think back to all the ridiculous complaints about HRC and re-read what Sarah Gailey said about women's voices on the radio. Yes, bats and ghouls, THAT'S SEXISM.)
Here we are one year later and women's voices are being used to bring down abusive, powerful, sexist men. There's even a movement in New York state to put a toothier law in place that prohibits men with Domestic Violence convictions from owning guns. (See: “Where there are more guns, more women die”: A Harvard public health expert breaks down the data on firearms and women’s safety.) Since there is a strong link between Domestic Abusers and mass shooters, GOOD.
Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote another show. Unfortunately, the program is with the evil Amazon, and you can't see it unless you subscribe to Amazon Prime. (Yeah. Fuck you, Amazon. A lot.) I binged the show, and is it ever binge-worthy.
It's about a woman who (after her husband has an affair and leaves her) finds her voice and herself in stand up comedy. It's brilliant. It's funny. It's heartwarming. It's even a little depressing. (I ended up feeling a little sorry for Joel, even if he's a schmuck.) Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) has a wonderful voice. I love her. I love her manager Susie (played by Alex Borstein.) I'll be honest. I've always hated the 1950s. It was the epitome of everything that is awful about the Patriarchy. Reading The Feminine Mystique only intensified that hatred. (Frankly, I'd never want to be a time traveller as a woman. There really isn't an era before now that was even remotely pleasant. And it's so much worse if you're a person of color, or gay, or trans, or disabled. Yeah. Fuck that.) Anyway, the show is very Feminist and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Amy S-P is amazing with dialog--particularly my favorite kind of dialog, the fast banter. It's wonderful. I am in awe.
Mind you...the show isn't worth tying your future purchasing power to a retailer that doesn't support your local community forever and ever, but it's worth a month or two of Amazon fees. So... fuck it. Here's hoping Amy S-P ties herself to a production company not infamous for fucking over creatives just so they can have more low-priced "content." [shudder]
 Yeah. I got the stupid Prime account not only because of Amy S-P, but because Amazon instituted some squirrelly rule about how they couldn't guarantee your holiday gifts would reach recipients in time a whole week and a half before Christmas. Unless you have Prime, of course. So, I signed on and will promptly tell them to fuck off after a couple of months.
For those who haven't heard...and as often as I mention this project (or read from it in public) there are Readers who haven't heard about it...I'm working on a Space Opera. The elevator pitch is: Persephone Station is a gender-flipped Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven set in space with six women of color and one white woman who never speaks. It will be published by Saga Press of Simon and Schuster. Looking for music to inspire such a thing has been fun. I'm still searching--that's a lot of the fun with this sort of thing, at least for me. So, I may have posted a list before. It's changed since then. It generally does as I get acquainted with the characters and the story. So, in no particular order...
1) Short Change Hero -- The Heavy
2) Killing Strangers -- Marilyn Manson
3) The Fade Out Line -- Phoebe Killdeer & The Short Straws
4) Can't Kill Us -- The Glitch Mob
5) Beat the Devil's Tattoo -- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6) Lay Myself Down -- Mazzy Star
7) Tennis Court -- Lourde
8) Intro -- The XX
10) No Soul (PMT Remix) -- ILS/The Crystal Method
11) Butterfly -- Bassnectar (featuring Mimi Page)
12) Predator (Final Mix) -- Front Line Assembly
13) Black Melt -- Massive Attack
14) Overkill -- Kosheen
15) Say My Name -- ODESZA (featuring Zyra)
16) Anxiety -- Ladyhawke
17) Heart of Stone -- Ravonettes
18) Two Weeks -- FKA twiggs
19) You Don't Get Me High Anymore -- Phantagram
20) Stigmata -- Marilyn Manson & Tyler Bates
I spent most of the past few days with the muscled in my back tensed--ready for the horrible news that the state of Alabama elected a corrupt pedophile because he was running as a Republican. Things have been that squirrelly around here. I was starting to think that we'd reached the point of no return. I got even more stressed when I heard about some of the stunts that were being pulled to prevent black voters from voting. Nonetheless, Democrat Doug Jones won the Senate seat in a staunchly Republican state. I can't even begin to tell you how relieved and happy I am about this. (Mind you, its' taken a while to loosen the tension in my shoulders and back.) This is a good sign regarding the 2018 elections. I was almost as happy as I was when I heard about the indictments of Manafort and Gates in October. All of these are signs that we've a chance to seriously slow down this shit show in 2018. But it's clear an important message has got to sink in when it comes to the Democratic party. This, from the previous link: "Jones’s mobilization of African American voters was critical to his victory, and Democrats saw in his turnout emphasis a model for how the party must mobilize its essential voter coalitions in the coming year. In the final weekend of the campaign, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and other prominent black Democrats rallied for Jones."
That's right, black voters were key to the win. Let me repeat that: black voters were key to the win, not disillusioned white Trump voters--black voters. It's long past time we stopped focusing on whites who voted for Trump. I've long felt those articles were a form of racism. Why focus on 32% of those who bothered to vote and still support the scumbag when we need to shore up and unify the other 68%? Black voters are important to the political process and they outnumber white Trumpians. Where are all the heartfelt articles about their anxieties and needs?
Anyway, I'm thrilled to death about Alabama's special election results. Now, let's see if the Republicans pull out all the stops to prevent Jones from assuming his seat ASAP. There are already rumors that they will push for a wait until after the vile Tax bill is passed. Did I mention I'm sick to death of Republicans being lying, cheating, scummy bastards?
 Alabama recently instilled a photo ID law--one wherein voters are required to have a state sanctioned picture ID in order to cast a vote. It's one of the oldest means of preventing minority groups and the poor from voting. It costs money and time to obtain a driver's license or a state ID. And they have to be periodically renewed. The poor can't afford either. As it turns out, a lot of the stories about Alabama closing driver's license offices in primarily black neighborhoods were from 2015. (They decided against it after catching vast amounts of flack for it.) However, I did see reports of individuals traveling to the polls being held by police for minor traffic violations for up to an hour before finally being ticketed.
Good morning, y'all. Ready for some righteous rage, serious thought, and maybe a little laughter? Okay. Let's do this thing, shall we? Today's videos (sorry for all the white cis women, y'all. i'll do better next week.):
I'm going to complain again about YouTube. I subscribe to The Freq Show. Why the fuck do I need to see an anti-feminist barf her internalized bigotry all over the screen after I watch a Feminist video? Fuck Off, YouTube. Fuck. Off. (In other words, don't just let the video continue to play after it's done, folks.)
And now for the links.
Folks are gearing up their lists for awards-eligible work and well...mine's not much of a list. (As you can tell, I suck at this self promotion thing.) There's only Blackthorne, my 700 page Epic Fantasy novel and the sequel to Cold Iron. I really do need to start writing short stories. :) Oh! And today I got the following feedback:
"And holy shit guys. This is a HELL of an epic fantasy. Lots of women characters with agency. Queer rep. And serious critique of the shitty power structures of fantasy feudalism. AND a great yarn. Seriously impressed.
The last chapter contains the line. "Honestly, the stories people in power tell themselves to justify their station."
"heirs to a kingdom are heroes because they dismantle its power structures" is my dream fantasy plot."
Mind you, officially that's for Cold Iron, but it could easily be for Blackthorne too.
"I don't get it. Who was that little boy and what did he have to do with Bruce Willis?"
--woman who was obviously unclear on the concept of 'time travel story' in a theater restroom after having seen the film 12 Monkeys
This morning, I read an article about how the (male) producer of the movie Annihilation is at odds with its (male) director. This, because "After the screening, Ellison (the producer) became concerned that the movie was “too intellectual” and “too complicated” and wanted changes made to make it appeal to a wider audience." Okay. A couple of things here. First? Because one of the changes he wanted to make involved making Natalie Portman's character, the biologist, more 'sympathetic' I can't help feeling a lot of the issues involve men and misogyny. I read the novel. The biologist is a complex, even difficult character. She's not a happy person. Women are simply not allowed to be difficult on screen in mainstream America unless they're being categorized and dismissed. (see The Iron Lady) Secondly, SFF has never actually been a mainstream thing. It's niche. Most people who watch super hero films don't read comics, and most consumers of SFF media don't read. You can see this at ComicCons everywhere. The entire focus is on TV or film stars and buying media-related...stuff. The literary arm of the convention--even comic book art--is an afterthought. Better yet, compare the attendance numbers between SFF literary conventions (100-800 people) and ComicCons.
I'll say it again. SFF is not actually a mainstream thing. TV and film are.
This is the time of year when I want to be positive and hopeful about humanity in general. Needless to say, last year was a tough one in that department. This year has also been challenging--already, but so far, it hasn't been quite as bad. I'm over the shock for a start.
For the record, I'm a fan of "Happy Holidays!" People who insist on "keeping Christ in Christmas" are merrily attempting to erase every other belief system that exists. No one group has a monopoly on holy days in December, y'all. So, learn to share. That used to be a core Christian belief. Whatever happened to it?
Anyway, we bought our tree early this year, and Dane and I decorated it together. (I prefer live trees. I love the smell.) I also enjoy watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, and this year I even got to see Santa arrive. Usually, I'm too busy in the kitchen and miss that part. For me, the holidays aren't The Holidays without seeing Santa at the end of that parade. I blame Miracle on 34th Street. (Doris Walker, Susan's mother, works for Macy's and manages the parade.) I prefer the 1947 version for the record. The reason why is because there are little details that don't hold the same punch when you don't have the freshly dead specter of WWII hanging overhead. For example the following scene has a lot of power when you understand that that kid is a war orphan. This film premiered in 1947--just two years after the end of the war.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.