Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Nightingale, Moving Though Time, to Audrey's Dance

Yes its the end of the month so its that time again. I've been rolling on Twin Peaks soundtracks lately so I'll share some Julie Cruise and Angelo Badalamenti.

The Nightingale.

Moving Through Time.

Audrey's Dance.

Til Next Month!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gender Symmetry Table (v1 no doubt)

Things have been pretty hectic and I'll be honest I kinda sorta forgot to come back and post this. Trying to bear in mind some of the feedback from last time I'm going to give the table a try.

Now as last time this is by no means an attempt at an all exhaustive listing of every single instance of symmetry in relation to gender. Or at least I can't do that on my own (frankly no one person could). Nor is it meant to be a scoreboard to point at when trying to say that one side doesn't have it as bad as the other. Instead this is meant to get people thinking about what needs to be worked on.

So I present to you the Gender Symmetry Table v1!

The first column (from the left) are the expectations of, the second column are the expectations, and the final two columns are variations of those expectations (this would be where iintersectionality would fit).




























































Gender Symmetry Table
Men are expected to be the external provider.*Women are expected to be the internal provider.*Working class men are expected to work demanding jobs which take even more time away from their family.Working class women are expected to be internal and external providers when the need arises.
Men are expected to sacrifice time with the family for the sake of career.Women are expected to sacrifice career for the sake of time with the family.
Men are expected to be external providers in order to verify their manhood.Women are expected to be internal providers in order to verify their womanhood.
When men try to break their expected gender role by spending time with the family ulterior motives are suspected (ie, "he's only around children so he can molest them", "what kind of man stays at home with the kids?")When women try to break their expected gender role by spending more time on a career ulterior motives are suspected (ie, "she must not have a man in her life", "what kind of woman works outside the home?")
Women are segregated into lower-paying jobs. (by Ampersand)Men are segregated into more dangerous jobs. (by Ampersand)
Males** are expected to be overflowing with sexual knowledge no matter what, lest their masculinity be questioned.Females** are expected to be lacking in sexual knowledge at all costs, lest their femininity be questioned.
Males are expected to be overcome with a never ending desire for sex with any and all women.Females are expected to lack sexual desire until a male ignites their desire for them.
Women are discouraged from initiating contact. (by Ampersand)Men are expected to initiate contact. (by Ampersand)
Females are unfairly believed to indicate their sexual desire with clothing and behavior. (Hence the "how she was acting with that guy" and "how she was dressed" slut shaming of female victims.)Males are unfairly believed to indicate with sexual desire by being male. (Hence the idea that males are always consenting to sex therefore there is no way to rape a male.)
Men are expected to not show emotion; men showing emotion are considered weak and vulnerable. (by Desipis)Women are expected to show emotion; women not showing emotion are considered cold and uncaring. (by Desipis)
Men are considered to be emotionally independent; men requiring emotional support (especially from someone other than a sexual partner) are considered weak and vulnerable. (by Desipis)Women are considered to be emotionally supportive of others; women not emotionally supportive are considered cold and uncaring. (by Desipis)
Women are expected to be experts on children and childrearing. (by Ampersand) Men are assumed to be dullards on children and childrearing. (by Ampersand)
A woman who doesn't "feminize" her appearance by shaving legs, wearing makeup, styling hiar, etc., may be shamed. (by Ampersand)A man does "feminize" his appearance in the same ways may be shamed. (by Ampersand)



* - External provider being one who works outside the home and Internal provider being one who works inside the home.

** - I'm using males/females in place of having to spell out men/boys and girls/women constantly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 77

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

What Blogging Has Done for Me: Mainly what its done for me is to help me clear my thoughts and to develop them.

Where Are All the Plus-Size Male Models?: I personally don't give a damn about the modeling world but it is work asking where the plus sized men are I think.

Alleged Sandusky Victim Forced Out Of School Due To Bullying: It wasn't cool when it happened to Amber Cole and the countless other sex crime victims and its not cool now. And by it I mean shaming sex crime victims.

With Boys on Girls Swim Team, NYT's Support for Gender Equity Takes a Sudden Dive: Damn shame. I thought we were all about the gender equality...

Breaking the Silence: A Practical Guide for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse: "A book for men in abusive situations as well as those who are trying to help – from friends and relatives, through to professionals."

Australia: Mother Cuts Off Father’s Access, Is Rewarded With Sole Custody: "In a decision that suggests the “shared care” law introduced by the Howard government was effectively dead, a full bench of the Family Court said “the mother would ignore any order for contact” and, as a result, it was pointless to order her to co-operate." What? So its in the "best interests of the child" to grant custody to a mom that would rather disobey a custody agreement?

For 'Akira,' If You're Asian, Forget It: Dammit. After this I think I can safely say that I want Hollywood to leave anime alone.

Utah Woman Puts Video Game-Obsessed Husband Up for Sale on Craigslist: I guess dumping him wasn't going to get her enough drama queen points so she had to ante up.



Because I was feeling a bit nostalgic.


Later!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Adventures of Uncle Danny Ep. 1

Okay as you may know I dread the idea of having kids. This dread sky rocketed tonight.

I'm up visiting my brother today at his place and my sister came into town as well. Long story short at about 6pm I was on my way to taking my 3 nieces (12, 12, 7) out to Adventure Landing (something like a Chucky Cheese, Celebration Station, Dave and Buster's, etc...).

My heart rate shot up at the thought of having being their guardian for a few hours. Every worst case scenario shot through my head like I just knew something bad was going to happen. Thankfully nothing bad happened. They played some games for a while (and got to see their uncle play DDR), grabbed some shakes (Cook-Out owns your face), and headed back.

But one thing tripped me out about the whole ordeal.

You see they wanted to go there in order to have a chance to spend more time with me.

For reasons I recently covered that doesn't register well with me.

Now its true that I don't see them often (in fact one of the 12 year olds lives in Texas so I'm lucky to see her more than once every 2-3 years) but even with that in mind I don't understand why they want to spend time with me. I'm an emotionally dying eternal sad sack. What kid wants to be around that?

Oh well disaster didn't happen so I guess its a good thing and I should let sleeping dogs lie.

But I stand by my word when I say that Uncle Danny has no desire to become Daddy Danny.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things I learned/noticed/discovered at Anime USA

So this past weekend I went to Anime USA. Its the first anime convention I've been to in seven years and I was surprised that I was pretty much I fit right in despite being out of touch with that part of me for so long. Like really the only catching up I had to do was over the fact that the cosplayer scene had changed a lot due to the anime/manga that are hot now were either obscure or non existent seven years ago. And even then there were still plenty of folks representing the past (I saw a fricking Duo Maxwell, a female Duo Maxwell but in the world of anime we don't care about stuff like that).

1. I went to a Host Club. Originally I went for the relative quiet (like any convention anime cons can get quite loud and overwhelming, and I'm not the young overenergized punk I used to be) but took some time to check out the hosts and while they weren't much to my tastes I like the idea. There was also a Maid Cafe but it was earlier during the day when I was going to panels.

2. Speaking of panels they have come a long way since I remember. In the past it was all about just showing appreciation for the shows and manga and movie but now people are getting downright analytical about it.

For instance in one panel the panelists were psychoanalyzing various anime characters. Two conclusions were made. Vegeta from Dragonball Z fits all 9 DSM-IV criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Rurouni Kenshin (from the series of the same name) may exhibit some symptoms of PTSD its debatable that he suffers from it.

In another panel the panelist used Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood for an examination of race relations, morals, and ethics. Good stuff. Even the part where a woman shouted, "May needs to die!" (For perspective May is a five year old girl from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.)

3. Which speaking of getting analytical about things this weekend in those panels I was finally able to form a thought that's been in the back of my mind for a long time. Examination of masculinity in anime is long overdue. The target audience of a lot of anime that comes to the States is male so why not take a look at how that plays out?

4. In a panel called "7 JRPGs that are better than FF7" I got to do something I thought I'd never get to do. Near the end someone asked, "Where's FF8?" I actually got to stand up and proclaim, "Maannn, FUCK Final Fantasy 8!!!!" And yes I got the same reason Cedric the Entertainer did when he used that line in The Barbershop.

5. Hi-Chew is one of the greatest candies ever made. Full Stop. In fact I'm going to order a box of this to go with the gift I'm giving to the woman whose name I drew for Secret Santa at work. She can't eat chocolate so she puts away a lot of fruit flavored candy.

6. There's a lot of anime that I need to go back in time and watch. Namely I need to look up Gainax's library (because if nothing else if you can't have a discussion about masculinity and anime without talking about Shinji Ikari, meaning I'll be rewatching Evangelion soon).

7. I picked up Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo from the dealer's room. Will be watched.

8. Went to one dealer that was selling yoai fan art and was shocked to see absolutely no Yumichika (from Bleach) art. How can you have yoai art and not have any of a guy that has a reputation of being obsessed with beauty? Seriously he's too the 5th rank position in his squad because the (kanji) character for 4 is ugly.

9. Once I move and have more space I am so going to start cosplaying. I'm thinking to start off either Mr. Tessai from Bleach, Kankuro from Naruto Shippuden, or Sig Curtis from Fullmetal Alchemist.

10. The friends I ran with this time have already stated their desire to hit up Katsucon this coming February.

All in all it was a blast and I'm pumped and want to do it again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When Fan Service goes too far

Fan Service: As the name implies fan service is the servicing of fans. In the context of anime and manga fan service is putting something into an anime and/or manga just for the sake of servicing fans.

Now that that is out of the way let me tell you about High School of the Dead.

In what could be present day Japan out of nowhere zombies appear and start to attack innocent civilians. The events of High School of the Dead center around Takashi, Rei, and their five companions as they cut, bash, drive, shoot, and run their way to safety.

Its a simple sounding story that you would think was just thrown together to score on the recent interest in zombie fiction. But truthfully its a pretty good work. In addition to the hordes of undead that make the back drop we also have the personal issues of the characters trying to fight their way to freedom. All in all it works really well (except for Takagi, with the way she treats everyone especially Hirano, I truly wish that pink haired know it all would die, violent preferably). But there's one small problem.

Well actually several problems.

Truthfully they aren't that small (but that's not the issue in and of itself) and the way they come up isn't that small either.

Remember what I said about fan service? High School of the Dead is plagued by it.

Here is a link to the first half of the first episode. Go check it out and come back. Don't worry I'll still be here.

Oh you're back already? That was fast.

Did you see what I was talking about? If you didn't (and honestly the only valid reason you didn't see is because you either could not or did not watch it) then I'll inform you. That show is riddled with tit and panty shots.

I mean damn I can get with some fan servicing because ultimately shows are made for fans and a show with no fans will fail. But goodness there are parts in this series where the shots are gratuitous well past the point of making sense.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not trying to say that any show that has any such shots is bad. Physics accounts for some of that stuff because truthfully tits do jiggle sometimes and if a girl in a skirt moves a lot (especially with all the running and fighting these girls do) yes they will fly up. On the other hand its pretty obvious a lot of those shots are there for the sake of being there, not because they would happen naturally or just throwing in a little extra for the fans.

I'm not trying to argue against sexually explicit material or anything. Its just that the way this was done I think its a pretty strong display of thinking that boys (the target audience of this and a lot of anime) are so low brow that we can't get into something without sexualizing girls.

Damn shame that is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm back!

I actually got back in Sunday night Monday morning (at nearly 4am) but I had to take my dad to the doctor for a followup yesterday and it was back to work today.

Got a few spam comments but other than that all seem's to have been well while I was gone.

We now return you to your regular scheduled programming.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I find his lack of faith disturbing...

Oh Shatner done fucked up now.



Carrie Fisher responds.



As Fisher opens with they are two different things. If you want to see some shit that might be real in 2 or 3 centuries then watch Star Trek. If you want engaging characters that you actually care about then watch Star Wars.

Simple as that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 76

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

PETA targets Mario over raccoon suit: Yes you read that right? Never mind this is a revival of a nearly 15 year old powerup...

Thoughts On The House Judiciary Committee's Hearings On SOPA: Mike Masnick sharing his thoughts on the SOPA hearings. Which by the way were pretty heavily stacked in favor of those who support the bill. Any surprises?

Christian Baker Faces Boycott For Refusing to Make Lesbian Cake: Pro-gay activists have launched a boycott of an Iowa baker who declined to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple based on her religious beliefs.

Victory—In Face of Opposition, Leahy Scraps VAWA Draft Provision Which Lowers Evidence Standards:"Fathers and Families wants abused women (and men) to be afforded the protection they need. However, we have relentlessly publicized and fought the common problem of false allegations being used as child custody and financial maneuvers in divorce. And one of the key components in this fight is to replace the “preponderance” standard with the “clear and convincing” standard."

Teacher accused of making first-graders rub her feet: What's with all these stories about teachers acting a fool and harming kids? Its like they are worse than the students...

A Dose of Stupid v.56: I have to admit that as much as I don't care for what Futrelle does I at least expected him to be honest...that ship seems to have sailed if what TS says is true.


Tyler Mali, standing up for teachers.


Take it easy people!

Friday, November 18, 2011

So which is it?

Cosplay:
short for "costume play",[1] is a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Characters are often[2] drawn from popular fiction in Japan, but recent trends have included American cartoons and science fiction. Favorite sources include manga, anime, tokusatsu, comic books, graphic novels, video games, hentai and fantasy movies.

Any entity from the real or virtual world that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Inanimate objects are given anthropomorphic forms and it is not unusual to see genders switched, with women playing male roles and vice versa. There is also a subset of cosplay culture centered around sex appeal, with cosplayers specifically choosing characters that are known for their attractiveness and/or revealing (even explicit) costumes.


Ah the wonderful art of cosplay. The chance to dress up as a fictional character, show off our costuming skills, and just have fun in ways you can't in your "normal" attire.

But enough of that I just gave you the definition so my question wouldn't sound like it came from left field. I'm going to show you an image of a person cosplaying and I want to know what you think. Ready? Go!!!



To clarify this woman here is cosplaying the character Misty from the anime Pokemon. I got a link to this from a Facebook group I'm a part of and someone brought up how disturbing it is for a someone to think that a child is "hot" (for the record the character Misty is in her early teens). While that is certainly a possibility (and there are people out there with such sick thoughts) I wonder if its actually a matter of getting to see a grown woman wear skimpy clothing.

Hear me out. I don't think its outside the realm of possibility to say that someone could look at that picture and think that the woman dressed as Misty is attractive and likes the thought of her in such clothing (also for the record Misty's breasts are nowhere near that large, yes for those of you not in the know not all anime girls/women have massive boobs that defy physics).

Now there is one pitfall to bear in mind here and I bet some of you may have even considered it.

"But Danny how do we know that a given cosplayer is an adult or not?"

Truth be told without some dead giveaway we don't. But does that mean that a cosplayer should be assumed to be too young and therefore all sexual thoughts are off limits?

What do you think?

(Oh and if you're not into women feel free to ponder this picture of L from the anime Death Note. I'm not sure if that's a woman cosplaying him but L is a teenage boy so finding him attractive should still satisfy the questions I ask above about Misty.):

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Going to Anime USA

Alright folks I'm about to head off to VA for Anime USA. My first anime convention since Otakon 2004. I have stuff scheduled until Monday and I plan to be back by then.

Take it easy.

(Oh and if you're reading this and are going to be there to just drop a comment here so I'll get the notification and we might be able to meet.)

Who knew I had been in Utopia for so long?

So I told you I've been digging Goldfrapp recently right? Well I just noticed something. I was listening to Cafe del Mar volume 8 and came across a track that sounded very familiar. Check this out.



Little did I know this is a different version of a song that I've gotten into lately.



I know right? I had this song right in my collection for a little over 3 years not even knowing I actually now had 2 versions of the same song. Love them both. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So about that attempted rape in the new Harold and Kumar...

(I'm talking about the new Harold and Kumar Christmas movie. Well one specific scene to be exact. And its an attempted rape scene at that. Tread carefully.)

Yeah you heard me.

After being drained from sleeping in a hospital waiting room all week I needed a release so I decided to hit up the movie theater to catch something. Well when I got there the only thing that was playing anytime soon was the new Harold and Kumar Christmas movie (I was hoping to see Three Musketeers but its dropped in popularity and only played once that day, hours before I got there). I hadn't seen the second one but loved the first one so I went for it.

To put it quickly the film takes sometime after the second movie (Guantanamo Bay) and Harold has married Maria, moved out to the suburbs, and are trying to start a family (I have to admit I laughed when early in the movie Maria tells Harold to, "Fuck a baby into me!"). On the other hand Kumar doesn't seem to have changed much and is still a lazy pothead. Out of the blue Kumar gets a package labeled to Harold. He hesitates taking to him but does in the end. Long story short Kumar burns down Harold's tree (which is actually his father in law's, played by Danny Trejo) and the rush is on to find a replacement tree.

On one of their stops they end up at a party with one of Kumar's friends who is there to have sex with an online friend and the hope that they can get her Christmas tree for Harold. Well when said friend goes up to the bedroom to have sex with is online friend (who by the way is named Mary and she's a virgin...) he realizes that her father is a rather notorious mob boss. Here's where things go bad.

He tries to stop having sex with her but with her top of him she refuses to get off. Not only does she refuse to let him go but she reached under the covers and attempts to for his penis into her vagina (he complains that he can feel her nails digging into him). From what I gather he is able to get away from her before being raped and runs downstairs in his underwear. What does she do? She storms down after him mad and declaring that someone is going to fuck her tonight. At which point she grabs Harold and tries to take his pants off of him right in the middle of everyone.

You see the angle is that no guys will have sex with her because her dad's a mobster but she is anxious to have sex.

Now I can understand really wanting to have sex and I can imagine that it would be terrible to not be able to find a sex partner for reasons beyond one's control. But none of that really justifies forcing someone to have sex against their will.

You can call the guy a jerk, coward, or whatever for not wanting to have sex with a mob boss' daughter but its his choice to not have sex. Being a sexually attractive virgin that is anxious to have sex doesn't override the fact that the guy doesn't want to do it. And even if Harold weren't married there's nothing wrong with him not wanting to have sex with her either.

And I really don't appreciate how its being used as a comedy device either.

Raping guys or attempting to rape guys doesn't suddenly become funny when the rapist/attempted rapist is a horny woman.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The only good touches for men are sexual?

I've been on a bit of a self diagnostic kick lately and have been reminded of another part of me that's probably a bit lacking.

Last week titfortat told me:
You can a have a Massage at our wellness clinic(on the house). It sounds like you could use one. :)


To which I responded with:
That's another one of my oddities. I don't do a whole lot of that human contact stuff. Its not that I have a phobia or anything that limits it it just doesn't happen.


Well I was going to revisit this later on but Ozy's touched on it a bit so now's as good a time as any.

Virginal men, especially if they don’t have romantic relationships, are often touch-starved. There is one acceptable way for men to get touched: sexually. Casual cuddles with friends are Not Allowed. Woo, homophobia!


For the most part growing up with the script of being a man shoved down our throats most of us were raised with some odd messages with regards to touch. When we're young touching is fine among family but even that has a shelf life (I'm betting I'm not the only one that kinda shied away from physical contact with even my parents as I hit my teen years). Once the teen years hit it seems that out of nowhere the only acceptable type of touching is in a romantic or sexual way. Well for those of us who are not touching or getting touched in those "appropriate" ways things can get pretty lonesome.

As I was telling titfortat in the comments of that post I've never had a massage before. Well it actually goes beyond laying on a table wrapped in a towel and getting rubbed down. In a short bit of thinking I can only count 2 times in my life that I've ever been touched in a massaging manner in a non professional setting. Hell the only time I hug people is when the other person reaches for me first.

But anyway when it comes to being a man and touching it just seems that that, like most other, line of emotional support is forbidden to us as a part of how we are conditioned to fulfill our role in The System. No we are supposed to rock hard stoic creatures in order to charge forth and do all that we can to make The System stronger (namely in the way of labor as external providers). Because really what kind of "real man" would look for emotional support when should be out there making some faceless power structure more money that it knows what to do with (well at least it knows not to actually include the people whose backs were broken for that profit).

Maybe that's the point of "allowing" us touching for sexual and romantic purposes. A little outlet so that we don't get totally touch-starved, as Ozy says. Well when tying the only "appropriate" touching to something like relationships and sex that leaves a lot of guys hanging. Guys who just don't feel like being in relationships. Guys who do have little to no success in relationships. Guys who aren't interested in relationships with women (because let's face it even among "appropriate" touching for guys gay guys still get pissed on in terms of displays of touching and affection). Guys who are soul crushingly shy when it comes to expressing desire for affection.

Come on I know I'm not the only thinking about touching and guys (okay some of us may be thinking about touching guys right now but that's cool too). Don't be scared to share.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 75

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

I don't have a lot this week on a count of being in the hospital with the dad all week.

Old Fashioned 'Pirates' Steal 6,000 Copies Of The New Call Of Duty Game: Because that's how REAL pirates roll kid.

If it had been a woman…: You'd think people would be over this "women are morally superior to men" stuff by now...

NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation: "Gov. Bev Perdue established the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation. In the 2009-2010 legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly provided funding for the Foundation to begin planning to carry out its mission to provide justice and compensate victims who were forcibly sterilized by the State of North Carolina. The Foundation will function as a clearinghouse to assist victims of the N.C. Eugenics Board program. Foundation staff also supports the Governor’s Task Force to Determine the Method of Compensation for Victims of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board."

Boy thought eight years of sexual abuse by sister ‘was normal’: A display of how damaging sexual abuse can be to a child when the abuse starts are a young age.


I know I'm not the only one that feels this way.


Two Items: Metalwala Update; Virginia to Seize Assets of Child Abductors: For as many episodes of Law and Order I've seen that are "ripped from the headlines" I'm at a bit of a loss to see it happen in reverse.

Black Women of Playboy: Eat your heart out Lindsay Lohan: Yep.

APNewsBreak: Inmates with mental illness neglected: "Years of budget cuts, hiring freezes and high turnover led to staffing shortages in critical jobs, especially nurses and doctors. Staff failed to maintain up-to date records, track medications or respond to calls for medical help."


Something for the anime fans.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Finally...

After sleeping in a hotel for a week and working at a different branch I was finally able to bring my dad home from the hospital today. He had his gall bladder removed (which the surgeon later said was on the verge of shutting down) and all seems to be well.


Now its time to catch up on things I missed.

If you see someone who wore the uniform, thank them

Today is Veteran's Day. A day to honor those who have fought to defend our country over the course of its relatively short history.

So to all the folks who put on the uniform to say, "I am offering my life to protect yours.", Thank You.

What in the hell happened with Uncharted 3?

(I'm going to be talking about the Uncharted series of video games for the Playstation 3 gaming system. I will be spoiling the hell out of them so tread carefully.)

Over the last few weeks I've been watching playthroughs of the Uncharted series of games. Well earlier today I finished off Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Don't get me wrong the game is good but it disappointed me on two major points.

The second title in the series, named Among Thieves, a new character named Chloe is introduced. She's a thief with a history of working with Drake and she manages to survive Among Thieves in order to appear in the final installment, Drake's Deception. Well she's in the game for about 2/3 of it and out of nowhere she just decides the stakes are too high and leaves. I was at least hoping that she would appear at the end of the game just to show that she was still alive, cared about he rest of the crew or something. No she just vanishes. A character by the name of Charlie Cutter who is introduced in Drake's Deception suffers the same disappearing fate. No mention, no last minute appearance (although to be fair his last appearance ends with him breaking his leg). But that's not what really grated my nerves.

Just to set things up let me tell you how the main villains died the first two times around. In the first title, Drake's Fortune, the main villain met his end by inhaling a dust that causes one to mutate and being shot when charging his right hand man (said right hand man got him to inhale the dust, knowing what would happen). The main villain of the second game, Among Thieves, is killed by being mauled to death by a sect of warriors charged with defending a tree whose sap grants super powers.

Now these deaths sound a lot like something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie right? Some f'd up way to go out followed by the main characters riding off into the sunset. Guess how the main villain dies in Drake's Deception. She drowns in quicksand.

You caught that right? I said SHE. Yes the main villain in the third installment is a woman. A woman that, just like the two villains before her, has no problem with killing people and thinks she is above everyone else.

I would really hate to think that the folks at Naughty Dog didn't write her demise to be so relatively harmless just because she's a she but when compared to the previous two I can't help doing so.

Now don't get me wrong the game isn't all that perfect in terms of how it deals with women. This main villain is only the third major female character to be introduced in the series, and she dies leaving us with two (although to be fair even if you count Cutter there are only three major male characters). But I don't think a lack of female characters should justify giving them a less gruesome death.

But I will say in terms of action and keeping you the edge of your see the games are pretty damn nice. And speaking of Indiana Jones I'll go as far as to say that these games are what an Indiana Jones game should be.

I'll give it 4 Witty Remarks out of 5.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: Percy Jackson and The Olympians

(I'm talking about the Percy Jackson books and will be spoiling them. Tread carefully.)

So a few days ago I knocked out the last two entries in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians books (series of 5) by Rick Riordan and I figure I'll take a chance to brush up on my review skills.

The Percy Jackson series is set in modern day United States (the characters travel all over the country) but in this setting the Greek gods have not completely faded into the realm of myth but continue to live on and are still up to the same tasks and tricks they were up to during height of the Ancient Greece. And speaking of tasks (and tricks) it would seem that there is one trick that really gets this series going.

You see just as in the distant past gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon had children by mortals. Such children are known as demigods or half-bloods. And like their divine parents these children possess powers that are far beyond mere mortals. Well I'm sure you can imagine that children with such powers must be properly cared for or bad things will happen. And that is the purpose of Camp Half Blood.

Similar to the Xavier School for the Gifted, Camp Half Blood is a summer camp that exists to show demigods how to use their abilities. Well that's not all truth be told. Just as the gods and goddesses still roam the earth today so do many of the monsters, terrors, and threats that we regard as myth and legend. And such things can be very perilous for children who are not equipped to fight them.

Enter Percy Jackson. A young boy who is about to find out that he is not just some random delinquent. No he is a son of the mighty sea god Posiedon, and danger is approaching. With the help of a young satyr by the name Grover Percy makes his way to Camp Half Blood where he learns of The Great Prophecy, and unravels his role in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

All in all I liked the books. Similar to other fictional characters who are destined for greatness (coughcoughcoughHarryPottercoughcoughcough) Percy has best friends (Grover and Annabeth, daughter of Athena), bullies (Clarisse, daughter of Ares), and outright enemies (Luke, son of Hermes). Also like our magical friend Percy must fight under conditions that even the adults in his life may consider insurmountable. But I must say that I think these books offer a better mixing teen life with the main content of the story (personally I think Rowling doesn't mix in enough teen life and Meyer uses too much).

Riordan also does a good job of injecting classic tales into the modern world. The Labyrinth of the Minotaur? Its an underground maze that stretches across the entire US. Mount Olympus? The home of the gods and goddesses will move throughout the ages to the "center of civilization", therefore it hovers over New York City, on the 600th floor of The Empire State Building. The island where Odysseus and his men wasted away several years drinking and partying without noticing the passage of time? Its portrayed as a casino in Las Vegas where those trapped inside are free to eat, drink, and play for eternity and will never experience the passing of time (our heroes meet a pair of 12 year old twins, who have been in there since the early 1940s). And making Ares, god of war, a leather clad biker? Brilliant.

And don't think that only the sunny side of a hero is shown. There are quite a few occasions where heroes are portrayed as selfish and callous towards others. Remember the story about the Labor of Hercules where he had one day to clean out a set of stables that had not been cleaned in 30 years? Well in book 4 Percy takes on the task as part of deal for aid and marches down to a nearby river to clean them in the same manner Hercules did (in fact they haven't been cleaned since Hercules did it, which would have been centuries ago). However he is stopped dead in his tracks by the spirit of the river and she was NOT happy. She was mad and promptly told him off how Hercules talked her into using her river last time and how the massive amount of manure poisoned the river and made her sick for decades (but worry not she did give him a clue to another way to complete the task). Showing that gods, and their children are not perfect creatures.

One other thing that I really liked about the series is how the story is told. The story is told like Percy is narrating a flashback. Also I love the sense of humor and casual nature of Jackson's attitude. He could be staring down the barrel of a beatdown from an angry daughter of Ares or about to drop a few hundred feet or about to mauled by a mythical creature, he still has the time for witty commentary. And I love the chapter naming.

One last thing. If you are touched by the subject of rage, revenge, and the pain associated with them then this book can actually get pretty powerful at times (especially the last 2 books).

Unfortunately the series is not perfect.

First off I understand that being based off of Greek myth the vast majority of the characters are going to be white but from what I can tell there were damn near no people of color throughout the entire series? (It is worth noting that while Grover's character art would make you think he would be played by a guy with red hair his role was actually played by Brandon Jackson, a black guy in the 2010 adaptation of the first book, The Lightning Thief.)

There's a matter of its use of dyslexia. The learning disability is a manifestation of a demigod's brain being hard wired toward Ancient Greek, not English. Meaning that when they read English in the back of their minds they are trying to read it as Ancient Greek and modern medicine interprets this as dyslexia. Not sure how I feel about an actual learning disability used like that in literature (mind you I am not dyslexic so I can't really speak on this with any definitiveness).

When it comes to having to prove oneself in regards to sexism I think it falls short a bit. Early on in the series Ares, despite his daughter Clarisse's great accomplishments such as being leader of the Ares children who attend Camp Half Blood, shows his contempt for her being a girl. In fact at one point when Clarisse fails a task Ares literally says something to the effect of, "I bet one of my sons could have done it.". Now that's not the problem I have with this because such sexism is indeed real (but rest assured Clarisse gets busy in the final battle by killing a creature that was closing to killing all the heroes, including Percy). My problem is that there was really no reference to how boys are regularly expected to prove their manhood. With Greek myth being the source material you would think that this would come up a lot and be more direct but its not. And remember what I said about how heroes are not always portrayed in the best light? Yeah that's the exclusive province of men (feeding the myth of the moral superiority of the female).

There was pretty much a GLBT shut out on this one too.

In the end I liked the series. It does suffer from many of the failings that are commonly seen in today's literature but I think it does a good job of blending past myth with the present world and readers (regardless of age) could possibly learn some good lessons from reading this series. I won't call them a must read but rather a very good read. I give it 3.5 Riptides out of 5.

Alright I'm off to go read the Secret Circle Trilogy. Take it easy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

That's what I'm talking about

You know I want to see fathers succeed in being parents. You also know that a lot of people say they want fathers to do their part. You also know that a lot of those same people will turn blind eye and deaf ear to the very fathers that are trying take on the responsibility of being a father, if not contribute to the denial of them doing so. That's why I'm a bit glad (a bit more glad that the folks I'm borrowed this link from) to see that New Zealand is actually offering courses for teen dads.

This is a good example of just what responsible dads in the States should be getting. They should be getting help, not scorn followed by hypocritical whining about men needing to "step up".

I wonder if there is something in the States like this...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Well it is my birthday and all...

Okay so I'm settled in the hospital with dad. Don't worry its been confirmed that they are gall stones (which is good to know because he was scared as hell that it was cancer, for good reason). So neverminding the fact that I'm spending my birthday in my dad's hospital room I've come to a conclusion. I've been thinking it for a long time (remember all those times where I've hinted towards my emotional state but always said I'd come back to it later?). Actually I think I've known it for a long time but just didn't want to admit it. Here goes.

Emotionally speaking, I'm dead on the inside.

I've been with my dad over the last several days after rushing him to the ER at 5am on Thursday morning. From that, to hearing him moan in pain (and asking for something to relieve it), to seeing him almost tear up thinking the blockages in his pancreas were tumors. The whole time my emotional response has been limited to extreme aggravation at relatives that think calling me every hour is going to generate progress.

Maybe its just the way that I've been raised to think how people should act in stressful times like this but I think something is really wrong with me. And this is not an isolated case.

Back in 2004 when my mom died I was literally the only person in my immediate family that didn't shed a single tear. No choked voice, no water eyes, just some sadness. Same thing when my grandmother died about 2 months after that.

When I was in high school and the vice principal died same thing. Imagine sitting in a church full of crying friends, family, and students and not have any sort of reaction on your face.

In college caught a buddy home for a holiday but before heading out we stopped to his aunt and uncle's house. The uncle had a heart attack while we were there. He passed away but I remember the EMTs on the scene and the aunt thanking me for how calm I was and how well I kept their kids from panicking, who were small children at the time (and mind you I don't even like kids that much).

Its just this weird thing about me that causes me to be deathly (maybe not the best word) calm in situations that would terrify normal people or at least cause some sort of other noticeable reaction.

To this end I've gotten to the point where I simply don't want to be in such situations anymore. I feel like people are looking at me and thinking, "What kind of souless monster can go through this with such a blank expression?". Don't believe me? How many times have you seen people say something like, "If you don't (display expected emotional response to this pic/story/ect...) then you have no soul."

This is part of the reason I don't want kids. I don't like the idea of raising soulless kids.

Well enough of that for now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick update

I would seem my dad's condition is rather persistent (but thankfully not urgent). So I'm gonna be out of the office for the next few days at least. I think my last scheduled post will come on Monday. After that just hang tight.

Weekly Mashup Stage 74

Dammit I thought I scheduled this before I went out of town this past weekend. Sorry.


In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

State Sen. Forrester dead at age 74: "Long a champion of banning gay marriage in North Carolina, he stirred controversy in September for calling Asheville a “cesspool of sin.” He also drew fire from gay rights groups. In an interview with The News & Observer earlier this month about the controversy, Forrester said he was suffering from health problems but did not elaborate." I would like for opposition to gay rights to not get their way but this is terrible. Best of wishes to his family.

Concerns Are Raised About Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes: This shit is a SyFy Movie of the Week waiting to happen....

CA Audit of CPS Reveals Sex Offenders Working in Foster Homes: This can't be good.

Fred Phelps attended Bob Jones University; rape-apologist now on BJU board: "Bob Jones University is currently pretending that Fred Phelps did not go to their school. Is that FUNNY or what? I can remember when they would have been proud, but demonstrating at the funerals of Elizabeth Edwards and Steve Jobs? Even too embarrassing for BJU!

At left, courtesy of fabulous Camille Lewis (BJU-purge victim), is Fred Phelps' 1948 yearbook photo from Bob Jones University. Although they can try to hide their nasty history, they CAN'T erase old yearbooks owned by students."

Men’s Rights Fight Breaks Out On Wikipedia: Have your opinion of MRAs by all means but back handed tactics like this are not right. I'm sure its not some feminist conspiracy but I have to admit that this is some pretty interesting timing considering that there's be a bit of noise lately over the gender disparity in Wiki contributors.

Is there a double standard between male and female sex offenders?:Yes.

Marketing To The Maxim Set: Axe realizing that telling teen guys that they are smelly pigs that no woman would want to get close to was not the best way to market their product?


A little something I whipped up this week.

Friday, November 4, 2011

If you say it, they may respond

If you recall last week I went to Dr. Pepper's Contact Us section and sent in my thoughts on the new Dr. Pepper 10 ad. I was checking my email over the weekend and saw that I got a response. Not just some system generated, "We are glad you contacted us..." bull but an actual response in which someone read what I wrote and responded back. Check it out.

October 26, 2011
Thank you for writing to us about Dr Pepper TEN and allowing us to respond to your concerns. I am a woman who loves the full flavor of Dr Pepper TEN and the fact that it’s only 10 calories. When I first saw the tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign and the tagline, my reaction was, “I’ll be the judge of that.” In other words, no one is going to tell me what I can eat or drink.

We hope you, too, will come to see our advertising campaign for what it is, a humorous take on the many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too “manly” to drink a diet soda.

Sincerely,

Consumer Relations


To which I responded:
I can appreciate the concept of "I'll be the judge of that." being used to advertise the product that leaves me wondering about "many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too “manly” to drink a diet soda" you commented on. Yes it is true that there are men who worry about that, however does that really mean they should be taken in a humorous light when they could see this ad as teasing them, thus justifying their fear about said soda?

Your point that it doesn't have to be that way is a valid one, I'm just a bit concerned about the way its addressed in the ad. Surely as a woman you may have certain fears and worries. How would you feel if someone made an ad in which they made fun your fears rather then actually seriously addressing them?

Thanks for the response.


I really do like the idea that there are women out there who will respond to said ad with a "I'll be the judge of that" attitude. My problem is I don't think this ad does much good for men, especially the ones who are caught up in this idea that they need a "manly" version of a diet soda. I'm guessing this woman who responded was thinking about the ad as a woman being told, "This soda is not for you." to which I don't blame her for thinking, "I'll be the judge of that.". But let's take a moment to think about the men who believe this hype.

You have a guy that for whatever reason wants to try a soda that tastes good and isn't as bad for you as most sodas on the market. Let's say this guy is turning away from other so-called diet sodas because they aren't "manly enough" for him. Then he sees this ad. Instead of getting the message that being manly isn't a vital criteria of a diet drink he gets the idea that he should get Dr. Pepper 10 because its made for men, not those little women. How healthy can that message possibly be for anyone?

I stand by my original statement that an ad showing a man drinking it and saying while it may be targeted at men anyone can drink it would hit a much larger audience than targeting a narrow sub-set of men to drink because its "for men only" and and a sub-set of women who are going to drink just because they were told not to.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Out of the Office

I'm gonna be a way for at least the next day or so with a family emergency. I have stuff scheduled up to Monday so all should be well.

Play nice.

I don't care if he was a war criminal...

(I'm talking about sexual violence against a man so tread carefully and the link I'm about to drop has some pretty serious images up front and center.)

Gaddafi did not deserve to be sodomized before being killed.

Yes he is a war criminal that is responsible for atrocities that were probably only outdone by a few other people.

Yes he oppressed people and kept them in control with violence.

Yes if he had had his way about it he would have stayed in power and ruled with an iron fist.

But none of that justifies sodomizing him.

When stooping to his level of violence and depravity can those folks really call them selves rebels/freedom fighters?

Hell I can sort of understand killing him because that actually does serve the purpose of making sure that he will never rise again (I'm not sure if that makes it okay but what's the point of sodomizing him other than to inflict pain and humiliation?). But like any other man he did not deserve that. I can almost understand the desire to do that to him (because believe me when I say I have very serious issues with the thought of revenge) but ultimately its a display of violence that makes me wonder if those rebels are better than the man they disposed (Remember how the cruel tyranny of the French Monarchy was followed by The Reign of Terror?).

Rape is treated like a joke.

Rape is treated like a suitable punishment.

Rape is treated like a viable tactic to get someone to talk.

None of that is cool. From this display of sexual violence to the regular use of rape as a threat to get someone to confess on a tv crime drama. None of it is.

I'm glad that Gaddafi is no longer in power but what purpose did sodomizing him serve?



Fro tip to Ozy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Halloween Post

So last Saturday I went to a small fetish night. Nothing major just a small show. But nevermind that the important part is that two things will stick out in my mind for a long time.

First I saw a Halloween costume at this show that pretty much put a damper on my night. There was a costume contest and one of the entries was of a black women wearing a costume which consisted of a drink and a sports jersey. Her costume? And I shit you not, "85% of the NFL, Black and Drunk".

I know...

On to something a lot nicer. I was found by a girl that I had not seen since junior year of high school. It was odd at first because this encounter started with a woman yelling my name out of the blue as she came towards me. The tip off here was that she was calling me Daniel and not Danny. The only people that call me that are co-workers, family, and people who knew me before Fall 1999.

Now for some back story. This woman actually had a bit of a crush on me in high school, a crush that I was not receptive to. And it turns out she is still interested in me. And I have to admit that I do find her interesting now. It would seem that that while the last 12 years have been very different for us we both seem to have grown up more alike than expected (and I assure you neither of us are the same as we were 12 years ago). Consider that we met at a fetish show. Although I never heard her say the words she appears to be bisexual (she was making out with both her husband and two other women at the show). She seems to have tapped into something that gives her the strength to simply do her thing during which not a single fuck is given.

So all in all I enjoyed my night.

How was your Halloween?

Picking Nits about Domestic Violence

I saw this post over at Clarissa's while I was chilling at a hotel waiting to go to a fetish party for Halloween a few nights ago (more on that later) but decided to wait until I got back to say something.

First off you should go read the post because I'm talking about something she says near the end of it.
I really don’t want this post to turn into “If the victim were a woman, the reaction would have been different.” No, it wouldn’t. No matter who the victim is, people who are battered at home are routinely dismissed. Domestic violence is an issue people love to dismiss. By ridiculing victims of domestic abuse we create an emotional distance from them. It is as if we said to ourselves, “This is not something that could happen to me. I’m nothing like these crazy, cupcake-hurling folks.”
Not so fast.

You see what I think people are getting at when they say, "If the victim were a woman, the reaction would have been different." is that indeed people's attitudes can change drastically when talking about female against male violence versus male against female violence.

Yes overall there is a problem with the general dismissal of all victims of domestic violence but there is a big difference between that and trying to say that people's reactions don't change when talking about m vs f instead of f vs m. I've even had this conversation with people about a woman abusing a man and I made the "if he was abusing her..." comment to which people actually did change their reaction. And not just change their reaction but literally say, "but that's different".

Now at the same time its bearing in mind that the change won't always happen in that direction. Just as there are people who will say "but that's different" when shifting from f vs m to m vs f there are those who will do the same in reverse.

Not trying to attack you Clarissa just saying that to a lot of people the reaction really would be different.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Being A Man 101: Chivalry

I'm a bit of a fan of visual aids. They make things so nice and...visual (lol). If you recall some time ago I did a small post on chivalry and how destructive it is to men. Well I came across a rather useful example.



A rather funny video I know but let's take a moment to look at what supposedly is the mark of a "gentleman".

First off notice the obvious disregard of the woman whose affections they are competing for. Mashing her hands, hitting her in the face, and not caring when things fall on her head. Quite cartoonish I'll say. I'm sure most people would point to this part, comment on how this shows that chivalry holds no regard for women (probably throw in the words "patriarchy" and "misogyny" for dramatic effect) then wait for the praise to and high fives.

Such people would only be getting part of the picture.


What they may not notice (or refuse to acknowledge) is that this also show how chivalry poisons the manners of an otherwise sensible man that would have some regard for others (and not just women). Along with the childish name calling this is some terrible behavior for a special type of man that is supposed to be superior to normal men. Promoting rude behavior as the mark of a gentleman?

And this disregard is not limited to themselves and women either. I can't be the only to notice how they treated the butler when they entered. So so far a mark of a gentleman is they argue like children among themselves over who is "superior", treat people who they consider to not be their equals as beneath them and ignore the women they hope to attract.

Next we have escalation. When no clear winner in a contest of name calling and arguing cannot be ascertained another way must be found. While I understand that people have different reason to fight I'm having a hard time trying to find anything honorable about taking to the field of physical combat for a woman. This probably has something to do with why the advertising division of the company that owns Summer's Eve thinks we do it all for the nookie.

Finally look what happens at the end of the video. After fighting to nearly the death and destroying the estate of the woman they are fighting over they leave, even though they think they killed her.

So as we can see chivalry does quite the bit of damage to men while passing itself off as the way "a real man" or "gentleman" acts. Yet time and time again all we ever hear is how it so badly harms women. Don't get me wrong it does do that but you're fooling yourself if you think chivalry is only benefiting men.

Link to the main hub for all the Being a Man 101 posts.