Today a Facebook Friend (an FF not to be confused with the Fantastic Four- my fantastic friends far outnumber that) of mine shared an image from a remarkable cartoonist by the name of Sophie Labelle. Sophie writes Assigned Male Comics. I’m not trans, but many of my besties are and I’ll admit I worry about them. This world isn’t super kind to what it considers “normal” and for all our vulnerable populations who live on the fringes, life can be a constant aggressive, passive aggressive and microaggressive hell.
This is where Sophie comes in. She sets a bar as a comic artist I hope to reach myself someday. She’s a smart, funny, talented voice for a community that rarely gets to have that from the inside in a manner that’s accessible to the outside. She’s iconic without being an icon. A real flesh and blood human who shows vulnerability with a bravery I can’t help but love and admire.
This is where you come in, my friends. Although Sophie (rightfully) gets a lot of good and positive support for the work she does, she also (wrongfully) receives a lot of hate. If she can continue to be badass, then I think the least we can do is our part to make sure the love outweighs the hate. If you want to do your good deed for today, like Sophie’s page. Visit her Patreon. Share some kind words with her when something resonates with you. It’s not an act of charity. It’s win win because you’ll get to read and support some great art and I promise great art makes great life.
People have been saying it for years but I’ve been reluctant (refusing?) to believe it. I am an irrational creature. And so are you. And that guy over there. And that woman… well it’s possible she’s a robot. But us flesh and blood humans are off the deep end.
I had this hammered home to me in a dash of insight while I was playing video games. That’s when all the best insights happen. I realized that as I was trying to turn a tight corner I found myself leaning to the right. Like the balance of my weight was going to be that one crucial factor that put me over the top to victory.
I am not new to video games. I’ve been playing them since 1982. This was not a wii or a PS4 with gyroscopic controls or motion detectors. No Kinect with a camera mapping my every move. I was playing a PlayStation 2 game and leaning as hard as I ever yanked on an Atari 2600 controller trying to make things go faster. Remember how bad your hand hurt using a 2600 joystick? How you were afraid you would snap the stick right off? No? Then you weren’t gaming in the 80s.
So what’s the point, you ask? You’re irrational. Big deal. The big deal is that I realized I was functionally irrational. That that is a constant human state of being. That no amount of knowledge or education can counter my most tightly held beliefs. It used to be that we would all employ rationalism as best we could to come up with a common consensus of what is real and what is not and make that the world in which we live. That was before King Rhetoric came to town. FDR once famously said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and we believed him. Because we are dumb. And irrational.
There are plenty of things to fear besides fear. I won’t list any because I’m trying not to be overly a bummer and I’m sure you can think of 40 or 50 on your own. What I will say is it might be helpful if we redeployed our common rationality to separate the irrational fears (say, the boogeyman) from the rational (spiders- it’s true, you know it, shut up). If we can see reality, we can fix reality.
p.s. Sometimes Admiral Ackbar is right and it’s a trap. Sometimes it’s just a house. Or a cigar. <.<
Catchin’ up, catchin’ up, catchin’ up… Hope you all had a great holiday weekend and that all family get togethers ceased screaming long enough for pie. Pie should bring everyone together and everyone should have at least 3.14 slices of it per get together. Too stuffed to be racist. It’s my message of healing, yo.
As for me, I spent most of the weekend arting. I got quite a few cartoons done for your viewing pleasure. I was consistently terrorized by tub spiders who accommodate me when I want to suffer for my art. I drew these (with a few more in the pipes):
Soon to be merchandized at a web near you
But I also took some time off because it’s a holiday, why not? I saw a lot of things online about DAPL and Black Friday and I get it. The holidays are stressful. It’s not just you. You don’t think Martha Stewart is freaking out right now? You think she doesn’t know that if she doesn’t have those hand carved compostable centerpieces then she’s going to hostess hell? She can smell Gwyneth Paltrow nipping at her heels. She gets it.
I just want to say there’s no wrong way to be thankful and that gratitude doesn’t need to built into a holiday. I was lucky enough to spend the day with my best friend and she’s all kinds of amazing. If you don’t have someone that amazing in your life, maybe get involved with something you’re passionate about because we sorely need amazing people to be amazing together.
Finally, the best reason I can think of to be grateful for the things you have is that it highlights all the things you don’t have. I don’t mean that in an envious my neighbor has a 90 inch tv and all I have is this 60 inch piece of crap way. I mean by contextualizing who we are in the world, it imposes on us humility. By assessing what we’re missing, it defines the path of where we need to go. Gratitude is a way of accepting our imperfections.
I’m grateful for this chance to move forward with you all.
So in case none of you have noticed, I have a thing about spiders. And by thing, I mean of course crippling and debilitating terror. I started 99 Ways to Spi as a way to convince myself that my fears are ridiculous, that there is no way possible that they are as terrifying in life as they are in my head. You know what happened? I MADE MY FEARS WORSE.
Seriously, spiders are now the ISIS of my life. The weather is turning cold and rainy and they come indoors and I see them and it’s like they’re slowly encircling the camp like natives surrounding the heroes in a bad adventure movie. “I don’t like it Thompson, it’s too quiet out there”. I feel like whatever I suspected them of was only the icing on the terror cake they bring to the table.
And suddenly my facebook feed is full of spiders. Giant spider on a broom. Jumping spider takes out the cameraman. New species of spider pretends to be a dried up leaf. A dried up leaf! And in my heart if not my head I know… I KNOW that if it can be a leaf, it can be my cell phone. And once I put it up to my ear it can burrow through my auditory canal to lay eggs in my brain and eat me from the inside, killing me and driving me mad simultaneously. Just like I know that if I wash a spider down the drain it will somehow find a way to merge it’s DNA with one of the mutant alligators that was flushed in NYC and their monstrous spawn will return for revenge.
It would seem I would have better things to worry about, and I do. And it would seem these fears are silly, and they are. Nonetheless, spiders are terrifying and evil and harbingers of Cthulhu, but I won’t quit drawing them because I title promised 99 of these puppies and I love you, readers. Not going back on my words, I’m just playing through the pain.