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When Will Wonder Woman Be a Fat, Femme Woman of Color? (Ms Magazine)

Why couldn’t Wonder Woman be a woman of color? When it was announced that Gadot would play Wonder Woman, audiences went wild body shaming her for not having large enough breasts. One can only imagine the white supremacy that would have emerged had the announcement said instead that she would be played by a Black woman. On Paradise Island, there are Black warriors in addition to white ones, which is a good start, but other women of color are missing. Also, while the female warriors are strong and ass-kicking, they all have tall, thin body types and they all could be models on a runway. In fact, in a pivotal battle scene, Wonder Woman struts across the battlefield as if on a catwalk. As a result, their physical strength plays second fiddle to their beauty, upholding the notion that in order to access power women must be beautiful in a traditional way. Especially with the body positivity movement gaining steam, the film could have spotlighted female warriors with fat, thick and short body types. While people have said that warriors can’t be fat, some of our best paid male athletes are, particularly linebackers on the football field, and no one doubts their physical strength.

Another problem is that the story’s overt queerness gets sublimated by heteronormativity. Diana comes from a separatist commune of women who have intentionally chosen to live without men. In one of the first scenes between Diana and Steve, she explains that she read 12 volumes of a series on sex that concluded that while men are required for reproduction, when it comes to female pleasure, they’re unnecessary. While a love story develops between them, a requirement in superhero stories, Diana thankfully doesn’t compromise her integrity for him.

The Sham Psychology of Wonder Woman The beauties of the soul and body do not correspond. (American Conservative)

It doesn’t help that Diana is a beautiful woman. The film never shows the realism of what great beauty can inflict on a person: the deathblows to maturity that are attention, flattery, and unearned affection, and the self-complacency and mistrust of others that can follow. Just as she is unaware of her superpowers, Diana is unaware of her womanly powers. She attempts to undress in public, oblivious to the effect it might have on those watching. She doesn’t understand the concept of partner dancing, complaining that it’s “just swaying.” When she tries it for herself she remarks, with the sterility of a doctor, that the bodies of men and women are very close in this kind of dance.

Not that I can say too much. I have myself complained about female cop characters (and some males) looking more like underwear models than police officers. In Batman vs Superman, Gadot doesn’t really fall into that category, though. And while I do wish Hollywood would be less myopic when it comes to standards of beauty, Wonder Woman is Wonder Woman, and the Amazonians are Amazonians, and it’s built in to the concept that I would not choose to die on that particular hill.


Category: Theater

yearbookquoteThis October piece by Michael Brendan Dougherty seems kind of prescient. There’s a degree to which people who a few weeks ago were bragging about how the Deep State was going to obstruct Trump’s agenda are now freaking out that Trump is going after the Deep State.

And from November, Ed Krayewski argued that if you don’t understand how anyone could have voted for Trump, you’re why Trump won.

Never mind whether it’s fair to conservatives, Musa al-Gharbi argues that the lack of ideological diversity is hurting social research. I don’t know what you do about a feedback loop this far in, though. {More}

As Uncle Steve alludes to, it’s easier to be a sanctuary city where nobody unrich can afford to live.

Jason Richwine notes that the children of immigrants are learning English, but fears they are not sufficiently forgetting Spanish. Yeah, not too worried about that.

DishGirl writes of abortion regret and the sorry it can leave behind.


Category: Newsroom

I consider “cultural appropriation,” as such, to be an untenable charge. That’s not to say that the bad kinds of “cultural appropriation” that people point to are a-okay and that there is nothing to object to. Their often is! I can understand why Chief Wahoo makes many Native Americans mad, to pick one example. But it’s not going to be the “appropriation” that is the problem, but some accompanying aspect. Mockery is perhaps the most obvious example. But cultural appropriation as such simply can’t be bad in a pluralist or multicultural society.

You could make an argument that we ought to consider cultural appropriation in a way similar to trademark violation. We don’t allow people to use Mickey Mouse. Why should we allow them to call themselves the Fighting Sioux? Then you start getting questions about who owns what, which gets pretty messy. Worse still, you have to then assign cultural guardians for who represents the tribes, ethnic groups, and so on. This really ought to be raising some alarm bells with you. So any legal mechanism is going to be off the table, pretty much.

So we’re left with social censure. That’s what we have to do for breaches of multicultural etiquette. And when it comes to social censure, you’re never going to have 100% agreement. How we use other cultures or don’t will always be a bit tricky. But whether we can or not? It’s not clear how that can possibly be a real question in any society that claims any value to pluralism or multiculturalism. “Look but don’t touch” simply isn’t palatable. An argument in favor of multiculturalism is to be exposed to many things, and allowing intermingling of cultures provides even more. If this isn’t a good thing, what do we need those other cultures for anyway?

All of this brings me to recent events in Portland, burrito cart owners were pilloried for the high crime of cultural appropriation. They buckled under the pressure and closed shop. It’s part of a larger movement in Portland to identify and blacklist cultural appropriating restaurants in favor of authentic foreign food establishments. Cultural appropriators are often criticized for being reckless or shallow with the incorporation of other cultures. In this case, the two ladies behind Kook’s Burritos were accused of the opposite: Getting too close to the source material, stealing work product, and bringing it home.

The discussions I’ve seen so far remind me a bit of the Hot Coffee lawsuit verdict, where the critics sound like the defenders of the verdict by assuming that the other side doesn’t understand the real story and that if they did they would see how eminently reasonable the verdict/animosity is. Except that, for many (and by “many” I mean “me”), the additional information doesn’t actually help all that much. Here is the article that touched off the debate:

“I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did,” Connelly says. “They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins. They wouldn’t tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn’t quite that easy.”

Connelly and Wilgus have turned their passion into new weekend spot Kooks Burritos, which has a concept that fits twee Portland: a breakfast burrito pop-up inside the hip Tight Tacos food cart in a Southeast Portland parking lot.

“On the drive back up to Oregon, we were still completely drooling over how good [the tortillas] were, and we decided we had to have something similar in Portland,” Connelly says. “The day after we returned, I hit the Mexican market and bought ingredients and started testing it out. Every day I started making tortillas before and after work, trying to figure out the process, timing, refrigeration and how all of that works.”

Well, she figured it out.

And here is how it was characterized:

“…We were peeking into window of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look,” she said. So let’s recap the story thus far: These two white women went to Mexico, ate tacos, and then decided they would just take what the locals clearly didn’t want to give them. If that wasn’t bad enough, they decided to pack up all their stolen intellectual property and repackage it in one of the few places where such a business could plausibly work: Portland, Oregon.

While describing themselves on their Yelp biography (which has since been edited), Connelly claims to have “a mean tortilla flip” while Wilgus anointed herself as the “director of vibes” and “our little abuelita with recipes from the heart”—even though the recipes were stolen.

Week after week people of color in Portland bear witness to the hijacking of their cultures, and an identifiable pattern of appropriation has been created. Several of the most successful businesses in this town have been birthed as a result of curious white people going to a foreign country, or an international venture, and poaching as many trade secrets, customs, recipes as possible, and then coming back to Portland to claim it as their own and score a tidy profit. Now don’t get me wrong: cultural customs are meant to be shared. However, that’s not what happens in this city.

Much of the characterization presented suggests that this is more of an intellectual property dispute than a cultural appropriation dispute… except if you read the rest of it, it clearly isn’t. The “theft” is somewhat incidental. If they had done this in Greece, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation as the story would be received as the humorous story the ladies thought they were telling. The criticisms are very geared towards a specific sin by a very specific kind of culprit. This also has tenability problems, though that’s perhaps a post for another time. We might not be having this exact conversation if white girls hadn’t peeked at non-white cooks, but we’d be having one closer to it. It’s not clear what the original proprietors have lost here, nor is it even clear why they were less than helpful. My guess is that it had less to do with objection to white imperalism and more to do with the fact that ladies who didn’t speak Spanish well were bugging them.

More to the point, if they’d simply stolen the recipes, it wouldn’t have been nearly as hard as it evidently was to get it right. And the end product of all of this is people in Portland got to enjoy good food and no longer get to enjoy that food.

People are, of course, free to boycott any establishment they wish for whatever reason. The Kook ladies are not victims of some First Amendment violation or political persecution. To the extent that they are victims, it is in service to an ideal nobody should really want. My objection is not in their methods (though I’m definitely more hip to “Check out these actual minority-owned restaurants restaurants” than yelling “Unclean” and “Cultural Imperalism”, but the rationale for deployment in this particular case. Portland is very white. It would be a shame if their food options were unnecessarily demographically limited.


Category: Kitchen

Analysis: ESPN Lost Republican Viewers Across the Country in 2016 – Outkick the Coverage

All told, the ESPN audience across the network’s channels was already liberal in 2015 – but it became more liberal in 2016 as Republicans stopped watching:

  • The ESPN audience became 5% less Republican in 2016 than 2015 across all 43 markets analyzed.
  • ESPN2’s audience became 10% less Republican during the same time period.
  • The biggest partisan shift happened on ESPN News, whose audience became 36% less Republican and more Democratic.
  • ESPNU’s audience became 12% more Democratic in 2016 compared to 2015.
  • ESPN Deportes – whose audience already skewed very liberal – became 27% more Democratic.
  • In all, 34 of the markets included in our analysis showed the audience of the flagship ESPN network become less Republican in 2016 compared to 2015; the ESPN audience became more Republican in only 9 of the analyzed markets.


This is interesting for a couple of reasons. I have poo-pooed the notion that politics is surrounding ESPN’s troubles, but this indicates that it may at least be a factor. It makes sense for the shows suffering the most to be on ESPNews because that’s where commentary is most likely to come into play. It’s also where you would expect to see the losses anyway because the entire network has become superfluous in the Internet Age. At this point it probably ought to be rebranded. However, that they are bleeding more among Republicans seems significant?

It’s also interesting because Clay Travis and other rightward ESPN critics have claimed that ESPN is shooting itself in the foot because sports fans tend to be conservative. ESPN’s viewers, though, already tended liberal. So arguably they were actually playing to their base. Of course, that can backfire (ask the comic book industry) and perhaps it has.

Which touches on something tangential I have been meaning to mention Over There and elsewhere. The show with the highest ratings is not necessarily the show that a cable network or publication wants to run with. One of the complaints about Bret Stephens being hired by the New York Times was that their liberal columnists are more popular and therefore the Times is doing something wrong in a business sense by bringing in someone readers hate. Maybe, but… that’s not the only metric. If Stephens brings in and/or retains readers, it doesn’t matter if he’s less popular than people like Blow who are well-regarded by the people who will buy the paper anyway because of the six other columnists situated in a similar place along the ideological spectrum. On the other hand, of course, if Stephens costs the Times more readers through a boycott than it gains through new subscriptions and retention, then their point stands. For what it’s worth, I do think the hiring was a mistake, but for different reasons than liberals do and that the liberals do actually come out of it looking pretty bad.

Back to ESPN, if the network’s leftward lurch is hurting it with its more marginal viewers that is a bad thing indeed for ESPN. If they hired Rush Limbaugh to do commentary again and that kept conservative viewers around, that would be business-good.

It remains less clear to me what ESPN is doing wrong, though. There has been a lot written about how “sports media” has gone left, but that seems more due to the proliferation of leftward sports media sites rather than flagships. It seems possible that the primary complaint is simply that ESPN is not being conservative – by not coming down hard on Colin Kaepernick for example – than what they’re actually doing. If conservatives are watching less sports due to Kaepernick, I think that says more about them than ESPN. I am somewhat attuned to media slights of the right, and I just don’t see very much of it on ESPN (where I would be less inclined to shrug it off than from Gawker media).

That means either I’m missing it because it’s things like Michael Sam where I am simply on the same page as the media, or it’s happening as I am seeing it and conservatives are being snowflakes, or my initial instincts were right and it has little or nothing to do with politics.


Category: Newsroom

Sorry, infidelity will never be normal or harmless | New York Post

In the last week, Vice, New York magazine and, for some reason, Bride magazine have all opened up on open relationships. There was the piece in The Post titled “It’s time to rethink cheating in marriage.” Barcroft TV in April brought us “POLY TRIAD: I’M DIVORCING MY HUSBAND SO WE CAN MARRY OUR GIRLFRIEND.” And The New York Times Magazine had an extended exploration of the subject called “Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?”

Not to ruin the ending, but no one who read that article came away thinking the answer was yes.

The Times piece focused mostly on a couple named Elizabeth and Daniel. He asked her to open their marriage; she said no. Years later, she became attracted to another man and decided she was into the open marriage thing after all. Without discussing it with Daniel, Elizabeth started a full-on affair. When Daniel expressed pain over the arrangement, she refused to end it.

Sounds amazing. Why aren’t more people into this?

I’m trying not to feel a sense of smug superiority regarding Daniel’s fate here. But it’s just too perfect.

There has been something kind of weird going on with this lately. A lot more writing lately on unboxing marriage. A natural consequence of winning the SSM is that liberals don’t need to pretend to value marriage like conservatives Except One Thing? Or is this mostly Fake Trend Stuff?

I’m not sure it matters that much. These ideas aren’t really new and they have failed to gain traction in the past for reasons. I’m mostly surprised they haven’t managed to tie it in to SSM more than they have (“What straight couples can learn from openly married gay couples!”


Category: Bedroom


Category: Newsroom

32-Year-Old Forcibly Transferred From College Ministry To Singles’ Ministry | The Babylon Bee

According to sources, Freeman, who dabbled in community college for a few semesters in his late teens before deciding it wasn’t for him, rode his longboard into the college ministry’s building as usual for Wednesday Bible study. College pastor Philip Huxley, whom Freeman affectionately calls “Preacha Hux,” was waiting at the door with several members of the security team to escort the unemployed Freeman to the church’s singles’ ministry on the other side of the property.

While Freeman initially resisted, throwing his flat-billed cap on the ground in disgust and shouting phrases like, “You’re killing me, Smalls,” and “Ice cold, Preacha Hux, ICE COLD,” eventually Huxley and his associate pastor were able to calm him down and gently coax him into the singles’ ministry Bible study by offering him Mountain Dew and a yo-yo.

This might ring familiar to anyone who’s been here long enough to remember Sheila. I certainly thought of her when I read it. Well done! My only complaint is to the reference of the singles group being male-heavy. I… don’t think that’s true in most churches.


Category: Newsroom

scienceruinseverything

If I had my act together, I would have had my final installment of “It Ain’t Heavy, It’s Science” ready for today, as we’re having the #ScienceMarch. But I don’t, so in lieu of that I will turn things over to Carl Phillips and Nicolas Bourbaki, who share their thoughts on the event.


(more…)


Category: School

My efforts to quit vaping came to the do-or-die phase at a pretty bad time. Basically, right when Clancy was resigning. That was leaving me in a pretty bad place because it was high-stress and I had no coping mechanism. It wasn’t through sheer grit that I didn’t turn to vaping, but rather where I was in the Welbutrin cycle. Long story short, I could vape all I wanted, but my nicotine receptors were scrambled and it wouldn’t do any good. I still vaped, but the whole puffing-to-no-effect was causing its own anxiety. So I basically had to make the decision whether to stop taking the Welbutrin or stop vaping. I just couldn’t keep doing both.

I decided to stop vaping. The first thing I did was order a Nintendo Wii U. Back before I smoked, playing basketball outside was the way that I found my zen and organized my thoughts. Due to the peculiarities of the house, I couldn’t set up a hoop here. Nor was there space for my backup plan, a pool table. But I had been circling the Wii for a while because it has some indoor activity stuff that could serve the same purpose.

Until I started taking it again, I’d forgotten one of the primary effects of Welburtin is that it reduces the need for sleep. I need about six hours a night usually and Welbutrin makes it so that I have trouble even getting that much. It’s an effect that subsides with time, but it takes a while. In this case, it leaves me with ever-more time to be awake and not vaping. At a time when I desperately want time to pass to that I can get over the hump, there are suddenly more hours in the day.

It was, it turned out, remarkably successful. Instead of vaping, I’d play one of the games from the Sports Resort package. I ended up doing a lot of it, in fact. So much so that with each progressive day, my muscles were more and more tired. Not in a bad way, though! I could just feel it. On the fourth day, the Wii Fit package arrived. For those who don’t know, the Wii Fit is the exercise program. It’s more physically intensive than sports.

I got the fit to help distract me from the vaping. Which it did. Just not at all in the way that I had imagined.

I had been playing Wii Fit for about 90 minutes when I jerked my back something fierce. It wasn’t too bad at first, but it kept getting worse. And worse. And worse.

When your back hurts, your body generally compensates by using other muscles. Which is all very well and good… unless all of your other muscles are three days into utter exhaustion. Then your legs and arms simply don’t have the energy to compensate. It then throws more burden to the back, which then spasms. And round and round it goes.

The second day was pure agony. I cannot remember the last time I felt so much pain. Clancy could not remember ever seeing me in that much pain. I was in a place where I was slouched on the sofa and I literally could not move enough to either sit up on it or lay down on it. Clancy tried to move my legs for me and that was even worse. And with each spasm, the muscles would tighten more, which lead to more spasms and more muscle tightening in a really vicious cycle.

Among the few things that helped was showering. So once I was able to get up and move around – which did happen eventually – I went into the shower. Clancy literally had to help me get dressed afterwards.

Now, the Himmelreich-Truman household is actually a drug den. Clancy gets medications for various things and she fills them whether she has to use them or not. The same is true of me. The Welbutrin I’d been taken was prescribed in 2010. So when something like this happens, we have options. This was especially true since the medicine cabinet was thrown at her when she busted her kneecap. She asked if I wanted to take some muscle relaxers. I asked if they were addictive and she replied that they weren’t but that she never took them because they made her feel loopy and dull.

I said that I wanted all of the muscle relaxers in the universe.

I came close to actually taking the Vicodin, which is addictive. I was in that much pain. It didn’t quite reach that point. Things did gradually start getting better, slowly. It was two steps forward and one step back. I put myself and my daughter at risk trying to drive her to preschool when my back was not in good enough shape that I could sit freely in the car seat (I basically used one of my two arms to prop me up). That was a step back. But showering twice a day and taking the drugs would represent a couple steps forward.

It’s been almost a week now since that happened. The nice Wii that I bought has barely seen any use as new games that I ordered before the injury started arriving. The biggest lag has really been that I have nowhere to distribute the weight, too. My arms are better, but my legs are still really sore. My back is almost better, though the legs keep pushing weight in that direction. The biggest bullet dodged was that throughout this entire thing, I never needed to use the can for serious business. That felt like a ticking timebomb about to go off because pushing excrement through requires pushing some of the same muscles that were spasming. Somehow – probably related to the diet – I went four days or so without needing to go.

I eventually had to stop taking the Welbutrin because I wanted to keep waking hours to as much of a minimum as I could. And vaping wasn’t really on my mind. Which turned out to be a real upshot because the big thing that I was trying not to do was really kept out of a mind that was crowded with physical pain and preoccupation.It has really only started to hit me the last couple of days that I have been well enough to go back to it (but not wanting to). At this point, it’s a longer trip to go back and restart the habit than it is to plow forward.

One last side effect of all of this is that it has forced Lain into greater independence. As a matter of routine, I carry her to the car and from the car into the church for preschool. But since I couldn’t, I forced her to walk. She, in turn, has taken to asserting her independence more and more. When Clancy busted her kneecap, Lain was really quite scared of her. She’s a little bit older now, though, and seems to have adapted to my malady well. She was even fetching my cane while I was needing it.

As things presently stand, my back is in pretty good shape but my legs are as sore as they’ve been in a long time.

So, none of this has gone as I had planned, but it does seem to have gotten me over the hump. It has even helped with the diet as going to the kitchen and getting something to eat was suddenly an ordeal. My calorie intake dropped from 1800 to 1500 or so and I was in too much pain to be hungry.

There is no grand lesson here, other than that if you have an MD wife telling you to take it easy with the active video games, you should probably listen to her.

Unless you’re desperate to kick a habit.


Category: Home

‘Charging Bull’ sculptor says ‘Fearless Girl’ distorts his art. He’s fighting back. – The Washington Post

The project is about “girl power,” she said, a message to corporate boards on Wall Street with a dearth of women members “that we are here, that we are heard, that we are permanent.”

They also drew inspiration from Di Modica’s surprise installment, albeit with a permit, and dropped her off in the middle of the night. The girl quickly became an online sensation, earning praise from Chelsea Clinton and actress Jessica Chastain and drawing its own swarm of women and girls who felt inspired.

The plaque at the feet of “Fearless Girl” reads: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”

This overt reference to State Street’s SHE Index could contribute to Di Modica insistence that “Fearless Girl” is nothing more than marketing trickery orchestrated by the firm’s New York advertising partner, McCann.

“That is not a symbol!” the 76-year-old Sicilian immigrant told the New York Post and Market Watch in March.

New York City’s relationship with its bread and butter industry is really quite fascinating. It’s analogous in some ways to mining towns’ relationship with the mining industries that often don’t treat them well.

Of course, Wall Street does actually treat New York reasonably well, all things considered. Certainly better than Anaconda ever treated Montana, or Shell treats Louisiana. And in both places, when the chips are down, they know who butters their bread.

It was a really fascinating thing after Deepwater Horizon, when folks everywhere seemed to be saying that we must halt offshore drilling. Everywhere except Louisiana, which had paid the heftiest price for the disaster. To this day they have not forgiven BP. But still, drill baby drill.

They need it. The joy of being as relatively privileged as New York City is that they don’t. They can be wealthy and sanctimoniously resentful of its source.


Category: Newsroom

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Queenland

Greetings from Stonebridge a fictitious city in a fictitious state located in a tri-state area in the interior Mid-Atlantic region. We're in western Queenland, which is really a state unto itself, and not to be confused with Queensland in Australia.

Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.


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