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Badger Pod Nerd Cast 9: The Fine Young Capitalists

Watchmen

By: Ellen

Most of the feminists I’ve seen writing about Watchmen are torn—they think it’s a great story, but they’re not sure if it’s right for them to like it.

Near the beginning of the story, Ursula Zandt and her girlfriend Gretchen are pictured murdered in a bed with the words “Lesbian Whores” written over the headboard in their own blood. This incident doesn’t get much further attention aside from Rorschach’s comment that they were “killed by their own depraved lifestyle.” Considering Ursula was a superhero, it seems odd that she and Gretchen were killed (and possibly sexually assaulted) by what we presume to be ordinary men. Personally, I think this incident legitimately deserves gender-conscious critique. But it’s not the main point that feminists have written about.

Most of the feminist critique discusses the relationship between Sally Jupiter (the original Silk Spectre) and the Comedian.

Sally is almost raped by the Comedian (Blake) until two male superheroes come to rescue her. That was called out as an implausible female victim trope—in other words, even a superhero, if she’s a woman, can’t protect herself from rape. The other problem is that Sally never escapes from that trope. She falls in love with Blake, having a daughter, Laurie, with him (even though she supposedly never forgives him). She is “characterized as sexual to the point where she finds porn of herself flattering.”

(As a side note, my feeling about the porn scene is that Watchmen’s creators are actually bringing to light—and criticizing—the ultra-sexualization of women in comic books. After all, the porn that she’s looking at is a comic book).

Later, I found some further debate about Sally. Blogger Noah Berlatsky writes that she brings to mind the “woman-falling-for-her-rapist trope,” which he calls “a standard of misogyny.” But he goes on to say that in this case, Sally’s relationship with Blake is more complicated than the “converted-by-rape” idea. After all, it is not unrealistic to portray someone being attached to an abuser. Is the depiction of Sally’s life after her assault misogynist, or is it just a portrayal of an uncomfortable truth?

Finally, some have suggested that since Alan Moore is a man and presumably not a rape victim, he shouldn’t be portraying this at all. Is that a legitimate critique? I’m not actually sure. I’m not a fiction writer, but I think that if I wanted to write about something I haven’t been through, I might spend a lot of time talking to someone who had experienced it. If Alan Moore didn’t have that conversation, is the writing reprehensible? 

Doctor Who

By: Rachel Edwards

Doctor Who season is here, with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Already the season is off to an amazing start. Capaldi’s doctor is darker and far more unpredictable than his recent predecessors. His is a doctor with unknown limits, breaking previous rules and leaving us to wonder what sort of man the Doctor is.

One thing is certain: a flirty doctor, he is not. If Tennant’s doctor was the one you wanted to date, Capaldi’s doctor is your grumpy eccentric uncle. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If the series is in need of anything, it’s change, and this season promises just that.

Already there are many unanswered questions, all while we’re still breathing in that new doctor smell. What is this paradise they speak of, and who on earth is Missy? Can our new doctor be trusted, and how deep does it all go?

The Big Bang Theory

By: Doctor Randomercam

Are you a nerd? Do you fall into that loose category of people who are passionate about miscellaneous subjects? Then you know by now that anyone can be a nerd. You can be a sports nerd. You can be a music nerd. You can be a gun nerd. You can even be a food nerd. But there is one subject that will never make you a nerd, no matter how obsessed you get about it, and that is of course—sex.

So when CBS’s The Big Bang Theory came along, we thought, “Hooray, a show about nerds. Finally some male sitcom characters whose lives don’t revolve around sex.”

Well … there’s Howard, the sleazy nerd who hits on every female extra who walks into the mid ground. There’s Rajesh, the super-shy nerd who can’t speak to—or in the presence of—any attractive women without being drunk (a quirk they really didn’t think through before writing seven seasons of character interactions), and of course there’s Leonard, the whiney nerd, played by the dude from Roseanne, who’s been in love with Penny—the everywoman, narrative matriarch, only-main-character-who-isn’t-a-nerd, actual girl next door—since the first episode. (That seems to be the original vehicle of the show.) Even Sheldon, the camp nerd, the androgynous, hard line, Dirac model nerd (who eventually took over the show’s proverbial vehicle), even he could only last a few seasons before they brought in Blossom, and they’ve been very slowly trying to fuck each other ever since.

There are some occasionally unexpected bits of well-crafted nerd humor in The Big Bang Theory. Some of its characters are scientists, and some of its writers are scientists. There is a skinny vein of potential to be a worthwhile show. But it’s very easy to miss it when it all gets funnelled through the cheesy sitcom acting, the cute little puppet people doing it, the superficial characters they play, and the ludicrous and incessant hollering of the proto-marsupial studio audience. What you get is a few tiny scraps of meat in a huge bowl of sugar. Again—no one is in any position to tell you what a real nerd is. But how many millions of hipsters and trendies have to leave with the impression that a real nerd is a good-looking mangina with a laptop before it becomes something that most nerds can agree is a travesty? A left-wing Hollywood bastardization of nerds and everything they stand for, perhaps.

Their representation of female nerds also leaves rather a lot to be desired, by the way. As I said, Penny is the baseline avatar from start to finish. She’s always there to remind us that these people aren’t normal, that people who understand science aren’t normal, and hot blond stupid girls are. So I personally am not about to tell you that the women ruined it, that introducing another main female character or two sent this show in a sudden gynocentric direction. This show is and always was a gaping hole, pinned open by four different kinds of omega male, waiting to filled with pussy. You’re right, that doesn’t work.

If you thought this show was going to break the Prince Charming mold; the Disney model; where the criteria for being an accomplished individual is being rich, handsome, and famous and getting the girl as a result, think very much again. As far as the majority of The Big Bang Theory‘s audience is concerned, a nerd is someone who is rich, handsome, famous, and getting the girl as a result, and has hundreds of delirious studio audience jungle birds caterwauling for their every sneeze. Ten years ago, “nerd” used to describe an awkward, flabby, computer-bound social reject with a neck beard. I wonder what happened to that little trope …

 

Rachel Edwards

Rachel Edwards

Rachel is a former host of Honey Badger Radio, a recurring member of the Tales from the Infrared crew. She wanders around the web researching feminist insanity, poking people with a large stick, and keeping everyone in the silly place. When she isn't doing any of those things she spends her time doing even more blogging, grooming her rather large fluffy cat, nerding out with her favorite people, and burying herself in various fandoms. Pinkie Pie is best Pony! (You spelled "Fluttershy" wrong. -- Zen)
Rachel Edwards

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