Via Col.

media relations / fear of an ... archie comics book? really? REALLY? / 2012 february 29

Yes, REALLY.

So here's what Archie Comics gets for being the most progressive and interesting comics company today: a threatened boycott for one of its vendors.

[...] You want to know the really funny thing about this? The issue that they're targeting -- the one with not one but TWO gay weddings! (or one done twice, depending on how you view things) -- is over two months old. Life with Archie only comes out once every two months. Issue 16 has already been largely replaced on shelves by issue 17. (In which Veronica -- the version married to Archie -- pretty much loses her freakin' mind, and Mr. Lodge -- both of him -- turns out to be much more than you'd expect. Oh, and then there's the X-Files thing. And anyone who didn't know it finds out Jughead's real name. And both continuities come to a crossroads that DC only wishes it could have managed as well in "Flashpoint". But that's all rather beside the point.) ...

[...] I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Life with Archie is one of the best, if possibly not the best, titles being published in comics today. They manage to combine the melodrama with a somewhat realistic depiction of the sorts of things that young people go through today -- the Great Recession, although not mentioned as such, has not left Riverdale untouched -- as well as the odd touch of science fiction and fantasy....


Questions? Comments? Boycotts? Babblings?
grim amusements / 13 february 2012 / washington state says yea ... for now

.....I would be astonished if the anti-gay-marriage crowd fails to get enough signatures to put this onto the ballot. That said, if they do succeed, I hope the pro-gay-marriage crowd takes it into court prior to the vote on the grounds that a known hostile majority should not be allowed to vote to recognise the rights of a known-to-be-discriminated-against minority. (Though, to be fair, I'm not sure that argument is precisely a constitutional argument, either under the Washington state or federal constitutions. I would think that you'd be able to get the courts to invoke heightened scrutiny, though.)

What I found interesting, though, was a side comment somewhere: approximately 42% of people in this country now live in a state where gay marriage is legal. Of course, that's primarily due to California and New York, and it's not precisely legal in California at the moment. It's also due to the fact that our population is heavily concentrated in only a few areas; there are only seven states plus DC where gay marriage is legal; another 41 where, one way or another, the state has said, "NO! NO MARRIAGE FOR YOU, ICKY GAY PEOPLES!", either through constitutional amendment or some other law. Weirdly, several of those states grant something vaguely like civil union status. [...] There are also two (yes, TWO), where the state constitutions and any specifically exclusionary laws are, for the moment, utterly silent: New Jersey and New Mexico....
grim amusements / 7 february 2012 / proposition 8 falls ... for the moment

...Assume you have a known four justice block of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito against broadening the decision to allow gay marriage throughout the land. The remaining justices are Kennedy, Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Breyer. The decision is assumed to rest on what Kennedy decides to do. (I think it's probably safe to assume that Kagan, Ginsburg and Breyer would vote to strike down Prop. 8 on broader grounds and to allow gay marriage throughout the land. The few decisions that Sotomayor has had to make in this area prior to her Court experience lead one to think that she would probably support this decision, but also support the way in which it has been restricted so that it only applies to California.) It's difficult to imagine the author of Lawrence v. Texas voting to decide that marriage is so different in kind from everything else involved in that decision that he could sustain voting to refuse to allow marriage. It is beyond logically inconsistent, as Scalia went to some pain to point out in his furious dissent in that case.

Thing is, though, if the Court decides that they're not ready for this issue, but that they have no objection to striking down Prop. 8 in a way that's consistent both with Romer v. Evans and with Lawrence v. Texas, all they have to do is decline the case. Frankly, that really does seem the most likely result to me. [...] What I think is really going to be interesting, though, is what happens in Washington state after this. It seems likely that the Washington state legislature and governor are going to sign laws into existence that allow gays to marry in that state in the extremely near future. The Washington state branch of Project Marriage has already said that they plan to get the signatures to put the issue on the next ballot, and barring major disaster, they shouldn't have problems getting enough people to sign. And if it gets onto the ballot, it will pass, probably by a broader majority than Prop 8 passed....
Media Relations / 24 january 2012 / oscar, oscar, oscar! nominations and predictions, 2012

The thing I like about this year's nomination is that every single major category contains at least one "WTF?" moment. For all the predictability of the Academy Awards, you don't get that quite this consistently in the nominations process.

Overall, the entire nominations slate has a certain WTF? feel. Seldom has comedy been so well or frequently represented in all the major categories. The Academy generally prefers its ART to be VERY SERIOUS, dont'cha know.

So, as a complete outsider who frankly doesn't care about film that much, but loves awards shows and award show politicking, let's take a whack at this predictions stuff for the major categories, just for the hell of it, shall we? Let's shall....


Three entries, two weblogs, one week, more or less. Apparently, on a roll or something. Don't get used to it.
Grim Amusements / 23 January 2012 / illegal search and seizure -- apparently, the concept still exists in this country

...You know ... I'm by way of thinking that if you want to win your case, telling the Supreme Court that you have the authority (as opposed to the ability) to conduct what may be warrantless searches of the justices themselves is not a really good thing to do. [...] if the article is accurate, in a truly confusing maneuver, while the justices all agreed that the prolonged duration of this "search" without a warrant was unreasonable and thus resulted in the overturning of the sentence, they declined to state whether a warrant was required in the first place.

Seriously, an actual lawyer is going to have to go over that to make sense of it to me, because it sounds like the only thing the Court could clearly agree on was that the government had exceeded its authority in this particular case. They then bent themselves into pretzels to avoid telling the government exactly what its authority was....

...The issue, as noted, is that there are works which are foreign and became public domain in the US, but were still copyrighted in other parts of the world. Congress passed legislation to re-copyright some items to bring the US into full compliance with the Berne Convention. [...] In an article at Ars Technica, one of the plaintiff lawyers says that the decision "suggests Congress is not required to pay particularly close attention to the interests of the public when it passes copyright laws." To which, of course, the proper response is, "Well, DUH! When was the last time YOU noticed Congress paying particularly close attention to the interests of the public regarding ... well, anything?"...


I know! Two GA entries in the same week! Don't get used to it or anything.

Grim Amusements / 17 January 2012 / arizona vs its hispanic population -- again
...Apparently, Representative Proud has never heard of Arabic numbers. Which would explain a lot, really. But I digress, already.

So, let me get this straight-ish:

Arizona wants to make teaching the Bible a requirement, which would be illegal under both state and federal law.

In the meantime, they have stripped Tucson of a particular Mexican American literature class, despite being under federal orders to expand the Mexican American studies department specifically at the middle and high school levels. A law rather clearly aimed at that one class, but having broader effects for the entire school district.

...All-righty, then!

I am mildly, if only mildly, surprised that Tucson chose not to challenge the ruling....


It's actually been six months since the last GA entry. Clearly, I need to get the site update moving.
This may wind up being double posted, as the importer from Dreamwidth appears to be having Issues again.

media relations / 12 January 2012 / and the first shoe finally drops


DC COMICS IN 2012 – INTRODUCING THE “SECOND WAVE” OF DC COMICS-THE NEW 52
Thursday, January 12th, 2012
By Josh Kushins

In May of 2012, DC Comics will release a “Second Wave” of titles as part of its historic DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 initiative. Six new, ongoing series will build on the shared universe and bold concepts introduced in September 2011 with the renumbering of DC Comics’ entire line of comic books.[...] The six new series will replace BLACKHAWKS, HAWK AND DOVE, MEN OF WAR, MISTER TERRIFIC, O.M.A.C. and STATIC SHOCK, all of which will conclude with their eighth issues in April....



Given sales, I can't say that any of the cancellations surprises me. All but one of them would have been a hard sell, conceptually. I haven't heard much about Blackhawks, OMAC or Men of War -- I don't know anyone who read them, and I didn't care enough to look up the reviews. Everyone I know who tried it, and the few reviews I've read, say that "Hawk and Dove" was outright awful.

"Mister Terrific" was on my pull list, and I can say that ... it wasn't very good, frankly. [...] The one title where the cancellation saddens but doesn't entirely surprise me is "Static Shock." Sad, because it would have been nice if the title had been given a little more time to find its audience. Unsurprised because, if you didn't read the previous Static Shock title or watch the animated series, this title would have been utterly baffling....


(And on a purely webgeeky note: smart quotes in the URL, DC? Really? Surely you know better than THAT.)
media relations / 12 January 2012 / and the first shoe finally drops

Given sales, I can't say that any of the cancellations surprises me. All but one of them would have been a hard sell, conceptually. I haven't heard much about Blackhawks, OMAC or Men of War -- I don't know anyone who read them, and I didn't care enough to look up the reviews. Everyone I know who tried it, and the few reviews I've read, say that "Hawk and Dove" was outright awful.

"Mister Terrific" was on my pull list, and I can say that ... it wasn't very good, frankly. [...] The one title where the cancellation saddens but doesn't entirely surprise me is "Static Shock." Sad, because it would have been nice if the title had been given a little more time to find its audience. Unsurprised because, if you didn't read the previous Static Shock title or watch the animated series, this title would have been utterly baffling....


Questions? Comments? Sabots? Sneakers?

Grim Amusements / 24 June 2011 / "New York says yea"

...It will be interesting to see what the effect of this is, and how long it lasts. How long will it be before some conservative organization challenges the law in court? (At the moment, New York does not have an initiative and referendum process, although the Senate approved the draft law this very session, only two weeks ago.[...])

... But still. New York said yea. And that's something, for today.
See, this is the sort of thing that makes people wonder about scientists sometimes.

Grim Amusements / June 20, 2011 / studies, studies, studies

Homophobic men most aroused by gay male porn (psychologytoday.com)

Homophobic Men Most Aroused by Gay Male Porn
Homophobia Associated with Penis Arousal to Male on Male Sex
Published on June 9, 2011 by Nathan A. Heflick in The Big Questions...


The first question that comes to mind is: ... they studied that? Geez, they could have just asked us. We figured that out AGES ago. We could have given them the answer entirely without all the uncomfortable penis squeezing. (Though maybe the scientists enjoyed that part. We don't know, and we're not judging.)

The other question that comes to mind is, why did it apparently take Psychology Today about 15 years to notice this study existed? [...]
Grim Amusements / 27 April 2011 / the birth certificate follies

...I will confess, at some level, I do not understand this at all.

Oh, I get wanting to finally put this to rest, to just have it dealt with and over. I get that. What I do not understand is this: both Obama and the Hawaii secretary of state have consistently been saying that the long form birth certificate is not normally issued, that the short certificate of live birth is what Hawaii traditionally uses as a birth certificate for identification, passports, citizenship purposes, all that stuff. All well and good. But ... this issue first came up during the campaign, three years ago and change. If all it takes to get a copy of the long form birth certificate is a simple request for a copy of the long form birth certificate ... then why the hell didn't he do this four damn years ago? Or even two years ago, when those ridiculously annoying court cases started popping up? If he could have done this at any time, why didn't he just do this and be done with it?

Should he have had to do this? No, of course not. There's more than a tiny tinge of racism and religious bigotry involved....
media relations / april 14, 2011 / as the soap settles

[...] Have to admit, the cancellation of All My Children (AMC) makes me sort of sad, even though I haven't watched AMC regularly in eons. I can remember, way way way way back in the mists of prehistory, when I was a young'un, watching the early episodes of All My Children while my great grandmother did ... whatever she was doing. (Hey, I was, like four or five...)[...] I did watch OLTL for a few months a couple years ago. One Life to Live introduced a storyline with two gay men, one of whom was very reluctantly coming out of the closet (Oliver Fish), and the other who had been in love with him in their long ago college days but was now in another relationship(Kyle and the man he planned to marry, Nick). Of course, this being a soap, Kyle and Fish were each other's One True Love so ... good bye, Nick. (Eventually.) And then once Kyle and Fish got together, they even got to, like, kiss and have sex and do everything the straight couples do! And we saw just as much of that as we saw of the straight couples doing the same thing! Those were actually some surprisingly well written and handled stories. The stuff around them ... not so much, actually. And then the ratings tanked, so they blamed the gay couple and shipped them off to Llanview purgatory, wherever that may be. And the ratings continued to tank, imagine that....
grim amusements / april 11, 2011 / don't ask, don't tell ... especially about THAT

[...]that's ... kind of not how human nature works, unfortunately. Not in the short term, anyway.

"Often, in male-on-male cases, assailants go after those they assume are gay, even if they are not." So what do you think will happen if/when they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the private in the bunk over there actually is gay? Out, proud, just wants to serve their country like all the other soldiers there? What do you think will happen?

In the short term, what's likely to happen is that openly gay people will have a big fat target on their backs. Depending on how well the commanders follow the sexual assault reporting, tracking and disciplinary procedures -- and that's going to be highly variable -- openly gay soldiers may be somewhat less reluctant to report the assaults. After all, they can't accuse you of being gay because you report the assault, which is what frequently happens now. That said, it may also work that some gay soldiers will be less likely to report the assault ... because they're gay. After all, if the idea is that being gay makes you less manly, then the idea that you couldn't protect yourself from being raped by your fellow soldiers only reinforces the point, right? And in either case, in the short term, the likelihood is that actual assaults are going to spike. People who will rape you to put you in your place because they feel you're week, or because you're gay or, well, Just Because They Can aren't any less likely to rape someone who actually IS gay, especially if the idea is to make the person understand just how much they don't belong.

Understand: this isn't a blanket indictment of all male soldiers; of course most aren't rapists, just as most men aren't.....
grim amusements / april 11, 2011 / don't ask, don't tell ... especially about THAT

[...]that's ... kind of not how human nature works, unfortunately. Not in the short term, anyway.

"Often, in male-on-male cases, assailants go after those they assume are gay, even if they are not." So what do you think will happen if/when they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the private in the bunk over there actually is gay? Out, proud, just wants to serve their country like all the other soldiers there? What do you think will happen?

In the short term, what's likely to happen is that openly gay people will have a big fat target on their backs. Depending on how well the commanders follow the sexual assault reporting, tracking and disciplinary procedures -- and that's going to be highly variable -- openly gay soldiers may be somewhat less reluctant to report the assaults. After all, they can't accuse you of being gay because you report the assault, which is what frequently happens now. That said, it may also work that some gay soldiers will be less likely to report the assault ... because they're gay. After all, if the idea is that being gay makes you less manly, then the idea that you couldn't protect yourself from being raped by your fellow soldiers only reinforces the point, right? And in either case, in the short term, the likelihood is that actual assaults are going to spike. People who will rape you to put you in your place because they feel you're week, or because you're gay or, well, Just Because They Can aren't any less likely to rape someone who actually IS gay, especially if the idea is to make the person understand just how much they don't belong.

Understand: this isn't a blanket indictment of all male soldiers; of course most aren't rapists, just as most men aren't.....
grim amusements / March 30, 2011 / in which justice is blind:
The facts are these: lawyers in a district attorney's office, allegedly with certain deliberation, fail to disclose exculpatory evidence in a capital murder case, despite a very clear obligation under the law to do so. Said failure leads to a death sentence for an innocent man. Due to the dogged work of his attorneys, the hidden evidence is discovered, as is the prosecutorial malfeasance. The aforementioned district attorney's office is sued for its failure to disclose exculpatory evidence and its failure to train its attorneys so that they knew they should disclose; that the attorneys already knew that they should do so and didn't because they wanted to win the case is apparently legally irrelevant. The plaintiff more or less wins at lower court levels, and then the case is taken up by the Supreme Court of the land. You'd think that this is an easy decision, wouldn't you? Clear (and admitted, mind you) prosecutorial malfeasance, a man nearly executed because of this misconduct. You'd think this would be an easy 9-0 decision in favor of the plaintiff, wouldn't you?

And you'd be wrong. So very very wrong.
grim amusements / January 19, 2011 / speech, protected and otherwise:
In which we discover that speech can have unexpected and profoundly undesired consequences. [...] Unfortunately for Mr Corcoran, "provocative and kind of cute" does not seem to be the spirit in which his words wore taken by others, including his local police. [...] words have consequences, after all. You may be allowed to say something, but nothing says that private individuals can't hold you to account in entirely legal ways, such as removing their business from you. That is the sort of price you need to be prepared to pay when you say something that mindbendingly stupid, insensitive, callous and detestable in public.

Police are, quite possibly illegally, confiscating his legally obtained and licensed weapons and trying to get the federal government to investigate him. That seems entirely wrong; words may have consequences, but these are precisely the sorts of consequences that the Constitution says the state may not exact from him. The state may not act against him unless a direct threat has been perceived, and nobody sane should see those words as a direct threat. Unfortunately, Corcoran's words were not only stupid, insensitive, callous and detestable but very very badly timed; something that might have gotten a brief (and probably unknown to everyone) quick look over by the Secret Service -- if it was even brought to their attention at all -- have turned into something all out of proportion to the actual words themselves....



grim amusements / January 19, 2011 / parenting patterns
... So, pardon my French (or appalling lack thereof), but: no fucking shit, Sherlock? Really? The rather large numbers of people in this country that are not "rich white guys" are truly, truly astonished to hear this....
Grim Amusements - 2010/10/12 - one hand gets slapped down, the other slaps back

... Somehow, I didn't realize that a district court judge could order a nationwide injunction.

Regardless, I predict you a prediction. The administration has 60 days to decide what it will do. For ... oh, say, 58 days, the administration will seem to sit on its hands and do nothing. When asked what they plan to do, they'll say they're looking at their options and no final decision has been made. On the 59th day, they'll file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit, asking them to block enforcement of the stay. It may be a bit sooner. After all, they only need to wait about 30 days to get past the election. They can't help themselves with more conservative people by immediately appealing; more conservative people don't like them anyway. More liberal people are already strongly disaffected with this administration, and seem less likely to vote. The administration isn't going to want to alienate any more of them by appealing before the election; there are too many marginal seats at stake this time around. They're already headed for a possibly historic loss in the House, according to all the polls. Why make it worse?

Relentlessly cynical view? Perhaps. This administration has, however, richly earned the cynicism of every gay and lesbian person around....
Media Relations / September 20, 2010 / new fall tv 2010: book 'em, dano

All I can say is, it's clearly not quite where they meant to go, but the new Hawaii Five-0 is good stupid ultraviolent gruesome fun ... except when it's deliberately utterly appalling, of course....

Questions? Comments? Cigars, cigarettes, Cigarillos?
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