I was looking at various news sites and suddenly struck with the fact that as of this week, Marriage Equality, also known as Same-Sex Marriage had been the law of the land for 75 months, which was 50% longer than the total existence of the Confederate States of America, so all of those bigots who keep waving the Confederate flag are promoting something that has existed as at most two-thirds of the existence of Same-sex Marriage…
We needed a new meme, and I made one.
PLEASE… please, please: retweet, reblog whatever!
I am so f-ing tired of all of the confederacy/white supremacist/pro-trump/related racist posts. Can we please start a counter narrative???
My 9/11 story isn’t very interesting. I was awakened, like most mornings at the time, by the clock-radio turning on to the local NPR station.
It turned on one minute after the first tower collapsed, because while that happened at 9:59am in New York, it was only 6:59am on the west coast. I hurried out of bed and headed downstairs to turn on the TV.
After watching that news for a bit and waking up my husband to tell him what was going on, I had to get ready for work, catch my bus, and try to get through a work day. It was obviously not a productive work day for virtually anyone in the country.
In the years since, I have always like to re-read this account:
I have been trying to circle back to writing a longer review of the finale to the Loki series, but I kept getting bogged down in a rant related more to other comments I had seen. So I decided to bite the bullet and give the rant its own blog entry.
The comments that set me off have been made about all three of the Marvel streaming series released thus far this year (WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki), specifically: these aren’t complete stories (and therefore inherently objectively bad) because they have loose ends which will presumably be subplots or even major plots in upcoming Marvel productions.
That’s not what defines a complete story, though.
Now, it is perfectly acceptable for someone to dislike a series for any reason at all. And it is always open to debate about whether a particular ending worked. That isn’t the issue that was being stated. It was specifically the claim that each of these series don’t tell complete stories. At least one such commenter included a rant that the art of storytelling is being ruined because no one is telling complete stories any more.
At some point I need to finish another post I started about the problems with having what are becoming our culture’s major myths be trademarked properties owned by corporations. But that’s also a separate issue.
For as long as storytelling has existed (and storytelling is an essential component of the definition of out species, so that’s a really long time), stories have had loose ends which potentially could be the seeds of more stories. Not just some stories, but all stories.
Let’s look at a classic for an example: Cinderella. It’s a story with which nearly everyone is familiar. After Cinderella’s mother dies, her father remarries, but then he dies, and she is left in the care of her wicked stepmother. She is forced to be a servant to her step-mother and the two equally wicked step-sisters, until one magic night (with the help of her fairy godmother) she attends a royal ball, meets and falls in love with the handsome prince. And through the macguffin of a lost glass slipper, she and the prince marry and live happily ever after.
A nice, complete story, right?
But hang on a minute! There are so many unanswered questions and loose ends to this story:
- What happened to the wicked stepmother after Cinderella went off with the prince?
- How did Cinderella adjust to royal life?
- Did Cinderella and the prince have children? If so, how did Cinderella’s experience with her wicked step-mother inform her parenting?
- Presuming that "happily ever after" meant a long life together, then they probably lived long enough for the king to die and the prince to inherit the throne. How did that go?
I have left at least one item out of the list: What happened to the wicked stepsisters?
I left it out because some versions of the story give us a bit more on this loose end. In the version recorded by the Brothers Grimm, the two wicked stepsisters are attacked by wild birds after the wedding ceremony and have their eyes pecked out. The brothers end the tail with the line, "And so they were condemned to go blind for the rest of their days because of their wickedness and falsehood."
So one version of the story tells us what happened to them, implying that the birds were sent as a punishment by the universe or god, right? But the stepmother was no less wicked to Cinderella, and told no fewer lies in the story than the two daughters. As a woman who took sacred vows when she married Cinderella’s father, she had a great obligation to care for and nurture Cinderella than the sisters did. Her not getting punished certainly opens even more questions that someone could turn into a sequel or a prequel.
And even with the Brothers Grimm ending for the stepsisters, it said they lived out the rest of their days blind. So:
- Did Cinderella and the prince take pity on them and provide them with caretakers?
- Were they left to suffer alone?
- Did their mother attempt to care for them?
Again, so many questions left open that could easily be turned into a sequel. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that Cinderella isn’t a complete story (nor that it is objectively a bad story) because there are unanswered questions that could lead to a sequel.
It could be argued that what these commenters are saying isn’t that having a few loose ends isn’t the problem, but rather the issue is that the writer(s) intentionally left those loose ends and are plotting sequels. But again, it leaves me wondering how they managed to miss that fact that authors have been doing that on purpose for (at least) hundreds of years?
While I was ranting to a friend about this, they suggested that maybe the comments I’ve seen are referring to plotholes, which are frequently cited as proof that a story is flawed. I have two problems with this: several of the people I saw making the "it’s not a complete story!" are people who review other works and have used the term plothole before. So I don’t think that’s the argument.
Even if that were the case, a lot of times of time what people call plotholes are not that at all, as I’ve blogged about before. I listed then things that people often mistake for plotholes, which include:
- things an individual reader/viewer wish didn’t happen,
- character actions that contradict the version of the character the individual reader/viewer has constructed outside canon,
- things that contradict the political/moral preferences of the individual reader/viewer,
- things the author(s) intentionally plant to foreshadow something that will explain everything in a future chapter/episode/sequel,
- things the author(s) didn’t think they needed to explicitly explain because they thought you had critical thinking skills,
- things that are implied by the resolution of the main plot which are often variants of, "Now what?"
I’m more than willing to debate whether the endings of the shows could have been better, and so on, but the three series mentioned each answered the questions/mysteries that were posed in the opening by the end. And that is the definition of resolving a plot.
Finally, when each was released, all three were described as a streaming series. It said it right there on the tin that the stories were part of a serial tale.
Again, not saying that anyone is wrong for not liking any of these series or how they ended (in my reviews I had a lot of critiques about one of the series in particular, even though I was mostly happy with the ending). I’m just saying, if you know ahead of time that you don’t like stories which might have sequels planned, maybe you should not watch something that is explicitly labeled a series?
It’s been way too long since I spent part of a Saturday morning composing one of these posts about a news story that I learned about after already assembling this week’s Friday Five. Let’s just hop in:
More than one person I saw online (most of them either queer themselves or presenting themselves as allies) made a joke about the reason that so much of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. have rushed to get our vaccinations is because we’re all just dying to get out there and start hooking up for sex again.
And I know that is a sentiment many had expressed. Or that they missed going to bars or concerts and so on.
But I’m sorry, the friend I quoted in the caption of the graphic above has hit the nail on the head identifying not just why many of us got the vaccine as soon as we could, but also why most of the queer communities in various U.S. towns and cities, canceled 2020 Pride events mere weeks after the first lockdowns were announced.
For a lot of us, this isn’t the first time we have lived during a deadly epidemic.
In May of 2020, there was one of the Fox /(Propaganda/) network talking heads who tried to get a viral thing going about how all the queers and their liberal friends would stop supporting the idea of lockdown once late June rolled around at Pride Parades were cancelled.
She instead was dragged on social media and news sites with the fact that we’d already canceled the Pride Parades, on our own at least a month previously. I remember just weeks into the first lockdowns that on several queer forums people had already been posting, "We’re canceling in-person Pride events, right?"
I know I’ve told the following story on this blog and else where before: but there was one month in the early nineties where 12 people that I knew personally died from complications of AIDS. In a couple of cases, my late husband, Ray, and I had to decide which of the memorial services we weren’t going to attend. And that was after years of watching vibrant people we knew deteriorate before our eyes and die. It’s not that that was the only time a bunch happened close together, it just happened to be the worst.
For years we watching our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, community leaders, and more suffer and die with virtually no help from government health agencies. There were exceptions. Dr. Anthony Fauci famously (incognito) went to bathhouses and some other places queer men went looking for sex to get a better idea of the cultural reasons that a disease which could be transmitted sexually had spread so quickly. But most responses were like this:
The headline on that particular article at the site doesn’t mention what I think is a crucial aspect of those chilling recordings: most of the laughter you hear at the very idea that the government would concern itself at all with a deadly disease that was perceived as killing gays were members of the so-called liberal media.
In the early years hospital staff didn’t want to treat AIDS patients. What treatments that were offered were anti-viral medications most of which had been developed a decade or so before under military research grants because we were afraid future soldiers would face biological weapons in the field during conflicts. They actually hoped to develop a drug that would allow every soldier to be issued a few pills along with their other equipment and if they thought they’d been hit with a bio-weapon, they could take the pills and keep fighting. Didn’t quite work out.
But they were the only thing that seemed to slow down the virus, even though there were often some pretty severe side-effects.
In the early 90s someone came up with the idea of putting patients on not just one anti-viral, but three or more that each attacked different parts of typical viral replication process. By 1995, the so-called "antiviral cocktails" were approved for general use.
The result was startling.
It seemed like a miracle. Some people who were already very sick and looked like shadows of their former selves seemed to rejuvenate in a matter of months.
Unfortunately, those anti-viral drugs are very expensive. If you need three or more in combination, that makes things even worse. So the cocktails have only performed their apparently miracles in countries that have reliable health care.
And note that it isn’t a cure. It’s not really a miracle (unless you want to talk about the insane profit margins of the pharmaceutical companies). Because in order to stay alive and healthy, people infected with the HIV virus have to take those very expensive drug combinations (which still often have wicked side effects) every day for the rest of their lives.
We don’t have an HIV vaccine. Forty years into the epidemic that still kills hundreds of thousands of people world wide every year doesn’t have a vaccine.
Queer people younger than me, who don’t have the same personal memories of the worse part of the HIV epidemic, still had their lives overshadowed by the disease. Because despite the fact that most new infections in the U.S. these days are straight people (that’s right!), and most of the people who are dying in the so-called developing world are straight women and children, the perception is still that AIDS is a "gay thing." I linked a year or two ago to a poignant story a young cartoonist posted about how when he was 15 years old and had never had sex with anyone, he went to an anonymous clinic for an AIDS test–because all he knew about the disease was the gay people got it. Nothing he had been taught in school or seen in the news or what very few media portrayals of people dying of the disease there were at the time, had conveyed two very important facts: 1) any human can get infected by the virus that causes AIDS, 2) it is most often transmitted sexually.
And part of his story is talking about when he came out in in twenties and started meeting other gay people, virtually all of them approximately his age had gone through a period in their teens where, after realizing they were attracted to members of their own sex, they also assumed that meant they would die young because of AIDS.
My point is, that once these younger queers do find out that his horrible specter which was part of their trauma growing up queer and closeted is a disease that was ignored for decades? Well, their attitude about health issues is a lot like us older queers.
And so that is the real reason that so many of us rushed out to get vaccinated. We know what happens when a health crisis is ignored. And we damn well refuse to take part in ignoring this one.