Joss Whedon and the Gene Roddenberry comparisons

josswhedonEver since “discovering” Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the mid-90’s (in season two, before it was cool to like it), I’ve had an admiration for Joss Whedon.  He’s a creative guy who wrote and directed some of the most memorable episodes of television of that era.

He’s since gone on to shepherd some of the best-loved loved TV shows and movies of the last two decades.  Much of his output has been about female empowerment and creating strong roles for women, up to and including Whedon seeming to earn the label of a feminist.

All of that seems to be crashing around Whedon with his ex-wife, Kai Cole, publishing an op-ed piece that says Whedon is “hypocrite” and that he had multiple affairs during the course of their marriage.

Reading Cole’s piece and then seeing Whedon’s response (it feels like a non-denial denial in addition to closing down a website devoted to his fandom), I can’t help but feel like Whedon has become Gene Roddenberry for a new generation.  For those of you who don’t live and breathe Star Trek, I’ll try to keep this short.

Roddenberry created Star Trek and founded his view of humanity’s future on some wonderful ideals.  As Ken Wray, co-host of the superlative Mission Log, recently put it, Roddenberry’s vision was that not only do we make it to the future, but we get past many of the issues that face our society today. Or as Trek put it, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.

And while Roddenberry had a great vision for the future, he was still a human being with weaknesses.  One was that Roddenberry had a weakness when it came to women.  The guy put his then-mistress, later-wife Majel Barret into the pilot and then crafted a recurring role for her on the original series as Nurse Chapel.

And it feels like Whedon has almost followed a similar path.  The letter by his ex-wife says that Whedon had multiple affairs over the course of their marriage and

Despite understanding, on some level, that what he was doing was wrong, he never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth. He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women’s rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with. But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist.

And while I’m disappointed that both Whedon and Roddenberry didn’t live up the ideals or the image they portrayed themselves to be in pop culture, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to let Shortcake view their creative output (when appropriate for her.  I don’t think she’ll get a lot out of Buffy right now!)

Both men created women who are smart, funny, empowered and aren’t defined by their relationship to men.  As the father of a little girl, I’m grateful to them for creating pop culture heroines that my daughter can look up to and emulate.

I also think it could be a valuable tool to teach her about the difference between the public and private persona that people can have.

I still respect the output of both men.  And I understand the public persona they created, even if they were flawed and failed to live up the lofty expectations they and their fans created for them.

Daddy-Fail

 

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Shortcake began Mother’s Day Out this morning.

We spent a majority of the weekend assembling all the items she’d need, labeling them and getting ready to make the first day as easy as possible.

That is, until, we had an epic Daddy-fail!  See, Daddy was in charge of lunch and snacks. So last night, we assembled the snacks and lunch, carefully labeling each Ziplock bag with the proper information and getting them ready.  But instead of Daddy putting all the baggies into Shortcake’s lunch box, he only put in the components of lunch.

Fast forward to this morning.  We made a special first-day breakfast, had the proper outfit picked out, got the items together to take to school, and headed out the door for our big adventure.  Pictures were taken (before it began raining, no less!) and we dropped off Shortcake in her new classroom.  Only to find that Daddy had been so focused on getting everything else done that (Epic Daddy-fail!) he forgot to include the snacks!

Feeling like a contender for Worst-Daddy-EVER, we scrambled to the local grocery store and purchased more snacks and a new box of Ziplock bags.  All pieces quickly assembled, we dropped ’em off and everything is good, except the feeling of epic Daddy-fail.

The good news is that when I dropped off the snacks, it allowed me to see that Shortcake had adjusted to her new adventure and was having a great time.  (Dropping her off, she  burst into tears when Daddy put her down so he could discover his epic Daddy-fail).

 

 

Chilling Story

Just saw a story that sent a chill down my spine.

It involved two teenage babysitters who put a crying child into a refrigerator as a joke and then posted live video of it on-line.  The part that chilled me most involved that you can apparently hear the child still crying while inside the fridge.

They then opened the fridge and said, “See, she’s OK.”

The good news: The little girl in question is safe now without any harm.  And that her mother doesn’t plan on allowing these two girls to babysit her daughter again.

Saddest part of all — the girl put into the fridge is the niece of one of the accused babysitters.  I can only imagine this will make for some awkward family dinners from here on out.

On the one hand, these girls are fortunate that the mother involved seems a bit more forgiving than I would be.  If someone did this to Shortcake, I’d be all for throwing the book at them and making sure they learned a lesson about consequences to decisions and actions, no matter how young or old you may be.

I can also see how you don’t want to let one terrible, stupid decision ruin the lives of these young girls.

We all do dumb things when we’re young. But it seems like people (of all ages) are going to greater extremes these days to draw attention to themselves.

UPDATE: So, it gets even more chilling.  Just saw another report where after the infant is put in the fridge, one of the accused is heard saying “Bye” on the video.  It makes me more furious and nauseous that these two girls thought this was an appropriate way to behave or thing to do.

 

A Change (Would Do You Good)

In the months leading up to Shortcake’s arrival, I used to see a promo for an upcoming show on TLC that looked at how families were integrating a new baby into their lives.  At one point during the ad, a parent-to-be proclaimed, “This baby isn’t going to change our lives.”

I haven’t seen that ad airing much lately.  But I often wonder if the parent-to-be was able to make that proclamation come true or not.

Because pretty much from the first time I saw Shortcake’s little heart beat flickering on the sonogram, my life was irrevocably changed. Continue reading “A Change (Would Do You Good)”

Never Thought I’d Post About Soccer

An article in USA Today caught my attention.  A girls’ soccer team has several participants that have short haircuts.   The article says they want to mirror their heroes, Abby Wanback and Megan Rapinoe.

Their hairstyles have drawn ire, mocking and criticism.  But not from kids their own age.  Instead, it comes from opposing team’s parents and coaches and referees for the game!

They’ve been ridiculed by opposing parents, coaches, even referees, all of whom refused to accept that they were not boys. At tournaments, they have been asked to prove their gender, and were told they didn’t deserve medals.

But instead of giving in and growing their hair out, the girls, with the help of their parents, coach and soccer club, are sticking with each other — and with their look. After a summer hiatus, they’re preparing for a new season beginning in September.

The article also says the girls play an aggressive style of soccer that is (as their coach says) “the way the game is supposed to be played.”

I applaud the parents, coaches, and girls on this team in Milwaukee who sound like they have a lot more grace under pressure than I would.  I also have to ask the other grown-ups who encounter these girls — WTF?!?  Once again, here we are trying to reinforce how a kid should or shouldn’t look or act in order to reinforce gender stereotypes.   And it really irritates me.

With women consistently paid less to the same jobs as men, we seem to be letting that trickle down into childhood as well.

I guess I’ll be a rebel and raise Shortcake to be whatever she wants to be and teach her that she can excel at anything.   And that she can wear her hair however she wants and shouldn’t get mocked.  At least not by adults.

My Daughter Is Not a Kardashian!

Saw an article in my Google reader this week discussing one of the members of the Kardashian family and whether or not she had pulled off the short-shorts look this summer.

Just seeing the headline brought to mind a rant I’ve had for a long time when it comes to picking out clothes for my daughter.

Simply put, there is a huge difference between the quality and the implied message of clothing for girls and clothing for boys.  While boys’ clothes have things like reinforced knees (because clearly girls don’t crawl, run around or fall down), pockets and adjustable waists, girl’s clothes apparently are made to subliminally send the message there is only one acceptable size and body-type.   Apparently, if you’re a girl, you don’t need a drawstring in the waistband (there’s a bow included, but it’s decoration only!)  and you clearly don’t ever carry anything in your pockets since they too are only on there for decorations.

Oh, and the only styles of shorts available are short-shorts that will barely cover your diaper.

Lest you think I was shopping at some crazy, hip, young store, let me tell you that was not the case.  The store, in particular, was Carter’s, a company that I figured might be a safe haven for allowing us to pick our clothes that didn’t make my daughter look like a Kardashian.

I don’t want to single out one store or brand. I’ve noticed this across multiple stores and brands that are aimed at children.

As a father, this is just distressing.  Shortcake isn’t even a year-and-a-half-old and we’re already sending her messages about what the “ideal” type of body is.  I don’t want her to dress like someone who voyaged to the new world on the Mayflower, mind you.  I just want her to have clothes that are comfortable, well-made and allow for some sense of modesty.

I want her to grow up to be a woman, not a Kardashian.

Is that asking too much?

Why I’m More Excited About the New Doctor Than Usual

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It only took three decades for John Nathan-Turner’s prediction that we’d have a female Doctor to come true.

In the weeks since it was announced that Jodie Whittaker will be my favorite Time Lord’s next incarnation, I’ve been excited by what this news means for my favorite television show.   With a co-production deal with China ensuring we’ll have new Doctor Who for at least four more seasons, I’m excited and intrigued to see where the changes in creative staff both in front of and behind the cameras will take the series in the next several years.  Doctor Who is a series that’s been defined as much by the person crafting the scripts behind the  camera as it has by the person who brings those scripts to life in front of the camera. Find the right combination and you’ve got a winner on your hands.  Find the wrong combination and you’ve got, well, a mess on your hands where the behind-the-scenes drama is almost more interesting than the finished product on our screens (I’m looking at you, the Colin Baker era, where you had a great actor with a tired script editor and the quality of the stories declined). Continue reading “Why I’m More Excited About the New Doctor Than Usual”