Open Thread and Link Farm, About To Leave England Edition

  1. Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream
    A long read, but very interesting slash infuriating.
  2. Related: Vice Has Fired the Writer Who Told Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos to ‘Please Mock This Fat Feminist’
    This is a rare case where I approve of firing someone for something they said in a private email. Broadly is an explicitly feminist site; a Broadly editor passing anti-feminist story tips to Milo saps the publication of all credibility.
  3. Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular – The Atlantic
    “… only 22 percent of all Americans approved of the Freedom Rides, and only 28 percent approved of the sit-ins. The vast majority of Americans—60 percent—had ‘unfavorable. feelings about the March on Washington.”
  4. The Jones Act – The Law Strangling Puerto Rico – The New York Times
    (Indirect link.) Completely appalling. Since this article was published, the Trump administration bowed to pressure to waive the Jones Act – but only for ten days, which won’t be enough.
  5. ‘Junk science’: experts cast doubt on widely cited college free speech survey | US news | The Guardian
  6. A female Marvel comics editor posts a selfie of herself and some female co-workers drinking milkshakes — and fanbabies throw a fit :: We Hunted The Mammoth
    I’m late with this story – I was aware of it at the time, but distracted by work overload so didn’t tune in. But it’s worth remembering, because the misogyny is so unhidden. “They are women and they work in comics! We must attack!” Includes a comment by youtuber Diversity & Comics, who has tens of thousands of followers, calling them fake geek girls.
  7. German Senior Homes Build Fake Bus Stops For Alzheimer’s patients
  8. Careful New Study Finds at Least Thousands in Two Wisconsin Counties Didn’t Vote Because of Voter ID Requirements, Confusion Over Them | Election Law Blog
  9. (18) The Left | ContraPoints – YouTube
    This 13 minute critique of the antifa left – in which vlogger Contrapoints plays both parts in a fairly friendly debate – is entertaining and well done. I think it makes some good points, but then, I would.
  10. ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: Too Much Push For Gender Equality In Tech? The MRAs Speak.
    Echinde comments on that New York Times article.
  11. Graphic Novel ‘This One Summer’ Tops 2016 Most Challenged Book List – NBC News
    “Most challenged” as in, people trying to get libraries to destock it. (If I’ve understood correctly.) It’s also a genuinely great graphic novel, one of the best I’ve read this decade.
  12. Roman Polanski is now facing a 4th accusation of sexual assault against a teen – Vox
  13. Examining the Origins of the Phrase ‘Black-on-Black Crime’ – CityLab
  14. A Nation of Snowflakes – The Atlantic
    “The greatest threats to free speech in America come from the state, not from activists on college campuses.”
  15. University of Wisconsin approves protest punishment policy
    “Other Democratic opponents charge that the policy doesn’t clearly define what type of conduct is considered disruptive. ‘Who’s going to show up to a protest if they think they could be potentially expelled?'”
  16. Take a look at this rather lurid 1959 magazine illustration by Mort Kunstler. Then read this post to be told something incredibly cool about the illustration. My jaw literally dropped.
  17. Study: anti-black hiring discrimination is as prevalent today as it was in 1989 – Vox
  18. As the Crow Flies – Pockets
    A lovely short comic story about a mom and her trans girl daughter.
  19. Guggenheim, Bowing to Animal-Rights Activists, Pulls Works From Show – The New York Times
    I’m not bothered that they pulled the works per se; I’m bothered that they obviously did so, not because they were persuaded that the words shouldn’t be displayed, but because of threats of violence.
  20. Only a quarter of Americans can name all three branches of government.
    Furthermore, “Nearly a third of Americans cannot name any of the three branches of government, according to the survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania.” This is appalling in any case, but I wonder if part of the issue may be that people don’t know what the phrase “branch of government” means. (This poll is about a year old, btw.)
  21. Ender’s Game Is About Forgiving Hitler.
  22. Right-Wingers Are Claiming This Asian-American Doctor Who Took A Knee Is Too Privileged To Speak Out
  23. The Word History of Latinx | Merriam-Webster
  24. Seattle teen calls out her dad’s Native American art. He learns she’s right | KUOW News and Information
  25. A massive new study reviews the evidence on whether campaigning works. The answer’s bleak. – Vox
    With only a couple of fairly narrow exceptions, voters in a general election vote based on partisanship, and are not persuadable.

Posted in Link farms | 64 Comments  

Touristing And Loving It

Things I’ve done in the UK so far:

1) Did a bus tour of London, on one of those double-decker buses with no roof on the second level. My expectations were low, but I loved this. The tour filled my brain with more beautiful old architecture than it’s able to comprehend.

2) Toured the Houses of Parliament (pictured above). This was incredibly neat, and had so much great art. Also cool historical trivia.

3) Toured Westminster Abbey. Which was beautiful, but I hadn’t realized the extent to which this place is a mausoleum.

4) Visited the National Portrait Gallery, checking out some of the permanent exhibits, and also “The Encounter” exhibit, which was great (but I wish they had displayed more art). (Thanks to whomever suggested that one!) We also spent quite a lot of time looking at The Landing of HRH The Princess Alexandra at Gravesend, largely because we were tired and there was a bench right there, but we ended up having a very enjoyable discussion of it. (And we noticed that there’s a little girl in the painting who looks like Boy George.)

5) Went to a pub and (wishing to “eat something British”) ate mushroom and chicken pie. My mom, similarly motivated, had fish n’ chips.

6) Separately, had an amazing meal at the oldest restaurant in London.

7) Visited the Tate Museum. My favorite thing there was a room with red-tinted photographs of Black history, with text superimposed; I wish I’d written down the artist’s name. I also got to see a Dali painting in person for the first time; his surface is ridiculously tight, even from inches away.

8) Saw “An American In Paris” on the west end. Beautiful dancing, and the sets were either the most magical, or the second-most-magical, I’ve ever seen in a show. (The other contender is the Broadway production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”)

9) Saw “Dreamgirls” on the West End, starring Amber Riley from “Glee.” She was astounding.

10) Celebrated Sukkot in a the sukkah of a distant cousin who I’ve only met once before.

11) The London Eye. (Pretty!)

On tomorrow’s agenda: The Geffrye Museum of the Home; The Cartoon Museum; and “42nd Street.”

Day after tomorrow: Pack up, then train to Paris!

Posted in About the Bloggers | Leave a comment  

Old Stories Into New: Come Take My Class on Retellings!

Hey! Come take my class on retellings!

October 7, 2017.

(Secret: If you join my newsletter, or sign up for my Patreon at $1 or more a month, you’ll get discounts.)

Old Stories x800 Retellings graphic instagram

(It used to be called Retellings and Retaleings.)

Authors constantly draw on the stories that have preceded them, particularly folklore, mythology, and fables. What are the best methods for approaching such material and what are the possible pitfall? How does one achieve originality when working with such familiar stories? Lecture, in-class exercise, and discussion will build your proficiency when working with such stories.

Register by mailing Cat at cat AT catrambo.com and specifying whether you would prefer to pay by Paypal or by check. The cost for a single session live workshop is $99 for new students; $79 for students who have formerly taken a class with Cat (or me!). Classes are taught via Google Hangouts; all you need is a computer with a microphone and reliable Internet connection, but a webcam is suggested.

Can’t make it on the 7th? I have an on-demand version of Retelling and Re-Taleing: Old Stories Into New available online.

Posted in Teaching, Writing Advice, Writing resources | Leave a comment  

I’ll be at Geek Girl Con in Seattle this weekend

My “SuperButch” co-creator Becky Hawkins and I will be tabling at Geek Girl Con this weekend. We’ll be at table D125, which I’m told is near the concessions. If you’re at GGC, I hope you’ll come introduce yourself.

Posted in SuperButch | Leave a comment  

Cartoon: Back To The Future (Of Racism)

Please support these cartoons on Patreon! Even a $1 pledge matters a lot.

This cartoon was originally published on The Splinter. Thanks, Splinter!


There’s an adage I’ve seen around; I’ve seen it put various ways, but always from Black writers. I don’t know who said it first, but Aditi Juneja put it especially well in a deservedly viral tweet:

“If you’ve wondered what you would’ve done during slavery, the Holocaust, or Civil Rights movement… you’re doing it now.”

I’ve seen the same sentiment, in similar words, expressed by Kamala Harris and Shaun King. It really resonates with me – especially when thinking about voting rights, an issue that should be decades behind us.

This cartoon, obviously, owes a debt of inspiration to Juneja and Harris and King, and probably others as well.

Doing the 1950s in art was hard, because – especially given the simplicity and lack of detail of my drawing style – it was hard to figure out how to indicate the 1950s visually. Many of the buildings around today were there in the 1950s, after all. I ended up leaning hard on 1950s cars and suits (and of course of course the hats).  Jen Sorenson suggested I lean hard on color palette differences, and I tried to take her suggestion.

The gentleman in the last panel is my best attempt at doing a caricature of MLK in this style (and my best attempt, frankly, was not that great). Fortunately, the gag really doesn’t depend on readers recognizing MLK, or I’d be in trouble!


Transcript of cartoon:

Panel 1
The image shows a white man with glasses and a polo shirt – let’s call him “BOB” – talking at a young woman with brown skin and short spiky hair. Bob is carrying a protest sign that says “ILLEGALS GO AWAY!”

BOB: Voter ID laws aren’t racist! They just make sure that voting isn’t controlled by illegals! No one’s more against racism than ME!

Panel 2
Bob continues to cheerfully talk, waving an arm. Behind Bob, a magic fairy, with blue butterfly wings and purple hair, has appeared with a big “POOF” sound effect and touches their glowing magic wand to Bob’s waving arm.
BOB: In fact, I wish I was back in the 1950s – I’d protest with Martin Luther King Jr!
FAIRY: Wish granted!

Panel 3
Bob is now in the 1950s. We can tell it’s the 1950s because the color scheme has changed, and also, there are a lot of 1950s cars parked on the street in the background.
BOB: Whoa! I’m in the 1950s! It looks just like “Back To The Future!” Bob is listening thoughtfully, one hand on his chin.

Panel 4
A white man in a suit, tie and hat (all 1950s style), and smoking a pipe, is talking to Bob.
MAN: “Literacy tests” aren’t about race! They just make sure that voting isn’t controlled by ignorant people!
BOB: That makes sense.

Panel 5
The man is continuing to talk to Bob, now making an emphatic gesture with his pipe. Bob snaps his fingers in agreement.
MAN: No one was angry until Martin Luther King started agitating! He’s actually making racial strife worse!
BOB: Like “Black Lives Matter” in my time!
MAN: Black lives what?

Panel 6
Bob is talking cheerfully to a black man, who has a thin mustache and wears a dark suit. The man could be MLK Jr. Bob is holding a protest sign that says “MLK GO AWAY!”
CAPTION: And so…
BOB: No one’s more against racism than ME!

“Kicker” panel (a small “extra” image below the last panel)
Bob is talking happily at the Fairy, while pridefully pointing to himself with his thumb. The Fairy facepalms.
BOB: If I lived in the 1800s, I’d definitely be an abolitionist!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Race, racism and related issues | 93 Comments  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Catch 22 Subparagraph A Edition

Whoops, there are forty links here. I really should have posted this sooner.

  1. Maybe Voting Before Healthcare? | Noah Berlatsky on Patreon
    Noah argues, and I agree, that voting rights should be the top priority of Democrats, not Medicare For All.
  2. Republican House Majority Whip in the South Dakota legislature calls running over protesters ‘a movement we can all support’ – ThinkProgress
    The article includes another example of an elected politician, and also Fox News, promoting the idea that protestors should be run over.
  3. Forced-To-Penetrate Cases: Lived Experiences of Men (pdf link)
    A British survey of men who have been forced to penetrate (the paper’s term) by women. This is very interesting, although we should keep in mind that it’s a self-selected sample; I’d really like to similar questions asked by a large-scale survey using a more representative sample.
  4. Not Sorry Feminism: Dear Millennial Men
    A study finds that male students in college, in biology class, consistently see their female counterparts as less intelligent and accomplished, even in classes where the grade leaders are female. The female students had no corresponding bias. (Thanks, Grace!)
  5. How Black Women Have Impacted Feminism Over Time | Teen Vogue
  6. Neoliberal academia complex shows its ass: Harvard rejects Manning, Jones, unions
    But the only free speech problem on campus comes from the left. (Thanks, Grace!)
  7. Bernie Sanders Is Changing the Democratic Party’s Priorities – Bloomberg
    It doesn’t matter, for now, that his Medicare for All bill has no funding mechanism; the point is to raise the priority of Medicare for All as a core belief among Democrats. Other, wonkier politicians will work out the details if MFA becomes a central Democratic belief.
  8. Comics – Index of Multi-Panel Pans by Decade | THE PERIODIC FABLE
    I love these sorts of panels (where a background continues across multiple panels). I’ve long contemplated trying to do a full-length comic with a single continuous background.
  9. ICE Is Abusing the ACLU’s Clients Because They are Fighting Deportation | American Civil Liberties Union
    ” ICE appears to have ramped up its efforts to make the lives of Iraqis in custody so unbearable that they will “voluntarily” sign away their rights to reopen their immigration cases or pursue asylum. The Iraqis have been singled out and denied food, water, and access to the restroom.”
  10. The well-meaning harm of “the last acceptable discrimination.”
    An essay by a fat writer about a phrase she’d rather not hear.
  11. Single-payer isn’t the only progressive option on health care – Vox
    The goal should be universal coverage, not single payer.
  12. In Sync We Trust: Pop Music’s History of Lip-Syncing (and Lying About It)
  13. Reflections on Abjection and Fatphobia – Kiva Bay – Medium
    “What does it mean to separate a part of your body from your Self? To look in the mirror and tell yourself you are surrounded by some alien Other thing?”
  14. To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now – The New York Times
    1980s at Kodac versus today at Apple. Alternative link.
  15. The generation game | Inside Story
    Regarding “baby boomers, generation X, and so on”: “I’ve now concluded that generational clichés are the ultimate zombie idea, easy to refute but impossible to kill.”
  16. How I Learned to Love Being a Hairy Lady – by Vreni
    Long-form cartoon, with nice drawings. Mostly autobio, but also some interesting stuff about the history of shaved legs.
  17. A Serf on Google’s Farm – Talking Points Memo
    How Google’s near-monopoly on many aspects of online publishing effects publishing.
  18. Two Circles by Micah Lexier – YouTube.
    “Two Circles” is an attractive but also unimpressive piece of public art, in the photos of it I’ve seen. But this video of the making of it is hypnotic.
  19. Deaf Advocates Call Oklahoma Police Shooting ‘Tragic but Not Surprising’ – NBC News
  20. Antifa Broke My Camera | New Republic
  21. The Resegregation of Jefferson County – The New York Times
  22. Trump supporter tries to get undocumented classmate deported, gets expelled from college
  23. Confessions From The Fattest Person At The Sex Party
    Content warning: Discussion of fax anxiety in an extremely anxiety-producing situation.
  24. Congress prepares to do the bare minimum to stabilize Obamacare – Vox
    And even that level of accomplishment may be a stretch.
  25. (1) The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory – YouTube
    Although honestly, one 20 minute video can barely scratch the surface of the sexism of this show.
  26. How to Distinguish Between Antifa, White Supremacists, and Black Lives Matter
  27. From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones – The New York Times
    Harvard accepts, and then rejects, an applicant who served 20 years in prison for murdering her son – partly out of fear of what Fox News would say. The research Michelle Jones did (in prison!) is really impressive.
  28. David’s Ankles: How Imperfections Could Bring Down the World’s Most Perfect Statue – The New York Times
    A long read, but I liked it. (Although I have to admit I was more interested in the story of David than the parallel story of the author’s personal growth.) Indirect link.
  29. Study: Trump fans are much angrier about housing assistance when they see an image of a black man – Vox
  30. I posted a long thread on Twitter about the anger of anti-SJW comics fans, which to my surprise got a LOT of views and responses.
    ETA: Oh, and now someone has made it into a Storify, which may make for easier reading.
  31. Teacher accused of assaulting student who sat for Pledge | MLive.com
  32. Fuck The Pledge of Allegiance – Intelexual Media
  33. Inside The Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns | GQ
    A federal bureau that is legally forbidden to use computer databases tries to track down guns for murder investigations.
  34. Consentacle: A Card Game of Human-Alien Intimacy by Naomi Clark — Kickstarter
    This looks like it could be a fun game. Thanks to Grace for the link.
  35. DACA’s Five-Year Anniversary: More than 100 Law Professors Support Legality of DACA
  36. How the Courts Have Devastated Organized Labor – Lawyers, Guns & Money
  37. Funnybook Babylon · Archives · Re-Coloring Moebius
    Examples and discussion of the horrendous recoloring of a comics classic. Although actually I think in the third example, it actually looks better in the newer colors; but in the first two examples, the recoloring is a travesty. Also, the choice to switch to a much more typical lettering font sucked.
  38. The problem with how men perceive rape
    “While writing this story, I heard from a number of different women who’d had sexual experiences that weren’t quite rape, but didn’t feel completely consensual either.”
  39. Comic strip: What If We Thought Of Gender Like Ice Cream? It Makes Sense, Here’s Why – Everyday Feminism
  40. The Effects of ‘Ban the Box’ on the Employment of Black Men | Econofact
    Research finds that if employers can’t ask if applicants have ever been convicted of a crime, they respond by increasing discrimination against young Black men. But then others argue that that interpretation of the studies is flawed (pdf link). There’s also a in-depth discussion in this paper from the Urban Institute (pdf link).

Posted in Link farms | 64 Comments  

Speculative Poetry Class tomorrow!

Come take my first ever speculative poetry class tomorrow!

Website - 19 (1)

Poetry requires intense linguistic control. Every word matters. Whether you’re a poet who wants to create fantastical verses, or a prose writer who wants to learn the finely tuned narrative power that poetry can teach, you’ll find something in this class.

Over the course of a few brief lectures, peppered with plenty of writing exercises, we’ll discuss some common forms of speculative poetry, and the challenges they represent. I’ll also send you home with market listings, and lists great authors, poems, and books to pick up to continue your journey.

The class is September 16, 9:30-11:30, with $20 off for anyone enrolling.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in cat rambo, classes, speculative poetry, Teaching, verses of sky and stars | 1 Comment  

What should I see in London and Paris?

I’m going on a pleasure trip to London and Paris with my mom. We’ll be spending about five days in each city. (Yes, you’re right, I AM lucky!)

Anyone been? What do you recommend we see? Any restaurants we should definitely try?

(Of course, we’ll be seeing some West End musicals. That goes without saying.)

Posted in About the Bloggers | 22 Comments  

Cartoon: Ten Reasons We Want To Kick Out The Dreamers

If you like these cartoons, please support them at Patreon! A $1 pledge really matters to me.


I do a fair number of cartoons about immigration, because it’s an issue that drives me up the wall; the anti-immigration position seems not only lacking in compassion, but in any connection to pragmatic reality.

But the controversy over the Dreamers – over immigrants who were taken to the US as children and grew up in the US – seems especially mean, and thus especially infuriating. It’s simply cruel to take people who have been in the US virtually all their lives (the average person using the DACA program was five years old when brought to the US) and send them to a “home” country they might not even have memories of.

And the argument from character – “they deserve to be deported because they are bad lawbreaking people” – which I don’t think holds up well in any case – is particularly ridiculous when discussing people brought to the US as minors.


Title: TEN REASONS WE WANT TO KICK OUT THE DREAMERS

Panel 1
This panels shows a white man and woman, who look like a married suburban couple, standing behind a picket fence. The man is speaking angrily.
MAN: Because someone who spends the first year of their life abroad and 20 years here has no real connection to the U.S.!

Panel 2
A white man in a black jacket stands flipping frantically through a book.
MAN: Because the Bible tells us to treat our neighbors like shit! Especially the least well off! (It’s in here somewhere…)

Panel 3
A white woman stands behind a counter with a cash register on it. She is shrugging. Dollar bills are fluttering through the air around her.
WOMAN: Because I have no use for the money dreamers spend at my store! (What’s this stuff even for?)

Panel 4
A white man with a tidy beard stands in a park, giving the viewer the finger.
MAN: Because pissing off the libtards is reason enough!

Panel 5
A white man with hair sticking straight out and huge eyes is yelling, sweat flying from his face, in an extreme close-up.
MAN: Because people born in other countries are evil! EEEVVILLLLL!

Panel 6
Donald Trump, wearing a suit and tie and holding a pen up, speaks.
TRUMP: It’s all about the rule of law! Now excuse me while I pardon Joe Arpaio!

Panel 7
An alien, with inhumanly red skin, four arms, and a triangle shaped head with no nose or ears and only one eye, speaks cheerily. The alien is giving a thumbs up with one hand and holding a coffee mug with a smily face design in the other. The alien’s hands have eight fingers each.
ALIEN: Because like most evil aliens from Neptune, I thrive on the needless suffering of others!

Panel 8
A white woman with a knit hat and a blue shirt stands on a residential street of a city.
WOMAN: Because by adding $400 billion to the economy, they’re leaching off of REAL Americans!

Panel 9
A nice office, with an American flag on a pole, a large desk, and an executive style chair. A bald white man is hiding behind the desk; all we can see of him is his eyes and upper head, peeking out from behind the desk. He’s talking quietly.
MAN: Because my voters frighten me.

Panel 10
Two white men wearing white robes are speaking. One is middle-aged and balding; the other is young and has read hair. Both are trying to hide KKK hoods behind their back.
MAN 1: It’s definitely NOT because most Dreamers are brown!
MAN 2: GOSH no!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Immigration, Migrant Rights, etc, In the news | 75 Comments  

Is Evangelical Support For Trump Alienating Young Christians?

This postscript, from Rod Dreher (who is both anti-gay and pro-evangelical), is anecdotal but interesting:

I just returned from a lunch meeting with a group of conservative Evangelicals, including a few pastors. […] A couple of people in college ministry were at the table. They said that it is impossible to overstate how alienating the enthusiastic support their parents gave to Donald Trump was to their students. A number of college students have left the church entirely over it.

“How is that possible?” I asked one of the campus ministers. “How do you decide to leave Christianity altogether over who your parents voted for? That makes no sense to me.”

He said that in Evangelical circles, it’s common for college students to be skeptical at best of their parents’ theological views. For a lot of them, their parents’ backing of Donald Trump made everything they had been taught as kids about Christianity a lie. Their parents were the primary face of Evangelical Christianity to them, and to see this happen was shattering. They concluded that Christianity must be all about the economy, or tribalism, and so forth. One pastor said that a young man he ministers to in college posted a criticism of Trump on Facebook, and was cut off financially by his parents because of it.

Listening to these pastors and laypeople talking about the Trump effect on younger Christians was quite sobering to me. An older pastor said that it is impossible to separate the Nashville Statement1 from the massive support white Evangelicals gave to Trump. Impossible to separate, I mean, in the mind of the young.

“But Russell Moore signed it, and other Trump critics among Evangelicals,” I said.

“I know, and I’ve tried to tell people that,” said this pastor, a conservative Evangelical. “It doesn’t matter to them. All they see is a bunch of leaders of a movement who voted for a sexually corrupt man like Donald Trump are now trying to take a public stand on sexual morality for gays. It’s totally hypocritical to them.

Young evangelicals are simply more pro-gay than their parents – although less pro-gay than other young people. I haven’t seen any survey contrasting young evangelicals’ attitude about transsexuality to that of their parents, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s trending in a similar direction (although probably not as advanced yet).

  1. What Is The Nashville Statement, And Why Are People Mad About It? – Digg []
Posted in Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues | 14 Comments