by Meg Thompson
During the lead up to the 2008 presidential election, when I was an English Instructor in western Missouri, a student said to me, shaking his head, “A woman and a black man. Can’t we just have a normal person run for office?”
I don’t remember how I responded, perhaps because I fainted. Back then, barely a semester out of graduate school, my approach to handling the delicate issues of race and gender veered toward melodrama. Today, when met with similar rhetorical questions, it is not uncommon to find me crouching in front of the student’s desk like I am taking an order at Chili’s, nodding, probing with my little questions: Why do you think that? After class, we would go to the university coffeeshop so we could chat one-on-one, more in-depth.
Now, in 2016, that black man is getting ready to finish his second term and that woman has the democratic nomination in her grasp. My female students come to my office, which is now in rural Oklahoma where I teach, and tell me in hushed tones that they aren’t feminists, but they believe women should be given equal treatment. Continue reading
ABC Family Freeform Network,
How did you do it? Please stop. I’m serious, get out of my head.
Tonight you’re re-branding yourself as the Freeform Network. I know that isn’t just some rando name change. You are tactically teaming up to destroy my life with television.
I’ll be watching tonight, as you launch #Freeform. How could I resist watching the premiere of Shadowhunters? The show follows a young human named Clary as she learns that she is part angel. But it gets better: Clary is just a bit more angel than all the other angel people. Shadowhunters, based on The Mortal Instruments, Clare’s pseudo-original Harry Potter fanfiction, has already been turned into a terribly unsuccessful movie. This feels like a carefully calculated trainwreck, the kind you know I can’t turn away from.
Clary is tortured because she is literally part angel.
I wasn’t always hooked on ABC Family. It begins slowly. Just one episode of Switched at Birth. Wow, the plot seems kind of ludicrous… two families of different races had their babies switched, and one of the parents knew for years but never said anything? This is exactly the kind of content that I, as a young millennial, love to hate-watch. I love to hate-watch it on my Netflix account (that I steal from my dad, obvs). I love to hate-watch it on my phone and my computer, because I am totally hip and free and young. Continue reading
The Rocky Road of Moving Pens
by Janet Buck
I almost die, lose my pen, disappear, come back to life a little bit. Somehow, perhaps by the grace of persistent boredom and a two-minute glance at reality shows, I find that precious stick among tsunami-sized piles of dog hair and shredded Kleenex under the bed, and voilà, the writing world has changed its clothes. It’s been more than five years since I’ve written or published much at all, so I’m hungry for that feeling of putting together a poem without losing a piece of the puzzle to the puppy teeth of our new Yorkie. The Ars Poetica floating on the internet was always a pretty dicey glass, half-empty, half-full, but I was under the comfortable delusion I could hold the cup without it slipping from my hands.
The water is now on the floor, our puppy’s licking up the mess, and I am left in dizzyland. The pastures I’m familiar with have grown new grass and added weeds, thistled ones. Poetry is a slinky woman wearing a thong; editors want short and terse, nothing over 30 lines. A complete sentence in a poem is considered excess grit. The bulk of guidelines threaten me with: “Don’t do that, do this instead, we like this, we don’t like that, we hate the part of reading fifty pounds of subs—and e-mails are a presence that will get you shot, or hanging upside down in the town square, with people throwing rocks at you. We don’t pay you; you pay us. But please submit; we want your work.” I fall for it like a three-scoop ice cream cone in my favorite flavor.
Fairly early on in the game, I was smart enough to realize that getting paid to expose my soul just wasn’t a “happening” enterprise, rather like setting up a lemonade stand at the North Pole and expecting people to fork out a buck for more damned ice. I’m the first to admit I fully applaud the invention of submission fees because journals without fiscal support go down in flames, and I feel sad when I read giant messages on my screen that say, “We’ve drowned and no one came to rescue us.” The fact is that we’re all together standing in the breadline out in the cold.
Ashby, a new comedy about a young boy who befriends an ex-CIA assassin, is not exactly a land mine of diversity. Not a single line was spoken by a person of color, and neither of the film’s female characters, played by Sarah Silverman and Emma Roberts, are given anything to do. Eloise (Roberts) has a mysterious MRI machine in her basement and even though she is really much more interesting than the male lead, played by Nat Wolff, she gets almost no screen time.
However, one thing bugged me even more than this. Emma Roberts, what are you doing with your glasses? Her character has thick frames and brown hair, as befits a young nerd. But the actress seems lost on what to do with them. She wears them like an accessory. In one scene she has her glasses off, and puts them on to read a computer. Why does she do this? Is her character nearsighted? And if so why does she wear them to walk around? She’s supposed to be high school aged. Does she have bifocals?
I’m imagining a new final scene. Roberts goes to an optometrist. “But doctor, I’m losing all my near sight and my long-distance vision. I thought this was an ailment of the middle age?”
“No Emma, this is actually quite common in women of your age.”
Roberts hisses. “You promised me that the blood of orphans you gave me would keep me young. I want to keep playing high school students for another 10, 20 years.”
Marvel’s Ant-Man gives us a woman, a man, and an ant-suit. Both want to wear the suit. The woman knows martial arts, can talk to ants, and already has the high-tech secrets to a master plan to save the world. The man is likeable thief Paul Rudd. The movie is called Ant-Man. Guess which one gets to wear the suit?
While still enjoyable and fun, Ant-Man left me with one burning question: why couldn’t Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) daughter, have been a hero?
Early on, Hope brings the stirrings of an evil plot to her father’s attention. Hank Pym starts looking for a new person to wear the Ant-Man suit he created and save the world. When Hope first confronts her father about how she should be doing the job she sums up in one sentence why she is the best choice (I’m loosely quoting here): ‘I know everything about everything gimme the suit.’ Pym’s reply: “Nah I’ve got a complete stranger in mind…he doesn’t know shit about my insanely weird tech but he’s a pretty qualified thief.”
Inconsiderate Use of Devices in Public
By Sky Greene
I’m sure it’s happened to most of you. You’re sitting at your favorite coffee shop, minding your own business and suddenly the person at the table next to you starts talking and you snap to attention, trying to understand what he is saying to you, only to realize he is on his phone, which you can’t see because he has one of those stupid ear pieces in that is hidden unless you are staring at his ear. And he’s using his outside voice.
Being in the age of constantly new and changing technology is great. Really, it is. Most of the time. So much info is at our fingertips at any given moment and we can connect with people half way around the world at the click of a button. I love my phone, my computer, and my iPad, but I don’t consider them an extension of myself. They are not essential like my thumbs; something I need and rely on at all times. I have the ability to put my phone down and enjoy my surroundings. I can even power down for an entire week when I am on vacation (gasp)! I’m afraid that more and more individuals are unable do this. It makes me sad.
By the Furious Gazelle editors
It’s that time of the year again, when adults tell children that reindeer are mythical animals, but that Santa is real.
Back in the day, other kids delighted in telling me that I wouldn’t get a visit from Santa because I’m a Jew. I delighted in telling them that they wouldn’t either because he’s imaginary, how do you still believe in him you’re 7? It did not go over well. Can you blame me? My fellow seven year olds were spouting lies to my face. And believing in Santa for too long makes you look dumb– I was being helpful.
In retrospect, it wasn’t those kids’ fault. It was their parents’.
I know what you’re saying: lying to children can be fun, and hilarious. They are so easily confused by the world. Friends, I agree. Just the other day I told a toddler that I would give him a piece of candy, and instead I punched him on the nose. And we had a great laugh about it.
By e. kirshe
A disclaimer: Before you read the title and offer genuine advice about avoiding such an infuriating place I will tell you that, sadly, I work there and must navigate those putrid streets daily.
It has been slowly eating my soul.
To some Times Square is the beating heart of the city. It is alive with light and energy and conveniently towards the middle (like a heart!). The people who think this are tourists and they make me furious.
To tourists: I understand, I really do, that you’ve traveled, sometimes far, to be here and it’s all very new and exciting. What I don’t understand is why that makes you so damn rude.
That’s right, it’s not us, it’s you.
A lot of people say that you can’t make a good living as an English major. The facts are very cold and hard: Most publishing houses are in New York City. Entry level publishing jobs pay very, very little, and New York City is very, very expensive.
When I graduated from college, I resolved to go into publishing, no matter how poorly paid it was. I would show the world that I really could make it work as an English major.
I can do this, I thought, in the naïveté of my youth. I can realize my dream of living in Brooklyn and being boho-poor like in Girls but still not actually so poor that I have to live on the street like a pigeon.