Superhero_ines: Rebooted Comics and Trans* Identity

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My article “Superhero_ines: Rebooted Comics and Trans* Identity” is now the first online publication on the rebooted Vector Torque Control. It’s also my academic coming-out as non-binary.

Abstract:

Gender is a discursive and performative construct, and mass media such as comic books play a role in how it is constructed. Problems arise from discrepancies between prescriptive models of gender and individuals’ actual lived experience. Now, in the era of the reboot, comic book writers have the opportunity to change the identity politics inherent within well-known series, reaching a wide audience through iconic figures, and contributing to changing cisnormative perceptions of gender. Comic books are particularly crucially placed in this regard, since superheroes, as established metaphors of otherness, may in some sense already be ‘queer’ figures. However, although important and exciting steps have been taken toward better representation of trans* identities within superhero comics, we still have a long way to go. Drawing in particular on the theory of Judith Butler and Antke Engel, as well as lived experience, this article explores the past and present representation of trans* identities in comic books, and looks with hope toward the future.

[Bonus link for people who are looking for a great mix of upbeat LGBT+ comics: I recommend the SFF comics anthology Beyond.]

 

 

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Investigating Weird Portland 2014

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2This is the last blog post about my American travels, and for me it’s the most spectacular one. I had always wanted to use my copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon as an actual tourist guide. And while it was impossible to follow it step-by-step – I have no idea where the self-cleaning house is, am not particularly interested in strip clubs, and the Portland Memorial is closed to the public these days unless you have relatives interred there – I did get to see most of the landmarks and shops and curiosities. I had a Big Wave Hawaiian lager at the Tiki bar mentioned in the book, I found the tour through the Shanghai tunnels (including sinister stories of waking up in total darkness with a hangover and no shoes and the floor strewn with broken glass: they’ve got trunks of men’s boots down there) – and I even had a chance to go to Mount Angel Abbey and have a look at their museum of curiosities. There I found: taxidermied deformed animals (two versions of eight-legged calf!), giant pig bezoars, an “authentic” replica of the Crown of Thorns using thorns from a shrub researched by a quite enthusiastic Franciscan Brother, strange international versions of “imported” Virgin Marys, and the most well-preserved and well-made collection of taxidermied wildlife I’ve ever seen, all arranged in “life-like” poses of interaction and often in combat.

You can find my pictures here. (I’ve deliberately kept my attempted “ghost photography” from inside the Shanghai tunnels; skip the pictures if you get bored by them.)

 

The Vitamix Experiments #5: Coconut Butter

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When I read this post on Oh She Glows, I knew I had to give this a try. And it’s true: making your own coconut butter in a Vitamix is super easy. It only took the S 30 about 8 minutes, and while the result isn’t exactly making me squee, I guess this too can be modified with various flavours, and I think it’s another great feature of a high speed blender I wouldn’t have thought of by myself. Besides, I haven’t used coconut butter in baking yet, and I love baking with coconut milk, so I’ll have to give this a try soon.

All in all, the little S 30 seems to be a keeper so far. I’ll experiment some more with hummus and pasta sauces and salad dressings and smoothies, and if I come across something surprising and marvellous, I’ll let you know. And if the S 30 doesn’t suddenly and unexpectedly act up, it can stay (and will probably be named after something from a Jack Vance novel, since it comes from the future and makes nice food).

 

The Vitamix Experiments #4: Strawberry Sorbet

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Of course I had to try it! Unfortunately, I can’t freeze bananas right now, since the unpredictable Fridge from Hell might find random ways of destroying them if I tried. But I can get frozen berries from the supermarket. So I threw a packet of frozen strawberries in the S 30 and turned them into sorbet. Just like that!

The motor got a little hot (I could smell it – but nothing alarming), but it didn’t switch itself off or do anything weird, and then I had strawberry sorbet.

It’s nice, and/but having tried it, I can easily see how you could modify it by adding yogurt, coconut milk etc. to make it into even better ice cream. And the Vitamix might prefer that too.

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