Hugo Ballot 2016: Why I’m not reviewing this year

A scene from the 1938 serial, Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, © Universal Studios.

A scene from the 1938 serial, Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars, © Universal Studios.

Last year as I worked my way through the nominees for the Hugo Awards, I posted reviews of most of the categories. It was my first time voting, and it was the first year that the Sad/Rabid Puppies had managed to completely take over several categories of the ballot with their bloc voting scheme. This year, the new people running the Sad Puppies presented it as a recommendations list, compiled openly from suggestions from readers of their blog. Since most categories had too many nominees for members to just copy and paste the slate, they wound up having no more or less success than any other recommendation list.

The Rabid Puppies stuck with their bloc voting scheme, though this year their notorious racist/homophobic leader, Vox Day, tried to be clever, putting on his list some authors who have been critical of the Puppies in the past, but who also were likely to be nominated by a lot of regular Hugo voters. Since no matter what happens, Vox always claims that the outcome was a victory and that all of us fell into his trap, I assume that when a couple of these big name authors win he’ll be crowing afterward. And if they don’t win, he’ll say this proves that the Hugo voters are part of an evil cabal who refuse to give any award to anyone he recommends. Or something.

Anyway, this year the voting process for me was a lot less stressful than last year. Last year I tried to read every nominee, regardless of whether it was on one of the slates. I wanted to be able to say with a clear conscious that I gave every work a fair chance and only deployed the No Award option when it was deserved. Which meant I forced myself to slog through some truly awful, extremely poorly written stories. And that gets to be depressing after a while.

A friend asked why I was doing that rather than what she did: she started each story, but if by the third page or so it hadn’t hooked her so that she wanted to keep turning the pages, she stopped and put the title under No Award. “The awards are supposed to be for excellence, after all.” I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that. If a story isn’t good enough to hook me, then it doesn’t deserve my vote. Simple!

That made this year a whole lot easier. I mean, seriously so, so very much easier. Because once again, most of what the Puppies nominated did not pass that test. Yes, No Award was my top pick in more than one category.

The Retro Hugos were a bit more fun. The regular Hugos recognize works published in the previous calendar year. So the stories and other works we’re voting on for the 2016 awards all had to be published in 2015. The Retro Hugos are for works published many years ago, in years when there was a World Science Fiction Convention, but no awards were given. It’s an optional award that can be held at a WorldCon that is either 50 years, 75 years, or 100 years after one of the years when no awards were given. MidAmeriCon II, this year’s WorldCon, took nominations and is taking votes for works of science fiction published in 1941.

Why that was fun for me is because, first of all, a huge number of the short listed works are stories/books/movies with which I was already very familiar. Heck, I have copies of three of the five shortlisted novels on my own shelves! A bunch of the short stories, novellas, and novelettes are in anthologies that I have on my shelves. I own on DVD three of the movies (one is a serial) nominated in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and four of the shorts nominated in Dramatic Presentation, Short Form!

Also, Raymond A. Palmer was a golden age editor who deserves to be way more well-known than he is, and so it was fun to vote for him in the Best Editor, Short Form category!

Anyway, this year’s Hugo Ballot and Packet are disappointing in that so much bad stuff was pushed onto it by the Rapid Puppies, and I remain irritated thinking about all the good stuff published last you that ought to have made the ballot but didn’t because of the bloc voting. We absolutely have to pass the E Pluribus Hugo rule change this year, so that bloc voting becomes harder to do in the future.

The Rabid Puppies piddled all over this year’s Hugo Ballot, again. Like Men’s Rights Advocates, GamerGaters, Trump voters, and other angry (mostly) white (mostly) men who claim they are being oppressed any time that people who don’t look like them manage to achieve more than marginal representation, they’re going to keep causing trouble. But as I and many others pointed out last year, their malicious posturing brought a whole lot of fans who are queer, feminist, and people of color into the Hugo voting process who weren’t involved before. While each of those groups may make up a minority of the total fandom populations, I know that collectively we outnumber the Puppies.

Science fiction is the fiction of the future. Even its dystopian and post-apocalyptic sci fi is, ultimately, about hope for a better tomorrow. Love trumps hate and hope trumps resentment. And no one can take the hope for the future from me.

A Certain Shade of Green — stop asking me to shoot myself in the foot

“You might as well aim high. Why shoot yourself in the foot, when you can shoot yourself in the head?”—William Shatner

“You might as well aim high. Why shoot yourself in the foot, when you can shoot yourself in the head?”—William Shatner

While I was napping on Saturday (due to a mild cold), a single thing I said on Twitter got retweeted by someone famous. I woke up to find my mentions exploding from people I didn’t know. I replied to the first one before I realized what was going on, and found myself in a weird argument about the Green Party.

My original statement had been: “Field candidates in more that 0.02% of elected offices. Build a base. Earn my vote.” And I @-ed the Green Party official twitter account. The reason I did that is because every four years for the last couple of decades, I (and anyone else who espouses progressive ideas online) get harassed by Green Party supporters urging me to vote for the Green candidate instead of the Democrat because the Democratic Party isn’t liberal enough.

And I’m tired of the harassment and harangues and histrionics.

In the 2000 election the Green Party had their biggest success: they put George W. Bush, a person who embodied everything the Green Party stands against, into office. By their own numbers, among the new Green voters they got that year were 24,000 in Florida who otherwise would have voted for Gore. Those 24,000 votes would have put Florida safely out of recount territory and would have prevented the eight disastrous years of Bush/Cheney we got.

The 2000 election was the Green’s best result because they got millions of votes nationwide, instead of their previous high of a bit less than 500,000. A big surge! Green principles must have been appealing to more people! Except that in every election since then, they’ve only managed about 460,000 votes nationwide… again. They didn’t turn any of those new voters into Green Party supporters after 2000. None. And they didn’t use that new support to improve their organization in any way, such as to get more of their candidates on the ballot in local races.

If you want to take the time of going to their national party website and literally by hand count the number of candidates they have run on the ballots in recent elections (because they have a horrible database that won’t give you the total, and they conveniently avoid mentioning the exact number in all their publications, even when asked by a columnist that they have vilified for reporting they don’t run local candidates), you find that they have about 116 candidates, compared to the total of 500,000 elected positions in the country. That’s 0.02% of the possible offices—not two percent, that’s two-one hundredths of a percent. Which is less than a drop in the bucket.

When I said “earn my vote” I meant the party needs to organize enough to run and win enough local races that they have party members with the necessary experience to then run for state-wide offices and start winning there. Not running 2 candidates for every 10,000 offices, as they are now. Not running celebrities that have name recognition and no applicable skills for governor in some states every now and then. Not running joke candidates for president every four years when you can’t get your party on enough state ballots where it would be even possible to win the electoral college.

One of the people who tried to argue with me on Saturday asked what could the party possibly do other than stating their policies. The answer doesn’t fit into 140 characters, but here’s part of it: Organize. Ring doorbells, find local problems that aren’t being addressed by the other parties, and find viable candidates to offer solutions. It means running candidates in off year elections. It will take years, I know. But yelling at people like me, telling me I’m not a real progressive because I’m voting for a candidate who actually has a chance of getting into office isn’t going to build your party. Getting millions of people to throw away their votes in the national election 16 years ago didn’t get the party any further than it had been before.

And just stating your policies isn’t going to do it, either. The left has a problem organizing because a lot of us fall prey to the notion that if they just put out a good idea, people would magically be drawn to them. The myth (and I used to think this, too) is that if the policy is good enough, we don’t have to do the hard work of recruiting and organizing and raising money and actually putting candidates on the ballot and getting them elected to city councils or state legislatures. And we get caught up in these endless debates about the best policy.

I’ve been to those meetings, where every week we try to get some work done, but someone wants to re-visit an issue we’ve already re-discussed ten times after reaching a decision a few months ago. No one who wants to discuss it has any new information, and truth be told, because the topic keeps being re-opened for discussion again and again, we haven’t really had a chance to see if the decision we thought we made months ago will work or not.

The Green Party is trotting out their candidate who flip-flops between multiple scientifically incorrect positions on medical care—anti-vaxxer, pro homeopathy, pro-and-anti-vaxxer at once—without explanation; and whose inconsistent foreign policy is more in line with the ravings of Trump than Trump’s running mate’s foreign policy comments are! They put forward a platform which with regards to domestic policy mirrors significantly the platform which the Democrats officially adopted yesterday.

Their current argument is since Bernie Sanders failed to win over a majority of Democratic Primary voters, that instead of voting for Hillary, people who liked Bernie’s policies should vote for the Green Party candidate. Never mind that when Sanders and Clinton were in the Senate together, they voted the same 91% of the time. Never mind that when she was in the Senate Hillary was more liberal than her husband, President Clinton had been, and that her campaign had more liberal stands that President Obama’s before she was pushed further to the left by Bernie Sanders. If Bernie was good enough, why isn’t 91% of Bernie worth voting for?

The argument is usually put forward that an election isn’t a horse race. I agree. It’s a hell of a lot more important than that. As a voter, I should vote for candidates that will make the world a better place. Part of making the world of better place means actually getting elected and having the organization and experience to enact at least some of their proposals.

The Green Party is not on enough state ballots to get the electoral votes to win. That’s a fact. Many states don’t allow write-in candidates for President (heck seven states don’t allow write-in candidates at all!). Many more won’t allow votes for a write-in candidate for President to be counted if the candidate doesn’t have electors properly registered with the state beforehand. So the likelihood that the Green Party candidate can be elected as President is so close to zero, it isn’t funny.

Before about 1940, it was not uncommon for Third Parties, rather than to nominate their own candidate for President and waste party money and resources on a campaign that didn’t stand a chance to win in the electoral college, to instead endorse the nominee of the larger party that most closely aligned with their platform. Then the party concentrated on down ballot elections. Since the Greens haven’t been able to get on enough ballots to have a mathematical chance at winning post-2000, I’d have more respect for them if they took that route

You can complain about ballot access. You can claim that both parties are corrupt. But it is an absolute lie that both parties are equally corrupt. And it is just as untrue to insist that neither party is better than the other for civil rights, health care, jobs, or the future of the planet. And if you let Trump become President, you will not make ballot access any easier in future elections; nor will you reduce corruption.

And it won’t be four years of gridlock. Trump and the Republicans in Congress will be rolling back progress in pretty much every social justice area that the Green Party cares about. In 2000 the Green Party argument was that if Bush/Cheney won and enacted their policies, a wave of voters would come to the Green Party’s way of thinking by 2004 and throw everyone out of office.

That didn’t happen.

I can’t tell you how to vote. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot by voting for the Green Party candidate and letting Trump win (and that’s a simple matter of math; that is what will happen), I can’t stop you. But know this: you aren’t just shooting yourself in the foot, you’re shooting a whole lot of the rest of us, too.

We’re not the enemy. Trump and the forces of hate are. Stop asking me to shoot myself in the foot at the ballot box. And stop claiming that you are doing anything more productive than that.

Friday Links (dystopian convention edition)

Ted Cruz as Penguin, Donald Trump as the Joker.

@samkalidi‬ posted these two pics with the comment, “It’s hard to tell the difference between this year’s Republican National Convention and Comic-Con.”

It’s the fourth Friday in July, and I’m glad that Friday is finally here. After a week of trying not to watch the white supremacist trainwreck that is this year’s Republican Convention, I’m really looking forward to going out with my husband to see Star Trek tonight and Absolutely Fabulous tomorrow night. I need to get away from the real world for a few hours!

And the news, not just out of the Republican Convention, was full of way more unpleasantness than I usually see. I decided not to include a bunch of links that I had bookmarked for this week’s posts because I felt that it was just getting too overwhelming. I also decided to re-arrange things a little bit, so that more of the good news is concentrated together. I’m not sure if it’s an improvement, but I hope it is.

Anyway, here are links to some of the interesting things I read on the web this week, sorted into various topic areas.

Links of the Week

On My Dad Harold Ramis and Passing the ‘Ghostbusters’ Torch to a New Generation of Fans.

Trump Tracts: Subgenius-inflected mini-comics about Trump in the style of Jack Chick tracts.

Singapore’s celebrity urban otter family.

Fabulous, Darling!

Joanna  Lumley and Jennifer Saunders poses in the Winners Room at the British Fashion Awards 2015 at London Coliseum on November 23, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders poses in the Winners Room at the British Fashion Awards 2015 at London Coliseum on November 23, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

This new AbFab Lego set looks like more fun than the Betty Ford Clinic.

‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ not false advertising.

Happy News!

Crime Is Down and People Feel Safer.

News for queers and our allies:

James Franco On How A Prosthetic Penis Brought Him Closer to the LGBTQ Community.

Gay Men and Body Image.

It Gets Better, Unless You’re Fat.

Massachusetts transgender rights bill signed into law.

Science!

A broken telescope just discovered 104 new planets.

Scientists still don’t know what caused the ‘Eye of the Sahara’.

Explosive caterpillar infestation in New England is visible from space.

New venomous snake discovered in Costa Rica.

17 Maps That Will Change The Way You Look At The World Forever.

Scientists mapped the human brain like a city and revealed that we’ve been ignoring some of its most important parts.

A rock as long as New Jersey may have smashed up the moon’s ‘face’.

Scientists turn old plastic bottles into fuel.

Graphics reveal how different today’s climate is from the one many of us grew up with.

Edmonton professor discovers new ‘megaraptor’ in Argentina.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

More 2016 Comic-Con Photos Including Cosplay!

Comic-Con: Why so few movies in Hall H? Blame the pirates, matey.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Toy Collectors Aren’t Playing Around.

Over 200 Pictures of the Cool, Weird, and Crazy Things on Display at Comic-Con 2016.

Patt Morrison interviews: ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ author Ursula K. Le Guin.

Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter Raising Funds for Year Three.

“Muppets” Take Ankh-Morpork. The Jim Henson Company is going to make Wee Free Men!

This week in I can’t even…

Leslie Jones’ Tweets on Monday Night Were a Powerful Response to an Insane Torrent of Hate.

The Ghostbros Ruined My Childhood.

Truth, Consequences, Twitter, and Milo Yiannopoulos.

What my evening with Milo told me about Twitter’s biggest troll, the death of reason, and the crucible of A-list con-men that is the Republican National Convention.

A Note On a Jackass Getting Booted From Twitter. “So the math there at least appears pretty obvious from the outside. You can punch down on Twitter and get away with it, but don’t punch up, and punch up enough to make Twitter look bad, or you’ll get in trouble (after more than a day).”

This Week in Tech

Who is harmed by a “Real Names” policy?.

Stop the privatization of health data: Tech giants moving into health may widen inequalities and harm research, unless people can access and share their data.

We Shouldn’t Get Used To Online Abuse.

This Week in Diversity

​A tale of two selfies: This New Capitol Hill Interns Selfie Will Give You Hope.

This Week in Police Problems

Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen Workshop.

Video Shows Unarmed Black Man Pleading With Arms Raised Before Getting Shot by Police.

This week in awful news

It’s Time To Recognize What Many Mass Murderers Share In Common: Yet again, a deranged mass killer abused the women in his life before striking the public.

Sovereign Citizens Are America’s Top Cop-Killers.

What Is the Washitaw Nation, ‘Sovereign’ Group Baton Rouge Shooter Identified With?

Sovereign Citizens A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement.

Culture war news:

Here Are All the Disturbing Ways Evangelical Christianity Influenced the GOP’s 2016 Platform.

An Open Letter to the Log Cabin Republicans.

The Class Politics of Decluttering.

Texas’ Voter ID Law Struck Down By An Extraordinarily Conservative Appeals Court.

Lawsuit: Trans Students Made To Wear Green Bracelets To ID Themselves.

Rick Scott Discussed Orlando During His RNC Speech. He Didn’t Mention The LGBT Community Or Guns.

Iowa church sues to change LGBTQ civil rights brochure.

Ala. Judicial Ethics Commission to Chief Justice: Roy, Bye.

NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, focuses on New Orleans.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:

GOP chair wrongly claims ‘facts’ show children do better with straight parents.

Violence, Blood and Betrayal inside the Trump Potemkin Village.

Lying Liars Who Lie: 2016 Edition. I’m not just linking to a Mormon Press story, I’m agreeing with it? Yes, yes I am!

“The Art of the Deal” made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth—and regrets it.

Mike Pence’s top seven most homophobic moments (out of many).

"If your political party spends decades treating gay people as second-class citizens, guess what: You don't get to use Freddie Mercury's music at your convention."

“If your political party spends decades treating gay people as second-class citizens, guess what: You don’t get to use Freddie Mercury’s music at your convention.”

Trump Used ‘We Are the Champions’ at RNC Against Queen’s Wishes.

Kim Davis Loses Yet Again, Appeals Court Denies Her Request To Have Antigay Record Cleared.

This week in Politics:

Male escorts are making crazy money at the RNC.

Close Encounters of the Casual Kind: Dear God, Republicans are a horny gay bunch.

Dan Savage on Jill Stein: Just No. A vote for the Green Party candidate is exactly a vote for Trump, and so is a vote for the Libertarian. And if you don’t understand that, let me first explain to you that the Earth is not flat.

The Republicans waged a 3-decade war on government. They got Trump. I’m sorry, I can’t feel any sympathy to anyone who supported Romney, or McCain/Palin, or Bush/Cheney who only just now realized that the party has been running on hate and lies.

This Week in (other) Hate Crimes

Alleged Hate Group Member Charged in Shooting of Trans Woman in Indiana.

‘We just want to be accepted.’ At a vigil, transgender people mourn one of their own.

This Week in Misogyny

Roger Ailes Resigns as Fox News Chief After Sexual Harassment Accusations.

Violence Against Women and Online Harassment.

Farewells:

Garry Marshall, ‘Pretty Woman’ Director and Creator of ‘Happy Days,’ Dies at 81.

Dem Rep. Mark Takai Dies Of Cancer At Age 49.

Hawaii mourns passing of health care advocate U.S. Rep. Mark Takai.

Things I wrote:

Bustin’ ghosts and laughing it up.

I ain’t afraid of no dude-bros, or just call me a Ghost Girl, too!

Queer and self-loathing in the Grand Old Party.

Bullied Bullies: Orchestrating Harassment Isn’t Expressing an Idea.

Really arrested development. (I wrote one sentence, the rest of this post is C.S. Lewis, but…)

Videos!

First Lady Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Ghostbusters 2016 Red-Carpet Interviews w/ Cast, Crew & Lindalee Rose (make sure you stick around to see the little girl interview Kate McKinnon about Holtzman):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Mister Wallace ‘It Girl’:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Billy Cullum – Friends:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

The Brocks – Going Nowhere (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

“Hands” – A Song for Orlando (Lyric Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Really arrested development

Some times, you just have to quote one of the masters:

“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
—C.S. Lewis

Bullied Bullies: Orchestrating Harassment Isn’t Expressing an Idea

I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.

Free Speech by Randall Munroe (http://xkcd.com) Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. (Click to embiggen)

So, hoards of internet trolls started sending extremely racist and often threatening messages to actress Leslie Jones this weekend, and instead of blocking them, she took a stand: Leslie Jones’ Tweets on Monday Night Were a Powerful Response to an Insane Torrent of Hate. It wasn’t a random hoard of trolls, though. They were encouraged by a notorious troll who is also a writer for Breitbart: Hundreds of Twitter users, encouraged by Yiannopoulos, sent racist, sexist and degrading tweets targeting Jones, a female black comedian and a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.”

Side note: but I repeat myself; Breitbart is an organized swarm of internet trolls, scum, and clickbait villains masquerading as a news site.

People have been blocking, reporting, and complaining for years about Milo harassing people and openly encouraging his hundreds of thousands of followers to send rape threats, death threats, racist attacks, misogynist attacks, and homophobic attacks at various people on social media. His actions have long been clear and blatant violations of Twitter’s anti-harassment policies. He and most of his followers should have been banned from Twitter long ago.

Unfortunately, the company almost never enforces its anti-harassment policies—especially against people like Yiannopoulos—for a very cynical reason. The harassment sprees that he unleashes result in hundreds or even thousands of his followers creating new accounts to continue their harassment when they find their old accounts have been blocked by their targets. This creates the illusion that new people are signing up for Twitter, when it is actually stalkers and harassers and trolls adding secondary accounts. So allowing the harassers to keep abusing people is part of their business model. Which is shameful.

I happen to think that if Twitter vigorously enforced its policies, that the stalking and harassing would go way down and a lot of people who have abandoned or deleted their old twitter accounts because they got harassed and threatened constantly (usually for the crime of being a woman who expressed an opinion) would come back. Twitter would become fun again. That’s a business model not to be ashamed of.

But finally, and it is definitely a deserved use of finally, Twitter has taken action: Twitter finally bans Milo Yiannopoulos, one of its most notorious trolls.

And people are coming out to defend him, claiming this is an assault of free speech. Which it isn’t, at all. Randall Munroe, the cartoonist who does xkcd including the comic I include above, said this in the alt-text of that Free Speech cartoon: “I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.”

Anyway, no, Milo was not banned for expressing an opinion. No, Milo was not banned because he was conservative. No, this is not an assault on free speech. And no, people who complain about rape threates, death threats, and vile racist attacks are not the internet trolls—neither are we over sensitive.

You know what’s over sensitive? Thinking that not being allowed to bully someone somehow makes you, the bully, a victim.

Queer and self-loathing in the Grand Old Party

Sign reads, "Why would you rather see 2 men holding GUNS than holding HANDS."

Sign reads, “Why would you rather see 2 men holding GUNS than holding HANDS.” (click to embiggen)

The Log Cabin Republicans and other gay republican groups (GOProud, for instance) have been claiming for forty years that they are changing the Republican party from inside to make it accepting of queer people or at least the legal right of queer people. And so far, they have had absolutely zero success. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

And yesterday they had their biggest fail ever. This year’s Republican party’s draft platform was the most anti-gay political party platform ever in the history of the U.S. I am not exaggerating. It is worse than the platform that was adopted by the party in 1984, when panic over AIDS was at its height. It is worse than the platform that was adopted in 1992, when thousands of signs that said “Family Rights Forever, Gay Rights Never” were being waved by attendees inside the convention hall. This year’s platform, as the New York Times reported is:

…a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family… [it] amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party’s hard-line platform in 2012—especially as it addresses gay men, lesbians and transgender people…. Nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed.

Specifically, the platform condemns same sex marriage and calls for the appointment of judges that will overrule the Supreme Court decision making marriage equality legal and calls for an amendment to the Constitution which would in effect repeal the marriage equality laws that states adopted through legislatures and by direct votes of the people. The platform explicitly asserts (contrary to every reputable study out there) that it is better for children to be raises exclusively by opposite-sex parents (the language also appears to condemn single parents or grandparents/other relatives who raise children, such as say, after the death of the children’s parents). The platform endorses the so-called conversion or pray-away-the-gay therapies (which studies have shown are actually harmful, especially to children) which have been outlawed in many states. It calls for banning transgender people from public bathrooms that match their gender identity.

As the New York Times summed it up: “nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed.”

The Log Cabin Republicans vowed to fight the platform at the convention. They promised they would fight to get that language changed. They sent out, over the course of the last week, dozens of emails begging people to donate money now so they could fight the platform. And guess what happened at the convention yesterday?

Tweet reads: "The @GOP has now, as a body, approved their radical anti-LGBTQ platform with almost no opposition."

Tweet reads: “The @GOP has now, as a body, approved their radical anti-LGBTQ platform with almost no opposition.” (click to embiggen)

The platform was adopted without any changes and with virtually no attempts from the floor to amend a single word.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have groups like the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud working within the party to help spread tolerance and acceptance of gays? [/sarcasm]

And the thing that pisses me off most about those guys (and almost every single one of them is a guy) is that their presence is used by the hateful members of the Republican party to claim that the party isn’t actually anti-gay. It’s a variant of the “I can’t be homophobic, I have gay friends” defense. See, the Republicans say, we allow some of those homos to be members of the party: we take their money, we get them to go out on news channels and tell people that the party isn’t really anti-gay, even though we repeat discredited anti-gay propaganda, and pass anti-gay laws, and call for the appointment of anti-gay judges, and denounce gay and lesbians in the military, and block gay and lesbian appointees to government office. We do all of those things, they say, but we let these few homos to be members, so we aren’t actually anti-gay.

Bull.

Why do these sad gay guys keep coming back to the party that hates them? Why do they donate their time and money to a party that is actively trying to take away their legal rights?

Dan Savage laid out the case pretty clearly four years ago: On Booze, Meth, Suicide… and GOProud. Medical studies all agree that the reason that queer people are more likely to attempt suicide (especially as children), and more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol is because of the lifetime of anti-gay bullying and abuse that queer kids suffer just growing up in our society. They are made broken by the anti-gay attitude of society (which is then used as proof by the folks who want society’s attitude to be even worse that we deserve it). Broken, abused people become self-loathing people. And self-loathing people often succumb to self-destructive behavior. And the thing is, self-destructive, self-loathing addicts don’t just want to destroy themselves, they want to take other people with them. As Dan summed it up:

“…just like your meth-addicted friend who pushed the drug on you, or your drunk friend who mocked you for stopping at four, or your sexually out-of-control friend who insisted that you were a prude if you didn’t play the come dump with him down at the bathhouse, the GOProud boys want you to abuse yourself the same way that they’re abusing themselves.”

That’s the only explanation for a queer person to support the Republican Party. It isn’t because Republicans are fiscally conservative, because they aren’t. The Republican party runs up trillion dollar deficits while giving tax cuts to the wealthy and enacting programs to hurt working Americans. I get so tired of hearing people (queer and straight) react to any of the anti-gay or misogynist or racist statements or actions of Republicans by saying, “I don’t support that, of course, but I just wish there was a political party that was social liberal and fiscally conservative.” I’m tired because there is exactly such a party: the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has been more fiscally conservative than the Republican Party since 1992. The Democratic Party is more fiscally conservative than the vast majority of the American voters. And the Democratic Party is, truth be told, slightly less socially liberal than the majority of American voters.

So don’t feel anything but pity and contempt for the gay republicans who claim they are changing the party from within. They aren’t. They’re damaged self-loathing people clinging to their abuser, enabling their abuser, and they’re trying to get you to join in on the self-destruction. Don’t fall into the trap.

I ain’t afraid of no dude-bros, or just call me a Ghost Girl, too!

Salty snacks that literally are named Salty

Photo courtesy of the awesome @OsakaJack

In addition to writing about how much fun I had both times I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie on this blog yesterday, I’ve also mentioned it several times on Twitter over the weekend. I’ve mentioned the movie by name, I’ve tweeted: about how much I liked it, how much I love the character of Holtzman, what a good job Chris Hemsworth did playing a bimbo, and recommended that other people see it. And the only reactions I’ve received are either people agreeing with me or saying they want to check it out. I have even mentioned more than once that I went back to see the movie a second time.

On the other hand, a friend of mine mentioned that she was getting in line to see the movie again, and immediately her tweets were replied to by a bunch of random internet guys spewing various derogatory comments. Accusing her of getting in line again to “make up for it being a flop” (which it isn’t; Sony is very happy with the numbers), for instance. Explaining to her why she shouldn’t like it, and so forth. Several people have jumped in on it, including some guys claiming to be friends and not disagreeing with her, but upset that she isn’t tolerating the other dude’s opinions.

Why are her tweets getting that response and not mine? I did a little checking around on Twitter and saw several other male friends who have commented how much they liked the movie, and none of them are getting arguments from random internet dudes. But several women I am acquainted with have posted virtually identical comments about the movie, and they’re getting harassed.

And make no mistake: if you tell someone that they are “silencing”dissent when they don’t agree with you after you come into their space (which is what you are doing when you reply to someone’s tweet or blog post, et cetera) and tell them that their feelings are wrong, then you are harassing them. And when you’re a guy trolling through social media looking for women expressing opinions that so you can correct them, you are a mansplaining douche. I know you’re going around looking for women to argue with, because you’re ignoring nearly identical statements from other guys. You may not consciously realize you’re doing it, I’ll grant that, but when you see both my comments and my friend’s, but you only argue with her? Yeah, you’re being that kind of jerk.

And please, Internet dudes, don’t try to mansplain away another dude’s mansplaining.

You don’t have to like the movie. That’s fine. But don’t try to convince someone who has already seen the movie and loves it that they don’t actually like what they like. And don’t try to prove that the movie is bad. When you do that (when we do that) we’re being jerks.

And I say “we” because I slip up and do it, too. A lot. I have explicitly asked certain friends to tell me when I cross the line from trying to discuss something to bullying someone for disagreeing with me. It’s a behavior many of us learned growing up. When someone disagrees, we push back. It is so easy to go from pushing back to pushing down. 

Yeah, we made our opinion known publicly. You’re allowed to have a different opinion and express it in public. But don’t be a dick about it. Being a dick is not going to persuade the other person to agree. It isn’t. And here’s the thing: if what they like isn’t hurting you, there’s no reason to try to persuade the other person.

I push back hard on certain political topics because actual people die because of some policies that some people support. People dying, people living in poverty, people suffering injustice, people not being able to get health care… those are all things worth arguing about. But a goofy comedy? Let it go.

I want the new Ghostbusters movie to succeed because I loved it and I want to see more movies like it made. So yes, I’ve recommended it and told people how much fun I had and in some cases I’ve offered to buy people a ticket to see it. Because I genuinely believe they will enjoy the movie, perhaps as much as I did, but even more because I want us all to be able to enjoy more movies like this. I want little girls such as the one whose father posted a picture of the Ghostbusters costume she made with her existing toys to see movies like this and know they can be the hero, too. And yes, I want little boys to see this movie and know that their sisters and girl classmates and neighbors can be just as much a hero as they can. I want everyone to know that they can be someone’s hero.

Even you, dude bros. I want you to be heroes. And the first step is to stop being a mansplaining jerk. Salty is great when we’re talking about snack food (especially parabolic potato chips), but not in social interactions.

Bustin’ ghosts and laughing it up

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 11.18.59 AMI’m used to being disappointed in members of my own gender. Growing up a queer boy in very redneck communities in the 60s and 70s, I learned to be very careful around other guys, since you never knew which ones would turn into bullies the moment you accidentally expressed the wrong opinion, or pronounced something weird, or walked wrong, or… well, you get the picture. So I wasn’t completely surprised when a lot of a certain type of fanboy started spewing hate and rage at the fact that someone was rebooting Ghostbusters with one twist: our four ghost-hunting nerds would be played by women.

I was very shocked when a few male friends, specifically a few gay male friends, joined in. Particularly one who got angry and seething on line after the first trailer was released absolutely insisting it was a bad trailer and this was going to be an awful movie. Because I watched the trailer and couldn’t stop laughing.

One of the differences between me and a lot of the men hating on the movie before they ever saw it was that the original Ghostbusters movie was not part of my childhood. Because I was 23 years old when the movie was released in theatres. I saw it in a theatre with a bunch of my friends. And we laughed, and cheered, and howled with more laughter while watching it. For weeks afterward we kept quoting lines to each other and laughing more. Decades later, I still find ways to slip allusions to that movie into tabletop roleplaying scenarios I create and stories I write. I liked the movie a lot.

But I didn’t love every single moment of the original. I cringed at a lot of Bill Murray’s scenes. I kept wanting him to stop being a sleaze toward Sigourney Weaver’s character. It didn’t matter that most movies at the time featured men behaving in that slimey, sexually-harassing way. I didn’t like it when it happened in the other movies, either. But a lot of movies, especially comedies, have moments that make me feel like I need to apologize on behalf of my gender. While I laughed and cheered when the heroes beat the big bad at the end of the movie, I was always a little bit disappointed that there was no hint that Dr. Venkman had become less of a sexist sleaze ball. I had wanted him to have a redeeming moment with Dana Barrett, but it didn’t happen.

There were other moments, jokes that weren’t quite perfect. It was a good movie. It was a great way to spend some time laughing with friends. But it wasn’t perfect. And when I went back and watched the trailer for the original, I can’t exactly call it a masterpiece, either. It was funny, but actually it struck me as less engaging than the trailer for the new movie. So I figured that at least some of the guys who otherwise weren’t misogynist manbabies but were still reacting so negatively to the trailers, were doing so because they were remembering the first movie through the distortion of it being literally part of their childhood.

My husband and I saw the new Ghostbusters on Friday night. We laughed. We cheered. We applauded. We howled with more laughter.

And so did everyone else in the theatre with us.

It’s a good movie. It’s a funny movie. It is not a retread. It’s telling a similar story in a similar universe, but not the same story. The opening sequence is very creepy. Some of the jokes are in-jokes and allusions to the previous films, but not such in-jokes that they aren’t funny is you don’t know them. Don’t believe me, then read this review: A Ghostbusters Review From Someone Who’s Never Seen the Original Ghostbusters.

There’s also this review that compares the reactions to the Ghostbusters reboot to another sequel to another beloved-by-fanboys movie: What Are You Fighting for When You Fight the New Ghostbusters?. And then there’s this: Sorry Haters – Ghostbusters Might Actually Be Good although this latter reviewer is a lot more mealy-mouthed than he ought to be (I mean, come on, guy, you just watched the movie; you know whether or not you enjoyed it; stop writing this like an insecure person who isn’t sure of your own opinion unless it is validated by other guys!).

And don’t miss this one: Real Men Confirm the New Ghostbusters Didn’t Ruin Their Childhoods After All.

It’s a funny movie. Period. It’s a good movie. Period.

I’m not saying that only misognyist manbabies won’t like this movie… I’m just saying that every single negative review I have seen has demonstrated more than a little bit of a gender-based double standard. Every one.

So, I’m hoping this movie does well. Not just to prove the trolls and manbabies wrong, but because I really enjoyed laughing for two hours without one moment of cringing that made me embarrassed to be a guy. Because that’s an extremely rare thing in movies—but it’s something we need more of.


ETA: Sunday night I went to see the movie a second time with two friends (my husband wasn’t feeling well). I still liked it my second time. The theatre was packed, again. People laughed and cheered and clapped a many points in the movie. It’s a goofy comedy, yes. So was the original. I had a blast the second time, and still recommend it.

Friday Links (fear, hope, and listening edition)

New York Daily New cover speculating as to which awful, misogynist, racist, homophobic politician will be chosen as the running mate for the tangerine-skinned neo-fascist con-man.

New York Daily New cover speculating as to which awful, misogynist, racist, homophobic politician will be chosen as the running mate for the tangerine-skinned neo-fascist con-man.

It’s the third Friday in July, and it hasn’t been a great week. Maybe not as awful as last week, but plenty of scary and unpleasant things happening. I’m doing my very best not to think about that stuff at least tonight, because my husband and I are going to go see Ghostbusters, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Anyway, here are links to some of the interesting things I read on the web this week, sorted into various topic areas.

Links of the Week

I Am A Transwoman. I Am In The Closet. I Am Not Coming Out.

WHY THE CLINTON AMERICA SEES ISN’T THE CLINTON COLLEAGUES KNOW.

There is Hope: Time to Follow an Indigenous Model for Peace in America.

And other news:

Amazon’s Chinese counterfeit problem is getting worse.

Heavily armed drug cops raid retiree’s garden, seize okra plants.

Surviving Suicide In Wyoming.

This week in evil people

Minuteman Militia Founder & Senate Candidate Chris Simcox Sentenced To 20 Years For Child Molestation.

Edmond man arrested at Black Lives Matter rally on terrorist hoax complaint.

This week in History

Congress Approves Arlington Cemetery Burials For Female WWII Pilots.

45 YEARS IN, THE FBI ANNOUNCED THEY’RE NO LONGER INVESTIGATING THE D.B. COOPER HIJACKING.

This Week in Tech

The Tragedy of Pokémon Go: What it takes for good ideas to attract money.

Google quietly brings its forget program to the U.S..

This Week in Diversity

One Photo Shows Why We Needed An All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot.

Don’t Praise the Designer Who Made Leslie Jones a Gorgeous Dress for the Ghostbusters Premiere.

An Open Letter on Identity Politics, to and from the Left.

This Week in Police Problems

Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no. There are two different parts to the “no.” First, portionate to their part of the populate, black people are nearly three times more likely to be killed by cops than whites. But the big difference is this: of UNARMED suspects killed by cops? Far more black unarmed suspects than white unarmed suspects are killed by cops every year.

NYC Man Who Recorded Eric Garner’s Choke Hold Death Takes Plea Deal, Will Likely Serve 4 Years in Prison.

This White Woman’s Shocking Account of Police Brutality Has a Lesson About Race in America.

FBI Confirms 2015 Was One Of The Safest Years Ever For Cops.

Man who Posted Alton Sterling Shooting Video Arrested 24 Hours Later on Fabricated Charges.

Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings.

After Dallas Shootings, Police Arrest People for Criticizing Cops on Facebook and Twitter.

The Singular Trauma Of A Child Who Loses A Parent To A Police Shooting.

Sorry conservatives, new research from Harvard shows a profound amount of racism by police…not less of it.

Why it’s impossible to calculate the percentage of police shootings that are legitimate.

This Week in Restoring Our Faith in Humanity

Bob Fletcher Dies at 101; Saved Farms of Interned Japanese-Americans.

Muslim Man Hugs ISIS Militant Armed Wearing Suicide Vest Before Explosion, Saves Hundreds Of Lives.

This week in awful news

80 Killed in Truck Attack on Bastille Day Crowd in Nice, France. This one does not seem to autoplay the horrible video.

Scores Killed in Terrorist Attack in Nice, France. Also no video.

Unsealed Court Documents: Sandusky Abuse Allegation Was Reported To Joe Paterno In 1976.

Queer leaders of Black Lives Matter condemn deadly Dallas ambush.

This Goddamn Week: Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the Real America.

NEWS‘I Hate Gay N****s’: Lunatic Posts Disturbing Video of Himself Pulling a Gun on Man He Thinks Is Gay.

This week in Topics Most People Can’t Be Rational About

The Case of Mark Hughes, Or Don’t Carry at a Protest.

Sen. Murphy leading effort to raise cash for pro-gun control candidates.

News for queers and our allies:

A country boy’s story about coming out: self-harm, suicide and Safe Schools.

Student scholarships grow out of move to ‘mourn’ same-sex marriage.

This teen’s family threw her an incredible surprise coming out party.

The Kindness of Strangers: An older woman comes out of a quarter century of stealth life to discover Trans Pride.

one man’s obsessive and historic collection of queer photography.

The Couch in Rainbow Colors: ‘L.G.B.T.-Affirming’ Therapy.

Science!

How one man repopulated a rare butterfly species in his backyard.

Looking Down on the International Space Station. Literally.

Science reveals 8 plants that will purify your home.

A ‘slow catastrophe’ unfolds as the golden age of antibiotics comes to an end.

The quantum origin of time.

Scientists who found gluten sensitivity evidence have now shown it doesn’t exist.

NASA’s Juno probe beams back its first images from Jupiter’s orbit.

Astronomers discover new planet on the edge of the solar system.

Study shows what happens when you swap fat for sugar.

Here’s What Really Happens When You Digitally Detox, According to Research.

Mantis Shrimp Roll Their Eyes, But For A Good Reason.

Super-massive and supersonic black hole studied with the Sardinia Radio Telescope.

Rate of species decline ‘no longer within safe limit’ for humans, experts warn.

Why the turtle got its shell.

50 million year old mushroom found trapped in amber.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

Where has this Amazing Comic Book Art Been all My Life? This Belgian artist’s visions of a retro future are simply too beautiful for words.

I saw Tarzan and this is my review after some wines.

The world needs Star Trek’s progressive sexual future, and gay Sulu proves it.

Readercon 27: Confronting the fails.

George Takei Sets Record Straight on Gay Sulu Comments: Star Trek Actor ‘Delighted’ with ‘Daring Storytelling’.

George Romero Finally Getting Hollywood Walk of Fame Star!.

Ghostbusters Is the Movie We Need Right Now.

This week in Writing

Critics Suck. But Life Goes On: How to Deal With Negative Reviews of Your Work.

Author Blume doesn’t think of her legacy.

This is How You Find Your Readers.

Calling Emily Post: A Blogging Etiquette Roundup.

Review: Scrivener for iOS app is finally out next week, and it’s worth the wait.

Culture war news:

One of them is an animated corpse who scares people by reading from an old must book of gory made-up stories and wickedly relishing the ruin of others — and the other is the Crypt Keeper.

One of them is an animated corpse who scares people by reading from an old musty book of gory made-up stories and wickedly relishing the ruin of others — and the other is the Crypt Keeper.

Op-Ed: Christian Universities Can’t Have It Both Ways.

When Christian Schools Make Campuses Less Safe.

Here they are, the ‘enemies of equality’ for LGBT Americans.

Four Things You Need to Know About the So-Called First Amendment Defense Act.

GOP adopts “cure gays” platform plank.

Donald Trump Keeps Distance in G.O.P. Platform Fight on Gay Rights. “reviving a festering cultural dispute”

Contempt ruling upheld against Kentucky clerk against gay marriage.

In response to the Dallas police shooting, presidential flop and Donald Trump supporter Dr. Ben Carson thought it provided a unique time to do some good ol’ gay bashing.

MISSISSIPPI LEADERS DIVIDED ON RELIGIOUS-BELIEFS LAW APPEAL.

Emerging Republican Platform Goes Far to the Right.

Transgender bathroom issue headed to SCOTUS.

Opinion: Sorry Scott Morrison, but you’ll never be able to relate to a gay person’s experience.

This Week Regarding the Facist Clown:

For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance.

GOP war on porn: The same party that nominated a libertine for president is now calling your porn a “public health crisis”.

This week in Politics:

Totally Not Gay Advisor To Dr. Stabby Sued For Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Male Former Staffer.

Revised GOP platform includes measure for Trump’s Mexican ‘border wall,’ endorsement of mogul’s plan to ban Muslims, but lacks gun control reform. “…a list of priorities straight out of the 1950s…”

In Win for Senate Dems, Bayh Will Run in Indiana.

Obama Renews Call For A ‘Public Option’ In Federal Health Law.

The Democratic Party has moved left after Bernie Sanders’s run. The platform is proof.

Barney Frank Came Back To Congress And Ran Circles Around Everyone.

Victory Fund Statement on Donald Trump’s Selection of Mike Pence.

Welcome to the New Democratic Party.

Why Hillary Clinton’s ‘Extreme Carelessness’ with Classified Emails Isn’t Criminal.

Cleveland Strip Clubs Pumped for Trump But Brace for Violent Protests.

This Week in Racism

Sarah Palin: Media Must ‘Quit Claiming’ Black Lives Matter Protesters ‘Are People’.

Sen. Tim Scott reveals incidents of being targeted by Capitol Police being target.

‘Classic intimidation’—Black Lives Matter activists targeted by FBI ahead of RNC.

This Week in Feminism

The Logic of Misogyny.

This Week in Misogyny

Stop Treating Emotions Like Character Flaws Of The Powerless.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 7/9/2016: anti-trans law not going to ballot, shooter stopped.

Sunday Funnies, part 19.

Sausage making: my history with presidential nominees.

Rough, manly sport, part 6.

It’s about time – why Star Trek’s Sulu reveal is overdue.

Videos!

Hear Every 2016 Song of the Summer in One Perfect Mash-Up:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Shim El Yasmine – Mashrou’ Leila (Beirut-Based Band That Challenges Homophobia) Live in San Francisco:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

It’s about time – why Star Trek’s Sulu reveal is overdue

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

So the new Star Trek movie opens in general release in less than ten days, and word is out that the film includes a brief appearance of Sulu’s husband and their adopted child. George Takei (who originated the role of Sulu way back in 1966 when the episode “The Man Trap” first introduced audiences to the voyages of the starship Enterprise) has said this is unfortunate, because it violates the original vision of the character. George has become, over the last few years, America’s favorite gay (metaphorical) uncle, and frequently his comments on pop culture, queer rights, homophobia, and related topics are spot on. But he’s completely wrong here.

Make no mistake, George isn’t saying that Roddenberry didn’t want queer people in the future. George has spoken before about the conversations he had in the sixties with Roddenberry about addressing sexual orientation in the story. Roddenberry thought it would be a bridge too far for the networks. Roddenberry had already fought tooth and nail to get an African-American woman and a Japanese-American man on the regular cast in prominent roles—and he felt he was already skating on thin ice. Also, if you look at some of the writing Roddenberry did in the notes to other writers working on the series and on the first motion picture, you’ll find references to Kirk, at least, having had affairs with men at least at one point in his past. So it isn’t that George thinks Roddenberry and the original vision of Star Trek without queers, it’s that George thinks that Sulu was obviously straight in the original, and that a better option would be to introduce a new character.

There are more than a few problems with this line of reasoning. The most important is simply this: if the first unambiguously queer character introduced into the Star Trek universe is a minor character that no one has ever heard of before, that leads to automatic tokenism. The audience will, regardless of their own feelings about queer people in real life, naturally see this new character as the gay crewman. He won’t be seen as an integral part of the universe who just happens to be gay, he’ll be seen as the character being added for no other purpose than to check off a list. If, on the other hand, a character who is clearly integral to the story is revealed to have been queer all along, that his or her colleagues have known about the same sex spouse all along and none thought anything was odd or remarkable about it, that shows that Star Trek is the future Roddenberry envisioned: where people are accepted on the merits of their character above all else.

The less philosophical problem with George’s argument is the assertion that this is a radical re-imagining of the character of Sulu that throws out everything we already knew about him. I’m sorry, George, I love you, but there is nothing in the way that you played Mr. Sulu in the original series, nor in the scenes, dialog, and actions that we ever saw on-screen, that precludes him being queer. Sure, that’s that one deleted scene from Star Trek: the Motion Picture where Sulu tried to awkwardly come on to Lieutenant Ilia—but first, it’s a deleted scene, so isn’t really canon, and second, a bisexual or pansexual Sulu is still a queer Sulu who might well end up falling in love with a man and deciding to settle down.

I’m not trying to knock George Takei’s acting skills, here. I’m just saying that queer people and straight people often don’t act any differently in the vast majority of day-to-day situations. There are many reasons that a metric ton of Chekov/Sulu fanfic was written long before the motion pictures or the reboot movies existed, for instance.

Finally, if you think that Roddenberry’s original vision is the only way the story of the Star Trek universe should move forward, we should circle back to those odd notes of Roddenberry’s about Kirk’s sexual past. Roddenberry was an adherent of a belief that was prevalent among some liberal thinkers in the sixties that sexual orientation was merely a social construct. That every human was really, deep down, bisexual or pansexual, and any proclivities otherwise were merely the result of social conditioning. That view isn’t accepted any longer; medical science indicates something those of us who have grown up queer in a homophobic society have been saying for a long time, the sexual orientation is an innate quality. Some people are innately hetero, some innately bisexual or pansexual, et cetera.

But if we must rigorously adhere to Roddenberry’s original vision, then having Sulu in one timeline prefer men, and in another be ambiguous is perfectly fine.

Ultimately, I think that Simon Pegg and the current producers are right: the original series is silent on Sulu’s orientation. This isn’t a change or contradiction of anything we knew about the character before. And having a major character who is already part of the canon revealed to have a same sex spouse is the better way for Star Trek to embody a bit of Vulcan philosophy: that the universe is made up of infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

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