Not Being a Dick: A links round-up

Since the theme of today is Not Being a Dick, this is your annual reminder that there are very few April Fool’s Day jokes that are actually funny (though Social Sister is in the midst of perpetrating one now), so you should probably just not do them at all.

How to not be a dick to women who write comics criticism. (Good news: It ain’t even that hard.)

Yes, Lovecraft was a product of his times. That doesn’t mean we have to be okay with his racism.

A thoughtful response to the recent “I don’t want to be Black Spiderman” issue of the Miles Morales Spiderman comic (by Brian Michael Bendis, a white dude).

I’ve seen a couple of pieces lately arguing that Hamilton uncritically props up the American dream (as in opposition to, one of them really weirdly argued, Ta-Nehisi Coates? it was a strange article), and I think this NK Jemisin post about fantasy in Hamilton does a good job of explaining why that claim is kinda beside the point.

BUT WHAT WILL YOUR MOTHER SAY? The questions women (but not men) who write about sex get asked.

On JK Rowling and appropriation of Native American cultures.

Neila Orr on the myth of upward mobility. For best results, pair this with Gene Demby’s piece about the Republican party turning on its core voters.

Charlie Jane Anders sums up the storytelling lessons she learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And finally, because we live in a world run by a benevolent God, Anne Helen Peterson wrote a piece about Jennifer Garner’s transformation from sexy spy to ultimate soccer mom. Then, as we were basking in the glow of that, she wrote another piece about Sad Affleck. They’re both fire.

Have a fantastic weekend!!

  • Ana @ things mean a lot

    “I’ve seen a couple of pieces lately arguing that Hamilton uncritically props up the American dream”. Really? I think I’m glad I missed them. I agree with Jemisin that it’s besides the point, but also, one of my favourite things about Hamilton is that it examines it – and also the concept of a life well lived. There’s a plurality of approaches and answers in there, and they’re allowed to co-exist. HAMILTON. SO GOOD.

    • Yes! And it made some non-terrible points (like that Hamilton’s story is a narrative about how if immigrants work real real hard they’ll be successful), but I also just fundamentally disagree that it’s uncritical about it. ANYWAY. HAMILTON.

  • I agree with the article you linked that the whole “product of his times” argument is pretty much total b.s. Just like Jefferson and slavery: there was also, at the very same time, Hamilton (to reference Ana here) and there was John Adams and John Laurens and so on. I hate that argument used to excuse execrable behavior, & appreciate the link to an article expressing that thought!

    • Yes! It just comes up all the time, and I think a better thing to say — I am going to try this and see how I feel about it! — is that it was easier to be racist back then, and harder not to be. Because I think that’s true. I’m guessing when a century-on generation looks back at MY generation, they will be appalled at our treatment of the environment; so I try to think about it in that context. When society makes it easy for me to be environmentally friendly, I do it (I reduce-reuse-recycle, and I don’t leave the faucet on while I’m brushing my teeth), but it’s not like I’m out there crusading for an end to carbon emissions, you know? So if the next generation looks back at this blog (ha ha WordPress will be long dead) and sees me saying “I care, but not enough to work really hard at it” and judges me the way I judge Hamilton’s rather half-assed abolitionism (at which he still worked far harder than I am working at fixing the environment!), then that is probably fair of them to do.

      SO: All of that very long remark to say, it’s not an excuse. People in the olden days knew slavery was wrong exactly the way we know that destroying the environment was wrong. They had all the information they needed. If they kept doing it, because it was easy and profitable to keep doing it, and hard and costly to stop, then that’s a moral decision they made and I get to be pissed off about it if I want.

      • I don’t know if we should blame ourselves so much for being half-assed. I think for us, there is a genuine question of how efficacious our individual, underfunded efforts could ever be. Jefferson, by contrast, to take one example, could have been extremely efficacious – indeed, there was hardly anyone as influential in his time. And I’ve always given Washington credit for at least (a) feeling guilty and (b) not raping any young slave girls, but maybe that’s praising with faint damns (if I could coin a reverse phrase).

  • Great linkup! I really enjoy Jemisin’s posts, I need to look at the Hamilton one, the last one I read was about boykotting whitewashing publishers. Hahaha Peterson’s articles, I will save them for my lunch break 🙂

    • Yes, Jemisin has a ton of interesting things to say — as a social media presence as well as an author! (Which reminds me I am still behind on her books and I need to catch myself up.)

  • Well, this could take a while!

  • Nice link up! I love the But What Would Your Mother say article (and yes I know that’s not the title, but I like it better than the actual title).

  • Those Garner/Affleck pieces were so great — kind of a fun revisit to late 90s/early 2000s Hollywood and the rise of the combined names trend.

    • Yeah, totally! And I love reading Anne Helen Peterson pretty much always — she has such smart, insightful takes on the way we build narratives about movie stars. Love it.

  • Buffy!!! Can I just say how much I miss that show? The author of that article is 100% correct that there has never been another show like it since it finished its run.

    Did you see that there are people complaining that Hamilton is racist because it does not want white people to audition? Seriously? I want to scream at people to stop messing with my A. Ham!

  • I hate April Fool’s Day, I’d rather name it I-feel-insecure-and-know-your-vulnerabilities-so-am-going-to-humiliate-you-and-then-call-it-funny Day.

    Another top-notch selection of links Jenny.

  • Stefanie@SoManyBooks

    I have yet to encounter a funny April Fool’s joke either. Thank goodness I don;t know anyone who thinks they can pull one off!