Posted by Dr.

Another Associated Geekery episode!

We did another episode of the show, we’ve done a few actually and I’m just needing to remember to post them here more often, join us wont you?

It’s not a Team V Podcast, but it’s like its sibling.

This is Doc of Team V, who has been reminded by Carrie that if I have a podcast that’s doing similar discussion as to what we have here, why don’t I promote it here? In fact, Carrie is in an episode (and hopefully more!) so you should check out Associated Geekery. It’s myself, always with Ryan, sometimes Mac, occasionally Ben, and many others (hopefully) talking about a week of nerd news. We tend to find the articles that make us mad so we can vent them out on the podcast with what’s wrong. So if you want a group of people or as Ben put it once “3 white people and a white sympathizer” listen to us!

We’re up to episode 6 and they are about an hour long each so it’s not that much to catch up with, I’ll start posting them up here so you can catch them. We’re also available on iTunes.

http://www.associatedgeekery.com/

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DC Announces Alan Scott Has Been A “Major Character” The Whole Time

Comics publisher DC had said several weeks ago that it was going to reveal one of its major characters as gay. They then announced it was Alan Scott. I’m a fan of Alan Scott, he’s my favorite Green Lantern, with that love of a character comes the knowledge that he is not a major character. Even amongst many Green Lantern fans I know, he is a “Who?” when they ask me who my favorite Lantern is. In general, I can’t say “Alan Scott is one of my favorite characters” without having to explain who he is. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a major character to me. They also say he’s iconic, with which I say, Green Lantern is iconic; Alan Scott isn’t.

Again, this is coming from a super-fan of the character, there is a difference between a “major character is now gay” and “a character is now gay and we’re now making him a major character”. I remember the rumors buzzing around with people thinking it would be one of the Robins, Tim Drake being the common idea. Robin and Tim Drake are major characters, even if Tim Drake is now Red Robin, most people who know comics vaguely can admit that he’s still a major character. Alan Scott was in no one’s running for it, even Alan Scott fans, because we know he isn’t a major character.

Alan Scott is on so few people’s radars that he’s only become a major character to the general audience due to this change. I’m alright with Alan being gay now, what I’m not for is the erasing of his kids, especially of his son, Obsidian. You see, Obsidian is/was gay and now no longer exists due to de-aging Alan Scott. DC has literally replaced one gay character with another. Worse, they totally wiped the slate of Obsidian, it’s worse than if they’d killed him, at least there he’d still have had an effect on his father, sister and friends; now he’s nothing and we only have this trade off.

This isn’t progress, this feels like they are filling a quota and that is not right. You make a character gay, alright cool but why did you have to get rid of another? Is Obsidian ever going to come back and will he still be gay or are there too many gay people for you now? I highly doubt it was your intention to come off this way DC, you can’t be that stupid and bigoted, but it can sure as hell be read that way when you hear “DC is making one character gay and got rid of another gay character by doing so”. That’s what happened, and it sounds vile when you see it put in the most clear cut way.

I was originally just going to write how DC had gotten everyone’s hopes up by saying a major character was going to be announced as gay and how they pulled the rug out from under us by making it be a minor, if beloved by what fans he has, character. That was a sneaky thing to do, but then to also state they had to get rid of his children, one being gay himself, is just terrible. It reads more as a publicity stunt than Marvel marrying Northstar. I say this since this comes from a company that thought Spider-Man being married was boring; so what’s that going to say about Northstar who isn’t a big league character like Spidey?

The big two publishers want to be seen as progressive but not doing any real work at attaining progression. They just want people to look at the surface and hope that’s good enough. Except they expect people to stick around and read what’s inside so they can get more of their money, but then the audience realizes what they are getting is half-hearted.

Fan Artists, Stop All Your Whitewashing. You Are Making The Rest of Us Look Bad

The Legend of Korra premiered Saturday and naturally the fans are all abuzz with fan art and other ways to celebrate the show. A recent Tumblr blog by Where’s The Beef? did a great job talking about a problem that is prevalent in the fanbase, and other fandoms that have characters of color: whitewashing.

Whitewashing — or racebending as it’s referred to in the Avatar fandom — is taking characters who are non-white, and making them lighter-skinned or just flat-out Caucasian. This was seen in the movie version of Avatar: The Last Airbender with a predominantly white cast playing Asian characters.

When you get your own slang term for whitewashing because of a terrible movie but it sticks around for fan art, you’re being a bad fandom. There are people out there who consider themselves huge fans and dedicate their time and energy in artwork, only to think (whether knowingly or not) “This character is just too dark-skinned for my tastes, better lighten them up”. This is a problem and it helps explain why we got a casting call looking for white actors for Asian characters.

As WTB brings up the importance of role models and the effect such figures have on everyone, especially children in regards to self-worth. He talks about how there are people out there who already hate the color of their own skin, how they don’t feel good enough when compared to white or lighter-skinned people. How it’s important that the media positively portrays more characters of color, so children have one less system against them in regards to their skin. Whitewashing a character reinforces this and it should make everyone furious.

WTB mentions how it could very well be that the artists of such whitewashed fan art don’t even realize how racist their actions are, but he makes it clear: unintentional racism is still racism. He goes on to explain the reciprocated feelings between society and the media:

And that’s the problem here: unconscious racism IS STILL RACISM. What lesson do you think Hollywood is taking away from this whole debacle? The sad truth of the matter is that the reason so many racial stereotypes exist in Hollywood is that part of appealing to a wide audience means appealing to their prejudices, whether those prejudices are conscious or not. They’ve learned that if they don’t cater to all our preconceived notions, their movies won’t make money.

He’s right, and I can’t say it any better than he already did, so go read what he said. Pass it around, reblog it, post it where you can. His message is right and it should be widely known.

Help Tracy Hurley’s Kickstarter To Get More Fantasy Art Starring People of Color and Women!

Tracy Hurley has a Kickstarter up that wants to get more fantasy art out into the world. The best part is that she wants it to be filled with people of all colors and genders!

From Tracy:

Prismatic Art Collection is a free library of art representing heroes of all backgrounds. In geek culture, there are plenty of Lukes, but not enough Landos or Leias. We want to change that.

That’s so awesome everyone, like really awesome. It’s the kind of awesome that makes me overlook that we live in a world where that kind of thing needs to be deemed awesome and not just a standard practice.

So far they have roughly half the money they need for their intended goal and they still have a little over a month to reach it. If they reach it they’ll have art work available for any enterprising role-playing game maker to use for their game. This can happen folks, we can have cool, diverse fantasy art work and have it appear in games or just anywhere we want it to be.

The project doesn’t just stop there, if they can get even more cash they can add more pieces with different classes and fantasy races as well. If you are a fan of fantasy art, then why not go over and give a dollar?

Tracy is starting something cool and I hope others are inspired to do the same and we get more artwork that looks like it has characters from all over the world and not just Europe. This is a great idea to help show that the fans of fantasy art aren’t just white males, but are all over the map and go beyond men. I want to see some awesome magic people, help me out. Thanks Tracy.

Legend of Korra Premieres Early Online (Legally) and It Is The Greatest Thing

SPOILER ALERT: This whole post is filled with spoilers on The Legend of Korra, so if you don’t want anything ruined you best go on and get.

This past weekend the people at Korra Nation gave us the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra television series (which are sadly now gone since they were only up for the weekend only). This is the follow-up series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, a brilliant show on Nickelodeon for both kids and adults. Well I watched Korra and well…

Oh my god, this was such a good way to bring us in. The show had us get Korra’s personality the moment we saw her burst through a wall bending Earth, Water, and Fire saying “I’m the Avatar! You gotta deal with it!” You know this is a young woman who does not take crap from anybody.

Korra is a strong, stubborn, powerful person and she knows it. She is a 17-year-old who wants to experience the world but has so many responsibilities she feels tied down. She knows she has power but also is terrible at the spiritual aspects of her role in the world. She fights with her teacher but will go out and protect shopkeepers. Korra questions and defies authority but does try to follow the rules as best she can so she’s a great role model as much as she is fun to watch.

Every introduction of a character gives us plentiful information about them. Seeing Tenzin and family fly in (on a Sky Bison!) and we already receive a plethora of information.

Tenzin is a somewhat patient if tired man who has a handful for a family. His wife Pema is exhausted trying to raise three airbenders, with another child (possibly a bender as well) on the way. Jinora is the quiet eldest daughter who is smart enough to know when her father pleas for her to not be as difficult a teen as Korra, that she makes no promises. Ikki is the middle child and chatty as can be with an inquisitive nature to match. Finally there’s Meelo and… that boy aint right, and I love him for it, the kid is nuts. This is all stuff we get in the first few minutes of meeting them. That is some swift storytelling there, folks. Kitara shows up to tease long-time fans about Zuko’s mother, that is such a sick burn to the audience.

We get a new animal best friend to love in the Polar-Bear-Dog, Nana, this is a toy that will sell like mad since who wouldn’t want a bear-dog hybrid that you could ride around on? The music for this show is amazing as it was described as “if China had developed jazz music”. The animation is top notch with crazy amounts of detail given to the setting of Republic City and the fights, both bending and mundane.

Oh my sweet mercy, the fighting in this show. In the original show we had 4 martial arts represent the 4 kinds of bending, now that pro-bending (a competitive sport version of bending) is being introduced we are being shown a Mixed-Martial-Arts evolution to bending styles that give the world more depth and logic. It’s also a fictional sport I found myself actually interested in.

We also get two characters from this end with the brothers Mako, the moody loner firebender and Bo Lin, the wise cracking ladies man earthbender. There is trouble a brewing in Republic City with the Equalists forming with an Anti-Bender movement on the rise and with bending organized crime, it’s not too hard to see their points.

Okay, so now I’ve talked about what the show is but let me get to why this show is awesome. This was a long shot, pretty much everyone was expecting this to not live up to the monumentally high expectations. Yet it did, these characters we meet feel like real people. You have probably met Tenzin and his family (I’m pretty sure I was Meelo at that age), Korra is someone you’ve probably argued with and still wished to be friends with, Bo Lin has probably hit on you or a friend of yours. These characters are new yet instantly recognizable and lovable. You want to watch these people develop and carry on in this world, you want to watch them succeed and feel bad when they fail.

The world we once knew is altogether different in Republic City but it still feels familiar to us, we really have just moved forward in time. You want to explore the city, try the food, dance to the music, and buy stuff from the shops. YOU WANT TO WATCH AND PLAY PRO-BENDING AND THEN GET SAD THAT THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. The game looks so cool and I can’t believe they made a fictional sport enjoyable and still make sense.

The show has a great lead who happens to be female, a cast of characters that are a variety of ethnic (fictional with factual basis) backgrounds, and a strong sense of characters and story.

The Legend of Korra was wonderful and I cannot wait for more episodes to come our way. The show premieres April 14th on Nickelodeon.

Racist Hunger Games Fans Outraged That Black Character is Black

So on Monday, the Jezebel pointed out the Hunger Games Tweets tumblr which is a sad display of humanity and may make you feel new levels of rage. See the “problem” these fans tweet about in regards to the Hunger Games is that Rue is played by a black girl in the movie. Now for those of you who haven’t read the books, Rue is a young black girl as described by Suzanne Collins.

The problem here isn’t really the reading comprehension of a pile of racists (Racists don’t pay attention? WHO KNEW?) it’s that these racists lose empathy for the death of a character because they learned she was black. There are people who will openly and publicly admit that they don’t care as much about a black character. This is disgusting.

I want to thank Hunger Games Tweets for letting everyone get a look at the horrible people out there. Many of these racists have shut down their accounts or gone to private. This is one of those times I wish the internet had struck back and made a mess of things for these people. Shame isn’t enough.

Things like this Tom, The Dancing Bug comic show where we are in modern racism. We’re not anywhere near done with racism, you know who says racism is over? Racists. We have all sorts of horrible race related issues going on and people still find ways of adding them into forms of entertainment. This is where we are with racism, have a surplus that we can add it to anything.

So for all of you out there who can feel sad when a child dies, whether fictional or real, regardless of color or nationality, congratulations you have passed at least one test of proving you aren’t a racist. Fun Fact: While watching the Hunger Games film, I realized the teen audience IS the Capitol and they will likely never realize it, and that was the saddest moment of all.

 

DC What Are You Doing with These Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn Retcons?

DC Women Kicking Ass has an article that discuss the changes in Wonder Woman’s portrayal of the Amazons. This also reminds me that DC has a new origin story for Harley Quinn that came out on the 14th.

Let’s play a game shall we? Do you think either of these new stories are really all that positive of a change? If you answered with “No,” “Of course not,” or “It’s DC” then I’m sad to say you’re right!

The Amazons now trick men into sleeping with them so they can get pregnant, and afterwards they kill the men. Effectively, they’re human praying mantises. That’s not all though. They then trade away any male-born children for weapons from Hephaestus.

As DCWKA points out, while this may have connections to some historical groups (not necessarily the Amazons), it doesn’t mean that the magic-as-hell DC version of the Amazons need to be sexist cliches. I generally like what the new Wonder Woman comic is doing, but this was a misstep in in its re-imagining of the world of Wonder Woman. We have a generally great comic, but then we get this, and I’m just reminded that I can’t escape some of the crap in comics.

And Harley. Oh, Harley…

I have actively been avoiding the mess that is the new Harley Quinn since I saw her new outfit, which looked like a reject back up dancer. The new character has lost all the charm of what made Harley fun and replaced it with Sex (the capital s is important due to it being her defining mark. See the “clown car” example. … Actually, don’t do that. Ever). This is similar to how Starfire has been ramped up in the idea that Sex is her defining characteristic. You know, cause they’re women.

Originally, Harley was the Joker’s psychiatrist, and while talking with him she started to fall for him. As she continued to fall for the man, she herself began to take on her own madness. She would go on to join the Joker as both lover and partner in crime. Harley and Joker were constantly on-again-off-again in their very messed-up relationship.

Now, Harley’s dumped into the same chemical that made the Joker, by the Joker, and against her will.

So instead of the tragic story of a person who fell for the wrong guy and made all the wrong choices, we get someone who is forced into a life of crime by someone else. One of the reasons Harley was so fun is because she made her own decisions. She might be nuts, but she owns it. She is madness; hear her roar. Now we just have another villain made by another villain. This story has been done before, usually for short-lived villains who exist as just another victim. Harley isn’t a mad fool in love anymore, now she’s just a copy and paste of the Joker.

DC, I gotta ask: why change these things? Were people clamoring for new Amazon or Harley origins? Were the previous stories really that displeasing to the fans? I don’t think we had a problem before, but now we do. This is just more evidence for the “DC is in a race with Arizona for misogyny capital of the world” argument. DC has made me, a straight 26 year-old male (their supposed target demographic), turn away from one of his favorite characters. I have been avoiding Harley since they rebooted her. All news just gets shoved away, since it’s never good. The Amazon thing just seems like a need to make things gritty in a series that has been otherwise stellar.

Knock it off, DC. You just make me want to leave this behind, when your brilliant new look involves turning characters I like into cheap eye candy with even worse dialogue. Seriously, a clown car? Ugh.

 

The Escapist Talks Racism in Video Games, Not Once but Twice

So the Escapist has recently posted two articles about racism in gaming. The first, by Bob Chapman, talks about the racist origins of a popular setting in some adventure games: The Lost City. This trope comes from a time when people viewed ancient civilizations from places such as Africa as mysterious, because the white people at the time couldn’t believe that the black people of the past could ever be so advanced. So obviously many of these were civilizations were built by magical white people of the past. Like Atlantis.

I’m glad Chapman brings this up because if there’s one thing that sets me off is the idea of how aliens or magic creatures had to be the cause of ancient technology we didn’t think was available because we think that the people (mostly from non-white places) were too primitive.

Then we get the second article by Shamus Young, who brings up the lack of non-white male video game protagonists. I like his set up for it because he says while these things annoy him, it’s not what the article was about. The thing that bothered him was the video games industry’s response when people say their should be more diverse: “Gamers need to have a character they can relate to.” This is what gets him, and I agree.

This sort of statement is dumb as hell, and racist. Young says this pushes the blame of racism on the gaming audience, and that the blame still belongs to the industry. The part that gets me most is the “relate to” line. It’s dismissive of every non-white-male human out there, telling them to buck up and play a straight white man. Because everyone can relate to being a white man, right?

Video Game Dys4ia Helps Convey The Transition of One Person AND WHY AREN’T YOU PLAYING THIS??

So the Penny Arcade Report brought to my attention the Newgrounds video game Dys4ia by Anthropy. It’s a game she made to help convey her own personal feelings about her transitioning to female through hormone therapy. The game engages you by giving you only one chance in very difficult levels based off classic games such as Tetris to let you get just a glimmer of how Anthropy must have felt like.

She explains that the reason she wanted this story to be told in the form of a video game was so people could experience failure in a way that isn’t possible in other media. This game had me feeling so badly as I failed since I felt like I was becoming responsible for the depression, but then as the levels progressed and things started to change I felt like I was watching someone become the person they wanted to be right in front of my eyes. I recommend you play it if only to get to know one person’s experience.