Ya dun goofed, Marvel.

I recently saw Iron Man 3 for the second time, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time. I think it might be my favourite in the series so far, thanks in no small part to the expanded roles that Pepper Potts and James Rhodes finally get to play, as well as character development for Tony Stark, complex villains, and great action scenes.

Unfortunately, there’s one small moment in the movie that almost ruins the joyful viewing experience for me, and which I can’t get out of my mind: when Tony tells a young boy that there’s “no need to be a pussy” about the boy’s dad abandoning the family. I have no problem with Tony being generally snarky with the kid; it’s funny and very in character for him. But the gendered slur was unnecessary and gross, and everyone who let it end up in the final released version of the film, from the writers to the director to the actor to the studio, should feel gross about it. And yet there was near-unanimous praise, in the many reviews of the movie I read, for the line (the lone holdout I came across being Ms Magazine). I saw it referred to as “biting humour”, an “excellent quip”, and a “plum one-liner”.

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Goats and Heroes

After Cody Franson’s error that allowed the Bruins to open the scoring in Game 7 of the first round against the Leafs last night, I declared on Twitter that I wouldn’t be “shitting on” players who made mistakes. There would be no goats, I said, only heroes. When Franson atoned for his screwup by tying the game and then getting the go-ahead goal, I was feeling pretty good about my declaration, and my enlightened, positive attitude.

We all know what happened next: the Leafs blew their 4-1 lead and lost in overtime. It was the Leafiest thing they could possibly do, and boy did they ever do it. The sequence of goals contributing to the OT loss was so fast and horrible that I could barely process what had happened. All I felt in the immediate aftermath was heartbreak. But as time went by, and I read tweet after tweet after tweet expressing a pride in the team that I found myself unable to feel, I noticed a new emotion bubbling up to the surface: pure, unadulterated rage.

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Rape culture

It was the recent Daniel Tosh incident and, more specifically, hockey blogger Harrison Mooney’s awesome tweets in response to it, that got me thinking about a specific aspect of rape culture: the reactions to, and opinions on the steps women take to try to protect their safety.

I have had a few different men in my life (close friends and family, socially progressive, some who even consider themselves “feminists”) complain to me about how it makes them feel when a woman who they don’t know well seems suspicious of them. The type of behaviour they’re talking about is a woman not smiling or saying “Hi!” back when they’re greeted by an unknown man, or a woman crossing the street at night to walk on the opposite side as him.

I don’t like to play the game of “my struggle is worse than yours, so yours is invalid and you can never mention it”. It’s pointless and often counterproductive, and it’s not what I’m going to do here. But I do need to talk about what’s problematic with this particular complaint. We all share life experiences, observations, and feelings with our friends and family. This is, of course, what you’re supposed to do. It creates and deepens relationships. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not saying that a man should never, ever mention this aspect of his life to a woman, but rather that the way he frames it is so important.

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Why be a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

It’s difficult right now, just as the regular season has ended and the Leafs have failed to make the playoffs for the 7th straight season, to not wonder why I bother. When forced to really examine it, it occurs to me that sports fandom is the strangest, most irrational behaviour a person can engage in. What is it that I’m cheering for? What am I investing time, energy, money, and most importantly, emotion into?

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