April 5th, 2013

This Makes Me Moist

Two's Company, Three's A Sandwich

I love what passes for news nowadays.

There are headlines on Yahoo about how Wil Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith might have an "open marriage."

It is inspiring breathless comments about another blow to the sanctity of marriage and that.  Keep in mind there are plenty of rumors that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also have an open marriage, but no one is bitching about that.  Probably because they dream of getting lucky with one or both of them.  Anybody having fantasies about the Fresh Prince or his wife from that nursing show that got lost on its way to Lifetime?  No?  LET'S PICK ON THEM!  It's kind of like how guys think two guys kissing is gross but two women kissing is hot, even though the lipstick lesbians they see in porn are not what your everyday average lesbian looks like. How much tolerance we have for the unusual is directly proportional to how much it entertains us.  More's the pity.

Now, I suppose I could post my thoughts on open marriages in general.

But I'm not going to.

The reason is simple:  IT'S NONE OF MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  Besides, there is bias to my opinions.  I'm monogamous, which means my reasoning is based on a relationship model that works for me.  Anyone into poly would find as many holes in my reasoning as I would find in theirs.  As such, it's not a matter of fact, but a matter of what people prefer and/or what works for them.  So my poo-pooing something that I ultimately don't understand is not just stupid, but it's a dick move.  So I'm keeping my mouth shut.

Marriage may be a sacred, loving act, but it also is subject to lots of interpretation.  People get married for reasons other than love all the time.  Likewise, people marry for different kinds of love.  Freddie Mercury was married to a woman while being in a gay relationship, and his inability to reconcile the things he trusted each with but not both haunted him until his death.  There's a web cartoonist who is a lesbian but married to a man.  And it's not a matter of convenience, she feels genuine love for the guy, they are domestic partners, but she isn't intimate with him because it's not the same kind of love she feels for women (she gets hammered, unfairly IMHO, as a traitor because if she was really gay, she'd dump him.  Marriage does not mean you are stuck with one team or the other.  And that goes double for the people saying Anna Paquin can't possibly be bi because she's married to a guy.  Contrary to what your parents demonstrate, marriage does not limit or kill sexuality).

Poly is not the end of traditional marriage simply because marriage is what you make of it.  Someone like me would uphold traditional marital values because I like those ideas.  But if other people don't agree with them and ultimately reject them, that doesn't make my own marriage or view of it any less valid.  Likewise, just because people have found something that may be unusual but it works for them, they aren't any worse just because they aren't like me.

A lot of these "controversies" are just people projecting themselves and reacting.  It's very simple.  You don't like gay sex?  You think it's icky?  Then don't have gay sex.  You don't like open relationships?  Then don't have one.  Making yourself happy at the cost of making others miserable is a terrible way to live life.

There's an old Polish proverb that says, "Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose."  There's a lot of people that seem to value certain noses over others.
Bill Nye

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Shootings.  Shootings everywhere.

Schools.  Theaters.  Prosecutors.  Innocent people everywhere.

People try pointing to studies that say that gun violence has not escalated, it's just being reported more.  I personally disagree with that, for reasons I will get to anon.

In the middle of all this are regular citizens, trying to make sense of it all.  Why is this happening?

I'm about to present my opinion of why there is so much gun violence all of a sudden, why these things are happening.  This is just my opinion.  I could be wrong now, but I don't think so.

What we are seeing is the result of the sore losers who lost the election to Obama.

When Obama became President, people who didn't vote for him did everything they could to discredit him and to build up resentment in the populous.  The goal was simple -- motivate enough people to be angry at the Establishment, and they'll vote someone else in.  And when you have only two choices, who do you think will get those votes?

Those of you who think I'm talking bullshit, remember when Obamacare passed.  (Full disclosure:  I opposed Obamacare, but for reasons unrelated to this post.)  People started talking about shooting the Congressmen who passed it, like America was a friggin' banana republic.  Open talk about shooting Democrats who passed Obamacare.

Did the R's say, "Whoa!  You're talking crazy!  This is America, goddammit!  We work together!  We do NOT kill people just because we disagree with them!"?  Nope, they kept quiet.  And kept fanning the flames of resentment for two more years.  During the R's primary, Rick Santorum was at a rifle competition, and while lining up his target, mics caught someone in the audience urging him to pretend the target was Obama.  Did Santorum say anything, either on the spot or afterwards in case he just didn't hear that above the noise?  "No, pretending a shooting target is Obama is wrong and not funny?"  Nope.  Kept quiet.  Silence was tacit approval of the rage motivating the comments.

Unfortunately, it backfired.  People didn't trust Obama to run the country, but given a choice between someone who might not know how to fix the economy and someone who might not know either but was far more likely to chip away at gay rights and womens' rights and reproductive rights....the gamble of "Anyone but Obama" failed.

So now you have an entire undercurrent that has been conditioned for the past five years that might makes right with no outlet for their darker motivations.  So they pick the most convenient target.

Whatever your feelings on gun control, the problem of societal violence is not going to go away.  It will just be acted out with different weapons.  We have seen these dark motivations spread like a cancer through our collective consciousness.  And until we deal with that, not pay lip service to violence is wrong, we're going to see these days continue.

Until there is no one left.
Reflective Mermaid

The Dangers Of Small Press And Vanity Publishers

A cautionary tale for aspiring novelists out there....

Phil Foglio is a great guy.  He's funny, he's genuine, he's awesome.  I first met him at my first Chicago Comic Convention back in 1992, where I became familiar with him and his What's New? With Phil And Dixie and XXXenophile comics.  He had also just finished an Angel And The Ape mini for DC, with Stanly And His Monster on the way, along with other fun stuff.

Foglio was one of the people who saw the Internet as a new way to be an artist and establish a revenue stream.  With his wife Kaja, they came up with the Girl Genius line of comics.  They update, they sell well, and Foglio hatched a deal to make Girl Genius novels.  It's with a small presser called Night Shade.

Now, keep in mind, self-publishing sucks.  Big publishers didn't like my take on Christianity in the books or that I was an unknown writer (most books published now already have the movie rights optioned, and that's often the deciding factor in whether or not it gets picked up).  Small publishers either wanted such a narrow niche that I couldn't fall within it or I didn't like the terms they were offering.  As a result, I have to hustle and promote my Hannah Singer books, I have no one helping me out.  However, I keep all the rights to my work.

Foglio is not so lucky.  From his Facebook page:

"So– Got a call from our agent, telling me that Night Shade Books, the American publisher of the Girl Genius novels, is folding. This made me sad. I became markedly less sad when my agent assured me that our sales were sufficiently good that any number of other publishers should be interested in picking us up, so– Hurrah! Well…maybe hurrah. You see, there’s the whole tedious business of disengaging ourselves from Night Shade, which has decided to sell our contract to another publisher in order to cover their debts. This other publisher, Skyhorse, is perfectly willing to buy Night Shade’s assets (our contracts). However, they will rewrite them and everybody now gets paid a flat 10% of net sales. Let me put this another way; If I was a monkey, I’d be throwing this."

(Side note:  you never negotiate net.  People will remove "expenses" first, which can be anything and everything, and calculate what you get on the tiny piece left.  They will even shuttle money around as "miscellaneous expenses" make sure the net they calculate from is nice and low.  If you wonder why movie contracts are so low and always talk about the gross, it's because anything else is asking to be ripped off.  -- G)

"However it gets even better. A certain percentage of Night Shade authors have to agree to this hose job before the deal goes through. Yay! We’re safe! You’d have to be an idiot to sign onto this! True– So let’s bring out a stick and threaten you! If they don’t get enough authors willing to eat this crap, then Night Shade has no choice but to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Then all the books in question go into a legal limbo. No one has the rights until the bankruptcy is resolved, which might take years- or possibly, NEVER! This has happened before to way better authors than us. This means that once said books go out of print, the authors can’t resell them. Can’t reprint them. Can’t sell any adaptation rights. Can’t write any sequels. And so, because a couple of wankers took two semesters of ‘Creative Writing’ instead one or two in ‘Business Administration’ before they started their little publishing house, a whole bunch of authors have the choice of deciding if they want to give their work away for free (scum who actually took Business Administration classes collapse in orgasmic joy when some fool agrees to get paid a percentage of ‘net’. Seriously, that’s insulting ‘amateur night in Dixie’ stuff) (Yes, I’ve been a freelancer for 30+ years, thanks for asking), or losing control of it, possibly for years, maybe forever."

I'm not sure how Foglio can get out of this.  I know I would hate to lose something representative of my creations through circumstances like this.  I hope it's not too late for him.

But it doesn't have to be too late for you.

Those of you in the creative arts?  Read those contracts.  Make sure there is a point where the rights revert back.  Because if they don't, the day the company gets gobbled up could be the day your work vanishes from the world.

Spread the word.

We must look out for each other.