(Trigger Warning for discussion of the Steubenville Trial)

I still hear many people who get confused at what people are talking about when they say “rape culture.” I can understand that – it should be commonly understood, but since the subject is so profoundly uncomfortable you don’t really get exposed to the specifics of unless your “involved” with it either on the activist or academic side.

In simple terms, it’s an umbrella term meant to encapsulate all of the myriad justifications, excuses and defenses that are used to normalize and minimize rape and sexual-assault in the culture; including but not limited to:

“The Good Old Days Justification,” aka “If something wasn’t thought of as rape back in my father’s/grandfather’s day, it can’t be rape now.”

“She Asked For It,” aka “How can she have actually meant NO when she’s showing so much skin in a ‘hookup’ bar/club/party on a weekend?”

“The Scemantic Obfuscation,” aka “Rape is something done by a masked attacker in a dark alley, other things like date-rape, marital rape, false-consent via misleading or intoxication, etc. are really just mistakes/misunderstandings and that people just ‘call’ rape now.” (Bonus points if you can connect these supposed “over-reactions” to a cultural-conspiracy by “feminists” to lessen the negate the societal power of males.)

“Why Are We Even Talking About This?,” aka “Rape or whatever you wanna call it (see #1 and #2) isn’t really always that big of a deal, so people should get over it.”

In any case, this and more was on full and spectacular display today as CNN reported on the guilty verdict and maximum (though still shamefully small, given that they were tried as juveniles) sentencing of the accused rapists in the so-called “Steubenville Trial.” The reporting on this whole thing has been embarrassing from day one, though sadly unsurprising for much of the U.S. media – that mainstream American culture (outside of a few pockets of forward-thinking here and there) places such preposterously high value on the “promise” and “futures” of young men in High School/College athletics programs while placing such low value on the sexual autonomy and safety of young women isn’t a surprise at this point.

But still, even as bad as most outlets are the national media is at least supposed to be better in these cases – since by their nature they’re supposed to be “above” the narrow concerns of local news (or, for example, sports/entertainment news) and able to put things in a big picture context. This is especially expected of CNN, which likes to fancy itself the “grownup” of cable news compared to Fox’s sputtering Alex P. Keaton and MSNBC’s Wellsely Student Government After-Party… and yet today there was Poppy Harlow etc., reporting on the story not in terms of two dipshits getting maybe a sliver of what they deserve (or even simply “justice being served”) but rather in terms of how sad it is that two promising athletes with their whole lives ahead of them rapists have to *gasp!* do some jail time and register as sex offenders – tragically ending their bright potential careers likelihood of ever being paid obscene sums of money to play an ultimately meaningless game of ball-passing.

Yeah. My heart. It just aches

So, then… people need to start getting shitcanned at CNN, right? I know that, since it’s CNN nobody is generally watching to begin with, but still – this has to get somebody in trouble, doesn’t it? It should be Somebody’s job to watch out for shit like this?

Go Team Venture!

“The Venture Bros.” is my favorite thing on television, period. It’s been fascinating to watch it morph from a straight-on “Johnny Quest” parody to a broader riff on 70s/80s comics/cartoons/etc and now to a thing so densely-woven that it has a full-blown mythos of it’s own to play with. Characters who started out as one-joke goofs on established icons are now wholly icons in their own right – it now feels both limiting and incredibly inaccurate to describe Hank & Dean in terms of Johnny or The Hardy Boys, or Brock as simply “psychopath Race Bannon,” or even Dr. Orpheus as the flawless “Doctor Strange” send-up he still obviously is. Hell, Gary (aka Henchman 21) going from literally a meaningless bit-player to main character whose spectacular arc-derailment (right down to the way it instantly reminded us that The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch are in fact still The Bad Guys) was the great sleight-of-hand masterstroke of Season 4 is practically a metaphor for the entire series.

Anyway, there’s a new extended teaser for the finally-incoming Season 5, and it looks like the awesome plans to continue. There’s a lot of quick flashes of things fans have more-or-less been expecting to see (Gary in a S.P.H.I.N.X. uniform? Check. More of “Goth Dean?” Check.) but also a lot of exciting “what does THAT mean!?” as well. Check it out:

"KICK-ASS 2." Oh yeah.

The first “Kick-Ass” is a movie that grows in quality every time I see it (which, by the way, is the EXACT opposite effect the original comic had) a rare and near-perfect mix of hard-R satire and genuinely sincere coming-of-age comedy. This now-trailered sequel? I’m onboard. Here’s hoping the “great movie based on intermittently mediocre and mean-spirited book” streak continues…

Main thoughts: Holy CRAP! Jim Carrey showed up to work as “Col. Stars N’ Stripes!” Whole thing seems to be striking the original’s flawless balance between “these people are idiots!” and “this is awesome!” Gotta love a movie whose main antagonist’s name can’t be said in the ad-copy (outside of this reb-band trailer.)

"Zero" Interest

Everything wrong with the American comics industry in a nutshell: Scott Snyder will spend A YEAR’S WORTH of books re-telling Batman’s origin. Again. 

I’m assuming they’ll be either shooting these to Mars, translating them into Dolphin, air-dropping them into unexplored, “hypothetically” human-populated regions of the Amazon Rainforest or whatever other unlikely circumstances you might find someone who is unaware of Batman’s origin-story.