I’m not sure where I first stumbled upon the Are They Gay? web series, but I’m sure glad I did. This series provides a funny, inclusive, and informative analysis of various slash ships that starts and ends with asking the titular question: are these two people gay? It features a wide variety of pairings including mlm and wlw slash ships, and is a great primer to the history and background of certain ships in addition to ultimately offering an answer to that pressing question.
With a hellish election season finally wrapped up here in the United States, I can’t help but think back to all of the disgustingly sexist things that have happened. It made me think for the billionth time that we need better sex education in this country. Particularly, we need better sex and gender education, and everyone regardless of gender needs to learn about feminism. Well, sadly, we all know that isn’t happening in our current education system, which is why I am so grateful for those people on YouTube who try to educate others. Today I specifically want to talk about Carlin Ross and Betty Dodson, two amazing feminists and sex educators whose goal is to help de-stigmatize women’s bodies, help women learn about their bodies, promote a healthy sex-positive attitude, and promote women’s rights.
Warning for explicit discussion of sex and general NSFW-ness after the jump.
As a bit of a language nerd, I was beyond thrilled when I first stumbled across this trailer. A sci-fi movie where the real enemy is ignorance, and the protagonist is a linguist and translator who’s just been tapped for the most important ethnography of her life? Sign me up.
It’s been ten or so days since the trailer for Rogue One first dropped, which means I’ve had time to cycle through a full circuit of emotions.
I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately, and instead of listening to the same twenty songs on every radio station I pass, I’ve opted for an Audible subscription, so I can entertain myself with audiobooks. My first choice was The Martian, by Andy Weir. The Martian follows in a well-established heritage of survivalist fiction, but in a way that counts as science fiction. There’s a movie coming out next month starring Matt Damon and a bunch of other famous actors, which is what initially inspired me to “read” the book. The premise for The Martian is simple: American astronaut Mark Watney is left for dead on the surface of Mars when his team is forced to flee a massive dust storm… except whoops, Mark’s actually alive. What follows is a story of questions: Can Mark survive? Will he ever be able to contact Earth, and if he does, can he even survive long enough to come and get him? How much is one person’s life worth, anyway?
I won’t spoil the ending for you, I promise. But I do want to take a look at how The Martian is a wonderful, thought-provoking new addition to the world of science fiction on multiple levels. Science fiction isn’t just about advanced technology and space stuff; the real hallmark of the genre pushes for answers to the big questions of life in new ways. It imagines what could be, not what is. The Martian has a universal quality to its story, and that’s what makes it a success.
Minor spoilers for The Martian below the jump.
I’m not as much of a Jurassic Park fan as Ace is, which is to say that I really never got into the franchise and felt only a mild contact excitement from the announcement, and subsequent release, of Jurassic World. This is not to say, however, that I never had a dinosaur phase. Back in elementary school I, right alongside many of my peers, was going on fake fossil hunts and learning all about the various eras in dinosaur history. One of my fondest memories of my dinosaur phase was sitting at my grandmother’s house with my brother watching this one Golden Book educational video she had. Oh my god, you guys: we loved this video. It was a staple on our cross-country trips until, sadly, the VHS finally deteriorated from being loved too much. So today, I want to share this little bit of my childhood with you. It may not be Jurassic in quality, but 1987’s Dinosaurs! A Fun-Filled Trip Back In Time! was everything a kid like me could have wanted in an educational video: Fred Savage, claymation, and a snazzy musical track. (This song will absolutely get stuck in your head forever.)
I love video games a great deal; not just as entertainment, but also as a bonafide artistic medium. They have the ability to engender joy, sorrow, or social contemplation. Even if the games aren’t specifically aiming to accomplish these feelings, they may. This is the power of art. And as with any established art form, criticism is both natural and necessary for growth. Even if you want “apolitical” (although this isn’t possible) shooty-stabby games starring gruff white dudes out for revenge, this genre can still be improved with criticism. Personally, I am interested in the political aspect to games and the messages they convey. After all, we passively absorb ideas that we witness around us. Just check out current events in the media if you don’t believe me.
For this reason, this week’s Web Crush is #GamingLooksGood, a YouTube show hosted by Shareef Jackson. If you aren’t familiar with Jackson, he is a common guest/host on Spawn on Me, and has appeared on many other podcasts discussing social issues from a racial, gender, and tech perspective.