Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court and Women in Refrigerators

Wow! 5-4 for Hobby Lobby.  Infuriating. I'm not a lawyer so I'm not going to dissect this from a legal perspective.  Instead, I will view it as a father and husband who has the audacity to think that my wife and daughters are stars in their own lives and not plot devices used by men to further their own agendas.  However, my faith in that was shaken today...but just for a second. The world is changing and the old guard is desperately holding on to power.  As Dick Cheney would say they are dead enders in their last death throes.  They don't have enough refrigerators to move their agenda forward and very few Magic Negroes (this is not The Legend of Bagger Vance or The Green Mile) to assist with this plot twist and avoid their fate. This ruling is a testament to that reality as is the influx of new voter laws to fight the fraud that never happens.  You see, it's a numbers game and as a great man once said, "The arc of the Moral Universe is long but it bends towards Justice." So as I read the logic of the vaginaless judges bravely taking on the good fight at the behest of corporate america against the scourge of working women, I think of another quote from one of our founding fathers, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” And best believe this revolution will be televised. I have chosen my side. Which side are you on?

Note: Women in Refrigerators refers to a plot device that utilizes the death of a female character in a story starring a male protagonist for the purpose of motivating the male lead to achieve his goal which usually involves beating the bad guy. The term was coined by Gail Simone

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Throwing Shade at YA

Ruth Graham in her article Against YA chides adults who read YA for their lack of sophistication and intellectual rigor. After I read her article the first thing that popped into my head was Ruth Graham shaking her fist at me while yelling "Get off my lawn!" And being a YA author I was offended by her blunt and disparaging remarks of a genre I had chosen to write me first novel in. However I'm a mature adult, father, and author so I attempted to craft a few labyrinthine responses that articulated my feelings. Unfortunately the only thing I could write that had any panache was 'Your momma!'  Frustrated I re-read the article and realized that my initial synopsis was wrong.  Ruth wasn't besmirching all adults for reading YA but rather for not evolving their taste to more substantive literature. She was basically saying that YA should be a gateway drug that opens up doors to the hard core stuff like John Steinbeck and I actually feel her on this. Anyone who enjoys to read must experience the beautiful prose of Toni Morrison or the passion of Richard Wright. Which immediately made me feel better because I rationalized Ruth wasn't referring to me. She was referring to the intellectual fortitude of all you other day dreamers. I like Ruth after having gorged on YA in my youth require something more substantive to appease my literary appetite. You see me and my new homie Ruth are made of sterner stuff. Feeling enlightened and armed with the knowledge that I kinda sort of agreed with a person taken seriously in literary circles, aim to share my new found wisdom to the ignorant masses as soon as I finish writing my 2nd YA novel.  But I still can't get the image of Ruth shaking her fist at me out of my head.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Top 10 Women in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Part II

Continued from Part I:

5)  Arya/Daenerys GoT:  I know this is cheating but I love the show and books and neither are finished so while waiting to see where George takes these characters I'm grouping them together for now.  Sue me.  But if you are fans of the shows or books my reasons are self-evident but lets spell them out anyway.  There are no two characters in the GoT universe who have undergone more changes and challenges and emerged stronger for it.  And Daenery's has managed to be both strong and feminine in the process something Hollywood really struggles with.  Arya basically has been a ward of the State doing whatever it takes to survive and in the process has evolved into quite the efficient killer. Nuff said!

4)  Starbuck Battlestar Galatica:  Talk about re-imaging a character and franchise.  I can't think of too many female characters who really make you think they can kick-your ass... until now. Katie Sachhoff owned this role. She was frackin awesome!  All you need to about her portrayal of Starbuck is this... I am now a fan of Longmire.

3)  Catwoman Dark Knight:  I don't want to hear it! I do not want to hear it!  If you cannot acknowledge that Anne Hathaway might have been the best Catwoman ever then, then, then... I'll think of something but as for now Anne was funny, sexy, tough, vulnerable. In short baby girl did the damn thing and the movie was awesome to boot!

2)  Sara Connor Terminator:  Has any character changed more over the course of one movie?  Sara went from not being able to balancing her checkbook at the beginning to kicking Terminator butt at the end.  And there also is that minor detail of being the mother of the future leader of the resistance. You know minor stuff...

1)  Ripley Alien and Aliens:  Are you kidding me?  The first movie combined two genres and pretty much changed the game. Remember in space no one can hear your scream.  But they can in the movie theater and I'm man enough to admit I might have done it once or twice. Maybe.  And Aliens? Bill Paxton? fricken best space marine ever. He almost stole the movie.  And Ripley outwitted, and outlasted Aliens and Marines alike. Oh and saved the girl at the end. Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Hero ever! Drops mic, walks off stage!

My Top 10 Women in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Part I

Currently on BlackGirlNerds there is a post about Korra and whether she is the best Avatar ever.  The post goes on to make it's case that Korra is the best Avatar ever (My vote is for Aang) and that she is also a good role model for girls of color because she is not skinny although I would argue our options are limited in the capacity of minority female heroes.  Which got me to thinking (no I'm serious this time), in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre (and yes I'm grouping them for the sake of expediency) who are my favs?  Which was as a good as any reason to make a list. Yeah!  So below are my first five. Enjoy!

10)  Korra The Avatar:  She kicks butt has a compassionate side and is not afraid to chart her own course.  But also I would like to see where her character goes so for now #10 is as high as I can place her until book 3

9)  Lana from Archer:  Maybe it's the fanboy in me but I love me some Lana!  She is sexy, funny, smart, tough, and I did I mention sexy?  Stop laughing I'm serious. I think Lana is a fully developed (no pun intended) three dimensional character. And she is a woman of color who dare I say is sexy?

8)  Scully X-Files:  Scully is what happens when you allow women to be real characters and not a plot device for the male protagnoist ala the women in the refrigerator trope.  Scully was compentant, tough, and had a strong moral compass(remember those?)  Plus X-Files was some of the best Sci-Fi on TV for almost a decade.

7)  Hermione Harry Potter:  Hermione was a treasure.  She absolutely knew who she was, was smart or better yet super competent. But she was not a tom-boy.  She was a strong female character who happened to be feminine which is great because Hollywood is under the illusion the only way for women to be tough is to be like men

6)  Katniss Hunger Games:  The best thing about Katniss was the selflessness and character she showed in taking the place of her sister. That practically forced me to like her from the jump. But I was not a fan of the love triangle or the thought of a naive beautiful girl who doesn't think she is beautiful or can't believe men would actually like her.  I know absolutely no know women like that but maybe I should get out more.

To Be Continued in Part II

Friday, June 6, 2014

Diverse Pages: Feature and Author Interview with Thelonious Legen...

Diverse Pages: Feature and Author Interview with Thelonious Legen...: Whew! What a month April was? Unseasonably cold and unusually busy thanks to the A to Z Challenge. But we're excited to get back to regu...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Black Girl Nerds: Sins Of The Father

Black Girl Nerds: Sins Of The Father: The Young Adult (YA) genre is full of surprises these days. What once was a book aimed at teenagers is now fodder for book clubs compris...

Diversity in Books

The current campaign #WeNeedDiverseBooks has started a much needed and long overdue dialogue about the lack of Diversity in books.  But that got me to thinking... What exactly is diversity?  And would we know it if we see it? Is Diversity just a black face?  I don't want just a black face. I want something more substantive.  I want someone who I can identify with. Someone who is inspiring. BlackGirlNerds has a blog about Storm(please check it out) that states Halley Berry was less than inspiring for her portrayal of this much beloved character. And I agree.  But again Halley is black.  Shouldn't we be happy with that?  No.  We want more.  We deserve more.  When the movie Love Jones first came out I raved about it and told so many people to to go see it I should be receiving residuals. Love Jones did it for me.  Love Jones encapsulated everything I believe diversity means.  I decided a couple of years ago to write a Sci-Fi novel because my daughters love to read but didn't see themselves between the pages. So far me it was a no brainer.  The protagonists of my books would be girls of color.  But is that enough? No. Culture is what takes a card board character and makes them your fav.  The poem "Blues for Nina" is what made Larenz's character immortal and launched a resurgence of spoken word. And being a father, brother, husband, son to all black women I know how important hair is and I would be remiss if my book didn't make note of that.  And you know what?  I have been getting madd props because the conversation black women are having about the pros and cons of going natural is real and passionate but largely invisible to the Main Stream Media. But it made my characters relate-able by giving them culture. So I say all that to say this... When you say you want more diversity in books what exactly do you mean?