Mary Anne Mohanraj analyzes the use of saris on SA book covers.

Cook’s Source = Crook’s Source. They plagiarize like whoa.

HAHAHA the dynamics of speaking out about sexism online. It’s funny but not. Here’s a very awesome flowchart detailing the many types of female character. (Sarcasm FREE to the first clicker!)

Alice Walker wants you to dance.

Ricky Martin talks about coming out. I swear, he is cuter than the bee’s knees.

Go good moms and cute kids! Cop’s Wife talks about letting her five year old trick or treat as Daphne.

GO COLORADO. CO voters held the line and rejected anti-abortion legislation.

Twilight and grammar: A HILARIOUS Critique

WTF, Angelina? Seriously? A love story between a Serbian rapist and a Muslim survivor? WTF.  Honestly, if you’re looking for a great book on the Balkans check out S.: A Novel about the Balkans, which grapples with these complicated issues WITHOUT a stupid love story.

Melissa Harris-Perry breaks down the racial dynamics in Virginia Thomas’ attention-mongering demand for an apology.

Bush says the worst moment of his presidency involves Kanye West.

“99 problems but a cape ain’t one” focuses on the conservative backlash to Muslim superheroes.

How do you write characters of color?

“Defend Atlanta’s Children” — Remembering a moment that went from being a black, local issue to being an Everyone, American issue.

Apex Magazine is featuring SF/F with Muslim/Arab characters in a special issue!

LESBIAN STEAMPUNK! Support your young, radical writers, people. 😀 SEE ALSO: The Habitation of the Blessed.

EchooBazaar: how I love you. It’s a free twitter game that I’m not sure why you’re not already playing.

FFA FAIL. Seriously, you need a grant to get your shit together to support your love of FANFICTION?

Watch out, white conservatives. You might win some…

But seriously, though, Rabbi Lerner’s got some advice for progressives bummed about US politics now, mainly that it’s okay if it looks impossible. Fortune favors the brave!

From Morag: An LGBT  kiss-in in Spain!


The Carl Brandon Society is offering a raffle for an eBook reader!!!!


  1. says

    I kind of… actually really hate that female character flowchart. Because it dismisses a lot of characters I DO think are strong, for the sake of being witty. (Azula? The GOLDEN GIRLS?! Oh STEP BACK.) It’s trying to be feminist, but I think it misses and winds up saying that there is no such thing as a strong female character.

    • M.C. says

      I agree.
      For example if Beverly Crusher was male then nobody would complain that she’s a weak character. Yes, she’s a doctor, which is a somewhat traditional role for female characters. But she’s also highly competent and has a few episodes focusing on her carreer. Also she never sleeps with the captain, even though she is attracted to him, because it would be unprofessional.

      • The Other Patrick says

        I think this chart does not totally work for TV and Film because it’s compressed storytelling (especially film), and secondary (and tertiary) characters will by necessity have stereotypical qualities – it’s not necessarily bad just because you could call it a trope, or just because there are other, similar characters.

        But for the major character, yeah, it’s pretty nice.

        • Brand Robins says

          One of the things I tell writers, over and over and over, when they want to write a strong female character is “Make her the lead.”

          So long as we have protagonist driven fiction and so long as the protagonist is default male, many characters that could have been wonderful will remain stunted in the shadows.

          Make her the lead.

          • says

            Except, you know, you do that in a film script, and they’re like: “Wow, this is great. Just make the girl a man, and you’re all done.”

            (For extra fun, come back with your female protagonist converted to a black man, and watch them squirm as they try to explain why it still has problems.)

          • Patrick McGraw says

            I’m somewhat afraid that when I do finish my screenplay about a group of female high school graduates working together to survive a disaster/monster), I’ll get a positive response saying “We love it, just make the heroes guys and it’s sold” when that would change the entire story irreparably.

    • Casey says

      Also, they have Uhura tagged as a “Useless Girl”? I never watched much Star Trek, but I didn’t know she was supposed to be useless. 😐

      • M.C. says

        Because she wasn’t. Her mere existence in the original series was groundbreaking because she was not only a woman, but a black woman, who was a bridge officer and held the respect of all of her male crewmates.
        But her importance to the plot also grew in time, especially in the movies (like when she forces another officer into a closet at gunpoint and uses the transporter to beam Kirk, McCoy and Sulu to the Genesis Planet).

        The Star Trek franchise is by no means perfect, but all the female characters have their moments of glory. They don’t exist only to marry the villain, have his babies and then die of a broken heart…

        • Maria says

          Yeah, Martin Luther King called the actress up personally to ask her to stay on the show, even though she wasn’t satisfied with the role, because in its time it was really ground-breaking.

  2. says

    Coincidentally, I watched Ricky’s interview by Oprah yesterday. I wanted to jump into the screen and hug him! I also loved that he talks to his children in Spanish :)

  3. Casey says

    I was laughing my ass off at that female character flowchart having Miss Piggy as a tsundere (even though it’s true…I just would’ve expected Akane from Ranma 1/2 to be in there instead). I’m surprised that Lois is supposed to be the “Perfect Wife”, she’s gone from a long-suffering wife like Marge to just a bitch. I guess she’s “perfect” because she’s supposed to be hot?
    I kinda raged like a motherfucker when I saw Chun-Li labeled as “Vanilla Action Girl”…even thought it’s probably true I’m such a Chun-Li mark that I was insulted! (does this make Cammmy a “Dark Action Girl”?) 😛

  4. Scarlett says

    Good Lord, I just read the fanfic article – I can’t believe that someone can justify using a community grant to keep a fanfic site going. Actually, I CAN – more so I can’t believe Pepsi don’t have some kind of vetting mechanism. Hmmm, potential copyright infringement issues that benefits no-one but a particular fangroups? Think we’ll give that one a wide berth.

    • says

      It’s a wee bit more complex than that. They’re running in the arts and culture category, so they aren’t running against starving children in Africa as some have alleged, and FA is explicitly an educational site focused on getting middle school and high school aged children to write. How exactly is a site to promote writing for middle and high school aged kids any less important than an a grant for an adult to produce a documentary about the peace corps or donating band instruments? Admittedly, FA isn’t targeted at underprivileged youth the way some of the other initiatives are, but a lot of them find their way there anyway. It has spawned several published authors, which I think speaks to the way it fosters a lifelong love of writing and helps to build a community of writers.

      Fanfiction by its nature is not for profit and is frequently devalued. It’s writing for the sake of writing and wonderful training for just being able to put one’s thoughts on paper. It encourages kids to read and critique each other as equals, which helps build critical thought. Also, it’s primarily a feminine interest, especially in fandoms like Harry Potter, and the vast majority of FA’s writers are adolescent girls, building a community focused around the female gaze and the mostly commercialized, unguided interests of girls. For many, it’s the first place these girls have to express themselves intellectually, creatively, and even sexually. How is it entitled to hope for grant money to further those goals?

      Is it necessarily my first choice to receive the grant? No. But I also don’t think it’s the horribly entitled decision to apply for it that you do.

      • Maria says

        I got the impression that they weren’t looking for funding for their activist/arts work but instead for their servers. Based on the email exchange, the program they described sounds more like they created to apply for the grant, and less like something that’s going on already with the site.

        I’m looking here:

        And seeing that a big portion of what they’re asking for is for tech stuff. I’m not sure how they’re defining educational goal, either. What rubrics are they using? How are they scaling their feedback? What’s guiding their pedagogy? How does fanfic, as a prompt, fit into an ongoing educational mission? What’s their follow-up? Besides anecdata, how is their program effective? What age-range are the typical users of the site? What protections are in place for their safety? What training does the staff have that would qualify them to make these judgment calls? What ongoing professional development do they plan on engaging in? How can that become top-down leadership for the kids with which they work?

        Without that information, I’m really hesitate about believing them that it’s a sincere part of their work. Maybe I’m suspicious by nature now, because I used to evaluate grant proposals at my undergrad, and you’d get all kinds of dumb shit where it was really a thinly veiled attempt to get a new shiny, hidden under a veneer of ‘we care about kids.’

        I’m not at all saying that fanfic’s not important. When you work with kids’ writing you get a LOT of it. I’m saying that needing money for your servers then being like, wtf people care about kids dont they? to apply for money is disingenuous. Maybe that’s the result of them not being awesome grant writers, or this Gwen person being a poor communicator, but from what I saw, I’m really, really not convinced they weren’t being assholes.

        • says

          Another perspective on this: Attackfish, you mentioned fanfic being primarily a female interest. Well, that’s because it doesn’t pay, and boys are supposed to learn paying trades. Girls are supposed to give until they hurt, and do it just for the thrill of having given. As much as I see the value of fanfic for someone who’s already written “pro” fic (actual manuscripts intended for publication, whether or not they got sold), I’m divided on whether fanfic is such a great way to introduce kids to writing. Part of me thinks, sure, what better way to get their attention but to involve them in a fandom they already love?

          The other part of me remembers that when I was 7 and got selected for a program for gifted kids, I was encouraged to write for publication. The idea that I could actually be published someday gave me the confidence and skills I needed to go into professional writing (it just unfortunately didn’t prepare me for the bigotry toward female and POC characters). I’m not sure writing fanfic would’ve had the same effect.

          • says

            I see your point, but as Fandom has helped several authors build up the skill essential to become published, and a fanbase willing to buy their books (and the kind of confidence that only having a bunch or readers waiting eagerly for your next chapter can give you about your writing ability) which makes me think that it’s a stepping stone and confidence builder for novelists, as well as a safe place for young writers where the pressure to be good enough to get published is off.

            It’s actually through Fandom that I came to find a lot off the resources I hope to use some day to get published, agent blogs, editor blogs, what agents represent which kinds of work, etc. Fans, especially in big fandoms like the HP fandom hear the stories of and visit the blogs of the authors who made it, and some of them, like me, start thinking they could do it too. Gifted programs like the one you were in (and the ones I was in) most often help privlaged students. Fanfic sites reach a much wider range of students, and can convince a much wider group of students to try to write and go pro.

            Another odd quirk of Fandom is that it’s a place full of tremendous bigotry and misogyny, as is the outside world. It’s also a place that talks about that bigotry and misogyny, and it’s through fandom that I came to social justice work, and came to understand that I could say something about the vitriol aimed at me as a disabled child, even if I did it through complaining about the vitriol aimed at disabled characters.

            I was in a writing circle at school, and one of the teachers made us read a poem about the experiences of a boy going for a spinal tap, and said that it was to teach us to relate to things outside our experience, because she knew none of us were sick like that, and it would help us to imagine being that sick. Even as she tried to be tolerant and helpful, she utterly discounted the idea that there might be disabled and sick kids among her students, and I felt so awkward and alone trying to point it out to her. In fandom, it wasn’t teachers discounting my disabled presence, but equals, and I felt like I could stand up and say something there, which has given me the confidence to do so in the non-internet world.

          • says

            Gifted programs like the one you were in (and the ones I was in) most often help privlaged students.

            Curious what you mean by this. It was definitely not the case in the program I attended, but I’ve always suspected it was nearly as rare as Utopia in that sense.

          • says

            Gifted programs do crop up in lower income schools, but they aren’t as common, and they’re more likely to be underfunded, like everything else. You’re really lucky.

            In the American South, gifted programs were also a way to separate out white students from black students post integration. Which, incidentally has (mostly) stopped, and left a legacy of very high quality gifted programs.

          • Patrick McGraw says

            “Even as she tried to be tolerant and helpful, she utterly discounted the idea that there might be disabled and sick kids among her students, and I felt so awkward and alone trying to point it out to her.”

            With you there on the “joys” of non-evident disability.

            While I overall dislike fanfiction, I think using it to get students in to writing is a fantastic idea. My own childhood writings were fanfiction, and those lead to trying to pursue writing as a career.

            (No, no one will ever see my epic Final Fantasy fanfiction from when I was twelve. EVER.)

          • says

            In the American South, gifted programs were also a way to separate out white students from black students post integration. Which, incidentally has (mostly) stopped, and left a legacy of very high quality gifted programs.

            That’s good to hear. I was in a gifted program in WV, in an extremely low income school, and I think you’re right that I was very lucky. The program only selected two kids from my elementary school, and we were both from humble backgrounds – there was even backlash because the kids whose parents were VIPs in our small town had not gotten into the program. It was as truly merit based as anything I’ve ever experienced, and that’s how these things should be.

            I wasn’t allowed to test for a similar program in TN when we moved there. Some bull about having missed a cutoff date, but hard to help noticing: ALL the kids in the program had VIP parents. Plenty of not-so-bright kids were in, and plenty of very bright (but not so connected) ones got left out. And some transplants with more influential parents somehow managed to get in after I was turned away. So there was discrimination that went beyond race. I hope they’ve addressed all the reasons gifted kids were getting left out.

            (Then again, it wasn’t a great gifted program, so we didn’t push as hard as we might have for my chance to test. More of a bootcamp for SATs than a search for each kid’s individual strengths.)

        • says

          Actually, the educational part of the goal was not something they made for the grant. That came earlier when they began to affiliate very loosely with WB. It was a bit of a cynical ploy, but their stated purpose of providing kids with writing resources does line up rather well with what happens from my anecdotal experience.

          They don’t have a lot of hard data about how effective that mission was, because they ran on ad revenues and private donations, mostly from the maintainers themselves, so they didn’t need to generate that kind of data. And anyway, how would they? Self-reported sampling is chancy, especially within fandom where a lot of readers pretend to be older than they are to read and post explicit material, and also as a group has developed a culture of separation between fandom lives and real life, and an obsession with privacy and anonymity. They went about asking for grant money in a too haphazard manner for my taste, but it doesn’t compare all that badly to a lot of the other requests for money.

          Besides, the more I study the social sciences, the more I realize how scarce data does not invalidate qualitative experience. The emphasis on quantitative statistical data sets privileges certain kinds of experience and can hurt the scientific process. Their inability to gather the data, whether from a lack of experience in the social sciences, or a simple belief that they didn;t have to know until now doesn’t discount that if you go into the FA forums, it’s mostly adolescent girls doing the talking, or as well as anyone can tell online.

          Which isn’t to say that they didn’t botch both data collecting and fund raising, but I don’t necessarily have the greatest faith in the people running the various other projects on pepsi refresh.

          And they can’t do any educational work if they don’t have those servers! You can’t separate out the fanfiction hosting from the educational work, because they function as one unit. What you’re saying with that argument is that if they were music teachers, and they were asking for a grant for instruments, that wouldn’t be okay, because those aren’t for teaching, they’re for playing music. Um, okay?

          I have no idea as to their qualifications, but most of the programs in that category involve people with minimal experience in teaching art to children as well. I didn’t say it was a wonderful program that deserved everybody’s votes, but it’s not all that different from any of the other projects in their category.

          I do know that at least in my corner of the world, most of the English teachers tried to get us to post HP fic to FA and to work within the community to improve their writing skill. Whether the maintainers have the kind of qualifications necessary to run an educational site becomes moot when teachers themselves begin to see it as a valuable resource.

          Had they not withdrawn, I wouldn’t be hoping for their victory (certain other projects in there seem a lot more meaningful to me, like the mural painting project that would pay underprivileged artistic students to paint a mural dedicated to first responders) but it isn’t necessarily more entitled than the business fair for artists, or the project to put billboards with poetry on them up in rural Minnesota. In light of the other projects asking for grant money, I don’t see why FA asking for money is so bad.

        • Scarlett says

          Yeah, it sounded a little to me like they looked for a community grant whose criteria they met, then worked backwards in their logic as to how to justify it.

          • says

            which is how most grant searching goes.

            And as I said, the education component was most likely a cynical ploy (I can’t read anyone’s minds), but it was a much older cynical ploy they used to affiliate with WB.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *