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04 Jun 12:57

kellysue: I’ve got three things I’ve got to get turned in...


I’ve got three things I’ve got to get turned in today, two kids to get fed and dressed and a bag to pack and a flight to catch, so I can’t respond to this the way I’d like, but I’m putting it here so I don’t forget.  

I also need to let my temper subside a bit.  If I were to reply right now I’d resort to name-calling and insults and we all know there’s no ground to be gained there. 

Instead, when I’m not shaking anymore, I’ll recount my career trajectory AGAIN.  [Magazine writer/research assistant—>comic reviewer—>7 years /10K+ pages adapting manga into English—>anthology shorts—>co-writing gigs—>one-shots—>minis—->ongoings]  

Maybe I’ll get Alejandro Arbona to attest—AGAIN!—that I was blind-submitted for my first gig at Marvel.  I’ll offer that if you’re looking for Men to Credit for My Career, you should look first to Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Peter Rose, Steve Niles and Jamie Rich — all of whom were responsible for making introductions or getting me chances to submit my work well before Matt Fraction had any pull in the industry.  (I’ll also state in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t sleeping with any of those men, because I know, dear Anon, that is your next assumption.)  Or Brian Bendis, who had championed my work in a way I will never be able to adequately thank him for.  (Ditto Steve Wacker.)  

(Also not sleeping with Brian or Steve, just so we’re clear.)

Maybe I’ll ponder why it isn’t Fraction who’s considered to have benefited from nepotism.  After all, more than 10 years ago now, Matt Fraction was my plus one to Joe Quesada’s 40th birthday party and it was me who sent copies of Last of the Independents to Joe and Axel.  I mean, clearly, it was those gestures that got Fraction his career — certainly not the merit of his work, right? I mean, come on — those Hawkeye Eisner noms are part mine, right? 

(I can’t imagine how sick Fraction must be of hearing me tell that story. But I bet it’s not half as sick of it as I am.)

(The first person I met in the industry was Wil Rosado. Through him, the first editors I met were Andy Ball, who’s since moved on, and Joey Cavalieri. Just in case anybody wants to make a chart. This would be… maybe 4 years before I met Fraction, Gillen, Ellis, McKelvie et al on the WEF.) 

Okay, deep breath.  

Bendis is going to tell me that I shouldn’t acknowledge this, that I’m feeling trolls, but here’s the pickle: people deny that this happens.  We’re told that the insults to our dignity working women face are in our imagination, that it’s a thing of sexy Mad Men past.  It’s WOMEN who make this a thing, right?  (Hysterical, don’t you know.)  We’re to the point where I meet young women who won’t identify as feminists because the struggle is over and it’s only a thing if you make it one. 


It’s not a natural assumption to leap to the conclusion that I got my job because of my marriage.  It’s the product of deeply-ingrained sexist thinking.  I can name for you a half a dozen men who did, in fact, get their first big two gigs because of who they knew and their dignity and their qualifications have never been called into question.  I’m lucky if I go a week.  

I was recently directed to a post on a snake pit of a message board (what was I thinking, even going to look?) by a man I’d known as long as I’d known my husband, a man I’d met at the same time—a man who had felt free to ask professional favors of me on multiple occasions—who was lamenting how “easily” I’d gotten to where I was because of Fraction. When friends of mine pointed him to my CV, he half-apologized because he had no idea.  Apparently he thought Marvel—a publicly-owned company—was in the habit of handing out gigs to freelancer’s wives just for kicks.  Then he threw up the bit about it being a natural assumption. 

I would say simply ‘fuck that guy’ and chalk it up to his not being half as smart as he thinks he is, but here’s the thing: 

That guy has daughters.  

For them, and for my daughter and for your daughter, I am going to occasionally shine a light on these things… even though it both enrages and embarrasses me.  

I don’t know if it’s the right call, but I know that ‘ignore it and it’ll go away’ isn’t working. 

I need to figure out a way to contain my outrage enough to talk about it in a way that doesn’t attack, but invites dudes like Anon to rethink their ‘natural assumptions’ without setting myself up as an uppity bitch that they’re invested in proving wrong.  

I… I clearly don’t know how to do that right now.  But I’m going to figure it out.   


Right now, the kids need breakfast and my son has questions about the xenomorph that can’t wait another second.  

I’m out. 

This is the way to get work: be bright and be smart and be reliable and be nice and be competent. 

(remember this?

That’s her.)

If I remember correctly, Kelly Sue turned up at a signing in about 1996 and asked if I needed an assistant, and gave me her email address. I didn’t, I already had one, but she’d seemed really nice and smart, and I wrote back to her telling her I didn’t need an assistant and wishing her well. And  we stayed in touch. She wrote interesting emails, of the kind that you reply to, and sometimes she needed help or advice and I was always happy to give it. I think we got together once, socially, in late ‘98, and I was always sorry that it was just that once.

If I did any good to her career, other than being encouraging over the years, and being really thrilled whenever anything she did was successful (including getting married and having kids while writing good comics), I don’t know what it was. I liked being her cheerleader and I’ve enjoyed being her friend. For as long as I’ve been watching, she did it all herself.

There are married couples in comics, often brought together by a mutual interest in comics in the first place.

And there is a crippling sort of social sexism that sees women as peculiar appendages of their men.

It’s sad to see Kelly Sue having to defend herself. It’s reassuring to see her do it so well.

And I’m reblogging for all the people, especially the male people, who never gave any of this stuff a moment’s thought, so that next time something like this creeps across their radar they’re a little bit wiser, a little bit more prepared.

30 May 19:35

lemonsweetie: Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man...


Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart

I went to Comicpalooza this weekend and I was full of nervous energy as I was standing in line to ask Sir Patrick Stewart a question at his panel. I first had to thank him for a speech he had given at amnesty international about domestic violence towards women . I had only seen it a few months ago but I was still dealing with my own personal experience with a similar issue, and I didn’t know what to call it. After seeing Patrick talk so personally about it I finally was able to correctly call it abuse, in my case sexual abuse that was going to quickly turn into physical abuse as well. I didn’t feel guilty or disgusting anymore. I finally didn’t feel responsible for the abuse that was put upon me. I was finally able to start my healing process and to put that part of my life behind me.

After thanking him I asked him “Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you have done in you life (that you are willing to share with us)?”. Sir Patrick told us about how he couldn’t protect his mother from abuse in his household growing up and so in her name works with an organization called Refuge for safe houses for women and children to escape from abusive house holds. Sir Patrick Stewart learned only last year that his father had actually been suffering from PTSD after he returned from the military and was never properly treated. In his father’s name he works with an organization called Combat Stress to help those soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.

They were about to move onto the next question when Sir Patrick looked at me and asked me “My Dear, are you okay?” I said yes, and that I was finally able to move on from that part of my life. He then passionately said that it is never the woman’s fault in domestic violence, and how wrong to think that it ever is. That it is in the power of men to stop violence towards women. The moderator then asked “Do you want a hug?”

Sir Patrick didn’t even hesitate, he smiled, hopped off the stage and came over to embrace me in a hug. Which he held me there for a long while. He told me “You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now.” I couldn’t stop thanking him. His embrace was so warm and genuine. It was two people, two strangers, supporting and giving love. And when we pulled away he looked strait in my eyes, like he was promising that. He told me to take care. And I will.

Sir Patrick Stewart is an absolute roll model for men. He is an amazing man and was so kind and full of heart. I want to let everyone know to please find help if you are in a violent or abusive house hold or relationship. There are organizations and people ready to help. I had countless people after the panel thanking me for sharing the story and asking him those questions. Many said they went through similar things. You are not alone.


^ Here is the video of my question to Sir Patrick Stewart

Photos by Eugene Lee, Thank you

24 May 17:43


23 May 01:38


19 May 19:38

Hidden Hotline: Only Kids Can See this Lenticular Message

by Urbanist
[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Guerilla Ads & Marketing. ]

lenticular poster

Children already at risk may also risk further abuse if they are seen to be seeking help, hence this twist on lenticular printing – a message that reads one way to tall adults, and another to small minors.

lenticular help message

The ANAR Foundation needed a way for potential victims to read their communication secretly (including the unspoken visual content – bruises on the portrait), without alerting those accompanying them on the street.

lenticular secret hidden message

Shifting from one perspective to the other slowly reveals an increasingly different image as well as additional text, including the helpline phone number.

Lenticular images are often used to create dynamic billboards that shift as people walk or drive by, but this variant flips the typical format on its side and gives it a higher purpose than mere marketing.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Guerilla Ads & Marketing. ]

[ WebUrbanist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]


02 May 13:01

Somebody made this, and now I have something in both of my...

Somebody made this, and now I have something in both of my eyes.

(via The Wisdom of Wil - Imgur)

19 Apr 13:35

Book Cover 1984

by swissmiss

1984 book cover

This book cover for George Orwells’ 1984 by Adronauts is stunning.

(via visual poetry)

19 Apr 13:24


by swissmiss

Makers Gonna make

Makers Gonna Make Tattly just launched. Design by Jude Laundry.

17 Apr 14:38

What walled gardens do to the health of the Web, and what to do about it

by Cory Doctorow

David Weinberger took great notes from what sounds like a barn-burner of a talk by Anil Dash at Harvard's Berkman Center on what has happened to the net, and where it's headed:

“We have a lot of software that forbids journalism.” He refers to the IoS [iphone operating system] Terms of Service for app developers that includes text that says, literally: “If you want to criticize a religion, write a book.” You can distribute that book through the Apple bookstore, but Apple doesn’t want you writing apps that criticize religion. Apple enforces an anti-journalism rule, banning an app that shows where drone strikes have been.

Less visibly, the laws is being bent “to make our controlling our data illegal.” All the social networks operate as common carriers — neutral substrates — except when it comes to monetizing. The boundaries are unclear: I can sing “Happy Birthday” to a child at home, and I can do it over FaceTime, but I can’t put it up at YouTube [because of copyright]. It’s very open-ended and difficult to figure. “Now we have the industry that creates the social network implicitly interested in getting involved in how IP laws evolve.” When the Google home page encourages visitors to call their senators against SOPA/PIPA, we have what those of us against Citizens United oppose: now we’re asking a big company to encourage people to act politically in a particular way. At the same time, we’re letting these companies capture our words and works and put them under IP law.

A decade ago, metadata was all the rage among the geeks. You could tag, geo-tag, or machine-tag Flickr photos. Flickr is from the old community. That’s why you can still do Creative Commons searches at Flickr. But you can’t on Instagram. They don’t care about metadata. From an end-user point of view, RSS is out of favor. The new companies are not investing in creating metadata to make their work discoverable and shareable.

[berkman] Anil Dash on “The Web We Lost” (via Beyond the Beyond)

17 Apr 14:18

Toronto Public Library's Fahrenheit 451-themed alternate reality game

by Cory Doctorow

Jim Munroe sez, "We've just launched KTR 451, a game I developed for the Toronto Public Library. Drawing on the themes and characters in Fahrenheit 451 (the TPL's One Book this year), it's a simple alternate reality game -- part scavenger hunt, part audio drama -- and people in Toronto can play it by calling (647) 931-1585. There's three missions, one per week, until a live event on April 22nd."

If Jim's name sounds familiar, that's because he's behind the Ghosts With Shit Jobs movie, as well as co-producing the controversial oil pipeline game.

Take Your Seashells Out of Your Ears!

17 Apr 13:43

Even in the midst of our own tragedy at home, a gentle reminder...

Even in the midst of our own tragedy at home, a gentle reminder can go a long way towards understanding and empathy.

Here’s how you can help in BOSTON.

And, here’s a great site for you to inspire positive change in other areas of THE WORLD.

15 Apr 20:59

Apologies: What, When and How

by John Scalzi

I’ve apologized a fair amount for stupid and/or ignorant and/or insensitive things that I have done or said over the course of my life. This has has given me the time and experience to, if not perfect the form of an apology, then to at least get it to a point where I am comfortable that the apology will be understood as genuine. Perhaps at some point in the near future you’ll need to apologize for some stupid and/or ignorant and/or insensitive thing you have done. Here are thoughts I have for you on the subject.

First thing: What is an apology?  Leaving aside classical definitions that are not directly on point to how the word is used in everyday life:

An apology is an admission that you’ve wronged others and that you are actually sorry for it. This is of course why it’s difficult for people to apologize. No one likes to admit they are wrong or that they screwed up. No one likes the complicated, defeated feelings that come with being wrong and screwing up. No one likes having to go to other people, publicly or privately, and admit to them they’ve been wrong and have screwed up. It is, literally, humiliating, since apologizing almost always requires humility and a willingness to put the needs of those you have wronged over your own. For ego-bound creatures, and we are all ego-bound, this is a hard thing to do.

I think it becomes less hard, however, if you consider the following:

One, everyone’s wrong at some point. Because, hello, you’re a human, and humans are imperfect beings. It’s okay to recognize you are not infallible.

Two, it’s better to center your ego on doing what’s right rather than never being wrong. Because, per point one, you’re going to be wrong at some point.

Three, it takes strength to apologize and apologize well. Any jackass can refuse to apologize when they are in the wrong; indeed, refusing to admit you’re wrong, or to apologize it, is one of the hallmarks of being a jackass. Being willing to stand up and say “I screwed up, I’ve wronged you and I am sorry for it,” on the other hand, means you have the strength of character to own your actions, and the consequences of them, both for others and yourself.

Okay, now we know what an apology is.

So, let’s say that you’ve said/done something, publicly or privately, that has genuinely upset someone (or more than one someone). Should you apologize? Ask yourself the following questions:

Are you actually sorry? If the answer is “no,” then you shouldn’t apologize, because your apology will be totally insincere. An insincere apology is worse than no apology at all; not only is it obvious that you’re not sorry for the original act, but the fake apology suggests that you think people are stupid enough to believe a fake apology. Congratulations, you’ve just made yourself look like an even bigger assbag.

If you are actually sorry, then ask yourself this:

Are you primarily sorry for yourself, or for others? This is the classic “are you sorry you screwed up, or that you got caught?” question. Meaning that if the nexus of your concern is your reputation, your standing, and your status, then your apology is likely to reflect that. In which case, I have news for you: your apology will come across as “I’m sorry the rest of you ganged up on me,” and I assure you that’s not going to go over very well.

If on the other hand your primary concern is that your actions have affected others negatively, then the focus of your apology will reflect that, and those you have wronged will more likely appreciate that you see the problem is not what’s being done to you, but what you have done to others.

I want to be clear I think it’s fine if you are concerned for your own standing; we’re ego-driven creatures, and damage control is a fine thing. The point here is to understand where the balance is. Remember that an apology is about owning up to what you’ve done to others. Making your apology all about you, or primarily about you, is missing the point of an apology.

Another question:

Are you willing to let your apology be an apology? Meaning, once you’ve apologized, are you going immediately start backtracking from it, adding caveats, exclusions, conditions and defensive annotations? It’s remarkable the number of perfectly good apologies that don’t stick the dismount. People can’t leave them alone, I suspect, because of defensiveness and ego — yes I was wrong but you have to admit I’m not the only one who was wrong here, or yes I was wrong but in general you have to admit my point still stands, or even yes I was wrong but it was wrong of you to make a big deal out of it. Which, again, is going to make things worse.

If you can’t just apologize, perhaps you should not apologize.

A final point for this part, not in the form of a question but still important to know:

An apology is directed toward other people, but is something you do for yourself. Which is to say, the reason to apologize is not because other people expect it from you (although they may), but because you expect it from yourself — it is part of your personal character to own up to the wrongs you have done to others. If you’re apologizing solely because of outside expectation, the apology is going to be hollow at its core. The best apologies are the ones where the moral actor for the apology is the one who is saying “I apologize.” This can be learned, fortunately.

We’re done with the preliminaries now, and you’ve decided that you should apologize. To my mind, an apology has three steps to it, which are pretty simple and straightforward.

1. Briefly, specifically and factually recount the action you’re apologizing for. You’ve done something wrong. Say what it is. Don’t try to mitigate or defend, just get it out there.

2. Acknowledge that you wronged others. Again, don’t mitigate or defend. Acknowledge it and say it.

3. Apologize unreservedly. Don’t drag it out. Don’t qualify it. Say it, own it. Let it be there.

That’s the basic format.

Some style notes:

Apologies are active. Use the active voice. “I did this,” is far stronger, and indicative of personal responsibility, than “this thing happened.” A passive voice in an apology comes across as a denial of responsibility or accountability. Don’t do that. As a subset:

The offense is yours. Own it. “I am sorry I offended you” acknowledges the screw-up is yours, “to those who were offended, I am sorry,” sounds like you’re suggesting the responsibility for the offense should be shared, and “I’m sorry if you feel offended,” is palming off the responsibility entirely on the other person (and makes you sound like an unrepentant jackass).

Don’t try to be funny or clever. The failure mode of “clever” is “asshole.” An apology is an attempt to own up to what you’ve done wrong. It’s the last place in the world you want your communication to fail, and it’s not a piece of communication that needs spicing up. Save your funny and clever side for something else.

Be upfront and to the point. To use a journalism term, don’t bury your lede. Brevity does not mean insincerity.

Don’t dilute your apology. Don’t add it into something else, don’t sweep by it to go on to other topics. Let it be its own thing and make sure you make it clear what you’re doing and way. You don’t have to dwell on it, but you have to give it its moment.

Here is an example of an apology done as suggested above. Let’s say I have made an ass of myself to my friend “Joe” by, say, making a joke about cancer when a loved one of his has just passed away from the disease. Here’s how I would apologize.

Dear Joe:

Yesterday I made a cancer joke in front of you, and as a result I caused you pain. I didn’t intend to hurt you that but I did it anyway, and the responsibility for that is mine. I am genuinely sorry I hurt you. I will try very hard not to do it again. I’m here if you want to talk to me. Let me know – JS

Simple, direct and to the point. Joe doesn’t have any doubt what I’m apologizing for or that I take responsibility for it.

Now that you’ve apologized, is everything done and over and hunky dory? Not necessarily. Some after-apology points to consider.

1. An apology is not self-administered absolution. You apologize to acknowledge a wrong you’ve done to others, but simply acknowledging that wrong doesn’t mean you’re now off the hook for it. It helps substantially if you’re willing do do a little legwork on the matter, from something as simple as letting that other person know you’re there to talk (see the last sentence in the apology to “Joe”) to something as life-changing as making an effort to adjust your worldview. Don’t be the guy who says “Hey! I said I was sorry!” and expects it to settle all dispute. If that guy is over the age of ten, he doesn’t get as much credit for that statement as he wants.

2. You should accept that your apology may not be accepted. And that it may not be accepted for any number of reasons. Maybe it was poorly phrased and came out as defensive, even if you didn’t mean it to be. Maybe those you’ve wronged feel an apology isn’t enough and want to see what you do next. Maybe you’re the third person today to apologize to them for something and are simply all out of forgiveness for the day. Maybe you don’t get an explanation at all.

Point is, this is not something that’s in your control, nor should you pretend it is. This is one reason why I strongly believe that while an apology is offered to others, it is what you do for yourself — because the only person whose response to the apology you have control over is you. If you apologize and the apology is not accepted, then you have still acknowledged your error, and that’s not trivial.

It’s all right to hope an apology is accepted and forgiveness given — and to ask for it if you would like to. It shouldn’t be a primary reason to offer it. And you should keep in mind that its acceptance is a gift freely given, and not a requirement.

3. Apologizing and making the same mistake a second time is worse than not apologizing at all. Because it suggests that you’ve learned nothing and that your apology was really just an exercise in going through the motions. Which is to say apologies are not merely the end of a bad situation. They are the beginning of a promise to do (and be) better.

If you’re visibly making the effort to do and be better, if (and likely when) you screw up again, you will still have credit from that previous apology. If you’re not making that effort, if (and almost certainly when) you screw up again, you will not. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So: When you apologize, mean what you say. Back it up. Move forward with it. And do it for you, to the benefit of others. That’s how you make an apology stick.

15 Apr 18:56

thefrogman: Depression is very complicated and it affects...


Depression is very complicated and it affects everyone a little differently. There is not a lot of generalized advice I would feel comfortable giving with confidence. However… there are a few things that come to mind.

  1. It’s never too soon to ask for help.
  2. You are not stuck with the first doctor or therapist you see.
  3. Do not lie.
  4. Find a passion.
  5. Do not give up.

1. There is a stigma about depression that seems to make people feel guilty just for having it. Like they don’t deserve help, even if they need it. Many people resist seeking help with epic levels of stubbornness. The thing is, depression can take a while to get its claws completely into your brain. If you seek help as soon as you realize what’s happening, you may be able to treat the depression before your brain gets used to the chemical imbalance. Going to a professional and getting checked out will do you no harm. But delaying this option could make treatment much harder. The sooner the better. 

Specifically for teens in this situation…

Sometimes getting help requires parental involvement. If you are lucky, you will have supportive, understanding parents and this will not be a huge problem. Unfortunately that will not always be the case. If you are worried about telling your parents, I would suggest finding another adult that you trust and can confide in. Perhaps a teacher, a counselor, an aunt or uncle. Someone that your parents will respect and listen to. Explain the situation and ask if they wouldn’t mind confronting your parents together. Strength in numbers can be very effective. 

2. I have come across quite a few people that think the first person they see is the only one that can ever treat them. Having good patient/doctor and patient/therapist chemistry is vital to getting effective treatment for depression. You may have to explore some very dark emotional pain with this person, and if you do not like or trust them, it will be very hard to open up. If you have any reservations about your doctor or therapist, don’t be afraid to try another one.

3. Under no circumstances should you lie to your doctor or therapist. You are not the first person to think, “If I tell them this, they might think I’m a terrible person.” These people are trained not to judge you or your actions. They are trained to use that information to help you. To guide you. To treat you. If you tell them lies to make yourself look better, you risk not getting well again. 

4. Depression has a way of holding you back from doing anything productive. There will be things you want to do, things you should be doing, but it destroys your motivation. Passion is often immune to this effect. Finding something you are passionate about can help you get out of this rut and even help motivate you in other areas. Some people are lucky and already know their passion. Whether it is art, music, writing, movies, knitting… whatever. But sometimes people don’t know what their passion is. Especially if you are younger. If that is the case, I strongly urge you to experiment and find your passion. You don’t even have to be good at it. It just needs to be something you can sink yourself into without a great deal of motivation. For me, my passion is making people happy. I almost feel like I need to do it. And when my depression is trying to slow me down, my passion is usually so powerful that it gives that chemical imbalance the middle finger and I go on about my business. Seek out your passion and it may be just the thing to get you through the days. 

5. There was a point in my life in which I felt I had hit bottom. I thought there was no way life could get any better. I felt like if I continued living, life was always going to be as terrible as it was in that moment. When we are young we lack the wisdom and experience to know just how untrue this is. And I think because we don’t know that, far too many of us give up. Life is not a constant downward trajectory. Life is full of ups and downs. All pain fades with time and things will get better. That does not mean you will not find a new pain and go to that low place again. And it does not mean once the pain fades you will live a life full of constant bliss. Life will be filled with bits of joy and bits of pain and everything in between. But the bits of joy are much more profound. They are worth waiting for. And the experience of pain can often make you appreciate the joy even more. If you give up, you will not get to feel just how wonderful those bits of joy are.

Now that I am older I look back at that moment when I nearly gave up and I think about how much I would have regretted it. I think about all the amazing things that I would have missed. I think about all the lives that I have touched since then and how important it was that I stick around. Not giving up can be much easier said than done. And working through the pain can be long and arduous. But your next bit of joy will come. And it will be fantastic. And when the next bit of pain comes, you will be able to handle it even better than before.

Life can be tremendously difficult, but as you get older you will get better at living it. If you give it a chance, you will not regret seeing where it takes you.

Bonus tip…

6. Try getting a corgi if possible. 


12 Apr 16:03


12 Apr 15:53

"Amid heightened speculation that a male athlete in one of North America’s four major professional..."

Amid heightened speculation that a male athlete in one of North America’s four major professional leagues will soon publicly declare his homosexuality, the National Hockey League and its players announced Thursday what appears to be the most comprehensive measure by a major men’s league in support of gay rights.

The N.H.L. said it had formed a partnership with the You Can Play Project, an advocacy group pledged to fight homophobia in sports, and planned training and counseling on gay issues for its teams and players. The league will also be involved in the production and broadcast of public service announcements.

“Our motto is Hockey Is for Everyone, and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way,” N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the statement. “We are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the N.H.L. Players’ Association that the official policy of the N.H.L. is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”

In a telephone interview Donald Fehr, the chief executive of the players’ association, said: “Bottom line, it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what we’re all supposed to do in this world.”

You Can Play will help run seminars for N.H.L. rookies to educate young prospects on gay issues and make resources and personnel available to each team, as desired. The league and union will also work with You Can Play to integrate the project into its behavioral health program, enabling players to seek counseling regarding matters of sexual orientation confidentially. Burke said the joint venture would also step forward when players make homophobic remarks.

Patrick Burke, a founder of You Can Play and scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, said laying the groundwork for an openly gay player was not an official part of the program.

“But we’re ready to do whatever that player wants,” Burke said. “If he wants to do a thousand interviews and march in pride parades, we’re equipped to handle that. And if he wants us to pass-block for him so he never has to do another interview in his life, we’re equipped to handle that too.”


The New York Times, “National Hockey League Announces Initiative to Support Gay Athletes.”

Historic.  Good for the NHL.

(via inothernews)

This is awesome. Way to go, NHL!

10 Apr 15:00

Sexuality and the Christian Body, Part 1: “Contrary to Nature” (by Richard Beck)

by Rachel Held Evans

Within about four minutes of announcing our yearlong series on Sexuality & the Church, I realized I was in over my head. You just don’t realize how many books there are to read, angles to take, and people to interview until you’ve gone and committed to yourself to exploring a multi-faceted, hot-button issue like this one. 

So I emailed Richard Beck (and some others writers I respect) and asked for help. Richard’s blog, Experimental Theology, consistently falls into my personal Top 5 list and I can’t recommend it enough. Richard is a psychologist, and so his reflections on theology, the Bible, church, community, and spirituality always include some new angle I never considered before. (For example, recently he’s been discussing “the impossibility of Calvinistic Christian psychotherapy!”) I  had the privilege of meeting Richard and his awesome wife Janna when I visited Abilene Christian University a few years ago. Richard is Professor and Department Chair of Psychology there. He and Jana have two sons, Brenden and Aidan. Richard's area of interest--be it research, writing, or blogging--is on the interface of Christian theology and psychology, with a particular focus on how existential issues affect Christian belief and practice. Richard's published research covers topics as diverse as the psychology of profanity to why Christian bookstore art is so bad. His books include Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality and The Authenticity of Faith: The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience

Last year, Richard posted a review and some reflections on Sexuality and the Christian Body by Eugene Rogers—a book that has been recommended to me for the series, but which I just haven’t found the time to read. (Also, it costs 40 bucks.) Richard did such a good job discussing it on his blog, I asked if I could repost Part 1 of his reflections here. (You can read Part 2 over at Experimental Theology.) I hope you learn as much as I did. 

Sexuality and the Christian Body, Part 1: “Contrary to Nature”

by Richard Beck 

Recently, I finished Eugene Rogers' book Sexuality and the Christian Body. I thought I'd devote a few posts to some of the main ideas in the book for any who are interested.

The book is a theological argument advocating for the inclusion of same-sex marriages into the Christian communion. Consequently, I don't expect everyone to agree with Rogers' argument. Regardless, what I found encouraging in Sexuality and the Christian Body was a vision of marriage that inspired me in my own marriage to Jana. More, Rogers offers a view of marriage that also lifts up singleness and celibacy. In short, regardless as to what you think about Rogers' views on same-sex marriage, his theological treatment of marriage is, from a theological perspective, very inspiring. Or at least I found it so.

A key notion in Rogers' book is that the vast majority of Christians need to recover their identity as Gentiles. This is important for a few different reasons. First, this recovery highlights the fact that we are not "by nature" children of God. We've been chosen and adopted. In the language of Paul we've been "grafted into" the tree of Israel. Second, this action of God, grafting in the Gentiles, highlights how the grace and election of God determines the people of God. We are not God's children because of nature. We are God's children because of election. This places election at the center of Christian notions of marriage (and celibacy) rather than a Darwinian focus on procreation. Marriage is grace, not biology. Finally, a recovery of our identity as Gentiles helps us understand why God's actions toward the Gentiles was such a shock and offense to the Jews (both Christian and non-Christian). Importantly, this shock was very much focused on issues of holiness and morality.

Early in the book Rogers has us consider what he calls "the standard argument." The argument is standard because it has been used throughout history, at various times and places, to argue for the moral inferiority of a marginalized class of people. Gender and race have been common targets. And a common example of this moral inferiority is evidence of sexual licentiousness. Thus, in the Middle East today we see the standard argument applied to women. Women are sexually promiscuous and, thus, require a variety of social restraints to keep them in check. This is also why women are blamed for adultery. The woman's lust for the married man causes him to falter. A woman is a Jezebel, a temptress.

The standard argument was also applied to blacks in the American South during slavery and segregation. In particular, the black male had a voracious sexual appetite for white women. And blacks generally were considered to be more promiscuous than whites.

In both cases we see how immorality generally, and sexual licentiousness in particular, get attributed to natural kinds (e.g., race, gender). In the Old and New Testaments this same reasoning was applied to the Gentiles. As a natural kind the Gentiles were considered to be naturally prone to immorality and sexual deviance. Paul gives us the standard Jewish view of the morality of Gentiles in Romans 1:

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The important thing to note in this passage is that this is a description of the Gentiles as a natural kind. They are naturally depraved and deviant. Consequently, they engage in acts that are "contrary to nature." In all this we see another example of the standard argument, an argument that has been applied to all sorts of despised groups. Women. Blacks. Jews. And homosexuals in our time. What is important to note in all this is that it's not just that Gentiles do unnatural things. It is, rather, that they are morally inferior by nature.

This understanding helps us recover the moral shock of God's excessive grace in Galatians 3.28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We tend to read this passage as a condemnation of slavery and as a call for egalitarian gender relations. No doubt that is a part of the story. But what Rogers argues is that what we are seeing in Gal. 3.28 is a fusion of natural kinds. More, we are seeing a fusion of the morally inferior with the morally superior. In the 1st Century slaves, women and Gentiles were all considered to be morally inferior to the highest natural kind: The male Jew. For example, each group was characterized by the sexual perversions we've seen Paul describe in Romans 1.

So what we are witnessing in Gal. 3:28 is something really quite shocking. Galatians 3:28 isn't about slavery or gender relations. It's about morality and holiness. More, it's about God's fusion in Jesus Christ of natural kinds, kinds that were believed to represent either holiness or depravity.

And the shock of God's actions goes even deeper. Later in Romans the phrase para phusin ("contrary to nature") reemerges. Only this time it is applied not to homosexuality but to God! In Romans 11.24 Paul describes the action of God in grafting in the Gentiles to the tree of Israel (the vision of Galatians 3.28):

 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Does Paul know what he's doing here? Is he intentionally pulling para phusin from Romans 1 to make a parallel to God's grace in Jesus Christ? The Gentiles behave "unnaturally" and God, in his grace, does something just as "unnatural," he overrides the category of natural moral kinds to create one body in Christ. Surely the readers of Romans would have heard the overtones between Romans 1 and Romans 11, that their biases about what is "natural" or "unnatural" have been unnaturally reconfigured in the Kingdom of God.

How does Paul's argument apply to the case of modern day homosexuality? Rogers is clear that Paul is not offering his arguments in Romans to legitimize same-sex unions in the church. But what he does argue for is that Paul's arguments in Romans 1, Romans 11 and Galatians 3 are broadly isomorphic with the arguments offered to exclude same-sex unions from the church. That the arguments being made by the Jews to exclude the Gentiles are the same arguments being used to exclude same-sex couples from the life of the church.

In light of this, what we see in Paul is how the grace of God undermines the standard argument, an argument that there are kinds of people who are, by nature, morally inferior. And that these morally inferior natures cannot be "grafted into" in the church.

This is by no means the end of the discussion, but it does suggest that God does some very strange things when it comes to "nature." In fact, God himself often acts "contrary to nature" to erase our judgments about what is or is not natural or unnatural. This suggests that in the same-sex union debates we may have to rethink "nature" in light of God's election. God has chosen the Gentiles, by nature sexually deviant in the eyes of the Jews, and has grafted them into the tree of Israel. God overrides the standard argument in the minds of the Jews and, in doing so, also acts "contrary to nature." Such actions on the part of God should give us moderns pause when we reason about "nature" in the same-sex attraction debates.

How can you be certain of what is natural or unnatural worshiping a God who acts para phusin?


Leave a comment with your thoughts if you like, and then be sure to jump over to Richard’s blog for Part 2: “Grace and Election.”

You might also like Richard’s previous guest post, “A Non-Zero-Sum Conversation Between the Traditional Church and the Gay Community

Check out the rest of our Sexuality & The Church series here. 

10 Apr 12:57

Are we there yet?

by Rachel Held Evans

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Jeff Chu.  Jeff is the author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in Americaa fantastic book that is part-memoir, part investigative analysis. The book, which just released last week, explores the intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in America in a way that is thought-provoking, well-researched, colorful, and deeply personal without being indulgent. I highly recommend checking it out. 

Over his eclectic journalistic career, Jeff Chu has interviewed presidents and paupers, corporate execs and preachers, Britney Spears and Ben Kingsley. As a writer and editor for Time, Conde Nast Portfolio, and Fast Company, he has compiled a portfolio that includes stories on megahit-making Swedish songwriters (a piece for which he went clubbing in Stockholm); James Bond (for which he stood on a Spanish beach and watched Halle Berry emerge from the waves over and over and over); undercover missionaries in the Arab world (he traveled to North Africa and went to church); and the decline of Christianity in Europe (he prayed). On the wall of his New York office, you'll find a quote from former Senator John Warner, who once told Jeff: "You're a good little interviewer!"  A California native, Jeff went to high school at Miami's Westminster Christian, where he sat behind Alex Rodriguez in Mr. Warner's world history class. A graduate of Princeton and the London School of Economics, Jeff has received fellowships from the Phillips Foundation and the French-American Foundation, and in 2012, was part of the Seminar on Debates in Religion and Sexuality at Harvard Divinity School.  The nephew and grandson of Baptist preachers, he is an elder at Old First Reformed Church in Brooklyn, New York. He loves the San Francisco 49ers, the Book of Ecclesiastes, and clementines. And he detests marzipan more than he can explain in words.

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. 

Are we there yet? 

By Jeff Chu

 “Jesus will not accept you, because of your hard heart and hate for him.”

“We must treat homosexuals like those suffering a mental disorder, because that is exactly what it is. If anything, we should have pity on these people.” 

“You need a good ex-gay therapist.”

Last week, messages like these filled comments sections of websites where my writing was being discussed. On Facebook, I was informed that I was clearly not saved. My inbox brought warnings that I needed to repent. 

I interviewed more than 300 people for my book, but intertwined with their stories is my own. I’ve never written about my life or my faith before, and naively, perhaps, I didn’t expect this onslaught. The night before my book came out, I sat at my desk in my office and did something that I haven’t done in years: I wept. 

For almost an hour, the tears rained down my face. I held my head in my hands, and I shook. Then, inside, I heard the softest echoes of my beloved late grandmother’s warbly voice, speaking to me in Cantonese as she had when I was 8: “You’re a big boy. Don’t cry. Big boys don’t cry. Crying doesn’t do anything.” 

Well, this big boy does cry—and on that day, it did do something. These were, at first, tears for fears—fears of being judged, fears of being condemned, fears of what might happen when the world saw me, through my book, for who I was and no longer for who I’ve long tried to be.

Then they became tears of grief. In some ways, I felt as if I were being excommunicated from my church—these messages all came from people who would place themselves in the evangelical part of the church that I grew up in. But in truth, they couldn’t kick me out. In soul and spirit, I’d already left those precincts of the church, and I was belatedly mourning that departure. I was also weeping for the loss of certainty—or at least the illusion of it that I once worked so hard to maintain. 


When I was a young journalist, I was taught to “kill your darlings.” Sometimes we writers will concoct a pun or a phrase that we just fall in love with. Applaud your own unparalleled cleverness, your unmistakable wit, I was told. Then cut what you just wrote. Your infatuation is also often the enemy of clarity—and sometimes truth.

One thing I had to mourn last week was the killing of perhaps my greatest darling: the persona of the Good Christian I long maintained, under the theory that it could somehow help preserve my faith.

This is, of course, a fallacy: Sometimes we speak as if our faith—and the faith—is unchanging. God may not change, but our beliefs and our understanding of Him do. Faith can’t be preserved, as if it were strawberries in jam or an unlucky beetle in ancient amber. It’s dynamic. It struggles and stumbles, waxing and waning, colored by circumstance, shifted by our spirits, and shaped (we hope) by the Spirit. I think, for instance, of Roman Catholicism, and how the Virgin Mary officially became retroactively and posthumously sin-free in the 19th century. And I think of the denomination I grew up, the Southern Baptist Convention, whose own less-than-immaculate conception was rooted in unfortunate disagreements with their northern brethren over slavery. 

For a long time, I resisted change. Though I felt alienated from the church and culture of my childhood, I played the image game well. I was treasurer of my college evangelical-fellowship group. I mentored younger students, my mouth saying things with far more surety than my heart ever felt. I even had a (shortish) string of long-term girlfriends—wonderful, godly women who, thank God, found much more suitable men to marry.

My semblance of pious normality reflected a Sunday-best mentality spilling over into the rest of the week. I thought that if, perhaps, I did a goody-goody-enough job with the façade, maybe it would percolate into the rest of me, preserving my faith. On some level, I guess I naively thought that I might even be able to fool God. 

I had to kill that person, that darling. I had to stop lying. And when I cried, I guess some of the tears were for that old Jeff. That costume, more comfortable than I’d like to admit even now, was a great hiding place, a cocoon that I convinced myself was safe. It was a big game of pretend, and I was pretty good at it, except that all games get old—or maybe you just get too old to play them.


A church of costumes and hiding places isn’t a place I want to be.

What we need, more than ever, is a church where we can shed the pretenses, and bring our doubts, our big questions, and our bigger fears. I don’t think I’m alone in desiring that. What I suspect many of us crave is a church where we can be our whole, ugly-beautiful selves.

This is who I really am: I am not an issue. I am a follower of Jesus. I love my husband like you love your husband. Sometimes I daydream during church, which I feel especially guilty about now that I am an elder. I am afraid to go to India because I don’t know if I am man enough to handle that much poverty in my face. I like to load the washer, but I’m terrible at unloading the dryer. I am really judgmental. I use the F-word a little too much. Sometimes, if I find a very old French fry, I will be tempted to eat it. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I ever have.) I love the Bible, and I believe that sin is a real thing, but I wish I understood better what God meant by it. I went to a Taylor Swift concert last week—for my job—and enjoyed it more than I’d like to admit. I need a good editor.

And who are you? Maybe you laugh too loudly. Or you cry too much. You love, even though you’re not always sure how to show it. You belch when you think nobody is listening. You love justice, but you’re not always sure what it looks like. You question your pastor. You watch too much Honey Boo Boo (which is to say, you watch it at all). You lie awake in bed some nights wondering whether God is as real as you want Him to be. You eat too many meals in your car. You say, “Bless her heart,” when you have no intention of blessing any part of her. 

Can we be these people in church? We must be—and the church that I’m talking about is not a building but the collection of the people who are trying their best to walk with Jesus. It does not end at 12:15 on Sundays. It’s wherever we and our hopes and our complicated, messy lives are. It’s a place where we aren’t afraid to say, “I don’t know.” 

Our church is a place where we’re unafraid to acknowledge that we’re always in beta. I was thinking about this during church this past Sunday. In his Easter sermon, my beloved pastor, Daniel Meeter, encouraged us to imagine “the life of the world to come … Imagine always trusting other people, without having to be careful, always being open and candid about yourself without having your guard up, and even knowing yourself with clarity and honesty and peace,” he said. “Well, you are not there yet.”


Maybe I’ll end up in hell. Maybe I do have a mental disorder. Maybe their Jesus won’t accept me. But I still cling to a Jesus who will meet me—and will meet us all—where I am now. Can we build a church that welcomes our mutual strengths but also allows—and even embraces—our confessions of weakness? Can we be that community? Will you join me on this journey?


You can follow Jeff Chu on Twitter. And be sure to check out Does Jesus Really Love Me? which released last week! 

04 Apr 20:39

scarlettjen: 29 ways to stay creative. (Bet they had a creative...


29 ways to stay creative. (Bet they had a creative block trying to come up with number 30.) 

04 Apr 15:16

Gas masks for babies, 1940

by Cory Doctorow

From the Imperial War Museum in London, a couple of incredible photos of nurses testing out infant gas-masks: "Three nurses carry babies cocooned in baby gas respirators down the corridor of a London hospital during a gas drill. Note the carrying handle on the respirator used to carry the baby by the nurse in the foreground."


04 Apr 14:57

Dan Harmon writes to Kelly Oxford's kid, re MONSTER HOUSE


This makes me super happy (click through)


…after MONSTER HOUSE gave her nightmares:

Dear Salinger:

Your Mom told me about Monster House scaring you. It sounds like one of the things that upset you is the fact that the house kept wanting to hurt people even after nobody wanted to hurt it anymore.

I will tell you a secret that sounds so silly, you might not believe it, but this is true: I never finished writing Monster House before my bosses turned it into a movie. And then different writers, people I don’t even know, changed the story in lots of ways, and the movie that you saw was not the story I wanted to tell you.

I think a good story, even if it is sad or scary while you’re watching it, should always make you a little less scared after you’ve seen it. Because even a scary story, if it’s a good scary story, takes us into strange, dark places that don’t make sense at first, and helps us see that they do make sense, and are therefore not so scary.


WOW. Go read this.

03 Apr 20:27

This unexpectedly hit me in the feels.


What's funny about reading this today is I was actually thinking earlier that I wanted to listen to this song again when I get a chance.

This unexpectedly hit me in the feels.