A Queer Notion

The pleasant perversity of Gravity Falls

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[WARNING: SPOILERS FOR DIFFERENT EPISODES OF GRAVITY FALLS SEASON 1]

Admittedly, I’m totally behind on the times with this one, but I just finished watching season 1 of Gravity Falls, and something struck me as I watched this ongoing, Disney-produced cartoon that started in 2012.

It’s delightfully, charmingly queer. As I watched season 1, I found the amount of gender subversion and sexual ambiguity fun, playful and hilarious.

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Critical Approach: Slave of the system

The reason I’m in the Masters of Journalism program at Ryerson is because of an unpaid internship.

Damn you, Scumbag Employer.

Damn you, Scumbag Employer.

I came out of an undergrad in theatre studies, my focus on playwriting, with a passion for the arts and writing, but disillusioned about the kind of nepotism and compromise I saw a career in theatre would take. I was working three part time jobs (retail, food service and customer service, the unholy-freaking-trinity) with a whole lot of student debt and very little creative fulfillment.

Then a saw an ad in, the now defunct, Fab Magazine: “Looking for kickass interns!” I sent in my resumé, and started at Fab shortly afterwards. As one of a half dozen interns I tackled a weekly slog of event listings with the promise that I would eventually be able to start (paid) writing for the magazine, which I eventually did. From this I built up a career as an arts and culture writer, blogger and columnist for Fab and its sister publication, Xtra. Now I’m back at school, inevitably accruing even more student debt, to ostensibly become a journalist.
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Critical Approach: Lying in the grey area

After the discussion on the ethical implications of Ken Silverstein’s work for “Their men in Washington,” in turn discussing Mark Lisheron’s “Lying to Get the Truth,” I really wish I had the chance to ask the class’s opinion on a real life news gathering scenario that we all learned about at the beginning of our degrees.

The Grey Area is a real place. In Amsterdam, of course.

The Grey Area is a real place. In Amsterdam, of course.

In September, a few weeks into the program, the two sections of our “Covering the City” course, which teaches on urban, city hall and court room reporting—readings centered around Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel’s The Elements of Journalism, focusing on monolithic professional standards and objectivity—converged for a discussion with a well-known local star reporter.

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Looking: Hell is other people’s weddings

Looking S1 Ep7

I was struck watching this week’s excellent episode of Looking how many queer people, especially those I’m close with, experience complete consonance going about their wildly differing day-to-day activities.

Imagine that, a TV show where people do different things every episode… really groundbreaking stuff. But what I mean is our protagonist Patrick goes from awkward date, to video game developer, to leather-clad partier, to resentful son. I think as a queer person I just find this all the more poignant, since I often feel like a different part of my wonderfully weird personality is in play every other hour.

Journalist… boyfriend… gay drag queen nun… skeptic… angry queer… gamer… writer… student… resentful son…

I could go on.

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Looking: Lordy, lordy

Looking Episode 6

For this week’s Looking review I’m filling in for Daily Xtra‘s regular reviewer, so head on over to my review on their website!

Looking: Gays in the daylight

I am often confounded by the startling, stranger-than-fiction symmetry of so called “real life.” A short, hypothetically romantic vacation this past weekend with my boyfriend at an adorable Montreal bed & breakfast in the heart of the gay village turned into an extended reality check. After a stopover in Kingston, ON, darling boyfriend began to feel nauseas, and what we hoped was just carsickness turned out to be a mildly debilitating stomach flu. We navigated that as best we could, and he started feeling better Sunday, the afternoon we were to catch a bus back to Toronto. I started feeling waves of nausea, and a terrible headache welled up… after a stopover in Kingston, ON. I managed to make it home for another quick stopover, before continuing on to the hospital early that morning to be treated for a fairly debilitating stomach flu. Hilariously, I registered in my dehydrated delirium that two out of the three nurses that treated me were sassy and undeniably gay.

Long story short, I’m late with my Looking review this week because of ugly, unfabulous, tragicomic reality. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Looking S1E5

So what is the magic equation for these episodes? After a quick dig through IMDB I learned my statement that last week’s episode “Looking for $220/Hour” (which I found to be one of the weakest-written episodes) was actually written by Allan Heinberg, not strictly creator/producer Michael Lannan. In any case, “Looking for the Future,” written by creator Andrew Haigh, is certainly the strongest written thus far.

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Looking: Jonathan Groff in leather

Queer As Folk pronounced part way through the first season that gay men might as well be dead when they turn 30. I remember at the time thinking, “Shit, I’m almost 20. I’ve only got a good 10 years to get in lots of sex and lots of relationships and lots of partying.”

Of course, life went on for Brian Kinney, and life’ll go on for me even when I turn 30, as it will for every other queer guy despite any anxieties about aging. Hopefully we can all move on. (Disclosure: I never watched beyond season one of QAF due to complete lack of interest.)

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This week Patrick and boss Kevin are trying to get a demo ready for a presentation the next day as the Folsom Street Fair rages on outside the office.

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Critical Approach: All is well in glorious Republia

Lucas Pope's The Republia Times

Resisting the dominant power is not easy. As editor, you have to help pacify a restive population, restore faith in the tyrannical government and suppress information about radicals following a prolonged, draining international war.

Your paper is The Republia Times.

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Critical Approach: There Are No Ads On Elysium

Secretary of Defense Delacourt, Elysium's power-hungry though ultimately ineffective secondary villain, would shoot down aircrafts for less than a condescending advert.

Secretary of Defense Delacourt, Elysium’s power-hungry though ultimately ineffective secondary villain, would shoot down aircrafts for less than a condescending advert.

I am simply trying to cope with the unsurprisingly jarring experience of holiday air travel as I scroll through the movie options on the seat-back before me. I find explosion-filled, dystopian sci-fi movies relaxing, so I end up choosing Elysium. The first ad of the interminable sort that populate pre-flights/pre-movies aboard “economy” flights begins, though thankfully as the advert-actors chatter away, I’m offered a “skip” button in the middle of the screen.

My finger hits the screen, in perfect timing with a voice in my earphones that sneers, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have control?”

The skip button is fake, the ad’s a trick, the control referring to whatever car feature, from whichever car company, is being hocked off on poor, shell-shocked travelers. I take off my earphones in disgust and scowl out the window at the de-icer, waiting for the ads to finish so I can watch my damn movie.

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Looking: Naval Destroyer

Just when I thought I was going to get some work done today, next week’s episode of Looking was released early.

In this exciting new episode we explore Patrick’s career as a video game level designer! It’s quite sad how truly excited I am for this episode. The “gay guy video game developer” premise was what made me sure I would give the series a try. This episode starts at a wrap party for the video game Naval Destroyer, which Patrick’s studio has been working on.

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“They keep telling us to expand our demographic, and then they force us to make a game where you can’t even play as a female,” Patrick says. “And I’m a guy, and I always play as a female, and before you say it, it’s not because I’m gay.”

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