2017-10-16

The Joker

I could have killed the Joker. Once, a long time ago.

I posted a new profile picture on Facebook this morning. This picture.


Someone noticed that it seemed a bit darker than my usual profile pic fare and asked if I was okay. This is the answer to that.

I could have killed the Joker.

(Let’s call that a metaphorical statement, just to keep things simple.)

As anyone who’s followed and thought about the comic-book character at a certain level knows, Batman has a problem. His archenemy is the Joker, and the Joker kills people. The Joker hurts people in ways that destroy the ability think about them. But every time Batman and the Joker face off in response to the Joker having hurt people, Batman stops short of the point where he could kill the Joker himself. Sometimes he stops well short. Sometimes he stops with that death a heartbeat away. But he always stops, every time.

If you don’t know it, the profile pic of which I speak isn’t real. It’s part of a dream sequence. Batman has killed the Joker in dreams, and in non-canon alternate reality narratives, and maybe in the movies. But in the real canon, in the real stories, he stops short. Every time.

And because Batman stops, because he allows himself to accept that putting the Joker in a place where he thinks he can’t hurt anyone anymore is good enough, the Joker inevitably escapes back into the world again. The Joker inevitably kills again. And Batman inevitably stops short, again and again, of ending this cycle of pain and madness and death.

I feel like a failure a lot of the time. I know that’s not a big deal, and I know that probably everyone reading this can say the same thing from time to time. It’s all about impostor syndrome, and being at a certain point in one’s life, and feeling the passage of time, and other related shit.

But this morning, a big part of that feeling of failure comes from seeing the unclimbable wall of #MeToo facing me on social media, and knowing that even though #IBelieveYou, and #IStandWithYou, I don’t know if that’s enough. Even though I’ve spent a good chunk of my life trying to be an ally, trying to lead by example, trying to make sure that the women and the marginalized people in my life understood that I understood, and that I cared, and that I would do anything to make things better for them…

I don’t know if it’s ever been enough.

I don’t know if I should have done more.

I don’t know if I’ve been stopping short of what needed to be done.

Anyway.

Once, a long time ago, I could have killed the Joker.

(Let’s still call that a metaphorical statement, just to keep things simple.)

But that once, a long time ago, just like Batman and his inability to make that final, definitive decision, I pushed up to the point closest to that. And I stopped. I told myself it was best if I didn’t let myself go past it. And I did everything I thought I could do short of making that decision.

I did what I could to put the Joker down. I did it well. I left him in a place where I was positive that he could never get out. Positive that he could never hurt anyone, ever again.

But you know this story. So you know that he did. And he did.

Because as long as Batman doesn’t kill the Joker, that story doesn’t ever end.

Anyway.

Harvey Weinstein is clearly a different Joker than my Joker. (Though I have to admit, there’s a disturbing physical resemblance.) And alongside the pain and the heartbreak I feel in response to #MeToo, and the rage I try to quell long enough to let me say #IBelieveYou, all I can fucking think about is the long, endless goddamn line of people who could have killed Weinstein’s Joker. But they didn’t.

Bob Weinstein’s at the top of that list. Sixteen executives at the Weinstein Company who knew, from what I’ve read. Uncounted agents, managers, publicists. The list is too fucking long.

Ben Affleck could have killed the Joker. How’s that for fucking irony?

So in addition to #IBelieveYou, here’s what I’m feeling right now.

If it ever comes down to it, if I ever have the chance again.

#IWillKillTheFuckingJoker.

Not because I think it’ll make me the hero. Not because I can pretend that there won’t be consequences. But because I’m tired of this fucking story.

This story needs to stop.

2017-10-02

Daredevil

So we just had the carpet in the bedrooms replaced with laminate fake hardwood, and it’s produced one particularly unexpected effect.

My least favorite game of an evening is trying to walk through the darkened bedroom (because Colleen usually goes to sleep before I do, so I can’t turn the light on) without stepping on dogs (because the dogs’ favorite place to sleep is right directly in my freaking path, no matter which way I try to go).

But since the new floors went down, I can suddenly tell where the dogs are even in the dark, because can I hear my footsteps like I couldn’t on carpet — and I can hear how the echo of my footsteps changes when I’m about to trod on whatever animal is lying directly in front of me.

I’m like Daredevil. Except just with dogs.

2017-08-26

The Secret

Hey, D&D-playing homophobes! Here’s something I wanted to share with you.

Think about every adventure you ever played in. Think about every NPC your character ever interacted with. Think about the vast majority of those NPCs whose spouse, romantic history, or sexual predilections were never mentioned in the course of the game:

Each and every one of those characters was secretly gay, but we didn’t tell you.

I’m an industry professional, so you know it’s true.

2017-08-14

Slippery Slope

The slippery-slope argument is bullshit.

Saying “If we’re okay with doxxing people at white supremacist rallies, isn’t that the same as doxxing people for any viewpoints we don’t agree with?” is bullshit.

“Why are we okay with people being fired from a job for far-right beliefs when that might lead inevitably to people being fired for any political or religious beliefs?” Bullshit.

Here’s the thing. Free speech gives you the right to say whatever you want. Then the cultural standards and legal system of the country you’re living in determines what happens as a result of you saying whatever you want.

If you go out in public and loudly threaten to kill someone, you’ll get arrested. You’ll be on the news and everyone will learn your name, see your face, and know that you went out in public and threatened to kill someone. If I’m your boss and I get word that you went out in public and threatened to kill someone, I’ll fire your ass in heartbeat. And none of these consequences would surprise anyone.

“But it’s wrong that a person could be arrested and fired from a job for going out in public and loudly threatening to kill someone, because won’t that inevitably lead to people being arrested and fired for going out in public and just talking too loudly?”

No. It won’t. Because the slippery-slope argument is bullshit.

White supremacy is a movement predicated on the threat of killing other people. The appropriate response to that shouldn’t be so difficult to figure out.

2017-07-18

Lower That Blast-Pistol

Okay, I saw the Blade Runner 2049 trailer. Here’s what I think (because I know you’re all dying to hear it):

Hampton Fancher is credited for both story and screenplay on this film. Hampton Fancher was the first screenwriter on the original Blade Runner, whose script was so freaking bad that Philip K. Dick originally disowned the project before shooting even started. Fancher’s original script is, in fact, a complete pile of shit. (You can find it online. Go ahead and read it; I’ll wait.)

In the end, Dick got to read the revised version of the script that David Peoples salvaged, and he liked it. He was very positive about the direction of the film (which departed even more from Fancher’s original as it was constantly retooled during shooting). But in the final interview he ever gave (Dick died five months before Blade Runner was released), this is what he said about Fancher’s script and why he hated it:

“There were good things in Fancher’s screenplay. It’s like the story of the old lady who takes a ring into a jeweler to have the stone reset. And the jeweler scrapes all of the patina of years and years and shines it up, and she says, ‘My God, that was what I loved the ring for — the patina!’ Okay, they had cleaned my book up of all of the subtleties and of the meaning. The meaning was gone. It had become a fight between androids and a bounty hunter.

“I had this vision in my mind then that I would go up there and be introduced to Ridley Scott, and be introduced to Harrison Ford, who’s the lead character, and I’d just be so dazzled I’d be like Mr. Toad seeing the motorcar for the first time. My eyes would be wide as saucers and I’d just be standing there completely mesmerized. Then I would watch a scene being shot. And Harrison Ford would say, ‘Lower that blast-pistol or you’re a dead android!’ And I would just leap across that special effects set like a veritable gazelle and seize him by the throat and start battering him against the wall. They’d have to run in and throw a blanket over me and call the security guards to bring in the Thorazine. And I'd be screaming, ‘You've destroyed my book!’ “

In the Blade Runner 2049 trailer, I’m seeing a whole lot of “Lower that blast-pistol or you’re a dead android!” That’s all I’m saying.