Homophobia in the Sookie Stackstackhouse Books and True Blood’s Response

I really thought my vampire thing was over. I read all Anne Rice’s books through middle school and high school. And I’ve been completely obsessed with Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel for years. Like let me sing you the musical, go out cosplaying, and attend fancons obsessive. Then my friend Gretchen insists I watch True Blood.

Both Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries books and the True Blood TV series have their flaws. They aren’t high literature by any means, and clearly fall into the category of beach-reading for the novels and trashy-TV for the show. The actors constantly drop their accents and Harris goes on and on about Sookie’s less-than-stylish outfits. And I’ve take to randomly calling out “Buuhill!” and “Ssucky” in mockery.

The first season of True Blood basically follows Dead Until Dark‘s plot. I whipped through the book knowing what was going to happen around every corner. Some of the little changes I liked better than others. When I got the second book, Living Dead in Dallas, I stumbled a bit with it, and likewise, I felt the second season stumbled. I’d been warned this was the weakest book in the series.

But what I couldn’t get over was the homophobia in Living Dead in Dallas. This book made me forever grateful for Alan Ball’s flimsy second season fixing the missteps the book took. Neither are gems, even in the vampire-porn genre, but True Blood‘s Season Two isn’t as offensive. Continue reading “Homophobia in the Sookie Stackstackhouse Books and True Blood’s Response”

The Story of My Left Boob

Or Why I Support a Public Option Health Care Plan for All

Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer
Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer.
Boobs. As a woman with family history of breast cancer, I can tell you that boobs aren’t something we’re shy about talking about; breasts are important. They are battleground. A ticking time bomb. A much discussed enhancement of beauty and youth. A food source for human babies. There are Congressional bills about them. Despite the new guidelines, we all believe in self-examinations and starting mammograms at age 40. My beloved maternal grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. She’s a survivor. Those ubiquitous pink ribbons dot a lot of my mother’s accessories.

I went in a few weeks ago to my doctor’s for a routine physical. As my doctor’s asking me about my eating habits and checking my breasts, she finds an odd lump on my left breast. Lump + family history = ultrasound at a diagnostics lab. (I’m too young for a mammogram.) I freak out a little. My doctor says it’s probably nothing, just something I should get checked. I freak some more. I tell myself my mom’s had several benign lumps removed. Comfort comes in statistics and phone calls to friends. And then I freak out a little more.

At some point, I realize I’m not freaking out because I might have cancer and die, but I’m freaking out about my health insurance (or inn-sewer-ants, as Terry Prachett put it). Continue reading “The Story of My Left Boob”

Happy New President Time

Obama in the Oval Office

This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures from Obama’s first official day on the job. There’s just something so awe-inspiring about that huge desk. So everything that room has seen, it always impresses.

When I was 9-years-old, I wanted to be President when I grew up, and Obama gives me hope that maybe might pipe dream is a possibility for someone like me. (Though I seriously doubt I will ever be president.)

Some of what the President is doing is already very exciting. Check out the Obameter, which tracks what Obama promised, what his team is working on, and what he’s already passed. Some highlights in less than a week are the repeal of the global gag rule and orders Guantanamo’s closure.

While the economy is still depressing, I’ve been enjoying listening to news and hearing good things. Hearing the effectiveness of a government. Hearing a hopeful message.

However, as I was looking at the picture above, I realized something was missing. Granted, it was the first day and everything might be moved in, but not in place. For contrast, check out my desk at home.

Yeah, for a President addicted to his Blackberry, a computer or any technology is missing from the picture of the office. Traditionally, presidents have chosen not to use e-mail due to it being subject to National Archiving and can be subpoenaed in court. However, Obama won that battle and will be using his Blackberry. Though with a limited scope of who can access it, and the National Archive has said that they won’t archive personal things, or as I like to think, the cute little messages he sends to his daughters.

However, it’s not just Obama that’s going through tech withdrawal. His very tech-savvy team is horrified about how draconian White House technology is. The White House has PCs running Windows XP compared to their slick Macs. White House web filters block Facebook, MySpace, and personal e-mail among other sites. Sites that Obama’s staff used to help him win. Access to instant messaging forbidden. Even the phones didn’t work.

On a side note, I’ve heard government filters are extremely strict. I have a friend who works for the Washington State Patrol, and if he surfs to a blocked site — like Facebook — his web browser locks and he has to have his supervisor come over and unlock it. 0_0

As some tech blogs noted, Welcome to the Corporate World as many of the Obama staff’s problems are familiar to anyone who’s worked a desk job. However, I would say that I’m looking forward to Obama’s people upgrading the White House. (I’m sure Apple would not turn down the pr opportunity to show the shiny Macbook in the Oval Office.) The White House just isn’t another corporation. It’s the government. Supposedly, the most powerful government in the world, and personally, I want to them to have access to the best technology that they can.

Hot Issues to Melt the Snow

With the laser beams of anger from my eyes. (Apparently, they already singed my sock.)

1. Obama’s choice of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. I knew before Obama’s election, and before I voted for him, that he was more socially conservative than most Obama nuts and the Republican party portrayed him to be. Obama’s platform was against gay marriage. As one of my sassier friends said, ‘ah, the bigotry against gay people, something both parties can still agree on.’

Obama and Warren

Obama’s choice of Pastor Warren is a slap in the face to every gay person or straight ally who voted for him. Obama calls marriage rights for gay people — a civil right — a “disagreement.” But thing is, it’s not a disagreement. It’s not that I like mint chocolate chip ice cream and Jason like rocky road. It’s without rights from consenting adults, rights like visiting loves ones in hospitals and getting social security after a loved one has passed. It’s about finally making gay relationships “real” in society as they are to those in said relationships. It’s about how if Jason were a woman, I would still be with her. As Jon Stewart so eloquently pointed out, no one is making Obama or Warren marry men.

Obama says that Warren is not a political choice. I call bullshit, especially given the Reverend Wright shenanigans. Warren is indeed a political choice. Especially since Obama won far more of the Evangelical vote than expected and Warren, an Evangelical, runs the 4th largest church in the US.

2. In a similar story, California is still tangled up in legislation about the passing of Prop 8. Okay, Prop 8 (the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative) was passed for one simple reason: the “Yes” people had a better marketing campaign. They started earlier and initially had more money backing it. They community organized between religious populations and did community outreach. A friend of mine who lives in San Diego saw “Yes” signs that said, “Vote Yes for Free Speech.” As an informed ally, he shook his head, but no doubt others, especially fence sitters, were thoroughly confused.

Good news is that California Attorney General Jerry Brown has changed his opinion on gay marriage to understanding that it’s a civil right. Bad news is that the “Yes” people are trying to repel the 18,000+ already legal marriages. As the law about grandfathering reads, I hope a judge will laugh at them and throw it out of court. (Grandfathering is where you can’t be breaking the law if it was legal when you did it. Or laws aren’t retroactive.)

The problem is that marriage in the US needs to be redefined. It needs to have a separation of church and state. Every other law does. As a non-religious entity, the Government should have no problem issuing marriage licenses for civil rights, tax laws, inheritance laws, etc. As a religious entity, churches, temples, and other religious organizations can have ceremonies of religious and personal significance. I don’t understand why it’s not already like this. When we’re born, the state issues our birth certificate and that’s the legal moment of our birth. The legal moment of birth is not (for example) when we’re baptized into a Christian religion, which would be the moment of birth in that religion.

3. The financial bailout and the complete lack of regulations and the continuing asshattery of corporations while real people are suffering the consequences. Goldman Sachs, which accepted $10 billion in government money, and lost $2.1 billion last quarter, announced Tuesday that it handed out $10.93 billion in benefits, bonuses, and compensation for the year. And some of those bonuses were $200,000 in cash. I don’t make that much money in four years of my salary.

“‘Why be pennywise and pound foolish. You want your good people, you want them motivated. And that is why they are paying bonuses,’ said Steve Kaplan, professor of finance at the University of Chicago.” Geez, I should’ve gone into the finances instead of marketing and e-commerce. In finances, hard times = bonuses and pay increases; while for the rest of us, hard times = no bonuses, no pay increases, and lay offs. Ah, Mr. Scrooge, just another coal for the fire.

4. A new report found that women lose approximately $434,000, on average, over a 40-year period because of the gender wage gap. Currently, the US Chamber of Commerce is preventing legislation to make women’s wages more equal. The thing is that this is not just a woman’s issue; it’s a people issue. In my household, I’m the bread winner. (Jason is a graduate student and gets some compensation.) Needless to say, my household is very pro-equal wages.

5. TV shows throwing out and killing gay characters, then congratulating themselves on being so open minded with their tokenism. Okay, this might not be as big as the economy, but, as a bisexual woman, I would like some better representing on TV, thank you.

Callie and Erica kissFirst, there was the firing of Brooke Smith on Grey’s Anatomy. Smith played Grey’s first lesbian, Dr. Erica Hahn, who hooked up with the bisexual Dr. Callie Torres. Then was unceremoniously dumped because Hahn didn’t have the right “chemistry.” I watch Grey’s all the time and everyone is sexing it up all the time. That’s what the show is about. But apparently, 3-4 instances of lesbian sex made everyone freak out compared to the hundreds of heterosexual sex scenes that have happened over the five years of the show. Even Isiah Washington (infamous for having to go to rehab for being homophobic and being fired from the show) called them out on their bullshit.

Additionally, ABC ditched Rebecca Romijn’s transgendered character on Ugly Betty. Okay, Rebecca was pregnant and taking time off. Her character couldn’t have gotten pregnant in any storyline. Still, pregnancy doesn’t mean that they should completely write off the character and say that she isn’t coming back.

Then there’s Stargate: Atlantis, which I love my cheesy sci-fi. Unfortunately, this past season has failed even more to live up to its potential than all the other seasons combined. The news of the series cancellation seems to have caused the writers to even further ignore any skills they ever possessed as writers. Then they announced, “Oh, we had a gay character and she was Hispanic too. But then we killed her off. Oops.” Because Stargate doesn’t have enough problems with how it portrays minorities that they should also add the Dead Lesbian Cliche to their pile of problematic writing. In many ways, I’m am so glad that the show has two episodes left.

My hot issues haven’t melted the snow. (In fact, it’s snowing again. Dammit.) But they are made of fail.