19 June, 2011

And so this is Father's Day, and what have we done?

And now the Republican slate of candidates includes two women, the one everybody hates because she might run and the one who's actually winning.

What would "Gilligan's Island" be without Maryanne and Ginger? Even Peter Parker had Gwen and Mary Jane. The shadow of Diane Chambers followed Sam Malone's life [and now I'm picturing a Van Halen analogy where Rebecca is Sammy Hagar so let me try to get back on the original subject]

Michelle Bachman won a lot of fans with her appearance at the recent debate. It's certainly amusing that so much of the hatred went to Palin that she was able to advance this far without anybody noticing. About all I know of Bachman is that she was accused of being a witch in her last election, and not by the intolerant religious right either.

I'm still sexist, I don't want a woman President. But if we must have one, at least the latest candidates are going through the same motions every other candidate does. Except they're not, because contrary to what feminists have said, the personal is *not* the political. Palin wrote emails to her unborn child and so far as we know, her husband isn't texting pictures of his wang to college students and porn stars. Palin's emails were considered public property and legions of volunteers rushed to read them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the rush to announce Palin-hatred reminded me of nothing so much as a woman who incessantly talks about how awful a certain man is, bringing him up at every opportunity, and it's clear to everyone else that she needs to change her panties. She's as awful as any other Presidential candidate (successful or not), ok, that's a given. She's not even a candidate, so why worry about it? Howard Dean, Al Gore and John Edwards (to pick three names at random) don't arouse such loathing from their opponents.

The White House's current occupant has showed us how difficult the Chief Executive position is for anybody and the concepts of leadership, authority and responsibility aren't easy to communicate to anybody who's never consciously experienced them. Having a family - one man, one woman, a given number of kids - is how most people experience that, consciously or not. Running a business, getting a promotion, holding elected office, owning property, these are all ways people can choose a more difficult - more *conscious* - manner of experiencing leadership, authority, responsibility.

A new scandal - which may or may not go anywhere - has Obama spokespeople rejecting some form he signed in the mid-90's about his stance on gay marriage. It makes a funny joke, he won't acknowledge his own signature, and I've given it little notice. I don't know what his position on the form was, or who he's sent out to give an unconvincing explanation, or who was asking in the first place. Whatever his answer was, gay groups and Democrats were apparently happy with it in the mid-90s up until just recently. The spokesman (or Obama's defenders on the internet; as I say I'm not following the details) say that some staffer shoved the form under his face and it wasn't a literal promise, just a rough statement of principles that all candidates get.

Which they do, but the guy who signed it is still responsible for upholding it. Maybe he was lying, maybe he genuinely believed whatever it took to get elected, but the buck still stops with him whether he was a city-councilman, mayor or candidate for Veep. And that goes whether he's responsible for property or a family or a business or an elected post. And if he'll lie about his legal stance on dudes who are into other dudes, what else will he lie about?

[Chicks who are into chicks are a different story because, you know, that's kinda hot.]

Ok, after John Edwards, Al Gore, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner, what will he lie about? None of them are noted for their ability to say 'ok, you caught me, I'll accept the punishment without complaint.' [Although to be fair, Al Gore has responded admirably, as one would expect of a gentleman and a southerner. He's become ungodly rich selling snake-oil or similar. One doesn't have to disagree with current global warming theories to see that. But the people currently trying anything to rebrand the latest climate change theories have proven, time and again, that they are allied with people who use bombs and bullets to enforce their will. Grant Morrison gave PETA a free ad directly on the pages of "Animal Man", and look what they've done since.

[Remember "Animal Man"? That DC comic from the late 80's about a guy with the powers of any animal? He had a very few appearances in the DCU Universe since his creation but only comic geeks would know that. Grant Morrison was such a comics geek, he started off with a miniseries that had a few neat ideas. I'd never heard of the character, there was nothing in Brian Bolland's promo art that appealed to me. I can take or leave stories about animals, had never heard of the character and had no idea people actually sat down and made the damned things. Made comic books, that is, not animals which are natural beings worthy of respect for what they are. They have their own ways and settle them with the plants among themselves and that's fine. If they can write and draw a cool DC comic, that's fine, just as it would have been in 1961 or 1941.

The ad must have drawn me to the comic, because I looked at the first issue and it appealed to me enough. They were doing superhero stuff I liked but in a different way. A very well-done sitcom family mixed in with villainous silhouettes and scenes that show someone put thought into the nature of a superhero world, television appearances and putting on a jacket because a skintight outfit is embarassing. The first issue ends with this inexperienced but very likeable superhero confronting a smashed laboratory and a merged pile of monkeys. It was familiar, yet different. The straightforward honesty of Morrison's storytelling and the clean, natural art by Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood were appealing. The second issue built extremely multiple storylines quite well. Not for kids, if you consider a drawing of someone's brutally-severed arm unsuitable for children, or a drawing of a dead deer, both of which happened in the second issue.

Obviously when the DC editors saw this, they knew they'd hit a bossible source of wealth. Morrison's career has demonstrated that they were right - in bad ways too, I find it almost depressing to look at the collected volumes and see a lot of what I see in modern comics, except without the clean storytelling. The coloring alone is much more interesting than the computer crap. But I digress.

It was in the first issue he had to write after being asked to do more than a 4-issue miniseries that really sealed the deal. My Dad was talking about how amazing "The Coyote Gospel" was. The passion play starring Wile E. Coyote in which the hero plays an irrelevant role, leading to a twenty issue storyline that combined metafictional theorizing with the decades of DC comics characters and the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" itself. You know, the one where they killed Supergirl and Barry Allen and changed everything forever.

Anyway, the stories continue. They're something charmingly British about the Mirror Master appearance, in which a villain invades the hero's home and beats him every step of the way. The hero's wife comes in with her arms full of groceries, asks the villain what he's doing there and kicks him in the nuts. Isn't there a little "Jiggs and Maggie" in all of them? Or Al and Peg Bundy? Or their cute 'cousins'?

But it's there for us, just like for our fathers and for theirs. The rest is just what we have to do to get through life.

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