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Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.


➝ An interesting take on recent incidents in mainstream comics fandom that portrays the main problem as a failure of empathy on the part of comics creators. Kieran Shiach points out many times when creator's first reaction is to dismiss and mock criticism, rather than take fans' concerns seriously and try to empathize, or even just listen. I see this problem in other areas, too, but it seems particularly bad in comics. Somewhat related, I also recommend this Twitter thread by writer [twitter.com profile] bobproehl on how straight white cis men are trampling over fandom, and really ought to stop doing that.

Non-Binary Authors to Read: Part 6 in an ongoing series by A.C. Wise, recommending the work of non-binary authors. Looks like a fantastic resource. There are links to earlier installments in the first paragraph.

➝ Following the lead of Ava DuVernay's new TV series, Queen Sugar, every episode of Jessica Jones S2 will be directed by a woman. A show that already prioritized women's voices and women's stories, taking it to to next level, is really exciting to me. The next season isn't due out until 2018, but I already can't wait.

How to Suppress Women's Criticism: Carmen Maria Machado uses the introduction to a new biography of author Shirley Jackson, which references the Joanna Russ classic How to Suppress Women's Writing without giving Russ any credit, as a jumping off place to talk about the importance of keeping the history of criticism alive.

➝ Linda Holmes dives deep into "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man to look at how little panics about youth behavior have changed in the last hundred years. The vices change (pool tables, rap music, cell phones), but the refrain stays the same. (I highly recommend watching the embedded clip as well.)


Hostility toward women is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.


The Right is Giving Up on Democracy.

In 'Appetites,' Bourdain Pleases The Toughest Food Critic (His 9-Year-Old) — I liked this interview even though I don't even watch this dude. The way he framed the joy of learning caught my eye: "I still like being at the bottom of a steep learning curve."

➝ Did you read any cool short fiction in October? Share it in the short fiction survey!

The Goodreads Choice Awards are open. This award is super flawed and only measures people who use Goodreads regularly and ignores books outside the US, so I tend to take its output with a grain of salt. Plus it doesn't make its eligibility guidelines very clear, and it happens before the year is up and regular people are finished reading. Okay, like I said: super flawed. But I still love it because I get to find neat books I hadn't heard of yet. It's a helpful tool in a larger toolbox of finding new books.

The Story of Cats has begun on PBS! #CATS

➝ I officially decided to buy this cool red backpack in order to start treating my lower back nicely. My messenger bag is lovely but my body is like "stop carrying 15 pounds of stuff around on one side of your body you asshole".

Book Acquisitions

Added TBR: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, The Amaterasu Project by Axie Oh, The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla, Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter, The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst, Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain & Kate Niemczyk, The Wanderers by Meg Howrey, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls LaNier & Lisa Frazier Page, How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Space Flight by Julian Guthrie


This timelapse video of librarians shelving every book in the main reading room of the NYC Public Library is incredibly soothing.

➝ I read the original article about racial profiling on Next Door when it came out, and I'm really glad there was not just a response, but actual effort to improve things?

Foz Meadows has thoughts on diversity and people who are anti-diversity, and how adding diversity doesn't remove anything from media. (Also, please tell me there's a list of the correct answers to round two, because I have no idea about TV and would like to see some of these characters. ._.)

Date: 2016-11-03 09:07 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The bisexual male supernatural creature (antihero) could be either the title character of the cancelled series "Constantine," or, possibly, the title character of "Lucifer," which I believe is either still on the air or coming back for a second season at some point. John Constantine is basically a trenchcoat-wearing urban fantasy wizard, which I'm not sure really counts as a supernatural creature per se. There was also a big outcry over the fact that the producers studiously avoided mentioning his bisexuality on the TV show while it was still on, although I believe they did make some vague "maybe later" remarks about what might happen in hypothetical future seasons. Admittedly, Constantine's bisexuality wasn't established until something like seven or eight years into the original (and on the whole much better) DC/Vertigo comic (originally called "Hellblazer"; a more recent, more overt-about-bisexuality reboot was simply called "Constantine," or possibly "Constantine: Hellblazer"), and only featured in a handful of issues of the original run.

Lucifer is the actual demon Lucifer, who also had his own (again, much better) DC/Vertigo comic. I don't recall any allusion to his being bisexual in the original run of the comic, although that may have changed in the recently-relaunched rebooted series, which I haven't gotten around to reading yet. As far as I know, the TV version of the series (which involves Lucifer taking human form and living in L.A. helping a female police detective solve crimes--this actually sort of happened in the comic, except for the police procedural aspect) officially presents him as straight. But it's possible the actor playing him put some bisexual subtext into his portrayal that I haven't heard about. (The initial reviews of the show were unfavorable enough that I never bothered to watch it.)

The best fit I can think of for the black female detective with the tragic past is Abbie Mills, the co-lead of the first three seasons of "Sleepy Hollow." Abbie's mother wound up in an insane asylum when she and her sister Jennie were still children. The two sisters ended up in the foster care system, then were separated and became estranged after experiencing a traumatic vision of an evil supernatural menace. Abbie grew up to become a cop, but had her (white) police chief mentor/father figure killed more or less in front of her by the Headless Horseman in the opening act of a vast demonic plot to take over the world, starting with the small town of Sleepy Hollow, New York (as in Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"). She went on to discover that she was one of the two prophesied Witnesses destined to foil this demonic plot, with the other being the newly-resurrected Ichabod Crane (played by a hot [white] British actor far more charismatic and better-looking than the gawky geek described in the original Irving story).

Unfortunately, in the third season of "Sleepy Hollow," Abbie's character was written increasingly poorly and became noticeably less central to the plot (a number of the other POC members of the originally notably diverse cast were also written out), to the point where the actress decided to leave the show and Abbie got killed off.

Another possibility is the police detective played by Taraji P. Henson on the now-cancelled "Person of Interest." I wouldn't exactly describe this character as having a tragic past--she was divorced and had served in the Military Police during the war in Iraq (or possibly Afghanistan), but seemed significantly less traumatized by her past military experiences than John Reese (Jim Cazaviel), one of the two (white) male primary leads of the show. ("Person of Interest" increasingly featured an ensemble cast, but ex-CIA agent Reese and computer mastermind Harold Finch were the official leads.) Unfortunately, Henson's character was also killed off before the show ended, in this case probably because Henson had been offered the much more high-profile part of Cookie Lyon, co-founder of a Shakespeareanly dysfunctional hiphop dynasty on the Fox series "Empire." (This has never been officially established as far as I'm aware, but Henson's "Person of Interest" character was still being handled pretty well right up until the time she was killed off, and Henson appeared on the "Tonight" show later that same night insisting that she had left the show voluntarily in search of bigger and better things. I was skeptical at the time, but when "Empire" debuted six months later with her as one of the leads, it seemed likely that she'd already at least auditioned for the role of Cookie when she decided to leave "PoI.")

The Lyon hiphop empire was originally financed with drug money, and as the series begins Cookie has just been released from prison after serving seventeen years on drug charges, having taken the rap for her husband, the mercurial and egomaniacal rap star/mogul (and unscrupulous master manipulator) Lucious Lyon. So I keep picturing fan fics in which Taraji P. Henson (as the "PoI" police detective) arrests or investigates herself (as Cookie Lyon), or has to go undercover as herself. If any such fan fics exist I haven't heard about them, but I haven't actually checked the AO3 archives for them, either.


Date: 2016-11-03 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fozmeadows.wordpress.com
From memory, the correct answers to round two for the post linked above that I had in mind while writing it were, in order:

- Abbie Mills, Sleepy Hollow (I am still SO PISSED they killed her off, I think I'd managed to blank it from my memory when writing that piece)

- Clarke Griffin, The 100

- Lucifer, Lucifer & John Constantine, Constantine (neither of which I watch, but which at least exist)

- Scott McCall, Teen Wolf

- Joan Watson, Elementary

- Captain Raymond Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

- Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder

- Lito, Sense8

- Olivia Pope, Scandal

Date: 2016-11-06 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.com
I'm embarrassingly pleased with myself for guessing half of those given how little TV I've been watching lately. Also this is making me want to rewatch the back half of Sense8. I like it when they all team up at the end.


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