Way back in the day (okay, so it was when I was in high school) I decided to pick up statistics for my math class. While it was challenging, I completely fell in love with the idea of being able to discern trends in data and extrapolating them for a larger purpose. Though since my times at college I’ve fallen out of love with the study itself, my love for percentages and trends lives on almost as strongly as my love for astrology—if you follow my Tumblr, you know that’s a lot. What better way to re-experience this love than through other people’s original characters (OCs)?
I don’t know about other people, but I know that over the years my fan characters have managed to build a life of their own and turn into their own, multi-universe original characters. And, as I said, while I can’t be completely certain of the fate of other fan characters, I have a feeling that this is the case for lots of people. As such, the statistics gathered at OC Survey appeal to me in mathematical terms as well seeing what trends are rising in character building.
When looking up timely topics for this blog, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in some U.S.-centrism. Such is the mindset one adapts when much of the online discourse is catered in our direction, intentionally or not. So this time I have a little something for our friends up North.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Kate Beaton, the delightful webcomic artist behind Hark, A Vagrant reblogged a post recommending the webcomic Blindsprings. I thought, “huh, that looks pretty”, bookmarked the first page, and promptly forgot about it. While going through my favorites this past week, I stumbled upon it again, and I have to say that I’m sad it took me so long to check it out.
Two years after my first read-through, I realize I still have a complicated relationship with Fifty Shades of Grey. Perhaps it’s a bit embarrassing to say so, but I don’t think there’s any series of books I’ve devoted more time to than E.L. James’s train wreck of erotica, and still in no ways do I consider myself an expert on the lifestyles of Anastasia Steele and her wanna-be dom, Christian Grey. In fact, when finding the correct spelling of our heroine’s name just now, I landed on the Fifty Shades wiki, which I literally did not know existed until this moment. (Why we need a wiki for this, I have no idea.) It’s true that in some respects I appreciate the novels for making discussions of female sexuality and BDSM more accessible and acceptable to an audience, and have gotten many people to explore facets of their sexuality that otherwise would have gone unnoticed or ignored. However, this by no means excuses the series from its blatant framing of abusive relationships as part of the BDSM scene or as desirable, and it certainly doesn’t hide the fact that the misconceptions as perpetuated by Fifty Shades are, unfortunately, more likely to come up on a Google search than, say, the advice of people who know what they’re talking about.
While unwitting women and girls spend time looking for their Christian Grey and predatory men use this glamorized brand of abuse to draw in uninformed partners, many people are trying hard to expose James’s every creepy string of lies and romanticism woven between the books’ pages. While I have critiqued and sporked (see: critiquing in a humorous fashion) a fic or two in my time, Fifty Shades is a task too daunting for me to take on myself. Luckily, thanks to some very devoted folks online, I don’t have to.
Happy Black History Month! Race is something I care deeply about, and it directly affects me personally, so I want to use the month of February as a point to bring more topics about race into discussions. To start off, I want to talk about this week’s web crush: the Spawn On Me podcast, a show about video games and other nerdy topics from a Black viewpoint. [Content warning in podcast for adult language.]
One of the people I enjoy on YouTube never spoke up about a recent scandal concerning jokes about sexual assault (made by her now boyfriend), and as a result, I’ve been seeking out new things to watch to mend this tear in my heart. While YouTube, as a platform, has cultivated some of the most problematic people and cultures on the internet, it’s also a fantastic source for information and discovering people who may have gone through similar experiences as yourself. For me, my web crush fits into the former—as I don’t share many of her defining traits—but I believe for many, and hopefully some of our readers here as well, Kat Blaque offers a voice to a minority that is spoken over more often than not.
When we get bored online, we all have different things we turn to. Some people reload their Tumblr dashboard until something interesting happens, some get lost on TV Tropes for hours, and some people turn to YouTube videos. While I’ve only briefly made it known that I do partake of Let’s Plays here and there (a Let’s Play being people on the internet recording themselves playing through a video game), my love for them goes much deeper than I’m willing to say. And sometimes that’s because these beloved Let’s Players are extremely problematic. In a over-saturated sea of content, it’s all too easy to run into players who make triggering statements or are just plain racist or sexist—apparently believing that if comedy isn’t “edgy”, it’s not comedy at all. Luckily, this is where Michael and his blog, Let’s Play Social Justice, come in.