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A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.


Hello! Here, of course, is the month question and answer I do with Michael Maiello, a close friend of four years and a contributor to Forbes, Esquire and other publications (some of which he mentions in this installment.)
Questions For Orion

 

1) We've been bantering on Facebook about Marvel and women.  We've also talked about the topic once before in these dialogues.  There's long been an element of Marvel that is soft core porn for boys.  I don't really think there's anything wrong with that -- boys need that kind of thing, societies fall without it.  Also, look at She Hulk in the early 90s and tell me that didn't teach you not to discriminate against somebody just because she's green.  Man.  She Hulk.  Anyhow... Around the time I was slobbering over She Hulk and Titania my girl friends who were into comics were reading The Sandman over at Vertigo.  Neil Gaiman did a lot to bring woman readers to comics, but he did it with an adventure tale that was decidedly not a super hero tale.  Who takes the next step with super heroes, how is it done, and how does it change the landscape for boy readers?

 

Scarlett Johansson and her outfits obviously illicit feelings among young boys. That's comic books for you. I'm not a feminist even if I was engaged to one and publish feminist stuff here at Radical Second Things a lot - but the problem I'd have is just having a TV show where it's all female characters or having the character's sex dominate the whole narrative. They've been pretty good at making Black Widow a rich character in the films but at the same time she is flirting with a new guy in each film and the flirting never actually metastasizes in to a genuine relationship, a really awful message for both men and women. It's a fragile thing to get that to keep going, I think.

2) Getting more serious... Are the prosecutions in Baltimore a step forward after Ferguson and Staten Island?  What's next?  Do you think other city governments are really taking notice or do they just assume it won't happen to them?

 

A couple months ago, I moved back to the Seattle area. I am really lucky and live in this incredible living situation that is lavish with people who care about me. The first week, though, I got lost and called up the police to help me find where I was staying. I ended up talking to this police officer about all the cop drama in the US. His perception was 1) that whatever's going on is reflective of a larger problem and 2) that cops are under attack. I think the latter is wrong - cops are being dressed up and trained as if they are looking not just for a fight but for war and it's the Defense Department that has made that happen. It's Barack Obama's legacy - he has been president for almost eight years and approved of the militarization of police during his entire tenure.



3) Finally... What is with this "cause of poverty" debate that the op-ed writers want to have?  Don't we know that the cause of poverty is a lack of money?

 

They say that poverty is the natural state of man. The wealth of the earth requires cultivation. Without cultivation, a man is in poverty. It is cultivated by businesses and distributed by governments. There's a lot of first world countries that don't have people on the edge financially all the time, though and almost all Americans are on the edge. I think Americans realize this and it has a lot to do with Bernie Sanders being taken so seriously.
 
Questions for Maiello
 

1) What do you think of Bernie Sanders not just running for president as a Democrat but collecting $1.5 million in a day?

 

Give 'em Hell, Bernie!  He's running because people need a voice.  The enthusiasm, rather than mockery of his long-shot status, is because he really does speak for a lot of Democrats and we know Hilary needs to hear this message.  I like Hilary, by the way.  I like Bill, too.  This will come up in my answer to your second question.  But, Bernie will say thing about social justice, without irony, that Democrats want said without irony.  Good for him. Also, good for him for making this a primary run rather than a third party run in the general.  He is reminding us, by running in the primary, that he and his ideas are at the core of the party. 

 

2) Is Barack Obama an uninspiring leader? Why has the charisma of 2008 not been able to put a damper on these cyclical race explosions in all our cities? Why are we even having race explosions, let alone regular ones, in an era in which we have a two term black president with an African name?

 

I wouldn't say he's an uninspiring leader.  He is a Democrat in the mold of the Bill and Hilary Clinton Democrat, which is a Democrat who wants to compete for "Reagan Democrats" and the like.  Obama is a centrist who is left of centrist, like the Clintons.  On race, I would say he's been especially careful and judicious.  Remember the incident with Obama and Henry Louis Gates?  To my mind, Obama was exactly right to intervene and if I were him, I'd have pardoned Gates of any charge before it was even filed.  Obama merely spoke and the whole country jumped on him for standing by a fellow black man.  Well, we've learned a lot since then, haven't we? After Ferguson, Staten Island and Baltimore, it'd be very hard to go back in time and get mad at Obama for questioning the treatment of Gates, a man locked out of his home.
 
I'll put it this way... Obama is not Malcolm X.  Obama maybe falsely believed that we don't need another Malcolm X. White America thinks we never needed a Malcolm X.  But look around at the chickens coming home to roost.

 

3) What projects are you up to currently?

 
Well, I'm very proud of this:

But I still agonize over the novel I want to finish, the tone I want to achieve and the question of whether or not readers are there for it...

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things