Women of Color in Comics and Manga.

This November 12, I will be moderating a fantastic panel attended by three wonderful women cartoonists that you should know about. Alitha E. Martinez, who has worked on Marvel’s Thor and Iron Man, will be on hand to discuss her time at Marvel and her latest independent project Yume and Ever. Jenny Gonzalez, indie and ‘zine maven and all-around arbitrator of awesome, will be present to talk about her series Too Negative and her work on the House of 12 anthologies. Rashida Lewis, creator of the comic Sand Storm and artist of the upcoming School Bell series, will discuss her work in the independent comics arena and her experiences moving into the realm of animation.

The panel will take place on November 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the renowned Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, which is located at 594 Broadway (Suite 401). Admission? Pay what you wish!



Books from the “big two.”

Immortal Iron Fist. I bought this book, got three other people hooked on it, and then dropped it. I am notorious for doing that! I’m like a drug dealer who only tests his supply, but never uses it. But since I love Danny Rand and the sight of bad guys getting kicked in the face, this is going back in the read pile. Plus, I’m getting tired of people telling me how good it is. I know it’s good! I used to read it! I’d just like to add that when it comes to comics, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. I stopped buying Immortal Iron Fist when I went to Georgia to visit my parents. Being away from a comic shop and digital cable caused me to drastically reduce the number of books I bought and read each month. Once I came back home, I didn’t resume buying most of those books or reading them. Look, I have people offering to give me comics or email me zipped scans of the books I used to read for free and I’m telling them not to bother. I am turning down free comics that would be delivered right to my actual or virtual mailbox. This is like Barney turning down free beer.

What lesson should comic companies take from this? Get your books out on time. Fans aren’t going to wait around forever for the next issue. Also, make sure you get those issues bundled in a nice trade and sent off to Borders or Amazon with the quickness. Once a newbie gets hooked on a comic he’s going to want the back issues. And new fans aren’t interested in looking for back issues in a comic shop. Comic shops are too hard to find. It’s either Amazon, Borders, or BitTorrent. And BitTorrent isn’t making any comic book company any money.

Checkmate. Screw you, Scans Daily. You are about to cost me money unless I can get one of my friends hooked on this book. Now, I started reading Checkmate because PWCW receives complimentary issues of the series. And I have to admit that I enjoyed reading the book a great deal. However, I’m not really a DC girl, so I stopped reading the book once I no longer had free access to new issues. And Checkmate was soon forgotten. Because, as we now know, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. However, along comes Scans Daily to remind me of all the reasons why I liked the book in the first place—intrigue, action, an ethnically and racially diverse cast of characters. And each time someone would post Checkmate scans, I would wonder about the characters that made up the Checkmate cast. And now I am long past the point where my curiosity has gotten the better of me. I want to read this book again. So Checkmate goes into the buy pile.

What lesson should comic companies take from this? Continue sending preview pages to sites such as PWCW and Newsarama. Bolster books that you feel could use some good press by asking an intern to post scans from that book at online communities such as Scans Daily. Release exclusive preview packs of next month’s books on sites such as BitTorrent. What’s a preview pack? I’m glad you asked because I just made it up! Collect the first three pages of every comic and trade that’s up for release next month. Bundle those pages up in a CBR file and upload the file to download sites all over the Internet. Add a couple of exclusive items such as silly interviews with creators, quirky sketches, or goofy photos of the office—stuff fans can’t get from news sites. Give potential readers a reason to download the pack and be sure to include a list of comic shops where they can buy your items legally. Putting a preview pack together shouldn’t take long and any intern should be able to do it. Also, DC should totally send me Checkmate comps.

New Avengers. I’m reading this book for the worst fangirlesque reason ever. I don’t care about the quality of the writing. I don’t care about the quality of the art. I simply need to know what is going on with Luke Cage every month. Luckily, this isn’t costing me any money since I have more than enough friends willing to support my Luke Cage habit. However, I’ve found that I’ve become interested in the potential romance between Clint and Maya. Man, I am a complete sucker for a good superhero romance!

What lesson should comic companies take from this? When it comes to certain popular characters, some fans can be complete addicts. Don’t be afraid to pull a popular character away from the status quo if you feel that you can take the character in a plausible, profitable, and interesting direction long term. Fans may complain, but they’ll keep buying. Fans may even say they’ll stop buying, but they’ll keep buying. After all, somebody out there is buying Countdown. A whole lot of somebodies.

Justice League of America. Dwayne McDuffie. John Stewart. End of story. What lesson should comic companies take from this? Steal popular creators from your competition as often as you can. Also, try to stretch slightly outside of your normal talent pool when it comes to hiring writers. Doing so might result in new fans.

All in all, I am down to four superhero books a month. And two of them are from DC. This astounds me! Taking a look at the books that I am no longer buying, I’ve noticed that I stop collecting a series when I can’t obtain issues easily or there is a change in creative teams. I’ll also drop a book if I feel that it is redundant. If I can get non-stop action from Immortal Iron Fist, then why should I buy Daredevil? If I can get diversity and intrigue from Checkmate, then there’s no reason to buy—

Well, I actually didn’t have any superhero comic that was giving me diversity and intrigue. But you know what I mean. And, it’s not always a superhero book that winds up filling a slot a superhero book has vacated. Empowered gave me what I wanted from Heroes for Hire—and no, it wasn’t T&A. The Goon and Hellboy gave me what I once received from Wolverine. However, that’s a post for another day. We’re talkin’ ’bout Marvel and DC superhero books here!



Fandom is nuts, yo.

Why do people continue to interact with prejudiced fans when they end up repeatedly hurt by virulent bigotry? I don’t understand why some people subject themselves to abuse. Listen, I’m not saying that one shouldn’t take a clear stand against racism, sexism, homophobia, and more, but shouldn’t those efforts be focused on trying to eliminate those things within the products being created? Arguing with an intolerant fan on a message board won’t help eliminate or reduce bigotry in comics (or video games, or music). It’s only going to cause stress and take an emotional toll. Having a polite and respectful discussion with a creator or editor about what steps he or she can take to eliminate or reduce bigotry in comics and reach new markets? That’s something can work wonders.

Being a fan of comics and video games can get lonely at times, but I’d rather be lonely than deal with intolerant people bashing minority groups on a regular basis. I avoid message boards where those fans are known to congregate. Of course, not all places where fans congregate start out as a bastion of intolerance, but there are often clues to let one know that the environment will soon be taking a turn for the worse.

Has someone started to complain about how his or her right not to be subjected to homosexuality has been violated? One should probably leave. Is someone using the word feminazi in a manner that is not facetious? Yeah, it’s about time to go. Has someone decided to announce that “blacks are the most racist race” and routinely brings up Al Sharpton, gangsta rap, and how unfair it is that “white people can’t say the n-word” even though none of those things have anything to do with the topic at hand? Bounce.

These are just a handful of clues out of many. I may be a little isolated, but I’m a great deal happier not having to deal with bigotry. And those bigoted fans are probably happier not having to interact with me as well.



Reading rainbow.

I’m black. I’m African American. And I’m lucky in that my family is extremely diverse. We have members of many different economic classes. We have members of different sexual orientations. We have members that can “pass” and members who most certainly cannot. I’m privy to a ridiculously wide range of African American experiences.

I was raised in a neighborhood where most of the residents were Latino or Caribbean American. I would hear Spanish more often than English. And when I heard English, it certainly wasn’t in an accent that I was used to. My best friends were Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Trinidadian. Though I was ethnically an outsider, I blended in physically, which made others more open to sharing their cultures with me.

I was sent off to private school. It was a place where a majority of the children were white and certainly not part of my social class. I began to see how the “other half” lived. And once again I was immersed in different cultures that were not my own—Anglo-Saxon, Italian, Jewish, Irish. And so I observed everything that my peers did closely, and then I immediately copied it. Why? Because I did not want to stand out any more than I already did. I wanted to be “normal.” Sadly, it was at the expense of myself. However, it did teach me to navigate a world that is a requirement for my livelihood.

Luckily, a return to my old middle-class neighborhood was able to undo much of the damage I had done while keeping all of the benefits I had gained. And after some gentle ribbing from friends of all backgrounds, I learned to switch dialects depending on the individual I was speaking to. I can’t say I’ve studied how to do this, because I don’t even think about doing it. It’s effortless. Instantaneous. However, with friends I’ve had for a long time, I tend to forget and speak to them as if I am speaking to family. Still, I was finally able to swim the cultural pathways of my life and not feel out of place or uncomfortable.

And then I fell in love—with an Asian man. Who brought a whole heap of cultures and experiences with him that I knew nothing of. But I was more than willing to learn. Why? Because I cared for him and I wanted to know about the things that had shaped him and the things that he enjoyed. And I’m glad I did. Because even though the status of our current relationship is murky at best, he brought new and wonderful things into my life. There’s no way in hell I would have willingly put squid in my mouth if not for him and that is like the best food ever. Ever.

So why am I telling you this? Because if I sit down to write, I don’t have to think about diversity. I don’t have to go back over my work to see if I’ve added the right number of minority characters. If I have a question about a particular American subculture, I can usually pick up my phone or photo album before I have to pick up a reference book. I don’t have to think about diversity because my life is filled to the brim with it.

And because of that, I didn’t realize how difficult reader demands for true diversity would be for individuals who only had intimate knowledge of the culture they were born into to fulfill. So, I finally understand that it is a formidable task. Of course, that still doesn’t mean that you should shirk your responsibilities and not do right by individuals who are different from you.



Aw, man.

I hate making a “This is screwed up!” post without offering a solution on how to fix things. I hate it even more now because the post has been linked to. So, I’m going to sit here until I hammer this out.

There are issues pertaining to female characters of color and female fans and creators of color that are being ignored. Those issues usually remain ignored until a woman who is a minority brings it up. Misty Knight’s lightened skin and bizarre hair on the cover of Heroes For Hire #13 would not have been an issue had black women not called attention to it during the controversy over the preview. Many people would have simply ignored it. As fans complain about the way Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and other white female heroines are depicted in their many ongoing series, they fail to notice the miniscule and rapidly dwindling number of ongoing series for female characters of color. As fans point out that many artists give female characters the same face, they do not seem to observe that the face depicted is decidedly Caucasian. There are instances of cultural appropriation in order to suit feminist concerns. Many fail to mention the lack of female creators of color listed as guests for events focused on women in comics. These things are not mentioned because most people do not think about them. When you’re white, you have the luxury of not having to think about issues regarding race until someone who isn’t white brings it up.

So how can this be changed, you ask? How can one learn to be more observant? Hell, I wish I knew! I try to be observant of issues pertaining to people who are not straight or Christian, but is that only because I have people in my life I love that are gay and Muslim? If those people had never become a part of my life or confided in me, would I be as concerned about the issues that pertain to them? Would I even be aware of those issues? Privilege can blind easily.

So why single out members of the feminist fan movement? They aren’t mind readers! How can they speak up about problems many of them aren’t even aware of?

They can’t. And I do mention the lack of concern from other groups too. However, there’s no given name for an established movement for minorities in comics yet so I really can’t mention one when I talk about how frustrating it is to deal with sexist notions and dismissive behavior from some male fans of color. And what would name would I give to the group of reactionary fans angered by any of the comic industry’s small steps towards diversity and equality? Who knows?

Well, none of that was a help at all, was it? Maybe this will help. If someone brings up a concern that affects that individual personally, the best tactic is to simply listen if that person has approached you in a polite and respectful manner. And when it is time to respond (and you should respond when a person addresses you), do not be dismissive of that person’s concern if you happen to disagree. Because of that individual’s experience, the issue is important to him (or her). And you don’t have to understand that experience to respect the person giving his or her viewpoint. After all, if the person is giving respect, shouldn’t he or she get it in return?

For example, I certainly didn’t agree with Joe Quesada’s response to those concerned with the recent deaths of gay and minority characters in comics, but I could not find fault at all with the manner in which he delivered his response. He actually seemed to listen and understand why those concerns were important to the people voicing them. He didn’t share those concerns, but he doesn’t have to. Unfortunately, his responses to those voicing concerns about the Heroes For Hire #13 cover were either dismissive or nonexistent (there was no response to readers’ issues with Felicia’s and Colleen’s unzipped costumes, Misty’s lightened skin, or Misty’s bizarre hair). That’s not the best way to interact with customers—or people in general.

Well, that was a very roundabout way of advising people to acknowledge the concerns that are brought to them by others and not be dismissive when discussing those concerns! Giving voice to those concerns? Well, I guess that’s up to the people that have them. So speak up!



Random keystrokes.

Does participating in a certain fandom mean that you are less likely to enjoy what the fandom is centered upon over time? I notice that I haven’t been getting much enjoyment out of comics lately. Could it be that the more you interact with other fans, even if those interactions are positive, the more you become focused on the fandom itself instead of on the object the fandom should be focused upon? I wonder, because it seems as if what I talk about most I enjoy least. And what I enjoy the most is rarely mentioned at all.

I am damn near obsessed with both The Sims 2 and the Grand Theft Auto series. And yet I’ve never been to a video game convention. I can’t remember the last time I posted on a message board dedicated to either franchise. And I can probably count the number of times I’ve mentioned either game on this blog on one hand. I don’t talk about the stacks of books by Andrew Vachss and Michael Connelly sitting in my bookcase. No posts about my ridiculous dance music collection. I don’t go to dance clubs. I don’t belong to any Prison Break or Venture Bros. message boards.

I suppose the secret to long-lasting enjoyment is to share what you enjoy with as few people as possible. Wait, that sounds horrible. Let me think of another way to put that. No, on second thought, that sounds about right. Recommend what you like and keep it moving.



Dear Comics,

It’s not you. It’s me. I still love you, you know? Yeah, we fight almost all the time, but you know I’m down for you, right? I’d slap the taste out of a dude’s mouth in a heartbeat should he try to look down his nose at you. I believe in what you’re trying to do here. I always have. I always will. You’ve got plans, and I want those plans to come through for you. You deserve that spotlight. You can do things that nobody else can do. I just wish you believed in yourself as much as I believe in you. You always seem so surprised by the success. Even now, when it’s happening all the time. I never questioned it. You shine.

You remember when we first met? You were chillin’ in the basement after my cousin had stepped out on you? I remember that you were too much for me to handle at first. Too violent. Too extra. My cousin always liked that wild stuff, but I couldn’t deal with it. But then you toned it down. You showed me a different side of you. Man, when we first got together? It was like I couldn’t get enough. I wanted you around me all the time. I even dreamed about you. You had me so open. I think I would have done anything you asked me to back then. But all you asked of me was time and loyalty. And I had more than enough to give.

And then came the fights. I don’t think you even realize how much you used to insult me. You still insult me. You were forever trying to put me and my girls down and it just—it wore on me. And when you apologized, it seemed like you didn’t really care, like you were only doing it because you didn’t want other people to look at you funny. And I felt so foolish. I still feel foolish now.

Do you know how many times your old girls rolled up on me and told me to leave you? Every show I followed you to, I’d get at least one. And your boys would always drag me away, tell me to pay her no mind. She was just bitter. Angry. She wasn’t down for the cause like I was. And it’s true. But the cause doesn’t need me.

I’ve seen the way you look at others, you know. And surprisingly there’s no jealousy. There’s only relief. And joy. Because those other girls? They look good. And they’re strong. And they’ll fight for you. They’ll fight for your dreams. And they’ll win.

And I’ll still fight for you too. It won’t be as much as I used to, but I will. But now it’s time to find someone that will fight for me. And that’s not you. See, I’ve given you my time, my heart, my mind, my money, my blood, my sweat, and my tears. And what have you given me? A whole lot of stories and a whole lot of aggravation. And that’s just not enough.

And I’m not blaming you. Lord knows, I didn’t have to stick around as long as I did. But I’m glad I did. Because I learned a lot from you. I don’t think you’ve learned anything from me though! You’re arrogant and stubborn as always. But you have learned it on your own. And that’s just as good.

I’ll be around for a little while. I still need to pack up my stuff and find someone who can do all of the things for you that I used to. It shouldn’t take long. And you don’t really need me anyway. Trust me, you won’t even notice that I’m gone.

So…I guess this is it. And yes, I still reserve the right to call you on your shit. And no, I won’t be giving up any of the friends I met through you. And yes, we’ll still see each other around. And no, I won’t be following you to shows to tell other girls not to get involved with you. C’mon, do you really think I would do that?

Anyway, I’ll see you Wednesday. And make sure you have my pull list ready. How come you’re always freakin’ late?

Love,

Cheryl Lynn



Hello, Internet.

I’ve pulled myself out of a pool of HTML because I want to thank each and every one of you who have blogged about the Ormes Society, e-mailed me to provide support and information, or simply allowed me to hijack your forum in order to spread the word. Much respect and appreciation goes to:

  • Andre Richard
  • Ashley Woods
  • Bernyce Talley
  • Blake Bell
  • Brian Wood
  • Dirk Deppey
  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • Elayne Riggs
  • Gail Simone
  • Gina Gagliano
  • Heidi MacDonald
  • Ivory McQueen
  • Jason Lauderdale
  • Javier Hernandez
  • Joe Robinson Currie
  • Johanna Draper Carlson
  • John Jennings
  • Kevin Huxford
  • Kynn Bartlett
  • Lance Tooks
  • Leisl Adams
  • Lisa Fortuner
  • Loren Javier
  • Michael Davis
  • N. L. Johnson
  • Natasha Sanders
  • Pam Noles
  • Rashida Lewis
  • Rich Watson
  • Ronald King
  • Starline Hodge
  • Steve Lieber
  • Trina Robbins
  • Wilson Ramos


Warning.

I can see that I am going to have to make the comics.

And you see, I don’t want to make the comics. Making the comics is hard work. I don’t want to have to struggle with chasing down artists who have disappeared into the ether. I don’t want to have to wander through message board after message board begging someone to work with me. I don’t want to deal with hours of research and proofreading. I don’t want to go back to eating ramen noodles, putting quarters in jars, and not having enough money to eat at Chez Applebees.

But the comics need to be made. Why? Because black and Latino girls are reading—a lot. They’re piling onto trains and buses with colorful little paperbacks tucked into their pockets. And these colorful little paperbacks are full of garbage—pandering, materialistic, gangster bullshit. They contain tall tales where women are lucky to find a man who isn’t too abusive and treats her akin to a high-priced call girl; stories where girls don’t save the day by fighting the bad guys, they survive another day by fucking them.

Does anyone care that these girls are reading garbage? Does anyone care that these girls are spending their lunch money on victim-instruction manuals? Of course not. No one is concerned about what is read by Keisha or Jazmine when everyone is focused on fighting over which company will provide the most entertainment geared exclusively to Jane and Sue. What will they buy? Supergirl? Spiderman Loves Mary Jane? Runaways? The Plain Janes? Or perhaps one of the hundreds of manga volumes I must climb over to get anything done?

It’s not that those books aren’t lovely. I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of them. But those creative teams slaving away at their desks and those marketing teams taking meetings in their glass towers have a certain vision of the girl who is going to save the day and of the girl who is going to buy the book about the girl saving the day. Neither one of those girls is going to be wearing Apple Bottoms jeans, Reebok sneakers, and nameplate earrings. And they damn sure aren’t going to have names like Jazmine and Keisha. Because no one gives a damn about Jazmine and Keisha.

But me. And approximately five other people. And only four of them are creating comics. And only one of them is currently creating comics that Jazmine and Keisha can pick up and see characters they inspire (and can be inspired by). Make that two. Because now I see that I have to make the comics, comics where Jazmine and Keisha are more than just the perpetual support team for some other ingenue or superhero with less melanin or a Y-chromosome.

You see, I was doing the next best thing—complaining. And I thought that my complaints would inspire someone else to make the comics. Because there are a ton of people out there with infinitely more talent and monetary resources than I possess, people who already have an established reputation and a publishing house that adores them. I don’t. However, they don’t care. I do. And they are clueless about how to reach these girls. I’m not.

Crap.



R.I.P.

Leah Adezio passed away last night and I can’t wrap my brain around that information. This is probably due to the fact that I can’t think of another woman in comics whose very personality seemed to be the epitome of liveliness. Her passing is…unfair. Her family needed her, her friends needed her and the comics industry needed her. Good people should be allowed to stick around a little longer than the rest.



On second thought…

Today I received an e-mail from a reader about my blog post on Eyeshield 21. I appreciate the fact that he sent the e-mail because it really made me think about the right an artist should have to creative freedom. I’m not going to post his private comments to me, but I will post a portion of my response.

Intent to harm. Do I think the artist of Eyeshield 21 maliciously intended to reinforce negative stereotypes about black people and attempt to cause them harm? I don’t believe that is the case. However, does it matter what the intentions of the artist are if the results are the same? Even if I don’t intend to step on an individual’s foot, the pain that I might cause that person by accidentally stepping on him is still very real. Though the artist may not have intended to offend, the image still hurt me just as much as the old hateful propaganda against black people the art work was derived from.

African operations. If Viz plans to sell manga containing racist depictions of black people to black people, then I hope they will at least be honest with consumers so that individuals can make educated decisions about the books they purchase. No one wants to plunk down their hard-earned money for a book only to discover images that depict them as beasts and clowns beneath the cover. Perhaps a solution would be to place warnings on the back covers of certain books explaining to consumers that derogatory images of black people are included within the manga. Then people who aren’t disturbed by racist images of black people can continue to enjoy the work in its original unedited format and those who would be upset by it don’t have to suffer the pain of seeing it. I think this is a good solution since censorship or forcing an artist to edit his work doesn’t sit well with me the more I contemplate it.



Sambo, I am?

Since my post addressed to mangaka has been linked to, I thought I’d go into a bit more depth so I don’t come across as an irrational ranting entity! The racist image that I included in my original post? I plucked that image from volume seven of the manga Eyeshield 21. Eyeshield 21 is published in English for English-speaking countries by VIZ Media. The image I posted is from the English language version of the manga that is easily obtainable here in the United States. Volume seven of the series had a publishing date of April 4, 2006.

How many people were aware that this book contained a racist image that is humiliating to black people and still allowed this book to arrive upon American shores unedited? How many people saw that image, shrugged their shoulders, and thought that the feelings of black people were not worth the time and effort it would take to edit or remove the panel? How many people thought that the offensive image wasn’t worth calling attention to because they have bitterly accepted the idea that the Japanese have embraced racist images that are humiliating to black people and will never relinquish their desire for blackface and depictions of Sambo?

I have to admit that I was one of those people. After all, this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve come across racist images in manga. I simply shrugged my shoulders and believed that there was nothing I could do. If Japanese people wanted to embrace hateful images of black people then I had no right to stop them. What right do I have to direct the flow of another person’s culture? And how could I be upset when they had no idea of the history and hate behind those images? I wasn’t even angered by it. I was simply disappointed.

But now I’m angry, because the hate is now being shipped back to my shores to be immersed in my culture after black Americans have spent hundreds of years trying to shake it like a bad virus. And here it is again in a mutated form being packaged to our children so the world can tell them once again how ugly and insignificant it thinks they are.

“John Easum has been appointed President/Gérant of VME and will oversee all of VIZ Media’s European, Middle Eastern and African operations from Paris.”

This is where it gets frightening. African operations. Does VIZ actually have plans to sell books containing these images in African countries? I can understand them not taking African Americans into account when we only make up 12 percent of the American population, but do they really plan to distribute books containing these images to an entire continent filled with black people?

I know I come across as so very irate in this post, but I’m honestly just frustrated and lost. Where do I turn? Many of my peers have happily turned to manga after being upset by what they’ve endured from companies focused on superheroes. But all I see is are two very unappealing options. Sexist images or racist ones.



‘Tis the season

Ah, today was about nothing but me, my computer, and Christmas shopping. I plan on avoiding the shopping malls until well after January 1. All my holiday shopping will be done online, thank you. Unfortunately, many others seem to have the exact same idea because it is currently hell trying to get any commercial site to load.

Or maybe my computer just sucks.

I lie. My computer has been running beautifully with the exception of my monitor, which is ready for the garbage heap. However, I’m keeping it. I paid over 500 hundred dollars for the damn thing and it’s not even working properly three years later. What the hell? My flat screen cost nearly half the price of my Jeep Wrangler! And the ol’ Jeep is half rust, held together by paint and duct tape, and it still works. I’m holding onto this monitor out of sheer fury. I swear they put a special device in it to make it break one day after the extended warranty expired. Well, it’s just you and me until one of us dies, you electronic bastard. Or at least until you’re just like me—black, cold, and broken inside.

Feh.

Anyway, the ability to buy things for people and have it delivered to them without ever having to go outside is awesome. Though I suppose it’s rather rude to try to maintain a relationship with nothing more than gifts. It’s not that I don’t like spending time with people, but weekends only come around once a week, and—I honestly don’t like spending time with people.

Doesn’t this post make me seem grumpy and unpleasant? Well, I’m not. I’m very nice and polite, actually. I’m just not outgoing. And now I’m spending money that I really shouldn’t be spending because I turned down four Thanksgiving invitations to eat a TV dinner at home and I feel really guilty about it. So, I’m buying people stuff.

I hate the holidays.



Girlie girls and wicked women.

Okay, I went to a “Girls’ Night Out” event hosted by Shecky’s last night.

It was horrible.

I don’t know why I continue to go to these “ladies’ events” when they almost always suck. Perhaps I don’t enjoy them because I’m not a “lady.” I’d say about 40 percent of the shopping booths there were devoted to jewelry (which I hardly every wear) and a good 50 percent of the booths contained overpriced clothes and handbags that I could get for a fraction of the price at any New Jersey mall.

Official tangent: People may make fun of New Jersey, but our malls kick the butts of the malls in every other state. I know you jerks are going to Jersey to shop, because I keep seeing cars with NY and PA plates hogging up all the damn parking spaces. Stop making fun of Jersey or deal with buying overpriced items in your own state.

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled post.

Anyway, another chunk of the booths was dedicated to selling “women’s interest” books. Apparently, the following topics fascinate your average woman:

  • How to get a man.
  • How to get over a man.
  • How to get over on a man.

Booo! That is absurd! Here’s my lists of interests:

  • Electronic gadgets.
  • Home improvement.
  • Dance music.
  • Graphic novels.
  • Science fiction.
  • Lotions and shampoos that smell like food.
  • Cute doggies.

I am not concerned with how to get a man or keep a man. Either he wants me or he doesn’t. I am also not concerned with how to get over on a man because that’s just cruel. And honestly? None of the women I know are interested in those topics either. It’s not as if I belong to a clique of fabulously enlightened chicks. We’re all just average women you encounter everyday. I guess I’m just annoyed that these events cater to such a narrow selection of women. And it’s a selection of women that I (and most other women) have very little in common with. Most women are interested in purchasing more than just clothes, accessories, and books about relationships with men.

Anyway, nothing is all bad. There were some cool things about the event. One, they actually included a graphic novel in the goodie bag! Yes, it was a title geared towards young girls, but I’m still thrilled that comics are now considered something that women are interested in. Two, I had Rice Krispie treats dipped in the most fabulous vanilla glaze ever! They were from Dip, a fondue restaurant in NYC. Plus, there were a couple of nice self-help books there that amazingly had nothing to do with men.

Finally, NJ Transit had massive train delays and it took me forever to get home.



More hate.

Hmmm. It seems as if I have compiled my hate list rather prematurely. I didn’t give 50 Cent a chance to say something mind-numbingly stupid this week. Now’s your chance, 50!

“Oprah’s great. I just think the only misconception is that she’s a black woman. They say Oprah Winfrey’s a black woman, but she’s [been] catering to a demographic of a middle-aged white women for so long that I believe she’s a middle-aged white woman.”

Okay! Anything else?

“Oprah will have a rapist on her show and have a discussion about why they do it, but won’t have a rags-to-riches story on her show. She’ll have Kanye West on her show. I think Middle America would rather have they kids be gay, than have them aggressive.”

Nice. First of all, anyone who has watched just one episode of The Wire (which is the best show on television) knows damn well that gay and aggressive are not mutually exclusive. Omar will cut you. Second, Oprah brings rapists on her show so she can (1) verbally tear into them and (2) give women information on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from the horror of sexual assault. That is extremely important. Promoting a rapper who is enjoying the fourteenth minute of his fifteen minutes of fame is not.

Third? Your consumer base does not determine your race. If that were the case, 50 would be a white male teenager with a great deal of money to spend on substandard entertainment. Hell, your DNA doesn’t even determine your race. Race is as arbitrary as human behavior. It can change just by booking a flight to a different country. Hey, remember when people from Spain used to be white? Me too.

Okay, that’s enough of the hate. Let’s get back to the love!