Hoping for some quality writing this week? Well, you’re shit out of luck. It’s the last Monday of the month, which means it’s time to critique yet another chapter of the Aliens versus Predator fan fiction novel I wrote in grades 7 and 8. This week we’ll continue to follow Corporal Andrew Harrison and his USCM comrades as they venture through Alien-occupied territory toward safe haven. Prepare yourself for overly detailed descriptions of facility layouts.
Earlier today I read a blog post by sci fi author John Scalzi (Old Man’s War, Zoe’s Tale) wherein he compared “straight white male privilege”—i.e. the social advantages straight white males receive from being straight, white and male in Western society—to the lowest difficulty setting in a video game. Speaking as not only a straight white male but a gamer as well, I felt the comparison was spot on. Purely in terms of content, Scalzi didn’t really say anything new or that I didn’t already agree with, but I thought his actual rhetorical approach was utterly fascinating.
Every so often I stumble across an opinionated piece such as this one that’s able to phrase an oft-repeated argument in a new and surprisingly intuitive fashion that hammers the point home better than a straight take (“this is right/wrong because…”) ever could. I call it the “Huh, never thought of it like that” Effect. As someone who enjoys a good opinion piece and good writing even more, it’s as refreshing as a chilly can of Coke on a blazing hot day.
I’m going to be 23 in less than two weeks. I’ve been out of school a year, have undertaken a variety of adult responsibilities including paying rent and student loans, and in the near future will hopefully be starting a career that will define most of the rest of my life. I am, for all intents and purposes, one of those fabled “grownups.”
And yet my favourite television series at the moment is, for all intents and purposes, a kids’ show. Adventure Time, created by Pendleton Ward, has been broadcast on Cartoon Network since 2010 and is now in its fourth season. It follows the escapades of teenaged warrior/adventurer Finn and his intelligent, stretchy dog Jake in a fantastical land populated by a species of candy people, moderately intelligent penguins and a vast array of extraordinary creatures. It’s also surprisingly sophisticated for a show aimed at 7-11 year olds.
I spent this past weekend wearing out the soles of my newly-purchased shoes walking up and down the length of Yonge Street in Toronto and padding around the Toronto Reference Library just north of Bloor. The library has been playing host to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival since 2009, also the first year I attended. I’ve gone every May since then, adding more and more people to my little comic adoring posse and meeting several print and web artists I’m a big fan of, including comics theorist Scott McCloud, Ultimate Spider-Man penciller Stuart Immonen, Queen of the Webcomics Kate Beaton and my latest favourite writer, Jeff Lemire.
Pictured L-R: Myself, Chris Mantil, Sam, Anjuli
So after spending a couple hours in a downtown diner, we walked over to the library and got our comics appreciation weekend underway.