The Distillery
This is cultural bias in effect. General (generally white) audiences never question why characters are white and blond. If a character could be white, that’s usually justification enough. Whiteness as default becomes logical and comfortable. Only non-whiteness requires an explanation.
Indeed, if a character is not white, some people will cry out that their racial identity is the product of political agenda-driven tampering. If a character is white, the same people will comfortably assume that he or she came out of the box like that.
It should be noted that we’re not even talking about the broad US census category of “white”, which covers people whose families hail from Europe, North Africa or the Middle East — including many people with tan, olive or ruddy skin.
In comics, whiteness is predominantly represented by the pale pink complexions of Northern Europeans — the color once problematically referred to as “Flesh” on Crayola crayons, until Crayola changed it to “Peach” in 1962. Real world white comes in many shades, but in comics all white people seem to trend towards hex color #FFCFAB. (Individual colorists may of course bring more nuance to their work, but how many white superheroes can you name who are consistently portrayed with bronze or olive-toned skin?)
Superhero comics don’t actually favor whiteness; they favor a subset of whiteness that borders on Aryan idealism. We ought to regard that as uncomfortably fetishistic, because it’s an aesthetic that the industry has chosen.
All fiction is manufactured. Authors make their worlds and choose what goes in them. It is always possible to contrive a fictional justification for a character looking whichever way the author wants, up to and including finding a way to make a white person the hero in a story about, say, feudal Japan, or ancient Egypt, or Persia during the Islamic Golden Age. A white hero is not the most likely scenario, but it’s always a possible scenario, so in that way it always becomes justified.
The decision to cast Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch has been called out by message board posters as evidence of an agenda at work — but white heroes in these non-white settings are rarely called out as similar evidence of an agenda. It’s all artifice, it’s all contrived. Fiction exists in service to an author’s design. All fiction serves an agenda, whether it’s articulated or not.

escapekit:

 Chromatic Typewriter Prints

Tyree Callahan has recycled (or upcycled, perhaps) a classic 1937 Underwood typewriter by replacing letters with sponges soaked across the spectrum with bright yellows, reds, blues and combinations thereof.

Les fruits et légumes moches / the inglorious fruits and vegetables.

It’s all in the marketing.

Snake snake snake…

Toad Words

jumpingjacktrash:

the-real-seebs:

ursulavernon:

            Frogs fall out of my mouth when I talk. Toads, too.

            It used to be a problem.

            There was an incident when I was young and cross and fed up parental expectations. My sister, who is the Good One, has gold fall from her lips, and since I could not be her, I had to go a different way.

            So I got frogs. It happens.

            “You’ll grow into it,” the fairy godmother said. “Some curses have cloth-of-gold linings.” She considered this, and her finger drifted to her lower lip, the way it did when she was forgetting things. “Mind you, some curses just grind you down and leave you broken. Some blessings do that too, though. Hmm. What was I saying?”

            I spent a lot of time not talking. I got a slate and wrote things down. It was hard at first, but I hated to drop the frogs in the middle of the road. They got hit by cars, or dried out, miles away from their damp little homes.

            Toads were easier. Toads are tough. After awhile, I learned to feel when a word was a toad and not a frog. I could roll the word around on my tongue and get the flavor before I spoke it. Toad words were drier. Desiccated is a toad word. So is crisp and crisis and obligation. So are elegant and matchstick.

            Frog words were a bit more varied. Murky. Purple. Swinging. Jazz.

I practiced in the field behind the house, speaking words over and over, sending small creatures hopping into the evening.  I learned to speak some words as either toads or frogs. It’s all in the delivery.

            Love is a frog word, if spoken earnestly, and a toad word if spoken sarcastically. Frogs are not good at sarcasm.

            Toads are masters of it.

            I learned one day that the amphibians are going extinct all over the world, that some of them are vanishing. You go to ponds that should be full of frogs and find them silent. There are a hundred things responsible—fungus and pesticides and acid rain.

            When I heard this, I cried “What!?” so loudly that an adult African bullfrog fell from my lips and I had to catch it. It weighed as much as a small cat. I took it to the pet store and spun them a lie in writing about my cousin going off to college and leaving the frog behind.

            I brooded about frogs for weeks after that, and then eventually, I decided to do something about it.

            I cannot fix the things that kill them. It would take an army of fairy godmothers, and mine retired long ago. Now she goes on long cruises and spreads her wings out across the deck chairs.

            But I can make more.

            I had to get a field guide at first. It was a long process. Say a word and catch it, check the field marks. Most words turn to bronze frogs if I am not paying attention.

            Poison arrow frogs make my lips go numb. I can only do a few of those a day. I go through a lot of chapstick.  

            It is a holding action I am fighting, nothing more. I go to vernal pools and whisper sonnets that turn into wood frogs. I say the words squeak and squill and spring peepers skitter away into the trees. They begin singing almost the moment they emerge.

            I read long legal documents to a growing audience of Fowler’s toads, who blink their goggling eyes up at me. (I wish I could do salamanders. I would read Clive Barker novels aloud and seed the streams with efts and hellbenders. I would fly to Mexico and read love poems in another language to restore the axolotl. Alas, it’s frogs and toads and nothing more. We make do.)

            The woods behind my house are full of singing. The neighbors either learn to love it or move away.

            My sister—the one who speaks gold and diamonds—funds my travels. She speaks less than I do, but for me and my amphibian friends, she will vomit rubies and sapphires. I am grateful.

            I am practicing reading modernist revolutionary poetry aloud. My accent is atrocious. Still, a day will come when the Panamanian golden frog will tumble from my lips, and I will catch it and hold it, and whatever word I spoke, I’ll say again and again, until I stand at the center of a sea of yellow skins, and make from my curse at last a cloth of gold.

Terri Windling posted recently about the old fairy tale of frogs falling from a girl’s lips, and I started thinking about what I’d do if that happened to me, and…well…

!.

You know how if you go through years and years of “best science fiction short stories”, every so often you find some short story you’ve never heard of before, but it’s just amazing and brilliant and leaves you wondering why you never read stories with that plot before? This is one of those.

Seriously, wow.

this made me smile.

i’m still smiling.

 Eunice at Artimess || Wreck This Journal

Webcomic recommendation: a no-nonsense wombat finds herself tangled up with magic, destiny and gods, none of which she wishes to have any truck with.

800-850 pages, complete.

This is a brilliant online graphical novel. Ursula Vernon has created a captivating world with wonderful characters.

RALEIGH: In some ways that could have gone better.
IDRIS ELBA: You both totally and humiliatingly failed.
RALEIGH: Yes, ‘succeeding’ is one of the ways in which it could have gone better.

- Sarah Rees Brennan, Pacific Rim parody (via leafsfeelings)

Favourite part of this parody:

RALEIGH: How did I not know you’d built a giant sword into the robot?
MAKO: Bubbles, I love you, but sometimes you talk too much and you don’t pay attention.

(via minionier)

Aaaaaaaah this. Is. Hilarious.

IDRIS ELBA: You’re never quite ready for the day when they leave the nest, and meet a man, and pilot a giant robot with him to avert the apocalypse.

(via greenchestnuts)

HERMAN: By Jove, we will own this bad boy for real!
NEWT: … By Jove? Nobody says that. English people don’t say that. If you are a time traveller, you can tell me. I will believe you, and chances are I will also find it totally hot.

(via centrumlumina)