No More Drama Here

Deleted. I expressed my views in a way that enough people have felt was inappropriate that I have taken down the original post, as well as all of my comments.

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Westboro Baptist Church's Fred Phelps on Deathbed

In the event you do not know, the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church apparently seeds hate in the name of God by picketing at veterans' funerals, as well as those of people who have lost their battle with HIV/AIDs and homosexuals. They inspired, at least in some respects, the church depicted in Kevin Smith's movie Red State. In reality, members of the church do not see this as some twisted form of mission work, or care whether or not they add to their congregation. The Westboroites have declared online that their agenda is to provoke hostility, and when someone reacts violently, they sue, feeding the money into the church's coffers. Unfortunately, some have risen to the occasion.

Now, however, there are reports that the patriarch of the church, Fred Phelps, is on his death bed. He's been admitted to a hospice and things don't look good for our zero. It's hard, especially if you know someone who has died in combat or succumbed to HIV, to muster any compassion for this douchebag.

So don't. Don't get your own sign ready, or prepare to drive out to the grave site and shout curses at them. Don't tweet a single thing about it when it happens. News agencies, surely you can find something more savory to report. On the day that he passes from this mortal coil, let us not say a word. Let us turn our backs on him, on his church's grief, the spectacle that the event will no doubt invite, and let him go back to the earth without any tears. Let us show the Westboro Baptist Church how little their "service" to God has meant by turning away from them as they turned away from human compassion. Life goes on, and now it will do so with a degree of less hate in the world.

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Interrogate a Sqrrl, Version 2.NOW!

Previously, on Riot Sqrrl: A Real American Zero...

"Bloody Weather Dominator is interfering with my Netflix feed. Where's a Televiper when you need him?? ~sighs~ Okay. Well, since I can't catch up on House of Cards right now, I suppose I could answer some questions on Comic Vine, responding as best I can... Yes, I know @lykopis does that! Everyone does that! Thank you, Storm Shadow, for pointing out the obvious. Hmm... how to distinguish it from those other do-gooder Viner threads... I know! I'll answer every question with a quote from a comic book or comic book film! That will make it relevant to the site! How could this possibly go wrong? I know that's what I said about the Weather Dominator! No one's forcing you to be here. Don't you have a vendetta to pursue against Snake-Eyes?? Beat it. Sheesh!"

And now...

[cue opening theme]

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Blue Collar Comic Vine Humor

You might be a Comic Viner if your sexual encounters begin by demanding of your partner, "Roll initiative!"

You might be a Comic Viner if you get upset when national holidays fall on Wednesdays.

You might be a Comic Viner if you know what IT stands for, but have no clue what NFL is.

You might be a Comic Viner if you identify Captain America as being the great American leader assassinated during the Civil War.

You might be a Comic Viner if you don't tend to your personal hygiene because the bathroom "is so far away" from your PC or laptop docking station.

You might be a Comic Viner if you have ever written in for Savage Dragon, Captain America, Lex Luthor, or Howard the Duck on a presidential election ballot.

You might be a Comic Viner if your Sunday best has a picture of Batman silk-screened on the front of it.

You might be a Comic Viner if date night means a night alone eating pizza or take-out in front of Netflix.

You might be a Comic Viner if you make fun of Civil War reenactors or SCA members with the other people in your Flash Rogue's Gallery cosplay group.

You might be a Comic Viner if you've ever used the phrase "You're mother's a Skrull" to try to get under someone's skin.

You might be a Comic Viner if you have more than one comic book-themed tattoo on your body.

You might be a Comic Viner if you consider Pocky a food group.

You might be a Comic Viner if you're reading this at http://www.comicvine.com right this second.

Please feel free to comment and add your own. =) My name is Riot Sqrrl. Welcome to my imagination.

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Gender Bending in Comics

Gender and sex in comic books used to be portrayed in very rigid, hetronormative ways. Homosexuality was depicted rarely, and usually in extremely veiled imagery or words; until the late twentieth century, comics were largely marketed towards younger readers, and so this trend is not really surprising. However, in recent years, as gender and sex have been redefined in the popular media, graphic narrative has also become a stage for considering these essential questions. Critics and fans often focus on how sexuality is portrayed in comic books, but what about gender subversion?

Carrie Kelly, the female Robin, in The Dark Knight Returns, initially subverted the traditionally male identity, and allowed for Stephanie Brown, the former Spoiler, to also redefine Batman's sidekick. Rob Liefeld attempted to emulate Frank Miller's initial success by creating a female Bucky during his short-lived tenure on Captain America (during the "Heroes Reborn" storyline). During DC's original Crisis on Infinite Earths, a female Dr. Light used the costume of her villainous predecessor for good. Infinity, Inc. was also full of Golden Age characters reimagined as women. Many comics published by DC, Marvel, and other companies, have reinvented male characters as female. Creators are occasionally criticized for catering to this growing trend, especially when these characters are either forgettable or disposable--"women in refrigerators" in training, as promoting misogyny or contributing to the hypersexualization of comics.

I disagree.

While on the one hand, creating more images of strong women offers empowerment for female comic book fans, on the other, many male fans say they'd rather look at the female form than male. These are both important distinctions, one an issue of redefining gender politics in comics and the other a means of perpetuating them. Ultimately, though, I think that female versions of male characters [female identities are seldom taken up by new male characters; I remember a male Cheetah] deconstruct archaic notions of male heroes and masculinity. If one believes maternal instincts are hardwired into feminine identity, wouldn't a superhero with a predisposition towards compassion and selflessness be more successful than a male?

Joseph Campbell writes in Hero of a Thousand Faces about how apotheosis is reached by transcending one gender and taking on the traits of the other, marrying ideal forms of femininity and masculinity into a single state of being. The heroes become not unlike gods, the storied characters of bygone myths. Gender bending is elevating comic book heroes into demigods. This paradigm shift doesn't just mean a change in product, in the characters we find digestible or the stories that engage us. It also means a change in our roles as readers. Fanboys? Geeks? No. We become something more, something that Stan Lee predicted for us ages ago.

We become true believers.

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