19 December 2013

BRIEF THOUGHTS: On the Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson comment controversy

I don't have an opinion on it being right or wrong for A&E to cut ties with this particular family member for his comments about homosexuality (or race). Do I agree with said comments? Not at all and I think the linked article from The Atlantic is correct in calling attention to the race related ones.

Back to the controversy, A&E has likely made a decision based on business and USUALLY this is applauded as a RIGHT by conservative Christians that should be celebrated as patriotic and freedom loving. Honestly it's natural to hedge a bit on one's political ideology when a greater threat is perceived and non-conservative (non) Christians do it all the time..... But maybe A&E, in spite of all its not-so-Biography-like (less high-brow) programming these days, has made its own moral call to not be associated with people who publicly equate homosexuality with the supposed potential societal slip into commonplace beastiality. Perhaps A&E believe's, whether for PR or not, that his comments are on a different side of history than they want to be on.

If this was an attack on Christianity, as many of the outraged have said, then do you really think they would have aired this family's story to begin with?! Christianity IS NOT synonymous with these comments by Phil Robertson. There are many views within what is broadly considered "Christian". And, in any case, these comments aren't the focus (or even on the textual radar) of the supposed figurehead of the faith. So, my conservative Christian brothers and sisters, rest assured you aren't being persecuted for your faith this looks nothing like that.

The Real Duck Dynasty Scandal: Phil Robertson's Comments on Race

28 July 2013

REVIEW: Hawkeye Annual 1

Hawkeye (2012) Annual 1
Story - Matt Fraction
Art - Javier Pulido
Color - Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher - Marvel
Release date - July 24, 2013

Javier Pulido's visuals fit right in with the excellent house style this book has developed for itself via David Aja, Javier himself, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm, Annie Wu, Francesco Francavilla, and, of course the integral colorist, Matt Hollingsworth. Loved the more cartoony and pop-art style art aside from the odd seemingly random silhouettes (as pointed out by others). This is the sort of rendering seen more often in the character driven personal everyday stories of indie and European comics.

An annual is a perfect place to devote a whole issue to the book's co-star Kate Bishop and still the male Hawkeye/Clint appears in the early pages in a non-token way. It doesn't seem like a stretch to fill up an extra length issue to exploit the now popular and critically acclaimed Hawkeye book brand. Hawkeye Annual #1 is an engaging half-lighthearted adventure ride while also accomplishing the task of fleshing out backstory that informs Kate's rocky path towards adulthood.

It is hard to judge this issue on its own and not take away points for not being absolutely ground-breakingly wonderful like much of the rest of Fraction's run on Hawkeye. I'm not sure that is fair but it's hard to avoid. So, all around, a solid and non-throwaway issue with some neat graphic quirks that I choose to view as endearing and special. That's actually the perfect sum up. This story is endearing and special.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Also posted here: http://ifanboy.com/reviews/hawkeye-annual-1/

21 June 2013


One song a summer soundtrack ...

... and one complicatedly gorgeous.

From this album, out September 24:

21 April 2013

WHERE I STAND [5]: On Pledges of Allegiance for the Young

Recently, I saw this image posted on Facebook. 

Before continuing, on patriotism my brief thoughts are here.
On the second part: I don't. So I took it as a writing prompt. 

I wonder if having children pledge themselves to something  -- whether the state, religion, or an ideology --  that they can't understand, even if only in part, is ethically good or generally bad for the future of whatever they are supposedly pledging towards. How can an allegiance actually be pledged towards what the symbol (flag, Bible, propaganda) represents if the pledger doesn't or can't understand it? With that allegiance already promised and a part of the person's identity, they may never get to a place of real and deep understanding. They may have already settled into a necessary fundamentalism rooted in simplisticness and ignorance. Note I wrote "may" and fully acknowledge the shades of this sort of allegiance and complexities based on faith communities, history teachers,  parents, and all those other crazy variables. To be honest, as you may have guessed, I lean pretty hard towards "generally bad".

Experience tells me that becoming aware of this self-state later in life one is likely to throw this entire allegiance out -- the bad, good, and questionable -- causing great internal and relational disruption. An open and affirming community with which to journey certainly can cushion the blow and be a great asset in such a time. That community might be family, friends, an educational environment, a bartender, or church. But that same community's time and resources would be better spent not having to pick up the pieces from every unraveled onion crying in the corner. Sadly, many, if not most in the faith arena, don't have this sort of community support to turn almost inevitable crisis into great growth and expanded scope of vision.

It is up to us as parents, community members, job fillers, title holders, and decent people to paint a picture of our world, beliefs, and ideologies with generosity but not with blindness to their complexities, failings, and areas of unknowns. To not saddle our entrusted ones with ideas that are at best wishful thinking and at worst self aggrandized propaganda. To not insist on belief in absolutes that we ourselves embrace out of a sort of duty instead of comprehension and understanding. To take stock of our own limited base of knowledge and realize our individual scope. And, so importantly, to affirm that there are mysteries each of us uniquely do not understand that someone else may. 

All of this done with great humility and with those to whom speak and all the other people they will eventually effect chiefly in mind. We are charged with this weighty task and, yet, clearly we can do better.

One plus, this little picture didn't suggest a person was less patriotic or freedom loving if he/she didn't share it! Phew.

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