Carrie Fisher’s Dog Perked up Every Time He Saw Her on Screen—Me Too Gary

Carrie Fisher & Garry

Carrie Fisher’s loss is something we are still processing, as people who knew her through her writing, her acting, and her wit. So to those who knew her best, there is no doubt the pain of her loss is still palpable.

Gary, a French bulldog, was Fisher’s constant companion before she passed. Anyone who went to photo-ops or book signings with Fisher saw him there, and I can speak from personal experience that he was the cutest and sweetest guy. Apparently, he was so well loved that he became a space creature in the latest film.

 

Gary now lives with Fisher’s former personal assistant, Corby McCoin, where he, like the rests of us, still thinks fondly of our beloved space princess/general.

How many times did you cry during The Last Jedi when thinking about Carrie Fisher?

Giphy of Carrie Fisher as Leia saying, "May the Force be with you."

(via Huffington Post, image: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

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Things We Saw Today: “Youthquake” Is Apparently the Word of the Year – … what?

I thought I was pretty in the know but I have honestly never heard of this word before today nor seen it printed.

According to CBS, Oxford Dictionaries settled on “youthquake” as 2017’s big word, which is meant to align with the year’s general mood. They define “youthquake” as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.” (Waiting for the thinkpiece on how Millenials have killed the traditional meaning of the word earthquake.)

I mean … cool? I like the idea behind “youthquake” even though I’ve never seen it before or think it particularly defines 2017 , especially when Oxford’s runners-up included “broflake – a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his views- and kompromat, a Russian term for compromising information collected for political leverage.”

Quite frankly, I do believe this is more of the year of the broflake kompromat, but you do you, Oxford.

(via CBS, image: Shutterstock)

  • Americans can’t figure out how to stop mass shootings (gun control and regulation), so instead there’s a burgeoning industry of “bulletproof clothing.” Yup. (via Racked)
  • LoTR director Peter Jackson alleges that Harvey Weinstein essentially blackballed Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino after leading a smear campaign against the actresses. (via Stuff.co.nz)
  • I have to draw some moments from this bot-written Harry Potter chapter. #loudslowsoftbird https://t.co/YdKLyJd64o pic.twitter.com/3Xywuaa5uQ

    — Megan Nicole Dong (@sketchshark) December 14, 2017

  • Do you love the vulptex, The Last Jedi‘s crystal fox species on Crait? Me too. The amount of work that went into making them is mind-boggling. (via StarWars.com)
  • The top of a Christmas tree at Disney. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/W6njphgJ9x— Amilyn Ratcliffe (@amy_geek) December 15, 2017

What have you spied with your little eyes this fine Friday, friends?

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Can We Please Believe Dylan Farrow About Woody Allen Now? – #BelieveAllWomen

Woody Allen Cannes

Today, Dylan Farrow took to Twitter to call out not just Woody Allen, but those who continue to support him. Farrow is Woody Allen’s adopted daughter with Mia Farrow, and in 2014, she took to the New York Times and wrote an open letter detailing events of child abuse and sexual molestation that she said Allen committed against her.

…when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

Despite this, Woody Allen has remained a figure that people clamor to work with and make excuses for. Kate Winslet has been especially messy during her press tour for Wonder Wheel, saying that Woody Allen is “like a woman,” and that the issue is too complicated for her to discuss.

All this is what makes Farrow’s tweets so brave. When she told her story, it was not greeted with the great support we have more recently been trying to give to women who come forward. She’s already been told her account is dubious and had major celebrities continue to back her alleged rapist, and that is painful. I hope that she will one day get some justice, and since the statue of limitations has passed, it’s up to the court of public opinion.

So read Dylan’s tweets, and hold Allen accountable, and hold the people who work with him knowing these things accountable.

(image: Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com )

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What Would It Actually Feel Like to Be Hit With a Lightsaber? – Spoiler: pretty bad.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be struck with a lightsaber, it turns out it’s way, way worse you probably ever imagined. Thanks to this video from the “Because Science” series with Kyle Hill, we now have far too many details on the disgusting effects this “elegant weapon” has on the human (or alien) body.

To start, a lightsaber does not cut like a sword. A sword cuts through its target, using force (not The Force) to move material–skin, bone, etc–out of the way. A lightsaber doesn’t do that. Instead, a lightsaber applies heat to the material in front of and around it. Nothing gets pushed out of the way, it vaporizes (turns from a liquid into a gas) or sublimates (solid -> gas).

That on its own is pretty gross to think about. But wait! It gets so much worse. Because that change in state comes with a change in volume, and as Hill explains, since that vaporization or sublimation is happening so quickly, “It acts like a blast wave.” A lightsaber death can be quick, and as soon as the weapon isn’t making contact, the wound it inflicts is cauterized. But every second spent in contact with a lightsaber would be agony, with steam rushing out of your body–specifically, out of the wound, since it has nowhere else to go–at literally explosive rates.

As if Han Solo’s death wasn’t tragic enough, Hill reminds us that he spent 15 seconds with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber inside him, longer than any other character we’ve seen. That’s long enough for half the water in his body to escape through his wound in a “steam explosion.”

Some “elegant weapon,” huh?

(via Nerdist, image: Lucas Film/Disney)

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Why People Want a Dark-Skinned Storm

storm collage

Along with Misty Knight, who appeared in comics the same year (1975), Storm (Ororo Munroe) is one of the first female black comic book superheroes. While the character has a messy history sometimes, as the result of mostly being written by white men throughout a majority of her existence, she is still, along with Black Panther, one of the most important black characters. Which is why her live-action counterparts have been some of the most hotly debated casting choices.

Halle Berry was cast as Storm in the first X-Men film and if you speak to any black person about that choice, even ones who didn’t care about comics, they will tell you it was because Halle was the black female celebrity at the time. She’d just come from winning a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and it catapulted her onto the national stage. So in 2000, she was the perfect choice for a mainstream studio. Angela Bassett was originally up for the role, but she declined, much to the chagrin of people everywhere (and this makes her casting in Black Panther extra delicious).

Storm in the X-Men films is basically a non-entity. She is boring, dull, and uninteresting, which isn’t the fault of Halle Berry—but Berry also didn’t bring anything to the role. So when it came out that they were going to be recasting Storm for Age of Apocolypse, people were excited to see Storm done again and done right.

the boondocks comics

For a lot of people, this meant having Storm be a darker-skinned black woman. As we discussed yesterday, calling out colorism in Hollywood, and the choices being made, doesn’t mean we are calling out or dismissing the black experiences of mixed-race or lighter-skinned black women. However, it means being aware that there are biases in place.

Halle Berry is a mixed-race woman (white mother/black father), and the actress chosen to take up the mantle of playing a younger Storm was 26-year-old Alexandra Shipp, who is also mixed-race (white mother/black father). While this made sense because Shipp was supposed to be playing a young version of Berry’s Storm in whatever weird time-warp sense this whole X-Men Universe is, people were disappointed.

While Storm’s complexion has changed over the years and depending on the artist, recent versions have made it clear that she is on the darker side complexion wise. Somewhere between Gabrielle Union and Lupita if you need a reference.

As Storm is one of the most powerful and most desirable women in the Marvel Universe (list of people crushing on Storm includes Wolverine, Magneto, Thor, Loki, and Doctor Doom), to have her be dark-skinned in a society that created phrases like “you’re pretty for a dark girl” would be unbelievably powerful .

Rutina Wesley Storm 2020

So now that Disney has control of Fox, people have already been thinking about ways to bring Storm and Thor together for much lightening play (please, please, please) and that led to a conflict between people on Twitter, and Shipp.

Now, I understand Shipp’s anger about being called out for being “racially ambiguous,” because she most certainly is not and neither is Halle, but the frustration isn’t directed at Shipp. It is directed a society that takes one of the few positive black female African characters, and lightens her constantly. Black comic book fans have been fighting to maintain Storm’s blackness for decades, and deserve to be recognized. We cannot pretend that there aren’t perceptional differences between African-Americans and black Africans—and that there isn’t a reason that a majority of the female black stars we have today are lighter-skinned or mixed-race women. Again, that isn’t the fault of the actresses, but if they dismiss all conversation around the issue as hate, then nothing can be done.

I recognize that Shipp is young, and an actress, and she is not going to stop her career, which is just now picking up, and turn down roles because of colorism. However, that doesn’t make the conversation about Storm stupid. It is not stupid to want one of the most important, most powerful, and most beloved black female characters to be dark-skinned. Especially when she is. Black Panther can’t be the only place where a range of blackness is shown in comic book movies.

(image: Fox)

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This Magical Box of Wonder Woman Swag Is the Coolest

A week ago I got to visit the office of CultureFly, a company that creates merch for die-hard fans. I made off with their curated Wonder Woman box, and I am here to tell you of its glory.

CultureFly has a subscription box service that’s organized by fandom or dedicated interest—at the moment there’re titles like Game of ThronesSupernaturalPusheen the Cat, and World’s Finest (the DC Comics “mystery box”). The boxes arrive four times a year, and the company told me that they try and up the ante with every subsequent box. (I got to peek into the DC box that’s arriving after Wonder Woman, and let’s just say I tried to take it with me and was gently but firmly rebuffed.) You can buy a single box, or subscribe for a year of presents for yourself or someone you really, really love. (Do you want to be friends?)

There are two things I liked about CultureFly’s merch right off the bat. First off, the quality is high, which I have to say is pretty rare in my experience of box subscriptions and some of the other toys and clothes that we get sent here at the office. Secondly, everything is designed and sold in-house, so you can’t get it anywhere else, and it’s clearly made by nerds like us who are creating stuff that they would actually want to have and use themselves. I met their design team, and they almost have as many action figures and geeky toys on their desk as I do.

I’m only allowed to show you all two of the items from the Wonder Woman box, because the boxes’ content is meant to be kept a secret so that each box is exciting to open. (Apparently some of the CultureFly subscribers are serious about avoiding spoilers.) Behold my new office cup, which looks like it’s comprised of the coils of Diana’s lasso and is really the only way to take your coffee in the morning.

The second is this collection of retro Wonder Woman comics covers turned into postcards, which I’m thinking about using in lieu of holiday cards. Imagine receiving Wonder Woman roping a dinosaur in the mail instead of a snowman wearing a hat. There’s really no competition here.

I wish I could tell you about the other Wonder Woman things, but I am sworn to secrecy. What’s cool is that a lot of the stuff in the box is actually useful and usable. I have shelves and shelves of figurines and collectibles, and have (maybe?) promised that I won’t bring any more home for a while, but I can sneak a lot of the Wonder Woman items into rotation unnoticed.

The CultureFly folks let me have a Wonder Woman box because I told them how I feel about Diana, but my coworker snagged a Game of Thrones box and the whole office keeps asking when he’s going to open it: “Christmas!” he insists. That’s another thing that’s cool about the boxes. Opening them is an Event because you have no idea what’s inside, and there’s more than enough varied merch to turn some of the things into gifts for others.

My hope is that they’ll keep adding more and more fandoms going forward. What’s a fandom or character that you’d want to see get a box all their own? I’m currently having a love affair with Loki, but I’m also fresh from Star Wars and I’ve been thinking a lot about the Resistance all week. Once you see the movie, you might guess at some of the swag I’m dreaming about, so come back here and talk to me about space jewelry soon.

(via CultureFly, images: The Mary Sue)

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Things We Saw Today: Praise Be Whoever’s Putting Our Rejection Hotline Number on Bathroom Walls

It’s been a while since we talked about the Mary Sue Rejection Hotline, so it’s extra exciting to see it popping up in the wild. And by wild, we mean public restrooms. Thanks to whoever wrote this on a bathroom wall, and not-especially-sorry to the dude who found it and tried to get in touch.

Via the TMS Rejection Hotline

As a reminder, here’s the auto-reply message that’s sent out when that number is called or texted:

  • Wondering how you can support black women in the wake of Doug Jones’ election? Here are more than a hundred you can vote for or donate to in 2018. (AwesomelyLuvvie)
  • Hey, while we’re listing politicians, here are the members of Congress who supported the repeal of net neutrality, plus how much money they’ve accepted from the telecom industry. Get calling, people! (Motherboard)
  • The official poster for Ocean’s 8 is up! Summer 2018 feels cruelly far away. (Also, the original caption for this tweet was “Meet the new guys,” and that has been mysteriously removed. Scandal!)

  • There’s a lot to be concerned about around giant conglomerate mergers like this Disney/Fox buyout, but also, clearly, a lot to celebrate. Namely:

What did you all see out there, princesses-turned-generals?

(image: Shuttestock)

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Rosa Diaz: The Bisexual Avenger

Rosa Diaz

Somedays I’m really jealous of the youth for getting to have the representation that I did not get to have as a youth. I wasn’t one of the baby-gays who grew up with Buffy: The Vampire Slayer as my access point to queerness. For me, I first experience bisexuality with Maureen from RENT (a messy start) and while I eventually got bisexual characters outside of manga like Bo Dennis, Korra and Asami, and Needs, there is still a craving in my heart for more diversity and representation. Which I have recently gotten in the form of Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, aka the most progressive show on television.

In episode “99” of the show Rosa Diaz, played by actress bisexual Stephanie Beatriz, was revealed to be bisexual to the audience. On “Game Night” Rosa’s story continued with her coming out to the rest of the team (she told Boyle in “99”) and her family.

When she tells her team, she hilariously fields “one minute and zero seconds” for questions on the topic, in which Amy asks “How long have you known?” Rosa responds, “since seventh grade,” with her duel hotness alert for both Zack Morris and Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell. Good choices Rosa.  Holt throws in my favorite line of the episode when he says “I must say, this is going considerably better than when I came out to my colleagues. They were not, as the kids say, awake.” We all have to protect Captain Raymond Holt at all costs.

http://thelovelylights.tumblr.com/post/168513453787/rosa-coming-out-people-being-proud-of-her

After she talks to Jake to make sure that she maintained maximum coolness in spite of this moment of feeling, which Jake insists she did. He then, of course, brings up her parents and how they took the news. Rosa hasn’t told them.

Now, when it comes to coming out stories, they are always difficult to tell. But when it comes to coming out stories with POC it gets even more complicated. Black and Latinx parents are seen as hyper-homophobic in society. Which isn’t to say that they are free of homophobia, but there tends to be an imbalance of accepting non-white parents of LGBTQ characters in comparison to accepting white parents. Just look at Supergirl, which I think really sort of pooped-the-bed when it came to dealing with Maggie’s relationship with her father. While Maggie’s actress is not Latinx (an issue all of its own), the character is. And when she is arguing with her father about her being gay, it feels so…forced. Not because that conflict doesn’t exist, but because he sees his situation as disrespect to how hard he worked to make life easier for his daughter.

Compare that to Master of None‘s episode “Thanksgiving” written by Lena Waithe, a black lesbian, who was writing about her experience coming out to her mother. The issue is more nuanced and it’s not just about sexuality, but also what kind of woman Denise would bring home. There is the feeling that she’s failed, the worry that her child’s life would be harder because Denise is a black woman. Those are the nuances of writing a coming out story for POC.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, isn’t a drama in that sense and you never go into it feeling like Rosa will lose the love of her parents, but it definitely hits all the heavy conversation points of a coming out story. Rosa’s multiple interactions with her parents throughout the episode as she decided to come out are, as Autostraddle put it “bisexual coming out bingo.” And I mean that in the best way possible. It is, literally, the questions you are asked all the time because bisexuality is treated like this in-between space where you “experiment” but will eventually cross into either straight or gay.

http://rvsadiaz.tumblr.com/post/168511581951/rosa-diaz-ending-the-typical-biphobic-comments-i

When Rosa declares that she knows who she is, it is a powerful moment because it is a proclamation for not just Rosa, but all bisexual men and women who were told they did not exist. It is a rejection that being bisexual is about the partner you have at the moment rather than who you are as a person. Also awesome, in the following episode Rosa is allowed to just be Rosa. She is still the same bad-ass character we know and love, just canonically bisexual.

(via Autostraddle, image: FOX, edited by author)

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Roy Moore Says “The Battle Rages On,” Which Is Fine, Cause It Means We Can Keep Dunking on Him

Despite losing by WAY more than a recount-worthy margin, alleged child molester and definitive loser in life and elections, Roy Moore has refused to concede the Alabama Senate seat to Doug Jones. Instead, he’s framing his loss as a religious crusade (condemning “abortion, sodomy and materialism,” the latter of which is especially ironic for someone who reportedly spent so much time hanging out in malls) and declaring “the battle rages on.”

All of this is just an unending sigh. Moore isn’t going to weasel his way into the Senate. He’s just being a narcissistic dick. Which is fine, I guess, because then we get the option of ignoring him or mercilessly mocking him. We no longer have to actually fear him.

Because her show is weekly, Samantha Bee is now responding to the election. And because she’s Samantha Bee, her commentary is A+++++++.

Post-election, we get to dunk not just on Roy Moore, but on everyone who thought the women who spoke out against him were lying. Don’t get me wrong, it is still incredibly upsetting to hear people say they think women would lie for money. (What money, by the way? Who is fronting that payroll?) But at least we can watch them and know they are not just terrible, but terrible losers.

Also, just in case you somehow missed it, please, please, please, at the very least, watch from the 4:20 mark to see Roy Moore’s spokesman power down and reboot while he learns, on air, that specifically Christian values aren’t required for elected officials.

You know what? If Roy Moore’s refusal to concede gets us more moments like that, I’m fine with it.

(image: YouTube)

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Tavis Smiley Suspended From PBS for Alleged Workplace Sexual Misconduct

Tavis Smiley

Yesterday, Variety put out an exclusive statement about the suspension of Tavis Smiley’s program from PBS over alleged sexual misconduct.

 “Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the public broadcaster said. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”

According to the information shared to Variety, PBS hired a lawyer named Sarah Taylor Wirtz, from the firm MSK, to look into Smiley’s history after hearing allegations of misconduct from staffers. MSK looked into the claims by interviewing 10 witnesses “of different races and employment levels in Smiley’s organization, most of them former staffers.” What they found is that Smiley has a history of dating “subordinates” at his job.

Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley. In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment. Several expressed concerns about retaliation.

Apparently, Smiley was not aware that anything was going on, and according to the statement he released via Facebook, he found out about his suspension and the allegations against him from Variety. Smiley also said: “I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years,” and that “If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us.”

This kind of information about Smiley isn’t entirely new, as Jacques Hyzagi, former senior producer on The Tavis Smiley Show, wrote in the Observer back in February that Smiley’s whole persona was a mask for Tavis’ misogyny that was “always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners in line with the most duplicitous guys who always open doors, buy flowers and carry luggage until their girlfriends end up scrambling for some hotline 800 number.” In the article, Hyzagi brings up a woman named “Blanca,” who Smiley allegedly brought with him as a “fuck buddy,” and who he calls “stupid.” He apparently also asked Hyzagi to claim Blanca was his girlfriend if anyone were to bring her up.

While the allegations against Smiley are new and still being processed by both him and the people working at PBS, it serves as a reminder to men in power: Once you decide to start dating people who work for you, there is a power imbalance that never goes away. You are not just their “lover” or “fuck buddy” or whatever you’d like it to be in your mind. You are the person who has the potential power to make or break their career.

Men in power need to get better at understanding that, and if it’s too hard of a concept for them to deal with, then it may be time to start dating outside of the office exclusively. Respect for women also means respecting their ability to not be afraid at work.

(via Variety, image: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com)

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