-Current raging storm in the blogoscape: Johanna Draper Carlson says comics aren't for women (um, make that superhero comics), so complaints about sexism in them are ultimately futile. Ragnell responds. Carlson responds to the response. This really seems to be about Carlson's ongoing vendetta against Marvel/DC more than anything. I think it's pretty clear Carlson wants to see these companies suffer, and any opposes any train of thought suggesting these companies could improve their products (in this case the suggestion that Marvel/DC could eliminate some of the more egregious examples of sexism). Take this recent post, where Carlson takes Tom Breevort to task for hinting at Marvel trying to attract some manga readers. I always suspect that Carlson's analysis of the "mainstream" is influenced by her husband's (apparently negative) experiences at DC (or maybe Marvel or maybe both--I can't remember). [EDIT: Or maybe she worked there too? I'm confused. Somebody help me out here.] I could understand if her position was "superhero comics are an inherently stupid and invalid genre, so the issue of sexism is secondary." But I don't think that's what she's going for. Consider the following statement:
"If 30 years of reading superhero comics and a master’s degree in popular culture focusing on fandom doesn’t give me some slack on 'knowing what I’m talking about' in terms of the genre, I don’t know what will."
See, this is trying to impose a descriptive framework on a prescriptive argument. No one is arguing that superhero comics aren't typically sexist*; they're arguing that they don't have to be. I think Carlson's trying to say that sexism is a fundamental aspect of superheroes as a genre, but this seems akin to an essentialist argument (eg, women are essentially caring, domestic creatures while men, evolutionarily designed for hunting, are better suited to hold positions of authority). I mean, Christ, these are genres written by humans, not the inexorable laws of physics. If we can't alter the parameters of something as artificial as "genre," what the hell is the point of human existence?
*I think Ragnell is arguing that superhero comics are not inherently sexist because they didn't feature overtly sexist art in the Golden and Silver Ages. I don't quite buy this, since female characters were written in an incredibly sexist way during these decades. In fact, I would tend to argue that the 1980s were the closest thing to a period in which sexist writing was in decline and sexist art wasn't quite as pronounced. Bear in mind I'm speaking in relative terms; in an absolute sense, these comics were undoubtedly sexist in both art and writing.
-I had no idea Duella Dent was such an obscure character (also see here). Well, I mean of course she's an obscure character, but I mean obscure by internet standards. I mean, I've heard of her, and I'm not particularly well-versed in late Silver Age DC. I wanted to say she was in that Mike Allred issue of Solo, and I even dug it out to confirm it. But I guess I was wrong. On the bright side, I re-read that Teen Titans party story, which was really a lot of fun. Why can't we have more stories like that? You know, comics featuring the four color process. That's a retro flourish I can get behind!
-Funniest review I've read all week: Jeff Lester on City of Others.
-More Trader Joe's reviews:
Gnocci Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese: I think I don't know how to cook gnocci. I boiled some water in our electric kettle and poured it into a pot with the gnocci in it. Maybe I was supposed to put the boiling water in the pot and then add the gnocci. In any event, I ended up with mashed potatoes with little swirls of pesto. I thought the pesto was maybe a little bland, though it did have nuts of some kind in it (which is better than a lot of commercially prepared pestos I've had over the years).
Dried Mangos Coated in Chile Powder: Like a sucker, I bought another product listed in the Trader Joe's advertising circular. Unlike the horrendous pomegranate cranberry bran muffins, however, this was very, very good. The slices of mango basically look like home style wedge cut fries coated in something spicy. They're fairly firm, giving them a nice bite. The chile powder isn't overwhelming either. I do feel compelled to refute the Trader Joe's circular writing staff's recommendation of eating these things with a cold beer. I found that this robs them of their flavor in such a way that they taste more like hot cinnamon candy, which isn't nearly as good as chile powder-dusted dried mango slices.
Frozen Mushroom Risotto: I really should have known better, but I wanted to pick up something fairly quick for lunch. This was not the right choice. The risotto had more or less the right consistency, but was creamy in the way that oatmeal is creamy. It was also very, very salty. The mushrooms were not especially tasty either.