Monday, May 09, 2022

Top 5 Live Action Star Wars Character Meet-ups I want to see

The Disney+ Star Wars series have given us so so many amazing opportunities to see characters that have only ever been in the animated shows. We have also had the chance to see older live action characters like Boba Fett interact with new ones like Fennec Shand and the Mandalorian Din Djarin. But these worlds are so big and there are many characters who over the years have never had an opportunity to ever interact with each other. Maybe we will see some of these meet ups in Mandalorian season 3, Ahsoka, or the upcoming Cassian Andor show. For the sake of clarity, these are all characters who could canonically meet each other and I'm not cheating by using Force ghosts either because if I did Kylo Ren and ghost Anakin Skywalker would absolutely be on there (I could go on forever talking about how I think it should have been Anakin that talked to him not Han Solo in Rise of Skywalker). Anyway, all these meetings COULD and I would argue SHOULD happen either in a live action show or movie sometime in the future.

5. Din Djarin and Sabine Wren

Of all the pairings on this list, this is the one I think that is actually most likely to happen and happen pretty soon. Sabine, as fans of Rebels know, was a previous wielder of the Darksaber. She was taught to use it by Kanan Jarrus but then gave up the saber to Bo-Katan, whom she felt was the rightful person to lead Mandalore. As we know from The Mandalorian, because Bo-Katan never won the Darksaber in combat, she was not considered to true master of the saber in some kind of weird Elder Wand logic that had not been previously mentioned. Given that Sabine has been cast for Ahsoka (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) it seems pretty obvious that her meeting Din Djarin is going to happen pretty dang soon and that's gonna be pretty rad but since it is kind of a given I put it lower on the list. 

4. Grogu and Yoda

Ever since Grogu first appeared on season one of The Mandalorian, he has been called "Baby Yoda." Whether he is truly Yoda's son or just a member of the same species, we know that the two of them lived on Coruscant at the same time prior to the fall of the Republic. When Luke was training Grogu he asked him point blank whether he remembered Yoda, but we have seen that Grogu's memories are a little spotty. Still, it is not outside the realm of possibility that we get some kind of flashback of Grogu's time before Order 66 where he was trained as a youngling. In fact, I would argue that Grogu unlocking some of his previous memories will only lead him to becoming even more powerful. Could it happen? Technically yes, but I am putting it low on the list because it seems like Frank Oz is pretty done being Yoda and I don't know if they would bring in Tom Kane (who voice Yoda in The Clone Wars) to do this in live action. An animated Grogu I think might be more likely. 

3. Han Solo/ Lando Calrissian and Hondo Ohnaka 

Hondo Ohnaka is one of those characters that is so fun in the animated shows, and even appears in the theme park on Smuggler's Run, but whom we have never seen in a live action show or movie. We actually got a canon meeting of Han and Hondo in a spinoff children's novel called Pirate's Price and some of the Star Wars Adventures comics, but that absolutely is not enough for me. I really want to see Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover and a live action version of Hondo in the rumored Lando series having all kinds of wacky hijinks. Will it happen? I don't know. The Lando show is one of those things that they keep talking about here and there but Donald Glover seems like a busy dude. Given the box office and general reception of Solo I'm just not sure if they want to play in the sandbox anymore. However IF the Lando show happens, then 10/10 Hondo needs to be a part of it. 

2. Boba Fett and the Bad Batch/ Rex

I really really want to see Boba Fett interact with other clones, particularly as they are older and wiser now. We got a lot of animated young Boba/ clones stuff, but nothing in live action. Is Boba the only clone left after Return of the Jedi? As of this writing we don't know. There is a rumor that Rex may show up in the Ahsoka show which would be very cool. If he does, then it is not outside the realm of possibility that he could meet Boba Fett. And what about The Bad Batch? Do they survive beyond season 2 of their eponymous show?  I want to see Temura Morrison going full Orphan Black acting against different older clones. I think it would be neat. If Dee Bradley Baker can do it, why not give Tem a shot. 

1. Chopper and K2-SO

My number 1 pick is actually the easiest one, the most logical one, and the one that is the most delightfully chaotic. Fans of Star Wars who listened closely to the scene on Yavin before the battle of Scarif in Rogue One may have noticed they announced "General Syndulla" on the intercom. This refers to Hera Syndulla, captain of the Ghost and mom to the droid Chopper, the most loveable war criminal in the Star Wars universe. That means that canonically Chopper and K2-SO were both on Yavin at the same time (along with R2D2 and C3PO). Who knows what kind of crazy adventures those droids got up to while their humans were off doing important meeting stuff. We do know that K2 sadly perished on Scarif, but given Cassian and Hera's roles in the rebellion it really makes a LOT of sense if a live action Hera shows up in the Cassian prequel show, which by extension means that K2-SO and Chopper have lots of opportunities to meet. We also know that Dave Filoni loves Chopper. Not only did he create the character, he voices him in Rebels as well. This lends me to believe that Chopper's appearance in a live action show is only a matter of time. While seeing Chopper (and by extension Hera) in the Ahsoka show or one of the others set post ROTJ would be fantastic as well, I am really hoping to see him interact with K2, creating the Wario/ Waluigi to R2 and 3PO of my dreams. Imagine it: just droid shade 24/7. Amazing. 

Are there any meet ups you want to see? Any you think I've missed the mark on? Let me know in the comments. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Roll Me

I haven't written anything in a very long time, but I want to start getting back into writing again even if I don't really have any regular posting schedule. At any rate, here is a story I wrote after asking my family for a prompt. My inspiration comes from both my cousin's suggestion (the mistyped lyrics to "All Star") and my new favorite movie Everything Everywhere All of the Time. Enjoy

Somebody once told me the years are going to roll me. From my experience, that has been a crock of shit. It has been over ten years that I have been a rock atop this mountainside, and no amount of weathering or rain or time has moved me in the slightest. Ten years. Has it been ten years? Time has no real meaning for a boulder. I’ve seen at least 6 clutches of swallow eggs in the nest on the crag above me hatch and fly away. I think those swallows only lay once a year but who knows. Are they even swallows?

I honestly think the lack of internet access or books has been the most difficult thing about this kind of un-life I have been un-living. You would think with all the beauty of nature that I could learn something but observation really only gets you so far from a scientific perspective. I can perform no experiments, no thorough research. All I can do is observe, all I can do is to be. What kind of rock even am I? I will be honest and say I never paid very much attention to geology. I don’t really know that a category of form really matters all that much in the end. I will say that my 360 degree field of awareness is rather intriguing. I observe the mountain and the valley and the sky and the dirt upon which I rest all at once and all the time. I have observed things grow and die. I can sense things crawling, sitting, or defecating upon my person, but feel neither cold nor heat, pain nor fear, and I am, as I have said, immovable.

I read a book once about a situation like mine. A donkey fleeing a lion foolishly wishes himself to be a rock while holding a magic pebble. The pebble rolled away and it was only when his parents placed the rock on his back that he could wish himself back again. If only things were so simple for me. It started as a wish too, of course. Of course it did. It always starts with a wish. You would think with all the movies I’d seen, all the books that I’d read, that I would have known that wishes were dangerous. But I couldn’t have known that it wasn’t enough for me not to wish on the wrong kind of stone, not to make wishes of genies or monkey paws or women in the woods. I needed to be fearful too of those who would make wishes about me.

If you asked him, I’m sure he would say that I stole his heart. “Eventually women will always steal your heart,” he would say. I suppose from his point of view he was entitled to turn me into a rock for all the harm I had done him, then. Nevermind my feelings on the matter, nevermind my point of view, nevermind my intent. Nevermind that NOBODY DESERVES TO BE A FUCKING ROCK, MICHAEL. Men are dangerous, my mother always said, powerful men more so than others. I knew he was a powerful man, but I didn’t know he was capital P powerful until it was really too late to do anything about it. In a world of science and facts and books, nobody ever suspects things like magic can be real. I mean, I had always hoped it was. Don’t you always have a little hope that things are a little magical, a little more than the mundane? Whether it was aliens or fairies or wizards or elves, since I was a girl I imagined that something MORE existed in this world and that something beautiful and powerful and meaningful would happen to me. Perhaps I would be tasked with a great quest in a kingdom in a wardrobe or told that I was the heir to a magical treasure. Being turned into a god damned rock was not on the list, but really beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.

For want of anything better to do, I have spent the past few years pondering the nature of magic and what it means for its existence in the world. Surely there are others who have some measure of magical ability besides my ex boyfriend. Surely there must be some kind of authority or oversight committee or council of elders or whatnot who would frown upon people being turned into rocks willy nilly, you would imagine. There were times I dreamed a passing owl was really another wizard in animal form and he would recognize me as not being an actual rock. He would turn me back to the human woman I was, whisk me away to a castle where we would reveal all of Michael’s crimes to some very aged old man, maybe Merlin himself, and he would be stripped of his power and I dunno… also turned into a rock. Fuck it, I’m not very creative. Some days I still hold out hope that such a thing is possible. Other days I feel that this rock life, this un-life, is all I will know until whatever self still exists has devolved into madness. If other magic people do exist in this world, as I am certain they must, then they are obviously as incompetent as any other people in power.

It’s funny but in the beginning I didn’t even mind so much. I know that’s a strange thing to say. But the truth is, in the very very beginning there was of course the terrible fear and the anger and the confusion, but that later led to a kind of peace and happiness. I have no need to eat so I don’t need to buy or hunt for and cook food. I have no need for shelter so I don’t have an apartment to constantly clean. Nobody perceives me so I don’t need to make my body look a certain way. I don’t have a job I need to go to every day, so my time and my mind are entirely my own. The lack of responsibility, lack of societal expectations and rules was an intoxicating freedom for the first several years. For a long while I thought I might be able to learn astral projection or be able to attain nirvana through meditation, but, alas, I suppose I am no Buddha.

Still, I find myself in meditation most of the day, thinking on the nature of existence in a way maybe no one in history has before. Perhaps if I ever return to my human self I will be able to impart a kind of wisdom that people will find profound, but I dunno. If there is a god I haven’t found him. If magic is for something more than causing harm I haven’t seen it. If being this rock means something more than just the outcome of a petty man’s rage then I haven’t discovered it. The self is a collection of thoughts. I think, therefore I am. Real original stuff. I would write a book if Descartes didn’t get there first. Who knows, maybe he was also a rock.

Long ago, a lone hiker stopped and rested on me. This isn’t a particularly well trod trail I am on so visitors are few and far between. He was the first person I had seen in many years and I surprised myself with how excited I was to see him. This was at the time of my confinement when I was certain the key to happiness was to eliminate all attachment and believe my rock self to be superior to the human I had once been. It was a coping mechanism, I later realized. A way to deny my own profound sadness. The real truth was that I missed being a human and being around other humans desperately. I luxuriated in the sensation of the man’s backside on my rocky surface with a kind of ecstasy that you could have called sexual if you could attribute such feelings to a rock. The man, thinking himself alone, began to mutter to himself about this and that as he sat and ate a bag of trail mix.

“This fucking trail is too damn steep, he began.

He was an older man, which surprised me. Mid 70s with a wiry muscular frame.

“I can’t be doing trails like this anymore, I don’t think,” he said, “The years have caught up with me. I could have fallen back there and then what?”

For a while he just sat there on me looking off into the distance. But as he rose he gave me a little pat,

“Years are gonna roll you too someday I’d wager.”

I always wonder if maybe he knew I wasn’t just a rock. I don’t think I’ll ever know.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I did roll down this mountainside. If the rock self breaks into pieces would I have awareness of all the parts? Could I exist in different places? There is this forest I heard about called Pando that is all the same tree. Like it's just clones of all the same tree, a whole forest of one. Were my rock body to be broken into a million different pieces would whatever exists of my soul be in all of them? Or would I die? Can I die? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that. Would I just be dust in the end, then? Would my consciousness become the whole world? If there is a heaven, would I go to the heaven for people? Would I have gone to heaven anyway? My parents were in their 70s when I left them. Maybe Mother died today. Or was it yesterday? Maybe if I die I will see them again. Or maybe they will never know their only daughter is lost to them forever, dust on the wind.

I think if I really tried I could do it. Roll, I mean. It isn’t as though I’ve never tried to move before, but I wonder if I really exerted all my influence on one task, if I really focused all of my energy, I could will myself to roll. Maybe what was holding me back before was the fear of rolling, the fear of not knowing, the fear of death. I don’t… I don’t know if I fear death anymore. I don’t know that I exactly welcome it, either. I don’t know if you could properly call me suicidal, but 10 years as a rock has made me… apathetic I guess. Well, no, that isn’t exactly true. It’s made me curious, or at the very least it hasn’t taken away my curiosity. Maybe I’ve learned as much as I can in this form and whatever comes next whether it is millions of pebble selves or death or even just getting stuck slightly lower on the mountain it would be something NEW. I think I’m ready for it. There are no wizards coming to save me, there are no magic spells. There is just me and this mountain and my own force of will. I will. I will? I WILL. Ok… I will. I will. I will I will I will. I…

I am.. I am? I am?? Ok I am. I am actually rolling. What the fuck? Ok. This is a very odd sensation. Obviously I have no inner ear so I have no experience of dizziness from that perspective but the sensation of moving around and around is incredibly disorienting. I can kind of perceive the bottom. It’s getting closer. Fuck maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I don’t know. God dammit, I don't know anything. Maybe this was not the smartest plan. No. Stop it. Stop second guessing. I willed this. I did this. I have my own magic and this is my magic I made myself move. I am in control of my own destiny. I know myself. I am me. I am a rock and I am me and I am not a rock and I am not me but I know myself. Whatever happens I did this. Whatever happens I took control of my own future. I’m getting closer to the bottom. Fuck fuck fuck. Ok. Here we go. Here we go. This is it…

After several moments of darkness I realize that… I could still realize. That wherever I am, whatever I am, I still have some perception of self which is very good. Ok. Self. Thinking. Descartes. Awesome. It is dark. Why is it dark? I started rolling during the day, was it night time? No, it is still hot outside. It couldn't be night. Wait. Hot. It was hot. I was feeling that it was hot. I can sense the temperature of the air. The air. The air I was breathing? I am breathing. I take a deep breath. I have breath. I have lungs. What else do I have? The darkness. Hesitantly I open my eyes. My eyes. My eyes, my eyes, my eyes. And I see. I can see. And with my eyes I can see my hands and my legs and my self. MY SELF. Me. I’m me. I’m fucking me??? I’m… I start to cry. I cry and I cry and I cry. Then I run under a tree because its fucking hot and I realize belatedly that I’m naked. But I’m me. I have life. And I have purpose. And he will pay.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Top 5 favorite Aquaman moments

So the truth is I am writing this at 3:30am after another horrible night's sleep. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been waking up with headaches or too hot or having to pee or some other issue lately. It’s probably all tied to anxiety but shit who ISN'T anxious these days? How do you fix a condition that isn’t just in your head? No idea. One of my continual frustrations is my lack of close friends. I have friends with whom I feel I COULD become very close but I don’t have any ride or die, this person is like a sibling to me, I tell them everything, they will randomly stop at my house when I text them I am sad kind of friends. I don’t have any friends I have finished a carton of ice cream with. I haven’t had that kind of closeness in a long long time. So it goes.

I feel like the potential is there but at 37 years old everybody has already decided who their best friends are and somehow I missed distribution day. That’s fine, I’ve made my peace with it. I am grateful I have such a loving and wonderful husband because he is really my best friend other than my parents and sibling I guess. Unlike my ex, I can be completely emotionally vulnerable with him without judgement and as a result our relationship is incredibly close and supportive. We just have this bad habit of not really socializing all that much so we end up getting high and watching TV together which I have to say isn’t the worst way to spend the evening without kids with the person you love most in the world. Last night I had the bright idea for us to play 5 Grand Prix of Mario Kart as well which was pretty brilliant of me because we are so evenly matched (he did end up winning 3-2, though). After that we watched Aquaman on HBOGo again which was also my idea because Aquaman is a perfect fucking stupid movie. It really is. It isn’t a great movie, it is a stupid fucking movie. But a perfect stupid movie and for that I truly love it.

Sooooo after much rambling preamble here are the top 5 moments from the 2018 film Aquaman

 1. The part where he is training with Vulpix (yeah I know that’s a Pokemon, whatever the Willem Defoe character is named) when he is a kid and he flops out of the water like a dolphin. This moment is so absurd that I wait in anticipation for it eagerly. It is literally like that merman scene in Zoolander. Just perfection

2. That part when he is battling OCEAN MASTER (DUN DUNNNNN) for the first time (side note I love how it goes DUN DUNNNNN every time someone says OCEAN MASTER) and before they begin, an octopus plays the drums like in Little Mermaid. Like this whole scene is insane, including but not limited to the fact that they show their “stats” on a display screen for the audience like this is a WWE match and Arthur has no pros only cons, but the octopus playing the drums just really tips this over the edge for me in its absurdity bc it is literally exactly like little mermaid and that is fucking hilarious.

3. When he finally gets the trident and rides on the back of a giant seahorse while holding the trident because it looks just like the comics and it is so silly and perfect. I mean all the riding on sea horses and shark scenes are amazing but when he stands on the back of that sea horse it is just like ::chefs kiss:: this is Aquaman, ya know? 

4. Mary Poppins, the Kracken. Or whatever the fuck that eldritch monstrosity was supposed to be. That Pacific Rim looking crab squid that was inexplicably voiced by Julie Andrews. How did they get Julie Andrews to voice a giant crab monster? Now John Rhys Davies voiced one of the regular crab people and THAT is perfectly logical because like dude is just leaning into his Brian Blessedness and that is definitely a career choice I respect, but Julie Andrews??? Wow. 

5. Oooh picking a 5 is actually really hard. I nearly went with Randall Park as crazed Atlantean obsessed science dude, but in the end I have to go with the very end of the movie where Atlanna and Jango Fett get to fuck again. The thing I like about Atlanna and Jango Fett fucking is that it is so rare you get a happy ending like that, ya know? BOTH parents get to live! This is a really sweet thing given how parents are usually fridged in superhero movies. Good for you Jango Fett. You get that sea pussy. Sidebar, but do Atlanteans get their period bc that would be weird in the ocean. Presumably their reproductive system is similar to ours because they can interbreed with surface people. Lot of questions. I’m also assuming they are all just peeing in the ocean while they are battling, ya? They just pee right there? I mean what else do they do just like swim away to pee? Wouldn’t the pee just float back? Nah they have to just pee right there. Anyway, hurray for happy endings. Everyone gets to fuck. Even the crab people and the fish people who I am going to assume, as they evolved from humans (they said this happened in the movie though how they evolved into fish people so quickly is beyond me) that they all have penises like in shape of water how his dick is hiding. Hooray for fish people sex. Everyone get some.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Being American

My ancestors came to this country from Russia and the greater Eastern European region between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.  They were all Jews.  I did a Family Tree DNA test a few years ago that came back 97% Jew.  Yep. I'm a Jew.  Jew, Jew Jewy Jew.  The other 3% was probably some Russian dude who raped my 4x great grandmother or something, who knows.  We are new to America.  New, being a relative term.  Certainly, there are immigrants who came to this country in the later part of the 20th century and the 21st, but we came recently enough that important pieces of our cultural identity, of Eastern European Jewry, still permeates our everyday lives.  Those are my people.  American Jews. I guess for the longest time I operated under the assumption that most white people were like me when it came to their American-ness, that their ancestry was REALLY English or Irish or Italian or Polish.  I thought that "white" was a category invented to deprive people of their ancestral culture under the guise of white supremacy and the devaluation of people of color, that most people could and SHOULD say what they were culturally instead of just identifying as white in an effort to dismantle an artificially created racial dichotomy.

Doing my husband's genealogy made me confront the fact that some people defy such easy categorization.  One branch of my husband's family came from France to settle Canada in the 1640s.  Another branch was British and settled the Massachusetts Bay colony, one even coming aboard the Mayflower.  Another branch was Dutch, settling New Amsterdam in the 1660s. Another branch of his family were Spanish rancheros in old California, the oldest one I have found born in Mexico in the 1740s.  Another branch was German, settling the Germantown, Pennsylvania area in the early 1700s. The more "recent" branches settled from Ireland in the late 1840s and from Germany in the 1850s.  His family has been in California before it was a state. His family has been in America/ North America since before there was an America, several of them fighting in the Revolutionary War.  In fact, some even fought in the French and Indian Wars (On both sides of that conflict).  In many, many ways I am jealous of all the history.  Jealous for the ability to know the names of ancestors, to see them written in books, that Wikipedia articles are written about them, that someone in his family has fought in every single war this nation has ever fought. It is a gift to have so much knowledge.

I know my people were Russian Jews.  That will probably be all that I will ever know.  Any distant cousins I may have had in the old country were invariably killed by pogroms or in the Holocaust.  Maybe I am descended from some great Jewish thinker, though probably I am just from tailors and farmers who lived humble lives in the ghettos they were forced to live in. My culture is the culture of Ashkenazi New York in the early 20th century.  Recent immigrants to this country have the shared knowledge, culture, pride and cuisine of their homelands, even if they don't know the names of their great grandfathers.   Black Americans descended from slaves will never know from which African tribe or country their people were from, but they share a beautiful and rich American Black culture that is unique and distinguished from more recent immigrants from Africa.  Indigenous descended people may have been removed from their cultures by force in some cases, but many can make the conscious decision to reconnect with their tribal Nations now if they so choose.

And yet I have heard my husband say that he guesses he's "just a big European mutt." It is a gift to have so much knowledge about your ancestry, far far more than most people I know, more than the descendants of slaves who will never know their real names, more than the nameless indigenous people who were slaughtered in the name of conquest, but what does it really mean that your 10x great grandfather on your father's mother's side was some British lord if it doesn't bring any kind of sense of identity or belonging?  When I thought about it at first, I found that concept profoundly odd in ways I couldn't quite put my finger on, and it made me sad.

People talk a lot about America as a nation of immigrants, though such a designation ignores both involuntarily transported slaves and indigenous peoples.  But I think it is also not quite accurate in other ways.  All white people came from somewhere else to be sure, but when their people came from that somewhere else so long ago, long beyond living memory, how are they to think of themselves as anything else other than "American," whatever that term is supposed to mean, other than white?  The rah rah America attitude displayed by a lot of people on the right I think is indicative that a lot of people latch onto whiteness when they lack any other strong cultural upbringing.   Thankfully, my husband doesn't have any of those inclinations, though there are certainly members of his family who do.  It isn't that I don't blame them, I think blame when it comes to white supremacist thinking is a really complicated topic but that ultimately regardless of upbringing people are responsible for their own behavior, but I do understand a bit better now how, lacking anything else to bind them to each other, some people choose whiteness.  The melting pot has melted away everything else. 

America is such a beautiful mixture of so many different kinds of people, like my husband is.  We need to find a way to uplift a concept of American culture that is not dependent on a known cultural background, which I think is how the language was used in the past, while also including those for whom cultural pride is everything.  Nobody should be asked to give up what makes them uniquely from their cultural group, but at the same time, those without an established culture should be able to say their heritage is "American" in a way that is more inclusive, positive, responsible, and aware of its history than is currently common.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Comes Next

I was going to write this in the style of one of my imaginary conversations, but elected to forgo the pretense.  Here's an old fashioned blog entry.

For the past two years I have felt a growing dread about our future as a democracy.  I have had people try to tell me that it isn't as bad as all that.  I've had my father say that he "lived through Nixon" and "this is just another terrible thing that will pass."  I've had people on the right laugh at me openly about my concerns.  I have listened to and read the words of people of color who have spoken to the racism they experienced their entire lives and their frustration with white people who are just now figuring out how fucked things are because we see it on social media.  They aren't wrong.  Maybe none of them are wrong.  Well except the right wing assholes.  They can get fucked. I dunno.

All I know is what I know and what I feel.  Here's what I know.  What I know is that the other day I saw somebody on Twitter sharing the tips their grandfather used when they were in the Resistance fighting the Gestapo.  And this list had lots of detailed points on what people in the Resistance did, what everyday people can do can muck up the works of a totalitarian government.  What I know is that somebody else who grew up in another totalitarian government shared their experiences and what they did to survive it.  What I know is that I took notes.  What I feel is that whether history repeats itself exactly or just creates a new spin on an old theme, things are happening now that ARE different from other things that have happened in the past 36 years of my life.  What I feel is that all of it: the anger over police brutality, the spread of social media, the crackdown in immigration, the oppression of minorities and people of color, the rise in mass shootings, the racist rhetoric on the right, the wealth inequality in this nation, the loss of jobs oversees due to tariff wars, and global warming, among a host of other issues that are happening all at once are leading to something...bad. I don't know what the bad thing will be.  I don't know if the bad thing will be another terrorist attack.  I don't know if the bad thing will be a civil war. I don't know if the bad thing will be nuclear annihilation.  I don't know if the bad thing will be a Fourth Reich.  I feel, deep in my soul, that whatever it is will be the end of America as we know it.

I don't know when the thing will happen.  I don't think this is a next year thing.  But it feels like something major.  Like something WW3 major.  Like something Napoleon major.  Like something French Revolution major.  Like something cataclysmic. I talk to my friends about this and it is shocking to me the number of people who are also in agreement that yeah we are basically fucked.  I have a few friends who remain optimistic about 2020, but I just can't.  I used to think that as soon as Mueller finished his report then it would be all over and this nightmare would be done and we could go back to how it was.  Lol look how that went.  I realized there is no going back.  I don't even know if there is going forward.  I really and truly don't know that if Trump loses the 2020 election he won't just declare the election illegitimate and make himself dictator for life.  I really, really don't.  Even those more optimistic people have trouble coming up with concrete answers to my questions.  I

The other day I was reading an article about disinformation campaigns and how bots were creating whole image composites of people in their efforts to sow discord and those images looked so real that I think I failed this test to spot who was the fake.  So like robots are posing as people to influence our democracy and spread hate and are we living in a fucking movie right now because if you say it like that it is legitimately insane.  Do we even need Terminator if we die by a thousand cuts?  Or warm our earth so much that our crops will start dying?  Apparently the administration is investing a lot into space now.  Of course they are.  Because the rich will gtfo this planet before it dies.  That's why they don't care about the rest of us.

I'm tired.  I'm trying to live a normal life and plan my wedding and help the kids with homework and go to Trader Joes and still live in this sense of utter and complete bewilderment whether the life I see as normal will be what life will be like 20 years from now.  I mean, I knew there would be changes, technological changes.  But just seeing how fast things have changed from the 90s to now makes me really wonder what 2040 will look like, whether anything will be recognizable at all.  I wish I had a time machine not to go into the past but to go into the future just to check to make sure we were still okay.  Just a peek.  Then I could come back. SOME kind of reassurance that we, and by we I mean this nation and the vast majority of people in it, will be alright.  I guess nothing is ever that easy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Done with Seuss

So Dr. Seuss' birthday is coming up and I am frequently asked to read at schools for this occasion. I have very conflicted feelings about Dr. Seuss. On the one hand, his books were among the first I remember reading, in particular A to Z and Hop on Pop. On the other, his books often contain racist characterizations, the "Chinaman" in And to Think that I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example, and his art from the WW2 period was extremely racist as well. Seuss himself said that his story Horton Hears a Who was dedicated to a Japanese man, Mitsugi Nakamura, as a way of atoning for his past misdeeds and racism, but I'm not sure that allegorical storytelling is sufficient to make up for the real harm inflicted upon Japanese Americans because of his racist art.  On top of this is the issue of Cat in the Hat and how he, as well as other classic cartoon characters of the period, exhibit all the tropes of minstrelsy. More information on this can be found here.  For this reason I have not decorated my library for Dr. Seuss' birthday or otherwise celebrated it the past two years.

A lot of people push back against this notion of not reading Dr. Seuss or not watching some old movies because they believe that the racism in them was typical of the time and thus should be excused away. There is this notion that things in the past, things one has grown with as a child are somehow sacred and should always be the canon, should always be taught to the next generation. "Oh its just X what's the big deal?" they say with a shrug. Why? Why do people feel the need to defend things that don't need defending? I love sharing Star Wars and Princess Bride with my daughter, but I don't feel the need to read her Little House on the Prairie because how incredibly racist it is to Native and Black people. I don't know if you are aware of this, but more books have been written since you were in school. I hate to break it to you, but your childhood favorites aren't inherently better because they were loved by you when you were children. Why must we prop up Dr. Seuss over any other author, over authors of color, over women, over people whose characters have not be blasted all over lunchboxes for the past 50 years?
When I was asked by a school to read today, I did so but with a caveat: I asked if I could read another book from the library. Instead of reading a Dr. Seuss book, I read Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and Marc Brown about a librarian who opens a library in a zoo. It is a fun rhyming story in the style of Dr. Seuss and even mentions Dr. Seuss among the books the animals at the zoo read. I read to three classes today: 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. All of them are older than the typical audience for Dr. Seuss anyway which makes me wonder why this holiday is being celebrated in their classes in the first place. With the younger two classes I simply said "I don't have a Dr. Seuss book today, but this is another fun story that has a lot of great rhyming words." Then I came to the 5th grade class. These are 10 and 11 year old kids. A sea of brown faces: the school is about 90% Latinx. I said, "Hey, so I don't have a Dr. Seuss book today. A lot of older Dr. Seuss works are, frankly, kinda racist. I kind of have mixed feelings about Dr. Seuss because I grew up with him but I thought I would share this other fun book instead. If you like silly rhymes I encourage all of you to write! One thing Dr. Seuss was great at was making up a lot of crazy words. Maybe you can try it." It was the first time I think I was that blunt with a group of kids. I wondered why that was.
If we are going to create a new generation of kids who embrace diversity, who understands the role that race plays in our daily lives, who deconstructs old notions of gender, then we have to do some real work. Some of that work requires us to let go of the things we used to love and accept that, yeah, maybe that mammy in those Bugs Bunny cartoons was pretty gross, and maybe the crows in Dumbo were pretty gross, and maybe all those books we read as a kid with monkeys as main characters looked like blackface caricatures. For many white people, it is hard to acknowledge one's own racial biases, especially when you perceive yourself as an otherwise liberal person. So you voted for Obama and you hate Trump and you are against the wall. Great! So why when people of color or Native people are telling you that the old books or movies you like are hurtful to them do you push back? Is it simply that you are willing to be a "good" person when it is easy and not when it requires you to make any kind of substantive changes to your thinking? I am trying to do better. It is hard. It takes work. But if my fellow white educators, parents, and librarians put in the same amount of work what a wonderful world we could live in. A world where an author of color rolls off the tongue as quickly to every school child as Dr. Seuss' does.

Monday, February 25, 2019


I've often wondered if part of my problem making friends is that I just can't commit to having a "thing."  People with "things" always seem to have friends, or really they have many acquaintances that might develop into friends, but that's much the same thing isn't it? If you are super into biking you meet cycling friends.  If you are super into music you meet musician friends. If you are super into D&D you meet D&D friends, or at least have the few people you regularly play with at any rate.  If you are into goth you meet goth people, into cosplay you meet cosplay people. Shit people super into furries and stuff could probably meet other furry people more easily than I can make friends.  This is not to say that I don't like things or even that I am not passionate about things.  I think if you took a random sampling of people I know they would all acknowledge that I know about and like Star Wars and Game of Thrones and other sci fi and fantasy stuff.  But I don't write fan fiction, I don't care enough about Marvel movies to make long YouTube videos speculating what will happen next.  I don't care enough about books to even regularly write book reviews just to meet other book people.  When I enjoy something, I enjoy it, and sometimes I will gush on Twitter or Facebook but I just don't have this identity I think that is defined by things I do or like.  Lots of people online talk about their "brand."  I don't really know what mine is. I don't think I ever really have.  The other day I met a dude who has 47K Instagram followers because he has some internet famous cat.  I don't even like my cats enough to devote the time and energy it would take to actually be a "cat" person.  Who am I even?

This isn't a new phenomenon for me.  When I was a kid I was the same way. I liked to act when I was little but never "got into" theater in high school to the point where all my friends were theater friends.  I was in choir but wasn't really a "choir person."  I listened to some alternative music but never committed fully to an alternative or goth aesthetic because it just seemed kind of silly to me. I remember once in 9th grade wearing black to school on the day I was going to be seeing Smashing Pumpkins in concert.  A few people called me a poser.  An attempt was made.  The truth is, I just never got having "things."  How could you limit yourself to only liking one genre of music?  How could you dress yourself to conform to an arbitrary identity defined by others?  I was a poser because I just never really got it, I never really got any of it.  I've never liked something so much that my identity or "brand" is built around it.   Shit even now as an adult, I really love people with cool colors of hair but the time and money taken to maintain just feels like more performative unnecessary bullshit to me.  I am Jewish but I'm not like one of these SUPER involved in the temple or Israeli dancing Jews.  I'm political, but I'm not really an active member in organizations. I'm a librarian but I'm not involved in ALA.  I just don't have it in me.  I just... don't really DO "things."

I think the closest I have come to "branding" myself is the fact that I usually walk around with an R2D2 purse which is basically my minimal effort attempt at nerd social signalling that I, too, like the space wars.  Other than that... I dunno.  I think a lot of my struggle in life has come from this notion that I am supposed to have a "thing."What if not having a "thing" is ok, though?  What if just being kind of interested in a lot of stuff and not really being a stan for any one thing exclusively and not really doing stuff all the time is ok?  What do I really need out of life that I am not currently getting?  Why get jealous of other people's lives when I don't really want what they have?  I get so stuck on what I should be doing that I get down on myself.  I see other people's busyness and question my own slothfulness when the truth is I am much happier not doing than doing the vast majority of the time?

The past few years of my life I have come to know myself better than I did when I was younger.  What I've realized is that the energy I spent trying to fit in was kind of pointless. The difference now is that I have a partner I really and truly enjoy doing "nothing" with.  "Nothing" is sometimes my favorite part of the day! Doing things makes me tired.  That's ok. It is ok to acknowledge that brief interludes of social activity can be followed by periods of inactivity.  It is ok to acknowledge that I work in a public facing job, am surrounded by people all day, talk to people all day, enjoy talking to people in the capacity of my job, or talking to friends, or talking to my kids or my fiance, but that making socially awkward chit chat is unappealing, and in my spare time can spend hours saying nothing to anybody and really enjoy it quite well thank you very much.

I made a goal for myself to be more social this year, to actually reach out to people and attempt to hang out with them.  But I've realized I can do that without a "thing."  Maybe just hanging out is ok.  Maybe I'm alright the way I am. Or maybe I'm not.  That's ok too.  I just need to be honest with myself.