The Cult of Saint George & Its Crusade Against Women

A modest suggestion for those who believe Disney is championing diversity in Star Wars for ideological reasons:

I’m talking about those of you who believe that there is some nefarious feminist agenda or enforced diversity conspiracy at the heart of the Star Wars franchise.  And I want to focus on those of you who feel it is acceptable to harass or threaten actors, producers, or fans because of your beliefs.  However, if you are one of those people who sincerely believe that harassment and threats will change how these movies are produced, I think you’re too far gone to get this so just move along.

Move along.

Here is a more logical reason that Disney and other film companies are engaging in and embracing diversity in their IPs.

Hang on to your jockstraps, boys.

  1. Women have money.  
  2. Women have nerdly interests.  
  3. Women spend money on things their nerdly interests.
  4. People of color have money.  
  5. People of color have nerdly interests.  
  6. People of color spend money on their nerdly interests.
  7. And they like Star Wars.  They like Disney movies. They like Marvel movies. They like Pixar.
  8. And their money is as green as yours.

Does that sound cynical?  I’m asking because most of you seem like you know cynicism pretty well.

Do you think Disney didn’t know about Harvey Weinstein’s open secret of abuses?  Or Bill Cosby? Do you think they run a factory of child stars because they want every kid to achieve his or her dream of childhood stardom?

Yeah, no.  

While the end result is refreshingly progressive, it wouldn’t happen if that end result wasn’t profitable.  It’s not like Disney is forcing people to buy products. They know the market has changed and are responding to it.

Let me say that again.  

Disney is not driving social change.  

It is responding to changes in the marketplace.

So, you may be right that Disney is taking the brand in a different direction than you’d like but – sunflowers – the market is completely different than 1977 or 1983 or 1999 or 2005.

It isn’t so profitable telling stories or selling toys just for boys.  The proof is in the numbers.

But let’s talk about the 1,200-pound bantha in the room, kids.

Star Wars is a brand built around merchandising and is a highly profitable IP in that regard.  The brand is so tangled up in your childhood nostalgia that you don’t notice.  In fact, you forgive and forget every stupid creative choice and revision made to the films because it is too important to lose.

It is populist space opera that has its place, but was designed to sell you stuffed Ewok toys and plastic spaceships and little effigies of your heroes because Saint George knew you would buy them and make him incredibly, ridiculously wealthy.

He knew you would buy the Special Edition films. He knew you would get over the changes to the Holy Trilogy and buy tickets to the prequels that were SO bad in SO many ways because it was Star Wars.  You forgave everything Saint George did to alter the memories of your precious childhood.

Oh sure, you bitched about it, and it made you feel like a free-thinking fan.  But did you leave the Church of Saint George over it?  No.  Because your need for the love those films inspired in you overwhelms your sense of self or perhaps all sense.  And if you ever sent or shared a hateful message to a working actor over a fucking movie role, I suggest you have more issues than just a lack of sense.

The pod races.  The shitty dialogue.  The clunky stories.  The revisionist effects and sequences.  The plot holes.  This is not classic cinema.  George Lucas wanted to make Flash Gordon, couldn’t get the rights and decided, “Fuck it, I’ll make my own cultural phenomenon and keep all the licensing rights!”

And you forgave because you couldn’t walk away from the trough.  Except.  Now it is different.  Now, you have an excuse to bitch even louder because Saint George is out and the Evil Mouse House is in charge with their dastardly social engineering plots and enthusiasm for writing icky girls with cooties and DARE TO GIVE THEM POWER!

Suddenly, after six films, cartoon series, books, and abominable television series, Kathleen Kennedy is the devil, girl power is ruining life, a black hero is superfluous, and Star Wars is off the rails.

Get the hell over yourself.  

Come on.  You didn’t scream about Luke ending his story like a punk, but somehow Rose Tico is terrible?  Poe Dameron disobeying a direct order and commencing a battle that killed hundreds, wasting valuable military assets is okay…but Vice Admiral Holdo was too much for you?  Do you even listen to yourselves when you issue a “Call to Arms” over a piece of pop culture entertainment?  In terms of our world today, it is pathetic a thing to make your mission, but even in the realm of entertainment criticism, it is still profoundly silly.

It is a movie.  Actors put themselves out there every day to be judged by the public.  Producers and artists do their best in a bureaucratic and market-driven profession to please every last mouth-breather looking to have their belly tickled.  They work long hours on set, they do long junkets to promote their movies, dance like monkeys on talk shows for your amusement, and all they ask is you give them a fair review. That’s the job.

That professionalism should nullify anyone’s armchair tantrum or gesture of hate.  But, no.  You all had to go dark and embrace your hate.  There is no world, no life, no circumstance where that makes you better or stronger than those who actually got off the bench to make the things you enjoy.

Yes, even if it sucks. 

The problem with Star Wars is not diversity.  The problem with Star Wars is that you have voluntarily surrendered yourself to a brand that has only wanted one thing since 1977 – your money.  It sold you on characters and situations that were just as much tied to merchandise as Transformers or GI Joe.

You think you’re leading some holy crusade to preserve the purity of something that was never pure; a piece of entertainment desired to amuse and distract you from the challenges of real life.  It was never meant as modern mythology as its stories had already been told in other, better films and books. Star Wars is a part of your childhood and your life.  You’ve shared the movies with your friends, your, family, and your kids. But if it moves you to enjoy taunting people or threatening them because of what it is becoming then you are the one with a very big problem.

I implore you to reconsider your life choices rather than distract yourself with corporate conspiracy theories

Something in your life went wrong, so wrong that you have replaced part of your life with a movie intended to sell you toys.

That is a sad, sad reality.

Because you’ve been duped.

Want to escape the pattern?  I have your answer.  You just need to know about the secret Star Wars chase figure hidden somewhere on the Dark Web and issued as one of every 25,000 Star Wars figures: Episode IX’s big villain called “D’oh Egress.”

 

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Hidden Harbor Mysteries 15

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The fate of Hidden Harbor is revealed!
 
Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Johnny Fiesty as Ulrich, Brion Humphrey as Dooley, Rish Outfield as Baxter, Pat Krane as Dutch, Alex White as Greenstreet, Chris Lester as Major Klink, John Lincoln as General Stosky, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.

Living with The Lie: Depression & Suicide

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For most of my life, I have failed.

I see every morning as another chance to get it right and every night as another debit in that ledger.

I don’t deserve what I’ve earned.

When I try to be assertive or supportive I feel I’m being arrogant or fake or unhelpful.

Kids deserve better than me as a father, my wife deserves better, and my family will prosper if I don’t bring my poor example around my nieces and nephews.

Any success I’ve seen is luck and every failure I’ve experience is well-earned.

Lost opportunities are simply preempted failures.

Climbing two steps means nothing when you can’t see the top of the staircase.

A small sample of mistakes I made ten, twenty, even thirty years ago? They define my stupidity and my unrelenting ignorance.

I don’t want good things because I will taint or destroy them.

.

That is the narrative inside my head all the time ever since I was a young boy.

.

For a good three years there was not a day that went by that I didn’t entertain the slight thrill of not waking up the next morning, not taking my own life, but simply not having to put up with it any more.

When I thought that way, I would punish myself for being selfish, wanting to punch out like a coward while leaving behind a kid and hurting people who probably loved me more than I allowed myself to believe. I’d feel worse and not take care of myself. After all, what’s the point?

Self-deprecation is one way I cope. I’m overweight, old, weird, whatever it is. I can joke about it so your punchline is too late and powerless.

I can write you as the villain of my story, but the truth is that the villain I know best is myself and I see me in every single one I’ve written.

I’ve been to therapists. I take meds. It helps for a while, but I honestly believe that only an exorcism or special surgery can remove that sentient hate monster that’s been commentating my failures for as long as I can remember.

But every morning, I get up. I go to work. I do something I like every day. I do something I have to do, every day. I do something that scares me, every single day. This is to remind myself that I can accomplish small things and overcome fear every day. I take a moment to count my blessings, the friendships I have, and the gifts I’ve have yet to squander. I don’t win all the battles. I don’t win all the days.

Some days it pushes me to great anger. Other days, I’ll lose all motivation. I’m learning how to manage both extremes productively.

And I’ve learned to tell that voice to shut the fuck up and continue on anyway.

So, if this how you’ve lived, too. You’re not alone. You might be thinking that your own version of the lie is true. You’re content to lump all your incidental failings and mis-steps into a grievance list of things that eat you alive and try to tell you you are less of a person. No. People see you differently on the outside and you are more than a gray patch of life. You mean something. Something important.

Trust me on this. I’ve watched too many sad, beautiful people buried in the past few years. They never had a chance to speak their truth or make the change they wanted to see I. This world.

We fight The Lie every day. It makes it hard to better ourselves when we can’t tell what’s really wrong. Rely on your support network. If you can’t do that, there are people who make it their life’s work to Kill the Lie. Reach out to them.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 14

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The final battle begins!
 
Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Lauren Harris as Mishka Rosenko, Renee Chambliss as Gretchen, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.

The Fall of The Orthodox Church of Holy Fandom

There has been a generational shift in fandom. There has also been a great change from what was once insular and private to inclusive and shared. And its scares the hell out of some who see that change as dangerous or frightening.

While I was growing up, girls didn’t typically run with the nerd herd. When a girl showed an interest in comics or sci-fi, it was like spotting a rabid unicorn – astonishing and a little scary. Of course, I grew up in the suburbs in a time where gender roles were well defined. As the 80s turned into the 90s, this began to change. But not everywhere and not all fans were so willing to change.

Many groups I’ve played in included a few boys who I can picture growing up into Incel types bitching about how pop culture is “raping” their childhoods.

I’d like to think most of them grew up and out of their fear of women, but I also know a lot of people who peaked in high school who hate how the world passed them by half their lifetime ago.

Some see diversity in fandom as proof of its noblest qualities. Others see it as an invasion of their sanctuary or the desecration of their holy sites and rites by infidels who didn’t suffer long or hard enough to earn entry. I’m afraid, the latter group is a lost cause. You can no more win an ideological war with them than you can win a war on “Terror.”

To them, Star Wars will always be “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker” and the end of his story in the new trilogy will always be seen as a way to destroy that saga in favor of something unnecessarily foreign and inferior.

And if “girls” want to step into their world, there will always be angry boys hiding behind their keyboards really to do the only thing they have ever been able to do their entire lives.

Complain and rage against the ether.

As a white male who experienced the commercialization of fandom over the decades, I admit being surprised by how things have changed. Back in the 80s and even into the 90s I never would have expected to see women – adult, professional women with families – choosing to build costumes around characters they love and spend time making people happy. I never thought there were so many people of color who would openly roll up characters for a tabletop RPG. I didn’t expect the shift in pop culture to represent more than just the traditional “hero/damsel” tropes. It surprises me, but it means those of us who were outcasts when we loved those things were not so alone after all.

So, while we can do nothing about the last block of resistance, know that those clownshoe jackasses don’t speak for me or my generation or my gender. They are the outliers, the voice of The Lie. The bullied have become the bullies. And they should know better.

Eleanor Roosevelt had a saying that went something like “Only you can allow someone to pee on your squee.” Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true and only you can decide if an opinion deserves the kind of attention that lends it validation. Best leave these zealots of the Othodox Church of Holy Fandom where they’ve been all this time – alone and isolated.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 13

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Our heroes rally against the forces of evil, finding their second wind to hit Mistress Penumbra and her army head-on.

Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Johnny Fiesty as Ulrich, Brion Humphrey as Dooley, Rish Outfield as Baxter, Lauren Harris as Mishka Rosenko, M. Sierro Garcia as Mistress Talon, Renee Chambliss as Gretchen, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 12

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Our heroes rally against the forces of evil, finding their second wind to hit Mistress Penumbra and her army head-on.

Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Johnny Fiesty as Ulrich, Brion Humphrey as Dooley, Rish Outfield as Baxter, Alex White as Greenstreet, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 11

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All seems lost as each of the 12 major gangs in Hidden Harbor fall before Mistress Penumbra and her femme fatales and the city crumbles further into madness.

Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Johnny Fiesty as Foster, Brion Humphrey as Carlo, M. Sierro Garcia as Mistress Talon, Rish Outfield as Kreig, John Scott Ballentine as Chief, Pat Krane as Dutch, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 10

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Mistress Penumbra and her minions Talon and The Red Wolf unleash their plan to take over Hidden Harbor and destroy the Femme Phantom and her gang once and for all!

Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Laura Nicole as Kat Sparrow, James Baxter Patton as Caspar Dixon, Johnny Fiesty as Foster, Lauren Harris as Mishka Rosenko, M. Sierro Garcia as Mistress Talon, Alex White as Officer, Pat Krane as Willy Jermyn, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries 09

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Private Detective Horn infiltrates the Alraune Building, home to infamous Club Penumbra.  What he discovers appears to be more sinister than even he expected.  The Femme Phantom visits a fallen adversary to find out more about Mistress Penumbra’s plot.

With Dave Robison as The Narrator, Veronica Giguere as Barbara Wilson, Kathryn Pryde as Mistress Penumbra, Lauren Harris as Mishka Rosenko, Rish Outfield as Michael McBrion, Ayoub Khote as Michael’s father, Chris Lester as Guard#1, John Scott Ballentine as Guard#2, Alex White as Greenstreet, and Norm Sherman as Detective Horn.