Lot’s going on

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There’s a lot going on in the world right, but I thought I’d share a couple of things.

The ACLU of California said that White Supremacist Violence is not free speech. The National ACLU said they agree with this statement, but will protect their speech until it turns violent. It’s a little disappointing- since in my opinion, hate speech is inherently violent. You don’t need to be wearing weapons for their words to harm others.

If you’ve heard people talking about “sheetcaking” and are lost, you missed Tina Fey’s appearance on the special edition of Weekend Update. This post is a pretty good summary of what the sketch was (and there’s an embedded video) and why it wasn’t funny.

I hadn’t seen it live, and I’d only seen reactions online. So I was pretty disappointed when I actually saw it. The linked post above sums up my thoughts pretty well.

Nick Spencer, the head writer for Marvel’s Secret Wars (and the man who made Steve Rogers be an agent of HYDRA all along), took to twitter to complain that people were missing the whole point of his story arc.

As a writer, I have to say that if you need to explain what the point of your story is? You’ve failed. Could this have been amazing? YES. But the problem with corrupting Captain America in the current political climate has been well established. It’s all too easy to pull out one issue, one image and turn it against its’ purpose. (And it’s succeeded, people spotted white supremacists wearing HYDRA shirts) The other problem is that this is happening in the main timeline for Marvel. Sure, things will change and fix it. That’s how comics work – but if you want to tell a political story like this, make it an AU storyline that’s not just reconned the second it’s over.

And put it in the hands of someone who can handle the story. I have zero faith in Spencer based on the execution thus far.

Terms & Conditions, Right to Privacy and Freedom of Speech

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There’s a lot going on in the world right now. The Daily Stormer, a White Supremacist site is now homeless on the internet after first GoDaddy terminated their hosting and then Google denied to host their domain as well. And the White House is trying to subpoena Dreamhost for the IP Addresses of people who visited a site designed to coordinate protests against 45.

And there’s a lot going on here – and I’ve seen some confusion how one person could be against a website saying no to Daily Stormer, yes to protecting private information…. and support free speech.

First, Freedom of Speech is that you are entitled to speak your opinion freely and the government cannot stop you. It gives you the right to assemble to protest, too. It’s not that you can speak your mind everywhere – private companies are private property. They can set their own terms.

Which is where I’m going with Daily Stormer. When you sign up for a domain name or web hosting, you agree to follow that company’s policies. And 100% there is something in there that you won’t be using that site to incite violence or commit crimes against others. The reason a lot of hate/fringe groups have websites is that they’re generally cautious not to cross the line of actually inciting violence. It’s all theoretical. (It’s gross, but that’s what happens) So, this particular site crossed a line and companies are saying no.

As they should.

Should we be terrified that the Administration is going after people who want to protest 45? Absolutely. Because one of the fundamental rights that we have in the US is the First Amendment. That we are allowed to speak out against the president, we are allowed to assemble, to protest. It’s part of our political freedom. And so long as people aren’t actively using that site to incite violence against the President and his Administration – they are legally protected.

You’ll notice, nobody’s subpoenaed for lists of white supremacists who visited certain websites. Yes, people have been posting pictures of people who were at Charlottesville hoping that they’ll be identified. Because these were men who showed up, showed their faces… and believed they were bulletproof enough to be able to go back to work after revealing themselves to be white supremacists/Nazis.

Compare that to people who protested Michael Brown’s shooting, and marched knowing that they would be arrested and possibly blacklisted from their work.

There’s a huge difference there. I’ve seen some people try to compare my response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville it with my defense of Black Lives Matters protests – but there’s a marked difference. A huge difference. The people in Charlottesville were there to express their hate. People at Black Lives Matter protests were asking to be respected and given the same protection that white citizens gets. Free speech comes with caveats. You aren’t allowed to say things that could bring harm to others – it’s why you can sue someone for libel. Because saying whatever you want can harm someone else. (And if you cannot see that the BLM protests were about protection – you need to reexamine your own personal biases)

Hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment. And spouting off Nazi rhetoric would certainly qualify as hate speech.

This is likely a rambly post, but I hope it at least clarifies what does/doesn’t count as protected – and why you should be terrified at what the White House is attempting right now.

#NoConfederate, bad ideas, and a lack of censorship

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If you’ve been on Twitter the last two Sundays, you probably saw the hashtag #NoConfederate trending.

Confederate is the next show announced by HBO and the men behind Game of Thrones. (Well, the non GRR Martin guys behind the show) It aims to show an alternate universe where the South wasn’t defeated and slavery exists in modern times.

And people are upset. Both those who object to the show and those who think the objectors are trying to censor television.

Why object to the show? After all, The Man in the High Castle is on multiple seasons and discusses what might have happened if the Nazis won. Well, the difference there is that while there are still Nazis and white supremacists… by and large as a society we recognize that Nazis are bad.

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Teen Vogue: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children

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Bear with me. I just wanted to use that for a headline. And use this GIF

via GIPHY

So Teen Vogue has recently become an awesome place for journalism, and published a guide on anal sex on their website. And let me tell you, parents from all over were upset. The general consensus was that they didn’t want their teens to have access to that information because, god forbid, they use it. (more…)

Pirates, change and the redhead.

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It shouldn’t be news to anyone that I’m a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Annual Disneyland trips were a big part of my childhood and there were a select few rides that were always my favorite.

Pirates being one of them.

I had an intense pirates phase as a kid. I’ll be honest, it’s something I never actually grew out of.

So when the news broke that Disney is going to change the Pirates of the Caribbean again, I figured I would write a post instead of writing my thoughts on everyone’s FB feeds.

This isn’t the first major change to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The first was changing the scene where the men chase the women so that the women were carrying plates of food or jewels – changing the vice from lust to greed or gluttony. A lot of people decried it as being too PC, and then people forgot about it.

After the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they added Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones to the ride. Nobody really complained at that. (more…)

I hate Cinco de Mayo

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There. I said it. I hate Cinco de Mayo.

I also hate St. Patrick’s Day, and it isn’t just because I hate excessive drinking. It’s because neither “holiday” is really rooted in celebrating anything cultural anymore. It’s just a flimsy excuse that white people snagged from another culture as a reason to drink. (And both are rooted in smearing other cultures)

Let’s go with St. Patrick’s Day first. So when the Irish came over during the famine, there was a lot of racism. Established white people were like… they’re stealing our jobs! They don’t belong here. So in building on the stereotype of Irish people being drunks, they turned a saint day (that yes, was celebrated here already) into the ultimate drinking holiday. Leprechauns dressed like Irishmen of the time showed up and they literally just doubled down on every stereotype they could. (You can always tell the cities with actual Irish populations because they actually do celebrate actual Irish culture)

Cinco de Mayo? It’s the date of the Battle of Puebla. It’s commemorated in Mexico with ceremonial parades. Here, it’s about cheap booze and tacos. And sombreros and like all sorts of racist garbage.

Now, I love tacos – probably more than the next girl. But it’s an excuse to drink.

Both of these holidays remove anything real associated with it, as an excuse to drink and celebrate stereotypes.

You might say that I’m overly sensitive (being Mexican AND Irish). But it’s how I feel. It’s obnoxious to watch white people get excited every year, talk about busting out sombreros and drinking cervezas. The same people who talk about “my people” taking their jobs, and building a wall to keep “my people” out.

Wanna know how I celebrate St Patrick’s Day? I stay home, make Irish food and drink real beer. Not dyed green nonsense. Real beer. And for Cinco de Mayo, I just stay home.

Newsflash: you can drink to excess any time you like. Keep your hands off someone else’s culture. (And if you’re going to celebrate, have a DD or call a taxi)

What my advertising background can tell you about that Pepsi Ad

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Once upon a time I worked for an ad agency. We weren’t a huge agency, but I had coworkers who had worked for bigger agencies and I learned a lot about how things work.

So when Pepsi’s protest ad with Kendall Jenner popped up on the internet, I saw a lot of questions.

Like, how did this get past a focus group?

And the truth is – if there was a focus group, it was probably just aimed at younger adults and they asked how they felt about Kendall Jenner. They probably didn’t show ads, but likely asked questions about diversity in advertising and how they felt about ads with a social message like some of the ads at this year’s Super Bowl.

Like, how did this get approved?

The way it works is that the client (Pepsi) tells the ad agency what they want. Which honestly was probably – Coke’s iconic “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” ad, but updated for today’s generation of social activists. Then the ad agency came up with ideas, and Pepsi probably said… can we make it less depressing? And you ended up with what you have.

There were meetings about everything – the photographer, the sweaty cellist, the guy who fist bumps Kendall. And odds are, there weren’t a lot of POC involved. And you know which meetings you’re more likely to be listened to. Pepsi, who probably insisted in a young, hot white girl (see, diverse!), would not be that audience.

So you end in an Emperor’s New Clothes type situation. Where you can’t be 100% honest, you just hope the client realizes it once they’ve assembled it. (Odds are there are alternate takes on that ad agency’s drives) And in this case, Pepsi’s team loved it. So you’re stuck with a bad ad that has your agency’s name on it.

And you can tell that Pepsi loved it, considering their apology was to putting Kendall Jenner in the midst of the controversy – not the people whose decades of work of activism they made a mockery of. They just didn’t get it.

So there you have it. My two cents based on a job I did a decade ago, for a small agency that did those post-secondary ads you probably made fun of if you were home sick from school or work. (Odds are, if you were home a decade or so ago, you might have even seen ME in one of them) The agency also did higher visibility brands, but that wasn’t what I worked on.

Things of note, my lovelies – don’t blame all the multicultural actors who took this gig. They were probably just told they were auditioning for a Pepsi ad and were like… sign me up for that money. They don’t have the luxury of saying no. Kendall Jenner on the other hand? She has money. She could have said no.

(It’s why we blame the marquee actors who take whitewashed roles, but not the actors who take the racist bit parts. One has the luxury of saying no, one is trying to make a living)

There are a number of really great pieces pulling apart the social ramifications of the ad. This one in particular is a must read, by April Reign (the woman who created the #OscarsSoWhite campaign). They aren’t hard to find, just spend some time on Twitter.

On the NHL skipping the Olympics.

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Today, the NHL released a press statement that they wouldn’t be stopping their season to allow players to participate in the Olympics (the first time they’ve come to this decision since 1998, when NHL players first began participating). This column went up on NHL.com explaining some of the logic behind it.

And I’m going to tell you, the real reason is simple – the NHL (in this case, the owners) can’t make money off sending its players. They’d been trying to bargain with the IOC (who is notorious for making sure that nobody can make money off the Olympics except for itself), and that didn’t go anywhere.

The NHL’s argument comes down to a few points.

First, that the Olympics as an event doesn’t grow the League. You don’t gain committed fans, you get casual fans who watch the Olympics. If so, that failure lies with the NHL who clearly aren’t doing the right kind of marketing post-Olympics. (You don’t need the rings to mention Team Canada, Team Russia, Team USA)

If the issue is that international tournaments don’t attract fans, then why would the NHL have put on the World Cup of Hockey – which used International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) eligible players, not just NHL talents? Why would they be promoting the NHL with a “global” game in China?

The answer is simple – international gameplay doesn’t matter to the NHL unless they’re making money on it.

Another concern raised was player injury, both due to the additional games or compressed season. Which again, if this was the case, they would contest NHL players going to any IIHF tournament. And wouldn’t have run their own the month before the NHL season started.

They cited a ridiculous poll of fans who ultimately said they didn’t want players to go to the Olympics. I don’t know of a single hockey fan (casual or serious) that wouldn’t want them to represent their country, or enjoy seeing them on the international stage. Much less 53% of Canadians or 73% of Americans polled. (Though that last statistic might be bitter Team USA fans)

I can understand that the month break is disruptive to the season, since it does happen just as things are ramping up towards clinching playoff berths. But, it’s once every four years. We aren’t talking about an international tournament every year. It’s the Olympics.

And frankly, I’m not sure that the NHL wants to see what happens to their ratings when their games are put up against the Olympics – especially since NBC’s family of stations (which broadcast NHL games) will be covering nothing but the Olympics, both live and time delayed for major events.

The NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA) issued their own statement that made it clear that they disagree with this decision. Since it’s a great honor for any player to represent their country.

Which brings me to the thing that nobody seems to have considered at the NHL – implications for the future. The IOC made it clear that if the NHL won’t allow players to attend 2018, then 2022 would be off limits, too.

Update: The IOC issued their own response:

It’s a huge honor to represent your country, and certainly something that young athletes dream of. Would you play in a league, no matter how popular, if it meant that you might never get that shot because the League doesn’t make enough money off the Olympics? Or would you go perhaps go to the KHL if it mean you could still represent your home country in the Olympics?

It’s obvious that some of the heavyweights in the NHL will be able to represent their country, regardless of what Bettman’s decided. Alex Ovechkin already said he’d be representing Russia, no matter what the decision was. He’s a face of the franchise- the Capitols would never say no to that. I doubt the Penguins could tell Sidney Crosby or Geno Malkin no, either. But that isn’t a luxury that a young prospect would have, and certainly an aspect that might figure into where they go in the end. And one wonders whether or not the team owners in favor of skipping the Olympics considered that.

But one thing is clear. The NHL might be talking a big talk about ‘growing their appeal’ – but this is the sort of a decision that’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. It’s a sort sighted decision that will impact the growth of the game beyond their immediate fanbase.

Your thoughts?

Dear Marvel, Diversity isn’t the Problem

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Today, there was an interview where David Gabriel said that Marvel’s diverse titles had failed and they had feedback from shops that wasn’t what fans wanted.

Which is… weird, to say the least. Because it isn’t anything like what I’ve heard from fans from all spectrum.

Fans haven’t been happy with Marvel’s books – but it certainly wasn’t the introduction of characters like Ms Marvel, Riri Williams, or Jane Foster as Thor.

What fans were weary of was their favorite characters being pushed aside or misused – see Nick Spencer’s ongoing ‘let’s make beloved characters Hydra’ storyline. Or characters being killed or retired in order for new characters to pick up the mantle.

Newsflash: If you already have a vocal group of people who complain any time you make a change, it probably isn’t going to help if you sideline their favorite character to make way for the New Whomever. That’s fighting an uphill battle to win over an audience.

More importantly – it doesn’t matter what you do with creating new characters, if the writing isn’t amazing. If you look at some of the books and writers who command people to commit to picking up their book monthly, it’s because it’s quality writing.

I know people who will buy anything that Chip Zdarsky writes. Because it’s well done. Same with Brian K Vaughn. Same with Gail Simone. They will commit to a long term story, no matter how high concept the pitch might be, because the writing is solid. These are writers who have earned their trust.

On the other hand, a lot of the regular monthly titles from the big two don’t have that kind of craft. People will argue it’s because they put out more titles a month, so the writers have more work to do – but why put out so much if you aren’t putting out something worth reading?

Do you really expect readers to commit to giant year long story arcs that justify major overhauls of your cast of characters, if the writing isn’t engaging? I don’t care how pretty the covers are, how nice the linework is inside – if the writing is flat or, in the case of Spencer’s Cap suddenly being Hydra twist, is offensive to the core of the character – I’m not going to keep purchasing it.

To me it’s laughable that Gabriel uses a book where Peter and Mary Jane are married as being proof that fans like the older and established – fans were furious when Marvel split them up in the first place, because it was obviously a cheap tactic for publicity. So of course they’d be happy to get a book where they were married – because it’s what makes sense for the characters.

I’ve lost so much faith in Marvel as a company in the last couple of years. It’s been clear that they’re paying diversity lip service, and aren’t listening to what fans are asking for. Which is more diversity in writers, so that you’re giving these new characters a chance to shine. It’s more quality in writing, to bring us back.

Quality, not quantity.

Longing for the Sea.

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Sometimes I dream of the sea. I can taste the sea air, feel the water on my body and the water fill me with comfort as I dive below. I’m never human in these dreams, but a creature of salt and spray.

They’re wonderful dreams. I actually wake up rested, which is unusual. My mantra these days is that I’m tired of being tired.

I’ve long been obsessed with the sea. As a young child, I thought it was because I was a child of the desert – and something I just was obsessed with when I moved to California.

We’d go to the beach and even if the water was too cold, I’d wander along the jetties and feel the surf thrum through my veins. I’d joke that my lungs, strong and able to hold a note for far longer than most girls my age were a sign that I wasn’t quite human. I read The Little Mermaid, watched the Disney version again and again. I loved the mermaids in Peter Pan, even as they tried to drown Wendy (only a little, Peter).

My happiest moments are at the beach. Listening to the surf, smelling the salt air, and staying out of the water for fear it will take me from those I love. (Though that’s more selkie than mermaid)

This year, as my body finds new ways to fail me… it’s easy to muse whether or not I really did come from the sea. Is my body failing because it wasn’t meant to be on land, out of the surf for all these years?

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