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CSotD: Defining ‘Normal’

Doc and Raider is starting a new arc that I’ll be watching with interest, because I’m increasingly unsure about any kind of normality, much less “heteronormativity,” which Wikipedia defines as “the belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the norm or default sexual orientation.”

Teen Vogue, which tends to tackle hard topics, has this article on the concept, which is argumentative but, then again, maybe needs to be.

Nobody can argue that being straight is not statistically dominant, but the term “normal” is rarely used in a statistical, nonjudgmental sense.

Still, despite all the loud, public foot-dragging from the right, we’ve really come a long way in the past 75 years or so.

One of the reasons those WWII movies have the ethnically mixed combat groups is that, for many of those young men, it really was the first time they’d been thrown in with people who were not like them.

It wasn’t enough then, as Gene Shepard remembered, that a Catholic boy fall in love with a Catholic girl: There would be family uproar if a boy from St. Patrick’s parish brought home a girl from St. Stanislaus.

And Rosa Parks was one of “those” people whom “we” should have treated better, while Sidney Poitier’s early roles were similarly based on tolerance rather than acceptance.

The change was real: I really liked “Lilies of the Field” but was furious with the tolerance of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” having in the mean time absorbed Stan Freberg’s sarcastic line about Pilgrims and Indians, “Let him know he’s almost as good as we (which, BTW, had been written before either movie).”

Redefining “us” has been a continual challenge and we sure aren’t there yet, in race or in sex, and the hostile resistance of the right wing is only the most visible issue (though the ability to elect a president is pretty good evidence that the supremacist movement is not an outlier).

Meanwhile, for my part, I refuse to reject the idea that a healthy couple can consist of a hunter and a gatherer, regardless of gender, but I’ll wait and see how Doc and Raider sort things out.


And speaking of educational comics

Heidi MacDonald has a rundown on a large series of middle-school graphic novels that DC is publishing, from which I took the above cover at random.

It may be brilliant or it may be crap, but I’ll say that a whole lot of graphic novels (or memoirs or whathaveyou) aimed at kids are one or the other.

Which is in line with Sturgeon’s Revelation, and his specifics are appropriate in this particular case:

Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.

There are teachers who will not accept graphic novels as reading material for book reports, and there are teachers who go too far in being thrilled that kids are reading anything at all, and thank god for discerning teachers who get it right.

I think it’s perfectly appropriate to teach that some reading is just for fun and some reading is substantive and worth discussing. You just need to be sensible and well-informed about which might be which.

After all, just because kids like pizza, that doesn’t mean it can’t be nutritious, but, then again, they should be exposed to something more than pizza, chicken nuggets and Kraft mac-and-cheese.

I don’t envy teachers the task of sorting through all the possibilities, but neither do I think it’s insurmountable.

Hey, that’s why they make the big bucks.


Meanwhile, back at Armageddon:


One author you hope teachers manage to shove down kids’ throats at some point is George Orwell, though I suppose the implied sex in “1984” would keep it off a lot of curricula in favor of the more chaste “Animal Farm.”

Still, Tom Toles‘ mockery of Dear Leader for acting as if he were still running against Hillary Clinton should ping memories of Emmanuel Goldstein and the “Two Minutes Hate.”


Juxtaposition of WGASA

(Steve Breen)

(Bill Bramhall)

We were screaming at each other over AOC’s accurate use of the term “concentration camp,” but then became distracted by Joe Biden’s attempt to suggest that there is nobody so repugnant that we ought not to find some way to work with them.

Which, being Joe Biden, he bollocksed.

I understand the attraction of cartoons about silly things, but I wonder how many cartoons anyone did about Harold Stassen, beyond 1948, when he mounted a credible presidential campaign before descending into perennial farce?

I suppose the sooner Biden and Sanders get off the stage, the sooner we can begin to assess the more likely candidates, but we treated Trump as an amusing crank the last time around, and you see how that turned out.

We asked “Who gives a shit about this guy?”

And then we found out.


Here they are again

Drew Sheneman mocks both Biden and Trump for having pledged to find a cure for cancer.

As a survivor, I wouldn’t mind an effort similar to JFK’s determination to put a man on the moon, though, seeing how hard we’re already addressing the issue, I’m not sure how much more we could be doing.

But how’s about you two knuckleheads simply make an effort to address all health care issues, like the other candidates?

It’s not that finding a cure for cancer is a particularly Quixotic goal, but I’d be more inclined to support a candidate who promised to find a cure for those greedy bastards who are making insulin absurdly unaffordable.

And for those other bastards who can’t see a connection between soap, toothpaste, clean bedding and health.

As the Mikado said, “Something lingering, with boiling oil in it, I fancy.”


The only politician I’m in the mood for …

Community Comments

#1 Hank Gillette
@ 9:15 pm

Trump not only promised to find a cure for cancer (in his second term) but to find a cure for AIDS. One wonders if he could arrange for this to happen, why he didn’t do it in his first term (along with that great healthcare plan he promised). If he had done all that, he probably would have been a prohibitive favorite for reelection.

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