Dr. Strange and White Lady Ancient Ones

I just saw Dr. Strange.

The movie was super fun. Incredibly well paced, beautiful and imaginative visuals, just enough humor without feeling forced, and strong actors that lent gravitas and weight to a fairly straightforward and fluffy plot. 

I also think casting Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One was a strong and successful choice. 

Before the movie came out, there was a strong outcry at seeing Tilda Swinton cast in what was described as an Asian role. It was scorned and derided as another example of Hollywood whitewashing - removing people of color from stories or casting white actors in Asian character roles. While the concern of Hollywood whitewashing is more than justified and calling out instances is a necessary part of creating change, I don't think this movie qualifies as an instance of whitewashing. I think the casting choice is actually helpful, not harmful to Asian American representation in film.

I was not familiar with the Dr. Strange comic and universe, but even a cursory search reveals The Ancient One as a character that is rife with problems. It is a stereotypical Eastern mystical character who teaches a White foreigner how to harness magical powers. It is also a character who is, in the comics, hailing from Tibet.

Oh hello, 1963. Give me a healthy dose of your exoticism Orientalist magic!

Oh hello, 1963. Give me a healthy dose of your exoticism Orientalist magic!

I personally am a big supporter of a director and creative team taking source material and retelling a story in their vision. When translating a story across mediums, how its told by the very nature of the shift has to change. In the case of Dr. Strange, one of the characters involved in the source material was also highly problematic for a variety of reasons.

I was actually disappointed to read the reason writer C. Robert Cargill gave about why they chose to cast the way they did. According to Cargill, the casting as stemming from the challenge of having a Tibetan character, and the loaded financial and political problem this presented. Cast the role as Tibetan, and risk upsetting Chinese censors and the movie not being allowed in China due to political conflict over Tibetan independence. That's a lot of money lost. 

If that was truly the main thrust of the casting choice, then it is cowardly and greedy. However, the result, even if unintentional, is a stronger and more interesting character that worked for me.

The shift of the character away from stereotypical tropes is, for me, a better alternative than just blindly adhering to the source material. The switch in gender also helps to break the expectations and tired tropes we've seen again and again. I'd rather see Tilda Swinton portray a badass, fairly androgynous mystical sorcerer than see an Asian actor play the typecast magical Asian guy who helps the white dude just long enough to get started on his path to heroics before dying to Advance Plot. (Oops, spoilers.)

The result is a character that is acknowledged as Celtic in film, comes from a long line of Ancient One defenders, and circumvents and subverts exoticism and negative racial expectations of the role. Swinton's chops and charm as this character gives the movie an added dimension, and we get an Asian character that is actually strong and interesting (and confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War) in the form of Wong. 

I will acknowledge that with the change, you're still left with the problematic assumption of a very Tibetan inspired, monastery order of sorcerers, drawing from Asian themes, but set in Napal not Tibet. However, narrative-wise, the order's international nature (with headquarters in Hong Kong, London, and New York) combined with its relatively diverse membership help to elevate the story from stereotypical Oriental exotic mysticism to a more fantasy realm of magic and sorcery.

TLDR: Dr. Strange is fun. Let's hold our outrage until we can evaluate the supposed offenses in context of the full artistic endeavor. Let's focus our energies on creating dialogue around actual cases of whitewashing and harmful racial erasure in Hollywood (and other) stories.

Overwatch: the most fun I've had dying a bunch of times.

I hate first person shooters.

I'm awful at them, and frankly, they stress me out. The combination of my poor aim and the general frenetic, twitchy pace of most games in the genre often leaves me a fringed heap of nerves and regrets. 

The last time I played an FPS and enjoyed it was Goldeneye on N64, and that was primarily because I was a 13 year old and we were jamming the game at sleepovers until we bled from our eyeballs and our mothers came tromping downstairs to yell at us to turn the TV off I mean it's 3AM for chrissake.

Ah, the sweet sweet graphics of my youth.

Ah, the sweet sweet graphics of my youth.

More recently, I borrowed a friend's Xbox to try out Destiny. The game looked gorgeous, the world design seemed awesome, and I was open to giving the genre another shot. (Heh, shot.) 

I got 20 minutes in, died repeatedly to the first boss fight, and promptly gave up. 

Which makes what I'm about to say perhaps all the more surprising: I'm loving Overwatch.

Pew Pew Pew! Kssshboom! Vrrrrn! Watchow!

Pew Pew Pew! Kssshboom! Vrrrrn! Watchow!

Yeah, this revelation probably isn't surprising if you're at all into video games or follow video game news. Overwatch launched to a flurry of strong reviews. It's also the newest title from Blizzard, a publisher known for its genre-defining, high quality games. 

However, I had my doubts that I'd enjoy the game, even as coworkers and friends expounded its virtues. It's been some time since I considered myself a "serious" or "hardcore" gamer, and first person shooters in general have an unfortunate reputation for competitiveness and potentially acerbic communities. The few times I've ventured into the genre resulted in strong sentiments of "this game isn't for noobs or casuals."

So far, Overwatch hasn't felt the same.

The game is fast - fast to pick up, fast to learn, fast to jump in and start playing. Matches are equally quick, running on average between 7-10 minutes. That match length makes sitting down to play much less of a commitment. You can breeze through a match or two before bed, or binge for hours on end running games back to back.

The game is almost as fast as Tracer, one of Overwatch's 21 iconic characters.

The game is almost as fast as Tracer, one of Overwatch's 21 iconic characters.

Central to the game's appeal is the cast of 21 heroes, each with their own special powers, roles, and flavor. From heavily armored tanks, to fast paced teleporting gunslingers, to medics who fly across the battlefield on angel wings, each character has its own playstyle and backstory. Also worthy of note is the incredible diversity on display - not just in play and mechanical design, but in the heroes' characterizations. We have heroes of all nationalities, genders, shapes and sizes - including a gorilla, a robot, and an omnic (which are future death-dealing-robot-turned-buddhist-inspired-zen-masters? ...I need to watch more of the story videos - more on that later.) 

Winston don't got no chill.

Winston don't got no chill.

The gameplay itself is easy to grasp - two teams of 6 battle to control mobile payloads, guard and capture areas on a map, and vie for control of key positions. The complexity comes with the make-up of the teams. Characters fall into four role-types, meaning a balanced team of offensive, defensive, tank and support heroes will fare better than a hodgepodge of too many of any one role. 

Each hero feels vastly different and offer unique ways to play and contribute to your team's success. A lot of the fun comes from the layered discoveries that occur over the course of playing. Initially, the fun comes from learning the way a hero's ability set works together to create a coherent strategy or approach. As you get better with a hero and solve the puzzle of their abilities, the next level reveals itself -  discovering how your hero combos with your teammates to play even more effectively, and learning what abilities counter your opponent's strengths and weaknesses. 

The game also gives plenty of tools for a newer player to build confidence and learn. There's an enormously helpful Practice Range mode, where you can take all the heroes for a test drive against robot targets to learn their abilities. You can battle with other humans against AI opponents on Easy, Medium and Hard difficulties. Then, when you're feeling ready, you can dive into smart-matched battles vs real players.

And if you're anything like me, you'll then proceed to die. A lot. 

And lose. A lot.

And somehow, it will be really fun.

Almost as fun as a roller-blading DJ killing people with sonic waves.

Almost as fun as a roller-blading DJ killing people with sonic waves.

At first, as with learning anything new, games felt mildly mystifying and impossible. Overwatch is, after all, still a First Person Shooter - the gameplay is fast and twitchy, and oftentimes I died and had no idea who or what killed me. On my first game on the first map I encountered, I charged out the gate - and promptly ran off a cliff and fell to my death.

Yeah, something like that.

Yeah, something like that.

After that, I mainly stuck to playing Mercy, a hero who heals folks mainly by tethering herself to teammates and holding down one button. 

I can handle one button. 

Praise be to (aptly named) Heal-bot Heroes. 

Praise be to (aptly named) Heal-bot Heroes. 

Then I started testing out some of the other heroes. Each hero has a handy 1 to 3 star Difficulty Rating to give you an idea of how hard they are to master. I actually managed to kill some enemies with Bastion, a one star difficulty hero that's a robot that can turn into a mini-gun turret (just go with it). 

I can point and click.

Pewpewpewpewpew!

Pewpewpewpewpew!

Fun fact: when your hero dies in the game, a "Kill Cam" shows you how you died as you wait to return to life. While in other games this often feels like a gratuitous rubbing in of how much you suck, I actively learned about positioning, strategy, and enemy abilities with Overwatch's Kill Cam. (And I was also reminded of how much I suck.)

And that's the thing. Losing is fast (7-10 minutes!) and relatively painless. There's tons of new heroes and playstyles to learn and try out each time. And breakout moments of success and learning are exciting. 

Tonight, I decided to pick up the first Hero I tried out - Widowmaker. It's a hero that plays as a sniper, shooting from afar. Widowmaker requires deft aiming, smart positioning, fast reactions and strategy. AKA, everything I'm terrible at.

Pictured here: not me playing. You can tell because this Widowmaker actually killed folks.

Pictured here: not me playing. You can tell because this Widowmaker actually killed folks.

The first time I picked up this hero, I got destroyed by a Widowmaker on the opposing team that absolutely outplayed me in every regard.

The game tonight, however, I managed to get a few sweet shots in, found some fun hiding spots on a map that I knew better now that I had played several games, and actually contributed to my team's win. I copycatted the positions and strategy I saw my opponent do, I had faster reactions from having a few games under my belt, and had a blast playing.

I'm never gonna be a pro at this game, and I probably won't be dipping my toes into the new competitive mode that will be unveiling in the near future. But this is a game I know I'll pick up and play for a long time.

Additionally, (and for me, more career and work related), I'm immensely excited by how Blizzard is unveiling the narrative and story behind Overwatch. The game doesn't have a story mode - rather, we learn about the characters and world of Overwatch via beautiful animated shorts, comics, and other media outside the gameplay itself. This elegantly tackles a challenge often faced by games clearly designed with esports and competition in mind - how to tell story in the bizarre context of an open arena / battle style game.

So when's the Overwatch movie coming out?

So when's the Overwatch movie coming out?

Blizzard's answer is to simply not.

Rather than justifying why Widowmakers are sniping down opposing Widowmakers, it weaves its story outside the context of the game, giving further depth and showing characters off in standalone mediums. It also creates opportunities for fandom and enjoyment of Overwatch for folks who may not actively play. 

By putting the thrust of storytelling outside of gameplay and as free and accessible nodes of content available online, Blizzard enables fans to organically share and access the story. It empowers fans to consume the story of Overwatch without the need for gameplay, widening the appeal and reach of the game and brand. In short, it fuels and grows the potential audience and spectators of the game, which in turn strengthens the e-sports potential of the game itself. 

Smart stuff. 

If you're playing on PC, you can pick up the most basic version as a digital download for $39.99. You can check out some awesome videos and comics here. 

If you have the chance, check it out. And come play a game or two with me. We can be terrible together, nerd out on the story, and talk about how impossible it is not to have a crush on Tracer (British accents are totally cheating). 

Yes, and? No, Thanks.

If you've ever taken an improv class (and probably even if you haven't), you've likely heard of the phrase, "Yes, and." 

"Yes, and" is commonly touted as one of, if not THE most, fundamental rules of improv. The basic principle behind "yes, and" is simple and elegant: players in an improvised scene should agree with what their partners have said (yes), and then add more information and details to what has been established (and).  

I've taught countless beginning improv classes that began with "yes, and" as the first rule.

I've taken countless improv classes that began and reinforced and came back to "yes, and" as a fundamental rule.

I think the rule clearly illustrates an important foundation of collaborative storytelling, implies a need for close listening (another fundamental skill in improv), and encourages performers to speak their mind and boldly add their piece.

I also no longer begin my workshops with "Yes, and." 

Don’t get me wrong. There’s lots to love about “yes, and.” It is an elegant explanation of a key concept in improv. It encourages agreement and collaboration. It asks players to make bold choices, to follow their gut, to speak their mind, and to do so while listening to their partner. It helps teach students to create forward movement in their scene work. However, I’m curious if it is truly the best starting place to teaching improv.

It’s Okay to Say (k)Nope

As improv becomes more and more mainstream in our social lexicon and consciousness, as improv schools and theaters grow in size and clout and importance, certain elements about improv education become more common knowledge and more codified. Guidelines become rules become laws become Unbreakable Pillars of Requirement. Even non-improvisers smile knowingly when I say I do improv, and respond, "Ah, right, yes AND you don't make any money right?" (To which I reply, yes, AND... well played. Then I quietly weep.)

One of the big dangers of “yes, and” being an Unbreakable Pillar is the elimination of agency when it comes to consent on stage. At its least insidious, it results in beginning players feeling like they can’t say no as characters on stage, even if it’s a stronger choice.

An example: Actor A says, “Whatever you do, don’t eat my sandwich from the break room fridge.” Actor B can say “yeah, okay, I won’t eat your sandwich, and I’m sorry.” A potentially more dynamic scene might instead be mid-chew and say, “Oh, this sandwich?” By denying the character, Actor B actually heightens the stakes and clarifies the conflict. The Character of Actor B says no, while the Actor is embracing the drive of the scene.

This kind of inability to say no is rather benign. It simply results in a (potentially) less dynamic scene. It definitely limits an actor’s choices, which is ironic given the intent behind Yes, And to empower improvisers to be able to create openly.

Far more problematic is the elimination of agency when it comes to scenes that create moments that are potentially harmful or hurtful. This especially has been heavy on my mind given the recent revelation of sexual harassment issues running deeply endemic to various well established improv institutions – in Chicago, in LA, and in communities across the country. Most recently, it resulted in the firing of an artistic director at an iconic improv theater.

To say that “Yes, And” is behind the systemic disregard to sexual harassment is to grossly oversimplify and reduce a complex issue. However, I can’t help but feel that an over-emphasis and culture of “yes above all else” tacitly empowers the creation of classroom environments where students feel they can’t express discomfort or objection to scenes or subject matter. I personally have experienced this when racially charged scenes happen. The dichotomy and challenge is we want to create a safe space where we CAN explore sensitive subjects (and make mistakes, discover WHY things are offensive, and explore what things reinforce damaging paradigms vs what things are funny and upset established power dynamics). However, we MUST also have a space where if lines are crossed we can point it out without fear of breaking a rule or being told we’re “just not getting the joke” or “not saying yes.”

I know for myself and many of my peers, part of the draw of improv is its empowerment and inclusivity. It’s a core part of the concept of “Yes, And” – we are all “correct,” whatever we say, and we have the power to create new things from that. Yet I imagine we can do a stronger job in shifting our approach just slightly to avoid some of the inherent, subtle problems of demanding agreement.

Make ‘em Comfy, Then Punch Them In The Gut (With lols)

What’s more important? A safe space, or laughs? I would argue that comedy cannot begin until we have made the audience feel safe. Not in a coddling way, but in the manner that comedy has the power to disarm people so that they are receptive to complex and challenging content. Bawdy puppets in Avenue Q can say things no politician can broach. Comedy news shows can lampoon and call out uncomfortable truths in a way that has people rolling in stitches. That is only possible when we have created a space that allows people to drop their guard and listen with joy and excitement. We can only create such a space if all performers and participants feel empowered and able to say yes AND no without repercussion. I think that sort of training should start from day 1, class 1.

Besides…

Shifting away from “Yes, And” as our starting point further empowers us to examine more deeply what IS the most essential thing to any strong and funny and interesting comedic scene. Once we do that, we can start with a stronger foot that allows for more open play, and further empowers rather than limits our performers as they grow from these foundations.

105-Year-Old Literally Cannibalizes 36-Year-Old Who Destroyed 29-Year-Old Millenial Who Ripped 25-Year-Old Ex-Yelp Employee

Dear Whoever-the-hell-I-can't-even-keep-track-of-all-these-kids,

After reading your scathing character assassination of a girl who wrote a bizarre excuse for a mini autobiography in response to a girl who wrote an article detailing the absolute struggle she dealt with while working for a Bay Area based corporation, I felt it absolutely necessary to dine on your flesh and internal organs. I think it is only fitting that I literally eviscerate you as you metaphorically destroy someone who literarily decided to reframe someone's personal essay on the struggles of working for a cellular phone application into some kind of indictment on an entire generation. (You might also tell me literarily is not a word, but I'm 105 so who the fuck cares?)

My name is Mary, but that is not nearly as important as Joe, which is the name I gave your pancreas right before I devoured it. I will be turning actually older than dust come this winter, and it is literally two or three lifetimes ago for some people that I was your age, having survived two world wars, a Great Depression, a Great Recession, and a Mediocre Jam Season (the strawberries were a little under-ripe this year). Despite our several-decade age difference, it seems we are closer than ever, primarily because I am in your body cavity, consuming your kidneys. 

Before I dined on them with just a little touch of mustard, you used your lungs to tell me you were an English major at one point, and that a 29 year old English major was busy ripping into a 25 year old English major, much as I was ripping into your bronchi. You said something about the privilege of getting to dream, and something of reading comprehension, but all I wondered as I consumed your trachea was, why do English majors spend so many words hating on each other?

I wondered as I picked apart your muscle groups why you and that girl you destroyed and the girl she ripped spent so much time picking apart each other's personal flaws or faults. It seemed so exhausting, at each step, as you tip toed around the quality parts of each person, the good things they had to say, and instead chose  to tear into the details that contain the least substance.  You were a graphic designer (before I drained all the blood from your body into a saucepan). She was a waitress. That other girl was a customer service person. I'm a methodical deconstructionist of the human body. Who the hell cares? 

It just seems a real shame that all this talk turns to personal successes or failings while the big, juicy issue of unsustainable minimum wages, which it seems all of you have experienced, goes almost untouched. Sure, that's not all your fault - I've watched tweets go from "something the birds my husband (ingested in '85) watched would do," to "a way a narrative completely runs off the rails." But it's amazing how we get so distracted by whether or not someone actually could afford bread (or cupcakes and bourbon), or who is more privileged and who is the least grateful, or who doesn't understand the #BlackLivesMatter movement at all (wait, really? oh dear. That is pretty awful. I'm 105 with plenty of latent racist views and even I think that's bullshit).

Sorry, what was I saying? I got a little distracted while chewing on your appendix. What is the whole point of this thing, anyway?

I suppose all I really have to say is, the Internet is a lot like the small intestine I'm currently slurping up like spaghetti - it runs on forever, and it's really good at sucking out all the nourishing and interesting bits and leaving only the husks of opinion and shit behind. 

Maybe instead of consuming each other for all of our flaws (honey, your poor bile duct, so overworked), we can direct our attention back to the choice problems of a culture of knee-jerk outrage, angry mob mentality, sharing stories without fact checking, character assassination over empathy, gentrification, and a booming tech industry with problematic wages (which makes no sense to me not because I'm old but because I primarily spent the last 20 years eating humans). This isn't directed at just you, my 36 year old friend, because you're little more than viscera on my carpet at this point - this is directed at all the people on that small intestine Internet train of bullshit. 

Let's stop being shitty to each other, folks, and get back to the important thing - disposing of bones in a discrete, non-obtuse manner.

It's Not Censorship; Your Jokes Are Just Crappy and Lazy

"Did you know that if you are still telling the same tired jokes you were telling 20 years ago with no regard to the changing social and political climate that you probably won’t get tons of laughs on college campuses? ...[But] there is nothing more American than the ability to say whatever you want — no matter how vile and hate-filled, no matter the social consequences, no matter how steeped in the blood of people of color, trans people, or rape victims those jokes are — without having to face any criticism." - Ijeoma Oluo

You can be dirty, raunchy, and talk all about the taboo. But you gotta be really freakin' good to do it well. It's why Louis CK can get away with murder (or, in the case of his SNL monologue, a heinous yet hilarious joke about pedophilia).

Lazy comedy is pointing at a stereotype or taboo topic and saying "HERE IT IS." Laughter because you made the audience uncomfortable is easy. 

Good comedy takes a taboo stereotype or problematic topic and inverts it, twists it, highlights its absurdity, and makes us examine an uncomfortable thing up close and observe the need for transformation.

It’s easy to say something offensive and provoke a response. It’s harder to call out the offensive thing or stereotype and make a joke about why it's offensive that simultaneously barbs, is funny, and highlights why it's problematic. 

An imperfect example:

I was playing a game where a fellow improviser and I were movie critics who narrated/set up scenes in a movie. Then, two of our other teammates would act out that scene. For a suggestion of a genre, we received Martial Arts film.

I chose to narrate the scene with a British accent, because I had no interest in the low-hanging fruit of playing up my Asian-ness. The two (white) actors acting out the scenes however immediately made the choice of coming onstage and immediately doing stereotypical Asian/Chinese accents and talking about shaming the honor of their family, etc.

It’s a fine line. There is not anything inherently wrong with their choice to play the accents. Sure, their content was stereotyping - but it’s a genre game which often leans into stereotypes of genre for bits and jokes. Audiences laugh when they recognize tropes, and accents, dubs, and white-appropriated depictions. 

To me however, this is really beginner-level comedy and jokes, and also fraught with the easy danger of tipping into offensive/racist choices. We’re reinforcing expectations instead of inverting them - the comedy comes solely from recognition, not from any element of surprise or intelligent inverting of expectations.

My partner narrating the scene was obviously a little uncomfortable, and made a comment questioning the “historical authenticity” of the movie. This was an amazing gift that I got to jump on.

Instead of pointing out how inauthentic two white guys pretending to be Chinese warriors was, I instead asserted how deeply, amazingly authentic the film was, and how it wasn’t at ALL weird or problematic having two white guys play all the Chinese characters through the film.

The audience laughed, and then the game of our scene became the two white actors purposefully playing into horrible overblown stereotypes, my character embracing them ridiculously, and my co-anchor playing the straight man getting more and more uncomfortable and finally rebuking the whole thing. 

What could’ve been a generic scene of stereotyping and bad accents instead became a commentary on appropriation of culture and how Hollywood whitewashes Asian roles. 

The scene could’ve just been easy humor that was laughing at a culture’s perceived other-ness. Instead it became a commentary on how white culture consume foreign stories, then grotesquely twist it to fit white cultural understanding, standards, and expectations by inserting white characters into non-white environments.

Whine Less, Write Better Jokes

People who complain about "censorship" in comedy sound a lot like the people who say we are “too politically correct” as a country nowadays.

I call bullshit.

The actual case is, we as a culture are getting to be more inclusive and aware. We’re also spotting lazy, discriminatory humor from our comedians, humor that enforces existing power structures, that “punches down.” Comedy has the power to change minds, to talk about the taboo, to revolutionize how things are. George Carlin, Louis CK, Amy Schumer, all buck expectations and punch up and out against power systems, against prejudices and injustices. 

We are not too sensitive. We are saying we're not interested in lazy humor that picks on the disempowered. 

Punching a little kid is easy. Let’s tackle the 2 ton gorilla with our comedy. 

Same thing with people complaining about having to be politically correct. Political correctness actually just means “hey, don’t be an asshole and completely dismiss or insult a group of people through ignorance or intentionally hurtful words.” If that’s “too much trouble” and “stupid” to you, then you’re an asshole.

And here’s the thing - an audience might not be able to articulate that, but we as professional comedians need to recognize that and make smarter, better, more subversive jokes.

We need to step up our game.

The first stand up set I ever wrote had a bit about having dogs in jars in my fridge growing up. You know, because Chinese people eat dogs. How foreign and weird! The fact is, I’ve never eaten dog; it’s not in the culinary culture and regions my family is from. But it was an easy joke and got a huge laugh every time. 

I’m more than a little embarrassed by that joke. 

I’m trying to evolve past that.

I hope that teachers and institutions and people in positions of instruction and power will encourage players to play smarter.

It’s not censorship; it’s not political correctness; it’s playing smarter and sharper and better.

Because at the end of the day, there’s a dick joke, and then there’s a dick joke that illustrates what male privilege looks like while simultaneously kicking patriarchal expectations in the dick. 

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a Pure Political Lie.

In case you haven't heard, a bill passed the House to defund Planned Parenthood. It won't make it to law bc the president has promised to veto it even if it passes the senate.

However, here's why I'm angry that defunding PP is a whole movement that's pretending to happen:

It's a purely political gesture based completely on lies and misinformation to emotionally stir up voters as we approach an election cycle, and is not actually about preventing abortions at all.

It's JUST the emotional manipulation of voters with lies and lip service "defense of those without a voice."

It's actually the shameful using of fetuses as mouthpieces for selfishly driven political rhetoric. It's disgusting.

AND if such a bill actually passes, it would do real harm to millions of women, AND actually undermine the supposed purpose of defunding Planned Parenthood, which is to save unborn babies.

First - the videos that caused the sensational outcry of supposed inhumanity were heavily edited to create the illusion of selling fetuses for profit, when in fact the costs were for transportation and associated costs for legal and approved research.

Let's say you still object completely to abortions. Sure, I (and way more importantly, the law) disagree with your position. However, the government funding for Planned Parenthood DOES NOT EVEN GO TO ABORTIONS. EVER. That was done precisely because of the political toxicity around abortion.

To say we'll stop abortions if we take money away from Planned Parenthood is a pure convenient political lie.

What would ACTUALLY happen if we defunded PP is the astronomical reduction to access of basic sexual health care to millions of poor and underserved women.

We also would be denying services and family planning counseling which are designed to HELP AVOID UNWANTED PREGNANCIES, so that we can AVOID ABORTIONS.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would actively hurt millions of women, defund their access to basic screening services for cancers and diseases, and reduce programs that ACTUALLY help prevent abortion.

THIS is why I'm furious. The movement is built on pulling on our heartstrings and a whole pile of lies. It's done purely to rally supporters behind an imaginary slaying of a dragon, when really the dragon is a young girl in a dragon costume going "why the hell are you stabbing me with swords I just wanted to provide health care for the princess argh."

I'm furious we can live in an age where politicians, leaders of our country, can lie to us ceaselessly because they want voter turnout and to say feel good sound bites.

I'm furious because 241 representatives either didn't do their basic homework, or are saying "I am willing to threaten millions of my constituents with losing access to health care and services that actually help reduce abortions to make a political gesture based on selfishness, misinformation, and pure manipulation."

If you are against abortions, you should stand with Planned Parenthood. They are in the business of health care and prevention of unwanted pregnancies. They are also in the business of providing safe and legal abortions for women who have a right to their body, and want an option allowed them by the law of this country.

And we all should shame all the candidates spewing Defund Planned Parenthood as a rallying cry.

You think it sounds like "no more abortions!" But what they're actually saying is "fuck health services for women and low income people." And that is abominable.

Zuckerberg's Cave

None of us are as cool as our Facebook selves.

Behind all the shiny moments, everyone struggles. Everyone feels lonely. Everyone has sad days.

Don't let the parade of highlights and best moments make you feel sad about your mundane days.

Just off camera of that Instagram Lark filtered perfect picture is the hot mess that is real life.

None of us really know what we're doing, and it's kind of beautiful and bittersweet. Painfully, perfectly imperfect.

mirror