When speaking about women’s accomplishments, Ann Richards said women could easily perform given the chance: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” The same can be said for Princess Leia, who did everything that Luke did. She just did it backwards and wearing an uncomfortable chainmail bikini after having been sexually assaulted by Jabba the Hutt. Think about that when you think about who counts as the heroes of Star Wars. Think about how long it took for Star Wars to tell the heroine’s quest. What does it mean for people to petitionRead More →

Back in 2010, Prince chided Beyonce for her lack of musical knowledge, but was impressed that she understood something about Mixolydian scales and Egyptian styles, WTF. Basically he thought she was quite talented and gifted, but her longevity and survival depended on learning a lot more. I’m not much of a Beyonce fan, and had no interest in Lemonade. The brouhaha over “Formation” is incredibly complex, but not enough to tempt me to listen or buy the album. Visually, the video is fascinating and brilliant, transgressive and offensive. The general invisibility of trans artist Big Freedia, the politics of colorism and authenticity in the deepRead More →

In a mandatory certification class, I was assigned to explore one of the generations other than my own, and then discuss how what I learned will impact my teaching. The assignment is well designed and I intend to steal it, but given my  immersion in pop culture studies and interest in the generational divide, I didn’t learn much new about generational differences. Since the topic is relevant to the blog, I’m reposting what I wrote:   Talkin’ bout my generation, sorta (sorry, not sorry)   I am answering the assignment differently. Because Gen-X special snowflake syndrome. I’m quite familiar with generational differences, so I didn’tRead More →

This picture of flesh colored crayons is George Takei’s Facebook meme a few days ago, and it’s a fitting one in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. My first thought in response to the image: “Because only Nixon could go to China.” There are lots of inferential leaps from crayons to Nixon and China, but it’s all about Star Trek’s ambiguous multiculturalism. On the one hand, the message here can be read as a colorblind attitude toward racism and assimilation. On the other, it can be read as something rather radical, and in that regard, George Takei is an excellent spokesperson for the message.Read More →

D&D Next is more newbie friendly than previous editions of D&D. This means more players will be joining the ranks! Yippie! For new players, adventuring and dungeon crawling can be daunting. No amount of tips or warnings can help. The only thing that truly guides you is the Nike way: Just do it. Nonetheless, principles can advise. This list of “25 Principles of Successful Adventuring” has been around for ages. Unfortunately, the original link seems to have fallen off the face of the interwebz. But first, the list has two shameless missing rules: 1. Gary Gygax’s “Rule of Right”: Always turn right at a T-intersection.Read More →

Many new players are joining the ranks of D&D with the release of D&D Next. The latest iteration of D&D emphasizes roleplaying and character development more heavily than previous editions. The questionnaire below is helpful for writing character backgrounds. It’s been around for maybe twenty years. The original link seems to have disappeared, but here are the questions: ———————————————————————————————————- Character Background Questionnaire The following questionnaire is being provided to help players develop and organize background information for their characters. You do not need to answer all of these questions, but the more of them that you can, the more clear the character will be inRead More →

Emma Watson is the new UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women. She gave a powerful speech about the “F-word” and women’s issues to launch the HeForShe campaign. The Daily Mail covered her hair. Leonardo DiCaprio is the UN Messenger of Peace. The Daily Mail did not mention his manbun or attire. Compare the coverage for yourself: Her brown locks were swept into a centre-parting and she kept her make-up understated and natural. Completing the look she added a metallic belt and conservative black pumps.   And then this: the passionate environmentalist and “the world body’s new voice for climate advocacy.”     Note: I might getRead More →