Magical Mondays: Rick & Morty Break Magic

Rick and the Devil

In many fandoms these days, science and magic exist together with a variety of results. Sometimes magic and science exist in harmony, sometimes they are at odds, and sometimes magic is really just misunderstood science. There’s a whole plethora of ways these two forces can exist in the same world. But there isn’t always a narrative reason for it; oftentimes, magic and science simply exist together to cause drama or to add more interesting elements to a story. Which can be fine, but when a story involves both science and magic, it can be helpful for the writers to use these two forces to strengthen the overall message of the story. In Rick and Morty, science reigns supreme, but elements of magic still exist. In one notable episode called “Something Ricked this Way Comes”, in which Rick fights the devil, we see a continuing affirmation of the show’s philosophy of existential nihilism. 

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Wynonna Earp: The Chosen One I’ve Always Wanted

wynonna-earpTwo of my favorite things that continue to be way too rare in media are women who are Chosen Ones and Jerks with Hearts of Gold. So I kind of can’t believe that it has taken me so long to write about a new little show called Wynonna Earp, which concluded its first season a couple months ago. It features a great sisterly relationship, queer women, and several great female characters, one of whom is the Chosen One and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. There are a couple of problems with it as well, but let me delve into all of it below the cut.

Some spoilers about the show to follow.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Praying the (Metaphorical) Gay Away: Internalized Religious Homophobia In Genre Fiction

It’s often hard to be religious and queer. At least, depending on the religion. Many segments of Christianity as well as other mainstream religious schools of thought put queerness firmly into the realm of ‘abomination’, to some degree or another. A popular mentality in many conservative Christian sects is that queerness goes against the natural order set into place by God when He created Adam and Eve as partners, making same-sex attraction ‘disordered’. This often translates to an understanding of queerness as either a mental illness, which could be healed with prayer, or a vice that, like a desire to gamble or steal, can be resisted through faith-based strength of character. While this attitude is not representative of all religion, nor, in Christianity’s case, true to Christ’s actual teachings, the fact remains: it’s damn hard to be religious and queer.

And while it remains hard to find good representation of queer characters, and good representation of religious characters, you’re more likely to catch a Mewtwo at your local grocery store than you are to find a meaningful and balanced representation of someone who ticks both boxes.

Instead, we often see religious characters in genre fiction who, while part of a societal out-group that could stand as a metaphor for queerness, are not actually queer themselves. Furthermore, they often believe or have been taught to believe that this otherness is, yes, an abomination, leading them to make terrible choices based on their internalized hatred of themselves or others like themselves. Perhaps God has singled them out as martyrs, challenging them to live a godly life in spite of their inherent (ungodly) differentness. Unfortunately, these portrayals do nothing but serve the tired stereotype that closeted individuals are often responsible for anti-queer hate crimes, rather than dealing with the more realistic issues surrounding internalized religious homophobia.

Trigger warning for discussions of self-harm and suicide after the cut. Continue reading

#RelationshipGoals? Addressing Fictional Relationships that Should in No Way Be Goals

Harley&Joker

Since Suicide Squad came out, I have seen a lot of pictures of Joker and Harley or just blog posts talking about them and occasionally I will see #RelationshipGoals on the posts. People are saying that they want a Joker to their Harley, and I’m not going to lie, that worries me a little bit. I don’t care what people ship necessarily or what they write fanfic about, but it very much worries me when fans look at a canonically clearly abusive relationship and claim that they want a relationship like that. These relationships almost always involve men with female victims, which makes it very disturbing to me as a woman that so many people view such relationships as romantic. It makes me worry for people’s safety and reminds me how much we need feminism.

Trigger warning for abusive behavior and relationships below the jump.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Worthy of the Name – Thor and Representation

It’s rare that I admit this, but I was way wrong about Thor.

When it was first announced that the new Thor was to be a lady, my initial reaction was “of all the heroes to genderbend, why pick one that is ‘supposed to be’ a guy?” I worried that it was a publicity stunt and would be set up for failure, setting back future efforts. Then I noticed all the comments about it and how they were almost uniformly of the rabid anti-feminist troll variety. Any time I find myself expressing an opinion shared by the “red pill” types, I immediately reexamine that viewpoint, and I’m so glad I did!

thor portrait 2When I started reading The Mighty Thor, I realized not only was I mistaken in my assumption that Thor was a poor choice for a high profile genderbend, but that Thor was in fact the perfect choice. I am glad I was so incredibly wrong because I am excited about the Thor quadrant of the Marvel universe for the first time since I was a kid. Judging by the fact that this run of Mighty Thor has been selling consistently well since its release, I am not alone in that opinion.

Very quickly, about two issues into the first arc, it became clear that not only was the choice to have Thor portrayed by a woman very deliberate, but it was a way to jump right into the midst of the pushback to inclusiveness and hit it squarely in the face with an all-powerful magic hammer. Not only does this series perfectly nail (see what I did there) the fallacy of these arguments against a more diverse base of main characters, it exposes their root: fear at the loss of “straight white male as default.”

*Spoilers after the jump*

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Fanfiction Fridays: Maternal Bonds by Ireland_Ranger

Thor Loki FriggaI love the Thor movies, and largely, it was Marvel’s take on Norse mythology that really got me involved in their comics. I started reading the Thor comics before the movies came out, and I have found myself beyond excited at each installment featuring the god of thunder. My favorite part of the story has always been the uncertainty surrounding Loki’s relationship with the rest of the family—the biggest problem here was that comics almost always focuses on Loki’s relationship with both Odin and Thor, and while that’s fine and all, it leaves out another person in the family.

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Lady Tropes in Stranger Things

Last week Ace reviewed Stranger Things, the runaway Netflix hit. It’s a fabulous sci-fi show quickly gathering what should in time turn into a cult following. The sci-fi-horror-mystery story follows the mysterious disappearance of young Will Byers (and others), the efforts of his family and friends to rescue him, and the mysterious government authorities that want to keep everything covered up. It’s a show that truly pays homage to the spirit of 1980s television and movie tropes, without making the show feel cheap. Most of the time, when a story utilizes a lot of tropes, it’s not a good thing. Usually tropes mean that characters are flat and stereotyped, plots are predictable and boring, and more often than not anyone outside the “straight WASP male” gets shafted. What I find truly remarkable about Stranger Things is its ability to (for the most part) navigate the divide between using familiar tropes and not indulging in sloppy, harmful stereotypes. Take, for example, the way the show treats its female characters.

Spoilers for Stranger Things below.  Continue reading