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List: Holiday Cards for Your Racist Relatives

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On November 26th, a mole will land on Mars - The Oatmeal

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How Stan Lee, Creator of Black Panther, Taught a Generation of Black Nerds About Race, Art and Activism

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Graphic: Sam Woolley (Getty Images)

When I was a kid, I didn’t live close enough to a comic book shop to get there on my bike. My parents would have to take me to Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Va., and I’d get my comics off the old spinner racks at Waldenbooks. As the years went on and specialty comic shops opened, my friends and I had a comic book ritual of sorts.

Matt, Jeff and I would borrow one of our parents’ cars, drive out to our favorite comic shop, then go to Jeff’s room and read comics until we had to go home. Stacks of X-Men, Captain America and Spider-Man comics would be spread out all over the floor.

This is how I spent my ’90s childhood.

And while at the time the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was still up for debate, Al Sharpton was considered controversial and Public Enemy wasn’t played on “mainstream” radio–in a strange way all of that comic reading gave me a racial and political education that my lily-white suburban Virginia life never did. And it’s all thanks to Stan Lee, the creative and driving force behind Marvel comics for half a century, who passed away Monday at the tender age of 95. He gave a black kid a place to play in the cosmos and beyond, and the world is a little less bright after his passing.

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Over the next 24 hours you’ll hear how Stan Lee is credited with creating Daredevil, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, the Wasp, the Hulk the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and, of course, Black Panther. What you won’t hear as much is how he was screaming from the rafters about racism and discrimination while providing a curriculum for black kids like myself when public schools and all other forms of pop culture summarily shut us out.

Stan Lee didn’t just develop the modern superhero, he brought activist heroes and storylines to the mainstream when most other white publishers let alone newspapers were still playing footsie with Nazis, terrorists and bigots.

Image: Stan Lee Pens an editorial about racism in December 1968 Marvel comics

It is hard to overstate how important Lee is to black kids growing up in the 1980s and ’90s back when comic books were considered a “white” thing. I have literally teared up a few times while writing and thinking about how much joy he brought to youngsters like me, and how much his passion and excitement for comic books helped validate this hobby and the culture that goes with the genre. More than any other golden age comic creator Lee’s characters put blackness and the black experience at the forefront.

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When Lee created the X-Men in 1963, the battle between Magneto and Professor X was meant to be a rough allegory for the integrationist vs. nationalist philosophies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Yes, the idea of black oppression and philosophy being played out by mostly protestant white guys like Cyclops and Ice-Man is problematic in hindsight (Magneto is Jewish), but it was a radical idea at the time. It also laid the groundwork for a comic that always spoke to racial injustice, even to kids like me who loved comics but seldom saw themselves in the stories and shows of the genre.

By the ’90s, the ideas Stan Lee established had evolved, and I was spending my Saturday afternoons reading about Genosha, the apartheid state that forced mutants into labor for regular (read: white) humans. When my class wasn’t talking about apartheid, I was learning it from Stan Lee’s creations. Lee’s creations seamlessly integrated “blackness” into comics in a way that was revolutionary and organic all at the same time.

Peter Parker was a poor, white kid who was mentored by his black editor at the Daily Bugle newspaper, Robbie Robertson. Captain America’s best friend was the Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie in the movies) who wore technologically advanced wings built by Black Panther (in the comics). Black Panther was the king of a super technologically advanced, never-conquered, African nation called Wakanda that introduced me to afro-futurism before I even knew what afro-futurism was. Stan Lee created all of those black characters, from kings to sidekicks; from father figures to managers.

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It wasn’t until later in life, when I started studying and teaching about comics instead of just reading them, that I learned that none of this was a fluke. Stan Lee was an activist artist, a Jewish guy born to Romanian immigrant parents in New York who hated bigotry. He was explicit about it in his Stan’s Soapbox editorials that ran across all Marvel Comics. He called bigots “Low IQ Yo-Yos,” he said that anybody who generalized about blacks, women, Italians or whoever hadn’t truly evolved as a person.

He was doing this in comic pages when mainstream newspaper editorials were still deciding if black folks should be able to live where they wanted. When Marvel Comics were afraid that the Black Panther character would be associated with the Black Panther political movement, Stan Lee pushed for T’Challa to keep his name (at one point they wanted to call him Coal Tiger). All of this at a time when even having a black person in a comic was still considered controversial. Just last October, Lee posted a spontaneous video on the Marvel’s YouTube page stating the foundation of Marvel Comics was to fight for equality and battle against bigotry and injustice.

I don’t know if it was Charlottesville, Va., or Donald Trump that inspired the video but the fact remains that Stan Lee was steadfast in his belief that super-heroes should look and sound like the world around us; that they needed to reflect the best in people while tackling the worst of human instincts.

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I’m not a kid anymore, I’m not waking up to hear Stan Lee’s voice narrate Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on Saturday mornings. I can drive myself to the movies where I see Stan Lee cameos in Marvel and D.C. films. I don’t look up at the ceilings in D.C.’s Union Station and imagine what it would it would be like to climb on the walls like Spider-Man (well, actually I still do but not as often).

Yet, every week I teach a class at Morgan State University about comic book politics and history, I still go to the comic shop every Wednesday, I have interviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates twice about the Black Panther comic book, I wrote about how the Falcon made the Captain America movies the blackest Marvel film ever. I’ve waxed poetic about how the X-Men are the single most progressive pop culture icons in Gen-X culture.

All of this is thanks to Stan Lee, who showed this kid that a love of art and politics didn’t have to exist in separate universes; that blackness was as heroic as anything else; and that when you have power—even just the power to draw a few characters on a page—you have a responsibility to make those characters count for something.

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Lee would end most of his personal appearances and cameos with Excelsior” — the Latin phrase that translates roughly as “higher.”

Thanks for all your help, Stan Lee. I hope you’re out there somewhere exploring the cosmos, swinging from the ceilings, knowing that you made the world a better place.

Excelsior, indeed.

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satadru
33 days ago
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<3
New York, NY

Matreon: The Patreon Platform for Emotional Labor

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Dear Guy Who Can’t Read The Room:

Hello and thank you for attempting to engage in an unsolicited conversation with me! In order to ensure our interaction is productive and enriching for both parties, I invite you to join my Matreon. For just a few dollars a month, you can continue to approach me with whatever the hell is on your mind regardless of context or appropriateness, and I will continue to do the emotional labor required to respond without calling you a privileged, myopic dipshit.

Since you’re obviously the most important person in the universe and everything should cater to your needs, I’ve created a number of exciting options that you can take advantage of. You know, like you take advantage of the way that women are culturally trained to be sweet and helpful when you fart words in their direction.

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DONOR LEVELS

$5 Per Month: Social Media

I will actually read the garbage you tweet at me instead of calling you an asshole and blocking you. This Matreon reward covers everything from rude gifs and misspelled insults to condescending multi-paragraph screeds explaining why I am incorrect about my own lived experiences and interactions with the world. I will not respond but I will click the “like” button, confirming that your very relevant thoughts were read and considered by me, the stranger who you chose to bless with your written effluvia.

$15 Per Month: Social Media Plus

If just knowing I read your electronic drool strings isn’t enough for you, consider upgrading to Social Media Plus. I will reply to your tweets and comments with whatever response I think you were hoping for when your idiot thumb greased up your iPhone. Sample replies include: “Wow, I never thought of it that way!”, “Boy, you sure know a lot about women, thanks for educating me.”, and “I will go on a diet straight away, you absolute fucking hero!”

$50 Per Month: Debate Club

I will commit to one extended Twitter conversation or Skype call to affirm any ill-considered, uninformed, and/or misogynistic take you have on a social issue or current event. You don’t think the wage gap is real because your administrative assistant got to use three weeks of unpaid maternity leave in order to recover from literally creating life and pushing it out of her body? Tell me all about it, and I will tell you that you are right. High five on that sweet insight, bro!

SPECIAL OFFER!
$1,000 Per Month: Rape Chat

Let’s talk about rape and sexual assault, and specifically how it is not your fault. You can tell me how men’s lives are ruined, as if the vast majority of men who were caught in the first #MeToo wave aren’t already launching their comebacks. You can hold firm on the idea that women make false accusations for attention, as if doxxing and death threats were a rare and exciting treat. We can even debate the minutiae of what actually counts as sexual assault. Were they in a relationship already? Were they intoxicated? Was the no stated non-verbally, too softly, or too ambiguously?

I know, we definitely aren’t talking about you. You’d never rape anybody.

This might seem like a lot of money, but as a sexual assault victim, I feel entitled to charge a premium fee based on my expertise. Oh, you don’t want to talk to me now? Maybe you should consider that before initiating these conversations with women in the future. One in five women can’t be wrong — but we can be raped!

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Some people have objected to Matreon, on the grounds that it’s exploitative to charge men for having conversations. I appreciate this viewpoint, but please consider the effort and material costs required to make these transactions occur. Demand is higher than ever these days, and between therapy, ice cream, and booze, my overhead is through the roof.

Also, these are not actual conversations. Nothing I say or think matters in these interactions, because I do not matter to you. You need to work out your anxieties and aggression, and you’re used to your punching bags being lady-shaped, so as soon as you saw me you started swinging. You don’t need a conversation. You need a woman to reassure you that you’re right, that your opinions are well-considered, and that you are valid and important and just.

I can do that for you. But I am no longer doing it for free.

Fuck you. Pay me. And thank you for using Matreon!

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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - SOB

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Learning etymology is like going through the attic of a recently dead uncle, who seemed mostly domesticated, but who spent his life having x-rated adventures.


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jlvanderzwan
74 days ago
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Well, if we're comparing bestiality vs a scenario in which it is still possible that all parties consented to having sex...
diannemharris
73 days ago
While I see your point, there is nothing to rule out that the father is a dog as well, thus ruling out bestiality.
jlvanderzwan
73 days ago
Implying the human child was adopted?
diannemharris
70 days ago
or that they themselves( the child) are not human either.

Nutella Fudgsicles

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Nutella Fudgsicles

Chocolaty fudgsicles were always one of my favorite frozen treats growing up. I made a huge mess almost every time I ate one – getting chocolate smears all over my face and my hands, as most kids tend to do – but since I wasn’t old enough to do my own laundry at the time, that was just part of the fun. These days, I still enjoy fudgsicles, though a few things have changed. I no longer make a big mess when I eat them (fortunately). I also no longer pick them up from the ice cream truck. Instead, I make them at home!

Homemade Fudgsicles are richer and more flavorful than their store-bought counterparts. Making them at home also allows you to incorporate other ingredients to build in some extra flavors, and that is exactly what I did when I created these Nutella Fudgsicles. These pops primarily get their flavor from cocoa powder, which gives them a strong, bittersweet chocolate flavor. Adding in Nutella adds notes of toasted hazelnut to the chocolate and makes the pops taste rich and creamy. Vanilla and chocolate extracts added just after cooking give the pops a little more depth of flavor. If you don’t have chocolate extract, you can omit it, but it will help enrich the other chocolate elements if you have some.

The number of popsicles that you’ll be able to make will vary widely depending on how large your molds are. Some molds, especially those for double pops, are very large and can hold a lot. No matter what size mold you use, I recommend allowing the popsicles to freeze overnight to ensure that they are set. Don’t forget to soak the popsicle molds in warm water for 15-20 seconds to loosen them before pulling them out to eat!

Nutella Fudgsicles

Nutella Fudgesicles
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1/4 cup Nutella
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)

In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-heat, whisking to make sure that the cocoa powder dissolves completely. When the mixture comes to a simmer, whisk in the Nutella. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract and chocolate extract (if using).
Divide mixture into popsicle molds of your choice, leaving about 1/4-inch of space at the top of each mold, and freeze until set, 6 hours or overnight.

Makes 6-10 popsicles, depending on the size of your molds.

The post Nutella Fudgsicles appeared first on Baking Bites.

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