You’re Never Weird on the Internet: Embracing Weirdness in a World that May Not Understand It

You're Never Weird On The Internet CoverI hate memoirs.

No, that’s not exactly true—I dislike memoirs. Maybe it’s leftover annoyance over every creative writing class I’ve taken, but the genre has never warmed the cockles of my cold, cold heart. I’m just not the type to get inspired by “this abnormal happenstance happened to me, but this really generalized lesson is still applicable to you!” since, no, those lessons are generally not applicable to anyone outside of that situation. Maybe, again, it’s a curse of normalcy. And really, I didn’t expect much better after picking up Felicia Day’s recently released memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost), but something spoke to me in that Barnes & Noble, or maybe (there’s a lot of uncertainty here) I just opened up—in my own abnormal happenstance—to the one page that would guarantee the book’s purchase.

I’ll be honest: I don’t exactly know how to go about reviewing a memoir. It’s not like I can really go about judging representation in their own lives, or say “wow, that was totally unrealistic” because, obviously, it happened. For real. Not to mention that, personally, judging it as either “good” or “bad” seems like judging someone’s entire life, which no one has the right to do (unless they’re objectively bad in the “serial murderer leading a death cult” kind of way). The one conclusion I can come to, though, is that after everything’s said and done, it feels like Day is still trying to navigate through life, and while not always good, there’s something relatable and comforting about that.

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On Black Characters and the Cost of Diversity

michael-b-jordan-fantastic-four-e1392904953390As you likely already know, Michael B. Jordan will play the Human Torch in the new Fantastic Four film, slated for release on June 19, 2015. This casting decision was met with its fair share of outcry, because Johnny Storm is understood to be a White character, and Michael B. Jordan is clearly African-American. I think it would be easy to write it off as just another instance of fans of a very White and very male industry being a very White and male kind of racist. But there are deeper questions about misunderstanding of the role of diversity in artistic representation. During my tenure at this blog, I’ve written a fair amount about race and representation in the geek world, not just in comics, but also in video games, and theatre. I’ll be honest, I’ve found a dearth of good arguments against increasing the level of racial diversity in geek culture. Once more, with feeling: brown kids deserve more brown superheroes. Most counter-arguments to that notion are vapid, disingenuous, or just plain racist, like “most people won’t be able to relate to that character if his race is changed/is nonwhite”. There’s a comic over at Critical Miss that sums it up perfectly:

People can identify with Fox McCloud and he’s a bipedal fox. But a dude with darker skin is somehow too alien? What is that if not [racism]?

Arguments like this one are easily, and hilariously, dismissed (seriously, go read that comic). But every once in a while, a more seductive argument against diversity of representation pops up. It usually goes something like: “Why is it okay to change the race of [x], who is White, but not okay to change [y], who is a POC, to a White character?” The argument relies on a rather misguided sense of absolute equality, among myriad other problems. It’s probably easier to get traction on such an issue if we phrase it in terms of concrete examples.

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The Road So Far: “Slumber Party” Review



Supernatural, I… hate you.

That seems like a weird response to an excellent Charlie episode, but I know how this goes. Yes, last night’s episode was great, but I know the writers are just going to hurt me again. I’m on to you, Supernatural. Don’t think I’ve forgiven you for last week.

But for now, let’s focus on this latest episode. Because as fans, we have to take the crumbs the writers throw at us.

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Theatre Thursdays: Is Dr. Horrible Sexist?

So when trying to decide what to write about, I realized that we’ve never discussed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in depth (although Bacula has done a great review here), which I thought was an atrocity that had to be remedied. Now I wish I’d never thought to write about this stupid musical.

Let me be very clear, I love Dr. Horrible, love it. It tells the story from the villains’ perspective, it asks questions about who is really good or evil (the hero or the villain), it has amazing songs, it was written by Joss Whedon, it starred Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. What more could a nerd want? But when I started rewatching this little musical mini-series, I was struck by how much it romanticizes stalking and how it takes away any autonomy Penny might have.

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My Friend’s Encounter with Felicia Day

Dear Readers,

Please allow me to tell you a story. A friend of mine who works at the Starbucks on the University of Pennsylvania campus sent me a message on Facebook, saying:

But seriously legit worst thing ever. So lady come through my line today, a ginger like me. And I’m thinking to my self god she looks super fucking familiar. And when I’m done taking her order I ask for her name and she says Felicia…… took me over an hour after she left to realize wtf had just happened. Do you know who that was?

felicia_dayI proceeded, logically, to have a little bit of a panic attack before yelling “Felicia Day!” at my laptop. I then realized that this didn’t actually message my friend, so I went ahead and typed it. I was confused and angry that my friend hadn’t gotten her autograph, and disappointed that she had recognized her well enough to even think about getting it. But, I didn’t want to be angry for no reason. I wanted to be sure. I googled “upenn felicia day” and stumbled upon this: The 2013 Wharton Web Conference.

In case you don’t know, Wharton is the school of business at the University of Pennsylvania, chock full of top-ranked programs and people who will no doubt grow up to be sharks. Their annual Web Conference is a public event designed to bring all kinds of IT professionals together (including programmers, designers, artists, and relevant professors) with an emphasis on improving user experience and interface. It’s tres cool, and the schedule can be found here, and descriptions of the sessions here.

felicia_day_wharton_university_pennsylvaniaWhat you’ll notice about the top of that first link is that the keynote speaker is Felicia Day. That’s a big goddamn deal. Probably not for her, because she’s used to making her voice heard and being a badass all over the place, but I see it as indicative of an upward trend in the inclusion of women at top-level tech conferences. The conference was broken up into three categories of sessions: dev (development), design, and culture. I think that Day’s contributions would fall more into the realm of culture, but that’s not a bad thing and it’s excellent that she’s recognized as a leader in current web culture. Furthermore, it’s not just a bunch of idle homebodies hanging out at a small-town Radisson. Day gave the keynote for CEOs, community managers, publishers, programmers, and Ivy-League professors.

It represents a recognition of internet fandom and nerdiness as integral to the future of IT dev and design. There’s a little extra hope for your Monday. Maybe one of us hapless nerds (myself included) will look up and find ourselves on the banner for an Ivy League web conference one day. Why not?

By the way, I did eventually forgive my friend for not getting me her autograph, by the way. Though it was a real emotional journey for me.

The Road So Far: “Torn and Frayed” Review



Well, Supernatural is back and so are my reviews. I’ll admit it I was excited for tonight’s episode. So far season eight has been excellent, but now the reviews are going to get harsher. Why?

Before the mid-season finale, I tend to give the show the benefit of the doubt. I assume that things I’m on the fence about will be fixed in the second half of the season. When things don’t appear to be headed in that direction I start to get pissed.

My current concern is Supernatural‘s female characters and the direction they’re headed.

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Is Supernatural: Homophobic?

supernatural2241Now here we are at the last and final installment of this little series. I looked at the accusations that Supernatural is sexist and racist, and now it’s time for the last question: is Supernatural homophobic?

Supernatural has been accused of being homophobic by fans and non-viewers alike. This is sometimes because of the actual portrayal of gay characters in the show, but sometimes because of fan pairings. Fans have also accused Supernatural of not being daring enough with certain characters’ sexualities when they have the opportunity to. So let’s take a look at homosexuality in Supernatural to figure this all out.

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TV Review: Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a three-part Internet series that just premiered on TV for the first time a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about the villain Doctor Horrible, played by Neil Patrick Harris, and his quest to get into the Evil League of Evil. However, along the way he has to face his nemesis, Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion, aka Malcolm Reynolds and Castle), and he tries to win the heart of Penny (Felicia Day), the girl he sees every week at the laundromat. A lot of it is shot as Dr. Horrible’s video blog and there is singing (in case you didn’t figure that out from the title). It is one of many beautiful Joss Whedon creations.

All of the characters had really great depth, considering it’s a forty-five minute program. It’s a real testament to the writing prowess of Joss Whedon (and company) for him to be able to do that. He’s the man.

And you know who else is the man? Felicia Day. She played the sweet, innocent woman who just wanted to help the homeless, but got caught up in the good vs. evil fight of Captain Hammer and Doctor Horrible. Her character is just so real, in great contrast to our caricatured hero and villain.

Neil Patrick Harris is perfect as Doctor Horrible. He strikes an excellent balance between bad guy and harmless nerd guy. He’s like a lost little puppy and it’s adorable. He wants to be a decent bad guy and a decent guy, but as you can imagine it’s a little difficult to balance those. Neil Patrick Harris did a really awesome job and he should get all of the props in the world.

Nathan Fillion is also awesome as the egotistical Captain Hammer. His delivery was excellent. His presence was spot on. He nailed it.

There is just so much perfection in this program. Go check it out if you haven’t already.

The Road So Far: Supernatural Season Eight Premiere


The boys are back in town and ready to hunt some monsters and save the day. Well, they might be. Dean’s got a new monster pal, Sam’s got a dog, and Cas is trapped in Purgatory. Hmmm… the way things are shaping up you might actually want to go to Kevin Tran to solve your monster problems.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk Supernatural!

As those of you who have read my past Supernatural reviews know, I wasn’t overly found of season seven. Certain episodes were good, but the overall plot and lackluster villain was just uninteresting. Despite that, after hearing more about the season eight plot from SDCC interviews I was actually pretty excited about season eight.

So what do I think about the premiere? Well, I’ll tell you.


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Web Crush Wednesdays: MyMusic

MyMusic is an interactive online source of entertainment brought to us by The Fine Bros. The primary location for this entertainment is YouTube, where four videos are uploaded weekly: Mondays- LIVE show, Wednesdays- Music News, Fridays- Q&A, and Sundays- Sitcom Webseries.

I found out about this project from my past Web Crush, Grace Helbig, who plays one of the characters in the webseries. It chronicles a budding music production company staffed by personified stereotypes of music fans. Every worker is identified only by the style of music they like and behaves as broadly-drawn caricatures of these personalities. For example, the company was founded by Indie, a hipster who can’t stand anything mainstream and prides himself on loving and understanding the obscure. Grace plays Idol, the head of social media outreach who loves anything popular on the radio. Other staffers include Metal, Hip Hop, Techno, Dubstep, Scene, and Intern 2 (Intern 2 likes a little bit of everything and infuriates Indie for not being able to be put in a box and defined by preconceived notions so he’s the group punching bag).

At first I only watched the weekly webseries on Sundays and enjoyed it, but once I subscribed to the channel I really got much more into the whole project. The weekday shows are just as entertaining as the Sunday webisodes and the inclusion of fans and special guests keeps the show fresh and interesting. I’m always at work during the live shows, unfortunately, but I watch them later and it’s pretty fun seeing the cast respond to people as they comment/tweet the show.

The weekly series is very fun and I especially love Techno and Dubstep who, though sometimes pushed into the background of the show, have a beautiful friendship and are always enjoyable. The show honestly got a bit drab for me after a while, though. I know it was all for comedy but a show populated entirely by shallow stereotypes can only be interesting for so long. Thankfully, one of the team members was revealed to actually be a poser, only pretending to be a walking stereotype in order to hold on to the job at the company and appease Indie, and this character’s storyline has instantly become more engaging and the show has picked up since.

I’m tuning in weekly, will you?


If you need further convincing, I’ll just mention that Felicia Day guest starred.