Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas time and catching up.

Topics discussed:
Christmas busy-ness, shoe throwing in Iraq, homophobia from the Pope, blog awards.

There has been so much I’ve wanted to post over the last few weeks, but due to Christmas and an extremely manic period at work I haven’t felt the inclination to write or post anything, and I haven’t had the time.

In personal news, work has now calmed down, at least for a short period, but I fully expect it to remain stressful until the end of January, at a minimum. I feel like I have to learn how to manage my superiors, which I feel uncomfortable doing, because I think they should know better. But it looks like I’ll have to get over that.

I spent a weekend visiting the family and friends 2 weeks before Christmas. 5 destinations in 5 days, all around Kent – between 1 and 4 hours travelling each day. I guess that may not seem a lot to my American readers, but it’s a long time to spend on a train or in a car for me! It was fun seeing friends and family so overall worth it.

In public news, I’ve had my ear and eyes bent by various incidents over the last month. Number 1, the shoe throwing episode in Iraq. Now I know on a mature level that stooping to violence is a bad thing. But on a personally aggrieved level I am supportive of the shoe thrower. I become more supportive when I heard Bush’s response of the facts being that the shoe was a size 10 (or whatever) when the newsreader then pointed out that throwing shoes in Iraq is a big deal – it’s a culturally recognised form of disapproval and dissidence. And for Bush to respond as he did shows a complete lack of understanding of Iraqi society and norms. In context, i.e. that America invaded Iraq under Bush’s say so, it appears that he just doesn’t care one jot about the country. Even in the middle of a speech stating what America’s future in Iraq will be.
I was also pissed off by the TV’s account of this. I really wish I could remember what channel I was watching, it would have been BBC1, 2 or channel 4. Anyway, they finished the article by talking about how under Saddam Hussein no one would have been able to throw a shoe. Well, yes, that might be true, but the implication of the article was that the Iraqis should now be grateful for their new found freedom (supplied by Westerners) and we should focus only on this capability, rather than what they are angry about. I could argue that this conveniently sidesteps the shoe throwers complaints and allows the Westerners to feel smug about liberating a dictatorial country. (Maybe I already have?) I wish I knew which channel it was so I could find a link to the article, so that you can all know I’m not making it up. Or at least, so that you could view it and decide for yourselves.

I heard bits about the hoo-ha from the Pope recently, where he says that homosexuality will be as much of a disaster as the destruction of the rainforests. Yes well, whatever (face). The first news article (on BBC Radio 4 no less), said gay rights groups were angry because of the Pope’s declaration on gender roles. Well, that’s awfully funny, thought I, because homosexuality/bisexuality has fuck all to do with gender. I know that gender issues cross over with gay/bi issues, but they do not define it.

Sexuality is to do with who you crush on. No more no less. Gender is to do with femininity, masculinity, identification with male and female roles and all those in between. I recognise that historically (and in the present) many gay men and women (fuck knows about the bi contingent) have blurred and mixed up the gender roles, but that is not an inevitable part or being outside the heterosexual mainstream. The two issues are separate, but can conflate.
After having listened to two more news broadcasts and reading stuff online I gather that it may have been the news broadcaster confusing the two areas, rather than the gay rights groups.

Lastly, Chris at ComicsAllTooReal gave me an award a few weeks ago! :D I would like to formally say thank you to Chris, I was very touched by it and pleased to hear that you value my ramblings. J
Now, this award is sort of a meme, and I’m meant to nominate my favourite 7 blogs as well and publicise them here, so that we can expand the reading pool and awareness of the blogosphere.

Eeeek! Who do I choose? Who indeed. As you can see from my link list and also the blogs I follow section I read a lot of stuff on the web. The internet forms of a large part of my weekday evening social life and I thoroughly enjoy the social interactions formulated within. Where else can I gleefully exclaim (with appreciative peers) about my comics and the recent events contained within etc?

But what criteria would I choose to nominate just 7 blogs? Initially I thought I’d focus on the ones providing social commentary. So I came up with Willow at Seeking Avalon, for her scathing dissections of race in popular culture, comics, movies, and well anything really. Also check out her post on why feminism isn’t for her. I also thought of maybe Ami Angelwings super cute rants of doom. Ami talks about lots of personal and public issues, often around - racism, transphobia, sexism and homophobia. I know some people don’t like her writing style, lots of internet speak, but if that bothers you I would urge you to get past that and focus on what she’s saying as she’s very bright and eloquent and honest. I value honesty. Oh and Digital Femme. Amongst other things she covers comics and racism. She's a very good writer.

Maybe I should be focusing on blogs that are updated regularly? The above two aren’t updated uber regularly. So lets look at others. Do I want comic based bogs? Or fun blogs? Or innovative ones? Or specialist ones?
For comic based blogs I recommend Green Lantern’s Butts Forever (75% due to the name and the devotion to the cause of locating a good GL ass), Hoosier Journal of Inanity (because it’s a fun light hearted read), Comics Fairplay (because of the Is this Gratutitous? feature, which admittedly hasn’t run in a long time but was very much welcomed and generated interesting debate when Heidi did run it), Supergirl Comic Box Commentary (because it’s a nice clean layout, what posts I have seen look good, and it’s a Supergirl blog. There cannot be too many of these. Ever). Lastly I’d like to mention When Fangirls Attack – not a typical commentary style blog, but a link blog. I’m not sure if this counts, as the contributor’s own views aren’t included, but it’s a wonderful and reasonably detailed resource to all posts concerning women and comics on the web.

I’ve recently found this DC Elseworlds fan videos blog . The costumes are pretty cool and I love the fact that people dedicate all this time and effort into producing this stuff.* Yes, it’s cheesy and clichéd in places, but the acting, direction and effects are no worse than say, oh I don’t know Smallville. It’s essentially cosplay on a larger scale and I feel that should always be encouraged.

For feminism, I recommend The F Word blog (for being the probable number one catch all daily resource for issues affecting women in Britain, and for stimulating good arguments in the discussions), and also Feminist SF – the blog! (does what it says on the tin).

For innovation I think ComicsAllTooReal Chris’ own blog deserves a mention, because it’s quite clearly a project utilising blog technology to get it’s voice and aims out there. I haven’t seen anything like it elsewhere.

For specialist stuff one of my friend’s has a progress blog about his model soldiers and imperial armies. I don’t understand most of it, but I appreciate his enthusiasm, and I think some of my readers may also appreciate it. Plus Drax plays a mean game of Scrabble. And Carcassonne. Kicking my ass every time.

For fanfiction Like Scratches in the Sand writes some beautiful one sentence fanfics.

So that’s 14 of gthe very best. I knew I couldn’t pick just seven. (Sorry Chris I broke the rules!) If you want more recommendations look at my linked blogs and the blogs I follow, on my profile page. I think they’re all worth taking a peek at, otherwise I wouldn’t have linked them.
Hell, if you want more recommendations, read other bloggers linked sites, follow the comments bakc to bloggers own sites, mooch around. In my experience active commenters equal (fairly) regular bloggers.

*If you like the idea of that you should also check out Gotham Public Works. Fucking wonderful.


SallyP said...

Congratulations! It's always nice to be recognized.

Oh, and Bush is an idiot. Always has been, always will be. We are SO looking forward to the country being run by people who are actually...competent at what they are doing, as opposed to simply being against abortion as a job qualification.

ComicsAllTooReal's Chris said...

Thanks for the nice comments, Saranga. I always enjoy your "ramblings" as you call them. They're quite articulate and it helps me not to elaborate when I say stuff like "according with what Saranga said, just screw the Pope and screw Bush" See? You make things so easy for me.

And thanks for handing the award back to me, lol. No more lists on my part, though, but I highly appreciate your kind words on my blog.

Admiral Drax said...

Thanks, dude: very kind of you.

Funnily enough you got a shout-out from me last week, too...

Cheers, and I'll try to remember to read the rest of the 'Queen' book when I can.

Lova aye,


PS: You'll doubtless be pleased to note that the verification word, below, is the brilliantly onomatopoeic "grack". I can imagine Batman smashing a baddie over the head with a deckchair to cause such a noise!

Saranga said...

Grack is definitely a chair in the face kind of sound. Possibly a chair in Guy Gardener's (see SallyP's icon) face - I think his nose would make that sound.