Iron Man, Acquired Injury, and the Biggest Missed Opportunity In Disability Representation Ever

This is a re-post from my old blog.  It was part of a project called Redefining Disability, which I’ll talk more about in subsequent posts.



The Mark III armor as featured in the 2008 fil...

The Mark III armor as featured in the 2008 film Iron Man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The only character that I have ever felt a strong sense of identification with as a person who has a disability is Tony Stark.

You might find this surprising, because Tony doesn’t really identify as someone with a disability. He isn’t presented that way. He doesn’t think of the shrapnel near his heart as something that fundamentally changes him, “separates him” from other people, or puts him in a completely different category of human experience. That’s usually an issue in fiction whenever a main character has an acquired injury. Unless we’re talking about mental health issues like PTSD, Tony as an icon for disability awareness probably doesn’t register in people’s minds. That’s EXACTLY why Tony is more representative of my experience as a person with a disability than anyone else.

Continue reading

Why Tinker Bell Is Awesome

This is a repost from my old blog. I still haven’t seen the Neverbeast movie, FYI.


I wasn’t interested in Disney‘s Tinker Bell when it came out in 2008. I thought it would be another lame “re-tell the movie from the perspective of the side kick” thing like The Lion King 1 1/2. I have never been crazy about Tinkerbell either. So I passed on the movie and completely missed the fact that there were sequels. When I saw the series on Netflix earlier this year I wrote the whole thing off as a shallow marketing ploy aimed at little girls who preferred fairies over princesses. (They also changed the spelling of the character’s name, which is a pet peeve of mine.)

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I was writing a post about how marketing is relevant to the success of any product or service — including entertainment — and I realized I was being a pissy little hypocrite when it came to the Disney Fairies. So, since my Netflix is active for this month, I decided to put my big girl pants on and just sit down and watch Tinker Bell.

Continue reading

Star Trek, Sex, and Patriarchy: Is Will Riker A Jerk?

A few nights ago, a friend and I were talking about Star Trek. I brought up Cmdr. William Riker, who happens to be my favorite TNG cast member and the character I feel is the perfect embodiment of the space captain trope. (I know he’s the first officer, not the captain.  Keep reading.  It will make sense at the end.)

My friend characterized Riker as “a slut” and implied that because he enjoyed casual sex, he had no moral boundaries. Later, he went on to describe Riker as a jerk, presumably because Riker has multiple sex partners over the course of the series, is not interested in long-term relationships with most of them, and even when he is interested in a long-term relationship with Deanna Troi, he doesn’t press the issue and continues getting involved in casual relationships with women he meets throughout the galaxy.

Continue reading

The Sorceress Didn’t Have to Lie to Teela and Here’s Why

Sorceress of Castle Grayskull

Sorceress of Castle Grayskull (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This post is a re-working of several posts I made in early 2014 about the Sorceress and Teela.


My biggest plotting pet peeve is when characters keep secrets from one another that serve no useful purpose.  There’s nothing wrong with the character having a secret or secrets. It drives me crazy when characters keep secrets that do more harm than good and never seem to grasp the idea that they are causing their own problems when they lie to their loved ones.  There are PLENTY of good, interesting stories that can be told without this particular cheap plot device.

Continue reading

Remakes, Reimaginings and Why LeVar Burton is Awesome


This is an update of one of my first blog posts!

A few years ago, I saw a short interview clip with LeVar Burton on Yahoo! Shine.  (It’s not active anymore, sadly.)

I don’t usually watch actor interviews, but I knew that Mr. Burton wouldn’t be in character, so I thought I might enjoy it.  I was surprised, though.  I was truly impressed and challenged when Burton started to discuss his involvement with Reading Rainbow and an upcoming re-make of Roots.

Continue reading

Technology and Civilization

Spent the last half hour trying to create a new Yahoo account to share public domain photos on Flickr.
Yahoo now requires a cell phone and “doesn’t support” landline phones. Other email providers I checked are heading the same way for new accounts.
I am regularly asked to text people photographs. No one says “Do you have a phone? Can your phone do this…?” anymore.
Cell phones are becoming a ubiquitous part of society, like “regular” phones have been for generations.
A prepaid cell can cost as little as $9.99
And yet, I consistently hear people grumbling about “the poor” having access to cell phone technology on the assumption that cell phones still cost hundreds of dollars.
“If you can afford a cell phone, you aren’t poor/don’t need help.”
Slowly but surely, we are creating a social order in which access to technology means access to civilization.
Think I’m exaggerating? Catastrophizing?
Science fiction has been predicting the future for a long time now…

Saving Grace: There’s No One On My Side

Holly Hunter

Holly Hunter (Photo credit: geminicollisionworks)

[This is a reworking of an old essay from 2014]

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been re-watching the show Saving Grace for an analysis series about portrayals of alcoholism and other chemical addictions on television. I ended up thinking more about my own experiences as an abuse survivor. On the surface, I’m nothing like Grace Hanadarko, but I understand her character on a level that (I hope) most audience members will never have to. Continue reading

Love Stories: Randor and Marlena

I want to reshare these amazing tributes to the two people whose love story has held my imagination for close to thirty years.  I felt like sharing them today would be appropriate.  The vidder is an amazing artist who uses the fandom nick Teelana78.

My Biggest Pop-Culture Plottin Pet Peeve


[This is a slightly altered version of one of my earliest blog posts, cleaned up as a standalone piece.


My biggest plotting pet peeve can be summed up  in the following phrase:

“I can’t tell you —for your own protection!”

It’s often used in connection with characters who have secret identities or live double lives. So, it’s common when dealing with superheroes, but I’ve also seen it in urban fantasy, thrillers, mystery novels, and it pops up every now and again in high fantasy. You have a hero who is supposed to be trustworthy keeping a huge secret from his or her loved ones, coworkers, etc. The secret is usually justified by saying something to the effect that if any of these people knew the secret, it would put them in greater danger. The problem is, these people are usually in a lot of danger anyway, and keeping them in the dark doesn’t serve any useful purpose. It’s a lazy, cheap, overused way of creating plot tension, and it becomes an excuse to keep characters from growing and changing in their relationships with one another.

Continue reading

Syfy’s Dune: How Irulan Corrino Changed My Life

[This Essay is A Slight Reworking of one of my first posts on this blog.]

Syfy’s Dune: How Irulan Corrino Changed My Life.

 *Images in this post are courtesy of The Royal Sacrifice.  There’s a more complete biography of Irulan here on the Dune Wiki for anyone not familiar with the character or the world of Dune.  You can also check out the related links section for more comprehensive analyses of Frank Herbert’s work, because I’m afraid if I tried to do that I would write a 900 page book.

Irulan is my least favorite character in the Dune Chronicles, and she is one of my least favorite fictional characters ever.  So, she’s the last person I ever expected to have a positive impact on me, but watching John Harrison’s Dune miniseries changed my perception of her.

While I’m not always a fan of reboots or re-imaginings, I do feel that  seeing different adaptations and reimagined versions can help illuminate different aspects of a character or help me see things about them that I hadn’t noticed before.
Continue reading