Influential Books In My Own Ongoing Education About Systemic Racism

I have read a lot of articles and social media posts by black authors and activists over the last week who have said the same thing.  In this moment in time, the role of white allies is to listen to and learn from black voices, to stand with the movement and march in solidarity, and, if needed, put our white privilege to a just use by placing our white bodies between the police and black bodies during peaceful demonstrations.  What was stressed again and again is that this is not the time for white voices to lead, to speak out, and/or to make it “about us” – something, sadly, all too rare in American history.  What is most important is for white Americans to listen and learn, to hear what our black sisters and brothers are saying and to follow their lead in the struggle against the sin of systemic racism. Continue reading

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Problem of Fat Shaming

In a recent post about the first teaser trailer for Black Widow, I discussed my excitement for the film while pointing out the criticism Marvel received almost as soon as the trailer premiered for fat shaming again.  In addition to all the (fair and deserving) praise Avengers: Endgame received, it also received some (fair and deserving) criticism for fat shaming in their presentation of Thor.  The trailer for Black Widow does the same with the character of Red Guardian.  A comment left on that post led to the idea for this one.  While putting together my reply, I decided it warranted its own post.  I write often of the intersection of comic books and social justice issues on this site so it’s not just natural but important I address this because fat shaming, or weightism, is a justice issue.  It’s also one, sadly, many people in our culture don’t understand or, worse, don’t even acknowledge as an issue at all.  Thankfully that’s starting to change and now seems like an opportune time to add my voice to that chorus. Continue reading

Captain Marvel and the Skrulls – The Borders of a Hero’s Courage

When Captain Marvel opened on 8 March 2019 it was kind of a big deal.  After a decade of dragging their feet, Marvel Studios was finally putting the solo spotlight on one of their female superheroes.  Brie Larson was bringing Earth’s mightiest hero – Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel – to life!  This film would also mark the entrance of the Skrulls into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The Skrulls, a shapeshifting alien race, have plagued the (comic) Marvel Universe since the ‘60s.  As happened with Black Panther/Avengers: Infinity War the year before, it was a shame Avengers: Endgame came out so soon after Captain Marvel.  Attention from this brilliant film was quickly redirected first to speculation about, then reaction to, and finally analysis of Avengers: Endgame.  But there is so much in Captain Marvel that warrants a closer look, one point in particular being the Skrulls themselves. Continue reading

New American Resistance – Net Neutrality

Okay, I’ll keep this short.  I don’t want you to read; I want you to act.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to end net neutrality in the coming weeks.  With Ajit Pai at the helm, the anti-neutrality votes have a 3-2 edge.  If you are reading this and you are American this will directly affect you.  It will affect you in an even more personal way if you’re a blogger.  If this passes we will all be paying for the internet and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will bundle websites as cable companies bundle channels.  We have roughly three weeks to stop this.

WE NEED TO CALL AND KEEP CALLING!  Here’s a link to Battle for the Net which will give you all the links you need to call those you should to speak out against this.  And here’s a link to 5 Calls.org (care of The Imperial Talker) that helps you see who specifically to call on a variety of issues, including net neutrality.  Call and let those you speak to know you support net neutrality and are opposed to ending it. Continue reading

Reading Captain America #25 in the Wake of Charlottesville

Last week Nick Spencer delivered one of Secret Empire’s most important pieces yet in Captain America #25.  I knew when I read it, I’d be writing about it.  But I hadn’t expected to do so this quickly.  However, as I watched the news unfold on Saturday, I couldn’t get this issue out of my mind.  The comic, dropping “Sam Wilson” from the title with this issue, is simply Captain America once more.  The narrative juxtaposes the approach of two very different Captain Americas.  The allegory is clear.  Who do we choose?  Who are we?  It’s a question calling each reader to deep contemplation on a personal and national level, a question I ask myself daily. Continue reading

New American Resistance – 26 June

I’m returning to form this week, after last week’s more personal and theological reflection on the Kingdom of God and how it affects my personal politics.  As always, it seems there’s a lot to cover.  Let’s see…ah, the GOP’s still trying to rob many of the fundamental human right of health care in the name of profit and power.  That being said, let’s get to it shall we?  This series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice.  We must be aware.  We must be vocal.  We must be active.  We must be loving.  This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world. Continue reading

What Would Superman Do?

Granted, I don’t write about DC often on this site.  Yet just because Marvel has always held my heart doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy DC’s characters in their own way.  Nor does it mean I don’t spend time thinking about them.  In fact, Superman is one of the heroes who most often rattles around in my head.  There is a story I’ve always wanted to see, a struggle that’s uniquely Superman’s.  And I think about it all the time. Continue reading

The Joker Examined – Heath Ledger and The Dark Knight (2008)

In my odd little salute to Halloween, I’ve been examining how the Joker scares me personally as well as how the character depicts the many facets of evil.  Now we’ve reached my favorite Joker, Heath Ledger’s turn in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 masterpiece The Dark Knight.  In October of 2014, Kalie and I had been dating for about a month.  She (obviously) wanted to do something scary for Halloween.  Having maxed out our haunted house options, we settled on a scary movie double feature.  She chose the original Ouija, then fresh in theatres.  I chose The Dark Knight.  My choice was scariest!  No matter how many times I watch it, Heath Ledger’s Joker – a perfect vision of evil incarnate – always haunts me. Continue reading