backing up

I’m gonna spend some time this week trying to back up my old tumblr blogs to here. However the last thing I want is for everyone to suddenly get 2000+ posts (I used tumblr a lot) landing in their inbox. That would be disasterous. So I’m just gonna try a few small things every evening. Hopefully in a few minutes you won’t suddenly get two or three posts marked “test” showing up in your email? (But, uh, lemme know if you do?)

Please PLEASE watch “9-1-1”

It is the WILDEST, DUMBEST, WORST show ever and I regret so much I didn’t watch it when it first came out. It’s the most so-bad-its-good fun I’ve had watching TV in ages, if I can ignore the fact that a lot of the “storylines” (trust me, the quotation marks are needed) are crassly ripped from the headlines half the time. Lemme recap-

Here are, in no order, (some of) the most ridiculous things that have happened during the episodes I’ve watched:

-A man has a hyper-rare medical condition which makes him appear dead. He ends up on an actual autopsy table (ick) and upon waking up scares the autopsy guy so much he passes out and cuts himself with the chest-cutter-open tool. When the emergency services turn up they VERY REASONABLY suggest that the guy wear a medical alert bracelet to stop anyone cutting him up or burying him. He says no because he “likes to feel alive” or something. Well, screw the next autopsy guy who slices himself open then.

-Four flashbacks, one after the other and only barely in coherent order, reveal that a man abused his wife into suicide but she once shot a bullet into the tree she hung herself from. Man decides to blow up the tree (??) and the bullet explodes out and kills him.

-Kenneth Choi gets in a car accident and ends up with a spike in his head. He lives! He’s put in a induced coma and everyone very briefly worries. His flaky girlfriend gets a stern lecture about how she’ll have to be there for him if he survives. He lives again! His so called friends get him a “welcome back” cake shaped like his face with a spike through it.

They look all smiley and attractive (all of the unattactive folks on the show are obviously murderers or victims) but these are awwwwwwful people.

-There is what appears at one point to be an actual zombie?

-There’s a guy called Buck who’s a poorly drawn sex addict with very few other characteristics. His name rhymes with “fuck.” He’s insufferable.

-Abby the lonely 911 operator who narrates the show and Buck find themselves in a situation where they have to rescue a small child from a swimming pool that a live power cable somehow fell into. Aw an incarnation of my beloved old whale floatie, bought from America during a holiday, has a cameo as “Thing Buck thinks he can jump on to get through the ELECTROCUTED POOL”

My whale friend was named Kyle. I’m so sorry Kyle. Also guess I’m not going in one of those small personal swimming pools which seem to be a staple of American culture again!

-Abby goes on a date with Buck and he immediately almost chokes to death on his food. I think the universe wants him dead, as do I.

-A lift plummets! The mother and son inside don’t die on impact but they do get trapped as water slowly rises around them. I forgot how that happened but Los Angeles apparently is up there with the Death Star in terms of health and safety rules. I’m never going in a lift again either.

-Buck attempts to rescue a guy from a dangling rollercoaster, and fails as the guy falls dramatically to his death. He angsts for about an episode but later it turns out the guy was suicidal anyway and this…fixes things? What?

-A man gets a massive live tapeworm removed from, ur, his rectum. (Don’t watch this show while eating.) I feel so sorry for the poor actor whose agent called him up with, “Would you like to play ‘Man Who Has Massive Live Tapeworm In His Rectum?'” I wonder if he asked any follow-up questions.

I hear there’s several more seasons of this show and a spin-off. Oh god.

The Bad Place (1/4)

This is a The Good Place fanfiction I’ve been working on for about a year now. I started thinking about it after the finale aired last year, and it went from there.

It features very few of the characters from the actual show, has a far less comedic tone and perhaps only counts as a fanfiction in the loosest sense really…but it is my sort-of answer to the one question the show never tackled, “What happens to children and babies in the afterlife?”

(more…)

The Sarah Everard vigil/protest

You’ll probably hear more about it tomorrow. Based off Twitter alone, what happened (officially, the protest wasn’t supposed to go ahead due to pandemic fears, or that’s what I heard) was really, really bad. It almost feels, looking at these photos, like the police took it personally since it’s one of their own accused. I hate this.

Some great Wandavision creations

One of the other good things about Wandavision is that it seems to have unleashed a lot of creativity, so here’s some of my favourite artworks and the like that I’ve seen on Reddit!

Gosh there’s a lot of it! Sorry!

The Sarah Everard case

Front page news in Britain today is, a woman named Sarah Everard walked home alone last week and was abducted. And, as I figured was depressingly inevitable from the moment I saw the headline, murdered. They found what they’re pretty sure is her body just yesterday and the person arrested for the murder is a cop.

It stings. Not just because the woman in question shares my first name, though that doesn’t help, but also because there’s just so many of these stories. And even then those are just the ones the media reports on. There must be countless, endless names we don’t know.

I remember there was a not completely dissimilar story in Leicester not all that long ago. It happened in a park near where lots of my friends lived back then. A teenager raped a woman and attempted to beat her to death with a paving slab. It made the national news, you can read it for yourself if you have the stomach. The victim lived, thank god, but will have scars forever. The whole thing was horrific.

And women just… don’t go alone to that park anymore. I don’t, I loop around it via the road way, even knowing how unlikely it is that the same thing will happen again. You don’t want to be hurt in any way but you also don’t want people telling you “What did you expect, going to that park alone?” I’ve noted all the fury about the response to Everard’s death being framed that way, women being told not to go out at night when it’s not women who are the problem. Some pent-up rage has been unleashed and I hope it will last.

But no matter what I just feel so sorry for Sarah Everard, and the unnamed victim in my hometown, and all the other women before and after.

Superstore: America Ferrera to Return for One-Hour Series Finale — TVLine

Superstore fans can rest easy: NBC has announced that America Ferrera will reprise her role as Amy Sosa in the workplace comedy’s one-hour series finale. The network released the following first look on Wednesday, which seems to confirm that Cloud 9’s former manager will appear in person, and not over Zoom. Superstore‘s 100th episode, which…

Superstore: America Ferrera to Return for One-Hour Series Finale — TVLine

EEEEEYYYY!

….is the exact noise I made upon hearing this news, it scared everyone around me.

the markle debacle

The Meghan-Harry-Oprah interview hasn’t actually aired in the UK yet, there’s about an hour to go. But I know most of what was said via Twitter and news websites. I feel so sorry for both of them, mostly. That seems like a strange thing to think about people who have so much more money and power than me, but I’ve always thought of the royal family as being a glided cage. The rules and the ridiculousness of it all, you can’t expect a modern woman to put up with that, surely. She has to bow to her grandmother-in-law, she’s not allowed to wear nail varnish, and oh yeah every time she does something the Daily Mail hurls insults at her.

Anyway. You can’t argue at this point that Meghan’s treatment has nothing to do with race, though I note the media and Piers Morgan are trying their best. Morgan is now on the record as saying he doesn’t believe Meghan considered suicide which is just such an unfathomably shitty, dangerous thing to say to an audience of millions. That’s spurred me on to actually complain to ITV, believe it or not. You can do the same if you like-

I remember a comment I once saw on Instagram, a platform I do not use. Meghan and Harry posted a picture of Charlotte (pretty sure it was Charlotte) for one of her birthdays. Under it they wrote something generic like, “Happy birthday Charlotte! x” You know, the sort of thing most people would do for their niece who was a toddler. And people just, exploded in this bizarre rage that Harry and Meghan hadn’t addressed their aforementioned niece who was a toddler with her royal title. And I remember one of the comments on their Instagram then being directed soley at Meghan – not Harry, just her – and it said “That’s Your Royal Highness [when referring to Charlotte] to you.” Can you think of a more disgusting dogwhistle that Meghan wasn’t considered worthy of respect? Because whoever was writing that, Meghan was Your Royal Highness to them. Except, of course, apparently not.

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #44 – 46 (1967)

Now at the end of the last one of these I said, since Vietnam is coming into the story now let’s find out what Stan Lee actually thought about the Vietnam War. And that’s the thing, that information is kinda hard to find. There’s an extent to which Lee has sort of I guess been a bit lionized over the years and plenty people think he was labelled more of a progressive than he really was. But I think he was progressive for his era, it’s just that that doesn’t always mean, “was good.” It means… well, it means they were progressive in the original sense of the word and that’s that. So that Washington Post article linked to there, here’s the cached version which isn’t behind a paywall, it says,

In the midst of the antiestablishment riots of 1968, he convened a panel for a failed talk-show pilot in which he repeatedly denounced radicalism; asserted that Black people needed to respect the law; and said the Vietnam War may have been immoral, but had to continue for the greater good.

But we don’t have any direct quotes from this so it’s still hard to pin down his exact opinion. Now on this Marvel site I found this quote from Lee:

Now it’s important that you bear in mind that this yarn [Iron Man] was written in 1963, at a time when most of us genuinely felt that the conflict in that tortured land really was a simple matter of good versus evil and that the American military action against the Viet Cong was tantamount to St. George’s battle against the dragons. Since that time, of course, we’ve all grown up a bit, we’ve realized that life isn’t quite so simple, and we’ve been trying to extricate ourselves from the tragic entanglement in Indochina.

And these comics we’re talking about here were written in 1967. Enough time for Lee to have grown up, I guess. And in the Stan’s Soapbox columns he apparently expressed hopes the troops would come home. Do any of the characters in these issues serve as his mouthpiece re Vietnam then? Does Harry? Well, let’s find out.

Here’s issue #44, where Harry and MJ meet for the first time. This one little scene and everything within it is going to have massive ripples throughout the Spidermanverse, many of which continue to this day, for better or worse. (Usually worse, let’s be honest.)

Harry is friendly here and Flash is…Flash, as has been the case for the past 4 or so issues. But the spectre of Vietnam is hanging over all this.

On to #45. Awww, all the boys have colour-coordinated their outfits, that’s nice.

Here we begin a long, nice tradition of Harry being super generous dude frequently prone to giving out jobs and, as we’ll see in a minute, apartments. Yes this lasted into the ’00s comics which I was always glad about, it’s a very intrinsic part of his character.

Now Harry appears to be dating MJ, or at least getting close to her. The first days of the Harry/MJ romance are actually something I don’t think ever got delved into that much in later comics, despite all the potential for great character moments there. The 1963 audience didn’t know it at this point and possibly neither did Stan Lee, but both are abused and damaged children frantically putting on masks.

This one little panel here sows the seeds for so much stuff that happens later. But more on that (and more on how even to this day MJ and her percieved shallowness is blamed for Harry’s downward spiral) in the future.

Now we’re in #46 and Harry has now secured Peter a job offer and a free apartment. Nice. Their friendship is cemented by this point, as you can tell, and it took under 15 issues! God I miss the much, much faster pace of Old Comics.

The gang exchange some wonderful 60s slang and plan a going-away party for Flash. “He’s the first one of the crowd to be drafted,” Harry says. But that makes me wonder, and bearing in mind that this is an era I know very little about except what I got via cultural osmosis… Did Harry and Peter expect to get draft notices too?

So, time to cram my brain with information about the draft system. The draft lottery didn’t start til 1969, so going back from that… If you were in full-time education, as Harry and Flash and Peter all are here, you didn’t neccessarily have to serve… if you were a good enough student.

These thousands weren’t selected at random. Instead, the Selective Service System (SSS) instituted a system of academic evaluation under which local draft boards would defer students based on intellectual ability. This ability was determined by two factors: class rank, and score on a national aptitude test known as the Selective Service Qualification Test. Undergraduates with a high class rank, or a test score above a certain cutoff, were draft-exempt. Everyone else could be sent to the front.

From here

So I suppose the implication in these Spider-Man comics is that Flash wasn’t a good enough student to avoid military service. Peter as a science genius I guess probably would have been. (Remember this panel from a couple issues back?)

But Harry… was Harry a fortunate son?

“It ain’t me, I ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaires’ son…”

But Harry probably was. Norman’s exact wealth wasn’t actually stated in the early days I think, but it’s safe to assume he’s pretty dang rich. And, says the New York Times (surprisingly one of the sources of Vietnam War draft info not outright blocked or paywalled in the UK, christ I hate the modern-day Internet)-

It was no coincidence that those men who already fit the middle-class mold of domestic masculinity — those men who were college students or teachers or scientists — received deferments.

It was a very classist, racist system. I feel like writing anything more along the lines of “So how did Spider-Man and his best friend avoid the draft?” trivalizes that in a way, so we’ll be back to business in a minute.

Now comics-wise Spider-Man: Life Story tackled Vietnam quite a bit, but due to the Marvel sliding timeline Vietnam just doesn’t factor into the Spider-Man story anymore. Flash didn’t fight, Iron Man wasn’t there. And I sort of think that’s a shame, and one of the reasons I have very conflicting feelings about ongoing comics as a medium. If you’re going to tackle very real, very bad things that happened in real life you should commit to them, you know?

So back to Harry. For whatever reason you want to have in your head – his status as a student, his father’s wealth, something else (it actually feels pretty in character, at least eventually, for him to be an objector?) – he’s not going to Vietnam and neither is Peter.

But of course, even that one specific part of the story is far from done.