Why Is Steven Universe‘s Garnet Sexy? (And Does She Have To Be?)

There's nothing I could say about this article that this sly, knowing wink doesn't already say. Source: Steven Univerce Wiki

There’s nothing I could say about this article that this sly, knowing wink doesn’t already say.
Source: Steven Universe Wiki

I’m often the master of jumping on bandwagons late. Most of that is over-cautiousness; I don’t want to be the guy that got all hyped up for something only to find out that it was lackluster or worse, detrimental.

To that end, I have my reasons for not getting into Steven Universe until now. But, rest assured, it’s a fun show with a lot of well built and complex characters (everyone has their merits and hang-ups) that dares to challenge a younger audience with tougher, progressive ideas.

But one question about the show has been bouncing in my head lately that I’d like to present to you…

Why is Garnet so FREAKING hot?!

Now, when I say ‘why’, I’m not asking what makes Garnet the sultry amazon of The Crystal Gems; that much is obvious. She has a strong personality, a cool demeanor, is highly intelligent and wise, is capable of taking care of herself, and has very loving nature. Even on a visual design level, few people can resist the allure of her mysterious gaze from behind those hater-blocker shades that hide her bright, inviting, and captivating eyes. And that’s not to mention her plush, full lips and exaggerated figure courtesy of that staple of animated ladies – the Hartman Hips.

No, I mean to ask why she was made to be so easily sexualized. Does her ‘sexy and I know it’ schtick have any deeper meaning?

And, you know what? I think there is.

To bring the rest of us up to speed, Garnet is an outlier from her fellow gems in that she is Gem Fusion – the result of two other gems combining into a single gestalt form. This new gem has a personality and abilities that blend those of the constituent parts to make something greater than the sum of their parts.

… And Garnet takes all of this VERY seriously.

She is the only gem we’ve seen so far that has made the conscious decision to stay fused. And there’s a good reason for that – her two halves, Ruby and Sapphire, are crazy in love with each other and that makes Garnet the physical embodiment of that love by extension. Think of her as the world’s curviest, ass-kicking wedding ring.

Once you accept that Fusion in the Steven Universe… universe… is a metaphor for love and unity, then you’ll start to apply that logic to all of the aspects of romance. And yes, that leads into sexuality as well.

Basically, Garnet needs to be sexy – to evoke the feelings of love and attraction on sight alone – because she’s the one that has to carry the message of love and it’s burden throughout the series. Whether it’s helping a young couple understand this new phase of their lives together, putting down a mean girl that wants to break up a healthy relationship, or coming face to face with a terrifyingly PC rape metaphor, it’s her job to show that real love always wins.

If Steven Universe is a modern Greek myth, Garnet is our Aphrodite – coming down from Olympus to preach the gospel of the heart.

P.S.: To all of you who found this by accident while looking for dirty Garnet fanart, I hope you learned something and you are welcome. :)

Why People Hate YouTube Heroes

Wow, YouTube’s been piling up the hate lately.

Last time we discussed YouTube’s shenanigans, I might have been a bit too harsh on them. Regarding their new Advertiser-Friendly policy, I can understand why they employed it. They have to appease their advertisers and creators, so they created a system to remove ads from videos that advertisers don’t want to be associated with while allowing the creators an easier means of contesting the demonetization claims.

My issue was with how openly the language could be interpreted and how easily it could be exploited. But, as a system to appease all parties, I get it; it makes sense.

There is NO excuse, however, for YouTube Heroes.

For those not in the know, YouTube Heroes is a new experimental system where YouTube is extending the job of editing and regulating content to the viewing audience and rewarding them with new privileges based on a ‘level up’ style system – privileges like direct communication staff members and workshops that high-profile creators should probably have by default.

What’s more, part of the job of people using the YouTube Heroes program is to report inappropriate content like offensive comments and videos.

Basically, YouTube is asking you to do their job with no pay. Hmm, why does THIS sound so familiar?

But the bigger issue here isn’t unpaid labor, it’s UNSKILLED labor. YouTube is putting the power of content management in the hands of people who, judging from the average comment section, are quick to anger and would be the most likely to flag down videos and comments – not because they were inappropriate – but because they just didn’t agree with them.

Unless YouTube comes out and says that they have a plan to ensure the quality of those using the service (unlikely, as they have disabled comments on the video to quiet the negative feedback), this is a terrible idea. Nearly every attempt to include the digital community in a major business has ended in failure purely by virtue of the fact that they can’t control the actions of random strangers. It’s the business equivalent of handing chimpanzees machetes and NOT expecting them to hack up a few people.

In short, my open letter can be simplified as such; Youtube, start doing your own damn job. And if you don’t have the people to pull it off, stop being so stingy and expand like a responsible business should.

Archive News: Vacations, Projects, and Moving Days

Good morning, Field Operatives!

Those of you who have been following me on Facebook and Twitter are probably already aware of how much has been going on lately in my life. Most noteworthy, I’ve been working on a few personal projects (Halloween prep, planning to get a real estate licence, etc.) while getting ready to move into a new, bigger, better apartment.

Add to that how my current day job doesn’t allow much in terms of breaks (thanks again, New Hampshire labor laws) and I’m a little spent.

So, I’m going to take this week off to catch up on stuff as well as spend some much needed time with my family. I’ll be back next week with more idle musings.

In the meantime, for your entertainment, I’ll recommend you to a YouTube channel I hope to one day be as witty, amusing and insightful as; Grade A Under A. Enjoy and I’ll be back soon.

YouTube Decency Standards or Controlling Creators?

Why do you hate the people making you money, YouTube?

Okay, that’s an admittedly abrupt way to start an article. But after the long string of problems we’ve seen coming out of YouTube – including their archaic automatic copyright strike system that’s still a problem today – we seeing garbage like this.

The short version of the story goes as follows; YouTube has made a new set of guidelines allowing them to pull monetization rights from videos that they feel may too violent, sexual, or controversial for advertisers. For those like me who are strictly anti-censorship, this would be bad enough. But, they had to make it even worse by defining the guidelines in such vague terms that they could pull ad revenue from videos at random and arbitrarily.

In fact, I don’t really need to say anything as one of my favorite Youtubers, James “Caddicarus” Caddick, said everything that needed to be said in the above video demonstrating the hypocrisy of the new guidelines (bonus points for giving Nicki Minaj’s garbage music a proper thrashing as well).

Look, I know this is going to be the shortest article I’ve ever written, but I just don’t have the strength to keep up with this sort of thing and there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said before. So, I’m just going to say this and be done with it – YouTube corporate, you need to understand that this is not a hobby on the web anymore; it’s a job and people are going to treat it as a job. All of the attempts to control content will only serve to place enmity between you and your creators.

If you’re that worried about how your advertisers feel about placing their product next to Nicki’s jiggling ass, maybe you should try letting THEM decide where their ads go instead of making a blanket statement that you can (and likely will, if corporate greed acts its part) use as a blank check to destroy a channel that rubs you the wrong way.

And if that’s just too much work for you, then stop whining and learn to live the fact that the world will always have a bunch of dreary crap in it and you will never stop people from talking about it.

Bottom Line: If Steven Universe can get away with having Garnet and Amethyst’s sexy fusion dance on cable T.V. (huh, more Nicki Minaj. Weird), we should too.

Regarding the Anthem and Colin Kaepernick

Now if it were me, I’d be sorely tempted to use a different finger.
Source: trunkweed.com

So, right off the bat, I know nothing about most sports. I don’t follow football because seeing a bunch of oversized people covered in sweat slamming into each other a full speed is too brutish for my tastes.

That said, what I do know is social commentary on current events. I know a controversy when I see it. And what’s going down right now with Colin Kaepernick is just another media circus.

For those not in the know, Kaepernick is the quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers who has been making headlines lately for opting to remain seated during the national anthem in protest of the recent string of police violence against African-Americans and other people of color. In interviews, he seems well aware that what he did doesn’t sit well with some people. However, he expresses no regret in, “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” and that he’s, “not looking for approval. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Now, we could throw around police statistics about crime and violence as it relates to ethnicity all day. But I want to focus on this moment – this single action.

Let’s start with the obvious fact; no one forced Kaepernick to stand nor could they force him to. He was, and should be, allowed to freely express himself in the manner of his choosing (provided said expression does no lasting damage to people or property) as granted my the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

I actually had one friend (who, out of honor and respect, shall remain nameless) question me saying, “How do you hide behind the First Amendment, but don’t respect the flag that guarantees it?” My answer was simple; “By recognizing that the flag didn’t give us that freedom; hard working, determined people did.”

… Which brings me to the bulk of argument.

I have not stood for the anthem or the pledge of allegiance since I was 15 years old. I’ve caught a lot of flack for being disrespectful and unpatriotic in the past for that choice. But there’s a reason why I don’t do it; that flag and the government it represents didn’t guarantee my freedom before and they don’t guarantee it now. That honor goes to people.

Strong people, brave people, people who risk their lives for decent men and women that can’t guarantee their freedom on their own, people like my own father – a sergeant first class who served in the army for years; these are the people you should be standing for; not some colored cloth on a pole that a cold, unfeeling, corporately driven government uses to blindfold you so you can’t see the shady things they do behind your back.

I reserve my respect for people on an individual basis based on the actions they have taken and what motivated those actions. I will recognize a group for doing some good, but I will not blindly throw blanket praise over the whole of them. And I will certainly not give that respect to a glorified sheet flapping in the breeze that did nothing but serve as a symbol of the people that profited the most from their effort.

The flag, the anthem, and all of their ilk are unfeeling symbols and, as a great man once said, “I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.”

Three Great Comic Book Romances We Should All Be So Lucky To Have

So, I don’t often follow up on articles so soon. But, since the thought of last week’s think-piece on Harley Quinn is still buzzing in my head and in light of how AMAZINGLY well received it was (seriously, it’s the second most shared post I’ve ever made. Thank you all), I felt the need to follow it up.

Honestly, if I made any error last week that I wish to take back, it’s this; what good is it to tell you how crappy a relationship is if I don’t give you some GOOD ones to compare it to?

So today, I’m going to delve through my backlog of comic book knowledge to share with you some of the most touching stories of love ever told through sequential art.

Alicia Masters and The Thing

Heh heh, “The Thing-ker.” As an expert in puns – ten out of ten, Alicia.
Source: Marvel Database

There are few feelings I can think of worse that feeling like there’s no place for you in the world; that you’re just too different for anyone to love you. This was the way Ben Grimm – The Ever-Lovin’, Blue-Eyed Thing – felt after becoming a living man of stone.

But all was not lost. Even Ben found love in some just as out of place as him; a blind sculptor named Alicia Masters.

She found beauty in his strength and the kindness that lies just under the rough, rocky surface; a beauty that she would often turn to for inspiration in her art. The two are nearly inseparable and will happily stand for the other at any cost.

Wolverine and Hercules

MOST. METAL. FIRST DATE. EVER.
Source: Comic Vine

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t name at least one LGBT positive couple in an article about true love.

Now, technically this isn’t OUR Wolvie and Herc but rather the ones from Earth-12025 (damn, Marvel has a metric S***-ton of Earths). That said, it doesn’t diminish how awesome these two are together. Especially when you consider that these two hooked up in spite of anti-LGBT laws (Canada doesn’t recognise gay couples? MAN, this Earth is weird) and Zeus forbids any god other than him from cavorting with mortals (… hypocritical cock-rocket).

Now, as if having a boyfriend who is LITERALLY the God of Strength wasn’t awesome enough, this Wolvie – still using his birth name of James Howlett – is the Governor-General of Canada, is even tougher than our Wolverine (his skeleton is coated in Adamantine – the mythical metal Adamantium was named for – by Hercules as a gift, and the two are the greatest heroes on Earth in spite of the bigotry they face.

I have seriously never seen anything so awesomely metal and charmingly gay since my Man-O-War ‘Anthology’ album.

Green Arrow and Black Canary

This is the couple I always think of first when talking about love stories in comics.

I think what’s so great about Arrow and Canary is the dynamic they share. Canary is never portrayed as a damsel in distress (she’s actually a savant in hand-to-hand combat), but Arrow isn’t forced into the dopey man role to compensate (he’s a billionaire industrialist and quite a brilliant inventor). They’re just a cute couple that has plenty of attitude between them that complement each other perfectly combined with a deep mutual love and respect.

Also, they totally open a flower shop together and call it “Sherwood Florist.” God, I love these two.

The Horrors of Romanticizing Abuse and The Psychology of Harley Quinn

So… This is your idea romance, eh?
Source: BJA007 on Imgur

I’m going to try hammer this one out quickly on the grounds that, while it clearly needs to be said, it’s not something I enjoy talking about.

So, with the release (and subsequent lukewarm reception) of Suicide Squad, it seems that DC Fans have started clamoring about a topic that never fails to infuriate me whenever people start talking about it; the relationship between well-known Batman villains Harley Quinn and The Joker.

Nearly everyone I know has, at one point, said that they want a romance like these two. But here’s the rub – they often say this without realizing or even in spite of the fact that The Joker is an abusive and manipulative sociopath and Harley is most likely suffering from deep mental scars that extend far beyond even the damage he’s done.

For those not familiar with her backstory, Harley – real name; Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel (yes, the bubble-headed, bleach blonde, jester girl has a PhD) – was a graduate of Gotham State University where she excelled in Gymnastics and Psychology. After finally getting a job at Arkham Asylum and eager to start analyzing their most notorious super-criminals, she found herself locked in a battle of wits and egos with The Joker that ended with him seducing her to aid his escape on multiple occasions and eventually to join up as his most frequent collaborator.

But here’s the thing, The Joker is largely incapable of returning that love. If he has any love in his heart, it’s for the pain and chaos he causes. The closest he can be said to have come to loving a human being is his obsession with Batman. And that love for inflicting pain and disregard for human life is shown in the way he routinely scolds and beats Harley. For god’s sake, he threw her out of a 3-story window!

What’s more, Harley’s behavior is supported by psychology. There are the obvious implications of Stockholm Syndrome, but even her slowly growing to believe she could identify with Joker is supported by science. While working in Arkham, she clearly spent enough time with him for Emotional Contagion – the tendency for humans to subconsciously imitate the emotions of others – to set in. With enough time under her skin, it was only a matter of time before Shared Psychotic Disorder (also known as Folie à deux or ‘madness of two’) took hold and she started emulating his Anti-Social Personality Disorder under the delusion of romance.

So, are we clear here? Harley and Joker are not romantic; they are sick. Harley needs counseling to deal with her years of abuse and Joker needs to be placed in solitary confinement. When you say you want a love like theirs, you aren’t being Bonnie with Clyde (which would be bad enough) – you’re being one of those weirdos that send love letters to serial killers.

Seriously, the best thing that Injustice: Gods Among Us ever did was give us the moment that the comics took forever to do; having Harley figuratively nail Chuckles the Ass-Clown to the F***ING wall.