Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A letter to my daughter

To my dearest daughter, Clarke,

I started writing this letter the day you were born; little did I know that thirteen days would go by before I had a chance to finish it. Turns out that babies are hard, scary, amazing, time consuming poop machines. And you are a champion pooper. Depending on how old you are when you read this, that'll either be funny or embarrassing; possibly both. Sufficed to say, I'm sure it's not the first time you've had to decide between those choices, and I know I'll do far more in the future that'll constitute some holographic eye rolls (I assume by the time you read this, holograms will be all the rave, if not, your future sucks, and I'm sorry).

I figure you're wondering why bother writing something you can't read or understand for years to come? I think it's cause I wanted to share something with you that most kids don't really ever get the chance to see; an insight into their parent's mind. At age 40, I know I'll be a different person at 60. Twenty years of being a dad will more than likely make me go completely grey. Not with worry (okay, some worry), but with all the uncertainty of what's to come (scratch that, there'll probably be a lot of worry). I don't know what the future holds, but I'm sure as hell looking forward to it with you and your mom. For now though, here's some things I feel you should know.

I've always wanted a kid. I felt I've been ready to be a dad for a long time. After years of trying, when your mom woke me up one morning some time in February, 2016 to tell me she was pregnant, nothing could have prepared me for the actual moment you arrived. It sounds foreign to my ears when someone calls
me a "father", I've had one for 40 years, so when I hear that word being thrown in my direction, there's a bit of a process that occurs in my brain before it recognizes that I'm the one being referred to as "dad". But I have called you my daughter from the moment we found out your sex. Months before you were born, I thought about you; about what you'd look like, about what you'd sound like, about what you'd need. To say you shattered any expectations I had and gave me something greater than I could have ever known is actually putting it lightly.

Growing up as a kid, I always had a thing for super heroes. One in particular. At age 4, I thought I could fly just like him, and jumped off the arm of a chair, doing a face plant and knocking my two front teeth out. I learned I couldn't fly that day, but I never stopped dreaming about being a super hero.

I gotta tell ya kid, never in a million years did I ever think of naming you after my favorite super hero. Sure, I was gonna name you after some nerd name of a significance to your mom and I, but it didn't register in my head to name you after this particular one. You can thank your mom for that. We had names that we were going through and off the top of her head, she says, "What about Clarke?"

It's as if the stars aligned. It all made sense. I kicked myself for not thinking about it first. Partly because "duh doy", but also (and more importantly) the patriarchal remnants that society has instilled into my brain didn't even allow me to think that we could call you Clarke. And of course, we thought about the looks and responses we would get from people when we told them your name. We wondered if it was too masculine a name for a girl in this day and age. But we both realized that we've been watching a show that we really dug called
The 100 (if I've been any kind of a good parent, I would've snuck it in for you to watch it in your early teens), and in that show the protagonist is named Clarke, a kickass young lady who goes about saving the last remnants of humanity. And no one questions her name, everyone calls her Clarke and it's just accepted because that's her fucking name. Your mom and I decided that that's gonna be your name and the rest of the world that has an issue with it can be damned. Also, I got your name tattooed on my forearm in Kryptonian about a month before you were born so your mom pretty much had to.

And just like your namesake, we brought you to this world for a purpose. People say you shouldn't expect anything from your kids. That all you should want for them is happiness and well-being.

Fuck that.

Don't get me wrong, your happiness and well-being are my number one concerns. As long as you've got both going on, I'm super stoked. But I gotta tell ya kid, the world has stacked the decks against you from the get-go and you're going to need to come out swinging.

As a woman and a minority, we live in a society that says you deserve less in about every aspect of life. They will infer that they can decide what you can and can't do. And that's society today! I can only imagine what they will try to take away, or say you can't do, or keep you from achieving the rights you deserve in the future. And as a man and a father, I have to recognize too that I may say or do something
in the future that for all intents and purposes may seem like just me being a protective dad but in reality is my male ego lashing out in fear.

To all those people, including myself, Clarke. Fuck that noise.

I will make damn sure that you have every weapon in the proverbial arsenal available to you to combat ignorance, hypocrisy, and whatever else life wants to throw at you.

And because of that, I expect one thing of you; make the world better. Colonize Mars, save our species, heal the planet, hell, hack the planet, your choice. Sing a song that'll make the whole world sing, write a book that'll change someone's life, do anything your heart desires but do so to better the world.

We live in cynicism, we are constantly bombarded by the negative, we watch our heroes dwindle to memories. I ask that you stand when others won't. Show them that the world doesn't have to be this way.

Be my super hero that I dreamt of all those years ago, because you're already my hope for a better tomorrow, and you're only thirteen days old. Imagine what you could do years from now?

To slightly paraphrase a movie I'm sure I'll bore you with...

Live as one of them, Clarke, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Clarke; they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only daughter.

Above all, whatever lies ahead in life. Know this. I will always have your back, I will do everything I can to give you the life that you want to have, and I will unequivocally love you with every fiber of my being.

Now go save the world, Clarke.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Trumpocalypse Now

Define, awkward
So... That happened.

A lot of us were wrong. A lot of us lied to ourselves. A lot of us held out hope for our fellow Americans. And that's why a lot of us feel so goddamn betrayed. We believed that we were better than the people who bought into racism, sexism, homophobia, and overall hatred of regular Americans that are just trying to live their lives and make a better future for themselves and their families. You know, like everyone else. Turns out, we were very, very fucking wrong.

So what now? Let's play the blame game? Sure, everyone else already has. Blame half the Americans that didn't vote? Yes, for whatever reason, they were apathetic about the election. Blame the people that voted for Trump? Of course, even those who did so then turned around and said moronic things like, "I voted for Trump, but I'm not a racist." Blame the Democrats? Yeah, why not. They backed a delegate very early that a lot of people didn't trust. Blame the Bernie Bros? You mean the guys who consistently made misogynistic and lying comments about the only person that had the opportunities to defeat Trump? Sounds good to me. Blame the media? Absolutely. From day one, when this farce of a human being tossed his hat in the ring, the media treated it like a joke, no one's laughing now. Blame the electoral college? Sure. I mean, we've head years to change that, and it bit us in the ass with Gore, but let's go ahead and pretend it's an issue now.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but the bottom line is: America is far more sexist and racist than most of us gave it credit for.

So what now? I see posts and tweets about how we can keep Trump out of office, and how we could impeach him, and how yadda, yadda.

But I gotta tell you. My favorite posts have been the ones asking for calm and civility. That we can work through this together, that now is the time for building relations and now is the time for peace.

With all due res... You know what? No. No respect. You're fucking idiots and I'm done being polite about it.

We have very big issues in America. There is an unabashed amount of racism. It has escalated to a boiling point this past year, and is overflowing now that Trump has been elected. People of color are still being killed by the people that are supposed to protect them. Misogyny, sexism, xenophobia running rampant at every turn. America ranks fourteenth in education, second in ignorance, twenty-fourth in literacy. This is not bringing up the fact that climate change is here and irreversible, and people will start suffering for it soon.

And we're supposed to act like we should maintain a peace with the people that have never respected us or treated us with peace? There are children chanting hate speeches in grade schools and we should just let this slide?

Now is the time to be upset. Now is the time for anger. Now is the time to show those people who would seek harm on anyone based on race, gender, or sex that we will not stand for it. And recognize that feeling angry and acting on hate are two different things.

We didn't turn this into an "us" against "them" fight. They did. And we will stand. Do not tolerate ignorance. Do not let that one crazy "friend" or family member continue to spew stupidity. Shut them down, let them know what they say and do is wrong. Wrong because it promotes hatred and fear. Wrong because it teaches children to fear and hate everyone, including themselves.

Be mad, America. Be angry.

And yeah, someone on the other side of this argument is saying the same thing to their side. This is why we cannot allow their hatred to pacify our anger. That's called control, and that's what allowed Donald Trump to become President.

That alone should keep you pissed off.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Trumpocalypse Soon

He's Trump, he's Trump, he's Trump. He's a dick.
November is just around the corner. The shitstorm has hit every fan in America. And if there's any sense of humanity left in the majority of the U.S., Hillary Clinton will be nominated the first female President of the United States. Something to applaud and a moment to take in and recognize one of the truly momentous occasions in America's history. But after the fanfare, after the inauguration, and of course, after the ridiculous and inevitable amounts of sexism and misogyny that will come from the moment she accepts the nomination to the day she leaves office and beyond; after November, we are still stuck with the caked on shit of sexism, racism, hatred, and overall evil that bubbled to the surface because of America's willingness to stick their collective heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't have a problem. The fans of America will turn, but it'll forever have that stink of the worst in us on it. And it culminated with this abortion of a human being known as Trump.

So what do we do? Business as usual? Do we pretend what people said and did in the name of obscured visions of Democracy never happened? Do we blame the easy scapegoat (which is what the GOP will do) for bringing out the worst in us and go on about our day?

Short answer? Is yes, that's what most people will do.

See, Trump did one good thing.


Trump stirred the pot, because let's face it, America is a damn easy pot to stir. And by doing so he released the crusty, stuck, gristly parts of that supposed melting pot and let it rise to the surface. It started with racism, that one's a given, America is a racist country. Add the misogyny, the homophobia, and ignorance; and you've got yourself a recipe for zealotry and hatred. But you need to give it time to boil, or rather fester. So it did. June 2015, Trump launches his bid for the Presidency. In that same speech, he calls Mexicans criminals and racists.

This was the moment that everyone should have said, "No!" This was the time where white people could have said, "Nope. Not cool, let's do everything we can to stop this." Because let's face it, most folks of color did not appreciate his obvious racism. But that's not what happened. No, he goes on The Colbert Report, he goes on Saturday Night Live. Celebrities and people of power say things like he's a "clown" or he's a "joke" or he's just a "side show" that is passing through. But like Blue Magic once sang,

"Can't afford to pass it by, guaranteed to make you cry."

And yeah, those aforementioned celebrities have for the most part denounced Trump, but it was too little too late. He was given an inch, and he took a mile. And behind him was a mile long trail of every disgusting human being and their morbid political views with him. That takes us to now. Most folks look around in astonishment wondering what happened, and hoping that the country doesn't tear itself a new one. Problem is, it has. It's already torn.

In a post-Trumpocalyptic world, America will be trying to recover. But it has a whole lot of damage to deal with. It has abhorred racism within itself and within the people that are paid to protect its citizens, it has an ever growing sexism problem, it has a huge corruption issue within the economic system, and to top it off, climate change is here to stay and it is dire.

The last thing America needs to do is pretend that things are going to be okay. Things are not okay, not even in the slightest. But that doesn't mean we can't try to make things better. Things don't get automatically better with Hillary in office, we just dodge a bullet, but those other chamber are loaded and we're playing Russian Roulette.

So go ahead, come November, take your sigh of relief. But once more into the breach dear friends.

And let me take this moment to thank Donald Trump. You showed us how ugly we can be. Now go fuck yourself while we try to be better.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

"Why I'm voting for Trump."

Five words that when strung together, are completely polarizing. For the most part, folks who read this aren't going to vote for Trump, and for the few who will read this that are voting for Trump, well you're not going to find a like minded individual here. Because, let's face it. If you're voting for Trump you are most likely an uneducated, racist, sexist, bigoted piece of shit that even though you may walk/talk/act like a decent human being, entrenched within you is a disgusting and vile hatred that has festered slowly over the years and has finally risen to the surface because you have been gestating in a culture that has allowed for your kind to breed and revel in its filth. And it's all our fault.
"Wait 'til they get a load of me."
Back in 2012, Trump wanted to see Obama's birth certificate so bad that he said he sent investigators to Hawaii. He was dismissed as a joke, a late night pun that everyone had a good chuckle with because it was obviously absurd, but yet, no one decided to say, "Hey. Not cool, asshole." and put this guy in his place. Trump was pretty much testing the waters, because people heard him, and it didn't matter who heard him, it was the dumb people who wouldn't let the "birther" thing go. Last year, this shady businessman with a crappy, yet popular TV show and an affinity with putting his name on everything, decided that he's going to run for President of the United States. And liberals laughed. Celebrities and political figures (you know, the people America listens to without question) alike all said, "Oh what a grand and opulent circus this will be, let us have fun and watch it happen."

His sexist remarks toward women get dismissed, because, well, we live in a society where if it doesn't effect men, it is not an issue. Then he said that Mexicans were rapists, called black people "thugs" in Baltimore, calls for the systemic murdering of Muslim families, claims that global warming is a lie; and still! Talk shows, TV shows, the media just adores him. White America finds it funny, celebrities find it funny, liberals find it funny, everyone but the minorities that he threatens find it funny. And let him continue his vile filled propaganda without standing up and saying, "This is a hateful man who should not be given this much leeway with what he says.

Then, something happened. Something that surprised everyone. He started leading in the polls. By like a lot. And the world finally stopped laughing and started getting worried.

Like every major populace who dismiss the mass numbers of uneducated and uninformed, we were suddenly, and what should have been obvious from the get-go, aware of the droning voice of hatred that started to echo Trump's sentiments. For close to eight years, a large percentage of racist Americans, fortified by a racist government, have focused their ire on one man, a man who they believe had ruined their country, even though they can't for the life of them show one legitimate example of how. Loud and showy politicians pointed their bleached and wrinkled fingers at the black man that dared to lead this country and the racist masses ate it up.

Now, our President, who has had more successes than faults in spite of a government unwilling to work with him just because he was black (if you believe otherwise, you're an idiot, #SorryNotSorry) is being shown the door. And like the minstrel shows of old, white folks are a hooping and a hollering it up. And since there's no other real candidate of a diverse persuasion, you'd think white folks would be fine with whatever white man that goes up next to make America white again. Right?


An intelligent woman! Burn her!
Yeah. Turns out, there's still a part of America that wants to continue this silly ideology of change. Whatever your feelings about Clinton, she does bring something to the Office of the President that it has never had.

And it, in turn, brings out a whole other group of jackasses out of the woodwork. Now you can be sexist and not racist, everyday sexism is a real thing and most men suffer from it and don't even realize it. And you can actually be racist and not sexist (though if you're racist, you're pretty much gonna take the idea of being better than someone as a given). So with a woman running for President, you can imagine the sacks of shit that have been lying in wait for their moment to arise. And arise they have, on both sides.

Some liberals have some real strong feelings against Hillary Clinton, some founded, others just uninformed, but most of it out of a deep-seated desire not to see her in the office. To the point where I have seen Sanders supporters actually say, "If Hillary wins the nomination, I'm voting for Trump."

That's so not Batman
This is where the rest of the world chimes in. America deserves Donald Trump as President of the United States. We have been long decaying in a society where it takes its people, its resources, its neighbors, and its planet for granted. We have contributed to a society where killing black people has become a shooting game for police.

(Real quick, for the record. I am saying "black people", but I am really talking about all minorities. The reason I just use "black people" is because on the spectrum, they do get the hatred the worst. So can we put aside this politically correct bullshit and not try to take away the focus of what the issue is? I digress...)

We have incubated a society of hatred, whether intentionally, unintentionally, or obtusely. And the egg, she's a hatchin'. And the rest of the world looks on and laughs, and they say, "Good! You deserve the shit-nest you've built, America! Enjoy!"

And they're right about that. But here's where they're wrong.

No one deserves this, no matter how badly we believe it to be the case. We didn't learn our lesson with George W. Bush (the first time), we voted him in the second time! You honestly think Americans will learn their lesson with Trump in office?

The answer is, no. America will only learn their lesson through the way it was founded. With a bloody, and costly upheaval of the system.

Thomas Jefferson once said,
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure."

And that won't happen for a while, because we've become complacent. What will happen if Trump is elected is the blood of the innocent will be spilled. Racists will become more belligerent. Gun violence even more common. The economy that has slowly recovered will come crashing down again. All because of the mindset that if a woman wins the primary, they'll go vote for the loud, white man that doesn't give a shit about you.

"Why I'm voting for Trump?" I've seen it all, I've seen the far right give their reasons, I've seen the undecided give their reasons, and yes, I've seen the far left give their reasons as well.

And they all seem to culminate into one answer,

"Because fuck you, that's why!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Even heroes have the right to dream"

I was about four years old when I stood on the arm of a chair. I took a breath and for a moment, thought I could fly. Gravity reminded me that I wasn't superhuman and my feet caught the other chair's arm and I landed face first on the ground, swallowing my two front teeth. I recall the numbness of the sudden impact to my face. I remember looking into the eyes of a young girl (who I was probably trying to impress, to be honest) as she stared at my mouth, I touched it. It wasn't until I saw the blood that I started to cry. It was a hard lesson in reality. But you know what? Thirty-five years later, I still haven't stopped wanting to be Superman. Of course, I haven't tried jumping off of an armchair since, but those other qualities I loved about him, his fight for Truth, Justice, and the idea of the American way; the idealist in me has never let that go, no matter how jaded I become as I get older.

Superman has changed through the years. In the comics he has died, come back to life, split into two characters, lost his powers, got his powers back, you name it. But the idea of Superman has stayed the same (not including the alternate realities of Supes, of course); the orphan son of a dead planet whose parents lovingly sacrificed themselves so that their only child could bring to Earth the best qualities of Krypton and who in turn was raised by loving parents who instilled in him the best qualities of humanity, thus making him the best son of both worlds. He's not Batman who instills fear into his enemies to save the city he has vowed to protect. He is not Spider-Man who lost his uncle when he chose not to act and is now driven by the mantra that with great power comes great responsibility. Superman imbues the best of all of humanity. He goes to the greatest lengths, to the detriment of himself, to save people, even his enemies.

Kneel before Kal!
So it's needless to say, that when in Man of Steel, Supes kills Zod, that's when I was severely disappointed. It was the culmination of an uneasiness that I had throughout that film of Clark letting his father die to protect his identity, his mother in the previews of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, that he owes humans nothing. This iteration of Superman was one who became a hero in spite of humanity. The Kal I knew would never allow all those people to die in Metropolis. He would've taken the fight somewhere else.
And yes, the argument can be made, he was just becoming Superman, that he had no choice (whatever) to kill Zod, that he became "super" after all that tragedy and it shaped him into a better hero. That this is a darker version of Superman, that it's more realistic, and in reality, people die.

Sure, let's make a movie about a guy who can fly more realistic because THAT'S what the people want.

But fine, I'll give you all that. I'll let you have your Batman with a shotgun, I'll let you have your Superman shooting his heat vision at Batman that looked like it was a kill shot. It's all based off of the Dark Knight series that Frank Miller wrote. I'm going to see Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, not because I think it'll be good, but because it's got my favorite super hero in it, and it's the only version I've got. I went to go see that god awful Batman and Robin movie in the theater, because again, I enjoy the super hero films in general. Doesn't mean I think they were all great.

However, Warner Bros. announced that they're going to release an R rated version of Bats V Supes on the blu-ray.

*Audible sigh*

Some people have said that voicing your opinion about these crappy decisions based solely on monetary reasons does nothing but good for the studios that think this is what we want, rather than this is what we'll see cause you're not giving us what we want and in the absence of greatness, mediocrity reigns.

I disagree.

I'm not saying boycott the movie (cause really, who's gonna do that?), I'm not saying write your congressman, and I'm definitely not saying to go "dox", or "swat", or "dap," or "netflix and chill", or whatever stupid kids are using the internet for these days.

I'm saying, this is not Superman. This is not what Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had in mind when they created this icon. Wolverine can be R-rated, Deadpool IS R-rated, hell, Batman is dark enough to be R-rated. Those are dark and gritty characters.

I was 4 years old when I pretended to be Superman. Even younger when I was infatuated with him. It makes me sad to think that there will be a 4 year old right now who can't see the latest version of Superman because it would give him nightmares.

That's just not Superman.