Roundup

  • Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes died over the weekend. It’s particularly creepy that both men appeared in a film called Soul Men with Samuel L. Jackson. It’s bad enough that these two men are gone. But in considering the old adage that these things happen in threes, let us hope that Mr. Jackson is somewhere safe drinking carrot juice.
  • Pretty Fakes quite wisely calls out J.G. Jones on his inept Final Crisis #3 cover. And, yes, let’s be clear on this. There is no sense of wonder on Supergirl’s face. Supergirl’s eyes roll upwards as if she is a mere bimbo who has just spent thirty minutes trying to compose a text message to send to Comet. Her left hand appears to be hiding a cell phone. Her right hand seems to be waiting for a tube of lipstick. Of course, J.G. Jones’s upcoming cover for Final Crisis #5 isn’t exactly respectful to Wonder Woman. Jones is more interested in depicting Wonder Woman’s star-strewn ass than her golden lasso (conveniently hidden behind her right thigh). The upshot is that J.G. Jones seems to think it’s 1958, not 2008, and has a major problem depicting women in a position of power. But then when Jones is busy joking with Newsarama about having his groceries “delivered by a really cute girl” with this “date” getting to sit and watch him draw, and fumbling about in another interview about how great it might be to hear a beautiful woman like Angelina Jolie beg over the phone, it isn’t much of a surprise to see his work reflecting his perceptive limitations. Why Feministing or Feministe aren’t all over this is a mystery to me.
  • Why is dwelling upon DC’s actions in the present so important? Well, consider how Jones’s indiscretions mirror troublesome sexism in the past. Jeff Trexler offers a summary of some fascinating correspondence between DC and Superman artist Jerry Siegel. Among some of the startling Golden Age sexism: “[W]hy it is necessary to shade Lois’ breasts and the underside of her tummy with vertical pen-lines we can’t understand. She looks pregnant. Murray suggests that you arrange for her to have an abortion or the baby and get it over with so that her figure can return to something a little more like the tasty dish she is supposed to be.” (via The Beat)
  • The Orwell Diaries are now being distributed in blog form. Sunday’s entry: “Drizzly. Dense mist in evening. Yellow moon.” Okay, so he’s just warming up.
  • The New York Review of Books has jumped into the podcasting game. The podcasts are very rusty at this point. Interviewer Sasha Weiss sounds like a humorless human resources manager incapable of loosening up. But maybe they’ll work out the kinks in this operation as the podcast continues.
  • One fifth of American television viewers are watching online. What’s more, the largest group of online television watchers were well-educated, affluent women between the ages of 25 and 44. I have a feeling that they also buy books. Given that demographic, perhaps the time has come for those who complain about the paucity of literary programming on television to begin setting up their hitching posts on the new media frontier. It also means that publicists of all stripes really need to start paying attention to where and how the audiences are shifting.
  • This year’s Hugo winners. With her eleventh Hugo Award win, Connie Willis has now beat out Harlan Ellison for multiple Hugo wins.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles George Lakoff.
  • Ira Glass on storytelling and taste. Once you get past Glass’s regrettable tendency to use “like” in every other sentence, he does have some insightful things to say about constant production and dissects an old clip produced when he was 28. (via Booklist)
  • Quiet Bubble offers the latest annual open letter to Woody Allen.
  • Playgirl couldn’t make it in today’s economy. Here’s a postmortem from an editor, which is more interesting than you might expect.
  • Jonathan Raban on Neil Entwistle.
  • A list of SF pornography. (via Locus)
  • Steve Wasserman and Ray Bradbury. This is an utterly bizarre interviewing dynamic that must be seen to be believed.
  • And it’s good to know that Kafka was as red-blooded as the rest of us. No word yet on whether any unusual stains have been located.
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5 Comments

  1. If you creatively parse out the syllables, Orwell’s prosaic entry comes out as haiku:

    Driz-zil-y
    Dense fog in ev’ning
    Yellow moon

  2. Thanks for the info on the Final Crisis #3 cover and the unfortunate commentary on Lois Lane’s rendering.

    Are you familiar with Women in Refrigerators? http://www.unheardtaunts.com/wir/

    WiR is from Gail Simone, who chronicles the unusually creepy fates of female characters in comics. “These are superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator.”

  3. Thanks for the bit about the Final Crisis #3 cover and the unfortunate commentary on Lois Lane’s body.

    Are you familiar with Women in Refrigerators? http://www.unheardtaunts.com/wir/

    It’s a website from Gail Simone that chronicles the unusually grisly fates of female characters in comics. It’s drawn interesting responses from professionals and fans in the field. It’s a little out-of-date now, but still intriguing.

  4. I object to the idea that the cover is “disrespectful.”
    …as if sexuality and respect are irreconcilable.

    Regardless of how some people feel, a woman in such a stance is not worthy of disrespect. He did not depict her with disrespect. That feeling is a projection of disrespect from those who with contempt for public, female form. William Marston created her to be alluring, regal, loving…but powerful.

    Today’s audiences seem so invested in her regality that they forget she’s an attractive human being (with a sex drive just like the rest of us).
    There are enough distracting, unrealistic, ridiculous renderings of Wonder Woman out there we can talk about. This is not one of them.

    She’s not stripping, licking her fingers, or rubbing herself.
    She is standing straight with a her hand on her hip/lasso with her appropriately statuesque figure on display. Nothing more.

  5. Along with the unreleased Wonder Woman cover to FINAL CRISIS #5, I also think the cover to FINAL CRISIS #3 was just fine.

    From the blog entry you cited…
    “Yeah, the problem is, she doesn’t look like a person trying to figure it out, she looks like a terrified moron, an out-of-her-depth female, cowering in fear.

    Listen, sure, she’s young; but she can fly, she’s invulnerable to harm, and she can melt things when she looks at them. “Oh golly gee, I am so worried” is not a response you would see on a person who can do that. You’re not going to see it on the face of Superman, and he has the same powers.”

    Why SHOULDN’T Supergirl be depicted as afraid, out of her depth, and unknowing? She’s a YOUNG superheroine facing insurmountable odds. Her level of powers don’t protect her doubting herself.

    Let’s take an example from the “Brainiac” storyline around the same time:
    Supergirl (Kara): I can’t do it.
    Superman (Kal): Yes, you can.
    Kara: I’m not fast enough.
    Kal: Yes you are.
    Kara: I’m scared.
    Kal: It’s OKAY to be scared.
    With that realization, her face reflects her new found sense of determination.
    She then flies off to save the world… Or something.

    There’s nothing wrong the J.G. Jones covers.

    I’d also like to ask: what do GOOD female covers look like? As a thought experiment, come up with a reason why every superhero cover you come across COULD potentially be sexist. No matter what, one would be able to find something and someone out there is conditioned/predisposed to interpreting it that way.

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