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CSotD: Friday Funnies

“Heart of the City” is one of my favorite strips, but last Sunday’s touched off a major topic that’s been rattling around in my mind.

And, when I say “major,” I mean multifaceted, because, to start with, Heart’s mom suggests that there’s nothing wrong with a girl dressing up as the Man in the Yellow Hat, and I’d agree, for a couple of reasons, starting with “That’s who the character is.”

There’s always the option of dressing up as Jane Goodall or Biruté Galdikas or Diane Fossey, if your goal is to be a woman who goes into the jungle and makes friends with primates. It’s not like there aren’t role models.

Mark Tatulli penned the strip well before anyone asked the question, but, since then, there was talk on the topic of white kids dressing up as Black Panther, and the answer from the creators was a resounding “Why the hell not?”

The point of the movie was not melanin. True, Black Panther was from Africa, but Pink Panther was from France.

Would you say that kids shouldn’t dress up as Clousseau unless they are French?

It’s not an issue of “cultural appropriation” but, rather, of kids seeing a hero as a hero.

I never thought you had to be Latino to dress up as Zorro, either.

(We could talk about culturally appropriating the name of the Great Spirit, Wakandah, but that’s not the issue at the moment.)

The issue of recasting existing characters — Spiderman or Bond or whoever — as other ethnicities, other races, other sexes is also a matter to be discussed separately, because, while it can be presented as a matter of fairness and inclusion, pull the other one: It’s a marketing ploy and needs to be debated as such, not as some Grand Noble Gesture.

In kidlit corners, however, the sometimes conflicting issues of inclusion and appropriation are very foreground.

I’ve written some 15 newspaper serial stories, of which only three featured female protagonists, one of them a biography of Nellie Bly, and I’m not sure that counts any more than the non-fiction piece on the Women’s Suffrage movement.

When I write a little girl as a fictional character, I walk on eggs, nearly as much as when I include a minority. When a Mohawk trapper made an appearance in one chapter of one story, I contacted a historian at Akwesasne to check for accuracy, and more research went into the Dane-zaa characters who were far more central to another story, as well as the African American historic figure, John Jones, who was in yet a third.

Writing outside of your own skin should make any author nervous, which isn’t a reason not to do it, but it’s a good reason not to take on the task lightly.

In any case, having listened to children’s authors go on about the need for inclusive characters, and having picked my way through the resulting stacks of insipid, messagey kids’ books about LGBQT disabled minority characters (and if you think I’m kidding, you’re not following the industry), I’m convinced that we don’t need more inclusive characters but more inclusive authors.

And not just authors who happen to be minorities or happen to be disabled or happen to be LGBQT but who happen to be able to tell a damn good story, such that kids will want to dress up like their characters on Halloween, and maybe emulate them throughout the year.

(Here endeth our sermon.)

Juxtaposition of the Old Guy

(Pros and Cons)

(Edison Lee)

I don’t actually miss my hair, but I sure do miss grapefruit, which is good because having my hair back for a week would just be silly.

However, for some reason, Medicare decided I had ordered enough of my statin and wasn’t entitled to a refill for another week.

That’s wonderful news, because anti-cholesterol drugs are not the sort of thing that sends you into crisis if you miss them for a few days, but you can’t take them and also eat grapefruit.

Seriously. There’s some enzyme in grapefruit that switches off your body’s absorption rate for statins, such that, if you eat grapefruit and take a statin, the entire dose floods into your body.

So when the pharmacist told me Medicare wouldn’t pay for my statin refill until November 5, I said that was just fine and went to the produce section.

Bookmark this page. In 30 years, you’ll think it’s hilarious.

 

However, I hope you don’t ever have occasion to find Alex hilarious, because it is one of the darkest strips out there, and I got a good laugh out of this one.

My ex and I, having had a wonderful wedding, capped it off 13 years later with a respectable divorce, which wasn’t pleasant but was as civilized as possible.

However, she got this guy for her attorney: The local ass-kicking divorce lawyer.

I couldn’t really afford much of a lawyer, but, fortunately, I had a friend who was the local ass-kicking criminal attorney and he agreed to take on the case for free.

They both had well-established reps.

Which is to say, when I called my wife’s attorney and told his assistant who my lawyer was going to be, there was a noticeable pause on the line. I think that’s a good sign; neither of these guys wanted to face the other in court.

Though I didn’t quite get off free: Turns out that, about three months before the divorce, they’d changed the law on how capital gains are figured in such matters, which a divorce attorney would know but a criminal attorney might not, such that, four years later, I owed an additional $1500 tax on the sale of the house.

Oh well, what the hell. I wouldn’t have gotten much of a lawyer for $1500.

Like I said, it’s probably best you don’t find a whole lot of hilarity in all this.

 

Wait until Wednesday

If this still seems like a good idea Wednesday morning, Lemont, I may climb in beside him.

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
November/2/2018
@ 6:59 am

I have had several “discussions” with people on other sites about writing, as you say, “outside my skin”. In my own strip (not plugging here), I have the usual pasty white Canadians, but also someone who’s black, someone who’s Asian, someone who’s fully transitioned from female to male, someone who’s Hispanic, a thruple, a slut, a one-percenter, and even (oh dear, here we go) Americans showing up — in a Canadian strip! Quel horreur!!!

And I have been told this is wrong, that I should not be doing this because I am not black and/or Asian and/or Hispanic and/or this and/or that — and God knows and/or not American. What these complainers — all of whom *are* American, by the way — fail to realize is that if I wander into questionable territory, I have people I can rely on to vet this stuff to make sure it’s accurate in its presentation if I feel there’s any chance of it being off.

“But you’re not letting these people tell their own stories!” Uhm, last time I checked, the internet was a pretty big space, and as a pretty wide ranging reader, I’m pretty sure these good folks *are* telling their own stories.

Honestly, with so many well-meaning people trying to be cultural gatekeepers. it’s sometimes amazing anything gets accomplished.

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