[Editorial] Oh Yeah, It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day

written by Mike Fail, originally published on The Lemon Of Troy January 24, 2017. Reprinted with permission from the author.

For context, before I really go any further I just want to express my concern with people saying “You can always talk to me if you’re feeling rough” or whatever variation you see regularly. I don’t think a lot of folks I’ve encountered in recent years understand that just because you say that means it will happen and that I expect you to listen hypothetically. It’s just an important aspect of framing a relationship and the components that can go into it. The overall message is great: combat the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses, but it’s crucial that we’re emphasizing education as well.

Even if you mean well I probably don’t trust you and if I’m going to talk to you it’s likely because I have a pre-existing relationship with you that is established. I think expressing that, specifically is a big thing that’s missing. It’s really possible – and I am strictly speaking from my personal experiences here – that a part of the reason why friends have issues opening up on days like today or in general is the lack of established trust. Primarily around safe spaces. That also means that if you’re struggling or someone you know is struggling the last thing you want is someone prying and repeatedly giving you what seems to be canned responses.

When you do that it doesn’t always help. Again, from my own experiences I’ve been guilty of doing that before and I’ve had people do it to me. When people do it to me it actually makes me more anxious than before. I feel like there are MASSIVE opportunities available for folks to reach out for learning on how to be an effective listener and on this campaign specifically, teaching individuals who want to help how they can be supportive peers/family/friends. This means not giving advice, it just means listening. If a person is opening up it’s usually because they need to vent and it’s not always a situation where they want your advice/feedback. Just sit back, listen, be attentive to what they’re saying, and be supportive.

It’s just something to consider on a day like today and really every day moving forward. So friends, if you have friends you know are hurting just remember to be empathetic, sympathetic, and welcoming. Opening up feels like a burden to a lot of people and it can make conversations difficult. Sometimes just hanging out with someone who is struggling in absolute silence for hours is totally fine too.
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[Editorial] Representation Matters

written by Kate Spencer

Representation matters. I’m going to be saying that a lot, so this is to get you used to it.

Representation matters.

Imagine you’re a little kid with red hair and freckles. Maybe you get picked on in school for it, maybe you have to suffer through tons of ginger jokes, maybe you just feel different. Then one day you pick up a comic book for a little escapism and toward the end of the comic, the superhero removes their mask and you see they’re a redhead too. They’re like you. Maybe they have to put up with ginger jokes too, but they can also fly or shoot lasers or run at the speed of sound. You can’t do all of that, but you can read the adventures of someone who can and maybe see a few more things you have in common. Maybe you start applying some of the morals and lessons of the comic to your own life because you admire that superhero, and you feel like on some level you can be like them.

Because they’re like you.
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DCTV Wish List – Fall 2016

It’s almost time, friends! The next seasons of the CW Supershows are nearly upon us, and we’re all just as excited as you are to see where they go with them.

Without further ado, here’s the Failcrew’s wishlist for the upcoming seasons of DCTV:
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[Editorial] And Then the Heroes Fight

written by Kate Spencer

This year saw the release of two big superhero films where their primary selling point was a battle between beloved superheroes. Any comic book fan will tell you this is nothing new – heroes fight all the time. It’s an exhausted trope in the medium, so much so that “and then the heroes fight” has become a joke. When it’s done right, it can make for an interesting conflict between sympathetic characters while maintaining their heroic status. When it’s done poorly, one or both heroes have to be reduced to villain status and someone is going to need a retcon or a mindwipe to make them even remotely likable again.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, trying to let my thoughts and first impressions really settle on Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice before I did a proper comparison. I even considered watching X-Men: Apocalypse and doing a three-way comparison, but I decided against that for a few reasons. Adding X-Men would have been a bit too much and I’d be trying to justify it by saying that Storm, Psylocke, and Angel are some of Apocalypse’s horsemen. A lot of times Apocalypse brainwashes his horsemen – and I think a brainwashed hero fight is a different sort of story. Even if they aren’t brainwashed there’s still a clear “good” and “evil” side to the conflict. It’s not heroes having a disagreement that escalates into a fight, it’s heroes working for the bad guy for “reasons”. Civil War gives you heroes on opposing sides who are both and neither morally in the right, and BvS…well, it tries.

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[Editorial] From Hydra To Ghostbusters: The False Equivalences Of Fan Culture

written by @Ceilidhann, originally published on Bibliodaze May 31, 2016. Reprinted with permission from the author.

I don’t read the Captain America comics. Indeed, I’ve pretty much fallen off the Marvel wagon this past year or so due to general fatigue with the oversaturation of superheroes in pop culture. It doesn’t really do much for me these days, and the recent news that Captain America in the comics would be revealed as a stealth Hydra agent exemplified my exhaustion with the genre and a particularly insidious strain of storytelling. Others have spoken more passionately and eloquently about the nastiness of this trend and the way real and incredibly painful history is used to create cheap shock value, so I’ll direct you to those pieces.

My particular focus today is with a piece Devin Faraci wrote on the issue of fan entitlement on Birth Movies Death, which you can find here. For the record, I’ve never been a Faraci fan. I’ve found many of his arguments sloppy and the ways in which he attacks people who disagree with him to be sad at best and creepy at worst. This article, which posits a generally agreeable hypothesis regarding the toxicity that has begun to pervade that vaguely defined space known as “geek culture”, draws a staggeringly inaccurate and willfully blind false equivalence to the fan opposition to Hydra Captain America and the orchestrated misogynistic hate campaign currently faced by the new Ghostbusters film, of which I’ve previously written about here.

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[Editorial] Harmless Stuff

written by Dayna Abel

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses rape and sexual assault.

If you’ve read Made Of Fail’s reviews of Season 1 of The Shannara Chronicles, you’ll know that I passed the assignment to fellow reviewer Noel halfway through. The reason? The near-rape of Amberle, which happened again with torture thrown in to boot in the very next episode.

I reached out to both Terry Brooks and the showrunners for an explanation last February, and Terry answered my question in the latest “Ask Terry” column. Here’s my question:

“First of all, I want you to know that seeing Elfstones come to life on TV was truly a blessing for me. A lot of things I love today can be traced back to my first read of that novel. For the first four episodes, I was completely on board with all the changes made during the adaptation to television. However, what absolutely destroyed my faith in the series was Cephelo’s attempted rape of Amberle. There was no reason whatsoever to include sexual assault in the story. Shannara is not Game Of Thrones, and I love it for that.

What justification could you possibly have for allowing such an upsetting element into the adaptation? I have loved your work and respected you for 25 years. I hope you can see why this plot device was wrong to include, and I hope for an apology.”

And here’s Terry’s answer, unedited:

“Asking for an apolgy assumes it is my place to give one. It isn’t. Not every battle I fought did I win in the making of the series. At times i was overruled. This isn’t a one man show,. It is flim by committee. So at times I had to give way to the majority, and this was one. I thought it was pretty harmless stuff myself, and not the only place where an emphasis on sex went away from the books. All I can tell you is that the books are the books and the show is the show, and the two are not the same. We celebrate the differences as well as the similarities. Sorry you were so distressed, but you can continue to enjoy the books without worrying about sex. Mostly.”

Terry, no.

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[Editorial] Arrow and Unwanted Character Death

written by Kate Spencer

Let’s get the big spoiler and the impetus of this editorial out of the way first. Arrow has been teasing a major death since the beginning of its fourth season. On the April 6th episode, after a season of near-death experiences for several characters, the big death happened.

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[Editorial] Mississippi HB1523: Live and Let Live

Earlier this week Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed into law House Bill 1523 to “protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions…from discriminatory action…” He goes on to say that the law does not interfere with any rights afforded to any citizen under currently existing laws. You can read his full statement here.

I caught wind of this in the form of critics decrying it as legalized discrimination. Headlines described it as awful and articles suggested crazy-sounding potential scenarios like women being fired for wearing pants. I’m also aware of the echo chamber that our social feeds can form. I follow people who share similar views as myself, resulting in everyone reinforcing everyone else and giving the false impression my opinion is the overwhelming majority. So I sought out breakdowns of the bill, taking extra interest in it since it is my home state. I could see and agree with the critics’ point of view. I would normally just leave it at that, as an unfortunate truth that I would quietly do what I could to undo; maybe write a letter, vote for the people I’d rather have making decisions, etc.

Then I saw that supporters of the bill were using this hashtag: #MSLiveAndLetLive. And something in me broke.

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[Editorial] The Sexist Nonsense Of “Appropriating Nerd Culture”

written by @Ceilidhann, originally published on Bibliodaze March 13, 2016. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Cliff Bleszinski doesn’t like Olivia Munn, and he wants you to know that.

Munn, an actress who got her start on G4’s flagship geek focused programme Attack Of the Show, made some claims that she did all her own stunts in the latest X-Men movie. This wasn’t true but is hardly the crime of the century. Indeed, it’s a claim many actors make (the infamous example being Natalie Portman in Black Swan). However, Bleszinski used this moment as a launching pad for a rant against Munn and alleged attitudes she demonstrated towards friends of his and former colleagues. This wouldn’t have been of much interest beyond yet another dude with an overblown axe to grind against a successful woman if it weren’t for his claim that Munn was guilty of “appropriating nerd culture”.

The internet quickly responded with ridicule, which he didn’t seem to get. Unfortunately, for most women with even the vaguest interest in the poorly defined pool of nerd culture, this is a rodeo we’re all too familiar with.

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