The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein. Descriptions of violence.]

image of The Walking Dead logo

This is the last Walking Thread I will ever write.

I have been covering The Walking Dead for almost exactly five years. I have made no secret of the fact that I have long been hate-watching the show, doing recaps in which I buried serious deconstruction of systemic oppressions in between all-caps sarcasm.

There have been times when I have come extremely close to throwing in the towel, but it was often the times when the show got darkest that people reached out the most plaintively to tell me how much they valued my recaps.

But I am drawing a line here. I cannot watch nor write about The Walking Dead any longer.

Last night, I watched Sunday's Season 7 premiere. By the halfway point, I felt utterly nauseated. It wasn't by the gratuitously graphic depictions of violence, which are, frankly, nothing new for the show. It was by the fact that I was being obliged to watch torture, ostensibly being carried out by Negan—a character so cartoonishly villainous that he became transparent enough through which I could see his creators.

The writers of the show are Negan. The big bad. The worst of them all.

[CN: Spoilers; violence] Deep in her review of the episode, The Daily Beast's Melissa Leon notes: "At San Diego Comic-Con this year, visitors to the show's booth posed with lifelike replicas of Negan's kneeling, would-be victims. Its cross-brand Twitter emoji on premiere night was Negan's bat. The show has gleefully done everything it can to amplify this experience."

I didn't know that when I watched the episode. I only read it afterwards; after I had already come away from the episode seeing straight through Negan's sadistic glee to the writers' room. It merely confirmed what I'd already felt.

And then I read that the episode director Greg Nicotero said on a phone call with reporters, in defense of the graphic violence: "In this instance, we felt it was important to launch us into this season to show the extent of what Negan is capable of doing because that drives so much of where the series is going from here on. It's graphic and horrible."

Not what Negan is capable of doing. What the show creators are capable of doing to their audience.

I'm not going to hang around for it.

I'm not going to watch a show that has seeks to do to its audience the very thing it is supposedly condemning. And nothing could have made more plain the increasingly malicious instinct of the creators than forcing us to watch a horrendously gruesome death of a character they were widely criticized for saving in the most manipulative way last season. Instead of making amends for shitty writing, they doubled-down and rubbed our faces in his torturous death.

That's not even about a TV show anymore. That's about human beings making a decision that is just unkind to other human beings, many of whom have long supported them.

Fuck that.

This is me checking out. Later, Grimes Gang.

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An Observation

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Over the past few days, I've seen a lot of white dude pundits start bravely (ahem) making the case that Hillary Clinton isn't winning because Donald Trump is an unprecedentedly awful candidate, but because she's a great candidate.

In many of these tales, I see them saying it's the "untold story" of this election, or some variation thereof.


At least one lady said this almost fully one year ago: "The one glaring exception [to all of the other candidates in this election who are running for head of government but not head of state] is Hillary Clinton, whose extraordinary competence in diplomacy only highlights the deficiency in the other candidates. By virtue of having been First Lady, a senator, and Secretary of State, she is already a statesperson. It usually takes being president to elevate someone to that status (e.g. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton), but she's already achieved it. She's frankly overqualified for the position. Which underscores just what it really takes for a woman to even be considered for the presidency. To be fucking overqualified for arguably the most demanding job on the planet."

Some of us have been noticing for quite some time that, should Clinton win, it's because she's an extraordinary candidate.

But I guess it's not as notable if we didn't spend the last 18 months trying to tear her down, only to now "discover" that she's brilliant. If you thought she was brilliant the whole time, you're just a lousy shill.

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Open Thread

Hosted by a turquoise sofa. Have a seat and chat!

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Ruby: "What are your favorite YouTube channels? Can be sociopolitical content you like, or entertaining channels you like to follow. (Since YT has a lot of awesome content, like Feminist Frequency, but is also a minefield of awful, it might be nice to have some vetted recommendations.)"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Deorro & J-Trick: "Rambo" (Hardwell Edit)

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by garlic naan.

Recommended Reading:

Ally: [Content Note: Sexual assault; intimidation] Trump Says He'll Sue Accusers in Speech About First 100 Days in Office

Sean: [CN: Bullying] NY Times Prints Complete List of Trump's Twitter Insults

Digby: [CN: Misogyny] The Long Arduous Path to the Presidency

Mustang Bobby: [CN: Bigotry] Back to When?

Keith: [CN: Racism; violence] Emmett Till Memorial Sign Riddled with Bullets

Casey: [CN: Carcerality; death penalty] She watched her husband get sentenced to death. Now she's becoming a lawyer to save him and others.

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Today in Rape Culture and Also the Presidential Campaign

[Content Note: Sexual assault; rape culture. Video may autoplay at link.]

Another woman, Jessica Drake, has reported that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her. Drake said that, about a decade ago, Trump grabbed and kissed her without her consent and offered her money to accompany him to his hotel room and have sex with him.

Drake is a performer in adult films. Which does not, has not, and will never mean that a woman yields her right of consent.

But naturally, that is not what Trump thinks, who said of Drake today: "Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before."

Straight out of the rape apologia playbook. Again.

I don't even know what I can say at this point that I now haven't already said a dozen times. I repudiate Trump and everything for which he stands; and I take up space in solidarity with the women who are coming forward with their stories.

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Today, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in New Hampshire with Senator Elizabeth Warren and New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, who is running for Senate, and Warren absolutely let Donald Trump have it.

And Donald Trump disrespects—aggressively disrespects—more than half the human beings in this country. He thinks that because he has money, that he can call women "fat pigs" and "bimbos." He thinks because he is a celebrity, that he can rate women's bodies from one to ten. He thinks that because he has a mouthful of Tic Tacs, that he can force himself on any woman within groping distance.

Well, I got news for you, Donald Trump! Women have had it with guys like you! And nasty women have really had it with guys like you! Yeah.

Get this, Donald: Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote!

And on November 8th, we nasty women are gonna march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever! Yup!

And let me also comment once again on the sartorial commentary of the Democratic candidate, Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is wearing blue. While Warren is wearing red. While Hassan is wearing purple.

I see what you did there, ladies! A+

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

RIP Tom Hayden. "Tom Hayden, the preeminent 1960s radical who roused a generation of alienated young Americans, became a symbol of militancy by leading riotous protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and added Hollywood glamour to his mystique with an activist partnership and marriage to film star Jane Fonda, died Oct. 23 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 76." Truly an end of an era. My condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and fans.

Katie Klabusich was kind enough to have me on her show again, and you can listen to it here!

[Content Note: Hacking; sexual assault; misogyny] This is a really fascinating read: "Inside the Strange, Paranoid World of Julian Assange." Another case of "this is a guy who clearly has a problem with women, which is why you maybe should have never turned him into a hero in the first place," but don't mind Cassandra!

[CN: Climate change] Damn: "Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have surged past an important threshold and may not dip below it for 'many generations.' The 400 parts per million benchmark was broken globally for the first time in recorded history in 2015. But according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2016 will likely be the first full year to exceed the mark. The high levels can be partly attributed to a strong El Niño event."

Ugh. "AT&T/Time Warner deal could be approved without any FCC merger review."

[CN: Guns; racism] The Mothers of the Movement continue to campaign with and for Hillary Clinton, making their case for why they hope people will vote—and vote for her.

Donald Trump's strategy of trying to depress enthusiasm among Clinton supporters by dragging the campaign down in the dirt has wildly backfired: "The key finding in the new ABC News tracking poll, which finds Clinton leading among likely voters nationally by 50-38, is that affirmative support for Clinton among her supporters, as opposed to a motivator only rooted in dislike for the other side, is growing. As ABC's polling memo notes, the percentage of Clinton supporters who say their vote will be for her [as opposed to against Trump] is at a new high." And it's increased 16 points since early September.

LOVE: "That look when you cap off a day on the trail by watching the Cubs cement their trip to the World Series."

Awwwww: "Grandma Gets Emotional When Family Surprises Her with Puppy." The puppy she always wanted!

What have you been reading?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat wrapped in a blanket, looking all sleepy, with her whiskers curled around pointing toward her nose
Cat Bedhead is waking up from your nap with your whiskers pointing the wrong way.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Quote of the Day

Image Description: Photo of Tim Kaine in front of a U.S. flag, wearing a Hillary pin, smiling. Text added to the photo by me reads: "I'm so proud to be a strong man supporting a strong woman who will be the next president of the United States."

Kaine said these words during a huge rally in Philly that he attended with Hillary Clinton in front of a huge crowd over the weekend.

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This Is Disgusting

[Content Note: Violent imagery.]

Donald Trump held a rally in Virginia Beach over the weekend, and, along with the usual vile chants toward Hillary Clinton, there was a disgusting display of violent imagery toward her on display.

[Tweet includes image of Trump supporter holding up Trump sign with Clinton's face in a target.]

[Tweet includes image of a Trump supporter holding up an effigy on Clinton's head on a stake.]

[Tweet includes image of a Trump supporter holding up a poster with Clinton's face in a target.]

This is absolutely despicable. Trump clearly did not invent vicious hatred toward Clinton, but he has inflamed it and he has exploited it and he tolerates it.

This man has to be rejected with a massive landslide and his campaign of white nationalist and misogynist hatred forcefully repudiated by voters.

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Think About What This Says About Her

I've got a new piece at Shareblue about what it says about Hillary Clinton that she's dedicated so much of her life and career advocating for children:

Hillary Clinton often says that she has spent her life advocating for children, women, and families. She has — but rarely do we consider what this says about her.

And, more specifically, how it crushes so many pernicious narratives about her.

Does someone who is, as she is so frequently said to be, ruthlessly ambitious, who will stop at nothing to seize ever more power, dedicate her life to children, who cannot vote? Who cannot give her money? Who have no cultural power to grant to her?

Part of the reason that there are so few politicians who center their work around children is for this very reason. Children are a special interest group with nothing immediate to offer in exchange for advocacy on their behalf.

When children are invoked in political discourse, it is rarely as their own rights-bearing citizens with diverse needs, but generally as dehumanized political justification for harming a marginalized population from whom they need to be "saved" or "protected." Pro-choice activists, LGBTx people, atheists, etc.

They are often rhetorical tools to most politicians, rather than a demographic in need of passionate advocates.

But not to Hillary Clinton.
As always, there's more at the link!

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Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

Hosted by a purple sofa. Have a seat and chat!

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The I'm With Her Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Travis: "Flowers in the Window"

This week's TMNS has been brought to you by Scottish bands.

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by hazelnuts.

Recommended Reading:

Angry Asian Man: Help Defend Asian American Voting Rights on Election Day

Sasha: Clinton Drops Another Trump Burn After Night of Jokes

Jorge: Hillary Went Out and Partied with Latinx Voters After Crushing Trump in Vegas Debate

Keith: [CN: Sexual violence] Jurors Pose for Photos with Derrick Rose Following Conclusion of Rape Trial

Andy: [CN: Transphobia] Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Rebrands Anti-LGBT Bathroom Bill as 'Women's Privacy Act'

Charline: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Talks Empowerment Through Cosmetics as Face of a New Makeup Campaign

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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"Would my son have a place in your America?"

[Content Note: War; death; Islamophobia.]

Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim U.S. soldier who gave his life for his country in Iraq, came to be known by most of us when he used his platform at the Democratic convention to ask the Republican nominee: "Donald Trump, you're asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?"

Now, he is featured in a powerful and moving new ad for Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that his speaking out has had a steep cost for his family.

In 2004, my son was stationed in Iraq. He saw a suicide bomber approaching his camp. My son moved forward to stop the bomber, when the bomb exploded. He saved everyone in his unit. Only one American soldier died. My son was Captain Humayun Khan. He was 27 years old, and he was a Muslim American. I want to ask Mr. Trump: Would my son have a place in your America?
I feel very grateful for Mr. Khan's continued willingness to share his story and perspective during this election, in spite of the risk. I regret the reasons he has been obliged to do so. We need his voice. I value it enormously.

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I See What You're Doing, Donald Trump

[Content Note: Misogyny; racism.]

Donald Trump went off on Michelle Obama today, in a very particular way, and I am incandescently angry about it. I've got a new piece at Shareblue deconstructing exactly what he's up to:

Trump is mischaracterizing the First Lady's eight-year-old words, and in a very particular and pernicious way.

He is attempting to create a rift in what has been seen as a profoundly inspiring political partnership between two of the most prominent and admired women in the nation, who are strongly allied on the subject of women's empowerment and eradicating gender bias.

And who are united in condemning his attitudes and behavior toward women, and united in trying to defeat him.

So he is attempting to drive a wedge between them, and subvert the unified passion so many women across the nation have for the work Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton are doing together on our behalf.

This is an age-old disruptive strategy used by anti-feminist men, particularly white men who are unnerved by seeing alliances between Black and non-Black feminists.

Trump further suggests that his mischaracterization of Obama's words give him license to personally attack Clinton.

This is an ugly, despicable thing he's said — part of a long, ugly, despicable history of dividing to conquer feminist women.
There is more at the link, including video, with a complete transcript, of what he said.

The way this will get reported is that he's just being his usual bullying self, this time with the First Lady in his target. But it's much more sinister than that. And he knows it, even if most of the people listening to him don't.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Misogyny] A Republican Congressman from Texas defended Donald Trump sneering into his microphone "such a nasty woman" during the third presidential debate, because "a lady needs to be told when she's being nasty." Yes, that's a real thing that happened, and I've got a piece at Shareblue on it.

Good news in reproductive health: "A federal judge on Thursday sided with women's health provider Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit aiming to block a Mississippi law that barred medical providers that perform abortions from participating in the state's Medicaid program. The decision by U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III is the latest in a string of rulings striking down similar laws elsewhere in the country against the women's health provider. Jordan's two-page order noted a ruling from the 5th U.S. District Court of Appeals that rejected a similar law in Louisiana, saying 'essentially every court to consider similar laws has found that they violate' federal law."

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele says he won't be voting for Trump. I'm not surprised that Steele isn't supporting him, but I didn't realize this: "Steele is the third former Republican National Committee Chairman to say he won't support Trump." Welp.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] This MIT-engineered crib to help babies sleep looks amazing. Please make one for adults and then take my money.

Awwwwww: "Experts Say Dogs Dream About Their Humans; People Can't Stop Crying."

What have you been reading?

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